Thursday, December 18, 2008

What can brown do?

Well for me, it makes me beautiful.  Can you believe that I have encountered people who did not find me pretty or acknowledgeable simply because of my brown skin?  Predictably, I fell into their ignorant trap and started to think that my skin was not pretty.  I used to think that brown wasn't doing crap for me.  I don't know when it happened, but I finally shred the robe of self-doubt and self-loathing.  I looked in the mirror and realized that brown could do a whole lot more than I was giving it credit for.  

Some people still think that brown can't do anything but be drab, but I don't have time for those people.  I am too busy spending time with lovely people who appreciate the color spectrum, and I am too busy spending time enjoying who I am.  Anyway, last night, I decided to confirm my "brown-a-liciousness" by changing my nail polish.  Milani has the gorgeous nail color called "brown-a-licious."  I have had it in my collection for a while, but I really hadn't taken the time to truly savor the color.  Well, first of all, I am super glad I purchased this goody.  Second of all, I can't stop looking at my nails.  This formula is really nice.  It is spreadable, very easy to handle, beautifully pigmented (all you need are two quick coats), and it does not feel heavy at all.  I am on the second day of wear and I have yet to get any chips or lose any shine.  This is a delicious color.  By the way, the brush is easy to maneuver. 


Milani Brown-a-licious

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I hauled

All is well, I have more reviews coming, and hopefully I can take pics of eye looks.  I just hauled some goodies thanks to gift cards and sales. yay.
I got several waterproof eyeliners, which I can't wait to try.  I have been on an eyeliner kick and water will not keep me down, damnit!

Also, I have fallen back in love with my everyday minerals foundation, and the Coastalscents Diva Defense has yet to disappoint me.  Oh, and the Lancome brushes are most excellent.  I have been using them on a daily basis. Yay!

Oh, and I also got some new mark. stuff that I forgot to include in the picture.  I got the new berry scrub (dry seeds and such that you mix in with your gel cleanser), a mark. bag from the outlet and some gel eyeliner (I am so glad they were only $1.  They are not good.)

Hope everyone is doing well.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

makeup, baubles, and life

This morning I woke up, and I looked at a basket right next to my bed.  Then I looked at a collection of paintings of trees.  These two things remind me of two separate people.  And then I felt a kick from the being inside me.  My heart always jumps when I feel these pops.  There is nothing like being in the middle of a life's trajectory to get me out of the bed.  

The basket is filled with makeup that belonged to my aunt; she passed away during the summer.  The paintings of trees remind me of the vivacity my uncle had; he passed away last summer.  The kicks make me aware of what is to come; he was conceived in the summer.
It is humbling to know that we were able to create life.  My heart jumping pushes me out of the bed, and it reminds me to celebrate everything around me.  

 As all of these memories were overwhelming my mind, I looked at the basket full of makeup and the mound of rings spread throughout my room.  These are just things, stuff, objects.  Most of the time, I ask "hey, these are things, why am I so attached?"  or "hey, it's just makeup, so who cares that the lipstick melted and the shadow broke."  But this morning, I realized they they aren't just things.  The tubes of lipsticks and the baubles are treasures.  If observed with an open perspective, they are treasures that tell a life about the people.

When I was younger, my aunt would sweep me away for weekends, and we would do our nails, go to makeup stores, just girl stuff.  She was the one who introduced me to the importance of taking care of myself aesthetically.  She was the one who taught me how to do my own manicures, tweeze my eyebrows, and experiment with skincare products.  It sounds so trivial to some, but she awakened the fun side of being a woman.  Sometimes it is so overwhelming to deal with the unjust expectations at work, the second shift, and the dating world that a small tube of lipstick, or a round pan of shadow just makes everything melt away.  We can get lost in creativity and in ourselves.  Makeup is personal, individual, and for us who document the faces of the day, a journal of our moods and feelings.  My husband doesn't understand my connection to the vast array of colors and textures makeup offers.  When he questions why I need another red lipstick, I tell him, "When I am gone, these are the memories you will have.  You will find yourself looking inside my cabinet and smelling the faintness of my breath on the lipstick, and you will trace the shape my lips left behind."  I don't know if he ever would, but I like to think so.  And now, I find myself doing this ritual with my aunt's lipsticks.  I see her MAC Dubonnet, and she is in front of me placing the lipstick in between her lips and swiping it from side to side.  The lips kind of matched her reddish hair.  She loved intense colors.  Then I see all of the creams; she loved creams.  Near the end of her life she just wanted to find a cream that would relieve the dryness her chemo and radiation left behind.  The only relief was her last struggling breath.  I miss her dearly, but I find solace in something as simple as makeup.  

