Manicure round-up, guest starring Avon polishes

Time for another round-up! I bought my first roll of striping tape recently, so the past couple manicures have been all about getting the hang of the stuff. I have to say, I like it! It’s not going to keep me from getting polish everywhere, but it definitely makes art easier.

Let’s start with purple. Purple polishes make up one of the largest portions of my collection because, well, I like purple. It’s fun. I decided to use my striping tape to attempt a french manicure. This was the result:

Purple french manicure - Avon Gel Finish in Lavender Sky (light), ELF polish in Violet Velvet
Purple french manicure – Avon Gel Finish in Lavender Sky (light), ELF polish in Violet Velvet

Yeah, so like I said, striping tape isn’t a panacea. It made my lines neater than they otherwise would have been, but that can only go so far when the fact is that I just don’t have steady hands. I also had some problems with Lavender Sky, which is from Avon’s Gel Finish line of polishes. I do like this line – in fact, I own every color they make it in because I like it so much – but this polish, on this day, was just misbehaving. Somehow it managed to be both watery and gloopy; it’s a thin polish, but it begins drying so fast that it can out-dry itself. I ended up with a weird bubble on one thumbnail where the outside of the polish had started drying before the rest of it had had a chance to self-level. On other fingers, when I pulled the tape up moments after applying it to my tips, it had already started to get stringy.

Ah, well. Ignoring the technique bobbles, I still like the effect.

Next, it was time for another trollicure (wondering what I mean by that? See here. Short version: my husband dislikes certain colors because sports. So of course I wear those colors!). This time, the colors I was aiming for were black and gold. Now, I do own a black creme, but it’s not a great formula, and it ends up looking gray and patchy. So I decided to use another polish from the Avon Gel Finish line as a stand-in. Inked Up is a deep, dark blue – so dark that on my swatch sticks, it was pretty much indistinguishable from black. On my fingers, it turned out to register more clearly as dark navy, but I don’t care because it looked so awesome.

Avon Gel Finish - Inked Up (dark), Avon Gel Finish - Glimmer (gold)
Avon Gel Finish – Inked Up (dark), Avon Gel Finish – Glimmer (gold)

This is another striping tape manicure; I laid down one coat of Glimmer, a gold also from the Gel Finish line, let that dry for half an hour, and then placed a strip of striping tape at about french-tip level. Then I covered it with a single coat (yes, a single coat! OCW!) of Inked Up and pulled off the tape. If you look closely, you can see that it’s still not perfect – there are spots where the blue bled into the gold, and vice versa – but it came out neater than the previous manicure. My husband and I both loved this look, he in spite of himself, and I was sad to take it off. So elegant! So simple! I think next time I need a manicure for a wedding or job interview, I might try this one again.

Before I get into the next manicure, a bit of backstory: My husband was traveling this week, and I have a dangerous habit of comforting myself when he’s away by buying makeup. I went into Rite-Aid one day to buy some decongestant and walked out with…all this (hey, and the decongestant!). In my defense, Wet ‘n’ Wild was 40% off, Revlon was BOGO50%, and there were a bunch of new-to-me displays of inexpensive polishes out (satin finish Jesse’s Girl? Yes please!). What else was I supposed to do but buy it all?

The results of going into Rite-Aid during a moment of weakness
The results of going into Rite-Aid during a moment of weakness

As I was swatching the new polishes later that day, I realized that I now have a pretty wide selection of full-coverage, textured glitters, especially in shades of purple. I toyed with the idea of a skittles manicure of purple, blue, gold, and green glitters, but then decided that might be a little too out-there, given that it’s not Mardi Gras. So I settled on a purple ombre effect, instead.

A variety of textured purple glitters. Starting from pinky: Avon Brushed Metals in Dusty Copper, L'Oreal Gold Dust in Sexy in Sequins, Julie G in Sugar Plum Fairy, L'Oreal Gold Dust in Too Dimensional?, and Avon Brushed Metals in Lilac Quartz
A variety of textured purple glitters (no flash). Starting from pinky: Avon Brushed Metals in Dusty Copper, L’Oreal Gold Dust in Sexy in Sequins, Julie G in Sugar Plum Fairy, L’Oreal Gold Dust in Too Dimensional?, and Avon Brushed Metals in Lilac Quartz

Brushed Copper didn’t quite fit into the purple theme, but I needed a fifth polish to round things out, and it stuck out the least in that role compared to the other textured glitters I pored through.

