Who Knew Superpowers Come in the Form of Lipstick?

My super power: red lipsticck

My super power: red lipsticck

On a typical day, I wake up my face every few hours by applying fresh lipstick. It is my own personal super-power. When I am feeling a bit tired, a moment of insecurity or stress – or both – I grab my lipstick and reclaim myself. It is that simple. Lipstick is the easiest way to find the super power within each of us. And there is a reason that red has always been the iconic symbol of beauty and power. It is perfect. You just need to find the red that works for you, and that has to do with your skin’s undertones – the second layer of skin underneath the top skin. You are either a cool (pink), neutral, or warm (yellow) undertone. I look best in a red with blue undertones.

I use Josie Maran Argan Balm to first moisturize my lips and then add my favorite lipstick, Cover Girl Tempt 455.

Who knew superpowers come in the form of lipstick?

Photo by Alexandra

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How lipstick changed my life …

IMGP0629Of all the tips that came from my closet audit with stylist Kim Naci over a year ago, the most important was this: change my lipstick! And do it now. All these years, I thought I had a knack for choosing the right lipsticks, but as it turns out, I had no idea. Kim changed all that when she introduced me to Cover Girl #355: Tempt Seduction. Not quite a full-on red, it is somewhere between a pink and a red and a perfect match for my skin, which is fair and ivory-toned.

What started as a slow introduction has now become a ritual to which I obsessively rely. I won’t leave the house without it. I once wore this lipstick to feel dressed-up. Now, Tempt Seduction has become my staple for even my most dressed-down days. When I push myself out the door for an 8:30 am exercise class, for example, I will not have on a stitch of makeup. But I wouldn’t think of going without my lipstick. Why, you may ask, is lipstick so essential? I think it has something to do with how it showcases our other best accessory … our smile.

Photos by Alexandra

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Poolside Accessories

At the pool

At the pool – photos by Cheryl

Sunscreen – check

Sunhat – check

Sunglasses – check

Lipstick – check

Smile, from being in a state of pure joy – check

At the pool - photos by Cheryl

At the pool – photos by Cheryl

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Pops of color!

IMGP9545IMGP9553-1This season is all about adding pops of color! Find them in nature, find them in fashion; there is a bright world of accents waiting for you. My new favorite color is yellow and celadon (somewhere between a yellow and a green). Another favorite are Prabal Gurung for Target dresses; the one I wore to Sardi’s seen here and this celadon-colored dress, now on clearance for $14!! Paired with a neutral color shoe, my tried-and-true Sigerson Morrison gold wedges, the color pops even more.

By the way, I love mixing old and new; I have owned these shoes for 12 years and am inspired to pull them out of my closet and wear them as often as I can since hearing the news about the talented designers Kari Sigerson and Miranda Morrison. I added red lipstick and the roses of course – and I’m on my way!

**Photos and roses by Alexandra**

IMGP9559

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Seeing red

Photo credit: visage/Getty images

Photo credit: Visage/Getty images

On the heels of a proposal for more conservative uniforms, there is now news from Turkey that Turkish Airlines will ban flight attendants from wearing red lipstick and nail polish. Although the airline contends that the ban is aimed at keeping its crews “well-groomed with makeup in pastel tones” and that it simply prefers neutral tones, many are concerned that this is another step to move the country closer to the ruling Islamic party.

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It’s a new day!

Photo credit: Patricia Saxton

Photo credit: Patricia Saxton

Kim, professional stylist with Style for Hire, changed the way I dress and see myself when she came to my house a few weeks ago, and audited my closet. But cleaning out the old is only part of the transformation; tailoring pieces you already own and finding new pieces to build your wardrobe are the second steps. My new finds: a black, a-line skirt (a style that flatters all body types), red lipstick (Cover Girl #355, which Kim told me to imagine as an accessory all its own!), and tall black boots (well, these were not on my formal list, but I did hear you, Kim, when you asked if I owned a pair!). Breaking down my outfit: skirt – Theory; sweater – a Marc Jacobs‘ I have had for years but forgot how to wear; and boots – Sergio Rossi, I found at a super price on sale at a consignment shop, because … who can resist that!?

I am still on the lookout for a camel skirt but I feel energized with what I’ve changed so far! I wish new fashion days for you, too!

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Shop your closet first …

photo 2-2

I want to put on the clothes and let them do their job … you shouldn’t have to work too hard for clothes.” Kim, fashion stylist

How well do you know your clothes? When was the last time you checked what was in your closet? I thought I knew my clothes and I thought I knew what was in my closet. I am often telling people to shop their closets first before heading to the store to make a new purchase. But what did I really know about my own closet? It turns out, not as much as I thought, and today was the moment when I put my money where my mouth is! My new friend, Kim, a professional stylist with Style for Hire, a company co-founded by Stacy London and Cindy McLaughlin, came to my house where we spent a few hours editing my clothing and performing a closet audit.

