home about youtube links contact
"I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing...kissing a lot. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls."
Audrey Hepburn


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Few of My Favorite: 'Napoleon Perdis' Things


So now it's time to talk about Napoleon Perdis. I first found out about this brand in 2007 when I started watching Youtube videos. AskMeMakeup used a few NP products in her videos, and they seemed nice, but unnecessarily pricey. I still feel that the price is too high for some of these items, but when it comes to rating the quality of the product, there are clear winners here. NP's face products and foundations are especially impressive, so here are my top ten Perdis products, listed from least to greatest.

10. Auto Pilot Radiance Boosting Primer:



Very effective for what it's intended, this primer provides a lovely glow to the skin without making it appear greasy. Even under an already 'dewy' foundation, the result is fresh, not shimmery, and foundation lasts much longer. This product works best for dry skin, in my opinion.

Price: 42.00

9. Marshmallow Foaming Makeup Remover:



We love this stuff for removing makeup from clients before a makeover. No water necessary and it really does gently remove makeup without drying the skin. Just put a couple of pumps in the palm, rub together, apply to face, and tissue away. Ideal for on-the-go kits and makeup artists on location.

Price: 25.00

8.China Doll Foundation:



For a full coverage, matte finish foundation that's ideal for oily skin, this one really hits it out of the park. A little goes a long long way and pores are rendered almost invisible, especially when used with a primer. The velvety and seamless look of this foundation makes it one of the best porcelain finish options out there, and it includes an SPF of 15. The trade off? It's 50 (ouch) dollars for an extraordinarily small amount of product. That said, people come back and buy it again and again...so obviously not everyone finds that to be a deal-breaker.

Price: 50.00

7. Off Duty Tinted Moisturizer:



The simplicity of this product is almost obsolete now, in this world of BB and CC multi-tasking creams. It contains no SPF, just gentle tinted moisture that evens out skin tone or makes a great primer for dry skin. The light hydration is not greasy or heavy, so it also works well for oilier skins, and one pump really does cover a full face.

Price: 45.00

6. Divine Godess Lipstick in HARA:



I don't like a matte finish lipstick, so this one is perfect for me. I love the bold orange color and the feel of it is like a cross between a matte and a cream, so it doesn't dry my lips out. Thankfully, it also doesn't bleed into fine lines and wears really well. I reach for this one a lot.

Price:25.00

5. Neo Noir Liquid Liner:



I was amazed to find, among all the luxury brands we have at Dillard's, that there are so few quality liquid liners. The brush is either too thick, or the product itself is too shiny, or the felt tip is too stiff etc. This one is really good and rivals my Kat Von D Tattoo Liner for ease of application and longevity. My one complaint: it's not quite black enough.

Price: 32.00

4. The One Concealer:



This is a lovely lovely product. The consistency is a thick, almost gel texture that spreads easily. Very little goes a long long way and the result is excellent for dark undereye circles. It's a universal salmon shade that counteract blueness better than most and it sets very nicely. I use it for almost all skin tones but I do find it too light for very dark skins. Definitely the first product I fell in love with by Napoleon Perdis.

Price: 39.00

3. Sheer Genius Liquid Foundation:



Rated as one of the top foundations for maturing skin, this is a great investment product if you are willing to shell out the 60.00. I still think that's a ridiculous price for foundation but it is absolutely on par with Dior and Chanel when you consider the quality. A very very thin liquid foundation, you need to shake it up before dispensing, but the coverage is considerable. It goes on as a medium coverage but is buildable to full quite easily, and it doesn't settle into lines or lay on top of your moisturizer in an unflattering way. I do wish there were more color options, but I've been very impressed by this product so far, especially when coupled with the Radiance Boosting primer.

Price: 60.00



2.Cotton Butter Lip Balm Trio:



This is the most surprising product on my list. I did not even give these a second glance for the first month or so...they seemed overpriced at 45.00 and it was irritating to me that they were not available separately. However, I used the darkest one on a client who wanted a 'balmy' feeling nude lipstick and I became an instant fan. As soon as that client left, I wiped off my own lip color to apply it. The texture is heavenly...somewhere between a gloss and a balm, but the moisture is long lasting without being greasy. The colors are all lovely nude shades, all very different, and all flattering to a variety of skin tones. Test these out if you have a chance.

