How to Create Your Own Eyeshadow Palette
For a lot of makeup fans, eyeshadows can be hard to resist. You might go to a cosmetics counter to pick up something else but while you’re standing there waiting for the sales associate to ring you up, there they are… dozens of pretty, fresh eyeshadows begging you to buy them. The next thing you know, you’re at home trying to find a place in your already-overflowing makeup drawer for your newest five shadows. If this sounds like you, it’s time to make your own eyeshadow palette.
Making your own eyeshadow palette makes sense for a lot of reasons. First of all, it’s very practical because it frees up space in your cosmetics drawers. Even if you end up using this newly empty space to justify future makeup purchases, you still have to admit it’s handy. If a lot of your eyeshadows are from MAC, this is also a good idea from an economic standpoint because once you take the eyeshadow pans out of the pots, you can return the empty pots to MAC and get a free lipstick as part of their recycling program.
photo credit: Melissa Gray
Perhaps the best reason to make an eyeshadow palette is because this enables you to group colors that go together well all in one place so you can apply them more easily. It can actually take a fair amount of time to shuffle through your makeup drawers and dig out different colors to see if they look good together every day. When you make a palette, you do all the matching work beforehand and then you have everything laid out together for the future. This also helps you use up those colors that you always seem to forget about. Depending on the size of your collection, you could make a few palettes of different color families such as a warm, cool or neutral eyeshadow palette, a summer vs. winter eyeshadow palette, as well a few others like a neon, bright, shimmer, cream or matte eyeshadow palette.
This task will be easiest if most of your shadows are the same size. Many cosmetics brands sell empty palettes that their shadows can fit into. If your shadows are various sizes or from different manufacturers, or if you want to include blushes or other products, you can always make a homemade palette. This is also a great way to save some money. All you need is an empty CD case and some magnetic sheets, which you can pick up from craft or office stores for a few dollars. Take out the plastic piece that holds the CD (this is usually black) and trace it onto the magnetic sheet. Then cut out the piece of magnet and glue it into the CD case. Some eyeshadow pans will stick to the magnet on their own. If not, you will need to cut out some magnetic strips and stick them to the bottom of the shadow pans.
If the shadow comes in some type of compact or other packaging, it will be necessary to remove the shadow from the pot first. This can usually be accomplished by carefully melting the glue underneath the pan. Here are step-by-step instructions on how to de-pot eyeshadows by MAC and other brands. Alternatively, you can often buy shadows in simple pan format. Pan eye shadows are available from MAC on their main maccosmetics.com website as well as their macpro.com website.
It’s always a good idea to label your shadows when you make a palette. It might not seem important now but once you hit the pan and need to replace a shade, you may not be able to remember the name of the color. When you make your palette, create a color guide on a sheet of paper. Make swatches of each color in the same order that they appear in your eye palette and write the name of the shade underneath. Use a piece of paper the same size as a CD booklet and simply insert it into the cover of the CD case. Then close the CD case and there you have it: your very own homemade custom color eyeshadow palette!
How to De-Pot MAC Eyeshadows and Blushes
Many people prefer having an eyeshadow palette so they can see all their shadows at once and keep them organized and in one place. Depotting MAC eyeshadows will allow you to create your own customized eyeshadow palette. Even better, you can return the empty shadow pots to MAC to get a free lipstick once you accumulate six of them under their Back to MAC recycling program. The same de-potting process can also be used on MAC powder blushes.
Taking the shadow pans out of the black pots that case them can be a bit tricky at first, but it’s quite simple once you get the hang of it. The hardest part is not breaking or shattering the shadow itself, but this is easy enough to avoid if you work slowly with a soft towel underneath to cushion any accidental falls. There are many different methods to depot MAC Cosmetics shadows. Many people use a flame to melt the plastic on the bottom of the pot but this can be downright dangerous. Some people use an iron, which is an improvement on the flame method. However, I find that the easiest and least risky method is using a hair straightening iron.
To get started, you only need a few items that most people already have on hand. You will need a sharp knife, a bit of wax paper, a soft towel, and a flat iron. You can use any type of flat iron as long as the plates are flat. Finally, if you are super organized, you might want to get some round sticky labels so you can label your shadows. The ¾ inch size works well on MAC shadow pans.
photo credit: wine me up
1. Lay the towel down on your working space to avoid any eyeshadow breakage disasters.
2. Open up the shadow pot and look for the line near the clasp where the shroud for the pan sits in the pot. Insert the knife into this line and gently wiggle it back and forth until you are able to pop out the shroud. You may be surprised at how easily the shroud pops out so work over the towel just in case! Set the pot aside and use it for Back to MAC.
