Wednesday, August 8, 2012

the best beauty products in my closet at this very moment are ...

I have an obsession with make-up.  And shoes.  And hair products.  And clothes.  

And make-up.

I named this blog entry "the best beauty products in my closet", because my loving husband gave me the sole rights to the huge walk-in closet in our apartment.  What a sweetheart.  I house my clothes, shoes, and makeup in there.  I listen to my girly music from GLEE and singalong to Darren Criss all by myself without disturbing ... ahem ... anyone.

So why blog about my current favorite make-up?  I've been reading a few beauty blogs recently.  I love following 2 beauty blogs in particular:  Jen from frmheadtotoe is completely adorable.  She does a lot of tutorial videos and they are somehow strangely addictive.  She focuses on make-up & hair how-to's as well as clothing, make-up brushes, bra fitting, and all kinds of fun girly things.  I particularly like the ones where she compares make-up products and brands.  

My other go-to is Juli & her alter ego Bun Bun.  I enjoy her writing, especially her series on how to apply eye makeup and the shapes of Asian eyes versus Caucasian eyes.  Click here for her interesting pics and explanation of how to make the most of your eye shape.  She also does a whole series on makeup for Asian eyes, including a blended look for monolid eyes (typical hooded Asian eye lids).  Gorgeous.  And the big key is blending blending blending.

Back to a few of my favorite things.... It was Jen from frmheadtotoe that introduced me to a mascara brand called Fairydrops.  <-- click here to see her full explanation of them.

Fairydrops mascara:  orignal formula on the LEFT in pink,
newer formula called Scandal Queen on RIGHT in gold
 Interestingly enough, the 2 formulas are very different.  I like the Original version for the top lashes because it holds a curl, lengthens and volumizes.  I'll use the newer Scandal Queen version for what-little-lower-lashes I have.  The newer version is much easier to take off than the original, just wet and gently 'pull'.  It's very similar to the 'tubing' mascara brand called blinc which I used and loved about 12 years ago (yikes!).  Some people are afraid that you will damage your lashes or pull them out by using this kind of mascara but rest assured, there is no losing of the lashes.  I have so little lashes to work with, I certainly wouldn't use anything that would pull the few I have out.

Fairydrops mascara brush has changed from wavy (original) to curved (new)
My obsession with mascara is due to my continued effort to plump up my sad little lashes.  I dream of big full, luscious lashes to frame my eyes.  A few times I splurged on eyelash extensions.  It takes a day to get used to them, but I found I wore very little makeup when I had a full set of lashes.  I just didn't need to!!    *sigh*    Unfortunately, you have to keep replacing them (which costs $$) and repeated use just murders your lashes.

Lash extensions for my wedding

So after a few lash extension treatments for a special occasion (like my recent wedding and honeymoon!), I gave my lashes a rest and started using a product called RapidLash.  I've also tried Revitalash, and that also works.  But, at the time, I was getting Revitalash at cost through a friend who no longer can get it for me.  This brand works just as well -- better maybe? -- and costs much less.  $30.00 on Amazon.  Also available for $29.99 at Walgreens.

love this stuff!

One of the things I learned from my wedding make-up artist was that the makeup sponge you use makes a difference!  I usually use my fingers, a triangular sponge, or a foundation brush (I have a good one from Smashbox), but these egg shaped sponges are awesome.  I don't know why, but they blend really well.  It is called the "beautyblender" after all.  I bought 2 sponges and a cleanser on Amazon.  One negative:  the tip of one of sponges just ripped off when cleaning it.  Odd.

Ahhhhh, this eyeshadow palette is a no brainer.  Jenn from frmheadtotoe has a whole blog about it here.  The pigmentation is great, easily blendable, and I find myself using 9 of the 12 colors fairly regularly.

totally worth $50.  

as you can see from the indentations, i found myself loving the sparkly shadows,
which I usually don't trend towards.  'half baked' is great to highlight under your eyes.

smog is one of my unexpected favs.  and creep and gunmetal are perfect for a deep smoky look.

Ok, now this is where I differ from some of the 'real' online bueaty blogger gurus.  Everyone raves about Urban Decay's eyeshadow primer.  But for me, this NARS Pro-Prime Smudge Proof eyeshadow base works best.  I don't consider myself to have greasy or oily skin.  I've never needed to oil blotter papers and will usually buy combination, normal or dry-normal face products.  But I guess my eyes have some oils that absorb eyeshadow and eyeliner because I'll apply it in the morning (or afternoon), and within a few hours, it's gone.  But when I use this stuff?  It lasts ALL DAY.  *just to state what may already be obvious but, I'm certainly not paid to say any of this.  This blog is pure enjoyment for me.  =)

Anyway, try this stuff out.  I got a small sample at Sephora and couldn't believe that a crayon eyeliner on my lower lash line could last all day long.  This is the only product that as worked for me.

