Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Huge Sephora Haul (long post) - Darn You F&F and VIB Sales!

So the Sephora F&F sale this year tempted me to buy a few items: 
(1) MUFE lipliner in nude beige; (2) Dior crayon eyeliner in Trinidad Black 094; (3) MUFE concealer pencil; (4) Clinique airbrush concealer in neutral fair; (5) restock of Peter Thomas Roth uber dry sunscreen spf 30 (love this sunscreen - perfect for oily skinned people); and (6) Peter Thomas Roth instant mineral powder spf 45 (accidentally ordered 2 so I'll have to return one or give it to my mom or sister). 

Sorry that's the only photo I took because I got lazy and there' was nothing that exciting there.  Although I have to say the Dior eyeliner pencil is excellent!  I tested it on my hand the night I got it and forgot about it.  I washed my hands with soap several times through the course of the night and as I was getting into bed I noticed the eyeliner was STILL THERE.  Amazing!  Granted it was a teensy bit smudged but not bad!  I wore it today to tightline on my top and for my bottom lid and it stayed put pretty well!  It did disappear at the end of my work day but at least it just disappeared and didn't smudge and give me raccoon eyes.  Love it.  Love Dior.  The Clinique concealer is pretty good so far too.  The color is a good match for covering my dark circles.  Not a huge fan of the MUFE pencils - disappointed in them.  And while I love PTR's uber dry sunscreen and love the concept of the mineral powder when I opened it up for the first time it created a huge mess!  And there was so much loose powder wasted in the cap.  I'm hoping this will get better with time and ease up a bit because I'd like to carry this in my purse without having a gross powdery mess.

So I was satisfied with my haul....kind of.  Then something horrible happened.  Sephora emailed me about the VIB discount and I went a little crazy.  I kind of lost all self control.  But I must say that during this crappy week I've been having, opening this package totally cheered me up!  And I may not be psyched to go to work tomorrow morning but I am excited to try some of my new purchases!  Behold, my HAUL:

Sigh, so pretty. 

