Getting Away From It All in Dazhai Village, China

When we say that we want to “get away from it all,” how much of that do we truly mean? Sure, most of us are able to do without simple conveniences like our cars or televisions for a few days, but what about truly escaping? Forgoing our cell phones, computers, and even the convenience of paved roads, all in the name of “getting away?” I never thought that I was one of those people. I have never had a desire to unplug. Now, this could possibly be due to the generation I come from; I was born during the rise of the computer. I’ve never known a life without a computer or mobile device, so I’ve never felt overwhelmed by them, or felt a need to get away from them. For me, they are simply matters in the facts of life. Luckily for me, I inadvertently put myself in a situation that would change my perspective on what it means to unplug. When I put a visit to the Dragon’s Backbone rice terraces of the Dazhai Village in Southeastern China on my agenda, I had no clue what I was in for, and boy do I thank myself for it.

copyright 2013 Victor Amos | www.VictorAmos.com

copyright 2013 Victor Amos | http://www.VictorAmos.com

My journey starts in the Causeway Bay district of Hong Kong. I had an extremely ambitious plan for getting my English-only speaking self from Hong Kong, across the Chinese border to Shenzhen, then on a flight to Guilin, followed by a bus ride to Guilin’s very distant train station, onto another bus to the Longsheng rice fields, ending with an hour-long hike up a mountain to my accommodations in Dazhai… all in less than 12 hours. Sometimes, ambition born of ignorance can make for the most incredible experiences. I didn’t know it at the time, but embarking on a trip like this, all in one day, not knowing a word of any Chinese language, was really a fool’s errand. I, however, was blissfully unaware, and more importantly, unafraid, so I pressed on. 

My journey started with an hour-long bus ride, from the city-center of Hong Kong, to the border crossing city of Shenzhen, in mainland China. I’d purchased a ticket upon a bus that would drive me to the border, have me disembark for immigration, then re-embark once I’d cleared immigration, and carry me on to the airport. Once I’d made my way to the airport in Shenzhen, it was a short, one hour and twenty minute flight to my hub-city of Guilin. While I was able to traverse this leg of my trip with relative ease, once I stepped off the airplane in Guilin, I became acutely aware of the adventure I had set myself on.

One thing that is unique about traveling to Guilin, which is different from my travels to other places in the world, is the lack of English. Signage baring a familiar alphabet was scarce, and the usage of a familiar word was as almost completely absent. Even with my Chinese phrase book in hand, the simple task of finding the correct bus to the train station was tumultuous. After several rounds of Pictionary with the myriad of bus drivers waiting outside of the airport, I was able to find someone who could understand my scribblings of a Thomas the Tank Engine-esq friendly-faced train, and I was set on my way.

copyright 2013 Victor Amos | www.VictorAmos.com

copyright 2013 Victor Amos | http://www.VictorAmos.com

Once I arrived at the Guilin train station, I was set in the center of a parking lot, and pushed into a sea of unfamiliarity. This juncture was different from the last, however. While at the airport I found people running away from me, here I found people pouncing on me! “Longsheng! American!” Hands pointing exuberantly at pictures of rice terraces and happy tourists soon came to encroach upon my bubble of confusion; all baring different prices and different destinations within the rice terraces. I was overwhelmed,  so I escaped to a phone booth where I could be alone with my thoughts, and more importantly, my notes. Luckily, I’d been archiving weeks and weeks of research into my Evernote app, and was prudent enough to print them before leaving Hong Kong. I knew that I needed to get on a bus to Longsheng, and I knew how much I should pay, but how was I to communicate this to the drivers? I took a deep breath and decided that I was going to make this situation work. But before I could even cross the sidewalk back into the parking lot, I heard something familiar! “Excuse me sir. Sir! Are you headed to the rice terraces?” I had never wanted to so hug a stranger like I did in that very moment. They were a group of French tourists headed the same place that I was, and they noticed my obvious disorientation and bewilderment, and invited me along. After some haggling with a driver, we crammed our 11 bodies into a 10-passenger van, and set course for the rice terraces.

