Even for someone immersed in the beauty biz, the deceptiveness of its marketing can sometimes be surprising. A few years ago, I was watching television when a commercial came on starring a well-known singer promoting a hair color product. Her bouncy, ample hair was a gorgeous shade of honey in the commercial, supposedly convincing her – as well as the audience – of the product’s powers. In true L.A. fashion, two days later, I spotted the same singer sitting near me at a restaurant. Until then, I’d been a fan. I enjoyed her music, and I’d considered her authentic and honest. At that moment, though, I had to hold myself back from shouting at her, “You liar!” The reason was her hair was around half the size it was in the commercial. It was obvious she’d sported fake hair in the ad, either stupendous extensions or a fabulous wig. I felt completely duped. I was mad at her – a woman I’d previously admired for being candid and relatable was comfortable deceiving the public for a big paycheck – and the beauty brand that counterfeited her curls to boost hair color sales.
No longer naïve about sham spokespeople and cunning companies, I tend to distrust celebrity beauty endorsements. In our celebrity-fueled culture, that means I distrust quite a lot. No matter A-list or Z-list, it seems every person with an ounce of fame has a color cosmetic, hair color or skin care line to crow about. Separating shysters from sincere celebrities is difficult. With a heavy dose of skepticism, I pored through lines of both shyster and sincere varieties, and identified four in the sincere category. I’m not saying these celebrity-spearheaded brands will make you have the hair or skin of a celebrity, but at least you won’t be succumbing to the worst sorts of celebrity spokespeople when using them.
Now that we’ve kicked off June, it’s all sun and sand from here. It may not technically be summer for another 17 days but as far as I’m concerned it’s already here. Regardless of where you’re headed to soak up the sun, you can’t show up empty handed. Finding the perfect suit is always important, but a properly packed beach bag is key to making the most of your well-deserved time in the sun. Here are some of my personal necessities:
Amid the media’s obsession with Millennials and Baby Boomers, the X in Generation X sometimes feels as if it stands for crossed out. Maybe that’s no surprise since the term Generation X was coined by photographer Robert Capa, who described men and women growing up after World War II as the “unknown generation.” Pre-Facebook and post-Vietnam, what Generation X might be most known for is an enduring love for John Hughes’ movies, experiencing Winona Ryder’s heyday, reveling in Madonna before the beefed-up arms and a moonwalking Michael Jackson before the molestation accusations, and living through the Anita Hill and Monica Lewinsky controversies, and the First Iraq War, the one that ended in victory within months. Even if the Eighties and Nineties, our coming-of-age decades, are largely remembered for bad fashion, hair, television and music (a complete fiction, by the way), Generation X shouldn’t be ignored. We are not, as Pew Research Center has dubbed Generation X, merely “America’s neglected middle child.” Thirty-five to 50-year-old X’ers are raising kids, ascending corporations, spending money and running states like Wyoming, New Jersey and Wisconsin. Thankfully, a few emerging makeup brands understand the power of X. Here is a look at four of them responding to the needs of the women of Winona’s era:
It’s beauty happy hour, and I’m whipping up a makeup cocktail. My tonic of choice is Cover FX’s Custom Cover Drops. The Drops can be blended with moisturizers, oils, serums, foundations and more to transform the coverage brew into just the right shade for you. The first step in the recipe is pinning down that shade. The Drops are available in a whopping 24 shades. Cover FX has a handy five-question shade finder on its website to help weed through the shade thicket to determine the best option. The only question that stumped me asked whether my skin’s undertone is pink, neutral or golden. I guessed pink, and I think that is accurate because the shade I was recommended – P20 – fits my white as Casper pallor. The shade works across Cover FX’s repertoire of foundations, concealers, powders and primers.
Now that you’re able to enjoy the sunlight of spring after sitting fireside all winter while the polar vortex made its grand appearance, you’ve probably noticed your foundation isn’t such a great match anymore. With summer and even more time frolicking in the sun right around the corner, it’s officially time for a foundation update. The budget conscious will be happy to hear that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go out and buy a new bottle of foundation to match your sun kissed glow. Makeup pro Bobbi Brown shares how to make your current routine work with your tan by adding some simple tweaks. Her advice is especially helpful to those of us that love a good self-tan, as we’re all too familiar with how quickly it can fade. Buying a new foundation every time that coat of St. Tropez (my personal favorite) starts to leave you just isn’t realistic. Byride has their own suggestion on how to avoid purchasing a stockpile of foundations: gel bronzer. So take some of these simple tips and keep soaking up the sunshine and self-tanners.