3. Turn on your flat iron and rest it on one side, so that one of the plates is facing up and the other is facing down. Cut a piece of wax paper about four inches by four inches and place it on the plate that is facing up.
4. Set the shroud on top of the waxed paper, ensuring that it is positioned over the plate of the flat iron. You should leave it on top of there for several minutes so the heat can melt the bottom of the shroud and the glue a bit. How long this takes depends on your iron, but around five minutes should do the trick. Carefully check the bottom of the shroud and look for an indent in the middle. This signifies that it’s ready for the next step.
5. Stick your knife into the melted indent on the bottom of the shroud and push up gently. The plastic should be soft and the knife should slide right in. The pan should lift out easily. If not, let it cook a little more on the flat iron. You don’t want to push it out all the way- just lift it out a little.
6. Turn the shroud over and place the blade of your knife underneath the pan. Use the blade to lift the pan out and set it on the towel to cool. The metal of the pan will be extremely hot so don’t touch it! Once it cools, it’s ready to be placed into your palette. You can use cotton swabs dipped in alcohol to remove any extra glue that remains stuck to the pan. You can also attach a magnet or sticker if desired.
Now you’re all set to create your own custom MAC eyeshadow palettes!
Makeup Brushes: What to Know Before You Buy
You already know that you need to use a brush to properly apply makeup but not just any brush will do. If you have ever tried to use those sad little brushes that come inside of eye shadow or brush compacts, then you know that some brushes are better than others. Buying a cosmetics brush is not just a matter of running to the drugstore and grabbing a brush that looks like it is the right size. You need to put a bit of thought into your selection or you can end up wasting a lot of money. Here are some helpful tips for choosing cosmetics brushes.
• You should always buy the best quality makeup brushes you can afford. Yes, they can be pricey but this is one case where you really do get what you pay for. Good makeup brushes are an investment. Bad brushes need to be replaced more often and can irritate your skin.
photo credit: Fufi
• Natural bristles are generally better than synthetic ones. They also cost a lot more. Natural bristles are a must for large areas of the face but if you need to save some money, you can get away with synthetic fibers for any brushes that will be used with liquids.
• Pay attention to the material of the handle. Plastic is very easy to clean, which is important when you are working with liquids. Wooden handles, on the other hand, are more elegant and traditional but it can be very difficult to get stains out and these require extra drying time after washing. It’s really a matter of personal preference.
• Consider the density of the bristles in relation to the intended purpose of the brush. Stiff, tightly-packed bristles are a must for an eyebrow shading brush but softer bristles work better for applying loose powder all over the face.
• Look at handle length. Longer handles are easier to work with whereas shorter handles travel better.
• Concealer brushes can be synthetic if you are using them for liquid or cream concealer. Look for a small brush with a tapered round tip for covering blemishes and a flat, tapered square head for covering dark circles under the eyes.
• A good blush brush will be significantly larger than those that are usually included in the packaging of most blushes, yet not quite as big as a powder brush. Look for soft, natural bristles with a tapered head.
• If you are new to brushes, you might want to purchase a brush set from a reputable brand. Brands like MAC and Shu Uemura are considered some of the best. If your budget is smaller, you might want to try Sonia Kashuk or Essence of Beauty. Brush sets take some of the guesswork out of brush selection and are a great way to get a collection of useful brushes together. This often works out to be cheaper than buying them individually as well.
MAC Coupon Code: LASH510
Here is the newest coupon code for a free sample of MAC Cosmetics Zoom Lash mascara with any purchase. You will also get free shipping on your order. Just enter promotional code LASH510 at checkout at maccosmetics.com. Keep in mind that these offers expire after a period of time. We’ll update this post if we find out the exact expiration date. Enjoy! :)
How to Apply Lip Gloss
If you’re just learning how to apply beauty products and cosmetics, lip gloss is an ideal product to begin with. It’s easier to apply than lipstick, and choosing a shade is much, much easier with lip gloss. With lipstick, it is very easy to inadvertently choose a shade that clashes with your skin tone, your eye makeup, or your outfit. Since lip gloss is almost always sheer, reflective or iridescent, you can easily find a shade that will compliment your coloring and still make your lips stand out. Plus, learning how to apply lip gloss is a snap. Our favorites include Dior lip glosses and MAC lip glosses.
