Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Review: BH Cosmetics 120 Palette- 3rd Edition

How do I write this?
I hate BH Cosmetics.

I hate BH Cosmetics, or at least their 120 3rd edition Palette. I had been wanting it for so long- 120 eyeshadows, colors in brights and gorgeous smokey neutrals, it seemed like there was no downside. And only 30 dollars! I believe it's normally priced at $34.95, but I got it during a sale for $27 (although with shipping it came right back around to thirty five again, maybe thirty three). For 30 dollars you can only get about 3 MAC eyeshadow refills, but for 30 dollars at BH Cosmetics, you can get a 120 eyeshadow palette. The value was undeniable. So I bought the palette, waited the whole week for it to come in the mail, and was so excited when I finally received the box.

After having purchased and used the 120 palette, this is my final verdict: Buy the 3 MAC eyeshadows instead.

I was so excited after watching YouTube videos featuring/swatching the 120 3rd edition palette. However, videos lie, and so do pictures. The only way to truly experience something is to do it yourself- this I know now. When I swatched some colors on my finger tips the pigmentation seemed so rich. However, actually working with the eyeshadows was a nightmare. These are some of my least favorite shadows. They were at times difficult to blend, or the shadow was so lackluster that it would come right off if I used my finger to try and blend the edges. After having the palette for two weeks, I can say that I think the trick is to work little by little. You have to gently add colors, and not work too vigorously, or else you might get a patchy, sloppy, muddy mess. The colors don't layer very well in my opinion, and many of the colors are not true to how they look in the pan.

The following are pictures I have included of looks I've done simply using BH Cosmetics for my eyes. Even though some of the pictures might look decently promising, believe me when I tell you how much work it took to make the eyeshadow work with me to get an acceptable result.


I feel like these pictures defeat the purpose of saying the shadows suck, because clearly you can get some use out of them. However, it really does take a lot of effort and practice to use these, and I was frustrated to the point where I would just wipe off everything on my eyes and re-do them. After a while I didn't even want to try with these anymore. Eventually though I took it for what it was- a cheap eyeshadow palette. Once you recognize it for what it is, and know that you can't expect a lot from it, you loosen up and the experience is less frustrating. My final reccomendation though is that you would have a much easier and more enjoyable time using gorgeous creamy pigment-rich eyeshadows from MAC or Urban Decay, then getting cheap eye shadows with okay to pretty decent results that are somewhat dull (with the exception of a few shimmery shades). I wouldn't say the shadows are matte, I would say they are dull. However, they would probably be classified in the matte/satin category. 

In terms of quality it gets a C+. In terms of what I expected it gets a D. In terms of what they show on the site and what you get I would also rank it poorly because the pictures are deceptive. This is what they show on the site.

This is what you get: 

I didn't bother taking a close up of the bright colors tray because that tray seems pretty accurate but the colors are not as cool as pictured. The second tray looks different to me.It is a lot less dark and a lot more blue-toned. In fact it looks like a third of the palette is blue. Also in the picture, both the trays are opposite each other but in real life they would be stacked one on top of the other. In conclusion this eyeshadow palette is okay but the shadows feel rough on the lid and are cheap and dull. At the same time it is kind of one of those things you have to buy for yourself because the value seems so good. So I guess I would say if you want, buy it so you can have it on hand if you want to use a specific color, but don't expect it to replace all your shadows.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Thing About Being A Blogger Is

"If I'm going to be an
artist of whatever description, I want the maximum exposure,
not just paint-your-little-pictures-in-the-attic-and-don't-show­
them-to-anybody." - John Lennon

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Basics To Getting A Finished Looking Face

This post is dedicated to going through  the basics of a finished face. It discusses the must-haves and must-do's of makeup. It is a comprehensive guide, meant to inform in an in-depth manner, because the people who most need these tips describe themselves as clueless when it comes to makeup. It is an introductory guide, so don't be scared by the length!

1) Cover-up
Cover-up is the most well known of the beauty products, and for a reason. Everyone has a different word for cover-up, whether it be base, foundation, or corrector. Cover-up refers to makeup that covers the redness, acne scars, marks, spots, and unevenness that Mother Nature gave each of us. Using cover-up is crucial in getting an even and flawless face. In this picture, taken from Benefit Makeup's site, a model is pictured with her natural face and then with her face done, presumably using Benefit's Hello Flawless foundation.

