"No, I’m Not Pregnant" Clothing Options

Empire Waist
Empire Waist

The other day my friend called, upset that someone asked if she were pregnant (she’s not that sensitive so it wasn’t devastating but she wasn’t super excited about it either). And guess what? I knew exactly what she was wearing – an empire waist dress. Unless you are skinny or very young, this cut often makes people think you’re pregnant because it’s always what they make for pregnant women. Before I was pregnant I would see these cute elastic waist stretchy jeans that looked so comfortable. Upon closer inspection I saw they were maternity jeans. Why, I thought, do pregnant people get more comfortable jeans than the rest of us? Now I understand the need for extra comfort when pregnant - but does that mean if you’re not pregnant you can’t wear the extra comfortable clothes too? No. So when this same friend came maternity shopping with me as I grew larger, we asked the same question. And even though she in no way needs larger or fuller styles (she runs marathons), she bought a comfy but cute maternity dress with super soft fabric. It became one of her favorite dresses. And unlike with her empire cut dress, no one ever even asked her if she were pregnant.

Since then I’ve been looking for comfortable styles that can be worn if you are pregnant or not. For example, when pregnant I was always looking in the maternity section for clothes – which is very limited. Here’s what I found. If you don’t want to or can’t spend the $ on the following brands, look for designs that are similar to these:

Max Studio This brand NEVER fit me before. I would try everything because it looked so cute on the rack but nothing ever came of it. When I got pregnant everything Max Studio looked good on me. And now things also look pretty good in smaller sizes (I’m not quite as tiny as I used to be so somehow it works).

Helmut Lang
Helmut Lang

Helmut Lang I have this silk Helmut Lang top I’ve worn with over jeans a number of ways: With a wide belt at the hips, with a short skirt underneath (someone actually asked me about my “amazing dress”), and alone with leggings. It’s a brand that drapes and shapes in just the right places.

Joie
Joie

Joie I never looked at Joie until my friend said it was one of her favorite brands. I’d stand idly by as she tried on different Joie clothes I’d never pick out and then she’d try them on and they looked cute.

Alice and Olivia Full
Alice and Olivia Full

Rebecca Taylor I got something from Rebecca Taylor when I was just beginning to have a stomach. It looked cute then and it looks cute now. So subsequently I have shopped for more of her pieces.

Alice & Olivia This designer seems to make a lot of wide band pants and shorts that look pretty good if you need your stomach held in. And a lot of the tops are blousy enough they are loose without looking pregnant.

Yummie
Yummie

Yummie Tummie Finally, if you want to try shapewear, there’s Yummie Tummie. I have never been a fan of shapewear because the idea reminds me of corsets and female Victorian restrictiveness. But I gave one of the tank tops a go. It’s nice because it’s mostly soft cotton and long enough to not ride up around when you’re trying to keep things comfortably “supported.”

Max Studio
Max Studio

Getting Reacquainted: Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer

Fluid Sheer 2It's not exactly a new product, but it's new-ish to me  (I think it's been around since Giorgio Armani Beauty launched). Someone gave me Fluid Sheer a couple years ago and I didn’t think much of it because I didn’t understand what it was. Was it a bronzer? A shimmer? A foundation? It stayed in my closet in its elegantly black Armani packaging.

Recently I became reacquainted with it. I still thought it might  look like your standard bronzer. Or maybe it’d look like a trendy shimmery foundation. Then someone showed me how to properly use it and I decided to give it a go. The next shoot I did was with a skin care company, and skin care companies – naturally - want everything to be healthy and glowing. It has to look good, but the makeup can’t be apparent because it’s all about skin.

For this model, I lightly applied it to her hairline and blended it on her cheekbones with blush. It made her skin glow in a way that a bronzer doesn’t. As Armani Beauty is all about glowing skin, Fluid Sheer is clearly its essence. Fluid Sheer Model

Maybe it won't make us look like this, but we all deserve to glow!

