How to find your perfect lipstick shade in 2 easy steps

I’m a lipstick girl and own more than I’d like to admit. From nudes to hot pinks, I wear whatever I’m in the mood for that day. A swipe of lipstick instantly makes me feel polished and pretty.

While trendy shades are fun and a great to express yourself or glam up an outfit it’s really important to have one shade that’s appropriate for all occasions and seasons. Whether you’re a lipstick lover like me or terrified of lipstick like I used to be, I think every woman should have one lip color that you feel natural and pretty wearing.

Here are makeup artist Bobbi Brown’s tips for finding your most flattering lip color:

1. Pick it in neutral

The most versatile and flattering color you can own is one that’s just a shade or two brighter than your natural lip color. It should even out your lips and look polished yet natural. It should be noticeable but not so much that people immediately notice your lip color before anything else.

Bobbi Brown says that the ideal color will vary for each person based on skin tone. For someone with my skin tone, a nudish peachy pink seems to be my most flattering color. Others may look best in a peachy brown or rose shade. For dark skin tones, an eggplant shade may be the way to go.

Bobbi also clarifies that a neutral lipstick should never be the color of concealer. Shades that are lighter than your natural color will wash you out and not be flattering at all. The perfect neutral should warm your face up.

2. Try it right

Bobbi Brown suggests using the middle of your lower lip as a color guide to determine if the lipstick is the right shade based on the above criteria. Try it on in natural daylight for the most accurate color. Also, if you’ve tried several shades your lips may become stained and not give an accurate color representation.

I read these tips in Allure recently and instantly starting playing around with my colors to see about finding my perfect shade. While I love most of the lipsticks I own and wear them often, none seemed to fit the bill just right for the above criteria. I tried mixing two of my favorite go-to neutral lipsticks, MAC Creme Cup and CoverGirl Delish. Creme Cup is a girly pale pink and Delish is a natural-looking peachy nude with a hint of pink.

20120806-120615.jpg{Left left to right: Mac Creme Cup, CoverGirl Delish}

20120806-120620.jpg{Creme Cup & Delish mixed together}

It ended up making a gorgeous shade that’s a neutral peachy pink and it’s just a bit brighter than my natural lip color. My perfect shade! Here’s a picture of the color combo I came up with on my lips. I think it brightens and warms my face while looking natural and feminine.

20120806-120609.jpg

I would definitely suggest playing around with shades you already have to see if you can come up with the right mix. I’m now on the hunt for one tube of lipstick that gives me a similar effect to my own concoction (I could always melt them together into one DIY lipstick like one of my favorite bloggers does here but I like both shades on their own too much).  If you plan on trying to find your perfect shade at the mall, ask the rep for help and explain what you are looking for. She will be able to do the hard work for you and give you several options to try. I would suggest picking a lipstick at a place like Sephora, MAC or a cosmetics counter. This way you can play around with colors before comitting to a purchase and an expert can help you find exactly what you’re looking for. Even though these lipstick brands will be pricier, it’s worth the investment since this is a color you will be able to wear year-round and for any occassion. Plus, it will probably save you money in the long run to fork over $15-$30 for one perfect lipstick instead of praying you bought the right one from the drugstore and having to keep buying different shades until you find the right one.

“The ideal lip color is like the perfect pair of jeans: You can dress it up or down, and it will always look great.”- Bobbi Brown

I’d love to know what your perfect lipstick shade is!

