Another DIY Freestyle Palette

Friday, May 31, 2013

A few years ago I made a little tutorial for a DIY freestyle palette using tins. Recently, I wanted more freestyle palettes to house my Inglot shadows (I like how their Freedom Palettes look but the general consensus is that taking shadows out to switch around is a huge pain in the ass) and my recently depotted Urban Decay Book of Shadows UD♥NYC. I also wanted bigger palettes that matched my MUFE and MAC ones, I am particularly drawn to black palettes.

I started out by ordering a empty palette from eBay. This one was like $4.50 including shipping. I bought one that held 10 36mm shadows.

As you can see, it is the exact same size and dimensions of those 10 MUFE palettes. They used to give these away for free if you bought 3 MUFE shadows or blushes at Sephora. Sure wished they still did! The only difference between these palettes (well outwardly appearance, anyhow) is that the MUFE has a matte, almost velvety texture while the cheap eBay one is just regular plastic (slightly darker in color and not quite as smooth in feel as the old MAC palettes, in case you were wondering).

All I did was to rip away the insert which is made of thin, really pliable plastic. There is glue at the bottom of the plastic which is rather annoying to remove. It took me a while to scrape this goo off, even with rubbing alcohol and a putty knife. Next time I'll try Goo Gone to see if it works better.

When it is clean, apply adhesive magnetic sheets. you might have to clip a small rectangular shape out so that the sheets fit near the closure. You can buy these sheets at Target, Walmart, near kid's craft supplies or find them at office supply stores (usually for turning photos into magnets). If you have a lot of MAC Pro pans (where there is already magnets, which do not stick all that well to the magnetic sheets) then you might consider making it a reverse palette. You'd have to buy thin sheet metal and shears (home improvement stores), cut it down to size and adhere it to the palette. Or you know, just rip off the magnets.

This palette holds shadows pretty well. I can flip it upside down and shake it and they won't fall off. However, dropping the palette on the floor will probably cause them to fall off (ok, not probably, I know this from experience. That's how my palette got a little dusty with shadows already!).

Hopefully you found that useful, if you were thinking about making freestyle palettes yourself that looked sleek and black.

31 Day Nail Challenge v2: Green Nails

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Today is green day! I recently was sent some nail foil from Born Pretty Store, the online mega nail art supply store. I decided to give it a try over a black polish. This variety didn't come with any glue and the instructions on Born Pretty say to just press it onto semi dry nails.

So I did just that. I pressed the foil (there's a ton that comes in every roll) into my second coat of black polish when it was fairly dry. Some of the polish ended up on the roll of foil, I'm guessing I didn't wait long enough for my nails to dry. I liked the sort of random green splotches though. I really loved the green foil (shade #1), it's hard to see but it has a sort of holographic sparkle to it. I added a topcoat on top, Essie Good to Go.

The ring I'm wearing is also from Born Pretty! It's this ring here.

Have you tried the nail foils yet? With or without glue?

Products featured were sent to me for review. For additional information, please refer to my Disclosure Policy.

My Miracle Zit Zapper: De La Cruz Sulfur Ointment

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Recently while reading up on blemish treatments, I stumbled upon reviews for De La Cruz Sulfur Ointment on MakeupAlley. I consider myself pretty lucky that these days with the combination of birth control pills and my Clarisonic, I'm managing to keep a most of my acne under control. Not all of it though (thanks PCOS and insulin resistance!), so I'm still on the lookout for effective zit zappers. When I found out that the De La Cruz Sulfur Ointment was a mere $4, I was skeptical. I have this backwards notion that skincare products HAVE to be pricey to be effective.

It comes in a small little tub with a screw off lid. The consistency is that of a greasy, gritty paste in a pale lemon yellow color. The instructions say to apply the ointment to a cleansed face and to remove after 10 minutes, like a mask for spot treating blemishes. I found that 20-30 minutes worked best for me, especially on the back where skin is thicker.

The results were pretty immediate for me and for my tester rather unwilling tester, Morgan. I had a fully mature pimple on my cheek with a full blown white pustule. The ointment eliminated the head of the pimple completely, and it definitely was reduced in size. I also had one of those throbbing cysts under the surface of my nostril, after applying the paste the surface of it started to dry out and peel, the area no longer hurt as bad. I also get these sebum and dead skin plugs on my nose (not clogged pores but plugs that make my pores look larger) and the ointment definitely helped clean them out when I applied a thin layer all over my nose like a mask. I had applied a dot on a blemish on Morgan's back that was already starting to heal, when the ointment was washed off the dead skin was shed quite easily.

