Friday, December 31, 2010

My New Year's beauty resolution. Do you have one?

Can you believe that in just hours we'll be bidding adieu to 2010 and ringing in the New Year? I'll be celebrating the event with my boyfriend and some friends at an ultra-trendy restaurant here in NYC. I'm looking forward to some mouth watering food and a champagne toast at midnight! I'll be wearing an adorable new dress from Free People along with with a cool sparkly blazer and black shiny patent leather heels. I plan to pair my outfit with rich purple nails, a smoky eye and long, loose curls.

The impending New Year has got me thinking about resolutions. This year, my beauty resolution is to hit the spa more often. Believe it or not, I've actually never had a professional facial but I hear they work wonders for your skin and overall well-being. So, in accordance with my new resolution, I may just get a spa facial this weekend.
What about you-- what are your resolutions? Do you plan to experiment with new makeup colors in 2011? Get more sleep? Blog more?

Happy New Year, dear Prettied Up readers! I'll talk to you in 2011!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Nail of the day - OPI The Color to Watch

Hey, beauties! I hope everyone is having a great holiday season and got lots of presents! I got a ton of beauty loot that I'll be blogging about over the next couple weeks. 

This gorgeous iridescent dark lavender nail polish called "The Color to Watch" was gifted to me by my brother's incredibly stylish girlfriend Erin. It comes from OPI's Fall 2010 Swiss collection along with another polish that was recently featured here on Prettied Up called "Lucerne-Tainly Look Marvelous." Check it out (please don't mind my short nails and shoddy painting job).

Although I usually associate lavender tones with summer and springtime, this color comes out kind of dark with three or four coats so it's perfect for any season. Every time I look down at my nails this pretty purple just makes me happy! 

Do you love this color as much as I do?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Five festive New Year's Eve makeup looks

Whether you're going to a casual house party or out to a fancy restaurant, here are five great makeup looks that will help you ring in the New Year gorgeously!

What are you doing for New Year's Eve? Will you try out any of these makeup looks? Which one is your favorite? I am going to try the Boho Chic look!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My major beauty gripe of the moment

Lately I have been trying to break a bad beauty habit I've had for a while: Tugging on my eyelid when applying eyeliner.

Everyone knows that it is much easier to apply eyeliner when tugging on the corner of the eye to make the skin taught. I have seen people doing this in many YouTube makeup tutorial videos, so I know the practice is widespread. Many popular beauty magazines and websites even advise this practice.

I am somewhat of a perfectionist when it comes to eyeliner and tugging on the corner of my eye helped me get the nice, straight line I desire.

However, I have recently been thinking a lot about the damage I have caused my eyes by tugging on them every day. Regularly pulling on the delicate skin around the eyes cases wrinkles.

So, I have been forcing myself to break this bad beauty habit -- but it has not been easy. It can be frustrating to train yourself to do something a different way. At times, my eyeliner has not looked as perfect as I would have liked, but I am getting better each day and I know I'll be happy with my decision to stop pulling on my eyelid in the long run.

I find that the easiest way to apply my eyeliner without pulling my eyelid is to first use an eyeliner pencil, then use (wet) eyeshadow to go over the line and smooth it out. I used this method to get a smoky eyeliner look seen below.
To get this eyeliner look, use a creamy black liner, such as Lorac's eyeliner pencil to carefully line the upper eyelid. Don't worry if it's not perfect because you will be going over the line with eyeshadow. Next, wet an eyeliner brush, such as the Smashbox double-eneded smudger brush with water and dip it into a wet/dry eyeshadow such as MAC's eyeshadow in "Carbon" (an intense matte black color). Use the wet eyeshadow to go over the line you made with the eyeliner pencil, smoothing out any imperfections. 

Repeat the steps above to line the lower lashline. The shadow will add a smoky look and help prevent the eyeliner from running. In the photo above, I have gone over the eyeliner along my lower eyelid with the steel gray eyeshadow from Dior's Ready to Glow Palette that I also used all over my top eyelid.  

Meanwhile, here are some extra tips for breaking this bad beauty habit:
  • Experiment with different types of eyeliner (pencil, liquid and gel) to find the easiest one for you.
  • When using an eyeliner pencil, ensure it is a creamy blend. I've heard Urban Decay's 24/7 glide on eye pencil is good. 
  • Rest your elbow on a hard surface such as a table when applying the liner.
  • Use short strokes and connect the lines. 
  • Most importantly: Keep at it, and be patient. You will improve over time! 
If you absolutely must pull on your eyelid, try using your ring finger as opposed to your pointer, as some say this causes less damage to the skin. Others advocate using a q-tip to pull the skin, which can also help minimize damage. 

