Saturday, March 22, 2008

Spring love...

Today I decided to treat myself. I went for a bike ride, on a sunny long-weekend Saturday, and ended up at Sephora. So many pretty colours! I ended up fulfilling months-long dreams of Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion and Bare Escentuals (of course) Buxom Lips in Bambi.

When I first entered Sephora last November, I knew I'd found my new 'problem' store. Naturally, I got the Insider membership, and as a result of numerous purchases, got a sample of the Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion. Not being all 'up' on cosmetics, I had no idea such a thing existed, but WOW, am I ever glad it does! The premise is that it goes on nude, and is a base that makes your eye makeup stay on all day, and keeps it from creasing.
Prepare for this.... IT'S TRUE!
I wasn't expecting it, but was shocked into submission. As someone who struggles with eye makeup more than anything else, the thought of a day-long fixative of my failures is a somewhat intimidating thought. However, the thought of having gone to all that effort, for it to fade by lunchtime, is even worse. This magical potion kept my eyeliner and eyeshadow on until I was ready to take it off. I found my eyeliner went on a little smoother, with that base, and the eyeshadow appeared more vivid. Even better, the tiny sample lasted forever, so the full-size bottle must be practically bottomless.

My Buxom Lips is amazing, too. It's got a nice taste to it, is long-lasting, pretty but subtle in colouring, and made my lips more pouty. It hasn't chapped at the corners, or done anything embarassing, and it's been about five hours, now.

It's Saturday night on a long weekend... let's find out how my new treats hold up to a night on the town!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Verdict is in!!!

The verdict has been returned, and it took merely 8 hours. Bare Escentuals i.d. Weather Everything waterproof mascara was not-so anything proof. Here I am, not ready to remove my makeup, and my mascara decided to jump ship (despite the lack of any water). I look like an extra from Dawn of the Dead. Glad I didn't pay Sephora price for this one.
Bourjois Clubbing... I'm sorry I strayed, I'll straighten up and apply right (or at least try to).
blinc's Kiss Me mascara is now a genuine possibility, as I am a fickle creature at heart.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


I feel so blessed to have been born in Canada. I love my country, and I love my city (Toronto). Granted, if a feasible opportunity came to live in NYC, I'd be gone in a flash. However, the lotto/employment fairies just don't dig me that much.
So, I live here, in Toronto, and bear the ridiculous winters and drink my Timmies. More importantly, I also wait a month to receive my eBay purchases.
However, I got my package yesterday. Bare Escentuals products all; I have now determined one thing. I think I love the i.d. Weather Everything mascara in black. The brush is very densely packed, so I had very natural coverage and absolutely NO clumping! We'll see how it holds up after an entire day, and whether it comes off.
I also received my B.E. Feather Light Mineral Veil, which I will probably open this week (when I run out of my regular Mineral Veil). The Sephora site says that it's "completely sheer with luminous finish", compared to the regular, which is "completely sheer". I'll get back to you on whether I become luminous. I have, thus far, been quite pleasantly surprised by the quality and effectiveness of Bare Escentuals products, so expect that I will, at the very least, not be disappointed.
The product which I originally purchased, RareMinerals Blemish Therapy, was the last of my treats. I cleaned off my concealer brush and dabbed the powder on my problem spots (of which I have many right now), and they seemed vaguely happier this morning. The powder lightened the dark spots a little, so if there'd been anyone around to care, I probably looked less 'naked'. I think it'll take a week or two (or more) to determine whether it's a waste of time/money. At 26, with the sporadic complexion of a teenager, I'm willing to try... I washed my face first with Philosophy's Purity Made Simple. It smells amazing, and feels quite mild, and does remove makeup well. I wanted to try the RareMinerals with a milder cleanser than the salycilic acid one I've been using.

I'm totally diggin' Philosophy's Microdelivery Peel kit. I got a sample at Sephora, and totally love it; will likely buy it when my sample is done. It's expensive-ish (about $100 in Canada), but you probably get a lot of treatments out of it (my sample has lasted four already). It leaves my skin so unbelieveably soft and smooth... wow. It really is 'soft as a baby's bottom'.

