Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Blush Collection

Seeing as it was a gray, gloomy day here in Po'Dunk, I thought I would keep myself entertained by taking pictures of my makeup collection. I figured I'd start off with blushes because I don't really have that many and I could cram it all into one post. :)

Here they are! My 12 measly blushes. I think the reason I don't have that many is because my cheeks are really pink naturally and since I don't wear foundation all the time, the pink is almost always there. Plus, the blush just kind of fades after a few hours, anyway. I'm much more into highlights or shimmery/sheer blushes that just enhance what I already have.

top row: Blush Subtil in Miel Glace, Blush Subtil in Cedar Rose and Blush Subtil Sheer in Sheer Amourose

bottom row: Color Design in Freeze Frame (it's a cream-ish blush/highlight)

Mineralize SkinFinish in By Candlelight, Sheertone Blush in Tenderling, MAC Sculpt and Shape Powder in Accentuate/Sculpt

Flirt! Peek-A-Blush Sheer Powder Cheek Color (Whew! what a mouth full!) in All Dolled Up


Blushing Blush Powder Blush (another tongue-twister) in Smoldering Plum and Iced Lotus

Fresh Bloom All Over Colour in Almond Blossom

My one and only bronzer... Physician's Formula Bronzing & Shimmering Face Powder in Summer Eclipse (it's for medium skin tones - but I wanted something that would actually show up on my skin)

And... I thought I would go ahead and swatch them, since you can't always tell what the color is going to look like from the pan.

Left to right: PF Summer Eclipse, Flirt! All Dolled Up, Clinique Iced Lotus, Clinique Smoldering Plum and Clinique Almond Blossom

All Lancome, left to right: Freeze Frame, Miel Glace, Cedar Rose, Sheer Amourose

All MAC, left to right: By Candlelight, Tenderling, Sculpt and (barely even visible) Accentuate

Sunday, November 28, 2010

LOTD Clinique Long Last Lipstick in Beauty

For me, Clinique's lipsticks are hit and miss. One of my favorites, though, is their Long Last Lipstick in Beauty.

It's described as "a muted wearable pink with a hint of golden luminescence," according to Clinique.com, and I would have to agree... somewhat. I don't get much "golden luminescence" on me, but it is still a really pretty wearable pink. It has a moderate amount of coverage and isn't incredibly drying. Retail: $14

EOTD Clinique Pink Chocolate Quad

Clinique's Colour Surge Eye Shadow Quad in Pink Chocolate is a pretty, subtle, safe quad for people that like neutral colors. The shadows are shimmery and easy to blend, but not intensely pigmented.

I honestly don't find myself reaching for this quad... hardly ever. I think I like the name more than the actual product. "Pink Chocolate" evokes images of Valentine's Day for me, but the pink hardly shows up and it turns into just another brown eye look after a few minutes.

Clinique's description is more accurate (and flattering) that I could probably come up with, so here it is: Palest pink with a shimmering rose, a dark chocolate flecked with silver pearl, and a warm midtone raisin. Retail: $25

Undereye Concealer: MAC Studio Finish in NW15
Undereye Powder: Benefit Powderflage

Eyeshadows all from the Pink Chocolate quad
Lid color: rose pink color
Crease color: raisin color
Outer corner: dark chocolate color
Highlight: pale pink color

Eyeliner: Clinique Cream Shaper in Chocolate Lustre, topped with the dark chocolate eyeshadow
Mascara: Cover Girl Lash Blast Volume in Blackest Black

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

LOTD Lancome Colour Design in Vintage Rose

When it comes to lipsticks, Lancome is one of my favorite brands. Sure, they're on the pricier side, but I've never had a problem with them drying out my lips, fading funny, or turning wonky colors that look nothing like what's in the tube.

Lancome's Colour Design in Vintage Rose is no exception, either. For $22, you get a beautiful sheer lip color that is best described as a mauvey-rose. Ok... what's so special about that? Well, nothing really... until you add the hint of blue iridescence and then pow! Prettiness! In the tube, it actually looks like a pink/pale blue duo-chrome. Some people claim the blue undertones help make their teeth look whiter. I'm not sold on the whole optical-illusion/color play theory (if you don't believe that, please refer back to my Radiant Red post), but I am sold on the my-lips-but-better color Vintage Rose gives me.

