Beauty Routine: My beauty routine is pretty low maintenance. I usually use an antibacterial soap to wash my face and follow with a light moisturizer. As I have pretty sensitive skin, anything too extreme results in a major protest from my face. Makeup-wise I most often go bare faced with a little mascara, under eye concealer, and lip balm but for work I sometimes add in a tinted moisturizer, lipstick, and blush to look less zombie-esque.
Melbourne Trends: I actually really love the current makeup trends in Melbourne at the moment. Most people in my area go with really classic almost 1960's makeup: fresh face, big eyelashes, and a bold colored lipstick. South of the river they might do a bit more of the glam thing but still never as much makeup as I used to see growing up in Southern California.
Process: I decided to go to the Mecca Maxima store at the mall downtown. They carry all of the big name department store brands so I thought I might be able to find the best of the best products by going there. I don't ever trust others to do my makeup, and in fact did my own wedding makeup, but I thought it would be really fun to completely relinquish control.
I stated that I would like a "typical Melbourne girl look"- a fresh face, minimal eye makeup, and a bold lip. Whenever I was asked for an opinion I defaulted to the expert to do what she thought looked best.
She started with a chat about skin care and then worked her way through the process of painting me up. The whole makeover took about an hour and as I was positioned facing into the store, I was able to enjoy a good people watching session during that time.
Outcome: I really loved the lipstick but unfortunately felt a bit suffocated by everything else. The look seemed to have elicited a lot of attention but I'm not sure if that was the bright red lipstick or the temporarily blinding amount of shimmer on my face. Although the girl was really talented it was far too much makeup for me to feel comfortable. I felt like my face was screaming for air the whole tram ride home. When I walked in the door my husband asked if I had just come from performing in a stage production of Snow White.
To the makeup artist's credit, my face wasn't looking crystal clear on this day so she may have felt there was very a legitimate need for copious amounts of foundation.
Although I probably wouldn't wear this look personally, I was clued in on an amazing NARS lipstick and a Mario Badescu aloe vera toner.
Beauty Routine: The majority of my makeup and skincare comes from Clinique as I have an allergy to scents and perfumes. I use their dramatically different moisturizer, super defense day cream with SPF and in the winters I also use their moisture surge as Toronto winters are very dry and their summers very humid. I use their exfoliator every other day. My "every day" makeup routine is some Urban Decay eyelid primer potion because my eyes basically exude makeup remover (I should learn how to bottle and sell that), light layer of powder bronzer, a little bit of blush, Marc Jacobs highliner gel eye crayon in Brown(Out) because it's shimmery and then a lip color based on what color clothes I'm wearing that day. On the day of the makeover I was wearing Urban Decay sheer revolution lipstick in F-Bomb.
New Orleans Trends: I went to Sak's Fifth Avenue. The policy at Sak's is that you have to buy three products to get the "complimentary" makeover so I figured I should get it done at Clinique so I could just buy stuff that I trusted and would need anyway. Miss Rita was Clnique's beauty consultant that day so she took care of me. Like the fantastic beauty consultant that she is, she asked me lots of questions about my beauty routine and my preferences in colors, style. Normally this is a prized skill that I really appreciate but in this case it made things a little difficult. Every time she asked me for my preferences I would reply "whatever's in style in New Orleans" or "whatever you think would look good." I did tell her about my combination dry/oily skin, its penchant to develop a greasy sheen and that almost any makeup on my eyes smudge, fade, creases or flakes off without primer so she made many of her decisions around that information.
Process: Miss Rita started off with some clarifying lotion as well as a stern but loving lecture about its importance as I never use it myself. Then it was a Pore Refining Solution as well as Pore Refining Solutions Instant Perfector to control oil and make my pores smaller and finally oil controlling liquid foundation. She then started working on my very, very faint eyebrows using a pencil and then eyebrow powder to make them visible. After that she debated on what color palette she wanted for my eyes, again asking for my opinions and also what I planned on wearing out that evening. I said I was going to stay in my current black and white dress so she decided go to with a purple palette, which was lovely since purple is my favourite color. She drew some eyeliner on my lower lids, something I never do because I find it really hard and tend to draw it on too thick. She did a pretty good job though and I liked the results. After that it was lip liner and plummy lipstick and I was done!
