Bare Escentuals Big Tease Mascara- Want

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Hmm, ever buy anything that was slightly above mediocre, roughly around decent?
I really wanted like this mascara. I guess Icould see it becoming a staple. It's one of those products that doesn't specialize in one area, but provides a little bit of everything. After one application, you don't get exceptional length or volume, but you get a decent amount of both. I lied, it is great in a few aspects- it's incredibly glossy and it never clumps. It also works really with false lashes and Fast Lash while providing an outstanding black. 
The wand is pretty neat too, it's got really long bristles on one side that are supposed to help coat every single eye lash from root to tip. After I got the hang of it, I must admit that it does.
I like that it lasts all day without smudging, flaking, or smearing. But I have very high standards for mascara- those qualities should go without saying.
The value is alright though, I've been using this same tube for 4 months, there's still plenty left and it shows no signs of drying out. However, it's still more expensive then MAC Plush, so I'd rather buy that at $13 instead.
Cost: $15 at Ulta, Sephora, Bare Escentuals online.

Eye Primer Recipe Video

Friday, November 27, 2009

Check it out, my first YouTube video!

bareMinerals Review- Must

Monday, November 23, 2009
I think I've watched the bareMinerals infomercial roughly 14 times. From start to finish. I can't help it, it combines my love of makeup and beauty with the ever so addictive infomercial. I've never ordered it though, because I'm always pretty skeptical of things sold via TV and I didn't think the makeup would work for me. Though to be honest, regular liquid foundation never really did the trick for me. I have combination skin and it slid all over the oily parts and made my dry scaly skin look even more pronounced. No luck with powder foundation either, it just didn't have staying power and I ended up looking pretty flaky. 
Earlier this year for my birthday, Steve my fiance, bought me a starter kit (and a pet hamster too). I got it in Medium from Ulta. It had 3 brushes, two shades of foundation, a blush that was supposed to be universally flattering, mineral veil (a kind of finishing powder that goes all over), a bottle of Skin Rev-er Upper (which is a light moisturizing vitamin lotion) and a DVD on how to use it. 
The DVD didn't work for me, but having watched the infomercials more times than I have fingers, I thought I'd be alright. It's simple enough, you shake a little of the powder onto the cap, swirl it around with a brush, tap off the excess and buff it around your face in small circles. I quickly learned that less is more, and I was shocked at the coverage provided by the tiniest bit of product. I couldn't believe how fine the foundation powder was, it almost felt like cream on my skin. It wasn't dry like flour but rather it felt like my face was being kissed with silk. I fell in love. I vowed to never use another foundation again (a promise I've upheld). To top it all off, you repeat with a bit of the Mineral Veil, which is colorless on skin. It keeps the oil at bay but at the same time, you don't get that old people matte look (you know, the dreaded dull skin). I can't for the life of me, figure out how this powder manages to give my face this nice soft focus, it just shouldn't be possible.
I really love the brushes. All three are different, the first is a full flawless brush which I use for foundation and the mineral veil. The hair in this brush (and the flawless face brush as well) are very dense and very soft- two things mineral brushes need to be. It helps distribute the fine powder evenly- better coverage. The second brush is a bit flatter than the first, almost like a paddle. I use that one for blush and bronzer. The last one is a small synthetic brush that is great for concealer- you simply pack on a bit more of the foundation with this brush and it doubles as concealer. The coverage is great for overall skin- covered my discoloration, acne scars and disguised my pores but it didn't hide a gigantic pimple so I used MAC Studio concealer for that. 
Here's what I didn't like about this whole kit business. Only one shade worked for me (Medium Beige), what am I supposed to do with the other? I ended up sending it to my mom, who luckily was a match. The 'All over face color' blush product, Warmth didn't turn out to be as universally flattering as they had claimed it would be. It was too dark, like the color of brick and very very pigmented- the tiniest bit made me look feverish. I think I'll try to use that at night in the wintertime, when the darkness of the color won't be as noticeable. Also, the Skin Rev-er Upper? Disgusting scent. I honestly think that Bare Escentuals managed to somehow capture the scent of the geriatrics ward of a hospital, combined it with cat piss and funneled it into this bottle. I would rather throw away this free gift then use it on my face. From what I saw at Sephora today, the newer starter kits now contain facial primer instead (the $60 Limited Edition Get Started kit contains a softer pink blush, primer, baby kabuki brush and refillable compact in addition to the others I mentioned). One last word of caution- some people are allergic to the bismuth oxychloride in bareMinerals. Watch out for possible signs of allergy (similar to a bad sunburn) and be sure to test it on your wrist for a few days first (Ask the lovely people at the store if you can bring a bit home to test it out first)
Still, a good value- even if I had bought the right color foundation ($25), the mineral veil ($19) and the full flawless application face brush ($28), I'd be spending way over the cost of the kit. So it's a a great value considering the fantastic brushes you get. 
If you really want to save money, I'd suggest going to Sephora, Ulta or a Bare Escentuals store and have someone working there match the foundation tone for you and just buy that. You can use a plain powder brush as long as it's very dense or buy a dupe of the bareMinerals brushes at Another great alternative is Eco Tools Bamboo Powder Brush.
Cost: $48 for Get Started Kit containing two shades, blush, 3 brushes, mineral veil, free gift and DVD.
Similar: There are a few very similar brands such as Everyday Minerals, Pur Minerals and so forth. There are plenty of sites online that have their own blends of mineral makeup that cost considerably less. 