Fluid Sheer Glow Tip: As its name says, it is quite sheer so you can use more than you think without it looking like too much. Apply around hairline, right under or on cheekbones. Under cheekbones makes them more prominent; on cheekbones will highlight or brighten – it all depends on what you want and need. Blend with fingertips. Then watch yourself glow.

Not Rushing Around This Gift-Giving Season

Every year I think that if I wait long enough, inspiration will suddenly hit me and I’ll get perfect presents for everyone. It’s happened before! More often, however, waiting for inspiration turns into running out of time and then, at that point, any gift will do.

This year I decided to do it differently, even if I don’t find the elusive perfect gift (sorry to people receiving gifts from me). I started before Thanksgiving - so early that people keep asking why I’m rushing around. But I’m quite proud to say I’m almost finished. The new strategy does have its downsides though. I keep running off somewhere because something is “An Additional 30% OFF!” and I feel triumphant. Of course, a day or two later it’s “An Additional 50% OFF!” and of course I feel deflated. The trouble with being early is that you have time to think too much, to worry and also to keep buying. Now that it’s “An Additional 50% OFF!” I must buy something else.

So as I rush around this holiday season, I’d like to stop for a minute and see if I can be helpful to anyone else. I have always found it obnoxious how department stores have holiday trimmings up a minute after Thanksgiving. But now I’m right in there, soaking up the atmosphere ready for the season. (I don’t mean commercially, I mean the experience). And isn’t being helpful part of this experience? Here are some ideas I hope are helpful in case you’re stuck or haven’t started shopping yet.

SEPHORA VALUE SETS The holiday season is probably the biggest time of year to save on cosmetics. The extra value is not usually a discount but in getting more products for less (which can seem a little Costco-ish - probably you don't know need 10 lip glosses at the same time -but it’s about as good as it gets). Here are some favorites I recommend:

Lash Stash Sephora sells a set of 15 mascaras from all different brands in one box. For the last two years I’ve seen it and thought about buying it. The first year I went back to get it after the holidays and they told me it was gone and only there for the holidays. The next year I saw it, thought about buying it and then went back before the holidays but they sold out. This year I forgot about it…until I was writing this post and remembered it. And guess what? Because of my early holiday strategy, I finally got it! It’s called “Lash Stash,” and includes the following:

  • Tarte Multiple Eye
  • Clinique High Impact Mascara (LOVE)
  • Smashbox Full Exposure
  • Sephora Outrageous Volume
  • Benefit They’re Real
  • Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Volumizing Mascara
  • Bare Essentials Buxom Lash
  • Tarte Lights, Camera, Action
  • Korres
  • Fiberwig Paint on False Lashes
  • Lancome Hypnose Drama
  • Tarte Lash Primer
  • d.j.v beautenizer fiberwig LX
  • A pair of Sephora false eye lashes with eyelash glue

An example of the considerable price difference is that one D.J.V. Beautenizer Mascara is $22; this whole set is $45. You may or may not need 15 different mascaras, but since they should be replaced frequently anyway, why not try different ones? They are not all full-sized but are more than little samples and should take you into a lot of mascara seasons. Plus you’ll be the most educated mascara-wearer around.

Makeup Palettes If you’d like to have different shades of makeup but can’t/don’t want to spend the $, this is another opportunity to try a variety. Palettes also make a great gift because they’re something someone may not buy for herself but would love as a gift. There are a lot of options right now but I can personally recommend:

LORAC Pro Palette I use this palette for work. I’ve whittled down my bags of eye shadow to two MAC, two Prescriptives shades and this palette. The packaging is very light so you can have a collection of shades without feeling like you’re carrying the 16 shades included in this one palette. The shadow itself is blendable and wears beautifully. $42 ($110 value)

LORAC Eye Candy Full Face Collection This seasonal collection includes six palettes for eyes, lips and cheeks packaged like sparkly chocolate candy bars. I have used the eye shadows, cream eyeliners and cheek color and they are all good. I haven’t tried anything LORAC for lips but will definitely give them the benefit of the doubt. $59 (value $360)

Sephora also has nice, sturdy boxes as free gift-wrapping. Don’t do as I did and think about the mascara set you didn't get for two years. Keep your eyes open for limited edition sets and get them now if you can.

