Archive - Unsung Heroes

Unsung Makeup Heroes: Tom Ford Nail Lacquer in Viper

Published in: Nails, Tom Ford Beauty, Unsung Heroes

Tom Ford Viper Nail Lacquer

Two coatsssss of Tom Ford Nail Lacquer in Viper ($32), writhing and hissing now at Tom Ford counters and online

Tom Ford Nail Lacquer in ViperNot even seasoned snake charmers could tame Tom Ford’s Nail Lacquer in Viper ($32).

OK, so I’ve been on a personal quest, Indiana Jones-style, to find the Tom Ford Nail Lacquer that shouts the loudest to my soul. Before I started, I estimated that this would take approximately forever, or roughly three months, whichever came first, but then I got bit by Viper, which may have ended my personal beauty mission forthright…

Tom Ford Viper Nail Lacquer

Halp! I’ve been bitten by Viper!


Well, this creamy blackened purplish berry stalks Tom’s permanent line like a cobra stalks a mouse in a field… It’s dangerous! — and if you drop your guard for a second, you’ll be hypnotized.

Equally at home on a bad@ss gal’s nails in a bar fight (a gal who artfully escapes the melee on her Harley without anyone noticing), or a lady in box seats at the opera, or a girl wearing pleather leggings and black Chucks. It’s elegant, tough and edgy — and surprisingly approachable — all at the same time.

The long-running Unsung Heroes series features some of my favorite permanent collection products from a variety of bodacious beauty brands.

It’s also dynamic. When I tilt my fingers juuust right, I see a shiny, vibrant purple, like wet grapes on a vine. A second later, it’s deeper, like a bowl of ripe blackberries about to be devoured by greedy, hungry mouths…

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Unsung Makeup Heroes: Hourglass Femme Rouge Lipstick in Muse

Published in: Hourglass, Lips, Makeup, Unsung Heroes

Hourglass Femme Rouge Lipstick in Muse

Wearing Hourglass Femme Rouge Lipstick in Muse

Got milk? coral lipsticks on the brain?

Why, yes. Yes, I do. But what else is new?

Maybe it’s a genetic thing. I don’t know… But last night I was chatting with my mom on the phone about coral lipsticks and my 86-year-old godmother in the Philippines.

My godmother, whom I call Ninang (pronounced knee-nung), is the most glamorous gal I know, and my mom was telling me last night about how Ninang is apparently obsessed with coral lipsticks right now, LOL!

I guess it runs in the fam. :)

I think Ninang would thoroughly approve of Hourglass Femme Rouge Lipstick in Muse, the creamy coral lippie I’m wearing in these pics.

My heart fluttered the first time I saw it. No joke.

Hourglass Femme Rouge Lipstick in Muse

Hourglass Femme Rouge Lipstick in Muse

Then when I slipped it on — oh, my goodness! — I may have hyperventilated a little. The intense pigment, shiny finish and bright color were all too much for me (but in a “I’m perfectly OK with this” kind of way).

Hourglass Muse Swatch

Now, Muse looks pretty dope on its own, but if you want to turn up the drama even more, try layering a reddish coral gloss on top, like MAC Star Quality Cremesheen from the A Fantasy of Flowers collection.

Looks phenom! — as does Hourglass Nectar Extreme Sheen Lip Gloss. (Do I need to post pics of these combos? Let me know. I’ve been all about the combos lately.)

Hourglass Femme Rouge Lipstick in Muse

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Unsung Makeup Heroes: NARS Radiant Cream Compact Foundation

Published in: Face, Makeup, NARS, Product Reviews, Unsung Heroes

NARS Radiant Cream Compact Foundation

NARS Radiant Cream Compact Foundation. That’s the compact in the center surrounded by refills.

“Feline enthusiast.”

“Beauty addict.”

“Beyonce advocate.”

“Defender of dental floss.”

“Hater of the word, ‘panties.’” (YUCK! I can’t even stand seeing it in print.)

“Advocate of enabling (primarily in the makeup arena).”

“Enemy of under-eye circles.”

Like you, I wear many badges, and I wear them all with pride. :)

“Foundation philanderer.” I’m growing quite fond of that one, too.

Interestingly, I’m able to remain committed to the same cat for seven years (I don’t count my dalliances with Charlize and Orangey, my two favorite neighborhood kitties), yet I’m unable to stay with the same foundation for more than a few months.


Just when I think I’ve found THE ONE, I stumble on to something else, and frequently describe it as having, air quotes, “changed my life.”

NARS Radiant Cream Compact Foundation

Loving it: NARS Radiant Cream Compact Foundation

As of now, that distinction goes to NARS Radiant Cream Compact Foundation, and yes, it really has “changed my life.” :)

At least I think it has… I certainly love it; that’s for sure.

Yeah…I’m kind of on a serious NARS kick right now, and Radiant Cream has something to do with it.

It’s a great little foundation, especially if you like medium-to-full coverage and have combination, or straight-up dry, skin.

I’ve been fiendishly obsessed with MAC Face & Body for the better part of a year, and I still love it…but I’ve temporarily set it aside in favor of this. For now. I mean, I still have mad love for Mac Face & Body, but like I said — I’m on a serious NARS kick.

This stuff handles my combination dry/oily skin like RyGos handles ab work — beautifully. Even the dry parts. It smooths and evens out my skin tone without catching on any flakes or drawing attention to my dry or scaly bits (gross, but true). Great coverage, and it looks natural.

