Category Archives: Health and Beauty

How to pull off basic eye liner looks

Like many of you, I love eye liner. I love the precision and perfection of a well-drawn cat eye with liquid liner; I love the smudgy bedroom eyes that a pencil can create; I love the wet-looking, deep vinyl look of gel. Rummage through my makeup drawers, and you’ll find 19 eye liners in varying shades of black, brown, navy, white, grey. I have even less-frequently-used eye iners (hot pink! red! turquoise! silver glitter!) in a huge box in my closet.

But for anyone new to makeup, or just starting to experiment, getting the hang of eyeliner can be an exercise in frustration. Do you line just the upper lids? Or the bottom lids, too? What’s a waterline, and how can eyeliner possibly stay there? Do you use a spoon, tape, or just freehand it when you’re trying a cat-eye? Liquid or gel? Powder or pencil? What about a brush? And hey—do you look cool? Do you look crazy? HOW DO YOU KNOW?

Deep breaths, newbies.

If you’re just starting out with eye liner, you only really need one product. And that product is a simple, creamy black waterproof eye liner pencil. Nobody has to get spendy—this Inglot pencil is smooth, water-resistant, and $12.

Or there’s the foolproof Charlotte Tillbury Rock ‘N’ Kohl if you want something with which you can learn how to get a super-smudgy look. Let’s keep things simple and save the liquid- and gel-liners till after you master the pencil.

A rich, emollient black pencil liner can be used in several ways. We’re going to talk about three of the most popular looks right now.



Tightlining is when you (gently!) poke the eye liner between your lashes to make them look fuller and more lush. It looks like you’re not wearing much eye liner—you just look like you naturally have thick, full, darker lashes.

Take your sharpened pencil and carefully, carefully apply liner in between your lashes on your top lid, filling in any spaces and teensy gaps you might see (please do not stab your eyes.) It might take a few times, and you might be going, “UGH is this even worth it?” but trust: tightlining gets a lot faster the more you practice, and your eyelashes will look like they belong to an adorable cartoon kitten.

Circle Lenses

No kawaii (translation: cute in Japanese!) look is complete without the big-eye effect of colored circle lenses. The contact lenses, made popular by japanese street fashion trendsetters as well as K Pop singers, have been making a splash abroad for a few years now. Unlike your average colored lenses, these korean-manufactured contacts boast a slightly larger diameter as well as a black circle along the outer rim of the contact, which highlights the size of the lens and enlarges the appearance of the iris. The effect is a manga-esque, doll-like look that, with make up, can be augmented to appear demure or extreme.

Today this look is is worn by both women and men, sometimes on a daily basis. Fashionable folk in western countries have adopted the trend, too—you can see people on the runway, in clubs, not to mention in the drag community. Want to try out circle lenses for yourself? Our tips for buying and wearing are below.


Picking the right lens color

The most daunting part about shopping for this lens style is selecting what’s right for you with the amount of options available. Popular circle lens websites (usually based in Asia) boast thousands of designs in different colors and patterns. If your eyes are lightly colored, any contact choice will alter the shade of your eyes significantly. Those with darker eye colors should take care to pick darker lens shades or research styles that tend to be more opaque. If you wish to color match to your eye, pick a gradient style, as opposed to lenses that have a hard circle of color around your pupil.


What’s in a lens diameter?

While standard color contact lenses are often sized under 14.0mm in diameter, circle lenses start at 14 and go up to 15.0mm with several sizes in between. 15.0mm is the most popular size, as it gives the strongest effect. Though the idea of putting a larger lens into the eye can be scary for first-time lens wearers, the 1mm difference in standard circle lenses is barely noticeable as far as application and comfort are concerned.


How to handle new lenses

Circle lenses arrive in individual glass vials with rubber stoppers and metal seals. They are also equipped with expiration dates, which are important to check upon receiving, or purchasing if you are buying in person.