My uncle wasn't into makeup, but he loved jewelry.  Every time we saw him he came bearing gifts.  I remember, he would be sure to put the rings and earrings in lovely feminine boxes.  My sister and I felt like princesses.  My uncle had huge, sausage-like fingers.  He was so funny because he would gauge our ring size by trying the candidates on his fingers.  Therefore, sometimes the rings were just too big.  It didn't matter though because it came from him.  I went through a phase where I really wasn't into wearing any type of jewelry, but now, all I want to do is overwhelm my fingers in pretty stones, shiny gems, and precious metals.  Recently, I have started to stack the rings he gave me throughout the years.  When I look down at these adorned fingers, I remember his thick hands delicately slipping the rings on my fingers.  He did so with pride, tenderness, and love.  Just as my aunt taught me how to decorate my face, my uncle taught me how to decorate my wrists, fingers, ears, and neck.  Trinkets to some; legacies to me.

As my heart beats and the baby kicks, I am sad that baby Felix won't meet his great-aunt and uncle, but I can tell him of their influence and show him their gifts.  My son may not grow up to appreciate makeup or baubles, but at least I can make him aware that they are not just things.  These objects are treasures that allowed his mother to express herself when words chose not to flow.

Friday, December 12, 2008

...And for fun

Here are some eye looks. They looked from the last days.

mark ffi south beach eye
I used 
-UDPP as a primer

-NYX Jumbo eye stick in yogurt on inner half of eye and pacific on outer half  (Before, I didn't like them because they were too creamy, but after watching MakeupbyTiffanyD (link on sidebar), I decided to try it again.  Instead of just dragging the stick on the lid, I just dabbed and spread the color with a wide concealer brush.  Much better, and no creasing!)

-mark. Flip For It palette in south beach, which can be seen here.

- Maybelline Define-a-Lash (meh)

-Prestige brow pencil in Taupe

-Ulta brow gel in Light Brown

mark FFI palette in London
This look is from the mark. Flip for It palette in London (I love this palette, the taupe is lovely)
Also in this picture, I used 
-mark. matte chance primer
-mark. face xpert foundation in medium
-nyx jumbo eye stick in yogurt and purple
-moustache from flickr

Thursday, December 11, 2008

It's Primer time!

So, at one point I just gave up on primers.  They either left me lumpy or greasy.  I always had high hopes, and I would always get let down.  It was like the companies purposefully bottled up disappointment for many to share.  However, on a whim, I decided to try two primers; one was on purpose and the other was by accident.  I am really, really, really in love with one, and the other is good, but not excellent.

1) Coastalscents Diva Defense Primer
price: 8 grams for $14.95; 1/2 tsp. for $2.00

I really, really, really am enjoying this primer.  I bought a sample on a whim while I was in the process of replenishing my shea butter supply (they have great shea butter too), and I am very glad I did.  This primer is in powder form, and I thought I would mostly use it under my EDM foundation, but then I decided to try it with liquid foundation.  I have so many bottles of liquid foundation, and I want to make a dent in the collection.  The thing with some of the liquid foundations I have is that they don't always hold up to oily skin.  However, this face primer has breathed new life into the foundations that couldn't go the extra mile.  I have tried other powder primers, and they either aren't smooth enough, don't let the liquid foundation glide on well, or they break me out.  Diva Defense is perfect.

Diva Defense is a white powder, but it goes on absolutely transparent.  The powder has a little iridescence, but once on the skin it really can't be seen.  After the powder is buffed in, my face looks even and very slightly poreless; you can still see that I have human skin, but it just looks better.  Then, I apply my foundation of choice (right now, I am gravitating towards mark. face xpert, which without the primer is good, but doesn't quite hold up to the oilies.  However, with diva defense, it's GREAT.).  It's interesting because as I am applying the foundation, I can feel the primer really grab onto the foundation without hindering the blendability.  The foundation feels more substantial, without feeling heavy or overbearing.  In addition to the primer preparing a wonderful canvas, the primer also seems to seal the foundation.  After applying the foundation, my "made up" face holds up for the entire day, and there are some days that are super long.  In addition, I tend to rub my face during moments of stress, which teaching definitely induces, and when I do so, I expect my face to feel oily, but amazingly my face feels fresh and dry.  Let's see, what else...Oh, a little goes a long way.  I have a sample size, and it will last me a long time even with daily use.

