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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Down In The Underground

Labyrinth references FTW! I’ll come back to that. In other news, I wore makeup today!

I don’t wear makeup to work very frequently these days because of that jogging business I told you about. Mister Principessa and I get out of bed at 5:15 to jog on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, which doesn’t leave me that much time to get ready for work. (I work early hours; being up at 5:15 and out the door by 6:30 means I’m home by 3:45. Sweeeeet.) Also, I heat up like a chubby little furnace when exercising, and it takes me a LONG time to cool down, stop sweating, and de-redden in the facial area. So the last thing I want to do after getting out of my post-jog shower is stand in a steamy bathroom in front of a foggy mirror and attempt to apply makeup to my sweaty, beet-red face.

However, I have two jog-free days per week, so sometimes I use that extra time in the morning to put on makeup. Like this morning, for instance! Fairly neutral, work-safe look here, but I ended up really liking it.

(Sorry for the lack of full-face photos, AGAIN. The Mister and I are still fiddling with the camera, and all the full-face pictures we took today made me look either super wide or, as he so tactfully put it, “like Gonzo.”)

Product breakdown:

  • UDPP
  • Urban Decay Sellout all over lids and in and above crease
  • Urban Decay Virgin to highlight (from Naked palette)
  • Urban Decay 24/7 liner in Underground on upper lids
  • Clinique High Impact mascara in black/brown

Apparently I was all about the Urban Decay today. And incidentally, Underground eyeliner is gorgeous and I love it. I ordered one of UD’s five-mini-eyeliner sets a while back, and this color was included. I hadn’t used it before today, and holy cow, I was missing out! It’s a beautiful metallic taupe sort of color, but it has an almost rosy cast to it as well. Very subtle and beautiful. I also like that it looks like a COLOR: I got Gunmetal eyeliner in that same set, and I just can’t get on board with it. It looks nice up close, but from a distance, it just looks like a crappy, low-pigment, fading black. Not good.

Anyway, I love Underground so much that I had to swatch it. Although I would like to note that its name makes me think of this song, which I had in my head all day today.

Indirect outdoor light:

Direct sunlight:

While we’re at it, let’s discuss my nail polish! It’s Revlon Matte Suede in Powder Puff (I also have this in Emerald City, which you may have noticed on my toes yesterday).

Bad news first: I don’t know that I’m crazy about this polish’s formula. It took four coats to get it reasonably opaque, and it’s still a bit streaky. Otherwise, I love it. The finish is gorgeous–check it out! This is in direct sunlight.

Mmmmm … satiny! And I think that the minimal amount of wear is impressive, considering that I painted my nails on either Sunday or Monday night, I type all day, and I didn’t use a top coat (I do NOT understand it when people use matte polishes and then add glossy top coats). Of course, the fact that the polish and the tips of my nails are both white goes some way to hide chipping, but still. I am the QUEEN of chippy, peely polish, and I’m impressed with how well this is holding up.

Published in: on November 4, 2010 at 5:31 pm  Comments (10)  
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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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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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On Money

Or, “Why I Try to Keep in Mind that Cosmetics are Mostly a Frivolous Expense.”

For reasons various and sundry, which I shan’t go into here, it has taken me a LONG time to reach a point in my life where I feel halfway stable financially. I’m finally starting to feel like I’m getting there, and that’s part of why I’m getting interested in  makeup again after a years-long hiatus. For several years there, I just couldn’t justify spending the money on it.

So I’m keenly aware that makeup (and cosmetic products in general, except maybe skincare stuff, and even that to some extent) is pretty much an optional expense. Sure, if you have significant acne or a major scar or birthmark that you feel more comfortable covering up, that’s one thing. I’m talking about spending money on things like massive eyeshadow collections. Four different kinds of eyeshadow primer. Fourteen mascaras. Forty-seven lipsticks. A whole bag full of lip gloss. Two boxes of nail polish.

I do this myself, and I love it. I have no problem with it at all, as long as you can afford it. But a lot of people can’t. I couldn’t for years, and that made it pretty clear to me that makeup is not a life-or-death situation.

This also explains, in part, my focus on finding affordable alternatives to expensive products. I know how it feels to have $10, $15, $30 be your “fun” budget for the week or for the month, and how it feels to want to stretch that as far as possible without compromising on quality. I’m delighted to discover that there’s high-quality drugstore makeup out there these days–things that I would buy even though I can afford more expensive products now. But it’s one thing to buy drugstore makeup because it’s a fun, affordable alternative to high-end stuff. It can feel like another thing altogether to buy drugstore makeup because it’s the only thing you can afford.

What it comes down to is this: I always try to keep in mind how incredibly privileged I am to be able to do this. To be able to afford to buy makeup (and yarn, and fancy ingredients to make fancy food–more on that later, maybe, but my sociology degree wants you to go check this out in the meantime); to have the time to play around with it because I’m not, say, working two jobs, or trying to support children or aging parents or a spouse with a disability; to have Internet access and a computer via which to bloviate about this admittedly frivolous topic at length. I feel very, very lucky to be able to do this, and even more lucky to have you fabulous and clever people accompanying me on this journey.

So. That’s where I’m coming from on that.


Published in: on September 3, 2010 at 7:59 am  Comments (4)  
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Cheap Eyeshadow, Revealed!

Tawdry enough post title for ya?

All right, cheap makeup aficionados, I’m here to let you in on The Secret of the Drugstore Eyeshadow! The suspense is killing you, isn’t it? ISN’T IT??? Well, allow me to put you out of your miserly misery!

The cheap eyeshadow is …

Did you get it right?

On the left, we have Urban Decay Deluxe Eyeshadow in Scratch, which retails for $18 for 2.5 g. (All prices in this post are in US dollars.) On the right, we have Urban Decay Loose Pigment in Shag, which retails for $20 for 1.2 g, although I got it for $5 on sale. And in the middle, we have Wet ‘n’ Wild Color Icon eyeshadow in Penny, which retails for $1.99 for 1.7 g, but which I got for a buck because I bought it at a BOGO sale at Rite Aid (still going on! Run, don’t walk!).

Or, to put it another way:

  • UD Deluxe Eyeshadow: $7.20/gram
  • UD Loose Pigment: $16.67/gram (!!!), $4.17/gram on sale
  • Wet ‘n’ Wild Color Icon eyeshadow:  $1.17/gram, $0.59/gram on sale

And a few other mid-/high-end eyeshadow price breakdowns, just for the hell of it:

  • Urban Decay regular eyeshadow: $17 for 1.5 g, $11.33/gram
  • Make Up For Ever eyeshadow: $19 for 2.5 g, $7.60/gram
  • MAC eyeshadow: $14.50 for 1.5 g, $9.67/gram
  • MAC loose pigment: $19.50 for 4.5 g, $4.33/gram (I knew there was a reason I thought these were a good value!)

And this, my friends, is yet another chapter in the book I’m writing in my head entitled “Holy Shit, Is it Just Me, or Does High-End Makeup Seem Like … Well … Kind of a Rip-Off Sometimes?” I’m not saying that all high-end makeup is overpriced crap, or that all drugstore makeup is affordable and wonderful. I just don’t think that high-end makeup is uniformly wonderful, or that drugstore makeup is uniformly crap. I love most of my high-end stuff, but some of it is downright disappointing. I’ve been disappointed by drugstore products too, but I’d rather be disappointed by something that cost me $1.99 than by something that cost me $16, $20, $30.

(And for what it’s worth, I don’t think that UD’s loose pigments are worth what they charge for them. I’d rather pay $4-8 for a comparable amount–or, in many cases, more–of a gorgeous, complex loose mineral eyeshadow from one of the fine Independent Makeuppers over yonder in my blogroll. I love the UD pigments I have, but I’m glad I didn’t pay full price for them.)

I understand that there are other considerations, too. For one, some high-end products probably do have more pigment and less filler than their cheaper counterparts (pigment is expensive, after all). And some lower-end products might not have quite the intensity or staying power of the pricier stuff. But it is absolutely possible to get highly pigmented, high-quality products for under $5.

And some high-end products are INCREDIBLE values. Using Urban Decay as an example again–hey, it’s only fair–I will happily jump on the Naked palette bandwagon and urge you to go and get this thing RIGHT NOW. If you can, that is, because it’s so popular they can’t keep it in stock. Twelve eyeshadows, 1.3 g each, 15.6 g total, for $44, or $2.82/gram. Them’s practically Wet ‘n’ Wild prices! Plus it comes with eyeliners and a mini primer!

So if you’re pinching pennies, it pays to do your homework (and the math!). Read the reviews, wait for sales, seek out independent sellers–hell, learn to mix your own shadows (more on this later today) and glosses. Your bank account will thank you!

Published in: on August 31, 2010 at 7:29 am  Comments (4)  
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