Friday, April 20, 2012

Nail Stuff

Hi ho, Beauties!

Today I would like to talk about nail polish.  I really love nail polish for the same reason I love jewelry - it doesn't really matter how old, how not slim, or how under the weather you might be feeling - your nails will, under most circumstances, NEVER give you away! :)  Isn't that wonderful?  So nail polish should be your friend, and you should avail yourselves of the pretty colors out there on a regular basis - you can always look down and see that pretty color you chose - just ignore the age spots and crepey look and you'll be In Like Flynn.  (It's an OLD saying, girls.  If you were born after about 1962 you won't ever have heard it before.  But then again, if you're born after 1962 you probably won't be reading this, will you? )

So, on to the pretty stuff.  Most of us oldies have probably had the luxury of having had a professional manicure at least once, but if you haven't, no reason to despair.  I think that I can safely say that most of us can do a pretty decent job of making our nails look nice.  The toes, that's another story, but we're not going to go there today. :)  In any event, though, I think we all know the basics of a nice manicure:  remove old polish; soak in some sort of warm, soapy liquid for a while; push back the cuticles; trim and shape the nail; apply a base coat; apply two coats of color; apply top coat; let dry for a good, long time; enjoy the lovely effect for as long as it lasts, which may or may NOT be quite as long as you had hoped.

I've been sucked in by Butter London, same as many of you might have been.  I read about it, I saw it in the stores, and, sure enough, I bought a few bottles of it.  This stuff is a tad expensive.  At least, I, for one, consider fourteen dollars for ONE BOTTLE of nail polish to be a LOT of money!!!  It makes OPI's  eight or (for the 'designer series') nine dollars a bottle to seem pretty reasonable.  And, let's face it, even eight dollars for a bottle of nail polish might be pushing it, so I think it's fair to say that Butter London's fourteen dollars is truly over the top.  And it might even be worth it if it lasted, say, three days without chipping.  But, guess what, ladies?  IT DOESN'T EVEN MAKE IT 24 HOURS without chipping.  At least, it didn't last for me, and I'm not working as a cleaning lady these days......I'm kind of living a life of leisure now, what with having only one teen child left at home and the rest out on their own, cleaning their own houses, cooking their own meals, and washing their OWN dishes!  In theory, my nail polish should last quite some time and still look good.  In theory.  Real life always kinds of trumps theory, though, doesn't it?

Above you can see a selection of some colors I tried out recently:  from L to R, we have OPI's UhOh Roll Down theWindow (horrors!!!! my aged eyesight did not realize the name of this color until just now with my readers on!!!); Butter London's Wallis; Butter London's Fash Pack; and A Taupe the Space Needle from OPI.  Ladies, I really am not sure that we Older Beauties are meant to wear colors like these.....or, well, maybe we can WEAR them, but it might take us a while to get USED to seeing them on our hands.  I don't know about you, but having grown up in the fifties, sixties, and early seventies, I was kind of brainwashed into believing that our nails were meant to wear pinks, purples, mauves, and reds.  Greens, blues, blacks, and browns are kind of Goth, and most of us are at the age where Goth doesn't read very well...hell, it doesn't even read well on the young'uns, so how could it possibly fare well with US?  :)  I know that I've seen Joan Rivers on the Q wearing blue or green nail polish, and gawd knows, she's even older than most of us, but it is still kind of shocking to me to see anything other than the colors of my youth on nails.  Give me a Peach-A-Boo any day! 

No matter what color you choose to wear, though, please remember to add that all-important Top Coat!  I have been using Seche Vite, and like it very much - it seems to add an extra dollop of shine that really makes the color you are wearing look wonderful.  

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Foundation or No Foundation?

