Friday, August 26, 2016

Urban Decay Revolution Lipsticks for $10 and other Urban Decay deals and free stuff (plus another duochrome!)

Disclosure: Affiliate/referral links.
HauteLook has 28 shades of the discontinued Urban Decay Revolution Lipsticks for $9.97 each. I highly recommend Rapture and the matte After Dark. I was hoping that they'd have Tilt, since I missed out on that one in the sales during the spring, but since they don't appear to, I will probably sit this one out. (Ulta has marked them back up to $21 for some reason.) Shipping for beauty products from HauteLook is about $6 and you usually have to wait a couple of weeks for your order to ship.

cheap and free Urban Decay deals

Since I got the order pictured above in the mail yesterday, I figured I'd make this post completely Urban Decay-themed. I got everything shown there for $10. It's actually just 4 items, but still! From upper left going clockwise: travel-size Perversion mascara, eyeshadow single in Sideline, blush sample card, and 7 eyeshadow samples cards with a primer sample.

The way to do this is to sign up for Urban Decay Junkies program, which is free. By doing so, you get free shipping on every order, and you get a free eyeshadow single of your choice (regular price $19) during your birthday month with any full-price order. That includes travel-size products, so I picked out the Perversion mascara, which I've had samples of before and really liked. One of these mini tubes lasts me at least three months, which is when you're usually advised to toss mascaras (though I rarely adhere to that rule). Anyway, I get about as much use out of it before it dries up as I do a full-size mascara. The free sample cards were added to my cart when I checked. And let me repeat: free shipping!

You also earn points for purchases and other things like posting reviews, referrals, and connecting your social media accounts. The points can be redeemed for $10 and $20 rewards toward purchases on the site. It's a pretty good program. I don't know if I'll make many other orders, but it's worth signing up for the birthday gift alone.

Finally, swatches of Urban Decay Sideline, since of course I chose a duochrome as my free eyeshadow. It's a peachy gold with a green shift. The green is really vibrant in person, but for some reason it doesn't come across strongly in my photos.

Swatch of Urban Decay Sideline

Swatch of Urban Decay Sideline

[Note: I also took new photos of the Maybelline duochrome Color Tattoo for my recent duochrome eyeshadows post. They still don't show it in all its true glory, but they are an improvement.]

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Good but not great: Review of L.A. Girl Pro Conceal HD Concealer in Classic Ivory

Disclosure: Affiliate links.
LA Girl Pro Conceal HD Concealer in Classic Ivory

The L.A. Girl Pro Conceal HD Concealer got a lot of hype when it first appeared on the market a year or two ago as an excellent budget option. I'm pretty dedicated to the brilliance of my Sephora Gel Serum Concealer (reviewed here), but I never can resist the siren song of cheap shit. The regular price for a tube of this stuff is $2.99.

Unfortunately, this concealer wasn't very easy for me to find. Walgreens sells it, but the stores in my areas don't seem to carry L.A. Girl. In the winter, I ordered a tube from in the winter in the shade Classic Ivory, which, as you'll see, is at least a shade too dark. There are two lighter shades which have recently been added to the range, Porcelain and Light Ivory, but many stores don't seem to stock them. In fact, Walgreens doesn't even have Classic Ivory on its website. You can get the lighter shades from L.A. Girl's website, but they charge $5 a tube plus shipping. So Classic Ivory it is.

I have to say, if I'm forced to choose between a concealer a shade too dark or a shade too light, I will go with too dark. For my own face, I don't like the look of completely blanking out and highlighting away any shadows under my eyes. While I don't necessarily favor "natural" makeup in the sense that I want to look like I'm not wearing any makeup at all, I do prefer that sort of effect for my skin. I'd rather have a natural texture that isn't flawless than a "perfect" but unreal base. Almost everyone has some darkness below their eyes, even if it's just a literal shadow, so completely obliterating that can look a bit artificial. Besides which, applying a too-light concealer on top of a zit can highlight it and draw attention, which presumably is exactly what you don't want the concealer to do.

You can see from the swatches below that L.A. Girl Classic Ivory is one of the darkest and peachiest concealers I have on hand. Peach can be good for canceling out blue under-eye circles, but something a touch lighter and more neutral would work better for me.

