Tuesday, October 22, 2013

3 Quick Fixes for Unruly Eyebrows

No matter how great your makeup looks, your face is not complete without well groomed eyebrows. As a Makeup Artist, I can’t help but to notice everyone’s faces, and sadly too many people (men included) neglect their brows. I’ve seen women and men with beautifully shaped eyebrows that are a total waste because the hair looks crazy! What is the point of shaping your brows if the hairs are untamed? If you're an offender I have 3 quick fixes that will ensure your brows look on point at all times.

Eyebrow wax (not hot wax) – Eyebrow wax is a great way to tame eyebrow hairs while simultaneously adding luster. My favorite wax is by NYX and it comes in their Eyebrow Cake Powder kit.  You simply dip the spoolie provided in the kit into the wax and brush it through the brow until it stays in place.

Eyebrow gel – My favorite way to make eyebrows behave is with eyebrow gel, it’s amazing! I tend to favor the Anastasia Clear Brow Gel the most; it’s a staple in my kit. It looks just like a tube of mascara and has the same type of applicator.  Once you open the tube the wand already has product on it, so all you need to do is brush the brows into your desires shape. Once the gel dries those eyebrows are not going anywhere!

A toothbrush and hairspray – This is an old school way of grooming brows that some MUA’s  still practice.  It's also a super cheap option because you probably already have these items in your home. First run a clean, dry toothbrush through the brows to encourage all the hairs to go in the same direction. Next spray a generous amount of hairspray onto the toothbrush and brush the eyebrows once again. The hairspray really sets the eyebrows in place to ensure that they won’t budge.

Now there is no excuse to walk around with crazy looking eyebrows because you have 3 great options.
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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Beauty Secret: Cheap Dupe for High End Primer

I always love a good dupe. I find something about finding an exact, or close enough, match to a more expensive product extremely gratifying. However, I usually purchase, or already own, the more pricey product in question so that I can compare it to the dupe anyway. Nevertheless, it's a fun time for me.

Today, the general product in question is a skin primer. Primer is applied to the skin after moisturizer and prior to foundation, allowing the foundation to have something to stick to, as well as creating a more flawless base for the foundation application.

The product I am about to tell you about is an exact dupe for Smashbox Photofinish Primer, as well as MAC's Matte, a matte-ifying gel. These primers are specifically formulated to matte-ify the skin, fill in fine lines and pores, providing an airbrushed-looking finish. I especially like them for under my eyes, as my pet peeve is creasing under-eye concealer. Would you believe me if I told you that I found a substitute that will achieve all of that, while only costing six dollars?

Now, don't be weary when you hear the name. I understand that this is a very unconventional primer, as it is not intended for the face. However, I can assure you that it is absolutely safe and does not cause any reactions of the skin. It is Monistat Chafing Relief Powder-Gel. I came across this idea on many beauty sites/youtube channels that I frequent. And let me tell you, hundreds or even thousands of women will not steer you wrong!

I even went so far as to apply Mac Matte to half my face, and Monistat to the other, before applying foundation and my foundation looked exactly the same on both sides all day.

If you give it a try, please let me know what you think!


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OCC Lip Tar: Holy Grail or Hot Mess?

Every makeup company tries really hard to introduce new products to the market that the industry has never seen before. A vegan makeup company called OCC (short for Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics) introduced a new product to the makeup industry called Lip Tar and MUA's everywhere went crazy over it. Lip Tar is a SUPER pigmented, cruelty-free liquid lipstick.  

I was gifted some Lip Tar during a fashion show because OCC was the official makeup sponsor and I couldn’t wait to put it to use. After hearing so much about the item I wanted to see if all of the hype was deserved – and at $18 per tube it better had been!

I got booked to do hair and makeup for a look book shoot and the Photographer wanted to do each lip a different but vibrant color, so this was the perfect time try out my Lip Tar. The first thing that I noticed was the scent, it was minty and I really hate that. I squeezed way too much out of the tube, I only used 1/10th of the amount that I dispensed. I assumed that since it looked like lip gloss it would also be the same consistency - I was so wrong. A little bit spreads really far and it feels almost like a lipstick that has been melted down. To create 2 toned lips on my model, I used the color Hoochie on the top lip and the color Pretty Boy on the bottom lip. Two drops of Lip Tar was more than enough to cover both lips. In all fairness it really looked beautiful but it smudges really easily and stains the skin. The model moved around a lot in her poses and the Lip Tar was getting all over her face because the product does not set well;  I had to touch her up constantly.

