“toxins”: a classic

reviews / rapid updates: sunscreen and eye concealer

waterproof mascara and mascara waterproofers

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Get your mascara right, and you will become the exquisite butterfly-flower-girl you know has always been hidden within you…

 

Mascara has appeared on here on numerous occasions. I love mascara. My life is not complete without it. I also like my mascara within limits, to stay within its bounds, where it’s supposed to, on my lashes. Not smudging under my eyes or up onto my eyelids, and not onto my glasses. See, for most people, mascara might be less of a Problem: either they’re not wearing glasses, or if they are, their eyes are set further back and/or their lashes are shorter. Many mascaras may be fine on such fortunate persons, but fail on me. Some change, too, as my skin changes, and what I’m putting on it, and so on.

Oh yes, and why waterproof? I live in Vancouver. It often rains here. I’ve also managed to spend most of life up to now in more or less rainy places. And not always with access to lash-tinting places, good ones using decent stuff (cruelty-free but people-tested).

Three solutions: Continue reading

some lipstick and moisturiser and horror

Later this week: mascara. There will be waterproof mascara, of three sorts. Over the course of rather a long post, you’ll also be able to watch me stumble clumsily through a decision-making process. All this will be accompanied by at least one song, of dubious appropriateness. It’ll be fun!

Meanwhile, here are three experimental failures and a success.

EXPERIMENT #1: CONTINUE THE QUEST FOR A SUBSTITUTE FOR CLINIQUE ALMOST LIPSTICK IN BLACK HONEY

I’m ethically OK with using BH: formulated before my own FCOD (03-2012). It’s an amazing perfect colour on me: it is my very definition of My Lips But Better. Other pluses: No scent. No irritation. Doesn’t dry my lips out.

But it doesn’t last.

Various indie brands have near-misses, usually too orange-brown or going that way (oxidation) before the end of the day, because of restricting their colouring agents to iron oxides. Or too fuchsia-pink. Lavera had one that was close, about ten years ago, but it was irritating (mint, for starters). That’s the other issue: this “green” overuse of essential oils in every damn thing. Continue reading

reviews for some pampering products

I’ve been using and liking some fluffy vain unnecessary stuff recently. Yes, ’tis Folly, and I’m somewhere between ashamed, making excuses, and just enjoying the damn stuff. The whole green movement can be irritatingly “holier than thou”: too much sanctimonious do-gooding, a surfeit of self-sacrifice and suffering (especially if you get to show off about it and berate others for their faults and foibles); a worrying preoccupation with purity, often of the selfish “my body is a temple” variety; and a desire for perfection, both absurd in its impossibility and lack of contact with the real world, and absurd if that’s what “desire” has sadly been reduced to. Grim and gloomy and all rather unhappy and unfriendly. Damn it, the world is shitty enough as it is, we all need more enjoyment, joy, and pleasure from time to time.

So here’s some frivolous foolish fun stuff that’s vain, self-centred, pleasurable, and also Good: no animal testing, small independent companies, good ethics on ingredient-sourcing and labour (as far as I know, correct me if I’m wrong), sustainable plant-based biodegradable ingredients, recyclable packaging (which can also be reused for repotting and decanting other things, DIY products, travel sizes, etc.). Most of the items below are from the small-ish online independent, Garden of Wisdom. I’ll also indicate the veganism, or not, of ingredients in the products at hand.

The products:

  • Garden of Wisdom oat enriched facial serum
    + Aubrey Organics aloe vera + Garden of Wisdom witch-hazel hydrosol
  • Garden of Wisdom Majik eye cream with CoQ10
  • ShiKai Borage Dry Skin Remedy Hand Cream
  • 100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream
  • Garden of Wisdom Pack your Bags and Say GOOD BYE… Eye Gel

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Continue reading

long time no see…

Life here in Vancouver continues. There has been the bad: heavy workload, work stress, and recent events in the outside world; that is, The Big Bad World that lies beyond my work-place, and indeed Vancouver, and well beyond the little bubble of pulchritudinous morosophy, such as the world of MakeupAlley. Some of the Bad Shit Going Down made me stop reading MUA altogether, because I just wanted to shake and spank MUAers for being vapid vacuous ****s.

“Spanking,” metaphorically-speaking–obviously one can’t actually go around and physically personally assault every irritating individual–and besides, however bad Things get, I absolutely must remain anti-violence. Also, it would be impossible in practice. Metaphorical spanking means expressing anger and home truths, calling a foolish spade a foolish spade. But I would be kidding myself if I thought for a minute that’s not violent too: it can hurt people. Like it or lump it, one’s own intentions are partly a selfish urge to express anger: to expel it from oneself, get it off you, no matter what the consequences are, not caring if anyone else is affected. That’s selfish. It’s uncaring: no care for others, and I think that I (and we all) have a duty of care towards others. It’s unthinking and reckless, not giving any consideration to consequences and to other people. All of these things make metaphorical spanking Bad, Immoral, and Unethical. So it is a thing that one should not do.

