Photo by Janna Mandell
Oh, my loves… I hope you don’t think I abandoned you! I needed a little time to recuperate after a very exhausting fashion week. I’ve also been a busy little bee, writing a follow-up piece for this coming week’s San Francisco Chronicle Style section (so if you’re in the Bay Area pick up a paper on Sunday!) and a fun piece on Huffington Post “5 Things I Learned from Being Backstage at Fashion Week.“
You should definitely check out my Huff Po piece for a little dose of fun and honesty (and the rest of my NYFW photo diary). But, I thought I would add a couple bonus backstage secrets for my beautiful Beauty Bingers:
1) Kell on Earth? Not so much. The reality show, starring Kelly Cutrone (above), the founder of the public relations, branding and marketing firm People’s Revolution, may have only aired for one season on Bravo back in 2010 but I can assure you I’ve watched all eight episodes multiple times. As a devoted fan, you can imagine I was a bit intimidated when requesting show invites from People’s Revolution since, well, the name of the show should say it all. Sure enough, at 11:30 the night before Day 1 of fashion week I got an email from a People’s Revolution intern, cc’ing Ms. Cutrone, asking which media outlet I would be covering the shows for. Totally valid since I’m a freelance writer. When I told them I would be covering beauty for the San Francisco Chronicle’s style blog I didn’t hear back. I frantically kept refreshing my inbox, terrified that I would get to my first show of fashion week, Nicholas K, and find that my invite had been rescinded.
The next morning I timidly walked up to the check in desk to get my seat assignment. Of course I wasn’t expecting an actual seat rather I expected to be standing behind the seats in gen pop. You can imagine my surprise and elation when I found out that not only would I be attending the show but I even had a front row seat! Throughout fashion week, People’s Revolution was amazing to me – giving me seats at all their shows, obliging plus one’s, party invites etc. And, of course I loved seeing Ms. Cutrone in her element – working the crowd, kicking seat poachers back to gen pop and directing the show from the production box.
2) This isn’t so much a backstage secret more a fashion week revelation… I can’t handle heat. NYC was boiling hot and humid as it was, then you get under the lights at the shows and backstage and it feels like the temperature goes up about 50 more degrees. No bueno. In fact, sweat-related drama…
On the first morning, after emerging from the criminally hot subway station I tried blotting away my practically dripping face with blotting sheets. What a joke. My face was way past shine and trying to fix the problems with blotting sheets was like putting a band-aid on a gunshot wound.
Once I got inside I was still shvitzing because of my Kelly Cutrone-related anxiety. I fervently dabbed my face with a tissue as I waited for to check in. Once I found out my seat, I practically skipped inside to the Nicholas K show waving my first row seat assignment. I entered the dimly lit room, trying not to gape at the celebrities and fashion editors. I hurried to my seat and first pulled the biggest fashion week rookie move ever — I looked at the black tote bag on the empty seat and asked the guy sitting next to it if the seat was open. He looked at me, looked at the bag and looked back at me like I had to be joking. “Sweetie, that’s your gift bag.” Whoops. I moved my gift bag and happily settle into my seat, drinking in my glamorous surroundings.
Then, I felt a gentle tap on my arm from the nice fashion blogger next to me. “Sweetie, you should know you have what looks like tissue stuck all over your face.” Wow. It took me a few seconds to register the ramifications of what he just told me. I had checked into a show, roamed the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week main lobby and sat down at a hot fashion show with tissue stuck all over my face. I didn’t have a choice but to ask the fashion blogger to help me pick the pieces of tissue off my face. Luckily we got all the offending pieces off before the first model hit the runway.
Of course once the first model hit the runway, huge hot spotlights illuminated the front row. I basically sat there melting like a Dali painting.
Okay one more quick sweat-related drama… The next day I felt I had learned my lesson and judiciously applied Benefit Cosmetics The POREfessional Agent Zero Shine to my t-zone. Now, I’m not a powder girl but I am prone to shine and this powder has totally worked in the past to keep me shine-free without looking powdery or cakey. I had cursed myself for not thinking of it the first day! Needless to say, to make a long story short, I walked a few blocks in ungodly heat to get to the Kate Spade show. I checked in backstage and was totally swept away by the flawless models and the whole scene.
