I have a thing for dark lipstick. It is a bit tricky and intimidating but that is why I love it. It’s dramatic. I would like to say that I wear it during the cooler months but to be honest, I like to be taboo and sport it in the warmer months as well. I love a deep, dark, berry stained pout. I love to feel vampy like Theda Bara’s image. I like to feel a bit “runway”. And frankly, I am a closet goth. This is my way of saying I’m OK with the cruel, cruel world.

Dark lipsticks and lip colors are so tricky because of skintone. However, I think that anybody can get away with it if you possess enough attitude. I don’t care if you are dark with gold undertones or ghostly pale with a visible vein road map. It works. It just takes some playing around and lots of confidence. Dark lips create a “harsh” look and you must be able to deal. It does show more imperfections. Lips must be smooth and healthy. Dark lipsticks will cling to dry spots resulting in an unattractive splotchy look. So keep lips moisturized. It is good for them anyways. I’m not going to create any other rules with the rest of the makeup when you wear darks. I like it with a perfectly matte face, sheer nude eyes with or without mascara. I like it with kohl rimmed eyes like Miss Bara’s. I like it with dewey cheeks or matte cheeks. It just doesn’t matter. Just make sure lips are moisturized.

For the Ballsy: I’m talking deep, dark, and dramatic. These colors are rarely for the meek. These are the colors for maximum drama. I’m talking you would wear black lipstick. None of this YSL glamour black gloss. I’m talking something like NYX Lipstick in Penelope, a rich angsty shock your Christian mother black. It retails for $3.50 so that you will even have enough money left to purchase black nail polish and a pentagram necklace 🙂 from Hot Topic. Lips need to be smooth. Coat this stuff on, a lip primer does help from keeping this stuff smooth. NYX also has a wonderful deep burgundy called Almost Black. It has a bit more depth than the straight up black stuff. I also like Egg Plant for a dark purple look. All retail for $3.50. MAC has a nice Lipstick in Cyber which is a black purple with a satin finish. It is a bit hard to work with because it has too much “slip”. It retails for $14. Make Up For Ever has a lovely glimmery navy lipstick in Pearly Blue Black and it retails for $19. I also like their Blueberry which is a deep berry. Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Black Cherry is a deep blood wine lipstick with a bit of sheen. It retails for $7.99.

For the Closet Goth: For a deep lip with a bit of color, try YSL Rouge Volupte Silky Sensual Lipstick in Forbidden Burgundy, a rich deep berry. Plus, the packaging will make you feel like a queen. As it should with its $34 price tag. One of my favorites is MAC Viva Glam III which is a matte deep plum. It is dark but it looks “classic” and not a bit like a purple crushed velvet cape. It retails for $14. Another one that is nice is the new Revlon Matte Collection Lipstick in Wine Not. It is a deep, classic matte wine that retails for $7.99. Max Factor Lipfinity 3D Maxwear Lipcolor in Violet Vamp is a nice medium wine with a purple shimmer topcoat that retails for $8.99 (no longer available in the US). Lipstick Queen Wine Sinner Lipstick is one of my favorite blackberry wine shades. It retails for $18. Also I love Chanel Creme Lipstick in Vamp which retails for $28.

For the Wusses: Go for something dark but really sheer. It makes you feel edgy without getting strange stares from your co-workers. I like Urban Decay Apocalypse which is a sheer blackberry in killer packaging. It has a soft vanilla fragrance and retails for $22. One of the best for this category is Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey. It’s so popular for its edge but wearable factor. It feels great on the lips and retails for $14. Black Radiance has a sheer deep-red  brown Radiant Lip Gloss in Mocha Madness. It retails for $2.99 and looks great over other colors to “deepen” them. A lip stain is always a way to get color without harshness. Try something like Urban Decay Lip Envy in Greedy which retails for $17. Lipstick Queen Big Bang Theory Lip Gloss in Black Hole is a lovely deep wine shimmer. It is buildable for more or less drama. It retails for $20. Or for the daring, wouldn’t you love to bust out a black lipstick during a board meeting or something? Try Lipstick Queen Black Tie Optional Lipstick for $18. It is super sheer, and yes black. It just adds a tiny bit of darkness.

