Also that’s totally not Italian for “oil;” just saying. :)
… it looks fantastic.
Seriously, I’m not trying to be vain or all poor-me humblebragging, but this happens to me ALL THE TIME. My hair looks SO BAD on the days when I wash it, and it often looks so fantastic when it’s been damn near a week and it’s not really acceptable hygiene-wise and I touch it and feel like I need to wash my hands and I can’t possibly leave the house like that. Sigh! I don’t know if it looks “fantastic” to you too, or if we really adequately captured it in this quick iPhone shot that I made my husband take. But it was like not too big on top, smooth flat bangs that weren’t tweaking out or flipping or curling in weird ways, no short scalp frizzybits, and long loose messy-yet-even curls throughout the rest. It blended my often-frizzy layers in perfectly, camouflaged split ends, and even had some shine going. DANGIT.
It just feels like such a shame to ruin a good thing, you know? (Don’t worry, I sucked it up and hopped in the shower. And now I look like crap.) In the past I’ve to reproduce a good dirty hair day, and it’s never been consistent. But I’m pretty sure this was a few days after I’d done a conditioner-only cleanse plus Moroccanoil, though, so it actually was a slightly different cocktail that might be possible to simulate. You can bet your tresses I’m gonna try to reproduce it again!
If I had to guess, I’d suspect the conditioner-only cleanse helped the top part chill out and added some weight, while the Moroccanoil shined/smoothed the longer layery bits. We shall see!
I’m in Hair Crisis Mode! OK, not crisis, but possibly Professionalism Transition Urgency Status.
I’ve been growing my hair out basically ever since Halloween of 2008. Weirdly specific timing, but here’s why I know: Grant and I were planning on being Margot and Richie Tenenbaum for Halloween, and we really went overboard on selecting the perfect costume elements, but when I went to my hairdresser and told her to cut my hair just like a picture of Gwyneth as Margot so it was the right length when straightened, well, she kinda badgered me into getting a short stacked bob instead which kinda ruined the costume (as did the fact that we are each approximately double the body weight of the characters we were dressed as, but shut up, we know that).
Anyway, even though the stacked bob was NOT what I asked for or expected, I think I rocked it for a while. But then very shortly thereafter, Grant proposed to me (awww!), so THAT’s why I knew the time frame, and of course for the next year and a half I was diligently growing it out so that I could have Wedding Hair. You know, slightly curled, long, romantic, blah blah blah that is what wedding hair is, at least lately. (It sort of seems like these things are cyclical, which is a little ridiculous. I mean, of COURSE it would have looked awesome if I’d been married with shorter hair. But you just get up in your head about this stuff when the Bridezilla Bug bites you.)
Well, that wedding was in 2010, and I think I pulled Wedding Hair off quite well, thanks to Carina the Traveling Stylist. But I’ve been growing it out ever since then, mostly for lack of a better idea. It’s getting kind of crazy and scraggly-feeling and unmanageable. It never looks like that wedding pic; it mostly looks wild and unruly and kind of like I should be in some sort of late 60s-early 70s cover band. But I really love the look and feel of it on “good” days, and I’ve always wanted to try having it as long as I can get it until I simply must hack it off. I figure now’s my window, before we yet have hair-yanking children. So I keep leaving it long, and therefore sometimes scraggly.
Yet I’m doing more and more video work for my business, and while I can handle a podcast recording Skype session looking slightly less than perfect, I really hate doing a proper interview like this one or a polished advice video without looking like I’m bringing my A game. A combination of sanity, time, tendinitis, and just way too much hair means that I almost never bother taking the time to blow-dry and or straighten it these days, because I just can’t pull that off on a regular basis. It’s too much!
So I’ve decided that I’m going to shell out for a Swink blow-dry, and then pack as many different videos (including outfit, eyewear, jewelry, and bangs-management changes) into the same day, so it looks like it was spread out, haha. I’m also borrowing some professional floodlights from an artist friend, so I’ll be well lit in addition to being well coiffed, dressed, and generally groomed. (And lashed. I’m getting falsies put on too, since they help make your eyes pop on video. Although let’s hope they don’t come off halfway through! One time that happened to poor Rachel Maddow during her show and we could NOT LOOK AWAY.)
