Eeks!

You’re Being Abusive. I Know It.

Not to gross you out, BUT…makeup products harbor organisms that can multiply and cause infections if you neglect to wash or discard them at proper times. This goes for tools (brushes and the like) and the cosmetics themselves. Here’s a list of the most common dirty makeup “eeks!”of which you might be guilty. Read on in order to stop abusing your makeup and your face.

Eek #1: You’re using mascara so old that you don’t remember when you bought it. – Keep your tube of mascara too long and you’re probably coating your lashes in bacteria. Bacteria naturally present in your eyes transfers to the wand and spoolie, which contaminates the tube with germs that lead to pink eye and infections like staph. Yes, your own bacteria will do this to you!

The Clean Up: While most mascaras contain preservatives that keep bacteria from growing, those preservatives only work for approximately three months. So to be safe, try to replace your mascara every quarter (about four times a year. Po-TAY-to, po-TAH-to!).

Eek #2: Your eyelash curler is caked with old mascara. – Quick question: Would you reuse your fork from last night’s gooey mac n’ cheese dinner without washing it first? Yeah, I didn’t think you would. Leaving your curler uncleansed will allow it to do all the nasties stated in Eek #1.

The Clean Up: Clean your lash curler with an alcohol or disinfecting wife after each use. There are also replacement sponges you can purchase.

*Bonus: On top of saving your eyes, a clean lash curler will save your lashes too! The caked up mascara can adhere to your lashes and rip them out of your lids!

Eek #3: You apply liner (eye, eyebrow and/or lip) with a dull pencil tip. – Basically, this faux pas creates the same issues in Eeks 1 and 2.

The Clean Up: Sharpen you pencil liners once a week. Also, can you remember to use a disinfecting wipe in between uses? Good. And if you can’t or you want to slack off, know this: shaving the top layer off will remove infection-causing bacteria. Not only that, it makes your liner that much easier to apply. Win/Win!

*Important side-note: clean out your sharpener too! Just use some soap and water, followed by a disinfectant. (Or, use the solution I make in Eek #4 below.)

Eek #4: You never wash your makeup brushes—ever. EEEEEK! Dead skin, oil, dirt, bacteria—all of that is collecting on all of those bristles. You’re clogging your pores and creating a breeding ground for breakouts.

The Clean Up: Wash them daily with brush cleaner or even warm, soapy water then rinse them and squeeze the water out with your fingers. Lay them flat to dry because brush bristles are heavier when wet and will lose their shape if you stand them up.

*I make my own brush cleaner with 1 cup of warm filtered water, about 4 drops tea tree oil (a natural anti-bacterial, non-greasy oil) and a tablespoon of baby shampoo (because it’s gentle). Cetaphil is pretty great, too.
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**Side-note: I don’t do this every day—guilty as charged! I try to clean my brushed every couple of days. Are you worse than I am? Shoot for at least once a week.

Eek #5:  Do you apply lipstick when you’ve got a cold? – Germs live on your lipstick, making you more vulnerable to other bugs/viruses, especially if your immune system is already on the fritz.

The Clean Up:  Using an alcohol or disinfecting sheet, wipe the outside of the lipstick case and rub the surface of the lipstick before applying next time. Do you use lip gloss with a doe-foot applicator? DON’T when you’re sick, unless you disinfect the applicator before re-inserting it into the tube.

Eek #6: You take your makeup bag to the bathroom, public and private. – If you’re the kind of woman who carries her makeup bag to the bathroom and sets it, along with your beauty products, on top of counters in public/private restrooms, they will pick up bacteria. Lots of them. Yours and a MILLION other women’s nasties!

The Clean Up: Put a paper towel under your bag before you sit it on the counter, or keep it inside your purse to avoid picking them up at all.

Speaking of bathrooms…Eek #7: You leave your makeup/tools by the toilet. – Every time you flush the toilet, fecal matter sprays into the air and lands on your counter and on/in your products and tools. This might be the eek of all eeks. Ew, ew, EW!

The Clean Up: Store your makeup, supplies and tools (toothbrush included) in a closed cabinet.

Eek #8: The makeup bag dilemma – Yes, your cloth/leather makeup bags looks great and super stylish, but it’s tough to clean. And what does that mean? You got it: bacteria.

