A Smile Is Just A Frown, Turned Upside Down-Clinique High Lash Mascara

When I use Clinique’s High Lash mascara, I was reminded of the ol song–smiling faces, smiling faces, beware! Hey, they don’t tell the truth…

Anyway, it feels good to be doing some creative writing for a change.

I am not a mascara aficionado like many other bloggers-I am, a woman in search of ONE-COAT fantastic length and volume though without clumping.

I thought I found it in a MAC mascara recently, but the fact that I can’t remember the name only a month or or so later, well

that’s telling.

I think that went in the round receptacle.

I just don’t have the time to be so fussy to 1) put on more than one coat of mascara, and 2) take one of those combs out to separate the lashes.

So, there’s a nice lady at the Clinique Kahala counter who introduces me to new product-mostly when it comes to Clinique I pick up skincare like Dramatically Different which I like to use when I want to seal a serum in. It’s not for the heavy duty days when I need Kiehl’s Rosa Artica original formula.

I was just using my sample mascaras to tide me over after I tossed the Mac-and really, am I the only that gets confused with all those brushes? This does this, and this does that?

So, all I really need is simple. She suggested High Lash because it lengthens by pulling the lashes out with the comb/brush. Sort of helps the lashes curl a bit too.

The want itself is neon green and more like a comb than a brush–it is shaped as a semi-circle thus a frown or smile shape.

So, after a few days of using it, I was expecting it to start clumping, and it kind of did and I resorted to using the separation comb.

Then for whatever reason, I thought how about flipping the brush/comb?

So, what I do is use it like a “smile” to put on the coat of mascara.

Then I flip it, and use it like a “frown” to separate the lashes.

Somehow this works–

I don’t know if the folks at Clinique intended this, but it works for me.



Getting Ready Faster and Faster


Lately, for those who follow my blog, there has been more and more lag time between posts.

It’s not because I have a lack of subjects. But just time is at a premium lately.

I used to sit by myself at the gym long after my friends had gotten ready and left for work.

Lately, I am flying out of there myself to run an errand or get a few things done before whatever commitments I have.  Part of that is I like to be driving when there is the least amount of traffic.

So, normally it will take me 35 minutes to get ready from start to finish including blow-drying my hair and nice make up.

Just shaving off 15 minutes is a major deal. That means I just dry my hair to get the dampness out, and do stuff like:

Use pencil eyeliner instead of gel or Laura Mercier‘s Tightliner which requires and extra step

Use a neutral powder eye shadow base instead of Laura Mercier’s eyeshadow primer which enriches the color

Use tinted moisturizer which is more forgiving then to use liquid foundation. ( I know powder or otherwise mineral foundation is really fast but the color usually grays up).

Line with Laura Mercier lip liner and follow with Rose balm instead of lipstick or gloss.

Use Bobbi Brown Tortoise collection shadow set instead of dabbing on Laura Mercier creme eye shadow

I do not cheat on some steps:

Treatment – apply a squirt of Kiehl’s Power Line Concentrate

Moisturizer- Kiehl’s Rosa Artica

Sunscreen – Clarin’s spf40 under anything else

Lashes- I’ve been using Grande Lash MD to grow my lashes and I believe I am seeing results after two weeks. Lately I just need a swish of mascara (back to Mac ZoomLash)

That’s pretty much it-somehow I’m still getting more on my face than what women’s magazine’s would consider 5 minute make up -but oh well.




Does It Work Outside the Store?

I don’t know about everybody else, but I’ve had experiences where I loved the color of a lipstick at the store, but when I took it out to the light of day I couldn’t stand it.

Yep, I know to walk outside with the hand mirror before buying, but sometimes, or most of the time I just buy it, cuz I don’t know I like the way it looks.

Just like when you get a makeover at the store with skincare or makeup.  It feels and looks great – so why not buy it?

Especially when the high-end skincare usually comes with a free facial with a real esthetician. So, yeah your skin feels wonderful and your face just glows.  So, you buy right?

I recently attended a ReVive’ workshop and it was great! The guy who took the doc’s place with the UK accent just furfelled with enthusiasm. I’ve tried a lot of the products, so I tend to be skeptical and bought pretty much what I planned to buy.  I pretty much knew that buying their cucumber toner was probably the same as  buying the much lower price point Kiehl’s toner-as well as make up remover. But I was pretty astounded by how much some ladies did decide to buy.  The gwps were at the $350 price point with of course the obligatory step ups-buy more, get more.

