Confessions of a Beauty Junkie

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

(Sigh...)

So I put the Revlon Mineral Glaze on this afternoon and after a few hours caught a glimpse of myself sporting the residual product...

... an orangy-brown stain with some sparkles in it.

And I thought I'd broadened my beauty horizons. At least I tried! Misleadingly, it really isn't that color when freshly applied. Oh well. I was able to hit up the fantabulous Woo Cosmetics today-- which, unfortunately, was where I spotted myself rocking the drag-queen-with-hepatitis look--for a fresh Rose Sugar Bobbi gloss (and one of her kick-ass gel eyeliners in Violet Ink and a free mini eyeshadow in one of Bobbi's new shades AND a sample of the mystical Glam Balm by Rodial-- eeee!); therefore, now that I am restocked with my preferred gloss, I can return to full-on dissing Revlon. Looks like my sister (with much more reasonable coloring) will be getting a freebie soon. In the meantime, Revlon and its once-touted Mineral Glaze lip gloss can eat it.

Friday, July 25, 2008

A rare exception to the exception

As I've said before, the drugstore is a good place to shop for items on which you don't need to invest-- trendy eyeshadow, pencil eye liner, and my beloved Lash Blast mascara. However, I have historically made an exception to this rule. That exception is Revlon.

I normally go out of my way to hate Revlon and everything that Revlon churns out in its neverending mission to shove Halle Berry down our throats. (She's beautiful. We get it, already.) Don't get me wrong-- back in the day, I'd to spend hours gazing at the Moon Drops lipsticks at Town and Country Drug. I couldn't wait until I was old enough to wear makeup. One shade in particular, a Barbie pink that makes it difficult to keep down solid foods when I think about it now, was my absolute favorite. Since reaching (and obviously surpassing) the I Get to Wear Makeup phase, I toyed with a few Revlon products when trying to pinch pennies and... GAWD. Their mascaras clump and flake, the cream eyeshadows seem designed to set up permanent residence in your creases (and only there), and the lipsticks and glosses are all the same brown-based color and have a truly bewildering smell.*

*A side note: is that not the most off-pissing thing in the world? Weird smells? Not just in cosmetics, though that absolutely sends me into orbit (especially in lip products-- they end up right under your nose. Really? Isn't anyone paying attention?). What about people who smell strange? Have you ever been on a plane or in a meeting and the person next to you just has that smell? Like right before leaving the house, it seemed wise to have a big bowl of cabbage steamed in moth balls (made lovingly by an octagenarian) for breakfast? What is up with that?

Well, I found myself wandering the aisles of Walgreen's last night after a shit-tacular day, picking up a few things for a trip but really just searching for something-- anything-- that could lift my mood. I ogled a display for Mineral Lip Glaze, brought to you by... well, you're smart, you can figure it out. Silently, I extended the challenge to Revlon: you think you can impress me? A little late to the mineral-product dance, aren't we? This had better be good, or else you'll find one of your Lip Glazes lodged firmly in the colon of the sweet lady who works the checkout to my left. Calmly, the Glaze said, go ahead. I think you'll like me. Look over here at Infinite Rose-- looks a lot like your beloved Rose Sugar, hmmm? You're going out of town tomorrow and won't be able to visit the Bobbi counter until Monday at the earliest. You're desperate and we both know it. Now get over yourself and buy me. (I have to say, I like a gloss with some sass.) So buy it I did and... dammit, I hate admitting this... it's not bad. All right, it's pretty good. The color is indeed very close to Rose Sugar (just don't try to look at it on the Revlon website-- it looks like a putrid purple. All the colors are completely "off" online. Aha! Something to hate to counteract the likability of the Lip Glaze!). The consistency is passable, and the smell isn't quite as frightening. It reminds me of the sunscreen I used when on Spring Break during my Freshman year. Weird. I have to say I have no idea why there seems to be a need for mineral-based lip gloss, but whatever. Anyway, give it a spin. I will, for this fleeting moment, stand temporarily corrected. And you know how much I hate that.

Friday, July 18, 2008

What, no dedication?