copyright 2013 Victor Amos | www.VictorAmos.com

copyright 2013 Victor Amos | http://www.VictorAmos.com

Honestly, I couldn’t tell you whether the drive from Guilin took us 1 hour, or 10 hours, but I can tell you that it was exhausting. After being mentally drained, dropped in a vastly unfamiliar place, and crammed into a glorified rickshaw, I was just happy to be in-motion. Nothing else mattered. I closed my eyes and awoke to a paradise so majestic, I could have mistaken it for a multi-billion dollar set from a movie. Waking up in the valley of hand-carved rice patties was unlike anything I had ever seen, and it immediately put my journey into perspective. It felt like I was standing at the end of Earth, a place untouched by time; surely my journey, for all of its difficulties, had been worth it.

copyright 2013 Victor Amos | www.VictorAmos.com

copyright 2013 Victor Amos | http://www.VictorAmos.com

I began my ascent to the Dazhai Village with an interesting encounter. As I’m rolling my suitcase up the path, a little old lady comes running after me, grabbing my bag! It was not an unexpected experience, but it still caught me off-guard. In my research, I’d found that locals make their entire economy from tourists, and one of their industries happens to be portering your luggage up the mountain for you. Equipped with straw-and-leather baskets strapped to their backs, these women (who could not have been any younger than 50) hike with the agility of a teenager up the mountain with your belongings. At first, being a healthy, grown man, I felt a bit silly relinquishing my bag; but after 10 minutes of climbing a narrow, stone-paved path up a mountain, it all made sense. 

After meandering through a string of small villages for almost 30 minutes, I finally came to a river crossing that sat in the shadow of the Dazhai Village. I was 15 minutes way from reaching the destination I had dreamt about for months. I gathered my breath, collected my thoughts, and made the final climb to what would be my home for the next three days.

copyright 2013 Victor Amos | www.VictorAmos.com

copyright 2013 Victor Amos | http://www.VictorAmos.com

There are no hotels in the Dazhai Village, so I had arranged my hostel online in advance. For a mere $11.00 USD per day, I would have my own room, comprised of only a memory-foam mattress, a small bathroom, an air conditioner, and an incredible view! What more could I ask for? I settled into my private room and began the process of decompressing. Just having made it to such a remote place was a huge boost for my ego. It is amazing how enduring strife can make overcoming that much sweeter. I lay down, closed my eyes, and drifted away for the night.

copyright 2013 Victor Amos | www.VictorAmos.com

copyright 2013 Victor Amos | http://www.VictorAmos.com

There is no fancy lap pool here, no breakfast buffet, and no list of tours and excursions to go on. No, this place is quite possibly the most opposite you can get of that. This is where you come to do nothing. Visitors fill their days with hiking the area, reading, and engaging with other travelers. Each morning, I would head downstairs to the common area, where I would sit, order everything on the left side of the menu, and have conversation with other visitors for hours on end. We would then fill our afternoon by hiking to the smaller villages and lookout points situated on the almost endless bounty of terraces. It is the definition of “being with nature.” Aside from sending a few pictures to my friends and family using the horrendous (and extremely governmentally-restricted) internet connection, I never once thought about my trappings of modern culture in America. I did not care about the time, or the weather, or the score from the game, or any of that. I was living in the moment.

Journeying to, and staying in the Dazhai Village is an experience that draws an oxymoron from you when trying to relay your feelings. It was like I did everything and nothing at all. I mean, how can one go through an experience like this and not be changed on some level? In my adult life, there have been few experiences that have challenged me like this trip has, but it has shaped how I view myself, how I deal with and overcome adversity, and how getting away from convenience can make one a better person.

Victor Amos
Editor At Large

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Commodity Goods: A Fragrance Shopping Experience For The 21st Century

commodity goods fragrance fitting kit review smell 001 REVIEW: Commodity Goods Fragrance Fitting Kit

It is said that smell is the sense most strongly tied to memory, and while humans may forget a date or a name, we never forget a smell. How true have you found this to be in life? For myself, it has proven to be an unwavering fact that my mind cannot forget a smell. From my grandmother’s hugs (a miscellany of Nantucket Briar powder and Elizabeth Taylor’s White Diamonds) to the sweet smell of ripe strawberry patches from my childhood in Germany, everything dear to me is cataloged by smell. Given this information, it would come as no surprise that I am obsessed with fragrance.

