Monday, May 30, 2011

Lost Saturday, Made-Up Monday

I’m not a clothes horse. I’m not a fashionista. But I spent an entire Saturday putzing round shopping for makeup online.

Yes. Makeup. I put in a MaryKay order, including all the necessary Sun Protection elements. I say necessary--I'm see-thru white, but as with the effect of my buying crops and camisole tops in early spring, Summer disappears. There was one week in March, two glorious weekends where I burned my t-shirt V and my forearms very slightly. This, because all I had was facial moisturiser with SPF 25 (see below). Ever since it’s been cool and somewhat sunny, at best.

I also followed one of the many Sephora emails I receive as a VIB and have been circling round nude palettes for testing. I have just received the new Ulta Beauty catalogue with coupon (this month: $3.50 of purchase of $10.00 or more), and don’t know what sort of trouble that will lead to.  I compare all the brands across the sites, then all the national brand sites.

Since I started working again, I have campaigned against my natural time-induced panic/anxiety with a systemised morning routine. Most important: Getting hair and makeup done, getting dressed and the hell downstairs to get breakfast, grab my lunchbox and go. 

 Oooohhh all the products I have accumulated --for SCIENCE! --remember all the Liquid Assets Foundation Review products? Yah, I kept a few I liked, but I’m also just finishing up the powdered foundations, as well as mascaras. So I have, well, a lot of stuff.

A lot. Lip stuff has a box that doesn’t quite fit well under the sink, as do Brushes and Tools. Of my four bathroom cabinet drawers, the top is Skincare, Hair Brushes and Hair Doo-Dads. Second drawer is Foundations, Concealers and a couple of highlighter/bronzer things. Third drawer is Eyes and has a two-level removable insert: The top level of which is made to hold pencils and such--all Liners and Mascaras; so the bottom contains Shadows, etc. Trying to pull from this in the morning would make me even more mental than usual.

So I bought an eye-popping black-and-white boxy-shaped travel case and tried to create a Face System. Cargo brand makeup had something similar for a while called the 7in7, and I tried that as well (I was able to grab one at CVS360 on El Monte @ El Camino in Mountain View,CA). If I can wake up, wash, moisturise, then lay out foundation to lipstick and zip through it, I leave the house with a full glam face and a feeling of invincibility.

I’m just not one of those girls--for whom moving their lips while reading Cosmo is a major monthly literary accomplishment. Right?  Fluffy.  Professional Gum Chewers. Or whatever stereotype you can conjure. And yet I have developed this quirk in my Pantheon of Obsession. Not only to be Made Up, but to apply my yen to Collect, Compare and Expound.

****Disclaimer Repeat: Full Disclosure: I have, in the past, been a Beauty Control consultant and am currently one for Mary Kay. I do it solely for the discount and do not sell for profit, the same way I also hold discount/membership cards for Sephora, Ulta, Peninsula Beauty and Sally retail cosmetic and aesthetics shops. I strive to give fair reviews of all products used in this blog, and pay for everything out of my pocket. If ever a product is given without purchase by a shop, Independent Consultant of a direct marketed brand, or manufacturer, this will be *explicitly* stated at the beginning of the review and the product will be highlighted as such.***

I was going to give an in-depth report on Mascara, and this was, in fact, one of the original ideas I had for the this blog. I have since discovered, over seven months, that this was unnecessary. As Mascaras go, I have Two Rules:

1) Stick with a fluffy brush. Stay away from the myriad novelty brushes--everyone has them--they are easily identified as brightly coloured poly/plastic brushes, and a few are the ball or ‘mace’ shaped and I found I was not alone in finding they were nothing but gimmicky. They promise lengthening, separation, a “false lash” effect. In reality, they are extremely flexible so the brush tip wobbles during application, exacerbating another problem with the plastic brush: The surface doesn’t hold on to the mascara. Even after employing the quick-tissue-swipe, the poly surface simply applies the product directly, and in full, to the first bit of lash it contacts. Voilà, gloopy, clumpy lashes and mascara all over the eyelid. The more traditional filament-style brushes offer several advantages, in that they can be constructed with many, many more bristles in several configurations to “Lift and Separate”. This vastly increases the number of filaments which brush and separate your lashes, and the materials hold the product better, dispersing it more evenly throughout your lashes.

LOL @ Silly Claims: 117% Lash Growth? Millionized? Falsies Effect? Yes, it’s because every single spokesmodel is wearing visibly recognisable glamour-length FALSE LASHES IN A MASCARA AD. These new formulas with weird claims are misrepresented from the start (I know, shock and all....but really?!). They feel oily, gloppy, runny and smudgy. They won’t stay put for more than a couple of hours on many people, depending on daily activity and moistness of the individual, plus they tend to flake into the eyes when they do let go. I felt pretty dry this winter, not at all my usual hot tamale/moist self and these formulas still smudged and flaked all over my face like a makeup hit-squad.