ORIGINS Origins is one of the best places to get a holiday gift because:

a) Everyone likes Origins products. If you’ve not tried them, you just don’t know that yet. Put them on your wish list because you will.

b) They have something for everyone. It’s possible to do a one-stop shop for almost everyone on your list and be done with it.

c) They have beautiful free gift-wrapping. It’s so nice that the gift-wrapping looks like it could be a present on its own!

Origins Salt Rub I can’t tell you how happy someone is to get an Origins Salt Rub. I'd be happy to get one and I used to get them all the time for free. It has these chunky granules of salt mixed with a minty body oil. Rub it on, rinse off and skin is so soft and smooth. You'll feel like you’re in your own personal spa.

Ginger Souffle Whipped Body Cream Oprah Winfrey named this one of her favorite products years ago. Of course that made it exceptionally popular and it’s still everyone else’s top favorite today. I don’t even like ginger but I like this product.

Clear Head Mint Shampoo with Knot-Free Finishing Rinse Yes, getting shampoo and conditioner doesn’t sound like an amazing gift. But this is not any old shampoo – it’s a minty clean sensation shampoo and peachy-lemony conditioner. Again, trust me, people will love it.

I recommend that you go to an Origins store because you’ll get to try the products for the full experience. And those who work there will be able to give you a wider range of products I don’t even know about.

PHILOSOPHY Philosophy is a gift-giving brand. They have great skin care, but also many products that are quirky, whimsical and fun. And who doesn’t want a quirky, whimsical and fun present?  This holiday season they have products such as “Gingerbread Man,” “Candy Cane,” “Eggnog,” “Snow Angel.” They have great pricing and, like Origins, the packaging itself looks like a gift.

Naturally, after writing all this I inspired myself right into going to Sephora. So a dear friend and I went to “have a look.” We both work in beauty and she said, “I have so much stuff I don’t need this (or that).” I laughed at her, asking if she’s ever not been excited about getting products. She agreed and we went on to buy ourselves a couple gifts. So if you’re shopping and think someone already has enough products and won’t want more, you’re probably wrong. They may not need more but I can tell you that they will want them.

I realize the spirit of the holidays is not about buying gifts. But since we’re all buying gifts I hope I’ve given you a few ideas, because part of the spirit of the holidays is also not being stressed.

(If you're still stressed, you can always visit an Origins store and ask them for some Peace of Mind.)

Just Discovered! Laura Mercier Faux Lash Mascara

OK, maybe not “just.” I discovered it last summer but I'm only getting around to writing about it now. However, I can still help you just discover it! When it comes to eyes, lashes can make a big difference. Some like false strip eyelashes as they are so dramatic, but it's generally not my preference because they look so, well...false. If you want to wear falsies, try individual false lashes because they lengthen and thicken without looking fake. In case you’ve never tried (or even heard of) them, they are six or so wispy lashes you can glue on where you’d like. (Gluing anywhere near eyes might sound scary but it’s only a tiny bit of lash glue that secures the pieces.) They look amazing. And while I am perfectly happy putting them on others’, when it comes to my own makeup I get so BORED if anything takes more than a few minutes. False lashes are for more dedicated makeup wearers. Which, though I am a makeup artist, is ironically not me.

I can confidently tell you that Laura Mercier Faux Lash Mascara is the perfect alternative. While it is called “Faux Lash,” it makes lashes fuller and more dramatic without looking fake. It goes on smoothly and doesn’t clump like a lot of thickening mascaras. And it’s easier and faster to put on than individuals. 

When I first got it, I decided to test it against another popular “false-looking lash” mascara that had just launched. I roped someone in as my guinea pig and put Mascara 1 on one eye and Mascara 2 on the other. I asked her to look in the mirror and pick one. She immediately pointed to Faux Lash and said, “I want this one!  It was no scientific test, but soon after, she ran out and got one.

This is one of my best new(ish) discovery and a staple in my makeup kit because I use it on almost everyone. I often don't have a lot of time on shoots ("Are you ready yet?" my dear producer friend Chad often says), so I love that it doesn't take any time. If you're looking for a new mascara (or just new lashes!) try this is definitely one to try.

