Tag Archives: Beauty

Fashion Lesson #22: A Faux Air Brushed Face

Envision a scene where all your fine lines are delicately swept away with the whisper and a puff of fine air brushed make up.  (Cue the needle scratching on the record.)  Now open your eyes to the $300 plus price tag for such a machine.

How can you achieve that look at home without looking like a clown?

That’s the focus for this week’s Fashion Lesson.  I recently read an interesting article by Ellen Byron who interviewed J.P. McCary, vice president of consumer products and artistry for the Temptu makeup line, asking him to help unlock the secrets to flawless, air brushed looking skin.

Cleanse, Tone & Moisturize

Mr. McCary advises you must first start with a clean face.  A couple of suggestions would be Cetaphil and Phisoderm.  While being prepped for surgery this summer, the nurse insisted that I wash my already clean face with Phisoderm prior to surgery.  I thought it was nice.

As for the toner, I really like Neutragena, but I know there are countless others out there.  Feel free to leave a comment with your favorite.

Then when it comes to moisturizer, the suggestion by our expert, is to find a lightweight formula that works well with your individual needs.

I have found that when it comes to moisturizing, you have to be disciplined.  Once in the morning and again at night.  No exceptions.

Apply a Silicone Base Primer


Here’s where the secrets begin to be revealed to us.  McCary states, “… silicone will fill in any fine lines and wrinkles and flattens the skin so you get a smooth canvas.”

So what sort of silicone based primers are out there and where do I get them? 

Well, I have a little funny aside for you.  I decided to do a little research on drugstore.com for reasonable primer products.

I typed in “Silicone Based Primer” in the drugstore.com search engine.  When the results popped up, I had to giggle to myself.  Personal lubricants were not my target. 😀

I moved on to Sephora and found several to choose from.  bareVitamins Prime Time was a product that stuck out in my eyes because it did not contain parabans (at least I couldn’t find any).

Once you have your primer, McCary instructs to apply the product with one’s fingers in a circular motion to fully blend.  “It breaks the product down, which helps it absorb into the skin faster.”  Further, it’s a good idea to use your ring finger when blending products under your eyes.  Believe it or not, the ring finger according to the article is the weakest on our hands.  The skin around your eyes can be prone to tugging and stretching when putting on foundation, mascara or eyeliner, so take care when working on that area.



When looking for a concealer, we are once again reminded to find a product with a silicone base.  This time, instead of using our fingers, we should use a concealer brush.  Be sure to only apply the product where it is needed, such as under the eyes.  Further, don’t forget the inside of the corners of your eyes.  Like using a light eyeshadow in this area, it will help to open the eye so that it appears wider.


Choose a silicone base foundation that blends well with your neck and face.  We all remember those girls in High School who looked like they were wearing masks.  If you’re not sure, take a trip to the cosmetic counter to have a professional assist you.  You also want to test it in natural light, so step out of the store and have a second look.

After finding the right shade, technique and tools are key.  Mr. McCary advises that we should use a synthetic-hair brush, and like the concealer, add only where you need it.  “Less is more”, he says.  “Press it into the skin with the brush, blend it, then take a sponge and buff it.  You want to push it down, then swipe away, so you never see where the foundation ends and your skin begins.”

I see I was missing a step. I usually use a brush or a buff, but rarely both. 

Powder–The last step

The finishing touch for our at-home flawless faux air brush makeup, is a strategic dusting of silica based powder on those stubborn areas with powder brush.  Mr. McCary warns against using a puff or sponge as it will provide too much coverage.

Finishing Touches

After completing your foundation, finish up with the eyes and cheeks.  He imparts a bit of really helpful advice when it comes to natural rosy cheeks; use two shades of blush. 

Yes, but how? 

The warmer tone he advises, should be applied from the temple to the cheekbone, what he dubs the “Nike Swoosh”.  Then like adding a cherry to a sundae, blend in a bright shade to the apple of your cheeks.

Voila!  You’re ready for your close-up.

(Click on individual pictures for photo sources)

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Filed under Beauty, blogging, Cosmetics, Fashion, Fashion Lesson, Fashion Sensei, Fashion Writer, News

Fashion Lesson #10 Natural Make Up

You may remember a previous post called “Can Make Up Make You Sick?”, where I discovered that cosmetics are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration.  It was then that I decided to do a little research and find organic and non-synthetic alternatives to the cosmetics that I currently use.  Upon finding such products, I wanted to try them out to see if they were just as effective as their chemical laden cousins.

