Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Contouring Gone Robot? Silly Face of The Day

I was playing around with a different contouring shape on my eyes after watching an old haul possibly? from JuicyTuesday and I liked the contouring she'd done with her eyes.  I started with the Too Faced Romantic Eye palette, used the shimmery peachy white on lids then started shaping with the light matte gray and went in heavier with the dark matte gray.  Then I recalled someone else giving a tip about contouring the small area between socket and bridge of nose, and it just went a little haywire from there.  I brought it down my nose, then thought hey let's do cheeks too!  And penciled in eyebrows with the gray eyeliner.  Oh my.

So I thought I'd share my half zombie-half robot creation with you all!

You might notice the (appears left) side of my face is a bit lumpy/puffy.  Turns out I've been grinding my teeth at night for who knows how long and the jaw muscles on the one side are overdeveloped.  I did shade more heavily on that cheek, but there's only so much a robot can do!  I also tend to tilt to one side which makes it even more complicated. :) 

I used e.l.f. shimmering facial whip in spotlight to add highlight under my eyes, and on cheekbones. I used NYX Orange Soda on lips, blotted, put some of the Too Faced palette light matte yellow shadow over top, then smeared on some of the spotlight highlight when my lips were getting dried out. Used the MAKEUPFOREVER concealer palette and add a thick opaque concealing job under eyes/around nose/over chin. Not something I use day to day obviously, acne doesn't react well to it and it seems to aggravate oil production elsewhere as well.

But at the end of the day, even robot zombies have feelings.

Maybe I'll wear this to work tomorrow.. what do you think?!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Picking Lip Colors

In short, I'm pretty terrible at it.

I feel of all the color products we wear, it's the one that has the least flexibility.  The range of non-crazy looking shades for me feels small and I still haven't completely wrapped my head around what a color will look like once it's on my lips.

Warm, subdued colors seem to be safest and work fairly well, but they also feel pretty boring to me.  I want some more excitement!  But then I buy a bold color and get freaked out over how stinkin' dark it is when on my face.  My lips are a fairly good sized feature, I feel like they will usually make colors darker/brighter than I am expecting.  On the other side of that, using something with heavy frost or is on the lighter side of the spectrum - I feel crazier still.  Like I'm reliving some strange 80s nightmare. :)

So I have this tub of lip products that I struggle to use.  Gloss is always low-risk, but I dislike the upkeep when I'm at work sipping coffee all day.  I know part of it is just getting my brain used to seeing my lips in those darker/brighter shades, but I'm finding it even more difficult than getting used to having darker eyebrows.

My go-to safe items are L'Oreal Colour Riche in Fairest Nude, Rimmel Lasting Finish in Airy Fairy and my new happy discovery of NYX in Orange Soda.  I tried out this afternoon dabbing in lightly then rubbing in to give a more stained effect with my Revlon Super Lustrous in Kiss Me Coral.  It's a miserable combination with the CARGO eye look but, oh well.  I'll try to remember before wandering outside.

I need to plan a tame eye look for tomorrow maybe so I can go for the Kiss Me Coral to work.  Maybe I'll give those crazy Maybelline Cool Shadow/Liners a go on the lid and see how they last.  When applying they do feel wet/cool, it's very odd.  It looks like they may be discontinued (again? Makeup Alley reviews sounded like they've come and gone a couple times) and I can't say I would be too surprised with the odd application feeling.

Crazy clown lips unite!

Quick Change - Adding Black Waterline to CARGO look

I decided to slather on some Urban Decay 24/7 liner in Zero over the CARGO Mediterranean Collection look I just did to see the effect.  Much better! 

The black balances out the heavily warm coloring going on.

Eyes of The Day + Mini Review CARGO Mediterranean Collection Eyeshadow Duo

Decided to try out the CARGO eye duo that looked so pretty in swatches, the more I dug around in the product I realize how chunky the gold color is.  I was a hot sparkly mess!  I figured since I was going full-on shimmer with the eyes, I could use my ultra shimmery Candlelight in Too Faced Shadow Insurance.  It managed to creep down into my inner corner and underneath my lashline, combined with the fallout from the gold.  Oh my.  I used my e.l.f. fan brush to try to de-glitterball myself, popped on the Garnier rollerball concealer and snapped a couple pictures.  My skin is in even more miserable condition than yesterday, so I am cropping out that wreckage and just going for eyes today. :)

Here's everything I used - and today I remembered to curl my eyelashes, but forgot to include the curler in the shot!  Sheesh. It's the e.l.f. $1 eyelash curler for reference!  I don't curl my lashes every day as they are naturally fairly lifted, curling just adds a little more oomph.

