Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Why do you love makeup, and what do you look for in a brand?

I saw these questions on Beauty Look Book, and I thought it might be fun to answer these questions myself.

1) Why do you love makeup?
This is actually a strange question to me, because it's like asking why I like curry, or why I love warm covers.  I just love them/it.  I think of makeup as more of art supplies than anything, and use them about the same.  Makeup isn't about age, sex, color of skin to me; it's about playing, having fun, and showing your personality.  If you want to wear purple eyelashes with bright red lips, I might think that it doesn't look the greatest (unless you rock it), but why does what I think matter?

Basically, I love makeup because it is a method of expression.  You don't need the most expensive stuff, or the latest colors, you just need to have fun, and show who you really are inside.

2) What do you look for in a brand?
I look for quality, quantity, and truth.  A brand that does what it says it does is great.  A brand that goes above and beyond what they claim is the best.  I love NYX, MAC, Giorgio Armani, NARS, Jane, Maybelline.. basically, the whole range of brands, because every brand has something to contribute.  NYX has great lipsticks, Giorgio Armani also has great lipsticks, but they are completely different animals.  Should I just exclusively use one or the other?  My answer is no, but yours might be different.

Oh, and packaging matters.  I hate crappy, going-to-break-at-any-moment packaging.  I don't care if it's a cheap screw top container, it needs to work.

So what about you?  Why do you love makeup, and what do you look for in a brand?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy Holidays!

I happen to be gone for the holidays/birthdays, so I didn't get a good post written before I left.  No, I didn't forget you all, I just didn't have time.

I wish you all a Happy Holiday, Happy New Years, and all that jazz ^_^.  Be good while I'm away, and don't resort to eating your lipsticks when the feasts take too long getting on the table!


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

shu uemura Cleansing Oil A/O

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Price: $32 for 150ml, $72 for 450ml (15.2oz)

What they say:
"For aging concerns

Cleansing Beauty Oil Premium A/O is the #1 selling shu uemura Cleansing Oil in the world. A premium anti-oxidant skin purifier that thoroughly cleanses the skin while protecting it against the internal and external aggressions associated with skin aging."

What I say:
While this isn't love at first sight, this is love at multiple glances, and with second thoughts.

I first came across shu uemura Skin Purifier High Cleansing Beauty Oil Premium A/O (man, that's a mouthful) after many online bloggers and review communities convinced me that oil would, in fact, not destroy my face, if I was careful, and that this stuff is basically gold in a bottle.  With these thoughts in my mind, I stalked up to a shu uemura counter in Nordstroms, and asked about the oil.  Not only did they give me a pamphlet, they also gave me two samples to try (each one, with how little I use at a time, lasts me about a week, if only used at night).

Samples in hand, I headed home, and tried this.  Now, I knew how to use it, since I had read the reviews: dry hands, dry face, rub in, little water, emulsify, rinse off.  That's what I did, the first time.  It left a film.

I hate film.

So I put this to the side, and was glad I hadn't paid for a full bottle.  Reading more reviews, though, it turns out that even those instructions were wrong (Side note: don't do what the bottle instructions say.  Too much waste, and it doesn't work as well).  You put a little water on your hands, emulsify, repeat, and when the white is mostly gone, then you rinse.  I tried this, and it worked.  Still a little film, but nothing I can't handle.

So, I went to step 2, the makeup test.  Does it remove makeup?  Yes.  Does it remove waterproof?  From what I can see, yes.  Does it do all this without the watering eyes of doom?  Again, yes, but a small note, this can cause your eyes to get... cloudy, I guess is the word I'm looking for.  Doesn't hurt, but it can be annoying.

Last thing I noticed, it does, in fact, help clear my pores.  Since the oil can get into the pores, it can cause the stuff in them to come out.  And since it emulsifies with water, it doesn't remain in them when you're done.  Gross, when stuff is coming out (TMI, I know), but still, whatever helps.

Scent: I haven't really noticed one, since I'm not looking, but I have been told there is one.

Bottle: Great!  No leaks, you can see how much is left, and the pump is very handy.  I kept my small bottles for travel, and the nozzle fits perfectly inside, so that's a bonus.

