1st Empties of 2015!

Anyone who’s a beauty addict will understand the excitement when you actually finish a product. For one thing, it rarely happens. By the time I start to get halfway through something, I’ve moved on to another brand or color. For another, I get bored using the same thing more than once a week. I want variety and I’m convinced I have the attention span of a goldfish, because after a few weeks with a product, I’ve moved on to something else (“Look yet another pink blush! I need it!…”)

BUT…I did manage to finish up some things within the last week so I thought I’d do my first “Empties” post of 2015 with some quick comments and mini reviews. Yes, most of them are sample/mini sizes, but I have a couple full sized items in there too. For the most part, I liked everything but there were a few duds that I was forcing myself to finish up so I wouldn’t feel wasteful (like the dresser full of makeup palettes isn’t wasteful, but whatever…)


Oil of Olay ultra moisture Body Wash- I absolutely love this! I used up the sample size I had from buying dry shampoo at Target and I loved it so much I bought the large size from Ulta. Smells musky and rich, lathers well, rinses clean but soft so you don’t have to use lotion… good stuff. Since having Leo, I don’t wear perfume so as not to irritate him, so it’s nice to have a tiny bit of scent to my skin (and it doesn’t seem to bother him!) I think you can get it for $4 or $5 and I highly recommend it.

Epice purifying exfoliant- I received this in an Ipsy bag (when I used to subscribe) and I hate it. It’s probably one of the worst exfoliators I’ve ever used. It’s so rough on my skin that it leaves it red and irritated for about an hour after using even a tiny bit. I only exfoliate a few times a week, and I tried this all kinds of ways to see if I could make it work, but no Bueno. Every time it irritated my skin, inflamed it, and it felt WORSE after using it. Definitely don’t recommend this.

Skintimate skin therapy shave gel for dry skin- this was meh. I like the Skintimate but I didn’t notice that this was any more moisturizing or better for my skin than any other Skintimate shave gel, so you can skip this.

MUFE (Make Up For Ever) Sens’eyes- This stuff is amazing and has always been my Holy Grail cleaner for Waterproof mascara. It cleans EVERYTHING off your face without leaving a residue and it doesn’t irritate my sensitive eyes (which a lot of makeup removers do). I used 100 of my Sephora points for a sample of this for travel because I already knew I loved this. I’ve actually used up a large bottle in the past. The travel size retails for $10 for 1 oz and the 3 oz retails for $24 at Sephora but it is worth every penny. I horde it and use only the bare minimum, but a little bit will remove all your eye makeup, so a big bottle can easily last 8 months of daily use.

Rimmel Fix & Perfect Primer- ugh, I picked this up at target on sale for $3 and it is a DUD. I have dry skin but I have used primers in the past from Too Faced, NARS, Tarte, etc with no issue. I picked this up since it was on sale, and I forced myself to use it, but just…no. It doesn’t help my foundation last any longer than it would on its own, it actually made my skin feel even more dry than normal, and I tried it lots of different ways. I moisturized excessively even before using this, and this does NOT work with dry skin. You may have better luck than me.

Clinique Repairwear laser focus- LOVE this!!! I get samples from Clinique all the time since I buy my toner from them, and this is like the 3rd sample size jar of this I’ve gone through. My mom gave me this little one (thanks Mom!) because it’s expensive and I can be cheap about skin care, but it is worth every penny. It helps hydrate, smooth out lines and actually makes the skin around my eyes not look so crepey! One day I’ll spring for the bigger jar because this stuff is THAT good. I think you can get it in a kit for $65? Something like that.

Clinique Superdefense moisturizer- I have to moisturize or the skin on my face drives me crazy. I have to do it 2x a day, and I LOVE this moisturizer. It’s made for dry skin and it leaves my skin feeling smooth, not tight at all, and I swear it helps my primer even go on better (not the abovementioned Rimmel one, obviously). I’m waiting to use up some samples of other moisturizers I have from Sephora before I buy a big size of this (and I’m waiting for the Clinique Gift With Purchase that they do every couple months because I’m cheap like that) but this stuff is amazing. I think I may have finally found my Holy Grail moisturizer!

Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer- I go back and forth about this. For $5 it’s good. It’s a better highlighter than concealer for me, but it’s still the only concealer to date that I’ve gone through 2 full tubes and bought a 3rd. I’ve used it in Radiant as a brightener and in Nude to match my skin tone. I have dark circles and also sunken areas under my eyes (thanks Genetics!) that leave me with really dark circles. I’m not convinced anything will help them go away totally, but this is a decent concealer that will get through a work day with maybe one touch up. I’ve had to do that with $30 concealers, so that part is just me. Until I find something better I’ll probably layer this with my Bobbi Brown concealer/corrector, use that up, and then I may buy another one of these. I keep coming back to it because it’s passable for the price. If you have even medium dark circles, you’ll probably like it.

So that is my first round of empties for 2015! I hope to try and use up a lot more this year. I hope this gave you guys some good suggestions for products to try.

IT Cosmetics Tightline Waterproof Full Lash Length Black Primer

On a recent ULTA haul with a Christmas gift card, I decided to pick up one of the things on my (permanent and revolving) ULTA wish list. I ended up picking up the IT Cosmetics Tightline Waterproof Lash Length Black Primer. It retails for $24 for 0.118 fl oz of product, which is pretty expensive but is one of only a handful of products that work for giving a tightlining effect without, well, actually tightlining (the others I can think of off the top of my head are the Too Faced 3 in 1 Lash liner and using a tightlining brush from Sigma, the E16, to stamp on cream liner in between your lashes).

So what is tightlining exactly? It’s putting eyeliner (cream, liquid, or powder but cream or liquid tends to work better) in between your lashes so the very tip of your eye lid is colored darker. It gives the illusion of fuller lashes and adds drama to a look without heavy black winged liner. It is also extremely helpful for those of us like me who have hooded eyelids or monolids. We have limited lid space that actually shows and you don’t want to waste it with heavy liner.

I tightline anytime I do my makeup, and admittedly it can be hard to do.

I tried the Too Faced 3 in 1 tool but it was smudgy and smeared easily. I still use it if I’m doing a smoky eye or a grunge-type look where I don’t want clean lines, but not every day. Generally I use my Sigma brush, spray MAC Fix + on it to get it damp and tap it into black eyeshadow. I then hold my eyelashes up and wiggle the brush in between my lashes. Repeat a few times and it helps give definition but still leaves space for my shadow.

But I like gadgets and I had a gift card, so… I sprung for the expensive option.

The IT Cosmetics Tightlining Mascara (what I’m calling it for short) can be bought at ULTA and I think HSN or QVC. It comes in Waterproof and regular formula and is intended to be used as a tightliner, mascara primer, or both + mascara.

So is it worth the price? In my opinion, it depends what you want to use it for, so yes and no. Let’s see why.

It looks like this, and when I opened the box I was surprised at how small the actual mascara is:



Bottom part with the blue band is the actual mascara

Bottom part with the blue band is the actual mascara

The wand is tiny, which it needs to be to get to the base of the lashes by the eye. The formula is on the wet side for mascara but then dries quickly. I’ll let the picture below speak for itself- I took it with no other eye makeup on and 2 coats of the primer on the lash tips and 3 coats on the lash base:






It’s pretty obvious it works well and it tightlines like it’s supposed to, but it doesn’t work well as mascara on its own. It’s a good primer and works really well when layered under my favorite mascara of all time, Benefit’s They’re Real mascara with Clinique Bottom Lash on the bottom lashes.

I know, it's scary- sorry!

I know, it’s scary- sorry!













SO much better! Is it worth the $24? No I don’t think so, unless you have a GC or get it as a present, then yes, get it. If you look at the price vs. what it does, I would say get a good tightlining brush and do it yourself. It DOES tightline and it does work as a primer, but it doesn’t work very well on its own as a mascara.
I’ll finish it up because it does make a difference and I didn’t pay anything out of pocket for it, but I’m not sure I’d repurchase. I’ve only been wearing it for not even 2 days, so after about another week or so of wear, I’ll probably have a more definitive answer, but for right now, it failed to wow me for the price. If it was even, say, $18 I’d repurchase for sure. $24 is just a tiny bit too steep for a) small amount of product and b) only effectively doing 2 out of the 3 things it claims (tightlining, priming, and acting as waterproof mascara).

