Sunday, December 11, 2011

Highlighters, My Latest Obsession

For a while I would contour with bronzer daily, but the past couple months I haven't been feeling it at all.  I had been using just blush alone, but got a hankering for cheekbone highlights.
Edited to add, forgot my LORAC highlighter!

I have a decent collection of highlighters:
NARS Albatross (in a trio with Orgasm and Laguna): white gold sheen (powder)
pixi Energy Blush in Golden Energy (duo of blush and highlight): light gold sheen/shimmer (powder)
MAC Cream Color Base in Pearl: MAC calls it a white gold, but I see more white pearly frost (cream)
e.l.f. Essential Shimmering Facial Whip in Spotlight: white side of gold (liquid)
MAC Mineralized Skin Finish in Pink Porcelain: pink gold shimmer/sparkle (powder)
Physicians Formula Happy Boosters powder in Translucent: sections of white, beige, pink swirls together to a light pinkish pearl sheen
Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Bronzer, Blush & Eye Shadow in Vegas Strip: more a golden bronzer swirled together but is very shimmery/metallic, using top light-medium gold alone can mostly work as highlighter
 LORAC Perfectly Lit in Spotlight: light beige fine sheen, very subtle and even though it's a bit darker than my skintone really it just makes my cheeks/temples look healthy and smooth.. slightly magical

I've been using the NARS, PF Happy Boosters and pixi most often, I like the MAC Pearl but if my skin is even remotely dry (which it often is around temples) it will really snag on those dry spots and it is not pretty.  Since I gravitate to golden shimmer, that's mostly what I have but with the cold weather, my pale skin and rosy cheeks I'm thinking I could do the cooler toned for that icy frosty sort of something.

With my Sephora VIB $20 off $50, I was determined to get a pink highlighter but after over a week I couldn't really find something I was willing to pay the high price of matching to what I had in mind.  I had told myself maybe I'd just get one of those nice pink pearl highlighters from Physicians Formula and try to maximize my Sephora discounted purchase otherwise.  So! I ended up getting the Benefit I'm Glam.. therefore I am kit that has Girl Meets Pearl (pink gold highlight liquid), a rosy light pink cheek color, eyeshadows, lip gloss and sample of mascara.  I also decided to go for a MAKE UP FOR EVER Star Powder in 942 White/Mauve for a white/pink/purple highlight that would work for eyes as well.

I mainly apply highlight across cheekbones and up into temple (blending towards brow highlight), sometimes on the bridge of my nose (over the lumpy part :), and on cupids bow.  I don't mind some sparkle but since I'm mainly doing makeup for working in an office (working in the glamorous world of IT), it seems a bit overkill most days.

So that's about it!  Something about the cold and snowy winter makes me want to shine like an ice princess.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Nina Ultra Pro Candi Apple NOTD

Edited to add: this polish stayed true with only tip wear for a total of 10 days, could have gone longer if I hadn't been doing heavy lifting moving over that weekend.  Awesome!
I wanted to put on some sort of festive nail polish for Thanksgiving tomorrow, nothing too out there and vaguely appropriate (almost grabbed a marine blue but thought better of it :).  I have worn this Candi Apple shade from Nina Ultra Pro a couple times, I picked it up at Sally Beauty Supply a while back.  It looks gorgeous in the bottle but I've learned after being bitten by this several times that those faint golden or silver shimmers just don't translate to the nails.

I always have a hard time getting a picture of these types of polishes, flash or bright lighting tends to bounce back in weird ways from the shimmer and just give white splotches on the nails.

Here's the beautiful (but invisible on nails) gold shimmer:

I like the formula and brush, easy enough to work with for shaky fumblefingers like myself.  It's a slightly deeper warm red which works well on my skintone, I find a tomato or bright orangey red to look a little garish at times on me against the stark white of my skin.

MAKE UP FOR EVER Aqua Creams and Revlon Creme Shadows

Was staring at my Revlon Creme Shadow in Precious Metals, I had used the beautiful bright light gold up on my browbone today (sounds crazytown but I have a small space to work with for eyes so it wasn't a huge flashing stripe.. really...).  Was thinking about using the plummy toned burgundy.. brown, I don't know what color it is.  And I was reminded of my MUFE Aqua Cream in #17 which is in a similar color tone, I swatched the Revlon palette and thought hmm, actually this steel shade looks familiar.. and there's a copper toned color too.  Pulled out the three eye Aqua Creams I have, and had to laugh at how similar the shades I have are to the palette.

I laugh because I'm clearly drawn to similar colors, the Revlon palette is by no means a dupe for Aqua Creams.  The reason I used the gold shade on my browbone today is that these things crease very easily, even with a primer - so I wanted somewhere crease-free. :)  The MUFE steel is #2, copper is #12, plummy burgundy is #17.

Top colors are the MUFE, bottom are Revlon.  MUFE is more pigmented, sets completely waterproof, is a true metallic finish.  The Revlon creams do not set, they can be convinced to not crease on me (for maybe 8 hours) if used with a primer and set with a shadow over top and are actually very small shimmery particles suspended in the creamy base.  It's actually a very pretty finish as it can spread these tiny sparkles out when sheer (for the steely silver and gold at least, the plum shade seems to have more color in the cream base).  My guess is that if using that ultra sheer layer for the wash of wet sparkles, the creasing would be less of an issue - I haven't tried (yet).

