Thursday, April 30, 2009

BGG Chats with Celebrity Makeup Artist Sam Fine!

Last week I attended an event where bloggers were introduced to the Master of Makeup - Mr. Sam Fine. For all of you beauty buffs, you probably already know all about this Chicago native who's painted the faces of just about every BG in entertainment. From Vanessa Williams to Gabrielle Union, Sam has beautified them all.

After penning a best-selling makeup book, "Fine Beauty," nearly 10 years ago, he now has a DVD, The Basics of Beauty, where he divulges all of his tips and techniques in a fun, easy step-by-step guide. The DVD, which will be available next month shows viewers how to apply a full face of makeup from beginning to end. If you've ever wondered how to get his signature bronzy glow, or perfectly arched brow, this DVD is for you!

In the meantime, check out our Q&A: (Thanks to those readers who provided me with questions to ask. I couldn't ask them all, but I appreciate your feedback)

BGG (Philly0309): What’s the key to achieving the perfect nude lip for African-American women?
Sam Fine: Great question! Because nude is kinda of hard for us to achieve, it’s important for us to use 3 products: liner (a dark brown liner 2 shades darker than your complexion), lipstick in a consistent shade. MAC has a good shade, as well as Yves St. Laurent and Francois Nars. Because I don’t know her complexion…

BGG: She said that she uses Bobbi Brown foundation in Honey.
SF: Ok, so any of those lines will work. I can’t think of a name of lipstick because I chop mine up and put them into a little box. MAC has a collection that’s highly pigmented, which works really well. Each of those three brands (MAC, YSL and Nars) has great consistency that will cover the color of her lip. Finally, top that off with a gloss! Dior is one of my favorites because it also has great consistency and has a really nice shimmer to it, which adds dimension to the very nude lip color. If she finds that she has too much of a varying skin-tone or that her lips are darker than her skin-tone, she should use a little bit of concealer on her mouth first and then blot. This will help achieve the color that she sees in the tube and will make it go on more consistently to get that great sexy nude shade.

BGG (Andycne): What are the three "must-have" products for every woman's make-up bag?
SF: For every woman those three products are going to be different! Each woman has such different basics. However, three products that every woman is going to need are: a pressed powder or a loose powder, which helps to alleviate shine and makes the complexion appear more consistent in color and texture. Even if you’re not wearing foundation, you should be using powder. Mascara is something that always adds instant attention to the eyes in a very natural way. You can lick your lips! (laughing) So I would say bronzer would be the third item. Bronzer can help the skin to glow. I know it may seem like two powders, but one will help make your skin seem more consistent in color and texture, while the bronzer will add a bit of glow and luminescence to the complexion; so the two of those together are really fun products for me. Top that off with mascara, I think that makes for a natural, basic look for any woman no matter her (specific) needs.

BGG: (Rebee): What would you recommend for combating oily skin? Blotting papers or mattifying makeup?
SF: Both and all of the above! There should be one more: mattifying solutions or primers. You just have to be careful with primers because they can change the color of your foundation.

BGG: I’ve never been clear on what primers are exactly. Please explain.
SF: I don’t use them because I use powders and foundation. For me, primers help for products to grab stronger and to stay on longer. So primers can work…there are eye shadow primers and skin primers. Laura Mercier, Urban Decay and Smashbox make good ones. These are the ones that I’ve heard great things about. If you want to have your makeup last a bit longer, try some of these primers, but just remember that your makeup may change just a bit because they (primers) do have a color to them and sometimes it may change the color of your foundation, but it is a great option.

Just a few examples of his work.

BGG: (S. Bailey): What tips do you have for minimizing creases in eyelids for smoother eye shadow application/coverage?
SF: Same thing, primer. Also, if you’re going to use a bit of foundation on the eyelid, like I did on the makeovers on the DVD, I just use a bit of what’s left on the foundation sponge because you aren’t trying to cover the color of the eyelid, you just want a little bit of grab. You just want it to be a little suppler so that when you apply eye shadow it will cling more easily. You shouldn’t be applying a ton of foundation to the eyelid anyway because it folds naturally so it’s going to crease. Even if you’re not wearing any eye shadow just take a loose powder and go over your eyelids, but try not to use a lot of product in that area or any area that naturally creases. So once again eyelid primers would help.

