Wednesday, November 26, 2014

REVIEW: Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick


I'm a huge fan of the Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipsticks, but their range of colors is a little small for my taste. I decided to check out similar products from other lines. And at just $19 each (versus ORLL's $28 a tube) with a very different assortment of colors, the Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks looked like a great place to start.


I decided to try two very different shades: Armageddon, a milky bubble gum, and Bauhau5, a lush berry. The tubes arrived very prettily packaged, with KvD's signature patterned boxes, see-through tubes, and matte-textured lids that make it easy to hold the applicator. Said applicator is a traditional doefoot with a slightly flattened tip.

There is no major perfume that I can detect in this formulation; it just smells like liquid lipstick ingredients. This is my personal preference, because I find most of the extraneous perfumes unpleasant, but some people may not care for the "raw" scent.


Here are the quick swatches I did of both lip colors...and I did them right after a long day at work, so  I look like a total mess. Sorry. :/

First, the positives. These apply exactly as they're advertised: matte and opaque. As long as I didn't press my lips together for a few minutes, I experienced zero patchiness or movement; once they were on, they were on. The formula has a very intense silicone feeling, which makes it apply relatively smoothly and gives it a weightless feeling.

Now for the negatives. While the formula is definitely lightweight, it feels a lot like rubbing powder on your lips. The problem with that? It makes it feel very, very dry, like I just dusted my mouth with blotting powder. I find that, while these are "lighter" than the Hourglass liquid lipsticks, they're also more drying.

Also, I found it difficult to "stay in the lines" with this formulation. You can probably see that my swatch of Bauhau5 is a mess. It's better to use a  lipliner with these, especially the darker shades, to guide you along.

From left to right: KvD Armageddon, MAC Viva Glam Gaga I gloss, KvD Bauhau5, Bite Beauty Quince pencil.

The individual shades are both very pretty. Armageddon is simultaneously pastel and bright, and it looks absolutely horrendous on me, though I can get away with it if I apply a similar-colored gloss on top. Maybe it's just too cool on my skintone...? Regardless, it doesn't suit me, and I'll be swapping it away.

Bauhau5 is definitely more my style. It has such beautiful pink undertones! I think it would flatter many skintones.

Now, for the big test: how does this stuff wear?


I decided to wear Bauhau5 out to dinner with my friend. What did I order, you ask? This delightful pot of handcut fries, mixed with cheese curds and pulled pork, and with a side of gravy.

It was delicious.

It was delightful.

It got everywhere.


But my lipstick stayed pretty well. Here I am after dinner, making another idiotic face because my friend kept making me laugh. As you can hopefully see, there's minimal smearing around the perimeter of my lips, and some very slight fading, mostly at the very center of my mouth. But the actual color stayed pretty well put.

Oh, and we also had frozen yogurt before dinner, since the wait was so long. (DON'T JUDGE ME.)

I've gone back and forth on whether or not I want to keep Bauhau5, since I prefer the Hourglass formulation, and if I want to try more colors. You see, my biggest problem with liquid lipstick formulations is that they never, ever have decent light/nude shades. I'm a brights girl through and through, but sometimes I like a soft pink or a delicate mauve to wear to work. I'd really like to see a liquid lipstick line fill this niche.

Overall, these are very nice, very affordable liquid lipsticks. People who dislike anything drying or difficult to apply will want to steer clear; people who want something more lightweight and more daring than the Hourglass liquid lipsticks should give these a try. As for me? I think I'll stick with what I love.

RATING: 4 out of 5.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Inspiration: Bound


Bound is a 1996 crime thriller best remembered for the lesbian romance between Violet and Corky, played by Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon respectively. And hey, there's no shame in that! They're both gorgeous and totally committed to those roles. But I've watched this movie at least a dozen times, and there are two things that draw me back:
  1. this movie really is thrilling--I'm always on the end of my seat when Caesar brings out those bolt cutters, even though I know what's gonna happen--and
  2. these two women play total badasses. Badasses with style.

Let's get in to the inspiration!


I love the contrasting makeup styles they came up with: strong mattes with rich reds and purples for Violet, subtly dewy nudes for Corky. I'm also a huge fan of any woman who can rock an A-shirt; it's a look I mimic, but not very well.