ULTA Haul!

Here’s a quick sneak peek at my ULTA haul. I got a gift card from my in-laws and decided to use it on some staples as well as new products. You know that means there are reviews coming! (hint: I’m thrilled with just about everything I bought)


Lips-mas Recap (or why I’m terrible at blogging)…

Happy New Year everyone! So when I started this blog I really meant to keep up on it and post at least a few times a week, but…then my mom had knee surgery and we had the holidays and I lost track… I’ve been good about posting on Instagram (I’m Nouveauhousewife on there too) and Twitter (Nouveauhousewif) but bad about blogging. I’m sorry! So as a sort of attempt to get back into the swing of things, I present below -my recap of the 12 Days of Lipsmas, Days 1-12 (and yes I own more than one shirt, I took the pics in the same shirt so it would allow more focus on the lips 😛 )

Day 1, ombré lip using NYX products

Day 1, ombré lip using NYX products

Day 2, OCC Lip Tar in Anita

Day 2, OCC Lip Tar in Anita

Day 3, OCC Lip Tar in Rollergirl

Day 3, OCC Lip Tar in Rollergirl

Day 4, OCC Lip Tars in Rollergirl and Narcissus mixed

Day 4, OCC Lip Tars in Rollergirl and Narcissus mixed

Day 5, Urban Decay F Bomb lipstick with Ciate glitter

Day 5, Urban Decay F Bomb lipstick with Ciate glitter

Day 6, OCC Lip tars in Anita and Sebastian mixed with OCC Lydia lip liner

Day 6, OCC Lip tars in Anita and Sebastian mixed with OCC Lydia lip liner

Day 7, Too Faced La Crème lipstick in Nude Beach

Day 7, Too Faced La Crème lipstick in Nude Beach

Day 8, Rimmel Exaggerate lip liner in East End Snob (used as lipstick)

Day 8, Rimmel Exaggerate lip liner in East End Snob (used as lipstick)

Day 9, OCC lip pencil in Black Dahlia with NYX Soft Matte lip cream in Copenhagen

Day 9, OCC lip pencil in Black Dahlia with NYX Soft Matte lip cream in Copenhagen

Day 10, Too Faced La Crème lipstick in Naked Dolly

Day 10, Too Faced La Crème lipstick in Naked Dolly

Day 11, OCC lip liner in NSFW and OCC lip liner in Anti-Feathered (clear)

Day 11, OCC lip liner in NSFW and OCC lip liner in Anti-Feathered (clear)

Day 12, Dior Addict lipstick in 971 Fourreau, applied lightly (and a bonus pic of my little man!)

Day 12, Dior Addict lipstick in 971 Fourreau, applied lightly (and a bonus pic of my little man!)



















I didn’t realize until I’d grouped the swatches together but I have a current love affair with OCC (Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics). I have a review coming soon of their products but if I had to pick my favorite lip look from all the days, it’s actually Day 2, Anita lip tar. The pics don’t even capture how gorgeous it is. Applied sheer like I did it’s a lighter brownish-red. Build it up and you get a deep, dark browned-burgundy. It’s amazing! Love it.

The 12 Days of Lips-mas, Day 2

Hi guys! I’m back again for Day TWO of the 12 Days of Lips-mas and today I have one of my most favorite lipsticks for you, Anita, by a company called Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics (OCC). It’s actually a Lip Tar, which is their super pigmented liquid lipstick that comes in a little test tube with a lip brush included in the packaging. You can buy them on the OCC website (http://www.occcosmetics.com) or at Sephora. They retail for $18 each for 0.33 oz of product or you can occasionally get mini sets and packs to make the cost per tube cheaper. They come in matte finish, stained gloss finish, or metallic.

The tubes look like this:

Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics - Lip Tar - Matte

The tubes they give you are tiny for the price, so you’ll look at it like, “$18 for this?! wtf?!” But trust me, you won’t use up a whole tube for a very long time. For one thing, it’s so pigmented, you only need a tiny bit to cover your lip and last you all day. For another, the vast majority of the colors are insane. They’re blue or yellow or retina-burning purple, which brings me to my main point why you won’t run out of lip tar for a long time- they’re meant to be mixed.

