I was in a movie!

It's less than a minute and a half, so it won't take long to watch the whole thing. Let me know if you like it.


Blog Move

GirlPaint is proud to announced it has officially moved to a new format on a new server. Please come visit at http://girlpaint.com/blog. See you there!


My Review of e.l.f. Studio Complexion Brush


This new anti bacterial, synthetic haired Taklon brush is softer and more absorbent and can be used with wet or dry products. Be a professional makeup artist and create a flawless look with this e.l.f. studio brush!
-Creates an even and natural finish
-Expertly sweeps all types of powd...

Complexion Brush

Best powder and blush brush, for only $3

GirlPaint Santa Fe 4/19/2009

4 5

Pros: Easy To Use, Great Design, Soft bristles, Good quality, Functional

Cons: Bulky

Best Uses: Everyday, Going Out

Describe Yourself: Classic Style

Well balanced brush with very soft bristles and good quality construction. I can't believe it was only $3! A definitely recommend.


Review of e.l.f. Liquid Eyeliner



No more tugging or pulling on your eyelids with this easy glide liquid eyeliner. The smudge-proof liner is rich in color, creating a long lasting defined look. The fine tip brush creates easy and precise definition for natural or dramatic effects.

Don't waste your $1

GirlPaint Santa Fe 4/19/2009

1 5

Pros: Long-Lasting

Cons: Smudges or Runs, Smells toxic, Difficult To Apply, Stiff "magic marker" tip

Describe Yourself: Classic Style

Difficult--if not impossible--to get a nice, clean line. Smells terrible, like chemicals/plastics. Smudges easily during application process. After three different attempts, I threw it away.



The Two Magic Ingredients for Lighter, Brighter Face

The latest studies show...

How many times have we heard that? Countless, I imagine. But guess what? Those "latest studies" are actually pointing to some real, actual results (this time).

So, I assume since you're here you wanna hear 'bout the good-results studies about the two magic ingredients. Okay, okay...

Per the American Academy of Dermatology, real, actual results from honest-to-goodness studies -- Harvard, even -- point to the effectiveness of glucosamine combined with niacinamide to reduce hyperpigmentation of the skin, especially in those with UV damage.

What's this mean? In laymen's (or laywomen's) terms, use a combo of glucosamine and niacinamide in the right amounts and, in time, you should see lighter, brighter skin.

Hey! That's great!

But wait. Where do you find these magic ingredients? What is the "right amount?" How long will it take before you get the glow?

Hold still, I'm not finished.

1. You can get glucosamine (in the effective form of N-acetyl-glucosamine, best known for helping treat arthitis prior the skin studies) and niacinamide (a vitamin B derivative) at most any bulk skincare actives retailer: Skin Actives Scientific, Bulk Actives, Garden of Wisdom or LotionCrafter. Just mix them into your favorite (non-active) facial moisturizer for a custom blend.

If you'd rather not DIY your skincare, you can also find them together (ah, how sweet) in Olay's Definity line.

2. The amount of each active, at least the amounts noted in the "studies," suggest that 2% glucosamine and 4% niacinamide should do the trick.

3. How long must you wait to experience the magic? Try four to eight weeks.

Not bad, eh?

Well, the news gets even better. How, you ask? Because glucosamine and niacinamide are both shown to be effective for all skin types (hear that, Sensitive Sally?), plus they're inexpensive. Expect to spend about $6 (or less) for each active if you buy in bulk -- doing so, you should have enough to last several weeks or more. And Olay is asking about $25 for their Definity complex.

Light on your pocket book, bright on your face.

Sometimes those studies ARE right ... and bright.


30 Days to Healthier, Younger-looking Skin

On Memorial Day, it's appropriate to remember your skin, no?

Last post, I gave you a recipe for a youth-inducing serum.

This time, we're going to add some active ingredients to the Fountain of Youth Serum to bump up it's healthful qualities and increase your skin's ability to maintain its youthfulness...and maybe even take a few years off.

First, use the recommended quantities. Period. Click on the links to purchase the individual ingredients.

To 1-2 tablespoons of plain vegetable glycerin, add
  • pinch Ellagic Acid - antioxidant, cancer preventive, anti-inflammatory, helps improve discoloration
  • pinch Ferulic Acid - cancer preventive, protects the skin against UVB-induced erythema, skin lightener, increases stability of vitamins C (MAP) and E
  • 1/8 teaspoon of Coenzyme Q10 - topical application restores mitochondrial activity, increasing energy production plus minimizing energy needed to make new collagen; antiaging, antioxidant, stimulating active, it will push your skin into "high gear"
Mix thoroughly until all actives are dissolved. If you have difficulty dissolving, microwave for 10-15 seconds and mix, mix, mix. Set aside.

