Editor's Note: Please welcome our amazing new Managing Beauty Editor, Michelle Jack! Every Wednesday, Michelle will bring you her expertise with make-up how-to's, new product information & reviews, grooming and skincare ideas, and everything you ever need to know to make your face, skin, hair and nails gorgeous, healthy and perfectly modern. Plus she is really funny and cool. Feel free to leave her comments, questions or suggestions for posts you'd love to see! ~ EIC Alison
When Alison asked me to join Stylewhipped, I was more than thrilled to contribute. I have been a fan of her blog for a few years and a fan of her for decades. I am not a professional by any means, but I am an unabashed beauty junkie and have been for years. Plus, my Virgo/Accountant/Nerdy-Know-It-All nature has enabled me to amass a reasonably vast knowledge of products, makeup techniques, some of the basic science behind skin care, and the business end of the industry. I spend an exorbitant (and probably unreasonable) amount of time researching all of these things. There is so much information out there that it seems almost impossible to get a handle on any of it. Many of these “informative” websites are actually sponsored and they give you misinformation to lead you to buy their products. The beauty community of youtube and instagram are over-saturated with these dopey “gurus” who just show you how to apply the same look over and over and are often paid for the products they use. True and honest reviews and opinions are few and far between. Plus, one of my biggest pet peeves is that a lot of the beauty editorials and bloggers seem to talk to women like they are stupid. I get tired of hearing that this product is “AMAZING” or that the reviewer is “OBSESSED” with something without ever offering an intelligent reason why. I am also profoundly irritated that there is a distinct lack of humor in beauty writing geared towards women. If you ever read men’s magazines you will notice that the content is much more intelligent and witty and it baffles me as to why there is so little of that for women. Makeup and Beauty is about more than looking pretty. It can be empowering. I truly believe that. So does the internet need another beauty blogger? Probably not, but this will be my attempt to speak to women like they are intelligent people. I will not use the word “rock” when I mean “wear”. I will never use the word “fierce” in any context except if I ever have a run in with a lion. My arsenal of adjectives will go beyond using “amazing” over and over. Most importantly, I will always look for the humor and be aware of the irony of all the absurdity that exists in the beauty industry.
Alison asked me to list my top ten essentials. I imagine she wants me to do this as a way to introduce myself and to provide me an outlet to decrease the number of text messages I send her squawking about my latest beauty find. This was not an easy task considering I have a ridiculous amount of beauty products and I am constantly trying new things and changing my routine. So, here is the first half of a list of the things I use every day and some things that I find exceptional-- right now. Please note that makeup brushes are not included here. I could not possibly narrow that down to include maybe one or two on this list. Makeup brushes are my favorite thing ever and I hoard them like, well, a hoarder. I’ll get to those later. So here we go with my top ten current-favorites-that-don’t-include-brushes. And, because I am like Spinal Tap, my list goes to eleven. (And you'll just have to be a loyal reader and come back next week to see the rest of my list..,
When I jumped on the Korean Skin Care bandwagon awhile back I became huge proponent of the double cleanse. This is where you use an oil or micellar water based cleanser to fully remove all traces of makeup before you cleanse. That way, you are actually cleansing your skin instead of just washing off your makeup. Makes sense, right? I was someone who always just removed eye makeup and then washed my face. The precleanse makes such a difference for me. I still get acne like a middle schooler and for the first time in my life, literally, my acne has calmed down. There are several very good oil pre-cleansers that I have tried, but recently I bought Bioderma Sensibio H2O micellar water cleanser and whoa, dude. This stuff takes everything off in one swipe and you don’t need to rinse it off like you do with an oil pre-cleanser. Bioderma is from France and is considered a “cult product” (which immediately made me both skeptical and eager to try it at the same time. The dichotomy of my entire life). I can assure you, this one is legit.
There is a huge buzz about this brand and rightfully so. They offer four different treatment mud masks. I have tried all of them and they are ALL excellent but I found the Clearing Treatment nothing short of miraculous. It was recommended to me by my favorite skin care expert who looked at my face while I was on my monthly trip to zitty city. Again, I was skeptical, but I took a sample home and tried it that night. OMG, you guys. This treatment is a grayish colored mud mask that you leave on for about fifteen minutes and you can actually see it pulling all the gunk out of your pores. It’s actually pretty gross, but when I washed it off, it was like I had new skin. The next day, most of my zits were dried up and almost gone. I promptly went and purchased the full size and the accompanying cleanser and I cannot believe the difference it has made. I use the Clearing Treatment once a week and I also use it as a spot treatment when necessary. I absolutely love this stuff and if I had to decide between repurchasing this and feeding my children, I would have to think about it.
My grandmother, who had beautiful skin, told me when I was very young that to keep the wrinkles away that I should moisturize my skin every day. I am genetically fortunate when it comes to wrinkles but I heeded her advice and religiously moisturize every day and night. I have tried many, many moisturizers over the years. I have tried some ludicrously priced high-end ones, most of the drug cheapies and all the ones in between. This one my dermatologist recommended to me when I was in my twenties and this is the one to which I keep returning. It is fragrance free, non-greasy, has an SPF and absorbs beautifully. This one has been tried and true for many, many years and the price is right. Purpose Moisturizer, I love you 4-Eva.
Liquid foundation had long been my beauty kryptonite. I could never get it to look even and when I did wear it, it was gone within a few hours. I had resigned myself to the fact that liquid foundation was not for me and for years I just wore powder foundation. There are a lot of excellent powder foundations, but you never get that dewy, natural look that you can achieve with liquid. A few years ago when foundation primers really started taking off I went nuts and started trying all of them and, of course, I broke out because of all the silicones in the products. Finally, I tried the Hourglass primer, which is oil free, water resistant and has SPF. You only need a tiny amount and it dries to an almost velvet-like texture and it blurs imperfections like fine lines and pores while keeping your foundation in place all day. I went from owning no liquid foundations to owning about ten, all of which I can use thanks to this primer. Admittedly, it is a little pricey but you use so little and the bottle lasts such a long time. If you have the means, get the jumbo size...it is twice the size of the standard size for only twenty bucks more.
I believe that your eyebrows can make or break your face. I say this because I spent the better part of a decade tweezing the crap out of mine and when I look back at photos from that time, I am mortified by how horrible it looked. Fuller, natural looking brows can soften the face and make you appear younger, but this can be difficult to achieve with products if you have very thin or sparse brows . If you watch a lot of youtube beauty videos like I do, you see this stuff all over the place. A lot of those dopey “gurus” use this to draw on gigantic, unnatural, ridiculous drag-queen looking “on fleek” eyebrows and because of this, I was hesitant to try it. Luckily, I happened to be in Ulta on a day that an Anastasia rep was there and she showed me how to correctly use this product and I was hooked. You need a firm angled brush, and a spoolie and a light hand to apply this and it takes practice for sure. I definitely had a few Groucho Marx eyebrow days during my learning curve with this product but now that I have the hang of it, I won’t use anything else. Gone are the days where my penciled-in eyebrows melt down my face on a hot day. This stuff is water proof. Bulletproof. And all other proofs. Get some.
That's all you get for now. Come back next Wednesday for the other six in my arsenal. You know you can't wait.