Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My first foray into actually doing something with essential oils!

Ok, so I've had my lavender, peppermint, lemon, and sweet orange essential oils for a while. And I recently got my very first Garden of Wisdom order. And, I had an empty glass rollerball from when I used up my Burt's Bees Herbal Blemish Stick (terrible, terrible, stuff).

I also suffer from migraines and tension headaches. And one of the ladies over at the Mineral Makeup Forums posted a thread about making an essential oil blend for headaches. And I already had the lavender and peppermint, and I decided to order some lemon eucalyptus oil from GoW, along with some meadowfoam oil to use as a carrier.

So, I took my rollerball, and put 2 drops of lemon eucalyptus EO, 2 drops of peppermint EO, and 5 drops of lavender EO in it. Then, I filled it up the rest of the way with a mix of fractionated coconut oil and meadowfoam oil.

I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do with it aside from smelling it or rubbing it on my temples, but it does smell really nice.

It kind of makes me wonder what other smells I can formulate - this is a big step beyond merely adding a couple drops of one oil to something to make it smell better, or making lavender spray for my hair.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Used it - The good, the bad, and the ugly. And also the "meh."

The good:
SN Beach Bunny bronzer sample

This actually worked pretty well on me. I'm learning that bronzers don't work for contour, because they're usually sparkly and warm toned, and contouring products should lean cool and matte. But if I try this as bronzer, it warms my face up pretty nicely without looking orange or dirty. I still have minis of a bunch of pressed bronzers, but it's on my short list.

The bad:
Pantene volumizing shampoo for fine hair sample.

I got this in the (in)famous Target sample bag. First off, it's floral. Second off, volumizing usually means "roughs up the cuticle to make it fluffy." Third off, it (again) seemed to only work when diluted or when I used an entire palmful (this stuff is thick). I'm not sad to see it go.

The ugly:
Neutrogena Mineral Sheers undereye concealer.

This is one of those things where my inner packaging whore got the best of me. It comes in a pan built into the lid of a jar for powder. In theory, you're supposed to be able to dot the cream concealer on your undereye, then set it with the included powder. Well, that didn't work. The concealer was almost the right color (too yellow, but right lightness), but the powder part was way too light. So I tried the powder as a light dusting all over my face, see if I could get rid of it that way. Nope. Chalky ghost face even with a fiber optic brush. So then I decided that the trash can was the best way to get rid of the powder. I used up a bunch of the concealer as a sticky eye base. Mostly, I think that was an unnecessary additional step to the routine. So then I mixed the dregs with some Monistat anti-chafing power and used it up as a "tinted primer." I will not buy this product again. Now, I'm using the part where the concealer was for a depotted eyeshadow that's just the right size, and I'm keeping powders I do like in the bottom. Eventually, it'll make its way into a travel/after gym type kit.

The meh:
Peter Thomas Roth Max Sheer spf 30 sunblock sample

I got this in the Sephora Sun Care kit. This stuff was ok - not great, not bad. I probably won't buy it again because I'm not convinced that the avobenzone is photostable.

(Since Sept. 2, 2010)
145 items gone
52 full size items gone

Friday, May 27, 2011

Nails of the Moment, and Face of the Day!

Brought to you by my webcam from my favorite café, where I am trying but failing to work on a lesson plan.

Nails - 3-4 coats of Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Lavender Cloud. Sticking to professional colors in the meantime, and this was only two bucks at the CVS clearance sale. I purposely did not use a base or top coat because I wanted to see how long it lasted on its own.

Face: Frankenprimer, Frankenfoundation mixed with Aromaleigh Divine Radiance in Magnolia Blossom, Tarte Park Avenue Princess bronzer

Eyes: Lumene eye base, some sticky concealer, Aromaleigh heels on fire on lid, same color mixed with Brazen Cosmetics Jinx in crease and to line. Cover Girl Lash Blast (red tube) in some mostly black but with "silver shimmer" color.

Lips: Fyrinnae Lip Lustre - Puppy Love

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Used it! (a few more samples)

Smashbox SPF 15 face primer sample - Got this in the Sephora suncare kit. It was ok. I think it may have helped my frankenfoundation, but it may also have merely added another step. It didn't break me out, though, so it has that going for it.