New lenses can be opened by lining up the arrows on the lid and rim and lifting the lid using a bit of force to crack the metal seal—you can use the side of a tabletop to flip the lid off if it’s too difficult to do with your hands. Pull the lid to remove the metal seal from the rim of the vial, and use fingers or tweezers to jimmy off the rubber stopper. The best way to remove lenses from their vials is with a pair of soft-tip tweezers made for handling contact lenses.

How to Choose Mascara

In his ongoing series, James Vincent shows us how to get the best products, right from the start! Even if you’re new to makeup, these tips will help you pick the best formula for you to help you achieve the look you want.

Mascara may be the most universal beauty tool. It’s easy to apply and has an immediately noticeable effect. Even people who don’t consider themselves makeup-wearers tend to use it. Mascara enhances the shape of the eye and makes it look larger by defining the lashes. The market is full of mascaras claiming to have volumizing, thickening, lengthening and fortifying formulas. Every mascara has some benefits—but how do you know which is right for you?

When it comes to choosing the right mascara, consider both the brush and the formulation. Both are equally important to give you the lash you long for.

Brush Shape

Brush shape will determine where the mascara hits your lash. To achieve volume and thickness, most brushes need to be fuller, thicker and have more bristles. Curling mascaras tend to have a curved wand to help lift the lash. For lengthening mascara, most brands will provide a wand that is straight and narrow that looks more like a comb than the traditional brush. The more space there is between the bristles, the better the brush will be at separating and defining your eyelashes.

If you love extra long lashes that hit the sides of your sunglasses, you will want to find mascara with a lengthening formula. Lengthening mascaras tend to have ingredients like fibers that can attach themselves to your own lash for a longer look. They tend to have a formulation that you can layer up without clumping and they work well for someone with shorter lashes.

Thickening mascara will add volume and weight to the lash. They tend to be a more dense formula and may contain silicone polymers or wax that makes your lashes look fuller. With a thickening mascara you want to apply liberally, but wipe the brush with a tissue to remove excess mascara between coats. Focus a thickening mascara at the area of the lash you want to accentuate. Apply it to the center of the eye for a more open eye and at the corner for more lift or for cat eye looks.

Best Eyelash Collection

Are you keeping your false lashes clean? We know, at the end of a long day adding yet another step to our beauty regime can feel like a chore—but you’ll thank us when your lash stash is still going strong months into wearing them.

That’s right, keeping your falsies sanitized and clean can extend the life of your favorite set so you can wear them again and again like new. Built up mascara and glue can both dry out real hair lash sets, as well as warp artificial fibers. Plus, worn lashes can carry bacteria that could be harmful to eyes with extended use. There are a few ways to clean a false set, and we promise they’re quick and easy. Your falsie collection will thank you.


Peel away the glue

Glue build-up can warp the shape of the eyelash band over time, causing lashes to look uneven. Plus, built up glue is a bacteria trap. Use tweezers to carefully peel away glue bits on the backs of your lashes without tearing out lash hairs in the process.


Rinse in warm water

Fill a clean sink with a small amount of warm water and drop lashes in for about 30 seconds to loosen any mascara, eyeshadow, or other potential makeup residue. Hot water is a good choice for especially stubborn makeup—but only for artificial lash fibers, as human hair or fur lashes can permanently lose their curl in the heat.


Wipe down and sanitize

Artificial lashes can be sanitized with rubbing alcohol but real hair sets should be treated with a mild water-based makeup remover such as Bioderma Sebium that won’t dry out the fibers. Wipe from base to tip on dry lashes with an alcohol or remover soaked cotton ball to sweep away pre-loosened makeup.


Use caution with fancy sets

Like Dry Clean Only clothing, certain lashes require special care. Soaking or wiping down lashes that contain fragile decorations such as glitter, feathers, or rhinestones is a big no, but removing the glue and spot cleaning with a sanitizer-soaked cotton swab will still keep things relatively tidy so you get even more wear out of your favorite glamour sets.

