"Be a first rate version of yourself, not a second rate version of someone else."

Friday, 20 May 2011

Guest Post Alert! I'd like to introduce you to...ERIS

 I was lucky enough to connect with Eris on Reddit's MakeUpAddiction subreddit!! r/MakeupAddictionShe was looking for blogs to do some guest posts for writing experience. I find that admirable at 18! I remember what I was doing..it wasn't voluntarily looking for writing assignments! (It should have been!)

She's welcome to post here anytime! You'll soon see why...

Okay, enough from me, it's her time to shine! Here's a little bio from the lovely Eris herself..

Age: 18
Skin type: Dry/combination
MAC color: NC20
Full-time student
Favorite drugstore brand: Maybelline
Favorite department store brand: MAC

From Shower to Spectacular:

Special Event Edition: Prom Night With Eris

Prom night is all about glitz and glamor. It’s the closest most high schoolers will ever get to attending a red-carpet event, and as such, many girls go crazy with their makeup. Kardashian smoky eyes, heavy eyeliner, and bright lips are all popular looks for the night.

Then you have girls like me. I decided to go stag, on a last minute whim. I didn’t spend hours on my hair and makeup. I didn’t spend time perfecting my smoky eye, knowing that I would definitely sweat it all off jumping around like an idiot to “I Gotta Feeling”. I didn’t shove upwards of forty bobby pins in my hair (unlike junior prom) knowing that I would get tired of them stabbing me and rip them all out by the end of the night. Makeup needs to be functional as well as glamorous, and so I set out to do something quick, easy, and melt-proof.

What I had to work with:

I have smooth, unscarred skin with acne, dark circles, redness, and general unevenness to cover up.

What first?
I actually started with applying false eyelashes, figuring that if I messed them up or stabbed myself in the eye or just hated them, I wouldn’t wreck the rest of my makeup. I used ELF Natural Lush lashes and DUO lash adhesive.The lashes were hard to work with because their spine was so flimsy, but I highly recommend the DUO.

You can see what a difference falsies make as far as intensity of a look, and why you shouldn’t take pictures of yourself without making some attempt at arranging your features in a flattering manner.

At this point, I realized I had no foundation without SPF. Sunblock is a must-have for fair-skinned girls, and more foundation has it than not. But when you’re being photographed, it will reflect the light back and wash you out. I learned that the hard way from last year’s prom pictures. I also do not have a MAC, Sephora, or Ulta anywhere near me, so the usual standbys (MAC Face and Body, MUFE HD) were out of the question. I picked up Maybelline Dream Liquid Mousse, $7.49, from my local Target.

Applied with a stippling brush (my ripoff 187, the Face Secrets Bronzer Brush) it did give an “airbrush finish”, though it was dewier than I expected so I set it with MUFE HD powder.

Nails? No? Ok.
Again, last-minute whim. If I’d known I was going, I might have sprung for a manicure. I did buy those Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail Strips, but they did not work for me at all. I couldn’t even get them to stick to my nails. I wanted pretty houndstooth nails but I went bare instead. Oh well!

The problems created by flash photography:
Things that look gorgeous in person can look gross, unflattering, and just plain strange in photographs. Day to day, this isn’t a concern for most, but for a photo-heavy event like prom, it absolutely must be taken into consideration. Here are some things that you might love normally but need to be avoided when you’re being photographed:

-The wrong foundation. A day-to-day foundation should have a good SPF and provide either a natural or dewy finish. That same foundation will make you look oily and pasty in photos.
-Sparkles. Most of my favorite blushes have shimmer, because it brings out a pretty glow, but in photos you’ll look like a disco ball.
-”Translucent” powder. Many translucent powders actually cast an ashen tone that is really brought out when the flash goes off
-It is tragically apparent when you don’t blend as well as you should. Blend, blend, blend. Harsh lines are not pretty.

Solving these problems:
Your basic rule of thumb is pretty simple here: Whenever possible, go matte. Matte foundation, matte eye products, matte blush/bronzer. Anything that reflects, diffuses, or otherwise bounces light around is bad news.

So what look should you go for, anyway?
My dress was a very classic, strapless red gown so I went with a more dramatic cat eye and neutral lips. You’ll want to tailor your look to match the feel of your dress, but the reason I chose such a simple look was this: I didn’t want to spend more time in the bathroom touching up than on the dance floor. I also wanted to be able to go straight from prom to after-prom (bowling!). Sure, I love elaborate eyeshadow as much as the next person, but I knew that would only end in disaster. Here’s what I came up with:

Here is my product list for this look:
-Maybelline Dream Liquid Mousse foundation in Natural Ivory
-MUFE HD powder
-ELF Natural Lush lashes/DUO Lash Adhesive
-Maybelline waterproof liquid liner
-Maybelline Full n’ Soft mascara
-NYC Blushable Creme Stick in Big Apple Blush
-Revlon lipstick in Rose Velvet
-Tarte lipgloss

*It is an unfortunate fact of life that my face is so much darker than my skin, but in my opinion living with that is better than washing my face out (I’m plenty pale as is) or getting skin cancer trying to tan enough to match.

