As most of the country sits in sub-zero temperatures and sleeps in school buses (I’m looking at you, South), I am enjoying the brisk 66 degrees that southern California has dealt today. If this statement makes you angry at me, maybe you should redirect your anger towards financing a move to the west coast, or towards the much more feasible task of taking care of that frozen façade of a face.
There are two products this winter that are saving me from all sorts of wintery monstrosities. Here I am using one of the products, the Kate Somerville ExfoliKate, and pondering the struggles of living in a temperate climate.
Exfoliation is my mantra, and if you are a consistent reader of this blog, you know that and are already over it. BUT SERIOUSLY. If there is any time to exfoliate, it is now. Dry/dead skin is building up and blocking those pores as we speak. Free your pores and they will thank you. Benefits include looking like an angel-goddess, preventing breakouts (from dead skin that builds up in pores and causes blemishes), and allowing your skin to soak in all of that moisturizing goodness you are attempting to give it when you slather on the lotion. Your serums and lotions and potions are much more efficient when they can actually reach the place they want to go!
So, after that lecture you are probably wondering, okay AubreeBee, okay I will succumb to your powerful persuasion and exfoliate. Great. Now go pick up a tube of this dynamite. The Kate Somerville ExfoliKate, besides having a cheeky little name, is an amazing treatment that will help you through these winter months. It is powerful, and comes in many variations such as gentle, acne-clearing, and for your whole body! (This is great news since I continually am tempted to slather this all over myself!) You massage this green goop on your wet, and freshly washed, face for about 30 seconds and then let it work its magic for a few minutes. The end result is glorious, and leaves you with smooth and sumptuous skin that is ready to be moisturized!
I can liken this treatment to the Philosophy Microdelivery Peel, which I am also a huge fan of, but it is easier because it is one step (versus two with the Philosophy product) and you can get the small size of this treatment (which will probably last you through the winter if you use it once or twice a week) for $22. Of course there is always the traditional scrub which is much more affordable and gets the job done but does not, in my experience, give as great of results. The baby smooth skin you will experience after using these this treatment is crazy - try it and you will be hooked. Note: If you have sensitive skin or do not do well with intense exfoliation aka a little burning/tingling, I would try the gentle formula.
On to our second little gem of the season is the Clear Days Ahead acne treatment pads from Philosophy. As I mentioned above, the dry and cold weather can leave you with some serious blemish problems. Don’t take this as oversharing - it really is just for the entertainment and furthering knowledge of my lovely readers - but all those sweaters and scarves I wear here in the tropics can really clog up some pores. These are the first things that have worked with me to clear up looming or existing breakouts, and I have tried multiple drug-store acne-spot treatments. They have salicylic acid as their active ingredient, as do many of the other treatments, but somehow seem to garner results when others don’t. I do not know how they do it, and I do not care. They are expensive ($40 a jar), but for the results I do not care. I also re-use the pads multiple times which drags out the lifespan of each jar. I do not recommend this as a full acne regime, but as a savior for those who tend to get occasional breakouts and want to clear them up fast. They do have other products in the line that could help with consistent break outs, such as a liquid spot treatment and a acne-clearing moisturizer, but I have not tried any of them.
The one positive all this cold weather brings is Snow Days. If you are one of those lucky individuals cozying up at home, I hope I have inspired you to use your time wisely and do some online shopping to combat the trauma of being snowed in.
Love you, mean it.
Since every word seems to be the hardest word today (thanks for the inspiration, Elton), today’s blog is going to be picture book style.
There once was an amazing palette….
It had equal parts glitter and matte eyeshadows, and became this beezy’s everyday savior when Santa left it under her tree.
As she stared off into the distance, she thought, “How easy was my eye makeup today?”
The beautiful warm browns and the perfect glittery slate colors complimented every outfit she owned! That day, she packed the second darkest brown glitter onto her eyelid, took the deepest chocolate matte color into her crease, and highlighted her inner corner with the middle frosty champagne color. And she looked good.
