Walk with me down makeup memory lane

Horizontal stripI was oohing and aahing over my latest eyeshadow palette (the Zoeva Cocoa Blend, for the record) and started thinking about my first eye kit. It was a little Maybelline set that came with three shadows, mascara, a brow pencil and cake eyeliner. I didn’t ask for it. I’d just turned 14 and my mother surprised me, saying it was for special occasions and church on Sundays. I came home from school and it was lying on my bed in all of its glamorous glory. Somehow it was more special because it was so unexpected.

I’m a child of the 70s and makeup was different then. There were no Ultas or Sephoras, so there weren’t as many options to choose from. Most of us — mid-70s high schoolers just starting to sample cosmetics — were drugstore shoppers. Maybelline, Cover Girl, Coty, Bonne Bell … their ads and the models who appeared in them are etched on our brains.

While most of the products of my youth live only in memory, a few have stood the test of time. Maybelline Great Lash Mascara, for example, was the holy grail of mascaras back then. I remember devoting myself to applying coat after coat, because long lashes were the thing. No one I knew wore false lashes in the 70s. Image4-6_ppThe look was supposed to be fresh and natural — think Cheryl Tiegs, Christie Brinkley and Cybill Shepherd. While blue and green eyeshadows were de rigeur in the early 70s, by the mid-70s the eye look was more subdued. Subtle browns with heavy mascara and lightly smudged eyeliner were the thing. Speaking of eyeliner, the heavy lifter from my college days is still sold today: Maybelline Expert Wear Twin Brow & Eye Pencils. They were particularly good on the lower lash line. (The girl in the photo is me, demonstrating the mid-70s natural look! Notice the bare lips. If I wore anything on my lips at all, it was a sheer wash of color.)

Next, let’s talk about the hair. In my high school years, it was all about scent. There was Body on Tap (beer enhanced!); Gee, Your Hair Smells Terrific; and my personal favorite, the heavily fragranced Sunshine Harvest Shampoo from Clairol. It came in almost overpowering scents including raspberry, peach, lime, strawberry, honeydew and tangerine. I remember thinking the bathroom and hallway smelled delicious for hours after I showered!

When I entered college, my love for fruity shampoos dissipated. I loved the Flex brand — and the commercials featuring Jerry Hall in a magnificent white satin cowboy suit with blowdryers in the holsters — and Farrah Fawcett shampoo from Wella Balsam. I was almost embarrassed to buy it, but my college roommate and bestie swore it did wonders for my hair!

Loves Baby SoftWhen it comes to fragrances, my high school days were marked by Avon’s Sweet Honesty, Love’s Fresh Lemon and Love’s Baby Soft. Actually, I loved the Baby Soft ad more than I loved the product. I wanted to wear the dress modeled in the ad to my junior prom and my mom did her best to replicate it. I remember being unhappy because she modified the neckline to make it more modest. (Yep, that’s me again in the photo at left.) When I reached college age, I went for scents that in my mind were more adult: Nina Ricci’s L’Air du Temps, Halston — I think every female college student in the 70s had a bottle of Halston — and Cinnabar by Estee Lauder. I have a bottle of Cinnabar in my collection today and still love it, but my college roommate (her again) says it smells like an old lady.

I hope you enjoyed my little trip down cosmetics memory lane and that it reminded you of your own early experiments with makeup. What about you? Are there any products you recall with particular fondness?

A dream is a wish your heart makes: My fantasy beauty and skin care shopping list

Everyone has beauty wishes. Sometimes we have money in our pockets to make them come true. Other times we’re short on funds and simply daydreaming. This is a wishing and hoping day, so I’m adding products to my fantasy shopping list. Here are the items 7a4f88dbc523c6e35b53c2a6bf11af68currently on my “when my ship comes in” roster:

  • The Charlotte Tilbury Norman Parkinson Collection — This is my be-all and end-all. Why? First, because Charlotte’s products are simply amazing. I own the Film Star Bronze and Glow Palette,the Eyes to Mesmerize pot in Cleopatra, several Color Chameleon eye sticks and, best of all, my go-to nude lipstick: Bitch Perfect. You simply can’t go wrong with Charlotte, and the Norman Parkinson Collection is what my heart yearns for. Gorgeous products, gorgeous packaging and the gorgeous Jerry Hall. I’m a child of the 70s and don’t just want this collection; I need it. Desperately. I just hope my ship comes in very soon, because the products are limited edition.
  • Zelens Skin Care Products — I’ve heard nothing but great things about Zelens and I’m a fiend for skin care products. No matter how outstanding your makeup products or how talented you are at applying them, they’re never going to look as good as they should without the foundation of great skin. Top wish-list picks: Triple Action Eye Cream, Youth Serum Concentrate, Z-22 Absolute Face Oil.
  • Makeup Geek Eye Shadows and Blushes — I haven’t tried this line yet, but I’ve seen many beauty bloggers and YouTubers create gorgeous looks with Makeup Geek products. Beggars can’t be choosers in real life, but in my fantasy life I’d order the Ultimate Eyeshadow Palette, the Foiled Eyeshadow Set and the Blush Starter Pack.
  • Tom Ford Beauty — Tom Ford is, well, Tom Ford. His taste is impeccable. His designs (especially his bags) for Gucci were and are to die for. His makeup line is no less desirable. I own several pieces from the summer collection and, trust me, the quality is superior. What would I add to my trove? The Cognac Sable and Ice Queen Eyeshadow Quads and lipsticks in Cherry Lush and Pink Dusk.
  • Wayne Goss Makeup Brushes — I love me some Wayne Goss. His beauty advice is classic, ageless and honest. And, as I’ve said before, he’s charming and easy on the eyes. His makeup brush collection is luxe, handcrafted and cruelty-free. I’d choose the face and eye sets.