Today I am going to really go out there on a limb and talk about my Foundation Aversion.  Having started wearing makeup in the late sixties/early seventies, my original choice of foundation was between Cover Girl liquid (which kind of smelled like Noxema facial cleanser) and some sort of Bonnie Bell glop in a tube, picked up from the local 'dimestore'.  Sound familiar?  Of course, in those days, there were usually a few zits to cover up, and I recall spending time each morning trying to make sure that no one could see the little Clusters of Delight that I had woken up with on that particular morning. First I daubed a bit of the liquid foundation on, and then I powdered it over with some Cover Girl pressed powder.  I am pretty sure that I fooled no one, but lots of the girls were in the same boat back then, and we all just kind of looked the other way and hoped that OUR skin didn't look as bad as HER skin (but it probably did), and that was that.

Well, since those days, I have discovered something:  unless you absolutely need foundation to cover up a real disfigurement on your skin, you are probably better off without it.  Yes.  Really.  With very few exceptions, I have come to believe that wearing a foundation all over your face adds years to your 'look', and I'm pretty sure that if you are already an Old Broad, you do NOT want years added to your 'look'!  My opinion on this subject was firmly cemented several years back, when my oldest daughter (then in her late twenties) came over one day wearing a full face of foundation.  OMG, it made HER look older, and, believe me, this girl (now in her early thirties and mama of two) can usually pass for at least ten years younger than she really is.  No lie.  She herself came to the very same conclusion as I did:  Ix-Nay on the Oundation-Fay if you want to slash a few years from your countenance. 

Foundation likes nothing better than to seek out each and every line on your face, hunker down, and scream out, "Look at ME!  Look what I found!"  And, while you might want SOME parts of your face to be screaming, "Look at ME!", your fine lines and wrinkles are NOT those parts. (Hint:  lips and eyes are good!)

I am not saying that you don't need to cover a few little things (like dark circles and minor blemishes/red spots), but I AM saying that you don't need to cover your entire face with foundation.  Many makeup artists have been a fan of this particular approach for years now, and it has served me quite well, too.  Here is what you can do:

Using a brush or your ring finger, take your favorite concealer (my current one is Mally Cancellation Concealer, which can be found on the QVC website - and pat it gently where you see darkness under your eye.  I start at the inner corner of my eye and go up as well as down, because I have darkness above the inner corner.  I also do not apply undereye concealer further than the middle of my undereye.  Most people do not have darkness under the entire eye.  It is concentrated at the inner corners.  When you go totally under the eye, from inner corner to outer corner, you are calling more attention to the crows-feet that are most likely lurking at the outer corners, and we are trying to avoid calling attention to lines, remember?  :)

I love my Smashbox Precision Concealer Brush for initial application of the concealer, and I stand looking at my bathroom mirror to apply it.  I find that I can't do a really great job of applying makeup without the use of TWO mirrors - the large, 'regular' bathroom mirror over the sink, and my lit, 10x magnifying mirror.  The large mirror is good to check your look from a 'distance', and the magnifying mirror helps with the blending and close work.  After I have applied the initial amount of concealer (using the brush and looking into the large mirror while applying it), I put down the brush and peer into the 10x magnifying mirror, and use my ring finger to gently press (or mush) the concealer into the skin to blend.  Blending is VERY important.  We don't want telltale lines anywhere, and using a finger to blend lets the warmth of your body work the concealer into the skin well.  Stand up and look in the large mirror again.  Just applying undereye concealer should brighten up your face considerably.  Well, at least that's what it does for me!  LOL

Next, we move on to any small imperfections/spots.  I have a few of those, and to cover them up, I use my Bare Escentuals Well Rested.  If you are a warm skintone, you might like this very much - it's very 'yellow' and matches my skintone perfectly.  If you are a cool skintone, you would do better with one of the Bisque Multi-tasking Face products - there is the original Bisque, Summer Bisque, Honey Bisque, Dark Bisque, and Deep Bisque, so you should be able to find one that matches your skintone well.  I use my Bare Escentuals Precision Concealer brush, a handy dandy little thing, and press a small bit of my Well Rested right onto the spot I want to hide, and then I press again with my finger to blend well.  If you have matched your skintone, these powders will melt right into your own skin and look very natural.  They have pretty decent staying power, and I rarely touch up my face during the day, except for the lips. 