The Revlon matte shadow is Vintage Lace, Urban Decay 24/7 liner in Whiskey, NYX eyebrow marker in Medium.

First slathered on some of the Candlelight, then I (tried to) carefully pat the gold #2 shade on my lid with the Sigma E55 shader brush.  Next I liberally wiped off the brush on a towel and patted on the bronze shade #1 on the outer third of lid and along my crease to contour a bit.  I went back with the clean Sigma E25 blending brush and windshield wipered through my crease for quite a while to soften the bronze #1 shade and get rid of that scaly over-shimmery look and it blended out sort of coppery orange (something that often happens with this shade range on me, MAC Woodwinked goes ultra orange on my skin).  I went back in with the E55 and pat on more gold #2 along the lid because it had gotten a little lost with my enthusiastic blending.

I took #3 matte Vintage Lace on the Sigma E50 huge dense fluffy brush and layered on a good amount at my browbone (the color gets a little lost on my skin).  I also softened the edge around the crease, and took the color down the edges near my outer corner.  When color gets down near my outer corner, it tends to make my eyes look sad and droopy so if I have a matte light color sometimes I blend it down that way to brighten up the edges.

I tightlined and applied to my waterline with Urban Decay liner in Whiskey, though to be honest UD 24/7 does not stay on my waterline at all.  My eyes do water a fair amount and I had to reapply right before taking a picture because it had already become patchy.  Looks nice for a few minutes at least, ahem.  Curled the lashes, drew in some eyebrows and layered on the L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes.  Came out pretty I think (though not that special), but that chunky gold is a little bit of a pain to work with.  One thing I would change is using black liner instead of brown, so much oranges and browns is making especially the waterline a little red looking.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

First Look and FOTD with Maybelline EyeStudio Mythical Mermaid

I was so enchanted with this small green eye palette when I bought it yesterday, I wanted to try it out today.  I wasn't planning a blog post, but it was so pretty I thought I'd try to get some pictures of it and do my first Face of The Day.  My skin is having a rough time (well, it usually is, let's be honest) and I haven't wanted to do many full face pictures.  But, ah well, we can pretend the red spots on my chin are freckles. :)  I didn't bother trying to cover them up, it just catches on the dry spots anyway.  So here we go!

A look from the side.
And with eyes closed, can't say it's the best blending I've done but I slapped this on in a couple minutes.
Here's the eye products I used, only item not pictured is the Too Faced Shadow Insurance - the Maybelline eye palette and Maybelline Cool Effect Cooling Shadow/Liner, lashes having L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes (I love the brush on this, easy to keep clump-free).
And a diagram of where I put the shadows.  I applied #2 across my entire lid, #3 on the other third angling out to the corner, #4 at the outer half lashline, #1 at the top of the crease; daiquiri at the browbone and inner corner - Million Lashes on upper and lower lashes.
The rest of my face products here, also forgot to put the eyebrow marker in with the eyes so it's stuck in here as well.  Not sure yet what I think of it, it's also on the warm side and like most cheaper marker products it sort of dries up if held at the angle you'd normally use it with.
The LORAC highlighter is in Spotlight, CARGO blu_ray in shade #10, NYX Eyebrow Marker in Medium, NYX round lipstick in Orange Soda, Milani 3D Glitzy Glamour Gloss in Designer Label, CARGO blush in Mendocino.

And here's the only brushes I used - foundation brush (Sigma F60) for the CARGO blu_ray, Sigma F35 Tapered Highlighter for blush and highlighter (what I use daily) and Ulta Professional Eye Shadow brush for the entire eye look.
I love this eye palette, lots of sparkle and lovely colors.  The orange toned lipstick and sparkly gloss seems to work well with my skintone.  I went very easy on the blush and will like to work with it more.

