Sunday, July 30, 2017

Weekend Looks: Costal Scents, Kiko, Jouer

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, this will be my last "weekend looks" post for a while as I am having surgery next week and will be in recovery for several weeks. Good news is that I will have more time to write anti-haul posts as well as other requested posts, so that will be fun. As far as looks I did this weekend, I don't really know why I gravitated toward what I did. I figured I would want to wear super colorful looks before being out of commission for a while, but my looks kind of bridged neutral and not.

Here are the looks I did this weekend:

Look 1: Costal Scents Lakeshore and Fine Wine

Lakeshore on the lid, Fine Wine blended into the crease, and Makeup Geek Bitten lightly padded onto the outer corner. NYX Vivid Brights liquid eyeliner in Vivid Violet. 

Look 2: Kiko Water Eyeshadow in #213 Dark Slate Green and Jouer Skinny Dip 

Pixie Epoxy as a base all over the lid. Kiko Dark Slate Green on the inner and outer lid and Jouer Bikini on the center of the lid. Zoeva Substitute for Love and Costal Scents Oktoberfest blended into the crease. 

Look 1: Costal Scents Lakeshore and Fine Wine
Status: Really enjoy

I think something I've come to learn about myself is that I really like blues paired with berries. Costal Scents Fine Wine is a shadow that I have really come to love, but this was the first time I ever wore Lakeshore, and I think it's a really pretty color. I paired it with one of my NYX Vivid Brights liquid eyeliners because why not. I wasn't sure how I was going to like this motley crew of colors put together, but I thought it was actually quite interesting. Also, as a fun side note, I was in Sephora last night buying a replacement skin care item (Drunk Elephant C-Firma) and the cashier went out of her way to compliment my eyeshadow. I thought that was really nice of her, but also quite funny since I was not wearing a single thing on my eyes that one can purchase in Sephora. 

Look 2: Kiko Water Eyeshadow in #213 Dark Slate Green and Jouer Skinny Dip 
Status: Love

I have to say, I really love how this look turned out. I knew I wanted to use the Skinny Dip palette again (although I am having complicated feelings about it), but I also wanted to use this Kiko shadow that I've had for a while but have only ever used on the lower lash line. So, I created this. And I really like it! I used Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy as a base because the Kiko shadow is a "water" eyeshadow, meaning it can be worn either wet or dry. I'm not a huge fan of using shadows wet as I think it kind of ruins the shadow in the pan afterward, and I've never been the biggest fan of MAC Fix+, but I absolutely adore Pixie Epoxy and imagine it does the same thing as applying a shadow wet, only with less mess. And, man, both the Kiko shadow and the Jouer shadow look incredible under it. I debated using my Viseart Dark Matte palette for the crease work to really smoke out the green, but I decided (as usual) to have a warm brown crease. And I love this look. The Kiko shadow is gorgeous, like two others I have. But I will say that not all Kiko wet shadows are created equal. I love the three that I have, but I have also decluttered two because they were so lackluster. And lastly, the Skinny Dip palette. So, obviously, the shine in the center of my lid is gorgeous, but I used Bikini today and Skinny Dip last week and I can't really tell a difference between them. I also feel like Star Light and Magic Hour might have a similar effect once applied onto the eyes (I think they will both look silver), but I haven't tried either of them yet, so I am still reserving judgement. I will say, however, that I am disappointed Bikini and Skinny Dip are so similar. Both are gorgeous, but I don't need duplicate shadows in the same palette.

July Favorites: Chantecaille, Wet N Wild, Urban Decay, Australian Gold, and Bobbi Brown

It has been a while since I had a monthly favorites post, and that's because I haven't really had any new favorites lately. I feel like a lot of people have monthly "favorites" that are just the new products that they have tried and liked. And while that is totally fine, that's just now how I approach the topic. For me, for something to be a monthly favorite, it has to be something that I have genuinely used and loved all month, not just for a little bit. 

Most of the things that are my favorites are all-time favorites that I've already talked about, so I don't know how interesting it would be to find out that I'm still loving Becca Moonstone or Physician's Formula Butter Bronzer. 

But this is what I've loved in July. 