In beginning my research, I  learned that Minnesota, as of Jan. 1, 2008, banned the intentional use of mercury in mascara.  It seems that some cosmetic companies still use the heavy metal that can cause serious neurological damage as a preservative, much like vaccine companies have.

With further investigation, I found that conventional cosmetics contain all sorts of harmful preservatives and additives.  According to womenshealth.gov the Federal Government source for women’s health information, fragrances and preservatives are the main ingredients in cosmetics.

Products marked “fragrance-free” or “without perfume” means that no fragrances have been added to make the product smell good.

Preservatives in cosmetics are the second most common cause of skin problems. They prevent bacteria and fungus from growing in the product and protect products from damage caused by air or light. But preservatives can also cause the skin to become irritated and infected. Some examples of preservatives are:

  • paraben
  • imidazolidinyl urea
  • Quaternium-15
  • DMDM hydantoin
  • phenoxyethanol
  • formaldehyde

The ingredients below cannot be used, or their use is limited, in cosmetics. They may cause cancer or other serious health problems.

  • bithionol
  • mercury compounds
  • vinyl chloride
  • halogenated salicyanilides
  • zirconium complexes in aerosol sprays
  • chloroform
  • methylene chloride
  • chlorofluorocarbon propellants
  • hexachlorophene

This is merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to harmful ingredients.  I highly encourage you to search these contents in the Cosmeticsinfo.org database for a more in depth look at their effects and what cosmetic products they are found in.  (I started to include them in this piece, but it became much too lengthy.)

So now we know that our cosmetics are not regulated and may contain some forms of harmful additives.  So what should we do?

I contacted Marj Melchiors, the Founder & President of Cosmetics Without Synthetics, Inc. and asked for a sampling of her products that I use everyday.  I wanted to find safe, organic and non-synthetic alternatives to cosmetics that I use each day.

Marj generously sent me two collections of eye shadows; one natural and the other in the plum family (I told her I have blue/gray eyes).  She also sent: two shades of foundation, eye liner powder, blush, lipstick, lipgloss and mascara.  All of which I will review for you. 

But before I get into my review, I was pleased to find out that some of the makeup that is sold on allnaturalcosmetics.com also included Gluten Free and Vegan varieties,(if you are following a special diet you will appreciate this.)


Back to the review…  After using the products for approximately two weeks, I must tell you that I love the Earth’s Beauty mascara .

Several friends commented on how long my lashes looked.  I found that this mascara wore really well and was also easy to wash off.  Many times I have to work really, really hard to remove my mascara and I didn’t have a problem with this product.


In the eye shadow and blush group, I tested Earth’s Beauty and NVEY EcoNVEY Eco is a luxurious organic line of makeup that I highly encourage you to try.   I was impressed by all three products that I tested: Light Pink Blush (regardless of it not suiting my coloring); Medium Brown Eye Shadow; and the Pearly White Eye Shadow was excellent for highlighting the brow bone and the inner corners of my eyes.

The bulk of products that I received were from Earth’s Beauty which is created by Ms. Melchiors.   According to the product information, “the base of the products is organic/wildcrafter arrowroot with added natural colorings.”

I enjoyed using these products.  My only limitation was the colors provided.  This is in no way a reflection of the products.  Simply the fact that Ms. Melchiors was given insufficient information about me and has never seen a picture of me.  Therefore, short of using divination, she would not have been able to provide me with 100% compatible colors.  Lets face it, how often do we get home and discover products that we think we like do not suit us?

I tried each product and I have nothing but positive things to say.  Each color had a rich pigment and wore well.  I especially liked the Sunlight Eye Shadow and the Deep Walnut Eye Liner.  I haven’t used a powder liner before, (you first dip a wet applicator or brush in the powder and then apply) and I really appreciated the effect.  The powder liner also lasted longer than the usual eyeliner that I currently use.



Next, I tested the Miessence Foundations.  This line of Australian products “are the only skin care range in the world that are certified organic by third parties.”

I really have to be honest with this one.  I respect that it is organic and feel confident using it based on that fact.  However, there was just something about this foundation that I didn’t like.  I am not sure if it was the smell or the coverage, but I found that my usual foundation did a better job.  I would be interested to know how others feel about this brand including their experience.  (If you try it let me know!)