Next, to the Fountain of Youth serum, add:
  • 1/8 teaspoon Alpha Lipoic Acid** - (aka ALA) essential for youthful cell function; our bodies' own production dimishes as we age
  • pinch Beta Glucan - anti-aging, cancer-preventive
  • pinch Carnosine - accelerates and improves healing. Prevents wrinkles and loss of elasticity brought about by aging and exposure to sunlight, .also an antioxidant and seems to improve immune response
  • 1/8 teaspoon DMAE** - antioxidant, increases firmness and overall appearance of aging skin
  • pinch Green Tea ECGC - antioxidant, repair of damage done by UVA radiation, cancer preventive
  • 1/4 teaspoon Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate - (aka MAP) the "real" ester-C, a stable and soluble form of ascorbic acid, stimulates collagen synthesis, anti-aging, anti-oxidant, anti-acne, skin brightening, decrease appearance of sun spots
  • 1/8 teaspoon Niacin - relieves itching, controls sebum products, skin lightening effects
Last, add the glycerin-active mix to the serum. Mix thoroughly. Put the mix into a glass dropper-top bottle or other non-reactive liquid dispensing container.

Some of the actives may never dissolve completely, but they will release their active ingredients continuously. If the undissolved 'grit' bothers you, strain your serum using CLEAN muslin, cheese cloth, nylon or any fine-sieve strainer.

DIRECTIONS: Use this super-active serum once or twice a day, after cleansing your skin, before you apply your moisturizer and sunscreen, and after 30 days, you will see smoother, brighter, clearer, younger-looking skin.

If you experience ANY irritation...
  • either your skin doesn't like one (or more) of the ingredients--in which case you should stop using it altogether and toss it
  • OR your mix is too concentrated--dilute it with some distilled water until your skin can tolerate it
  • OR your skin is simply adjusting to one or more of the ingredients--use your serum only once a day when you are not using any other products and if the irritation doesn't subside after 3-4 days, stop using it and toss it
COSTS: The active ingredients is this serum are exactly the same as those found in the most exclusive, expensive skincare products on the market today. What you'll spend: $87.00, plus shipping. If you don't have glycerin, you can find it at most pharmacies or grocery stores, about $6 for 4 oz.

BONUS: You'll have LOTS of the active ingredients leftover, which you can add to most any moisturizer (NOT sunscreen, NOT already-active cream...plain Eucerin, Olay, et al are okay) to make your own super-active skincare cream--way better than the high-dollar stuff at the department stores. Whether you use your mix on your face or body--or both--is completely up to you. But keep in mind with all these actives: A LITTLE BIT GOES A LONG WAY.

**Many people experience mild stinging with Alpha Lipoic Acid and DMAE, especially when they first start using them. However, if the stinging is intense or if you experience ANY redness and irritation, OR if the stinging occurs for more than a few days, STOP USING THIS SERUM.

NOTE: If you have rosacea or sensitive skin, or if you want to avoid the irritation issue, DO NOT USE Alpha Lipoic Acid or DMAE.

When mixing, take extra precautions to wash your hands and be sure to use sterilized mixing, measuring, straining implements and containers.


Fountain of Youth for less than $35

DIY (do-it-yourself) Skincare can be fun, easy and best of all, work wonders on your skin...plus, it costs WAY less than those ultra-expensive beauty products, most of which are a bit of a rip-off (and some of which are a complete scam).

The following Fountain-of-Youth serum is one that can be used by itself but it can also act as a base for other active skincare ingredients. Click on the links to purchase the individual ingredients. Distilled water (a must...no tap water, please) can be bought at your grocery store:
Optional ingredients include aloe vera juice (substitute 1/2 tablespoon of water) and plain vegetable glycerin (add up to 1 teaspoon).

Seakelp bioferment is a kelp extract containing vital nutrients that feeds your skin. It's the "magic" Miracle Broth ingredient in Creme de la Mer.

Hyaluronic acid (also called hyaluronate or hyaluronan), produced naturally by the human body, is a component of connective tissue whose function is to cushion and lubricate. It's been nicknamed the "key to the fountain of youth" because it has been noted that some people who ingest a lot of it in their diets tend to live to ripe old ages and also because it provides volume and fullness to the skin.