I was very lucky when purchasing my three products as one of my favorite lip colors was discontinued two years ago but they still had two sticks left here so I bought both of them as well as the Pore Refining Solution. And luckily I had wandered in at the start of their gift with purchase promo so I walked away with a bag of free products too!
A couple of notes about Miss Rita: She's an amazing and lovely woman. Twice during the makeover regular clients came by looking for product and she knew both of them and remembered their needs and preferences. She also took a couple of phone calls (she was the only one working the counter that day) from clients or previous coworkers that she knew well. She was able to chat with me in way that was beyond small talk without feeling intrusive and she really understood and loved the Clinique product line. I am insecure about my oily skin and she told me that oily skin stays youthful and healthier longer. (Is that a thing? She made it sound like a thing and if you try to tell me otherwise then I'm not listening la-la-la-la!) A beauty consultant from another booth came by during my makeover and complimented me on my skin, as did Miss Rita, which was also lovely.
Outcome: I walked away from that makeover pleased with how Miss Rita made me look but more importantly, feeling more confident. I've noticed that's the secret of a great beauty consultant: she may be skilled at making you look good to others, but she is even better at making you feel good about yourself.
Beauty Routine: My usual beauty routine varies quite a bit depending on the day. Some days, I will just spritz on my absolute favorite Dr. Hauschka toner, moisturize with sun protection, and wear lip balm. Other days, I apply a bb cream, concealer, a gentle contour (e.g., some strategically placed matte bronzer), eyebrow pencil, and haphazardly smudge on some eyeliner and mascara because by that point, I have dawdled enough.
Berlin Trends: When we talk about trends, we often make generalizations about people's current preferences, without necessarily considering issues of identity like class, race, and gender. If I were to make such a statement about Berlin, I would have to say it is the city of no-makeup. That is one of many reasons why Berlin is an incredible place to be, and I identify as makeup kind of girl. Berlin women who are in their twenties and thirties often sport ungeschminkt or un-made-up faces. In the evenings, the predominant look features strong lips and brows with fresh skin. Here, makeup is much less of a status symbol than a club's admission stamp from the night before that has faded on a hand or wrist.
I chose Bobbi Brown for my makeover. I initially wanted Dr. Hauschka because the environmentally conscious simplicity of their makeup line suits Berlin. When I learned the Hauschka makeup artist was not available, I decided on Bobbi Brown because of the brand's no-makeup-makeup philosophy and selection of foundation colors. I just wish they did not test on animals, a fact of which I was ignorant before purchasing their products.
Process: The process was pleasant and informative. My makeup artist did an outstanding job matching the foundation, corrector, and concealer to my skin. Bobbi Brown foundations have a yellow undertone, which is great for my neutral olive-y tones. With my bone structure and deep-set eyes, under eye concealer is the most important product, and finding the right color required a bit of trial and error. The Skin Foundation with spf 15 that she used felt like the most luxurious bb cream, but unlike a bb cream, it has the advantage of actually precisely matching a wide range of tones and looks more polished on the skin. I was sold. I loved the eyebrow pencil she used, and the blush/highlighter brick really did brighten my skin and enhance the subtle dewiness of the foundation's finish. She finished the process with a perfectly matched nude lipstick, which I typically find challenging to select for myself. So, I bought that too. However, the eye makeup was too subtle for my taste. I simply prefer a more polished, mascara-laden eye. (Makeup wearers, don't lie, you know the satisfaction that a generous, yet artful mascara application brings.) After each step, I glanced over to my patient husband, who would either nod with conviction or mouth to me, "It looks really good!"
Outcome: I ended up with a make-under of sorts, which is fitting for Berlin.
