Tuesday, December 9, 2014

EOTD: Gold & Brown with Darling Girl Cosmetics

I purchased this.
PR samples.

I did this look over the weekend incorporating a couple of my favorite eye shadows from Darling Girl Cosmetics, Jeweled Taupe and Woogy. I don't know why I hadn't thought to pair them together before this.

EOTD Template
Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Emerge to prime all around eye area
Darling Girl Cosmetics:
  - Glitter Glue over entire eye area
  - Calla on brow bone
  - Slave for Sensation to transition between brow bone and crease
  - Naughty Bits in crease
  - Woogy on outer 1/3 of lid, blended into crease and beneath outer lower lash line
  - Jeweled Taupe on inner 2/3 of lid and lower lash line
  - That's A Big Twinkie to highlight around tear duct area
MAC Blacktrack Fluidline lining upper lashes
Tarte Lights, Camera, Splashes! waterproof mascara
Shu Uemura Hard 9 Brow Pencil in Seal Brown on brows

Friday, December 5, 2014

Friday Favorites: Mattifying Products

I have excessively oily skin for as long as I can remember. It's not just oily in the T-zone, it's oily everywhere, particularly on my cheeks, forehead, and the upper nose area between my eyes. While I am grateful that it's helped keep me from getting wrinkly, it's still a problem in its own right. Not only does it feel gross and look gross, but makeup often slides off my face by 10:00 a.m., and by the time I leave work at the end of the day, I look like something the cat dragged in. I will never forget my utter horror when I looked in the mirror one day back in 1997 or so, and actually saw a drop of oil sliding down my forehead. Yes, it can get that bad!

I've tried a number of methods of controlling the oilies. The Oil Cleansing Method is my skin cleansing routine of choice, as it definitely reduces oil production, but my face is still greasier than I'm comfortable with. Before I used OCM, I was going through 4-6 blotting sheets a day plus ridiculous amounts of powder for touch-ups throughout the day. After starting to use OCM a few years ago, I was using around 2 blotting sheets a day. I've tried all sorts of mattifying products from drugstore to high-end, and most haven't worked for me. There are two, however, that have done wonders for my skin, making me feel like I have "normal" skin now, and as a bonus, my makeup still looks great at the end of the day.


I "discovered" Urban Decay's De-Slick a few years ago. It was the first product that ever did what it said--it actually helps control my skin's oil production. Even after I started using De-Slick, I would occasionally try other products, but none worked as well. The trick to using the De-Slick is to spray it on your face both before your makeup routine, as well as afterward. The product instructions state to spray 2-4 times before and after makeup application. On the hottest days of the year, I don't bother to use De-Slick, because under those conditions, my skin produces so much excess oil that this product just isn't effective. But on more temperate days, and especially during the dryer, cooler winter months, De-Slick does an amazing job of reducing oil production. I may still need to blot and touch up with powder once a day at most, but even then, that's nothing compared to the number of blotting sheets I used daily before using this product.

A couple of years ago, Urban Decay repackaged the De-Slick. I bought four bottles of it when it was on sale for 50% off, and I'm just now on my last bottle of it. Along with their repackaging came a 25% price increase per ounce, which is a bit annoying. Previously, their 6 oz. bottles were $36, and now their 4 oz. bottles are $30. Still, I'll buy it again, because it's a great product, particularly during the cooler months of the year. I have found that with regular (but not daily) use, the 6 oz. bottles last me about 3-4 months. I imagine the 4 oz. bottles would last me 2-3 months of regular use.


I've used the Illamasqua Hydra Veil primer and really liked the smooth surface it gave my face for applying foundation. So when Illamasqua released their Matte Veil earlier this year, I was really excited to give it a try. I figured if it had all the same priming properties as the Hydra Veil but also helped control my oilies, maybe it would be the answer to oily skin issues. I was in London in September and of course I had to visit the Illamasqua flagship store in Soho since I had so much fun there on my trip last year. I came home with a respectable haul of beautiful Illamasqua products (I would buy everything in the shop if I were wealthy!), but what I was the most excited to put to use was the Matte Veil.

