beauty regimen

when asked to break down just how it is that i do my makeup, i thought, what better place to share then here at the violet--a space that encourages natural beauty and the enhancement of one's greatest assets?

my beauty philosophy is one of ease and simplicity. making a little bit of work go a long way.

i actually made a little low-quality video of my process step-by-step but until i figure out how to work imovie or upload videos of a certain size to vimeo, we'll have to make do with what follows.



i am all about skin-care. it's my big thing. i put spf on my face every day. and then i put it on my neck and the backs of my hands (i want to age gracefully all over). i eat kale and cucumbers because i know they're good for my face (among other parts of the body). i take my make-up off before bed and then i moisturize all over again. as a very wise woman once said to me, the party happens at night. meaning: it is while we sleep that the body works to restore itself--so cream before bed is the absolute best time to give your skin a little love. my secret moisturizing weapon is toner. i always apply toner just before the moisturizer. it preps the skin so the cream gets down in there--otherwise you're just moving it around on the surface of your skin.

for toner i use clinique clarifying lotion #2 (the purple one). it's relatively well-priced. for moisturizer i use absolue premium (both day and night). this stuff does not come cheap. but man oh man does it work better than anything else i've tried. i have a mild case of rosacea and it transformed my skin--returned it to it's most natural (and best) state.

another skin-care secret? i sleep with a humidifier. new york city winters are brutal and the heaters in these old apartments (new ones too, i imagine) will suck the moisture out of the air faster than you can will spring to come.  a humidifier helps hydrate the skin, as well as the throat. and during the summer the cool mist variety can do wonders in place of a traditional air conditioner.

am i beginning to sound vain, yet? that's okay. i'm okay with that. here's the thing. some of it's vanity. and some of it's not. the skin is the largest of the body's organs. it's worth taking care of. it's worth protecting agains the harmful rays of the sun. and it's worth investing in now so that when we're older we won't be thinking about plastic surgery, but marveling at all the fine lines we've worked hard to earn.

when applying my daily moisturizer, i never neglect the eye area--it's the most delicate skin on the face. i find clinique's all about eyes is a the best bang for your buck. it lightens the dark bags (and keeps the skin fresh.


eye base and liner

in a perfect world, the next step in the process is the application of eye makeup. this comes before concealer and foundation because often the shadow will deposit flurries which then defeats the purpose of the two products you've just applied.

for every day use i go with an eye base--a cream that goes on easily and allows eye shadow to adhere without getting stuck in the crease. and that's all. well, that and a little liner and mascara. the eye base (i use trish mcavoy's sand) gives the eye a definite color and brightness. and brightness in the eye area, along with a little definition (which is where the liner comes into play) is all i'm really after. to apply my liner i use a small angled brush and a dark plum and then just lay it down along the lash line. i don't stroke it, but simply lay it down, lift, lay it down again, adjacent to the first mark and on an on until i've done the length of my eyelid. does this make sense? see, the video would come in handy here.

tip: when i want a a more polished look i'll wet the brush before laying it in the liner (this allows for a more defined line).


brow set, eyelashes

after the base and liner i go for the kill: mascara!

my secret to long lashes lies in a little product that is not mascara, but lash grower. it's called lilash and can be ordered online. it runs about 120 dollars but make sure to google search for a coupon and enter the code at checkout. i am still on my first tube (i got it sometime in december) and have seen amazing results. now i use it about once a week, that's all.

there are all sorts of ways to put on mascara. often i place the brush just under my lash line, give it a wiggle and pull up. other methods include blinking down onto the wand or actually applying the mascara to the top of the lashes and then coming from underneath to de-clump. lost yet? because of the shape of my eyes, i give special attention to the outer corner lashes--making sure to maximize their length, giving the whole eye a bit of a winged effect.

i splurge on the lash-grower and save on mascara by using maybelline's volume express: the falsies.

another tip: when i have a really special occasion--a wedding to go to, or a big party, or if ever i just want to feel my absolute most beautiful i'll buy a drug-store pack of false lashes. they never fail to impress.


