May Wrap-Up

May CollageSo May was not my best month for blogging. I was on such a roll when my camera broke, and then figuring out my new camera was trickier than expected. (I still can’t get the white balance quite right, but slightly too yellow/orange is better than too green/grey, because at least I look like a person.) I only posted 12 looks as a result. I did have my 100th post, though, so that was exciting! 100 posts in about four month? Not bad at all, even with my hiatus.

May swatchesReviews: I only posted one review this month, of Dark Matter Makeup’s Zodiac collection. As usual, I did five looks with it.

May FavoritesLooks: This month I created 12 looks, seven face of the days and five for my Zodiac Collection review. I also posted my thoughts on having a signature look (light shadow, winged liner, matching cheeks and lips). My favorite looks this month were:

May emptiesEmpties: I finished a good number of things this month. Three full size products, four bigger samples and 9 foils.

  •  Mandarin Burst Moisturizing Shave Gel: I really liked the scent of this. Citrusy and fruity but not too strong. The formula is the same as always and I like it. I’ve already started another can of the same scent.
  • The Body Shop Satsuma Puree Body Lotion: This lotion has a strange texture, more like a gel than a cream. It makes it a good body lotion for when it’s hot out because it feels very light on the skin. I like The Body Shop’s Satsuma scent a lot and it translated well to the lotion. It’s maybe a touch less orange-jello scented than the body wash.
  • The Body Shop Satsuma Soap: Can you tell I like Satsuma? I used this as a bathroom hand soap and got almost three moths out of it. It smells like orange jello and doesn’t dry out my hands but isn’t actively moisturizing either.
  • Pacifica Hawaiian Ruby Guava Body Wash: This was okay. I was disappointed in the scent because it was mostly coconut, rather than guava. The formula was fine but nothing special. I think the bottle’s really cute though and will probably hang on to it to fill with other stuff as part of my travel kit.
  • Bliss Lemon Sage Body Scrub: This body scrubs works really well. My skin stayed soft and smooth for a week after I used it, so it’s definitely effective. The scent’s not my favorite though. I don’t really get any lemon from it, so it’s just herbal. If it came in another scent I would definitely consider buying it, but it doesn’t.
  • Lush Big Shampoo: Oh my god, I love the way this smells! The scent last a really long time in my hair too. It’s fruity and tropical and very feminine without really smelling like any specific fruit. The shampoo itself it full of large grains of salt, which lather up well. I can’t tell if it makes my hair bigger like it’s supposed to, though, cuz my hair pretty much lives in a bun. (As you may have noticed, since it’s up in every single picture on this blog.) I don’t usually buy expensive shampoo, but I love this scent enough that I might buy a tub for special occasions.
  • Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment: I got this as my birthday gift from Sephora almost exactly two years ago. At the time I was really excited to try it, but it turns out it’s not my favorite lip balm. It’s very thick, but it doesn’t do much for my lips. It feels almost goopy if I wear it during the day but it doesn’t really sink into my lips if I wear it overnight. My lips are always slightly dry the next morning. The lemon scent is nice and soft, but that’s about all I can say for it. The tube is metal and very weighty, but the lip balm is too soft to not be supported on the sides and got all wonky. Definitely not something I would ever buy, and if I got another free one I would probably gift it to someone else.
  • Boots Botanics Ionic Clay Mask: This mask is too harsh for my face. It feels like it sucked all the moisture out of my face and left my skin pink and blotchy and I needed to put heavy duty moisturizer on immediate afterwards. I tried it on just my T-zone and it was better, but still turned my skin red. I would not use it again.
  • Bare Minerals Active Cell Renewal Night Serum: This serum was nice. I liked combining it with a light night cream before bed. I can’t tell if it did anything special, though.
  • First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream: I used two packets of this this month. I like it. It’s a basic, straight forward face cream. Thicker than my usual lotion, but in a way that didn’t feel like it was smothering my skin. The scent was weirdly medical, though, kind of like band-aids. I think that it’s unscented and that’s just the way the ingredients smell though. I would definitely use it again, even with the smell.
  • L’Occitane Divine Cream: This is so strongly scented, it’s like perfume for your face. I literally needed to go double check it was actually supposed to go on your face the scent was so strong. It is. It also turns out it’s 108 dollars a jar. I would never, ever buy this. It doesn’t even feel that nice on my skin.
  • Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv Replenishing Comfort Eye Cream: This is also stupidly expensive (90 dollars for half an ounce), but unlike the Divine Cream, it actually seems worth it to me. If I was made of money (or really concerned about aging, which I’m not), I would buy it. I sample a lot of eye creams and they all blend together usually, but this one was really, really nice. I only needed the tinsiest bit, too, so if you did get the 90 dollar jar I bet it would last you a really long time.
  • Urban Decay Primer Potion in Sin: This was my first sample of a primer potion that I didn’t get through before it dried up. I just don’t get the point of a shimmery primer. If I want shimmery eyelids, I’ll wear a shimmery eyeshadow. This did really make matte eyeshadows shimmery when I tried them on top of it, but it did sometimes make shimmery eyeshadows too shimmery. I have no need for this, and I’ll give my other sample of it to my sister.
  • Tokyo Milk Dark Everything & Nothing Handcreme: This is too strongly scented for a hand cream. The texture’s nice, but it’s overwhelming perfumey. I was hoping from the notes (sweet orange, pressed petals, desert moss and tea leaves) that it would be a little citrussy, but it just came across as floral. I wanted to like it because I think Tokyo Milk Dark’s aesthetic is cool, but I didn’t.

