Monday, September 26, 2011

30 in 30: Question #27
What's Your Favorite Powder?

OK, so 30 days didn't happen. My cat ate I accepted a drink from a stranger and woke up yesterday in a motel bathtub full of ice? I thought it was 30 business days? Anyway, we are in the home stretch, so I'm going to continue on with...

Question #27. What's Your Favorite powder?

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself as I’ve answered these 30 questions it’s that I seem to have a penchant for the discontinued. Alas, my favorite powder was Estee Lauder’s So Ingenious Loose Powder, which has been gone for several years now. It was superfine and silky- similar in texture to MUFE’s famous silica based HD powder. Unlike the MUFE powder, it came in skin tones, so it never looked ashy or chalky on the skin. I've been hoarding my last little bit of SI powder, but recently had to pop the sifter off to get the dregs- so now it's time to find a new favorite!

I do currently stock MUFE HD and Estee Lauder Lucidity powders in my kit, usually blending a bit of the tinted Lucidity with the MUFE powder to reduce the chance of ghostiness in my medium and deeper skinned clients, but as always, I'll be on the lookout for the latest and greatest!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

This Week's Sales: Stila Friends & Family, Tarte, NYX
...and more!

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Through Thursday, Sept. 29th, get 15% off all Amazonian Clay products with code AC15.

Ends Wednesday, Sept. 28: Designer Beauty Accessories
Ends Thursday: Beauty & Home Clearance

If you're not a member yet, click here for an invite and we can both earn a £10 voucher!

Tuesday: GO SMiLE
Wednesday: NuFace

Monday: Tweezerman, Pixi & Pop Beauty
Tuesday: NYX Cosmetics, goinglam
Wednesday: Kevyn Aucoin, TruDerma

Monday: NutraLuxe MD

Friday, September 23, 2011

30 in 30: Question #26
Do You Wear Makeup Everyday?

OK, so 30 days didn't happen. My cat ate I accepted a drink from a stranger and woke up yesterday in a motel bathtub full of ice? I thought it was 30 business days? Anyway, we are in the home stretch, so I'm going to continue on with...

Question #26. Do you wear makeup everyday?

Nope. Shocker, I know- but most days I’m just chilling at home with my little one. As much a part of my life as makeup is (and, in a way, maybe because of that) I very much want to protect her from the idea that makeup is necessary, or that a person can’t be beautiful without it.

I am pretty neurotic though, so if we go out, even if it is to the park, I will at least put on some BB Cream, if only to make myself feel better!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

30 in 30: Question #25
What's Your Favorite Eyeliner?

We're down to the final few questions, and today's a two for one: here's the second of today's two answers:

25. What's your favorite eyeliner?

Um, you tell me? I really don’t currently have a favorite. My everyday liner is Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide-on Eye Pencil in 1999, but honestly, I don’t love it. I prefer to smudge out my pencil liner for a slightly smokey, yet more natural, look, and UD 24/7 pencils aren’t great for that. Smudge too soon, and they wipe right off, leaving no defined line, but a bunch of irritating sparkle. Wait too long, and it’s stuck and un-smudgeable. Boo. I’m on the lookout for a nice smoky-plummy-blackberry liner that will smudge nicely but won’t transfer to my upper lid an hour after applying. Anyone know one that will fit the bill?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

30 in 30: Question #24
What Formula of Eye Shadow Do You Prefer?

We're down to the final few questions, and today's a two for one: here's the first of today's two answers:

Question #24. Which do you like: cream, matte, powder, sheer, or shimmer eye shadows?

I’m definitely a powder shadow girl- they’re easier to apply and blend, and generally stay on better than their cream counterparts. I generally favor pearl/satin finishes, because I find they’re generally most pigmented and truest in pan-to-skin color. Matte shadows have evolved a lot in the past several years, and ones from brands like Inglot, Make Up For Ever and Sugarpill now take up almost equal space in my kit. I rarely use highly shimmery or glittery shadows, as pretty and multifaceted as they are. While I will bust them out for special events, they don’t really fit my daily personal aesthetic, and since even microglitter can wreak havoc in photos, they’re no use in my pro kit.

