Sephora? Don’t mind if I do!

No reviews for you today, just a quick story where makeup people are probably the only ones who’d find it amusing:

Husband and I were in the mall yesterday doing some clothes shopping, and on the way to the side of the mall where we parked the car, I stopped short, looked at him, and went, “Oh honey, I’m sorry.” He blinked, then realized what I’d stopped in front of and sighed: Sephora.

Long-suffering husbands are the best!

And for the record, I didn’t actually come out of Sephora having bought anything – I just wanted to look and swatch a few things, and that’s all I did. See, honey, I have restraint! Restraint…but no OCC-Lip-Tar-that-I-swatched-and-really-liked-but-I’m-buying-a-new-car-soon-and-need-to save-my-pennies-my-life-is-so-hard 😦

Swatch week – manicure edition

My posts have been coming really slowly lately, and I think part of that is because I’m putting pressure on myself to write nice, comprehensive reviews of everything I’m posting about. But I know that when I go hunting for a product on beauty blogs, the thing I’m mostly interested in is seeing the product in use, on/against someone’s skin! Reviews, while useful, are sort of secondary.

So to try to shake myself out of this rut, I’m going to devote the next few posts to swatches and quick comments about many things, rather than trying to go in-depth on a few.

Today, I’m doing a sampling of manicures I’ve worn in the past few weeks. Some were awesome; some were…not. All of them will display my usual utter lack of talent when it comes to cleaning up around my cuticles, so I apologize in advance for that horror.

Avon Purplicious and Rimmel Punk Rock
Avon Gel Finish in “Purplicious” (lighter color) and Rimmel Salon Pro with Lycra in “Punk Rock” (darker color)

I loved the color contrast in this manicure (and both formulas are a long-lasting dream), but it was my first time going back to plain creme finishes after a few weeks of fancy glitters, and I got bored of this quickly.

Sally Hansen Triple Shine - Make Waves
Sally Hansen Triple Shine in “Make Waves” (over L’Oreal “I Will!”)

This was a complete failure. I really wanted to make “Make Waves” work, because that iridescent sort of seafoam greenblue is awesome, but this formula was so. damn. sheer. Even four coats on my swatch stick couldn’t opaque it up, so when it came time to put it on my hands, I decided to try layering it over a white polish. Unfortunately, the only white polish I own is also prone to streakiness. So I piled on two coats of L’Oreal’s “I Will!” trying to get that evened out, and then followed it up with three coats of “Make Waves” for a still-not-completely-opaque finish, and by then I had so many damn layers of paint on my fingernails that they still weren’t dry a few hours later and I dinged them all to hell every time I moved.

So yeah, this lasted about six hours before I gave up and took it off.

Revlon Gel Envy - All In
Revlon Gel Envy in “All In”

This was my first try at Revlon’s new Gel Envy line. I bought this and the line’s topcoat and tried them together. Love this color, a vampy sort of dark blue. The wear time was really good – I think I got a week out of this – and removal, despite the glitter bits, was simple. The only complaint I had here was that the Gel Envy topcoat, which I used instead of my usual Seche Vite, dulled down faster than I would have liked. So the manicure’s shine only lasted me a few days, followed by a few days of “polish still unchipped, but it’s not really popping”. The next time I tried a polish from this line (“Showtime”, a sparkly purple I forgot to take pictures of, sorry!), I topped the Gel Envy topcoat with Seche Vite.

Revlon Moon Candy - Orbit
Revlon Moon Candy in “Orbit”

This is the polish I just took off today. I’d say that while this was brilliant in concept, the execution went a bit wonky. The creme polish in this duo is a really pretty dark blue-purple, but it’s a bit on the thin side, and I got it all over pretty much everything when applying it. On the bright side, it’s pretty close to a one-coat wonder (I did two here just to be sure, but I probably didn’t need to).

