Not Martha

a peek inside my makeup box

It’s been way too long since I said I’d share more of my favorite makeup. Oops. There is a bright side though, I can say I still find these products to be my favorites. Earlier I wrote about which products I keep in my bag, the following are the ones I have at home and use on a semi-regular basis:

Too Faced Shadow Insurance – Eye makeup doesn’t stand a chance on me unless I’m using eyeshadow primer. This works great and doesn’t add any shimmer (an enemy of mine when it comes to the eyes). A tiny bit goes a long way and this lasts me for a long time.

MAC Eyeshadow – I find these to have plenty of pigment and stay well. Most often I use Omega (light brown) for the crease, Carbon (black) as eyeliner and Print (medium gray) to smudge it out.

Wet n Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow – I read a lot about Wet n Wild eyeshadow, that the quality and pigment load for the price was great. I’ve bought a few sets and I do like the pigment but it’s all got a bit too much shimmer for me. I keep these to use one peach or one light pink color on my lids. I probably won’t seek these out again but it is an inexpensive way to play around with a lot of different colors.

Smashbox Photo Finish Light Primer – This is a light, oil-free foundation primer that does it’s job and doesn’t make me feel like There Is Something On My Face.

L’Oreal Magic Smooth Souffle Foundation – A tiny bit of this smooths on easily and hides my giant pores. It does dry quickly so I work in smaller areas. It can emphasize dry skin but does well with my ever present oily sheen. It doesn’t necessarily require a foundation primer but I usually don’t wear foundation unless it’s going to be a long day so I use it.

Nars Blush – In Orgasm, of course. I really like this for a bit of subtle color. Blah blah blah everybody loves this and I do too.

Sonia Kashuk (Target) in Flamingo – I use this one when I’m going for some bright Irish Lass cheeks. It’s a matte color and I’m really fond of the low profile packaging it’s in.

L’Oreal Voluminous False Fiber Lashes – After reading about it at Girls of a Certain Age I’ve been testing this out and it’s mostly replaced my usual for the time being. I like the drama of this but it can go spidery on me if I overload it. It plays nicely with my sunscreen and eye cream and doesn’t flake or smudge.

Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture in #001 – I thought I had talked about this already but apparently I only did over at Flickr. This is a powerful matte bright red that isn’t too blue and isn’t too coral and works with my cool-pale skin. I found this when I needed my first ever red lipstick and was hovering around the makeup section at Nordstrom being fiercely ignored by the people at the MAC counter when a kindly YSL lady pulled me into a quiet chair and applied this. I kept looking in mirrors for the rest of the day. I love it. I use an eyeshadow primer around the edges of my lips and apply this using a lip brush.

NYX Jumbo Lip Pencils – I’ve seen these recommended a lot and I have to say I like them too. I find them easier to apply than a tube of lipstick, and they fit well in a makeup bag if you’re taking it with you. I like Chaos (724), which is a dark pink that isn’t too Barbie-pink.

Coach Poppy Flower – My current favorite perfume. I only wish that it came in a single roller ball instead of a double-headed roller ball because I’m convinced it’s going to break in my luggage when I travel and then everything is going to smell like the other perfume which I don’t like very much.

Makeup brushes – You hear this advice all the time but I didn’t really know how much of a difference it would make for me: invest in good makeup brushes. They make a huge difference in how even the cheapest makeup goes on. I have some brushes from Target that are often recommended in beauty magazines but they aren’t nearly as good as the MAC brushes I’ve invested in and the Target brushes have been relegated to blending brushes. Here are the brushes I use most often:

  • MAC 266, a fine angled brush I use as an eyeliner brush.
  • MAC 242, I use to press eyeshadow into the crease.
  • MAC 217, I use to blend my crease color.
  • MAC 224, a big fluffy brush I use when there is a larger field of color to be applied.
  • Bobbi Brown Ultra Fine Eyeliner Brush, comes to a tiny point and is great for adding a very thin line to the base of the lashes.
  • Sephora 60, a retractable lip brush. I couldn’t apply red lipstick without this. It stays nice and neat in a bag.