End result:
It went over really, really well! People told me all night how beautiful I looked, which definitely did not happen my junior year. Prom was at 8 and I was out until about 3 am, with minimal damage to my makeup. I did end up taking off the eyelashes around 1:30, but my eyes are pretty sensitive since I wear contacts.
One more prom tip: bring a change of clothes if you’re heading straight to after prom. Sure, it was hilarious to watch my friends try to bowl in floor length dresses with gel manicures, but I was a lot more comfortable in blue jeans and a T-shirt!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Best Foundation for Your Money: Value Alert: MAC FACE AND BODY

$39.00 Canadian. It seems steep. How could you post such a steep priced basic item? Simply because you get 4 times the amount of product as ANY other competitor on the market! Do I have your attention? I hope so..

Now on to the basics...

Colour: My colour is C1, but my understanding is that this formula is so forgiving that I could also be N1, C2 or N2 depending on my tan at the time. MAC has an online foundation colour wheel type quiz that will pretty much point you in the proper direction if you can't get to a counter.

The Bottle: Huge with a baby bottle type spout.

The Application: Hands. Hands. Hands. Any brush will just soak up the liquid because it's so watery. Synthetic and Natural bristles alike.

The Run Down:

This foundation may not be everyone's cup of tea. I realize that. My skin is prone to breakouts, but when I don't have them, it's pretty decent. I have unsightly pink cheeks that go down to my neck and throw me under the bus every time I have a crush on someone, I'm sick or I'm lying. I suppose the mega blush isn't a bad thing since it keeps my morals in balance..lol. This happens for white lies too.."That casserole was delicious, Mom!!".. busted.

But really, who wants to be flushed at work all day long!? Not I..I want my emotions available only to my deep inner workings whenever possible. It's a pride thing. This foundation has a light weight, almost watery texture that glides on quite smoothly for the first 2 seconds. Seriously, count 1 mississippi, 2 mississippi and BAM, it becomes tackier and the colour really starts to latch onto the skin. This foundation starts out sheer but is quite buildable.

On fancy pants days, I would put layer one all over, then I would let it dry. The following layer I would focus on my cheeks/chin since that's where I need the most help. I don't tend to set this with powder. It dries to a satiny dewy finish. It's definitely not shiny, but it's definitely not matte, either. I would say that the best way to describe it is that it's how your face looks shortly after putting a good moisturizer on: dewy and healthy. I like dewy and healthy, it suits me well. If matte is more your thing, set it with powder. As for staying power, I have combination skin. My cheeks stay dry but my chin and forehead and nose like to get all greasy by the end of the day. I've learned to deal with it. I sometimes blot 5-7 hours after I first put this stuff on. That's the same with me for any foundation though. I say sometimes because sometimes I just don't care lol.

Has it lasted through a workout? YES. I will qualify this by saying I don't not put make up on to work out. That's not my cup o'java. However, I sometimes go straight from work to the gym in a rush and end up at Zumba with full make up. What can ya do? It has lasted through NUMEROUS work outs of varying difficulties, but I do not expect it too. Better yet, I don't break out from it.

My Take:

I've actually been quite pleasantly surprised with this stuff. I would say I reach for it 60% of the time. I have 4 foundations on the go right now, so that's a pretty good feat. I love this for work days and weekends. It's so easy. It also absolutely does not break me out. That is a huge deal for me. I will not put up with anything that fixes one area of my face and ruins the other. When I'm wearing this foundation, my face is healthy looking and the red is all gone. The rest of my skin just looks like...skin, which I think is the biggest compliment I can give this foundation.

Back to the price,  $39.00 Canadian for 120ml or 4.0 US FL OZ. The average foundation comes with 1 oz. Lately, the average face cream does too "shakes my head"..but I digress. I'll break this down for you into ounces. I know you can probably do the math yourself, but some people need visuals!!

39.00 per OZ
39.00/4 = 9.75 an OZ! (If you can pick this up in the states- it's definitely worth your while..it's EVEN cheaper and our dollar is stronger right now! .98!!)

