Archive for November, 2009

MAKEUP FOREVER HD Foundation

Posted in Health and Beauty on November 21, 2009 by sbulletforever

I swear by mineral makeup, but it doesn’t give you flawless coverage. If I’m going out somewhere really nice, or if I’m having some super bad breakouts, sometimes I try non-mineral makeup as well. I’ve searched through a lot of liquid lines, since liquid provides the best coverage, and finally decided to try out MAKEUP FOREVER’s HD liquid foundation. It is one of Sephora’s Top 10 Best Sellers.

How to use: You shake up the bottle, squirt some out on either the back of your hand or a paper towel, and you use a foundation brush to sweep it across your face. Like a cross, you sweep down the nose, across the cheeks, and then you blend the hell out of it. Blend, blend, blend. Cover the under eyes, the sides of the nose, the creases of the mouth, and be sure to blend DOWN YOUR NECK so it looks more natural. Nothing worse than a line of makeup that stops at the chin line.

I do have to complain that it contains talc, which is terrible for your skin. I’ve only had a few minor zits here and there while using this foundation, which isn’t bad considering how sensitive my skin usually is. I’d usually use a primer with this to keep the foundation from having direct contact with my skin but NO PRIMERS work with this. Any primer I use, from Urban Decay to Too Faced to Laura Geller, makes it cake up and look chalky. Does it really need a primer? YES.

At first, you get a semi-flawless look. This foundation does cover normal-sized pores and minor imperfections, and the coverage is not buildable. If you go over a spot a few times with the foundation you just end up looking cakey in that spot- it won’t provide extra coverage where you need it. If you have red spots, the HD foundation will cover the redness but leave the spot looking slightly discolored. You definitely need a concealer if you’ve got some trouble spots to deal with, especially if you have large pores (like I do on my nose) and suffer from acne marks.

A couple hours after application, the foundation starts to wear off. My pores become more noticeable and my foundation looks more like a painted mask than a natural-looking foundation. You can wipe it off and reapply (the bottle is small enough to store in your purse) if you need to. This is NOT GOOD FOR OILY SKIN. Since primers make the foundation look instantly cakey, and since it wears off after a few hours on normal/dry skin, this would be a nightmare for someone with oily skin.

Basically, this foundation was a disappointment. I don’t have oily skin and my skin imperfections are few, but this still wasn’t right for me. I had too much trouble with it looking dry and cakey. Foundation should look natural and have a slight glow to it. I tried my best with it, but it’s definitely being returned. I think I’ll try MAKEUP FOREVER’s Mat Velvet Foundation next and see if that doesn’t work better for me.

EXTRA SPECIAL FOUNDATION HELP

How do you know what color foundation you are? This is a question that took me years to answer. My face and hands are paler than the rest of my body, while my hips are the darkest. I don’t tan evenly, and even when I don’t tan, I pale unevenly. This makes makeup hunting hard, since most makeup consultants will set you up with makeup that matches your face skintone. THIS IS WRONG. The color you use on your face should match your neck and chest. It turns out that my face color was at least a shade or two lighter than my neck and chest, and it made a huge difference when I blended the color across my face and into my neck. For once, I looked like I had an even skintone across my body.

Also, be aware of undertones. There are two kinds- pink and yellow. Pink undertones often have ruddy skin, especially when they exercise. Yellow undertones have a golden tinge to their skin. If in doubt, either ask a makeup consultant (I find many of them to be incompetent when it comes to foundation, though) or do a little experiment. Sweep a little liquid makeup on the sides of your cheeks, one with pink undertones and one with yellow. Sephora.com has a huge list of makeup and a description of the colors, so the site can tell you which colors have pink or yellow undertones. You’ll see instantly which undertone suites you better, because if you’re a yellow undertone wearing a pink undertone makeup, you’re makeup will look funny.

In MAKEUP FOREVER HD liquid foundation, there is one ‘universal shade’, called ‘Flesh’, that is #118. This color suites most skin tones, but not all. If in doubt, try this color.

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Spa Toscana at Peppermill Casino: Round Two

Posted in Health and Beauty on November 12, 2009 by sbulletforever

So last week I got a call from the lead aesthetician at Spa Toscana, who apparently read my blog and saw how upset I was over my facial. Today I got to go in and get another facial, free of charge. Things definitely went better this time!

I came in a little before 3:00, so I didn’t have to worry about being the first person in the pool area this time. The spa itself is utterly gorgeous and up-to-date with the latest technology, so no complaints there. There’s a co-ed pool in the upstairs part, next to the hair salon, and a hot tub/steam room/sauna in the locker rooms that gives you the freedom of not wearing a bathing suit. Everyone was friendly- no more girls running away from me when I ask them where the changing room is.