Source: Allure Magazine

Marilyn Monroe’s Beauty Essentials

I came across an article about Marilyn Monroe in my latest issue of Allure and it shared some of her favorite beauty products. I was so intrigued to know what this beauty icon used to achieve her luminous skin and overall banging sex appeal that I figured there are more people out there who would be just as curious. Here are some of the items Marilyn swore by that are still sold today:

SKINCARE:

Nivea Creme

Vaseline

Marilyn used both Nivea cream and Vaseline to make her skin glow under the bright studio lights

Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil

Elizabeth Arden 8-Hour Cream

Erno Laszlo Active Phelityl Cream

FRAGRANCE:

Chanel No. 5 Perfume

Marilyn reportedly took ice baths that had drops of No. 5 in it

Yardley English Lavender Perfume

MAKEUP:

Elizabeth Arden Smoky Eyes Powder Pencil in Espresso

Helena Rubenstein Long Lash Mascara

Source: Allure Magazine

Drugstore Hair Care Part 2

In continuation of my post about fantastic shampoos and conditioners you can pick up at your local drugstore, here are some of my favorite drugstore styling products!

Dry Shampoo

Dove Refresh+Care Invigorating Dry Shampoo $4.49

I’ve used several different dry shampoos, including a pricey one from Sephora, and this one by Dove is my favorite. It leaves my hair clean and fresh and has the classic Dove scent.

Hairspray

L’oreal Elnett Satin Hairspray $14.99

This is hands down the best hairspray on the market. It holds your style and it’s never ever sticky. Your hair is left soft and bouncy, without the feeling of having hairspray in it. Celebrities and hair stylists swear by this stuff and I can see why. This is the only hairspray I use. It also has a really distinctive, pleasant scent that’s very light. It used to only be available for purchase in Europe but was brought to the U.S. in 2008.

Styling Products

John Frieda Collection Frizz-Ease Hair Serum Original Formula $9.99

This serum won an Allure Best of Beauty 2011 Hall of Fame award for winning 12 times in the past. A little goes a long way and the light-weight formula leaves my hair smooth and shiny.

John Frieda Frizz-Ease Straight Fixation Smoothing Creme $6.49

Allure featured it in “The 9 Best Ways to Fight Frizzy Hair.” It’s full of dimethicone, sweet almond oil and milk protein to smooth, lock out humidity and hydrate. It keeps blowouts straight and shiny and smells nice.

John Frieda Collection Frizz-Ease Dream Curls Curl-Perfecting Spray $6.49

This is my favorite product when wearing my hair naturally. It’s alcohol free and helps bring out whatever natural wave or curl your hair has. It’s full of olive oil, panthenol and magnesium to leave curls shiny, springy and defined without ever looking wet or feeling crunchy.

What are your favorite inexpensive styling products?

Drugstore Hair Care Part 1

In continuation of my previous posts (here and here) about my favorite drugstore products, here are some fantastic shampoos and conditioners you can pick up at your local Walgreens!  I have either tried or currently use all of these products.  Stay tuned for great drugstore styling products in Part 2!

Shampoos

John Frieda Sheer Blonde & Go Blonder Shampoos $6.49

All the John Frieda products I have tried are salon-quality.  I notice that my highlights are brighter, blonder and shinier when I use either of these shampoos.  I’m currently using the Go Blonder.

Garnier Fructis Pure Clean Fortifying Shampoo $4.99

I use this once a week for deep cleansing.  It rids hair and scalp of product buildup without overdrying.  It also smells like fresh green apples and the scent lingers on my hair.  It’s 92% biodegradable, has no silicones and contains sugar cane, lemon peel extract, green tea and acerola fruit extract…whatever that is!

Organix Nourishing Coconut Milk Shampoo $6.99

This super hydrating shampoo is full of coconut oil, egg whites and coconut milk.  It smells like a tropical vacation and leaves my hair really soft and fragrant.  Organix bottles are eco-friendly and manufactured from materials containing recycled post-consumer resin, which is an added bonus to this delicious shampoo.

Neutrogrena Triple Moisture Cream Lather Shampoo $5.99

This gentle shampoo is full of olive, meadowfoam seed and sweet almond extracts that deeply hydrate hair.  It also smells really great.

Daily & Deep Conditioners

Neutrogena Triple Moisture Daily Deep Conditioner $6.79

This conditioner has all the same effective ingredients as the matching shampoo I mentioned above, and leaves hair detangled and super soft.