Product Review/Drugstore Dupe:
Sleek Pout Paint vs. OCC Lip Tar

Sleek Pout Paints, from Top to Bottom:
Pin Up, Peek-A-Bloo, Cloud 9, Peachy Keen

A new addition to the Sleek line, this ultra concentrated lip pigment promises endless color options and outstanding color payoff with just a tiny speck of product. The 11 shades in the line are meant to be mixed, though of course they can be worn solo as well. This create-your-own shade idea isn't new: MAC has made Lipmix for around a decade, but the most well known member of this category is Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics' Lip Tar. OCC's cult following is well deserved, but how does Sleek's version compare?

First, the similarities. Both products perform almost identically, with a few caveats. The products are very pigmented and make true on promises to provide opaque color and long wear with just the tiniest amount of product. They both mix easily with other shades to create an infinite number of color combinations. Both products dry down to a similar satin finish that feels light and comfortable on the lips.

Now for those caveats I spoke of. First and most obvious is the price difference. Both Sleek Pout Paint and OCC Lip Tar come in 8ml tubes, but Sleek's run $8.00 as compared to OCC's $13. If you're in the UK, this will definitely be a plus, but for those ordering online, shipping charges may make that savings moot. In the US, for instance, the price of both Pout Paint and Lip Tar are $18/ea with shipping.

As for the formula, though they perform similarly, there are some notable differences. While Sleek's base formula is a blend of polymers and oils, OCC's is almost exclusively oil. This means that OCC Lip Tars are much runnier in consistency than Sleek Pout Paints. Pout Paints stay in the tube until you squeeze them out, whereas Lip Tars will drip out without any force. I actually have to store my Lip Tars nozzle-up to keep them from leaking out of the tube. Sleek's thicker consistency paired with a finer pinpoint nozzle results in greater control: more accurate mixing with less mess and waste.

OCC's Lip Tars also exhibit much more bleeding on my lips than the Sleek Paints (you can even see this effect in the following swatches). I also felt that my OCC Lip Tars spoiled relatively quickly; some went rancid in less than a year. Of course, I haven't had my Sleek Pout Paints long enough to gauge their shelf-life, but judging by the lower level of oils and the inclusion of preservatives (OCC Lip Tar includes only Vitamin E as a preservative), I'd imagine Pout Paint would stand the test of time much better.

One more note on formulation: keep in mind that while OCC Liptars are completely vegan, Sleek Pout Paints do contain beeswax, so if that's a concern for you, be(e?) aware. Oh, and if scent is an issue for you, know that Sleek Pout Paints have a light orange fragrance, while OCC Lip Tars are peppermint scented.

Now, finally, the colors. As I mentioned before, Sleek's current range of Pout Paints includes 11 shades, while OCC's spectrum has 36 shade choices to offer. In my opinion, since the pigments are meant to blend, shades outside of the primary colors and shades are just bonuses. I mean, if these products are designed for blending, then do we really need more than black, white, red, yellow and blue? But it's here that Sleek has missed the boat- excluding both black and yellow hues from their range limits the true potential of the product.

FYI, I've seen a lot of people asking other reviewers if the two brands are interchangeable. I've made several blends mixing the Lip Tar and the Pout Paint and had no problem. Depending on your ratio, you may experience some separating, since the Lip Tar has a tendency to do that on its own, but a simple stir will remedy that, so no worries.

Of the 4 Sleek Pout Paints that I was sent, I own "dupes" for 3 in OCC Lip Tars. Here are the comparisons:

OCC Lip Tar in RX (top)
Sleek Pout Paint in Peek-A-Bloo (bottom)

OCC Lip Tar in Feathered (top)
Sleek Pout Paint in Cloud 9 (bottom)

OCC Lip Tar in NSFW (top)
Sleek Pout Paint in Pin Up (bottom)

As you can see, the blue and white shades are pretty dead-on. Though OCC's Feathered seems sheerer in the swatch than Sleek's Cloud 9, I didn't notice a big difference on my lips. There is a slight difference in the reds- OCC's NSFW is a bit brighter and has less blue than Sleek's Pin Up. Both lines have other reds that may be better matches.

To sum up, both products are great at what they do. OCC definitely wins points for a wider color range, whereas Sleek's lower price point may sway some. Boiling it down to product performance alone, Sleek wins out for me simply because their Pout Paints don't separate in the container or feather on the lips, making the product easier and more enjoyable to use.

Some products featured in this review were submitted for promotional consideration by a representative of the company. What does this mean? I didn't pay for it. My commitment is to you- my readers- and to myself (it's called integrity, I like to have it). The opinions expressed on are my own, based on my own research and experience; I am not paid in any way nor is the final outcome of the post influenced by any outside party.

