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Monday, December 23, 2013

Dude, it's been a crazy year!

Hey everyone...long time no see!


It's been a crazy year! We moved cross country...twice actually...and are now residing in South Carolina, USA!

It's so nice to have the entire family in one house again.

Hubs has been touting my makeup prowess to anyone and everyone, so now that we're settled in, I may as well start plugging away again!

Stay tuned!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Happy shopping! Some Black Friday-Cyber Monday Deals!

Urban Decay Cosmetics Super Saturated Lip-Pencil Bundle!

http://www.urbandecay.com/7-super-saturated-lip-gloss-from-urban-decay-for-black-friday/357,default,pd.html

Philosophy Black Friday Doorbusters:
http://www.philosophy.com/sale/C640,en_US,sc.html?cm_mmc=responsys-_-nov12-_-bf-_-L07

Temptu Pro:
Use code Friends30 at checkout for 30% off!

Nordstrom Gift With Purchase Specials!
http://shop.nordstrom.com/c/beauty-gifts-with-purchase?redirectmobile=false&cm_ven=EMAIL&cm_cat=112312&cm_pla=evtlck_beauty_black_friday_private_shop&cm_ite=giftpurch&cm_em=26612273

Sedona Lace:
50% off plus free shipping to the US! Use code 50Free at checkout

MAC:
Grey Friday Special! http://www.maccosmetics.com/picks/sets_collection.tmpl?CATEGORY_ID=CAT10382&cm_mmc=email-_-nov-_-1123_Grey%20Friday-_-main

ULTA:
Doorbusters! http://www.ulta.com/blackfriday/

Real Techniques:
Enter code "CYBERMON" at checkout to receive a free deluxe crease brush with your order of $25! 

Sephora:
1 day wonders! http://www.sephora.com/gifts#!pageSize=60&sortBy=-1&categoryId=cat200029



 


Monday, November 12, 2012

Your Next Tube of Mascara-CoverGirl LashBlast Clump Crusher Review

I confess, I'm a mascara snob.

I somehow managed to get brows that constantly need pruning and fixative and some seriously wimpy lashes and hair. Cruel fate! Anything that promises a big lash is in my makeup bag, and usually money is no object. Still, I haven't found a formula that I've been overall impressed with...until CoverGirl LashBlast Clump Crusher Mascara came into my life two weeks ago!

My new favorite mascara
Being the mascara snob that I am, I would have walked right by the display in CVS  if I hadn't read about this mascara in Allure Magazine where it was listed in Beauty Breakthroughs.

Here's what makes this such a winner:

1. It stays on until you take it off: I always buy waterproof mascara because I'm such a greaseball. Usually when I attempt to wear a regular formula mascara,  I end up with greasy mascara hashmarks on my upper lids, or bloodshot raccoon eyes...or both. I've worn this every day for two weeks and it hasn't flaked or traveled elsewhere on my face yet.

2. It's easy to remove when you want to remove it: Despite it's awesome staying power, no oil based makeup remover is needed. At the end of the day if you're exhausted, it comes off easily with makeup removing wipes or Bioderma.

As a side note, if you have eyelash extensions, this would be an excellent mascara to use with them since it doesn't require an oil based remover or lots of tugging and rubbing to take off.

3. No clumps! Seriously, I tried putting on about 10 coats of this and I still can't get my lashes to look like fly legs.

4. No flakes! Besides resisting my greasies, I also don't find random "new" freckles on my face during the day. The formula dries soft and flexible, not stiff.

Image: Allure.com
5. The brush: It's easy to control on both upper and lower lashes. Not ridiculously huge, but not too tiny either. The plastic bristles stay clean and clump free, which means less clumping on the lashes. 

6. The Endorsement: Even world renowned cosmetic chemist Ni'kita Wilson told Allure Magazine "I'm so impressed, I've made it my go-to mascara." I wonder how many mascaras she has access to?!

7. The Price:  $6 USD. That means I could buy 6 tubes of CoverGirl Clump Crusher for the price of one tube of my usual not as impressive mascara.

