Fall has made its way to Northeastern Ohio in full force, as evidenced by the chilly temps and blustery weather. My favorite thing about this time of year? While New Year’s Eve isn’t until December, the fashion new year starts now. It’s the time to revamp your look and trade in summer’s mellow vibe for something more polished and pretty. I’ve been super lucky to have the chance to experiment with and review some of fall’s hottest product launches and innovations. Here’s the best of the bunch (as well as some hyped up items that you’re better off skipping!):
The style inspiration: Duchess Catherine’s polished, preppy style.
Make it yours with: A great foundation that is flawlessly matched to your skintone. After test-driving new foundations from Armani, CHANEL (more on that later), Sephora, MAC, YSL, and Bobbi Brown, I’m surprised to say that the prize winner is Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation, $45. What’s over-hyped? While Armani Luminous Silk foundation continues to harvest accolades from Allure magazine and the like (I’ve seen it on Joey’s makeup table on the Rachel Zoe Project), I just don’t feel that it’s super special–it emphasizes my pores, and non-streaky application is labor intensive and requires the purchase of an additional, and expensive, brush. CHANEL Perfection Lumiere is, sadly, another one to skip. I’m bummed about this one because the finish of the foundation is gorgeous and instantly flawless, but most makeup artists I’ve talked to agree with me that the product has three major flaws: a strange and difficult to match color selection that often requires mixing shades, a formula which oxidizes with wear–turning either very pink or very orange in a short period of time, and, in my experience, a formula which also seems to “eat up” color that you apply on top of it, deadening its brightness and luminosity. So, aside from being Duchess Catherine’s beauty brand of choice, what makes the Bobbi foundation so special? Well edited, easy to match shades, a formula which skims over pores and achieves a long lasting balance of dewiness and flawlessness that looks polished but not artificially perfected. A definite keeper.
The style inspiration: The precisely lined eye, another of Duchess Catherine’s signature looks which has been featured all over the runways and fashion editorials for fall 2011.
Make it yours with: Keep this look uptown chic, and out of downtown rocker or goth chick territory, by trying my favorite twist–a saturated shade which reads as black from a distance, but adds extra interest with a bright undertone. Black with a bright undertone? With makeup, all things are possible. Case in point: Tom Ford Beauty Noir Absolute for Eyes, $35 exclusively at Neiman Marcus, and currently pre-order on their website. Its deepest-on-the-market black pigment is sparked with “blue optics,” a unique feature to create additional contrast with the whites of your eyes. Can anybody say “mesmerizing?” If you’ve got to have it now, and you don’t want to wait around for the Tom Ford, Bobbi Brown Cobalt Ink Long Wear Gel Eyeliner $21–a long standing favorite of makeup artists and beauty editors alike–is a fab alternative, with just enough blue to make your eyes sparkle without making you look like a teenybopper. For perfectly defined eyes that literally do not budge, make sure you pick up Bobbi’s Ultra Fine Eyeliner Brush, $25, as well; it gives unmatched control and evenness for color that you can build in sheer, controlled swaths. For the record: I’ve been doing makeup a long time, and I’ve known about the hype surrounding this product for just as long, but I just recently bit the bullet and bought the brush and liner. I had no idea how amazing it would really be, and now I’m kicking myself for ever bothering with anything else!
The style inspiration: Effortlessly glossy hair, the quintessence of preppy girl style a-la-Kate in the blue Issa dress making the big engagement announcement (me, obsess much? Yeah, kinda.).
Make it yours with: Alterna Bamboo Shine shampoo, conditioner, and glossing cream. After a summer of swimming in a chlorinated pool with long, highlighted hair, come fall I was looking pretty dull and fried; a bad encounter with some box color (please don’t ask) and the resultant encounter with a bleach “color cleanse” at my local Aveda salon left me with split ends that were literally white. Aside from a diligent regimen of Kerastase and Phyto keratin treatments to actually heal the damage, this combo of Alterna products has been a lifesaver, giving me instant gratification for shiny, healthy looking hair on a daily basis. It’s even kept my bangs under control in this humid weather; reference the photo attached to this article, which was taken on a rainy day after using these products–and note that I hadn’t even used a flat iron. Pretty impressive.
The style inspiration: New product launches, and obscure brand discoveries, which are not-to-be-missed.
Make it yours with: Generating quite a bit of buzz is Lumene’s new Spa body line. I love the indulgence of scented bath and body products, but I hate the headache inducing synthetic scents that most of them carry (I’m talking to you, Bath and Body Works–gross!). These products have an incredible natural fragrance that comes from an arctic rose root that dates back to Viking times–so cool!–and the scent is, as you might imagine, fresh, green, and vaguely rosy; imagine sticking your nose into a rose bush after a rainstorm as the sun is just coming out. Gorgeous. The body scrub is really gritty for a drugstore brand, and it contains fruit enzymes to help loosen up dead skin cells so that they can easily be scrubbed off. Lumene recommends applying the product in the heat of the sauna, leaving it on to let it work its magic; for most of us, a steamy hot shower will do just fine, and for around $10, it feels pretty darn indulgent. Finish with the matching body cream, another fab find. The whole line is paraben free, a must for me, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the rest of the line!
Shopping in Chagrin Falls recently, I came across a pretty little bar of this Belgian eggwhite soap at a boutique. European egghwhite soaps are a fun, old school way to give yourself a mini facial–I’ve used them for years–but this happy little find is far and away the best I’ve ever used. You’d think that it would be drying–you actually lather it up into a rich foam, and then leave it on like a face mask while you brush your teeth before rinsing it off–but this one is uber hydrating, with lecithin and chamomile to seal moisture into your skin. It smells kind of like honey, and its lather is heavenly–this will make an awesome, unique holiday or bridesmaid’s gift! Best of all, my skin is looking better than it has in quite a while, and considering I’m currently nursing a breakout from test-driving CHANEL’s Sublimage cleanser (way too rich for me), that’s kind of a big deal.
Still reading? Good, because I’m going to let you in on my very best secret of all: Koh Gen Do foundation, primer, and illuminator. Go to this website and read up on it yourself; not because I’m too lazy to write about it, but because you’re better off reading what these pro artists say about the product yourself. For a perfect color match, find your shade at MAC or Armani (use Temptalia’s absoluteluy spot-on foundation matrix for help) and then call Eric Baez at Barney’s New York (212) 833-2534 for help finding your exact foundation shade. This is the absoulute maximum of flawlessness and perfection currently attainable on the market. You will thank me.