Monday, August 29, 2011

30 in 30: Question #13
Where Do You Keep Your Makeup

My answers to 30 makeup questions in 30 days! Today's question is:

#13. Where do you keep your makeup?

Um, didn't we already cover this in my answer to question #9? Maybe indirectly, so I'll give you the rundown again, with a few more details. The bulk of my makeup is in my kit, with backups and less frequently used products in 2 seperate 3-drawer organizers that I keep in my linen closet. My personal items that I use daily (my foundation, mascara, etc...) are in a glass jar in the same closet. I carry my every day lippie (Sleek Pout Polish) in my purse makeup bag- this small one from MAC's 2010 Liberty of London collection.

In my LoL bag, I also carry clear balm (right now it's Palmer's Cocoa Butter Fomula Moisturizing Lip Balm SPF 15) concealer, hand cream, and whatever touch up products I need to go with my look for the day.

So that's it. See you tomorrow!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

30 in 30: Question #12
What's Your Favorite Mascara?

My answers to 30 makeup questions in 30 days! Today's question is:

#12. What's your favorite mascara?

This is a tough one, simply because I really don’t have one. Mascara has a short a shelf life, and I’m a fickle being, so I can’t tell you the last time I bought a repeat.

My one standard, though, is black. Eye lashes are such a minuscule part of your over-all look that almost everyone can benefit from the extra definition a black mascara brings. The only exception to this, in my opinion, are people who have extremely fair lashes, where applying a black mascara leaves an obvious gap at the root of the lash where the base is blonde, for instance, and the length is black. In this case, a softer brown is preferable, but otherwise, black is the way to go!

Some of my recent favorite mascaras include (in no particular order)
All of these mascaras give great definition without clumping, flaking or smearing- what more can you ask for?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

30 in 30: Question #11
Do You Like to Wear Bronzer?

My answers to 30 makeup questions in 30 days! Today's question is:

#11. Do you like to wear bronzer?

Nope. I’m pale, I’m always gonna be pale, and I like it that way. No matter what shade or how I apply bronzer, I usually feel like it looks fake, because it’s just not me.

Occasionally though, bronzer is a necessary evil. The only time I wear bronzer is if I’ve been out in the sun a lot and developed color. I wear sunscreen every single day, so this really only happens if I’m on vacation and am outside for hours on end. Because of my skincare routine (and, honestly, more diligence in applying sunscreen to my face) my face typically takes on less color, and the color doesn't stick around as long as it does on the rest of my body. This means that for weeks after a sunny vacation, my body might be significantly darker than my face. Since I don’t favor the Frankenstein look, it becomes vital to even the two shades out.

Thus, bronzer. My all-time favorite bronzer is Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Soft Matte Bronzer. Though it's a cool toned bronzer, it looks great on just about all skin tones. Since it's got no shimmer, it's very believable; the little bit of red mimics a true sun-kissed glow, and keeps the color from looking oompa-loompa orangey.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Cherry Culture Sale

Just thought you should know. The image tells all- it's a sale, on everything at Cherry Culture! God I love a discount on already inexpensive stuff- is there anything I must have???

30 in 30: Question #10
What's Your Favorite Makeup Brush?

My answers to 30 makeup questions in 30 days! Today's question is:

#10. What's your favorite makeup brush?

Finally, a short and sweet answer, because hands down, my e.l.f. Studio Powder Brush is my absolute favorite.

I use this brush daily to apply and blend my liquid or cream foundation but it can also be used to apply powder, blush or bronzer, buff in mineral makeup, blend contours- so many uses! To top it all off, it's so inexpensive you can literally buy 10 for same price you'd pay for one MAC brush!

For those of you that have never tried e.l.f. brushes, be aware: they're not top quality. I've had to glue more than one ferrule back on, and on some brushes the shapes and bristles are inconsistent (I have two of the same e.l.f. Eye Shadow Brushes that are shaped so differently, they're basically different brushes!) So why in the world do I love my Studio Powder so much? Well, the bristles are soft and secure (I don't get strays sticking to my face, which is more than I can say about my MAC brushes!) and the shape- large, dense and flat-topped, is unique. And for $3, I don't really mind a little at-home reinforcement.