Nekkid lips.

Vintage Rose

Swatched indoors

Another swatch - I was trying to show off the subtle sheen you get, without it looking frosty or glittery. The blue irridesence is only visible in the tube itself and doesn't even like to show up when photographed. :( But trust me, it's there. And I think it's the secret ingredient to making Vintage Rose an awesome color.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Blistex Five Star Lip Protection

Hi, my name is Ashley and I'm a lip balm addict. I've been addicted for ... probably twenty years now, ever since my mother bought me a plastic candy cane tube full of tasty Lip Smacker's lip balms for Christmas one year.

I need to have lip balm around at all times. If I don't, I kind of panic. The minute I even think my lips are dry, I have to get to a lip balm or dry lips are all I can think about. Kind of like an asthmatic with an inhaler. Sad, I know. But unfortunately very true. I've actually been in the middle of a store, like Wal-Mart, and realized I didn't have a lip balm on me and actually had to buy another one on the spot and tear into it the second it was paid for (sometimes even while the debit card is being swiped through the machine... ::clears throat::).

So, as part of my lip balm mania, I've tried almost every one on the market. My most recent purchase? Blistex's new Five Star Lip Protection.

Here's what Blistex says:

New Blistex Five Star Lip Protection has a unique system of five specialized ingredients to deliver unparalleled defense against nature’s harshest conditions…dryness, sun, heat, cold, and wind.

The Five Star Lip Protection Approach:
•Glycerin holds in moisture in dry air
•Candelilla helps form a wind barrier
•Wheat Germ Oil provides moisture relief for heat-stressed lips
•Calendula Oil soothes cold-chapped lips
•SPF30 provides UVA/UVB sun-protection

Well, that's a load of bollocks if I ever heard it. Five Star has been my "work" lip balm for the past month or so (I keep it in my uniform jacket, so I know I always have one on me... See? Sad...) and it's safe to say that I've used it at least five or six times, daily, during the eight hours I'm at work.

Five or six times? Sometimes more? That's ridiculous. I know part of my job consists of talking, not to mention any eating/drinking I do, but to have to re-apply lip balm that much? Something is clearly not working.

I really wanted to like this lip balm. I bought into the "five star" claims and thought it was doing loads of good things for my lips. But it's not and there's no point in pretending it's a decent lip balm when I think it's actually drying my lips out even more. It smells nice, kind of like a cross between vanilla and almond, and it has nice "slip" to it, but within no time the little moisture it does provide is gone and I find myself having to re-apply. When I slick on a lip balm, I want to know it's actually going to moisturize and soothe my lips - not smell good for a minute and then disappear, leaving my lips worse off than they were in the beginning.

Five star protection? Yeah right! I get more relief from plain ol' Vaseline.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Cuticle Care

I'm really really bad about taking care of my cuticles. I pick at them, I push them back all the time, and very rarely do I ever think to slap on some kind of cream or oil. I figure, I'm using hand cream. Isn't that enough?

No. It's not.

So, I tried disciplining myself to take better care of my cuticles. Because healthy cuticles = healthy nails. Or so I'm told.

I've only experimented with two cuticle creams/oils and I think they both have their perks and downfalls.

The biggest appeal about Creative Nail Design's Solar Oil (aside from its cult following) is that it smells like almond oil. I love almonds. I love eating them and smelling the oil/extract. So, naturally, when I first smelled Solar Oil in a salon, I wanted it. I only use this before bed, because it is an oil and it leaves your fingers greasy and ... well, oily. But it does moisturize immediately and leaves you with a sweet, lingering almond scent.

Another cult favorite has to be Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream. I keep a tin of this in my purse and I apply it while I'm bored out of my mind at work. It doesn't leave your fingers as greasy as the Solar Oil, but it still leaves your cuticles soft and hydrated. I like the light lemon scent, too. It's not over-powering and sometimes it's just enough of a little "pick me up" to keep me from going postal. It's like a little mini spa treatment, right there at your desk.

