Monday, August 30, 2010

“If the Eyes are the Windows to the Soul, the Eyebrows are the Drapes.......”

"If the eyes are the windows to the soul, then the eyebrows must be the drapes, and there’s nothing sexier than a pair of swanky curtains." How appropriate and hilarious is that quote? Ladies, Ladies, Ladies I cannot stress enough the importance of properly groomed brows. They frame not only your eyes, but literally your entire face, and unkempt or improperly shaped brows are extremely unacceptable. How many of us can admit to having an unfortunate experience when having our eyebrows done? I know that I have cried after having mine waxed by a non-reputable and/or not formally trained technician. This is a common mistake that we all have made. Don’t allow any facility or person who “does eyebrows” to do your eyebrows, BE PICKY!! I recommend visiting a boutique that specializes in eyebrows or allowing ONLY a professionally trained Esthetician groom your brows.

The following options are available for grooming brows:

1. Waxing - Eyebrow waxing is hands down the most popular option used and has been in practice for decades and decades. This option is fairly inexpensive and last anywhere from three to ten weeks depending upon the individual. Possible consequences of waxing include red, irritated skin, a slight burning or itchy feeling, or even a minor rash in the area where the wax was applied. This is more common when using physician prescribed topical treatments for acne or other skin conditions. Keep in mind that waxing is quicker, but removes massive amounts of hair in one strip allowing a higher margin for mistake. This is not an issue if the technician is experienced and properly trained.

2. Threading (My personal FAVORITE) - Threading is an ancient method of hair removal which originated in parts of India, the Middle and Far East, and is now gaining popularity in Western countries. 100% cotton thread is twisted and rolled along the surface of the skin entwining the hairs in the thread, which are then lifted quickly from the follicle. It is more precise than waxing and allows for better lines. Threading is highly recommended and an excellent option for those who use Retin-A, Accutane, or similar products.

3. Electrolysis - Electrolysis involves the use of a special electrode that delivers a minor electrical shock current to the hair follicle. The current kills the follicle at the same time as it removes unwanted hair. Because the hair is often in different stages of growth, electrolysis treatment may need to be repeated two or three times to make certain that all of the unwanted hair is successfully removed. This option must be performed by a licensed & trained professional because any mistake is irreversible. This is also obviously the most expensive of the four options, but only a few treatments are necessary.

4. Tweezing - Many women who choose to groom their eyebrows personally use the tweezing technique. Plucking with tweezers can be extremely painful initially but once the skin gets accustomed to the process the pain subsides. This option is the least popular because it requires the longest amount of time to complete. Tweezing will almost ALWAYS be used at the end of both the waxing and threading techniques to clean up the excess hairs.

No matter what option you select to groom your eyebrows, the shape is the most important part of the process. The eyebrow shape can enhance & frame your eyes, and balance your features. I have listed below some tips regarding how to properly shape your eyebrows.

Eyebrow Tips:

1. The highest arch of the eyebrow should be straight up from the outside edge of the iris. A straight edge, such as a ruler can be used to determine exactly where this line falls.

2. Pencil thin eyebrows are a definite NO! They cause the eyes to appear larger and is reminiscent of the 20's. Opt for a fuller eyebrow with a definite shape. However, be conscious of your personal features. Stronger features are complimented by stronger, fuller eyebrows, while delicate features are balanced by softer eyebrows.

3. Symmetry is the key component when properly grooming the eyebrows. Remember that the space between your eyebrows should be equal to the width of your eye.

4. Your eyebrows aren't twins, or sisters. They are more like cousins. It is virtually impossible for them to be perfectly identical!

5. Brow gel helps keep your brows in place all day. If you don't have gel, apply a dab of hairspray to your finger and apply to brows to keep unruly hairs in place. This tip is dedicated to my bushy eyebrow sistahs :)! Embrace the gel.

6. When filling in your brows, two colors are better then one! Use a lighter color on the thicker fuller part of your brows and a darker color at the tail ends. This is a trick that many celebrity pros use on their clients. Could also wet the brush when applying the color to the tail ends to darken the shadow as a opposed to using two colors.

