Archive | January, 2011

I’m a Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad Blogger

11 Jan

I know! I know! I’m supposed to be blogging every day as part of WordPress’s “Post A Day 2011” challenge, and I haven’t posted a thing in the past few days. Well, I have a reason.

As I mentioned before, I was able to get my hands on the six new Wet ‘n’ Wild ColorIcon eyeshadow trios, as well as one of their new Fast-Dry nail polishes and the Mega Lash Starter Kit. I have been experimenting with them ever since I got them home!

Now, this is my very first beauty blog. I want to make sure that my swatches are as good as they can be, as well as making sure I take the time to play around with any products before I write about them. I know what I look for in a beauty blog, and I want to try as hard as I can to provide that same standard for others. Be prepared for reviews and pictures coming in the next couple of days!

Be beautiful!



Living a New Life with Purpose!

9 Jan

My skin has staged a coup. A mutiny, if you will.

My entire life, I had awesome skin. All throughout my teenage years and early twenties, I almost never broke out. Maybe a blemish or two when it was around “that time of the month,” but other than that it was smooth sailing. My biggest complaint would be a continual problem with blackheads on my nose, but it wasn’t anything worth worrying about.

Now, keep in mind, that I almost never wore makeup. Maybe some concealer or tinted moisturizer to even out my skin tone, but more often than not I was totally bare-faced. I have no doubt in my mind that while I may have been genetically and hormonally lucky when it came to my skin, my lack of pore-clogging cosmetics probably had a pretty big hand in my clear skin.

As a 25-year-old makeup-obsessed woman, however, good genes have taken a back seat to the full face of makeup I wear almost every day. Not to mention the stress of being a responsible (usually), contributing member of society (begrudgingly) has certainly taken it’s toll. My skin is almost nothing like it once was. It has become sensitive, dry, flaky, and I have been seeing more and more breakouts around my temples, my chin, and my forehead. Those blackheads that I used to brush aside in my youthful ignorance? I look like a flippin’ dalmatian now.

My skin first started showing signs of resistance to my makeup routine by just breaking out. I thought I’d pick up some over the counter acne medication and be done with it. Nope! I tried a few different iterations of salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide products, all of which make my skin red, dry, and literally painful to touch. My skin has been pretty sensitive ever since.

That’s not to say I haven’t found a few products that don’t make my skin completely wig out. For the past six months or so, I have been religious in using Neutrogena’s Oil-Free Acne Stress Control 3-in-1 Hydrating Acne Treatment. I’ll post a full review soon, but suffice it to say that this is an amazing hydrating salicylic acid acne treatment that doesn’t clog my pores. I apply it in the AM and PM under my moisturizer.

As far as moisturizer goes, I use two CeraVe products. In the morning, I began using the CeraVe SPF 30 Facial Moisturizing Lotion AM. This product contains ceramides, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid to help keep my skin hydrated and balanced. At night, I use the CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion PM. It’s pretty much the same as it’s daytime counterpart, just without the SPF.

But what about my cleanser? What about it indeed! I have tried everything. My most recent MISTAKE was to use a Biore cleanser and toner to try to treat my acne. Never again! My skin felt so tight and dry that I used both products a grand total of three times before I just threw them away. As I was walking around Walgreens a few days ago, I came across Purpose Gentle Cleansing Wash. You have probably heard of or seen this in your local drugstore. Purpose is a gel-based cleanser that claims to be “clinically shown gentle as water.” It’s also got a fancy Allure Editor’s Choice Award logo on it. At under $7 for a six ounce pump-bottle, I figured I’d give it a shot. I mean, all those fancy-schmancy acne cleansers with all their fancy-schmancy ingredients weren’t getting the job done. Maybe it was time to take a gentler approach.

I have been using the Purpose cleanser for a few days now, and I have to say that I’m really impressed. I won’t do a full review here, because I don’t think I’ve used it long enough to make an accurate call on whether or not it works for me, but I will say this; my skin doesn’t feel tight or burn after washing with it. I can also skip the makeup removal step of my cleansing routine (which was usually in the form of sensitive-skin baby wipes), because this stuff removes just about everything. While the bottle says that it removes eye-makeup, I still find myself using eye-makeup remover anyway, just to make sure it’s all gone. Other than that, I think I may have found my new cleanser!

