Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Hey, Blondie! Colouring Your Hair Like A Pro

I get a lot of questions regarding my very blonde hair colour - and so i decided to do an in-depth post about what i do and the brands i use to keep my hair looking bright, shiny and professionally coloured.


    Me in my goldie-locks phase - before chopping it all off

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Why 40 is Awesome...

                                Clear skin and killer cheekbones ;)  Self-portrait.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Pretty on the Outside - Beauty for Sick Girls, Pt. 2

Yesterday, i talked about how to make oneself fit for human eyes when one is sick as a cat.  Today was a real challenge, too - like a sick cat, i wanted nothing more than to crawl under an El Camino and die.
BUT - i had Things to do!  Final perfume orders to pack before the Lab gets shipped down to North Caroline (eek!), errands to run, yet MORE bubblewrap to acquire, et al.

And a girl simply CANNOT greet a day like today with a green face, my dear.

And so, i drank coffee & showered myself into some semblance of sentience and pulled myself together - with a little (a lot, let's be honest) help from my friends - if one can count cosmetics as friends.  I know I do.  >_>
And also Husband - who went out and got the coffee AND drove me to the Post Office, which is only two blocks away. <3

Today, i tested out my Guerlain Parure de Lumiere  foundation - by which i mean i needed to see how matchy-matchy it is with my skin now that i've got a bit of colour underneath my sickly pallor - and i wasn't too sure if it would be too pale.
Alas, it was.
However, this foundation oxidizes ever-so-slightly and so blends in almost perfectly after about half an hour; so, while not ideal, it certainly looked good - even very good, which is what one would expect from this foundation, after all.

Now, after trawling my already-weary-at-10-in-the-bloody-morning carcass out of the shower, i realized i had to get it together fairly quickly (am i not always in some kind of terrible rush?).  And, also like yesterday, i have limited energy to devote to my beautification process; but deal with it i must, if i am to confront the world sans the green face.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Sick and Pretty - Beauty for the Chronically Ill Girl

Today's post is about how to make oneself fit for human eyes when in the throes of an Autoimmune flare-up - or maybe just a really bad cold.

Which is how this started out, to be honest.

The thing with having an over-active immune system is that it comes and goes in waves - and something as simple and lame as a nasty cold or too much stress can trigger it.
Much of the time, nobody would guess i'm dealing with chronic illness/pain.
I've learned to hide out on the really bad days as much as possible (i'm lucky that my job allows this), and when i can't, i make damn sure i am looking as good as possible so nobody is asking me "are you feeling OK??"
There is nothing that a Chronic Illness Person despises and dreads more than the Are-You-Feeling-Ok  questions.  We feel crappy, and suspect we look crappy. This question just confirms it.

Perhaps you would think the solution is spackling on inch-thick foundation, piling on blush and painting my eyes a la Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra.  But no.  In fact, in a situation when one's skin is pallid and weirdly dry-yet-clammy, and one's eyes are prone to puffiness and redness, the last thing we want is to slather on the Warpaint.

                                                     Maybe this weekend...

Just as the extremely young can get away with unseemly amounts of makeup and still look good, the opposite holds true for the sick person.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Harlequin Makeup - Not Acting My Age

Hi, everyone - i'm sick with a cold so today is another self-portrait post from my portfolio.  

I really enjoy doing fantasy-makeup - and this was relatively easy to achieve, using black eyeliner/shadow and lipstick, and a set of false eyelashes. Sometimes, the most dramatic effects can be achieved just by keeping things simple - i used no blush, and only two colours - black and a highlight under the browbone - to do this look.

The eyeliner is all pencil - the blackest black you can find, and preferably waterproof.  
I like UD Perversion eyeliner, as well as Chanel Stylo Yeaux in Noir Intense, and YSL #1.  On the cheaper end, Milani Black is very good as well. 

The lips are MAC Black Knight lipstick, which you can find on eBay, but you can just as easily use black eyeliner if you don't feel like shelling out the cash for something you won't use very often.  Manic Panic makes a black lipstick as well, which i used in high school :).

