07 April 2010

HD Makeup

With more and more channels airing their shows in high definition and Bluray DVD players becoming more and more prevalent in homes it is inevitable that actors and nearly all TV personnel are going to have to wear makeup. All imperfections are going to be magnified, each pore clearly defined; high definition television can make even the prettiest faces look scary. Beautiful celebs that many of us look up and idolize are being bashed for their HD imperfections. To keep up with the trend and cash in on these mishaps, makeup companies are featuring products intended for these high-def situations.

Make Up Forever is by far the most famous for their high definition makeup line. With products such as Mircoperfecting Primer, Invisible Coverage Foundation, Mircofinish Blush, Microfinish Powder, Elixir and even "high definition" brushes, Make Up Forever claims to leave your complexion with such a flawless finish, it can withstand bright or harsh lighting. Even the very popular drug-store brand, Revlon,  has begun to cash in on the new trend, they have very recently created "photo ready" products that claim to create a flawless face in all lighting. It is import that these companies make products accessible to the general public because even our home video cameras are being equipped with HD functions. Makeup that is not intended for high def could actually make your skin look worse, it is the silicone in HD foundation that gives it its power. The silicone helps to absorb your skins natural oils and fills in small lines. HD makeup should also be matte and free from all glitters and shimmers.

Cosmetic companies are changing the faces we see every day, the celebrities that we look up to are more beautiful than ever and even the local business owner acting in his own commercial has a face for TV. Makeup will soon change our perceptions of everyone.

31 March 2010

Spoting Fake Cosmetics

If a price seems too good to be true, it probably is. In attempt to save money on my "habit" I began to check for my must have products on eBay. Type "MAC eyeshadow" in to the search box and you will be surprised at what you find. Seven pigments for $12.99 when they are priced $19.99 EACH at the store and on the website? A tweleve color eyeshadow pallet for $13.50? MAC does not even make a twelve shadow pallet, and never has. A MAC Pro 120 pallet, currently up for auction at $41.50 with EVELEN bids? These eyeshadows sell for $14.50 a piece, we all want to believe we could have 120 shadows for forty bucks but it just isn't going to happen.

Most of us think that counterfiets are only something to look out for with high end designer purses and accessories, but it seems that the fraudulent cosmetics industry is booming. I honestly cannot imagine a factory set out to print fraudlent lables and nearly identical packaging  to sell a jar of pigment for less than two dollars, but obviously it is happening. This seems like a harmless endevor but a matter of health comes in to play. With these counterfiet goods you have no way of knowing where they have been, what types of chemicals have been used or if the product is safe. Applying something directly to my face that could be harmful is not on my agenda.

An article by Lucinda Mendel goes as far to say that by buying these products we could be "funding terrorism and organized crime". She discusses the conditions of the factories that may produse counterfiet beauty products and the idea that children may be exploited in doing so.

In order to save money on our favorite brands and not exploit our foreign brothers, I have looked in to alternative methods of bargain shopping. A website that I have come across that I see as a God send for the makeup lovers is Makeup Alley. You are able to create an account and list all of the makeup items that you do not currently use, or maybe have multiples of, and also make a list of the items that you wish to have. Others MUA members will match their swap items to your wish list items and the two of you make plans to do a swap. You are awarded tokens, similar to eBay's feedback that allows other swappers to see that you are a trusty swapper. There are also blog sales held where your favorite bloggers put their old or unused makeup up for sale on their blog often for very low prices.
I leave you with the hope that you stay thoughtful about buying cosmetics online. Keep in mind the idea that a very low price may come at a very high cost. Check out alternatives to eBay, like Makeup Alley and blog sales, there are ways to be price savvy while staying safe.

