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


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?

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


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.

Ipsy Bag August 2014

Despite evidence to the contrary, I am still alive! I apologize for the long period of silence; my mother-in-law was visiting, which meant giving up my guest room (aka my makeup room) to her and trying to avoid getting any more comments about how much makeup I own, so blogging sort of fell by the wayside. I’ve got a lot of ideas for posts floating around my head now, though, so hopefully you guys will profit from my having to hold back for a few weeks.

Today, I’m bringing you my August 2014 Ipsy Bag. The theme this month was “Beauty Schooled”, and Urban Decay contributed two of their new(er) products to the products Ipsy chose from, to much internet excitement. Let’s see what I got…

August 2014 Ipsy Bag - GlamGlow YouthMud, Manna Kadar Sheer Glo Shimmer Lotion, Jersey Shore Sun Mongongo Lip Conditioner, Lord & Berry Black Silk Kohl eyeliner, and Urban Decay Perversion mascare
August 2014 Ipsy Bag – GlamGlow YouthMud, Manna Kadar Sheer Glo Shimmer Lotion, Jersey Shore Sun Mongongo Lip Conditioner, Lord & Berry Black Silk Kohl eyeliner, and Urban Decay Perversion mascara

In an orange-and-white polka dot tube-shaped bag that is cute but made of cheap unlined vinyl, I found, first and squee-most, Urban Decay Perversion Mascara. (0.1 fl. oz. sample; full 0.4 fl. oz tube costs $22, so this is worth about $5.50) Much like their popular Perversion eyeliner pencil, Urban Decay bills this as “Bigger. Blacker. Badder.” It’s supposed to be a blacker-than-black, make-your-lashes-look-insane product, and…I was expecting to be underwhelmed. All the blog reviews I’d read of the product were glowing, but pictures of the mascara in use on those blog posts just didn’t look very special. I’ve mentioned before that my taste in mascara runs to the boring; I don’t like my lashes to be stuck together or theatrical-looking, and I suspected that that was what Perversion was going to give me, since it seems to be what “volumizing” mascaras all seem to do.

Folks, I’m here to tell you I was wrong. Hot bleepin’ DAMN, you guys, this stuff is awesome. For comparison, I give you, uh, my eyes.

Open, eyelashes uncurled in both photos:

My bare eyelashes, eyes open
My bare eyelashes, eyes open
My eyelashes with Urban Decay Perversion mascara, open
My eyelashes with Urban Decay Perversion mascara, open (3 coats on top lashes, 1 coat on bottom lashes)


My bare eyelashes, closed
My bare eyelashes, closed
My eyelashes with Urban Decay Perversion mascara, closed
My eyelashes with Urban Decay Perversion mascara, closed  (3 coats on top lashes)

I can’t even with this. There’s no clumps. My lashes look insanely long. And yes, blacker than black. I hate mascara because none of it ever looks good on me, and now Ipsy has twice sent me mascaras that are inexplicably awesome. I’m seriously going to go have to spend actual money on Perversion now when my sample runs out, and I’ve never done that before with an Ipsy product.

*deep breath*

Calming down now. I’m ok. Aaaaanyway. Also in my bag were:

  • GlamGlow YouthMud Tinglexfoliate Treatment (0.5 fl. oz sample; 1.7 fl. oz. full-size sells for $69, so my sample is worth about $20). Ipsy keeps sending me these exfoliating treatments, and I keep nodding politely and stuffing them in a drawer without using them. The skin on my face is just too sensitive for me to want to risk scraping it raw with sandy stuff. I will say, however, that I opened this Tinglexfoliate Treatment and sniffed it and it smelled exactly like the bag of Sour Patch Kids I’ve been snacking out of this week. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that! Use code IPSY30 when checking out at glamglowmud.com for 30% off any purchase.
  • Jersey Shore Sun Mongongo Nutrient Dense Anti-Aging Lip Conditioner (.15 oz full-size, worth $5.50). For all that this has a very long name, this is basically Chapstick. I mean, it’s fancy Chapstick – it’s certified organic, and it’s supposedly Mandarin Orange-scented (though my stick smells more like Key Lime Pie, and I’m cool with that) – but it’s basically a hydrating stick of wax you put on your lips. It does the job. It’s not unpleasant. But it doesn’t really do anything Chapstick doesn’t do just as well at half the price. Use code IPSY50 when checking out at JerseyShoreSun.com for 50% off all of their Lip Conditioners.
  • Manna Kadar Sheer Glo Shimmer Lotion (0.27 oz. sample; their site doesn’t list a weight for the full-size, which retails for $29, so I’m going to eyeball it and guess this is worth about 1/3 of that, so $10). This is a pale pink, shimmery highlighter lotion that they say “enhances eyes, lips, or lashes.” It was a pretty highlight when swatched on my hand, but when I blended it into my cheekbones it just flat-out disappeared. I’m not too experienced with liquid highlighters, so maybe I was just doing it wrong, but man…disappointment. I’m going to keep playing around with this in the hopes that I figure out its secret, though. Use code IPSY20 when checking out at mannakadarcosmetics.com for 20% off any purchase and a free gift.
  • Lord and Berry SILK Kajal Kohl Eyeliner in black (0.02 oz. sample; full size official price is ¯\_(シ)_/¯ since their online store is “temporarily closed for refitting”. Googling, it looks like this sells for around $19 for perhaps 3x the size of the sample, so let’s guesstimate $6 for my sample). It’s a kohl eyeliner. It’s black. It’s perfectly fine, but no different than the five other black kohl eyeliners I already own. Use code LAB@14091 when checking out at lordandberry.com for 25% off any purchase.
  • Total value of bag: (very) approximately $48, with nearly half that made up of the GlamGlow exfoliating treatment.

How does it all look put together? Pretty ok, but that’s mostly thanks to the mascara. In this photo I’m wearing:

  • Maybelline Dream Wonder Fluid-Touch Foundation in 10 Porcelain ivory
  • Coastal Scents Revealed 2 Palette (third pan from the left, top row)
  • Urban Decay Perversion Mascara
  • Lord and Berry SILK Kajal eye pencil
  • Manna Kadar Sheer Glo Shimmer Lotion
  • NYX Matte Lipstick in Alabama (which is actually more brick-red than the tomato-red it appears in this photo)
Ipsy August 2014 products in use
Ipsy August 2014 products in use

If you would like to try Ipsy, please consider signing up via my affiliate link; if you do, I get some “Ipsy points” to use on future products.

Ipsy Bag July 2014

Ipsy time! This month’s bag was a weird one for me; the stuff I expected to love was pretty “meh”, but there was an unexpected gem, as well.

Ipsy Bag - July 2014
Ipsy Bag – July 2014

Let’s start with an inventory. From left to right up there, we have:

  • Whet Nails polish in Facetious, an electric blue. It took three coats to make this color even out and really pop on me, but when it popped, it popped and it looked great! The nail polishes I’ve gotten from Ipsy previously have been ehhhh, ok-ish, so I didn’t expect this one to blow me away as much as it did. This is a mini-size bottle, at 0.3 fl.oz. A full-size 0.5 oz bottle retails for $15, which means the bottle Ipsy sent me is worth about $6.
  • Pixi Tinted Brilliance Balm in Unique Pink, which supposedly a pH-reactive color that personalizes itself to you. You guys know my love for balm crayons, so I was excited to try this, but apparently my pH is “clear chapstick”, because that’s what this looks like on me. I received a 1.8 g sample size, while a 3 g full-size costs $14, so the sample is worth about $8.50
  • Befine Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15. This is an SPF moisturizer with “Rosemary Leaf Oil, Pomegranate Extract, Safflower Seed Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, and Rice protein.” Sounds tasty. I got a 1.5 fl. oz. sample, while a 1.7 oz full-size costs $24, so the sample is worth about $21.
  • Hang Ten Dark Tanning Oil in SPF 08. I’m frankly appalled that a beauty subscription service is sending out (sun-)tanning products when everyone is well aware of the effects that tanning has on skin and health. And considering that Ipsy knows that my skin tone is “ghostly pale” and I thus burn like a lobster at the slightest bit of sun, there’s even less of an excuse for sending something like this to me. There’s simply no way I would ever use a product like this, and I would discourage anyone from using “tanning oil” to bake themselves. For the record, this was a 1 oz. sample that appears to be worth about $4.
  • Bare Minerals 5-in-1 BB Advanced Performance Cream Eyeshadow with Broad Spectrum SPF 15 in Divine Wine. This is supposed to be a miracle potion that primes, brightens, smooths, sunscreens, and basically does everything except the dishes. I was super-excited to be getting a Bare Minerals product in my bag, because I lust after their eyeshadows, but the color they sent me is a dark-cocoa-brown-but-with-a-bit-of-sparkle (“wine”, my left foot!), which is about as far from a primer shade as you can get on my skin. It applied smoothly and blended ok, but I dunno, just…the color. It was weird. As a primer this is actually a pretty good product, but given that primers are usually skin-toned, and a properly colored primer thus won’t stand out as an eyeshadow, it seems weird to be trying to do both with one product. I received a teeny-tiny 0.03 oz sample tube of this (seriously, so tiny. I opened it and promptly fumbled the little cap/applicator and smeared brown eyeshadow all down the front of my shirt. Don’t be like me, kids). A full-size 0.1 oz tube retails for $18, so this was worth about $5.50.
  • Total retail value of products in bag: $45 (though nearly half of that total is made up of just the Befine moisturizer)

