Articles: Beautylish, xoVain, and Refinery29
Too Faced Cosmetics
Too Faced Date Night Tutorial
(writer, look creator, makeup artist, and model)
Too Faced Date Night Tutorial
(writer, look creator, makeup artist, and model)
So Cover Girl is capitalizing on the inevitable media shitstorm that will be the new Star Wars movie. It’s not the first collaboration that comes to mind, but hey, I’d totally rock that plum lipstick on the right.
And I gotta admit that those mascaras look totally cool just for novelty’s sake.
Also, check out the article I wrote for Beautylish when the Stuart Freeborn, creature makeup artist who created Yoda passed. He was a really cool dude (and actually modeled Yoda’s elfish yet wizened likeness after his own face!).
When a friend of mine tagged me in the Facebook comments for this Marie Claire article, it took me two seconds to Amazon Prime this shit.
I wasn’t even dissuaded when the author mentioned blood. They say beauty is pain? Please. When it comes to all things cosmetic, I have a very high tolerance. (By all means, put needles in my face, just not my arms.)
The Berrisom My Lip Tint Pack comes from Korea (like all amazing/weird beauty products these days), but thanks to the miracle of free two-day shipping, I had my greedy beauty-junkie hands on them in no time. (Yo, side note: does anyone else drink and Prime? It’s like a surprise in my mailbox every week!)
Anyway, these are not the lip glosses they appear to be; oh no, my friend. These are peel-off lip stains. Whaaaat?!
So it’s not exactly rocket science, but it took me a couple tries to get the hang of the application (which I give myself a pass on because the instructions are in Korean and I was too lazy to Google).
I made an attempt to photograph my first go, which made application difficult and, frankly, really dumb. So not only did I not put quite enough on the first time, it was suuuuper crooked. Whoops.
I also used my fingers, which is great if you’re looking for that stained-fingertip look. Protip: lip brush.
So then I waited a while to let it dry. That’s when the fun really began.
I had to resort to some finger-scrubbing and then, finally, a Q-tip. Yeah, you may want one of those. The other thing you might want? Chapstick. Unless you’re not a total weirdo who can’t stand the feeling of bare lips. Then you’re good.
The result? A pretty, popsicle-stained effect that wears for hours and doesn’t transfer (trust me, I did my own research).
Then I went for a cherry red. I really glommed it on this time, and waited longer to peel it off.
Since it was so thick and I’d left it on for so long, all I had to do was press my lips together and it peeled itself off.
The best part: my fiancé was totally grossed out. It was awesome.
So whether you don’t like the feeling of lipstick or just want a low-maintenance tint (well, the wear is low-maintenance; the application less so), you should totally get in on this shit. WAY better than the Lipnicure disaster.
Oh, and don’t worry: totally pain-free and zero blood in sight. How’s that for an endorsement?!
My father likes to call my skin color “clear.”
It’s not inaccurate; my veins are permanent blue-and-purple vines along my entire body, and the last time someone asked me what SPF I used I was like, “What, you mean, for like going outside?!?!”
So when I wrote this article called 3 Ways to Use This Contour Palette (Besides Contouring) for xoVain (“this” being the Anastasia Pro Contour Palette), several fair-skinned commenters expressed concern about the warmth of the contouring shades (the article actually wasn’t about contouring per se, but never mind). It’s true that a lot of mainstream contour products tend toward a certain “Hollywood tan” aesthetic, which can look muddy and weird when applied to those of us who draw Casper comparisons on the reg.
So it got me thinking. Surely there are contouring products for pale people!
My search was a difficult one; as we ghosties know all too well, the sun-shunning aesthetic isn’t exactly “in.” But I polled my artist friends, scoured shelves, thumbed through magazines, and came up with four beautiful, unconventional alternatives to your average beachy bronze.
I can’t get enough of the packaging for Becca’s Lowlight Sculpting Perfector. The cool metal face of this compact alone makes me want to make room in my makeup bag, but luckily what’s inside is just as great. The lightweight cream formula inside is a true neutral brown. The color goes on sheer and blends out into a very natural-looking contour that lasts. I found that the cream formula works best with a short-bristled contour brush like the one pictured below.