So there you have it!  This stuff is quite good, and I have since bought a full bottle of it.  Now, the downside of this is that it is pricey.  That's why, in my lemmings post earlier, I said I wanted to try the NYX version, to see how it stood up against the titan.  Is it worth it anyway?  Personally, that really depends on your budget and how often you are planning on using it.  I use it maybe a couple times a week, and I can say that my bottle will last me for at least a year.  When you break it down, that's really cheap, and so I would say worth it.  If you are using it twice a day, though, and are using the full recommended 4-5 pumps (I'm using something like 1, maybe a little less), then even the big bottle will be drained quickly.

Regardless, if you are interested in trying this, or any shu uemura, oil out, I really recommend going to the counter.  I can't say for certain you will get as much as I did, but even one sample should last long enough for you to see if you will react.  (Maybe that's why they gave me so much, is that I told them I was worried about breakouts... hmm..).


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sephora Sale
When: 12/23-12/31

Word on the street is that Sephora is having another sale.  The above information is all that I know about it, and whether it is authentic has yet to be seen.  Still, either way, I felt that I should pass this information on, on the off chance that this is true.
If this is true, this will be the third 20% off sale that has had in the past few months.

I hope I get a gift card for the Holidays, otherwise, I can't really see myself spending money yet /again/ at Sephora, since everything that I wanted I have already purchased, and all that is left are maybes that I don't want to spend money on, at the moment.
Any case, good hunting if this is true! ^_^

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

NARS: Multiple in Orgasm

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Price: $37 for .5 oz

What they say:
"What it is:
Uniting its most celebrated color with its most sought after multi-purpose must-have, NARS introduces The Multiple in Orgasm.

What it does:
Featuring the same universally flattering hue as the original Orgasm Blush, The Multiple in Orgasm imparts the radiant peachy pink with shimmer to the eyes, cheeks, lips and d├ęcolletage.

What else you need to know:
Designed and packaged for easy application, The Multiple in Orgasm can be applied with a finger or directly from the stick and then blended into the skin. The lightweight, creamy formula blends effortlessly to provide sheer, all-over color as well as subtle, shimmering accents, contours, and dynamic highlights."

What I say:
This is a good product, but I wouldn't say it is the greatest thing ever.

The color is much like the NARS Orgasm blush, but I would say it's a little.. lighter?  It's hard to describe the difference.  Part of that is because of the difference in the textures, which always affects the color.  The shimmery-ness of the color is more apparent, and the initial color is a little more subdued.  Because of this, I find it to be a better highlighter than the original powder blush, but it still has enough color to be useable for a light blush look.

The case is the usual rubber that NARS likes to use, and some of you might not like that, since it does get messy quite easily.  While I don't like the mess, I do like how it feels in my hands, which I think it more important on a product that you aren't going to be whipping out in public often (unlike lipstick or gloss).  The lid does stay on well, and I haven't had any problems with it opening for me, but I wouldn't be surprised if it tried to in a purse, since that is a much more harsh environment than my travel bags.  I did notice that the stick doesn't like to go back into the tube if you over extend it, so you do need to be careful about that.

Orgasm the Multiple's texture is like the other multiples, from what I've felt.  It is kinda like a cream blush, but I think a little more dry than that.  I find that using my fingers doesn't get much product on my cheeks, but it does layer well, so that isn't much of a problem.  Putting it dirrectly on your cheeks from the tube can lead to overkill, but as long as you are careful, it shouldn't cause clown-face.  I have also tried this on my eyes and lips, and while the color looked okay, I didn't like the texture that much on either part.

Overall, I would say this is good for those who travel a lot, since it can't shatter like a power blush, but I don't think it is that great beyond that.  I might try the multiple in some other color, since it might work a little better, and I have heard that not all the multiples have the exact same texture when used.  If you are interested in this product, I really do suggest playing with it a little in person, especially because it might not show up that well, depending on your skintone.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

fresh: Sugar Lip Treatment

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Price: $22.50 for .15oz

What they say:
"Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15 blends reparative oils and waxes together with real sugar for delectable and dependable moisture with maximum sun protection. Sweet and tart blackcurrant oil cushions the lips with essential plumping fatty acids, while antioxidant grapeseed polyphenols and vitamins A, C, and E provide extra protection."

