Monday, November 30, 2009

This Week's Sales:
Lierac Paris, Peter Thomas Roth, 100% Pure, and more...

Editors' Closet wins the coin toss this week and goes first with Lierac Paris this Monday, November 30th (sale starts at 9AM EST.) Click here for a personal invite to Editors' Closet. For a quicker response, contact me on Twitter.

Also Monday, HauteLook starts out with EViS MD Light Therapy, and moves on to Peter Thomas Roth on Tuesday, December 1st. HauteLook has been a hotbed of beauty sales lately, and as of now these two are the only ones scheduled. Sales for Thursday and beyond are still a secret, but you know I'll fill you in as soon as I can!

Moving on to Rue La La, check out Lisa Hoffman Skincare, also on Tuesday, December 1st.

Over at The Skinny, they're featuring 100% Pure. The sale ends and switches over to Tammy Fender Skincare on Wednesday, December 2nd at 6AM, so if you're planning on waiting until the last minute make sure you set your alarm!

Thursday, Gilt Groupe has an all-out multi brand beauty blast that they're calling "Beauty Essentials to Dazzle in December." With promises of brands like Decleor, Jemma Kidd and Clark's Botanicals, I'd have to say: dazzle, indeed!

Through out the week, get your gift on with Billion Dollar Babes and their Click & Gift sale- up to 70% off, with new items added daily. In addition to the daily sale goodness, the site ends the week with a feature on Rodial Skincare this Friday, December 4th.

Of course, don't forget to check out The Fairest this week to see what's being featured: on the block are Jemma Kidd Makeup School, Mama Mio Skincare and Fruits and Passion. Knowing The Fairest, there will be a couple more added to the mix also, just to keep us on our toes!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

This Week's Sales:
Urban Decay, Tarte, Cover FX and more...

HauteLook has a full week for us starting with Urban Decay on Monday, November 23rd. Tuesday brings us Fusion Beauty followed by Clean and Cover FX on Wednesday, Borba and Lady Primrose on Thursday and Demeter on Friday.

The week is starting out with a bang over at Gilt Groupe with Tarte Cosmetics on Monday. Tarte is also listed on Gilt's little sister site, Gilt Fuse. I'm not sure if the sale will be the same or not, I plan on checking both. You know, just to be safe.

On Wednesday, check out Editor's Closet when they present Functionalab Beauty Nutrition. If you're not a member of yet, click here for a personal invite. By the way, if you're up early Wednesday morning is your last chance to pick up Duchess Marden on The Skinny, the sale switches gear at 6am. The next feature hasn't been announced, but I'll update y'all as soon as I know.

On The Fairest roster, we're still waiting on Butter LONDON, Cake Beauty, and PeaceKeeper Cause-Metics with Mojo Cosmetics and Juara added to the mix.

For more great deals, (including friends and family deals from Lancome and Shu Uemura) skate over to fellow blogger Karlasugar's site: The Next Best Thing to Going Shopping Yourself. Karla is well known for her swatching prowess- if you ever need to see how a shade looks on an actual live person, Karla's the gal with the goods. This week, she stumbled upon so many great deals that she strayed from her norm to share them with us. Go for the discounts, but stay for the glory of swatch.

Friday, November 20, 2009

My Favorite You Tubers!

As a beauty junkie, I'm always on the look out for the greatest new products and tips. Though I've been in the business for a long time, I'm a big believer in the idea that a true scholar never stops learning. Because makeup artistry is just that, an art, there are always alternate opinions and points of view share. It's why I write my blog, and it's also why I read so many other beauty blogs.

You can easily see my favorite blogs, I list them in the side bar, and highly suggest you pay each one a visit. These are the people I share with and pull inspiration from. I communicate with many of them, I count them as friends and find them an infinite source of encouragement.

