Friday, December 31, 2010

Makeup Look of the Day: The Innocent

Tori Amos

The Innocent has been one of my favorites so far because it's a look that I would wear myself.  It should have a whimsical and ethereal vibe, reminding you of a Botticelli portrait.   The makeup is really soft and plays with light and natural looking shadows, like an oil painting come to life.  This look requires a shimmery liquid foundation, pink creme blush, white iridescent eye shadow, brown cream shadow, black mascara, flesh-toned lip pencil and a dab of clear lip gloss.

Botticelli's Venus

I think the stand-out item in this look would have to be this Baked-to-Last Bronzer in Golden Bronze from the Body Shop, ($21).  Not only does this product illuminate your skin beautifully, but it's actually good for your skin too-- it contains organic olive oil from southern Italy which conditions the skin.  This look doesn't actually call for a bronzer but since I didn't have a shimmery foundation, I figured that a little bit of this bronzer over my liquid foundation would give off an almost identical effect.  I think it worked out pretty well!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Makeup Look of the Day: Classical

model Chandra North

This is very stripped down and very '90s-- no foundation, powder, or blush are used. "Classical" proves you don't need to wear a lot of makeup for it to be effective.  All this look requires is gold eye shadow, black mascara (for top lashes only), and a matte red lip color.  


Since the skin is "naked" in this look, I used Jafra Gentle Exfoliating Scrub, $16 (right) before applying any makeup for a healthy glow (that a good foundation and blush usually help out with).  An oatmeal or apricot scrub (St. Ives is the gold standard) are also recommended.  

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Makeup Look of the Day: Softness

Tina Turner
Softness, as the name suggests, is a look that has a certain ease to it.  The colors are well-blended to avoid any harshness and no eyeliner or lip liner are used.  The eyes only use a burgundy-brown shadow and black mascara while the lips are only coated with a swipe of clear red gloss.  I didn't have a burgundy-brown shadow so I created it by first applying Mary Kay Hazelnut powder over the entire lid and then applied a shimmery pinkish cream shadow on top of that, and finished it off with another layer of Hazelnut shadow in an attempt to keep the color more on the brown side.  Another important part of the look is apricot toned blush that is generously applied over the cheeks, temples, and chin.  Tina Turner's complexion offers the perfect canvas for apricot blush.


Avon Morph Tones ($19.99) is what I used to add burgundy to the eyes. When mixed with brown, the pinkish color (on the left) becomes burgundy.  This cream eye shadow duo has come in handy for a lot of looks I've already done and they blend surprisingly well with powder shadows.  I like the two shades this one offers because they are natural and earthy while also shimmery for added glamour.

Avon Morph Tones shadow in "Jillian's Pick"

Monday, December 27, 2010

Makeup Look of the Day: Defining

American actress Gena Rowlands
 Rowlands in the '90s

This look is essentially a combination of two prior looks: Shimmer and Glamorous.  It's a lot of makeup but when done right, should look clean and rich.  It's called Defining because the eyes, lips, and contours of the face are all simultaneously being spotlighted.  It's also an appropriate look for all ages.  As you can see, Gena Rowlands wears the look flawlessly in both her younger days and as a mature woman.

Defining uses a golden blond eyeshadow on the lid and a neutral shimmery shadow for the browbone.  Personally I didn't have a golden blond eyeshadow so I ended up mixing shimmery bronze and soft yellow powder shadows together to come up with the shade I needed.  You don't need to always run to the store to get a color you don't have-- chances are you already have two shades that can be combined to make whatever color you need.

The look also uses black pencil eyeliner on the upper lid and black mascara on the upper and lower lashes.  The lips are outlined and filled in with a neutral pencil before applying a red cream lipstick.  Soft rose blush is applied generously to the cheeks and temples.

