dimanche 31 octobre 2010

No Such Thing as New Blacks

I have a strong tendancy to choose black over any other given color - probably some lingering side effect of my teenage pseudo-gothness (il faut bien que jeunesse se fasse...). I thus hereby declare the saying pink/grey/brown/turquoise/green-striped-with-purple-poke-a-dots is the new black bullshit obsolete.

Seeing that I am working today (Halloween), and felt too lazy to put a costume together, I decided that wearing some thick creepy black-and-red make-up would do the trick. Things you need to know about me : I rarely if ever wear colorful make-up; I own a ridiculous amount of colored make-up, because it's pretty; I (fairly) succeed in talking myself out of buying colorful make-up now - my drawers are full enough as it is.

For these reasons, I decided that buying a black base for the sole purpose of this black smokey-eye would be silly. That is why I used Mac's Blacktrack as a base.

I had my eye on Blacktrack for a very long while before I decided to purchase it, just because I already multiple black liners, either liquid or pencils. As it turns out, I adore this product as a liner - I find it easier to work with than a pencil (I have rather wrinkly eyelids) to draw a very thin line. I do  set it with a black eyeshadow, but I don't think it's a necessity.

As a base, I have to say, it does a very decent job. The product is very smooth, creates a nice opaque surface, it's smudgeable (thus, blendable) and once it is set, it does not budge. A little goes a long way - you do not need to build a thick surface for the shadow to go on very black, and if you put too much, it will crease. Sheer it out, and you'll be able to rock your dark look all-night.

mardi 26 octobre 2010

Youtube Crush

I've always had a certain interest in make-up, but it has definitely grown out of control in the past years, since I've discovered the Youtube Beauty Community. Since then, I've fallen in and out of love with tons to make-up artists and bloggers... but this time, it's the real thing. I've found the one.

Some of you might recognize him from Temptalia - his videos have been featured on a few occasions. Dustin Hunter (aka youtube's Dustyohunter) is, and I quote his channel presentation :

"My name is Dustin Hunter, I'm an artist and a musician living in the wonderfully wet Pacific Northwest. I have two large dogs and wear far too many band t-shirts.

Musician: I write, compose, sing, play guitar and piano. I'm a fan of just about anything glam rock and prefer 20th century composers when it comes to my classical tunes (gimme some T.Rex with a side of Stockhausen and I'm a happy camper - Not as happy as Pamela Springsteen, but happy).

Visual Artist: My weapon of choice has always been a number 2 pencil and a ream of plain, white, copy paper. Give me a ballpoint pen and I'm set for days."

Dustin is an incredible source of information, tips, informed reviews, knowledge about products, photography, objective descriptions, organization tricks, subtle/man make-up advices, creative ideas, do-it-yourself tutorials, driving advices, jokes and cute smiles. I think he's fascinating, funny, interesting, has gorgeous eyes and offers series of exhaustive reviews of different product. Special mention to his pigment series, and the very recently uploaded Guide to MAC foundations. His videos are very professionnal, and have obviously required hours and hours of work and dedication.

PS - this is quite possibly the least representative video of his channel, but he's in the shower and he is yummy. :)

dimanche 24 octobre 2010

Your Best Friend of the Week

If you've never heard of Mehron before, you're hearing it from it now, and it's about time !

 A little history

Mehron was founded by Mehron Melik in a loft in Broadway, New York, in 1927. For years, his "Mehron Ladies" went from show to show - burlesque, vaudeville, silent movies, ballets, etc. - to provide products and tips & advices on stage make-up.

After the beginning of WWII, Mehron stepped back from the make-up industry to spend a few years meeting with severely disfifured soldiers to teach them how to apply make-up in order to hide their scars wounds or burns. He traveled for two years from New-England to Virginia, stopping in many veterans hospitals, and helped hundreds of soldiers to regain a little pride.

During the 50's and 60's, the important growth of the entertainment industry in the United States ended the "Mehron Ladies" era : Mehron products were now carried by retailers. In 1971, Martin Melik took over the company, and he has been working hard since to developp and improve Mehron's selection of products, and improve the company's image, focussing on impeccable customer services.

