Category Archives: primer

4 Perfunctory Puss Perfectors

Want to put your best face forward? Here are four new and tried-and-true products to help you do just that.

First up, Goldfaden just released Daily Scrub. This very scrubby exfoliant contains ruby crystals, anti-aging red tea, hyaluronic acid and seaweed extract to help remove dead surface skin cells and other impurities to reveal fresh, soft skin and nourish your complexion all in one. Goldfaden Daily Scrub saves time since you just mix a small amount with your regular facial cleanser, plus it saves money because it enables your skin to better absorb your precious toners, serums and moisturizers.

Developed by Carmelite monks, Easeamine is a new and innovative adenosine-enriched anti-aging facial treatment. What’s adenosine? In its usable form, adenosine triphosphate, or ATP is a special carrier of energy in all living things. It acts as a chemical ‘battery’, storing energy when it is not needed, but able to release it instantly when the body requires it. According to Easeamine’s own research, the adenosine in their cream increases protein synthesis, increases cell size, and it benefits skin by decreasing the amount of wrinkling, roughness, dryness, laxity, sallowness, and discolorations in skin. Some of the proceeds of this relatively affordable ($65/tube) treatment supports the work of the Carmelite Charities which include feeding, clothing and educating the needy as well as helping to fight global warming.

Skin Again, a leader in the production of skin care products that are infused with the Energies of healing elements, introduced pRo-Tone serum, which is specially formulated with all-natural ingredients, including pure aloe, calendula, chamomile, burdock, and Vitamin E. pRo-Tone was originally developed to help mitigate and heal burns of all types — razor, waxing, sunburn, chemical and otherwise — when the company’s founder severely burned her face when lighting a backyard fireplace. pRo-Tone healed her skin completely…no scars or discolorations. It contains a unique blend of soothing phyto-nutrients and peptides and a patented Dermavibe formula which consists of vibrational energies of hundreds of natural extracts that work to reduce pain, inflammation, redness and blistering caused by different kinds of burns. It also works as an extremely effective anti-aging and anti-inflammatory treatment for your face, neck, decollete and hands.

To help stop ‘disappearing makeup’ syndrome, Senna Cosmetics developed its Silky Primer under makeup smoothing serum. Packed with anti-oxidants like Vitamins A and E, this colorless primer makes your makeup go on effortlessly and last all day. By filling in pores, fine lines and wrinkles, your skin looks and feels silky smooth and super soft.

Best Concealer Ever is Actually Eye Shadow Primer? Yep.

I am LOVING Senna Cosmetics Totally Transforming Eye Shadow Primer. This anti-aging neutral cream eye shadow primer contains a potent vegetable ogliopeptide from natural hibiscus that functions in much the same way that Botox injections do, but without the pain and loss of facial expression!

It not only helps firm and smooth the eyelid while minimizing lines and wrinkles, it’s THE perfect concealer. It covers discolorations such as redness, darkness, or irregular pigmentation, and it stays on ALL DAY. And I’m one of those gals whose makeup mysteriously disappears as the day wears on. Well, Senna Cosmetics’ Eye Shadow Primer is what wears on…and on and on. I use the smallest dab under my eyes, around my nose and on those pesky blemishes, and it covers them beautifully — like nothing I’ve ever seen before. And I’ve tried just about every concealer on the market…usually I end up looking like a raccoon (um, too white) or an Oompa Loompa (yeah, too orange). This stuff is perfection. And it makes you look perfect.

As an eye shadow primer, it’s great, too. Eye colors look richer and more true, and they last longer.

To use, just apply after eye cream and before eye color. Smooth over the entire eyelid. May be used under and around the eyes and anywhere you need to ‘cover it up’ also, but use sparingly. A little goes a long way.

Cease Eyeshadow Creases and Release Your Lids with Lock Down

Too Faced Lockdown Cream Eye Shadow Jailbait: light pink
Finally a fool-proof cream eye shadow. I’m loving Too Faced’s new Lock Down Ultimate Creaseless cream eyeshadows with their famous Shadow Insurance lid primer already built in.

So easy to apply and they last, last, last…plus, they’re water resistant, making them the perfect shadows for weddings!

If you read the product info on Too Faced’s website (which I must say does not do justice to Lock Down’s actual very pretty, subtle colors), you’ll read something about “deep, intense, metallic pigments.” For those of you who are afraid of “metallic” eyeshadows, fear not! I’m not crazy about shiny, shimmery eye shadow myself, but the great thing about Lock Down is that the moment you apply it, it begins to soften down to a subtle luster…stunning. And if you want that metallic intensity, just built it up. Easy, peasy.

