Monday, June 19, 2017

Losing Your Level of Contrast: Real Advice on Cosmetics. Part II

Beauty gurus have all kinds of advice on dealing with life after 40/50. I find it odd that most of the ones who give this advice are under the age of 40. They have no first hand knowledge of how to deal with applying cosmetics when you have matured. 

Some of the "rules" are spot on. Others are just ridiculous and need to be ignored. 

Let's get started. 

1) "No sparkle or frost after (insert age here)." 

OK. I completely agree with sparkle on the face. I think it is a pretty editorial type of look, but it comes across as juvenile. If you are over the age of 18, save it for a holiday party. 

Image result for sparkle makeup stock photo

A much better choice are pearl finished eye shadows. Combine them with mattes to soften down the effect. 

Image result for pearl eye shadow stock photo

2) "Don't wear matte cosmetics."

I think this is false, especially if you are a Winter influenced season, like Dark Autumn and Dark Winter. You may need to wear a matte lipstick to better define your lip line.

If you are more mature and still have oily skin, that matte foundation you have been depending on will still be something you are in need of. I would change the application. Use a Beauty Blender or sponge to apply it so it doesn't settle into lines and look heavy. 

The one thing I will may have to go a little bit lighter with your lipstick colors. Sometimes that really cool "goth" color you could pull of at 35 might need to be dialed back when you hit your 40's and 50's. 

3) "Don't wear black/liquid eye liner."

This one I agree with, to a degree. If you are or were a brunette True Winter, black may be the only thing that will show up on you! What I don't like is a shiny black finish. It will be harsh and aging, no matter what your seasonal category is. 

I see no reason to stop wearing liquid eye liner, especially if it works for you. Just be very picky about the color. Stay within your seasonal category and you should be just fine. 

4) "Wear a softer lip color after (insert age here)."

This advice drives me nuts!!! I completely understand that our lips change a lot when time marches onward. They get thinner over time and we will see vertical lines appear. You will have to change the formula (e.g., exchange glittery glosses for satin finishes), but PLEASE do not dilute the color tone. Few things look worse on a Bright season than a pinky shade of mauve, as an example. And, no....there are no universally flattering lipstick colors. Save all of the rose and mauve colors for Soft Summers....they are the only ones who will look good in them. 

5) "Do not wear face powder on more mature skin." what do you do when you are 50 and you still have oily skin? What if you want to seal down your makeup so that it has some chance of staying during the day?

Personally, I avoid pressed powders. They are way too cakey looking and heavy. I wear a thin veil of loose face powder to combat shine. (My personal fave is Cover Girl Professional loose powder.) Use a big, soft powder brush with loose face powder. It won't settle into lines and will also turn down the glow. 
CoverGirl Professional Loose Powder Trasnlucent Fair 105

If your skin is drier, than by all means skip the powder if you are able to. 

6) "No waterproof mascara after (insert age here)."

Lashes do tend to thin out over time. I don't personally think waterproof mascara is an evil thing. If you live in a humid environment (think coastal Texas or Florida in July), then waterproof mascara is a must!!! Just be a bit more gentle at removing it. Use a lash rebuilder at night, like this one from Majestic Pure. 

7) "Toss the gloss, and if you DO wear it, go for a color close to your skin tone." 

I don't agree with this, either. Some women who are lighter seasons (True Spring, Light Spring, Light Summer) do better in lip gloss than they do in actual lipstick. I do not like really shiny patent leather types of glosses on anybody, regardless of age. I would look for a thicker gloss formula and avoid the really thin "roll on" types. 

As for the "wear a nude shade" advice....NO. Nude lips do not look good on anyone, unless you are a Soft Autumn or Soft Summer. Even then, you have to choose the right shade. 

8) "Powder blush is a no-no."

Again, not entirely true. It depends upon your skin type. Blanket advice is to avoid using powder blush because it can settle in fine lines. This may be a fact for some and not for others. Whatever you do....please don't fall for the advice you need a "pop of color" on your cheeks if your seasonal category demands you wear something softer in tone. Not everybody looks great in a Light Spring pink or peach. 

9) "Don't put mascara on your lower lashes."

