Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Vacation TidBits

Hey guys!

Going to try to get in a quick blog before leaving for the Bahamas tomorrow.  Simply put, New York City was magical.  I got to see the city and experience it with some of my dearest friends. It was definitely an experience I will never forget. 

While I was there, my skin was ridiculously dry! When traveling, I try to skip the makeup and apply extra moisturizer to eliminate dryness that may occur due to flying.  After a day in the frigid city, I was desperate to exfoliate, so I made a make-shift face scrub out of sugar packet, lotion (pea-sized amount) and a touch of water.  I followed it up by using my favorite face wash and lots of moisturizer!  It's all about making do with what you have :)

Quickie make-do foundation while traveling: mix a little moisturizer on the back of your hand with a smear of concealer and apply all over the skin with a non-latex sponge. 

Another travel tip:  Forgot your body moisturizer?  In a pinch, hair conditioner can eliminate dryness.

OK, time to go pack.  This Christmas is going to be interesting for me.  I miss my dad every second. His powerful and joyful presence will be especially missed this weekend. I hope everyone has a blessed Christmas and spends it with the ones they love most. 

Thank you for reading  :)  Until next time...

Merry Christmas


Friday, December 17, 2010

Self-Tanner 101

Hey guys!

Alright, I'm about to walk out the door to catch my plane for NYC.  Had to get one more blog in before my traveling begins :)   On to a topic that I am constantly lecturing about: tanning.  Okay, who is still baking in tanning beds despite knowing all of the negative effects?  STOP!  Ya'll, they make great self-tanning creams, lotions, and sprays that look realistic without having to go fry your body in a tanning bed.  I am Greek and Lebanese so I have naturally dark skin, but even in the winter when I feel like I want a little sun glow, I'll spray on my favorite tanner and be done!  Fact: tanning beds cause cancer, wrinkles, sun spots, skin sagging, and more.  You have one body, treat it right.  I'm done preaching (can I get an amen?). 

Let's start by choosing a self-tanner that gradually builds color.  No carrot-shockers, please!  Always exfoliate and shave before application.  Afterward, run a cotton swab between your fingers and toes to prevent color from congealing into muddy lines.

The good and the bad tan: Liz Hurley and Donatella Versace.

If you want a deeper-looking tan, do not apply moisturizer to the skin before a self-tanner.  It dilutes it and can cause spottiness. 

Do apply a spot of moisturizer to ankles, elbows, and knees before using self-tanner.  This keeps them from becoming way too dark.

After applying self-tanner, use a damp washcloth to buff knees, elbows, and ankles.  Then scrub your hands with a little white sugar.  This keeps the tanner from creating dark stains in those crinkly areas.

If you have streaks, scrub the dark areas with white sugar in the shower.  Then reapply a light new layer of self-tanner into the lighter areas by blending it with a sponge. 

Using self-tanner for an all-over glow can also help you look a few pounds lighter.  One of my favorites is Neutrogena Micro Mist! 


Wanna accentuate your muscles?  Use self-tanner to contour.  After applying a base layer, wait a few hours.  Apply a second layer along the "cut" of your natural muscles. 

Be a chest/face matchmaker.  If either area is much paler than the other, try building it up to a tonal match by applying a gradual self-tanner.

To extend the lifespan of your tan, apply baby oil before stepping out of the shower.  This locks in moisture and helps keep your skin looking golden longer.

When using self tanner, avoid body scrubs, avoid body scrubs or facial products like retin-A, Renova, glycolic acid, or alpha hydroxy.  These speed the fade-rate of your tan. 

Hot beach babe look!  Apply gold shimmer lotion over a great self tan. 

Hope this helps :)  Have a wonderful weekend everyone. Be safe! 


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Day to Night

Hello gorgeous!

WOW, December is always such a busy month.  I am thankful to be getting out of town for the Holidays.  This weekend I am heading to New York City with a few of my best friends.  Girls trip at it's finest :)  I come back and have one day in Charleston before embarking on a five day cruise with the family.  From 20º weather to 80º, we'll see how much body adjusts to that!  Should be an interesting Christmas.