Let's add some Ontario Sales Tax to that, thanks McGuinty...
39.00 x .013= 5.07... ugh...
Total price that I paid: 44.07/4= 11.02 approx/oz.

Compare to some of the more popular foundations flitting around the internets rumour mill these days:
Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua- $52 Canadian BEFORE HST.- 1oz
Dior Nude Skin- $48 Canadian BEFORE HST- 1oz
Make Up Forever HD Invisible Cover $46 BEFORE HST-1.01 oz
Make Up Forever Face and Body $42 BEFORE HST   1.69 oz

I'm going to stop there. I think you get the point. Now, maybe this foundation won't suit you, and it's a shame if that's the case. The least you can do is save up some pennies and just try it out. MAC has an excellent return policy.

DISCLAIMER: Why I do not compare this to drugstore foundation. I have acne prone skin. I have tried Covergirl, Maybelline, Rimmel, L'Oreal, etc in the past. It was a giant waste of money, and I regretted every single purchase. If it works for you, that's great. I've heard great things about Revlon Colourstay for people who like full coverage. I personally don't need that much coverage, and I hate the smell. I did buy Revlon Photoready last year, but my sister stole it before I could properly give it a go. That is the only drugstore foundation that I am interested in trying. Even then, I'll buy it on a trip to the States or when Walmart has a sale because I think Shopper's Drug Mart is insane if they think I am going to drop $20 bucks on a drugstore foundation with no tester. That's my quick rant, haha.

Monday, 9 May 2011

My Shopping List: May Refills

As I've been using up a number of products lately, I have found that a shopping list has been required to keep track! One of the best part of beauty budgeting is the anticipation of the purchase. I keep a running list of products that I've used up and will be buying again. On the opposite side of the same paper, I keep a list of things that I may not need, but that I would like to keep in mind as future options. These lists really help me ignore impulse shopping! I was in Sephora the other day to buy my mom her favourite face cream for Mother's Day. My mother uses Fresh Black Tea face cream. I won't even elaborate on it. It's $110 a pop Canadian. Happy Mother's Day Mom! I love you, but your sensitive skin and expensive tastes bankrupt me   during the holidays! It's the least I can do, right. Wink.

If I didn't have my wits and my lists, I would never be able to splurge on gifts like that for others. Life is all about balance!

I try to limit my monthly beauty expenditures to $100. I don't necessarily need to spend it, so it can stockpile if I don't need to replenish. If something tickles my fancy, I know I can only spend on it if I really want it or really need it. There is no negotiating that number. With that $100 limit, I am able to put a healthy amount of money into savings, and I know my bills will be paid and there will be no debt. I truly believe that this strict budget has allowed me to purchase that which I only need or love. I wasn't always this bright, though. That's why I have 5 blushes that look exactly like Benefit Coralista! I don't even wear corals that often! How did I end up with so many of the same? Impulse! That's how.

To fight the impulse, I would like to share my soon-to-be purchased list with you all.

1. Reversa Glycolic Acid 8%
2. Nars Pro Prime SPF 15
3. somesort of leave in conditioner
4. Visine
5. Vichy Nutrilogie Face Cream Level 1

If there is any money left from my $100 pot, I would love to try out one of MAC's eye brow pencils. Seriously, as I get older, I have to pluck less and less. They're thinning maybe? I prefer a strong brow, so I'm trying to find a good one. Time to check out some counters to test them all out!

I want to leave you with this intense video I just watched. The artist's name is Jessie J! I'm a bit out of the loop, but I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE her make up through out this video. It's so tough, yet chic.
I think I may have found some inspiration for a look this weekend! I'm newly single, and I think this is just the ticket!

Friday, 29 April 2011

Nars Dogon Eyeshadow

I just picked up this eye shadow today at Holt Renfrew. I had been craving this purchase every since I saw the promo pics on temptalia! This is my second Nars Eyeshadow purchase ever. Quite frankly, this will probably be my final eye shadow purchase for a while. I just don't need anymore. I decided to cave in and buy this limited edition eye shadow due to the fact that it is completely wearable and includes a taupe shade. I adore taupes.

The lighter taupe shade of Dogon is a very light taupe with icy green shimmer. It is reminiscent of Club by Mac in that it's a duochrome that flashes green. That's where the comparison ends. Dogon is much lighter, much more of "all over the lid" type colour. It's very appealing, and truly makes my grey eyes pop! I find it really pulls out the tiny flecks of green that can be seen in my eyes in the sun. The darker shade appears to be a charcoal black. On my skin tone, the teal and green shimmer comes out against my pale skin. I can really see this colour being a fantastic liner and crease shade. The Nars MUA used it on my outer V. I tried to replicate the look when I was playing around with it just now. Again, this eye shadow will very easily bring you from day time to evening. There is a big of fall out with the darker shade, but it wiped away easily when I cleaned up my under eye area. I find this step is necessary when applying most dark eye shadows. Overall, if you enjoy taupes, greens and charcoals, this eye duo is for you.