The last category I tested was lipstick/gloss. Both were from Earth’s Beauty.  I especially favored the Wild Rose Lip Glaze.  The color and texture was just right for me.


Trying to find the right cosmetics in general is a difficult task, but to find lines that are also organic and held to higher standards can be daunting.  I hope that you found this review useful.  If there is interest, I will share other on-line resources that I discovered.  Further, I am also seeking alternatives that one could purchase at their local drug store.  If you would like information concerning this topic in future Fashion Lessons, please let me know.

Finally, as a special offer, allnaturalcosmetics.com has extended an exclusive 5% discount to Fashion Sensei readers when you use the code: fashion sensei at check out.  Happy Shopping!


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Filed under Beauty, blogging, Cosmetics, Fashion, Uncategorized

SJP Reacts to ‘Maxim’ Magazine’s "Unsexiest" Woman Title/ Jamie Lee Curtis Goes Topless

In October Maxim Magazine published their choice for the “Unsexiest Woman Alive”, naming Sara Jessica Parker as their number one choice.  Maxim‘s feeling was that she was “the least sexy woman in a group of very unsexy women.”



Those of you who have not read the article I’m sure are saying “What?!!”  I agree with you.  SJP beat out #5 Britney Spears; #4 Madonna; #3 Sandra Oh and #2 Amy Winehouse.  I hardly call this picture taken of SJP soon after her son was born unsexy.


Last weekend reports came out that in an interview in Grazia magazine she had this to say:

“Do I have big fake boobs, Botox and big lips? No.”

“Do I fit some ideals and standards of some men writing in a men’s magazine? Maybe not.”

“Am I really the unsexiest women in the world? Wow! It’s kind of shocking… It’s so brutal in a way, so filled with rage and anger.”

“It upset [Matthew], because it has to do with his judgement too. It’s condemnation, it’s insane. What can I do?”

“I guess you can’t please all people.”

Fashion Icons have feelings too Maxim.  What I find appealing about Sara Jessica Parker is that she isn’t always beautiful.  There are times that she just looks average to me; like a real woman.  To call her the unsexiest woman alive above Britney Spears is really perplexing to me.  To place Britney Spears whose life is out of control, and physically unfit as compared to Ms. Parker is just absurd.  Aside from physical beauty, doesn’t the fact that she actually has her life together and her wits about her play any part in the readers decision?  This was a poll you see, of Maxim readers.  What does that say about their readership?

I agree with you SJP, don’t get the plastic boobs; the frozen Botox Face or any of the other strange cosmetic procedures that actresses seem to see as necessary to have a career in Hollywood. 

You may remember my post on Thursday’s Fashion Sensei Says… where I said “Don’t buy into it” when Charla Krup extolled the virtues of Botox and “injecting poly-L-lactic acid-a substance used to fill crows’ feet and other facial lines-into the balls of our feet.” 

I remember watching the Barbara Walters Oscar Special and her interviewing Vanessa Williams and she said “I certainly do Botox”.  She went on to say that most of her Hollywood friends also imbibe. 

Look, I don’t have a problem if someone wants a nip here or a tuck there.  To each her own.  I just don’t want the message that in order to remain employed or to be considered sexy I need to have plastic surgery.


The atheists to cosmetic surgery, Jamie Lee Curtis is posing topless and is speaking out in AARP about her impending 50th birthday this year and how she feels about aging:

“I want to be older. I actually think there’s an incredible amount of self-knowledge that comes with getting older. I feel way better now than I did when I was 20. I’m stronger, I’m smarter in every way, I’m so much less crazy than I was then.”

“Getting older means paring yourself down to an essential version of yourself.”

“My style is a distillation. I’ve etched out who I am through myriad haircut attempts, outfit attempts, beauty attempts, diet attempts. It’s been an evolution. I’ve let my hair go gray. I wear only black and white. Every year I buy three or four black dresses that I just keep in rotation. I own one pair of blue jeans. I’ve given away all my jewelry, because I don’t wear it.”

“I want to be as a human being. New. Different. Challenging the old. Function over frivolity. Clean living. Clean lines. If I can challenge old ideas about aging, I will feel more and more invigorated. I want to represent this new way. I want to be a new version of the 70-year-old woman. Vital, strong, very physical, very agile. I think that the older I get, the more yoga I’m going to do.”