I was impressed by the pigmentation and how far the product goes, but I was really annoyed by how messy it could get on set. Maybe in real life it’s not as bad but I’m not willing to take that risk. The model even texted me later and joked that she still had Lip Tar all over her. I got a great final shot using the product but I would never purchase it.

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Make Your Perfume Last Longer

Perfume!  We all love it and we all want it to last a bit longer. I've never been that person whom everyone recognizes via the scent of their perfume and no matter how hard I'd try to obtain that form of recognition, it just didn't seem to happen.. until now.   Inspired by one of my dear friends, whom we can all identify is in the building because the scent of his cologne blesses the aroma of any room he walks in (jealous), I decided to do some experimenting and research to figure out how to make it last.  Here are some tips that I found to be very useful in not only making your perfume last longer, but it also summons compliments and the type of recognition I've been waiting for- All without making anyone choke or cough from it being overwhelming. No one likes overwhelming perfumes and colognes, right?  

1. Choose perfumes with strong base notes.
I think this is the most important tip. I'll admit, I was totally in the dark about base notes in relation to perfumes until recently. I asked my friend, the one I referenced earlier, "How do you get your cologne to be so noticeable...do you bathe in it!?" he laughed and said "It's the 3rd note".  I was totally lost.  Then he sent me a link and it turns out, that there are different layers to perfume. While I knew this... I didn't understand the depth of it.  Base notes are the longest lasting layer of the perfume. You want to make sure that the perfume you purchase has a strong one because typically, the top note and middle notes are what fade away within an hour and all you're left with after that is the base note. Better pick a strong one.

2. Apply perfume right after the shower.
The steam from a hot shower opens up your pores. If you apply your perfume right after your shower, your pores will soak them right up and it'll last longer.

3. Apply your perfume to pulse points aka "hot" areas on your body.

This is an obvious one to most, but very important.  Don't just spray your perfume all over your body and leave.  Be sure to take some time and apply a little perfume to areas like your neck, cleavage, wrists, pulse behind the ears, pulse of the hands, and above your elbow folds.  Perfume scent is stimulated by heat. Another tip is to apply Vaseline to your pulse points first and then apply the perfume. This adds extra help in making your perfume last longer.

4. Spray perfume in your hair and a light spritz on your outfit.
Freshly washed hair can carry your perfume scent for up to a week.  You can also, very lightly, spray some perfume on your clothing. Using the infamous "walk through" method... spray some perfume into the air and simply walk through it. Spraying perfume in your hair and on your clothing adds to the whole scent "blowing in the wind" effect.  

5. Layer your fragrances.
Layering involves using different methods of scents and/or different perfumes together.  Try using a nicely scented moisturizer/lotion and a light similarly scented body spray in addition to your perfume. With a little experimentation, you can find a combination that gets you noticed but doesn't overwhelm anyone.

6. Reapply perfume throughout the day.
As a general rule of thumb, fragrances will last 4 to 8 hours, depending on quality and concentration of essential oils.  Carry a travel size perfume with you to lightly spritz throughout the day either before a lunch date, a work meeting, or after the gym.

7. Store your perfume properly.
Fragrance compounds are degraded by heat and light. To keep perfume in its prime, keep it in comfortably cool and dry conditions away from heat sources and direct sun. If your perfume is at it's best... it will continue to work better for you! Faded fragrances are pretty useless when applying these tips so proper storing is important.

Tip:  Trust your nose and don't over do it.  The last thing you want is to have an overwhelming scent that makes people gag.  If it's just enough for you to smell then it's just right.  Most of the time, if you think it's too much... you're probably right. So use these tips in good judgement. Another thing to consider- as I mentioned before fragrance is stimulated by heat.  In the summer time, apply less perfume at a time and in the winter time you may want to apply a little more than you would in the summer since the air is colder and working against your fragrance.

