The Make Up Tag

DSCN0435One of my internet friends, who blogs over at Scents and Sea Spray, invented this make up tag. I read her post, and decided to do it myself. Yay answering questions!

1. What is the first makeup item you remember owning?

I don’t know if it was the very first makeup I owned, but I was definitely into Covergirl Lipslicks when I was in middle school. I had a ton of different colors and I loved them. The first make up I remember using was an eyeshadow pyramid thing that my mom had. I’m pretty sure my grandma gave it to her, since my mom was not a make up wearer. It was one of those fancy old lady department store brands, like Estee Lauder or something like that. Anyways one day after watching Peter Pan I got it into my head to make myself look like Tinkerbell. My method of doing this was to take the sparkly white eyeshadow and use the sponge applicator to cover my entire body with it. Pretty ridiculous, especially since I’m already super pale and as a child was even more so. But it made me sparkle!

2. What’s the makeup item that makes the least sense to you?

Lip plumpers. So many otherwise perfectly nice glosses have horrible stingy plumping things in them.  And it never seems to make them look any different, it just stings. Why do that to your lips?

3. What category of products do you hate shopping for? Love shopping for?

I hate shopping for any sort of base make up, like foundation, concealer or powder. I’m always worried the foundation is going to be the wrong color, the concealer won’t cover my dark circle and the powder is going to be cakey. It’s never fun. But I love shopping for basically anything with color, like lipstick, blush or eyeshadow. Eyeshadow’s probably my very favorite, though. So many gorgeous colors to be used in so many different ways. Plus with indies I love that I can buy sample baggies and check out a new brand or pick up an entire collection for cheap.

4. What products are you currently lusting after?

Right now I’m lusting after a bunch of indie nail polishes, especially Literary Lacquer’s Octarine and Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster. I’ve had them in my Etsy cart for well over a month now. I should probably just go ahead and buy them and call them a birthday present. I also really want Lucky 13 Lacquer’s Softening the Bad Things, which I’m for sure going to snap up as soon as she reopens. In terms of actual face makeup, I’ve been waiting for Pumpkin and Poppy to restock her Red Menace cream blush for months now. And I would really, really love to get a Hello Waffle Visage box subscription. Every month she makes such gorgeous things and I want them! I’m on the waiting list, but super, super far down.

5. What’s your most recent makeup purchase?

My most recent make up purchase was Urban Decay. They sent me a code for a free eyeliner for my birthday and I really like their eyeliner formula, so I picked up one in Desperation, a light grey. (I love matte grey eyeliner.) Along with it I got a couple of tubes of primer potion, since their site is the only place you can get it in the original squeezy tubes anymore, an Ammo palette as a present for my sister and a random bright blue sale nail polish to reach the free shipping threshold. My most recent indie make up order was from Preen, the day she opened. I got a sampler pack of all her lipstick colors and a passionfruit/coconut/lemongrass lip balm.

6. Do you have any brand loyalties? Why?

Absolutely. I get really attached to brands that I like. I love Hello Waffle, Shiro, Baroque and Kae Q and want to own pretty much everything they make. They’re formulas that just agree with me, and I like their colors and branding, plus the owners are all lovely people whose business practices I respect. I also adore Epically Epic for lip balm and Sixteen92 for lotion. In terms of mainstream stuff, I’m pretty loyal to MAC for foundation, Tarte for blush, Urban Decay for pencil eyeliner, Kat Von D for liquid liner, Buxom for mascara and Sephora Collection for brush cleaner. I don’t feel the need to experiment and try a lot of new mainstream stuff anymore now that I have a set of reliable favorites.

7. What is your biggest makeup packaging pet peeve?

Hmm. I hate when indie brands have eyeshadow samples that don’t come in sample baggies. I’m one of those weirdos who actively prefers baggies to jars. But jars are better than clamshells. Powder products should not come in clamshells ever. However, lip samples absolutely should come in clamshells. When I get a little slice of lipstick in a plastic bag it bugs me.

