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.

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