Tag Archives: bobbi brown

beauty buzz: summer for the sun-phobic

With Memorial Day on the horizon, it’s time to talk sun. Being a girl with a pasty white complexion, not-inexpensive highlights, and a tendency to break out into a rash in the sun (no, really), I dread summer. The moment the sun first peeks out for the season, I bust out the highest SPF I can find, and huddle under any café umbrella in sight. Besides the fact that it causes wrinkles, freckles and melanoma (not necessarily in that order), a lot of time spent in the sun bodes for dry, unhappy hair and skin – not exactly that youthful, dewy look we’re all going for.

But this year, I’m feeling a bit less scared of those sun rays – because I have some excellent ammunition.

Clarins is always be my go-to for sun protection (and, well, most everything else too). For my skin, at least, they offer the best sunscreens around. Not too oily, not chalky in the least, and my skin doesn’t even put up a fuss when I make my seasonal switch from Multi-Active Day SPF 15 to UV Plus SPF 40 Day Screen. This year, they’ve released it in a tinted formula – excellent news if you happen to match one of the three shades. As for me, I’m still layering my Clinique Moisture Surge Tinted Moisturizer on top, but that SPF 40 leaves me much less tense about an alfresco lunch. Best of all? When I whipped out the Clarins for the first time this year (and skipped the Clinique), the husband asked if I was wearing makeup. When I said no, he said – I kid you not – “Wow, you look really nice – all glow-y.” Um, I’ll take a case, please.

For the rest of your bod, I recently got hold of Target’s new up & up continuous-spray sunscreen. Between the Sport SPF 30 and the Kids’ SPF 50, I think you know which I chose. The kids’ version applies seamlessly, isn’t greasy (as so many spray-ons are), and did a fantastic job of protecting me on that charity walk I did last weekend. There is a faint chemical quality to the smell, but I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a spray sunscreen without it. Oh, and it’s $5. Win!

Then, of course, there’s the matter of your mane. It’s no surprise that summer does awful things to hair – all that sun exposure, a few more trips to the salon for a few more highlights, and those “beachy waves” that turn into impossible-to-remove tangles. I’m kind of in love with Sachajuan, a line I was introduced to by the geniuses over at Woodley & Bunny (go ahead, just try to visit their awesome new online apothecary without being sucked in). They personally test each and every item on the shelves, so I knew I was in good hands. Sachajuan’s products are incredibly gentle and nourishing, with the goal of making you do as little heat-styling as possible (volume powders, repair balms) with as little product as possible, so your hair gets loaded down with moisture and not much else. Love the philosophy, and absolutely love the products.

And I can’t wrap up without dishing on my latest favorite lip balm (SPF 15, naturally). Bobbi Brown Lip Balm comes in this sleek silver tin, and is packed with goodies like wheat germ and olive oil. It feels absolutely amazing on (and can also work wonders with your cuticles in a pinch), and somehow lends just the palest of tints without having any color at all. Plus, it’ll save your lips from that super attractive sunburned-slash-scaly-and-peeling look. As always, I don’t know how Bobbi does it, but I’m sure glad she does.

What are your go-to summer products? Come on, fellow sun-phobes…dish!


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SMC interviews: bobbi brown

Prepare yourselves, friends…I got to meet the Queen of Beauty! That’s right, the one and only Bobbi Brown stopped by Portland yesterday to give a Master Class at my friendly neighborhood Nordstrom. And, since I’m the luckiest girl in town, they let me sit in…and ask a few questions along the way! It was a fantastic event, packed with great tips and info (if you follow me on Twitter, you got the full scoop – I live-tweeted the whole thing!), and the cherry on top of the sundae was this little moment:

{Note me squatting down like an idiot, because Bobbi is a petite little thing!}

Oh, what? Yep, that’s just me, chatting away with Bobbi Brown. No big deal.


The Master Class was an incredibly informative event – I learned tons of tips and tricks. For example:

  • After you apply lip gloss, dab the excess off with your finger and rub onto the tops of your cheeks, along the line at the base of your eye socket. The result is a beautiful glowing sheen, and your lips don’t look goopy!
  • Bobbi is an evangelist when it comes to concealer – or, more specifically, a concealer/corrector combo. You’ll hear more about that below, but her best tip was not to be stingy with the concealer. Apply generously with a brush, then dab with your finger to blend. I tried it this morning – totally works!

I could go on. But instead, I’ll tell you about Miracle No. 2 – in which I got to interview the Queen herself! I asked so many of you for questions in advance, and you delivered (big time!). But I snuck in a few of my own as well. Here we go!

Shopping’s My Cardio: Hi, Bobbi! During the spring and summer, I think most women want to try a cleaner look with their makeup. We’re all hoping to achieve that dewy, make-up free look, but of course, few of us can go makeup-free. What products should we be using, and how should we apply them to get that look?