A makeup artist friend with even paler skin than mine confided that she uses Benefit’s Dallas blush for contouring. Described on the package as a “dusty sunset plum,” this is almost a bronzer/blush in one, but with a cool undertone. Worn as a contour product, the effect isn’t exactly natural—at least not how I applied it—but it’s truly stunning; subtle definition with a rosy flush. I think the ambiguity of the shade lends itself well to double-tasking, and I’ve found myself reaching for Dallas for easy one-and-done cheeks. Plus, the included brush is actually worth using (imagine that!).
Guerlain’s Terracotta Bronzing Powders are legendary: the colors are gorgeous, the formula has moisturizing ingredients, and the texture is almost nonexistent, it’s that silky. These are on the pricier side, but so highly pigmented that just a light dusting is enough—this little compact will last a long time. For my contour, I chose shade 08 Ebony for its rich plum undertones. Though this shade is meant to be a bronzer for someone with much darker skin, the cool undertone really lent itself well to a shadow effect, and the finely-milled texture blended like buttah, so I didn’t look like I wandered offstage during a high school Our Town production (application with a fan brush also helped).
It Cosmetics’ My Sculpted Face is a goshdarn unicorn. Every shade is wearable, and the highlighting shades are actually light enough to show up on my skin (I mean, WHAT)! The upper left shade is a matte white, and the upper right is a silvery-white shimmer (to be used sparingly, I found out the hard way). The two shades under that are perfect for a more natural, undetectable contour, and the last two are more my (dramatic) speed. I always go for the darkest shade, but as you can see, it blends quite easily.
Make sure you’ve got a fan brush & a sturdy, short-ish bristled brush (I like Urban Decay’s Optical Blurring Brush) to blend tell-tale streaks out in tiny circles upward toward your ear.
Oh, and don’t forget to wear sunscreen, ya pale-ass jerk. Or just straight-up vampire it (hey, sleeping in works for me!).
Man, fake nails are fun, right?
You can walk into a salon with a mess of tattered, uneven nubs and emerge with gleaming, cuticle-free talons in any shape you can imagine (it’s basically witchcraft). You get to pretend like you take care of yourself well enough to grow long, strong nails without even biting them. You can open soda cans with your index finger. You can threaten strangers. Nice nails say something. They telegraph I’ve got my shit together without your actually having to say that, which would be weird and probably unconvincing.
Sadly, everything in this world that seems too good to be true definitely is, and fake nails are no exception. They require constant upkeep, can get pretty gross if you aren’t diligent, and when you finally decide to remove them because they’re a massive, expensive pain in the ass? Your real nails are a fucking nightmare. Even gel nails wreak their lesser brand of havoc, trust.
If you’re anything like me, you’re both too lazy and too cheap to go into a salon to remove them. Plus, I mean, it’s fun to peel those things off!
I’d probably DIY my own surgery if I could.
Don’t just not make questionable decisions in the first place . . . buy products to solve it for you!
Which brings me to my point (finally): Perfect Formula Nail Essentials are a goddamn lifesaver. Well, okay, nail-saver. And hey, with a name like Perfect Formula, they’d better be.
The Pink Gel and Regular are for sale in a mini duo at Sephora for $20, and you need them. Nothing strengthens my nails and gets them back into fighting shape like this stuff (and I do mean fighting—nails are nature’s tools, after all). I generally use the Pink Gel version because a) it’s cuter and b) it contains some sort of magical “optical brightener” that corrects yellow discoloration and makes nails appear whiter and less disgusting.
Both formulas are fortified with keratin, the naturally-occurring protein you’ve stripped from those pure virgin nails in your foolish quest of vanity and hubris. One coat for the first two days, then add a second coat. Remove and repeat the whole thing two days after that until you’re not a peely-nailed garbage person.
I love having products that fix bad decisions. It’s so much easier to beg forgiveness than to ask for permission, know what I mean?
You know what I mean.
Be a copywriter they said . . . :)
Really excited and proud to be the writer, makeup artist, and model for this beautifully shot and directed YouTube tutorial.
