Monday, November 7, 2016

MAC Lipstick Collection

My MAC Lipstick Collection + Lip Swatches

I remember when I got my first MAC lipstick. I spent a good 45 minutes at the computer, switching between the MAC website and Google image search trying to compare shades and figure out which one I would like best. I finally settled on Brave, which was and still is my favorite lipstick of all time. The formula of the satin finish lipstick was perfect for me - if I could make my own lipstick, it would pretty much be the same as a MAC satin finish lipstick. And the first color I made would probably be identical to Brave. The only thing I'm not particularly fond of is the classic MAC lipstick vanilla scent, although it has grown on me.

Left to Right: Brave, Finally Free, Twig, Craving
As you can see, I've used Brave a lot. I've never actually finished a lipstick before but I'm pretty sure I'll end up finishing Brave in the next year. And I will absolutely repurchase it. Finally Free is a cremesheen, and it was made with Caitlyn Jenner. At the time I purchased it, 100% of the purchase price went to the MAC AIDS Fund Transgender Initiative, which is the main reason I bought it (I do like the color though). I'm not entirely sure if that's still the case but I do know that as of when I post this it's still available. Twig, a satin finish, is actually quite similar to Finally Free but less glossy. Craving is an amplified finish, which is almost like a more pigmented cremesheen finish to me.

Left to Right: Russian Red, The Fashion Flock, "O"
Russian Red is a matte finish. It's my perfect red - matte, blue-toned, and intense. The Fashion Flock is a matte, and it was limited edition so it's no longer available, at least not through MAC. I don't think it's worth trying to get on eBay or a blog sale though, which I will explain in more detail in the lip swatch section. "O" is my newest MAC lipstick, and it's a frost finish. I would never have gotten it if I hadn't swatched it myself in-store, because in the tube it just looks like a shimmery dark brown, which is pretty but not what I prefer on myself. When you swatch it, though, it's really a lovely purple shade with lots of copper and gold shimmer.


Brave (Satin Finish)
Like I've mentioned a couple times already in this post, and excessively in past posts, Brave is my favorite lipstick. If I had to choose one lipstick to wear the rest of my life, it would be this one. Brave is one of those shades that looks good on pretty much everyone. It's not quite a nude, but it's not quite a pink or purple either. It looks different depending on the lighting, but it generally looks like a mid-tone mauve.

Finally Free (Cremesheen)
This shade is another universally flattering one in my opinion. It is a bit more sheer than Brave is, though, so it may look different on you depending on how pigmented your lips are. When I bought it 100% of the purchase price went to the MAC AIDS Fund Trangender Initiative, but I'm not sure if that's still the case. You can still get it though, so if you like it then it's available as of posting.

Twig (Satin)
I wanted a brown lipstick, but I knew most brown lipsticks weren't all that flattering on me, so I went for Twig after seeing some swatches online. It's a lovely rosy brown color that I think looks nice on me. I don't wear it nearly as often as I should.

Craving (Amplified)
Craving is another one I don't wear as often as I should. It's kind of a plum shade, but a little more brown than I would expect from a plum color. I think it's a great fall shade.

Russian Red (Matte)
If you like blue-toned reds, this is for you. It's also highly pigmented, which is an essential quality for a red lipstick in my opinion. And it's matte, which is my preferred finish for bright and bold lipsticks so they don't bleed as easily. Those things as well as how long-wearing it is make this my favorite red lipstick.

The Fashion Flock (Matte)
The camera doesn't show enough detail for it to be obvious here, but it is in real life - this is the patchiest and streakiest lipstick I've used in a long time. And it's a shame, because the color is bright and eye-catching and gorgeous. Even if my lips are in perfect condition, no chapping or cracking at all, this lipstick clings to every tiny little dry patch. You will be able to see every little line and crack in your lips if you wear this. I was so disappointing by this one, especially because it looked like the perfect bright spring shade and I needed one. It was limited edition, so it is no longer available.

"O" (Frost)
I was at the MAC counter in the Macy's in a mall when I first discovered this one. I almost didn't even swatch it because it just didn't look like something I would wear, but I'm so glad I did. It looks like the average brown lipstick but with some shimmer if you just see it in the tube, but when you swatch it, there's way more to it. It's a sheer dark purple base that reflects a coppery-gold, and it shifts from more purple to more coppery-gold depending on how the light hits it. Most people would use this as a lipstick topper, and I'll probably do that too, but I'm loving it on its own right now.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Beauty Hygiene

Beauty Hygiene - When to Replace Products, Brush Washing, and More!

When I first got into makeup, I don't think I even knew you were supposed to wash your brushes. Luckily I found out pretty quickly (thank you so much, YouTube tutorials!), but I never came across a good general guide on makeup and beauty hygiene. I wanted to make this post so that maybe somebody who is new to makeup can find everything they need to know in one place. Some of these tips include science and even medical-y stuff, and I am not a doctor or scientist, so please just see them as guidelines. If you want to be certain of something here, make sure to do your research and possibly ask a professional. I will list all of my sources of information at the end of the post.

