Friday, July 3, 2015

Some Thoughts on Recent Horror Films

Poster images from IMDB and Wikipedia.

I've considered starting a blog for my musings on movies, music, and other media goodness for over a year now, but something always stops me. I think it's the fact that movies feel intrinsically harder to review than, say, a lipstick formula, and those reviewing communities don't seem to be quite as large or easy-to-get-in-to as the beauty community. That being said, BOGL's header does warn readers that the blog is "10% miscellaneous garbage." Hence, I feel relatively safe posting a rare non-beauty musing post on this space.

Please note that this post will contain major spoilers for all of the films above, including descriptions of major plot points and endings, as well as some creepy imagery.

The first bit of babbling I want to get off of my chest regards As Above, So Below. There was a decent amount of internet buzz surrounding this one; that, combined with a few rave recommendations from friends, left my partner and I frothing at the mouth. It wasn't available on Netflix or Hulu, and Amazon didn't have a rental option, so my partner just bought the thing. Alas, I think he wasted that money.

The film follows Scarlett, an academic on a quest to find the philosopher's stone, a stone that can supposedly turn worthless materials in to gold and grant people eternal life. After almost defacing several priceless artifacts and roping a few random individuals in to the quest with her, the group sets off to explore the Parisian Catacombs, supposedly the halfway point between Earth and Hell. They eventually find the grave of Nicholas Flamel (the founder of the stone) and the stone itself, but quickly become lost and encounter a host of horrors.

Screenshot from

What most reviewers seem to love about this film is how it treats the Catacombs. And that's definitely worthy of praise: parts of the film were, in fact, filmed in the actual Catacombs, and the tight corridors and walls of bones are appropriately creepy. I'm not claustrophobic, and neither is my partner, but there were a few moments in which characters were squished between a rock and a hard pile of femurs that made us cringe.

But the actual horrors and the plot There are some cool effects, including a character who gets sucked in to a fiery car that morphs in to a stone floor, and the idea of traveling to the Gates of Hell is a good one. Unfortunately, the film never seems to follow through. Instead of capitalizing on the real-life creepiness of the Catacombs, there are jump scares a-plenty, obnoxious tropes like a Mary Sue main character and Intimate Healing, and a storyline without much interest or mystery. There are numerous plot holes; for example, the group finds a man who supposedly disappeared in to the Catacombs two years ago, but it's never explained how he survived or why he's there. The solution to the characters' problems is apparently to "find themselves" and reconcile with their pasts, but it feels like an afterthought.

Screenshot from Variety.

Most of the movie feels like an excuse to link up quotes from different mythologies and toss in all kinds of riddles that allow the main character to show off how smarted and learned she is. But instead of feeling cool and fleshed-out, it just feels...annoying. My partner and I actually joked that it seems like a movie designed to mock academics: "You think you know everything because you read a lot of books, but you're really just a pain in everybody's ass."

I think my biggest disappointment with As Above, So Below is that there isn't much of a menace. When I teach literature and go over horror, I always drive home the necessity of a truly terrifying menace. It doesn't have to be a physical ghost or person or demon or whatnot, but there must be something that threatens the main character and perturbs the reader/viewer as well. There are things that kill the characters in As Above, So Below, but they feel haphazardly thrown together, and they certainly didn't scare me on a personal level. My immediate and permanent reaction to the film was incredulity. "Why is this popular?!"

Screenshot from The Guardian.

This contrasts mightily with The Babadook, which did creep me out at points and got to me on a personal level...but it took me a few hours to get there. Like As Above, So Below, The Babadook spends a lot of time on its scenery and atmosphere. The improvement here is that, despite the fact that Australian homes are not inherently spooky, this film revels in and maintains an unsettling atmosphere. It lets everything look and feel creepy without being overtly scary a la bone-filled Catacombs, leaving your mind to fill in the gaps. And in my experience, that's what truly great horror films do: force you to freak yourself out.