Do you pull the corner of your eye when applying liner? Do you have any tips for breaking this habit? If so, please share! 

Saturday, December 18, 2010

First Impressions of Lush "Ocean Salt" face and body scrub

"We believe in long candlelit baths, sharing showers, massage, filling the world with perfume and in the right to make mistakes, lose everything and start again." - Lush 

If you've never heard of Lush it's a Canadian cosmetic company that sells products made by hand from fresh, organic fruits and vegetables, essential oils and safe synthetics. The company uses only vegetarian ingredients and does not test on animals. 

I've heard about this brand from other beauty bloggers, and frequently passed the Lush store on East 14th Street in Manhattan but never went in until today. The company sells a variety of bath, shower, skincare, perfume and hair products but I picked up the 4.2 oz. "Ocean Salt" face and body scrub - $19.95. 

In general, facial scrubs help slough off dull, dead skin cells, making the face feel smoother and look brighter. However, when using this or any facial scrub, do so in moderation. It is important not to over-exfoliate, which could irritate your skin and cause rashes.
Made of lime, sea salt and vodka, this scrub is like a vacation in a jar. The smell transports me to a tropical beach where I'm sitting under a cabana with a margarita in hand!
The gritty sea salt is used to buff away dead skin cells while the antibacterial properties in the lime and vodka are supposed to help clear blocked pores, blackheads and blemishes. The scrub also contains avocado and coconut to moisturize the skin.
Doesn't it just look yummy? This is actually one of my favorite colors ever. But besides being pretty and smelling good, this scrub made my skin feel so soft! 

One negative aspect I encountered is that when scrubbing my face with this product it started to burn slightly where I have a dry patch. Fortunately, the burning stopped immediately after I rinsed the product off my face. When I dried off my face my skin felt incredibly smooth and clean. I was actually very pleasantly surprised. 

After using this scrub just once I really like it. I am not worried about the burning as it did not persist after rinsing off the product. I plan to use this scrub once a week and will report back if I have any other observations after I have thoroughly tested it. 

Do you use facial scrubs? If so, which ones do you like? Have you tried Lush before? Click here to shop their site. 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Un-boring black winter coats for under $200

Prettied Up reader Stephanie recently contacted me on Facebook because she needs help finding a cute winter coat. Here's what she wrote:

"I want to ask for a winter coat for Christmas. I want a warm black winter coat that's cute and not too bulky. Where is a goo
d store to look for one at?"

Ideally, the coat should be less than $200, she said. 

Well, Stephanie, you're in luck because lots of retailers have coats on sale right now! I've scoured the internet and found tons of cute and affordable options. These coats prove that basic black does not have to be boring! Take a look:
Kenneth Cole New York black wool blend asymmetrical zip front belted coat - $141.60
If you love this coat, order it soon because it's extremely limited! If not, here are some other great options:
1. Urban Outfitters Joyce coat - $79
2. Zara seamed jacket with belt - $129
3. J Crew Stadium-cloth Sasha peacoat - $169.99
4. Calvin Klein black fleeced wool blend oversized collar coat - $159.20

If none of those coats strike your fancy, I suggest searching Shopstyle, where you can find a ton more!

What do you all think of my selections? 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Emma Watson tops the list of 2010's most Googled haircuts

After analyzing the billions of search queries from 2010, internet search giant Google has released its list of the top trends of 2010. One of the categories Google tracked was the most searched haircuts of the year. With her sophisticated and adorable new crop cut, Harry Potter starlet Emma Watson had the second most Googled haircut of the year. Who beat Watson out for the No. 1 spot? You'll never guess... 
... Lil Wayne! How odd, right? I can't say that I've ever been interested in the Cash Money Records rapper's hair, but apparently his long dreads are his trademark, and earlier this year there was a huge controversy over whether he would have to cut them off when he went to jail. 

Anyway, back to the gorgeous Watson. Since reaching mega-stardom for her role as Hermione in the Harry Potter movies, she has mostly rocked light brown, wavy hair that reached a little past her shoulders. This summer, after after finishing up filming the last two Harry Potter films, Watson decided to chop it all off and debuted her new blonde pixie 'do. 

Interestingly, those in Rhode Island, Utah and New Hampshire were the most interested in her new haircut, according to Google's statistics.

With her delicate features, Watson really pulls off the short haircut well. I love that it makes her stand out amongst the sea of long-haired beauties in Hollywood. 