Are you a fan of mineral makeup?
SF: NO! I think mineral makeup is nice if you want a sheer look and don’t require much coverage whatsoever.

BGG: So basically it’s for women with nearly perfect skin?
SF: Basically it is powder with a little bit of shimmer. I think we’ve been misled thinking that these products are offering this wonderful coverage without wearing anything at all, which is so untrue! So where does the coverage from? How do you highlight under your eyes? How do you find the perfect color? You’re talking about a powder that has shimmer in it. So if it has shimmer to it and you’re saying that you have texture on your skin, it’s going to bring a little bit more texture because it shines. I think if you use it on top of your foundation in certain areas…you know I really think it is hope in a bottle. I don’t know many of my sisters who are thrilled with these products. There’s no build-ability to products like that. You can’t layer on more powder to get more coverage. No powder will ever give you the coverage that foundation or concealers are going to provide. With women of color, you’re going to have to use some type of foundation due to the varying complexions; I don’t care what level of sheer it provides, whether it’s a tinted moisturizer or a cream-to-powder, it’s going to look better than one kind of product (mineral makeup) that seems so simple.

What do you enjoy working on the most on a woman’s face?
SF: It depends on who it is. Every feature is different. For example when I’m done using powder and foundation on Iman, I just am in awe of her bone structure, but I don’t stop right there. I still go for a strong eye, a nude lip and sometimes even a dark mouth. The great thing about working with celebrities and models is that you get to switch it up; that’s the fun of makeup. After working with Vanessa Williams for over 16 years, if I loved to do her eyes, I’d kind of be over them by now! (Laughing) So you have to switch it up. You can’t be afraid to pay attention to another feature. Even if you know that your eyes are your favorite feature to play up, sometimes you have to give attention to the lip because it can totally change the whole statement and shape of the face.

What do you think is the biggest beauty misconception that women of color have when it comes to makeup?
SF: That makeup is going to make them look fake and that they're not going to look like themselves. We tend to think that makeup is going to look like it did in the 1970s or 1980s when we were just getting into makeup. Back then it was all about color and seeing makeup…strips of blush, ruby red lips, disco eyes, lashes and gloss. But really it has changed so much, if you look at J. Lo, Beyonce, Vanessa Williams, Queen Latifah, and Halle Berry, these women have on makeup – don’t be fooled! They’re enhancing their natural beauty. It’s only what you make of it. If you want great coverage you can have it, if you want to play up your eyes in a subtle, sexy way, you can have that too. Stop thinking that wearing makeup is going to make you look fake or something that you’re not. It’s going to make you look more of what you are and that’s more beautiful!

Are you looking forward to his new DVD? Have you read his book, "Fine Beauty?" Click here to check out more of his work.

**The winners of the Revlon Lashes are: Whit and Chrissy! Congrats! Please email me your mailing addresses. :-)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Lash Out Loud!

If you're planning a big night out or have a special celebration coming up, I suggest getting a pair of false eye lashes to play up your look. I know some of you might be afraid of looking overdone or too made-up, but the truth is that false lashes can instantly add glamour and drama without looking over-the-top in appropriate situations.

Plus, they make your eyes look extra gorgeous in photos. I've worn false lashes on several occasions and have been pleased with the results. Mascara does wonders for lashes, but false ones take beautiful eyes one step further. Whatever you do, don't wear them on an ordinary trip to the grocery store, then you may run the risk of looking ridiculous!