The thing I love about Lip Tars is it reminds me of what I love about makeup the most- it’s fun. it’s not life or death, if you don’t like a look you did, you just wash it off. Makeup is for playing, for creating, for discovering your inner artist, and Lip Tars are just for that. They make me smile when I use them, because I literally feel like a kid in art class all over again. You can create your own custom color, do gradiants or ombre lips, whatever you want.

Now, with that being said, they are a PITA to use if you do not do prep work ahead of time. You NEED to either use their anti-feathering liner or a lip liner close to the Lip Tar pigment color or they WILL bleed (and they’ll start doing it almost immediately). You also need to start with either a swipe of chapstick or OCC’s lip primer, let it soak in, then blot off the excess.

When you use the lip tar, put a small bead in the middle of your lower lip then swipe to the sides, same with the top. Then turn the brush on its side to get cleaner lines and go around your lip line. It’s a LOT of work but look at this color- it’s the most amazing browned burgundy ever. Sheered out it’s a dark burgundy, but with two coats the chocolate color comes through.

IMG_2027IMG_2026 Love it! If you have the patience to work with it, I highly recommend trying a Lip Tar out for yourself.

And come back tomorrow for Day 3 of Lips-mas!

The 12 Days of Lips-mas, Day 1

Hey everyone!!! In honor of the holidays, I decided to do a Christmas countdown, my way- the 12 Days of Lips-mas. Starting today I’ll be reviewing/debuting lip looks, one every day until Christmas. I’ll try to be brief and post just the pertinent things each day since I know I have a tendency to get kind of verbose (hey, I could talk about makeup allllll day long!)

So for Day 1 I decided to try my hand at doing an ombre lip. It basically involves using a darker, mid-tone, and light(er) color to create the illusion of fullness or dimension to the lips and is the same concept behind contouring the eye with eyeshadows of differing finishes/colors.

For the look below, I used all NYX products. You can find them at http://www.nyxcosmetics.com, http://www.cherryculture.com or Target and Ulta.

I used their lip liner in Espresso, Matte Lip Cream in London, and their Eye Shadow base in Milk for the center of the lip to add fullness and light. I didn’t do a precise line around my lips because I wanted to kind of play up the grungy greyish-beige nature of the lip
IMG_1969 I think it’d be really fun to wear with a dark black smoky eye and grunge makeup (hmm…might do a tutorial for that!)
Make sure to check back in tomorrow for Day 2 of The 12 Days of Lips-mas!

All about lipstick (pt. 2)

Hi everyone! Hope you’re having a great week! I know I am :) I love this time of year- everyone’s in a good mood, the weather’s not usually too crazy here in MI before we get snowed in in January, the holidays are right around the corner… it’s great. Fall is still my favorite time of year but this is fun too :)

I had to have a tooth pulled the other day and it seriously hurt worse than my 2 partial root canals I’ve also had this year! Crazy! So I’ve been looking for things to distract myself and thought I’d clean through my lipstick collection, look through what I want in my kit and what I can throw out, and I decided to finish my lipstick post from the other day, do some swatches, and definitely some recommendations.

I didn’t actually start getting seriously into lipsticks until last year, honestly. I know, I know, it’s weird for a makeup addict and someone who freelances and does makeup on others, but it was always such a tricky thing for me. I love eye shadows, mascara, primers, anything eye and eyebrow related (lol I have a weird thing about checking out people’s eyebrows when I first meet them), I’m a huge fan of a good blush and highlight combo, obviously love contouring, but lipstick? Nah… I have really pigmented lips which change lipstick colors on me all the time, so I pretty much stuck to nudes and MLBB (My Lips But Better) shades. For some reason, the past 18 months or so I’ve found some really amazing lipstick colors and decided to branch out. I even managed to find a red that works on me (which I seriously NEVER thought would happen!) and I’m loving color now.

