Lip gloss: Armani, Tom Ford and Kaplan MD

A cosmetic used to give shine, and often a tint, to the lips: this is the definition of lip gloss by Dictionary.com.

To me, it is much more than that: it is that cosmetic that you carefully chose to make your lips look vigorous, shiny and desirable.

Whether you like to use the lip gloss by itself, or on top of your favorite lipstick, it is totally a personal choice.

There are fabulous lip glosses out there, so I will be using some that I really like: Kaplan MD, Tom Ford and Armani.

Kaplan MD: I love this lip gloss, first because of the protection that it offers – SPF20, and also because it is very moisturizing. Dr Kaplan is a world renowned clinical and cosmetic Dermatologist, caring for the skin of several celebrities, models, and beauty icons from all over the world.

The texture is very rich and it comes in 10 colors: clear, natural nude, berry, peach, ruby, velvet wine, blackberry, plum and rosewood.

Kaplan lip gloss

They main ingredients are Seabuckthorn Berry Extract ( nourishing, revitalizing, and restorative), Squalane ( natural humectant and emollient derived from olive oil), Marine Collagen & Patented Tri-Peptide ( hydration and collagen synthesis stimulant), Hyaluronic Filling Spheres ( smooth and plump the skin), White Beeswax ( locks in moisture, nourishes, softens  and protects the skin).

What I specially like about it t is that they are sheer and sparkly – I usually it by itself during the day and on top of lipstick at night or special occasions.

Nude
Nude

Retails for $30.

TOM FORD: I love the texture of this gloss! it is creamy and very smooth. Lip gloss usually does not last long, but this one adheres well ( when I used it,  it lasted a couple of hours- no eating, drinking or wiping the lips) . I also used on top of lipstick and the result is very luxurious, full, bold and sexy lips.

Available in 10 colors: Naked. Rose crush, Sahara pink, Pink guilt, Love bruise, Sugar pink, Peach absolute, Lost cherry, Tawny pink, and Wet violet.

Tom Ford lipgloss

Naivite
Naivite

Slightly sparkly.

The packaging is simple yet very classy, just like any Tom Ford product. Beautiful.

It retails for $45.

Giorgio Armani: Gloss D’Armani – encompasses three collections: Skin Lacquers collections and Bronze collection, and Gloss D’Armani lip gloss.

Skin Lacquers:  Inspired by the lacquered perfection of a flawless porcelain doll, it blends a shine varnish with lip tone pigments, giving a sheer coverage enhancing lips and cheeks. The idea is that the natural lip tone is enhanced and perfected with the dewy color of the gloss.

It is available in 6 shades ( 513 – Rosaperla, 514 – Petal, 515- Vintage, 516 – Coral, 517- Hot and 518 – Rosewood). Shades 515, 516 and 517 are excellent to be used in soft, porcelain skin tones, while 513, 514 and 518 look fabulous on summer tanned skin.

513, 514, 515
513, 514, 515
516, 517, 518
516, 517, 518

The Bronze collection is limited edition. It comes in ‘Pink Quartz’, ‘Rose Crocoite’, ‘Rasberry Zincite’ and ‘Red Andradite’ and it is a blend of inky translucent lacquers with robust micronized pigments.

509, 510
509, 510
511, 512
511, 512

Gloss D’Armani lip gloss: The Cinema Lacquer. Inspired by icons of the cinema, Armani once more offers glamour. The lip gloss flexible velvet applicator adds volume and defines contours – it’s no questions something that you notice immediately.

It comes in 28 gorgeous shades: you will find a shade that suits your taste and personality – from nude beiges, desaturated pinks, plum shades and dramatic reds, there is a shade for everyone.

100, 101, 402, 403, 507, 508
100, 101, 402, 403, 507, 508

Screen Shot 2013-01-31 at 1.00.58 PM

400, 401504, 505
400, 401
504, 505

Screen Shot 2013-01-31 at 1.01.08 PM

201
201

All of them retail for $28 ( good value)

Perfumes I love…

Perfumes that I love…

I am definitely a perfume girl – can’t leave my house without the fragrance that will easily express my mood and what I am up to at that moment ( actually, even if I don’t leave the house I like to use the fragrances to set my mood for the day!).

