Beauty

By Erin Brady

Winter is officially here! Although I never look forward to the colder months, I did have a rather relaxing fall after a busy and travel-heavy summer. Now that December is here, it’s only a matter of time before your mailbox is inundated with holiday party invitations from family, friends and colleagues. Although it’s a fun time of year, it can also be daunting (at least for me!) to figure out which parties to attend and then the obvious question of what to wear! To make your lives easier, I’ve found some amazing products that will knock a significant chunk of time off your pre-party prep, as they all have more than one use! Getting ready faster means you can attend more parties and still look fabulous, so go ahead and enjoy the season!

Whether going to work or spending a night out with friends, I’m definitely one of those people always looking to have flawless skin. Foundation is not something I typically use because I tend to prefer concealer and powders, until I found Clarins Instant Smooth Foundation, a light-as-air foundation that includes wrinkle concealing pigments. Unscrew the glamorous frosted container to reveal a whipped mousse, that when applied to the skin, feels soft, matte and velvety. The foundation completely hid my large pores, smoothed out my skin (and thus, hiding my developing wrinkles) and was moisturizing enough to use even though my skin tends to be dry in the winter. With added ingredients such as palm tree and rapeseed to moisturize and nourish the skin and hazelnut to soothe, this foundation is certainly going to be a staple in my routine from now on.
Available now in 6 shades at department stores and fine specialty stores or
http://www.clarinsusa.com.

I have really sensitive skin, so it’s not often that I put gel blush or highlighters on my skin, unless I know they are tried and tested. When I was introduced to a line I had never heard of (gasp!) that makes a hypoallergenic lip and cheek tint (double gasp!) I had to try it. VMV Hypoallergenics Glow Lip and Cheek Tint comes in 9 alluring colors such as the namesake Glow (my personal fave) to Frosted Mocha and Tea Rose. All are 100% fragrance, paraben and preservative free, non-comedogenic and therefore perfect for me! A quick swipe on the lips gives that natural, “barely there” stain that actually lasts through eating and drinking. You can dab a small dot to your cheeks and spread around for a flush. The tints are easily spreadable, not sticky or overbearing and I am convinced there is a perfect shade for every skin tone. Available at http://www.vmvhypoallergenics.com.

Brand loyalty has never been something I’ve had with mascara. I’ll try a new one and when it’s done, try another. No big deal; they all seem to work the same. Right? This theory was proven wrong with the Balm Two Timer Mascara. Two Timer Mascara has two brushes in one convenient stick, comprised of a volumizing wand and a defining wand. Before a night out, I applied the volumizing formula first and to my surprise the brush applied a great deal of mascara with one swipe, but didn’t clump due to the hollow fiber brushes, giving an amazingly full look. After a few swipes of the volumizer, I applied the definer, a thinner brush that lengthened and separated, creating a plump, yet wonderfully natural look. A bit of advice is that you will definitely need makeup remover to take it off, as water simply won’t do the trick. That’s a small price to pay for lashes that really are “the Balm!” Available at Sephora or http://www.sephora.com.

Organic products seem to be taking over, from organic food to household cleaners to organic clothing that I was recently introduced to at a baby shower! Organic is also moving into the beauty realm, with products like the Physicians Formula Organic Wear 100% Natural Origin Eye Shadow Duo. Why not protect one of the most sensitive areas with an eyeshadow that is free of chemicals, parabens and of course looks fabulous!? This silky powder contains OrganiSoy™ to even out skin tone and texture while Eco-Olive™ is an antioxidant that helps fortify and protect the skin. The best thing is this eyeshadow is meant to enhance your eyes with two shades that take you from morning till night. The light shade highlights and accentuates natural eye color during the day while the deeper shade is defines and blend together for a more dramatic nighttime look. Both shades come in the same convenient, eco-conscious packaging, saving you time and valuable space in your makeup bag! Available in four shades (Brown Eyes, Hazel Eyes, Green Eyes and Blue Eyes) at fine drugstores and mass market nationwide.

Large pores are definitely that one thing that only you notice, but hey, you are the one looking in that magnifying mirror every morning. Why not use a product that will not only minimize pores, but will act as a mattifying makeup primer to ensure your skin stays shine-free and protected from environmental damage all day. Problem skin specialists Sonya Dakar have launched a Pore Minimizer. This liquid silk –yes, it feels like silk – lotion contains a cocktail of super strength class antioxidants, from the Brazilian Rainforest such as Acai to protect the skin from free radicals, and Copaiba, an anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory. Apply this under your makeup and moisturizer and the cream to powder formula will prep your face for makeup, allowing you to worry about more important things, like what clothes you should wear. Available at http://www.SonyaDakar.com.

Although at any given time I tend to have at least three to four lip glosses in my bag, as soon as the weather gets colder, I suddenly can’t seem to find that right balm to relieve my parched lips. One thing most glosses can’t do is get rid of that dry skin on your lips and get them back to their moisturized glory. That is what I thought until I discovered the Liplicious 2-in-1 Moisturizing Lip Color & Sugar Scrub. One end contains an amazingly sweet brown sugar scrub to buff your chapped lips and when you are done you can simply lick your lips or wipe off the excess to reveal smooth, soft lips. The other end is a moisturizing, creamy color that restores lips to their kissable, pre-winter selves. My favorite combo is the Coconut Truffle & Brown Sugar Scrub; it smells like summer and reminds me of a time my lips were not so ridiculously dry. This lip wand is a must for me this winter to make sure my lips are ready for mistletoe season. Also available in Pomegranate and Candied Apple at Bath and Body Works stores or http://www.bathandbodyworks.com.

Originally published December 2008
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