concealer and foundation

alright, we've made it to concealer! oh how i love some good concealer. i begin in the corner of the eye and work down along the line of my nose. if you've been here before you must have seen my fantastic pictures describing such. because we've already discussed it, i won't go into much detail. but i will say, for me concealer is the difference between feeling like i just woke up versus feeling like i can head out for whatever the day might bring. concealer is my tipping point of beauty--in the best possible way.

right now i'm using mary kay's concealer in yellow.

and now my favorite part: foundation. i used to hate foundation. i couldn't wear it without feeling overdone. but now that i am a woman of a certain age i see it for what it is: a blessed tool to give that long sought after glow! i kid a little, but not really. foundation doesn't need to be heavy to really do it's job. in fact, i suggest that it not be. right now i'm using trish mcevoy's even skin foundation in shade number two. i apply it with a great stippling brush.

of possible beauty feaux-pas i consider the strong mark of foundation on the jaw-line into a make-up free neck among the worst. you know what i mean don't you? the line of demarcation between covered and not? it is easy to avoid this buy choosing the right shade for your skin, making sure to diffuse the line as you apply the makeup by actually getting foundation on your neck, and if all else fails take a little of your daily cream and rub it along the jaw-line.

foundation for me is always seasonal. sometimes i want to wear a powder. sometimes a liquid. sometimes i want to appear dewey, other times i want a good matte, polished look. whenever i use a powder foundation, i always apply a primer first. may i suggest any primer by smashbox? in fact, there is a theory that many of the mineral makeups out there will, over time, cut your skin and thus enlarge your pores because the minerals themselves are not perfectly cylindrical. i don't know how much truth there is to this, but i will say that with a primer you don't have to worry one way or the other. primer is also great because it creates a really even canvas on which to put the powder--and it will extend the life of your makeup--both how it stays on during the day, as well as how long a container will last. primer means less is more!

i want to take a minute to talk about investing in a really great set of brushes. brushes, good ones, do not come cheap. but in my humble opinion they make all the difference in how the makeup goes on and therefore the overall effect. brushes should last a good long time so don't be afraid to build up your collection slowly. i ask for the ones i want for my birthday or christmas. i would rather use a really great brush to apply a maybelline (or any other drugstore) powder foundation then a bad brush to apply the most luxurious and beautiful makeup that money can buy.



after applying foundation i apply bronzer just below the apples of my cheeks and work my way up just under or on the cheekbone--this step i do more by feel than anything else. i make sure to get a little swipe on my forehead, nose, and chin (all places the sun naturally hits).



i then take the side of the brush and swipe on some 1. bronzer (again) and 2. blush. only during spring and summer do i mix the bronzer and blush together on the brush. i apply this to the apples of my cheeks.

okay. almost there.

most move onto the lips from here and that's that. but i...well, i go for the eyebrows.

i used to get my eyebrows done at any run-of-the-mill nail salon. now i go to the benefit brow bar. it's about twice as much (where before it was ten, i now pay twenty {add 5 bucks for a tip}). but like my friend erica said, it's like a haircut for your eyebrows and we girls now that a good haircut is worth investing in. and wow, do the people at that brow bar know their stuff. they've changed the shape of my brows and it really makes a difference in my overall look. daily, i fill in my brows using the benefit brow set. i like my brows full and just ever-so-slighly-unruly.

most days for my lips i use trish mcevoy's luxe lip balm-i like what the yellowish tint does to the color of my lips (and it's got spf!). sometimes, if i'm feeling especially spicy i'll apply a lipstick (i most like those by smashbox, nars, and make up forever). the only time i ever line my lips is if i'm doing a deep red--in which case i always line my lips--because the red tends to bleed.

and that's it.

phew. you exhausted? me too.

in truth though, all this takes ten, fifteen minutes, tops.

and now for the real thought to leave you with:

yes, i invest in my appearance. but for me, makeup and skincare is just the tip of the iceberg when investing in beauty.

the best brand of beauty is an outward reflection of happiness. so i eat well, dance around to noah & the whale in nothing but my nickers, and take time to do what i love.