Category Archives: Product Talk

top beauty products of 2014

TOP MAKEUP PRODUCT (PERSONAL USE): Let me start this post by saying I’m straight up obsessed with Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelée!  First of all I love cheek products that look juicy and fresh on the skin.  If I could hoard all of the cheek gels and creams in the world I would be very happy.  I wondered how it could be coconut water-based and long lasting at the same time but it is! It also contains argan oil which is so good for your skin.  The color above is my favorite: Getaway Red.  It gives the faintest pinky red wash of color on the cheek (which is never enough for my personal taste) but is buildable for a brighter look.  Don’t let the bright color in the jar scare you away.  The best thing is that it looks so FRESH on the face.  It’s perfect for winter when everyone is feeling pale and dried up.  Spring too!  I would not recommend it for super oily skin or for a hot and humid environment since there could be potential for it to look greasy.  This is my hands down favorite discovery for my personal makeup kit this year.  

TOP MAKEUP PRODUCT (PRO KIT):  You cannot be a member of any pro makeup forum without hearing again and again and again how amazing Viseart eyeshadows are.  Made in Paris, they are largely regarded as the best in the world.  I finally decided to give in and try the top selling matte neutrals palette and I literally fell in love with one highly pigmented swipe.  I cannot describe how velvety smooth these go one with very pure color payoff.  The color was so strong at first that I realized I would have to start barely tapping my brush in the shadow when applying.  Also there was little to no fallout when using these.  No annoying little dark dots of shadow messing up the under eye area.  HOW do they do it?  It is a beautiful french mystery.  Of course now I don’t want to use any other eyeshadows and had to get more.  Heaven!

TOP HAIR PRODUCT:  You would think dry shampoos would all be very similar but you would be wrong.  Some are meant for absorbing oils, some are meant for creating volume, some just add texture.  Big Sexy Hair Volumizing Dry Shampoo does just that.  Many brides are amazed at how their flat, thin hair can be transformed into voluminous locks.  This product usually has a hand in that.  I also like that it absorbs oil and, when used at a distance, doesn’t leave a white residue on dark hair.  Your hair will feel stiffer with this stuff on it but I’m fine with that!  This is a staple in my home hair arsenal and my pro hair kit.

TOP SKIN PRODUCT: This is the year that I discovered the joy of pure macadamia nut oil.  My skin had grown extremely sensitive and the area around my eyes was so dry but any product I put on it made the situation worse.  My esthetician friend Betsy (at Bare on Belmont) turned me on to this.  It is a very lightweight oil that is the closest thing to the oil our own skin produces.  It is easily absorbed by the skin and has many uses for moisturizing the body and hair.  If you are struggling with product sensitivities but need some moisture, give this a try.






My spring makeup obsession is glosses and balms that leave behind a lovely stain.  The first one I ever tried was by Tarte and they are still my favorite.  Now Tarte has many imitators.  These don’t need to be applied “perfectly” on the lips.  In fact, it looks better when they aren’t.  Don’t even think about using lip liner!  Fresh, casual, pretty.  These are available at many price points and can even be found in the grocery store.  I think my brides will love these!

a collage showing lip stain glosses and balms

Shown in collage: Cover Girl LipPerfection Jumbo Gloss Balm, Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain, Tokidoki Gelato Lip Balm Stain, L’Oreal Colour Riche Caresse Wet Shine Stain, Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture, Clinique Chubby Stick {looks like the others but I just learned does NOT leave a stain behind:(}, Buxom Big & Healthy Lip Tarnish, Tarte LipSurgence Lip Tint.

I hadn’t seen my makeup artist BFF in nine whole months but instead of hugging me he froze and exclaimed “Oh my god! Did you get lash extensions?!”.  Nope, it’s just my awesome new Laura Mercier Faux Lash Mascara (which he demanded to know all about and bought the next day for his kit).  Truthfully, I’m pretty set in my ways when it comes to mascaras and I like to stick to my tried and true ones for clients and myself.  But when my Sephora peeps RAVED about it in unison and begged me to try it and then my Nordstrom Cosmetics Department Manager friend asked me THE VERY SAME DAY if I’d tried it yet, I knew I had to give it a whirl.  Wow.  Just wow.  This is not one of those one swipe mascaras clean definition mascaras.  This is for the person who takes a minute to really build and comb through the lashes with several coats.  This is for va-va-voom looks, not light and natural.  The makers claim there are no fibers in it but it totally looks like there are (I guess they are teeny pieces of wax).  It’s long-wearing and also performs a little better after a week or two of use.  In short, I’m in love.

HD and the extreme detailed zoom-in capabilities of cameras changed everything for makeup artists.  Product choices and techniques need to be revamped to make skin look gorgeous and fresh in the age of the extreme close up.  Portland’s professional makeup artists gathered at the NW 23rd MAC store to learn about this very topic from MAC Senior Artist Caitlin Callahan in her Close Up Makeup Master Class.

MAC Pro Masterclass NW 23rd Portland OR

Caitlin C. rocked our world and busted us out of old ruts by demonstrating a myriad of techniques.  Gone are the days of covering the entire face in foundation (I wanted to stand up and shout ‘Amen!’ at this one), covering the entire under eye with concealer, setting with powder (what?  I know!), lining the entire lip, using one lip color for the whole lip, stopping that brow bone shadow at the edge of the eyebrow.  The amazing list goes on and on.

Caitlin Callahan MAC PRO master class

Basically it’s all about TEXTURE!  Here are many of the products used to create that flawless and fresh look.  Some of the products I picked up afterwards were MAC Oil Control Lotion, more Mineralize Skinfinish Natural powders, Pro Longwear Concealer, Clear Brow Set, and Prep + Prime highlighter pens.

