Saturday, March 31, 2012

More Product Mini Reviews

Hey hey, it's time for another post of mini-reviews! I got to try a lot of products during my New York visit, thanks to L's impressive collection, and will remark on them in a succincter-than-usual fashion. I've decided to post this rather than a monthly favorites/empties (or Skincare Saturday, for that matter, though there are several skincare products here), mostly because I'm sick and don't have the energy to write a new post. Here they are, in no particular order:

Philosophy The Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash
$25 for 8 oz, available from Sephora
This is a very nice, gentle exfoliator. I only used it the one time, since I spent 4 out of 6 of my nights at Z's, but I found it to do its job without unnecessary irritation. I'm not sure I'd want to spend that much myself, especially since I have my Clarisonic which takes care of my physical exfoliation needs, but if you don't have a Clarisonic and want something mild to exfoliate, Microdelivery is definitely worth checking out!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Book Review (=Rant): "Smell: The Secret Seducer" by Piet Vroon, Anton van Amerongen and Hans de Vries

If you're interested in the content contained within this book, skip to the "read more" button. If you enjoy reading rants about the quality of the book, read and grumble with me.
image via Amazon

I read this book on the plane on my way to New York. I'd finished writing my term papers the day before, which ended up being about 40 pages (single-spaced) of extremely well-cited research paper. I read no less than 36 articles, thoroughly annotated a bibliography, and thought critically about the contents. SO, going into this book, I had high expectations of academic rigor (CITE EVERYTHING. This is something I have to tell my students all the time. If you don't say where you got it, I think it's from you, and there is no way you knew all that shit to start with, and throughout this book found myself wondering why the editors hadn't done the same for these authors). On a purely impressionistic level (not like I'm going to tally this up or anything, sheesh), only about a third of the statements in this book had footnotes giving their source. Now, I understand it was written by 3 people, and their combined knowledge would undoubtedly account for some of that. But 2/3? Doubtful. 

Also, I read this all in one go (well, okay, I took a break to switch planes, eat, and take a nap), but all the material was pretty fresh in my mind, and I noticed a lot of repetition. Like, did you know that the area in the brain responsible for smell has very few links to the language parts of the brain, which helps account for why we have such trouble describing words? Well, after reading this book, you'll never forget, because it's mentioned so. many. times. There are several other examples like that: women have a better sense of smell than men, smell is very important in the bonding of mother and baby, perfumers can't actually smell that much better than norms. If I were writing this as an actual paper, I would include citations of those, though I would be unsure of which citation to use––the first? The fifth? The last (often, like, 20th)? This should not be an issue! Agh!

More editing complaints (I'm sorry, I'm a linguist and appreciate that everyone speaks differently and those differences should be respected, but the same principle does not apply for writing. There are standards, and if you are writing a mass-market book, you had damn well better follow them! Also, when I was in high school and had to take that PLAN/Pre-ACT test that told you waht you should be when you grow up, they said funeral director or editor. I don't know what those have in common, either, and I find it very puzzling that there's a large enough market for funeral directors and editors for them to be included in a big test like that. Anyways, [this] tangent over): parentheticals (too many! it's like one of my blog posts, gawd), several of which don't have one or the other parenthesis. Do you know how irritating it is to not know when the parenthetical thought is over? Or when it was supposed to have begun? SO IRRITATING. There are certain standards that should be met in a published book, including (but not limited to) spellcheck [didn't notice anything like that in this book, fortunately], correct punctuation (this includes no floating parentheses! Or colons all over the place: it is very annoying), and clearly structured, non-reductionist information, which this book was sadly lacking at times.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

New York Shopping Ramblings

I've got a ton of posts heading your way in the next few days/weeks, but I thought I'd start the deluge with this one!

I had a marvelous day of shopping in NYC on Sunday and managed to pick up a few products as well as sniff some perfumes, spot a makeup celebrity, and get a makeover. Herewith, some musings on the stores and my experiences:

We went to Bergdorf Goodman first, since it's home to Le Métier de Beauté and a Guerlain boutique, as well as a slew of other beauty and fragrance counters. The beauty section is on the lower-level, and the design is rather different from typical department stores, with lots of smaller rooms (connected by open archways) which made the shopping experience much more intimate. The LMdB counter is right at the base of the escalator going down, so that's where we went first; the saleswoman was nice enough, if a little distant, and I ended up picking up a couple of items: Corinthian eyeshadow, the Queen of Taupes, and a Lip Crème (Fraise!) for L, my shopping companion.