She gave an “Oh heck yes” look to the left…
And a “thank the stars for this palette” gaze at the sky…
And then knew she was ready for her biggest challenge of the day. Getting dressed.
Ps, no, I was not a creative writing major but I’m sure many of you were wondering.
Love you, mean it.
Hello all my fabulous readers! I hope you are all gearing up for a night of high expectations and mediocre results. I know at least few people who are chugging the water and Emergen-C in preparation for one of the most anticipated and fun nights…at least in the world of make-up. Like many other holidays, tonight is an excuse to wear things we wouldn’t, take risks, and be an overall sparkly badass. I thought the best way to recommend some looks for tonight was to list the key ingredients for a perfect New Year’s Eve Cosmetics Cocktail.
1. First step: Pick Your Poison. (This would be the alcohol aka the most important part in a real cocktail). My recommendations are:
- A Colorful Smokey Eye - Unlike super colorful cocktails, this will not give you the hangover of your life but instead set you apart from all those other sparkly hoes with black eyeshadow strewn all over their lids. My favorites are a dark purple, or as I showed in a prior tutorial, a dark blue smokey eye. Both are gorgeous and will bring out your eye color much more than a drab neutral. There are some wonderful color options in this Urban Decay Vice 2 Palette, which is full of neutrals and brights to ensure a balanced and chic look.
- Metallic Eye - Because if not on New Years Eve, when? I personally gravitate towards golds and coppers but silver is just as gorgeous and can really scream, “It’s New Years, Bitch!”
- A Bold Lip - Most of you will not go for this tonight since colorful pouts are notorious man-repellers. For you brave and celibate souls, go for hot pink instead of the usual red.
2. Pick Your Base. Whether you are a more matte/full coverage girl or a dewey natural lady, you want a foundation that does not have SPF in it (since it will give you a pasty look in all of your pictures) and a formula that lasts. Be sure to also put some powder on to set your makeup, and some setting spray. This Givenchy powder I got for Christmas is so amazing and smells like roses…literally!
3. Lashes. Yes, they are a pain in the butt. Yes, they will probably get peeled off two minutes after midnight. Are they worth it? Duh. Lashes somehow always complete a glam look. If you have not perfected the craft of lashes, then find a friend who has and beg her with champagne in hand. It always gets me.
4. Add Glitter. Glitter is like salt on the rim of your margarita, or sugar on your martini. It might even be half as good as hummus is. Life is always better with glitter. You can add it on top of your metallic or smokey eye (like right here), or sprinkle it all over your body to blend in with the decorations. If you are rocking the bold lips, glitter lip gloss on top is also an option. If you want to take a shortcut, the glittery eyeshadows in this Smashbox Full Exposure Palette are stunning and hit two birds with one stone.
4. Shake It All Up! Go out and dance your butt off. It’s New Years!
I hope this has helped with your inspiration for tonight’s shenanigans. Even if the night does not end well, you will still be looking like a hottie. Be safe!
Love you, mean it.
If you are more than annoyed with the circular limbo of applying red lipstick, half-assed applications throughout the night, and then waking up with red-stained lips that necessitate a good scrub or another day of red lipstick, join the club. Just because it is the holidays does not mean you have to confine yourself to a bold, but sometimes high maintenance, look for going out. I took this sentiment to heart this weekend when I attended our annual family Christmas party. This event requires me to talk to 100+ people in one night which gives me a slight case of lock-jaw and no time to keep checking on or reapplying a bold lip color.
That is why I decided this year to celebrate my inner Chanukah and wear a sparkly, beautiful blue smokey eye. Unfortunately, and I’m going to be real with you here, the pictures are not great. Here I am telling my boyfriend “The pics are not great.”
If you want to recreate this look, which I’m sure you might not considering the photographic evidence, keep reading.
I first started with a big navy blue jumbo eye pencil (Cobalt NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil) on my eyelid, below the crease, and then added a gorgeous blue (occupy) that shows a bit of a slate color and glitter from the Urban Decay Vice palette. I then blended a light brown and a warm almost orange- toned brown into my crease to create a bit of warmth in the look. I then blended a dark navy blue into my crease and blended upward and outward to create some depth.
