Which Lashes Are Right For You? Tips from Ardell

I picked up an Ardell brochure from Sally's the other day and found out some helpful info. I am writing it on my blog without permission but maybe people will buy lashes and Ardell will forgive me for that ;)

Small Eyes: Ardell Fashion Lashes 109/110, Sweeties/Babies Invisibands, Andrea Modlash 21 or 70

Large Eyes: Ardell Fashion Lashes 105, Inivisbands Hotties/Wispies/Lacies or Andrea Modlash 23

Round Eyes: Ardell Fashion Lash 109, Inivisbands Beauties, Andrea ModLash 21 or 52

Almond-Shaped Eyes: Demi Pixies, Luckies, Andrea Modlash 13

Deep-Set Eyes: Ardell Fashion Lash 131 or Inivisibands Wispies, Demi Wispies and Andrea Modlash 52.

Universal Lashes: Ardell 110

Hope that helps!

Eyeliner 101

Hey everyone!

I got a request to explain the difference between the various types of eyeliner available in the wonderful world of cosmetics. I'm by no means a makeup guru, just a gal that has loved makeup all of her life, has plenty of it, and has learned some tips and tricks along the way!

There are plenty of YouTube tutorials on how to apply your makeup for natural and dramatic looks, so I would like my posts to help out those of you that are timid when it comes to makeup. These posts will be basic yet (hopefully) informative. My goal: make you all less afraid to use makeup. I won't be posting specific brand recommendations in this entry, but if you want any just leave your questions in the comments.

The first thing I would like to say is that you shouldn't be afraid of cosmetics. While some people think they are a way to oppress women, I call bull on that. It's so much fun and it can help you with your confidence, so I don't find that oppressive at all! Makeup really is a creative outlet as much as painting or drawing can be. It is not just a way to make yourself polished--make it fun!

Quick note: I won't be talking about kohl liners (the loose powder type, not kohl pencil) because even I can barely use it without making a mess ;) Here we go, lovelies: Eyeliner 101!


Positives: Good for lining the rim/waterline of your eye (though this isn't recommended since it can clog tear ducts and cause infection) easier to smudge

Negatives: One of the fastest to slide off/disappear if you have oily lids and/or are in hot and humid climates.

-I think everyone starts off with pencil liner because it's readily available and chances are your makeup mentor (usually mom) started off with that as well. The quality of the pencil is very important. You want one that requires little tugging of the eyelid to get a smooth line and one that will stay on all day. Considering my skin type and where I live (Miami) I never use pencil liner without a sealer, because if not it will just melt off.

If your skin isn't as oily you can try out pencil liners. The kind you can sharpen are good because with a sharp point you can get a thinner line and once the point wears down you can make a smokey eye. I've never had much success with twist-up liners, so I won't recommend those.


Positives: Great for retro and bold looks. Also great for when you need to add emphasis to your makeup look without bold color.

Negatives: One of the hardest to apply. Some need time to "dry" (meaning you need to keep your lids closed or your eyes looking downward to prevent the line from smudging)

-By now I have gotten used to liquid liner, but if you're just starting out it will require a lot of practice. You can find liquid liner in pen or "ink well" type packaging. Some liquid liners, like SANA's Maikohan Liner (my favorite in the world) lasts all day, but others can run at the lightest tear or drop of sweat and cause a huge mess (way more messy than pencil can!) If you are a beginner with an adventurous makeup spirit, pick out a cheaper liquid liner from the drug store to practice your technique. Check out YouTube for great makeup tutorials as well!


Positives: Glides on great, (usually) amazing staying power. Available in a rainbow of colors. With the right brush, great control of application and line thickness.

Negatives: Require a separate brush, the product can dry up quickly in the jar.

Technically, cream and gel liner are two different things, but you will often find people calling the two liners by the same name and generally, the packaging and technique is the same. This has become my favorite type of liner, not only because of staying power, but because with the right brush it is the easiest to apply. You don't need to tug on your eyes at all (less wrinkles!) and pretty much every brand, including drugstore lines, are making them now. I would say this is a great product for those of you afraid to use liquid liner to try out. Depending on the quality of your gel/cream liner, you can also get a strong line that gives your look the impact liquid liner does, but without the mess. You can find angled/slanted brushes at the drugstore and those always work well with cream/gel liners. You can either slide the brush along the lid or press it into the lash line.