30 in 30: Question #23
What Are Your Favorite
Eye Shadow and Blush Palettes?

Coming up on the last 10 questions, here's the third of today's three answers:

Question #23. What's your favorite eye shadow palette and blush palette?

I’m generally not big on palettes, to tell you the truth. I’d rather pick and choose my own, rather than plunk down $30-50 on something when most likely, I'll only use one or two colors. Having said that, there are a couple that I’d recommend to anyone looking for something different.

The first is one I’ve spoken of several times, Sleek Makeup's Acid iDivine Palette.

Simply amazing shades you won’t find anywhere else. Of course, you won’t find them anywhere in the US, because fluorescent colorants aren’t approved for eye use by the FDA. This doesn’t bother me, since it is totally legal and deemed safe in the EU, where standards for cosmetic approval is typically much more stringent. That’s just my opinion, and a whole 'nother post, so...moving on...

I also highly recommend the generic 120 palettes floating around out there.

BH Cosmetics, Coastal Scents, eBay,- they’re pretty much all the same, and they’re a great way to add a ton of decent quality shades to your arsenal for about what you’d pay for a single MAC shadow. How can you beat that?

As far as blush goes, I can’t say I have a favorite palette. I have somewhere around 40 individual blushes, but that’s because I work on all skin tones. Unless you’re a pro, I honestly don’t think the average person needs more than a couple shades- of course, “need” is rather subjective, now isn't it? In that respect, I'd suggest checking out some of the empty palettes available from MAC, Z Palette or Unii, so you can create your own perfect collection!

30 in 30: Question #22
What Is Your Favorite Toner?

Coming up on the last 10 questions, here's the second of today's three answers:

Question #22. What's your favorite toner?

I hate to break it to y'all, but IMHO, toners are mostly bunk. You can read this post for details, but suffice it to say that unless the toner is bringing something to the party that no one else can, I’m not interested.

For this reason, the only ones I’ve bothered with in the last several years are those that containg glycolic acid, namely ones from Mario Badescu and Reviva Labs. Of course, you can get glycolic acid in many different forms, and for most people, I say you should opt for a moisturizer or serum with glycolic over a toner. The reason I prefer glycolic toners over other treatments boils down to concentration. While most people tolerate glycolic acid well, it happens to be something I’m sensitive to, so for me, less is more. Most glycolic serums and moisturizers have- give or take- about a 10% concentration; a level I simply can’t use. The toners I mentioned hover around 2-3%, allowing me to reap some of the benefits of GA without the adverse effects of higher concentrations.

Aside from instances like this, I skip toner all together. It feels odd at first, but I got over it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

30 in 30: Question #21
Where Do You Buy Your Makeup?

Coming up on the last 10 questions, here's the first of today's three answers:

Question #21. Where do you buy your makeup?

Where don’t I buy makeup? Seriously! Lately, even mass market brands that I used to look down my nose at have majorly stepped up their games (I've been stalking my local Walgreens looking for a new Wet n Wild polish!) so it seems like nothing is off limits anymore. As a pro, I'm obsessed with using the best- not just for myself, but for my clients. But, I like to get the most for my money, so places that give industry discounts rank high on my list. Since it's the only place that offers a pro discount with a location I can actually walk in to last minute, MAC is a frequent haunt. When I have the foresight to order ahead of time, Naimes Beauty Center is a favorite- they offer pro discounts from 20-40% on a ton of brands including Bobbi Brown, Eve Pearl and Make Up For Ever. Naimes is also a great place to stock up on supplies- they carry everything from set bags to sponges.

Monday, September 12, 2011

30 in 30: Question #20
What's Your Favorite Eyeshadow Primer?

Stepping it up a bit to make good on my promise of 30 makeup questions answered in 30 days, here's the third of today's 3 answers!

Question #20. What's your favorite eyeshadow primer?

Tie: Urban Decay Primer Potion and Too Faced Shadow Insurance.

I find they basically work the same, though TFSI has a slightly greasier consistency. On my dry skin, it makes no difference whatsoever, but on oily skin it may. I also have to mention Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy.

Not strictly a primer, it is a clear gel that dries down tacky and is amazing at grabbing and intensifying colors. Perfect for pigments and glitters, it's an incomparable product and a beloved part of my arsenal.

30 in 30: Question #19
What's Your Favorite Concealer?

