Great Gear For Getting Gorgeous!

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the barrage of beauty items in magazines & stores today, it can be daunting to find the things that work best for your specific needs!

During my time as a makeup artist, certain items have become my favorites, both at home and at work. Here’s my Top Ten list; I hope you find some helpful ideas here! 🙂

1. Cetaphil Soap & Lotion. Every dermatologist I’ve ever spoken to has recommended Cetaphil, and I’ve been devoted to the stuff for years. The basic face wash and body/face lotions are chemically simple, non-inflammatory, and work for almost all skin types. They never cause break-outs, are unscented, and are non-comedogenic; my acne-prone, rosacea-sensitive, combination skin loves Cetaphil!

2. Makeup Primer. Most women only need primer when they’re getting ready for a photoshoot! If your skin is smooth and evenly-colored, primer is probably unecessary for you. However, if you have scarring, uneven skin tone, oily skin that gets a mid-day “glow,” or the beginning of fine lines, makeup primer is a mini-miracle in a bottle! Smooth it on after moisturizer, and before foundation, to absorb oil and give your skin a smooth, even surface. For normal skin types, try Arbonne, Bare Essentuals, or Smashbox primers. For ultra-sensitive skin (like mine!), try Youngblood primer (available at Two Rivers Spa in Eagle) or Korres mild primer/moisturizer combo.

3. Foundation. High-end luxury: Chanel Naturally Luminous Fluid Makeup. Gorgeous and decadent! Mid-range: Youngblood Powder, Compact, or Liquid Foundation. Formulated by a gal who worked with burn victims; for normal to uber-sensitive skin; luxurious, natural, and flawless-looking! Budget-friendly options: Revlon ColorStay Foundation (for normal-dry skin), and Maybelline Mineral Power Natural Perfecting Liquid Foundation (for normal-oily skin).

4. Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer. Eyeshadow primer is similar to makeup primer; it holds eyeshadow in place all day, keeping color bright & true, and lessens build-up in eyelid creases. Smooth it on your eyelids, let it dry a few seconds, and follow with eyeshadow. I’ve tried multiple brands of primers. MAC’s eyeshadow primer has fabulous staying power, but over time it dries out, and can pull & tug across the delicate eyelid area. I prefer Urban Decay’s version because it goes on so gently & smoothly, and lasts a very long time.

5. Eye Liner & Shadow. Urban Decay is hands-down-fabulous for eyeshadows. Their pigmentation is strong, with fantastic staying power. Choices range from matte to shimmer to full-on-glittery, and their prices are reasonable. Urban Decay offers single shadows, and their mixed palettes are a fantastic way to try a variety of colors. Budget-friendly option: L’Oreal’s HiP line. For eyeliner, Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide-On Pencil is wonderful! It’s waterproof, safe to use on inner lids, glides on like a smooth paint, and lasts all day! Budget-friendly option: Head to Fred Meyer and check out their “Styli-Style Line & Seal” waterproof eyeliners. Longer-lasting than most, with solid pigmentation. I like the twist-up pencil in black or brown for all-day wear!

6. Eyelash Curler. Most gals have tried an eyelash curler now & then. It’s an easy way to add drama to your eyes. Caution: Overuse can lead to eyelash breakage, as can worn-out curler pads and squeezing the curler too hard or too long. My choice for occasional usage is a partial-curler. Japonesque and Sephora both sell small/partial eyelash curlers. You can target the middle of your lashes for a wide-open look, or curl certain sections to add drama where you want it.

7. Mascara. I’ve tried so many over the years, looking for lush, bold, dramatic lashes! Cover Girl’s Lash Blast is an almost-perfect choice; the dense brush separates lashes & deposits a lush amount of inky black mascara. I love the drama & ease of this mascara! The only drawback to Lash Blast is it’s texture; it dries out quickly, so you can’t apply layers to build drama for evening. But if you’re a one-coat user, Lash Blast is fabulous. For those of you who like to layer mascara for extra drama, I recommend one that dries softly and with great separation, like Maybelline’s Full & Soft or L’Oreal’s Lash Out. After it dries, you can add dramatic coats of Lash Blast to pump up the volume! Luxury options: Dior’s DiorShow Black Out mascara, or Bare Escentual’s Buxom Lash.

~~~ UPDATED 1-9-2011 ~~~ L’Oreal just upped the ante with a fantastic new mascara! It blows the other brands out of the water, and is a great makeup buy for under $10!! If you are looking for one mascara that does it all, try the new Volumnous Million Lashes in Blackest Black!!

8. Bumble & Bumble Hair Thickening Spray. Do you have fine hair that needs a little extra oomph & body? I’ve tried many products over the years that promise to thicken or “plump up” hair. The only product I’ve found that consistently delivers on that promise is Bumble & Bumble’s Thickening Spray. Spray it in before blow-drying for body & thickness. You can also re-style it the next day; simply dampen your roots with a spritz or two and blow dry.

9. Fekkai Styling Cream. For those of you who are as addicted to your flatiron as I am, this lushious finishing cream is a minor miracle. Infused with olive oil, instead of the usual silicone, it doesn’t just coat your hair; it quenches & moisturizes, infusing damaged locks with lustre and movement. A tiny amount (pea-sized for normal hair, half-a-pea for us fine-haired gals!) smoothed over the ends and brushed through gives sleekness without weighing hair down or looking greasy. Luxury option: Oribe Smooth Style Serum, also available at Two Rivers Spa in Eagle. Truly the Cadillac of hair care products, this cream can be used on wet hair for styling, or on dry hair for extra silky shine. (Note: Oribe’s Shampoo & Conditioner For Beautiful Color are the best products I’ve ever tried for stressed & processed hair!)

10. Tanning Spray. I’m a big fan of avoiding sun exposure to stave-off wrinkles! But the truth is, tan legs look leaner than pale legs. So what’s a sun-conscious gal to do? Tanning beds are a recipe for skin damage, and lotions tend to be streaky & uneven. My solution: spray tans! I love, love, love L’Oreal’s Tanning Spray. It’s easy to use, almost fool-proof, natural-looking, quick, and inexpensive! Whether you are new to the self-tanning world, or a veteran tanner, give this product a try. The light mist sprays on quickly, dries in seconds, and you wake up the next day looking bronzed and beautiful!

What are your favorite self-care products? What beauty items do you find yourself coming back to again and again? I welcome your comments and suggestions! 🙂

Where to buy: Bumble & Bumble, Oribe, & Youngblood are available at Two Rivers Spa in Eagle. Dior, Bare Escentuals, Smashbox, Korres, & Urban Decay are available at Sephora, Dillard’s, Macy’s, and Nordstrom. Arbonne cosmetics are available through a local rep (see links section). Fekkai is sold at many hair salons, as well as Fred Meyer. All other products can be found at your local drugstore.

4 thoughts on “Great Gear For Getting Gorgeous!

  1. Thanks for doing all this fine research! I feel at total ease taking your advice and plan to upgrade to several of these products.

    I did find a new product I am totally down with. Im not down with most of their stuff but Physicians Formula came out with a fantastic eyeliner that has been making my eyelashes grow and become more fuller. Physicians Formula Eye Booster 2-in-1 Lash Boosting Eyeliner + Serum. I love it. Im only a top lid eyeliner gal and its A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!


    1. Cool, thank you!!! I love hearing about which products truly work well for people. A lash-boosting liquid eyeliner? Wow, sounds fabulous! I’m definitely curious to try it!! 😀


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