Best Lips at the Oscars (2015)

Best Oscar Lips 2015 |

After five hours of watching the 2015 Oscars, I had to admit that I came away with a, “What was this all for?!” feeling. If you follow me on Twitter (and you should!), then you already know I was let down by the show. However, I decided to take my five hours of disappointment and turn it into something positive–a quick look at my favorite lip looks of the night! For me the actresses that really stood out were Margot Robbie, Emma Stone, Lupita Nyong’o and Jennifer Lopez. I decided to do some digging on what colors they all wore on this lips last night so I could share them with you all!

Margot Robbie’s Hourglass Lips

Margot Robbie’s look was by far my favorite, hands down. After all, I make it no secret just how much I love red lipstick. Tyron Macchausen, Margot’s makeup artist, used Hourglass’s Panoramic Long Wear Lip Pencil in Raven followed by Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in Raven. The lipstick is currently sold out, but it’s your traditional red-orange colors so easy dupes would be OCC’s Stalker or MAC’s Lady Danger.

Emma Stone’s Chanel Meets Revlon Lip

Emma Stone’s rocked a coral lip that complimented her skin tone and outfit perfectly. To create this look Rachel Goodwin combined high end and drugstore products by first using Chanel’s Precision Lip Definer in Rouge Candy followed by  Revlon’s Ultra HD Lipstick in Tulip. I suspect a lot of these celebs were fulfilling their contractual obligations to the makeup companies they represent, but, hey, who doesn’t like a $8 lipstick even if it is on top of a $29 liner?

Lupita Nyong’o in Lancome

Lupita Nyong’o can do no wrong on the red carpet, I think that’s pretty much a given. Already decked out in 6,000 pearls, Lupita’s look was topped off by Lancome’s Le Lipstique Lip Coloring Stick in Sheer Chocolate followed by Lancome’s L’Absolu Rouge Lipcolor in Aubergine Velvet. Makeup artist Nick Barose is responsible for this gorgeous look.

Jennifer Lopez Goes With Light Pink

I’ll be honest–usually I’m not a huge fan of natural lip color, especially at the Oscar’s, but I absolutely loved Jennifer Lopez’s light pink lip. It was a little bit more than a nude, but not quite bold. Makeup artist Mary Phillips used L’Oréal’s Infallible Pro-Last Color in Timeless Rose and probably a lip liner in a similar color like L’Oreal’s Infallible Never Fail Lipliner Pencil in Pink.

My Favorite Winter Nail Colors from OPI

Now that I live somewhere that’s relatively warm most of the time, I find I change my wardrobe less when seasons change. Sure I pull out the boots, the leggings, the long sleeve dressed, but long gone are the heavy down coats and scarves. Well, I do have one scarf, but I haven’t worn it yet. Part of me misses winter, but l don’t miss being freezing cold or running to my car because I might get frostbite.

Instead of changing up my wardrobe dramatically, I change the colors on my nails. This little change gives me the chance to sit back and say, “Ah . . . winter is here indeed.”

Lately I’ve been really into OPI Nail Lacquer. And by “into,” I mean borderline obsessed. I can’t help myself, they just go on so beautifully and last awhile without chipping. Add in their cute and quirky (though kind of annoying) names, and I’m sold. SOLD. All I can say is I hope this doesn’t get out of hand like my Essie obsession a few years back. They’re both great brands, but if Essie is Kate Middleton, OPI is Ginger Spice circa 1997. Looooooove.

OPI Holiday Nail Polish | Courtney Mirenzi

Onto my current favorites! I finally bought Lincoln Park After Dark after years of pining for it. A few weeks ago while at Target, I found myself standing in front of the OPI section and thought, “Fine, I’ll just buy it already!” No regrets whatsoever. This black polish has unique undertones of red and purple. It’s literally unlike any color I’ve ever seen. Since it’s part of the permanent collection, you shouldn’t have much trouble finding it except if it’s sold out because it’s everyone’s favorite black. It goes on opaque and needs about two coats to make it look good.

Care to Danse is a very sheer lilac color that comes off nude on my nails. It’s my go-to polish for when I want to take a break from wearing the darker colors I typically favor in the winter. This color is part of the New York Ballet Soft Shades Collection, which is limited edition so you may not find it everywhere. It’s fairly sheer and needs an application of two or three coats.

