Posts Tagged ‘Sephora’

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Skin Regimen for the Non-Girly Girly

My friend Kelsey is one of those All-American girls — blond hair, blue eyes, light freckles on her nose, and a kick-ass body that makes you want to hate her (she’s a total cyborg athlete). But you can’t really hate her because she has no clue she looks like she just stepped out of an American Eagle ad (See left photo. No, that’s not Kelsey nor is that her husband Jordan. I’m just trying to make a point!)

She grew up with brothers (also cyborgs, taking after cyborg mom and dad) and spent her youth excelling at every sport including becoming a scratch golfer rather than playing with Barbies and raiding her mother’s makeup bag (wasted childhood, obviously).

Kels and I were at dinner. I was busy examining her makeup-free skin (I won’t lie, a little hate brewed. She may have had on lip balm, but that’s it.) when she turned to me and said, “Janna, I love the blog and all, but I don’t really get all that girly-girl stuff.” I could tell by the look on her face I must have looked wounded, especially since she quickly followed up with, “Not that it’s girly-girl! I just don’t use a lot of product!” Read the rest of this entry »

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Friday, March 9, 2012

Bright Lights, Big City: Neon, Neon Everywhere

From the runways to the subways, I’m seeing nothing but neon.

Neon makeup and hair started lighting up the runways last year, and since then this 80s staple trend quickly blinded  the masses with an explosion of day-glo fashion and beauty products.  Walking down the streets of NYC, I see everything from young girls with fluorescent hair streaks and matching lipstick to career fashionistas furiously typing away on their smart phones with nails painted in the season’s latest electric colors.

Don’t be intimidated into thinking that if you incorporate a little neon, you’re a couple of leg warmers away from becoming Pat Benatar. Just be careful to tone down your outfit and the rest of your makeup (think neutrals across the board) to avoid anything aggressively offensive.  Kidding.  (kind of kidding)


If you’re not in the mood to do a full eye of makeup, just add a little pop of color with neon mascara, as seen on the models at Stella McCartney AW 2012 Paris.  Makeup Artist Master Pat McGrath used Cover Girl Lashblast 24 Hour Mascara coated with a blue pigment gel to achieve the look. At home, apply two coats of your favorite volume-pumping mascara in black, let it dry, and then coat with an electric blue mascara like Tokidoki Punk Lash Mascara in Baby Rocker.

Backstage beauty at Stella McCartney AW 2012 Paris (photo via WWD)

Or, for a more subtle look, you can swipe a brightly-colored liquid liner along your upper lash line like my minxy blonde friend Kat (see below).  Kat used Sephora Liquid Liner in Fancy Blue to achieve her look:

Kitty Kat in her electric blue liner



Go bold or go home.  Maria rocks a different day-glo shade every day. She doesn’t care if it’s 8 AM in Midtown Manhattan on a Monday, she’ll be wearing a fluorescent fuchsia.   Try a bold pink like Mirabella Lip Colour in Over the Top, which is highly pigmented color yet doesn’t bleed.  Or, add a pop of orange (after all, Tangerine Tango is the Pantone color of the year) try  MAC Pro Amplified Creme Lipstick in Neon Orange, or go for a more sheer shade like Bobbi Brown’s Sheer Lip Gloss in Citrus.


Milly Backstage Beauty Spring 2012, photo via Creative Nail Design


Twinkle by Wenlan Backstage Beauty, Spring/Summer 2010, photo via



If you feel like you’re on the cusp of being too shy to pull off this look,  take baby steps and paint your nails a different blinding hue every week (or day, if you happen to have the time and dedication). Every brand seems to have a color story this Spring involving neon. Have fun experimenting with the under $10 brands like China Glaze Poolside Collection ($6.50 per bottle / $17.75 for set of 6)  and invest wisely in the premium lines like Dior ($23 per bottle).  Make sure you test the level of opacity.  It may look bold in the bottle, but sheer once its on your nail.  To make a neon pop even more, apply an opaque white like Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear in White On as your base coat and then paint two coats of your neon.