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Monday, October 14, 2013

10 Ways to Use Vaseline in Your Beauty Routine

A few days ago I came across an awesome article by beauty guru Michelle Phan and I just had to share with you, some of the tips she blogged about on how to use Vaseline in different ways.  I've personally always used Vaseline for as a highlighter for my cheeks, as an alternative to lip balm and also to soften the skin on my elbows, knees, and ankles. However, I thought she added some really cool extras, so without further ado!

10 Ways to Use Vaseline in Your Beauty Routine

1.) Lip scrub: Mix some Vaseline with sugar for a DIY lip scrub.  (Click here for more lip softening tips)
2.) Skin softener: Rough elbows, feet or hands? Just put Vaseline on any dry spots and put mittens or socks on before you go to sleep – you’ll wake up with baby-soft skin!
3.) Makeup remover: Vaseline removes eye makeup in a few simple swipes – just make sure you are rinsing it off afterwards to avoid any eye irritation.
4.) Hair dye protector: If you dye your hair at home, be sure to apply some Vaseline along your hairline so the dye doesn’t stain your skin.  It also protects your skin from the harsh chemicals in the dye!
5.) Chafing healer:  Protect your nose from chafing during a cold or chilly weather by applying a dab of Vaseline.  
6.) Highlighter: Apply a tiny dab of Vaseline to the top of your cheekbones for a pretty, radiant sheen.  It can also be used to help you achieve the “wet” eye makeup look that was all over fall runways.
7.) Cream-ify: Turn any powder eyeshadows or blushes to cream by mixing them with a bit of Vaseline. Use your concoction as a tinted lip balm that will keep your lips smooth all winter long.
8.) Cuticle protector: Keep your cuticles soft and moisturized by massaging Vaseline into them.  If you do this before a manicure, this will also keep your nail polish from getting on your cuticles!
9.) Smooth flyaways:  If you’re going for a super-sleek pony, use a tiny bit of Vaseline to smooth and tame any flyways.  Remember, a little goes a long way!
10.) Make your perfume last: Apply a bit of Vaseline to your pulse points to MAKE YOUR PERFUME LAST LONGER.

Awesome tips, right?  Thanks, Mish!

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Saturday, October 12, 2013

Easy and Delicious Green Smoothie Recipe

I love green smoothies and green juices. There are so many benefits from consuming these less than favorable-looking drinks. I especially enjoy them because they give me the energy boost that I need on any given day and it's an easy way to get in my fruit and veggie intake.  Now that I've found a recipe that I think tastes terrific, I love them even more.  Sometimes, you get that super healthy green smoothie and it takes you about an hour to drink it because it's so thick and well, vegetable-y. I don't know about you, but I barely like vegetables as it is, the last thing I wanna do is realize I'm actually drinking them. Here is a simple unsweetened recipe that takes less than 15 minutes to prepare and blend AND it comes out tasting mostly like apples and bananas. You don't even taste the spinach!  Bananas right?? No, literally.

Spinach and Banana Green Smoothie
(Serves 2)

What you need:

A Blender
About half a bag of baby spinach
1 orange
1 cold granny smith apple
1 banana
half of a lemon
1 cup of cold water
3 tbsp of flax seed sprinkles (optional)

1. Wash applicable fruit and veggies. Peel applicable fruit.

2. Cut green apple into small pieces, separate peeled orange slices, if you started out with a whole lemon- simply cut it in half, and chop the peeled banana.

3.  Add apple, orange, and banana to the blender.  Top with about half a bag of baby spinach (or as much as you'd like).  Pour in 1 cup of water and blend until all ingredients are well mixed. After the fruit and veggies have blended and liquefied, add 3 tbsp of the flaxseed sprinkles and squeeze in the lemon juice (make sure no lemon seeds fall in). Blend for another 30 seconds or until flax is well blended.

4. Serve and enjoy!

You can adjust the ingredients however you'd like, adding and subtracting whichever fruit you'd like. You can also use whatever kind of additive you like- I chose flax sprinkles (pictured above), but you can use probiotics, protein, etc. This step is very optional, you still get the same great taste without it!