Viking in a Vinter Vonderland is your classic so-dark-it-might-be-black-but-it’s-purple color. Not sure if that’s actually a classic color, but hey, it is to me. This shade is part of the limited edition Nordic Collection, which also features many beautiful shades. It takes two coats to completely opaque.

The final shade is Got the Blues for Red, which is, you guessed it, a traditional red polish with blue undertones. The winter is just about the only time of year that I actually wear red polish. The rest of the year, I’m like, “Oh . . . red.” To me there’s just something about the cold weather that makes it fitting. This one takes two or three coats to opaque.

(Originally posted to Reposted here because I’m sure a lot of people didn’t see it. At least according to analytics.)

Almay One Coat Mascara: My Holy Grail Drugstore Mascara

Almay One Coat Masacara |

I’ve done it! After trying about 20 drugstore mascaras, I’ve finally found one that works for me. Hallelujah! I’ve been using the Almay One Coat Lengthening Mascara for the past two months, and I can safely say that this is my new holy grail drugstore mascara. And, of course, I wanted to share my new discovery.

Why I don’t wear high-end mascara

Before I dive into my review, let’s talk about high-end or department store brand mascaras. I typically don’t wear them. I’ve tried samples, but other than that, I have no interest. And here’s why: No matter how nice Chanel or Tom Ford mascara might be, I’m just going to throw it away in three months. That’s what you have to do to prevent bacteria from developing in your mascara. Why would I spent $20 or $30 on something I’m just going to toss out?

Friends have pointed out that I could just wear high-end mascara for special occasions, but it will eventually dry out and my money will also be wasted. And that’s exactly why I stick to drugstore mascara, which only sets me back $6-$12 per tube.

Ok, onto Almay’s One Coat Lengthening Mascara

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about the Almay mascara. I bought because it was on sale and I paid about $6. I had pretty low expectations since nothing by Almay has ever wowed me. I’ve tried products from Almay over the years, and they’ve all been, “Meh.”

When I took this mascara home, I immediately fell in love. Almost all of my previous drugstore mascaras flaked or smudged within an hour or two. The worst culprit of flaking was CoverGirl LashBlast, which is a shame because I really love the brush on this mascara. But I digress.

The Almay One Coat Mascara stays put all day. It doesn’t flake and only smudges when it’s really hot out or when I accidentally leave it on when working out. (Bad, Courtney!) And I didn’t even have to choose the waterproof formula to get all those benefits! I’ve also been using the same tube of mascara for about 2 1/2 months and it has yet to show any signs of drying up. I’ve never had clumpy lashes either. Swoon, swoon, swoon!

The only negative thing I could potentially say about this product is that the name is bit of a misnomer. Realistically, you will need more than one coat. If you’re going for a very natural look, you might prefer only one coat, but to get nice and lengthened lashes, I definitely needed about three coats.

The Almay One Coat Lengthening Mascara retails at Ulta for $8.49. It also comes in four other formulations.

9 Steps for Unearthing Products with Harmful Plastic Microbeads (Updated)

How to Find Out if Your Exfoliator has Plastic Microbeads {Those Graces}
My heart sunk last week after reading the article Don’t Lather, Don’t Rinse, Don’t Repeat, which describes a study of the Great Lakes that revealed something quite disturbing. The microbeads, or microplastics, found in beauty products are ending up in the world’s lakes, rivers and oceans. What damage are they doing exactly? On Earth reports,

While microbeads may be less visible than plastic bags, they are no less environmentally problematic. For one thing, they “look just like fish eggs, and thus like food” to a variety of aquatic organisms . . .  All marine micro-plastics are troublesome, given their tendency to absorb and concentrate persistent organic pollutants that can potentially accumulate in the fatty tissues of anything that eats them. Moreover, when plankton, lugworms, mussels, or fish fill up on toxic junk food, they may well lose their appetite for healthier fare. Dutch scientists who fed mussels tiny nano-particles of polystyrene found that the shellfish subsequently ate less and grew less.

Since they are small enough to pass through pipes without issue,  they are also small enough to get through wastewater treatment systems. And Americans buy cosmetics containing more than 573,000 pounds of microbeads each year. This has become such an important issue that New York is now seeking to ban products containing microbeads.

Chances are you probably own products containing the plastic microbeads. If you’re concerned about the environment, you’ll want to invest some time figuring out if the products you use hurt our valuable water sources. In this post, I’ll teach you how to do that as well as provide natural alternatives to these harmful products. 