As far as which one gets more love from me? Well, I'd honestly have to say the Burt's Bees. I like that I can put it on and go do something with my hands right away and not leave oil residue all over the place.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Smokey Blues FOTD

First off, please excuse my hair. I decided just to "scrunch" it and it was still a little damp and all over the place.

Ok, now that that's out of the way. :) This is my "Thanksgiving Day" look. It's Sunday, I know. But I'm working on Thanksgiving and I actually wanted to, you know, see my family, so we opted to have Turkey Day today. Since I was wearing brown, I thought I'd switch up my eyes and go with a smokey blue.

Foundation: American Beauty Perfectly Even Natural Finish in Fair/Cool
Concealer: MAC Studio Finish in NW15
Powder: Cover Girl Professional Loose Powder in Translucent Fair 105
Blush: Lancome Blush Subtil Sheer in Sheer Amourose
Undereye concealer: MAC Studio Finish in NW15
Undereye powder: Cover Girl Professional Loose Powder in Translucent Fair 105

Primer: I just dabbed some foundation there
For the eyeshadow, I only used Almay Intense i-color Trio for Blue Eyes in 032
Lid color: Shimmery gray
Highlight: Pale pink with blue iridescence
Crease color: Dark blue
Liner on top: L'Oreal Extra Intense Liquid Pencil Eyeliner in Black, topped with a random black eyeshadow
Liner on bottom: L'Oreal Pencil Perfect in Paris Blue, topped with the dark blue eyeshadow from the Almay trio
Mascara: Cover Girl Lash Blast Volume in Blackest Black

Lipstick: Clinique Long Last Lipstick in Bamboo Pink

Bonus pics!! I snatched my cat as he was walking by and the hubby kept taking pictures. It's with great pleasure that I present to you my cantankerous old man, Broon - aka, Broonie. He looks peeved in the first picture, but he started mellowing out by the second one. Oh, and please excuse the tower of plastic cups in the back... we were looking for something in the cabinets and forgot about them. Whoops!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Palladio Eye Ink Update

In my post on liquid eyeliners (here), I told everyone about my new found love of Palladio's Eye Ink liquid eyeliner. I'm here to retract that statement.

Almost one month to the day of posting my first review, my thoughts on Eye Ink have done a complete 180. I went to use it today and found that the product wasn't coming out of the felt tip. I shook it again, a little harder, and tried again. Nothing. More shaking continued.

Shake, shake, shake... Shake shake, shake... Shake your boo-
Ahem. Sorry.

No matter how much I shook it or tried swatching it on the back of my hand, the ink simply refused to come out as nicely as it did before. It would either come out as a pathetic gray stripe at the very tip, or it would glob out (literally!) from the part where the felt tip connects with the plastic part.

Admittedly, I've only used it a couple of times (just because I'm usually in a hurry and don't have the time/patience to mess with liquid eyeliner, no matter how easy/convenient the pen/brush is). So, I know it can't have run out of product. The fact that it was globbing onto the back of my hand when I smashed the felt tip against my skin was proof enough that there was stuff in there. And it's not like I line my eyes like Amy Winehouse or Taylor Momsen... I'm sure you can tell by the few FOTDs I've posted that I'm more of a classic/neutral kind of gal. Emo just isn't my thing.

Oh, and the silver writing on the outside of the packaging has already rubbed off, almost completely. Just another thing that irks me.

I've never had an eye liner do this to me before and I'm really, really aggravated because of how much I liked it initially. I don't know if I just had a bad batch or what, but I'm not buying any more Eye Inks. Getting 3 or 4 good uses out of it isn't worth it when I've had other liquid eyeliners last me almost a year! I always cap everything as tightly as humanly possible, so that can't be the reason either. I really am quite baffled, not to mention disappointed.

Friday, November 19, 2010

John Frieda Radiant Red

I never really jumped on the John Frieda bandwagon until I saw he finally came out with a collection for red heads. Nothing against blondes and brunettes, but red heads need some cool shampoos/conditioners, too! So, he finally made one. And that's where my cheering for John Frieda stops.