Speaking of cheap, e.l.f. is currently having a 50% off sale on their Studio line. There's a minimum purchase of $25 (before discount) but it's still a great chance to try the products if you haven't yet had a chance! Use the code STUDIO at checkout, offer ends Monday, August 29th, 2011.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

30 in 30: Question #9
Picture of Your Makeup Collection

My answers to 30 makeup questions in 30 days! Today's question is:

#9. Picture of Your Makeup Collection

Oh boy. First, we're gonna have to pluralize that to "pictureS", because there's just no way possible for me to photograph my entire collection in one photo. Second, though some of your will no doubt think this amount of makeup is totally reasonable, for those of you that don't, please remember: I am a professional. Do NOT try this at home!

A quick note: The first picture directly below is a close-up of my own kit, the image below that of the entire case assembled is a stock photo, but mine looks exactly like that, I promise.

The case itself is actually two cases in one; it has 2 lids so I can use the two separately if I want, or I can latch them together. The top case is what you probably think of as a "traditional" train case- it's got a deep bottom and extending drawers, both with movable dividers. This is where the majority of my makeup is held when I travel for work.

I reconfigure my kit based on the job, but this gives you a pretty good idea of the basic set up. If you're wondering how I get by on so few eye shadows and blushes- I don't. I keep the majority of those in palettes in the bottom half of the kit.

The bottom case is basically an open cavity with some elastic bands on the sides to hold things like hairspray cans, curling/flat irons, place. There's a removable divided tray that sits on a ledge at the top of the bottom case (got that?) that I usually fill with skincare essentials, setting sprays, brush cleaner and items I need for styling a shoot: straight and safety pins, double sided tape, a lint roller and the like.

In the bottom cavity I stash my brush roll, palettes, a small caddy (purchased separately) with all of my disposable implements (sponges, cotton balls, swabs and rounds, velour powder puffs, disposable mascara wands, lip brushes and spatulas). I also always carry things like hair spray, a roll of paper towels, wipes (both makeup remover and alcohol-free baby varieties), and of course, alcohol and hand sanitizer.

I've had this particular set-up for a couple years now, and generally, I like it. I didn't buy the case myself (it was a gift) so I'm not sure where this particular one was purchased, but it looks identical to the ones sold on Yazmo.

As for the rest of my stuff...well, I never claimed to be an organizational genius. This linen closet is home to most of my rotating collection. You can see a ton of skincare and toiletries, and two 3-drawer organizers that I keep my goodies in when they're not in my kit. Hanging on the wall to the right is my dear Tokidoki travel bag that I use for my personal (non-work) travel essentials.

What you can't see in this pic: the 2 aluminum train cases and 5 repurposed Pampers boxes of stuff hiding in my hall closet. One train case holds my nail products, another my more theatrical makeup and supplies that I primarily use for bridal work. Do you really need to see that? OK, fine...but just the train cases!



And for puppy poo and giggles, since it's pretty and colorful, my pigment sample book. I know it's merely a fraction of what many of you have (Anstasia & Phyrra, I'm looking at you!) but here it is:

So that's it. Basically. I may have a box of product tucked away for giveaways, and another (a supercute Tokidoki box my Chooka rainboots came in) with products for upcoming reviews, but you'll just have to wait until later to see those pretties, now won't you?

Stamp Out Prejudice, Hatred
and Intolerance Everywhere.

Remembering Sophie Lancaster

On August 11th, 2007, 20 year-old Sophie Lancaster and her boyfriend Robert Maltby were viciously attacked by a group of teenagers while walking through a neighborhood park. Kicked, stamped on and left unconscious, Sophie's injuries were so severe the attackers' boot prints were left imprinted on her face. Four years ago today, Sophie died from her injuries.

Sophie and Rob committed no crime or offense to provoke the attack that ended one life and forever darkened another. They were attacked simply because they looked and dressed differently.

How many of us could this have happened to? How many of us in this beauty-junkie subculture express ourselves freely and uniquely through the color of our hair, the way we apply our makeup, what we choose to wear? Sophie died for this freedom.

In 2009, Sophie's mother Sylvia created a charity in her daughter's name. In partnership with UK based Illamasqua cosmetics and marketing firm Propaganda, The Sophie Lancaster Foundation aims to reform UK Hate Crime legislation to protect people from “alternative subcultures” as well as provide education that will challenge the prejudice and intolerance that lead to such a horrific crime.

In memory of Sophie, and the many others who have been persecuted simply for being themselves, please watch and share this video to learn how you can help S.O.P.H.I.E- Stamp Out Prejudice Hatred and Intolerance Everywhere.

