Archive for October, 2010

Trends of Spring 2011 – Cat Eye

The graphic cat eye has definitely made a comeback in the collections of many designers for the Spring ‘11 runways.  But put away your basic black liquid liner.  This coming year is all about color.  Vibrant yellows, day-glow greens, sophisticated whites, and sultry purples; almost every shade except for the iconic black.  Begin this look by lining the upper lashline in a thick cat eye shape with a cream shadow, flicking it out slightly out the outer corner.  Using an angled liner brush, tap a powder shadow over the line to prevent creasing and fading, and you’re all set!  No worrying about base shadows, lower lashlines, or waterlines; this look is simply about a well drawn, thick line.  Put a layer or two of mascara on the upper lashes for a bit of drama, but beware of going too thick and obscuring your trendy look.

Check out this look in yellow at the Peter Som show:

Gorgeous, no?

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Makeup Brand Tag

Hey guys, sorry for the short hiatus; been coocoo bananas with college apps, work, etc… Anywho, short post today, but gonna tag my Top 6 favorite makeup brands (in no particular order), and what products I generally buy from them.

  1. NARS – Created by makeup artist and photographer Francois Nars, NARS is fantastic in nearly everything they do.  However, I have a particular love for their powder blushes, eyeshadows, and lip pencils.
  2. Smashbox – Legacy of Max Factor’s two grandsons, Smashbox is my go-to brand for bronzers, primers, and pre-assembled eyeshadow palettes.
  3. Ben Nye – Still touted as a theatrical makeup company, Ben Nye is unparalleled in their eyeshadow department (and for about $6 per single, they’re a steal).  Simply the most pigmented shadows I have ever encountered.
  4. Kett Sett/Coty – These two brands have absolutely nothing to do with each other, however, I only use each of them for the one same thing: powder.  Kett Sett makes this absolutely amazing translucent loose powder that works on nearly any skintone and is invisible even to HD cameras.  However, for oily, light skin types, Coty’s Airspun Powder can’t be beat, and it’s drugstore availability makes it a winner.
  5. Makeup For Ever – A French, pro makeup company, MUFE is unarguably the leader of cutting edge makeup technology and sheer quality of product.  Love their eyeshadows, eyeliners, lip rouges, variety of effect powders, Flash Colors (basically colored creams), and foundations (some of the best, true-to-skin colors with a diverse range of shades).
  6. Revlon – If you’re looking for a drugstore makeup line that equals department store quality, turn towards Revlon.  Their ColorStay foundations have some of the best staying power out there, the eyeshadows are deeply pigmented, the lipsticks are rich and silky, and just the quality of the products seems to be outstanding.  The only downside is the lack of shade range in nearly every category.

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Review: Kracie Naive Foaming Facial Cleanser

Sorry for the lack of posts in the last few days; I’ve just been ridiculously not at home or a near a computer most of the time.  I had planned to post this review on Friday, but due to my lack of technology recently, here it is now!

Let me tell you, I’ve run the gamut of facial cleansers trying to find ones that can combat my extremely oily skin.  Aveda, Shiseido, Neutrogena, St. Ives, Sephora Brand, Dr. Brandt, Murad, and many others, and yet none ever made my skin feel really clean.  And isn’t that what a facial cleanser is supposed to do?

Anyway, I was in New York last winter and had just walked from the Upper East Side to Canal St. (the main run of Chinatown) and, despite the chill, was getting a bit hot under my three layers of shirts, sweaters, and jackets, so I decided to duck into what appeared to be a traditional Asian market for a few minutes to cool off.  After spending a few minutes browsing through the rows of dried squid, Asian candy, and things whose labels and appearance did nothing to clue me in as to what they were, I decided to check out the upstairs.

In stark contrast to the first floor, the second was brightly lit, shiny, and looked freshly painted.  A few smiling girls stood behind a counter and directed towards a stack of canvas shopping bags before I set off into the rest of the floor.  Which was filled with skincare, hair products, and makeup.  There was some Shiseido, but for the most part, these were brands I’d never heard of.  Long story short, I spent more time weeding out what I couldn’t afford from my bag than what I could, and finally settled on an oil-based face wash, and the Kracie Naive Foaming Facial Cleanser.

Although it came in a variety of scents (including Pomegranate and Green Tea), I settled on Peach.  After a few hours of anxious waiting, I returned back to my aunt’s suite and broke out the adorable tube.  This comes out a really thick, white, and slightly pearlescent cream.  I squeezed out about a quarter sized amount, and after wetting it and rubbing it between my fingers, I realized this was way too much.  Man, does this stuff foam!  I probably had enough bubbly wash in my hands to make a Santa beard (like I used to when I was four and in the bath).  So I washed it off and tried again.  This time I used about half-a-dime’s size amount, which resulted in a small handful of pleasing, foamy goodness.  I hate those cleansers that promise to foam and all you end up with a watery mess with a few tiny bubbles perched atop it.