My only complaint with the locker rooms was that a spa attendant dumped a bowl of ice on the ground. There are towels they keep in a bowl filled with ice and cold water, and when she went to change the bowl out, she simply poured the water and ice out on the tiled floor. The water drained, but the ice stayed, and it was right in front of the steps of the cold plunge pool. If someone isn’t paying attention, or if they’re climbing out of the cold plunge pool, they could seriously slip and hurt themselves. I don’t think that was a very safe thing to do, considering how people usually stumble out of the steam room/sauna/hot tub and don’t really pay attention to much else besides the need to cool off.

The treatments rooms (on a separate floor than the locker rooms and co-ed pool) are lovely, if I didn’t mention that before. They all have these television sceens in them that scroll through peaceful images, and they look brighter than any HD or LED screen I’ve ever seen. The beds are sound-resonance beds that reverberate with the music. Apparently, one hour on those beds is worth three hours of sleep. I did have an awkward moment when I was in the treatment waiting room, though, because Deana (the one who did my facial the last time) walked in searching for her next client. She didn’t recognize me! She asked if I was Lee-Ann, her next client, which I am not and I thusly told her so.

My only complaint with the treatment level was with the ladies’ bathroom. The door to the handicapped bathroom has a large gap beneath the hinge, and the gap is lined up perfectly with the toilet. If you’re on the toilet and someone else enters the room, they’re going to see you doing your business. I actually had that problem when I went to wash my hands and someone walked in to use the handicapped bathroom, and I had to be careful not to look in the mirror or glance behind me.

Janelle was wonderful- bright, funny, and inquisitive. She asked me questions about the makeup and skincare line I use, if I tan, what concerns I had about my skin, and she told me all about the benefits of Vitamin C for skin (which I’ll save for a later post). Instead of doing another Renaissance Facial she recommended we do the Vino Therapy Facial, which would be better for my young, acne-prone skin. The treatment was great- it smelled delicious, felt refreshing, and brightened up my skin tone. She also gave me little samples of the products she was using since she had some excess.

Definitely a much better experience, and much better facial results. Perhaps I just came in on a bad day? Or maybe my previous aesthetician didn’t know what she was doing. I walked away with minor red spots on my face and glowing skin, and no more lotion and product smeared in my hair! It would be better if they had mineral makeup they could apply to the face, but they don’t. I came prepared this time and brought my own compact of Jane Iredale mineral makeup.

If you get the chance to go (or have the cash to burn), the Vino Therapy Facial is great for youthful skin. The Renaissance Facial was meant for older skin than mine, which was probably why I didn’t get the results I was expecting, but the girl who did my facial didn’t inform me of that. And if you can snag Janelle, don’t hesitate. Avoid Deana, my previous aesthetician, if possible.

Beautiful Brows

Posted in Health and Beauty on November 6, 2009 by sbulletforever

The eyebrow is a battlefield, and we fight to keep our brows even, arched, and perfect. But I declare there shall be no more war! Plucking and waxing shall cease, and our eyebrows shall be our enemies no longer! Learn to love those bushy, obnoxious hairs that (for some strange reason) grow above our eyes.

Tiny eyebrows are a thing of the past. More actresses and models these days have full, thick eyebrows, like Camilla Belle (the face of Vera Wang’s Princess perfume), Kate Winslet, and so many others. Remember Audrey Hepburn, that beautiful star from Breakfast at Tiffany’s? She had full, natural-looking brows and she looked damn fine with them.

Now, I’m not talking caveman unibrows, but brows that are defined and noticeable. This requires SHAPING, which means having more than just a tiny line of eyebrow. Ideally, the beginning of your eyebrow should line up with the sides of your nose, past the corner of your eye. That part should be thick, full, and round. The middle of your brow should have an arch where the thickness tapers off, and the last half of your brow should be a solid line.

A qualified spa specialist can help you shape them, or you can carefully pluck them while using a plastic stencil that shows you the exact shape your brow should be. But AVOID EXCESS PLUCKING AND WAXING like it was the plague. I get my eyebrows waxed twice a year and use tweezers to pluck hairs that grow way outside the shape of my brows. The key is to AVOID PERFECTION. Brows were meant to be a little wild- remember what they were like before you started grooming them? I had a thick, German-style unibrow as a kid because that was how my brows grew naturally. So if you see a couple of hairs out of place, don’t pluck them. Just don’t. Let them grow in. Pluck only in dire emergency, when a couple of hairs are so outrageously out of place that your oblivious boyfriend even notices. BROWS ARE SISTERS, NOT TWINS. If one doesn’t look exactly like the other, don’t try to even it out. It doesn’t matter if it’s symmetrical, just as long as they both look somewhat similar.

Guys don’t notice eyebrows- remember that. A few stray hairs is about as noticeable to them as a speck of dust is on their tennis shoes. So let them grow! And don’t fear, YOUR BROWS WILL GROW BACK if you overplucked or overwaxed. It may take a long while, and the hairs may be thinner, but your body will keep growing those hairs until the day you die. It is true that waxing/shaving/plucking thins out hairs, but it doesn’t stop them from growing. Taking B-vitamins will increase hair and nail growth and strength, as will Vitamin E and Beta-carotene, so pick some up at your local vitamin store. Take the right dosage everyday, give it some time, and you’ll see a huge improvement.