Though this isn’t a fantastic gradient – I think if I were doing it over again, I’d switch Too Dimensional to my ring finger – it’s still pretty, and when the light hits it, it seems to have a glow of its own.

Textured purple glitters - flash
A variety of textured purple glitters (flash). Starting from pinky: Avon Brushed Metals in Dusty Copper, L’Oreal Gold Dust in Sexy in Sequins, Julie G in Sugar Plum Fairy, L’Oreal Gold Dust in Too Dimensional?, and Avon Brushed Metals in Lilac Quartz

This is over a peel-off base coat (remove five fingers of hardcore glitter? Ain’t nobody got time for that!), so I don’t expect to get more than a few days’ wear out of it. After that? Hmmm. I have a beautiful Barbie pink from Sinful Colors that has a gold pearl to it, but it’s a bit too bright to do on its own. I’ll have to think about what I can add to it. I’m open to suggestions!

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Face-of-the-Day featuring LORAC Pocket Pro

My husband’s and my wedding anniversary was a few weeks ago, but since I haven’t been feeling well lately, we didn’t get around to celebrating it until last weekend. We went out for hibachi, which is one of my favorite “special occasion” experiences, and even though the restaurant wasn’t super-fancy (no restaurant where they fling shrimp tails at you really can be), I decided to get gussied up anyway. Little black dress, pearls…and a smokey eye!

Now, smokey eyes is one of those things I spend a lot of time staring at on Pinterest and other people’s blogs, going “that can’t be so hard, the whole point is to not be exact!”, and then inevitably screw up royally when I try it on myself. So imagine my excitement when I actually more or less pulled it off this time using my LORAC Pocket Pro palette (picked up for $5 instead of $15 using Kohl’s cash a few weeks ago, oh yeah!).

The LORAC Pocket Pro palette
The LORAC Pocket Pro palette

With only three colors (Nude, a very shimmery ivory, though you can’t see the shimmer in the picture; Pewter, a shimmery gray-brown; and Espresso, a matte dark brown), it sort of took away the “oh god which colors do I use?” panic that I usually have when trying to put together a combination. This was also my first experience with LORAC shadows, and I must say that I absolutely see what everyone’s been going on about. These shadows are incredibly buttery and pigmented. I swatched this palette on my arm right after swatching Coastal Scents Revealed 1 palette, and the difference was just night and day in pigmentation and texture (and it’s not like Revealed is all that bad, even!).

Wearing LORAC Pocket Pro palette
Wearing LORAC Pocket Pro palette
Wearing LORAC Pocket Pro palette
Wearing LORAC Pocket Pro palette

Excuse the mismatched lighting and lack of centering in these pictures; hubby was trying to drag me out of the house while I kept yelping “but I want to get a better picture for the blog!” and I was forced to get my full-face shot in a moving car when he won the tug-of-war.

Looking at these pictures now, I see a bunch of stuff I did wrong, or could have done better, but overall I’m really proud of myself. This was the first time I managed a smokey eye that didn’t look like either “she calls THAT smokey?” or “oh dear, she tripped and fell into the vat of coal dust, didn’t she?”.

What could I have improved? Well…

  • Blending the darkest color back up into my crease a bit, so it looked less like a literal wing coming out the side of my head
  • Blending the medium color less inwards, so that there’s a clearer demarcation between light and dark on my inner lids
  • Acquiring a brow product that’s not absurdly too warm-toned for my eyebrows
  • Catching up on my waxing, which has sort of fallen by the wayside, because man, you don’t want to lay down on that table while not feeling well

Products used in this look:

  • Maybelline Dream Smooth Mousse foundation in Classic Ivory (I’ve been using Porcelain Ivory for a while now, but the more I looked at it in pictures the more I thought I might have gone a little too…light? cool? something. So I switched to Classic Ivory, which I think is working a bit better)
  • Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Dark Circle Eraser in Fair
  • Essence of Beauty Brow Color in what appeared to be a dark brown but was turns out to be a dark reddish-brown
  • LORAC Pocket Pro palette (Nude, inner lid and lower lashline; Pewter, crease, mid-lid, and lower lashline; Espresso, outer v)
  • Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Kohl eyeliner for Brown Eyes in black (upper and lower lashlines, smudged out)
  • Urban Decay Perversion mascara
  • Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso
  • Stila bronzer in Golden, from the Portrait of a Perfect Cheek palette
  • NYX Butter Lipstick in Pops and NYX Matte Lipstick in Natural (I started with Natural, decided it was too pink, switched to Pops, and ended up with a sort of hybrid of the two)

Adventures in Eyeshadow: a Revealed Palette look in the real world

Background

So here’s something I recently realized: reviews and unboxings are all well and good, but there’s nothing unique about a blog post about those. Literally every makeup blogger does them, and if I just wanted to see how Product X looks swatched or used, I can choose from hundreds of blogs telling me just that. What I have more trouble finding is what those products look like when used by someone who’s, you know, sort of average at makeup, and maybe doesn’t own twenty MAC brushes, and is just sort of muddling along trying to make themselves look like all the awesome blog posts. I mean, if I spend $40 on the new hotness product, what is it actually going to look like when applied with my own, very uncoordinated little paws?

And then I realized, “but wait! I, myself, am someone who’s sort of average at makeup, and doesn’t own twenty MAC brushes, and is just sort of muddling along trying to make herself look like all the awesome blog posts!” And honestly, I spend a lot of time looking at pinterest, putting on makeup the way the pins say, and then looking at myself and going, “…oh. Hm. Clearly something went wrong here.”

The bottom line is that, much like how science values negative results in experiments, I feel like poor reviews and failed looks have value to those of us who aren’t already makeup artistes of great expertise. So I’m going to try my best to produce that kind of post every now and then, taking something from a blog or pin and seeing how it works in my real, wonky world. I’m not trying to debunk looks or anything; I don’t doubt that every one of the looks and techniques I’m going to try has been done, and beautifully, by any number of makeup lovers. But I’m probably not one of them, based on all available evidence and the fact that I’ve already spilled two meals on my shirt today.

And so today…

…I’m going to start by trying out a pin I’ve had on my makeup board for a while. This blog post provides a not-particularly-detailed tutorial (below) for how to use Urban Decay’s first Naked Palette to do an “everyday smokey eye” with three colors. Sounds pretty easy, right? “Everyday” usually means “pretty neutral”, and “pretty neutral” usually means “even if you screw this up it won’t be too noticeable.” Works for me!

Working off of this tutorial for today. Source: http://hairandsalons.com/2013/12/15/naked-palette-tutorial-the-everyday-smokey-1-virgin-2-buck-in-crease-and-outer-corner-3-darkhorse-in-outer-corner-and-inner-most-crease-inside-buck-perimeter-blend-4-line-eyes-5-darkhor/
This is not me. It is the tutorial I will be working off for today. If only I looked this good! Source: http://hairandsalons.com/2013/12/15/naked-palette-tutorial-the-everyday-smokey-1-virgin-2-buck-in-crease-and-outer-corner-3-darkhorse-in-outer-corner-and-inner-most-crease-inside-buck-perimeter-blend-4-line-eyes-5-darkhor/

I do not, however, own the Naked palette. Any of the Naked palettes, actually. At fifty-some dollars a pop, they’ve been on my “one day” wishlist for a while now. In the meantime, I’ve picked up some popular dupes of the Naked palettes: the Coastal Scents Revealed palettes. There are two of these palettes; Revealed 1 is said to have dupes for all the shades found in Naked 1 and Naked 2, while Revealed 2 has dupes for everything in Naked 3 (as well as a bunch of non-dupe shades).

I obviously can’t attest to how perfectly duplicative they are in real life, but based on internet pictures (which totally never lie!), they’re pretty damn close. So I feel relatively ok using Revealed 1 for a Naked 1 tutorial. Pinterest even hooked me up with a couple lists of which colors in Revealed are dupes of which colors in Naked 1. Unfortunately, the lists didn’t entirely agree, which means I labeled them on my Revealed palette once, then had to re-label some of them with the “some other person thinks this is actually…” color names. As a result, I can’t guarantee that the colors I use from Revealed are the dupes of the named ones for Naked 1, especially because as I put them on, they didn’t seem to match the pictures I was working off of. But their shades relative to each other at least looked pretty close, so, you know. The spirit of the thing is mostly intact.