What do you think? Will it be super obvious that all of my videos were actually shot on the same day? With wildly vavoomier hair and lashes than usual? I mean, I don’t really care that much, to be honest… most of my clientele would totally “get” that I had to pack all my glam into Media Day, and be kinda charmed by it, I like to think. After all, I’m all about helping REAL people, the kind who don’t necessarily look like they’ve always just stepped out of a shampoo commercial when there isn’t a special occasion. I think it’s fair game to channel a bit more polish than usual when it’s for one of my red carpet moments! (Oh speaking of polish, I should probably slap some of that on too. You never know what might get me gesturing at the camera.)
Anyway, I’ll post a video here too so you can see how I did!
Have you guys noticed this ridiculous blingy brow trend/epidemic? I first spotted it a couple years ago in a Dior brow mascara that thankfully seems to have been discontinued. These copycat swatches are Anastasia x2 and Perfekt x2, respectively. The Sephora gal who caught me snapping these pics was totally into the glam brow look, and she tried to get me on board, haha. No dice! (To be fair, I realize that my arm hair is sort of weirdly glimmery in this shot, but let’s agree to pretend it’s not. We all know how weird their lighting can be, especially when taking covert cell phone pics to avoid Browfrontations.)
Here’s a closer look at the swatches. I’m OK with slightly shimmery eyelash mascara (but not full-on glitter mascara; that seems both tacky and painful), like the YSL gray stuff I tried before. But not brows. It’s just not OK, people! Noticeably made-up brows remind me of that terrible harsh grandma look where they’re totally plucked out and then drawn (or worse, tattooed) on, ya know? So even if it’s glimmer instead of thick black brow-polygons, I still don’t ever want to call attention to my eyebrows being made up. To me it’s kind of like those horrible and thankfully short-lived blingy clear bra straps that were meant to be displayed. Ew. It looks trashy and sticky and juvenile and fleeting and silly and incorrect.
God, I can’t get over how dumb these look to me. (The two Perfekt, or I guess Per-fekt [sic] swatches look the same and less sparkly, but you have to trust me that they’re a) different and b) totes sparkly.) These sorta reminds me of Sephora’s gag cat-brow spoof of 2010. If I try it just to amuse myself one of these days, I’ll post a picture (probably just on Twitter) but I won’t be shelling out my hard-earned VIB points to pick up an actual blingy brow gel product. I’ll fake it with hair spray and sparkly eye shadow, like a gentlewoman.
What sticks in my craw is that neither of these product lines has a non-shimmery alternative in the tinted brow mascara category. Nope, they assume that IF you are interested in pigmented brow groomitude via spooly brush, then you MUST also be interested in glamming up those brows. Which is a shame, because I literally cannot find any good solid neutral-looking brow mascara anymore. I used to have an amazing one by Chanel called “Le Forme Soucils” in Taupe and it was so subtle and lovely, I was so sad when I ran out right after they had discontinued it. Every brow mascara I’ve tried since then has either had the Shimmer of Death, or has been a weirdly reddish shade that doesn’t match my coloring. That Taupe was so perfect because it really was taupe, like a sort of ashy dark blonde that was just a hint of color to help define my brows. Le sigh, Chanel. Le sigh.
The lighter half of Anastasia’s ash blonde brow powder duo (above right) mixed with hairspray is the closest thing I can pull off, which is a pain in the ass/brow, so I never bother even though I look way more polished when I do. So Anastasia, if you can make perfectly matte and taupe shades of brow powder that are appropriately conservative and subtle, why the hell can’t you make that same concept in another less powdery product? Please? I’ll stop publicly mocking your sparklebrows line if you do, promise. xoxo
My sunscreen of choice has shifted a bit over the past couple of years. I’ve got some strong and updated opinions kicking around, so I figured I’d weigh in and give a little update since it’s just now FINALLY summer-like here in Seattle! (Apologies to any of you who could have used this info in, like, May, what with the heat wave and all. We write what we know, and all I know is that it’s totally cloudy and overcast where I live right now.)