The days are finally getting longer

What makes this highlighter stand out? The three shimmering shades incorporate micronization technology. This means the reflective minerals that make up the formula have been broken down as small as possible to create a smooth and natural-looking finish with no disco glitter trailing off. The oil-free pressed powder also contains vitamin E which, when applied, can boost the production of natural vitamin E from your own skin.

The three peach-toned shades vary from a fair-shaded Porcelain (S501) to sun-kissed Satin (S502) to cocoa-colored Deep Glow (S503). Highly versatile, each tone can blend in or create a more dramatic look on a variety of skin tones. Why not create a summery bronze glow on fair skin with the satin shade? Or use the Porcelain Glow to highlight a dramatic contour look on a dark complexion? The shimmers can also create a standout shadow look when applied over an eye primer.

If you’re looking for a quick fix for a dull post-winter complexion, we’re betting on this being your new best bud.


Round eyes

For round eyes the most prominent part of the application should be on the top lash line and the outer corner. Keep the bottom lash very minimal or leave untouched. Use a thickening mascara along the lash line, and if you want to play up the round shape, keep it focused towards the middle of your eye. If you want to make a round eye appear more cat-like apply more mascara to the outer corner.


Uneven eyes

For uneven eyes we want to pull focus away from the lid and the unbalanced shape. A smoky eyeshadow application and a heavy coating of mascara along the lash line will make this eye look its best. Stay away from light colors or color mascara which can accentuate unevenness.


Downturned eyes

For downturned eyes, use two colors of mascara to achieve the most impact. Brown mascara is just as beautiful as black and has the same presence. It also doesn’t pull all of the focus allowing you to feature a lip or cheek color. Add brown mascara along the bottom lash and black mascara onto the top lash focusing all of the color in the center of the lash and keeping the outer corner the most minimal mascara application to lift the eye.

Lip Liner Work For You

Everybody, and we mean everybody can benefit from a little lip liner. While lining your lips runs the danger of creating an outdated, overdrawn, unblended pout, it’s time to stop shying away from lip liner for fear it may leave you looking like a Real Housewife. Here are the real 3 ways to make lip liner work for you.


Nude: The Shaping Liner

Why use a lip liner that matches your skintone? Flesh toned liners can help shape your lips before lip products are applied by filling in parts of the lip area to match your face. This is a great technique for achieving dramatic looks such as a cupid’s bow shape, but it also works wonders for reshaping uneven lips—especially when finishing with a sheer lipstick or gloss that wouldn’t so easily mask the characteristic.


Matched: The Sharpening Liner

When you’re on the go, you don’t have time to fumble with a lip brush to get those sharp artist-esque lines every time you reach for a reapplication. Save energy by lining your lips first with a liner that matches as close as possible with your lipstick. You’ll get a crisp, creamy line that can be filled in with a smudge of lipstick. The center of your lip shade wears the fastest throughout the day while your liner is likely to stay put, so enjoy faster touch-ups that only require a swipe of lipstick with no edge lining drama.

Dark: The Contour Liner

Dark lip liner doesn’t have the greatest reputation, but a well-blended choice can work wonders for those who wish for fuller lips. Try lining lips in a dark shade and filling in with a creamy lipstick in a lighter shade. Using a lip brush, blend the shades together where they meet and you’ll end up with ombre results that look injection-worthy. Don’t want to step out looking like you’re auditioning for RuPaul’s Drag Race? The closer the shades are in the color family, the more subtle the results will be.

Foundation Will Never Be The Same

Sometimes I wish I could snap my fingers and instantly change the color of all my favorite things to whatever shade suited me most. While I can’t alter the colors of my best dresses, or re-tint my yummiest lipstick to suit my mood, Cover FX has now made it possible to turn almost any skin product into a custom foundation.

No it isn’t witch craft, and it doesn’t even require a visit to a makeup mixology counter. Cover FX’s new Custom Cover Drops are pure liquid pigments available in 25 blendable shades designed specifically to mix with any water, oil, or silicone-based liquid or cream formulas. This means that most of the daily pre-foundation products you use can be converted to foundation while you still reap their benefits. Likewise, Custom Cover Drops can also be added to your coverup products to boost their strength, even out their hue, and extend their life.