I got this advice in my early 40's. I never liked the look of it. My eyes looked like I didn't finish the job. I think that you can soften the look with maybe a coat of mascara instead or two or three. It will balance your eye shape better than if you didn't put anything there. 

10) "No heavy concealer after (insert age here)."

You may feel you need a heavy concealer. The key to this is application and choosing the right shade. Use a Beauty Blender or other sponge or light touches with your fingertip. You will still get the coverage you want without it being cakey. 

Some things I highly suggest you DO:

1.) A good skin care routine.

This is the time in your life where an esthetician or spa technician with a medically based background can get you on the right pathway. 

One thing I will say....exfoliation at this stage of the game is crucial. You don't want flakey, dry skin to cause cosmetics application to be more of a challenge than necessary. If you prefer to DIY this, Paula's Choice products have gotten rave reviews. Don't forget your lips, either! A gentle lip scrub will make lipstick application far easier. 

2.) Be mindful of your lashes and brows. 

These are two things that tend to change shape and thin over a period of time. You don't have to spend a lot of money on growth serums with side effects, either. I would look on Makeup Alley for product reviews to point you in the right direction. Just remember, whatever you use, you will have to use for the long haul as hair goes through three growth cycles that last from a few weeks to a few months. 

3.) If your seasonal category is still working for you, stick with it. If not, now may be the best time for a redrape.

Most women don't have to worry about this, especially if you are a True Cool season to begin with. However, if you are having particular challenges with your palette, now may be a great time for a revisit. 

4.) Think about growing out your hair color, if you are ready to go for it. 

I have seen many women go "au naturel" and it ends up looking better and more youthful than their previously dyed hair color. True, not everyone is ready to take this step and it can be a big transition...but the change can end up being worth it!

I hope you enjoyed the two parts to this series. Since I have just turned 50 recently, much of this advice is something I am much more seriously considering. 

Turning the corner into a new decade is indeed a blessing. Embrace this and know that to get to this stage in life is a precious privilege not everyone gets to experience. 



Sunday, June 18, 2017

Losing Your Level of Contrast...What Happens When We Go Gray. Part I-Palette Colors

During the transition between our regular, pigmented hair and when our hair goes white or gray, we have the false illusion of losing our natural level of contrast. It can be a frustrating experience because how we used to see ourselves has changed radically. The truth is, as our hair changes our skin tone also changes. That brown or dark blonde hair that looked so nice on us 20+ years ago might in reality be too harsh for us right now. 

Taken from advice I learned a long time ago from Bernice Kentner who developed Color Me A Season, here is how to get used to a whole new color scheme. 

Consider that you may have actually changed seasons. This does not happen to everyone, but it can happen to some women. When your hair and skin tone change, you might drop into the next seasonal category cooler:

If you are a Dark Winter, your cooled down skin tone and gray or white hair may shift you into the True Winter palette. Dark Winter colors may look a little too browned on you. 

True Winters look beautiful in their gray or white hair. You might not feel as comfortable in your red or yellow any longer, but at this stage of the game, your remaining colors will look stunning. 

Bright Winters might not feel so good in their lime greens, yellows, corals or warmer reds. The intensity of the palette may feel like it is a "little too much". That being the case, True Winter would be the next logical place to go. Should your coloring soften, Light Summer would be worth trying. 

Bright Springs may do better with the cooler end of their palette and move away from using the yellows, yellow greens, rusts and more orange colors. Borrow from Bright Winter if you have to, but remember that Bright Winter is darker overall. If your coloring really softens down, experiment with Light Spring. 

True Springs are the ones that, for the most part, retain a warm hair color even later in life. Your gray may look like a very light blonde. If you find your coloring has softened and lightened a bit, a move to Light Spring may be prudent. 

Likewise, if you are a Light Spring and have transitioned to gray or white, experiment with Light Summer in order to see if it works for you. The darker end of it might be a little bit too dark for your delicate complexion to handle. 

Since True Summer is markedly darker overall than Light Summer, it is unlikely that you will switch to it. As per Bright Spring, center your Light Summer wardrobe and cosmetics around the cooler end of your palette. 

True Summers are a True Cool season and will likely stay in that palette for life. You may look better in your colors at this stage than ever before. Move away from mauve browns and use your grays and navy colors as neutrals. 