And yes, it really is easy. Just squeeze a tiny, and I mean TINY, amount onto your fingertip or a taklon makeup brush — I used my concealer brush — applied directly to your eyelid. Lock Down can be used alone, layered with other Lock Down colors or as a primer base for other your other eye shadows.

Too Faced Lock Down Creaseless Eye Shadow‘s benefits are many indeed.

  • Creaseless – NO creasing, fading or smudging
  • Water Resistant – rain, snow, tears, skinny-dipping. Now all possible without ruining your eye shadow.
  • Healthy – paraben-free and enriched with Vitamin E. So nice!
  • Easy and effortless – quick and easy to apply and so long-wearing
  • Veritile – wear Lock Down alone, layered with other Lock Down shades or as your eye shadow base

So there you go. Easy, pretty, CREASE-FREE cream eyeshadow. It’s all in there!

Primed for Perfection

Arbonne Virtual Illusion Makeup PrimerI recently had the good fortune to sample Arbonne’s Virtual Illusion Make-up Primer. I’ve used dozens of primers, and frankly never really understood why people wore them. After sampling Arbonne‘s, now I get it!

For example, Saturday I went into work for an important event. I was going to be doing lots of running around, schmoozing, rubbing elbows, meeting-and-greeting…I think you get the picture. Anyway, by the time I finally took my make-up off at around 1:30AM (!!!), it was FLAWLESS. Looked just as perfect as when I put it on that morning. I was amazed. To the point that I almost didn’t want to take it off (it looked really good).  Plus, my pores were virtually invisible! To say the least, I’m purchasing full size of Virtual Illusion…and can’t wait to get it, ‘cuz now I get it.

P.S. Arbonne is one of the rare few product lines still made in the U.S. so you can be assured of its quality and efficacy.

Special thanks to Sondra Wright, Arbonne Reg. VP for the Virtual Illusion sample. Image courtesy Arbonne.

Take 10 Years Off Your Age Right Now, Pt. 1

Properly applied make up can make you look fabulous. But unless it’s done the right way and using the right amount, make up can actually add years to your face.

As a 37 year old former makeup artist, I’ve learned a few simple tips to follow that will help you look younger starting today:


  • Moisturize your skin–face and neck–with a light moisturizer before you apply your makeup…and allow it to sink in, about 5-10 minutes
  • Apply makeup primer BEFORE any makeup. The least expensive and one of the most effective I’ve found (it rivals Smashbox): Monistat Anti-Chafing Gel. It contains the EXACT same ingredients as most of the best makeup primers. Plus, you can pick up a tube at most drugstores for $5
  • Apply your concealer BEFORE foundation. Using your finger or a concealer brush, pat a little concealer under your eyes, around your nose and on any blemishes or discoloration. Concealer before foundation prevents you applying too much foundation.
  • Apply less foundation. And switch to mineral foundation. The better brands and newest formulations (Jane Iredale, Everyday Minerals are some of my favorites) give excellent NATURAL coverage with a light application
  • Apply blush to the apple (round part that pops out when you smile) of your cheeks. For a youthful glow, use a cheek stain or cream blush in a pink, rosy or peach-y color
  • Blend your makeup well and use a light touch

Take 10 Years Off Your Age Right Now, Pt. 2

A few more simple tips to follow that will help you look younger starting today:


  • Groom your eyebrows. Pluck only stray hairs (those are the ones that fall outside your natural eyebrow)
  • Apply eyeliner to the top lash line only. And unless you have medium-or-dark toned skin, DO NOT use black eyeliner. Brown, grey, plum and green are better for fair-to-light toned skin
  • Apply two coats of mascara maximum. One coat for daytime wear is best
  • Curl your lashes. If you don’t like the traditional lash curlers, use an electric version. Sephora’s is terrific and a great deal at $16
  • Avoid shimmery eyeshadow
  • EXCEPTION to above tip: Use a shade-lighter-than-your-skin-tone colored shimmery eyeshadow applied with a light touch to your brow bone (the area just below the outter two-thirds of the eyebrow), AND apply a dab of shimmery ivory shadow to the inner corner of your eyes. These tips really open up the eye area–young!
  • Also, avoid ‘cool’ eyeshadow colors like grey, blue, true green. Opt for colors like pink, peach, gold, warm greens (olive, moss, sage), plum, ivory, brown, taupe

Take 10 Years Off Your Age Right Now, Pt. 3

And even more simple tips that will help you look younger starting today:


  • Use lipgloss or sheer lipstick–NOT lipstick. Use a shade just deeper than your natural lip color. Avoid ‘cool’ colors and dark colors. Instead, choose a sheer pink, peach, rose, mauve or berry
  • Apply lipbalm or clear gloss when not wearing colored gloss. This will keep your lips moist and young-looking all the time