Don't be fooled though, her face is definitely given some "wow" factor in the after picture by having completely done brows, eye shadow, mascara, blush, possibly/probably concealer, and lipstick/gloss. Don't panic! Some of those elements aren't totally necessary (although the result is pleasing, no?), and we'll be covering these topics next.

2) Concealer- Concealer generally falls within the realm of cover-up, but it is not absolutely crucial. Foundation is the big whammy of cover-up. It is the essential product that gives skin an even glow. It is for your entire face. Concealer is for stubborn problem areas, and adding a little extra coverage to trouble spots, or dark circles. Generally this is added after foundation, but some people choose to put it on before foundation. Their reasoning is that they like to concentrate on their problem areas first and then even out their face, while others like to get a generally even face and then tackle their problem areas. It's all personal preference. In this picture, also taken from Benefit, a model is seen in her natural state and then with Erase Paste concealer added to even her skin. Once again, don't be fooled. If you look at the circle picture, when she has added her concealer, the majority of her skin already looks clear. This is because she used foundation beforehand. This picture is somewhat misleading because it makes it seem as though Erase Paste is responsible for completely evening out her skin, which is most likely not the case. Also, she has on many other products for eyes, lips, cheeks, and brows in the finished result.
At this point, your face is done. The last step is to use a product to set your makeup. For most people, this is generally powder. Powder sets your liquid/cream makeup and helps it last. If using a powder foundation already, then putting powder over more powder doesn't make sense, so you don't need this last step. You can either choose a powder that matches your skin tone and foundation shade, or a translucent powder without any/much color to set your makeup. A well-received setting powder is MAC's Mineralize SkinFinish Natural. This, and all powder setting makeup should be applied with either a big fluffy face brush, or a kabuki brush (this is if you powder adds coverage and you want to buff it into your skin to get more of that coverage. Also used for powder foundations) 

A well-received translucent powder is Makeup Forever's HD MicroFinish Powder. 

3) Mascara- Mascara enhances the look of your lashes, the flirtiest part of your face! Long, thick, fluttery lashes make a girl look extra feminine and alluring, not to mention sexy. Mascaras come in different colors and formulas. Generally the old stand-by is a black mascara, and I would recommended getting one that has several benefits listed on it's packaging, such as volume AND length. According to advertisements, Maybelline's Great Lash is the most popular mascara in America (as in sold the most out of all drugstore mascaras I believe). This is a nice mascara for having natural but definitely more noticeable lashes.
My personal favorite is Maybelline's Colossal Volume Express Mascara. This one promises 9 times the volume. 
* A Note about mascaras: Mascara is generally regarded as the one product you don't need to go to a high-end beauty department store to find. It is a product that drugstore brands do extremely well, and there is no reason to spend a lot of money on high-end mascaras when drugstore mascaras do a comparable job. Also, mascaras come in water-proof formulas. Grudgingly, I have switched to mostly wearing water-proof formulas, because I'll rub my eyes sometimes and with regular mascara this might smear or when your eyes get watery your mascara goes everywhere. With a water-proof formula, this isn't a problem. Also recommended for the beach/rainy days. However, I say I have grudgingly switched because water-proof formulas generally do not work as well as their non water-proof counterparts. For example, the water-proof version of the Colossal Volume Express Mascara only volumizes up to 7x whereas the original volumizes up to 9x.
4) Eyeliner- Eyeliner is not necessary, but I would say it is used more then eyeshadow when in a pinch and full lashes just aren't enough to make you look as refined as you want. Eyeliners come in cream, gel, pencil, and liquid formulas. They are generally quick to apply, unless you are going for a specific look, such as a winged eyeliner, which takes some time and practice. 
Generally though, if you want to add eyeliner in a hurry just smudge some on your upper lashline to make your lashes look thicker. Alternately, you can swipe some on your lower waterline to give a darker more smoldering effect. When I go without my glasses, I can't not wear some on my bottom lashline. I just don't look awake without it. You also don't have to choose between eyeshadow or eyeliner. For a typical smokey look, you'd wear both. Even for everyday, it sometimes makes sense to wear both. They compliment each other. I say that eyeshadow isn't mandatory because I didn't get into it until literally 2 years ago, but it really is  the only way to create a voluptuous smokey eye. However, for minimalists, eyeshadow isn't a must-do or a must-have. In a pinch, swipe a nice taupe brown color on your lid.