Revlon Fantasy Length False Lashes available at drugstores nationwide for $6.99

Here are 10-easy steps toward creating enviable eyes with false lashes:
1. Apply mascara to your lashes as you normally would
2. Carefully peel lashes off of the holder base
3. Place them on your eyes to see how they look and map out placement. You should match the outer edge ends with your own outer eye corner. If there is any extra at the tip of you inner eye, snip it off
4. Apply eyeliner as you normally would
5. Squirt a small dot of glue on any disposable hard flat surface
6. Graze the inner top base of the eyelash over the glue; holding the lashes by the tips, use a very light hand because the glue will stick easily and you want a thin layer. Less is more.
7. Next, place the lashes on lash line, try to go as close to your lash line as possible (always start outer corner of eyes and work your way in)
8. Close your eye and pat the lash in place
9. Apply liquid liner on any areas that have white glue or glue showing
10. Mascara is not necessary, as you’ve already attained the dramatic look, but feel free if you want to blend them in a bit.

This list may seem like a lot of steps, but after the first time you apply them, it will become a breeze! :-)

Without Lashes

With Lashes

Would you ever wear false eye lashes?
**Two lucky readers will win her own pair of Revlon Lashes. Just leave a comment and the winners will be selected randomly. Please be sure to check back tomorrow to see if you're a winner!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Stylish Sunglasses for Spring/Summer!

With the spring time heat-wave that's sweeping the country, I thought it would be a great time to round up the best shades to shield your peepers from the sun. This season, it seems like the retro Ray-Ban wayfarer style is the chic shade of choice for celebrities such as Beyonce and Jessica Alba. Although, my favorite styles are the classic oversized Jackie-O shades, I have entertained the idea of trying something new for those bright, sunny days. No matter what your style preference, a great pair of sunglasses can instantly make you look pulled together even if you're not wearing a bit of makeup!

What's your favorite frame style? Oval, Rectangular, Color-Tinted, Cat Eye, Aviators, Oversized, or something in between?

City Style Aviators available at for $16.95

Nina Ricci Jackie-O Sunglasses available at for $250

Forever 21 Sunglasses available at for $5.80

Armani Exchange Butterfly Shield Sunglasses available at for $70

Forever 21 Sunglasses available at for $5.80

Prada Signature Temple Round Sunglasses available at for $257

Ray Ban Wayfarer available at for $139

Monday, April 27, 2009

Squeaky Clean & Soft!

When it comes to purchasing shower gels, I usually head to the nearest CVS or Duane Reade - that will probably change. After trying Carol's Daughter's "Just Relax," Body Cleansing Gel, I have fallen in love and will find it hard to go back to using my regular drugstore brand.

Although I am not an ardent organic product guru, I find it refreshing that Carol's Daughter gels are free of sulfates, parabens and artificial colors, which can be harsh on our precious skin. The rich, moisturizing lather of this shower gel rinses clean without any unwanted residue that I've found in other brands.

The combination of this shower gel and my newfound Vaseline body gel oils has made my body feel super smooth. I have never felt so hydrated and soft. It's so wonderful to have finally found products outside of Aveeno that can tackle my tough, dry skin!

Carol's Daughter's newest gels: "You're So Fresh", "Just Relax" and "Brighten Up" available at for $13.50

Have you tried Carol's Daughter's Body Cleansing Gels? If so, what are your thoughts?

**I will be interviewing celebrity makeup artist Sam Fine this week, so if you have beauty/makeup-related questions that you'd like for me to ask him, please email them to me asap! :-)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Under One Condition

Last year when I interviewed celebrity hairstylist Ursula Stephen whose clients include Rihanna, she told me that there was one key to keeping locks looking lovely and healthy - conditioning. Generally conditioners are used to help prevent heat damage, moisturize, gloss, de-tangle, and smooth our strands. My absolute favorite conditioner is Pantene's Relaxed & Natural Intensive Moisturizing Conditioner. It always leaves my smelling good, looking shiny and more manageable.