I was nervous and I didn’t know what to expect. First, I worried about how I was dressed. Would Kim think I was dressed appropriately for a closet audit? What is appropriate anyway? (in turns out that it didn’t matter because I was dressing and undressing the entire time!) And what would happen if Kim removed clothing to which I was still attached? I had too many questions, but fortunately for me, Kim was delightful and warm and funny and kept the mood light, which really helped. What also helped was that she knew what she was doing. Here is what we did: we pulled out everything in my closet and Kim looked it over. And if it was a ‘no go’ I said a quick good bye and didn’t look back. If it was a ‘yes,’ I tried it on. But here is where the magic came … Kim showed me surprising and unexpected ways to wear my own clothes. She styled everything with a twist and by the end of my time with her I had new outfits and was seeing my clothing in a completely new light. It was exhausting and draining and uplifting and fulfilling and emotional at the same time. Kim took pictures too, so that I could recreate the looks on my own. Continue reading

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More with Jillian …

Jillian

Jillian

Here is part two of my conversation with Jillian. I started off by saying …

Jillian, I am now 52. There is a big question about what is age-appropriate at every age, but it seems especially important for women making the transition in their late 40s and early 50s. How can makeup help us or hurt us at this age?

Oh the transition!” she said with a sigh 🙂 This is a big one, and one that I didn’t understand until I made it myself. I remember being a thirty-something makeup artist and telling women in their forties and fifties … ‘So what? You’re gorgeous! Who cares?’  Their response: ‘You won’t understand until it happens to you.’ Now I get it! Here is the thing: We are all going to age, no one is exempt. Once you accept it and truly decide to be fabulous in your own skin you’re practically there. My friend Quentin Phelps, an amazing artist/stylist, said it best: ‘You’re a woman, so own it!’

So, ladies in your forties and fifties, you are no longer the ingénue … so, be the Goddess!!!
Here are some of the biggest mistakes women make as they age:

Hanging on desperately to the makeup from the era in which they grew up. You cannot wear the same makeup you wore twenty years ago. It is a tell-tale sign of age. (This includes hair styles). Solution — Try an adjusted version of what you are comfortable wearing. Instead of using lots of shadow and mascara, try a smudge of taupe or gray with a good eyeliner and some mascara.

Wearing a heavy, full face of makeup everyday, and at every place, including the gym. Solution — Take it down a few notches, and go to your essentials. You will look fresher if you adjust your makeup to where you are and what you are doing.

Wearing too much foundation and powder and trying to sculpt the face with darker shades. Solution — If you want to look fresh and more youthful, get that skin hydrated and use only a drop of foundation. If you need your powder, instead of using a pad, try using a really fluffy brush and dust lightly. Never sculpt the face, unless you are sitting for a soft focus photo or under very dim light. And even then, make sure a professional helps you! It usually ends up just looking like dated streaks of brown. As we age we lose collagen and we want the face to look softer. Use an over color complexion enhancer or soft bronzer to get the skin to glow.

And some women do the opposite and decide that they shouldn’t wear any makeup. This is aging, too… Just because you are more mature doesn’t mean you can’t look gorgeous and still feel like yourself. Don’t give up. Be true to yourself. If you have always been a natural girl you can still keep it simple. But just like women who wear too much makeup and need to tone it down, you may have to take it up a notch. Solution — Try a tinted moisturizer or a lip gloss – whatever makes you comfortable.

How would you describe the connection between makeup and self-esteem? What have you noticed about that connection?

It depends on the woman. I believe you should do what makes you happy and confident. Confidence is the number one key to beauty.

Has your makeup regimen changed since you first started?

Yes! At 25, I would go to bed with a full face of makeup after being up all night. And I would go outside without sunscreen. I wouldn’t dream of it now; at 48, if I stay up all night, my face screams I’m tired! And we all know that the sun is extremely damaging and aging to the skin. You have to adjust everything with age. From the 20s to the 90s we are in a continuous state of aging and changing: adjust all routines, diet, exercise and skin care, according to what your body and your skin need. Keep your skin clean, exfoliate, (Retin A is great for skin) moisturize, take vitamins, drink tons of water, don’t smoke, use SPF 50, and sleep at least 6 to 8 hours a night!” ~ Jillian

I appreciate this time with you Jillian. I am embracing my inner Goddess now!

What do you think? Will you too?

