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Makeup tips, film recommendations, how to make life easier for yourself, ask a quick question here.

After much deliberation, I've finally decided on, and found a place to ramble on about makeup without disrupting all my other ramblings.

preamble: I'm NC30, with combination skin that's just settling down to the grime and humidity of the thicker New York air. With no other makeup background than simply liking it, and the hundreds (read: thousands) of dollars poured into this hobby, flimsily justified by crying out "but I need it for my acting!".

Bright colours make me unashamedly happy. For my Beauty Quick Tips, go HERE.

***

 

Wednesday
Jul212010

Workstation

Time for you to take a look at what I'm working with. Where I sit every morning and decide what goes on my face. Oh look, you can see the necklaces hanging on the wall behind this in the mirror. Headbands and arm jewelery I somehow jam onto the mirror.

Here's my nightstand/vanity. The smaller mirror is to get in close and do the more detailed work. To the right of this would be the window ledge that carry the bulk of what I use frequently.

Nail bar, Cotton pads, 3-drawer clear perspex muji container, random powders. By the way, that left window there would be where someone watches their animal planet, at strange hours. Alright. let's look at it up close and personal

 

On top of the case are the foundations, make up for ever HD powder and trial size fix spray, shimmer brick, blush, sugarpill goldilux pigment and calvin clein shimmery gold cream eyeshadow. Pink Pearl Mac pigment that I use as a blusher highlight,

I left my lip drawer open. there's two un lippy thing in here but everything else would be lip related. I don't know when it started but sometime after I bought my first red lippie (Red Lizard), I decided all of my lipstick related products would be NARS. They're in pairs of similarious.

Roman Holiday (sheer baby pink) - Barbarella (creamy light coral)

Funny Face (wearable deep pink) - Schiap (shocking neon pink)

Red Lizard (deep film noir-y red) - Jungle Red (bright orange red)

three lip pencils, that match the three pairs. three lip crayons.

The brush holder is a pencil holder that I got from a friend. It's pretty, and roomy, and it folds flat so it's travelled to three cities with me. The tallest section is for face brushes, comb and trimming scissors. Middle section I keep the eye brushes and mascaras. Smallest section I use to hold all the travel size brushes, eyeliners, lash clurler, eyelash glue. The two moxie tamp tins I use to hold bobby pins (that I can throw in my bag and take to school) and q-tips, disposable spoolies and a small pair of scissors. Sharpener, liquid eyeliners, concealers on the table.

The nightstand drawer. Tub of Lucas's Paw Paw ointment for overnight lip salvation. Most of my lashes. Brandnew tubes of mascara, hair brush, spare hairties, alligator clips, random bits and pieces.

Directly under the window ledge is the horror that is the beauty reserves. Spare bulk items. Sponges, cotton, spoolie, there a thing of q-tips under that, hair shine, extra lashes, under all this is all the makeup that gets thrown here and forgotton after very little to sometimes zero use. Pens, lotion, cosmetics bags that I use to tote around makeup.

I'll clean things up one day and make a collections post. Maybe.

Wednesday
Jul142010

anticipation

Very rarely do I get excited for makeup launches. Sure, I like the stuff, but until I see it in action, no matter how heavily you promote it, it won't elicit much more than a yawn from me. The Holiday packages from MAC are sometimes fairly squeal-worthy, but I can usually get a hold of myself.

So please understand that this is not the usual response for me.

Look at that purple-pinky swirly mineralised skin finish thing, and that greeny-tealy one bottom right. Is it a blush? Is it a overall beauty powder? Why does it look so vivid in the pan? How much of the colour would transfer? SO MANY QUESTIONS! I'm literally going through the product list and trying to match them up but can't. I think these may be the mineralised eyeshadow duos, but why are they so big? They look about blush sized here. We first found out about a Disney Villains and MAC collab months ago, and I squealed then, but this would be the first look at the products. I probably won't be as excited by the time September rolls around, but I think I will still find something to add to my collection.

more at temptalia

Then there's the question of the upcoming Naked Palette from Urban Decay

I've been looking for a pretty collection of neutrals, and these are so incredibly pretty. You can almost see the soft texture from this picture. The nice satiny taupes, the frosty pinks, that matte nude there in the middle and that burnt eggplanty brown . It comes with a double ended 24/7 gel eyeliner, which I can always use more of. You will belong to me!

UPDATE: As of this morning, this palette is available early access at Sephora online!!