8. What colors do you buy most often?

Well, I buy pretty much everything, but there are some colors that make my heart flutter and I gravitate towards more. For lip and cheek stuff I pretty much can’t get enough peachy pink colors. For eyes, it’s sparkly champagnes. I want all of them! I’m also a sucker for turquoises for both eyeshadow and nail polish. And grey nail polish. Dark grey, light grey, sparkly grey, creme grey, I want them all.

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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!

Teal and Black Look for Phyrra (and Musings About Cruelty Free Beauty)

Phyrra guest post 1Today I have a guest post over at Phyrra.net! Phyrra is one of the first blogs I found that included indies. I’m pretty sure I stumbled upon her site looking for eyeshadow advice for hooded eyes and have been reading it for a while now. So when she posted in Notoriously Morbid’s facebook group looking for guest posters to do looks using Notoriously Morbid products while she was recovering from eye surgery, I happily volunteered to do a look for her. She has awesome black and teal hair, so I used those colors and am super happy with how it turned out. Jupiter Rain is just a lovely color. Head over to to Phyrra.net for the full face pictures!

Phyrra’s thing is that she only blogs about cruelty free make up, which is honestly something I hadn’t thought much about before I came across her site. Most of the mainstream make up I have is from before I’d even considered that some brands test on animals while others don’t, so it’s a mix of cruelty free brands and brands that test on animals. But, because I respect her beliefs and didn’t want to put something she didn’t support on her blog, I went through my collection and used only cruelty free products in my look for her. (The only exception is my Laura Mercier concealer, which Phyrra lists as a “grey area” brand on her site. But I only have two concealers and dark circles, so I used it anyways.) And the look came out awesome, if I do say so myself!

I then thought back on the purchases I’ve made this year and the things that are still on my wishlist and realized that without really intending to, I’ve sort of unconsciously switched over to preferring cruelty free brands. In fact, every single product on my wishlist right now is cruelty free. A lot of this has been the switch from mainstream make up to indies, which don’t test on animals, but some of it has been my mainstream brand preferences shifting as well. I’ve grown to love brands like Tarte, Urban Decay and Kat Von D, and have less fondness for ones like Benefit or Stila. I’ve even found good replacements for some of my old animal-tested go-to products. (I’ve swapped my Stila Liquid Liner for Kat Von D Tattoo Liner and I’m pretty sure Buxom Lash has replaced Benefit’s They’re Real as my favorite mascara.) When deciding which brands to purchase from here on out, whether they’re cruelty free or not will definitely be a factor. But I’m still ok with using what I have or what I’m given for free. I’m not sure I’m ready to switch over 100%, but I figure a shift is a step in the right direction. If you’re interested in learning more about which brands are cruelty free or not, Phyrra has a list of cruelty free brands and I trust her legwork on it.

MAC is sort of the sticking point for me. I could find dupes for the other products I have that have been tested on animals, but I use their Face and Body Foundation pretty much daily, and I genuinely respect their charity work, particularly the MAC AIDS fund. AIDS is an issue that hits much closer to home for me than animal testing does. Yes, I think it is better to not test on animals than to test, but I don’t get as viscerally upset about it as I know a lot of other people do. (This probably also explains why I am a lapsed vegetarian. Ten years without meat and then I started eating it again when I moved to Korea. Vegetarian Korean food gets repetitive.) But I’ve spent four years living in a country with one of the highest HIV infection rates in the world and have seen firsthand the effect that it can have on people’s lives, both in America and in Tanzania. And so, for me, I’m not ready to write off the company yet. Philosophy is another brand that’s not on Phyrra’s list that makes a staple product of mine (I’ve been washing my face with their Purity cleanser since college) and has a commitment to charitable giving (for women’s mental health issues) that I will probably make an exception for. Your choices might be different. I think that’s ok. This is not my fight, but I support those who care about it more passionately than me, and I figure incremental changes are better than none.

What are your thoughts on cruelty free beauty and animal testing? Do you only buy cruelty free products? If so, did you make the switch in one fell swoop or gradually?