I’m not one of your average Macy’s, box-set, run-of-the-mill fragrance shoppers. I tend to gravitate toward more “niche” fragrance experiences like Creed, Annick Goutal, Diptyque, Bond No.9, Jo Malone, and Tom Ford. Be it ostentatious in price, or bargain basement, a unique smell is what I’m looking for. I’d recently run out of my “every day” scent, Dark Amber & Ginger Lily by Jo Malone, and was in the market to try something new. Now, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have my “every day” fragrances… and then I have my “special occasion” fragrances… and Jo Malone has been my “every day” fragrance house of choice for a while.  On any normal occasion, I’d take a stroll down Bleecker Street to visit Jo Malone and Diptyque, and try out a few samplers. HOWEVER, it is New York City, in the middle of summer, so getting on the disgustingly sticky subway and bumping into sweaty tourists was not even remotely interesting to me. There had to be a better way.

A few days later, while on Instagram, I was noseying around on the #fragrance hashtag and came across a picture of these tiny little cylinders lined-up in a macron box. On first glance, I almost mistook them for chic cigarettes! Further reading led me to the Instagram page of Commodity Goods, where I started on a  journey that has made me re-think the way I shop for fragrance.

commodity goods fragrance fitting kit review smell 002 REVIEW: Commodity Goods Fragrance Fitting Kit
Commodity Goods describes itself as “an online scent tailoring service,” allowing you to create a scent profile on their website, test a sample of the fragrances at home, and then order the full-size versions of the ones you love. How awesome is this? No more walking through a headache-inducing conundrum of fragrance misting, coffee beans, screaming children, and aggressive sales people only to take home a generic-smelling fragrance that 4,567,895 other people also own. No thanks. Commodity Goods was luring me in with their promise of being able to experience a custom shopping experience right from the comfort of my Snuggie, and I took the bait.

A few days later, I received my package of fragrances… 10 for men, 10 for women. Now, I know you’re asking me why I ordered the women’s kit, and my answer is simple: Smell is neuter.  I don’t assign a gender to smells… never have. I truly believe that one should wear whatever makes one feel confident and at peace, but enough of my personal politics. I opened my kits and got down to the business of smelling! Now, with each “set” of fragrances comes a scorecard of sorts. As you smell, you use the hearts next to each fragrance to indicate how much you love it. Each day I wore two fragrances… one from the men’s collection in the morning, and one from the women’s collection in the evening… that way I could truly experience how they reacted with my body chemistry.

commodity goods fragrance fitting kit review smell 003 REVIEW: Commodity Goods Fragrance Fitting Kit

As to be expected, some of the fragrances I really loved, and others I was indifferent to… but none of them were bad, which is impressive when you have a collection of 20 different fragrances! Getting to sample unique smells like “cloth” and “wool” and “mimosa” was stimulating and challenged my notions of what I thought these things could smell like. For instance, book smells EXACTLY like a book… but shouldn’t books smell musky and  dank? How were they able to perfectly capture the smell of a book, yet make it attractive to our nose? I don’t know, but it is freaking genius.

commodity goods fragrance fitting kit review smell 004 REVIEW: Commodity Goods Fragrance Fitting Kit

After experiencing all 20 fragrances, the highlights for me were:

MEN’S
[ ] Cane
[ ] Whisky
[ ] Gin

WOMEN’S
[ ] Paper
[ ] Mimosa
[ ] Dew

In fact, I found myself mixing them! The combination of Cane + Whisky is very dark and sensual and masculine. I felt like Joe Manganiello chopping down a tree or something when I mixed those two together. Something about them really compliments each other. Same for Paper + Mimosa; they come together for such a fresh smell that made me feel like a groomed gentleman of cultured tastes.

