Friday, March 27, 2015

I Have a Pink Problem

Several weeks ago, my mom came home from a shopping trip with two cellphone holders. One was black and white with pink trim, the other was blue and yellow striped. She asked which one I'd want, and I immediately grabbed the blue one. "I figured you'd pick that one," she said, "because you absolutely hate pink."

I thought she was exaggerating. I mean, look at my beauty collection: tons of pink lipsticks, a few pink containers and hair clips, and several lemmings for soft pink eyeshadows. I've watched plenty of movies in which the heroine wears a pink outfit I think is just fabulous. I have friends who look great in pink. There's even pink furniture at the antique store that makes me say, "Oh, that's pretty." I like pink just fine! I'm not biased!

But yesterday, when we went to Goodwill, I immediately nixed every shirt with a hint of pink in it. I grabbed blue, yellow, and of course, plenty of black...but anything pink was pushed to the side.

Part of my issue, I think, is that I don't think pink is particularly flattering on me. I've owned a few pink shirts in my lifetime, and the one that really sticks out in my memory is a Marilyn Monroe t-shirt. The screen-printed starlet wore her famous, almost-fuchsia dress from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and the shirt fabric was the color of sugary bubblegum. I remember that the shirt was a gift,  so I wore it a few times. But it never felt right on me. The color was just so bright and so not-me that I felt like the center of attention every time I wore it. Eventually, the pink Marilyn t-shirt was donated to the Salvation Army, and I filled my collection with tons of black.

Pink has also become associated with femininity, at least in white western culture. This is an interesting association when you consider that pink clothing was the top choice for baby boys less than a hundred years ago; the justification was that pink is a lighter shade of red, a traditionally masculine shade. Prior to World War II, baby girls were often clothed in yellow or pastel green, which are the current "gender neutral" color options.

A lot of people don't believe me when I mention the above facts, but they're true. Pink is not inherently "girly"; that association is rather new. Yet our culture insists on maintaining this arbitrary gender segregation re: color. For example: my sister enjoys going to baby clothing stores to look for stuff to sell on eBay. Last year, I ran in to a former coworker who was expecting a baby girl. I mentioned that a dark pink pair of boots she'd selected was rather cute.

"Well, you'd only put that on a girl," the coworker said.

I shrugged. "They're just shoes. I don't think they have to go on a girl."

I'll never forget the co-worker's expression. I mean, there was very visible disgust on her face, as if I'd mentioned doing some kind of harm to children. "You'd let your son walk around in pink?" When I shrugged again, she turned away from me, clearly perturbed. I myself was rather irritated by her reaction, so I wandered off to read the children's books. (And I might've bought one or two for my personal collection. Go ahead, judge me.)

Pink elicits these strong reactions in people. And those strong reactions highlight how we favor what is considered "masculine" over "feminine;" clearly, we think it's less desirable to be "like a woman." Most people are fine with dressing a girl in, say, a cute blue playsuit or a dress, but put a little boy in pink, and you're apparently setting him up for failure. But why? It's just a color! Even if it's associated with femininity, what's so bad about that? Why is it okay for women to be tomboys, to project so-called masculine traits, and to wear things associated with men, but the reverse receives naught but scorn?

Babies don't even realize what you're putting on them, and children only become aware of our culture's gendered expectations when we reinforce them. It's society, not nature, that decides what clothing is "appropriate" for different people to wear. (If it was "natural" for girls to wear skirts, for instance, the ancient Egyptians would've painted the walls of their tombs very differently.) So why reinforce them? Why not let people wear what they want, with no preconceptions as to whether or not certain things make you "feminine" or "masculine"?

So I suppose, in many ways, my aversion to pink has more to do with how much cultural constructs, and our blind attachment to them, get on my nerves. I may continue to wear mostly-black because it's easy and I lack fashion sense, but in the meantime, pink doesn't deserve my misguided hate.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

My Summer/Spring 2015 Fragrance Line-Up

It's time to pluck out the stuff I think I'm gonna wear over and over again as the weather warms up! Obviously, my whole collection is fair game year-round. But when we hit spring, I find myself lusting after soft, feminine flowers (April showers bring May flowers and what-not). And of course, the summer heat makes a lot of my beloved oud and vanilla fragrances feel smothering, so I switch to brighter, sweeter, fruitier stuff.

Dolce & Gabbana Eau de Toilette -- D&G's EDT is one of the most wearable and unisex fragrances in my collection. It's weird: I'd never label this an all-time favorite, since it smells rather soapy and clean (not something I usually go for) and isn't stunningly unique. But as you can probably tell, I use it a lot. It's just such an inoffensive dumb reach for business casual situations. There's a burst of bright, tart citrus at the start that quickly fades in to the shower-ready smell of lavender and musk. It's one of those scents that people like, but don't it won't impress, but it also won't offend. Fair note: this is an older formulation, and I hear the newer version isn't quite as powerful or pleasant.