Ole Henrikson eye cream sample - Disclosure - I abhor squeezing out every last bit from a packet. I'm not sure this did much for my eyes, but it felt nice and moisturizing.

Ecotools body wash - Somehow, I ended up with a 12 oz, 8 oz, and 2 oz of this stuff. I used up the 12 oz a bit back, and this morning I used up the 8 oz. Only the 2 oz left! (Actually sort of useful for travel - it lives in my travel kit.) I probably won't buy it again, though. Now I'm onto a fragrance free one from Whole Foods, and I'm experimenting with making my own scents from essential oils!

141 items gone
51 full size items gone

Sunday, May 22, 2011


I am makeup-free because I stayed home all day working on my thesis. It is insanely important that I finish it asap because in three weeks, I start teacher training.

The biggest beauty-related thing I did today was remove the neon green nail polish in favor of Sinful Colors Glass Pink, a light, sheer, sparkly pink. I figured that neon green wouldn't be the best choice for the job interview I have tomorrow morning. I'm trying to think of it as useful practice - not all my eggs need to be in this basket. Of course, it would be great if it worked out, but all I can do is the best I can during the interview.

I am extremely nervous about the thesis, upcoming training, and the interview.

ACK! It's making me compulsively organize things in an effort to calm myself.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

used it! (mostly full sizes, too!)

*EDM Light Pink Face Color. This is the same full size I bought in my first non-sample EDM order, way back in spring 08! It's been transferred to progressively smaller containers as I used it up, and the original jar is long gone. I used this a lot when I first started with mineral makeup, and I've been using it up by mixing a little with my frankenfoundation - it helps lighten and brighten the mix. The formula's changed now, and I wouldn't buy again for that reason, but I really did enjoy this product.

Korres Basil Lemon body scrub - got this as a Sephora deal a while back - it was pretty good stuff, and I'm going to buy some basil essential oil so I can replicate the scent somewhat. I think it was a little drying, but I loved using it. Too expensive to repurchase, though. Also, it was kind of annoying how the bamboo grits would stick around the bottom of the shower.

SN Lychee blush sample baggie - too red for me, had to use a tiny bit with a duo fiber brush, or else I'd look sunburned.

Burt's Bees Herbal Blemish Stick - Don't buy this unless you like the way licorice/anise smell. I don't. Also, I don't think this did much for me. At least I get a nice glass rollerball bottle out of it that I can repurpose for something else.

ES project pan - 8 gone - 5/8
Lip project pan - 5 gone - 1/5

138 items gone
50 full size items gone

Friday, May 20, 2011

Nails of the Moment fail, Nails of the Moment win

This is what I currently have on:

Orly Bonder
Sinful Colors Irish Green (neon)
Sinful Colors Green Ocean
Sally Hansen Diamond Shine topcoat

The neon green is more of a semi-gloss than the flat purple from before, and also takes a bit longer to dry. Green Ocean was the result of a fortuitous swap. :)

But before I had that, I tried this, which sounded better in theory than it did in practice:

Orly Bonder
Sally Hansen Pixel Perfect
Sally Hansen Distressed Denim
Sally Hansen Diamond Shine topcoat

This just looked like a mess. The topcoat didn't work at all - I think it would have bee better with a thinner coat - it just behaves completely differently than the silver. But it worked on my toes, so I really don't know what went wrong. I just knew it was time for the nail polish remover, stat.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Nails of the Moment!

This is what I have on my nails at the moment:

Orly Bonder
Sinful Colors Dream On (neon purple - dries matte)
Sally Hansen Fractured Foil shatter coat
Sally Hansen Diamond Shine top coat

I did these on Tuesday, I think.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Public Safety Alert

So, if you're into making Frankenpolishes, or just want to start, I have a bit of an FYI. Maybe you can learn from my mistakes.

See, I've only tried two frankens in the past - and both were adding mica to clear polish, and neither worked great. So I decided to try again, this time using only different nail polishes.

And, having recently acquired five new polishes,* I decided to make room by consolidating some stuff.