1. Apply Hangover Primer all over face to hydrate and smooth.
2. Use Kabuki Brush to buff Cocoa Powder Foundation all over for a matte rose-petal finish.
3. Blend Chocolate Soleil Bronzer under cheekbones and along temples to contour.
4. Apply Sweethearts Blush in Peach Beach lightly along cheekbones.
1. Use finger to apply Shadow Insurance all over lids.
2. Using the Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar palette, apply Coconut Crème all over lid and up to brow.
3. Press Peanut Butter into crease and blend out with Mousse .
4. Smudge Hot Fudge into upper and lower lashlines and softly blend for a subtle smokey eye.
5. Wet a flat brush and pat Pink Sugar over the center of the lid and into the inner corners of the eye to brighten.
6. Line the upper lashline with Licorice.
7. Finish with Better Than Sex Mascara for volume and drama.
Apply Melted Velvet for the perfect kiss-proof pout.
I tell ya. The older I get, the harder it is to bounce back from a night of debauchery. The morning after a few glasses of wine? I basically look like I’ve never heard of water.
The headaches I can handle, but dull, dehydrated skin? This aggression will not stand, man!
Though my spooning-with-Tostitos days have subsided (thank god), these are the Fancy Party months (read: open bar season). And this advice is timeless, yo. It’ll save your ass when you went a little too hard during Happy Hour and have to pretend like you don’t need to quietly vomit in your trashcan. Don’t be that guy.
You don’t have to follow every single step, but if you can slap a few of these products on your face in some semblance of order, you’re on your way to making yourself look human again.
Alcohol seeps through pores as overnight, so you’re basically marinating in a pungent film of sweat and tequila. Yay!
Showering is non-negotiable, Margaritaville. No matter how complicated it sounds.
Got enough time to wash and style your hair? Awesome! Do that!
If not, spray a generous amount of dry shampoo into your roots to absorb the sweat, oil, and dirty-hair smell. Spritz the rest with a texturizing spray (love Oribe Après Beach) and twist hair into two little buns while you go about the rest of your routine. The steam from the shower (that you are absolutely, definitely taking) will help set your waves.
These Eyeko Mascara Off remover wipes stay super-moist to gently remove even the smokiest of eye makeup from wherever it has migrated. For the rest of your face, Skyn Iceland’s Arctic Facial Wash is amazing for stressed-out skin: it instantly calms redness (and the tingle makes me feel like I’m in a Dentyne Ice commercial).
Lush Ocean Salt Face and Body Scrub is a “cocktail” of lime, sea salt, and vodka–with coconut and avocado for moisture. Don’t worry; the scent is clean, fresh, and doesn’t smell like alcohol in the slightest.
Sorry I said “alcohol.”
Bliss Triple-Oxygen Energizing Mask is my go-to fix for dull skin. Vitamin C brightens and tones, while some sort of magic fizz pumps skin with oxygen (what? I’m not a doctor). Hey, when my skin looks this good after five minutes, you could tell me Voldemort himself mixed this batch and I’d still be like, yes put that on my face now, please and thank you.
For tired, bloated eyes, GLAMGLOW Brightmud Eye Treatment is another trick of the I-don’t-care-how-this-works-as-long-as-it-makes-me-pretty variety. Each pod contains two individually sealed scoops of product; the serving is generous enough that you can use one pod for both eyes to stretch each box twice as long. The tingly caffeine blend stimulates lymphatic drainage to tighten and diminish puffiness and dark circles, while brisk peppermint brightens and soothes.
Cucumber extract makes this Fresh Rose Hydrating Face Serum your hangover godsend: it instantly hydrates, cools, and soothes–the perfect targeted emollient under moisturizer. And Fresh’s new Hydrating Eye Gel Cream boasts the same dreamy scent and instant hydrating relief. Extra points if you’ve popped it in the fridge before heading out for the evening (pshyeah, like you’d remember when you got back). Then seal the hydration in with Skyn Iceland’s Arctic Hydrating Balm, which calms inflammation, repairs dryness, and protects against free radicals (eczema sufferers, take note!).
Too Faced Hangover Replenishing Primer contains coconut water, probiotics, and electrolytes to replenish moisture levels (just like the sports drinks and Whole Foods concoctions you should probably be drinking right about now). I’m obsessed with this primer–it smells like a tropical milkshake, makes skin look red-carpet-dewy, and creates a smooth, long-lasting surface for makeup.