More Anti-Aging Tips:

  • Take care of your skin by cleansing, moisturizing and nourishing it every day using good skin care–P.S. good does not necessarily mean expensive
  • Wear SPF 15 (or higher) sunscreen every day
  • Drink a gallon of water every day
  • Go for a walk at lunch, shoot for 3 times a week. It’s a great excuse to catch up on your window shopping; just don’t take your wallet–debt makes you look and feel old
  • Smile, or better yet, laugh–a lot
  • Eat plenty of protein, complex carbs, fruits and vegetables
  • Manage your stress levels. Take up knitting, painting, piano, yoga or meditation. Find something you like to do and ‘just do it’
  • Get plenty of sleep–sleep is a proven fountain of youth

Three for May: Building a Foundation

As promised, my focus in May is on three makeup makers: Benefit, FACE atelier and Beauty Addicts. And why not get started at the foundation…literally?

First up is Beauty Addicts’ Mineral SheerTINT SPF20. A favorite of Oprah’s, A lovely light-to-medium coverage, lightly moisturizing and oil-free ‘foundation.’ So many tinted moisturizers tend to leave me a little (or a lot) greasy, but not Mineral SheerTINT…just nice, even and natural coverage. But don’t get me wrong, this ‘foundation’ is not drying, nor is it flat. It adds just the right touch of moisture and radiance. My favorite feature of Mineral SheerTINT is, in fact, the color–it’s downright glow-y. It mirrors your skin perfectly while giving a just-right amount of coverage. Plus, it has a very lovely subtle shimmery quality. Beauty Addicts’ Mineral SheerTINT is perfect for those days when you want a no-makeup look (while still having a nice boost of color and coverage). $35

Next up is FACE atelier’s Ultra Foundation. This product is the cornerstone of the FACE atelier line…and now I know why. It’s an amazingly flexible product. The level of coverage is dependent on the way you apply and what you mix with it. First of all, you can apply it straight out of the bottle with your fingertips. You can apply it with a brush or sponge…but you’ll get a completely different look with each application type. You can mix in a little moisturizer for a lighter finish. Or…and this is really cool…FACE atelier has created two very special foundations called Zero Plus (a deep caramel brown) and Zero Minus (white!!) with which you can adjust the color of your foundation by adding a drop or two. You can opt to apply Zero Minus before your foundation as a highlighter, or you can apply Zero Plus after foundation to contour. The texture of Ultra Foundation is deceptively thin, almost watery, but it packs a wallop of lovely, dense pigment; a little goes a long way. The colors tend toward the golden/yellow range, so if you long for redness reduction or if you have skin that begs for warmth, you’ll love the color selection.

Once you put Ultra Foundation on, it’s on. I tried a little experiment by putting a few drops of Ultra Foundation in the palm of my hand and then immediately ran water over it and attempted to wash it off…it smudged a little bit, but it stayed put until I grabbed the soap. FACE claims, “Ultra Foundation is a silicone-based emulsion that floats on top of the skin, doesn’t crease or flake, and lasts all day long.” So…because of the amazing silicones and high quality pigments, Ultra Foundation is a combination primer/foundation in one…and a heckuva good one, too. After a really long day, running up and down stairs, inside, outside (this is my life, by the way, as a full-time staffer at a four-star resort hotel–we run around for a living!), Ultra Foundation didn’t budge…and it looked REALLY good–smooth, pore-free–even at the end of my very long day. For a full-coverage foundation (which I usually don’t prefer), this is my favorite due it’s very high-quality, non-greasy, non-oily, lovely-textured formula. FACE atelier Ultra Foundation isn’t cheap at $39, but (I repeat) a little goes a very long way. UF will last much longer than much less expensive foundations, and I find it to be of such high quality that it truly is worth more than its more expensive competitors.

P.S. No review for a Benefit foundation (although I do love Benefit’s Non-Fiction…wonderful stuff).

Naturally Beautiful for Spring…Youth pt. 2 of 3

Time for makeup…but first, makeup primer.

You’ve worked hard to achieve the perfect base for your makeup, and using a makeup primer will help to ensure that your skin stays soft, smooth and protected all day. Try Bloom’s Makeup Base $18; its gentle formulation is both light and protective and will give your foundation a good base on which to sit (notice I said ‘sit’ and not ‘settle’ because the last thing you want is your makeup settling into your pores and wreaking havoc on your skin). Plus, most primers contain silicones that help to absorb excess oil on the surface of your skin. The secret to applying primer is using as little as possible (think pea-sized amount or less) and just skimming the surface of your skin—do not rub it in.