Makeup Sponges - Cleaning, Replacement, and Storage.

Does anybody else remember the huge freakout that happened when a girl found bugs in her Beauty Blender? I do, and I still refuse to watch the video itself because I would never use a makeup sponge again. I was horrified that the same could happen to me, until I read a couple articles explaining why it probably never will. To avoid bugs in your sponge (which is still rare either way; mold is more likely), you need to store it properly. Your sponge should be stored somewhere with good lighting and ventilation, and it should preferably be a cool temperature. This is because those things are all the opposites of what mold likes - anywhere warm, damp, or humid can encourage mold growth. Mold also likes to grow in dark places. So if you put your sponge into your makeup drawer or in a makeup bag after cleaning or use, it's more likely to grow mold. I like to store my sponges on top of my IKEA Alex 9-drawer unit in my room, since it's always a bit cool in the colder months, and my windows provide good light. Your main worry should be mold, not bugs - I've only heard a handful of stories about bugs, and a lot of people are skeptical of whether they're true.

As for cleaning, you can go about it a number of ways. If you get a sponge from a well-known brand, there's a good chance they have instructions specific to their sponge on their website. In general, though, you can wash pretty much any sponge the same way. I plan to do a brush & sponge washing post soon, which will be more detailed, but here are the basics; wet the sponge, making sure to fully saturate it. Squeeze out most of the excess water, then use the soap you have chosen (I use a bar of Zote Soap, but I used to use baby shampoo) to clean it by either pouring a small amount onto the sponge and massaging it in (liquid), or rubbing the sponge on the soap and working the soap throughout the sponge (bar). Massage the sponge gently to work the soap through the whole thing, being careful not to rip or tear it. Put the sponge under running water and squeeze it (not too roughly) so that the soap and old makeup starts to rinse away. You may have to repeat these steps a few times until the water runs clear. Once you're done, squeeze out as much excess water as you can using a dry towel or washcloth. Store it properly.

When it comes to how often you replace your sponge, the general rule is at least every 3 months. I am very guilty of not replacing my sponges often enough, and I know that a lot of other people are too. Whether you replace them every three months or not, if your sponge starts to grow mold, throw it out immediately. Please don't put mold on your face. It's generally not a good idea.

Brush Care and Cleaning

Good quality brushes are an investment. If I pay $20 for a brush, I want it to last a while. I expect expensive brushes to be better quality than inexpensive ones, but if they aren't taken care of properly, expensive brushes will break and shed just as fast as inexpensive ones. The main things that I find ruin brushes the fastest are improper storage while they dry and being washed too roughly. If you store brushes with the bristles up while they're still wet, water will run down the ferrule (the metal part where the bristles are glued to the handle) and loosen the glue, causing shedding. If too much hair sheds, the brush won't be usable anymore. While you're washing a brush, it can be tempting to scrub it really hard to get it super clean and get deeper into the brush. Do not do that. It can bend and break bristles, ruining the shape of the brush. This is even more important when it comes to sparse, flimsy brushes like fan brushes. A dense brush with a stiffer shape, such as a flat-top foundation brush, can withstand a little more intense cleaning.

Like I mentioned in the sponge section, I plan to do a brush & sponge washing post soon that will go into detail. The basics of washing your brushes are similar to the basics of washing sponges; wet the bristles of the brush, holding the brush at a downward angle and attempting not to get too much water on the ferrule or handle. If you use bar soap (my favorite is Zote Soap), gently rub the brush on the soap a couple times. If you're using liquid soap (if you go this route, I would recommend baby shampoo, but a gentle hand soap can work as well), squeeze a bit into your hand and rub the brush in it, or have a small container of it to dip the brushes into. If you're just starting out, you can use the palm of your hand to (gently!) scrub the brush. If you can, though, I recommend getting something textured to rub the brush on instead so it gets a bit deeper into the bristles. I use this brush cleaning egg a lot, and it's only a dollar. Once you've worked the soap on the brush into a lather, rinse it under lukewarm water. Always use lukewarm water if possible, too cold won't work as well but too hot can damage the bristles. For most eye brushes and powder face brushes, you probably won't have to do this more than once for the water to run clear. Foundation and concealer brushes can take a few times to truly be clean.

To dry the brushes, it's best to find a way to store them bristles down so no water gets into the ferrule. This isn't realistic for most people, though, so lying them on their sides either on a towel or over the edge of the counter is fine. How often you need to wash your brushes can vary depending on how often you use them, but a good rule is at least once a month. I need to clean mine once a week most of the time since I wear makeup and play around with it a lot. If you have a lot of brushes, then you may not need to clean all of them every week or two weeks, since you can use a different brush of one is too dirty.

