Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Makeup Confessions

1. I have no idea what NC shade I am. I don't even know what that stands for.

2. I don't own a single Sigma or Mac makeup brush. I have no idea what all those numbers stand for.

3. I don't own a single MAC eyeshadow: When I watch beauty gurus, I feel like they've lapsed suddenly into another language.

4. Blush looks pink, peach, rose, etc. to me. I overload on the nuances and don't understand people who need 8 shades of pink. I think peachy-pink is overused and often inaccurate in color descriptions.

5. I wish the trends in makeup focused more on technique and less on product: Makeup can truly be an art and not just another vehicle for product consumption. The emphasis on product can be a little soul-sapping at times.

6. I love that Francois Nars himself admits the success of his blush is due in part to the sexually blatant naming conventions.

7. I love Nars' quote: "Relax, it's just makeup." It strips a lot of the mystique away and makes it seem like an accessible and fun pursuit. It's truly not rocket science, despite what some top makeup artists may say.

8. The first thing I notice about someone is how she wears her makeup. If she doesn't wear any, I imagine what I'd put on her. If she wears it "wrong," I mentally start fixing it.

9. I have Whoopi Goldberg brows (almost): They're pretty much an outline of brows. Fortunately, I was born with a perfectly arched outline, so I just fill in my own stencil each morning.

10. Makeup can make us more of ourselves; it's not diminishing if we approach it right. This is the wonder of it. It transforms how we see ourselves by unearthing who we can be.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Product Review: L'Oreal Voluminous False Lashes

It was probably inevitable that a L'Oreal would continue to expand the success of its Voluminous mascara line by adding a version called False Lashes. This version is so new, it's not even listed on the company website. However, it's available in some stores, including Ulta and Walgreens. This mascara is packaged in a sleek gold case and promises to build a false lash effect with fibers. I'm at a disadvantage, having never used a false fiber mascara: Typically, these fibers are made of nylon or silk and bind to the natural lashes to enhance length. False fiber mascaras are very popular in Asia, given Asian lashes are typically very short and grow straight (believe me, I know).

This mascara is truly a mixed bag: It actually adds visible length to your lashes, but the formula is so dry and clumpy that you need to use extra caution while applying. It's best built slowly, applying a coat and letting it dry before adding another. If you're someone who is already adept with false fiber mascaras or doesn't mind taking the extra step of using an eyelash comb to separate your lashes, you may like this. Most people will probably find the formula too high-maintenance.

The wand is long, thin and tapered, not the usual full brush that comes with most Voluminous formulas. The other thing to caution about is that that fibers can create fall-out: While applying it, I noticed a small amount of black specks under my eyes. My immediate thought was what would happen if I got caught in a rainstorm or broke a sweat. Also, if you accidentally rub or touch your eyes, expect some fibers left on your hand.

While L'Oreal says the mascara adds curl and volume, the only thing I noticed was added length. It retails for around $9.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

What I've Been Up To

In August, I decided to go on a little hiatus. I'd been blogging regularly about beauty products for six months and had hit saturation. Bless those who can do it continuously for years on end, because I don't have the stamina or the wallet for it. The products I review I purchase myself, and I only purchase them if they truly intrigue me and I want to try them. I'll never start collecting makeup just to have new items to show. When I find a product I absolutely love, I'm excited to write about it and let others know my thoughts on it. When I think a product is overrated or not worth the money, I'll let people know about that, too.

I knew I'd hit burnout when I began to see makeup collections, haul videos, new products that all blurred together. I couldn't stomach the term "peachy-pink" without wanting to reach through the computer screen and strangle whoever coined it and everyone that defaults to it. There has to be a new, more creative term out there to describe our makeup shades.

So what I did was not buy and not write about makeup or beauty, despite this topic being one of my major loves. Distance makes the heart grow fonder. There's one thing I always want to impress upon women who follow a lot of blogs and Youtube beauty channels: We are so much more than what we look like, what products we own, etc. I'd recommend taking a beauty hiatus every so often. The cosmetic industry rakes in hundreds of billions of dollars per year and has fared well even in a bust economy. It'll still be there when you return.

It was refreshing to get engaged in other subjects and to focus on a job that is finance-based. This background has always been a little at odds with my makeup interests: In investments, we are taught about  assets vs. liabilities. Assets grow in value and provide a return to us; liabilities depreciate in value. Makeup, for all its amazing virtues, is ultimately a liability - just like a new car the moment it's driven off the lot. That's not to say we shouldn't buy it. I understand the amazing transformative powers of it: Not only does it change our outside, but it can do wonders for our outlook and self-image. It just needs to be approached with a discerning eye. As consumers, we have an incredible ability to speak volumes to the makeup and beauty industry. Be selective in your purchases, track your spending, and budget if you need to.

And every so often, feel free to take a break.

Product Review: Diorskin Nude Glow Healthy Glow Summer Powder

Fresh off the summer, many of us are probably in search of a product that will help maintain some of that bronze radiance. I rarely get excited about bronzers: They are either shimmer or matte and pretty much all look the same in the pan.

This product is interesting because it doesn't fall into either category: It is both shimmer and matte bronze tones woven together with highlight shades. The powder comes in two shades: Aurora (for fair complexions) and Sunset (for medium to deep skintones). What's ingenious is that the product imparts a radiance to the skin that isn't a bit frosty or muddy. The effect is an all over warming to the skin that mimics that first tan we get in the early days of summer. The powder contains four shades of bronze woven together; that variation is what gives the skin a more believable and dimensional glow.

It's best used like a beauty powder and brushed upon the high points of the face: It can be used for contouring, but because it isn't densely pigmented, I wouldn't recommend buying it for that. This is a limited edition item from Dior, but I was able to get it by asking a salesperson if they still had it in stock and they did. In a month or so, this may no longer be the case. The product retails for $44 and is .35 ounces.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

And the winner is...

Congrats, Maggie! Superb job at recreating the 80s in all its excessive glamour.

Thanks to everyone who entered: Your looks were all inspirational and so well done.