28 March 2010

Buying Practical Makeup

I was forced to do a bit of spring cleaning this past weekend and the bathroom was my most dreaded area of the apartment. My makeup, hair care, skin care, perfumes and lotions cover every square inch of the counters and cabinets. When asked to give up some of beauty products I thought, "this is impossible, everything is different, I use all of it..." I was wrong. If I have learned anything from this years' spring cleaning, I have learned that everything that I buy, everything that I must have is something that I undoubtedly have at least one comparable item of. My coveted lipstick collection consists of ten of my FAVORITE colors... the funniest thing is that no one would be able to tell the difference in shades except me, because every color is nearly identical. This prompted me to check the stock description, this is sickening, "pale muted peach beige" "beige pink with pearl" "pale muted peachy-beige" "light beige with rose" "light beigey-pink". How many tubes of black mascara does a girl need? SEVEN, I was disgusted. Black eyeliner? FIVE. Oh, and the light pink lip glosses? TEN.
I decided from now on, I will have a new way of looking at my makeup purchases. I will have one of each item in a makeup bag (rather than a Rubbermaid drawer large enough to be used as a dresser) and when I am tempted to buy a new item I will ask myself, "is this already in the bag?" No more nude lipstick, pink lip-gloss, black eyeliner, black mascara, or brown eye shadow. I think a large part of the reason we have so many products that are similar is because we are looking for something better, but I'm starting to realize "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". The products that I go back to again and again are ones that I've used for years, most of which can never be replaced. A lot of money has gone to waste in vain attempts to replace a product that works perfectly well.

22 March 2010

Chanel's Skin Art

This past weekend was the Cigar City Tattoo Convention in Ybor City. A good friend of mine traveled to Tampa to represent his tattoo shop from San Fransisco. In line with this event, completely coinsidently, Chanel also released their much anticipated Les Trompe L'oeil temporary tattoos.

I absolutely love the idea of tattoos and I think most people's are beautiful, I have just never had the ability to commit to something so permanent. Tattoo artwork is the most powerful form of self expression, and a wonderful way to define your identity. Everything that we hope to accomplish with makeup could be done the same with a personal tattoo. Chanel's temporary tattoos are a bit extreme, in my opinion. They are priced at $75 for fifty-five tattoos, but I'm sure we all realize that we are paying for those coveted "C's". An ordinary pack of 55 tattoos would be no more than $5. The idea that this beautiful design would just wash off after one day of use seems shameful. I find the idea kind of revolutionary; a well respected, relatively conservative name brand is promoting body modifications. In my opinion, this is huge. I have had many conversations with people about tattoos in my generation and how it will be common for grandparents to have chest pieces and full sleeves in fifty years. I think that Chanel is recognizing this change and cashing in on the idea tattoos are a familiar sight within their demographic.

I think such a highly regarded brand name was taking on a big risk in promoting this body art. Though it is common younger generations, older generations (usually the ones with all of the money :P) are not fond of tattoos to say the least. It could be detrimental to their spring fashion line when the models walk the runway sporting chains down their legs. Chanel made a bold move and it wont be long until critics jump on this fad.

01 March 2010

Back to MAC Program

I have successfully used up six MAC products. This would normally be very sad, seeing as I will now need to repurchase these items, but MAC takes away the pain, just a bit. The company offers a program called "Back to MAC" in which you take in six empty containers back to MAC and recieve a free lipstick of your choice. Seeing as how I have a wish list of about ten MAC lipsticks that I can't wait to get my hands on I am extremely excited about this trip.

The website is a bit more picky on what empties they will accept: eye shadow pan, eye shadow quad, eye shadow trio, lipstick tube, lip gloss tube,  foundation bottle or compact, mascara tube, eyeliner, blush or base pots and pigment jars. However, I have found that the retail stores will take back just about anything that says MAC on it. Empty face wipe containers, brush cleaners and eyelash cases are all things that empty quickly so it's good to know that we can "back to MAC" them. The website also allows you to recieve any lipstick, with the excpetion of the Viva Glam because the proceeds benefit charity, where the stores give an option of any liptick, eyeshadow, or lip gloss. It is a tad confusing that the company is inconsistant with this program because not all of thier customers are getting the same choices, and also because not all stores follow the same policy.  On their website, MAC describes the program:

Because we share your commitment to the enviornment, MAC accpetc returns of it's primary packaging though the Back to MAC Program. By returning six primary packaging containers to a MAC counter or MAC Cosmetics online you'll recieve a free MAC lipstick of your choice as our thanks to you.
I think the program offered is pretty commendable considering a big corporation such as this does not need to offer any insentives, people will buy the products regardless of any type of "deal". There is actually an entire section on the MAC website dedicated to GIVING BACK. This section describes their charitable programs such as the Back to MAC ProgramViva Glam, Kids Helping Kids, and MAC AIDS Fund. As if their products aren't enough to make MAC irresistable, they step up and look out for others as well.