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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sunday Splurge: Fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask

I’m surprised the Fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask wasn’t my first Sunday Splurge. At $88.00 a jar and an insanely addictive consistency, this mask  is one of my biggest vices. You’re bound to overuse this product, both in quantity and frequency.  If I won Powerball tomorrow? I would call Fresh and have them ship me vats of this mask so I could take baths in it.

This mask has such a unique consistency that when you first dip your fingers in (which is a luxurious experience in itself), the mask feels like “velvety, whipped” ultra-light, non-sticky icing.  As soon as it’s applied, it has an instant cooling effect, which is followed by a mild tingling.  If you massage it in a little, you can feel the tiny Hyaluronic spheres bursting and the mask takes on a wetter consistency.  Then, stop playing with it (trust me, this is the toughest part).  The jar says leave it on 8-10 minutes.  There’s no science to it, except when you feel it start to dry or ball up, go ahead and rinse it.  (Note: if you leave it on longer than 10-15 minutes, it gets tougher to remove with just a rinse. I usually wet a cotton pad and wipe it off, then splash my face with cool water.)

It leaves my skin visibly smoother, less red, more even, and gives it an airbrushed quality. Unfortunately, this magical visual effect only lasts six hours, but the benefits of the hard-working anti-aging ingredients perpetuate.

See Fresh’s description:

BLACK TEA INSTANT PERFECTING MASK is an intense hydrating treatment that immediately reveals softer, more supple, and younger-looking skin. This skin perfecting formula was scientifically proven to have a significant moisturizing effect 6 hours after the mask is rinsed from the skin surface*! Additionally, it was tested by a consumer-testing panel under dermatological control and was proven to**:

– firm the complexion

– improve skin elasticity

– leave skin feeling velvety, soft and smooth

– leave skin looking resilient and radiant

– smooth the texture of the skin & decrease skin roughness 

– hydrate, nourish and soothe 

– improve skin tone

*in vivo test 
**in vivo test, 32 women tested for 4 weeks and applied 3 times per week

Key Ingredients:

 – Black tea refines the skin’s texture, enhancing radiance and smoothness. 

– Lychee seed extract stimulates collagen production. 

– Firming polysaccharides give an immediate lifting effect and work to reduce fine lines and wrinkles over time.  

 – Sake: Detoxifies and softens the skin and is rich in proteins, amino acids, and trace minerals.

– Hyaluronic spheres: Increase skin firmness, suppleness, and hydration

I like to put the mask on cleansed skin before I get in the shower so it works with the steam and protects my skin from drying out.  I’ll also use it after a cold day here in Manhattan, when my skin had to battle cold wind, dry indoor heat, pollution, and possibly rain or snow.  Actually when I think about it, I realize I don’t need a shower or cold day to provoke me to dip my fingers into this magical jar of cloud fluff.   I’ll use it any chance I get!

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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sparkle Motion for New Year’s Eve!

I should have included “in moderation” in my headline.  A little too much sparkle can go very wrong, very quickly.   Let’s talk about how old you are…

– Teens:  Glitter is your friend. You are young enough to get away with it, so look like Edward from Twilight tonight and go crazy.  Seriously, if I were 20 years younger, I would apply a neutral like Revlon Diamond Lust in Bedroom Bronze all over my lid and then dip a Q-tip in lash gel (for falsies) or vaseline and trace my lash line.  Then, I would pull out the big guns and dip a Q-tip or flat-tipped brush in drugstore glitter pat it on, or if I had been saving my pennies, I would invest in MAKE UP FOR EVER Glitter in Blue 5 or Purple 9.  If I were 17, I would also be all about the glitter gloss, so I would coat my lips with LA Color lip gloss (I could mix every color since they are only $2 each).

