Enhancing Your Eyebrows

When I was younger, I plucked my eyebrows.  A lot.  In fact, they stopped growing back (except where I don’t want them to!) and are very thin and short.  I think my tiny eyebrows make me look older – and kinda mean, so I “enhance” them.  (Translation:  I draw them on.)  I hate having to do it, but I consider it a necessary evil to keep from looking, well…evil.  I try really hard to make them exactly alike, but as I was told by a Sephora associate “They’re supposed to be sisters, not twins.”  Still, I’d be happy if I had it down to a science and I could get them to be twins.  As it is, I usually have a starting point where they’re like my children – I love them both, even though they’re not the same.  (This is how I end up spending more time doing my brows than I do all the rest of my makeup.)  Enough rambling, here’s all the advice I have to give about eyebrows…

If You Must Pluck:  Only tweeze the hairs on the lower part of the brow.  You want your brows to be as high as possible.  Too-close-to-your-eye brows make you look older.  (This is why plastic surgeons sell “brow lifts”.)  Of course, if you have any stray hairs in the above-the-nose area, those have to go, too.  Nobody wants a uni-brow!

Find a Starting Point:  A good way to find out where you should start your brows is to do the following:   Take a long eye pencil (or whatever skinny object you can find) and place it alongside your nose.  Where the tip lands is where your brows should start.  You may be able to cheat a little bit if you want longer brows, but don’t go crazy.  You don’t want your eyebrows to look like they’re venturing into “uni-brow” territory.

Even Them Up:  If you have one brow that’s higher than the other (like I do!), you cheat by brushing the hairs in an upward direction with an eyebrow brush.  If they’re really fringy, trim the ends of the hairs with a tiny scissors (like the ones you find in a manicure kit).  Try not to “raise” your eyebrows the entire time you’re doing them.  This can exaggerate already-uneven brows.  Do a reality check throughout the process to make sure you’re getting them as even as possible.

Cheat Sheet:  If you’re not accustomed to doing your brows, brow templates can be helpful.  Several companies make them – some come in “eyebrow kits” with other products you may or may not find useful.  I like Anastasia Brow Stencils.  The kit contains 5 different stencil styles.  You just flip them over to do the other side.  The easiest way to use the stencils is to trace the outline of the stencil with a very sharp brow pencil.  Then, just fill in where you need to.  These do take some getting used to, so don’t expect your brows to be perfect on the first try.

Anastasia Eyebrow Stencils. $20 at Ulta stores and Sephora.com

Filling in the Blanks:  I know there are all kinds of brow-specific products out there, but I like the very inexpensive Cover Girl Brow & Eye Makers pencils.  They come in a decent variety of colors, hold up to sharpening, and are a perfect blend of waxy & smooth.  The only downside is that they don’t do much to “calm” hairs that want to stand up, so the difference between the area you draw in and the area that actually has brow hairs can be a little noticeable.  (Keep reading to find out how to minimize that problem.)

Cover Girl Brow & Eye Maker Pencils. Approx. $4. Available at drug stores and mass merchandisers.

Take a Step Back:  If you do your makeup in a “vanity” mirror that’s very close to your face, make sure you get a “big picture” glance at your work in a regular mirror.  Close up, you’re probably looking to make sure they’re even and filled in.  At a bit of a distance, it’s easier to notice the differences between the two so you can make adjustments.

Sealing the Deal:  When you’re totally happy with your work, you may want to consider sealing your brows.  This can be especially ideal if you live in a hot climate, have oily skin, wear large sunglasses, or are likely to forget you’ve “enhanced” your brows.  The last thing you want is brow pencil all over your forehead.  Unfortunately, the product I use to seal my brows (Benefit She-Laq) has been discontinued.  So, I don’t have a recommendation as to what to use.  I’ve heard Makeup Forever makes a good sealer, but I haven’t tried it.  The good thing about sealing your brows is that the sealer can create a more uniform  “sheen” when applied to natural hairs and drawn-in parts.  Also, the brush strokes can create a more natural hair-like appearance where you need it.

In Summary:  You’re not stuck with the brows you have. (or the brows you have left, in my case…)  Experiment with different styles (or change them with your moods) to enhance your overall look.  If you’d like some professional advice, find a Benefit Brow Bar in your area (some Brow Bars offer a free brow service on the week of your birthday) or see if your local Sephora, Ulta, or department store cosmetics counters have someone on hand to give you some tips.  Just make sure you get advice from someone whose eyebrows look good, not that chick whose eyebrows are so high she looks permanently surprised…

Advertisements

Help!