As far as value goes, this eye shadow duo retails for $38.00 Cdn. This is steep.  This is a splurge item. I will never recommend spending $38.00 on an eyeshadow every week of your life. For the record, this picture was taken after a work out! Hello longevity!

I have planned for this purchase. I stay within my budget and only purchase colours that I know I will truly use. This baby is going to get a lot of action. I play on wearing it tonight. In fact, I CAN NOT WAIT to wear this tonight!

Thursday, 28 April 2011

My Evening Skin Care Routine

Skincare is a highly personal and highly annoying aspect of anyone's beauty routine. Quite frankly, it's the area of beauty where one is most likely to over spend and waste money trying to figure out what works. Everyone's skin is different.

I appreciate the fact that this sucks. It really does. Why do we have to play trial and error on our face and with our wallets? Believe me, if I had the magic answer, I'd be a millionaire. I don't want to lie to you in any way, so I'll remain an average Josephine til I can market the perfect the routine.

My Skin:

  • reactive. I will break out if I fuss with it too much
  • very fair, I burn then tan MAC Prolong Wear NW15 works. MUFE Mat plus Velvet 125, MAC Face and Body in C1 or N1, Nars Sheer Glow in Mont Blanc
  • sensitive. Perfumes in products make my skin freak out. If you're the same, stay away from Guerlain. Trust me. Ouchies.
  • combination. Before I figured out my skin routine, my skin was super oily. It was only compensating for the products that I was using. I was stripping my skin of valuable oils. This was not good. Now that I know that my skin is dry- combination with an oilier Tzone, I can control the oil. I think a bit of shine is a good thing. It means that I won't get as many wrinkles, and it just looks better. I only have to blot between 4 and 5 p.m. 
  • I do the majority of my repairing and moisturizing in the evening. It soaks in all night. I wake up refreshed and glowing on most days. 
  • My skin does not shed. It's a condition. I have to pull double duty with my exfoliation because my skin just won't do it naturally. It sucks. I break out if I don't pay attention.
  • I do not wash my face in the morning. I'll get to my morning routine with another post.

The following products have not reacted in any way on my highly reactive skin. Seriously- if something has even a hint of an allergen in it- my face will erupt in painful, itchy blotches. The worst offenders will break me out almost immediately. In fact, I'm still recovering from two very painful and unusual cystic pimples thanks to Vichy Aqua Thermal 24 Hour Moisture in the pump bottle. Who puts alcohol in moisturizer? Seriously. Shame on me for not inspecting the ingredients.

The following products are my nightly routine. I would use these products after a bath or shower. For the record, I don't use soap based products anywhere near my face. It's instant flaky dry broken out skin that turns crazy oily the next day. I only wipe my face with warm water and use make up removers that I will explain soon.

From Left to Right

1. Lush Eau Roma Water:

I use this whenever I feel like my skin needs a pick me up. It is refreshing and cooling. It's nice to have, really. One huge plus: I've had this bottle for 6 months now. It's still going strong! Cost: $17.95 for 250ml

2. Clinique Take the Day Off Eye Make Up Remover

Although this is a sample, I will be purchasing a proper size bottle soon. This make up remover does not bother my eyes, clog my pores and leaves no mascara debris. I have sensitive eyes so I appreciate the fact that this does not sting or smudge all over my eye ball. This sample has lasted me 3 plus months. Hello Value! It's effective therefore I use less! Future Cost: $21.50 for 125ml. Plus: I won't be purchasing until a good sample set comes out! Gift with purchase!

3. Reversa Glycolic Acid Solution for Oily and Acne Prone Skin

This is a product that my skin requires for exfoliation. As you can imagine, my sensitive skin does not take well to super abrasive scrubs. Hello break outs, redness and oil! This product has been an absolute dream for my skin. It unclogs my pores, cleanses and brightens. I used to have a lot of uneven spots with a rough texture until I found this product 3 months ago. I'm almost at the end of this bottle.
Cost: $25.00 for 175 ml I got this during a Shoppers Drug Mart sale. Reversa goes on sale for 25% every once in a while- I wait til that time.