Side note: This smells heavenly.  Like real peaches!! None of that fake, artificial smell, and faint enough to hopefully not offend anyone with a sensitive nose.

Back to it: Splashing a bit of warm water on my face, I proceeded to thoroughly cleanse and then rise off with cool water.  And let me tell you, my face had never felt cleaner.  I actually know where that saying “squeaky clean” comes from now!  My skin did feel a little bit tight, but with how oily my skin is, this isn’t really a problem.  My face, after drying, definitely looked cleaner and brighter.

After eight months of use, I can honestly say that this is the best facial cleanser for oily skin I have ever found.  I still divert my interest from this to new products, hoping to find something still better, but always come back to Kracie’s miracle product when I realize that this just isn’t possible.  This cleanser is what I credit (along with the Clarisonic) for clearing up much of my acne and reducing the amount of oil my skin produces.

I’ve also tested this on supposedly waterproof makeup that has held up to other cleansers, and it takes it right off. Perhaps not as easily as an oil cleanser or something made specifically to remove this type, but a little bit of extra effort is worth losing another step in your regimen, right?

A warning however: I would never recommend this to ANYONE with anything but oily skin.  It is extremely drying and really sops up any and all oil on your face, so anyone with normal to dry skin would really being doing themselves a disservice by using this.

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The Chanel Smokey Eye

Chanel is relatively known for producing stunning makeup looks at all of its shows, and its nail polishes are some of the most sought after in the business, often selling out within days of release (anyone remember “Jade”? Yeah…)  Anywho, this season is no different.  Chanel seems to be setting the stage for green as the new black, blending together shades of emerald, grey, and forest to produce this dramatic look.  Lips were left relatively bare and skin is kept healthy but milky, with probably just a dab of cream blush and little-if-any powder.  And did anyone notice anything odd about the hair?  Take a look:

That’s right.  Makeup artists at Chanel drew a black line in liquid eyeliner down the center parts of models.  Odd?  Yes. Probably not a trend that’ll be transitioning to the streets anytime soon.  But those eyes?  Maybe taken down from the brow a bit, they’re quite stunning.  Here’s one fashionist-o (is that right?) that’s looking forward to the rise of green.

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Look of the Day – Alexander Mcqueen S/S ’11

The stunning detail work (such as the cutout beneath the neckline, the ruffling on the skirt, and the impeccably sewn sleeves) and seamless blending of a stiffer fabric with a romantic, floral pattern that evokes an almost confusing (but somehow comforting) mixture of thoughts revolving around nature earth-mother, leather biker-chick, and rebellious medieval aristocrat (looking at that impeccably pleated/basket-woven hair) wins this outfit the LotD.  Model: Kasia Wrobel.

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Dior Fall 2010 Couture-Beauty

Dior was channeling some serious florals with their makeup and hair this season.  Eye makeup evoked leaves and colorful petals with their rectangular designs and sweepingly elegant curves in vibrant oranges, greens, electric blues, and dayglo yellows, while hair was reminiscent of topiary sculptures. Skin was kept pale and milky, accented by deep berry and plum lips.  Brows were elongated and enhanced, and nails were painted mainly in matching berry shades complimentary to the lips.  Some of the models also sported “headwraps” fashioned out of stiff, translucent, colored plastic films.





Think that you could ever attempt any of these looks in a more toned-down setting?  Maybe draw some inspiration from the pairing of the deep lips with the vibrant eyes, or the pale, alabaster skin and sculptural hair?  This is perhaps my favorite show regarding beauty looks of Fall 2010 Couture.  How about you?  Did you like the extremely avant garde aspect Dior put out on the runways, or is it simply too eccentric for you?  Let me know what you think in the comments!

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Prada Fall 2010 Menswear-Final Look

I would sell every other piece of clothing I own to be able to afford this and just wear it with some boots.  I am completely serious.  That’s how much I want this coat:

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Marc Jacobs BANG Review

Well, it’s 31 minutes late for “Fragrance Friday”, but here’s my review for Marc Jacobs BANG.

With an ad campaign that sparked huge controversy in the fashion industry, this cologne has certainly made a distinct niche for itself in the fragrance world.  But is that necessarily a good thing?  Read on to find out.