To mix: stir together the water and hyaluronic acid first and let it set for a few hours to overnight. This mixture will thicken (you can add more or less hyaluronic acid depending on the consistency you prefer), then add the remaining ingredients, adding the preservative last. If you use another preservative, be sure to use one that is water-based or will work in a hydrophilic solution -- and that you use the proper amount.

Directions: Apply to your face and neck after cleansing your skin, 1-2 times per day. Moisturize and apply sunscreen over the top of the serum.

Costs: $32 (plus shipping for the actives and Germaben II) depending on what distilled water costs at your grocery store.

Bonus: LOTS of leftover Seakelp Bioferment, distilled water and Hyaluronic Acid that can all be used in other youth-inducing skincare mixes you make yourself.

Please note: When mixing ANY products you put on your face or body, take extra care to wash your hands and use sterilized implements and containers (mixing sticks, bottles, droppers, etc.).

Next time, I'll recommend different active ingredients to add to the base serum. Each active or group of actives will address different issues, i.e., free-radical protection, collagen building, firmness, and so on.


DIY...Is it all it's cracked up to be?

In the world of do-it-yourself, there's home repair, tech gadgetry (see make.com for some pretty cool projects) and then there's your skin.

I started dabbling in DIY skincare a few years ago. My introduction started innocently enough with homemade lipbalm...some recipes incredibly successful--a chocolate-mint balm that used real chocolate chips...yum--and a few not-so--picture a sluggish mess of shea and cocoa butters sitting on a layer of glyercin goo...ewwww.

After a short while, I graduated to essential oils and aromatherapy home-study (ahhhh, lavender oil, the cure-all). The result of a solid year or so of investigation? Not much, I'm afraid, but I do still use a homemade concoction including sweet orange oil to clean my bathroom and freshen my linens. Plus, I know exactly which little smelly bottle to reach for when the signs of a cold sore pop up.

About a year and half ago, I found a little website called Skin Actives Scientific. And my DIY hobby became an obsession.

Skin Actives--and other suppliers like it--offer individual active skin care ingredients. The same ones found in the best, most expensive and most effective skincare products available on the market today--along with a nice selection of ready-made products--at a fraction of the price. So you can literally make your own version of Creme de la Mer...or just about any other high-end skin care product you can think up...as long as you have the INCI ingredient list.

My own first DIY products--mostly face treatments--were hit and miss. And many of them--the misses, anyway--looked a like anything from a vegan's kitchen project gone bad to, well, baby poop.

Since then--after a few skincare experiments gone awry--I've learned *some* restraint, had a lot of fun...and gotten much improved skin, too boot. I'm 37 1/2 years old, and my age is often guessed at least 10 years younger (even with my grey hairs showing!).

Over the next few months, I plan to post some of my successful recipes, along with some tips about what to do and not do when mixing your own skincare concoctions. I hope you enjoy the process as much as I have and that you save a few bucks. Who knows? We might just start a little DIY skincare revolution right here. Well, I can dream, can't I?


Moisture Maximizers

Follow these 5 tips to ditch winter itchy skin

You could wear nothing but cashmere from head to toe. But there's a less expensive way to address autumn's dry-skin miseries: Maximize the moisture level in your skin. Here are five good ways to maximize your dry skin in cold weather.

Lather, rinse--and do not repeat. Hot water removes natural oils from your skin that help keep it hydrated. So those long, hot baths rob your skin of moisture, making it dry and itchy. The cure? Shower in lukewarm water for no more than 10 minutes.

Slather while damp. Moisturizers work by trapping water in your skin's outer layers, so use creams and lotions immediately after exiting the shower. Give yourself a quick towel-dry so you're not dripping wet and then coat yourself with moisturizer. Need industrial-strength help? Go for ointments or creams rather than lotions, which include more water than oil. (You might even dab on some baby oil or petroleum jelly.)

Spring for a humidifier. In the summertime, your skin can replenish itself by soaking up the moisture in the air. But when the mercury falls, so does the natural humidity. Add the drying effects of indoor heating, and you have trouble. Solution: When you jack up the thermostat, turn on a humidifier, as well.

Drink water. Hydrate your skin from the inside by downing at least eight 8-ounce glasses a day.

Switch soaps. If, despite your best efforts, you're still plagued by the winter pricklies, switch to a milder soap (look for "moisturizing" on the label). Your choice should also be fragrance-free--it'll be less irritating.