Swatches of LA Girl Pro Conceal HD Concealer in Classic Ivory, Sephora Gel Serum Concealer in Fondant, TheBalm Time Balm Concealer in Lighter than Light, Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer in Beige, and Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly

Left to right above: L.A. Girl Pro Conceal HD Concealer in Classic Ivory, Sephora Gel Serum Concealer in Fondant (reviewed here), TheBalm Time Balm Concealer in Lighter than Light (reviewed here), Clé de Peau Beauté Concealer in Beige (reviewed here), and Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly (reviewed here).

Overall, I'd call this a decent budget option, but not an amazing one. The opacity is medium at best, as you can see below, where I have concealer applied on the left side of the photo and none on the right. You can layer it a bit to make it more opaque, but only to a certain point. On the plus side, this means it's very easy to blend and it has a natural, skin-like texture (the "HD" part?). The sheerness ameliorates the imperfect shade match. It also looks natural on other parts of the face. It's very hard to detect the product, except for where it settles into creases under my eyes.

Left: LA Girl concealer in Classic Ivory; right: nothing.
And it does crease. A lot. This close-up photo below was taken just a few minutes later, and you can see the creasing here, which gets worse throughout the day, even if I pat it to blend it repeatedly. This concealer a moist formula, which may be better for drier skin than for my oily summer skin. It never completely sets, so that means continual creasing for me. It also doesn't last as long as I'd like. At the end of the day it has faded considerably.

Generally, in a concealer I will trade some opacity for a natural texture, so this stuff is a win in that category. But then the creasing kind of cancels out that natural, undetectable quality, so it ends up in the "just ok" zone.

As for the packaging, the squeeze tube with a brush at the end is functional applicator, though the brush gets goopy because you never quite use up all the product in it. If you don't like the idea of putting an applicator right back into the product, however, this might be a welcome alternative. I've also noticed that this concealer tends to separate so that when I squeeze it out there is some clear fluid and some chunky pigment. I deal with that problem by brushing it on to the back of my hand to mix it and then applying it to my face from there. I wonder if the separation happened because I bought it online in the winter. It may have been frozen during shipping.

In the end, the L.A. Girl Pro Conceal Concealer in Classic Ivory is a decent product for the price. I like the natural finish, but I think it would only be ideal for people without too much to cover (though it's entirely possible that other shades are more opaque). It would work best for people who don't worry about creasing and probably for those with skin on the drier side.

The concealers that people have most often recommended to me are (on opposite ends of the price spectrum) Hard Candy Glamoflauge and IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye Concealer, so when Sephora inevitably discontinues my holy grail (yeah, I said it) Serum Concealer, I will try one of those next.

Have you tried the L.A. Girl concealer? Any better luck? And where did you buy it? has it marked down to $2.25, but they will soon be gone. And Amazon seems to only have it in 3-packs (for a reasonable price).


Just a quick note: I'm playing around with Google AdSense and some Amazon ads here. Please let me know if they are irritating. I'm very open to receiving feedback.

Ultimately, I'd like to earn enough to get a better camera, because I think one of the main limitations of my blog is the photo quality. But that will probably take a very, very long time.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

"We believe Glossier is more than just beauty or beauty products. It’s a way of life."

Also: “We’re all feminists and we’re all fired up about the movement we’re leading.”

I have to admit that Glossier's branding and products appeal to me in almost zero ways. For instance, I am neither cool nor a girl, much less a cool girl. (I am slightly curious about the skin tint, but not enough to buy it.) But this profile of the brand is interesting.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016 is closing (clearance up to 60% off)

Disclosure: Affiliate links.
Walgreens, which owns and, has decided to shut both sites down. I'm a little disappointed, because in the past I've ordered a lot of drugstore products that I couldn't find locally from Hopefully Walgreens will fill the void with its own website.

On the plus side, they've started clearing things out. For instance, the wonderful Smith's Rosebud Salve that Sephora sells for $6 is marked down to $3.59. There's a Wonder Woman liquid eyeliner set for $2.56 (no idea what brand it is). Tweezerman slant tweezers for $14.39. This is kind of random, but these spray bottles marked down to $2 create a perfect fine mist if you have any setting sprays or facial mists that need a better bottle. The clearance section seems less interesting. I hope they'll add more before the sites are finally closed at the end of September.