In the back of my mind, I have this list.  It’s like a “most wanted” list, only I can’t provide any photos because I don’t know what they look like.  I keep searching (in vain) for these products, and keep trying things I think will meet my needs.  I’m starting to get frustrated. Admittedly, I’ve made things more complicated by refusing to buy anything with parabens.  (In some cases, I’m trying to replace products I love that contain parabens.) Oh, and I have a budget.  If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear them…

Job:  Face Moisturizer

Qualifications:  Must be oil-free.  Not strongly fragranced.

Job:  Oil Control

Qualifications:   Must be paraben-free.  Can be in any format (gel, cream, powder) as long as it works.  “Mattifiers” may apply.

Job:  Foot Moisturizer

Qualifications:  Must work for more than 5 minutes.

Job:  Hair Detangler

Qualifications:  Must be made for grown-ups.  Can be a leave-in or rinse-out product.

Job:  Hair Dryer

Qualifications:  Must be able to work without causing hearing loss.  Needs to offer at least 2 temperature settings.  Must not encourage my hair to get frizzy.

Job:  Self-Tanner

Qualifications:  Must produce a healthy glow without making my skin feel like it’s been coated in plastic.  Can not contain glitter in any amount.

Alright, so there you go.  My “Most Wanted” beauty products list.  Suggest away.

Love This! Clarisonic (“Classic”) Sonic Skin Cleansing System

I’m not one to buy every “must-have” gadget that comes out on the market.  However, after stopping by a Sephora store for a free mini facial, I learned how great this particular “gadget” could make my skin feel…

Pros:  Gets skin much cleaner than washing alone.  Leaves skin looking and feeling great.  Works with most cleansers.  Waterproof.  Rechargeable base doubles as a holder.  Timer uses beeps to let you know when to move to the next part of your face.

Cons:  Expensive.  Replacement brush heads are also expensive.  Can’t be used with any exfoliating cleansers.  The cleansers that come with it are less-than-impressive.  When you first start using it, your skin may break out more than usual.  That’s because it’s bringing all the dirt, oil, etc. to the surface of your skin.  This can last for up to 2 weeks.  (Be patient!)

Versions: Mia” – 1 speed. Comes in more colors than the others, but doesn’t have any sort of holder. Good for travel. “Mia 2” – 2 speeds. A bit more compact and comes with a travel case, but doesn’t have the same variety of colors.   “Classic” – 2 speeds. Only comes in a few colors, but has a base/holder. “Plus” – 3 speeds, for all-over-body use. Comes with a body polish (exfoliators can be used with the “body” brush head) Body brush extension handle available for convenience.

Note: If you buy a Clarisonic sonic skin cleansing system in pink, Clarisonic will donate proceeds to breast cancer charities.

In Summary:  This is one of the best things I’ve ever bought.  It makes foaming cleansers more foamy and gets off more makeup than you can remove with a washcloth.  It also feels great – like giving your face a massage!  It is expensive, but it’s already lasted much longer than the cheaper version I bought several years ago.  In retrospect, I wish I had ordered the “Plus”, but I still love the one I have.

Buying Tips:  Shop around for a good deal on this item, but make sure you’re getting the real thing.  Several reputable beauty sites sell them, and you may be able to get 20% off with a promotional code or “first time customer” discount.  (Check RetailMeNot for promo codes.) Find a store where you can use a promo code AND a cash-back program like FatWallet or Ebates to get a good deal and a little bit of a rebate later.  Register your product online to get a $25 credit at Clarisonic.com (free brush head!)

Rating:  5 out of 5 stars  

Prices:  “Mia”: $119, “Mia 2”:  $149, “Classic”: $195,  “Plus”: $225″

Replacement Heads:  $25 for individual heads, $40 for 2-pack

Available at:  Clarisonic.com, Sephora, Ulta, beauty.com, various online retailers

Clarisonic Classic Sonic Skin Cleansing System

Review: Goldfaden Red Tea Infused Daily Exfoliant

I won a jar of Goldfaden Alpine Rose Stem Cell Cream a while back, and they were nice enough to include a small jar of this exfoliator as well.  I’m a huge fan of exfoliators, because I think they’re one of the best ways to improve your skin’s appearance.  This one did not disappoint…

Pros:  Paraben-free.  Works very well (very “scrubby”).  Mild fragrance.  Non-drying.  Contains anti-oxidants.  Container allows you to get all of the product out.

