Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Beauty Buys

Happy Holidays!
Hopefully you are enjoying your holiday season and are in the best of health and spirits. I just wanted to take a moment to share 'some' of my 2013 beauty buys now that the year is coming to a close. Pardon the lengthy post. Hope its helpful.

Skin Care:
Sephora Face Complexion Brush ($7, Sephora.com) - Love the gentle exfoliation I get daily from this brush (used with the Purity cleanser usually).  It is also an inexpensive way to stimulate your circulation and improve skin texture. My skin feels clean but never dry.

Simple Sensitive Skin Expert Cleansing Facial Wipes  ($6.49, CVS) - This is a great make-up remover wipe that doesn't irritate my skin. I use this before a work out; to clean up mistakes; or if I'm in a hurry and don't have time for the Boscia cleanser. It is also great for travel.

Clarins Toning Lotion ($22, Sephora.com) - I never liked to use toner because my skin is so dry, but this tones and leaves my skin super clean without any drying or irritation. It has chamomile in it and is alcohol-free. I got a free sample from Sephora and I plan to buy a regular size bottle. Will work great in the summer when my skin is more oily in the t-zone area.

First Aid Beauty Anti-Redness Serum ($34, Sephora) - Its all about trial and error for Penny but this was an error. Not only did it not do anything for the redness (caused by my eczema) but it smells awful. And for the price it was a big fail. It happens.

L'Oreal Voluminous Butterfly Mascara ($9, CVS) - Love this mascara with its unusal wand. It separates my lashes easily and catches even the shortest and finest of lashes. Works great on top and bottom lashes.

NARS Pro Prime Multi-Protect Primer SPF 30 ($34, Nordstrom) - I love that this foundation primer has SPF; it gives me that extra protection I need since I don't touch up my make-up during the day. Its a light weight liquid that absorbs quickly.

MARC JACOBS BEAUTY, Lust for Lacquer Lip Vinyl Sheer ($28, Sephora.com) - Was so disappointed with this purchase. I really wanted to love this gloss but is was too gooey (is that a word?). LOL! It didn't stay put long enough and the peppermint oil in it dried out my lips. Bought it in beautiful shade called 306-Sweet Escape (well it was beautiful in the ad).

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics (OCC) Lip Tar Stained Gloss ($18, Sephora.com) - Bought this in a beautiful deep berry color called Rhythm Box. Its a great stain to use alone or under lipstick for a long lasting effect.

Kat Von D Lock-it Tattoo Concealer ($25, Sephora) - This has become my staple. As described by the brand, this concealer is a "heavy duty, highly pigmented, transfer- and water-resistant, multitasking concealer." After trying many other brands, I find that this covers my hyperpigmentation better than any other, and stays put all day.  I apply this with my Sigma F80 Flat Kabuki Brush ($21) in a stippling motion for full coverage.

MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot ($20, Maccosmetics.com) - This cream eye shadow is what I use daily as a 'base' to neutralize the dark color of my lids and allow my eye shadow colors to show true. I use eye shadow primer underneath this for longer lasting looks. Comes in a variety of colors but I didn't find the one that matches my skin tone until I went into the MAC store; its hard to tell how the color will show on your skin online. Layin Low is the best match for me.

NARS Radiant Cream Compact Foundation Refill ($38, Nordstrom) - This is a really good lightweight cream foundation with medium-full coverage. The texture of this cream almost feels gel-like when you apply it. I've never had a cream feel so light. For me it wears best when set with powder; lasts all day. The empty compact case is sold separately ($10).

(read full story...)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Beauty Bonus - Tips for the Holidays

Hey Beautifuls!

I can't decide what I want to share with you today so I might just give you a potpourri of sorts. Hope its helpful and fun. :-)

1) Out with the old, in with the new:
Now is a great time to replenish your make-up stock. It's cool to catch the holiday sales, the limited edition colors and palettes available now. Look for coupons and promo codes for additional savings. If you're a make-up maniac like Penny, sign up for any rewards programs and rack up your points; the savings are worth it! There are a plethora of new technology, colors, formulas, and products that debut during the holidays. You may also have more 'expired' make-up in your bags than you know.  Remember that expired cosmetics usually don't perform well, but can also cause break-outs and allergic reactions. Here is a link to Sephora's blog with a great answer on how long you should keep some of your products (i.e. Eyeliner, Eyeshadow, Mascara, etc).