Stepping it up a bit to make good on my promise of 30 makeup questions answered in 30 days, here's the second of today's 3 answers!

Question #19. What's your favorite concealer?

Without a doubt, my favorite concealer is Estee Lauder Maximum Cover Camouflage Makeup.

What’s so great about it? It’s an absolutely full coverage but light-weight liquid that stays on all day. A drop the size of an apple seed will conceal every spot on your face, and since it’s marketed as a foundation, it comes in a 1oz tube that lasts for years. Which is extra good considering the fact that Lauder changed it about a year ago.

I have yet to try the new formula, and to be honest, don’t know if the formula itself has been changed or if it was just repositioned and repackaged. I’ve been meaning to drop by for a sample, but somehow it keeps slipping my mind! Since my fav is kind of a moot point, I have to mention my next best: Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage.
Almost as good as my Max Cover, with slightly less coverage (though it layers well). The formula is bit trickier to work with due to its dry cream consistency, but it stays in place well, and the SC-1 is actually fair enough for me, though I wish they sold the two shades separately- I use the fairer shade 10-1 over the deeper.

Perfecting skin is my obsession, and a great concealer is vital in that effort. What are your favorite brands and formulas?

30 in 30: Questions #18
What's Your Favorite Night Time Look?

Stepping it up a bit to make good on my promise of 30 makeup questions answered in 30 days, here's the first of today's 3 answers!

Question #18. What's your favorite night time look?

I always seem to be in a rush, so classic black winged liner, strong lashes and red lips make up my go-to night time look; probably the only one I do with any consistency. I tend to favor a matte, almost nude lid (for me that means a powder-pink or pale beige) but for something more festive I'll do a sheer wash of gold as a base for the liner.

If I actually have time to get creative, then I'm more likely to do something colorful on my eyes, with a more subdued lip. This is actually my preferred route for any evening activity that will involve beverages! If my eye is bold, I don't have to worry about touching up my lips to keep the look up. I usually take color cues from what I'm wearing, and just run with it.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

This Week's Sales: Philosophy, Urban Decay,
Cosmedicine and More!

Shop online or in flagship stores and get 15% off all skincare with code amazingyou. Excludes Miracle Worker products. Offer ends Thursday, September 15th, or until supplies last.

Monday, September 12th: Donna Bella

Ends Wednesday: Miller Harris sale
Ends Thursday: Grace Cole Co.
Starts Tuesday: Rio Salon Solutions
If you're not a member yet, click here for an invite and we can both earn a £10 voucher!

Wednesday: Fall Fresh Skin- Crystalift Microdermabrasion System & Cosmedicine

Monday: Urban Decay, Zents
Tuesday: myfaceworks, gloProfessional
Wednesday: Out on the Town, Isomers skin care, Jane Cosmetics

Monday: Basq

Tuesday: D.L. & Co.
Wednesday: The Perfect 'Do- Hair Products & Accessories

Ends Wednesday: Pangea Organics

Tuesday: Comptoir Sud Pacifique

Thursday, September 8, 2011

30 in 30: Question #17
Who is Your Favorite Makeup Artist?

My answers to 30 makeup questions in 30 days! To get all 30 answers in 30 days, today's a twofer. Today's second question is:

#17. Who is your favorite makeup artist?

Wow, what a tough question to answer- it's like asking "Who's better, Picasso or Rembrandt?" How can you quantify best or favorite in the realm of art? One artist I will say constantly inspires me is Alex Box.

She's one of the few makeup artists out there that seems to be doing things that are truly innovative, evolving aesthetics to challenge our perceptions of what beauty is- a true artist whose medium happens to be makeup.

Ms. Box is the creative director for one of my favorite brands, Illamasqua, and her vision is ever present in the company's image.

These are just a few peeks at the amazing work of Alex Box- do a quick Google search or check out her collaboration with photographer Rankin, titled- appropriately enough- Alex Box by Rankin.

30 in 30: Question #16
Do You Copy Celebrity Makeup Looks?

My answers to 30 makeup questions in 30 days! To get all 30 answers in 30 days, today's a twofer. Our first question of the day is:

#16. Do you copy celebrity makeup looks?

I hate to be boring, but I really don't. I tend to find most celebs play it pretty safe where makeup is concerned; to me a nude lip and smokey eye is a look that's been around for decades- certainly not something invented for Kim Kardashian.

