Obsessed: Smashbox Master Class Palette III

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Smashbox Master Class Palette III

32 eyeshadows + 3 blushes + 3 contour powders = must-have

It’s hard for me to admit, but my makeup look got tired this summer. Wearing the same colors day in and day out, regardless of how high quality or lovely the products are, gets boring. To remedy my situation, I ventured into that black hole of beauty: Sephora. It’s the place where one enters to simply purchase a lipstick but winds up emerging an hour later, broke and disoriented, with an entire stockpile of new makeup. (read about my unrequited love for Sephora here).

While I would typically steal myself against the tempting racks of beauty goodies, on this day, I entered with an open mind. It was time to break out of my makeup rut and spice up my routine. Sure, I could’ve gone for a quick fix with a shocking new lipstick color, but I wanted something more long term that would allow me to experiment with my look on a daily basis.

Failing to be impressed by the latest seasonal Bobby Brown palettes, I moseyed through the aisles, exploring the latest brands and offerings–this color wasn’t pigmented enough, this brand was too expensive–until I found it: the Smashbox Master Class Palette III. Angels sang as I opened hardcover case to reveal two glorious pages of makeup.

Smashbox Master Class Palette IIIThe pages divided the set into two parts: a color palette and a neutral palette. Four columns of vivid eyeshadows descended from lightest base hue to deepest liner hue on the color side. Beneath them sat a row of peachy blushes. The neutral palette featured an essential mix of 16 matte and shimmer shadows that could be worn alone or mixed with colored shadows to create endless looks.  Beneath the neutral shadows was the set’s piece de resistance: three essential contour powders for sculpting and highlighting every inch of your face.

Overwhelmed? I needn’t have been. Tucked into the front cover were four pages of “how to” instructions breaking down the entire palette, including 3 dazzling makeup looks and an illustrated  guide on the basics of contouring. Not only could I make my makeup routine fresh and vibrant with this set, but I could also contour like a Kardashian! I was sold.

I’ve had the kit for about three weeks now, and I’ve done more experimenting with my makeup  in this short time than I have in the entire year. Where I would stick with safe subdued colors on my lids for day, I now play with dazzling pinks and greens and where I would default to a standard smoky eye for night, I now swap the grays for intense cobalt blues.  At night, I up the drama with sweeeping contours that make my cheekbones pop.

Thanks to the Smashbox Master Class Palette III, I’m entering the new season with a makeup look (or should I say “looks”) that is anything but boring! And, at just $65 for the whole set, I can officially say that this is the best bang for my beauty buck, I’ve received in a long time.

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Get your gala on

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It’s that time of year again in San Francisco…

The Bay Area adult equivalent of the first day of school is the first gala of the social season: the San Francisco Symphony Opening Night Gala. This black-tie celebration includes an elegant dinner followed by a sublime concert (this year’s program includes star vocalist Bonnie Raitt and selections from Gershwin and Stravinsky, among others) and concludes with late night dancing.

To help you prep for this–or, frankly, any–major event I’ve put together a glitz and glam week-of primping timeline. #TBT to my coverage of the ballet opening night gala here and check out the day-by-day guide below…

  • T-7 Days: Break in shoes

You want to start a full week before the event so that you will not only discover the areas that will chaffe and blister–but also have time to heel and adjust the shoes.

  • T-6 Days: Get a facial

Dewy, glowing skin is mandatory, and a facial is the best way to achieve it–but you want time to recover if your skin reacts negatively (hello, unwanted breakout!), and with less than a week to go you need to be weary of chemical peels or other irritating treatments that will leave your skin red for more than a few days.

  • T-5 Days: Trim & color hair

A few extra days allows you to get comfortable with your new do and for the color to settle.

  • T-4 Days: Wax unwanted hair

Eyebrows, legs, bikini–wherever it is you need to remove hair from, now is the time to do it. Wax too soon and hair can grow back. Wax too late and you’ll have residual redness.

  • T-3 Days: Do a final dress fitting

This is your last chance to get anything steamed or altered on the dress before it becomes a last-minute panic.

  • T-2 Days: Get a spray tan, if necessary

If your radiating because of your blinding palour, not your glamour, then a spray tan is a good idea. Don’t go overboard–you want a sun-kissed, just-back-from-the-Hamptons glow. Allow a couple days for your tan to settle into a natural tone, while also leaving you enough time to do fix it if it is to go terribly awry.

  • T-1 Day: Get a mani-pedi

Don’t wait until the chaos of the actual event day. Go the day before so you have time to let your nails dry, but not enough time to chip them.