Bobbi Brown: Tinted Moisturizers are great for the spring and summer because they are lightweight and hydrating, but still provide a sheer veil of coverage, which many of us need. Use one that contains an SPF so that you are protecting your skin from the sun. I also suggest using bronzer in the spring and summer to even out your skin tone and achieve a natural ‘glow’. Lastly, try using a sheer color lip gloss. It’s the perfect way to polish off your look by making the lips look fuller and imparting just the right amount of color without looking too heavy.

SMC: Now that I’m in my 30s, my skin has officially started its aging process, and I’m buying products I never thought I’d need. What do you think changes about a makeup routine when your skin starts to age – or at least, what should change?

BB: First off, great makeup starts with great skincare. Make sure you are using a hydrating face and eye cream. When you get into your thirties, you are working, raising kids, running errands, etc. You’re busy, but a few simple steps can instantly freshen up  your look. Don’t forget to apply corrector and concealer. Corrector is pink or peach based and will instantly lighten up any darkness under the eyes. Concealer is yellow-toned (and should be one to two shades lighter than your foundation) and will brighten up the under eye area making you look instantly refreshed.

Also, be sure to apply blush. Nothing makes a woman look prettier than a pop of blush—it gives the face an instant lift. I suggest layering two, one that is your natural color (the color of your cheeks after exercising) and a second brighter color applied only to the apples of the cheek for a pop of color.

SMC: A few of my readers have asked about your recommendations for skin care. What should women be doing for their skin every day, and in what order? I’m an unrelenting advocate of sunscreen, but beyond that, there are so many mixed messages and contradictory advice out there! Can you give us a definitive routine?

BB: In the morning, gently wash your face and then apply a repair serum.  Over time, serums work to help improve skin’s texture and moisture barrier. Look for one infused with anti-aging ingredients like Vitamin C and peptides. It will help  smooth the look of lines and wrinkles while giving skin a firmer, more lifted appearance. Follow that with a hydrating moisturizer that contains SPF and a hydrating eye cream.

At night, make sure to wash your face well to rinse off all the days impurities. Exfoliating your face 2-3 times a week will help slough off any dead skin you have. Apply the repair serum again and top with a heavier, denser balm that will sooth and repair your skin overnight.

SMC: Dark circles. They’re my cosmetic Achilles Heel, and I know I’m not alone. I can never seem to get the concealer perfectly blended, nor can I get them completely covered. Can you help? I’d also love any tips for covering up dark spots or moles on the face – is there a way to do it without ending up with a face caked with foundation, or must we make peace with our dark spots?

BB: One of the biggest mistakes women make when applying makeup is to use concealer on their face. Concealer should always be one to two shades lighter than your foundation, as its purpose is to brighten under your eyes. You don’t want to use a product that is too light on your face or the coverage will look unnatural. Also, concealer is creamier in texture and therefore is too thick to use on the face. I suggest using a skin tone correct tinted moisturizer/foundation (one that disappears seamlessly into the skin) and then using a blemish cover stick on any area that is particularly dark or discolored for  flawless coverage.

SMC: I have to ask – are you a person who will run to the grocery store without makeup?

BB: While I admit I do leave the house without makeup sometimes, I try not to leave without at least applying concealer, blush, mascara and lip gloss to look polished. If I have a couple minutes more, I will apply eyeliner. Eyeliner is the best way to make your eyes stand out. It makes them look bigger and more defined, which are things you want as you get older!

A huge thanks to Bobbi for taking the time to chat with me, and to all of her peeps (and the truly fantastic folks at Nordstrom) for bringing all this magic together!

Next up – I’m going to test out all of the products Bobbi suggested for me, and report back. Stay tuned!

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beauty buzz: and the best new moisturizer award goes to…

I spend a lot of time testing products, friends. My bathroom (as the hubs would tell you) is positively littered with them, in fact. Of those zillions of products, most I use up as quickly as possible (I am positively flagrant in my excess use of serums), impatient for the next great thing to roll into my mailbox. But every so often, I get something really wonderful – and I hoard it like a squirrel in winter. I dole out miniscule, careful portions every day, I savor applying it, and I dread the day when I finally coax the last few drops out of the container.

Such is the new Extra Repair Balm from Bobbi Brown. I’ve been patiently biding my time to tell you about this newbie until it released this week, but I’ve been testing it for a while, and I’m hooked. My skin is finally back to its pre-winter state – no dry spots, no flaking, and maybe even a little bit of a dewy glow. After months of trying virtually every other option in my arsenal, this was all it took.

Naturally, nothing in life is perfect, and there were a couple of obstacles to overcome here. First, the scent. It’s kind of like an herbal, mellower rendition of Vick’s VapoRub. Not a bad thing, just not how I expect night cream to smell. Fortunately, it dissipates almost instantly…and after a week or so, I didn’t even notice any more.