I commend those that don't go by the book, but to me flat out copying a "look" designed for it's uniqueness would be like painting a fake Matisse. I take inspiration from everything around me- and of course, that includes celebs and models.

I should also point out that I'm not judging YouTube and bloggers who do choose to do celeb looks, nor am I saying I would never do one. It's a common request, and quite frankly, when you're as prolific as many popular gurus I have to imagine celeb tutorials are a nice break from the stress that the creative process can induce. It's nice to have something you can just do and have fun with- and isn't that what it's really all about anyway?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

30 in 30: Question #15
Do You Wear Blush?

Keeping up with 30 questions in 30 days, today's second question is:

# 15. Do you wear blush?

Well, of course! Blush is a pale gal's best friend. I've heard more than one pigmetally challenged person say they're too pale to wear blush, to them I say: you're missing the point! Lack of color is all the more reason to add some- and believe it or not, the brighter the better I say! While bright shades may seem scary, they typically look more natural on fair skin than deep shades, which can too often turn muddy.

The trick is all in the application. First, use the right tool- if you have a hard time telling your blush and powder brush apart, it's time to upgrade! A blush brush should be just a bit larger in diameter than a quarter-maybe, say, the size of a peach-pit? After swirling your brush in the blush, ALWAYS tap the brush before you apply, and when you do, use a light hand. It's always easier to add more color than to take it away if you OD!

I personally have two shades in heavy rotation: a bright coral can go with almost everything (my current favorite is MAC Bite of an Apple) but I do like a blue-based pink (like Estee Lauder Fresh Plum) to give my cheeks a pop when I need something definitively cool toned. Though I have tons of other shades, those are mostly relegated to my pro kit; for personal use, I really feel those two are all I need for about 99% of my looks.

30 in 30: Questions 14
Who Are You Favorite YouTube Gurus?

Aww, wasn't I doing so well posting everyday there for a minute? Sorry folks, but life intervened and wiped me out last week, but I haven't given up on answering 30 makeup questions in 30 days. That just means we have to double up, so for now on, you can expect a 2-for-1 deal! Today I answer:

Question #14: Who are your favorite YouTube Gurus?

When I first discovered the YouTube makeup community, I was obsessed- there was more than one night I stayed up 'till the wee hours watching reviews and tutorials. I've actually posted about my favorite YouTubers before, and many on that list are still on my stand-by viewing, but I've also discovered several new Tubers that I enjoy, so I'll sum them all up here for you!
  • dustyohunter: quirky, multi-talented artist dude. He sings, strums, rebuilds kitchens and is pretty handy with a makeup brush. Always informative, funny and down to earth. Occasionally NSFW.
  • goldiestarling: another artist into makeup- she paints up a storm, both on faces and on canvas. Check out her theatrical creations this Halloween- amazing!
  • gossmakeupartist: Wayne, a veteran professional, posts everything from application basics to super frank reviews on everything from top-of-the-line to bargain-bin dupes. Unlike some other "gurus", I've never heard Wayne spew out a company press release as his personal gospel.
  • Lisasz09: Lisa's not a makeup artist, and she doesn't do looks- she does, however, try tons of different brands and give you her honest opinions on them. If your best friend isn't the type to gab about makeup over coffee, Lisa's your girl.
  • Makeup Geek TV: Also a pro artist, Marlena's tutorials range from colorful themed looks (Soda series, anyone?) to celeb looks to every day techniques, all explained step by step in easy to follow language. Full disclosure, I'm a moderator on the Makeup Geek Forum and one of the judges for the site's Weekly Challenges, but that all came about because I was such a fan of Marlena's! Also, the similarities between our sites (color theme & use of damask background) was purely coincidental- I actually found Makeup Geek a bit after I started my blog, and I'm quite sure my site designer/fiance had no knowledge of MUG! Great minds, and all....
  • petrilude: If you don't know Josh yet, run- don't walk- and check him out. His attitude is as bold as his makeup, so love it or leave it!
  • vintageortacky: Cora is super fun, tells it like it is, has some of the most awesome hair on YouTube. I also love that Cora calls herself a "goober" even though her skills say "guru".
  • xsparkage: If you don't know Leesha, you must not watch YouTube tutorials, because gurus don't get much bigger than her. Always perky and upbeat, she's just plain fun to watch, and if you want a sneak peek at this season's hottest, she's bound to have it first!
So those are my favorite tubers, some old, some new. Who are yours?
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