Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Everyday Gold and Eggplant Makeup

Today, we're talking a simple makeup. The pics were actually taken at my cube (hence the bad lighting and the beige walls).  Note that I will often do more dramatic makeup schemes but, today, I felt like doing something a bit more muted. Went with my mood.

The palette that I used for this is called Mother Earth by Smashbox. It no longer is available but you can use similar colors to achieve the same results.  I used everything but the blue eye shadow from this palette. ;) I even used the peach blush.

In addition to the palette, I also used Stay There eye shadow by Buxom in Mutt.

Here are the steps for this look; note that there are some steps that are optional:

  1. I applied the eye primer all over the eyelid to the brow and at the lower lash line as well. As usual, I used Shadow Insurance by Too Face.
  2. (Optional) I applied 1 layer of the Mutt eye shadow on the eyelid and at the lower lash line.
  3. I applied the plum colored eye shadow all over the eyelid using a fluffy round brush. I brought it up in the crease as well and at the outer corner of the lower lash line.
  4. I dusted 1 small layer of the gold eye shadow over the plum from the inner corner of the eyelid to about 1/3 to 1/2 of the eyelid (i.e., I didn't apply it all over the eyelid but just the inner portion).
  5. (Optional) If I hadn't applied the Mutt eye shadow, I would have applied the gold eye shadow at the lower lash line.
  6. (Optional) I applied the beige (top left color on the palette) eye shadow at the brow bone.
  7. I lined the upper lash line with black eyeliner.
  8. (Optional) I applied some black eyeliner at the outer corner of the lower lash line. That is, in the lash line itself.
  9. I lined the lower waterline with black eyeliner.
  10. I applied mascara.
  11. I applied the peach blush on the cheeks.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Golden Cabaret makeup

Apologies for the "meh" quality of the pics. ;) This was after a night of dancing at Greek Islands so the makeup is not as fresh as could be but, as can be evidenced, the primer did its job again. ;)

Here is the list of items that I used for this look.

And here are the steps that I did for this makeup:

  1. I applied my primer (Shadow Insurance by Too Faced) all over my eyelids up to the brow and a little at the lower lash line.
  2. I applied 1-2 layers of Indianwood color paint pot all over the eyelid to the crease.  I also applied 1 layer to the lower lash line.
  3. I applied 2-3 layers of the True Gold eye shadow over the Indianwood (so both on the eyelid and at the lower lash line).
  4. I applied the Hepcat eye shadow at the crease and along the lower lash line at the outer corner.
  5. I applied a little bit of Carbon eye shadow at the crease and outer corner of the lower lash line. It needs to not completely cover the Hepcat but rather just to better define the crease. So it's a very small amount. The first picture showcases it the best.
  6. I dusted the Aspen Summit eye shadow over the brow bone for contrast. I also applied a little bit of it at the inner corner of the eye.
  7. I lined the upper eyelid and the lower lid waterline with the e.l.f. cream liner.
  8. I applied mascara.
  9. I added some sparkly false lashes. I believe that I had purchased those at Kroger. They have a small amount of glitter on them.

Note: Instead of using the bareMinerals eye shadow, you could totally apply glitter to the eyelid. That would give it an extra pop of shine (and, yes, I've done that).  If you do, however, you'll still need to apply the Glitter Glue by Too Faced (or other glitter primer) as the paint pot formulation won't be sticky enough to hold onto the glitter.

Friday, October 26, 2012


When I was contemplating joining a sample subscription program, I was debating whether to subscribe to then MyGlam now renamed Ipsy or just Birchbox. Then, last month, I received an e-mail that seemed interesting enough for me to try it.

Let me backtrack and explain what this is. Like Birchbox and The Look Bag, you get samples monthly. Different than Birchbox (but akin to The Look Bag), everyone gets the same samples. For the October bag, though, they did customize the colors that they sent in for makeup based on how you had answered the beauty quiz. The idea of course is to make you happy with the color selection for you vs. having random colors that may or may not work.

Also, I've already referred to it as a bag... that is how it's commonly referred to and that's because it does come in a bag. We're not talking a little pouch like The Look Bag but a real beauty bag, as can be seen on the pic.  So, each month, you get a new bag like that. I have to wonder a bit what I'll do with all the bags if I were to subscribe for a while but these are handy so I'm sure that I'll figure it out.

Now, also contrary to Birchbox but akin to The Look Bag, there were 2 full size products! That was really neat.

What sold me to take the subscription for October was that they said that the theme was going to be "bombshell". That was quite enticing, I have to say.

So what did I receive? From left to right on the pic:

  • Pequi oil hair treatment by Couture Colour (deluxe sample)
  • What's your type? "The Body Builder" mascara (that is the name of it, I swear!) by the Balm (deluxe sample)
  • Lip Bomb by Mirenesse (full size)
  • Quad eye shadows by Coastal Scents (deluxe sample)
  • Be a Bombshell eyeliner (full size)
Someone had calculated the price of all the items on the Makeup Talk message board and it was over 70$ in value. So a great deal.

Now, I have to give a fair warning that, just like the Birchbox boxes are not all created equal, same thing for this bag. In previous months, it was all about hair and things like that. Hence why I hadn't taken the plunge in August nor in September. I don't know the theme yet for November but they have announced that they will have a deluxe sample of They're Real mascara by Benefit in at least a portion of the bags (it is an "or" item). We've also seen the bag and it looks like this one only it's all black.

I will definitely keep my subscription for November and will likely just keep it for a while.

Note: I will review the products individually, as I do with the other subscriptions. ;)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

How to freshen your makeup

So you've been wearing your makeup all day and then need to go out in the evening and don't have time to completely redo your makeup... or you just don't feel like it. What can you do? Here are some tips and tricks.  You don't have to do them all: it's up to you to choose which ones you do.

Mist and set spray
If you absolutely have no time whatsoever to freshen your makeup, consider just spraying your eye area with a makeup mist and set spray. A number of companies have these but the one that I use is by e.l.f. and can be found at Target for 3$. This will re-brighten your makeup and will make it appear as if it had been applied more freshly than it has.

Note: If you will do any other steps but want to do this as well, use the spray as your last step.

Probably THE thing that will give away how long ago the makeup was applied is your eyeliner, especially if you apply some at the lower lash waterline. But, just in general, the eyeliner has a tendency to chip off a little. So you may want to reapply it. No need to take what you had off: you can just apply over it.