Free shipping over $35.

Anyone going to miss these stores?

Monday, August 15, 2016

I Heart Duochromes: Eyeshadow Edition

Disclosure: Affiliate links.
e.l.f. Baked Eyeshadow in Enchanted, Wet N Wild Comfort Zone palette, Maybelline Color Tattoo in Seashore Frosts, Makeup Geek Ritzy, Makeup Geek Typhoon, Urban Decay Fireball, City Color Mousse in White Gold, and Blend Mineral Cosmetics PIG3

(From top left: e.l.f. Baked Eyeshadow in Enchanted, Wet N Wild Comfort Zone palette, Maybelline Color Tattoo in Seashore Frosts, Makeup Geek Ritzy, Makeup Geek Typhoon, Prestige Total Intensity eyeshadow in BewitchedUrban Decay Fireball, City Color Mousse in White Gold, and Blend Mineral Cosmetics PIG3.)

I have documented my love for shifty pigments before, such as in my Color Club Oil Slicks post. (Those were actually multichromes, not duochromes, as are a few of the eyeshadows here.) I love duochrome everything just because it's so damned beautiful--but duochrome eyeshadows have the additional benefit of being great for quick and lazy eye looks. The way the color changes depending how the light hits it means that I can blend a single eyeshadow from my lash line into my crease, and it will look like I put in more work than I did. (This works with some non-duochrome shimmer eyeshadows, too, like Maybelline Bad to the Bronze, reviewed here.)

I originally planned to post this round-up of all my duochrome eyeshadows a couple of years ago, but I had such a hard time photographing the Maybelline Color Tattoo in Seashore Frosts that I set the whole project aside for a long time. I've decided to just go ahead and post the photos I have anyway, because enough already! I'm not a perfectionist. The complexity of the paler multi- and duochromes was very difficult (for me, at least) to capture in a photo. All of these eyeshadows really need to be seen in person to be fully appreciated. Anyway, by now I have several more shades to share, so maybe the wait was worth it!

None of my duochromes, with the exception of the LE Color Tattoo, are especially obscure. I know that indie cosmetics makers offer a lot of other options, but I still haven't got too far into indie makeup (a single Makeup Geek order and a Life's Entropy order aside). My hesitancy is in part because I don't have the patience to stalk things that are put out in small batches, and I am also not confident that I can tell which indie companies are reliable and which aren't. Nevertheless, if you want to collect all the duochromes, indies are probably the way to go.

The rest of this post consists mainly of photos (so many photos of eyeballs)--it's not meant as a review. More of a celebration. For that reason, I've swatched all of these eyeshadows over primer, with my finger, which is a technique I've criticized recently because it can make powder products look smoother and more pigmented than they really are. I'm trying to show the color shift as clearly as possible, rather than to compare the performance of each eyeshadow. But if you have questions about any of them, please feel free to ask!

Swatches! I only got the little sample pan of Urban Decay Fireball after I had photographed the other swatches, so it's pictured separately.

Swatches of Wet N Wild Comfort Zone, Prestige Total Intensity eyeshadow in Bewitched, Makeup Geek Ritzy, Makeup Geek Typhoon, Maybelline Color Tattoo in Seashore Frosts, Blend Mineral Cosmetics PIG3, City Color Mousse in White Gold, and e.l.f. Baked Eyeshadow in Enchanted

Swatch of Urban Decay Fireball

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

My Desert Island Makeup

Disclosure: Affiliate links.
A tropical backdrop would be more appropriate, but slow unpackers can't be choosers.
I moved to a new apartment last week, and I still haven't found unpacked most of my makeup. I also haven't unpacked my camera, so please accept this shitty photo that I took with my phone.

In the meantime, I've been subsisting on a makeup diet limited mainly to the few things I shoved in my dufflebag to get me through the first few days. Those days have extended to over a week, and here we still are. So I guess these are my desert island makeup essentials: not the most exciting things I own, but the things I can use day after day and be totally satisfied.

I'll go through the items in the photo clockwise starting at the upper left corner. Swatches and more detail are available at the previous posts I've linked below if you're curious. I've reviewed most of them--they made it to the island for a reason!