And now for pictures! Here’s my face using the Bare Minerals shadow and the Pixi balm (also wearing: Maybelline Dream Wonder Fluid-Touch Foundation in Porcelain Ivory, ELF Long-lasting Lustrous Eyeshadow in some sort of sparkly rose-pink color, and Milani Liquid Eye liner pencil in Purple). The hint of pink you see on my lips is not from the Pixi balm, but from remnants of a pink lipstick I had on before I decided to use the balm instead).

Ipsy July 2014 face
Ipsy July 2014 face

Here’s a close-up of the eyes.

Bare Minerals - Divine Wine (blended up into crease)
Bare Minerals – Divine Wine (blended up into crease); ELF Long-lasting Lustrous Eyeshadow in ??? (sparkly pink but I lost the box with color name on it)

And here’s Facetious. Ignore what looks like shimmer in the bottle, that’s actually just my fingerprints. This is a straight-up creme finish.

Whet Nails - Facetious
Whet Nails – Facetious

Overall, I’m ok with this bag. The nail polish alone is worth the whole bag, and I’m sure I’ll find ways to use the eyeshadow and lip balm. I haven’t tried the moisturizer yet, but it never hurts to have another one of those around. As for the tanning oil…straight into the trash bin, and I’m considering writing Ipsy a “wtf???” note to boot.

A true eye makeup challenge…

My eyeshadow and foundation didn’t hold up so well to the end of Titanic tonight (have you guys watched that any time recently? The last hour is an orgy of the saddest, most tragic ways to die, seriously), but my NYX Studio Liquid Liner in Extreme Purple managed to stick it out. And you know if it can hold up to those tears, it can hold up to just about anything!

NYX Studio Liquid Liner - Extreme Purple
NYX Studio Liquid Liner – Extreme Purple

For the record, the liner is actually darker than this; I had to use a flash to get a decent shot in the dark room I’m currently in.

Face of the Day featuring Revlon, Coastal Scents, and Be a Bombshell

Since I teased with all those hand swatches last night, I decided today to try to do something using as many of those products as I could. As a result, you get a Face of the Day and some bonus product swatches!

Also me!
Also me!

So. There’s me today. I’ll tell you right off to ignore how perfect my skin looks in the above photos; I used the “beauty” (aka “erase all the pores!”) mode on my camera to conceal my ongoing lip hair situation. The eyes and lips in the pictures are basically as they are in real life, though, and I’m a fan of all the products I used today!

Shall we start with my eyes? Yes, let’s, because I desperately need to rave some more about this Be a Bombshell mascara. Yes, the one Ipsy hates. Because YOU GUYS LOOK AT MY LASHES.

Incidentally, what is the angle I'm supposed to be taking mascara photographs at? Because this surely can't be it
Incidentally, what is the angle I’m supposed to be taking mascara photographs at? Because this surely can’t be it.
Look at them there lashes, Ma!
Look at them there lashes, Ma!

That’s three coats of Lash out. As a reminder, here’s my bare lashes :

Bare eyelashes, closed eye
Bare eyelashes

Notice that with Lash Out, the volume and quantity of my lashes is the same – they’re not clumped together into one mega-lash or anything – but they’re slightly thicker-looking and the length is much increased. This, right here? This is how I like my mascara, girls and boys.