7. When selecting an eyebrow powder opt for a soft-textured matte shadow that matches your hair color. Apply with an angle brush (that is used for eyeliner as well) and use short soft strokes that extend upward and out.

8. Using an eyebrow pencil to fill-in the brows is my personal favorite, however it can be difficult to master initially. Many women apply it incorrectly creating harsh strong lines that are visible to others. For a more natural look, use short soft thin strokes that "look like hair" and remember to blend with a firm eyebrow brush after applying. Also be sure that the pencil provides a dry finish as opposed to a wet finish.

9. Experts say that the ideal time for brow-shaping is the week after your period begins. Apparently it's the time during your cycle when your body is least sensitive to hair removal.

Every woman must ultimately find the most complimentary eyebrow shape for their individual face shape and features whether it be high arch, rounded arch or no arch. Look to your friends, co-workers and other people for inspiration when selecting an Eyebrow Guru. If you admire their brows, then schedule a consultation and express your wants as a client. Once again, BE PICKY!! Your eyebrows are extremely important and need to be treated with TLC.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Truth About Your Neck & Hands

Ladies it's safe to say that we all tend to ignore our neck and hands while focusing all of our energy on perfecting our faces. However, the neck and hands age as well and require the same amount of TLC! Studies show that the hands are the second area people look to guesstimate a person's age (with the face being the first), and the neck seems to age faster than any other part of the body. We spend thousands of dollars per year on spa visits and the purchasing of facial cleaners and other skincare products targeted for the face, with hopes to achieve a fresher, younger looking face, all the while our hands and necks are continuing to age before our very own eyes. We can combat this process and stop the clock by taking on certain preventative methods.

For your Neck:
1. Moisturize your neck twice daily with the same effective moisturizer used on your face. How often do we totally neglect the neck and apply moisturizer to our face and bodies solely? It is essential to keep the neck hydrated. Select products that contain CynergyTK, Phytessence Wakame and Nano Lipobelle HEQ10.

2. Use retinoids or over the counter retinol once a week on your neck to increase collagen while improving texture. I recommend applying this at night beneath your moisturizer.

3. Take an omega-3 fatty acid food supplement daily to help augment missing nutrients in the body. Omega-3 fatty acids are actually quite helpful in the production of growth hormones which promote collagen regeneration.

4. Remember to combat UV rays from the sun! Apply sunscreen to your neck for those longs days at the beach and days when the sun is at its brightest. It is perfectly acceptable to use a moisturizer that contains an SPF of 15 (at least) normally.

5. Try to eat as well as you possibly can. It is commonly accepted that refined foods like white flour, sugar and products made with them, and tea, coffee, and soft drinks contribute to wrinkles, and premature aging.

6. Lower your pillow. Sleeping with your neck extended instead of scrunched down into your chest can help you avoid neck creases and bands from forming.

For Your Hands:
1. Use a good quality sunscreen on your hands to prevent wrinkles and age spots. Your hands are constantly exposed to the sun and should NOT be ignored.

2. When you’re scrubbing pots and pans in hot water or cleaning with bleach, put on some rubber or latex gloves to keep the hot water and chemicals off your skin. In the cold winter weather, wear your gloves. PROTECT YOUR HANDS!

3. Exfoliate your hands at least bi-monthly to remove dead skin cells and keep them smooth. I also recommend sporadic paraffin wax hand treatments, they are to DIE for. During your next visit to the nail salon request one. Pamper yourself :)

4. Keep lotion in your bathroom and kitchen near the sink. It is essential to moisturize your hands after you have washed them throughout the day. Also, keep a travel size bottle of hand cream in your purse for when you are out and about during the day.

5. To keep your hands healthy, take adequate doses of Vitamins B complex, A, E and C. Vitamin B complex promotes healthy nails, skin and hair while Vitamin A helps to sustain and repair skin tissue. Vitamins E and C are mainly important in offsetting the damage caused by exposure to the sun.

6. A regular manicure will keep your nails healthy, moisturize your cuticles and give a younger look to your hands. You can do it either at the salon or at home. I have become quite amazing at performing manicures at home!