  • Day of: Do Hair & Makeup

Book well in advance for these coveted appointments. You want time slot that’s early enough in the day so that you have time to get dressed in a leisurely fashion, but not so much time that your hair and makeup are tired before you make your grand entrance!

san francisco symphony 2014 opening night gala

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The Editorialite’s 1st Birthday Giveaway!

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SKINCARE GIVEAWAY 2I’m giving away my must-have skin care items!

It’s hard to believe it’s been almost a year since Style Unzipped was reborn as The Editorialite. I’ll always remember the anniversary because it was Labor Day. Chris and I were on an airplane about to fly back to San Francisco from a wedding in North Carolina when the topic of the blog came up. I had just started blogging again with renewed vigor, but my interests had grown so much in the years since I started Style Unzipped (my original fashion blog), that it no longer felt a fitting home. It was time for a rebrand, and the first step was a fresh name that embodied the new spirit of the blog. While sitting on the tarmac, we messed around with different words and phrases before one of us spit out the perfect amalgamate: “editorialite!” Chris actually bought the domain right then and there, before takeoff. A graphic redesign and full year later, The Editorialite is going strong.

The goodie goods

To celebrate this landmark and to thank you for reading for the past year, I’ve gathered up my 3 absolute favorite, can’t live without, must-have skin care products–these are the ones you’ve heard me praise time and time again:

Enter the sweepstakes below

To enter, simply sign up for The Editorialite’s email list. You can enter your email in the box below.


The sweepstakes winner will be randomly selected on Monday, September 1 (Labor Day) and I will be contacting the winner via email, so be sure to sign up using an email you check regularly!

The fine print…

Giveaway ends August 31st at 11:59 PM PST. Open to Legal Residents (18 years of age or older) of the US only. Prizes cannot be shipped to PO Boxes. Winner will be selected by Random.org and be notified by email. Winner will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected. The product provided for the review was free of charge from the company. The product offered for the giveaway is free of charge, no purchase necessary. My opinions are my own and were not influenced by any form of compensation. Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are in no way associated with this giveaway. 

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I try out eyelash extensions at Social Beauty Co.

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Eyelash extension before after - social beauty co. - eyelash extensions san francisco - eyelash extensions sf - eyelash extensions social beauty co.

My lashes go large at Social Beauty Co. SF

As a gal who has tried–or should I say struggled–to put on a set of temporary false lashes to no avail on multiple occasions, I’ve long been intrigued by lash extensions, the semi-permanent, professionally-applied alternative.

Lash extensions first appeared on my radar back in college, when a girlfriend showed up to lunch looking particularly doe-eyed. Her lashes looked long and lush, yet appeared too natural to be a set of falsies. “How did she get this luxe lash goddess look?” I wondered. Her mile-long lashes flashed flirtatiously as she admitted, “they’re lash extensions!”

When Social Beauty Co., the 2-year-old beauty salon on Lombard Street in Cow Hollow, invited me to try a service, I reviewed their extensive menu–which includes everything from waxing to spray tanning–and honed in on the lash section. I was finally going to have a chance to try out lash extensions! I enthusiastically set an appointment.

social beauty co sf

Lashes, it turns out, are particularly close to the heart of Social Beauty Co.’s co-owners, Nicole and Julia, as they met while working at a Union Street lash bar. The two were constantly getting shushed for giggling with their clients, but for them, the social element of getting a beauty treatment was as important as the skill in giving it. They left to form Social Beauty Co., a beauty salon-slash-women’s gathering place where laughter is encouraged and beauty is a sisterly endeavor. It’s not uncommon for a woman to come in for a treatment in the morning and wind up hanging out all day.

When I arrived at Social Beauty Co. for my appointment, it was immediately clear that this wasn’t just another snooty Cow Hollow salon. I was greeted with a warm, genuine welcome and offered coffee, tea or wine by the friendly receptionist. Women sat on stools, conversing around the bar-shaped front desk and everyone was laid back and friendly.

Julia took me back into one of the cabana-like treatment rooms for the one hour plus treatment, where she explained exactly what was going to happen. First, we discussed what kind of a look I wanted; she had lashes of every different color, length and curl. Julia told me that the lash extensions could safely go up to 50% longer than natural lashes, but  because my lashes were already long, to add this much more length would look silly. We went with a dark black lash a little longer than my natural lashes with a medium curl that mirrored my natural curl. To subtly enhance my go-to cat eye look, Julia said she could apply longer lashes at the outer corners of my eyes which would taper in. I was sold!