Update on Skin Issues

My frustration level seems to have reached a breaking point, and increased awareness campaigns about skin cancer has pushed me to into trying the dermatologist route.  I have had 2-4 moderate pimples on my chin in a constant rotation lately.  The kind that takes a couple weeks to fully heal, often is crusty and has to be drained, painful enough to bother me at work.  It's about enough to drive me nuts, and the dry patches means I can't cover it properly with makeup.

I also want to make sure the constant dryness in my lips is nothing to be concerned about and maybe I could get some tips on dealing with that as well!  I am not expecting miracles, but it's time to try to get help from an expert.  I have been dealing with the same level of acne for around 17-18 years, and even after completely revamping my skincare routine I'm still stuck with the same issues.  Time to call in the professionals!

I hope to have some good information to report after my appointment in a couple weeks.

ULTA and MAC haul, Anastasia Beauty Express brow kit

I had gone to ULTA last weekend after a haircut and picked up Smashbox Photo Finish primer (regular oil free variety), Anastasia Beauty Express brow kit and a Real Techniques powder brush.
Initially the brow kit stencils seemed great, but the more I experimented with it I realized none of them really fit my face.  The petite stencil was too small and the proportion wasn't right - but the other sizes were too long.  To get 2 of the 3 spots lined up it would throw the third spot off (lines up with a spot in line with nose, through the eye pupil and diagonal from nose to outer corner of eye).  I also have very little arch, mostly straight eyebrows.  Nothing really fit well.  As thrilling as it was to have fully shaped eyebrows, extending the tail of my eyebrow with powder isn't very workable for me.  I tried it for work a couple days and it was just too easy to inadvertently rub or scratch off the powder-only eyebrow.  I did really like the brow highlight powder and would have bought that alone if I could.
I am enjoying the primer and brush.  I had bought Photo Finish Light in the past but felt it didn't really do much, especially for the price.

So! I wandered over to ULTA today to return the Anastasia kit and find some other alternatives for my brows.  I have some other pencils and powders but powder is tedious before work in the morning and most of my pencils are quite warm toned - my eyebrows are ashy in color and warm brow filler doesn't quite look right.  My brows are very fair and somewhat sparse.  When I was younger, they were completely light blonde, but they became darker blonde eventually.  They still need a lot of help to be visible on my face.  I also wanted a replacement for the brow highlight, hoped that there would be an Anastasia option with the same shade in that kit.

Couldn't find anything from Anastasia like what's in the kit.  So I wandered around looking at the various high end products options for brows out of curiosity.  Didn't find anything, but did look again at the Cargo Mediterranean Collection and after swatching the eyeshadow and blush, decided the price ($34) sounded like a good deal and snatched it.

The blush is pigmented and a fairly deep pink, but the gold shimmer is what hooked me.  The eyeshadow duo (unnamed on the package) had very pretty gold and bronzey colors that seemed a little different to anything I have in that shade range.  The lip gloss and dark teal liners were a bonus!  I love blue and green liners and had considered the 4 pack of mini liner set Cargo is selling now, this is a nice way to try out the line.  The eyeliner is called Swimmables (waterproof presumably!) and there's also a full sized Better-than-waterproof mascara.  I have little interest in non-drugstore mascara, but I'll use this one once I'm out of my regular stuff (currently enjoying L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes).

After getting one high end item, I made a beeline to the drugstore area thinking about NYX having a fine point eyebrow marker that sounded interesting.  The amazing Lisa Eldridge had used a fine point marker for eyebrows (I recall it wasn't a brand that was easy to obtain) and I was tempted in trying the NYX version.  I was thinking it might have better sticking power than the powder when it comes to a full workday of small bumps/scratches.  The packaging sells it as long wearing and after swatching and letting dry, it doesn't easily rub off.  I am cautiously optimistic!

ULTA's current sale is buy 2 get 1 free on NYX, so I also grabbed two cream (non-shimmer) lipsticks in lighter colors.  Being so pale and my lips can be fairly dark (depending on how much bloodflow I have to the face at the moment :) ), colors can look very dark on me.  Got Strawberry Milk for a lighter pink and Orange Soda for a nude-ish orangey tone.  It looks similar to me as my NYX jumbo pencil in Almond, I like orange toned light lips apparently!

