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.

Too Beautiful

I was in LensCrafters today and could not take my eyes off the huge promotional poster behind the adjustment table. It was a photograph of a gorgeous man (wearing glasses, of course ūüôā ). He was looking out from the picture with such confidence and something else, something deeply compelling.¬†It was a look of interest, as if he might be attuned to everything about the people he sees — even though he’s just a photo. It’s a look of concentration and absorption that I have wanted to see reflected in someone else, and the beauty of the model has less to do with what his face looks like than the look on his face.

It’s really sad. I am at an age now where seeing that kind of beauty doesn’t make me happy. Rather, it leaves me dejected because I feel that no one will ever look at me like that in person. That intensity and interest that the model was able to conjure up just looking at a camera will always be foreign to me. When I was younger, such a face would leave me hopeful, and I was absolutely certain that there was some man out there who was going to gaze at me that way.

Now it just bums me the hell out.


Depression not only hurts; it’s damn ugly. I woke up this morning looking like a worn-out forty-seven year old, at the youngest. Some ugmo cosmetics simply cannot cover.

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.

Friday Night Lite

So, it’s a lovely Friday evening in the Commonwealth, and what do you think Maya is doing?

Catching a movie?
Going to a club?
Checking out the newest and hippest restaurant in the Capital City?
Going to a friend’s house for some laughs and maybe a DVD or two?

If you thought it was one of those, you haven’t caught up with Maya recently, have you? No, tonight she is excited about inventorying her cosmetics. Yes. Inventory.


Jena 6 National Week of Solidarity & Action — Sept. 16-21, 2007

Remember to wear black today in support of the Jena 6!

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