NARS Radiant Cream Compact Foundation in Barcelona

Wearing NARS Radiant Cream Compact Foundation in Barcelona

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MAC Unsung Heroes: Shaping Powder in Lightsweep

Published in: Face, MAC Makeup, Makeup, Unsung Heroes

Wearing MAC Shaping Powder in Lightsweep underneath my eyes

Wearing MAC Shaping Powder in Lightsweep under my eyes


No, it’s not the name of a Transformer or an evil supervillain (far as I know), but it is a very appropriate name for this highlighting face powder.

Whenever I wear Lightsweep (I don’t know why, but that name cracks me up!), I do kind of feel like I’m being illuminated by soft beams of light.

Really flattering light — not hard or harsh streaks of noonday desert sun.

MAC Shaping Powder in Lightsweep

Shaping Powder in Lightsweep (MAC Pro)

I’ve been wearing it as a highlighter and an under-eye concealer a lot over the past month, all thanks to Mr. White…which is to say that I’ve been marathoning Breaking Bad lately, and Lightsweep has saved me after quite a few late nights (seriously, Mr. White could REALLY use a life coach!).

After waking up bleary-eyed, I’d put on my face paint and use Lightsweep to set my concealer. Then it’s, “Hello, bright eyes!” Just like a Jetoy Choo Choo Cat (my latest obsession).

Lightsweep, like the fictitious supervillain I just invented, is one of those secret squirrel MAC products that can be tough to find, but it’s SO worth tracking down.

Like the other Shaping Powders ($16.50 each), it’s a MAC Pro product, so it isn’t carried at regular MAC counters. It lives at MAC Pro Stores and online.

So what is it exactly?

This: a warm-toned, finely-milled face powder with a whisper of barely-there shimmer. It highlights skin with a delicate sheen — none of that greasy or oily-looking business you get with some highlighting powders. You can also use to set under-eye concealer, and brighten the under-eye area without going over the top.

At first glance in its pan, you might be like, “Wha? Really now, Karen? I don’t get it,” and your heart may not be thumping like it does when RyGos wears a striped tank top.

I feel ya…but wait! Pat it under your eyes, on top of your regular concealer (I usually pair it with MAC Pro Longwear), and I think you’ll understand.

I like to take into the “triangle” area…

No, not the one by Bermuda. :) I’m referring to the triangle area under my lashes that runs along the side of my nose, from the tip of one nostril out to the outer corner of the eye on the same side.

Give that a try, and then step back from the mirror. Take a good look, and you should see a soft, diffused, natural-looking highlight under your eyes. Oh, so glowy.

As if that wasn’t enough, Lightsweep doesn’t settle into my fine lines or appear heavy or caked-on (the grains are very fine), and it doesn’t dry out my combination skin. Once applied, it stays put, too. No need to touch up for the rest the day.

If you have dark under-eye circles or more mature skin and are looking for brightening products that don’t emphasize pores or fine lines, Lightsweep is a fantastic product to have in your makeup bag.

By the way, the Shaping Powders come in other shades, too, if you’re interested. If your skin is lighter than NC42, check out Emphasize and Accentuate, and if you’re a darker diva, peep Warm Light and Soft Focus.

MAC Shaping Powders in Lightsweep (left) and Accentuate (right)

Shaping Powders in Lightsweep (left) and Accentuate (right)

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Unsung Makeup Heroes: Yves Saint Laurent Glossy Stain in Pourpre Preview

Published in: Lips, Unsung Heroes, Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent Glossy Stain in Pourpre Preview

Yves Saint Laurent Glossy Stain in Pourpre Preview rocks!


There! That’s much better. I can hear you now. Sorry, but I can’t help it when it comes to The Purple One. Hello, Take Me With You? Kiss? Purple Rain? You know how it is — you gotta turn it up when you’re bumping Prince. :)

Speaking of purples that reign (LOL! How’s that for a lazy transition?), I was ferreting through my lipgloss stash last week when I rediscovered one of the greatest purples of all time (IMHO), Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain in Pourpre Preview, or “purple preview” en Francais.

I’ve had purple lipgloss on my mind (and lips) a lot lately…partly because of Pantone’s Color of the Year, Radiant Orchid, making headlines, but it actually goes back much further than that — at least as far back as my twenty-sixth birthday, when my friend Jen got me my very first tube of purple lipgloss (Benefit Kiss Me).

Yves Saint Laurent Pourpre Preview Glossy Stain

Yves Saint Laurent Glossy Stain in Pourpre Preview, $34

Yves Saint Laurent Pourpre Preview Glossy Stain wand

Gotta love the doe foot

So, Pourpre Preview — yeah, it’s $34, but for what it’s worth, with YSL’s Glossy Stains, it’s like you’re getting two lip products for the (pretty high) price of one.

In this case, the color starts as a gorgeous, glossy orchid violet, which then mellows out to a purplish pink stain.


  • Lasts from 5-6 hours on my lips
  • Has a moderately moisturizing, slightly sticky formula that feels quite thick when first applied
  • Unflavored, but it smells a little like green apples to me (yum!)

It’s one of the most wearable purples I’ve ever seen, and that’s what makes it an Unsung Hero to me. It’s just so frickin’ wearable! It looks good on just about anyone.

It’s purple — but not too purple, if that makes any sense — and semi-opaque, so it allows your natural lip color to peek through.

Yves Saint Laurent Pourpre Preview Glossy Stain swatch

Ooh, purple!

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