Positives: You probably already have an eyeshadow! Pretty good staying power, creative flexibility

Negatives: You need a separate brush and some water, some shadows work better with this technique than others

If you have an angled brush, all you need to do is dampen it up and sweep it on the edge of the eyeshadow pan (don't spray your entire shadow with water!) to pick up some color, then you would apply it as you would with a cream or gel liner. It's cheaper than buying a new cream/gel liner if you already have a brush, and you can often get great results depending on the quality of the shadow.


If you want visuals, I can't recommend YouTube enough. There are some great makeup videos on there that will help you understand the technique and placement of liner, as well as give you some insight into the creative things you can do with it. Please leave comments and questions! I will answer as many as I can and as always, feel free to request a post from me. I'll be more than happy to help you out!

Diary: Real Beauty Secrets

(Photo from web...don't know the credits)

This post is for those of you with young girls or those of you just getting started with makeup and skincare. I hope this will save you not only money, but sorrow. A lot of people don't realize how awful low self-confidence and self-esteem can be. Women sometimes compensate for these feelings by purchasing expensive products and makeup they hope will magically change what they don't like about themselves.

I am guilty of that behavior..

I'm very gullible, even as an adult. So you can imagine how awful it was to go through that awkward teenage phase watching skincare and makeup advertisements with my eyes wide open and a whole lotta hope. I kept thinking if I just bought that one cream or lipgloss, I would look like (insert actress name here.)

Now that I know better, I want to clear up some beauty myths to keep as many of you lovelies as I can from making the same mistake. Is there a lesson here? Perhaps. But I won't be preaching, because in many ways I am still as gullible and awkward as I was then.

If anyone can counter something that I wrote with tested advice please feel free to do so! This is all about helping each other out!

1) No amount of product can change genetics- No matter what you put on your face if people in your family (especially mom or dad) are prone to certain skin issues, chances are you will be too. While you can control the issues to a certain extent, no product will make your large pores go away or your dry skin magically smooth forever. Accepting this from the beginning will keep you from compulsive shopping. Think control, not cure.

2) When a celebrity boasts they use a certain expensive product, there's a big chance it's not true- Do you honestly think Sarah Jessica Parker dyes her hair with Garnier? Or that Beyonce dyes her hair with L'Oreal? Let's get real here; they go to top salons and drop hundreds on their tresses. That's not to say box/drugstore dye isn't good, I use box dye/drugstore all the time, just don't expect the same magical transformation the digitally enhanced (and sponsored) commercials give you!

3) Cover models usually use what's in the makeup artist's kit...not what the sidebars suggest they use. - The reason I write this is because I have noticed, many times, that a "get the look" section will suggest products I KNOW were not used on the actresses. How do I know? Because I might have the same product myself and can tell the difference. Or the model will have dark, smokey eyes and the color range of the makeup line wouldn't even cover that look.

I could, of course, be wrong (Please correct me in the comments!) Sometimes products actresses represent ARE used in a shoot, but not always. For example, Jennifer Garner is a spokesperson for Neutrogena. I like Jen Garner, so when she's mentioned in a magazine I pay attention to what she talks about beauty-wise. You are guaranteed to see non-Neutrogena products mentioned. Be cautious when thinking of purchasing something your favorite star mentions. Much like YouTube, you never know if they're being sponsored or given stuff for free. (FTC changed that of course...but only on YouTube and in the blogosphere.)

4. This might be obvious to some...but mascara commercials are as fake as the boobies on South Beach!

If they aren't CGI lashes, they are totally falsies (sometimes more than one pair!). If you want to look like a mascara commercial, skip the tube of Great Lash (which I don't like and don't understand the obsession with) and get some Ardell lashes. They're probably a few steps away from the mascara in your local drugstore.

5) This relates to number 1, but "remedies" aren't a magical cure either.

Megan Fox got some heat for saying she stays thin drinking apple cider vinegar because it "flushes out the toxins." Riiiiight. She's thin and gorgeous because she has the genes and doctors to make her that way. Think of body types. Again I will use Beyonce. She has an hourglass figure that you know she has to work hard to maintain or she could easily gain weight. Apple cider vinegar won't make you or Beyonce look like Megan Fox. If you work out and eat right your body will fall into a healthy weight range (unless you have hormonal issues) and look as it is supposed to look. You can't shrink your skeletal or muscular structure; which plays into how you look at lower and higher weight ranges. If Megan Fox and I wore the same clothing size, we would still look completely different.