Anyway, funny how we are attracted to the same colors time and again. :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Attempt at recreate MAKE UP FOR EVER Winter 2011 Look

KarlaSugar posted a visual from the MUFE Winter 2011 and asked for recreations - I really wanted to get this one but it was much harder than I had anticipated.  I am completely miserable at putting liner on my lower lashline it turns out, and trying to do the inner tear duct highlight/flared liner.. wow.  I wasn't going to bother posting because it felt like such a failure, but here we go. :)

I didn't have any of the products used in the look as described by MUFE so I went with my own, I used a ton of stuff trying to get this somewhat resembling the original, this is all I can recall but it's been some time since I did this.

Used MAC Sumptuous Olive and Wet n Wild Comfort Zone green shade for the green aspects (I may have also used the light shades and green from the Estee Lauder GWP warm Pure Color quad, don't remember), the shimmery peach in Too Faced Romantic Eye palette for the overall lid, Urban Decay Buck for the matte brown.

I tried just about every black pencil and cream/gel liner I have trying to get the thin lower lash liner, I re-did the inner third of that liner at least 5+ times.  Used Tarte emphasEYES gel liner on the top.  Urban Decay Shakedown fairly heavily through the brows for contrast.  CoverGirl LashBlast Volume and some fake lashes (I'm too tired to find which ones, they honestly aren't visible here behind my natural lashes and liner).  Used my Wet n Wild liner in White for the waterline and inner corner highlight mess.  To get the lower line needed in the look, I used q-tips/cotton buds with Neutrogena's lotion format makeup remover to shave down until it was as thin and smooth but still completely opaque.

MUFE Face & Body in #38 (lightest shade, my favorite base currently), Physicians Formula Happy Boosters translucent powder for highlight on bridge of nose, cupid's bow, forehead, cheeks/temple.  I packed on quite a bit of concealer under the eyes, I believe it was mostly Laura Mercier Undercover pot in the lightest shade.  I think I also used CARGO blu_ray Pressed Powder in #10 to finish my skin and take down any excess shine, next to the MUFE it's my second favorite base!

Used Revlon ColorBurst in Rosy Nude for the cheeks, blended on very easily with my Sonia Kashuk flat topped ultra soft synthetic blush brush.  Honestly I don't recall what I have on my lips but it wouldn't surprise me if it was Milani HD Advanced Lip Color in Romantic Rose, I've been wearing it almost every day lately.  I believe the texture/color payoff is very similar to the oh-so-popular Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butters.  I have chronic massively dry lips so I do need a balm underneath but I'm sure most could get away without it.

Anyway, I slaved over this look for a long time and wasn't happy with the results.  I would definitely use that lipstick for blush again, and I'm always a fan of browny olive eye looks.  But I am not going to attempt a lower lashline liner look again for quite some time. :)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wet n Wild Baking a Cake baked palette Holiday 2011

My other little break in the spending freeze with the Wet n Wild Ice Baby polish in Give Me A Price Quote was this little baked palette in Baking a Cake.  I don't have any shimmer bright pinks and I wanted one, let's be honest.  The other colors in the palette interested me, especially the blue and the prospect of the swirly colors.  The other two palettes - one is a coppery brown type grouping and the other is blues.  I don't get a ton of use out of blues because I need to partner them with warmer colors or I look dirty/undead.  And as I've proved before with my gold/brown/bronze swatch-tacular post I have a lot of browns/bronze/copper etc.

So when my Walgreens had the Baking the Cake palette, I squealed in joy (okay, it was a silent squeal, this is a very cramped and busy downtown Walgreens where I could run into coworkers :) ).

Got this home and busted it out to swatch so I could figure out what I wanted to use tomorrow.  The pink is the sheerest of the bunch (blue is as well, but a little less so), I swatched these all dry - they will be same shade but more opaque/brighter/darker (depending on if it's a light or dark shade) when wet.  I did dabble around with the pink shade earlier in the day while wet on my lid and it was very pretty.  Since I had made such a nice arrangement of swatches, I figured I'd snap a picture and post it!

I really like the swirly shade next to the pink, it's kind of a slightly rosy bronzed something - but doesn't go orange or coppery - sort of rose gold-esque.  Thinking I'll feature that on the lid tomorrow and use the brighter pink near the crease, softening with the deepest shade to avoid looking too-too bright.  Fun stuff for $4.99!

Wet n Wild Give Me A Price Quote NOTD

I've had some mild thawing in my spending freeze and when I saw my cramped little Walgreens by work had a couple things from the Ice Baby limited edition collection my heart skipped a beat!  Last time around with Dream Weavers, I never did see any of the products that I wanted in stock.  Here I got Give Me A Price Quote which is a yellow gold bar glitter.  I had been seriously interested in bar glitters but they don't seem to be quite catching on with the lower price point polishes yet.

Please excuse the messier than usual painting, I was so happy with the results I grabbed the camera right after applying. :)  It dries quickly and is surprisingly opaque - this was 2 regular coats (nail strengthener, base coat, 2 coats, top coat of Seche Vite).  It is definitely more rough than the standard glitter and you have to watch out for strips of glitter hanging over the edge of the nail.  I have heard that it can wear and chip faster due to this, might be worth the effort to seal the tips with top coat after filing off any strays.  Brush into cap length is a bit short, brush itself is sort of wide and formula is slightly goopy.