After I had gotten my interviews and photos I jumped into a cab, jubilant and ready for my next show. I grabbed my compact and found that I had three-dimensional droplets of sweat all over my face. They were just sitting there like boils. It was horrifying. I later divulged my mishap to good friend and makeup artist Maria Luxen and she said matter-of-factly, “the powder probably has silicone.”
Ahhh… she was right. Lesson learned. Had I simply blotted my face (not with a tissue!), the powder would have kept my skin matte while paper towels or blotting paper would have absorbed the droplets. I end with one question… Why the hell didn’t ANYONE at that show say, “hey, you’ve got something going on” and handed me a tissue?? Perhaps they saw me at Nicholas K and felt I was better off with the droplets.
The good news? Next NYFW is in February so I can’t bitch about the heat!Posted by janna Tags fashion week, Kelly Cutrone, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, New York Fashion Week, Nicholas K, NYFW, shine
I was invited to a press event at Sephora this past week to experience one of their complimentary classes at their San Francisco flagship store on Powell Street. I sauntered in (late of course) to a small group of style writers and makeup artists discussing the “if you were stranded on a desert island, which beauty product would you bring?” conundrum. The makeup artists went first. Of course they were pragmatic, naming multi-use makeup palettes like Smashbox Master Class Palette III Color & Contour and other multi-use products and palettes. Then, the style writers went around the room choosing generic makeup items like mascara, lipgloss, etc. When it was my turn, I chose AMOREPACIFIC ‘Color Control’ Cushion Compact Broad Spectrum SPF 50 because if I’m going to be stranded on an island, you better believe I’m not leaving my grass hut without a flattering, buildable CC Cream packed with high sunscreen. (Leave it to me to choose something not offered at Sephora. Whatever.)
After we had gone around the room divulging our most beloved products, Makeup Artist Kenya Garrett gave an interactive tutorial on how to contour and highlight. Now, I’m no stranger to contouring and highlighting. Meaning, I know how to do it, but I don’t aspire to look like Kim Kardashian in any shape or form. Occasionally, I’ll lightly contour the hollows of my cheeks with a matte bronzer and slap a cream highlighter on my cheekbones. But, I usually end up blending away the contour powder because it just never looks natural.
Well, Kenya must have been reading my mind because she declared the Kim Kardashian way “wrong” and gave us a thorough tutorial on how to make contouring and highlighting actually look flattering and natural. She also gave some pro tips I hadn’t heard before:
1) Wear a foundation with more coverage when contouring and highlighting so that redness and other discolorations do not show through.
2) Apply highlighter first so that your face tells you where to contour. Meaning, once you’ve applied your highlighter and you tilt your face down in front of the mirror, you will more clearly see the hollows of your cheeks (where the contour powder goes)
3) Do NOT use a matte bronzer when contouring. Use a taupe with grey in it so that it more resembles your natural face shadows. BRILLIANT! MADE A HUGE DIFFERENCE!
After Kenya’s demonstration, we were teamed up with makeup artists for one-on-one sessions. I was paired with the knowledgable Elisia Huck, who showed me how to color correct my puffy eyes to make them look flattened and brighter. Then, when I told Elisia I already had the coveted Anastasia Contour Kit but I was only using it as eyeshadow, she showed me the right shade (you guessed it grayish taupe) to use as a contouring powder and how to apply it.