Was It Something You Ate?
Certain foods can cause flare-ups of contact dermatitis, the catchall term for skin irritation and itching, reports a recent University of Louisville study. Anything related to balsam, including tomatoes, colas, chocolate, and spices such as vanilla, can cause problems. And products containing citrus may also be troublemakers. Try eliminating these foods from your diet for a month. If your condition improves, you'll know that you're sensitive to balsam and that you need to avoid them. (Yes, that means chocolate and vanilla. Strawberry, anyone?) If you find that you're missing your favorite goodies, add them back one at a time and see how your body reacts.

Photo Courtesy of World of Stock | Post by special guest Megan Othersen Gorman


Take 10 Years Off Your Age Right Now, Pt. 1

Properly applied make up can make you look fabulous. But unless it's done the right way and using the right amount, make up can actually add years to your face.

As a 37 year old former makeup artist, I've learned a few simple tips to follow that will help you look younger starting today:

  • Moisturize your skin--face and neck--with a light moisturizer before you apply your makeup...and allow it to sink in, about 5-10 minutes
  • Apply makeup primer BEFORE any makeup. The least expensive and one of the most effective I've found (it rivals Smashbox): Monistat Anti-Chafing Gel. It contains the EXACT same ingredients as most of the best makeup primers. Plus, you can pick up a tube at most drugstores for $5
  • Apply your concealer BEFORE foundation. Using your finger or a concealer brush, pat a little concealer under your eyes, around your nose and on any blemishes or discoloration. Concealer before foundation prevents you applying too much foundation.
  • Apply less foundation. And switch to mineral foundation. The better brands and newest formulations (Jane Iredale, Everyday Minerals are some of my favorites) give excellent NATURAL coverage with a light application
  • Apply blush to the apple (round part that pops out when you smile) of your cheeks. For a youthful glow, use a cheek stain or cream blush in a pink, rosy or peach-y color
  • Blend your makeup well and use a light touch

Take 10 Years Off Your Age Right Now, Pt. 2

A few more simple tips to follow that will help you look younger starting today:

  • Groom your eyebrows. Pluck only stray hairs (those are the ones that fall outside your natural eyebrow)
  • Apply eyeliner to the top lash line only. And unless you have medium-or-dark toned skin, DO NOT use black eyeliner. Brown, grey, plum and green are better for fair-to-light toned skin
  • Apply two coats of mascara maximum. One coat for daytime wear is best
  • Curl your lashes. If you don't like the traditional lash curlers, use an electric version. Sephora's is terrific and a great deal at $16
  • Avoid shimmery eyeshadow
  • EXCEPTION to above tip: Use a shade-lighter-than-your-skin-tone colored shimmery eyeshadow applied with a light touch to your brow bone (the area just below the outter two-thirds of the eyebrow), AND apply a dab of shimmery ivory shadow to the inner corner of your eyes. These tips really open up the eye area--young!
  • Also, avoid 'cool' eyeshadow colors like grey, blue, true green. Opt for colors like pink, peach, gold, warm greens (olive, moss, sage), plum, ivory, brown, taupe

Take 10 Years Off Your Age Right Now, Pt. 3

And a few more simple tips that will help you look younger starting today:

  • Use lipgloss or sheer lipstick--NOT lipstick. Use a shade just deeper than your natural lip color. Avoid 'cool' colors and dark colors. Instead, choose a sheer pink, peach, rose, mauve or berry
  • Apply lipbalm or clear gloss when not wearing colored gloss. This will keep your lips moist and young-looking all the time
More Anti-Aging Tips:
  • Take care of your skin by cleansing, moisturizing and nourishing it every day using good skin care--P.S. good does not necessarily mean expensive
  • Wear SPF 15 (or higher) sunscreen every day
  • Drink a gallon of water every day
  • Go for a walk at lunch, shoot for 3 times a week. It's a great excuse to catch up on your window shopping; just don't take your wallet--debt makes you look and feel old
  • Smile, or better yet, laugh--a lot
  • Eat plenty of protein, complex carbs, fruits and vegetables
  • Manage your stress levels. Take up knitting, painting, piano, yoga or meditation. Find something you like to do and 'just do it'
  • Get plenty of sleep--sleep is a proven fountain of youth


DIY Skin Care: Save Money and Actually Improve Your Skin

For years, we've been DIY'ing...our bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens. Italian plaster and wood flooring from Home Depot, designer fixtures from Tuesday Morning, luxury cabinets from Lowe's, Talavera tile from a local importer (may be specific to Santa Fe--but I doubt it). We're willing to spend more time to save money.