Australian Gold Botanical Tinted Sunscreen 

I typically like to wear a sunscreen every day, but I have finally come to accept that it's just not all that necessary when you live in New York City. To my great heartache, the sun hardly ever shines on me. Even when it's a completely sunny day, the buildings just block everything, and I am perpetually in the shade. All of the "foundations" that I use have SPF in them, and I just haven't felt the need to have a sunscreen as well. But then I switched foundations (I'll get to that in a second), and with it being summer, I felt I needed a little extra SPF, even if the sun still was never shining on me. I decided on this one from Australian Gold because it's tinted, and I thought it might give me some additional coverage. And I love it. It doesn't break me out, works great under my current foundation, and has an SPF 50. The best part is that it is so inexpensive. For years I was using sunscreens that were very expensive for little product because they were specifically for the face and didn't break me out. I absolutely loathe the feeling of greasy sunscreen, and it has always been a no-go for my face. So that fact that this is non-greasy, made for the face, and only $15 for a ton of product makes this an instant favorite for me. 

Chantecaille Just Skin in Vanilla 

So, this is an expensive product. And while I wanted to like it (since it was so expensive), I also didn't want to like it (since it's so expensive). This is kind of the perfect "foundation" for me, and I put foundation in quotes because it is a tinted moisturizer. I didn't even wear any kind of liquid foundation until about a year ago, and I've always preferred a sheer coverage. Just Skin is perfectly named. This product just makes me look like I have good skin. (For reference, I have pretty okay skin. I don't have acne and only break out if I don't properly wash my face or if I use something that irritates it. I used to have a lot of sun spots and hyper pigmentation, but after years of skin care and sunscreen, almost all of that has disappeared.) If someone has what they would consider "problematic" skin, I can see this not being a great product. But I really love how this looks on my skin. It doesn't look like I am wearing foundation, which is my goal. I don't mind having crazy eyeshadow or blush, but for some reason, I just don't want it looking like I have visible foundation. The only con I had with this product was that it wasn't all that long wearing. Funny enough, pairing this crazy expensive tinted moisturizer with the inexpensive sunscreen has completely fixed that for me, and I love the way this looks. I apply both sunscreen and tinted moisturizer with my fingers, and everything melds together. I love it. 

Chantecaille Faux Cils Longest Lash Mascara

Eff this stupid, effing expensive, amazing mascara. I purchased this mascara (along with Just Skin) shortly after my first surgery to treat myself. Plus, I was genuinely curious to see if this mascara would live up to its claims of lengthening lashes. I don't have bad lashes, but I am surrounded by people who have the world's best lashes, so I am always looking for something to make my lashes grow. (I know false lashes are all the rage right now because people on YouTube look better on camera with them, but for every day life, that just seems so impractical and frankly high maintenance to me.) Speaking of impractical, I bought this stupidly expensive mascara. And guess what? I have completely fallen for it. I've had it now for about a month, and I have used it every day. I instantly liked the mascara, but I couldn't tell if it was making my lashes grow (which would be the ONLY reason I would consider repurchasing). But, lucky for me (I guess), I have been taking pictures of my makeup for several months, so I had something to compare. Let me show you.


After about a month of use:

When I compared these photos, I have to say that I was actually quite surprised. I think the difference is really apparent, even in my lower lashes (which have always been pretty much nothing). In addition to what I feel is pretty obvious growth, this is also just an incredible mascara. I don't remember the mascara I used in the top photo, but I do know that I've only used mascaras that I really enjoy. So whatever it was that I used, I thought it was a great mascara. The price point on this, however, it literally more than three times more expensive than the most expensive mascara I've purchased. I was able to justify it as a treat to myself following a major surgery, but every couple months? I don't know. But, when you look at the cost of lash growth products or the cost of eyelash extensions, then the price of this mascara is a little easier to swallow. I'll have to consider if this is a luxury I am willing to pay for, but I have to say that this is hands down the best mascara I've used. 

Wet N Wild Brulee

On the complete opposite side of the price spectrum is this incredible Wet N Wild eyeshadow. I've owned Brulee before and really loved it, but eventually threw it away in one of my big declutters because it was several years old. It took me a few more years to repurchase, but I am so glad I did because I use this guy all the time. When I started getting really into my single shadows, specifically my indie shadows that are loose and can't be put into a palette, I really wanted to have a great brow bone single that I could easily grab for. And I knew that no other shadow would fit that bill for me. Only Brulee. This is definitely one of my favorite brow bone shadows, and considering that it is, what? A dollar? That completely blows me away. I am someone who enjoys luxury makeup, but more than that, I love when a product just works. And this shadow beats out (for me) the likes of Viseart and Tom Ford. You can't really tell in the photo, but I have a pretty good dip going on the upper right side of the shadow, and that's always a sign of how much I love something. 