In The Babadook, a widow named Amelia is still emotionally devastated by the tragic death of her husband. To make matters worse, Amelia never sleeps: her troubled son, Samuel, wakes her up every night to deal with the monsters in his room. Despite her exhaustion, she checks his room every night, reads him a story, and puts him to bed. One night, Amelia lets Samuel choose a book from his shelf. He produces a pop-up book she's never seen before called "Mr. Babadook." The story starts out with a cute description of The Babadook, but it quickly turns sinister. Amelia tries to dispose of the book, but Samuel becomes obsessed with the idea that the Babadook is stalking them...and when the book keeps appearing on her doorstep with more pages added to the story, Amelia starts to believe him. "The more you deny me," the book warns, "the stronger I'll get."

Screenshot from Bloody Disgusting.

The Babadook has a few jump scares, but for the most part, it relies on that aforementioned creepy atmosphere. Interestingly, the Babadook himself has very little screen time and only shows his face on a few occasions. He spends half of the run time feeling like an omnipresent, well-hidden menace, and the other half of the film possessing Amelia and forcing her to do terrible things. Part of what made this movie so great, in fact, is that the possession never felt overdone or awkward. As a whole, the acting was terrific--and that's saying a lot when you consider how shitty most child actors are.

What threw me (and, apparently, many other viewers) off at first was the ending. Amelia eventually exorcises the Babadook from her body. She comes to terms with her husband's tragic death, has a birthday party with Samuel, and...goes to the basement, where they apparently have the Babadook imprisoned, to feed him a bowl of worms. I'm not entirely opposed to films having happy endings, but keeping a weird monster as a pet? What?

It took me a moment to realize that it's all quite psychological. For most of the film, Amelia tortures herself with memories of her husband's death. She attacks anyone who tries to talk to her about it, and she refuses to admit that her son is also damaged and in need of help. Instead, she wallows in her cold, grey existence. This is the Babadook: that psychological pain that only dominates you if you let it fester. Amelia will never be able to get rid of the pain of losing her husband, nor can she instantly fix her disturbed child...but she can accept reality and move on.

In a sentence: The Babadook was creepy and it stuck with me, but it moved me instead of scaring me, and I think I'm okay with that.

Screenshot from Daily Motion.

The Den is the opposite of The Babadook. There's nothing supernatural here and there's no heart-warming ending: it's a straight-up serial killer horror film. And you would think that this would be one of the scariest things I've ever watched, considering I am way more frightened of "real world" terrors (serial killers, massacres, natural disasters, etc.) than I am of "supernatural" terrors (ghosts, demonic possessions, etc.). The Den does frighten me, but not for the reasons you'd think.

First, a quick comparison to Unfriended, which I watched with my friends shortly after it came out. Both films take place entirely on a computer screen, feature the gory death of every character, and are full of generally boring people we feel no emotional attachment to. The difference is that the menace in Unfriended is a vengeful ghost who is focused on a specific group of people. The menace in The Den is a collective of mortal masked killers who seemingly kill at random, making them far more frightening to me personally.

Let's back up a minute and cover the plot. The heroine of The Den, Elizabeth, has received a grant for a sociological study. She intends to record her life and interact with as many strangers as possible on a website called The Den, ie, a blatant duplicate of Chat Roulette. One night, she stumbles across a video of a woman being murdered by a masked man...and when she tries to investigate, she becomes the masked mens' next victim. Eventually, she ends up in a terrible torture warehouse and almost escapes, only to be recaptured, hanged until she's almost dead, and shot in the head.

Screenshot from

If that last sentence sounds a little crazy, well, it should. While the climax gets your adrenaline going, it feels a bit over-the-top, especially since most of the movie is decent, but relatively hum-drum and a little too reliant on predictable jump scares. But what really gets me about this film is the actual ending. We switch to a scene of a man in a clean, sunny office. He's browsing the internet when he's suddenly interrupted by his son. No big deal, right?

Except he's browsing an interactive torture website that charges viewers big bucks for access to real torture and murders, including "Elizabeth's narrative." And that's the truly scary part: the idea that somewhere, some stranger could be delighting in the torture of innocent people. Scarier still, websites like that probably already exist.