I also am a fan of the YouTube beauty community, and since my favorite blogs are listed here for all to see, I thought I'd share some of my favorite "gurus" with you as well. Here's just a few of my favs:

BlancheBabcock is a true southern belle (except, perhaps, for what's under her dress) She offers a look into alternative lifestyle makeup (drag, folks) and just seems to be a genuinely good person, which makes her a joy to watch.

gossmakeupartist Wayne is a professional makeup artist in the UK. His philosophy is one that I'm very at home with: he says that "a good makeup artist is someone that will not only make you look good but will teach YOU how to look good everyday."

jennac0re (with a zero not the letter "O") is the poster girl for no-nonsense, I feel like she'd be down with my "if you don't like me the way I am, that's your problem, not mine" attitude. She's also pretty talented with a makeup brush, and presents her tutorials in a real, not overly edited manner that makes you feel like you're getting a lesson from a good friend. (She also loves her kitties, like me!)

juderivera covers everything from easy facial contouring to blending your own lip color in her clear, easy to understand tutorials. She's always out looking for the next best thing, so Jude is a great resource for new brands and products.

MakeupByRisa Risa is a freelance makeup artist with a wealth of knowledge and a great understanding of the art. She talks you through her work and is honest when she comes upon a challenge. I also love how she encourages creativity and experimentation through her videos and contests.

MakeupGeekTV another pro, Marlena specializes in colorful but wearable looks, adding in lots of detail. She's careful to explain exactly how she blends, what brushes are best, and even suggests alternative shades and brands along the way. Though she uses a lot of MAC, she also isn't shy about trying and using more accessible, economical brands.

MissChievous Julia's channel is a great place for unique theatrical makeup; she excels at bold, almost architectural, eyes! She also does great haul videos, sharing swatches and mini-reviews as she shows her purchases, making them educational rather than just a brag-fest.

Petrilude is the YouTube diva. Not one to sugar coat things, he challenges his viewers to use what they have and learn the process rather than simply copy the look. Always dramatic and bold, Josh's looks are not for the faint-of-heart. He fills in his channel with great tip and trick videos, and come Halloween, there's no better place to go for amazing yet approachable special effects looks.

QueenofBlendingMUA Lauren is an incredible makeup artist and a great girl that has truly earned her designation as the Queen of blending (I would also add Queen of cut-crease to that moniker!) A true goof-ball at heart, Lauren brings lightheartedness to her videos that's proof that not all makeup artists are snotty know-it-alls.

sayanythingbr00ke (again, zeros, not letter "O"s) Brooke's channel has a little bit of everything- she does tons of reviews, hauls, face and nail tutorials and the odd bit of daily life. Like Jennac0re, the way she presents herself is very genuine, you truly feel like you're in a gab fest with a buddy.

vintageortacky Cora is a self-described makeup goober who's motto is "Be Bright, Bold, Beautiful, Just be yourself." A little retro, a little punk, a little rockabilly, Cora often showcases bold looks with unique color combinations- including her statement hair color and style!

xsparkage is last, but certainly not least. In fact, she was one of the first YouTubers that I found. Leesha's tutorials are always perky and upbeat. She's known for her series inspired looks: she's done superheroes, Twilight, even Alice in Wonderland. Though she often does bright, colorful looks, she mixes in plenty that are soft and wearable, so there's a little something for anyone. She's also an avid reviewer, her approach always seems honest and well-rounded, and very of the moment- if it's hot now, Leesha will be there to share it!

Well, that's it, for now! Hope you guys enjoyed & met a few new people in the process. I should mention, there are tons of other great makeup artists and beauty junkies out there on the web. I easily could have made a list twice this size, but since some people I love are not currently making videos and others are too new to me for a true evaluation, I stuck to these, my tried and true. I'm sure in time you may see another such list. In the mean time, I hope you'll check these people out- they all put tons of hard work in to sharing their own unique perspective on beauty. Thanks guys and gals!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Holiday Fragrance Gifts on the Cheap!

If the economy has forced you to take a red pen to your holiday gift list, here's an idea that may allow you to keep a few friends on your list and keep some money in your pocket at the same time!