16 February 2010

Product Review: LUSH The Comforter Bubble Bar

Another long week has come to an end. As promised, I stopped in to Lush to find a new product to test and review (such a hassle , I might add :P). The sales girls were really on their game this round, and though I insisted I was in a rush and only had enough money for one item I was shown just about every product in the store. One of the girls was shocked that I had never tried The Comforter bubble bar and decided for me that I would be purchasing one. So, I did.

I was not thrilled when I was prompted to pay $9.00 for one item but the girl ensured me that she usually got about four baths out of one bar That was all the persuasion I needed for this hot pink, candy scented gem. Bubble bars are an interesting invention. They are solid, chalky and crumbly, yet some how are said to color the water, fill the room with fragrance and provide mounds of white bubbles. Needless to say, I was curious as to see how this would turn out.

Lush's descriptions are wordy and uninformative to say the least, but here it goes:
This pink and white swirly bar resembles a rolled up scarf, ready to wrap you in warmth and comfort. The fruity blackcurrant fragrance comes from cassis absolute; we love this delicious scent so much we put it in You Snap the Whip (our scrubby Body Butter), Sweetie Pie shower jelly and of course the Comforter solid perfume. Inhale it and it feels like you're getting a big, yummy hug. This one is big enough to be broken in half for two baths.
 I'm not sure what blackcurrant smells of, but The Comforter smells of licorice and bubble gum. I would normally cower at the thought of such a smell, but this is actually rather nice. The licorice scent cuts the "sickening" out of the sickeningly-sweet bubble gum. I used less than a fourth of the bar for one bath (this thing was huge) and, as I was prompted, crumbled the pieces under warm running water. Just as I was promised, the water turned a vibrant hot pink under gobs of bright white bubbles. The scent is so light in the water that it is hard to smell it at all, which was a bit disappointing. I was ecstatic about this bath, and thought I had found the Lush item of a life time when I started to realize that the bubbles were all starting to fade away. Seriously, after 10 minutes there were NO bubbles in the entire tub. The girl at Lush told me this may happen and she said that the bubbles were activated by the motion of the water, and though I may feel silly doing so, I should splash the water around a bit and I would be surrounded in bubbles once again. Well, I splashed about and nothing happened. No bubbles reappeared. I was beyond disappointed. I am chalking this up to the fact that I used half of the recommended dose (the website does call for half a bar). For my next bath I will use the proper amount and hope that my bath stays full of bubbles. Until then, I will say the gorgeous pink water, and sweet scent just wont hold up against the bubble dilemma.

11 February 2010

MAC's Release: Viva Glam Gaga

The beauty of MAC Cosmetics is their product launches and fabulous limited edition items. Today marks the release of their new Viva Glam spokes women, Lady Gaga and Cyndi Lauper. The Viva Glam sector of MAC, is actually a very commendable one. This foundation sells lipstick in which 100% of the proceeds goes to the research of HIV and AIDS.

Would I buy a lipstick buy MAC? Definitely.
Would I buy a lipstick that Lady Gaga promotes? Definitely.
Would I buy a lipstick to raise money for HIV and AIDS? Absolutely.
Is there any doubt that I will be going to the mall tonight and buying as many of this puppies that I can afford? Nope.

It beyond excites me that my celebrity idol is teaming up with my favorite make up company to produce a product that will be raising money for charity. I am seriously in make up heaven at the moment.

Alexander McQueen RIP

I'm writing a simple post in memorial of fashion designer, Lee McQueen, who was found dead today in his home. He was a brilliant designer with unique, beautiful pieces that inspired any fashion lover.

At age 40, his death was too soon.

Urban Decay's Alice in Wonderland Book of Shadows

For make up fans and Tim Burton fans alike, the beauty product of the century has been released. Urban Decay's Alice in Wonderland Book of Shadows was sent to retail stores at the end of January and I finally decided to suck it up and fork out my $52 for the one beauty collectors item that I could not live without.