Wet N Wild ColorIcon Blush in Pearlescent Pink (reviewed briefly here, compared to Nars Orgasm here). I have the old version of this blush, which I've heard has been reformulated in the new line and is no longer as perfect. Can anyone confirm? (This old one is still available on Amazon for under $5, but apparently only 2 left!) I can use this everyday and it's always flattering on me. Just pigmented enough that it's easy to apply without layering, but not so pigmented that I risk clown-face. The only flaw is that in direct sunlight it's a little sparklier than I'd like, but it's not too obnoxious.

Paula's Choice Endless Lash Mascara. This is a decent mascara, but overpriced. It's what I'm using now, but if I were actually headed to a desert island I'd prefer to have a tube of Covergirl LashBlast Volume with me (reviewed here).

Sephora Bright Future Gel Serum Concealer in Fondant (reviewed here). Still the best undereye concealer I've used. I recently bought a new tube in the shade Butter Cream to see if it's a better match. I'll open that when I'm getting closer to finishing this one. The yellow undertones in Fondant do a good job of canceling out the purple under my eyes, but it's not ideal elsewhere on my face.

Maybelline Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze (reviewed here). It's quick to smear on eyelids with my finger in the morning and it always looks pretty. I just recently hit pan on this jar that I've had for a couple of years, but I think I have at least a year to go. Amazon has it on sale for less than $4 (with coupon) right now.

TheBalm Stainiac. This is one thing that I've loved for years and never reviewed, because it photographs terribly. In a closeup shot of my lips it just looks patchy. In real life, it adds a nice pink flush--probably the slight unevenness helps it look more natural. (I can see how it might not look great on lips that are lighter than mine, though.) It's comfortable and longlasting. I can apply lip balm right over top without affecting the stain. I don't use it on my cheeks, because I find it hard to blend smoothly.

Shiseido Natural Eyebrow Pencil in Ash Blond (swatched here). I am using this sample I got from Choix, because I finished up my last Avon Ultra Luxury pencil (reviewed here). I have another one somewhere, but I haven't dug it out. I prefer the Avon pencil slightly, but in general I find pencils to be the easiest and quickest eyebrow product to use, provided they are hard enough that they don't deposit a ton of product and make a mess.

PUR Cosmetics 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Powder Foundation. I haven't completely made up my mind about this stuff. I like how it applies and how it looks on my face, but it picks up sunscreen from my brush and forms a hard film on the surface. That might be a problem worth dealing with. I really like combining base and powder into one step. Any recommendations for other pressed powder foundations? I don't really like messing around with BareMinerals loose powder, and I find it looks heavier than I like, anyway.

Black Radiance Eyeshadow Primer (reviewed here). Without this stuff, my eyeshadow would melt right off in 15 minutes in this heat. I've also found that eyeshadow primer works well to keep concealer attached to ugly chin zits, fyi.

So that's been my #FOTD for a lot of days now. Soon I will pull out all of my other shit and be more creative, but this works in a pinch.

What makeup would you want to have with you on a desert island? Basics like this or something more exciting? (Let's all pretend that we would actually wear makeup on a desert island for some reason instead of just eating leaves and crying.)

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Urban Decay Naked Smoky Palette 50% off ($27) from Ulta today only + free shipping (and gratuitous cat photo)

Disclosure: Affiliate links.
Ulta sent me an email saying the Naked Smoky palette is half price today, in stores or online--but you also get free shipping on your order if you buy it, so if you can't get to the store, you don't have to pay extra. I wonder if they just have a huge overstock of these things? I don't wear smoky-eye looks or dark greys enough for this to be worthwhile for me, but it is tempting. Anyone else been coveting it?

And since I haven't had time to post anything detailed lately, please take this cat photo instead. I'm cat-sitting this bag-loving jerk this weekend. He kept me up all night because he stole my Beauty Blender and kabuki brush out of my suitcase, and then kept yelling at me to get up and play with him. It wasn't until 3 am that I realized he had them and that was why he was making so much noise. Now today I have to somehow move all of my furniture from one apartment to another on very little sleep.

But hey, I've learned that if I ever feel like getting a $20 cat toy, Beauty Blenders are very popular with the felines.

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