Also on my eyes:

  • Pacifica eyeshadow Duo #1 from my May Ipsy bag (the gold-toned shadow on inner lid). I’m not madly in love with this – especially because the other half of the “duo” is so light it doesn’t even show up – but I wanted to start with a neutral-ish base on my eye and this was handy
  • Rimmel Soft Kohl eyeliner in Pure White (bottom waterline)
  • Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Kohl Kajal Eyeliner for Brown Eyes (phew, what a mouthful!) in black, because, well, I was looking for a black eyeliner and this was on top of the pile and I know it doesn’t tug
  • Coastal Scents eyeshadow in Elven Midnight, from the sample palette they sent me (see below), in my crease, mashed into my eyeliner, and smudged under my eyes
Elven Midnight is the bottom left
Elven Midnight is at the bottom left

Now, on to lips! I just picked up this Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stain in Stockholm Chic yesterday, and I really liked the way it swatched on my hand, so I wanted to get it on my lips ASAP.

Revlon Moisture Stain in Stockholm Chic
Revlon Moisture Stain in Stockholm Chic

On the plus side, this color is great on a paleface like me, because it’s red but it’s not, like, RED. It’s kind of like the color you’d get if you licked a red candy and then rubbed it on your lips. It’s also got a bit of sheerness to it (I know it doesn’t look like it in the photo, but trust me), which makes it not so in-your-face. Which means it’s wearable!

Yes, I have no upper lip. I blame my mother.
Yes, I have no upper lip. I blame my mother.

On the negative side, this formula is…weird. It feels a bit like slathering your lips in hand lotion, with that sort of fatty feel (am I the only one who’s accidentally gotten hand lotion on my mouth? I can’t be, right?) to it. I guess that’s the “moisture” part. The glossy finish mattes down some within about half an hour, but because of the shimmer in it, it still looks glossy longer than that.

Because the doefoot applicator has a pointed tip, it doesn’t tend to distribute color completely evenly. You’d think the point would be great for lining, but mostly it’s just great at holding onto globs of color until it deposits them unevenly where you try to line. You can still sort of see that problem on the edge of my upper lip in the photo above. On the whole, though, the formula evens itself out after a few minutes, so it’s not a huge problem.

Here’s the color after three hours and a meal:

Pardon the awkward lighting
Pardon the awkward lighting. I took this picture looking up at the ceiling light fixture because the daylight, it had gone away

The color has mellowed out quite a lot, but it’s not gone, it’s just lighter. There’s some fading around the edges, but the gloss finish has remained remarkably shiny. This is more longevity than I expected to get out of this lipstick, honestly; the shiny, wet finish did not inspire confidence. Actually, I was about to say that I still wouldn’t consider this a “stain” so much as a set lipstick, but then I decided to test that by rubbing away the color with my finger and, uh, it didn’t go anywhere. So yeah, it does seem to be a stain under all that fancypants moisture!

So, there you have it. A “let’s use a bunch of products I have laying around and want to try” FOTD, with bonus lipstick and mascara reviews thrown in!

Another one of those days…

…where I start testing stuff out on my hand and end up looking like modern art. You can tell I didn’t intend it to get this out of, er, hand, because it goes backwards toward my arm instead of upwards on my hand like anyone who was planning this out would have done.

Various products
Various products

This is mostly stuff I’ve acquired in the past month or so that I haven’t worn (other than swatching) yet. Starting at the upper left we have:

  • Four sample eyeshadows that Coastal Scents sent along with my Revealed 2 palette (from left to right: Vibrant Blue, Deep Eggplant, Candlelight, Elven Midnight)
  • Rimmel Soft Kohl Eyeliner in Pure White
  • The stain left behind by Revlon Moisture Stain in Milan Moment, immediately after dabbing with a tissue and letting it dry
  • Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on Lip Pencil in Midnight Cowboy
  •  The stain left behind by Revlon Moisture Stain in Stockholm Chic, immediately after dabbing with a tissue and letting it dry
  • The stain left behind by Revlon Matte Balm in Shameless, after swatching and then generally using my hands for a few hours
  • The stain left behind by Revlon Kissable Balm Stain in Adore, after swatching and then generally using my hands for a few hours
  • A fresh swatch of Revlon Lacquer Balm in Coquette
  • Bottom row is swatches of the items that came in an Essence of Beauty brow-and-lid kit I picked up at CVS: Brow duo pencil (black/brown), very worn away swatches of the brow duo powders (dark brown, light brown), and fresher swatches of an eyeshadow trio that came with it (buttery white, sparkly brown, matte brown)