Price: 45.00


1. Stick Foundation:



Finally, my favorite product by Napoleon Perdis: The stick foundation. I am always on the lookout for non-SPF foundations that have maximum coverage, don't appear cakey after setting, and which blend flawlessly and smoothly over the skin. Most importantly, I need the foundation to look great on video and for photography. This one fits the bill. The coverage is spectacular, comparable with Dermablend, but it feels SO much better on my dry skin. It's easy to apply, blends effortlessly with a domed foundation brush, and because there is no SPF, it does indeed look great with flash photography. I like to use it sparingly on all but my very dry skinned clients, streaking it right from the tube onto the cheeks, forehead, and chin. Then I blend it with my brush so that the coverage to the t-zone is less pronounced. I then take a concealer brush to apply it more precisely where needed. No separate concealer needed! At 38.00, it's very affordable as well. I do wish it came in more colors, as with most NP products, but this is one foundation I plan to keep on hand for my own use as well as that of clients.

Price: 38.00

So, that's it. As always, let me know if you have any further questions about this brand and stop by to see me at Dillard's Edge Shop if you are in the Memphis area!


Xxoo,
Ashley


Friday, September 12, 2014

The Way We Used To Roll-Vintage Hair Tools

I have always loved seeing health and beauty tools/appliances as they've progressed over the years. Beauty and wellness is an age old obsession, one that we aren't likely to get over any time soon. Not that it's a bad thing to desire health OR beauty, but the lengths men have gone to in order to achieve greater heights in these respects are very interesting to me. Some tools, like the permanant waving get-up pictured at the head of this entry, seem so ludicrously bulky and extravagant. We can only imagine how expensive that must have been to manufacture, much less the cost that would have been involved in having it done regularly. But as hilarious as such things might be to us now, we are presently faced with even more options than ever before, when it comes to hair tools and devices.

Here are a few little fun bits about hair tools, over the centuries, as researched by me:

In Ancient Egypt, ladies and gentlemen utilized many accessories such as the gorgeous comb,shown below.

But other than accessorizing, there was little need for hair tools. Braiding was a principal means of styling the hair, for both men and women, and were accessorized with gold circlets and the aforementioned combs, as well as extraordinarily carved pins that served to hold and beautify the coiffure.
Shaving was king, for both bodies and heads. Tools for cutting and shaving have been discovered among the ruins of slave habitations and kingly residences.


Hollywood depictions of the hairstyles sported in this time are probably somewhat close to the actual look of them, but also really bring home the excessive nature of the heavy head dresses and accessories that were worn by the royal folk.

The tools used for creating the elaborately conceived styles common in ancient Athens and Rome were likewise very simple, with even more basic accessorizing.
Braids were again the classic choice, with elaborate designs being indicative of upper class and nobility.
In the ages before hairpins or bobby pins, simple needle and thread was used to hold and maintain these heavy braided styles, as is beautifully demonstrated by historical hairstylist Janet Stephens in this video. Make sure to check out the rest of her videos for more period-authentic styles.



Flowers were common accessories, as were combs and decorative ivory pins and bodkins.


Ancient China and Japan also used bone and ivory pins and sticks to style their hair. Hair ornaments were painstakingly crafted and
placed into elaborate rolls and curls to accentuate their volume and 'crownlike' appearance.
Women grew their hair long to accommodate these styles but never wore it loose in public. In Chinese culture, a Buyao ('shake as you go') was a common accessory to create an attractive and coquettish bit of interest.

Bones, beads, feathers, and flowers serves as ornaments for hair dressing in the tribes of Africa and North America.
Crude razors and shears have been found from the early American tribes, but for the most part the hair was grown long and styled using products made of vegetable oils and animal fats. Braids and hair designs were sewn into place as with ancient Rome, or positioned with bone pins.


From the 14th to the 17th century, excessive behaviors in styling were becoming commonplace in Europe. The aristocratic women and men went from shaved hairlines (to create a broader forehead, very much in fashion in the renaissance), to elaborate headdresses and braids, to pompous wigs and curls.
Combs and tools were made of ivory,silver, and bone, but beautifully carved and taking a place of prominence in boudoir decor. Powders and dyes became popular as beautifying aids for the hair and more products were being developed, not only for styling, but for scent. Curls were desired by all, particularly in the 18th century, so new ways of obtaining them were conceived. The earliest curling tongs were crude and laid directly over a heat source before use, making damaged hair likely, but worth the risk. This photo shows an idea of what they may have looked like, although I'm unsure of the date of these:

Curls were also popular using the Papillote method described here. The method works well as a cold-set, even for 1940's pin curled styles.


