Monday, December 25, 2006

When you find out an old lipstick is collectible...

I've been a big MAC lipstick person for over a decade. And really, who makes a good variety of lipstick hues anymore? Not balm, not gloss, not stain, get the point. Lipstick. I don't wear it daily, but when I do, I tend to grab one of my many MAC shades. Many of the shades fall in my "safe range".

We all have a safe range. Some people tend towards the plummy, most in the nudey brownish barely rosy, or me with the pinky peach. In my lipstick collection from MAC alone there are probably 6 shades in the safe range. I had 12 "take back to MAC" items. This means, to those who aren't familiar, that I returned 12 empty containers of their products to receive a free lipstick for every 6. Therefore, I qualified for 2. I'd already picked my 2 out: both in the safe range, and the rude salesgirl was wrapping them up when I spotted it. The PERFECT peachy, barely pink glimmery, almost glittery, but not "indie girl". It was a limited edition, so I had to get it.

Above mentioned rude salesgirl rolled her eyes since she's already put marks on my chosen lipsticks. Didn't matter that I didn't need any lipsticks to begin with and I already had 2 for free being given to me, I needed this one.

And now, a year and a half later, apparently so does everyone else.

I did an ebay search for it since mine is getting lowish and my sister enjoyed the color as well. Plus, I'd found a new use for it (cheek shimmer with color!). It would be worth seeking out and paying shipping and handling (the bane of my existance) for a color so special.

They are now running about $30 a tube, for something that sold 18 months ago for $14. Besides that, they are nearly extinct. Soon they will be up to $50. I'm drawing the line already.

Backup color: Pirouette, also MAC, also glimmery, almost glittery but not color from the same era, less peachy, more pinky, still beautiful. Also discontinued and extinct.

Letter to MAC: Bring back Indie girl and Pirouette; recycling is good! Also, hire some nicer girls and boys like you used to.

Note to readers: Should I use one of my other myriad lipsticks and sell chunks of my precious remnants?

Friday, December 22, 2006

Non-working makeup

I wasn't supposed to be off today, but due to car trouble (gotta love winter), I got one.

When a girl who works in for cosmetic companies isn't working, what does she do with her face? Well, I can't speak for everybody in my field, but here's the routine/or lack thereof.

1. Fall asleep with makeup on.
2. Wake up with mascara smudged down cheek.
3. Use Juice Beauty's Cleansing Milk to take off remaining makeup whilst scolding yourself for being a bad skincare advocate. Relish the smell.
4. Slather on a bunch of Juice Beauty's Antioxidant Serum, because you need to make up for what you did by not washing off last night's makeup.
5. Layer on a bunch of eye cream too, either All about eyes from Clinique or Juice Beauty Green Apple nutrient eye cream.
6. Use a generous amount of Tarte's Smooth Operator foundation, which is really more like a tinted moisturizer. It alleviates the need for a moisturizer or sunscreen and has a nice sheer to medium coverage and feels smooth smooth smoothe.
7. Benefit's brow zings in dark to tame the crazies.
8. Run some Tarte cheek stain in Tickled over each cheek.
9. Swipe a sheer concealer pen under each eye (Tarte's eraser is good, so is Estee Lauder's Ideal Light).
10. Any ol gloss or balm or lippie will do, perhaps a Stila It Gloss or Tarte 24/7 lip sheer.
12. Any ol mascara will do on an off day (probably Estee Lauder Magnascopic.)

Note skipped steps on my off day: Powder, eye liner, primer of any kind (face, eye, lash), lip liner, eye shadows, lash curling, and shimmer cream or powder. I don't do all of those every time I work, but most of them most of the time (save for the primers which I usually forget).
When I break it down, I'm using pretty much only the companies I am working for right now even on my off days. That makes me feel like I can legitimately get behind the products. Although it may seem that I have my blinders on, I try to keep up with new things and established stand by's for other lines. However, it's next to impossible to NOT be biased. Talk to any MAC girl and she'll spout out her favorite things, most if not all of will be MAC.

What is your off-day routine? Or your work routine if not in cosmetics?

Next up: Each line's signature products.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The trouble with brows is...

9 times out of 10 when I offer to fill in a customer's eyebrows they physically back away from me with a look of sheer terror on their face. Is it because I have terrible brows? Me thinks not, so I have displayed a picture of myself with eyebrows exposed (yes, I'm taking a phone pic while sitting in my car, sue me, my makeup looked good and so was the lighting). They are defined, a good color for my complexion and hair, a subtle arch, and not fake looking, right? It took me a while not to be offended by their trepidation. I have several theories, all of which may be deemed of weight, in why nearly everyone is brow-phobic.

