Neutral Eyes: Cheap-Ass Edition

During my weekend sojourn to Rite Aid, I noticed that they’d restocked their Wet ‘n’ Wild Color Icon section. I’ve been impressed with the Color Icon line, so I picked up a couple of neutral-toned eyeshadow trios: Sweet as Candy and Walking on Eggshells (hey, for $2.99 a pop, why not?). These two trios are actually very similar, except that Sweet as Candy is cool-toned and leans pink, while Walking on Eggshells is warm-toned and more peachy.

I played with Sweet as Candy today, and it didn’t disappoint. As you might expect, this trio includes three shades: a pink champagne, a cool-toned taupe, and a very pale highlight color. I paired this trio with NYX eyeliner in Velvet, which complemented the taupe incredibly well.

Swatchery! In direct sunlight:

In indirect outdoor light:

And a flash photo:

(An aside: Velvet is somewhat reminiscent of Urban Decay Underground liner. It’s significantly lighter and browner, though, so I wouldn’t call it a dupe.)

The look I did was very simple. Wet ‘n’ Wild trios helpfully tell you what color goes where, so just follow the instructions and you’re golden. I used the pink on my lid, the taupe in the crease, and the highlighter, surprisingly enough, to highlight.

My bad photo juju continues, so no full-face shots today. Sorry about that.

Click the next one to embiggen!

Products used:

  • UDPP
  • Wet ‘n’ Wild Color Icon trio in Sweet as Candy
  • NYX eyeliner in Velvet
  • Maybelline The Falsies mascara
  • NYX brow powder in Brown

If you haven’t tried Wet ‘n’ Wild’s Color Icon shadows, I highly recommend that you get on it! I’ve been pretty impressed with them pigmentation-wise (much better than a lot of pricier drugstore shadows I’ve tried *cough*L’Oreal HIP*cough*), and at a couple of bucks a pop, you can’t really go wrong.

Published in: on January 31, 2011 at 9:38 am  Comments (3)  
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Three-Way Dupe Alert!

Maybe that’s actually a trip alert! You know, triplicate? Instead of duplicate? The point is, I have discovered that I own not one, not two, but THREE versions of what is essentially the same eyeshadow shade. And whether you like higher-end makeup, drugstore cheapies, or online-only mineral makeup, there’s one here for you!

The shade in question is a very pale matte beige. In my case, you might even call it a “my lids but better” shade. It’s light and matte enough that you can tell I’m wearing SOMETHING, but subtle enough to be barely noticeable. It makes an excellent, warmish highlight color and a perfect pale background for pinup-style eyeliner. And it might even make a reasonable “in a pinch” concealer or highlighter for the right skin tone.

Here are swatches of the shade in question. On the left we have MAC Blanc Type. I was super excited when I ordered this (it was my first MAC purchase, along with the Vanilla and Naked pigments). My excitement sank into mild disappointment and then vague irritation with myself when I discovered that it’s basically the same color as Wet ‘n’ Wild Color Icon eyeshadown in Brulee (center), which I already owned. And then, when I hauled out and swatched all my Silk Naturals colors a week or so ago, I thought to myself, hmmm … that Bone eyeshadow looks mighty familiar. Yep. That’s it there on the right.

Direct sunlight:

Indirect outdoor light:

In my opinion, Blanc Type and Bone are basically indistinguishable from each other. Brulee is very, very slightly warmer and darker than the other two; it’s also very soft, and I find it easier to get on my brush than Blanc Type. But those are basically the only differences, as far as I can tell. I’ve worn all three of these and have noticed no discernible differences in staying power.

I’m (obviously) a huge fan of this shade, so it’s somewhat comforting to know that I will NEVER EVER run out of it. If you are intrigued by it but don’t have any of these, I say, just pick your poison. Like MAC? You need Blanc Type. Like $2 makeup? Brulee will scratch your pale beige itch on the cheap. Like excellent customer service and buying little pots of powder online? I recommend Bone. Have at it.

Published in: on November 11, 2010 at 8:11 am  Comments (8)  
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Cutest. Lip Balm. Ever.

Or, “My Initial Adventures in the Makeup Section of the Japanese Market.”

First, I must confess that I’m not generally a fan of “haul posts,” AKA “Let me show you these things I bought!” Well, that’s not entirely true. I don’t mind them at all if the products are unique or interesting or things I don’t have ready access to.

For instance, I am totally intrigued by other countries’ drugstore makeup. Eyeko might be the UK equivalent of Cover Girl, but I’ll happily look at pictures of the same Eyeko products three times in one week because the packaging is cute and I’m not visually assaulted by Eyeko displays every time I set foot in a Rite Aid.

On the other hand, I don’t care at all about seeing pictures of products from major US-based (or global) brands. If it’s something that I see all the time in the drugstore or at the mall, I just don’t care about seeing pictures of it online as well.

I could go on. Let’s just say I have opinions about haul posts, and there are reasons I haven’t done one yet. However, I bought something today that I haven’t seen anywhere else, and I figure that if I find it interesting, then you might too. So technically, I guess this is my first haul post. Although does it count as a “haul,” really, if it’s only one thing?

Behold! The cuteness!

I got this in the cosmetics section at Marukai, our local Japanese market. I haven’t spent much time in their cosmetics section because there is something of a “language barrier” issue. I don’t want to purchase something that looks like harmless lip gloss but turns out to be a “lip plumper” chock-full of capsaicin, peppermint oil, and sadism.

Anyway. Apple-flavored lip balm! In an apple! They also had a pear and a lemon. I went with the apple after a fairly extensive “pear vs. apple” debate. Mister Principessa cast the deciding vote, also known as the “whatever will get us out of the damn makeup section and on to the kamaboko and sake sections” vote. The lip balm is actually pretty nice, which was a happy surprise.

Oh, and speaking of the Mister, we’ve moved up in the world.

Yeah, that’s right. We’ve upgraded to the 20-pound bag of rice.

As a white girl with white parents, I don’t think that, growing up, I ever saw anything bigger than a 5-pound bag of rice. Actually, come to think of it, the rice I remember seeing most frequently in our cupboard came in a red box that had the word “Rice” on it, and also the word “Minute.”

Apparently, when you take up with a Japanese guy, the rice bags get bigger. We bought this on the recommendation (or rather, insistence) of the cashier at Marukai, who leaned forward and had a surreptitious conversation about it in Japanese with the Mister. This conversation was a bit one-sided, considering that he doesn’t actually speak Japanese, but somehow the point was made that the 20-pound bag was only a dollar more than the 10-pound bag. That did actually sound like a damn good deal, so now we have a bag of rice the size of a toddler under the kitchen table.

So there you have it. Fun times at Marukai. I might post about our dinner tomorrow if I continue to have good luck with the Bastard Camera. Oh, and the Mister has promised me unfettered, unhurried access to the Marukai cosmetics section for my birthday in a couple of weeks. Stay tuned!

Published in: on October 16, 2010 at 9:31 pm  Comments (14)  
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Drugstore Cowgirl

It is my extreme good fortune to live about two and a half blocks from a Rite Aid. They have excellent and frequent sales, including regular occurrences of that Holy Grail of sales, the Buy One, Get One free (or half off). Tonight, I took advantage of the current BOGO 1/2 off to pick up two new Prestige eyeliners.

But even more exciting are my two brush purchases. As you might have read the other day, I’m currently on the hunt for decent cheap-ass eyeshadow brushes. So I picked up a Studio Basics “retractable” eye shading & detailer brush, as well as another one from Maybelline. (Incidentally, I put “retractable” in quotes because it’s not actually retractable–there are little hollow pieces that pop out of the handle to cover up the brush heads. NOT RETRACTABLE. They should call it a “cover-up-able eye shading & detailer brush,” because words mean things. </pedant>) The Maybelline one was 40% off, bonus! I’m going to try them out over the next couple of days, and if they work OK, they’ll accompany me on vacation.

In further brush update news, based on recommendations from Heather and Galen, I also ordered four e.l.f. brushes online today: the contour and concealer brushes from their Studio line (I thought the concealer one might work well as an eye shader … I guess we’ll find out!), and their regular eyeshadow and blending brushes. One of these days, when I’m not making a half-assed attempt to curb my spending because of an upcoming vacation, I also plan to try out the GOSH and Sigma brushes (the latter also recommended by Galen).

And to finish out the Rite Aid angle, here’s my current nail polish. CQ Petites Color Fever in Vintage Gray.

The second picture shows the color more accurately, but they both seem to indicate that the polish has a hint of lilac, which I don’t see in real life. In fact, the word that comes to mind is “putty.” I think I love these CQ polishes. I really like the formula, and I REALLY like the teeny brush on this gray one. I’m an extremely lazy and sloppy nail polisher, and the smallness of the brush minimizes the “polish all over the fingers” syndrome that usually plagues me for days after a polishing.

Incidentally, after we got home from the drugstore tonight, when I sat down to write, Mister Principessa asked me, “Hey, aren’t you going to put on that makeup and take pictures of it?” In time, my dear boy. In time.

Published in: on September 14, 2010 at 7:07 am  Comments (4)  
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Bright Idea!

Having sated my longing for drama with the pink smokey eye, today I decided to try out this whole “bright colors” thing I’ve been hearing so much about. I’m not a huge wearer of bright colors (as you might have noticed), but I recently bought a couple that I wanted to play with–namely, We’re All Mad Here, a chartreusey green from Fyrinnae, and Juvenile, a bright greenish yellow from Concrete Minerals. (Actually, that one was a free sample, but I THOUGHT about buying it, and it’s the thought that counts.)

As always, click photos for big versions, because I KNOW you want a better look at my spider plant.

I was inspired to some degree by Marianne’s post about bright colors, although she put her yellow color on the lid and the green above it (I did the opposite). I was enjoying the yellowy greenness of it all, but I wanted to throw some purple in there, so I added Herbivore, a purple Fyrinnae shadow with green shimmer, under my lower lashes. I also wanted to see how Herbivore looked with We’re All Mad Here, because I suspected they might be great together, and I think they are. Take a look at the swatches and let me know if you agree!

Swatch notes: First one is in indirect natural light, second one is in direct sunlight, third one is with the flash. Also, let us consider the black line to be the Maxon-Dixon Line of the back of my hand. The northern states are armed with nothing but Urban Decay Primer Potion, whereas the southern states also have the benefit of Pixie Epoxy. And yet they STILL managed to lose the war. (KIDDING!)

We’re All Mad Here on the left, Herbivore in the middle, Juvenile on the right.

These photos, as usual, don’t do justice to the colors in real life. You can’t really see the green in Herbivore at all. But trust me … it’s there, and it looks really freaking cool next to We’re All Mad Here.


No flash, indirect outdoor light:

With flash:

Product breakdown!

  • UDPP
  • Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy on lids
  • Fyrinnae We’re All Mad Here on lids and into crease
  • Concrete Minerals Juvenile in and above crease
  • Concrete Minerals White Rabbit to highlight
  • Fyrinnae Herbivore under lower lashes (over Pixie Epoxy)
  • Urban Decay 24/7 eyeliner in Zero on top lid and waterine
  • Lancome Hypnose Drama mascara over UDPP
  • On lips: Bishop’s Violet mica from TKB Trading mixed with clear gloss from Victoria’s Secret

This was a lot of fun to put together. And the Mister liked it, which shocked the hell out of me. Two thumbs up!

Published in: on September 12, 2010 at 4:34 pm  Comments (8)  
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Brush-a Brush-a Brush-aaaa

Everyone who just had a flashback to the slumber party scene in Grease, raise your hand!

Today, I’d like to talk about … makeup brushes! Or rather, I’d like to shamelessly beg you for recommendations. I know that everyone’s going to say the MAC 239 and 224, which are already on my wishlist and which I may well treat myself to for my birthday.

However! As we all know, I am a big fat cheapskate! So what I’d like to know is, which are your favorite CHEAP makeup brushes? I’m most interested in eyeshadow brushes, but I’d love to hear anything you have to say on the topic!

My favorite cheapies so far are Sonia Kashuk’s, by a long shot. Specifically, the black ones, not so much the ones with the white handles. The white-handled ones are decent, especially for the price, but they seem to have more errant sticky-outy hairs that require trimming, which bugs me.

I also have a couple of Sephora brushes, which aren’t too bad. I have a few Ulta ones too, which ARE too bad. Or rather, it’s too bad I spent my money on them. ZING! They’re just awful … stiff, thin, and basically useless. They might as well be lip brushes. About the only thing I’ve found I’m able to use them for is lining under my lower lashes with shadow. That’s pretty a goddamn specific task. At least they were cheap (and BOGO free even, as I recall). And I suppose they might be good for applying concealer, which I don’t wear. Le sigh.

I’ve looked at lots of cheapies online–e.l.f., Coastal Scents, Essential Beauty Supplies [ETA: and GOSH]–but I have yet to take the plunge and buy any. And I know that some people just use paintbrushes from craft stores. So tell me … any recommendations? Any to steer clear of?

Published in: on September 12, 2010 at 9:39 am  Comments (10)  
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Know What I Love?


[Holy CRAP this is a terrible picture, and it does no justice to the polish whatsoever. I don’t know how you nail bloggers do it.]

Now, I am by no means a “nails person.” My nails don’t grow very well, and I don’t do the acrylics thing; I have a desk job that requires me to type all day, plus I love to knit and cook, and I think long nails would get in the way. Also, I’m not a huge fan of wearing sparkly/shimmery/glittery/otherwise “fancy” nail polishes on my fingers. On my toes, I go nuts. But on my fingernails, I like to keep it simple. I prefer to wear very dark or otherwise sort of drab creme colors–blue so dark it almost looks black, green so dark it almost looks black, red so dark it almost looks black, grayish taupe, lilac-ish taupe, brownish taupe, you get the idea.

So, given that I am something of a spoilsport when it comes to fingernails, I’m sort of shocked that I like wearing this color as much as I do. AND I DO. It’s a really nice shade of purple, and it has this amazing metallic finish that almost looks like plastic. If you’ve ever seen those metallic-looking plastic Mardi Gras beads, or metallic-looking tokens (which the Intarweb tells me are anodized aluminum), it looks like that. And I lurve it.

For the curious, it is CQ Nail Polish enamel in Mystical. The only downside to it is that getting it this opaque took four coats, but I tend to be extremely conservative with coat thickness. The finish is incredibly smooth. It’s held up very well, and I am HARD on my nails, what with all the typing and knitting and cooking and subsequent doing of dishes by hand.


Published in: on September 9, 2010 at 4:26 pm  Comments (4)  
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Concrete Brunette

As you might have noticed, I’m pretty much a neutrals kind of gal in terms of makeup. (Don’t know when that happened; as I’ve mentioned before, I was quite the goth in high school. “Neutral” was not my look.) I’d like to branch out, though, and part of why I started this blog was to track my little experiments and gather photographic evidence of what works on me and what doesn’t. Last night, I was inspired (largely by Jette’s guest post from the other day) to try out a light, pastel-y two-color look.

I hauled out a couple of gorgeous sparkly colors from Concrete Minerals that I hadn’t really played around with yet: Daydream (“shimmery baby blue”) and Detox (“seafoam green with silver sparkle”). So let’s have a look-see!

First, the swatches. This first photo was taken outside, although I unfortunately couldn’t take photos in direct sunlight, because there was no such thing as direct sunlight in Long Beach yesterday. Daydream on the left, Detox on the right.

Inside with flash:

As you can see, these two colors are both pastels, but they’re quite different in terms of texture, opacity, and finish. I loved Daydream, which is shimmery and fairly opaque. Detox is more of a matte with sparkle, and it’s rather sheer; I had to pack it on quite a bit to get it as opaque as I wanted it.

And now, the look. I present to you … CONCRETE BRUNETTE!!! Not as catchy as Concrete Blonde, but significantly more accurate.

Whatever is going on under my eyes in this next one looks weeeeeeiiiirrrd. I think it’s the lack of eyeliner on the waterline. Creepy!

Here’s the product breakdown:

  • UDPP Eden (I like this a lot for light and/or matte looks because it’s both)
  • High Voltage Backstage Pass on inner 3rds of lids, inner corners, and to highlight
  • Concrete Minerals Daydream all over lids and under lower lashes
  • Concrete Minerals Detox in and above crease
  • NYX Doll Eyes Long Lash mascara over Urban Decay Lash Primer
  • NYX brow powder and wax
  • Milani lipstick in Cocoa Sugar

A few notes: One, after I did this look, I remembered why I hardly ever use that mascara … it takes approximately one thousand hours to dry completely. Two, that lipstick is moisturizing! My lips were slighly dry when I put it on, and they softened right up after a couple of minutes. Impressive! And three, I considered using black eyeliner on my upper lids and waterline; I think it would have been nice, but it would have made it a bit more conventional looking and I was rather enjoying the oddness of how it looked without any eyeliner at all. Crazy eyes!

Outside, natural light:

Inside with flash:

And one out-the-back-door shot, natural light:

Overall, I liked this look, although it did seem to accentuate the bags under my eyes; again, I think this was because of the lack of eyeliner. So, I have learned that pale eyeshadow + no eyeliner gives me crazy eyes. Not a bad thing if that’s what you’re going for, I guess.

If I had it to do over, I think I’d have either left the under-eye area alone entirely or added eyeliner on upper lids and waterline. And I do wish Detox had been a little more opaque.

Whew! All this “branching out” takes it out of a person. Tomorrow, I’m thinking I might fall back into the waiting arms of my beloved neutrals and do a Naked palette look, as required by law for anyone who blogs about makeup.

Mmmmm, Naked palette. I really do love that goddamn thing.

Published in: on September 9, 2010 at 7:17 am  Comments (4)  
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I did that thing again.

Yarn is Knit Picks Shadow laceweight in Vineyard Heather. Nail polish is Wet ‘n’ Wild Megalast Nail Color in Disturbia. I was actually pretty impressed with this polish. It’s a nice deep purple with fuchsia shimmer (which unfortunately showed up a lot better in the bottle than it did on my fingers) and it really did last for a long time, even on my ridiculously peely and chip-prone little stump-nails.

Anyone else do this? Accidentally buy a bunch of things the exact same color, or accidentally buy multiples of the same eyeshadow, nail polish, lipstick, whatever? I know I do. Obviously.

I also occasionally check out books that I already own from the library, but that’s my burden.

Published in: on September 6, 2010 at 9:49 am  Comments (2)  
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High Voltage, Part Deux: The Swatches

I had so much fun playing with my eyeshadows from High Voltage Cosmetics yesterday that I had to go back for round two this morning. First thing I did after I got up (well, second thing … first thing was make coffee, without which no other things are possible) was to swatch all 8 colors I bought. So without further ado, I present: THE SWATCHES! Here they are in their full glory, swatched dry over UDPP, basking in the morning sun. Click to embiggen.

High Voltage swatches in direct sun

First up, let’s take another look at the purpley colors. I wasn’t that happy with the swatches I did yesterday, so I redid them, and I think these show the colors better. Crazy Crazy Nights on the left, Out in a Pout on the right.

Full sun:

High Voltage Cosmetics Crazy Crazy Nights and Out in a Pout swatches in direct sun

Outside, indirect light, no flash:

High Voltage Crazy Crazy Nights and Out in a Pout swatches, indirect light

Inside, with flash:

High Voltage Crazy Crazy Nights and Out in a Pout swatches, flash photo

These swatches give a MUCH better look at the differences between these two colors than the ones I did yesterday. Also, CCN is definitely more shimmery than I’d thought. I maintain that OiaP isn’t all that shimmery or metallic; to me, it really seems more like a matte base with some sparkle. Not a bad thing at all, just not what I’d expected.

Row two! My beloved Backstage Pass on the left (if you’re looking for an opaque yet sparkly white, RUN, DON’T WALK), Big Break in the middle, Free Style on the right. Big Break is a pinky/peach color with gold sparkle–more pink than peach–and I couldn’t get it to photograph well. It’s not nearly as sheer as it appears here. Free Style is a stunning sort of olivey green with gold shimmer/sparkle. LOVE this one.

Again, direct sun, indirect outdoor light, indoors with flash:

High Voltage Cosmetics swatches: Backstage Pass, Big Break, and Free Style

High Voltage Cosmetics eyeshadow swatches

High Voltage Cosmetics eyeshadow swatches, flash photo

Gorgeous, eh? Big Break and Free Style actually look really nice together … hmmmmmmmm …

On to row three, which I think are some of the most unique colors I got in this order. So unique, in fact, that I’m having a hard time describing them. So let’s see what the site says! On the left, we have Love Drunk, described as “shimmery grey blueish shade that is unlike any other!” I’ll buy that! In the middle is Solar Power, described as “blueish purple grey.” I’m sensing a pattern. And on the right is Mirror Mirror, described as a “mid-toned blue, multidimensional.” I think these descriptions are all fairly accurate. On to the pretties! Again … say it with me now … direct sun, indirect sun no flash, indoors with flash.

High Voltage Cosmetics eyeshadow swatches in Love Drunk, Solar Power, and Mirror Mirror

High Voltage eyeshadow swatches in indirect light

High Voltage Cosmetics swatches, flash photo

Now let’s look at them all together!

Indirect light, no flash:

High Voltage Cosmetics eyeshadow swatches in indirect sunlight

Indirect light, with flash:

Eyeshadow swatches

So there you have it! The standouts to me here are Backstage Pass and Love Drunk, mostly because I think they’re very unique and because this company clearly knows how to create a super-light eyeshadow that’s neither sheer nor chalky. Being a total sucker for super-light eyeshadows, I’m impressed. Love Drunk is amazing–it’s much more complex than these photos show. I also really like Solar Power, Big Break (wish I could have gotten a better photo of this one), and Free Style.

Oh, and I don’t know why it never occurs to me to look at anything other than eyeshadow when I am engaging in Internet commerce, but apparently High Voltage does lip stuff too! The lovely and talented Julissa wrote a post about this a while back, and man … I clearly missed the boat. If when I order from HV again, I might have to check some lip stuff out too.

So: What do you think? Which are your favorites? Any other High Voltage shades I need in my life?

Published in: on September 4, 2010 at 11:04 am  Comments (3)  
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