Beautycounter – A Hidden Skincare Gem

I was recently asked to try and review a skincare line by someone I have known for many years.  Now of course, we’ve all had a friend who sells Mary Kay or Arbonne – but this is something different.  Here’s the backstory.  When Shanna asked me to try her skincare line and give her my honest feedback, I couldn’t have been more excited and happy to do it. I know the WHY behind Shanna’s decision to sell this line, and it’s very special.  Shanna’s sister, who was a friend to my family, especially my mom, recently ended her brave battle with cancer.  She fought the good fight, and spent a lot of time bringing awareness to the disease.  And she was always interested in finding products that were good for you, that didn’t have a bunch of junk in them, to anything that would promote a sense of health and well being as she fought for her life.  In order to continue that search, Shanna has become a consultant with the company Beautycounter.  Their mission?  To get safe products into the hands of everyone.

According to the Beautycounter website, they have a list of 1500 ingredients that are banned from their products.  They also claim that they will tell you exactly what is in every product, and exactly what is not.  In fact, you can go to the website and find what they call the “never list”, or the list of ingredients that you will never see in one of their products.  Also on the website is a ton of information about how they choose their ingredients and the standards they have set for themselves as a company, and also why they have chosen to take this approach. 

I was able to try the entire Face Collection in the skin care line.  It includes a cleanser, a moisturizer for day and one for night, a face oil, exfoliating cream, eye cream, and rosewater spray.  The standouts in this line for me are the cleanser, face oil, and the rosewater spray.  The cleanser is awesome.  Period.  It smells like oranges, it completely takes off your makeup, and I have to admit, it’s the only thing that I’ve ever used that rivals Philosophy Purity, which is a cleanser I use and love.  There’s no toner because the cleanser already has those properties built in, and your skin just feels completely clean and refreshed.  The Lustro Oil for the face was something new for me.  I have oily skin, so the word oil by itself literally frightens me.  I picture myself rubbing Crisco on my face and waking up to zits everywhere.  However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.  I mixed it with the moisturizers and it was lovely.  My skin was soft, but never greasy.  The oil truly made the moisturizers feel so much more luxurious.  Just dreamy.  The rosewater is something I was anxious to try, because like all good MAC girls, I love my Fix Plus.  I own it, use it, love it, and of course any time I have ever worked a shift at MAC, I have sold it like it was going out of style.  And this seemed like it might be very similar.  It was.  The smell was different, but not in a bad way.  It was just unlike anything else I’ve ever smelled.  And it feels wonderful on the face.  It’s a quick boost of hydration and perks up the skin just like Fix Plus does.  Overall, I enjoyed using the products and I think they would work well for a variety of skin types.  I have absolutely nothing bad to say about them.  I don’t think the eye cream, moisturizers, or exfoliator are particularly different from most, but they are certainly not bad and they complement the other products very well.  But if you were just looking to try a product or two, the cleanser, oil, and rosewater spray would be my must-have recommendations!  Below is what the skincare set looks like. (photo taken from the company website)

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Shanna is only the second person in Oklahoma to sell Beautycounter products, so this line is not something most of my readers will be familiar with, but I encourage you to check out the website and learn more!  Go to www.shanna.beautycounter.com to see the entire line, learn more about the mission of the brand, and place an order.  And just to clarify, I was not paid for this review, I didn’t get free products to keep, I get absolutely no kickbacks for doing this.  I was asked to be completely honest, and that’s what I’m doing.  I do not represent this brand as a consultant and any additional questions can be addressed directly to Shanna via her page above – I know she would be absolutely glad to help you!

This post is dedicated to the memory of Cindy Lawson Teel.  A wife, mother, friend, sister, daughter, and all around cowgirl who showed others what it meant to be brave, fight hard, and live by faith.  You will always be missed.

Until next time – life is short, tell someone you love them!

xoxo

Chocolate Makeup? Let’s Talk About It.

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The boys and girls over at Too Faced have done it again. And by “it” I mean, created another fabulous chocolate scented product that makes you want to lick the eyeshadow right off your fingers. But that would be gross, right….or would it?

I have loved and used the Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer for years now. It’s a really nice shade that isn’t too orange, it’s matte (so you can add dimension to your face without looking like a Twilight vampire in the Bahamas), and it smells like a big old tub of Hershey’s Cocoa Powder! If you’re not big on scented products, don’t worry, you won’t really notice it once it’s on your face. And when you use the chocolate scented goodness, you find yourself wondering, “Why the hell doesn’t everything I put on my face smell like this?” Enter the Chocolate Bar palette.