These recommendations, along with countless others, effectively prevent the aging of both the neck and hands. Always take care of yourself to the best of your ability. You only get one body so do right by it!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Perfect Nude Lip

So as usual I am deeming something "My Favorite Thing" but I just can't help that there are so many fabulous products/looks in existence! As I mentioned in a previous post, I absolutely love love love a nude lip. It is sexy and chic, and perfectly compliments virtually any eye and/or blush makeup combination. The following three products used properly create the Perfect Nude Lip:

1. Creme De' Nude Cremesheen Lipstick by MAC
2. Cork Lip Pencil by MAC
3. C-Thru Lipglass by MAC

This fusion compliments light to medium dark skin complexions. I recommend wearing a lip primer with this combination to neutralize the lips. These three products are extremely versatile making the purchase worth your while! Cork lip pencil also works fabulously with other nude, and pink, peach and coral colored lipsticks and glosses. Not to mention, I am an advocate of wearing C-thru Lipglass alone for an everyday look.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Naturally Oily

There are 5 basic skin types:

1. Normal Skin
2. Dry Skin
3. Oily Skin
4. Combination Skin
5. Sensitive Skin

The varying characteristics of these skin types require very specific skin care and makeup products. Per request from one of my very enthusiastic readers I am going to dedicate this post to oily skin. She complained that after successfully applying makeup before going to work, her face literally transforms into an oil slick within a few short hours. This is a common problem that can be relieved by changing your skin care regimen and using the proper products.

Tip #1 - Be sure to select a gel cleanser that is oil-free. Gel cleansers work best on oily skin because they are fabulous at absorbing excess oils.

Tip #2 - If your skin feels sticky or oily after successfully rinsing your face, use a toner to enhance the cleanser.

Tip #3 - DO NOT AVOID MOISTURIZER! It is important to understand that all skin types require moisturizer. I recommend a very light oil-free moisturizer or moisturizing gel to be applied immediately after the toner has absorbed. It is important to make sure the moisturizer is applied before your skin begins to create its natural oils.

Tip #4 - Apply a clay mask to your face once per week (bi-weekly during the Summer months). Clay masks work effectively to absorb excess oils, dirt and harmful toxins from the skin.

Tip #5 - SCRUBS = YOUR BFF! Exfoliating scrubs remove dead skin cells, balance oil production, and reduce in size the appearance of engorged pores. I recommend using a scrub no more then twice a week. Over use may lead to irritation of the skin due to the abrasive nature of the product.

Tip #6 - Use a foundation primer. Foundation primer aids in absorbing the excess oils that our skin produces, which reduces the shine that occurs in combination or oily skin types. The use of a primer also lessens the amount of foundation that is used.

Tip #7 - Apply your makeup with clean brushes or unused sponges only. Oil and bacteria from used and or contaminated brushes/sponges will place excess oils & debris onto the face. Also, NEVER use your fingers! Using your fingers transfers more oil to the face.

Tip #8 - Selecting the appropriate foundation is extremely important.
*Select a non-comedogenic liquid foundation with a MATTE finish
*Apply a thin layer of foundation only (Don't cake it on!)
*Avoid foundations that contain alcohol, bismuth oxychloride and dimenthicone
*Look for foundations that contain kaolin clay (for oil control), serecite (for pore reduction), titanium dioxide (for sun protection)
*If you are stuck between two shades that work best for your complexion, select the lighter shade. The natural oils from your skin will eventually mix with the foundation causing the shade to appear darker.

Tip #9 - Apply a light colorless blot powder to your face once the foundation has been applied. This will help to set the liquid and prevent it from transferring throughout the day. Use throughout the day when necessary to absorb oils.

Tip #10 - Stay away from cream-based eye shadows and blushes, and opt for powder only. Use an eye shadow primer that creates a matte finish to prevent the eye makeup from creasing.