PK Perfumes Gold Leather -- I raved about this scent in my Paul Kiler review, and I eventually caved and bought this purse-size vial. Now I'm preparing myself to pay the incredibly high cost for an even bigger bottle (it's Kiler's most expensive perfume yet), because this is probably my favorite daytime leather. Gold Leather is definitely a leather scent, but there's nothing heavy about it. It is sunshine in a bottle--I spray this and my entire day brightens up. The honeysuckle and citrus notes blend beautifully with the leather to create something that is wearable all year round, but is particularly attractive for warm weather formal occasions.

Andy Tauer PHI Une Rose de Kandahar -- While I initially devoted my attention to Tauer's infamous L'Air du Desert Marocain, I slowly but surely began to favor this unique beauty. This is the scent that opened my eyes (er, my nose?) to what a great rose fragrance can be. It's a sweet, spicy, sultry rose scent, with a strong kick of cinnamon and a lot of vanilla and sandalwood in the background. It's a great compliment-getter, too, and people always say they've never smelt anything quite like it. Unfortunately, there's a rare rose oil used in this fragrance, which means it's only available at certain times of the year, and you won't be able to buy a full bottle of this beauty until September 2015.

Haus of Gloi Moon Dog -- This affordable guy has been in my collection for years, and it still epitomizes summer to me! Moon Dog is dominated by coconut and sandalwood, a combination that sounds gross on paper, but works in person. It's a fresh coconut smell that doesn't even begin to tip in to that icky sunscreen territory. Sweet, light, and never cloying, this is one of the most wearable scents HoG produces.

Thierry Mugler Womanity and Alien -- Like many fragrance fans, my first foray in to the Mugler line was Angel. While I still enjoy that scent from time to time, these days I find it a bit too heavy and sweet for regular wear. I'm much more attached to Womanity, a scent with an incredibly simple note list and an oceanic feel to it. I wear this, and I feel like I've just stepped out of the ocean on a hot summer day. Alien is more suited to temperate spring days: the warm jasmine reminds me of the India portion of Phipps Conservatory. I may one day buy a full bottle of Womanity, but I'm still a bit torn on Alien, seeing as one spray goes a stupidly long way.

Lady Gaga Fame -- Produced by Haus Laboratories, this is a fragrance that wants to be edgy, but never really reaches that lofty goal. On my skin, it's a straight-up fruity floral (primarily a blend of honey, apricot, and nowhere-near-as-heady-as-Alien jasmine), with nothing particularly unique or startling popping out. It's also very light: 2-3 sprays lasts about 5 or 6 hours with moderate to soft sillage on my skin. That being said, this is another fragrance that people tend to enjoy, but not gush over. Add in the very floral and whispery nature of this scent, and you have another dumb reach for warm weather--this one at a better price point, and in a more traditionally feminine vein, than the D&G.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Paul Kiler Violet Chocolatier WINNER!

The winner of the purse vial of Paul Kiler's Violet Chocolatier is Lemonbasil! Congrats. You have one week to respond to this post with your e-mail. (Be safe! Use "at" instead of @ to avoid spam.)

Thank you to both of our entrants!

Friday, March 20, 2015

FOTD: Unbalanced

By unbalanced, I mean "my face isn't all finished," not, y'know, that I'm crazy. You graduate from "crazy" to "eccentric" when you hit 18.

This "nothing but lipstick" look is much admired on sites like Into the Gloss. And I want to get behind it, I do, especially because I see a lot of women in my day-to-day life who wear nothing but mascara and lipstick. They look great. And here I am, slapping on 20+ products for the most basic look, because I want everything to be "just right."

However, I don't think this is a very attractive look for me. Barring the fact that I have a rather pointy chin and the nothing-but-lipstick type of look draws attention to that, I just feel uncomfortable and unfinished. I mean, look at my brows: they're practically invisible! And I'm so pale that the lack of blush makes me look almost dead.

BASE: MAC Strobe Cream, MAC Face & Body in N1 + White, NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly

EYES: Maybelline Dream Lumi concealer pen in Radiant, ELF Wet Gloss Clear Lash and Brow Mascara

CHEEKS: nothing

LIPS: Maybelline Super Stay 14 Hour Lipstick in Non-Stop Red


To be totally honest, I don't like how this lipstick looks on me. It tends to apply a bit patchy--notice that my top lip is less red than my bottom--and it has a slightly sticky texture. But it was a gift from a friend, and I have a REALLY hard time getting rid of gifts.