I was really impressed that the De La Cruz Sulfur Ointment worked really well in a multitude of areas; treating zits that were mature or still lurking below the skin, helping remove plugs from my pores and removing the dead skin buildup around healing blemishes.

As I was reading reviews, I noticed a lot of people used this product overnight, something I would caution against. 10% sulfur seems to be quite potent, even at 20 minutes it made some of my zits dry out completely and the skin around it to peel. Not to mention, this stuff does not dry out. The greasy texture would definitely get all over your pillowcase if you turned in your sleep at all.

The one and only flaw with this product is the smell. Sulfur has a wretched odor, it just can't be helped. Initially I didn't think it smelled too bad. The sulfur was really apparent while I washed my face off, my skin definitely smelled like the lovely aroma of rotten eggs. I used my Clarisonic Mia and Murad Clarifying Cleanser (which has a minty, herb-y, eucalyptus sort of smell) but the odor persisted. I asked Morgan to sniff my face after the wash and he declared that my skin smelled like a fart. Awesome. I would highly recommend using this product at night, I've found that after washing my face with my Clarisonic and cleanser at night then wiping it down in the morning with Avene Micellar Lotion, I don't detect any odor at all. ETA: I've found that using a cleansing oil in conjunction with the Clarisonic eliminates the odor almost completely. If you don't have a cleansing oil, try massaging olive oil into your skin followed by a cleanser to remove all the oil.

I would highly recommend trying this if you have used AHAs or BHAs with little success in treating acne. However if you already know that sulfur treatments don't work, then you know, skip it. I'll definitely continue to use this stuff and perhaps will even incorporate a sulfur soap to help with back acne. It's sold for around $4 at Walmart, found near soaps or sometimes near the "Ethnic" (their words, not mine) haircare and skincare. I've also seen it at some Walgreens locations (pricier, at $6ish) and have been told that it can be found at Hispanic groceries.

Products featured were purchased by me, for my use. For additional information, please refer to my Disclosure Policy.

Revlon Lip Butter Collection

Tuesday, May 28, 2013
I adore Revlon Lip Butters. They're my favorite drugstore lip products of all time. Recently a few of the shades were on clearance for 75% off at CVS and with the use of several coupons, I picked up three for free. Ok, well $.07 each... but who is counting? Actually now that I think about it, I didn't pay full price for any of these. I thought I would swatch my whole collection for you.

Left to right: Gumdrop, Creme Brulee, Creamsicle, Juicy Papaya, Wild Watermelon, Candy Apple, Cherry Tart, Red Velvet, Brown Sugar.
Gumdrop, Creme Brulee, Cherry Tart and Brown Sugar all have shimmer. It's the least noticeable in Gumdrop, with Cherry Tart having the largest sparkly particles.
Pigmentation really varies by shade. The lighter ones tend to be more sheer, some of the darker ones are pretty pigmented. Some of the lighter shades can be unflattering if your lips are dry and flakey, so be sure to exfoliate first.

My favorites are Gumdrop, Creamsicle, Candy Apple, Red Velvet and Brown Sugar. Did the brown shade surprise you? On its own it's a bit '90s and not very flattering but I found that after I've worn red lipstick and my lips are stained, wearing it on top it adds up to a nice rose color.

Have any favorite Revlon Lip Butters?

Products featured were purchased by me, for my own use. For additional information, please refer to my Disclosure Policy. 

Shimmer Eva

Hi folks! I have 12 gorgeous Shimmer polishes to show you but I wanted to do a separate post for each one to do them justice. Shimmer Polish is known for super complex combinations of smaller glitter, each bottle being super dense in glitter. I've tried all 12 that I was sent and let me tell you, every single one is completely opaque in 2 or 3 coats. Today I'd like to show off Eva.

Eva is a burgundy tinted base with red, burgundy and a bit of silver glitter. The size of the glitter is micro fine so just sparkles magnificently. I used three coats by itself here. It dried a tiny bit bumpy so I used one coat Nail Pattern Boldness Glitter Food to smooth it over followed by one coat of fast dry top coat.

Beautiful, no? I'm usually the kind of gal who loves bigger piece of glitter but these glitterbombs really grew on me. I fell in love with the super dense sparkle.