*One tip that IS important and true: Drink water. Your insides need it, not just your complexion (and even water won't cure cystic acne-prone skin!) But dehydration contributes to ailments a lot of us face every day (headaches, fatigue, etc.) that aren't much fun.

Bottom line: Products, whether they are for face, hair, nails, or body, will only help so much. They are meant to enhance and soothe issues, not erase them. You can fight certain things with makeup and skincare, but you can't fight your genes and you can't fight nature. Don't spend a fortune trying to find the one product that will! It doesn't exist. Buy what works for you and treat yourself to some things every now and then. But the next time you look at a glossy magazine ad, I hope you remember this post and turn the critical eyes you keep on yourself toward that computer-generated and fake magazine. I need to try my best to do the same.


A Chanel Moment

"Chance is my soul."

"To be irreplaceable, you have to be different."

"True elegance is not luxury, but simplicity."

"Always remove, never add."

These are some of the philosophies of the Chanel empire. Chanel has always been a brand that makes me feel more elegant than I perceive myself to be. Even if it's only with a swipe of their lipgloss, I feel a bit more sophisticated having something with the famous double C logo on it.

Sure, there are other luxury brands out there, but "Chanel" and "glamorous woman" seem to go hand in hand, even when it involves people outside of the fashion world. I recently found a fantastic blog called La Chanelphile. One of her posts is about buying into the "Chanel fantasy" through their cosmetics line. I couldn't agree more with the sentiments she expresses in her post. I feel the same way when I use any of the Chanel makeup products or fragrances--the only Chanel I can afford.

I'm the kind of person that idolizes actresses for their glamour, charm, talent and style--not necessarily their popularity. These actresses and luxury brands all represent ideals I think a lot of women would like to have. When it comes to Chanel, my idea of the epitome of elegance and class, my idolization continues. I have a big imagination and often dream of what it would be like to live a glamorous life where, after all these years, I finally feel like someone OTHER girls would look up to. I guess it all depends on whether or not you believe dreams come true...and how hard you work at trying to achieve them.

Clinique Superfine Liner for Brows

Clinique's automatic and affordable (at $13 USD) brow pencil has become my favorite way to shape my brows, beating out more expensive brands like Anastasia (the brow experts) and even Shu Uemura. This slim pencil lets you fill in your brows as natural or as dramatic as you would like and lasts quite awhile. The texture isn't so creamy that it slides off your brows but it's not so dry you feel like you're scraping your brows off. Even better? The soft brown shade does NOT turn red on the skin! Ladies, especially if you're pale, you know how important this is with your brow pencils. The next time you're at the Clinique counter, try this winner out for yourself.

Safe Sun: Preventing Wrinkles

(The ONLY sunscreen I can wear on my face & decollete...the best!)

I've noticed something at work that I felt warranted a blog post. Women will come to me with tanned skin, some with pinkish sunburn, some with white patches amongst the tanned skin, others with brown spots from sun damage--and ask me to sell them a cream that will take that all away.

Now, I could sell you a cream that might help, but absolutely nothing will take away years of unprotected sun exposure. NOTHING.

I know it's cool to be tan and all (at least here in the West) but if you want to look young for as long as possible, ladies, stay the heck out of the sun as much as you can. If you're going to the beach, wear a high SPF and get your color from a spray tan. The amount a spray tan will cost will probably save you hundreds in the creams you will have to spend later on in life to repair the destruction UVA/UVB rays have done to your skin.

Do you have to wear high SPF all of the time? That is debatable, since there is research that says anything about SPF 15 doesn't really work. However, I can tell you I will burn if I don't wear SPF higher than 50 so I don't know much about that research.

I think people only think of sun protection when they're going to be outside...but even while you drive or just sitting by a large window, you'll be exposed to the rays. I can tell you your hands are always going to be a dead giveaway to your age...it's hard to get plastic surgery there! I recommend, along with your usual sunscreen routine, a hand cream with SPF in it. I usually keep a tube in my purse, put some on and bring it up my forearms if I forgot to put sunscreen that day. I love the Mission cream despite the "sunscreen" smell. The SPF (and price) is better than the Shiseido hand cream. But for face and body? Nothing beats Shiseido's sunscreen.

