Thursday, December 31, 2009

Makeup craft: pressing your own eyeshadow!

I've been interested in pressing my own makeup since the summer, but didn't try it until early November, when I made the first palette. I made the second palette a month later.

One of the things that put me off originally was the high cost - a 15-well palette with tins is about 8 bucks at Coastal Scents, and I wanted to press more than that.

So, I decided to improvise. I bought two 12-shadow palettes at the dollar store, scooped out the product, cleaned them with rubbing alcohol and cotton swabs, and had palettes for cheap! Since I was pressing directly into the palette, they didn't turn out as pretty as they might have had I had the pans out of the palette.

I used Fyrinnae's Powder Modifier and rubbing alcohol for this project. Each tin holds half a 5g jar worth of product - I mixed directly in the jar with a toothpick, or the little plastic scoops from TKB trading. Each jar took about 8 drops of Powder Modifier and 10+ of alcohol. I find it easier to make a soupy mess the consistency of Oobleck than to press crumbles. I pour the eyeshadow Oobleck into the tin, smooth out, come back a couple hours later, press with a piece of cardboard cut to the size of the tin and wrapped in plastic wrap, then press with a cotton pad to absorb some of the extra alcohol and leave the pattern. No pics of the process, my hands were all dirty! You might want to wear gloves.

Note: this works well for shimmer and pearl shadows, not so hot for mattes.
Also note: I pressed some micas from TKB trading into a sample jar (green and blue jar in one of the pics from my collection post), and got a crumbly semi-solid mess. Pressing a Pure Luxe shadow gave me similar results. Pressing a bit and seeing how it acts is a good way to find out if your product is a finished shadow or straight mica.

Here's the palette as purchased from the store - I would never wear this stuff, it was too stinky! (I hate synthetic fragrance in my makeup)

Here's the first palette I did - names of colors written on plastic cover sheet.

Here are the swatches, over ELF mineral primer:

Here's the second palette: Top row - EDM Samba Lessons, mix of TKB trading Libra Blues mica and EDM Aussie, lighter mix of the same, mix of EDM Flannel PJs and TKB trading Libra Blues. Middle row: EDM Volcano Blossom, darker mix of Volcano Blossom and Aussie, lighter mix of Volcano Blossom and Aussie, mix of Aussie and EDM Champagne. Bottom row: Mix of Volcano Blossom and Libra Blues, Mix of Pure Luxe Chocolate Grapes and Chocolate Blueberries (note crumbliness), mix of Flannel PJs, EDM Walkee Talkee, and EDM Movie Night, mix of Walkee Talkee and Movie Night.

Swatches! (over ELF mineral primer, as always)

And for size comparison purposes, a pic of one of the palettes next to a 25 g jar from EDM.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I hope all who celebrate had a lovely Christmas yesterday and that all who don't had a great time at the movies.

In exciting beauty news, I got a gift certificate to Aromaleigh from DBF that I'm plotting how to spend. I think I might get a couple full sizes of the Opulent Lustres collection next time they go on sale, and I also might get a full size of the Gothic Lolita Burnt Roses - it's a fantastic liner color.

In other news, I went to Sephora today and got samples of Urban Decay Primer Potion, Too Faced Shadow Insurance, and Korres Foundation Primer. Sephora will decant you free samples of pretty much anything you'd like to try at home. I'm pretty happy with this knowledge - I get to try expensive stuff and blog about it now! I'll let you know how I like this stuff.

And, I made a (very small) Earthen Glow Minerals order a few days ago that I'm hoping to have waiting for me after I'm back home after the holidays. I'll be getting the mineral mousse foundation in Lora (light warm), the cream eyeliner in the off-white color, and the Light Cover Me foundation sample kit.

Things coming up for Emily's Makeup Box:
1. A summary review of all the foundations I've tried, once I get to try Earthen Glow and some stuff from a UK company I'm getting in a swap.

2. A rubric for testing eye primers - I have four now, including my new samples. Plus reviews.

3. A rubric for testing vegan mascara, plus reviews. What's the best one out there? I'd like to know, and I'm sure you do, too!

4. I swatched all the foundations I've tried on a piece of paper. Photo to come.

5. Photos of some DIY makeup projects - two eyeshadow palettes I did on the cheap and some clear gloss I added minerals to.

I hope you're all having a great holiday season, and if there's anything you'd particularly like to see, drop me a comment!

Review - Everyday Minerals Pressed Powder foundation

I'm using up my Everyday Minerals foundation before I buy full size powders elsewhere. I'm down to less than a sample jar of loose foundation and I've hit a big piece of pan on the pressed stuff. I have the old pressed foundation (made with jojoba oil and not capric/caprylic triglyceride) in Fair Yellow.

Today, I'm wearing the pressed stuff. As you may recall, the loose got a 20/30 - certainly not the best I've ever tried.