We then walked around the store and checked out some of the other counters (though not Clé de Peau, since I cannot afford anything at their counter). I made us stop by the Guerlain boutique, which supposedly has the full range of their fragrances (300 in all, though from the looks of it, they're not all displayed) and cosmetics. I sprayed the pure parfum versions of L'Heure Bleue, Mitsouko, and Nahéma on blotters just for kicks (and to see if the two former smelled noticeably different from their edp formulations; to my untrained nose, they did not, which I'm going to say means I don't have to order the parfum version from The Perfumed Court, at least not until I get really obsessed with fragrance, if that ever happens!*), though I think I should perhaps have stuck with the edt of Nahéma, since I quite disliked the parfum. I also sniffed the bottle of Vol de Nuit, though I was starting to suffer from some olfactory fatigue by that point, and also swatched a few of the Rouge Automatique lipsticks (Guet-Apens is in my future!) and tried the Kiss Kiss gloss upon L's recommendation, only to deem it, as usual, "too sticky".

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Another Non-Post

Hello, lovelies! I just wanted to post and let you know that I'm not dead, I'm just having oodles of fun in New York and haven't gotten the chance to write any posts (and I forgot to bring my camera cord, so haven't been able to upload any pictures). I will have lots to share with you in the next few weeks, though, so get excited! I also wanted to remind you to enter the giveaways, if you haven't already! Be sure to check out the instructions for how to enter.

I'll be flying home tomorrow, and then hopefully working on some posts the next couple days. Things to look forward to: lots of food (including crack ice cream, yes, it's a thing), some high-end makeup, silly faces, and ramblings on the city.

Hope all is well in your life!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Sort of Skincare Saturday: Bliss Fabulips and High Intensity Hand Cream Reviews and Pictures

This Bliss Santa's Little Helpers set came out for this past holiday season; Neiman Marcus still had it in stock online when I ordered my Deborah Lippmann polish, and I figured it was worth getting to check out, since I'd heard good things about the balm, and I'm always happy to try new hand cream! The set was $11 and had 1 oz of the hand cream and a full size Fabulips. The hand cream is $8 for 1 oz ($18 for 2.5 oz), and the Fabulips balm is $16, so I got a big discount, which makes me feel somewhat better about my mixed results with the products.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Giveaways Update

Okay, a couple of clarifications in case you've entered the giveaway, or haven't because you weren't sure how:

1) In order to qualify, you must leave a comment (just do this in the normal comment box at the bottom of the post, like you would for commenting on any other post). It can be about anything at all, but I want to get to know you!

2) In order to be contacted if you win, you must include your email address, either in the comment or by sending me an email (beyondjustbeauty at gmail dot com). If I don't have a way to contact you, you can't win!

3) After leaving a comment, you must click "Enter" in the widget. That way Rafflecopter will register your entry and enter you in to the giveaway.

That's it! If there's any more confusion, please feel free to post a comment here or anywhere, or send me an email. Good luck!

Fragrance Friday: Perfumes, Revisited

Before I subject you to the opus below, have you entered the giveaway?

Regular readers of the blog are familiar with Fragrance Friday, wherein I "review" a perfume. Up until now, these posts have been entirely subjective, opinionated, and rather empty of content. I've enjoyed writing them immensely, but I'm not sure how helpful they really are to anyone except me. In the interests of becoming a better blogger (and because I needed a new topic to obsess over and thereby procrastinate with), I've started to delve into the world of perfume more intensely. 

First, some general websites to keep in mind/check out: OsMoz, which has fragrance pyramids and family classifications (see below for more on those topics!); Basenotes, where people post fragrance reviews (I like going there to check out the general consensus on a scent); Fragrantica, which has both snapshot love/like/hate ratings and more in-depth reviews (you have to register to access all the content, but you can do that either with a Facebook account or an email; I used my BJB email account, since I don't care if that gets spammed, though I haven't had any trouble with it yet); and the MakeupAlley Fragrance Board, which I haven't actually explored yet, but which I've heard is an excellent resource (for swapping, fragrance reviews, recommendations, etc.), and I will definitely get into it soon.