5) Brows- Some girls don't need to do this, and most girls don't have to. I fill in my brows because I have way over-tweezed brows and I need something to not make me look crazy and half-brow-less. For this you can use either a brow powder, a matte eyeshadow that matches the color of your brows, or an eyebrow pencil. You basically just want to lightly fill in areas where the hairs are sparse to create a more consistent look. I also like to extend my brow pencil past where my natural brow ends to look more refined. There are plenty of expensive brow products, and among the most well-acclaimed is Anastasia's Brow Products, sold at Sephora. I however, just use Wet N Wild Eyeliner/Eye Brow Pencil in Dark Brown. Costs about a dollar at Target.

6) Lips!- You can use a lip pencil, a lip stain, a lipstick, a lipgloss, or even balm if you want. The most muss-free product is probably a nice chapstick type product that has a hint of color. A great product is A Kiss Of Shimmer Pearly Shimmer from Nivea.

Some girls prefer lip gloss to lipstick but I don't. Lipgloss can be sticky, tacky, goopy, and messy. Your hair WILL get caught in it on a windy day and it WILL be a hot mess. I like neutral lipsticks for everyday wear. I LOVE any and all MAC pink/neutral colored lipsticks, especially Modesty from their Cremesheen formula.
 Credit for this picture goes to http://make-upoverdose.blogspot.com/

I haven't mentioned blush or bronzer, because those products aren't essential, just for adding some color to the face. When done right blush and/or bronzer gives the face a nice glow and extra radiance. Highlighter is also being left out. Highlighter is for getting a dewy sheen, a glow on the cheekbones, browbone areas, cupid's bow of the mouth, and down the bridge of the nose. It just gives a pearly luminescence that makes it seem like there's a spotlight on all the right areas of your face. If you want suggestions about these, just leave a comment! :) 

Two amazing Makeup Gurus doing quick, effective five-minute makeup:

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Latest Obsession: Feather Earrings

Feather Earrings are slowly taking over as the latest new trend in Hollywood. Stars are rocking these  all over for a fresh, edgy look in music videos, on red carpets, and in everyday life. The trend gives off a rock chic bohemian vibe, and adds a disheveled feel to any and every outfit. It adds a native princess-y, carefree element and works as a great piece for accentuating hair. When done right, feather earrings look almost woven into a hairstyle. At it's best it is not discernible where the feather begins and where it ends. Case in point: Ke$ha.

Ke$ha is pretty much the postergirl for this look and she does it right. Other celebrities who do this trend justice rock it in a few different ways.

One way is bohemian chic a la Miley Cyrus:

Another way is classy chic a la ALL these celebrities:

Another option is the casual cool look- adding it to a laidback outfit to give it flair, a la Vanessa Hudgens:

This post wouldn't be complete without noting Kandee Johnson, beauty guru, mommy, celebrity makeup artist and blogger extraordinaire. I credit Kandee for really helping this trend takeoff. When she started wearing feather earrings in her videos, many YouTubers took note and instantly fell in love with the look. SHE made it trendy.

She's gorgeous. POINT IS feather earrings are an amazingly eclectic and funky addition to any wardrobe if done right! Just don't wear ones like these. This is a little too much.

Matchy matchy is a no-no, as is huge and gaudy. 

In short, Feather Earrings are my latest obsession. 
To find some gorgeous creations try googling Ke$ha feather earrings, as well as Etsy. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Review: OPI Black Shatter Review

The Product(s): OPI Black Shatter Topcoat
                    OPI Teenage Dream from the Katy Perry Collection
The Price: $14 at Ricky's
                    $9.99 for any one of the OPI Katy Perry Nail Lacquers at Ricky's
The Grade: B/B+

The Blah Blah Blah:  Ever since I saw the Katy Perry OPI advertisement in Glamour magazine two months ago I have been dying to get my hands on Black Shatter. It's been very difficult trying to find a place that sells Black Shatter, but I finally read online that Ricky's carries the polish, so I set out to my nearest Ricky's. The polish was right in front of the register, and I was completely overjoyed. I bit the bullet and spent about $25 for a Katy Perry nail lacquer and the Black Shatter topcoat. Upon trying it out I was in awe- it is really cool to see your preliminary lacquer "shatter" with the topcoat. I gave Black Shatter a B/B+ and not an A because you have to be sure to apply the top coat very carefully in order to get the desired effect you're after. It has to be a very opaque coat of Shatter, and once you apply a swipe you can't go over it with a second coat- it will just make the polish look very clumpy and dull and generally cracked out. Also the brush is quite large and somewhat flimsy, making it difficult to get it into the corners and crevices of your nails. Black Shatter creates a really cool design and is eye-opening to watch! Although $14 is expensive for a nail polish, it is such a unique innovation that it is worth your money. Also Teenage Dream is beautiful to wear with Shatter and all on its own. 
All in all I liked both polishes and the results I got.
Katy Perry Teenage Dream

Not the clearest picture but I really wanted to show the rainbow chunky glitter particles that make Teenage Dream so cool, so I put this in.