2) Glam it Up:
CG LipPerfection in Euphoria
It's the holiday season and many of us have seasonal events to attend. If you want to get glam for the holidays but your not quite sure how to amp up your look, try some of these tips:
  • Try a bold, bright lip and slightly shimmery eye. Don't overdo it with the sparkly eyes if you're wearing a bold lip; you want the focus to be on your lips.
  • Try a smokey eye (especially if you're not used to wearing one) and nude or light pink lip. This is easier than it looks and is always a good sultry 'go to' for a festive occasion.
  • Wear your hair down  or partially down if you always wear it up (and vice-versa). You want to change up your usual look to get heads turning. Wear heels if you normally wear flats, etc.
  • Accessorize with jewelry, a statement purse, or funky shoes. Step out of your comfort zone and try something with a pop of color, texture, or both. If you normally wear small earrings, then try something larger. If you're not used to chunky necklaces, then try one with your comfortable small earrings. 

We all notice that red lips are classic but especially hot this time of year. Believe Penny when she says there is a red out there for everyone! Ask the cosmetic rep at the beauty counter to help you find one you are comfortable with. Don't be afraid. If you're not used to bold make-up maybe try a sheer red like Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter in Red Velvet or Candy Apple (love this stuff). If you are comfortable doing bold, wear a bright true red color like NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella (goes w/ almost every skin tone; looks great on darker skin tones)...or Covergirl Lip Perfection in Passion. Or try Covergirl Lip Perfection in Smitten or Euphoria for a deep wine/plum color.

Revlon Lip Butter in Red Velvet
To keep bold lips from smudging or feathering outside your lip line, use a lip liner in the same shade or slightly darker shade as your lipstick. Line your lips then blend the color in toward the center of the lip. By filling in the lip with lip pencil it will help your lip color to last through lots of eating and drinking. After applying lipstick, blot it with a tissue, then apply one more coat for staying power. If you make a mistake when applying your lipstick or liner, you can always clean up around your lips with foundation or concealer and s stiff brush, but be sure to blend it out so it is not obvious. NOTE: If red is not your color, try a deep fuchsia or bright pink; they still make great statements if they match your skin tone.
(...read full story)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Bad Habits

Hi all:

At first I was going to review some of my latest beauty buys and then I came across this article the other day that I just had to share with you. This article by Amanda Storey basically reiterates what I've been saying to some of my friends forever. We all have Bad Beauty Habits that we need to pay attention to. Check it out:

Breaking bad…beauty habits! Why you shouldn’t hang on to that old lipstick.

Here are some of Penny's products that you might be interested in:
  • Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes ($4.99, Target) - These are the first non-irritating wipes I've found to remove makeup on my sensitive skin. Keep these in your nightstand for those late party nights. LOL!
  • Simple Kind to Eyes Makeup Remover ($6.97, Walmart) - Like the wipes, this is the mildest eye makeup liquid remover that is actually effective. This doesn't burn or irritate my eyes or eye lids. This will help with that stubborn mascara and smokey eye makeup that never seems to come off.
  • Sephora Daily Brush Cleaner ($7-$15, Sephora.com) - Cleaning your brushes in between washes may seem strange to some but this helps. Some makeup brushes harbor bacteria and can cause break outs. Also, if you use the same brush for more than one product you definitely should clean them in between so your products don't cross contaminate. Don't worry about your brush being wet; they dry very quickly. Penny still cleans her brushes weekly with soap and warm water; daily cleaning doesn't replace that. 
  • Honey-n-Brown Sugar DIY Lip Exfoliator - Put a drop of honey and a pinch of sugar in the palm of your hand and mix together. Lightly rub this gritty paste across your lips; leave on for a minute, then rinse with warm water and pat your lips dry. This is the best dry skin exfoliator AND moisturizing lip treatment in one! This is great for the dry winter weather and for the trendy red and oxblood lipsticks and lip stains we all love this season.
Hope this was helpful.

Be blessed. Be beautiful.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Holiday Happenings

Holiday Look - Bronze eye/Red lip
Hey Beautifuls!