Okay, so I’m the first to admit this class showed me that in fact I don’t know everything. (Yes, it was shocking for me as well) The classes range from “Contouring and Highlighting” to “Day-to-Night Smoky Eye” and you can make a reservation online here. Added bonus: every class attendee gets a little goody bag with fun samples! Classes are complimentary to Beauty Insiders. If you’re not a Beauty Insider yet, well quite frankly, I’m shocked you read my blog. It’s free to join the Beauty Insider program and as beauty addicts like myself can attest to, membership (and spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora) has its privileges.Posted by janna Tags Bright Eye Makeup, contouring and highlighting, makeup, Makeup Artist, MUA, Sephora
There is nothing I love more than recommending a makeup item that instantly flatters the masses (Cle de Peau Beaute Concealer, CLINIQUE Almost Lipstick in Black Honey, Tarte Cheek Stain in Blissful )… Granted, these magical beauty products obviously don’t work on everyone, but they make enough women look in the mirror and say “wow” to be called iconic.
Marc Jacobs Beauty Highliner Gel Eye Crayon in (Plum)Age 60 is the newest product to achieve icon status in my world. I tried this gel pencil on my cornflower blue-eyed friend Melissa on her wedding day and her eyes literally twinkled in every photo. The eyeliner made my friend Shana’s dark green eyes nearly jump off her face.
Even though I own eyeliner in every color, form, and brand I always reach for this one. It makes my dark blue eyes look bigger, bluer, and the subtle shimmer give my eyes a sparkle. The gel pencil easily glides along your lash line, leaving behind smooth, vibrant color. The eyeliner lasts all day and doesn’t leave the dreaded ring above your crease.
When you wear it, you should keep the rest of your eye makeup subdued. I cover my entire upper eye area with Bobbi Brown Eye Shadow in Ivory using a flat eye shadow brush. Then I apply a matte brown eye shadow like Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Buck in my creases in a back and forth windshield wiper motion. Matte brown eye shadow in the creases makes eyes appear instantly larger! Then I blend to soften any lines with a loose eye brush in small circles.
Now, don’t be turned off by the plum hue. I know, I know… you’re probably married to your faithful brown or black eyeliner you’ve been using for years. Trust me when I say that once you try this one, you will banish your boring black and brown eyeliner to the beauty graveyard forever.Posted by janna Tags Eyeliner, Marc Jacobs, Marc Jacobs Beauty
Well my lovelies, it’s that time of year again… You may call it the middle of summer — I call it my Vietnam. What once looked like perfect applied makeup and a sleek blowout can morph into your worst nightmare within a few minutes of being exposed to the ungodly head and humidity. You don’t have to suffer! Read my Ultimate Summer Beauty Survival Guide on Huffington Post to find out how to beat the heat into submission this summer.Posted by janna Tags Huffington Post, Melting Makeup, summer makeup
For those of you longtime readers, you know I’m a complete disaster when it comes to sunless tanning. No matter what brand of self-tanner I tried, either I ended up looking like an Oompa Loompa (that was the best case scenario) or I would have enough streaks and white spots (I tended to consistently miss entire areas of my face and body) to make me look like I was suffering from a rare skin condition. And quite frankly, I felt like most self-tanners would piss off my sensitive skin and make me breakout. So at some point I simply just gave up and resigned to the fact that a pale face is better than a wrinkled one.
But that was before I started testing new products for my upcoming summer story for Huffington Post…
I couldn’t resist trying the Tarte Maracuja Bronzing Serum because A) Tarte is one of my favorite brands B) I love slathering on the Tarte Pure Maracuja Oil every night for a dose of hydration and essential fatty acids C) Tarte calls it a “gradual bronzing serum” — “gradual” being the operative word for someone like myself who is self-tanner challenged.
The serum itself is lightweight and absorbs quickly. I apply a few drops at night after I cleanse and then follow with my nightly moisturizer. If you have oily skin you can definitely use this serum alone since it has the same hydrating and brightening power as the original Maracuja Oil. When you wake up and rush to the mirror you will be greeted by a subtle natural glow. It’s so natural-looking and streak-free I’ve applied it every night for the past seven nights and I love the results.
