Thursday, February 28, 2013

Physician's Formula "Nude" Palletes, the Cheap Alternative to the Naked Pallete

Photo by Mark Raker

 Hello All,
Sorry I've taken my sweet ass time getting back to this blog, but some potentially exciting things were happening. More to come about that later. 

 So the other day I was playing with my friend's Naked and Naked 2 Palletes from Urban Decay and I loooved them. But not for $100. Okay, that's a lie if I had $100 that's where it would have gone, but I did not. Being a freelance writer is not exactly conducive to spending $100 on eyeshadow, or anything really. Like really, the next time one of those charity collectors stops me on the street and asks me for money I'm just gonna say "Oh. I'm a freelance writer" and they're gonna be like "OH! I'm so sorry I had no idea..." and promptly give me their jar of change. So while the job search continues I'm not exactly flush with funds at the moment.

  My hopes and dreams were not completely crushed however after seeing the new Nude line from Physician's Formula. They really have a nice little assortment ranging from the colors of the Naked palletes and even beyond.  I received the Smokey Nude pallete from a friend and adored it so much that when I was itching for the Naked pallete I snatched up the Classic Nude collection myself. You see these babies are only like $11 bucks and then I did not have to spend $50 on the Urban Decay 
shit, so I was actually saving money. That right there is how logic works. Mmhmm.

I have to admit the velvety texture of the original Naked Palette is untouchable, but these are pretty good too. They are pretty well pigmented and I think I even like the color selection a bit better. They're really versatile as you can wear them alone for a smokey nude eye, or pair them with other colors. I only have two of them (so far) but there is a version to suit every skin tone. If you're looking for a cheap, good quality nude set look no further.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Guest Post: Tasneem on Ruby Red Lips

 My tried and true method for red lips that last (pretty much) all night long

I don’t know about you, but none of those “red lips that last!” tutorials ever work for me. I feel like I’ve tried pretty much every variation of the standard steps, e.g. use lip liner, apply thin layers of color with a lip brush, blot, set with a translucent powder, find a unicorn, hug it deeply, etc. As someone who’s been performing since age five and is thusly well-accustomed to the art of SUPER INTENSE stage makeup, I’ve waded through over two decades of lip color innovation. And by innovation, I pretty much just mean that the most exciting development was the kind that you paint on, and then you have to make your mouth into a weird blow up doll shape while it dries, and then you put on the lip balm that comes with it so your lips don’t die from dehydration…and then? And then it just cracks and flakes off in a few hours anyways. Yeah, fuck that shit.

When primers became the new darling of the makeup world a few years back, I thought that my lipstick-related prayers were answered. Sadly, none of the lip primers I tried out seemed to make that much of a difference for me. I was a saaaaad panda. I came to terms with the idea that if I wanted to wear lipstick, I’d just have to be that chick who checks her lipstick every fifteen minutes.

But then. BUT THEN! I went to Sephora to have a makeup playdate with myself (y’know, like you do) and I stumbled upon an amazing stain. I was very skeptical at first – stains are one of the lip color innovations I’ve scoffed at over the years. As I am a darker skinned lady (think MAC Face and Body in C6/MAC StudioFinish Concealer in NC42 – they’re the closest foundation/concealer I’ve found) with darker coloring (raven hair that is somewhere between 1 and 1B with espresso tones, dark chocolate colored eyes), I‘ve learned that I require highly-pigmented (and usually more expensive, boo) makeup. However, when I swatched this stain, it stayed put on my hand, even through a few washes with soap! And now I share it with you:

Stila Lip and Cheek Stain in Acai Crush! 

I’ve heard the other stains in this line are great too, but I’ve had the best success with this particular shade. This gorgeous highly-pigmented stain with a light and smooth gel-like consistency is the key to my ruby red long-lasting lips.

Here’s what I do, from start to finish:

1.Emolliate with a jelly-style emollient. I love Aquaphor for this, or the ubiquitous Tyra Banks approved Vaseline - I use the cocoa butter one! Let it do its thang for a few minutes, then blot it off onto a paper towel.

2. Exfoliate gently with a method of your choice. You can buy one of those schmancy lip exfoliants, but my mom swears by the old olive oil and sugar trick, which I’ve modified by using brown sugar or confectioners’ sugar instead of regular granulated sugar. I use just enough olive oil to make the mix into a paste-like consistency, rub the concoction on my lips, rinse off, and then pat dry. Be aware that my skin is pretty resilient, though, so YMMV.

3. Emolliate again immediately with a light lip balm. I recommend Nivea A Kiss of Moisture (dark blue tube) or Nivea A Kiss of Smoothness (light blue tube) for this. As with step 1, let it sit for a few minutes, and then blot it off.

4. Apply lip liner of your choice (optional) and then apply the Stila stain. I don’t generally line my lips as my lipstick doesn’t tend to bleed, but if yours does, I highly recommend lining your lips with a liner of your choice. Then, fill in your lips with the stain. Try to use even strokes that ensure each area of each lip has the same amount of product in terms of layers and pigment distribution. I usually end up doing 2 to 3 very thin layers on each quadrant of my mouth. Once you have finished applying the stain, let it dry and set for a few minutes.