With the Matte Veil, a little goes a long way. The jar comes with a tiny scoop, and one scoop of product is all I need to apply a thin layer of the product over my face before I start my makeup routine. On the most warm, sultry days when my oil production ramps up even more, I need to apply about 25% more to the oiliest parts of my face. As long as I make sure to also powder my face, the Illamasqua Matte Veil keeps my oilies at bay all day long. I never carry blotting sheets with me when I'm using this product; I simply don't need them or powder touch-ups. This primer also provides a beautifully smooth surface for applying foundation afterward. No more Crisco face skin causing my makeup to slide off my skin! It's so effective that I actually can't use it on days that my skin doesn't produce as much oil, or it over-mattifies my skin, making it feel dry and tight.

Illamasqua Matte Veil is pricey for me at GBP £30, which is equivalent to approximately USD $47 (per the exchange rate as of the day I'm writing this). However, I can justify the purchase because:

  • It is the answer to all of my oil elimination prayers.
  • It's multi-purpose, both priming and mattifying.
  • I consider it part of my skincare routine more than my makeup routine, and I'm always happy to spend a little more on good skincare that really works and that my skin doesn't react against.
  • As I noted earlier, a little goes a long way; this jar is going to last me a good, long while. 

The Illamasqua Matte Veil is hands-down, the best mattifying product that I've used.

I think these two products are both great for my skin, and I will continue to use both of them. The UD De-Slick is perfect for the cooler, dryer winter months when my skin doesn't product as much oil. The Illamasqua Matte Veil is perfect for the warmer summer months when my skin's oil production can go into overdrive.

What I have also discovered the hard way is that I cannot use these two products together; together, they overly-mattify my skin to the point that they suck all of the moisture out of my it, leaving my face miserably dry with unsightly flakes, and then my skin goes into an even greater level of oil production in its attempt to combat the dryness. It's a constant battle to find the right balance, and using these two products together tips the scales in the opposite direction of overly dry, tight, miserable skin. However, someone with even oilier skin than I (bless your greasy little heart!) may find these two products work together really well.

Of course, your mileage may vary. These two products may not work for you, the way all of the other mattifying products I've tried were ineffective for me. However, if you have oily skin and haven't found anything yet that helps balance out your oil production, one or both of these products could be the answer to your skincare needs.  If you have tried either of them (or end up trying them), I would love to hear how they ended up working for you. 

If you have oily skin, what do you do and/or use to combat your oilies? 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

EOTD #3 with Smashbox Double Exposure Palette

I purchased this.
This was a gift.

I wore this look to work one day last week. I wish I would have caught the colors more clearly with my camera, but the light has just been so crummy. Once again, I used my Smashbox Double Exposure palette and mixed in a bit of my Smashbox Full Exposure palette. Between these two palettes, I'm not sure that I need any other palettes. Ha ha--we know that's a lie! :)

Too Faced Shadow Insurance over entire eye area
Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Emerge as eyelid base, and blended into crease
Smashbox Full Exposure Palette:
  - M4 on brow bone
  - M1 and M2 mixed on brush and applied above crease
Smashbox Double Exposure palette:
  - Quartz (wet) on inner lid and beneath inner lower lash line
  - Flushed (wet) on outer lid
  - Espresso (dry) in outer crease and blended into center crease
  - Quartz (dry) on top of Flushed
  - Fig (dry) lightly applied in crease
  - Haze (dry) smudged beneath lower lash line
Estee Lauder Pure Color Kajal Eye Liner Pencil in Blackened Plum lining upper lashes and lower rim
Tarte Lights, Camera, Splashes! waterproof mascara (one coat)
Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara (two coats)
Shu Uemura Hard 9 Brow Pencil in Seal Brown on brows

Monday, December 1, 2014

Swatches: More Fyrinnae Exquisites!!!

I purchased this.