30 in 30: Question #8
What's Your Favorite Daytime Look?

My answers to 30 makeup questions in 30 days! Today's question is:

#8. What's your favorite daytime look?

Nothing! Haha, wouldn't you just love me if I answered that and nothing else? In all seriocity, most days I'm at home with my 3-year-old and I do more finger painting than face painting. Though I love makeup and it's a big part of my life, I don't want my daughter to grow up thinking it's a daily necessity, so on most days, it's skincare in the AM, maybe some BB Cream fi we're spending time outside, and that's it. Of course, most days I'm testing one thing or another, so it wouldn't be odd to see me bare-faced and purple lipped, but I can't really call that a "look" can I?

When I do need a quick, easy look that I can wear with almost anything, I start with foundation (see my answer to question #4 for specifics) concealer (Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage in SC-1) & powder (my favorite is Estee Lauder's discontinued So Ingenious Loose Powder, but I also use Make Up For Ever HD Powder). My every day blush lately is MAC Bite of an Apple, which gives me nice, natural looking flush.

For an easy, flattering eye I line the outer half of my top & bottom lid with Urban Decay 24/7 liner in 1999, a raisiny plum that emphasizes the green in my eyes but still looks soft & neutral, add a white pearl highlight under the brow and on the inner corner of my eye, and finish with some mascara (the brand changes constantly, but it's always black) and a groomed brow. My favorite brow enhancer lately is MAC Penultimate Brow Marker topped off with an auburn brow gel. These keep being discontinued, and I think my current favorite from Bourjois has been the latest victim, so I'll be on the hunt for a new one.

Finally a bit of color on the lip- and we've already covered that: it's usually Sleek Pout Polish in Perfect Plum.

That's it for me- what about you? What are your "can't live without it" daily essentials?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

30 in 30: Question #7
What's Your Favorite Eye Shadow Color?

My answers to 30 makeup questions in 30 days! Today's question is:

#7. Favorite eye shadow color?

Finally, an easy one- purple!

I have green-grey-blue eyes. They used to be grey-blue-green, and I hated them because they weren't just blue. As a teenager discovering the wonders of makeup, I recieved the life-time diagnosis of being an "Autumn". If you're not familiar with seasonal makeup theory, consider yourself lucky. I despise it so much I don't really want to even spend time explaining it here- suffice it to say it locked every individual into a pre-set palette of colors you could wear, and basically made it just short of a felony to wear another season's colors.

Problem is, as nice as those brown, golds and coppers made my eyes look, wearing the same shade variations day in and day out gets...really...boring. When I began working in cosmetics and learning more about color theory, I slowly became braver in my experimentation with colors. I developed a philosophy that still I have today- color is fun! I can wear ANY color!!!

Because of this, I discovered that purples were ideal to play up the green tones in my eyes, which also pop nicely next to my red hair. It all came together, and I literally felt as if I’d been freed from some kind of cosmetic bondage!

Some of my favorite shades of purples/plums are:
Of course, I have a ton more in my stash, but these are the ones that I grab for the most. Any other purple fiends out there? You know I'm always looking for new favorites!

Beauty Buzz Words:
Retinyl Palmitate

Recently, a comment on an old post brought up a topic that, while not on this summer's hot list, is apparently still making the rounds and confusing people as to what is safe to put on their skin. Common skincare additive retinyl palmitate is in the cross hairs this time, and while I encourage you all to do your own research on this topic if you're concerned, I wanted to share my opinion and findings with everyone here, rather than burying it in the comments of a months-old post.

How many times have you heard the rule of thumb "if you can't pronounce it, don't use/buy/eat it?" This has always made me chuckle because there's a confusing, often hard to pronounce name for just about everything. If someone said "don't ever use dihydrogenmonoxide" you may believe them, but if you followed their directions, you'd die in less than a week (it's water). So while there has been some controversy over the ingredient retinyl palmitate, it's important to explain exactly what it is we're talking about here.

Retinyl palmitate is a form of vitamin A widely used for its antioxidant and cell-regulating properties. It is, according to consumer skincare expert Paula Begoun, one of the skin's primary naturally occurring antioxidants.

Why, then, all the fuss? Well, a couple of years ago the Environmental Working Group released a report claiming that retinyl palmitate had been linked to increased risk of skin cancer.