Hope everyone has been enjoying this beautiful Fall season. Living in the Northeast allows me to observe the gorgeous colors of the season...whether it be outside in nature...or in the wonderful fall fashions and trends in make up. I love this time of year and the lovely options we have.
Speaking of options...the holidays are swiftly approaching...what is your 'go to' look for the season? Many women dig out their glittery silver eye shadows, dark smokey eye shadow palettes, or bright red lipsticks to celebrate the season. While red lipstick is still one of the hottest trends around, don't be afraid to update your look this year. The same goes for the traditional shimmery eye shadow and black smokey eye looks.

MAC - Rebel
How about trying a deep wine or burgundy lip instead. MAC's Rebel lipstick sometimes paired with a dark liner like MAC's Nightmoth, offers a super sexy vampy berry look for the holidays. If you're more comfortable with red, Penny has several that she loves: Make Up For Ever's satin lipstick in #44 or #46; NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella; MAC's Lipstick in Ruby Woo (universally the most popular matte red); and for something shiny Shiseido's Lacquer Rouge in Nocturne.
TIP: Remember to use a lip liner and blend inward to fill in the lips. This will help your color to last. Also always check your lipstick after lots of eating or drinking. Having smudged red lipstick is not a sexy look. LOL! Be sure to exfoliate lips before applying red lipstick as they look bad applied to dry, chapped or flaky lips.

(read full article...)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Pink Power!

Although it's important to support cancer research all year round, it's time to put the power behind the pink...October is Breast Cancer Awareness month as we all know. Please show your support for this all important cause. There are so many ways to lend a hand these days. Just about every purchase you make, every store you enter, every sport team you cheer for, shows their pink ribbon pride.

Penny loves that the beauty industry decides to 'Fight Like A Girl' every October and offers so many fun ways to contribute to the cause.
  • ULTA Beauty announced today Oct. 1, that throughout the month of October, Ulta will participate in fundraising events to support The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF). As part of their campaign ULTA's “Cut-A-Thon” will be held on Oct. 13 from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. at Ulta salons across the US. Donate a minimum of $10 and you get your choice of a shampoo & cut; facial treatment or pink hair extensions. Don't forget to look for specialty products with the pink ribbon as well. See  www.ulta.com and type "breast cancer awareness" in the search engine.

  • Also check out Sephora stores or www.Sephora.com for speciality items like a limited-edition five-piece brush set in a pink snakeskin travel bag; skincare, fragrances, where proceeds from these special items go to the BCRF.
  • Macy's will once again invite America to THINK PINK in an effort to draw attention, heighten awareness and raise funds in the fight against breast cancer with commemorative pink product from an array of fashion, cosmetics brands and home merchandise.
  • Check out Gilt.com where 100% of the purchase price is donated to Bright Pink, fueling education and support programs that equip young women with the strategies they need for risk reduction and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer.
  • Check out MAC and Bobbi Brown cosmetics for special Breast Cancer Awareness month limited edition products. http://www.bobbibrowncosmetics.com/index.tmpl and www.maccosmetics.com
 (read full story...)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Foundation Frenzy - Part II

On August 24th I posted a piece about the new Sephora + Pantone Color IQ foundation match technology. I've since visited Sephora for my color matching and I have to say I'm impressed with their technology and the staff's efficiency. It's a very simple process which only takes a few minutes and I found the end result to be close to my current shade. The rep was extremely helpful and knowledgeable. Even with my hyperpigmentation (melasma) I was given quite a few choices. We tested the areas of my face without the dark discoloration as well as the areas with discoloration just to get a good balance. The technology is supposed to factor out things like bad lightening to give you a more accurate match. If you're anything like Penny, and your complexion changes with the seasons, then this new technology will be a good way to find your foundation match.


The Sephora rep simply held a small device to my forehead, cheek and neck which took a picture of my skin. The day I had this done I was not wearing any make up. I assume that is the best way to test. We took a few photos of my skin with the handheld device and put the data into the Color IQ computer. The computer then gave me several foundation options  that mapped to my IQ number (2Y09). I could select my undertone to narrow it down even more; or if I wanted to go slightly lighter or darker. The cool thing is that my results were emailed to me right there on the spot. The rep handed me a tablet and I typed in my email address and was able to send myself the results/suggestions provided.  I had a really good selection of formulas and brands to choose from. Just to compare, I completed the Color IQ quiz online by using my current foundation. The result was close (2Y08), which made sense since I was newly tanned when I completed the in-store test. The brands I currently use are Make Up For Ever Pro Finish powder foundation, and Cover FX liquid foundation. I also use MAC's Oil Blot Powder for touch ups.

