Video: The neutral blush of dreams

Hi friends!

I’m back with a short video today about my current favorite blush combo. I hope you like it! Full disclosure, I originally filmed this for my Instagram story last week and I didn’t feel like getting my face out that day 😆. Hope you don’t mind that, but I still thought some of you may find this useful. I’ve included a photo of myself below the video so that you may see what the finished effect looks like on my skin, so make sure you scroll down to see that.

 

 

P. S. I can confirm that the full product name on the e.l.f. compact is the Hydrating Aqua Beauty Blush & Bronzer. It’s only $6.00 on their website, so it’s a total steal in my opinion. I spoke about it briefly in a much earlier post on cream blushes. And if you’re interested in the Glossier Cloud Paint, here’s a link to more info. The hype is definitely justified with this product!

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Here is what the combination of the e.l.f. & Glossier products looks like on my skin. Love it!

 

Do you have a favorite blush or blush combo? I’d love to know!

xo, Erica

Summer trend how-to: blue eyeshadow

Every summer heralds bright, bold colors into makeup from everything to lipsticks, to blushes and eyeshadows. Bright corals & pinks, and deep bronzes & oranges typically dominate the color schemes of spring and summer. This season one of the trendiest colors that seems to be popping up everywhere is bold blue eyeshadow. Every other big palette launch this season has some variation of blue, from deep shimmery tones to brighter royal blues to indigos. Good examples of this are the KKW Beauty x Mario Palette from earlier spring, the new Urban Decay Beached Palette, and Fenty Beauty’s Moroccan Spice Palette. So if you’re going to play with color, summer is a very inspiring time to do so. You’re spoiled for choice.

But how do those that are “color-adverse” experiment and play with such bold, bright colors? Is there a way to make blues more wearable? Blue can be notoriously hard to work with, both texturally and optically. For example darker navy shadows, particularly matte ones, can be difficult to blend across the eye without catching. Lighter blues or baby blues can sometimes look dated or retro on the eye, especially if you blend them all the way up to the brow (I don’t mean retro in a good way here).

But like any other makeup trend, it’s not what you apply that makes the difference so much as how you apply it.

So here is my practical guide to making the blue eyeshadow trend your own this season.

 


First, let’s start with a few easy application tips.

Application tip #1: Soften your edges

When applying blue eyeshadow, remember to keep blending as much as possible! As I mentioned earlier, blue can be difficult to pull off so you want to make sure you’re softening and blending the edges of your shadow to create a more wearable apperance. If you find your shadows are getting patchy, try blending a matte flesh-toned shadow over your eye primer first; it will take away the slight tackiness of the primer that some shadows can cling to. This happens particularly with mattes.

(If you need more help learning the basics of eyeshadow application, please refer back to my how-to post here first, which is perfect for beginners.)

Application tip #2: Don’t blend too high

I won’t stay here long since I mentioned this earlier, but blending blue too high up towards the brow can look dated and weird depending on the tone you’re using. Just avoid it.

Application tip #3: Concealer

After applying your blue shadow, make sure to apply a good correcting concealer under your eyes. This will help cancel out the blue/purple undertones that occur naturally around our eyes. If you skip concealer, all those blue tones between the shadow and the undereyes could make you appear a bit ill.

 


Now let’s move onto ways to wear the blue shadow. There are 3 main tactics that I use to make blue eyeshadow more wearable on myself, which I hope you’ll find helpful.

Tactic 1: Strategic placement

This is all about where on the eye you choose to place the bright color. The easiest and most fun thing to do is smudge it underneath your lower lash line. You can do this with either an eyeliner or a powder shadow, or layer both. Paired with a more basic or neutral color on your eyelid, the contrast between the upper and lower lid space will really stand out. If you don’t like the idea of putting such a bright color under your eye, you can certainly line your top lash line instead. It’ll still add a lovely point of interest without letting the bright color take over your look.

