Tag Archives: beauty

Best gift ideas at any price – Reblog from Birchbox.com

Best Gift Ideas at Any Price


Best Gift Ideas At Any Price | Birchbox.

Ah, the endless holiday gift list: We’re right there with you. Not only are you shopping for Mom and Dad, you’ve got the in-laws, the little ones, plus your second cousin who’s flown in from Hawaii—and that’s not including all those extra folks who are part of your daily life but aren’t necessarily part of your inner circle. Whether you’re looking for a fun little bauble to give your favorite yoga instructor or something more sophisticated for your boss’s boss, we’ve created a handy selection of brilliant gift ideas for everyone in your life, no matter how much you’re looking to spend.

Well, Aren’t You Thoughtful!—Best Gift Ideas Under $20

Small gifts can still make a big impact—or combine a couple for a real wallop of joy. Our staffers can’t get enough of Mox Botanicals Pomegranate & Fig Lip Butter ($16), a delicious smelling artisanal balm that features natural hydrators like shea butter and jojoba oil and comes in a sleek black glass container. For a deceivingly posh yet affordable gift, we always reach for Caldrea’s Hand Soaps ($10.50). The beautifully designed bottles dress up any sink, and the non-drying formulas leave hands silky soft with a potent mix of aloe vera, olive oil, and essential oils. When we’re in the mood for fun, though, there’s nothing better than Feeling Smitten’s Holiday Bath Bombs ($17). The cupcake-shaped indulgences turn a plain old bath into a whimsical retreat.

Really, You Shouldn’t Have!—Best Gift Ideas Under $60

Scents are often overlooked as gift ideas since they’re so personal—it can be hard to guess what someone will like. But universally flattering fragrances, like Harvey Prince’s Eau Flirt ($55), can work for anyone. This bright, unforgettable mixture of pumpkin, lavender, freesia, and musky amber creates a sweet yet seductive blend. For giftees who appreciate a pedigree, wow them withJouer’s Fragrance Cornucopia ($42) a goody box packed with the brand’s jasmine, gardenia and honeysuckle scented fragrance, Birchbox’s exclusive fuchsia lip gloss and a cute wish stone. Or opt for a chic set of scented soaps—our favorites for winter are the ultra-moisturizing, organically-sourcedTay Essential Oils bar soaps ($36). The luxe formulas come in delicious scents like orange, pomegranate, and almond.

How Did You Know?!—Best Gift Ideas $75 and Up

Top-tier gifts are usually reserved for those you truly adore—or those you truly want to impress. We loveChantecaille’s Le Must Have Set ($98) for ultrasophisticates. The collection features the cult brand’s best-selling Faux Cils Mascara, their creamy Lucky Brilliant Gloss, and a gentle rose eye makeup remover—making it perfect for even the fussiest giftee. For hair connoisseurs, you can’t go wrong with Amika’s ceramic styler ($125)—the 1.25” barrel creates perfect loose tousled waves as easily as it straightens and smoothes unwieldy strands. Plus, it comes in a saucy peacock design that sets it apart from your run-of-the-mill styling tools.

—By Candice Chan




Minimizing the appearance of dark under-eye circles and steps in my daily beauty routine

I have very dark under-eye circles, so I have to pay particular attention to that area or else I will look like a tired raccoon by the end of the day. So this is what I have to do in order to look somewhat fresh: I start with an anti-wrinkle serum or cream on the eye area, depending on how dry my face is feeling – I prefer Estee Lauder Perfectionist CP+1, Lancome Genifique, VMV Re-everything eye serum or Clinique – All about eyes.. I then follow with an all over face cream and, despite instructions to the contrary, I extend the cream a bit under the eye area, especially into the crow’s-feet – right now I’m using Lancome Absolue, Hope in a Jar by philosophy, Estee Lauder Resilience Lift, Olay Pro-X deep Wrinkle Treatment; sometimes I use Clinique Moisture Surge on my lips and lower face area that gets really dry.

Most days I’ll skip the primer but when I’m getting really into my makeup I’ll use it every time; I’m not an expert in primers, but to be honest I’ve used a broad spectrum of them in different price ranges – I liked the ELF primer just as much as the Smashbox Photo Finish and the Mally Perfect Prep Primer Glow. Of course the primer goes on top of the lids as well. I’ll do my hair while the primer dries or while the creams get into my skin.

The secret to my make-up turning up really really nice is using a brightening, highlighting, shimmery product BOTH UNDER and OVER foundation. Due to the light reflecting formulas in these types of products they work a LOT better than concealers, no matter how much you cake them on – and they look and feel a lot lighter, especially with those wrinkles. Extremely dark circles aren’t that easy to cover, so i discovered that a combination of brightener under the foundation and a light make-up around the whole eye area creates better results than a traditional concealer. The best coverage I’ve found in a concealer is from Physician’s Formula Conceal RX – just make sure to use a lighter shade and apply very sparingly in the dark hollows under the eyes. The area around the eye and at the inner corners of the eye should be covered with BB cream or foundation, then a very light eye shadow shade, don’t be afraid to go even a bit lighter.