My eye.

My eye.

I have blue eyes and khaki or olive eye makeup really doesn’t make them stand out but I do love the look because it works with my complexion and dyed red hair. I love olive eyeshadows are dark skintones and ladies with brown or hazel eyes. If you have a bit of violet in your eyes it will make them pop. Plus, khakis and olives look great on redheads including the au naturale redheads that I am so jealous of. It is stunning and easy. It can be applied like a “wash” and it looks wonderful. It makes a great smoky eye without using the much too harsh black that most people reach for. Some of my favorite olive shadows include the following:

Pick Your Own Singles: Cheaper-What I am wearing in the pic above is mark I-Mark Custom Pick Eyeshadow in Vintage Khaki. It is a deep khaki infused with tons of gold shimmer. It is long wearing even without a base and it retails for $4. The case is sold separately. More Expensive-I also like Prescriptives Colorscope Eye Color in Sage. It looks alot like the mark one. It retails for $14 and the case is sold separately.Both of these look nice paired with nude shimmers or golds as a base.

Shimmer Singles: Cheaper- I like L’Oreal Eyeshadow Single in Golden Olive which is a medium olive shade that retails for under $5. One of my all time favorites is Milani Powder Eyeshadow in Golden Bronze which is a green with pearly gold and it retails for under $4. I have went through many of these, have I mentioned they look great on redheads? Even the natural kind. More ExpensiveLorac has an Eyeshadow Single in Olive which is a nice medium olive shimmer that retails for $17. Another really nice one is MAC Eyeshadow in Greensmoke which is a deep dark olive shimmer that retails for $14.50. There is also Sumptous Olive which is nice but a bit more khaki and with less “green”. Lancome Color Design Eyeshadow in Designer is an awesome super shimmery olive with silver shimmer. It retails for $16.50. For a more brown but still green shimmer, Dior 1-Colour Mono Eyeshadow in Khakis is very shimmery and nice. It retails for $25.

Matte : Cheaper L’Oreal Wear Infinite Eye Shadow Duo in Forest is nice. It has a matte soft clover green and a matte medium olive. It retails for under $6. More Expensive– This is a bit of a matte, Lancome Color Design Eyeshadow in Dill. It is a deep olive with minimal gold shimmer. It retails for $16.50. Make Up For Ever has a matte olive in Olive Green 47 and it retails for $19. I find that there aren’t many matte shadows on the market in this shade. I must say that olives really do benefit from shimmer. It seems to add depth and keeps the eye area from looking too “dead”. I have all three mentioned above and I like them. They don’t make me look like a rotting zombie corpse.

Duo/Sets: CheaperL’Oreal Eye Shadow Quads in Landscape and Eva’s Violets have nice olives and other coordinating shades. These retail for under $7. Revlon 12 Hour Eyeshadow Quad in Spring Moss has a lovely khaki and three other nice greens. It retails for under $7.  More Expensive YSL 5 Colour Harmony for Eyes in Garden of Eden has a nice olive and four other great greens for $56. DuWop Smoke in Olive Branch makes a great olive smoky eye and retails for $28. It comes with a gel liner and shimmery eyeshadow.

Eyeliner: Cheaper Sephora Slim Eye Pencil in Olive is OK for the $5 price tag. I also like Covergirl Outlast Smoothwear All Day Eyeliner in Olive because it is so smooth. It retails for under $7. Another nice one is Avon Ultra Luxury Eye Liner in Khaki. It retails for $5 and creates a soft line.  More Expensive– MAC Powerpoint Eye Pencil in Forever Green which is an olive shimmer that retails for $14.50. It has a really smooth formula and wears for hours! One of my favorite liners ever is the one I am wearing in the pic above. It is Lancome Artliner in Starshower. As you can see, it is an olive that is so dark that it is almost black with lots of gold shimmer. It retails for $28 and looks awesome just worn alone. It is way more fun than your basic black and it is much more flattering for hazel eyes. Black can be too harsh on most skintones as well and it can be aging! I also like Dior Waterproof Crayon Eyeliner in Iridescent Khaki. It is very long wearing and retails for $26 and comes with its own sharpener.

Cheap Secret:

I’ve tried quite a few of these Revlon Illuminance Creme Eye Shadow kits. I really like them. That’s why I have so many. They wear nicely as a shadow base and create a lot of depth. They come in a wide range of colors and come in both mattes and shimmers. I’ve went through two of the Moonlit Jewels because they make for an awesome liner kit. These cream shadows are all super shimmery. They aren’t greasy and they usually stay in place. I need to add that I do not have an issue with oily lids or anything, so these do not travel. I do not know what they would do on oily lids. I take a thin liner brush from the art store, coat it with this cream and then line. It is so easy to use. It doesn’t “set” so you can create any kind of line you want. I really recommend this for “beginners”. You have a lot of control with this product. Moonlit Jewels comes in a medium shimmery brown that looks great for adding “light” around the eye. The other three shades make for an awesome cat eye or even used as a smoky eye if used with an angled liner brush. The other shades are a rich navy shimmer, emerald forest green shimmer, and a perfect warm brown shimmer. These also make a great base up to the lid if you want to layer with a dark color for a smoky look. And these things are great because you can pick them up at any drugstore or super market for under $8.

Smeared on my hand.

Smeared on my hand.

I love Tura Satana. She is the reason for my haircut. She is one of my favorite style icons. She is one lovely bad-ass, the queen of the 60s B-films. One thing that Tura rocked other than ass kicking moves, the perfect body, blunt bangs, and an amazing attitude, was the heavy black liner. Every time I use a heavy hand with black liner, I think of Miss Satana’s oh so delicious evil look.

There are a ton of black liner formulas on the market. They all have a time and a place. I love khol and pencils for smudging and gel and liquid for that harsh unmovable cat eye.

Swivel Sticks/Retractable: Swivel type liners are so easy to use. You don’t even have to sharpen these babies. They usually wear longer than most pencil liners and they come in unmovable waterproof formulas. It produces a precise line. My favorite budget one is Avon Glimmerstick in Blackest Black. This one goes for $6 and usually is on sale for much less. My more expensive choice is Lancome Le Stylo Waterproof in Noir. This one sells for $23.50. Other notable pencils include: mark Eyemarker Color On Line in Jet for $5.50 and MAC makes a very nice one for about $14.

Wooden Kind/Sharpen: These are a much softer formula that can be smudged for a khol rimmed effect. These need sharpened and can create either a paper thin line or a fatter line that looks wonderful with shadow layered over it. My favorite budget one is Jordana Eyeliner in Black. It sells for .69¢. I was seriously surprised by this product. The quality is actually really good. The more expensive one that I prefer is the MAC Eye Pencil in Ebony which retails for $13. The other note worthy liners in this category include: Estee Lauder’s Artist Pencil in Softsmudge Black for  $18.50, L’Oreal Le Kohl Pencil for $8,and NYX Long Pencil in Black for $2.

Long Wearing Sharpening Kind: These are usually budge proof and set within 30 seconds. They are easy to use like the retractable liner but these have the benefit of creating a thin or thick line just like the softer wooden types. The budget one that I prefer is Sephora Flashy Liner in Black for $8 . I really love the Urban Decay 24/7 Glide Eye Pencil in Zero. It is very long wearing. It retails for $16. Other notable ones include: Dior Waterproof Crayon Liner in Trinidad Black for $25, Prescriptives Moonbeam Eyeliner in Reflective Black for $17.50,

Cake Eyeliner: These are solid powders that when mixed with water create a matte (typically) long wearing, crisp line. Just wet a liner brush of your choice and swipe of the powder. I love this stuff because it is really classic. Plus I love my art store liner brush so much. It just works for me. I love Clinique Water-Resistant Eyeliner in Natural Black and it is the cheaper option at $14.50. My more expensive fave is Laura Mercier Caviar Eyeliner in Midnight Caviar which goes for $22. Others that are nice: NVY ECO Organic Cake Liner in Black which is $24, Elizabeth Arden Dual Perfection Brow Shaper & Eye Liner in Black for $18, or wet NYX Single Eyeshadow in Black for $5

Liquid Liner: Liquid liners are long wearing and create a very crisp line. It is that classic cateye look. These come with fine brush tip applicators and pointed sponge tip applicators. The handles vary so this is a matter of preference for what works best for you. Personally I like the sponge tip kind. I can create a more even line, either fatter or thinner. My favorite budget sponge tip liner is L’Oreal Telescopic Precision Eyeliner in Carbon Black which goes for about $9. My more expensive favorite sponge tip applicator is Lancome Artliner in Noir which retails for $28. (L’Oreal’s is almost identical to Lancome’s for much less.) The budget brush type that I like is NYX Liquid Liner in Black for $5.  The brush type I like is Clinique Eye Defining Liquid Liner in Black for $14.50.  Honorable mentions: Almay Liquid Line in Black for $7.50, MAC Liquid Liner in Boot Black for $16.50, Estee Lauder Double Wear Liquid Liner for $19.50, Covergirl Line Exact Liquid Liner Pen in Black for $6.50, and Manic Panic Dreamliner in Raven for $9.50.

Gel Liners: Gel liners are pretty fool proof and look more natural than liquid liners. They are long wearing and don’t take too long to dry so you don’t have to worry about smudging. However, these can be smudged right after application for a soft look. I like these too because you can choose which brush you like. Some people like stiff slanted brushes and others like softer, narrow brushes. L’Oreal HIP Cream Eyeshadow  Color Truth in Black for $12 is nice but for $3 more I really love  MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack for $15. Other nice ones include: Cat Cosmetics Gel Liner in Tomcat for $18, Smashbox Jet Set Waterproof Liner in Midnight Black for $22, and Bobbi Brown Long Wearing Gel Liner in Black Ink for $21

Cream Eyeshadow used as liner: These aren’t as smudge resistant or long lasting but they do define the top and bottom lashes nicely. You can smudge with a smudger brush or line with a brush. You can use your fingertips too for a messy look. These are nice for beginners because you have more control and it is easier to remove mistakes. A nice cheap option are the darkest shades in Revlon Illuminance Creme Shadow in Precious Metals or Twilight for $6.50.My more espensive choice is Dior Diorshow Eyeshadow in Glam & Glitz Black for $30. Other nice ones: NARS Cream Eyeshadow in Zardoz for $21,

I also love Guerlain Terracotta Loose Powder Kohl Liner for $33. It is a loose, OK, a messy powder I admit, with a pointed plastic stick for an applicator. It looks very raw an wild and has such a seductive dagger as packaging. I’m sold. Rimmel has the Smokin’ Kohl Eye Shadow in Black for $7 in way less glamorous packaging if that matters to you. I also noticed that L’Oreal HIP has launched a khol dagger also, but I am unsure of the price.

It’s difficult to discuss all the black liners out there but these are a few that I have used and really liked. Each have their own persoality and look. So try your each formula so you can find your own unique black liner look.

For some reason I fall for all of Benefit’s gimmicks. I know that I can get the same result from a different product (AKA cheaper product). I love a highlighted brow bone. You know that drag queen lifted high to the sky brow bone? Love it. This pencil claims to add an instant brow lift. It does highlight nicely and is easy to use. It does what alot of slightly pearly powder eyeshadows do. This pencil is a super pale pink. It looks nice on my light skintone but I really don’t think the color is for everyone. I really don’t think it is for alot of people. With my experience as a makeup artist I wouldn’t use this on like 80% of my clients. My darker clients would benefit more from a pearly golden champagne powder. Anyways, you take this pencil and line under your brows and blend and it is supposed to lift. The lady at the counter tried to tell me that it helps cover up stray, unruly brows between waxing. Yeah, whatever. If your philosophy is to cake your hair follicles with tons of pigment to disguise a stray hair rather than pluck it, then that would work. It doesn’t do that. In fact the lighter shade makes strays more noticeable if you have dark hair like I do. It’s an OK product and the color works for me but it is something to definitely try before buying. It retails for $20 and I’ve used loose face powders that created the same results as this when swept and blended right under the brow bone.

And who doesn’t? I adore the look but look God awful with it. I mean I make the worst blonde ever. Not my style anyways. However, I would love to emulate Jayne’s lovely makeup look. First start with a dewy foundation and concealer if needed such as Stila Illuminating Liquid Foundation and Stila Illuminating Concealer. Dust skin with a lightweight loose powder such as Stila Hydrating Foundation Powder. Geez, I love a glowing complexion. Brush brows into place with a tinted brow gel such as Stila Brow Polish in your shade. You can go way deeper than your “natural” hair color just like Jayne did. Eyes are nude but still really sexy. Dust the entire lid with a nude colored shadow such as Stila Eyeshadow Pan in Bouquet. Blend a little bit darker shade into the crease such as Stila Eyeshadow Pan in Dune which is a nude beige. Line eyes with black liquid liner, creating a “cateye” look. Use a black liquid liner such as Stila Liquid Eyeliner in Black. Apply false lashes for the most dramatic look or coat lashes with tons of black mascara. Now to the cheeks. Lightly dust a healthy pink onto the apples. Use a color like Stila Cheek Color Pan in Rose. I’m never too shimmery. Take a large eyeshadow brush and give a swipe of Stila All Over Shimmer Powder over the cheekbones, brow bones and down the nose. Talk about looking amazing in photos, this stuff will do the trick. Next to the luscious lips, I love this purpley shade. I had a color just like this made by Sephora which is sadly discontinued. You can still get this color. Line lips with Stila Lip Pencil in Contour 9. Apply Stila Lipstick in Sonya which is a vivid berry cream. Add some lip gloss for luscious shine, like Stila Lip Glaze in Pomegranate which is a shimmery purple. Take a brow or eye liner pencil to fake a beauty mark if you must, try something like Stila Kajal Eye Liner in Tiger’s Eye. Finish with a lush fragrance like Stella by Stella McCartney. It’s vintagey but updated like this look.

I love lip stains. They look fresh natural and just like you’ve had a glass wine sans the headache. I like to wear them alone or with gloss or under my deeper lipstick shades to make them last longer. They are very easy to wear. You just fill in your lips and go. They are meant to be you lip shade but better. Just remember to wash your fingers if you use them with finger tips. You don’t want those berry stained. There are a ton on the market and I am going to review a few that I have used or use.

Benefit Benetint: This is the rose scented and rose colored liquid that I use on my cheeks frequently. I have used it as a lip stain many times before. Let me just say I do not love it as a lip stain. It is too liquidy and will run into fine lines around the lips. I am 24 years old and this should be the least of my worries when applying makeup. I can’t get this stain to apply evenly and it will appear darker in lines on the lips. Plus it is too rosy tasting for my liking. The Benetint Lip Balm is not much better. It is a balm/gloss infused with Benetint. I find it messy and runny too. Benetint sells for $28.

Vincent Longo Lip & Cheek Gel Stain: This stuff comes in a lip gloss like container with a sponge doe foot applicator making it easier to apply to the lips. It has a thicker texture (gel) and doesn’t run like Benetint. It stays put and comes in numerous shades from deep burgundy to brown. Personally, I like Apollonia which is a deep plum that really adds a wonderful berry stain and I like My Sunshine which is  a deep warm red. I find that this stuff works great as a lip and cheek stain. Sells for $22.50.

NARS Lip Stain Gloss: I love the shades in these because they are more red and more my speed. This has a sponge tip applicator and looks like the other tubes of NARS lip gloss. Some of these have shimmer. These are pretty moisturizing and take a bit longer to dry but they are easy to use. I love the shades Indian Red (bright classic red), Daredevil ( a deeper classic red) and Victoire ( a plum brown). These sell for $24. There are also duo sets available where one end is the stain and the other is a gloss.

Urban Decay Lip Envy: This stuff comes in a cute container with a sponge applicator. It has a vanilla scent which is yummy and dries fairly quickly which I think is a plus in this case. I like Greedy the best which is a deep wine stained merlot.These sell for $17.

LORAC Sheer Wash Travel Size Sheer Wash: This formula comes in a gloss container with a roller ball tip. It is very liquidy and I think hard to use on the lips. Plus, I remember it smelling metallic or perfumey or something that I didn’t like. I could be wrong. It was a while back. Since it is so liquidy it has all the problems of the Benetint that I described above. These go for $19.

Estee Lauder Double Wear Lip Stain Duo: This is a duo lip stain where one end is a stain and the other is a clear gloss. I like the fragrance and the texture of these. Cherry Stain is a bright sheer red that looks really fresh. It sells for $20.

Victoria’s Secret Very Sexy Makeup Lip Stain: OK I hate Victoria’s Secret for a multitude of reasons. Mainly because one of their bras was so poorly constructed that on the initial wear the underwire poked through and stabbed my boob viciously, but anyways… This stuff comes in a felt tip marker package like the Stila and the shades range from brown to red, all with names that are trying to be sexy but come across as cheap. The formula is pretty nice and wears a long time. The packaging is portable and easy to use. I like the shades Unzipped which is a berry plum and Muse which is a soft rose. Retails for $12 and may or may not stab your boob viciously.

I’ve tried a few more and I don’t think they exist anymore. I had one from L’Oreal, LancĂ´me, and Borghese and those were nice. And Avon had one that was tasted like metal. I know they are plenty more on the market to try: ModelCo, TheBalm, Sephora Brand, Revlon, heck even American Eagle have one. Definitely try one but if you plan on using them on the lips I’d stick to a gel or a formula that is in a “pen”.

The cosmetics world knows that some of us are not ready to let go of summer even though the temps are still high in most areas, so they’ve equipped us with a few new bronzer kits. First off, I am not a huge bronzer fan but it does have a time and a place. It’s not a staple for me like it is for some people but I do use it occasionally. I find that most people do not use it because they haven’t found that special product for themselves yet. Bronzer is not meant to look orange or leave a line. My favorite is Nars Laguna and is looks amazing and natural on me. Sephora offers a great kit which I am almost out of and need a new one. It’s the Nars Blush/Bronzer duo. I use the one in Orgasm/Laguna which contains both of Nars cult favorite classics in one compact. There is another for deeper skintones in Sin/Casino. It retails for $37. Occasionally, I use this compact as an eyeshadow and it looks wonderful.

Too Faced is offering a new limited edition bronzing compact which is The Bronzed and The Beautiful. I love shimmer so I find these bronzers lovely. But beware, they are very shimmery. The compact contains three bronzers and a “flatbuki” brush. I could care less about the brush, please stick to a big fluffy brush. The kit contains Snow Bunny which the company calls their winter shade and which I call perfect for lighter skin tones. There is the Pink Leopard bronzer which is mainly a warm shimmer powder in my opinion. And finally there is the Sun Bunny shade which is a dual shimmery classic bronze. It retails for $35.

Sugar Cosmetics offers a new Beauty School Bronzing Kit which contains four bronzed minis. It has a Sugar Cream Concealer Compact that is a medium shade, Tropic Tan bronzer which is a shimmery true bronze, a mini bronzer brush that is the perfect size for the compacts and a mini Cell Phone Charm Lip Gloss in a medium bronze shade. It retails for $28 and is the perfect travel size.

Pop Beauty offers Bronze Belle which is a compact that offers eight very wearable bronzer shades that can be used anywhere and is very versatile. I like this compact because it can be used any time of the year because it offers a variety of shades that will adjust to your skintone as the seasons change. It retails for $28. It is a great kit for contouring.

Cat Cosmetics has a bronzer trio which is the Ultimate Bronzing Kit. It contains a bronzer powder in DandyLion II which is a rich warm bronze, cult classic bronzer in Catnip which is a golden brown sans orange, and a creme blush in Beach Cheeks which is a super sheer warm peachy pink. Kit retails for $28 and you can create any face type of face kit on the website.

Elizabeth Arden offers a Bronzing Beauty Kit for Face and Eyes. It is in a lovely compact that includes a mirror. It has a blush/bronzer duo in a very wearable shade (Beach Bronze and Pink Sand) and four beachy inspired eyeshadow shades in Beach, Party, Sun and Bronze. It also contains a useless brush. Retails for $35.

Tarte has the Infinite Glow Palette which contains the awesome Park Avenue Princess Mineral Bronzing Powder which melts into the skin (it’s pretty shimmery so if you want matte this isn’t for you). It has Gel Cheek Stain in Tipsy which is a shimmery coral with a yummy scent and a 24/7 Lip Sheer in May Flowers which is a natural pink shade in a lip loving formula. It is in a bronzed compact and retails for $30.

Fresh has an Island Reverie Face Palette which is in a beautiful pink and coral compact. It contains three mineral based eye shadows in  a sheer champagne, creamy pink and rich, deep bronze. It has a soft coral blush and a lovely bronzer that leans to the light side. This is a must have compact for blondes in my opinion.Retails for $55.

Duwop, the kings of multi-taskers, have Bronzerush which is a bronzer/blush kit that contains a powder bronzer and sheer gel based blush. There are two shades: August a golden bronzer with a cherry blush and June a golden tan with a sheer poppy red blush. Retails for $35.

Sonia Kashuk (available at Target) has a bronzer/blush duo that is perfect for drier skins. It’s the Creme Bronzer/Blush Duo in Golden creme that offers a creamy golden bronzer and a creamy pinky peach blush. It retails for $8.99. A little goes a long way and this item gets awesome reviews from buyers.

Of course they are a billion more kits if you look hard enough that contains eyeshadows and even mascara (Cargo, Smashbox) but I feel these are the most travel worthy sets.

Many bronzers are super shimmery to add light to the face and prevent the formula from looking “mucky”. I find that if I want a matte formula that looks very natural, use a sheer pressed powder foundation in a darker warmer shade. I use Revlon New Complexion One Step in Natural Beige which is a few shades darker than my skintone. I brush it one with a bronzer blush such as Sephora’s. It looks warm and lovely. Retails for $11.49. If you have drier skin, a nice option is to use a tinted moisturizer in a shade darker than usual. For example go from medium to dark. I use Lancome Bienfait Multi-Vital Tinted Moisturizer which retails for $44. It is perfect for hot summer days.

More tips: I apply cream and powder bronzers in the same places, where the sun hits: cheek bones, nose and lightly on the forehead. Blend and you’re set. A big fluffy brush is a must when using powder bronzers, I prefer Sephora’s Bronzer Brush. Sometimes I bronze my neck and chest when I feel I am looking a bit sallow. I prefer a subtle but shimmery powder. It makes the skin look fresh and younger. I really like Tarte Mineral Bronzing Powder for this.