Second, the texture is unlike any moisturizer I’ve ever used. It really is a balm, not a cream – the texture is almost like butter. So, you have to use a very tiny amount, and you have to massage it in lightly at first, so that it has a chance to melt into your skin. Once it does, and once your skin adjusts to this serious dose of moisturizer (which may take a couple of weeks), you’ll be sold.

A generous pot of this runs $90, but I’m guessing I’ll get at least two months of use, maybe three, since you use so little at a time. Oh, and Bobbi Brown has a great special running for Valentine’s Day – code VDAY12 will get you free shipping and two free samples.

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get gifting: at the spa

Good morning, friends! And welcome to our annual Holiday Gift Guide Spectacular! This year, I have a whopping nine guides for you, and they’re absolutely gorgeous (thanks entirely to my genius hubs, who made all of these pretty graphics for us!). I think they’re our best yet! When it’s all said and done, I think I’ll have covered absolutely, positively everyone on your list. I truly hope this will make each and every one of your holiday shopping lists a breeze, and your season a bit brighter.

Let’s kick things off with a few of my favorite gifts for the beauty addict. If she can’t hit a mall without beelining for Sephora, changes her nail polish color as often as she changes her clothes, and always has the inside scoop on the best new spa in town, look no further.

  1. The beauty gift that keeps on giving – Birch Box will deliver a box of product samples to her door every month, so she can test out the latest and greatest from her favorite brands. Birch Box beauty gift box subscription, from $30
  2. Bobbi Brown nails the holidays every year, but this petite little palette is one of my favorites. Eyes, cheeks and lips covered in a kit barely bigger than a box of matches. To Go palette, Bobbi Brown, $25
  3. I’ll admit, I’m mostly after this for the Peter Som-designed makeup bag. But it’s also packed with goodies from Clark’s Botanicals, which is a great bonus. Peter Som for Clark’s Botanicals travel kit, $59
  4. I’m officially obsessed with NUDE’s Replenishing Night Oil, which moisturizes beautifully without clogging pores. Her skin will thank you for months to come. Radiance Collection, NUDE Skincare, $78
  5. Tarte has a cult following, and any beauty addict will know their cheek stain is legendary. This kit gets you the classic shade, plus a few fab extras, all at a very gift-friendly price. Shining Stars gift set, Tarte, $25
  6. I love REN for holiday sets – they’re always so beautifully designed, and the products are every bit as good as the packaging. I’m a sucker for a great citrus scent, and their Neroli Grapefruit is one of the best. Neroli Grapefruit body duo, REN, $45
  7. This gorgeous gold compact is as luxe a gift as I’ve ever seen, and the subtly shimmery powder inside will have her glowing all season. Passion face palette, Clarins, $55
  8. This time of year, everyone’s skin is a scaly mess, but this Borghese scrub will make her limbs silky smooth, with a delicious citrus scent I can’t resist. Vitamin C body scrub, Borghese, $49
  9. Creme de Corps is a cult classic, with good reason. This limited edition package by Jeff Koons is pretty enough for her nightstand, and proceeds go to help rescue missing and exploited children. Limited Edition Koons Creme de Corps, Kiehl’s, from $29
  10. elizabethW has recently redesigned their entire line, and the new packaging is unbelievably pretty. This Cranberry Ginger scent is perfect for the holidays, but totally appropriate for year-round use. Cranberry Ginger perfume diffuser, elizabethW, $65
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get gifting: the glamazon

for the friend who can’t even be lured away from sephora by the promise of a venti pumpkin spice latte, here’s a list of goodies sure to make their holiday extra special.  i absolutely can’t pick a favorite from this run-down…i’ve tried several times.  but i will say that each and every one of these would be perfect for absolutely any skin tone or type, so you’re guaranteed a virtually error-proof holiday.  especially if you manage to track down that la mer illumating powder. or the bobbi brown eye palette. or the kiehls creme de corps, or the jo malone bath oils, or….oh, there i go.  best to get one of each, i think.  you know, just in case.

Creme De Corps 500ml 0006

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famous favorites

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left to right, from top: la mer illuminating powder (impossible to find online, but still in stores), $95; kiehls creme de corps limited edition by jeff koons, $45; duwop venom gloss candy box, $25; origins famous favorites, $59.50; bobbi brown day to night eye palette, $45; caudalie vinotherapie my spa escape, $34; jo malone bath oil collection, $85; ojon shine & protect winter collection, $39.