This past summer, Fyrinnae released five new eye shadows that they call "Exquisites." I did quite an extensive post of swatches as soon as I got my order of the Exquisites collection. Fyrinnae recently added three new Exquisites to the collection, and I ordered immediately, "oohing" and "aahing" out loud over their sparkly gorgeousness when I received them last week.

According to Fyrinnae, the Exquisites "have stronger color shifts without depending on an opaque base hue, making them stunning alone over over many colors. The transparency makes them suitable for a wide variety of skin tones without compromising color." For this reason, I have swatched them over a clear, sticky base (Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy) as well as over a black base.

Both photos were taken in direct sunlight.

L-R: Beyond World, Fantasy Creatures, Mythical Dalliance
(black base on top, clear base on bottom)

This next photo is taken out of focus to show the incredible amount of sparkle in this eye shadows. They are ridiculously sparkly!

L-R: Beyond World, Fantasy Creatures, Mythical Dalliance
(black base on top, clear base on bottom)

When I was wiping these colors off my arm, they smudged together in a mix of sparkles pressed deep into the black base. You would not believe the gorgeous color that happened--deep, sparkly, mysterious, and sooo pretty. I wish I would have taken a picture! What it showed me, though, is that you're not just limited to using these colors over a clear, black, or colored base; they can be played around with and mixed together to create new and vibrant shades that are incredibly unique.

Which of Fyrinnae's Exquisites are your favorites? Have you bought any of them yet? 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

EOTD: Darling Girl Lefty-Loo Who with UD Naked Basics

I purchased this.
PR samples.

I wore this look to work a week or so ago. I'm really loving the Darling Whos collection from Darling Girl Cosmetics. Lefty-Loo Who is such a pretty, piney green with a subtle pink shift.

Too Faced Shadow Insurance over entire eye area
Darling Girl Cosmetics:
  - Glitter Glue over entire eye area
  - Lefty-Loo Who on lid
Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette:
  - Faint in crease and beneath outer 1/3 of lower lash line
  - Naked above crease to transition to brow, and beneath entire lower lash line
  - W.O.S. on brow
  - Virgin to highlight around tear duct area
MAC Fluidline in Dipdown lining upper lashes
Tarte Lights, Camera, Splashes! waterproof mascara (one coat)
Lancôme Hypôse Custom Volume Mascara (two coats, upper lashes only)
Shu Uemura Hard 9 Brow Pencil in Seal Brown on brows

Friday, November 28, 2014

Friday Favorites: Hair Products!

It's that time of year when the sun has barely risen by the time I leave the house in the morning, and it has set long before I leave work at the end of the day. If the sun doesn't come out on weekends, I really just don't see much of it this time of year. Even if the sun comes out, if I have more important things going on in my life, it's really hard to find time to get good photos for my blog that are taken in natural sunlight.

With that in mind, I decided to start a new type of post called "Friday Favorites." In each of my upcoming Friday Favorites posts, I will cover different types of products that are my favorite in the category I've chosen for that week. This way I can still write about beauty products I love, but I am not limited to only posting when I can take photos.

The first Friday Favorites is Favorite Hair Products. I have very fine, long, curly hair that's prone to frizz. It's taken me years to find a hair routine that keeps my hair healthy, soft, and curly with minimal frizz. These are the products I currently use and love.


This stuff has saved my hair! I spent years using nothing but salon-brand hair products, and was astounded when I discovered this inexpensive drugstore hair cleanser. Since I discovered this product, I have almost entirely stopped using shampoo. I can't recall the last time I shampooed my hair. The Herbal Essences Cleansing Conditioner is sulfate-free, so it doesn't dry out my hair and the detergent-free formula helps keep my color from fading. A 16.9 oz bottle is currently $5.60 at Drugstore.com. I use 2-3 pumps almost every day to cleanse and condition my hair, and I go through one bottle approximately every 2 months. Since I've started using this cleansing conditioner, I swear my hair is flying out of my head faster than I can keep up with it. My hair is growing so long and healthy that even my hair stylist asked me what I'm doing because she can't get over how healthy and shiny it is and how fast it has grown. If you've ever been interested in a cleansing conditioner, I can't recommend this one enough. If your hair is its natural color, try the Herbal Essences Naked Cleansing Conditioner instead.