DEVITA. I still love me some Devita body block, but my concerns remain about it being less apt at protecting (since the particles are soooo micronized and since the formulation is more like a lotion and doesn’t seem to stay on your skin in hot weather). So I like to mix this with other sunscreens, or use it when I know I won’t be out for long. What I still love is that it doesn’t make my pores feel clogged like many other mineral sunscreens do. It does still sting my eyes a tiny bit even if I just use it near but not right next to them—no one I’ve talked to knows why this happens, but it goes away after a bit so overall the benefits outweigh the ouch or inconvenience. Just wait a few minutes before you put on mascara! (Note: you’re welcome to spend too much on their facial formulation, but the body block is nearly identical and is much better value for your money.)
O HUI. Back in the day I posted about O Hui’s compact powder sunblock, and I still love that stuff but only for REALLY intense sun days. The fancy little compact broke (waaah!) and the pale creamy off-white color does give me a very slight ghostly cast, so I only use it when I need extra protection and I also know my face will be sweaty/shiny—I brush this on instead of normal loose powder, and I use a short-handled very soft synthetic kabuki brush. Incidentally, O Hui seems like it’s getting a little easier to find online—but the only Amazon product I see that’s a powder sunblock is this one, which is described as being “white.” So no thanks. Still, seems like others will be able to share in my O Hui summer joy soon!
MYCHELLE (BOO!). I was on a recent trip to Dallas when I was forced to pick up a tube of MyChelle’s facial sunblock at Whole Foods. They’ve reformulated this at least once (and probably more like 3x; WTF) since I last tried it, and it’s much worse now—it clogs my pores horrendously. I’ve been using it up anyway, but this blog post has finally inspired me to click through to check out on my Amazon order so I can get some better sun care reinforcements in, stat. The new(est) MyChelle is dry, chalky, and generally sticky-feeling without being sufficiently moisturizing. Like Burnout but without the benefits. It seems to protect well, but yech—I plan to use this as a body block and/or husband block (he won’t know better unless he reads this post, heh—the proof is in the comment, honey!) to use it up since it’s also quite pricey. Weirdly, this actually looks cheaper on MyChelle’s site than on Amazon’s. Either way, avoid!
Aaaanyway, I hope you lovelies are all surviving the heat wave one way or another. Stay protected out there!
I’m a big Sephora fan, no doubt. I’ve also enjoyed shopping for beauty products at Nordstrom, and of course I get some of my stuff from EDS and my hippie-dippier ingredients from Mountain Rose and Nature’s Gift. But lately I’ve found that shopping at bigger retailers is surprisingly un-scary! I was eyeing my go-to eye cream online, and there were no good shipping deals from the manufacturer’s site or QVC where they often sell their stuff. But Amazon had a great deal! I emailed the seller just to be sure, and they confirmed that it was a fresh shipment, too. So I went for it and was very pleased with the price point. (Go here if you want a similarly great deal.)
And just last month, on a trip to Texas, I lent a friend some Peter Thomas Roth Max Complexion Correction pads to calm her breakout—her skin had freaked out in the humid Dallas climate. She loved them so much she asked me for a referral, and when I Googled them, the Amazon price was way lower than the Sephora price! AND the Amazon shipping was free.
Look, some of you lovelies know I used to work for Amazon. But I worked in Kindle, and thought of them primarily as a tech company plus a place to, like, research for the best headphones and flash drives. I don’t actually order through them all that often for more “normal” items. But I’m totally going to start checking them for skincare deals, and I’ll be watching my lil’ widget to see what kinds of products it starts suggesting. (If it doesn’t get smarter soon I’ll have to hard-code it to offer y’all up beauty deals.) I think as my tastes mainstream a bit more, I’ll start to find better and better deals from the big A.
