March 18, 2013

BB Creams: What's the 411?

To BB or not to BB (bad pun aside)....that is the question!  lol :)  Or at least that was the question I was presented with by my good friend & hair stylist extraodinare, Lawana Stewart of Moods & Attitudes, too Salon & Day Spa.  And I have to tell you, I was stumped!  I have seen the countless television commercials for this BB cream but I honestly assumed that it was a hair product and not one used for the skin (think Bumble & Bumble).  So, I immediately took to my iPad and started doing some research.

What are BB Creams you might ask?  BB Creams (short for "beauty balm" or "blemish balm") are a pretty nifty mixture of skincare and cosmetic coverage with the added bonus of an SPF - all in one handy tube!  Depending on the level of desired coverage, these creams can be worn alone as a tinted moisturizer, over serum and moisturizer (to serve as a foundation), and/or under powder.  As many of my readers know, I am a HUGE fan of tinted moisturizers.  In fact, my daily beauty regimen pretty much consists of that and a pressed mineral powder.  So, although BB Creams sound pretty magical, I still had questions.  For starters, how are they much different from a tinted moisturizer?

The BB Cream formula was initially created by a German dermatologist as a post-procedure cream for patients who had gone through laser surgery, due to its soothing and skin-regenerating properties.  These creams had been used cosmetically in Asia for decades before gaining popularity over here in the States this past year.  In short, BB Cream is like tinted moisturizer on steroids! 

General Product Features and Benefits:

*Like a foundation, it provides perfect coverage without clogging the pores

*Produces a very natural, "no makeup look"

*Has healing properties that soften, smoothen and refine the skin

*Encourages skin regeneration to create and maintain youthful skin

*Contains UV Protection for heathly skin (SPF levels differ by brand/ product)

Sounds too good to be true, right?  Well yes, there is a slight downside.  While most formulas are designed to match all skin tones, finding an exact match may be a little tricky.  Since they were initially formulated for the Korean and East Asian markets, BB Creams tend to target fairer skintones and are generally offered in a limited number of hues.  However, there are a few companies like Maybelline and Smashbox that cater to darker skintones, so make sure to check them out!

Best of the Best:

Maybelline's Dream Fresh BB Cream: Maybelline considered all skintones when making this product.  While most brands only offer three tones, Dream Fresh offers 5 ranging from Light to Deep.  Doubling as a primer, this BB Cream is lightweight and contains SPF 30 to protect skin from harmful UV rays. $8,

Smashbox's Camera Ready BB Cream:  Who needs foundation when you have Camera Ready in your makeup arsenal? Available in 5 shades, this BB Cream contains SPF 35 and offers a natural coverage and matte finish which is ideal for those with oily skin. Not to mention that it leaves the skin feeling silky smooth! $39,

Two Faced Tinted Beauty Balm:  With light-diffusing pigments, this hypoallergenic formula provides a natural, healthy looking glow. The light coverage formula helps to make skin look and feel smoother.  It also contains Vitamin A which helps to even skin tone and reduce wrinkles over time. Note:  You may notice a bit of a shimmer on your skin with this product. $34,

Iman Cosmetics Skin Tone Evener BB Creme:  This beauty balm cream is great for women of color!  And out of all of the BB Creams that I tried, this one provides a moderate-to-heavy coverage.  It evens the complexion with Skin Tone Evener Complex enriched with Acai, Licorice and Grape Seed, protects with an SPF 15 (kind of on the low side), and hydrates with Almond Oil and Aloe.  Not recommended for acne prone skin!.  $20,

Clinique Age Defense BB Cream:   Perfect for uneven skin, this blemish balm cream behaves more like a lightweight foundation.  It contains caffeine to soften lines, and Vitamin E and seaweed extract to control oil production, which will help makeup stay on longer.  A little of this stuff goes a long way!  $37,

Estee Lauder Daywear BB Anti-Oxidant Beauty Benefit Creme:  Mature Beauties will surely appreciate this BB Cream which works to treat age spots, minimize pores and conceal discolorations to keep you looking younger than your years.  $38,

Well beauties, that's the 4-1-1!  I hope that I was able to provide a little insight into the world of BB Creams.  While the use of this cream sounds like a no-brainer, I'm not completely sold on them just yet.  However, out of the brands that I mentioned above, my personal fave was Smashbox's Camera Ready BB Cream.  Its "Deep" shade matched my skin perfectly and I was impressed with the level of coverage that it provided.  So, I will definitely give this one a try to see what all the fuss is about and maybe just maybe my tinted moisturizer obsession will become a thing of the past!  :)



February 25, 2013

Oscars 2013 - My Favorite Dresses to Hit The Red Carpet

As an advid movie-goer, the Oscars are pretty exciting!  I am always eager to see if any of my favorite movies and actors/ actresses win the coveted golden statue.  But before the awards are handed out, the biggest stars in the world hit the red carpet bringing the glitz, the glamour and the gowns!  Here are a few of my faves from last night's red carpet (in no particular order):

Halle Berry wowed in this silver & black
metallic Versace gown

Charlize Theron in a structured Dior Couture
column gown 

Jennifer Lawrence looked stunning in
 Dior Haute Couture

Jane Fonda in Versace - LOVED
this color choice!