The Champs: Sephora Lash Plumper Mascara and Lash Stretcher Mascara; Maybelline Great Lash (My fave Big Brush in Brownish Black-they are one of the few who do a good Brown) and The Colossal Volum’Express Mascaras; Stila Major Major Lash Mascara; Fresh Mascara; Mary Kay Ultimate Mascara.

The Chumps: Rimmel Sexy Curves and Lash Accelerator Mascaras; L’Oreal Telescopic Explosion Mascara (Ball or “Mace”- type brush); CoverGirl LashBlast Fusion and Volume Blasting Mascaras;

**Extra Credit Mascara: As I scanned the monthly mags, my Inner Jerk, Bern, saw an ad repeated in Vogue, Lucky, Elle and a couple others and experienced a rare indecision between apoplexy and perplexion (a real word. Bern says so). To wit: Clinique’s Lower Lash Mascara. Yeeessss. Lower. Lash. Mascara. 


 It boasts a tiny, specially designed brush that promises to carefully separate lower lashes without spreading all the mascara love all over the under-eye area as well as boasting a special formula that will not budge or smudge. For once, as Bern ranted I uh-huhed, shuffling my feet. Really, how freakin’ different can this be? This has to be some stupid scam of the $500 Organic, Alsatian Mountain-Elf Baby-Snot Under-Eye-Cream variety, jah? And yet... I’ve always had trouble with mascara on my lower lashes because A) I went gray at 23, and my brows and lashes finally followed suit about age 30, so I need colour, B) I tend to be a little, well, humid during my day. I have no idea what menopause has in store cuz mama I been a’cookin’ since my twenties. So I was secretly curious while Bern was bemusedly furious.  I plucked up my courage, popped down to Sephora, noodled round with lipstick and eyeshadow, then blurted out before he could hear: “canihavethenewcliniquelowerlashmascaraplease?”. It’s brilliant. The brush works. It stays put. As promised on the tin. NO MORE RACCOON. I’m happy I spent the money and Bern grudgingly admits there is elegance in details.

Some more current Makeup Faves:

Foundation Primers--Mary Kay and Bare Minerals both have easily-applied gel-style primers that immediately feel powder-dry upon application. And they do actually improve the sticking power of even the best liquid and powder foundations. They’re super lightweight, you’ll never know they’re there but for the smooth, longer-lasting finish and greater smudge-proof-ness.

Lip Primers--Urban Decay and Mary Kay: I’ve used Urban Decay’s Primer Potion for Eyes and Lip Primer for some time, and like them both. I tend to have an active lip er...what, Lip Life? I drink a lot of water, blow my nose and still have a bit of a tendency to chew my bottom lip. Can any product really withstand that? Urban Decay does it’s damnedest, and Jedi Jasmin swears by it. I’ll take it as back-up, but I LOVE Mary Kay’s TimeWise Age-Fighting Lip Primer. It feels silkier upon application, and all brands of lipstick layer beautifully and smoothly over it. With colour touch-ups throughout the day it prevents caking spots, feathering or cracking which I do experience after a few re-applications on the UD. I would prefer if the tube were as sturdy and compact in shape as the UD, which has a really kickin’, pocket-size tube for about the same amount of product.

Blushes--Nars and Mary Kay: Nars powder blushes are legendary for brilliant colours and beautiful coverage. They apply sheer and build to a beautiful sexy flush and they leave even the most early-morning beleaguered face looking Renoir-esque. Their most popular shade being Orgasm, my faves are Sin (raspberry-pink) and Deep Throat (peach). I really love them, and highly recommend applying with a kabuki brush--


--first dipping and twisting on the blush, then gently blowing on the brush and bouffing on the apple of the cheek, swirling as you draw the brush back and up diagonally to the hairline following the cheekbone. Mary Kay Cream Blush is a sheer cream-to-powder formula, mine is Sheer Bliss, another raspberry-pink colour. It applies pretty smoothly with fingertips, is very sheer indeed, and it has a party piece that you can try with Nars’ Multi sticks as well:

***MAKEUP TIP: Apply foundation of choice to even complexion. Lightly apply cream blush to apple of cheeks and blend. Apply to center of eyelids only, layering colour until dark enough for desired shadow shade. Leave outer and innermost corners very lightest to keep a bright look. Apply one coat mascara. Apply one coat cream blush to lips as primer, apply lip colour. --OR-- Apply blush to lips at just the center, geisha-style, and apply gloss over for a pixie- look. Voilà, four products, you’re done!

Which leaves me blushing with shame at the sheer amount of stuff still occupying the containment units, despite the post-review purge.  Can I still have this much? Glancing in my closet at the purses, hats, scarves and shoes, Bern howls with laughter till he needs to change his astro-diaper. This once, I leave him to it, this is well without his purview--I really am that girl: I'm a professional.

**All Urban Decay, Stila and national brand products are available at Ulta stores and online at Sephora, Urban Decay, Nars, Fresh, Clinique and Stila cosmetics are available at Sephora stores and Mary Kay products are available exclusively from your Mary Kay Independent Consultant, visit to find your closest representative. Pin It Now!

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