Let’s start with the products themselves: Dr. Brandt dark circles away collagen eye serum – I use it under foundation, but maybe just because I want that collagen closer to my skin and I don’t shy away from applying around the whole eye area to remove shadows from the sides of the nose and on the lids, especially in the inner corner of the eye; and it works just as well over foundation.

ELF Shimmering Facial Whip – actually the only product I like to use as a highlighter on the tops of my cheekbones, I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the liquid formula – this stuff also covers dark circles, but only under foundation. It comes in several shades, many delicious pinks that can be used for many purposes.

Physician’s Formula Talc-Free Illuminating Veil – the brush it comes with is too rough for my skin, so I just use my own powder brush – both all over my face and as a highlighter on top of my cheeks, around my eyes and on my cupid’s bow.

Shimmery BB creams are the answer to something I had been doing for a while – combining a highlighter formula into my foundation in order to get lighter coverage with a subtle dewy glow. I just tried on the new L’Oreal Magic Skin Beautifier BB Cream and it seems to be going in the right direction with the luminizing effect. I’m sure there are more products out there that do the same thing and received better customer reviews than the L’Oreal. Personally I liked it a lot.

So here it is, my advice on creating a fresh, rested look even with extreme dark under eye circles. Hope this is helpful 🙂


Face Shaping

Shaping and contouring the face Anyone who knows me knows how passionate i am about fashion, beauty products, jewelry and perfumes. I shop a lot and do a lot of research. So, not too surprisingly, i decided to start my own website offering a variety of services in hopes of helping people out. What I’m going to write about today is contouring your face shape using either specialized products or, more commonly used, bronzer and a shimmery eye-shadow or several darker shades of foundation. However i prefer the contouring products specifically designed for shading because in my experience they look a lot more natural than bronzer. Bronzer also creates a more drastic difference in skin tone along your jaw line, where your skin is generally at its’ lightest. I read a study saying that as far as men judging how attractive a woman was, they found that women whose facial skin tone closest matched the shade on their necks were deemed more attractive; in short we have to extend the coloring into the neck area. The purpose of contouring is deflecting focus from features you want hidden on your face; by darkening a certain area you are making it look recessed, just like shadows fall naturally on sunken contours: you can use it to shape your nose, make your face appear thinner, soften your square jaw or de-emphasize a sagging neckline.

Nose shaping: i find that for this particular area using liquid foundation in one or two shades darker than your skin tone works best, applied with a concealer brush for precision. To correct thickness apply the darker foundation after you have applied your normal shade all over. Start on the sides of the nose, leaving the center untouched; apply two parallel lines on the sides of your nose shading any particular features you want as well, for instance a protruding bone, creating what’s called a “hump” on the nose. In my experience you want to blend well towards the exterior of the nose for a natural result, no sharp lines at all. I find it best to leave the foundation dry for a little bit, depending on the formula you’re using. The pigment will stay more concentrated.

Jaw shaping: many of us, including myself, are blessed with round or square face shapes. They are not uncommon at all but i for one find my face much too “fat”. That’s how my research into face shaping started and with a lot of practice I find the results satisfying. The secret to successfully shading your jaw is moderation. You want the results to be subtle, not clownish. Start off by choosing the perfect shade; more about this later. There are several types of brushes you can use but I found two to be most useful: a slanted blush brush or a long-haired flat foundation brush, both medium sized,  just because I prefer precision. I have however seen good results with kabuki brushes or fluffy foundation brushes. Start the application at the highest point in your jaw: basically more color will be applied to the most troublesome spot. Work your way inward, at first using long, sideways swipes, tapering off the pressure as you reach closer to your mouth. You shouldn’t get too close to your mouth and you should stop under your cheekbones. Next step is blending, and blending well. What i do is i cover the line where the jaw bone goes under to the neck, making sure to get the whole area blended well under the jaw line using either up and down strokes or small circles. Make sure to blend well into your neck and go down the neck as well to ensure that there is no visible demarcation line. Continue upwards towards your temple shading the outer part of the cheekbone, just where the top of your ear meets the face. That is usually the widest part of the face.

Thinning out the face: The process is very similar to the cheek sculpting but i usually contour the cheekbones first and then i darken the sides of the face, focusing on the outside of the cheekbone and overall the sides of the face. How much you go towards the middle of the face is entirely up to you but a big part of this look is still the jaw as explained in the above paragraph. Working with other prominent features such as a sharp chin or a very tall forehead is pretty much the same concept and I’m sure you got it by now: use the contouring medium as a shading tool, make the results look natural and blend. Blend. Blend.