Coastal Scents Revealed 1 palette, with corresponding(ish) Urban Decay Naked 1 color names marked
Coastal Scents Revealed 1 palette, with corresponding(ish) Urban Decay Naked 1 color names marked

So here’s my version of a pictorial of me following the tutorial. I apologize for where the pictures are blurry; I’m experimenting with a new tripod and I swear these pictures looked perfectly clear when I eyeballed them immediately after taking them. Anyway, here’s me with just foundation and mascara on, to start.

Me, with only foundation (Maybelling Dream Smooth Mousse) and mascara (Urban Decay Perversion)
Me, with only foundation (Maybelline Dream Smooth Mousse) and mascara (Urban Decay Perversion)

If you can’t tell, I have some discoloration on my lids, partly just because I have massive dark circles in general, and partly because I have a small patch of eczema on the eyelid we’re looking at here, and it’s irritated.

The tutorial’s instructo-picture said to start with putting Virgin…somewhere that looked vaguely like “all over the lid” (guys, seriously. Words don’t cost money. Use more!). So, I did.

Revealed palette Row 1, 2nd from left (aka Urban Decay Virgin...maybe)
Revealed palette Row 1, 2nd from left (aka Urban Decay Virgin…maybe)

Pale and shimmery. This looks nothing like the eye in the tutorial. I’m not sure if I suck, or I mislabeled my colors, or it’s just very different lighting and skin tones between me and the tutorial model (who, incidentally, looks like she starts the tutorial with a crease color already in place. I’m so confused).

Next, “Buck in crease and outer corner”. Ok, I can handle that.

Revealed palette Row 1, 7th from left (aka Urban Decay Buck, maybe)
Revealed palette Row 1, 7th from left (aka Urban Decay Buck, maybe)

If you can see anything through the blur (sorry, I totally blame the tripod) and the fact that I switched eyes (also sorry, I was one step ahead on the other eye before I remembered that I hadn’t taken a picture), you can see that…I sort of suck at putting stuff in my crease. I’m not entirely sure I even know what my in-makeup-parlance crease is, because when I put color in the actual physical area where my eyelid creases into my browbone, it doesn’t look anything like all the internet pictures of people putting color into their creases. So instead I end up picking a “sort of looks like the right location, ish?” area and pretending it’s my crease. This is some military precision, right here in the Porter household!

After staring at this picture and then the tutorial picture for a while, I’m wondering if maybe I have a very high browbone or something, because my browbone starts, like, where my eyebrow is, and hers seems to start halfway between her eyebrow and her eye. Hm. This is something to think about; I wonder would would happen if I put “crease” colors where my crease actually lies? I suspect clown-makeup eyes. Sadface.

Anyway, that was Buck (maybe), smooshed into my crease-ish area (maybe).

Next, “Darkhorse in outer corner and inner most crease inside Buck perimeter.” Ok well for one thing, I forgot to read the “inside Buck” part of that sentence before picking up my brush again. Then again, it’s not like I’m coordinated enough with my brushes to get things inside or outside the “perimeters” of other things. So it probably evens out in the end.

Revealed palette, Row 2 4th from left (aka Urban Decay Darkhorse, maybe)
Revealed palette, Row 2 4th from left (aka Urban Decay Darkhorse, maybe)

Yep, that there’s some eyeshadow, on my eye. It’s brown. Woo.

Having slapped all the colors on approximately as the tutorial told me to, it was time to blend. This helped!

All colors, blended
All colors, blended

Heyyy. Less blurry and it almost looks like an actual, you know, look. It looks nothing like the colors in the tutorial, but still, a look! Of some kind! Unfortunately the eczema splotch on my eyelid makes it look like I’m even less coordinated with the darker colors than I am.

Now at this point, I realized that though the tutorial had said nothing about what to do on my bottom eye area, the model was clearly wearing shadow there. So I winged it with a combination of Buck (maybe) and Darkhorse (maybe).

Shadow added to lower lash line
Shadow added to lower lash line

Despite my unconvinced expression, this seemed to balance pretty well with the rest of the look. So I moved on to the next step: “line eyes”. Not so hard, right?