· comments [18] · 02-26-2013 · categories:beauty ·

Curly Girl hair and what products I’m using now

I’ve written about the Curly Girl hair method before. (If you want to know more I’ve included links below.) I have wavy hair at best, I’m 2A on the hair types chart over at Naturally Curly. My hair is fine and limp and I have often cursed the lords of genetics for it. It resisted all attempts at being styled with heat and sprays and I basically gave up until I read about the Curly Girl method and decided to give it a try. A few years back I started getting my hair cut to enhance the curl as much as possible and started using curl friendly products. And it worked! My hair looks better! Not awesome, but better.

I’d been trying various non-silicone styling products for curly hair and nothing was quite right. Most were too heavy for me, some didn’t last. Then my stylist suggested I try Kevin Murphy Undressed Fiber Paste. Pastes are usually tragic and heavy on me, but this? I really really like. It’s become the sole product I need to put in my hair. It contains a water soluble silicone so I can continue to use my Curly Girl approved Tea Tree shampoo and conditioner from Trader Joe’s (which I wrote about previously). The Undressed paste is heavy enough that I do shampoo my hair more often then I used to, about ever other day, and I always do the conditioner wash thing.

more about the Curly Girl thing

The Curly Girl thing was started by Lorraine Massey who has a book Curly Girl: The Handbook that explains all. The basic idea is to avoid silicones in conditioners and styling products and sulfates in shampoos. The silicones are too heavy for curly hair, you need sulfates to wash them out and sulfates are too drying on curly hair. If you’d like to learn more see these starting points and further explanations at the Naturally Curly forums. The Naturally Curly site and forums are the best place to find out more and compare products and hair types, and my hair stylist even asked if I knew about them already.

My friend Noemi (whose curly hair I am desperately jealous of) recently wrote two fantastic posts about she treats her curly hair and the curly hair of her young daughter: Help! My Kid Has Curly Hair! and Wait. I Have Curly Hair Too. Noemi uses the popular Deva Curl shampoo and conditioner (which I’ve found too heavy for my hair), and she links to curly hair styling products you can find at Target.

If you have wavy or straightish hair that is a bit frizzy and resists all attempts at styling it I encourage you to look into the Curly Girl method. You might be one of us.

· comments [33] · 01-30-2013 · categories:beauty ·

links: beauty

The Temporary Polka Dot Tights Trick | Say Yes to Hoboken.

Concealers: you asked, I answered – Girls of a Certain Age.

Five beauty products you only ever need to buy at the drugstore – Girls of a Certain Age.

Dry shampoo recommendations | Ask MetaFilter. I’ve also found that the Suave brand clogs after two uses.

How do you who go bare-legged in pumps do it without turning your feet into raw hamburger? | Ask MetaFilter. Ugh, me too. I cannot even tolerate flats without socks. The advice here includes lots of great product comparisons.

· comments [2] · 01-2-2013 · categories:beauty · links ·

party nails

I cannot keep a regular manicure nice. No matter how careful I am it’ll be smudged before I even attempt to touch anything. So when I need my nails to look nice (not very often) I get a shellac manicure because they are Megan-proof. I even found a salon here in Seattle that plays episodes of Modern Family so I don’t get bored. (Julep, ladies, good place.) I realize that getting a manicure is supposed to be relaxing but the first two times I got a shellac manicure I nearly fell asleep because of the soothing music and nothing at all to look at, which just made me cranky.

When I don’t require heavy duty pretty nails (again, not very often) I have come to love nail polish strips, aka nail stickers. They are a little fussy to apply but when done well they will last a week on me and, most importantly, I cannot smudge them. I have mostly used the Sally Hansen ones that can be found in drug stores. They come in patterns (some questionable) and only a few solid colors. (Last I looked it seemed the solid colors are going away? Which, eh, they were never that great anyhow. Except for the neon ones.)

I usually go for the muted gold (Raise A Glass) but for parties, like the holiday parties I’m headed to this weekend, I get to pull out the glitter! Every time I have used this particular gold glitter version I get compliments from people. At least they seem like compliments, I hope it’s not actually comments because glitter nails seem so out of place on me. Which they so totally are. I find it’s easier to remove these than two layers of glitter polish. I also value the ability for these to be applied just before you need to leave, because honestly I’m terrible at planning ahead.