This primer really is like putting on an excellent paint primer on.  You don't need a lot of coats; you can see the paint just gliding on and the finished product looks smooth and even. 
A friggin' A+

Rating: 5 out of 5 happy wallets

coastalscents swatch
coastalscents buffed

2) mark. Matte Chance mattifying lotion
price: $15.00 

Hmm...this primer is...I guess I just have a love/hate relationship with this primer.  I want to love it, but the lotion just isn't trying hard enough.  First of all, I really don't like the packaging.  I love mark., but sometimes they pick the worst packaging available.  The gimmicky contraption is a airless, strawless pump.  I don't even know if I can explain how this thing dispenses lotion, but I will try.  So, there is this lid, take off the lid.  Then you see the the top of the jar, in the middle of the top there is a covered opening. (still with me?) To gain access to the lotion without unscrewing the top and dipping your finger in the jar, you press down on the top of the jar.  As you press down, the opening in the center is unveiled--you see, the top is flush with the covered opening when the top isn't pressed down--and the lotion is supposed to come squirting out.  Note I said "supposed to"; as it turns out, the lotion doesn't always want to squish out, and the top doesn't always want to function, so there are times when I have to unscrew the top and dip my finger in the jar.  This action of last resort defeats the contraption's purpose.  There are other times when I finally get the mechanism to work, and too much lotion squirts out, which I just leave on the top for later use.  Blah, I think I might have gotten a defective jar, but seriously, they could have just put the lotion in a nice little squeeze tube.

Alright, after fighting with the jar and the airless pump and finally getting the lotion, I put some lotion on my nose, cheeks, and chin.  These sections are the oiliest on my face.  I put the lotion on after my moisturizer because this lotion does not have spf.  The lotion is thickish, creamy with a touch of airiness, white, and pleasant smelling.  I make sure to smooth in the lotion as best as possible because if I don't, the foundation application could be problematic.  Once the lotion dries, my face feels really smooth and even.  The effects remind me of the effects the Monistat Anti-Chafe silicone-based gel.  Then I glide on my foundation, also face xpert, and the foundation does not struggle with the primer.  However, unlike the Diva Defense, my face still looks a little too dewy for my taste.  Throughout the day, my foundation stays on my face, but I get a touch of oil breakthrough on my nose and cheeks.  Sometimes, I even notice pooling.  So, it feels like I am back at square one. 
 To tell you the truth, I think this lotion just can't handle the foundation and the moisturizer.   After I started considering what this primer could handle, I decided to try the lotion without moisturizer first.  Instead, I applied this lotion, then I applied a tinted moisturizer (mark. c-thru).  The primer performed much, much better without the moisturizer under it.  The next test will be the lotion and just foundation, but  I will have to try that at night because of the lack of spf.  As of now, I have relegated this primer to quick days or night events.  I will use this up, but I will not rebuy.  This just might work for normal/combo skin, but proceed with caution if you have overactive oil glands.  In addition, I think mark. is asking too much money for this jar.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 happy wallets (I really hate the packaging, and I really don't care for the price.)

matte chance

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Quick! Call the fuzz! There's a bandit on the loose...and it's me