When I did the Laura Mercier make up the first step was their skincare line-which is pretty reasonably priced for LM.  It started with vitamins A and C, followed by their moisture serums and moisture cream.  Sure felt nice, maybe next time. To me, anything feels pretty nice on my face, it’s what happens in real life as to whether I will buy it.  (BTW the LM skincare products kept my skin nicely moisturized for the better part of the afternoon-that’s saying something for Hawaii).

So what happens when you buy a lip or foundation color and it just doesn’t work?

As I peruse a line-up of lip glosses and lipsticks I have on my vanity-I have been putting them on and tossing the ones I have decided don’t work for me.

I’ve talked to my friends, and they pretty much just toss it to the back of their makeup closet.

Me, I have no shame-most of the time I will take a color product back.  I’ve never had a problem with NM and Nords, I’ve never taken back stuff to Macys, though their store return policy is pretty cruise. I don’t bother with drugstore products-they are a small investment, and my time is worth much more.

But then,

A friend who travels from the east coast and back to Hawaii suggested that women keep two bags of makeup.


One for travel to different locales and one for home. What exactly does that mean?

I used to go to SF and loved to buy prescriptives lip colors-mostly matte style.  But when I brought them home to Hawaii, they looked terrible on me! I did ok with foundation and blush but lip colors rarely worked and I’ve heard the same from other people.

I’ve noticed the same geo reaction of my moisture products lately but not so geographically far.

When I put on my Cera Ve’ body cream on the much drier town side and drive over the mountain to the moist windward side, I feel sticky and icky. The cream is too heavy. I’m planning to check out the lighter lotion, but I am surprised at the change.

Conversely, when I put on my lighter moisturizer when I start my day on the windward side, and come back into town, I dry up!


I don’t know how reasonable it is to keep products for both sides of an island.

But it’s nice to have a lot of choice.



What Smells?

My number one favorite scent is baby powder. I walk down the aisle in the supermarket and breathe deep.

Sure, I like the smell of old-school Japanese erasers, summer rain or the breath of puppy. But that smell makes me swoon.

Makes me wonder why they don’t make men’s cologne or after-shave products in baby powder scent.

I guess not masculine enough.

But it begs the question-how do people choose their personal fragrance? Do people wear it for themselves? Or to attract others?

Me, I’m not a big fragrance wearer-I’m not sure why-that’s a lie- I actually know it’s because most fragrance gives me a headache.

When I was little I  loved dabbing a bit of my mom’s Chanel No.5 or Emeraude perfume behind my ears – she had the same tiny sample bottles for years but I loved them anyway.

In 7th grade I spritzed on lemon, strawberry perfume or Love’s Baby Soft. I think it went along with my blue eye shadow cased in a revolutionary crayon stick made by CoverGirl. In blue jeans and very long hair, I moved onto musk (the original!) and patchouli. Must have had something to do with my octagon shaped wire rimmed glasses.

Fast forward to high-school and disco and wearing Charlie!, Giogio, Halston and more musk!

Once I graduated college and into the workforce, I moved onto much headier perfumes like Dior’s Poison, Issey Miyake’s Green Tea, Issey, Angel et al.  Walking down Bishop Street after Mother’s or Valentine’s Days, the street was a smorgasbord of the latest perfume by Liz Claiborne, Anne Klein or whoever.  I think that’s when I started getting sensitive to fragrance.

Add to that people would give me fragrance that just didn’t work for me–among those, Chanel’s Coco, Estee Lauder Cinnabar/Youth Dew or Knowing.

Estee Lauder’s Knowing probably strongly influenced my path toward not wearing fragrance – or maybe it was Fracas.

To this day, when I smell Knowing or Hermes’ Earth, or anything with high jasmine notes-I either get a headache or nauseous.

I don’t know if middle-age has just made me more sensitive to fragrance or it was being assaulted by Estee Lauder’s Knowing or Hermes’ Earth as to when I actually stopped wearing perfume.

I used to love Polo, Armani and Halston Z-4, and even Polo Sport. But wave a bottle of any of those under my nose nowadays and I will probably get a headache. I love love my friends who wear these colognes, but…

if the guy wore one of these or Earth on a first date, there would not be another.

On the other hand, I enjoy the blue-eyed man’s scent whether he is fresh out of the shower -smelling like Dove, or curiously his chapstick or another mystery product he uses.  I actually don’t mind the cologne he wears that is usually soft and not demanding attention.

