My Oh-I-have-that-now List!

A while back — in October, I believe — I wrote a post about some of the things I was desiring. I am pleased to inform you that I got the big one: a hard case for Hamlet.

He just loves it! It’s green and gorgeous. I went with the Bobelock, and I couldn’t be happier! Well, that’s not entirely true. The one problem I’ve experienced so far is that the case stinks inside. It’s definitely not a new car kind of smell. (That would be fantastic, because I love that new car smell!) I really can’t describe the odor, but it’s taking a long time to fade. I have sprayed the interior with Febreze and body splash to no avail. I don’t want to spray too much because I don’t want to harm it. But geez! Stinky!

I’ve also gotten some more MAC pigments. I think I only had Copperclast and the four small ones from last year’s holiday set when I posted my list of wants. I now have three more full size pigments (Shimmertime, Accent Red, and Sweet Sienna) and four minis (Helium, Softwash Grey, Naval Blue, and Forest Green) from this year’s cool pigment/glitter set.

It’s nice to sometimes be able to get some things that you want, isn’t it?


It’s been a while…

I haven’t forgotten my blog, but I have neglected it for a while. I’ve been crazily busy with school work and tutoring lately. Plus, I’ve started posting video makeup tutorials on YouTube. I know! Can you imagine? Check out my page: I’ve posted my videos on my blog, too. ūüôā

There’s not really much to blog about right now. Actually, that’s not true. The truth is that I’m not going to blog right now. But I wanted to let any regular readers — because I’m sure I have regular readers ūüėČ — know that I’m still here, just quiet.

Re-falling in Love & a Noble Quest

Sometimes, instead of fantasizing about new products, it’s nice to look back at what you already have or have already fallen in love with and rediscover what made it so great. Better yet, I like to locate things that just sit in my makeup case most of the time and find uses for them.

Recently I re-made the acquaintance of my MAC Honey Lust eyeshadow. It’s one of those Lustre finish shadows, and I had sworn off them — even though I owned two. I had gone so far as to give Muffy my Mythology and had figured that Honey Lust might well go Back 2 MAC as soon as I had enough empties to accompany it. But I was recently trying out Muffy’s Bronze Cream Colour Base and applied Honey Lust over it wet just for a laugh. It was gorgeous! My lids looked wet, not sparkly. I’ve worn it quite a few times since. I bought it originally because I loved the color and now I have finally learned how to make it work for me — color, finish, and all! I may even consider other Lustres in the near future. (I love love love greens, so Swimming might be mine soon.)

Nude Lips: Impossible Dream?

I’ve been flirting with the idea of getting MAC Shitaki lipstick for a long time. It is — hopefully — the last in a lengthy search for my perfect nude or everyday brown lipstick. I have been wearing glosses for some time now because it seems so hard to find a lipstick that is both the right color and the right consistency. [Sigh]

Anyway, the first MAC brown lipstick I tried was Oolong from the High Tea limited edition collection; I loved it and still have a nub of it. When it reached nub level, I panicked and went back to MAC, hoping they’d still have it. Alas, it was many months later and I was forced to look for an acceptable dupe. The artist recommended Photo. In the tube, Photo looks much like Oolong; but on the lips, it is significantly darker. Plus, it has a Satin finish that tends toward matte, so it does not have anything like Oolong’s lovely Lustre finish (which is smooth and slightly glossy, not to be confused with the sparkly eyeshadow Lustre finish).

I gave up the search for a while until Muffy accidentally bought two tubes of a single L’Oreal HIP lipstick called Charming and offered me one. When I first tried the color — alone, without liner — I was unimpressed and thought it might be a bit too light and too pink. But I took it back to my apartment and gave it a home in my makeup case. Weeks, or maybe even months, later I gave it another try, applying it over MAC Cushy Cremestick Liner, and it was lovely! Sometimes I add MAC Revealing Lipglass.

But, in the end, it is still a bit too pink/orange/warm. As a matter of fact, that has been the problem with many nude browns I’ve tried, be they lipsticks or lipglosses. So when I was looking about most recently for a nude brown lipstick, I kept that in mind and focused my search on completely neutral ones: not orangey, not pinky, not yellowy. Just brown. Shitaki fit the bill: completely neutral, semi-sheer, with just a hint of golden shimmer. And a few weeks later, I stumbled upon Bare Fetish lipglass, which is a great complement for Shitaki or just on its own for a light neutral brown nude lip.