Since the serum is so gradual I thought I would try the By Terry Tea to Tan to give my color a little depth. Again, I’m usually not a fan of liquid or cream bronzers because they always look and feel too heavy and unnatural (especially the way I tend to apply them). What makes the By Terry Tea to Tan so different is it’s literally a water consistency and provides two different looks — 1) Don’t shake the bottle and you get a subtle natural tan 2) Shake the bottle and you get a little glimmer to your tan. I tend to shake it every time since the glimmer is so slight. The bronzing elixir is buildable and works beautifully on days when you don’t want to apply makeup and just want a healthy glow. The elixir is also tea-based (hence the name) so it’s chockfull of skin-loving antioxidants. It’s more like tinted skincare rather than a bronzer with beneficial ingredients.
So ladies, now I’ve given you a viable alternative to worshipping the sun. I don’t want to hear your sob stories this summer about premature wrinkles and unsightly uneven skin tone because you decided to ignore my sage advice.
If you insist on sunbathing, at least do me the courtesy of wearing a wide-brimmed hat. My sister Loni gets a gold star for picking up her first wide-brimmed hat this week. Good girl! Now wear it to the beach!!!
Disclosure: I was gifted these products with no editorial obligation.Posted by janna Tags By Terry, self-tan, sunless tanning, Tarte
Okay, it didn’t hurt that I also got to sip pink champagne during my introduction to the MAKE UP FOR EVER Boutique in Santa Clara, CA (don’t worry there are more locations throughout the U.S. and Canada), but I would have made the trek anyway! Experiencing one of my favorite makeup brands in boutique form rather than the confines of a Sephora kiosk… We’re talking 1600 products in the boutique vs. 300 – 600 at Sephora. BINGE ON!
Forget the products for a second (I know it’s tough…) but the main draw for these boutiques are the cute little makeup school stations in the back. Every Monday, the boutiques host Make Up School ($25 a class) on how to achieve a certain look — smoky eye, contoured face, etc. And don’t think for a second you’re just going to watch in the mirror and hope you remember how to achieve the look once you get home… Oh no! The makeup artist is only going to apply the makeup to half your face, then it’s your turn! If you don’t paying attention, expect to look more like a Picasso than a makeover after shot.
Some of the boutiques even have a Video Make Up Lesson Recording Studio so you can record your lesson with the makeup artist and take it home with you and watch it on loop.
Getting back to the products… My top 3 products (which by the way if you can’t make it to a MUFE Boutique, you can find all these products in Sephora):
-MAKE UP FOR EVER HD Blush 210 This cream blush literally melts into your skin, leaving no visible texture. It’s really easy to blend and gives my cheeks a pretty “just pinched” look.
-MAKE UP FOR EVER HD Microperfecting Primer 1 Green Redness has really become an issue for me since my pregnancy. I apply this green (yes green!) primer ONLY where I’m red and blend until the green hue goes away. Then I put my normal primer on over it. It’s the only thing that works as far as covering my redness without looking heavy.
-MAKE UP FOR EVER Aqua Eyes Black Purple 6L I literally have these long-lasting, highly pigmented waterproof eyeliner pencils in almost every color. My new favorite hue is black purple, which brings out the blue in my eyes but is a subtle enough purple that it doesn’t look wild.
MAKE UP FOR EVER Boutiques are currently located in California, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania, Nevada, New Jersey, and Canada. To find the nearest boutique click here.
Disclosure: I was gifted these products with no editorial obligation.Posted by janna Tags MAKE UP FOR EVER, Makeup Artist
And on the eighth day, God created the Neiman Marcus Beauty Event…
Sure, other department stores have their share of Gift with Purchase (GwP) bonanzas but none top Neiman Marcus in terms of brands and goodies. Neimans is the granddaddy of them all… Not only does this iconic institution offer a bag stuffed with samples from the likes of premium brands like ReVive, Cle de Peau, and Oribe, but most of the brands offer their own fabulous GwP incentives.
Granted, the spend minimum on some of the GwPs are ridiculously expensive (like you have to spend $650 at ReVive) but then there are some totally attainable goals like spend $150 at Armani Beauty or $100 at NARS.