First of all, the packaging on this precious little thing is to die for. It looks like candy. The fat kid in me rejoices. And when you open it up…..every single gorgeous, pigmented color smells like a Hershey’s Kiss. This, my friends, is winning. Usually when something is kind of gimmicky, I don’t necessarily expect much in the quality department. But with Too Faced, my expectations are always high. They are known for their packaging, presentation, and creative color names as much as they’re known for selling quality products, and this palette does not disappoint.  Here’s the rundown:

  1. The color payoff is amazing.  These shades are buttery, smooth, and vibrant.  Nothing but beautiful pigmentation.
  2. In my opinion, this is a stand alone palette.  What do I mean by that?  I mean you can create an entire look with this palette and do not need to reach for any other shadows.  It’s very common in palettes to be missing an essential element.  All the Naked palettes struggle with this.  And that means you wind up needing other shadows to make up for what the palette lacks.  Not the case here.
  3. The range of colors is really nice.  You can go completely natural, neutral, smoky, or dramatic.  Doesn’t matter if you’re going to church or out to a club, you can create an appropriate look for either occasion with this palette.  If you were going on a trip, you could take only this and be fine.  (Side note….I wish I could do that.  Take one palette.  Nope.  I think I need ALL THE PALETTES.  What if there’s a 10 minute span where I want to wear lavender glitter?)

Bottom line – this is a unique, fun palette that doesn’t sacrifice quality for quirkiness.  For $49, you can have your chocolate and blend it out, too 🙂  Go get you some!

Until next time…..life is short.  Buy the lipstick.

xoxo

Makeup Storage and Organization

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Hey everyone! Hope this post finds you doing well and staying warm.

Over the weekend I posted some pictures of parts of my makeup collection and how it’s stored on Instagram. These kinds of posts always receive a lot of traffic because most of us who either work as makeup artists or are just makeup enthusiasts with large collections are always looking for great ways to store and organize our treasures. Makeup, like most things, can easily be forgotten when you can’t see it. Having everything visible and grouped in ways that make sense to you allows you to find things faster and keeps them from going to waste. Obviously I have more makeup than one person needs, but I’m a makeup artist and beauty blogger on top of being a makeup enthusiast. Everyone has their thing. This is mine. Don’t judge me.

A really popular storage unit is from a company called Muji. Like most people, I saw these acrylic drawers on You Tube and nearly had a stroke over how awesome they were. They are like the petite, slender little sister to a Clear Cube. (A Clear Cube is the giant acrylic box you’ve seen in the bathroom of all the Kardashian sisters for storing their makeup.) Although there are some limitations to what a Muji case can hold, for the price, you can’t beat them. They are less than $30 and available on the Muji website.  I have two of their 5 drawer units and as you can see in the pictures, one of them is dedicated entirely to lipsticks.
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Office organizers also make great storage pieces for makeup. I found these cute black and white damask ones at my local Dollar General for about $5-$8 each. I’m using them to hold eyeshadow palettes, brushes, and overflow lip products. I usually keep everything clean and modern in acrylic for my vanity but I thought these would be fun and add something different. And if at some point I tire of them or change up my vanity, I won’t be out much money and I can easily use them for their intended purpose in an office.
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In case you were wondering, the vanity all this is sitting on top of is the Malm from Ikea.
I don’t dislike it at all, but I wish it were just a bit bigger and it bugs me that the drawer doesn’t open far enough. You lose quite a bit of valuable space because of it, which means you have to start going to the top of the vanity for storage, and because it’s a rather narrow surface, the shiz can get out of control. Trust me.

Photo courtesy of Ikea website.

Photo courtesy of Ikea website.

If all goes well, the next time I feature my vanity in a blog post, it will be to show you a DIY custom, lighted mirror project. Keep your eyes peeled! Do you have an awesome storage solution I should know about? Questions about how I have my makeup organized? Let me know!

Until next time……life is short, buy the lipstick.
xoxo

Favorites: Foundation and Contour

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I get asked a ton of beauty related questions every week, and two of the products people most often want recommendations for is foundation and contouring/highlighting products.  I have recently tried a couple new products that I really love – so much so that I wanted to share on the blog.