MAC Pro cosmetics for HD

Caitlin is so generous with her knowledge, fielding all of our questions with humor and enthusiasm while working on her model.

Caitlin Callahan and Cassandra Kennedy Beauty 

Here she gives one young artist encouragement on her career path.

Caitlin Callahan talks to a young makeup artist

And there’s my girl Kim, manager of the store who always gives me the best product advice.  She and Katherine, along with the rest of the staff, helped us get all of our kit essentials in the shopping frenzy that followed the Master Class.

MAC store manager Portland OR

Thanks all!  Your debut Master Class was a smashing success!  Thank you Caitlin!!!

MAC store NW 23rd Portland OR

My top Beauty Product picks for 2011 are:

TOP MAKEUP PRODUCT: Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint

TOP HAIR PRODUCT: Bumble and Bumble’s Texture hair (un)dressing creme

TOP SKIN PRODUCT: PCA Skin C-Strength 20% with 5% Vitamin E

TOP BODY PRODUCT: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunblock SPF 30

TOP BEAUTY TIP: Bold Lippie!

Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint swatches

Bumble & Bumble texture, PCA Skin C-Strength, Neutragena Ultra Sheer

My hands down favorite TOP MAKEUP PRODUCT of the year is Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint.  It’s oil-free, hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, water resistant, SPF 20, but best of all it gives the skin that elusive luminous glow and takes off at least 5 years to your face!  When I received a sample I thought “Ugh, who wants a completely shimmery face?” and then I tried a dab of the Pearl color on my cheek.  Oooh, surprisingly good coverage for a tinted moisturizer and it gives off a really soft and subtle reflection.  No little sparkles.  I put it all over my entire face (DO NOT DO THIS!) and it looked way too shiny.  Then I tried my usual foundation in the t-zone and this on the rest of my face and it looked phenomenal.  I took my little sample on vacation and tried it on two different ladies during impromptu makeovers.  They both oooh’d and aaaah’d and demanded to know what was in the little brown tube.  I smiled like I had beat them to the punch when Allure gave it a Best of Beauty award.  I know you’re thinking the last thing you have time for is to put two foundations on, but you gotta trust me on this one!  You can buy a both either a sample size or full size at b~glowing (a Portland-based biz!) or a full size one from the place I got my original sample, Birchbox.

My selection for  TOP HAIR PRODUCT of the year is Bumble and Bumble’s Texture hair (un)dressing creme.  The main struggle I and many of my clients have is with lack of interesting texture.  My hair is thin and straight and so I’m always trying to find something to fatten it up and give it some grip or a tousled piece-y quality.  I don’t ever expect those products to also give me volume – it’s like that would be asking too much of something.  When I read the description for this, I was skeptical but it delivered on every aspect.  It also holds curls and waves exceptionally well without being stiff.  The finish on this is matte so if you like shiny hair this may not be for you.  Sign up for Bumble and Bumble emails because they often have free samples and travel sizes of their products (including this one) as well as handy little video tutorials.

I chose  PCA Skin C-Strength 20% with 5% Vitamin E for my TOP SKIN PRODUCT of 2011. This is a super powered Vitamin C serum that minimizes fine lines and wrinkles and SERIOUSLY brightens and evens out skin tone.   My friend and Beauty guru Joanne McDonough of Joya Beauty turned me on to this.  She has amazing glowing celebrity dermatologist kind of skin – the kind that makes you demand a recommendation so that you can get the same kind of fabulousness.  She sent me this and after some initial tingling I slept on it and saw an immediate difference the next day.  I sent her a facebook message asking why it worked so fast and she wrote back “The PCA products are very concentrated. That cream has a lot of ascorbic acid which is a lightner, brighter and tightner. Then the Vit. E combo is great for skin repair and the growth of new baby cells.”  This is a great addition to your skincare repertoire.

My uber favorite TOP BODY PRODUCT of the year is Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunblock SPF 30.  If there was a Nobel Prize for beauty, I would give it to the person who invented this.  I’m not even kidding.  It’s winter now, but think back to those muggy hot summer days where the humidity would just hang in the air.  The sun’s rays are pounding down on you and the last thing you want to do is lather up with some kind of lotion or cream.  Even the oil free ones and the new liquid sunscreens (and I have really tried them all) feel a little too moist (and ultimately sticky) on the skin.  Plus, you don’t really have the time to slather up, right?  This product was such a life saver for me.  Just spray all over (even the hard to reach back shoulders), wait 5 seconds, and go.  Best of all, YOU DON”T FEEL ANYTHING on the skin.  It’s dry and not sticky at all.  Bonus: it’s oil free and water resistant.  I went through three cans over the summer and never got burned once.   Please note that the other SPF versions of this product and the cool touch versions do NOT feel the same – they are slightly stickier.  SPF 30 is the BEST!!!

My TOP BEAUTY TIP of the year  is to go ahead and have the guts to try a bold lipstick color.  C’mon, everyone’s doing it!  Lipstick is back in a major way!  Here’s my challenge: Pick one that you’d normally never wear in real life but the color is very attractive to you (fuschia? cherry red? black plum?), buy it, and then wear it just once to some kind of event.  Keep the makeup light so the lips are the focus of your look.  I am the queen of nude and sheer gold glosses and that’s all I typically wear.  When I saw all of the bright orange lips on the runways, I felt excited and I admired them from afar but didn’t have the courage to do it myself.  Finally I decided to go for it and  I got so many compliments and people asking what brand it was (Make Up For Ever Rouge Artist Intense).  I noticed with myself and my brides that bolder lip colors really photograph well.  I’m now wearing them more often and it is really fun.  Give it a try!

Cheers to a beautiful 2012…