Thursday, May 28, 2009

Is that hairspray or are you just happy to see me?


I hate humidity. Actually, I don't know anyone who says, "Yay, today it's 100 percent humidity. Yum, I love humid days. Oh look! Frizz! I look great with frizzy hair. This is an excellent wedding look." So I guess I am part of the majority in really not liking the stickiness that is humidity. With this being said, I know "who" hates humidity more than I do: my hair. Whenever there is even a whisper of humidity, my hair starts a revolution. Each strand breaks into a Les Miserables song, and then they get angry when there is no standing ovation. Therefore in retaliation for the humidity and "lack" of attention, my hair makes me look like...I don't even know. My poor curls, they just unravel.

So for all of these years I have been trying to find a solution to guard against the effects of humidity. I really hadn't found anything satisfying until I decided to try out hairsprays. It really never occurred to me to use hair sprays to preserve curl and prevent frizz. It's kind of embarrassing to think about the fact that I never used hair spray. I always associated hair spray with teasing and Aquanet. Now, I know better. My first venture into hair spray was ION Alcohol-Free hair spray, which is found at Sally's. So far it has been a lukewarm welcome.

This hairspray has great holding power, and it works excellently to shield humidity-induced frizz. Several weeks ago, my family spent the day walking in a misty, foggy day. Thankfully, my curls did not unravel and they did not fuzz up. Meanwhile, everyone else's hair had puffed up like a blow fish. The ION hair spray had done what it needed to do and then some. However, there are some drawbacks: 1) the smell is not pleasant at first (it does eventually dissipate), 2) the spray adds additional drying time to my hair when applied to damp hair, 3) my hair doesn't feel too stiff. Also, the sprayer sometimes sticks because of the hair spray, which is a pain when I am in a rush.

Would I buy this hairspray again? Meh, maybe not. I would venture to something a little less expensive and with a better scent. However, the actual efficacy of the spray has motivated me to try other brands. I do really love it's ability to fend off the humidity.

Rating:
2 out of 5 happy wallets (love the hold, hate the scent and time it takes for my hair to dry.)
Price: $5.29 ($4.79 with sally card) Found at Sally's beauty supply
Bottom line: find yourself at Sally's and see this, move on.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Goldilocks meets the mad Scientist

the collection

Inside my head in the drugstore makeup aisle...

"hmmm...I have been wanting to try this foundation, what shade works?

I could go home and just research shades before buying.

Seriously, I feel like I am channeling Veruca, I want it now. Damn, I really love that movie. The tunnel scene still freaks me out, though. Yum, Wonka gobstoppers, I gotsa get me some of that.

Okay, let's see...these two shades look about right. It is BOGO. I can always return it...
I am gonna do it. these two foundations work...

I could just splurge and go to a counter, but that isn't as much fun. Plus, they never match me right. I love drugstores..."

And this is how I end up with a vast collection of foundations in varying shades. I rarely end up returning the foundation if it doesn't work. (Luckily, the shades are pick are very close, it is a matter of winter vs. summer shades.) In fact, I have only returned the Rimmel foundations because those just really couldn't work.

Instead of returning the foundations, I just mix different shades and formulas depending on what I want. Sometimes, when I feel frisky, I even add luminizers. I even have a mixing spatula, a mat and designated bowls. I really love mixing the different promises for perfection. It reminds me of my art class when we had to recreate the color of the sky. There we were looking at a picture of the sky. It looked blue. We all went to grab the tube of blue oil paint. Then the instructor said, "no, this is not just a plain blue sky. In fact, you will rarely just add a color straight from the tube. You must make your own colors. Look at the layers, peel them apart. This is complex. You are not 3 year olds anymore. Your lack of vision disgusts me (she really didn't say the last part)." So we discussed the colors we saw in the sky. As it turns out the sky had black, brown, yellow, purple, mauve, magenta, fuchsia, and...wait for it..blue. Ahh, that was a fun class. That one lesson of mixing the colors, working with textures, and swishing the thick paints on a palette really enhanced my experience and stimulated my senses. I really liked seeing the color transformations before my eyes. I love hearing the squish of the paint being mushed together. Therefore, I recreate this sensation when I mix my foundations to get just the right color.