I read Perfumes: The Guide, by Luca Turin (a God in the perfume reviewing world, apparently, and very funny) and Tania Sanchez, which has ~2000 perfume reviews. It served as a very nice introduction to the field and to make me aware of some of the heavy-hitters in the perfume world. I don't agree with some of their reviews (they called Chance eau fraîche, one of my favoritest scents, "chemical floral" and "utterly banal"), but it's an entertaining read, and their negative reviews are often hilariously condemnatory. It was published in 2008, and there have been many perfumes released since then, so I advise checking out the website for a spreadsheet with all of the perfumes from the book, as well as some newer perfumes. It's a fantastic resource, and made it much easier for me to build my own spreadsheet wishlist!

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Well, dearest readers, I am currently en route to New York for an awesome visit (with some of you reading this, in fact!). I've got some posts scheduled, and I'll have lots of posts (both beauty-related and personal) once I get back, but while I'm gone I'll probably be pretty absent. In recompense, though, I offer you: 2 giveaways!

Many bloggers hold their first giveaway when they hit 100 followers. I, however, have no such patience (not least because GFC has been giving so many bloggers so much angst since being pulled from non-Blogger blogs, and I suspect that it will soon disappear from Blogger, too)! And, because I want to spread the love around as much as possible, I'm going to do two smaller giveaways. I really want this to be a present to my actual readers, not a way to get more followers, so I'm not asking you to tweet or blog about it, and as long as this isn't the first BJB post you've read, you're welcome to enter!

I have slayed (that is *fine*, spellcheck, stop trying to make "slain/slew" happen!) the dragon...

And am done with finals! I'm headed to New York today, and cannot wait to see everyone! Now, if I could just get out of the whole flying there process, that'd be great...

Today (okay, technically, yesterday; using deictic temporal adverbs is very challenging when writing after midnight but before one has gone to bed) it snowed 8 inches of wet, heavy snow. This is extremely weird. Eugene rarely gets that much snow, and never this late in the year. It really screwed up the finals schedule at the university, since the roads were a mess (not just because we don't know how to handle snowstorms, but also because it was icy and slick, and oh right a bunch of trees fell, see the picture below) and campus was closed until 1:00. I don't envy those who had to venture in to take a final, or those who had to rearrange the finals schedule!
I took this with my phone at 8 this morning when I was mostly asleep. That's my parrot. I've had it ever since I can remember. It's wooden, just in case that doesn't show. Don't worry, I wouldn't hide a pet parrot from you. There'd be pictures of him/her (a real pet would be worthy of gendered pronouns) all over this blog.

A different angle. See that tree in the background? That's fallen all over the place? Yeah, that was loud. Mom says it was rotten which is what made it split like that.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

China Glaze Magnetix at Sally's PSA

Alright, so, I haven't gotten the chance to swatch these or play around with them at all, so I have no idea if we'll get along better than Rite Aid's Pretty Woman Magnetix and I did (not), but Scrangie loved them, and I love her, so by some law, it should work out. I'm posting this now, though, because I got them for cheap and I wanted to share with y'all in case you didn't already know!

My local Sally's had most (maybe all?) the colors in stock, and through the end of March with a Sally's Card (if you don't have one, why not?! Yes, it costs $5, but then you get a $5 coupon off a future purchase, so it's actually free. And the discounts! Are amazing!) if you buy 2 CG Magnetix polishes ($5.99 each), you get the magnet (which has 3 designs) for free! So I walked away with two lovely full (0.50 oz) size magnetic polishes and 3 magnets for less than $12. (You can find them for cheaper online, but then you have to pay exorbitant shipping, which ends up costing more, plus I am morally opposed to paying lots for shipping.)