You'll also notice that I applied the Maybelline Dream Lumi pen in Radiant all around my eyes, including my eyelids. This is because, as I've aged, my lids have gotten much more discolored and sallow. It's very visible in this picture:

This is me sans lipstick and Dream Lumi pen. I actually think it looks a hair better than the finished look because, again, I don't think the Maybelline is my most flattering red, especially when I'm skipping blush. But I'm probably going to keep that illuminating pen trick. I actually stole that idea from a makeup artist friend of mine; he says he does that on a lot of his more mature clients to camouflage discoloration and soften fine lines.

I always love brushed-up brows, though, and the ELF clear mascara is nicely dewy and pretty. So I'll be keeping those. I just...don't think I'll go bare-browed for most of my future. I NEED MY BROW PENCIL! And of course, I always wear blush when I wear makeup. I'm too pale to skip it.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

REVIEW: RMS Beauty "Un" Cover Up

I've tried several products from RMS Beauty, and while thus far, the Living Luminizer is the only one to really work for me and my needs, I've been impressed with the company's aesthetic and formulations as a whole. After a good year of circling around this product, I finally found a lightly-used pot on a blogsale and took the plunge.

The RMS website describes the "Un" Cover Up as "a foundation or a light concealer" that "visibly melts into the skin while covering imperfections and redness." It's a relatively bare bones formula, comprised primarily of oils and pigments; in fact, coconut oil is the #1 ingredient (which is the case for a lot of RMS products). Lots of oil bodes well for dry-skinned folks like me, but if you're sensitive to those sorts of ingredients, you'll definitely want to patch test first.

I absolutely adore the packaging of RMS Beauty products, by the way. The frosted glass jars have sustained numerous dropsies from me, the lids are clean looking, and the overall presentation is simple and elegant. This is the kind of stuff I enjoy pulling out of my handbag and showing off.

Dim daylight on top, flash on bottom. From left to right: RMS Beauty Un Cover Up in 00, NARS Sheer Glow in Siberia, Paula's Choice Barely There Sheer Matte Thing in Level 1, NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly.

I obtained a pot of the lightest shade, 00, recommended "for the true snow whites." While this isn't the absolute darkest "first shade" I've ever seen a brand produce, I think it's kind of weird to advertise this for truly pale people. I'd peg 00 at about NW15, maybe a hair darker, with some definite peachiness to it.

Because of how dark this product is, I decided not to try it as an overall foundation. I knew it would look ridiculous on me. (And before I get the comments: I've already decided to stop wearing the PC tinted moisturizer because it's just too dark compared to my neck. We're gettin' finicky here at BOGL!) Instead, I tried it as a spot concealer and an undereye brightener.

On the left, we have my face with a 1 thin layer of MAC Face & Body foundation, but no concealer. You can see that I have a few small blemishes--one on my chin, one on my left cheek (your right)--and dark undereye circles. On the right, I have added a thin layer of the RMS Beauty Un Cover Up to both blemishes and my undereyes. The coverage on this product is definitely sheer: while it softened up my blemishes and brightened my undereyes, it never completely covered them.

First, the good. This is definitely a creamy concealer. That makes it very easy to blend on to the skin with just the warmth from your fingers. It also has a bit of a glow to it (which it damn well should, with all of the oils in the formula), which makes it look particularly beautiful on the undereye area. And if your blemishes aren't as stark red as mine are, this might provide enough coverage for your spots. If you have a hard time finding a concealer that won't dry out your skin, this could be a good option for you.

Now for the bad. A common philosophy amongst creators of "natural" products is that makeup should not last all day because that's "unnatural." Alright, fine, your philosophy is your own. To be fair, I've never heard Rose Marie Swift herself say this, and I'm also kind of freaked out by stuff that lasts for 12+ hours without needing touch-ups.

But in my opinion, makeup should at least last for a few hours. The RMS Beauty Un Cover Up barely lasted from the time I put it on to the time I finished my cup of coffee and got on the bus for work--that's less than 2 hours. By that point, the Un Cover Up had creased all over my undereye area and slid off of my blemishes. Setting with powder helps a bit, but it sort of defeats the purpose of having a glowy, non-drying concealer. I can't imagine wearing this all over my face and trying to hug someone or spend a few hours at work; it'd smear everywhere. And I have dry skin!

I'm also really disappointed in the shade range. There are only 5 shades of this product, and while it is on the sheer side--meaning you get some leeway in terms of finding a match--the darkest shade isn't that dark. Hence, there are limited options for truly ebony skinned people in the RMS line.

This isn't a terrible concealer. It's got a nice glow to it, it's easy to blend, and some people may enjoy it for their undereyes. But its usability is limited by the shade range, poor longevity, and low coverage.

RATING: 2 out of 5.