I don't necessarily get the same squish because I mostly deal with liquids, but I see the color transformation. I feel like a rebel mixing these different finishes and formulas because a while back I had heard that this was a no-no. Whatever. It is a YES-YES. Right now, my favorite mix is Maybelline Mineral Power liquid foundation in Light beige with Revlon Colorstay in Natural Tan. The ration is 1:2. The mixture lightens up the heaviness of the Revlon, and the Maybelline adds a luminescence. Sometimes I add a hint of moisturizer, or a touch of mark. glow xpert in candle glo. I have also mixed EDM mineral foundation in Buttered tan with Colorstay for a touch more yellow. I could just get one color in the tube by paying more, but honestly, the higher priced foundations lack the element of self-invention. Usually the end result is agreeable, and I feel better about making a dent in my collection.

Therefore, I encourage you to mix your misfit foundations, you might just find the holy grail! I also encourage you to share what you like to mix.

The Mad Scientist
mad scientists always have mad hair, right?
Will it combust?



ACK! attacked by errant foundation

p.s. let me know if you want a review of any of the foundations you noticed.

Reminder--Contest, last day May 29th!

Don't forget to enter your name and email address in the comments section under this post to win a brand new Sonia Kashuk skunk brush (considered a dupe for the MAC 187) and some other throw-in goodies.

You can also email me your info. The last day to enter is this Friday, May 29th, at 11:00 pm eastern time. The winner's name will be drawn from a hat. Check my twitter for updates.

Hope everyone is having a lovely week.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

I found the unicorn, and it asked me to share

One day I was going stir crazy with Feh-Feh, and I decided to take advantage of an awesome resource my local hospital offers: a breastfeeding support group where mommies can socialize, meet with nurses, and feed their babies without feeling awkward. It was the best decision I made in the last several weeks. I made friends instantly, and afterwards we went to a coffee shop and talked about many things. During our post-group chat, one the fellow new mommies had to feed her beautiful son. She whipped out a nursing cover that isn't awkward and has an arc that lets her peek at the baby. I immediately asked where she got it because the one I have is super awkward. She told me she got it at the Target across the street.

I vowed to go to Target right after the coffee chat to snag one for myself. Once I was at the Target, and had located the nursing apron, I decided to saunter over to the cosmetics aisle. (I really just cannot leave a store without visiting the cosmetics aisle. I just cannot. I can leave empty-handed, but I cannot ignore the curiosity.) I looked at the Sonia Kashuk section, and guess what I saw! Go ahead, guess! Yup! I found the elusive Sonia Kashuk skunk brush. Even better, I found multiples. The Target had about five just waiting to be plucked. I immediately grabbed one (I didn't want to be greedy.).

Seeing as I already have one, I decided to share the good fortune of finding the unicorn. I am having my first blog contest.

Here is what you have to do:

1) This contest is for US residents (don't worry, one day I will open a contest up to the world)

2) Leave a comment in the comment section saying "hi." In addition, and this is the important part, leave your name and email address in the comment section. If you want to keep this info on the down low (confidential, no worries, I won't sell your info), email me your name and email address to happyfacehappywallet@gmail.com

3) The deadline to enter is Friday, May 29th at 11:00 pm eastern time.

4) A winner will be chosen at random. The scholar will draw the name from a hat. I will probably announce when the scholar draws the name on twitter. My updates are posted in the sidebar, just look down a little.

5) The winner will be notified via email. After the winner has responded to the email, He or She will be announced in a new blog entry. If I don't hear from the winner in a designated amount of time, the scholar will draw again (he has the time now that he graduated from school).

6) Oh yeah, and only one entry per person.

I am kind of lazy, so I'm not posting a pic of the brush, but if you want proof, just let me know.
Best of Luck!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

ELF mini makeup kit...It's like eating a kumquat

ELF open

Let me ask this: why is it that we buy sour patch gummies, when all we have to do is eat a kumquat? Granted it is the reverse of a sour patch: sweet first, sour later, but still the element of surprise and pleasure is there. Why am I talking about sour patches and kumquats? I don't know, wait, yes...encountering the ELF mini makeup kit was like the first time I tasted a kumquat.
The first time I saw this beautiful mini fruit. It looked like a tiny, oblong orange. The skin was shiny, tempting, beautiful. I was excited about savoring the explosion of nature's flavors. I had been warned that the inside would be sour, but I really didn't understand what they meant. I bit into the skin of the fruit and I was welcomed by enticing citrusy sugar, then my teeth and taste buds dug deeper into the fruit. OMG, pucker city, pucker city. Still a fun fruit, but the sour after the sweet is just cruel. The same roller coaster of feelings happened when I received my ELF mini makeup kit.