How it works: Each drop of Custom Cover increases the coverage of your carrier product so experiment until you find the right blend. A pigmented foundation will require fewer drops than a sheer moisturizer. The actual color pigments present in Custom Cover Drops are coated in lecithin which is a moisture-rich substance found naturally in our cells. This allows the pigment to not only adhere to our skin, but leave it feeling soft, and never dry. Because the pigment is made up of similar oils as those found in our skin, it doesn’t interfere with carrier products such as lotions, oils, and creams.

But is there anything Custom Cover Drops can’t mix with? Most skin products are water, oil, or silicon based, which means unless you’re attempting to blend with a powder, you can bet you’ll yield good results.

Need ideas? Look below. We experimented with just about everything we could think of!



Who needs to buy a tinted moisturizer when you can create your own! Blend a portion of your favorite face lotion with a few drops of Custom Cover Drops before applying for a lightweight formula that evens out skintone while hydrating. Need more coverage? Try increasing the amount of Custom Cover Drops before applying moisturizer to problem areas.



If the lightest coverage is something you’ve yet to find in foundation, Custom Cover Drops can help. Add a few to bring pigment to something as simple as a facial serum. You’ll still absorb all the benefits of the formula but your skin tone will appear more even and extra radiant.


BB Cream

Mix Custom Cover Drops right into your go to bb cream to more accurately match the shade to your skin—hello customizable coverage boost!



Most pore refining facial primers are non-pigmented, but we can change that. A few drops can make any primer double as both your makeup base and your base makeup. A perfect oil-reducing option for warmer weather, we found this to create especially silky results.


Facial Oil

If your battle with dry skin has you shying away from tinted facial products, fear not. Custom Cover Drops can even be added to facial and body oil for a cover-up option that has you glowing, not flaking. Try mixing a shade deeper for an arm and leg bronzing effect.



Love your foundation formula but need more coverage in certain areas? Add a couple drops to strengthen your cover-up game, or simply personalize the shade. As a bonus, adding pigment will actually lengthen the life of your favorite face makeup, making a tube last up to ⅓ longer.

Highlight and Contouring Palette

To the true beauty beginner, contouring can seem downright scary. The idea behind the popular technique, however, is actually pretty simple. Contouring is really just the process of using light- and dark-toned makeup to enhance your natural features. And while it may take some practice to get Kardashian-level killer cheekbones, it’s easy to add some subtle definition to your makeup look—if you have the right tools. To help you get started, we rounded up some of our favorite contour kits, beloved by first-timers and pro artists alike. (For extra help, check out our basic contouring guide.)

If you’re not familiar with RCMA, the one thing you need to know about the brand is that the products—designed for pros—are unlike anything you’ve used before. They’re super pigmented, so a little (seriously, a little!) goes a long way. This cream-based, five-color foundation palette includes a wide range of shades, so anyone can custom-blend the perfect contour and highlight shades for their skin tone. (Read our guide to the RCMA foundation system for more information.)

The Anastasia Contour Kit became an instant cult favorite the day it was released—and for good reason. This palette includes six pressed powders that, when combined, can be used to create a variety of looks ranging from simple to dramatic. Even better, it comes in three colorways (Light to Medium, Medium to Tan, and Tan to Deep) with warm, cool, and neutral highlight and contour shades, so it’s a fair bet for all skin tones. Whether you’ve been contouring for years or just a few days, this palette is both comprehensive and fun to use.

This bronzer-highlighter duo isn’t just gorgeous to look at—it’s one of our all-time favorite contouring kits. Why? The intensely pigmented, smooth-as-silk formulas work on any skin tone. The bronzer isn’t too red or orange, and the highlighter gives off a soft, subtle glow. The product may look shimmery in the pan, but once it goes on the skin, it leaves behind the most beautiful pearlescent finish. For the ultimate application, try it with the Charlotte Tilbury Powder Sculpt Brush.

