Overnight Success

It’s great waking up to pretty skin.  Most days, it’s just my foggy vision blurring my face into evenly toned, pore-free gorgeousness – but I do have an arsenal of no-fail products for days I need to wake up looking like a Disney princess.

For smooth, ready-to-go morning hair, I start with a good blow dry (either left over from my day, or after a night shower).  Sleeping on wet hair has never done me any favors.  Before heading to bed, I rub a few pumps of Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Overnight Hair Rescue $38, on my palms and coat my hair from the middle to the ends.  A quick pass with a wide tooth comb, and it’s good to go.  In the morning, I have freshly conditioned, pretty-scented, silky hair that’s ready to walk out the door.  My only word of caution is to err on the side of too little product – too much looks greasy.

For my face, I can’t forsake my old stand-by: Alba Even Advanced Night Cream $15.  It really evens my skin tone and makes my pores less noticeable.. but for can’t-risk-it days (weddings, brunches, and DRIVER’S LICENSE PHOTOS) I turn to AMOREPACIFIC Moisture Bound Vitalizing Masque $60.  After cleansing with my Clarisonic brush and finishing off with Clinique Clarifying Lotion, I apply the “masque” generously all over my face and neck.  It feels like a moisturizer, but takes a little longer to soak in.  It’s miraculously not greasy, sticky, or chalky, so my compliments to the chef.
In the morning, my face is plump (in a good way), smooth, soft, and even.  After a quick rinse, I have the perfect canvas for Big Day makeup.

Lastly, there are the eyes.  One big problem with my “need to look good tomorrow” nights is that my sleep is often compromised, and the eye bags give it away.  I don’t typically have issues with redness or puffiness, but when I do, it’s on an important day.  I’ve found out, though, that I can usually nip the problem in the bud with Clinique All About Eyes Serum De-Puffing Eye Massage $28.  It’s an eye serum with a metal roller ball applicator – which I always found a little gimmicky until this.  I rub the cold metal under my eyes and over my lids before bed, and by morning – normal eyes with normal eyelids.  I couldn’t ask for more.  It doesn’t do the miracle work of my everyday eye cream, but I can easily tap that on in the morning to take care of fine lines, dryness and circles.
These three products are my best shot at overnight success.  But I’ve also heard amazing things about Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery and I’m kind of dying to try it when my buying ban is up.

Do you have a no-fail night routine?



Everyday Skin Care Arsenal

I love makeup to death, but at the end of the day, I want every speck of it off my face.  It creeps me out thinking it’s lingering in my pores, so I go hard on my skin care regimen.  Here’s what’s working for me:

First I pre-wash the majority of my makeup off with my hands and Noxzema deep cleansing cream ($4.39) – the kind in a big blue pot.  (I pre-wash because I don’t like to get my Clarisonic brush too clogged up with makeup… it feels like I’m rubbing foamy old foundation around on my face.)  I’m not especially attached to this cleanser, I mostly use it because I get to scoop handfuls out like ice cream.

Next I deep clean with my Clarisonic Mia 2 and a cleanser: Purity Made Simple facial cleanser ($20), old school Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser ($11.49) or Biore Complexion Clearing Ice Cleanser ($7.49).  Whichever I blindly grab.

Usually, my eye makeup sticks around even after the brush, so I rub in some Clinique Naturally Gentle Eye Makeup Remover lotion ($18) and wipe it off gently with tissue (cotton balls leave awful little fuzz strings in my lashes.)

After that, I swipe my face and neck with Clinique Clarifying Lotion 1 ($13) and CVS’s hugest cotton balls ever ($1.49).  (I know, I’m sharing my favorite brand of cotton balls.  But they’re seriously huge and luscious.  I love them.)  It removes the last traces of makeup or dirt and leaves my face feeling fresh.

Then I apply Clinique Repairwear Eye Cream around my tired old eyes, and Alba Even Night Cream on my face and neck.  And it’s relaxing and wonderful, and my skin is grateful.

What skin care product or routine do you swear by?


Average Day Arsenal

I recently shared with you my super-quick makeup arsenal.  It gets me through the grocery store and the post office, but if I’m doing anything social I usually step my game up a bit.  A very tiny bit.

Here’s my “average day” makeup routine.

First comes the Devita SPF 30+ moisturizer and Clinique Repairwear eye cream.  Keeping my face together under the makeup is a must.  I give the moisturizers a little time to soak in, and stare blankly into my closet at all the “nothing to wear.”

Then comes Rimmel London Primer (apparently now in the lead in the battle of the primers).  It just feels a little more moisturizing than my Make Up For Ever primer, and it makes me look more natural in the day time.

I smear on about two small pumps of Make Up For Ever HD Invisible Cover Foundation in #145 or #150 ($42) near the center of my face and then buff it out with my foundation brush.

The Sephora Pro Foundation Airbrush #56 ($32) amazes me.  As long as it’s clean, it buffs liquid foundation out to a really smooth, even layer.  The trick is shampooing this brush often, because after about three days, the bristles are so stuck together with leftover foundation they’ll leave straight-up stripes on your face.