I'm sure everyone's social calendars are buzzing right now and with all those Holiday dinners and parties, few women have the time or energy to clean their faces at the end of the workday to redo their makeup for a night out.  Instead, they want a few quick tricks to make a simple transition from office to evening.  Since lighting is often softer at night and the occasions dressier; the idea is to make the face look a bit more dramatic than during the day.

Use these tips for transforming a day face into an evening face:
  • Start with a touch of eye cream to smooth out existing concealer.
Neutrogena Healthy Skin Eye Cream-$12.99
  • Apply foundation as needed to cover any blemishes and even out skin tone.
Nars Sheer Matte $42

  • Use a blush that is slightly brighter than the one used for a daytime look.  Just add a pop of color to the apple of the cheeks.  I am in LOVE with Nars in Dolce Vita.  Also, a cream blush under foundation will give you a subtle look and then you can add the extra va va voom on the apples.  

    • Use shimmer on the lips, eyes, or cheeks to make the face look dressed up.  *Warning: Too much shimmer will look overdone, so don't use it on all three areas at the same time. You are not a disco ball.  I love Neutrogena Shimmer Sheers.  It's great on eyes, lips, OR cheeks. Three-in-one?  Is it too good to be true?  Nope! It can be yours for only about $8

      • Switch to a darker shade of lipstick.  Red or burgundy will add drama to your look.  Or try a sheer shade paired with a more dramatic eye.

      YSL Lipstick Red Muse $34.00

      • Add drama to eyes by sweeping on a darker shadow as a liner and applying plenty of black mascara.  A smoky eye is always sexy for night looks.  Applying white as a highlighter under the brow bone is also a great evening look.
      Stila Smokey Eye Talking Palette $34

        • Spritz on some perfume!
        Angel $90

          •  Pair shimmery bronzer with smoky brown eyes, bronze cheeks, and copper lips.  Add shimmer to either lips or eyes, not both.
          Bobbi Brown Bronze Shimmer Brick $38

          • For very special occasions, don't be afraid to go all out.  Cool colors such as white, platinum, gunmetal, and slate work on the eyes with black liner and false eyelashes.  Using a pale pink with a hint of shimmer on the cheeks and soft beige or sandy pink gloss on the lips will look great.
          NYX 3 Color Eyeshadow # TS01-$10

            • Use an oil-control lotion on oily areas of the face to keep it shine-free.

            This should easily take you from a day to night look in five minutes flat!  I'm going to be busy the next few weeks, but will take plenty of pictures to document my adventures :)  I'll try to post here and there.  I'll have another video blog for you soon.  Hope everyone is doing well. 

            Until next time...


              Thursday, December 9, 2010

              Thank you

              WOW!  Over 2500 people have viewed my blog.  Thank you for the support :)  Spread the word...


              Wednesday, December 8, 2010

              Nail Envy

              Hey guys!

              Happy Hump day!

              Brace yourself for what I am about to say [drum roll]…I may be the only girl on the face of the planet who does NOT enjoy getting a manicure/pedicure.  Let me rephrase that, it’s not that I necessarily DISLIKE the process, but I end up doing more work at the nail salon than the nail tech does, so it’s never a relaxing experience.  I am a perfectionist, so I don’t think there’s ever been a time when I’ve walked out of the nail salon and didn’t think “well, I could have done a better job than them. That was a waste of $100”.   Let's face it, we could all save the money and do it ourselves!  

              I rarely ever have bare nails.  I know how I like my cuticles, the length of the nail, the shape, the base coat, top coat, etc.  I’m crazy; I know that’s what you’re thinking.  It’s kind of like the 10 times I’ve gone to get my makeup professionally done at a makeup counter--won't mention any names--and walked out of there looking like Bozo the clown and washed it off and re-did it ALL myself.  Now that I’ve expressed how obsessive I am over my nails—because I don’t have better things to stress over--let’s discuss a few of my FAVORITE things when it comes to getting a flawless “do it yourself”  manicure/pedicure.  