Step 1: Start with conditioned lips. The key to applying lip gloss (and lipstick too for that matter) is to start with smooth, conditioned lips. As a general rule, you should apply Vaseline, a lip balm or a moisturizing Chapstick to your lips before bedtime each night to help maintain soft, smooth lips. Protecting your lips by using products with SPF is key since sun exposure leads to dry, chapped lips.
Step 2: When your lips are conditioned and moisturized, if needed, use a toothbrush or a cotton swab to gently brush off any excess dry skin that can make your lips look rough. When you are more consistent with keeping your lips conditioned, you won’t need to do this step much at all. Your lips will stay smooth and soft if you continually protect and care for them.
photo credit: Jenah Crump Photography
Step 3: You may want to apply lip liner before you apply lip gloss. You can use lip liner first, or simply skip this step, depending on what kind of look you are going for. Lip liner will help keep a little color on your lips in between the times you touch up your gloss. It can also help add definition to your lips, help make them look a little fuller, or even out any flaws. When using a gloss on top, you should choose a soft, neutral shade or one that is very close to your natural lip color. You don’t want the liner to be obvious since your lip gloss will likely be somewhat sheer and will require reapplication from time to time. Next week we will be posting extensive details on how to apply lip liner for a wider range of lip makeup looks.
Step 4: Apply the gloss. Glide the color over your lips. Depending on the brand of lip gloss you’re using, the container will most likely either be a squeezable tube or a tube containing a brush or sponge tip attached to the container’s lid. If your gloss is in a squeezable tube, simply apply it by placing a bit of gloss on your forefinger and gently swiping the gloss across your lips. If your container has a brush or sponge tip, simply pull the lid out of the tube and sweep the brush or sponge tip across your lips. Be careful not to start with too much gloss. You can always add a little more, but if you start with too much at first, it can end up looking goopy and messy.
Step 5: Use a q-tip, cotton swab, or your finger to wipe off any gloss that may have gone outside the edge of your lip line.
Step 6: Lastly, be sure to bring your gloss with you in your bag. Gloss is one of our very favorite makeup products, but it does come off easier than other lip products and will need to be reapplied or touched up every so often. In our opinion, the extra lip gloss applications are worth it since lip gloss provides that shiny look that is unmatched by anything else. Enjoy!
Read some of our additional lip makeup tips.
Free Sample of Stila Black Diamond Mascara
If any of you are planning on buying anything from Sephora soon, or if you just happen to love Stila Cosmetics, you’re in luck. For a limited time, you can get a free sample of Stila’s Black Diamond Mascara free with any purchase! Just visit Sephora’s site and enter code BLACKDIAMOND at checkout. The free mascara sample offer is valid while supplies last.
How to Apply Concealer
[See the rest of our How to Apply Makeup series for beginners.]
Concealer is a cosmetics life saver. Nearly everyone can benefit from concealer – even if they’re not planning on applying a full face of makeup. We all have little imperfections that we want to hide and concealer does a great job of this when applied properly. If you’re just starting out with this product, learning the proper concealer tips and application techniques is the key to using concealer makeup without it being obvious and drawing even more attention to your trouble spots. As with any cosmetics product, learning how to apply makeup products the right way will help you get the best look possible.
Step 1: Always use moisturizer first. Concealer can accentuate any dry, flaky spots. This is particularly important if you have been spot-treating pimples because the treatments tend to dry out the surrounding skin. Putting concealer onto flakes only makes the blemish more obvious and the concealer will simply eventually flake off. For best results, you may want to use a mild facial scrub prior to moisturizing. Some cleansers even contain a gentle exfoliating ingredient that is safe for everyday use, like Neutrogena’s Fresh Foaming Scrub.
Step 2: If you are wearing liquid foundation, it should go on first or you risk smudging or removing your applied concealer. On the other hand, if you are using a powder or mineral foundation, it is usually better to apply that after the concealer.
Step 3: Make sure the color you use is an exact match to your skin. It may be necessary to mix several shades together or add some of your foundation in order to achieve the desired color. If you are covering up noticeable skin problems, you may benefit from using a concealer with a slight corrective tint. Reddish blemishes or other skin conditions like rosacea can be canceled out with a concealer with a greenish corrective tint to it. Purplish or bluish under eye circles or veins near the inner corner of your eye or eyelid can be corrected by a yellowish tinted concealer. Keep in mind that these tinted concealers will be best for more noticeable problems. These concealers also require practice and precision to avoid looking funny once applied. For smaller blemishes, a regular concealer will be easiest to use.
photo credit: Allshots Imaging
Step 4: To apply concealer, use a tapered concealer brush and dot a very small amount of liquid or cream concealer directly on top of the blemish or discoloration. Blend outward. Apply more if needed, a little at a time, until you are satisfied with the level of coverage. Be sure to blend the outside edges of where you applied the product so that there are no noticeable lines.