That's all. Have a lovely day!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Deborah Lippmann Mermaid's Dream: A Non-Review

Alright, I haven't actually gotten the chance to swatch this yet (still going through my self-imposed polish absence while I try out Nailtiques), so I can't speak to its wear or show any pretty swatchy pictures. I did put it on my nail wheel, though, and it's so flippin' gorgeous that I figure doing two posts (this non-one and a real review) is perfectly acceptable.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sunday Summary

Okay, I'm taking a little break from my finals-slaying to post a few links that I found particularly enjoyable this past week. Because yes, even when I'm drowning in work, I still find (make?) time to stalk my favorite blogs!

Beauty Reductionista (who is awesome, and whose inventory posts I plan to imitate) requests that bloggers stop using word verification for their comments. It's well-written, nice, and so true. I hate those things. (Not well-written or nice, so obviously, go read hers!)

Sarah from Chalkboard Nails (also awesome) does a guest post for Fashion Polish (ditto) on her splatter mani. So pretty! Sometime when the weather's nice and I've got the time, I will have to try it.

Out in a Pout gives the three things that a skincare "expert" says that show the contrary. Very interesting!

Scrangie posts a NOTD of Nfu Oh 51 over Spa Ritual Blue Moon. It is beautiful. I want the Nfu Oh.

Temptalia shares a video on her makeup storage system. Confession: I haven't watched the whole thing (it's half an hour long), but if you're looking for tips on organizing your stash, who better than the queen of beauty blogging to turn to?

Lipglossiping writes a hilarious post on the new Tweezerman "cheetah" tweezers. It includes advice on whether to climb a tree to escape from a hungry cat or not. Read it.

And, as usual, a couple of Dinosaur Comics that made me giggle: one on opera as drug (including bonus Batman!) and the dramz that divorce will one day wreak. Giggle snort.

Now, off to finish my syntax final! Any links that have caught your eye? (Since, c'mon, there's only so much finaling I can take without a break.)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Skincare Saturday: Philosophy Hope in a Jar

This is going to be a quick-and-dirty review, because I don't have time for anything else! Sadface :-( Or maybe happyface, because it will force me to be succinct (not my strong suit!).
image via Sephora
Got a sample of this as a 100-point perk from Sephora. Pros: Absorbs quickly, doesn't break me out, doesn't increase my oiliness. Cons: Smells kind of weird (herbal, similar to Purity but stronger and mustier; Musings of a Muse once described it as "wet dog", which is worse than what I smell, but it's pretty polarizing), doesn't minimize oiliness, and isn't actually very moisturizing. I put it on when I was having some dry flaky skin issues, and it did basically nothing to help with that. Ended up just going back to my trusty Amber Cream, which worked like a charm. Get that instead of this––you get twice as much and it's less than half the price. Plus, it's supporting a local (to me!) small business, and it smells awesome.
$15 for 0.5 oz, $38 for 2 oz, $60 for 4 oz, $110 for 8 oz, available from Sephora

Bottom line: didn't live up to the hype for me, alas. Have you tried it? What did you think?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Finals, or: Why You Should Read Other Blogs

So, um, yeah, it's finals time at the UO and I have quite a bit (understatement) of work to do, so I'm afraid I won't be doing much posting on the bloggle for a few days. I've got a couple of non-posts scheduled so you don't think I've abandoned you, but I highly recommend filling the (undoubtedly enormous) void in your life that my absence will create by checking out the blogs under Beloved Blogs, on the right sidebar. I hope everything is going well in your life, and if you're also going through a work deluge, may you survive with your sanity (mostly) intact!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

L'Oreal Colour Riche (Le) Balm in Plush Plum Review and Swatches

I've spoken before of my love of Revlon lip butters. Sugar Plum is my HG MLBB shade, and I have 3 (yes, 3) of them in my possession. If they ever discontinue it, I will have to buy, like, 10. Fortunately, they're a new product, so I think I've got at least a few years before I have to worry about that!