              1.)  Cuticles
                      -Okay, cuticles I'm not the best with.  They kind of skeeve me out.  Regardless, they have to be managed and I have found that the easiest, most effective way of handling cuticles is by using a cuticle oil pen.  This Essie Cuticle pen is hypoallergenic and softens and moisturizes cuticles.  LOVE IT!

              Essie Cuticle Oil Pen-$6

              2.)  Base Coat

                     -My favorite is OPI Nail Envy.  Gives dry, brittle nails the strength to LAST!

              Retails for $15

              3.)   Color Me Fancy :)

                    Here are three FaceFirst Faves that will be great for the Holidays:

                   -Essie:  Ballet Slippers.  This is a classic, barely there pink polish that will flatter any skin color.

              Retails for around $8

                   -Essie:  Plumberry.  A fun take on your standard red nail polish.  The perfect pop of color for your        digits!

                   -Essie:  Hot Cocoa.  This is my absolute favorite!  A mix of grey and brown, such a hot trend right now and goes with everything you wear!

              4.) Top it Off
                   -Sally Hansen Insta-Dry in Clear has changed my life!  You can put it on as your top coat and your nails are DRY as a bone within five minutes. It's amazing!  No more tacky, smudged nails ladies.  

              You should be well on your way to a perfect manicure/pedicure.  Hope this helps.  Have a wonderful night everyone!


              Sunday, December 5, 2010

              Hangover Help!

              Happy Sunday!

              What a fun weekend.  I spent the day on Saturday working with an amazing bride.  She was so poised and calm and all of her bridesmaids were fun and so nice to work with.  I did the makeup for the bride and bridesmaids.  Nicole worked on the hair...we make a great team :)   After the wedding, we hurried out the door to make it to Willow's Grand Opening Party.  Jade and her husband have worked so hard on the renovations and it shows.  The place looked GORGEOUS and the party went off without a hitch.  Kudos sister and congratulations!

              Now, it's Sunday morning and after the fun night that I had (and I'm sure most of you are right there with me), I'm feeling a wee bit hungover and tired.  I'm going to give you a few hints to help with recharging your batteries after one too many cocktails.

              As soon as you wake up, start chugging water and keep drinking--ahem, water!--throughout the day.  Plain fluids help reduce facial puffiness and counter the dehydrating effects of alcohol.

              Pop a wet washcloth into the freezer before you step into a cold shower.  Yes, I said cold: you need to stimulate your whole droopy self.  After the shower, lie down with the chilled washcloth over your eyes to reduce puffiness.

              Apply luminizing face primer to instantly restore radiance lost at the party the night before.  I like Smashbox Luminizing Face Primer

              Retails for $35

              To make your eyes look as alert as possible, try adding a little dab of white shimmer powder on the inside tear duct and under the brow bone.  MAC Shroom is amazing :)

              Retails for $15

              Add a healthy dose of navy blue mascara.  A deep navy shade gives eyes a brighter, more awake appearance.  Este Lauder makes an amazing deep blue mascara.

              Retails for $21

              A pop of pink on the apples of the cheeks and on the lips gives the illusion of a fresh face even when you're feeling plowed under.

              Bobbi Brown blush in Pale Pink $23
              Revlon Super Lustrous Lipgloss in Pink Whisper $5

              This should help.  Hope everyone has a wonderful Sunday Funday! Be safe!


              Friday, December 3, 2010

              Skin Analysis

              Hello Hello!

              Hope everyone had a great week.  With the change in climate, I often get skincare questions regarding proper care for keeping skin flawless.  My first question is: What is your skin type?  Few people have naturally perfect skin (those who do, I envy).  The condition of skin changes from day to day and season to season.  Hormonal fluctuations, stress, pregnancy, medication, travel, and seasonal changes are only a few of the factors that can cause skin to act up.  If you learn the various skin types, you will be able to choose the right cleansing options and moisturizers.  The following descriptions will help you recognize skin conditions and make decisions about skincare products.



              Smooth, even texture with small pores
              Cheeks are the driest area but not excessively so
              May experience some shine and larger pores on the forehead, nose, or chin
              Water and oil content in the skin is balanced.