There were a variety of items on clearance, since I had my mind set on some shimmery champagne or light peach these Maybelline Cool Effect Cooling Shadow/Liners caught my eye.  I like the colors after swatching, popped the Peach Daiquiri under my eyebrow and I think it fits the bill.  The swatches on my hand were done a couple hours ago and with moderate rubbing they still haven't budged.  Better than I would have expected.  I also snagged the Maybelline EyeStudio because the greens looked absolutely gorgeous.  They swatched very easily and appear to be quite pigmented.  They all have a very lovely shimmer and sparkle.  Will definitely be trying this palette out soon!

I had stopped at MAC while walking through Macy's several weeks ago, maybe longer.  I figured I'd include this in here as it was my first MAC lip product purchase!  It's one of the new line, Sheen Supreme in Ultra Darling.  Since my lips suffer from chronic dryness, I especially appreciate the extra moisture in this line.  It's darker than I really had wanted, but again I guess I can't be too surprised based on past experience!

Lots of good stuff I'm excited to play around with.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Compulsive Lip Product Swatching!

But not Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics swatches, sorry to disappoint.  Most evenings I sit down at some point at my makeup area to tinker with products, play around with new looks and eventually pick out an eye/lip/cheek for the next day.  While I'm accustomed to how most of my lip products look in the tube, I forget what happens when they end up on my lips.  Since I am very fair and my lips can be decently pigmented, products often end up much darker than I'm expecting.  So!  I have a lot of lip stuff, and I don't wear them all evenly amounts of time.  I am pretty good at rotating through my eye and cheek products with a favorite here and there, but I plain neglect some lipsticks/glosses.  Which is especially ridiculous since they have the shortest shelf life!

Anyhow!  This means sometimes I slather on some lip goop, decide I want to try something else, so on and so forth.  Tonight after testing a few lip items, I started swatching them.  Then I swatched a few more in the same color family.  Then I just kept on a swatchin', and it turned into a little project to swatch everything in my drawer.  It was also a good opportunity to throw away the truly ancient stuff I'd had lingering around for 3-5 years (why I keep moving it from storage spot to new storage spot, I have no clue).  Anyway, my hand came out so colorful I had to share.  I have some lip marks where I was trying to blot off the majority of my first lip application before I started swatching.  And the two big funky swaths of brownish nude was me trying to warm up this Wet N Wild matte nude lipstick to see if the consistency improves with warmth. 

And here's the bin with said lipsticks.  Sometimes I group them by color, but it's hard to keep it organized in this sort of setup.  I should devise a better way, but this does the job for the moment.
As a side note, that L'Oreal HIP pink lip gloss smells very much like vanilla wafer cookies to me.  Makes me hungry!  Much stronger than say the vanilla cake-y smell of a MAC lip product.

And for a random inclusion, I bought a few new office type organizing items at Target the other day that's helping keep the palettes out of the way and safe. Also got a pencil holder making eyeliner and other random tall skinny things that I use often easier to grab instead of digging through a drawer like the lip stuff.

Fun stuff!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Perception of Makeup, Oh No You Didn't Just Call Me a Clown

I've never been afraid of color for eye makeup, now that it's become more of a hobby my technique and variety of looks has expanded and improved (not to mention my much larger of a makeup collection to choose from).  I've also gotten a friend at work experimenting more with eye looks, and since we're pretty friendly with our coworkers makeup has ended up being a topic of discussion lately.  I work in IT and both of our departments are mainly guys.  I had an idea of what the general perception of makeup from guys and girls that don't wear it/aren't interested in it is, but this has opened my eyes even more.

One day a while back, I did a rather bright blue and green eye look - it wasn't crazy, but it wasn't neutral to say the least.  I don't blend much above my crease (since I don't have a lot of lid up there) so it's mainly visible while blinking/looking down.  I thought it wasn't too wackadoodle for work.  My friend and I were jibberjabbering as usual and one of the guys popped up, everyone is pretty sarcastic and likes to joke around - well.  He made a comment about the blue eye thing going on, and at some point ended up calling me a clown.  For me, this crossed the line!  We all harass each other, but that's getting a little personal!  Telling a lady her makeup is clownish even if you're joking is like calling her fat, just don't do it!