Orders: This was the month I decided I was interested in trying out indie polish, so I bought from four indie polish brands, and one new cosmetics brand. I also made some planned purchases with some of my favorite brands during sales they were having and signed up for two one-time mystery boxes, which I’m really excited to see what’s in.

Goals: My goal for June is simple. It’s just to get back to blogging regularly. I want to publish at least two reviews and do FOTD posts most days.

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Thoughts on Having a Signature Look (my 100th post!)

Signature LookThe last couple weeks I haven’t blogged much. I did however wear make up. I had a three day conference that I attended. It was interesting having a work(ish) event that I actually could wear make up to, and it caused me to think some about “my look.” For the last few years make up has almost exclusively been something I do as a hobby. I’ve taught myself how to apply it and what kind of looks I like and I’ve stretched my comfort zone a ton. I usually wear nothing to work, come home and put my make up on then. On my blog, I post all sorts of colorful and out-there looks, but where I live I don’t wear them out much, unless it’s to dinner out with my husband. But in a couple months I’ll be back in America, where wearing make up is a normal thing that people do in public. It got me thinking about what I want to do with my make up on a more day to day basis. Which is winged liner. And light shadow. And rosy lips and cheeks. (Incidentally, this is pretty much exactly my wedding make up, and being able to do my wedding make up myself was the reason I got into make up in the first place.)

Anyways, this is my basic go to quick and easy formula. A sparkly light-colored shadow, like Shiro’s Doge or Aromaleigh’s #lovenotfear, all over my lids. If I’m feeling like I want more definition, I’ll put a pink or a light brown/tan in the crease. Then winged liner and mascara, basic face stuff and coordinating lips and cheeks. Going through my blog archives all the looks I had with this basic formula used a warm coral-pink lip/cheek color but the other day I did it with magenta instead and it was lovely. (So lovely, in fact, that I want to recreate it for the blog.) I like the idea of having a go to, that people think looks like me and that simplifies my routine in the morning. Plus, I got so many compliments on my make up at the conference. It felt good! I did the basic one day, the same thing just with teal liner the next, and a basic grey pencil liner look the last day. I like that I can use the same things, just with a bit of variation by changing up the lip/cheek colors or swapping in a colored liner. Plus, I really do feel pretty and like me when I do my make up this way.

This is kind of rambly and long, but those are my thoughts. I’ll probably make a space on my make up table for my go to don’t need to think about it look products. I’m really interested to see how much I wind up doing my make up like this once I’m back in the USA. I added a signature look tag, if you’re interested in seeing them all in one place. Also, it’s my 100th post! Yay!