Cheap Selection: Mission Energizing Hand and Body Moisturizer (SPF 18) ~$9.99 USD

Luxe Selection: Shiseido Benefiance Protective Hand Revitalizer (SPF 8) ~$39 USD

Just remember prevention is easier than correction. Get started with sunscreen now and go faux for a golden glow ;)


Double Cleansing

(Image from ShuUemura.com)

I learned a great analogy during my very short time working for Clinique. It's an analogy I am going to apply to the idea of "double cleansing," something that is only starting to catch on in the Western beauty and skincare world now. Double cleansing is using a product (cleansing oil, popular in the East, or cold cream, more popular in the West) to remove your makeup before performing your skincare routine. I didn't discover this method until my late teens or early twenties, but when I did my skin improved greatly.

See, if you don't take off your makeup (all of it, not just eye makeup) before washing your face (this is where the Clinique analogy comes in) then it's like you're taking a shower with clothes on. You know when you buy salad dressing and the oil is separated from the rest of the ingredients? That's because oil and water don't mix--and guess what makes up your foundations and powders? Even if a product says oil-free, most makeup contains ingredients to keep its consistency (liquid, cream, powder, etc) a certain way. If you put some soap and water it on, not all of it will come off--that's why a lot of companies are so dead set on selling you a toner.

When you use a toner and see there is still makeup on the cotton pad, it means there is still makeup on your skin and any beneficial quality your toner may have (vitamins, exfoliators, whatever) are being blocked by that residue instead of being absorbed (though some argue toners are unnecessary, but that's another post). You want the products you spent your hard-earned cash on to work right, correct? That's where double cleansing comes in.

Now, I'm not an esthetician or a dermatologist, so it's not like I'm giving medical advice here. This is based on years of trial and error with my schizophrenic skin type. There are two things that vastly improved my skin when I discovered them: double cleansing and the Clarisonic.

Cleansing oils are cool because you rub them on your dry face and it literally melts off all of your makeup (take off your contacts before using cleansing oil!) Then, you wet your hands and start to lather the cleansing oil and it turns into a milky liquid...it does NOT stay like an oil on your face! That liquid rinses off and takes your makeup, dirt and oil right down the drain with it. NOW you are ready to do your skincare routine (thus the "Double Cleanse"). With your makeup gone your skin care will actually perform better. If you're acne-prone this will allow your medicated products to actually touch your skin--not skin and foundation residue.

I know the concept of using oil on acne-prone skin sounds weird considering everything you read in the magazines, but this isn't baby oil you're slathering on. Oil breaks down oil--remember the salad dressing! Plus, if you have sensitive skin, cleansing oils are gentler. No matter what skin care program you're using or skin type you have, a cleansing oil will prepare your skin to receive those products effectively.

I like cleansing oils instead of cold cream because of how it breaks down. Cold creams usually leave a film that is hard to get rid of and I definitely don't like it for my skin type. But hey, if it works for you (or you have dry skin) then use it! Here are some of my recommendations for cleansing oils readily available in the US or online:

MAC Cleanse Off Oil- If your skin is very oily, this is the lightest cleansing oil I have tried. It can be a bit drying, even for me. $22 USD.

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil- This one is a bit heavier and has a distinct olive oil smell, which is a trademark ingredient of this Japanese line. I would say it's a better bet for combination to normal and dry skin. Full size product is $21 USD. Travel size $12.50 USD.

Shu Uemura Cleansing Oils- These are considered the "holy grail" of cleansing oils and are the most expensive. However, there are a variety of oils for different skin types. Prices range from $65 USD and up for full sizes, but you know how I feel about Shu Uemura. Though their skincare isn't my favorite, with this product you definitely get what you pay for. Their limited edition bottles feature art by the trendy Japanese artists. If you're a packaging whore like me they can be very tempting if you can afford it!