Everyone on You Tube and Instagram has been talking about this foundation:

Rimmel Stay Matte

Rimmel Stay Matte

This is the new Rimmel Stay Matte foundation that will only set you back about $5.00 at the drugstore. How awesome is that price point? If you have really dry skin, it’s probably not going to be a favorite for you. But for my oily skin, it’s fantastic. It’s a little tricky to work with because it’s very thick, so think light, buildable layers when applying. I use my Sedona Lace 928 Synthetic Flat Top Kabuki for the perfect, flawless finish.

The other product I can’t live without for my face is something not marketed for the face at all. This method was featured on a You Tube video from the hilarious, beautiful Lizzy of What Would Lizzy Do? I’m taking a cream shadow, the Maybelline 24 Hour Color Tattoo in Matte Brown, and using it to contour my face. Say whaaaaaat? Yep, that’s right. Lizzy did it with MAC Paint Pot in Quite Natural (which I don’t have so I used a dupe) and it looked amazing so I had to try it.

Color Tattoo in Matte Brown

Color Tattoo in Matte Brown

I used a brush like the one Lizzy used, a large duo fibre brush. It gives a soft, flawless application. Mine is the Sedona Lace 813. If you want to check out Lizzy’s video, here’s the direct link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWiZQXSNKJk&feature=share&list=UUK7QFg6W9E7mM_AzRFlit-Q&index=10.

I posted a look of the end result on my Instagram over the weekend. If you’re not following me there, head over and find me! I’m @jenlyn83 and I post all kinds of fun, makeup-y goodness on a daily basis!
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Interested in Sedona Lace brushes? They’re having a 25% off sale with the code BF2013. Visit http://www.sedonalace.com.
(I am not getting paid for my thoughts or opinions about Sedona Lace, I bought them and like them. That’s all.)

Do you have questions about foundation? Contouring? Leave them below! If you decide to try these products out make sure to let me know how you liked them!

Life is short. Buy the lipstick.
xoxo

Winter Skincare Tips!

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This cold winter air is sucking the life out of my skin…..my hands are like leather gloves.  My lips feel like beef jerky.  This is a hard time of year for me because I tend to have oily skin and slathering myself in creams and lotions sounds like an invitation for an outbreak of blemishes.

I don’t claim to be a skincare expert by any means, but one thing I do know is that no matter how oily you might be, your skin still needs moisture.  So I do it.  Reluctantly, but faithfully nonetheless.  And if you’re dry…..ugh.  You have my condolences.  You need twice as much hydration as the rest of us.  Makeup will never glide over dry patches.  And if there’s one thing I do know with 100% certainty, it’s that no amount of makeup can truly compensate for troubled skin.  Taking care of what’s underneath the makeup is the first and most important step.

The super nice folks at HSN shared a link to this blog post written by beauty expert Lara Ramos with me, titled “6 Easy Tips to Help Your Skin Survive This Winter.”  They thought all of you might enjoy reading it, too.  What perfect timing!  Here in Oklahoma it’s been mild the past few days, but temps have dropped again and I know other parts of the country are absolutely getting hammered. From moisture to exfoliation, Lara’s piece really has something for everyone during these frigid temperatures! Click on the link to read her super helpful tips, they are absolutely right on!

http://community.hsn.com/t5/HSN-Blogs/6-Easy-Tips-To-Help-Your-Skin-Survive-Winter/ba-p/514559

Until next time, remember – life is short, buy the expensive, hydrating lip balm!

xoxo

 

Bridal Beauty

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As a working makeup artist, one of the most common jobs I do is bridal makeup. This time of year is when most brides start inquiring about prices and availability, so I thought why not do a post dedicated to bridal beauty?  For helpful tips and to see a couple of my Taylored Beauty brides, keep reading!

Helping someone look their best on such a big day is something I do not take lightly. Most girls dream about their wedding day long before it ever happens, and to be entrusted with the FACE of a bride? I imagine it must carry the same weight as say, protecting the President? Guarding a priceless painting? Something along those lines.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when thinking about makeup for the big day:

1. Timing is everything. Plan for enough time to get everyone’s makeup done. If you just don’t have the luxury of a lot of time, help those who are in your bridal party to understand that an intense, dramatic, smokey eye is not quick and perhaps would be best left for an occasion where there are no time constraints. I find that with the popularity of Pinterest, many people pull looks they’ve seen from there. This is great, but it’s important to realize that certain looks are labor intensive, and on a day when it’s really all about the bride, giving everyone in the bridal party a full Kim K. face might not be in the cards.

