Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

So it's time for New Year's Resolutions. This year, I've pledged to help my body be at its best, inside and out. That means 6 glasses of water a day, less sodium, more vegetables and no more preservatives. I'll get right on that after this bag of Nacho Bugles and a Hershey's Cookies N Cream bar. But really- I am determined from here on out, I won't purchase things impulsively. I hope that everything I buy I will have researched in advanced or at least heard about by word of mouth. The one thing I am a little worried that I'll end up buying only mainstream over hyped makeup. So, I'll continue to make my own makeup (I'll keep you updated!) and try to refine my formulas.

So here's to quality beauty, great health and the start of a fantastic decade. <3

Happy New Year!

NARS Concealer

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Today, I am a happy person. I am also very pleased with Sephora- I'd go as far as to say that if I could legally marry a store, I would leave my fiance in an instant. Do you know why in particular, I am so thrilled with Sephora? A couple of days ago, I found that NARS duo concealer IN MY SHADE was $10 online. Yes, that's right ladies, ten dollars. Normally it's $30, and each shade of concealer separately is $22. I've been waiting and waiting forever for it to get here (ok, not really- packages from Sephora always get here in 3 days or less, but I am an impatient person). Turns out the UPS man left it this morning on my side door, not my front door.  Anyways, I opened it up and played with it right away.  It's absolutely fantastic. The moment it touched my skin, I was beyond amazed. I love the feel of it- it's so much lighter and smoother than MAC's. It feels like... primer. That same silkiness makes me giddy. By comparison, other concealers seem too pink for my skin and also very heavy and tacky in texture. Not NARS! The coverage is pretty amazing- it's sheer yet covering. I like the lighter shader for under my eyes, and in the winter but Ginger is fantastic for some areas near my temples that are slightly darker- every face has its dark and light areas, skin without a range seems unnatural! It's fantastic for light olive Asian skin tones. A few things I noticed- you HAVE to wear primer with this stuff or else it disappears within a few hours. Also, this is one of the few concealers I'd recommend applying with CLEAN fingers- Gasp, I said the 'F' word!- but really, you need the warmth of your skin to make the formula blend correctly. I am thinking of running to a Sephora store tomorrow to see if they have any more left, I want to stock up! This is my new obsession, it's the Holy Grail of blemish coverage.

DiorShow Mascara (Iconic, Blackout & Diorshow)

There is a great mascara combo pack at Sephora, and yours truly HAD to have it. It contained a full sized Dior Iconic, a mini DiorShow and a mini DiorShow Blackout. Considering Iconic is $25 bucks on its own and the pack was $29, it was a great deal because it was like the two minis were a couple dollars each. This was my first run in with DiorShow (I guess I balked a bit at the price tag). Well, to be honest, each of the mascaras alone left me somewhat unimpressed. I wasn't disappointed, not quite, but I certainly wasn't wowed. Then I tried layering 2 of them- Iconic for length and DiorShow for volume and it was STUNNING! The same thing happened when I used Iconic and Blackout together. My lashes was this masterpiece, long thick black strands that looked almost fake. Grr, that's somewhat annoying that I have to buy two mascaras for the total effect that I want.  Costly too! That means paying nearly $50 bucks for mascara. Another thing that displeases me is that there is very little mascara inside each tube. By comparison- Bare Escentuals Big Tease mascara had so much product that it took me a month of wiping the wand off everyday before it was as empty as the Dior tubes. 
The bottom line is that while I will enjoy this treat that I purchased for myself, I will not repurchase because it's just too expensive. I feel like I was a little swayed by the brand and that the reviews over hyped this product.
Is it wrong that I dream that an ultimate mascara exists? One that lengthens and volumizes at the same time? And that it's less than a small fortune?

Generic Value Products Silk Treatment Review

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What a great find! I was trying to find a good pressing medium for my self made eyeshadows and a quick google search led me to a few different sites and videos that all recommended that Biosilk was a great alternative to CoastalScents.com's EZ Prez Medium. Which if you remember, I disliked because the packaged leaked like crazy and I wasn't too thrilled about the oil layers that separated within 2 minutes of being initially shaken.  The ingredients of GVP's Silk Treatment are exactly the same as Biosilk, but I guess in slightly different proportions because it is a bit thicker. Now, I like the Biosilk dupe just fine, a few drops is all I need for making the dry ends of my hair feel ridiculously smooth yet not oily. I like pressing pigments with it as well, the thicker formula makes for less mess! EZ Prez Medium has fewer ingredients, but the GVP dupe has the same ones and more- fragrance and preservatives. Preservatives, yuck- you say? Not so fast, those dreaded parabens allow the formula to suspend its ingredients evenly. I'm not too worried because I'm using such a small amount, a couple drops per eyeshadow pan and the pay off is fantastic. Not to mention the price! 6oz for about 6 bucks with my Sally Beauty Supply card, what a deal! The medium is about 10 bucks for 2 oz and Biosilk is 13 for about 2.5 oz. I feel like I'm paying for an actual product instead of a fancy sleek bottle. After all, isn't that what matters the most?