What I say:
This is my favorite lip treatment, and I keep coming back to it again and again.  This isn't cheap, so I don't use it all the time (like during the day, when I use Nivea instead), but this is a great night treatment, even though it has SPF in it.

The smell of this reminds me of lemon bars, if you know what I mean.  Lemony, vanilla-y, sweet, but not overpowering, and mouth-wateringly good.  The smell goes away quickly after you put it on, so for those who don't like the smell, don't worry, it doesn't linger all day (or night).

The case is metal, with a screw-on top.  I have put this in purses, my pocket, thrown it across the room, my cats have played with it... Well, you get the picture.  Anyway, it has not opened on me once, unless I want to open it.  No screwing up your purse or pocket with this one.  Also, the case can take quite a beating, to the point that I'm thinking of reusing it as a pill case for vitamins when traveling, since it is compact, and strong.

The texture of this is what makes it such a great treatment; it is thick, a little greasy feeling, but not like after you eat something greasy, and it stays put.  I put this on right before bed, and there is still some on my lips when I wake up the next morning.  During winter, that is the difference between nice lips, and zombie, skin coming off, apocalypse lips.  The texture is also part of why I don't use this all the time during the day.  Unless I really need the extra thick layer on my lips, this is overkill.  Still, even though I don't use it during the day all the time, it is nice to know that there is some SPF in it, in case.

Like I said at the beginning of this post, this is not a cheap lip treatment.  A tube of this lasts me, well, practically forever, so I wait until a sale to pick up a tube or two, which will last me more than a year.  If this is extremely outside your price range, though (or if you lost yours, and you can't find it, like what happened to me once...), I suggest something like Nivea/Labello (depending on where you live), which is much cheaper, and also quite nice.

5/5 HG Night Treatment

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream, Night Formula


Price: $14 for 1.4oz (40g)

What they say:
"Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream is a dermatologist recommended Retinol anti-wrinkle cream clinically proven to visibly reduce fine lines, wrinkles and other signs of aging.

This patented formula contains Retinol, Vitamin A in its purest form, to work deep within skin's surface where wrinkles develop. A combination of Pro-Vitamin B5, Vitamin E and special moisturizers work with skin's natural mechanisms to even out skin tone and build moisture levels. Lightweight and non-greasy, it absorbs quickly into skin.

Skin is softer and smoother. Fine lines, wrinkles and other signs of aging are visibly reduced.
  • Oil-free
  • Non-comedogenic (won't clog pores)
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Fragrance-free"
What I say:
This is okay, and cheap for what it is, but it is not that great.  I originally bought this because of the Retinol that it has in it, since you can never be too young to start the fight against wrinkles, but have not found it to really do anything.

The scent is basically non-existent, to the point that I can't really remember if it has a scent (good enough for me, it has no scent!).  The texture is a little more soft than most creams that I have used (including La Mer, which I got a sample of once).  Actually, I prefer the texture of this to thicker creams, because it is so easy to spread.

I have never had a problem of clogged pores from this on my face, but I have gotten a couple on my neck, and can only assume this was the culprit.  Given that I have only gotten a few in the year that I have used it, though, I would say that it is indeed non-comedogenic.

Overall, decent, but not great.  I purchased it again because there was a buy one get one on Neutrogena skincare, and I was getting more of my cleanser.  I may or may not purchase again, depending on if I find a better night cream when I run out or not.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Anti-Blemish Cleanser

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Price: $7.49 for 5.1 fl oz (150ml)

What they say:
"Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Anti-Blemish Cleanser fights blemishes and the signs of aging every time you cleanse.

This unique anti-aging cleanser is formulated with a combination of the #1 blemish-fighting ingredient and a wrinkle-fighting ingredient to help give you clear, younger-looking skin. Salicylic Acid treats and helps prevent blemishes by penetrating deep into pores to remove dirt and oil. Alpha-Hydroxy Acid works to help smooth fine lines. Formula rinses clean, with no pore-clogging residue.

