Monday, July 13, 2009

Compromising with your wallet…part deux

My previous saga details the reasons why I was inspired to discuss the differences between drugstore quality and department/specialty store quality of cosmetics, so I’ll spare the introductory details and jump right into it. Last week I spoke generally about skincare and this week I’ll dive into the cosmetic cosmos of color!

Eyes are the window to the soul (<-- insert cliché beauty idiom here) so let’s focus there!

Mascara: Let’s face it…there are some FANTASTIC options out there in drugstore land for mascara. If you have to save some pennies, save some here. These are my top two favorites HANDS DOWN: Maybelline Full n’ Soft; great for volume building and the lashes are left feeling soft and pliable, rather than stiff or flakey. This is the mascara I lived and died by before I was converted to my all time favorite: Dior Show. My other favorite drugstore mascara is Cover Girl Lash Blast Volume Blasting Mascara. This little guy’s brush is comprised of stiffer rubber bristles to build and build long luscious lashes. It took a few coats to get the ‘full’ effect, but I definitely got full plump lashes. I was pretty darn impressed with this little man. I will say (my disclaimer) to bear in mind that mascara works differently for everyone. One person may LOVE a certain mascara and the next person may try it and it doesn’t perform the same at all. Everyone has different lashes and different preferences.

Pencil Eye Liner: ahhh…I am remember the good ole days when I had to hold my eye liner over my lighter to melt the wax, giving me about 15 seconds of pliable soft liner to work with before it hardened up to its original crust. If you want a soft, workable, smudgeable eye liner that won’t drag your eyelid skin half way across your temple when you put it on, go with a specialty/department store brand. But no worries!! You don’t HAVE to drop $20 on an eyeliner…c

heck out the Sephora brand nano liners. They are soft, blendable, adequately pigmented, come in 20 conservative colors, and are (ready for it?) only $5!! My other favorite eye liners are Stila Kajal pencil, too faced lava gloss liner, and Urban Decay 24/7 glide pencil (waterproof!!)

Eye shadow: Like eyeliner, a great eye shadow needs to be soft and full of pigment. There is really only one drugstore brand shadow that I would classify in that category. If you haven’t tried out L’Oreal HIP pigments, I would encourage you to give it a whirl. Beyond that brand,

stick with the higher end brand shadows. To get the most value, look for palettes; they always give you way more for your money. My FAV palette for the moment is the Kat Von Dee Ludwig Palette at Sephora. It is only $35 and you get 8 great sized, full pigmented, super soft, sultry, shadows. That breaks down to less than $4.50 per shadow a deal

you can’t find at the drugstore! I promise, you’ll LOVE them! If you are looking for single shadows, there are too many amazing ones to count. (I will tell you that I can’t live without my Make Up Forever matte shadows.)

Eye Shadow Primer: There is really no point in putting on eye shadow if you don’t have a great silicone base primer underneath. Those of us who are allegiant to this product cannot live without it. I won’t even bother putting eye shadow on myself without this magical marvel underneath; it truly makes that big of difference. Would you paint your fence without priming it first? Sure, the paint would show up, but the paint would not perform as well as it could, having to contend with the color and texture underneath. So prep those peepers with a great primer! It keeps your shadow on ALL day, keeps your shadow from creeping around, creasing up your lid, AND you don’t use as much shadow by giving your shadow a surface to adhere to. There are a lot of options out there and us primer prissies are so particular about our primer preferences (I couldn’t help myself ); here are the top picks: Urban Decay primer potion, Too Faced Shadow insurance (lasts a really really long time), Paula Dorf eye primer (my 1st love), and Smashbox photo finish lid primer. Using a primer will make all your wildest dreams come true. That’s how exciting this product is; and that’s a promise!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Compromising with your Wallet...Part I


immersed in the ‘prestige’ world of cosmetics since the very day I became a ‘consumer’ (with my own hard earned birthday money), its often assumed that I have an innate bias toward high end cosmetics in my attempt to stay reputable. I, as well as most people, have a pretty realistically tight budget, and dread the day when I no longer work where I work and I’ll actually have pay for all my skincare! Through these uneasy times, we are all being forced to reevaluate our spending and seek other alternatives for our previously profligate expenditures; thus, in lies, the art of compromising over our choice of relative ‘necessities’, including our cosmetic items. We have to wonder, Is there a difference between high end cosmetics and skincare that you would typically find at a department or specialty store and your local drugstore?