I've heard good things about blinc's Kiss Me mascara, and am thinking about trying it, to replace my Bourjois Volume Clubbing. I still love the Clubbing, but there have been numerous 'oh shits' when I angled the brush the wrong way and gave myself an eyelash mohawk. Although I do wear makeup most days, I go for a natural look, with an emphasis on my eyes, and wanted a more natural mascara. I think this new B.E. Weather Everything will (hopefully) be great for everyday, but come nighttime and special events... well, I'm not convinced that Bourjois is my perfect fit.

So, yeah. I've also now set my sights on the Bare Escentuals Get Started Eyes kit. I'm twitching for it. I'm lurking online, waiting for the perfect moment on eBay. I feel good about it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A brief diversion...

I now take this opportunity to tell everyone a cautionary tale, not entirely related to cosmetics or hair styling...

Totally related to aesthetics, however.

Four years ago, I got both my nipples pierced. It hurt. It looked cool, though. I had neat little hoops in them. What I was not told, was that hoops don't heal as well as barbells, because they're on a curve. What I was also not told, was that the hoops were not as big as they should be for my nipples. I know, TMI, but, I have a point.

They never healed entirely properly, and a year later, I'd had it, and took them out.

Last week, I had them pierced again. I had the proper-sized barbell (nipples swell, too!) put in, and they hurt less immediately, and still hurt less. I'm cleaning them a few times a day with H2Ocean sea salt spray for piercings; it's a sea salt solution that works amazingly well, and allows me to avoid the whole 'sea salt water in shot glasses covering nipples' debacle.

Overall, my point? When you get piercings, even ear piercings (did you know it's impossible to properly sterilize a gun because of the plastic components?), make sure the person piercing you is knowledgeable. You can save yourself a lot of pain and aggravation. Make sure the equipment is sterile, and that you know how to properly clean your piercing. I'd suggest getting all piercings done at a tattoo/piercing shop, since guns damage cartilage, and, as I said, it is impossible to sterilize every part of a piercing gun. I'd rather pay an extra $20 and watch the needle I'm going to be pierced with unwrapped from a sterile package.

Another thing. Nipples take a while to heal, but not a year. Don't be a dumbass like I was; if it still sucks after 6 months, take them out!

I'm done.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

I am a Lushie.

I have been a Lushie for about a year and a half now. I am open about my addiction. I am aware of it, and am not entirely sure it's a bad thing.

A friend from work who lived too far away from Lush to ever go would ask me to get things for her during my errands. I eventually tried something, and fell fast and hard for the scentual aromas of Lush.

Favorites include bath bombs Sex Bomb (jasmine-y goodness!) and Butterball (smells so good, makes you soooo soft!). Also can't resist the soaps... Honey, I Washed the Kids is a classic, and smells good on everyone (men, too)! I Should Coco has a nice exfoliating factor, with the coconut, and the Extra Virgin Olive Oil is great.

I used Fresh Farmacy, the soap bar for sensitive, acne-prone skin, and didn't find it helped me. At first, I loved it, but in the test of time, I found the results weren't any different. I still use my Tea Tree Water Toner, and my Gorgeous moisturizer, occasionally, but probably won't buy more when I run out. I'm using Philosophy's Purity made Simple as a cleanser, and am waiting for my new RareMinerals Blemish Therapy to come in the mail. If that doesn't work, I'm gonna see what all the fuss is about with ProActiv.

The Lush massage bars are nice, too. Solid form, but smoothes right out with a little warming from the hands. Nice coverage, nice smell, and a great moisturizer, too. Favorites include Amazonian (nice, earthy smell), and Soft Coeur. My man loves them, too. I find them more manageable when you cut pieces off and store the rest in an airtight container. Amazonian is a massive bar, and you're gonna spend more time chasing it on the floor than massaging if you attempt to deal with the whole thing, I've found.

I love my The Soft Touch body bar. Makes you smell great for the whole day. Although they say you can use it in the shower, and rinse if off, I use it as a lotion bar, after my shower. I've had people compliment me around lunchtime, and it makes your skin so soft! Buffy the Backside Slayer, which is recommended for use in the shower, is a hazard. It makes your tub soooo slippery! I ended up not finishing the bar, and won't buy it again.

