Friday, December 19, 2014

Haus of Gloi Yule Haul

It took a while to get here, but now that it's arrived? Prepare for some heavy breathing, because I am still oh so in love with this brand.

In this post, I'm going to describe what I got and how it smells. If you want more detailed reviews on the individual product formulas, please click here.

PUMPKIN BUTTERS -- My holy grail body lotion! I got a full size of Hearth (my sweet, precious darling that I threw a fit over when it wasn't brought back last year), plus mini sizes of Satyr, Plotter's Breakfast, and Mango Sticky Rice. I've bought PB versions of Hearth and Satyr in the past, and they still smell as fabulous as ever: Hearth is like warm apple pie and cream, Satyr is a rich blood orange. I've had the Plotter's Breakfast sugar scrub before and really enjoyed it; it smells like oatmeal cooking on a wood stove to me. Luckily, the PB smells the same! The only scent that didn't work for me was Mango Sticky Rice. It smells just like the delightful Thai dessert in the jar, and on my mom's skin, but on me, it starts to smell like wax candy. :(

BODY EMULSION -- I wanted Aether, but it wasn't available (see note below), so I went with Vice instead. It's been a while since I've smelt the stuff, so this was a gamble. Luckily, it's fantastic: it smells like dark chocolate, with just a hint of graham cracker and marshmallow to sweeten it up, and some dark coffee to ground it. I notice that the fragrance oil is slightly better blended and more complex, but this is still delightful.

FRAGRANCE VIALS -- Snow Wolf was a freebie. It's not something I'd wear regularly, but I enjoy it. I decided to test out Insalata Nocturna for something different, and it really is a step away from my usual wheelhouse: bright, leafy, and herbal. I really do smell like a salad when I wear it, and I kinda like it! Plotter's Breakfast is too smokey for me to wear everyday, but for the occasional treat, paired with the pumpkin butter? Yes. And of course, I got a full vial of my beloved Hearth perfume. I can't risk it not coming back next year!

You'll notice a distinct lack of Aether (fragrance-free) products in this haul. This is not by choice; they just haven't restocked Aether in a while, and I wanted to make sure I got my Hearth stuff before it sold out. Rest assured that, if I have the money when they restock, Aether will be in my future. I get the same great moisturization, but I can layer any perfume I want on top!

Haus of Gloi products are available at

PSSSST--you can enter to win a $5 Haus of Gloi gift card, along with several other fantastic, carefully-curated prizes!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Anastasia Brow Products: A Run-Through

Anastasia Beverly Hills was launched by makeup artist Anastasia Soare in 1997. While they make a small variety of makeup products, the company has focused primarily on creating cult-favorite brow products, like the Brow Wiz pencil and the Clear Brow Gel. I have a hard time finding products that work for my sparse, fine brows, but there's a good chance that if it comes from ABH, I'll like it.

Obviously, this isn't every brow product Anastasia has made: I haven't tried their tinted brow gel, the brow pen only comes in two warm-ish shades that don't appeal to me, and I'm not patient enough for most brow powders. But I definitely want to go over the products I have tried, which constitutes about half of their brow line.

Anastasia Dipbrow - Soft Brown and Taupe

 Wearing Soft Brown on the left and Taupe on the right.

The newest product in the Anastasia Beverly Hills product line is the Dipbrow Pomade. A densely-pigmented cream, you need the tiniest amount of this product to get the job done. It's become popular on Instagram for people who like really drawn-on drag queen brows (nothing wrong with that, but that's really what they are), but you can get a more natural look with this product by using as little as possible and drawing it on in tiny, gentle strokes.

On top of being pigmented, Dipbrow is incredibly long-lasting. I've worn it for 12-hour days and walked through rainstorms with this stuff on, and it didn't budge. You'll need oil to remove it.

Unfortunately, a lot of the Dipbrow shades are quite warm/red. I prefer a much ashier product. It also takes a few seconds to dry down; if you run a spoolie through your brows before the product has fully dried, you may pull off chunks of it.

Perfect Brow Pencil - Medium Brown

My Perfect Brow pencil in Medium Brown is actually a deluxe sample, bought cheap on Reddit.  I actually didn't expect to like the pencil at all because multiple reviews have called it "waxy" and "lacking in pigment," and I mostly bought it for this review. However, I ended up kind of liking this pencil.