· comments [26] · 12-20-2012 · categories:beauty ·

links: beauty

Beauty Tips, Hairstyles, Makeup Tutorials and Reviews | Beautylish. There is so much here, I will see you in a week or so when I’ve watched it all. Via Angry Chicken.

Home made tendskin recipe at Makeup Talk. Via Ask Metafilter.

Sarah’s 5 Minute Makeup Routine! – The Sarah James Show – Episode 5 – YouTube. She likes my favorite mascara too!

The girl we all wanna be – Girls of a Certain Age. Kim France on Andrea Linett’s new fashion memoir: “Anyone who came of age in the late 70s and early 80s—or whose universes were in any way altered by The Brooke Book, Fiorucci, Bow Wow Wow, Sun-In or Leif Garret —will be utterly charmed.”

· comments [0] · 09-21-2012 · categories:beauty · links ·

a peek inside my makeup bag

I always like seeing what is inside other people’s makeup bags. Here is what I carry with me in my purse, my regular makeup routine includes a few more products than this but these are the smaller items that I bring with me as a sort of security blanket. I rarely find myself reapplying makeup while I’m out but it calms my inner neurotic just knowing that I could if I needed to.

Covergirl Lash Perfection mascara in very black – I have tried lots of pricey mascaras and lots of drugstore mascaras and the Covergirl brand is the only one that doesn’t run or flake on me. If I’m running out the house and I only have time to apply one product I will chose mascara every time, my natural lashes are blond and invisible.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Tinted Brow Gel in Espresso – Along with my pale lashes I have pale eyebrows. My father is a redhead and I inherited the eyebrows but not the beautiful red hair to match. (Grumble.) I’ve never gotten the hang of filling in my eyebrows using a pencil or powder, I just don’t have the knack, but I can apply this eyebrow gel, it goes on like mascara. I apply it against the direction of my eyebrows, let it dry and then use a clean mascara brush to push everything back into place. Love it.

Tarte emphasEYES inner rim brightener – This light peach eyeliner is supposed to make you look more awake and draw attention up to the eyes and I swear it works. I truly never thought I’d be somebody who puts eyeliner on my waterline, when I was in high school that was something the bad girls did. After this I might just try it with colorful eyeliners.

Benefit Eye Bright – This is a pale pink crayon of light diffusing magic particles, or something like that. I have a few different products meant to be dabbed in the inner corners of the eyes, this is the one that is least likely to leak so its the one I bring with me. I love how these types of things make me look more awake when I’m applying them in my mirror but I honestly cannot tell if they make much of a difference out in the world.

Benefit Bad Gal waterproof eyeliner in very black – I find it easier to use a small slanted brush to apply eyeshadow as a liner but in the summer months I’ve been finding that the shadow flakes. Enter the waterproof eyeliner. I find it frustrating to apply but it’s been staying in place. This one comes with a spongey end so you can smudge the liner if you’d like.

Unknown concealer – Once all the lettering has worn off the tube it’s probably time to get a new one huh?

Clinique Pore Refining Solutions Instant Pefector – A lightweight and slightly tinted cream that does a great job of hiding the giant pores on my nose and chin. It’s expensive but one little tube lasts me many months. This is my third tube. I like it but I’m not convinced it stays on long enough to allow me to be really enthusiastic over it. I might try Benefit’s Porefessional next. I wish that these type of highly siliconed balms worked better. Or I with that the whipped foundations that feel the same had a bit less pigment in them and were less drying. Or something. Please, makeup world, create the perfect product for me!

MAC Creamsheen lipstick in Speak Louder – I love this bright pink color but I do find the formula a little drying. I don’t wear it daily but I do keep it with me in case I need to look a bit fancier than I feel.

Sephora retractable lip brush – I’m terrible at applying lipstick right from the tube so I take the time to use a lip brush. This retractable one stays tidy.

Tweezerman mini cuticle nippers – I talked about these earlier. I hate hangnails.