While the mascara won't disappear off your lashes, it will be a little "duller" than when you freshly applied it so applying a new coat over what you already have will help making it look fresher.

Loose powder
If you apply loose powder, you may want to reapply. It will even out your skin back again. This is a step that I especially do during the summer time as I'm bound to have had some sweating that changed the color of my face. If you have an oily complexion, this may actually be your #1 step to do.

Note: You may need to re-apply the blush if you do re-apply loose powder.

Eye shadow
You may want to re-apply your eye shadow. It all depends on whether it has creased or otherwise washed off your face during the day. If you've used an eye primer, it shouldn't have done that but, depending on the heat, allergies, rubbing at the eyes, etc., it could have. Also, you could apply a different color! It could change the color. If it's much darker, then that color will be the prominent one. If it's in the similar range of hue, it will tweak the color, which may be fun.

If you've used only one eye shadow on your eyelid that morning, you could totally finish up the look by applying something at the crease and brow bone.

Note: If you will apply an eye shadow, especially on the eyelid, you'll want to wait until that is done before re-applying the eyeliner. Otherwise, you'll cover the eyeliner with the new shadow and need to re-apply the eyeliner yet again.

I generally don't need to re-apply the blush but you may. If I'm doing multiple steps, I may re-apply a bit just to make sure that the cheeks also look fresh. ;)

Lipstick/lip gloss
It kind of goes without saying that the lipstick/lip gloss will likely need to be re-applied.  That is, if you wear these.

What to pick?
As I've already mentioned, you most certainly don't have to do all these steps.  What you pick will be utterly dependent on the time you have, how your makeup looks like currently (i.e., it will change depending on the day), and where you're going/what you'll be doing.

Generally, my minimal steps are eyeliner, mascara, and mist. That takes about 2-3 minutes to do. More if the eyeliner somehow got real messed up but that's very rare.  Then the rest will be dependent on how the makeup is looking and what I want it to look like. ;)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Product Review - e.l.f. Daily Brush Cleaner

A few weeks ago, I was running out of my usual brush cleaner (MAC Brush Cleanser; ) and I decided to try the e.l.f. Daily Brush Cleaner.  The price is much cheaper (MAC: 14$; e.l.f.: 3$) so I figured that maybe I could save money this way and I've tried many e.l.f. products that I ended up actually liking better than the MAC products so maybe this would be the case too.

It sure wasn't.

I tried spraying the product on the brush directly as they said. I tried spraying the product on paper and then wiping the brush as I do with the MAC product normally. I tried a mix of both. It just wasn't cleaning the brushes to the same level as the MAC product does. Now they do recommend that you use the Daily Brush Cleaner for a daily clean and then the shampoo once a week to clean deeply. Yeah... no... I'll do it all in one step, thank you.

Another thing that had me disappointed was that the cleaning was so not up to the level that I was used to with the MAC product that my pencil brush was actually not doing a good job when I tried to apply the gel liner with it. I had to resort to using a liquid liner because it just wasn't working.

It also required more product from the e.l.f. product vs. the MAC product... and then if you do a size comparison, it's 3$ for 2 oz vs. 14$ for 8 oz. So the saving is really not nearly as much as I had originally thought it'd be.

The MAC product has some component in it that makes the brushes dry faster and the e.l.f. product doesn't. That's not a big deal for me as I rarely will do applications requiring the same brushes in a close time frame but it could be an issue for someone who does. Or if I ever had the need to completely revamp my makeup for something.

The only thing that I did like about the e.l.f. product, though, was the smell. It smells much nicer than the MAC one does.  But, really, that's not enough to make me purchase this product ever again.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Youtube Tutorials

Years ago, as I was on my quest for good makeup, I stumbled upon youtube tutorials of makeup. I believe that it was through good old Tribe (remember that site?). So here are my "go to" ladies.

Lauren Luke aka panacea81
Lauren was the one that I had found the link for via Tribe. I got a ton of good tips and tricks from her older videos.  I haven't been following her much lately.

Makeup Geek
She often has products reviews and all and has started to do tutorials that include hair as well.

Queen of Blending
She can be quite outrageous in her makeups. That being said, those will be awesome for stage! You may even feel like toning it down (like I did for the silver and black makeup scheme).  She does deserve her name in that she blends her shadows like no other.

Nowadays, quite honestly, there's tutorials for anything and everything. Whether they are good or bad is in the eye of the beholder. But you are bound to find inspiration in plenty of places. Besides these lovely ladies who are my list, you could do a search for whatever makeup you're thinking of and will most likely find pics, tutorials, etc. So don't hesitate to google it up. ;)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Review - The Look Bag

I discovered through a makeup message board other subscription services besides Birchbox. I'm not going to review them all (as tempting as it sounds), but there was one, The Look Bag, that I decided to try, based on having seen others posting what was in the bag. Contrary to Birchbox, this one is more uniform in what it sends subscribers so, since I liked what others were posting, I purchased.  I also discovered that it is a re-launch of their sample program. So we'll see what will happen (and if I'll keep the subscription).

So I received a York lip balm with sun protection (SPF 15), a foot scrub by Bare Foot, a crackle nail polish by Pop, an eye shadow by Stila (it's a black color... hard to tell on the pic, I know), and a lip primer by Pixi.As with all my other subscriptions, there was a little card also that explains the products.  There was also a little pink bag that held the items.

What swayed me to purchase the bag were the full size nail polish and the full size Stila eye shadow. The Pixi is also a full size item so it felt like it might be a good value.

The subscription is 12.95$ per month. I had a coupon to get 20% off (coupon code: TLB) so that made my total like 9.71$. At that price, it seemed like a real good deal. The difference with other subscriptions (besides a slightly higher price) is that the next billing is on your anniversary date in the month vs. the 1st of the month for other subscriptions. The advantage? If you troll message boards, you should be able to see what those who are getting their subscription early in the month are getting and, if you're not happy, you could cancel your subscription.

Through the same message board, I discovered, though, that the Stila eye shadow and the nail polish are actually discontinued items. So that was a bit of a bummer. It's not like you're trying them out and can purchase them later. Then again, they are full size so you'll have plenty of those for a while. It also means that the value should be technically less.