Yesterday, I went around the mall and shopping centers to find fun, little stocking stuffers for Christmas.  Not much really piqued my interest until I went to TJ Maxx.  I was there for about 45 minutes, I looked at the purses, shoes, socks, jewelry, men's stuff, baby clothes (why is there more girl stuff than boy stuff?), and finally I landed myself in the beauty section.  I love that Marshall's and TJ Maxx have expanded their beauty section.  Not only can you find spa products, but now you can find hair tools and products and makeup.  I had noticed that they had some Lancome shadows, lippies, and concealers, but most of them had been violated by ruffian customers who have no regard for makeup lovers who come in after them.  I was about to quit my search because I found what I needed for other people, but then I saw this peculiar lady with burly hair, and she was looking intently at a shelf full of extravagantly decorated boxes.  So I milled around while she finished looking (I kept my distance so as not to rush her, no worries.).  I am so glad I did because I found some awesome buys!  Now, as many of you know, I do not necessarily like to splurge on makeup, and I like finding bargains whenever I can.  It is only when I know that I can't find a substitute that I will pay more.  However, my reluctance to pay a lot does not mean I don't appreciate the nicer things.  
Anyway, back to the story.  After seeing what the woman was looking at, I fully understood why she was so intently inspecting the boxes.  As it turns out, TJ Maxx got shipments of Lancome brush cases with five brushes and six-shadow palettes.  Both were priced at $14.99.  My heart fluttered.  I really have not been buying makeup, so this was a nice reward for practicing temperance. 
 I quickly grabbed both items and inspected them fully.  They were in mint condition, and I put them in my basket.  The brush set comes with a highlighting brush (skunk brush), liner brush, crease brush, regular shadow brush, and fluffy crease brush (usually for blending or light crease work).  The case is tri-fold and seems to be magnetized.  The brushes' handles are on the shorter side, but they are still comfortable to use, and the bristles are soft.  This is an excellent travel case, and a great stocking stuffer.  
The palette is lovely.  It is called Topaz kisses.  I love the packaging, and usually I do not fall for packaging.  The case is red, shiny, and it has a criss-cross feminine design.  There is a full mirror inside and the six shadows.  The shades range for pearly white to dark, midnight blue.  There are some shimmery shades and some matte shades.  This palette works great for night and day, no doubt.  I have just swatched them, so I can't give you a full update on quality, but they swatched really well.  The color in pigmented and intense (one layer of application is soft, and the colors can be built upon), and the texture is soft.  Again, this is another wonderful stocking stuffer.  I think that I am really going to enjoy the brush case, absolutely.  

Here are pictures:

lancome purchases

brush case closed

lancome brush set, brushes exponsed

Lancome eye palette in Topaz Kisses

Lancome Topaz kisses palette

swatches Topaz kisses

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Foundations-R-Us part 2

Finally, I am pretty much done with the semester.  I just have to give three finals, grade those, and I am home free.  Yay, reviews, hauls, and books here I come.  I have finally gotten back into the fun of wearing makeup.  I forgot how lost in the process I get.  The other night the Scholar and I were going to a holiday party and we ran late because I was having so much fun doing my face.  It happened again today.  I was getting ready for the dentist and I decided to use one of the mark. palettes and I just go lost in the shimmer and the blues.  I was three minutes late to the appointment, which was better than I thought I would be, but I definitely learned my lesson.
  Note to self: allot more time for makeup application so that you don't run late on a regular basis.  

Anyway, I finally had time to take pictures of some foundation swatches and finish this installment of foundations for NC 35-40.  So here we go.  Are you excited?  I know I am.

1) NEW Clinique Superfit
Price: $20.50
Shade: Golden Beige.  I really enjoy this foundation.  I was wearing Revlon Colorstay on my oily skin, but I got tired if its heaviness, and I really wanted to venture into other foundations out of fear of falling into a rut, which is quite curious because all I have wanted to do is be loyal to makeup products.  Alas, my heart is impetuous.  Well, I digress.  I was a little worried about trying this foundation because previous Clinique experiences have left me splotchy, pooly, and orange.  I really did not want to look like an oompa loompa.  I purchased this gem at a Sephora where I could take the time to really assess what shade really worked for me.  After trying five shades, I finally decided on Golden Beige, which I believe is in the medium range.  The shade works perfectly.  I have been wearing this foundation off and on for two months, and every time I am outside in the natural light I am sure to look for any demarcation lines.  I have been really happy to not find any.  In addition, I have NOT turned ORANGE.  The weight is light, the coverage is medium to full, and the lasting power is excellent.  I get a glow, not a melting face shine.  I will say that I have been using the Coastalscents diva defense primer (review coming) underneath, so this might be pushing up the shine-proof element.  The consistency is liquidy, which makes blending and application easy, and the foundation dries to a powdery matte finish (my favorite finish).  I pat some additional foundation on the trouble area.  
I also really like the small bottle the foundation is packaged in.  The opening is dropper style, which is great for keeping the foundation clean, and the bottle is easy for travel.  I am pleasantly surprised with this foundation.
2) mark. old Face Xpert (misspelling is trendy!)
Price: $8
Shade: medium.  I know they have revamped the line and the shades, but I still have one bottle of this, and I know that there probably are some bottles of this floating around makeupalley swap lists.  As far as the new shades go, medium is a little lighter than natural, and a little darker than buff.  Also, medium is a little peachier than both new shades.  Buff and Natural are more yellow.  Either way, medium does blend well if you do not have super yellow undertones.  Ok, on to the review.  I have had a love/hate relationship with this foundation.  I love the way it glides and blends into my skin.  I love the little bottle, and I love that it doesn't have an SPF.  Oh yeah, and I really enjoy the price and the fact that it doesn't break me out.  I hate the sponge-tip applicator and the fact that sometimes it doesn't fare well with my oily skin.  Therefore, I usually wear this foundation during the winter and shelve it during the summer. In addition, sometimes the color feels a little off.  However, and this is a big "however," I am growing to love this foundation more and more each day.  For some reason, I decided to grab this foundation the other day, and I have been wearing it religiously for the last two weeks.  For some reason, it is not sliding off of my face, even when surrounded by heat, and the color is matching just right.  The foundation is also lasting all day for me with very minimal transfer.  I think this 180 degree performance can be partially attributed to the primers I have been trying out: coastalscents diva defense (performing swimmingly) and mark. matte chance (pretty good).  If you have oily skin, try the foundation samples before you buy a full bottle.  I know it is only $8, but if it doesn't work it occupies space and that is just annoying.  The coverage is medium to mid-full.  You can build up on this foundation, but it won't build up to total full coverage.  The consistency is light and creamy, and it dries to a mildly glowy powder finish.  This foundation is a cinch to blend.
I will say that the sponge-tip applicator is the pits.  I use it to dab on the foundation, but it really is gimmicky and cumbersome.  I would live if mark just totally revamped the packaging.
(mark. photo from