Here's a pic of my lashes with a few coats of Clump Crusher Last Blast and a little bit of kajal (and nothing else on my face) :

My eye...
As you can see, my lashes are not crazy impressive without my glue on lashes, but they're practically invisible without mascara. Plus, no fly legs and no black freckles.  

CoverGirl LashBlast Clump Crusher Mascara is available now in select markets like CVS, but should be available everywhere by the end of the month. At $6 USD a pop, it would be silly of you not to try it!








Thursday, October 25, 2012

MAC Pro Now Available Online!


How exciting! MAC Pro is now available online!!!

Click here to go to the MAC Cosmetics site and check out all the fun stuff they have available!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

CC Creams: What's Next, DD Creams?

Just when I thought I was all hip for knowing what BB Creams were, here come the CC creams; CC meaning "color and care" or "color and correct".

Like your BB Cream, but want something with better coverage with anti-aging and diminished discoloration benefits? CC Creams are your best bet. It's BB Cream for grown ups. I'm pretty excited because I'm getting up there in age. The only thing that's helping me look younger lately is my lack of height and some hair color.

There are quite a few CC Creams out on the Asian market already; even Chanel has jumped on the CC bandwagon! For those of us who do not travel to Asia from the USA Chanel's CC Cream is going for about $75 USD a pop on EBay. I'm not that curious (or rich).

Luckily, Olay Total Effects CC Tone Correcting Moisturizer hits the U.S. market this month and retails for about $25 USD.
Have you tried CC Creams yet?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Kajaloholic



My Honey Boo Boo is in the United Arab Emirates on business! Sounds awesome, right? Of course right after I got over the fact that I was not going with him to explore what is probably the world's most insane shopping destinations a la Carrie Bradshaw, I started checking out the Emirati beauty blogs to see what sort of beauty goodies he could bring back for me. And how do they get that perfect smoky eye anyway? That perfect black waterline and tightline? Then I read it..."Kajal" or "Surma". Paste, cone, pencil, or powder. Apply to waterline and instantly look sexy and mysterious. Some brands make downright bizarre claims, but all I cared about was being able to line my waterline without looking like Taylor Momsen soon afterwards because that is not the look I'm going for.  I decided I couldn't wait for hubs, I wanted to try it now!

Not So Authentic Kohl/Kajal/Surma

Apparently, lots of companies make a kajal liner. Some are not all that authentic, some are not kajal at all. Givenchy makes two authentic style kajals; a cone and a powder. Both are about $36 USD. The packaging is fantastic!   Unfortunately, I am unable to attest to to magical Guerlain eyelining powers, but I'm tempted to buy one of these just because it would look so cool at my makeup mirror...a real ritual!

Guerlain Khol
Guerlain Kajal


Sephora, Victoria's Secret, and Clarins have made kajal bullets or cones on a seasonal or limited edition basis. Most major brands have a kajal that they market overseas; in fact the most popular kajal right now in India is the Maybelline Colossal Kajal. It gets awesome ratings. Of course I want one.



 L'Oreal has actually made two attempts at bringing kajal to the US market. One flopped, the other has just been released. The one that flopped was actually part of their H.I.P. line. I actually bought it when it was 75% off  at CVS and after a few attempts, threw it in a drawer since (surprise) I didn't know how to use it. If I'd known the proper way to word it, I would have been on YouTube learning how to apply it and  wearing it sooner. Here it is:
The liner and how to apply it


It's a stick. In some powder. Anyone who has an old container of Bare Minerals laying around knows that powder gets EVERYWHERE and is therefore an intimidating choice for contact lens wearers and anyone who travels often, but when applied properly, it can stay for quite a while as the moisture from your eye creates an almost paste-like consistency on the waterline. I dug it out of my makeup drawer and tried applying it again after watching some How To videos on YouTube and it really does make a nice black budge proof line!

You can still purchase this from the L'Oreal website for about $13 USD. 

