Pretty things! Part 1.
So, I have That Beauty Blog (that I never update anymore).
But: I have a loathe/hate relationship with Tumblr’s “mobile-friendly” interface, they charge too much for most of their “themes,” I ended up with a cross-post entanglement mess between this site and the other (meaning lots of duplicate publishing), and….I just got tired of dealing with Tumblr. And their “wait — you want to post more than a picture you’re hoping will go viral…??? What are you doing here?” mentality grates.
Eventually the plan is to scoot that content over to WordPress and actually develop that site into something classy and easier on the eyes…….. but the last time I tried that it took 72 hours for the DNS records to update, and……by then I got tired of waiting and moved it back to Tumblr.
All of that preamble is to say: I’m momentarily bringing “Junk I bought” back to it’s original home, because I realized the other day: I have a cosmetic case full of Really Good Stuff I’ve accumulated lately, and — if I can’t share the wealth of knowledge that springs from the wealth of money blown, what fun is that??????? Here we go — we’ll call this “Junk I bought, 3.0″
A few thoughts before I just start tossing links out there:
About 2 months ago I went through something of a “beauty philosophy revitalization.” Blame my obsession with Into The Gloss and all of their glorious interviews with famous people about their famous-people beauty routines, ………or……blame how much the glut of YouTube makeup artist wannabe’s turned me off to the whole “More! More! More!” take on beauty (come on — at some point, the whole “Buy Every MAC Product and Put Them All on Your Face At Once” attitude gets tired. Just like your skin).
Either way — had a complete about-face regarding The Face. Want a “flawless complexion?” *Perhaps* we might want to ditch the 4 layers of primer and luminizer and foundation and concealer and powder and try drinking more water, get a bit of exercise, DITCH THAT DIET SODA, and — for the love of all that is holy about our bodies — eat MORE FRUITS AND VEGGIES. Juice it if you have to in order to get plenty of Green stuff down the hatch — treat your skin as the ultimate reflection of what’s going on INSIDE your body. All of the “Prep and Prime” in the world isn’t going to fix the fact the fact that aspartame and processed food is making your skin dull and cranky and your hair brittle (and probably giving you CrazyCarbCravings).
Just a thought.
I get it, everyone’s skin is different, everyone’s body chemistry is different – I understand. But — doing good stuff for yourself never hurts, either way. I say this as a “reformed diet soda fiend” who has forced herself to drink at LEAST 70 oz of water a day, twice that most days. I say that as someone who used to live on bags of neon, gummy, sour-coated candy, lattes loaded with yummy-tasting chemicals, and french fries. Seriously. Sour patch kids and Diet Dr Pepper were standard issue “lunchtime fare” for me. It’s *amazing* that my pancreas hasn’t lost its will to live, entirely.
I thought my hair and skin were dry and I was prone to headaches stemming from neck problems. Turns out my skin was DEHYDRATED. My headaches were my body’s version of a baby’s cry for milk — I needed WATER. My headaches have all but disappeared. I hardly need moisturizer. My hair is more glossy (with less product). Sure, I have the occasional zit (because I love my bubbly and still love my sugar, frankly…..the higher sugar days = the days followed by a spot or two or three), but my skin feels more balanced and more cooperative these days, with less effort. So — there’s my “heal your insides, your outsides will follow” philosophy.
So that’s what I did.
Sometime over the course of the winter, I ditched my “full face” routine. Concentrated on getting my skin healthier from the inside out (it’s a work in progress). I wanted to like my face, WITHOUT the glop all over it. I wanted to feel great in bright, natural sunlight (rather than worrying if I had blended well). I wanted to be comfortable hopping out of bed, splashing my face with water, and heading into work without requiring a tackle box of beauty goodies. I wanted to get comfortable with the way UN-covered-up Heather looked, and then treat the cosmetics as a treat rather than a mandate.
Also: I was sort of inspired by some good ol’ fashioned French Minimalism when it comes to makeup. What’s more fun and low-maintenance than a nice clean face and some expensive red lipstick? For me, right now, that’s the goal. Feel better with less. Yes, I still carry around concealer to take care of “red nose.” I’ll still curl my eyelashes, no matter what else I give up. I still enjoy some nice moisturizer before bed. BUT — instead of giant tote bags and bathroom drawers and shoe boxes full of unused, once-used or hardly-used things, that clear zippered bag in the top picture there is the extent of my “stuff” these days, really.
