Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Awesome Product Alert: Revision Brightening Facial Wash

Freckles. I've had them as long as I can remember. And hated them for a very long time. Not to the point where I used lemon juice (that's what my friends recommended to me as a kid) but I never thought they were cute or becoming. Then I turned 12 and a guy at a theme park told me that some man was going to fall in love with me because of my freckles. I must've blushed furiously, stammered something and then walked away awkwardly as any tween would do if they were told such a thing. Of course it changed my whole perspective on freckles. I vowed to embrace them. And find a man to love me because of them. Later as I entered my twenties and thirties, the freckles started getting worse and worse. I was dillengent about applying sunscreen but nothing seemed to keep the skin discoloration at bay. I met my boyfriend Paul and he got glasses after we had been dating for 3 years. The first thing he said when he put on the glasses was how he never noticed that I had freckles. Seriously? At that point, I was more than ready to give up on my freckles.

I've been searching for just the right brightening system to use on my freckles for a while now. I'm not a fan of hydroquinone since it can be bad for your skin if you over use it. Instead I've been looking for more natural solutions for brightening such as White Tea, Licorice and Shitake Mushrooms. I tried brightening products from Aveda and Dermalogica, but I didn't like the smells and didn't see that much of a difference. My boss Rita took one look at my face and steered me in the direction of Revision, a brand that markets itself to dermatologists. She recommended the "Brightening Facial Wash" and gave me a small sample to try at home. The first thing I noticed is that a little bit goes a long way with this face wash. I have noticed that about more expensive products that on a cost per use, they typically end up being cheaper. I started using a nickel size (what they recommend) but a dime size is more than enough. I loved the creamy consistency that turned into a foaming cleanser; to me that's the best of both worlds with the cream giving extra hydration and the foaming action doing an extra job of cleansing. The smell was one of my favorite parts of the cleanser, a very light orange scent that was neither too medicinal or acidic. The product washed off easily and left my skin feeling soft and supple, not tight the way that typical foaming cleansers leave my skin.

I broke my cardinal rule of not touching my face the first time I used it because my skin felt so soft. I've experienced mild breakouts from using the product because the alpha & beta hydroxy acids are unclogging my pores, but nothing compared to the other times I've used face washes with salycilic acid. I love the combination of ingredients: Glycolic & Salycilic Acid (exfoliation), Vitamin E (hydration), White Tea & Licorice (lightening). After about a week of using the product, I have noticed a small amount of lightening although I will amend my review in a couple of months to let you know if I see a noticeable difference since it usually takes about 3 months for a new product to really work on your skin. But already I love how different my skin's texture feels (more hydrated and smoother).

One last note on the packaging: Revision comes in all black packaging with silver lettering. I know, it's just a package. But to me, nice packaging makes a difference. Beauty products are all about the entire user experience. And I have to say, I absolutely love the Revision packaging. From the cardboard box that it comes in, to the simple black plastic bottle with the label stamped on (rather than stickered on which always looks so cheap to me). Also the fact that it is black is great since Paul and I are going to be sharing this face wash. Sometimes there is something to be said for unisex packaging (Paul Mitchell is a great example). So many men can't be bothered to buy their own beauty products and instead just steal their wives/girlfriends products. This is one product that I'm happy to have Paul steal since I know it will do such great things for his face too!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Love of my beauty life: Target

Oh Target. Our love affair has been for so long. Since the days back in the 80s when my dad took me shopping there for my first clothing purchase as a tween (leggings) to today when I have to keep myself from spending more than $100 each trip, I've loved you so.

I especially love browsing the clothing and cosmetic aisles. Target is one of those fast fashion places to me, filled with disposable clothing and quick beauty finds. I also have a new buddy now, Sandi, who loves browsing Target almost as much as I do. So partners in crime we hit up the Target in Silverlake. We meander around for hours looking at cheesy, Donna Martin Graduates inspired fashions (if you get that reference you are a child of the 90s!) and searching for a compact to replace my broken one. I didn't buy any clothes but I did get an organic, refillable, green compact from Physicians Formula that smells funny (is it the fact that it's made from bamboo) but does make me feel better that it's refillable.

One of my favorite thing about Target is that they have different merchandise depending on the Target you go to. And we have such an amazing variety of neighborhoods in LA and a huge assortment of Targets within a 50 mile radius that you can find some unique items. My everyday Target is in Burbank, my fancier Target is in Woodland Hills and my Target to get cool stuff from is in West Hollywood, Ladera Heights and Silverlake.