How does the pressed version compare?

A. Color matching.
4. Close, but not quite. Right lightness, but a little too yellow. Sadly, this is discontinued in Fair Yellow. The old Golden Fair was way too dark, and I hear the new Golden Fair is darker than the loose foundation as well.

B. Coverage.
4. Significantly reduces contrast between normal skin and blemishes/scar. I've used this as a concealer, but it doesn't completely cover things I'd like it to.

C. Adhesion/durability.
2. Lasts most of the day, but becomes patchy or rubs off easily. I wore this to an evening function a while ago, put it on right before I left. Three hours later, it was separating into clumpy pools of pigment. Today, I ended up with a line of foundation on my nose, despite wearing primer.

D. Combination skin friendliness factor.
3. Does ok until lunch. My forehead has been shiny since not too long ago.

E. Irritancy.
3. No problems at all.

F. Presentation
1. Ugly and/or problematic packaging. When I bought it, this stuff came in a cardboard compact. Now it comes in a nice plastic compact with a tray for a puff, but doesn't come in a color that works for me.

G. Value
2. Costs about what you'd expect. $12 for a big pan of it.

H. Company is nice to work with, good customer service. 1 point. Not - their service has taken a noticeable turn for the worse lately.

Total: 19/30. I like this even less than the loose EDM foundation, but it is useful to spot conceal. I won't be too sad to run out of it, though. Since I can't get this product/color anymore, that's pretty damning.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Review - Almay Pure Blends liquid foundation

So the Wet n Wild gel eyeliner I bought at CVS made my eyes a little burny after using it, so I returned it and used the money plus some extra bucks to buy Almay's Pure Blends foundation in Buff, figuring it was worth a shot - they'd let me return it if I hated it.

How'd it do?

A. Color matching.
5. I can't even tell where the line is! Impressive for liquid.

B. Coverage.
2. Barely covers blemishes. This stuff is pretty sheer.

C. Adhesion/durability.
3. Gets me through an eight-hour day.

D. Combination skin friendliness factor.
2. Does not control oil or makes dry spots prominent. For oilies, it was slightly better than wearing nothing, but it did make some dry spots stand out, which is odd because it's a liquid.

E. Irritancy.
2. Tiny bumps or itching. Kind of burned for a few minutes after application, but then that went away.

F. Presentation
3. Beautiful presentation. Cute bottle, easy to get the last out of.

G. Value
2. Costs about what you'd expect.

H. Company is nice to work with, good customer service. 1 point. Almay? No experience. CVS? They're great, but I'm reviewing Almay, not CVS.

Total: 19/30. If the burning keeps being a problem, I'll return it. If it doesn't, then I'll use it up but not repurchase - and only because it matches really well.

ETA 12/24 3:10 a.m. This stuff sucks. I tried again today without moisturizer underneath to see if that would help with the oiliness. It didn't, and it also made it dry my face out weirdly. I'm glad I kept my receipt.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Cool forum.

I used to lurk and post sometimes on the Everyday Minerals forum. It was a good place to find info and swatches about mineral makeup. Mineral makeup is my favorite, and I don't have a lot of interest in products that aren't mineral, natural-origin, or vegan. I'm probably never going to get super into MAC or any of the expensive brands because I don't feel like spending tons of money on stuff that's likely to break me out. Numerous threads about how awesome MAC is - totally not interested in that.

It makes me sad that at Makeup Alley, some of my favorite brands are listed as "unlisted brand." It makes it difficult to slog through reviews, and there just isn't a lot on the smaller companies whose products I like. Also, their thread structure just plain sucks. I hate having to click on individual posts!

Anyway, just before the EDM boards got yanked from under us, one of the members put together a forum of her own. Thanks to Chanty for setting up Mineral Makeup Forums!

It's focused on mineral makeup, but there's a sub-board for high-end and drugstore brands. I post over there as Emily.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

My collection

A couple weeks ago, I took pictures of my collection. It's big by "normal woman" standards, but modest by makeup blogger standards.

Here it is! I keep most stuff in the two drawer sets, but I have sample micas in a box next to it, a tiny box of tiny polishes, and another tiny box of foundation samples that didn't work for me. I keep half my brushes in the red jar.

First drawer: random eye stuff like palettes (an old Physician's Formula powder palette with two EDM eye palettes in it - there's the Lavender collection below the visible Spring collection), a Physician's Formula shimmer strip, some mini Fyrinnae liquid inks, a gold Milani liquid liner, undereye concealers, and my mascaras.

Second drawer: neutral eye colors. Mostly EDM, but also some Fyrinnae samples, my new awG colors, and some palettes I made out of EDM stuff.

Third drawer: the bright colors. Some EDM, Fyrinnae, two SN, TKB trading Pops! Micas, and some colors I mixed myself with TKB trading stuff.