Long Lash Tip: To go even bigger you can  put individuals on and then Faux Lash on top!

 

Aloha: Here Comes the Sun

Aloha from Hawaii. (Before you get jealous, it’s not for fun. But I am trying to make the best of it.) Yesterday I decided to exercise. People unfamiliar with Hawaii imagine it's all pineapples and mangos, surfers and hula dancers. Since my family and friends are local, it's less fun in the sun and more like one long meal (which is also fun - I'm just clarifying the experience). Food is an important part of being gracious and welcoming, and Hawaii is extremely welcoming. It's tempura and chicken katsu (Japanese fried food), malasadas (fried Portuguese donuts) and things like cracked seed (one of the saltiest snacks ever).

The Aloha State is also one of the few places anywhere that you can comfortably admit you like SPAM. So since healthy eating isn't working out I decided to go on a jog around the neighborhood. But why am I running on concrete when surrounded by the ocean, the mountains, the beach? Hiking a mountain, that was the answer. (See hiking trail below).

Before I got very far, my legs were burning. There was a rope going up the first part so you can pull yourself up if necessary. When there's a rope to pull yourself up on anywhere up a hill, I probably shouldn't be there. But there were little kids behind me running and shouting and bouncing about. How hard could it be? I felt old with my knees cracking and a fear of twisting an ankle and falling on my face. My friend told me to hike up and then turn back down the mountain. But once I got to the top I thought it was too steep to go back so decided to keep moving forward. Surely it can’t be as bad on the other side, I thought. Not sure why I thought that.

Because when I made my way back down the other side, there was only a trail up another mountain. Of course I thought there must be a way out. No. Now I was plodding up another mountain, thinking that if I slipped and fell no one would find me for a long time. Apparently everyone else knew not to do the second mountain because I did not see another soul the entire time. Going down, I was running from branch to branch, skidding my way down loose pebbles. My 30 minute hike turned into a 2 hours. However, once I figured out where I was, I was soon happily cooling my feet through the white powdery sand of Lanikai beach. But I started to think more about how I could have better prepared (starting with knowing where I was going.) Next would be taking care of myself when the heat of the sun is beating down on me...which leads me to my favorite topic, sun protection! So in case you're thinking of taking an unknown hike in Hawaii (or anywhere else, for that matter), make sure that you are adequately prepared:

Protective Clothing. I wore a Lululemon long-sleeved top because I was determined to stay protected though I was roasting. Lululemon has fabrics with what they call UVF - Ultraviolet Protection Factor of 50+ that helps block UVA and UVB rays. This store is pricier than what I usually spend on workout clothes (i.e., Target) but the styles are so clever and flattering that sometimes I give in. Also, a new store just opened in my building.

A Hat. Me, who constantly preaches about the importance of sun protection - I forgot my hat. The sun was beating down on me and I felt like it was creating unfortunate future spots and lines on my face. Which it may  have been. So don't forget.

Sunscreen. For the first time I used Kiss My Face Sunscreen. People have been asking me about natural and green products - this sunscreen uses natural ingredients in a creamy but non-greasy texture. And I got absolutely no tan.

Water. At the last minute I thought to bring water.  And was I ever glad I did. Had I planned better I would have used a Lululemon Amphipod Hydration Belt so I could carry water hands-free. Yes, it looks a little like a fanny pack. But when you're rationing water and thirsty, who cares?

Your Phone. At some point I was expecting someone to call, concerned about my safety and worried about where I was. When I got home I asked, "What were you guys doing while I was gone?" "Talking story," they said (this is the Hawaiian way of describing sitting around having a good conversation). Well! At least I had my phone in case I had fallen on my face and rolled down the hill.

Well Traveled Beauty

I’m on a plane. I got up too early to get myself properly ready for the trip so I look a little haggard. (I always hear older people talk about the days when everyone dressed up for travel. I’m sure it made the occasion special but I’d never make it to the airport in time.) And I don’t travel as much as I used to so I don’t have the system down anymore.