Not my “daily” stuff — my “stuff” in its entirety.
Simplifies the routine, it really does.
That was a lot of “ado.” Without any more of that ado: Junk I tried! Part 1 (go HERE to see Part 2, the Skincare Stuff)
I’ve pretty well ditched any foundation — only for special occasions (like that upcoming work conference). I have, however, developed an appreciation for a tidy, portable, un-messy concealer that I can pop in the purse and use to dot over my nose or chin if I get a “spot” or two. This stuff is great. I like Chantecaille and their company’s Mission to merge nature and science in a conscientious way. And — they’re helmed by lovely French women.
The “New stick” is, technically, a foundation, but it’s got such a firm (dry?) texture I can’t imagine working it all over my face. Instead, it works great as a spot-concealer. Staying power: medium. Color options: decent. Price: somewhere between “really…..?” and “uh-uh” but well on this side of “you’ve gotta be kidding me.”
Would I buy it again?
Sure — I love portable things that come in shades with edible names like “Vanilla” and “Banana” and “Wheat” and “Camomile.”
This is one of those “cult favorite” products that makeup artists like to use. I researched this stuff for MONTHS before deciding if I was ready to cross the snobby threshold into $70 concealer territory. Aren’t I just paying for the hype? Aren’t there drugstore (or, ok, “Sephora”) products that are just as good? Are we just sheep, herded to the most-hyped products because we’ve been brainwashed into thinking we’re paying for more than the label on the tube…???
But I love this stuff. It’s become my go-to, always-in-my-purse, carry-it-with-me-everywhere item. For being a stick concealer, it’s surprisingly creamy. It blends beautifully. It looks like SKIN, when it’s on your skin. It stays put, melts into your complexion in a nice, natural, invisible way (it “settles” well, I’d say), and a tiny bit goes a long way. I’ve had mine for about 4 months, and with light daily use, I’ve made it through about 20% of the tube. That’s not bad.
Application works best with either a decently stiff concealer brush OR — my preferred method — fingers. To keep it clean and less germ-riddled, I swipe some onto the back of my hand, then tap it into place with a fingertip — that seems to blend better than swiping or smearing or applying straight from the tube.
If you’re cruising for something similar but can’t stomach the price tag, try…perhaps try the Bobbi Brown Touch-up Stick ($24) OR Tarte’s “Smooth Operator” Amazonian Clay Waterproof Concealer ($22). It’s also a soft, creamy stick, it blends well, it seems like the closest match I’ve found. It’s very….emollient (read: oilier), however and seems a bit more messy. Squishy. Doesn’t retain it’s shape in the tube quite as well (which may translate into more waste, which may also translate into more frequent replacement, which may ultimately mean you end up paying about the same amount of money, per use). I tend to think in terms of “cost per use,” and items that last a long time (even if pricey at face value), might end up being the better buy in the end.
Consider me a Cle de Peau devotee.
For your face!
Suspended in a yummy-smelling, cooling gel that makes your skin glow like the version of yourself that never drinks too much wine or binges on Reese’s cups at bedtime or stays out in the sun or forgets to take her makeup off at night!
This is a “primer,” technically, but if I want to give myself a little extra boost of luminosity, I’ll slap this stuff on after moisturizer and call it good (why cover up the gold?!?!?!). There are — truly — little flecks of gold in the formula. Those flecks sort of “dissolve” once it hits your skin, and what you’re left with is a brightened, happy, “I take good care of my skin” look, even if we, er….don’t.
I love this stuff. It’s great on those days when you feel like you look a little dull or sleepy. Perks the face right up.
Triple bonus point: NO SHIMMER. Shimmer makes my pores angry.
Guerlain – Rouge L’extrait Lip Color First of all: if a lipstick requires INSTRUCTIONS for how to OPEN the container, we have a design flaw. Second: if the container feels as heavy as WWII ordnance, we have a design flaw.
Guerlain describes this lipstick this way: ”Liquid, creamy, consistent, ultra-pigmented and velvety, the Rouge G l’Extrait exceptional lip color is the perfect combination of a lipstick and a gloss that ensures an incredibly sophisticated look. The liquid texture glides gently across lips and within a few moments, the silky color becomes matte. A non-sticky, non-drying and non-feathering texture leaves your lips looking flawless for hours.”