What sparked this outpouring of Target love? An article I found today in The New York Times talking about Target and Manhattan:
I would love to visit all 9 Targets around Manhattan to see the diversity of merchandise that they have. I bet the Lower East Side Target is totally different (in a good way) from the Upper West Side Target.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Dialtone Demo

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


I had to go to Sephora a while back to grab a Korres lip butter for a bride that I was doing. While I was there I was reminded of how inspirational it is to just walk around the store. They are always showcasing new things and fun brands. Sephora, like H&M, is a genius of fast fashion. Which is really just another way of selling us stuff that is fun for a moment and quite possibly disposable. They get us in the door frequently because we know that there's always going to be a shiny new thing for us to look at. For Beauty Addicts, Sephora is heaven. I don't really browse online at that much. Instead I like to look around a physical store when I'm in browsing mode. is for when I'm buying and I want to read reviews.

Here are some new things that I discovered at Sephora. They may be a couple of months old, but they are new to me. Plus they will be gone in a couple of months when I go back to Sephora to browse again. I've gotten good at limiting what I buy on these Sephora browsing shopping trips since I know that the shiny new things, while pretty to look at, aren't always that great. I tend to obsessively research beauty products on before I buy it so don't think that you can get me that easily Sephora! Well, maybe that stuff at the cash register might get me because it's so cheap. And super cute.

Pore-fector gadget: I love how the name says exactly what it is. I feel like this is Bliss' answer to the Clarisonic. Any try and buy it out there? Let me know how you like it! My clients love my Clarisonic BTW. I used it on a massage therapist the other day and she asked "What was that????" It feels like a mini-massage for your face!

Stay Don't Stray from Benefit: eye primer is my new obsession. I don't think you really need to use primer everywhere unless you've got skin that make-up slips off of. So really where you need primer is where you are putting the majority of your make-up: eyes and if you are going through an 80s thing like me cheeks too. I'm going to be doing a review of a couple of primers this week, but the bottom line is that I still haven't found my dream eye primer. I haven't tried Stay Don't Stray but the display caught my eye. I've heard a rumor that MAC Painterly Pots and Urban Decay eye primers are the best.

Tarina Tarantino at Sephora: I've always loved her jewelry. Truth be told, I think the make-up and the cases look a little tacky... I know it's one small step from glitzy to tacky with Tarantino jewelery. But that's what I love about her esthetic that it isn't too cheesy. What do you think? Have you seen the make-up? Cheesy or fun? Or both?

Tokidoki: This is the brand that they are pimping out at the front of the store. Totally Japanese anime vibe. Super cute. Kinda reminds me of Gwen Stefani early 2000s. But still, really cute. I love the packaging. 

Korres lip butters: this is actually what I went to Sephora to pick up. I love love love these things. I was introduced to Korres by my mentor Elissa who uses them for naturalistic beauty shots. I've used them for bridal when the bride doesn't want glossy and isn't too keen on matte. They are almost a lip stain with extra moisturizing powers. Try them out, usually Sephora has a deal with three for $20.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Beauty School: wedding hair

Remember that last post about me being a lazy makeup artist? I'm even worse at doing my own hair. I can't be bothered for some reason. Unless it takes 10 minutes.  The funny thing is that now that I'm a make-up artist, I'm also required to do hair on occasion. And the funnier thing is that I love doing hair! It's kinda like having a real life Barbie to play with. I don't have a lot of fear when it comes to make-up or hair styling since it's so temporary. Make-up can be removed with an easy swipe of a wipe and hair styles can be brushed out. Now ask me to cut or dye someone's hair ... no way! Unless it's a pair of unruly eyebrows.

My friend James works at KMS as the Education Manager and he posted some new webisodes. Usually they are geared towards stylists, but this one that he posted was a bit more consumer friendly as in this is something that you could actually do on yourself at home. Of course the last two styles (a half-up do and an up-do) will look way better if you have someone to do them for you.

Here's the webisode:

The problem is it isn't always possible to have someone do your hair for you. Take this Saturday for example. I have a wedding that I have to be at in Malibu at 6pm and I'm done at work at 5pm. I'd love to get one of the stylists at work to do my hair but there just isn't time. So I've been wracking my brain trying to figure out an updo that I can actually do myself. Trust me there's been a lot of wracking. Then James posted his webisode. I was inspired to break out the bobbie pins, hair spray and teasing comb to see what I could come up with.

The first do on the webisode is a simple braid for a day time beach look. Cute, but not what I need for a night time wedding. So I didn't even attempt it although I might start wearing that look to work.