Pick up a cleansing oil on your next shopping run and try it out, you might like it and get better skin in the long run :)

Julie Hewett Bud of Rose Blush

Julie Hewett Los Angeles
Bud of Rose Blush $24USD

Julie Hewett is a famous makeup artist I found out about after her work on the Ben Affleck film Pearl Harbor. While the movie got horrible reviews, I thought it had nice cinematography and Kate Beckinsale looked amazing in every scene she had. If you like to watch movies for retro looks alone, then definitely check this one out. Ms. Hewett was responsible for creating the shade of lipstick Ms. Beckinsale wore in the movie and soon enough she began her own line of makeup products.

I do own a couple of her lipsticks and they are lovely, but my favorite product has been her Bud of Rose Blush. On my fair skin it can give the lightest glow or a really deep flush of pink depending on your brush and how strongly you apply it. I believe this would give the most beautiful, natural glow on darker skins and would love to know if any darker-skinned ladies like this blush as well. The picture above is from the Julie Hewett site and the blush is now in a compact form, whereas before it was available in an old-school cardboard package. I really love this blush and would purchase again when I run out, but considering you need so little product on your brush to get some color, you won't really run out of it too fast at all! Each time I pull out the red lipstick, I use this blush to complete the retro look--it's just perfect and considering the lasting power, well worth the price. ***New packaging might be smaller (I'm not sure), but my old container is huge!

Clinique Acne Solutions

Clinique Acne Solutions Kit
Basic Kit: Cleanser, Toner, Moisturizer in smaller sizes for $32.50 USD

Line also features: Spot treatments, concealer, scar treatment, mask

There are two kinds of skincare folks: those that despise Clinique's original 3 Step system and those that love it because it works for them.  The original 3 Step never worked for me. They tried to figure out my skin type (I believe my skin has it's own bizarre category) more times than I could remember, but it just never worked. So, when I saw they released an acne line I was also skeptical--but desperate. I needed a simple routine that wasn't super expensive like the products I had been trying (I have tried pretty much everything on the shelves in Sephora) and one that was easy to obtain.

The only other skincare line I have really had success with was Shiseido's Pureness line, but it had more steps, was expensive, and wasn't specifically focusing on blemishes. If you have oily skin with few blemishes, I highly recommend Shiseido's Pureness line. But if you need extra help, then I really think this line from Clinique is a great buy.

Though various products in the line use both salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, these formulations aren't harsh (only the clear spot treatment stings me, but it works!) As you've probably read before, I have sensitive skin and need to be careful with everything I put on my face. Benzoyl peroxide has always been the most effective on my skin to treat blemishes, but the wrong concentration can burn and irritate instead of heal. Luckily with the Clinique Acne Solutions, the 2.5% concentration in the moisturizer is fantastic and suitable for use all over the face. The toner doesn't sting me and the foaming cleanser leaves my skin feeling refreshed.

Here's a tip: I don't use ALL of the products twice a day. I really believe the way and frequency you use products can affect how they work for you. See, since my skin is sensitive I could easily go overboard with this line and do more harm than good. So this is how I incorporate the line into my routine.

AM Routine:

  • Cleansing Foam
  • Toner
  • Prime
  • Makeup Time!

PM Routine:

  • Remove makeup with a cleansing oil (Do not use the foaming cleanser to remove makeup. I firmly believe in the double-cleanse method, where you use another product to remove makeup whether it is cleansing oil, jojoba oil, cold cream or whatever before you use your skin treatments. Otherwise it's like showering with your clothes on! Post on that coming soon.)
  • Wash face with cleansing foam using the Clarisonic brush. Clarisonic says to use a non-foaming cleanser with it, but I'm just a rebel like that :P
  • Toner
  • Moisturize (sometimes I alternate with a retinol cream like Philosophy's Help Me, which has been fantastic so far)
  • Spot treat (some people would say spot treat before, but I spot treat after since rubbing on moisturizer could rub the spot treatment right off!)
I understand my methods are probably different from what you might have read in beauty magazines or heard from your dermatologist, but this has been my experience:

1. Beauty magazines generalize way too much. Not everyone fits into one skin category perfectly, so what happens? You buy a million products based on recommendations that might not be meant for your SPECIFIC type. Don't be afraid to think outside the box. Experiment with skin care and break the rules.