With all these requests coming in, I'm like friggin' Casey Kasem over here. A phone-in from my sister asking how to tackle the ever-maddening combo of wrinkles AND breakouts, then this from my college buddy Heather Watson:

"I am pretty fair-skinned, too... I feel that I am always so adventurous about eye shadows, bronzers, and most color products (not blush, of course, because Nars Orgasm is sheer perfection). However, I find that I stay in such a lipstick rut because a lot of colors overpower me. Most of the time, I wind up using MAC Spice liner and a lipstick in a similarly cinnamon color, but I have a really hard time finding pinks that work well... Do you have any suggestions?"

Let's tackle Sister's request first. I have to admit, this one has always left me more than a little befuddled. The last time I checked, the arrival of Captain Crow's Feet and her pansy sidekick First Officer Fine Lines meant that one had surpassed the day of Bailiff Breakout ruling the roost. What a cruel joke. Additionally, I don't have as much experience with this one, since my also-befuddling dry-and-sensitive combo has saved me from excessive breakouts; that is, with the exception of the monthly visit from Aunt Flo. That bitch is ruthless. So, I'd first like to put it back to my lovely readers: what have you all found to work? My initial thought would be of something that manages to be both oil- and alcohol-free while still promoting anti-aging beneifts. I of course would default to Yonka first (they seriously should send me a monthly commission check), then Clarins, then Mario Badescu. Yonka has several products that specifically adress normal-to-oily skin, and all their products are very mild, which is why I love them so. Apparently, the Juvenil product is their big gun when it comes to breakouts, providing both antiseptic and antibacterial relief. The recommendation is to pair this with their Creme PG in the morning and Creme 15 in the evening. Clarins has a very extensive offering for breakout-prone skin, and Mario Badescu's Drying Lotion is legendary and-- at $17 for an ounce-- plenty affordable. Badescu has an entire line dedicated to addressing acne-prone skin, so it may be worth exploring. Non-irritating exfoliation is also very important, for two reasons: as excess sebum and skin cells build up, both fine lines and breakout-begatting irritatation can be exacerbated. There are several microderm-esque systems and peels out there that work well: I love the Microdelivery Peel from Philosophy and the Microexfoliating Cream from Therapy Systems, and the Gommage 303 (followed by the Masque 103) from Yonka would also be an option. The first two products mentioned are $65 and $48, respectively, and each lasts several months. I particularly love the Microdelivery Peel's ability to combine a micro-derm-like exfoliation with a Vitamin-C-laced peel (read: dead-skin-busting-and-radiance-boosting-shit). Again, my hydration-parched skin is no match for this serious a dilemma. Please feel free to talk amongst yourselves as to what solutions are out there.


Now Heather, onto your lip-lovely issue. I am happy to offer my take on Casper-capable lip offerings, with one caveat: your beloved Spice liner would look positively craptastic on me, thanks to the outlandish pink-blue undertones in my skin. Seriously, I've rendered the girls at the Bobbi counter utterly speechless with my ability to turn the most unassuming neutral into a shocking orangy-brown. (I wonder if I could take my act on the road...? I could work the carnival/ college circuit as the Blue Bomber! Or maybe the Pink Perpetrator? I can hear the pitch now: "With her Pallor of Justice, she leaps tanning beds in a single bound and laughs in the face of nude gloss and brown shadow! The line forms to your right, folks. She's got plenty of pale to go around...") Obviously, I've had to spend an inordinate amount of time weeding through the various products that cater to the "normal" girls that have some hint of yellow in their skins' undertone. I've had flings with scads of products: MAC lipstick in Twig and Lipglass in Viva Glam IV, Stila Lip Shine in Rosey Shine, Arbonne lipsticks in Bikini and Twig and gloss in Vogue, Bare Escentuals gloss in Amber (a freebie), Nars gloss in Foul Play, and Tarte gloss in R & R are all recent entries in the Eternal Search, yet none of them have really stuck with me to the point of my buying a second helping once I've run through the first. Don't get me wrong-- they're all good, they're just not great. Lately I've been rocking both a Lip Crayon and a Shimmer Gloss from Bobbi. Alas, the Lip Crayon shade I like (Pink Raspberry) is a limited edition-- damn you, Bobbi! How dare you mock me! Yet the gloss in Rose Sugar seems to be a perennial favorite: I am getting ready to purchase my THIRD tube, which is unheard of in my never-ending search for The Perfect Gloss. If I'm feeling fancy (or have two minutes to spare), I'll rim my porthole with Lancome's liner in Bronzelle, which is, strangely, a muted pink with minimal warm undertones. I don't really make time in my life for the much-ballyhooed long-lasting lip product buffet-- they're far too drying, are generally offered in two colors (Holy-Crap-Bright and Corpse-Brown), and seem to leave cakey bits behind. A little too early-bird-special for my liking. Ditto matte lipsticks. I know they're all the rage in the Fall, and they're incredibly sophisticated, but a glossy finish makes the lips look larger and, in my opinion, more youthful. When shopping for a new shade, the key is to actually apply whatever product you're entertaining to your lips; sadly, smearing it on your wrist is an insulting substitute. It's best to invest a few moments at a Sephora-like establishment to play with various shades and see how they play out on your face.

