Thursday, September 25, 2008

Recession Proof Your Beauty Routine: Makeup Edition

Like many of you, the economy really has me down lately which makes thinking about spending on things like makeup seem quite frivolous. I do, however, know that putting the kabash altogether on something that makes you happy and keeps you going, won’t help either. So, it’s time to find a way to get my beauty fix on a budget. I did a post a while back about recession proofing your beauty routine in terms of hair care, which I had said would be a series (whoops). Well, I suppose I’ll call this is the much delayed conclusion: Recession Proof Your Beauty Routine: Makeup Edition.

My most recent, not-so-wallet friendly addiction has been MAC products. My foray into the Cult of Cherry collection via the Spiced Chocolate quad completely converted me and I definitely found out what all the hoopla was about. In terms of pigmentation, staying power and quality, their stuff basically spits on everything I own, so, yeah, I’m converted. But I have found ways to fulfill my MAC addiction on a budget. First, there is the Cosmetics Company Outlet. These little outlets are normally a small section of another outlet store such as Saks Off 5th (the Saks Outlet at my local mall). They sell MAC products, and various other brands as well, at about a 30% discount. Like your average clothing outlet, these will be items that are often no longer carried at your regular MAC stores or counters but are of great quality nonetheless. I have purchased MAC paints (awesome eyeshadow bases, by the way, but more to come on that in another post) for $11.25 vs. $16.50 full price, eyeshadows for $10.00 vs. $14.00, and lipglosses for $10.00 vs. $14.00. There are definitely great deals be had, so be sure to check it out!

Another way to save, if you’re not going to spring for pricey makeup at all, is looking to oft overlooked brands. I did a post about ULTA eyeshadows and how they are of such great quality for the price. They are my favorite affordable eyeshadow brand. Their shadows are huge, thoroughly pigmented, and have the smoothest texture. Paired with a good eyeshadow base like a MAC paint or Too Faced Shadow Insurance, they will last all day. Plus, ULTA regularly has these are on sale as BOGO free or just $3.00 a piece (they are normally $6.50). The only downer with these is that I love them so much that I have a ton and they can become a pain to store. The thing I love about the MAC shadows is that you can depot them and place them in palettes for easy storage. Well, chulas, I have got you covered! I found empty palettes you can buy online that fit these shadows perfectly, so you won’t have to fumble with those little pots. And these shadows are a breeze to depot because they are only held in their pots by a small bead of glue. Simply insert a small, sharp knife (be very careful) or hair pin along the size of the pan, pry the pan upward, and they’re loose. I’ve actually been able to remove some sans knife or pin, so that’s worth a try.

Another great way to save on eyeshadows is to only splurge on colors you are likely to get the most use out of. (How often are you really going to wear a lime green shadow?) Then if you want to branch out and try a funky look, look into a cheap eye shadow palette with a ton of great, funky colors to play around with like the 78 color palette from Coastal Scents. These shadows have great pigmentation and can give you great bang for your buck if you put them over a great base.

My last tip is to know when to splurge and when to save. For products with a short shelf life like mascara (yes, you with the mascara that you’ve been using since the dawn of time, you’re supposed to toss these puppies every 3-4 months), I would not spend a ton. There are great drugstore options like Covergirl’s Lash Exact, Volume Exact, and Lash Blast (my new favorite!). Maybelline has some great ones too but I’ve been using the Covergirl one’s lately. I would splurge on things like foundation, which is harder to match and has a long shelf life.

That’s all I have! If you have any great tips, please do tell in the comments!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

makeup love: Make Up For Ever Aqua Liners... This could be a problem...

Lately, I have been loving eye looks where the lid is kept neutral but there's a pop of color on the lower lash line. The one and only Rihanna has been known to rock this look quite a bit, as shown in this pic of her at the most recent MTV Awards.

You can achieve this look with a bright eyeshadow but I love the precision of a liner. My new loves are the Make Up For Ever Aqua Liners (something else off my wishlist). You may think your fave eyeliner goes on smooth but you have no idea what smooth is until you try these liners. They apply smoothly every time- no need to warm them up at all. And best of all they stay put all day and the colors are absolutely drool worthy. The colors aren't just bright, they have incredible dimension too. It was love at first swipe when I tried these at Sephora. Each color I tried was more beautiful and vibrant than the last. I am not going to lie to you, though- these things are not cheap. They run $16.00 a piece (gasp!) but this is no one trick pony; they go on so smoothly that they can be used as an eyeshadow too! I am currently adoring their liner in 12L (described on as a Blue with Green highlghts).

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Looks like for me 5 am is the new 7 am...

Good morning! Looks like you guys are getting another I'm up way too early in morning and I might as well make myself useful post.

My attempts at a moratorium on hair and makeup spending isn't going all that well
(though I really haven't bought anything new for my hair since the Joico and Kenra liters I got on sale at Trade Secret). For some reason, I cannot leave the drugstore or Target without something makeup related in my hands. I will say that I have cut down quite a bit as I am trying to save up for a big birthday haul (my 25th bday is in November and I can't wait). I am mainly looking to purchase some Mac (officially converted by that Spiced Chocolate Quad) and Make Up For Ever products, so saving will definitely be necessary. (Lest you think I am completely irresponsible, I have been hitting my new revised monthly savings goal of $500- woo hoo!)