The fun thing about makeup is that, ultimately, it's ALL fantasy, ALL frivolity.  
I am 40 (ish) now (and in this photo), and still love doing this sort of makeup for my self-portrait photography projects.  

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Crush With Eyeliner

Good morning, my little Kumquats!

Today i thought i'd write a bit about my obsession with eyeliner - we all have our go-to look for days when we're pressed for time or maybe just feeling lazy.  For me, it's a relatively clean-eye with maybe two (at most) light coloured eyeshadows, gel eyeliner and a nude lip.

No matter how little time i have to get ready, i know i can whip on some eyeliner, practically with my eyes closed.
In fact, if i was forced at crossbow-point to choose only ONE cosmetic product for the rest of my life (what a terrifying thought!), it would be eyeliner.  I pretty much feel naked without it.  I learned how to do a basic cat-eye when i was a wee Twiglet of 14 - and now i'm so adept at it that i can whip it on in under a minute.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Androgynous Monday

I'm a bit knackered for a full-blown post/tutorial today - so here's a self-portrait pic straight from my portfolio.

If i had to define my style, it would most definitely be what is referred to in the fashion world as "Garconne" - which in English loosely translates as "tomboyish" or androgynous.
The term was coined in France in 1880 to describe women who dressed in mannish clothing and cropped their hair short.
Katherine Hepburn is a classic example (long hair notwithstanding); she was rumoured to have not one dress in her closet.
The style -  the way i manifest it,  anyway - is a fine balance of both the masculine and feminine.
I love makeup, obviously - but i'm not much for frills and lace and other "feminine" trappings. Once in a while i'll get bitten the dress-bug - but i'm most comfortable in slacks/jeans.
On the regular, my daily "uniform" consists of boots, jeans and a tank or T-shirt and a hoodie.
I keep my hair and nails short (keep saying i'm going to grow them both out...ha!), i don't really see much point in high heels (except on rare occasions - it has been known to happen).
If i wear a more "feminine" outfit, i *need* that short hair to balance it out.
And i wouldn't be caught dead without eyeliner.

Conventional Femininity, to me, has far too strictured rules - and i'm not much for rules.
Even living in a big, ostensibly cosmopolitan and modern city like Chicago, i still get the regular "dyke" comments - which doesn't bother me except the fact that it's meant to be derogatory.  It's the ignorance and bigotry that bothers me.

Seems to me there's not much more feminine than loving other women, after all...

I happen to be married to a guy - but on the continuum of sexuality as well as style, i seem to fall pretty neatly right in the middle.
To me, style and sexuality are fluid.  I've always been a fan of guys in drag and women in combat boots.

Rules regarding style, just like in life, are meant to be broken.

Happy Monday, and see you all soon!


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Hakuhodo Brush Love

Yesterday my very first Hakuhodo brush order arrived!
I've only used them twice but i'm completely hooked - Hakuhodo has a new convert.

I first discovered these brushes through - the lovely and knowledgable Sonia has been sharing her love of these incredibly special brushes with her readers (as well as a couple other Japanese companies i'd never heard of until stumbling across her blog) for a while now - and after reading of her incredible trip to visit the Hakuhodo company, i finally decided to take the plunge.

The Hakuhodo brushes come in different "series" - from prices comparable to MAC all the way up to Tom Ford. For my first order, i limited myself mainly to eyeshadow brushes from the moderately priced J (which uses predominantly beautiful, natural white goat hair) and G series - as well as one foundation brush and one shadow brush that can be used to conceal around the eyes.
The more luxurious and dearly priced S100 and Kokutan series boast beautiful, artistic handles and use a lot of blue squirrel & weasel, as opposed to goat and horse.
I've heard that the quality is superb across all the series, however, and for some it's simply a matter of aesthetics to purchase the pricier lines.  I have yet to put this to the test myself, but it's hard to imagine the quality and softness getting much better than the more moderately priced series!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Smokey Tuesday Tutorial - EOTD

Hello, Kumquats!  Just a quick EOTD today...