Revlon's lip butters may be the most talked-about of the new drugstore lip butters, but L'Oreal has put one out as well, called (Le) Balm (nowhere on the packaging does it say "Le," but it's referred to as Le Balm on lots of blogs). There are 8 shades, compared to Revlon's mind-boggling 20. I'd read reviews before saying that L'Oreal's were much sheerer, lighter, and slicker than Revlon's, so I knew I had to get one of the more pigmented in the range, since I find sheer-to-the-point-of-invisibility lip colors to be a complete waste of time (that's what I have my Jack Black for, thank you very much). I ended up choosing Plush Plum as a potential MLBB.
L'Oreal Plush Plum Balm

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Foundation Primers Reviews and Comparisons: Urban Decay, Fyrinnae, Black Radiance, and Too Faced

I've been trying a few different face primers recently, and rather than doing individual posts on each of them, I figured I'd save myself some trouble and just do one bigger post. There's no real rhyme or reason to the order, except that I put my favorite at the end, so feel free to read only that, or all, or none. You know, the usual!

I discovered over the course of testing these primers that MAC Matchmaster does not play well with primer, so I ended up just wearing them all with Revlon ColorStay, which can benefit greatly from use of a primer (though, as you'll see, it doesn't always!). I haven't tried any of these with MMU, but if/when I do, I'll update this post.

Urban Decay Complexion Primer Potion – Pore Perfecting
$31 for 1 oz, available from Sephora and Urban Decay
I got a little sample tube of this from Sephora awhile ago, and have used it a few times. There's not a whole lot I can say about it; it doesn't really diminish my pores any, and it does absolutely nothing to control my oilies or make my foundation last longer––in fact, I think it makes my oiliness worse. The only good things about it for me is that you barely need any product to cover your face, since it's silicone-y and spreads really easily, but that hardly makes up for the fact that it sucks as a primer. Verdict: Be off with you!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Some Random Polish Swatches

I'm not wearing polish on my nails for the time being while I use Nailtiques on them to try and make them not suck, but I have some swatches from before my self-imposed polish absence that I don't care enough about to write individual posts for, but that I would nonetheless like to be able to get off my computer, so I figured I would just throw them at you! And use a really long sentence to do so!

Essence Where Is The Party?
How it looks in the bottle most
of the time
The name of this polish makes me laugh, because you would never hear it said like that (except by ESL speakers, which I would guess the namers of this polish are, since Essence is a German company). It sounds so formal! So funny how little things like not contracting sounds so weird (even though I wrote that sentence, I was still momentarily confused by the status of "sounds". I've clearly spent too much time linguisting...).
And how it looks in the bottle at an angle!

How it looks in head-on light
Crazy color shift!

Anyways. Linguistic entertainment aside, this is a pretty cool polish. It was the first duochrome I got, though I've actually yet to wear it as a full mani. It's a purple-green duochrome, and shifts from being a rich purple head-on to being a softer grey-purple that shifts to green in different light. It's got a slightly frosty finish, so you do have to be a bit careful about applying, but it's not really high-maintenance. It's a little thick, too, so you have to let it dry between coats if you ever want it to fully dry, but for a buck, I can't complain! I think this was 3 coats, but it's been awhile, so I'm not sure. You can get Essence at Ulta and Fred Meyer, as far as I know, though there may be other retailers, and from drugstores in Germany (and possibly elsewhere in Europe?).

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunday Summary

Happy Sunday! I hope the lost hour isn't affecting you too terribly, though I know I'm certainly feeling grouchy about it. I've spent the weekend doing lots of work, as always, but I've also gone out and been social every night (which is extremely rare for me!), plus I have a date this evening. I'd be able to enjoy it more if I didn't have a presentation tomorrow! Ah well, at least I'm not bored :-)

There were a lot of great posts this week (I feel like I say that every week, but by golly, it's true!).
Getting Cheeky reviews Illamasqua's Panic blush, an intensely saturated red. It's gorgeous and pigmented, though I wonder if there's any way I could apply it and not end up looking like a crazed clown!
Messy Wands continues to make me want to buy all the things with her post on Guerlain's Rouge G in Garçonne. I don't even wear red lipstick often enough to justify having more than one (two tops), but it's just so freakin' beautiful! And $48, will just have to hang out on my wishlist for the next decade or so.
Scrangie has a great comparison post of Max Factor Fantasy Fire and Clarins 230, Urban Decay Toxin, and Nfu Oh 51. So gorgeous! And so hard to find! If you're in Great Britain and want to do a swap, let me know, because I would just love to get my hands on that pretty. She also has swatches of the upcoming China Glaze Prismatic Chroma glitter polishes. Some of them are cool, but I'm still not sold...I hope I can find the Wet N Wild ones that are supposed to be popping up soon so that I can only have to pay $3 instead of $8!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Skincare Saturday: Bliss Fabulous Face Lotion with SPF 15