Urban Decay is famous for their eye shadow pallets because of the highly pigmented, unique colors and the smooth, bendable formulation. It is just a bonus that the packaging they choose is irresistibly kitschy, and cute. This particular pallet comes with a few bonus items as well; two 24/7 liners in the colors Zero and Flipside (might I mention, the BEST eyeliner that money can buy, and regularly selling for $17 each) and a trail vial of their infamous Primer Potion that allows your "lid art" to last all day.
What sold me on this particular pallet (though, they didn't have to twist my arm) was the idea that these shadows are all in their original line, they did not formulate some weird, cheap rubbish to cash in on the trend. Rather, Urban Decay renamed their best selling shadows to fit the theme (I love this!)

The names, original shadow names, and descriptions are below:
Underland (Flash) - Bright iridescent purple
Alice (Painkiller) - Bright bold aqua
Oraculum (Baked) - Rich Bronze
Queen (Last Call) - Plum
Chessur (Chopper) - Coppery fawn with silver shimmer
White Rabbit (Polyester Bride) - White with silver glitter
Wonderland (Maui Wowie) - Dirty gold with silver glitter
Curiouser (Grifter) - Lavender with silver glitter
Muchness (X) - Golden peach
Mushroom (Mushroom) - Pewerter
Midnight Tea Party (Midnight Cowboy Rides Again) - Champagne pink with silver glitter
Vorpal (S&M) - Bright metallic silver
Absolem (Homegrown) - Bright true grass green
Drink Me, Eat Me (Sin) - Champagne
Madhatter (Twice Baked) - Brown with golden shimmer
Jabberwocky (Oil Slick) - Black and with silver sparkle 

Reaching out for the best description of this product that I could muster, I  decided to take the description from Urban Decay it's self. They write:
When Disney called to ask if Urban Decay would design a product for the launch of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, they were like, "Um….yes!" The result is this truly amazing (and seriously collectible) Book of Shadows. Tucked inside a hidden drawer are 16 best-selling Eyeshadows, given topsy-turvy names like White Rabbit, Jabberwocky, and Oraculum. Alongside them lie travel sizes of Eyeshadow Primer Potion and two 24/7 Eye Pencils. From smoky neutral eyes to flashes of hallucinogenic green and purple, the looks you can create are as endless as the rabbit hole itself. The top opens to reveal a pop-up scene of Alice in the mushroom forest. Her "drink me" bottle discarded, she staggers past towering mushrooms, only to cross paths with a very peculiar, hookah-smoking caterpillar. A large mirror rests behind the scene, making you feel as if you are transported into the film itself. Anyone who loves Urban Decay, Tim Burton, Disney, or Alice in Wonderland absolutely MUST have this palette. Even the Mad Hatter would say this Book of Shadows delivers it all.
 I think they are accurate in stating that the eyeshadow looks you can create are endless, a dark, smokey night time look, something soft and subtle for day and many choices for just a pop of color. This description is a little kooky, but isn't that what we love about UD, Tim Burton and Alice's story? Anyone who is interested in building their eyeshadow collection should check this pallet out for it's diverse color selection and smooth, bendable formulation. Even a makeup beginner would look like a pro with the help of this pallet.

09 February 2010

Product Review: LUSH Sakura Bath Bomb

I work 30 hours in three days. Because of my school schedule I am only available on the weekends, Friday through Sunday. Now, it may just be me but I am in immense pain by Sunday night, like, I can barely get to the top of the stairs in time to fall on to the couch. So, what's a girl to do? I take a Lush Bath, of course. Now, it is definitely a "Lush Bath" because this is an experience. I fork over approximately $5.00 to soak in colored, silky, scented water and I am not ashamed. This past Sunday I had the luxury of using a Sakura Bath Bomb from Lush.

Lush's description of the product: "In Japanese, Sakura means Cherry Blossom, the gorgeous white and pink flowers that bloom for just a brief period of time in the Spring. Relax into the warm water as the pretty pink and blue sea salts dissolve just like your cares. Imagine cherry blossoms softly falling as you inhale the fragrance of jasmine, mimosa and orange blossom (what we think Cherry Blossoms should smell like). You'll feel as beautiful as the transient blossoms."

When you drop this 6 ounce "bath bomb" in to the water it will immediately begin fizzing up and dissolving (think alkaseltzer) and creating a cloud of cotton candy pink. The scent is really nice and soft; I would say the smell is mature, floral and clean. Overall, I find bath bombs my least favorite if Lush's bath products only because the fizzing lasts a mere thirty seconds and the water is never as vibrant as the product itself. When the Sakura bomb is fully dissolved the water is a very pale pink color, it almost looks a bit dirty if you ask me. The smell is really nice and lingered on my skin for a while, the sea salt also made my skin feel soft.