                                                                       PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT

Lilique Dome brush
The Defining Look is really dependent upon having the right brushes.  Get yourself a variety of brushes that serve different purposes.  I used a Lilique #400 Dome brush which costs around $15 and is used for translucent powder to be applied all over the face.  I also used an eyeshadow brush to blend the eyeshadow up and outward after applying it with a sponge-tip applicator. I like Sephora All Over Shadow brush, #22 (left).  A blush brush should be separate from your powder (dome) brush.  You don't want to get blush on the brush that you are going to use for powder.  The difference between blush and dome brushes are the bristles.  Whereas on a dome brush the bristles become gradually longer towards the center (shaped like a dome), a blush brush's bristles are all one length.  Brushes can be purchased at a drug store or from a more expensive department store.  However, I don't believe brushes need to be expensive in order to serve their purpose.  Thankfully there are a lot of options for different budgets.

Ultima II blush brush

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Makeup Look of the Day: Glamorous II

Masako Mori

 This second version of Glamourous is similar to the first with the main difference being the eyes.  Instead of black and gray, a golden shadow is applied.  Also, using a black liquid eyeliner, a beauty mark (optional) is added to the lower cheek for a little panache. The look also calls for white eyeliner, which is further explained below...

final result

Danish model Rie Rasmussen wearing heavy white eyeliner

I used Rimmel Soft Kohl eyeliner in Pure White (#071).  Although it's not very popular, white eyeliner really does amazing things for your eyes, especially when applied on the waterline (the thin ridge between the lower lid and actual eye).  The effect is larger, wider eyes, so give it a try. What have you got to lose (besides small eyes)?                  

Rimmel Pure White eyeliner

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Makeup Look of the Day: Glamorous

Shinya Mori (1997)

This look is all about that proverbial Hollywood glamour that transcends decades.  
I also couldn't help but be reminded of those robotic models from the Robert Palmer "Addicted to Love" video from 1986 (see below), although they went a bit heavier on the eyeshadow (after all, it was the '80s).

You might think the red lips and smoky eyes are the focal points of this look, and they are...However, the most important part of achieving Glamourous is making sure the skin is as clean and clear as you can possibly get it.  If the skin doesn't look perfect as porcelain, your red lips and strong eyes won't pop. It all needs to work together.
L'Bel Paris Perfect Face Retexturizing Gel

final result
Product Spotlight

As I mentioned, perfect skin is crucial for this look. Makeup should always be applied to a squeaky clean face. I always make sure to wash my face right before applying makeup since it tends to "sit" better on clean skin.  Today I used an exfoliating cleanser just to give it that extra scrubbed down healthy glow.  Then I applied L'Bel Paris Perfect Face retexturizing gel (see above right) all over the face.  This product, also known as a primer, works wonders to set your foundation.  For some looks, a primer is not entirely necessary but don't even think about attempting Glamourous without one! 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Makeup Look of the Day: Colorful

Kate Moss
final result
Colorful allows you to play with makeup in a way that you probably normally wouldn't and so far this has been the most fun look that I've done (although I wasn't crazy about placing my picture so close to the human perfection that is Kate Moss).  I know not everyone is fond of green eyeshadow; other bold colors can be substituted and applied similarly--light blue or plum would also work really nicely to achieve this look.

An application tip I used for this look was applying pressed powder after the cream blush, which is a nice way of fading the blush a little bit to give the face a natural looking glow, which is more noticeable on Kate.

Product Credits:

-L'Bel Paris Regression Age Defying foundation in Sante
-Rimmel Stay Matte pressed powder in Transparent
-Sonia Kashuk cream blush in Blossom
-Stila perfecting concealer in B
-L'Bel Paris Charmeux multi-use eye kit in Illusion Prisme (where I got the green shade I used)
-Ultima II eyeshadow in Sunwarmed Sand
-Cover Girl Smoothers eyeliner in Aqua
-L'Oreal Paris Voluminous mascara in black
 -L'Bel Paris Megacils mascara in Bleu Turquoise          
 -Cover Girl Smoothers lip liner in Rosegold Glow
 -Victoria's Secret Very Sexy lip gloss in Hottie