Next comes foundation. Makeup foundation can be tricky, and makeup made-easy is my favorite kind of makeup. Many wonderful (and easy-to-apply), natural-looking mineral foundations are now available. Reasons to use (and love) mineral foundation are 1) because it’s applied with a brush, it tends to be far more hygienic than its liquid cousins and hence, far less likely to cause breakouts, 2) it contains health-promoting minerals like titanium dioxide and mica which impart protection, stability, silky texture and are naturally anti-bacterial, and 3) it offers controllable coverage so that you can achieve the perfect finish for your skin.

Important points to remember when choosing your mineral foundation are to look for one that is the right color (match the color on your jawline—it should blend perfectly with own your natural skin color, with perhaps just a hint of yellow to neutralize any redness) and one that does not contain talc, aka talcum powder, which can settle into your pores, encourage the growth of icky bacteria, cause breakouts and actually enlarge the size of your pores over time—who needs that?! Recommended: Splash Sheer Mineral Powder is the line’s best selling product. Contains SPF15. Covers and protects your face at one brush. $25

Applying mineral foundation to achieve the perfect finish requires just a little practice, and you know what they say…practice makes perfect! First, shake just a little bit of the powder into lid of the container. Next, lightly rub a medium-sized face brush or Kabuki brush into the powder and tap off the excess powder into the container. You should see almost no product left on the brush. Now, starting with your cheeks, use light, circular strokes to ‘buff’ the powder onto your face. Do not worry about covering dark circles, blemishes or red spots during this step. Just buff a layer or two of mineral powder onto your skin to even out the overall color and tone of your skin. The use of very little powder, plus the small, circular buffing is what will create amazingly smooth-looking, pore-free skin, so follow these instructions implicitly!

Next comes the ‘concealing’ step. Using a smaller brush–a medium eye shadow brush works perfectly—dip the bristles into the mineral powder. Again, tap of the excess. Now buff out any circles under your eyes and any red spots or blemishes on your face—remember to use a light touch and keep the brush moving. Repeat this step as necessary to ‘erase’ any imperfections around your nose and on your chin and cheeks. You may need to switch to a smaller brush to hide smaller blemishes and freckles.

Now that you have neutralized the color of your face and achieved a soft, natural base, it’s time to add definition and healthy color. Always apply makeup, in particular powdered colors, from the top down. The reason is that many powdered colors, like eye shadow, brow powders and even some eye liners tend to ‘tumble’ down onto your cheeks. You will want to sweep these little flecks of color away, and if you’ve already applied blush or highlighter to your cheeks, you’ll end up having to reapply, resulting in a cake-y, heavy look that is decidedly unnatural—and a Big No-No.

Enhancing your eyebrows, even just a little, can have an amazing and dramatic affect on your entire face–in a very positive way, no less!. Brows frame the face, just like your picture frame frames your favorite artwork…and without the frame, it just ain’t right!

Brow powders are best in achieving the ‘natural look’ because of the soft definition they impart. And the best brow powder kit is NYC’s Eyebrow Kit. The colors are very natural and the quality is remarkable; plus the price is incredibly reasonable. Select the correct color kit to enhance your natural eyebrow and hair color. NYX Eyebrow Kit–Long lasting eyebrow cake powder has two shades to blend and the perfect natural eyebrow. To fill and define eyebrows, apply with slanted eyebrow brush and then shape and style with round brush, aka spoolie– Start by brushing your brows upward and outward, using either a brow brush or ‘spoolie’ like the one you’ll find in NYC’s Eyebrow Kit. Next, using a stiff-bristled angled brush (there’s one included in NYC’s Eyebrow Kit!), tap the end of the bristles in the lighter of the two shades and, using short, light strokes, brush the color into the end of your brows closest to your nose. $4

To maintain the most natural look as possible, do not brush the brow color all the way to the edge of your brow. Every few seconds, stand back and survey your results, checking the color intensity and overall balance. If you need to deepen the color a little bit, use a little bit of the darker brow powder and brush lightly into your brows. Follow the natural shape of your brows as you apply. As a last step to ensure the color coverage is even, lightly brush through your brows with your brow brush or spoolie tool. Voila!

If you like to use eyeliner, now is the time to apply it. Just use a soft, smudgy color, like chocolate or dark gray, and apply it only to the top lash line, making sure to ‘hug’ the lash-line as you apply it.

Keeping with the natural, healthy look we want to achieve, sweep a layer of eyeshadow in a color one shade lighter than your eyelids over the entire lid area. Pick a shadow with a hint of shimmer if you like…yes, just a hint (no glitter, please). The Amuse makeup line features some beautiful shadows in a range of ‘natural’ skin-tone colors, from pearly white and shimmery pink to soft olive and rich bronze. $22

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