Confessions of a Beauty Junkie

Thursday, May 21, 2009

... and June, as promised (see, I'm not THAT much of a slackass)

All right. You all know my love-hate relationship with self-tanning (naked out-passing forty-eight hours pre-wedding notwithstanding). I tried to democratically and diplomatically tackle said topic for the June mag column. Rest assured that I'll be back (hopefully over the holiday weekend, which I plan to pack with lazy-assing around-- oh, and drinking, there will be plenty of that) to discuss and dissect in much, much more detail. For those of you who don' t know me, peep this: I feel about self-tanning products the same way I feel about mascara. If I love it, I love it and will tell everyone I know to buy it/ try it/ steal it/ whatever. If a product disappoints me, the phrase "hell hath no scorn" doesn't even begin to describe. Occupy your ass with this in the meantime-in-between-time, yo.

“A Whiter Shade of Pale”

Remember when you were young, and you were being bad, and your mother/ father/ granny/ babysitter snatched you up by your armpit and said through clenched teeth, “I’m gonna tan your hide”? (If not, you were obviously a better-behaved child than I.) Well, it’s finally summertime, and for most of us, that means the onset of the never-ending search for the perfect sunless tan. I know many of you are sun-worshippers, as I used to be, but to avoid wrinkles and premature aging (caused primarily by sun damage), sunless is truly the way to go. That said, the results from some of the sunless tanning products out there can be unpredictable. So, let’s get to it.

Let’s tan that hide.

Let me just say that I am very pale. I am also as vain as can be and, despite having full knowledge of the evils of tanning, would like for just one day to be one of those “I-get-brown-as-a-biscuit” types. I don’t tan—I burn, period. (Then, if I’m lucky, I freckle.) I’ve spent countless minutes and dollars trying the fancy tanning beds that promise to avoid sunburn, only to end up with hellacious sun poisoning. For this reason, it’s sunless or nothing for me. Thankfully, we have a myriad of options these days, from gradual-color lotions to aerosol sprays to open-booth misting systems. Your best option depends on how much time you have to spend on gaining and maintaining natural-looking color.

Most of my favorite gradual-tanning lotions can be found at your drugstore. Jergens has done a great job with their Natural Glow line. I particularly like the foaming moisturizer and the Express moisturizer. A couple tips: exfoliate and shave before you get started with any self-tanning routine, and pick up a pair of dishwashing gloves to avoid tanned palms (to tan the backs of your hands, remove one glove, rub on lotion with the gloved hand, then re-glove and change sides). Load up on either one of these for a few days and break out those tank tops. My favorite face lotion is Clarins’ Radiance-Plus Self Tanning Crème-Gel. It is mild enough for sensitive skin, but subtly delivers believable color. Try it every other day in place of your regular moisturizer.

Looking for a more aggressive approach to self-tanning? Try an aerosol spray with built-in bronzer. The spray delivers seamless color, and the bronzer shows you where exactly the spray lands on your skin. I’m a big believer in Modelco’s Tan Airbrush in a Can. It does a great job of delivering natural-looking color, and the bronzer ensures goof-proof placement. A word of advice: while you’re getting the hang of tanning yourself, it’s best to work in your shower with the curtain pulled. Trust me—the aerosol mist goes everywhere (use the dishwashing-glove trick)!

For the ultimate in quick color, head to the spray-tanning booth. VersaSpa and MysticTan are the two leading the pack, and both can be found locally. My latest experience was with VersaSpa, and I was pleased. The open booth mists you in three phases: primer, tanning solution, and moisturizing extender. The booth also “dries” you in between each phase with blowing air. You can choose from three levels of color, and the tan develops in a few hours. Most tanning formulas have a slightly starchy smell due to the chemical DHA that dyes your skin, producing the “tan.” Thankfully, VersaSpa’s smell is almost nonexistent. Head downtown to Urban Sun (owned by a Franklin resident). The staff is very knowledgeable and friendly. Stop in for the full monty, or tan just your legs if you’re short on time. The nicest thing about a VersaSpa tan is how it fades: subtly and evenly. This is not the case with many other self-tanning methods, which can get spotty and streaky as they fade (that’s when it’s best to just exfoliate and start over). I only wish the color stuck around a little longer! With any spray tan, try to avoid run-of-the-mill moisturizer, as it can “eat” a sunless tan. Make use of one of the gradual tanning lotions we discussed to prolong your color. I’ve even used the Clarins lotion on my legs in a pinch, and it worked great (though it’s not the most economic choice).