Obviously, I am solely expressing my opinion and personal experience: we have to consider that the same fragrance might smell slightly different from one person to the other .

Each person has his/her unique body chemistry: hormones, medications, diet, and even stress level, when “combined” with the fragrance scents (notes) can affect how it will “smell on your skin”. The compounds of your skin such as fat, sugar and proteins influence, and the skin type (dry or oily) together with your fragrance will produce a unique scent.

Naturally, my favorite fragrances are soft, have a lasting citrus note and maybe a touch of green tea, or a little woodsy scent at the end. As this would be the category that I would choose first, it would express my most raw personality traces, such as free-spirited, fun and outgoing.

In this category, some of my favorite are:

1- Bulgari “Extreme”:  its fragrance Family is “Fresh – Citrus Top. Its heart notes: Jasmine, Citrus, Rose and its base note is Green Tea. Some other touches come from bergamot, orange blossom, cardamom, coriander, pepper, jasmine, Bulgarian rose, and woods. More intense (concentration 15%) than the Eau Parfumee au The Vert, still as delicate and subtle as the original.

The bottle is elegant as well as the packaging. It comes in  1 oz and 3.4 oz.

I use it both casually or for special occasions, it really depends more on how I feel and how I want to be perceived.

Bulgary ed

2-Jo Malone Lime Basil & Mandarin Cologne: 30 or 100 ml, this cologne carries the scent of limes  on a Caribbean sea breeze, Lime Basil & Mandarin and it is considered a universal cologne – both men and women are delighted when using it. To me, the scent of fresh limes and mandarins is very distinctive and powerful, yet soft and pleasant. You can also smell the basil and thyme at the end.

I use when I want to exude that fresh and casual side of me – it’s usually one of my day time options.

There are some “flowery” ( as I playfully say… actually Floral) fragrances that really appeal to me also, bringing out that romantic, feminine side of me (and I believe every girl would feel the same…)

Jo Malone ed

1- Acqua Fiorentina:  CREED brought back Acqua Fiorentina and sure made a lot of women very happy. Creed is famous for its traditional art of making very exclusive fragrances:  founded in 1760 and passed from father to son since then, CREED is the only dynastic, privately held luxury fragrance company in the world. CREED is based in Paris.

Top Notes:

Lightly sweet greengage plum, Diamond Jubilee Apples and prumeau.

Middle Notes:

Renaissance roses, white carnations, Sicilian bergamot and Calabrian.

Base Notes:

Virginia cedar and Indian sandalwood are a heart-charming close, with a lively hint of white grapefruit.

At first I thought that it was a little sweet for me, but I suddenly started feeling not only feminine and romantic, but really unforgettable: it is a very distinctive fragrance.

Acqua Fiorentina ed

2- Elie Saab Le Parfum is another fragrance that I absolutely love: Mandarin tree blossom, gardenia and vetiver blend with warm honey rose and make a romantic and memorable  Eau de Toilette.

I also like the sophistication and simplicity of the bottle and packaging.

It comes in 1.7 and 3 oz. To me, it is a fragrance that you can use at any time.

Elie Saab ed

There is a very special category, basically a “my category”, that I call “intriguing, exotic and sensual”. And in this category I chose some of the most exquisite fragrances:

1– Violet Blonde by Tom Ford.

Top notes: violet leaf absolute, Italian mandarin and baie rose.
Middle Notes: Tuscan orris absolute, Tuscan orris butter and jasmin sambac sampaquita.
Bottom Notes: benzoin, cedarwood, vetiver absolute, silkolide and soft suede.

It is elegant and yet I feel empowered and sexy. It exotic and sophisticated. It’s mysterious.

As it is more of an opulent fragrance, most of the times I use for special occasions, or when I really want to feel empowered and transpire confidence.