Fourth drawer: blushes. Mostly EDM (four full sizes, plus a mixing jar full of a custom mix), a couple SN samples, and some sample baggies from Meow. EDM Angled Blush Brush, EcoTools travel blush brush, and a foptic I need to replace because it's disintegrating. The 10g jars are EDM mixes.

Fifth drawer: face stuff. Sample foundations, some silk dust from TKB trading, EDM NR, Fyrinnae Fluff, and some brushes.

Sixth drawer: lip stuff. This is a miracle, as for a while I owned the Vaseline tubes and the EDM everywhere tins (discontinued, sadly). I also have some ELF mineral lipsticks, a couple Gabriel Color things, some Fyrinnae lip lustres, and some Wet n Wild clear glosses that I added my own color to.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Brush contest at TheShadesofU

This blog is having a contest with two sets of MAC brushes as prizes. I've never used MAC brushes, because I am poor and use my EDM and EcoTools brushes instead. But I hear they're great!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Review - Aromaleigh Glissade foundation

Today, I wore Aromaleigh Glissade foundation in 1W. How'd it do?

A. Color matching.
4. Close, but not quite - again, slightly too light.

B. Coverage.
3. Covers blemishes and makes scar less noticeable. Granted, the acne's worse than usual today, thanks to a bunch of milk I drank last night. * angry face *

C. Adhesion/durability.
3. Gets me through an eight-hour day.

D. Combination skin friendliness factor.
3. Does ok until lunch.

E. Irritancy.
3. No problems at all.

F. Presentation
2. Functional packaging

G. Value
2. Costs about what you'd expect. On the expensive side of moderate, but goes on sale sometimes.

H. Company is nice to work with, good customer service. 1 point. Yup! (see below)

Total: 21/30. Worked better for me than Voilé, but not as good as Silk Naturals or adorned with Grace, which are my two current favorites. Also, this stuff is very fine and will fly in your face.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Review - Aromaleigh Voilé foundation

Today, I wore Aromaleigh Voilé foundation in 1W.

How'd it do?

A. Color matching.
4. Close, but not quite. Undertones are right, but it's actually too light for me.

B. Coverage.
3. Covers blemishes and makes scar less noticeable.

C. Adhesion/durability.
2. Lasts most of the day, but becomes patchy or rubs off easily. I put it on, and went to campus. It was bright, so I scrunched my forehead and squinted. This made the foundation settle into the line where I'd scrunched.

D. Combination skin friendliness factor.
3. Does ok until lunch.

E. Irritancy.
3. No problems at all.

F. Presentation
2. Functional packaging. Sample baggie (good size and shape) that came in a tissue-paper wrapped bundle.

G. Value
2. Costs about what you'd expect.

H. Company is nice to work with, good customer service. 1 point. I've heard great things about their service - all the bad stories floating around the Internet are due to an employee who has been fired.

Total: 20/30. Not for me, sadly. Probably would work great on someone with dry skin. Thankfully, they make lots of other neat things, so I'll still shop there for other stuff.

Aromaleigh mini-haul plus BONUS EOTD

I got my Aromaleigh micro-mini-haul the other day and finally have the pics uploaded!

I also did a very neutral eye look with some EDM stuff and a Meow sample.

So, the haul!

And, the swatches!
Top row: Gothic Lolita Burnt Roses; Gothic Lolita Divine Intervention; Rocks! Sonic planetearth.
Bottom row: Opulent Lustres Jasmine; Opulent Lustres Ginger; Opulent Lustres Tea; Rocks! Sonic lookingforakiss.

I also took pics of an eye look I did the other day. It's not flashy or anything, but it's the first eye look I've ever gotten good macros of. I did take care of the brows right after - they were a little overgrown.

Anyway, on the lid I have my mix of EDM's Opening Day blush and Pure Luxe's Awakening (a sparkly light green) shadow. Then, I used EDM's Shopping Spree in the crease, Meow's ScandalEyes Traci L. to highlight, lined with Wet n Wild creme liner in eggplant (probably returning to the store - I reacted to it a little), and Gabriel Color mascara in Black Brown. The crease color was darker than it looks.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Some quick notes

1. I got my Aromaleigh mini-haul today! I think I chose right on my foundation samples - I have both formulas in 1W (lightest warm shade), and seven eye shadow samples: two from the Rocks! sonic collection, two from the Gothic Lolita collection, and three from the Opulent Lustres collection. I got a freebie lip balm sample that I can't use (damn allergy), but I'm sure I can find a good home for it. Haul and swatch pics coming.

2. I have pics of my collection that will be uploaded sometime soon.

3. I'm thinking about making a comparative swatch pic of all the foundation samples I have, because I have a lot of them. Good idea?