In truth, it seems the actual scientific community has reached no such conclusion. The FDA's most recently archived information on the ingredient (which it refers to by the alternate name Vitamin A palmitate) says blatantly "There is no evidence that it is carcinogenic."

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation’s Photobiology Committee (a group of experts in the study of the interaction of ultraviolet radiation) "there is no scientific evidence to support claims that retinyl palmitate (vitamin A) is a photocarcinogen in humans."

While the FDA continues to investigate the matter, for now, the dermatological community remains convinced that Vitamin A is safe. An independent analysis published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology notes that "there is no convincing evidence to support the notion that retinyl palmitate in sunscreens causes cancer. On the contrary, years of research suggests that retinoids are helpful in reducing your risk for skin cancer."

Monday, August 22, 2011

This Week's Sales:
Renee Rouleau, Ardell, 100% Pure
...and more!

15% off all items with the code HP2011. Offer ends Sunday, August 28th, 2011

Monday: Ardell and Duo Lashes

No beauty sales listed yet this week, but if you're a first time shopper & you decide to take advantage of any the Alley's sales (like Kipling, D&G, and Rayban) use the code TENOFF to get- you guessed it- £10.00 off any order of £60.00 or more. Expires August 31, 2011.

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

Monday: 100% Pure, Budhi Teencare
Tuesday: Vincent Longo
Wednesday: TruDerma

30 in 30: Question #6
Do You Wear False Lashes?

My answers to 30 makeup questions in 30 days! Today's question is:

#6. Do you like/wear false lashes? If yes, strip or individual?

I only wear false lashes for special events, and even then, not always.

Though I've always read that individuals are easier, I never got the hang of applying them- it seemed they were always cocked at the wrong angle or sticking out where they shouldn't. Sure, strip lashes take some practice too; my favorite way to wear lashes is to cut just about a half-inch of the outside edge of the lash and use that at the ends of my own. They're totally simple to apply this way, and though they look natural, they really open the eye up in a way makeup alone can't do.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

30 in 30: Question #5
What's Your Favorite Lipstick, Lip gloss and Lip Liner?

My answers to 30 makeup questions in 30 days! Today's question is:

#5. What's your favorite lipstick, lip gloss and lip liner?

Favorite, schmavorite! Again, variety I say!!! But if I have to choose, I’d say my favorite lipstick and my favorite lip gloss are the same product- Sleek Pout Polish in Perfect Plum. Depending on how you apply it, you can get anywhere from a plummy-pink stained look to a glossy wine- all with sun protection & tons of moisture in a shade that goes with almost anything! (I have to thank Ana for introducting it to me, she may have changed my life). Aside from my every-day Pout Polish, I'm a huge fan of a red lip- almost any will do, but I have a particular weakness for deep-but-still-bright scarlet reds.

My favorite liner is the now discontinued Nude Plum from Victoria’s Secret’s VS Makeup line. I have dry skin, which means lipsticks and glosses bleed very easily as my skin searches for moisture. VS liners are some of the only liners I've used that stop this cold.

I'm also a fan of e.l.f.'s Lip Lock pencil, which is an "un-liner" style clear crayon that goes around the outside of the lips rather than on them. You can check out my full review here.

Luckily, I have several backups of my favorite VS liner (in every shade it was available in, of course) but I suppose I’ll have to find a substitute eventually. What’s your favorite?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Product Review:
Lip Savvy Lip Plumper

Lip Savvy by JeAne is a new line of fashion-forward lip glosses designed to deliver more than just shine and color. Loaded with emollients, moisture grabbing hyaluronic acid, antioxidants and peptides, Lip Savvy touts long-wearing color, sting-free plumping and a powerful anti-aging punch to boot. (WARNING: this is a hyphen heavy post. Proceed with caution!)

With a thick, fairly sticky texture not unlike MAC Lipglass, you can indeed plan to get better than average wear out of these glosses. The shade I tried, Sho Bunny, is a pale, sheer pink with tons of multicolored sparkles (the blue-violet shimmer is definitely the most noticeable, but I spied some pink, gold and green in there as well). This shade is one of ten "Star Studded Shine" glosses that offer intense sparkle and multi-dimensional shine; the line also boasts 12 "ColorGlam" shades with a more creamy finish.