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Makeup Look of the Day: Dramatic

Jewel  (left and right) and with Kevyn Aucoin in NY, 2002

Jewel lends a fabulous face to the Dramatic look; her sharp features adapt really well.  I really like the balanced intensity of this look with the really dark eyes and light caramel lip gloss.  A lip shade any darker would be makeup overkill.  Let's leave makeup overkill in the '80s and never look back!  Also, this look doesn't call for any blush or bronzer since they would also detract from the eyes.

final result

Product Credits:

*Cover Girl & Olay Simply Ageless foundation 
*Stila concealer
*The Body Shop eye colour in Molten Bronze (Kevyn used a liquid metallic brown shadow but since I don't have any liquid shadows, I used this loose powder shadow which is also metallic brown and did the job pretty well)
*Jordana Kohl eyeliner in Onyx (99 cents at Walgreens. A black pencil eyeliner is a black pencil eyeliner. No need to spend $18 on one from a department store)
*Rimmel Lycra Lash Extender in Black
*Styli-Style lip pencil in Satin Rose (I'm going to have to find a better lip pencil. I'm not satisfied with this one. It just resists going on-- very dry)
*Mary Kay NouriShine lip gloss in Cream & Sugar

Friday, December 17, 2010

Makeup Look of the Day: Shimmer

American model Jaime Rishar

This is a fun look for day or night.  Since the colors being used aren't too dark, it's safe enough to wear during the day (probably best reserved for the weekend) and of course it's great as an evening look too, especially around this time of year.  The eyeshadow can be a little tricky to master because it should be applied as a circle around the entire eye, but don't worry too much about it looking a little messy-- that's kind of the point.

If I were to create this look again, I would go heavier on the eyeliner (top lid only).
final result

Products I used:

I didn't have a liquid highlighting lotion to make my skin look dewy, so I ended up using The Body Shop Body & Leg Shine which comes in what looks like a deodorant tube.  I was pleasantly surprised at how well it works on the face.

*Stila concealer
* Sonia Kashuk creme blush in blossom (liquid blush would be best)
* L'Bel Paris Defini eyeliner in Cappuccino
* Avon cream eyeshadow duo in Jillian's Pick (this shade was named for Patrick Dempsey's wife, Jillian Dempsey.  She's a professional makeup artist now associated with Avon)
* L'Oreal Paris Voluminous mascara in black
*Styli-Style lip liner in Satin Rose
* Esika lipstick in Rosado Chrome (I used this instead of a gloss since it's way more shimmery than any gloss I own)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Makeup Look of the Day: Neutral

This look is all about playing up your features in the most subtle way. It's one step up from the previous look, as far as intensity.  Kevyn did this look on Naomi Campbell, who looks absolutely skin tone is a million shades lighter than hers, so I tried my best to adapt this look to my skin and features as best as possible....

the final result

Here is what I used to re-create the Neutral look on myself:

*L'Bel Paris Enlightening Effect foundation in Porcelain (go with a half to one shade darker than your usual shade to add warmth)
*Rimmel Stay Matte pressed powder in Transparent (loose powder would actually be ideal)
*Avon Complexion Enhancer in Apri-glow (used in lieu of apricot powder blush)
*Ultima II eye shadows in almond cocoa and angora. (these were my Mom's from the '80s. Eye shadow, as long as it's pressed or loose powder, is a product that usually doesn't go bad. Unfortunately Ultima II is not sold in North America anymore, so I feel lucky to have these)
*Tweezerman eyelash curler (always always always)
*Lancome Definicils Pro mascara in deep brown
*L'Bel Paris Delinesse lip pencil in caramel
*Avon Beyond Color exfoliation kit in warm (this is a quad compact for lips containing an exfoliator and 3 lip shades. I chose the lightest)
*Tutti Dolci lip gloss in Sugar Wafer (really nice clear gloss that lasts longer than your average gloss-- highly recommended if you're a lip gloss junkie)

I'm not entirely satisfied with the look of the lips...I should have made a more distinct outline with the lip pencil, as you can see on Naomi.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Makeup Look of the Day: Simplicity

American model Chandra North

Here we go.  Look One: Simplicity.  This only took me 5 minutes. Very simple, natural, understated, soft look that everyone can pull off.  This only requires a few things.  I would recommend this look for makeup minimalists, and I know there are a lot of women out there who would categorize themselves as such.