Everything about my Commodity Goods scent tailoring experience was exceptional… from the design of the website, to the amount in the sample tubes, to the quality of the fragrances. Nothing was short of exceeding my expectations. I think that their collaborating with a French fragrance house that has been developing scents for 160 years shows in the product that arrives at your door. In trying to find an “every day” scent, I have managed to stumble upon a revolutionary idea that suits the lifestyles and the tastes of this generation. Commodity Goods has made my “every day” a special day.

 

PRICING:

[1] Men’s or Women’s 10-fragrance “Fitting Kit” = $9.00 USD*
(*the $9.00 is reimbursed to you if you spend $50+ within 30 days, making the kit FREE if you place an order.)

[2] 10ml roller = $24.00 USD for the 1st bottle, then $12.00 for each additional bottle.

[3] 100ml bottle = $108.00 USD

Visit Commodity Goods [HERE]
Follow them on Instagram [HERE]
Become their fan on Facebook [HERE]
Pin them on Pinterest [HERE]
Tweet them on Twitter [HERE]

Victor Amos
Editor At Large

*This article was originally published on ProBeautyBlog.com, and is hosted here with the author’s permission.

Grooming the Groom for the Big Day

There are few days in the average man’s life where he will be photographed by more cameras than a Kardashian leaving a posh hotel: your wedding day is one of those days. Too many times, I’ve seen a groom get an immaculate haircut, looking amazing from the scalp up, yet completely neglect the rest of his face. I’m talking dark circles around the eye, untrimmed nose and brow hair, redness and pimples, jagged nails—the works! Fellas, listen, your wedding pictures are FOREVER. It would be in your best interest to look like a perfectly coiffed gentleman for these pictures that will hover on your coffee table for the rest of your life. Lucky for you, I have assembled a list of 4 items that you can use to prepare for the big day, helping you sort out the little details that are often overlooked by the groom.

[1] Exfoliating

article_foreo

I cannot begin to tell you how important maintaining your skin is. It is the largest organ on your body, and it is not shy about telling on you! A great way to improve the texture and complexion of your skin is by exfoliating. I recommend the Foreo LUNA for Men. The LUNA for Men is a facial cleansing device that sends sonic pulsations through its silicone tips, pulling up dirt and softening the skin. This device is essential for all the shavers out there, as it helps prevent ingrown hairs and razor burn. The best part is that it requires essentially no maintenance, as one charge gives you 450 cycle of use, and the silicone head never needs replacing!

Foreo LUNA for Men
www.Foreo.com
$199.00 USD

 

[2] Hydrating

article_hydraboost

Ask any beauty-obsessed woman that you know and she will tell you that serums are the secret to life. Serums are perfect for grooms who are looking for a low-maintenance, yet effective, way of getting antioxidants and moisture in one fell swoop! A great option is the M-61 Hydraboost Hydrating Vitamin B5 Peptide Serum. The Hydraboost serum contains Vitamin B5, which acts as a humectant, drawing moisture from the atmosphere into the skin. The serum also contains tamarind, which helps to firm the skin, and aloe & centella asiatics which calm irritations (it’s perfect for applying after a shave!). Best of all, the serum is oil-free, which makes it perfect for those of you who are prone to breakouts, or who have oily skin.

M-61 Hydraboost Hydrating Vitamin B5 Peptide Serum
www.m61labs.com
$78.00 USD

 

[3] Shaving

article_gillette

Getting a close shave is harder than one may think. We are constantly having to try new devices that promise to give us faces as smooth as a baby’s backside, but few seem to deliver. “Enter stage left”: Gillette Fusion ProGlide with Flexball Technology. The Flexball Technology is new to Gillette’s razor design and is a feature I have been waiting for my entire life! Because of the special pivot-and-swivel design of the cartridge head, the razor is able to glide both vertically AND horizontally across the contours of your face. This provides a smooth and close shave that I have not been able to get from any other drugstore razor ever in life.