So without getting any more verbose than I already am, here is my favorite lipstick in each category and a lip swatch if I could (my lips get sore and flaky after swatching a few colors in a row, so we’ll see…)

First an arm swatch of them all together (I’m a NC15-20 in MAC for reference); click the pic to enlarge it and show all of the colors:

In natural light- from left to right Hint of Spice, Raquel, Roman Holiday, Fever, Sounds Like Noise, Vegas Volt, Kinky, Albatross gloss, Chilled Brandy

Best MLBB shade: Hint of Spice by Maybelline
It’s a matte, dark pinkish-brown, MLBB shade and I love it. I get about 3 hours wear time out of it but even as it fades, it leaves a stain, so my lips still look darker for a good 5 hours. think it was $5.49 at Target and totally worth it.

Best Nude:

Raquel from NARS

It’s from NARS’ recently released Audacious line of lipsticks and retails for $32 at Sephora. It’s expensive, but it’s a nude that’s pink-based and GORGEOUS on. It looks more pink or brown depending on the lighting and I use it almost every day. It’s usually my go to lipstick if I don’t know what other color to wear or if I just want to keep it simple. Extremely creamy and feels SO good on- it doesn’t dry my lips out, which’s pretty rare for lipstick. Wear time is about 3 hours and then I have to reapply but I don’t mind because it’s THAT pretty.







Best Pink:

Roman Holiday by NARS

I wore it in my Nicki Minaj tutorial and it’s a light baby pink that actually shows up on me, despite having heavily pigmented lips and the lipstick being a sheer formula. One swipe gives a really pretty medium pink and then another swipe gives it that Barbie lipstick color. It retails for $26 at Sephora and the wear time isn’t that great (about 2 hrs, maybe) but I have a hard time with baby pinks like this because of my lips, so I’ve been wearing it almost non-stop since I got it and I’m still not tired of it.


Roman Holiday

Best Bright color:
Fever by Hourglass

This is the pink I always wanted to wear. It’s actually my favorite color (Fuchsia) but I never thought I could wear something that bright, because 1) I’m so pale I’m almost translucent, and 2) I’m warm toned and anything blue based can look really weird on me. I did a review on this color already but I’m in love. The price is steep ($30 at Sephora) but it feels good on, you don’t need a lipliner, and if I’m using a straw, I can get a good 4 hours of wear time from it before it starts to fade, and around the 6 hour mark it needs a touch up. That’s not bad.

Best Orange:

Sounds Like Noise by MAC or Morange by MAC

Both colors are pretty much near dupes of each other but Sounds Like Noise was a limited edition color from the Hayley Williams collection with MAC and Morange is easier to find, so thought I’d throw them both in there. Sounds Like Noise is surprisingly creamy for a matte, only $16, and  I get a good 5 hours of wear time out of it before it starts to fade. It’s pretty bright and in your face, but still wearable.

Same with my Best Coral pick: Vegas Volt by MAC

In the tube it looks straight orange, but on me, it pulls a pretty coral that is a mix of orange and pink. It’s not limited edition through MAC and wears even longer for me than Sounds Like Noise. I get at least 6 hours of wear, which is crazy, and it fades to a really pretty pinkish stain. $16 and worth every penny in the summer and spring.

Best Red: Kinky by MAC

I did a recent review on this also, but this is the red that changed the way I think about reds. I can actually wear it, for one thing! It’s $16 and a Limited Edition from MAC, a matte formula that isn’t too dry, and looks amazing on. It’s a neutral/slight blue-based red, so just about anyone could wear it (short of olive skin tones; you’d need a brick or brown based red then like Viva Glam 1). It can be a bit slippery and tend to bleed outside lip lines if you don’t use a liner, but most reds do.



 So that’s it and make sure to check back on the blog starting tomorrow, 12/14! I’ll be doing my new holiday lipstick series, The 12 Days of Lips-mas. Every day from 12/14 until Christmas, I’ll have a new lipstick/color/look/tip of the day, so make sure to tune in then!

Drugstore Makeup Eye Look 12/10

Everything is here except the ELF $1 lashes

Everything is here except the ELF $1 lashes

In the beauty blogger world, there seems to be a division. There are those who are convinced  that you can only get a good look by using mid to high end products, and there are those people who swear by drugstore only products. There are blogs devoted to both and bloggers who make very convincing arguments for both sides.

