We SAID: Oscar Gorgeous

Staff Writer

Winners, losers and major upsets aside (poor Faye Dunaway may never recover from the Best Picture snafu), the stars hit the red carpet last night with a clear mission to put their best … everything… forward. There was a noticeable effort to stand out in the best possible way with clean lines and polished makeup. And even those who went for a … bit… of embellishment (Janelle Monae, we see you) balanced the look with subtle shimmer and gorgeous flesh toned makeup.

Red rules! Viola Davis looked every bit a winner in a svelte red number that flattered her athletic figure. Did we mention that she also made history as the first African American Woman to win an Oscar, an Emmy and a Tony for acting? The woman is a powerhouse, and she was not here to play on the red carpet. Ruth Negga softened up the powerful rouge hue with lace and a full skirt, and sweetened the look even further with soft curls and a girlish head band.

Metallics were a big deal on the carpet this year. Emma Stone continued her gold trend with another number that on anyone else would have been doing the most. But even with brocade and fringe, the Givenchy dress lent an elegant ease that matched her famous smile. Amy Adams might not have been a contender, but that didn’t stop her from investing in lots of double-stick tape for a structured shimmering number. And Jessica Biel will definitely split the vote for best/worst dressed. Her golden high collar *doingwaytoomuch.com* ensemble at least deserved honorable mention. Her husband was opening the show, and we imagine she figured she had to make a statement by any means necessary.

Speaking of honorable mentions, we could not go without mentioning Charlize Theron. She was presenting this year, so the pressure was off. And her ease showed in a dark oscar-4metallic dress that was more practical than not. A little weight gain softened her normally sharp edges, and it’s not a stretch to say that it looks really good on her. She’s a stunning woman at any size, but it was nice to see her moving comfortably in her skin with a genuine smile and sans outrageous fake tan.

On the other end of the spectrum, Janelle Monae was doing more than her little frame could probably carry. oscar-8Her dress featured all manner of designs and embellishments. It looked like the designer simply couldn’t commit to a single idea, and decided to do everything and hope for the best. Her stylist even had the nerve to slap an embellished tiara/headband thing on her head. Fortunately, Monet is just quirky enough to pull it off, and managed to even look calm and collected in the frenetic ensemble.

At least Monae’s makeup artist got the memo about balance, and calmed things down with gorgeous flesh toned shimmers and a soft smoky eye. Her makeup was definitely among some of the best that the night had to offer. Other big hits of the night included Hailee Steinfeld (when did that child grow up? She looked STUNNING), Emma Stone and Naomie Harris.

Overall, it was a good night for fashion. We even forgive Halle Berry for showing up looking like she hopped out of the chair while her hair dresser was desperately trying to style those curls, and for wearing the millionth dress that looks just like all the other ones she wore on red carpets’ past.

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She SAID: New Beauty

Shahada Karim

The  new year is off to a colorful, albiet decidedly muted start. Some of the spring collections got an early start during Holiday ’16, and we’ve noticed that they’re not much different in texture (and in some cases, color) than what trended through the end of the year. From Burberry mattes to Chanel smoke, the more things change the more they stay the same.

Ever the little company that could, Viseart continued it’s multi-tasking philosophy with the new Warm Mattes Palette. Made up of warm neutrals from off white to brownish red, the palette features the same creamy texture and high pigment that Viseart has become famous for. Also released was an extension of the new pro palettes, which are a fraction of the size and feature complimentary mattes and shimmers.

The Burberry Silk & Bloom Palette might be the most appropriate ‘Spring’ offering, in a decidedly bright pinky-plum shade. The company also released a collection of  Liquid Lip Velvets that apply and dry like a typical matte liquid lipstick, without the additional feature of remaining transfer-proof. On the up side, they remain very comfortable on the lips, unlike many formulas that leave lips parched and thirsting for relief.

Anastasia Beverly Hills  began her legacy with brows, and created a makeup empire that now includes just about everything else on the face. The company’s latest offering comes in the form of a highly anticipated lip palette, that includes both traditional and primary colors to bring out the mixologist in every beauty lover.

Chanel  got out early with the new CODE collection for Spring, by releasing it in December. The crown jewel of the collection is Blush Harmony, with four distinct colors to blend or use alone at your discretion. Two new eyeshadow palettes and a slew of lip colors have the potential to get lost in Chanel’s other permanent offerings, and the eyeliner in Petrol Noir is fun but forgettable.

If there is an up side, it’s that the trends from Holiday (or even spring/summer of ’16) haven’t really changed. That’s good news for anyone hoping to embrace the new year effortlessly and beautifully, without breaking the bank.

Holiday 2016 Makeup Gift Guide

Shahada Karim

By now you’ve stuffed yourself with turkey, and are well on your way to checking off your holiday shopping list. And if you haven’t started on the latter… you’d best get cracking. Millions of Americans are expected to shell out more than $950 billion this holiday season, and they’re off to a running start with Thanksgiving falling a little earlier this year, and Black Friday sales starting even before that. And the best part is, most people never left their homes to do that shopping. While there were plenty of sales to be had at big box department stories, a record number of shoppers simply turned on their computers and clicked ‘buy’ without ever breaking a sweat.

For that reason, limited edition offerings are flying out of the stock room no sooner than they’re posted for online consumption. One of the most high demand items comes courtesy of legendary makeup artist Pat McGrath. Her ‘Metalmorphosis 005‘ Everything Kit is the latest offering in a series of pro-centric high impact pigments and inks. The full kit is the best value at $165 (vs. $60 for one of four kits), complete with eye ‘marker’ and Mehron mixing medium.