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Look #1 Lower Lash Line – I applied the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Pencil in Chaos with a limited edition Chanel shadow layered on top. Contrasted with the sepia color on the eyelid, it’s like color theory in action.

Tactic 2: Neutral color pairings

This is about grounding the look with more wearable colors so that the brights stay in a more supporting role and don’t overtake your look. Neutrals like brown, gray and of course black work perfectly alongside most bright colors. In the look pictured below, I used a slightly darker blue than in the first look and paired it with a bronzey brown. This look is slightly more editorial in nature since I placed the blue towards the front of the eye, but paired with the neutral brown it becomes a lot softer. I wouldn’t recommend this look though if your eyes are naturally close together, as it will make them appear even closer. In that case, you could switch the placement of the brown and blue, so that the brown is towards the inner corner and the blue is on the outer third of your eye.

This look is a recreation of an old Pixiwoo video that you can watch here.

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Look #2 Neutral Color Pairing – I applied a mixture of Earl Grey from the Too Faced Chocolate Bon Bons Palette with a limited edition navy-teal shade from Chanel to the inner corner of my eye. I paired it with a very wearable bronzey brown.
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Road Movie Quad from Chanel’s Fall 2017 Collection (discontinued), containing the teal blue shadow used in Look #1 (lower left side) and the darker navy-teal shadow used in Look #2 (lower right side). The bronze on the upper left side was also used in Look #2.

Tactic 3: Use more flattering tones 

Perhaps you’re not into these bright summer-trend colors at all, but you’re tired of just using the same tones look after look. The more the color is mixed with a neutral, the more wearable it will be. So think about using navy blues or gray-blues instead of bright royal blues, for example. You’ll still get the effect of the color but not all the attention or drama, so to speak. That’s what I did in the look pictured below. I used a gray with a pronounced blue undertone in the crease of my eye. The blueish color just peeks out above the crease, so the overall effect of the makeup is quite soft and very wearable.

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Look #3 Flattering Tones – I applied Dagger, a dark gray-blue from the Urban Decay Smoky Palette, in the crease of my eye and just above it for a soft peek of color. I smudged a matte gray underneath the eye for an overall more neutral look.
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Some examples of gray-blues from the Urban Decay Smoky Palette. Dagger is second from the top.

 


If you’re looking for some color inspiration, here are some swatches of both bright blues that can pep up your look, or more wearable blues to dress-down your look.

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Bright royal & teal blues. Top: Urban Decay Chaos Liner; Bottom: teal shade from Chanel Road Movie Quad.
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Darker, more wearable blues. Top: Dagger from Urban Decay Smoky Palette; Middle: Contrast from MAC; Bottom: navy-teal shade from Chanel Road Movie Quad.

A lot of bright blues come in palettes since pairing them with other shades is often necessary to complete a look. However, if you do not want to buy a whole palette just to get a blue you can easily go to MAC, ColourPop or Makeup Geek to buy a single shadow or create your own palette. I bought Contrast as a single and then put it in my MAC neutral palette. You can of course opt for a blue eyeliner if you’d rather not use a shadow. Your choice of products will all depend ultimately on what kind of look you want to achieve.

What do you think of bright blue eyeshadow? Would you wear it? Do you have any tips or particular looks you like to do with blue shadow? I’d love to know!

xo, Erica

 

3 ways to make your lipstick last longer

And we’ve come to the end of my Makeup Beginners series! I hope you guys enjoyed it and learned some helpful tips and tricks that you can now use when either shopping for or applying makeup. We end now with lipstick, a product that I admittedly fall in and out of love with at times. Currently, I’m very deep in love which is why I’m so excited to write on the subject today.

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Eyeliner for beginners (or busy people or lazy people or anyone who’s over winged liner)

Since my last few posts have been longer and a bit more technical, I’m going to try my best to make this one short and snappy. Wish me luck.