Also, in the online version, it’s one of the classic forms of trolling. It may start out as sincere trolling, but damn it, it’s still trolling and there’s the additional danger that one might get Into It. Keep doing it for the sake of doing it. Become more involved with goading other people and interested in their reactions (thus also: less angry, losing that original raging serious edge), invested in trolling itself (rather than one’s message). It could be enjoyable and addictive. As with certain very heavy and very illegal drugs, it may be a cowardly move, but better not to start at all… You all know my relationship with chocolate. I could be one of those addictive-personality types, I’d rather not risk finding out the hard way.

Furthermore, saying mean things to other people is mean. No matter what your intentions are, and no matter they have said and done. And meanness is something to be avoided. (Critical comment is different, but if and only if it is constructive and with the intention of opening, engaging, and continuing conversation.) Just like it’s wrong to murder satirical cartoonists. And that is all, on here anyway, that I’m going to say about that recent event in The Big Bad World outside.

And finally: it’s actually really nice and good to see everyday life continue, in its simple and often sweet way. One of the finest things about the online beautyverse, including fora like MakeupAlley, is that simplicity, continuity, and humanity. It’s peaceful. That peace is precious. Vapid and vacuous can be–usually is–wonderful.

On MakeupAlley, I often don’t have anything to contribute for good reasons (besides sitting back and enjoying normal human peaceful interactions). It’s great to just read what other people say, instead of blabbering on yourself. Sometimes I have nothing to say because the conversation is about something I know little or nothing about, and on which I have no personal experience: I can listen and learn. Sometimes I could say something useful, but by the time I read a thread–several hours later, or a day, or a week, or even longer–the moment has passed, and nearly every time someone else has said exactly what I would have said. Often better and in fewer words. Silence can be positive.

So I’m more at peace with myself, and the world, and the online world; however godawful yoga-selfie-Vancouverite that sounds.

There has also, as ever, been The Good of living in Vancouver and the happy positive uplifting aspects of my work. As ever, I don’t want to talk about work-stuff on here–I prefer to keep it and at identity separate, also it’s not really that relevant. It’s nice to have other places to talk about other things, relaxing, and helping to maintain perspective. Life in Vancouver is always brilliant, and the non-work stuff helps: simple things like going out the door and enjoying a pleasant walk in woods or along the beach, these too help with perspective, mood, thanking one’s lucky stars for the good things one has in life, going “OMG isn’t life brilliant!” at least once a day, and other aspects of basic good mental health and hygiene. Even if, as recently, it can be very foggy for days on end and it looks like our lovely mountains have disappeared.

So what’s up on the Products front? Continue reading

Tracey Spicer TEDxSouthBankWomen

make-up update

THE GOOD NEWS

1. Laura Mercier Cake Eyeliner (brown)

Is as good as previously. I had this stuff many years ago and loved it. The formula apparently changed, and the last one I bought–maybe a year or two ago?–was no bloody good used with water. I don’t know if that was because of the formula or because that happened to be a lousy batch. This current one, though, is fine and great. I haven’t been keeping up with reformulations enough to be able to tell you whether this is yet another version (so, the third I’ve used) or not.

I can say that I like it, and it works as well, as memory serves, as the first one I used. Memory is of course notoriously unreliable, and perception is subjective. Combine the two and lo, you have the endless joys of phenomenology. Cosmetic Phenomenology / The Phenomenology of Cosmetics: there’s PhD theses and books to be written here. And a good test of how genuinely non-macho professional philosophy really is, how accepting of various expressions of femininity and feminism, in the wake of recent scandals and a longer continuity of stereotypes.

But anyway.

Easy and fast to apply, stays on all day, no migration into eyes, removes with regular make-up remover (=the multi-purpose oil).

2. Bobbi Brown Intensifying Long-Wear Mascara (black)

Practically applies itself, brilliant small brush, suits my application technique: brush the brush through lashes in one smooth sweep (rather than wriggling and wiggling), no combing through needed. My metal-toothed Tweezerman lash comb has now formally and officially been relegated to the bag of stuff under the sink. Not used it since I moved over to this mascara.

It (the mascara, not the comb) hasn’t dried out yet, hasn’t suffered from recent cold weather, stays on all day, doesn’t smudge–this is vital, as I wear glasses and cannot bear smudges on them–or flake, is waterproof in rain, and can be removed with warm water. I’m using oil to remove all eye make-up anyway, and that removes this stuff too.

For any of you who remember it, this is very like Bobbi Brown’s earlier venture into tubers, again with a beautiful small brush, the Perfectly Defined mascara.