Violet's nails are so unfair. :( As are the cool leather jackets. I prefer to purchase and "recycle" pre-owned leather from thrift stores and consignment shops, but I've yet to find anything as cool as Corky's jacket in the top right image.


Violet's short, simple dresses are a huge source of inspiration for me. Notice how her accessories are always minimal: just a simple wrist-watch in both of he top left images. I think if you're going to wear something short-and-tight, keeping everything else simple is necessary to avoid looking "trashy." Compare that to Corky, who wears multiple hoop earrings along with her loose cargo pants.

Gratuitous shot of Violet's vanity on the top right!


Saturday, November 22, 2014

10 Products You MUST Try This Winter

I'm a dry-skinned person, so you'd think that I hate winter and love summer. Winter is the harbinger of major snowfall, dry central heat, and cold-cracked hands. What's the love if you're already used to having a tight, flaky, scratchy face?

In my experience, plenty. I've whined about this before and I'll whine about it again: I don't like summer. It's sticky, it breaks my face out in heat and sun rashes, and it makes me sweat a lot. I'm a fussy-fussy-two-by-four and I hate sweating. I'd much rather be cuddled up in a sweater with a cup of hot cocoa in my hands and a layer of mega-rich cream on my face.

Because winter is not easy on the skin, especially if you're normal to dry all year round, I've decided to list my 10 favorite products for getting through the winter flawlessly.

The Skincare


1. Haus of Gloi Pumpkin Butters - There is nothing else like this thick, rich moisturizer when my body feels dry and itchy. Loaded with pumpkin oil and other skin-soothing ingredients, Haus of Gloi's pumpkin butter is one of the only body care products that keeps my skin smooth and soft during the winter. See full review here.

2. MAC Strobe Cream - MAC Strobe Cream is best known as a highlighter, but it's actually created to be, and marketed as, a lightweight moisturizer with light-reflecting properties. Of course, you can use it as a highlighter--I certainly do--but it also works great under makeup to add a glow to your face. Best of all, it's very affordable: a 1oz bottle is just $10! See more info here.

3. Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream, fragrance free - My love, my baby, my wooblet. There are plenty of other hand creams I've enjoyed (L'occitane's wide selection comes to mind), but if my fingers are cracked and ashy, and I'm trying to get them back to square one? Nothing works as well as this drugstore gem. I also use it on the end of my nose after a sinus infection or cold to heal chapped skin.

4. Paula's Choice Resist Weekly Resurfacing Treatment - This is PC's most potent AHA exfoliator, with 10% glycolic acid. I've noticed a marked improvement in my skin's texture since I switched from physical to chemical exfoliants, and I'm in love with this thin, lightweight formulation. I use it once a week--usually on Friday nights--and wake up with noticeably softer, smoother, more even skin. More details in the upcoming Sample Rundown #4.

The Base Products


5. NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer - Now that my skin is behaving itself and the "tan" on my face is starting to fade, I can often get away with a spot of concealer and a dusting of powder. This new NARS concealer has quickly become a staple in my routine, thanks to its blendable medium coverage and creamy formula that sits beautifully on the skin. I love it so much that, when my makeup bag was stolen from me a few months back, I immediately rushed out and bought another tube.

6. Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelee - How have I not written about these little wunderkinds before?! They're one of the newest additions to the Josie Maran line, and I'd argue that they're already cult classics. The lightweight gel-texture formula sits beautifully on even the driest cheeks, lasts for at least 6 hours, and is glowy enough to eliminate the need for highlighter.

7. Ecotools powder brush - My skin gets more sensitive in the winter, so I need the softest tools out there. The Ecotools powder brush tops that list: it's as soft and fluffy as a kitten's paw. It's also very, very affordable! I've had this particular brush for at least 5 years, and I've had zero problems with ferrule glue loosening or brush hairs falling out.

The Comfortable Colors


8. Urban Decay Revolution lipsticks - I wouldn't call any lipstick truly "moisturizing," but the Urban Decay Revolution lipsticks are about as close as you're going to get. These lipsticks sit comfortably on my lips, even when they're cracked or dry, and have decent staying power. As an added bonus, the color range is phenomenal. See full review here.

9. Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade - I used to live in the Great White Frozen North, where strong winds would whip up the mountains of snow and fling them right in to your face. One of my biggest annoyances with this was how it wiped off my eye makeup. That's not a problem with Anastasia' new Dipbrow Pomade. Although the creamy formula has a slight learning curve, it's a dream once you get used to it thanks to the pigmentation and long wear time. This stuff lasts over 12 hours on my face, through wind, rain, and anything else Mother Nature throws at me. Full review coming soon.

10. NYX Butter Gloss - I'm not a gloss person, but if I was? I'd load up on these. At just $5 apiece, these glosses are just as buttery and smooth as the name suggests. They manage to stay on your lips without bleeding all over the place, but they're not especially sticky, which is quite a feat. And the color range? Phenomenal.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

WASH YOUR F@!#ING TOOLS!


 If the title of this post seems a little emphatic, then so be it. Few things in the beauty world gross me out more than people who never, ever clean their brushes, puffs, or other tools. It might seem like a weird thing to be grossed out by if you're a fellow beauty aficionado and grew up in the world of MAC spot cleaner and olive oil cleansing, but the truth is that the overwhelming majority of people who use makeup never clean their brushes. I'm not joking. Ask random people if you can look inside their makeup bag (for science), and if they don't run away screaming "CREEPER!", you're in for a shock.

Now, let's be fair. I don't entirely blame the average consumer for not knowing how to clean their tools because it's not routinely stressed. I've never seen "wash this brush after use" on a product's packaging, and magazines spend most of their time talking about what colors are on-trend, not how to scrub a sponge. But part of me wonders how brush cleansing doesn't pop in to more minds. I mean, it's only logical: you're rubbing something all over your face (which is a collection of oils, moisturizers and toners, bacteria, and skin cells), then rubbing it all over a product you keep around for months at a time, and you go back and forth and back and forth and...you get the picture. I compare it to eating utensils: you wouldn't use the same fork over and over again without washing it, would you?



You might ask, "Why should I worry about cleaning my tools? They work fine!" Well, if you don't clean your tools, chances are your dirty powder puff and gunky foundation brush are causing you a lot of trouble. Here are some examples of what can happen when you use dirty tools:
  • You might cause a break out or an infection. This is especially true if you're using cream or liquid products, since it's easy for bacteria to fester in moisture, but it can happen with powders, too. Remember that every time a brush touches your face, it's coming in contact with the bacteria, oil, skin cells, and product residue that reside there. When you dip it back in to your makeup, you're giving it a nice place to live.
  • The color of your products might "change." I've heard horror stories from friends at makeup counters. Case in point from a friend who worked at MAC: "I had a customer who really loved Studio Fix Fluid. One day, she came to the counter looking very upset and demanded to speak to a manager. She claimed that her new bottle of NC20 was much darker than it was supposed to be, and there must've been a manufacturing error. I asked her if she was using a clean brush...and she just blinked at me. She had the brush in her bag and she showed it to me. She'd never cleaned it. NEVER. So she had years' worth of product stuck in the bristles, and the bacteria and old foundation was smearing in to her face every time she applied SFF with that brush. That's what was making her foundation look darker: the old, oxidized, bacteria-filled foundation stuck in her brush."
  • You could ruin your products. This is especially obvious with powder products. The oils from your face can "seal" your powders, meaning they'll get a hard, often shiny layer on top that has to be scraped off with a rough tool. Beyond the fact that sealing is gross, it also leads to wasted product.

Now that I've got that off of my chest, here are some personal recommendations for keeping your tools clean.


BRUSHES

The most popular (and most readily dirtied) tool is definitely The Brush. This includes all types of brushes: foundation, eyeshadow, brow, spoolie...if it has bristles, we're gonna clean it. I personally clean my brushes once a week unless:
  1. I haven't used them at all AND they were already washed in the recent past (so they're not dirty), or
  2. I used them with a liquid or cream product (so they need washed after each use).
The #1 best brush cleaner has to be Dr. Bronner's Bar Soap. Beyond the fact that it's very effective and easy to store, it's also dirt cheap. My current bar has lasted me well over a year and is barely 1/3 gone: that's $5 well spent, in my opinion.