And…then there are people like me (it’d figure I’m the weird one, right?) I have favorites  at the drugstore, but admittedly most of my collection is mid to high end makeup. I seem to get better results from at least mid end makeup (as an example, those are usually considered companies like MAC, Benefit, Urban Decay, etc.) But… I do have a few things I swear by from drugstore brands, so just to prove that I’m not a total brand snob, I decided to throw together a look using only drugstore/Target products (one item is from Sonia Kashuk and her line is only at Target).

I used everything in the picture and I’ll list it below. I also found it REALLY hard, because there are just some things I haven’t found a good dupe for in a drugstore product.

So in the picture we have:

Rimmel Fix & Perfect Pro Primer

Cover Girl Ready Set Gorgeous foundation in 110

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Dark Circle Eraser in Illuminate

Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso

Maybelline Color Tattoo in Tough As Taupe

Maybelline MasterDrama Eye Studio eye kohl in Midnight Master

Sonia Kashuk quad in Bronze Sands (which I just now realized wasn’t in the pic either, oops!)

Maybelline Colossal Volume Express Waterproof Mascara in Glam Black

Maybelline Dream Lumi Concealer in Radiant (for highlighting)

NYX lipliner in Nude

NYX Butter Gloss in Tiramisu

L’Oreal lipstick in Fairest Nude

I also used a set of $1 ELF falsies and Duo Dark eyelash glue

A lot of the products I’m not entirely sold on (and I’ll get to why later) but in sticking with the “drugstore only” theme, I got creative. I used the primer for both face and eyes, because my normal eye primer is from NARS and you can get it at Sephora or http://www.narscosmetics.com. I’ve heard NYX makes a good dupe for it, so it’s on my list to try soon, but I don’t have it yet. My most favorite highliter ever is by BECCA and only available online, or Sephora/Ulta, so I just decided to bust out an old concealer from Maybelline that I liked well enough and I’m trying to use up.

This is the EOTD (Eye of the Day) look I came up with, a daytime smoky eye with taupes and browns, pretty work appropriate (especially if you remove the falsies). First pic is just with regular mascara, second is with the falsies added on.





This is generally the kind of look I like so I was pretty pleased with how the eyes turned out, but… not sure I like a few of the products. The ELF lashes are usually meh (I use them as my practice ones, because they’re not very realistic) but with Duo adhesive they work ok. These ones must’ve been duds, however, because they would NOT stay glued on. So weird. Oh well. I took them off after the pics anyway.

The Rimmel primer is new (I just picked it up today when I went on a formula run) so I have to give it more tries before I wash my hands of it, but if you look on the tube it states it minimized pores (um NOPE, you could still park a Buick in mine), fills in lines  (nope, they’re still there), and lasts for a long time. Eh, my foundation was still visible on my cheeks 4 hours later but needed touch ups on my T zone. Not too happy with that. The Tough as Taupe I had high expectations for, because I LOVE the Color Tattoo line, but it was difficult to work with. It was tough to blend and I had to build up about 2-3 layers in spots to get it to work. Maybe it was user error, but I used a Real Techniques dense crease brush (which has even made some of my Wet n Wild shadows look good before!) so I doubt that was it. I just used the matte brown in the Sonia Kashuk quad to blend the taupe up and past the crease for contrast and left it alone.

The Maybelline Lumi concealer I used for a highlight and it actually worked pretty well (which is good, because it’s only passable as a concealer) while the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Dark Circle Eraser in Illuminate did an ok job but I had to work with it a lot. Luckily I am queen of the dark undereye circles so I have been using concealers since I was like 16. I have 11 billion concealer brushes and get the color theory behind it (i.e. use a salmon or peach toned concealer to deal with blue or purple based circles, or a yellow/white concealer to cancel out lighter circles), coupled with really dry skin, so I’m used to having to blend concealers a LOT. It seemed to stick to the fine lines under my eyes a bit much and even though I set it with the Bobbi Brown concealer powder, I could see it settling into lines an hour later. In pictures, though, it looks amazing- nice and bright and provided a nice contrast with my contouring. I had to contour with the blush since my two favorite contour products are from Anastasia Beverly Hills (her eye shadow in Bengal and the contour powder in Fawn are both AMAZING for contouring) and I have no idea what can be used from the drugstore for that.