So now you have a few options to get that hide tanned. Hopefully, this time around, the process doesn’t involve running afoul of your elders. I expect to see all of you lovelies glowing about Williamson County! Happy Summer!

Clarins: Dillard’s and Belk, Cool Springs Galleria
VersaSpa and Mystic Tan: http://www.versaspa.com/; http://www.mystictan.com/

This month's VIP column (June to follow shortly)...

So I guess I'm damned and determined to be a once-a-month-post kinda girl. I hate that. One of these days my job will calm its ass down and I will be able to post more often. Until then, I, and you, will just have to live with it. Here's what I put together for the May magazine column. For those of you who read this blog (I love you, you're my best friend), most of this will be a bit of a recap of shit I've discussed before now. For those of you newbies, you'll want to take notes (and get with the program, would ya?).

"Off to the Races!"

Ah, May: month of outdoor parties, the Kentucky Derby, and, of course, Steeplechase. Long, fun-filled Saturdays no doubt highlight the need for a pretty look that lasts and lasts. Have no fear, the Beauty Junkie is here with a few tips to keep you looking fresh all day long (and even into the evening for cocktails after the races).

When planning for a long day outdoors with little time for touchups (and possibly inclement weather), think of your pretty face as a blank canvas. It’s worth taking a few extra minutes to prime your face to prep it for your makeup routine. I like Clean Slate by Tarte, a clear gel that glides on easily. Then brush on your foundation with a foundation brush (yes, it does make a difference). Follow with a gentle dusting of powder to set everything. Gel or cream-to-power blush has the most staying power, so pick one. Finally, spritz your face with the tiniest bit of water or mist with a water atomizer. There—perfect. Now, let’s work on those eyes.

When it comes to beauty, the eyes have it—and when it comes to long-lasting eye makeup, Bobbi Brown has you covered. Pat the Cream Shadow Stick onto your upper eyelids from lashline to brow (use your ring finger—it’s the weakest finger, and therefore won’t pull delicate eye skin as much). This primes your lids just as Clean Slate does your face, and has a perfect finish that won’t interfere with your eyeshadow. Next, brush on a pretty wash of shimmer with Bobbi’s Long-Wear Cream Shadow. (I like Beach Honey for a casual day look, and Galaxy for smoky evening eyes.) Make sure to use a brush meant for cream eye shadow—you can use your finger in a pinch, but a brush makes for a much more even distribution of color. To make those peepers pop, line the top lid with a line of Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner that gets slightly thicker as you move toward the eye’s outer corner. You’ll need to make use of an eyeliner brush to really make this work. Now don’t get all “we get it with the brushes already!” I can promise you that the payoff is totally worth it. (Bobbi has a line of fabulous brushes that will last you forever and are worth every penny. A cheaper option is the Sonia Kashuk line, available at Target.) Sweep some brow gel over your eyebrows to groom them and keep them in place.

You’re almost finished. Curl your eyelashes and brush on Cils Booster XL by Lancome. You can thank me later—this stuff is ridiculously awesome. It primes the lashes for mascara and makes any formula work that much better. Follow that up with a long-wearing, preferably waterproof mascara. I’m normally not a fan of waterproof mascara—too drying and too hard to gently remove on an everyday basis—but on a long, hot day, it will last the longest. If you’re looking for a suggestion, try Bobbi’s No-Smudge Mascara or Lash Blast Waterproof by Cover Girl. Line and completely fill in your lips with a creamy pencil that matches your natural lip color. Top with a shimmery, non-sticky gloss for shiny color that’s not overly opaque (skip matte lipstick, as it can be too heavy). Now, would you just look at yourself! You’ll be fresh as a daisy, while your friends’ makeup slides down their faces and onto those pretty sundresses. (Poor things, they should have read this column.)

A few parting words to make that all-day affair more bearable: stash a Johnson & Johnson’s Blister Stick in your handbag (great for anywhere your clothes or shoes rub), layer your fragrance for the most staying power, and PLEASE wear sunscreen. Kill two birds with one stone by choosing Coola Total Body Sunscreen in Plumeria: it smells lovely and offers hypo-allergenic, organic sun protection. Happy Spring, ladies!

Buying Guide:

Tarte: Sephora, The Mall at Green Hills
Bobbi Brown and Lancome: Belk, Cool Springs Galleria
Cover Girl and Johnson & Johnson’s: Local drugstores
Coola: Woo Cosmetics, Green Hills