Beauty Routine: I'm somewhere between low- and high-maintenance with my makeup. I love color, so I love collecting eye shadow and I'm always trying out new styles and colors to suit my eyes/eye shape. My go-to favorite is my "pin-up" look, which involves soft neutral shadows with a black winged liner. I'll pair that with pretty much any lipstick color, but my new favorites lately are a vampy wine or a brutally obnoxious Barbie pink. On my face, I tend to go bare pretty often, because my skin is so fair that I tend to have a tricky time finding a foundation that doesn't look too dark or heavy on me. Most days I only apply Stila's One Step Correct, which helps to reduce the natural redness around my cheeks and nose, and also is moisturizing enough to prevent my face from drying out in the winter.
Trends in Central NJ: I live in the boonies, so most of the women I know tend to go very light with their makeup, usually just some foundation and mascara. The teens near me tend to go heavier with their eye shadow and liner, but everyone above the age of 25 keeps it pretty natural. That said, my closest mall is in a pretty affluent area, which is where you'll find women in full makeup any day of the week.
Process: Since I so rarely put anything on my face, I decided to request a lesson in contouring and foundation and let my Sephora consultant decide the rest. She used the ColorIQ on my skin to determine my exact match and proper recommendations for foundation (for the record, I am 1Y01, to which she said, "Wow, you really are fair!"). I've never used their ColorIQ before, but it was very cool because now I can use my super-fancy code to go back on to Sephora's website and look up all the other recommended foundations that might suit me. She picked out Too Faced's Tinted Beauty Balm in Snow Glow. I wound up purchasing this, because it's the first liquid foundation I've tried in a while (granted, I haven't been trying ANY liquid foundations in a while) that didn't feel heavy on my skin or visibly alter my natural skin tone. She applied the Beauty Balm with a foundation brush, but recommended that at home I use a Beauty Blender, which was something I'd heard of before but never used personally. I wound up buying that as well as its solid cleanser (I wasn't going to initially, but I don't have a proper cleanser for my eye shadow brushes, and supposedly it works for both).
I wanted to try out "wearable" contouring, so she used a powder contour kit that would appear softer in person than cream. She chose Smashbox's Step-by-Step contour kit, explaining how each color should be used based on my face shape. I learned that my face shape is "tricky" (thank you, Dad's jaw), but closest to a heart shape "because my cheekbones slope down to the point of my chin." She started with the bronzing powder, which I was a little hesitant about because my color palette is cooler and I've always been afraid of picking a bronzer that looks too orange and wind up looking like a non-native member of the Jersey Shore. She was light-handed with the bronzer, thank god, only using it along the sides of my temples and below the tops of my cheeks. She explained that, if it wasn't for my bangs, she would also add the powder along the top of my temple/hairline, so we skipped that part. Next, she dug into the contour shade, which at first seemed scary dark against my skin, but she only used it in the very hollows of my cheeks and then blended it out a lot. Finally, she used the matte highlighting shade under my eyes and on the tops of my cheeks, which was a matte, yellowy cream shade that turned out to basically be invisible against my skin and kind of useless. She had to go back in with Benefit's Watt's Up, which is a shimmery cream highlighter that she then blended in to my cheekbones, and then used the Smashbox highlighter shade to both set and tone down some of the shimmer. She also pointed out that every time you use a cream product, you should always set with a powder, to make the cream last longer on the skin.
She settled on a neutral eye look for me from Too Faced's Chocolate Bar palette (which I already owned, but I don't use enough so it was nice to see some different ways to utilize the shadows), along with the Urban Decay Primer Potion. I really liked the shade Marzipan she used directly on the lid, so I'll be digging into that one more often in the future. She then gave me Whiskey from Urban Decay to line my waterline with, and applied Too Faced's Better Than Sex mascara to my lashes. I've used their mascara before in samples, and while the formula is super-soft, I just hate that giant fibery wand the actual product comes with, so I'll be sticking with my Buxom mascara like always. Finally, she went for a really dramatic red lip, which was a combination of Urban Decay's 69 lip liner and F-Bomb lipstick (their names are fantastic). I loved the red lip probably the most because I adore anything that reminds me of the classic pin-up look, and the lipstick was actually extremely comfortable to wear.