Comes in 1.7 and 3.4 oz.

Tom Ford VB ed

Obviously, as I said when I started this article, I L-O-V-E perfumes, so I will be reviewing and giving my thoughts about other fragrances soon.

And you?  How do you feel today?  Which fragrance would express your mood and personality?

The hourglass…

Are you a hourglass? Lucky you!

The hour glass top and bottom are very proportional and the middle (waist) is narrow and very coveted.

Hour Glass Shape
Hour Glass Shape

There is basically no clothes that would look bad on you.

You can use and abuse of the wonderful wrap dresses (even though they are just awesome for all body types) and anything that accentuates your wonderful figure.

You may want to consider your other features such as height, bust size, complexion, hair color, to define what will flatter you the most. For example – even though a hourglass type could use any kind of pants, you might want to consider your height to decide for flare or straight legs. You can absolutely use fitted tops, but might want to consider your bust size to decide on the neckline. There is really nothing much that will make you look bad, but there are – as for everyone else – the ones that will flatter the most.

So, consider your height to pick the right dress or skirt length, if you have short or long waist to decide on what kind of belts, your hair color as well as complexion to choose the right color (at least to use on the top part of your body, close to your face).

Here are some examples of really good choices for the hourglass:

The pencil skirt always does a good job and the belt is fabulous to accentuate even more the hour glass figure.
The pencil skirt always does a good job and the belt is fabulous to accentuate even more the hour glass figure.

 

The wrap top with the v-neck is just perfect to contour the hour glass figure.
The wrap top with the v-neck is just perfect to contour the hour glass figure.

 

Yes, skinny jeans look awesome when you are hour glass shape... Using a longer tee with a shorter cardigan also helps defining the waist line ( not that you really need it...)
Yes, skinny jeans look awesome when you are hour glass shape… Using a longer tee with a shorter cardigan also helps defining the waist line ( not that you really need it…)

 

 

Hair Styles: a ride from 1920 to 2013

I believe the first time that women really ventured into short hair styles was in the 20’s. Short hair with all types of waves ( finger waves, marcel and perms among others).

The finger waves, for example, was introduced in the 20’s as a way to soften the bobbed curls.

1920 Hair Style

The marcel waves appeared when the first curling irons were out ( not going to talk about the technology and danger of those irons at that time) and were named after Francois Marcel, the hairdresser who invented the style in 1872.

In the 30’s, women decided getting back to their femininity, they were tired of the “boyish figure”. That’s when they started using more fitted garments and growing their hairs again, still using lots of soft waves, such as the “finger wave” style.

The 40’s included updos and the “peek-a-boo bangs.They came up with a nice variety of updos and made the sensual peek-a-boo bang very popular. The pin-curls were also very popular and probably the most stylish.

1940 Hair Style

Glamour was the word in the 50’s. Every woman during this time aspired to look stylish and well-groomed. At the time, the hair was being teased, sculpted, sprayed, waved and basically fixed in some kind of semi permanent curled and sculpted hair. That’s when the cosmetics industry became really happy…

The 60’s were unquestionably elegant: they were a transition from the “big hair” in the 50’s, to the frizz, ragged hair of the hippie era. Flips were the most popular and had several variations. The bouffant was another popular option.

1960

And then came the 70’s. And together with it, the hippies. Women were trying to look as natural as possible: time to let your hair down! The Afro was one strong trend and the other one was the Shag.

80’s: Shag. Not the same shag of the 70’s though: something very close to a mullet. The Jeri curl was another very popular option ( Michael Jackson had one back in the day, and that really set the trend strongly). During the 80’s no one knew their natural hair color anymore: from blond  to any crazy neon color.

1980 Mullet

Sexy was a big word in the 90’s: still big, but more sensual. There was more variety: you could have long straight hair as well as short and curly, and it would be fine. Jennifer Anniston was a trend setter during the 90’s.

This decade saw great strides made with styling tools such as hair extensions and straighteners, advancements that allowed women to become more bold in their choices and change styles more often. Many classic styles from history were reworked for the beginning of the 21st century.