4. My awG foundation holds up BEAUTIFULLY with primer (Fyrinnae's Velvet Gel Silica Primer) and set with Fyrinnae Fluff.

5. I am sad that there will be no more hauls this year, but once I get paid again - SN and Earthen Glow haul time!

6. I killed some time at Marsh today looking at the (very limited) makeup aisle there. I don't know why - neither Cover Girl nor Maybelline interest me in the slightest, and that's all they have. But would it be a horrible thing to buy a Cover Girl Lash Blast mascara just for the wand? Cover Girl's formulas are at least vegan, but they have a lot of other crap in them that I'm not excited about.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Review: adorned with Grace Minerals foundation

Today, I am wearing adorned with Grace Minerals foundation, in Love 3.0 on the left side of my face and Faith 3.0 on the right side of my face. Love 3.0 is the better match.

A. Color matching.
5. I can't even tell where the line is! Impressive for a premixed product.

B. Coverage.
4. Significantly reduces contrast between normal skin and blemishes/scar. It's no Dermablend, but it really covered well, and with less product than other foundations I've tried.

C. Adhesion/durability.
3. Gets me through an eight-hour day. Kind of pools after that. I'm hoping that when I try it with a primer or finishing powder, the results will be better.

D. Combination skin friendliness factor.
3.5. By "early afternoon," some oil spots have broken out or some areas look dryer than normal. I put it on at 11 this morning, and I had some shine on my forehead by five. Now (at 9:30), my face is pretty shiny. It hasn't dried me out at all, though.

E. Irritancy.
3. No problems at all.

F. Presentation
3. Beautiful presentation. Ok, so I was using a sample baggie. But it was the right size sample baggie for the amount, and all the sample baggies came sealed in a plastic pouch, which was then wrapped in awG tissue paper with a little sticker.

G. Value
2. Costs about what you'd expect.

H. Company is nice to work with, good customer service. 1 point. Franchesca was very nice and helpful with color selection when I emailed her, and prompt, too.

Total: 24.5/30. I'm pretty impressed with how this product covers without looking chalky in the least. If it did more for oil control or lasted longer, I'd be thrilled. I'm planning on trying everything that scores above a 24 with primer and finishing powder to see if that helps it, and I think that this stuff would do better. I'd like to try this out as concealer, too, because it really made both my scar and my jawline acne less noticeable.

adorned with Grace mini-haul plus bonus SN/Meow swatch pics

So, I got my awG mini-haul the other day. Here's pics!

Eye stuff in one pic, plus face stuff in the other pic.

Swatch pics! All eye swatches over ELF mineral eye primer. Blush swatches on bare skin.

Top row: Steadfast (d/c), Capricious (d/c), Enthralling.
Bottom row: Forebearing (d/c), Remarkable, Enigmatic.

The full sizes were a clearance trio, which I'm glad I bought, and the samples were a surprise. I can see myself using up the samples and buying full sizes.

Top: awG Wonderful.
Middle: EDM Nick Nack. (like, but would like a non-EDM replacement when I run out)
Bottom: awG Beautiful.

I wanted to find something similar to a few EDM blushes I liked and keep finding that the texture of other brands is better.

Bonus swatches!

Left four are Silk Naturals, right four are Meow Cosmetics.
Top row: 9:59 (GWP), Satin (freebie sample baggie), VandalEyes Breaking and Entering (sample), VandalEyes Grand Larceny (sample).
Bottom row: Lime (full size), Sonic (freebie sample - getting a full size soon), ScandalEyes Traci L (freebie sample baggie), Egyptian Treasures Sand Dune (full size).

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Review: Meow Cosmetics Pampered Puss foundation

Today, I am wearing Meow Cosmetics Pampered Puss foundation.

How's it doing?
A. Color matching.
4. Close, but not quite.

B. Coverage.
2. Barely covers blemishes. My skin tone is a bit more even, and it is a sheer formula, but I'm not super happy with it.

C. Adhesion/durability.
2. Lasts most of the day, but becomes patchy or rubs off easily. It's kind of patchy now.

D. Combination skin friendliness factor.
1. Turns me into an oil slick or dries me out. I bet this foundation would be great for someone with normal skin. But my T-Zone is an oil slick right now, and some dry skin I have around my jawline (Thanks, Retin-A!) is more prominently dry than I'd like.

E. Irritancy.
3. No problems at all. It is aimed at women with sensitive skin, so at least it does that.

F. Presentation
2. Functional packaging. Samples come in baggies, and the small and full size jars look pretty good. My entire order came in a nice leopard-print cloth drawstring bag, which I thought was cute. Loses a point for the size and shape of the bags, though. They should really use some shorter bags for their samples.

G. Value
3. Exceptionally good value. Much more volume per dollar than you'd expect.

H. Company is nice to work with, good customer service. 1 point. I did have a helpful email exchange about color choices, and shipping was prompt.