The glitter in this is shards, which are prone to sticking up off the nail, rather than thinner, more flexible flakes. I had a small amount of trouble with them sticking up, but really it was less trouble than I expected to have, based on reviews I’d read of this polish. The real problem I had with this glitter is that something about it didn’t play nice with my Seche Vite topcoat. It was almost like some chemical in the Seche Vite (which, for the record, is pretty much a chemical concoction of doom and is neither 3- nor 5-free ) started partially dissolving the glitter shards. It didn’t happen on every nail, or on every piece of glitter on nails it affected, but on some chunks of nail, this is what I ended up with:

Revlon Moon Candy - Orbit - Seche Vite messy
“Orbit”s glitter didn’t get along so well with Seche Vite

See that patch on the upper right? That’s where Vite and Orbit had a fight and I was left with some chewed-up looking glitter. The Seche Vite also didn’t completely even out the finish on this, so my nails looked chunky rather than smooth.

Also, this stained my nail beds hot pink, even though I used base coat under it. Why hot pink, for a dark purple polish? Dear reader, I have no more idea than you do; just keep it in mind if you decide to pick this up.

Sally Hansen Color Foil "nail makeup" in "Purple Alloy"
Sally Hansen Color Foil “Nail Makeup” in “Purple Alloy”

This is what I put on today after taking off Orbit, so I have no real idea how it’s going to last, though I suspect it will chip quickly (I’ll keep you guys informed about that). The biggest things I noticed about this polish are

1) That it’s labeled “nail makeup” rather than “nail polish”. For no particular reason, I suspect this to be code for “it’ll last about as long as you leave on face makeup, rather than as long as nail polish does”. The label also explicitly notes that you should “touch up as needed”. Yeah, I don’t think I’m going to get a week out of this baby.

2) You know how all nail polish tells you to “shake well” and you’re like “yeah uh-huh, looks fine to me” and you maybe give it one halfhearted shake and call it good? Yeah, no, you can’t do that here. When they say to shake they mean it, because the purple pigment and the silver “foil” pigment separate, and if you don’t give it a good five-second shaking, you’re going to end up with some purple streaks and some silver ones.

Oh, also I got this one everywhere when trying to put it on, too. Yay me.

Revlon Parfumerie Orange Blossom = fail

I’ve been having crazy amounts of success with Revlon products recently. I’m in love with their various types of balm lip crayons, I adore their new Gel Envy nail polish line, and their Parfumerie nail polish line made me wonder why I ever doubted the idea of scented nail polish.

Until today. Today, I decided to hop aboard the summer neon trend and paint my nails with one of my newer Parfumerie acquisitions: Orange Blossom. This is a gorgeous, full-bodied orange color that smells, at least to me, like an orange creamsicle. A creamsicle, guys! What could possibly go wrong?

Revlon orange blossom in bottle
Mmmm, creamsicles

Unfortunately, and very uncharacteristically for this line of polishes, it turns out a lot can go wrong. And by “a lot” I mean “all the streaks. All of them.”

Revlon orange blossom polish
That accent nail, by the way, is also Revlon, this time their new Leather finish in “Leather Skinnies”. Love!

I could not get this polish to even out. It just has no self-level, at all. I tried with base coat, I tried without base coat. I tried thin coats, I tried thick coats. I tried slapping the polish on quickly to avoid dragging, I tried applying it painstakingly slowly. I tried slathering Seche Vite on top to even things up, but all that did was make photography more difficult because of the shine. Nothing worked; no matter what I did, my polish looked like it had been put on by a two-year-old.

Revlon orange blossom polish 2
This is the best photo I was able to get of this hot mess

These photos don’t quite do the mess justice; in real life, the streaks were much, much more evident, but the glare in the pics masks it a bit. It looked so bad, even from a distance, that I didn’t even bother to clean it up or try it on my other hand. I just called it a loss and acetone-d the whole thing into oblivion.

(Comic relief: my husband just came into my work room and asked if I’d painted my nails. I told him that I had, but it looked so bad that I had taken it right off, and offered to show him a picture. I showed him the first swatch from this post, and his response was “Well of course it looked bad, you painted your fingers two completely different colors!” Ah, men.)