FOTD: Slapdash Test Out the New Camera Before It Gets Dark Look

new camera bigSo after a somewhat agonizing 12 cameraless days, I finally have a new camera and can blog again! Which meant I needed to try it out immediately. I wasn’t wearing much make up at the time (only eyeliner and mascara), so I slapped some on the rest of my face and got to work taking pictures. new camera lookI feel like the camera captures a good level of detail and will be good for closeups, but these pictures seem sort of green-tinted/cool-toned to me. I’m hoping that’s just because it was later in the day than usual for my picture taking and then when I try again tomorrow, the colors will be more accurate. new camera productsEyes:

  • Shiro Doge
  • Urban Decay 24/7 Liner in Mars
  • Make Up Forever Smoky Extravagant Mascara

Face:

  • MAC Face and Body in N1
  • Laura Mercier Secret Concealer in 1
  • MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Light
  • Baroque Mucha Ado About Nothing

Lips:

  • Kae Q Guava

I was already wearing shimmery green eyeliner along my top lashes and in my lower waterline and a coat of mascara, so I just swiped some Doge, a sparkly champagne, across my lids to even out their color. I applied foundation, under eye concealer and powder, and finished with blush and a light pink tinted balm. I’m so happy to be back blogging again! I missed it a somewhat ridiculous amount. I’ve got a ton of ideas stored up in my brain as well as some looks I did while I was unable to photograph them that I want to redo and put up. Plus my next review was almost finished when my camera broke. So that should be up in the next couple days as well. :)

FOTD: Elegant Evening Look with Mulberry Lips

mulberry passion big 2When I swatched Kae Q’s Mulberry, I knew it called for a simple, but sophisticated eye look, so the focus could stay on the lips. Looking around my make up table, Notoriously Morbid’s Passion caught my eye. I opened up the jar and realized there were the most lovely little warm sparks in a cool grey base. I’d found the shadow for the look. Simple, but with a little something special.

mulberry passion lookI feel like I should be wearing an elegant gown and going to a fancy event. But with neater hair.

mulberry passion shadowEyes:

  • Notoriously Morbid Passion
  • Stila Smoke (In the Know Palette)
  • Stila Air (In the Know Palette)
  • Urban Decay Primer Potion
  • Urban Decay 24/6 Liner in Crave
  • Make Up Forever Smoky Extravagant Mascara

Face:

  • MAC Face and Body in N1
  • Laura Mercier Secret Concealer in 1
  • MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Light
  • Tarte Exposed

Lips:

  • Kae Q Mulberry

I started by priming my lids like usual. I applied Passion, a sparkly cool grey with a ton of tiny sparks, all over my lids. I used a darker matte grey shadow to deepen my crease and a soft white matte shadow to highlight my brown bone. I lined my eyes with a dark brown pencil liner and smudges it with a brush. I curled my lashes and put on mascara. I did my face like usual and applied a little bit of pinky tan blush to my cheeks. I finished by putting on Mulberry, a deep warm berry red, to my lips using a doefoot applicator.

I was expecting Mulberry to be a bit cooler toned than it actually is, but I really like it. So far it’s my favorite of the darker beso balms, because it’s formula doesn’t get streaky and I think it’s a really flattering color for my complexion. It’s just dark enough to read as deep without being full on vampy, and I can see myself wearing it a bunch.

Also, just a heads up that my camera died, so I won’t be able to take pictures and post new looks until I get it replaced. I tried using my ipod and it just did not work. So there’ll probably be a little break in my posting schedule.

FOTD: Blackbird’s Feminine Pinks

pink blackbird big I was in the mood for a simple kind of looks today, so I figured I’d try some of my new Blackbird shadows. I was also feeling a little bit girly, so I went for the pink ones.

pink blackbird look To keep it soft I used grey eyeliner. I love grey eyeliner. I should wear it more often.

pink blackbird shadowEyes:

  • Blackbird Immortals
  • Blackbird Imogen
  • Blackbird Vintage
  • Stila Smudgestick in Halfmoon
  • Buxom Lash Mascara

Face:

  • MAC Face and Body in N1
  • Laura Mercier Secret Concealer in 1
  • MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Light
  • Shiro Potion

Lips:

  • Fyrinnae Ocelot

Since mattes can be tricky over primer, I tested Imogen out on my arm over primer and over bare skin before I started. I liked it better on bare skin, so I skipped the primer for this look. I started by applying Immortals, a matte light pink, to the inner half of my lids. I applied Imogen, a matte medium pink, to the outer half and blended the two together. Then I placed Vintage, a darker matte pink with a touch of purple, in the outer V and crease using a thin angled brush. I put some under my lower lashes as well. I used a clean blending brush to blend everything together. I lined my eyes with grey pencil liner, curled my lashes and put on mascara. I did my usual face stuff, and finished with look with Potion, a plummy pink blush, and Ocelot, a light pink lip lustre, which I applied with the doe foot.