My best bud was known for wearing fragrance- mostly Thierry Mugler‘s Angel because it smelled like chocolate-women would practically faint when he walked by.

So does it really matter what your man or woman in your life is wearing?  Can you smell the real them through the hypnotic camouflage of bottled scent?

Must be able to–otherwise how would you find them in a crowd?

Me, I just like the smell of his skin.


Out with Old, IN with the New!

It’s that time of year and Honolulu Nordstroms is having their big beauty event!  I decided to try and beat the crowds and went today and get my makeup done by Laura Mercier’s national artist, “Mark”.

It was interesting because one artist prepped my face with skincare-all of the products felt really good on my skin.  A vitamin A and Vitamin C serum, followed by Repair Serum and topped off with Repair Cream.

Once that was set, the next step and next artist applied primer with radiance and tinted moisturizer. I wear less and less foundation as my skin gets better, so less is more.  The artist applied concealer and brightener. Both made a big difference and the technique was so different than what I learned from Bobbi Brown.  A  lot less product and only where needed–lightly brushing in the brightening powder in the crevices. The artist shared a trick to lift the eyelids by drawing fine strokes of concealer up and out at the corner lid.

Onto color with Mark.  It was pretty interesting because I already use Silk Creme foundation, blush, Audrey lip color et al.  Mark told me that the foundation is great for a night out but really I didn’t need that much coverage and that it was aging.  Same for my beloved Audrey color – lighter was better.

I wanted to learn Laura’s smokey eye look and there were three choices–smoky in the crease, smoky smudged eyeliner and smokey shadow.  I wanted to learn the liner technique.

So beautifully simple.  Using the creme shadow in gold-kind of a beige neutral, that was patted on and above the lid.  Followed by tightener in bluemarine-a midnight blue color–no wings, just the slightest uplift and pushed into my lashes. No liner on the bottom.

Then he took the Caviar stick in Smoke-applied with a smudge brush and smudged more to cover about have the lower part of the lid. Such a nice clean and for me an updated look!

A little bit of blush and brightening powder and I was done.

Very light hand – loved the look!

I’m a Laura devotee!


DryDock-Secret Single Behaviors

Just recently I had all the time in the world to do my secret single behaviors.

You know in Sex-In-The-City Carrie ate crackers and read her fashion magazines and Charlotte stared into the mirror counting the pores on her nose.

I am constantly amazed at how people who have regular jobs that they appear at in the morning, and stay thru the day, maybe running errands at lunch, I always wonder how they get everything done. Like grocery shopping, laundry, clean the house, pick up haircare, study and buy beauty products,  dry-cleaning etc. I guess that’s why shopping centers and such are so busy on the weekend and the weekday evenings.  I usually avoid those areas at those times.

Since I freelance, that’s pretty easy for me.  My schedule is pretty much my own-at least until recently when I started hanging with the man-in-my-life on a frequent basis.  It hasn’t been very long(the post office just sent a note saying my 3-month forwarding of mail is pau) but it has impacted my schedule.

So…yesterday and today I have a little time to drydock myself back into shape. You know those little things you do when the b or g-friend is not around.

Like for me that would include my honey body scrub to soften me up to silky smoothness, dermologica gentle cream exfoliant for my face, followed by a moisture mask, polish my toes, file my nails, do my bleph treatment on my lower and upper lids(helps with moisture in my eyes for contact lens), deep condition my hair, dehair, and moisturize with my new product Cerave’ body cream(recommended by a reader for sensitive skin-the real moisture test for me will be to use it during the day and see how it goes).

I’ve always been a great time manager so I do all of this while I am doing my work.  So though drydock means resting at a spa for some people, for me it means it’s a double-duty multi-tasking day.


Got Protection? Tinted Sunscreen

I’m always on the prowl for anything new in the way of sunscreen.  Living in Hawaii it’s a necessity with pretty much sunny weather 365 days a year.

A few weeks ago I was tooling around Nordstroms and picked up a sample of the Clarin’s spf 40 Tinted Moisturizer that is offered in light, medium and dark shades.

Love the texture- the tinted version uses the same as the original formula, which is a opaque white but dries clear with no chalky look.

There’s a few reservations I have for the product. As usual for most products that have the one size fits all approach of light, medium, dark-they don’t take into consideration all the different shades of complexion.  Which is ok, but if that’s all you’re wearing in terms of foundation-one size does not fit all.