So, that’s my skin routine. You’ll be able to find full reviews of the products mentioned up on the site soon. With the exception of the Purpose cleanser, which I want to give a few months of use before I do a formal review. But you’ll probably see a first-impressions post up within the next few weeks.

I want to hear about your skin-care routine! Tell me about what kind of skin you have, what products you love and hate, and any useful tips you may have for my own skin woes of late. I truly believe that skin care is the most important thing you can do for yourself. I also think that for the most part, skin problems are one of the biggest challenges that women face with regards to beauty. So talk about it! If you can’t learn something from me (and I hope that you will), you can definitely learn from each other.

Be Beautiful!


Wet ‘n’ Wild at Walgreens

9 Jan

I love me some Wet ‘n’ Wild. So imagine my delight when I discovered via the WNW Facebook page that they are coming out with a whole new lineup of permanent products for 2011 (including a set of 8-pan eyeshadow palettes that practically gave me heart palpitations). Imagine my even greater delight when I found several of said new products in my local Walgreens!

Allow me to set the scene: I got out of work early and thought it might be a fun idea to go wander around CVS to check out which products are included in this season’s huge beauty clearance sale. I probably spent about an hour walking up and down the cosmetics aisle. I even put several particularly awesome-looking products in my basket, including a few Revlon Colorburst lipsticks and several Sally Hansen nail polishes. But as I was obsessively deliberating over whether or not I actually needed this stuff (which, unfortunately, I am often wont to do), I just couldn’t justify buying any more lip products or nail polishes. I mean, and entire drawer in my kit is full of lipsticks, glosses, tinted balms, and liners. Sadly, most of the stuff that I saw on sale at CVS were lip products, and a girl needs to know when to say “no.” So I put all my goodies back on the shelves, and vowed to make up for it the next time CVS runs their sale.

Off I went to Rite Aid, where I thought I’d check out their Wet ‘n’ Wild display, and see if there was anything I could add to my collection. Again, I spent an inordinate amount of time staring at the display, even going so far as to pick out a few things (again, mostly lip products), only to put them back on the shelf. Which, let me tell you, was particularly difficult because Rite Aid is running a BOGO 50% off sale on WNW right now. For good measure, I did a cursory lap around the store to see if there was anything else I may have needed (new shampoo, perhaps?), only to again leave empty-handed.

I was going to go home after that. I swear I was. But, how could I end my night of bargain-hunting without making a pit-stop at Walgreens? All three stores are conveniently located within sneezing distance of each other, so I threw caution to the wind and drove the four seconds to my friendly neighborhood 24-hour Walgreens. I made a b-line for the Wet ‘n’ Wild display, hoping that they would have set up space for the new 2011 products (which, as far as I know, are only going to be available at Walgreens and Wal-Mart). I was sorely disappointed. As I was turning around to leave, I saw it. One of those cardboard displays that Walgreens hangs up near the end of the aisles. There! Right there! Brand-spanking new Wet ‘n’ Wild products!

Well, most of them, anyway. They didn’t have the longed-for 8 pan palettes, but they did have pretty much everything else. A whole line of new pencils, lip glosses, eyeshadow trios, and quick-dry nail colors. I went nuts! I picked up each of the six shadow trios, all of the glosses (except the clear one), and one of the nail polishes. I also figured that, since I was such a good girl in CVS and Rite Aid, that I would treat myself to the previously released trios (and one single shadow) that have somehow gone missing from my kit.

As I was walking to the check-out, I passed through the area near the beauty counter where they set up the displays of new products on the gondolas. There on the shelf, another new Wet ‘n’ Wild product caught my eye. Like Revlon, L’Oreal, and Rimmel, WNW is apparently jumping on the Latisse knock-off bandwagon, and has produced a mascara/lash growth serum combo. All for only…$6.99! I’ll do a review on this a bit later after I’ve had a chance to test it out (in fact, reviews on all the products I bought will be forth-coming, along with pictures and swatches).