Cons:  Expensive.  Not available many places.  May be too rough for daily use for some people.  Beads can be hard to completely remove from your face.  (Might work best to use it in the shower.) Container is inconvenient, if you don’t like putting your fingers into things.

In Summary:  I love this stuff.  I can’t afford it, but I love it.  I like my exfoliators to be extremely “scrubby”, and this one fits the bill.  However, I think it might be a bit too intense for daily use.

Rating:  4.5 out of 5 stars 

Price:  $65 for 2 oz. jar

Available at:  goldfaden.com, skinstore.com, dermstore.com

Note: some lower prices are listed by third-party sellers on amazon.com – they may be selling counterfeit items. 

I have listed reputable sites where you can buy it.

Review: güd Body Lotion (“Floral Cherrynova”)

güd is the new line of products by Burt’s Bees.  Like Burt’s Bees, their products contain a lot of natural ingredients, which I like.  I had been tempted to buy this product, but I waited until I got the free sample to try it out, and I’m glad I did…

Pros:  Natural ingredients.  No parabens, petrochemicals, or phthalates.  Not tested on animals.  Creamy but not greasy.

Cons:  Very strongly fragranced/perfume-y.  May be a little more expensive that what you’re using now.

In Summary:  This is a decent body lotion, but I really can’t get over how strong the fragrance is.  It’s not a bad fragrance – there’s just a lot of it.  I could never use this when I have a migraine.

Rating:  3 out of 5 stars  

Price:  $7 for 8 oz.

Available at:  drug stores, mass merchandisers, gudhappens.com, various online retailers

 

Review: Fruitopia “Curls & Waves” Shampoo and Conditioner

While I have stopped hating my hair for its waviness, I haven’t stopped looking for products to help it keep its shape or those that fight frizz.  I got a good deal on these products, so I was willing to give them a try…

Pros:  Paraben-free.  Inexpensive.  Slight frizz control.  Nice fruity/floral fragrance.  Doesn’t build up on hair, even after a week of everyday use.  Satisfaction guaranteed “or your money back”.

Cons:  Makes hair feel kind of heavy/waxy, mostly when wet.  It’s only available at CVS.

In Summary:  This isn’t my favorite shampoo/conditioner, but it’s a good value for the money and I have to say it’s better than I expected.  It only helped with my frizz a tiny bit, but that’s the case with lots of products that offer frizz control, many of which are WAY more expensive.

Rating:  3.5 out of 5 stars  

Price:  approx.  $3.50

Available at: CVS Pharmacies, CVS.com (not all products in the Fruitopia line are on the website)

Beautiful Blogger Award

My dear friend, Too Tall Fritz generously nominated me for the “Beautiful Blogger Award”.  I’m not sure I’m deserving, but she gave it to me anyway, and here’s what I’m supposed to do (and you, too, if your blog is listed at the bottom!): 

**Obligatory Rules**

  1. Copy the Beautiful Blogger Award logo and place it in your post.
  2. Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  3. Tell 7 things about yourself.
  4. Nominate 7 other bloggers for their own Beautiful Blogger Award, and comment on their blogs to let them know.

Alright, so here goes.  Here’s the logo:

Here’s the thanks:

THANK YOU  TooTallFritz .  You’re too kind.  And you’re a constant source of support to tons of people.  Although your blog is (mostly) about running (etc.), you encourage us all to do our best, push through the challenges, and persevere.  You’re awesome.

Seven things about me (that you couldn’t have already learned from my blog):

1.  I hate cold weather.  I mean really, really hate.  I haven’t lived anywhere with “winter” in over 17 years, and I don’t plan to.

2.  I have an awesome dog named “Reba”.  (We didn’t give her that name – it’s the one she had at the shelter where we adopted her.)

3.  I named both my kids with first names containing 6 letters and middle names containing 9.  I think it was an accident, but I’m a little OCD, so maybe it was subconscious.

4.  Although I write a beauty-related blog, I’m like a guy in many ways.  (I crave steak, adore NFL football, horde power tools, etc.)

5.  I enjoy organizing things.  Creating order from disorder makes me feel a sense of accomplishment that’s hard to find in anything else.