The Den asks us to question how much of our lives we put on the internet. Think about it: we're growing up in an age where our every move is selfie worthy, where we put our most personal information on websites like Reddit and hope that an internet handle will keep us safe, where revenge porn and leaked execution videos are considered unfortunate, but accepted, parts of middle class American life. So much of our world is run by computers now: job applications, taxes, shopping, directions, dictionaries, you name it, it's all gone net-based. We also know that anything you want can be found on the internet if you look in the right place...and that's downright terrifying.

Screenshot from

The film that impressed my partner and I the most over this past week of horror film binge watching (because yes, we're those people) was Final Prayer, also known as Borderlands. This is a bit odd, considering it contains a lot of the stuff that normally turns me off: found footage, demons, and a gory (albeit novel) ending. But we loved it!

For starters, Final Prayer is a found footage film with a new-to-me plot. A miracle has apparently happened in a small country church. The Vatican sends two church experts, Deacon and Mark, and a technician, Gray, to investigate the validity of this miracle. Deacon and Mark believe that the miracle can easily be proven a fake, but Gray is not as convinced, especially when unusual things start happening around the church.

My favorite thing about Final Prayer is the careful use of sound. When I think about the things that truly make a horror movie horrifying to me, "what the fuck was that sound" is always at the top of my list. There are some of the usual found footage fare, like crying babies and weird scratching, combined with less common but equally freaky stuff, like the sound of a sheep that's been set on fire. There are also some unusual rumbling noises that take on a new meaning when you find out what, exactly, the church is sitting on, and I appreciated that. I like a movie that doesn't explain things right away, but rather leads you to a conclusion that makes you say, "Oh, shit, so THAT'S what that was."

Few of these sounds were particularly loud, though. And there are many creepy images that you can miss if you blink or look at the wrong part of the screen. That made Final Prayer even better for my partner and I: instead of bracing ourselves for jump scares and gory ghouls, we scanned the screen for things that were out of place and strained our ears for quiet noises. Interestingly, most of the spooky imagery isn't particularly new (disregarding the aforementioned ending), but it is done well.

Screenshot from

It helps that Deacon and Gray are likable characters. Some reviewers have referred to them as archetypes, and they sort of are. Deacon is the drunken, doubting holy man, Mark wears a priest's collar and is therefore super serious, and Gray is an agnostic lout who makes fun of almost everything. But they're also fun to be around and they don't feel as 2-dimensional as the folks in As Above, So Below. I felt for those guys when they met their awful demise.

I also loved that this movie didn't treat us like total idiots. It's not too terribly difficult to figure out the plot by piecing together clues, so there's only one moment where a character sits viewers down and says, "Okay, so here's what's happening right now." Compare that to Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones, which--like most PA movies--expects its viewers to be morons and treats them that way from start to finish. I don't even feel the need to really describe that movie, except to say that it's yet another meh "oh look a coven of witches!" snoozefest that didn't scare or impress. It's too busy holding your hand as it tumbles you through the cliche plot to attempt a scare.

Friday, June 26, 2015

I Took This Junk to New York

I recently traveled to New York City to visit my friend Matt and see some sights. (Pictures are coming soon!) Because my friend Danny and I took the Greyhound, and because I hate looking like that crazy woman who insists on taking everything she owns on an overnight trip, I tested out several makeup bag conglomerations. Yes, I practiced packing the perfect Long Weekend Makeup Bag...I only feel a little pathetic.

Please note that my general hygiene stuff, like shampoo and sunscreen, was in a separate bag. I promise that this is not the only healthy and beauty stuff I packed; I totally brushed my teeth before heading to the theater.

Without further ado, here's what I packed and why!

1. NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly -- Nothing covers a blemish like Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer, to be sure, but I didn't want to faff around with brushes or mixing. This NARS concealer works well for both blemishes and my undereyes, and it's easy to apply with fingers.

2. Shiseido lash curlers -- I actually debated leaving my lash curlers at home, but eeeeeeh, I'm addicted. Curled lashes really do open up your eyes--great for days when it's too hot for me to wear actual makeup and still feel like a human being!