More at temptalia

Monday
Jul122010

Lip Love

Let's talk about something I've been digging lately. Now is this an excuse to post that gorgeous picture? Maybe. Am I one of the only few people in the world who would look at that picture and think it's gorgeous and sigh in contentment? Maybe.

It is a good product, though.

Basics: Tinted sugar lip treatment from Fresh. Spf 15. Beautifully moisturising, great lip balm with a really pretty hint of buildable colour. The truly addictive element here is the lemon sugar scent. It's like lemonade in Summer on a porch with a swing. I know that the original uncoloured version retains that dear perfection which it owes, so those who don't want a pretty pink pout, or the boys who happen to accidentally click on the wrong link should give that a go. (did you see that? you see what I did there? how many beauty blogs are you going to come across that's going to have random r&j quotes thrown in for effect? yeeeaaaah that's right.) It also has this kickass metal screw on lid so it won't open or melt or get messy in your bag, it will get nice and melty on your lips though.

It is a little on the expensive side, but if you're anything like me you'll open any drawer and find 10+sticks of random lip balms at $5 a pop, which would be much more than one stick of this. I'm still a big fan of the Nivea Repair & Protection, I've grown to like the wholefoods own brand of chapsticks too. The beauty of this is that it's a well rounded product. It feels substantial in your hands, it's pretty to look at, it smells fantastic and it works. Try it.

Available at Sephora for $22.50

Monday
Jul052010

Summer Face

It was criminally hot today, but I just realised I have got my basic summer face down pat, for this year at least. Here is the bare essentials for me to slap on and walk out the door, the whole thing takes no more than ten minutes.

Here is my new routine, in order of application, tweeked over a lot of trial and error:

Bobbi Brown cream concealer in Warm Natural ($22). I don't actually know if this is the best for me, but I've been using it for something like 7 years and if it ain't broke, ya know?

Everyday Minerals Semi-Matte formula in Golden Light ($12). I've tried to stray several times, but my skin never gets so many compliments as when I'm wearing this, it's affordable and makes people think I have flawless skin, win-win...-win. The last win is for how easy it is to apply.

Anastasia Brow Wiz in Brunette ($20). It's easy to carry around, and brows are so very important. I have to keep reminding myself to use an easy hand though, it's too easy to over bush with this.

Nars Blush ($26), I keep switching between Amore for a more everyday flush, or Desire for a brighter happier pop of colour.

Diorshow Iconic mascara ($27), this is new, I'd been using Lancome Hypnose in waterproof but trying to get waterproof mascara off my face every night is just too much trouble. My only gripe with the Iconic is that it doesn't hold my curl as well as I would like, but it's a great formular, and if I press my finger against my lashes as its setting it re-curls my lashes and holds the shape.

Fresh Rose Tinted Sugar Lip Treatment ($22.50). It's lovely on, smells delightful, and give me a my-lips-but-better look. Oh and it's spf 15.

Tools used: Bobbi Brown concealer brush ($25. Concealer). Italian Badger buffer brush ($11.95. Foundation). a Bloom Cosmetics blush brush but it's unavailable in the US, the closest would be the MAC 116 ($32. Amore blush). MAC 130 ($38. Desire blush). Shu Uemura eyelash curler ($19).

Friday
Mar052010

Beauty HGs

***imported from old blog***

I have by no means found them for every category, but for the ones I have found, I will forever remain loyal. So for now, I will post here, my few makeup and skin care HGs. Obviously not a post for everyone, but at least it's something I can finally be bothered blogging about. The categories are random, because the items that have officially achieved hg status is random, so bear with me.

(HG = abv. holy grail. term used in beauty blogs to indicate the ultimate product in any given category. It either performs up to its marketed claims or does everything you want something in that category to do)

Moisturiser

Aesop - Camellia Nut Facial Hydrating Cream

I started using this about two years ago, mostly because a new store opened in South Yarra next to my bank and it looked so clean and beautiful inside. I started using this as an evening cream (I still use Olay Complete for Sensitive skin with spf 15 during the day), and didn't realise any major changes because my skin was doing just fine at the time. But I did find that my skin felt calm, and comfortable. It didn't break me out, or felt left it feeling greasy, or tight. My skin was in one of those perfect relationships that you take for granted, and eventually make you itch for something else. With every new flashy packaging or some fantastic write up in the beauty news sections of top fashion mags my eyes would guiltily stray, but I never dared to actually have a full blown affair, not even a fling. My camellia nut stayed with me through my move from Melbourne to Sydney, then to New York. Three very different air conditions, and my skin fared well in all three.