Edit: After about 2 more months of wear, it started to break me out badly- bismuth allergy I suspect. 

E.l.f. Haul (pt. 1)

My goodness! I can't believe the things I got from e.l.f. I first heard of e.l.f. cosmetics while perusing through magazines. I couldn't believe how cheap their products were supposed to be, I was down right skeptical that I could ever like any of their cosmetics. Ugh, I can't believe I've missed out years of product enjoyment just because I was blinded by my prejudice- I thought costly always meant quality! But my cheap side won- I couldn't resist $1 makeup!
However, there are some down sides to e.l.f. products- here's my review on my haul.
I bought a little of everything- false lashes, cream eyeshadow, eyeshadow, mineral lip liner, eyeliner and some beauty tools.

First off, I bought a eyebrow grooming tool and a mascara comb for a dollar each. They look just like the brushes in my Sephora brush set, so it made me pretty happy. They are a little lighter in weight and upon closer inspection the quality isn't as good as my other brushes, but since they were a dollar each, I really can't complain. At these prices, I can afford to replace them quite often. I didn't buy any of the other brushes, but I did order some for my sister for Christmas so I'll be sure to post about them later on.

Next, the Duo Eye Shadow Cream. These were worth every penny and more! I bought Coffee & Cream, Eggplant and Olive. They are very sheer, but super buildable and highly pigmented colors. Each color also has a second color tone that shines through and makes it look wonderful. For example, the green Olive color has a gold undertone that makes it glow like you would not believe! The biggest problem is that they do crease and fade if you don't wear an eye primer. But with some Urban Decay Primer Potion on underneath, these cream shadows last all day. I especially like using these as a base, they help shimmery shadows stand out even more (the purple Eggplant color makes a fantastic plum smoky eye if you use it for a base!). However, I'm not sure how much I liked the glitter in the white part of Coffee & Cream, it was really fine and a nice gold, but glitter none the less. I thought it looked a little garish, but I guess using a little as a high lighter when I'm going out at night will add some interest around my face. 
Eyeshadow Duo- It's very basic eyeshadow, and superb quality for the price. I got a matching Olive shade as well as a Butter Pecan. Nicely pigmented and the texture is really nice. It's hard to tell from the website but some of the shades are shimmery and some are matte. Butter Pecan consisted of two neutrals that were a very basic matte that will work great for day to day looks, especially for work. Again, if you want it to stay put, you'll use a primer of some sort. 

Brightening Eye Liner- Ugh, not my favorite. I got this in Plum and I found that it was too hard and too oily at the same time. How's that possible? Well, it was hard to apply- it seemed almost like the liner needed to warm up next to my skin. With a little bit of force, I did manage to get it to work, but the color was too waxy- it didn't show up at all! It did show up on my hand, but I think the delicate surface of the eye area won't allow it to really pick up color. Even after going over the same like about 4 more times, I finally got a hint of color, but it wasn't well pigmented. It faded away within about 3 minutes of the application. That's not even the worst part, the next day I got a pimple on my lower lash line where I had used it! I'm not 100 percent sure that it's due to the eye liner, but it's pretty suspicious- oily product equals nasty skin. I've never had a zit in such a weird place before. However, I was determined to find a use for this product, I'm not one to even waste a dollar! I ended up shading my entire eye lid up to my crease and used it as a sort of base to a purple shadow. The best thing that can be said about this liner is that it comes with a sharpener... at least you can use that!

