Friday, February 24, 2017

Drugstore Liquid Eyeliner Review Showdown: L'Oréal Lineur Intense Felt Tip Liquid Eyeliner in Carbon Black vs. Physician's Formula Eye Booster 2-in-1 Lash Boosting Eyeliner + Serum in Ultra Black

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Drugstore Liquid Eyeliner Review Showdown: L'Oréal Lineur Intense Felt Tip Liquid Eyeliner in Carbon Black vs. Physician's Formula Eye Booster 2-in-1 Lash Boosting Eyeliner + Serum in Ultra Black

I've recently tried two black liquid eyeliners in an attempt to replace the Stila liner (reviewed here) that ended up getting so frayed it's now unusable. Normally I don't like to have two products open at the same time that perform essentially the same function (much less three), but I disliked the first replacement liner I tried so much that I bought another. So here's a spoiler: the winner of the showdown is Liner #2, the absurdly named Physician's Formula Eye Booster 2-in-1 Lash Boosting Eyeliner + Serum in Ultra Black.  I'm going to review the drugstore eyeliner that I do not recommend first (L'Oréal Lineur Intense Felt Tip Liquid Eyeliner in Carbon Black), and the much more impressive PF Lash Booster (hereafter) second.

First, let's look at swatches of both of them, with Stila's eyeliner as a comparison. On the left, I drew a single line to show the initial opacity and thinness of the point, and then I went back over the same swatch several time to show what happens when you add multiple layers.

Swatches of Physician's Formula Eye Booster 2-in-1 Lash Boosting Eyeliner + Serum in Ultra Black, L'Oréal Lineur Intense Felt Tip Liquid Eyeliner in Carbon Black, and Stila Stay All Day Liquid Liner in Black

Left to right: PF Lash Booster in Ultra Black, L'Oréal Lineur Intense in Carbon Black, and Stila Stay All Day Liquid Liner in Intense Black.

The Stila liner is more completely black on the first swipe than either of the other two and also has more sheen. Because of its frayed tip, that's as fine a line as I can get (and it's impossible to use on my eyelid, because there are fibers pointing in all directions). The PF Lash Booster is a close second, but you can see in the sheerer areas at the edges of the swatches that it's a warmer black than the Stila. It's also more matte, which can make it look darker on the eyelid. When you swatch all three of these eyeliners next to one another, the L'Oréal swatch in the middle looks almost brown. It's also much sheerer, even on the right where I tried to build it up.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

So Choix 3-Day Sale: $10/month

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If you've been interested in trying So Choix (here are my posts about the subscription for more info), now would be a good time to sign up, while membership is $120/year (i.e. $10/month). You only get this price if you pay up front for an annual subscription. You can cancel at any time and get a refund of your remaining subscription, so you're not locked in if you don't like it.

Monday, February 20, 2017

A very good explanation of why you don't need to freak out about parabens (from Lab Muffin)

Read this! Short version: the scare science about parabens is not sound, and it's much worse to have your cosmetics become contaminated because they have no preservatives, or ineffective ones, in them--but there's a lot of other interesting science at the link too, presented in Lab Muffin's typically clear and entertaining way!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Mid-Winter Empties

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Mid-Winter Empties

I finished off a lot of things in January, it seems! Some of these are from early February too and, as usual, there are a few products that didn't get used up but needed to be discarded for one reason or another. I actually think I used more samples in foil packets than I have here, but that I threw some of them away instead of hoarding all my garbage like a weirdo. Oops. I'll give you a quick review of what's in the photo and direct you to more information when possible. As always, let me know if you want more information about anything.

Starting from the top left corner and moving left to right in rows (roughly):

e.l.f. Eyebrow Kit in Light (reviewed here): I've had this kit for at least 8 years. Yikes. There was still a lot of product left, but the wax had finally started to smell a little off. It might have been my imagination, actually, but I decided it was time to let it go anyway. I'm not sure if I'll buy another one. It's really great for the price, and if I don't find anything to replace my discontinued Avon eyebrow pencil, I might just fall back on this stuff again.

Simple Facial Cleansing Wipes (reviewed here): My favorite wipes. I haven't replaced them, because I am now using Bioderma micellar water with my DIY cotton pads instead (I've been using those same ones for almost 3 years now, and they are still in great condition), since that creates less waste. I might buy some more of the wipes one day if I am going to travel.

Paula's Choice Resist Ultra Light Antioxidant Serum (reviewed here): This stuff is a winter skincare staple for me, so I'm on to a new tube now.

Hourglass Immaculate Foundation in Porcelain (sample packet): I really hated this. It was heavy and dry-looking and didn't last.

