Sunday, May 26, 2013

Beauty Squared Round-Up - May 26, 2013

The Beauty Squared gals were in NYC last weekend, so there was no round-up. Lots to share with you this week though. Dig in!

Sam and Nic of Pixiwoo are in Cannes for the Film Festival and have done a Carey Mulligan Great Gatsby makeover for us. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Beautiful Ones: Karen O

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are a NYC rock trio fronted by a striking and charismatic frontwoman named Karen O.  The other two bandmembers are Nick Zinner and Brian Chase. Their music is an arty take on garage punk, slinky, sexy, and raucous. 

Frontwoman Karen O combines this arty, sexy, bold feel for her performances and in her style. Her mother is Korean and her father is Polish, giving her one of those faces that you can't quite place and wonder what her background is. Her style is probably best known for her very dark, straight hair, cut almost always with an eyelid-grazing fringe, although the length can vary from chin-length to shoulder-grazing and longer.  Another element to her look are her dark-ringed eyes, fair skin and red lips. 

It's a look that's exotic, retro, artistic and dramatic all at once. It's also distinctly feminine and sexy (red lips, eyeliner) with a hint of girlish androgyny (the bowl shape to her hair).

Karen wears a lot of black and red, so with her hair, skin, and make-up it is a very sleek, dramatic look. 

Below her outfit has a ska-feel: white t-shirt, black vest, braces (suspenders) and black and white checked trousers. A red belt and bright blue boots complete the look. 

Here she is photographed in a studded black leather dress and a black leather jacket lined in red.

Karen's clothes tend to have an 80s feel, and a not-shy combination of rocker and artist. Bright colours, bold patterns, strong shoulders, shiny fabrics and textiles.

At the 2009 premiere of the film 'Where the Wild Things Are', which Karen did the soundtrack for, she polished her look with a simple, quirky dress, a clutch and heels and went more glam than punk with liquid liner on her upper lashline only and red lips. Still rock & roll but distinctly more sophisticated.

As well known as Karen O is for her iconic liner, red lips and heavy fringe, she's also well known for her very creative makeup and stage costumes. 

Below she's got her black liner and red lips but also a pair of dramatic green false lashes on her lower lids.

Onstage and almost unrecognizable wearing feathers, white streaked hair and theatrical makeup.

Colourful eye makeup and red lips.

Bowie-esque face painting and red lips.

Tribal makeup and red lips.

Very dramatic orange and blue eye makeup and red lips. 

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs videos.

It's tough to tell what Karen's makeup in some of the videos and for the most part she sticks with her signature red lip and black liner, but adding perhaps a heavier eye or a graphic design around her eyes.

In the Cheated Hearts video featuring a compilation of videos of fans dressed and performing as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, with footage of the real band intercut. The fan Karen Os are creative with their hair and makeup, but the real Karen has thin curving lines around her right eye and matte orange-red lips.

In the Gold Lion video, the band is covered in dirt and glitter. Karen's got black liquid eyeliner and glossy red lips on under the grit and her eyelashes are so coated in dirt that they look light brown. Later in the video her skin is clean.

In the Maps video, Karen, Nick and Brian perform in what looks like a high school gymnasium for a small group of people. Karen gives an emotional performance, her voice breaking through orange red lips and looking out through her fringe with smudgy dark eye makeup. 

In the Heads Will Roll video, the band plays in a dark club while a wolf man dances in an animalistic Michael Jackson-style. Karen wears a sparkley red and silver mini dress with a dramatic-shouldered plastic overlay and ankle boots. Her makeup is heavily lined black eyes and red lips. In some shots when her eyes are lowered you can see her dramatic false eyelashes.

In orange-red eye makeup pulled out across her face in a mask shape, Karen frolics with some creepy children in the hazily shot Y Control video. Her lips are nude and shimmery and her hair is cut in an asymmetrical bob.

At the start of the Zero video we see Karen applying makeup to her lower lashline deftly. It's a dark eye, but there's a bit of teal to it, to match her outfit. Her lips are matte and red. Gotta love a gal who knows what works for her!

For the band's latest album, Mosquito, Karen has a polished, masculine country glam look with brightly coloured, embellished suits and bleached blonde hair! The makeup is glam while still keeping with her defined eyes and red lips. With the tailored suits and blonde hair, Karen is looking much more glam but also a heck of a lot more badass rock & roll at the same time. 

Karen O - your artistic, kooky, creative, enigmatic, talented, badass, rock & roll muse. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

In defense of Angelina Jolie's breasts

On Tuesday, the New York Times published an op-ed piece about breast cancer, written by one of the most famous, and famously beautiful women in the world.