              Normal skin needs routine cleansing with a foaming cleanser, exfoliation twice a week, moisturization with lightweight lotions and the use of a sunscreen to keep it healthy.

              Dry/Extra Dry


              Feels right after washing
              May Look dry or flaky
              feels rough and uneven; dehydrated
              May be sensitive
              pores are small--almost invisible
              shows fine lines faster than other skin types


              Dry skin requires special care.  Using richer cleansers, limiting sun exposure, and using a good moisturizer can protect your skin's natural oils.  Layering different textures of moisturizers can do wonders to hydrate the skin.  Begin with a lightweight face oil, and ten layer richer cream over that.  Night creams with alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) help remove the dry, dead skin while moisturizing the new.  Air-conditioning and heating create dry environments.  Put a humidifier in your room to help with this.

              Oily Skin


              Oily skin is shiny, especially through the T-Zone
              May have large, visible pores
              Frequent breakouts
              Few signs of aging, such as fine lines


              Cleanse the face at least twice a day to prevent dirt buildup and to keep pores open.  Use an alcohol-free astringent to remove excess oil.  Use oil-free moisturizers to keep the skin from overdrying.

              Combination Skin


              Oily through the T-Zone
              Dry cheeks or spot dehydration
              Larger pores on the forehead, nose, and chin


              Care for this skin type requires regular cleansing, toning and moisturizing of the oily areas and the use of a milder cleaner and denser moisturizer for dry areas.  Moisturizers containing AHA will benefit this skin type.

              Sensitive Skin


              Can range from dry to oily
              Easily irritated by cosmetics, moisturizers, and cleansers.
              Sensitive and prone to redness
              Itchy or blotchy


              Sensitive skin requires mild, nonperfumed cleansing products.  Use an alcohol-free toner formulated for sensitive skin.  Also, use cleansers and moisturizers specifically formulated for this type of skin.

              Figure out your skin type and buy appropriate products; these don't have to be super expensive items.  Stick with a regimen for at least a month to give your skin a chance to adjust.  Hope this helps :)  Let me know if you have any questions.  Have an AMAZING weekend everyone.


              Sunday, November 28, 2010

              Eyeliner It Up

              Hey all!

              Hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday.  I got to spend Thanksgiving with my brother and his family and my mom; then wrapped up the weekend with friends. I am one blessed chick.  So now that we've all eaten our faces off and probably had one to many cocktails, let's find a way to brighten up our eyes!

              I've been asked a few questions about eyeliner types so I'm going to give you the low-down on some of my favorites!

              In a nutshell, there are three main types of eyeliners: Pencil, Liquid, and Gel.  Pencil is easiest to use and great for lining your eyes' inner rims.  Liquid is the way to go for a precise cat-eye.  Gel liner is easier to use than liquid--it's good for dotting between lashes. 

              Here are a few more tips:

              *Always apply eyeliner before your mascara.  If you try to line after mascara, you'll end up with a case of lashes clumps.

              *Lining Physics 101: The thinner and sharper the pencil tip, the more precise the line.  The fatter and duller the top, the smudgier the line.

              *Pencil liner gone all stubborn and hard to apply?  Blast the top with your hair dryer for a second; the color will glide right on.

              *When applying liquid or pencil liner, avoid perfection panic by applying in small strokes, like you're connecting little dashes.

              *Gel eyeliner is easier to apply than liquid but offers a similar finish.  Wet a thin eyeliner brush and drag it through the gel eyeliner.  Wait a second so it's not super-wet, then stroke it along the upper lash line.  Easy, dreamy! Gel liner is creamier than other liners so it adds a touch of hydration to the lash line; ideal for the ladies with dry skin.

              For eyes that pop, go for my "opposites attract" technique:
              • To make green eyes really sparkle, apply a plum liner.
              • For radiant blue eyes, use brown liner.
              • To intensify brown eyes, try navy liner along the upper lash line.
              • Hazel eyes look golden when you apply forest-or jade-green liner along the upper lash line
              A smudge of chocolate brown liner along the upper lash line (close to the roots) looks great on everyone!