Do I still feel like it was worth spending the money on it? I do, actually. But, again, I was making an educated decision when I purchase, instead of going in blind.  I suspect that I will keep the subscription for at least one more month. But, yes, I will check what others are receiving before letting the charge go through. ;)

The Look Bag:

makeuptalk (message board; linking specifically to the one about general monthly subscriptions):

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Foundation formulations

There are many types of foundations:  liquid, cream, powder, combination of cream and pressed powder, etc.  It is highly important that you find which one works better for you.  Foundation (especially for everyday use) generally should feel like you have nothing on (it might not be so for stage makeup... more on that in a future blog entry).  If you find that you feel the foundation on your skin and it annoys you, then this isn’t a formulation that works well for you (try another one).

One of the worst mistakes that people do when selecting foundation is to test the color on the top of the hand.  The top of the hand is not exactly the same color as your face and, therefore, will potentially make you choose the wrong shade.  The foundation for everyday use should match your face color as close as possible (this will be different for performance).  If your skin can get a suntan (mine can't), also note that the color does change with the season. So it's possible that you may need 2 colors: one for winter and one for summer.

The second worst mistake is stopping application right at the jaw line.  You should apply it slightly beyond (i.e., towards the neck) so that it doesn’t create a line right at the jaw; the foundation needs to blend in towards the neck.

This is the sequence (roughly) of how I apply foundation:
  1. Start application on a cheek and expand towards the hairline (make sure that you get all the way to the hair), jaw line, and nose.
  2. Apply on the eyelid, making sure to go all the way to the brows and down to the cheek bone.  You could omit this step if you are applying the foundation after application of the eye makeup for everyday use.  However, I generally prefer to put some foundation on the eyelid anyway to ensure that the whole face is the same color.
  3. Repeat Steps 1 and 2 on the other side. (Or you could have done both cheeks before going to both eye areas.)
  4. Apply on chin and the area above the lips.
  5. Apply on forehead, making sure to apply all the way up to the hairline and remembering to bring the application down on the temples.
  6. Apply on nose.
  7. Assess whether your application makes your face look even.
There are conflicting opinions on when foundation for everyday use should be applied:  before or after application of eye makeup.  I've done both.  Right now, I apply it before.  It’s really a matter of preference as to which one you prefer:
  • Before:  If you apply it before your eye makeup, it preps (somewhat) your eye area too and can ensure that the color all over your skin will be even.
  • After:  If you apply it after your eye makeup, it removes the fallout from the makeup application that may have fallen on your face.  There are other methods to take care of that.

Liquid Foundation

Liquid foundations typically come in many different formulations for different skin types.  They often have an SPF 15 in it too, which is an advantage.  Due to their light texture, they are generally the preferred formulations out there.

Sponge method:
  1. Pour some foundation in your off hand, near the wrist.
  2. Dip your sponge lightly in the foundation.  Dip lightly again whenever necessary.
  3. Use downward strokes if you have a naturally even skin.  Pat the sponge on your skin (still going in a downward motion) if your skin is not even.
Q-tip and sponge method:
  1. Dip Q-tip in foundation.  Dip again for each of the lines that you will apply.
  2. Apply one line on each cheek.
  3. Apply a small line on the chin.
  4. Apply a line on the nose.
  5. Apply a line on the forehead.
  6. With the sponge, blend the lines into the skin in the same order as you applied the lines, blending all over your face.  Remember to also do above your lip, your eye areas, and the temples.

Cream Foundation

You will notice that this type of foundation does not cover as much as liquid.  That’s normal.  It also feels heavier and, if you have oily skin, you may not like this formulation.  Whatever skin type you have, you still want to use a light coat of foundation with a cream foundation to minimize the heavy feeling.

To apply:
  1. Use a sponge to get a little foundation on it.  It’s better to dip more often than get too much on your sponge.
  2. Use downward strokes.

Powder Foundation

Powder foundations generally are the bare minerals kind.  Their advantage is that they are real good for your skin to the point where you could sleep in them and it’s fine.  You can also sweat in it without any issues.  A lot of the bodybuilder ladies who wear makeup at the gym use bare minerals because of that.  Some with oily skin will love this formulation as it absorbs the oil.  I liked them for a while but then I thought that my face looked too powdery.

To apply:
  1. Dip lightly a big fluffy powder brush in the powder.  Use a circular motion in the cap to even the powder on the brush and remove excess.
  2. Use a circular motion to apply the foundation.  The bare minerals brands call it “buffing.”

Combination Cream and Powder Foundation

This type of foundation actually contains both a cream foundation and a powder like you will apply in your 2nd step of makeup application.  It’s a 2 steps in 1 process.  However, it’s not exactly the same as applying a cream foundation and then loose powder.

To apply:  Use the same method as the powder foundation.  However, depending on the exact consistency of the formulation, you may want to just use downward strokes as opposed to the circular motion.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Silver and black eye makeup

I've had a bunch of folks ask how I did this makeup.  It ties in real well with the "how to apply glitter" entry. The list of steps are what I did. Below that, you will find first a link to the video that inspired this makeup and then the list of the products that I used.
  1. I applied my primer all over my eyelids up to the brow and a little at the lower lash lines. I used Shadow Insurance by Too Faced.
  2. I applied 2-3 layers of Stay There eye shadow by Buxom in the color Pug all over the eyelids to the crease.  
  3. I applied that Pug color at the lower lash line as well.
  4. I applied the Glitter Glue primer (by Too Faced) over the eyelid. I did one eye at a time for this step and the next.
  5. Using little dabs/pats, I applied .44 Magnum glitter by Medusa's Makeup.
  6. I defined the crease using a pencil brush and the e.l.f. cream eyeliner. This step really consists of putting a black line on your crease. It's also called a "cut crease" technique.  See also the video link below.
  7. Using a crease brush, I applied Buxom Stay There in Black Lab at the crease. I applied it over the black eyeliner line and going up (i.e., trying not to bring it down).  I also applied a little at the outer corner of the lower lash line, to connect the lower lash line with the crease line. That's how I get the flared look at the crease.
  8. I applied the Sephora Aspen Summit eye shadow on the brow bone.
  9. I lined the upper lash line with the e.l.f. cream eyeliner, making a winged tip/flared line.
  10. I lined the bottom lash waterline with the e.l.f. cream eyeliner, making sure to well define the inner corner.
  11. I applied mascara over the lashes. I later applied false lashes to the top eyelid as well.
  12. The lipstick is Dubonnet by MAC.
Here is the link to the makeup tutorial that inspired this makeup. I ended up toning it down as I felt that the original finished look was a bit too over the top (especially for what I wanted performance-wise at the time; the original makeup that I did like that was for a performance and I redid it for this photoshoot) and it wouldn't read well from stage as it is a lot of shading.  But this is where I first learned how to do a "cut crease" and got to idea to do it for this makeup.

