Sunday, January 22, 2006

“I Left In Tears” or How Not to Have a Horrible Experience at a Makeup Counter

I am sure all of you have at least one horrid tale when it comes to your experiences of shopping for makeup. From the majority of my experiences of helping customer with makeup, I hind that either the sales person really shouldn’t be doing this or the person shopping really shouldn’t be interacting with people, or at least not on that day.

I am going to give you some good advice from someone who has been on both sides of the makeup counter. This should help you avoid a bad experience the next time you shop for makeup.

First off, know what you are looking for. Do you want a staple product you always buy or do you want to try something new?
Figuring this out will save you and the sales person a lot of time.
If you want a specific makeup look or product, bring in the ad or magazine page of the look you like. Again, avoiding the whole, “ I think it is a shadow called Bone but I’m not sure if it’s Bobbi or Stila” conversation.
Knowing what you want takes out any possibility for a purchase that you will regret.
If it is a new look you want, try to bring an image of the style of makeup, be it it be eyes lips or an entire face. Also, try to stick to brands that train the artists working for them.
MAC, Stila, Bobbi Brown, Shu Uemura and Nars, usually always have more then competent artists working for them.
Now, just because the artist may have a full smokey eye in 5 shades of green doesn’t mean that she is not capable of doing a clean and natural look. Did she do a good job on her foundation? Is her eye makeup flawlessly blended? If so, she could probably do just about anything.
If her face looks like she applied spackle with a butter knife, well, maybe she is not the one to do your makeup.
Remember, if you are in a metropolitan city, your artist has probably done several professional jobs as well as sales, maybe photo shoots, runway shows or even famous personalities.
It never hurts to ask.

The following is a list of things to avoid ever saying or doing when shopping for cosmetics-

-When trying on a lipstick don’t ask, “What do you think?”
What matters is what you think. Do you like it or not? It’s not rocket science.

-Asking to see new colors that are different from what you would normally choose then saying, “Oh I would never wear that color.” Um, really?

-Don’t ask for samples unless they are offered, especially if you haven’t bought something. Yes, they want to promote the product but, usually the amount of samples given to a counter are few and no one wants to have to tell a customer “No”.
Trust me, if they have them they will give them to you, especially if you are buying.
You have no idea of how many people just walk up to counters all day long and ask, “You have any samples?” Hello? This is a business they are trying to run, not a free makeup vending machine.

-Be honest. If you don’t like the sparkling turquoise shadow he is about to smother your lid with, SPEAK UP! You have an opinion and they need to hear it to guide the sale and better your experience. They may be talented but not many read minds.

-If you are just interested in buying a lipstick, don’t sit down and have them do a full face of makeup on you. They are not there for you to kill time, they have usually pretty high goal$ to make, so be courteous and let them know what you want and don’t want.
Trust me, they wont be offended.

-Oh, and last but not least, returning makeup that has been used and kept for months, well, that’s just tacky. If something doesn’t work for you remember, you had a chance to try it out at the store. If you did that and it just doesn’t wear well or you have a reaction to it (highly unlikely, due to that fact that if your going to have an allergic reaction it will usually happen with in five minutes of applying the product) then bring it back promptly and to the same counter you bought it at. It’s only fair, that return is going to come out of the sales goal for that day, so doing it at another location is just mean.

Following these basic rules, keeping in mind that the makeup artist/sales person really does want you to leave happy and just being polite will help insure a better experience.
You are in the hands of professionals, if you have a bad experience, by all means talk to the counter manager, but before you do, ask your self if you have broken any of the above rules of conduct.
Remember, makeup should be fun and make you feel good!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Cat (eye) is Out of the Bag

Photo: Don Ashby/Model: Ten Haken-Elite
You may have noticed a large number of fashion editorials and runway looks touting a wicked winged cat eye with a classic red lip. Now to some of you this is a total fashion don’t and something to be left on the runway or the cover of W but, for those of you who want to give it a whirl, you may be surprised at how good it actually looks.
If you are a fair beauty or a golden skinned goddess, the look is actually pretty easy to achieve with minimal practice.
First off, as always with any look, start with an even complexion. My fave foundation of course, would be Shu Uemura Water Perfect liquid foundation. It gives a flawless dewy complexion. For those who need more coverage, try Shu Uemura Nobara. But whatever you like to use, just make sure it is even and clean looking.
Next would be your brows. Try to brush them into a nice classic arch. If they are thin fill them in with a powder that matches your hair color. As far as eye shadow goes, well keep it neutral and clean. Just something that will even out your lid and not be noticeable. You can even use a little of your foundation and set it with a sheer powder. Try the brow set by Smash Box, really the ony thing worth getting from them.
Now, the Cat Eye. O.k. I know that if you have never used liquid liner it can seem old fashioned and just plain scary. Flash backs of grannies with beehive hair do’s wearing lime green polyester may come to mind but, that is not you and you are not sitting in front of slot machines with Pall Mall 100’s dangling from your lip’s. Well, you aren’t are you? O.k. then.