I am so excited that Wet ‘n’ Wild is continuing to grow their brand. Since “discovering” them a few months ago (I am finally completely over any last remnants of beauty-snobbery that I may once have clung to), I am totally in love with just about everything that they make. Hands-down, Wet ‘n’ Wild produces some of the best, most high-quality cosmetics that you can find in the drugstore. Truthfully, I’d say that they rival just about any high-end brand that you could name, as well. Here’s hoping that they continue to grow and improve upon themselves, and that more people begin to take them seriously as a cosmetics force to be reckoned with.

Stay tuned for reviews and swatches on everything that I bought! And keep your fingers crossed that I’ll be able to get my hands on those 8-pan palettes…I’m sure I’ll be seeing them in my dreams until I do!

Be beautiful!


My Makeup Story/Philosophy

6 Jan

If you pay much attention to the beauty gurus on YouTube, you have probably seen a tag floating around called “My Makeup Story.” The purpose of this tag is to sort of give people a forum in which they can wax nostalgic about how they got into makeup, what it means to them, and all that jazz.

Well, I don’t have a YouTube page. I probably could, but frankly, actually being ON YouTube kind of freaks me out. It’s a little too much exposure, thank you. Besides, the roll of “mysterious beauty blogger” suits me a bit better, 😉 (not to mention the fact that I still can’t quite figure out how to set up lighting to film tutorials and the like without looking like I have jaundice or something). That being the case, I figured I’d just use the WP Challenge to blog every day in 2011 as an excuse to “answer” the YouTube tags here.

Here goes nothin’.

I was not into makeup when I was a kid. I mean, I got the occasional thrill when my mom would let me wear lip gloss or something, but I wasn’t a girlie girl or anything. Mostly, I believe that the lack of interest in makeup and whatnot had more to do with a lack of self-esteem as opposed to any sort of aversion to makeup. When I say “lack of self-esteem,” what I really mean is that I had NONE. I didn’t think I was pretty, or smart, or worth anything. I pretty much just existed. I spent a lot of time by myself, and most of that time was spent reading. I guess I sort of pictured playing with makeup as something that the silly, shallow girls who made fun of me would spend their time doing, and I wanted to be ANYTHING but like those girls.

This pretty much continued all the way through high school and college. I would occasionally wear concealer or mascara, but other than that, my teenage years and early twenties were spent pretty much bare-faced. I think this also had a lot to do with the fact that my skin was like butter all throughout that time, but that is a topic for another post. It wasn’t until after I left school and got a part-time job at Ulta that my love-affair began.

In case you didn’t know, in order to work at Ulta (and Sephora, I’m assuming), you have to wear a full face of makeup at all times. No tinted moisturizer and lip balm here, thank you very much. My first day, that’s actually what I showed up wearing; tinted moisturizer, lip balm, and a little bit of mascara. My boss sat me down with one of the makeup artists as soon as orientation was over and I got a little private lesson in what was “appropriate” work makeup. I won’t get into how insulting this was at the time (no one wants to be told that she isn’t wearing ENOUGH makeup, after all), but in the long run that little sit down proved to be quite an eye-opener for me.

My first big push into the world of cosmetics led me straight into the loving arms of Bare Escentuals. Granted, a bit pricey for a first timer, but it just so happened that the makeup artist I sat down with was a rep for the company (pretty convenient, wouldn’t you say?). I went whole hog; foundation, concealer, eye shadows, the Buxom lip glosses (which I actually hated, but I was under the impression that brand loyalty was the only way to go). I practiced every single day. I did the “swirl, tap, buff” in my sleep. I read every single magazine I could get my hands on, as long as it had to do with beauty and makeup. I was hooked.