Even though you may have skipped covering your entire face with foundation, you might still like to try a Primer.  (Probably should have started with this, since you apply the primer after your moisturizer but before any makeup, but, oh, well, that's the way Old Brains seem to work these days!)  Primers kind of soften your look, and your skin feels amazingly smooth when you apply them.  I have tried a sampling of various primers out there, including Mally's Perfect Prep Primer Glow, Laura Geller's Face Spackle (in the original formula), Prime Time by Bare Escentuals (in several different formulations, including Original, Neutralizing, and Brightening), and the Smashbox offering (not pictured below).

The Bare Escentuals products are nice, and even my twentysomething youngest daughter likes the Neutralizing formula.  Mally's product gives you a smattering of sparklies, and I know that many of you are not fond of sparklies, so hers might not be for you, although I think that hers might make my skin feel the absolute smoothest when I apply it.  There are so many primers out there now, I suggest that you get over to your local Ulta or Sephora and try a few on your hand to see what you think.

Skin looks best when the natural luminosity can shine through, and foundation covers this up.  Take a deep breath, leave the foundation in the drawer, and see what happens.  You might be surprised!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Newest Lip Finds

I visited my local Sephora the other day and landed in Tangerine Heaven!  Some of you may know that Pantone has declared that 2012's color of the year is Tangerine, or "Tangerine Tango", as they call it.  (Pantone, founded in 1963, is "a wholly owned subsidiary of X-Rite, is the world-renowned authority on color and provider of color systems and leading technology for the selection and accurate communication of color across a variety of industries.")

Sephora has teamed up with Pantone to create a line of cosmetics that feature the 'It" color of the year.  These items were displayed front and center when I walked into Sephora the other day, where you cannot miss the array of lipglosses, blushes, eyeshadows, brushes, and nailpolishes.  I've been reading about this Limited Edition collection from other beauty bloggers, and was excited to see it in person.  Makeup 'Ho that I am, I left a small chunk of change behind, and in, turn, gleefully left the store with a bulging bag of goodies. :)

As a fair, Warm-Skintoned Old Broad, I am actually flattered by this new Color of the Year. (And so will the rest of you Warm-Skintoned beauties out there, young, old, or in-between.)  However, I need to state right here that Tangerine Tango is not a color for everyone, and certainly not a color for a Cool-Skintoned Old Broad! If you were ever color analyzed and were told that you are a Winter or a Summer, do not even attempt to wear Tangerine Tango.  Most of you would not want to anyway, instinctively knowing it is not right for you, but I am certain that a few of you will be tempted.  Save your pennies for colors that are more flattering to your cool skintones, like lovely cool pinks and mauves that make us Warm-Skintoned Old Broads look one step closer to the Great Beyond than we already are. For those of you who might have been told years ago that you are a Spring or an Autumn, these colors are for you!

People have raved about the packaging, but I personally do not give two hoots about packaging.  In fact, I would MUCH rather see less packaging for both environmental and pricing reasons.  Give me the naked tube and charge me less, thankyouverymuch!  But for most lines out there, packaging is part of the, well, package, and you just can't get away from it.  (As an aside, Aveda is a line of products that seems to try to create less packaging waste, and has a very unique way of packaging lipstick to help save the environment, one lipstick tube at a time.)  HOWEVER, I will say that I do love the actual tube of Tangerine Tango Cream lipstick itself.  Refreshingly, it is WHITE, (are you or are you not a tad tired of all of the BLACK tubes out there?) and the cap slips onto a silver-toned base with a nice, magnetic CLICK. 

But, of course, what is really important is the lipstick itself, and Tangerine Tango did not disappoint me.  It is a glorious, rich, deep coral-orange, which applies very smoothly and lasts a decent amount of time, given no unusual uses of the lips......(don't try to eat a salad with an oil-based dressing or bite into a hotdog bun and ever expect your lipstick to stay put - it just ain't gonna happen).....say, four hours or so.  (Can I confess here that I have, on occasion, actually ordered something off the menu for the sole purpose that it was not going to mess with my lipstick?  Egads!)You might even be able to do a bit more than just sit there and look pretty - my lipstick survived the morning cup of tea with very little damage to the finished effect.  Anything more than the dainty sipping from your coffee/tea cup usually requires a bit of touch-up, but this formulation appears to be more of the traditional one that lasts hours, and even when it wears down, a bit of a stain on the lips is left behind.  Don't put this on and then think you're going to take it off anytime soon without some serious scouring efforts, ladies.