Links to the products:

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

False lashes

I often get questions around false lashes. They do take a long time to get used to so be patient with yourself.  They are a great tool to open up your eyes.  Some people put them on first, before putting all the eye makeup.  However, I will generally put them on last when I’m done with everything else in case I run out of time or have issues with them. 

Things to know:
Buy cheap ones: There is no need to purchase expensive ones because they will break just as fast (if not faster). Also, the cheaper ones tend to be sturdier so they will withstand manipulation a whole lot better than pricey ones. Especially when you're starting to use them, start with cheapy ones.

Where to buy: The best ones that I've found readily available were at Sally's.  They're big enough for stage.  They have also some okay ones at CVS, Walgreens, and Kroger. But they're smaller.  So I generally will wear them at Greek Islands where I'm close to people... or I'll double them up and wear two pairs for stage (that's a more advanced skill).

eBay: Do a search on eBay for false lashes and you'll find lots of Asian options. They come in boxes of 10 pairs and you can often find lots that have more than one style. They're really cheap price-wise, are very sturdy, and they are a good size for stage. You will likely need to cut them up to size a bit more than the pharmacy or Sally's versions would but they're at a fraction of the cost. Obviously shipping is slow so you'll need to plan in advance. And read the descriptions well because they will often lead you to believe that you'll get multiple boxes when, really, you'll get only one.

Glue: Don't bother with the glue that they provide with the lashes sometimes. That's cheap and rarely stays well.  For glue, I use the Duo Eyelash glue, which you can find at CVS. They also have a version that dries to black; it has pink lettering on the tube.

How to apply them:
  • When taking them out of the case, use your thumbs to press them down towards the bottom of that container. You will be less likely to break them that way.
  • Once they are out of the container, you'll want to wiggle them around as they will be too stiff.
  • You may want to assess whether they fit. Most eyelashes will fit unless you have real small eyelids.  If they are too long, you can cut them.
  • If the lashes are on a clear band, I will put some black eyeliner over that band so that they will blend better with my black line on the lid.
  • Apply a small coat of glue all along the band of the eyelashes. You'll find your own preference but you don't want it too thick nor too thin and you want it as even as you can muster.  I sometimes will just pour straight from the tube or will use the handle of an eyeshadow brush to apply the glue.
    NOTE: The glue that's at the tip may separate in the tube. So you want to squirt some glue on a tissue or something to get rid of that separated goop.
  • WAIT ~30 SECONDS before applying eyelashes.  That is the one step that a lot of folks skip.  To see if the eyelashes are ready, you can touch the glue and it should be a little tacky.
  • Start applying your lashes from the middle portion of the false lashes on your eyelid, close-ish to your natural lashes but don't sweat how close you are just yet.  Using the handle of a small eyeshadow brush, push the false lashes down towards your natural lash line.  Keep pressing softly the lashes down to your lash line on each side.  The best video that I saw that explained this is via the MAC website (it's easier to get what I'm talking about when you see it):
  • Once the lashes are applied, you can turn them up by simply batting your lashes softly against your index finger.

Monday, October 15, 2012

My favorite brushes

Part of good makeup is having the proper tools: good brushes. And by "good brushes", I most certainly don't mean that you need to spend a lot of money on them. Some of my favorite brushes are a few dollars. With these tools, it will really be often a matter of preference in terms of what you like best for which application.

Back before I started on my quest for good makeup, I was sometimes stopping myself from using certain brushes because I didn't know what they were for. Well, that's just silly. The manufacturer may have stamped a name to a brush, indicating what it should be used for but, really, there is no "brush police" that will come give you a fine if you aren't using the brush exactly as intended. The only "sin" here is to not use the brushes.

Brushes sets

Again, even before the quest for good makeup, I had invested in a makeup brush set akin to this picture. If you do a search on eBay for "makeup brush set", you'll see plenty of these kinds of sets. The quality of the brushes is okay but you can get these for a very decent price (32 pieces for 10-20$ including shipping). A lot of the vendors will be in China and, actually, often these brushes are very akin to the higher end brushes.  One thing is that they tend to shed their bristles for a bit but then it stops.  It's definitely one way to get plenty of brushes for not too much money up front. And then you can subsequently replace your favorite brushes with higher quality brushes.  That's definitely what I did: I used the kit for many many years and I still use some of those brushes every now and then.

That being said, there are now a lot of options to get brushes at decent prices, so look around and you will likely find something that will fit in your budget.

My favorite brushes
Now onto my favorite brushes and what I use them for.  I use these on a near daily basis... if not daily, it's on a weekly basis for sure.

Sephora Classic All Over Shadow Brush Small - 13$
I love to use that brush to apply eye shadow all over the eyelid. It does great for pressed powders and some loose powders (especially the Bare Escentuals ones).

Sephora Pro Natural Small Eyeshadow Brush - Sold out
Unfortunately this brush is sold out but I love it and use it very frequently. It is stiffer than the one above so I love to use it to apply creamy eye shadows. So, whenever I apply the Buxom Stay There shadows, I use this brush.

e.l.f. Professional Eyeshadow Brush - 1$
I love this brush to apply loose powders eye shadows or glitter over the eyelid. It is a rather stiff brush so it's great for these applications. It does well also for regular pressed powders.

Sephora Pro Smoky Liner Brush  - 17$
(note that it's not exactly the brush that I purchased but the same shape and it's the same brand)  I love this brush to apply gel or cream eyeliner. I somehow prefer to use it for a stage makeup application but it can be used for any eyeliner application. The shape of it is what makes it so great: it is akin to working with a pencil eyeliner.

MAC Small Angle Brush - 19$
I use this brush to apply either cream or gel eyeliner and to do my eyebrows. I generally will use this brush for my regular makeup. I've had this specific brush for like over 15 years and it's still going strong with no signs of decline. 

e.l.f. Contour Brush - 3$
I use this brush to apply eye shadows at the crease of my eyes. It's a bit on the stiff side, which is real nice for when you want your crease shadows to stay put and not blend in too much. So I definitely use it for stage makeup. For regular makeup, it depends on the look that I'm going for.

Sephora Classic Rounded Crease Brush - 17$
This is similar to the e.l.f. Contour Brush in that I use it to apply eye shadows at the crease of my eyes. However, this one is fluffier and, as such, will automatically blend in the color a bit more. For regular makeup, that is generally what I want (but not always). For stage makeup, that's too much blending.