Muji tweezers – These are, you know, tweezers. I keep them with me just in case something sprouts. Have you noticed that the best light for observing your stray eyebrow hairs is when you’re sitting in a car looking into the visor mirror. I don’t pluck in the car but, still, it’s the best light.

Blotting Tissues – It seems to be getting harder to find plain blotting tissues that don’t have aloe or lavender powder or something. These are from Ulta.

Oversized button mirror – This is decorated with vintage wallpaper. I bought it at Urban Craft Uprising but I cannot remember who was selling them. I love it and will shed tears on the day that I inevitably step on it or run it over with my bicycle tire.

Not shown: My favorite lip balm (Blistex Herbal Answer, or my tragically dwindling supply of tiny tubes of untinted Prada balm) and lip gloss (MAC in Cultured).

· comments [34] · 07-23-2012 · categories:beauty ·

thing I like: Tea Tree Tingle conditioner from Trader Joe’s

Trader Joes Tea Tree Tingle shampoo, conditioner and body wash

Last year I started washing my wavy hair using a modified Curly Girl method*. In short: I avoid harsh shampoos that contain sulfates as well as conditioners that contain silicones, which can be too heavy for my hair type. I wash my hair with conditioner on a daily basis and only shampoo about once a week. It’s been remarkably great for my hair.

When I started researching appropriate shampoos and conditioners the Tea Tree Tingle line from Trader Joe’s was one that came recommended in the Naturally Curly forums. I have been using them ever since. Apparently they are made by a famous salon (I have no idea which) and are just as good as their pricey counterparts.

I had read about people not shampooing their hair for years but I have oily hair and didn’t pay much attention because I figured that wouldn’t be an option for me. It turns out that you can scrub your hair and scalp using conditioner, rather than shampoo, and get everything clean without drying out your hair because conditioners have enough surfectants in them to carry away oils and dirt. This technique has been especially great when I shower in the morning and work out in the afternoon and need to wash my hair again, my hair emerges clean and nice smelling and I don’t have to worry about it drying out. And, I have to admit, there is something very freeing about being able to pile my head full of stuff and massage away like I’m an Herbal Essences commercial. It’s so anti all the “use a very little shampoo and only at the roots of the hair and only a little conditioner but for the love of all that is holy only at the ends of your hair or dire consequences!!!1!” that I was taught in the 90s.

I do use a good amount of conditioner to work through my scalp and down to the ends of my (currently too long) hair so I buy half a dozen bottles at a time but at $4 each it works out to the same amount as a fancy product. Yay!

I’ve included the Tea Tree Tingle body wash in the photo above because it is really easy to confuse the bottle with the other two because, you know, Trader Joe’s is bustling and crowded and it can means you grab what you think is the thing and just want and get the hell outta there without noting that the transparent color of the top of the bottle is slightly less transparent than the bottle you meant to buy. I bought this bottle of body wash by mistake but I have to admit it’s made a great hand soap when diluted and put into a foaming hand soap bottle.

* (To read more about the Curly Girl method read this great wrap up by Laura Lee as well as this list of introductory articles and this recap of method and terms at the Naturally Curly forums.)

Do you have an curly/wavy hair tips? Any products that work great? Please do share, I can use the help!

· comments [39] · 07-16-2012 · categories:beauty · shopping ·

links: beauty

6 Must-Know Lipstick Tricks | Say Yes to Hoboken.

Bikini Kill: DIY Wax Recipes for Hippie Hair Removal – GOOD.

Finding the right bra size and best fit | MetaFilter. So much information here.

The Beauty Department: Homemade Lip Stain.

Design Crush » NYX. This is the second recommendation I’ve seen from a friend for the NYX lipstick pencil, I’ll have to go try them out for myself soon.

· comments [6] · 06-18-2012 · categories:beauty · links ·

thing I like: mini cuticle nipper

small cuticle nippers

I hate hangnails. Haaate them. I’ve been carrying cuticle nippers in my bag since college and my favorite are these mini cuticle nippers made by Tweezerman. They are slim, lightweight and I’ve never been asked to remove them from my luggage when I fly. They come in a small kit of tools but the nippers themselves have a tight fitting rubber cap so you can just slip them in your bag and won’t have to worry about anything being scratched.