I would also strongly recommend not using this lipstick without applying a decent lipliner first.  I don't know about you, but I have found lipliners a necessary part of my makeup routine for a while now - without the aid of My Friend the Lipliner, I would seriously have no upper lip to speak of.  Angelina Jolie has no reason to fear losing the Crown for the Lushest Lips to me, since I think that it would take at least three of my upper lips to equal hers.  And I'm not telling you to create a totally new lipline or to draw too much outside the lines here, ladies.  It's just that defining the lip with a nice, distinct line does wonders for making the most of whatever lips that joke-loving God bestowed upon us......we will have to talk about liplining in another entry, for sure.  Maybe two, even, because liplining is serious stuff.  :)

Here is the lovely lipstick itself - I'm not going to kid you, it is BRIGHT, and if you don't feel comfortable having all heads turn towards your luscious pout, Tangerine Tango might be best left on the shelf.  However, you should also realize that as we age, sometimes the nicest thing we can do for our face is to give our lips a 'pop of color', so to speak.  I know that there are experts out there (and one, in particular, who wrote a book about How Not to.....) who tell you that when you are older, your best look is a soft pink lipstick, no matter what your coloring.  I am sorry, but I must politely disagree, and I am betting that there are others out there who feel the same.  I personally have found that my finished look is much more attractive when my lips look ALIVE, rather than half-dead, and Tangerine Tango is a color that definitely screams "Life!".  Without further ado, I give you Tangerine Tango Cream lipstick from Sephora:

And, just for kicks, here is the set of four lipglosses in the Tangerine Tango line from Sephora/Pantone:

L, to R, they are:  Tangerine Tango Opal, Tangerine Tango Luminous, Tangerine Tango Vivid, and Tangerine Tango Glaze.  The Glaze is the most sheer, and the Vivid is basically a lipstick in a wand.  I actually had to blot Vivid off my lips, as it went on waaaay too thick when applied as you would a regular gloss.  A favorite tip of mine when applying a 'too dark' gloss is to just apply a dot of it to your lower lip.  Then, using the fingertip of your choice, gently move the color out from the center to the edges of your lips.  (Again, having outlined your natural lipline first with a matching liner pencil.  Otherwise the lipgloss might take an unauthorized trip into the twilight zone - you know - those crevasses above and below the lips that us Old Broads seem to develop overnight.....)  Even a color that looks alarming in the tube can often be worn when applied in this manner.  Try it, you'll like it!  :)

In any event, all four glosses must be purchased together in a kit - I would have much preferred being able to pick and choose single glosses, and had I been able to choose, I would have chosen the Opal or the Glaze, but probably would have left the Vivid on the shelf for sure, as the Tangerine Tango Cream lipstick is a very similar color/consistency/product.  Not quite sure why this one was included in the mix. 

I also couldn't resist a beautiful new offering from YSL in the Volupte Sheer Candy line called #10 Mandarine.  The tube is gorgeous, and the color and consistency of this is a much more sheer and wearable offering for those of you who would like to give the Color of the Year a try but find it a bit much. Here is the YSL offering: 

And, finally, for purposes of comparison, here are all of the colors swatched:
From top, we have the Tangerine Tango Cream lipstick, the YSL Mandarine, and then the Tangerine Tango Opal, Luminous, Vivid, and Glaze.

These are all lovely colors for warm skintones, but if you are a cool, again, I highly advise you to leave these alone.  There are lots and lots of colors out there for you, and maybe next time I will swatch some.  :)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

April Crepe

Hmmm, maybe this poor little blog needs a little more attention.  Or to be altogether abandoned.  Of course, frustrated novelist that I am, I will NOT be abandoning it anytime soon. :)  Therefore, I choose:  MORE ATTENTION!  And maybe today I will actually attempt PICTURES to go along with WORDS.  Yes, much more interesante, no?