3. Maybelline Full n' Soft waterproof mascara -- No matter how many other mascaras I try, this remains my HG. It's layerable, never flakes or smears, and isn't a pain in the arse to remove. This is actually an older tube, which I replaced immediately after returning from the trip.

4. Too Faced Shadow Insurance -- For those rare moments when I actually wore #14.

5. Maybelline Dream Lumi concealer in Radiant -- Light, glowy, and slightly pink, this is a great corrector for under my eyes. I usually mix it with the NARS concealer, or dab a little bit on top at the end of my routine for added brightness. On truly lazy makeup days, I'll just use this over a thin layer of tinted moisturizer.

6. Dolce & Gabbana powder foundation in 50 Ivory -- I debated long and hard between this and Hourglass Ethereal Light powder. While the Hourglass sits beautifully on my dry skin, this is a better touch up powder for humid weather, and it comes with a washable sponge.

7. Yves Saint Laurent Creme de Blush in Babydoll -- This clean, neon pink is fantastic for pale skintones. It adds a pop of color to the cheeks and blends perfectly without looking overdone or fake. Out of all of my blushes, I think this one does the best job of actually freshening up my face. Plus, it works well with #9!

8. Buxom Show Some Skin foundation in Tickle the Ivory -- Another hard choice: this or Face & Body. I ended up going for this because it matches me right out of the tube and dries quickly (meaning it's easier for me to work with in a short amount of time), and because it has SPF30. It doesn't last as long as F&B, unfortunately, but the D&G powder helped with touch-ups!

9. MAC Viva Glam Miley Cyrus lipstick -- I swore I was only going to take one lipstick to NYC, because I knew it'd be too hot, and we'd be too busy, for a full arsenal. But I wanted something for nights out on the town. I went with VGMC because it's bright, beautiful, and flattering, but also a little unexpected. But in the name of honesty, I have to admit that...I never actually wore it in NYC. It was so hot, and we were so busy, I just never got around to applying it!

10. Anastasia clear brow gel -- One of my many travel-sized tubes! Used almost daily to keep my weird brow hairs in order and contribute to better grooming overall.

11. MAC Strobe Cream -- Selected over all of my other highlighters because it's natural-but-beautiful and incredibly light on my skin. Also, it's travel-friendly: I love my Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Pearl, but that tube is unwieldy for trips.

12. ELF Makeup Remover Pen -- $3 of pure glory. I always make a bit of a mess with my mascara, and this makes cleaning up my eyelids a breeze!

13. Anastasia Brow Wiz in Medium Brown -- While Shu Uemura Seal Brown remains my HG brow pencil, this guy is a close second. The softer formula and thin size makes it easy to apply quickly without overdoing it. It's also shorter, thinner, and lighter than the Shu pencil, and it comes with a brow spoolie on the end. (Remember: I'm a  lazy jerk when it comes to brushes and traveling.)

14. Prescriptives palette -- These old matte eyeshadows belonged to my mother many years ago. The colors are very similar to MAC Wedge and Wet n' Wild Brulee, which is perfect: I like to use those two shadows to give my eyes a cleaner, more polished look, but they shatter very easily. These Prescriptives shadows are much harder and more firmly packed, but still pigmented, so they're better for travel.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Josie Maran Rose Gold WINNER!

The winner of the Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Eye Shadow in Rose Gold is Minh N.! Congrats! You have one week to email me at the address listed on the blog side bar.

Thank you again to everyone who participated and/or continues to read BOGL. I am truly blessed to have you here! Keep me posted on what you'd love to see as a giveaway prize, and I'll try to remember it for future giveaways!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Sephora in JC Penny Lash Out Kit Results

And now for a different sort of Sample Rundown: the Sephora in JC Penny (SiJCP) Lash Out Kit! This limited edition kit costs $25 and is only available at SiJCP--you will not find it at full-sized Sephoras or on the Sephora website. It comes with deluxe samples of 5 premium mascaras: Bare Minerals Lash Domination, Too Faced Better Than Sex, Tarte Lights Camera Lashes, Kat von D Immortal Lash, and Buxom Lash. Prices and product amounts for the full sizes are detailed in a chart at the end of this post.

