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Thoughts

sunday beauty ramble

Growing up, I was a tomboy. I played with dolls only because I wanted to play with other girls, and other girls didn’t want to play with cars and other ‘boy stuff’. My parents never prohibited the usage of makeup (my parents never prohibited me anything, now that I think of it), and I could play with my mother’s stash any time, but most of the time I didn’t care. I remember my mother gave me her old eye shadow kit with a peculiar selection of colours. I ended up scraping out every shadow pan, making a colourful powder, and drawing with it.

I think 13 or 14 was the first time I have ever consciously used make-up. It was a really bright orange red Max Factor lipstick. Unfortunately, my peers laughed at me, so I haven’t used makeup for a while after that. I started using make-up more or less regularly when I was 18 or 19. I had this brilliant shade of L’Oreal lipstick. I wish I remembered its name, because it was quite pretty and would really work great with today’s 90’s revival and everything.

When I was 20-21, I went through a very 80s blue shadow phase. Thank God that passed – though in hindsight the shade wasn’t the problem, the application was.

Over the years, my love for makeup (and nail polish) has intensified. At times I tried to fight it, since makeup can be a very expensive hobby. I tried trimming it, rotating it, only using certain products at a certain time. I would feel bad whenever I’d buy something, because I already had so much. No one needs 200 lipsticks.

But recently it hit me that I am rather at peace with this side of my life these days, as long as I use makeup almost every day.

And in one way or another, I do. I play with it and compare it every single day. Even on those days when I don’t wear anything on my face, my arms are usually covered in swatches when I’m home. I love writing about makeup and reading about makeup. I love discovering new brands and old favourites. Luxury makeup interests me as much as the cheapest of the cheap – you never know where you can hit the gold mine.

And really, it’s not that I shouldn’t spend less (most of us who have the time to while away on the internet should spend less) – but it’s not like I take money for the food of my cats and buy a lipstick instead.

Over the past month or so, however, I noticed that I am very happy with the selection of products that I currently have. I will never stop wanting more, and my wishlist is still a mile long (as I’m writing this, I’m thinking whether I should buy the entire set of MUR x Friends eye shadows and Colourpop Limoncello), but I’ve been getting tremendous satisfaction from using my stash. What used to discourage me in the morning seems exhilarating now. I’ve been coming up with new combinations of liners, lipsticks, and shadows, combining them into ‘kits’, then starting over.

It feels good.

What still needs work is maintaining a healthy balance between the amount of things I buy and things I use up. My stash is big for the average person. Way big. I want to make sure that the amount of things I use up is bigger than the amount of things I bring in the house. It doesn’t even have to be corresponding categories. Using up two eye shadows is a long venture, and bringing in just one to replace the two finished might feel very limiting for someone like me.

It just has to be the overall number.

I might just do the points system. Most likely 2 for 1.

Much as I dislike the overuse of word ‘curate’, what I eventually want to achieve is an organised and curated beauty stash. I will never be someone who can live with one neutral palette and one eyeliner, but I can certainly become more intentional with where my beauty money goes. Lately I noticed that I’ve been getting better at it, though of course there’s still ample room for improvement.

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Beauty

My Egyptian Make-up Kit: Base & Face

all the face makeup i took with me to Egypt

Elf Poreless Face Primer

A silicone primer that feels so slippery, I always doubt whether it does anything in terms of prolonging makeup life – but it does. You need the tiniest amount of this – I use a pump because I hate half-pumps, but if you’re okay with those, then maybe try a half and then go from there.

Maybelline Fit Me Concealer in 05 Ivory

Purchased during my trip to Bucharest well over a year ago, but still going strong. I’m about halfway done I’d say. 05 is a good shade for me, but I wish they had something just a touch lighter, to brighten the undereye. This one does a fine job of concealing, but sometimes I want more brightness. Ah well. #palepeopleproblems Nevertheless, this is as close to a shade match for me as I found in a very long time, and I love how it performs – minimal creasing, good staying power, doesn’t affect my mascara. So until I find another option, I’ll be repurchasing this.

MAC Studio Fix Fluid Foundation in NW10

My perfect year-round shade. In the dead of winter I sometimes wish for something paler, but this works fine. At first can be a touch tricky to work with. A good thing to remember that with this formula, a little goes a long way. Start small, and then build coverage where you need it. Rather unforgiving towards any dry spots you might have, so prep your skin well, and prepare to blend, blend, blend. But the result is great.

MAC Studio Fix Powder + Foundation in NC10

My brother bought it, thus the NC instead of NW, but it works okay, just a little pinker than I would have liked. We didn’t have MAC in Moldova for the longest time, and sometimes there’s still trouble with shades – and prices. Overcharge much? But yes, the powder. A great medium to full coverage powder foundation. You can use a light dusting, and you can also go all in. With good blending and a finishing spray it won’t look cakey and/ or powdery at all.

Oriflame Colourbox Face Powder

A powder that does little. It’s almost transparent – at least on my face. I keep it in my purse for some oil control throughout the day, but it doesn’t work well for that. It mattifies, but for a short time. I bought it with the hopes that it’s going to be a workhorse, but no. Oriflame quality deteriorated over time. Colourbox sub-brand is no longer, too.

Avon Mark. Translucent Setting Powder

Now this, I love. I am on the fence whether I would like to continue supporting Avon as a brand though, so I am not sure if I will be repurchasing. This loose setting powder is not the most finely milled out there, but it is transparent (again, I am pale, so perhaps on darker skin it will show up), and it sets makeup well. You don’t need a lot, so I expect this to last me at least another 6 months.

I Heart Revolution Blushing Hearts Peachy Pink Kisses

I believe the brand no longer makes these particular blushers/ highlighters, and it’s a pity too, because the quality is really nice. You can achieve a natural look, or you can make it visible from a plane above. You can use it as a blush topper, or you can use it as a stand-alone highlighter, or a blush. You can mix shades together, you can use each of the three individually. I love this. The only downside is that it can emphasise texture if you’re not careful.

Mary Kay Shy Blush

Some time ago somewhere on the internets I read that this MK blush is a great dupe for NARS Orgasm blush. I’ve no idea, I’ve never had the latter – but the MK one is a pleasant product. Mine is on the older side so it’s losing its pigmentation just a touch, but it’s still workable. It’s a pretty universally flattering shade, though on deeper skin tones you might need to layer it thicker. Once this is done, I will not be repurchasing, as I no longer support MK.

Elf Blush & Bronzer Duo in Fiji

A light bronzer with a good (neutral) undertone for me. Not very pigmented, which in bronzers is always a plus, from where I stand. Blends well, looks natural. Blush is completely matte and fairly neutral. I’ve only used it a couple of times so I can’t say anything bad or good about it, apart from, “I like using it”. If you’d like a deeper review, holler in the comments, and I’ll move it higher up my list of ‘products I want to write dedicated posts about’. ūüėÄ

Elf HD Undereye Setting Powder

Absolutely love this setting powder for concealer. It sets, but it also has the tiniesttiniest amount of reflection for brightening. Unfortunately, it’s discontinued. There’s another undereye setting powder on the official Elf website now. I’m going to try it, but I have no idea when, as Elf is hard to come by in Moldova. There are a couple of sources, but the choice of products is limited.

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Beauty

My Egyptian Makeup Kit: Eyes

Let’s go back to roots: I want to have a chat about makeup, starting with a series of posts about makeup I took with me to Egypt. I was packing for three weeks, you know. So the photo in this post features all the eye makeup I took with me.

Except that unfortunate eyeliner that didn’t make it into any photos, but it’s nothing to write home about. Just a black dip liquid eyeliner with a marker tip. Very inexpensive, effective. Seen better, seen worse. If you’re in a pinch but jonesin’ for some liquid eyeliner, grab that Golden Rose one.

Let’s get down to business then, shall we.

Pink and gold tubes are black and blue mascaras. The black one is by Oriflame, and I still think that Oriflame has some of the best mascaras on the market out there, and for reasonable prices too. The formulas and brushes are diverse. I’ve been getting angrier and angrier with Oriflame recently for its business and ethics, but the product is solid.

The gold tube is a blue version of the Russian market cult favourite – Vivienne Sabo Cabaret mascara. It’s a blue that actually shows up on your lashes and also does something besides just giving them colour. I like it. Got it in a BOGO-free situation when buying a present for somebody, so didn’t even spend a dime on it, technically.

The black tube is a brow gel from L’Oreal x Isabel Marant collection. It’s a transparent gel that gives a good (I should even say great) hold without glueing your brow hairs together. The spoolie is tiny, kinda triangle-shaped, and excellent for this type of product. I think once I’m done with the gel, I’ll keep the spoolie around. It has no colour, and leaves no white cast – at first it looks like it might, but it dries down completely transparent. Doesn’t give any weird gloss either. I wish L’Oreal weren’t so asinine in their ethics, because I’d LOVE to repurchase this. However, L’Oreal has been on my radar for various forms of BS for quite a while now. I will have to shop around for something else once this gel runs out.

Artdeco Eyebrow Powder in 2 is more of a shadow, not a powder. I’ve been using it for years now. This is my second, the first one I dropped and broke beyond my then repressing skills. Artdeco Eyebrow Powder in this medium grey tone is ideal for my needs. It was good on me when I still had dark brown hair, and it’s perfect with black. I think as long as I’m using powdered products for my brows and keep my hair a cooler shade of dark, I’ll be using this one.

Avon True Glimmerstick in Cobalt Cool. My first impression was disappointment, because the liner wasn’t half as pigmented as I was expecting, and also dry. But then the tip broke off‚Ķ It’s still not as intense as, say, Inglot gel pot liners, but for the price point it’s quite decent, and lets me achieve a look that I want – namely a neutral shadow with vibrant liner and matching mascara.

Now, the palettes. I wrote about them in detail before, but I feel like I want to update my impressions in full, with good photos and a new set of swatches. Besides, I made those old posts private. Hmm.

Maybe later. Would you like some aged perspective on some old releases?

Speaking of age. They’re about the same, and I must say that INGLOT outperforms MAC in the department of ageing by quite a degree. MAC is now much drier, much crumblier, and the staying power has gone down by at least two hours. The same thing cannot be said about INGLOT – it’s like the damn thing hasn’t aged a day. And the INGLOT pans are as big as they’re deep. I’m getting drunk off my arse if I ever hit pan in an INGLOT shadow, mark my words.

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Beauty

Red Lipsticks in My Collection

… the helluva dated edition.

Some time last year, I let go of the two products mentioned in this post. They are featured here, because I still wanted to mention them to give you my two cents on the matter.

(Plus I can’t find my camera’s battery to reshoot the photos properly.)

red lipsticks

L’Oreal Color Riche Serum in True Red S502

Pictured third in the photo above, I suppose this is the same as the classic True Red, the only difference being a balm added in the core of the lipstick. It’s a classic red with blue undertones. Feels comfortable on the lips, including dry lips, and seems to glide over the imperfections easily. However, it begins to dry out your lips over time, and if that’s what it did with the addition of the serum, then I have no idea how it feels without it. L’Oreal Color Riche in True Red does not exactly migrate outside the lines, but I did prefer to use a pencil with this. Mine’s a cheapish Flormar (see below), which did the job just fine.

The colour transfers easily, and though it will survive a snack and a cup of tea, it will not live through a meal. It’s a hard lipstick to eat in. Looks rather messy. It was one of the reasons I let it go. I love wearing a bold colour when I go out, and constantly checking the state of my lipstick is just not worth it.

Top Shop Red Lippy

My first and, so far, the only foray into Top Shop make-up. I’ll be honest – I bought¬†Top Shop Red Lippy for the makeup bag (and the charity), which I ultimately did not get. Suppose the stocks ran out on me. This has a slight orange undertone, but nothing too drastic. The formula is creamy, but not greasy. Has a vanilla-ish scent to it. I preferred to use this one with a pencil as well, though it could be fine without it. As with the L’Oreal red lipstick above, the application of Top Shop Red Lippy is quite easy directly from the bullet.

Eventually I let it go as well, again for the reason of it not staying put enough for my liking.

So there you have it, I just went and let go of two ‘cult’ red lip products. Eh.

Be a … Bombshell Hollywood

Not pictured in the photo above – my apologies. You can see the lipstick in the bullet here, and a swatch of it here, both from the time I did a post about a Lip Monthly bag that it came with.

I’ve got a couple of terms for this one – autumn red, everyday red, and retro red. It’s not as in-your-face red as the two above and quite easy to wear daily. Comfortable on the lips – I forget that it’s there. Does not need a pencil, easily applies directly from the bullet. While the formula is nowhere near being sheer, it’s just a touch lighter than full-coverage, which just adds to this lipstick’s wearability. It’s got just a bit of a brick undertone to it, which I suppose makes me want to name it ‘autumn’ and ‘retro’. If your lips are dry, it might stain. But then that’s true about any colour.

I can understand why it’s named ‘Hollywood‘. I do think of it as this timeless red that one might see in vintage ads.

red lipstick swatches

Left to right: Mirabella, Nouba, L’Oreal, Top Shop

Nouba Millebaci Lip Color in 7

A matte liquid lipstick. A gorgeous deep red – or should I say, classic red. The packaging is heavy plastic that feels almost like glass to the touch, except it’s warmer. The brush, a doe-foot applicator, picks up the right amount of product to cover your lips and stick within the edges. The application can be messy, but it’s easily avoided by figuring out exactly how much product you need. Once it sets, it won’t budge. The finish is almost powdery. Nouba Millebaci Lip Color in 7 survives even the oily meals, but with some damage. The reapplication is pretty easy. The product will not flake, however, the second and third coat will not look as even and fresh as the first one. Nouba Millebaci doesn’t need a pencil, but – I realise I begin to sound like a broken record here – I still prefer to use one, yeah. I just find it easier to line my lips and correct any asymmetry that I find, and then go in with lipstick.

This is a brilliant product with a very durable formula, however it is quite drying. Not that even – it not so much dries out your lips, as it just feels dry. Then again, it is more comfortable than some of the regular lipsticks I have tried (Oriflame Pure Colour and Melkior, I’m looking at you). I’m absolutely in love with this colour, and want to pick up another red from Nouba Millebaci line – a darker shade, I think it’s number 11.

Mirabella Red Velvet Lip Pencil

This was a bit of a ‘surprise’ product – I didn’t expect it to be as good as it is. The formula is just the right amount of creamy. Once on, you don’t feel it. The colour payoff is amazing, and the application (and reapplication) is a breeze. Indeed, you will need to reapply, as the product does transfer, but it doesn’t make claims that it wouldn’t. The colour of Mirabella Velvet Lip Pencil in Red is a beautiful deep red, a little less in your face than the Nouba Millebaci one above. A very welcome addition to my red lipstick stash.

flormar red lip pencils

Flormar Lip Pencils

And two words on the pencils that I use with the above lipsticks interchangeably. One of them has blue undertones, the other one orange, so I mix and match accordingly. I suppose the ideal match of these two would be the ones I let go of –¬†L’Oreal and the Top Shop lipsticks. I bought the pencils specifically to use with these two lipsticks, so no surprise there. The product is a bit on the dry side, but I suppose in the case of lip pencils I welcome it – after all, I use them to line with precision and to ensure that the lipstick doesn’t get away. My only gripe with these two would, randomly, be the quality of wood used for the body of the pencil. It’s hard to get a smooth edge when sharpening them. But for their price (around… $2, by today’s rates, I think) Flormar Waterproof Lipliners do a great job.

Not sure why they’re called ‘waterproof’ though.

What’s in your red lipstick collection?

Categories
Beauty

Products I’ve Used Up – September 2017

In September I restated my empties. I’ve lost count to the amount of products I finished for my #100empties challenge, but it’s been more than one hundred, of that I am sure. Felt like a fresh start – and also felt like increasing the number to 365. So, #365empties.

Here’s what I finished in September.

body respect aloe vera cleansing gel

Body Respect Aloe Vera Cleansing Gel

(That’s a bit of tobacco stuck to the pump if you’re wondering. Eww, a smoker, etc. etc.)

I bought this because my friend bought this, and I like trying new things. The scent of this was heavenly – whenever I used it, I felt like I was just pushing my face into a huge pot of apple jelly, although I cannot 100% state that this smells anything like apples. Weird, I know, just describing the sensation here. The texture was great too – it was cooling and smooth. Didn’t find it drying, and on light make-up days it cleansed well. Had trouble with silicone in my foundation and primer, though, and didn’t do well with most mascaras.

An okay product that I’m in no rush to repurchase.

dove go fresh cucumber deodorant

Dove Go Fresh Cucumber Deodorant

I bought Dove Go Fresh Cucumber deodorant thanks to a casual recommendation from a blogger I no longer even read. Since then it has become a firm staple in my routine, and I will buy it again, and again, and again. I find it a bit on the pricey side on certain months, but whenever I can, I stock up on several to always have this Dove antiperspirant around. It’s usually on a buy one get second one¬†for half price offer in one of¬†the local shops, so I take advantage of that.

Dove Go Fresh Cucumber is one of the only deodorant scents that I absolutely do not mind. It also never gave me any irritation whatsoever. I could shave, depilate, epilate, and do whatever the hell else to my armpits, and then apply this straight after some rough towel drying – and Dove Go Fresh Cucumber and Green Tea will help soothe the skin. It requires no drying time, but could leave some white streaks on your clothes if you dress right after, so I usually apply it before going to bed, and find there’s no need to reapply in the morning.

I will buy it as long as it is around.

faberlic bust push-up cream

Faberlic Bust Push-Up Cream

I can’t really comment on its push-up qualities, but I’m pretty sure anyone size C and up won’t see any. However, it is a decent moisturiser. Absorbs quickly, so there’s no trouble using this cream right before I dress for the day. There is perhaps a certain improvement in the overall quality of skin, but it’s no magic. Oddly smells of lemons. I’m currently going through the second tube of this, which I bought together with this one.

Might buy again when on offer, with its moisturising properties in mind.

faberlic raspberry and white chocolate body scrub

Faberlic Raspberry and White Cocolate Body Scrub

A gentle scrub with a delicious scent. This looks just like a raspberry jam would, so it’s no wonder the packaging actually has ‘inedible’ written all over it. The white chocolate scent is also present, although it’s quite high on the artificial side. Because of the jelly consistency, sometimes I found it hard to spread and massage evenly over the skin. The exfoliation is fine, but sometimes I felt like a certain area with rougher skin needed more work. Works great on the decolletage, though.

Will buy again when on offer.

not your mother's nym purifying shampoo

NYM Not Your Mother’s ‘Clean Freak’ Purifying Shampoo

NYM Not Your Mother’s products have been such a hit and miss for me! There’s no official representative here, so all I tried, I got from the grey market. So far I’ve tried two types of shampoos, a conditioner, and a UV protector. This shampoo is okay, but I wouldn’t go as far as calling it purifying – though perhaps there’s a certain meaning that I put into this word that doesn’t quite align with the brand’s philosophy of not using harsh cleaners in their products. Plus I’m very fussy when it comes to shampoos. Very fussy.

When I did not wash my hair for three days, I certainly needed a stronger product, as I could still find oily patches in my hair after washing the shampoo off. Was easy to work into hair and easy to wash off. Nice scent.

Might buy again.

beyu concealer

BeYu Light Reflecting Concealer in shade 5

The product looks full, but rest assured there’s nothing left there. I’ve used up all I could, and what remains has become dry, oxidised, and flaky. This is a good, rather heavy-duty concealer, although I found that come end of the workweek I needed two layers of BeYu Light Reflecting Concealer, especially in the inner corners of my¬†undereye area, where it gets especially dark. Sometimes it would also accentuate all the existent and nonexistent fine lines, even if I would set it with my ever-wonderful Elf undereye setting powder.

Shade 5 is the lightest available on the local market – I honestly don’t know if BeYu makes lighter shades than that. It might as well, because 5 is rather yellow and dark for me in autumn and winter. I can work with it, but I’d rather it were lighter. While I use BeYu Light Reflecting Concealer mostly under my eyes, I found that it works fine to hide an occasional spot as well. It also works great to even out pores around my nose (though not on it, mind).

The lady at the shop touted it as a dupe for a Clarins concealer.Having never tried any Clarins products, I cannot comment. Will I buy again? I’m currently using up a hand-me-down from a friend – hers did not suit her at all. After that, I might repurchase this, because the price and the shade and the texture are one of the best I’ve encountered locally.

We’ll see.

faberlic express volume mascara

Faberlic Express Volume Mascara

Dude. I bought this at complete random, because it was on some epic offer. When I opened it, I was disappointed by the shape of the brush (tiny), and the formula felt runny and sticky. I used it once, and then forgot about it for two weeks or so. And when I tried it again, it was suddenly one of the best mascaras I’ve ever used. It doesn’t quite catch up to my (discontinued) favourite from Giordani Gold¬†(scroll way down) or Misslyn Sexy Lashes, but two coats would give me lots of volume and drama – and even a bit of a curl! Nothing gives my lashes a curl.

I gave a tube of this to my BFF, however her review isn’t as glorious – she still finds it runny and rather useless. I then sold a tube of this to a colleague, so I’m going to ask her opinion as well.

Me, I’ll be getting another tube of this once I’m done with some other mascaras in my stash.

faberlic express volume mascara wand and brush

October is over already, and I’ve got quite a few finished products in my empties bag. I’ll put up a post about them in the next two weeks, God willing.