Just keep in mind that having oily skin is not necessarily a negative thing. Studies show that oily skin tends to age better than dry skin and it usually has less wrinkles than dry skin of the same age. Oily skin also looks vibrant, healthy & glowy!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Recently my girlfriend Ashlee called me requesting suggestions for what type of makeup she should wear with blue mascara. I immediately told her the obvious answer according to her personal coloring (she is a caramel complected Black girl)- silver, purple & blue eye shadows with a nude or sheer pink colored lip gloss. But after talking to her I begin to think about the magic of colored mascara as a whole. I have always kept a blue mascara around for those days when I decided I wanted to make my dark brown eyes truly POP, but there are other colored mascaras that compliment and add subtle drama to eyes of all shades without making the wearer look as if he or she is attending a rave on Halloween!

For Brown Eyes - Turquoise & Navy Hues
For Blue Eyes - Purple & Brown Hues
For Green Eyes - Purple Hues (go richer)
For All Eyes - Rich Burgundy

Remember to conscious of the eye shadow you are wearing to compliment the colored mascara. Great rule of thumb when you are unsure about what combination(s) to wear - KEEP IT NATURAL & NEUTRAL. Have fun with different colors and don't be afraid to change it up!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Diary of a Product Junky: Entry #1

Raise your hand if you are a Product Junky (or PJ for short). I am a CERTIFIED, hands down PJ who has come to grips with the severity of my situation. I will purchase and try virtually any beauty product that appeals to me from makeup to skincare to nailcare and beyond. While my makeup kit is completely to capacity for obvious reasons, if you were to take a look in my linen closet or beneath my bathroom sink, the PJ in me would be TOTALLY exposed! To provide assistance to my readers (my PJs in particular) when selecting products to purchase I decided to share my experiences with ones I have tried in order to promote the fabulous ones and stop you from wasting your money on the not-so-greats! For this post in particular I have selected a makeup product - Maybelline XXL PRO Extensions Mascare and a skincare product - Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser. So here we go................

Maybelline XXL PRO Extensions Mascara

While I have always been a strong advocate for Maybelline Great Lash mascara for an everyday mascara, up until a few months ago I was a ride or die MAC Zoom Lash Girl for a dramatic eye or night out. Around that time, the consistency of MAC Zoom Lash appeared to be different and I noticed that my application would constantly be lumpy, and once the product dried I would have God awful flaking. This was a SERIOUS problem for me and fed the PJ in me fuel to go a quest for an amazing dramatic mascara. I decided that since Maybelline Great Lash had never let me down, I would attempt an option from the Maybelline brand and ended up purchasing the Maybelline XXL PRO Extensions mascara is black for approximately $8.99. This mascara was initially appealing because it incorporated both the primer and actual mascara into the same product. Normally I would purchase both the primer and Zoom Lash separately from MAC so I was TOO excited about the 2 for 1 deal, however you receive more product when they are purchased from MAC, BUT spend approximately three times more money (so ultimately the Maybelline XXL PRO Extensions mascara is the better deal!). After applying two layers of the XXL PRO to my naked lashes and allowing them to dry I was instantly satisfied. This product separates, elongates and adds volume simultaneously creating a superb level of drama and elegance to the eyes. I have only used the product a handful of time, but I would strongly recommend it to all of you Fabs! Maybelline XXL PRO Extensions mascara is reasonably priced and is of a level of quality comparable to much pricier competitors.

Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser

For some reason when I reached the ripe old age of 25 my skin started to literally spazz out, so the PJ in me immediately went into action going on a serious mission to find the perfect cleanser that would cease the bad activity occurring on my face. After trying Neutrogena's Oil Free Acne wash and having the opposite reaction then that of what I expected I decided to select a product from a different brand entirely. I remembered one of my cousin's telling me that she loved this fabulous cleanser by Aveeno, and judging from her radiant skin, the cleanser was to die for. I excitedly purchased Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser and begin using it consistently for a few weeks. I'm disappointed to report that my experience with this product was not a positive one. It completely dried my skin and neglected to provide any noticeable positive changes with the condition of my skin, although I can say that my skin didn't worsen when using this product. I have combination skin and this product isn't marketed specifically to any single skin-type, however it's obvious after using it that it is made for people with oily skin. While I wouldn't recommend this product to my readers, I wouldn't totally bash its abilities simply because my experience wasn't completely negative.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Bedazzle Your Lashes