– Twenties: Ladies, sparkle responsibly here. If you’re under 25, go bolder. If you’re over 25, your cuspy for the full-on glitter (even for New Year’s).  After 25, the size of the glitter gets smaller and more milled.  Your best bet, regardless of which side of 25 you’re on is MAKE UP FOR EVER Diamond Powder.  I’ll let Sephora explain,  “Diamond Powder combines both the pearly iridescence of Star Powder and the brightness of Glitter. The particles are finer and literally radiate extreme brilliance as soon as they are applied.”   I would use these powders as a wash over my entire lid, to line my upper and lower lash lines, and to highlight cheekbones and brow bones, and dab at the center of my cupid’s bow.

– Thirties: This is when we transition away from glitter and think shimmer.  Maria was generous enough to  give me the Vincent Longo Amaretti Diamond Collection baked eyeshadow set for the holidays. These shadows are gorgeous and perfect for creating a shimmery smokey eye.  Just like their website instructs, use a sponge tip applicator (like the ones you always throw away) or a Q-tip  (in case you’re like me and you did throw them all away) and draw a line on your upper lash line with one of the darker colors.  It’s okay if your line is a bit messy, because you are going to use a small blending brush or the side of a flat-tipped brush to blend the line upwards towards your crease.  This gives it that gradual fade. Then, I may smudge a little into my lower lash line, depending on how dramatic I’m feeling.  I will finish off with dipping my ring finger in the copper leaf shadow and pressing it into the inner corners of my eyes.

– Forties and Beyond: Okay ladies, I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know here (and I apologize if this is harsh), but glitter and shimmer may not be age appropriate unless done subtly, VERY subtly.  What I consider subtle… taking a nice neutral shimmer like Bobbi Brown Shimmer Wash in Champagne or Rose Gold and applying it with a large eye shadow brush as a wash over your entire lid.  Then, add a cream highlighter like Urban Decay Urbanglow  to your brow bone (to open your eyes and make them pop) and  from your temples to the center of your cheeks (to highlight cheekbones) and BLEND.

Don’t hesitate to break my age barriers and combine some of the tips above (just keep in mind, the older you are, the more dangerous sparkle becomes).

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy 2012!!  SPARKLE ON!

P.S. Lisi, I hope you appreciated my Donny Darko reference

Photo via Sing Lo

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday Splurge: Tarte The Starlet Limited Edition Makeup Vanity

I chose the Tarte The Starlet Limited Edition Makeup Vanity as my Sunday Splurge, not because it’s expensive (actually the opposite; $52 for $505 worth of makeup), but because buying it for yourself (and not a gift) is a “splurge”.  It’s not like I am running low on eye shadow.  Plus, I know I won’t use the powdered bronzer or blush (I’m married to my Tarte Cheek Stain in Blissful and my Benefit Cosmetics Hoola). There is also a lash primer and mascara, both of which I gave away (since I have my extensions).  I bought this for myself knowing full well I didn’t “need” it,  but I was simply mesmerized by the 24 eye shadows grouped together by Traditional Smokey Eye, Earthy, Plum Smokey Eye, Blues, Browns, and Pinks.  I could see myself wearing colors from each group.

The box is reminiscent of a jewelry box my grandmother would have displayed with her ornate perfume bottle collection in the fifties.  It’s mirrored on all sides and once you’re done with the makeup  you simply lift the plastic trays exposing a purple satin-lined interior. Adorbs!  But certainly don’t rush being “done with the makeup”.  The eye shadows are to die for… A wide range of colors and textures, and long-lasting.

I am having so much fun experimenting with the different shadows, and I’ve already picked out my palette for the various holidays.  So bring yourself a little pre-holiday  cheer and treat yourself to the Tarte The Limited Edition Makeup Vanity.  And, don’t forget Sephora is having another great GwP event for purchases over $25!

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Product Review: Amazing Cosmetics Amazing Concealer

I’ve always been like Goldilocks when it came to concealer. One was too thick, one was too thin, one was too yellow, and one was too pink.  The thick ones were dry, and just sat on my skin and didn’t blend.  The thin ones absorbed (despite the primer), didn’t cover the blue tinge, and never lasted past my subway trip to work.