I got a sample of this with some Sephora order awhile ago and thought it time to finally share my thoughts. They haven't changed in the last, oh, 6 weeks, but I always had something more interesting to review for Skincare Saturday so I'm only now getting around to it!
image via Sephora

Things I like about this moisturizer: it absorbs pretty quickly, it smells like grapefruit (yummy!), helps control my oilies, offers some sun protection

Things I don't like about this moisturizer: it breaks me out.

It's a pity, really, because the feel and scent of the product are really pleasant! It gives moderate moisture; if you have dry skin (rather than normal/combination/oily) it probably wouldn't be enough, but for me it worked really well. Minus the whole breaking out thing, anyways. Yet another product that goes into my "to give away" bag!
$36 for 1.7 oz, available from Sephora

Wow, that may be the shortest review I've ever written! Way to go, me.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Fragrance Friday: Estee Lauder Sensuous Nude and Armani Code

Oh hey there, Fragrance Friday, what's up? I recently placed an order with The Perfumed Court (their sample sets are unbelievable; I suggest not checking them out until you've got a few hours to waste) and thought that I should try and review some of my current perfume samples to make way for the 10 I've got coming. Today's features: Estee Lauder Sensuous Nude and Armani Code.

Image via Estee Lauder
Estee Lauder Sensuous Nude is a "skin" scent. It's soft, musky, slightly sweet, and subtle. It kind of reminds me of Narciso Rodriguez For Her, in that they both have a pleasant, muted muskiness tempered by sweetness, but where For Her showcases rose, Sensuous Nude displays coconut and mild floral fruitiness (bergamot, jasmine, pepper, and sandalwood are some of the notes). It's not the most interesting or unique scent, but I do find it appealing, and I think it'll be especially wonderful in summer.
$50 for 1 oz, $65 for 1.7 oz, $90 for 3.4 oz, available from department stores and Estee Lauder

Image via Sephora
Armani Code Pour Femme is one of the perfumes I actually have a full bottle of, not just a sample. It's a nice perfume for winter and evening, as it's got a pretty strong woodsy vanilla base, but the bright citrusy notes keep it from being too heavy. It's also not terribly complex, and it doesn't change much over the course of wear, but its darkly citrus notes and not inconsiderable sillage make it a scent that always makes me feel sexier. I also like that it doesn't pull too too sweet on me, as many perfumes do. I don't think it's special enough to warrant a repurchase (and I wouldn't buy a full bottle now, unlike then), but it's nice to have nonetheless. (This opinion reveals me to not be a perfumista, haha! I'm learning, though, or at least trying to!)
$39.50 for 1 oz, $65 for 1.7 oz, $78 for 2.5 oz, available from Sephora and department stores

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Essie Nail Polish in Lion Around and Da Bush Review and Swatches

I got a 4 pack of Essie minis from TJ Maxx before Christmas, and kept two of them for myself (shh, don't tell!). The colors I kept were unlike anything else in my collection, and I hadn't tried Essies before, so I figured it was an acceptable vice. Both these shades were limited edition (Resort '11), so I won't be giving them real grades, but I thought I should share my swatches and thoughts nonetheless. If either color catches your eye, you can still find them online, just ask Google.

3 coats Lion Around; ignore the
smudge on my pinkie!
Lion Around is a nude-pink with silver shimmer. It's actually really similar to Zoya Pandora, though I of course didn't know that at the time I got either of them. It is pinker than Pandora, though, making it less of a neutral. It took 3 coats to reach opacity, and much like Pandora, the shimmer in Lion Around is pretty subtle when it's on the nails, and I found myself bored with it and removed it less than 24 hours later. It's a nice staple, though, and I don't feel the need for any more pale neutral pinks!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Fyrinnae Swatches, Part II

And here's the second part of my Fyrinnae order! You can find part one here. These are all Arcane Magic shadows, which are duochrome, so naturally I had to get a few. I don't even want to talk about how long it took me to narrow down which ones to order...
The rightmost 3 are featured in this post: Evocation, Sorceress, and Raven's Prophecy.