Shimmer Eva is $12 and available at the Shimmer Polish Etsy store. Also be sure to check out the Shimmer Polish website to see tons of swatches of new polishes.

Products featured were sent to me for review. For additional information, please refer to my Disclosure Policy.

Nordstrom Trend Show + Birthday Haul

Sunday, May 26, 2013

So it's my birthday (hooray!) and while I'm probably going off camping (we'll see about that, my insomnia has been dreadful so actually getting to Sequoia National Park at a decent hour might be questionable) for the day, I wanted to show you some of the stuff I got yesterday while shopping for fun birthday loot.

I attended the Nordstrom Trend Show (also called the Beauty Wake Up Event). This was the first time my closest Nordstrom hosted the event. It was a bit more 'meh' than I anticipated. I had seen pictures from a lot of other Nordstrom shows were there were a lot of demos, models decked out in the season's most popular clothes with coordinating makeup. Erm, not so much. They mostly played video demos and presented like two products (the Clarisonic which I'm already really familiar with and Aveda hair thinning products which I had no interest in), showing only one collection (MAC Temperature Rising) with a single model. It was rather underwhelming. Didn't even bother to snap pics.

I did have an appointment with a regional Laura Mercier artist, which was really nice. She spent an hour with me, going over a lot of LM skincare and the newest products. I ended up buying a few things from Laura Mercier and also additional stuff from other brands. There were a lot of GWPs running but in my opinion nothing was worth it. It was $125 to get a rather cheap looking tote and the individual brands had pretty lackluster GWP products. I was going to take pictures of them and list them for you but again, didn't even want to bother. If your Nordstrom has a Trend Show, I'd definitely make sure it's fairly decent. It was at 8:30 in the morning, I personally would have valued a bit more sleep than another free (albeit) cute makeup bag with a few samples! Tickets are $20 which is refunded to you as credit towards any purchase.

Here's some of the stuff I brought home, you'll definitely see reviews in the up coming weeks.
 Though I love my heated lash curlers, I had to buy a metal one, I'll explain later. Naturally, I went with Shiseido! Though Shu Uemura's might be a bit more popular, I like that you can buy refill pads for this one.

Nordstrom finally got the pressed version of the NARS Light Reflecting Powder. Was waiting on this one for a while, thought maybe it was a Sephora exclusive or something.

Laura Mercier Illuminating Eye Colour in Fire Glow (LE). I didn't have any intentions of buying eye shadows but when the MUA applied this on me, I was hooked! I've been such a sucker for orange lately.

I have no business buying more brushes... but when a lovely reader recommended this one, who am I to say no? It's duo fiber!

At Sephora I picked up the Beauty Insider birthday present, by Benefit this year. They also gave me a free tacky tote. See Nordstrom? Didn't even have to pay $125 to get one.

Also picked up the Sephora Pro Angled Brush. Though it is synthetic, I found that it is decently stiff so will probably use it on my brows.

Has anyone else attended a Nordstrom Trend Show? What did you think?

Products featured were purchased by me, some were free gifts. For additional information, please refer to my Disclosure Policy.

Review: Benjabelle Brush Trees

Friday, May 24, 2013

I first heard of Benjabelle Brush Trees about three months back from the blog Sasquatch Swatch. To say I was intrigued would be a huge understatement, I decided right then and there that this was something that I was going to get. I mean, I'm an avid brush collector and lover, it only makes sense that I would invest in brush care items, right? Well our "anniversary" rolled around a while ago and Morgan finally found a belated gift for me earlier this month. I was thrilled! (Good job, boyfriend. Good job.) I was pretty excited to use these trees because brush drying is serious business. You don't want water draining into the ferrule of the brushes and this has led to people coming up with some interesting contraptions to dry their brushes- often times rubber bands, hangers, etc are used. I usually lay my brushes downward on a wedge folded towel but that can take up a ton of space.

So there are two brush tree sizes, the Original ($34.99) and the Mini ($24.99). You save $10 if you buy both at the same time. They come in three different colors; black, white and pink. The trees are made of this nice thick glossy plastic, with a sandwiched silicone layer that grips brushes. The trees take seconds to assemble as they are only made of three pieces. The Original has 14 holes while the Mini has 24. 