Since Sho Bunny is one of the lighter colors in the range, it's hard to comment about how pigmented the glosses are, but Bunny is definitely more about shimmer and shine than color. Looking at the Lip Savvy color chart, I would have expected a little more color. What do you think?

As far as the anti-aging and plumping benefits, Lip Savvy does indeed have some good ingredients to back up some of their claims. Most lip plumpers on the market rely on irritants like cinnamon oil or capsaicin extract (from hot peppers) to make your lips swell. While this purposeful irritation may temporarily swell the lips (the effect wears off as the product fades) these formulas usually result in anything from an intense tingle to a straight out burn. For those with sensitive skin, irritant based plumpers can also result in itching, redness and swelling outside of the lip line. Lip Savvy uses a combination of hyaluronic acid, peptides, and emollients in their formula. These skin-friendly ingredients mean no irritation, and therefore, no burn. But do they plump?

Peptides have long been the ingredient I look for in lip plumpers, given that they have a proven track record in stimulating collagen production. This reduces wrinkles and, in theory, plumps the skin. Of course, to achieve this effect, you have to look at lip plumper as a skin treatment. Just like a wrinkle cream, it needs be applied consistently for several hours a day, and will take around 4 weeks to have an effect.

Hyaluronic acid is also one of my favorite ingredients, for its ability to attract and hold moisture. HA is widely used in skin care products, but to my knowledge, it's plumping effect has only been proven in its injectable form.

Of course, dehydrated lips appear smaller (compare a raisin to a grape) so just adding moisture to the lips will make them appear fuller, and Lip Savvy is full of emollients. Add in the cosmetic illusion of fullness created by a shimmery gloss and you're sure to feel more confident with your pout.

The Lip Savvy collection comes in a brush-tipped, click-up pen, similar to Yves Saint Laurent's famous Touche Éclat luminizer. The eye-grabbing prints may not be for everybody (my Sho Bunny came in a bold black & white zebra print) but they definitely make the gloss stand out in the bottom of a makeup bag! The collection retails for $18 and will launch August 20th, though it is available for pre-sale now at

30 in 30: Question #4
Do You Like Wearing Foundation?

My answers to 30 makeup questions in 30 days! Today's question is:

#4. Do you like wearing foundation? If so, what's your color and favourite?

Ha! For me, this is like asking “do you like to breathe?” A rather inconsequential question, since I don’t have the option to not breathe, and I don’t leave the house without foundation. And I mean that. I don’t take my daughter out to play in the back yard without something on my face. No, it doesn't have to be a full face foundation, concealer and powder, but it’s at least my favorite BB Cream. And maybe some concealer.

My skin is extremely pale with neutral to ever so slightly warm undertones. My fairness exceeds the range of most makeup lines, so one of my very favorite “foundations” is Face Atelier’s Zero Minus, which is a white liquid designed to be blended with other shades to lighten them. This stuff was a pardon from the bondage of too-dark foundation for me. For the first time ever, I could actually pay attention to the coverage or finish of a foundation, instead of having to choose my makeup solely based on which color was passable.

While I’ll always have a Zero Minus in my kit, I have now discovered a couple foundations that work for me without custom blending. When I’m on vacation or running to the grocery, I might grab my favorite BB Cream, Missha Perfect Cover in #13 (Milky Beige), but Graftobian HD Glamour Creme (Lady Fair) and Illamasqua Skinbase (#2) are my favorites for days when I need good coverage, which, in my opinion is just about every day. I've always been one of those people that others say have “perfect” skin. Not true, I protest! I just know how to fake it really well :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

30 in 30: Question #3
What's Your Favorite Brand?

My answers to 30 makeup questions in 30 days! Today's question is:

Question #3. Favourite brand?

This could be the toughest question on this list. I simply don’t have a favorite brand. I've worked for several brands through the years, and when you work retail, it’s just not kosher to have a “favorite” brand- aside, of course, from the one that’s signing your paychecks. I was lucky to always genuinely believe in the brands I worked with, but even then, it's binding to feel restricted to only one brand. When I stopped working retail and started solely freelancing, I became quite a whore when it came to my brand loyalty. Which is to say, I have very little. I’ll try anything one time! There are some brands that I favor, though no brand is perfect and no one brand does everything best; these brands are no exception.

I’m a big fan of Illamasqua.