When we  were ready to begin, I lay down on the table and she applied tape to hold my eyes ever so slightly opened. The tape edged my lash line, clearly exposing each lash.

eyelash extension before and after social beauty co. san franciscoeyelash extension before and after social beauty co. san francisco

Next, Julia set to work, using tweezers to apply one lash extension to each natural lash. While painstaking at times, this one to one ratio, she explained, is the best for your lashes. Some salons will cut down on service time and materials by gluing one lash to three to four lashes at a time. This not only creates a less natural look, but it’s also damaging to your natural lashes.

The final look was dramatic, yet natural. I felt wide-eyed and feminine, and I wasn’t self-consciously aware of the extensions the way I was with a set of false lashes.

Because oil-based makeup removers breakdown the glue, causing the lash extensions to fall of prematurely, Nicole gave me Pure & Clear Lip & Eye Makeup Remover to take home with me along with Black Diamond Coating Sealant, a nourishing lash tint and sealer.

It’s been two weeks, and my lashes continue to be a big hit wherever I go!

Eyelash extension before after sideEyelash extension before after side

Want to know more?

Watch the video to see exactly how eyelash extensions are applied! Like what you see? You can book an appointment at Social Beauty Co. online. Then, check out my pros and cons of eyelash extensions breakdown below.

Pros

  • Long, full, dark, luscious lashes 24/7, even when waking up and getting out of the shower
  • Lashes last 6-8 weeks
  • No need for mascara (in fact, you are encouraged not to wear mascara at all and to apply mascara only to the tips if necessary)

Cons

  • Must be cautious of damaging lashes while sleeping, washing face, removing eye makeup and rubbing eyes
  • Can’t use oil-based makeup remover or wax-based eyeliners
  • Must brush through lashes each morning with special wand to detangle and align lashes
  • Expensive service, ranging from $180-200
  • Must get lashes filled every 2-4 weeks to maintain the look after initial application

eyelash extension before and after social beauty co. san francisco

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3 Steps to flawless makeup foundation

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The relationship you have with your foundation should be a committed, long term partnership.

Mascaras come and go, bronzers entice you with May to December romances, and, sure, you may step out with a wild eyeliner every once in a while, but foundation is the product you bring home to mom.

If skin is the starting point for any beauty look, then foundation is, well, the foundation for every makeup look. (Don’t miss my skincare essentials and vitamins for healthy skin) More broadly speaking, the foundation or base of your makeup also includes concealer and setting powder. Together, these three products should give you a clean, naturally flawless complexion. You then build on top of this base with colorful products. You can go to town with dramatic smoky eyes and statement lips and sculpted cheekbones–or simply add mascara and blush.

Here are my tips for applying a makeup base along with my favorite foundational beauty products, chosen because they consistently create natural, dewy, flawless coverage.

Step 1

Sweep a coat of foundation over clean, moisturized skin using a foundation brush.

giorgio armani lasting silk foundation

  • My Everyday Foundation Pick: Armani Lasting Silk Foundation Compactprovides natural looking sheer to medium coverage, perfect for everyday. I’ll put it on with a damp Beauty Blender sponge for sheer, natural looking coverage or apply with a foundation brush for normal-medium coverage. The compact is easy to put in my purse, and I’ll often apply additional layers throughout the day as needed.  

Armani Luminous Silk Foundation

  • My Formal Foundation Pick: Armani Luminous Silk when I want a flawless look for evening, a gala, wedding, etc., I’ll wear this foundation instead of the other foundation or in addition too–Armani Beauty products are made for layering, so you can wear these together for extra, long-lasting coverage. I generally apply with a foundation brush and then blend with the beauty blender to get rid of any creases. Armani Luminous Silk has been a favorite makeup artist and celebrity foundation for years and years; you’ll see it used on many magazine covers.

Step 2

Dab concealer wherever you need more coverage, such as under your eyes, around your nose and on blemishes.

amazing cosmetics amazing concealer

  • My Concealer Pick: Amazing Cosmetics Amazing Concealer is super duper pigmented, so you only need a tiny bit. It brightens and covers completely, and it’s water-resistant! It’s seriously good stuff. I’ll put a tiny bit on my finger tip, so it warms up and then dab it where needed. Then I’ll blend the concealer in with a beauty blender sponge.

Step 3

Set the look with a dusting of light-diffusing, mattifying, translucent setting powder.

makeup forever hd microfinish powder

  • My Finishing Powder Pick: Make Up Forever HD Microfinish Powder. I love this product. I’ve been using it for years. It’s translucent and sets your makeup and slightly mattifies while making pores disappear by putting translucent, light-diffusing particles across your skin, so your complexion looks soft-touched and flawless. 
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