Why you care

Mehron is one of the leading brands in stage make-up in the industry. Their products are long-lasting, apocalypse-proof, very pigmented, affordable and easy to get your hand on. In my area, they are carried by some crafts store, any costume store, and around Halloween, even in drugstores.

Some of you who are Youtube addicts like myself might have seen some people use Mehron's water-activated colors as eyeshadow bases - it is one of the many examples of how versatile their products are. I personally didn't think picking up some stage make-up items could be useful for everyday use, but after purchasing a few things to do some Theater Make-Up, I often found myself reaching for them for every day use !

That being said, the great think about Mehron is, even if you don't ever use the product you purchase after Halloween, it's so dirt-cheap that it will have been worth it anyway. At my local drugstore, I found some fake blood, tooth-stain or colored foundation (green, white, grey...) for only 3-5$ each. In specialized stores, most of their products are available in a wide range of colors and size - and, I can't stress this enough, are incredibly affordable for the quality of the item you are getting !

I cannot stress this enough - if you are doing some stage make-up for a show, movie, production of any kind, if you plan on doing some body painting, feel like adding some versatile products to you collection, or just want to be the Joker this Halloween, do consider Mehron !

As I said, Mehron should not be hard to find this time of year - that being said, if you live in a town that does not believe in stores, Mehron products can be purchased online on the following websites :

Mehron's official website

Silly Farm is an amazing website to get any kind of special effects make-up. That being said, I have never purchased anything from them because the shipping fees to Canada are super mcduper expensive. Their products are incredibly affordable, though !

Have a great Halloween !

Because for Once, Being Yourself Is Overrated !

Remember when you were a kid, and Halloween would come up, your parents would make you go to a field, pick a pumpkin, spend a whole afternoon with your hands in orange goo to empty it, draw on it with a sharpie and not even let you risk a few fingers by cutting it yourself, throw you in a stupid mouse suit with your winter coat underneath (where I live, it freezes by Halloween, sometimes even snows), make you ring at every single door in your neighborhood for hours ONLY to collect candy that they will end up stealing from you anyway ? Oh, the cavities and stommach aches from the cheap potato chips... No wonder the second we turned 16, Halloween stopped meaning free candy, and started meaning booze and creepy parties ! One's gotta deal with their traumatisms...

All jokes aside, I love fall, I love make-up, I love parties, and I love how on every October 31st, you can combine all of these elements. Every year, I start planning my costume in the middle of the summer, think of how awesome it's going to be, and then forget about it until I realize on October 28th that I have no idea what I'm going to come up with that year. You'd think I'd learn - think again. It's October 24th, and I have no idea what I'm going to wear next week-end. Don't judge, procrastination is fashionable.

I'll be going out downtown this year, so the plan so far is only to wear something thrashy and black and a funky face make-up - I'll probably be doing a few friends' make-up too. I think that a lot of people in the twenty-ish area and up will be doing the same - whether it's for school, work, or going out. Whilest looking for ideas online, I stumbled upon a bunch of old Mac face charts that were somewhat Halloween themed, so I figured those could be helpful for some of you !

Click below to see more...

Get Rid of Old Make-Up and Receive Some More Old Make-Up

You know, that funky green nail polish you got on sale at the CCO and only wore once, to an alien-themed party ? Or that gorgeous blush that cost you a fortune, and that after wearing it for six months, you realized it made you look like a clown? Every make-up enthusiast has at least a few items they got on impulse and never used, or received as a gift, or plain got sick of it - got check it out your make-up stash, I'm sure there are a bunch of items that are there for the sole purpose to collect dust.

I hear you say : what are you trying to say ? That I should throw those away? But but but they're so pretty, and were so expensive !!

I know what you mean : I am biologically unable to throw away make-up. I would never dare to ask someone to do it. What if I told you you could trade the make-up you don't use for other items that you might enjoy more ? Sounds too good to be true ? Enters Makeupalley. 

http://www.makeupalley.com/  - Check it out !