What are some of your favorite conditioners? How often do you deep condition your hair? Check out some of these:

Pantene Relaxed & Natural Intensive Moisturizing Conditioner available at for $5.99

Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Replenishing Conditioner available at for $6.99

Philosophy Strawberry Milkshake Conditioner, Shampoo, Body Gel available at for $16

Ted Gibson Clarity Color Conditioner available at for $26

Creme De La Curl Conditioner available at for $16

Dr. Miracle's Feel it Formula Hot Gro Hair & Scalp Treatment Conditioner available at for $8.49

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

BGG Chats with 'Obsessed' Producer, Will Packer

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of speaking with Hollywood film producer Will Packer. He's the man behind several hit movies, including: Trois, Stomp the Yard, This Christmas and the new adult thriller, Obsessed, which opens nationwide this weekend. The sexy thriller stars actor Idris Elba and superstar singer/actress Beyonce Knowles in a tale about a married man who is stalked by a female co-worker and has his world turned upside down. I spoke with Will about what it was like working with Sasha Fierce aka Beyonce, his latest projects and what it takes to make it in the fickle Hollywood industry.

Check out our Q&A:

BGG: It’s so difficult for a film with a predominately African-American cast to be made in Hollywood, what do you think has been the key to your success?
Will Packer: I think that it’s an attitude of “I can do anything.” I say that because this is an industry that can be very daunting to break into. It’s also an industry that sucks the life out of a lot of people. My business partner and I didn’t have any Hollywood connections or any rich financiers to help us get off the ground, we just had pure ambition and will power. I think that has served us well in this industry. So when you say movies with a predominately African-American cast, those movies aren’t easy to get made, but the truth is that no film is easily made – it’s hard to make any movie in Hollywood. We just take the attitude of “we have a product that Hollywood needs that audiences want to see," it’s just up to us to convince both of those segments that that’s the case.

BGG: What was it like working with Beyonce Knowles in Obsessed since it’s such a huge departure from her previous movie roles?
WP: It was a pleasant experience. When you work with someone like a “Beyonce,” you don’t know what you’re going to get. She’s such a huge global persona. There was a point where I wondering if she'd come to set with a big entourage, would she going to have a diva attitude, are the other actors going to like her and get along…how’s it going to be? It was really pleasant because Beyonce comes to play, she really does. When she shows up on a set and I imagine it’s the same when she’s in a recording studio or on set of a music video, you know that she’s coming to work. You know that she’s showing up and she brings no attitude, no preconceived notions, she brings a work ethic that is 150% all the time and she is willing to work harder than anyone else.

BGG: You’ve worked with Idris Elba on several films, including The Gospel This Christmas what does he bring to your films?WP: Idris is my man! I think he is one of the best actors out in Hollywood today. He’s somebody that people are learning about. He has a core following and has people know him from the Wire, but at the same time he’s not a face that mainstream America sees and says, “Oh, I know his name; that’s Idris Elba. I really do believe that he is somebody that when you look pound for pound for having talent in terms of having that leading man charisma, I think he’s one of the best. He brings depth and layers to his roles, which is very important.

Will Packer on set of Obsessed with Idris Elba and Beyonce Knowles.

BGG: What exactly does being a movie producer entail? WP: I like to use the analogy…when you look at the Oscars, you see all of these categories, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Cinemaphotography, Best Sound, etc. and at the end of the night, the final award goes to the Best Picture and the producer gets that award. The analogy is that the producer is the person who brought together all of those other elements. A producer is responsible for the overall success, look and vision of a film project. That’s why we producers are always so stressed out and busy all the time because we’re trying to take care of so many different aspects of the project.

BGG: Did you ever expect your 2007 film, Stomp the Yard to be such a huge hit at the box office?WP: Absolutely, no question! I did and I’d tell that to anybody who would listen! I think that Hollywood didn’t expect that and was surprised that it was so successful, but I knew that we had a different project that was very different and knew that there was a core audience who were familiar with stepping and the whole black college experience that would come out. I also knew that we would be able to sell it as a very cool dance movie and I knew that we had a lot of commercial potential.