              Here are some FaceFirst Favorites:
              elf liquid liner $1-AMAZING DEAL

              Trish McEvoy Eye Pencil $20

              Stila Smudge Pot $15

              Keep the questions coming!  Have a wonderful week everyone :)


              Monday, November 22, 2010

              Taylor Swift gets Bangs

              By the way...

              Is anyone else thrilled to see Taylor Swift get a hair makeover?  It's about time that girl switched it up!  I was so over the curly, soft bun with bright red lipstick.  Change is GOOD!  Looks fabulous and very Vogue!  Do you love?

              Holiday Hair Tips

              Hi All!

              Wow, the Holidays have have a way of sneaking up on me.   I can't believe it's almost Thanksgiving.  I am training right now to do hair at Willow and, as with makeup, I have a slight addiction to haircare products.  I am going to incorporate some hair, skincare and nail tips into the FaceFirst blog starting today! 

              Holiday hair is big hair.   Here are a few tips I recommend for maintaining beautiful hair, full of body and volume, this holiday season.

              Tip 1: Trim
              Super long locks tend to weigh you down. In the winter, you're probably blow-drying more often, so your hair is likely to look or feel more damaged. Giving it a trim will lighten your load, making it easier to achieve lasting lift. Make sure to add layers, which will help create dimension and movement.  Call Willow Salon to schedule your Holiday trim TODAY with any one of our amazing stylists: Jade Young, Hayley Brisacher, Jen Sample, Nicole Snyder, Powell Clements, Brittany Joyner, Amy Arrington.  843.720.7557

              Tip 2: Condition
              In the winter, hair tends to be more dry and prone to static. It's critical to keep it healthy by using a moisturizing conditioner, just be sure it's appropriate for your hair type.  If you're regularly colored and have chemically processed hair, your hair will benefit from a mask twice a month.  If you use heat to style, use a leave-in conditioner on the ends. If you have fine or flat hair, extra conditioning can weigh hair down, so be selective. Fine haired girls should try to avoid heavy conditioners. Try to bypass  conditioners and use a styling product instead, like thickening cream, that has light conditioning agents in it.  Check out some FaceFirst favorites below.

              Retails for around $9

              Retails for around $30
              Retails for around $22

              Retails for around $14

               Tip 3: Style
              Achieving volume is always easier when styling with heat. Use a root lifter like Pureology Root Lift and a round brush to create lift and body. Blow dry one section at a time, wrapping each section around the brush and pulling in up and away from your scalp as you aim the blow dryer down the hair shafts. Let the section cool off while it’s still wrapped around the brush to create soft waves. 

              Retails for around $20
              Tip 4: Have Fun
              An easy look to achieve on "second-day hair" is a loose bun. First, pull hair into a messy ponytail and secure it with an elastic band. Then, twist hair around the base of the ponytail and secure it with pins. To make it casual, gently pull out pieces as you pin it back. As a finisher, lightly mist hairspray all over. Voila!  Instant chicness! 

              Hope these tips and products help you maintain FABULOUS hair, all winter long.  Keep the questions coming.

              Until next time...


              Thursday, November 18, 2010

              Seasonal Switcharoo

               Hello Everyone!

              I want to start out by saying THANK YOU for the love and support. I have received an outpouring of inquiries and I hope I continue to interest and inform you :)

              Now, let's get down to business.  Who's ready for winter???  I like to see the cooling change of the seasons as an opportunity to break out of any makeup rut I'm in and have some fun!  

              • It's the time of year to play with deeper lip colors like sheer plums, rich berries, burgundy wines and classic reds.

              Mandy Moore

              • Warm up dull winter skin by mixing in a bit of cream bronzer with your foundation. I like Maybelline Dream Mousse--mixes well with liquid foundation.

              • Wake up with a “Just back from Bermuda”  glow by adding a drop of self-tanner to your nighttime moisturizer.
              • Eyeliner looks especially great with fall and winter fashions.  Expand your liner lineup with enchanting shades like eggplant or chocolate brown.  Pair your lined eyes with a nude lip for a chic, sophisticated look.
              Hilary Duff
              • For family gatherings at Thanksgiving or Christmas, keep your makeup simple and classic.  Try a natural lip paired with a soft brown shadow on the eyes for a universally flattering look that even Grandma will love.