Step 5: To cover areas of discoloration or uneven skin tone, spread a small amount of concealer over the entire area using your finger or a concealer brush. Then blend the perimeter to avoid obvious transition lines.
Step 6: If you are using concealer under your eyes, apply a few dots onto your dark circles and blend the concealer in lightly using your middle or fourth finger. A patting motion will give much better results than rubbing. Some women also apply a bit of concealer to the inner corner of their eyes (near the side of their nose) to help cover up bluish tints that sometimes appear there too. These eye concealer tips can help your eyes look brighter and help you look less tired.
Step 7: Apply some loose powder to set the concealer in place. Mineral foundation will also work well for this purpose.
Learning how to apply concealer correctly can help you create an even finish (even before you apply your foundation) which will help you achieve that coveted, flawless looking skin.
Travel Beauty Tips: Looking Great on the Go
Dreaming of escaping to warmer weather this winter? Or just feeling the need to get away after the stressful holiday season? It’s cruise season – the perfect time for a warm weather getaway.
However, airport security has gotten so stringent these days that many of us are tempted to not take anything with us and just shop for whatever we need when we get there. But there’s one thing that is going with us, like it or not: our makeup! Who wants to get on a plane for several hours knowing they’re never going to be able to refresh their lipstick? Forget about it.
Here are some great travel beauty tips for your next jet setting adventure:
Keep It Small and Keep it Few
Airline regulations allow you to carry one personal item onboard a plane, plus one quart-sized clear Ziploc bag with liquids inside. Don’t think you’re going to get that giant bottle of hairspray in that bag – the airline rules out anything larger than 3.4 ounces.
Anything larger than this is going to have to be packed with your suitcase and you know what that means. You’re not going to be fixing your hair or make-up until you land and (hopefully) reclaim your luggage.
photo credit: pic fix
Keep your solid items in your purse. Things like lipstick, facial powder and blush will do just fine. Buy travel-sized bottles of liquid make-up and perfume, but here’s a tip: hold off on using that perfume until you land. Airplanes are small and crammed with people. Three hundred different perfumes at high altitude is liable to make everyone sick.
Travel-sized bottles of hairspray are widely available, too. Lotions and creams, even acne cleanser, are going to have to follow the airport rules and regulations. If they don’t fit in the suitcase they’ll get the boot.
Keep It Simple
When you’re traveling, take the opportunity to go a little light on make-up. Stick with a nice lip gloss, blush and a few coats of mascara. Wash your hair and style it simply. Forget about teasing or curling. The thinner atmosphere often plays havoc with hairstyles anyway. Leave it free and flowing, or tie a colorful scarf around it. If you’re flying coach, forget the ponytail. It will drive you mad rubbing up against the back of the seat.
Airlines will let you break the liquid rule only if you have a medical condition to do so, and since no one has ever died from not being able to apply concealer (that we know of) you’ll just have to be patient. Wear a pretty pair of shaded glasses to give your cleaner look a little more color and indulge in some bright earrings. You’ll be landing soon… and looking fabulous doing it.
MAC Free Shipping Coupon Code: LILY
Enter coupon code LILY when checking out at maccosmetics.com and get free shipping with any purchase through the end of the day on Sunday, January 10, 2010. Enjoy!
Getting Your Beauty Sleep!
Attention beauties: Never underestimate the importance of getting enough sleep! Getting adequate sleep plays a crucial role in not just your mental functions, but in your physical appearance as well. The amount of sleep you are typically getting is displayed in your general appearance, your weight, your skin and also your stress levels. Don’t write off the phrase “beauty sleep” as a simple cliche. It holds far more truth than most people know.
Sleeping gives your body a chance to repair itself on the cellular level. As you sleep, extra protein molecules are produced to rid your skin of pollutants and infections while they simultaneously rebuild the cells that allow you to wake up refreshed with radiant skin. Think of the days you don’t get enough sleep. You pull yourself up with puffy, bloodshot eyes surrounded by dark circles. You don’t get the necessary sleep to allow the molecules to repair yesterday’s damage. Getting the right amount of sleep is the proven “anti aging” miracle we all dream of.