The Original tree is the size of an iPad, it really does not take up much room. Perfect for me because with so many brushes, my bathroom counter is absolutely covered with wet brushes on cleaning day. The oval silicone holes gripped most brushes quite easily, even with brush guards on. I slid them up from below until the silicone "teeth" gripped the largest part of the brush or the rings on the ferrule. The Original tree held large brushes really well while the Mini held most eye brushes with ease. There were a few brushes that were a bit too small for either tree, they would stick out sideways, but that was easily remedied by sticking two brushes in the same hole. This also meant that each tree could hold more. Altogether the two trees held about 45 brushes. 

I actually found that I could stack the smaller tree on top of the larger one. It'd be neat if there were grooves on the bigger tree so that it could be done intentionally, even more space saving!

There is one area where I think there could be improvement. So I mentioned that the brush is made out of three pieces, right? Well of the two pieces that make up the "X" shape that is the base of the brush, only one piece (let's call this Piece A) is actually supporting the board while the other piece (B) stabilizes Piece A. Piece B is rather wobbly because no weight is put on it, it does not actually touch the main board with the silicone holes. If Piece B extended up about 4mm, had a groove to slip into and the whole tree had more silicone material on the bottom to act as slip resistant feet, I believe that the trees would be much less wobbly feeling. In fact, I bet if they felt sturdier, some people might ever use these trees to store brushes when they are clean. 

I was talking to a few friends about this and while a lot of them expressed interest in having such a product, their number one worry was that they only had a few brushes and didn't think that buying either the large tree or the small tree (or both) would be worth it. I bet that if there was a single large tree that had large, medium and small holes it would be a product that people with smaller (read: those with more reason than I) brush stashes would appreciate. ETA: There is now precisely a tree like this! Check out the new Daisy tree.

Personally, I really like these Benjabelle Trees, they have really sped up my brush drying time. I found that sticking my brushes in the trees then placing them by an open window or in front of a tower fan can reduce the time it takes them to be completely dry down to a couple hours, even 30 minutes for eye brushes. I think makeup artists in particular, with a ton of brushes will find these trees to be dead useful.

What do you think about this neat Benjabelle Tree? Do you think it is useful or more of a novelty item?

Products featured were purchased by me, for my own use. For additional information, please refer to my Disclosure Policy.

Nicole By OPI If The Blue Fits...

Thursday, May 23, 2013

I recently spotted a whole bunch of Nicole By OPI polishes on clearance for $3.52 at Target. From what I understand, not all the same shades are discounted in every region (and in some areas it is $5ish not $3ish). However, it might be worth checking out in your area because $3.52 is a phenomenal deal! Even better of a deal if you happened to grab the $1 coupon that was in the paper from the week before. Only one shade really caught my eye, called If The Blue Fits...

For some reason, it reminded me of a blue Chanel Taboo which I'm still lemming a bit. Different base color for sure, but the big particles of shimmer that are super bright and almost have a color shifting look to them look quite similar to me. I dunno, I might cave at the Nordstrom Trend Show this weekend. I'll see how close to the GWP amount I am, if I'm close I might pull the trigger.

Products featured were purchased by me, for my own use. For additional information, please refer to my Disclosure Policy.

EOTD + Pictorial

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I was unhappy with how yesterday's pictures turned out so I redid the look and photographed it again in the sun today. The pictorial is rather short because I made it with Instagram in mind, you know- do it four steps.

Prep brows and prime lids. Apply a matte bone highlight under the brows and pat on a matte black shade on the lid. I'm using LORAC Beige and Rock & Republic Fatalistic.

Apply a matte brown in the crease, blend outward. Apply a white shade in the inner corner if desired. I'm using LORAC Cappuccino and a white NYX shade from a trio, can't recall the name.

Using a hoof shaped brush (also called a contour brush, check this post to see what they look like), stipple your duochrome cream shadow over the lid, starting in the inner corner, working your way across the darker shadows. I'm using Maybelline Color Tattoo in Waves of White.

Apply mascara and liner. I'm using Milani Grandissimo mascara + Essence Volumizing Lash Powder and La Femme Cake Eyeliner Sealer (with Rock & Republic Fatalistic). Done!

 Quite simple, isn't it? It really makes duochromes pop though, layering them on top of a matte black shadow.

Products featured were purchased by me, for my own use. For additional information, please refer to my Disclosure Policy.

Maybelline Summer LE Color Tattoo in Waves of White

If you recall, I had previously bought another shade of the LE summer Color Tattoos, Seashore Frosts but had struggled with using it. So naturally... I bought another one. Yeah, it doesn't make very much sense to me either. However, I have since figured out one way of making these products work.