The Lash Out is one of those "try it and buy it" deals. You test out the samples, figure out which mascara is your favorite, then take the included voucher back to the store for a "free" full-size tube. I put "free" in quotes because, technically, you've already paid $25 for that mascara. Regardless, I think this is a great deal: you're likely to find at least one tube you truly love, and if you like more than one, well, you've got several sample tubes to keep you going as well!

I will note that you should probably take the box with you to the store when you make your choice, but keep it in your purse and just hand over the voucher. Sephora associates who are not in the know may try to take the box with all of the samples back from you when you, even though they're not supposed to. It's not the end of the world, but why give up something you already paid for?

Also, the voucher only counts for the exact products in this set--you cannot get a different color or the waterproof version.

Now, on to the reviews for each of the mascaras! Each of these mini-reviews includes three pictures: my naked lashes, the mascara on one eye, and the mascara on both eyes. In all of the images, my lashes have been curled. I know it's a bit weird to include a picture of my naked lashes each time, but I have mild trichotillomania and I sleep on my side, which can change how they look on a day-to-day basis.

Bare Minerals Lash Domination

I've tried, and liked, this mascara before. The rubber bristles are twisted around the wand in a swirl pattern, and they deposit a decent amount of product to your lashes. The formula is on the thin side, though it's not as watery as, say, Maybelline Great Lash.

This mascara gives good length and some volume without too much clumping. You can layer it some for more drama without too much trouble. This mascara is also the best "dollar per ounce" value; you pay $18 for 0.37 ounces of product.

I did not experience any noticeable flaking. There was some mild smearing (and that was at the corners of my eyes when they watered heavily), but beyond that, Lash Domination stayed on pretty well. It was not difficult to remove.

My main gripe with this product is the packaging makes it uncomfortable to hold the tube. The twisted tube sure looks pretty, but it can be hard to grip the wand, and despite the texture, it still rolls all over the table. I'm funny about mascara tubes: if they're not going to be round, fine, but the design should make it easy to hold and prevent it from rolling off of my desk.  Lash Domination can also be a bit messy because it takes a little longer than usual to dry down.

Overall, this is a nice mascara, but it doesn't provide enough volume for me, personally, to go for a full size.

Too Faced Better Than Sex

This mascara has mad hype surrounding it, so I was REALLY excited to try it. The brush is supposedly designed to "mimic the curves of a woman's body," but really, it's just a traditional wand that gets thinner in the middle. The formula is incredibly thick, wet, and creamy.

It's obvious why this mascara is so popular. It provides a ton of volume and a decent amount of length, giving me a great false lash effect. If you don't mind having slightly clumped or "fake-looking" lashes, you can layer this stuff on for even more volume. As these pictures show, it really does bring the drama.

Unfortunately, Better Than Sex wears terribly on my eyes. The formula is one of the messiest I've ever used; even when I was being careful, I made a mess out of my eyelids applying this stuff. It begins flaking after 2-3 hours, and it smears like crazy. This is also the most expensive product per ounce, costing $23 for 0.27 ounces of product.

People who love done-up lashes and don't mind some flaking and smearing, or use lash primers extensively, may like this more than I did. As it stands, I was disappointed.

Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes

This mascara has the most interesting packaging out of the whole set: an almost flat, snake-printed, purple cardboard tube with gold lettering. It's a bit garish compared to the sleek black tubes and compacts I'm normally attracted to, but I appreciate that it's easy to hold, kinda eco-friendly, and--ding ding ding!--it won't roll off of my desk.

The brush on this one is the most basic and classic out of the entire set. It also has the driest formula out of the bunch, though it's by no means "crunchy." I'd say it's got a faint powderiness to it, if that makes sense.

Lights, Camera, Lashes is an all-rounder: it gives plenty of length and volume. You can also layer it for more drama, though I recommend doing one eye at a time as quickly as possible: the dry formula means that adding layers when your lashes are already dry will result in a super-spidery look.