Next, I tap on Benefit Erase Paste in Medium ($26) under my eyes, using my finger.  It’s a little lighter than my skin, but its crazy miracle formula blends right into foundation.  As advertised, it really does brighten up dark circles – but it takes a very tiny bit to look good and not like a reverse raccoon.

To set the erase paste, I use a wedge sponge to dab on MAC Studio Fix in NC35 ($27).  Then comes the big powder brush to buff on a very light powder layer.  I know it’s kind of foundation-over-foundation, but it works.

Then blush.  The three I have in heavy rotation right now are: Milani Blush in Luminoso ($7.49), Cover Girl Cheekers Blush in Pretty Peach ($3.99) or Benefit Bella Bamba ($28).  I just follow my heart.

Next I use the Sephora Complexion Brush #53 ($19) to add a little Tarte Mineral Powder Bronzer in Park Avenue Princess ($29).  The brush is not my favorite, and I don’t especially care for it.. but it’s big, and it’s here, so I use it.  The bronzer goes just under my cheekbone for a liiiittle bit of contouring – I’m no crazy 80’s freak, but I like a little definition.  This is a perfectly subtle warm color.

Then again, the eyebrow fill-in with the darker brown in Clinique Colour Surge Eyeshadow Duo in Coffee Shop  ($19.50) and an angled shadow brush.

A quick swipe of Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes Eyeliner in 0L ($18) along the top waterlines and lash lines.

I set the liner with tokidoki Cromatico Eye Shadow in Adios matte black ($15) and the flat side of Sephora’s Classic Dramatic Eyes brush ($7 on sale).  I might even be fancy and go for a little bit of a cat-eye (ooh la la.)

With the opposite end of the Dramatic Eye brush, I sweep a little of the Tarte bronzer from the outside corner of my eyelid along the crease.  It’s the no-eyeshadow eyeshadow.

I do a little highlighting with a small shadow brush with Clinique Colour Surge Eye Shadow Soft Shimmer in Sugar Sugar – shimmery white and/or Starstruck – shimmery light nude ($15) in the inner corner of my eye, along the inner bottom lash line, and just under my eyebrows.

 Then I curl my eyelashes and choose between Smashbox Hyperlash or Maybelline Full N Soft Mascara (both from Splurge Steal or Skip awhile back) – depending on how humid it will be, or whether I plan to cry later in the day.  Who knows!

Lastly a tinted lip balm if I’m keeping it casual, maybe some lipstick if I’m being a fancy guy.  But more on that later.


6-Minute Makeup Arsenal

Even on the laziest (or most rushed) of days, I won’t subject the outside world to my makeup-free face.  I feel like a beady-eyed, pasty little mole rat.  I’ve found that taking about 6 minutes to pretty up my face makes all the difference to me.  Here’s my running-out-the-door makeup routine.

I wash my face if necessary, then moisturize with Devita SPF 30+ moisturizer and Clinique Repairwear eye cream.  I fix my hair while I wait for it to soak in a bit.

Then I rub Rimmel London Primer (from battle of the primers) all over my face with my hands.  Sounds primal.  Usually is.  The subtle tint evens my skin out a little, so I don’t have to mess with a lot of foundation and concealer.

I use a wedge sponge with a heavy dose of MAC Studio Fix in NC35 ($27) to cover up any problem areas, and my under eye circles.  I bust out the big powder brush and buff on a thin dusting to even out the rest of my face.

To look a little more human, I brush on Milani Blush in Luminoso ($7.49) – I found it on Temptalia’s dupe list for Nars Orgasm blush, and I love it.  Right now, I use the Sephora Complexion Brush, but it’s pretty ‘meh’.

Because my hair is so dark, I feel like my eyebrows look awkward when I haven’t filled them in a bit.  I use an angled shadow brush and tap on a bit of the darker brown in the Clinique Colour Surge Eyeshadow Duo in Coffee Shop  ($19.50).

I know a lot of magazines say black eyeliner isn’t for daytime, but it’s all I use.  My eyes are dark, my eyelashes are dark.. black works for me.  Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes Eyeliner in 0L ($18) is a smooth, dark black, perfect for my water line and upper lash line.

To set my eyeliner, I use tokidoki Cromatico Eye Shadow in Adios matte black ($15) with the flat side of Sephora’s Classic Dramatic Eyes brush ($7 on sale).  Waterproof or not, Make Up For Ever’s Aqua Eyes smears if I don’t use powder eyeshadow over it.

If my eyes are looking dead tired, I use a small shadow brush with Clinique Colour Surge Eye Shadow Soft Shimmer in Sugar Sugar – shimmery white and/or Starstruck – shimmery light nude ($15) in the inner corner of my eye, along the inner bottom lash line, and just under my eyebrows.  I rub it in a little.

Then I curl my lashes quickly, skip the mascara, and add some tinted lip balm.  Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15 in Sugar Rose ($22.50) is my fave right now, but it takes a gentle application.  (It’s so soft, I broke the top off while rubbing some on at a bar.  The shame.)

Easy, fast, and pretty works for me.