The Victorian Era saw a return to simplicity and less extravagance. Hair was long and more simply done, using braids and simple curling methods. It culminated in a love of 'sausage-like' curls that gave way eventually to the classically styled bobs of the 1920's and 30's, when women wanted to showcase their independance and modern sex appeal.

The clamps and tools used to shape hair into those stunning finger waved styles we love from the time period, are still used by many retro stylists today and are really not much different.


As curls became more and more a part of the elegant look of the day, more advancements in curling techniques and products were made. Although we may not recognize some of them at first glance, almost all of the tools used for styling during this era have a modern counterpart. That's one of the most interesting things about styling history, to me, the way that almost everything 'comes back', even from the most obscure and 'gimmicky' looking items. Here are a few things that refuse to quit, because frankly, they still work.

Waving Irons:

An old fashioned Marcel waver, probably from the early to mid-twenties

Modern triple barrel waving iron by Revlon

Curl Clips:
Curling Clips from the 1940s

Modern double pronged alligator clips

Bobby Pins:These were conceived in the 20th century, principally for holding a classic bobbed style in place. They have hardly changed, as you know.

Hair 'Rolling' Tools:
Solo Hair Roller-1940s

Sarah Potempa Wrap Up-Modern

Pin Curling Tools:

Pin Curling Tool-1940s

Modern Sculpture Pin Curler*

Spool-Style Rollers:
1950's Era Spoolie Roller

Clairol Lock n Roll Rollers (Remember those? They're not 'modern' really, but they've gained a lot of popularity in the vintage community lately because they do a great job mimmicking a pin curl.)


Curling/Perming Rods:
1940's(?) metal curling rods

Modern plastic perm rods

In short, we've come a long way, baby. But then again, we haven't.

xxoo,
Ashley

*This post is sponsored by Vintage Hair, the creator of the modern sculpture pin curler. Visit the website here to purchase your own, as well as other great vintage styling goodies.















Thursday, September 4, 2014

Product Praise: First Aid Beauty (FAB) Eye Duty Triple Remedy

I couldn't help but post a quick gushing review of this product. As some of you know, I am currently only doing product reviews on my blog, so hopefully, ya'll will be able to spread the word about that since I know a lot of people have commented on my lack of reviews for Youtube. In all honestly, I feel that 'less is more' when it comes to videos so I'll be only doing occasional reviews there, most of which will be in support of clothing lines or websites I find interesting.

Anyway, back to the product review.

I received a full sized version of this product in a complimentary bag handed me at a recent work event for Dillard's 'Edge Beauty'. I've been with The Edge shop for a few months now but this was my first training class, and evidently we get nice amount of gratis at these events. First Aid Beauty is a line I was unfamiliar with since we don't carry it at my store but I'll admit to being intrigued after using this.

The product is in a squeeze tube, as pictured, and features a metal applicator that supposedly applies pressure that is ideal for the eye area, as it mimmicks the shape and size of the ring finger. To apply, you squeeze the tube gently, releasing a small amount of the product, about the size of this 'O'. :) Next, dot the released amount beneath the eye and use the applicator to gently massage it into the delicate skin, using small circular motions.

The description on their website makes the following claims:
Eye Duty Triple Remedy is a complete eye treatment that instantly erases dark circles while delivering serious long-term skin care benefits to the orbital eye area. Upon application, it instantly brightens the entire eye area with a soft universal tint and light reflecting pigments that create an illusion of bright, smooth and youthful skin. Over the long-term, actives in the formula significantly improve the appearance of undereye puffiness, dark circles and fine lines. The unique stainless steel applicator, which mimics the shape of the pinkie, delivers micro stimulation to the area while flawlessly blending the product into the skin. The results are natural and youthful. Eye Duty looks and feels like a second skin.

Eye Duty Triple Remedy is packed with a host of age defying ingredients. Retinyl Palmitate and GABA support the skin’s natural collagen production to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Licorice Root reduces the appearance of dark circles. Caffeine enhances blood flow to the eye area to minimize puffiness and Coralline Extract, a red algae, conditions and nourishes.,


My thoughts: I can honestly say that this product lives up to its claims, instantly de-puffing and brightening the under-eye area significantly. The cold metal applicator does a bang-up job in contributing to the former, as I can see that the puffy morning eyes I am so accustomed to are minimized instantly when I use it. The creamy flesh-toned product has no chalky appearance and feels more like an eye cream than a concealer, with the benefits of both. My undereye area responds with immediate radiance and after repeated use, feels firmer. So it's a sure winner, with me.