My eyebrows I just left alone, because I have no idea what to use from the drugstore for that- I probably could’ve used the same eyeshadow from Sonia Kashuk that I used to blend out the taupe into the crease but that’s ok.

The eyeliner, concealer, and primer all came from Youtuber recommendations so I’ll work through them a bit more and see if I still feel the same here in a week or two, but right now I’m ambivalent. I missed some of my higher end products (just because they’re easier to use, honestly).

But at least I proved to myself that it IS possible to get a cute look from drugstore products. I’m thinking about making this a regular thing and trying at least once a week to do an “all drugstore” day look.

Anyone have any good recommendations for drugstore products that you like or have had good luck using?


All about lipstick (pt .1)

I have a routine I use to apply lipstick and, whether it was a $5 Maybelline or a $32 NARS lipstick, I seem to get pretty good results and great wear time.

On the suggestion of a friend (hi Emily!), I decided to gather up my lipsticks and take some swatches for you guys, as well as go over my routine. It sounds like a lot but it’s not…ok, so it is. But it WORKS, I swear. Not just on me and my perpetually dry lips, but on other people too. Give it a try and see if it helps you too.

My routine:

First of all, drink 60+ oz of water a day, exercise often, and moisturize obsessively. For the rest of us like me who suck down Dt Dew like it’s champagne and are too tired chasing kids all day to throw on an Insanity tape and work out in the basement (what?…), this is what you do.

I moisturize, I really do. I do it obsessively, like I’m 80, because my skin is dry (most likely caused by my refusal to drink anything resembling water) and I need to. I also do it because I wear a lot of eye makeup and the skin on my eyelids will pucker up (I refuse to say wrinkle) if I don’t. So I usually moisturize daily in the morning and at night, use an eye cream on in the morning, and exfoliate 2x/week. I prefer Origins’ Night-A-Min cream and Gin-Zing moisturizer/eye brightener, but Olay makes some decent ones too. I want a Mia electronic skin cleaning brush but I’m cheap, so I wash my face with makeup remover and then Phisoderm for dry skin before I moisturize. About once a day, I use a serum from Oil of Olay or Clinique just around my eyes and eyelids. I exfoliate my lips a couple times a week with a sugar scrub and also use Chapstick or Bite Beauty’s lip balm (but holy expensive!) in the morning before makeup and at night before going to bed.

(and yes, after writing all that I feel like I should go snack on some prunes while screaming at kids to get off my lawn, but hey, I love makeup and doing awesome makeup work on dry flaky skin is like painting a chalkboard- it doesn’t stick and just looks gloppy).

So once you’ve moisturized and that includes the lines/skin around your mouth, throw on a tiny bit of Chapstick. Don’t cake it on, but one pass should be enough. Let it sink in and then here is one big trick:

Either use a lip primer (Too Faced Lip Insurance http://www.toofaced.com is a good one) or take a lip liner that matches your lipstick and lightly scribble with it on your lips. You can be sloppy, but just do it lightly and you don’t need to cover all over the lips. The point is to give the lipstick something to “grab” on to, to help boost staying power. Back in the day women would take foundation and dab it on their lips. It works the same (and has the added benefit of neutralizing lip color) but on oilier lips(yes there is such a thing) it will slide right off and make your lipstick “ball up” on your lips. No Bueno.

Then you want to line just outside your actual lip line with either a clear or flesh colored lip liner. I use Cargo’s Reverse Lip liner, but Urban Decay makes a clear one called Ozone that I’ve heard works well, too. The idea is it acts as a waxy barrier to keep lipstick inside the lines and prevent feathering. If you do use a flesh colored one, you’ll want to blend it slightly (more on that later) but clear liner you can leave as is.

Next, use a lip brush to put on your lipstick. I know, I know, it sounds like an extra step, but using a lip brush keeps you from applying too much product (which can look gloppy and/or make the lipstick feather) and helps you get precise lines. You generally want to work around the cupid’s bow (heart shaped top of your lips right under your nose) first then go to the edges. You can put a layer on and if it is a buildable lipstick, do the top first, then bottom, then go back to the top and add another layer. That way the first layer soaks in a bit first and keeps it from looking sloppy when you do a second layer.