Take it from me… with all these amazing GwPs it’s a little TOO easy to go a bit crazy and wind up spending the rent money. So take the beauty event in stride, especially if you plan on visiting a Neiman Marcus in person. The bright pretty products and delicious-smelling air can be a quite intoxicating. Though, the brands do offer all kinds of special in-store events like facials and makeovers, which can be fun as long as you don’t lose yourself and buy out the entire counter.
So what should you buy? Here are my top picks:
Cle de Peau Concealer ($70): Um, obviously. Anyone who reads my blog knows I’ve been using this celebrity secret weapon for the past couple years. Now is the time to stock up!
Sisley-Paris Botanical D-Tox ($240): I know it’s a hefty price tag but beauty addicts swear by this detoxifying serum. Supposedly women have seen a total turnaround in terms of visible pores, lines and frequency of breakouts. It’s supposedly safe for sensitive skin so I’m going to give it a try.
Sulwhasoo Overnight Vitalizing Mask ($50): I’m a whore for overnight masks as it is since skin repairs itself at night and is most conducive to products. I’ve been using this mask for three weeks now and I’m in love with the results. I seem to wake up to brighter more hydrated skin. Bonus: It absorbs right away so you don’t have to worry about getting it all over your pillow.
Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Complex ($46 – $120): I’ve been using this elixir of essential oils and distilled botanicals as a serum under my Sulwhasoo mask. It smells lovely and seems to be calming and hydrating. For those of you with oily skin, you could wear this alone at night to get the full benefits.
Giorgio Armani Rouge d’Armani Sheer ($34): This is the queen of all lip sheers. Forget all you’ve known before of tinted lip balms and sheer lipsticks — this ultra-hydrating confection takes the cake. Not only does it drop the perfect amount of color, it locks in the color and hydrating for several hours. Winner.
So, as you can imagine I personally do not have the willpower to go to Neiman Marcus in person, even though their stunning San Francisco location is only 30 minutes away and their well-appointed facial room beckons to me. I will be a good girl (relatively) and do my shopping online.
The Neiman Marcus Beauty Event lasts until March 2nd, so whether you decide to do your shopping in-person or online, just remember to binge responsibly and even Sisley-Paris skincare isn’t worth spending the electricity bill money. (On the other hand, your skin will look amazing in candlelight…)
Posted by janna Tags Armani Cosmetics, Cle de Peau, Georgio Armani, GwP, Kiehl's, Neiman Marcus, Sisley-Paris, Sulwhasoo
Forget lingerie this Valentine’s Day… lingerie can make you feel fat and that’s simply not sexy. What makes me feel sexy? A fire engine red lip. Granted, not all reds are created equally. Many reds tend to look too orangey on me so I’ve always gone tore towards the berry side. But, I’ve always been searching for that perfect bombshell red — the color of lipstick I imagine Ingrid Bergman to have worn on her perfect pout. Alas, my search is over…
Illamasqua was kind enough to send me their “I’m the One” Collection, which includes Lip Pencil in Fiesty, Lipstick in Maneater, and Intense Lip Gloss in Touch. And I’ve gotta tell you, wearing all three products together — first outlining with the pencil, then applying the lipstick, and then adding a dollop of gloss to the center of my lower lip — makes magic happen.
The lip pencil has vivid color and glides on seamlessly. The lipstick is just to die for… I don’t have words. If you’re going to buy one item from this collection I’d go with the lipstick. Of course, I’m not a lip gloss girl. The publicist who sent this to me said she’s been wearing the lip pencil with the lip gloss over it and she’s in love. I will say this is the kind of lip gloss that could turn me — hydrating, intensely pigmented color with a subtle sparkle, and long lasting.
There is just something about this classic red lip that instantly transforms me from Janna in pajamas into sexy, sultry Janna in pajamas. Well, um of course I’m still wearing pajamas! Didn’t I explain the whole lingerie thing?? It’s all about the lip!!