But! I just discovered a store called Muju On the Go in JFK airport and am so excited about it. If you read my post on hoarding/reorganization you’ll remember I’m semi-obsessed with The Container Store. I haven’t spent enough time in Muji to see if it can match the love I have for The Container Store but definitely it has potential.

Their website says “MUJI is not a brand whose value rests in the frills and “extras” it adds to its products. 
MUJI is simplicity – but a simplicity achieved through a complexity of thought and design.” This is very Japanese concept and it's a Japanese store. Since I'm Japanese maybe there is a genetic component to my obsession simple, compact and clever things. I am kidding. Kind of.

Since I am currently traveling, now's the time to supply travel tips!

Preparation

Check-in Bags

Beauty Products. For products you use everyday, get some of those little plastic bottles you can put your creams and lotions in so you don’t have to carry full sized products, especially if you want to carry them on the plane. Muji has some stacking containers that I like because you can keep all the products containers together.

Make sure you get a little spatula and/or a cone to help you get stuff in or you’ll find yourself pouring product on the sink or getting goo all over yourself (not to mention wasting the product).

Pack products in a plastic baggie, unless you want it to possibly explode all over your things. The cabin pressure expands air in the product, which can cause it to burst in your suitcase or later when you open it after landing. Have many times have I had lotion come out of a tube all over because of this? Many. So no matter what, be careful when you open it anything comes in packaging that has air in it (i.e., a lotion tube).

Carry Ons

Hand Sanitizer. I know some don’t believe in hand sanitizer, but I’m still going to say bring hand sanitizer to the airport. I forgot mine and am washing my hands like someone with OCD. There’s something about a plane or a bathroom airport that seems especially germy too me. It’s probably isn't germy-ier but that’s how it seems. "Please clean the wash basin after using it…" I actually do clean the basin to be considerate but doing that after washing hands is kind of gross.

Your Makeup Essential. For me personally, if I put nothing else on it’s lipstick. So it’s a lipstick and a powder compact to use the mirror for application.

Don’t forget about those TSA people yelling at you about the size of any bringing any liquid, cream or lotion on the plane. Always check what the standard is because I always thought it was 4 oz. or less but today I heard someone yelling t was 3.5 oz. (I think at most airports the the TSA people aren’t yelling…but at JFK, they definitely are).

They also prefer that your things be stored in a clear pouch. I also like clear pouches because it’s much easier to location things in general.

Hand lotion. Skin gets so dry on the plane. I just got a little tube of Burt’s Bees Nourishing Milk & Honey Body Lotion but I’ve been using it on my hands and my skin feels immediately comfortable. Burt’s Bees probably has a hand lotion but since I can’t vouch for it I am recommending this one because I know it works.

Mints. I always carry mints in case my mouth feels parched too. Also isn’t that just considerate in case you wake up with not especially minty fresh breath? I’ve been carrying around a mini Altoids tin for years.

Water. You may or may not know that I always recommend water and staying hydrated as a beauty tip. I used to bring giant bottles of water with me on the plane. Now because they don’t allow water through security, I just bring an empty water bottle and find a water fountain. Because unless you want to spend $5.00 a bottle on water, bring the empty bottle.

I think that’s it for now.

Safe Travels!

 

My Favorite Multiple-Use, Fussy-Free Products

I love things that are compact and clever in a practical way. For example, I love those mini-umbrellas you can throw in your purse and carry as an every day staple so you never get caught in the rain. And I love products that are multi-purpose and fussy-free but don't compromise quality. In my purse, as well as my giant makeup kit, less is more. Here is a collection of the recently discovered as well as some beloved favorites that are cleverly compact.

Lorac Pro-Cream Eye Liner If you like a gel eyeliner, this one has brush that screws right in the handle. You don’t have to buy a separate brush and you never have to worry you'll lose it. If you carry it anywhere, you also don’t have to worry that the brush will get product in your purse or cosmetic bag. Just throw it in worry-free!