NYX Studio Liquid Liner in Extreme Black
NYX Studio Liquid Liner in Extreme Black

Erm, well. I sort of suck at liquid liner (and pencil liner. Gel liner I’m not so bad at!). And this liner is…shiny? Why the hell is it shiny, NYX? Who’s looking for shiny black liquid liner, for god’s sake? But I guess I’m stuck with what I have, since it’s already on my eyes. And it looks a bit better with my eyes closed, anyway:

With liner, eyes closed
With liner, eyes closed

I think part of the problem with the eyes-open picture is that I might have mutant eyes? The amount of space between my eyelashes and the fold in my eyelid when my eyes are open seems to be much smaller than the space on people who I see pictures of on makeup blogs. As a result, what’s quite clearly a thin line with my eyes closed ends up taking up nearly all the lid space I have with my eyes open, making it look way thicker than it is.

Or maybe I’m overthinking this and it looks just fine. That’s also a possibility!

Anyway, having made my makeup bed, it was time to lie in it and add the finishing touches to the rest of my face: Milani Baked Powder Blush in Corallina, and Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stain lipstick in India Intrigue.

Finished look, eyes closed
Finished look, eyes closed
Finished look
Finished look

So, there you have it: expected result vs actual result.

Expected results vs. actual results. Source for "expected": http://hairandsalons.com/2013/12/15/naked-palette-tutorial-the-everyday-smokey-1-virgin-2-buck-in-crease-and-outer-corner-3-darkhorse-in-outer-corner-and-inner-most-crease-inside-buck-perimeter-blend-4-line-eyes-5-darkhor/
Expected results vs. actual results. Source for “expected”: http://hairandsalons.com/2013/12/15/naked-palette-tutorial-the-everyday-smokey-1-virgin-2-buck-in-crease-and-outer-corner-3-darkhorse-in-outer-corner-and-inner-most-crease-inside-buck-perimeter-blend-4-line-eyes-5-darkhor/

On the bright side, I don’t look bad, per se. On the not-so-bright side, I look pretty much nothing like what I thought I was imitating. Also I look like a toddler did my eyeliner.

So what have I learned from trying to imitate this look – about makeup, my anatomy, or anything else?

  • I’m probably a mutant in one or more ways
  • Damn, I’m pale
  • Tutorials are much more useful when they use complete sentences. I should probably consider working off a video tutorial next time; I suspect it will be useful to see someone actually performing the actions I’m supposed to be performing
  • I need to figure out a way to make eyeliner work with the small amount of lid area I seem to have available. Perhaps the whole “chunky wing” thing just isn’t suited to me, or perhaps I’m just doing the “chunky” part overzealously. Needs investigation.
  • I shouldn’t be afraid to blend color not just up, but out. When I open my eye, especially if I have eyeliner on, anything on my lid is pretty much not in play; color has to come from outside that area.
  • Makeup that seems way overdone when I’m squinting at myself in the mirror turns out to be way underdone when I take a photo and plunk it next to what I’m “supposed” to look like
  • What seems like extreme curl and length from my mascara is nothing compared to whatever ninja mascara-falsies “look” models wear. Pile it on, Amy!
  • I don’t know how to do lower lid shadow. Like, at all. Every instinct I have screams that smearing dark colors onto an area where I already have dark bags is a bad idea…and yet it seems to work for everyone else!
  • On that note, I should consider investing in some hardcore undereye concealer, maybe from somewhere like MAC. If I’m not competing with the dark circles, maybe I’ll be more comfortable using dark colors there.
  • My strategy for lipstick picking currently consists of “open drawer, go ‘ooh that one’s pretty’, apply lipstick”. There are probably some coordination considerations here that I should be aware of, but I have no idea how to figure out what they are

So, my fellow klutzes, that’s what happens when someone who’s just about figured out which end of the brush to hold tries to imitate a blogged look: too much eyeliner, not enough eyeshadow.

What looks have you been trying to imitate lately? Anything you’ve learned, especially if it seems utterly obvious in retrospect but still never occurred to you? Any insight you can offer about the things I need to work on?