The brand image and ethos is just spot on my aesthetic. The visuals Illamasqua puts out are consistently the most cutting edge, truly artistic images I see. Creative Director Alex Box is a visionary, and it shines through in the line. Yes, the products are hit and miss, they can be a pain to get a hold of, and they’re overpriced (but I think all prestige brands are- it simply doesn't cost $22 to produce a lipstick). Regardless, Illamasqua is a brand that always catches my eye, and they’re one of the few that’s doing truly new things in the industry.

I’m also a fan of Sleek Makeup. Again, a brand not without a downside, but this line consistently produces quality, on-trend products and colors for a fraction of the cost of their high-end counterparts. Disappointingly, e-commerce and customer service issues plague Sleek, but I still find it impossible to pass up top notch products (their Pout Polish is one of my all-time favorites) that keep up with the trends without offending my bank account.

Finally, though it’s not exactly one brand, I have to call out the goodness that the theatrical brands bring to the table. Hard to match foundation? Try Graftobian. A setting spray that actually works? Ben Nye. Killer bright shadow shades that won’t break the bank? Kryolan.

So, yeah. My favorite? Variety!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

30 in 30: Question #2
How did you learn to put on makeup?

My answers to 30 makeup questions in 30 days! Today's question is:

Question #2. How did you learn to put on makeup?

As chronicled in my answer to #1, a lot of my makeup education was simply trial and error. In the early days, I owed a lot of my methodology to simple curiosity. I don’t recall anyone ever telling me I could crush up eyeshadow and mix it into Vaseline to make my own lip colors, I just figured, “why can’t I?” Since I lack the affliction that makes me care about other people's opinions toward me, I was never very bothered if something didn't work or looked odd. To me, weird has always been a compliment.

I also can’t ignore the impact of beauty and fashion magazines. In the days before YouTube, those glossy pages were a god-send to those lusting after a smokey eye or trying to choose the perfect shade of lipstick. Allure magazine is an all-time favorite recommendation of mine to those that say they simply have no clue where to begin. Infamous for their yearly reader's choice and Best of Beauty awards, the magazine is packed full of the latest & greatest along with tips and tricks on everything beauty- they even publish flash cards in each issue!

My formal education didn't come until I got my first job in cosmetics. I’d never had so much as a department store makeover myself, but the idea of doing them on other people sounded pretty sweet, so I applied at my local Merle Norman. Luckily for me, the woman who owned my studio was extremely dedicated to the business that had been in her family for two generations, and she didn't settle for mediocre training. Aside from periodic regional training seminars and weekly staff meetings, every day was an opportunity to learn; every customer a chance to practice and hone my craft. I even learned how to do acrylic nails from observing and questioning our on-staff nail technician!

Finally, I did pick up some extra education as a theater major in college. As a small, self-sufficient theater department, we were required to take classes in everything from costuming to stagecraft to lighting. Though I never suspected at the time that my education would result in the career I have today (my goal was actually to teach high school English and Drama) it certainly did enrich my skills in a way nothing else could have.

While all of these routes are still available- and probably just as effective as they were when I started out, now that beauty blogs and YouTube tutorials are prolific on the interwebs, a whole other venue of education is open. Nonetheless, the dictum remains the same. Practice makes perfect!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

30 in 30: Question #1
When Did You Start Putting On Makeup?

The other day I was checking in on my friend Mariella on her site, Musing on Beauty, and I happened to catch the introduction of her "30 Makeup Questions in 30 Days" challenge. I thought, "Hey! That sounds fun!" After all, these are the types of questions I'm asked all of the time, so I decided, "why not?" In the next 30 days, I'm gonna dish. So, on with it...

Question #1: When did you start putting on makeup?

I have to admit, I don't really know the answer to this question! Like most little girls, I had my share of flavored lip balms and pretend makeup, and my mom has used Mary Kay ever since I can remember, so I was never a stranger to makeup.

I suppose my first “makeup” makeup came in the form of the electric blue mascara that was on the lashes of everyone who was anyone at Jackman Elementary; I was no exception. My true cosmo-revelation didn't come for another year or two, when a gorgeous gold tube of Coty Flame Red lipstick came into my life.

I don't remember where, when or why I bought it, but I remember the adoration. I remember the feel of the tube in my hand. I remember wearing it proudly- the scalding, matte red almost glowing up against my milky pallor. This, at an age and time when most other girls were tanning themselves silly and shellacking on frosty pink gloss. I didn't care, I knew I was on to something special. This gilded totem lives in the highest echelon of makeup memory for me, and it remained a coveted piece of my arsenal for years. Alas, a girl who loves color can't be limited to just one for long...