Urban Decay Roadstripe

I first heard about this shadow from Elle S on YouTube. (If you haven't checked out her channel, I recommend doing so. She's someone with a "makeup rehab" mentality, but she is also just super crazy passionate about makeup and using products that you have and love. I love her inspiration and colorful looks.) She raved about this shadow for months on end, which tells me something. Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I feel that what happens most often in the beauty community is that people have new loves of the moment and then they move on to whatever's next. So to hear someone talk about the same eyeshadow month after month told me that there might have been something special here. I've written before about my complete love for Illamasqua Cascade, which is the most beautiful blue duochrome that I have ever used. And Roadstripe is like the violet version of that. To be completely honest, I think Cascade is definitely prettier than Roadstripe, but there are a lot of days where a purple inner corner just looks better than a blue inner corner. And on those days, I go for Roadstripe. This is also a shadow that I have a sizable dip in (on the right side), and I've been surprised to see that I have used this so much. I've been wearing nothing but duochromes in my inner corner for the better part of this year, and this is definitely a favorite of mine. 

Bobbi Brown Camel 

I know I have mentioned this shadow in a favorites post before, but I definitely think it warrants another mention. I recently realized that if someone asked me what my all-time favorite shadow was, my answer would be Bobbi Brown Camel. And I guess the reason I never realized that before is that I expect that my favorite shadow should be a really stunning shimmer, not a matte brown. But, this is it. Ever since I bought this shadow, I have been using it all the time. I use it at least once a week, but usually more. It's just the perfect color for my skin tone that is neutral but still very interesting. And I have yet to find a shadow that duplicates Camel. Rubbish from the Melt Rust Stack is close, but a little more yellow than orange, and Makeup Geek Desert Sands (a shadow some people consider a duplicate) isn't all that similar, in my experience. There is just something about the mustard undertone of this that just flatters my eye, and I love it so much. 

Here are some of my favorite looks featuring Camel:

Saturday, July 29, 2017

This Week's Looks: Makeup Geek, Fyrinnae, Kat Von D, Ardency Inn, and Jouer

You all may remember a couple months ago that I shared I would be having a couple of surgeries and would be a little quiet on the blog front, especially in the "this week's looks" posts. I had the first surgery two months ago and have been in recovery, and I am having the second next week. So this will be my last weekly looks post for a while. I'll post a weekend looks post tomorrow, and that will also be the last for a while. What's nice is that since I'll be off work for some of the recovery time, I'll have more time to write anti-haul posts, which I know are the posts my readers most enjoy. 

In terms of makeup this week, I just wore what I wanted and had some fun because I knew this would be my last week wearing makeup for a while. As always, my weekly looks are more toned down than my weekend looks because of work, but I still feel these looks were a little fun for work. 

Here are five looks I did this week. 

Look 1: Makeup Geek Blacklight

Blacklight on the lid, Colourpop Silver Lining and 143 blended into the crease, and Colourpop Say I Do blended above Silver lining and 143. 

Look 2: Kat Von D Pastel Goth

Clementine on the lid, Meow blended into the crease, Dope padded onto the outer corner, and Skull on the brow bone. 

Look 3: Fyrinnae Serendipity

Serendipity on the lid (over Pixie Epoxy) and Costal Scents Fine Wine blended into the crease. 

Look 4: Ardency Inn Hell 

Hell on the lid and Bobbi Brown Camel blended into the crease.

Look 5: Jouer Skinny Dip and Melt Rust Stack 

Jouer Tan Lines on the inner and outer lid and Skinny Dip on the middle of the lid, Melt Rubbish and Antique blended into the crease, and Melt Classic on the brow bone. 

Makeup Geek Blacklight
Status: Favorite 

I've written about this shadow before, so I will keep this brief. I really love this shadow. It's a blue/purple duochrome (so of course it doesn't show up well in photos) that has the appearance of being a neutral shadow but also colorful and interesting. I paired it with some of my favorite berry/pink shadows, and I think the look came out really pretty. I recently bought some quad palettes because I originally started my makeup collection with quads, and I wanted to see how I felt about having some premade looks. Since this is one of my favorite looks, it made sense to me to create it as a quad (however, the quad pictured has ABH Buon Fresco instead of Colourpop Silver Lining). 