Also tried some of the hair products. Jasmine and Henna Frizz-ease makes your hair smell great, but I haven't (as of yet) noticed a real change in my hair after using it. Curly Wurly (coconut shampoo) smells pretty good, and isn't as awful to rinse out as some claim. I don't find that it helps make my curly hair more manageable or hydrated, though. Same goes with American Cream, the conditioner. Smells great, but doesn't help me brush through my hair. Retread, a conditioning treatment, is alright, but I prefer Aveda's hair care products overall. There was an incident a few weeks ago when I was going out, and on a flight of fancy, decided to use Sonic Death Monkey, a shower gel that claims to double-task as a hair 'gel'. Wow, was that a mistake. It left my hair looking greasy as hell up at the roots, and didn't help the frizzies by the ends. My hair isn't even all that frizzy and dried out, either. So that was a definite 'never again'. But, speaking of shower gels, Flying Fox does make you feel like a sex goddess after a shower. The jasmine-y smell, which I wasn't really into until Lush, is irresistible.

The solid perfumes are pretty good. I like the Flying Fox one, although use it sparingly! Honey I Washed the Kids is also good, but again.... less is more. Lip balms... couldn't live without my Whip Stick (tastes like mandarin and chocolate.... mmmm), but recently bought a lip brush to use with the tub, 'cause I hate jammin' my finger in there.

I stock up on Lush products every Boxing Day. They usually have great deals. I was fortunate, two years ago, to come across a 'Spend $35, get anything made before Dec. 1 free'. I got one of the huge gift boxes worth over $200 (with a lot of stuff I'd never tried), and another big one with somewhat less stuff. I've now tried just about everything, and have at least now discovered which products I'm willing to pay full price for. Bath Bombs, soap and massage bars are must-haves; the rest I usually get elsewhere. The Lush website has an active customer feedback area under the listing for each product... not everyone's experience is the same with the products, so it's up to you to decide what works for you....

However, HUGE props to Lush for being so environmentally responsible and globally conscious. I love that the packaging is minimal, and the ingredients as natural as possible. Organic, in many cases, as well. I'm willing to pay extra to ensure that ingredients grown in underdeveloped countries are purchased under fair conditions... how are people going to feed themselves and their family, and fulfill their dreams if we don't pay what their labour is worth?

Peace out.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

A New Beginning...

Over the past two or three years, I have been trying to find the perfect makeup. There are so many out there, and so much marketing and propaganda, it's hard to know what to try next.

I have combination skin, with t-zone evilness, and a warm, lighter complexion. I enjoy (not-so-much, actually) fairly consistent acne, and a big problem I had with liquid foundations, although they had good coverage, was that they blocked my pores and made my skin feel cakey. However, I whored my skin for the perfect colour match, and covered up the ensuing facial mayhem.

About a month ago, I was at Sephora for a skin care consultation, to see if something new would clear up my skin. The woman offered to put some makeup on afterwards. She reached for the BareMinerals, and I shortly thereafter fell in love.
I bought the light/fairly light Starter kit for my fairly light skin. It came with three great brushes, foundation, blush, mineral veil, and primer. I love all of it! I am finally thrilled with my foundation. I've heard that this makeup doesn't have the chemicals in it that most cosmetics do; that it's less likely to cause cancer. I put a question in to Beauty Brains, a great site/blog that answers any questions you have related to cosmetics, and am waiting to hear what they have to say about it.
The foundation is also the concealer, which makes for a perfect blend every time. It's SPF 15, which is nice, and has a nice, light coverage, which can be layered to hide darker secrets...
The blush (Warmth) is a natural rosy colour, applied in the tiniest amount to maximum effect. The Mineral Veil is like a setting powder, which gives me a nice healthy glow, and lasts for an impressive amount of time.
One of my biggest problems with my former makeup was that it wouldn't hold up for a 12-hour work day. I have yet to see what happens with the BareMinerals, but so far, it's made it 9 hours.

I also picked up the Bourjois Volume Clubbing mascara last month, and am quite happy with it, as well. It has great staying power, and doesn't migrate to the under-eye area, even after 12, 14 hours, which has always been a problem of mine. If I'm not paying attention, and use the wrong side of the brush, I end up with some unholy clumps, but they're usually straightened out with a going-over with the finer side of the brush. Also love the CARGO SuperEyes in Violet. Vivid colour, but not quite as enduring as the Bourjois.

I believe that these past few months have done good things for my evolution from drugstore amateur to low-key beauty. It's not necessarily how much things cost; but after all my $10 disappointments, I'm willing to spend $20 for something I'll actually use, and feel good wearing.

I am still far, far away from being fashionable; I can't tell you what the spring colours are this year, and am not exactly sure which colours make my eyes 'pop' the most, but I am learning.