Tag Archives: cosmetics

A Review: Tarte 8th World Wonder Collection from QVC

One day I will do a full post on the ridiculous yet mesmerizing phenomenon that is QVC, but for today I’m just going to review this Tarte collection that I took a gamble and splurged on since I needed a new powder brush anyway. QVC actually has some awesome makeup deals in case you didn’t know. This whole collection was available for pre-order at $48.36, the blush is $25 at Sephora and the mascara is $19, so that’s almost the whole cost right there. Now the price is up to $52.74, I’m not sure how much the cost will go up and when they’ll get in more stock, but even at $60 this collection is a great value.

Amazonian clay balancing foundation SPF 15 with brush

I haven’t worn real foundation in years, I use MACs studio finish concealer and blend it with moisturizer instead. The reason for this is I’m really pale and everything looks orange on me (even tinted moisturizers with names like “extra light”) so I was surprised this foundation actually matches my skin. Maybe because Maureen Kelly is as pale as I am, but that also means all these shades of foundation run light. Hopefully they’ll add more shades, because even the darkest doesn’t look very dark. Also the brush is really soft and fluffy.

Amazonian clay 12-hour wear powder blush in Glisten

I’m very happy with this blush, it’s kind of like Nars Orgasm but smoother. It’s not cakey like powder blushes can be sometimes. It is very pigmented so try not to layer it on. It also has shimmer, so if you prefer a matte look, it might not be for you.

Pure Maracuja oil sample

I’m loving this oil, and not just because I like saying the name “Maracuja”. A little of this stuff goes a long way, and it makes skin look hydrated and healthy without looking greasy.

Amazonian clay long-wear eyeshadow palette

This eyeshadow quad is a little flimsy, I kept trying to pull the plastic off the mirror until I realized it’s just a really crappy mirror. The shadows are nice and smooth, but definitely need to be blended with attention. Some of the reviews on QVC complain that these shadows (and the blush) are too pigmented, but you can’t blame the product if you don’t use it right. Blend, my friends—that is the most overlooked makeup “secret” of all and it’s very easy to do. The more pigment a product has the more use you can get out of it in the long run, just use it in moderation.

Lights, Camera, Lashes! volumizing mascara in Black

While I think this mascara is very nice and was happy to get it with this set, I think my trusty drugstore brands (Covergirl, Maybelline) get the job done just as well.

Amazonian clay automatic waterproof eyeliner in Golden Plum

I was surprised that this liner went on smoothly, stayed put all day, and still came off easily at night. It’s a plummy, brownish-gold color, and it doesn’t have glitter flecks or anything.

Pure Optic moisturizing lip gloss in Golden Pink

This gloss on the other hand is very glittery. In fact it’s mostly just glitter with a teensy bit of a pink hue. I’m not a gloss person, but this one isn’t as sticky as others and also has a fresh minty scent.

And it all comes in this purple woven bag!

Here’s the whole look:

Can I just say, taking pictures of yourself without looking like an ass is really hard. There are so many women out there who do this for their makeup blogs all the time and god bless them, but I don’t know how they do it. I always have to crop out my messy house and sometimes I end up with some really scary wide-angle shots. Anyway, I do it for you readers, I want you to see what the makeup looks like on a real person. If I could use my cats, I would, but they’re kind of busy.

While I’m on the subject of embarrassing pictures of myself and also cats…guess who got to meet Hello Kitty at Sephora last week? Yeah, It was me and she totally grabbed me in a bear hug and I loved every second of it!

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under cosmetics

Beauty Grab-Bag: Stay Warm, Order Stuff Online

First things first, I am pleased to announce that I am now the happy owner of the purse I’ve been guiltily obsessing over. I bought it through the site bags bonanza which I emphatically recommend (just make sure you check out the seller ratings and ask for photos to make sure the bag is in good condition). This bag (the Rebecca Minkoff Morning After Clutch) lists for $295 and up, I saved my pennies and bought it for $200, which makes the purchase all the sweeter.

