Thursday, February 21, 2013

Catching Up + Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist

It is cruel irony that the scarf is in crisp focus in the picture above when the main subject should be the Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist, but perhaps that is meant to be. I've been meaning to digress a little from makeup and see how everyone is doing. How are you? What is the weather like at your place? Are you happy? Would you like to talk? I love hearing from you, whether it be through the comment box below or email, even though I may take forever to respond. As ever, if you have any questions or would just like to say hi, the fastest way to get to me is to tweet me.

As for me, life has been pretty time-consuming. I'm at a place where I actually notice each day pass by and feel both exhilaration and panic as it does. Did you know it's almost the end of February already? Didn't the year just begin? New York is as lively as ever but I have to remind myself sometimes to forgo the headphones and gadgets, look around and actually see, or I will miss all these sights and the anonymous faces on the subway will remain anonymous. A part of me perpetually carries the fear that I will have to leave this place soon, even as I fight to stay everyday. We'll see.

I'm sure you've noticed that I've been slightly absent from this space and on my social media accounts. While I will never completely abandon Messy Wands, I have been making a concerted effort to live a more offline life. It scares me sometimes when I struggle to remember what I did a day or two before, and I do believe it has to do with the short attention span I've developed by hopping from Twitter to Facebook to reading two paragraphs in an already open browser window to checking mail at three different email accounts. If my mother was reading this, she would scoff that her memory, at her mid-50s, is still better than mine.

Anyway, some of those offline things include reading The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera, waiting eagerly for Matilda and Pippin to open on Broadway, making home-cooked meals at least five days a week (then bringing leftovers to lunch, which oddly makes me feel accomplished), and playing Agricola. I will go skiing in Vermont next week even though it terrifies me, participate in the frenzy that is Sleep No More sometime in March, attend a performance of the complete Bach Cello Suites in April, and I can't wait to add more exciting events to my calendar.

Digression aside, we now have to talk about that rosewater mist. Since being introduced to the Tatcha Dewy Skin Mist, the traditional toner+cotton combo no longer interests me. I now alternate between the Tatcha and Jurlique mists as toner substitutes. As befits the name, the Jurlique mist smells quite strongly of roses, but works well to provide an additional boost of moisture beneath your serum and moisturizer. I've been using it 3-4 days per week (3-4 spritzes per use) for the past month and I'm barely a quarter way through. For $22, I think you'll get your money's worth.

Full disclosure: This entry contains a sample product sent by PR or the manufacturer for editorial consideration.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Red Carpet to Real Life

If there's something we can rely on when it comes to red carpet beauty, it's that someone will go for the "classic Hollywood" look – flawless skin, minimal eye, siren red lips. It's makeup that allows you to look dolled up without seeming like you are wearing too much, most recently demonstrated by Skylar Grey at the Grammys:

Since everything else is relatively bare, the emphasis of this particular look is the skin. I always believed that blemish-free skin is the best indicator of health and beauty, and since participating backstage in NYFW, I now believe foundation and concealer can do anything, no matter what condition your skin is in.

That said, have an established skincare routine and take good care of your skin! It makes life simpler (and no doubt makes you happier). For this look, I patted on foundation with a flat synthetic brush then applied loose powder with a fluffy powder brush.

I shaded in my eyebrows then applied an eyeshadow color that's close to my skin tone on my eyelids and inner corners. I applied liquid eyeliner to the bottom of my lashes so it barely peeks through, curled my lashes, then coated them with mascara. I swept a light pink blush on the apples of my cheeks.

To finish, I applied red lipstick and gently blotted it with a tissue to minimize slipping and sliding. When I look at celebrity red carpet pictures I always think their lips look matte-ish, but I guess it's a natural side effect of having lipstick on for a few hours. It's shocking how none of them get their teeth red too. I mean, even if you have publicists and assistants galore to check on you, where on the red carpet are you supposed to dignifiedly (yes, it's a word) swipe a finger at your teeth?

Also, I'm a little odd about these things. When applying it on myself, I deliberately made it a little less "perfect" so it's closer to what I believe women look like in "real life." Not to say that women can't look impeccable when they want to, it's just a quirk of mine; I believe it makes me look more natural. For example, I shade in my eyebrows but don't draw it in precisely – I blur out the line with a spoolie so while my eyebrows look fuller, they don't look too shaded in.

Otherwise, while understated, I can understand the appeal for celebrities to default to this look. After all, just because they walk on the red carpet doesn't mean they should look any different from usual (though as a beauty journalist I wish for anything but just so I have something to write about). It's almost wedding-y in how classic this looks, which I guess if I had to be scrutinized while gliding down a long red carpet, I'd opt for something safe too.

This post is part of BlogHer's Celebrity Beauty Trends editorial series, made possible by Olay.