Since this is a blog directed towards those of us for whom the first bloom of youth has probably turned tail and run, I would like to address the issue of crepy lids.  If you are reading this and have no clue what crepey lids are, please read on and prepare to be possibly distressed at what the future holds for you.  For those of you to whom crepey lids have already become a fact of life, I would like to tell you that there are definitely ways to work with them.  :)  Perhaps you have already discovered a few tips and tricks of your own.  If not, I hope that a few of these will give you some new tools with which to Fight.

But first I must digress a bit here and go on record with my belief that while we may develop some sags, bags, and wrinkles as we walk this Wonderful Path of Life, with those same sags, bags, and wrinkles come wonderful ((all right, to some of us, but, sadly, not to all)) insights and, hopefully, people, into our life, and therefore should not be looked upon with horror and dismay, but with pride and the knoweldge that we are becoming more and more wise and beautiful inside.  Truly.  Because if we don't look at life that way, we will all go madly and horribly insane!

So, on to Crepey Lids.  Contrary to what some (and some who are Quite Renowned) have to say about wearing shimmer-free colors on crepey lids, I have found that slight shimmer actually DETRACTS from the crepiness of my lids and makes me look younger and more alive.  Wearing 'flat' colors on MY eyelids definitely accentuates the wrinkles, and I have tossed all of my flat colors, or relegated them to usage in the crease of my eyelid ONLY.  A recent find that works beautifully for me is one of the new quads from the Ready line of Bare Escentuals.  I own The Truth, which consists of four lovely neutral shades:  Serendipitous is a light champagne shimmer; Magnetism is a medium taupe; Fate is my fave, a shimmery chocolate brown; and Apropos is a dark brown that is great for smudgy lining or adding depth to the crease.  (And herein lies a Painful Truth, ladies - us Old Broads should really stick to the Neutral Shades for optimal flattery.  Sorry.  True.)  Oh, dear, the pictures appear to be a tad blurry.  Please forgive the amateur attempt - hopefully I will improve my technique with time.  It probably gives one pause and makes one wonder what kind of advice I am giving when my photos are crap.  Oh, well, have faith.  I might not be the best photographer, but I'm not too bad at makeup application! :)

Here are the eyeshadows - from top, which is quite pale, we see Serendipitous; then Magnetism, Fate, and Apropos.  And, sorry, I guess we also see a freckle and some of my neighbor's backyard.....

In situ in the compact (please forgive the 'well loved' look of the compact):

By the way, I NEVER use the brushes that come in the compact - the poor excuse for brushes here look used because I just employed them to swab my arm with the swatches.  My favorite eyeshadow brushes are the Wet/Dry eyeshadow brushes from Bare Escentuals, although these particular Ready eyeshadows are not meant to be used wet, unlike the Bare Escentual shadows that are loose minerals in the pot.

As far as color application, I have found that applying the lightest shade on the lid IS NOT A GOOD IDEA.  Save the lightest shade for inner corners or browbone highlighting.  Really light shades on the lid CALL ATTENTION TO CREPINESS and should never be used there.  Use the medium or dark shades on the lid and you will be much happier with your look.

Now, regarding lining:  younger women would not understand this, but those of us for whom Mother Nature has given us the Gift of Wisdom will understand:  It is nearly impossible at some point to draw a smooth, straight line in all one swipe across your lashline.  However, it IS possible to give the smooth, straight line LOOK if you draw the line a little bit at a time, and here are some helpful tools to have when you attempt this:

The pen on top is from Tarte, the multiplEYE, which I own in black.  It has an extremely narrow tip and is pretty good for lining crepey lids, although I find the color a tad wimpy and often need to go over the line a few times for real 'oomph'.  (And, BTW, black is not necessarily to be avoided by us Old Broads - used wisely, it can be a wonderful look!)  The pen on the bottom is from Buxom, in dark brown, and it is my current favorite.  The tip is a cunning design that is quite rigid (the Tarte product is more flexible, and, for that reason, more difficult to control) and can be used to make very thin lines, very thick lines, and lines somewhere in-between.  The color goes on very saturated the first time, and all in all, I think this is one of the best 'liquid' eyeliner products I have ever used.  (And for those of you who don't know me, I have a 'slight' makeup addiction and my collection is embarassingly HUGE, so I have mostly likely tried more than the average woman......or maybe three average women.)  Here is a close-up (albeit somewhat blurred) pic of the tips, with the Tarte product on the top and the Buxom product on the bottom:

To apply one of these eyeliners, first start with the color eyeshadow you are going to use, and top with your choice of eyeliner - I do not line my entire eye, but only about the outer two thirds, sometimes only the outer half.  Using your magnifying mirror (YES, ladies, USE ONE - it's the only way to really see what you are doing!), start at the center of your eye and work your way in small strokes to the outer edge.  If necessary, go back and extend the line a bit more toward the inner corner of the eye, but you usually don't want to go the entire way to the corner unless you are working on a very dramatic evening look or you are REALLY adept with the liner and can fade it to nothing at the end.  (Which you are more likely to be able to do with the aid of your magnifying mirror!)  You will see that lining your eyes calls attention to them, but will not make you look like a Kardashian (unless your goal is to look like a Kardashian, and then I would direct you to one of the many YouTube videos of Kim having her makeup applied).  But I digress.  Get as close to your lashline with the liner as humanly possible.  The best way to do this is to almost be aiming for the teeny, tiny spaces in between your lashes.  Yes.  Go there.  You will be very happy you did.  It's close to 'tightlining' without the rigamarole of flipping your eyelid half inside out.  But maybe we can address tightlining another time, as it is a pretty cool tool for Old Broads - NO CREPE ON THE INNER RIMS OF THE EYES......erm, well, at least I can say that as a fiftysomething - who knows what horrors await, say, as a ninetysomething?  Hopefully I can address that when I come to it in thirtysome years.  :)

Finish up with a light coat of mascara.  I used to omit mascara but realized that my eyes just didn't look the way I wanted them to without it.  My current faves are Bare Escentuals Flawless Definition Volumizing mascara and Hello Lashes from It Cosmetics.  The BE mascara is probably the one I reach for most, but Hello Lashes is nice for a change, although the formula is very 'wet' and I feel that it makes my lashes clump together more than I would like.  However, it has an interesting (although not totally unique) brush, with one end being a little ball, with which you are supposed to get 'every single last lash'.  Beware!  This little end is also good for smearing gobs of mascara in places you did not intend it to be, but as long as you have a reasonably steady hand, you're good to go.

An added afterthought:  Bet some of you are wondering about eyeshadow primers.  I have tried a *cough* few of them myself.  I found some of them to make my eyelid crepiness actually - OMG - WORSE - sorry to have to name this one, because I actually love LG herself, but Laura Geller's Eye Spackle was a 'no go' for me.  Some of the rest of you might like it quite a bit, and I really like her Face Spackle, but the only eyelid/shadow primers that seem to work/look good on my fiftysomething lids are - drumroll, please - the Bare Escentuals color eyeshadow primers.  I love the ones in shades of brown/taupe, whereas my twentysomething daughter loves the pink/yellow ones.  Aaah, in the Crepe Against No Crepe battle, the darker shades win out again - stick with Bronzed Twig or Toasted Almond for your best look.  And, honestly, I'm not sure that they smooth the Crepe out too much, but the colors are pretty, and they last all day loooong.  :)

So that this doesn't turn into my very first novel, I will close for today, although I realize that I might have delivered a tad less than I promised........I bet some of you were hoping I was going to share the Secret of Total Obliteration of Crepey Eyelids, and I merely offered a few of my own, stolen-from-other-sources makeup tips.

Next time I think I will address lips.  I love a good pop of color on the lips! :)