Evocation was a natural pick, since hello, it's DUOCHROME TAUPE! *flails* It's a neutral taupe base that color shifts from rose to green. It is awesome. The duochrome shift isn't crazy dramatic, so it doesn't swamp the taupiness of the shadow, but it is still there, giving a bit of a kick. This is the one shade that I've actually tried to wear on my eyes; it's...still a work in progress (see below).

Evocation looking rosy and very similar to Koala (I had a dickens of a time figuring out which swatch was which!)...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Zoya Nail Polish in Neeka Review and Swatches

Another Zoya for your viewing pleasure! I put off posting this one because I was hoping I could reswatch it, since the pictures didn't come out as well as I would have liked, but then my nails went to hell so for the time being I'm staying away from polish and just using treatments. Long story short: I'm using my old photos. I apologize for the slight blurriness!
Zoya Neeka, enlarge to see the shimmers!

Monday, March 5, 2012

30 Days Makeup Challenge: Day 7

For a summary of this series, see here!

What is your favorite eyeshadow color?
Well this is a no-brainer: TAUPE! I love how versatile and wide-ranging it is. Below are most of the taupes in my collection (all the ones that I wear or have recently acquired).
Left to right: Fyrinnae Arcane Magic Evocation, Fyrinnae Platinum, Fyrinnae Koala, L'Oreal Bronzed Taupe, Maybelline Bad to the Bronze, NYX Iced Mocha, theBalm Insane Jane

Platinum isn't really taupe at all, but let's just say I included it for comparison purposes, mk? Evocation and Koala are both the darkest and coolest, while Iced Mocha is the lightest and most gold and Bad to the Bronze the reddest. Bronzed Taupe is, in my opinion, the most versatile, flattering shade in my collection of taupes, and I love the texture, so if you don't have many taupes in your collection (and really, who ever has enough taupes?), I definitely recommend checking it out. I've got a couple of high end taupe shadows on my wish list (Le Métier de Beauté Corinthian and Chantecaille Sel), and I'm planning on picking up at least one of them when I'm in New York; I'd love to get both, but at $30 apiece, I really can't afford to!

Oh, taupe, you've ruined me for all other neutrals.

What's your favorite eyeshadow color? Do you share my fondness for taupe, or do you prefer brighter colors?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sunday Summary

Happy Sunday! It was gloriously sunny and warm here this weekend, which made it extra painful that I had to stay inside doing work. Only 2 weeks left of classes, and the work is steadily piling up. I was able to be pretty productive this weekend, though, which has helped alleviate some of the panic!

nailXchange did a lovely tutorial on gradient nails. Maybe once I have time to do things like paint my nails I'll give it a try!
Cute and Mundane reviewed the new (LE?) NARS shadow, 413 BLKR, named after their flagship store at 413 Bleecker in New York. It's a lavender grey, and I think I want it even more than Lhasa! Depending on how much else I buy in New York, I may have to go by the store and get one for myself. So pretty!
The Swatchaholic has gorgeous swatches of a new Essence Colour & Go mini nail polish, called A Lovely Secret. I'm madly hoping that it's available in the US! Periwinkle with unusual shimmer? That's, like, amazing.
Almost as amazing as the new LE Deborah Lippmann Mermaid's Dream. This is a seafoam green glitter, and seeing Nails and Nom's and the Beauty Reductionista's swatches of it convinced me to buy it. Seafoam green is my favorite color (and has been since, like, middle school––I love the ocean), and it's such a gorgeous, unique polish that I decided I would regret it forever if I didn't get it. At least, that's what I'm telling myself, to help soften the $18 price tag (ouch). But seriously: check out those swatches (and bottle pics), and this awesome macro. Can you resist?
KarlaSugar, blogger extraordinaire, has swatches of the new Cle De Peau Enriched Lip Luminizers, which are replacing their cult classic Extra Silky Lipstick (Temptalia's fave!). An updated formula accompanies the new case-and-refill model; the case is $25, and the refills are $35, making the initial price steeper than the Extra Silkys ($60 vs. $52), but it's definitely a better value if you'll be purchasing more than once! I can almost justify $35 for a lipstick, but $60 is just so far beyond my comprehension...maybe someday!
Messy Wands has lip swatches of the new Le Métier de Beauté Aurora Lip Kaleidoscope. It does make for a lovely pink lip, and I do love the Lip Crème formula, but for $95, it would have to be something really phenomenal before I would consider buying. If they ever put out one that has all plums, berries, and pinky-neutrals, I am screwed.