In the last two years, blur has become every beauty junkie’s favorite buzzword. Billed as an Instagram filter for the face, blur products promise to diminish pores, smooth wrinkles and lines, even tone and prep skin for long-lasting makeup. La Roche-Posay’s vice president of medical and media relations Tyler Steele gushes, “Blur means instant correction for a visibly flawless complexion in seconds. It’s like a photo filter, but better because it’s a true representation of your skin.” Rather than Instagram, the television, a veritable dinosaur of the information age, kicked off the blur craze. Readying for a TV appearance, Dia Foley, a vice president at Canadian beauty firm Indeed Laboratories, sought a product to give her face a soft finish – and Nanoblur, a pioneering blurring product, was the result. The blur segment quickly grew jammed. Along with Nanoblur, among the early standouts on the blur scene were L’Oreal Paris’ Revitalift Miracle Blur, Lancôme’s Visionnaire [1 Minute Blur], Garnier Skin Renew 5 Second Blur Instant Smoother and Kiehl’s’ Micro-Blur Skin Perfector. Well, social media progresses rapidly – today, Snapchat and Periscope are competing with Instagram for social media mavens’ time – and so does the blur category. A new crop of blurring blockbusters is taking the blur movement to the next level. Beef up your blur bonafides by checking out these products:
For most of us beauty hoarders out there, our makeup drawer could easily be compared to a black hole – many items will enter but few will make it out. In our defense, it’s hard to let go of that beloved bronzer or perfect pink lip shade. But like they say, all good things must come to an end. Since companies aren’t required to put an expiration date on cosmetic products, it can be a challenge to know when it is time to let go. You’ve probably noticed some products will have a jar symbol with a number next to it that tells you how many months you have until it should no longer be used. The problem there is you have to know when you actually purchased the item, which is an issue if you have that black hole style makeup drawer I mentioned.
I like to think I’m pretty up to date on the latest and greatest beauty products out there, but when it comes to makeup brushes I’m admittedly a few steps behind. I’m all about the instant gratification you get from finding a new foundation or lip color that suits you perfectly, which is certainly not something to take for granted. Makeup brushes just don’t do it for me though. I’m working to change my lack of brush enthusiasm after continually hearing how crucial they are to your makeup routine. It seems like beauty websites have been inundated with articles questioning makeup artists on the importance of a good brush and when to use which kind lately. So I figured it’s finally time to ditch my careless brush ways and revamp my collection. Not only is there a type of brush (flat, round, fan, etc) for whatever product you’re applying, there’s a million versions of each type. ELLE helps declutter the saturated market with their list of the 12 best makeup brushes for tackling every beauty need. Byrdie does some further investigating and finds the best brushes for your budget, and their inside expert knowledge is pretty crazy – who knew there was so much behind a makeup brush?
You know those Instagram accounts that have perfectly filtered pictures of the sunrise and an inspirational quote about seizing the day? I’m always really jealous of those because a picture like that will likely never grace my feed. I’ve been trying to cross over to the land of bright eyed and bushy tailed morning people for years now, and I just don’t think it’s in the cards for me. I’m blaming it on genetics because there’s really nothing I can do to change my love for a late night over an early morning. While I may never be a full blown morning person, I’ve picked up some pretty good tips over the years to make it look like I’m running on nothing less than the doctor recommended 8 hours of sleep. Advice on how to look your best after a long night is nothing new, and I’m not claiming to reinvent the wheel here but I do consider myself a bit of an expert in the field.
If you’re into beauty products at all I’m sure you’ve seen tons of lists naming the makeup artist staples, cult favorites, and Holy Grail must haves. With so many buzzed about products out there it’s hard to tell what’s really worth splurging for and what’s a drugstore bargain that actually measures up. Regardless of how amazing some products are, it can be hard to justify spending half your paycheck on makeup when things like rent and eating are also sort of important. While there are some products that are truly worth a splurge and being stuck eating Ramen for a week, I’ve found plenty of drugstore swaps that work just as well, or better, than their high-end doppelgangers.