I highly recommend practicing on the fat part of the palm of your hand. This will get you comfortable with the flow of the liquid and how to make a thin or fat line. Take your time and do a little practicing, it will take a few try’s but don’t give up. Remember, it will always look better to end with the liner going up at the end like a little cats tail. I highly recommend using a pen style liquid liner as opposed to the brush type that you dip. These kind tend to be messy and dry thick. Also, when applying the liner, use a free index finger to pull up your brow a bit, this will smooth out the lash line and make application much easier.
My favorite liners to do this with are…ready? Playboy’s pick up liner and Shu Uemura Refillable Liquid Liner. Both are a pen style. That’s right I said Playboy!
This stuff goes on so easy and doesn’t move. The bad thing is it doesn’t really come off easy so practice, practice, practice!
If you really are mad about fashion and just have to have the total look then you will need false lashes, but that is a whole other post. If you decide to do it, try the half sets of lashes by MAC or any of the stunning lashes you can find by Shu.
Next, Curl your lashes!!!
I don’t care how scary you think this is, if you do it before you put on your mascara and use a clean lash curler (Shu Uemura, Kevin Aucoin) you will not hurt your lashes.
Honestly, don’t even bother with mascara if you aren’t going to curl your lashes first.
What’s the point?
Enough said.
No need to go insane on the mascara. A clean look is better. My top three favorite mascaras are Shu Uemura’s original mascara, MAC Pro Lash and Anna Sui’s Volume. I also like Fresh’s Super Nova but I don’t like the wand so much.
You’re almost done. The only thing left is to pick a good red color. If you are Blond with light skin and eyes, go with a blue red or cool red. If you are a strawberry blond go with a pinky or coral red. Brunettes and darker, it will depend on your skin tone. Warm tones stay away from blue reds and stick to warm reds. For an up dated and not so severe look try using your favorite lip balm and applying Blood work lip gloss from NARS. It will give you an intense sheer shiny red lip. Remember, red lipsticks have A LOT of pigment and may dry your lips a bit, so always use a lip balm first.
Finish your face with a little loose translucent powder and just a touch of blush on the apples of your cheeks. Keep your check tone in line with your lips. If you are wearing a warm red keep it peachy the new Sakura blush from SHU is great as well as Deep throat from NARS.
If it is a cool red try Tart’s Kitten Heel or Stila’s Bloom.
Good luck and remember, makeup is supposed to be fun. Try to keep your hair classic and simple. A pulled back ponytail pumped up in the front a little in the front is always good. Just look at Gwen Stephanie for pointers.
Don’t be surprised if you get a lot of complements!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Does your Dude Need To Improve?

I'm not talking about the fact that he forgets to feed the cat or wears the same pair of underwear for three days in a row. Does he really do that? Uh-hum, well any way, I am talking he is a hottie with out a clue. You know there is some nice skin and stylish hair just waiting to be seen, but he needs a hand, right?
Well, I have a one-stop solution for even the most low-maintenance man.
Not only will this barber inspired line not make him feel girly, he won’t even have to be able to read! The packaging makes it that simple.
Check out the Sharps shave gel for starters. It goes on clear for those dudes with the fancy facial hair (so you can see what the hell you are doing) preventing him from cutting off any blemishes leading to a gory blood fest. It is cooling, conditioning and gives a super smooth slide. Have him follow this with the After Shave for a refreshing light and oil free moisturizing finish.
Next, ease him into exfoliating. We know how important it is, but all he needs to know is it will make his shaving easier not to mention get rid of blackheads, unwanted oil and dirt and it is scrubby enough that he will still feel butch doing it. You can use it too. Made with marble powder the particles are totally round so they don’t scratch the skin. Again, too much info for him but hey, if he asks…
Last but not least, moisturizer! Yes, men view this as adding stuff to their skin they don’t need, but it is your job to point out the scary bum on the train and say, ” do you want to look like that?”
He will get the picture. Loaded with every new techno service any fancy face cream you would use but, light weight (they spent two years developing it!) and at half the price.
As far as hair well, one word - GUCK!
That’s right! Guck In A Puck either hard or soft, will give him the hair distinction he needs. Be it a spiked faux-hawk or a clean, combed down-doo, it works!
Go to the links and check it out!
As for the chicks, the deodorant is super popular and The lip stuff is also great. It holds on color and moisturizes with out being gooey.
Plus, I met the dudes who started the company and they are super cool, and supporting cool is cool.

geishas are groovy!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Dior Daaaahling!

O.K. seriously, I know the adds can be a little over the top, but how cool is the Dior Gourmette bracelet? But, please, Barbara Please! Wash your hands before sticking you fingers in that gloss and touching your lips, EW!
Talk about COLOR, I love Dior eye shadows. O.K. first of all, I know not everyone wants to wear pink eye shadow and they seem to make it every single season, but you might be surprised how good it looks on you.
Oh and can we talk about the texture?
Insane! It smoothes on like buttah. No really, no dusty clouds of stuff getting in you eye (A.K.A. Bobbi Bland)
Love them.
So, I am so sick of hearing "I want to look natural."
Um, so why are you wanting makeup then????
But, for all you Nature junkies the new Dior eye palette can give you a pretty and 'natural' look.
Check it out on
The web site is super slick.


Can we talk about Shu Uemura?
Shu has always been ahead of his game and is now coming out with some cool new stuff for spring.

The most interesting is the Eye Jelly.
Yeah, I know, it sounds like the Adams family made it but, it is a truly amazing new eye makeup.
It is a firm lightweight gel that is cool to the touch and super lightweight.
It comes in three colors all pale shimmers and can be worn alone, as a base or on top of other colors to ad shine and texture.
All in all truly unique. Remember it is limited edition so....

Also new are the Sweet lip glosses in three new colors. They taste great and don't come off in 5 seconds. For all you chicks that have hyper pink lips, check out Lavender to tone them down.
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