There are a couple other brands to which I return, which is a rarity: I really like the Stila It Gloss in Sweet-- it delivers a gold-tinged pink that doesn't overwhelm fair skin and doesn't make my teeth look like candy corn; additionally, I am kind of infatuated with Dianne Brill's Lip Lingerie. True to its name, this is some sexy-assed gloss. The consistency is pretty good-- not too thick, not too slippery-- and the color density is nice. It's packaged like a bon-bon, for heaven's sake. The names would make you blush: Gossamer Garters, Peekaboo Nightie, and Padded Push-Up should get your motor going for starters. And it smells like SweetTarts. Could you just DIE? You can find it at http://www.beautyhabit.com/-- buy it in mass quantities and smear it on yourself immediately. Then pucker up, Buttercup.

Please send along your thoughts about the best wrinkle- and pimple-fighting potions, I'm excited to hear your opinions. Heather, I could write forever with varying degrees of impatience and hostility about lip products, and plan to in the near future, but maybe this will get you started. Be good, girlies. We'll talk soon.



Tuesday, July 15, 2008

DIALOGUE! I HAVE DIALOGUE!

When you get a second, check out the "comments" section from my last post. You'll find Heather, Amy, and Katie sharing comments with me and WITH EACH OTHER! I know this is ridiculously common on other older blogs, but I am so excited-- we have a veritable Forum on Hydration going!

:Insert a picture of me giving a "hell-yeah" face: shoulder up, chin down, mugging like something stinks.:

This, my lovelies, is why I decided to start a blog-- not just to pontificate on the loads of stuff I've tried, but to get feedback from you all as well, and then to encourage the comparing and sharing of all the beauty world has to offer, be it good, bad, or indifferent. Woo-hoo, bitches. Woo-hoo.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Dryness and wrinkles and pregnancy, oh my!

I am so flattered-- I have a request! This from the beautiful mama-to-be Katie Corcoran Williams:

"Let's talk about hydration. Mainly, hydration of the face. Before makeup, after cleansing, before bed… you get the gist. I need a new moisturizer that won’t break the bank (my tiny bottle of Bobbi costs me $47 and lasts a month) and I think I can find something I like just as well that is a tad more reasonable since I do have a bun in the oven and need to start watching my pennies. On the eve of Sephora opening in Fayette Mall I am ready to make a move! Also – any other tips on moisturizing, smoothing, ironing out the fine lines are certainly welcome. I ain’t gettin any younger and I know you can help!"

No worries, sister, Beauty Junkie's got ya. So, first things first: if dryness is truly an ongoing issue, you should make it a priority to do two things: swill water like it's your m.f. job, and make sure to hydrate with every step of your skincare regimen. Now, I'm not the boss of you when it comes to your water consumption, but we all know that the skincase routine must be kept to an absolute minimum, so let's break it down.

Before anything, let's discuss some theories about skincare products. There are, in general, two camps: the first, comprised of those who are convinced that their best skin lies across the street at Walgreen's/ Target/ Rite-Aid; the opposing side, ladies brandishing their checkbooks whilst declaring "you get what you pay for!" I must say that I adhere to the latter idea more than the former. This is not the case when it comes to makeup (more on that later), but let's stay on-task. Particularly regarding something like lasting hydration, it pays to do your homework and maybe pay a little more up-front for a product that will last you longer and actually do its job. Luckily, you have your Beauty Junkie friend to do that for you-- hey, I ain't having a kid anytime soon, I've got the time.