Manicure Round Up, guest starring Sally Hansen Miracle Gel

It’s been a while since I did one of these, so I think it’s time again for a manicure round-up, where I show you pictures of manicures I’ve worn recently and do a short paragraph on each rather than a full post. In this case, these manicures go back quite a while, some a month or more (this summer has been one crisis after another; I’m lucky I got paint on my fingers at all!), and not all the pictures are that great. But nonetheless, there are pictures and that’s gotta count for something, right?

Let’s start with the one I called my mint chocolate chip manicure:

L'Oreal "Mint Glacee", Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Matte "Mauve Matter"
L’Oreal “Mint Glacee”, Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Matte “Mauve Matter”

This contained, at its heart, only two polishes, but since one was gloss and one was matte, it also involved a sandwich of topcoats. I started with L’Oreal “Mint Glacee”, a pale mint green gloss. Then I freehanded – really, really messily – half of each nail over it with Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in “Mauve Matter”, a brownish-mauve matte. I slicked the whole thing over with Seche Vite to get it a bit drier, then added Nicole by OPI’s Matte topcoat over everything. As you can see if you look closely at my middle finger, the layers of topcoats got a little wonky in spots, but this nevertheless turned out pretty nice, at least from a few feet away. Everyone who commented on it told me it reminded them of mint and chocolate. Inspiring cravings everywhere I go: my work here is done!

Next a manicure I did solely to troll my husband, because I’m just a terrible person like that. You see, I’m an artsy girl. I don’t really get sports in general, and I really don’t get the religious fervor with which some people approach certain sports. My husband, on the other hand, will comfortably tell you that football was a second religion in his house growing up, and he continues to be obsessed with it. There’s a longstanding rivalry in his home state between two schools; one’s colors are red and black, and the other’s color is orange. He worships the red-and-black school, and apparently doing so requires loathing the orange school. So far, so understandable. I don’t feel it, but I can understand fandom.

But here’s where it got weird for me: because he dislikes a school that likes orange, he has a genuine, deep-seated emotional hatred for the color orange, everywhere. He automatically dislikes orange clothes or makeup I put on, even if they look objectively great, solely because they’re orange, and orange is the color of that team.

So when he told me how excited he was for the beginning of college football season and the first game his red-and-black team would be playing, what else could I do but…this.

Revlon Gel Envy "Long Shot", Avon Cosmic "Saturn"
Revlon Gel Envy “Long Shot”, Avon Cosmic “Saturn”

That’s Revlon Gel Envy in “Long Shot” on everything but my ring finger; Avon Cosmic nail enamel in “Saturn” on my ring finger, and a matte topcoat on everything. I didn’t particularly love the all-orange look, but it did its job: hubby squealed in indignation when he saw it. Mischief managed!

Next up was another Sally Hansen Miracle Gel, this time in blue:

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel - Hydro-Electric
Sally Hansen Miracle Gel – Hydro-Electric

If you look closely here, especially at my pinky, you can see one of the weaknesses of the Miracle Gel line: opacity. This is two coats of Hydro-Electric, and you can still see visible nail line (noooo, the dreaded VNL!). The same thing has been the case with all the Miracle Gels I’ve tried: two coats isn’t going to cut it, and depending on the color, three might not either. Now, each coat dries quickly, so it’s not like it’s a huge hardship to have to slap a third on top, but I still keep being surprised by how even colors that look deep, dark, and opaque in the bottle thin out on my nail. I expect “gel” colors to be thick and opaque; Miracle Gel is neither.

After a couple of mostly-creme manis, I decided to go wild with a glitter. I laid down my trusty Nail Pattern Boldness Glitter A-peel, then went to town with Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in “Mermaid’s Tale”.

Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure - "Mermaid's Tail"
Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure – “Mermaid’s Tale”

This is a deep blue-black jelly with blue and teal glitter. This is also a really terrible photo of this manicure. I apologize to those of you with a sense of aesthetics. For those of you who don’t care about my photography skills: I got about four days out of this before an entire index finger’s worth of polish popped clean off, signalling it was time to move on. Ah, peel-off base coat. You giveth and you taketh away.

Time for something that was neither creme nor glitter. Yay metallics!