Maria and I found Amazing Cosmetics Amazing Concealer  on one of our binges at Sephora.  I know the name is cheesy, but don’t be deterred. Amazing Concealer  is literally the only concealer I’ve ever used that literally flattens my puffy eyes.  When Maria initially tested it on my hand, I thought it would be too thick and drying. She disagreed and lightly patted the smallest amount below my eyes and showed me the mirror. Wow.

She shot me an accusatory look, “Did you see how little I used?  Janna, if you want this to look good, you MUST use the tiniest amount.” She spoke to me like a little girl about this because I have a reputation for using too much product. (Okay, I tend to use too much product)

Obviously I bought the concealer, but the true challenge was applying it myself.  It took me a while to actually absorb Maria’s words of wisdom. The true trick to making this concealer look natural is barely t

ouching your finger to the top of the tube, and then layering if necessary.

Flatten your Louis Vuittons, mask your ugly blue darkness, and cover your blemishes and imperfections. You literally will look “amazing” all day long.


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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday Splurge: Gift-with-Purchase MANIA!

 If you read my Sunday Splurge last week, you know I’m a whore for free samples, especially deluxe samples.  Every year, the only thing that takes away my sorrow of Halloween being over is the new Gift with Purchase (GwP) offers from all my favorite sites for the holidays. Pathetic? Perhaps. I’m the first to admit it.  The important thing is I’m selective when it comes to choosing my GwP offers.  I follow the GwP Addict blog, so I could go hog wild and opt for every GwP out there… But no! I only use the codes from sites where I can easily get to the required spending amount (for example, it took me about 2 seconds to spend the $135 on Bliss to get the tote) and I know I will actually use the majority of the samples.

Selecting GwP codes is one thing, gaming the system is an art form.  Allow me to explain… In my pursuit for the best GwPs I saw that Sephora was offering “Choose 1-of-4 free “Holiday Prep Kits” with every $25 purchase.  Each kit includes several deluxe samples, and you can choose from Smokey Eye, Flawless Foundation, Beautiful Skin, or Fragrance Sampler.  Since I have what I need to create a smokey eye, I’m married to my foundation, and I only wear Bond No. 9 Scent of Peace, my decision was easy. The Beautiful Skin kit includes deluxe samples from Clarins, DDF, Urban Decay, and many other brands.

Okay, so spending $25 at Sephora is easy. The key is that it’s free shipping after $50.  So I simply divided up my order (totaling $160) into three separate orders. When I got to checkout I got quite the nice surprise. The Beauty Insider 500-point prize was a Fresh gift set! Jackpot! Unfortunately I cannot link you to the gift set since they are already sold out, but I can tell you (and not to rub your face in it) this was the best 500-point gift I’ve ever been offered from Beauty Insider. The kit included a large deluxe sample (at least a month’s worth) of Fresh Black Tea Age Delay Cream (which is rich, yet gentle for sensitive skin), a deluxe sample of the Fresh Soy Face Cleanser (my everyday cleanser), and a mini Fresh Sugar Rose Tinted Lip Treatment SPF 15. Luckily, I had over 2000 Beauty Insider points (yes, a little embarrassing) so I was able to use 1500 to add a Fresh gift set to each of my three orders. Voila! I got three separate boxes from Sephora, each containing a bevy of samples!

Besides Sephora, I wanted to make sure I got my hands on the Bliss Holiday Tote Bag. The samples come in a nice thick nylon tote bag (which I am already using to carry my heels to work), and they include deluxe sizes of brands like Bliss, Go Smile, and DDF.  The thing that got me salivating was the number of samples. Bliss was not skimpy about giving a bunch of great brands in nice deluxe sizes.  You have to spend $135 to get the tote, but since Bliss carries such staple brands like Skinceuticals and Sk-ii, you should have no problem getting to that number.


Okay, now that you’ve got the samples, what are you going to with them?  Watch my video on YouTube, showing you how to best organize and utilize your new spoils. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Purrfect Eyeliner(s)…

After wasting hundreds of dollars and enduring red, irritated eyes over the years in search of the perfect eyeliner, I found not one, but two! Yes two!

