What's In My Makeup Bag

One of the things I am often asked about doing TV shows is "don't you love having other people do your hair and makeup?" *

Well, the reality is actually very different. Except for national shows, and a few local stations in cities like New York and L.A., guests are generally on their own when it comes to getting camera-ready.

Over the years, I have picked up a lot of tips and product recommendations from these pros. I'm also a huge fan of celebrity makeup artist Lisa Eldridge's tutorials, and always search her site when I'm looking for tips. 

Once I find a product I love, I am extremely loyal. But I'm always open to trying new things (otherwise, how would you find the star products?) and mixing things up a bit. And it's a bonus if the item is not a liquid or cream that has to be stuffed into a one-quart Ziploc bag to get through airport security.

Here are a few things that are always in my (overstuffed) makeup bag when I head to the airport:

  • Boots No7 Airbrush Away Primer - Love love love this stuff! It was previously known as "Photo Fix" - which explains why I love it for work. When I'm not on-camera, I sometimes just smooth this on over my moisturizer without wearing any foundation at all.
  • Laura Mercier Mineral Pressed Powder - The buildable coverage is great for those days when you need just a bit of extra help.
  • My eye makeup routine for TV is pretty extensive, and is best saved for another day. But two of my must-haves are Boots No7 Maximum Volume Mascara and Party Proof Liquid Liner from PIXEL Cosmetics, which is a newer discovery.  (Don't let the name fool you. I don't party all night - or at all, for that matter - but this liner's major staying power is a plus for long days out on media tour.)
  • I'm more likely to try out new lip colors than just about any other product, but you'll never find me spending much on them. Boots No7 High Shine Gloss - shown above - and PIXEL Lip Tints are some new favorites, and they each check in at less than $10.

Your turn - what are your makeup must-haves?



* Don't you hate it when a blog post opens by someone saying "people always ask me about such-and-such?" - when you read their blog and have never seen anyone ask anything of the sort? People actually do ask me about this - in person, not on this blog - so I decided a more realistic look behind-the-scenes of the TV world was in order.

My Favorite Drugstore Beauty Buys

In my work, I get tons of pitches for new beauty products, and have a great time trying out many of them.

My husband is very patient as a revolving assortment of new shampoos, moisturizers, body washes and other products take up space in our tiny Upper East Side bathroom.

It's always fun to make a new discovery that becomes part of my regular routine.  While a lot of the products I review are kind of pricy, the ones I tend to like the most are also the most affordable - and I can buy them at Duane Reade, Walgreens or CVS.

My approach to buying fashion and beauty products - and most other things, for that matter - is to live well below your means, whatever you're buying.  For basic, day-to-day beauty needs, I don't see the point in spending a lot when I can get the same or better results with affordable drugstore brands. 

No matter how many new things I try, there are a few basics I keep coming back to again and again.  Here are three that I use everyday - and they easily fit into my Ziploc bag for zipping through airport security:

Boots No7 Photo Fix Primer.  Also known as Airbrush Away if you're on the other side of the pond.  I discovered this when I started doing TV segments for Boots a few years ago, and don't think I have gone a day without it since!  For days I am not on TV, I sometimes use this without wearing any foundation.  It's also only about half the cost of my previous department store primer - so that's a double win in my book. (Photo courtesy of Boots).

L'Oreal Elnett Hairspray.   This is definitely on the pricier side of drugstore hair sprays, but to me, a fabulous hairspray is well worth the splurge (are my Southern roots showing?).  You often see hair stylists and fashion people using it, and for good reason.  The hold is super-strong - but I can't feel it on my hair and I can easily brush through it to restyle.  And happily, drugstores, Walmart and Target also stock the small size - which, in my opinion, is well worth the real estate it occupies in that little travel Ziploc bag. (Photo courtesy of L'Oreal).

Cetaphil Gentle Facial Cleanser.  Even when I try other cleansers, I keep coming back to this classic.  The travel-sized bottles are also handy, but since they tend to be expensive relative to the size, I just keep refilling my tiny empties with cleanser from the reasonably-priced larger bottles. (Photo courtesy of Cetaphil).

