Category Archives: Products I Love

The Skin Game

It’s been a while since I did a product post, but this one can wait no longer. THE PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW.

The product I get asked about most frequently is mascara, but right behind that is foundation. No single foundation is right for all skin types, but if you have dry to normal or combination skin, the only answer is FACEAtelier Ultra Foundation.

I’ve been using FACEAtelier on myself and on clients for almost two years now. It’s a silicone-based foundation that gives a gorgeous, natural finish under any lighting. It’s easy to apply and easy to layer for more coverage. (Plus it’s cruelty free!)

So if I’ve been using it for so long, why blab about it now? Because I just saw the stills from the video I made for my UK publisher. Now, let’s be clear: I am a very vain girl. Consequently, I curate my Facebook photos mercilessly. (My coat of arms should read, “Don’t tag me, bro.”) But on video, there’s nowhere to hide and it can be a rather cringe-inducing reality check. (Who’s that girl with the round cheeks and the crazy eyes? Oh! Oh.) That said, thanks to FA, the one thing I didn’t have to squirm over was my skin.

Ees glowy, no? And I have what can be politely called “problem” skin.

If you have serious texture problems, FA won’t magically make them disappear. (As we say in the business, “It’s a brush, not a wand.”) BUT it provides lovely, natural, moisturizing coverage that is kind to redness, fine lines, pores, and bumps.

FA is a Canadian brand, but it’s carried by a few salons and beauty supplies in the US and you can click here to see where. You can also order online. If you’re worried about finding the right color, you can order 5 ml samples for $1 each. Yes, it’s a bit of a pain, but this product is so worth it. Also, may I just say that FA is fantastic for women of color?

Finally, I need to offer HUGE thanks to Rachel Tejada, Ray Tejada, and Austin Wilkin. They oversaw everything related to the video– scheduling, scripting, concept, crew, and post. They also nabbed the crazy talented Travis Smith-Evans to shoot little ol’ me. I’ve been on a lot of sets and this one ran like a dream. (Despite the temperamental talent. Yeesh. What a diva.) They’re planning on forming a production company and I can’t wait to see all the amazing projects they’re sure to deliver.



Filed under Products I Love

Glamorous Goo: OCC’s Lip Tars

I think we’re overdue for a little prettifying, no?

A bit about today’s line: Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics, a favorite of pro artists, is 100% cruelty-free and 100% vegan. “I wear leather,” you say. “I enjoy a good steak. Why should I worry about my makeup being vegan?” Perhaps because some cosmetics actually contain gross things like ground-up insect bits and urea. That’s right, urea.

Product I Love: Lip Tars. They look like bright little glosses but they are deeply, densely, deliciously pigmented. They’re something like lipstick in a tube but with a lot more slide. They leave a satiny semi-matte finish and they have insane staying power.

How to Use Them: Lip Tars are INTENSE. You need only the very tiniest bit of product. I start at the center of the mouth and work out to the lip line with these and I recommend a stiff, short lip brush. I also like them on cheeks– used sparingly, of course.

How to Choose Them: Collect them all! One of the most fun things about lip tars is that they make it easy to customize your own lip color. (So convenient for a pro kit.) Why settle for an in-between shade when you can mix the perfect peach or take your brilliant red to a moody bordeaux? If that sounds too labor intensive, worry not. These people know color. You can play it safe with the prettily pink Hush, try one of their beautiful reds, or consider Grandma, an eye-popping pinky coral that can be used to stain the lips or applied to the cheeks for a blissed out glow. (Swatchgirl puts it in action here— though I would recommend using less product to prevent the feathering mentioned in her review.)

Tip: Follow OCC on twitter. They frequently run 10-20% discounts or offer free shipping.

What’s next: Just in time for summer, OCC has launched their silicone-free tinted foundations and they are getting lots of buzz. As soon as I can hunt them down on the West Coast, I will acquire and report back. You know, for the good of the team. To tide you over, consider their sublime nail polishes. (I’m particularly fond of Swamp Thing and Hush but the all-new Echo is calling to me, too. A few colors beautifully swatched by Vampy Varnish here.)