June Ipsy Bag Swatches

It’s that time of the month again! No, not that one. The other one. Ipsy time! I didn’t peek at my Glam Room this month, so what turned up in my bag was a complete surprise. Here’s what I ended up with:

June Ipsy bag
June Ipsy bag


I did a quick test-out of the mascara and the butter gloss on my bare face when the bag arrived. Unfortunately, close-up photography reveals that my upper lip is in serious need of a waxing, so you’re not going to get to see the gloss on my lips today. Instead, you get a super-informative hand swatch! Yay!

NYX Butter Gloss in "Creme Brulee"
NYX Butter Gloss in “Creme Brulee”

I don’t tend to wear a lot of lip gloss these days – I’m either wearing plain old chapstick with no color, or I’m wearing full-on lipstick – but I can see why people like this formula. It’s really soft and, well, buttery on my lips. Feels nice! On the other hand, the color is a big “meh” on me – my lips are already very pale, and Creme Brulee (though it smells awesome!) just washes them out more.

I can’t say this gloss has necessarily persuaded me to start wearing gloss more, but it’s made me curious enough that I’ll probably pick up a Butter gloss in another color next time I’m in CVS and see what I think of it in a color that doesn’t make me look like a zombie. At the $5 price point, it’s cheap enough to be worth a try, or even a couple of tries.

And now, Be a Bombshell’s “Lash Out” mascara. The internet is awash in Very Upset Ipsters complaining about the scent of this stuff. Descriptions range from “rotten” to “like a fuel refinery” to “chemicals with a side of garlic”. And yes, the scent when I opened my mascara and sniffed it was…not delicious. It does indeed smell oddly garlicky.

But you know…I don’t generally stick my nose in my mascara. Opening the tube about 8-12 inches from my face, as I generally do when I’m going to put mascara on, I couldn’t smell anything. Ditto putting it on my lashes: no detectable smell. So yes, kind of stinky in the tube, but not in a way that would prevent me from using it, internet grar notwithstanding.

That all said, this is not a mascara to run for if you’re into Big! Dramatic! Lashes!

Here’s my left eye, with no mascara (on my bare, oily face. What? It’s laundry day, screw getting prettied up!):

Bare eyelashes, open eye
Bare eyelashes, open eye

Here’s my right eye, with two coats of Lash Out on the top, one coat on the bottom.

Two coats of Lash Out on my top lashes, one on the bottom lashes
Two coats of Lash Out on my top lashes, one on the bottom lashes

And again, eyes closed this time:

Bare eyelashes, closed eye
Bare eyelashes, closed eye
Two coats of Lash Out
Two coats of Lash Out

These photos don’t actually do justice to the fact that there is a difference, but it’s a more subtle one than we’re used to seeing in the age of mascara ads that use lash inserts, etc. Lash Out added a bit of length and curl to my lashes, but not dramatically. It’s most visible in these shots on my bottom lashes and at the edge of my eye. And actually, for me, the more subtle effect is ok. I have fairly long, dark lashes to begin with, and most mascaras seem to mostly just clump them up and give me anime eyes. That’s not a look I’m into; I prefer my lashes to look more like eyelashes than spider legs (though if you’re into that look, more power to you!). Lash Out definitely did the job there – my lashes look longer, but I still have every individual lash, and the curl is pretty “wow” considering I didn’t touch an eyelash curler. Amazingly (to me), I had no clumping issues with Lash Out, at all. Not one. No lash comb necessary or anything.

So if you’re into dramatic lashes or unscented product, yeah, this isn’t going to be the product for you. If, on the other hand, you like your lashes to look natural and you can stand a product that doesn’t smell all that great out of the box, Be a Bombshell Lash Out Mascara is definitely worth consideration. It’s going into active mascara rotation for me, because this does what my L’Oreal Voluminous Butterfly mascara claimed it would do, and then didn’t.