Kat Von D Pastel Goth
Status: Keep, enjoy

Although I have addressed this a few times, inevitably someone will ask why I own this palette since I wrote an anti-haul post on it. I bought this palette as a symbol of solidarity when Kat Von D wrote "No mi presidente" on her Instagram and the post was filled with hate and people saying they would never again purchase from her. This was her newest product out at the time, so I bought it to show support to her as well as all women who were taking a stand. 

Since owning it, I have enjoyed using it, and I use it on a semi-regular basis. But, I still stand behind what I said in that anti-haul post, which is why I have not removed it despite now owning the palette. I have only used it as a companion palette before this look, and I have to say that I really liked how this turned out. But I do wish the shadows were more pigmented. In the photos, the pigment looks really good, but that was after building the shadows up quite a bit. On the lower lash line especially it is nearly impossible to get any of these shadows to show up. But I don't dislike this palette, it is unique to my collection in a lot of ways, and I use it often. So this ended up being a good purchase for me. But I also strongly feel that I had skipped out on this, like I originally intended, I would not be missing out. 

Fyrinnae Serendipity
Status: Favorite

This is also a shadow that I've written about before, so I will keep this short. I LOVE this shadow; it is one of my all-time favorites. When I was first exploring indie shadows, one of my readers said that Serendipity was one of her favorite shadows and that I had to give it a try. I have to say that the swatches I've seen online of this shadow don't do it justice, in my opinion. In swatches, Serendipity looks like a rusty bronze. But on me at least, it's like a dusty golden mauve. It is so pretty. I highly recommend this shade to everyone because it's a neutral shadow but unlike anything else that I have. (It does require Pixie Epoxy, however.)

Ardency Inn Hell 
Status: Keep, for now

This was the first time I wore this shadow, and while I thought it was really pretty, I think it could be a pass for a lot of people. I was sure that I had other colors just like this in my collection, but when I swatched all the ones I thought were duplicate, none of them had the depth of this shadow, especially with the shine that it gives. The closest I have is ABH Brownie, but Hell is much deeper. The only thing is that I don't usually wear colors this deep on the lid. This would be much more of an outer corner color for me, but I already have several deep brown shimmers that could fill that purpose. So, I don't know. This is a gorgeous shadow, but I just don't know how much use I will get out of it. 

Jouer Skinny Dip
Status: Keep

This was my first Jouer purchase, and I have to say that I am unbelievably pleased. I bought this palette in part because I wanted to see how it compared to my Natasha Denona shadows that came from the #9 5-pan palette. The shadows are indeed pretty similar, but the Jouer ones, I think, are prettier and pack a better punch. Plus, the Jouer palette has six shadows for $40, and Natasha Denona has five shadows for $48. The colors were so shiny that it was actually hard to take a photo of them, but I thought the look was just so pretty. I can't wait to wear them again. I paired this look with the Melt Rust Stack, which is one of my all-time favorite palettes of sorts. This is my ideal neutral matte palette, even more than the Kat Von D Shade and Light Eye (which has been decluttered from my collection) and the Viseart Neutral Matte (still in my collection). I reach for the Rust Stack above everything else. I've only used Skinny Dip one time, and I'm planning on using again tomorrow. I don't have established thoughts on it since I've only used it once, but I've been very impressed so far. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

What I'm Not Buying: Anastasia Beverly Hills Subculture

Anastasia Beverly Hills has released their latest palette, Subculture. 

And I won't be buying. 

To be completely honest, I wasn't sure if I would make this post or not because I flip-flopped almost daily between telling myself that I didn't need this palette and flat out deciding I was going to buy it. But, I've officially made the decision that I'm not going to buy this. 

Part of why it's hard for me to write an entire post about why I'm not going to buy it and hopefully help others who may not want to add to their collection is because there is so much about this palette and brand that I really enjoy. 

I like that Anastasia sent this palette as PR to several reviewers who only have a few hundred followers. I appreciate that they consider those opinions worthwhile instead of the same dozen or so. 

I like that this palette is something a little different in a market that is oversaturated with warm tones and reds. I like that when Urban Decay came out with the (boring as hell) Naked Heat, ABH comes out with this. 

But, I don't need to buy it. And here's why:

I do not like the ABH palette formula.

I repeat: I do not like the ABH palette formula. 

I have an entire post about why I returned the Modern Renaissance. And what it boils down to is:
  • I bought it for the hype
  • I already had all those colors in my collection 
  • I didn't like the formula 
And guess what? I realized I was doing literally the exact same thing with Subculture.