Overall I'm super pleased!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Gold, Bronze, Brown Swatch-tacular

I was having a rough time this week, so I took some retail therapy at Walgreens - it's the first beauty spending since I put the freeze into place (5 weeks now perhaps?).  I only bought clearance items that I couldn't get a coupon for - Milani brow kit, Milani HD lip and a Black Radiance eye duo (that I mistook for Iman, way to look at the packaging!) - out the door at $10, turned out being about 50% off even.  The eye duo was a familiar brown and gold, things I wear easily and on a regular basis.  When I got home, I was curious if they were similar to the Wet n Wild Vanity palette I was wearing today.  One thing led to another, and I ended up swatching just about every warm brown/bronze/gold shadow in my collection.

So here it is.  I actually did this three times, I left out some palettes that were hidden behind my mirror.  Funnily enough, I was so enthralled by their swatches (Wet n Wild Gilded Age) that I put them out to use for tomorrow. :)

So!  I have (vaguely left to right): Wet n Wild (WNW) Comfort Zone, WNW Gilded Age, WNW Vanity, e.l.f. beauty encyclopedia eye, CARGO duo from the Mediterranean kit, Tarte for True Blood, Black Radiance in Sunrise/Sunset, MAC Surf the Ocean (from Surf Baby) Crushed Metallic Pigment, Urban Decay NAKED, Estee Lauder Pure Color quad (warm) from a gift with purchase, Too Faced Romantic Eye palette.

Hopefully the numbers and labels helped.  I swatched these all on my hand without a plan or organization the first time, tried to remember which was what and failed miserably.. had to go again on my arm and kept track of the ordering as I went.  As you might be able to tell, I love gold and brown!  I also included some colors on the copper side of things colors, but not all of them that I have - I was getting tired from all the swatching and pictures! 

The two shadows that gave the least amount of color payoff while swatching were the Wet n Wild Vanity palette, the gold shade; as well as the gold shadow in Tarte for True Blood palette.  The CARGO gold is very chunky and has lots of fallout. 

The e.l.f. brown shadow is gorgeous, but they are so incredibly powdery in that palette it's a real chore to work with.  I haven't used anything in ages though, I should give it a go here sometime.  Not swatched but the the Gilded Age WNW highlight (labeled, but it's superduperultra frosty) is a beautiful pinky warm champagne - definitely working that sucker into a starring role in tomorrow's eye look.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Makeup Wishlist During my Spending Freeze #2

Revlon Grow Luscious Eyeliner in Emerald, fashionismycrush swatched this in a couple recent videos and it's so beautiful!  A green/teal with tons of gold shimmer.

Wet n Wild Ice Baby nail polishes, I stumbled across these via a route I can't recall but on MakeupWithdrawal swatches several were calling to me.  The two bar glitters Give Me a Price Quote and 24 Carts along with Diamond in the Rough. 

After a bit more looking around, I think I'd like to try out the Sigma E35/MAC 222.  Looking for that fluffier crease and blending brush that isn't pinched like the 217 and not as enormous as the 224.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Quick Messy Halloween Inspired Crazy FOTD

I'm not doing anything for Halloween and as I practiced yet another winged liner technique tonight that got a little crazy, I decided to just keep playing around.

Because of the outer crease being somewhat hooded, I have a hard time figuring out liner.  This time I started the line outside of my crease and it just kinda kept going.  Then I was just messing around with the liner, went for the NYX cream glitter palette I have and tried to slap that on (wow even with the LA Splash sealer/base that stuff creases like nobody's business!), played around with shadows, contoured (badly blended on the nose as you can see below :) ), black and red lip.. etc!

So that's my Halloween inspired vampire/black swan/who knows messy FOTD!
Also trying to do the inner corner beak situation made me notice how different the structure of my nose is on each side.  One flattens out much earlier than the other, could not get them remotely even to save my life.  Side angled pictures to the rescue! 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wet N Wild Wild Shine Nail Color Kaleidoscope NOTD

Quick Nail of the Day!  I had been wearing this polish over my Milani Ruby Jewels (pink-red jelly with lots of red microshimmer) but was getting quite tired of having red on my nails.  I was grumbling over the pain of removing glitter polish but it's so beautiful I decided to just slap two layers of the Kaleidoscope on without a base color. :) 

It's a silver glitter with holographic glitters, it's definitely sparse like a glitter top coat but with lots of strokes to deposit glitter I got pretty decent coverage with two coats.  In natural light, it shows a lot more white silver based, flash highlights the holographic glitter.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

MAKE UP FOR EVER, Estee Lauder, Revlon for Pale Skin Swatch Comparison

So I figured I'd swatch my four most used and liked foundations, with their shade comparisons in natural light.  I've often looked at the Foundation Matrix on for reference and curiosity.  I'm not sure what shade in MAC I'd be considered, the only MAC face product I've used is my Mineralized Skin Finish Natural in Light which helps warm up and darken my face a bit (which may be due to it oxidizing on me).  Most lightest shades are too dark for me, but I apply most products rather sheerly so I can work with them even if a tad dark.  I aim to match/blend into my neck which is a good shade or two lighter than my freckled face.