If you don't have a Sephora near you, go to their web site to complete the Color IQ questionnaire to get your results.

I was excited to learn that Sephora also has a Skincare IQ system, which I plan to try out on my next trip to the store.

Be blessed. Be beautiful.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Foundation Frenzy

Hello Beautifuls!

Many of you have shared over the years how challenging it is to find the right foundation shade for your skin tone. Well my favorite beauty store Sephora + Pantone has just introduced new technology to help match you up with the perfect foundation called Color IQ. Penny's excited and can't wait to check this out!

You have the option of going into the store and having them find a match for you by using a handheld device that takes a picture of your skin. Or you can go online and find other matches based on your current foundation.  http://www.sephora.com/color-iq

The nice thing is that they also offer options for one shade lighter or one shade darker. This is important for Penny since I have to cover my melasma which is much darker than the rest of my skin. Unfortunately for me my current regimen requires two kinds of foundations and a concealer.  I also change complexions pretty drastically with the change of seasons so the other shade suggestions will come in handy. Sephora provides you with shade options in a variety of formulas, brands, and at various price points.

Let Penny know if you find your color match and how your overall experience was.
Be blessed. Be beautiful.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Resource Round-up

Hello Beautiful:

It has been too long since I stopped by and I apologize for the delay. Trust and believe lots of products have been tried and tested these past couple months (after all, Penny IS a Product Princess). LOL! But time and motivation has not allowed for fingertips to keyboard.

This time I want to share with you some of the blogs, vlogs, magazines, and websites that help keep Penny informed. I know many of you are already up on the happenings but an even exchange of information is always helpful. So let Penny know what she's missing out on. What's your favorite source of beauty information? Please leave a comment (if you prefer it not be published, simply indicate that it is a *private* message and I won't post it.) Thank you for your feedback,

Some of these sites I check regularly and others I have subscriptions to:
  • www.Sephora.com - As a member of their VIB beauty insider club I get dibs on beauty products before they are released to the public. I also get great samples and free shipping on my online orders. Sephora has also made some changes lately and they have moved some of their online resources to the stores themselves. One example is their Fragrance Finder kiosk. This is an in-store touch-screen monitor that help you find the perfect fragrance. They also have a new Color IQ event going on now. With new technology they can find your perfect foundation match, in a variety of brands and formulas.
  • www.MichellePhan.com - Everyone knows this beauty entrepreneur and YouTube make-up sensation. She has been covered by many of the major media outlets, is a spokesperson for Lancome, has her own jewelry line and is about to launch her own makeup line. Although I get emails almost daily since signing up for her blog, I just filter what I'm interested in and keep those write ups for when its time to shop for new products. She often has goods beauty tips.
  • http://www.youtube.com/user/gossmakeupartist - Wayne Goss - Pro Makeup Artist. Love this guy out of the UK. He is always up on the best products and the newest trends.
  • www.http://musingsofacitygirl.com/ and http://www.youtube.com/user/DRBrooklyn730 - Cindy Diaz was one of the first bloggers/vloggers I ever followed. She has great make-up tutorials that I have often re-created successfully one my own.
(Read full story...)

Friday, June 21, 2013

Having a Meltdown?

Summer is here and some of you are wondering how to keep that pretty profile of yours from becoming one big melting pot. Yes...how do we keep our face in place when its hot outside? If you wear a full face of makeup like Penny does, you know that the warm temps can be unkind sometimes. There is a fine line between 'dewy' and 'greasy' in Penny's world. LOL! Aside from keeping your body cool in general; there are lots of products on the market and a few tips and tricks that you could use to keep your makeup from migrating as the day progresses. Penny's here to help you navigate some of your options.