If you haven't read the article, I highly recommend that you do. It can be found here.

If you have read the article, try reading it again.

Try reading the article (for the first time or for the second or third time) as if you don't recognize the name of the authour. Try to imagine that it was written by your girlfriend or your mother. Or your sister, your aunt, a coworker.

Chances are when you read it you already had an opinion in your head about who the authour is. I bet some or all of the following words flutter through your head when you hear the name Angelina Jolie...






Brad Pitt



movie star

That's what happens in our celebrity-obsessed culture. We immediately picture a photo or a movie scene of Angelina Jolie, the actress, style icon and movie star. This reaction may have led you to read the article with more sympathy or with more detachment. Maybe both. But would you have read it at all if it been written by someone whose name or face you didn't recognize? If it had been written by some other woman, some other mother, partner, daughter, friend, colleague?

Since the news broke Tuesday morning that one of the most famous women in the world had undergone a double mastectomy to minimize the substantial risk she was in to develop cancer, the disease that had taken her mother a few years ago, I've heard lots of discussion about it. Coworkers reacting with shock, strangers on public transit talking about what they would do if they discovered they had an 87% chance of developing cancer. Many people are praising Jolie for speaking out, but there are some, mostly online who are reacting with great deal of blasé and some with callousness and some with criticism.

The criticism that I've seen is mostly that she is speaking from a place of privilege and that encouraging women to do what she did - give themselves options by being checked for the rare gene she carries that makes her at higher risk of developing cancer - is ignorant since many women in the U.S. cannot afford to pay for this screening or even have access to it. There is relevance to this criticism - it is true she's speaking from a place of great privilege - but she does acknowledge this in her article:

"Breast cancer alone kills some 458,000 people each year, according to the World Health Organization, mainly in low- and middle-income countries. It has got to be a priority to ensure that more women can access gene testing and lifesaving preventive treatment, whatever their means and background, wherever they live. The cost of testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2, at more than $3,000 in the United States, remains an obstacle for many women."

More awareness means that more people will speak out and that can spark change. Let's hope that it does.

Some have also criticized Jolie for not doing more than just writing an op-ed piece in the New York Times, suggesting that what she has done, opening up about her decision, honestly and bravely, was not enough. That her article has sparked as much discussion as it has is powerful. Like it or not, her status as a celebrity means more people will listen and talk about it than most anyone else. It's so easy to criticize, especially online, where there's a level of anonymity and reaction is easy to deflect.

Others have criticized her in a manner that suggests that her body is not her own to do with as she chooses. That her decision to share her story was narcissistic. This incredibly offensive and ignorant suggestion is understandably partly because she is a public figure and her body belongs to the public, at least on a visual level. Which would explain the ignorant comments from men who lament that they never will get to touch Angelina's breasts now. 

The first reaction to the New York Times piece sadly was from a female radio DJ who tweeted the link to the story along with "Angelina's double mastectomy/secret boob job". To suggest that Jolie had gotten a boob job and is crying "breast cancer" and "double mastectomy". This is appalling. APPALLING.

This woman. This beautiful woman, who is photographed everywhere she goes, whose appearance is scrutinized and analyzed at every moment, opted to have her breasts removed and reconstructed. She has told the world about it. Because this went beyond vanity, this was about using her power as a celebrity to create awareness.

Let's talk about having a mastectomy or a double mastectomy. Let's talk about breasts. Breasts are the symbol of feminine sexuality, femininity, motherhood. Breasts have power, they get attention. Breasts on the red carpet are currency. For Jolie to chose to have her breasts removed was not a discussion she took lightly. For her, a symbol of sexuality and femininity, this was most definitely not an easy decision. 

It's not easy to not criticize a celebrity. It's easy to forget that they're not real people.

Writing that article was not necessary for her to do. She did that not to get publicity for herself, though certainly there are now paparazzi clamouring to get the first photos of her new chest. She wanted to talk about her situation, share her story, in the hopes it might help others. And despite the nasty talk, I think it will. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Beauty Squared Beauty Lessons: Eyeliner

A reader has asked us to do a post about eyeliner. Liquid, pencil, powder, how to apply it, what products to use, etc.

Eyeliner can be subtle or dramatic depending on the look you want. It can be in any colour, it can be contemporary or classic. It can come in the form of a pencil, a pot, a pen or a powder. 

