Allure Daily Beauty Reporter: Would You Ever Use a Shaving Brush?

I recently discovered eShave, a luxury brand dedicated to scraping the whiskers off men’s faces in style. And while their shaving creams are impressively thick and the razors artfully sculpted, the product that really got my heart racing was—of all things—a classic shaving brush.

I have always been fascinated by these sophisticated throwbacks, also known as badger brushes, probably because they’re about as far as you can get from the unglamorous, clunky can of shaving cream and pink disposable razor. But when I told the brand’s founder I had never tried one before, she sent me this sexy little black number immediately, swearing that plenty of women are ordering them for themselves.

Following her instructions, I dipped the brush into a jar of the almond-scented shaving cream and lathered up my legs. I was relieved to find the brush felt soft against my skin, nothing like I expected from the porcupine-looking bristles. The brush produced a rich, dense lather that left me smooth, without my usual bumpy patches. I have no idea if it really does exfoliates your skin to prevent irritation and ingrown hairs, as the company promises, but it definitely gave me a closer shave. Although it takes a few extra minutes the shower (I normally use a razor with a built-in block of shaving cream), I’m now hooked on this most traditional male of all beauty products. What do you think—would you ever try a badger brush or any other “boys only” beauty products?

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PHOTO: COURTESY OF ESHAVE

Allure Daily Beauty Reporter: Do You Have Beauty Dysmorphia?

During a recent interview with a well-known makeup artist, I learned how to re-create the most flattering new makeup looks anda thing or two about my own perception of beauty.

I asked the makeup artist how would someone with small eyes—like myself—pull off major lashes? She gasped and announced to the room, “This girl thinks she has small eyes!” I immediately dismissed her assessment, still coveting the doe-eyed, Disney princess look.

She then recommended that I step up my bedtime beauty regimen with a thick night cream. I shuddered at the thought. A heavy moisturizer? For my oily skin? “Actually, you could use a little more moisturizer,” she advised.

She also suggested substituting tinted moisturizer for my heavy foundation. “It’s just covering up your youthfulness,” she said. “It makes you look dry and old.”

I’m still in shock over my own beauty dysmorphia. (And I think I just coined a phrase.) Could I really have such a skewed view of what I truly look like?

Seems like I’m not alone. According to a landmark Dove study, only 4 percent of women consider themselves beautiful. To improve upon that number our favorite beauty-bar brand is holding its second annual Movement for Self-Esteem Weekend October 21 through 23 to help “create a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety.”

The brand is encouraging women everywhere to commit one hour on a self-esteem-building activity with a girl in their lives that weekend. (Sounds something like a Beauty Big Sister.) Another way to help? Visit Dove’s Facebook and Twitter pages or dove.com, answer the question “Who Inspired You,” and Dove will donate $1 to self-esteem education in the U.S. Check out dove.com for more info and to get in on the action.

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PHOTO: PATRICK DEMARCHELIER

Allure Daily Beauty Reporter: Do You Encourage Your Brother to Primp?

Read this post on allure.com here.

Last week, a Kardashian was spotted getting a manicure, pedicure, and massage in a Beverly Hills salon. That’s not really anything new, considering that those reality ladies dish on their extensive beauty regimes on their weekly E! show. (Does anyone remember when Kim made the face mask out of potatoes?) But it turns out it was actually Rob Kardashian, their younger brother and current Dancing With The Starscontestant, who was getting his mani-pedi on. That got us wondering: Who turned Rob on to a little R&R at the salon? We’d bet a few bucks that it was one of his glamazon sisters.

With two brothers and a penchant for beauty products, I preach the power of grooming all the time. Every Christmas, I splurge on expensive colognes like Giorgio Armani Acqua di Giò for Men, hoping that they will ditch their stinky drugstore body sprays and mist on something a little classier. And I don’t want them to get a spray tan, but would it kill the boys to tousle a little wax through their hair?

One brother adamantly refuses, continuing to use whatever store-brand shampoo he scrounged up on sale. The other has given in to my bullying, and while I’m grateful for his grooming upgrades, I may have created a monster. He now asks for skin care advice, demands specific Redken hair products, and swipes my favorite Bliss body wash out of the bathroom.

Do you encourage your brother to primp? Are there some beauty treatments you try to steer him away from?

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PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

Allure Daily Beauty Reporter: Rashida Jones on Frizz, Fragrance, and Fozzie (Yes, the Muppet)

Read this post on allure.com here.