Makeupalley is an online community on which make-up enthusiasts can sign up, upload a list of the items they are willing to trade (your "swaplist"), upload a list of the items they are on the look-out for, and,well, start trading ! You can browse other people's swaplists, contact them and offer them to trade for something you have. All the trades are conducted through mail, so you have to pay for the shipping fees. Many Makeupalley-ers will agree with me on that one - it's not an amazing way to save money, shipping fees can add up to be pretty expensive, but I find it more responsible than throwing products away, it allows you to get in touch with some amazing people, and more often than not, people include little extras !

Makeupalley's "security" system in their token system - whenever two people swap, they leave each other feedback in the form of a token  (either positive, neutral or negative) with comments. Normally, the more (positive) tokens a person has, the least you should worry about swapping with them. In general. Always (and by all means, always!) read any negative/neutral tokens, and the last 10-25 tokens (even if they are positive). Some people will leave positive tokens, but write in the comments some negative aspects of the swap.

Makeupalley members all have a common phobia : swaplifting. Swaplifting is when two people agree to swap certain items, exchange adress, one person sends their end, and never receive the products they were supposed to get in exachange, and never hear from the other swapper again. It can happen, but they are ways to avoid this (and ways to deal with the situation, if it does happen).Swaptawk is THE place to turn to if you want advices about the ethics of swapping, or how to deal with a swaplifter. Swaptawk is the reference when it comes to swapping etiquette, or how to deal with a swaplifter. Definitely check it out *here*!

Most Makeupalley members will ask newcomers (i.e. people with less than about 40 tokens) to send their end first - that means that you should send the items you have agreed to swap, and once the other member has received them, then they will mail out their end. It's a little annoying, but it's the only way members can protect themselves from being swaplifted - they have had to go through the same for their first tokens !

I started swapping items this summer, and traded with 7 different members. I have only had amazing experiences - the girls I dealt with were nice, honest and generous. Makeupalley is a great experience if you do take the necessary precautions :)

Makeupalley also has a few interesting features, like message boards and product reviews. I find the product reviews uploaded by the users very useful, but frankly, I don't care much for the message board. Personnal opinion.

It's a great website, do check it out here !

samedi 23 octobre 2010

60 Seconds Affair

As I mentionned in my Budgeting post, I had an eye on OPI's Girl Talk this week. Seeing that I'm poor, I guilted myself into picking up Rimmel's Torrid instead - somewhat similar color, and it was on sale. Also, I have to admit, I was intrigued by the "60 sec. drying".

This item turned out better than I expected for three dollars. The color is pigmented and opaque enough to be worn with only one coat, which I find is rare when it comes to dark nail polishes. I did not care to actually time it, but it does dry very quickly if you only apply one coat. I find that the second coat takes a little longer to dry - but I forgive Rimmel, that's completely normal.

Now, on the down side - it takes just about 60 seconds for this nail polish to be messed up after you apply it. Even if it's not as bad as some other cheap nail polishes I've tried, Torrid tends to chip like crazy. I've worn it all week and had to touch it up at least once a day for it to be presentable. I also found that once dry, it would easily transfer on a surface it you brushed your nail on it by mistake (for example, on a piece of paper). Lastly, the color has a metallic finish, but somehow seemed to look a little flat - it has different levels of color (undertone, midtone, highlight), but still, it doesn't look deep at all. It is hard to explain, but I find it's the nail polish's biggest flaw.

Still, for 3$, I think this nailpolish does a great job. It is a great way to add colors to your nail polish palette, and perfect for any of you who like to change their nail color daily !

The actual color of this product is a mix of these two pictures.

A mid-deep burgundy, with purple undertones and orange highlights, to be precise !

vendredi 22 octobre 2010

Philosophy - Update

I mentionned the Make-Up Optional set this week, but specified that young skins might not need the firming products. Here is another package that might be more interesting for us youngsters! It includes Hope in a Jar and Purity Made Simple, but also the Amazing Grace 3 in 1 : Shampoo, Shower Gel and Bath Gel. I am in love with Philosophy's 3-in-1s : they smell amazing and I find they do a great job as a shampoo as well !

This set is a limited edition offered by Sephora - and it happens to be on sale right now! It can be purchased for 55$, which is a great deal for four full-size products.