So there you have it: The products I’d add to my makeup and skin care collections today if money were no object. What about you? What items would you purchase to make your beauty dreams come true?

The fab five: Beauty gurus for grownups

hqdefaultYouTube and Instagram have transformed the beauty game. A large and varied lineup of amateurs and experts have amassed huge followings eager to learn about the latest in skin care and makeup. Instagram is where you’ll see snapshots of beauty gurus in all their poreless, perfected glory. YouTube is where you get the before and after images, learn about the latest products and see how they’re applied.

I confess that I spend hours watching videos and scrolling through photos because there are some incredibly talented men and women out there. These individuals can blend eyeshadow until it’s as smooth as body butter and draw winged eyeliner sharper than Angelina Jolie’s perfect cheekbones.

The truth, however, is that the vast majority of those gurus are on the younger end of the age spectrum. Some of the best are barely out of their teens. While I learn a great deal from them, many of their makeup looks and color choices are clearly aimed at a young, edgy market that excludes baby boomers and older millennials. That’s why I’d like to introduce you to five talented experts — all of whom just happen to be British — whose common-sense advice encompasses all generations. They’re the beauty equivalent of the Fab Five (or Fab Six if you want to get technical and count the Pixiwoo sisters separately).

Lisa Eldridge: Lisa is one of the most well-regarded makeup artists in the industry and her client roster includes the rich, famous and infamous. She’s created looks for everyone from Kate Winslet to Kate Moss, from Cate Blanchett to Katy Perry. Lisa has also worked for companies such as Shiseido, Chanel, Lancome and Boots No. 7, as well as designers like Chloe, Alberta Ferretti, Prada, Donna Karan and Moschino.

Lisa’s social media channels are resources for practical advice and clean, classic, wearable makeup looks. She’s an expert on the history of makeup and has created numerous historically accurate makeup videos showcasing various eras. You’ll find her YouTube channel here and her blog at lisaeldridge.com. I’ve already preordered her upcoming book, “Face Paint: The Story of Makeup,” from Amazon.

Wayne Goss: Some of the best makeup artists are men and Wayne is at the top of the class. If you want honest information delivered in a cut-to-the-chase, honest manner, he’s your guy. (It doesn’t hurt that he’s easy on the eyes.) Wayne keeps things simple, whether he’s demonstrating how to create a smokey eye or create Kim Kardashian contours. He’s both charming and disarming: If he thinks a product is rubbish he makes no bones about it. Wayne has deservedly amassed nearly 2.2 million YouTube followers and launched his own line of high-end makeup brushes. You’ll find his YouTube channel here.

Caroline Hirons: Caroline is the Swami of Skin Care and her advice and recommendations have changed my skin for the better. I can’t even begin to fathom how many products she’s sampled in more than 18 years in the beauty industry. Caroline has represented a who’s who of top brands, including Sunday Riley, Hampton Sun, Kate Somerville, Zelens, Sjal and Pixi. She keeps things real and comes across as someone who’d be a blast to be around. Check out her YouTube channel and her blog. Your skin will thank you.

Sali Hughes: Sali has been the resident beauty writer for The Guardian U.K. since 2011. She’s also written about beauty, style and relationships in publications such as Elle, Red, Glamour and Cosmopolitan, winning two Jasmine Awards for beauty writing along the way. Sali’s YouTube channel features reviews, tutorials and interviews with leading beauty experts and celebrities. I particularly enjoy her “In the Bathroom” series, in which she tactfully invades — yes — the bathrooms of her interview subjects to chat and cheerfully check out what’s in their beauty cabinets. I recently read Sali’s book, “Pretty Honest: The Straight-Talking Beauty Companion” and thoroughly enjoyed it. You’ll find her YouTube channel here and her blog at salihughesbeauty.com.

maxresdefaultSam and Nic Chapman: The Chapman sisters describe themselves as “makeup artists, vloggers, bloggers, beauty boot camp instructors, moms and more.” All I know is that I love their YouTube videos, which feature in-depth tutorials — some classic, some slightly edgy, some celebrity-inspired — along with product hauls. Sam and Nic have a combined 30 years in the beauty industry, having begun their careers as makeup artists while in their teens. They’re also the brains behind the Real Techniques line of makeup brushes, including the new, luxe Bold Metals collection. Collectively known as Pixiwoo, you’ll find their YouTube channel here. Their joint blog is at realtechniques.com.

Photos: Sali Hughes and Caroline Hirons share a laugh; Sam and Nic Chapman’s YouTube filming setup.

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