NARS The Multiple This is a cream stick that can be used on eyes, cheeks and lips. I just use my fingertip to apply and blend—application takes less than a minute. I know it probably benefits a company to have you buy a separate lipstick, eye shadow & blush, but I'm always still surprised that more brands don't have products like this one.

LaPrairie Skin Caviar Concealer and Foundation This product(s) is cleverly designed with a foundation in the bottle, two shades of concealer in the cap and a mirror inside the lid. It also comes with a concealer brush that sits in a stand. And it’s a good foundation that lasts a long time. It is definitely not inexpensive (it is very expensive), although I guess any product with “caviar” in its name would not imply it's a deal.

Aquaphor Healing Ointment I have always liked this product but not thought about it in a long time. Recently a most gorgeous celebrity told me it was one of her favorites and brought it out as I did her makeup, showing me the ways she likes to use it. It’s great as nighttime lip moisturizer, under a lip pencil, on your cuticles and as a body moisturizer if your skin is especially dry. It can also be used on most anything that's chapped - and even minor cuts, burns and skin irritation (although I'd say go to the doctor if you have anything less than very minor.)

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 A tinted moisturizer saves time by combining moisturizer, foundation, and SPF in one application. It’s also sheerer so you don’t have to worry about perfect application. Laura Mercier provides several options, including an oil-free one (for those with oily or acne-prone skin), as well as one with shimmer (for those who want to glow...I mean, everyone wants to glow but shimmery can look shiny on some people so find the one that's right for you). (There is a new cream compact but I have yet to try it). For shoots, if someone needs more even skin tone but I don't want to slather on foundation, I use this product first and then foundation or concealer where it's most needed.

So there they are. I'm a little obsessed clever and practical products, so if you have a favorite, please share it with me because I'm always looking for them!

 

 

What's Your Favorite Mascara?

I recently did a "what's your favorite mascara?" poll, and the responses were all over the place! There were brands I expected, brands I didn’t expect and brands I never heard of. This was no scientific focus group but I still thought there'd be a little more consensus. So while I can't report a landslide victory, here are the top contenders and what their fans had to say about them.

1. Benefit Badgal Lash Mascara. Benefit is not a brand I have ever paid attention to. It seems cute and kitschy and fun but I’ve never felt compelled to try it. That, however, is no longer true because apparently their mascara is IT! This is by far the mascara most often mentioned as a favorite.

“Love the fat brush and how it lengthens and thickens without clumps. I'm addicted!”

“I really like the brush. Plus I have dry, sensitive eyes and it doesn’t irritate.”

“I love it! And they have travel sizes so I can replace tubes often.”

2. L’Oreal Paris Voluminous Carbon Black. Coming in at second place, L’Oreal still proves you don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of $ to get great lashes.

“It has a big, soft thick brush that reaches close to roots and never clumps. My lashes are blondish – this mascara gives it color and makes them thicker without having to use liner between. It’s also gentle - lashes stay soft and flexible. Also, I prefer the original version because I have never found the new, “improved” versions better!”

“I use it on top of Maybelline Full ‘N Soft – it’s cheap and works great!”

3. DiorShow. This is the quintessential mascara for drama. We are talking serious mascara lovers who are not afraid of diva lashes. And they are also not afraid to show their love!

“When I’m not wearing falsies, I wear DiorShow with Maybelline Falsies (the purple one).”

“I use DiorShow mixed with Urban Decay’s Fatty Lash Mascara!”

“DiorShow is my all-time favorite! I add Makeup Forever Smoky Lash for even more drama.”

4. Trish McEvoy Lash Curling Mascara. I haven’t used it myself but this mascara has both “civilian” and professional makeup artist fans.

“It’s easy to apply, no clumping, no smudging, and removes with warm water."

“Its formula washes off as a gel so you never get black under your eyes. Both the volumizing & curling formulas work this way - they just have different brushes.”

5. Lancôme. Lancôme got several mentions, but all for different formulas. I’ve known for years that Lancôme mascara users are rabid fans!

Lancôme Hypnôse. “It makes lashes look thick with out clumping but also separates them nicely. It is also easy to remove.”

