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Six Products I Cannot Live Without

Danielle Bisbano - Thursday, July 31, 2014

Drawers, cases, plastic bins.  Wicker baskets, Tupperware, glass jars.  Carts, boxes and pouches.  I have makeup everywhere.  And lots of it.  It’s a sickness.  I get it.  I accept it.  I am working on it.  It is hard to resist all the colors and textures.  I am only human after all. 

We don’t need to address my skin care product graveyard just yet, either, smarty pants.

With all these choices, there is probably something to be said for the products I keep coming back to time after time.  The staples of my kit.  The things I buy in multiples and often give away just to share the joy.  I figured you might want to know about them so here goes . . .

 Beautycounter Every Night PM Hydrating Cream (a.k.a. the best facial moisturizer ever)

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This was the first product that turned me onto Beautycounter.  I had been actively searching for the perfect moisturizer for my kit.  I needed something that wasn’t “active” so it wouldn’t irritate sensitive skin.  It needed to absorb completely without leaving any residue and it needed to play well with makeup.  This product does it all.  The difference in the softness of your skin after even just one use is remarkable.  For really dry skin, you can literally apply layer after layer and it will completely absorb and soak in until the skin is soft and supple.  It has worked wonders with rosacea and eczema and is gentle enough even for really sensitive skin.  It works great mixed with foundation to create a hydrating, fresh look that is perfect for summer.  Although this is technically a night cream, both the day and night creams are interchangeable.  Every Night PM Hydrating Cream retails for $44

 Beautycounter Countertime Vibrant Eye Perfector

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Same deal here.  Long list of “must do”s for my kit.  The most important of which is that it fully absorb.  You can’t apply eye makeup to greasy skin.  This one is perfect.  It absorbs completely and leaves the eye area refreshed and ready for the next step.  This product retails for $55.

 Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Aqua Foundation Illuminator

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Koh Gen Do does highlighting right.  Such a subtle, soft shimmer.  Nothing too shiny or sparkly.  Less than one pump will subtly highlight the high points of your face.  Dab under or over makeup and gently blend.  I love this under airbrush foundation.  If you want to feel like a goddess, mix a few pumps of this with your body lotion for a barely there, all over shimmer.  This also comes in a golden tan shade.  This product retails for $39.

 MAC Lip Pencil in Subculture

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This is the most amazing nude shade ever.  I use this on almost every single person in my chair.  It is the perfect blend of pink and light brown and it goes well with pretty much every lipstick or as a base for a layer of gloss.  The texture is perfect; not too moist, not too dry.  I can’t live without it.  This product retails for $15.

 Maybelline Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze

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I got this when I did makeup for a RISD fashion show a few years ago.  Maybelline was one of the sponsors and in addition to getting actually getting paid (!) each makeup artist got to take the entire line home with them.  I shared most of those products with some appreciative friends but these babies stayed in my kit.  This particular color is another one that flatters almost everyone.  Sometimes I just use it as a base for darker shadows due to its staying power but it is awesome on its own, too.  This is a cream shadow that you can apply with your fingers or a synthetic brush.  Ironically, you can also blend and buff it out with a fluffy brush.  Apply one layer for a soft wash of color or add additional layers for intensity.  It is a very versatile product at about $7.

 Jordana Squeeze’n’Shine Super Shiny Tasty Lip Gloss in Honey Luau

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Wow, that name is a mouthful and kind of makes me feel like a 12-year old for using it but I am telling you it is a cheap little wonder!  This gloss is a golden beige with shimmer and it smells like vanilla.  The color is so pretty and it looks amazing over everything.  Extra bonus for it being $1.99.  I like it better than my $25 gloss that is the same shade and half the size.  The only place to get Jordana is online or at Walgreens.

 Well, there they are.  Six of my all-time faves.  I hope a few of them will make it into your rotation.

The Real Girl

Makeup and Image Seminar on Marthas Vineyard

Danielle Bisbano - Tuesday, July 29, 2014

“Come to Martha’s Vineyard to talk makeup,” they said. “It will be fun!” they said.

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Well, yeah!  Of course it was! How could it NOT be? Talking makeup and image to a group of female business owners, like myself? What’s not to love? 