You may have barely recognized Rashida Jones under that wild pouf of kinks in the new Dove “Make Friends With Your Hair” video. But we all know her for bringing on the laughs week after week in Parks and Recreation.We chatted with the actress about her quirky beauty routine, from her lip gloss hoarding to her wish for a Dirt Devil-esque eye-makeup remover.

What beauty products will you not leave the house without?
“I love the Jurlique Rosewater [Balancing Mist]. I’ll even put that on in the middle of the day to refresh my skin. For makeup, I have a lip gloss problem. I had a competition the other night where my friend and I pulled out all the lip glosses and lip balms in our bags—I had an astonishing seven.”

What’s your beauty routine like on your day off?
“It’s pretty sparse. There might be some face washing, there’s sunblock—there’s always sunblock and moisturizer. I like the Josie Maran SPF 40. I’ve been using this face wash by Fix Malibu—it’s delicious! For moisturizer, I switch back and forth from Jurlique to Dr. Hauschka. I’ll always wear a little blush, lip gloss, and maybe a tiny bit of mascara. I like Sue Devitt’s creamy, bright pink blush or Tarte’s Cheek Stain in Flush.”

What’s the least favorite part of your beauty routine?
“I really don’t like taking off eye makeup. It’s so hard—you just have to rub and rub and rub! It just sticks underneath my eyes. Givenchy’s 2 Clean to Be True eye-makeup remover is amazing. It really gets off all that eye makeup. I wish there was a vacuum, like a Dirt Devil, that just took off all your makeup.”

You’re known for your beautiful eyes. What do you when you want to play them up?
“I’ve been feeling a lot of eyeliner recently. If I want to get really dramatic, I’ll take Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil and line the inside of my eyes on the top and bottom. Then, I’ll go really buck wild and take a liquid liner and put a really thin line on my lashes, winging it out a tiny bit.”

What are some of the best beauty tricks you’ve learned from the pros?
“Recently, I’ve learned to not really use foundation. I use a little bit of cover-up where I need it and then a bronzer. It’s nice that it doesn’t cover up my whole face. Mark Townsend also taught me to not overwork my hair. He lets my hair be a version of what it wants to be—to have its natural wave—instead of blowing it out.”

What was the first perfume you ever bought and how has your taste changed since then?
“The big one for me was Quelques Fleurs. Then I was all about Chanel No. 19. I would go between Chanel No. 19 and Chanel Cristal. Then I was obsessed with Angel [by Thierry Mugler] in college, and that’s when I felt, like, sexy. Now I like things that don’t smell like perfume. I wear this scent called Midnight Orchid by Susanne Lang; it’s vanilla and flowery. It’s very fresh, clean, and everyday. I also wear Serge Lutens Féminité du Bois for night, it has a little bit of mystery and musk.”

What nail colors are you looking forward to for fall?
“I was told that there’s a Muppets line coming out [by OPI]. I don’t know anything about it—and I’m in the Muppets movie! But that will definitely, definitely be explored. My favorite Muppet was Fozzie for a long time, but Kermit and I got really close.”

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PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

Allure Daily Beauty Reporter: Is There a “Nail Polish Index”?

Read this post on allure.com here.

Looking down at my brightly-polished fingers typing away on my keyboard always cheers me up on a gloomy Monday morning. My favorite is OPI Nail Lacquer in Tasmanian Devil Made Me Do It; it’s a burst of summer heat in cool weather. This red-orange shade was an impromptu purchase after a bad day, and apparently I’m not the only one who likes a colorful little pick-me-up.

Cosmetics king Leonard Lauder coined the term “The Lipstick Index” back in the early 2000s to reflect the fact that sales of cosmetics had actually increased during the economic downturn. Is it time to rename it “The Nail Polish Index”? A recent study by Mintel, found that nail polish sales in the UK have doubled from 2005 to 2010. This got me wondering, has nail polish overthrown lipstick as America’s favorite cosmetic confidence booster, too?

Mintel didn’t have the equivalent numbers for the States. But between 2007 to 2010, Essie’s nail polish sales grew 57 percent—and just this year alone, sales are up 35 percent. I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise: instead of doling out dollars in a salon, nail polish is a little treat you can buy for yourself at the drugstore for a guilt-free, at-home manicure. When’s the last time you treated yourself to a new bottle?

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PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

Allure Daily Beauty Reporter: Do You Talk About Your Man’s Grooming?

Read this post on allure.com here.