This technique may take a few tries, so don’t get too discouraged!

Nota Bene: A lot of Stila’s products are clickable pen applicators, and this one is no exception. The first time you use it, it can take a bunch of clicks for the product to appear on the brush. This is normal. I recommend clicking the top 4 or 5 times, then wait a few seconds for the product to emerge, then click a few more times if there’s no product/not enough product, wait another few seconds, rinse, repeat. Don’t get impatient like me and click thirty times and then end up wasting a bunch of product.

5. Apply lipstick of your choice over the stain base. Voila! Red lipped glamour and glory is yours!

As for which lipstick to choose: I don’t tend to splurge when it comes to lipsticks, especially since I
have had great success recently with the reds in the L'Oréal Infallible Le Rouge line and CoverGirl LipPerfection Lipcolor line. There’s still some color transfer with each of these lines, but it’s minimal.

I must confess that the large glowing photo of Beyoncé on the L'Oréal store display featuring her wearing L'Oréal Infallible Le Rouge Refined Ruby is the reason that I chose that particular shade because QUEEN BEY!!! Luckily for me and my occasional impulse-buying habit, it turns out that this shade is super versatile. It’s a bit sticky while it’s setting which weirded me out at first, but it turns out that once it’s set, this stuff stays. the eff. in place.

The CoverGirl LipPerfection Lipcolor line has some amazing colors with a smooth and creamy application and fairly long wear AND A SHINY TUBE! I like Euphoria (dark mauve-red) and Tempt (dark hot pink) in particular.

When I'm going for a matte red, I layer Tarte LipSurgence Matte Lip Tint in Fiery or Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella over the Stila stain. The matte crayons/pencils sometimes get oddly clumpy if you retouch, but they last a long time after the initial application. Plus, the Tarte one smells minty! Huzzah!

Be aware that all of these long wear colors can be somewhat drying. So far, I haven’t found a good lipstick that stays put AND is actually hydrating, but like I said, my skin is resilient so it’s not too much of an issue for me. If it is an issue for you, caveat emptor!

Here’s hoping this method works out for you. I know that when I figured this method out, I felt like the heavens opened up and shone down a warm buttery beam of light upon me. Got anything like that? Please share in the comments section, because sharing is caring! Yay!


In a future episode: Ruby Red - glitter lips edition, coming direct to you from NYC’s drag and burlesque scene! 

(Cross-posted to socialworkandglitter:

Friday, February 8, 2013

Benefit Fake Up Concealer

Hello dear readers,

 Sorry I've been behind in my blogging! I can change.  I'll try to work on it, please keep loving me. I'm nothing without you. Whatever.

 Anyway, a few weeks ago I got invited to the very exciting Press Preview for Benefit Cosmetic's new concealer, Fake Up.  It was a super cute event, structured like a game of clue. Someone "stole the fake up" and you had to guess who it was after meeting a few memorable characters including a sexy maid and a rich sophisticate. These parts were not played by actresses, but Benefit employees. They did a wonderful job!

She was great!

  I actually really like the product, which thank god because I refuse to write fluff reviews. I would have felt like a huge asshole if the nice people had invited me to their party and then I hated it and didn't review it. Thankfully that wasn't an issue. I was really happy that it's actually a great concealer. I'm not sure where the inspiration for the name came from, since it's once of the most natural concealers I've used. Nothing fake about Fake Up. The packaging is really cute too, if you are a sucker for shiny things, like me.

 This product was designed to hide dark circles and diffuse fine lines by containing a hydrating ring of Vitamin E and apple seed extract around a concealing core which diffuses light. It's almost like a combination lip balm/concealer so it's super moisturizing. It reminds me a lot of something my friend Laura and I used to do in hs after we had been sick:mix some vaseline with some super thick concealer to put around our eyes and noses to combat dry, flakey skin. It worked like a charm and so does this, I was wondering when the beauty industry would produce something like this.

 My only complaint is that it only comes in a range of three colors! This really sucks because their lightest shade, while it blends better than most is slightly too dark for me. I can kind of get away with it but in day light it doesn't work. I'm actually really upset about this because I would absolutely switch to this as my go to concealer, but sadly I can't. I also would like to recommend this to everyone because it really is one of the best concealers I've ever used, but unless you fall in the medium spectrum of skin tones and veer towards the yellow side, it's not going to work for you. This product launches in March and hopefully they will expand their color range some time after that. If one of these colors does work for you, I absolutely reccommend this!

 Also, when I announced I was attending this event people practically swarmed me asking if I could find out what the deal was with Benefit's blue lip gloss. It turns out this gloss is called California Kissin' and it's blue tint is intended to make teeth look whiter. It also has a minty, breath freshening flavor. There is actually something to this, using any sort of shade with blue undertones will make teeth look whiter. You can wear this alone or over a lipstick. I like.

 In closing, I really love this product and I just wish it loved me a little bit more. Please make a lighter shade for my pasty ass, Benefit! I would love to be drinking your kool aid.