Eyeliner and Shadow Stick- This is a part of the Studio line. It's more expensive at a whooping $3. I'm half way in love with this product, but also half way wanting to cast it from my makeup collection. So I bought this in Pearl/Glow, the liner side being the pearl color, and the shadow side is a pinkish pearl, but to be honest, they look the same on skin. The liner is beautiful and creamy, I use it to highlight the inner corner of my eyes and it blends really well into the rest of my eye makeup. The shadow however, is pretty crappy. It has a lumpy consistency and somewhat tacky in feel. The quality of the product isn't all that great, the shadow keeps falling out. But, I do love the idea of the product and one end, but it probably isn't worth it for the price. I know, I know, three dollars, who cares? Well, I think I'd rather put that 3 dollars towards a MAC shade stick then continue to buy these. 

Mineral Lip Liner- Got this in Peachy. I really should have read the reviews, it's actually a really bright coral color. It's a decent lip liner, but honestly- I'd rather buy something available from the drug store like Maybelline or Rimmel. Better bang for the buck. It does come in a nice twist up pen, but I'm too disappointed in what I received to want to try other colors, especially if they aren't true to their names/ the swatch shown online.

False Lashes- Fantastic! I can't wrap my head around the fact that they are a dollar a pair! I like the Dramatic black ones, they're pretty good quality. I can even reuse them if I want to, but they are pretty delicate. The eyelash glue that comes with it is somewhat dubious, I highly recommend to always use DUO Lash Adhesive.  I put in another order for the Hollywood set from the Studio line, which is $3 for a pair of really wild looking lashes, a lash stand and a lash applicator. Again, I'd like to buy about 10 pairs of these lashes and at these prices, I really can afford to toss them out on a whim. 

What really helps when buying e.l.f. products are the reviews from other people on the site. A general rule of thumb is that if it's 4.5 stars or higher, it's pretty great and well worth the price. 4 stars and lower, it's proceed with caution and buy at your own risk. 
They also have mineral makeup which is a little more expensive but still very very cheap, and since it's 1/2 off right now, I'm going to put in another order for some, but I think I'll be buying it for Christmas presents, so I don't know if I'll get to review any. I will however, treat myself to some more and let you know how it goes!

Brushes (II)- Want

Friday, November 13, 2009
So once you have the basic brushes, there's a few extra ones that make life a whole lot easier. I love having these brushes because it can get pretty tiring of using the same brush for multiple purposes, washing and drying them over and over is kind of a bitch.