The Clean Up: Use a bag that is made of plastic or nylon and clean it out at least once a month, wiping down the lining with a disinfectant wipe. What else is awesome about using a plastic or nylon bag is that they’re cheap enough to buy a cute new one every year. Woo hoo!

Eek #9: I know you love looking at your collection of makeup, but hoarding it all (foundation, concealer, lipstick, mascara, etc.) after you’ve already used it previously but haven’t worn in years, is a no-no. Even though there aren’t expiration dates on makeup products, you can still when it’s time to say goodbye.

The Clean Up:  Say “Adios!” to anything that smells different, looks cakey and dried out, has changed color, or the ingredients look like they’ve separated. The general principle for most creamy or liquid products: 12 months; powder/solid products/lipstick: 2-3 years.

Eek #10: Your icky fingers are making everything else icky, too. – Dipping dirty fingers into jars or touching the tips of tubes does what? Uh huh, you got it. It spreads germs and bacteria. I think you’ve caught on to the theme here, finally.

The Clean Up: Wash your hands before doing your makeup, or there will be germs, germs, everywhere.

Now that we all understand the moral of the story, let’s stick to not having bacteria stick to us! Don’t let makeup build up on the openings of your jars, tubes, etc.; clean them every now and then with an alcohol or disinfecting wipe. Always keep lids and caps screwed on tight in order to avoid exposing your products to the air and germs. And remember, the MUA term “beating face” is not to be taken literally. Stop the abuse!

All Banged Up

Getting a new hairstyle is a big commitment, especially when it involves bangs. Being that I have naturally curly hair makes creating bangs all the scarier; there are endless possibilities on how to botch the job. After mulling this decision over in my mind for months…fast-forward to Saturday, January 4th, 2014: I finally decided to get bangs! (Translation: I have decided to take the easy route and buy a clip-on set.)

On a whim, I took the express train to Harlem to visit all of the beauty supply/hair stores on 125th Street in order to understand all of my options. Having never delved into the weave/wig/extension world, I really didn’t know what I was looking for; all I knew was that I wanted my bangs to look “real,” and that I didn’t want to spend a small fortune on them. I spoke to the Korean and African “experts” behind the counter at my very first stop and they steered me in the right direction. For the mere price of $17.99 I was able to procure this lovely little piece that they guaranteed would look like my own hair that I grew myself:
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Honestly, I didn’t believe them. Regardless of the package’s claim that the clip-on piece was 100% human hair and that it was part of Vivica A. Fox’s hair line, it looked rather fake to my untrained eyes. The women behind the counter were nodding their heads so enthusiastically that I felt compelled to go for it. Hey, for under $20.00, why not? I could afford to take this little gamble.  After I finished all of my skincare, beauty, and clothes shopping, I hopped on the train back home, super excited to start experimenting with this creature (which is exactly what it looks like if you come across it lying on a surface). Don’t fail me, Vivica!

Since my hair was curly that day, I slicked it into my usual bun so that the bangs would blend in more seamlessly. Here’s the result:
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Did I pull off Kourtney Kardashian’s look successfully? Albeit a little bushy/thick,  I’d like to think I did! Maybe I’mjust not used to bangs, and they really are supposed to be like this…? I consulted a friend who confirmed that this is indeed the desired length and density women seek out when getting bangs. This made me more confident about my new look. Check out the side view and you tell me if these bangs are convincing. I want to make sure my friend isn’t lying to me.
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Don’t you just feel the confidence in my pose?! I’m going to give it a road test this weekend to see people’s reactions to them. If agreeable, I’ll be able to change my hair like I change my lipstick!
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Smooches!

P.S. I do know that there’s a way to use my own hair to create bangs by leaving fringe out of your top knot and styling it to hang over your forehead, but my hair isn’t long enough to do that when it’s curly, and again, this is so much easier!

OMG or OHN: Anastasia Beverly Hills Lash Genius Waterproof Topcoat

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No smudge-proof, waterproof, water-resistant, claim has stood up to my oily lids. They cause every shadow, liner, and mascara to pool under my eyes so that I look like a zombie within an hour. This product has changed all of that when it comes to mascara! I can now use every single tube that has been collecting dust because I didn’t have the heart to throw them (and my money) down the drain. Not only does it waterproof my lashes, the spoolie also separates and de-clumps. Thank you, Anastasia, I can now wear ANY mascara with confidence!