The Perfect Brow pencil definitely is a bit waxy, but not enough to feel uncomfortable or to pull out your brow hairs. The harder formula makes it easy to draw on individual brow hairs. It can look a bit clumpy and fake, however, on the sparser portions of my brows; I have to quickly smooth over any tiny clumps with my finger.

Brow Wiz - Medium Brown

 The most popular Anastasia brow product is definitely the Brow Wiz pencil. The pencil itself is a creamy twist-up, which applies easily to the brows with little pressure. As long as you don't press too hard, you can get a very natural look. It's also a very thin product, which makes it easy to draw on individual brow hairs and avoid overdoing it. There's also a tiny brow spoolie on the end of the pencil.

My one qualm with the Brow Wiz pencil seems minor, but it's a major annoyance for me: if you aren't careful, you can put the lid for the brow spoolie side on to the pencil side, smooshing your product. The caps are two different sizes, yeah, but it's easy to mix them up if you're in a hurry.

Clear Brow Gel and #12 Brush

I've been obsessed with the Anastasia Clear Brow Gel for years now. It makes my brows look slightly glossy, but not "fake" or coated the way clear mascara does. It also holds the hairs in place for hours on end without feeling hard or crunchy. If I want to brush my hairs up, the way they are here, I just use a tiny amount of the brow gel, applying in small, upward strokes. My only qualm with the brow gel is that it smells pretty funky.

The #12 brush is also fantastic. While it's considered a "partner product" to the Dipbrow Pomade, I can see it working with a lot of brow powders, creams, and even eyeliners. I also love that it has a teeny, tiny brow spoolie on the other end because I hate carrying tons of brushes when I travel.

So what should I keep?

All of these products are pretty great, but I can't keep every single one. Hence, I decided to look at the shades and choose what was most flattering on my face. As these swatches show, the Shu Uemura Hard Formula Brow Pencil in Seal Brown and the Anastasia Brow Wiz in Medium Brown are both slightly ashy brunette shades. Dipbrow Pomade in Taupe is, by contrast, quite light and golden...and, as I mentioned previously, most of the Dipbrow shades read neutral-to-warm for me. It's hard to find a truly ashy shade in the line.

Just to make sure I wasn't going crazy with regards to Dipbrow's too-warm shades, I did a very scientific poll on Makeup Alley. Here are some of the responses:

Yeeeeep. It's Perfect Brow or Brow Wiz--those ashier shades--that most people think look better on me. The next ashy shade in the Dipbrow line, Medium Brown, is too dark for me. It's a real shame, because I absolutely love the formulation of the product and would continue to use it if I could get a good shade.

I'm in love with the brow gel, the #12 brush, and Brow Wiz; they're staples in my collection. I don't think I'd purchase a full size of  the Perfect Brow pencil, since I prefer the Shu Uemura Hard Formula brow pencil, but the tiny size and decent formula make it a great product to drop in my makeup bag for touch-ups.

Last, but not least, here are close-ups of me wearing all of these brow products.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

REVIEW: Yves Saint Laurent Baby Doll Kiss and Blush

YSL knows how to push my buttons. First, they come out with a beautiful cream blush that is my absolute Holy Grail, then they threaten to discontinue it (although Babydoll is still available, so maybe they're just trying to scare us in to purchasing more). Then, they release a foundation that is stupidly gorgeous, but of course, too dark for my skintone. Now they're competing in a "World's Cutesiest Name" competition, or something of that ilk. "Baby Doll Kiss and Blush?" Really?

I'm going to refer to these as "KnB" or "Kiss and Blush stains" for the remainder of this review, because I am that old and cranky. In the meantime: stop, YSL. Just stop.

The Kiss and Blush stains are dual lip-and-cheek products that retail at $40 apiece for 0.33oz of product, housed in a pretty glass tube. I'm funny about glass because I'm clumsy and prone to breaking things, but I've dropped these multiple times and they haven't shattered yet. (This is not me telling you to rush out and drop your glass bottles. Avoid! Avoid!)