I ask you: why don't we practice this same frugal practicality when it comes to our skin care? We've just handed over our precious beauty to so-called experts. Seriously, do we really trust those famous, celebrity-endorsed "dermatologists" to formulate our most beloved skin care products? Apparently, we do--or least we have for the last decade or so. Not only do we trust them to treat our skin--gasp, our dear faces--but we pay them plenty to do it. I mean, what is up with $500 serum and $1000 skin cream? And the best part? It seem there's always one more to buy: the next generation, the newest active ingredient...it's like we're addicts, and we are hooked, Folks.

What's more, those crazy expensive face concoctions don't do anything terribly special for your skin...and they sure as hell don't contain any magic ingredients.

Really. Is this the best we can do? I don't think so. Did you know that you can purchase the same stuff the experts do...and mix it up yourself? Usually for less than $50?

The trick with DIY skin care: 1. start slowly using small amounts of the 'active' ingredients, 2. don't fall into the trap of thinking "a little is good, so a whole lot more is better." (you wouldn't add more latex to your wall paint, would you? okay, maybe not the best example, but you get the point) 3. follow the instructions. Period.

There are plenty of sites that offer simple bases and actives that you can mix into them. But the best DIY skin care sellers offer good instructions and lots of resources--and many of them have terrific forums or message boards where 'recipes' are posted and clients share what works (for their skin type or condition) and what doesn't.

From lovely base creams and gels to nutrient-rich, anti-oxidant, anti-aging, acne-fighting active ingredients--the exact same ones found in minute quantities in those $1000 creams--DIY skin care providers offer it all.

I've been mixing my own skin care for a little over one year. When I started, I made the mistake that all newbie DIY'ers make (I'm a little hard-headed--and, oh yes, I know EVERYTHING. Don't you?), and mixed EVERY active I could--mass quantities, no less--into one 'fix-all' recipe. I got away with this...for a little while. Then, I ended up with a nasty case of contact dermatitis. Ooops. Well, I learned my lesson (and fixed my problem with many of the same ingredients I'd overdosed on).

Henceforth, I mix my 'magic' concoctions with restrained diligence. My wallet (and my hubbie) are thankful for DIY skin care. And my skin has never looked better nor younger. Plus, I can adjust the mix to suit whatever my skin needs (this comes as you become more advanced as a DIY'er--please do not attempt to self-diagnose your skin problems).

Here are a few of my favorite DIY skin care proffers...
  • Skin Actives Scientific (www.skinactives.com) - Affordable selection of the best ingredients, knowledgeable team, top-notch service, quick and cheap shipping
  • Somerset Cosmetics (www.makingcosmetics.com) - easy-to-navigate, great recipes, skin care and makeup. The Resources section is a must read for any DIY'er.
  • Platinum Skincare (www.platinumskincare.com) - Exceptional glycolics, sun screens and skin-healing concoctions. Plus, they offer children-specific skin care products. Platinum is a little less about 'do it yourself' and more focused on treating skin conditions.
  • The Personal Formulator (thepersonalformulator.com) - Nice selection, complete downloadable catalog, backed by a reputable cosmetics lab.
Tips for skin care DIY'ers:
  1. Don't be afraid to experiment
  2. Take great care in writing your mixtures and recipes
  3. Read all instructions (yes, I'm repeating this for those readers who, like me, may feel they know what's best--trust me, you don't when it comes to mixing stuff with active ingredients--at least not for awhile)
  4. And for goodness sakes, have fun!
P.S. These little homemade gems make really great gifts...and you can completely customize them for the recipient. Think about it: Mom gets the special 'anti-aging' cream, Sis gets the anti-oxidant serum, and Dad gets the 'all-in-one' cleanser/toner/moisturizer/protectant

P.P.S. Look for Elle magazine's upcoming feature on DIY skin care.


GirlPaint's YouTube Connection

Searching for an all-new look? Or maybe just the newest trend in holiday make-up? Look no further than GirlPaint's YouTube Connection: makeup and skin care tips and tricks from the pro's who know.


Determine Your Ideal Eyebrow Shape

Eyebrows are ESSENTIAL to a framing a beautiful face. No matter how great your skin and makeup, if your brows are a wreck, you will not look your best. Bobbe Joy, Brow Artist to the stars (ehem, like Angelina Jolie and Scarlett Johannsen--beautiful brows on those ladies!) shows you how to achieve the perfect brow shape for your face.