Eyeliner is at the centre of some classic makeup looks:

Marlene Dietrich (1930s)
white eyeliner on the waterline

Marilyn Monroe (1950s)
liquid eyeliner used to create the classic cat eye

Twiggy (1960s)
dramatic eyeliner to create an exaggerated eye
Keira Knightley
black eyeliner on the waterline in the classic smokey eye

Iggy Pop (1970s)
the messy, smudgy rock & roll eye
Eyeliner is used exactly how you think it's used - to line the eye. Lining the eye enhances it, like a frame enhances a photo or a painting. It's one of the easiest ways to add definition to the eye. It can be used on the outside of the eye, along the lashline, or on the inside of the eye, on the waterline. Eyeliner comes in almost every colour and texture you can imagine from the dark and matte to the bright and shimmery.

This post will look at the three main types of eyeliner - pencil, liquid and powder.

Pencil eyeliner is probably the most commonly used type of eyeliner in North America. It's certainly the most readily available. 

Pencil eyeliner comes in a wooden pencil form and is a hardish-powder formula. Pencil eyeliner has wax in it which makes it soften when it comes in contact with the warmth of skin. Pencil eyeshadow comes in an array of colours, but traditionally, it comes in neutral shades like brown, black and white. 

Pencil eyeliner is used widely as soft definition on both the top and bottom lashline, as well as in the waterline. Because of its texture it can be smudged with a brush, a finger or a Q-top quite easily. It's meant to look soft, compared to a liquid liner which has a more precise definition effect.

Black pencil eyeliner is commonly used along the waterline in a smoky eye look although powders and gel/liquid liners can also be used for this purpose. Colours other than black are also used, such as browns, greys, purples, blues, etc. 

Pencil eyeliner tends to be easy to use. Some have harder consistencies than others and it's a good idea to warm them up by applying to the back of the hand before applying to your delicate eye area.

Warm pencils by rubbing them on the back of the hand.
I've also heard that blasting the eyeliner with a hairdryer can also soften it (and won't reduce its sharpness like rubbing on the hand will) but I wonder if this might also melt the product too much if you hold it under too long or soften the product irreparably. 

Tips for using pencil eyeliner:
  • a sharper pencil will give you more precision and enable you to get into the lashline. If needed, resharpen your pencil during application.
  • using a small stiff brush, you can soften any pencil application for a softly-defined lashline. 
  • if a pencil breaks while you sharpen it, try putting it in the freezer so it hardens. 
  • gently pulling on the outside of your eye will keep your lid tight so you can get a more precise line.
  • applying liner in short strokes will give you more control over how much is applied. 

You can find pencil liners at every price point. Here are some of Beauty Squared's favourites:
  • Urban Decay 24/7 - wide variety of colours and textures, from edgy to classic. We're big fans of their metallic colours. Good wear time.
  • Make Up Forever AquaEyes - great colour selection and waterproof. These last and last, even on oily skin.
  • MAC - always high quality and excellent for basic shades as well as trendier shades.
  • L'Oreal - comparable to the Urban Decay pencils but less expensive. 

Here are some swatches of a variety of eye liners. There's far more than simply black or brown to play with!
L-R: MUFE AquaEyes in 10L
Philosophy Colouring Crayon in Creativity
Trucco in Sebastian Ivy
GOSH Crystal'Eyes Eye Pencil in Sparkling Silver
Tarte EmphasEYES Inner Rim Eye Pencil
Tarina Tarantino Eye Dream Highlight Hyperliner in Kanzashi
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Ransom
GOSH Crystal'Eyes Eye Pencil in Sparkling Green
MAC Pearlglide Intense Eye Liner in Industrial
Clinique Cream Shaper For Eyes in Mink
MAC Pearlglide Intense Eye Liner in Undercurrent

Inner Eye or Waterline:
You may have heard or read this term. The lining of the inner eye (the part of the eyelid inside the lashes) is a trick that can make the eyes look smaller or larger, depending on the colour used, and for a complete smoky eye look, it's necessary.

Here are some examples from past Beauty Squared EOTDs and FOTDs of waterlining.

While waterlining can be difficult for those with sensitive eyes or contact lens wearers, and can make small eyes look smaller, the effect is addictive for those who can wear it. Using black on the waterline makes the eyes stand out dramatically and gives the eyes a sexy, sultry effect.  Using white or a fleshtone on the waterline makes the eyes look bigger, such as in the photo below.