Life's Entropy Lip Theory in Recursion (sample, reviewed here): Paraben-free makeup gets funky sooner than stuff with good preservatives in it. I should probably find my sample of Apoptosis and chuck it too.

Omorovicza Queen of Hungary Mist (mini sample vial): It felt quite nice when spritzed on my face after moisturizing and had a mild, pleasant, floral scent. But I sure as hell am not going to be buying any $90 glycerin water.

So Choix sample pans of Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Mood Light and Diffused Light (briefly/sort of reviewed here and here)

L'Oreal Lineur Intense Felt-tip Liquid Liner in Earthen Rock Brown (reviewed here): Sadly discontinued. I have a replacement, but when that runs out, I will probably try the Physician's Formula brown liquid liner, rather than buying another old one of these on Amazon. (BTW I got the Physician's Formula liner in black, and it's just as good as you all told me it would be. Review coming soon!)

Paula's Choice 2% BHA Liquid (reviewed here): This is a skincare staple for me all year round. When I finished this bottle, I experimented with their 2% BHA Gel instead, because I thought it might be more convenient, since I wouldn't have to use a cotton pad. It wasn't nearly as effective for me, unfortunately, so I am back to the liquid. I'm using the gel mixed with lotion as an aftershave on my legs, since it helps to reduce irritation and prevent ingrown hairs.

Sephora Instant Moisture+ Cream (sample packet): This moisturizer works well enough, but it has a very strong, generic floral fragrance, so I wouldn't recommend it. Nothing special.

Simple Protecting Light Moisturizer SPF 15 (reviewed here): Yet another staple for me. I've used up a lot of those lately! Since I go through a bottle of this about every six months, I actually signed up for the Amazon Subscribe & Save thingy to save some pennies on it. Amazon seems to be the cheapest place to get it, anyway.

Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion (reviewed here): I actually use this as a makeup remover or as the first step in double cleansing. I haven't replaced it, because I'm trying to use up some other products first.

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil (sample packet): Well, this stuff seems to live up to its reputation. It was effective and not drying when used alone or as a first step in double cleansing. There was enough in this tiny packet for at least 5 uses, so I think a bottle would last a really long time. I don't even mind the light fragrance, which smells like rosemary. I actually wondering if it's worth buying a bottle right now, since DHC has it on sale on their website for $22. Plus you get a free eyeliner with the cleansing oil. They also have free shipping on $35 until Feb. 28 with code MARSAVE35, but I don't know what else I would get--and I'm supposed to be on a No Buy! I won't. I won't.

e.l.f. Mineral Eyeshadow Primer (reviewed here): This was old and crappy but not actually empty.

Sally Hansen Insta-dri Topcoat: I think this is the best quick-dry topcoat for the price, about $5. I don't know how people do their nails without quick-dry topcoat. At all.

Hourglass Illusion Hyaluronic Skin Tint in Shell (sample packet): This was the wrong shade for me, but from the name of this product, wouldn't you expect a tinted moisturizer? Because it was medium-full coverage and not moisturizing at all. I really have never been impressed by an Hourglass foundation.

Bare Minerals Mineral Veil (mini): This mattifying/finishing powder is decent, but it's not the finest texture. I liked it best applied with a damp sponge (a little more detail here).

TokyoMilk Dark Lip Balm in La Vie En Rose: I really liked this balm. Now I'm using the Absinthe scent, which I'm not a fan of--smells like fake apple. But it works well enough.

Mica Beauty . . . some potted lipstick that I got from Ipsy way back when. It was a pretty color, but an impossible formula to actually wear. Definitely not empty, but it just needed to go away.

Epionce Intense Defense Serum: I got a bunch of samples from this brand a while back. Probably got half a dozen uses out of this sample, but I certainly wouldn't pay $136 for a bottle of serum that smelled this awful unless it performed some kind of instant magic. (It didn't.)

Diorshow Mascara (mini): Ugh. I mentioned this on Instagram, but the brush was waaaaaaay too big for my eyes, and I really can't stand scented mascaras (WHY DO THEY EXIST?), so I only used this for about a week, even though I could have probably got quite a bit more out of it.

Urban Decay eyeshadow card samples whose names I did not write down

Hang Ten SPF 50 Sunscreen (mini): It was a fairly typical chemical sunscreen. Maybe a little less greasy than some other SPF 50s.

Paula's Choice Redness Relief Treatment: This stuff has unfortunately been discontinued, because it makes a great soothing aftershave. I think I had this bottle 3-4 years and didn't even get through half. That's much longer than recommended, but since I only used it on my legs, I wasn't overly picky. I decided to let it go when I started using the BHA gel (mentioned above) for the same purpose.