2. A lot of brides have anxiety about their makeup.  They’re afraid when I’m done the groom won’t recognize them. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been told by a bride that her groom is wary of her having a “hooker” face. This is totally understandable. You’ll never regret going with a soft, classic bridal look with neutral tones. If you don’t wear much makeup, you will probably need a minute to take in your finished face no matter how soft the look is, but remember that something that looks slightly heavy to you in person, will probably look flawless in pictures, because cameras and flashes tend to suck the life out of you. Just always make sure your artist knows where you stand on the issue of soft vs. dramatic so you are on the same page.

3. Some gals don’t care about what I’m preaching above and dramatic is the name of the game. I say, bring it! I’ve had a few brides request a red lip or really heavy, full lashes. If that’s in your comfort zone, then this is the day to pull out all the stops. Keep in mind that the more dramatic a look is, the more high maintenance it will be.  If you’re okay with that, by all means, go big or go home! And on the other side of the coin, if you’re not comfortable with a bold look, this is the day you should step out of the box. Never do something you’re not comfortable with just because it seems like “the thing to do.” You’re going to be in this look for hours and it will be captured on film, so you want to wear it with comfort and confidence.

Below are two of my brides who embody both the soft, traditional bridal look and a more dramatic, glam look. (Thank you to all the photographers who have shared images with me!)  As you can see, both are equally beautiful.  There is no right or wrong, all that matters is you feel like a million bucks!  Are you planning a wedding soon?  Let me know if you have any questions about your look for the big day!  Remember, life is short – buy the lipstick!

xoxo

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Fabulous Fall Lipsticks

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Fall 2013 is in full swing!!! If there’s one thing I love about the changing seasons, it’s changing trends in makeup. While I never preach beauty “rules”, I do think some seasons just lend themselves to certain colors. Fall/Winter is the perfect time to try a bold lip as it’s perfectly on trend and an easy way to change your look. Here are 6 lipsticks I love for the current season!

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From L to R:
MAC Viva Glam I – a gorgeous deep red in a matte finish. It’s a classic you can wear year round but it looks especially beautiful this time of year. Perfect for a holiday party.
Wet n Wild Cherry Bomb – for about $2 you can add this amazing, vampy bordeaux shade to your collection. These have a long lasting matte finish and are one of my favorite lipstick formulas.
MAC Rebel – who hasn’t featured this color in a blog post? It’s a cult classic. It has a satin finish and is a deep berry shade that suits almost anyone.
Jordana Twist & Shine in Cranberry Crush – if you’re wary of trying a dark lip, this is for you! It’s a balm that goes on sheer but can be built up to a very pretty berry color. It’s also a bargain at around $3 from Walgreens.
Maybelline Violet Intrigue – this is limited edition but I have still been seeing them at my local drugstores so go now! A beautiful purple shade that is moisturizing but not too glossy. Similar to Heroine by MAC.
Revlon Black Cherry – a creme finish that is not for the faint of heart. Beautiful, dark, and absolutely perfect for Fall. This is right on trend and won’t cost you much! Love this color!

So those are my picks for a great Fall lip color – don’t be scared! You can always sheer them out until you’re ready for full on vamp status. Pair them with a liner for maximum lasting power and make sure you exfoliate your lips before you slap on all that fabulous, crimson goodness! Crusty lips will never be cute, girl.
Until next time – life is short, buy the lipstick!

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New Jordana Products!

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Look what I found at Walgreens!!!!

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These are just a couple of the new products I found in the Jordana section and their prices are always so affordable I had to check them out. These are basically just jumbo eyeshadow pencils – like the ones so many people love from NYX or Urban Decay. Lately it seems most drugstore brands have added these to their lineup. I really love using jumbo pencils under shadow to enhance the color and prolong the wear. When you can find a pencil like this for less than $5, why not try it? When I first found them all they had out were these two colors. I’ve since purchased more. You can see in the picture that they are really pigmented.

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These colors are matte, but I think the others I bought have some shimmer. The one I’ve used a couple times now is the nude shade – because my beloved MAC Paint Pot in Painterly was last seen in the hands of my 10 month old and is nowhere to be found. Sigh…..motherhood is hard, y’all.
So as you can see in the swatch photo, a little goes a long way. As with most cream products, this is not something I would suggest piling on. These claim to have 12 hour wear. Check out this picture and we’ll discuss that further.