Tweezerman also makes two slim larger sized nippers: the Squeeze-n-Snip, which has pink accents, and the Squeeze + Snip Ultra, which is stainless steel. These larger ones are about 4 inches long where the mini ones are 3 inches, about the size of tweezers, and are quite a bit lighter weight.

If they ever stop making the mini ones I will kick myself for not buying backups. They are available at Tweezerman, Sephora, Ulta and Amazon.

· comments [5] · 05-17-2012 · categories:beauty ·

links: beauty

The Beauty Department: Gold Leaf Manicure.

The Best Generic Beauty Products You Should Know About – Makeup, Skin Care & Hair – MSN Lifestyle. I’m looking specifically at the Umberto Beverly Hills Volumizer Thickening Spray from Target that they recommend here.

What are your favorite eyeshadow/makeup tutorials? | Ask MetaFilter. The answers here hit all of my favorites and all the ones recommended by friends.

The Audrey Hepburn Makeover | The Hairpin. This makeover cues my eyebrow envy. I saw a very eyebrow-y Greek preteen with her whole Greek family last week, she was striking but seemed very awkward and I immediately made up a whole story where she grows very tall in the next year and ends up as a famous model by age 19 and eventually succumbs to drugs only to hit rehab and be a Bond girl in her mid-twenties. I may have been overthinking it.

Fallen Princess: Andrea Linett Book Alert!. Oooh, my favorite Sassy editor tells me about another Sassy writer’s upcoming book. I hug the internet while at the same time wishing it would make more money for everybody.

Are Crest White Strips worth it? | Ask MetaFilter. I refuse to give up coffee and red wine, so teeth whitening will be a part of what I do.

how to manicure at home – Petit Elefant. I’m so bad about keeping my cuticles oiled up, but Allison gives me hope that I will be able to do justice to an at home manicure.

My 12-year-old wants to get her ears pierced, and I’m wondering about the pros and cons of having it done at a doctor’s office versus at the mall. | Ask MetaFilter. I had my uneven ears pierced unevenly at a mall when I was 11 and the result is a 1/4-inch difference. After having my ears re-pierced at a body piercing shop a few years ago I agree with the majority of this thread and would recommend a piercing place many times over a mall place, edgy shop appearance and all.

Spa Week is next week, April 16th to 20th. I never thought I’d be a spa person but getting a massage (that I paid for) at Camp Mighty last year and having a half massage/half moisturizing treatment at Penterra Spa in Kirkland (WA) this week (which was soooooo good and, full disclosure, complimentary) I think I’m gonna have to admit I’m a convert. During Spa Week you can get $50 treatments which is a nice bargain. If you’re on the fence I encourage you to try it while the price is good. Which is next week so get on that!

· comments [11] · 04-13-2012 · categories:beauty · links ·

links: beauty

Has anyone used Splat Washables Hair Dye? It says it washes out with shampoo. Does it? | Ask MetaFilter. The person asking tested it and it looks like it works surprisingly well, filing this for Halloween.

Hidden gems at the market | Ask MetaFilter. A question about what unassuming products are overlooked but work really well. I adore that the Queen Helene mint clay mask is mentioned, it’s one of the first products I ever talked about on this site. I used to use it back in high school.

Pretty me up, on the cheap! – drugstore makeup treasures | Ask MetaFilter. Great suggestions in here.

The Mascara Championships: Part One | Nothing But Bonfires. Yay! My go-to drugstore mascara, Cover Girl LashBlast, is #3!

DIY: Easy Skin Toner at Design Mom. Oh my gosh, so easy! So cheap! I’m going to try this.

stylist with “curly scissors” in Southern New Jersey | Ask MetaFilter. Answers include lots of recommendations for a Deva Curl trained stylist.

How to make lip scrub at home at Petite Elefant.