These were swatched with the same volume of product on inner arm (slightly paler than neck), let sit for 15 minutes (the Estee Lauder definitely turns quite peachy after 5-10 minutes), pictured in natural light.  The Mat Velvet comes out nearly white but dries down/oxidizes to a more reasonable shade.  On my face, I think the Face & Body is the easiest match, along with the Revlon ColorStay (applied for light-medium coverage).

Due to the matte/heavier coverage of the Double Wear and Mat Velvet+, it's more difficult for me to work with and can settle into my pores even with a good primer.  I use my fingers to apply the ColorStay and Face & Body by pouring onto my fingers, rub them together and patting onto face, blending out with gentle smoothing strokes.  Depending on how my smooth my face is, ideally I just pat it all down which gives a nice finish.

I hope this helps other pale faced beauties out there!

Natural Look with Big Lashes Inspired by Lisa Eldridge and Tanya Burr

I watched two tutorials recently, Lisa Eldridge's Emma Watson Spiky Lash Elle UK Cover Look and Tanya Burr's (pixi2woo) No Makeup Look that got me inspired.

I've been absolutely loving my MAKE UP FOR EVER Face & Body foundation since I ordered shade #38 online which isn't available in stores around me.  Sephora calls the shade Pink Porcelain (porcelain skin with pink undertones) and is the lightest shade available.  I had previously purchased Porcelain Pink #2 but it was far too dark, but I loved the texture.  I'll be doing a quick post next with swatches of #38 and my other go-to foundations for shade comparisons.  Anyhow!  Tanya's tutorial was with MAC Face and Body and generally was a very light makeup look to even out the skin, very slight contouring around the eye, natural lip and lashes. 

Here's the foundation in natural light with my neck for comparison.  My neck is quite a lot lighter than my face due to not having the freckle coverage my face has.  My chest is also very light, similar to my neck, so ideally I need to match near my neck but it's fairly rare to find foundation light enough.  My guess is my face is between NC10-15, neck is NC5-10 possibly lighter.  When I swatch foundation on my inner arm, it's a bit lighter than my neck.

Lisa Eldridge's look for Emma Watson also had slight shading on the eyes, a natural but luminous fresh face, and monster lashes.  I always love big lashes so I thought I'd take the lashes (but slightly toned down) and a little contouring for my face.

Overall a very simple look but I was struggling a tad with the face, around my under eye area and nose (mostly on the left side) tends to get very dry so even though I had moisturized thoroughly I was getting bits of concealer/foundation globbing up that I had to deal with.

And here's the products used, first time I used the Prestige My Blackest Lashes which so many lovely youtube ladies have raved about.  First impression was LOVE!  Now it did take a while to build up the look, but they had that gorgeous wispy separated look that remained even as I built up the volume.

Used only Buck from the NAKED palette (medium matte brown) in the crease and upper/bottom lash lines.  Used the MUFE, two pumps, all over (including eyelids which I usually can't do with dry/crinkly lids).  Wet n Wild white pencil in the inner corner to keep it a little brighter without shimmer.  Milani HD concealer under the eyes but the color and texture doesn't work too well for me to be honest (little dark, slippery, catches on dry spots).  Revlon blush which is very hard but I find the brush that came in the compact is best at scraping out some product.  It's a matte tawny peach shade, used for contour and blush.  The Sephora gloss palette really needs to be used over a color since they are so sheer, but I used the second from top and second from bottom shades over a bare lip.  Some gloss and shine and a hint of color.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Mascara Overview - Physicians Formula, CoverGirl, L'Oreal and More

I just tossed two mascaras in the trash this week and I figured I'd do a quick (as quick as I can make things..) roundup of what I used lately (4-6 months), what I liked or disliked, that kind of thing.  I like lots of volume - especially at the base, easy covering of my blonde lashes, decent length.  I just want big funky dramatic lashes like everyone else. :)

Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara - my hands shake and the itsybitsy wand actually made me make more of a mess when applying on bottom lashes.  As I don't have transfer issues, the tubing/non-smudging part wasn't a bonus either.  I keep it in my purse as a backup (for the days I forget mascara completely on one side of lashes - yes, it's happened recently :S).

Physicians Formula Organic Wear 100% Natural Origin Jumbo Lash Mascara - this is the big green leafy shaped tube.  Cute, green, shiny but oddly shaped and a little weird to store.  The end result looked nice, but it took a lot of work to get there.  Formula is on the dry end (with a plastic brush), but never fully dried on my lashes for me after applying.  I think this is what makes it good for building multiple coats (not something I do normally, I pile it on all at once until I like it while it's wet), but I don't like brushing my hand against my lashes and having it feel waxy and soft and smudges on anything it touches (especially when it's 10 hours after I applied them, I'd rather them just flake off in dry bits than can be brushed off).  It was drying out to the point that it took 5-10 minutes to apply in a fashion I wanted (a good mascara I need 3 or so minutes, I'm picky and slow), just tossed it after the weekend.

L'Oreal Telescopic Carbon Black - super skinny plastic brush with short bristles, very wet formula.  Lots of length but with the brush shape and watery wet formula, I was constantly getting it on my waterline.  Mascara goo on my waterline feels like mascara inside my eye, irritating.  Recently tossed this one too.