Tip: If you'd like the smoothie to be colder, substitute ice instead of water.

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Friday, October 11, 2013

Rainy Day Hairstyle Ideas

Rainy Day 'Dos

Just because it is raining outside doesn't mean you have to settle for a floppy wet mess.  Here are some no-fuss, rainy day 'dos that you can easily recreate on the go using a single hair elastic.  

1.  The ever popular 2013 favorite is the top knot.  Every girl has her own version of this look but it is exactly what it sounds like - a knot on the top of your head.  Be sure you have an umbrella while sporting this 'do because depending on how much hair you have, a hood may not stay on.  

2.  This look combines a bohemian twist with a bun. Perfect for the girl with fringe, this 'do keeps the hair out of your face and off your back for a secure and polished look.  A great style for when you are wearing a rain jacket, this allows for all of your hair to stay within your hood.  

3.  The side fishtail braid is another easy look to create on-the-go while still keeping a soft and feminine look.  Another good style for when you are rockin' a hooded jacket, this braid works well with a women with layers because the more "undone" it looks, the more romantic and stylish it seems to be.  

4.  The high ponytail immediately brings chic-ness to your look rather than going for your basic pony.  This can transform your look from running errands to grabbing a cocktail.  Another style that works well with bangs, this look keeps your hair out of your face but gives you a bit of flirtiness to the sway of your ponytail.  

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DIY: 7 Steps to Becoming a Zombie

I had the honor of doing zombie makeup for the dancers at Broadway Bound Dance Centre in New Jersey for their performance at the Annual Zombie Walk in Asbury. It was such a fun job! I used cream makeup and powders in different colors (Mehron, MAC, Makeup Forever, Ben Nye) to create the skin and contours. I created gashes in the skin using the Elmer's Glue and toilet paper method. Elmer's Glue is a great replacement for liquid latex. I like this method because it gives you the creative freedom to create unique "wounds" on each person. And of course, fake blood was used, which was my favorite part! I smeared a bunch around each zombie's mouth, inside the wounds, and splattered it across their faces.

Steps to achieving this "undead" look:

1. Prime the skin with a sticky moisturizer. This gives the makeup something to grasp onto. I used Cetaphil, which is good for all skin types including sensitive.

2. Stipple white cream makeup all over the face and neck. Do the same with brown, but apply only to the contours of the face and down the neck. Then, use green in random areas to make the skin look sallow and dead.
3. Apply a mixture of black and burgundy eyeshadow all over the eye socket.

4. Using a thin paintbrush, or lip brush, and purple cream makeup, draw veins onto the skin.

5. Create wounds in the skin by applying a layer of Elmer's glue with a q-tip, followed by a layer of ripped toilet paper, followed by another layer of Elmer's glue. While it is wet, use a pointed object (like a bobby pin or toothpick) to peel back the skin to create a gash. Allow to dry, then fill the gash with red eyeshadow. Stipple black, brown, green, or purple eyeshadow onto/around the rest of the wound to look like dead skin. Apply fake blood where you put the red eyeshadow, and allow it to drip down the face. You could also purchase readymade wounds at the Halloween store and apply it with liquid latex.

6. Using a cup filled with fake blood, and a dense paintbrush, dip the brush into the blood and roughly swipe it along the edge of the cup in order for the blood to spray onto the face. You could use a squirt bottle rather than this method if you prefer.

7. (Optional) Set the makeup with a translucent powder and setting spray.

Voila! You are now ready to join the cast of the Walking Dead, or dance to Thriller, whatever floats your boat.
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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

DIY: Face Mask Made From Carrots

Not only are carrots good for your health, they can tone and clarify your skin, since they are naturally antiseptic and packed with vitamins (like carotene) and iron. Carrots are readily available all year round so your local grocery store should always have some in stock. Homemade masks made from carrots are most appropriate for people with normal to oily skin types but since you're the chef to these beauty recipes, you can include other ingredients that suit your own needs. My skin tends to be more on the dry side, so I like to add in extra doses of extra virgin olive oil or even half of a mashed avocado to create a hydrating mask. 
HOW TO Homemade Carrot Face Mask

  1. Peel & steam carrots. Peel one large carrot and steam or boil until tender (when a fork can easily pierce through it, it's ready). Mash the carrot with a fork or masher until it's a creamy consistency.