Gillette Fusion ProGlide Razor with Flexball Technology
www.Gillette.com
$13.00 USD

 

(4) Concealing

article_nars

I’m sorry to kill your fantasy that all men are perfect, but we aren’t. Every single man that you see on TV, from ESPN to Food Network has on a full face of makeup! Surprising, huh? Well, it’s true. Those boyish-Clooney-esq complexions are easy for you to achieve if you have an open mind. The use of a little concealer, in moderation, can give you a cleaner and more polished look for your wedding photographs. My favorite concealer for men is the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer. The NARS concealer is perfect for men because it doesn’t require multiple steps. For most concealer, you have to use a brush, apply the concealer, blend it out, then set with powder. This NARS one takes out all of those steps. You simply swipe it where needed, tap it with your ring finger a few times to blend it, then you’re DONE! The concealer formula does not need to be powdered, and it stays in place all day! The best part is that it comes in 10 shades, so, literally, EVERY man is able to find a shade that suits him.

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer
www.NARSCosmetics.com
$29.00 USD

Experiencing LUSH Spa

New York's LUSH SPA

EXPERIENCING LUSH SPA
by Victor Amos

Hidden among the skyscrapers of midtown, and tucked into the second floor of a retail shop, lies LUSH’s first U.S. spa. The natural beauty cosmetics chain, known for its extraordinary bath bombs and facial cleansers, is bringing an entirely new experience to the New York market – and their approach is very “hands-on.” LUSH has sent a team of massage therapists to train at the original LUSH Spa in England, so that you can experience their unique menu of treatments without hopping on an airplane.

 

New York's LUSH SPA

The experience begins on the ground floor of LUSH’s 2-story space on the corner of Lexington Avenue and 61st Street. You make a quick check-in at the front counter, and are promptly whisked past the whimsical sights and smells of the retail store, up the stairs, where you enter a beautifully-appointed waiting area. The waiting area of the spa is themed to look like an English countryside cottage, complete with weathered wooden cabinetry, vintage books, mason jars filled with wild flowers, and a rustic hodgepodge of wooden furniture.

 

New York's LUSH SPA

Your session starts with a meet-and-greet consultation with your massage therapist. You sit at the large kitchen table and go through a brief (but necessary) survey of your health, while also discussing what nooks and crannies you need the kinks worked out of. After a small chat, you are taken to your room … and that’s when the real magic happens!

 

New York's LUSH SPA

I chose to get a spa treatment called “The Comforter?” (yes, the question mark is part of the title). The Comforter? is not an ordinary massage, it is actually an exfoliating treatment. Exclusively for its spas, LUSH creates custom body products that can only be experienced during a treatment; they can’t be purchased. My treatment called for a chocolate body scrub (made of rhassoul mud, raw cacao paste, carob, and scrubby ground adzuki beans) to exfoliate my skin, and a rose body serum (made with illipe butter, shea butter, rose clay, and argan oil) to hydrate after the scrub.

 

New York's LUSH SPA

My treatment commenced with my undressing and sandwiching my body between a marshmallow-soft mattress and a fluffy heated duvet cover. OH. MY. GOD. Quite honestly, the treatment could have begun and ended here. I’d never been on a massage table like this one. While staring up at the constellations being projected onto the ceiling, my mind and body melted into a mush of relaxation; it was like being back in the womb again.  While the chocolate body scrub was being melted by candle, I was clearing my mind of its troubles, and focusing on the soundtrack to my treatment.

 

Now, while you may find the exclusive body products unique, there is another layer to the experience that makes it special. LUSH partnered with folk-musician Simon Emmerson to create a custom soundtrack for each spa treatment. Your entire session is colored by tranquil, yet validating tunes being gently whispered through the surround-sound speaker system above head. While listening to the custom soundtrack, I actually recognized many of the contemporary pop and soft-rock song covers … albeit a folksy, English rendition of them.

For the next 60 minutes, the expertly-trained massage therapist meticulously navigated my limbs as though she were a ballerina in a presentation of Swan Lake. Without exaggeration, the masseuse performs a rhythmically-synchronized dance, akin to the ebb and flow of an ocean shoreline, as they careen across your extremities. The sensations of pressure and release, timed to the exact stroke of the music, is a fine detail that sets this spa’s set of treatments apart from any other.