Eye Blender Brush- There's really two different kind of eye blenders. The first is flatter, and has a rounded tip like so. This one is the MAC217 brush. Photobucket
It's a bit pricey at $22.50 so I've found a few cheap alternatives.This is actually an artist's brush, made by Loew Cornell. It's a 1/2 Maxine Mop made of goat hair and you can find it on Amazon.Photobucket
This is from (If I could marry a website, this would be the one). It's a bit softer than the MAC217, but at $3.49 it will serve any savvy penny pincher just as well.Photobucket
The second type of eye blender brush has longer fibers and round with a slightly tapered end(or just a round end). Looks something like this MAC222.Photobucket
Again, a similar one from Costal Scents for $2.95. Being too soft is the only complaint I would have for CS brushes, so a little less control. Photobucket
Lip Brush- Preferably the retractable kind, so you can stash it in a bag for on the go touch ups of lipsticks.Photobucket I prefer lip brushes made out of synthetic material because natural hairs tend to fall out more and stick to your lips. And nobody likes hair in their mouth. 
Fan Brush- When you apply eyeshadow, there's usually some that falls off and sits on your cheeks, this brush is fantastic for lightly dusting it away. Also great for applying the lightest hint of bronzer or highlighting powder. If your fan brush comes with a plastic guard, keep it! It'll protect the hairs from getting bent. This brush is really easy to find at art supply stores for under $5.Photobucket
Angled Eyebrow Brush- I like having two flat angled brushes, one smaller synthetic for eyeliner and another slightly bigger one made of natural fibers for eyebrows.  Either use this brush to apply eyebrow shadow or for blending in eyebrow pencil. You want bristles that are firm but not too stiff, that will help control any products used. Again, head to your local Michael's or AC Moore for a big selection of cheap brushes.
Foundation Brush- Flat, synthetic with rounded tip. Only really useful for applying liquid foundation. Artist brushes make the best foundation brushes.Photobucket
A Lasting Love With Your Brushes- Take care of them like they're your own infants.
Deep clean them with brush shampoo at least once every two weeks. Your face will thank you for it. Can you imagine all the bacteria, oil and skin cells that end up in your brushes and marinate there day after day? I recommend washing any brushes that touch foundation, concealer and lip products even more often because those products often contain different oils and can get pretty cakey on the brush. In addition, you want to do slight cleaning routine every day. Quick brush cleansers usually contain higher levels of alcohol so that they dry faster. I myself am guilty of not sticking to this- most of the time when I'm putting on makeup I'm in a rush. But this is essential if you use lots of different colors, you wouldn't want to end up with brown eyelids because you mixed up 3 days worth of bright colors on your eyeshadow brush would you?
Here's a recipe for brush shampoo. I'm not paying $11 dollars at MAC or $6-9 at Sephora for a bottle of the stuff when there's all the ingredients sitting at home. Enkore on YouTube has a great video for making some, but here's my simplified version (his version uses leave in conditioner, but why use that when you can use the regular kind?)
Brush Shampoo
1 empty bottle (I used an empty Clinique makeup remover bottle)
1 cup hot water (hot enough to dissolve shampoo and conditioner)
1 tablespoon conditioner
1 tablespoon shampoo/Johnson's baby wash or 1 teaspoon dish detergent (it's much more concentrated) 
1 tablespoon rubbing alcohol
Don't bother using measuring spoons, just eyeball it. It's not worth doing dishes for.Photobucket
Squirt the shampoo and conditioner into the empty bottle and pour in the hot water. Put the cap on and shake it up until everything is completely dissolved. Add rubbing alcohol. See, ridiculously easy.Photobucket
I pour a tablespoon of the shampoo into a shot glass and swirl the brush around the bottom. Then I take it out and massage the suds through the fibers and rinse with cold water. You can shape them while they're wet back to their original shapes, but don't ever set them in a cup to dry! The water runs back into the metal part where the hairs are glued in and it can grow mold in there. 
If any of your brushes get really frizzy or terribly out of shape(like I am), I suggest coating it with conditioner and shaping it, then letting it dry. Then the next day, rinse it off in cold water.
I'm working on a recipe for daily quick brush cleaning (which will probably come in installation III of Brushes-Super Want), similar to Bare Escentuals Quick Change ($18 for 3.7oz) but a cheap version is E.L.F's Daily Brush Cleaner ($3 for 8.5oz).

Monistat Soothing Care Chafing Relief Powder Gel- Must

Thursday, November 12, 2009
What, you may ask, is a woman's health product doing on a beauty blog? Simple. It makes one incredible facial primer. Should I be carted of to a crazy hospital for even trying this? Probably.I've tried crazier in the name of beauty, but we'll get to that. 
I know what you're thinking. Monistat? As in, over the counter yeast infection medication? Actually, though it's made by the same makes, it's for external use only, such as chafing caused by a swim suit or riding a bike. But let's discuss the wonderful alternative use. Facial Primer! I first read about in passing on a beauty forum. I was pretty skeptical at first but I'm cheap and the thought of spending only six dollars for facial primer made it too good to pass up.
I bought it at Target and immediately tried it out. I applied a thin layer over clean and moisturized skin, using a little extra on areas where I had unevenness such as a zit or large pores. I wasn't as miserly with the amount I used, at 1/6th the price of Smashbox Photo Finish (and one and a half times the size!) I could definitely afford to not skimp. The product is a gel that feels silky smooth- the way finely milled powdered feels. It didn't smell medicinal, just faintly of baby powder.
As you can see, it's invisible when applied.
Photobucket Photobucket
In short, it delivered everything a pricey primer promises. It created a light layer between my skin and makeup, I could tell instantly when I applied my concealer to my problem areas that it helped the concealer sit evenly. It also made my makeup last all day, kept it soft and there was no irritation whatsoever, as well as oil control! I'm never shelling out 30+ dollars for expensive brand name primer ever again.
Cost: 1.5oz. Around $6 at Target, CVS, Walgreens and other drugstores.
Similar: Smashbox Photo Finish($36 for 1oz), Prep+Prime Skin ($25 for 1oz), Laura Mercier Foundation Primer ($30 for 1.75oz)

