Thursday, October 15, 2015

California: LA, San Francisco & Big Sur


Getting out of my airport shuttle and seeing my friend from home, Caitlin, waiting for me and running towards each other to hug, visiting the Elliott Smith wall and Charles Bukowski's bungalow, speculoos cookie butter and pumpkin toaster pastries from Trader Joe's, Amoeba Records, all you can eat Tacos for $5, appreciating the many beards in baseball, Caitlin's first trip to Disneyland (and my third Disneyland of my holiday), the Halloween themed Haunted House and Space Mountain rides and all the Halloween decorations around the park, staying to watch the 7pm parade because Caitlin had always wanted to see it, pick & mix lollies from Dylan's candy bar, Santa Monica pier, hiring bikes and riding around Venice Beach, pancakes and a chai milkshake for dinner with the lovely miss Valerie at the 101 Coffee Shop!


Thursday, October 08, 2015

Top 5 Powders

It's a little tricky to make a photo of five circles look pretty, but I tried. Continuing on with my Top 5 series, as you may have guessed, these are my top 5 powders. Now I expect a lot from powders, I've got oily skin and need a powder to pull its weight when it comes to oil control without making my skin look horrible and cakey. In my pre-beauty obsessed days the powder I relied on was MAC's Studio Fix which is actually a powder foundation so it has a decent amount of coverage. Good if your makeup tends to wear away throughout the day, but it doesn't really offer the natural, skin-like finish that I'm after these days.

I don't mean to talk down a product that works really well for a lot of people, but a huge priority for me when it comes to makeup is to look like I'm not wearing very much of it. I know that's a bit silly to say considering I wear liquid liner and red lipstick everyday, but what I mean is that my personal preference is to look like I just have really good skin rather than looking flawless but it being obvious that I'm wearing a lot of makeup to get that look.

Powder is one of the biggest offenders when it comes to makeup looking obvious because certain types will sit on top of the skin and look very heavy, and when they mix with your skin's oils over time they become really cakey and I hate the look and the feel of it on my face. It's the bane of the oily-skinned girl's life to try and get the right balance between shininess and the dreaded cake-face. But these five powders work really well for me - if I want to get through a whole day without touching up at all it's got to be the right combination of primer, foundation and powder but these are the ones I reach for most often because they offer decent oil control, are really lightweight and you can reapply them later in the day without too much product building up.

I've done a bit of research on cosmetic ingredients to try to get an idea of why some help control oil and others don't. It's not easy since I'm not a cosmetic scientist, but I've found that the most common ingredients for oil control are talc and silica. A majority of powders have talc in their ingredients list (often right near the top), including all five of these, because it helps absorb oil and acts as an anti-caking agent. Silica based powders are sometimes referred to as "HD powders" because they're so fine and look like nothing on the skin. It's also pretty difficult to tell what will work just from the ingredients because you don't have any information about the quantities used other than a guess based on the order they're listed in. You can't even really always go by the claims of the product because only three of these five actually claim to help control oil and yet I find they all do a pretty good job.

I think at this point my favourite powder ever is Soap & Glory's One Heck of a Blot, which contains both talc and silica. It's super lightweight, never looks cakey and really does a good job with controlling oil, and it feels really smooth and doesn't add any extra coverage as it's just a blot powder. I just need Mecca/Kit Cosmetics to start stocking S&G makeup already or else I'll have to resort to ordering it from eBay when this runs out. My next favourite would probably be the Bourjois Healthy Balance Powder (52 Vanille) which has a touch of colour to it but it's super silky and the silicones in it help to blur your pores and imperfections. This one doesn't have any silica but it contains kaolin pretty high up the inci list which is a type of clay you'll find in a lot of clarifying mud masks which also helps to absorb excess oil.