 

New York's LUSH SPA

To close out my service, I re-clothed myself and rendezvoused with my masseuse in the waiting area. I shared my never-ending ramble of thank yous and praises while she prepared a unique “mocktail” cocktail for me. My treatment came with a delicious drink consisting of sparkling water, rose water, and a fluffy piece of cotton candy, which I dissolved into the effervescent concoction.

 

New York's LUSH SPA

The full-circle moment of this experience was watching that piece of cotton candy dissolve into the fizzy pool of water. It almost made me chuckle, as I felt like all of the tension and stress that I came in with, disappeared just the same.

If you’d like to visit New York’s LUSH Spa:

LUSH Spa
783 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10065

+1 (212) 207-8151

http://www.LushUSA.com/LushSpa

Victor Amos
Makeup Artist | Beauty Editor
http://www.VictorAmos.com

All About Eve: Makeup We Love

all_about_eve_banner

 

While Eve has made sartorial waves for the paw prints adorning her décolletage, I think it would serve us well to look up a few inches and take note of her face! Over the years, I have noticed that Eve definitely has a “hallmark” makeup style: Bronzed & Luminous! Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can achieve Eve’s trademark look.

 

eve_luminizer

Luminizer:

A great way to get that “inner glow” is to mix your foundation with a luminizer. The light-reflecting particles in the luminizer will give a soft iridescence to your face, and who doesn’t love a healthy glow? You can also dab it onto the high points of your face, after you have applied all of your makeup, to give an added shine.

[ ] Givenchy Mister Radiant

[ ] Becca Cosmetics Shimmering Skin Perfector

[ ] MAKE UP FOR EVER Uplight

[ ] NARS Illuminator

 

eve_bronzer

Bronzer:

Bronzer is essential to any makeup application, but it is especially important when doing a “healthy” glow look. Bronzer will also give your face dimension and warmth, which help to sclupt and define your features. Make sure to use a dense, flat brush to apply  the bronzer. You should apply it to places where the sun would hit the face, naturally (forehead, cheeks, chin, bridge of nose).

[ ] Sephora Collection Sol de Rio Bronzing Powder

[ ] Diorskin Nude Tan Healthy Glow Enhancing Powder

[ ] NARS Casino Bronzer

 

eve_blush

Cream Blush:

Cream blush makes a great finishing touch to a healthy glow makeup look. It not only adds a healthy flush on the cheeks, but it leaves behind a nice dewy shine. A great way to apply it is with your ring finger. Your ring finger is pretty weak, so it will be hard to over-apply the product. None of us wants to walk around looking like Mrs. Claus!

[ ] Tarte Cheek Stain

[ ] Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge

[ ] Josie Maran Argan Infinity Lip & Cheek Creamy Oil

[ ] YSL Creme De Blush Soft Blush

 

Victor Amos
Makeup Artist & Beauty Editor
New York City
http://www.VictorAmos.com

Cayman Islands Fashion Week 2014: Artistic Elegance at the Yumi Katsura Presentation

yumi_katsura_cifw2014_005

Cayman Islands Fashion Week 2014: Artistic Elegance at the Yumi Katsura Presentation

by Victor Amos

 

Our first stop during Cayman Island Fashion Week 2014 was the Yumi Katsura bridal presentation. The event was held at the beautiful and prestigious National Gallery of the Cayman Islands, and we couldn’t think of a more fitting venue.

We were greeted by the ornately manicured property of the National Gallery; complete with lush green lawns and floral-wrapped trellises. Serving as a backdrop for the Yumi Katsura presentation was the current exhibition: ‘Jamaican Art: 1960s & 1970s’. The exhibition featured emotionally-stimulating paintings and sculptures on loan from the National Gallery of Jamaica. Although it seemed it would be impossible to upstage such a setting, the dresses that soon came to fill the room took all of my attention.