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel - Purplexed
Sally Hansen Miracle Gel – Purplexed

Can you tell yet that I really like the Miracle Gels? Because yeah, this is another one. Folks, meet “Purplexed”, a metallic eggplant with just the tiniest smidge of blue duochrome effect. It was awesome. It lasted a week. It basically functioned like every other polish I’ve tried from the Miracle Gel line. Moving on…

Zoya - Dream
Zoya – Dream

Oh, my moons and stars! This is Zoya’s “Dream”, which I picked up during Zoya’s July three-for-free sale. I bought it hoping for a galaxy on my fingers and it did not disappoint. Zoya is a brand I don’t own too much of, so I’m still feeling it out for longevity and such. I put “Dream” on on September 5th, and though tip wear happened as usual, I didn’t see my first chip until the 11th. Six days: not too shabby for a non-gel polish.

And finally, the simplest manicure that’s ever made me feel disproportionately proud of my nail art abilities:

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel - Sugar Fix; Whet - Facetious
Sally Hansen Miracle Gel – Sugar Fix (light); Whet – Facetious (dark)

After seeing a similar manicure on Pinterest, I figured a) this would be pretty hard to screw up, and b) I totally had the colors to make it perfect! I did actually manage to screw it up a little – centering all those dots can be hard, and it’s easy to get drag marks on your dots if you’re not careful with your topcoat – but I still think it came out awesome. I am ze nail art wizard, yezzz.

What colors and patterns have you been wearing lately, my dears?

Makeup by One Direction “Take Me Home” Collection – swatches and review


The products in this post were received for free in exchange for a review. The opinions in this post are my own, but the text of this post has been approved by the brand.

Ok kiddies, prepare to squeal. Courtesy of Brandbacker, I got my hands on one of the new One Direction makeup kits I posted about a while ago. They sent me the Take Me Home collection, which features golds, browns, and pinks, which is just about perfect for me (I had my fingers crossed that I wouldn’t get the blue-based “Up All Night” collection – I’ve lived through the 80s, I don’t need more blue eyeshadow!). So without further ado, let’s get to the unboxing!

One Direction "Take Me Home" collection box, front view
Makeup by One Direction “Take Me Home” collection box, front view

It’s a box! Whee! Well, more specifically, it’s a hinged metal box printed with brickwork, with a plastic sleeve printed with the boys and their signatures slipped around it. Gives it sort of a nice 3D effect, and when you take the sleeve off, you’re left with an unbranded (outside) reusable box, which is one of those things that’s handy to have around.

One Direction "Take Me Home" collection enclosure card, side 1
Makeup by One Direction “Take Me Home” collection enclosure card, side 1

Also enclosed with my package was this cardboard card, which on one side tells me about the collections, and on the other side I’m special because I got a pre-launch preview (woo!).

One Direction "Take Me Home" collection enclosure card, side 2
Makeup by One Direction “Take Me Home” collection enclosure card, side 2

Opening up the box, we find the makeup, securely stored in a plastic tray, on one side, and a card with instructions for some looks on the other.

One Direction "Take Me Home" collection box interior
Makeup by One Direction “Take Me Home” collection box interior

A better shot of the makeup tray:

Makeup by One Direction "Take Me Home" collection makeup tray
Makeup by One Direction “Take Me Home” collection makeup tray

Going clockwise-ish from the top left here, we have:

  • “I Wish”, a chocolate-brown eyeshadow/body pencil
  • A 5-pan eyeshadow palette
  • “Last First Kiss”, a bubblegum-pink lipstick
  • “Kiss You”, a sparkly orange lip gloss that glows under UV light
  • “Little Black Dress”, a basic black mascara
  • “Live While We’re Young”, a gold glitter nail polish topper
  • A set of body stencils which you’re intended to use with “I Wish” to decorate yourself

Swatches:

Makeup by One Direction "Take Me Home" collection swatches
Makeup by One Direction “Take Me Home” collection swatches. Top row: I wish, Back For You, Change My Mind, C’mon C’mon, Little Things, Take Me Home. Bottom row: Last First Kiss, Kiss You

I gave everything a try, and here’s what that looks like (yes, I cheated and used beauty mode. I’ve been sick this week and you guys really don’t want to see me unretouched…)

Wearing the Makeup by One Direction "Take Me Home" collection
Wearing the Makeup by One Direction “Take Me Home” collection
Wearing the Makeup by One Direction "Take Me Home" collection
Wearing the Makeup by One Direction “Take Me Home” collection

Conveniently forgetting that the box gave me a guide for how to use the eyeshadows, I sort of rolled my own look here. I used “Back For You” (peachy cream) on my browbone, “Change My Mind” (sparkly pink-peach) on my lids, “C’mon C’mon” (gray-ish taupe) blended into my crease and under my eye, and “Little Things” (warm brown) to line my upper lids. Then I decided to get fancy and added “Take Me Home” (gold glitter cream shadow) to my upper and lower lashlines, and a touch of “I Wish” (brown cream shadow stick) to my crease.