Rimmel's Stay Matte (001 Transparent) is a classic - it's doesn't have as nice a texture as the others but it's also the most inexpensive of the lot and it has the cheapest packaging with no mirror. Not very handbag friendly and not particularly glamorous but it does the job the way I like it so I really can't fault it. I'm not entirely sure what's going on with the L'oreal True Match Powder (W1 Porcelain) because I bought this one in the round compact in the US but I think in Australia it's sold in square packaging? So I'm not sure if the formula is the same, but the one I have is really soft and smooth and I was surprised by how much I like it. The first two ingredients for this one are talc followed by corn starch which also helps absorb oil. The final one I've included is the Bobbi Brown Sheer Finish Loose Powder (shade 7 White) which is still a talc based formula with silica fourth on the inci list. It's super fine and completely translucent on the face and although loose powders can be a bit of a hassle sometimes I prefer them when I only want a really light dusting of powder, and I've found this is a good one for me. I also tend to prefer loose powders for setting under they eyes as they're harder to go overboard with and I find that area looks really cakey really quickly if you're using the wrong type of powder. If you have any high end or drugstore powders that you think really help absorb oil I'd love to hear what they are!

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Top 5 Blushes

So you may be a little confused about the title of this post, "Top 5 Blushes" when the photo clearly has six blushes in it, but let me explain - I'm an idiot and I couldn't choose! But there are only five formulas here so that's what I'm going with! I thought I'd start a "top 5" series on my blog, (sorry for cheating on the very first one) because I though it would be fun to work my way through my makeup collection and share my favourite products in each category with you guys.

You might notice that I've got a bit of a thing for high end blushes - I tend to think of certain beauty products as being functional or fun. For example, I like my liquid liner to be functional and the same goes for face powder. I want it light, non-cakey and to help control oil and since I know I'm going to use up these products they also tend to be drugstore/more affordable options. Blush on the other hand, is fun. I'm pretty sure if you owned one blush and used it every single day you still wouldn't be able to finish it up in a year, and considering you use so little of it and I never touch it up during the day I feel like it's an area of beauty where the experience of using it is really important.

Whether or not it's a conscious thing, a huge part of the appeal of high end anything (in my opinion) is the experience of using the product or wearing the clothes, etc. It's the way it makes you feel, which is why a lot of people save their high end products or their best clothes for special occasions. But when it's blush, something you're basically never going to finish up anyway, why not treat yourself and use the best stuff every day? Even if you just had three and rotated them they would last you absolutely forever so I really think blush is worth investing in because you're going to get to keep enjoying the experience for far longer than you would with a high end liquid liner or mascara. And also I just love blush.

So of all the ones I've tried, my favourite formulas and the ones that make me feel the most special are these ones. As for the shades, if you couldn't tell I tend to be most excited by bubblegum pinks and warm corals and oranges. I have quite a few NARS blushes but I think the colour that excites me the most (and the first one I bought after the standard Orgasm) is Gaiety. A super bright, blue-based pink that really brightens up the face and looks great on pale skin (though I'm sure it would look great on deeper skin tones too.) Similar but slightly lighter is the Dior Rosy Glow Blush which is meant to be a self-adjusting blush that adapts to your skin tone. Pretty sure it's just going to look like a matte, candy pink on everyone but as I only have one face I can't say for sure. Either way, it's beautiful and these two look really youthful and fresh when applied with a light hand.

Now, who can really go past the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes? This one in Dim Infusion is a gorgeous soft peach that looks really natural on the cheeks and the satin finish leaves your skin with a soft glow. It's decidedly more subdued than the previous two options so this may be more for you if you're not comfortable with wearing super bright blush. As for Tarte's Tipsy, this is the blogger/YouTube favourite contender for the perfect pinky-coral shade. You can see it's got a much warmer tone to it than the NARS or Dior, with an almost reddish base it looks like you have really beautiful, naturally flushed cheeks.

Now for the two I couldn't pick between - Stila's Convertible Colours in Gladiola and Petunia. I realise in the photo that Petunia looks identical to Tarte's Tipsy but in real life it doesn't have the redness to it and it's just the prettiest mid-toned pink you could ever hope to find. As for the bright orange Gladiola, I remember when I was first getting properly into makeup and EssieButton was raving about it and that was the start of my love for orange lips and cheeks. It might sound and look a little scary to some people but you just have to trust me when I say it's seriously beautiful. The formula of these cream blushes is my favourite I've tried so far and the packaging that matches the shade is adorable too.