1. The Joan Crawford look- They are old enough to be terrified by the thought of this old screen staple with her drawn on brows and the legions of followers which grace the malls and bingo halls to this day. Their pencils are cocked and loaded from the moment they awake. This has had a trickle down affect on several other sub-groups, one of which follows.
2. The Playboy Bunny association- She's what about 30-50% of the female population see as the female ideal. The other 50-70% thinks this woman is plastic and fakey and just NOT them and they don't want the gateway drug of eyebrows to take them to the dark side. Pamela Anderson's arches might be a half-moon disaster the majority of the populace, but it's a slim enough margin that as a retail artist, I could see them as the next purveyor of said look.

3. The "I've never done anything to my brows" girl- This is not said with respect to those who do, these women are very proud that they've never touched their brows. It makes them natural. It makes them low maintenance. And I have no problem with either of these scenarios. These women only know brow upkeep as a fussy, overdone, "one more thing I have to do every day" addition to their either super-fast routine or their already labored getting-ready process. I get that too: completely.

Here are my defenses and retorts for these common misconceptions:

1. If someone has natural brows that is offering to fill in your brows, why would they decide to adopt an affection for Joan Crawford once they began to fill in yours?
2. Most artists in their right minds wouldn't take someone from zero to 100 the first time they fill in a newbie's brows. We get that you have a natural look going on in the brow region, any artist worth their brush, will give you a little hit to get you hooked first. Not that I'd be working you up to the full-on Playboy brow anyhow, not my thing...
3. If you're going to take even 2 minutes on your face putting on: gloss or balm, mascara, and foundation/tinted moisturizer for example (a common 3some of the 'natural' woman), I argue that brows should be a part of that 2 minutes (ok, 3 or 4). The difference it makes is overwhelming. The lip balm will wear off in an hour anyhow, apply that in the car. Take that minute to sketch on some wax or pencil or faster yet, brow mascara.

Here are my recommendations for the best of the brow world:

Wax/powder combo-This is my favorite. I use either Benefit's Browzings (dark) or Tarte's Toolbox in dark starting with the wax and adding powder where more filling in is needed. Wax holds the hair down. The Tarte kit even has a gel that will set it so it won't move. The Benefit kit's wax is fantastic, but the brushes (since they changed them back in 2003) leave little to be desired. Best bet for a brow brush is Trish McEvoy, with stiff short hairs, it'll place the wax firmly on the hairs that you work it into.

Pencil/Wax Combo- At $12.50 Urban Decay's brow pencil is an amazing bargain. The Blonde Bombshell works for most (the brunette is quite red, so not advised unless you're redheaded). The pencil is hard, so the color payoff is low: This is a GOOD thing for brow pencils. That way, you don't end up wiping it off after it gave you a "drawn on look". The kicker to this product is the triple functionality: The 2nd end is a wax pencil that will hold the brows in place after you've laid down the color. Then the cap to one end is a brush that will groom the hair into shape. This is sooooo fast too! Highly recommended for the quick brow.

Mascara- Many brands make a nice brow mascara, but I've never been partial to it personally. I have too much blank space going on in the brow area to leave it to mascara. This is better for people who have a lot of hair that needs grooming or that have a decent amount of hair in the brow region, but it is too light. The Stila brow mascara is only $10 and has 4 very versatile colors.

All in one kits- DuWop recently came out with a Brow Wow, a brow kit that features a wax, a powder with grayish undertones (this is good, they go on less reddish and very realistic), a double ended brush, and a highlighter for under the brows. Only complaint is how much wax versus how much powder: They got it backwards. At least knowing my past kits, I use 10 times more wax than powder since the powder lasts for eternity and it only takes a little dab over the wax. Still, quite decent. Tarte's kit has phenom tweezers (like mini-tweezermans!), a light waxy pomade, powder (could be less red in my opinion), a fabu gel for setting, AND a little pencil. This pencil is so small though, you need a special tiny sharpener to do it (solution: Hard candy's skinny eyeliner pencils come with a sharpener and they are only $9 total). Also, Tarte included 3 stencils, which I haven't mastered namely because I don't want to tweeze ANY more of my brows at this point. But a good starting point nonetheless.

Others to check out: Smashbox wax/powder combo (wax is colorless), Anastasia (a little too Beverly Hills facelift inspired for me), and Hard Candy Pencil/gel duo (again, the brunette pencil's a bit reddish).
Who has your favorite brows products? Do you even notice?

US Weekly perfume?

First Celine Dion releases a self-titled perfume for the Walmart masses. It gets a nice response for the first 3 weeks. It smells floral, simple, slighty powdery.