6.  I DVR almost everything I want to watch on TV.  I hate watching commercials.  Unless they’re funny.

7.  There’s a long list of foods I don’t like, almost all of which are completely healthy.

Seven other bloggers whose work I enjoy:

1.  AnonymousHedonist  The name alone is enough to intrigue me.  😉

2.  OhApostrophe  Real-world insights into beauty.

3.  Mae’s Beauty Reports   Lots of info about makeup.

4. Make Me Blush  More great product reviews.

5.  Positive Beauty Blog  Has a great page about the ingredients commonly found in beauty products and why they might be bad for you.

6. A Lot on Your Plate  Random acts of helpfulness.

7.  Two Lacquered Girls  Nail polish addicts.  (I can relate 🙂

Now I just have to find a place on everyone’s blogs to comment…

7 Deadly Sins of Bridgett’s Beauty

This is one of those “tag” posts that has been drifting around the beauty blog world, and I wanted to play. (Translation: I haven’t tried any new products to review and can’t think of any beauty advice to give you today.) Away we go…

TAG QUESTIONS

1. GREED: What is your most inexpensive beauty item? What is your most expensive?

My most inexpensive product (and one of my favorites) is the Cover Girl Brow & Eye Makers pencils I use to “enhance” (draw) my eyebrows. I go through a lot of them, so I’m not interested in any expensive products. It’s about $4 for a package of two (and sharpener) but I often can get them cheaper with sales and coupons.

My most expensive product is the $75 Goldfaden Alpine Rose Stem Cell Cream I won and just started using. (Review coming soon.) Unless you count the $210 Sultra flat iron I won. The most expensive thing I’ve actually purchased for myself is my Clarisonic Classic system, which I love. (And – yes – I got it on sale!)

2. WRATH: What beauty products do you have a love/hate relationship with? What product has been the hardest to get?

I would say I have a love/hate relationship with every “prestige” cosmetic item I own that has to be replaced, because I feel like I have to shop around online to get a discount, since I hate paying full price for anything. Traditionally, the hardest product to get was Origins Zero Oil Deep Pore Cleanser, because it was only sold at Origins, but now beauty.com and Sephora carry it, too. (Woo hoo!)

3. GLUTTONY: What are your most delicious beauty products?

I don’t like this question. I don’t eat beauty products. If I did, I certainly wouldn’t admit it (unless someone offered to pay me to be on that reality show “My Strange Addiction“). I know they don’t mean “delicious” in the literal sense, but it’s still a weird question.

How about we ask: “What beauty product do you ‘binge buy’ or stock up on?”

Well, that still doesn’t work, because it’s the same answer as #1 . Oh, wait. Foundation. I stock up on foundation in multiple colors and types so I can blend it to match my changes-with-seasons skin tone. That counts…

4. SLOTH: What beauty product do you neglect, due to laziness?

Eye cream. Recently, I’ve developed a rather lengthy night-time beauty regimen and by the time I’m done with the already-five-step process, I usually forget about eye cream. I need to work on this.

5. PRIDE: What beauty product gives you the most self confidence?

My prescription retinol cream. It’s made an immense difference in my skin and has even undone some of the damage it’s suffered over the years.

6. LUST: What attributes do you find most attractive in a potential partner?

(I edited this, because it said “…in the opposite sex”.  Not everyone is interested in “the opposite sex”.)

I don’t really have a “type” when it comes to looks, so I’m not going to list much in the way of physical attributes, but a sense of humor, a desire to be well dressed, good hair, and patience are nice qualities for someone to have.

7. ENVY: What items would you most like to receive as a gift?

This isn’t hard to answer. It’s why I have wish lists on all kinds of sites. (The most extensive one is my amazon.com wish list, because I can add stuff from ANYwhere to that one!) Since this is a list of “seven”, I’m going to list my 7 most-wanted items (in no particular order).

1. A really good hair dryer that won’t frazzle my hair or lead to hearing loss.

2. A salon-quality nail dryer. (I’m impatient.)

3. Urban Decay 15-year Anniversary Palette. I love every single color in here. Unfortunately, it’s “limited edition” and “online only”.

4. Two sets of really good (various-sized) hot rollers. I have a lot of hair and sometimes I want it curly. It takes about an hour to do it with a curling iron.

5. Tons and tons of argan oil.

6. About a gallon of Urban Decay De-Slick Setting Spray and a Misto sprayer to put it in so I can get it to apply more evenly.