The applicator is a spongy, spade-shaped oddity, bent at an angle. There's a tiny hole in the center of the spade; when you use the applicator to apply product, the pressure will push the excess through the hole. This makes it hard to overdo your application.

The applicator is kind of a necessity with this product. While I prefer to dab product on the back of a clean hand, then apply it to my face from there, I don't seem to get much pigmentation that way. I think it's because this formula clings to your skin immediately, so once I've got it on my hand, it doesn't want to move. I get much better results if I use the applicator to apply directly to my lips and cheeks. This squicks me out a little, but unless you're a makeup artist who uses their products on tons of different people, it probably won't be an issue for most people.

Wearing 02 Rose Frivole on the left and 09 Rose Epicurien on the right.

Everybody has been raving that the KnBs are some of the only dual use products out there that actually work on both the lips and cheeks. And I have to say that that's true. I get smooth, soft coverage and 3 hours of wear on my lips, less if I eat a lot, and they last for a good 6+ hours on my cheeks. The formula is very silicone heavy, and all of that "slip" definitely helps the products feel weightless and glide over most texture and fine lines.

On both the lips and cheeks, this product has a satin finish. This gives the Kiss and Blush stains a very natural, effortless look. However, it also makes them rather drying. I'll wear these on my lips for an easy match, but it's my personal preference; after a few hours, it feels like I've dusted powder over my mouth. I'm willing to tolerate a drying formula if the color is phenomenal or the wear-time is long, but for 3 hours? Eeeeh.

 I also dislike the scent of most YSL products. The Kiss and Blush stains feature their "mango" scent, which I normally find completely intolerable. However, it's not as strong in the KnBs as it is in other products from the line, and I can't smell it after I've applied the stain to my skin. Still, disgusting. Why should such a luxe-looking product smell like peach rings?!

In the end, these are very impressive lip and cheek stains, and I can see why people are loving them. But I'm not entirely convinced I want to buy more shades, especially at $40 a bottle. I'll probably keep them in my makeup bag to conserve space, and use them more in the summer when the heat makes me extra-lazy.

RATING: 4 out of 5

Monday, December 8, 2014

Kevyn Aucoin Lasher Curler Giveaway -- WINNER REDRAWN

Because the original winner of the Kevyn Aucoin lash curler did not respond, I have performed a redraw. Here's our new winner:

Congrats, Alyssa! You have one week to respond to this post with your e-mail. (Be safe! Use "at" instead of @ to avoid spam.)

Thanks for participating, and I'll see you at the next giveaway. :)

Sunday, December 7, 2014

BONUS DRAG: Alaska Thunderf*** 5000 at Cruze

Former Pittsburgh queen and RuPaul's Drag Race alum Alaska returned to Pittsburgh on November 29, 2014 for a performance at Cruze. She performed two covers (Jewel's "Foolish Games" and Belinda Carlilse's "Heaven is a Place on Earth"), and of course, she did some of her own songs ("Nails," "Your Makeup is Terrible," "Stab You in the Neck," and "Hooker Heels"). She was on-point and totally hilarious for both of her sets.

We didn't stay around to meet her one-on-one, in part because we are old and 2am is our bedtime, but also because a lot of folks had driven quite a ways (from Canada!) just to meet her. We thought people like that deserved more of her time and attention.

WARNING: Some of these images contain material that viewers may find offensive. They are not recommended for people under the age of 18.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Another Quick Blogsale! -- PRICES LOWERED

I have attempted to show usage/condition via photos. Please Google swatches or ask for more information if you are curious about any of these products, the exact color, etc. Please be forewarned that I keep my makeup in bags and drawers, so the outer packaging may be banged up. If you want more pictures or information, please contact me and request it.

 Send requests to IdiotBird at Gmail dot com. I will invoice you (no gift payments, please) and will hold items for up to 24 hours after that invoice has been sent. If you have not paid for your items within 24 hours (or if you never respond to my e-mails), I will open them back up for sale. Items are only  officially "yours" after you've paid.

Payment must be done through PayPal. $5 minimum purchase. I charge the actual cost of shipping + $1.50 to cover materials and PayPal fees; this generally amounts to $3 -$5 per package unless you've bought a ton and/or you've gotten heavy items. US ONLY SALE: I do not ship outside of the US because of issues with customs. I apologize for the inconvenience. Payment must clear before shipping.

