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Stay Cute Monday – Luscious Lips Edition

Lip gloss is my thing. Every year, I wait anxiously for Christmastime when many of the high end cosmetic companies produce gift sets for many of their products. This means that I can get a package of 5 – 7 lip glosses for the cost of or a little bit more than one gloss. For the last two years, I purchased the Smashbox sets, which were 6 for $29. They were not something I would regularly choose as I like my lip gloss a bit more saturated. Nevertheless it was a good deal considering the cost of each gloss is around $20 separately.

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However, the SmashBox sets didn’t have the same bang for the buck this year, so I moved on to Stila. This holiday set was seven glosses for the low, low price of $25. Plus I had a Sephora coupon. The biggest issue with the sets is that I am a brown person and many of the colors cater to paler complexions. Plus, I have full lips. Bright bubblegum pinks only (and kind of not really) work on folks like Nicki Minaj, who is going for the outrageous. As a brown person with full lips, I have to be careful that I don’t look like 1) a clown 2) someone who just enjoyed a really delicious Popsicle or 3) a person who thought that rubbing bacon grease on her mouth was a good idea.

To combat this, I use my arsenal of lip liners, tricks I learned from tv and tips that I learned from lovely department store make-up artists.

First, you need a really nice mauve with brown undertones as lip liner as these sets are heavy on the light pinks. Sephora made a great chubby that they discontinued, so I stick with MAC’s Plum. With bubblegum pinks, I do a “porno lip”. I learned this from a tv segment on how they keep color on soap stars’ lips during makeup scenes. Apply your mauve liner to 2/3 of your lips. Then cover with any of the pink shades. It gives depth and color so you don’t look like a clown.

I stated before that I am not a fan of the color of my lips. So with translucent neutrals, I buy a what I call a lip stick approximate, which is close to the color that I wish my lips were. I apply that, then layer over the lip gloss. For more saturated neutrals, I use an infamous and often maligned brown liner. Here are the rules for brown liner. It must match your skin tone. MAC’s Cork works for me. Nothing too dark. Chestnut I am looking at you. You must blend, blend and blend with a brush. Another brand I love is Dior. They have a liner with a built-in brush. Plus, it has a softer texture and is much easier to blend than MAC products.The Stila set came with a beautiful rust that looked amazing with a orange-brown lip liner by MAC that I swear by called Mahogany. Then was a lovely raspberry color that I used with a slightly darker liner. Finally, there was this fuchsia thing that was absolutely made for thinner lips. Unlined, popsicle effect. Lined, hooker effect. Then I remember how I saw a make-up artist layer fuchsia over a copper lip gloss. I have this wasted copper lipstick that I got for $2 or 3 at Ulta. I applied that and voila. The best look yet.

See below for the color, a plain before and after I worked some magic:

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Stay Cute Mondays – Winterization

In Real Simple magazine, there is a cute section on what would you do with $100 windfall. I got to experience this firsthand because after a week of left hand itching I received a refund check from my graduate school alma mater for $100. I have no clue as to why I got it since I graduated eight years ago, but I chose not to worry. I decided to spend my extra dough on my skin winterization plan. I have extremely dry and very sensitive skin. In fact, most liquid cleansers, body washes and hand soaps break me out in the most unattractive hives, followed by peeling. I also have a very unique T-zone situation. My T-zone (forehead and nose) is extremely dry while my cheeks can get a little oily especially in the summer.

I first went to what was once the best deal ever—a luxurious 45-minute hot stone pedicure complete with glass of good enough wine for $35. However, in my two-month absence (vacation, Sandy and whatnot) something happened. The technician usually rubbed my calves, arches and heels with the hot stones to practically turned my feet into butter. No longer. I got a calf rub, a foot scrub and was sent on my merry way. I did complain and I was told it was because they thought I was a Groupon user. Umm…okay.  Granted I discovered the spot through a Groupon, but I subsequently became a regular. As a result of my displeasure and lack of wine I was given a discount with a price of $25.

Due to my sensitive skin, I am a Kiehls devotee. I received my annual Kiehls cash. The company is quite stingy with discounts, so I view these things like gold. They do have a nice recycling policy, which almost makes it fair. I switched my daily facial routine to their Ultra Moisturizer line (face wash, day moisturizer and night cream).

Here is the rest of my plan to keep my cold  parched skin as supple as possible:

Face:                   

neutrogena

One of my short-term life goals is to own a Clarisonic. However, my aunt got me a Neutrogena microdermabrasion tool that works phenomenally well in the interim. I used it twice a week to slough off the dry skin

I usually do a Lush Oatifix masque once a week for added moisture

Finally, I apply a little shea butter to my T-zone daily to prevent flakes. I foolishly used to buy the L’Occitane’s travel Pure Shea Butter for this purpose because I like the consistency. However, I realized that I could buy pure solid Shea Butter at the Beauty Supply for $7 and whip it myself

shea butter

Feet                     

I have the driest feet. My beloved Suave Cocoa Butter with Shea lotion does absolutely nothing to save them from the dreaded ash. I discovered Suave because I started buying Jergens with Shea Butter lotion. I truly believe Shea Butter is my savior. However, Suave, in its role as the Jean Nate of beauty products, soon came up with a similar product that to me is better than its pricier counterpart

I need to scrub them to death. This is where Lush’s Porridge soap scrub comes into play. As many have noted, it can be extremely messy, so remember to scrub in a confined area as the little flakes of oats can get everywhere

Finally I pile on the Burt’s Bees Coconut feet cream before bed. It was my first guess at a foot cream and the best burts beeschoice ever. They suggest wearing with socks, but I have a tendency to kick socks off.  If you apply any other time, it makes your feet way too slippery for shoes

Hands                

I have gone through every product line, every formula, every price point. My hands actually crack and peel from dryness. It doesn’t help that I wash them constantly. I really wanted something that would only need goldbondapplication a few times a day. My best discovery was another accident—GoldBond Ultimate Intensive Healing Cream. It was on sale at CVS and I liked the 7 moisturizers tagline. I love it. I apply only thrice a day unlike other formulas, which seemed to require use after every washing

That’s my strategy. The less itching the better.