Now I laughed it off and later talked to my friend, she confirmed it was a horrifying thing to say and we both just boggled over it.  A few days later I told my other good pal what happened, and he couldn't believe it either.  He marched right over there and made a big fuss over it, which tickled me to no end.  So now it's the big office joke and we will never let him live it down.  As it should be. :) 

Another thing that has come up, my pal (the defender) also seemed to think that all eyeshadow is black.  It was news to him that it came in colors.  So that sparked a discussion as to what his fiance does for makeup, he confirmed he doesn't really know what she wears, but that it looks like no makeup (he said mine did as well that day but of course I had a full face on but neutral eyeshadow).  Then a truly weird statement came out of him; one thing he doesn't like her wearing is red lipstick.  There never was a good reason that he could provide behind it, but it was just Too Much.  I do know there's some odd perceptions out there sometimes about things like heels and red lips, etc; but I never would have expected it from him. 

I find it truly interesting what the so-called outsider view of makeup is.  I will continue my information gathering and report back any new developments.  Clowns Unite!

Update on Make Up For Ever Mat Velvet+

I had bought MUFE Mat Velvet+ in shade 20 Ivory, Sephora description says for light skin with beige undertones at the VIB 15% off sale (at Sephora) about 3 weeks ago.  I would say it's been difficult to work with, but it wasn't making me break out and I didn't get super oily wearing it.  It doesn't prevent me from getting oily by mid-morning to afternoon, but I am noticeably less oily compared to other foundations I have.  The difficulty working with it has been in blending, it catching on any minor dry spots and how quickly it dries and sets.  Nonetheless, I was happy to work with it because of good staying power and not aggravating my acne.  Some other foundations I have I will sometimes end up with two new nodule type pimples developing by the end of the day, pretty scary stuff!

One day this past weekend I was out and about, it was fairly overcast and I was checking my makeup in the car and to my horror the foundation looked way too dark on me.  I frantically tried to blending it out around my jawline, but I couldn't believe how mismatched it looked!  I had checked it in various lighting, indoor and out and hadn't noticed a drastic difference.  I did think it made me darker than my natural skintone but not so much that there was a distinct difference down to the neck.  I do always blend past my jaw into my neck a bit, but don't take my makeup all the way down my neck.

So I dug out the sample of shade 15 I had gotten before purchasing the 20, 15 is described on Sephora's site as for porcelain skin with pink undertones.  I don't feel my skin is pink undertones per se, but more in the neutral to warm category.  I tried the sample out for work one day and it did seem to be a better match shade-wise, it seemed light enough and was easier for me to work with.  Used it for a day and decided I needed to exchange my shade 20 at Sephora for 15.  I swatched the two before I left, a couple hours had passed and 20 had turned downright orange toned on my hand (it was a rather thick swatch), so maybe it's just a little dark and oxidizes on me.  Nonetheless, they processed the exchange without issue (I was slightly concerned it would be a problem since I had bought it originally with the 15% discount but they did the return/sale for the same price).

I used the new bottle of shade 15 this morning, it was lighter than the sample I had and a thinner consistency, I imagine since the sample has been opened longer and in the little sample pot itself a while.  Nonetheless, I used my fresh bottle with a damp sponge and it applied like a dream.  It felt like it truly disappeared into my skin, I wasn't sure I was even applying it!  The only downside is it doesn't help cancel out the redness in my skin, but I'm trying to use my green correcting primer from L'Oreal again (thought it might be breaking me out previously) for that job.  I will try applying with fingers, foundation brush, buffer brush and see how those work.  Since I don't want full coverage, this can go on heavy (from my experimenting with shade 20) but sponges aren't my favorite method of applying since they're more of a hassle on the cleaning side.

I need to continue using it for a full report, but signs are good on this one!

Spots, Lines and Flakes - Skincare Routine

I've had acne, a somewhat mild amount (small bumps around chin always, 2 or 3 larger nodule pimples per month on chin and occasionally elsehwere, other small intermittent breakouts around nose and forehead) since puberty.  So that puts me at what, 17+ years of it.  It was never bad enough that I felt the need to see a dermatologist, I had accepted it as part of life for quite some time.  Most of this time, I didn't wear foundation, didn't moisturize, generally ignored my skin except for washing it with some salicylic acid containing face wash in the morning and using a topical salicylic treatment on pimples as needed.  My family all had similar skin issues, but they died down around 30.  I was holding out for that magical time, but I'm 31 now and the skin is still doing what it has been for the past decade (not a surprise of course, not like it would change overnight arbitrarily, but a girl can dream!).  Now I am getting some distinct lines around my mouth to add to the fun.