L’oreal Evercreme Deep Nourishing Masque $8.99

I absolutely love this deep conditioner.  I just ran out and need more ASAP!  It’s full of Omega-3 and 6 and it leaves my hair so soft and managable.  I use this once a week.  It’s also 100% vegan and smells heavenly.

Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Deeeeep Conditioner $3.99

I haven’t used this product in years but I remember really liking it.  It won an Allure Best of Beauty 2011 Cheap Thrills award.  It’s full of Australian sea kelp, aloe and jojoba oil and is a  fantastic detangler.  Plus you can’t beat the price!

What are your favorite inexpensive shampoos and conditioners?

Drugstore Skincare

My post about great drugstore cosmetics got me thinking about all the other fantastic products you can get at drugstores. Many of the skincare products I use are from the spa where I get regular facials and from Lush. There are a few products I use daily from the drugstore and some that I would repurchase at some point. Here are some of the best skincare products I’ve found from the drugstore:

Cleanser:

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser $7.99

This cleanser is a fantastic product. It’s soap free and only has 8 ingredients. It’s gentle enough for all skin types and it really does cleanse and effectively remove makeup. I’ve used this in the past and would definitely repurchase. Jennifer Garner and many other celebrities use this cleanser. It won an Allure Best of Beauty 2011 Hall of Fame award for winning 11 times in the past.

Cleansing Wipes

Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes $7.99

These fantastic cleansing wipes won an Allure Best of Beauty 2011 Cheap Thrills award. Their review of this product was, “With the perfect saturation level, these wipes gently melt away even waterproof makeup.” I completely agree and highly suggest these! I have tried quite a few cleansing wipes and Neutrogena’s are by far the best.

Toner:

Neutrogena Pore Refining Toner $6.99

This toner is full of hydroxy acids that sweep away dead skin without overdrying. I use this once or twice a week and it makes my skin soft and clean.

Moisturizers:

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream, Original Formula SPF 15 $13.99

This is my daily moisturizer. It also won an Allure Best of Beauty 2011 Hall of Fame award for winning 9 times in the past. This product is so popular due to the unique formula. Neutrogena discovered a way to stabilize retinol, a pure form of Vitamin A that smooths lines and wrinkles, in a way other higher-end lines were not able to. Allure explains, “they combined the retinol molecule with UV filters and several antioxidants to protect it from sunlight and air, and to keep it active. Without such defenses, retinol will quickly degrade.” This cream leaves skin soft and smooth.

Eucerin Everyday Protection Face Lotion, SPF 30 $8.99

This is a fantastic moisturizer. It’s extremely gentle, hydrating, and full of SPF. It’s light-weight and fragrance free.

What are your favorite skincare products from the drugstore?

My Favorite Drugstore Makeup

I love department store cosmetics.  The gorgeous packaging, alluring fragrances and hefty price tags always make me feel like I’m bringing home something spectacular.  While shopping at places like Sephora and Nordstrom is still at the top of my list when it comes to perfume and most other cosmetics, I also love a bargain and am thrilled when I find high-quality products at my local Walgreens.  Here are my picks for fantastic drugstore cosmetics:

Mascara

L’oreal Voluminous Mascara $7.99

This is not only a great drugstore mascara, it’s my favorite mascara overall.  I’ve tried the various high-end mascaras and nothing exceeds the volume, thickness and length that L’oreal Voluminous gives.  It never flakes and lashes feel soft and flexible to the touch with this mascara.  Most others leave mine crispy and stiff.  I love the original formula in black and also the carbon black version.  Many celebrity makeup artists swear by this mascara.