Make Up For Ever Flash Palette vs Urban Outfitters Pigment Palette

Sunday, December 20, 2009

These two look the same, right? The MUFE palette goes for a hefty $95 (Oh my!) whereas the Kimchi Blue I picked up on sale for a mere $8. Now, though they may appear similar on the surface, let me tell you that they are very different. The MUFE colors are highly pigmented and you need the tiniest bit to create an opaque look. The Urban Decay dupe colors are more sheer and it takes a bit of product to build them up so that they are no longer translucent, or in the case of the metallic shades- no amount of product will achieve that opaqueness. The dupe is also more greasy, more likely to crease. However, with a good amount of primer and a setting powder you can do many looks with it, but you don't get as many colors as the genuine thing.
Also, the U/O product has somewhat low quality packaging, you have to save the plastic sheet that comes with it and glue it to the cover or else dust and grime can contaminate it.
So the bottom line is, save up for the real deal (or buy the primary colors and the dupe to start your collection). The Urban Outfitters dupe is a quick fix, but it's no substitution for the fantastic MUFE Flash colors. I'll still use the U/O dupe colors as bases for eye shadow and Halloween makeup, but they just doesn't mix like the other one.
Cost: $95 for the Make Up For Ever Flash Palette found at Sephora or the MUFE site. ~$12 for the Kimchi Blue Pigment #1 Palette at Urban Outfitters.

MAC Fix+

I bought a new bottle of MAC Fix+ and realized that I had started to take this product for granted- not once have I commented on it's versatility. It's a refresher, makeup setter and skin prep-per all in one spray bottle. As I peruse the internet and the many makeup forums that dwell there, it becomes clear that there are two teams with different party platforms when it comes to Fix+. There are those who buy it 5 bottles at a time and refuse to think about a cruel makeup world where it doesn't exist and there are those who believe that a homemade glycerin dupe is just as good. I think I'll pave the way for a third party.
It's true that the main ingredients are water and glycerin (I believe that many homemade recipes ask for about a 5 to 1 ratio, respectively) but there are many other ingredients as well. Those would be cucumber extract, matricaria extract, camellia leaf extract, Castor oil, caffeine, perfume and preservatives. I bet your immediate thought is, yuck, preservatives. However, it's not such a bad thing, if you were to make your own dupe, you'd have to make a new batch every week or so because there's nothing in it to keep it from going rancid. I personally don't like the smell of Fix+, and I can't justify $18 dollars for face perfume. Instead, I use the other aspects to rationalize the purchase. The caffeine energizes and is supposed to tighten your skin cells. The extracts leave your face feeling really clean, I love misting a bit on when I'm stressed, it immediately gives a flushed face a cold, calm sensation. 
The primary use however, is to set makeup. This is particularly important if you wear mineral foundation like I do. I feel like though the coverage I get from powder is great, it doesn't last all day because there's no smoothers or binders like silicone. A setting spray like Fix+ adheres (I'm not sure that 'adhere' is the best word to use when talking about skin... but it'll do) makeup to your face and give it a dewy appearance (youthful dewy, not greasy). 
The bottom line is that in a pinch, if I'm every out of Fix+ I'll make a quick glycerin dupe. However, I will continue to buy it and use it sparingly.
Cost: $18 at your local MAC or maccosmetics.com

DIY Mineral Makeup

Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Ok, so I haven't posted in a about a week, but with good reason. A week ago, I got my orders from CoastalScents.com and TKBTrading.com. It was better than Christmas. I had ordered an EZ Eyeshadow kit from TKB as well as some samples of mica to supplement it (various metallics and neutrals). I also bought some 12 slot empty magnetic 26mm eyeshadow palettes (and smaller slotted ones to fill up as presents!) from CS, empty 5g jars and shrink wrap (the professional in me demanded quality packaging even if the recipients are my friends and family) from TKB and other odds 'n' ends.

The point being is that in the past week, I've been so busy playing alchemist that I haven't even noticed the time fly.  I even ordered some more stuff immediately, so that I would have plenty to play with.
I can't help but say great things about both TKB and CS. TKB amazed me with the eyeshadow kit, I'll be honest, for $19 I wasn't expecting much. But it came with a ton of mica, so much that even though I've made roughly 15 colors of about a tablespoon each of powder, I'm no where close to running out. $19 dollars for the ability to customize my eyeshadow colors? I'll take that, thank you very much. On top of the great price, the mineral eyeshadow I made was so so so good, I'll have to bust out the thesaurus to properly declare my love for it. The color payoff is unbelievable. I don't understand why most of the mineral eyeshadow colors I see play it safe with 'gentle' shades. The colors I formulated almost made my eyeballs pop out, that's how vivid they are. Great staying power but the consistency still needs a little work- I'll have to tweak the ingredients a bit. However, used wet the shades are simply beyond stunning.
I made a really good dupe of MAC Vanilla (which saves me a ton of money because I use it so often!) and made a few colors that were really similar to some MAC pigments that I had. Think about it: if you even match two MAC colors, you've already paid for your purchase. You can find a video on how to match colors  on the TKB site.