              I'll leave you with one more winter beauty tip.  Putting a humidifier in your bedroom adds a new dimension to beauty sleep during the cold, dry winter months.  Give your parched skin an overnight boost: humidify!

              Until next time...


              Tuesday, November 16, 2010

              What's In My Bag?

              Hello Lovelies,

              I got this blog topic from a few girlfriends I was out to dinner with this past weekend.  For some reason, they decided to start rummaging through my purse (more like a small suitcase) and were laughing at the items they found and INSISTED I do a “what’s in my bag” blog.  I keep everything in there but the kitchen sink, but I’ll share with you some of my purse necessities.  

              1.)   Band-Aid Friction Block stick: Reminds me of a glue stick. You rub this on the areas that are prone to blisters from wearing those sky high heels!  I LOVE this product and can’t leave home without it.  Because I’m a Shorty, I rarely leave home without heels, and this has SAVED my feet! You’re welcome girls.

              2.)    Lip Stain: For all my chapstick fanatics out there, lip stain is your new best friend.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE chapstick (my favorite is Burt’s Bees) so, with lip stain, you can apply, allow it to dry, and add your favorite chapstick on top.  Colorful lips and functionality?  YES! Covergirl makes a great lip stain in a variety of colors ($7.99) and so does The Body Shop ($14). Stain away!

              3.)    Perfume Rollerball: Most of your favorite perfumes come in a handy rollerball size which is perfect for a purse and won’t spill!  Victoria’s Secret has a bunch of these directly by the checkout line for about $10 each.  Smell good all the time :)

              4.)    Baby Wipes: WHAT? I know. I’m crazy. But I love them. Baby wipes are perfect for removing makeup in a flash and removing spilt stains from clothing!  No bambinos? Still functional for adults.

              5.)    Hand Sanitizer:  Wash hands as much as possible in the winter to prevent colds!

              6.)    Travel Size toothbrush and toothpaste:   I don’t use any type of whitening system for my teeth on a regular basis, but I am a teethbrushaholic.  I brush my teeth probably five times a day, so I always have my trusty travel sized ready.  Sugar free minty gum is a must have too!

              7.)    Business Cards: You never know who you’re going to run in to.  Always have these ready to hand out.  Networking is key. The cute little case doesn't hurt :)

              8.)    Oil Blotting Sheets:  Grab these instead of packing on pressed powder to control oil.  Same effect and won’t clog pores!  MAC makes great ones and for an inexpensive option, Clean & Clear oil absorbing sheets. 

              9.)    Pain Reliever:  Tylenol is always on standby.   

              So now that I’ve exposed what’s in my handbag, I hope everyone picked up some useful knowledge.  Let me know if you have any questions!  


              Monday, November 15, 2010

              This One's For the Fellas (Ladies, useful knowledge for you too)

              HEY everyone!

              I was recently asked by a dude what he could do to prevent irritation after shaving.  From what I hear, facial shaving irritation is tough to combat, but with these few tips, you’ll be on your way to a baby soft face!  Pre-shave, I recommend that you exfoliate.  For the guys who have no idea what this is, it’s the removal of dead skin cells on the skin’s outer surface.  You can go to any drugstore and buy “St Ives Apricot Scrub”.  Use this three times weekly on your face and neck.  This will slough off dead skin and allow for a closer, smoother shave.  For starters, I recommend taking a shower first, to soften the skin and hair. On to the shaving, a new razor is a MUST.  And I know they are expensive but you have to change out your blade every 3-4 uses.  Single blade razors work well for men.  Shave in the direction of the hair growth.   After your shave, apply after shave; preferably one containing aloe Vera and antiseptic ingredients that will heal any cuts caused by shaving.  Lastly, men, you HAVE to moisturize.  Try to pick an oil free moisturizer with sunscreen.  I recommend Clean & Clear Morning Glow Moisturizer spf 15. 

              Happy Shaving!  Until next time...