Do I agree? Er — anything that’s “ultra-pigmented” is, by nature, not going to feel much like a “gloss.” This is definitely a super-concentrated lip color, but it’s on the dry side. I went with a bright red (it’s my thing right now) that errs on the side of “brick” rather than “cherry,” without feeling too “Reality Bites”-esque.
Just doesn’t seem to last terribly long.
Settles into dry spots on the lips. Requires twisting and clicking and flapping to open and close………I’m not convinced this was worth the price tag. I’m beginning to think that when it comes to long-wear lipstick, we should stick with the drugstore options. Covergirl and Maybelline and Revlon and L’Oreal all have “industrial strength” liquid options that DO last all day, and….they cost about $12.
Don’t spend four times the cash for something that requires an engineer to open and close.
Here’s another “cult favorite” that you’ll see idol-worshipped on most beauty blogs. Check the “reviews” on websites that sell this and you’ll have hundreds of people raving about how amazing this stuff is.
Look — I know that Terry de Gunzburg is a hero in makeup circles, and I know that her “revolutionary” concealer/highlighter hybrid has launched a million replicas, but………..meh. This stuff is nothing special. Just about every beauty brand on the planet has a knock-off of this product, something that claims to illuminate the under-eye area, highlight the cheekbones, work magic on your cupid’s bow, all of that.
What I see here: a not-terribly-pigmented, messy-to-apply product that doesn’t seem especially hygienic, doesn’t cover imperfections all that well, doesn’t blend terribly well, doesn’t highlight with quite the intensity I’d hoped, and doesn’t seem to “stay put” as much as it seems to “evaporate immediately.”
If you’re gung-ho for a messy, self-contained, “click-to-dispense” sticky-brushed product, try the No.7 Radiant Glow Concealer for $9. I’m not usually one to insist on the cheaper duplicates (see my theories on “cost per use” with the Cle de Peau), but in this case, if you want a product that barely covers and barely highlights and makes a mess, don’t spend $40 to get there, no matter what the fancy New York beauty blog people say.
Dior — Diorskin Nude Skin-Perfecting Hydrating Concealer I’ve been a longtime Dior beauty fan.
I use Dior mascara and foundation when I feel like “puttin on my face,” and have nothing but good things to say about their products. This stuff was a little bit of a disappointment. With concealer, I expect a bit of viscosity, something creamy and thick enough to cover up spots and scars and redness. This — while quite blendable — seems not to cover anything very well.
It meets my “Looks like actual SKIN when applied” criteria, but the tube is difficult to work with (dispenses too much), the colors are actually TOO fair, for the most part (shock!), and the staying power is Flat Wimpy.
Dior claims it’s “hydrating,” “smooth,” and “velvety.” I suppose the hydrating bit may be true, it’s not dry, it’s runny, if anything. Sure, it’s smooth enough, it’s just a bit translucent. Velvety it ain’t.
Sorry, Dior — wouldn’t buy again.
This stuff is a little better.
The scent: VERY odd. Like “pharmaceutical”-odd. The coverage: very nice. The colors: VERY skin-like. Nice beige undertones. It claims to be long-lasting.
It’s a decent, medium-coverage, medium-consistency concealer that doesn’t seem to settle into pores or lines too terribly, and has decent color payoff. Doesn’t take much to cover plenty. As with all “wand”-style concealers, I can’t bring myself to daub the wand on my skin (again: unhygienic), but smear a little blob on the back of your hand or onto a brush and take it from there. As with the Cle de Peau, I prefer the “tap to blend” method to make the application more natural.
Would I buy it again?
I’m learning that I prefer a stick to a liquid or cream formula for concealers — they seem to work better for my face. And my nose is quite defiantly pink and will eschew just about any “wimpy” translucency, so……..I probably wouldn’t bother with this again.
BUT — if you prefer a lighter coverage and a thinner formula (not as thin as the Dior), give it a shot. Then again, it’s an awful lot like THIS stuff. And almost completely identical to this NARS stuff.
In a word: yes please.
Unless it’s nice red lipstick, I’m afraid of glosses. I don’t like shimmery lips, or goopy lips, or shiny lips, or “plastic-looking” lips.
I like a little bit of “sheen” but nothing that makes my lips look……slimy.
