Confessions of a Beauty Junkie

Friday, November 27, 2009

Random Holiday Weekend Musings

So, first things first: I've spent the last ten-or-so days test-driving the latest thing in foundation, Lancome Oscillation Powerfoundation. I normally love my ass some mineral-powder foundation for its purity and natural sunscreen, and y'all know the borderline-unhealthy obsession I have with their oscillating mascara primer (seriously, if you haven't gotten some yet, what the hell is wrong with you?). It seemed only natural that I would fall completely butt-crazy in love with this stuff.

I'm not really there yet.

It takes some getting used to, to say the least. Initially, there was the issue of getting the right shade without the benefit of testers at the Lancome counter. (What? It was new, and I had to have it. I don't need no stinkin' tester!) Turns out, that was unfortunate-- the shade I initially picked was too light, and made my look even more ghostly than normal. I had to wait a few days to return the wrong shade and get the right one with the help of the stinkin' tester. One shade darker was all I needed, contrary to the Lancome lady's opinion. (Um, Lancome lady? I've been rocking this pasty-assed skin for thirty-odd years. When I say a shade you're showing me is too dark, I can promise you with absolute certainty that it will be too dark. You persisted, and almost lost an arm in the process, because your pushiness was pissing me off. And guess what? It was too dark! Crazy!)

I learned after a few go-rounds a couple things: one, that your skin must be completely dry and any product(s) you use before OP must be completely absorbed. Two, that it's really not meant for covering under-eye circles. Any eye cream (and yes, you absolutely need eye cream) will roll up under the vibrating sponge applicator. Third, you don't want to slap this stuff on with a heavy hand, lest you want to look masky and fake and corpse-like. (If, however, that's your thing, go nuts. It's your world.) I've gotten it to look pretty natural on my cheeks and forehead, and am still working on the nose. I have no idea why it ends up looking weird on my nose, but whatever. Oh, and you might want to consider a water atomizer (Walgreen's usually has little ones by Evian) to gently spritz over your face when using any powder foundation to avoid that afore-mentioned corpsey look.

Here's the thing: this stuff is, like, almost fifty bucks. Me no likey pay that kind of coin for something that doesn't just knock my socks clean off. (I'd happily pay twice that for the Oscillation mascara primer, and will live on Ramen if it ever comes to that to support my habit.) So whatever. I'll use every last bit of it to get my money's worth, but I don't necessarily have to like it.

Moving on: the pushy Lancome lady who was determined to put me in a shade of foundation meant for, say, Halle Berry got me thinking. I intensely dislike people pushing beauty products who don't know their shit. This unfortunately happens all the time, what with all the Retail Fetusus (Feti?) trolling Sephora and the like. I once went for mascara at the same Lancome counter a few years ago, and was asked if I wanted to try their newest formula, "L'Extreme." I didn't buy or even try it on principle, only because the young thing working me pronounced it "LAY-ExTREEM." Honey-bunny, I'm trying really hard not to come off as a snob here, but I'm pretty sure it's pronounced something along the lines of "lecks-TREHM." Do your friggin' homework before trying to sell me thirty-dollar stuff.

The worst example I ever encountered would have been hilarious, if it wasn't so sad: I was cruising the Cosmetic Market, a local boutique that I normally love. A fetus approached, rocking glitter eyeliner and a side part strategically positioned oh, I don't know, an inch-and-a-half above her ear, and asked if she could help. (I doubt it, but this should be good.) Yes, I guess so, I replied. I'm looking for some new eyeshadow shades, and want to know what's the latest and greatest. She asked me, as well-intentioned as her little adolescent heart was, the following:

"Right. So, like, do you like shimmery shadow, or are you looking for something MATE?"

Wait, what?

Is "mate" a formula with which I'm not familiar? And if so, how did I miss it?

Is Mate a new brand? Do I need to try it? Did she mean did I want to look for lip shades that are good mates? Good matches? Do I need to get a hearing aid?

Oh.... oh, okay. I get it. I wish I didn't, and I'm not buying a damn thing from this fetus, but I get it. And I just couldn't help myself.

"Honey, don't you mean 'MATTE'?"

"Right, yeah."

I answered a fake phone call that I just HAD to take and left. I drove home, mouth agape and brows knitted, repeatedly blinking and saying, "mate?! MATE?!" Yes, mate. She actually thought that eyeshadow without shimmer particles in it was called "mate." And there you have it. People who don't know their shit. I guess it's for my own good, because my addiction to all things beauty would be even more all-consuming if every person in beauty retail REALLY knew his or her shit, but I digress. And to this day do not wear "mate" eyeshadow.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I Always Get Sucked In...

... hoping that the people at Maybelline will finally get their heads out of their asses and make a good mascara, and I'm always left disappointed, bitter, and pissed. I've tried COLOSSAL (um, it was very NOT colossal-- they should have named it "CRAP-LOSSAL"), Pulse Perfection (better than Colossal-- although naked lashes are better than that garbage-- but still clumpy and not worth the fifteen bucks you save versus the department store vibrating mascaras), and yesterday I decided to try Great Lash BIG.

First: seriously, Maybelline, you can capitalize any product name you want, it won't make said product work any better. 'Kay?

Second: I'm sure there are plenty of y'all who love and are loyal to the original Great Lash. I mean, it's on Allure magazine's "Best of Beauty" list every year. Every. Friggin'. Year. I'm sure, for those of you who have the slightest bit of substance to your lashes, it's positively the bee's knees. If you feel that way, might want to just stop reading here and go do something else. No harm, no foul-- but come back soon, I have lots of other crap to discuss.