The John Frieda website claims: "Our formulas help red hair attract more light, project richer hues and retain more color – all, while keeping it gorgeously healthy-looking."

As soon as I saw the Radiant Red shampoo and conditioner at the store, I snatched them both up and used them religiously. I only have a small bit left in each tube, but after that... I don't think I'll be repurchasing.

Pros? The shampoo lathers nicely and it has a fresh, clean shampoo-y smell that doesn't conflict with any perfume I may want to wear later. A little goes a long way for both the shampoo and the conditioner. Also, the conditioner doesn't weigh my hair down.

Cons? The conditioner, while weighless, doesn't moisturize my hair to my liking. And the dark red liquid that comes squirting out of the shampoo bottle is akin to the blood found on sets of 80's horror movies. The conditioner is a little better, since it's a thicker cream, but it's still a dark, garish red that is kind of weird in a world of neutral colored hair products.

The claim that it helps red hair "project richer hues" and "attract more light" didn't do much for me. My hair looks the same whether I use his collection, or any other shampoo/conditioner I happen to have in my shower. It might help color-treated red heads retain their vibrancy and add life to their color, but it didn't do anything for this au natural girl.

My verdict? Spend the $14 elsewhere. Sorry John!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Lip Stains

I'd just like to start off by saying that I'm not a lip stain kind of person. I find them difficult to work with and I get just as much "staining" power by blotting down a highly pigmented lipstick. I currently have a whopping three lip stains in my collection and after doing this round of swatching, I've decided to discard all of them. What an uplifting way to start out a post, eh?

Anyway... the first lip stain I ever bought was Beaute's Liqui-Gel Stain in Fever. I was suckered in by Karla Sugar's fabulous swatching skills and the trap was complete with Beaute teamed up with her to run a sale through her blog. The 10% off code helped me stomach the $29 price tag these suckers carry.

Then, I was lured into the world of lip stains again by Twilight. Yeah, Twilight. The one and only world of sparkling vampires. This time, the culprit was Rosalie Hale, or rather, the makeup artist on the first movie. I was intrigued by her super dark red lips and when I found out they used Vincent Longo's Lip & Cheek Gel Stain in Liquid Kiss, I wanted it! I also got Vincent's stain in Sweet Appollonia because I thought it would be a good base for berry lip sticks. For $22.50 a pop, I should have just stuck with regular ol' lipstick.

From left to right:

Beaute Fever, Vincent Longo Liquid Kiss, Vincent Longo Sweet Appollonia

I did two "layers" of color for each and then tried to "blend" it out a little for a sheerer look. All three of these are designed for lips and cheeks, but I was never brave enough to try it on my face.

This was after scrubbing my arm with Clinique's liquid Take the Day Off...

The customary nekkid lip pic...

Beaute's Fever - Out of all three shades I have, this one is the most flattering (in my opinion). However, it was still difficult for me to work with. It took a lot of patience and careful dabbing to blend it all out and get even coverage.

Vincent Longo's Liquid Kiss - this is so not what Rosalie's lips looked like in the movie. I think someone was lying. But, this does give you a nice reddish brown color, if that's your thing. For me, it just didn't look good with my coloring.

Vincent Longo's Sweet Appollonia - ZOMG! Scary! The only time I could ever imagine wearing this out in public would be for Halloween... and you're going as Maleficient.

However, Sweet Appollonia did redeem itself a little after I had a) scrubbed a majority of it off and b) applied Aquaphor over it. Toned down, it's ok and I would wear it outside the house, but I still don't love it enough to keep.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Swatch Wars!

In our next installment of Swatch Wars, I'm pitting Urban Decay against itself.

Sellout VS Sin.

Who will come out on top?

Dun, dun, duuuuuuunnnnnnnnn!!!

Sellout is on the left. Sin is the second "strip" of eyeshadow from the bottom (Sorry I don't own it individually...)

Sellout just chillin' in the sunlight.

Sin is the second from the left. Also chillin' in the sun.

Sellout, Sin. In sunlight.

