Masks: Not Just For Winter

Fresh Rose Face Mask & Perricone MD Chloro Plasma

Am I the only one who feels like I only do face masks in the fall & winter? No? Cozying up on the couch with tea, and a luxurious clay-based, exfoliating, or super-moisturizing face mask feels like a mid-January evening, rather than activity for the sweltering heat of a New York City summer. That being said, while my skin may not be peeling from the winter chill, it still needs some love in the heat!

I’ve been using this little duo over the past few months, and they are just so pleasant in the heat. I’ve liked the Perricone MD Chloro Plasma mask for detoxing my skin after a few days of hard workouts or spending a lot of time outside. Sweat can clog pores, and this green wonder-mask helps prevent any issues from this! It’s clay based, but it feels much lighter than any of the charcoal-based ones I tend to reach for in the winter. It goes on light green, and activates to a darker green, and I just love it.

The real star, though, is the Fresh Rose Face Mask. I don’t love floral-scented things, so I have resisted joining the rose-product party that has started over the past year, but this may just render my conversion. It is a lightweight gel that you can apply almost like moisturizer. It has a slight rose scent, and a refreshing cooling-effect on the skin, making it feel clean and balanced afterward.

Neither one is particularly exfoliating, but since I do have a little bit of a summer tan, I haven’t wanted to over-exfoliate anyway. I do love them though and would highly recommend them to all skin types!

Do you use face masks in the summer months?

Summer Nail Polish Picks

So, I just got back from vacation with my family. I was absolutely not ready to get back to work after a week on an island (who ever is?), but somehow a little polish on my nails makes me feel a little more put together and a little more ready for Monday! Despite using sunscreen every day, I did still manage to get a little color on the beach. I spent quite a bit of time in a beach chair, drink in hand – not a bad way to spend a week!

Some nail polishes just look better with a tan. Essie’sGrenadine is one of them. It walks the line between bright red and neon coral, and just looks stunning on nails in the summer. If you can’t find Grenadine, Fifth Avenue Red is very similar. By way of nudes, Topless & Barefoot is one of my favorites. It has just the right balance of pink and brown for my skin tone, and it is totally opaque. I know, Blanc is a typical pick, but there’s nothing more fitting for summer than crisp white. It’s a little unexpected, but still office appropriate, which I like! The only downside to white nail polish in general is its propensity to show chips, so I tend to use this for a one or two day occasion and then take it off.

The formula on all of these definitely lives up to Essie’s standard – two coats for opacity – with the exception of Blanc, which may require three if you want super-true white.

What do y’all reach for in the summer?

Four Steps to Covering Dark Undereye Circles (+ Before & After)

How to Cover Dark Undereye CirclesHow to Cover Dark Undereye Circles

I have spent the better part of three years on the hunt for the best way to cover undereye circles, as I have unfortunately dark ones. I’ve tried 20+ different concealers, and I can finally say that I think I’ve found the perfect routine. The secret: a peachy corrector to counteract the purple tones, and a few thin layers rather than caking it on. You can see my undereye circles without makeup in the top left picture above. These photos are unedited so you can see the actual results, although you’ll have to pardon the lighting changes – darn cloudy weather.

Step 1: Put on your foundation. I used a beautyblender sponge to apply Revlon’s Colorstay Foundation for Combination/Oily Skin in the shade 150 Buff. This is my favorite drugstore foundation, and I like that it is pretty liquid-y – great for buffing out evenly. The top right picture is foundation only.

Step 2: Pat a peach/pink based corrector under your eye gently, using your ring finger. I love the Bobbi Brown Corrector in the shade Light Peach. Peach counteracts the purple in my skin. If you have cooler skin and bluer undereye circles, you may want to use one with a slightly less orange base – Bobbi Brown offers these in a range of “Bisque” shades for that as well.

Step 3: Set everything with a translucent powder. Since the corrector is pretty thick, it’s important to set it to ensure that you don’t have a creasing issue later in the day. I used the NARS Light Reflecting Setting Powder, but any will work. You can see the result of just the foundation and the corrector in the bottom left picture.

Step 4: Apply a brightening concealer under the eye and in the corner of the eye socket. Getting that inside corner is the most important part! Nothing brightens up the face like lightening that corner of the eye and nose. I like to buff the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in beneath my eye with a small, sort of fluffy concealer/highlight brush like the MUFE #144. It just lightens everything up, and it covers up any of the corrector that looks unusually orange on my skin. I usually set this part separately with translucent powder as well.

You can see the final result in the bottom right picture. Pretty good, right? What do you guys use for concealing undereye circles? I’m always up for new suggestions!