Over the last Christmas and New Years holidays, I went back to Melbourne. I had finally finished my 120ml jar and wanted to stock up in Melbourne (It is still depressingly limited in access here in the States). I had a small tube of Hope In A Jar, one of those beauty award winners and customer favourites that During my faithful years with Aesop I had kept flirting with. What better time to try than Summer in Australia right? It was a horrible mistake. The harsh Australian sun and dry hot winds gave me terrible dry patches that flaked and broke up in rude tiny red bumps all along my cheeks and dangerously close to my eyes, and there was nothing that Hope in a Jar could do to stop it. I'm sure that after a few weeks when my skin got used to the change in climate it would have calmed down on its own and went on merrily in a mildly unsatisfied way. But this was my holiday dammit, I had friends to see! So I went ahead and ran back to my Aesop a little earlier than planned. First of all, my skin felt better, and it only took another two nights of vigorous reapplying for it to look better. As I sat in front of the tv with my mum, I rubbed a heavy dosage every 10 minutes into the trouble areas, my very own version of a hydrating treatment, and it worked. The best part was it didn't irritate my extremely sensitive skin either, even in such heavy doses around an area so close to my eyes.

So in summery, super good stuff for dry, sensitive skin. yeah. Unfortunately for my American friends, it is only available at Barneys, and J. Crew Men's stores of all places, and they only stock the smaller 60ml jar size.

USA: USD$43.50 for 60ml at Barneys.
Australia: AUD$43 for 60ml; $59 for 120ml at Aesop

Pencil Eyeliner

Urban Decay - 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil

Don't worry, not every item would be an essay. This one is pretty straight forward. It's soft, creamy, really does glide on but has bang on staying power. My eyelids are not greasy so I can't speak for everyone, but on my uppers it lasts as long as I need it to, until I wash it off at night. It lasts a few hours on my waterline, but then again nothing should last any longer than that on your water line. I carry the black one (zero) with me everywhere I go, the white one (yeyo) has a frosty finish, and brightens the inner corner very well. I like to use one of the bright colours that they do on my lower lash line, then smudging it out with a similar coloured eyeshadow, even when I'm doing a relatively neutral eye look, it ads a nice punch of colour. When you smudge them, they provide a nice base for your shadows too. They work a bit like gel eyeliners (the ones that come in a pot and requires a brush), once you have it on you have a few seconds before it "sets", but a lot more convenient, all you need is a good sharpener.

USA: USD$17 at Sephora
Australia: Unavailable, but I'm willing to ship it to you.

Eye Shadow Brush

Mac 239

I don't know why every brush line don't carry a flat white goat hair eyeshadow brush. Years and years ago, when Red Earth wanted to actually be a proper cosmetics company, they had a dupe which I actually personally find to be better than the mac one, but no use trying them now because the new ones, though technically the same, is shite. The basic concept is, it's stiff, but soft. You get precision in application, and it let's you really pack on the colour. You can get away with just this one eye brush if you're travelling, because you can use one side for your base colour, the other side for your crease colour, and blend it with the tips of the bristles. Ideally you'd also have a blending brush, something nice and fluffy and a stiff little pencil brush to blend your liner, especially the lower line. For that I'd suggest mac's 224 and 219 respectively. Anyway get it, it's what turned me from a high school girl with nfi what she's doing still trying to work with sponge tips, to that crazy girl with all those colours on her eyes. Bright colours is, of course, not obligatory with the brush, the brush is obligatory in trying to do decent rainbow eyes. Ya get me?

USA: USD$24.50 at Mac
Australia: AUD$48 at Mac (how depressing is that?)

Loose Powder

Make Up For Ever - HD Microfinish Powder

The Laura Mercier translucent powder had been topping the the InStyle Best Beauty Buy list for years, and two years ago I bought it, but it didn't impress me any more or less than the SK-II mum gave me because some one gave it to her and she hates using powders. The overwhelmingly underwhelming powder left me wondering if powders are all and the same, as long as it's finely milled, not one brand or product will perform better or worse than the other. By then I'd started using Everyday Minerals foundation daily which didn't really need a finishing powder on me (my skin is not that oily) so I'd just given up on the stuff altogether. The the Make Up For Ever HD powder came out. I wanted to feel it because Leesha over at xsparkage talked it up so much. Oh dear lord! Never has my skin felt such smoothness. It was beautiful. I started using liquid foundations again on days I had more time and felt good about it. It's translucent, and I found it to be translucent. After suggesting it to a friend she got a mini jar to test drive but told me she didn't like how it lightened when you pack it on. I don't know, I never really found that to be the case with me, I think it depends on the oils in your skin and what foundation you use.