Total: 18/30. This is not the foundation for me. I've been wearing it for about 7 hours and am going to need to hit up the emergency mattifying lotion in my purse before I go teach in an hour. I'm still on campus for another six hours, too. It's too bad, because I really wanted to like it, especially because of the value in the large size jars. It worked better a few days ago over a primer, and I bet a nice finishing powder would help a lot with the oil, but that's a lot more work than I want to put in most days. If you don't have crazy combination skin, this would probably work really well for you. If you do have crazy combination skin, this is not the best choice out there. I actually think my skin looks better with just Fyrinnae Velvet Gel Primer over my moisturizer than it does with this stuff on.

In unrelated news, I think I should be getting my adorned with Grace haul today or tomorrow, so there'll be an upcoming review of that soon.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Review - Silk Naturals Original formula foundation

Today, I'm wearing Silk Naturals foundation, the original (lighter coverage) formula with a ratio of 1 Warm Gold:10 Ivory.

Here goes the rubric!

A. Color matching.
5. I can't even tell where the line is! It may be a little too dark, but that's my fault for not saving enough Ivory for the mix. I'll be able to remedy that pretty well. You mix your own custom blend - great system!

B. Coverage.
3. Covers blemishes and makes scar less noticeable. To be fair, I'm not using anything designed for heavy coverage.

C. Adhesion/durability.
4. Almost gets me through a twelve-hour day. Some of it's made lines, but it's not coming off or pooling in large chunks or anything.

D. Combination skin friendliness factor.
4. By mid-afternoon, some oil spots have broken out. I'm not as shiny as I'd be without it. My face started to get shiny midway through the day, but it hasn't gotten progressively a lot worse. This plus my usual primer (which I did not use) and/or a finishing powder, and I'd be good for longer.

E. Irritancy.
3. No problems at all.

F. Presentation
3. Beautiful presentation. Ok, so it comes in baggies. But the sample kit came nicely bundled together, and the rest of my order was in this really nice sheer black drawstring bag. I got a jar to put my mix in. It's a standard jar, with a clear lid. I like clear lids.

G. Value
3. Exceptionally good value. Much more volume per dollar than you'd expect. See "unit prices" entry. I'll be able to get a little over a tablespoon of foundation (25-g jar worth - I'm buying a package of Ivory, a sample bag of Warm Gold, and a 30-g jar) for $7.99 the first time, and the next time I'll only have to spend $5.50 for another bag of Ivory as I'll have enough Warm Gold left for another batch, and the jar'll still be good.

H. Company is nice to work with, good customer service. 1 point. Karen, the owner, is very nice.

Total: 26/30 This stuff is pretty good, I already have the required supplies in my cart for when I get paid at the end of the month. Also, every order over $10 and you get a gift with purchase.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Review - Physicians' Formula OrganicWear tinted moisturizer

I wanted to look less than deadly ill while teaching this afternoon, so I went for the tinted moisturizer and some Physicians' Formula eyebrighter shadow.

And, well, tinted moisturizer is pretty much foundation, right?

A. Color matching.
1. Does not match my skin at all. I have Ivory-Fair, and it matches my arms, but not my neck. Also, it's kind of orange. Too dark and too orange. Eh.

B. Coverage.
3. Mostly covers blemishes and makes scar less noticeable. Evens out skin tone nicely, as well. If only it were light enough.

C. Adhesion/durability.
3. Gets me through an eight-hour day.

D. Combination skin friendliness factor.
3. Does ok until lunch. Forehead got shiny early on with this stuff, rest of face took longer. Would probably be fine with a dusting of powder over it, but as I'm testing all the foundations without primer or powder, I didn't use any today.

E. Irritancy.
3. No problems at all.

F. Presentation
2. Functional packaging - a squeeze tube with a green plastic cap.

G. Value
2. Costs about what you'd expect. I think I paid ten for 1.5 fl. oz. Pretty standard for drugstore foundation.

H. Company is nice to work with, good customer service. 1 point. Did not test yet, but I'm gonna see if they can do anything about having sold me a product with a Dec. expiration date in October.

Total: 17/30. I'd like this a lot better if it were lighter in color, or at least less orange.

A couple quick things:

I have a cold and don't feel much up to anything besides the Internet, but I had a couple quick things to share:

1. Yesterday, I used my Fyrinnae eye primer on one lid and my E.L.F. mineral primer on the other lid under EM's 11:59 shadow. At the end of the day, there were fewer sparkles on the Fyrinnae side, but the E.L.F. side had had some shadow migration. I think I vote for sparkle loss over loss of evenness. At least the Fyrinnae lid looked consistent, and I can use their Pixie Epoxy to cement the sparkles on.