At $5.95 a piece I will probably not be repurchasing this item. The smell alone does not make up for the mediocrity of the rest. I will test drive a new bath product next weekend. Onward.

03 February 2010

What's in a name?

It is inevitable that we are all predisposed to trust a product because of its "brand name". My previous post showed that it is not enough to use a wonderful skincare product and to be happy with the results that that product produced, we must all know that it was a CHANEL skincare product that gave them these amazing results. Had their skin been by Clean and Clear would those double C's (not interlocking, of course) been stamped on their forehead? The answer we all will conclude is "no". Why must product labels play such an important role in the brands that we trust, or even brands that we would never give a second look? I noticed on many blogs that we decide to RAVE about finding a good "drugstore" foundation, as though we all would never expect such a thing. Is it true that Revlon's Colorstay foundation compares to MAC's Studio Fix Fluid and for just a fraction of the cost!? NO, it couldn't be =O! I hope you all recognized the sarcasm here... of course this is possible, of course we do not need to pay for a name brand, and yet we all are guilty of doing this.

I happen to own both foundations, I also happen to have a friend of very similar skin tone, and this friend happens to be very guilty of being a brand name snob (it is safe to assume she won't be reading this post). I had to test my hypothesis because I am only a consumer by day, I am a scientist by night. My friend and I planned a girls night out and it was not uncommon for me to do her make up for such a night. She fumbled through my drawers of makeup and decided which products I would use to doll her up. Not surprisingly,all of the products that she chose were MAC products. Even with suggestions against certain products and recommendations towards others she insisted that it was the MAC products that she liked the best. In the midst of singing loudly along to our Lady Gaga CD and the fog of hairspray around us, my friend did not realize that she was being "made up" with drugstore brands! Did she love her makeup look? Of course she did!

So, why do we buy the products we buy? If this blog was about psychological market research I would be able to point to statistics that show the decisions we make are deep rooted in... something. But, it's not. I think that when it comes to make up we are snobs. It is true that a high end makeup counter will devote three employees to one customer to make sure their experience is delightful, at a drug store you would be lucky to get anyone's attention and even then would head no advice given by them. So what does this all create? A status that you pay for quality, that you only accept the best.

So what do you think? Is it appropriate to buy a name brand simply because of the name? If money wasn't an issue would you reach for the exact same product with a generic label?

28 January 2010

Skin Branding?!

The beauty industry is certainly given a bad rep. Cosmetic companies are being categorized as profit driven industries that attempt to manipulate the general public to feel that they NEED to be something that their not. It is true that advertisers abuse the use of unrealistic models and desirable women to sell their products, but I don't entirely see harm in using products to enhance the beauty that we already have. Cosmetics companies have no intention of morphing our faces in to something cookie-cutter and predictable, I find just the opposite. With the use of cosmetics you are given the ability to stand out and show your individuality.

I came across an article online regarding a Chanel skincare line. This line includes a headband that you wear at night that embosses the Chanel logo on to your forehead... it is truly items like these that attach a "superficial" stigma to the beauty industry.

The designer of this line, Ryan McSorley, exclaimed, "Just as we can define ourselves through the brands of clothing we wear, or the brand of mobile phone we have, we can now define ourselves by the brand of skincare product we use. If you are using skincare by Chanel, you want people to know that your skin is by Chanel, in the same way that Chanel handbags have clear branding, why shouldn't our skin?" I believe it is with ideas like this that the beauty industry has obtained it's bad reputation. While I see the cosmetics industry as one that attempts to help people find beauty within themselves, others are marketing it as something used as a status symbol, just to show the world that you are superior to them.

26 January 2010

Hello All!

I am new to the blogging world, but not to the beauty community! I hope to write my blog on makeup, hair products, fragrances, and all things beauty related. I plan for my blog to consist of reviews of products, new product launches and raves about beauty products that I cannot live without; I will also include swatches to give you all a real idea of the pigmentation etc. I find beauty blogs extremely useful and I know that, because of my boundless obsession with beauty products, I will have a lot to bring to offer you all.

I am so excited about starting this up! I hope to be a helpful and active member of this great community! Please comment and follow! :D
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