I picked up L'Oreal's Voluminous Smouldering Eyeliner in the exchange while buying toilet paper and sunblock because again, it was on sale. Sadly, I wasn't as impressed. When I looked at the package again, I noticed that it said it was kajal "inspired". It's really just a big, pointy kajal imitator eye pencil. Boo. It was $6 USD.


Controversy, controversy...

 I called a few Indo Pak grocery stores, a few Middle Eastern markets, an Indian clothing store, and the woman I go to keep my eyebrows from becoming an eyebrow to see if I could find some authentic kajal liners. The kind that are touted as Ayurvedic medicine, although some make ridiculous claims like that they will restore your vision and you can "throw away your spectacles". I'm here to tell you that even after a few weeks of kajal wear, I have glasses on right now. 

Real kajals  are hard to find in the USA (but not impossible) since they're restricted for import  due to some of the traditional ayurvedic formulas containing lead.

The Hashmi stick is the kajal everyone goes bonkers for and also the kajal attached to the NYC lead controversy. Back in 2007, the NYC Health Department reported that kajal or surma samples they took contained lead. Since that report came out, the company that makes the very popular Hashmi Kohl, Kajal, or Surma has gone out of their way to get the word out that the product does not contain lead. The apparent  lead containing ingredient has been replaced with carbon or "amorphous black". You can check their site for toxicology reports conducted in the US in 2009 and 2011 at www.hashmisurma.com. and ISO certificates. The lead report from NYC was dated 2007; The kajal stick I have was manufactured in 2011 and is labeled Pb 0.00%. If that's not good enough, you can always get a lead detection kit and test it yourself. It costs about $15 USD for 8 tests. They're good to have around if you live in an old house or have small children who put toys in their mouths.


Now, one may argue that lots of products contain lead...and they do (check out this list http://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/lead/sources.htm), but are you intentionally sticking most of those products in your eye? Probably not. Lots of them go on your lips. Of course, the controversial Hashmi Kajal is my favorite, despite the controversy. It's the fastest, delivers the best color, is the longest lasting and the oldest formula (coming from a company over 200 years old). It glides on like butter, probably because butter is one of the ingredients. There's nothing unrecognizable in it. Here's a video demonstrating how to apply cone shaped Kajal:


Cool, huh? I got this one at a middle eastern market and paid $4 USD which is apparently an outrageous markup, but I've seen them sold online for up to $15 USD each. With all the money I've spent on liners that never stuck to my waterline, I would have gladly spent $15. If you get your hands on one, sanitize it first by giving it a rub with a paper towel and then wipe it with an alcohol swab. If you apply it as shown in the video, it will never dull or need to be sharpened and 1 cone should last about 2 years with daily use. Not bad, huh?

Here's my entire collection:


My collection

The Lakme Kajal pencil I picked up at the Indo Pak Grocery was about $3 USD, which from what I hear is an outrageous markup because "they're so cheap in India", but when I factor in the price of an airplane ticket, I'd say I got a good deal. It delivers a really nice, shiny black line , but it's a bit difficult to keep the point and sharpen. The pencil part of it is plastic. I guess for $3 I can't complain.

The Shingar Kajal Paste I picked up in another grocery  reminded me of MAC's Blacktrack, but almost a  vinyl coated version of it. I applied it with a MAC 210 brush and I got a beautiful shiny, plastic line that lasted all day. The formula has camphor in it, so it does feel nice on the eyes. As you can see, the packaging is very plain, which doesn't bother me any...I'm a no frills kind of gal sometimes, BUT I noticed that even two days after I removed it, I could still kind of taste camphor at the back of my mouth. I couldn't find a list of ingredients anywhere online, but I did find a few articles stating that this formula may contain lead. Buzzkill. It cost 85 cents, but it went in the trash after that.

If you've been desperately looking for something to stick to your waterline, find a kajal. Once they "set", they don't really travel. It just fades off instead of going somewhere else on your face.