  2. Mix in honey and extra virgin olive oil. Mix in half a tablespoon of honey and half a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. If your skin is oily, you may omit the extra virgin olive oil.

  3. Add a few drops of lemon juice. Your skin type will depend on the amount of lemon juice you add in (lemon juice is a natural astringent, so the oilier your skin, the more lemon you want in your mask). If you have dry skin, add about 8 drops of lemon and if you have oily skin, add up to 1 tablespoon.

  4. Check consistency. The mixture shouldn't be too clumpy or too runny. If the mix is too thick, you can add in a bit more extra virgin olive oil or water to thin it out. You can add a bit more honey to the mix to give it a thicker, paste-like texture.

  5. Cool down. Let the mixture cool down so that the temperature is comfortable on your skin.

  6. Mask time. Apply the carrot mask onto a clean and bare face, even your neck if you wish, but avoid the eye and mouth area. Leave it on for 10 -15 minutes and wash it off with warm water afterwards. Pat dry and follow up with your favorite moisturizer or eye cream.

Tip: Like any skincare product, be sure to patch test the mask on yourself to ensure that negative reactions do not occur. If you ever feel any discomfort or irritation after you've applied the mask, wash it off immediately with warm water.

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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Styling Black Ink Crew's Sassy and Dutchess for an XXL Shoot

One of the best parts of being a celebrity Hairstylist is never knowing what your next job is. Some people find being put into random situations a little scary but I thrive on it. This is why when my friend Bernadette, an Editor at XXL magazine, asked me to do hair for a gig in Harlem the only info I asked for was the address and the call time.  When I arrived at the location I was pleasantly surprised to see that our shoot was taking place at Black Ink Tattoo Studio – that’s where they tape the VH1 show “Black Ink Crew”.  After going in, saying my hellos, and setting up my two client walked in; and they were none other than “Black Ink Crew” stars Sassy and Dutchess. Love them!

When I asked for direction for the hair I was told by Bernadette “Do whatever you want.” That is one of the frightening answers you can get, because if they don’t like the direction you take the entire fault lies on you. This is when consulting with your clients comes into play. I asked Sassy what she wanted to do with her hair and ironically she said “I’m down for whatever.” Upon asking Dutchess what she would be comfortable with, she replied “I wasn’t even sure if I’d be getting my hair done today,  because some Hairstylists done know how to work with dreads. Do your thing.” It was nice to know that the ladies had full confidence in my abilities but the pressure was on to come up with something that everyone would be happy with.

First up was Sassy, since I’ve never seen her with curls before I decided to go that route.  I started by applying Mixed Chicks Hair Silk to her hair for softness and shine. Next I smoothed out her roots and edges with a small straightener.  I had hair extensions her color in my kit and attached them to her Mohawk starting from the middle and going all the way back to the nape. Finally I curled her entire head (including the extensions) with a 3/8 inch iron and hit her with some finishing spray. The result was a beautiful mountain of curls that really flattered her face!

Next up was Dutchess, I thought her dreads were so beautiful but I didn’t want to leave them completely down. I decided on putting half of her hair up with a little height on top. I started out by re-twisting the roots of the dreads on the outer perimeter of her head, and slicking down her edges with gel. I then twisted the top half section of her hair in the middle and pinned it in place, afterword I crisscrossed the dreads on the sides over each to make a cool design in the back. I finished by spraying her hair with BetterLocks Conditioning Almond Oil for shine. I was really happy with it and so was Dutchess.