CoverGirl Lash Blast Mascara 8.99

This mascara is a very close second favorite for me.  Both the original orange tube and the purple Fusion version are fantastic products.  This mascara gives buildable volume without clumping or flaking.  While I despise chunky, spidery lashes, I also think the “natural look” with mascara is highly overrated.  I love full, long, dramatic lashes both day and night.  With several coats of Lash Blast I’m left with just that.  Sometimes I’ll start with a few coats of this mascara and finish with two coats of the Voluminous for added volume.   Did I mention  I like dramatic lashes?  🙂

Eyeliner:

Wet n Wild Mega Liner Liquid Eyeliner $2.99

I’ve tried department store liquid eyeliner and I keep coming back to this one.  You can’t beat the price and it doesn’t flake.  The brush is easier for me to use than liners with a marker applicator and this product dries very quickly.

CoverGirl Perfect Point Plus Self Sharpening Eye Pencil $5.79

I use this pencil in Black Onyx.  You can make a thin or thick line and it comes with a smudger on one end.  I love pencils that you don’t have to sharpen.  It gives rich color and it applies really well over eyeshadow.

Lipstick:

Revlon ColorBurst Lipstick $8.99

This lipstick in Candy Pink is one of my all-time favorite lipsticks.  Allure voted it Best Pink Lipstick of 2011.  It’s a scary, Barbie pink in the tube but it goes on very sheer and lovely.  I lost mine recently and have been frantically searching for it at every Walgreens and Target in town with no luck yet.  I may have to just order it online because it is such a wonderful lipstick.  It’s the perfect bright but sheer pink for spring.

Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick $5.49

I love this lipstick in Airy Fairy.  The formula is lightweight with full coverage color.  Airy Fairy is a nude pink with a hint of gold shimmer.  I hate frosted lipsticks and am weary of any with a lot of shimmer but this is a very muted and flattering color.  All the lipsticks in this line have a smell that I can’t put my finger on.  I don’t love the fragrance but the color and price are great and outweigh the slightly strange smell.

Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter $6.49

Lipstick formulas have really changed recently and they now appeal to a much wider audience.  These Lip Butters have the pigment of a lipstick and the moisture and lightweight texture of a balm.  Now that the weather has heated up and the heavier texture of classic lipsticks is too much for me, this is my go-to lip color.  My favorite shade is Strawberry Shortcake.  I also have Cupcake, but it’s such a pale shade of pink that it doesn’t flatter my skin tone.  I also tried Candy Apple Red because it was getting rave reviews in the beauty magazine but it was too orangey-red on me.  I gave it to a friend with dark hair and a slighty darker complexion than me.  She has the same issue with the color.  The Strawberry Shortcake shade is a gorgeous pink color.  It has a bit of shimmer but the color looks more like a cream than a shimmer when I’m wearing it.  It has a light shine and makes my lips feel soft and smooth.  This line has no smell at all, which I really like.

Lip Gloss:

L’oreal Color Juice Sheer Juicy Lip Gloss $8.48

This is my favorite drugstore lip gloss.  It’s nearly the same texture as Lancome Juicy Tubes, one of my favorite gloss lines.  L’oreal owns Lancome so this similarity would make sense.  Berry Burst is the Color Juice shade I always pick.  The smell is fruity but not overpowering and the gloss has no flavor on the lips, which I love.  It’s a sheer, shimmery gloss that goes on mostly clear with a bit of sheer pink.

Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss $6.99

This is an extremely creamy and shiny lip gloss line.  The texture and packaging looks and feels very high-quality.  My favorite colors are Peach Petal, pictured above, and Pink Afterglow.  Peach Petal is a peachy creamy nude with no shimmer.  Pink Afterglow is a pink gloss full of shimmer.

Bonne Bell Lip Smackers $1.99

No list of drugstore favorites would be complete without Bonne Bell Lip Smackers!  Not only do these classic little tubes give me nostalgic memories of childhood and make me want to buy some Lisa Frank folders, they are actually great clear lip glosses.  They also double as a decent lip balm.  My personal favorites are Dr. Pepper, Pink Lemonade and Cotton Candy.  At that price point and having a big-girl job, I can collect all my favorites without breaking the bank.  🙂

What are your favorite drugstore cosmetics?