Come "Holiday" time (which, in retail-land starts in mid-October) keep an eye out at the fragrance counters and you're bound to see coffrets pop up in almost every brand that makes more than two scents. A coffret (which is pronounced CO-fray, and literally means casket in French!) is basically a boxed assortment of purse-sized fragrances from one particular house. Think of it as a greatest-hits collection of perfumes; they're meant to be collected and given as a set, but I'm actually fond of buying one or two sets and separating the fragrances. In coffret form, one $50 set can yield 5 0r 6 gifts that often cost around $30 each, if purchased separately.

To make separating your coffret easier, make sure you smell each scent in the set using the in-store testers. Spritz some of the fragrance on a blotter card (most counters provide these, just make sure you sniff the card before you spray to make sure it's blank) then mark down the name of the fragrance and let it dry for a minute. Fan the card gently under your nose to get the scent, and see who on your list comes to mind- then mark her name on the card and move to the next scent. Your nose can only distinguish between about 3 scents at a time, after that they'll all start to smell the same, so it's a good idea to situate your fragrance testing around your other shopping so you can take breaks and return with a fresh nose!

My favorite way to gift fragrance minis is simple and easy- pick out a beautiful card and ribbon. After penning your most heart-felt sentiment, seal the envelope. Then, take a small hole punch and punch 2 holes side by side- about a half-inch apart, near the corner of the envelope (you can tap the card to the opposite side so that you don't punch through it, if you wish.) Thread your ribbon up through the holes and tie the mini into place with it.

At around $10 a pop (or less!) this is a great way to remind the ladies in your life that you appreciate them. These make perfect little hostess/teacher/coach/baby-sitter/co-worker gifts that are just enough to let them know you care.

This Week's Sales:
M Lab, Pür Minerals, Bliss and more...

OK, third time's a charm! For those of you who don't check in daily, I've had a few snafus where this post is concerned, but never mind that- here's what's up in sale land this week.

Head on over to HauteLook on Monday to check out the Ralph Lauren Fragrances sale. Even if you're not in the market for a new perfume, it's guaranteed to be a great place to pick up a gift or two. No luck on Monday? Try again Tuesday, this time with Giorgio Armani Fragrances. The site will also be featuring Go Smile on Tuesday, Designer Fragrances for Men on Wednesday, Pür Minerals on Thursday, and Kerstin Florian on Friday, November 20th.

Though they haven't been spied on the beauty sale circuit in a while, I'm more than happy to welcome back Ideeli on Tuesday, November 17th when they host M Lab Skincare. Maybe to make up for their neglect of us beauty fans, Ideeli has also partnered with to give us 15% off of any Bliss or Laboratoire Remede purchase until February 1st, 2010- just use code "IDEELI" at checkout.

Another rare sighting this week when Beyond the Rack pitches in and offers up Mindy Shear Makeup on Wednesday, November 18th.

Also on Wednesday, over at Gilt Groupe, check out Baby Quasar. It's an awful quiet week in beauty over at Gilt, I wouldn't be surprised to see some unscheduled sales popping up, so stay tuned and make sure you're following me on Twitter for updates as they happen!

Over at The Skinny, Tuesday is your last chance to take advantage of Organic Apoteke, as the site switches over to a week long Duchess Marden sale at 10AM (EST) Wednesday.

Rounding out the week, Billion Dollar Babes has Pangea Organics and Rue La La hosts June Jacobs Spa Collection both on Friday, November 20th.

Last, but not least, The Fairest offers quite a menu in the upcoming days, starting with Skin Alison Raffaele, DoshaCare and Kama Ayurveda. Also coming up: Bodyography, Butter LONDON, Cake Beauty, and PeaceKeeper Cause-Metics. More than enough to keep us busy!

A quick blurb for those of you that are always out for a deal. Check out and subscribe to their mailing list to get discount codes and education on the hottest new products. Also, if you're not already following the amazing Temptalia, make sure you check out her Money Saving Mondays, with discounts on brands like Nars, and Too Faced.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Halloween Looks:
Lucent Rainbows & Pink Calamari!

As I promised on Twitter earlier this week, here's a peek of a couple Halloween looks I created this year, one on myself and one for Stacey Vest, wig guru and the talent behind Sweet Hayseed's Wearable Wonders.