Keeping eyebrows groomed and set makes an enormous difference on the way your face and eyes look. When my brows are too thick and untamed, my eyes look smaller and less noticeable. So have the right products to keep those beautiful eyebrows in shape! Your local Sephora store (also avaible at Sephora.com) will have a whole brand of products dedicated to eyebrows called ‘Anastasia’. This brand carries everything you’ll ever need for eyebrows like plastic stencils of various shapes and sizes, brow serum to help stimulate brow growth, gels and pencils and powders that help fill in eyebrows to make them appear fuller in various shades, waxes to shape, highlighters, brushes, tweezers, and wonderful kits that can save you money. It sound daunting, but it gives you choice and variety.

The ‘All About Brows’ kit is their best seller- it comes with stencils, a pair of tweezers, a powder/highlighter duo, an angled brush for applying powder, a spooley brush for brushing eyebrows, a highlighter pencil, and brow gel for $75. Not bad, not bad. You may not need all of those, though, so I’ll just throw out a list of items all brows need.

1. A spooley brush. It’s the round, pine cone-looking brush that brushes eyebrows out. It may seem a little silly to brush eyebrows like you brush hair, but all hair needs to be brushed. This will help tame those brows and increase growth by stimulation.

2. A wax pencil. This little pencil will keep stray hairs in place and will help you accentuate your arch. The wax is waterproof and will make your brows stay all day. This is the ultimate grooming device! Should be used after brushing with spooley brush, but used before you apply the tinted gel/powder/pencil.

3. Brow powder. I prefer the powder to the pencils and gels because it gives the best coverage and is easy to use. No mess, no fuss. Get an angled brush and gently tap the brush into the darker powder. Less is more, so just trust me when I say to go easy with how much powder you put on the brush. Then just go over your eyebrow with it, lining the top and bottom, filling in the areas where hair is sparse. It’ll give you fuller and more noticeable brows without making them look fake. The powder is very natural-looking, and a LIGHT APPLICATION is enough to fill them in. If you want more dramatic, you can always use more.

4. Stencils (optional). If you don’t already have shaped eyebrows, this is a good idea. Brow waxers usually go overboard, so having the stencil and plucking them yourself is a safe way to get the shape you want.

5. Brow serum (optional). This isn’t a gauranteed way to help brows grow, but some say it helps. With religious application in the morning and evening, you can help sparse brows grow in. With or without this, you should still take B-vitamins.

These little tools will help keep your eyebrows looking clean and full without needing to pluck or wax excessively. Thick is in!

Chocolate Milk and Cereal

Posted in Health and Beauty on November 5, 2009 by sbulletforever

I don’t know about you, but I’m not a big ‘milk’ fan. Plain old milk tastes odd, and in large doses it can make you feel sick. For a long time, I figured I didn’t need to worry about drinking milk because I was done growing. (Milk really does increase physical growth when you’re younger!) However, I’ve discovered two very important reasons to drink milk: preventing bone disease and weight loss. And I can promise that chocolate milk and cereal can do both.

Chocolate milk is delicious, even though it may seem pretty childish. Substitute morning coffee or the soda you might have at dinner for a tall glass of the stuff. Use low-fat/non-fat/skim milk and some Hershey’s syrup, stir it up and sip it down. Drinking one glass of milk a day, or even one every couple of days, will keep your bones healthy. It’ll also cut down on your soda habit, which will help you feel better since sodas make you feel bloated (and are also unhealthy for you).

Cereal is the uncrowned King of Weight Loss. General Mills did a big study on how people who eat cereal are better off nutritionally than those who don’t, so we already know it’s a healthy start. Most cereals have vitamins and minerals in them now, and milk has protein and calcium in it. CHOOSE LOW-FAT MILK, or any other fat-free/skim option. PICK A CEREAL YOU LOVE. I have an addiction to Frosted Flakes, so I’m always ready to have a sweet and crunchy bowl of it.

Don’t be afraid to choose cereal as a meal option, or even as a snack. Pouring a bowl of cereal is just as easy as picking up fast food or opening a bag of chips. No mess, no fuss, no time wasted. It’s a low fat and nutritional option. Instead of heating up a frozen meal, which has lots of sodium and preservatives, have some cereal. Special K stated a guarantee on their boxes that if you eat their cereal twice a day for two weeks (eating one normal, protein-filled meal as well), you’ll lose seven pounds. SEVEN POUNDS IN TWO WEEKS, GUARANTEED.

Avoid cheese and icecream! They may be dairy products like milk, but it’s best to avoid them. Frozen yogurt is a good alternative to icecream, if you really feel a craving. Flavored yogurts are even better if you need some dessert. Most importantly, EAT DAIRY IN MODERATION. I’m not saying you should eat cereal for all meals of the day, but a bowl or two a day is a healthy choice. And chocolate milk will prevent nasty problems with the loss of bone density in your future.