My results with Orange Blossom were really, really disappointing, not only because I’ve found that Revlon products are usually very high-quality, but because this particular line of polishes has otherwise proven to be so great for me. The other Parfumerie polishes I’ve tried have applied with no problems at all, and lasted for nearly a week before the first chip. Other than the frosty-finished ones (which tend toward sheerness), many of my Parfumerie polishes have been one-coat wonders, or close to it. The only other Parfumerie polish I’ve had trouble with has been Apricot Nectar, a paler orange, which was also very streaky. I find myself wondering if something in Revlon’s formula for oranges has gone very wrong.

Don’t let this stop you from trying out Revlon Parfumerie polishes, guys. In general, they’re awesome. Just…maybe avoid the oranges if you’re not into streaks.

Welcome and a philosophy

Welcome to my blog! Come in, have a seat – no, not that one, I spilled some nail polish there a little while ago. I’m Amelia, and I’m a klutz – but you could probably tell that from the way I just tripped over a shoe on the floor while showing you in.

I’ve never been grace incarnate. In school, I was the band geek, not the athlete. Now that I’m an old lady in my thirties, I’m still pretty much a geek, though without the band. I love Doctor Who and Star Trek. I really want to learn how to program in Python. The concept of “beauty” as some sort of societal ideal isn’t really something I focus on compared to, well, everything else in the world that’s more important (like why Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse got cancelled so prematurely!). In fact, it wasn’t until a year or so ago that I really got interested in makeup for the first time in my life. I mean, I went through the usual teenage “throw on some eyeshadow and mascara for the boys” phase, but I never really learned how to pick or coordinate colors, or how to do things like, er, apply eyeliner without turning myself into a raccoon.

My current makeup obsession started with a wedding and a lipstick. Specifically, my wedding, and the MAC Captive lipstick suggested by the makeup artist I hired to pretty me up for the event. Something about the way she made me look like still-me-but-better, and then the way that lipstick just felt like luxury in a tube, hit a switch in my mind that hadn’t registered before: makeup can be for me. It doesn’t have to be there “for the men to like” or “because I have to put on my face before I can go out” or “because I have imperfections I need to cover up” – I can use makeup just because I like the way it makes me look, or because I’m feeling playful about colors, or to bring out features I love rather than to hide ones I don’t like. I don’t have to wear it every day, and in fact, I don’t. Makeup for me is a fun thing I do when I want to, rather than something I have to do so I can leave the house without feeling like I’m bad at performing “womanhood”.

Ever since I learned what makeup can be, I’ve been on a quest to learn, well, how to do it. It turns out when you don’t spend your formative years learning all the tricks, that can be a tall order, especially when you’re not the world’s most coordinated girl to begin with. My looks tend to consist of knowing what I want, and then hoping it all works out somehow when I execute it. And to be honest, I think that’s how a lot of us work this stuff.

The really great bloggers, the ones we all subscribe to, have worked incredibly hard to acquire the skills they use to create their work, and I suspect most makeup and craft bloggers are also blessed with goodly amounts of hand-eye coordination. But for the rest of us, it matters how easy or hard something is to do, and whether it can be replicated by someone who’s perhaps not all that fantastic at what they’re doing. That’s why sites like The Pintester have become so popular – it’s great to see what someone really good at what they do can make, but we also want to know what happens when the average person tries the same thing.

And that’s what I’m aiming for here at The Makeup Klutz. I’m not going to be the person who publishes perfect photos of perfect looks on a perfect face. I couldn’t be if I tried; I’d just spend a lot of time being frustrated. When you come here, you’re going to see what this stuff looks like when done by someone unskilled-to-average who’s learning their way as they go. No perfect edges, no magical contouring, no flawless cuticles or skin. Just someone who likes playing with makeup doing what she likes, so that you can see how yours might come out. If that sounds useful to you, great! Pull up a chair – no, still not that one – and stay a while to read and comment 🙂