Fast Lash- Want

Oh boy, I don't even know how to begin describing this product.
It's by Tweezerman and it comes in a mascara tube with a normal wand for application. However, when you open it (carefully, carefully!) -POOF!- instead of black gloss, there's white fiber that looks suspiciously like dust bunnies. You put on a coat of mascara and while it's still wet, you touch the wand to the lashes to lightly dust them. Then another coat of mascara to fix it in place. Repeat this as many times as you want to get the desired result. You can get some crazy lengths if you keep at it!
However, it's kinda tricky and probably not for times when you're trying to get out the door in five minutes. I feel like though you can get really long full looking lashes, they look a little feathery. Like each one of your lashes look like it has split ends. I liked putting this product on my natural lashes and then putting falsies on. Sounds over the top, doesn't it? Nope, it helps the falsies blend in better! If you can follow directions, you can get the same results.

My other complaint is that there's way too much product stuffed into the tube, you really only need a microscopic amount for each application. When you pull out the wand, it gets all over the place. My solution was to pick off all the white stuff and put it into a small container until the wand just looks like it's dusty- that's all you need. Then when ever I need more, I take a small pinch and stuff it back into the tube.
Here's my lashes with Fast Lash. I used Bare Escentuals Big Tease Mascara in Blackest Black, no eyeliner and my Pixi By Petra Sensual Smoky Eye gift palette.
Here for comparison's sake, is my eye without any make up. As you can see, my lashes are a sorry sight, you can barely see them!
Because this product doesn't provide exceptional results on its own and relies on mascara and plenty of time and practice, it really falls under Want and not Must. It is however, a great alternative for people who want lengthy lashes but find falsies too extreme or difficult to use.
Cost: $15 at Ulta and on

Brushes (I)- Must

Monday, November 9, 2009
Don't use the sponges that come with the makeup.
Or the makeup fairy will find and will make you pay.
You know what, just throw them out now so that there's no temptation. 
Sponge applicators always waste a ton of powder when you pack it on to apply it to your face. It's pretty gross too, think about it. The oil from your face ends up on the product's surface unless you wash and dry the sponges every time. That's how that hard shiny top forms on top of your makeup cakes. 
Instead, invest in some good brushes. If it's really out of the question to shell out 50 or so bucks, try a set of travel brushes such as Eco Tools 5pc Brushes, available for around 11 dollars at retailers such as Target or Ulta. You'll have to continuously clean them though, each brush might have two different uses- for example, you'll be using your powder brush for your blush brush as well. But no matter, the important thing is that you have the tools you need to create many beautiful looks. 

Here's what you REALLY need.
-A big fluffy brush for powder and blush
-A small, flat angled brush for eyeliner or detailed work 
-A small synthetic brush for concealer(if it's small enough for the lips, that's fantastic too!)
-A small, soft, rounded brush for eyeshadow
-A comb/bristled brush for grooming eyebrows and lashes

Don't hesitate to buy artist brushes for make up! Small synthetic brushes make fantastic concealer, lip and eye liner brushes and coarser, fluffier brushes blend better than anything else out there. You can buy these at any art supply store for around 5 bucks a brush. Also, you can buy brushes at e.l.f cosmetics for literally a dollar each (they're not the best in the world, but they do in a pinch, especially if you treat them right).
Right now, I use a Sephora Brand 12pc set that I scooped up for 50 bucks on clearance. I feel like a couple of the brushes aren't as great as they could be, and there's a couple brushes that I could still use so I'll still be adding and refining my collection. 
Part II of Brushes will be about additional brushes and how to take care of them.