Lancôme Definicils. “This mascara seems to last longer and makes my lashes look GREAT!”

Lancôme Extencils. “Still rocks.”

MAKEUP TIP OF THE CENTURY

However, no one was more enthusiastic in recommending Lancôme CILS Booster XL

“I wanted to let you know the makeup tip of the century. I went to replace my mascara and got a free lash primer with it. It’s white and coats lashes, making the mascara go on easier and lashes look even fuller and longer. How could I have lived this long without knowing of this magic?”

 

THE HONORABLE MENTIONS These mascaras were mentioned more than once and/or highly recommended by those I know who know.

Tarte’s Lights Camera Lashes

Clinique Lash Long Wearing Formula “I've used it for years because it stays on all day and I don't look like a raccoon by the time I get off work.”

YSL Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils “The Best! But $$.”

Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill “Goes on thick, brush separates lashes well for a defined long lash look. Also love the packaging - think it’s metal and has Giorgio A. name engraved on it, it’s very heavy and premium-looking.”

Origins Fringe Benefits “My eyes are so sensitive that a lot of other mascaras irritate them. This one is super mellow and doesn't hurt my eyes!”

Finally, I just discovered a KILLER new mascara which I will be writing about next! Stay tuned.  

Eve Echo Hand Sanitizer - Changing the World, One Clean Hand at a Time

This is another new favorite product. To clarify, “new” may not mean it’s a brand-new product but since it’s new to me, it might also be new to you. When my baby was born my brother said I’d become a germa-phobe. He’s been a father for a while now so doesn’t have new parent anxiety. But what did I know? All I knew was that there was this new tiny person in the world who could catch things on my account if I wasn’t careful. So I was constantly washing my hands. Constantly washing your hands, of course, makes them extremely dry. I’d put lotion on afterward but then I’d be washing the lotion off when I washed my hands again. So I started using moisturizing hand sanitizer to keep my hands clean and moisturized at the same time.

Then along comes a friend with Eve Echo Hand Sanitizer. I’ve always disliked the gooeyness of a sanitizer gel and I don’t like the waste of a towelette, so this was a perfect solution. It comes in a cute little perfume spray bottle that lightly spritzes on with a nice soft scent. And there’s no extra waste because it’s refillable! You can just throw in your purse without worrying it’s going to leak and get goo all over inside. And you can get it in either Sweet Mango or Lavendar Vanilla.

What’s more, Eve Echo “is on a mission to end gender inequalities and free women from oppression all over the world.” It lends 100% of its net profits to the Foundation for International Community Assistance - an organization that helps support female businesses in economically challenged communities. I always say, since you're going to spend money anyway, why not spend money on something that’s going to make a difference too?

Not only is it good for hands and good for the world, but it’s also a hip hand sanitizer, as far as hand sanitizers go. Eve Echo has been featured in magazines such as InStyle, People and Cosmo even named it the best hand sanitizer! How I missed all that I do not know. What I do know is that this product can be recommended on so many levels that I hope everyone goes out and gets one so we're all staying clean while helping the world too.

My daughter is almost 2 and since I’ve seen her licking the floor and eating sand and yet still seems OK, I’m no longer a germa-phobe. But of course I still like to make sure my hands are clean and fresh - especially when water is not available - and that’s what Eve Echo is perfect for. www.eveecho.com

Lucy, possibly eating chalk and thriving.

Photo of Young Lucy by Katie Ambrose.

Just Discovered! Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara

I recently did a shoot with Clinique and discovered they have a bottom lash mascara. To be honest, it sounded to me like an unnecessary product that someone would like you to buy. But as it is Clinique and they are a great company, I had to try it out.

First, I learned it is a longwearing formula, the kind that is only removed with warm water and comes off in pieces. This is a good thing – it means that the mascara will last until you intend on taking it off. So if you often find that mascara leaves residue and dark rings around your eyes, it won't with this one.

Second, it has a mini-wand with a tiny little lash brush. Like mini-mini. Don't be confused by the image above...the lash you see at the tip of the wand is not part of the product (it's only part of the picture).