I use PayPal ship, which comes with a built-in tracking system. :) I package as carefully as I possibly can, but I am not responsible for packages once they leave my hands. With that being said, if you receive your items and feel that you have been mislead about their condition/usage, please contact me and I'll see what I can do to rectify the situation. I'm a very honest person, and the last thing I want to do is appear dishonest!

Also, I clean my entire collection about once a month with an alcohol spritz. However, I will not sanitize these items before shipping them out unless you ask me to, because I know some people are very particular about how they sanitize their products. Be forewarned that some of the cream products may have very tiny brush hairs in them, as creams are wont to get, but again, I have kept them quite clean; I'm very, very fussy. If you ask me to sanitize items, I will sharpen pencils and spritz blushes, lipsticks, and foundations with alcohol. I always wipe down the outer packaging with alcohol before sending.

Kat von D Everlasting Love Lipstick in Armageddon, $13

Clinique Brush-On Cream Liner in True Black, $1

MAC Brow Pencils in Fling and Lingering, $6 each OR take both for $10

Elizabeth Arden Poppy Cream lipstick, $2

MAC Impassioned lipstick, $8

MAC Sounds Like Noise lipstick, $10

MAC Toying Around lipstick, $12

Viktor&Rolf Flowerbomb sample vial, $1

NYC Blushable Creme Sticks in Pink Flash and Wild Berry, $2 each OR take both for $3

It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream in Fair, $15

Ben Nye Neutralizer Creme Crayon in NP-0 Ultra Light, $3

Chantecaille Just Skin Tinted Moisturizer in Alabaster, $25

Kat von D Adora perfume roll-on, $5

Cargo blush in Catalina, $15

Clean & Clear 2% Salicylic Acid gel, $2

Makeup Forever Aqua Creme in #02 Steel, $10

Ben Nye Creme Foundation in P-022 Geisha, $3

REVIEW: Nuxe Reve de Miel Lip Balm

The Nuxe Reve de Miel lip balm is a cult classic. Retailing at $19 a pot, it's not the cheapest balm on the market, but I can see why people dish out the money: it's effective, if only in specific situations.

The packaging of this product is quite nice: a simple glass jar with a screw-top lid. I only ever dip in to this product after I've gone through my "before bed routine" (wash hands, floss, brush teeth), but if you're still squicked out by the idea of sticking your fingers in to a jar, this isn't the balm for you.

There's a slight scent, like a mixture of beeswax, honey, and lemon. I adore the scent because it's vaguely nostalgic for me: I remember my mom helping my sister make homemade lip balms from a kit, and she let me make one, too. It smelt just like this--love! Even if you aren't emotionally attached to the smell, I think it's subtle enough that most people won't be bothered.

Now, let's talk about the two big factors for most people: the texture and how well it works. Promotional images make it look like Nuxe Reve de Miel is an exceptionally emollient balm--just my kind of product. Proof:

 image from

Ah, my dream! After developing a sensitivity to my former HG balm, Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream, I was hoping the Nuxe would be a gentler, more potent replacement. In reality, a pot of the Nuxe balm looks like this:

Um. Okay.

As you can probably tell, the balm has an incredibly waxy texture. Though it warms up under my finger tips, it's never as "slick" as Aquaphor or as lightweight as Jack Black; it sits on my lips and feels heavy. The waxy texture also makes it difficult to use this product under lipstick, and it's a smidge uncomfortable to use on a day-to-day basis, so I only use it right before bed.

That being said, this balm is definitely effective. If my lips are incredibly chapped and sore, wearing this balm overnight for two nights in a row will fix them right up. I also wear it during the rare windy day to prevent chapping. Because of its thick texture, it will stay on for several hours unless you eat or drink a lot. It hasn't broken me out around my lips, either.

Nuxe Reve de Miel also has a matte finish. This is unusual for a very moisturizing lip balm, and it makes it a good choice for anybody who doesn't want to look like they're wearing lipgloss.

Overall, I really enjoy the Nuxe Reve de Miel lip balm, and I can see myself repurchasing it if I ever run out.