4. Vichy Purete Thermale 3 in 1 Make Up Remover/Cleanser.

This product came in a set with something else the moisturizer I spoke of before that seriously messed up my skin. This product is really interesting. It's like a cleanser/moisturizer that does not need to be rinsed off. If I've had a heavy eye make up look that maybe the clinique missed, and I don't want to rub hard anymore, I just pop a little of this on my eyes to sooth my skin. Sometimes this is all I use in the morning to do a quick pick me up. I pop it on some cotton pads and off I go!
Cost: part of a set that was worth $37.00 Cdn. It's nice to have but not necessary.

5. i.d. Bare Vitamins Skin Revver Upper

This is seriously the 8th or 9th bottle of this product that I've purchased. It's my HG chemical exfoliator/face mask/awesome skin care item. I use this more in the summer for extra exfoliation. However, this product combined with the glycolic acid is my go to sucker punch for clear skin. The two really penetrate my pores and keep me clear ! I would be lost, seriously lost without this product. I keep one as back up. It adds a touch of moisture while eating away at my dull skin cells. It has a bad rep online, but I need to state that this product is not a suitable make up primer. It's best left for night time as a treatment for glowing skin.
Cost: $26.00 at Sephora. One bottle lasts me 3-6 months. I tend to use it more in the summer.

6. Estee Lauder Night Recovery Treatment

This sample has really shocked me lately. I had it sitting around forever, then I finally decided to use it. I put it on as one of my last steps right before bed. I'm telling you - I see a serious difference the morning after using this stuff. My skin looks alive, plump and GLOWS. I love this product. Since it was a tiny bottle, I was using it every other night. When I purchase it, it will be used nightly. I have a feeling this will be an expensive purchase. However, that tiny bottle lasted me a few weeks, and I was probably using more than I should because it was such a odd bottle.
Cost: It's listed as $63.00 Cdn on Sears.ca. I'll wait for a big sample event to purchase this. Gulp. But it makes my skin GLOW! Splurge alert.

7. Bobbi Brown Extra Night Eye Cream

I received this as a gift at Christmas. I've barely made a dent in the bottle. I'm not 100% sure I enjoy this, but I don't see the need to get something else until this is all used up. I find it a bit thick, maybe too thick for my particular needs. I think it's expensive, too. I'll be honest, I'm just on the fence with this product. I think I like it better on my cuticles than my eyes. Lol. So bad, eh? I'm pretty sure it's $50 Cdn. All her products pretty much sit around that price point.

Wow, I know I'm verbose but that's ridiculous! If you've stuck with me so far, I hope this helps you in your search! Since skin care is a constant battle, I will update if I make any changes. However, it's safe to say that number 2, 3, 5 and 6 will be in my life for a while!


Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Good Beauty Buy: Nars Ashes to Ashes Eyeshadow Single

Nars Ashes to Ashes is a taupey, goldy, shiny, lovely all over lid colour. I love this especially when I'm in a rush. All I have to do is run this over my eye lid a couple of times, and it really makes my grey eyes pop! I usually finish with a touch of black eye liner pencil- very thin and close to the lash line- then a lot of black mascara. This look carries me all through the work day. Oddly enough, I have pretty slick eye lids, but I prefer this without a base. I find it wears well through out the day. I like the "rocker" smudgey look so I don't mind messy eye shadow by the end of the day. If I'm going out after work, I just rub it around a bit, maybe add another layer then thicken up the black eye liner. It really is that simple to use! I purchased this for $26 Canadian from Sephora. This is an absolute sound investment in your make up collection. It's versatile, reliable and absolutely beautiful.  You will not regret this particular shade for Nars. I can not speak for the other singles, but I've heard some good things about Nars Fez!

Forever 21 Accessories Haul

I stopped by the mall today after leaving my boyfriend's house with every intention of grabbing some spring clothes from F21. I have approximately $200 saved for new spring clothes. I'm doing WeightWatchers so I'm finding that a lot of my clothes are getting a little baggy. $200 isn't a lot for a wardrobe and shoes, but the company I work for is very laid back, so really any new clothes are for social stuff. I wear black pants and a plain top/sweater daily to work and no one notices. However, I tend to accessorize so I find that F21 has some really great options for cheap jewelry that can be really excellent if you're willing to dig. ha. I didn't have too look very far today, so I was actually talking myself out of some things just to save some money. All in all, I did pretty well! I spent $30.00 Cdn. I'm left with $170 for spring sandals, hopefully a pair of shorts and some tank tops. A nice dress wouldn't hurt, either. From what I saw today, I won't be finding those goodies at forever 21. I think I'm slightly too old for their demographic. (I'm only in my mid-20's so that isn't fair!)

 I was really impressed with the quality of these bangles!
 Just some pretty girlie things for spring!
I can't wait to wear this necklace with a nice black top!