You see, the hype was starting to get to me. I already have those colors in my collection. And I don't like the ABH formula.

And it's remarkable to me that after all this time blogging about what I'm not gonna buy, resisting hype, and talking myself out of unnecessary purchases, the excitement of the new "it" palette can still get to me.

But I don't like the ABH palette formula. I have a few singles from ABH (before they reformulated), and I love those shadows. But the MR formula was so soft and powdery that I found the shadows really challenging to blend on my specific skin type and eye shape. I found that the colors muddied together every time I used it, and instead of building on top of one another (the way the rest of the mattes in my collection do), the ABH ones mixed together in a really unflattering way. Everyone's skin is different, and I know many people love the ABH formula. But I've also started seeing more and more people admit the exact same experience I had of the shadows being too soft and muddy.

So why, then, would I even entertain the idea of doing this all over again?

Let's look at Subculture:

This palette was designed to be a "sister" palette to Modern Renaissance. Norvina, who also created MR, said that she was constantly reaching for darker shadows to add to her MR looks, so she wanted to create a palette to complement MR and fill in some holes. 

I find that explanation really interesting because I would never look at Subculture and think it's supposed to be a companion to MR, but I think it's really cool that it is. 

Let's look at swatches:

Looking at these swatches, there are definitely colors that I'm drawn to, like Roxy, Edge, Axis, All Star, and Destiny. And when I evaluate all the swatches, I can see that I would get use out of all of them. 

But let's look at the colors as just pigments:

What's cool about Subculture is that there are not dozens of other palettes that have this color scheme. So even when looking at the pigments, there is an illusion that the colors are pretty unique. And to a lot of collections, they will be. But to mine, they are not. 

And what I see even more when I look at these pigments is that this is not a palette (at all) that I would reach for on a daily basis, and I strongly suspect that to be the case for a lot of other people as well. 

But the main reason I am staying away from this palette (in addition to the harsh reality check I've had to give myself about the formula) is that I own Viseart Dark Matte:

In this palette, I have several of the dark/colorful matte shades in Subculture. And for the shimmery shades and lighter mattes, I have those elsewhere in my collection as they are less unique. 

Subculture looks like Lime Crime Venus II:

(I find it curious, by the way, that Modern Renaissance looks so much like Lime Crime Venus, which came out years before MR, and that Subculture looks like Venus II, which has also been out for a couple years.)

And NYX Olive You:

And Zoeva Matte Spectrum:

And ABH Master Palette by Mario:

Here's the thing. I think Subculture is very much a palette of the moment. I think ABH developed a cult following after Modern Renaissance and a lot of people find the brand a bit infallible at the moment. I also think a lot of people want to be "included" in the conversation and have the "cool" palette, even if it is not something they would normally buy. 

But the reason Modern Renaissance was such a popular palette is because it was extremely neutral with some berry shades thrown in. People were able to feel like it was "more than a neutral palette" while it was still very much a neutral palette. But Subculture isn't. 

And I have a feeling that what is going to happen to a lot of people who buy Subculture is the same thing that happened to me when I bought Venus II. You see, when I first saw that palette, I didn't like it at all. But then I started seeing people buy it, review it, and make looks with it. And I thought the looks were cool. And I thought this palette was going to break me out of my comfort zone and make me do something a little different. And do you know what happened? I used the palette once. ONE time. And then it sat there, unused, in my collection, making me feel guilty, until I finally sucked it up and decluttered it. 

Since then I have really discovered my love for color, but I have Viseart Dark Matte, so I don't need anything more than that. I think the colors in Subculture are a little more avant-garde than most palettes, which is cool, but I don't think most people are going to want to use those colors on a daily basis. 

A comment I have seen a lot with regard to this palette is: "I don't know how I would use half the shades, but I want it!"

Here's the thing. Instead, why don't you buy some singles of the colors you are drawn to and don't already have? Chances are you already have the colors you are most drawn to. And if you don't know how you would use half of the palette, it is very likely that you won't end up using those colors at all. So the only shadows you would use are ones you already have. A much better scenario would be to buy a few shades and get a lot of use out of them rather than to buy an entire palette that will go unused. 

So, I'm going to let this hype train pass without me. I already have the colors in this palette and, equally important, I don't like the ABH palette formula. And that's okay. The hype will eventually pass, and I'll be happy that I don't have another palette in my collection that is not getting use and that I will feel guilty over. I don't need Subculture, so I'm not going to buy it.