Kelly Rowland worked this black and white gown
by Donna Karan Atelier

Jennifer Garner wore a raspberry column dress
by Gucci w/ an embellished train

Quvenzhane Wallis looked adorable in Armani Junior

Naomi Watts rocked this silvery sequinned gown
created by Armani Prive

Jessica Chastain looked glamorous in
this nude Armani Prive gown

Stacey Kiebler looked very elegant in this
studded gown by Naheem Khan



February 20, 2013

Are You Ready for a Rihanna & MAC Cosmetic Collabo??

The answer to that question is YESSSSSS!!  It appears that just about everything Princess RiRi touches turns to platinum and I am sure that her latest venture with MAC Cosmetics will do the same! 

While Nicki Minaj, Lady Gaga and Lil Kim (to name a few) have been the "Face" of MAC's Viva Glam campaign, Rihanna is the first artist to be a "creative partner" for the brand.  A deal the singer called "a no-brainer" and I would have to agree!  My only question is what took so long?  Ever since "Good Girl Gone Bad", I have considered the Barbadian beauty to be a style icon and trendsetter so this partnership just makes sense!

The first product to launch will be RiRi Woo, inspired by MAC's cult fave Ruby Woo and is set to hit shelves and counters around the same time as Rihanna's Diamonds Tour concerts on May 4 and 5 in NYC. With four collections on deck, to be known as RiRi [Hearts] MAC, the current plan calls for 31 products total:

 The summer collection also includes two additional lipsticks, a Lustre Drops shade and a powder blush duo. Fall’s 16 sku’s include four lipsticks, a deeply pigmented Lipglass version of RiRi Woo, two multishade eye shadow palettes and false lashes. (“She likes to wear two pairs at a time.) Holiday will bring another 10 items, including nail polish, a makeup bag and additional lipsticks.
The Unapologetic singer, who turns 25 today, took to Instagram to share the exciting news with a photo of the first makeup sets in her collection and the caption:

That's right baby, I'm a #MACgal now!  Get into it, package designed and products created from scratch by yours truly!  Thanks to the EPIC team at #MAC for giving me the opportunity to play and share my favorite shit with my fans and yours!
If you are wondering whether MAC is concerned about the ongoing media fascination over her relationship with Chris Brown, the company had this to say:
She's a grown woman, and whatever makes her happy makes us happy.  Life's complicated.  Far be it for us to judge.
I love it!  And Happy Birthday, Princess Ri!!




May 23, 2012

MAC's Latest Collection: Hey, Sailor!

How cute is this latest collection by MAC Cosmetics?  I love pretty much everything from the color choices to the adorable navy blue & white packaging.  I may be a little biased since navy blue is one of my absolute favorite colors! :)  Set to hit North American makeup counters tomorrow (May 24th), the Hey, Sailor! limited-edition collection is comprised of 38 pieces which includes a wide range of bronzers, single eye shadows, pigments, blushes, lipsticks, lipglass, pencils, shimmery body oils, nail polishes and more.  And if that wasn't enough, this collection will include two maritime makeup bags - the $35 Gone Sailing Makeup Bag Set and the $45 Gone Sailing Tote!

Hey, Sailor! Make-up bags & Tote

I must say that this is one of the more visually appealing collections of the year.  How can you resist that navy blue and white striped packaging, for starters?  And product-wise, Hey, Sailor! ranges from pretty corals and reds on the lips to deep sea blues and greens for the eyes.  This collection is very playful and fun...reminiscent of vintage pin-up girls!  Some standouts include the pigment in Naval Blue (a navy blue satin), Throw Me A Line lip pencil (bright red), Orange Tempura lipglass (a pale peach), and To Catch a Sailor lipstick (a frosted tan).  I can't wait to get my hands on these!! :)

My Faves!