To finish the eyes, I lined my upper and lower lash lines with black liner, added a dark shimmery brown color over the liner on my lower lash line, and packed on the mascara. A peachy blush was the perfect compliment to the cool blues on my eyes, and I stayed neutral with the lips.
I love this look because it is very festive without being outwardly Christmas-y, and is perfect for a holiday party or just a winter night out.
Love you, mean it.
The day is finally here - the last installment of my blush series. I know some of you are thanking your chosen deity that this is all over with and that you can now live your life in a peaceful and blush-less existence. And that is fine with me, you can just take my stares in stride next time I see your botched blush application.
Today is a great day to learn about what to do when you eff-up. Not in real life, which is like all the time, just in blush (you’re on your own for the real world eff-ups). Realistically, it is very easy to screw up blush. Just look at my eff-up via age 4. Are you sure you want to take blush advice from me?
"Whoops, that gel blush dries a lot quicker than I thought!" Or, "oh wow, I really didn’t turn on my bathroom lights when I did my make-up this morning" are very easy mistakes to make! Do not fret…there are a number of ways to cure these wrongs that are easy and quick.
The first thing to try is to take a tissue and try lightly rubbing it in circular motions onto your cheeks where you have messed up. You can also try blending a little more with a clean blush brush or beauty sponge. Hastily wiping away the blush like you remove your red lipstick after a night out is not the answer…it irritates your skin, which gives it more pigment and leaves you with a blush-less yet red face. You won’t win!
If that is clearly too amateur for this eff-up, add some of your foundation on top of your cheeks if you have over-applied or applied in the wrong places. Using a brush or a beauty blender to add a little bit of foundation to the places it is either too dark or should not be is going to be fine, since you already have some foundation on your face (I’m assuming). It will blend in with what you already got going on, while muting the shock of excessive pigment.
If this is still not quite cutting it, add a little bit of translucent powder and some highlighter to your face. This can detract from the extra pigment, but I also feel it sometimes makes it look and feel a little cakey so I leave this as a last resort. If it is still effed-up, it’s time to wash your face, girlfriend. I usually just take a make-up remover wipe and use it just on my cheeks, re-apply a little bit of foundation where I wiped off my make-up, and then get real focused for this next round of fake flushing.
This time when you reapply, make sure you are in bright lighting, tap the excess off of your blush brush (or wipe off the excess from your fingers if it is a cream or gel blush), and blend it in so you see no distinguishable blush “lines” on your face.
I hope you all learned at least one way to redeem yourself when you eff up. Who knew all it took was a tissue, foundation, powder, highlighter, or a second attempt at keeping your dignity?
Love you, mean it.
Mastering the application. For years and years I, and every other girl out there who had a subscription to Seventeen magazine, have been told “brush this on the apples of your cheeks”. This, for me, was almost as anatomically confusing for me as puberty. Where the hell are my apples, and why the hell do I have to get a period!?! Well, I still haven’t answered the latter question, but I have decided that those apples are not exactly where I wanted to put my blush anyways. To thin out your face, which is always my goal, you want to brush upwards and outwards. Start your application with a nice fish face (I know you know how to do this if you are female and have ever taken a selfie…here’s mine. I had a lot to choose from). Then using light, shorter strokes to apply the blush directly above the indented/concave part of your cheek, starting horizontally below where your pupil is and working your way up towards your hairline diagonally. This looks much more natural, to me, than having a patch of color rubbed into the middle of your cheek. Some of those luck betches who want to widen a thin face should indeed apply blush directly to the middle of their cheekbones. The key for both of these techniques is to blend blend blend! Visible lines or “patches” of blush make you look like you are wearing a lot of makeup.
If you want to pair your blush application with some contouring or highlighting, please check out my other posts on those because they are like a peanut butter, jelly and banana sandwich when combined. Keep your eyes peeled for my next batch of tips on how to correct a heavy-handed blush application!
Love you, mean it.