Disclosure: I was gifted these products with no editorial obligation.Posted by janna Tags Illamasqua, Lip Gloss, lipstick, Valentine's Day
Once I laid eyes on the three brushes from the MAC Masterclass Brush Collection — Linear 1 Brush, Oval 3 Brush, and Oval 6 Brush — the rational side of me said, “Janna, you have about 50 makeup brushes and you don’t need anymore” but the irrational beauty addict side (who incidentally has a record of winning these battles by a landslide) said, “Janna, you owe it to your readers to buy these strange toothbrush / baby hairbrush-looking makeup brushes.” We all know who won…
What are these strange looking brushes?
M∙A∙C introduces a unique, breakthrough range of brushes that deliver a high level of performance and revolutionize personal makeup application. Ergonomically designed for even and effortless application, lush, silky, synthetic fibres are engineered to expertly pick up and apply product seamlessly. The brush handles feature a special grip design and a tilted brush tip for ultimate precision. M∙A∙C store exclusive.
What I Thought...
Linear 1 ($25): MAC describes this brush as “With a short, narrow shape, the brush delivers a firm, precise stroke to line lashes and lips. Also defines and fills brows.” I personally thought the head was way too big to line lashes or lips. Though, I did love the brush for blending liner and shadow into my lash line. I also liked it for filling in my brows, but it wasn’t a game changer. Verdict: Leave it.
Oval 3 ($32): MAC describes the Oval 3 as “The ultimate multipurpose tool, with an elongated oval shape and slightly pointed tip. Smoothly shades and blends powder or cream eye shadows, powder, and liquid or cream concealer in the hard-to-reach contours of the face.” Now, this brush I love… It is by far the best concealer brush I’ve ever used. Not only does it leave my face streak free, but because of it’s unique shape, it makes concealing the tough-to-reach places like my inner eye area and around the nose super simple. As for eye shadow, I definitely don’t recommend using this brush to apply shadow to the crease. The head is just too big and it drops way too much color. Instead, use this brush to blend the crease with a back-and-forth windshield wiper motion. Verdict: Love it!
Oval 6 ($42): MAC describes this brush as “Ideal for blush, foundation or powder, the rounded, medium-sized brush applies, blends and contours all over the face or cheeks for even, flawless coverage.” Okay… now this brush is a total game changer. Once you ladies get your grimy little fingers on this brush you will never use another foundation brush again. It is soooo soft and luxurious and blends foundation flawlessly, leaving you with a natural streak-free face. I also use this brush for contouring my cheeks. It seems to have the perfect width and shape to fit in the hollows of my cheeks. I also find myself reaching for this brush to blend bronzer and blush. Verdict: BEYOND Love it!
I have to say, using these brushes have made putting on makeup fun again. You’ll find yourself looking for excuses to use them. Tip: Make sure you’re cleansing the brushes in between uses! Like an idiot, I used the Oval 3 to blend my brown eye shadow and then used it to apply my concealer. You can just imagine what that looked like. (Bad Halloween)Posted by janna Tags MAC, Makeup brushes
Now that I have a baby girl, the days of me turning my makeup application process into a long, enjoyable ritual — taking an hour to carefully plan and execute the perfect smoky eye or shadowed winged eye while downing a couple glasses of chardonnay — are long gone. Now, I’m lucky to have five minutes before my husband is calling me to the door.
People who aren’t true makeup lovers never understood how it could take me so long to get ready… It was never that I felt naked or ugly without a full face of makeup or that I’m so vain that I needed 60 minutes to perfect my face… I actually relished the process. It was almost a form of meditation for me.
I’ve found that even though I can’t take the time to create new dramatic makeup looks (and let’s face it, my social schedule isn’t quite demanding cat eyes and electric fuchsia lipstick), I enjoy the fact that I’ve been able to whittle down my routine significantly, still be pleased with the final product, and even get in 5 minutes of my own personal meditation:janna Tags Amore Pacific, Bite Beauty, Bobbi Brown, Cle de Peau, makeup, Makeup How-to, Marc Jacobs Beauty, Nars, Tarte, tarte cosmetics, Urban Decay