Another way to do it is use your brush to apply the first layer, then blot it once with a tissue. Then go back and do the second layer. Same concept but it gives more of a lip stain effect.

Once the lipstick is how you like it, go back in and blend the lip liner outside your lip if you used a flesh colored pencil. Just slightly rub it in a bit so that the strong, obvious line disappears and just blends into your skin tone.

If you want to add a lipgloss on top, go ahead and do it now, but usually I would advise just to dab a bit on the center of your upper and lower lips. The glossiness makes your lips look bigger without an in your face shine (unless you’re wearing a lipstick that you WANT to be loud and glossy, then go ahead and coat it with gloss).

Last but not least, get the excess lipstick off your lips by sticking your finger between your lips, pucker up like you’re blowing a kiss, and pull your finger out of your mouth. It helps get any excess off that could’ve ended up on your teeth.

To help with transfer resistance, don’t eat any oily foods for a few hours. Drink through a straw if you can. You can obviously buy lipsticks made to be long-lasting but they peel my lips pretty badly when I use them, and then it defeats the purpose, so I do all of this first and have much better luck without shredding my lips.

Those are my tips for now… Stay tuned for All About Lipstick, pt. 2, my favorite shades and brands.


Kinky…Boots, that is…

Alright, work with me here, I needed a creative title.

One of the brands I use when doing mine and others’ makeup is M.A.C. I used to use it a lot more, but in recent years I’ve strayed in favor of other brands like Makeup Geek, ColourPop Cosmetics, NARS, and Urban Decay.

One of the things that I think is amazing about M.A.C. is their support of the arts community and those living with AIDS/HIV. 100% of the profits from their VIVA Glam lipsticks and lipglasses go to people living with AIDS/HIV, so every year I pick up one of their new shades and wear it on World AIDS Day. Viva Glam 1 (designed in collaboration with RuPaul) used to be the only red lipstick I could wear and not look like I was playing dress up in Mom’s makeup vanity again.

Until I discovered Kinky, a new lipstick and lipglass released in November and inspired by the musical Kinky Boots (http://www.kinkybootsthemusical.com).

KB-0028M-5x7-BwayArt-Brochure1I mean, c’mon, CYNDI LAUPER wrote the music and lyrics! It’s actually a really sweet, silly, and at times sad musical and I highly recommend seeing it if you can.

What was that? Squirrel?!…Oh right, lipstick.

So Kinky is everything. It’s M.A.C.’s matte formula but it isn’t nearly as drying as their normal matte formula. You don’t even need a lipliner if you are averse to such, but I recommend using at least a clear liner. I didn’t notice any feathering but I religiously use Cargo’s Reverse lipliner (Holy Grail item right there- I will FREAK if it is ever discontinued) so I rarely see feathering with lipsticks anyway.

But the color- OMG, you guys, the color of this lipstick! It’s the perfect neutral/slightly blue-based red, bright but not obnoxiously so, and it looks like a color a long-forgotten movie star from the 40’s would’ve worn sitting in the corner in a smoky jazz club. It is THAT hot. On its own, like most matte reds, it has the flatness on lips. (first pic)

But when you throw the Kinky lipglass over it, it transforms into this vinyl looking red, shiny and you can see the tiny bits of silver glitter in the formula. (second pic)

I’ll even throw in a bonus pic of me wearing it in an 80’s inspired makeup look (third pic). It makes blue eye shadow look GOOD. I might look like an extra from Hedwig and the Angry Inch or one of the girls in the Addicted to Love video, but those lips are EVERYTHING.

Holy nostrils, Batman!

Holy nostrils, Batman!











On its own, though, the lipglass is just…meh. It looks like a gloss you could spend $3 on and be happy you didn’t spend more. It’s pretty, but it’s not $15 worth of pretty. It’s a strawberry pinkish-red with glitter. It’s also still available on the MAC website (http://www.maccosmetics.com) whereas the lipstick is sold out.

But I think you could put the lipglass over any matte red lipstick and get pretty much the same effect as long as it’s a blue-based or neutral red. I’m pretty much hoarding my tube of Kinky, though (I didn’t buy a backup, because I normally can’t wear red so I didn’t have high hopes for it), so I’m thinking I need to try it with another red and see if it works the same.