Beauty Unbiased: April 2012

Contest Alert- Win Too Faced Lip Gloss Duo

Too Faced Cosmetics has just announced their Happy Birthday London scavenger hunt contest, in honor of Too Faced founder Jerrod Blandino's dog London's birthday. You have to respect someone who loves their dog enough to create a contest to celebrate a birthday. Here's how it works:
  • Search for London. 
  • When you spot him, click on his face to enter to be 1 of 25 WINNERS!  
  • When you enter to win, you can also send London a special message and have a chance to be featured on Too Faced's Facebook page!
The winners will receive a lip gloss duo of Chihuahua Bite (obviously London's favorite color) and also a mystery lip gloss. Contest runs from April 26th to April 30th. Good luck and happy birthday London!

The Beauty Splurge You Won't Regret

With the excitement that most beauty lovers have while trying on a new eyeshadow or lipstick color, nothing gives me more pleasure than finding a good moisturizer. Maybe I'm making up for lost time, for many years thinking if I didn't have the big bucks to shell out for top of the line moisturizers, I should just stick to the cheap stuff at the drugstore that was giving me subpar results. Now don't get me wrong, there are plenty of affordable brands that can be a good fit for your skin. But I let the idea that I couldn't afford the best so I should just settle hold me back from trying different brands of moisturizers.

My philosophy today is that if my skin is not healthy and moisturized, buying the best makeup in the world really won't matter since instead of enhancing my skin, I'll be trying to cover up all of it's imperfections. From that perspective I've decided that eye cream and moisturizers are two areas that I most definitely will allow myself to splurge on. Which is why I was so delighted to discover in this month's Birchbox that not only had I been introduced to the lavishly creamy Jurlique Moisture Replenishing Day Cream, but at $40 for a full size bottle I'd only have to make a baby size splurge once my generous sample size ran out. With ingredients like avocado oil, jojoba seed, macadamian oil, shea butter, grape oil. rose hip, and green tea the day cream was thicker than most moisturizers I tend to use but was the perfect weekend treat for my skin. I'll definitely be using this before my next flight, after spending time in the sun this summer, and for troubled dry spots.

A Shortcut to Big Beautiful Eyes with Benefit Cosmetics

Growing up with two sisters, sharing makeup was commonplace for me. Three girls in close quarters provided me a chance to experiment with products I would have never tried, had the desire to steal from my sisters not been so strong (hey, it’s hard to forgive and forget when someone loses your favorite lip gloss). My inclination towards cosmetic kleptomania resurfaced at my Benefit Laughter is the Best Cosmetic event when two friends with very different skin tones tried out the Big Beautiful Eyes eye contour kit. Both ended up with their own unique but equally stunning eye makeup results. I was instantly intrigued. A universally flattering eye shadow palette! I had to have it for myself.

Thankfully stealing was not necessary since my friend Ashleigh of Day and Socialite let me to borrow the Big Beautiful Eye palette to test it out and compare our results. Ironically Ashleigh (pictured above) won the palette for telling her most memorable makeup story about her high school drill team coach who did not understand the concept of different colors flattering different skin tones, leading to clown like results for those without fair skin on the team.

The palette includes:
  • Boi-ing concealer in Medium
  • Alabaster Pink base shadow
  • Cocoa Shimmer contour shadow
  • Rich Chocolate Brown liner shadow
  • Mini two-in-one contouring and liner brush 
  • Mini concealer brush
  • Illustrated (and easy to follow) instructions

While I tend to stay away from pink eyeshadow, the Benefit Big Beautiful Eyes palette made me realize I’ve been needlessly avoiding the pink family. The Alabaster Pink base shadow provided high color concentration while enhancing my skin tone rather than working against it. This was also the experience for Ashleigh who found that the soft, pink color brightened up her skin tone (picture above). The Cocoa Shimmer contour shadow provided less color than expected on both of us testing the palette, creating more of a pretty, everyday look than a dramatic one. Each of the products featured in the palette can easily be used on their own, making the $32 palette a pretty solid investment. You could even convince your best friend or sister to buy it. Not that I’d advocate stealing.  

Benefit Big Beautiful Eyes Palette and Benefit They're Real Mascara

Allure Beauty Blogger Contest Alternate

I've been keeping a secret from everyone for awhile now- I was selected as an alternate finalist in the Allure Beauty Blogger contest! It is a sort of bittersweet announcement to share, since all of the Finalists are pretty amazing and therefore as an alternate I was not included in the contest. It was still such an honor to even be selected and I hope a great motivator for anyone who is scared to start pursuing their passion for fear of failing miserably. It's easier to stay there, not trying. But today I'm reminded of what can happen when you just go for it.

I started this blog about six months ago as a way to offer unbiased opinions on beauty products, share my beauty adventures, and also as a way to help women (and men) embrace their own unique beauty and voice, not just regurgitate what's hot in the media. I am so happy to have you all along for the ride. I would have never dreamed six months ago that an editor at Allure would be reading my blog, let alone select it as an alternate finalist in the Beauty Blogger of the Year contest. You can vote for your favorite Allure beauty blogger contestants starting Monday, April 23rd and will be entered to win some swanky prizes for voting.  

One of my favorite beauty blogger moments so far- backstage during NY Fashion Week
I leave you with some motivational quotes because I'm feeling kind of cheesy and reflective right now.
"To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting."  ~e.e. cummings
"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else."  ~Judy Garland
And to sum it all up, the incomparable Eleanor Roosevelt: "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams"

A Celebration of Beauty, Stila Style at IMATS NY

I learned so much from Stila’s Head of Global Pro Artistry Dominick Briguglio and Senior Global Artist Jason Araujo during their Celebration of Beauty presentation, but that is a whole separate blog post which is coming soon! For now I thought I'd share a few favorite looks from the presentation. A photo journey of the Stila Cosmetics Celebration of Beauty fashion show on April 14, 2012 at the International Makeup and Trade Show in NYC.