I have found that Soft Summers going gray stay pretty true to their palette. Soft Autumns, on the other hand, may indeed find that Soft Summer may be a better fit as they go gray. 

True Autumns have some really gorgeous gray hair that looks very striking against their palette. However, if the colors seem a little harsh for you, Soft Autumn may be a great place for you to start over. 

Dark Autumns retain their contrast well into later years. If you feel the warmer end of your palette is not as comfortable as it once was, or if the whole color scheme feels off, try Dark Winter. let's say your seasonal category has not changed at all. If anything, you had a draping done again and everything has stayed the same. It may be frustrating to hear that, BUT how you use your palette will change. 

1) You may have gathered this from reading the above, but your neutrals will change. Your browns and beige might not be so great any longer. Make the switch to gray, navy, your version of black and white. 

2) The warmer colors of your palette, like yellow, orange, peach, yellow green and gold might not be as nice on you as before. Try working with the cooler end of your palette, even if you have never done so before. 

3) The high contrast seasons are:

True Winter
Dark Winter
Dark Autumn
Bright Winter
Bright Spring

If you are one of these seasonal categories, keep dressing in a high contrast manner. Even though your hair may be lighter, there are still strands of your darker color entwined where you may not be aware. Wearing your clothing in a high contrast manner will make your hair come to life and it will look more three dimensional.  You may find that wearing bright or dark eye glass frames gives you balance and helps accentuate your contrast level. 

Even as we age, our eyes retain their level of contrast unless we get cataracts. There are few things less flattering than wearing clothing that is too muted or drab for us. It will dull our eyes and make our skin tone look either ashen or dirty. If you were formerly in your youth a high contrast person, continue to dress in that manner. Your eyes will look much more crisp and sparkling. 

The Medium to Low contrast seasons are:


True Spring
True Summer
True Autumn

Medium contrast is one of those enviable looks that not everyone can carry off. You are the one that has the world's greatest "mix and match" wardrobe. By using your lightest palette lights and your darkest palette darks as neutrals, you will create visual interest while not appearing too harsh. 


Light Summer
Light Spring
Soft Summer 
Soft Autumn

If you are a Light or Soft season, trying to create contrast that was never there to begin with will be incredibly aging. Don't go there. Your Light and Soft colors will put a glow on your complexion. A more harsh combination may erase or harden your features. As per above, Lights and especially Softs have ease in creating a fantastic mix and match wardrobe. 

Everyone is individual regarding the adjustments we have to make. I am hopeful that the above suggestions point you in the right direction!



Wednesday, June 14, 2017

True Summer Makeup List-High End/ULTA

True Summer has the most challenging time shopping for cosmetics. Most colors available as of right now have neutral bases to them, or they are quite intense. That is what is "in fashion". Things contain too much blue or red, putting them in the True Winter category, or other items have a more browned base that places them in Soft Summer.

When examining each of these shades carefully, I placed an image of  the True Summer dot chart on my smart phone and drew from my own knowledge of the palette based on previous associations.

Lipsticks, liquid lipsticks and balms:

Mally Beauty H3 Gel lipstick in Hibiscus

Lorac Pro Liquid Lipstick in Wisteria
Lorac Pro Matte Lip Color in Magenta
Lorac Alter Ego lipstick in Cat Lady
Lorac Alter Ego lipstick in Pageant Queen

Stila Stay All Day Matte lipstick in Soiree
Stila Stay All Day liquid lipstick in Aria
Stila Stay All Day liquid lipstick in Bacca

Buxom Full On Lip Cream in Berry Blast
Buxom Shimmer Shock lipstick in Supercharged
Buxom Full Bodied lipstick in Swinger

Anastasia Beverly Hills liquid lipstick in Madison

Too Faced Melted in Melted Berry
Too Faced Melted Matte in Bend and Snap
Too Faced Melted Matte in Unicorn
Too Faced Melted Matte in Jawbreaker

Tarteist Lip Paint in Fly
Tarteist Lip Paint in Twerk

Butter London lipstick in !!!
Butter London lipstick and polish in Bodacious

Lipstick Queen in Saint Hot Rose
Lipstick Queen liquid lipstick in Decadence

Smashbox Always On liquid lipstick in Shockaholic
Smashbox Be Legendary lipstick in Publicist Matte