Pixi by Petra Holiday Gift Palette in Sensual Smokey Eyes- Want

I was pretty pleased when Target added Napoleon Perdis Set, Pixi by Petra and Jemma Kidd lines of makeup. Ok, I was more than pretty pleased, I was down right running-through-the-streets-screaming ecstatic. Since then, I have sampled my way through each line, happy with the prices and the availability.  After all, there's nothing better than running to Target to pick up some Wheat Thins and Oreos and snapping up a fantastic red lipstick by NP Set as well. However, this really takes the cake.
Photobucket Photobucket
 While perusing for some rubbing alcohol today (ok, I admit it, I was looking for makeup. But I did also need some rubbing alcohol for brush cleaning. Recipe will follow later) I found a gift set- eyeshadow palette in No.2 Sensational for $9.99. Yes, that's right. Less than ten dollars. It's a delightful sampler of colors all  slightly shimmery. I was especially impressed by indigo specked with plum shimmer, copper and black shadow specked with navy shimmer. Also in this collection of colors, were lavender, peach and an iridescent pale yellow.  There was also another palette that contained more neutral colors, and I could hardly pick between the two. 
Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket
It comes in this neat little magnetic case, the super slim packaging means that it travels well in any purse or cosmetics bag.
I love samplers, being able to have lots of colors to play with is so much more fun than committing to one color. Besides, there are an infinite amount of looks you can do with a dozen shades! Then, if you decide you simply can't live without one of them, you'll know where to find it, and it crosses over to a Must item.
Cost: $9.99 at Target. But at these prices, I couldn't part with it, there's no way I'm giving it away as a gift. 
Here's some of the looks I concocted. The first being the basic smoky eye, really simple. Urban Decay Primer Potion as the base, then I used color number 5(from the left) a pearly charcoal in the crease with a small eyeshadow brush, then number 1, a black with navy shimmer from my lash line to the crease. Color number 11 went over my brow bone and blended it with a clean fluffy brush. Color number 1 also went along my lower lash line, smudged with a small angled brush. Liquid black eyeliner across the upper lash line completed the look.

Urban Decay Primer Potion- MUST

Ok, so I figured out what all the hype was about. 
Urban Decay Primer Potion is amazing beyond belief. I always figured I'd get to it eventually, but now I've figured out what gives other women that extra 'umph'. It's this amazing beige colored delight.

I'm of Asian decent and I've never had much luck with eyeshadow that didn't crease and fade within about 5 minutes. I was lucky if I had a look that lasted until lunch time. But with this amazing cream in my arsenal, I don't have to worry about smudgy raccoon eyes. It even lasts in humid weather. To test that out, I took a shower with my makeup on. I didn't wash my face and when I stepped out on to the bath mat, my eye makeup was as impeccable as when I stepped in. In addition, it was easier to blend eyeshadow colors with UDPP underneath. In fact, UDPP holds onto my eyeshadow so well that it takes a little bit of scrubbing with makeup remover to get it all off at night! I'd recommend patting the product on instead of using the wand that comes with it or rubbing it across your lids.
Cost:Sold at Ulta, Sephora and Urban Decay's site, $17 for .34oz. It may seem pricey for a small tube but it lasts a long time (cut open the packaging when you think you're all out to reveal another 3 months worth). I usually try to find cheaper alternative or forgo it altogether, but this really works the best.
How: I apply it on clean eyelids with my finger tips from my eyebrows all the way to the lashes. I even dab some under my lower lashes too if I'm doing color there. Dries within seconds, so this is a perfect product for anyone who likes doing their makeup within 5 minutes but expects it to stay put for 12 hours.
Similar: MAC's Prep+Prime Eye in Light(.16oz $16.50), MAC's Paints in Bare Canvas(.23oz $16.50), Too Faced Shadow Insurance(.35oz $17)

Makeup, how I love you so.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009
I've tried to stop my habit, I really have.
But the fact of the matter is, it's too late to stop. There simply isn't anything that can stop my love of makeup. Nothing makes me happier than little pots of color, cakes of rouge and tubes filled with products guaranteed to make skin smooth and pores vanish.
Alas, like most people, there's a limit to how much makeup I can buy in a month. My spending habits have gone unchecked for too long and now I have to learn to shop wisely for the products I want and to pay the best prices.
So here's the stuff you absolutely have to have and things that I long for, yet know to stay away.
Everything falls into two categories; Must and Want.