9 Steps for Unearthing Beauty Products with Plastic Microbeads

To figure out if your products contain plastic microbeads, you’ll have to perform an amateur science experiment. OK, I’m not sure it’s actually scientific, but it worked for me.

Step 1: Gather suspected products. This means cleansers, masks and exfoliators. If you’re unsure if something contains microbeads, squeeze a small amount of product between your fingers and rub them together. If it feels gritty or sandy, it most likely has microbeads.

Step 2: Grab the number cups or containers that corresponds to how many products you’re testing. Make sure you choose a container  you can easily fit your hand into. Line each product in front of its corresponding cup.

Step 3: Fill the container with lukewarm water similar to the temperature you use to wash your face.

Step 4: Squeeze about half a teaspoon of product into the water. I recommend using more than you would on your face so you can get a larger sample.

Step 5: Swirl the product in the water to break the product up.

Step 6: Let the container sit overnight. Make sure to leave the corresponding product in front of the container so you remember what’s in there.

Step 7: The next morning, slowly empty your container halfway.

Step 8: Put your hand inside of the container and feel for any product that settled at the bottom.

Step 9: If you feel that same gritty texture you felt in Step 1, you have plastic microbeads on your hands. Literally. It didn’t dissolve over 8 hours and probably never will.

I did this test for all my products with microbeads. Sadly, there was plastic in every single one. I’m still questioning what to do next. I’m definitely not going to use them, but I feel just as bad by sending them to the  landfill. What an eco-friendly dilemma! My plan is to throw them under my sink, pretend they don’t exist and then toss them out next time I move. I figure in the end, they’re probably less harmful in the landfill than they are in our lakes and streams.

Natural Alternatives

Do not fret! There are tons of natural exfoliators out there that you can make yourself. From baking soda to lemons to salt, I promise you there are options. I pinned about 17 natural exfoliators and recipes to my Beauty Board on Pinterest to help you get started!

What to Do With Them

Microbeads have been in the news lately, and like me, a lot of people are wondering what to do with their microbead-filled products. You can read more about what to do with yours here.

More Information

Thank you to readers who contributed more information in the comments section.

I know some brands are aware of the problem and are planning on phasing them out. I found this link:

I have been telling my clients for years to stay away from microbeads. Very harmful to the skin.People tend to rub so had without realizing it that they cause micro tears in the skin. Unseen to their eyes. These micro tears thin the skin making it age faster. It can also cause hyperpigmentation since the body is trying to repair those tears quickly.
Susie of Esthetic Goddess

Kryolan Opens Boston Store and I Geek Out

Kryolan City Boston
When I first started geeking out about makeup about six years ago, one of the first brands I stumbled upon was Kryolan. The German brand made its name in theater and became critically acclaimed for its professional grade products. Up until recently it was only available in-store or by special order, which is why I never saw their products in person. So you can imagine my excitement when fellow Boston blogger Elissa of Style Wire told me that they opened a Boston store.

Kryolan City Boston
Though they have stores all around Europe, Kryolan City Boston is the brand’s third U.S. store. They also have locations in San Francisco and Chicago with plans to open up a New York City store next month. My experience at the store was unlike any other makeup store. U.S. brands like MAC and Sephora pale in comparison. The store is bright yet friendly and the products are a-maz-ing!

Kryolan City Boston
These products pack a punch with quality pigmentation and unique colors. They carry a green lip gloss and lipsticks that glow under a UV light. They even carry blue lipstick, which I’ve been hunting for since December. They have eyeshadows in just about every color. Needless to say, this isn’t a routine shopping experience.

Kryolan City Boston
The staff was also very helpful, and unlike other stores, I never felt talked down to. They had great advice and helped me find exactly what I was looking for! It was very welcoming and I never felt intimidated despite never having seen Kryolan in person.

Kryolan City Boston
Another great thing about Kryolan is that prices range from $2 to $42. I bought two lipsticks that retail for $2.40 each. Their lip glosses run around $17 while their HD foundation costs about $42. Since Kryolan manufactures their own products, they’re able to keep prices relatively low. If you don’t want to spend a fortune to have some fun playing with color, Kryolan is a great place to get started.

Kryolan City Boston
I definitely plan on stopping by Kryolan City Boston soon! You can visit them at 31 St. James Avenue in Boston.

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