USA: USD$30 for 0.35oz at Sephora
Australia: Unavailable

Bright Matte Red Lippy

Nars - Jungle Red

I know this is highly subjective, and because of skin colouring etc this would be different on everyone. But this is MY list so I can choose whatever the fuck I like, and this is perfect for me. From it's nice feel packaging to simple product design to the staying power to the bangin in ya face red shade. This is my ultimate red lippy. I love Nars lipsticks in general, all the lippies I ever use, when I can be bothered with doing my lips (which is not often, I've been trained by constantly dating boys who refuse to kiss me when I have anything on my lips).

USA: USD$24 at Sephora
Australia: AUD$58 at Mecca Cosmetica (are they serious?!)

Everyday Blush

Nars - Amour

Everyone knows about Orgasm blush, but I hate having shimmer on my face. This is basically the same colour as Orgasm, but without the shine. It is literally my everyday blush, as in, I wear this, every. day. period. It might seem costly, but it lasts forever. (seriously, has anyone ever hit pan on a Nars blush?)

USA: USD$26 at Sephora
Australia: AUD$62 at Mecca Cosmetica (mecca tax at its worst)

Lip Balm

DAY: Nivea - Repair and Protection

These are the requirements for me for an everyday lipbalm.
a) single handed application. eg stick or tube form
b) non-sticky
c) penetrates the outer layers and not lies on top of lips
d) having good/no taste
This covers them all. The boys in Sydney got me on to this. What better beauty endorsement than from queens on Oxford St right? I haven't tried their new formula now with SPF 20, but as long as they don't change the old one but just add the spf then all should be dandy. I hate chapstick because of the taste, and the way it feels like it just lies on top of my lips without doing anything to them. I used to be a blistex girl but they stopped making the DCT (daily conditioning treatment) in the tube form and I hate mini jars because I like to reapply lip balm often, and having to use my fingers throughout the day grossed me out. This is gentle, actually moisturises, doesn't have any taste and not too sticky, unfortunately, unavailable in the states as of yet. I stocked up when I went back to Australia but I may need replenishment as I litter them around my apartment and in various coat pockets. (yes, it's THAT MUCH of a necessity for me). The fact that it's cheap is just a bonus.

USA: unavailable
Australia: AUD$3.99 at all good pharmacies, Pricelines, supermarkets

Night: Lucas Paw Paw Ointment

Also unavailable in the states. I know, my poor lips, having to rely on my infrequent trips home. Not much to say about this, it's largely petroleum, which is vaseline, but the 10% paw paw does make a difference. When my lips are in need of serious care I use this, or sometimes I put on a thick layer at night and by morning my lips are soft and pouty. Of course this stuff is not just for your lips, it's good for elbows and knees or anything you'd normally use vaseline for. But just like vaseline, it could feel greasy. I saw price of a 25 gram tube grow from $3.99 to the now exorbitant $7.99 at priceline, all within the space of 3 years, simply because the beauty mags picked up on this secret. But you can still find it for the el cheapo price of $3.99 on the Pulse Pharmacy online store

USA: Unavailable
Australia: AUD$3.99 for 25g tube, AUD$7.99 for 75g jar at Pulse Pharmacy

That's about it. There's a lot of products that come very close, and so I'll just go through a few of them.

***

Mineral Foundation: Everyday Mineral foundation in Semi-Matte. My colour is Golden Light (I'm about NC25 in Mac right now), and it's the one foundation that I got the most compliments on. I like the coverage, and it doesn't move on me, it lets my natural oils come through during the day so even when it starts coming off it doesn't look gross. It's a nice formula that doesn't do horrible things to my skin either. My summer foundation.

Face:

Liquid Foundation: MAC Studio Sculpt. It's technically a gel foundation, I love the texture, it's full coverage (when I'm wearing a liquid foundation, it's always when I need it to be heavy coverage, otherwise I'd just stick to my mineral) and it's got some spf which is always a good thing

Do-it-all, The one I travel with Foundation: MAC Studio Fix. It's a buildable coverage powder foundation, I just wack on some concealer, and buff it on with a kabuki. It's easy, you get really nice coverage with it, and not messy like mineral foundations can get.