What do you think of her short hair? 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Nail of the day - Essie Leave it to Diva

Today's nail of the day is Essie's Leave it to Diva, a gorgeous dark red color that is absolutely perfect for the holidays. With a chill in the air, winter is the perfect time to experiment with darker, moodier colors. I love how this one is festive enough for holiday parties while at the same time toned-down enough to wear to the office.

Meanwhile, whenever I go to the nail salon I feel so much pressure to pick out my color quickly. Does that happen to anyone else? This Saturday I went for a mani/pedi with my mom and she quickly swapped up OPI's Lincoln Park After Dark. I, like usual, hemmed and hawed over which color to choose. I ended up picking this pretty color because, really -- you just can't go wrong with a great red. It's just a no-brainer!  

Friday, December 10, 2010

Getting to know... Meli of Style by Meli

Today's featured beauty blogger is Meli, a talented makeup artists who I actually know from high school. Her blog is called Style by Meli, and it's packed with tons of advice about makeup and style. I find her blog so informative and fun to read - she's always reviewing products and giving me new ideas! I highly recommend checking it out! 

I caught up with Meli recently to ask her a few questions about, what else -- makeup! Keep reading for our full interview.

How many lipsticks do you own? H
onestly, I have never counted. If I had to estimate, about 100! Sounds crazy but I'm a total lip junkie!
And she has a ton of glosses too. Check out her amazing lipgloss bar!
Here she is! 
Current favorite type of mascara: I'm actually one of the few people you'll ever meet that is not a huge mascara person. However, when I wear mascara, I always prep the lashes with MAC's Prep + Prime lash for extra volume and length. There is a dramatic difference and it's totally worth the extra step!

Most essential makeup product and why: BLUSH! I cannot live without it and my heart seriously drops when someone tells me they never wear it. Besides giving life to the face, it just makes the face look soft and pretty!

No. 1 beauty item on you’re currently lusting after: Josie Maran Argan Oil. I have been dying to try this! I'm obsessed with face oils and believe they are the secret to beautiful, ageless skin.

Biggest regret purchase: Anything with sodium laureth sulfate. I had read that it is harmful to the skin, hair, and body and try to avoid it at all costs. I ended up having to throw out a handful of products that contained it, even brands that are classified as "all natural."

First makeup memory: I started to dabble with makeup on an everyday basis around age 14. My everyday look at that time was a black shimmery shadow on the whole lid. I remember thinking, "Wow, this makes me look so pretty!" I obviously had no idea what I was doing and going through a very experimental stage of my life.

Thanks so much to Meli for participating! I have never tried a face oil but now I feel like It's a must! Also, thanks for letting us know about the danger of sodium laureth sulfate.

Have you tried any of the products Meli mentioned? Do you also avoid sodium laureth sulfate?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A word to the wise....

Don't be like me a wrap the electrical cord around your flat iron while it's still hot. Or, you could end up with this problem...
And your flat iron will be...
Just a quick safety reminder for you all! Seems pretty obvious but it's an easy mistake, especially if you're rushing in the morning.

My boyfriend says it can be fixed with electrical tape but warned me not to use it until I put the tape on. Or else I could shock myself, which would definitely not be good. Maybe it's just time for a new flat iron...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Organized chaos

This is what my desk ends up looking like every morning after I apply my makeup.

I use the red bag on the left for all my face makeup -- my foundation, concealer, powder, brushes, tweezers and more. The bag on the right houses all my eye makeup. As you can see, I am definitely in need of one big makeup case.

How do you store your makeup?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My top hair products for 2010

1. Matrix Essentials Sleek Look smoothing shampoo - $15.99
2. Matrix Essentials Sleek Look conditioner - $15.99
3. L'Oreal Kerastase Nectar Thermique - $28
4. Shu Uemura Sheer Lacquer micro fine finishing spray - $33

These are the four hair products I am currently using and my top hair picks for 2010. Let me tell you a little more about each one, starting with my all-time favorite shampoo and conditioner.
I switch up my shampoo often to avoid build-up, but this one always seems to find its way back into my shower. I love these products because they are exceptionally moisturizing. The shampoo lathers very well while cleansing the hair and removing build-up without stripping moisture away. The conditioner is very thick, nourishing and perfect for normal to very dry hair. In my opinion, a high-quality shampoo and conditioner is one of the most important elements to getting shiny, healthy hair.
Because I put my hair through a lot of stress with daily curling, a good heat protectant is absolutely essential. I just started using this product this year, but I already have fallen in love with it. It is applied while the hair is damp and protects hair from the damaging heat of blow dryers and other styling tools. Though the package says it is good for dry to very dry hair, I have normal hair and do not find it to be too greasy. When I first started using this product I quickly noticed a huge improvement in the condition of my hair. At nearly $30, it is certainly not cheap, but you only need to use a dime-sized amount each time, so it lasts forever.
Though it is not cheap and only sold in select salons, this hairspray is worth every penny and bit of trouble to find. In my opinion, every girl (and guy, for that matter) needs a great hairspray. Some people forego hairspray because many weigh down the hair and lead to "helmet head." This hairspray is nothing like that! It has this amazing ability to hold the hair in place while still leaving it flexible. And, the smell is unbelievably good!

