On Christmas Eve, I headed to church in the late afternoon to see my two year old daughter play a sheep in her first Christmas pageant (SO cute!). In a festive mood, I had applied my makeup in the warm light of my bathroom, going with a warm, coppery lid, black liner, and a bold pink lip. However, I was shocked to find, when I got in the car, that in the grey light of the snowy day I looked like Bozo the clown. It was too much! My concealer looked dry and cakey, my eye makeup contrived, and the lipstick harsh and garish. Thank goodness for baby wipes–I was able to take the look down about 10 notches before heading to church and cheering on my little lambie.
For our family get-together on Christmas day, I had learned my lesson. A new routine took shape, and it worked much better in the winter light. Added bonus? I looked cuter in the family pictures from that day, for sure. It sounds vain, but when your baby is due in under a week, every little bit of self-esteem boosting helps. A good photo is gold! So, what did I learn? Here are some thoughts:
Start with skincare. My go-to winter standby for years (ever since my Sephora days) has been Cosmedicine Private Nurse. I am yet to find any other product that plumps up dry skin cells as effectively and quickly; fine lines and flakiness are a non-issue. This is even a miracle worker for dry, cracked knuckles and cuticles–if you’re willing to use something relatively pricey on your hands. I’ve tried Creme de la Mer before, along with other big time moisturizers such as Chanel Sublimage and Armani Crema Nera, but this one blows them out of the water by a mile.
Undereye shadows and bags an issue? Consider investing in the Clarisonic Opal. It’s not cheap, but this little gizmo is highly recommended by derms for its ability to push your skincare products deeper into the epidermis using sonic vibrations. It’s worth it especially if you’re investing in high end serums–my dream combo would be this tool paired with the La Prairie White Caviar Illuminating Eye Serum, which is the only thing that I’ve found will literally brighten the undereyes in one night–but one shops as one’s budget allows. For now, I’m using mine with the serum that comes with it, loaded with skin plumpers and hydrators that really do work. The biggest difference I’ve seen is that in about 2 weeks of use, one semi-prominent blue vein under my left eye has become noticeably, well, less noticeable.
Don’t overapply foundation, and skip powder entirely. On Christmas day, I used a damp makeup sponge to apply NARS Sheer Glow Foundation just where I had any redness–basically over the T-zone and around the sides of my nose. The only concealer I used was YSL Touche Eclat–to the naked eye, it doesn’t appear to cover my undereye shadows entirely, but it’s undetectable even in flat, grey winter light, and the camera loves it.
Basically every other cosmetic product you apply should be in a sheer cream formulation, with shimmer used on the eyes only. I used all Becca Cosmetics for this–check out my photos in the slideshow above (and note that in the picture, I’m wearing no concealer or foundation, just the Becca products I’m about to mention). On eyes, I used a finger to apply Becca Eye Tint in Romanticism, a mauve-bronze shade that adds just enough depth to frame my dark brown peepers without creating too much drama or any hard edges. On cheeks, it was Becca Beach Tint in Dragonfruit, a bright poppy pink. Note that a little–and I mean literally barely any–goes a looong way with this one, so apply with a light hand and layer. I also dabbed this one on lips to perk myself up. Speaking of lips, I finished mine with Becca Ultimate Colour Gloss in Autumn Punch, a mocha berry shade that looks much deeper in the tube than blended out on the lips, in which case it’s actually quite natural on me. Breaking my own rules about creamy formulations and no shimmer on the complexion, I did wash my cheekbones with a light dusting of Becca Mineral Blush in Gypsy, a ballerina pink shade with a glow of warm golden shimmer that goes a long way to perk up drab olive skin. Important note: I could only get away with this shimmer powder looking natural because I used one that is uber-high quality; Becca is known for their shimmers, which are extremely finely milled and melt into the skin like a cream. Unfortunately, in this case you won’t get the same look from Cover Girl–or even Clinique.
If you’re yearning to have fun with color and do something funky to express yourself, consider making a statement with your mani and pedi. I’m currently loving the Metal Holiday 2012 Collection by SpaRitual, six shades of polish that are inspired by the natural world while still being bold and statement-making. There’s Silver, a true, glowing silver with a semi-matte finish; Titanium, a gunmetal grey with a bit more shine; Bismuth, a purple transitional shimmer that’s the most multi-faceted of the group; Copper, which is more of a bright, deeper warm gold with orangey undertones; Cassiterite, a pale gold sparkle that has a somewhat “sandy” finish; and Osmium, a blue-black creme that is much more blue than black (beware of staining with this one–a good base coat is a must). Check out the slideshow above for swatches! While we’re on the topic of SpaRitual, lots of folks don’t know the brand for anything more than their gorgeous nail polishes, but they actually also make wonderful natural skincare. Treat your hands and feet–and the rest of your body, if you wish–with the ultimate midwinter’s warming spa treatment: exfoliate with the Instinctual Sand Scrub, infused with warming Indonesian Ginger Essential Oil (it smells like real fresh ginger–more sushi-like than Origins type) and then treat with the brand’s Instinctual Clay Masque, which also features the same potent, sinus-clearing ginger kick. Finish with the richest, most pampering body butter ever–the aptly named Infinitely Loving Body Butter, with aphrodisiac Chinese Jasmine Essential Oil–to seal in all of the goodness and keep your skin as soft and glowy as buttah. The overall lesson this winter, ladies? Less is definitely more. Focus on good skincare, warm the complexion with creamy neutrals, and make a statement with your hands and feet. May the force be with you!
One more note: this will be my last CBE article for a while, as baby is due later this week, and I expect to take a short hiatus from writing until I get my feet on the ground as a mamma of two. It’s been a pleasure writing for you all during 2012; thank you for coming along with me on this beautiful journey! I look forward to catching up with you…next year!
Best wishes, blessings, and love to all,