So I bought a couple Sephora brushes - one powder and one contour.  I wish the contour brush was a bit bigger though.  I bought these mainly because I liked how they were shiny and colorful, they got good reviews, and I liked how they came with a cap.  Great for traveling.
Bristles are pretty soft!  I'm not super picky about my makeup brushes.  I have a range of high and low ends in my small collection.  So long as they are soft and don't shed a lot I'm fine.
I love my Benefit cream eye shadows so much (I had Birthday Suit and Flatter Me), I wanted more.  Much more.  So I bought from left to right: Get Figgy, Skinny Jeans, Strut, and R.S.V.P.  I love them all.  Beautiful colors and smooth and easy texture.  I also love my Dior cream eye shadow but they only have one shade on Sephora.  Why?!  Probably good for me though because I would have spent more money then.
Here are swatches in reverse order from the photo above.  So from left to right, RSVP, Strut, Skinny Jeans and Get Figgy.  And, this is after I let it dry for a few seconds and then tried rubbing them off.  GREAT staying power.  
Another photo of the colors in slightly different lighting.  I'm thinking that I can use Strut to help keep my eyeliner on my lower lid in place.  I usually use liquid on top but not on bottom because they end up disappearing or running.  So I'm going to try using my Dior pencil eyeliner and then smudge it a teensy bit with Strut.  I may not look work appropriate but I take comfort in that I have a coworker who wears a crazy amount of eyeliner every day and no one bats an eye at it.  I mean crazy.  Like put on a heavy smoky eye and then sleep on it, wake up and go to work.  I think Strut and Skinny Jeans will go well together.  And R.S.V.P. and Get Figgy are just beautiful colors that I'll use as regular eye shadows.  
I may be one of the few people in the world who does not like the Shu Uemura eyelash curler.  And I love many things Shu but their curler does not fit my eye right and pinches quite often.  Not as much as non-Asian brand eyelash curlers though.  And I know some people like Koji but that pinches me too and it feels like a cheap eyelash curler.  It's a struggle to use it.  I always like the Shiseido curler back in the day before I tried Shu or Koji but I always forgot to add it to my purchases.  So this time I finally remembered and decided to go back to Shiseido.  This fits my eye perfectly for some reason.  And I looove the dark chrome finish!  This is new!  The old Shiseido I had looked like any other eyelash curler all shiny regular metal.  But this looks so sleek!
See that nice and wide curve?  Fits my lil eyes so well!  Package comes with extra pad.  I always lose the extra pad though and don't even know how you're supposed to replace it.  And how often are you supposed to replace it?  By that point my eyelash curler is so old and gross I just get a new one.  I'm so happy to be back with my tried and trusted Shiseido curler!
Also got some Murad clarifying toner.  I know that toner doesn't really do anything except usually dry the skin out but I like the idea of having something to wipe my face with on a day when my face feels particularly grimy or dirty.  I probably won't use this every day, just on days when I need it.  Like when I fall asleep on my couch with a full face of makeup on and wake up in the wee hours of the night with a growing zit and oil slicks all over my face.  Oh yeah.
Also got the Boscia lumizing black mask.  This looks just like my Kose white mask so I decided to try it out.  I like some Boscia stuff - I have repurchased their botanical blast cleanser 3x in a row - but I haven't liked all of their things (like their moisturizer and eye cream).  So we'll see.  But if this is as good as the Kose white mask I may switch over.  I love Kose white mask but it's hard to find and buy!  I don't want to do a purchase for just my mask.  If I could find an equivalent mask at Sephora that would be awesome.  Anyways, this is a black mask that you let dry and then peel off.  I haven't tried it yet, but will give it a try this weekend.
I am in search of a new detoxing/cleansing mask.  I've been using the DDF sulfur mask but it stinks and I think as I get older it may be a bit too drying.  Whereas I used to love that tight feeling as a clay mask dried on my face, now I just worry that it's causing mini wrinkles as it gets caught in my creases and dries.  Also, I'm not sure if this really does anything.  It definitely doesn't work as a spot treatment on me.  So why bother with the stinkiness?  So I came across this pricy Nude mask that I believe doesn't dry hard and so won't be as drying.  It also got good reviews so I'm excited to try this one too!
I like the packaging.  I'm such a sucker for packaging.  The top is a screw top and snaps into place.  I love that.
And it doesn't smell like the DDF mask!  Yea!
I also finally bought a new mineral foundation.  I've used Bare Minerals for several years now.  I loved it when I first got it but now I've concluded it's good, not great.  I also feel like there must be improvements and better ones out there now that Bare Minerals isn't the only brand out there with mineral foundation.  After weighing Laura Mercier and Dior, I decided to go with my new love Dior.  So I got the Diorskin nude natural glow fresh powder makeup spf 10 in light beige 020.  Love the packaging, but idiot me could not figure out how to open it for a good 2 minutes.  I wasn't sure if it was a pull off lid or twist and it wasn't budging either way!  For future reference, it's a screw top.  Look, there's my hand waving hello! 
So purdy.
There was a sticker thing on top that was so clear I couldn't figure out how to take it off.  That took another 2 minutes.  I felt like a total idiot.  With the sticker on, there were these perfect little beige square holes.  I loved it and didn't want to disturb it but all products have to be opened at some point. 
So here's my ugly dry hand with a little bit smeared on.
And then here's my hand after I rubbed it in.  I didn't use a brush because I was lazy so I'm curious to see how this will look on my face tomorrow.  Doesn't it have a great subtle glow to it?
Then, the blushes and highlighters.  Jeez, Dior sure does know how to do packaging.  My friend said I should buy a J'adore Dior shirt and wear it all the time.  Maybe I will, maaaybe I will!
So I spent a full night debating whether to buy the Diorskin shimmer star in amber diamond or rose diamond.  Both got great reviews.  Amber diamond is more for a bronzey glow while rose diamond is more like a blush glow, so you should pick based on what you want to use it for.  Uh, problem - I do both!  Not on the same face, but on different days depending on my mood, my skin color, etc.  Both looked so beautiful so I caved and bought both.  And let me tell you, I do not regret it one bit.
Amber diamond is on the left and rose diamond is on the right.  They are very subtle shimmers.  I tried doing a swatch but it wasn't showing up as much in the photo.  I plan on using these in addition to whatever blush I may be wearing that day.  This is for a little bit of a punch and added highlighter/shimmer.
It's quite big and comes with a large mirror.
I had to be strategic in taking photos of a compact with a mirror without showing up in the mirror.