Sellout, Sin - another sunlight shot.
Sellout, Sin. Still trying to capture the shimmery, glowiness of them...

So, Urban Decay says that Sellout is a "pink champagne shimmer" whereas Sin is just a mere "champagne."

In their respective pans, they look almost identical, but on my skin, Sin is just a smidgen darker and more peachy colored than Sellout. When I went to purchase a "my lid but better" color in Ulta one day, I literally stood in front of the display for over ten minutes, trying to decide which one I wanted. I finally opted for Sellout because it was ever-so-slightly more shimmery in person. For example, the first time I wore it out, my hubby told me my eyes looked like pearls. It might sound like a weird compliment, but that's what I was going for. A subtle sheen that just made me look bright-eyed and glowy. Swoon!

They're both $17 for 0.05 oz.

The winner? Well, considering that I ended up purchasing Sellout first, I'd have to say Sellout....

But! When I saw Sin was in the Naked palette, I was super excited. I really hemmed and hawwed over which one to get, so I'm really happy that I have both of them now. I like to use Sellout by itself with black liquid eyeliner and I use Sin when I use the Naked palette, since, you know, they're kind of designed to go together.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Eyeliner Brushes

It's been my experience that the key to successfully applying cream/gel eyeliners lies with the brush. I've had to go through quite a few before finding one that I can use with ease and precision.

The best one for my eye shape and the looks I prefer is without a doubt Sephora's Professionnel Pointed Liner/Eyeliner Brush #17. It's probably the best $11 I ever spent on an eyeliner. When I originally purchased it, I just wanted it as a super precise concealer brush. ...and I needed to spend another $10 to get free shipping...

But once I got it, I decided to try it for it's actual intended purpose and I have never looked back. I can apply MAC and Clinique gel/cream liners with just as much ease as any pencil eyeliner and I've finally been able to get perfect, pointy winged eyeliner without throwing a temper tantrum and chucking the eyeliner brush across the room. I like how skinny it is, because I don't always want a thick line - especially on the inner part of my eye. The only thing I don't like it for is trying to tightline or line my waterline. Because it's sooo fine, the brush actually tickles!

Before I found the wonderfulness that is Sephora's eyeliner brush, I was using the Buxom Lashliner Brush. I originally purchased it with the Buxom Lashliner cream liner (you know - the one that's supposed to condition your lashes and make them grow faster/prettier/healthier? Since it transferred like crazy on me, I never got to put those claims to the actual test...) The brush handle is slightly shorter than the Sephora one and the bristles are a little thicker, making it ideal for tightlining/waterlining for me. If I know for a fact that I want a thicker line, I'll still grab the Buxom just to cut down on time, but 95% of the time, I'm reaching for my Sephora one. Still, the $15 I spent on the Buxom one wasn't a complete loss.

I cannot say the same about Sonia Kashuk's Bent Eyeliner brush, however. I hunted high and low for this stupid brush, because all of the makeup boards were going absolutely ga-ga over it. I shelled out my $6, took it home, ripped it open and tried it out. I was very, very disappointed. I know people love this brush, but for someone with smaller eyes (me!) it's a nightmare. I understand the premise of the "bent" angle, but for me, it was awkward to figure out which way the angle should be. The brush is thicker than the Buxom one, which meant I had a hard time getting thin lines and it seemed to make the product skip and drag along my eye. I know it's not the product, because I've used the previous two brushes and I haven't had any problems. I love a majority of my Sonia Kashuk brushes, but this one? Not one bit.

The next two brushes I was fortunate enough to get as part of a special edition miniature set from my local Cosmetics Company Outlet. If I had paid full price for either of them, I would have been beyond peeved.

The MAC 266 Small Angle Brush retails for $19.50. Upon looking at it, you'd think it would be perfect for creams/gels. Sadly, that's not the case. I think it's better for doing your eyebrows. For me, it was way too thick and glopped the product on unevenly. It wasn't as pointy as it looks in the picture and it was way too hard to even or thin out the line. Like Sonia's brush, there are some people that absolutely swear by the MAC 266, but I would much rather pass.