To start, let's identify a hydrating, gentle cleanser that will take off your nighttime products and your daytime makeup with ease, all the while minimizing the pulling of hair and gnashing of teeth when balancing the checkbook after paying for said cleanser. Clarins makes two great cleansers that really do last a while and are both very gentle, creamy, and hydrating. There's a wonderful Cleansing Milk with Alpine Herbs (I swear that's the product's name) that will set you back $28.50 for a big-assed bottle. It works well for day and night, and has a killer plant-based scent that won't irritate. It's been a while since I had this cleanser in rotation (I am a slave to my afore-mentioned Yonka gel, it rules my life), but I remember it lasting at least six weeks and making my skin feel clean yet soft, not tight and pissed. For colder weather or skin that just really won't behave, there's also the Extra-Comfort Cleansing Cream. It's a littler pricier-- forty bucks for roughly the same amount of shit-- but it's so thick you'd swear it was your Mamaw's cold cream from back in the day, and therefore will last longer. The only thing I found more challenging with the cream was controlling the amount, since it comes in a jar that demands finger-stabbing versus the bottled cleansing milk that you can squeeze into your hand. They're both great options though. Another one is good ol' Cetaphil that you can get from any drugstore. Ignore my previous snobby comments on getting what you pay for when it comes to Cetaphil. (I don't give a damn if this makes me a hypocrite-- I like to think of it as an exception.) This stuff is about as gentle as it gets-- feel free to slather it on your fully-cooked fetus once she joins us-- and it's plenty cheap. The experience of determinedly rubbing it into your eyelids isn't quite as pleasant as gently swiping on some Clarins Cleansing Milk, but you may feel that the price difference makes up for it. I don't find it as effective in removing my much-loved Lash Blast mascara, but you could rinse with water instead of tissuing it off and probably get a good result. So decide what you like and clean that face up.

Let's move on to lotions, serums, and creams. Personally, I really think that a serum packs more bang for the buck in terms of results versus money spent and product used over a lotion or cream. Furthermore, if you are really Sahara-Desert-dry, why are you bothering with an anorexic lotion? You need the big guns, pronto. So let's do work: there are two serums that I feel do a great job, and both are pretty reasonable price-wise. The first is yet another offering from our friends at Clarins-- the Hydra-Quench serum. They've redone the packaging since I last used it, so I'm not sure if it's the exact same formula, but I thought it kicked ass. Even though it's a serum, they had a spray nozzle on the bottle, which was actually great-- you pump two sprays into your paw, warm it up with the other paw, and happily smear away. Oftentimes I didn't need anything else before going to bed-- or going forward with the makeup routine in the morning. The Clarins website lists the serum as $56 for an ounce, but I really do remember it lasting me a while-- more than a month, which I think is what Miss Mama is getting out of her $47 Bobbi moisturizer. If nothing else, the new Sephora likely carries Clarins, and will give you a sample to test-drive. See what you think. The other option is the Yonka Serum. I dearly love the Yonka line and have not been disappointed with any of the skincare products so far. (I bought the lip balm in a moment of weakness before a Hawaiian vacation, and it was weird-- NOTHING like the lovely Malin + Goetz lip moisturizer, but whatever.) The Serum has a great consistency-- slippery, but not greasy-- and for me has been all that's needed before bedtime after cleansing, even in the dead of winter. I even use it under my eyes, therefore bypassing a separate eye cream. As the saying goes, a little goes a long way, thereby alleviating the $36-ish price. I think two pumps is enough to cover my face and neck. It's a little shiny for daytime application, so you may want to investigate the Clarins serum or a day cream, unless you like the idea of being a walking spotlight-- or you could just use a little less, rub it between your palms, and pat it on gently. I've listed the Yonka website before, but unfortunately they don't do a very good job of listing their vendors by state, so you may have to go on a hunt to find it locally. Better yet, just let me know if you want something in particular, and I'll snag it at the day spa in Brentwood and send it to you-- sealed with a kiss!