I really liked how soft and pretty this look came out. The soft pinks remind me of some of the looks I used to do with my Naked 3 palette, but Blackbird’s are a little bit cooler and matte instead of shimmery. I’m looking to trying out more all matte neutral looks with the rest of my blackbird colors. Usually I use mattes as support shades for my shimmery shadows, so it was a nice change to let them stand on their own.

Do you do all matte looks? What matte formula is your favorite?

Dark Matter Makeup Zodiac Collection: Looks

Zodiac Swatches

Leo, Cancer, Gemini, Virgo, Scorpio, Pisces / Libra, Aries, Taurus, Capricorn, Aquarius, Sagittarius

After yesterday’s swatch post, it’s time for my looks from Dark Matter Makeup’s Zodiac collection. This collection has a lot of bright, fun colors, although some of them took a little bit of extra work to use in the looks. Nonetheless, I’m happy with what I came up with and if you’re a more confident eyeshadow user, you should be able to make some nice bold looks with these colors. Also, if you missed my update to yesterday’s post, these shadows have been reformulated since I bought them, so it’s possible they perform better now. Dom’s sending me a few samples of the reformulation, and when I get them, I’ll post an update about the new formula.

zodiac s3 Look 1: Virgo and Pisces Zodiac 3For this look I primed my eyes and then patted Virgo over the lid. I placed Pisces in the outer corner and the outer portion of the crease and blended it down and into Virgo. I kept blending until the transition was smooth. I added a little bit more Pisces in the crease to make it more vibrant, and brought some under my lower lashes as well. I lined my eyes all the way around with black pencil liner and applied a lot of mascara.

zodiac s5 Look 2: Scorpio, Taurus and Sagittarius Zodiac 5b I primed my eyes and patted Pixie Epoxy on to my mobile lids. After it set, I applied Scorpio to my lids. I took a tiny bit of Taurus on a blending brush and worked it into the crease to smooth out the edges, fanning it up slightly at the outer corners. I tidied a bit with a q-tip and diffused the edges with my blending brush. I used a liner brush to apply Sagittarius along my lower lashline. I lined my eyes with black pencil liner and finished with mascara. (Lips are Kae Q Sapodilla.)

zodia s2 Look 3: Aquarius and Aries Zodiac 2This is the second look I attempted with these colors, since the first one turned out patchy. For this, I primed my lids and applied Aries up to my crease. I blended out the edges a little to diffuse the upper edge. I mixed Aquarius with Superstar Serum and applied it as winged liner using an eyeliner brush. I applied a little of the mixture to my lower lashline as well. I finished the look with mascara. (Lips are Kae Q Mamey.)

zodiac s1 Look 4: Libra, Gemini and Capricorn Zodiac 1 This look is an attempt at a halo eye, although the colors were too similar for it to be very distinct. I primed my eyes and applied Gemini to the inner and outer thirds of each eye. I used a pencil brush to apply Libra to the very inner and outer corners, as well as to the inner and outer thirds of my lower lashline. I filled in the middle third of each eye with Capricorn and blended the purples together. I might have overblended slightly, which cause the halo-ness to become extremely subtle, so I added a touch more Gemini over the top. In retrospect, maybe I should have added a little bit more back. I also applied Gemini to the middle third of my lower lashline. I blended out the upper edge of the purples with Capricorn on a fluffy brush, bringing it up a little higher than my crease. I lined my upper lashline with black pencil liner and my lower lashline with grey. I curled my lashes and applied mascara to complete the look. (Lips are Fyrinnae Pygmy Hippo topped with gloss.)

zodiac s4 Look 5: Aries, Leo and Cancer, plus Pisces Zodiac 4a For this look I started my priming my eyes and then applied Aries to the inner third of my lids. I applied Leo to the middle third and Cancer to the outer third. I flared Cancer up at the outer corner and applied some to the outer half of my lower lashline as well. I applied Leo to the middle of my lower lashline, stopping before my tear duct. I blended the three colors on my lid together to get a smooth transition, but Leo became very sheer so I patted a little more on top. I took the teensiest bit of Aries on a blending brush and used it to lightly blend out the upper edge. I lined my upper lashes with black liquid liner, ending in a little wing, and my lower lashes with black pencil liner. I also applied mascara.