So, the point is that I have at last found some colors that I can use to give myself a super-soft nude lip. Yay!

It’s the little things…

I made my first visit to a CCO today.¬†People who participate in cosmetics message boards will know immediately what I’m talking about. ūüėČ For everyone else, CCO stands for Cosmetic Company Outlet. CCOs are loved by many cosmetic junkies, especially those who are really into Estee Lauder brands (i.e. MAC, Clinique, Bobbi Brown).

Well, I loved it! I found three great items — two of which are now discontinued — and saved over $14!¬†Hmmm, price nerd.

  • MAC Copperclast Pigment: It’s a beautifully rich deep copper with gunmetal pearl.
  • MAC Bare Fetish Lipglass: I wish I had gotten one or two back-ups of this one because I’m fairly certain that I’m going to running through it in no time. Silver lining: I’m planning on getting Corsette from the current Antiquitease limited edition collection, which I hope I will like just as much.
  • MAC Petalpoint Powder Blush: It’s a light bright pink with silvery frost that I will wear on the apples of my cheeks and on the cheek bone. It’s a bit too pale to wear alone; but I’ve tried it already with Mocha and with Style, and it looks very fresh.

Underwhelmed but not disgusted

In my last post I shared how excited I was to finally try some NYX products.  I read up on them in the Specktra forums, and today I treated myself to an eyeshadow trio.

NYX Eyeshadow Trio -- Tropical, Yellow, and Lime Green (TS10) <РNYX Eyeshadow Trio TS10 includes Tropical, Yellow, and Lime Green.  These are the types of colors I like: orange/corals, yellows, and livley greens.  In fact, in the pan, the colors in the trio look like three items I already own.

I tried them on using Vaseline as a base for the best color pay-off.¬† (I don’t ordinarily wear eyeshadow this way, but it’s good for trying on and for taking photos … with the digital camera that I do not have yet ūüôā .)¬† They were alright.¬† Definitely not earth shattering.¬† On my NC42-43 skin, the colors didn’t have much impact.¬† After applying them with a dry brush, I reapplied, using a damp brush.¬† That made all the difference.¬† The coral and green were strong, and the yellow finally showed up on me.¬† Satisfied, I removed the shadows and reapplied them wet using my usual MAC Bare Canvas paint as a base.¬† Apparently, the Vaseline makes a big difference, because the colors were much less vibrant without it.

Some users on Specktra said that NYX offered dupes (duplicates)¬†in finish and color to some MAC products, but my limited experience doesn’t show that.¬† First of all, the NYX shadows seem very dry.¬† At least half of what I put on the brush dissipated into the air in a colorful poof.¬† NYX Lime Green is similar in the package to MAC Juxt, but Juxt has more gold.¬† On the face, Lime Green resembles MAC Overgrown more than Juxt.¬† NYX Yellow looks a lot like MAC Spring Up, although Spring Up is lighter in the pot.¬† Yellow doesn’t deposit as much color as Spring Up, even when applied wet.¬† I don’t have any corals from MAC, but NYX Tropical looks a lot like the lighter color in L’Oreal HIP’s Playful duo without the intense gold pearl.¬† But, as with the NYX-MAC comparisons, I prefer HIP’s texture and intensity.

The bottom line: NYX is okay for filling in some colors you don’t have in better brands or for buying when you’re out of town and need something in a pinch.¬†

Neutral Quest and Columbus-like ‘Discovery’

Here are my recent finds in the perpetual quest for a nude, my-lips-but-better lip color.

MAC Shitaki (lipstick)

I wear it alone or with MAC Chesnut or Cushy liner.

NYX Hot Fudge (Goddess of the Night lip gloss)

I will be wearing this one alone and also over Shitaki.¬† I can’t wait to see what else I can pair it with!

And now for the discovery of something that existed long before I knew or thought anything about it!¬† NYX cosmetics!¬† I’ve read of them on Specktra and seen them at Ulta for a while but didn’t really pay them any attention.¬† But today I was in Ulta and wanted to find something inexpensive but pretty to perk me up and there was this lovely Hot Fudge lip gloss!¬† It will go nicely with my MAC Shitaki lipstick for times when I want a little more shine.¬† It’s a very neutral medium brown with smooth gold pearl.¬† (It’s much less sparkly than it looks in the above picture.)¬† I was also interested in — but resisted purchasing — some of the eyeshadow trios.¬† I can’t wait until I have¬†copious amounts of both time and money so that I can explore this brand more!