So I gave it a shot hoping that, at less than five bucks, it would rival Lash Blast in producing a fat fringe at an even cheaper price. I would be wrong. It's okay at best, and certainly doesn't give me BIG lashes. Furthermore, it took me longer to layer it on to get a decent result that what I can get with just a few swipes of Lash Blast. I guess if you only have five bones to spare on mascara, have at it. But don't expect miracles.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

First, Facebook, Next... Twitter?

Hey ladies! I finally figured out how to create a Facebook page for this little blog, and already have FOURTEEN fans! Woo! (Okay, so I sent an invitiation to become a fan to just about every female I'm friends with on FB, but whatever-- they could have ignored. Fourteen of them didn't! Hooray!)

I'm currently in the throes of writing my column for the December issue of VIP Williamson, which is going to be a breathless holiday beauty survival guide. I'll post it as soon as I finish. In the meantime, here's the November entry, in which I give some major props and thanks for those products that completely and thoroughly own my ass.

Give “Beauty-ful” Thanks

We all have so much to be thankful for, and there’s nothing like gathering with family and friends to eat, visit, reflect, and (if you’re like my family) eat some more. The Beauty Junkie is also thankful for my beauty-product faves, those I return to again and again. Here’s my list of products for which I’m truly thankful—read and learn.
Clarisonic cleansing brush. I love this thing. Like a Sonicare for your face, it deep-cleans without stripping or irritating. It comes in normal- and sensitive-skin options, works with any cleanser (you get a trial-size cleanser with the brush), and even beeps when it’s time to move from one area of your face to the next. It also works miracles on self-tanning mistakes and spots that need non-abrasive exfoliation. It’s simply cleansing nirvana, and gives you brighter, more even-toned skin in the process. Seriously.
Rodial Glam Balm. I’ve can’t say enough about the little tube with a million uses. It ain’t cheap, but lasts a while, and does wonders on just about every part of your body that needs some TLC. Castor seed oil and pomegranate extracts do wonders for dry lips, cuticles, eyelids, nostrils, and skin that generally needs a boost. I’ve even rubbed the tiniest bit between my palms to smooth out the ends of my hair. I’ve used it on top of lipstick for shine, and under it in winter months for to smooth over dryness. In the highest elevations in Colorado, I applied it every night as a deeply hydrating mask, and every morning as a moisturizing makeup base. I’ve used it on razor burn. I could keep going, but you get it. I keep a tube in my bathroom and a tiny pot in my purse, and pray that the smart people at Rodial keep it coming. Love!
Lancome Oscillating Powerbooster and Cover Girl Lash Blast mascara. I’m sure y’all are sick to death of reading about my tried-and-true favorite mascara-and-primer combo, but you’ll just have to deal. Lash Blast is far and away the best all-around mascara. It gives the department-store formulas a run for their money (literally—Lash Blast costs all of seven dollars), and produces full, fat lashes. Waterproof, different shades, sparkly Lash Blast Luxe, lengthening Lash Blast Length—you name it, it has it. As for Powerbooster, nothing else primes, separates, and prepares lashes quite like it. Its price counteracts the affordability of Lash Blast, but it’s just quite simply worth every penny. I adore them, end of story.
Comptoir Sud Pacifique Vanille Abricot. It’s a mouthful, but it’s also the name of the best-smelling perfume ever. The entire line of Comptoir fragrances uses Tahitian vanilla paired with different elements, each of which is downright lovely. Vanille Abricot basically smells like birthday cake, but in a very grown-up, non-sickening way. When wearing it, I usually hear someone say, “Wow—I smell cake!” while looking around expectantly. (I’ve yet to find another perfume that brings about such happiness.) It’s truly unique, and smells delightful on just about everyone. I once found the body lotion at TJ Maxx, and you’d have thought I’d won the lottery. If you don’t want to invest in the standard-size spray, snag a purse-size one for around twenty bucks at Sephora. You’ll love it, I promise.
Paula Dorf Baby Eyes eye pencil, Cargo Eyelighter, and Anastasia Tinted Brow Gel. We’ve all heard of using eyeliner on the inner lower rims of our eyes, but the results can be bewildering. Dark colors shrink the eyes, and white can look chalky and fake. Baby Eyes comes in the perfect shade of beige that does absolute wonders for opening the eyes and faking the eight-hours-of-sleep look. Ditto the Eyelighter, a dual-ended sponge-tip pen that has matte powder on one end and shimmer on the other. I use the matte shade under my brows and at the outer corners of my eyes for lift, and the shimmery shade in the inner corners to highlight. Perfection. For a finished look, the Tinted Brow Gel is the best I’ve ever found for keeping unruly hairs at bay. It also subtly fills in any sparse spots and lasts all day without being stiff. You want to see me panic? Steal my Anastasia brow gel.
Finally, and most importantly, I’m thankful for all my beautiful readers and to VIP for letting me pen this little column! Fewer things give me such joy, and for that, thank you. Xoxo

Buying Guide
Clarisonic, Comptoir Sud Pacifique, Cargo, and Anastasia: Sephora
Rodial: Woo Cosmetics
Lancome: Belk
Cover Girl: Local drugstores
Paula Dorf: The Cosmetic Market