2. I also ordered some tiny hauls from Aromaleigh and adorned with Grace Minerals. From Aromaleigh, I'm getting three Opulent Lustre samples, two Rocks! sonic samples, two Gothic Lolita eye samples, and a sample of their lightest warm shade in each foundation formula. From adorned with Grace, I'm getting foundation samples in Love 3.0 and Faith 3.0, samples of Beautiful and Wonderful blushes, and a full-size clearance set of three eyeshadows - all blues mixed with browns and silvers. Total damage? $18.29. awG offers free shipping domestically on everything, and Aromaleigh offers free shipping on samples-only orders, plus the ability to pick three free eye color samples per order.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Review - Everyday Minerals Matte foundation

To be fair... I'm going to review my old foundation before doing new ones, just so I have a basis of comparison. I plan to do the same thing with the pressed foundation I have. I bought this jar in June 2008 and received it in August that year (bad sign of things to come, I know. I attributed it to difficulty with transitioning to a new site, because I was otherwise happy with them).

Everyday Minerals Matte Foundation (Golden Fair)

A. Color matching.
4. Close, but not quite. Somewhat whitish cast, and if they made something a couple shades lighter than Soft Butter Peach, it probably would have matched better.

B. Coverage.
3. Covers blemishes and makes scar less noticeable.

C. Adhesion/durability.
3. Gets me through an eight-hour day. Almost. Seems to settle into pores easily and get patchy. Yuck.

D. Combination skin friendliness factor.
4. By mid-afternoon, some oil spots have broken out or some areas look dryer than normal.

E. Irritancy.
2. Tiny bumps or itching. (went away after half an hour or so)

F. Presentation
2. Functional packaging. Newer jars have the closable sifters, which is nifty. All my full sizes of EM are older than the closable sifters, though.

G. Value
2. Costs about what you'd expect. Good value with a 12+ item discount, but then you also have to buy 11 other things, which gets expensive.

H. Company is nice to work with, good customer service. 1 point. Not.

Total: 20/30. Ok product, but apparently nothing special.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Mineral Foundation Unit Prices - more definitive version

Ever wonder how much product you're getting for your mineral-makeup buying buck?

Well, I figured it out for you! Imperfectly, because different brands have different densities even if they fill the same size jar, and also because different brands can require different amounts of product for equivalent coverage.

Keep in mind that most MMU companies pack by volume, not by weight, so the weights are approximate.

If I missed a company - and you know how much their foundation costs and how much (in grams) you get, let me know and I'll add it.

Unit prices on foundation

adorned with Grace

$13.49 for roughly 8 grams – $1.67/gr

Aromaleigh Glissade
$16.75 for roughly 8 grams – $2.09/gr

Aromaleigh Voilé
$15.75 for roughly 8 grams – $1.97/gr

Bare Escentuals/Minerals Original

$25 for 9 grams – $2.78/g


$12 for 5.5 grams – $2.18/g
$9 (with four other items) - $1.63/g
$6.60 (with 11 other items) - $1.20/g

Lucy Minerals
$14 for 10 grams - $1.40/g

Meow Purrfect Puss

$10.95 for 6-8 grams – $1.82-1.37/g
$21.95 for 22-30 grams - $0.98-0.73/g

Meow Pampered Puss
$12.95 for 6-8 grams – $2.16 - 1.61/gr
$23.95 for 22-30 grams – $1.08 - 0.80/gr

Meow Flawless Feline
$14.95 for 6-8 grams – $2.49-1.87/g
$26.95 for 22-30 grams – $1.22-0.90/g

Silk Naturals
Note: Silk Naturals sells unmixed foundation by volume, not by weight, and a tablespoon of their foundation would fit into a 25g jar, which is a pretty standard size. You buy a bag of plain white foundation and mix the appropriate amounts of darker base colors into them, so you get an exact match. Both the white base and the colors you add to it are available in tablespoon bags and half teaspoon sample baggies.

They also use different ingredients that aren't as dense as other companies (silk powder, for example), so a tablespoon ranges from 4-5.8 grams depending on formula, with the lighter coverage being less dense than the heavier ones. The cost per gram is different between formulas, but the cost per volume is the same. For purposes of comparison with other brands, it's more useful to think in terms of volume:

As sold by the tablespoon in plastic baggies, the unit price works out to:
$1.37/g for original formula
$1.10/g for the vegan and medium formulas
$0.95/g for the heavy formula.

Since they come in baggies, you'll have to order your own jar (if you don't do the starter kit), and that'll add up to $1.50 to the cost. Or you could clean an old one out and use that - you're paying for product, not for packaging.

If you get the starter kit, which includes tablespoons of your base color, Ivory, a jar, and a scoop to measure:
Original formula: $1.50/g
Medium and vegan formulas: $1.20/g
Heavy formula: $1.03/g

I am very fair, so I'm going to buy a tablespoon of the original Ivory, a sample baggie of Warm Gold, and a 30-g jar (because I want the bigger one). That'll run me
$7.99 the first time, which is less than any other company charges for enough foundation to fill a 25-g jar. My price-per-gram for the initial investment is $2, but it's the same volume as Everyday Minerals or Meow's Munchkin (6-8 gram size), so the cost-per-gram isn't an accurate reflection of SN's value. Also, I won't have to buy the jar again, and each sample baggie will color two bags of Ivory for me, so next time I need foundation, it'll be even less. For someone who's about an even mix between their color and the white base, the sample kit gets them twice as much volume for the same price as EM. Someone dark enough to only need a tad of white in the base will have an initial cost more like mine.