2. But Lourdes, you're over exfoliating!  No, I'm not. My skin is VERY sluggish and if I didn't use the Clarisonic along with the products, which have exfoliants in the form of acids, my skin would be dull with clogged pores and more breakouts. This is the method that has worked for me after YEARS of experimentation (and many worthless visits to various dermatologists.) My esthetician has noticed a significant improvement and sees no damage to my skin because of this method. 

3. I can't say my method will work for you or guarantee anything, but I do know that skincare is rarely a cookie cutter experience. You need to experiment, learn about products and not just buy things because the label says "dry skin" or "oily skin" on it. There are many products for oily skin that are too harsh for me, just like there are dry skin products too rich for some dry skin types. If you use a "system" type skincare like the Clinique Acne Solutions, it also doesn't mean you have to use the exact products twice a day. 

I really recommend this line to those of you desperate to get your skin under control. It's not too expensive and if you buy it during Clinique gift time, you can get yourself some extra goodies! Make sure you ask about return policy in case it doesn't work for you and keep your receipt! If you feel the system is too strong at first, try alternating or cutting back on certain products like I did until you find the routine that works for you. I've  repurchased these products around 4 times now, so they are definitely a beauty favorite for me. I hope it works for you too!

20 Under $20: Drugstore Makeup

This post was a request from Sara and Stephanie in Germany. I've been posting some of my favorites from the higher-end makeup lines and they were looking for something more affordable. I hope they can find some of these products in Germany but those of you in North America shouldn't have much trouble. If I missed something you really like, please write about it in the comments section. I've decided to use ULTA.com as my main source for links and pricing (in US dollars) since ULTA lets you find both drugstore and higher-end lines. Also, ULTA has more products in stock than the corner stores do...I know mine does! Drugstore.com and CherryCulture.com are used when ULTA doesn't have the product. These are not affiliate links!

With warm, neutral and cool shades in a wide variety of colors, L'Oreal True Match brings medium coverage in an oil-free formula with SPF 15. If Dita Von Teese recommends it, you know it's good. I never experienced breakouts or reactions from it, so it's definitely a drugstore favorite.

Despite the "powder" smell most of the CG products including the blushes have, the colors are pretty, natural and give you a healthy glow. Skip the applicator it comes with and use a good blush brush to get the best effect.

Their TLC pressed powder is great for oil control but shade range is limited. The Almay line is great for sensitive skins, just get Translucent if you're not sure about the color.

*Cover Girl's revamped powders are a cheaper alternative at $5.99

If you don't want to pay for MAC Fluidlines (which are amazing) then check out the funky colors L'Oreal HIP provides.

Their Infallible lipgloss is very similar in texture to Lancome's lipgloss, triangular applicator and all…but a lot cheaper. Colour Riche is also a great formula. Gorgeous colors!

Forget spending tons of money on brow gel…just get this clear mascara for the same effect.

Make Up For Ever, MAC and Shu Uemura make great lashes, but Ardell is the perfect drugstore solution. They make demi lashes, accent lashes, full lashes and even individual lashes. Glue is usually included. For funkier lashes look at NYX's lines.

Might have to go to a beauty supply store or an Ulta for these, but they are still drugstore priced and worth every penny. Great color payoff and selection.

Amazing blush. I would choose these over the Cover Girl ones if you can find them.

Smooth, not sticky, great colors and formulas go from sheer to opaque. NYX is one of my favorite brands for color at a great price. 

You'll see this one mentioned in magazines a lot and with good reason. 

Good luck taking this off, even with an oil-based makeup remover. Amazing mascara for extreme heat or emotional situations. It will not budge! 

e.l.f. Studio Brushes- $30.00 but there are usually sales where you can get them 50% off!

e.l.f. usually has great sales on their website www.eyeslipsface.com. If you're looking for great brushes check out their studio line set! It will get the job done.

Great for cleansing the skin in the morning when you don't have makeup to remove. Rinse off with water or use a dry washcloth to remove excess and leave a bit on if your skin is on the dry side. Avoid the "Oily Skin" formula because it is LOADED with fragrance and will do nothing good for your skin. 

Seriously. Get fragrance-free baby wipes and remove your eye and face makeup before using your skincare products. If they're good enough to be used down there...