The complete collection includes:

  • Lipsticks in Salute! (a neutral peach with an amplified finish), To Catch a Sailor (a frosted tan) Red Racer (a bright yellowish red satin) and Sail La Vie (a bright mid-tone orange Satin, $15.50 each
  • Lipglasses in Cut Loose (a white gold with pearl), Orange Tempera (a pale peach), Riviera Life (a bright tangerine), Blessedly (a rich pale coral), Send Me Sailing (a bright yellowish red), $15.50 each
  • Pro Longwear Lip Pencil in Saunter (a pale nude beige), Throw Me a Line! (a bright true red) and Shore Leave (a light vibrant coral), $19 each
  • Eye Shadows in Crystal Avalance (a white with reflects with a veluxe pearl finish), Barefoot (a tarnished gold veluxe pearl), Jaunty (a light frosty yellowish beige),
  • Feeling Fresh (a frosty bright green) and Nautical (a navy blue satin), $16 each
  • Pigments in Old Gold (a high frosted tarnished gold) and Naval Blue (a deep frosty smoky blue), $21
  • Powerpoint Eye Pencils in Handforged (a metallic yellowish gold), Emerald Sea (a kelly green) and Blue Stripe (a dark navy), $16 each
  • Zoom Waterfast Lash, $15
  • Bronzing Powders in Soft Sand (a golden bronze with fine gold pear), Refined Golden (a finely spun golden with soft pearl finish), $24 each
  • Pro Longwear Bronzing Powders in Nude on Board (a bronzy, yellow tone) and Sun Dipped (a dirty red tone), $28 each
  • High-Light Powder in Crew (a soft peachy cream with fine shimmer), $28
  • Powder Blushes in Launch Away! (a true peach with a satin finish) and Fleet Fast (a pinky, golden coral with a satin finish), $21
  • Nail Lacquers in Vestral White (a creamy white) and Touch of Red (a creamy bright yellowish red), $16
  • MAC to the Beach Body Oils in Seaside (a dirty blush pink with multidimensional sparkles) and Man Rays (a glowing an with multidimensional golden shimmer), $22.50 each
  • Suntints SPF 20 Liquid Lip Balms in Sea Mist (a peachy nude with multidimensional pearl), Abalone (a see through hot pink with no pearl), Au Rose (a poppy coral pink with golden pearl), $16 each
  • Brush in 167SH Face Blender, $34
  • Gone Sailing Makeup Bag Set, $35
  • Gone Sailing Tote, $45

The Collection

Happy Shopping & try not to go Overboard! :)



May 11, 2012

Beauty Tip: Sun-Kissed Skin

Summer is right on our heels (SO thankful) but why wait until then to look like you have been kissed by the sun?  I absolutely love the sun!  Maybe it has something to do with me being a summer baby but whatever the case may be, I can never get enough of it.  There is nothing like a good tan!  I absolutely love the bronzy glow I get after laying out.  However, you don't need a trip to the beach to illuminate your skin.  A sun-kissed appearance can be achieved by mixing a touch of gold highlighter with your foundation or tinted moisturizer.  This little trick will give you a natural glow!  And if you are opting for the bronze goddess look like Christina's (see photo), keep the rest of your makeup in the same color family and this will give you a natural effect.  Try using a matte bronzer on your cheeks, a natural color on your lids (like a taupe), and tie it all together with a swipe of gold-flecked lipgloss!

My highlighter of choice is Josie Maran's Argan Illuminizer.  The Argan Illuminizer is described as an ultra light skin brightener with a hint of bronze giving the skin a radiant, luminous, lit-from-within glow that lasts all day.  And I can does just that! :)  If that wasn't enough and as the name suggests, this product contains Argan Oil.  Commonly referred to as "liquid gold" or "The Gold of Morocco", Argan Oil is an incredibly rich source of Vitamin E and essential fatty acids.  It has astonishing healing, conditioning and anti-aging properties to help keep your skin nourished and revitalized.  The Argan Illuminizer can be purchased online at and at Sephora (retail - $28).

Josie Maran Argan Illuminizer

Added Benefits of Argan Oil:

  1. Soften dry skin - Argan Oil's naturally high concentration in Vitamin E and essential fatty acids work to alleviate dry skin and rough patches.
  2. Help Minimize fine lines - Smooth Argan Oil over skin and under your eyes for intense moisture and to reduce appearance of fine lines.
  3. Help heal acne blemishes and scarring - With regular use, Argan Oil is widely reported to heat existing acne blemishes, prevent the occurrence of new breakouts and help reduce scarring.
  4. Give skin a fresh, youthful look - Argan Oil easily absorbs into skin to give you a youthful, dewy glow.
Glow forth & be merry!! :)



April 25, 2012

What's up, Ombré!