{FTC disclaimer: some product samples were provided to help me compile this guide, but as usual, there’s no pay-for-play here.}

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beauty buzz: reconsidering coral

when i first saw coral cosmetics hit the runways for the spring 2010 fashion shows, i cringed.  coral has always conjured images of old lady lipstick…something you’d only wear if you were over 80 and color-blind.  frightening, i know.  and when you add the fact that my complexion is impossibly pink, thereby automatically clashing with any and all members of the coral family, you’ll understand my skepticism.

but then a pot of the newest velvet eyeshadow shade from benefit magically appeared in my mailbox – in a shade called “nice melons”. (sometimes, i swear, i buy benefit products just for the names…)  i was still scared, but since it was already here, i swapped it out one morning for my usual bland pale pink.  turns out, this extremely light shade is actually pretty gorgeous on – it gives a touch of color, but is still light, sweet and perfect for spring.  and it happens to do lovely things for green eyes (i’m guessing brown would look pretty amazing too).

now that i’d seen the light, i ventured a bit further – bobbi brown released a whole new collection of “cabana corals” for spring, and i couldn’t resist checking them out.  most of the lip shades were still a little too, well, coral, for my pale skin.  but if you happen to have anything resembling a tan, or are just blessed with lovely dark skin, these corals were definitely not of the old-lady variety.  my favorite is the nectar shimmer brick (i’m an utterly devoted fan of bobbi’s shimmer bricks) – it’s going to look seriously amazing topping a little bronzer action this summer.  i can hardly wait!

what do you think?  will you be venturing into the coral trend when the weather warms up?

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last-minute for the wife/girlfriend/friend with benefits

go ahead and forward this post to the man in your life.  i promise he’s not done shopping for you yet.

guys: while i know the prospect of approaching the cosmetics counter a week before christmas is frightening, bobbi brown is as foolproof as it gets.  they do the most amazing job of packaging wearable, neutral shades that really will work on most every person i know.  (translation: i’m eliminating the part of the shopping process in which you stand around trying to figure out whether that particular shade of pink will make your significant other look like a supermodel or a hospital patient in liver failure.)

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yes, it’s hard to go wrong with these little sets from bobbi brown.  i’m a sucker for packaging, and these chrome compacts are as chic as can be.  while i’m not a lip gloss person, i know i’m in the minority on that count…many a lid flipped when i showed this glitter lip balm set around among my friends.  personally, i’ve been wedded to the velvet plum eye palette since it arrived.  i’m pretty low-maintenance on the cosmetic front (the facial care is another matter), and this set just sort of handles all of my eye needs. base color, highlighter, accent shadow and even a liner shade – done!  i don’t even have to think about the eye stuff any more, which is sort of a relief.

either of these sets will make the girl in your life exceedingly happy on christmas morning.  you should be able to track these down at just about any bobbi brown counter, which you’ll find  at most department stores (ie, nordstrom, barneys, bloomingdales…you get the idea). at $40 each, they’re great stocking stuffer material…and i know you haven’t even started buying her stocking stuffers yet.

(girls, if these don’t show up under your tree, go out the day after and buy them anyway. they’re that good.)

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beauty buzz: bobbi brown’s ivy league collection

i recently got to play around with bobbi brown’s new color collection for fall.  dubbed “ivy league,” the entire line is done in shades of green.  the goal is collegiate, and there’s definitely a bit of a dark, “gossip girl” effect when used as a whole, but separate them out, and i actually quite like the green!

i can tell you that if i’d inherited my mother’s perfect, olive, i’ve-never-been-sunburned-in-my-life skin (sigh…if only!), you wouldn’t be able to pry a single piece of this collection out of my hands.  the eye shadows in paticular would be amazing on someone with more yellow than pink to their skin (especially the golden leaf shimmer shadow, a gorgeous shade of olive!).  i know makeup colors can be trickier for those with yellow undertones – ladies, this is your collection!

the dark green eyeliner and creamy eye pencil had me a little suspect…i’m pretty boring in the eyeliner department, and generally stick to brown (black just seems over the top on me).  but, in the interest of science, i tested both the creamy eye pencil in hunter and the long-wear gel eyeliner in forest shimmer. for some reason, i always have an easier time with those pots of gel eyeliner…i can never get pencils to apply properly.  but i actually found the bobbi brown pencil worked better than others i’ve tried – it has a great, creamy texture and the built-in smudger helps even things out.  and the green was a fun (and surprisingly subtle) change from brown, without being as severe as black – i definitely feel more “made up” than normal when i wear it, but in a good way.

my absolute favorite thing in the line are their lip crayons, which are (finally!) a permanent part of their line.  built like a jumbo lip pencil, these go on as smooth as a lipstick, but a bit more sheer, and much easier to control.  plus, as always, no one does lip colors as well as bobbi brown, so there are six flawless shades to love.

so, the moral of the story?  the lip crayon is spot-on perfect, whoever you are.  and the green eyeliner is a blast if you’re looking to shake things up a bit.  but if you’re one of those women who just can’t wear pink, trust me – the new eye colors are a must for you!  grab them at bobbi brown’s website…but hurry, these limited edition collections can sell out ridiculously fast.

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