Washing your brushes with Dr. Bronner's is easy. First, moisten the brush bristles with lukewarm water, making sure you tilt the brush down; this prevents water from getting in to the ferrule and loosening up the glue. Then, rub the moistened brush in to the Dr. Bronner's. It will foam up and be dirt-free in mere seconds. If desired, you can rub the brush bristles in the palm of your hand to spread out the soap. Rinse the brush. Squeeze out excess water. Lay the brush on a flat surface, preferably with the bristles hanging over an edge to facilitate faster drying. In my experience, even the densest brush will be dry within 4 hours.

That's it. That's all there is to it.

NOTE: My brushes are all synthetic hair, partially because they're what I prefer and partially because I think they're easier to clean. Natural hair brushes may require special care. Contact the manufacturer and/or take special precaution when washing natural-hair brushes.


SPONGES

I prefer to use sturdy, reusable sponges like the Beauty Blender over disposable sponge wedges because they're less wasteful. The only downside is that they're a sponge, meaning they soak everything up...including bacteria. They need cleaned often, especially if you're soaking them in water to sheer out product. For reference, I clean my powder sponges (like this white D&G sponge) every couple of my months, and my liquid/cream product sponges (like the pink Beauty Blender) after every use.

My sponge cleaning method is very similar to my brush cleaning method: dampen the sponge, rub it in the bar of soap, rub it in the palm of my hand, rinse, squeeze out excess water. The only real difference with sponges is that they hold more water than a brush, so you'll need to rinse-and-squeeze and several times. I also wrap my sponges in a towel and squeeze to get out every last bit of moisture. Then I lay them on that same towel to dry.

POWDER PUFFS

Powder puffs are constantly in contact with your powders and the oils on your face, meaning they have to be pretty clean to prevent sealing. But their fluffy-wuffy nature means that you can't just wash them. Yes, friends, you'll have to just replace the whole puff. You can get cheap puffs that fit most powder compacts from Eyes Lips Face (pictured above) and CoverGirl.

I personally replace my powder puffs about every 3 months, or whenever the bottom of the puff is visibly covered in product. I've never had a problem with sealing.

LASH CURLER PADS

How often you replace your lash curler pad is really going to depend on when you use your curler. If you like to use your curler after you've applied mascara and eyeliner, you're going to get a lot of sticky residue on the pad, which can yank out your lashes or even cause an infection. It's fine to use your curler after you apply your eye makeup, but you'll need to wipe off the pad with a q-tip or baby wipe after each use, and you'll want to replace the pad every few months.

If you're like me and you use your lash curler before you apply makeup, you won't get as much gunk on the pad. But it's still going to come in contact with your delicate eyes, so you want it to be clean. Also, lash curler pads can deteriorate and lose their "bounce" after many uses. I occasionally wipe off my lash curler pad with a baby wipe, and I replace the pad every 6 months or so.

NOTE: most brands sell replacement lash curler pads; for example, here are the pads for my Shiseido curler. If your brand doesn't sell the pads separately, do a Google search for pads that are a similar shape and size. My Shiseido pads, for example, should fit the infamous Shu Uemura lash curler as well.


HANDS

Yes, your hands count as tools, and yes, they should be very very very clean when you put on your makeup! A lot of people don't believe me, but clean hands really can make a difference. I used to make YouTube tutorials, and I made a big deal of washing your hands at the start of every one. Without fail, I'd get at least one snarky comment in response, ie, "Ooooooh, I did this and didn't wash my hands! Oooooh, the world's gonna end, ooooooh!"

Then, a few videos later, the same snarky commenter would ask how I keep my skin so nice. Really? Really.

Use whatever soap floats your fancy, but I recommend an antibacterial one over something designed to be moisturizing or look pretty on your counter. The family favorite is Dial bar soap. Also, make sure you use it long enough to really kill bacteria: rub your soapy hands together for about 15-20 seconds before rinsing. If you're having trouble keeping time, just go through your ABCs.

