Wednesday, April 26, 2017

That Time I Tried to Make a Make-Up Podcast

Buying Cosmetics from Ebay?

It is important to be so so careful when purchasing makeup from Ebay. I myself have done so multiple times, to various degrees of success. I think purchasing makeup from Ebay can be a good thing, but I do have some pieces of advice, from my own experiences:

1. Don't go for the "celebrity-status" palettes. The Naked Palettes, Mod. Ren., Sweet Peach, Mario, etc., are all palettes that have fakes. And sometimes these fakes are easy to spot. Some are not. If you suspect makeup is fake DO NOT put that stuff on your face. It could be toxic. Seriously.  The likelihood of a counterfeit of one of those is much, much higher, because they are so in demand and have specific and well-recognized iconography. I think it would be better off to avoid them all together. I myself bought the Pulp Fiction Palette and Tarina Tarantino Floriculture palette from Ebay. Both palettes were genuine, and were not as well known as the palettes listed above, but of great quality.

2. Look at the seller rating. If a seller has less than 99%, I would avoid.

3. "Damaged"= terribly used. Sometimes damaged does mean damaged. But if you see a picture of a palette with not only dips but with pan exposed, it is used and you are being ripped off.

4. Look for signs that the pictures are from a human. Stock images. or beauty blogger images are misleading. The seller should have a picture of a background, of the product's outside and inside, if applicable, behind wallpaper or a tabletop. Some sellers actually have their handle displayed on a piece of paper. Some post the receipt as well. All of these are stronger signs of credibility.

5. Pay through PayPal. Buyer protection. If you do get ripped off, you can file a claim.

6. Look at the other items the seller has. If they sell a lot of makeup they are more credible.

7. If you are buying an item from an Ipsy bag, don't pay exorbitantly. Look, forget original selling price. An ipsy bag is $10. There are five items. Each is worth $2. If a seller priced a highligher that came in an Ipsy bag for $15, don't do it. It is not reasonable.

8. Codes matter. Some do not specify that a product is brand new in box. Though there are levels of "new" be aware of this.

Mini-Reviews: Empties, Purchases, Tossed Things

Another post! I actually have some empties and recent purchases to talk about. Let's get started.

1. Physician's Formula 2-in-1 Eye Booster Liner, $9. I ran out of this liner two days ago, so I ordered another from Amazon immediately. It is the only liner I've found I can use. Because I had Grave's Disease, my eyes bulge a little. They get irritated and water easily. If I wear regular pencil liner, even waterproof, it becomes a mess by the end of the day. Though this liner is not as black as I would like, it stays put and is easy to apply. I have not mastered wings yet, but who cares. Love this liner. Five stars.

2. Assorted Fyrinnae shadows. Am I down the rabbit hole yet? All this started because I wanted a proper mid-tone purple sparkly shade. A very specific need. Wicked Faeries fulfills this. It is a truly beautiful coppery purple shade. I also love Serendipity and have worn it to work three times now, with shades of taupe and red in my crease. Many reviewers will say that there is a learning curve to this brand, and I am inclined to agree. I have learned to buy a larger-sized Pixie Epoxy. I love that stuff, and can use it with other brands. I have also learned to avoid, for me, shades with a grey/black base. They don't work well for me. For example, Lady Glamis was a total disappointment because of this. Reviews made this shade look almost iridescent, like the surface of mica. But it comes off as a sparkly cloudy mess on me. I would definitely order from Fyrinnae again, though the turnaround time is very very long. 4.5 stars.

3. The Ordinary. Okay, so I haven't actually received my order. I placed it three days ago. But I am so excited. I ordered the foundation and the 2% Retinoid and hope it lives up to the hype. When it comes to skin care, I clean and moisturize, use eyecream, and the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair. For me, I am a little skeptical and far too lazy for the complicated regimens some list. If I can keep it simple, then good enough for me. I am also on the eternal quest for an ideal foundation. More on that below.