Drumbeat Red is one of the prettiest drugstore reds I've seen. Though L'Oreal lipsticks have that dreaded lipstick smell, the colors are worth it. Try Maybelline lipstick if you really can't stand the waxy scent lipstick sometimes has.

Not as many colorful shades as the L'Oreal HIP line, but the brush it comes with is great for applying liner and the formula is long lasting. This is my fav new drugstore product.

Amazing color range including pretty neutral tones.

The runner up to the e.l.f. studio brushes. I would recommend the e.l.f. brushes over these, which are only found at CVS. Get these if you don't want to order online, but the e.l.f. brushes are A LOT better!

Long-lasting if you can use pencil liner and has great colors including white and a gorgeous sapphire blue.

Well, there you go! I'm sure there are things I've missed but it was a challenge to come up with this list. Drugstore prices are on the rise and sometimes it's not worth paying something close to MAC prices when you can just buy MAC and get a better product. Let me know what your drugstore favorites are in the comments. If they're international products, please provide a link where they can be purchased!

SANA Maikohan Eyeliner

Sana MAIKOHAN Eyeliner (Japan)
Price: $15.40 USD on Sasa.com

I discovered this eyeliner during my 2006 trip to Japan and since then this has become my "Holy Grail" eyeliner.

The packaging is beautiful (as you can see in the picture) and the pen is black with red cherry blossoms at the bottom. The MAIKOHAN line is maiko-centric, so you will find they look like traditional geisha makeup compacts and packaging. The eyeliner, which isn't watery, features a brush applicator. The brush bristles are packed tightly and they don't fray, giving it a solid feel that makes for an easier application. You can control the thickness of the line depending on how you hold the pen. Hold it sideways and your line will be thicker. Hold the pen pointing directly at your lid and the line will be thinner. 

While this color is "black" the black is not harsh (I am very pale and this works great). I believe it is suitable for lighter skin tones and a great natural liner for the darker tones. As the day goes on and your wear time increases, there may be a slight fading that reveals a slight blue/grey undertone, but it doesn't look messy. I haven't had transfer problems when used on bare skin and using an eyeshadow base helps the liner last even longer.

As a side note, I never wear liner underneath my eyes without sealer, because no matter what eyeliner I use, there will be meltdown towards the end of the day. So when I use Sana's MAIKOHAN I only wear it on my top lid. If you want a great makeup sealer I highly recommend Benefit Cosmetics' She Laq. This will make your liner and lipstick stay for hours. I only wear pencil liners with this sealer as well. No pencil liner has ever stayed on without melting on me, which is very sad considering how many pretty pencil liners are out there.

She Laq is a bit pricey but, like I said in the intro, I've tried it and it works! So if you have oily skin or just want your liner and lipstick to last all day, check out She Laq. If you're looking for a great eyeliner that is long lasting and easy to apply, check out Sana's MAIKOHAN liner.

Nails a la Dita

For today's post, I'll let you in on how I do my nails like Dita Von Teese. Now, there are plenty of YouTube videos that teach you the same thing, but this is just my version.

Anyway, there are three keys to achieving Dita style nails.

1) Your nails must be longer and filed into a round shape. I do this myself because when I go to the nail salon and ask for a round shape, the tech gives me a look of disgust and tells me that's an old lady shape. Well techy, your old lady is my vintage. Dita's nails are sometimes filed into a more pointed shape, but I just stuck to round for this.

2) Impeccable cuticles. I won't get into the cut or push debate here. I push back my cuticles regularly and try only to cut what is excessive. I find that if I cut my cuticles they become choppy and dry. I really like to use the Sephora by O.P.I cuticle oil pen to keep my cuticles moisturized without turning my fingers into an oil slick. Can't have oily fingers when you're typing on a white laptop!

3) Your secret weapon--reinforcement labels. Yes, those little white circle stickers you put on paper to keep it from falling out of your binder is your secret weapon. I take one sticker, cut it in half and use them to cover the "moons" of my nails. The moon of your nail is the white semi-circle at the top of your nail. Some people use the French manicure guides, but those aren't round enough for me.

Once your nails are shaped appropriately, apply a base coat. You can do this manicure with any color, but red is the traditional choice. Dita usually wears cream colors but the shade of nail polish I used had shimmer. Dita has said via Twitter that she loves MAC's Nail Lacquer in Shirelle, a gorgeous, creamy red.