Final answer: OMG! It’s amazing–a modern day miracle (for me).

Have you tried this product? If so, let me know what you think about it.

OMG or OHN (Oh, Helllll No!)?: A Review

(Yes, there’s a lot of punctuation going on in my title.)

I really like Sephora’s own product line; from their lipsticks to their concealers, I’m a fan. So when the Sephora Collection Instant Radiance Foundation went on sale, it immediately went into my virtual shopping cart. I gave it a test run the day after it came in the mail, I was so excited. Want to see how this foundation stood up to the test? Then keepon reading! (This trial was done without primers, setting spray or powder in order to get an accurate feel for the product.)

First, let’s take a look at the naked face (please refrain from nasty comments, thank you) next to the face with freshly applied Instant Radiance Foundation, side by side, no filters no editing, no PhotoShopping—that would render the experiment pointless. Plus, I don’t use those things anyway.
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The coverage seems pretty natural, and I’d say the formula provides medium, buildable coverage with a semi-dewy finish. Although I prefer matte finishes, I like that this seems fresh and breathable looking. So now let’s see how it all looks after I apply Sephora Collection Perfecting Cover Concealer for my under eyes, and everything else I normally do.
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Much better, yet still natural (to me). My initial reaction to this foundation is that I like it, but I’m not in love with it. After a whole day of wear, I don’t like it one bit. Take a look at the oil slick my face has become:
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Mind you, I didn’t use a mattifying primer, a setting powder and/or spray—but I shouldn’t have to use all of that. There was a lot of transfer, and the formula broke down, visibly separating on the skin. I washedit ofimmediately after I took this picture.

Not wanting to give up hope, I tried this foundation again the next day, using setting powder AND spray. Did anything improve?
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As you can tell by the exasperated expression on my still greasy face, no, there was no improvement whatsoever. It was sliding off of my face, it oxidized and became darker, transferred like crazy, and the formula still broke apart. By the end of the day, the discoloration on my cheeks was starting to show as well. Tsk, tsk, tsk.

I highly recommend all oily/combination skin types to AVOID Sephora Collection Instant Radiance Foundation. Avoid it like it’s your pervy uncle during holiday family picture time.
Final verdict: Oh Hell No!
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Dust to Dustbin…? I Think Not.

Picture it: You’re making up your face and carrying on as you do every day. The routine is running on autopilot when, while applying your brow powder/eye shadow/powder blush/face powder/bronzer, you all of a sudden get a case of the Butterfingers. Your palette crashes to the floor/sink/tabletop and powder fragments are everywhere. You shriek or moan (depending on your personal style) and dejectedly gather up all the pieces and clean up the mess.

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Don’t get angry and don’t throw it out! It can be saved! Rid yourself of the powder palette woes with this little trick:

*Add a few small drops of rubbing alcohol (isopropyl) into your broken powder makeup compact or case

*Re-form the mud-like mixture by smoothing it out and pressing it flat with your finger or the bottom of a spoon. You will know what to do naturally because you’re smart like that.

*Let it dry for a few hours or even overnight for best results.

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I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that this experiment worked. When I tested out my shadow to make sure nothing about it had changed, I was truly impressed. Why alcohol as opposed to water, you ask? Because alcohol is a gas, the vapor causes it to evaporate quicker and leaves the substance more solid and without residue, chemically speaking. The water would work temporarily, but break apart again into even tinier particles. Also, water on a product that is being used on your face would cause germs and bacteria to multiply—that’s a big no-no. For this reason, do not attempt this with hydrogen peroxide either, as it turns to water when exposed to air. And no need to worry; because you are using such a small amount of alcohol, it’s safe to use on your face, even if you have sensitive skin. Remember, most cosmetics have various alcohol-based ingredients already, another reason that rubbing alcohol works so well.

So  the next time you order makeup in the mail and it comes to your doorstep shattered, or your compact breaks in your purse, you’ll know exactly what to do. BONUS: create your own shadow and blush colors by breaking them on purpose you can mix them together! Makeup is supposed to be fun, yes?