All right, forging ahead to creams: I first have a confession to make. (This gig is titled Beauty Junkie Confessions, after all.) I think that, for the money, Creme de le Mer is one of the best moisturizing creams you can buy-- a $125 jar used to last me at least four months. Do I use it these days? No. Do I have a good reason? Maybe. See, CDLM contains a vast amount of mineral oil, which is, among other things, an occlusive and a petrolem derivative. An occlusive is a substance that keeps other substances from permeating (in this case, your face). Not that this is necessarily a bad thing-- we want to trap moisture in and keep it from escaping. That's fine, but it's the fact that mineral oil comes from petrolem that bothers me. I mean, it's a byproduct of gasoline, for heaven's sake. I certainly am not adept at cosmetic chemistry, but I can't get comfortable with that idea. Now, I went through a few jars of CDLM before learning this fact, and I have to admit that it makes your face feel awesome. A pea-sized amount would cover my entire face and make it soft and supple. I just have a hard time wondering about the long-term affects of that type of by-product. There's a whole story behind the Creme's invention, and it's quite seductive (check it out at http://www.cremedelamer.com/), but maybe it's worth exploring other options if you're iffy about its ingredients.

Wow, I feel better. Moving on-- I keep coming back to Clarins, only because I think they offer good product at a reasonable price for products that are easy to find. Their Extra-Firming line has a day lotion that actually does a good job at hydrating while keeping fine lines at bay. There are several options, check it out at http://www.clarins.com/. I've used the Extra-Firming Day Lotion, which has an SPF of 15, and found it to work very well. It's currently listed at $77 for a 1.7-oz bottle, but I remember almost everything I ever bought from the Clarins counter lasting me two months, so maybe it's a viable option. Additionally, Caudalie does a good job with its cream for very dry skin called Vinsource Riche that addresses wrinkles and dryness. I remember traveling to Wisconsin over Thanksgiving a few years ago and luckily finding a deluxe sample in my toiletry bag when I'd forgotten my serum. I recall being skeptical, then eternally thankful as I witnessed its ability to keep the dry patches at bay through two flights, brutal weather, and an excessive amount of drinking. (That alone should convince you to run over to Sephora for a sample.) The Caudalie website-- http://www.caudalie.com/-- lists the Vinosource Riche at fifty bucks for an ounce, but I remember it being very dense and only needing a dime-sized blob to get the job done.

I should at this point address the myriad of products available at your friendly drugstore. I know I pooh-poohed it all earlier, but it's worth some thought. I've heard wonderful things about Olay's newest offerings, and have had to rely on an off-brand here and there while traveling; that said, I don't feel like I can accurately review a product I haven't REALLY tried. There's the commercial on t.v. these days that touts Olay's Micro-Sculpting Cream as being better than "creams that cost $350," and that may indeed be the case, but since I can't personally attest to that idea, I don't want to pull something out of my ass just to save you a few pennies. I'd rather share with you my experiences and go from there. As I said in my initial blog entry, I'm not an encyclopedia of beauty, I'm merely an opinionated, impatient bitch with high beauty-product expectations who's hoping to save some of her fellow Junkies a little time and trouble. Anyway, if you have the time and cash to spare experimenting on drugstore brands, feel free. I just can't be bothered. At least a Sephora- or boutique-purchased product can be returned for an exchange.

All right, it's getting late, and this is getting tedious, so I'll leave you with one last thought: don't forget your foundation as the final step in consistent and continuous hydration. Are you using a run-of-the-mill "base"? Stop it. Same goes for mineral foundations-- I love them for their purity, but they can look chalky on dry skin and can therefore exacerbate flakiness. Go with a tinted moisturizer as a layer over your daytime routine. I'm currently using Kiehl's, which cost around twenty-five dollars for a bottle that I swear has no bottom (I bought mine in Palm Beach in November and I KNOW I've yet to use a quarter of it). Start with a pea-sized amount-- if you need more than a dime-sized squirt to cover your face, please let me know so I can contact the Guiness Book and get your big ol' grill in that bitch. It does well at evening out your skin while imparting a nice dewy finish; that said, beware of spackling it on over top of a thick day cream-- it will roll up when you try to rub in onto your face. Best try a non-oily serum and layer the tinter moisturizer over it. Trish McEvoy also makes a good one, as does those devils at Creme de la Mer-- I'm not sure how much mineral oil, if any, goes into their tinted moisturizer, but it works well and has an SPF of 18, so maybe it's work looking into.