This mascara did flake a little, but only a little--I found maybe 2-3 miniscule flakes under each eye at the end of the day. Also, because this is a classic brush, it doesn't do the best job of separating your lashes, so you can get a lot of clumping if you aren't careful. Overall, though, I found this to be an incredibly versatile and long-wearing product. I used my voucher to get a full tube of this one (though I was a bit sad that I couldn't get the waterproof version, since I love waterproof mascaras).

Kat von D Immortal Lash

I only used this stuff once because it was AWFUL. The brush looks like a torture device, and that was an apt design choice: it's one of the scratchiest, most painful things I've ever put near my eye.

The formula is incredibly thin and gives minimal results. I don't mind a natural mascara (as the last mini-review in this series will show), but the Kat Von D really just seemed to tint my lashes black and provide minimal length. I mean, maybe I would've gotten more volume if I'd really rubbed it in to the base of my lashes, but OW, that stupid brush! The only thing that brush was good for was getting in to the corners of my eyes.

I experienced some flaking and smearing with this product, albeit not to the level of Too Faced Better Than Sex. Just a disappointment of a product, really.

Buxom Lash

This is another mascara I've tried before. The brush has evenly dispersed rubber bristles, but thankfully, they're relatively soft and painless. The brush gets slightly thinner in the center. The formula is very standard: neither thin nor thick, neither wet nor dry, just overall well-balanced and easy to apply.

Buxom Lash is definitely best for those who like length and separation, because it provides plenty of that. I didn't have a bit of clumping with this one. You can't really layer this one for more drama, but on the bright side, that means it's difficult to overdo. Buxom Lash is also really easy to remove. I'd say it's a great choice for people who like low-maintenance makeup.

Unfortunately, this product does smear easily, particularly around the corners of my eyes where they tend to water. There's no flaking, though, and it's not as messy as Too Faced.

It's a nice day-to-day mascara, but because it doesn't add volume and smears, it doesn't suit my needs.

Last but not least, the comparison chart!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Lipstick Diaries #1: MAC Lady Danger and Hourglass Canvas

In my current quest to reduce my stash to stuff I well and truly love and will use on a regular basis, I am going to attempt to go through my lipsticks, one by one, and photograph them to figure out what flatters me. I'm not 100% sure if I'll have the willpower or the wherewithall to do that, but here's hoping!

First up, MAC Lady Danger. It's obvious why this shade is a cult classic: I haven't found too many other matte warm reds that compare in terms of sheer oomph. At the risk of sounding like a beauty magazine ("Spend an hour doing your hair and another hour messing it up, cause that's chic!"), this is one of the most modern, uber-cool shades of lipstick I own. But the thing is...I don't think it flatters me that much, at least in pictures. When I wear it, I can't stop staring at it, and it's an absolute attention-getter. Here, though? Not so sure. Comment and let me know, aight?

Next, Hourglass Canvas. This is one of the Opaque Rogue Liquid Lipsticks, which I really enjoy for their longevity and pigmentation.  It's also one of the very few nudes I own. My mom loves this one every time because it's not bright, but it's also clearly there; it's not non-existent the way some neutrals are. However, Canvas self-eliminated itself from my collection: my tube is almost empty and I can't get any more out. D: While I really enjoy this lipstick, I can't help thinking that I need something a shade or two lighter and the slightest bit softer to truly flatter my skintone.

NOTE: I'll be traveling throughout the rest of June and most of July. Several posts have been queued up to fill my absence, but I may be slow answering comments and emails.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Inspiration: Devdas

There are some Bollywood movies that I refer to as my "Music Only Movies." When somebody asks me, "Hey, what Bollywood movies have really great soundtracks and nice picturizations?", my Music Only Movies are the go-to. They're just what their name suggests: they're really only worth it for the music.