This event was the maiden voyage for the speaker series entitled Sustainable Marketing for the Small Business in the Modern Advertising Space. This is an educational initiative started by Tamar Russell Brown of Sitka Creations and The Martha’s Vineyard Guide to promote, educate and inspire Martha’s Vineyard business owners on various relevant topics including marketing, design, networking and our portion, which addressed personal presentation. I was invited to present this part of the series with another speaker, Susan Norton.

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Susan is a psychotherapist on the Island and she also created and markets her own skin care line called Sashabelle

Susan started us off by sharing her own story of how she came to the decision to create her own skin care products. As she became more educated about the many dangerous chemicals in the products she had been using, she felt inspired to create something she could feel good about putting on her skin. She spoke of an inner voice that was impelling her to pursue this path and how we need to pay attention to our own inner voice when we are being nudged towards change. It is always a treat to meet women who care about safe skin care as I do, especially when they are doing their part to make a change.

For my portion of the event I wanted to focus on the psychology of appearance; how the way you look affects how you feel, how the way you feel, in turn, affects how others perceive you and how a few simple changes using just a few products can make a big difference. Doing research for my presentation was fascinating. There is seemingly endless data regarding the effects of color, makeup, clothing and grooming in regards to the impressions one makes as a job candidate to a potential employer or as a business owner to a potential customer.  In any and every aspect of life, actually.

After Susan and I finished our speaking portions it was time for a makeup demonstration. We drew a name from the list of attendees to be our model. The lovely Nicole Friedler, a professional photographer from the Island, was chosen and I was able to show the ladies an easy, five-minute makeup application using just four products. This is a routine that everybody has time for and can really make a big difference in helping you look polished and professional. Here is what I used:

Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation 

Beautycounter Every Day A. M. Hydrating Cream

Beautycounter Lip Sheer in Plum

Dr. Hauschka Volume Mascara 

Jordana Fabubrow Eyebrow Pencil 

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These are the core items you need for a simple look. I mixed the foundation with the day cream to make it even more hydrating and natural and buffed it into the skin with a foundation brush. You could use your fingers or a makeup sponge (I recommend the Beauty Blender). Then I used the amazing Plum Lip Sheer as a blush and lipstick. The color may seem really dark when you look at it, but the texture of these products is fantastic. They are sheer and buildable. So you can literally just swipe the tube on your cheeks and blend, add more as you want to intensify the color. Technically they are a lip product but they are the best cream blushes I have ever used. After you apply it as a blush, just sweep it over your lips.  Again, this product is buildable. Use just one layer for a soft wash of color or go over it again to make it deeper. They feel like heaven and smell like vanilla. As a side note, every shade can be used on the cheeks as well as the lips. Plum just happens to be a favorite of mine. 

I then lightly filled in Nicole’s brows with a brow pencil. My staple brow pencil happens to cost $2.99. Go figure. Let me use this as an opportunity to say that filling in your eyebrows is one of the simplest and most dramatic things you can do to bring structure to your face and attention to your eyes. It will seem “scary” at first but once you see how much better you look, it’s a step you won’t ever want to skip.  Everyone will notice how great you look but they probably won’t realize why. It might take some getting used to, but it is worth it.  Baby steps. Just do it.

Once Nicole’s makeover was complete, I had a blast color matching everyone for foundation and doing mini-makeovers on all of them! What a wonderful group of ladies.

Special thanks to Joanne Sardini and The Vineyard Square Hotel for hosting the event and allowing me to stay in one of their absolutely gorgeous suites. Between Joanne and the hotel and Chesca’s Restaurant I didn’t want to leave … so I made a weekend of it. What a fun time.

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Thanks also to Dawn Marie Temple of Bellaria Designs Photography for coming out to take these wonderful photos for us.

Great job, Tamar!  I hope we can do it again soon!

www.daniellebisbano.com

Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish Blush

Danielle Bisbano - Sunday, February 17, 2013

I must confess, my supply of cream blushes was sorely lacking. For those of you who have seen the size of my kit, this may seem a tad hard to believe. Sure I have the Make Up For Ever Flash Palette and technically I can create any little thing I want in the whole wide world of makeup but I just don’t always have the patience, or the time.

There are a gazillion cream blushes out there and there are probably lots of them that are great. Because I get to enjoy some deep discounts as a professional, I tend to order just about everything I purchase. I don’t always have the luxury of trying out products first so I do A LOT of my homework online and this product has gotten some rave reviews. I like to know what real people think about products and reviews are invaluable for that.