This was the first year we took my daughter Trick-or-Treating (she was Abby Cadabby, if anyone is curious!) so I had a busy day on the 31st- this culminated in me having to slap on my own makeup as fast as I could, as my fiance, mother and daughter waited anxiously. I wouldn't say this is a great representation of my work- I spend a ton more time on my clients. Still, it was fun, so here it is! You'll also have to excuse me if my photo quality isn't great- I think you'll still get the gist!

This first one is a close up of me wearing the Shu Uemura Lucent Rainbow Eyelashes that inspired the entire look. Honestly, I wanted these from the moment I saw them. When Nordstrom opened here last month and I realized they had a Shu Lash Bar, I had to get them; Halloween was really a convenient justification!

Though the picture is not in the sharpest focus, hopefully you can also see my Geo circle lenses- cute and freaky at the same time! I got them relatively last minute from CandyOps for only $10! They're just cosmetic- no script, but for that price, they could have been disposable for all I care!

Unfortunately, this was the best picture we were able to get of the actual eye makeup, but who are we kidding, the lashes were the star anyway! Still, it was a pretty rainbow look, and something I might like to re-create some day.

I created the entire look with my Sleek I-Divine Acid Palette, which is (as it promises) acid bright! It's so bright, in fact, that when I tried to photograph the palette itself in sunlight several of the neon shades (which are matte) actually glared back at the camera like a bicycle reflector!

To get this look, I started with yellow on the inner corner (I know you can't really see it, but trust me, it's there!) I packed the palette's neon orange shade onto the outer 2/3 of the lid, then added the hot pink in the outer corner and crease. To add a bit more dimension, I worked just a bit of a slightly deeper magenta into the outer V and blended it into the crease. On the bottom lash line, which is more visible in the other photos, I rimmed with purple, blue and neon green from the outer to the inner corner.

In case you're wondering, right now Sleek Makeup is only available overseas, something the company promises it's working hard to remedy. The Acid palette itself was actually a limited edition; I had to hunt down mine down on the UK EBay, but it was totally worth it. Aside from great, original colors, Sleek Makeup is ridiculously inexpensive- the palette itself retails for £4.99, which is a little over $8.00. Combine my purchase price with overseas shipping and it was about the same price you'd pay for a single MAC shadow!

This one is the lovely Miss Stacey, wearing the look she coined Calamari. Up until the day before Halloween, I was working under the assumption that Stacey was going to dress as Little Red Riding Hood. In all fairness, she had told me that something snake-like was also a possibility- knowing how kooky Stacey is, I should have known the look would morph into this!

After prepping Stacey's skin with primer, foundation and concealer, I created a mottled pattern with Kryolan's UV Purple Aquacolor. Using a piece of netting from a pair of crocheted stockings as a stencil, I sponged the pattern onto Stacey's forehead and under her cheekbones. I also used the UV Purple to fill in her brows and cut her crease. Though the picture cuts it off, the cut crease wings out and up to meet her extended brow line, which reminded me of tentacles. Keep in mind, the UV Aquacolors all glow under black-light, an effect that I hope Stacey was able to make use of!

After blending the crease upward with the purple and white shades from my Sleek Acid palette, I used the neon pink shade from the palette on Stacey's lid, forehead and cheeks. I topped of her lids with a coat of Mehron Paradise Glitter in Electric Magenta. Truth be told, I wasn't thrilled with this product- it was a plastic-like material with almost no reflective quality; it looked more like pink sanding sugar (the kind you decorate cookies with) than glitter. It's times like these I most wish we had a MAC Pro store nearby, but alas...

To finish things off, I lined Stacey's lips with NYX lip liner in Prune, filling in all but the center of her lips. I topped this off with an bright coat of true blue-based fuchsia lipstick.

As a finishing touch, I wanted to add a bit of sheen to mimic the opalescent glow that you can see on the skin of many underwater creatures. I used TKB's Hilight Violet on the center of the upper portion of Stacey's forehead. I also mixed a bit of the pigment into Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics' Clear Lip Tar, which made an incredible iridescent gloss. A pair o' big pink lashes and a quick snap with my iPhone camera later and Stacey was out the door.