BGG: What’s next for you? What projects are you currently working on? WP: I’m in post-production on a project called Takers, which is an action movie about a young man who pulls of heist jobs around L.A. It stars Idris Elba, Chris Brown, Matt Dillon, Hayden Christensen, Michael Ealy, T.I and others.

BGG: What advice do you have for young aspiring film producers? WP: You define your own success and your vision; your dream is not over until you say it’s over. I feel like that’s what’s important. If you’re an artist, grab a digital camcorder and share your art with the people that matter. If you’re in it for commerce, do something that has commercial matter that people are willing to pay to see. Again, I think you define your own success. No matter how many no’s you get, the only answer that really matters is the one that you give yourself.

Do you plan to see Obsessed, which will be in theaters on April 24th? Why or why not? Are you a fan of his other films, such as This Christmas or Stomp the Yard?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Can Stretchy Still Be Sexy?

Usually, when it comes to describing sexy shoes, elastic doesn't come to mind. When I think of elastic in fashion I tend to immediately envision hideous shoes and clothes. However, I've been noticing an increase in elastic-styles that are quite fashion-forward. Since I have yet to take a step on the stretchy side, I'm assuming that they're more comfortable than the typical leather, suede, etc. materials that tend to dig into your skin after long-wear. Could comfort finally be in vogue?

Would you wear elastic-strappy shoes?

BCBG Max Azria Ivanka Color Blocked Slingback available at for $195

Nine West Ladron Mary Jane available at for $34.20

Sergio Rossi Elastic Front Zip Sandals available at for $670

BCBG Max Azria Elastic Banded Wedges available at for $198

Guess Digital Elastic Patent Leather Heels available at for $90

Georgina Goodman Helga Elastic Banded Open-Toe Booties available at for $610

Proenza Schouler Elastic Ankle Wrap Sandal with White Wedge available at for $595

Fendi Stappy Patent Leather Sandals available at for $615

Theory Yeva Elastic Wedges available at for $295

**The winner of the Vaseline Aloe Fresh Moisturizing Gel is Miss Mika! Congrats! Please send me your mailing address info!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Amazing Aloe Moisturizer!

Just when I thought that it couldn't get any better than Vaseline's Cocoa Butter Gel Body Oil that I recently discovered and wrote about a few weeks ago, they have another one that's even more delightful - the new Vaseline Aloe Fresh Moisturizing Daily Body Gel. When I saw the commercial for this gel I couldn't wait to try it!

Although it's a bit more gel-like in consistency than it's popular more fluid sister product; it still goes on smoothly and instantly moisturizes skin making it soft and supple. For those of you who don't like the scent of cocoa butter this new Vaseline product would be a great alternative. I like both products, but I must admit that I find the scent of the aloe one to be more refreshing.

Vaseline Aloe Fresh Moisturizing Daily Body Gel available at drugstores nationwide for $5.99

Have you tried the new Vaseline Aloe Fresh Moisturizing Daily Body Gel? If so, what are your thoughts? For those of you who have tried both gel oils, which one do you like the best? One lucky winner will win a bottle of the new aloe one. Just leave a comment and a winner will be selected randomly and announced tomorrow.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Days of Their Lives

If you're a fan of reality TV like me, this season of MTV's Making the Band did not disappoint. For those of you who did watch the show, you witnessed Que's mini-mental meltdown on basically every single episode. Luckily, he got a grip and the guys of Day 26 managed to band together to record their sophomore CD, "Forever and a Day," which was released earlier this week. The two-part season finale airs tonight at 9pm EST on MTV.

Did you watch Making the Band this season? If so, what were your thoughts? Have you heard Day 26's new release? One winner will win a copy of the CD. Just leave a comment and a winner will be selected randomly.

**The winner of The Body Shop lip gloss is KittyVodka!! Congrats!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Let's Talk About Sex!

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending The Body Shop and MTV's Staying Alive Foundation Say "Yes, Yes, Yes," To Safe Sex event with Solange Knowles. The press event was held to promote and reinforce the importance of practicing safe sex. Research shows that last year 2.5 million people were infected with HIV; nearly half are ages 15-24.