Outcome: In person, I felt like the contouring was a bit much for my skin, possibly because I'm not used to seeing my face that "dark" in comparison to my neck. That said, none of the face products actually feel heavy on my skin, and I went most of the day without remembering it was on. I got a few compliments on my lipstick, and I'm pretty sure I'll be going back for it in the coming months. At very least, I'm happy I was able to walk out with a proper foundation and my ColorIQ so I can look up other potential products for myself in the future.
Beauty Routine: My day-to-day beauty routine includes a high quality moisturizer like Jurlique — a must for my chronically dry skin. Sometimes I put on the hydrating primer from Smashbox (not totally convinced it does anything). I occasionally use foundation, usually only if I'm feeling fancy. The foundation I own is Chanel Vitalumere, a definite splurge item. It was an impulse buy after a salesperson put it one me and pronounced that it made me look "glowy and radiant." I then add concealer to dark spots and blemishes. I am using Urban Decay 24/7 concealer pencil right now, but in the past I have used Hourglass concealer, and that stuff is really good as well. I tend to have dark circles under my eyes and use Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Dark Circle Eraser, which seems to crease less than other non-eye specific concealers. I then add some bronzer and cream blush from Makeup Forever. I have recently gotten into filling in my eyebrows, and use the Anastasia Perfect Brow Pencil. I line my upper eyelid using an eyeliner brush with black eye shadow. I find that using an eyeliner brush with eye shadow is a much more forgiving and subtle way of lining the eyes, as opposed to using an eyeliner pen. Also, I just can never make it look right when I try to use a pen. I basically never wear eye shadow or lipstick, maybe sometimes I'll use a low-maintenance lip stain, but that's about it. Then I throw on some mascara. I just started using Urban Decay's Perversion mascara and really like it. All in all, it feels like I use a lot of products, but in the end it kind of looks like I didn't do much. My "before" picture is me with my normal makeup routine.
SF Trends: I have noticed around San Francisco that most ladies are not wearing a lot of makeup. San Francisco is a fairly laidback town and with the influx of the hipster and Boho trends, most makeup routines seem to follow a minimalist aesthetic. On the other hand, there are definitely still ladies around who look like they like to glam it up a bit more. I have noticed a strong preference toward the cat-eye and red lip effect.
Process: I chose to go to the MAC counter in downtown San Francisco. I chose MAC because it's where my interest in makeup started in high school; I think I even got my makeup done there for prom! I went in fresh faced seeking the San Francisco "look". The makeup lady told me I already had it. She confirmed my observation that most women in San Francisco are not wearing much makeup. We had a couple long beats of just looking at each other; clearly this was not going to work. I reasoned with her that she must sell makeup and give makeovers all the time to the women in San Francisco who do want to wear makeup. She confirmed this is true. "Okay, so when women do want to wear makeup, what do they ask for?" "The Kim Kardashian. Ninety nine percent of the time women tell me they want the Kim Kardashian". There was a moment of silence as I just looked at her. "Okay…I'll take one Kim K please!"
After that, the process was a blur; there were a lot of products. My makeup artist informed me that the actual Kim Kardashian spends approximately five hours per day on her makeup, so I should not expect the full result in our one-hour makeover session. This factoid both impressed me and frightened me, but to be honest, I'm not sure that five hours of makeup application would turn me into an Armenian bombshell anyway. At one point I looked like a ghost, and then half ghost, and then like I had been baked in a tanning bed. There was even a point when she added blue powder to my face. "What does the blue do?" I asked. "It makes you pretty," she said. Hard to argue with that.
Outcome: I think that the look actually turned out subtler than I was expecting, and my friend said she thought I looked good (although she did insist on calling me Kimmy K all night). In the end, the look was not something I would have chosen for myself, I think it aged me a bit and my skin felt pretty cakey from all the products layered on. I did wonder if the Kim Kardashian trend might be something specific to women who go to the MAC counter, since MAC is known for doing heavier makeup styles. Perhaps if I had gone to a different counter I would have ended up with a different look entirely. I didn't end up purchasing any products, although I might go back and purchase an eye shadow or two just for fun.
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