People get really wigged out about finding the “right color” of blush, which should not be a huge concern because people look good in all kinds of colors, and it is more about the other elements of blush (like formula and application, which you will learn about verrrrry soon!) If you want to be well rounded for in your blush selection, I think everybody needs at least a pink and a peach shade of blush in your arsenal to fit every look.
To find the “best” colors for you, we look at two things: your skin shade (lighter colored blushes for fair skin, deep tones for dark skin), which is the most important, and your undertones (warm or cool), which is not as crucial. There are many other things that go into the right blush color than your undertones, and by sticking to your cool or warm tone stigma, you are missing out on some wonderful blushes. If you are still set on figuring out your undertones, the best way/explanation I’ve encountered so far is from DailyMakeover.com: if your veins in your wrists look blue, you are cool toned, and if they look green, you are warm toned. Bam.
Examples: Blushes 1,3, 9, and 10 are cool, Blushes 2, 4, 7, and 8 are warm. 5 is debatable. It’s hard. Just have someone do it for you, or forget this whole warm cool BS and do what you want to like Miley!
No matter what skin tone you have, do not be intimidated by shades that seem too bright or possibly clownish. Test them out! I love the subtle pop of a hot pink blush on a fair face, or an apricot cheek on an olive skin tone, but they will never make you look like a goddess BAMF if you don’t try the product out! It is about formula, and how you put it on.
I hear you ladies who are saying, but I have pink/reddish skin, why do I want to add more pink on top of it to bring it out? I understand your concerns, but by using a foundation to even skin tone and picking a cool-toned blush that is more of a tan/brown based color, you will come out looking flawlessly blushed.
Get ready for tomorrow my beauty minions for some of the most important tips - applying the actual stuff!
Love you, mean it.
If you are anything like me, you are loving fall and the dipping temperatures that come with it. And if you are feeling under the weather this cold/flu season, it is a great time to learn some blush tips that will have your peers ignoring the hacking, and just staring at your beautifully glowing face. Fake it till you make it! I am a blush addict year round, and believe that it is pretty much the cure all for any ailment, medically recognized or not (loneliness, bad hair days, being cold, failing at anything, etcetera). I can honestly say that it is the one product that makes such a huge difference for me on a daily basis, and would tie with mascara in the “what would you bring to a desert island” dilemma.
Because I have so much to say about blush and such a short attention span, I’m going to make this into a series this week. Please tune in every day this week for new blush tips, and become a blushing beauty expert. We’ll take it from the start today, and focus on which form of blush is best for you.
- My personal favorite and number 1 on our list is good ‘ole Powder Blush. I feel l have the most control on where/how much product goes on with a powder blush, I feel its more polished, and I find that the color assortments are much broader than with any other type of blush. If you are slightly oily, the powder can also absorb some of the excess. Con: You pretty much have to apply this with a blush brush, and know how to use that blush brush. This is totally attainable when you are in the comforts of your bathroom while dancing in your fuzzy robe, but if you need a touch up on the go, we might need to move to another option. Also worth mentioning, if you have very oily skin, the powder blush can have some movement on the face, and may change colors during the day because of the interaction between the product and the oil on your skin. This can be tamed with some translucent setting powder and oil-control setting spray, but you also might want to consider bringing another formula in the mix.
- Cream Blush gives you a dewy and fresh look, and is easily applied with clean fingers (or very slightly bbq-sauced fingers work too…) For some people cream blushes last longer, and I find the super emollient formulas are great for dry skin to minimize flaking. They are also really good for very pale or very dark skin, because they let your skin color show through a bit which makes the blush itself look much more natural. Layering powder blush on top of a cream blush (I like to dust translucent powder on between the two layers) is also a way to guarantee that your blush will stay all day - just be sure to not overdo it. I like to use a more pigmented cream blush and top it with a shimmery nude-colored blush, or vice versa. Putting the bright on top of brighter can produce some interesting results…
- Liquid Blush, Gels, and Stains. These are perfect for people who have no patience for reapplying, want a realistic flush, and are fast with their hands (they dry/set really quickly, requiring you to blend very quickly!). This is also probably not the best option for those with very dry or patchy skin since these are very reactive to moisture levels in the skin. I.E. if you have a dry patch you might be accused of having a very mild hemangioma since the extremely dry skin will absorb all that pigment and it will appear darker than the rest of your cheek. This is good for those who are on the oily side of life, and could also be used in conjunction with a powder blush.