I had half a bottle of clear nail polish, to which I added the following:
The remnants of a Sally Girl dark red creme mini,
The remnants of a Sally Girl orange red sparkle mini,
a bunch of a milky pale pink,
and some creme bright red.

Things were looking pretty, but I just had to take my experiment a bit further.

I dripped in some of my white nail polish pen. Too much of my white nail polish pen. Enough so that it looked like it would overflow if I closed the bottle.

Thinking ahead, I put a ratty old towel down, figuring that if it overflowed, it would just spill out, and I could wipe it up later.

That's not what happened. Instead, the bottle shattered, and I had a mess of broken glass and spilled nail polish on my old rag, spilling over to the bathroom counter.**


On the plus side, now it's like I only increased my collection by two, instead of five.

*Wet N Wild spring collection pastel purple
and blue,
Wet N Wild Mermaid's Cove collection Waves of Enchantment
Sinful Colors neon purple
Sally Hansen shatter polish in Fractured Foil

** The ELF nail polish remover wipes actually worked ok for getting the stain out of the counter (not the entire mess, just the part that wouldn't come off with a tissue alone). Bonus for not dissolving the counter!

Quick poll

So, I'm on a nail polish kick lately. And I'd kind of like to share pictures.

But, using the camera, having to hook up the cord and upload, I kind of find that a pain. But! I have a webcam.

What would you rather have:

More frequent pictures of lower quality


Less frequent, better quality pictures?

The reason I ask is because with the webcam shot, I can be quick and dirty and post right after doing my nails.

Monday, May 16, 2011

No buy is over!

Just place an order with Darling Girl - I'd been wanting to try the glitter glue and the aqua liners, so I'm getting glitter glue, mermaid tails liner, my little pony and polaris shadows, chocolate orange truffle lip balm, and the gift with purchase, which looks like a shiny green. :)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Detox Day 29

Ok, so if my no-buy is technically "makeup only," then I'm still ok. I went to CVS yesterday because I needed a few things, and came home with a Wet N Wild nail polish, a facial scrub/cleanser, and a waterproof spray sunblock (which I actually do need, as I just found out that I'll be chaperoning weekly field trips in June and July's Midwestern heat and humidity).

And I don't have a polish problem - this is only bottle 27.

Yesterday I also ordered some stuff from Garden of Wisdom, I'm expecting some lemon eucalyptus essential oil, a cedarwood essential oil, meadowfoam oil, a hair serum, a face mask, and some cromollient. The first three are going into an aromatherapy rollerball for when I have migraines, and the cromollient is going to be really good for making my own cleansing oils, and if I add a little bit to my shaving oil, maybe it'll stop gunking up the tub so much. The mask and hair stuff were throw-ins, really.

Then I decided to take a few things off Liza's overstock - her blotch-be-gone is really worth it.

So as a "no beauty products whatsoever" no-buy, I totally fail. I definitely have new skincare stuff, but stuff I know I'll actually use. Stuff to keep my face clear, sunblock, and something I hope will help with migraines (my preferred medication has been discontinued!) all kind of count as more health-related than anything (well, except the nail polish).

As far as what to buy when the no-buy was over, I thought about getting some stuff from the Korres warehouse sale, but then I decided against it. The I thought about getting a Tarte value kit from Ulta, but decided that the only thing I really wanted was the mascara. Then, I thought about doing an All Cosmetics Wholesale order, but now I think supporting Darling Girl would be better - especially since she has lip balms I can use now.

Then next month, Shiro. I'm going to let her get her website up and running really well before I splurge on kawaiishadows and longcat intertube.

I guess this was useful. Thinking that a smart buy is a better option for me long term.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

used it! (mostly samples, ergh)

SN Cosmic blush baggie sample - bright, cool pink - Too bright and cool for me, but an excellent texture!

Brazen Cosmetics Courtesan sample (warm, dark bubblegum pink, shiny) - I did like this, but I'm not sure it's the sort of color I HAVE to have, because I already have some more pinks I like - this did also make a nice blush (duo-fiber brush, of course) as well, so it's multi-purpose.

Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition shampoo sample - About the only shampoo I've ever tried that actually works better lathered twice, which leads me to believe that it's not quite strong enough - I think the first wash gets off the dirt, and the second wash reduces the buildup from the shampoo itself? I might buy it in a pinch, but it's not my favorite ever.

Garnier Nutrisse Skin Renew Anti-Sun Damage SPF 28 - This was my second bottle of this. There are things that drive me NUTS about it - mostly how the last 20% of the product stays stuck in the bottle (I had to use a tiny spatula to get that last bit into a jar where I could use it), and I'm not overly fond of its pine-sol aroma, but it has the right amount of sun protection for the late spring months when I'm starting to be outside without clothes covering all of me all the time. And, since it's frequently on sale, and Garnier keeps having coupons on their skincare, I will probably keep buying it every March or April. At 2.5 ounces, it's big enough to use on my neck, chest, and arms and lasts the couple months I need it to before I ratchet up the sun protection. I haven't burned yet, but I have been out for several hours at a time in short sleeves.

ES project pan - 8 gone - 5/8
Lip project pan - 5 gone - 1/5

134 items gone
47 full size items gone

Friday, May 13, 2011

Products I hated

1. Garnier Fructis Pure Clean conditioner. This made my hair feel sticky and tangly, and I did not like it, so it went back to CVS. I think my hard water makes it not rinse out right, but I didn't want to go through the effort of making it work.

2. Tarte Four-Day Stay lash stain. This is more a waterproof mascara than anything else. Except that it budges a lot less easily, even in the face of oil. It most certainly did not last four days, and if I'd left it on that long, I'd be eyelash-less, because the stuff it plenty crunchy. I had a trial size of it, which is now in the bathroom trash can. Every time I tried to remove it, I'd lose a few lashes from each eye. I say no more of that.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Sunblock info, and why it matters so much to have good sun protection

This started out as more a "I'm gonna post this to my blog so I can always find this info" sort of post than anything else, but then it ended up turning into a longer story about my experience with skin cancer. Because I also have allergies and sensitivities to a bunch of stuff, this makes finding a good, truly broad-spectrum sunblock super important for me. Almost all of the Neutrogena stuff is out, because it contains beeswax. Then a lot of things don't have good UVA blockers. Then there's the debate about how effective avobenzone really is, and whether it degrades other sunblocks or not. It's all a real mess. If I need to shell out tons of money after I finally find my Holy Grail of sunblocks, then this is a cause that deserves it.

Anyway, I have a bottle of Garnier sunblock sitting upside down in a container because I've reached the point where the pump doesn't work anymore (Hello? Garnier? Can you please maybe package the stuff in a squeeze tube?) Until that drains completely into the jar, I'm on to other stuff. Next up is a Peter Thomas Roth sunblock I got in the Sephora kit. It has an active ingredient I wasn't familiar with - meradimite. Turns out it blocks UVA II rays and maybe isn't quite as effective as some other ingredients.

I googled it and found this helpful info, a list of commonly used sunblock ingredients with all their pros and cons.

Then, I wondered what the difference between UVA I and UVA II rays was. As far as I can tell, UVA II rays are longer, and closer to UVB rays than UVA I rays, which are shorter. The Skin Cancer Foundation has another informative section on their website about which chemicals block which types of UV rays.

This is what UVA rays do to the DNA in your skin: Yikes!

Skin cancer sucks. I know, because in July 2009, I had a basal cell carcinoma removed from my forehead at the tender young age of 26. Now, I am very fair, and my sunblock habits have not always been the greatest, and I also had family history of skin cancer. It turns out that the UV rays entering the atmosphere are stronger than they used to be, and all of this conspired to produce the "zit" that showed up when I was 24 and never healed. Well, it would start to, but the center never did, and it would create a small crater that kept filling itself in. Eventually, my mom made me promise to talk to a doctor about it, and I was referred to a dermatologist.

The dermatologist took tons of pictures of it, injected my forehead with a bunch of lidocaine (pain reliever), and scooped out the center of the spot with a really tiny blade shaped like an ice-cream scoop. A few days later, he called back, saying it was basal cell carcinoma - skin cancer - and I had a subtype that was particularly aggressive.