Every time i finish packing up a large perfume order, i inevitably need a long, relaxing shower to get the work of the day rinsed off.  And, every time i get out of the shower, i have this Pavlovian need to play with makeup.
Even if i have nowhere to go, and the only person who will see it is our half-blind old Rottie, Romeo.
So, today, i decided to play around with a couple of my Inglot shadows i hadn't gotten around to yet, as well as a Smashbox shadow-pencil i'd totally forgotten i owned, which is a shame because it's really great and i must put it into my rotation more frequently.

I challenge you to go root through the recesses of your makeup-case(s)/bag(s) and see what tidbits (which you bought months ago and somehow totally forgot about) you manage to fish out - it's almost like getting new makeup!

Anyway, today was yet again another brutally hot mess here in Chicago - and so i was faced (ha ha) with the challenge of getting my FACE to stay on in the wretched 95 degree heat and withering humidity.  As usual, i put my foundation/powder on last - otherwise it would have melted off by the time i got my eyes put together.  The upstairs area where i do my makeup is woefully under air-conditioned - it's as if there is some force that prevents the air from actually reaching farther than 3 feet out from the AC unit...

But i digress.

Monday, July 15, 2013

A Bit of Sleep-Deprived, Morning Makeover Magic with Chantecaille on the Magnificent (albeit ripe) Mile!

Happy Monday, my little Kumquats!

My apologies for the lack of posting this weekend - it was a doozy. 
My friend, L, for whom i offer my Mary Poppins services on a regular basis, was having her baby...two months ahead of schedule.  
So as you might imagine, it was utter chaos and worry and no-sleep all weekend, as i stayed with their little toddler so Papa could be at hospital with L.  Thankfully, the wee new baby is doing well. 

Not a whole lotta beautification going on this weekend, needless to say.  

But, i made up for it (and then some) today when i decided this morning that i needed a bit of pampering. Like any good Chicagoan, i headed down to the Magnificent Mile and limped my weary bones (and skin...ugh) into Neimans, hoping to run into my favourite Tom Ford BA.  

Sadly, she was not working today - but when i desperately uttered "Chantecaille?",  to the attentive girls at TF, i was gently escorted over to my new best Esthetician friend, Ezzat of the Magic Hands.  

How cool is her name, by the way?  

I don't know about y'all (leave me be, i'm practicing for our impending move to Asheville, NC) - but when my skin is fatigued and miserable and patchy and dry/oily all at once and generally needs to look fresh and beautiful again despite severe sleep deprivation and burgeoning migraine, i think Chantecaille

Friday, July 12, 2013

How To Wear Red Eyeshadow Without Looking Like A Consumptive 19th Century Morphine-Addict

                   Pale, Tubercular Irish Wastrel? Maybe.  But Consumptive, no!

As the Fall makeup collections begin to hit the stores (already!), we inevitably get bombarded with intriguing and lovely eyeshadows with names like "Berry" and "Wine" and "Fall Leaves" and various other Autumn-appropriate colours.  And if you're like me, you look longingly - wistfully, even - at the lovely wine-reds and think;

That's going to make me look like a hungover, convalescing morphine addict from the 1800s.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

American Woman - EOTD

Inspired by all the Red, White and Blue looks from last week, i busted out the sparkly gold and blue shadows and threw on a red top (i know my white bra-straps are showing. It's patriotic. It's fine).
 I wasn't particularly inspired to do one ON the 4th, which is also fine.
And i skipped the requisite red lip, which is just pure contrariness on my part because i do like a nice red lip on occasion...

But it's fine!

This was a fun look to do - i actually had enough time this morning (which is fairly miraculous) to play with colour under my eyes for a change.  
A word about that - i often will skip any under-eye shadow and liner during the weekday.  The short explanation for that is time-constraint - but also, lining under the eyes can be a tricky thing for women in their 40s.  Overdo it just a bit and it can be incredibly aging and "Sunset Boulevard".
I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille!
However, keeping the area light - with maybe a light peach in the waterline and close to the lashes - can really open up the eyes and make them look youthful and awake. 