When I received the ELF kit, I was super excited--just like the fruit this kit had sweet possibilities. However, the sweetness disappeared once I opened the case. Instead of being seduced by refreshing colors, I was left with the same scrunchy face I made when I bit into the sour explosion of the kumquat. The shadows looked blah with a side of chunky glitter. The blushes looked like compacted powder with sparkles. At least the lips side looked more promising, but for some reason I just wasn't thoroughly enjoying the kit. Even though I was initially disappointed with the kit, I decided to reserve some judgment after the trial. Well, today I figured I would do a full face using just this kit and it would end up impressing me. I mean, ELF has impressed me before after the second impression. However, this kit did not make the effort to wow me. In fact, my eye looked like a hot mess, and I immediately wiped everything off. I just looked like I put glitter on my eyes and cheeks. The darker green color looked muddy from the get go. The shadows just didn't have enough pigmentation. All of this was done with eye brushes.

I will say that the saving grace was, again, the lip side. The lip glosses/sticks are nice. They don't have a peculiar taste/scent, they are moisturizing, blend easily and are pigmented. This kit costs $15, I got it on sale for half the price. ELF sometimes throws sales where they give the kit away for free with purchase. Ladies and gentlemen, don't waste your money buying this. If you get it for free, give it to your niece or nephew so that they can play makeup artist on your white walls. Spend your money on the better products such as the studio brushes (the complexion and powder brush), which are crazy soft; the eyeshadow quads (I really enjoy these for $1), lip stuff, and lash curler.

Rating:
1 out of 5 happy wallets (the lip side gets the 1)
Price: $15 (waste!)
Location: eyeslipsface.com, other ELF products can be found at Target and I think K-mart. Check out their other stuff, those don't really disappoint.

Click here for pictures of the ELF Mini Makeup kit
The swatches look better than they look on the eye, fyi.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Seven dollar surprise

I have been obsessed with the MAC 187 duo brush (aka skunk brush) since I learned about it. The skunk brush is great for ultra-pigmented blushes, powders, etc. However, the brush is also most wonderful for foundation application. The brush leaves a beautiful airbrush finish, which is great for a heavier coverage foundation. The MAC brush is $42, and I was not inclined to pay that much for a brush since I had heard that there were dupes that existed. I first started with the Flirt skunk brush, but it is too flimsy for what I wanted, which was foundation application. It does, however, work great for blushes and such. I also tried the NYX brush ( have a review for that), and some other random ones, but nothing really lived up the the 187 reputation.

Interestingly, the dupes were hard to come by several years ago. Nowadays it feels like every line has a duo fiber brush. Unfortunately, not many of them live up to the application and quality of the MAC 187 (side story: I eventually caved and bought the 187 as a gift to myself after getting a raise several years ago. One of the best purchases I made. Even though I bought MAC's, I still look out for dupes so that I can rotate the brushes. Now I find that I use the dupes more than the original.). The MAC 187 is soft and mildly dense, which is great for distribution and blendability of foundation. After many encounters with dupes, I have found two that are really satisfying. One is the elusive Sonia Kashuk "highlighting" brush, which sometimes can be found at Target; the other brush was recently found. The brush is from the Studio Tools line also found at Target. This brush does differ from the MAC 187 brush is appearance, but it delivers a similar finish when used with foundation.

The Studio Tools brush has a shorter, plastic handle that is heavy for a brush handle. The natural hair bristles are shorter and more densely packed, and the synthetic bristles are similar to the Kashuk and 187 brush. The circumference of the brush head is also smaller than the other skunk brushes, but it does distributes the foundation well; in other words, it doesn't deposit a more concentrated amount of foundation. The brush is easy to handle, and the weight of the handle makes it nice to maneuver interestingly enough.

