Monday, April 28, 2014

Don't You Put it on Your Mouth!

You know those touchy topics that people don't like to talk about?  The ones where they probably know they're doing the wrong thing, but make up excuses for why they don't care or it isn't a big deal?  I mean the significant proportion of women wearing the wrong sized bra, or people who drink bottled water even though it's basically bullshit.  I also mean people who don't throw out their expired makeup.

So I probably mean you, right?

Every time I toot this horn, I get a lot of pushback.  People's hesitations seem to be based around two things: waste and cost.  Fortunately, I have three things to respond to them with.  Three is more than two.  Basic math says you should listen to me.

Waste: Most of us have a problem throwing away something that isn't finished.  You don't drink half a beer and leave the rest (unless you are my brother).  You don't eat only half a box of Smarties and throw the rest away.  Throwing things out half-used is insane.  Unless the second half of that beer has been used as an ashtray, and the Smarties are so old the candy coating has turned mostly white.  When the thing you are enjoying has become so old or so unusable that it would gross you out or cause you bodily harm, it is not wasteful to throw it away - it's common sense.

Here's how it is: bacteria is a thing.  Every time you don't wash your foundation brush or scrape the oily residue off the top layer of your eyeshadow, you're literally rubbing bacteria babies into your face.  Which might not be a problem in really small doses, but bacteria continue to multiply and multiply again every day, and after awhile that tube of mascara is a veritable cesspool.  Which you then stick in your eye.

Cost: One reason people are especially loathe to waste unused makeup is what that makeup cost them to buy or will cost them to replace.  If you're one of those people who spends $45 per bottle of foundation, you're probably not going to love the idea of chucking it before every last drop has been squeezed out.  One solution to this problem is to not spend $45 on something you don't use enough to finish before it expires, but who am I to judge? 

If you need an economic argument, let's ask ourselves what our skin is worth to us.  We spend hundreds and thousands on sunscreens, moisturizers, anti-aging elixirs, etc. just to keep it young and healthy.  A lot of our self-esteem depends on how our skin looks and makes us feel.  Or if you want to be less philosophical and look at it in short term, measurable numbers, what about the additional cost for concealer to cover pimples and rashes that could have been avoided by a few sanitary habits?  Or how about the cost of medication to clear up said rashes?  A lot of people don't notice a huge impact on their skin related to expired products, but a lot of people also don't get melanoma from using tanning beds.  That doesn't mean the people who did don't wish they'd done something differently.  Shit happens.  Don't let it happen to you because you couldn't spare $20 to replace that tube of lipstick.

I had way too much fun with this.

The third thing - utility: Most makeup products do something.  They're sold with any number of obnoxious promises, sure, but regardless of the legitimacy of those claims, products have uses.  Some plump, some cover, some lengthen, some lighten.  Presumably, the things a product does are the reason you bought and use that product.  A product that is expired will not do those things.  No matter how you feel about bacteria replicating in your mascara, a nine-month old dried up tube is simply never going to give you the results you were getting when you first opened it.  Using expired makeup is literally just putting bacteria on your face for no fucking reason.

Does not compute.

Here is a basic guideline for what needs to be tossed when:

Source unknown.

The only thing on this list I personally disagree with are the brushes.  If you own good brushes and take good care of them, including regular washing and proper drying (flat to dry, so they hold their shape and water doesn't worm down between the bristles into the collar), there shouldn't be an expiration date on those.

Another way to know an item's shelf life is to look at the product itself.  Many products will include this symbol somewhere to give you a hint of how long it should live.  The number in the symbol is the estimated number of months in the countdown.

Also, most products are probably in bad shape when they've separated or dried out.  Powders can start to look shiny from a buildup of facial oils and bacterial growth - this can often be scraped off, but after a year or two, put it out of its misery.  Mascara gets more and more bacteria-y the drier it gets (Bonus tip: never pump the mascara wand in and out of the tube, this forces in more air and dries it out and makes the problem worse.  Instead, stir gently to load the wand with a minimum of air-carnage), so if it's looking a bit crusty, or starts to smell at all, DTMFA. 

The bottom line is, if you aren't using something enough that you still have it after it's expired, it's wasting space in your makeup bag anyway.  Toss that shit and get yourself something younger and better looking.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Themed Manicure: Easter 2014

My friend issued a nail polish challenge for the month of April: a spring or Easter-themed manicure.  This one was hard for me, because Easter is all about pastels and cute things, and spring is really bright pinks and corals and other colours that really aren't me.

I tried.

OPI "The It Colour", Essie "Shake Your $$ Maker" and "Really Red"

Yellow and flowers really aren't my wheelhouse, so I tried again.  Polish easter eggs, called "pisanki", are beautifully dyed line and dot designs.


I lack the talent of the people who create these, but I did the best I could with a few Sharpies.