L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes - another plastic brush, formula is a bit dry and though I liked how it looked it tended to flake off into my eyes which got really obnoxious!  Shiny gold packaging though, that's kinda pretty. :)

MAKE UP FOR EVER Smoky Lash - I got a sample of this with a Sephora VIB kit, I liked the effect despite it having a traditional brush (not my favorite lately).  Unfortunately - and I've heard this from various other reviewers, it dried up very fast.  I don't like paying much for mascara since there are so many good drugstore options, so I doubt I'd repurchase anyhow due to the price point.

CoverGirl LashBlast Volume - a perennial favorite by many, the classic orange tube with a big fat plastic brush.  I had tried this when it first came out, I don't recall liking it much more than anything else so I don't believe I repurchased until this recent tube.  The first month or so, this was giving pretty easy lashes with nice volume and lengthening without clumping.  I've mentioned this before, but I am quite lucky in that I have good lashes so they look nice with most products.  It's starting to dry out some and is getting a little more difficult to apply and a little clumpy trying to get the volume I want.  I would repurchase, but I have other things to try first.

CoverGirl LashExact Waterproof - I use this only when I absolutely need waterproof lashes like my brother's wedding. :)  It does the job, but I strongly dislike waterproof formulas as far as removal is concerned.  I want to get 90% off when I wash my face taking a shower.  The only thing I can say I wasn't a huge fan of was that it did flake off on me somewhat, and while removing it was very chunky/flaky.

Next up I have a Prestige My Blackest Lashes to try, I've heard many UK ladies rave about this and I'm super excited to give it a go!

Makeup Wishlist During my Spending Freeze

I need to hold off on non-essential spending for a bit with a couple large-ish expenses and the holidays coming up, but I still am keeping my eyes out for items I'm interested in.  I don't want to lose track so I thought I'd start logging them here.

Shu Uemura Hard Brow Pencil - Heidi (jalapena2007) raves about it and her pencil has lasted ages, looks like they have good cool color tones and it's supposed to be long-wearing and works differently (interacts only with brow hair oils, hm)

Avon Supershock Max Mascara - Nic (pixiwoo) used this in a tutorial (Bronze Red Carpet / Prom Look) and wowzers.  I'm rarely impressed with a mascara after seeing it in action but this looked pretty amazing after the first swipe.

Fluffy blending brush smaller than my Sigma E40, possibly a MAC 222 / Sigma E35 / MAC 226 (I think it's LE and not available currently) / I'm sure all sorts of others.

That's all for now but I'll keep updating as I think of them.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Collective Haul and Odds and Ends

This post is a bit random collection of items and thoughts.  I was gathering things for my favorites, but then started grabbing my new stuff and threw it all down for pictures.

In my hunt for eyebrows with staying power, I gave up but realized how much I like wax for brows as it can give a nice luster to the hairs, adds a little dimension to my face.  Using an e.l.f. eyebrow duo that I've had quite a while (but hadn't used in months).  Applied the wax (darker brown) generously and just set sparingly/filled in a bit at the front of brows where very sparse with the powder.

Eyelashes are looking pretty decent there and it had been 8 hours since doing makeup.  CoverGirl LashBlast Volume, Physicians Formula Eye Booster liquid eyeliner, lots of gold/green/bronze that you can't see because my eyes are open, Too Faced yellow gold shadow from Romantic palette in inner corner, Milani Minerals Blush in Luminous, had contoured with Physicians Formula Bronze Booster in fair/light earlier but it may have disappeared, Revlon PhotoReady Concealer in Light under eyes, Estee Lauder Double Wear in Shell with Maybelline Dream Matte powder to tame the huge shine I was rocking (hot and oily), lips detailed below.

I've been back and forth to Sephora a lot in the past few weeks, funny how sometimes I'm always in ULTA but lately it's been Sephora!  Picked up some fun stuff and something to try to help my oily chin/nose while at work.

I am hoping this Laura Mercier mattifying gel worn as a primer and smoothed on over foundation will get my blotting down to once a day at work as opposed to 2-3.  I grabbed this Sephora lip gloss palette after seeing it on Louise's (Sprinkle of Glitter) Sephora haul when she was in the States.  I don't give much attention to the Sephora brand, but I'm glad I got this!  The pink/blue shimmer adds a nice dimension over a lipstick/pencil, the other colors are nice warm sheer shades with varying shimmers.  They are mostly very sheer and need to be worn over another product but I love having 5 shades with me at work in one product, I can pick a different one every time I reapply!  They are a bit sticky and have moderate staying power.

I had looked at the previous Glamour to Go kit from Too Faced but the packaging always felt kind of cheap and I just never felt the need with all the small glosses in the bottom drawer.  This Dream Edition however had that more typically Too Faced fanciful packaging so I had to open it up.  The purple with blue shimmer sold me, it's true.

The other shades also looked a little different from a standard small on-the-go palette to me, so I was intrigued.  Since I spend the weekends away from my apartment most times, I like having a small palette to grab and go (along with my 11 other everyday items :S).