Sephora Pro Allover Shadow Brush - 20$
I love to use this brush to apply eye shadow at the brow bone. It covers a lot of surface. Now, depending on the size of your brow bone, this may be too large of a brush.

e.l.f. Studio Blush Brush - 3$
I love to use this brush, as the name indicates to apply blush to my cheeks. It is the perfect size for me. I have encountered many blush brushes that are either too large or too small. This one's perfect for my cheeks.

e.l.f. Complexion Brush - 3$
I use this brush to apply loose powder to my face over my foundation. It has the perfect size and shape for it.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Product Review - Porefessional by Benefit Cosmetics

As part of the September Birchbox, I received a sample of The Porefessional by Benefit Cosmetics.

When reading what the product does, it sounded like a mix between a beauty balm and a primer.  Turns out that it's about right.

It promises to minimize the appearance of pores. I couldn't say if that's true or not: I don't have much of a pore issue at all.

I tried it first under Dr. Jart+ Beauty Balm just for the heck of it. I didn't think that  it would add much but figured that I may as well try it. It did make my skin feel a bit smoother. Not by a whole lot but a bit.

As can be seen in the pic, there's a tint to the product. It didn't change the beauty balm color (but more on that later).

I was curious as to how it would behave under my regular foundation (MAC Studio Fix Fluid). Yesterday morning, I tried it. And, boy, was I disappointed! The overall result was that my skin looked orange-y and definitely NOT the right color. I had to take off everything and start over because people would have asked me if I had jaundice or eaten too many carrots. It was horrible.

So I think that it actually speaks well of the beauty balm that it didn't change color at all. It goes to show that, indeed, it does adjust to your skin color.

So, obviously, I wouldn't purchase The Porefessional. I definitely will stick to my regular primer (which is what I did when I reapplied my makeup). I could see that someone who would have pore issues may maybe like this product. I obviously wasn't a good customer for it.

Now they do say that you can use it over makeup. Maybe that would work better for me but it still would not be enough for me to purchase it.  Another option that could work would be to use it under a translucent powder. But, again, given that I already own a beauty balm (and love it), I don't think that I would purchase.

This just is not a product for me.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Glitter eye shadow application

As a belly dancer, I've gotten VERY familiar with the use of glitter. I've had also many frustrating moments when applying it. With practice, I've gotten better at it. Here are my tips and tricks.

Color on eyelid first
The tricky thing about glitter is that it nearly never applies completely uniformly as a regular eye shadow would. The only glitter that I've managed to do that with was the .44 Magnum color by Medusa's Makeup (see ).  But even with that one, it's not a sure thing that it will apply evenly. So, to help yourself, if you want to use glitter on your eyelids, apply a color on the eyelid first. That way, even if the glitter is not uniform, you won't have a big white space that will drive you crazy.

The simplest thing to do is to go for a similar eye shadow. For example, if you're applying silver glitter, apply silver eye shadow; if you're applying blue glitter, apply blue eye shadow; etc.

Another option that you have (and this can be real cool) is to apply another color than something close to the glitter. This could change the overall finished look but can be super nice.

Use primer/sticky product
Glitter loves to fly out everywhere and has a hard time holding on. So you need a good primer to help keep it where it belongs. You'll need a sticky product to help keep the glitter in place.

When I started playing with glitter, I discovered that principle while playing with the Glitter Cream Palette that I have by NYX.  I had applied some of the glitter cream at the outer corner of my eye (past my eyeliner) to do a pop of glitter there. For all that I applied more and more of the product, it just was not dense enough glitter-wise. So I started applying loose glitter over it and, lo and behold, it held! Why I started searching for alternatives was because I had a hard time manipulating the product to my exact liking and, while the hold was good for a time, it wasn't holding for the whole night of dancing at Greek Islands (which is my measuring stick for hold... dancing 3-4 sets of 15-20 minutes over a 3-hour period where they light cheese on fire on a regular basis makes for a good measuring stick).

Then, I discovered the Glitter Glue by Too Faced. ( ).  That's what I use.

One makeup gal that I follow on youtube uses Duo eyelash glue instead of the Glitter Glue. I don't particularly like the eyelash glue feel and it wrinkles my eyelids a little so I prefer not to use that. The gal is younger than I am so she doesn't need to worry about wrinkling so much... yet. :p But, that being said, that's one way to make your glitter hold without spending a lot of money. The Duo eyelash glue is fairly cheap so if your budget is tight, you may want to use this. Anyway, that's the glue that I recommend for false lashes so double duty right there. ;)

So, using the primer/sticky product of your choice, apply it to the area that you want to apply glitter on. Quickly apply the glitter because once these products dry, the glitter won't be holding anymore.  And, yes, that means that you're applying the primer/sticky product over the eye shadow that you applied on your eyelid. Don't worry, that eye shadow won't go anywhere.

If you're slow at applying eye shadow (and, therefore, glitter), you may want to consider applying the primer/sticky product on a portion of the eyelid, apply glitter, apply sticky stuff to another portion, apply glitter, repeat as much as needed. That way, the product won't dry and not hold to glitter and you end up with just a portion all glittered up. ;)

Apply with little dabs
I mentioned in a previous entry ( ) that using little dabs/pats will do wonders to prevent fall out of your eye shadow. Well, it's ESPECIALLY true for glitter. That stuff loves to fly!

Recommendation for brush
Given the fluffiness of glitter, I highly recommend using a stiff brush for application as it will pick up the glitter well and using dabs/pats is easy with these brushes. My favorite brush for glitter application is the E.L.F. brush that I mentioned in an old entry was good for a specific application (that'd be this and generally loose eye shadow as well). At 1$, you can't really go wrong. ;)  Any other stiff brush will work too. And you want a smallish brush so that it minimizes the fall out. Generally speaking, the bigger the brush, the more fall out you risk having.

Fall out
You'll likely have glitter fall out because, as I've mentioned a few times already, glitter loves to fly. You can use that fluffy brush or kabuki brush to remove it (as mentioned in this entry ).  You can also just wait... since it doesn't have a sticky product to hold on to, it will just fall off your face.

Recap of eyelid application
This was a whole lot of info so here are my steps when applying glitter on the eyelids:

  1. Apply regular primer all over eyelid and brow bone.  I use Shadow Insurance by Too Faced.
  2. Apply regular eye shadow all over eyelid to crease.
  3. Apply Glitter Glue primer over eye shadow. Do one eye only.
  4. Apply glitter, using dabs/pats over the Glitter Glue.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for the second eye.
When I'm getting ready to do the glitter part, I will actually open the glitter container, pour some in the cap and be ready to apply quickly after having applied the Glitter Glue.