(Thanks to Karen at SN for explaining the differences between her foundation and other mineral brands so clearly)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Foundation Review Criteria

I teach, so naturally, I'm into rubrics.

For the upcoming foundation reviews, I'll be rating different aspects of the foundations' performance and adding up the total score out of thirty points possible. There will be no curve, and no extra credit will be given.

Behold, the rubric.

A. Color matching.
1. Does not match my skin at all.
2. Brand changes color quickly so it no longer matches.
3. Sort of matches.
4. Close, but not quite.
5. I can't even tell where the line is!

B. Coverage.
1. Does not even even out skin tone.
2. Barely covers blemishes.
3. Covers blemishes and makes scar less noticeable.
4. Significantly reduces contrast between normal skin and blemishes/scar.
5. Covers everything - I've faked flawless skin.

C. Adhesion/durability.
1. Barely lasts the morning.
2. Lasts most of the day, but becomes patchy or rubs off easily.
3. Gets me through an eight-hour day.
4. Almost gets me through a twelve-hour day.
5. Gets me through a twelve-hour day.

D. Combination skin friendliness factor.
1. Turns me into an oil slick or dries me out.
2. Does not control oil or makes dry spots prominent.
3. Does ok until lunch.
4. By mid-afternoon, some oil spots have broken out or some areas look dryer than normal.
5. Oil slick? Dry spots? What oil slick or dry spots?

E. Irritancy.
1. Broke me out bad.
2. Tiny bumps or itching.
3. No problems at all.

F. Presentation
1. Ugly and/or problematic packaging.
2. Functional packaging
3. Beautiful presentation.

G. Value
1. Exceptionally expensive. Much less product per dollar than you'd expect.
2. Costs about what you'd expect.
3. Exceptionally good value. Much more volume per dollar than you'd expect.

H. Company is nice to work with, good customer service. 1 point.

Search for replacement foundation

I've been wearing Everyday Minerals matte foundation in Golden Fair for about a year and a half now, and I only have a sample-sized jar left of it. When I want heavier coverage, I use their pressed foundation in Fair Yellow (discontinued), and I've hit pan on that. There's about a silver dollar's worth of pan showing, and all the rest of the product is hanging around the edges.

As mentioned two entries back, I've decided to take the bulk of my makeup purchases to other companies due to some recent changes at EM. I need new foundation, and I'd like it to perform at least as well, if not better, than EM. Besides, they don't even make my color of pressed foundation anymore.

1. not be full of crap.
2. match my fair, but golden/warm toned skin.
3. cover unevenness, occasional acne, and my surgical scar (which is mostly pretty faded by now).
4. not break me out.
5. not make me oilier than normal or make the occasional dry spots stand out
6. have some sun protection in it
7. not cost an arm and a leg.

Ideally, I'd like one buildable one for days when I want sheerer coverage, and one heavier coverage one.

So far, I'm doing better with samples for the sheer stuff than I am for heavier coverage.

Meow Cosmetics Pampered Puss in Sleek Chartreux seems to be a good match - will update on performance later. $23.95 for a quarter cup of the stuff isn't bad, either. It's twice as much as EM's foundations, but for at least four times the product.

Silk Naturals: I got samples of the original formula, and on their forum foundation matching maven Jen W's advice, tried the Warm Gold. I mixed one part of that with 10 of the Ivory (white foundation base), and it blended into my skin really well when I swatched it.

I'd also like to try adorned with Grace, but not a lot of her shades look fair enough, so I might have to mix. Aromaleigh could be promising as well, but their foundation is more expensive than I'd like.

EM's pressed foundation is unique in the affordable mineral makeup market, and if they still had Fair Yellow, I'd probably still buy it, even if it was just a tad too yellow. Instead, I'm on the prowl for something else to wear when I'm dressed up that can also serve the double-duty of layering over my undereye concealer.

Earthen Glow Minerals makes a couple mousse foundations that look promising, but since they don't have the ingredients lists available online, I'm waiting on a response from them about what's in it. If they don't include any of my allergens or other no, thanks ingredients, I might give it a go.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A note on ingredients

So, earlier I said I was picky about what I put on my face, body, and hair. So, what's on the "no, thanks" list?