Though I wasn't able to see Stacey's full calamari getup in person, she did have some images taken for promotional use. Hopefully, I'll be able to get more shots, but I couldn't resist giving you guys a peek of the look complete with one of Sweet Hayseed's custom wigs!

So, that was my Halloween. In addition to my makeup and blue wig, I wore a HUGE rainbow tutu, made by the multi-talented Ms. Vest. Though the extent of my festivities was Trick-or-Treating with Rorschach and a 21 month old fairy-in-training, it was one of the best Halloweens in memory (and not just because we got 3 full sized Reese's Cups from one house!) So, any ideas for next year?

This Week's Sales:
Super Star Week Feat. Shu Uemura,
LuminessAir & Urban Decay Friends & Fam!

Haute Look has us busy every day of the week- and you'd better believe I'll be among the first in line to check out Shu Uemura this Monday, November 6th. On Tuesday, MD Skincare shares the spotlight, followed by regulars MOR Cosmetics on Wednesday, and Juice Beauty on Thursday. The week ends with high-tech newcomer Tei Spa Essentials on Friday, November 13th.

Gilt Groupe is a bit quieter, but just as tempting this week when they host Luminess Air on Wednesday, November 11th followed by a personal favorite, Mario Badescu on Thursday November 12th.

On Billion Dollar Babes this week, check out DermaNew Microbrasion on Wednesday and Belli Skincare on Friday.

The newest addition to our line-up, The Skinny, finishes up it's inaugural week with International Orange (Tuesday's your last chance!) and moves on to Organic Apoteke on Wednesday, November 11th.

On the bench over at The Fairest this week: Anastasia, Skin Nutrition, Air Repair, Avocate, and Global Goddess. I can't tell you what the batting order is, you'll have to tune in daily to see for yourself!

Not to be forgotten (though I always recieve my emails AFTER the event has begun) Urban Decay is having their online winter Friends and Family event. Get 30% off your entire order now through November 20th with the code FNFW1, plus free shipping on any order over $50!

Of course, substitutions are par for the course, so make sure you're following me on Twitter to keep up with all the latest sale updates. Let it be known, you will also be subject to random musings, trivial tidbits, and off-the-cuff ramblings that often are, but definitely are not always, beauty related- don't say I didn't warn you!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Mineral Makeup Mutiny:
A Letter to Doe Deere

If you follow any number of beauty blogs, You Tube gurus or makeup tweeps, you may have seen the term "Mineral Makeup Mutiny" flying around. Controversy has been swirling around small makeup companies that are reportedly repackaging pigments and micas exactly as they come from the wholesaler and selling them for an astronomical markup.

I myself weighed in on the issue back in September with my post comparing several retail pigment sellers with wholesale micas. Though I compared several companies, I did use several examples from Lime Crime Makeup. For many, Xenia (aka Doe Deere) the ingenue behind Lime Crime Makeup, is the face of the enemy- the Captain, if you will, in this mutiny. I have featured Lime Crime in the past. I was a fan of Xenia's artistry long before she started Lime Crime, and after the line launched, she was generous enough to send me some of her pigments to try. I have since purchased several more.

Because of my respect for both my readers and Xenia, I felt I needed to appeal to her personally. I sent this email to her Tuesday, and I'd like to share it with you. This is an exact copy of the email that was sent to Xenia; the text has not been altered or edited in any way.


I know that recently you have come under a lot of fire about the formulation of your Lime Crime Makeup Line. As you know, I have been a long time follower of yours and have myself featured your products several times on my blog. I consider myself a conscientious blogger and try to be as fair and impartial with my posts as possible- especially where brand profiles and reviews are concerned. I enjoy Lime Crime makeup; the quality as well as the brand ethos. I respect you as a makeup artist, and out of the respect I have for you as well as that which I owe my readers, I'd like to ask you to reply directly to the accusations that you are facing.