Although the site claims that the product is suitable for all skin types, paraben free, and sensitive skin-safe, I only use it once a day: in the morning after I cleanse and moisturize, and before I apply my foundation or concealer. I find that I only have to use a small amount of concealer, which is another big perk for me, since as my eyes mature, it becomes more and more evident that a minimal amount of product is always better to prevent settling into those fine lines.

Cons: The only con I can think of is that at first examination, the top appears to be a twist-off cap, which it is not. If you attempt to hold the tube and twist the cap, it is quite likely that a bunch of the product will squeeze into the closed cap, inevitably wasting it and making a mess. The cap is in fact just a 'pull-off' type, so no squeezing of the tube is necessary to remove it. Simply grasp the bottom of the tube and gently pull the cap free. I know this seems like a no-brainer but hey, I screwed up so I thought I'd share.

Let me know if you have any questions about this product, on Facebook, Instagram, or here. I'm happy to help.

Click here to visit First Aid Beauty's Website product page for this item.

Price: 36.00 is the standard retail price. I have not found it cheaper but please let me know if you find a special!

Thanks for visiting!

xxoo,
Ashley


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Lady Wore the Pants

Lauren Bacall will long be remembered as a formidable presence, both onscreen and off. When we lost her last month, I thought about how she had shaped so much that we've come to understand about the female celebrity, including the perception we've had since, about female starlets and how they should behave or dress. There's so much to be said for a young lady who isn't afraid to be herself in spite of the public's perceptions and Lauren was never fearful of what others might think, throughout her career. It's for this reason that I decided to dedicate this particular blog entry, not to her best movies or even her fabulous hair (which is destined to get a feature of its own), but to her pants.

In the 1940's, the world was at war, as all of you know, and fashion was wholly influenced by this fact. While long, flowing evening gowns and palazzo pants were still in style, they were largely worn by the celebrity elite and even then, only on certain occasions.

Gene Tierney in palazzo pants, 1940s'

The reason for this was simple. Fabric and clothing were rationed. The least amount of fabric that went into a garment, the more 'responsible' the designer. Therefore, the 1940's saw a drastic simplifying of clothing. Skirts were shorter and slimmer, pants and shorts were considered a necessary choice for work or play, and firm undergarments were almost nonexistent, especially considering the amount of rubber and wire that went into creating the average girdle.

Here are a few examples of the easy style of the 1940's as worn by the every-girl:

(1940's winter fashion also consisted of 'unisex' attire as women repurposed mens' clothing to fit them.)

(A rationing ticket was given to each person, allowing them a certain number of clothing items a year.)


Not to say that there were no elaborate clothing options in the decade; ladies were still fashion conscious and wanted to stand out. But even higher fashion options were more austere than in years past or since, focusing more on pattern than flow:


Evening wear was slimmer and draped in such a way as to highlight the female form without the need for girdles or underwire. Many stars even wore sensible suits to social gatherings, opting to don a more elaborate hairstyle or hat in honor of the formal occasion :

But I digress.

Since the majority of women were closely involved with the war effort, even going to work in factories to support their husbands and fathers overseas, the fact that some of the world's most successful actresses were already sporting a casual style made them feel more like a unified team.

Katherine Hepburn was an advocate of slacks, even before necessity made them more practical:

Betty Grable and Ginger Rogers sported them often:

But Lauren made them effortlessly elegant like no other. Coupled with her loosely maintained hairstyles and husky voice, they only accentuated the attainable femininity that so many desired in those stressful times. Women no longer felt as though they had to have two wardrobes: one for work and one for public outings. Now it could be chic just to be a healthy woman with a family. And for this reason, I feel like she did so much more for mothers and wives than just provide style support. She provided moral and sense support as well.

To close, here are some of my favorite photos of Lauren, showcasing her signature look but also that no-nonsense quality I loved about her:


Thanks, Lauren, for wearing the pants in the family.

XoXo,
Ashley

_______________________________________________________________

This post is sponsored by Heyday Vintage Style Clothing, linked in the sponsor column to your right. In additon to gorgeous 1940's style slacks, there are also an array of dresses and blouses to choose from. Inspiring options for all of us who love the era. Please show your support by clicking the link and giving them a browse!