For Prom Season 2010 the common product I used on my girls was diamond-studded false lashes. I DIE for these because they are right up my alley - Rhinestones & Glitter! These gorgeous additions create an extra level of attitude to any makeup look, but are still simply pretty and elegant. The main concern people have with these are whether or not the lashes will feel heavy and weigh down the eyelid. From personal experience, and feedback I've received from my clients, the diamond-studded lashes felt identical to the normal lashes worn everyday by most celebrities. I recommend Ardell brand False Eyelashes because they have a fantastic selection and are quite inexpensive compared to other brands of equal quality. They can be purchased at Sally's Beauty Supply stores and other drug stores nationwide. For more information and to view their products visit their website at

Follow these steps to successfully apply the lashes:

1. False eyelashes may be trimmed in width or length to suit your eye size or personal preference. (Try original length before cutting.) Always cut from the outer lashes (the end with thicker and longer lashes) when trimming.
2. Apply fake eyelash glue sparingly to lash band. I recommend DUO brand Eyelash Adhesive.
3. Wait at least 10 seconds for adhesive to become sticky.
4. Position false eyelashes slightly above your natural lash with tweezers and press ends into place.
5. Gently press across entire lash until set.
6. To remove, dab either waterproof eye makeup remover or fake eyelash remover on the lashline with a cotton swab. Allow product to soak then gently peel false eyelashes band off lid, starting at outer corner. (I sometimes honestly just wash my face with my cleanser and the lashes are loosened and easy to remove.)
7. Remove adhesive from band and place your false eyelashes back to the tray for re-use.

These lashes are FUN FUN FUN to say the least and I promise you will fall in love with them!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Summertime Makeup: Avoid the Meltdown!

It is seriously a MYSTERY to me how women walk around during the sweltering Summer months wearing a full face of makeup. I'm not a master makeup artist, but I have discovered a plethora of tips to mask certain issues, though I have yet to discover a way to successfully wear a full face of makeup for an entire day in July or August! However, I have compiled a list of tips/techniques providing insight as to how to obtain a beautiful Summertime Look that will stay put!

During these HOTT months opt for a tinted moisturizer such as Stila Sheer Color Tinted Moisturizer SPF. Tinted moisturizer provides sheer, natural coverage while moisturizing and protecting your skin. If you need to conceal dark circles and other skin blemishes, I suggest using a waterproof protective concealer on top of the moisturizer. Be sure to blend well.

2. Powder is your friend.
Loose powder is ideal for Summer simply because it contains less oils then liquid or cream based foundations. Lightly apply a thin layer of loose powder over your tinted moisturizer (and concealer if necessary) to create more coverage. Remember, don't go overboard with the powder! The sun will cause the consistency of the powder to change creating unwanted streaks on your face.

3. Blot Papers are your Best Friend.
I die for CVS brand oil absorbing sheets. They are at least one to two dollars cheaper than the other name brand sheets and work equally as well. Carry a pack of these in your purse and remove oil from you face at your discretion. Blot, don't rub to keep makeup in place.

4. Sweat-proof your eyelashes.
Waterproof mascara is a must-have item for your summertime makeup bag. It is a known fact that we hold sweat in our hair follicles, so when the hot Summer causes us to perspire, our eyelashes retain moisture. Waterproof mascara is the solution to this issue. Select the waterproof version of your favorite mascara brand and shade. I prefer jet black to add drama since less makeup is worn on the rest of the fact.

5. Tone down the lip.
Retire the creamy and thicker lipsticks, and opt for neutral shade sheer glosses. MAC Lustreglasses in Instant Gold and Beaux are great options for this. For protection against harmful rays, use a SPF lip balm beneath your gloss. If you're a girl who lives for color and bold lips, I suggest utilizing a long lasting and water resistant lip product such as Max Factor Lipfinity.

6. Get an Extra Glow.
Bronzer is a personal favorite item of mine for the Summer, however it must be applied correctly! Apply bronzer lightly to your chin, nose & cheeks only. I suggest using the Smashbox FAN BRUSH #22 or something comparable.