Now, some people are probably going to smack me in the face for saying that, because the 2002 adaptation of the popular novel is immensely...erm, popular. On the surface, there's a lot to love: an all-star cast (with Madhuri Dixit, Aishwarya Rai, and Shahrukh Khan headlining), lush scenery, a ridiculously huge budget, and three--count 'em, three--flawless dance sequences featuring Dixit to prove it. And yeah, the music is goddamn fantastic; few soundtracks can top it. So what's the problem?

Enjoy this picture full of gratuitous pretty, because at its heart, that's what Devdas is: an onslaught of Pretty Thing after Pretty Thing. The movie spends so much time being beautiful, it forgets to provide most of its characters with personalities. Granted, Bollywood movies are notorious for being grandiose and gorgeous. But Devdas makes it feel more like a detached fairytale than a dream come true.

That being said, it's really, really nice to look at and the music is mind-bogglingly good. Hence, Music Only Movie!

First up, let's take a look at Aishwarya Rai, aka "Paro." As I've mentioned before, using Rai as a source of inspiration is dangerous because she's so unbearably beautiful. But the way the makeup artists subtly altered her makeup throughout the film is, in my humble opinion, proof that makeup is a carefully-considered art.

Consider these images from the first half of the film: most of the colors are soft, glowy, and barely-there. The eyeliner is concentrated on her top lid and she's wearing super-full false lashes, enhancing her doe-eyed look. Nothing is particularly sharp, dark, or overdone--even her brows are natural and light by Bollywood standards. This is meant to make her look youthful and innocent.

As the film progresses and Paro becomes a more jaded, mature character, her makeup becomes darker. Of note: the images on the top row from her wedding day, where burgundy makes its appearance and her lips are more foiled than glossy, and the deep taupe look in the bottom left and center pictures. Her lower lashline is darkened in both looks, as compared to the bare lower lashline seen in the previous pictures.

This is not to say that they never give Paro those glowy neutrals again--see the bottom right image. Rather, the darker makeup doesn't show up until later. (Also, I think the neutral looks they give her later on aren't quite as soft and glossy as the earlier ones, but maybe my mind is playing tricks on me.)

Enter Madhuri Dixit, that great goddess who inspires the likes of Lisa Eldridge! (Comparing her to Kate Winslet, though...not quite accurate. I'd say she's even more iconic, a la Meryl Streep.) Dixit plays Chandramukhi, a "hooker with a heart of gold" character.

Note that she wears darker golds and burgundies when she's in "full courtesan" mode (on the right), whereas her day-to-day makeup features more mauve and pink shades. I always felt like this was meant to highlight the character's duality, ie, "she is more than what you think she is."

Two snaps and a clap for Kirron Kher! She doesn't get enough love, especially for her work in Devdas. Please take a moment to appreciate how this woman lights up the screen. She plays Paro's mother. Interestingly, her makeup is similar to Paro's in the first half of the film, but not the same: the colors are similar, but not as softly blended, and the finishes are more matte.

I will never get over images of unfairly beautiful women soaking their hair in a fountain. I know it's Bollywood Period Piece Trope #1, but it gets me every time.

I want everyone to really enjoy that picture on the right, because it took a lot of stopping and starting to capture it. I mean, I love "Dhola Re," so it was as much for me as it was for the blog...but still. STILL.

I'll finish this off by saying that if you're interested in Bollywood, but you've never seen Devdas, you should probably give it a watch. Yeah, I know, I said I only watch it for the music these days...but I did watch it the whole way through several times. It's iconic, after all!

Monday, June 8, 2015

REVIEW: Buxom Show Some Skin Foundation

I have resisted finishing this review for several weeks. Why, you ask? Because any time I start saying I love a product, something terrible happens and it no longer works for my skin. Maybe I'll suddenly start breaking out, or it'll turn a funny color, or I'll find out that the person who owns the brand is an ax murderer. This is my luck!

But I've been using the Buxom Show Some Skin foundation for a month now and haven't experienced any issues yet. So we're going forward with our fingers crossed!