Five to Favor: May

Hanover & Pearl: May Favorites

I have to say that May has been a little bit of a boring month, and ultimately, all that I can remember doing this entire month is working! What a drag. An uninspired life is just not conducive to creativity, so I’m aiming to be a create a little of my own inspiration coming up in June.

I’m all over the board this month with products I haven’t been able to put down – a little hair, a little makeup, a little skin care – but I think the skincare product was my overall favorite this month. GlamGlow SuperMud is everything that everyone makes it out to be; a little harsh, but super effective. My skin just would not quit early in May, and two uses of this mask cleared everything right up. I don’t think I’ll be reaching for this regularly, but it is a great thing to have in your arsenal for those days that are just out of control.

As the weather gets warmer and more humid here in New York, my hair gets bigger and bigger. I got this One ‘n Only Cream-to-Serum Styler in an Allure Beauty Box last year, and I hadn’t even tried it until now. I just run it through my hair before I blow it dry, and I find that it’s fantastic at managing frizz without making your hair feel extremely full of product. I also picked up those adorable H&M Gold Bobby Pins at H&M this month, and I haven’t been able to stop using them. Nothing says “luxe” like unnecessarily cute hair pins.

Last but not least, I couldn’t pick five favorite products without including a few makeup bits. This Sephora Pro Airbrush #55 is my new go-to for foundation. While it does need a little help in the smaller parts of the face, I think it is worth it for how flawless the finish is when you use it. And this cream/powder duo from Tom Ford is so stunning. I have the shade “Naked Bronze,” which includes a glittery gold overlay and a rich bronze cream shadow. I’ve yet to wear this without receiving compliments and questions about what I put on my eyes.

So there you have it! What were your favorites in May?

Welcome to Hanover & Pearl

Hanover & Pearl

Oh hey, y’all. As you can see, M is for Melissa got a little makeover, in the form of a new name and an updated layout. I needed a little blogging refresh, and I was just never in love with or proud of the old name. I felt that it was slightly juvenile and not open-ended enough for where I want to take this blog. I picked this name for a few reasons: a) because I like the way it sounds, b) because it leaves the purpose open ended, c) because I was able to reconcile all social media handles (no body has time to remember which handles had an underscore and which didn’t!) and d) because it means a lot to me. They were the first cross streets I lived on when I moved to the crazy city I call home.

Although beauty will always be my bread & butter, I’m looking forward to expanding a little more into lifestyle, as I love to cook, and I think I would enjoy writing about life in the Big Apple. More imporantly, I hope it helps me interact with more readers and more bloggers from around the world.

If you have any questions, feel free to tweet me @HanoverAndPearl or email me at hanoverandpearl@gmail.com.

Stay Tuned…For the New Domain!

M is for Melissa is getting a face lift & a new name! I’ve never been in love with this particular name, so this entire website is moving to Hanover & Pearl! I’ll have more background on why I made the switch and what the name means to me once I’ve flipped everything over. Don’t worry, you don’t have to do anything at all; it will just be an automatic updated, but I wanted to let everyone know. x

Neutral Palette #13: Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette

Urban Decay Naked 3

Urban Decay Naked 3

Urban Decay Naked 3 Swatches

You know how some makeup just feels seasonal? Like an oxblood lip for winter, or an orange blush for summer? It is always around this time of year that I pull this rose-gold baby out of the drawer and start getting some use out of her. The apricot-y, peach tones in the Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette always scream spring to me.

The formula is obviously fantastic – the swatches above are just one swipe each. Every shade is super pigmented and blends out easily. I get a lot of use out of Dust, that fifth from the right shimmery pink-copper shade, as it is not easily duped in my collection. I also like Mugshot (shimmery taupe, third from right), and Blackheart (all the way to the right) is my favorite eyeshadow to use wet on an angled brush as an eyeliner, as the glitter in this deep plum looks stellar on the eyes. Plus, the packaging is gorgeous, sturdy, and it comes with a big mirror, making it an all-around high-quality palette.

That being said, this is one of my least used palettes. When I reach for mauves and purples, I use the Laura Mercier Artist Palette much more often. I find that I have to put quite a bit of thought into the rest of my makeup in order to keep these pink shades leaning toward super-flattering-new-neutral rather than go-home-you-have-pneumonia.  I think this palette is a must-have if you have green eyes because you can’t find a better range of shades to make green eyes pop, but if you have warm/golden/olive undertones, it can be a bit challenging to work with.

Do you have the Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette? What do you think?

New In: Beauty Products

New Adds: Beauty Products

I’ve picked up a few good beauty bits over the past few weeks that I wanted to share (what with the Sephora VIB Sale, and a promotion at work that gave me 40% off all cosmetics). I feel like my April makeup habits were all about the eyes, thanks in no small part to the majority of these purchases!