The other thing I was thinking this morning as I did my morning routine, was if I use only the tinted moisturizer, would I be covering all areas on my face?  I put my foundation on with a very light hand, just a little pea of product which I rub with my fingertips and pat on.

A far cry from the recommended dime size dollop of sunscreen-and that’s really for those creamy thick formulas that you wear to the beach.

I use the regular formula Clarins spf40 as my daily face sunscreen and I draw out about an inch of product and using the same fingertip rub motion I pat that on, but all over.

So, if I was only using the tinted moisturizer I wouldn’t necessarily get it on my entire face.

So it makes sense to use both regular sunscreen, followed by the tinted version. But isn’t that double?

Yeah, but more is better when it comes to sunscreen.

And then there’s foundations and BB creams with spf.

In my opinion, same thing.  You really need to use regular sunscreen under, and put the color product on over.

I’ve done both for years, foundation and sunscreen- even if the foundation has spf15-but why is it so low?  Is it because higher spfs mess with the foundation formula?

Must be something like that, because I have tried all my sunscreens-Clarins, Trish McAvoy, Laura Mercier’s Primer w spf, Neutragena and my outdoor screen, Ocean Potion and none of them work well with the Laura Mercier’s new moisturizing foundation.

I put sunscreen on, let it dry, and everything I have tried so far, the new foundation “pills” and I end up smearing it off. Ick. Not my favorite thing since I disliked doing anything that pulls or tugs my skin.

I can only thing using a makeup sponge or brush would make the problem worse and more streaky weird.

In a few days, I’m going to Nordstorms event with the Laura Mercier national artist applying the makeup-so I will definitely ask, What’s up?

But as for sunscreen, apply, and repeat.


Overnight-The Away Kit

There comes a moment in a new relationship when one needs to think about what they would need for an overnight – or at least be prepared.  Men have it easy, they just fall out of bed and they pretty much look the same.

My routine is floss, brush, moisturizer super boosted with Philosophy Vitamin C powder, sunscreen, primer, foundation.  Eyebrows, shadow,liner, mascara.  Blush, lip and Makeup Forever HD Powder.

That’s a lot of stuff to carry around.  How to simplify?  Sometimes when I visit my folks in Maui, I get there and realize I forgot something fairly critical like cleanser.

Got the answer for that.  These nifty face wipes I got at the Face Shop.  Gentle, herbal and they take off makeup with no rubbing!  I don’t like those baby oil wipes-makes my face greasy and that’s one more step to tone.  These herbal wipes are one step, no oil, very freshening and only $2 for 20 wipes!

On any given day, I have so much stuff that I carry around that I got a locker at the gym because my shoulder was hurting from carrying my dance bag, my clothes and my makeup, hair stuff and whatever else. I think my makeup kit all by itself is 4-5 pounds.  I offloaded the hair stuff which would be the Kitoko Oil and Neuma cocktail ingredients, plus three types of lotion, one being Kiehl’s spf30 Body Lotion (smells like coconuts), Johnson&Johnson 24 Hour Moisture, and Bliss Lemon and Sage.

My back feels a lot better.

What can I get away with for an impromtpu overnight? I like to visualize processes and do a walk through so I can figure out what I need.  Will it fit in my purse?

Face wipes-makeup remover, moisturizer w spf, floss, toothbrush, toothpaste, elastic for my hair. Maybe BB cream, mascara, eyebrow stuff, liner, rose balm.

Believe it or not, most of this stuff would fit in the bag I carry around.

There’s also a thought process into what I wear the night before that doesn’t make me walk the walk of shame!  Remember Carrie from Sex in the City walking home in her evening clothes at 7a in the morning when she runs into Miranda?

That’s another post.


First Date MakeUp For When You’re Old Enough to Know Better

You know you know that you can tell when you see a brand new couple on a first date.  The happy laughs, the leaning in, and the deep gazing into the eyes. Sigh.  They are the people that usually end up closing the restaurant, caught up in conversation and the thrill of the new.

So, what does that mean when you’re on the middle side of 50? I asked a couple of trusted girlfriends “what would be appropriate for a first date in terms of clothing?”- and I had to agree a dress was the right choice. Besides I was wearing a bright blue band-aid on my shin from slamming into something the day before so a long dress was a great solution.