Browsing the wide selection of mildly provocative tee shirts, rubber galoshes, cubic jewelry, and affordable-yet-attractive flip flops in a Marc Jacobs store in Provincetown, I would have had to be nearly blind to miss the BANG by Marc Jacobs display on my way out. Front and center, with a nearly larger than life poster of the infamous (in the fashion community) ad of Marc Jacobs himself posing nude on a bed of crumpled metal, the display surely was alluring. The unique, dented shape of the bottle, the strategically placed lighting glinting off the almost tinfoil-like surfaces drew me in like a moth to an open flame. One test spritz was enough to convince me of an immediate buy (probably only my second ever-I usually test it out for at least three days before returning to make the plunge.)
An initial rush of cinnamon, pepper, and some other spice I can’t identify mark this amazing fragrance. Now, this isn’t the cinnamon one uses when baking a delicious pie or sweet bread, nor the candied, artificial cinnamon used in Red Hots or chewing gum. It’s a sharp (but not unpleasantly so), deep scent, reminiscent of freshly extracted oil from a cinnamomum tree deep in the tropics of South America before it has been transported to a refinery. The peppercorn notes bring in a sensual, masculine feel; one that made my head reel slightly and forced me to take a deep breath to regain my composure. It’s a heady aroma, and slightly cloying in that it stays in your nostrils, and your thoughts, for a small while after smelling it.


The drydown is short, but pleasant, loosening the peppercorn notes and allowing the cinnamon to dissipate, while gaining a modicum of the woods on a crisp, early autumn afternoon. Slightly lighter, with a dry moss feeling to it, and hints of patchouli sneaking in, but just barely there, and certainly not enough to overpower the other notes.
The final hours of this cologne are rather unique among the many fragrances I’ve tried. The best way I can describe it is reminiscent of a forest fire. Slightly smokey, with some dry herbs and a smattering of the initial peppercorn finishing it off. The patchouli rounds it out nicely, acting more as a binder than a distinct note. It has that quality that, although I abhor smoking, draws me (or at least my nose) to occasional smokers of quality cigarettes: a dry, peppery, spicy, and almost narcotic smell, hinting at tobacco and simply reeking of sex. A smell that makes others want to explore, and brings them closer to the individual wearing it.
BANG is a fragrance that can easily wear the owner instead of the owner wearing it. It requires a deeply sensual, highly sophisticated, confident man to pull off. On that note, this is definitely a man’s cologne; there is very little unisexuality here, and I’d be hard pressed to think of any woman I know who could wear this successfully. That said, I’ve received innumerable compliments from both men and women while wearing this.
The projection, after drydown, is rather close to the body, something you’ll smell occasionally when you turn your head quickly or bring your hands up to fix your hair, etc.
However…  Longevity. At most, I’ve gotten six hours out of this, but my nose is quite acute, and even then it’s a barely there smell. Usually, I can get this to last four hours with three sprays.
That aside, this has become a permanent member of my collection, and one I proudly display on my vanity alongside the likes of Dior’s Eau Sauvage and Fahrenheit, and Aquolina’s Blue Sugar. If I run through the bottle faster than my others due to necessary, though welcome, reapplication, so be it.

Suggestions: Try layering this with Dior Fahrenheit (1:2). Makes a wonderful, complex, and lasting (YES!) scent that combines the best of both colognes and results in a spicy, woodsy, hot-tar (I’ll explain this in my Fahrenheit review) smell that just radiates sexual savageness.  Hot.

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Christian Dior S/S ’11 RTW

Seems like the hair and makeup team at Dior is leaning towards a modernized ’50s glam with their latest runway show, featuring bright, almost Crayola-ish creamy eyes, sumptuous matte red lips, and fantastic florals.  And that little sailor’s cap and the models’ soft-yet-sculpted ringlets? Very romantic, fun, with almost a gamine-like feel to it.  Check out some of the backstage pics:




So, what do you think? Is this a look you would adapt for off-the-runway?  Or does it only deserve a spot on the catwalks?  Lemme know in the comments!

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Stunning Orange Eyeshadow at Armani Privé Fall 2010

Everyone in the beauty industry has been shocked by the rise of the orange eyeshadow trend this year on the Fall runways.  It was perhaps one of the most controversial, and then most widely embraced makeup trends of the season, and here, I believe we can see why.  Artists at the Armani Privé show have created a stunning burnt orange/amber smokey eye that really epitomizes why this color works.  Take a look:

To quickly replicate this eye: Using a damp synthetic brush, pat a dark amber or an orange with a brick base metallic shadow across the entire lid, and blend/fade slightly above crease.  Blend a matte or shimmery black shadow into the outer V of the eye, bringing it slightly more inwards in the crease, and one third of the way along the lower lash line (keep it thin).  Pat a yellow based gold shadow into the inner corner.  Connect the inner corner with the black using the same orange/amber from before, and make sure to keep it really thin; blend well with the black.  Line the waterline in a light gold or white.  Throw on a couple of layers of black mascara (don’t worry if it clumps a bit—it works for this look) on both the top and bottom lashes.  The rest of the face should be left relatively plain, with perhaps a sheer pink stain on lips (or even just lip balm), a peachy cream blush, and a dewy foundation.

Voila! Instant chic.

Thanks to Style.com for the photos.

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