The second one is promising. My mom always says that I look good with my hair half up and half down. The back really turned out better than I was expecting.

I really like the third one. It's off to the side in an 80s sort of way. I've been big on the 80s fashion revival even though I think I'm about a year too late. It looks really messy which is cool when you are a guest at a wedding (and only if you are an avant guarde bride!). That seems appropriate since I did it myself. I might stick a flower in it to hide the bobby pins and the messy.


I'm glad I did a test run because I figured out that it really does take 10 minutes to do each of these looks. Definitely workable when I'm running home from work and throwing on my dress, make-up and hair so that we make it to the wedding on time. I'll post pics of the final look that I went with next week.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Beauty School: wedding make-up

My second beauty school session was spent watching videos on bridal make-up. I recently took a class on bridal make-up while at IMATS. The make-up was beautiful but a bit too fashion forward for my brides. The women that I've done at Frenchy's sometimes want something a little more daring than the typical beauty make-up with with pin-up updos and hair dyed pink and blue to match the bridesmaid dresses. But most of them are happy with a subtle natural look.

One of the best things that I learned from the bridal make-up workshop at IMATS is to think of your bride as a character. Talk with her to see what type of character she wants to be for her wedding. And waterproof make-up is your friend.

The first video I watched was of Michelle Pham, one of the biggest YouTube make-up stars. I can see why, since her videos are more slickly produced than most. The extremely subtle make-up that she did for her bridal make-up was beautiful and simple. I got the feeling that it was more for a woman to do on her self (which makes sense since that is the target of these videos). The best tip that I got was the apply lipstick, blot, powder over tissue, and reapply tip. That makes sure the lipstick will last longer.

The second video I watched was Lauren Luke's bridal tutorial. This look is for a more adventurous bride, with purple in the crease and black eyeliner. I liked the drama of this look a little more than Michelle's, plus it is a look that is easy to recreate if you have someone doing your make-up instead of doing it yourself.

My friend Reem from Esthetician School came over and we watched the videos together. It may sound silly but it was much more motivational to have someone watching and commenting on the videos with me than if I had been watching them myself. And the best part was when we got to practice on each other. I'd recommend that for everyone who wants to get better at doing make-up on other people not just watch the videos, but recreate the looks. Practice is such a big part of doing make-up, getting comfortable touching people's faces, knowing what to tell them when you need to apply mascara ("look over my shoulder" usually works the best), feeling okay to admit your mistakes and start over with a make-up wipe.

Here's a picture of Reem's work on me. She recreated the basic bridal look of Michelle Pham's with a little bit of the pop of Lauren Luke. I loved how beautiful the make-up looked on me but in the photograph it is a little washed out. That is mostly because I was using my iPhone's crappy camera to take the picture. But it's a good example of how when you are doing make-up for an event that will be photographed, it's better to have a heavy hand.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Pour some sugar on me

Anyone a big fan of sugaring? In case you haven't heard of it, sugaring is a method of hair removal that is supposedly less painful than waxing because the sugar attaches to the hair and not the skin. Here's more about sugaring on Wikipedia. During traditional waxing, the wax attaches mostly to the hair but also a little bit to the skin, giving your skin a slight amount of exfoliation. But that's why whenever you get waxed you should wait about a week before you go to the beach or get a peel, since the skin is already a bit thin after the waxing.

I must have tough skin since I've never really had a problem with waxing. Also my hair is fine so waxing tends to hurt less. But there are plenty of waxing horror stories that have been told to me about the skin near the eyebrow tearing (skin is thinner on your face, underarms and nether regions) or having to let the skin chillax a couple of days after getting a particularly sensitive body part waxed since it was so raw and red.

Sugaring is an interesting option for those of you who are sensitive to waxing. On the wikipedia website they have a recipe for sugaring that I might try out. I've always dreamed of being a kitchen witch that is an esthetician who cooks up her own beauty recipes in the kitchen. In my dream I magically discover the key to some beauty problem that has plagued me for years, bottle it and sell it for a gazillion dollars. The reality is that I don't even like regular cooking so I'm not sure why I think I'm going to be a cooking superstar when it comes to beauty products. Maybe it's the aspiring skin scientist in me.

Check out this article that I found on talking about sugaring vs. waxing. And let me know if you've had a good or bad experience with either sugaring or waxing. I think, like most things in life, it depends on you and your body type. Waxing can work for some people, sugaring is better for others. The most important thing is to talk about this with your waxer to make sure that you are as comfortable as possible during what, let's get real, is not a very comfortable experience. We are ripping hair from the roots here people!
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