Then I decided to try it. I have almost no bottom lashes - a few, I can probably count them. But the product did work pretty well on those lashes so I tried it on my top lashes too. Of course, something called "Bottom Lash Mascara" is obviously not designed for top lashes - but because my eyes are small it actually worked better. I was able to maneuver around using that little brush to get mascara exactly where I needed it. So because of this and because this kind of mascara formula doesn't irritate my eyes (most do) this could very well become my personal top and bottom lash mascara.

For most people, it actually is a great mascara for bottom lashes because it gives you controlled, precise application in a formula that will not smudge. If you find that your mascara is easy to use on bottom lashes and you're happy with it, you can certainly do that. But if you need something more precise or even would just like to try something new, this is a good one.

My Favorite Products Winter 2012

Since I work with so many different brands I am lucky enough to try and evaluate products on a regular basis. And, of course, I can't help myself and buy my own as well. So my list of favorites is always evolving as I discover new things, but these are my recent discoveries.

Laura Mercier Invisible Loose Setting Powder

 

I recently used this on many different skin tones and was pleasantly surprised to see it truly was invisible. Products often say they are "invisible" but then they are only invisible on certain - usually light - skin tones. I have not yet tried this on very dark skin, but so far it has worked on every other skin tone.  It also not only looks invisible, it feels incredibly silky smooth. I was so happy to find this because I have to powder people all day long and I'm always carrying around different shades for different people. And if I powder too much the makeup often gets cake-y. Now I have this one!

Up & Up Cocoa Butter Lotion Deep Conditioning

I am an equal opportunity cosmetic user. I am discriminating but do not brand discriminate when something is good. If there's a deal to be had, I will have it. This cream is a generic Target brand. I have a 31.8 fl oz bottle that you can buy online for $3.49USD. (It says 30% more, although I do not know what it's measuring against.) My skin gets so dry in the winter that usually only the really thick creams make my skin comfortable - but they also make it greasy. This lotion is creamy and makes skin instantly comfortable. I also put some extra on my feet right after I crawl in bed so my feet are extra-soft in the morning.

Chanel Perfection Lumiere Long-Wear Flawless Fluid Makeup SPF 10

So not only do I love Chanel packaging (who doesn't?) but their products are good too. I originally thought this foundation would be shimmery and sheer because the word "lumiere" made me think it would shimmer. It is actually lightweight like a sheer foundation, only with more coverage. It gives you that "I don't have makeup on" look, except your skin is more smooth and even. For that reason, I love it. And, if you can't or don't want to afford a Chanel bag, a little Chanel makeup is a nice mini-substitute. It's not inexpensive, but you do at least get what you paid for.

It's only January, so I expect I will find more favorite makeup gems. And when I do, you'll see them here too.

My Favorite Products Fall 2011

I’m often asked about my favorite products. While some products are better than others depending on what you want to achieve, these are some of my favorites. Eve Pearl Salmon Concealer

A concealer that hides under eye dark circles and looks natural is rare. The shade undertones in this lightweight formula do just the trick! I use it on almost everyone.

Fun Fact: Eve Pearl is an Emmy-Award winning makeup artist and her products reflect this. Find her stuff at www.evepearl.com.

Kevyn Aucoin The Sensual Skin Enhancer

I use this for really dark circles. Its thicker consistency requires a bit of skill to get just what you want—but worth it.

How-to:

  1. Dab a bit onto the back of your hand.
  2. Mix with an eye cream for extra moisture and the consistency/coverage you want.
  3. Use a brush or your fingertip and pat over areas you want to cover.

NARS Foundation

NARS has some of the most natural-looking foundation shades anywhere—not too much pink, not too much yellow…just right. Years ago, I could never find a foundation shade that matched my skin—until I found NARS. If you have trouble finding the right foundation or powder, NARS is my go-to recommendation.

Chanel-StyloYeux Waterproof Eyeliner

If eyeliners leave smudges around your eyes, this is a must-have. For myself, it’s the only liner that doesn’t smudge. If you’re Asian—and I am—you probably share this problem and will want to share this solution too!