 Stila’s Head of Global Pro Artistry, Dominick Briguglio, and Senior Global Artist Jason Araujo led the on stage makeup demonstrations

This look was gorgeous in person- perfect lip color for spring.

Classic beauty with a subdued red lip

On stage makeup demo of a look created for fashion week

Blow, The New York Blow Dry Bar

As a newbie to the professional blow out world- quite frankly, I'm still getting used to even saying the word "blow out", how behind am I- my knowledge of where to go when I want perfect hair is still a work in progress. Which is why when I was offered a chance to try out the original Blow NY blow dry bar in the Meatpacking District, I practically leaped into the salon chair. With recent press in New York Magazine comparing Dry Bar and Blow's services, I went into Blow geared up to make a little blow out comparison of my own.
Photo from
One of the best features of a Blow NY blow dry is the use of Blow's products which seemed to perform anti-gravity feats on my fine, thin hair. You may already be familiar with Blow's award winning hair product line which has a cult following of those who swear by Blow hairspray, but what you may not know about Blow salon is that they have expanded their menu to include deep conditioning, cuts and color, manicures, makeup application, and waxing. On the day I went to Blow, I received a chair-side manicure by Carmen Arias (she is featured on the front page of Allure's Salon and Spa Directory!) at the tail end of my blow out.  My nails were impressively meticulous despite the sometimes awkward angles the manicurist had to contort into in order to allow my hairstylist to do her thing. Both worked seamlessly together, making me feel more like a model on a photoshoot, and less like someone who had to rush back to the office. 

Now on to the star of the show- the hair. Or should I say, my hair stylist. I selected a blow dry with curling iron ($40-$60 depending on hair length, plus $20 and up for curling iron) to create loose waves for an event later that evening. Since my appointment was at 8am, I was worried that the waves would not last the twelve hours until my actual event. My stylist really listened to my concerns and ensured she used the proper products for longer lasting body. She created a tighter curl than normal in order for it to loosen throughout the day. Usually I view hair stylist's predictions for my hair as wishful thinking, but to my surprise and delight a very rare occasion ensued- my hair actually did what my stylist said it would do.   

Fourteen hours later at the UNICEF Tap Project Launch Event
For anyone who hasn't read that New York Mag article, let me summarize: they selected Dry Bar as the winning blow out spot, the key tiebreaking factors being more booze and chick flicks on the TV's at Drybar. I'm sure the set price for all hair lengths of $40 at Drybar compared to Blow's price variance based on hair length  may have tipped the vote, as well their multiple locations. While you really can't go wrong at either blow dry bar, I've already seen all of the chick flicks Drybar plays more time than I care to admit, so my pick for my next special event will definitely be Blow NY.

Services were provided as a complimentary service, but the opinions reflect my own honest opinion and experience.

Birchbox collaborates with Gossip Girl

As a Birchbox subscriber since October 2010, I feel pretty confident with my next statement: the team at Birchbox has outdone themselves once again. Birchbox has just announced that their May box will feature items curated by Gossip Girl key makeup artist Amy Tagliamonti and hairstylist Jennifer Johnson. If you haven't signed up for the Birchbox $10 monthly beauty subscription service yet, please stop reading and sign up immediately to ensure you will receive the special edition Gossip Girl box as your first monthly delivery in May. You'll receive the special box and the option to either cancel at any time or continue receiving 4-5 deluxe samples of beauty products shipped to your home for $10 a month.
"Gossip Girl is one of the biggest trendsetters in fashion, but also in partnering with Gossip Girl was a natural fit," according to Katia Beauchamp, Birchbox, Co-Founder. "The box is a perfect way to give influential fans their own Gossip Girl experience,” describes Sonia Borris, Senior Vice President of Marketing & Operations for Warner Bros. Television Group on the collaboration. The May Birchbox will arrive just in time for Gossip Girl fans to primp with their Gossip Girl Birchbox before viewing the season finale on May 14th at 8pm on the CW. Here's to hoping for a fabulous Gossip Girl inspired headband in this special edition Birchbox.

Cheat your way to a bolder lip with Revlon Lip Butter

Revlon Lip Butter is making it a whole lot easier to wear bolder color this season. With much higher pigmentation than the Maybelline Baby Lips, which is basically lip balm with a sheer color, Revlon lip butters offer fuller coverage similar to a lipstick but apply as smoothly as a lip balm. They go on so smooth in fact that I had a nice clown mouth the first time I tried out the lip butter, not realizing the color would be so rich that I would have to make sure I 'colored in the lines'. Pictured above is one of my favorite shades, Sugar Plum. For around $6, it feels like cheating to get this bold of a color with such a small financial investment.

A sample of this product was received for consideration.  

Thank you, from Eucerin video

While at an event for the recently released Eucerin Professional Repair Line of lotions, I was stopped mid-sentence by an unexpectedly beautiful video they played as a thank you to Eucerin users. Eucerin has been around for 111 years, which is pretty amazing. And so is their Professional Repair Line. I just finished off the bottle they gave to event attendees after using it daily for around six weeks. It is super lightweight for a moisturizer that provides nearly the maximum amount of moisture in Eucerin's range of products. I promise to share more later, but for now enjoy the video!