Do you use any of these products? What are your top hair products for 2010?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Getting to know... Shaylee of Cosmetically Curious

It wasn't until I started blogging about three months ago that I discovered that this whole world of beauty bloggers that I never knew existed. I am so happy to have found this massive online community of people like myself -- who love to talk about beauty products, share tips and learn from each other!

In this brand new regular feature here on Prettied Up, I'll be introducing you to some of the fabulous beauty bloggers I have come to know. First up, we'll be getting to know Shaylee of Cosmetically CuriousI caught up with Shaylee the other day to ask her some questions. Keep reading for our interview. 
How many lipsticks do you own? Not too many. I'm more of a balm/gloss girl. If you want a number -- five, and I don't use any of them!

Current favorite type of mascara: I have two:
Revlon Grow Luscious and Ojon Restorative Lash Treatment & Mascara Duo.

Most essential makeup product and why: Concealer, concealer, concealer! If I have nothing else but concealer I'm happy! (You don't want to know how many of those I own!)

No. 1 beauty item on you’re currently lusting after: I can only choose one?! In that case, anything from
100% Pure's line! Preferably a kit of some sort. I'm really into natural products right now.

Biggest regret purchase: I do a lot of research before I purchase things so I (hopefully) rarely fully regret things. That being said, I hated my
Tarte 4-Day Lash Stain, wow terrible! My lashes felt like sticks. They wouldn't bend, move and you cannot get it off no matter how hard you try.

First makeup memory: This is funny! My first makeup memory is this silver lip gloss I had and absolutely loved! I just saw a picture of me with it on and oh my god, terrible! I remember everything about that gloss - the taste, the smell, the color! Ack!

Thanks so much to Shaylee for participating! I'll make sure to steer clear of that Tarte 4-Day Lash Stain. Have you tried any of the products she mentioned?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Eyeshadow as face highlighter? It works!

Highlighter is one of those beauty products that, for some, may be thought of as optional. But us hard-core beauty junkies know that highlighter is essential for adding luminosity to the face.

You know how some people just have glowing look to their skin? Well, highlighter can help you achieve that look.

There are tons of different highlighters available in cream, powder and mousse formulas but today I want to talk about the most unlikely highlighter of them all: eyeshadow.

First, a little background. I was using Yves Sain Laurent's Touche Eclat luminizing pen until about a week ago when it ran out. The Touche Eclat product is great, but I really didn't feel like dropping $40 on another one.

Then one day as I was applying Lorac's Enlighten eyeshadow (left) - a shimmery pearl color -- along my brow bone I had a revelation: this eyeshadow can be used as a multi-purpose face highlighter! I cautiously dabbed my blush brush into the shadow and applied it to the top of my cheekbones and down the middle of my nose. The results were instantaneous: A glowing fresh-faced look!

You probably already have an eyeshadow in your collection that can be used as highlighter. Any shimmering white or off-white color can potentially be used.

If you're not sure where to apply highlighter, check out my handy diagram below.
Have you ever tried using eyeshadow as a face highlighter?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The outcome of my no-purchase November

You may recall that last month I made a pact with myself to not buy any beauty products, clothes or shoes for the entire month of November.

Well, I am happy to report that my goal of saving money was a huge success! It was difficult, but I exercised some serious self-restraint. I didn't even walk down Fifth Avenue, step foot into Sephora or make any impulse purchases at the drug store.

And, want to know the best part?

Based on my bank account, I am pretty sure I saved at least $300! The extra money will surely come in handy when buying Christmas presents!

The only beauty products I bought all month were things I absolutely needed -- makeup removing towelettes (for travel), a bottle of shampoo and body lotion. That's it!

I have run out of a few products, including my Make Up For Ever HD Invisible Cover concealer and Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat highlighter, so a trip to Sephora is definitely in order.

Have you been splurging on beauty products lately or being thrifty like me?
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