Did you manage to get through all of that? Anyone else been finishing things up like crazy lately? It's very satisfying.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

When Red Isn't Red: Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Sheer F-Bomb

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Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Sheer F-Bomb

Look! A real review! I've been bogged down in work stuff and cat nursing (which you can read a little about here if you missed it), but I'm settling into more of a routine now, so I've finally found time to write more than a couple of sentences.

Remember when I had too many sheer red lip products? Probably not, but I did. Because I had so many, I gave some of them away. And then a few of the ones I kept went off, because I have too much shit, and I got bored with these reds for a while. In the end, I was left with just Revlon Balm Stain in Romantic, which is a formula that I love (and one that seems to last forever without going bad).

Revlon Balm Stain in Romantic

In theory, I like Romantic. It's easy to apply and easy to wear, and the warm, slightly orangey red is pretty. So I've kept trying to love it, but there's something just a bit off with my complexion when I wear it. It makes my face a little sallow or sickly or something, so I'll end up looking in the mirror a couple of hours later and grimacing.

I decided ultimately that I needed a new sheer red, because the right one can liven up a look without being too dramatic or competing with my eye makeup like a fully opaque red might do. Yes, I know I could just apply an opaque red in a sheer layer or mix it with some balm, but I was feeling impractical and lazy. In the end, I should have used something I already had, because my new lipstick was a bit of a letdown.

I ended up buying Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Sheer F-Bomb, which is described as "sheer, classic red," toward the end of last year when I had a $10 credit burning a hole in my Beauty Junkies account. I hesitated a bit before getting it, because in close to half the lip swatches you see when you google it, it looks more pink than red. Makes sense, right? Light red is pink, after all, and if you sheer out red over pink lips, you're going to get pink-red, logically. But I still hoped for the best.

Well, you can guess what I got. Though the bullet (above) looks completely red, but on my lips it looks like a fuchsia pink.

Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Sheer F-Bomb

I mean, that's not really red at all, is it? My complexion seems to enhance the pink in it much like it does with Revlon Cherries in the Snow (reviewed here). In the swatches below you can see that Sheer F-Bomb is closer to Cherries in the Snow than to any of my other reds.

Left to right: (1) Urban Decay Sheer F-Bomb, (2) Revlon Romantic, (3) NYX Matte Perfect Red, and (4) Revlon Cherries in the Snow.

And here's Sheer F-Bomb compared to Stila Convertible Color in Poppy, which is more opaque (and which I never wear on my lips, because I find it too drying).

You can see at the top of the Sheer F-Bomb swatch, where it's thicker, it looks red. Just like the bullet. I can't build it up to that color on my lips, though.

All is not lost. If I layer Sheer F-Bomb over Romantic, I get the neutral true red that I had in mind all along. Mind you, it's less than ideal to own two lipsticks that aren't great on their own, but at least I have something that I like here. (I don't mind a sheer pink, but I own enough of those already, and that's not what I was looking to add to my hoard with Sheer F-Bomb.)

Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Sheer F-Bomb layered over Revlon Balm Stain in Romantic

Red! And of course I can adjust how warm or cool it is by adding more or less of one of the two lipsticks.

As for the formula and performance of Sheer F-Bomb, I'd say it's fine. Decent. It's nowhere near as lasting as a Revlon Balm Stain, though it does leave a light pink stain behind. It's also not as moisturizing as I've found most other Urban Decay Vice (and Revolution) lipsticks to be. Very slightly drying for me, in fact. It's a notch or two higher on the pigmentation scale than a Revlon Balm Stain. Oh and I hate the shotgun shell cases of the Vice lipsticks. So edgy. Blah.

It may be that if your lips are less pink than mine to begin with, you will get a lip color out of Urban Decay Sheer F-Bomb that's closer to how it looks in the bullet. Then again, the swatches on my arm are quite pink too. If you've been dreaming of a sheer version of Cherries in the Snow, you've got it--but you're probably better off not being as lazy as I am and just sheering out your favorite red lipstick yourself.

In conclusion: sheer red lipstick is tricky.

Are you into sheer lip colors, or are you strictly all about the opacity?

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Perfume descriptions from someone who doesn't know anything about perfume

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I like to smell things that smell good. I know that much. I'm one of those "I know what I like" assholes. But I don't exactly have the most sophisticated taste in fragrances, and despite all my efforts to learn, I'm not great at identifying various notes in a scent. I do, however, have a bunch of perfume samples, and I tend to associate fragrances with certain things, like we all do. Apparently those are reason enough for me to offer my totally amateur and completely unhelpful descriptions of all the mini perfumes I currently possess, without any regard for what perfumiers claim they are supposed to smell like. I doubt you are going to want to buy anything based on the information provided here, but I've added links for informational purposes, if nothing else.