The technique of using kohl powder to line the waterline has been around since the ancient Egyptians and is still used traditionally in the Middle East and India as well as western civilizations today. While black eyeliner pencils mimic this effect fairly well, you can find the more traditional powder kohl in beauty supply stores and with some beauty brands, such as this one from Guerlain. The powder is applied by this pointed applicator, rather than by brush.

Liquid eyeliner is found in pens, typically with an applicator built into the lid, or in pots with which you need to use a separate brush. Liquid eyeliner is one of the more challenging beauty tricks to manage and one that artists get asked about a lot. So many iconic beauty looks utilize liquid eyeliner. 

Liquid eyeliner in pens are common since the brush is built into the packaging, such as those pictured below. Sometimes the liner looks like a felt-tip pen and sometimes it's like a mascara with the brush built into the cap. Typically, if looking at buying one like this, you'll want to have a look at the pen tip, if possible. You want the skinniest tip you can get.

Liquid eyeliner can also be found in pots, such as those pictured below. Typically, liner found in pot form are gel liners, which has a thicker consistency than liquid which is what is typically used in pen liners. You need to use a brush with liner that comes in pot form. Bobbi Brown's Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner and MAC Fluidlines are two of the best of this style of liner. 

Brushes to use with potted eyeliner should be very very finely tipped such as the photo below. The tilt to the end of the brush is ergonomic and makes it easier to apply product precisely. 

Another option is to use an angle brush, which is broad but very finely tipped. It allows for applying product more quickly and is handy for thickening and flicking the ends of the liner. 

If you try both types of brushes, you'll likely find that you prefer one over the other but if you're starting out, you'll want to try the very fine tipped one first and work up to the angle brush when you're feeling more confident. 

Check out these creative liquid eyeliner looks:

But the most common use of eyeliner is in a very classic cat-eye look such as often seen on Marilyn Monroe and Angelina Jolie. Liquid eyeliner in this style perfectly suits the shape of Angelina's eyes and gives her them an extra seductive quality. This is seen a lot on celebrities and models. 

For a Marilyn Monroe makeup tutorial, click here

The classic 60s eye also utilized eyeliner but to make the eyes look bigger and more doll-like. As pictured below, 60s icon Twiggy defines her eyes by applying black liner (with a non-angled fine-tipped brush) to her crease, along her top lashline and using it to paint on her lower lashes. 

For a Twiggy/1960s makeup tutorial, click here

The seductive, enigmatic movie star Marlene Dietrich would use a thin line of liquid eyeliner (as was the trend in the 30s) to enhance the hooded quality of her naturally hooded and slightly downturned eyes. She'd draw the liner along her lashline, but rather than pulling it up at the outside, she'd extend it slightly downwards to pull the eye down slightly. Note as well, that she also used a white product on her lower waterline to make her eyes look larger. 

For a Marlene Dietrich makeup tutorial, click here

You can find liquid eyeliner from most brands, although typically drugstore brands will carry it as limited edition depending on the trends. Drugstore brands will typically carry only black liquid liner but you may be able to find a variety of colours that will match MAC or Make Up For Ever's selections. Revlon's ColorStay Liquid Liner is a popular choice, as are Physician's Formula 2-in-1 Lash Boosting Eyeliner + Serum and Maybelline Line Stiletto Ultimate Precision Liquid Eyeliner. 

I thought I'd include powder eyeliner in this post because it gives an additional option for lining the eye, that's not technically an "eyeliner". Powder eyeliner is simply using a loose or pressed powder eyeshadow to line your eye. It gives a much softer, smokier effect than both pencil eyeliners and liquid eyeliners. It also comes in pretty much any colour and texture you can think of. 

To line your eyes with an eyeshadow, simply use a fine tipped brush, such as an angle brush, as discussed above and work the shadow into your lashline. Layer it as needed to intensify the effect. Using eyeshadow along your lash line can be a very natural way to enhance your eyes. Choosing a shade that's close to the colour of your lashes and applying it softly will make your eyes look bigger, and your lashes thicker without looking like you're wearing much of anything on your eyes. 

Using a metallic colour will of course, add sparkle to your eye look and using a matter shade will look more natural. Eyeshadow will not last as long as a pencil eyeliner or a liquid eyeliner, so it's best to keep it just along the lashline and not extend it out into a flick as you would with a liquid liner. You can also use water to moisten an eyeshadow and use it like a liquid liner that way. 

And now you know almost everything there is to know about eyeliner! Please, if I've missed anything or if you have any questions, let us know in the comments below.

We hope you've enjoyed this Lesson on eyeliner. Let us know if there's anything else you'd like us to tackle!