Sunday, September 23, 2012

You Look Rested

When was the last time you heard that? I heard it the other week actually. Was it because I got a good nights sleep and was well rested? Don't be ridiculous! Concealer baby. Concealer.

I've had dark circles under my eyes forever. They are genetic. Then add allergies. Then add the fact I haven't gotten a proper night's sleep since at least 2010 (that's only as far back as I can prove). I had a sleep study done and I have alpha-EEG anomaly or alpha-wave intrusions. Basically, my brain keeps waking itself up (13 times an hour) so I never reach delta sleep, where your body restores itself, for very long, if at all.

So I have serious dark circles, as I'm sure many of you do as well. I don't know any chronically ill person who sleeps properly. Either they sleep enough, but it's useless, or they have horrible insomnia from being in pain or as a side effect from medications (Prednisone packs anyone?). Lucky for you I have spent literally twenty years trying to cover my dark circles, and have finally found the answer.

I'm going to start by recommending a product I've never tried, but have heard great things about. (This isn't the answer, just something I hear is magic). I haven't tried it because, and you are going to hear me say this a lot, they just don't make it in a shade light enough for my skin tone. Yves Saint Laurent Touché Eclait concealer is supposed to be great for covering dark circles because it has tiny iridescent particles in it to reflect the light off your dark circles. It's a liquid and comes in a little click pen for easy application. Now, this might work great for the general population, but I for one am skeptical of the ability of any liquid concealer to cover the dark circles of the chronically ill.

So here is your answer: Benefit Cosmetics Boi-oing Concealer and Bobbi Brown Corrector. This is one of the few times where I'm going to say there is no drugstore option. Physician's Formula makes color correcting concealers that are the same idea as Bobbi Brown Corrector, but you sacrifice a lot of quality for $14 in savings. It's not worth it. As for the Boi-oing, there is nothing in the drugstore. Period. I have tried them all. Revlon, L'oreal, Maybelline, Cover Girl, Max Factor, etc. The only cheaper option I feel comfortable giving you is MAC Studio Finish concealer, which is a whole $2 less. Sorry!

It's a bit of an initial investment, but those two little pots are going to last you a long time. Both of these products have extremely high pigment density (meaning a whole lot of color in a little bit of product), so a little goes a long way. If you don't want to, or can't, buy both at once, I'd get the Corrector first.  Use that with whatever concealer you have now.  

Bobbi Brown Corrector comes in twelve shades, some more pink, some more yellow. Choose the one that works for you. Benefit Boi-oing, sadly, only comes in five shades. Not sure what genius thought that was a good idea. So you have three options. If you fall in between, you can buy two pots and mix them together. Or you can try their Erase Paste. This one only comes in three shades (Seriously, what is going on over there?) but those three seem to fall halfway between some of the Boi-oing shades. I've never tried the Erase Paste because the "Light" shade isn't light enough.

Or you can go to the MAC counter. I don't like Studio Finish quite as much as Boi-oing, but MAC makes every skin tone under the sun. Also, the Benefit ones tend to be on the dry side and can settle into fine lines, so the MAC might be a better option if you have a lot of wrinkles in your under eye area. It's a little oilier, but in a good way.

Here are my dark circles with nothing on them (except clear foundation primer). I told you they were serious.

And this is the end product. Look at me, looking all well rested!

This video will give you step by step application instructions:

My next post will be all about how to fake seven days worth of skin care regimen in one step.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Saving Your Makeup

According to experts, you should throw away your foundation, lipsticks and eye shadows every six to twelve months, and mascara every two to three months.

Are you freakin kidding me?

I have the biggest problem with the mascara one. I'm very lucky to work from home, so I wear makeup once or twice a month. So according to experts, I should get about two to six uses out of my $30 LancĂ´me mascara, then chuck it? Puh-lease.

I have an enormous makeup collection. (refer to exhibit A), much of it well over five years old and all of it in perfect condition. I'm going to tell you how to make ALL of your make up last a long time.

1) Get it out of the bathroom. Are you really wearing makeup often enough to justify it being in the bathroom anyway? That's prime real estate! You are? Good for you! Get it out anyway. The temperature and humidity changes are going to destroy everything. I store mine in the closet next to the bathroom, but it really doesn't matter where you put it, linen closet, sock drawer, with your Christmas decorations. Just get it out of the bathroom.

2) Put it all in one place. Okay, this isn't so much about making it last as it's about me hating it when makeup is scattered randomly all over the place. You can pick up a cheap cosmetic bag pretty much anywhere, or check out Caboodles.  They have a lot of options to choose from. Or you can go high end and get a nice train case. And for those out there with serious addictions, I recommend a good tool box from your local hardware store (refer to exhibit B).

3) Clean your brushes. This one is important, especially if you only wear your makeup once in a while. If you let a dirty brush sit there for a week, it's going to grow bacteria. Then you dip it into your eyeshadow or whatever, and boom! You've contaminated the whole thing. Do not, however, buy commercial brush cleaners. These are usually loaded with alcohol and will trash your brushes, not to mention usually totally overpriced. I use a great product made for artists called Master's Brush Cleaner, but you can use any gentle cleanser (shampoo or face wash both work fine). Brushes can wait a couple days before you wash them, but sponges you should wash immediately. Honestly, if you're using the little cosmetic sponges that are $3 a dozen, you should just toss it every week if you apply makeup daily or after every use if your an occasional user.

4) Don't use your makeup when you have an eye infection. Or a cold sore. Or anything else weird going on.  Do I really need to tell you that? If you do use anything, clean it with an alcohol wipe after. My advice is to not use anything you are too attached to, as alcohol will sometimes damage your product. Mascara of course, you just buy a new one for the week of your eye infection. If you're like me and enjoy a pricey mascara, a good drugstore option is L'oreal Voluminous mascara in Carbon Black. If you want to pick up a cheap shadow palette you can chuck at the end of the week, go with Wet'n'Wild. (I'm not kidding. They make great eyeshadow. I have several in my permanent collection.)

5) Don't pump that mascara brush! You're mascara is going to dry out eventually. It is a sad fact of life. I usually get about a year out of mine, sometimes longer. Why? I never pump. That injects air into the mascara, which dries it out faster. To load the wand, unscrew the cap, then without removing the brush, swirl it around a few times. Works better than pumping anyway. You will get a gob on the end of the wand, so be mindful to wipe it off on the tip of the tube before applying.

Now, I know most of you aren't following the expert's advice anyway. I know I'm lucky if I feel well enough to get the science projects and biological warfare out of my refrigerator, much less start checking my makeup bin for expiration dates. I use the same rule of thumb with my makeup as I do in the fridge: if it looks or smells funky, probably better to let it go.