Pulling off the kajal look is so easy! A steady hand and a strong brow and a clean face. Keep it simple! Primer, foundation, a bit of shadow in the crease and a filled in full brows (try MAC Cork for both!), mascara, and a peachy blush (such as MAC Mineralize Warm Soul) and gloss.







Tuesday, September 18, 2012

False Lash Bummer!

I had such high hopes for Too Faced's Better Than False Lashes Lash Extension System! I am so disappointed that it did not work out the way I thought it would.

I don't have super wimpy lashes, they're there, but they're not exceptional by any means. I don't need false lashes on a daily basis, but I will break them out for special occasions. If I'm just going to work, I do not need false lashes; a little bit of mascara is plenty. Besides, I work with a bunch of guys who
 (1) are mostly retired military and don't normally have contact with women outside their own home (except me)
(2) have seen me without makeup anyway, and
(3) have no idea how to approach any subject relating to women  they are not related to in some way.

When I show up at work without makeup, most of the guys I work with will tell me that I look "tired". They also tell me when I need to get my roots done or when I need to wax my upper lip because they think they're being helpful/funny.

Anyway, the lashes...even though I don't NEED them per se, I thought it would be neat to have ridiculous lashes without expensive lash extensions, Latisse, or the old fashioned glue-on method, so when Better Than False Lashes arrived at the Marine Corps Exchange, I figured this was my chance to try it out at a discount.

So what went wrong with this coveted three step lash enhancement system? A few things.

First of all, the "activating mascara", which is both step one and three of the system is very sticky; an absolutely fine quality to have if you don't blink from the time you apply the mascara, until the time you remove it. Unlikely.

Step two is to brush on a coat of Flexistretch™ Nylon Fibers to built up the lashes. Again, all fine and good until the fibers that don't stick to your lashes get everywhere; in your eyes, in your bangs, and God help you if you're wearing lip gloss. It's like a very small pillow fight took place on your face.

What I expected my eye makeup to look like (RuPaul)
Then you finish by applying another coat of the sticky mascara and voila! Falsies! I stepped back from the mirror expecting high RuPaul-like drama. Meh, not so much.

What my eye makeup actually looked like (Amy Winehouse, may she R.I.P.)


In fact, it was less impressive than my usual Lancome Hypnose Drama. Then I blinked and my upper and lower lashes stuck together, effectively gluing my left eye shut. What the?!?! I pried my eyelids apart, losing a few lashes in the process and reread the directions because surely, I thought, I'd done something wrong. There was no drag queen drama and my sticky upper and lower lashes had made my eyes into a potential Venus Flytrap. I scanned the directions again, but it looked like I had done everything right, so I just kept it on and went to work. This was a mistake.

The entire day I fought flakes of the fibers falling into my eyes and my eyelashes still sticking together at random and inopportune moments. Remember how I said I work with a lot of overly honest older gentlemen? My entire day was filled with concerned questions and remarks about eye irritation, my lashes being stuck together, questions about whether I'd gotten beaten up after a giant smudge appeared under one eye, nylon fiber "fuzz", nylon fiber "bugs", and to top it off, the ever popular "You look like a raccoon." and "Why are you crying? Something I said again? Is it because of your mustache?".

I removed what was left as soon as I got home. I read some reviews on Beautylish and I agree that It's difficult to remove because it almost breaks off into little pieces. I returned it yesterday and I've showered twice since my last Better Than False Lashes attempt and I'm still finding little nylon fiber "bugs" on things today. In fact, the only 5 star review of the product on Beautylish was titled "Can't Wait To Try It!" or something along those lines.

There were a few mentions of another product from Hard Candy Cosmetics called 1000 Lashes which sells for $6 USD at Walmart. From the reviews, it looks like a very similar product at a much lower price point, except that you just get the nylon fibers and buy your choice of mascara separately. I'd try it if I could stomach our local Walmart.

For now, I'll just stick with the old fashioned method if I need some high drama drag queen lashes and glue them on.
Me, wearing my lashes (I bought them, so they're mine).