 I thank my lucky stars that I paid attention in chemistry class. 😛

Love Does a Hoarder Make

As many people may know, I am constantly on the hunt for the perfect foundation that checks off all of my personal boxes (as stated in my intro post). I do not discriminate on whether it’s drugstore or high-end, $5.00 or $55.00; perfection comes in many forms and I will not miss out just because I’m not an equal opportunity employer. Therefore, I must try them all. All!

Certain brands are only good for a couple of products; just recently are we coming across lines that have winners in almost every category. One such drugstore brand is Revlon. Every line in their lips, eyes, and face categories are full of winners, so much so that Revlon is hands down one of the best drugstore brands (if not the best) in the US, with L’Oreal a close 2nd (in my humble opinion, of course). Even their once lackluster mascaras are improving in quality; their Grow Luscious line is pretty fantastic. I digress.

Until last year, Revlon’s ColorStay Liquid Makeup was my favorite drugstore foundation. I loved her for many reasons: At a great retail price, she has a vast shade range, lasts almost all day, has minimal transfer, and comes in different formulas that cater to various skin types. Not only does this foundation offer buildable coverage, she leaves a breathable, natural look and feel on the skin.  I cheated on my love briefly with Cover Girl’s new 3-in-1 Stay Fabulous Foundation (primer, foundation and concealer in one product) and thought a divorce might be in order because CG 3-in-1 is quite the saucy minx. I hadn’t been able to completely swear off of her, and I think Revlon caught wind of my dalliance. One sunny day this past May, I was fondling CG 3-in-1 in the makeup aisle when something in my periphery nabbed my full attention: RC was back and better than ever! She got a whole new look and formula, one I knew I had to try. I told CG I’d be back later because something came up and I had to run. On May 22nd, 2013 Revlon ColorStay Whipped Crème Makeup launched and changed my life. I picked up my tried-and-true shade (Toast #410) and ran home so we could spend some time alone. I undressed her and felt her silky smoothness on my skin. She was neither heavy nor cakey; she was just right in every way. Blendable, buildable, sleek and luxurious, RC looked good and felt even better. I was truly, madly, deeply in love with her all over again!

Then she stabbed me in the back. She knew what she was doing and had it all planned. Once RC had sunk her teeth into me–deeply–she discontinued my shade. Searching over hill and dale for one year to find her, I thought all hopes of reuniting were lost. Then yesterday happened.

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On my way home from a bad day at work, I thought I’d cheer myself up by going to a place called Cosmetics Show, a discount beauty and tchotchke store. There wasn’t anything too impressive and it was actually kind of depressing in there, but a little voice in my head told me to press on. Thank the foundation gods that I did! There she was, Revlon ColorStay Whipped Crème Makeup #410 in all her splendor, jar upon jar of her just sitting there waiting for me to hold her in my arms. I stopped in my tracks, held my breath and tried to still my pounding heart. Sweat started trickling down the hollow of my back and my eyes glazed over. The little old sales lady asked me if I was alright in Spanish (because people always think I can speak Spanish) and grabbed my hand like only a caring abuelita could. I gathered myself and told her I was fine, but she interrupted me to let me know that everything Revlon was BOGO. I was floored. Trying to regain my composure for the second time, I cradled six glass jars and made for the cashier after proffering many thanks (in Spanish, natch). I practically skipped all the way home, my bad work day far behind me.

Needless to say, I’ll be going back to abuelita this weekend to buy out the entire inventory, regardless of my lack of storage space. Call me a hoarder all you want. I don’t care I don’t care I don’t care I don’t care!

I’m a hoarder with a purpose.

(And yes, I wore her today.)

Sneak Peek

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Thanks to a massive Sephora haul, I will be doing a lot of reviews in the near future. I’m a skin junkie; flawlessly done foundation and concealer are my joys.

When it comes to makeup, I focus on skin, lashes and lips. Although I love eye looks, I have yet to find products that stay put on my lids; these greasy eyelids of mine have vanquished every waterproof, smudge-proof, budge-proof, longwear claim on the market (and yes, I’ve tried a slew of primers as well). I will never give up my quest, however,  because I long to wear a winged eyeliner look that doesn’t turn me into a sad panda within one hour. Until that blessed day comes, I will keep trying to perfect my “skin, lips and lashes” looks.

Never fear, readers; you will see all of my hits–and major misses–documented here for your entertainment.

I wonder which bottle of magic I will pull out of my goody box first!  Stay tuned 🙂