(Disclaimer: If I'm talking shit about your favorite fragrance, please don't take it personally. Individual tastes and all that, plus perfumes react differently to everyone's body chemistry, so I'm sure the stuff I'm complaining about smells delightful on you.)

I've used a sophisticated ranking system, in case you can't tell whether or not I like something. Y=Yes, I like it. N=No, I don't like it. Y/N=I don't mind how it smells, but I would never buy it.

Here we go. First up, miscellaneous fragrances in no particular order:

TokyoMilk Dark Novacaine No. 85: Smells like an (imaginary) candle from Bath & Body Works called something like Christmas Ginger Cookies. Not in a bad way, but you've got to be really, really into that. (Y/N)

Miu Miu: I bought this solely for the bottle, which is absolutely perfect. The fragrance itself is super generic. If Pretty Perfume Barbie came with a perfume-scented bottle of play perfume, this is what it would smell like. (N)

Bulgari Omnia Paraiba: First it's a tart citrus scent, but it becomes gradually more masculine. Like a single orange, floating in cologne, served in a man's hat. (Y)

Marc Jacobs Decadance: This fragrance is what you would get if you kept some sangria in your fridge for several months until the fruit all turned brown and dissolved into goo, and then you mixed it with a bubble bath called "Ocean Breeze." (NNNNNNNNNNNNNN)

Elizabeth and James Nirvana White: Smells like a 22-year-old who wishes she were in a meadow wearing a flower crown instead of in her dorm room studying for her organic chemistry final. Or like what I imagine Alexis from Schitt's Creek (which you should definitely watch) smells like. (Y/N)

Michaels Kors Wonderlust: Flowers. Flowers flowers flowers. All flowers, no edge. Probably my ideal perfume when I was 6. (N)

Chloé: Rose-scented soap. (Y/N)

Paco Rabanne Olympea: The trendiest perfume your mom owned in 1996 (plus a little artificial watermelon?). (N)

Okay, now we're getting into a whole bunch of fragrances by Atelier Cologne, and so far I have not met an Atelier Cologne fragrance I didn't like--even their vanilla scent, despite the fact that I usually despise vanilla scents. Oddly enough, I found it much more difficult to come up with descriptions of perfumes that I really like.

Atelier Cologne Vanille Insensée: Dark vanilla and whiskey and leather.* (Y)

*I know these are actual fragrance notes, but they are not the ones in the description of this perfume. Supposedly it has lime in it? I don't get any of that at all.

Atelier Cologne Rose Anonyme: This is what a badass princess in a feminist retelling of a fairytale would smell like. (Y)

Atelier Cologne Manderine Glaciale: Five Alive (what up, Canadians?) garnished with mint. (Y)

Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine: Mandarin oranges, which we called "Christmas oranges" when I was growing. Just straight up, unadulterated Christmas orange. (Y/N)

Atelier Cologne Pomelo Paradis: As one of my all-time favorite fragrances, this is also the hardest to describe. Very tart citrus with some burnt sugar in the background. But a little serious and sophisticated. Business fruit. (YYYYYYYYYY)

The second group of samples I have is from Juliette Has A Gun, who also make perfumes (and not-perfumes) that I really enjoy.

Juliette Has A Gun Mad Madame: An overwrought artisanal cocktail that is nonetheless delicious. (Y)

Juliette Has A Gun Miss Charming: Also a cocktail, but a less complex cocktail that's garnished with a flower. (Y/N)

Juliette Has A Gun Lady Vengeance: The name is perfect. Like a beautiful, femme assassin. You'll get a whiff of this 3 seconds before you're dead. (Y)

FYI, if you want a more accurate and useful description of Lady Vengeance (and a lot of other fragrances), you should read Bad Outfit, Great Lipstick.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

New Before and After Photos using John Frieda Luxurious Volume 7-Day In Shower Treatment

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I've been spending my free time between work and cat nursing tying up some loose ends around here. I'd always hated the photos I used in my review of the John Frieda Luxurious Volume 7-Day In Shower Treatment, which is a great product that I've been using for a couple of years now. Everything else in that review remains the same, except that in addition to having fine hair, I feel like my hair has got  bit thinner lately as well. I've updated the photos in the original post, but I'll include them here as well. I used the same products for both photos, and styled them the same way (partially air dried and then blow dried with a round brush). The volume in the after photo isn't major drama, but my hair is definitely fuller. I like this stuff a lot. Check out the original post for full details.



Friday, February 3, 2017

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