You need that. Get it.

mardi 19 octobre 2010

Get Paid to Watch Ads (that you'll stumble upon anyway)

I'm sure that a lot of you have already heard about Swagbucks already. Swagbucks is a search engine on which you can create an account, and on which you receive certain amounts of "money" (called swagbucks) at random moments when you research stuff. There are several ways to receive additionnal swagbucks daily ( http://www.we-love-swagbucks.com/ for the latest offers & best tricks). But why in earth would I want swagbucks, I hear you say. Well, because swagbucks can be used as money in the swagstore, to get a variety of items, giftcards, or even cash ! Websites like Apple, Amazon, Starbucks and Sephora have giftcards for sale, or 5$ tranfers via Paypal can be purchased.

I do not recall when exactly I signed up for swagbucks, but it was about a month ago. I installed the Swagbucks toolbar, and basically use it anytime I'm researching something (swagbucks is powered by Google, so search results are virtually the same). The random amounts I receive for searches are usually between 5 and 15 swagbucks, I'd say around five times a day. So far, I have earned almost 1,500 swagbucks - enough to purchase 15$ worth of Amazon giftcards. Not bad !

Sounds too good to be true ? Weirdly enough, it's not. Companies pay for Swagbucks to display their websites first when certain keywords are entered - for the user, those are easy to recognize (rule of thumb, you usually don't want the first 5 results of a page, or so). The more people use swagbucks, the most companies are ready to pay to be displayed - the more swagbucks users get in return for using swagbucks, the more they use the website. If you feel like that's selling your soul to the demon of marketing, I can't disagree with you - but, that being said, it's nowhere near as worse, as, let's say, walking on Time Square. And you get something out of it.

Just wanted to spread the word - I'm glad I signed up !

(Part where I become greedy : if any of you were to sign up, clicking this link

Make-Up Budget 101

or, High-End Make-Up Brands Detox

I'm sure any other young make-up fanatic will be with me on that one - it is HARD to keep up with all the products that are available or released on a regular basis in the make-up world. Especially those pricey brands that, of course, are the most craved-for in a majority of cases (yes, I'm looking at you, MAC !). Brand-store brands might be a lot less attractive for many reasons, going for less glamourous to poorer quality, but many years of shopping have thought me, it's okay to be cheap ! This post is not meant to advocate in favor of some drug-store brand, or against any higher-end make-up brand - I just wanted to share my trick to talk myself out of an expense.

I'm a full-time student and work part-time, on minimum wage (which is 9.50$CAN an hour, where I live - and which, for clarity's sake, round up to 10$). Whenever I feel like indulging my beauty cravings, I do a simple math that determines whether or not I should indeed take the object of my desire home with me.

1. Think of a really bad day at work. Like stare-at-the-clock-that-won't-move-beg-for-the-fire-alarm-to-go-off bad.

2. Keep that awful day in mind.

3. Convert the price of the item you are longing into hours of work (for instance, an OPI nail polish is 10$ in Canada, which represents one hour of work)

4. Remember that very awful day : if your boss had come up to you and asked you to stay for X more hours, without pay, in exchange for the item you want, sincerely, would you have ?

This principle is not only applicable to make-up - some will find it's a great way to quit smoking ! Though, after a stressful day at work & a strong nicotine craving, most will find that they would spend three hours scrubbing the floor with their toothbrush for their fix. I try to think that way when I go out to get coffee or eat out as well - is your Grande Vanilla Latte Non-Fat No Whip really worth half an hour of washing dishes or folding clothes? (I've solved this dilemma - I now work in a coffee shop ;) )

That being said, there is one situation in which you should never (and I mean, ever) use this calculation. Under any circumstances. By all means, never convert any money spent at the gas station or the garage into hours of work - it will make you want to drive your car off a cliff. Cars are bottomless pitholes that suck tons and tons of money until there is no more money in the world, and then suck some more.  
( Quelqu'un a deviné que ma voiture fait des siennes depuis une semaine ?)

And for the unexisting person that cares, I wanted to get myself the Girl Talk OPI nailpolish this week because all the cool kids have brown nails right now - which was already better than getting the MAC nailpolish I wanted to begin with - and I left the store with the 3$ Rimmel's Torrid. How good am I ?

dimanche 17 octobre 2010

Make-Up Optional indeed-y-oh !