Close-up of amber diamond.
Close up of rose diamond.
I also got Diorblush in A Touch of Blush 829.  Was in search of a new powder blush with a bit of a natural pink.  This looks great in the pan and I'll try it out tomorrow morning.
All of the Diorblushes come with one solid color on the left and a matching shimmery color on the right.  You can use the left one in your hollows or contour and the shimmer for a highlight or on the apples of your cheeks.  It comes with a small brush that I plan on never using except in emergencies.
I've been on the search for a lightly scented body lotion in a pump form.  I used to like the Ren grapefruit lotion but Sephora no longer sells it.  Why?!  I also liked how it was a bag inside the pump so I could be sure to get every last bit out.  Well my options were limited so I decided to get Philosophy's amazing grace which is supposed to be a firming lotion.  Got great reviews and I've been in need of a good body lotion as the weather has been getting cooler.  I've been using my Fresh lotion but it's so hard to squeeze that bottle.  It's like it's made out of super plastic.  Why would you make your lotion bottle so hard to squeeze?
Here it is amongst the carnage of my haul.
I love pump lotions.  But, I kinda don't like the smell of his lotion.  In fact, I kinda hate it.  It's strong and reminds me of cold cream or something.  Like the Ponds cold cream my mom used to use to take of her makeup when I was little.  It doesn't help that I put it on my hand and then ate sweet potato fries that I made getting nauseated each time I brought my hand to my face and the smell mingled with the sweet potato smell. But even without that, the smell sucks.  I don't know why people like it so much.  BUT, I have to say it's a pretty great lotion.  Light, moisturizing and sinks in very well.  Why couldn't they make the scent better?!  

Here's my dry dry hand with a splotch of lotion.
Here's my hand after I rubbed in the lotion.  Look how dewy and well moisturized it looks!  Ignore the dryness near my wrist and thumb because I only rubbed the lotion on the top of my hand.
Ah, I love a good haul.  Now I've vowed to myself that I won't buy anything else new for the rest of this month.  

I've also become obsessed with origami again.  Not all, just mini puffy stars and lotuses.  It started when my niece handed me a piece of origami paper and demanded I make something out of it.  She had already cut it up and so it was a long strip.  And all of a sudden my memory was triggered and I remembered how I used to make tons of mini puffy stars out of Snapple bottle labels in college.  I had one empty bottle that I filled with stars anytime I got bored or was watching tv.  I forgot who taught it to me but I think I learned it in high school.  It was so weird, it was like those flashes of memories you see people get in tv or movies and think "It never happens like that!"  So I went crazy and couldn't stop making the mini stars.  I even got my mom interested but she couldn't do the mini stars (even though it's so easy!) and instead has been making a bunch of cranes.  And then I came across instructions for a lotus and after many failed attempts I found a way to do it that makes it much easier.  I love making them.  It's almost therapeutic.  Like how knitting must be like for lots of people, only not as boring.  I love making a ton of these as I watch tv.  I'm also filling up these little mini pails with stars and will give one each to my niece and nephew.
The only thing that sucks about origami is that you produce all these fun pretty things that have absolutely no use.  At least with knitting my sister ends up with a nice scarf that she can use (and she does make great scarves).  Oh well.  That's why I plan on handing these over to my niece and nephew so that my sister can deal with disposing of them.  