UPDATE: this flaked into eyes and irritated. Mainly from lower lashes. This is not because it is a tubing mascara: I have used tubers that didn’t flake, some that did but didn’t irritate, and some that did and did. YMMV.

THE BAD NEWS

1.Bobbi Brown eyeliner, the gel one in sepia ink:

Nice colour, a good alternative to my old favourite, Chocolate Shimmer Ink.

But less fast and easy to apply than the LM Cake, and I got some blobby bits in my lashes which then got clogged up with mascara and were a pest to remove. Needing a lash comb, which then pulled out drying tubes of mascara and clumpified the tube-bits, and then the mascara had to be redone and while this tuber doesn’t dry as lightening-fast as some others, it does dry fast.

Might suit someone else with a different application technique, such as applying it after mascara, with a different mascara, or with no mascara.

So: cleaned with alcohol and donated to women’s shelter.

Using instead: Laura Mercier cake eyeliner + water.

2. Bobbi Brown Eye Brightener in porcelain bisque I think, anyway the lightest shade:

Nice but, when timed, took more time for application than what I was using previously. Stung like hell when I got some in my eyes.

Did side-by-side comparisons with my old tube of Laura Mercier Eye Basic in Linen: same shade, looked identical on eyelid (though the LM is too dry for undereye), LM is way faster to apply and settles immediately. It’s drier though, and can look chalky by the end of the day. If you’re Going Out at the end of the day, looking (and feeling) chalky is the last thing you want or need. I might be exaggerating: there are worse things: but chalkiness would rank low on most people’s lists of desiderata for a hot date, warm cheery soirée with chums, or post-work excursions where sparkliness would be de rigeur.

Side-by-side comparisons with my other previous eye concealer, Silk Naturals HD Peach concealer (shade 20): SN was also easier to apply, and could also be used in the under-eye area. Left alone it can smudge and crease on lids, in the crease itself; set with SN (or any other) powder, that doesn’t happen and all is well.

So: cleaned with alcohol and donated to women’s shelter (on a hygiene note: I only ever applied this, from the doe-foot applicator, to the back of my clean hand: so the applicator has not been near my eyes; I always add a note though, just in case).

Using instead: Silk Naturals HD concealer (20) + their Cloud translucent powder.

UPDATE:
–Turns out my irritation wasn’t with the BB eye brightener but with the mascara. This was evident from testing different combinations of eye concealer + mascara. So we’re cool again.
—The LM is way dry and drying on me, no go from November onwards, and terrible in the undereye area.
—The SN concealer I’m in two minds about and not throwing out. It takes longer to apply, with the powder layer. It looks very matte, not a great look behind glasses. If you use powder on top of the concealer in the undereye area, on me anyway it creases and looks dry after a few hours. If you don’t, you get smears on glasses.

3. Bobbi Brown shimmer eyeshadow in Bone

Really pretty, lovely glowy illuminating stuff. So long as I only apply it right on the brow bone, next to my eyebrows, and only under their outer section: it doesn’t come off onto my glasses. If I apply it any lower down, or under the rest if my eyebrows: then my eyelashes sweep this stuff onto my glasses. That is intolerable. Worse, it ends up in my eyes and stings. But even when applied sparingly to areas that are beyond the lengthy sweep of my lashes, some of this stuff still comes off into eyes. And yes, I trim my eye-lashes fairly regularly. People with short lashes, or without glasses, thank your lucky stars.

Verdict: it stays until I find an acceptable clone/dupe, keeping it for side-by-side comparisons. And then it goes to one or other of my local women’s shelters.

Using instead: nothing, right now. Do you know of suitable alternatives? Not too sparkly, but at least a little shimmery? And compatible with long eyelashes and glasses? If so, I’d love to hear from you!

UPDATE: keeping it for sparkly occasions. I also discovered the cream version, which is more matte but still a teeny bit eye-openingly shimmery and has amazing powers for drying absolutely smooth (no greasing or smudging) but moist.

CONCLUDING COMMENTS

1. It’s always good to try out new things, because you never know if you’ll like them until you try them.

2. Sometimes it’s the old, tried and tested, true trusties that still win out, even against what look like fancier things. This doesn’t mean one should trust them and never try anything else, because of (1) above and because THESE ARE THINGS not animate beings.

3. On which subject of animate vs inanimate beings, a reminder that there is a bigger picture.

There is a whole world out there, in which make-up is relatively unimportant.

It’s still somewhat important, because it can help people to feel better. Feeling better can be good for your mental health and well-being. It can also out you in a better mood and make you more likely to be nice to other people. That in turn can make you a better person. Being a better person has been SCIENTIFICALLY directly connected to being happier. And, even if make-up doesn’t work out, you can still become happy from it if you give it away to someone else. So the end result is more happiness, whatever happens.