Perhaps I should be ashamed to admit it so brazenly, but later that very same year, my thoughts began to stray. The confidence Flame Red had given me had taken root. Maybe if a particular Beetlejuice-esque outfit hadn't found it's way into my closet, I wouldn't have wandered. I don't think it was the thick vertical stripes that tainted my thoughts. After all, they were banal black and white. No, it was surely the golf ball-sized, multi-colored poppies interspersed over the stripes (obviously I was never content to "blend in") that inspired me to take things to the next level. No longer satisfied with matching my lips to the bold red flowers on the outfit, I moved on to the other, slightly less conventional hues featured in the ensemble. Since color availability wasn't quite as varied as it is today, this meant getting creative. That might have meant filing in my lips with with blue eyeliner, or perhaps crushing up some green eye shadow & mixing it with Vaseline. The horrors, I know, but I did what I had to do.

In the end, though, it all turned out fine. A little experimenting turned into a life-long affair with color. As I sit in my Atomic Vomit Green* living room, I can truly say, we've lived happily ever after.

Tomorrow's Question: How did you learn to put on makeup?

*Actual name of the paint shade used in my living room. No, really. But if you Google it, please remember to use the word "paint" in your search. Trust me.

Monday, August 15, 2011

This Week's Sales:
Week of August 15, 2011

Monday: Tosca Hair Styling Products

Ends Tuesday: Designer Fragrance

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

Monday: philosophy
Tuesday: JEAN-MICHELLE Cosmetics
Wednesday: Corioliss Hair Electronics

Tuesday: Senna Cosmetics

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Quick Tip: Alcohol Disinfection; How Less is More.

Photo by: Bill Selak
If you use alcohol to disinfect when you're cleaning your brushes & makeup, it may interest you to know that 70% isopropyl alcohol is actually better suited to the task than higher concentrations. As counterintuitive as it may seem, hear me out.

Alcohol disinfects by denaturing proteins. In concentrations over 90%, alcohol instantly coagulates the protein on the just the outside of the cell. This forms a protective shell (think Magic Shell on ice cream) that prohibits the alcohol from further penetration, so it can not effectively kill the cell.

70% alcohol still coagulates the proteins in the cell wall, but it does so slower. Because it takes its time, 70% alcohol is able to penetrate the bacterial cell wall and do it's business inside of the cell.

Of course, to properly disinfect, the alcohol must come into contact long enough; which means a quick spritz won't cut it. A minimum of 30 seconds of wet contact is necessary. Since alcohol can degrade the glue holding bristles in place, as well as ruin some rubbers and plastics, be careful to submerge only the bristles and lay the brush flat (never upright) to dry.

Monday, August 8, 2011

This Week's Sales:
Tarte Friends & Family, EcoTan, Nia 24
...and More!

Tarte Friends & Family
Get 30% off of your entire online order (excludes Tru Blood line- boo!) now through August 15, 2011 with code FFAUG. Free gift and free shipping on orders over $40 (gift available while supplies last).

Ends Wednesday, August 10th: EcoTan

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

Monday: Ouidad
Tuesday: Nia 24, Joon Natural skin care for Girls
Wednesday: Tammy Fender

Monday: Priti NYC

Monday: Stila

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Product Review: Geek Chic Cosmetics
JoySticks & Geek Gloss

OK, so I'm gonna start this post out by admitting that I kinda suck. Months ago (I'm pretty sure there was still snow on the ground!) the lovely ladies at Geek Chic Cosmetics sent me a few of their products to try out. If you're not familiar with Geek Chic, the name pretty much says it all. Self-proclaimed lady-geeks Chantel and Deb own their gaming, sci-fi loving personas and proudly emblazon it on their unique creations. With shade names like Element Zero, and Captain Tight Pants, there's a little chic for every kind of geek out there. Though Geek Chic's selection is smaller than many indie retailers, what they do, they do with love, and it shows.

To be honest, (which my fiance always says you shouldn't say, because it implies you're not normally honest!) as much as I love the idea of indie cosmetics, there's only so many loose pigments that a girl can really make use of, so I was thrilled to see two of the Geek girls' lip products in my package.