I have a confession to make : I have only started to clean and moisturize my skin on a daily basis a few months ago. In my teenage years, I did use some acne treatment cream once in a while, but I never stuck to a regular routine. I would even go to bed without removing my foundation. Shame on me, I know.

Having reached the age of reason - and having seen my skin under a dermatologist's black light, which is a traumatizing experience - I went to my local Sephora last May, decided to finally get my life together. Now, I have to tell you, ever since I've gotten out of that joyous acne phase of my life, I've had a fairly clear skin - minor dryness & oilness in my T-zone, occasionnal pimple, a few black heads here and there, but really nothing major. Thus, I didn't need any major improvement - just general maintenance.

Enters Philosophy.

I had heard a lot of people raving about this skincare line, so I figured I could give it a shot. Being the lazy - I mean, busy - person that I am, I needed a routine that would involve as few steps as possible. That is what attracted me to the Purity made simple facial cleanser - it is also a built-in make-up remover. 2 in 1? Awesome, sold !

Then, I needed a moisturizer to take care of the dry patches in my face. Now, I'm sure all of you know, moisturizers and face reams in general are expensive. Very much so. Considering that I work part-time and live on a student's budget, I could not afford to "invest" 45$ in a cream. For 15$, I got the 1 ounce jar of  Hope in a Jar - it might end up being more expensive than buying a larger size, but it sure doesn't hurt as much on the time of the purchase.

Then, usual stuff : check-out, die-a-little-inside expensive bill, take those babies home.

Now, I have told you I had a fairly beautiful skin without using any products - or, without spending a penny. For almost 50$ (Canadian girl, eh!), I almost expected Philosophy to walk my dog and do my laundry. Now, almost 6 months later, I can say that if I still have to take the pup outside at five in the morning, I sure do it with an impeccable skin! Purity Made Simple facial cleanser does a great job at washing my face and removing any make-up I have on. I find that it works best in the shower because the steam opens up all of your pores, but because I was afraid to put my face under the water long enough, I once ended up with some dryed-up product caught in my lashline, and it hurt. Be careful. Also, if you decide to use it to remove your eye make-up (which I always do, but I don't think is recommanded), be very careful to keep it away from your eyeballs, because it burns. This product is gentle enough to be used twice a day, but most of the time, I find that using it daily before I got to bed is plenty. It has done a great job clearing out the few pimples and blackheads I have.

As for Hope in a Jar, I am very glad I got the one ouncer, because it is going to last me forever. I use teeny-tiny amounts at a time, because it is very moisturizing and my skin doesn't need much help. Building it up will make your skin greasy. Don't do that to yourself.

Bottom line, I use these products daily & make-up is optional in very deed ! I now have clear, white skin, thanks to Philosophy! As I have told you, I have purchased these products seperately, since these were the only two I needed. That being said, Philosophy has released a value set called Make-up Optional (you just understood my title now did you !), which includes the Purity Made Simple cleanser, Hope in a Jar moisturizer, but also the Hope in a Tube eye and lip firming cream and When Hope is not Enough firming serum. All the products included in the set are full-sized, so it is a substantial save of money if you were considering to get them all. My twenty-year-old skin didn't need them yet - knock on wood !

Somme toute, de la philo digne de Platon - le Beau dans sa splendeur !

Over the Rainbow & Down the Rabbit Hole

Make-up : why?

Beauty is natural, and yet...

I love books, colors, make-up & barely wear mascara everyday. I've been watching youtube beauty tutorials for at least two years now, and I've never recreated a look I've seen. Make-up is a passion, art, fun, it is what ever you want it to be, but most of all, it is optionnal.

Vous êtes magnifiques, mais... !

Pardonnez mon français !

This blog is not meant to be taken seriously. It's my rabbit hole - a world where it's fall all year, colors are invisible or not, products are hated, loved or both, French and English meet et dansent ensemble, and where canvas are faces or blank pages.

I hope you'll enjoy it - I will make sure to do so.