And lest it not be said, those complexion pads are GREAT for acne, and also help with wrinkles and age spots! Just be careful not to overdo it, or you’ll get mad flaky and dry—you may wanna start with the sensitive formula and work your way up to the full thing.
EDITED TO ADD: I actually received a totally gross-looking shipment of these pads. The top foil was punctured and the product was clearly contaminated, even though it’s largely alcohol based. However, I wrote the seller to complain and they immediately refunded my money, without me having to harass them or send the product back or anything. I was then able to salvage what seems to be clean and safe to use product—it really was just the top seal that was disgusting. So overall, even though I wouldn’t expect it to show up like that from Sephora, I had a good skincare shopping experience with this Amazon seller, so I’ll be trying that out again soon for sunblock.
I’ve been using the same Coach black leather makeup bag since like 2003, and I LOVED that thing. I got it for a decent price at the factory outlet, and it’s held up well and was the perfect size and dimensions to cram into even my smaller purses. I didn’t love how skinny items like pencils could slip out of the gap above the zipper closure, but it clearly wasn’t *that* destructive an issues since I’ve stuck by that same bag for so long. And now I have to bid it adieu!
I lost both it and an earring somewhere on Amazon’s campus Monday, and security found my earring but has no word on the makeup bag. It contained all my MOST IMPORTANT staples — mascara, concealer, *discontinued* lip balm, *also discontinued* mineral powder concealer, lip stain x2, my favorite comb, an adorable mini of Chanel No. 5 whose bottle I wanted to keep forever… sigh. But let’s focus on the positive — this means I have an excuse to upgrade and overhaul, right? Right!
For a couple years now I’ve been wanting a Stephanie Johnson cosmetics case. I spotted her stuff at a now-closed Bainbridge Island shi-shi spa/boutique, and I was in love because of the zipper pulls. No, seriously, take a close look: they’re two-tone and nicely woven, and the bag is elegantly piped, and — the details are just so clearly high quality. For several years now I’d been thinking I would splurge and get myself one of these, but I could never quite justify the purchase since I always receive so many crappy but free cases from various cosmetics promos.
No longer! Now I think I’m ready to take the plunge. (I will, however, wait until after Christmas just in case, since it’s totally on my list.) The Gidget case seems like a usefulness boost, too — the extra pockets might mean it’s harder to grab something in a hurry, but I think overall I’ll appreciate the ability to organize and perhaps hold a larger amount more efficiently. (God, is that Amazon talking? MUST… OPTIMIZE… LIFE…) Anyway. Gidget’s the bomb, it would seem. Here’s an inside view of the case so you can see what I mean.
However! I totally thought SJ had the “upscale makeup bag” market locked down, when Amazon’s recommendations helpfully directed me to the Apple & Bee line. Adorable and seemingly efficient, and in even better materials than the Stephanie Johnson line. Decisions, decisions. I’ll probably eventually wind up owning at least one of each, but for now I will wait and see what Santa thinks. Perhaps he can poll Mrs. Claus as to which item better holds her array of on-the-go cosmetics selections.
Either way, I’m using this as an opportunity to overhaul some stuff. I think I’m switching back to mineral powder concealers for a while, after using a combo of the above-mentioned PF plus Smashbox HD for a couple years now. They just break me out more, and I’m less and less patient with that, plus I’m wanting to shift back to more natural ingredients. And I’m trying Diorshow Waterproof for my next mascara — I had a *horrid* experience with Blackout, but this seems better and I’ll review either way soon. And I guess I finally have an excuse to dig up the beet powder and rose petal powder I ordered from Mountain Rose Herbs years ago, and look into making my own naturally pigmented lip stains… I will DEFINITELY update about that, regardless of whether it’s a success or failure (& I’m kinda anticipating the latter). Either way, I’m hoping I can continue to look at this as a silver lining for a new beginning, even though I’m still bummed to have lost all my fave staples. Watch my old case turn up after I shell out $100 for a new arsenal!