Urban Decay Vice liquid lipstick in Menace
Urban Decay Vice liquid lipstick in ZZ
Urban Decay Vice liquid lipstick in WSM
Urban Decay Vice lipstick in Bittersweet
Urban Decay Vice lipstick in PDA
Urban Decay Vice lipstick in Alpha

Julep It's Balm in Magenta Plum Crème
Julep It's Whipped Matte Lip Mousse in XOXO
Julep It's Whipped Matte Lip Mousse in Pucker Up

Fiona Stiles liquid lipstick in Thrasher


Blush colors are next to impossible to find. Everything is either too browned or too warm with gold flecks. Both of these shades are a bit of a compromise. I think Rose Parade will probably be closer to True Winter....use a light hand.

L'Ancome Blush Subtil in Rose Parade
Fiona Stiles Soft Cheek Veil in Pomander Walk


It is difficult to find a cool toned highlighter since everything is so blessed WARM or earthy. This one did not perfectly match the True Summer palette, but it is champagne based with a cool iridescent undertone to it that I think is beautiful.

Stila Transcendence cream highlighter

Eye liner pencils:

Grays are either too warm, too browned or just wrong. The other eye liner pencils were too intense, leaning Winter. I thought these two looked great against the palette.

Stila Indigo eye liner
Stila Teal eye liner

The red herring of the bunch was eye shadow. At this point, my eyes were about ready to cross from doing all of the swatching and cross checking I needed to do in order to compile this list. I can tell you honestly....I did not see one single eye shadow collection that would work. Everything is either too browned, grayed, shiny or warm. You will have to bring your swatch book with you and purchase single shadows.

CAVEAT: Please, for the love of all that is good, swatch these colors to your True Summer fan before purchasing. Don't take my word for any of the above until you see everything with your own two eyes under the truest lighting you can find.



Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Makeup Basics For Soft Summer

If you have read my blog for any length of time, I  mentioned before that Soft seasons have the easiest time shopping for cosmetics. I think, in many cases, the choices are absolutely mind boggling. It is better to go for quality over quantity, so if your beauty budget will allow, be willing to spend extra and have a smaller selection of good products rather than a larger collection of mediocre quality ones. 

(CAVEAT: Please swatch these to double check. All colors are subject to availability and may be discontinued at any time. )

Let us start with the eyes. 

One of my all time favorite one-stop-shop eye shadow collections for Soft Summer is the Urban Decay Naked 3 collection:

Image result for naked 3 collection

Soft Summers can get away with some depth. I also think the Urban Decay Smoky collection is a great option. Some of the shadows run a little on the warm side, but I do not find that to be a deal breaker. 

Image result for urban decay smoky collection

There is no shortage of blush for a Soft Summer. Many women think they can get away with mauve or rose on their faces, since they are popular colors, but only you look your best in them. I think IT Cosmetics Ombre blush in Sugar Plum is gorgeous:

CC+® Radiance Ombre Blush Sugar Plum Main Image

Bobbi Brown also has a fantastic selection of softer shades made just for you. (Please note, Desert Rose has been discontinued and Pale Pink may be too bright):

Image result for rose pink blush

The list of lipsticks can go on for literally ages and ages. Soft seasons have the characteristic of drop dead elegance that no other seasonal categories can replicate in the same way. I think that is why so many women are drawn to those colors. 

Where to begin?

How about the Tarte limited edition lipstick vault? I is pricey, but I think you would only have to give away as gifts a few shades and keep the rest for yourself with ease. Lots of mixing and matching options abound.

You have everything from nudes to deeper more dramatic colors. Keep in mind....Soft Summer can take some depth. 

Image result for tarte lipstick vault

NARS has some beautiful ones as well. Anna, Anita, Bridgette and Audrey would be worth your while checking out. If you have never tried NARS lipsticks, the formula is the cat's pajamas. 

Image result for nars lipsticks

Prefer something more glossy? Butter London has a TON of options. Just about every shade available in this collection will work for you, with the exception of Come to Bed Red, Jaffa, La Moss and Snog. 

Image result for butter london lipsticks

If you have been draped a Soft Summer, choosing cosmetics will be easy.....maybe even a little too easy! Have fun trying out different formulas and enjoy!