My Little Pwny is one of the brand's "JoySticks", described as "sheer, semi-opaque lavender with oodles of glitter".
Geek Chic calls "Geek Gloss" in Mana Potion "a sparkly, opaque, soft china blue lip gloss...a frosty blue with a sprinkle of rainbow glitter!"
I found both descriptions pretty apt, though I will say that I didn't notice tons of glitter in either formula, though it is more visible in My Little Pwny.

I'm also a little confounded by the description of Pwny as both sheer and semi-opaque. I think what Geek Chic is saying is that the lipstick can be applied sheer to semi-opaque, not both at the same time. Maybe? The lipstick is quite buildable, though I will say the color had a tendency to gink up a little in the corners of my mouth when I layered it heavily.

Applied in one coat, Pwny is what I would classify as a semi-sheer, neutral lavender. It covers enough to get a good representation of the color in the tube, but you'll still get a good amount of natural lip showing through. This means that the color will look a little different on everybody, and it could quite well be why it's probably the most flattering purple shade I own.

As you can see, on my lips Pwny appears much pinker on my lips than it appears in the tube, which is due to my natural lip color showing through. On my ::ahem:: much less pigmented arm, you can see the shade on it's own appears to have more of a blue undertone.

Yes, I swear those are the same lipstick! If you prefer the in-the-tube shade of My Little Pwny more, like I said, the product does build intensity as you layer it, and as such, you'll get a more accurate representation of the color you see in the tube.

Now, of course, glitter is a biznatch to photograph, but it is definitely there in Pwny. You can see tons of it in the tube, and I could definitely feel it going on as well. Once the lipstick was in place though, the feel was smooth and just a little creamy- not at all gritty like some glitter formulas. I did expect to see more sparkle on my lips, but wasn't necessarily disappointed that I didn't. If you're looking forward to the "oodles", a bit of clear gloss or balm will bring the glitz out a bit.

Overall, I liked My Little Pwny; it's a unique shade that's still very flattering (especially so when worn semi-sheer), and I agree with Geek Chic's assertion that this would be great on pretty much any skin tone. Since I waited so darn long to post this (I lost my camera! I was potty training my daughter!!!) I should mention that the formula has been slightly tweaked to make it a bit more moisturizing and help it glide on better. While the formula I have isn't drying, more moisture is always better in my opinion!

Now on to Geek Chic's gloss offering, which I tried in Mana Potion. Geek Gloss is a cushy, almost balm-like formula. China blue is a great description, though again, I didn't notice the sparkle so much- I'd say Mana Potion is more metallic than shimmery or glittery. The gloss has a satiny, soft gloss finish.
There is a slight bit of tack to the formula, but I still found it very comfortable on my lips (FYI, I have a very low tolerance for sticky lips). The thing that impressed me the most about Geek Gloss was its level of pigmentation and opacity- it easily could be labeled a liquid lipstick rather than a gloss. Again, I did notice the color pooling in the corners and inside the lines on my lips, but it didn't travel outside my lip line one bit. A gloss that doesn't bleed on my lips is pretty much unheard of, so this was a nice surprise.

I was also pleasantly surprised at the wear time for Geek Gloss. I didn't notice fading until after the 3 hour mark, and even then the color was still very visible. The wear was also very even- no ring around the lips- even the pooling I noticed at first had disappeared. BTW, based on my experience, I'm betting that the pooling/settling effect I mentioned would probably be less noticeable in more "natural" shades. Guess I'll just have to try a few more to test that theory, right?

Luckily, though procrastination isn't generally seen as a beneficial trait, there is a bright side to the fact that it took me months to get this post up: Geek Chic is in the process of switching over from traditional tubes to slimlines, so right now, all JoySticks are on sale for just $5.99 (reg. $7.99). Geek Glosses aren't on sale right now, but with a retail price of just $5.99, they're a great way to get your geek fix!

The 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 them. 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.

Monday, August 1, 2011

This Week's Sales:
August 1st, 2011

Oh how I missed you! Well, I'm back from vacation and, after a week of recuperating (it took me the first half of the week just to unpack!) I'm raring to go. Unfortunately, not many sales to start off the week, but as always I'll keep you updated. I also have some nice little surprises up my sleeve this week, so stay tuned!

Wednesday: Skinn Cosmetics
Thursday: Beauty Queen Boutique

Monday: M LAB Skin Care
Tuesday: Lotus Cosmetics
Wednesday: T3

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