The Make Up For Ever line is great. I have tried several of their products and been very happy with them. I ordered two shades of this blush; Mistaken Identity (11) which they describe as a warm brown and PDA (8) which they describe as a light rosewood. The one shown above is PDA which, in person, actually has a touch more brown than the picture shows. I would have taken a picture of both but I already loaned one to my friend. I just can’t resist sharing because I really like this blush and I’ll tell you why.

First of all, you cannot beat the packaging for the whole hygienic factor. For your personal use, a typical cream blush is fine. For me, using a typical cream blush on a client is a pain. I have to scoop out what I need and get the product “flat” so it can be applied evenly. I seem to always scoop out too much so I waste a lot. Having a pump is brilliant! You only need a very small amount. Repeat: VERY small amount and the pump will allow you to dispense exactly the amount you need. That’s huge! Have you noticed how many pumps don’t let you do that? At $26 a pop, it is not cheap BUT with the amount you use, it is going to last you a loooooong time.

Okay, now onto the blush itself. It goes on smoothly and evenly and lasts ALL DAY. I love the two shades I purchased and I cannot wait to get more of them. The finish is just perfect. It’s sheer and fresh without being too shiny, sticky or wet. It goes over foundation perfectly without dragging or drying out too fast. You can easily apply and blend it with your fingertips (I like using my ring finger and pinkie) or you can use a brush. Here is a link to the product page on Sephora if you want to check out the shades and application tips. MUA friends that are eligible for a professional discount can get it at Nigel Beauty Emporium for 40% off with their Pro Card. Happy shopping!

My new favorite lipstick (and her friends)

Danielle Bisbano - Sunday, February 10, 2013

So, yeah, I’m in Rhode Island so I’m one of those people that got completely snowed in this weekend. Thankfully, we never lost power so I have actually been loving every minute of it. Playing with makeup ranks among my absolute favorite things to do. Surprised? I didn’t think so. Being housebound for three days ensures that I can actually justify a few hours of play time. Woo hoo!

I recently scored some awesome Make Up For Ever lipstick palettes at 50% off because they are being discontinued. I initially ordered one of them and liked it so much I scooped up another three before it was too late. Like a good girl, I do my due diligence and try out every single color before I put it in my kit. Yesterday was a perfect day for such a venture and, twenty lipstick shades later, I know exactly how each one wears and applies and I am psyched that I just built up my kit with some quality items at a great price.

Here is my conundrum: I fell in love with one of the shades. What’s so conundrum-ish about that? Well, this perfect lipstick is now discontinued.

Truth be told, I haven’t found a shade that I like for myself THIS MUCH since I was 15 and fell in love with a color called Partly Peach from the long extinct Jane line. It’s a little scary that I still remember this in such detail; my makeup obsession runs deep! It was a CVS special and cost probably three dollars but I loved it. It’s long gone now and, had I known it would be gone forever, I would have saved that scraped out tube to bring to a makeup counter so at least I could have a chance at finding a suitable replacement.

I shall not, however, suffer the same fate this time! Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, I was able to figure out what this shade actually is and find some full tube leftovers on Amazon. Yeah, baby!

Nigel Beauty Emporium has these palettes for $20 each right now but they are running out. You will have to call to order them because they are not listed on their web site. If you want to check out the shades you can go to the Make Up For Ever product page but you can’t actually buy it there. You could probably do some careful Googling and track some down on Amazon or somewhere else. Try Googling “make up for ever lipstick palette”. They are a great purchase because you really get a good variety of shades and finishes in every palette. There are creamy, full-color shades along with sheer, shimmery shades and they all blend really well with each other if you want to mix them up yourself. The already dug into palette above (hehe) is number 5, Praline Harmony.

Okay, I am signing off for now. I have an Amazon order to get in ;-)

How to find your favorite makeup: Part one

Danielle Bisbano - Thursday, August 09, 2012

How many cosmetics brands can you name off the top of your head? You’re already mentally rattling off Maybelline, Cover Girl, L’Oreal. Those are easy! How about a few more? Lancome, Estee Lauder, Clinique? Of course you have heard of them. But what about INGLOT, KohGenDo or Jordana? Maybe not. Why is that? One word: advertising.