Now you can stop feeling guilty when you go to bed early and skip your daily workout because proper sleeping habits can help control your body weight. When you sleep, the hormones that regulate your appetite are placed back in control, possibly ridding your thoughts of those nasty cravings. When you deprive your body of sleep, your body naturally craves sugar and carbohydrates as a defense mechanism to jolt you awake. For those of you who can’t seem to shed those last five pounds, try hitting the hay an hour early.
Of course, the best way to feel beautiful is to not feel stressed. Stress hormones are released during the day as a result of today’s fast paced lifestyle. These hormones have physical effects on the body as well. Excessive stress is a common cause of the degeneration of internal organs as well as the aging of your skin (aka: wrinkles!). Sleep helps to reverse many of these effects as it maintains a state of relaxation.
The average adult needs 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night, but it varies depending on the individual. Not getting enough sleep results in a whole bunch of problems, but too much sleep also makes it more difficult for your body to enter back into its functioning mode.
How much an individual needs is dependent on many factors. Here are some things to keep in mind: Women often require an extra hour in the week before they begin menstruating and during pregnancy. Genetics also play a part in determining your specific needs. The amount of time it takes your body to reach the phase of deep sleep where the benefits are received is often hereditary.
The best way to find out what works best for you is to take into consideration your individual situation based on the criteria above. And then, experiment. If you often feel groggy, try going to bed earlier. If you habitually go to sleep early, sleep late, and still wake up unrested, try staying up an hour later. While “beauty sleep” is often used in regards to women’s needs, it is vital for everyone. Get your sleep and you will wake up energized, beautiful, and healthier.
Tired of Skin Care Hype? Anti-Aging Ingredients Explained
We all know how confusing anti-aging skin care products can be. Every company promises that their product is the solution. And honestly, who really has the time or money to purchase and try every single product on the market? Not me! Some of them don’t work at all, and the ones that do can take weeks or months to make a visible difference. On top of that, they’re pretty expensive too!
The solution to this dilemma is to take a close look at the actual ingredients contained in each anti-aging product. Instead of making a decision based on marketing hype, choose to trust only those products that actually contain key anti-aging ingredients.
We all want smoother, firmer skin and a more youthful glow. Choosing the right skin care products is the best place to start.
Here are some key ingredients to look for:
Retinol (Vitamin A) is one of the most effective anti aging ingredients used in skin creams and lotions. The acid form of retinol is tretinoin. Retinol is extremely effective in reducing lines and wrinkles and improving skin texture. Be sure to protect your skin from sunlight with a daily SPF product, as retinol can increase your skin’s sensitivity to sunlight.
Niacin (Vitamin B3) has recently been shown to activate sirtuins, a chemical in our body that has anti-aging properties.
Vitamin C or Ascorbic acid is another commonly used anti-aging ingredient in skin care. Vitamin C is proven to reduce wrinkles and activate skin’s natural collagen, making it much more elastic.
Vitamin E has been called the “ultimate anti-aging ingredient” by many people. It has been used for years to improve skin’s texture and to prevent wrinkles.
Licorice Extract helps to reduce and prevent age spots. It is proven to improve skin tone and evenness.
Omega Acids, including Omega 3 (fish oil) and Omega 6, are powerful anti aging skin care ingredients as they are extremely effective in moisturizing the skin. Not only are omega acids effective in reducing wrinkles and lines, but they can be used early on to prevent them and keep skin looking younger, longer.
photo credit: savor_soaps
Alpha-Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) are wonderfully effective exfoliants that slough away dead cells on the skin’s surface to expose younger, healthier looking skin. Of all the ingredients in anti-aging products, this is a great one for cell turnover and skin renewal.
Beta-Hydroxy Acids (more commonly known as salicylic acids) are a peeling agent. These too are effective in exposing healthier skin below the surface by removing old, dead skin cells. Both alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids are also quite effective in the treatment of acne and discoloration.
Jojoba oil is wonderful for women with sensitive skin and is effective in reducing find lines and wrinkles as well as making the skin much more soft and supple. Don’t let the word “oil” scare you off – it is actually a wax and does not promote acne or clog pores.
Grapeseed oil is a moisturizing ingredient that contains many antioxidants which help promote skin’s firmness and elasticity.
Always, always remember that anti-aging cream ingredients are much more important than any advertisement or marketing scheme. Looking back, you’ll be glad you didn’t waste your money on an inferior product.