As you can see from the gouge, I have used the lip gloss already.  It's decently pigmented which was a surprise.  Not too excited that there's powders and the gloss in the drawer, but I do like having almost a full face in a small palette.

Now I've been rambling on Twitter about finding a lighter lip pencil, wanted to try some nude shade from the Sephora line but when I swatched it was too dark - as usual.  Since I my skintone is so light, even a light natural/nude tends to darken my lips.  I just wanted something that would nude out my lips a bit to wear with for example, my Revlon Soft Nude.  Soft Nude is a little sheer and can really glob into lip lines if I try to layer a lot on, I wanted a pencil to do more of the work so I could just lightly layer on the lipstick over.  I found instead this Sephora Nano Lip Liner in Candid Candy, decided to give it a try since it was a light matte pink.  Works quite well for what I'm looking for!  It's only $5, but it is very small as you can see.

Picture below I'm wearing lip balm, Candid Candy pencil, Revlon Soft Nude over top.

Stopped at Claire's when I was in the mall for Sephora one evening and got two necklaces, this crazy 3D but flattened birdcage with bird charm in a bright gold tone and a more antiqued heart filigree locket (not pictured).  I've had a lot of comments on the birdcage necklace so I figured I'd share it!  It's noisy to the point of annoyance at work though, when walking the bird really rattles around and half the time I have to grab the charm to keep it from driving me insane.

And for scale, it's quite chunky as seen below.

I ordered this Estee Lauder Double Wear from Macy's online when they had a gift with purchase I was interested in, picked the warm color choice.  The Double Wear is the lightest shade, Shell.  Temptalia's foundation matrix says Shell is NC10 but MAKE UP FOR EVER Mat Velvet+ shade #15 as NC15, I think the MUFE is lighter.  It also has MAC Mineralized Skin Finish Natural in Light as NC10, not sure what I think about it.  I think my neck is a solid NC10 or lighter, and my face is probably NC10-NC15.

Anyway, I digress.  The Double Wear is a good color match for me, but I am having some difficulty with it settling into my pores.  I have tried over L'Oreal Magic Perfecting Base primer which I usually like quite a bit, but it isn't helping.  Maybe it will work better over the Laura Mercier mattifying stuff.  The GWP lipstick is Pure Color Barely Nude, it's my lips but darker type shade.  It wears quite long on me but isn't drying at all.  I would be interested in possibly purchasing a lighter shade in this line!  The eyeshadows are okay, nothing fabulous.  The pigmentation isn't the best.

I had a DSW reward I didn't know I had until they reminded in a couple days before it expired, so I had already wanted to go over there to look at some low to mid height pumps and this gave me all the more reason.  As I was waiting to check out, I saw they had nail polish at the register.  And well, I can't resist polish!  So I browsed the colors and there were two that really caught my eye.  Brand is anise and I got Agent Glam (had to tell Tati GlamLifeGuru about that one :) ) and Crocodile Tears.  Agent Glam seems to be a pewtery shade with some gold tones and shimmer, Crocodile Tears is a green gold with multicolored microshimmer that mostly is seen in the bottle in bright light.  I did sloppily paint my nails with Crocodile Tears already but will need to see them cleaned up in the sunlight to see if I can see the fabulous flashed shimmer on the nail.

Now how's that for a disjointed and disorganized post!  Lots of fun stuff to play with though, I can't complain.

September 2011 Favorites and Flops

One of these items is sort of a cheat, I only have had it a week maybe?  But my lips are such a constant battle, to find a really solid lip balm it has worked its way into my heart already. :)

Hopefully I can make this a touch less rambly than usual.  I am going in no sort of sane order, sorry!

Revlon ColorStay Normal/Dry in 110 Ivory - it's easy to apply, doesn't grab on to my dry spots, stays on quite well despite how oily my chin/nose are.

LORAC Behind the Scenes Eye Primer - works as well as my Too Faced Shadow Insurance did but for a lower price, and better than Urban Decay Primer Potion (for me).

Milani Minerals Blush in Luminous - I've worn this most days since I've had it, lightly glowy pink with fairly strong gold sheen; beautiful and easy with fair skin.

Confetti nail polish in Ice Ice Baby - it's a cyan and pink shimmer in a mostly clear base, the cyan flashes quite bright as you can see!  Layers beautifully over lots of colors.

Sonia Kashuk Highlighting duo-fiber brush - I've been using it for blush lately and as long as the product isn't too soft it works so well, good for those of us who have a heavier hand sometimes (cough) which can be especially obvious when you're very fair.

Sigma E05 eyeliner brush - has made me much more enthusiastic to wear gel/cream eyeliners, it's very easy to use especially compared to a thinner brush.

Jack Black Lib Balm - I have the scent/flavor Lemon & Chamomile which is a little lemon parfait but when I was buying it was I was feeling very sick of minty balms (too much Burts Bees lately).  I will get another scent next time!  But other than that, it's a great thick balm that stays on my lips for several hours, not too greasy/thin/slippery.