I also love to do a little bit at work when I need to just zone out and relax when things get tense or during my lunch.
And, because no post is complete without a gratuitous pug pic, here's a photo of my lil pug on a walk.  
I've dumped so much money at the vet lately she's become my lil furry money pit.  She has bad allergies and all her scratching led to an infection on her lower belly and a scratch on her eye that in turn led to scary green eye boogers and a drooping red lower lid.  It happened so fast!  And with pugs you do not want to risk anything happening to the eyes!  So now she's on antibiotics and I have to put eye drops in her eyes 2-3 times a day.  This is very difficult.  Her big bulging eyes are both bad and good.  Bad because they're prone to scratches and other problems but good because it makes for good large targets for eye drops.  But she is very wriggly.  Look at how pooped she is below after we had our daily eye drops struggle.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Returning to the Crimper

I grew up in the 80s and so I have fond memories of playing with my older sisters' crimpers.  I mean that was the trend then!  Since then I've shunned the crimper, but I am in constant search of good volume and texture.  My hair is Asian but not flat and straight.  I have very thick hair with a slight wave/cowlick to it.  I blame my mom for subjecting me to perms throughout my childhood.  She had me get my first perm when I was in kindergarten!  Kindergarten!!  That can't have been good for my hair follicles!    

Since then, I've had a few straight perms which I loved at the time (absolutely nothing required to style my hair) but soon got bored of having the same hair style every day and wanted more volume!  I think the straight perms though finally unkinked my hair from all the curly perms I suffered in my childhood.  My hair didn't stay stick straight, but it became a little less bushy and kinky.  I've been slowly going prematurely gray/white and every now and then I find a truly kinky white hair and I have this deep deep fear that when my hair finally goes all white I'll have a head full of kinky white hairs.  Maybe that's why so many Asian old ladies perm their hair into those little fros.  If it's already going that way, might as well go with the tide than against it.

I used to tell my hair stylist whenever I cut my hair to give me as much volume as possible.  I wanted big hair.  But unfortunately this led to me receiving two mullets from two different stylists.  How does volume translate into mullet?!  I've now learned how to direct my hair cuts (and sometimes add in for safe measure - "Please no mullet or mullet-like hair!") and my usual routine is to blow dry until almost dry and then flip my head over and continue until dry, ending with a cool shot.  I then use a flatiron to tame my cowlicks (curses to genes from my dad's side and his crazy cowlicks!).  However, I still don't have enough volume!  Thickness doesn't necessarily translate into volume.  In fact, the heaviness of my hair usually weighs it down leading to flat roots and thick ends.  So I kind of look like I have cocker spaniel ears, or if my hair is short, like Christopher Columbus hair.  I've tried thickening/volume sprays and those are ok, not great.  I also tried velcro rollers and those did nothing but get tangled in my hair.  Ack what to do?

I'm a big fan of Fuzkittie's beauty blog (although now she no longer has a regular blog and instead posts on just Facebook and Youtube) and was watching her hair routine video and soon became obsessed with the crimper.  Fuzkittie uses a crimper underneath the top layers of her hair to add volume to the underlying layers.  The top layer remains uncrimped so that it lays over the now volumized underlying layers.  I was intrigued.  Deeply deeply intrigued.  So of course I had to buy a crimper right away and try it out myself.

I was running late that day so I didn't spend as much time as I'd have liked but below are before and after pictures.  Now I'd like to maintain some anonymity so I've blocked my face.  I had limited options with Picasa edit so I figured I'd go with the classic apple face.  But then I noticed the mustache/beard stickers and couldn't resist.  Below is my before picture - this is after I blowdried my hair as usual.
And below is after I crimped my underlying layers.  Now I know you're thinking these photos are not comparable.  Completely different mustaches!  But please ignore the different mustaches and focus on the hair.  
I think there is a noticeable difference in volume here!  I crimped two layers on both sides and in my back.  Next time I'll try three!  I think if I'd been more careful and thorough I could have achieved even more volume.  And it lasts!  And you can't even see the crimps.  I'm also curious to see how this will look if I combine it with one of my old volumizing sprays or a dry shampoo. 

I am in love again with the crimper.  Try it.  Forget the 80s and embrace the crimper.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My Blush Collection

So today I'm going to go through my current blush collection.  
I was never into blushes when I was younger.  I always focused on my eyeliner and lipstick.  It was only near the tail end of college that I discovered the beauty of blush and what a difference it can make.  I'm including bronzers/contour blushes in this because I consider them all grouped together.  I use all of them to add definition or glow to my face.  