Last week I was also lucky enough to receive my free polish from the Zoya facebook giveaway. I had never tried Zoya’s polishes before so when Sara from makeshiftvanity told me that if they reached 20,000 fans on facebook they would give each fan 3 free bottles of polish (you got to choose the colors too!), I was psyched. It took a while, but they were worth the wait:

Valerie is my favorite, it’s a shimmery deep burgundy with flecks of gold and bright red glitter. The coverage is awesome, you could definitely get away with just one coat with this polish.

Malia is a creamy mid-toned purple I like it a lot, too bad it’s almost identical to a color I already have—OPI’s It’s a Grape Fit.

Dea is a chocolaty brown, it’s sort of the color of  light brown M&Ms (remember those?). It’s a nice color, but it reminds me of the 90s when everything was “mocha” colored which looked awful on me, I like my polishes brighter!

Julieanne is a really pretty, dark glitter polish, the coverage isn’t as good as Valerie, but after a couple of layers the deep bluish purple and the gold flecks look gorgeous.

Um, I’m not sure why I got four polishes (Dea was a throw-in) maybe they always do that or maybe it was an accident. I’m not complaining about it, nor am I sending it back! Thanks Zoya!

They also sent me a sampler of their color spoons which you can place over your nail to get an idea of the shade. I found myself more focused on the pointy tear-drop shape of the spoon than on the colors—but it’s a cool idea.

For all you Tarte cosmetics fans out there if you don’t already know, QVC carries a lot of Tarte products. Some of them are really discounted and some are full price which I don’t really understand, but there are definitely some deals to be found. I happen to be obsessed with the lipsurgence lip stains, and wish I had known QVC was selling them at a discount. Here is a set of 3 for $38, not bad at all.

And to cheer you up on this cold, snowy, wet January day here are two adorable seal pups:

Unfortunately both the Ringed Seal and the Harp seal can’t live without the arctic ice which is melting, so that sucks. Global warming is real people. Save the fuzzy animals, and the Narwhals and Belugas too! Sorry to be a downer, I’ve been watching too much PBS.

4 Comments

Filed under cosmetics

A Journey into the World of Anna Sui

Somewhere in the midst of the holiday craziness my very lovely friend Annie (thanks Annie!) sent me the amazing Anna Sui book which was just released in November. I meant to post about it a while ago, but I didn’t, so here for you today is a look at some beautiful Anna Sui magic.

Inside the pages of this book are images that span Anna’s career from her first runway show in 1991 to her 2009 Autumn/Winter collection. The book is loaded with gorgeous pictures that endlessly entertain as you flip your way through two decades of Sui’s unique fashions. Check out this spread from her first collection which was inspired by the teen magazines she read in her youth. These must have influenced the costumes in the film Clueless right?

(click any image to enlarge)

It’s even fun to look at her less successful pieces, like these 1993 grunge-era gems which were relevant in their time, but now seem very dated (but still in a good way).  I especially like the look on the inside lower right, parachute pants and cropped vest over a striped bodysuit? Totally 90s Awesome.

There are also pages and pages of Sui’s fantastical, feminine, timeless looks which have become her signature. She isn’t a designer who has to be “of-the-moment” rather, she creates her own world and takes inspiration from many different times and places.

While a majority of the book is filled with runway shots, there’s also a number of posed images in which the surroundings are as inviting and interesting as the clothes.

In addition to Sui’s fashions, the book features many of her stunning cosmetics ads as well. These are so pretty, and so different from any other beauty ads out there.

My favorite part of the whole book though, has got to be the inclusion of some of Sui’s inspiration boards. It’s fascinating to see all the different things she pulls from to create the ideas for her collections. Interior design, textile swatches, art, graphic design, vintage scarves, all sorts of diverse pieces that add up to a whole idea—it’s amazing to see her process.

There is also a great preface by Jack White (whose wife Karen Elson has long been one of Sui’s favorite models), an intro by photographer Steven Meisel, and a forward by Sui herself.

