Made In My Shade: Giorgio Armani Maestro Fusion Makeup

Yes, I found a color that matches my skin tone, but before we get to that, I need a moment to geek out about the texture of this product. It is fantastic.

Giorgio Armani Maestro Fusion Makeup ($62), a foundation and skin perfector with SPF 15 and a mix of oils and pigments, is amazing because it completely disappears into the skin. Seriously, it’s like it becomes one with your face—you can’t feel it or see it once you blend it in.

The formula doesn’t contain any water, but it’s incredibly thin. In fact, it’s so lightweight that the bottle is topped off with a dropper instead of a regular cap or a pump. It seems strange at first, but the texture is so liquid-y that it makes sense.

The other ingredient that’s missing from Maestro Makeup is powder. And yet it gives a flawless matte finish. Hmmm…it’s all very mysterious and magical. Also, it took the company eight years to make it, so that might have something to do with how good it is.

OK, now let’s talk color. There are only three shades that are categorized as “dark,” but one of them, #11.5, works really well for me. Most women with a complexion similar to Naomi Campbell’s could wear it. But, I suspect that when my face gets lighter as we get deeper into winter, the makeup might start to look a teensy, tiny bit too red on me. But for now, I’m loving it.

I also tested the next lightest shade, #10, and I think it’s a good option for those with a Kerry Washington-colored complexion. I didn’t try out the deepest hue, #12, but I’m guessing it would be gorgeous on skin tones like Viola Davis’s. I wish the dark range were a little bigger so that more brown-skinned women could experience the makeup–it’s such a beautiful product. I like it even better than Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation ($59), which I mentioned as one of my favorites in a story I wrote for Glamour last year.

Have you tried Giorgio Armani Maestro Fusion Makeup yet? Thoughts? 

P.S. For more Made In My Shade posts, click here.

Three Ways To Rock Shaved Sides (Yes, It’s Doable In Real Life)

If you feel so inclined to give the shaved-on-one-side hair trend a whirl, here are a few ideas for the bold and the bashful.

1. Go All-Out. That’s exactly what 24-year-old Tiffany Mendez, who I spotted on the street, is doing with this hairstyle here. She’s so committed to her daring look, that she shaves her head every day. And can we talk about her awesome teal streak? She’s showing it off brilliantly with a side-swept braid. I like the mix of toughness and femininity she’s got going on.

2. Try One Close-Cropped Section. Rihanna’s version is still very rock n’ roll, but in a tamer way because her hair is only buzzed-off above her ear. I love this style on her, but I know I can’t get too attached–the woman is known for her constant hair switcheroos.

3. Fake It! Channel your inner bad girl (for a day) by copying the faux undercut style seen at the Tracy Reese Spring 2013 runway show. Hair pro Jeanie Syfu gave the models a shaved effect by creating a hidden, low cornrow braid on one side. So sneaky, yet so chic.

Are you into the shaved sides thing? Yay or nay? Personally, I love it.

BTW, I think Lil’ Kim-inspired hair and colorful Afros are pretty cool too!

What’s The Last Magazine You Bought Because Of The Cover?

When you’re facing a sea of glossies with the same old celebrities on the cover, pictured next to lines you’ve seen a gazillion times before (like “37 Ways To Get Amazing Abs!”), it’s hard to get inspired to plunk down $4 bucks for a mag. But there’s one new cover that did motivate me to reach into my wallet. Its…

…the December issue of Essence featuring Olympic gold medalist Gabrielle Douglas. I was obsessed, I mean OBSESSED, with her during the London games. How adorable does she look here? That smile! It’s like I can feel her happiness beaming at me through the cover. You got, me Gabby, you got me.

I have a shelf in my apartment where I display mags that I think are really special. You know, historical stuff like Michelle Obama on the cover of Vogue. Guess I better make a little room for Miss All-Around Champion and her million-dollar grin.

Have you been moved to buy any magazines lately? Don’t leave me in suspense!

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Raising The Cost Of Confidence, One Bar At A Time

An article in The Wall Street Journal last week reported that makeup bars—boutiques where women pay about $40 to get their faces dolled up by a professional makeup artist—are becoming a trend in big cities like Los Angeles and Atlanta. But it’s not just bridesmaids and homecoming dance attendees that are booking appointments at the shops. Women who want to look good for lower-profile events like business meetings, dates and parties are also getting in on the action. As the WSJ explained, “Women, more than ever, feel the need to be camera-ready at all times, thanks mainly to cellphone cameras.” So I wonder: Has the pressure to look perfect become so intense that an at-home makeup job doesn’t cut it anymore?

Don’t get me wrong, I believe in the power of makeup. Knowing you look your best can ease some of the anxiety that comes along with giving an important presentation or working the room at an intimidating industry event. But I’ve always thought primping for something other than a wedding or major night out could be accomplished simply by applying something extra—black eyeliner or a bright new lipstick, for example, rather than trekking to a beauty studio and paying someone to do it for you. What happened to flipping through a magazine for a new look to try and calling it a day?

What the growing makeup bar trend seems to suggest is that now it takes more—more time, more money and more help—to reach that damn-I-look-good, happy place. Social media outlets like Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr have convinced women that they too are brands—pseudo-celebrities who want to make sure that every photo that hits the internet is in line with their message. Even if it means shelling out a little extra dough for a flawless face.

Like the blow-dry bar junkies the New York Post wrote about recently, I worry that these next-generation makeup counters will create a new group of “addicts;” women who rely a little too much on pros to feel good about themselves in order to function in daily life.

True confidence doesn’t waver from D.I.Y. makeup or a bad hair day. And the best part? It doesn’t cost a dime.

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