Removing glitter
As the meme here accurately points out, removing glitter is not that easy. That gets embedded in any little crease on your face, you'll find some everywhere for a while. It's kind of a mess. To help not spread the glitter everywhere while removing it, try to keep the removed glitter away from your face. So, for example, if using a makeup remover towelette, use a corner on the glitter, and don't make that portion touch your face again. And, whereas I normally just rub the towelette all over my face, I won't do that if I have applied glitter. And you will quickly realize that you will likely need to use more product than typical to remove glitter.

I have burlesque friends who say that glitter is like herpes. And, yeah, there's quite a bit of truth to that.  It just spreads everywhere and it keeps coming back! Even when you haven't used glitter in a while, it will show back up.

But, yanno, it's well worth it.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

White eye shadows

Just like with black eye shadows, I think that everyone should consider purchasing a white eye shadow.  It may seem counterintuitive that someone who is as fair skinned as I am would be talking about purchasing white eye shadow but there are a few key applications that make it a must-have.

First off, this is pretty much THE color that I apply on my brow bone when I do stage makeup. I will sometimes apply a beige but 99.8% of the time, it's white. It will provide good contrast that will work great with distance .

If I'm doing regular makeup, I like to apply white at the arch of the brow on the brow bone: it gives a nice pop of light.

One of my trick to appear to have bigger eyes (believe me, my eyes are normal size... it's all smoke and mirror [and makeup application]) is to apply some white eye shadow at the inner corner of the eye. I do that especially if I've used dark colors but I may do it whichever color I used. It totally re-opens your eyes to do that.  So if you've shied from using dark colors because it makes your eyes look smaller, try this trick: it works, believe me!

Another option with white is to us it if you're wanting a vintage makeup look. I typically will go for a beige instead but white is another option.

Contrary to the black eye shadows, the finish of a white eye shadow will not make nearly as much of a difference. What will, though, is the exact shade.

  • I have a blueish shimmery white pigment from MAC that I've worn only a handful of times. I can wear it on my eyelid paired with something else but I can't use it alone nor on my brow bone. The issue is that the blueish tint is making it appear as if I have a black eye. NOT the look that I'm going for.
  • I have a very matte white shadow from MAC (Gesso) that I use mainly for the arch of the brow and inner corner of the eye for regular makeup. I tend to prefer something matte for regular makeup.
  • I have a frosty white that I had received from Sephora (Aspen Summit) in my birthday kit a couple of years ago. (When you're a Sephora rewards member, you get a freebie each year on your birthday.) I like the shine of it for stage makeup and apply it all over my brow bone and at the inner corner.

The point here is trial and errors and finding which one you prefer. If you want to purchase only one white (and I wouldn't recommend buying more than one or two), what will matter the most is the exact shade. Stay clear of blueish tints (as evidenced by my own bad experience).  You can assess what the shade is and how it will behave by applying a little on your hand and moving the hand around under light: it will reveal what other tint is in that white. That is, of course, if you are at a makeup store like MAC or Sephora.  If you are purchasing online, then it's a little bit more hit and miss but they generally will take a portion of the product and spread it to showcase the exact color.

And as an FYI, what you're aiming for when you're applying the white eye shadow to light up your eyes is NOT the clown white effect (unless that's what you're going for, of course) but a pale dusting. Whereas I apply multiple layers of eye shadow on the eyelids and at the crease, generally just one swipe will be enough with the white.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Product Review - Medusa's Makeup

At the beginning of the year, I decided that I needed more glitter in my makeup options. So I did a quick search online and stumbled upon Medusa's Makeup.  The products looked interesting so I put an order in.

This picture here shows what I received in my first order. So, yes, there was more than one order. ;)

I ended up ordering 4 glitter powders, The Fix, a body shimmer in "Ghostly" and a kabuki brush.  They also sent a cute sticker and a brochure with their products in there.  As you can see, the packaging was real good and prevented potential mishaps from happening.

Here, you can see a close up of the glitter powders. From top to bottom, the colors are Moonwalk, .44 Magnum, Antoinette, and Mix Blitz.  The bottom container that doesn't look like other ones is The Fix, which is a wax base for the glitter.

I gave that "The Fix" a try the first time that I tried the glitter. And, let me tell you, I wasn't impressed. It really wasn't holding on to the glitter nearly as much as I wanted and needed it to.  I will use it for if I want to apply glitter a bit loosely on my body but not on my eyelids. The Glitter Glue by Too Faced is much superior in its hold so use that instead of purchasing this.

However, I was greatly impressed with the glitter: it wasn't too fluffy (i.e., it didn't fly off everywhere) and it looked amazingly gorgeous.  I will totally buy more glitter, for sure!  The fee is quite reasonable too at 7$ for a 2-oz container.

I also really like how the glitter doesn't make you look like you have a mirror ball on your eyelids. I mean, it's still very shiny but not gaudy shiny.

Here, you can see a makeup where I applied Mix Blitz. I had taken this pic originally to showcase the staying power of the Glitter Glue. This was after I had danced the whole night at Greek Islands. Still very much holding and you can see the pretty purple.

Here, I was wearing the .44 Magnum glitter.  It's one of my favorite ones for stage. I do have another silver glitter by Make Up For Ever but I much prefer this shade. Instead of being absolutely silver, it has some dark tint to it. So it helps to keep the makeup look a tad darker.

(Note: I will post a blog about how I did this makeup in the near future.)

Here is a recap of my thoughts on the first order:
The Fix: I wouldn't recommend purchasing unless you intend to use glitter loosely. I'd stick with the Glitter Glue by Too Faced (no pun intended but it's a pretty good one).
Body Shimmer: It didn't have the effect that I was expecting. It was a VERY subtle shimmer. So it's great for a party setting but not enough for stage. I was hoping for something that would make my skin look luminescent on stage. That ain't it.
Glitter Powders: AWESOME stuff! I will definitely buy more! Just the right amount of shiny. Just the right size of glitter for a good hold.

And the glitter powders were so awesome that I decided to try out their eye dusts (which are really loose eye shadows).   From top to bottom, the shades are: Penny Wise, Magma, Vanilla Latte, Barbarella, and Ocean Drive. The lip gloss is Sparkle Mania, which they were recommending to get to put over either an eye dust or glitter powder on your lips to create a funky lip gloss effect. I have yet to try that.