I could obviously talk all day and night about dry skin and how to fix it, but some of it has to be tailoring products not just to your skin type, but to your skin, particularly if you're pregnant or have varying degrees of sensitivity. I hope this has been helpful-- let me know! Xoxo

Monday, July 7, 2008

I do... not want creasy eyelids.

I was fortunate enough to go to a lovely wedding this weekend. The bride and all her attendants were beautiful, a wonderful time was had by all, and hangovers abounded the next day. "What the hell does this have to do with beauty," you ask. (You're impatient, just like me. I like that.) My Beauty Junkie moment came when my sister, the radiant maid of honor (don't call us "matrons" of honor, we hate that), snagged me just before the reception to examine the bride's face. It was just as I feared: creases. Not on her face-- she looked vibrant-- but on her damn eyelids! As I gently patted her lids with my ring finger to redistribute the pretty gray shadow, I thought to myself: damn, I shoulda brought THE secret weapon to the bridal get-ready suite this morning and solemnly instructed each girl on how to use it. Not that this was my responsibility, mind you-- they all had a fabulous hair and makeup artist, but even the best face can be sabotaged by heat, humidity, and an eighteen-hour day.



Anyway, so back to The Creases. A little pat-pat on the bride's and my sister's lids made all things right, but it all could have been avoided with a little thing I like to call the Bobbi Brown Cream Shadow Stick. (Actually, I'm sure Bobbi and all her well-groomed minions like to call it that too, since that's the product's given name. I can be a product-name-snob sometimes.) It only comes in one shade, but get over yourself-- it's really all you need for a virtually indestructible eyeshadow base. Use a fancy brush and take your time or smear it on with your finger like your ass is on fire, it doesn't matter. Just ensure that it and your lids start making out immediately. Additionally, it works great on its own by concealing those pesky little shadows and discolorations that make-- ahem-- SOME people look like they've had the flu for three days. Not me, of course. I have perfectly even eyelids... as far as anyone is concerned. I should have listed the shadow stick under the Shit I'm Digging list, but I thought it deserved its own blog. I've listed Bobbi's website before, but if you're really that lazy, here it is again: http://www.bobbibrowncosmetics.com. If you're not that lazy, and are willing to go hunt for some, almost any department store worth a damn will have a Bobbi counter. The mall closes at nine. Your capillary-ridden, creasy-assed eyelids need your help! Kisses!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Current Faves

So before I delve into various products (eye shadow, lip gloss, brow gel, etc. etc. etc.) and brands (name one, chances are I've tried it), I thought I'd offer up a partial list of current favorites, hereafter called Shit I'm Feeling. Here goes:

1a. Cover Girl Last Blast mascara. Seriously, for drug-store mascara, this is some good shit, and my mascara standards are irrationally high. I like the black shade in the non-waterproof formula-- the waterproof is determined to stay on despite your best rubbing, pleading, and negotiating. The brush is insanely huge and has those newfangled rubber spokes instead of nylon bristles. I've started buying it two at a time because I'm convinced that, now that I've found a kick-ass mascara that doesn't cost twenty bucks, the Cover Girl people will yank it off the shelves. (Hey, it's happened before. The cosmetics industry giveth, and the cosmetics industry taketh thine mascara/concealer/whatever away.) Stop at a Walgreen's on your way home and get some. You're only cheating yourself if you don't.

1b. Lancome Cils Boost XL (http://www.lancome.com/). This white lash primer is applied like mascara, before your actual mascara. I don't remember how I got onto this stuff, but my life is forever changed. I can't tell you how many times I've been told I have great eyelashes, or asked if I have on fake ones. (Not bragging, just being honest here.) I'm not blessed with a great fringe, I just use great shit. Lancome sells the Cils Boost and the Cils Boost XL. Don't be a puss, go for the XL. Buy two (trust me). Brush it on gently, like you would mascara, and wait a second. Then go crazy with your mascara and marvel at the results. Combining this with the Lash Blast mascara mentioned above is dangerously awesome. It works the best when it's fresh, so pick up a new one once a month or so. I have nightmares about being forced to put mascara on without it.