Monday, February 18, 2013

An Ode to NYFW

An ode to creativity. I hesitate to use the word trend, but there were a few shows this season (and last) that featured the floating crease line look. I know I have lopsided eyes and all but I've been itching to try it, so I did.

Since the emphasis was on the eyes, everything else was left (mostly) bare. I applied foundation and powdered myself down, then set to highlighting: all over eyelids, above cheekbones, down the nose, above cupid's bow.

For the eyes, I used a thin, firm blending/application brush (Shu Uemura Kolinsky Brush 5r. Honestly, I'm not sure what category this falls under) and swept the light blue shade (MAC Parisian Skies) just above my crease line. I lightly dipped the brush into the darker blue (Shu Uemura ME Blue 650, old formula) and with the first point of the contact from the outer corner, went over the line again. With a black liquid liner, I lined just the bottom of my lashes. It's a little hard to explain – it's not really visible, but it makes a difference.

A light sweep of soft peach blush and swipe of nude lip, and that's it!

The above was one of my first attempts at nail art. Let's just say it gets better. Base nails were painted in RGB Pink.

Products Used:
Chantecaille 'Future Skin' Foundation in Camomile
Guerlain 'Meteorites' Illuminating and Mattifying Face Powder 02 Teint Beige
Shu Uemura P Light Pink 315
Shu Uemura Retractable Eyebrow Pencil in Seal Brown
MAC Parisian Skies Eyeshadow
Shu Uemura ME Blue 650
Le Métier de Beauté Precision Liner in Noir
Chanel Joues Contraste Tempting Beige
NARS Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil in Buenos Aires
RGB Pink

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Sponsored: Grammys Fun

This past Sunday, I attended Style Coalition's Grammys Viewing Party, a fete for bloggers to mingle, get made over (there were makeup artists, hairstylists and a manicurist on hand), and watch the Grammys together.

Before we get into that, what is a post about a Grammys Viewing Party without a discussion of Grammys beauty? The theme of the overall red carpet (beauty. Fashion is another story) yesterday was "Old Hollywood," which is industry speak for minimal eye and red lips.

I just have to highlight the red Alaia perfection that Rihanna donned to the event. Now that is a gown!

The other celebrities chose to be as tame as possible, the exception being Jennifer Lopez, who along with wearing a dress with a slit up to her waist, chose an interesting eyeliner technique.

Dress picture not attached for, um, decency.

A couple of other stars I thought looked good:

This is standard Taylor, but that doesn't mean she doesn't look good

Doesn't Kimbra look just adorable?

Opening myself up for similar judgment, here's what I wore to the party. I wish I could go sans tights, but I am an absolute chicken when it comes to cold weather, even if all I had to endure was the one minute between going out of the door and into the cab. What can I say? I was born in a tropical country.

The cruel irony in going to a party with professional hair stylists and manicurists doling out complimentary treatments? I already spent three hours the day before on my nails and my hair was so short it didn't need styling. The only plus was, because I was ambitious and did some nail art, I got to "walk" on a simulation of the E! Mani-Cam that Covergirl sponsors at the Grammy's.

Believe me, there was strutting involved

Speaking of the E! Mani-Cam. I'm surprised so many of those celebrities were not briefed on what to do when they stick their fingers in. They lay them flat on the carpet so what we get are their knuckles. Teehee, I guess celebs don't watch reruns of awards shows.

Since makeup was the only thing I could play with, I plonked myself in front of the sweetest makeup artist Jennifer Fleming, who gave me a Covergirl makeover. I wanted to try the new Outlast 3-in-1 Foundation (purported primer, foundation, and concealer in a bottle), but since I already had my face on, she dabbed on a little of the Concealer Balm instead. Full coverage and moisturizing! No word on lasting power because I only had my makeup on after for three hours, but at least within that time frame, it held up.

I also tried one of the Jumbo Gloss Balms in a nude shade. It was pretty. She layered it with a pink shade in the center of the mouth to give the otherwise "concealer lip" some depth.

Oh, here's a makeup technique anecdote! At one point, a partygoer (who looked like she could be Rose Byrne's sister. So pretty) turned to Jennifer and asked her how to apply blush, because she always felt like she puts on too much. She explained that because she's pale, she layers her blush with bronzer and that seems to make her cheeks look overpowering. The makeup artist told her she didn't need bronzer (she didn't. Pale is beautiful too!) but if she really wanted to keep it in her routine, just apply it to the outer corners of the cheek and concentrate the blush on just the apples of the cheeks. I'm going to try this and see how it looks!