Well, the eye dusts definitely did not disappoint. The payload was great, the colors are awesome, and the powder is oh so fine! It's very soft on the eyelids. My only complaint is that the colors did not look exactly like they did on my computer screen when I purchased them (whereas the glitter colors were pretty true to my computer screen) but that can happen with computer screens. Still, the colors are very pretty.

Will I purchase from Medusa's Makeup again? Oh hell yes, I will!

They often run specials like 15% off or have some products on sale so do keep an eye out on those.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Product Review - Kate Somerville True Lash Enhancing Eye Makeup Remover

Boy, that product's name is a mouthful!  I got this sample as part of a sample bag from Sephora. I'm a VIB (Very Important Beauty insider) with Sephora and they will often have special promotions: this one was a bag with 7 deluxe samples and this product was in it.

Last week, I ran out of makeup towelettes and didn't have any makeup remover left so I remembered that there was a sample of makeup remover and I used it. I originally thought that I would use it only one night but I ended up using it for like 4-5 nights.

The first thing to note is that it's a cream that you apply on your eyelids to remove the makeup. If you're used to a liquid solution, it's a little weird at first. You can rinse it off afterwards or not. Since I remove my eye makeup first and then wash my face, I automatically end up rinsing it off.

I gotta say that it did a great job removing the makeup and it didn't require much rubbing to remove stubborn mascara.  I was quite impressed by it.

Definitely the thing that impressed me the most, though, was that it delivered on its promise.  It promises to "strengthen and promote lash growth to create stronger, noticeably fuller lashes." MANY beauty products make all kind of promises. I am generally skeptical until proven otherwise. And I'm always VERY skeptical of anything that says that they will improve lash growth as it has never worked on me.  So I snickered when I saw the lash growth claim and forgot about it... until, one morning, I was applying mascara (and I had discontinued use of the product by that time) and was like "Boy, my lashes are so much fuller and longer! Look at them!" And then I remembered the claim. So color me surprised but it did work!

Another cool feature for me was the fact that, given that it's a cream, it didn't dry out my eyelids at all. They felt smooth.

So I'm tempted to purchase the product because of that great result. The only thing that is making me hesitate is the cost. It's 35$ for a 1.7-oz tube.  I'm used to paying 20$ for a 3.4-oz bottle of eye makeup remover by MAC. The Kate Somerville product did do a better job at removing the mascara, though. And, well, it does more than just remove makeup.  And, again, the not drying the eyelids benefit is noteworthy for me as well. It's very likely that I will actually purchase it given all the benefits.

One option that I would have to reduce cost on the long term is to alternate using the Kate Somerville product with the MAC eye makeup remover. Say, 1 week a month I'd use the Kate Somerville product and the rest of the month I'd use the MAC product.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Product Review - DDF Brightening Cleanser

I received a sample of this product as part of the August Birchbox. The sample that I received was a very decent size at 4.3 oz! The full product is 8.5 oz so that's just half! Pretty neat!

I gave it a try and was a little weary of it because there were warnings about making your skin more sensitive to sun exposure and more prone to sunburns (mine is already very prone to those). I still gave it a shot on a day when I knew that I wasn't going to be out in the sun at all. Well, interestingly, even at first use, I did see my skin look brighter. I was quite impressed by that!

The product has a licorice smell. I don't like licorice at all (as I mentioned on a previous post, turns out that I'm actually somewhat allergic to anise) but the product only lightly smells of licorice. Since I do apply a moisturizer and now the beauty balm, it doesn't last long so that's not a bother for me. But it could be.

The first few times that I used the product, I felt like it left my skin quite dry and I needed to apply my typical moisturizer rather quickly. However, the moisturizer was enough to make the skin feel fine.

I really do like the effect that it gives on my skin and how it brightens it. I'm using it like every other day right now.

Would I purchase the full size product once I'm out of my big sample? I'm not sure. The price for the full size is 38$, which is typical of most cleanser in this category.  I don't think that I could use it daily, though, due to 1) not wanting to dry out my skin and 2) the sensitivity to sun. So, with that in mind, I'm not sure how much the brightening benefit outweighs the cost of the product (and really needing 2 products for the alternating days and for the evening [though I could use makeup remover towelettes for the evening]). The jury is still out on that one and I have a lot of product to go through before I'd reach that point where I'd make a decision but I think that I would not invest in this product given my skin type.

I can see how it could be very beneficial (to the point of purchase) for someone else. But you still would have to watch out for the sun.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Black eye shadows

Pretty much everyone should consider purchasing at some point a black eye shadow so here are some things to keep in mind as you're choosing it.

First off, why should you consider purchasing black? It is a very versatile and useful color to have on hand.  You can use it at your crease for your makeup. You can use it over an eyeliner to bolster its blackness. You could also use it over an eyeliner to smudge the line. And one thing that folks often forget about is that you don't need to use all over the crease but you could have just a little bit to darken it. There are many options to use black.

I think that black eye shadow has suffered from a bad rep that it makes you look like a raccoon and, therefore, shouldn't be used. That'd be only true if you do apply it in a raccoon mask sort of way.

Eye shadows come in various finishes (matte, frost, shimmery, sparkly, etc.). Which one you pick will have a different look... and may have a different use.

Matte: A matte black will make the area where you applied it look like it's receding. As such, you may want to use a matte black at the crease or over an eyeliner.

Shimmery: Here, I mean anything that shimmers (so frost, sparkly, whatever).  A shimmery black will tend to make the area appear to stand out.  If you want to do a smokey eye with a black eye shadow, I'd recommend using a shimmery black, especially if you will do this for stage.  Also, if you have a very deep crease, you may want to select a shimmery black to apply at the crease so as not to further deepen the look of the crease.

I actually own a few matte blacks (pressed powder and loose shadow) and several shimmery blacks. The shimmery blacks I own have different looks to them: one has a golden shimmer to it, one has a silver shimmer, one has an iridescent shimmer, etc.  It actually often happens that the blacks are part of a palette so they came with but I did choose certain shimmery blacks on purpose.

That being said, if your budget is tight and you can purchase only one black, I'd go with a shimmery finish as it will be the one that will be the most versatile.