And who doesn't want that? 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Cool Blue Eyes in 92 Degree heat - Tom Ford, Christian Dior, Urban Decay, MAC , Siouxie & the Banshees & more.

Theme song for today's FOTD

Every once in awhile, I get some wild, girlish idea to do a full, complex eye-look in the Dog Days of summer, whilst recovering from a migraine so intense it woke me up at 5:42 am, and had me puking into the bedroom garbage can - helpfully held up to my face by my half-asleep husband.

I apologize for the visuals on that...

We're getting off to a great start, now aren't we?
Anyway, that was what i decided to do - because that's what kind of Hardcore Makeup Hellion that i am.

Hardcore Makeup Hellion

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

NARS Hula Hula Tuesday!

                                                             NARS Hula Hula eyeshadow duo

Yesterday's abysmal post may have been a bit lacking - but i promised i'd come back with some more detailed pics of my newly acquired NARS Hula Hula shadow duo.  Technically, it's really a re-purchase - but i haven't had it in my hot little hands (or on my hot little eyes) for a while.

Since i hit the snooze one too many times yet again, i wasn't able to get terribly creative and so this is still my basic go-to look which i wore yesterday, except i changed up the liner, lipstick and blush as well as the powder.
Also, it's like SAUNA hot outside, and too much makeup is just overkill.  It's definitely a litmus test for my products on a day like today.  I've been out and about for about 3 hours in the jungle-like humidity and so far, it's held up pretty well!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Makeup for Insomniacs - 5 Minute Face for a Pink Monday

Good morning, and happy Monday to everyone! *grumbles*
This is a super-quick post with a sorry lack of eye close-ups - but hopefully you'll get the general idea.  Tomorrow i'll be doing a more detailed FOTD using the same shadow combo, however, so stay tuned for that!

So, if you're anything at all like me, then no matter how much you may love your job, Mondays  still manage to fill you with a kind of vague loathing.
I never, ever sleep well on Sunday nights.

Here is the way a Monday typically goes around here...

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Barbarella Bird-Girl - loads of pics!

Hello, my little Kumquats!  
Today's tutorial is based on a character from the movie Barbarella - i can't for the life of me find any still photos of this woman but she had a shaved head with a feathered head-dress, and makeup which made her look rather bird-like.  
This sort of look fits my features perfectly, what with my very beak-like nose and penetrating (some might say "creepily intense", ahem) eyeballs...
What i tried to achieve here is that unmistakable 1960s heavy-eye and nude-lip thing with a stylized fantasy twist.  Like, y'know - Barbarella.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

First Tutorial! Super-Simple, Non-Boring Nude FOTD for a Saturday; Pic-heavy!

Today for my first tutorial i'm doing a simple FOTD using minimal products.
This is one of my go-to looks for days when i'm feeling a little under-the-weather - nothing serious, just a little Autoimmune flare-up, but i find that on days like today my skin can be a little (a lot) pale and peaked, and my eyes a little tired.
This look, using a nude palette, will help to open up the eyes and add a bit of much-needed healthy, natural-looking colour without being complicated or overdone.
A nude lip adds the finishing touch.  Check it out:

Friday, July 5, 2013

Begin at the Beginning

Well hello, there.

My name is Coco Twyla Schneider and you can call me Twyla. Or Coco.  I get both.  I'm a little multiple-personality that way. :)

                                          My name is Twyla and I am a makeup-addict

Yes, it's yet another beauty blog.  And I know there are a million out there already.
What do I do that is unique on this blog out of all the other gazillion blogs out there?  A couple things.
Firstly, I was a professional makeup artist for 16 years (and preparing to re-enter the industry!).  Before that - back in the time of the dinosaurs - I was a model.  This stuff gives me some experience, passion and knowledge you might not get elsewhere right off the bat.