 

Try to flip though a fashion magazine without finding an ad for one or even all of these companies. Most of these brands use mega celebrities to represent their brands. Lancome has Julia Roberts, Kate Winslet and Emma Watson to name a few. Revlon has Emma Stone, Halle Berry and Olivia Wilde and the list could go on and on. These are huge corporations with really big budgets but there are literally hundreds of other brands out there that you have probably never heard of simply because you have never seen an advertisement. Some may be expensive but lots of them are not. This is where some industry-specific tools can really come in handy.

 


If you are interested in makeup, or obsessed with it like I am, you should know about a few great ways to wade through the endless choices of products and find the ones that are really worth your time and money. The cosmetics industry is a multi-billion dollar business. Don’t be a casualty with an empty wallet and only your makeup graveyard to show for it (you have one and you know it). We’re going to explore three great methods, one at a time, that you can use to make smart decisions about your makeup and skin care purchases.

 

First, we will consider online reviews. Let’s say you already know the product you are thinking of buying. Google any product name and you will find the vendors that sell it and, likely, a 1-5-star rating. This might be enough to get you started and help you decide if it is still worth looking into. When you see a product on Sephora with a thousand reviews and just about five stars, chances are it is probably pretty good! If that’s enough for you to justify your purchase, you’re all set. If you want more detail or want to learn about great products that you never have even heard of, then Makeup Alley is the place. This is a really helpful site. You can look up just about any product (makeup, skin care, hair care, etc.) and you will get detailed reviews and ratings from real people that have actually used it. One important thing to keep in mind: pay attention to the number of reviews for the item you are researching. An obscure product with just one review and 5-star rating probably won’t hold up against a product with 500 reviews and a 4-star rating. It's a numbers game and this is a place where quantity matters. Makeup Alley is a wonderful resource for learning how products work (and don't work!) in the real world. Valuable details like “this color actually comes out more red than brown” can be your deciding factor when trying to pick out a new lipstick.

 


In the next article we will explore another tool with valuable insights. Video tutorials.

 

 

Beauty and the Budget

Danielle Bisbano - Saturday, January 01, 2011

In my daily struggle to NOT buy more makeup that I don’t really need, I have stumbled across some really great buys.

I’m a sucker for quality and I have expensive taste.  That being said, money does not grow on trees so I am always on the lookout for effective, high-quality cosmetics that are reasonably priced.  This is a venture that, in and of itself, can be pricey because of the very trial and error nature of it.  But I ask you, why should you have to go through all of that?  Knowledge should be shared and I love to share!  Here are just a few products that I think you’ll really like and that won’t make you go broke!

First things first.  Inglot.  I have not bought a thing from them that I did not absolutely love.  The quality is amazing, the colors are brilliant and the price point is remarkably low.  My favorites are the Freedom System items that I can pop into an empty magnetic Z Palette.  With prices like $5.00 for an eye shadow and $4.00 for a lipstick, how can you go wrong?  My biggest gripe with them is the lack of descriptions of ANYTHING on their site.  It’s a little maddening.  Despite that, I have managed to make several purchases that I am very happy with.  I have since “met” Hayden from the Chelsea store.  He is in charge of all the social media for Inglot and is a wealth of information and just a pleasure to talk to.  He is happy to provide any information that you need about the products on the site.  You can reach him by phone at 212.672.7124, email at socialmedia@inglotusa.com or ask him via Twitter or Facebook.  I just love this line!

 

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NYX is all or nothing for me.  Some of their products I adore and some are total junk (sorry, but true!)  One item that is a consistent performer is their Slim Lip Pencil.  I love the consistency and there are a ton of colors to choose from.  They are long-wearing and, especially if you get them from Beauty Joint, are dirt cheap at $2.39 a pop.    

Okay, one more (for now).  Crown Brush.  Yes, they sell mostly makeup brushes but tools are important and theirs are cruelty-free, high quality and very reasonable.  They also sell makeup palettes.  I have to confess, I bought a few eye shadow palettes and a lipstick palette from Haute Look with the intention of just using them just to “play” with but I was pleasantly surprised with the pigment concentration and staying power.  Again, very reasonably priced items.

So there you have it.  Now go have some fun.


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