2000 was different: there were all kinds of style. Lots of extensions, straighteners, and other tools. Styles used back in the old days started being revamped. Long or short, straight or curly, blond or black, it is time for everyone to praise the hair they have ( and just enhance a little with the amazing tools).

Retro trends with a touch of future: this is 2010! Fringes, layers, updos, geometric. Sleek ponytails, loose, soft waves and braids were a must during spring 2010. Long and seductive hair was trendy in 2011, as well as bangs.

2010 Natural waves

Ponytails, fishtails, bobs and layers are in for 2013. The hairstyles 2013  show the versatility and variation of timeless and various haircuts. Take advantage of your natural hair, find the right hair cut, keep the color vibrant and you will sure be the most stylish one around!

2012 Pomytail

Chanel and Dior Lipstick

First of all, I have to say that I love Chanel and Dior!

Then, I have to say that despite of my fashion ventures and even some daring on eye make-up, I am not a huge lip color girl. I always tend to go with nude, maybe a little of a sheer brown, if I am in the very daring mood, maybe even a golden shade or so, but it has been a huge challenge to use any kind of red lipstick! I know…and I have to agree: it is the most beautiful, classy, sensual and feminine color on the lips, but I guess it is only a personal thing.

That said, I got to pretty different shades of red and decided trying them on and letting you know how I felt .

The first one that I tried, was the ROUGE DIORIFIC by Christian Dior. I chose a very intense shade of red: 014 – Rouge Dolce Vita (Dolce Vita Red). When I first saw this lipstick, I have to say that the case has definitely got my attention: the shape, de details, the golden shiny case looks like a little jewel, one that you want to have on top of your vanity, in front of everything else! It is just gorgeous!

Dior Rouge Dolce Vita (Dolce Vita Red)
Dior Rouge Dolce Vita (Dolce Vita Red)

Something else that really attracted me, is that it has a matte finish and I can opt to just keep that look, or to apply a lip gloss on top of it, mainly in the center of my lips, to make them look awesome and full.

Personally I liked the texture which allows a very smooth and even application. It is creamy, but your lips do not feel sticky.

It has a long-lasting formula – I had to re touch mine only after a little over 6 hours ( counting that I had drinks and appetizer and did not need to retouch immediately!). However, I believe that it is not only on the formula, but also, on how your skin/lips absorb the product. The longevity might very from person to person, that is why, I always like to remind everyone, that this is a personal review, just my personal experience.

It retails for $ 36.00.

Here are some of the colors for Dior Dolce Vita:

Dior Dolce Vita colors

After loving the Dior Rouge Dolce Vita, I ventured into Chanel: I chose a different shade of red, more wine/burgundy shaded. Rouge Allure color 104 (Passion). That sounded just like me…

Starting also with the case, I found it simple and sophisticated, and love the case, which opens with a click! As simple as that – click it and it pops.

Chanel Rouge Allure
Chanel Rouge Allure

Rouge Allure is very elegant and luxurious, and has very intense colors. It has a satin finish (what also appealed to me because I had control on how shiny I wanted my lips to look) and a long-lasting formula as well.

Its formula contains Tea Butter and Sappan Wood, which gives lasting protection ( together with the Green Tea, which has lots of antioxidants).

Red is an iconic color in Chanel’s collections – since it was used by Gabrielle Chanel to give the impertinent look, countering her famous LBD and white pearls.

The texture is also fabulous, easy to apply. I needed to touch my lips up after around 5 hours and half ( but again, that might vary a lot among different people, and their activities during that certain period of time).

It comes in 16 shades and I am featuring some of them below.

Chanel Rouge Allure
Chanel Rouge Allure

Other colors available. It retails for $32.50

Just comparing the colors…

Dior - Chanel lip color

My red lipstick experience…

Well, seems that I survived my red lip experience. And maybe even am a little more willing to venture into new lip colors!

Make-up brushes: natural or synthetic?