7. Too Faced Better Than False Lashes eyelash extending system. This looks very cool.

OK, so that was kinda fun.  If you, too, have a beauty blog, feel free to post your own “7 Deadly Sins of Beauty”.

Review: Revlon Color Burst Lip Butter

I honestly don’t know the difference between lip butter, balm, tint, or the other various nouns applied after “lip”.  I got a sample of this in Target’s free beauty bag, and probably wouldn’t have tried it otherwise.  Here’s my review…

Pros:  Paraben-free.  Inexpensive (sort of).  Available everywhere.  Comes in lots of colors.

Cons:  Has lots of hard-to-pronounce (not natural) ingredients.  Not long-lasting.  Color name not very accurate.  The “peach parfait” is more of a “berry parfait” color.

In Summary:  The sample I got of this was just a little card with the product on it, so I can’t tell you much about the product’s method of application.  It comes in a stick that looks like a cross between a balm and a lipstick.  It does go on smoothly and isn’t sticky or too greasy, which I like.  The color is a slightly-muted version of what you see when you first look at the product, but is pretty true-to-color.  If you’re looking for a lip product with more color than a “tinted lip balm” offers, this might be a good one to try.

Rating:  4 out of 5 stars 

Price:  approx. $7.50

Available at:  drug stores, mass merchandisers, Ulta, drugstore.com

Beauty Store Pet Peeves

Alright, I already ranted about the things I find annoying in beauty products.  Now, I’d like to rant about the little things that annoy me about various beauty stores…

Retail Store Pet Peeves:

Induced Claustrophobia:  I love Sephora.  I hate that 1 of the 2 stores in my area is so small that I don’t want to spend any amount of time in there.  There are 2 brands of cosmetics facing each other in every aisle, but two people couldn’t be looking at both brands at the same time, because the aisles aren’t big enough!  Seriously, Sephora.  You’re making an insane amount of money.  Rent a bigger store.

Bad Layouts in General:  I don’t mind wandering around beauty stores.  I don’t mind if all the store associates are “on the floor” to help people, but when I’m ready to check out, someone should be able to actually see that I’m standing in line so they know to come to the cash register.  (Talking to you, Ulta!)

Not THAT:  I love free samples (who doesn’t?) but I hate it when they can’t give me “that” product because they only have the containers with the flip-top lids (yes, I’m talking about you again, Sephora!) and anything too liquid-y will spill out.  Origins has great sample containers with screw-off lids.  Can’t you get THOSE?!?!

Online Store Pet Peeves:

New Customer Discount:  If you’re only willing to give me a discount because I’m a “first-time customer”, then I’m gonna go be a “first-time customer” somewhere else and not keep shopping at your website.  Loyalty should be rewarded, not punished.

Ridiculous Shipping Prices:  We all know how much postage costs.  Stop price gouging and calling it “shipping AND handling”.  The “handling” is about as labor-intensive as the services provided at a retail store.  You don’t see them charging you to ring up your purchases.

I Did NOT Order This:  I can’t stand it when the online color swatch is nowhere near the actual color of the product.  Sometimes, I can tell by the color name that it might not be accurate (If it’s called “mocha”, but looks like “brick”, I can figure it out.) but with the trend towards clever-but-not-explanatory names, you don’t always have a way of knowing.  Oh, and when I e-mail you to tell you that the color doesn’t match (to help you improve your site, not even to return the product!) do NOT tell me it’s my monitor.  My monitor is perfectly calibrated.  I used to make videos for a living.

Advertising Unavailable Stuff:  If  you say I can get 3 free samples with purchase, and then you only have 1 to choose from, at least offer to send me 3 of that product (lots of stuff takes more than one use to really gauge its effectiveness, anyway).  Or just don’t offer “3 free samples with every purchase”.   Just include whatever you have with my order.  I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

“Backordered”:  This is pretty much the same as the last one.  I hate it when things are “backordered”, but not listed as such on the site.  Come on, you know it’s backordered.  And if I ordered it and it’s not available – but other products in my order are – you should send things as they become available.  It’s not my fault you don’t know how to stock products effectively.  I don’t care if I got free shipping.  If you already charged my card, I should be able to get the products I’ve already paid for.

 

In Summary:  OK, a lot of stuff irritates me.  I admit it.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t have a right to be irritated by every one of these things.  🙂