The talent, Editor, and the Photographer were all happy with my work and I breathed a sigh of relief. I didn’t expect Sassy and Dutchess to be as nice as they were, both ladies were incredibly sweet; and they’re stunning in person. The shoot ended up going really smoothly and the final images were gorgeous, I love my job!
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Friday, October 4, 2013

Get The Look: Makeup From LaQuan Smith S/S 2014 Presentation

One of my favorite Designers is NYC native, LaQuan Smith. His collection this season had cool textures and patterns (my favorite piece was a pair of sweatpants with crocodile trim). I most enjoyed the makeup for the show. The look was fresh skin, with a bold eye, and soft lips. I recently had a conversation with the show’s Lead Makeup Artist, Dana Aricdy, who described in detail how to recreate the look.


When I asked Dana about the luminous skin she and her team created, she said they first started by prepping the models skin with Lolade’s Picture Perfect Primer. Dana says “Primer smoothes the skin’s surface and evens out skin tone. It also makes your makeup much more resilient, which is necessary for a fashion show.” Once the primer set, foundation from the Lolade Pro Finish Crème Foundation Palette was used to create a flawless complexion. “I prefer to use a crème foundation because they usually have better coverage. When applying foundation I feel the best results come from using 3 colors and blending them out. No one’s face is one flat color naturally so you should follow suit when using foundation. The first color I used was a base color, which is a color that is closest to the actual skin tone. The base color should be applied over the entire face to even out the skin and conceal blemishes. The second color I applied was a contour color, which is a color a few shades darker than the skin tone to add definition and shading. Last I used a highlight color, which is supposed to mimic where light naturally hits the face. I like to highlight the center of the forehead, the bridge of the nose, the top of the cheeks, and center of the chin. Once the foundation was all blended I set it with powder, and then used a shimmer lotion on the cheekbones.” says Arcidy


Dana said “LaQuan and I decided that we wanted the makeup to compliment the clothes without taking attention away from them. I used an Urban Decay color called Smog to smoke out the eyes. I chose the bronzed-brown color because it was cohesive with the metallics in the collection, and the color is universally flattering.  I used a technique called "foiling" – that basically means I wet the eyeshadow first before applying it. Foiling intensifies the color and gives it a lot more texture. The look was completed by applying false eyelashes and black liner to the lash line and waterline. “


As for the lips Arcidy says “We kept the lips super simple by using a high shine pink gloss by Lolade called Girl Stuff. The collection is for Spring 2014 and nothing says Spring better than glossy pink lips.”

I loved the makeup look for this show because I’m a sucker for some dewy skin; and although the eyes were bold they were still totally wearable for all of us non-models out there. LaQuan and Dana’s gorgeous work was featured in the New York Time and Elle Hong Kong – not too shabby!
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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

L'Oreal laLaque & leMatte Lip Colour Review

When I saw YouTube Beauty Guru LoveMelisaMichelle first impressions video on L'Oreal's newest lip product la Laque and le Matte, I knew I had to try them for myself.  Her surprised, shocked and excited reaction was exactly how I felt when I first tried these babies.  Packed with pigment with both shiny and velvet finishes that  glide on with ease.  They have the same smell as L'oreal's lipsticks but the taste isn't as strong.   Out of the eight shades available in the collection, I only purchased three.  At the time, the only other shades they had in stock were the nude and the brown shade and I don't normally gravitate to those colors first.  But, after seeing how the shades I did purchase perform, I'm curious to see how the other colors come across. 

Laquer-ized (412) was the shade I was most excited to try.  This bright lilac pink color is intense and only needs one go around to be opaque.  It gives off a great shine without gloss and does stain your lips a bit onces it has worn off but most highly pigmented lip colors do.  This is a perfect color for the spring and summer time but that won't stop me from wearing this shade at work through the fall and winter while dressed in all black.

She's So Matte (408) is the only matte shade I purchased.  This coral red is definitely matte so I suggest exfoliating and moisturizing your lips prior to application.  This has awesome staying power but I did notice a bit of cracking around the corners of my mouth through out the day.  I would like to try the brown shade for this fall/winter.

Never Laqueing (411) is the color I purchased after trying out the first two because a friend of mine was interested in trying a new lip product but wasn't sure she could take the plunge and go as bold as the other two.  I bought it to try out for her and I love it.  I am not normally a nude lip wearer but this is the perfect pink nude, especially for my skin tone.  
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