I really wasn't sure this would be such a success, but I have been really surprised at how much I like it. I thought it would be just used for blushes and that it would shed like crazy, but it hasn't shed at all, and I have washed it twice. This little brush is $6.99.

If you have $7 waiting to be spent, this is worth a try.

187 sk 2
Studio Tools is a dirty for Revlon Colorstay application.

187, Sonia Kashuk, Studio Tools

skunks

Sonia Kashuk & Studio Tools skunk brush

Monday, May 11, 2009

"Oh wow! I had this?"

For those who have visited Makeupalley.com, you might have encountered the sudden urge to buy many things that are raved about. The boards are the ultimate enabling machine for the makeup lover/shoppaholic. When I frequented the site and lived in Northern Virginia, I would rush to the metro after work, ride the train to Pentagon City and shop Sephora and MAC. Then, I would stop by CVS, which was about two block away from my adorable condo and shop some more. I swear my collection grew exponentially during those two years. For those who have not visited the website, proceed with caution, it can be dangerous.

Anyway, now I am not such a voracious makeup shopper because I no longer visit the boards on Makeupalley. I still like to shop, but I am no longer filled with the anxiety of needing a lipstick right now, which is what the website caused.

Where am I going with this? Well, I have a lot of makeup. I have drawers full (I do periodically purge, I don't think Queen Fierce has bought a lipstick in years.). So, more often than not, I rediscover what I have, and I like to explore exactly why I bought it. Then I regret not using it more.

As mentioned before, I have been on a foundation kick, hardcore. Last week, I was looking at my foundation compartment, and I came across Cover Girl's Aquasmooth compact (This is the advanced radiance version, but it is the same as the regular version.). I have been using Aquasmooth off and on since it came out. I have successfully used up several of these compacts, which is a huge feat considering all of the foundations I have.

Aquasmooth is a cream-to-powder foundation that offers medium to full coverage. This foundation leaves a matte finish, and it glides on the face. This foundation works best for normal to very mild oily skin. Aquasmooth will absolutely cling to dry skin, and it will slip off super oily skin. When I was younger I had super oily skin so I would constantly fight with this foundation, but I just loved the coverage so much I would insist on wearing it. Now the foundation is perfect for me because I have more normal/combo skin.

What I love so much about this foundation is the coverage, the matte finish, the ease of application, and the ease of removing it. I love full coverage, matte foundations. I don't know why, but I always gravitate towards this type of foundation. I always wonder what the point of sheer foundation is because people who wear sheer already have perfect skin, so...
When this foundation is swiped on, all of my imperfections temporarily stop existing. My dark circles, my hyper pigmentation, and my existing pimples are all gone. These erasures are possible in less than five minutes. Swipe and Blend, done!

What I don't love about this foundation is the faint smell when spreading on the face. The foundation smells like vitamins; it does dissipate, but still. I also don't like the hugeness of the compact. So big, so awkward. Oh and finally, this foundation does leave a white cast in pictures. I wouldn't recommend this for photo events.

As far as shades go, Cover Girl has yet to decide on a decent range, but i have lucked out. Soft Honey is a great shade for my NC 35-40 complexion.

Even though this foundation has some flaws, I am still enjoy it. In fact, I enjoy this foundation so much that I have two backups of it, and I don't regret having them. Actually, it is the only backup I have. This is an oldie but goody.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 happy wallets
Price: $6-8 at drugstores and big box stores

Evidence:
bare face
No makeup!

cg aquasmooth in soft honey
CG Aquasmooth in Soft Honey (not photo friendly, but not the coverage)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Is tagging myself a sin? Will I get hair palms?

I have been itching to blog, but I am a slave to FeFe's (pronounced Feh-Feh, comes from the Spanish pronunciation of Felix, which is Feh-leeks) hunger. You know, people really do romanticize breastfeeding. Don't get me wrong, I love knowing that I have the option to sustain my son, and I have an excuse to flash people in public now, but breastfeeding is no cakewalk. It takes time, it hurts sometimes, and I can only wear bras for two days before they spoil. However, I wouldn't have it any other way. I feel very womanly, and I have the best cleavage of my life!

Anyway, enough about my boobs (I can already see some of my followers "unfollow." BTW, many kisses to my followers. I am humbled by your interest. Let me know where I can improve.). As mentioned before, I have been itching to review and I am getting on the train, but first I want to do a questionnaire.
Pink Sith was tagged to do a questionnaire, and she invited her readers to follow suit, therefore, here I am.