Hopefully you all have a better idea about the differences in formulas, and are now ready to further your expertise! Tune in tomorrow for some color theory and how to find the right color blush for you!
Love you, mean it.
1. You are never too young to start wearing eyeliner.
Gosh, if the 5 year old version of myself could see this, she would be outraged! As a girl who asked her Kindergarden teacher why it was not acceptable to wear lipstick to elementary school, I am particularly envious of the smokey eyeliner and henna hands these girls are rocking. These children are most likely wearing this eye-defining look to ward off the evil eye, a practice that has been going on for years in India. I am in full support of any evil eye warding, and will likely continue this tradition for myself almost every day from here on out.
2. Taking photos of your hands is hard.
You can’t imagine how difficult it is getting a shot, of your entire hand, that doesn’t look like a salute of the third reich or an air high-five to absolutely NO-one. I did have to capture the amazing henna going on in some capacity so hope you do not mind looking at the floor of the Taj Mahal instead of the actual structure. The floor is almost as amazing as you might think the Taj Mahal is. Almost.
On a different note, henna is absolutely beautiful and intricate art that definitely mirrored the intricate beauty seen all over India. Once I stopped getting peripheral glances and thinking that my hands were dirty, it was so fun and had me wishing it was not as temporary as I had planned.
3. Flowers. Lots and lots of flowers.
One thing I noticed all over this country is the amazing number of flower and flower vendors. Petals were strewn all over, all the hotels had amazing arrangements in every crevice. Although I’m not sure I could afford to re-create the effect at home, the vibrant oranges of the marigolds, the smell of plumeria (I thought these were only in Hawaii!) and the lovely lilies inspired me to embrace florals in all ways. On my budget, that probably means a spritz of Gardenia perfume and farmer’s market flowers for special occasions.
4. If you are having a bad hair day, just throw a scarf over your head.
Just kidding. But it would be nice if my cultural norms and religious beliefs encouraged this. Not to mention how this woman is absolutely rocking all those bright colors. I love love love it.
5. Inspiration is everywhere.
Our tour leader’s wife was one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever met, and if I lived in India, she would seriously have been my shopping guru because her style was effortless and elegant. On the first night I met her she was wearing this amazing teal eyeliner. So what did I do the next morning? Copy her. Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, and I am sincerely obsessed with how beautiful this woman is!
Another woman I met was a flight attendant on one of our flights. She had just gotten married and her photos from her wedding day were so stunning, I wish I had had whipped out my phone to take a picture of the picture on her phone. Despite not capturing her wedding look, she had already intrigued me and inspired me with her makeup she was wearing. Her eyelids were literally the color of marigolds and her orange-red lipstick complimented her skin tone perfectly. (Sorry about the lighting, these were taken in the 2 seconds I had between getting off the plane and onto a bus)
6. Be bold.
This is a group of pilgrims visiting Varanasi, the holiest city for Hindus, to bathe in the river Ganges. There are many reasons these ladies are bold. One, it was literally the butt-crack of dawn, and they had to have traveled from far and wide to bathe in a river that contains holy properties as well and a lot of mysterious properties (think chemical pollution from upstream and pieces of people’s partially cremated bodies). Two, just look at their outfits! These women choose to and get to dress in these amazing bold colors pretty much every day. Three, if you look around at the male company they are keeping, I would say that’s pretty bold. Especially the man up the stairs…talk about getting caught with you pants down!
I hope you all enjoyed this, and I am so excited to share my travels with you guys! Despite the many jokes I make, I had such an incredible adventure in a place that is unlike any I have ever seen! I saw so much beauty in this country and am so excited to integrate it into my own life.