Saturday, March 18, 2017

the month I stopped caring about beauty & the products that got me back into it

I'm the kind of person who actually calls in sick to work when they are sick.  In college I couldn't write my papers when I was hungover (or even a bit drunk).  I don't wear makeup when I'm really tired, and I definitely can't get myself to blog when I'm not feeling well.  Other people can, but I can't.  I'm not proud of it but I accept that about myself.  Maybe I'm weak or maybe health and healing trumps everything else for me.  And obviously life or death matters more than makeup.

Earlier this month my mom (80) was admitted to the hospital for severe pneumonia.  It was all-consuming for me.  I was at the hospital for hours and hours a day, because you know how dicey pneumonia is for the elderly.  When she eventually took a turn for the better she requested to take a shower.  I helped her shower in the shower room down the hall.  She requested a blow dryer and styling cream.  I did her hair for her.  And a week and a half in she requested I bring a little makeup for me to put on her.  It felt good to care for my mom, I was happy to help her feel better after all the many years she has taken care of me, even as an adult.  Finally, a little over two weeks later she was doing well enough and was released to go home.

Of course I still visited her at home but basically I was left with a lot of time on my hands that seemed empty.  I could have caught up on my blogging.  I could have gone to the mall to see what was new at Sephora.  I could have dived head-first into my YouTube beauty videos, but instead I binge-watched episodes of Grey's Anatomy.  You know, life and death.  Everything else felt flat and meaningless.  Maybe I should have tried to rally and apply some cheerful eyeshadow but I just didn't feel like it and I just didn't care.  I figure many women in that situation would have found solace and even distraction in their passion for beauty but to me, then, it seemed supremely unimportant.  In her hospital, my mom cared about her beauty routines, but I had lost my beauty-vixen mojo.  Was I depressed, or had my eyes opened to what was most important in life:  good health and healing?  Either way, it changed my focus.

It seemed for a very long time I didn't bother with makeup etc.  Then one day I cracked open a new bottle of sunscreen and it was like the first buds of Spring emerging after a dark barren winter.  The  La Roche-Posey Anthelios 50 Tinted Mineral Ultra Fluid Sunscreen went on like a dream and gave me creamy, smooth-looking skin, all with a high spf!   I've wanted to try LRP Anthelios for ages and had finally grabbed one at Target a few months back to use when my favorite Algenist sunscreen ran out.  I wanted the regular formula but I guess I accidentally grabbed the tinted version.  Boy am I glad I did!  It is not thick in the slightest, not like a BB cream or tinted moisturizer at all.  The color seems to dissolve into the skin and yet it does something flattering to the complexion.  All without coverage in the traditional sense.  Most importantly of all though, is that it provides serious, mineral-based protection from the sun.  Initially, the texture feels slightly oily but it absorbs well enough so that you can barely feel it on your skin at all.  It is loaded with antioxidants and is safe for sensitive skin. That means no bumps or breakouts!  Yay!

The second beauty product that nudged me out of my lethargy was the NARS Velvet Lip Glide.  These had been all over YoutTube and beauty blogs a couple months back, but charming as they sounded I figured I had enough lip products for the time being.  They just didn't jump out at me. Then I got a deluxe size sample of the Glide in my February Sephora Play! Box, but during my hibernation from beauty (and blogging) I completely forgot about it until two days ago when I spotted it and decided to try it on.  Oh heaven!  It felt so satiny, hydrating, and comforting.  The comforting of this liquid lipstick was exactly what I needed. Velvet Glide is not a long-wearing liquid lipstick that stays on forever and drys the bejeezus out of your lips.  It is more like someone melted a creamy lipstick, thinned it out with a tad bit of non-sticky gloss, then put some kind of silky moisturizer in it.  The opaque formula was such a relief to my poor parched lips.  The color I got in my Play! Box wasn't the most flattering shade for me so I want to go to the store and pick out a few shades that I truly love.  This isn't transfer-proof, and won't last all day long, but the Velvet Glide is utterly luscious.

While these two products steered me back toward my passion for beauty, I still don't feel like my usual self.  But I guess I'm just someone who would rather help my mom safely take a shower than keep abreast of the latest makeup trends.   Or who doesn't blog "monthly favorites" when I don't feel up to it.

all products reviewed were either bought, researched, or sampled by me. And product pictures were stolen from the link's websites. I am not financially compensated for my reviews

Thursday, March 2, 2017

comparing more mascaras

I just might be the pickiest person on earth when it comes to mascara.  And I am so fickle.  Some might even call me a mascara whore.  I always have at least three or four open and in rotation at any given time.  But honestly, half the fun is experimenting with layering different types together.  It's very creative, kinda like I get to be with my skincare, or even cooking.  I am always in search of the perfect combination, or really the perfect single mascara.  I've done a few mascara reviews (links listed below) but I haven't done one in a while so I figured I was due.  I've since tested out a good number.  But as I said, I am super picky about my mascaras so you may or may not agree with me on some of these reviews.  If you have any mascaras you want to recommend to me I would love to know, I am always on the hunt.  Does the perfect mascara really even exist?

Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye Mascara gives what I like to describe as a "girl next door" look.  You know, kinda average, kinda pretty.  The formula is on the dryish side and as it ages it gets thicker and gives more volume.  I particularly like this as it matures, it just gets prettier.  And one of the best things about it is that it lasts.  It wears for hours and hours.  It's a workhorse.  The wand has a regular bristle brush that delivers no clumps.  The Sephora website describes it as having "super-saturated length for stretched-out lashes".  I'm not so sure about the lengthening bit but I would say it's a very agreeable mascara - I bet there're people out there who really do love it.

The Benefit Roller Lash Lifting & Curling Mascara took a while for me to really appreciate.  Everyone around me was raving about it, and even though I had tried it I was focusing more on other mascaras at the time.  However now I would say it is one of the better mascaras out there.  Heck, it even won an Allure Best Of Beauty 2016 Award.  The curved brush head is rubber and the bristles really grab your lashes.  They Do lift and Do curl.  Maybe not as much as an actually lash curler would, but still....
 I just think the not-too-thick, not-too-thin consistency makes for a really flattering look.  It's an easy mascara to swipe on, gives great separation, and it never flakes or smudges, or clumps, at least not on me.   Plus it comes in brown, and plus the packaging is really cute.  I highly suggest giving it a try!

IT Cosmetics Superhero Elastic Stretch Volumizing Mascara makes your eyes look wide open.  The formula is on the thick side and can get clumpy by the second coat, but I just tweak that with my lash comb designed specifically for such a situation.  It's an extremely sexductive mascara and is favored by many a beauty YouTuber.   The brush head is dense with regular, not rubber bristles that are very compact.   This design gives maximum volume and curl.  As with all It Cosmetics products, this mascara has conditioning skincare benefits in the formula, which is awesome although I haven't used it consistently enough to see any conditioning effects.  Superhero is in a huge container (with only the average amount of product),  so it barely fits in my mascara drawer, but that may be neither here nor there.  It is yet another one that lasts all day without flaking or smudging or wearing off.  At the same time, it gets very fibrous as it ages.  Not flaking off but not the best consistency either I don't think.  It's sexy but I'm not sure I'd buy it again.  I'd rather keep exploring.

CoverGirl by LashBlast Clump Crusher Mascara separates your lashes beautifully with a dry, non-clumpy formula.  It is for those who want a natural look.  However, on me it always ends up flaking off.  I wish it didn't because I adore how it makes my lashes look and the price point can't be beat.  I know not everyone has the flaking problem that I do, but for me it was a deal-breaker.  The wand is curved and the bristles are quite small and made of rubber.  I hope you don't think I'm being snobby about this one because it's drugstore, because really I'm not.  Maybelline makes one of my all time favorite mascaras, the Lash Sensational, and in general I prefer Maybelline mascaras over CoverGirl.   But do your research on this, read the reviews, because maybe I'm in the minority with the flaking issue.  I hope so.  Otherwise, it is really a lovely mascara.

Marc Jacobs Beauty Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara is one of the pricier mascaras on this list but is desirable none-the-less.  The texture is very wet and very thick and tremendously luxurious, but tends to clump if you are not careful.  And don't even get me started on the packaging - it is irresistible!  So damn substantial and classy!  The bristles are standard bristles that indent in the middle in order to reach and envelope every single lash.  I prefer to use only one coat of this, or else layer a lengthening mascara (like the Benefit Roller Lash) on top of the one coat.  But for those of you who want mondo volume, and even a bit of chunkiness, this will be the right mascara for you.  It's a drama queen!

The Sephora Collection V For V.O.L.U.M.E. Mascara in Blue was a disappointment to me.  I always like to keep a bright blue mascara on hand but because I don't use it everyday I prefer not to spend a lot of money on it.  Blue mascaras have been a staple of mine for years and I like some better than others.  This one wasn't the worst by any means, but it sure wasn't the best.  The color payoff is terrific, nice and bright just how I like it, but the consistency was too wet and gloppy.  It just clumped all my lashes together.  Often I layer blue mascara on top of a coat of black and I can kind of make it work this way.  For a cheap blue mascara I way preferred the Sephora Collection Full Action Extreme Effect Mascara but unfortunately they no longer make it in blue anymore.  This one isn't so bad that I'll throw it away like I did with the CoverGirl Katy Kat Eye Mascara (so dry it hurt my eyes!).  I will grin and bear it and use it up.  It gets decent reviews on the Sephora website, so maybe I just got a bad one, or maybe the black color works better.  But I suspect a big part of the problem is that the (regular) bristles are spaced too far apart and way too stiff.  Darn.  

To read about some mascaras that I love check out:  must have mascaras 2016, and magnificent mascaras, which one is right for you?

all products reviewed were either bought, researched, or sampled by me. And product pictures were stolen from the link's websites. I am not financially compensated for my reviews