What are your favorite beauty products?   What pricier items are worth the splurge?

Gifts for Dad

Finding a Father’s Day gift can be a bit trickier than buying something for Mom.  While my mother might have hinted at gifts she wanted, my Dad does no such thing.

If you’re stumped for affordable and creative gift ideas, here are a few ideas I shared on behalf of several companies on recent TV segments.

  • Gourmet gifts are always a hit, and a Father’s Day Steaks & More combo from Omaha Steaks is ideal for the grillmaster.  With two T-bone steaks, two rib-eyes, four stuffed baked potatoes and four caramel apple tartlets, it makes a perfect Father’s Day feast.
  • For a Dad who loves to grill, personalize a heavy-duty set of stainless steel BBQ tools especially for him from Texas Irons.  The sturdy aluminum case can also be monogrammed with his initials.
  • Toast Dad with a bottle of Legacy Blend, Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay from Josh Cellars.  Created by winemaker Joseph Carr as a tribute his father, who was known as Josh, these high-quality California wines are just $13.99 to $14.99 a bottle.  To make it extra special for Dad, you can customize a free label at www.joshcellars.com.  Make sure you order by June 11 to receive it before Father’s Day.
  • For dads who are not “product” guys, a basic skin care regimen from Boots No7 Men is ideal.  Cleanse with the Energising Face Wash, followed by an Anti-Friction Shave Gel that recently received a MAXIM Best of Grooming Award.  The Protect & Perfect Intense Moisturiser with SPF15 hydrates and provides sun protection.  Just in time for Father's Day gifting, all products are 25 percent off at Walgreens and www.walgreens.com.  
  • Floral arrangements may not be traditional Father’s Day gifts, but the flowers in Teleflora’s 65 Ford Mustang and Weber Hot Off The Grill Bouquets are nestled into replica "vases" of iconic products that Dad will continue to enjoy long after the flowers are gone.
  • For a gift that keeps on giving, ask Dad or Grandpa to share their memories in a journal.  “Dad, Share Your Life with Me” and “Grandpa, Tell Me Your Memories ask the recipients to answer questions about their lives and family history, ensuring your family stories continue to be told for generations to come.


* Photos courtesy of Josh Cellars, Boots, Texas Irons, and Teleflora.

Something Special for Mom

From gorgeous flowers and festive wines to products to help her look and feel her best, it's easy to find affordable and creative gifts for the special Moms in your life. Here are few ideas I shared for several companies on my Mother's Day TV segments.



* Photos courtesy of Teleflora, Boots, ATTITUDE, Eppa Sangria, Yellow Tail, Miracle Links, POSH Chicago, and Shari's Berries.

The Eyes Have It

My name is Amy, and I am a mascara junkie.

With virtually invisible eyelashes, I rarely venture outside without several coats of the stuff.  I once showed up for a TV appearance without having yet applied any mascara, and my producer asked if I was ill!

For years, I bought the ubiquitous mascara in the pink and green tube.  While I tried more expensive ones, high-end designer mascaras always seemed to clump.  Besides, I can’t imagine spending $30 on mascara, no matter how much I love it.

But I recently discovered No7’s Maximum Volume Mascara, and am a convert.  It does not clump, even after several coats, and it makes my skimpy lashes look long and full.  It also stays on all day and night without any flaking.

Wearing three (or four...or more) coats of mascara requires eye makeup remover that does the job but is gentle on delicate skin around the eye.  Yes to Cucumbers Eye Makeup Removal Pads fit the bill, and since these pads are pre-moistened, they are convenient for travel.  That’s one less liquid to fit into a Ziploc bag during my frequent trips through airport security.  (Bonus: chill them for a relaxing treatment to reduce any puffiness around the eyes.)

Both cost less than $10 and are easy to find at Target, Walgreens and Drugstore.com. For more about these and other great drugstore beauty buys, check out my recent segment on the "Everyday" show on FOX Denver.


* Photos courtesy of Boots, Yes To, and Olay.