After applying Teenage Dream
Teenage Dream with Black Shatter Top Coat

My nails, shatter-fied!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

(Celebrity) Look Of The Week- Katy Perry

I fell in love with this picture (Katy Perry and the Biebs!) the second I saw it because of:
1)the adorableness of the facial expressions/ awkwardly inappropriate proximity of closeness to one another
2) Katy Perry's amazing makeup

The look Katy's wearing here was seen at the 2010 American Music Awards afterparty, hosted by Rolling Stone. It is an amazing bronze smokey eye with full false lashes, a contoured cheek with peach blush and nude pinky lips, and flawless skin(but that's sort of a given).

Katy Perry is an incredibly beautiful entertainer and she pulls out all the stops with her makeup. Therefore I knew I had to challenge myself and attempt to recreate her look. We have very different facial features and bone structure, so even if I knew exactly what products were used on her, the look would come out differently. I think a lot of people can wear this look though. It's sexy, fun, and versatile.

My Take On It:


Like I said, different features. But it was an admirable try. 
What I would change about it next time: For the most part, I am pretty happy with the way this look came out. The eye makeup is pretty accurate. There are a few differences makeup wise between the two pictures though. Katy has a much thicker set of lashes on then I do. MUCH thicker. She also isn't wearing black liner on her bottom lashes. She seems to have on a gold/warm brown color smudged under her lash line and into her waterline. I don't have an excuse for why my makeup doesn't have that element, because I have two liners from my Urban Decay 24/7 set that would be perfect for it. Kind of kicking myself in the butt for not pulling those bad boys out! Final difference is that her blush is way stronger then mine, although in my defense I was wearing blush but the flash washed me out. She has strong contouring, and her lips are more of a dark rosy neutral pink whereas mine are pretty pure pink. 
Products used:
  • Maybelline Mineral Power Natural Perfecting Foundation
  • MAC Earth To Earth Mineralize Blush
  • MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural
  • MAC Goldstone Pigment
  • 2 MAC Pigments I mixed together to make a pigment that resembles MAC Coco Beach (Good luck trying to find the real thing, they don't make it any more)
  • MAC Bronze Eyeshadow
  • Urban Decay Naked Palette- Creep
  • Urban Decay Eyeliner in Perversion
  • Urban Decay Eyeliners in Baked and Bourbon as eyeshadow bases
  • ELF Dramatic False Lashes (Only $1!)
  • Wet N Wild lipstick in Bare It All

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Review: The Urban Decay 15-Year Anniversary 24/7 Pencil Set

I'm going to try and be as honest as possible in this review. I loved the concept of this eyeliner set. 15 eyeliners in every color under the sun, valued at $280, being sold for only $92 (only? I know, I know, 100 dollars is expensive but considering each eyeliner sells for $17 individually it is quite a bargain. Plus, you won't have to buy an eyeliner for another year or two haha). In practice though, it hasn't been as amazing using these liners as I had expected. The liners are very creamy, which is a plus, but they can be so heavy that they don't smudge well, and I like to have that smoldering effect when I apply liner. I usually like to have a strong line in the waterline and then smudge the outer rims of my eyes. However when I run the pencil along the rim it doesn't matter how little pressure I apply, it still comes out just as dark and concentrated as it was when I applied it to my waterline, so it just looks like a thick strip of color circling my eye. Also I have to add that I like to apply my liner really closely to my upper lashline and when I do that with these pencils, the color just goes everywhere, all over my lashes. When I use the gold liner my lashes are coated in gold and I look crazy, and it's difficult to go over the tops of your lashes with a black mascara without getting it all over your liner/shadow too. So it can get messy.
A few of the formulas are hit and miss. Most are really pure and rich in color like Perversion, the blackest black liner which is extremely pigmented. Others though, such as Ransom (the one I'm wearing down below) take several motions running back and forth over my lid before the color comes out as I want/expect. In general, I'm glad I received this set as a gift, but I am a little disappointed. The thing I have gotten the most use out of is the incredibly beautiful eye pencil sharpener they include in the set! It retails for $10 and you can buy it at Sephora. It is so beautiful, and it has two holes in it. The little one fits the normal eyeliner pencil, and the second hole fits the new Urban Decay eye shadow pencil (a product I have been yearning to get my hands on!). It's really come in handy, especially for sharpening this especially fat glittery eyeliner pencil I've had forever but had to stop using because it wore down to a flat surface and none of my sharpeners would fit it. 
A lot of people love the Urban Decay Eyeliner Pencils, but I'm still a little on the weary side. Swatching them on my hand was amazing though. The liners ran over my hand so smoothly and evenly, and I never noticed that a lot of the colors have little flecks of glitter in them. In reality you probably would never notice this on a person's actual eye, or even be close enough to their face to notice it, but it does look pretty. Actually all the eyeliners have glitter except Zero and Perversion (the two black colors). Ransom has the least amount of glitter. My favorite colors: Electric, Bourbon, Baked, Stash, Binge, and Perversion.