The gowns that graced the gallery were worthy of their company. They consisted of intricate frocks flowing of silk charmuese, silk chiffon, French tulle, and lace…adorned by woven patterns of Swarovski crystals. In short, fashions deserving of a queen. What fascinated me most about the dresses, were how they were decidedly elegant, while at the same time fashion-forward. Many of the dresses featured an element that I like to refer to as “peek-a-boo texture.” Underneath layers of pristine white fabric lied little details of ruching, beading, and textured lace patterns, adding a decidedly modern and artistic twist to the garments. Overall the collection was smart, fashion-forward, unique and left a lasting impression.

 

 

WHERE TO BUY:

Paulette Cleghorn of Yumi Katsura

http://www.YumiKatsuraCouture.com

 

SHOW CREDITS:

Cayman Islands Fashion Week
http://www.CaymanIslandsFashionWeek.com

Cindy Rosan Jones
Founder & Executive Producer

Terry Donovan
Co-Producer & Fashion Show Producer

—-
#CaymanIslands #CIFW2014 #CIFashionWeek #YumiKatsura #Bridal #Fashion #Gowns #Couture

5 Products To Help You Achieve Flawless Foundation

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5 Products To Help You Achieve Flawless Foundation
by Victor Amos

As a professional makeup artist, the number one question I get asked by models and clients is, “How do I achieve flawless-looking foundation?” Many of them are surprised to find out that achieving flawless foundation relies heavily on the way you prepare the skin for the foundation, and less about the foundation itself. Just like a house, makeup must set atop a base if it is to last and sit properly. Let’s look at some products that will help you achieve that flawless look!

 

 

[1] CLEANSER

I always start my makeup applications by wetting and cleansing the skin. It is important that you always start off your makeup routine with clean skin. Not only does cleansing the skin remove dirt and excess oils, it also moistens the skin, which helps it better absorb the products that will be applied next.

MY RECOMMENDATION: Bioderma Crealine ($23.00 USD / 250 ml)

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

 

 

[2] MOISTURIZER

Almost nothing is more important than your moisturizer! It is essential to making sure that your skin stays nourished, hydrated and supple throughout the day. Dry skin can lead to flaking, “cakey” foundation, and even worse… premature aging! You don’t have to spend a ton of money, but make sure that your moisturizer meets your skin needs. If you are oily, pick a moisturizer that is oil-free. If you are dry, pick a moisturizer that is thick and creamy. And no matter which skin-type you have, make sure your moisturizer contains SPF!

MY RECOMMENDATION: Olay Regenerist UV Defense ($28.00 USD / 50 ml)

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[3] EYE CREAM

A lot of women forget this step, but eye cream is very important! How many of you have problems with concealer getting “cakey” and seeping into the fine lines under your eyes? That problem occurs because the under-eye is dehydrated. The skin under your eye is very thin and dehydrates easily. If you want smooth, crease-free concealer, then you need to make sure that your under eye is properly moisturized, otherwise the moisture in your concealer will absorb, leaving behind a cakey, flakey mess.

MY RECOMMENDATION: Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye Cream ($49.00 USD / 15 ml)

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[4] PRIMER

Primer is another step that is grossly underestimated. If you live in a humid climate or have oily skin, a good primer will help with the longevity of your makeup application. I recommend a silicone-based primer, as it will blur fine lines, and fill-in large pores that are common around the nose and on the cheeks. So not only will you have long-lasting makeup, you will also have buttery-smooth skin.

MY RECOMMENDATION: Whip Hand Cosmetics Set The Stage Primer ($39.00 USD / 1 oz)

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[5] FIXING/SETTING SPRAY

Now, this is a finishing step. Once you have finished your makeup application, you want take take off that “dusty” look that happens after you have applied your setting powder. A good way to bring the natural radiance and glow back to the skin is with a fixing spray. There are many formulas available on the market that will do different things. I tend to gravitate to the fixing sprays that re-hydrate the face with water and minerals. You can use this mist to freshen-up your makeup throughout the day as well.

MY RECOMMENDATION: Caudalie Beauty Elixir ($18.00 USD / 1 oz.)

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