If you love Anna Sui, or just fashion in general, this book is a must-have. I could look through it over and over and keep finding new inspiration in the pages of stunning patterns, unusual combinations and whimsical characters that make up Sui’s dream-like, fantastical world.

2 Comments

Filed under fashion

Beauty in the Movies: The Devil Wears Prada

I had a job interview this week, and on my way I couldn’t help thinking of The Devil Wears Prada. That might sound silly, but it was reassuring to know that even if the interview went badly, it couldn’t possibly be as bad as finding Miranda Priestly (or Anna Wintour) sitting at that desk across from you.

The Devil Wears Prada is the story of Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway), a Midwesterner in New York, fresh out of college and desperate for experience. Andy wants to be a journalist, but she finds herself at the world’s top fashion magazine, Runway, interviewing to be the assistant of Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), a job a thousand girls would kill for. Miranda isn’t just an editor at a fashion magazine, she is the voice of fashion. Her word is the last word, and all other opinions be damned. She is cold, brutal, and unsympathetic, but also elegant, successful and respected beyond compare.

Miranda hires Andy despite her “frumpy” (ahem, I have the j. crew coat she wears in the opening sequence—it’s cute, ok?) appearance in the hopes that she is different from the fashion obsessed girls who usually land the job. While Andy is up for the challenge, the demands of her new position put her relationship with her family, best friend (Tracie Thoms), and boyfriend (Adrian Grenier) into jeopardy. Andy has to choose what’s important to her, but in the process of self discovery there’s also a bunch of montages, a few Madonna songs, a makeover, and some great designer clothes.

This is not the most unpredictable film, but it certainly has its charms, most specifically Meryl Streep’s perfectly frightening portrayal of Miranda. It’s hard to take your eyes off her, everything from the way she enunciates her words, to the cruel flicker in her eyes while torturing Andy with impossible tasks, further propels the believability of her character. Miranda Priestly makes Working Girl‘s Catherine Parker look like a whiny, disheveled brat. Rumor has it the character was based on Anna Wintour, the notoriously steely editor-in-chief of American Vogue, but Streep creates her own Miranda and delivers a woman who is both vicious and awe-inspiring in her approach to life and business.

Emily Blunt is fantastic and funny as Miranda’s other assistant (the 1st assistant), she is the stand-out among the supporting cast and steals all her scenes right out from under Anne Hathaway. Stanley Tucci is also charming, while stereotypical as Nigel Runway’s Art director who is adored by both Miranda and Andy. Simon Baker plays a roguish writer and Valentino and Giselle (proving she shouldn’t quit her day job) make appearances as well.


Most people have had a boss or supervisor whom they’ve found less than pleasing, but this film takes it to new levels. Miranda’s treatment of Andy could be seen as character building—a tough love of sorts, after all she does learn a lot and come out on top in many ways. Unfortunately the ugly side of that coin is that her sadistic treatment virtually ruins Andy’s life, and as we learn, Miranda’s personal life isn’t all roses and sunshine either, leading the viewer to believe that great success comes only with great sacrifice. It’s an issue I wish the movie explored a bit more, because it feels like we’re meant to believe Miranda must be evil in order to be respected, which forgives her cruelty just a tad too much. There is too much of a shine put on everything in this film and the minute you think you might get to look deeper, you’re placated by pretty clothes, which is fine and can be really enjoyable, but it doesn’t make you think too hard either.

The Devil Wear Prada is a fun, entertaining, possibly unrealistic look at the fashion world. It’s also a coming of age film, and a film about figuring out who you want to be as a professional and as a person—but most of all it’s about really pretty clothes, Chanel and Dolce & Gabbana and Patricia Field’s beautiful styling. I’d take a film like this over a bland rom-com with Jennifer Aniston or Katherine Heigl any day, because while it might not be groundbreaking, it’s about something other than just men and cliches. Don’t expect to be surprised by the twisting plot or unconventional characters, just get lost in the brilliance of Meryl Streep and the beauty of Chanel while you sit back and wish you could afford designer clothes.