Also, if you've ever tried a smokey eye with black and were dissatisfied with the result, try again but with a shimmery black. You'll see that it will help quite a bit.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tips for separated products in tubes

Yesterday morning, I used a product in a tube that had separated so that reminded me that I should consider doing an entry about this. By a separated product, I mean that it's a cream and what comes out at first is an (often) oily clear (or near clear) goo and then the product itself.

Products are meant to be used regularly so, if you're not using regularly, it may separate.  Depending on the product, the length of time before separation will happen can be very different from product to product. Normally, it may take a few weeks for it to happen but it could happen quicker than that.

If you haven't been using a product from a tube in a while, you may want to massage the tube first (with the cap still on). It sounds weird but it will help remix the product together.  It's not going to make it all remixed but it will definitely help.  Obviously, you will want to be gentle when massaging the tube as you don't want it to explode all over. That would defeat the purpose.

For all that you may feel that it's wasteful, you may need to throw away the portion of product that will come out that is separated. While you can certainly apply it and it shouldn't have any nefarious consequence, it just will not do its job properly. For example, separated eye shadow primer just won't hold onto the eye shadow as well as it should if the product is not the perfect formulation.

So the bottom line really is that, for all that you want to conserve products, they are meant to be used... or else you'll actually need to throw some away.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Tips on trying out new products

I have super sensitive skin so I've been burnt before by trying on a new product and then having an allergic reaction or just my skin feeling weird. So here are a few tips and tricks to help when trying new products.  And by products here, I really mean a skin care product but the same could happen with makeup.

Quality matters
First off, quality matters. If the product is of poor quality, the likelihood that something in it will make your skin react is higher. It doesn't mean that you shouldn't try it but just that you should proceed with caution.  Also note that the generic products that you can find at the pharmacy will be comparable to the brand name but not exactly the same. Look for products that say "hypoallergenic" if you have uber sensitive skin. Even with these, you could react, but there might be less of a chance.  Quality does not necessarily correlate with price but it often does.

Small area first
If you're unsure of the product (due to quality or other reason), try it on a small area first... and consider even trying out on, say, your forearm. If your forearm breaks into hives, it's not ideal, of course, but it's less bothersome most oftentimes than on your face. Now, the skin of your arms and of your face is not exactly the same so, while your forearm may not have reacted, there is still a possibility that the skin of your face would but the likelihood is much much lower.

Introduce one thing at a time
I'm a scientist so, when we do experiments, if at all possible, we try to change one parameter at a time. So, similarly, I recommend trying on one thing at a time. The reason is simple: if something happens, then you know that was the likely due to the new product.  The problem when you're trying more than one product is two-folds, really: 1) should there be a reaction, you wouldn't know which one prompted it (and may need to go back a step and try one at a time) and 2) should you get benefit from the products (e.g., clearer skin), you won't know which one prompted the benefit.  While the latter doesn't seem like a big deal, if you have budget constraints and want to purchase only one item, which one would you purchase?

Interactions between products
One thing that sometimes happens is an interaction between the products. So it's possible that the new product, by itself or in combination with other products doesn't make you react but, in combination with other products, may create an allergic reaction.  If that happens, you obviously need to judge which ones you want to keep but, worst case, you just work them separately (e.g., on different days).

Same brand
The caveat to the general rule of introducing one product at a time is that, if the products are from the same brand, you can try more than one product at a time. The products should be more or less similar formulations and most brands develop their products to work with each other, complement each other, etc.  The interactions between products should be very minimal and you can generally rely on, if a product from a brand works for you, it's very likely that another product from the same brand would work as well. It's not 100% guaranteed, of course, as nothing ever is.

Pick your day
Pick your day when you sill sample a new product. If you have a big event, you'll be tempted to try a new fancy product because you heard good things about it but, let me tell you, that's a good way to invite a Murphy's Law. Should you react, you probably don't want to go to the event with hives on your face or looking like a scientific experiment gone wrong or something.  And consider weekend vs. weekday. Depending on your job, your hobbies, events you have coming up, you'll have a preference for one vs. the other.

If you do react but you're not sure if it's a fluke or it really happened you can do a "challenge/dechallenge" test. "Challenge" is trying on the product again and seeing whether you react. "Dechallenge" is stopping the product and seeing if the reaction subside. Now, depending on the reaction, it may be hard to tell if stopping the use of the product is directly linked to whatever reaction you have. This is when the challenge comes in: if you want to be sure if it's the product, then use it again and see what happens. Note that you definitely DO NOT need to do this. But if, for some reason, you're wondering, you can use this method.

Developing a reaction to a long time product
It sucks but it sometimes happens that, for all that you've been using the same product(s) for a long time, you may develop an allergy to it. It happened to me with L'Oreal makeup (which is what made me discover MAC): I had been using those makeup products for years and then, one day, I reacted to them. My eyelids became all red and flaky. It wasn't fun. This is where the challenge/dechallenge can be most useful: if you want to be real sure that it's a developed allergy (and not something else that was going on that made you react), you can use that method to assess that.

Look at the list of ingredients
If you break out or have an allergic reaction, look at the list of ingredients. There might be something in it that you'll discover is your allergy trigger. I have a personal example of this albeit it's with tea vs. skin care/makeup products.  I had bought a bunch of loose leaves teas... awesome stuff! I enjoyed those teas quite a bit. But then I noticed that, sometimes, I felt nauseous. It took me some time to connect the nauseous feeling with taking tea but I eventually did. The reason why it took me some time to make the connection is that not all teas made me feel bad. But, eventually, I realized that those teas that contained anise seed were the ones that made me feel nauseous. So the same could happen with beauty products or makeup: there might be one or more ingredients that make you react. So look into that and, if you notice a pattern, just stir clear of that ingredient.

Assessing the benefits
Obviously, if you're trying a new beauty or skin care product, you're hoping to get some benefit that you weren't getting before: clearer skin, smoother skin, less wrinkles, etc. With makeup, you will see the benefits right away because makeup is essentially colors on your skin so it's a straightforward thing. It's important to know, though, that, for skin care, you may not see the benefits the first day... it may take a week or several weeks to see the benefits.  If you've ever received the "pouch" samples, that's generally not enough to know whether a skin care product will work for you or not. You will be able to know if you will have a bad reaction as those happen rather quickly generally. However, when it comes to the benefits, you'll have to take a chance and guesstimate whether it will give you the anticipated benefits or not. This is where the deluxe samples that you can get from Sephora, Birchbox, or other places are very useful: by having more product, you'll be able to assess better whether you will actually get benefits before investing for the full size product.