I will say up front, that I am too vain to let myself go gray, and I can’t imagine only wearing three different colors.  But I appreciate the simplicity that Ms. Curtis is adopting.  Mind over materialism and vanity; it’s a goal to strive for.

What’s your view on this?  Is Sara Jessica Sexy?  Are you for cosmetic surgery or Botox?  What about Jamie Lee Curtis’ views? Leave me a comment, let’s discuss.

Sources: PR Newswire; AP

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Filed under Aging, Beauty, blogging, books, Cosmetics, Fashion, fitness, Magazines, News, pop culture, Style, television, Trends, Uncategorized, YouTube

Fashion Lesson #6 Household Helpers

A girl can always use all the extra help she can get when it comes to beauty.  So I found some very interesting Beauty/Personal Care pointers that I think we all can use.  Some of the items can be found around the house and others can be purchased at the salon or drug store.

1.  Hairy Situation–  Are you in a rush and no time to wash  and blow out your hair?  Do you need something to freshen your hairstyle after a workout? 

If you answered yes to either one of these questions, a Dry Shampoo might be a good resolution.  Made usually with cornstarch, these dry shampoos can absorb oil and add some pep back to your limp locks.

Two recommendations are: Naturia Dry Shampoo and  Bumble & Bumble Hair Powder.  


You can also use translucent powder or cornstarch applying it with a powder brush.  Be forewarned, you really have to work it through your hair and may not be appropriate for those with dark hair.  It may leave a grey or white finish on dark tresses.

2.  Tanning Mishap–  With warmer weather coming soon (I hope), you may want to don some self tanner to give your skin a healthy glow.  But what’s a girl to do if she notices some zebra stripes?  Try putting some Baking Soda on a loofa and buff out those stubborn streaks.

3.  Rough Around the Edges–  Do you have a problem with rough looking cuticles?  Try a rubbing a little Apricot oil on your cuticles to keep them healthy looking.

4.  Zit Zapper!  Use a dab of toothpaste to absorb oil and reduce further clogging in your pore.  Leave toothpaste on for about 15 mins and then wash off.


5.  Butt Cream, Baby!  Have you ever blown your nose so often that it becomes chapped and worn looking?  Apply a thin layer of diaper rash cream to seal in moisture and heal that scaly skin. It also helps cracked elbows and feet. I recommend Boudreaux’s Butt Paste®it works like a charm.  You can use Desitin or any other diaper rash cream as well.

 100 sample_ad

6.  It’s in the Tea Leaves–  If you frequently have irritated, sensitive or puffy skin, you can steep a bag of green tea and apply it to the affected area to soothe the skin.  Be sure to drink the tea too!

Inspiration for this post came from Wacky Beauty Tips That Work.  For more tips, click on Cosmopolitan.com.

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All recommendations in this post are for informational use only.  All claims are based solely on personal experience of the writer and may not be applied universally.


Filed under Beauty, Cosmetics, Fashion, Fashion Lesson, Fashion Sensei, Metro Detroit, personal shopper, retail, Uncategorized

Can Make-Up Make You Sick?

lipfusion.pngI’m writing this post in the morning and while reading the paper, I ran across this article about cosmetics.  What I discovered is that they are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and that the makers of these products provide the ingredients on a voluntary basis only.

The article by Natalie Ermann Russell in USA Weekend gave the following tips:

  • Look it up. The Environmental Working Group has a searchable database of 25,000 personal-care products at www.cosmeticdatabase.com.  It explains why some brands are unsafe.
  • Go fragrance-free.  Many synthetic chemicals in fragrances, like phthalates, aren’t required to be listed on labels.  Some studies have linked phthalates to reproductive problems and asthma or allergies.
  • Be picky with lipstick.  Malkan’s group [Campaign for Safe Cosmetics] found lead in 61% of lipsticks tested.  See a list at Safe Cosmetics.org .
  • Avoid parabens.  The FDA says these preservatives are safe in the amounts used in most cosmetics, but some studies say they raise breast-cancer risk.

I went to the site to look up the products I use and found that all of them have a “Moderate Risk”.  I encourage you to take a peek and report back what you found in relation to the products you use.


Filed under Beauty, Cosmetics, Fashion, News