The day before I started my fancy new job in cosmetics, I was asked that very same question by a skeptical friend of a friend of the family who was clearly not impressed by the ‘over-priced’ nuances of the high end market. I knew the answer was ‘yes’ but I was so unqualified to offer a logical explanation, my meager half-hearted ‘yes, but I don’t know why’, only reinforced her dubious opinion.

After absorbing an erudite 6 years of this industry, I still frequently recall that disappointing conversation that I wish I could go back to redeem myself in. Since I can’t go back in time (yet) I can attempt to redeem myself now.

In the world of cosmetics, you absolutely get what you pay for, but what do you need to pay for?

Cleansers- You can get some amazing cleansers at the department store loaded with so many different ingredients to do many things; lightening, exfoliating, softening, brightening, help fight acne, etc. but if you’re simply looking for a cleanser that will remove your makeup and all the dirt and grime from the day, you can definitely skip the department $$ and go for a good basic cleanser at the drug store. Many dermatologists recommend Neutrogena or cetaphill as a basic daily cleanser.

Serums: Sorry guys, you can’t scrimp on your serious skincare. Unfortunately, through a lot of advertising, some drug store brands lead consumers to believe that they same ingredients can be found in their lower priced items and try to make higher end brands seem like they hike up their prices. The reality is, it is all about ingredients, both in QUANTITY & QUALITY. A drugstore brand may have a fantastic ingredient, but what they don’t tell you is how MUCH is actually in the product vs. fillers, as well as the quality of the ingredient. This is a situation where you DEFINITELY get what you pay for.

Moisturizers/eye creams: I’m going to have to say the same thing as I did with serums. These products are your serious skincare items. Bear in mind, you don’t have to spend $100 on a good moisturizer. There are a lot of options out there. Philosophy is a great brand to invest in for your money. Their ‘hope in a jar’ moisturizer is only $35 and it’s a great product with a huge cult following. If you are a fan of natural products, the Boscia oil-free daily hydration moisturizer runs you from $12 - $27.

Sunscreen: I don’t care where you get it, the abc store, Sephora, Walgreens, Neiman’s, or safeway..just buy some (at least an SPF 15) and wear it EVERYDAY. For the rest of your life. There are no excuses to not incorporate this simple small step to preserve your health and the vitality of your skin. People ask me all the time, what is the best thing they can put on their skin to prevent aging and the simple answer is sun protection. Like cleansers, there are a lot of additional benefits to investing in higher end sunscreens, but it is not one of those products that someone can just 'skip' because they can't afford it.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Its Business Time

In attempt to escape from the monotony of my retail life I’ve subsisted in for the last 10 years, (somehow, it took typing that fact into existence for me to realize the legitimacy of that reality...yikes!!) I have finally cuddled up next the concept of, and effort needed to delve into the local networking scene I should have embraced years ago! The networking website I have been submissively logging into at the frequency I log into my FB account has allowed me to befriend a handful of photographers, models, and other makeup artists in a very short amount of time. It’s so eye opening to see what kind of work my ‘competition’ is producing, as well as what other photographers/stylists have to work with around this crazy town. Already having gotten business out of my societal endeavor, I’ve learned it’s a small world up in this little northwest corner of the industry, where everyone knows everyone and every username. I’ve had a handful of opportunities to go out and work with strangers, which I quite enjoyed because I could be assured that the feedback I received was raw and objective.

After working with several photographers/designers/stylists over the last few months, I’ve taken away a valuable equation to ensure repeat business, a great reputation, and a happy client (I like to refer to this desired variable as ‘X’); rooted in common sense, my mathematical approach to achieving my desired outcome is ‘Be on time + Be professional + Deliver quality work + LISTEN to their vision + Be polite = X. Next to the Pythagorean Theorem, this is unequivocally the most valuable equation to live my professional life by! I’m excited to be delving into diversifying my range of pictures to put in my shoebox of work I am bound to refer to as my portfolio.