Unless you are living on another planet, Ombré is everywhere.  From hair, eyes and even nails....there is no escaping!  So, it was only a matter of time before this trend made it the the lips.  What is Ombré (you might ask)?  Ombré is French for an effect with a gradual colour transition, usually from light to dark.  For example, with hair, the ends are deliberately lighter than the a good way.  lol  It is completely different from the look of a dye-job "regrowth" which is just dreadful!  But unlike fashion and hair, when you apply this concept to makeup, it's all about color choices and shading which usually creates a 3-D effect making lips look fuller.

Here's what you'll need:

Find two contrasting colors that are in the same family.  To achieve this effect, one will obviously need to be lighter than the other.

Tip:  It is better to use fairly opaque lip colours for this effect because you want to get enough coverage both with the first dark layer, and then again with the light layer on top.
Once you have picked your color choices, fill your entire lip with the darker shade.  Matte finishes generally work best, so try a matte lipstick or lip liner.  When using matte lipsticks, it is very important that your lips are in the best condition possible and not chapped.  Make sure to condition them, beforehand!

Photo courtesy of Makeup and Macarrons

Next, you will add the lighter shade in the center of your lips for a pop of color.  You can apply straight from the tube, with a lip brush or even with your fingers.  Whichever works best for you!  The lighter shade can be a matte finish, as well.  But you can absolutely use a shimmer or slightly metallic finish.  I find that the latter adds even more dimension, making lips look fuller and bigger.  Once you have applied the lighter shade, blend it into the darker shade.  Be careful to leave the edges darker than the middle.  And it's probably a good idea not to press your lips together too much or else you may lose the Ombré effect that you are trying to achieve.

Photo courtesy of Makeup and Macarrons

Adding a clear lip gloss for more of a modern edge, is completely optional and a matter of choice.  Remember that matte lipsticks can make your lips feel a little dry.

Photo courtesy of Makeup and Macarrons

What do you think...Are you a fan??



April 5, 2012

To Whiten or Not To Whiten?

Whatever happened to the teeth whitening craze???  Seriously!!  Six or Seven years ago you could not escape the pressure of keeping your pearly whites BRIGHT!  Ads splashed across your television screens with all of the latest products and techniques that would "guarantee" you a whiter and brighter smile.  And nowadays, not so much!  There are still a few ads out there but they are few and far between. 

I have to say that I am kinda sadden that this craze has died down.  To me, there is nothing like a nice smile.  And teeth are definitely apart of that equation!  I mean let's be real....with the help of braces and whiteners,  there is really no excuse for not having a nice "grill" especially if you can fit it into your budget.  Am I right or am I right?

Zoom! Whitening Procedure
What brings me to this subject, you might ask?  A recent visit to my dentist!  I've been going to my dentist for about four years now and recently, I've noticed that he has really been pushing their teeth whitening procedure down my throat!!  Almost to the point where I had to question whether or not my teeth were white enough.  lol  Had me looking in the mirror every five secs just to make sure!  Now granted, it has been a few years since my last Zoom! whitening procedure and I could probably use a touch-up but my teeth are still a nice shade of white, in my opinion.

So, during my last visit, without fail, the dentist compliments me on my teeth and tells me that "a whiter smile will make it that much better"!  At this point, i'm really beginning to consider his "recommendation".  For a mere $300, my teeth can be white again and up to my dentist's standards.  And just when I was about to hand over my credit card, in walks the dental hygenist.  After overhearing the conversation (and making sure the coast was clear), she asks me do I have a Costco card?  I replied, "Yes"!  She then tells me to go to there and pick up some Crest Whitestrips.  Not only are they cheaper but with patience, they provide the same results!  Now why hadn't I thought of this?? lol  Not only did she stick her neck out for me but she also saved me money in the process.    So, I thanked her and went on my merry little way!

Crest Whitestrips Procedure
As I sat in my car, again I asked myself....why didn't I think of this?  It's not like I wasn't familiar with Crest Whitestrips.  During my days as a cheerleader, I used them religiously thanks to my teammate, Shonte, who had/ has THE whitest teeth that I have ever seen.  lol  I asked her one day how did she get her teeth so white and she put me on to the strips.  As I mentioned before, you will not get immediate results like you would by using a professional whitening treatment, but after about a week of using the Crest Whitestrips I definitely noticed a difference.  Simply apply the strips for 30 mins a day until you see your desired results and voilà!  Now it would not be fair if I did not mention that you may experience some tooth whitening sensitivity but it's just a small price to pay for pearly whites.  And another good thing is that you don't need a Costco membership to purchase them.  You can buy Crest Whitestrips at any major retailer and they run anywhere from $39 - $60 depending on which kit you choose to purchase.  And in my case, that's a savings for up to $240!! 

So in answer to my own question....why wouldn't you whiten??