Primers:  what an important step.  It may feel like you are just slapping something greasy or 'extra' on your face before foundation or tinted moisturizer but this stuff really gives your makeup a smoothness.  Makeup glides on.  And then-- glides off when you wash your face.  Yay!  It doesn't sink into your skin, and thus doesn't fade.

I really like Smashbox Photo Finish primer, although there are now so many different kinds of Smashbox primers, I can only comment on the original primer.  I really liked it, but found it it to be a tad bit heavy.  I will say that your makeup certainly glides on and it works like magic for photo ops.  
hourglass Veil prime

The primer I use now, hourglass veil mineral primer, feels very light.  It glides onto your skin, fills out any pores or unevenness, and makes foundation application super easy.  As of right now, my favorite foundation is Make Up Forever HD.  It is so light and blends perfectly.  I was introduced to the brand (and the correct color) by my wedding makeup artist Jane Kim of The Glamourist.  She is truly talented.  And truly expensive.  But I have to say that I felt like a complete babe on my wedding day!  The best compliment ever was after our make-up trial, my (now) husband had to be prompted to comment and he said, "Oh yeah ... I thought you looked especially pretty today, but I didn't know why!"  With every other makeup trial I had, he would immediately hem and haw and say, " ... how come they always use so much makeup?"  Enough said.  I'm SOLD.

be sure to rub for at least 30 seconds!
One of the things that always deterred me from using foundation was the increased risk of PIMPLES.  But aha!  I think I have found a pretty reliable solution.  Neutrogena's Rapid Clear Acne Eliminating Spot Gel works IF I catch the inflammation early AND IF I rub the gel in for at least 30 seconds.  60 seconds is even better.  I've tried the minute-rub-in with other products and it didn't do the trick.  So try this one out, hopefully it'll work!  I admit that I also indulge in the most amazing facials at Neva's Beauty in San Francisco, every 1-2 months.  She is just amazing and my face feels 90-95% clearer, brighter, and smoother after one of her facials.  I figure spending a few $$ on facials is not so bad when I am using such an inexpensive drugstore acne gel!

This brings me to 2 other drugstore brand items:  lipstick.  I was introduced to the Revlon Lip Butters on the frmheadtotoe blog. Jen was a big big fan and so I tried them.  Pretty smooth.  My preferred color is the Peach Parfait.  But then I found L'oreal Colour Riche Balm.  I don't go for drugstore brand makeup that often, but I'm finding that less expensive lip colors don't differ as much as foundations, or eyeshadows where pigmentation and blendability is important.  Sometimes drugstore lip glosses can be sticky, but most drugstore and department store lipsticks rub off fairly quickly, especially if you are like me and always have water or tea throughout the day.  I don't love the 12 hour stay-on lip stains or tacky-to-dry-feeling lipsticks, but please do comment and let me know if you've found a good one!!

L'oreal Colour Riche Balm (819) Caramel Comfort on LEFT.
Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter (025) Peach Parfait on RIGHT

The L'oreal Balm lipsticks are so incredibly smooth.  Much more so than the Lip Butters (what a great name though!).  And I like the L'oreal colors more as well.  I found 2 great neutrals (whereas I found the Revlon Lip Butters colors to trend more towards pink): Nourishing Nude & Caramel Comfort.

These colors are very neutral -- I remember being in high school in the early '90s and going for the dark dark colors.  How times have changed....

Below are the 2 lip color swatches on my arm (my skin is a bit tanned -- now sure how?  It can't possibly be from this foggy San Francisco summer ....  oh yes!  It was from my recent backpacking adventure in Tahoe.  What great fun.  No makeup necessary out in Desolation Wilderness.  Just toilet paper and a head lamp!)

L'oreal Balm on the Left, Revlon Lip Butters on the Right

L'oreal Caramel Comfort BALM 

Revlon Peach Parfait Lip Butter
  Up next:  I'd like to expand with this "favorite products" theme and show you some of the great finds in my bathroom cabinet.  Please share any of your favorite makeup finds!  Thanks for reading!!  

**professional photos are by my fantastic wedding photographer Kristy Ahumada of Volatile Photography.  Check out the link to see more of our wedding photos that are featured on the wedding website Style Me Pretty.

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