But: in the greater context, make-up is relatively unimportant. Getting attached to it, and to brands, is silly and foolish. Other things merit your attachment: family, friends, other people, Humanity in general, including people who might not be very like you. Who might have no interest in makeup or even be actively against it. For many reasons, good and bad. Perhaps through innocent ignorance. Make-up could be an alien wonder, a bizarre irrelevance if your existence is more focused on day-to-day survival. Think of these other very different people, put yourself in their shoes. It’s a matter of perception; and we’re back to phenomenology again.

#firstworldproblems

Other things merit your attachment: not just people, but the whole world of animate sentient beings and the rest or your environment. Empathy for other things that feel. Compassion, literally “suffering with,” which can be extended to non-sentient living things and to their whole ecosystem, down to inanimate rocks and up to clouds and the rest or the atmosphere. “Suffering with” all of that because we’re part or that whole thing too, as connected to it as an earthworm or a fly.

#wholeworldproblems

sunscreen

Another rapid update, shorter than yesterday’s.

It is now after Hallowe’en and the end of DST, and at the point midway between equinox and solstice. Modern seasonal distinctions between “fall” and “winter” don’t quite map onto actual (and older) seasonal distinctions; it’s the first of four (or more) Colder Phases.

There is still light outside, just about. And UVA continues all year. So: sunscreen is still necessary.

But it’s also colder, and even though where I live is damp (Pacific Northwest), skin is feeling drier. My precious sunscreen (Derma E SPF 30) was getting to be dry, even applied over moisturiser. So: back to Vanicream, the SPF 50 one.

That is all. Look after your skins, lovely people; you only get one skin, and skin cancer is no fun.

No, that’s not all. Colder Phase One is distinguished from the previous Phase by progressive changes in things other than weather (and distance from the sun). The world may be going into hibernation, that may feel like it’s dying, and you may feel like you’re dying too–flu, SAD, general grottiness–or like you’re the Walking Dead surrounded by zombies, but there is some compensation: this Phase’s colours are marvellous.

eyeliner: bugger

Well, the Bobbi Brown eyeliner twisty-stick was all very well except for several things.

1. It gets used up fast. It is a far, far worse buy than the little jar of cream/gel eyeliner. Many times worse. Let me calculate: for around the same price, you get about 1/10 of the volume of product ($24 for a 3g of Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner vs. 0.35g of Perfectly Defined Gel Eyeliner twist-up pencil).

So long as you already have an eyeliner brush, the stuff in the jar is a better buy. Even if you don’t, that brush will pay for itself over the lifetime of a jar of eyeliner compared to buying several twisty-sticks over the same period.

I’m not going into comparisons with traditional pencils, the kind you sharpen, because I dislike them and therefore never use or buy them. It’s the sharpening that gets me. Or rather, when you get a sharpening-shaving in your eye…

2. The end of the twisty-stick becomes a nub, then you have to sharpen it (or just sort of wear it down to a point on the back of your hand), and you lose more eyeliner than you’re using on your eyes.

3. The cap cracks. Partly because it’s the wrong shape for sticking on the other end of the eyeliner while using said device on eyes, so you either sit on it or try to wedge it on the end of the eyeliner.

4. I’m going to count the cap not fitting the other end as a whole point of annoyance in its own right. I mean, come on: would you buy a (writing-)pen whose cap couldn’t be stuck on the non-business end?

5. The eyeliner inside broke. Wasting yet more of the stuff.

6. Not very eco-friendly delivery method: that’s a lot of plastic for a small quantity of product. Wasteful and less recyclable than glass.

This is no criticism of Bobbi Brown. All the above Several Things are true of all eyeliner twisty-sticks I’ve used plus others from other companies that I investigated (poking, prodding, and generally probing in shops until made to go away by SAs pointed attempts to “help”). Almay (sticks only; quite a lot of people only do sticks), Becca, Buxom, Chanel, Clinique, Lancôme, MAC, Make Up For Ever, Maybelline, NARS, Rimmel, Sephora, Shu Uemura, Smashbox, Stila, Tarte, Urban Decay. Etc.

It’s a shocker. What a rip-off. Or: I wouldn’t mind if I knew the price-difference were going directly to pay for recycling, funding research on minimising packaging and waste and on sustainability, and subsidising a cheaper more environmentally-responsible jar.

Back to the jars of cream/gel eyeliner then, accompanied by one of my marvellous old brushes (free with Clinique’s potted liner). A change of brown, too: away from my previous Chocolate Shimmer Ink to Sepia Ink. Also a back-up of Laura Mercier cake in Mahogany; the last one I bought (just after reformulation) was terrible, this one claims it *can* be used with water (how exciting: so that would be like before the last version… back full circle… ).

Morals of the story:

  • beware false economies and laziness
  • buy once, buy better
  • choose the less wasteful, more recyclable option