Let’s talk about eyeliner today. Now I am definitely, definitely, definitely not polished or advanced with eyelining. I’ve tried my hand several times at winged liner, but I always found it so difficult to achieve a nice, crisp wing on my hooded eyes. The few times I kinda was able to do it, I didn’t particularly care for the drama it brought to my face. Perhaps it’s because I’m not into overly precise makeup in general, but I’m really not too fussed about winged liner anymore.

But I’ve always loved the effect that eyeliner gives you, so I utilize a certain method that completely works with my limited skill set. I call it “lazy” eyeliner (and I mean that in the best possible way), but it’s also great for those starting out with makeup or for those who are busy rushing out the door in the morning to work or school.

What I Do

The whole idea with my “lazy method” is that the liner doesn’t have to be applied evenly or perfectly at all. Why? Because you’re going to blend it into whatever you have on underneath, whether it be another eye shadow or a primer. The effect that this method gives you is depth and definition along the lash line, but with a subtle smokiness due to the blending. I think this is a particularly flattering way to wear eyeliner for most people. The blending is the key here, because it hides any mistakes you may have made during application.

Think about it. Applying eye liner is trying to draw a straight line on a surface that’s not straight. That’s challenging. Let’s take all the short-cuts we can!

So here is what I do. Just two simple steps.

Step 1 – I gently (I mean gently) pull the outer corner of my eye taut to smooth out the skin, and apply the eye liner in very small strokes right as close to my lash line as possible. I usually start in the middle of my eye and work towards the end of my eye, but you can work any way you want of course.

Step 2 – After the eyeliner has been laid down, I then take a little detailer brush or pencil brush and blend it over the liner to make it appear a little less like a line and a little more smudgey and smokey. Voila!

This method gives me the effect that I want from eyeliner (i.e. a darker lash line) but takes away all the difficulty and frustration that can accompany application.

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I used a dark powder eye shadow here to achieve this hazy liner effect. I don’t bother to wet the brush but you certainly could to get a more dramatic effect.
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A more close up view

If you’d like to see more photos of this method, go over to my previous post about eye shadow application here and scroll down to the three eye shadow looks.

What I Like to Use

I’m completely partial to either eyeliner pencils (retractable ones are the most ideal) or using a dark powder shadow on a small detailer brush and pushing it into the lash line. I lack the steady hand and skill associated with liquid liners, and my brief flirtation with gels ended years ago. For the most part these days I use powders.

But if I’m using a pencil, I prefer a formula that goes on creamy, gives me a little playtime and then sets in place for the day. My top favorites are pictured in the banner image to this post. I’ll quickly touch on each now, from left to right in the photo.

  • Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Pencils have been a staple in my collection for years. I have several colors and I can’t imagine not having them. The color pictured above is Torch.
  • Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Pencil in Taupe has also been in my collection forever. This is slightly waxy formula that goes on smoothly but then sets.
  • Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Eyeliner Trio in Warm Nude Eyes. This set comes with a black, a chocolate brown (pictured above) and a copper liner. I absolutely love them all. They’re retractable (yes!) so extremely easy to use, and the formula is awesome.
  • MUA Professional Intense Color Gel Eye Liner in Emerald is so beautiful! Awesome color payoff, blends like a dream and doesn’t move (at least not on me). What else could you want?
  • Pixi Beauty Lid & Line in Smokey Mink has an entire lining/smudging system built into one product. One end has a waxy pencil to line, the other end has a little sponge to blend with, and then you unscrew the middle of the component to reveal a powder eye shadow for even more smokey effect. So cool!

What are your favorite eyeliners? Do you have any tips or tricks for application? I’d love to know!

xo, Erica

 

How to apply eye shadow, plus 3 beginner-friendly looks

And we’re back to the Makeup Beginner’s series! Let’s talk about one of my favorite subjects in makeup, eyeshadow. As I’ve said in earlier posts, I wear some kind of shadow on my eyes every day whether it be a cream or powder texture. Most days though it’s a light to moderate wash of one color or perhaps two. I’m usually not wearing ‘big shadow’ looks unless going out at night or to an event (and even then my looks are never that dramatic). But I have a few easy, go-to looks that can be either dialed down for daytime or dialed up for nighttime depending on the colors you use or the amount of shadow(s) you apply. This post will focus specifically on tools and application tips that you can utilize to also achieve some beginner-friendly looks that only require a small amount of skill.