And, for non-beauty links:
This isn't from the last week, but I only read it recently, so I'm including it anyways! The one titled "Math" is the one to read (and laugh about).
Also, tupperware.
And, SO ADORABLE (as long as we ignore the name)! Maybe I should get a porcupine instead of a bunny (in my hypothetical world where I can afford a pet/have the patience to pet-proof my living space).
Most importantly, I only just discovered The Bloggess. How did I not know about her before?!?! My God, she is wonderful. I laughed, I cried, I procrastinated like crazy. Go now.

How has your weekend been? What links have caught your eye this week? 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Skincare Saturday: Nubian Heritage African Black Soap Review

The combination of Shiseido Ultimate Cleansing Oil, Philosophy Purity Made Simple, Juice Beauty Blemish Clearing Serum, and the occasional use of sulfur-based products has my skin generally pretty happy, but I am (of course) always wanting to make it even better. After reading Pink Sith's review of an African Black Soap-inspired cleanser, I did some research and decided it was the product for me. I found several options at one of the local health food stores (Capella, for those of you in the area), and after checking out the consensus (yay for smartphones), I decided to pick up the Nubian Heritage option, which was coincidentally the cheapest, score! It cost ~$3.50 for 5 oz, which is pretty awesome.

Background: African black soap is made with the ashes of plantain skins and cocoa pods mixed with shea butter, shea tree bark, and various other shea by-products mixed with palm (kernel) oil and cocoa butter. It's been used by West Africans for centuries (supposedly) for its skin-clearing properties, and is supposed to help with acne, eczema, and a multitude of other skin maladies.

So, my heart high with hopes, I started using the soap to wash my face at night after my oil cleanser. It lathers really nicely, though thanks to the ash, it looks grey and dirty, and it smells pleasant and faintly of shea butter. It's got pieces of oatmeal in it for exfoliation, but honestly, those do diddly-squat unless you use the bar directly on your face (which you really, definitely shouldn't do, because it's way too rough!). It takes awhile to get it fully rinsed off, but it left my skin feeling squeaky clean (literally) but not stripped or tight. So far so good. But I bet y'all can see where this is going...

Friday, March 2, 2012

Fyrinnae Swatches, Part I

Welp, I finally got around to swatching all of the Fyrinnae samples from my order. I'm sorry it took so long! I had some issues figuring out how to best get Pixie Epoxy to work (more on that in a bit), and I had to get enough work done to feel like I had the time to slather my arm in pigments. But the long-awaited day has finally arrived! Confetti! Cheers! Alcohol!
Left to right: Nijiro, Rapunzel Had Extensions, Platinum, Koala, Arcane Magic Evocation, Arcane Magic Sorceress, Arcane Magic Raven's Prophecy

I've decided to break the shadows into at least two posts (considering a third on Pixie Epoxy), so this first batch is the non-Arcane Magic shadows, aka the first 4 from the left in the picture above.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Currently Coveting: Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer SPF 15

Currently Coveting is a not-at-all daily feature on products that look interesting, whether new, cult classics, or something in between!
image via Sephora
I've heard pretty much nothing but raves about this primer, and I'll admit, it's getting to me. I'm always hoping for something that will control my oil and make my foundation last longer, and all the positive reviews have put this on my mind. I like how brief the ingredient list is, and the SPF, but I vehemently dislike the price––$17 for 0.33 oz or $52 for 1 oz, ouch. I'll probably spring for the mini size someday when I'm feeling flush (and oily, hah), because I can't not try it after hearing so much about it. I just so wish it were cheaper...
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