23 December 2012

What I wore to the end of the world - featuring Geek Chic Cosmetics

Happy Mayan end of the world! Hope you enjoyed many a bottle of La Fin Du Monde!

Yesterday, the eve of the apocalypse, I was going to go to Wedidit's world's-end concert at Echoplex. Due to some poor planning, I ended up sitting in the office until past midnight, playing Civ5 and being alone. But that's not relevant...

Having just received my Geek Chic Cosmetics order the night before (finally!), I decided that was a fitting time to try out my sample of the 'Stay Indoors' eyeshadow from their Geeks vs. Zombies collection--just in case the universe were to spontaneously erupt at midnight, in my arbitrary time zone.

Here's the aforementioned shadow:

Geek Chic Cosmetics - Stay Indoors, sample container. A very dark navy/charcoal.

As you can see, it's quite glittery. At first, I thought that maybe glitter was not a good choice in a survival situation. But glitter reflects light, and according to some interpretations/variations (Alan Wake, etc.) of the generic zombie premise, zombies are susceptible to light--right?
Or maybe that's the vampire apocalypse... I don't even know anymore, dude.

And of course it had to be a zombie apocalypse. What else am I going to do with all this zombie apocalypse gear and specifically-tailored survival-fantasy mental preparation I have?

Here's what I did for my eyes--a dark smokey eye punctuated by glitter:

  1. Applied Urban Decay Cream Eyeshadow in Asphalt to my lids:

    Oh man. This definitely reminded me why I don't touch that tube, ever. It's far too much of a glitter-bomb to use more than one or two times a year (and that time is a sparkle party). Asphalt, compared to the other shades, is also very difficult to work with, as it doesn't apply evenly--a problem compounded by the product somehow managing to dry up during my time away from it.

  2. Filled in my eyebrows with Wet 'n' Wild's ColorIcon pencil in Mink Brown, with the help of an angled brush.

  3. Applied Geek Chic Cosmetics' eyeshadow in Stay Indoors.

  4. Blended in the second (taupe) and third (grey) shades from the NYX Trio Eyeshadow in Rock and Roll at the edges, to fix my poor blending of the less-forgiving Stay Indoors shadow.

  5. Applied black gel eyeliner (Wet 'n' Wild MegaEyes Creme Eyeliner) to the top and bottom lash lines. I applied using the e.l.f. Studio Small Precision Brush, as angled 'brush' that comes with the Wet 'n' Wild liner is rubbish for its given purpose.

  6. Used a black eyeshadow to set, and create a gradient leading into, the liner.

  7. Wiped off the gel liner brush, to apply e.l.f.'s cream liner in Ivory--to the waterline and inner corners. You want to blind your zombies with your shimmery whites--You'll be slightly less delectable when they can't see their dish!

  8. Used a light shimmery highlight on the browbone.

  9. Curl lashes and apply mascara. When you're out of traditional weapons, you can still attempt close combat with your spiky eyelashes!

By the way: The photos don't really do justice in showing how abominably glittery this came out. Even at my office--where I can usually waltz in seven hours after everyone else has arrived, trouser-less and with blood slathered all over my face for foundation, with few fucks given--my boss commented, 'Wow, you have some crazy eye make-up'. And he's a bit crazy himself.

For the lips, I used Urban Decay's lipstick in Oil Slick--a sheer black/grey with a little glitter--over lip stain and neutral lip liner. I applied concealer outside my lips to make them appear smaller and more cleanly defined.

For the face, I used Revlon ColorStay foundation, set with Physician's Formula mineral powder. Instead of using blush, I contoured lightly with a matte bronzer (MUA one-quid bronzer, shade 3). You want a cold killer's tight-clenched jawline, not the illusion of awkward sustained sexual excitement!

Clothing: Basic, functional, comfortable.
T-shirt with zombie cheat sheet, in case you forget how to keep yourself alive. Thick jeans with pockets to hold essentials. Athletic socks and work boots for comfortable fleeing. Polyurethane jacket (for easy wiping-off of likely-infectious blood, and/or other bodily fluids).

Going to a fancier apocalyptic reception? See higher-fashion ideas here.

Until the next world's-end scenario!