I think I was turned off blushes initially because I didn't pick the right colors and didn't know how to apply them. I also think there is a big difference in quality of blushes and so I tend to stick with Nars and Shu Uemura.  There could be others out there that are perfectly fine, but those are just my personal preferences.  I first got into blushes after walking into a Mac store, seeing the scarily made up sales assistants and asking for a blush that won't look like a blush.  I was introduced to Strada and was a devout user of it for a couple years.  I wish I still had one so I could swatch it here but I stopped using that a looong time ago.  Soon, I craved a more pink and visible blush.  And then I moved onto Nars Sin and Outlaw, and eventually Orgasm and Amour.
I love Nars blushes because they're so well pigmented and finely milled so you can dust on a small amount and have a beautiful light but true color and then build on it to achieve the level of color you want.  And while some of their blushes are glittery looking, it's all so fine that you barely notice it on the skin.  In fact, as you can tell from the photo above, I only really use the glittery ones and barely used Amour.  I've had these for a while and the texture has hardened a little bit.  Also Nars cases are forever looking dirty and dusty and I hate that! 

I then decided to try something a little different and ventured into bronzer land with Laguna.  I was hesitant and scared to look too freakish but Laguna is perfect.  Not a hint of orange here and easily buildable.  I like to use just a very sheer small amount during the summer when I have a bit more color already.
I was pretty loyal to Nars for a while but then I entered into my Shu obsession a few years ago and so of course I had to broaden my blush collection
I use the Amber mainly for light contouring or if I want a blush that doesn't look too pink.  I use the pinks depending on my mood when I apply.  If I want a very light pink I choose 33E and if I want a little more punch I choose 30.  I like Shu because, like Nars, it's very pigmented and buildable.  You want to use a very light hand at first when applying Nars and Shu blushes so you don't end up with clown cheeks.  

Then I was introduced to Shu's Satin Glow Radiant Stick Blush and I was in love.  It's practically mistake proof.  In fact I often smear it onto my cheeks in round clown circles to get enough color on my cheeks.  With this stick you definitely don't want to use a light hand!  And afterwards I usually blend out with my fingers the edges.  If I went overboard with applying it, I'll rub my entire cheek area to blend it out and lighten it up.  But the color looks beautiful and very glowy!  I think this was a limited edition and I considered stocking up on this but forgot about it for a while.  Sorry it looks so gross below, the last time I used it I put the lid on without twisting the blush down so it got all smashed.
Part of the reason I forgot about stocking up on the Shu stick was that I became obsessed with a different blush.  After Shu deserted us in the US, my favorite makeup sales assistant switched to Nars and introduced me to the new gel multiple.  I tried them out and opted for Beverly Hills, a beautiful rosy pink.  It looks scary red at first in the tube but the color is very very sheer.  I used this all summer long because I was worried the Shu cream would be too heavy with the hot and humid summers.  Beautiful color.
So here are swatches of all my blushes on my arm.  I ran out of room!
Here are close ups of the first four from the left on my arm.
And here are the remaining blushes.  Sorry the Shu Satin Glow is hard to see on my wrist.
And of course, no post is complete without a little pug!  So somehow my little pug has gotten in the weird but cute habit of climbing onto my side whenever I'm laying on my couch.  There have been a few times where I'm taking a nap and wake up because she's laying on my chest and snoring loudly in my ear.  I love it.  

There have been times where I wake up on my couch after having passed out and finding that it's super duper late in the night.  I curse myself for having fallen asleep with all my makeup and wash up thinking of the precious few hours I have left for "real sleep" in my bed.  All the while my lil pug is looking all smug that she managed to cuddle with me (I don't let her sleep on my bed) and at the same time pissed that I interrupted our sleep session.  Look at that smug expression on her face.

I was trying to move my arm out of the way for the picture but it looks like I'm making her smell my armpit and she's recoiling in disgust haha!
That's all for now - until next time!