Oh, and I am not going to follow the rules either. By all means participate if you want. I am not tagging anyone.


Rules:

1. Respond and rework: Answer the questions on your blog, replace one question that you dislike with a question of your own invention, add one more question of your own.
2. Tag eight other people.


What is your current obsession? Foundation! It will always be foundation. I am on the constant quest to find the perfect base.

What is your weirdest obsession?
empty jars, travel bottles/containers. I love to redistribute. I buy new travel containers every time I go to Walmart, Sallys, and Target.

What are you wearing today?
Black nursing tank top, brown lounge pants (that's right, I mixed colors)

What's your favorite comfort food?
bistec encebollado con arroz y habichuelas rojas

What would make today special? If I lived closer to my family so that it wouldn't be so sad and painful to say goodbye.

What would you like to learn to do?
I would love to learn to do hair. I want to learn to cut and color hair. I regret not doing cosmetology in high school

What's the last thing you bought?
I just went to Target (not in the nursing tank though). My list ranged from mascara to trash can liners. I also bought some cute tanks.

What are you listening to right now?
Caps hockey game. Go CAPS!

What is your favorite weather?
Lovely, breezy spring day

What is your most challenging goal right now?
Deciding on a career. I second guess myself all the time.

What do you think about the person who tagged you?
I wasn't tagged, but I really do like Elvira. I just think she is the bees' knees! You rock, E.

If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished anywhere in the world, where would it be?
A small town with nice, inviting people. I don't really care where it is as long as it is filled with nice people.

If you could swap lives with anyone for one day who would it be and why?
I am really happy with what I have, so no one.

If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go? anywhere where I could sleep a full 12 hours without interruption, or the Caps game with my fam.

What would you like to have in your hands at right now?
my baby. Hold on, let me pick him up now.

Which language do you wanna learn?
ASL, refine my French, html

What do you look for in a friend?
Open, non-envious, non-toxic, fun, honest, loving, understands the importance of "alone time," supportive, curses like a miscreant child, isn't scared of the word "vagina," in charge.

Who do you want to meet in person?
I honestly don't know...hmm

What's your favorite type of music?
Woman music: Tori Amos, Regina Spektor, Sarah Mclaughlin, Feist, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughn, Nina Simone (oh Nina...)

What's your dream job?
Mother (yay!), makeup person, teacher in a functional environment.

If you had $100 now what would you spend on it?
baby stuff, maybe a toupee for his bald head. (anyone see that SNL skit? LOL)

Things you wish you could change in the past? meh, I have worked through my regrets so now I am at peace. Oh wait, there is that cosmetology school in high school regret. Oh maybe not vote for Nader in 2000 (to justify, I was in VA, which had already given Bush the electoral votes--lame!).

Fashion Pet Peeve?
muffin top inducing jeans. Size up, people!

Do you admire anyone's style?
The grrl always looks nice, Queen Fierce is sassy at 50-something...Actually, I really like my style: inexpensive, simple, and classic.

Describe your personal style.
White button down shirts, trouser jeans, flats, tailored dresses, appropriately fitted bras.

What's your favorite ice cream flavor? Rocky Road!

What's your favorite makeup brand? mark. and Revlon

What makeup do you use a lot? Foundation?

Do you get enough beauty sleep? Yes or no? Why?
No. I have a young being who doesn't understand the concept of beauty sleep. He was born beautiful.

Why did you start your (beauty) blog? I love to write, I have an opinion. Why not? I never expected to be read. It was more for me, so getting feedback is always surprising and nice feeling.

What do you think is the best feature about yourself?
My smile. Mr. Serenity paid a pretty penny for my straight teeth. I am contractually obligated to constantly smile.

What is your favorite vacation spot?
I really yearn for an Alaskan cruise again.

What do you like least about yourself?
My tendency to get hyperpigmentation after a breakout, my inability to be a delicate flower...actually, I take it back...I like my inability to be a delicate flower, even though I am scared of frogs, spiders, snakes...

Again, do this questionnaire if you want. It is always fun to learn about people.
Many hugs, and more reviews to come.