Replacing Makeup

Some products, like powders, can last years before they even show signs of going bad. But things like mascara need to be replaced very regularly to avoid infection and illness. Generally speaking, powder products last longer than liquids or creams. If you ask me, the most important thing to replace regularly is mascara. If you use an expired foundation, you might get a breakout or rash. But if you use an expired mascara, you can get pinkeye. I would like to avoid both of those things, but I would rather deal with a breakout than pinkeye. Most products will have a symbol somewhere on the packaging that looks like this:
Image Source
Inside of this symbol you will see a number followed by the letter "M". The M stands for months, and the number is how many months you can use the product after opening. Some products will have an actual expiration date, but that's pretty rare. Some mascaras will say six months, but it's usually best to replace it every three. And if it smells bad, has changed consistency, or you can see obvious separation or mold growth, toss it. You wouldn't eat food if you noticed any of those things had happened to it, so why would you wear lipstick that has those problems? You may not ingest as much, but it can still make you sick. Plus it just feels really gross to know there's mold or bad bacteria on your face.

Final Thoughts + Sources

This post really only covers a few basic things, so please let me know if you would like me to cover something else in a future post! As with any other post involving health and hygiene, make sure to do your own research too - I did a good amount of research for this post and tried to use only sources that I knew were reliable, but that doesn't mean I didn't miss something important or leave something else relevant out unintentionally. I will list my sources for this post below, organized by which of the issues covered they relate to.

Makeup Sponges: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Brush Care: 1, 2
Makeup Replacement: 1, 2
Please Note: The Zote Soap linked in the sponge section is much cheaper in store, less than a dollar sometimes!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Moon Child Glow Kit Review

ABH Moon Child Glow Kit Review + Swatches

I have never bought a high end highlight palette (or even a single high end highlight for that matter) until I heard about this palette. Anastasia Beverly Hills is a brand I'm not all that familiar with, but as soon as I saw the packaging and what was inside...

...I fell in love. Intense highlights are my thing, and so is anything duochrome. I know I read somewhere that only three shades are technically duochromes, but I've been trying to find which ones they are and can't seem to find an answer. All of them seem duochrome to me, and either way they're all gorgeous! From what I can tell, this palette will be permanent, but I heard it was limited edition a bit after it came out, so I can't confirm that. Most places I look seem to be saying it's permanent, which I hope is true, because if it's not I need to buy a backup! The palette is $40, and you can buy it here.


These are the three shades on the top row. Top to bottom: Blue Ice, Star, and Purple Horseshoe. Unfortunately, my camera and lighting setup doesn't do them justice at all. If you want super intense highlight, it won't be hard to achieve with this palette!

These shades are, from top to bottom: Pink Heart, Lucky Clover, and Blue Moon. This is the bottom row of the palette. Lucky Clover is hands down my favorite shade from this palette. All the shades are unique, but this one is unlike anything I've ever seen - a green highlight that's still wearable for me day-to-day.

Blue Ice is described on the ABH website as "diamond white with an icy blue reflect". I've never used a blue highlight before getting this palette, and I'd never really thought of it as something I would like. I was wrong, though - it's freaking AMAZING.

Star looks like a lovely mint shade in the pan, and that translates onto the cheekbones as well, but in the best possible way. The ABH website describes it as "a moonstone fusion of mint, platinum and silver reflect". This is one of the more 'wearable' highlights in the palette, assuming you aren't as into super bright highlight as me.

Purple Horseshoe has the most small glitters and sparkles of the six, but I really like it that way. You can tell they're there up close, but it works. The ABH website describes it as "a glittering lavender with an arctic blue reflect".

Pink Heart is a lovely highlight, but I also love it as a blush topper. If you use a light hand you can add a pretty pink sheen on top of your blush, which can really pull a whole look together. The ABH website describes this as "pearl white with a pink opal reflect".

Lucky Clover is described on the ABH website as "a shamrock-infused gold with canary yellow diamond reflect". This is my favorite shade in the palette so far - I've never even thought of the idea of a green highlight. I'm glad somebody did, since this is amazing! This shade is the one that convinced me to buy this palette when I still wasn't sure.

Blue Moon is described on the ABH website as "frozen blue with a silver reflect". I go for this one if I want a frosty highlight. I think this is perfect for winter!

My Opinion

I love this palette and I think it's the best highlight palette I've ever seen. If you have very fair skin like me and want an intense highlight, this is for you. I'm not sure if people with darker skin would like it as much, since the highlights themselves are pretty light, but I have seen some pictures on Instagram of these highlights on dark skin and I think they're gorgeous. The formula is amazing, super soft and buttery and pigmented. They have good lasting power, and they look good the whole time rather than fading unevenly or leaving a bunch of sparkles and glitter behind once the color's gone. If you want to make them even more intense than they already are, you can use them wet. I recently tried Purple Horseshoe with some Mac Fix+, and it looked beautiful. One thing to note is that although you can use a light hand, it's still not going to be subtle. I knew that before buying the palette, and that's why I like it. But this probably won't work well for somebody who prefers natural makeup. If you like this palette or want to talk about it, please feel free to leave a comment!