1) SEPHORA COLLECTION Retractable Waterproof Eyeliner ($12):  Yes, I know your jaw dropped when you read SEPHORA COLLECTION.   Don’t be such a snob.  It’s actually a quality line. I heard about this eyeliner from a makeup artist when I complained that every eyeliner leaves a parenthesis on up my upper eyelid. So frustrating!  She told me that Sephora’s Waterproof Eyeliner is so “stay put” that you have to blend it quickly or else it won’t budge.  Bless her little heart, she was right.

This eyeliner is perfect for the daytime when you need it to last through a day of subway riding, dry office air, staring at a computer for hours, and still look good for after-work cocktails.  It also seems to be idiot-proof.  At 6:30 AM when I haven’t had any coffee and I’m trying to concentrate on drawing a line close to my lash line…  Let’s just say before I started using this eyeliner things tended to go poorly, as in, my lids would be red and swollen from me trying to remove the many attempts.  This pencil allows for a quick swipe followed by an effortless smudge into the lash line, and voila! Work ready!

2) Dior Liquid Eyeliner Black ($34):  Before I bought this product, it had been a while since I’d trusted myself to apply liquid eyeliner.  Even when I’d had my coffee and been awake several hours, I always made a huge mess and, again, I would end up with red swollen eyelids from rubbing off my mistakes.  I gave up years ago and started using gel for a kitten or cat eye.  The gel didn’t have that slick liquid look, but at least I didn’t look like I got beat up.  A couple months ago during a Sephora binge I saw the Dior pen and it seemed like it would be easy to use, so I thought I’d give it a try.

Meow. It’s a fine felt tip pen that draws a perfectly thin line. And bonus — it doesn’t smudge, smear or leave marks on my upper eyelids (as long as I let it dry first, obviously).  I’m telling you, even for someone like me who finds it impossible to draw a straight line, I can make myself into a demure kitty.

So to review…  SEPHORA COLLECTION Retractable Waterproof Eyeliner for daytime and Dior Liquid Eyeliner Black to create that perfect cat eye for a night out on the town.

Need help creating the perfect cat eye? Check out this instructional video created by Fashionista and MAC here!

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Review: First Aid Beauty 5 in 1 Face Cream SPF 30

There are very few beauty products I won’t cheat on — First Aid Beauty 5 in 1 Face Cream SPF ($38) is one, the soul mate for my sensitive skin.  It’s a light, thin consistency yet it hydrates and treats my irritated skin. I love that it multi-tasks (from Sephora):

What it is:
A multipurpose, antiaging moisturizer with SPF 30.

What it is formulated to do:
Supply your skin with all the ingredients it needs to stay young and vibrant. This formula uses five active facets that work together to keep your complexion healthy.
– Zinc Oxide sits atop the skin’s surface to reflect harmful ultraviolet rays.
– Bisabolol offers soothing properties.
– Alpha Arbutin evens out skintone.
– FAB Antioxidant Booster (comprised of licorice root, feverfew, and white tea) combats free-radical damage.
– Homeostatine® (a complex of two natural botanical ingredients) prevents and reduces wrinkles by protecting younger collagen fibers from unwinding and becoming brittle.

What else you need to know:
Appropriate for all skin types, including the most sensitive skin, this blend is allergy tested, fragrance free, and dermatologist recommended; it excludes harsh chemicals and colorants.

Research Results:
Independent Clinical Results:
– After 4 weeks, skin hydration improved by 79%
– 85% reported an improvement in the overall appearance of their skin
– 71% reported a reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
– 89% reported an improvement in the radiance of their skin
– 71% noted an improvement in the evenness of their facial skin tone

The SPF is strong enough that it lasts all day. Mind you, if i know I’m going to be exposed to sunlight more than gazing out an office window or a short Starbucks run, i will pat on Supergoop 30.  You can never be too careful when it comes to SPF! All I know is that this face cream seems to be one of the only multi-tasking powerhouse beauty products that make the cut in all seasons and weather conditions.

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