· comments [6] · 03-6-2012 · categories:beauty · links ·

seeking pink lipstick recommendations

MAC pink lipstick in Speak Louder

If you have a favorite bright pink lipstick I’d love to hear about it. The one pictured above is MAC Speak Louder and I love the color but find the formula a bit too drying for me, so something a bit moisturizing focused would be a plus. I’m headed out to try on Hair Thursday‘s recommendation of Dior Addict lipstick in Dior Kiss. While I’m asking I’d also love to hear if you have a go-to brand that I should focus on. Thanks!

· comments [71] · 01-13-2012 · categories:beauty ·

links: beauty

Dior Addict Lip Polish in Fresh Shine : Hair Thursday. I think it’s time I found some new lip gloss, and with such an enthusiastic recommendation I know where to start.

Advice for dying hair silver | Ask MetaFilter. I myself don’t have any additional silver haired needs but there are lots of good links to advice and techniques in this thread.

The Guide to Bold Lipsticks | The Hairpin. Good advice on how to prep yourself to shop for bright lipsticks. Note: video.

exfoliation 101: the face | Ask MetaFilter. This is a question from somebody with very sensitive skin and while the responses cover the whole spectrum there is a lot of good information here.

How to carrot facial at Petite Elefant. Simple and fresh as can be.

· comments [4] · 12-14-2011 · categories:beauty · links ·

links: beauty

The Big Hair Tutorial | The Hairpin.

I do okay when it comes to doing my makeup and hair, but I pale in comparison to the girls at my university who are able to come to class fully dolled up. What am I missing? | Ask MetaFilter. Lots of great pointers in the thread on where to learn girl skills.

Are there any skin care products that have actually been proven to be effective in the “battle against aging skin”? | Ask MetaFilter.

travel face wash | Petit Elefant. Brilliant! Dry face cloths don’t need to count as one of your liquids in carry-on. So simple yet something that I didn’t think of.

· comments [7] · 10-17-2011 · categories:beauty · links ·

adventures in getting my nails done

my feet at the mall

I recently got a manicure and a pedicure for the first time ever. It was pretty darn exciting. After I found myself walking back through the mall to my car wearing the disposable flip flops you see above since I didn’t wear the right shoes. It felt like doing a sort of walk of shame. Has this ever happened to anybody else? Or just me? Why do these things seem to happen to me? I got a regular pedicure and managed to smudge it later that day. Still, the pedicure is still going strong a month or so later.

shellac manicure, shiny!

Here is the manicure shortly after I got it. Shiny!

Since I know how clumsy I am I got a shellac manicure (they didn’t offer it for a pedicure, but I would have done that too). Shellac is awesome. I left the nail place with it shiny and set and two and a half weeks later it was still just as shiny. I only had it taken off because it had grown out to the point that a lot of my nail beds were showing and my nails were longer than they had been since high school. Know what? My shellac manicure lasted through the flooded basement incident and all the moving of furniture and fabric and books and stuff that that entailed, all without my then freakishly long nails breaking. If I could constantly have a shellac manicure I would but I’ve read too many accounts of frequent application and, more likely, removal destroying the health of your nails. So I’ll keep it for special occasions when I know I’ll need my nails to look great for a long stretch of time.

shellac manicure, still shiny!

Here is the shellac manicure that is two and a half weeks old. Still shiny! But pretty dramatically grown out.

One note about the shellac manicure: After they have applied the color and the top coat and your nails have been in and out of the UV lights between each step there is one last thing they need to do, which is wipe away the tacky top layer to reveal the very shiny and hard finished manicure. Of course when I was getting my nails did I didn’t know that so I sat though the whole thing and when I thought it was done I was admiring the finish and, oh horror, smudged a nail. I nearly cried until the nice nail lady came back and showed me that they just weren’t quite done yet. My drama might have inspired the “please take these flip flops and get out of here as quickly as possible thanks” thing that happened.

silver and spider web nail polish strips

Image taken by Vellumblue, as seen over at Flickr. Thanks for letting me borrow it!

And last weekend I tried those nail polish sticker things. I had my doubts but they’re great so far. Pretty easy to apply and none of that carefully waiting for it to dry stuff that I’m so bad at. These were Halloween themed Sally Hansen Nail Polish Strips. The mini bottle of whiskey that I’m clutching here is a different story altogether.

· comments [31] · 10-11-2011 · categories:beauty ·