I'll also pass on the MAC 212 Flat Definer Brush, coming in at a whopping $21. Beau Nelson, the founder of Beaute Cosmetics and Kristin Stewart's makeup artist of choice, had suggested using this type of brush for tightlining. Mmmkay, Beau... It's much easier demonstrating on a model than trying to do it yourself, apparently. When I tried following his technique, I ended up poking myself in the eye. I don't have the tiniest eyes in the world, but this brush was impossible to work with. It was too wide, too stiff, and made applying liner an awful mess. Tiffany D suggests using this type of brush to brush on different colored cream liners over your mascara, as opposed to buying the different colors in mascara form (a la, blues, plums, sparkly, etc), but I learned that tip a little too late and had already swapped away this stupid brush for something I would actually use.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Red Lips Part Two

Continuing with my red lip theme, I took LOTD pics for the L'Oreal lipsticks I mentioned but didn't actually photograph. Believe it or not they are different lipsticks, although you would have no idea by looking at them on my actual lips. Just goes to show you that the color in the tube can be deceiving.

Nekkid lips!

L'Oreal Colour Riche Lipstick in Red Rhapsody

L'Oreal Colour Riche Lipstick in Buttoned-Up Red (limited edition shade from forever ago...)

Red Lips, featuring a LOTD and a FOTD

When I was getting ready for date night with the hubs, I asked him what kind of makeup look he wanted to see. Dorky, I know. But sometimes I get into a rut where I do the same look over and over and I just need some direction. So, I asked him: smokey bronze eye or red lips?

He made a face and went "Smokey bronze eye." He said it all offended, like a silent "duh" was attached to the end and I should have known better than to even ask.

Me, being ... well, me, couldn't let it go. "What's wrong with red lips? They're classic!"

Him: "They're obnoxious."

Me: Gasp!

Him: (backpedaling) It just means I can't kiss you! I don't like them.

Which got me to thinking. I'd heard guys make this claim before, but I never had an in-depth conversation about it until I sat down and picked Hubby's brain.

In guy speak, it boils down to this: red lips are intimidating. Sure, the woman rocking them may feel like a superstar, but it's a double edged sword. Guys are both a) drawn to the innate sexiness of them and b) repulsed by their perfection. Red screams "look at me!" but it also says "Don't touch me!"

That being said, I definitely believe there is a time and a place for red lipstick. I love retro looks and nothing says "glamorous" quite so loudly as a crimson pout. And can I just take a moment to thank Christina Hendricks for showing the world that redheads can totally pull off a red lip?

From left to right:

  • Neutrogena MoistureShine LipSheers in Ruby Bliss - a softer, sheerer version of the red lip for those just starting out or looking for a little more subtlety.

  • L'Oreal Colour Riche in Red Rhapsody - a true red with a bit of sheen.

  • L'Oreal Colour Riche in Buttoned-Up Red - another true red, but more on the matte side. It was a limited edition shade, but still one of my favorite, classic reds.

  • Revlon ColorStay in Smoothest Wine - this one has a little more "oomph" than the Neutrogena, but it's still not quite as "saturated" as either of the L'Oreals. It says it's "wine" but this is a blue-based red without any hints of burgundy.

Nekkid lips!

Neutrogena's Ruby Bliss - this is usually the one I grab as I'm running out the door. It's a no-fuss red lipstick because it's so sheer, but it can be layered to a deeper color. Plus, I love how moisturizing it is.

Revlon's Smoothest Wine

And a quick FOTD... with really bad self-portraits because I couldn't pry hubby's hands away from his PS3 controller and that damn new Black Ops game!

Concealer: Makeup Forever Full Cover in 1 Pink Porcelain
Powder: Cover Girl Professional Loose Powder in Translucent Fair 105
Blush: MAC Tenderling
Undereye concealer: MAC Studio Finish in NW15
Undereye powder: Benefit Powderflage

Primer: MAC Paint Pot in Painterly
Lid color: Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Ruthless
Highlight: NARS eyeshadow in Tibet
Liner: MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack
Mascara: Cover Girl Lash Blast Volume in Blackest Black

Lipstick: Revlon ColorStay in Smoothest Wine