To help spread the word, The Body Shop is launching an exclusive Tantalizing Lip Butter ($8) in an effort to raise funds for HIV/AIDS awareness ($5 of each butter sold will go towards the foundation). Solange, a spokeswoman for the campaign, was there to answer questions and yours truly asked her if she felt as though recording artists should take more responsibility with their lyrics in regards to practicing safe sex.

Click here to listen to her answer. *I taped it sideways by mistake! lol

Do you think people have become more complacent toward practicing safe sex and the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS? Leave a comment and one lucky reader will win the dragon fruit-flavored lip butter. The winner will be selected randomly and announced tomorrow. Hopefully, every one else will go out and purchase the lip butter and help support the cause. Beauty with a purpose is always good!

Available at for $8

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Blushed, the Bronzed & the Beautiful!

Any professional makeup artist will tell you that blending is essential to creating a flawless look. That's why I opt for blush and bronze duos to create a gorgeous effortless glow.

Most duo blush/bronzers are part shimmer for defining and highlighting cheekbones, while the other half serves as the pigment to give a beautiful flush of color to cheeks. The perfect combination of color and shimmer is super flattering on most BG skin tones. As you guys know, I have a serious blush/bronzer addiction. Currently, I've been using the Too-Faced set found below.

Do you wear duo or maybe even multiple blushes/bronzers?

Check out some of these:

Too-Faced Bronze & the Beautiful available at for $35

IMAN Blushing Duo available at for $10.99

NARS Highlighting Bronzing Blush Duo available at for $37

Sephora Blush Me Twice available at for $8

Benefit 10 available at for $28

Philosophy The Supernatural Mineral Blush Duo available at for $25

Monday, April 13, 2009

Bright & Bold Trenches for Spring!

There's nothing that says timeless sophistication like a trench. This season, I've been thinking about changing things up a bit by getting an affordable one in a bright color. Usually when it comes to outerwear I'm all about subdued, neutral hues, but I'm slowly learning that wearing colors can be fun and allows you to stand out in a crowd. This spring, dare to wear a classic trench in a bold, colorful shade that will surely get you noticed!

Would you wear a colored trench coat/jacket?

Check out some of these rainbow-inspired trenches all under $150:

INC International Concepts Belted Trench available at for $90.30

Darlita Trench Coat available at for $88

AK Klein Trench Coat available at for $125.40

Laundry by Shelli Segal Trench Coat available at for $118

Tommy Hilfiger Shelborne Piped Trench available at for $122.85

Mango Trench Coat available at for $59.90

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Bring Wow to Your Brows!

BGs with beautifully sculpted brows!

When I was younger people always complimented me on my eyebrows. They always assumed that they had been arched because of their seemingly well-groomed shape. Apparently all of those compliments fell on deaf ears because during my early 20s, I decided to have the "professionals" pluck away at my natural arch.

Ever since I had them tweezed and waxed, they grow in much bushier and more disorderly than my "virgin" brows. I guess I should've left well enough alone, but hey, what can you do? Now I rely on visits to the salon and products like these to keep my brows looking beautiful!

TIP: For a natural arch, always use brow powders, as opposed to pencils, which create sharp, unnatural-looking brows. Also, use shades that are slightly lighter than your hair color. If you're in the L.A or New York City area, make an appointment at the celebrity favorite, Damone Roberts Salon for red-carpet ready brows.

What do you do to keep your brows looking well-groomed? Do you tweeze, wax, or thread?

Sephora Arch It Brow Kit available at for $35

Amazing Cosmetics Eyebrow Gel available at for $14

Brow Ex-Press Kit by Anastasia available at for $38

Duo Eyelash & Brow Comb available at for $5

LORAC Take A Brow Set available at for $22

**BTW, The winners of Lisa Nichols' book, are: Laquita, Seymone, Mel, Dejoi, and Bianca R. Congrats and please email me your mailing addresses! :-)