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On the left is what it looks like freshly applied. On the right, is what it looks like 12+ hours later. You have to take into account that I didn’t set it with any powder or top it with any shadow. I did use it layered with shadow on a different day and after 5-6 hours of wear, I was still crease free. I think the key with these is layering shadow on top. Worn alone, they will probably last most of the day but not the 12 hours they claim. I haven’t used the jumbo pencils by Rimmel or Milani so I can’t compare but in my opinion these are a decent product at a great price. Please feel free to shoot me a question and let me know if you’ve seen these at your local Walgreens!
Until next time….life is short, buy the lipstick!

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A big, fat bargain and updates

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First things first – these brushes from Walmart are the business. I found them in the beauty section (duh) with all the other makeup brushes, tools, and false lashes. Something about the way the actual fibers of the brushes looked, even through the packaging, made me feel like they would be soft and great for blending. I hit the jackpot. They blend like brushes that are much more expensive. Most days I use MAC and Real Techniques, with a few Coastal Scents brushes thrown in. To me, these blend as well as all of those. The most noticeable difference is the handle and ferrule. That’s what gives away that they are less expensive. The handles are definitely not wood, there’s not much weight to each brush, the quality just feels a bit different. However, that’s the only thing I can say that would be critical of these brushes. Everything else is fantastic. The eye set is all double ended brushes and has pretty much everything you’d need as a beginner. I use the face brush, which is pretty dense, to contour. I would say it’s probably best used for things like contouring and foundation or cream blush. The density of the bristles might give your powder blush a circus vibe. And that ain’t cute. I wish I could remember exact prices but I can’t. I am certain that I didn’t pay more than maybe $20 for both though. I can’t compare them to Sigma for you because I haven’t tried their brushes – yet. They are on my never-ending list of beauty products to try. Overall, these are great brushes and would be especially perfect for those just getting into makeup!
Moving on…..updates. In my last post I talked about working for MAC. Unfortunately I have not been able to do that. I have been going through a lot of health issues and had to take some things off my plate. That was one of them. I’ve still been doing freelance on my own when I feel up to it, but being there all weekend on top of my full time job and a baby, PLUS health issues…..ain’t nobody got time for that. I love the MAC family and I think they would be glad to let me pick up some hours if I get this random condition I have under control but for now I’m taking it easy. If you’re curious, the condition I have is called intracranial hypertension, also known as pseudo tumor cerebri. You can Google 🙂
I was able to do several weddings this season and it was a lot of fun. I’m going to do a separate post on the Taylored Beauty Brides soon!
I mentioned in a previous post that I was trying a lash growth serum. It’s called NutraLuxe Lash MD. You can find it on Amazon for $20-30. It does cause a little redness in your eyes the first couple days but that goes away and all you’re left with is crazy long lashes. I went through one tube and liked it enough to buy another. I’m a lash whore though so this may not excite you like it does me. I was willing to risk possibly burning my retinas out with this mystery product for the sake of long lashes….maybe that’s not your thing. If so, get your false lashes on girl. If you’re like me and insist on having real lashes that flutter like wings, check this out.
I’m done rambling I think. As always feel free to ask questions and until next time, life is short – buy the lipstick!
xoxo

MAC Girl

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A while back I posted that I had been hired at MAC Cosmetics for an on-call/freelance position. I’m still working full-time in the energy industry, but I couldn’t pass up the chance to work for one of my favorite cosmetics companies. So far I have loved every minute. It’s hard being on my feet and it’s definitely a lot to juggle but when I’m there, I feel so much happiness. It’s like I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. It definitely doesn’t feel like work in the way my 8-5 job does.
So imagine my surprise when I got a call asking me if I’d be interested in a permanent position of 15 hours a week! Um, yes please!!!!! I did all the paperwork today to become a permanent MAC employee. Holy cow. It feels like it all happened so fast. I feel so blessed! I am looking forward to learning more about the brand and learning more from the other artists. Yes, MAC is a sales job, that’s no secret, but when you get to sell something you truly love….it’s not hard to be excited about selling. It’s like sharing your favorite things and making new friends all day. I love it. Retail is hard work but it’s worth it to have my hands in something I love so much.
I’m working a shift this Sunday and next weekend I’ll be working during our event for the launch of the super fun Baking Beauties collection. It’s also prom season so I’m pretty sure I will be running around like a crazy person. I can’t wait!!!!!!
So if you are also a MAC girl and have advice for a newbie, throw it my way! If you’re in the OKC area come see me on the 14th and 20th for sure….I’m still not sure what my new part-time hours will be. If you’ve always wanted to work for MAC and have questions, let me know and I’ll try to answer!
Til next time….life is short, buy the lipstick! xoxo