3) CoverGirl  Advanced Radiance Age-Defying Compact foundation (the foundation that is just like AquaSmooth)
price: about $8-10
Shade: Soft Honey.  I love compact foundations.  I love powder finishes.  I like swipe-and-go foundations, and this is just it on all three accounts.  However, sometimes this foundation hates oily skin, so I really have to use it when there is zero humidity and cool to cold temperatures.  (If you have normal skin this foundation can be your best friend.  If you have dry skin, then you must moisturize first.  Us oilies must use a very competent primer, like coastalscents diva defense.) CoverGirl tends to have really poopoo shades.  They go from super pink to super orange.  Luckily, there are two or three shades that are realistic, and I happen to find one of them.  Soft Honey is a great shade for the NC35 days.  This foundation is truly buildable, very blendable, and beautifully easy to apply.  The foundation comes with a sponge, but I like to use my fingers for better distribution control.  Watch out though, this foundation can easily cake because it goes from medium to full coverage in less than four seconds, and it can transfer.  The "age-defying" does nothing.  The only reason I bought this over the Aquasmooth is because I heard that the shade was a little browner (for lack of a better word) than the same shade in Aquasmooth, but honestly, I can't tell the difference.  Oh, and this doesn't have the interesting smell that the Aquasmoooth has, or at least I can't smell it.
The compact is long and awkward, but I really wouldn't reapply this because of the cake factor.  Overall, I nice addition to the compact collection.  If you want to try it out, buy it when it is on sale.

Revlon Colorstay with Softflex for Oily/Combo skin
Price $11-13
Shade: Warm Golden and Natural Tan.  This review will be short because Colorstay foundations are a staple in many makeup or trial bags.  I will focus on the shades.  Remember how the old version of Colorstay had pinkish hues to them.  Well the new Colorstay is more diverse in its hues.  There still are pink-toned foundation, which is necessary, but now they have incorporated some yellow-based shades too.  Warm Golden and Natural Tan have more yellow than pink in them.  I love Warm Golden, this shade is for my paler days, like say NC30.  I can work it on NC35, but it can be a stretch.  On my more sunkissed days I blend Natural Tan with Warm Golden to get the closest match possible.  I can't tell you the ratio of the color mixture because I eye it, and it changes sometimes.   This foundation is great on my yucky skin days, or when I am just craving heavier coverage.  The blendability is not stellar, but it is better than it was before.  The bottle is still glass and frustrating.  The price has gone up and the amount you get has decreased a touch.  If you would like to test it out, make sure you get it on sale.  I am not sure it is worth full price just to try it.  You can always return it, but it feels better when it is on sale.

Wishing you happy faces and happy wallets.  More to come.