First Row: Bourbon, Stash, Rockstar, Stray Dog, Electric, Corrupt, Baked, Uzi, Midnight Cowboy, Zero
Second Row: Perversion, Binge, Mildew, Ransom, Asphyxia

Grade: B

An Urban Decay Fall '09 advert for Urban Decay's new (at the time) cream liners. I tried to recreate the same effect using one of Urban Decay's 24/7 eyeliners.

All About Hooded Eyes

The way we apply our makeup, and the techniques we trust in and rely on to flatter and accentuate our facial features, really has a lot to do with facial structure. For a long time, and you could say still to this day, I have battled my eyeshape, specifically my eyelids. I have hooded eyes, and those with hooded eyes are represented the least in terms of what is shown in the media, in makeup advertisements, and in magazine editorial looks. A hooded eye is essentially an eye that is set in such a way that the natural crease in the eyelid is not readily seen. Skin also usually folds over the eyelid. Because of this, I tend to get annoyed when doing my eye makeup, because the results I COULD get are minimized by my unusual, and I would say, unlucky eyeshape. A lot of lid is lost, and a lot of the work I have done can only be seen when I look down. However, I have come to realize I am selling hooded eyes short! After all, many many Asians have hooded eyes, and they can look quite alluring, mysterious, and beautiful. I have found a number of gorgeous celebrities with that very shape, as can be seen down below:

(Blake Lively, Selena Gomez, Malin Akerman, Leelee Sobieski, Taylor Swift)

These women are all beautiful and no one would dispute that their eyeshapes completely add to and complement their features. Their gorgeous slinky eyes completes their look. 

However, there is one celebrity who has recently shed some pounds and has been the face of Covergirl for about a year now. The celebrity I am referring to is none other then Drew Barrymore. 

Recently (and I'm sure everyone is a part of this) I have noticed just how phenomenal Drew Barrymore has been looking. It didn't just seem like the weight or a hair color/cut difference either. She looked like a different person to me. She looked more elegant... refined... sophisticated. I knew styling and makeup could only have taken her so far. Call me crazy, but I pondered and pondered and pondered what the change was in her look, until I finally realized it.

Her eyes. Looks like I'm not the only one who depreciated the hooded eye aesthetic. Drew got surgery and I have to ask WHY Drew? WHY?! She always seemed so au naturale. She still is, considering I'm pretty much the only one who has realized this change. (Searching Drew Barrymore eyelid surgery yielded few results) I admit, I do think she looks better this way. It adds a certain element of sexiness and maturity, and it definitely makes doing a smoldering smokey eye very easy. This type of eye you could never achieve on someone with hooded eyes, pointblank. On the other hand, before her surgery, she had an element of innocence and girlish beauty. The girl with the hooded eyes is the actress we grew up watching, and at least for me, came to love (especially in Never Been Kissed).

I digress. Drew Barrymore is beautiful no matter which way you look at her. My point is, it is vital to appreciate the features we have, and essential in loving ourselves and the way we look. Every type of feature can be bold and beautiful. In the case of hooded eyes, these celebrities prove that the unconventional can sometimes be even more noticeable then the obvious. 
Helpful chart in determing what kind of eyeshape you have!