The Devil Wears Prada

The Devil Wears Prada by justinez featuring peep toe shoes

PAUW SS10/42330 009 COTTON –
172 GBP – farfetch.com
Wrap blouses »

Trimmed Cardigan by D&G Dolce&Gabbana
153 GBP – my-wardrobe.com
Knit cardigans »

Whyred Pasca pleated mini skirt
145 GBP – brownsfashion.com
Pleated mini skirts »

Lanvin T-Strap Sandal
$955 – barneys.com
Peep toe shoes »

Bianca Patent Platform Pump
$735 – bergdorfgoodman.com
Christian louboutin pump »

Christian louboutin shoes BLACK
535 GBP – matchesfashion.com
Peep toe shoes »

Gepa Vitello Daino Tote
$1,650 – bergdorfgoodman.com
Prada handbags »

Marc by marc jacobs bags DARK BLUE
440 GBP – matchesfashion.com
Leather totes »

Susan caplan vintage jewellery GOLD
475 GBP – matchesfashion.com
Gold jewelries »

CA & LOU Bracelet
315 EUR – colette.fr
Couture bracelets »

Chanel Gold Medallion Chain Belt
$900 – cmadeleines.com
Chanel belts »

6 Comments

Filed under Beauty in the movies

Beauty Grab-Bag: Makeup Fun-time

I haven’t done a beauty grab-bag in a while so I thought I’d do a quick one today and feature some random things.

Before my wedding when I was desperate for blogging help I put a call out to anyone who could do a guest post or had something to share. Sara over at makeshift vanity sent me these makeup collages she put together for fun—and they’re pretty fun to look at too! Things got so crazy before the wedding that I never got a chance to publish these, but I’m happy to feature them now, thanks for submitting these Sara! I love a good makeup collage, and these backgrounds are awesome.

In other news—If you haven’t heard of it yet, there is this site called Birchbox,  you pay $10 a month (or a flat $110 a year) and they send you a box of 4-5 cosmetic samples, shipping is free and apparently most of the samples are deluxe. Since I was good and forced myself out of Sephora without buying the $30 YSL lipstick last week, I figured I could splurge and spend $10 to try this out for January. Birchbox combines two of my favorite things—sampling new products and getting stuff in the mail! I often find myself wishing stores sold products in sample sizes for just a few dollars so I could try them out before buying the full size. Dealing with scuzzy, over-used testers and crowds at retail stores has gotten really tiring, so I hope this works out. If you don’t like the service you can cancel, it seems too good to be true doesn’t it? I’ll let you know how it goes and share pics in January when the box arrives!

Speaking of getting things in the mail, I participated in my first nail polish swap last week with the above mentioned Sara. I’ve been behind on my nail polish purchases and missed most of the Fall launches, so I was very happy when Sara sent me 4 mini shades from Essie’s fall line—Sew Psyched, Little Brown Dress, Limited Addiction, and In Stitches. I wouldn’t wear these in summer, but they’re great neutrals (except Limited Addiction). Amanda from mandabear did a guest post in October and featured Sew Psyched as one of her favorite picks for fall, and I have to agree with her, it’s a khaki gray-green and a nice alternative to griege. Swaps are fun! I apologize that you have to look at my incredibly dry winter skin, yikes—I really need to start moisturizing.

(from left to right, Little Brown Dress, In Stitches, Sew Psyched, Limited Addiction)

For the requisite cute animal part of the grab-bag, I present you with this cute video of baby otters.

I would like a baby otter for Christmas please, he would fit in with my cats just fine:

7 Comments

Filed under cosmetics

Celebrating 100 Darts

Ok, so I guess it might not be all that exciting for anyone but me, but I was pretty surprised to see this was my 100th post. I thought a little celebration was in order—which really means taking a look back at some highlights from the last 100 posts. I’m sorry if this is like when TV shows have a “new” episode, which is really just clips from old episodes, but I always secretly kind of liked those shows.

My Lovable Lipsticks post still reminds me that I should wear lipstick more often, it can be a great way to change-up your everyday look and try something new. I’ve been planning a blush post for a while, so you can expect that somewhere in the next 100 posts.

My nail polish ode is one of my favorites, it was so much fun to do, and my collection has since been weeded out and replenished, so there will probably be another one of these in the future!

What else happened in the last 100 posts?

I got angry about fashion magazines calling me a fruit:

I talked about popstars:

…and body image/acceptance:

I admitted my deep fear of dressing rooms:

…and my frustration with finding an exercise routine I could stick to:

I got married and talked about it a lot:

I wondered what the hell a “conventional beauty” was:

…and what “good hair” was:

And in June I started the feature ‘Beauty in the Movies’ as a way to explore films that showcase prominent, interesting, female characters (since there unfortunately aren’t too many out there). Since it started, ‘Beauty in the Movies’ (and sometimes on Television) has featured some pretty great films, and I hope to feature many, many more. Check out the 25 ‘Beauty in the Movies’ posts by clicking on the thumbnails below!

 

 

 

I’m really looking forward to the next 100 posts, and I want YOU to help me! Send me your suggestions for posts, or movies, or questions that need answering (I am compiling a Q&A post and hope to do an eyeshadow tutorial once I reformat my persnickety Flip camera) remember—there are no stupid questions!


More than anything I want to thank all of you for reading, without you I don’t think I would have had the motivated to keep writing, so I bestow on all you readers the most magical and wholehearted of thanks and good wishes. This blog has introduced me to some awesome, beautiful, intelligent, amazing people and I can’t wait to hear from more of you! Here’s to all you readers!

Kisses!!

xo

Justine

6 Comments

Filed under acceptance, cosmetics

How to Dye

For those of us who are going gray, or want to jazz-up their color without making a permanent change, today’s post is devoted to semi-permanent dyes. There aren’t too many options out there for ammonia-free hair color, which lasts about six shampoos before it starts to fade. Permanent dyes contain ammonia which can cause breakage, and they they don’t wash out, they need to be stripped out of your hair using very strong chemicals, so you’d better make sure you’re in love with that color before you apply it to your head. Trying a Semi-permanent dye can be helpful since it lets you do a trial run, and if you don’t like it, just shampoo until it fades.

Let’s take a look at three of the options for semi-permanent dyes on the market today.

Garnier HerbaShine Color Creme, $7.99

Herbashine was unfortunately a let down for me. First off, I wasn’t a fan of the smell, maybe it’s the bamboo extract and I’m a crazy person for thinking chemicals smell better than plants, but the scent really got to me.

It’s a cream formula rather than a liquid which is helpful, and the bamboo extract is supposed to make hair stronger and shinier which is also a plus. Garnier is actually describing this product as a “soft lift” rather than a semi-permanent dye, but sorting out the difference between the two gets very chemical, and since I dropped my high school chemistry class (in favor of art classes to the dismay of my guidance counselor) I really couldn’t explain any of it to you.

Herbashine did leave my hair shiny, soft, and bouncy, but it didn’t cover the grays very well, there were more than a few stragglers. I’ve read some other reviews of this and it seems that a lot of people have had bad allergic reactions—so remember to do a strand test before you dye!

Pros: Creme formula, soft hair, comes with nice conditioner packet (which smells much better)

Cons: Uneven gray coverage, strong smell

Clairol Natural Instincts Rich Color Creme, $8.99

I tried Clairol Natural Instincts when it first launched in 1999, I was in high school and I thought the color Egyptian Plum was totally amazing. I hadn’t tried it since then, but when I started dyeing my hair again this year I went back to it. The rich color creme is especially good because you don’t have to worry about dripping. The only problem with the creme is it’s only available in 10 shades rather than the 54 available in the original formula.

I find this stuff covers my gray pretty darn well, the smell isn’t great but it isn’t bothersome either. It also always seem to be on sale at my Stop & Shop so that’s a bonus. This is an ammonia-free dye, and I’ve found it lasts 4 weeks if you wash your hair about twice a week.

Pros: Nice gray coverage, creme formula, shiny, soft hair

Cons: Limited shades in creme formula

Lush Caca Noir Mama, $22.00

If you can’t stand the idea of putting chemicals in your hair, or if you’re vegan, or if you aren’t going for a dramatic color change, you might want to try one of the all natural henna hair dyes from Lush.

I personally can’t endorse this product since I don’t have the time or money for it. In theory it’s a great idea, and I was excited to try it, but I’ve found with Lush I either love their products or I regret buying them. Dyeing my hair with this stuff became a full day ordeal. After researching the proper way to melt it, painstakingly chopping it up as fine as possible, and then trying to apply the gloppy, drippy, muddy substance to my hair, by the time it was ready to wash out I was glad to be rid of it. Sadly, rinsing this stuff out isn’t as easy as one might think. I must have gotten the chemistry of mixing it wrong (maybe I shouldn’t have dropped that class after all?) because although it was smooth when I first applied it, it dried in big clumps on my hair, which not only hurt but also made me fear clogging my sensitive shower drain with mud. This fear resulted in me furiously shaking my head out in my backyard at 10pm, freezing my ass off while my fiance (now husband) alternately cracked up and painfully pulled chunks of henna out of my hair. In the end after struggling to get it all out, I guess my hair was softer, but it didn’t cover my grays at all which was the whole point. These dyes have a very strong, earthy smell, not necessarily bad, but definitely distinctive.

The hair hennas get mostly great reviews on the Lush website, so I have to guess it takes some practice and patience to get the application correct, but I have neither the time nor the money ($22) for this hair dye. If anyone else has tried it and liked it, I’d love to hear about it.

Pros: Vegan, all natural, gentle

Cons: Difficult application, cost, poor gray coverage

Whatever method you decide to go with for dyeing your hair, here are some essential tips:


1. Do not do your nails first! – It seems obvious, but the number of times I’ve ruined a manicure from dyeing my hair makes me question my intelligence. It’s usually not until I’ve shaken the bottle up that I realize I have pastel nails which will soon be stained brown. Obviously you should be wearing plastic gloves when you apply hair color, but it’s the wash-out process that always ruins my polish.

2. Vaseline – Before you dye, rub some Vaseline all around your hairline, try not to get it on any grays you want to cover, but definitely rub it around your ears and your forehead, it really cuts down on staining.

3. Witch Hazel – If like me, you still somehow end up with dye everywhere (how do I always get it on my forearms?) Witch Hazel is your best friend. After you’ve rinsed out the dye, just dab a cotton ball with some of it on any stained parts of your skin, it really fades the color. You can get it at the drug store, it’s usually with the astringents.

4. Brush your hair – This also seems like a no-brainer, but you should brush your hair before you apply hair dye, especially if you have long locks. Struggling through knots with dye in your hair is not only messy, but can cause your dye job to look uneven when sections of your hair are so knotted they avoid saturation by the dye.

5. Wear a shower-cap – I’m a big fan of shower caps, not just because they protect your hair from frizz in the shower, but also because they trap in heat when you’re dyeing or deep conditioning your hair which supposedly helps penetrate the hair faster and better, it also keeps you from dripping dye all over the place.

6. Shampoo – You may notice the instructions on these hair dyes tell you simply to rinse the product from your hair and then apply the conditioner without shampooing. Some might disagree with me here, but I always shampoo after I dye. Maybe the color doesn’t last as long, but it saves my sheets and towels from turning black (which has happened to me numerous times), so if you have dark hair, it’s something you might want to consider.

If you have any of your own hair dyeing tips and tricks let me know about them! Don’t forget to come back for Beauty in the Movies tomorrow!

5 Comments

Filed under cosmetics, hair