I implore you to answer definitively, do you personally formulate and blend your own products? Do you now or have you ever sold any product exactly as it came to you from your wholesale supplier?

I have done my best to remain objective and supportive of your brand, and it is with the most honest intentions that I send you this request. It is my hope that you'll take this opportunity to clear the air once and for all.

Best Wishes,
Jessica Allison

Though I have not received a personalized response, Today Xenia did post a response to the allegations on You Tube, as well as on her website. Of course, should I hear anything directly from Doe Deere, I'll update you all.

I thought it important to bring you both sides of the story. I am neither advocating for or against the mutiny- frankly, no line is completely original or un-dupable. I have Estee Lauder shades that appear to be exact matches of Lancome shades and MAC shades. When MAC released their Rated R eyeshadow, no one made a big deal over the fact that Nars has an extremely similar shade that actually has the same name! Does this mean they're all the same repackaged product? Of course not.

The reality is, there are only so many marketable colors in cosmetics, and I find it completely likely that even someone who is blending their own shades could end up with something that appears to be an exact match for another company's shade- wholesale or not. Does this mean that I think that no one is selling repackaged wholesale makeup? Again, of course not.

I have seen mineral makeup gurus from companies like Calypso Minerals and Beauty From The Earth openly admit that they have sold either un-blended pigments, or have blended only to affect texture and not to change the shade of the mica. I appreciate the honesty, and reject the notion that these companies should have to reveal their trade secrets in order to prove themselves innocent.

While I commend those that have been honest about this particular controversy, from my fellow bloggers to the companies themselves, when it comes down to it, I really think it's our responsibility as consumers to do our research and know what we're putting on our skin & in our bodies. I personally don't blame any of these businesses for trying to make a profit-after all, it's the "American way", isn't it? Will my knowledge affect my shopping choices? Yes, and it is for that reason that I share it with you. What you do with that knowledge is your choice.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Quick Tip:
Cleansing Your (Makeup) Palette

With mineral makeup and loose pigments becoming more mainstream by the second, you're bound to have already started experimenting yourself. Cheap palettes from an art supply store are great for mixing up custom colors, but they can be a bit of a pain to clean. Even a trip through the dishwasher may not remove a stubborn pigment that's been cemented on with mixing medium.

Don't waste your time or your expensive makeup remover in a last ditch effort to remove stubborn stains. Sure it'll work, but so will plain old veggie oil from your pantry! Apply the oil with a cotton ball and even waxy lipstick bases will wipe away easily. When your palette is bright and shiny, make sure you remove any oily residue with a run through the dishwasher*, or do it the old fashioned way with some Dawn and a scrubby brush- good as new!

*The heat from a dishwasher also sanitizes palettes, a must for professional artists or anyone who will be working on faces other than their own. In lieu of a dishwasher, palettes can be sanitized by a 10 minute soak in 70% Isopropyl Alcohol or by using a disinfecting product like Barbicide.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

This Week's Sales:
The Skinny Launches!
(oh...also Jemma Kidd, DDF, Borba and more!)

Short and sweet this week- hope you all had a great Halloween! Stay tuned later this week for some candid shots of my Halloween look, as well as a peek at my Halloween collaboration with wig guru Stacey, from Sweet Hayseed's Wearable Wonders!

Monday's a shopping day off, but pop by HauteLook on Tuesday November 3rd, for Jemma Kidd Make Up School, and Hydroderm on November 5th.

If you missed your chance last week but are still curious about Glowelle beauty drinks after last week's review, check out Gilt Groupe on Tuesday, November 3rd when they feature Glowelle, followed by NuFace on Wednesday and DDF Skincare on Thursday the 5th.

Last but certainly not least, new sale site, The Skinny finally kicks off this week. The Skinny promises to offer up not only good deals, but expert advice and education to help you choose what's best for you. They begin on Wednesday, November 4th with International Orange . If you're not a member yet, sign up now and be one of the first to check it out!

Lately lots of last minute sales have been popping up- but don't worry, you won't miss a thing if you're following me on Twitter!
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