For the lipstick lover, there is no better expression of the perfect pout than from Bite. The company has made it its business to know what you lips want: deeply pigmented comfortable lipsticks that smell as good as they perform. The newest Amuse Bouche formula smells like citrus oils and slides on the lips to wear for hours with no fade and no flake.  The limited edition lipstick vault sells for $195, which is is a steal compared to Louboutin. The Holiday Lipstick Coffret is back (after its initial debut at Sephora) for $275. If you want the set in terms of presenation, it’s worth the money. But if you break down cost, each lipstick is actually more expensive than if you just purchase them separately and just wrap them yourself.

Chanel is back with a little bit more this holiday season. In addition to the annual holiday palette, there are also two mini brushes to make a set. But it’ll also cost you a little more. At $105, you’re paying Chanel back for adding the brushes and putting it all together in a set for you.

And the decidedly British gift idea of ‘advent calendars’ comes across the pond courtesy of Charlotte Tilbury. The 2016 version features 12 skin care and makeup minis to get you through the 12 days of Christmas in style.

She SAID: Giving Beauty

An increasing number of beauty consumers want to do more than just look good; they also want to ‘feel good’ about what they’re wearing. Companies are taking note with contributions and a conscious message to make the world a little better, one product at a time.

Heroes Beauty wants add a little color to the world and improve the lives of veterans at the same time. The startup brand proudly donates 5% of annual profits to charities that specialize in veteran outreach.

Green People goes even further. The company, which specializes in organic skin and hair care, donates 10% of the company’s net profit to Marine Conservation Society, Penny Brohn Cancer Care, and Chestnut Tree House.

Chantecaille continues its tradition of highlighting environmental organizations and charities. This year, the limited edition ‘Lion Collection’ highlights the majestic beauty of the big cats… and raises awareness for The Lion Guardians. The conservation group is based in Kenya’s Amboseli National Park

We SAID: Skin & Sea Buckthorn

Staff Writer

Sea Buckthorn may be among the most un-celebrated skin care gems around. While many brands are touting the effects of some rare plant or weed that no one has ever heard of, Sea Buckthorn has been quietly soothing irritated skin, calming acne and healing dry and cracked skin for less than the cost of your average over-the-counter face cream.

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The leaves, flowers, and even the fruit can be used. Chock full of Vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C, and a ton of antioxidants, some practitioners even use  it to treat arthritis, improve blood pressure, and control blood pressure diseases.

Some skin care manufacturers have wised up about this fairly inexpensive but highly effective plant; Fresh might be the most poplar with its Sea Berry Face Oil. Be prepared to pay for it though. Three fairly inexpensive oils make up the formula, but that didn’t stop Fresh from packing it into a dropper bosea buckthornttle containing less than 2oz of product an charging $52 for it.

The purest concentration may come courtesy of Russian brand Natura Siberica. Made of 100% Organic Sea Buckthorn, the multi-purpose oil can be used on scalp and skin from head to toe… at half the price to boot. Be warned: because of the concentrated nature, the oil is a dark orange and will tint anything it touches. It can easily be washed away with a mild cleanser and warm water, but if you’re not a fan of orange skin you might want to dilute it before use. The oil’s ‘dry’ nature means it can be mixed with a number of products, including foundations and serums. If you’re marginally schooled on color theory, you can even ‘warm’ an ashy product with a few drops.

If you’re impressed with Sea Buckthorn, you should be. The fruit can even be used to make jellies, juices, purees, and sauces. Ingesting it will reportedly help with digestive issues, internal inflammation and chronic joint pain. Talk about feeling good from the inside out… whether you take it in or slap it on, Sea Buckthorn is a valuable addition to just about any lifestyle.

She SAID: Holiday Proof Beauty

Terri Kennerson

The 4th of July has the great fortune of falling on Monday this year, and that means the party plans, or the parties themselves are already underway. Food, Fireworks, Fun… none of that spells high maintenance makeup. Polished skin, soft eyes and bold lips (in red. holiday proof beauty 1duh) is about all you need to shine for Independence Day.

We can’t get enough of By Terry’s Cellularose Moisturizing CC Cream. The creamy formula goes on sheer but instantly blurs imperfections without covering your actual skin. By Terry ‘makeup as skin care’ mission statement is evident, with a formula packed with goodies like Rose Extract (which also contributes to its divine smell). Even oily skin types can benefit from the soft finish; a thin layer dries demi matte and doesn’t go shiny or slide off the skin, even in the most holiday proof beauty 2challenging conditions.

There’s nothing worse than a mascara that ends up everywhere but on your lashes. Holiday proof your fringe with Too Faced Better Than Sex Waterpoorf Mascara. The original holds just fine without flaking or smudging, but if you’re looking for a little extra insurance, waterproof is always a safer bet. Too Faced made a name for itself with cheeky products that translate beautifully in practical application, and this mascara is no exception. The formula (which is on the drier side) holiday proof beautythickens and lengthens lashes with minimal clumping, and it stays put until you take it off.

The new Christian Louboutin Loubilaque Lip Lacquer has finally arrived, after months of anticipation. The followup to the highly coveted lipstick collection features a lineup of eight glosses, from iconic red (Rouge Louboutin) to deep wine (Casanovella). There are even a couple of nude shades in the collection just for sport. What makes them unique is that the formula is more like a highly glossy liquid lipstick versus a traditional lip gloss. The pigment content is off the charts, and they even leave a bit of a stain behind (so a light touch to start is recommended). This holiday weekend, Rouge Louboutin is easy choice for color. It will wear beyond air kisses, tons of food and drinks, and leave a rosy stain long after the big finale in the fireworks show.

Stay safe, eat everything, and have fun!

Happy Independence Day.