20 December 2012

NYC Show Time Glitter Eyeliner vs. e.l.f. Shimmer Pencil - Review, Swatches & Comparison

I was sent a complimentary College VoxBox about a month ago, and one of the items in it that I was to try was the New York Color NYC Show Time Glitter Eyeliner. It reminded me of the e.l.f. Essentials Shimmer Eyeliner Pencil that I've had (but have not been using often) for a while. Since I have both in black (officially, 'Show Time Black' vs. 'Black Bandit', respectively), and since they're around the same price point, I decided that a comparison of the two would be suitable.
(If you think they're like apples to orange roughies, though, you are legally free to flame me in the comments section below.)

Photo Comparison

Outer packaging:
Here's the packaging for the NYC pencil I received. I opened my e.l.f. pencil several years ago; and since my last name is not Collyer, I do not still have the packaging for it. Rest assured, it was also some variation on translucent plastic glued to a thin piece of cardboard.

I like how they said 'Made in PRC' instead of 'Made in China'.
Note the claims that the product has a '[l]ong-wearing formula' and is 'smudge-proof'. I was doubtful of these claims, but decided to give it a trial out in the real world anyway--I was just going to dinner alone, and was okay with being the crazy raccoon-eyed lady to my waitress and fellow bus riders.
The opened pencils, side by side:

On the eyes:
Though it may not be as obvious in the photos, the glitter in the NYC pencil was much more noticeable than the e.l.f. pencil's shimmer. However, the NYC glitter was somewhat chunky, and not always evenly distributed.
In the photos below, I used a shadow from a NYX palette for the browbone highlight; Wet 'n' Wild ColorIcon pencil in taupe for the brows, mixed with whatever was left over from the previous day on my angled brush; and L'Oreal Infallible eyeshadow in Sultry Smoke (a.k.a. Pebble Grey).
Infallible? Certainly not when applied to dry, sleep-deprived, wind-weathered skin--which I hope you'll forgive me for. Nevertheless, I continued with the product because 1) it's a cool-toned grey, which matched with my cool-toned shirt; 2) it's a mostly matte shade, which kept it from interfering with my liner-focussed tests of shimmery-ness; and 3) I didn't feel like using an ogdoad of shadows. The shadow was applied with my fingers, after I found that it was not so cooperative with a brush.
I used an angled liner brush to lightly smudge out the eyeliners.

You can see in the last photo that the NYC liner was already beginning to smudge past my bottom lash line. Not too promising, unfortunately. Then again, due to my eye shape, almost all liners do at least a small amount of smudging, especially soon after application, before they're completely set.

After two or three hours of wear; two bus rides; walking out in the cold; eating food with my hands (Ethiopian cuisine); and occasional wiping of the area my bottom lash line to clear off unwanted smudging:
(Your) left: e.l.f.; right: NYC.

Both, I feel, looked okay after this reasonably short period of time. However, I'd also been careful to abstain from rubbing my eyes, wiping them when they watered, going diving or doing other things that I normally do when I wear (more trusted) eyeliner. Like my Urban Decay 24/7 black glitter eyeliner pencil in Oil Slick, for example.
However, when I got some of the NYC liner on my finger during application, it rubbed away easily and quickly.


