Thanks to L’Oreal for sponsoring my post about my favorite beauty looks, tips and tricks! Check out for beauty advice from the experts. 
 My makeup routine has become a little bit uniform. Sheer foundation, a little blush, liquid eyeliner, black mascara, and a nude-pink lip. I look really young and rather than fight it I tend to play it up with a bit of a baby doll look. But it can get a bit boring. When L’Oreal and Makeup.Com asked bloggers to dare to try something new I thought it was the perfect opportunity to break out of my makeup rut!
My inspiration?
The looks created in Rachel Zoe’s Holiday 2011 collection look book:

I totally died over the dramatic plum lips!

I have to admit that I’m terrified of a bold lip. It seems so simple but I always feel so self conscious about it (is it too bright? has it smudged? what if it gets on my teeth?) that I almost never do it.
It doesn’t help that the one time I did a bright red lip a friend made a not so nice comment and I retreated from lip color forever!

But the great thing about makeup is that it wipes right off! You can try anything one day and go back to comfortable the next. You can paint a Gaga lightning bolt on your cheek and pile on glitter or you can go natural and look like your most glamorous self. It isn’t permanent or serious so have fun with it!
And what better time to add a little drama to your look than the holidays? With lots of parties and events you’ll have plenty of opportunities to try out new things and if it doesn’t work you can wash it off and start again! So I’m daring to try out a bright lip this Holiday season!

Of course, a new makeup routine always looks best when your skin looks its best so I always start with clean skin. Lately, I’ve been using Smashbox’s Photo Finish Hydrating primer (I’ve also been using this without makeup as my daily moisturizer) followed by Estee Lauder’s Idealist Illuminator and Neova’s Eye Therapy. I used to believe that three skincare products was too much; that my skin would break out, flake, or turn foundation into a cakey mess! But its actually created smoother, glowing skin that needs less makeup to look amazing. Yes, I still breakout (that’s just my skin type) but its easier to cover and the rest of my skin looks lovely.

I’m a girl plagued with chronically dry lips even in the summer.
But I found the perfect antidote at A Matter of Face in the North End!
 The lovely ladies there introduced me to Sara Happ’s lip scrub and “lip slip”. I’ve been using it every night and putting a light layer of the balm on in the morning and my pout has never looked (or felt) better!

And now on to the good stuff- lip color!

I love deep purples and plums right now- I know some people might automatically think of Hot Topic at the mention of purple lipstick but I swear it suits almost every skin tone. I’m quite pale and I’ve always loved the way it makes my skin glow.
One of my favorite deep purples that I’m finally daring to try comes from YSL’s 2009 Holiday collection: Sweet Dark Purple #151.

This true berry goes on beautifully but it is a long wear color so if you’re like me and need something with more moisture the texture may not be for you but it will last even after glass after glass of wine!
For a budget friendly, creamier feel I really loved Maybelline’s Color Sensational High Shine in Dazzling Plum. I had shied away from trying Color Sensational because I was concerned that it would come across less like a color rich gloss and more frosty. I couldn’t have been more wrong! I did have to pile on the layers with this one to get the strong color because it is much more sheer than the YSL but it feels amazing. Maybe there really is something behind the honey nectar ingredient!

(Maybelline Color Sensation High Shine)

I think I’ve mentioned my summer long search for the perfect bright pink lipstick that all began with a shot of Kate Bosworth supposedly wearing a Clarins that ended up looking nothing like how I wanted it to.
So the search has continued into the winter months!
I’ve been slow to jump on the Armani cosmetics bandwagon but when they announced a limited edition line of pink lip colors (Rouge d’Armani Hot collection) it pushed me over the edge! Could my obsessive search finally be over?
The color I’d been trying to find for months is Giorgio Armani Rouge d’Armani Hot #522.
But it isn’t necessarily a bold, daring color. So I turned to #520 that shocking, rich hot pink look. I still can’t believe that such a creamy formula lasts this long! I get about six hours of wear even with my water bottle addiction!

(Giorgio Armani d’Armani Hot)

Of course the boldest of the bold lip color (in my opinion anyway) will always be the classic red lip. The trick for it to look sexy and beautiful is to find the perfect shade for your skin tone.

And that has been my ultimate downfall. There are so many reds to choose from on the market today that it can be really overwhelming! I tend to forgo the drugstore when looking for red since you (usually) can’t test them out before you buy them. I decided to hit the MAC store the last time I was at the mall and was surprised to find that MAC’s bestseller MAC Red really worked well on me. The trick was to finding the right lip pencil and rather than just lining my lips I filled them in with the pencil (I used MAC’s Kiss Me Quick) and then layered lipstick on top. It helped my lipstick to last longer and I needed less of it. 

So did my return to color work out? I was definitely self conscious at first but after I glimpse in the my car mirror I realized how much I liked not having a smokey eye. Since most women who grew up around the time I did were raised on gloss and lots of eye makeup my vibrant lips made me stand out from the crowd. Plus, there is something so glamorous about carefully applying lipstick with a mirror instead of just slathering on gloss. It felt grown up but also sort of liberating. Those mean comments that persuaded me away from red before? I didn’t care- I was having way too much fun!

I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. Click here to learn more about or become a Facebook fan by clicking here.

(Photos courtesy of MAC, L’Oreal, and Rachel Zoe)

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