As a devoted fan of all the Real Housewives,I look forward to my weekly hour of garish spending, supreme narcissism, and unwarranted backstabbing. But this week Bravo decided to change it up and give viewers an unwanted mental visual when Beverly Hills housewife Camille Grammer chatted about her ex-husband Kelsey Grammer’s grooming habits—in the back of a limousine—on her way to dinner.

“I used to have to scrape those barnacles off,” Camille said referring to the former Frasier star’s back. If that wasn’t enough to get your gag reflex going, Camille went on to joke that she needed a hedge trimmer to tackle Kelsey’s back hair.

“Manscaping” isn’t a new phenomenon, but has talking about it with your girlfriends suddenly become proper pre-dinner conversation? Does anyone really want to hear if your boyfriend is clean-shaven or not?

For me, it doesn’t matter if the subject of the man grooming is David Beckham, I still wouldn’t want that image burned into my brain. What’s your take on this hairy situation?

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PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

Allure Daily Beauty Reporter: How to Become a Red Lipstick Girl

Read this post on allure.com here.

There are some things I never thought I’d have—Kate Moss’s body, Blake Lively’s hair, Gwen Stefani’s red lips. Yeah, the first two are pretty much pipe dreams. But the red lips? Sure, they’re within the realm of possibility. Only every time I’ve tried to slick on a great new red lipstick, I’ve ended up looking more like a strung-out Courtney Love than the cute and polished Gwen Stefani.

I recently talked with celeb makeup artist Quinn Murphy to find out what I was doing wrong. Here, the tips Murphy says guarantee that any of us can be red lipstick girls:

1. Start with a clean slate. Bright colors highlight every little crack, crevice, and flake on your mouth. So after washing your face, exfoliate your lips with a mixture of honey and raw sugar: It tastes good and it’s a great scrub. Then apply a rich lip balm like Aquaphor and let it soak in before applying your lipstick.

2. Pick the right formula for you. If you want your red lips to last all night, Murphy suggests a matte or semi-matte formula. (Try Shu Uemura Rouge Unlimited Creme Matte Lipstick in RD 165M, which goes on creamy but dries to a bold, matte finish.) But if your lips tend to be dry, go for a moisturizing formula, like Chanel Rouge Coco Hydrating Creme Lip Color in Gabrielle or Rimmel London Moisture Renew Lip Colour in Red Alert.

3. Fill it in. Before you touch that tube of lipstick, color your lips in with a red pencil—this gives the lipstick something to adhere to, Murphy says. Try M.A.C. Lip Pencil in Cherry.

4. Use a brush. It’s nearly impossible to keep red lipstick neat without one. Murphy recommends a tapered-tip lip brush (we like Sonia Kashuk Retractable Lip Brush) to paint on color in short strokes, starting at the center of your lips. Then, blot with a a tissue. “That removes the oil, but leaves the pigment on as a stain,” Murphy explains. Apply a second layer of lipstick to “put back the velvety finish,” he says.

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PHOTO: FRANZ WALDERDORFF

Allure Daily Beauty Reporter: Crunchy Curls Are Officially Old-School

Read this post on allure.com here.

With the fall season officially here, you may be tempted to switch up your straight style for a whole new look—but coveting perfectly coiffed curls might be a little old—as in ancient.

According to the Journal of Archaeological Science, ancient Egyptians extensively styled their hair. “One of the mummies had quite short hair and we joked she looked like Marilyn Monroe. Some others had longer curly hair, a little bit like Rihanna,” lead scientist Dr. Natalie McCreesh told the Daily Telegraph.

The study found that both males and females used a fat-based hair product much like styling gel, to hold their hair in place. Examining 18 mummies, believed to be between 3,500 and 2,300 years old, the scientists found a variety of hairstyles and cuts. The women curled their hair with tongs and even braided in hair extensions, while the men had their parted hair slicked down with this makeshift gel. “Under the microscope we could see the fat was used specifically on the curls, to hold them in place—just like people would now,” said McCreesh. But have hairstyles really changed so little from 3,500 years ago?

With all the hair products now on the shelves, this lacquered-up look would not necessarily swing these days. It could even be argued that hair gel itself can be dismissed as a prehistoric hair product, reserved for Jersey Shore dwellers and the like. The best looking curls for right now are smooth and beachy, created with styling products that are neither greasy nor crunchy. My current favorite: Bumble and Bumble Curl Conscious Calming Creme for defined waves that are still plenty touchable.

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PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES