Monday, November 29, 2010

Nail Polish: Color Club "Mrs. Robinson"

I'm dying to do an entry on skincare since it's my latest preoccupation, but all I have time for lately are the weekly manicure snapshots.  Behold this week's:

It's definitely not my typical colour but I thought it would perk me up during the final round of essays and exams.  Well, I was wrong.  When in doubt or in need of a pick-me-up, go for the true and tried.  I feel uncomfortable with this shade on my fingertips for some reason and I can't wait for a chip so that I can rub it off and put on a murky muddy shade to make me feel better.

This is the only Color Club nail polish I own, and I picked it up because it was ridiculously cheap and the shade was rather unique.  In real life it's not as pink and a little more magenta, so it's slightly complex, and I just could not capture its true colour with the camera and lighting today.  It applies similarly to an Essie polish (2 coats will do, though I applied 3) and the shade comes off rather flat on the nails, so I added a glossy topcoat.

What are your pick-me-up nail polish shades?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Nail Polish: Essie "Masquerade Belle"

Man, the glitter from Absolutely Alice was a pain to remove.  A salesgirl at Holt Renfrew kindly informed me that  Deborah Lippmann's "The Stripper" polish remover will take off glitter with minimal issues, but I didn't quite believe her.  Now I wish I had picked it up to at least test it out.  End result: I had to deal with good old Life brand from Shoppers Drug Mart.  Maybe I'll request The Stripper for Christmas - please and thank you, Santa!  (Wow, that sounded dirty.)

Moving on.  Today's polish is from Essie's 2010 winter collection.  It's remarkably similar to Essie's "Wicked", which is one of my all-time faves, but "Masquerade Belle" is visibly redder and not as black.

with flash

without flash
Masquerade Belle on left; Wicked on right
(Apologies for the poor lighting.  It seems I need a new camera for Christmas as well!)

I love deep dramatic colours more and more as the weather gets colder.  As fabulous as Absolutely Alice was, it started to feel a little ridiculous after three days.  Back to my regular moody shades!  It's also a little more work-appropriate for tomorrow.  Tell me: are you digging Essie's winter collection?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cleaning House via MAC's Recycling Program

So I was cleaning out a dusty corner of my room when I found an old Lancome bonus cosmetics bag and realized there were things in there that had been forgotten for years.  How long ago was it when a MAC lipstick came in a silver tube?  I have no clue!

There were two old MAC lipsticks in there that were long past their lifespan and it brings my empty MAC packages to a total of 10.  In the U.S. I think you only need to take back 6 to redeem it for a free lipstick or single eyeshadow, but here in Canada, we have to return 10.  There was a rumour some years ago that it had been upped to 12 but it is indeed 10 still.

[MAJOR EDIT!  I was wrong and it's 6 in Canada as well.  Doh!]

This is kind of funny because I'm doing a reverse of what other beauty bloggers are doing.  I'm essentially showing you my garbage after I am done with the cosmetics while others are showing off their new goods.  But here's proof of me getting rid of things like I promised!

The inventory:
  • two Blot Powders, both in Medium (I guess I was a fan at some point but I don't even remember when); 
  • one Select Sheer Powder in NC25 (I get matched as NC25 quite often but recently I was swatched as C3); 
  • one shadow in Greystone (my sister's contribution); 
  • one Tinted Lip Conditioner in Plum Perfect (most of it unused but past the expiry date which you can tell by the old packaging); 
  • three lipsticks in Luxe, Lucid and Retro (dull shades which I would never pick now!); 
  • a limited edition Lip Glass called Soft & Slow (I soooo wish it was permanent); and 
  • one Pro Longwear Lipcolour in For Keeps (barely used it but don't like it and now it's old).
So excited to be able to get rid of things and redeem it for a free product!  Any suggestions on what I should get?  [I ended up with a matte shadow called "Wedge" which is a very soft, pale brown.]

Monday, November 22, 2010

Confessional/Haul #2

Over the weekend I went a little nuts with all the holiday products out there.  It's not nutty by the regular beauty blogger standard, but it's definitely nutty considering this reductionist thing I have going.  BUT I have reasons and excuses!  Read on!

I went shopping with a friend to help her pick out a concealer (she ended up choosing YSL's much lauded Touche Eclat).  While there I was incredibly tempted by the new Bobbi Brown Limited Edition Modern Classic Lip & Eye Palette.  Look how gorgeous it is:

The last time I bought a Bobbi Brown palette was at least four years ago, and it was well worth the hefty price.  I love the shades and quality of Bobbi Brown shadows and glosses, so it's actually quite the moneysaver if you count the sum total of each individual shadow and gloss.  Yes, I bought the palette.

HOWEVER.  (Yes, there is a however!)  This is going right back to Bobbi Brown if Urban Decay's much coveted Naked Palette is restocked.  The reason this Bobbi Brown palette appealed to me half as much as it did is because the shadow shades are reminiscent of the shades I was coveting in the Naked Palette.  See the similarity?
But the Naked Palette is such a steal that that is the one I truly want.  I can't believe I walked past it at least 10 times in Sephora without a second glance when it first debuted!

I also bought two Chanel nail polish which will count as part of my December nail polish allowance.  (I have one more polish left to buy for 2010!)  Check out Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour in "Riva" and Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour in "Pulsion":

I intended to buy Riva only but Pulsion was there also, beckoning me with that summery and cheerful hot pinkness that I felt the pair belonged together.  Having spent my precious December nail polish funds rather early on, I have to be super careful with the next choice.  (I had already resisted the new NARS limited edition shades... sigh.)  If this is the rate at which limited edition polishes are coming out, I may have to up my maximum of three per month to ten per month.  KIDDING!!!  I'm going to stick to three and you are my witnesses.

Some day, when exams are over, I'll go on with my inventory of goods to be thrown out or kept.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Nail Polish: OPI "Absolutely Alice"

I found this in a discount bin for marked down polishes and was surprised to find a remnant of the popular Alice in Wonderland series.  Now I regret overlooking the collection, because the one I really covet is "Mad as the Hatter."  Mine is is "Absolutely Alice":

[Note:  In person, the glitter is more gold than silver.  The blue and the sparkle look different under different lighting.]

It's definitely not my usual colour.  You may have noticed my love of murky and unusual shades.  However, I've been drawn more and more to sparkles lately and thought this would temporarily satisfy my craving for Deborah Lippmann's "Across the Universe."  How silly of me, for they are two very very different things.  I've pretty much made up my mind that I'm going claim "Across the Universe" as well as Chanel's "Riva."  (That will be my December splurge.)  For now I'll enjoy these blinged out fingertips until my next mani session.

[Edit:  I went out with my blue satin Hogan bag today and realized that the nails totally matched the bag in the most awesome way!  Just had to share it with you all, so here's a peek.]

Monday, November 15, 2010

Nail Polish: China Glaze "Recycle"

Dear beauties:  I made an edit to my original rules to reduce and recycle beauty products.  Previously, I had banned myself from purchasing new products unless I was completely finished with all the products in that same product category.  (i.e. No new night cream until I finish or get rid of other night creams.)  The edit is to allow for me to indulge in a growing trend in the beauty world:  nail polish.

Limited edition nail polishes had been on the rise for a while and we may be at an all new height at this very moment.  They come out faster and more frequently and with more variety than ever before.  The recession made paupers out of many of us, and instead of shopping for $20 lip glosses on a weekly basis, we downsized to $5-10 nail polish instead.  Like costume jewellery, it's a cheap and fun way to remain in vogue.

I have allowed myself to buy no more than three nail polishes per month.  I do my best to hunt for bargains, but sometimes what's in the reduced price bins are really strange colours or old stock that you want no part of.  But I'm not a polish snob, either.  I like anything from the good old Sally Hansen all the way to the uber chic Lippmann Collection and super luxe YSL.  But my budget and storage space being what it is lately, I think it's a good idea to give myself a reasonable cap for the month.  That way I won't go completely famished for fashion and still get to have some fun while I don't turn into a complete fanatic.

Today's polish is a recent acquisition.  I had been searching for a true grey nail polish for months and months.  The only one I saw that I liked was from YSL, but the price was off-putting.  Others were always a blend of smoky purple and grey, like "Metro Chic" from OPI for Sephora.  Nuh-uh.  I needed a grey.  And it's called "Recycle" by China Glaze.  The real nail polish gurus must have known about this years ago, or whenever it was that this shade came out, but I only found it this week.  For years all I ever saw was OPI and the typical department store or drug store fare.  Anyway, it's my first brush with China Glaze polish, though I have tried their base coat and top coat.  (I like the base coat but you can find a much better top coat elsewhere.)

I keep thinking that this shade would have been better off named as "Cement" and that's what I kept typing on this post even though the name is "Recycle".  I see on the China Glaze website that there's a very similar but darker grey shade called "Devotion" -- didn't see it at the store, otherwise I would have been torn as to which should come home with me.  I'll update later with an edit at the bottom of this post as to how well the polish performs.

[It lasts a full week without chips!  China Glaze ranks right at the top of fair-priced and good quality nail polish alongside OPI.]

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Confessional/Haul #1

Today's post comes in the form of a confessional.  What are known as "hauls" to other bloggers are confessionals for me.  Why?  Because I have sinned and gone to Sephora to take advantage of the Family & Friends 20% off deal and bought (a) something, (b) more than I need (though "need" can be stretched to fit sooo many things), and (c) have violated my own rules set out on the very first post of this blog.  But since I'm being all honest about my splurge, let's take a look at my picks.

Clinique Clarifying Lotion 4 for Oily Skin

Rationale:  I ran out of my usual toner (Clinique Anti-Acne Toner) and instead of replacing it, thought the oily skin toner would work just as well, especially since my skin has been on the dry side due to the colder weather.  I tried it once last night and it felt almost the same as the anti-acne toner without the dryness (it kind of stung in the same way, however, it makes me feel like it's really cleaning out the pores).

Clinique Pore Minimzer Instant Perfector in Invisible Deep

Rationale:  I've been obsessing over my pores and blackheads on the nose lately.  The pores seem larger than ever despite my diligent cycle of exfoliating, cleansing and toning.  I was very pleased with this product because it did disguise the pores and kept shine at bay from my T-zone for a few hours longer than the usual.  Total winner.

Boscia Peppermint Blotting Linens

Rationale:  This is a new blotting linen from Boscia and only CAD$6 (USD$5) for a limited period.  I grabbed three of them as they're even cheaper than those godawful Clean & Clear blotting sheets.  Sometimes I blot my face on napkins and tissues -- even toilet paper -- but pulling out one of these nifty things is so much classier, ya know?

Fresh Umbrian Clay Treatment Bar

Rationale:  I read RAVE reviews about this product online at  You've gotta read them for yourself (click here).  I plan on trying this tonight and am very excited!  If the hype is to be believed, then I have found the perfect multi-tasking skin care product to devote myself to for years to come.  The reductionista side of me is quivering in anticipation.

Ole Henriksen Three Little Wonders

Rationale:  I love the Truth Serum and grew very curious about the Sheer Transformation.  The boxed set of these two products, along with the Invigorating Night Gel, are total money savers.  They're full-sized as well, so you're not getting ripped off in any way at all.  I've become a devotee of Ole Henriksen as of late and hope to see payoff for it very soon.

Korres Line-Smoothing Lip Butter Glaze Trio 

Rationale:  I'm a sucker for a bargain and I've heard very good things about the Korres Lip Butter.  My lips are incredibly dry and chapped lately and I don't think that I can wear lipstick anymore this season if there isn't a change.  I much prefer balms and glazes over chapsticks.

Ole Henriksen Fresh Start Eye Creme (link and picture unavailable at the moment but very similar to the Ole Henriksen Visual Truth Eye Creme)

Rationale:  I threw out my old Neutrogena eye cream because it didn't feel effective and my skin reacted to it badly for some reason.  This is the one completely justifiable purchase out of the entire lot since I do not have any other eye creams at the moment, and I am so glad that I picked this up.  It absorbs instantly into the skin and feels calming and moisturizing as soon as you put it on.  I've heard that the Fresh Start Eye Creme is more for moisturizing while the Visual Truth Eye Creme is for lifting, but I feel like either would work fine.

Everything I've listed is available at your local Sephora.  

Well, there you have it.  I've been a bad girl, but all in the name of seeking the perfect skin.  Actually I'd settle for having back the skin I had at 25.  At 32, I am tired of battling acne and visible pores.  If I am to reduce the amount of makeup I wear, I believe it begins with proper skin care.  I'll give you a rundown of their effectiveness when I finally conduct an inventory of my skin care products.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Nail Polish: Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in "Sequin Scandal"

I've read a few reviews on this line of nail polish by Sally Hansen and have eyed the bottles in drugstores with curiosity not more than once.  I finally secured a bottle of "Sequin Scandal" and decided to determine its worth for myself.  Behold:

The colour is a complex green/bronze with subtle golden flecks which you normally don't find in drugstore products.  I love it.  I was surprised by the large size of the brush but it applies smoothly and without trouble.  If the 5-in-1 formula claim is to be believed, this is a miracle in a bottle.  Like its sister Insta-Dri line, this polish applies quickly and dries fast.  Now I'm tempted to go buy it in some other colours but for this blog and my resolve.  It'll be on my Christmas wish list.

[Edit:   A chip on the first day!  Nooooooo!!  Top coat recommended.]

Monday, November 8, 2010

Inventory #9: Eye Shadows

I have to stop and ask myself:  can a girl have too many eye shadows?

For the integrity of this blog, I have to say yes.  But really, maybe not.  Variety is the spice of life, y'all.

I can't possibly go through every single one.  However, you'll note that most of these are palettes, which I think is the most cost-effective way to experiment and get the most of what you want.  I didn't even put everything I have out there due to lack of counter space.

I really don't use as much shadow as I should, considering how much is in my collection.  Now there's such a wealth of variety out there that it becomes tempting to try and collect them all.  I think that I'm done purchasing shadows for the year, but all those new holiday palettes debuting this season?  Totally tempting.  Here's to hoping that I'll remain strong.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Nail Polish: Zoya "Envy"

My new nails:

(And by "new", I mean that it's a fresh application, not a new purchase!  It was the last nail polish I purchased but that was before I began the blog.)

It's my first brush (hee) with Zoya nail polish and I was quite pleased with the glide and texture of the product.  It has a more gel-like consistency than other nail polishes such as OPI and Essie, which are more watery.  The colour reminded me of Ninja Turtles the entire time I was applying it, but I really like the result.  This shade is what I had expected from Sephora by OPI's Dark Room.  See how they compare:

It's hard to tell by the picture but upon application, Envy looks like a very very dark green and Dark Room is like black with the slightest hint of green in certain light.  I like both very much, but I'm really liking the texture and quality of the Zoya polish.  Colour me a new fan!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Skin Treatments

It's one of those cold autumn Saturdays when you just want to stay in your pajamas all day, catch up on magazines and books, bake cookies, and treat yourself to some at-home-spa treatments.  (Yes, that was my day!)  On such days, I don't like to wear makeup and let my skin breathe as much as possible.  But mostly because I'm lazy.  :-)

Tonight I'm going to try a truckload of treatments on my face to really pamper myself for the lack of proper attention to my skin during the week.

Step 1:  Kandee Johnson's Lemon Trick!


This neat little trick is so great.  I first discovered the world of YouTube beauty gurus via Kandee's tutorials and now I love browsing YouTube for inexpensive but effective DIY tutorials.  I have been applying this lemon mask diligently at least once or twice a week, and I've been receiving a lot of compliments on how bright my skin looks.

Step 2:  Mud Mask

Mud masks are crucial for my oily skin and I try to do it at least once a week if not twice.  I just finished an Ahava mud mask that I've had forever, so tonight I'm moving on to the St. Ives Mineral Clay Firming Mask.

I have not tried this product before so I'm pretty excited.  Maybe I'll post a review later with my skin care inventory.

Step 3:  Moisturizing

I'm really going to pile on more than the usual and pair the Ole Henriksen Truth Serum with Philosophy's Miracle Worker Anti-Aging Moisturizer.

At 32, I'm noticing lines that were not there before and they're beginning to worry me.  I love the Ole Henriksen Truth Serum and have great hopes for its effect on my skin long-term.  The Philosophy moisturizer I'm working with today is just a sample, so if it works out well, I may invest in the full size after I finish the other moisturizers I'm juggling at the moment.  [Edited to add:  Unfortunately, Miracle Worker made me break out, so I threw out the sample.  I don't think dry/normal skin types will have a problem with this, though.  It did feel quite nice upon application.  Damn my oily skin!]

What are some of your fave DIY pampering techniques and products?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Further proof that I need to reduce.

I bought a train case in the summer to stash all my makeup in, and the consequence is that I forget about 90% of the things I own simply because I don't see them during the mad morning rush.  I know many beauty junkies out there have progressed to multi-level drawers and sophisticated coded system of storage, but I don't wish to expand my collection because it's such a waste to have all these gorgeous things grow old and bad when I can't use them up fast enough.  It's definitely fun to have variety and options each day, but for me, the fun is in testing new items, finding which works best, and going back to enjoy them. 

This doesn't even include the multitude of hair products and skin treatments.  Those are next after I finish the makeup inventory!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Inventory #8: Lipsticks and Lip Glosses

This post is going to take me forever.

My LORAC lipstick actually rolled off this counter space and didn't make it into the shot, and I'm pretty sure there are a few other lip products puttering around in various bags and pockets all over the house.  But this is the majority of my stash, and I must go through it in order to pare down.  Here goes!

Benefit Cosmetics Silky Finish Lipstick in Liar Lips - I can't find this particular shade listed anywhere... does that mean it's discontinued?!  Argh, I loved it so.  It's the perfect plum-red on me.  Like if I bit my lips and the colour was intensified twice, it would be Liar Lips.  Verdict:  Keeping and wearing every last bit left in the tube. 

Cargo PlantLove 100% Natural Lipstick in 8am - I think it's a discontinued shade and I only bought it because it was 50% off at Sephora when they phased it out.  Love the idea of a 100% natural lipstick but not crazy about the dark maroon shade.  Verdict:  Giving away. 

Clinique Long Last Soft Shine Lipstick in All Heart - Got it as a bonus and don't like it.  Verdict:  Giving away. 

Clinique High Impact Lip Colour SPF 15 in Go Fig - Another dull dark colour that I don't wear very much.  Verdict:  Giving away. 

Clinique Different Lipstick in Tenderheart - I got this as a bonus and hate the ugly green packaging but it's actually my current favourite lipstick.  The texture and formulation is creamy on my chapped lips and the shade is a perfect nude that doesn't wash me out or make it too obvious that I'm wearing lipstick.  Definitely going to repurchase.  Verdict:  Wearing it down to the nub and then scooping out what's left! 

CoverGirl Outlast Lip Stain in 400 Everbloom Kiss - Sometimes I have a hankering for stains, but my lips are so dry that I always require balm or gloss on top.  Mostly I'm lazy about my daily application, so I'll ignore stains for a while until I get that hankering again.  Verdict: Keeping as it's mostly new. 

Dior DiorKiss in 318 Pralines - DISCONTINUED!  This is the perfect nude gloss and I hate the new DiorKiss packaging which contains half the amount of product and charges more than before.  The shades have also changed and I can't believe Pralines did not survive.  Well, it's a good thing I snagged two of these before they were phased out.  Verdict:  Keeping. 

Dior Dior Addict Lip Glow with SPF 10 - This is a fabulous product worth the arm and the leg you spend on.  It's a balm, it's a stain, and it will change to the most perfect pink ever according to your body temperature and chemistry.  I was seriously impressed with this.  Verdict:  Keeping. 

Fresh Sugar Plum Tinted Lip Treatment with SPF 15 - One of the best lip products to have debuted this year.  I loved the idea of the Rose Tint but it's too pink for my liking, so I bought one and gifted it to my sister.  I love the original balm as well but girl needs a little colour.  The plum is just perfect - you can layer it sheer or swipe a few more times to build the colour.  And it smells and feels divine.  Verdict:  Wearing down to the nub and scooping out the remains until not a drop is left! 

Lancome Juicy Tubes in Beach Plum - One of my fave glosses... oh, never mind, they're ALL my faves.  But I have a particular weakness for the perfect plum.  Verdict:  Keeping. 

Lancome Juicy Tubes in Spring Fling - It's so pale that it might as well be clear, but the pale pink is really attractive to look at in the clear plastic packaging.  I picked this up after seeing another girl swipe it on, and the shine was just so pretty on her.  I made pretty good use of it but am unsure if I'd buy it again, simply because it's... well, so boring.  Verdict:  Keeping. 

L'Oreal Colour Riche Lipcolor in 857 Sunwash - I have a soft spot for L'Oreal that I don't have for many higher brands.  It's a moody fall colour that I hope to wear more as the weather gets colder.  Verdict:  Keeping. 

Lola Lip Indulgence Full Coverage Lip Gloss in Asian Pear - I think this particular type of lip gloss is discontinued.  I'm not sure where you would go to find this now that Sephora and some other boutiques have stopped carrying it.  Their website is still operational, though, and you might just find it in random independent stores.  Love the colour but not the application and smell.  Verdict:  Keeping for a few more months then tossing. 

LORAC Cream Lipstick in Soul Sista - Apparently it's a nude but it looks quite brown on me.  It's still great for a darker, colder season look.  I'd really recommend this for those with medium or dark skin.  The texture is lovely and the smell is similar to the chocolatey smell that MAC lipsticks are famous for.  Verdict:  Keeping for those moodier fall days. 

LORAC Lip/Cheek Sheer Wash in Sheer Rose - I really like this stain and the roller ball format it comes in.  It's also a good size that will last you a long time without having to spend an eternity with it.  So far I've only tried it on my lips and not my cheek.  Verdict:  Keeping to experiment on cheeks with. 

MAC LipGelee in Moistly - The colour looks really intense from the tube but it goes on sheer and leaves a great wine/plum stain behind.  Definitely worth a repurchase.  Verdict:  Keeping. 

MAC CremeSheen Lipstick in Modesty - Such a pretty and delicate pink that doesn't wash me out.  It's not the best colour on me but it's the only pale pink that doesn't make me look like a dead corpse.  Verdict:  Keeping. 

MAC Lustre Lipstick in Viva Glam VI - I love the Viva Glam line and out of all of them from I to VI, this is the shade that suits me best.  Verdict:  Keeping. 

MAC Tinted Lip Conditioner with SPF 15 in Plum Perfect - The perfect pot of protection, moisture, and colour.  Perfect for the beach and daily wear.  However, too old.  Verdict:  Tossing. 

NARS Lip Gloss in Orgasm - Of course I would have this in my collection and of course, like the Orgasm blush, I don't really like it!  Gasp!  I know!  It looks terrible solo on my lips and must be layered over lipstick or else I cannot wear it.  And the tube is pretty darn small for the price you pay.  Part of the charm of NARS, I know.  Well, it had to be tried.  Verdict:  Keeping?  Still good for wearing on top. 

NARS Lipstick in Fast Ride - It's described as sheer mulberry but it's not very sheer and is such an intense colour that I don't wear it very much.  But I still love it.  It would look dynamite with a porcelain complexion with a strong clean eye in the dead of winter.  Verdict:  Keeping. 

Rimmel Shock Gloss in Amp'ed - Not my usual colour but it's great in the summer for that extra kick of fun.  I'm not crazy about the sickly sweet fruity smell but you can't argue when it was only $2 at the drugstore!  Verdict:  Keeping. 

Rimmel Vinyl Gloss in Sunset - It has a different smell from the other Rimmel gloss.  Still sweet but not as sickly.  And it's a pretty shimmery golden peachy gloss that makes a good topper over lipsticks or just on its own in the summer with a tan.  Verdict:  Keeping. 

Sephora Collection Super Shimmer Lip Gloss in Precious Pink, Rosy Glow and Bronzed Beauty - This came as a part of a trio which Sephora used to give out to VIB members for free on their birthdays.  There were so many of these going around that I kind of hated it upon sight, but the Rosy Glow one is actually quite pretty and subtle enough that I sometimes wear it for days continuously without using anything else.  I love Bronzed Beauty in the summer as well.  Verdict:  Keeping and perhaps even purchase the full size some day. 

Sephora Collection Stain and Shine Lipgloss in Gold/Coral - The coral isn't a true coral and the stain isn't a true stain.  Still, I like the colours and the double-ended action.  Verdict:  Keeping. 

Smashbox Lip Gloss in Raw - This is from a limited edition collection that I just can't remember the name of.  The colour is amazing and I'm so sad that it's almost finished.  The texture and finish was just perfect as well.  It's one of those that I wish I had bought two of.  Verdict:  Savouring until the last drop. 

Smashbox Lip Enhancing Gloss in Pout - One of those pale pretty pink colours that unfortunately makes me look like a corpse when I put it on.  Verdict:  Giving away. 

Tarte 24/7 Natural Lip Sheer in Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday - In truth I like the idea of these little guys more than I actually like them in reality.  I know, and I have three of them!  I'm a sucker for tinted balms with SPF.  The original packaging of this product was poorly made and once you twisted up the stick, it wouldn't go back down.  I see that with the latest that that problem is solved.  I'm so torn, I love these so much!  Verdict:  Keeping Wednesday and Sunday.  Tossing Tuesday because too old.

Okay, so I'm getting rid of at least four or more products.  These inventories are totally worth it. 

Next inventory:  Eye Shadows

Progress Check

The point of this blog was to reduce the number of products I own, but it's easy for the focus to shift from the task at hand.  So, periodically, I'll post a progress check and show you that I've made up my mind to either toss or give away some of the products I've reviewed.

See how good I'm being?  ;)

The second pic is for a separate stash of finished MAC products which have to be taken back for their recycling program.  Everyone knows that you can redeem 6 finished MAC products of any type for one lipstick or one eyeshadow, right?  I'm at 7 products so far.  I had forgotten that I used to depend solely on their powders in the past.  There's one lip gloss in the bag which I dearly loved but was a limited edition item and no longer offered at MAC.  It's going to take me forever to get 3 more used up items in there...

Next post:  Lipsticks and Lip Glosses

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Inventory #7: Eyeliners

17 liners that I hardly ever use.  What a waste.

Here's the situation.  One of my eyes is really hooded and the other is not.  No amount of liner on the hooded eye nor different techniques help the situation.  Putting on liner makes the difference much more evident.  So I've taken to avoiding eyeliners completely lately, even though I love the effect that it gives eyes in general and my non-hooded normal eye.  ;(

My liners aren't really very fun.  Most are plain black to match my lashes and hair, in a variety of form: pencils (11 from MUFE, MAC, L'Oreal, Urban Decay, Cargo, Stila and Lancome), liquid (2 from MAC and Almay), pen (1 from CK), gel (1 from Maybelline), and powder even (Laura Mercier).

So you may be wondering why I keep buying liners that aren't being used.  Well, I've stopped buying them.  But the reason for buying in the first place was in futile hope that somewhere a perfect form of liner existed, which would solve the dilemma of my one eye appearing much smaller than the other.  I blamed it on the product, on my technique, on the formulation... but what I really had to do was accept the hard truth that my eyes are a little strangely made.  It wasn't always the case but somehow that's what happened and that's what I have to live with.  I'm consoled by the fact that it's not actually very obvious in person -- but it is glaring the second I put on any kind of eyeliner.

My last resort, should I choose to continue to wrestle with this "problem", is cosmetic surgery.  It's not something that I can indulge in at the moment, so I'm putting it out of my mind for now.  In the meantime, I have a lot of eyeliners to give away.  No sense in hanging on to things that aren't being used or appreciated, right?

Verdit:  Throw away the Urban Decay pencil and give away the rest.

Edited February 2011:  I couldn't give up on liners!  I didn't give away anything and am still working to find a way to make it work.  I've been focusing on the lower lash line instead of the upper, which helps.  :)))  

Nail Polish: MAC "In the Buff"

I'm not a fan of MAC nail polish but once in a while they'll come out with an interesting shade that can't be found anywhere else.  Case in point:

I can't remember which collection this was a part of.  Was it the Felines or something further back?  Pret-a-Papier, maybe?  Anyway, I thought it would be a good fall colour, considering the khaki and camel trend we're in, and this is a good blend of the two shades.  My sister thinks it looks weird and kind of like crap, but I like it simply because nobody else I know has it or would even pick it up and wear it.

Someday I'll do a post on my nail polish collection.  Gotta finish the makeup stash first.

Next inventory: Eye Shadow Primers

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Inventory #6: Blushers

Blushes or blushers?  I think it was originally called blushers and when pluralizing, blushers sounds right.  In any case, let's take a look at my collection.

None of these products are anywhere near the finishing point.  It's sad that I've accrued 13 full size which will have to be tossed out almost fully intact more for being old than for being used.  But still... they're so pretty!  It's dull to just have one.  Not that I'm so adventurous in my colour range, but sometimes I feel more peachy one day and more pink another day.  Here's the list of the stash:

Bare Escentials bareMinerals Blush in "Amused":  I don't have anything else quite like it.  It's a rose wine, which sounds really dark, but since it's a very fine mineral powder, you can apply it very lightly to mimic the perfect wind-blown flush.  I really loved it but got tired of the messiness of loose powder.  Verdict:  Keeping.

Benefit "Dallas":  I'm addicted to Benefit and their cute little boxes.  Dallas is an enticing mix of bronzer and blush, resulting in that dusky colour to which I'm so prone.  It can look dirty when over-applied, but with a light touch it's quite natural and adds an interesting dimension to the face if not quite the wind-blown flush of a regular blush.  Verdict:  Keeping it.

Benefit "Benetint" (sample size):  I had the original full bottle but it gets kind of gross after a while cuz you'll notice dry flakes and things floating in the bottle and seeing visually how makeup can get unsanitary really takes the fun out of using it.  This sample size is perfect because I don't like dealing with liquid makeup unless it's foundation.  Verdict:  Might give it away; it's still sealed in plastic.

Cargo SuedeBlush in "Montebello":  It's a really pretty mix of about 3 or 4 different shades of pink, with just a hint of shimmer to make things interesting.  The darker pink can create the contour and flush while the pale pink can work as a highlight to catch the lights at the top of the cheekbone.  Verdict:  In love with it and keeping it.

Laura Mercier Second Skin Cheek Colour in "Wild Bouquet":  This is a neutral brown rose that the LM counter girl told me looked really close to my natural flush.  I agree and have used it with much enjoyment almost exclusively for an entire year.  Then I had to go and cheat on it with Benefit and a slew of other things.  I should put it back into the rotation.  Verdict:  Keeping it.

L'Oreal True Match Blush in "Barely Blushing" (W3-4) and "Apricot Kiss" (N5-6):  I love L'Oreal and their True Match line, so it's actually a surprise that I don't have more than just two.  I have sort of forgotten them recently due to the new exciting NARS arrival.  They're kind of getting up there in age, though.  Verdict:  Give away or throw away.

MAC Powder Blush in "Blushbaby":  I got this one while acting as bridesmaid one summer.  It's a pretty and natural pink and I got some good use out of it.  Maybe it's time to retire it to the MAC recyclables stash.  Verdict:  Recycling!

MAC Paint Pot in "Coral Crepe":  This is from their Pret-a-Papier collection, which I was in love with.  Instead of going crazy, I try to limit myself to one product per limited collection.  I was looking for a coral blush at the time (summer) and thought this would do nicely.  Due to the texture, I find it difficult to blend as a blush.  Later on I found reviews showing how to wear this on the eyelid.  I can't imagine regular people walking around with coral lids.  I think I'll keep working on perfecting the technique.  Verdict:  Keeping.

NARS Blush in "Luster":  It's my second latest acquisition and I don't know why it took me so long to give in to the lure of a NARS blush.  I know "Orgasm" is the universal fave, but it just leaves shimmer without any of the colour on my face, so I picked "Luster" instead, which is a kind of golden peach.  I think it would have looked really good in the summer with a tan, so can't wait to try that next summer.  Verdict:  Keeping.

NARS The Multiple in "Maui":  The point of a multiple stick is to be able to use it anywhere on the face: cheeks, lips, even eyelid.  I use "Maui" exclusively on the cheeks because it mimics the natural flush of my cheeks more than any other product I've ever come across.  But when I put it on my lips, it makes my lips look dead and dull.  And being pink, it doesn't really belong on the eyes or anywhere else on my face.  There's a sizeable amount of product in there and I don't know that I'll ever finish using it.  Maybe I'll slice it off and distribute it to various people in need of a cream blush.  Verdict:  Keeping and/or sharing.

Sephora Collection Blush Me! Trio in "Brun 12":  It looks quite dark and if not careful can apply dark as well.  But I got this in anticipation of a cool autumn look with porcelain skin and burnished cheeks.  Well, I don't have porcelain skin, though I can turn quite pale by February.  But I still really like the blush very much.  Verdict:  Keeping.

Stila Convertible Color in "Peony":  I remember when this was a must-have in all the makeup lovers' bags.  Its luster has worn off a bit since.  But it's a great product for those who love cream blush.  I want to like the shade Peony more than I actually do, as it's not as high impact nor pretty as the packaging fooled me into believing.  I remember that the colour I really wanted was Poppy but I chickened out and got Peony instead.  Verdict:  Give away.

TheBalm "Hot Mama":  This is as close to NARS "Orgasm" as a blush can get.  It's kind of a peachy pink with golden shimmer.  But the colour shows up much better on my face than "Orgasm" does.  I got this for free for getting TheBalm's Time Balm Foundation.  It was too good to pass up.  If you're in Canada, check out your nearest Pharma Plus to see if they've stocked up and are still offering this promotion!  Verdict:  Keeping.

So far I'm finding these posts very helpful.  I'm not getting rid of too much but at least I'm forced to consider giving up at least 2-3 of the old stuff I'm stubbornly hanging on to.

Next post:  Progress Check and Proof of Disposal

Monday, November 1, 2010

Inventory #5: Mascaras

For the past three years, I've been on the hunt for the perfect mascara.  High and low, I keep testing until I think that I've hit a goldmine.  Not an easy task.  My current fave is the much lauded YSL, but for the arm and leg you have to pay, I think it can be better.

From left to right:

YSL Faux Cils Volume Effet (20% full):  I was amazed when the saleswoman applied this to my lashes and literally doubled the length and volume of my tiny sparse lashes.  It curls, lengthens, volumizes and dries quickly with no smudging or flaking.  A miracle, I thought, and shelled out the amount equal to a month's worth of cell phone payment.  I haven't regretted it for a day until some time this week.  Although I sense there's more product left in the tube, it seems to be running kind of dry, and with the dryness more smudging occured than it did at the beginning of the run.  Maybe if I were a more diligent mascara wearer (and loyal, not cheating on it with a dozen others!), I would have used it all up before it went dry and weird?  Who can say?  I'm not sure that I can afford to pay for this product again.  But to this day, it is the best that I've ever had.  Verdict:  Finish and lamentably toss the beautiful gold packaging.  Le sigh.

Makeup Forever Aqua Smokey Lash (70% full):  My friend A. showed up with the most amazing looking lashes one day and I had to ask what her secret was.  It was this, my friend.  I ran to Sephora immediately after and snagged one for myself greedily.  You'll note that it was in my product lineup today, and I do like it very much, but it doesn't quite look as nice on me as it does on Friend A.  It curls very nicely and is waterproof, but the volumizing and lengthening is nowhere near that of the YSL.  It does still smudge a little throughout the day despite being waterproof (I guess it's not oil proof) but it holds very well all day long and is a great every day mascara for those looking for one that actually holds curls.  Verdict:  Use until done.

Smashbox Bionic Mascara (99% full):  The world's first ionic mascara, Smashbox claims... WHATEVER THAT MEANS.  It does nothing for me.  Can't remember how I ended up with it.  I swiped it on once, was not impressed, and there it lies ignored by me.  Verdict:  Give it away.

Clinique Lash Doubling Mascara (98% full):  I think I picked this up one day during a retail therapy session gone wrong.  I say gone wrong because I ended up with a host of things I did not like and had to be returned.  This one should have gone back as well but I hung on to it with the hope of growing to respect it.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.  It doesn't double your lashes at all.  I like the shape of the brush but that's about it.  I tried to give it away to my sister but she tested it and said Clinique was a rotten liar.  Verdict:  Attempt to give it away again.  Upon failure, toss.

DiorShow Unlimited Mascara (80% full):  I really liked this at first but it smudges on me towards the end of the day, which is no good.  It's high impact and Dior mascaras are lauded among pros and industry experts.  I'm not quite sure what to do with it.  I kind of like having it in my possession just because I don't have much Dior products.  Gah!  Verdict:  Undecided.

Makeup Forever Lengthening Mascara (70% full, mostly dried up):  I should really toss this as it's quite old.  I think that it's even discontinued by now.  I bought it initially because I really loved the tiny little brush.  That, I thought, could get underneath my tiny tiny lashes and lift them into view for others to admire.  Back then I didn't quite have the technique down.  Maybe it would have/could have/should have worked.  Now we'll never know.  Verdict:  To the garbage!

L'Oreal Telescopic Mascara (99% full):  I love L'Oreal.  Among all drugstore brands, L'Oreal is my fave.  This one works pretty well, except that I don't think the bristles quite work with the sparseness of my lashes.  I don't have enough fringe for the defining brush to sweep them so far apart from one another.  Otherwise, it's a good mascara.  There's impact there.  Verdict:  Give it away to someone more genetically blessed.  Unfair.

Benefit BadGal Mascara in Blue (95% full):  The claim is that it brightens your eyes.  Does it?  I don't know.  It's not very distinguishable from my black lashes.  I don't think it's a terrible mascara or anything, but just does not have the impact that I hoped for.  It's a sample and not worth the space it occupies in my stash.  Verdict:  Out it goes!

Clinique High Lengths Mascara (100% full):  My sister donated this to me yesterday.  I haven't gotten around to trying it yet but I'm not hopeful about its performance. Verdict:  To be tested and given away if not up to par.

Lancome Hypnose Custom-Wear Volume Mascara (98% full):  This is an okay mascara but because of the YSL and MUFE Smokey Lash, I completely forgot that I had it.  Verdict:  Put into rotation until done.

Imju Fiberwig Tiny Sniper (94% full):  Man, when they said tiny, they really meant it.  Usually, the smaller the brush, the better I like it.  This one is almost impossible to maneuver because it is so tiny.  It's obviously for the pesky inner, outer and bottom lashes, but I just did not have much luck with it.  Before I give up on it, I'm going to give it another shot RIGHT NOW.  Verdict:  Ugh, it's so irritating.  Giving it away.

L'Oreal Double Extend Mascara (99% full):  I saw someone on YouTube raving about it, so I screwed up my courage once more and got it on sale at the drugstore.  It's an attractive idea, to have the primer at one end. However, I don't know if it was at the drugstore for way too long, but the primer was pretty dry and ineffective.  It left me with just the mascara option, which was fine, but I really wanted the primer to have an impact.  In my case, it was better in concept than in execution.  Verdict:  Using up the mascara side with my other primers and then tossing.

L'Oreal Double Extend Beauty Tubes (95% full):  I was so curious about this that I knew I should have held off but couldn't help myself when it was on sale!  This works pretty darn well and I like both the primer and the mascara.  I also love that you don't need a remover at the end of the day.  It will just glide off nicely with some warm water.  Definitely hanging on to this one.  Verdict:  Finishing it after the YSL and MUFE.

Clinique Lash Building Primer (99% full):  This is actually my second full size purchase of this product.  Really, I think that any primer will help my puny lashes.  But I bought it before I realized Makeup Forever also had a lash primer... Verdict:  Finish it after I finish the MUFE Primer.

Makeup Forever Lash Fibers (50% full):  I think what differentiates this from the Clinique primer is the brush.  The formula also seems creamier at first and will wrap the lashes very visibly.  The Clinique looks almost invisible in comparison.  But in the end, while both do boost the look of my lashes, neither outweighs the other as better because my lashes are so darn tiny!!!  Verdict:  Finish.

Wow, that's a long one.  But I forgot to include in the picture the other five mascaras.  Since they're new and haven't been tested, I'll just list them quickly:
  • Clinique High Impact Mascara
  • CoverGirl Lash Blash Volume (Waterproof)
  • Too Faced Lash Injection Pinpoint
  • Clarins Wonder Length Mascara
  • Givenchy Phenomen'Eyes (Waterproof; Water Turquoise) -- Tested it at Sephora; currently sold at 50% of its regular price!!!
Can't wait to bust them out of the boxes and try them!  But I'll refrain until I've finished the ones I've already begun and tossed out the remains as stated above.

Next inventory:  blushes.