In the past, I've always put a cream product under a shadow product, it seemed counter intuitive to me to wear it on top. But when I saw how G of Nouveau Cheap layered her Color Tattoos on top, I had to give it a try.

Layering it on top of black made it POP. Here, the bottom swatch is Waves of White by itself, followed by Waves of White over black matte shadow. The top swatch is Waves of White built up. Similar to Seashore Frosts I never could really make it completely opaque.  It is so beautifully duochrome over black, most of the time it looks teal but I also have seen it look blurple.

These FOTD pics aren't the best since I took them in my bathroom with flash (and also didn't finish the rest of my face aside from foundation!). I used a hoof shaped brush to stipple the cream product on top of matte shadow.

I used:

LORAC Behind the Scenes Eye Primer, Rock & Republic Fatalistic shadow, LORAC Cappuccino shadow, Maybelline Waves of White Color Tattoo, Prestige Total Intensity Deepest Black liner, Milani Grandissimo mascara

Now that I've figured out the best way to apply this Color Tattoo, it has worn remarkably well. No creasing or fading when paired with a matte shadow underneath for over eight hours. I definitely think that this pretty shade is one that everyone should pick up!

Products featured were purchased by me, for my own use. For additional information, please refer to my Disclosure Policy.

7 Deadly Sins Collection by The Polish Well

Sunday, May 19, 2013
My friend Mich from The Polish Well is absolutely brilliant at making polishes. She has such an eye for creating polishes and they are all so gorgeous. I was so incredibly happy for her when she opened up her Etsy shop and started to sell some of her creations. I was even happier when she and I swapped, and I found a stuffed package full of her polishes in my mail box! I didn't know what to swatch and wear first, so I started with her first polishes and decided to work forward from there. Behold, the 7 Deadly Sins Collection.

 These are the 5ml mini bottles, aren't they adorable? I have to say, these have the best brushes of all the mini bottles of polish I have ever used. The brushes are full sized and comparable to the size of say, a Zoya brush.

 Greed. A black jelly with brown, caramel and gold glitter and sparkle. I really have a love for brown glitter and this one is just simply exceptional! Here, I've worn it over black. It looks absolutely fantastic by itself, a ton of depth but since I have a mini I wanted to use it sparingly.

 Wrath. Ah, the color of anger! A glossy red jelly with square gold glitter and sparkle, as well as little sooty black glitter thrown in. It's like looking into a volcano. An angry, vengeful volcano. Three coats, by itself.

Envy. I really love this one. Green glitter is my weakness, did you know? There are three sizes of green hexes here, small medium and large. There is also smaller black glitter and tiny multi colored sparkle. This one has a clear base so I've worn one coat here over Le Chat Dare 2 Wear Enchanted Forest. I think a similar effect could be achieved by Illamasqua Rampage (but that might be a bit bluer).

 Sloth. I had a hard time capturing this one because it is a milky white polish with soft aqua square glitter and small opalescent glitter. The over all effect is really dainty and well... soft. Just so soft. And sleepy. Three coats. The picture looks a tad funny in terms of skintone color because I had to darken it so you could actually see the glitter.

 Gluttony. A rainbow confection! Another clear base with rainbow and white satiny/matte glitter in all sizes and shapes. I was a bit brain dead so I couldn't think of anything good to pair it with, so I just put one coat over black. Mich has a picture on her blog where she has it over pink and a light teal and I think that looks much better.
Pride. Another clear base, this one is packed with satin white and aqua glitter, as well as iridescent pieces and a sprinkling of micro black glitter (?) unless my eyes deceive me. Worn here over Revlon Royal. 

Lust. Ah, perhaps my favorite! A wine jelly with so many shapes and colors of glitter. I see silver, bronze, black and red for starters. I love all the different sizes too. It's one sexy polish, I assure you. Three coats.

I absolutely adored this collection. Each polish is such a beautiful reflection of the sin that inspired it. Like I mentioned before, these are the 5ml minis (which go for $4) and there is also a 10ml size ($8).

Mich's shop is currently open the first and last three days of every month. The polishes are also made to order, so keep that in mind as you shop. Be sure to follow her on Instagram for the latest updates (@thepolishwell).

Products featured were sent in a polish exchange. For additional information, please refer to my Disclosure Policy.