Enter Jennifer Lopez, at the height of her popularity, pre-Ben Affleck, releases her first perfume "Glow". Its floral, simple, slightly powdery. It sells like crazy, the bottle "wears" a belly chain, so I assume the following to be 15 year olds. It turns out to be mostly grown women buying it in droves. Jennifer puts out 2 more fragrances that are more sweet and fruity, a little exotic.

Jessica Simpson starts a fragrance line that smells sweet and edible. She calls it Dessert and makes it lickable. Her customers are mostly 15 year old girls. Why do they need to lick their fragrance? It goes into mass retailer Walgreens and loses it's prestige credibility. A Joe Simpson maneuver?

Britney Spears puts out "Curious". She boldly avoids the obvious "clean", "fruity", "floral", and "powdery" notes and goes for a heady patchouli infused with sugary warmth. It does well, but I've not once smelled it actually worn on anyone. Maybe they just like the bottle with the old fashioned atomizer?

Meanwhile, Sarah Jessica Parker releases "Lovely". A floral, simple, slighty powdery fragrance. She appears on Oprah in an attempt to hock it to the masses. They seek it out immediately and it is in the Top 10 sellers of fragrance for 2005. She beats out mainstays like Chanel and Dolce and Gabanna. Riding the success she releases a "new" fragrance, that is called "Lovely Liquid Satin" that is exactly the same as its predasassor with a different texture to be worn as a body gel. Why not just call it an expansion of the already established scent?

I thought this trend hit rock bottom with the release of Paris Hilton's fragrance. It was (surprise) floral, simple, and slightly powdery. Actually, I have to give it to her camp, they also made it pleasingly citrusy as well. And it sold well. So well, in fact, that she has since released (in JLO fashion) 2 more within a year. How does she have time with all the lip syncing, party hopping, and text messaging?

As if this wasn't enough, another celebrity has put out a fragrance. Yes, she's come a long way from Nickelodeon, but seriously....Hilary Duff. It's naturally floral, simple, slightly powdery. The common quip about her brand is "I don't really like her, but I think the bottle is pretty and sophisticated and the smell is actually really pretty." Yeah, and I liked her before she was popular, right? Who's next? Fergie? The Pussycat Dolls? Reality TV sensation/Paris Hilton face-puncher Shanna Moakler?

Let's not forget the boys here:
Men's cologne by...Sean Jean (aka P Diddy, Puff Daddy, Puffy...whatever). It's called Unforgivable. I couldn't have said it better. Carlos Santana. Really? Really. What's his called, Overrated?And for the gayest of gay: Alan Cumming. It's a little tongue in cheek at least. Called Cumming.
And in other fragrance news....If celebrities haven't made it ok for ANYONE or ANYTHING to come out with a fragrance: Hummer Cologne. I'm not kidding and I wish I were. As if driving THE gas guzzlingest monster weren't enough, do you really need to enhance your anti-charm with a gigantic yellow rubberized bottle that the men who buy will certainly pour on with such enthusiasm that we must hold our breath? The answer, yes.

Usually my head is in the clouds

I posted my desert island makeup picks on the beauty blog but I want a do over. I've decided that I'd like to take all of my products with me. I don't think I could get by without my travel kits that save space sidled up next to my mammoth cheek stains in pretty much every color offered. It's not because I can't live without them.

MTV used to have a somewhat lame show called "House of Style" back before the Style network existed....*whoa* scary times (I jest, kinda) and my favorite segment was when fashion designer Todd Oldham would raid someone's closet to give them fashion help. He'd pull out good basics and fun pieces that the girl owned and then with the snap of his fingers and the product placement of his own line, he'd amp up their wardrobe with a few key additions. I used to fantasize that Todd Oldham would pop by my closet someday and be so impressed with how much I did with my limited budget and the fact that I live in Ohio. He'd slam together outfits that I'd never imagined from my existing clothes. This was the mid-90's, right before I became obsessed with makeup.

The fantasy changed. I started to hope that my friends would pop by and want to see what eyeshadows I had. That co-workers would be curious to see my lair. That the girl bass players in my favorite bands would want to use my makeup for their next show in town. The fantasies got increasingly more grandiose: That the makeup artists who shot for Allure would somehow hear about my insights with textures of existing shadows and consult me, that my favorite combo of lipstick/gloss/liner would become "The Joy" in somebody's line (like Cargo, or something), that my product inventions (in my head, natch) would become the most sought after ingenious (never got the diff between that word and genius) creations the world around.

This blog can be my own cyber planet where these dreams can come true. Where my desert island is a place to keep my vast sku's, maybe even spreading them out on a tarp in the sand to see how they look in the natural light. Hmmmm. Follow me to the end of this rainbow....