Essie "Really Red" and Sharpie

Not terrible.  In fact, pretty cool!  Take that, Easter!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Eye Liner Tutorial

I was asked to do an eyeliner tutorial by a couple of people, so I've put something together on a few methods that might help.  Anyone who was asking me to explain how I do my go-to liquid liner is shit out of luck though, because I just do that freehand with a flick at the end and don't think there is any way to break it down into steps.  But I do use some combination of the methods outlined here as part of that, or each on their own, depending on the look I'm going for.  So hopefully this will still be helpful.

Basic Liner - needs eye pencil (or eyeliner brush and cream or gel liner, or if you're me, a liquid liner and a steady hand)

As previously mentioned in my lip tutorial, the key to not fucking up your eyeliner is short strokes.  If you need to, pull your lid from the corner a little bit to make it smoother (but not tight, you want to maintain the shape of your eye), and with a sharp pencil do short little strokes along the lashline.

At the end, you get a sharp line that you can leave as-is or smudge or do whatever with.  I did my example with pencil, but if you have a fine liner brush and a cream liner, you would still do pretty much the same thing.

Basic eyeliner

Push Liner - needs flat eyeliner brush, powder eyeshadow

For a more natural, less makeupy kind of look, there's push (or stamped) liner.  The idea here is not to actually draw a clear line, but to stamp some extra oomph into the base of your lashes.  The closer you are to the lashline, the darker (and thicker!) your lashes will look, and your eye will be a bit more defined without looking obviously made up.  In fact, once you add mascara, it shouldn't even look like you've lined your eye at all - but it will give your lashline a little extra depth that you can't get with either liner or mascara alone.

For push liner you'll need a flat eyeliner brush.  Ideally, you'll want one a bit wider than what I've got here so the process will be quicker and easier (time is money, people), but that shit is $32 and I don't do this often enough to make the time worth that money.

Actually, maybe I SHOULD invest in a new brush.

Step one: Load the tip of your brush with powder and pull your lid a little bit taut.

Step two: Push the tip of the brush into the very base of your lashes.  No need to drag it along or try to draw a a line, just push it in and wiggle it around.

When it's done it will be a soft, more natural-looking line than you can get with a pencil.

Push liner

Waterline - needs eye pencil (angled brush and powder eyeshadow optional)

This is easy.  This is the normal thing you do with a pencil, just drag the side of the pencil tip along your waterline and the colour transfers.  Like magic. Some people even just close their eye with the pencil in there and wiggle it around and do both top and bottom at once.  I don't do it that way because I think it's gross.  But I won't judge.

Step one: Sharpen your pencil.  Don't make it too sharp because the idea here is not to poke yourself in the eye.  The sharpening is just to shave off any part of the pencil that may have gotten a bit dry (read: won't transfer well) and any bacteria that have been accumulating since the last time you used it.

Step two: Pull your lower lid down a tiny bit to avoid eye-pokage and run the side of the pencil along the rim.

For some people this might take a bit of getting used to, but it is worth doing.  Doing your waterline gives you so much more space to play with colour, or allows you to blend your lower lid into an overall look.  You don't have to do the entire thing, either, if your look doesn't call for it - running black liner all the way along the waterline might make your eye look a little smaller, so you can just do the outer half if you want to keep your eye looking open and bright.

At this point, you can really load the pencil onto the lower waterline and then blink a few times to transfer some of that colour to the top if you want to, but there is a better way to do the upper waterline later in this post.

Basic liner with lower waterline

There is a way to make lower waterline colour last a little longer, which really isn't recommended for every day, but sometimes when I'm doing a heavy, rock n' roll, black smoky eye, it is just not okay for my waterlines to suddenly stand out all pink in the middle of the black hole because the pencil wore off.  This way is by adding powder on top of the pencil.  Yeah.  Powder in your eye. Sorry.

Step one: Load up one of the sides of the brush and tap off the excess.  Please tap.  Not tapping means the excess will poof into your eye during step two, and that will cause you to tear up and cry off all the makeup you just applied.  Total waste.  And oh, I guess it also matters that it keeps the powder out of your eye.

Step two: Pull your lower eyelid out a bit (so you're not actually putting the powder right into your eye) and pat the loaded side of the brush along the waterline.  Patting is important so you don't just wipe everything right off.  As an added bonus, patting is also less irritating to your eye, which is a really good thing when you're already being kind of a bitch to it by doing this at all.

Basic liner with powder waterline

Tightliner - needs flat eyeliner brush, powder eyeshadow (or a really sharp eye pencil)

Tightlining is basically upside-down push liner.  You just stamp the powder into the underside base of your lashes.  It is actually kind of genius.  Once you've got your method down, it is a super fast and easy way to pump up your lashes and define your eyes without actually having to do your eyeliner.  This is what you want to do on "no makeup" days.  It looks gorgeous and natural and it might change your life.

It is kind of a pain to get used to, though, be warned.

Step one: Pull your upper eyelid up by the lashes.  Don't yank on your lashes, just holding them against your lid should be enough.  All you really need here is to be able to see the base of them easily.