4. L'Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte. Hated it. Fell for the hype. This stuff dries way too fast and is impossible to mix and blend. Very fussy with primers. Not impressed. I think I'll keep it to use as spot concealer, so that I can layer over it. We'll see how that goes.

5. Liquid Lipsticks, in general. I need to stop trying. I just need to give it a rest.

Troublesome Brands

As a consumer, the following brands have concerned me regarding their product quality, but also human quality (?). Though sometimes I fear I am makeup obsessed, I find I am pretty strong when it comes to brands I am utterly repelled by. Of course I could include the usual disclaimer about opinions are subjective, but I also think it is irresponsible to ignore behavior that is simply bad. The list is as follows:

  1. Jeffree Star. Racism and sexism are unacceptable. I have no desire to help fund him.
  2. Lime Crime. I don't care if DD ever issued an apology. The ignorance to dress up as a Nazi is astounding. I don't think, also, consumers have any reason to trust the company. 
  3. Morphe. Less for moral reasons, I simply have no idea what the quality of these shadows are. No clue. Reviewers I trust seem to like them, as well as bloggers that I do not. Mattes are suspect, and I don't think their ingredients are revolutionary.  Part of me wants to be contrarian and push back against endless hype, I'll admit that. Don't like their marketing tactics.
  4. Too Faced. Once again, a brand that consumers have no reason to trust. Also, I literally thought "Clover" was a Sanrio like character that Too Faced was collaborating with. It's actually Jarrod's dog. I guess in my own mind I made the product seem more interesting than it was.
  5. Kylie Kardashian Kosmetics. Yes, choice of letters was intentional. This family is so very exploitative. I am not giving them my money.
I also have a list of brands that annoy me at times, and I wish they could do better:
  1. Urban Decay. Hate the fake "edge," and drug references. Love primer potion and my Pulp Fiction palette. Would NOT buy a Naked palette, though. 
  2. Kat Von D. My Z-palette has a bunch of depotted singles of her eyeshadow that I bought discounted at TJ Maxx. Those are great. However, I think she's shady because of her engagement to a neo-nazi. I also think her "rant" of Makeup Revolution's dupe of Shade and Light was silly. Makeup is amazingly marked-up. She is not losing customers. I myself am never going to buy the Shade and Light palette, nor the Makeup Revolution one, but even if I don't have a horse in this race whether it's higher or lower end, companies reuse concepts all the time. I think MR was an easy target, certainly. The Sinners and Saints palette also looks disappointing.
  3. Hourglass. Eyeshadow palettes were laughable, and shiny powders are too expensive. Just seems boring. 

So, those were a couple of my very informal thoughts. Hope it was informative!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Decluttering Files, pt 2: KatVonD

One of my favorite places in the world is TJ Maxx. Once in a while I will stumble upon a higher-end product I wouldn't normally find, which works out really well. One thing as of late I've had to work on is to resist buying things at TJ Maxx is simply buying things because they're high end and reduced price. It is a strong lure, but I've gotten better at saying "no."

For instance, the other day I found of one the Too Faced tins, the Cat one, for $16. I got excited holding it in my hand, but I considered the colors. Would I want a smoky cool toned eye? Not really. I put it down and didn't look back.

Another time I saw a Makeup Forever artist palette for $16. This one still stings a bit, but after trying a sample shadow of MUFE, I found I didn't really like the formula. It reminded me a little bit of the Sleek formula, "gummy," a word that Kimberly Clark used that I think adequately describes it. So I don't completely regret that.

Before I developed this new sense of strength and resistance, I had made two purchases from TJ Maxx, simply because they were high end palettes on sale: Kat Von D's Chrysalis and Innerstellar palette. Long story short, I would rate Innerstellar ★★★★ /5 and Chrysalis ★★★/5. I ended up depotting both and decluttering the rest.

Let me start by saying, the process I used to depot shades from these palettes was LABORIOUS. These palettes are made of a very sturdy cardboard super glued together. The pans are magnetic, but are also tightly glued down. I didn't use any heat, but with an exactly knife cut around the cardboard and then lifted the pot out by sliding a blade under each one, cutting the glue as much as a I could. Needless to say, the larger pans were even more difficult, and about half of the shades I salvaged were dinged up a bit. Still usable, but I did need to repress some. Luckily her formula is very silky that repressing was not too hard.