Jillian applying makeup

Jillian applying makeup

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Jillian

Jillian

Jillian

Jillian is a beauty expert, who has worked with some of the most important cosmetics houses in the business. She has worked extensively behind the scenes and in front of the camera, and was a regular on QVC. Jillian’s career has included working for Chanel and Bobbi Brown as an International spokesperson and makeup artist … doing everything from education, special events, award shows, Fashion Week, and editorial; for Prescriptives, as the Director of Beauty/On air QVC spokesperson. And most recently, Jillian was the Senior Director of Beauty/On air spokesperson for Philosophy. A year ago, Jillian took time off to work on a fictional novel, a passion project for her, but plans to return to her career when the project is complete. I met with Jillian to discuss beauty and makeup and self-esteem, what it means to age appropriately with our makeup choices, and ‘how to’ makeup advice. Here is part one of my conversation with Jillian …

Jillian, I would love to know how you got started in makeup and skin care? What inspired you?
Most likely, I started playing with make up around six years old, rummaging through my mother’s junk makeup drawer. I was always attracted to anything having to do with cosmetics. From my Barbie Head Beauty Salon, to obsessing over magazines and Charlie’s Angels. Around twenty, I began to flounder, searching for a career goal and not finding anything that really hit the passion spot. Things were different in the late 1980’s; one of the best freelance jobs was spraying perfume in the aisles of the Department Stores. (I still laugh thinking about that, because today it’s such a caricature of that era!) I worked spraying perfume for Chanel for a few months. One day at Macy’s the makeup artist didn’t show up. The woman behind the counter asked if I could apply the client’s makeup. I said yes, although I was uncertain. (You always say yes!) And that was it! I found my talent and my passion. I was always very focused and eager to learn, which I did from some of the best in the business, and still do today. Twenty-five years later, and still going, I’ve had an amazing career working in many aspects of the industry, with some of the most talented people in the world …

It was hard work and I paid my dues. But when you do something that you love it doesn’t feel like you wasted a minute of your time…

I am inspired by many things, but two stand out: I love to hear people’s stories and, I could watch The Biography Channel all day. You never know what someone has been through or feels until you listen to him/her. From a physical beauty perspective I am drawn to anything from the 1920’s or the classic era of Hollywood. I love glamorous things yet I appreciate everything.

You see a person from the outside but I wonder what you have learned about beauty, inside and out?

Well, listen. To be honest, when we’re young, we tend to view beauty as an exterior thing. It’s hard for a young person to see beauty outside the perimeters of her own age. As we mature we start to see things differently and realize that beauty can’t always be defined by a strictly physical trait. We learn as we grow that beauty can be found on so many levels; mind, body and soul. When I apply makeup now as opposed to twenty years ago, I look at the whole person …

What are the makeup basics and essentials for any woman? (if you could just choose a few)

I am asked this question a lot. I would say that aside from a good SPF moisturizer, night and eye cream, the rest of the makeup picture is about the individual. If you have perfect flawless skin without under eye circles but have skimpy lashes without color, your go-to should be eyeliner, mascara and bronzer blush. If you have no brows, eyebrow pencil is your must have. Interestingly enough, if you search 75% of the handbags women carry every day, most have their essentials inside without realizing it. My eyes disappear without liner; I never leave the house without black eyeliner in my bag. To break it down:

–   Step one: Get your skin care in place

–   Step two: Honestly assess your face’s absolute needs

–   Step three: Ditch the extra’s…eye shadow colors, trendy items, etc. Remember, this step is critical!

–   Step four: Once you pick the essentials, and only your essentials, apply them and see how you feel. If you feel confident … great! These are your essentials. If you don’t, add what you need, one at a time, until you create your essential kit …” Jillian

Wonderful, Jillian! Thank you. More of my conversation with Jillian to follow

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Lipstick always makes things better!

Sending you kisses! Wearing my favorite lipstick (Bobbi Brown Lip Color – Pink*)!

This was a rough morning: I had two places to be at the same time, and was not prepared. It is a state in which we mothers find ourselves all of the time, because life with children is nothing if not messy and chaotic. And just when you think you have your ducks-in-a-row something will happen to shake it all up and you are back to square one. I would like to say that it gets better as your children get older but this state of confusion has followed me into my boys’ teen years.

In times like these, a mother must remain calm and breathe deeply. And that is a good place to start, but the reality is that you need more to combat the chaos: you need lipstick. This morning, as I was rushing to my second place after delivering my son to his destination, I found myself grabbing my favorite lipstick* and telling my mother, “Lipstick always makes things better!” And it does. Applying lipstick in moments of stress is calming and instantly uplifting. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that lipstick is the gateway to the other stress reliever for any mother: her smile!

Sending you kisses! xx!

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