Once my job at Ulta ended, I had to look elsewhere for my beauty fix. I threw myself whole hog into the world of drugstore beauty. Aside from a few must-have items (and those are few and far between), I have been a drugstore/discount store beauty devotee ever since. See, once my horizons expanded a little, it just didn’t make sense to me to spend a fortune on cosmetics, when I could get perfectly good “substitutes” at the drugstore. My whole beauty philosophy changed once I had to shop at CVS, Rite-Aid, and (my Mecca) Walgreens for beauty supplies and cosmetics. Again, this is a topic for another post, but I just don’t understand how people can justify spending $30 and $40 on a lipstick, when you can get the EXACT SAME THING at a drugstore for a tenth of the price.

If you are a high-end makeup user, please don’t think I’m ragging on you. If you can afford it, and you don’t mind spending that much on makeup, then more power to you. I ask, however, that you keep an open mind to the alternatives. My first intro into makeup was on the more expensive end of the spectrum, and it was probably only necessity that forced me to change my ways. But once those ways were changed, I don’t think I’ll ever go back. Knowing what is available in the drugstores and places like Target and Wal-Mart, or when there are brands like E.L.F. out there, I just can’t see myself ever spending so much money on makeup again. I feel like makeup is supposed to be something fun and experimental. Want to try blue eyeshadow? Go for it! Hate that blue eyeshadow once you’ve tried it? Wouldn’t you rather be out only three or four dollars as opposed to fifteen or twenty? Especially in this economy, spending so much on makeup just doesn’t make sense.

Now, all that being said, I am a big fan of asking for higher-end products for special occasions, like my birthday or Christmas. In fact, the only reason that I have the Urban Decay Naked Palette is because it just happened to be in stock at my local Ulta around my birthday. Last year I got a Smashbox kit from Sephora for Christmas. I will never say that the higher-end stuff isn’t worth it. I think Urban Decay shadows are some of the softest, creamiest, and most pigmented around (sorry, MAC). But I also think the same thing about Wet ‘n’ Wild shadows, too. Sure, Diorshow will give you huge, fat, black eyelashes…but so will L’Oreal Voluminous, or Revlon Fabulash. Think that NARS Orgasm blush is the only way to get that soft, peachy-pink glow? Then you obviously haven’t tried E.L.F. blush/bronzer duo.

All I’m saying is that I see a lot of snobbery when it comes to makeup. People think that because the price is low, that means the quality must be low, too. I suppose one of my goals with this blog is to show that that isn’t necessarily the case. One of the keys to leading a happy life is in keeping an open mind. That applies to everything, including makeup. Makeup should be fun and exciting and allow you to experiment with your look and your personality. What’s so fun about only sticking to one brand? Or knowing that if you experiment with something that costs a lot of money, you’re gonna feel like you’ve wasted it on something you’ll never use again.

So don’t stress. Don’t hate. Just play! Have a good time with your makeup! Learn and grow and experiment. The whole point of your outer appearance is that it can change and grow as you do.

Be beautiful!


I’m Posting Every Day in 2011!

5 Jan

WordPress is posing a challenge to all of it’s bloggers: post every day! Now, I am notorious for starting a blog with gusto only to have that enthusiasm fizzle out after a couple of weeks. I am hoping that perhaps taking part in this challenge will help to keep me on track.

I love makeup. I haven’t always, but I do now. I have a passion for makeup and beauty products that I don’t think I have ever had about any other “hobby” in my life. It is my goal to someday become an actual professional makeup artist, and to help people to understand that while beauty itself is only skin-deep, the feeling that looking good and taking care of your appearance gives will resonate throughout your life. I think that maybe this challenge to blog every day will be just the thing to help keep me motivated to start spreading that message.

I hope that you enjoy what I do here. If you don’t that’s fine. I won’t take offense (unless, of course, you’re one of those jerks who feels the need to bring other people down because you didn’t get hugged enough as a child…if that’s the case, don’t let the proverbial door hit you on the way out). Some people may think that my love of makeup and beauty products is shallow – heck, it probably is. But it’s fun. Playing with makeup is fun. And I think most people could use a bit more fun in their lives. And if that bit of fun happens to make you look purty in the process, then what’s the harm? 🙂

Be beautiful!