Keep in mind that I don't adhere to the "natural=healthy; chemicals=horrifying ugly death" philosophy. Poison ivy, tobacco, and the only ingredients I know I'm allergic to are all "natural" products. Also, everything is made out of chemicals. Water is a chemical! Synthetic chemicals are a different story - I want there to be a good reason they're included in my stuff, and some of them are problematic for one use but not another. I shop primarily for products marketed as vegan, because it helps me avoid one of my allergens, beeswax, but don't have a problem using silk or carmine. I stay far away from things known to be irritating, though.

I know different people care about different things, so if something I review has parabens or isn't vegan, I'll note that.

So, the "no, thanks" ingredients list:

1. Beeswax. Allergic, so no, thanks.

2. Rosemary (oil or extract). Probably allergic, so no, thanks.

3. Citrus (only banned on lips). See above.

4. Bismuth oxychloride. Filler used in a lot of makeup to make it shiny. Known irritant, and FILLER!. No, thanks.

5. Sulfate detergents (sodium lauryl/lareth sulfate, ammonium lauryl/laureth sulfate). Very drying, will only use occasionally to clarify hair. No, thanks!

6. Petrochemicals, like petroleum and mineral oil. Mostly they coat the surface and keep moisture out. I will allow them in lip products when they're not the main ingredient because otherwise it'd be so hard to find stuff, but otherwise, no, thanks.

5. Talc. Filler and an irritant, so no, thanks. I have two or three eyeshadows with it, but I wear those over primer and there's a barrier.

6. Parabens: Preservatives. I try to minimize these because apparently they disrupt hormones, but if a product I otherwise like has them and I can't find a similar paraben-free version of it, then I'll try it. Parabens are better than having my lip gloss break me out, but they totally don't need to be in my body wash.

7. Polyethylene terephthalate: These are plastic glitter often used in eye makeup. According to Fyrinnae's blog, it's fine for your skin, but not so fine if you get it in your eye. I like having vision, so no, thanks.

8. Silicones on my face. They seem to make me itchy, so no, thanks. I find they build up in my hair if I use too many there, too.

9. Fragrance. Migraine trigger, no thanks!

So there's my ingredients philosophy. I'm more flexible with things like eyeliner, that touch a tiny area of my skin and usually go over layers of other stuff, than I am with foundation or blush, which go over my whole face.

Why isn't Everyday Minerals in the links?

Ok, so almost all of my blushes are from Everyday Minerals, and I've been wearing their foundation for a while, and I also have a bunch of eye colors from them that I like.

So why aren't they on the list of "Stuff I like?"

Short answer: because I got pissed off by some shady things they just did and decided not to promote them or give them my money anymore.

Long answer:
1. They deleted the forum with no warning, seemingly because too many people had negative things to say about them. Would have been fine with it if they'd given warning so people could get the information they needed before it disappeared into the ether. Stupid move on their part - the forum ladies convinced me to buy a lot of stuff.

2. They're getting away from the "natural" focus and adding stuff other than minerals to their products.

3. They have a history of lying to customers and misleading them in a way that leads people to stock up on favorites when there's no need to and delay ordering during good specials because Amazing Product isn't out yet. Some straightforwardness would be appreciated.

4. Their customer service has taken a downturn for the worse, and is now characterized by form letters. I sent them a well-worded email describing why I, and many other loyal customers, were taking our hard-earned dough elsewhere, and got a canned response back.

I'm still using the stuff from them that I like - there's about four blushes and 15 or so eye colors I have from them that are pretty good, but I'm not planning on buying more, though an exception might have to be made for things like the Everynight Minerals, which are unique, and their plain lip balm, which is one of the few that doesn't bother me.

First post!

Hi, Internet!

I've been into makeup since before I was allowed to wear it out of the house, and have had a larger collection than normal (though not obscene by Internet Makeup People standards) for a long time. I swore by Neutrogena, Physician's Formula, Almay, Burt's Bees, Maybelline Great Lash, and New York Color 99 cent lipstick for years before developing some serious problems with skin allergies and sensitivities. Namely, beeswax gives me blisters and burny eyes. Yuck! Not pretty at all.

When I started to rebuild my collection a year and a half ago, I decided that I was only going to use things with short ingredients lists, in an effort to identify problematic ingredients easily. I also decided that I'd go the natural route as much as possible, because it bothered me that cosmetics ingredients don't undergo a lot of testing in the US.

I've tried Everyday Minerals, Fyrinnae and ELF, and recently have started getting into Meow and Silk Naturals. I also depend on Gabriel Color for some things. I have a very small collection of drugstore makeup on top of the online only stuff, but everything I buy has to meet certain criteria (to be elaborated on further).

Also, I don't have a lot of money, so for me, an eyeshadow over $7 is a splurge. I really think twice about anything over $10, and won't spend more than $20 on anything except mascara, sunblock, or foundation (and only if it's huge). So you won't see any MAC here.

But I also have to use the product for it to be worth any amount of money, so even something cheap that doesn't work pisses me off. If "cheap" means "mostly filler," it's not worth it.