2. Bobbi Brown Shimmer Wash eyeshadows (http://www.bobbibrowncosmetics.com/). I wish I had an extra ten minutes in the morning to gaze upon my four-pan compact of shims and tell them how pretty they are. To be honest, I could easily have an extra ten-- or thirty-- if I didn't hit the snooze so damn much, but I've never been one to take responsibility for myself. These gems come in colors that are grown-up without being boring, and the finish is shimmery without being drag-queen glitter-tastic. I love Champagne, Petal, Heather Mauve, and Beige, but I fully intend to own them all someday. Oh yes, I will own them all.

3. Yon-Ka Gel Nettoyant face cleanser (http://www.yonka.com/). I love you, cleansing gel. I love your fresh, non-irritating, plant-based scent, I love your plush-but-not-obnoxious lather, and I think I love your ability to take my makeup off without making my skin say "YOU'RE HURTING ME" most of all. I know I've tried others, cleansing gel. I was weak and foolish. Like a good gel, you patiently waited for me to come back to you. You're so good to me, cleasing gel, that I've given your name out only to the people I care about the most. I hope there's enough of you to go around; that said, cleansing gel, if you suddenly are in short supply, rest assured that I will tell those people that Yon-Ka "doesn't make that anymore" and we'll run away together. See you tonight. Love you too.

4. Malin + Goetz Lip Moisturizer (http://www.malinandgoetz.com/). This stuff makes me wish I had more deeply-colored lips so I could just wear it all damn day. But no, instead I have to go through the whole color-and-gloss routine to add some life to my pale piehole. Anyway, this clear gel feels amazing and really does keep lips from chapping. Truly the Goldilocks of lip balms, it's not too thick, not too thin, doesn't have a taste or smell, and makes me happy (like all lip balms should, but rarely do). Consider throwing one in your beach bag and keeping one on your bedside table this summer. It's twelve bucks for a cute little tube, but trust me, you can't find a better way to spend it. Order it online and have one sent to me as a thank-you.

5. Clarins Radiance Plus Self-Tanning Cream-Gel (http://www.clarins.com/). All right, so we've established that the Melanin Fairy never paid me a visit. Having sensitive skin just adds to the fun-- one little fling with a face tanner from Bath and Body landed me in the dermatologist's office with chicken-pox-like bumps on my face. Pretty! For those reasons, I've become a near-expert in all things self-tanning. Clarins has gotten it right with this moisturizer/self-tanner combo. I've been less than impressed with their other self-tanner products, but this one is a keeper. Used every other day, the color is subtle and believable, and-- get this-- it DOESN'T IRRITATE MODERATELY SENSITIVE SKIN. One bottle will last you a while, unless you have a freakishly huge face or end up using it on your body (which I have in a pinch, and it looked lovely, thanks.) I keep it in rotation year-round to avoid being asked if I'd like to star in the "Powder" sequel.

Stay tuned for more rants, raves, and ramblings. Now go put your face on!

My First Confession

Okay, so let's get to it. My name is Julie and I'm a bit of a Beauty Junkie. Now, I also have a real job and something resembling a real life, so I don't see this blog becoming an encyclopedia of All Things Beauty, but I'll be honest: I've been around the beauty block a time or two. There are some awesome products out there, and there is some unadulterated crap as well. I'm here to offer up some sometimes-sarcastic, always-honest musings on the mountain of shit that I've patted, sprayed, brushed, slicked, and smacked onto my face and extremities. Enjoy!*

*Disclaimer: the afore-mentioned "mountain of shit" will usually involve products that are geared toward my skin type (dry, sensitive) and coloring (so-pale-I-could-blind-a-child-and-moley-to-boot skin, blond hair, and hazel eyes). If you don't see something on here for an olive-skinned brunette with blue eyes, it's nothing personal. I will hate you a little for having all that free time to spare that I've spent slapping on self-tanner, though.