Today’s interview is with two ladies who run one of my favorite beauty sites – Liz and Amy, of the blog Café Makeup. I adore Café Makeup for the reason I love sites like The Beauty Look Book – beautiful photography, careful swatching of colors, and impartial, matter of fact reviews. Liz and Amy over the years have amassed a huge collection of skincare and beauty products over the years, and I always love reading their latest reviews and product favorites. I was very happy to have the opportunity to interview them and ask them some questions about beauty and skincare. Enjoy!
Who are you? What do you do, and where do you live?
We’re a mom (Amy) and daughter (Liz) team who live in Northern California. We both have demanding jobs, so we enjoy beauty and fashion as a way to get together, shop, and have lunch. It’s a nice break in otherwise busy lives!
You two are both obviously big fans of beauty and skincare products. Can I ask – just how big is your collection?
Thank you! Because there are two of us, larger than most. I have some drawers and two cabinets in my bathroom – but it is a large bathroom. And Liz has a bit as well. Her friends are sometimes impressed.
Some brands we own extensively (Chanel, for example). Other brands we own very few items or nothing at at all. It actually works well, because we can trade off things so the stash doesn’t become overwhelming. Also, Liz can pass along some items to her circle of friends when we find that we don’t use or love an item and it needs to find a better home. That way, we don’t accumulate lots of things we’ll never use.
What are your top five desert island beauty products?
1. Chanel Foundations (Liz loves both Lift Lumiere and now Vitalumiere)
2. Dior Aurora Bronzer (this was limited edition from two years ago, but we’re hoping for a comeback)
3. Guerlain Terracotta Bronzers–the annual special editions. We die for these. We actually don’t own any of the standard Guerlain Terracotta line, but we own multiples of the annual summer releases. We can’t wait for the next one.
4. Chanel Black Pearl Nail Polish
5. Chanel Rouge Allure Extrait de Gloss lipgloss, probably tied with Guerlain Rouge G L’Extrait Lip
1. Tom Ford Bronzer Brush (heaven!)
2. Chanel Dragon Nail Polish (it’s a fabulous statement red)
3. Nars Illuminators. They’re magical.
4. Perricone MD Formula 15–wonderful skin care. I also love his Vitamin C Ester 15.
5. Edward Bess Ultra Luminous Bronzer in Daydream. And Edward Bess Quad Royale in South of France highlighter.
6. Le Metier de Beaute Kaleidoscopes eyeshadow palettes. When I’m on the road, I’ll use one for days (or even weeks). They’re so versatile and compact.
What category of skincare and beauty products do you think are great to go to the drugstore for – and what products do you think are splurge worthy enough to generally pay department store/higher end prices for?
We’re both very impressed with pencil eyeliners. Prestige Total Intensity liner, for example, is a long-time favorite. We’re both crazy for Essie and OPI nail polish, which has made it into drugstores now. Liz uses drugstore mascaras quite a bit, mostly the L’Oreal. Also, some European skin care lines, including Avene, La Roche Posay, and Nuxe, are absolutely wonderful.
For where to splurge – without question, we believe in spending as much as necessary on foundation. Any texture on one’s face is so noticeable. Any foundation that clogs pores or breaks us out just doesn’t make it.
What are some of your favorite skincare tips…and skincare products?
We are both very thorough about cleansing. Truly, ensure that your makeup is thoroughly removed at the end of the day is so important. We both use the Clarisonic electronic brush–I think we own three between us. Toners, removers, you name it.
I’m glad that you asked the skincare question. I get a lot of emails and Twitter questions about Liz’s skincare regime. Here are her secrets:
1. First, Liz has been loving Chanel Hydra Beauty Gel Cream. She wears it daily under her foundation
2. For breakouts, Liz gets the Clean and Clear set (about $20 at drugstores) and uses this 3-product regime until everything goes away. It’s surprisingly effective.
3. Liz has been using several Perricone MD products, including the Intensive Pore Treatment and Intensive Pore Minimizer.
In the beauty industry, there’s a lot of hype and advertising (an example is extremely Photoshopped mascara ads). How do you feel about this – what do you think are some products/categories that perhaps have been overhyped?
We completely agree that mascara ads are getting out of control. The UK has regulations about Photoshopped ads, and they are really beginning to enforce them. We think it is good to see. The whole reason that we started Café Makeup was because we wanted to give honest opinions about products. Some things really are worth the money, even on the high end. But with Photoshopping, women have a hard time telling which things are truly worth it.
We realize that there’s a high profit component to beauty, and we don’t mind paying for something that we’ll legitimately use up (we do go through many things all the way to the pan). Although we love elegant packaging, we try to look beyond it to see what’s really inside.
Probably the biggest category of hype are the frequent micro-releases of limited editions. Although I realize Liz and I do fall for it sometimes. But when companies start churning out products so quickly that a woman has to rearrange her life or miss out, we let those go. I really enjoy companies where even the limited editions are around for several weeks. I hope that doesn’t change!
If you were to start your beauty collection over again – what would be some advice that you’d tell yourself?
For Liz, she’s learned that one can’t reject a beauty item because it’s marketed for a “more experienced” age group. Some of the products she loves most have excellent formulations that work on all age ranges. Beauty companies that target women in their 30’s and beyond have to meet a demanding audience, and some of those products are just excellent.
For Amy, I would not buy things that I haven’t seen in person, absent a recommendation from a trusted friend or sales associate. The stock photographs just aren’t accurate–they either undersell or oversell the products.
What are some common mistakes that women make when it comes to beauty?
It all starts with the right skincare, fitness, hydration and nutrition. Also, focus on being your best self, not someone else’s version of you. Liz and I don’t have tremendous patience for “rules.” If someone is talented with makeup, they have help you tremendously. But sometimes one has to sit through many unfortunate makeovers to find the good ones.
What are some of your other passions and hobbies?
We both adore traveling. Liz loves music, and enjoys nights out with friends. Amy loves her family, as well as traveling. Amy tries to go to Paris at least once a year for a few weeks.
Finally – please share something surprising about yourself!
Well, readers might be surprised to learn that Liz and I are running this blog from opposite coasts right now. Amy is on the East Coast, and Liz on the West. Fortunately, we’ve been able to meet up a few times to continue to take some pictures. We’re both looking forward to December, when we’ll both be back in Northern California permanently.
As a second thing, we really mean it when we say we love our readers. Really, so many of you keep us going. It’s so gratifying to know that people are as passionate about beauty!
I really appreciate and enjoy how straight forward Liz and Amy are. At the same time, they are charming, and clearly very down to earth and likable. I know that I’ve added a few beauty and skincare products to my list (by the way, who else didn’t know that Tom Ford products were so expensive)? Thank you to Amy and Liz for taking the time to share some of your favorite beauty products and tips here today. For more of them, please visit Café Makeup!