Six weeks later, I sat down on a surgeon's table for Mohs skin cancer removal surgery. In other treatments, they cut out a rather large area and test segments of it to make sure they got it all - and sometimes they don't, which means a second trip to surgery. Also, since this was ON MY FACE, they wanted to cut as little away as possible. In Mohs, they cut out what they think they need to, patch you up temporarily, and slice the removed bit into slices, and look at each of them though a microscope to determine if they need to go back for more or not. In my case, they needed to go back again. After they looked at that and determined it was all out, they started to deal with the round hole in my skin that needed to be closed up. They cauterized it to stop the bleeding (by the way, burning flesh smells awful, especially when it's yours), did a bunch of internal stitches, and then sewed me up with nine external stitches. Oh, and all these are shitty webcam pics, so they're mirror image, and I didn't feel bothered to flip them.

This is what I looked like the day after the procedure, right before I removed the huge dressing to change the bandages for the first time. I was in a bit of pain and felt pretty shaky:

This is what I looked like about 10-12 days later, after I'd had the stitches out and removed the steri-strips that replaced them:

A few weeks after that. Finally, the internal stitches have all made their way to the surface, and there's no more scabbing:

After about a month:

A year after surgery - finally mostly faded. I still have a whitish line slightly raised above the rest of the skin (you can kind of see the shadow of the bump in the pic), but I'm no longer self-conscious about the scar and don't wear my bangs down every day anymore. (I cut the bangs specifically so that I could hide the scar. Turned out I kind of liked them.) Bonus rainbow eye look:

Skin cancer is caused by UVA rays. There are a lot of ingredients that block the longer UVA II rays, but only two approved by the FDA that block UVA I rays: zinc oxide and avobenzone. And avobenzone is only stable in the presence of octocrylene. Depending on the formula, it can also be stable mixed with some other ingredients: Enzacamene or 4-Methylbenzylidene camphor, Parsol SLX, Tinosorb S, Tinosorb M, and Mexoryl SX.

Protect yourself. Yes, basal cell is easily treated, but as the pictures show, it wasn't a fun process.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Detox Day 22

22 days with no makeup purchases! The only beauty-related purchases I've made have been two bottles of conditioner, and one of those is a product I've bought and used up twice already (Garnier Triple Nutrition conditioner), so I know that'll get use. It came packaged with a travel size of the same stuff, which was a nice bonus because I'd run out of my trial size of it. The other conditioner I bought was the Garnier Pure Clean kind, which came packaged with a trial size of the shampoo. That was perfect, because shampoo is harder to use up if it sucks.

But I haven not bought any makeup! I'm still using stuff up, and it's going ok. I do have stuff planned for after this time period is over (mostly Korres stuff - they're reducing their US line and have a bunch of stuff on sale). I also have my eyes on a Tarte kit at Ulta (comes with mascara, brown gel liner, a cheek stain, a lip gloss, some loose powder, a liner brush, and a nice bag).

Anyway, I'm doing ok. Go see how Jill's doing at Just Peachy!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Random post on a random product from my stash - Sephora Pure Wanderlust

I got the palette for the cost of shipping from the lovely ani_bee about a year ago, and took these photos last summer. Now the lightest brown color has pan showing, and the dip in the medium brown, green, and light blue has grown. I think the medium brown will be showing pan soon.

The neutrals in this palette are absolutely lovely, which is why I throw it in for travel every time I go someplace. The light blue and light green, unfortunately, have some pigmentation problems and go on a lot more sheer than I prefer. The green especially is hard to get pigment onto the brush. I've decided I don't much care for dark blue shadow on me, except as a liner color (and even then, I'd rather have something designed as a liner to avoid the nasty discoloration dark blue fallout gives me).

The blush, unlike the shadows, is matte. I find that it works in a pinch, and is sheer enough that I don't need a duo-fiber brush with it, which is nice, but that it can be a little difficult to apply.

I also like that these are mica-based and talc-free.

The packaging is great - very sturdy and solid. I'm planning on modifying it to accept standard round pans when I use up the rest of the product (well, except the dark blue. Let's be honest here, that one is ending up depotted and swapped away).