Hourglass’ tinted-moisturizer-like Illusion Hyaluronic Skin Tint harnesses Hyaluronic Acid’s water-binding molecules to plump skin and disguise fine lines, while “pearlescent pigments” impart the subtlest luminescence (in other words, no risk of blinding anyone in direct sunlight. UGH, direct sunlight).
Smashbox Photo Finish Under Eye Primer hydrates and keeps concealer from caking into fine lines. Photo Op Under Eye Brightener refracts light away from dark circles and can be used as a highlighter on the cupid’s bow, bridge of the nose, and cheekbones. Draw a long triangle with your concealer from the inner eye corner (the darkest part of the face) down to the redness-prone outer corner of the nose and back up under the middle of eye, then blend. If you like to set with powder, Smashbox Halo is an anti-aging mineral powder that actually hydrates and never looks cakey. I will buy Halo until they stop making it or I die, whichever comes first (hopefully the latter).
Find a matte shadow that’s a few shades darker than your skin tone (brown shades like fawn, tawny, and espresso look most natural). With a short-bristled brush, smudge the shadow along your lower lash line; this will camouflage any remaining puffiness by making the area appear to recede.
Blend a light, slightly shimmery shade into the inner eye corners to neutralize dark shadows. Then fill in your lower waterline with a nude eyeliner (white can look too stark and obvious). This will make eyes appear wide awake and, more importantly, conceal those telltale red rims that scream “late night!”
Curl your lashes and apply a couple coats of mascara–the darkest black you can find will make your eyes look brighter (Too Faced Better Than Sex is “carbon-black”-dark, just sayin’).
Unclip your twists, shake ‘em out, and work any remaining dry shampoo into your roots. Your waves may need more texturizing spray, but don’t brush unless you want to look like Mia Thermopolis pre-makeover. Hey, you do you.
Pack these for midday emergencies: Sephora Blotting Films for inevitable afternoon sweatiness, Lush Eau Roma water to rehydrate, soothe, and perk you back up, and Skyn Iceland Icelandic Relief Eye Pen to keep puffy, tired eyes from reemerging.
What’s your hangover cure? I need it … for reasons.
*full disclosure: author has since been employed by Too Faced cosmetics as a copywriter. This post was written & scheduled prior to that, plus author knows her shit, so don’t even worry.
**also, author is not an alcoholic, but she did have some interesting college times.
Okay, so I’m a massive Shakespeare dork. Even though I’m currently all tangled up in the beauty industry, I still fantasize about being the cool interdisciplinary English/theater/history teacher who stokes the fire for the Bard in skeptical high school students. My WMD (if you will) would definitely be field trips to live theater and copious film screenings. That’s what our guy was all about, after all: performance. Entertainment. Unparalleled poetry and character direction built right into the cadence with painstaking, heartbreaking precision.
HEY, you may have noticed that I swiped the title for this blog from Hamlet’s “Makeup is LIES and DECEIT, Ophelia” accusation from the infamous “Get thee to a nunnery” speech! Ten points for your nerdy wizard school or whatever if you’d already guessed.
Anyway, I found a $30 “Medieval Chemise” on Amazon, so I built three different Shakespearean costumes for xoVain last week. And dude, it doesn’t get much more comfortable than a nightgown for late-night/early-morning revelry.
I could’ve torn through the Bard’s heroine oeuvre if my nonexistent self-restraint were allowed to roam free, but Desdemona felt like poor taste in light of October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month (I have some stuff to say about that on xoJane, btw) and I’m not quite up to Lavinia-stage amputation for a last-minute Friday. But these costumes are cheap, easy, and badass (just like me! … wait.). If you have $25 bucks, a little makeup, and 15 minutes, you have no excuse.
Give me my Romeo; and, when he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
Poor Juliet. First love is torment enough without your parents being total control freaks. My favorite Juliet will always be Olivia Hussey, so I wanted some strong brows (also, pro tip: thicker brows make you look younger). Check out my glow-y, eyebrow-celebratory tutorial on xoVain.
Come, you spirits
That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
Of direst cruelty.
An actress meant for television drama, the original stage mother-type, or just a bloodthirsty bitch? The beauty of these plays is in the freedom of interpretation. My Lady M is pretty into all things sanguine, so let’s get the show on the road: xoVain has the tutorial.