I typically go for Eight Hour Cream (see down below) or good old-fashioned Chapstick for my lips. I *might* try a tinted BALM, but even then: I prefer natural, moisturized lips that Look Like Lips. Nothing with chunks of sparkle or freaky frosted tinges of “Barbie doll.”
Along those lines: this stuff is magical. It’s moisturizing, it’s pretty much fragrance-free, it leaves ya with just the slightest *hint* of dewy, it works its way into your skin and just feels….SOOTHING.
Two thumbs up for a classy little alternative to Blistex.
Hear me out.
Sure, you can get a cheap drugstore eyelash curler for $5 absolutely anywhere. You can get a “mid-level” (Tweezerman or Tarte or Sephora) eyelash curler for $12-20.
OR……….you can get this puppy, the next-best-thing to a Shu Uemura. Skeptical? So was I. And then I tried this delightful contraption.
After nearly 20 years of curling my eyelashes, I’ve learned something new: These fancy brands curl better. This one: two squeezes for a few seconds and you’ve got lashes that look like they were…permed. And in a more natural, less-crimpy way than the cheap-o “E.L.F.” curler I bought like an idiot because it was $.99 and had a faux snakeskin handle. That thing ripped out a quarter of my lashes with one squeeze.
This Mercedes-of-eyelash-curlers gets the job done, and they stay curled all day. Seriously. Worth the price.
Maybe all I should say is: “smells like vanilla and feels like butter.” And comes in a gorgeous container. Yep, it’s pricey. Nope, I can’t really justify buying too many tubes of this, and — frankly — unless it’s red, I don’t bother anyway, BUT: there’s something so fun about allowing yourself silly luxuries that make you feel special when you use them that’s hard to keep completely at arm’s length. I love fun little treats……like a vanilla-scented lipstick that makes you feel like a movie star when you wear it.
See above. Is there EVER a reason to spend $30 on a nail polish when you can get it for $1.99 at the drugstore? Errrrrrr — I’d say a sheepish “….maybe….?” Actually — this is good stuff. Lovely colors (thankfully, shy on the shimmer), nice large bottle, and this stuff stays on for a Very Long Time. Treat yourself. My favorites: Smoke Red and Scarlet Chinois.
This stuff is absolutely crummy. Priced $2 less than the Tom Ford, the pretty red color “Rouge Pop Art” is identical to the Scarlet Chinois, but it chips in a matter of HOURS.
I’ve never had a nail color chip within HOURS.
And this is normal use.
Sure, I always seem to chip a finger or two when zipping up jeans or opening a container of something-or-other within a matter of days, but — HOURS? Unless I bought an old/faulty/otherwise compromised bottle, I’d say: steer clear.
And the cap is ridiculous as well. Perhaps mine was just broken, but the pretty gold top detaches from it’s black plastic “under-cap” as soon as you twist it open.
Skip, skip, skip.
This stuff has a lot of “hype” surrounding it right now. It’s a very highly-pigmented, matte liquid lip color that goes on with a gloss-like wand and dries-down to a shine-free, (apparently) long-wearing finish.
The colors are FUN. Lots of vibrant reds (with undertones to match about any complexion).
I like the *idea* of this lipstick better than I like the reality of it — the trick: it’s very difficult to apply evenly. A swipe of the wand slaps too much on your lips to be able to blend evenly. And too much means it ends up all over your teeth. And — it feels like it never really “sinks in.” Sort of floats on top of your lips, looking very lovely, actually, as long as you don’t plan to need your mouth for anything. Like speaking, or smiling, or sipping, or eating…..
So…..if you’re getting your photo taken, sure: put some of this on (and make sure to BLOT very well before smiling).
Perhaps a lighter color (I went for the straight-up 100% red, shade 400), you’d have better luck with the “less is more” application approach. I find it….difficult to work with, pretty as it may be (and I do love matte).
I bought this because I like how moisturizing the idea of a cream foundation sounds. I bought this AFTER I tried/returned the “Lasting Silk” formula (because it didn’t LAST long enough). This has a nice consistency (it’s very rich, smooth, “creamy”), but….no staying power. None. Seemed to begin wearing off in minutes.
Also — difficult/limited color selection. And difficult to apply evenly.
Learning to stay away from Armani foundations (until they come up with a way to stay-put for anywhere close to a full day’s worth of wear)
SO! Here are the “makeup” things. Coming up next: the “skin care things.” Go HERE for that.