Now i have seen many suggesting a 3 shape motion to contour – i don’t find that very useful. Also i oppose shading the top of your forehead, just into the hairline. That effect will make your forehead look shorter, which is never a good thing, especially if you’re emphasizing the verticality of your face. You know who has a short forehead? Apes. Not a good look. I have run into a vast variety of products for this very purpose and i will try to go through them and review them. I have included a (pretty long) list of products that you can use as a guideline for buying a kit that does what you want it to do. I’ve tried some of the products myself, some others i haven’t but i am familiar with the brands. The first half of the list includes kits, the second half luminizers and highlighters. I am very fond of highlighters, not only to use on the tops of my cheekbones but as eye shadows, in the corners of my eyes, under foundation or concealer to hide my dark under-eye circles or mix with my foundation for a nice, luminous look. The best way to achieve your goals of facial contouring is to do some research yourself, get informed, watch some tutorials (there are tons on Youtube) and practice. I wish you all the best in your quest. Here is a simple copy/paste job of my product list, I didn’t write the product descriptions, i just posted the product and the available description on the company website:


Bronzers: I won’t go into a detailed review of any of them as there are so many out there. I’m not even going to bother, although I am going to state the obvious: don’t use one that has sparkle in it, it will bring the sparkly area into focus.

Mally products. I use her blush/highlighter duo every single day. The highlighter is golden so it doubles as an eye shadow.

Smashbox STEP-BY-STEP CONTOUR KIT: Wishing for more defined cheekbones? Perhaps a more sculpted jaw line? Cheat genetics by using the new Smashbox 3 in 1 kit to add dimension to the face with shades to contour bronze and highlight An easy to follow guide demystifies how to add depth,  blend in warmth and create that resplendent glow BONUS FREE specially designed contour brush.

It Cosmetics my sculpted face palette: My Sculpted Face teaches you step by step how to contour features of your face for a slimmer look, a straighter nose, slender cheeks, more prominent cheekbones and even the appearance of a reduced double chin!The palette comes with 4 contouring shades designed to match all skin tones.The palette comes with 2 highlighting shades in both shimmer and matte.

It Cosmetics My Sculpted Face Palette 1 ea

Coastal Scents Contour & Blush Palette:•6 contouring, shading, concealing, and blush matte shades •Great for altering your facial structure •For those who want a more symmetrical look Coastal Scents Contour and Blush Palette

MakeUp Forever: Sculpting Kit. What it is: A kit featuring complementary powders, dark and light, that helps contour, sculpt, and correct the face structure. What it does:Make Up For Ever Sculpting Kit allows you to sculpt, contour, and correct your face shape with a micronized powder that is easy to apply and blend. It can be used on all skintones and is non-drying and dermatologist tested.Sephora is the exclusive beauty retailer for this product. I’ve shown all 4 shades they have.

MAKE UP FOR EVER - Sculpting KitMAKE UP FOR EVER - Sculpting KitMAKE UP FOR EVER - Sculpting KitMAKE UP FOR EVER - Sculpting Kit

LORAC TANtalizer™ Highlighter & Matte Bronzer Duo  What it is:A mirrored compact featuring a luminizer powder and a bronzing powder. What it does: Highlight, color, and contour with this versatile and easy-to-use duo. It contains a velvety smooth luminizing powder for professional-looking highlighting and a matte bronzing powder for perfectly contoured and bronzed cheeks. The glamorous mirrored compact makes this duo a perfect choice for on-the-go red carpet glow. LORAC - TANtalizer® Highlighter & Matte Bronzer Duo

Charlotte Ronson 3 X A Charm Luminizer, Blush, Bronzer What it is:A three-in-one blush, bronzer, and luminizer. What it does: It’s a whole new wardrobe for your cheeks: mix and match this trio of colors to create a range of looks. Each features LFT™ (Light Filter Technology) to automatically adjust its pigments based on your lighting. The result is the perfect glow under any light, day or night. Made with long-lasting, jet-milled talc, these three silky powders glide on evenly to create a natural, healthy-looking glow. Moisturizers and vitamins calm and soothe thirsty skin. Charlotte Ronson - 3 X A Charm Luminizer, Blush, Bronzer

e.l.f. Studio Contouring Blush & Bronzing Powder: Create a healthy and natural glow all year long. The Blush highlights the cheeks to add a flush of color, while the Bronzer accents and contours cheekbones for beautiful definition.