LORAC 3D Multiplex Eyeshadow palette - texture of the shadows is so soft and buttery, they are the most luscious shadows I've used to date.  There is a MAC Club/Urban Decay Lounge/Too Faced Label Whore type shadow with the red/brown-teal flash that I'm loving so much.  I have to force myself to do other looks most days. :)  The coppery bronze is gorgeous, the light peach is less peachy on the skin and a wonderful not-super-frosty highlight, the silver is brilliantly intense and I love to use it as an inner corner highlight.  The blue and black shades I have used only occasionally, I am concerned though that both shades have developed small cracks, I am guessing they are so soft I must have jostled them when I handled the palette too roughly.  Will need to be more careful!

Pink liquid is MAC Brush Cleaner decanted into a spray bottle - I love how easy it makes to really quite thoroughly spot clean eye and face brushes.  The spray bottle makes me feel as if I'm using less as opposed to pouring out the bottle top, though I think in the end I'm using about the same amount!  Having the smaller bottle up on my desk though encourages me to clean brushes when I'm dawdling looking for something to do.

CoverGirl LashBlash Volume - it gives me good volume and separation, not too wet or dry, only very minor flaking near the end of the day.

Flops -- not pictured.  I had some major failures with products from Sephora this month and October.

MAKE UP FOR EVER Waterproof Eyebrow Corrector in shade 2 - it's a thin sort of liquid in a tube, it was difficult to apply for me with a brush and all of the shades were too warm for my taste.  The blonder shade 1 looked a bit sickly on me, shade 2 went auburn which is too red for my regularly brown with slight red highlights hair.  Regardless it was way too much work for me to apply consistently and it smudged off with the oils on my face during the day like every other product I've had.

Tarte emphasEYES waterproof eyebrow pencil in Taupe - loved the color, applied easily -- but I had to use a lot of product for one day and after three days the twist up mechanism broke.  It may have been for the best because I feel like I was going to be out in a month (or less) and at $19.50 it's just too expensive to burn through like that.

Bare Minerals Prime Time Oil Control primer - I have been hoping to find some magical products that will make it so I don't have to blot 3 times a day at work, but this stuff did not work for me.  It may be that I already use a lot on my face (moisturizer with SPF, topical antibiotic and a sulfur treatment) and it did not play well, I'm not sure.  I didn't try it without those things since they are a requirement for me.  Anyway, the primer balled up the instant I tried to apply it.  I tried smaller amounts, not rubbing, patting, giving lots of time for the previous products to soak in, giving the primer lots of time to dry before applying foundation... nothing worked.  It was quite unpleasant.

Monday, October 3, 2011

My Learning Process with Eye Makeup

 As is the case for a lot of people that get into makeup, especially those that wear it day to day - eye makeup holds the most interest to me.  Face makeup feels like a necessary evil, it's difficult to do right and the results should be basically invisible.  Making the perfect canvas - but that's another post. :)  Cheeks and contouring is fun, but I have found it to get easier with practice at a decent pace.

Ultimately though, I strive and likely always will - to improve my eye makeup techniques.  The only product I've used consistently over the years has been mascara.  I used eyeshadow for many, but not all - and any technique I used it was purely winging it as I went.  Other items like eyeliner I used occasionally and knew I was bad with it.  Never been shy to go a little dramatic in the eye department so I'm sure I had many days of ultra thick dark blue eyeliner and the such. :)

I really gained insight into eye makeup technique via youtube tutorials.  I realized how important blending is, what an art it is in itself, and that I could use this to approximate the eye looks I had admired from afar previously.  As I've spent more and more time learning techniques, watching people use those techniques, (and attempts to) implementing them myself - I learned some other things I didn't expect.

1) Eye shape matters.  I never really considered my eye shape setup.  I knew I had fairly light and sparse eyebrows, light eyelashes.  Initially I was watching lovely ladies like emilynoel83 and MakeupByTiffanyD.  They have almond shaped eyes, very lifted eye skin and shape, arched eyebrows and a ton of space between the crease and eyebrow.  There was a lot of frustration early on when I just didn't understand why I couldn't get those "outer v's" to come out like they would show.  Learning to work with the shape I have (rounded, slightly downturned, slightly hooded with one eyelid crease that extends past the outer corner) has made things much easier, but still can be frustrating when I want to do something like an eyeliner flick/cat eye (near to impossible as far as I can tell without it being huge).

Eyes straight on without makeup to see what I mean:

2) I was very lucky in the eyelash department.  I never appreciated that I have pretty great lashes, I knew they were somewhat long but I was always bummed at how light they are.  They aren't straight (they are somewhat curled naturally), they will curl up with just about any mascara, they are long and while not super thick they aren't sparse.  My lashes take to mascara very well, I don't ever have problems with mascara transferring and most mascara will look good on me.  I don't need the mascara to do a ton of heavy lifting.

Healthy looking lashes with pretty blah mascara:

3) Blending requires very little (if any) product and an extremely light hand.  Many tutorials I've watched have used pretty aggressive looking blending, but after much trial and error I find the softest looks seem to come from patient, very lighthanded blending.  I often have too much product and end up blending it all over the place, learning to use only the slightest bit of product and blending that out thoroughly before adding more has gotten me closer to achieving those very subtle blended gradients into the lid/up to browbone.

Less than stellar blending, especially from this angle:

4) Gel and liquid liner aren't that scary if you have the right tools.  I have recently been using a thicker straight eyeliner brush (Sigma E05) and have been finding it brilliantly easy to lay down a consistent upper lash line.  I still struggled with liquid eyeliner, but the pen style applicators are by far easier for me - especially when applying to my non-dominant-hand side.  The image above does have liquid eyeliner but it's a little off on the right side eye.  I had a little twitch and didn't want to wipe it off and start over completely.