Make-up brushes are a must have in any girl’s life: whether on your vanity or in your purse, you got to have the right brushes. They make an incredible difference on your make-up application. Using the wrong brushes is almost like writing without a pen..it does not work!

But which would be the right brushes for you?

I believe you have to take several factors into consideration, such as absorbance, cleaning, the type of make-up that you use and even a certain morality fact. Not everyone will feel comfortable using natural bristled brushes, since they are made of natural animal hair (usually sable, squirrel, pony goat and badger). You have also to be attentive for signs of allergy (some people are allergic to certain types of animal hair).

Some of the differences that you might want to know before choosing your brushes: the synthetic brushes, in my experience, are a little bit stiffer than the natural ones (usually made of nylon or polyester/taklon), while the natural ones are very soft.

The synthetic are much less expensive, since they are man made and produced in mass. The natural bristled brushes though have a really long life. So, you definitely have to take the investment into consideration.

In my experience, natural bristled brushes are excellent for powder based beauty products while the synthetics are great for the liquid/creamy ones.

Once you weigh the facts and decide if you are going natural or synthetic, it is time to decide which brushes are essential to you.

There are a ton of different brushes waiting to have a place on your vanity, but being realistic, unless if you are a make-up artist, you do not want or need ALL of them…

Here is what I have on my vanity ( I carry a mini version in my bag):

1- Foundation brush
2- Blush/bronzer brush
3- Shadow brush
4- Small eye shadow brush
5- Ultra fine eyeliner brush
6- Lip brush

These are the ones that I believe help me to be always ready, to feel always camera ready! But keep in mind that I am a kind of “light natural make-up” gal.

If you like a more elaborate, heavier make-up, you could add a concealer brush, an angled eye shadow brush, angled brown blush, a blending brush and whatever other brush you judge necessary. The important thing is that you know what each one of the brushes can do for your make-up, giving you that perfect glowing face.

Here is some info on your basic brushes:
1- Foundation (and powder)brush: usually a large brush with long bristles, some of them with rounded top, some with a flat top and even some with an angled top. The variety of styles and brands is immense, so you can also consider your personal preferences, which one works better for you ( personally I like the round top ones). Bobbi Brown, Guerlain, Dior and Chanel make fabulous foundation brushes.

Guerlain Foundation brush

2- Blush/bronzer brush: usually a medium size brush used to apply blush or bronzer on the cheeks. Again, the material (natural or synthetic) and shape may vary and you will have the chance to pick the one that feels right to you. I personally love the Laura Mercier Angled Cheek Contour brush and the Estee Lauder Blush Brush 15.

Bobbi Brown Blush Brush

3-Shadow brush – usually short soft bristled brush with long handle. Lots of options to choose one. Some that I really like are: Tom Ford Beauty Eye shadow Brush, Lancôme All Over Shadow brush # 22 and NARS Dome Eye brush.

Bare Essentials Eye brushes

4- Small eye shadow brush – usually has a square head with a very slight tapering on the corners and it is appropriate to apply color to your eyes. Depending on the effect that you want on your eyes (like a smokey eye) you might want a different eye brush, such as a stiff dome brush.

5- Ultra fine eye liner brush: unless you use eye liner that already comes with a brush, this is a must have. The perfect eye liner makes a whole difference on your final look. I love the Laura Mercier Fine Point Liner brush.

Laura Mercier Eyeliner brush
Eco Eyeliner brush

6- Lip brush – again, look for the right brush: small and narrow -the tapered edges make applying lip color to the corners of the mouth effortless. Armani Beauty Lip Brush is just perfect!

Essence of Beauty Lip brush

Some other brushes:

The powder/foundation brushes

Essence of Beauty Powder brush
Laura Geller Face brush

The eye-duo brush (nice for the smokey eye effect)

Bare Essentials duo eye brush

The angle eye brush

Angle Eye shadow brush

The concealer brush

Concealer brushes

The face brushes

The face brushes

One of my favorite sets

Guerlain Brush Set