Yuletide Jollification

Winter Wolf FairyOriginally the name Giuli signified a sixty day tide beginning at the lunar midwinter of the late Scandinavian Norse and West Germanic tribes.  The arrival of Juletid thus came to refer to the midwinter celebrations.  By the late Viking Age, the Yule celebrations came to specify a great solstitial Midwinter festival that amalgamated the traditions of various midwinter celebrations across Europe.  Eastern Slavs worshipped Rozhanista in 12th century Russia as their mother winter goddess, offering bloodless sacrifices such as honey, bread and cheese.  In late December, brightly colored winter embroideries were made depicting the horned goddess in honor of the Feast, while white deer shaped cookies were given as lucky gifts.  December 13th is Lussi Night, supposedly the longest night of the year.  The Feast was celebrated by ancient Swedish, Scandinavian Lutheran and Eastern Orthodox before being appropriated by Catholics in the 16th century to become Saint Lucy’s Day.  Some folklore in Sweden had people, particularly children, that if they failed to carry out their chores, the Lussi [a female demon] would come to punish them.  [Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_solstice]

No matter how one chooses to ceremonialize the holiday this month, it can be agreed that the atmosphere is one of excited anticipation swept up in cups of hot tea or chocolate while fantasizing about blankets of sparkling white snow.  We find a comforting familiarity in the spirit of caring and sharing that drives us to annually repeat the tradition as it continually evolves, adapting practices to fit our tastes and aesthetics.  Certain themes remain prominent in various celebrations around the world, but there is no absolute in terms of creating an atmosphere of merriment that is limited only by imagination.  Whether one is gathered together with family, friends or forced to participate in some ancient ritual with relatives that you only see for that occasion, there are certainly wish lists that humbly implore fulfillment.

There is an assured delight that comes when an individual unwraps their first makeup kit, as it acknowledges the trust from parental units and marks a significant stage in life.  Once lipsticks were like crayons, beautifully colored with a smooth textures that easily glides across many surfaces.  Playing dress up is not always appreciated, especially since what is perceived as pretty toys someone spent a lot of money on to be destroyed in the hands of a child who was just satiating curiosity.  For the first time you are now in control of these tools, though much experimentation and practice must be executed because we are not born with perfect application skills.  Sure, the makeup most likely was purchased at the drug store or some retail chain, but it is undoubtedly yours to wear as desired.

Having said all of that, as an adult who views makeup as another artistic medium and making no claims of being a professional, there are plenty of choices to fulfill the needs of every budget.  The trend of wearing white, silver, blue and enough sparkles to rival the ball dropped in Times Square in recognition of the New Year is as out-played as clever holiday puns illustrated on greeting cards that are filled with gift certificates.  Instead, this guide will focus on four well-known brands punctuated with bold colors and a softer, subtle sheen for that enchanting fireside glow, with a bonus featuring tips on how to keep skin moisturized and ways to pamper oneself with bath products that are appropriate for the season.

M-A-C

Glitter & Ice

M-A-C’s 2011 Holiday Collection is inspired by Olympic skater JoHnny Weir with emphasis on glitter and glamour, suitable for anyone who wants to feel like they are basking in the glow of a spotlight.  Starting off with the Paint Pot, a product which offers creamy application and smooth shine, seen here in For Effect, which is a simple black with a pearl shimmer.  The Mineralize Eye Shadow is a winterscape of cool shades that range from powerful frosts to high impact color; Winterized is a dirty purple with silver, indigo and pink malange.  For superior pressed powder that is cool, frosted, soft and shimmering, try M-A-C’s Beauty Powder in this frosty pink beige aptly named Snowglobe or How Beautiful, which is a pale shimmering taupe.  The Technakohl Liner brings high-style glamour to eyeliner in six sensational shades to line or blend with other products, including Seasonally Spicy which is a lovely brown with pearl.  M-A-C’s lipsticks for the season boasts six championship colors such as Eloquent Air [a shimmering sheer white silver], with an equal amount of new Dazzleglass lip glosses that are glamorous multi-shades of shimmering pearls, seen here in Pleasure Principle [clear winter violet, teal and white pearl].  Compliment your festive face with three limited-edition Nail Laquer colors such as the true bright red Get Noticed, which I personally feel would look fabulous on a vintage manicure and is a fun way to spice up your holiday attire.  Swipe on a few coats of Opulash, M-A-C’s state-of-the-art mascara in a new formula saturated with intense black and extra-volumising curl delivered to each lash by a bodacious brush [not pictured], and complete the carefully crafted look with a pair of M-A-C 7 Lashes, which have been shaped and arranged to give a striking effect to any eyes.

6 Snowglobe Eye Shadows/CoolFor products that are less flashy but still deliver a bold impact of color, Ice Parade offers a collection of eye shadows, exclusive ready to go face kits and a line up of essential for any retrofuturistic snow queen.  The trio of Snow Globe shadows presents three palettes in Cool, Warm and Sultry, each with six frosty shades suitable for any fun festivity one might be attending.  As a bonus, the compact double as a charming snow globe!  Fabulous Festive Face Kits are a limited edition product that comes in Winter Cool or Warm.  Packed into MAC’s iconic clear bag, each kit contains a Brow/Eye shadow/Blush compact that is dual-layered, three glitter-handled brushes and a coordinating Lipglass.  The Iced Delights Eye Bag – available in Silver, Pearl and Gold – is another limited edition filled with items that correspond in color to the bag’s given name, which include a duo eye shadow, eye liner, mascara and applicator brush.  Similar in concept is the Iced Delights Lip Bag – available in Winter Cool, Sultry and Rocking – contains three products needed for a high-fashion lip: stick, gloss and liner.  There is even a pair of Iced Delights Nail & Lip bags in Rocking and Pure Drama that are compositions of a lipstick, Lipglass and promo-sized nail laquer which leaves all the guess work out of matching statement colors.  Make It Perfect is a mini collection of brush kits that make it easy to have a professional level stash of fundamental brushes that includes special editions and key mineral brushes.

If one really wanted to turn up the volume on glamour, than a bit of spoiling via the Gareth Pugh For M-A-C collection is in order.  Products include limited editions in a variety of products: Pigment, Metal X Cream Shadow, Flight Lash, Studio Fix Bold Black Lash, Technakohl Liner, Lipstick, Lipglass, Powder Blush, Beauty Powder, Nail Lacquer, square-handled Buffer Brush and an elegant Makeup Bag that is less flamboyant than their Iced Delights counterparts.  Wearing this makeup might no transform you into a supermodel, but they will definitely be a punctuation of whatever statement you are making with your presentation of Self this holiday.

NARS

Holiday Color Collection

The Multiple is a product which features a cutting-edge creamy formula that blends efficiently into eyes, lips and cheeks; seen here in G-Spot, a rich gold-infused rose .  Arabian Nights presents a trio of compatible color combinations of micro-fine powders that are highly pigmented in black with red pearls, black with purple pearls and black with gun-metal shimmer.  Joyous Red is a contemporary semi-matte lipstick that provides full-bodied, velvety color in a highly pigmented, non-drying formula and is a stunning amber red.  Highlighting Bush features illuminating powders that give the skin a light-reflecting luminous glow, seen here in Miss Liberty which is a soft shimmering peach.  Duo Eye Shadows  are a stylish product with astonishing micro-fine powders that are highly pigmented, long wearing and crease resistant, represented here by Mandchourie, a golden-infused denim and rich navy.  Creamy Eye Shadows are Graphic powders that blend easily, offering a range of suggestive color to deep concentration, such as Ponderosa, an opulent mink color.  Long-Wear Eyeliner brings a domestic product to the next degree with savory yet soft color that coasts across lids evenly with no smearing and no caking for up to twelve hours of wear.  The striking shades are named for the most well-known streets in the world such as Champo De Fior [antique brass] and St. Marks Place [bright violet].  Influenced by NARS’ signature Highlighting Blush, Albatross Lip Gloss gives lips a high-gloss, golden shine.  Leading-edge and time-honored NARS nail polish shades announce remarkable brilliance and increased holding power with UV protection to prevent discoloration, shown here in Endless Night [black gloss] and Space Odyssey [aluminum].

Hanamichi Eyeshadow PaletteTopping the list of other products NARS lists as suggestions for gifts is the beautiful Modern Kabuki Holiday collection, which upon sight is obviously influenced by the costumes and makeup of the kabuki theater.  The Kuroko Mini Nail Polish Set charmingly offers four inspired hues in high-gloss formulas with a durable finish.  The expressive kabuki eye is depicted by the Hanamichi Eye Shadow Palette, in prevalent, majestic high-impact shadows immersed with color.  The striking allure of the Kudoki Kabuki Lip Set is named for the elegant and dainty dance of kabuki theater, presented by a trio of intense shades in a keepsake wooden bento box to truly cherish this limited edition.  The Mie Mini Soft Touch Shadow Pencil Set is a fresh take on the kabuki eye with dynamically magnetic color with pencils that apply fluidly and are easily blended.  The Yorokobi Kabuki Super-Orgasm Set is a collection that emphasizes pink-pearlescent flecked with gold for a lustrous brilliance that can be applied to lips, cheeks and nails.  The final piece of this collection is the Nagauta Kabuki Brush Set, an extravagant limited edition assortment of multipurpose matte black brushes that come in a polished box much like the Lip Set.

There are also a variety of Artist Palettes available, the intriguing Makeup Your Mind: Express Yourself series of makeup groupings that coincide with a published photo project that examines different aspects of beauty and a selection of gift sets featuring five exclusive assortments.

TOO-FACED

Only In Your Dreams

Dedicated followers of Too-Faced know that their holiday collections are presented in aesthetically pleased packaging, and this year’s anthology is certainly no exception.  Dreams Come True is comprised of astounding products that features the limited edition In Your Dreams fifteen-piece face palette trio with flattering shadows such as Pink Peacock [pale pink], Swing [plum brown], Fishnet [silver black] and Full Moon [silver]; Girly Show is a cool mauve blush and Heart On is a smooth pink velvet for the lips, and it all comes with illustrated step-by-step face charts.  Lash Injection Mascara builds a seductive false lash effect and is waterproof, while Shadow Insurance Primer keep eye shadows where they belong for the whole day while preventing fading and creasing.  All of this is contained in the Angelic Beauty Bag, which is delightfully designed and has numerous uses.

Glamour To Go – Dream Edition is a fanciful pocket-sized beauty palette filled with a  marvelous collection for the lips, face and eyes with dainty vintage-inspired products such as mutli-functional eye  shadows, lip gloss, bronzer and blush.  Stunning Shadows come in eight alluring shades in an ideal mixture of textures.  With a brush of Flawless and Flushed, one gains  immediate luster from the golden bronzer or an ethereal glow from the sheer coral blush.  The ideal aesthetic for lips this winter can be achieved with Glamorously Glossed, and the bright pink lip gloss is appropriate everyday wear.  Finally, the size of this palette allows one to easily stash it in a purse or suitcase, as the wealth of products are what every discerning makeup maven needs for any holiday situation.

Beautiful Dreamer is an exclusive eye shadow quad composed of Teddy Bear, Blonde Ambition, Totally Toasted and Satin Sheet, as well as a blush and bronzer combination with Who’s Your Poppy Full Bloom Blush and Sun Bunny Bronzer Light, with a limited edition Pink Swan lip gloss, Shadow Insurance primer in a sheer gold called Candlelight, and LashGASM black mascara that boasts “It is thte size of your lashes that matter“.  Everything comes in a cute pink bag with swans, roses and the company name printed on it.

URBAN DECAY

While the only one of the four companies highlighted here that doesn’t have a specific theme, Urban Decay certainly delivers a bounty of festive merchandise that anyone would be excited to find stuffed inside a stocking.  Book of Shadows IV is a palette loaded with sixteen alluring eye shadows [ten of which are new colors], a full-size 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner, travel-size eye shadow primer potion and a travel-size Supercurl Curling Mascara.  The eye shadows have creative names like Cobra [sooty black with gold shimmer], Hijack [greyish green with blue/green shimmer] and Sin [shimmering champagne], and the collection also includes a portable speaker as well as how-to vidoes that reveal looks created exclusively for the palette.

The Stardust Sparkling Lip Glosses are saturated with sophisticated sparkle, while multifaced shades mimic deep, dynamic car paint glinting without the scratchiness of teenage glitter.  They are are not sticky and contain conditioning nourishment with staying power and an interesting vanilla-mint flavor.

Something that can easily be tossed into any makeup bag are these 24/7 Travel Sets Of 5, available in Naked: a collection of sexy neutral tones including Demolition, a sumptous matte dark brown, that provides subtle daytime sultriness, or Electric: ideal for a revved up evening with colors such as Junkie [bright sparkly green] and Radium [vibrant shimmery blue]. Creamy and waterproof, these enticing shades are coordinated so that one spends less time picking out the right color and more time being a brilliantly hued social butterfly.

The 24/7 Shadow Pencil Stash is a travel-sized shadow pencil medley to research use of daring hues and flowing effects.  Perfecting impressive coats of color and decisive lines is an effortless task, with hues ranging from delicate iridescence to blazing and broad; Delinquent is a dark purple with bright purple sparkle, while Sin is a shimmering champagne.

Urban Decay’s Primer Potion is recognized as being the most sought after eye shadow, and the general consensus agrees it maintains your shadow’s dynamic color for 24+ hours.  Sparkling Lickable Body Powder gives skin a smooth luster when scattered over body parts, touted to smell and taste amazing.  The Holiday Nail Kit is jazzed-up with six mini bottles including five new hues such as Hot Mess [sparkling fuschia] and Wrecked [deep burgundy] to add festive flair to any manicure.

LUSH

The final gift suggestions for this guide focus on things that will help ease the aches of winter that can settle into one’s body, offer relaxation for wear retail workers and change what is often viewed as a boring bath into an impromptu spa session.  Whether you have loved Lush products since you can remember or are in the market to try something that isn’t filled with a bunch of artificial scents, the holiday season is captured in every aspect of in the selecting of products presented in the collage above.

Retro Christmas: Iced Wine – grapefruit and bergamot oils blend with saccharine hints of real Canadian Wine that is added to each pot while a seaweed infusion softens and moisturizes skin.  Directions: Put in the freezer and treat yourself to an invigorating, fruity scented shower. This shower jelly can also be crushed into a shower pouf to create a rich lather, rubbed directly on the body and also make great shampoos, adding lots of softness and shine to hair.

BATH BARS

Directions for use: Crumble under running water for a reviving and refreshing bath. Store in a cool dry place for best results, and remember that the stronger the water pressure, the more bubbles will be made, so use accordingly.

Bling Crosby – glitter encrusted and scented with Lush’s signature Kama fragrance of oranges and spices.

A Gold Star – full of solar essential oils such as sandalwood, frankincese, benzoin and a micro-galaxy of little golden stars.

Christmas Kisses – composed of warrming ingredients like cinnamon leaf oil, clove leaf and sweetorange oils that will aid in reliving fatigue.

Christmas Eve – deeply relaxing jasmine and ylang ylang scented bubble bar, with irish moss for soft sking and hair, as well as clouds of twikling foam.

Ruby Red Slippers – packed with carnation and rose absolute, plus a dose of bright red sparkles.

BATH BOMBS

Directions for use: Fill tub with warm water, drop in the bath bomb and enjoy – if you don’t want the added surprises in your tub, wrap in a nylon before use.

Green Party –  a blend of galbanum essential oil, sensual ylang ylang and stimulating bergamot; also fizzes recycled paper streamers.

Silver Cloud – a concoction of sweet orange and lime essential oils, laced with floral gardenia and a sharp zesty scent; silver sparkles.

Snowdrops – scented with mandarin and grapefruit, combined with a dash of peppermint and some irridescent sparkles.

Cinders – cinnamon oil brings warmth while almond oil emollient leaves the skin feeling silky smooth; crackle and pops due to being filled with fizzing candy.

The Melting Snowman – the first Luxury Bath Melt in an accelerated formula that releases essential oils and skin-softening butters which quickly dissolve into bath water with ease, while the almond icing, marzapan scent leaves your skin smelling like a decadent desert.  Directions: Drop half or whole into the tub while it fills with water, then get in and allow the natural oils to soften and moisturize your skin. 

TIPS AND TRICKS

It seems inevitable that with the arrival of the winter season, there also comes the unfortunate side effect of dry skin and chapped lips, both of which can be easy to manage by taking advantage of products that are specifically designed to target and relieve these problems.  Oily substances that are a product of the epidermis control the moisture level of the skin and refreshes itself monthly.   Dry skin develops when dead cells are not shed easily, and this decreases the usual active fortification of the skin.  Age, genes, weather changes, long lasting hot baths or showers, smoking, layers of woolen clothing and chronic health conditions are all causes of dry skin.  Certain body parts are also more prone to dryness, and hydration is important for skin health.

Somewhat modifying your skin-care routine by avoiding products with high levels of alcohol is a good way to protect your skin.  The face should be cleansed at least once a day and  gently exfoliate with a soft scrub or washcloth.  Confine showers to five minutes or less and make sure the water is lukewarm; adding collocidal oatmeal which is especially helpful for chapped skin.  Drinking water, applying lotion two times a day and putting a humidifier in the bedroom are also good ways of renewing your skin’s moisture.  Change the water daily and clean it once every three days.

When heading outside, my father always had the best advice – cover up – which is still an essential part of surviving brutal East Coast bone-chilling cold and colossal snow totals.  Leather gloves administer improved protection against moisture evaporation than cotton, and wax-based products provides a barrier for vulnerable lips.  To treat just about any degree of dry skin, the products fall into one of three categories:

PreventionCurél Ultra Healing Intensive Moisture Lotion for Extra-Dry Skin, Vaseline Intensive Rescue Moisture Locking Lotion  and Dove Pro-Age Body Cream Oil

Dry SkinAveeno Skin Relief Moisturizing Lotion, Johnson’s Nourishing Renewal Lotion and Olay Quench Therapy Body Lotion

Severe DrynessElta Tar, Aquaphor Healing Ointment and AmLactin 12% Moisturizing Cream

Whether making a list for Santa [who suspiciously has the same handwriting as your boyfriend] or looking to treat yourself to something special this season, may one and all embrace the joys that should be associated with the holiday no matter what your choice of celebration may be.

Photo credits: 2 – elight.com, 3- amazon.com, 4 – maccosmetics.com, 5 – narscosmetics.com,

Resources: maccosmetics.com, narscosmetics.com, urbandecay.com, toofaced.com, lushusa.com

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