Zodiac 4bAfter I finished the first version of this look, I realized that it would be super fun to add some turquoise to the lower lashline, so I used a liner brush to apply some Pisces to my lower waterline. This version made me think of a tropical sunset over the ocean!

zodiac looks aSo there are my five Zodiac Collection looks! Despite the fact that some of the shadows were a bit tricky to use and required a careful hand or touch ups after blending, I really like the way they turned out. I was able to make a lot of bright, fun looks! Since turquoise is hands down my favorite color, look number one was my favorite, but I was pleasantly surprised by number three as well. My first attempt at an Aquarius/Aries look (a smoky eye over Pixie Epoxy) turned into a bit of a patchy mess (especially when my eyes were closed and you could see it all), but foiling Aquarius as liner worked quite well and made for a nice, delicate, pretty look. What about you? Which look was your favorite?

Dark Matter Makeup Zodiac Collection: Swatches

Zodiac shadowsToday I’m reviewing the Zodiac Collection from Dark Matter Makeup. The shop is relatively new, but adding new collection quickly (all of which are space/science themed). This collection has 12 colors, one for each Zodiac sign. While the formula of some colors was a bit tricky, there were definitely a bunch of fun colors. Pretty much everything changed dramatically over a sticky base. It’s also worth noting that usually Dark Matter samples come in test tubes, not baggies. I asked Dom, the owner, if she could send me mine in baggies instead, and she was kind enough to do so for me.

(Update: I’ve been informed that Dom has reformulated these colors since I bought them, so the formula is supposed to be smoother now. So this review is for the original formulations of these colors.)

Swatched over Urban Decay Primer on the top/left and Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy on the bottom/right. The top picture in each collage was taken in indoor natural light and the bottom one in direct sun.

Zodiac Purples The purpley colors: Cancer, Libra, Virgo, Gemini, Capricorn, Aquarius

Zodiac MiscThe other colors: Aries, Leo, Taurus, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Pisces

PiscesPisces: “A bold teal green with sparkling stars of silver glitter.” This is a bright turquoise with a matte base and silver glitter. It has a slightly powdery texture. Over primer it’s slightly sheer, but it does not play well with Pixie Epoxy. It balled up in some areas and flaked off in others, although the glitter was more noticeable and the color was darker. The PE side of my swatch also stained my arm quite a bit. I love the color of this over primer alone, but it sheers out a lot when you blend it, so I needed to pat a second layer on after blending in order to get a vibrant turquoise when I’ve used it in looks.

AquariusAquarius: “A duochrome that shifts from a dark, yet pure blue to a metallic gold.” This has a bright blue base and a strong gold duochrome overlay, with a bit of a coppery red twinge to it. Over primer the blue is sheer and pretty much all of the duochrome aspect of it vanishes, although there is still a bit of gold glitter. Over a sticky base I found I needed to work very fast to get an even overlay and even then there was a bit of patchiness in the gold. When I tried it over Pixie Epoxy on my eyes, the patchiness was worse. It’s a really pretty color, and I don’t own anything else like it, but it’s tricky to use.

AriesAries: “A light metallic gold with gold sparks. It also has an orange highlight that makes the color shift from a light to a more orange gold.” This is a quite nice light shiny gold with a bit of sparkle. I don’t see any orange in it. It’s really pretty and applies nicely. Over primer it’s a touch sheer, but I found that useful for looks when you want just a hint of gold. Over a sticky base, the sheen was quite even. It’s one of my favorites from the collection.

LeoLeo: “A sheer red orange with sparkles of silver and violet.” This is a glittery bright orange. Over primer it’s more of a true orange with just a bit of sparkle and a sheer matte base, but Pixie Epoxy brings out its red tones and makes the shimmer much more apparent. The pinky purple iridescence of the sparkle only comes out over a sticky base. Like Pisces, it blends away easily on the eyelids and I found myself touching it up after blending to get a more vibrant color.