I don't use shampoo often, but when I get a sample in my Birchbox or nab a personal size at a hotel, I like to follow it with a really good conditioner, and the best conditioner I've ever encountered is Cocoa Pink's Argan Therapy Crème. It leaves my hair incredibly soft, silky, shiny, and ultra-moisturized and healthy. It can also be used as a leave-in conditioner. And the best part? You can order it in any of Cocoa Pink's numerous scents. Just this morning I finished up a bottle of this in the Sanibel Island scent. I have a bottle of this product in Sunkissed Skin that's about half finished. Earlier this week, I received a package from Cocoa Pink, and my order included bottle of the Argan Therapy Crème in White Veil and Cozy Blanket, so I always have options with my hair scent. Cocoa Pink is an indie company, and I love supporting mom-and-pop businesses that are run well and have great products. Cocoa Pink's Argan Therapy Crème is $8.50 for a 6 oz. bottle or $15 for a 10 oz. bottle (I did the math--the 6 oz. bottle is the better bargain!) Ounce for ounce, it's pricier than most drugstore conditioners; on the other hand, it's a much better value than most salon conditioners. In my experience, you simply can't get a better daily conditioner anywhere, especially not one that you can customize with your favorite type of fragrance!


As far as I'm concerned, this stuff is magic in a bottle. When I use Davine's OI / All In One Milk, my hair will not frizz. There is nothing I can do to get my hair to frizz. It boosts my curl and completely eliminates any hint of frizz. Davine's OI / All In One Milk leaves my curls looking soft and healthy... and... CURLY! You wouldn't believe how many frizz-fighting products leave my hair frizzier than it naturally is. This product also contains ingredients that encourage hair growth, protects hair from UV radiation, and fights free radicals and cell damage. Since I discovered this product, I haven't gone one single day without using it. I only have one complaint: Davine's OI / All In One Milk comes in a spray bottle, but is too thick to spray. I received my first mini-bottle in my Birchbox last April, and immediately fell in love, but the sprayer didn't work. I have since ordered three more full size bottles, and none of the sprayers have worked; the product is simply too thick for the packaging. It really should be in a pump or squeeze bottle. Because of this, every morning, I have to unscrew the bottle lid and pour the cream directly into my hands. I pour an amount about the size of a quarter, which really isn't much, considering how long my hair is. If my hair were shoulder-length, I could get away with a dime-sized amount or less. The bottle is only 4 oz., but lasts me a little over 2 months. It's $28 for a 4 oz. bottle, which seems like a lot, but what I do is save up my Birchbox points to use toward it and only purchase when there's free shipping, so I have never paid more than $8 for a bottle. I imagine I'll be using this product for a long time to come.


This product was developed in collaboration between FutureDerm and my buddy, Phyrra. If anyone knows about what deep conditioning hair masks can do for colored, dry, or damaged hair, it's Phyrra, with all of her multiple hair color changes. Phyrra's Pretty Little Elixir seems pricey at $39.99 for an 8 oz. bottle, but every time I've checked out the FutureDerm site for this product, it's been on sale for $15.99, which puts it within my personal price range. I don't use this product weekly; I tend to use it when I notice my hair is getting dry at the ends and needs a little moisture. This isn't often, but I do still like to do a deep conditioning mask at least once every 4-6 weeks to help maintain the good condition of my hair. What's I've found really amps up the effects of this product is to add a couple of teaspoons of coconut oil to it before applying. I then leave it on my hair for a couple of hours and even overnight if I can. When I rinse it out, my hair is as soft as angora, styles beautifully, and looks and feels gorgeous. I have recommended this product to a number of my friends who color their hair heavily and need something to help repair the damage and drying incurred by all of the chemical processing. I've been using my bottle since last spring, and at the rate I use it combined with the small amount needed, I still have at least 3/4 of my bottle left. It's going to last me a long time.


Black Phoenix Trading Post ("BPTP") is a sister-company to Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab ("BPAL"), which is quite possibly the most amazing indie perfume oil creator in the universe. No, that's not exaggeration, that's just my personal opinion--BPAL perfume oils absolutely RULE. I adore BPAL's perfume oils and have been wearing and collecting them for somewhere around 8-9 years. They have a special place in my love of vanity products since BPAL was my very first foray into the world of indie beauty products and what eventually lead to my general love of indie companies of all types. When BPTP began offering hair glosses, I tried several via a decant group, and fell hard in love with them. BPTP's hair glosses do exactly what they claim: make hair silkier, shinier, glossier, more vibrant, and frizz-free. Not only that, but they smell really, really good. One 4 oz. bottle is typically $30, although the Snake Oil scented gloss is $45. It's a bit of a luxury product for me since it's not needed, but I still own quite a few bottles of BPTP Hair Gloss, including a number of partial bottles that I acquired in decant groups (which helps keep the cost down). I typically use 2 spritzes of hair gloss, and I never spray directly onto my hair. I shake the bottle to ensure all of the oils are fully blended, spritz a couple of pumps into my hands, rub them together, then lightly work through my hair, starting at the ends. My hair smells amazing all day long, and into the next day if I don't wash it. This product is also amazing at helping me tame my hair on the rare occasion that I straighten it or blow it out. My favorite scent is "Hair Loosened & Soiled In Mid-Orgies," whose notes are white honey, warm musk, and ambrette seed. The scent is beyond heavenly and makes me swoon each time I use it. I started with a 1/4 bottle decant of Hair Loosened & Soiled, which I used up in no time at all and immediately had to purchase a full size bottle. Then, just in case it were to ever be discontinued, I purchased a back-up bottle. Every time I use Hair Loosened & Soiled, I get compliments on how good my hair smells. My hair stylist particularly loves it. Of the BPTP Hair Gloss scents I've tried, my other favorites are Snake Oil, Pumpkin Spice Everything (limited edition, but currently available as of the time of this post), and Frankincense & Clove. In the summer, I also like the White Tea & Sage scent. I have both Dorian and Morocco on my list BPTP Hair Gloss scents to procure eventually, as I positively adore both the Dorian and Morocco perfume oil from BPAL.

Thanks for reading this long post about my favorite hair products! Do you find any interesting enough to try out or are there any you also love and have on your list of favorite hair products?  

Do you have any suggestions for "Friday Favorites" posts you'd like to see from me in the future? 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

EOTD: Golds, Browns, Rusts with Chinovi Cosmetics

I purchased this.
PR samples.

Happy Thanksgiving!!! If you're not in the U.S., I'm sure you still have plenty to be thankful for, so Happy Thanksgiving to you, too!

What I am thankful for the most is to be spending the holiday with my mom. Last Friday, she had neurosurgery to remove a tumor from her brain. She went home on Sunday and is recovering nicely. This is her second brain surgery in four months, so I am just so incredibly grateful that she's well enough to enjoy the holiday with our family.

I did this look using some pretty autumnal colors from Chinovi Cosmetics. They're all from the Oh My Gods! and Oh My Gods: Rome collections that are available on Chinovi's site.  I thought they'd be nice autumnal colors for Thanksgiving Day.

EOTD Template
Too Faced Shadow Insurance over entire eye area
Darling Girl Cosmetics Calla on brow bone
Chinovi Cosmetics:
  - Apollo on inner lid and inner lower lash line
  - Ares on next 1/4 of lid and lower lash line
  - Mars on next 1/4 of lid and lower lash line
  - Neptune on outer 1/4 of lid and lower lash line
MAC Blacktrack Fluidline lining upper lashes
Ardell #110 lashes
Chella Ivory Lace Highlighter Pencil on lower rim
Smashbox Full Exposure Mascara (two coats, upper and lower)
Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade in Chocolate on brows