I did manage to leave Le Targe, as I like to call it, with something that I have been looking for forever- the L'Oreal HIP Jelly Balm! I don't know why these things have proven so darn ellusive but I went to a different Target this past weekend and there it was. Like a shining beacon of lip glossity goodness just waiting to be purchased. (This is what you get at 6 in the morning, ladies!) They were a bit on the pricey side (I really need to stop buying this stuff when it's not on some sort of BOGO sale- ULTA is having one by the way!) at $7.99 but it is amazing. I purchased Succulent (love the names of the colors by the way), which is a pretty berry meets mauvey color (as shown below).
You get unbelievable sheer, luscious color with these things. And the best way to describe the texture really is "jelly balm." It's so incredibly soft on your lips and the shine you get is beyond lust worthy. I've been rocking this on my way too overworked to do a full face of makeup, but don't forget I'm still fabulous days and cannot wait to get more. I'd have to say, however, that the best and worst thing about these glosses is the packaging. I hate having to put my finger in my on the go makeup. I'd love to just be able to reapply as needed without having to worry about what grossness my hands have been privy to throughout the day. But I have to say that this product does feel so amazing on your fingertips as you apply it and that the pot really gives you an appreciation for the texture. Oh well, completely torn on that one. I do have a portable lip brush but then I most certainly would not apply it outside of the bathroom for fear of looking uber high maintenance. Who me? Never!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Made for you nudes

Since, I got up impossibly early today (6:45 am!), I figured I'd make the most of it and chat with you guys a bit. Work has been kicking my butt lately so I've actually been going into work this early, so my body clock is completely screwed up. This has had me slacking a bit on my posting and my makeup routine. Something about applying a full face of makeup at 6:00 am just doesn't seem right. It's all I can do to just get my booty out the door in coordinating clothes. Anyway, it has also spurred me to continue working on perfecting my minimal makeup look with the search for the perfect nude lipstick.

I have never been much for lipsticks at all. I just always thought of them in terms of the deep red my mom wears everyday. But I've seen more and more how lipsticks can be layered with glosses for a more polished look with longer staying power than gloss alone. Enter L'oreal Colour Riche Made for Me Naturals. I was completely sold on the concept, the perfect nude lip color for you based on your hair color and skintone. I purchased Bronze (869) for about $9.00 at my local Rite Aid. The color really is my perfect nude. It doesn't leave my lips looking dry and washed out looking, like some nude colors do, and the lipstick itself is very moisturizing though I'm still not a huge fan of that waxy lipstick smell. What can I say? You can't convert a gloss girl in one day! Be sure to add a little blush to your cheeks, though, when you're wearing a nude lip look like this if your not going to do a full on eye look, just so you do bring some color to your face.

Either way, these are definitley worth a go, though I might wait for a BOGO sale to stock up. Y'all know I'm all about a deal!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Now, I'm steamy hot!

About a week ago, I managed to talk the hubs (that's my husband to those of you who are sticklers for proper word usage and all that jazz) into buying me the Caruso Professional ProSet Steam Hairsetter. Perhaps his blood sugar was low or he confused Sally Beauty Supply for Game Stop, but he took me to Sally's nonetheless and turned my product junkie wishes into reality. I had actually been eyeing this thing for quite a while but I had managed to employ some restraint. Either way, it was just under $30 after tax with my Sally's card (so worth the 5 bucks by the way) and I have used it twice so far.

If you read my last post, you know I am several weeks post relaxer (almost 7 now) and my new growth is coming in something viscious. So, the first time I tried it was last Saturday. I had done a braidout a few days before and I wanted to see if I could use this hairsetter to extend the life of my braidout. I normally just wear a braidout 3-4 days and wash my hair when I'm ready for a new style, but I was hoping the steamsetter would let me eek out another day. Well... no such luck. I don't know; I feel like I'm only person to not have a good experience with this thing but it just did not do it for me. My hair felt great when I first took the rollers out- super moisturized and soft. And then like Mr. Hyde morphing in Dr. Jeckyl, it got hard, dry, and reverted back to its braidout crinkliness.

Not being one to write off a product after one use, I was determined to give it another go. This time I tried it on my hair a few days after a rollerset. This time I left the rollers on the steamer a few seconds longer (about 7-8 seconds), figuring that perhaps the first time I did not let them get quite steamy enough. I wish I had good news, I really do but no go. My hair was very moist when it took the rollers out (a good 30-40 minutes later), not moisturized but just plain moist! I was forced to blow dry the curls lightly and, just like before, within a few minutes my hair was hard and my curls were falling. I haven't felt my hair in this state since before I began my hair journey and I was not happy to be reunited with my pre-hair journey self.

Help me out ladies, am I missing something? I thought this thing would be the holy grail for a healthy hair care maven, like myself- a great, no heat way to add curl and body to your hair. The tenacious girl that I am, I will give it one more go after I get my relaxer (one more week!), so I can see if it's something that works better on just relaxed hair. But for now it looks like I'll be sticking to my rollersets.