LibraLibra: “A shifting magenta that has a metallic gold shift.” This is a bright magenta base with a strong coppery gold overlay that really comes out over Pixie Epoxy. Over primer the base is more purple toned with a bit of copper-gold glittery shimmer. Over sticky primer the gold forms a duochromesque layer over the top and makes the base look much warmer. It’s a really pretty color and much easier to apply than Aquarius. It’s unique in my collection as well.

CancerCancer: “Bright blue toned pink with blue shift.” This is a bright pink with bright blue shimmer. Over primer the base is sheerer and more hot pink and the blue shimmer is less prominent. Over a sticky base the color deepens and the blue comes out quite clearly .

VirgoVirgo: “A light pink that has a golden duochrome.” This is a very light lavender pink with golden iridescent shimmer. Over Pixie Epoxy, the base color was more purple and the shimmer was strong, but not strong enough for me to consider it a duochrome. Over primer it was more of a sheer pink with golden sparkle spread throughout.

GeminiGemini: “A purple maroon with red shimmering highlight.” This is a medium warm purple with multicolored red and purple shimmer spread throughout. It was a little bit sheer, especially over primer. It’s more reddish over Pixie Epoxy. It’s one of the most straightforward colors in the collection (which to me seems weird, since it was inspired by the twins.)

CapricornCapricorn: “A sheer satin victorian purple grey with very subtle hints of red.” This is a slightly greyish blue-toned light purple. It’s mostly matte but there’s a little shimmer mixed in. Over primer it’s more of a blueish lavender, but on Pixie Epoxy it’s darker and the blue-grey tones are stronger. It doesn’t show up in the picture, but when the light hits it just right there is the tiniest hint of red shimmer.

SagittariusSagittarius: “A gunmetal gray with intense silver glitter and subtle sparks of violet.” This is a dark grey with a whole ton of blueish silver glitter in it. Over a sticky base the glitter is quite dense, which gives it a blue sheen. It’s sheerer and more charcoal colored over primer, and the shimmery is more spread out.

Scorpio shiftScorpio: “A chocolate brown base with a duochrome of green turquoise.” This is a duochrome with a slightly blue-twinged green overlay on a reddish brown base. Over primer the base is very visible with just a sprinkling of green glitter, but over Pixie Epoxy the green forms a fairly solid duochrome layer over the top.

TaurusTaurus: “A true milk chocolate satin with soft hints of red and violet shimmer.” This is a basic chocolate brown base with red and purple shimmer that come out over a sticky base. Over primer it’s a bit sheer and not very shimmery, but over Pixie Epoxy it gets gorgeous reddish purple sheen that is quite pronounced. I think it would make a good liner. It was a little bit tricky to blend over primer.

Overall Thoughts: I have mixed feelings about this collection. On one hand there’s a lot of colors I like quite a bit, but on the other, the formula isn’t my favorite. Overall, these shadows are thinner and more powdery than I’m used to, which makes them a little bit tricky to work with. For most of the colors, you need to use a sticky base to bring out their most interesting qualities. However, I found that they worked better when my Pixie Epoxy was slightly wetter than usual, so I let it set for 12-15 seconds instead of my usual 15-20 and then worked very fast to pat the color on evenly. I also needed to have a lot of shadow on my brush to get even coverage. Over regular primer the colors are sheerer and more muted, and I found myself wanting to pat more color on after blending to make them brighter. (Especially with Leo, Capricorn and Pisces, which have more of a matte with glitter formula.) I wouldn’t use them with white brushes either, because they’re hard to wash out. (Pisces and Libra both took a couple washes to come out of my white haired pencil brush fully.) Unless you regularly use a sticky base and are comfortable taking the time to get the application right, it’s probably not a collection that you need. I would pick and choose the colors that appeal to you most instead. For me those would be Aries, Pisces, Libra, Cancer and Virgo. (Update: But, as I noted above, they’ve been reformulated since I bought them, so hopefully they’re less problematic now than they used to be.)

Even though the formula was tricky, I was able to make a bunch of really nice, bright looks with these colors. They’ll be up tomorrow!