Those of you with a blogger’s eye will notice the Charlotte Tilbury Dolce Vita Palette palette right there in the center. I actually just received this from Beautylish (would highly recommend this website to any US readers), so it hasn’t seen much use yet, but the palette is worth it for that bottom left shade alone. I also picked up the recently re-released Laura Mercier Artist Palette from their Holiday 2013 collection – I love having a palette of mauve-y/purples! I don’t have any thing like it in my current collection.

From MAC, I picked up my first matte nude lipstick in the form of Viva Glam II, a pink-based, lighter nude that I find to be very flattering. And from the MAC is Beauty collection, I grabbed two Fluid Lines: Our Secret, a red-based medium brown with shimmer, and Brassy, a yellow-gold. I also picked up the MAC 266 Brush small angle brush to use with these, and so far so good.

Last but not least, I grabbed one of the Milani Gel Powder Eyeshadows in Bella Navy at my local Duane Reade, and while I’m not quite sure about the ‘gel’ part of the name, I’ve found it to be an excellent shade to pop in the crease when transitioning an eyeshadow look from day to night, and you don’t have time to do a full smokey eye.

What have you picked up lately?

On Display: The Prettiest Packaging

The Prettiest Packaging

While it would be silly to purchase products solely for their packaging (which, of course, I’ve never done…), there is a time and a place to admire a beautifully packaged bit of makeup. Who doesn’t want her dressing table to look luxurious and well-curated?

The Clarins Instant Light Lip Perfecting Gloss comes in a simple plastic tube with a gold cap, but the simplicity is the cutest part! I have three of these, actually (#addicted, I know), and they look great thrown together in a little glass jar with that Sephora + Pantone Color of the Year Marsala Metalshine Eyeliner in Marsala. Rose gold seems to be the color to have this year, and it just doesn’t get prettier than that metallic casing.

I couldn’t write this post without including the obvious: YSL Rouge Volupte Shine Lipstick. I have shade 13 Pink in Paris, and this gold packaging really is lovely. It isn’t quite my style, so I don’t actually have this sitting out, but it is so intricate and sweet that I couldn’t help but include it.

In the way of sleeker packaging, NARS nailed it with their NARS Audacious Lipsticks (I have the shade Audrey). Between the magnetic closure and the brushed metal case, it is the epitome of pure luxury. The YSL Fusion Ink Foundation packaging has a very similar feel, with the chic frosted glass and the logo gold cap.

And lastly, I had to throw in a piece from MAC’s Alluring Aquatics collection from last summer (still available on Amazon for absurd amounts of money). I have the Extra-Dimension Eyeshadow in Sea Worship, which was LE, but is being added to the permanent collection soon! This is, hands-down, the coolest packaging I’ve ever seen. In case you’ve never seen it, it’s a shiny aqua plastic with little beads on it that give it a very realistic just-drenched-with-water effect. I have to give it to MAC – they always nail it with their summer packaging.

What has been your favorite cosmetics packaging so far?

Spring Wardrobe Additions

Spring Wardrobe Additions

Inevitably, as the weather gets warmer, I get excited about updating my wardrobe! Since last spring, I switched careers – from a very professional office to a very creative one, so I’ve been having quite a bit of fun experimenting with new outfits at work! I’m a pretty discerning shopper though, and I typically don’t buy anything if I don’t have the instant urge to want to wear it, like, tomorrow.

I’ve added a few spring pieces recently that I’ve been loving, particularly that little Zara Mini City Office bag in a gorgeous muted blue. I actually purchased this on the spot in a Zara store (rather than researching it online) because it was just too cute. I’m still struggling with how to properly downsize from my normal large leather tote, but I love the idea of carrying a smaller bag. I also picked up those little D’Orsay flats from JustFab this season. My current flats assortment is quite pathetic, so an update was far overdue.

Anyone who has every been shopping with me knows how picky I am about blouses, so the fact that I purchased not one, but three new spring tops is just mind blowing. I’m extremely broad shouldered, so finding tops that are flattering on me can be a challenge. (Any busty, broad shouldered ladies in the house? You feel me, I’m sure.) The first find was that James Perse tee in a super-wearable medium blue (similar here). It fits like a dream, and I can see myself dressing that down with white jeans or up with a patterned skirt. That chambray linen peplum is another great spring blue; despite this shirts unending desire to be wrinkled (linen, grr), I kind of love it! The peplum is subtle, and the exposed zip in the back is a nice little detail. Lastly, I picked up that striped wrap top during a 50% off sale at Ann Taylor, and I couldn’t be more pleased with how flattering and easy this is to wear.

What have you been picking up for your spring wardrobe?

Theme by Blogmilk + Coded by Brandi Bernoskie