On The Go Powder: MAC Mineralized Skin Finish Natural. On good skin days I can just concealer and put this on. It's nice, light coverage, I'm using Medium but I could almost go for Medium Plus, but since it's very light coverage one shade can cover a lot of scope. There is coverage though, it does even out your skin nicely.

Eyeshadows:
This is contentious. Every brand would do some colours beautifully, and some not so well, so these would be generalisations. You really do have to try out the texture and pigmentation in the store.

For Bright Colours: Make Up For Ever. (especially their purple, number 93. It's hard to find a good purple and this one is perfect, you would have heard other people talk about this). I really like their mattes.

Overall: MAC, of course. As far as colour selection goes nothing else compares. I especially love their Veluxe, Veluxe Pearl, Velvet and Satin finishes. But of course there are duds in every finish, go feel them in the store.

For Golds: Stila. Yeah, I know, surprising, but their golds are beautiful.

Beginners Colourful Palette: Urban Decay Deluxe Shadow Box. These are nice and soft, and you can build a whole bunch of look from this. All you need is an additional high light colour and from bold to neutral, you're pretty much set. I don't like the normal urban decay shadows but their deluxe shadows really are nice to play with.

Pen style liquid eyeliner: Shiseido. It's refillable, the packaging is beautiful, it's got a nice brush that give you a lot of control and draws nice lines. Only gripe is the actual liner itself, could be longer lasting, but on my upper lids I've never had a problem. Would not recommend it for the lower line, or a potentially teary day.

When I can be bothered eyeliner: Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner. Seriously good stuff, but it's just so gosh darn cumbersome. From having to clean the brush everyday, to the fact that it would dry out slightly so that by the time you're half way through the expensive and tiny-looking-but-lasts-a-surprisingly-long-time jar you need to start reviving it with eye drops, after which it's never the same again. I'm going to try the Urban Decay Liquid Liner next, because I hear good things. Will get back to you.

Skin/body care:

Body Scrub: Kiehls Creme de Corps Soy Milk & Honey Body Polish. Yummy, and makes your skin soft. What else do you need from a body scrub right?

Body Lotion: Vaseline Sheer Infusion. I like the smell, it moisturises fast without making your skin greasy, does exactly what I need in a body lotion.

Toner: Kiehls Cucumber Herbal Alcohol-Free Toner. Again, no complaints. I can feel a difference when moisturising depending on if I use it or not so obviously it does something, when it comes to toners my bar is set pretty low, basically as long as it doesn't irritate my skin (which a lot of products do) and this fits the bill.

Cleanser: Kiehls Foaming Non-Detergent Washable Cleanser. I've tried a bunch (philosophy being a huge disappointment again) but this one does what the Philosophy Purity claims to do, wash my face and remove my makeup. Obviously not every trace of waterproof eyeliner but enough. My skin do feel a little bit tight after but honestly, I moisturise so soon afterward so who cares. I started using the Aveeno Positively Radiant Makeup Removing self foaming Cleanser recently, it does it's job well for a drugstore product, not as well as the Kiehls but I'm willing to continue using it until I finish it. I really like the self foaming pump as well.

Spot Treatment: Origins Spot Remover. 2% salicylic acid, no-nonsense spot dryer. It's not instantaneous, best used overnight since it's very drying. Best in the category, but I wish it could be better.

MISC:

Overall Nail Polish: Essie. I know it doesn't have as wide a range of colours as the other brands, but it does enough bright colours that make me happy, and they are my favourite formula. (I'm not a big nail polish person, but I'm really not a big fan of OPI, yet to try China Glaze)

Mascara: Most Lancome waterproof mascaras. Most notably Hypnose, but since I purchase them at duty free when I travel I always get a 3 pack and it takes a while before I get to try a new one. For a drugstore mascara I always go for Maybelline's Full 'n' Soft (again, in waterproof). I have tiny Asian lashes, I need the lighter waterproof formulas so that my curls stay.

Gloss:
Korres Cherry Oil Glosses. Nice, non-sticky, I like the cherry flavour.
Clinique Superbalm. I don't know why they're called Superbalm, they're glosses, they're slightly sticky like a gloss, but they do hydrate like a balm. Colours are sheer, but do make a slight difference. Get the 4 mini packs during holiday time, You can prick a hole through it and put it on your key chain or your cell phone.

Ok that's enough blogging for the day, that took me all of 2 hours. Good night ladies.



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