My Five Minute Face

Ideally, I take at least fifteen minutes to do my full makeup routine.¬† For special occasions, it could take as much as thirty.¬† But sometimes — like today, for instance — I am running late and can’t do it all.¬† That’s when I slap on the five minute face.*

Pre-Step A

Moisturizer — This is probably the most important step in any beauty regimen.¬† I use Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture SPF15.¬†

Pre-Step B

Base — It’s good to start with a base.¬† When I have time (and manage to remember), I use MAC Prep+Prime.

Step 1

Foundation — For a face in a hurry, I use a powder foundation.¬† On most days, it’s MAC Studio Fix.¬† When I’m having a very good face day (ie. I wake up not looking scary), I can make do with a heavy application of a sheer powder.¬† Today I wore MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural. ¬†

Step 2

Cheeks — Depending on how my face is looking after the powder, I can either include or exclude this step.¬† Today I went without, but some days I use a blush that gives me a strong punch of color to brighten up my face but with little effort.¬† In the winter and spring, when I’m at my palest, I use Peaches¬† or Mocha. ¬† In the summer and fall I like Format.

Step 3

Eyes — I like¬†a simple wash of color.¬† Some days I use something bold like MAC powder eyeshadow in Club, and other days I want neutral.¬† MAC Vex¬† is a soft neutral with an iridescent twist.¬† Sometimes a little creme color in a neutral lighter than my skin tone is enough; for this look I like MAC paint in Bare Canvas (which I usually use as a base for eyeshadow).

I finish off the eye area with a little clear mascara (I use Maybelline Great Lash in Clear) to groom my eyebrows and a coat of black mascara on my lashes (Maybelline Define-a-Lash in Black).

Step 4

Lips — Glosses go on easily and add just the right amount of subtle color for a low-key makeup day.¬† I like MAC lipglass in Atmospheric ¬†or lipstick in Shitaki ¬†.

* I can’t wait to get a digital camera so I can share photos.¬† I know it seems dumb to do this kind of post without one, but it’s something to do, right?

Newish favorites on the cosmetic front

I love cosmetics and making my face look different than it does when I wake up.¬† Here are a few things I’ve found recently that I really like.

LORAC Lip Polish in Sizzle¬† It’s a rather thin gloss that can be worn alone or over pencil and lipstick.¬† Every color combination I’ve tried with it looks fantastic.¬† I especially liked it over MAC Chestnut and Nightmoth liners.¬† When I tried it on at Sephora, I was wearing MAC Cushy cremestick liner and HIP Charming lipstick.¬† I just swiped some of the Sizzle over it and fell in love!

MAC Lipglass in Moonbathe (from the Limited Edition Moonbathe collection — get to your freestanding MAC store and see if they have any left; it’s wonderful!)¬† and MAC Lipglass in Atmospheric (from the Limited Edition¬†Blue Storm collection

L’Oreal HIP Shocking Shadow Pigment in Intrepid¬†

L’Oreal HIP Brilliant Shine Lip Gloss in Enticing¬†

Aside from makeup, I like fragrances.¬† I am looking forward to Bath & Body Works offering the full line of Blackberry Amber stuff.¬†¬†¬† The salewoman we asked about it last week said they’d probably have all the products by the holiday shopping season.¬† Here’s hoping because I smelled it and it’s great!¬† Not too fruity, and amber — as always — is quite mellow and warm.¬† Makes you want to curl up with someone special.

Speaking of snuggling with a hunnie, check out Eau de Vie’s Cappuccino with Panna eau de toilette, available at Sephora.¬† It has notes such as coffee, bergamot, vanilla, and sandalwood — very sensual and nuzzle-worthy!

In the Land of the Unmarked Case

Cosmetics and beauty retailer, Ulta, is promoting a sweepstakes¬†for which the grand prize is a $1,000 Ulta shopping spree.¬† Okay.¬† That’s fine.¬† But the tagline for this promotion is “The world of beauty is evolving.”¬† Okay.¬† That’s fine … or is it?¬† The tagline sounds so inclusive, so multicultural, so accepting of multiple conceptions of beauty.¬† In theory, at least.

But, in practice, not so much. 

The main promotional feature is a brief retrospective on styles from the 1920s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s (obviously, ain’t nothing chic about the Great Depression), complemented by contemporary photographs of models with their hair and makeup styled to represent each decade.¬† I’d like to share them with you.