5) Freckles on my eyelids make a difference.  I never really considered it, but part of why I have difficulty can be due to the fact that I already have spots of pigmentation on my eyelids.  Especially when using brown tones, things can get muddy around the freckles.  Going in knowing I'm not going to get a purely visible defined edge of blending or plain sharp edge moderates expectations.  I could use a product to blot out the freckles or tone them down, but that can go cakey on my dry eyelids and well, it's just a bit unnatural looking when the freckles are all over otherwise.

Approaching muddied brown copper eye look (with strange color balance that enhances the odd interaction with freckles):

I'm sure I have more, and will have more a year from now but I'd been sort of mulling these things over the past few months and thought I'd share.  Always something new to learn!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Autumn Look Inspired by MakeupByTiffanyD

Tiffany recently posted a fall tutorial (Changing Leaves), I loved the look of using a green, brown and bronze combination.  This summer I'd done mostly crazy bright green looks, this was a nice transition into fall and I had to toddle over to the makeup table and try it out.  Her look is much deeper and smokier, but with my pale skin and eye shape going dark and smoked out on the lower lash can get tricky.  What I was inspired by the most was the green brown transition.

Updating to include pictures of a fully done face in natural light I did the next day.

Here's the finished side first time through in questionable lighting/wb:

And here's what my other eye looks like without anything on for reference. :)

I used Urban Decay 24/7 liner in Whiskey as the base, Too Faced duo Lucky Charms (just the dark green side) for the green, not pictured but fudged around with Urban Decay Smog and Buck to deepen the crease/outer edge a bit but ultimately used more of the Too Faced Ever After dark brown bronze shade, Urban Decay Sin as brow highlight and Too Faced Honeymoon to brighten up/warm up my inner corner with the yellowy gold (not something Tiffany did).  And as most days, used Urban Decay Shakedown for filling/darkening eyebrows.

Been loving CoverGirl LashBlash Volume for mascara lately and used the Physicians Formula liquid liner even though I'm not that great at applying it.  Came out acceptable today though, whew.  So, that's about it.  I took more pictures but getting the lighting and white balance, well.  It's a challenge.. everything went strangely cyan/cool in these pictures, but at least I'm not orange eh. :)

The rest of my face was recently washed so I just buffed on some MAC Mineralized Skin Finish Natural in Light to even it out a little and cut the shine, Milani Minerals Blush in Luminous (loving it so much!), a couple nude and bronze lip glosses and Revlon Age Defying Moisturizing Concealer under the eyes.

And on the nails are Nicole by OPI in Sounds Grape To Me with Sinful Colors Frenzy on the tips to cover some chips - ended up looking pretty neat too!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Nicole by OPI Sounds Grape To Me NOTD

Gorgeous burgundy with slight gold shimmer duochrome effect (only seems noticeable under certain lighting and sunlight) that seemed perfect for autumn.  I'm not one to spend more than $4 on a nail polish, but it has my name on it after all!  Had to get one eventually.  And this color was too good to pass up. :)

As with the previous post, this was using with a measured white balance - hence the spooky white hand floating in the darkness effect. 

Autumn Lip Color, NYX Apollo and Adventures in Measured White Balance

Along with my efforts to be more scientific about my picture taking, I decided to try out the functionality of taking a measured white balance instead of relying on preset settings.  Indoor light, flash and my pale skin seem to be a bad combination for any preset.  Here's my first try along with showing my new inspiration for an autumn lip color that works with my skintone - NYX in Apollo.  Very pretty coppery red that will be quite dark on me, but more every day on darker skintones.
Keeping this original size so the thumbnail won't have the adjustment in color balance.

Then I opened the image in Gimp, selected the Camera white balance which looks washed out/overexposed, I think part of my problem is that I just plain didn't have enough light when taking the picture.

Picasa/blogspot thinks that I am too warm which may be true, but it goes a little sideways "fixing" it.
Here's what the same image when resized/rebalanced by the site looks like.  Bet you didn't know I was secretly a zombie, did ya!

As for the rest of my face, I have literally four things on my cheeks (I was experimenting with what would look right with the coppery lip) - smudged out Yummy Plummy Maybelline lipstick, Milani Minerals blush in Luminous, e.l.f. Healthy Glow bronzer in Sun Kissed, Physicians Formula Bronze Booster in Fair/Light.  LORAC On Screen Duo as highlight and thick black cream liner, LORAC 3D Multiplex eye palette (the MAC Club type redbrown-teal duochrome) on lid and whatever other remnants of today's previous eyeshadow.  A LashExact waterproof mascara I dislike except when needing bulletproof waterproof (..hmm) mascara, Maybelline Define A Brow pencil for brows.  Lastly, MAC Mineralized Skin Finish Natural to smack down some of the shine.  Using the LORAC Evening Out kit for powder and concealer earlier today but I think that's long gone at this point.

Little sidenote, I tried using no primer with MUFE Aqua Cream and a shadow over, I was creasing after a couple hours.  It was an experiment because I needed to do makeup on the go before running into work.