St. Lucia

Sephora Brand Sculpting Disk: A sculpting powder trio. What it does:Sephora Brand Sculpting Disk is a compact with three powders: mattifying, to give an even, matte finish; a blush bronzer, to bronze and define; and a highlighting powder, to illuminate and brighten. SEPHORA COLLECTION - Sculpting Disk

SLEEK Face Contour Kit: A highlighter and pressed powder kit, which can be used to help sculpt and define one’s features. This product contains two powders. The darker powder is used to create shadows on the face, such as defining the jaw line or contouring the cheekbones. The lighter powder is the highlighter, used to reflect light off the face and can be placed in various places such as the apple of the cheeks, the temple, the tip of the nose etc.

ybf Brighten, Hide and Sculpt Concealer Makeup Help your little imperfections do a disappearing act. These three concealers glide on and help hide blemishes you don’t want the world to see. With light, medium and dark shades in one stylish mirrored compact, you can match your skintone season in, season out.

Item image Item image

Clé de Peau Beauté Contour Defining Powder.This luxurious face powder refill uses light-reflecting pigments and sophisticated colors to illuminate skin tone and enhance the natural beauty of features.

Benefit Cosmetics Face Powder Contouring Set: Brush on the secret to fabulous Hollywood-and-model-esque cheekbones with the Benefit Cosmetics Face Powder Contouring Set. The magic word in makeup artistry is contouring, and it’s easy with this highlighter/bronzer combination coupled with the perfect coral “pop” of Coralista powder. They instantly help define, highlight and accentuate your features so you’ll be red-carpet ready!



Stila Contouring Trio: ( 3x Powder Compact #Dark #Flash #Light ): Helps strengthen contour define & soften your features professionally Gives step by step simple instructions on how to shape cheeks nose & eye Creates vital lighting effect in an easy way With 3 shades light (a high-lighting powder) dark (a low-lighting powder) flash (a soft neutral shimmer) for various effects


MAC Sculpting powder pro palette: A powder specially tinted to enhance natural bone structure and sculpt contours into the face. Immaculately shaded to create natural-looking shadow effects, the the finish is sheer and matte.

M.A.C. Pro Sculpting Powder Pro Palette
Highlighters and luminizers:

MAC Shaping powder pro palette:A micro-fine shaping powder formulated with soft focus technology that accents and emphasizes the high planes of the face. More subtle than many highlighters, these are the ideal shade complement to M·A·C Pro Sculpting Powder. MAC Iridescent powder/loose: Iridescent Powder is a finely milled mixture of Mica and pigments which gives the skin a beautiful sheen.

MAC Cosmetics MAC Shaping Powder Pro Palette LIGHTSWEEP

NARS Illuminator:A multifunctional face product that gives skin a refreshed luminosity. What it does:This light-reflecting liquid glides on to refresh and enhance the complexion, creating a shimmering incandescence. Wear it alone, or pair it with makeup to transform your skin from ordinary to extraordinary. (4 shades)

NARS - IlluminatorNARS - IlluminatorNARS - IlluminatorNARS - Illuminator

Benefit High Beam: A luminescent complexion enhancer. What it does: Benefit High Beam is an ethereal pink liquid highlighter that creates a radiantly dewy complexion. For an angelic sheen, this pink shimmering lotion adds a soft, natural afterglow. What else you need to know: It’s a “supermodel in a bottle…” and perfectly alluring on all skin tones.

High Beam by Benefit

Josie Maran Argan Illuminizer : What it is:An ultra-light skin brightener with a hint of bronze. What it does: This bronze shade is perfect for highlighting and adding an instant beautiful luminosity to the face, collarbone, and body. Argan Illuminizer can be used alone or mixed with foundation for an instant boost of radiance and a natural glow any time of year and on skintone. It gives the skin a radiant glow that lasts all day.

Josie Maran - Argan Illuminizer

LORAC Perfectly Lit Oil-Free Luminizing Powder instantly puts your face in its best light, giving your skin a luminous red carpet glow. This oil-free, velvety powder brightens and evens out your skin tone, helping it appear naturally radiant. Optimizing the effect of light, this unique luminizing powder helps diminish the appearance of imperfections for a youthful, luminous, glowing complexion.(3 shades)

LORAC - Perfectly Lit Oil-Free Luminizing PowderLORAC - Perfectly Lit Oil-Free Luminizing Powder

Smashbox Artificial Light Luminizing Powder: Inspired by Smashbox’s bestselling Artificial Light Luminizing Lotion! Use this soft, shimmery powder as a highlighter and brightener for a gorgeous glow. Apply to inner corners of eyes, down the bridge of nose, above brows and high on cheekbones.

Smashbox - Artificial Light Luminizing Powder

I will try to add links to the products themselves as i have more time as well as pictures and links to YouTube tutorials. Thank you all for reading!