This first decade highlights what I find reprehensible about the entire layout: the assumption that white looks were and are the most important, and that women of color (be they African American or any other nationality, ethnicity, or race other than white American) mattered only as second thoughts and only during rare periods.¬† “Ghostly pale skin” not only does not work as a description for women of color, but it also excludes immigrant and second generation¬†women of the period — from places such as Eastern and Southern Europe and the Far East.

“Skin was powdered and pink”?!¬† Whose skin was powdered and pink?¬† Does this look a pink woman to you?

Once, again, the assertion of pale skin as the marker of a decade’s beauty ideal excludes the most women.

Well, in any decade, I love my bronze skin.¬† Maybe that’s what they mean … right?¬† Nah.

I wasn’t blond in the 1990s.¬† And it wasn’t just because I was in my teens.¬†

So, apparently we are finally allowed to accept our face shapes, skin tones, and hair textures.  Thank goodness for progress, for this magnificent evolution of beauty. 

And thank you, Ulta, for once again proving that white privilege is deeply and horribly engrained in the American social landscape.

Sluggish Mornings

I had a hard time getting going this morning.¬† It wasn’t until I got in the shower and experienced the crisp, clean scent of my Pre de Provence linden soap that I realized that the tone of my day never has to be determined solely by the way I feel when I get up.¬† Instead of giving in to the sluggish, poke-about feeling, I can perk myself up with a few cleansing and pampering steps.

First, in the warmer months, a cool shower can work miracles in the perking department.¬† I like to use cleansers and soaps that add to the¬†sensation provided by the shower.¬† So, for instance, in the winter I like to use nubby, warm scents like amber and musks or deep woody ones.¬† In the summer I like an open scent.¬† Like I said, I’ve recently been using a linden scented soap by Pre de Provence.¬† (Yes, linden is a tree, but I think the scent comes from the blossoms, not the bark or sap, so it’s much lighter than something like sandalwood or cedar.)¬† It has the most fantastic lather, and after a week or so of use, my skin is noticeably softer and smoother.¬† For open scent, citruses would work, too, but I generally don’t care for them.¬† I’m not partial to flat-out mints, either, but mixed well enough with another scent, they’re ok.¬† For example, I have a eucalyptus and spearmint body wash from the Bath & Body Works aroma therapy line that I like to use on just such mornings.¬†

Some exfolitation¬†is great, too, to wake up the skin.¬† I used to love love love the coffee scrub from the Bath & Body Works spa line, but they don’t sell it anymore, and I have not made good on my threat to make my own. ¬†No worries because I have since discovered the joys of exfoliating gloves!¬† The best part is that you can use any kind or scent of soap or body wash with them, so you’re not limited.¬† And they work so well and never run out.¬† You just clean them regularly, and you only have to replace them when the wrist elastic gives out.¬† Huzzah!

Cooling facial treatments are also good for slow mornings.¬† I have been tempted by many that I see in stores, but I have (as of now, at least) resisted.¬† What I use is about as inexpensive as you can get for a tingly face.¬† It’s Neutrogena’s Clear Pore Cleanser/Mask.¬† Wet the face, put some in your hands and lather it up well on the face and it will tingle nicely.¬† Very refreshing.¬† The bonus to this one is that it has benzoyl peroxide, not salicylic acid, which I’m trying to avoid because I just figured out recently that it may do me more harm than good because I’m allergic to aspirin and I want to see if cutting out salicylic treatments will help (since aspirin is acetyl salicylic acid).¬† We’ll see how that goes.¬† I don’t know; it may be that I’m allergic to acetic acid, not salicylic, or to the specific combination of the two.¬† Doink!

Anyway, after the shower, I like to keep the senses going with a good lotion or cream.  In keeping with the fresh, open scents, I like something with cucumber or a bright floral.  I have turned to my Bath & Body Works white cherry blossom body cream often this summer.  And even my deodorant has some cucumber scent in it.  Love that! 

Apres shower would be a good time, too, to do some facial stuff: chilled cucumbers on eyes, cooling eye gels, full-on Clear Pore masking, etc.¬† But I found that once I had bathed with the nice linden soap, cleansed my face with the tingly cleanser, and put on a pleasant smelling body lotion (not white cherry blossom today, but sweet cinnamon and pumpkin … go figure) I felt just as chipper as ever.

What are your sluggish morning aids?  Do share! 

P.S. — I’m really curious about all that C. O. Bigelow mentha¬†stuff.¬† Has anyone out there used it?