Why did I depot and declutter? Innerstellar was too cool toned. I was tired of nondescript taupe shimmers, and that palette had a GIANT pan of that color, as well as a regular sized pan. From this palette I salvaged a cool toned brown and the smaller taupe shimmer.

Chrysalis also contained colors I do not use. I salvaged the large pan of cream color matte, which is a beautiful perfect brow bone/base shade, as well as the shade Glasswing, a caramel color matte. I do have this color in my Urban Decay palette, but her formula is so so pleasing that I am keeping it.

So in my Z-Palette I do have a square of Kat Von D shades that I use nearly every day, rather than 2 rather heavy palettes. Both were half off at the time, so it was the equivalence of a buy one get one free deal.

I remember wishing I could have tried Monarch, but that was not for sale. Since I have been watching innumerable palette collection and decluttering videos, I've found that so many attest to the fact that they don't use it, which makes me think the palette has similar color issues as its two "sister" palettes.

Review: Sleek "Goodnight Sweetheart Palette"

This palette took forever to get to me from the UK. I did email customer service, who did confirm that it was shipped. They also gave me an approximate arrival date. It took about three weeks, and cost $15, with shipping.

As I was waiting for its arrival, I eagerly and voraciously read as many reviews about the palette that I could. They seemed promising. ReallyRee, for instance, had swatches and a glowing review.

After attempting to use this palette for two months, I have come to the conclusion that such reviews were simply inflated. This palette  LOOKS beautiful, but does not perform well. Simple as that. Let's look at a picture, courtesy of The Sleek website:
Beautiful, right? And this was to be my first Sleek purchase. I had read really positive reviews about the Storm and Sunset palette, but THIS one was more my style.

Okay. The ONLY shade that had a more workable formula was the third one down on the left-hand column. The lightest shade. The gold-pink duochrome. For me, this seems like an excellent dupe of Too Faced Satin Sheets. I use this one often as an inner corner or all over the lid shade.

The other shimmers are stiff and lack transferability or pigmentation for the eye.  I want to emphasize this. The swatches, both brush and finger, without primer, are not that bad. Some are quite good. But on the eye itself the trouble begins. The shimmer or color shifts on most of these shadows are extremely hard to build up. The brown shimmer in particular is chunky sparkles. The mattes are simply nondescript. Note the swatches, with brush on top and finger on bottom.

Room Lighting

This palette has turned me off from Sleek. I still keep it around to look at from time to time, and to use the Satin Sheets dupe. I wish I could de-pot it, but the pans are too thin that they would break or crack if I tried to pry any of them out. I've tried.

This palette, and the reviews of such palettes, has also made me trust certain reviewers less. Of the FEW reviews available, some did attest to wetting their brushes, or using a spray. Their swatches also look heavily built up. I know that Sleek is drugstore, but so is Wet N Wild. If this palette, with the same colors as in the picture, had the formula of Comfort Zone, we'd be in business. But that is not the case.

With that in mind, given the palette is pretty to look at, but waaaaay too much work to use, and given I only really like one shade, this palette has earned a final score of ★ 1/2.

Decluttering Files Part 1: Eyeshadow Palettes

This past year and a half has been full of new eyeshadow purchases. Thanks to the rise in popularity of Anti-Haul videos, particularly from my favorite and the originator of the videos, Kimberly Clark, I've been more conscious of the "buy buy buy" mentality and have learned that I seriously need to reign in my spending, before it becomes a thoughtless habit resulting in me unable to enjoy the things I buy.

I have to say, my weakness is palettes. I know there are serious drawbacks to palettes, and I've tried to select ones that would be strongest for my needs, as well as focus on only buying unique and wearable singles.