Filed under Prettification, Products I Love

St. Barts in a Bottle

Though the abomination that is Disney’s desecration of Miss Marple has worked me into a bit of a tizzy, I promised a break from the grumping and a return to frivolity. So, this week, I present my favorite bronzer of all time, Revolotion by DuWop. I have tried lots of bronzers (I’ll cover a few more of them as we get closer to summer), but I keep coming back to Revolotion and here’s why:

1. Because it’s a cream and not a powder, it gives you a gorgeous, dewy glow that looks truly natural in any light. It won’t cake up or sink into fine lines and you can layer it without looking harsh.

2. It’s low on glitter. I love sparkle but so many bronzers go overboard (Benefit’s Hoola is a notable exception but can be tricky to apply). I want to look sun-kissed, not like Edward Cullen on a beach day.

3. It looks great on even the very palest skin.

I go through vats of this stuff. It’s great on face and body and can be a nice summer option in place of tinted moisturizer. You can apply it with fingertips or, my preferred method, a flat synthetic kabuki brush. Revolotion comes in Original (my go-to) and Deep (intense but still very natural color).  TIP: Revolotion doesn’t fully set– such is the price we pay for dewiness. So if you use it on your body or decolletage make sure to avoid light-colored clothing or you may end up with transfer.


Filed under Prettification, Products I Love

The Cruel Sting of the Lash(es)

The number one product I get asked about is mascara. But before we get into my favorites, I need to make something clear.

To the right, I’ve included an image from an ad for Maybelline Lash Stiletto mascara. There is no mascara that will give you lashes like these. This look is achieved through the use of fake lashes and A LOT of Photoshop. It’s absurd that cosmetic companies are allowed to advertise mascaras with ads like this. Don’t believe the hype.

Okay, now that we have our expectations in check, let’s get to the products that deliver!

L’Oreal Voluminous in Carbon Black: Yes, my all time favorite mascara isn’t Dior Show or Chanel Fancypants, it’s a drugstore brand. Gives you lush, glossy, gorgeous lashes and you can get it just about anywhere. (Legendary makeup artist Billy B recommended it at a show and, once I tried it, I never looked back– without batting my fantastic lashes).

But what if you really need your mascara to stay put? Most waterproof mascaras are awful. They flake, they make your lashes look and feel like plastic, and they’re a pain to remove. Imagine my joy when the amazing Kevin James Bennett introduced me to Blinc and Fiberwig (goofy name, great mascara).

Blinc comes in multiple colors, features a skinny, easy to manage mascara wand, and is cruelty free.

Fiberwig is available at Sephora, features a thicker brush, and only comes in black, but it can be layered to create a false lash effect.

They’re similar to the “tube” mascaras that cropped up a couple of years ago, but they don’t require a basecoat. This saves you time and gives you a more natural look. Cry, sweat, bob for apples– as long as you don’t rub your eyes, these mascaras will stay put and they can be removed with warm water and your ordinary facial cleanser.

We’ll save the mysteries of Latisse and false lashes for another day.


Filed under Products I Love

That “I sup on dewdrops and dine on dandelions” glow

In honor of Valentine’s day, I’ve decided to launch a new feature: “Products I Love.”

First PIL (not to be confused with PiL) designation goes to Benefit’s Posietint. This is a lip and cheek stain that will give you a dreamy, Pre-Raphaelite flush that lasts. For those of you intimidated by stains, fear not. Posietint has a little more “play” than typical stains, meaning that it stays blendabe and workable longer. And, though it looks like pink nailpolish in the bottle, it goes on sheer and the effect is 100% natural.

Use it over foundation, under bronzer, or, if you want to add a little sparkle, mix it with Benefit’s shimmering liquid highlighter, “High Beam.”

Tip: Posietint darkens slightly as it dries. Apply one layer and give it a few minutes to work its magic.

Deal: Try Posietint, High Beam, and Benetint (Benefit’s original lip and cheek stain, also gorgeous) for just $15 at Sephora.


Filed under Prettification, Products I Love