This manicure does take time, so if you can prepare your nails the night before (file, cuticles, base coat) it will save you some time. The next day your nails will be protected by the base coat and ready for the stickers. Place the stickers carefully so the moons are evenly covered. Think of the stickers as blue painter's tape when you're trying to paint stripes on your walls or protect your doorways--you want to keep the red off of the moons of your nail.

Once you're happy with the placement of the stickers, paint your nails as you normally would. You aren't going to wait until your nails are completely dry because removing the stickers would then be impossible. So, wait until it's ALMOST dry. Test taking off the sticker on your pinky finger--it's the easiest to repaint and try again if you mess up. Ideally, you want the sticker to come off without disrupting the polish's border. It might be difficult to get this right the first time, I attempted this manicure about three times before I was able to have any luck! Don't forget to finish off with a great top coat after letting the polish dry.

The finished results are below. My nails are nowhere near as long as Dita's because I can't type well with long nails, but the results looked great in person. Now get those labels and try out this vintage look!

Rimmel Stay Matte Powder

Rimmel London Stay Matte Pressed Powder
Price: $4.99 USD

Rimmel Says: Controls shine for up to 12 hours. Minimizes the appearance of pores with a natural, matte finish. You won't go out without it!

For the price and performance I really love this pressed powder. It's cheap, doesn't break me out and it's generally easy to find. While the UK website says there are 6 shades available, I've only found 3 in the US, and I use "Transparent." I don't believe the color might show up ashy on darker tones, but you would have to experiment.

My only gripe is the packaging. The US version features a clear top that comes off, leaving you with the bottom piece/powder--no mirror! If they could make this product with a compact mirror and separate compartment for the puff/sponge (there isn't one now) I would be in heaven! It would let me use the product throughout the day for touch ups without having to store an extra sponge and mirror in my makeup bag.

I think the 12 hours shine control claim is a bit much, but Miami humidity is ruthless and not much stands up to it! Despite the packaging gripes, Rimmel London's Stay Matte Powder is definitely a beauty favorite of mine.

Net Picks: Belle Blossoms

Belle Blossoms by Heather (Photo from www.littlebellesboutique.com)

I  remember my grandmother telling me there was nothing more beautiful a girl could do than tuck a fresh flower behind her ear. She said that as a young woman she would sing as she cleaned the house and always made sure she had on her lipstick and her signature hair flower. I guess that imagery and beauty advice stuck with me, because I believe a fresh flower in the hair is a delicate and natural way to enhance your beauty. Here in South Florida we get gorgeous tropical blooms like orchids and hibiscus--but you can't ignore roses, lillies and all of the other beautiful blossoms nature provides either.

Hair flowers are also a big part of achieving a retro or pinup look, but it's not fun to pluck a fresh gardenia, tuck it in your hair then find there are little creepy crawlies inside. Trust me, I speak from experience. So, when I was watching one of my favorite YouTube Gurus, Lisa Freemont, I saw her review on Belle Blossoms and decided to order a few goodies.

As you all know I always like supporting independent business, especially when the owners go above and beyond to make sure I received and liked my items like Heather did. I am writing this review not because I received anything for free (I didn't) but because I truly enjoyed the quality of these hair clips.

The flowers come on a "prong" style clip that is covered in green felt to a) appear to be the flower's back/stem and b) keep from pulling at your hair or denting it. Heather makes tons of different bows, flowers, fascinators and more. I got a few things including an adorable rockabilly leopard-print bow, a gardenia (my favorite) and some roses. I loved it all, but the roses blew me away.

None of the blossoms I received felt cheap or "papery." The prices and shipping are very fair and if you friend Heather on Facebook, you can get the inside scoop on discount codes. But anyway, back to those roses. They feel exactly like a rose. They even have little "imperfections" to make the flower look as close to the real thing as possible (without the creepy crawlies!) The flowers don't feel heavy or uncomfortable on the hair either, so you don't have to worry about messing up your 'do!

If you're brave enough for a fascinator and love feathers as much as I do, Heather also makes gorgeous clip-ins for your hair. They're perfect for a more burlesque touch to your outfit or a look closer to the 20's and 30's style. If you're looking for great hair accessories on a budget and want to support small business owners then check out Belle Blossoms!

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