Here’s those eyeshadows in-pan before use:

Makeup by One Direction "Take Me Home" collection eyeshadow palette
Makeup by One Direction “Take Me Home” collection eyeshadow palette

And after use:

Makeup by One Direction "Take Me Home" collection eyeshadow palette
Makeup by One Direction “Take Me Home” collection eyeshadow palette

Yes, as other reviews have noted, the glitter in “Change My Mind” and “Take Me Home” is largely an overspray that’s removed once you actually use the colors. But I didn’t have any trouble getting both to still register on my eye as shimmers; you’re just losing the serious chunks of glitter. The bigger problem I have with the overspray is that it makes “Change My Mind” look lighter than it is.

All of the shadows were a smidge on the soft side, and the color payoff on the mattes was mediocre, but hey, these are neutrals anyway. I found them to be quite pleasant to use and they blended well to make a beautiful, understated look. The only real complaint I have is that “Take Me Home” tends to migrate; within a half hour of application, my gold lower lashline looked like it was slowly melting down my face.

Makeup by One Direction "Take Me Home" collection lipstick and lipgloss
Makeup by One Direction “Take Me Home” collection lipstick and lip gloss

We had a slight accident with my delivery, such that the package containing my kit ended up sitting on my doorstep for a few hot days while I was away, and “Last First Kiss”, the lipstick, suffered for that, melting a bit into the lid. But after I squished it back into the tube, it’s been perfectly fine to use, and I find the color surprisingly flattering on me. Bubblegum pinks are hit or miss with my complexion, but this is a hit. It’s not the most long-lived lipstick – plan to reapply every couple of hours – but it’s moisturizing and comfortable to wear, and generally quite nice.

The lip gloss here is interesting. In the tube and on my arm, it’s sparkly orange. On my lips, it spreads out to just a clear sparkly gloss, which is probably for the best because I’m not sure how I’d feel about my lips being this shade of orange. Unfortunately, I don’t have a UV light to test the glow of this with; I’m forced to use my imagination, which says this would look awesome.

Makeup by One Direction "Take Me Home" collection shadow pencil and stencils
Makeup by One Direction “Take Me Home” collection shadow pencil and stencils

The kit bills “I Wish”, the shadow pencil, as an eye or body pencil. I tried it in both places. You can see it in my full-face shot above; it’s the unblended brown in my crease. It applied ok, but, well…didn’t blend very well at my soft touch. As far as using it for stenciling, the less said about my attempts, the better. Suffice it to say that a stencil using a very soft, chocolate brown shadow crayon and unsteady hands is mostly going to come out looking like a very soft, chocolate brown splotch that probably should be washed off, not photographed.

Makeup by One Direction "Take Me Home" collection nail polish and mascara wand
Makeup by One Direction “Take Me Home” collection nail polish and mascara wand

The collection is capped off by a mascara – a very basic, does-nothing-in-particular black that added no particular curl, length, or volume to my lashes – and a glitter topper nail polish. The topper has medium gold hex glitter, as well as rose gold and teal small circle glitter. It’s a nice enough polish, but I don’t lack for gold-ish glitter toppers, so I sort of wish they’d gone for a more opaque polish of some kind – gold foil or holo, perhaps? Chocolate brown with gold shimmer would have been awesome.

Makeup by One Direction "Take Me Home" collection nail polish swatch
Makeup by One Direction “Take Me Home” collection nail polish swatch – two coats

Overall, I’m pleased with this collection. It definitely has its weak points – the mascara is just a nonentity, and the shadow crayon and I really need to have a serious talk – but I’m definitely going to get solid use out of the eyeshadow palette and the lipstick, and I see a UV light in my future purchase plans just so I can play with the lip gloss.