That being said, over the course of my developing love for makeup, I have decluttered SIX palettes, ranging from high/mid-end to drug store. For this post, I will talk a little bit about my experiences with them and the conclusions that I have reached about buying, brands, and myself, along with a rating of the palette as a whole (out of a possible ★ ★★★★)

I. The Nude 'Tude Palette, The Balm. I purchased this as part of an Ipsy deal for the reduced price of $20. I do not know if The Balm is considered "high end" or not, but overall it is expensive for me, and I do consider this to be my first pricier palette. At the time, because it was my only palette, I loved it. My favorite shades were Standoffish and Sultry, and those two have long since been used up. That palette taught me the basics of inner-corner highlighting, transition/crease shades, and the outer "v." Yes, it is a good beginner neutral palette. However, I do think there are serious issues also in the palette with color selection and variety:
From The Balm Site
Snobby and Stubborn are not that bold in pigmentation. Silly contains sparkles in a cloudy brown-grey base that buff away. Sexy is a deep burgundy that, for me, does not really go with any of the other colors (and I an speaking here also of my own creativity). That mattes do not really swatch well, but I it is true they work better on the eye. I do not mind that there was no cream shade matte that would match my skin tone, or at least I didn't mind at the time. Still, I ended up depotting Standoffish, Sultry, Sophisticated, and Seductive, and tossing the rest. I have them in a Z Palette to this day, but they barely get any use. I also do not like the fact that there are only white ladies on the palette. It seems to me that much of The Balm packaging has this issue. Knowing that this palette has been repackaged before, it seems feasible that it can and should happen again. Anyway, my final grade for this palette would be: ★★★. 

II. Sephora's Pantone Universe Watercolor Palette:

As of April 22, 2017, this palette is no longer being sold by Sephora. The original price was, I think $35, and I bought it at the reduced price of $19. Funny thing is, I don't think I would even buy this palette for $10, or $5. I wouldn't buy it at all. Temptalia's review is dead on here. The colors are chalky, and for me barely usable. The shimmers are nice, neutral, but boring, and I have them. I depotted the neutral shimmers, but compared to the others in my collection now there really is no comparison and no reason for me to keep them. 

I saw myself trying to do mental gymnastics to justify buying it. "Oh, I know I'll use at least 10. So I'm still getting my money's worth." Silly me. Never again. This palette was tiresome. Also, the pastel trend is tiresome.

III. Sonia Kashuk's Knock Out Eyesahdow Palette:
Again, reduced price palette of $12.  Unimpressive mattes with barely and pigmentation.The pans were also TINY. I hardly remember anything about shimmers. Were there even shimmers? Who knows. A cute collection, I will say, but a waste. I was always drawn to her brand at Target, because it seemed sophisticated, but the quality of this palette was so, so, disappointing.

IV. Cargo Venice Enchantment Palette, ★★
See a pattern here? Bought at reduced price for $13. I was excited that I found a higher end brand at my local Burlington Coat Factory. This palette got two stars because the colors were really pretty in the pan. My favorite to use was Rialto, which was a matte midtone brown with sparkles (which was not as bad as it sounds). Still, no pigmentation overall, even on the shimmers!  This palette was purchased without understanding the cold, hard, truth about "Holiday," limited-edition palettes that do not have the same quality as items in a permanent line. Lessons learned. 

V. Last one for now! I'll talk about my two depotted KvD palettes in another post (as they were events on their own), so I'll end this post with the BH Cosmetics Missy Lynn Palette. ★★
Bought at the price of $8.00. Nice brown/gold/color scheme, but the claim that the two "baked gold highlighters" can be used as eyeshadows is not true. The formula is too loose, and they blend away. I wonder how they do perform as highlighters, but I could not use that on myself because it does not go with my skin tone. I understood that this palette is geared for darker skin tones, and I myself had bought it out of a love of browns and neutrals. The gold shades were a huge draw, but I can't use them. Considered depotting some of the mattes, which had a nice formaula, but there was no point, because I had similar shades already. 

5 Products I Did Not Expect to Love

This title might seem a bit weird because why would somebody buy something not expecting to enjoy using it? But allow me to explain. Eit...