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by COVERGIRL and Style Coalition.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Le Métier de Beauté Spring 2013: Pink Berry, Coral Rose, Pink-e Promise

By a stroke of good fortune (or what my editor at Lifestyle Mirror calls "suffering from brand loyalty"),  I acquired three of the five new lip products Le Métier de Beauté has in store for spring. My Muji drawer, previously fitting just the right amount of lip cremes, is now overfloweth. While I recognize that this isn't really a problem, it's kind of still a problem (to my organizational self).

Ah, petty complaints. On to the swatches!

L-R: Pink Berry Lip Creme, Coral Rose and Pink-e Promise Sheer Brilliance Lip Glosses

Pink Berry Lip Crème

In general, this spring's lip products are well named in that there's no guesswork involved on what color you're putting on your lips. There is no exact dupe of Pink Berry in the Le Métier de Beauté core line, but if you want me to make a comparison, I'd say it's the berry version of Fraise Creme.

According to The Ultimate Makeup, Pink Berry is the exact same shade as Cebu, which was previously exclusive to Neiman Marcus Tysons Galleria (and sold out really quickly).

Coral Rose Sheer Brilliant Lip Gloss

This is me, suffering from deer in headlights face lethargy

Now this is a coral I can get behind! Just slightly pinked down and not overly warm. Great color for a nude summer look.

Pink-e Promise Sheer Brilliant Lip Gloss

I find the formula for this a little inconsistent to the name. Pink-e Promise is supposed to be a Sheer Brilliant Lip Gloss, which means it should be pigmented when swatched but barely show up when on the lips (hence "sheer"). I would have called it a lip crème based on the texture. Nevertheless, it's Barbie pink goodness in a tube.

Other Products Used:
Le Métier de Beauté Peau Vierge #2
Tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concealer in Light
Le Métier de Beauté Eye Brightening and Setting Powder in Revive
Shu Uemura Retractable Eyebrow Pencil in Seal Brown
Le Métier de Beauté Penelope Kaleidoscope
Lancome Khol in Love in Jade Crush
Annabelle Le Big Show Mascara
Tom Ford Narcissist Blush
Guerlain Meteorites Perles d'Azur

Jennifer Zeuner Mini Bar with Diamond Necklace

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Birthday Wish List

It is a little over a week from my birthday (not even trying to hint: it falls on the 18th) and I thought it would be fun to compile a fantasy birthday wish list. The funny thing about them is while they are expensive, they are not exactly out of reach forever (with prudent saving and a lot of ramen dinners). I mean, none of them exceed five figures? I guess this could alternatively be called my Material Items Goal.

MacBook Pro 15"/MacBook Air 13", $1199-2799

I've owned my current workhorse for five years, so much so that the bottom left portion of my trackpad has stopped working and my battery runs out within half an hour. It's still functional, but it starts freezing up when I have Photoshop or one too many apps open at one time. That said, I have a perpetual dilemma between these two. I lug my 3.5 pound Macbook around five days a week and it's a real strain, so an Air would be great on my shoulders. On the other hand, the 15" one has an actual graphics card, wider screen, more powerful processer...

Burberry Mid-Length Cotton Gabardine Trench Coat, $1,395

Is this not on everyone's wish list? I like just about every trench coat in the London collection, but the first one I ever get (ha!) should be the classic black.

Life is too short for simple black clutches! I still don't own a clutch for formal occasions, but I made an unofficial pact with myself to not get one until I can get something drastic.

Celine Trapeze


Sometimes I'm ashamed at how expensive the things I like can be.

Finally, a beauty product! Truth be told, I'm suffering from beauty lethargy right now. I just have so much makeup lying around with no where to put it anymore. I would run another blog sale, but I barely have time to blog twice a week, much less take pictures, edit, price, and ship them out immediately. Maybe in summer?

Anyway, I've been sniffing a few Le Labo scents and Santal, Rose, and Bergamote came up top of my want list. I picked Bergamote to obsess over in the end because it suits a fragrance novice better. Rose and Santal can get a little overwhelming. Bergamote smells like spring in a bottle.

Ever since buying my alphabet ring, I've been visiting the Catbird website every couple of days or so just to stare wistfully at the other dainty bands they offer. Why are rings so expensive? Why do I have an irrational want to stack five of them on my finger? Particularly obsessed over this, this, and this.

And um, unlimited amounts of gift cards. Y'know, because everyone can stand to have more of these.

Funny thing about wish lists. I wrote this up but realized that I will still be perfectly happy if I don't eventually own any of the above things. I like pretty things, I really do, but I'm now very conscious about materialism and how it affects me, and if possible I would like to be less of a slave to it. I have a great family, a loving boyfriend, and I live with one of my best friends. In the end, that's all that really matters.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

(Red Carpet) Editorial: Blue Rimmed Smokey Eye

Let me preface this post with a panicked statement: a portion of my bottom lash line is beginning to be impervious to eye makeup. Eek!