Maybelline Nude Dream Airfoam
  • Try liquid, foam, or powder foundation since those formulas are lighter and tend to stay put better than cream. (Examples: Cover FX Liquid, Maybelline Nude Dream Air Foam, Make Up For Ever Pro Finish Powder).
  • Try a tinted moisturizer, BB cream, or CC cream if you don't need a lot of coverage but still want to look polished (Examples: Smashbox, Bobbi Brown w/ SPF35).
  • Try an oil-blot powder to set your makeup and for touch-ups throughout the day. (Example: MAC Oil Blot Powder, Make Up For Ever High Definition Powder).
  • Try an foundation primer before applying foundation; some come in 'oil comntrol' formulas too. (Examples: Make Up For Ever High Definition Primer, Smashbox Photo Finish).
Bobbi Brown Long Wear Gel Eyeliner
  • Try an eye shadow primer (Examples: Too Faced Shadow Insurance; Urban Decay Primer Potion , NYX Shadow Base).
  • Try a cream eye shadow or pencil (Examples: Maybelline Color Tattoo, Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes, Bobbi Brown Long Wear Cream Shadow).
  • Try a waterproof mascara (Examples: L'Oreal Paris Voluminous, Maybelline NY Volum Express, Sephora Collection).
  • Try a waterproof eye liner or gel liner (Examples: Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes, Bobbi Brown Long Wear Gel Liner).
(read full story...)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Concealed Weapon?

Hey You!
Penny has been on a mission lately...a mission to carry a concealed weapon. Don't panic...this is not about gun control. Its about 'coverage.' My weapon of choice these days is concealer. LOL! Between my dark under eye circles (hereditary) and my melasma (hyperpigmentation) on my cheeks, temples and forehead, I now hate going without makeup. :-( In recent months I have tried quite a multitude of concealers, in varying shades and formulas. Some worked okay, some not so much. Last week, with the help of a knowledgeable Sephora rep, I think I finally found a combination of concealer and foundation that works.

Kat Von D Lock-it
Tattoo Concealer
While in Sephora I shared that I have been struggling to find a good cover for my melasma and the rep asked if I ever tried Kat Von D's products. She swore that it was the answer to my challenges. After demonstrating the Lock-It Tattoo Concealer, set with Make Up Forever's Pro Finish Powder Foundation (in #168, Golden Camel), I was amazed at the coverage! I love my Cover FX Foundation and will still use it. But the combination of these two products actually covered my melasma better than ever before.

 Here are some of my trials and how I rated them:
  • Kat Von D's Lock-It Tattoo Concealer in Med #26/Original Tan ($25) - great buildable coverage
  • NARS Radiant Cream Concealer in Biscuit/Med-Dark ($28) - easy to blend; great for under eye circles; does not crease
  • Bobbi Brown Corrector Dark Peach ($23 ) - should be used under Bobbi Brown concealer but I sometimes used it by itself; just have to make sure you set with powder
  • MAC Studio Finish Concealer SPF35 in NC 42 ($18) - love that their is SPF; good coverage but can sometimes be drying; better for blemish coverage
  • MAC Pro Longwear Concealer in NC 42 ($18) - liquid formula with decent under eye coverage; does do much for melasma
  • Glamoflauge Heavy Duty Concealer in Tan by Hard Candy ($12.99) - inexpensive; very opaque liquid; worked ok under eye, but doesn't come in enough shades.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Bedtime Affair

Hi...Penny here!

Boscia cleanser
I know it's been a long time but life has a way of interrupting the fun stuff. I’m hoping to be here more often so I’d love to hear from you. Let Penny know what you want to hear about. Today’s topic is bedtime bad habits.

Over the years I have had many a debate on whether or not we should remove our makeup before bedtime. Penny’s answer is always…absolutely! But I realized that so many of my friends who have the (bad) habit of sleeping in their makeup, were never convinced no matter how many times I told them that it was an unhealthy habit. Whenever I would say that sleeping in makeup can cause break outs…my smooth-faced fawns would point out how they never break out and have been sleeping in makeup for years. So it got me to thinking…I need some professional back up. LOL! ;-)
Neutrogena Wipes
NOTE: Also see previous post, Blank Face, September 17, 2011

Sleeping in your makeup does more than clog your pores and potentially cause acne. Here are a few excerpts from the pros, already featured on www.beautystat.com:

During the day, skin is also exposed to pollution, dirt and grime. So at night, “it’s not just make up you want to wash off”, says Dr. Charles Zugerman, Associate Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Northwestern University.

It has been said by the pros that our skin needs to 'breathe' when we go to sleep. Our body temperature rises as we sleep, hence opening the pores. “So when makeup is left on, it could seep deep down into the pores making them clogged and then breakout”, says Dr. Dennis Gross, Board Certified Dermatologist and Dermatological Surgeon in New York City. He also says that once your collagen levels decline (due to the aging process), the pores do not snap back as easily once it has been enlarged. And leaving makeup can only lead to more inflammation that can generate free radicals and collagen breakdown. (read full story...)