There is no way to make this photo not gross.  I tried.

Step two: Load up the tip of a flat brush with powder and tap off the excess.  Push the tip of the brush into the base of your lashes, as close as possible.  This helps the powder get right in there between lashes and keeps it farther away from your eye, which will in turn help it last because it won't get as wet (and it also won't end up in your eye).  Alternatively, you can use a sharp pencil and get it in as close to the lashes as possible.


It might not look like much, but look how it compares with nothing:

No liner / tightliner only

The difference is subtle, but it's there, and it's important.

When you do push liner and tightlining together, you create a lot of depth that will make your lashes look fuller whether you add mascara or not.

Push liner and tightline

Bonus Round:

Cat Eye - needs angled brush, cream or gel liner

Not exactly.

I was going to do this as a separate tutorial because I don't have enough ideas to keep posts coming for very long and wanted to stretch out my material, but then I realized that 1) like three people even read this blog and 2) how lame would it be to have to go to two different posts to find everything you need?  So instead I'm putting this here and we'll call this entire post an eyeliner encyclopaedia.  You're welcome.

Say it like this.  You know you should.

Step one: Load up your angled brush with a cream or gel liner.  I have neither of those things because I usually do this freehand with a liquid liner, so I'll demonstrate with a slightly different method and a cream eyeshadow.

One of the major benefits of this method compared to my freehand is that because it uses the width of the brush and the lines of your own eye to measure where you draw, you're going to get an exact match on both eyes right away and never have to fret about ruining your liner trying to make them match.

Don't be like me.

Step two: Line up the brush to continue the natural line created by your lower lashes.  Imagine if the lower lashline just kept on going along the same trajectory - put your brush on that line.  Then stamp the brush down in that spot.

Step three: Now line up the brush between the top corner of the line you just stamped and your top lashline, at whatever angle works for the thickness you want.  We're creating three sides of a triangle here - two sides with liner and one with your lashes.  Then stamp again.

Step four: Fill in the triangle with the liner, and then continue the line along the lashline.

Cat eye liner

For extra cattiness, repeat the process on the inner corner as well!


And phew.  The longest post of all time is now done and will hopefully be of some use to someone.

For anyone who is curious, I'll include a list of the products I used, but this is one of those times when it doesn't really matter because there are 87 billion liner and eyeshadow products on the market that will all do the same things.

Powder shadow: Urban Decay eyeshadow "Crave" from the Naked Basics palette
Pencil liner: Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in "Crave"
Cream "liner": MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot in "Blackground"

Friday, April 18, 2014

UD Electric Pressed Pigment Palette (Review)

Urban Decay has got my number.  Every time I tell myself I'm done buying makeup for the next little while, they release something I just have to have.  This month it was their eye shadow brights palette.  Bastards.

BUT, as soon as this baby arrived, I felt better.  I mean, look at this.  Look at it.

Even the outside is pretty.

Four of the shades are not technically approved for use on the eye area by the FDA, but I guess I live dangerously.

First up, swatches.  With one exception, all apply like butter, and build and blend well.  I want to sound like I'm being appropriately critical instead of just geeking out over here, but the truth is... I am geeking out hard.  This palette is marvelous.

Revolt is a really glittery silver.  It was actually the only disappointment of the bunch (spoiler alert).  It was kind of a pain to apply and even after building was kind of just an unbounded smear of glitter.

Gonzo is a medium blue with a hint of shimmer.  It's the tiniest bit powdery, but builds up beautifully.

Slowburn is a red-leaning orange.  It fucking rocks.  If this palette was just ten of this shade over and over again, I would probably still have bought it.  That is all I have to say.

Savage is a bright matte pink that also significantly rocks.  I wouldn't mind if it was the slightest bit more pigmented, but it builds so easily that this is basically a non-issue.

Fringe is a gorgeous metallic teal (that unfortunately wouldn't photograph as well as I hoped).  You'll just have to trust me.  It builds well and looks fantastic.

Thrash is a yellow-green that is just awesome. 

Urban is a dark purple.  It needs a little building but is easy to work with.

Freak is a light green.  It applies easily and is really pigmented.

Chaos is a deep matte blue.  It's super pigmented and applies like butter.  It did give me a tiny bit of fallout on the swatch, but when applying carefully to my lid I didn't notice any fallout on my face, so I'm not going to be concerned about that.

Jilted is a shimmery mauve.  I have nothing bad to say about this, it applies wonderfully and looks great.

Here are a few looks I did while playing with this thing today. 

"Jilted", "Urban" and "Chaos" (Lipstick: OCC "Strumpet")

"Freak", "Fringe" and "Gonzo" (Lipstick: Smashbox "Nylon Nude" and Laura Mercier "Bare Naked")

"Thrash", "Slowburn" and "Savage" ((Lipstick: Kat Von D "Backstage Bambi")

Admit it.  Super fun.  The possibilities are endless, I will be messing around with this palette for weeks.