Anyway, I don't usually do awards season coverage on Messy Wands because, and let's be honest here, celebrities usually play it safe on the red carpet. We got excited about things like "Celeb X wearing pink lips!" when we did awards coverage at my previous internships, just because they usually accentuate only one feature, if any.

But I had a thing for Berenice Marlohe ever since I saw her "disappearing eyeshadow" in Skyfall. Throughout her scene in the casino, I barely heard anything she said to James Bond, because I was concentrating on how the gold eyeshadow on her lids only appeared when she blinked. It was mesmerizing, like she was simultaneously wearing two looks.

Since then, I've taken extra notice of her red carpet appearances. It is a pleasure to report that Berenice never seems to have boring makeup. She has a penchant for incredibly bold smokey eyes (see The Non Blonde's post)‚ I usually don't agree with over-lining the under eye area, but it works on her.

The above picture shows Berenice at one of her recent red carpet appearances where she sported a navy blue-rimmed smokey eye. Below, I attempted to recreate the look (allowing for the fact that my eye shape is totally different from hers, of course):

Berenice has a set of very defined eyebrows, so I was careful to emphasize my own with an eyebrow pencil. For the eye look, I began by tight-lining both the upper and lower lash line as a base for the navy blue shadow to build on. From there, I used a flat-headed brush (think a liner brush but with more hair), applied the shadow close to the lash line, then fluffed it out using flicking motions. I was careful to maintain an almond shape so it didn't extend too much toward the eyebrows. I did the same for the bottom lash line.

It may not have been the best look for me, considering I couldn't replicate her long lashes. I applied a couple coats of mascara and attempted to do the bottom (to no results), but you are welcome to try if you, lucky one, have bottom lashes!

The rest of the face is simple: foundation, ample amounts of concealer under the eye, nude lipstick, and the lightest application of peach blush to the apples of the cheeks.

The Look

I hope you enjoy!

This post is part of BlogHer's Celebrity Beauty Trends editorial series, made possible by Olay.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Lipstick Bandits: Pink in Love

Pink? Groan. I suppose it's kind of my fault the Lipstick Bandits are attempting this color since I suggested it... even though half of us avoid it like the plague on regular days. But Valentine's is nigh and pink is seasonally relevant, so there.

I don't know if I've mentioned it on the blog so here goes: only within the last year did I realize that my skin wasn't warm-toned as I previously believed. In fact, I am neutral leaning cool. While this doesn't really affect my makeup buying (I don't really subscribe to the whole warm can only wear warm theory. I insist on my warm brown eyeshadows!), it does explain why I cannot pull off warm pink lipsticks. It used to befuddle me – this color that was touted as universal refused to work on my also-supposedly-warm-pink lips. Let's just say I gave up on the idea of pink for a long time.

By now I know what looks best on me and have amassed some great pink neutrals, but it was a fateful Bergdorf shopping trip that made me realize I didn't own a bright pink lipstick; the dire situation that I, of course, had to rectify immediately.

(I say that, but the more likely reason is I just needed something to be in that elephant case. Shhh.)

Exploring new ways to show a lip color? Yes, yes I am.

In the pictures, I am wearing the unabashedly bright fuchsia Paul & Joe Lipstick Refill CS Manège topped with Le Métier de Beauté Clearly Brilliant Lip Gloss. The lipstick is pretty on its own, but it really transforms into a stunner with a clear gloss on top. I've been wearing it for a couple of days now, but I haven't figured out why a touch of sheen makes it infinitely better. For the record, the lipstick is pigmented and has a balmy texture, so it's not because it's drying or anything.

The other part of the Lipstick Bandit assignment was to incorporate the pink in a Valentine's Day look. In my experience, a well executed smokey eye for a date never goes wrong (wink).

And the best part of Lipstick Bandit days, lots and lots of other Lipstick Bandits posts!

And new to the Lipstick Bandits this time around:

Products Used:
Shu Uemura Retractable Eyebrow Pencil in Seal Brown
Rouge Bunny Rouge Time Defying Foundation in Wheat Cream
Guerlain Meteorites Perles du Paradis
Le Métier de Beauté Peau Vierge Correcteur in Light/Medium
Le Métier de Beauté Eye Brightening and Setting Powder in Revive
Le Métier de Beauté Dualistic Eye Pencil in Tamarack
Dolce & Gabbana Femme Fatale Smooth Eye Color Quad
THREE Flash Performance Pencil Eyeliner in 08 Eye On
Annabelle Le Big Show Mascara
Suqqu Balancing Cheeks in 02 Mukuge
Paul & Joe Lipstick Case CS 006 and Lipstick Refill CS 080 Manège
Le Métier de Beauté Clearly Brilliant Lip Gloss
YSL La Laque Couture in Jade Imperial

Jennifer Zeuner Mini Bar Necklace