Ways to Play with Color Mascara

So you’ve been wanting to try color mascara, eh? Maybe you just bought some, or maybe you’re eyeing that cute green, cobalt, or burgundy shade online. But…how do you wear color mascara without having it be such a Look? Is there a way to wear color mascara for a subtle pop of color without having everyone for 300 feet know you are WEARING BLUE MASCARA?

Why, yes. Yes there is. You can combine a color mascara with your regular black or brown mascara, making your lashes look different and interesting without getting too bright. Color mascara in class or an office? Definitely! Color mascara for a meet-the-parents dinner? Why the heck not?

Just the tips

Grab your normal, everyday black mascara (we used Inglot Cosmetics Perfect Length Define Mascara, $13), and sweep it on your top and bottom lashes. Next, try a crazy color! We went with Inglot Cosmetics Colour Play Mascara in 02 Green, which is a highly pigmented, almost electric green, and applied it just to the tips of the top and bottom lashes. Presto! A subtle-yet-still-visible color on the tips of your still-proper eyelashes. You can’t even see it unless you get pretty close, but when you do, it’s like your entire soul suddenly gets how awesome this is.



For a more obvious look that is still not in “Rainbow Brite” territory, try swiping your top lashes with black mascara and putting color mascara on just your bottom lashes. This can be fun to try with gently varying shades, say, black on top and navy on bottom, or add a cobalt on the bottom for a little more oomph. This works especially well with blue shades, because they’ll make the whites of your eyes look brighter, the same way blue-based red lipsticks will make your skin tone look cooler. “You look different! But…why?” – Everyone at work.


Let’s Blend

Your black mascara is about to get a facelift. Sweep on a coat of black mascara, and then do a second coat of a vibrant color mascara of your choice (what about purple? or burgundy?) Look at that! Is it black mascara? No. Is it color mascara? No….or is it? Adding a coat of color mascara to black makes the black appear multifaceted and a bit more interesting, without making you commit to Krazy Kolor Lashes all the way.

Choosing which eye shadow to buy

But to feel amazing, you need to feel confident. And when it comes to makeup, nothing gives you more confidence than a good understanding of color theory and how it applies to your natural eye color, hair color, and skin tone.

So, let’s give you some color theory basics so you can purchase with power. Below are some factors to consider when buying an eye shadow — whether you want an everyday look or instant drama.

Skin Tone

Today, skin tones tend to be categorized into two columns, warm and cool. It doesn’t help that some makeup brands will categorize pink tones as warm and yellow tones as cool while others will do just the opposite, because the color wheel is divided down the center and yellow can be considered cool or warm.

But if you are aware of your undertone, you can navigate through all this product with decisiveness. To find out your undertone, check your veins. Our veins are naturally blue, so a yellow skin tone will have veins that appear more green. A pink skin tone’s veins will appear more violet.

If you have a warm skin tone, any warm eye shadow color will look more natural; if you are cool toned, any cool color will look more natural. Selecting shades further to the opposite sides of the color wheel will give you more drama.

Warm skin tones should try colors like bronze, vanilla, ivory, taupe, light and dark brown, pink, and coral. If you have a cool skin tone, play with pale blue, lilac, teal, gray and turquoise.

Eye Color

Using your own eye color to choose your shadow palette is a perfect way to put the focus exactly where you want it. Using an eye shadow shade that is complimentary to your eye color (one that is opposite on the color wheel) is an easy way to draw attention and make the eye pop or look more prominent. Choosing a shadow that lies close to your eye color (we call this analogous) will give a soft and easy effect that looks beautiful. Here is a simple breakdown.

Blue eyes – We know that orange is opposite blue, so anything in that color family or on either side of orange will create a lovely, dramatic effect. Try shades and tints of orange, red and yellow to get a ‘wow.’ Think copper, gold, peach, coral, pinks, and warm browns. For a more subtle look, something that is next to blue on the color wheel like violets, purples, or greens can create an unexpectedly natural look. Lilac, lavender, deep purple, plum, khaki, and olive are all excellent choices.