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Which colors best suit you: Understanding color theory in makeup

Now that we’ve completed our discussions on some often-asked foundation questions, let’s move onto another challenging area for some: color, specifically in the form of eyeshadow (and a little bit blush and lipstick). There is what seems like an infinite amount of eyeshadows, eyeshadow palettes, and lipstick colors available to us to purchase. It can be so completely overwhelming for those who are new to makeup or just starting out to know what colors best suit their hair, complexion or eye color. It’s a question some of my closest girlfriends ask quite frequently. This is where color theory can provide an effective framework for reference.

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Introducing the Makeup Beginner’s Series!

A quick announcement today to tell you that the next several posts on my blog will be part of what I’m calling my “Makeup Beginners Series.” The posts will have a more educational angle for those of us who struggle with understanding makeup or certain aspects of makeup application. For example, finding the right foundation for your skin tone or how to get more mileage out of your lipstick, or how to apply eye liner. The inspiration for this series comes from some of my best girlfriends, who will tell me from time to time that makeup often intimidates them. They don’t understand where to put what on their face or what colors most flatter them.

I think what people need to keep in mind is that you certainly don’t have to be an expert to apply or experiment with cosmetics. Makeup is all about creativity, having fun, and making ourselves feel like our best version. It should be open to all of us and like any other skill, practice makes perfect! Since I’m not a professional myself, all the information and tips I will be sharing come from years of absorbing makeup knowledge from artists and experts both online and in print; in addition to the knowledge I’ve amassed through shopping for and applying cosmetics onto my own face.

My goal with the series is ultimately to demystify makeup and take it back to basics. So whether you are a novice or are more experienced but looking for additional tips or tricks to hone your skills, this is for you! Foundation will be the first installment this week. I hope you enjoy!

xo, Erica

My summer no-foundation makeup routine in 5 steps

Next week kicks off the official start of summer (at least for us folks that live in the Northern Hemisphere) so it’s time to crack out my easy-peasy summer makeup routine. The key here is it’s a no foundation look that you can achieve in 5 steps. No one wants layers and layers of product on their face when it’s hot and sticky outside, especially during the day, so the lighter and more breathable the makeup the better in my opinion. To be fair, I will do a very similar routine in the winter or other times of the year whenever I want a minimum of makeup on my face with light coverage. So don’t feel like you have to be heavily constrained by the seasons, but this is particularly good for summer.

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Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation on dry skin: tips & tricks to success!

When I want my makeup to last all day or if I have a special event to attend, the original Estée Lauder Double Wear Foundation ($42.00; available now in 42 shades) has become my go-to base. It’s crazy because I never would have thought to buy or try out this foundation myself. My mother went to an Estée Lauder counter and came home with a bottle that mismatched her complexion. Needless to say, it soon ended up in my possession but I had no idea what to do with it really. I knew that Double Wear was supposed to be amazing but in my mind it already had strikes against it. I thought of it as some kind of shellac that would only suffocate my skin.

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No brush, no fuss makeup*

(*well, with some minor exceptions)

I haven’t been too fussed with makeup brushes in quite a long time. When I first got into makeup many years ago, I inherited a kind of starter kit from my mother’s rather large stash at the time. (You may think that it’s unhygienic to share brushes and you wouldn’t be wrong, but you know, we’re family.) It consisted of almost exclusively MAC brushes, including some timeless classics like the 217 and the 239. After that I grew my collection over time with purchases from e.l.f., Real Techniques, Eco Tools, & Sephora brand for everything from the eye, face and brows.

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