Buxom Show Some Skin (hereafter abbreviated as SSS) costs $34 for 1.5oz: a very reasonable price as far as mid/high-end products go. The product is packaged in a clear plastic tube with a squeeze nozzle, which makes it easy to dispense the perfect amount of product without making a mess and allows you to see how much you have left. I don't notice any particular smell with this product--maybe just a hint of something powdery, but that's it.

 Flash on top, daylight on the bottom. From left to right: Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer in Sx01, Buxom Show Some Skin in Tickle the Ivory, and NARS Sheer Glow in Siberia.

I purchased the lightest yellow shade, Tickle the Ivory, after a kind MUAer pointed out that they had just released the shade. It is, indeed, quite pale and yellow: less yellow than NARS Siberia (but most things are) and slightly darker than KA Sx01, but still in the same range. I'd peg this at about NC10. (Note: If you want more comparison swatches, click here!) This product did not oxidize on my skin.

The shade range is, overall, quite nice: it ranges from very pale to medium dark. I did notice that most of the products have beige or yellow undertones, so if you're exceptionally cool-toned, you may not be able to find a shade match.

The texture of the foundation is a thick, creamy liquid. It feels like a lotion when you rub it in to your skin, which makes sense, given that this is supposed to be a "hydrating and brightening" product. As you rub it in, you'll notice that it has a slight "silicone powder" feel. This may be the talc in the formulation.

It is best applied with fingers. A brush requires a little too much work because of the thickness, and a damp sponge will soak up too much product to give you any coverage. I mean, you CAN use those things, but...just use your fingers. For real.

Now, Buxom describes this product's coverage as "light to medium." I have to say it's sort of between the two, in my opinion: it doesn't cover redness as well as YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat or Makeup Forever Mat Velvet +, but it's not as sheer as Chantecaille Just Skin or a single layer of MAC Face & Body. In other words, it's just about as much coverage as I like on a daily basis. As you can see in these images, it evened out my skintone and softened up my spots and discoloration, but didn't completely cover the sallow patches at the corners of my mouth or my blemishes. It is a satin, skin-like finish.

I will note that while Buxom claims this foundation is layerable, I didn't notice an improvement in coverage when I added a second layer. I think what you get with one thin layer of product is pretty much what you're stuck with.

As per usual, I tested this product (in my sexy robe!) on bare skin, with no primers or powders. You'll notice that it looks decent throughout the day except for on my nose--the only truly oily spot of my face. It did get a bit shiny on my forehead and chin, but nothing too extreme. This is definitely a foundation for normal-to-dry skin; oily-skinned people will definitely want to take a pass on this. This product promises at least 8 hours wear time, and that's relatively long as you aren't oily.

The header image is my "optimal" application: a thin layer of powder through the t-zone. This keeps the foundation looking nice and natural for most of the day. I do have to blot my nose every 3-4 hours, but I have such a hard time finding foundations that look nice on my dry skin that a little blotting is a small price to pay.

This product contains SPF30, so I wanted to make sure I tested it under some "extreme flash" conditions, ie, low light and a bright flash bulb. The above photos are high definition on the left and standard definition on the right.  As you can see, I didn't experience any flashback with SSS. Bear in mind that I'm very pale, so flashback may be more obvious/present on darker skintones.

As for "hydrating" and "brightening"? Eh, not so much. This does sit well on my skin, and despite the fact that it contains talc, it doesn't seem to dry me out. That being said, it won't replace any of my regular skincare. If it has any brightening or evening-out benefits, it's probably because the sunscreen helps to prevent hyper-pigmentation.

Regardless, I seriously, seriously love this stuff. It's an almost perfect match for me right out of the tube, it sits well on my skin, and it has SPF30! Buuuuuuuut we also know I love MAC Face & Body. And because they're both light-coverage foundations, I kinda felt the need to justify keeping both. Here's a comparison chart:

In short, MAC F&B is cheaper per ounce (if you buy the large bottles like I do), dewier, less yellow, more buildable, and longer-wearing. Buxom SSS isn't as glowy, cheap, or versatile, but it has SPF, matches me pretty darn well right out of the tube, and is incredibly easy to apply if you're in a big damn hurry.


RATING: 5 out of 5