By Gis, and by Saint Charity,
Alack, and fie for shame!
Young men will do’t if they come to’t,
By cock they are to blame.
Quoth she, before you tumbled me.
You promised me to wed.
Hamlet is the absolute pinnacle of English literature. If you’ll allow me to quote myself (and you will, because this is my blog and I do what I want), “Shakespeare really got to go nuts with Hamlet, careening from dazzling wordplay to lowbrow goofiness to arguably the most eloquent exploration of mortality and what it means to be a human that’s ever been put to the page.”
It’s some GOOD SHIT, okay? See how I did this pretty-dead-girl look over on (say it with me now) xoVain. As for the chemise? Now it’s the ultimate Wet Nightgown Contest! Little-known fact–kind of a big deal in medieval England.
This confession appeared on xoVain today, prefacing my review of Katy Perry’s Killer Queen: Royal Revolution fragrance. I liked it, okay? I TRIED THIS PERFUME AND I LIKED IT, HOPE MY BOYFRIEND DON’T MIND IT.
The makeup tutorial I created to go along with the review ended up getting cut, so I figured I’d post it here in case any of you are going to an 80s party or wanna be a goofy pop star for Halloween. I’m not exactly a Katy Perry fan, but her music is catchy and I gotta give props to the chicks fighting the good fight by daring to be curvy in public.
A quick note first: Perry is a cultural appropriation lightning rod right now. A battle is being fought in the pop music sector as socio-political gaffes (like a popstar co-opting another cultural style in a music video) are no longer getting swept under the proverbial rug. I’m not a radio listener (or a music video watcher), and I don’t exactly have much feminist theory under my belt, so I’m going to leave that conversation to the more experienced writers of the internet.
I’ve always wanted to try a Katy Perry makeup look (if you haven’t, you’re lying), so when Topshop’s gorgeous 4-pan Atlantis Eye Palette came into my life, I knew the time had come. They say blue shadow isn’t for the green-eyed? Psssh. There are no rules in beauty!
I started out with a full-coverage base à la Ms. Perry, using Hourglass Immaculate Foundation and Too Faced Cocoa Powder Foundation for a matte, doll-like finish. (The latter smells like chocolate. I think Katy would approve.) KP’s got some Brows with a capital B, so I used Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil with bold, steady strokes. The waxy formula helps tame unruly hairs, while the rich pigment fills in everything evenly (and don’t even think about buying a brow pencil without a spoolie on the other end!). Check out my gradient brow tutorial on xoVain for more detailed info.
Palette time! Pack the light blue-turquoise shade onto your upper lid with a short-bristled shadow brush (I love this MAC #219 Pencil Brush’s tiny tip), then bring it down along your lower lashline.
Don’t worry about achieving perfection; we’ll blend later. Add the navy blue shade in a V-shape around the outer corners of your upper and lower lash lines.
Swirl a fluffy blending brush into the shimmery white shade in the palette, and buff out the blue edges in tiny circular motions. You can pack extra white shadow into the inner corner of the eye and directly under your brow arch for a brightening effect.
Use a black liquid liner (my favorite is Kat Von D’s Tattoo Liner) to draw a rounded cat eye. Think ‘60s mod; Katy’s got the Zooey Deschanel wide-eyed thing going on. Use a concealer pencil or white eyeliner to line your lower waterline for that huge cartoon-eyes effect.
It’s not Katy Perry if you don’t wear fake lashes. I used a random drugstore pair that was on hand, but I’d definitely recommend a thicker strip for more authenticity. Finally, I used NYX Butter Gloss in Créme Brulee for a muted lip that didn’t compete with my crazy upper face.
Bonus: my gorgeous friend Sara in the same makeup! My pictures of her ended up kinda sucking (still working on the whole how-to-use-a-camera thing), but we had a blast anyway.
Add some bright pink lips and a Marilyn wig and you’re Jessica Lange from the American Horror Story: Freakshow Bowie tribute.
Can we talk about how fantastic that sequence was for a second? Four days later and it’s still stuck in my head. Ryan Murphy, you ridiculous genius.
How fucking excited are we for Halloween?