 I like to use products from a very wide range of brands and I refuse to stay "loyal" to one brand of makeup.  There are just way too many options within the cosmetic industry to not experiment with a variety of products. Stay loyal to your friends, not your makeup.
the final result 

Here are the items I used:

-L'Bel Paris age-defying foundation (sante shade)
-Stila concealer (shade B; always my go-to concealer. it also lasts forever despite the tiny tube-- great investment)
-Mary Kay mineral eye color in Sienna
-Tweezerman eyelash curler (forget about Shu Uemura, Tweezerman is the way to go)
-Mary Kay Ultimate mascara in black
-Sonia Kashuk creme blush in Blossom
- Styli-Style lip pencil in Satin Rose

* the colors should obviously be tweaked to enhance your skin tone. I'm very fair so this would be the example of the Simplicity look on fair skin.

*useful tip from Kevyn: I applied blush over my lips before filling them in with pencil (only works with creme blush).

*Facebook is the best source for cropping pictures and is by far the easiest to use.  I've actually created an anonymous account that I use just for cropping pictures.

Making Faces~ the book that started it all

 I've assigned myself a little project that I'm looking forward to sharing...Making Faces, by the late great beauty guru Kevyn Aucoin (see photo below), is one of my favorite books that contains a multitude of beauty (mainly makeup) tips and some really captivating photos of the author's work on both celebrities and ordinary people.  What I especially admire about Kevyn was his outlook on beauty.   While he believed the all-American girl-next-door look can definitely be beautiful, he was more intrigued by women with a more eccentric appeal, such as Bette Midler, Cher, and Barbra Streisand.  He saw these women as beauty underdogs.  And let's face it: it's hard not to root for the underdog. They're just more interesting.

My project will entail going through each one of Kevyn's "looks" on myself and then posting each one as The Makeup Look of the Day.  I think it's going to be interesting and most of all, fun!
Aucoin's work on the very beautiful Christy Turlington
Kevyn Aucoin

FYI-- If you are a Making Faces/Kevyn Aucoin fan, you might also want to check out the work of Way Bandy (another makeup legend who happened to be Kevyn Aucoin's inspiration) and his book called Designing Your Face.  This would be the vintage version of Making Faces.  I have not actually seen the book myself yet, but it would be interesting to see how ideas behind makeup and beauty have changed since it was published back in the seventies.  Sometimes the oldest tricks in book (literally in this case) are the best!

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Welcome to my first official post of my very first blog, which will probably revolve mostly around fashion, makeup, and glamour since that's what seems to be what interests me most in life.  A co-worker once told me that my eyes "just light up" whenever I speak of these subjects.  It's funny how someone (and it doesn't even have to be a very good friend or a friend at all for that matter) can tell you something small-yet immensely profound- about yourself that really affects you for the rest of your life in a positive way.

My blog name is a little twist that I came up with based on my real last name, which is Italian.  As all my friends know, I have a lot of pride in my roots which I'm sure will be mentioned from time to time in my upcoming posts!  

I just recently turned 30 years old.  Rather than feeling fearful of "getting old," I made a conscious choice to embrace my new age range.  Nobody (to my knowledge) can escape aging so why not embrace it and make the most of it? Plus, you've got your friends along for the ride.  I'm most inspired by beauty and I've been obsessed with aesthetics since as far back as I can remember...and the older I get the more I realize that beauty is something that cannot be defined and is most intriguing when it's found when least expected.  My hope is for this blog to become an outlet in support of this idea.

Your comments are welcome =)