Skin is clearer, softer and smoother. Fine lines and wrinkles are visibly reduced.
  • Salicylic Acid"
What I say:
What can I say but that this is a pretty good cleanser, and lasts a long time for the amount that you pay for it?  Some might argue that the salicylic acid and AHA in this does not stay on your face long enough for it to really help, but I find that if you spend a little time putting/rubbing this on your face (gently!), it does help quite a bit.  I have noticed a good bit of reduction in my blemishes using this, and so I keep using it.

Note about the active ingredients:  AHA works for both blemish fighting, and supposed reduction of fine lines, even though it doesn't say that on the package.  Just thought you might like to know ^_^.

The scent is very mild, just kinda a soapy background scent that is easily ignored.  This does cause my face to be more taunt that I would like, so I only use this at night, since my face gets quite oily during the day.  A little of this goes a long way; about a pea size is more than enough for my face, so this tube lasts forever.  Speaking of the tube, you will have a lot of product at the bottom of it when you reach the point where you can no longer squeeze any more out.  Be sure to cut it open and transplant the remnents.

One last little thing, this does not work well with a Clarisonic.  I find the best cleansers for the Clarisonic are ones that are more slippery, and this is definitely not one of them.

Overall, great product, and will probably keep repurchasing, since it works well, and is cheap.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

End of the Month Lemmings, November

A couple days late, but better late than never ^_^.

1) General lemming, a power eyeliner.  I don't mean just a regular eyeliner that is in powder form, like Illamasqua Eye Liner Cake, but just in general.  I've been thinking about getting some NARS eyeshadows (darker than what I have), since I have heard good things about them being used as eyeliner.  Also, NYX eyeshadows in blue, black, and brown.  I already tried a red one that I own, and using it wet didn't destroy it (like it does for some).  This will seriously help in the travel department, since they aren't liquid, and the fact that they are powder means that you can use them regular for a less strong liner, wet for strong liner, or just as an eyeshadow.

2) Shiseido Mascasa Base

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I have heard good things about this for a really long time, but just can't seem to justify spending $23 on a mascara base, when it has to be thrown out in 3 months anyway.  Doesn't stop the lemming, though.

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For when I use my eyeliner/eyeshadow power, and want it to be waterproof.  I have used the Too Faced and Urban Decay ones, and didn't like either.  I did hear that this is much better, though, so I definitely need to try this out if I ever do get those powder eyeliners.

4) Makeup Remover & Cleansing Oil In One w/Green Tea Extract

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This lemming is not only for myself, but also for my readers!  I have not heard anything about this product yet, since it is so new, but the ingredients look similar to non-other than shu uemura Skin Purifier High Cleansing Beauty Oil Premium A/O.  Not exact, and not in the same order, but still, similar enough that it peaked my interest.  A cheaper cleansing oil (this only costs $10 online), that is not hard to get?  That would be great.

5) A new perfume.  Specifically, Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs Bewitching Brew The Black Tower.  Known for their perfume oils, that they only make when an order comes in, so it is always the freshest possible, these little beauties cost about $15 for 5ml, or $3.50 for what they call an "Imp's Ear," which is 1/32oz.  Yes, you read that right, this is expensive.  The cost is totally worth it, though, since they contain the highest amount of actual perfume oil (regular eau de toilette is about  4 - 10% perfume oil, this stuff is about 15 - 80% perfume oil, depending on the blend).

The one that I have an eye on, The Black Tower, is described as "white sandalwood, ambergris, wet ozone, galbanum and leather with ebony, teak, burnt grasses, English ivy and a hint of red wine" (note, ambergris in this is actually not the real stuff, it is a vegan blend that is made to smell similar).  Leather?  Wet ozone?  Ivy?  I /need/ this.  What's holding me back?  The holidays.  Once I'm certain that no one has bought this for me already, it is so mine.

So there you have it.  I hope everyone is having a good holiday season, and that the Holiday Muzak is not driving you mad yet.  Just remember, breath, and have a nice piping-hot cup of tea nearby ^_^.