RMS Beauty Un Cover Up is available at for $36.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Pinterest Inspiration #6: Everybody's Listening to 90s Music

I have a special fondness for the 90s because I adored the films and musicians that dominated the era. But I was never that huge on 90s makeup; I was only a few years old when the decade started, and I found more inspiration in the delightfully garish 80s. That being said, I adore Kevyn Aucoin, and if anything represents the "heavy neutrals" that were so popular then, it's Aucoin's work. And the look has become en vogue again, for reasons that escape my understanding. So I decided to scrounge around Pinterest for some inspiration.

While I found tons of great inspiration photos, I decided to stick primarily with pictures of Linda Evangelista. There was a slew of beautiful models in the 90s, but Evangelista was probably the pinnacle for me. There's something appealingly androgynous about her features. The best word to describe her: striking.

Obviously, I'm not that interesting face-wise. And this makeup must've pained me, because I look stoned or angry in just about every picture I took. But regardless, the look came out...decently. The lips and the mostly-matte base were probably the most on-point. The eyes are a series of screw ups: I didn't realize those eyeshadows would read that frosty on camera, and I should've blended better. You live, you learn!

Here's the majority of what I used, arranged attractively on my snowman fleece blanket. The lips are MAC Boldly Bare lipliner with MAC Blankety lipstick. I simultaneously love and hate this combination.

I applied Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer in Sx01 all over moisturized skin and blended it in with a damp Beauty Blender sponge; it's way more coverage than what I'm used to and it makes me feel like an alien. For additional undereye correction, I used some Maybelline Dream Lumi concealer. I tried setting that with the Wet n' Wild Fergie powder, which is supposed to be mattifying, but it's absolutely NOT and it's full of shimmer (?!?!). So I dusted some of my D&G powder foundation all over instead. The cheeks are the closest thing I have to brown: Kevyn Aucoin Creamy Moist Glow in Tansoleil.

My eyes took way too long and did not come out well at all. I used Black Radiance's Downtown Browns palette (produced by the same people who make Wet n' Wild's 8-pan palettes, obviously) with a bit of Wet n' Wild Brulee added in. The eyeliner is the non-waterproof WnW liquid with some Milani Liquid Eyes in the waterline. I used Duo Lash Glue to apply some Korean false lashes, cut in half, and the end result is kind of ridiculous looking:

It is so goddamn obvious that I didn't curl those falsies or put on enough of the Maybelline Full n' Soft mascara. Ugh. Rookie move. :/

I filled in my brows with Anastasia Brow Wiz pencil in Medium Brown. Because this pencil is much softer and a bit darker than my beloved Shu Uemura Hard Formula in Seal Brown, it's the best choice for when I want a slightly heavier, more "obvious" brow. If you thought I was gonna go full 90s tadpole brow, though, you were sadly mistaken. I'm not that dedicated.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Obsessed: Kevyn Aucoin Creamy Moist Glows

If you've been reading my blog for even a month, then you probably know that I'm obsessed with the Kevyn Aucoin Creamy Moist Glow blushes. Any time people want a cream blush, particularly a cream blush that works well for dry skin, I give these a shout out.

First thing's first: Kevyn Aucoin has changed their packaging multiple times in less than 3 years. Hence, I have two Creamy Moist Glows in round pots with snap closures and two Creamy Moist Glows in square pots that open when you press the gold bar at the front. Before that, they were packaged in tiny screwtop jars like the Sensual Skin Enhancer--that was packaging my first jar of Pravella came in.

Out of all of these, the round compacts are the best: the mirror is sizeable, the closure is tight, and I never had to worry about it opening in my bag. The sad thing about the current square packaging is that, if something presses up against the compact just right, it'll open right up. It's rare, but it does happen, and it's a bit annoying.

On the bright side, the amount of product you get has increased: the round compacts contain 3.65 grams of product, while the current square compacts contain 4.50 grams of product. 

The formula of these cream blushes strikes a great balance between "emollient" and "lightweight." The product is smooth and creamy, but not thick a la the NYX cream blushes--you have to rub your finger across the product for a few seconds to warm it up, or really tap your brush in the pan, to pick up color. Fingers work best because they almost create a liquid texture, but they're fantastically easy to blend overall.

The finish is very natural and fresh. There's a hint of dewiness, as the product name suggests, but they never look wet. None of these contain shimmer, which is an absolute plus for me.

I currently own four shades. Going clockwise from the top left in the above image: Liquifuchsia, Tansoleil, Isadore, and Pravella. Liquifuchsia is a bright pink with definite purple undertones, and my newest acquisition. Tansoleil is the only peach blush I've ever truly loved, and I think the sizeable dip in the pan shows that. My softer pinks are Isadore, which has yellow undertones, and Pravella, a more pastel, neutral shade that's fantastic for pale skin tones.

Daylight on top, flash on the bottom.

These are my favorite cream blushes, end of story. They're pigmented, easy to blend, come in a great range of colors, are elegantly packaged, and last for hours on end. What's not to love?

RATING: 5 out of 5

And don't forget: there's only a week left in my current giveaway!