But what what what about the makeup?

I think in my opinion, it’s important to present yourself but a little better, as opposed to going all out with tons of red lip gloss, big thick cat eyes and wild woman hair.

I mean really, I’m not going to keep up curling my hair into a massive froth on my head-that’s just trying too hard for me.

So I work on my makeup instead.  In the beginning I think the eyes offer the best peek into the soul. But please don’t overdo it with mounds of cakey mascara that usually end up like spiders on your lids.  Go easy, and just keep it simple. Use my trick of tilting your head back so you don’t develop nasolabial lines from trying to open your eyes wider by opening your mouth wide. Don’t over do it and make frown lines on your forehead either.  Bossy I know but better than the wrinkles.

Anyway….I just read an article about wearing a little color on the lids-so try a little soft lavender, or a navy blue in the corners.  I love a  soft cat eye!

On lips, forget the gloppy gloss. I’m sorry I won’t apologize that going too far with the lip gloss just looks …..Opt for a soft, brownish pink or red, that’s muted with a very soft shine. Avoid frosts.  If you have wrinkles around your mouth from pursing them-it’s just going to look bad when the color seeps into the lines.  Oh yeah, use a lip liner that matches the color-or in the same color family.

Keep blush light-add a little color-you’re not 20 anymore, so the flush of youth is probably not going to look natural. Though my favorite beauty icon, Bobbi Brown advocates for a pop of color.  I look at photos of myself during the height of my BB phase, and I think it looks great in photos, though maybe a little hot in real life.

Overall, I guess I’m just saying that your make up should send the same message as your clothes.  If you’re not planning on more than a kiss on the cheek goodnight, dress and makeup as such.

It’s much more interesting to take it slow than to go for the home run anyway.


I Want to Look Younger But I Don’t Want To Look Like I’m Trying!

Hah! Got your attention?  This is actually an article about what not to do when putting on your make up, in the quest to look younger.

I think most people have heard the story that red lipstick, pink cheeks and long, lush lashes mimic the flush of youth and fertility.  Add to that silky, shiny hair.

So what happens as you age?  Your lips thin out, you lose the pink in your cheeks, your lashes (and probably eyebrows) thin out, and your hair dulls and in my case gets kinky.

As you age, many beauty mavens suggest a lighter hand when putting on make up. I think, at least in my opinion, that doesn’t mean less make up, it means lighter colors.  Instead of trying to make yourself look more vibrant with a stronger blush, or more color eye shadow or liner, it means choose colors that are believable.

I remember a day about 10 years ago, when a friend took a bright blue eyeliner and drew it all around her eyes, top and bottom.  It matched the blue stripes in her shirt and it looked terrible and I was reminded of that crazy Bette Davis movie – “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?”

Then I was watching junk food tv-The Bachelor-and I noticed every woman on the show had heavy liner on top and a lot on the bottom.

For years I have skipped liner on the bottom and rarely put on mascara on my bottom lashes-but I tried the liner the other day.  I have to absolutely say it closed my eyes and made them look smaller.

Point 1-use a light hand, or nothing on the bottom lashes.

I bought a Laura Mercier lipstick in “Audrey” a deeper brown-red that I apply with a light hand.  I have “cho cho” lips, which means I don’t need anything injected. I like this color because it’s a red color, but it does not shout red.  Think the opposite of Marilyn Monroe, and her oozing self with the red lips.

Point 2-choose lip color wisely.  Trendy usually does not work-avoid neons, too orange, too pink, too nude, dark liner around and nude inside etc.

I got a sample of a balm that I used this morning.  The new balms aim to be all-in-one products – moisturizer, treatment, color and sunscreen.  Gives light but definite coverage, and softens the edges so to speak.  I think this is a happy medium between foundation and tinted moisturizer.  Great for busy women who don’t have time to do a lot of products that you layer.

Point 3-don’t cake on foundation in the quest for coverage.  New lighter products work.  Avoid cakey powder foundation.  Use a very light hand for translucent powder when you are taking down shine.

For Halloween I decided to be Black Swan because I think the eye makeup is crazy.  Another year I was a cat.  Both eye make up costumes required darkening the eye with black, dark shadow then circling with thick thick thick eye liner.

Point 4 -err to less is more.  Think Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”.  She wears a pretty much nude eye, pink/nude lip, and gorgeous doe eye liner.

So, aging beauties, go for classic. Avoid the trends and use a light hand.