I also bought a bottle of EZ Prez Pressing Medium from Coastal Scents to press all my creations. I liked the formulation, it left my homemade mineral shadows very smooth. It's important to use a medium with silicone to bind mineral makeup together, or else it ends up dull and flakes easily. However, with pigments such as those from MAC, you can just use rubbing alcohol. What I didn't like is that when I got the pressing medium, it had spilled quite a bit out of the bottle (about 1/4 of the product) and into the bag it was in and quite messy. The spilled medium even dissolved the lettering on the label of the bottle, pretty freaky. The bottle is also hard to use, you end up spilling and leaking more of the fluid than you actually end up using. Crappy. I'll buy some from a different company next time. Here's the colors I made (the photo with the named colors) and some of my old MAC and Chanel colors that I depotted/mixed/pressed.

Daily Brush Cleaning

Friday, December 4, 2009

I strongly encourage everyone to clean their brushes everyday. It keeps them bacteria free- which makes for better skin. It also allows you to keep your makeup colors pure, and not become muddy brown due to accidental mixing. That being said, I find it slightly ridiculous to buy daily brush cleaner (or even buy regular brush cleaner). So I looked at the ingredients of a few daily brush cleansers, and made my own. Sephora Brand Daily Brush Cleaner contains: "5% of non-ionic surface agencts, alcohol, fragrance". What! I'm paying for alcohol? E.l.f.'s Daily Brush Cleaner isn't much better: "Water(Aqua), Alcohol Denat,Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Methylparaben". Great, parabens + other things I can't pronounce, alcohol and good ole H2O. Not exactly my idea of money well spent. 
So here is my recipe for daily brush cleaner:
-Spray bottle
-4 tablespoons of isopropyl alcohol 
-4 tablespoons of water
-2 tablespoons of makeup remover (Any kind found at the drugstore is fine)
- 1 tablespoon of glycerin
Now, the glycerin isn't really necessary, but since the alcohol is very drying (which is good for daily cleansers because you want it to dry between different products ASAP!) and some times it can curl low quality hairs, I added a bit of it to protect and hydrate the brush. Like all my recipes, I like to make small quantities and remake it fresh every week. 
I don't recommend spraying it directly onto the brush- I find that it's pretty harsh on the hairs( you can disregard this if you use synthetic or bamboo brushes). Instead, I spray some onto a clean hand towel and use a back and forth sweeping motion to gently clean off any makeup. In addition, I also condition my brushes with regular hair conditioner every week or so, to soften the hairs and get rid of any alcohol smell. 

False Eyelash Tutorial

I thought that the easier way to explain was to show you via video! If you have any questions just leave comment or shoot me an email.

E.l.f. Haul (pt. 2) Makeup Brushes Review

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Yesterday, I went to General Dollar looking for some spray bottles (there's about 15 million uses for small spray bottles, I store practically every liquid I have in them) and found e.l.f. cosmetics there. I was pleased as punch (hey there, outdated colloquialisms) because I was going to order some of the brushes online for my sister anyways so I saved on shipping. I bought a large face brush, a bronzer/blush brush (it was packaged incorrectly in a eye blending brush package but says 'Bronzing Brush' on it), a small eyeshadow brush, a small eye defining brush. If you remember, previously I had ordered a mascara spoolie as well as a eyebrow brush/comb combo and found them to be very satisfactory. 
Let's start out with the bad. When I opened the packaging, the brushes smelled simply awful. The bigger brushes (face and blush) were a weird maroon color- they've obviously been dyed and were all flattened (I fluffed them up for the pictures) . 
I didn't want to wrap stinky brushes up and just send them to my sis, so I washed them with my homemade brush cleaner (see older post for recipe!). They immediately started to shed and bleed their dye when I lathered them up. I switched to cold water, and the water then ran clean. I placed them on a dish towel and the larger brushes actually bled on the towel. How attractive, I now have a dish towel that looks like I wiped a bloody knife on it. When they were halfway dry, I fluffed them up by gently tugging the hairs into the direction I wanted them to go. This actually worked great, I think I increased the face brush to 300% of it's original size. Also, I noticed that the hairs on all of the brushes were a little uneven, mostly on the larger brushes with more hairs. 
What I really like about the e.l.f. brushes is that the eyeshadow brushes are of surprisingly good quality. They're soft and dense, though not as good as my Sephora or MAC brushes (I guess the appropriate sound here is 'duh!'). Though at a dollar each, I didn't have that high of expectations. They are a bit more flimsy- I put each brush to the test by trying to pull (lightly!) the metal band off where the handle meets the head of the brush. I succeeded, the eyeshadow brushes' head came right off. Don't worry, I glued it back together with Gorilla Glue, it's drying as I type and my sister will never know. 
However, for people on a budget these are decent brushes and you just can't beat the price. 
Cost: $1 a brush
Where: eyeslipsface.com or retailers such as General Dollar