I don't think this is still available anywhere - Sephora's been out for a while. It's an ok product. It's portable and versatile, which makes it great for travel, but I don't absolutely love any of the colors except the medium brown.

Friday, May 6, 2011

used it! (mostly masks)

Quick post:

Used up three more things!
Boscia Luminizing Black Mask sample decant - It seemed to really get out all the gunk, but four hours later my nose pores were exuding oil again. I really don't know what was up with that - I went from being thrilled with it to kind of disappointed, and I'm not sure I'd buy the full size, especially not at high-end prices.

SN Green Goddess mask (tablespoon baggie) - I have one more of these left... Anyway, this is pretty good if you don't add too much water. It smells minty and the herbs feel nice exfoliating when you rinse it off. I like it better than the Aztec clay masks, which always seemed to clog my sink drains and dry out my skin.

ELF clear mascara - I'd used this exclusively for my brows, and it worked for that. I like how it had two sides, so I could keep one side uncontaminated until I was out of the other side. I noticed no difference in the efficacy of the "brows" side vs. the "lash" side. I also don't think this would do anything for lashes. I might buy this again, because a buck is hard to beat.

130 items gone
46 full size items gone

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Non-makeupey post

Day 18 of detox - and I want to buy stuff!

Onto some more products that I'm trying to use up - anyone have any ideas what to do with bright pink other than use it with a highlight shade and black liner?

I have cramps today that are pissing me off.

And my thesis is pissing me off.

But at least I can read and write in two languages, so I should quit beefin' and feel blessed, but I need to get this damn project done so I can be ready for teacher training this summer. I am going to be having some intense experiences.

And I made potato-leek soup, and that was good.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Used it!

-Fyrinnae Nijiro mini. Yes, I will buy this again, in full size. It's a really great warm ivory with rainbow sparkles. Can't complain!

-Aromaleigh Calendula (red with green duochrome). Can't buy again - did recently swap for UD Lounge, though, which is similar but more opaque. Love the color.

-Stila Kitten shadow sample card. I can see why everyone loves this shade so much. That said, I think it's a bit overpriced for what it is, especially since you get so much more of a very similar color in theBalm's MaryLou Manizer.

-UD Midnight Cowboy/Flipside sample card. First experience with Urban Decay's glitter problem. Yikes! I didn't have enough of Flipside to tell if I liked the opacity or not, but I did like the color. It wasn't special enough to get full size, at least not at full price.

-Too Faced Primed and Poreless sample. This stuff isn't bad - it seems to help more than other primers I've tried. I probably won't buy a full size, though, because I wasn't wowed by it. It has been helping my frankenfoundation look good (I mixed three products I didn't like much on their own, and it's turned out to be a relatively decent face base).

ES project pan - 8 gone - 4/8
Lip project pan - 5 gone - 1/5

127 items gone
45 full size items gone

contest winner!

Here are all the valid entries, in order of appearance.
I went to random.org, plugged in 1-11, and got... 3!

Skulda, congratulations! I'll be in touch.

1. Jill
2. Jill
3. Skulda
4. Lace Escapades
5. Dragonfly Accessories
6. Dragonfly Accessories
7. Ki
8. Hadia
9. Lauren
10. Gunmetal27
11. Gunmetal27

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Detox update, contest update

Day 15 - I went to Sephora yesterday later to get my free shower gel (it's my birthday, it's my birthday!!!), and got some free sample decants of a few things (mostly eye primers). I did not break out any money!!!

Friday, I looked at the CVS beauty section - it was kind of freeing to not have my wallet on me at the time (we were on a walk, and the man needed some stuff for himself). Nothing really jumped out like "Buy me!!!" I think I really have exhausted all my drugstore product desires - there's some new WnW stuff coming out that I'd like, but it's not going to be available in the next few weeks anyway. Nail polish box is full - can't get more of that. I have enough foundations to last a couple years, yeah.

Turns out a local Clinique counter is having an event where I can get some free stuff if I come in for a color matching thingy - and I like the free, so I might do that.

Still have not gotten to picking a winner. I promise I will, soon, though!

Off to celebrate putting another stressful year in the past. :)