I also have started taking care of my skin, I had always thought with my oily breakout-prone skin that moisturizer was not an option.  I did some reading, found some ideas for shaking up my skincare routine to try to improve it.  I am very consistent now with this routine.

I wash in the morning with the same type of product as before, something with salicylic acid in it - currently using something with scrubby exfoliants.  Next, I put on a sunscreen product; right now I am  using Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Liquid which is oil free and very watery consistency, doesn't leave me slimy.  I apply a moisturizer over the sunscreen, using Clinique Dramatically Different Gel for the light texture and easy absorption.  I was having a lot of problems with products balling up on my face so I've been going for the very light and easily absorbed options of late.  Last skincare product on my face (I am applying regular Ultra Sheer type sunscreen on my neck, chest, ears, hands and lower arms) is the salicylic acid treatment gel - have been using Clean and Clear's variety for years.

Over all this I apply oil free foundation of some flavor, a light dusting of a powder (Cargo blu_ray powder or MAC Mineralized Skin Finish Natural) and generally no concealer as I feel it tends to make the pimples/oil worse.

When applicable - before exercising in the evening, I use a makeup wipe or a very mild facial wash (Aveeno Ultra Calming) to take off my makeup.  After exercising or for my regular evening face wash I use either the Aveeno or another wash not containing salicylic acid with the Sephora face scrubby brush (instead of using something like a Clairsonic or Olay PRO-X).  In general I am able to get off the majority of my eye makeup unless I've used a lot of waterproof liner/mascara in this washing.  I also dry my face off with a face-only-for-drying-washcloth and do a very light scrubbing of areas that tend to peel (chin, around nose) along with cheeks/forehead.

Once I'm dry, I apply RoC Deep Wrinkle Serum for the retinol - face and neck.  Once that has dried, the Clinique moisturizer over top and very small dabs of the Clean and Clear salicylic gel on active breakouts.

Both morning and evening, I am applying an eye cream of sorts and sometimes I will use that on a trouble spot that continues to drive me up a wall.  It's one area that has confounded me.  My nose is oily on the top, but around the base/nostrils it peels every single day.  I've tried Vaseline, eye creams, Origins heavier night creams, Nivea Creme, Neosporin, Cortizone10, you name it.  I don't know if it's eczema or what, I do have a few lingering skin issues I didn't grow out of as a kid (scalp problem and occasional reactions to metals).

I never noticed the peeling nose issue more than occasionally in passing when it was very bad, but now that I'm wearing foundation regularly I'm reminded on a daily basis.  It doesn't seem to matter what I do, how much I moisturize it; it will still be dry and peeling when I put foundation on and it will be grossly obvious.

In a way, I think freckles can be an advantage with not-so-perfect skin like this.  There's the downside of not being able to use a more full coverage foundation - but the upside is that your skin is naturally not evenly one color and a few spots here and there do just sort of blend in better.  Go figure.

I am hoping that continuing this routine of consistent moisturizing, exfoliating and retinol usage my skin will brighten up slightly along with slight smoothing of the lines.  I find the most obnoxious part of having these first wrinkles is foundation tends to collect in them if not careful.  I just want a smooth canvas for at least a couple years!  Maybe one day.

I didn't have a clear direction for this post, just breaking down what I'm doing now and how it's going.  My acne level hasn't changed much, the best improvement has been when starting to wear foundation it helped break the habit of picking at sore breakouts.  It's a nervous habit and I still have to stop myself on a regular basis.  The texture of my skin has improved from the exfoliation and moisturizing; I haven't noticed any difference in fine lines but retinol does time quite a long time to start having a noticeable effect.  We'll see.  One day I may just give up and see a doctor about it all.  I should likely see a derm anyway with my complexion type being high risk for cancer and having had several bad burns when I was younger.

Keep fighting the good fight.