I'm also a huge fan of using my hands like a painter's palette. Instead of dipping my fingers in and out of a pot of product multiple times, I'll scoop out a small amount with a spatula or a clean finger, smear it on the back of my hand, and work from there.

Lastly, I keep baby wipes around. I use these to wipe excess product off of the back of my hands, and to "spot clean" my fingers and brushes.

And speaking of tools: it's almost time to announce the winner of the Kevyn Aucoin Lash Curler giveaway! Enter by November 30th, 2014 for your chance to win.

Monday, November 17, 2014

New Product FOTD and Some Sloppy Kat von D Swatches

I recently received a number of foundation samples from really kind friends, along with my Sephora VIB order. But unfortunately, a lot of these products haven't been working out for me. Just as I was about to give up on these new foundations altogether, a miracle happened: the last one I tried turned out to be really, really nice, and properly pale! It's the Armani CC cream. The jury's still out on whether or not it's going to wow me, but after a thorough testing, I'll be posting a review.


BASE: Armani Luminescence CC Cream in #01, NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly, Dolce & Gabbana powder foundation in 50 Ivory, Skindinavia setting spray
EYES: Shu Uemura brow pencil in Seal Brown, Maybelline Full n' Soft mascara
CHEEKS: YSL Baby Doll Kiss and Blush in #9 Rose Epicurien, Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Pearl
LIPS: YSL Baby Doll Kiss and Blush in #9 Rose Epicurien

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Also, here are some quick slap-it-on and go photos of the Kat von D Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks I recently received. My face looks haggard because I swatched these after a long work day, and I look haggard overall because...long work day. I apologize for the sloppiness! Again, an actual review will be coming along when I can manage it.

Bauhau5 and Armageddon. Less frightening swatches to come.

Don't forget: there are 2 weeks left to win a free Kevyn Aucoin lash curler!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Bonus Drag Reprise: Life Goal Achieved

This is just a quick announcement to say 23098ASFN2O3IUT;SIFJ(!UAQW3RUA!!!!! My most recent Bonus Drag post was retweeted by none other than Coco Peru herself!



I would like you to take four things from this post, dear readers:
  1. Miss Coco Peru is still a badass.
  2. I am still a ridiculous fangirl.
  3. Dreams really can come true.
  4. I am more than willing to write blogposts for Tweet posterity.
Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming...

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Bonus Drag: Miss Coco Peru and RuPaul Charles in To Wong Foo

If you know me, then you know just how much I love a good comedy queen. Topping that list for nearly two decades is Miss Coco Peru, an actress, comedian, and all-around queen.

I first noticed Coco playing a bit-part in To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar (which, again, was my introduction to drag at the tender age of 8). The lead character, Vida, shares a tense moment with a fierce drag queen in yellow. Said queen had one line and took up very little screen time, but she had incredible stage presence and absolutely embodied the bitter rival. I was young, though, and the world wide web was still new to me, so I didn't think to look up a cast list and figure out who this badass was.

Several years later, To Wong Foo was playing on cable TV, and my interest was rekindled. Now totally acclimated to internet search engines, I figured out that Badass Queen in Yellow = Coco Peru, and I've been a fan ever since.

If you recognize her signature hair-do in these photos, but you've never seen To Wong Foo, then you may recognize her from one of her YouTube performances, like Let's Play Grand Theft Auto 5 With Coco Peru. And if you haven't watched that video, then you need to watch it right the Hell now. My totally heterosexual, not-really-interested-in-drag brother heard less than a minute of the video and immediately started quoting it, it's that good. WATCH IT WATCH IT WATCH IT HAVE I CONVINCED YOU YET?!







 And RuPaul? Heh. To Wong Foo was also my introduction to the legend...and my reaction when I first saw her is the stuff of legends as well. As she slowly descended to the stage in a form-fitting gown and a wig high enough to hit Heaven, I sighed to my friend, "I want to be as pretty as her some day."

"That's a MAN," my friend shot back.

Without missing a beat, and with every ounce of honesty pouring from my heart, I replied, "Then I've got a lot of work to do."








Bonus photo! Recognize any of these faboosh people?