Packaging: e.l.f.'s shimmer pencil comes with a sharpener built into the cap, which was convenient; NYC's doesn't come with any sharpener. On the other hand, the plastic cap housing the sharpener broke off easily. I slightly prefer the sturdier NYC one, in that respect.
Texture/Appliaction: e.l.f.'s is waxy, which makes it harder to work with; occasionally, clumps will come off. The texture is the same as their normal Essential Brightening liners. NYC's is much better--though not as creamy as, say, Urban Decay's, or any of the liquid-like pencils. However, the chunky glitter in the NYC one does make it less suitable for tightlining or for the waterline.
Glitter: For the black colour at least, NYC's is definitely better. While the other shades of the e.l.f. shimmer pencils are quite shiny, the black one is not very different from the normal matte one. If you were to point at your eyes and shout 'LOOK! GLITTER!', then your victim would respond, 'Huh?... oh, okay, there. I see some.' with the NYC pencil. With the e.l.f. one, however, their ADHD might take hold of them before they notice anything.
If you really want glitter, you should definitely go with a glitter liquid eyeliner.
Longevity: Both are relatively poor. The NYC one smudged very soon after application, and its glitter travelled as well. When I've used the e.l.f. one in the past, however, it faded quickly, and was very prone to smudging when tightlined with. Both will smudge/disappear easily if you make contact with them.
However, if you don't usually have a lot of trouble with non-long-wear liners, these might work just fine for you. Again, my monolids can be a little finicky with eyeliners; and allergies and contact lenses cause me to touch my eyes often.
Price: NYC retails for US$2.50; e.l.f. retails for US$1.00. However, price can vary greatly by retailer; I know that e.l.f. products cost somewhat more at brick-and-mortar resellers than they do online/from the manufacturer.
Also, drugstores may have different promotions; e.l.f. has their own promotions on their site as well, although these oftentimes just offer some free product, rather than being a direct price discount.
Availability: I believe that NYC products are only available within the USA and Canada, at drugstores. (Where I live, I only see it sold at Rite Aid; CVS stopped making the brand available at their stores some time ago.) e.l.f. is available online in the UK and most of continental Europe, but not at physical stores like in North America.
Which is better?: I personally would not go out and buy either, lest I was in special circumstances; needed a liner in an emergency, and in some dystopic world these were the only somewhat-suitable items; or had a sudden lapse of discretion (which is why I have the e.l.f. pencil). While I do prefer the NYC pencil as a product, in any of the more likely situation in which I'd have to purchase either, I'd just take the cheaper one (e.l.f.'s).
Besides,I personally don't like glitter so much--there are classier things I could wear. Like a sock monkey suit.

Note: This review contains one product (NYC) that was sent to me free of charge for feedback; the other product (e.l.f.) was purchased with my own funds. Opinions for both are my own. I was not compensated for writing this review.

08 December 2012

Shiro Cosmetics haul - initial photos

Came back early this morning to find my package from Shiro Cosmetics in my mailbox. (As you can see in the pictures below, it was pretty small.)
For now, here are some photos; I'll have swatches and reviews available once deadlines and exams have temporarily switched from pummelling me with gauntlets, to pummelling me with fists.

The padded envelope it came in was quite small--about the size of half a sheet of paper. The actual contents of the order were inside of an even smaller brown paper envelope, sealed with a stamp (which I suppose is my one-cent rebate. Thanks!). There were also two pieces of candy and an invoice with a hand-written 'Thanks, enjoy! <3', which was a nice touch.

Huh? Where is everything?

The contents of the little brown bag: three Intertubes colour balms; four full-sized eyeshadow jars; four mini eyeshadow jars; four sample eyeshadows packets; and a standard-sized business card (provided most conveniently to show scale in these photos). The sample-sized pouch of Victory Road was my free sample for this order.

KER-PLODE!! There it all is.

Legends (Zelda) and Super Effective (Pokemon) collection eyeshadows:
Left to right: Boomerang, I Like Shorts, Sweet Honey

For Science (Portal) collection eyeshadows:
Left to right: Are You Still There?, For Science, There Will Be Cake

Mini jars don't come with stickers, but they can be requested (pre-applied, or still on the sheet) for 20 cents each. Since I am a superficial person who cares somewhat about what her stash looks like, I opted for this. (Hey, I probably wouldn't have ordered the Intertubes, or the dollar-extra Nick Cage eyeshadow, if not for the hilarious packaging...)

The ones with the black lids are full-sized.

Comparison of the full versus mini eyeshadow jars:
Full-sized (Are You Still There?) on the left, mini jar on the right.

I placed my order on the morning of Black Friday, 23 Nov; received my shipping notification on 4 Dec; and was delivered the package on 7 Dec. Better turn-around time than Geek Chic Cosmetics, with whom I also placed an order on the same day; the latter promise to ship by 13 Dec. So good job to these guys.

Shiro Cosmetics ship out of Portland, Oregon.

Looking forward to reviewing!

04 December 2012

Urban Decay Deluxe Mystery Travel Bag revealed

I just got my Urban Decay shipment that I ordered on Thursday night! It's been two years since I first (and last) ordered from them directly; they've definitely changed the packaging.

First order of business, the deluxe sample I received: the new Naked BB cream.
As you can see below, they do an awful lot of claims about the health benefits of this product. Just like those overpriced minerals people. Because, you know, just because something contains some amount of arbitrary minerals, means that slathering it on your face and buying it and drinking it is going to cure your cancer and marital problems and everything...

The tube was adorable, though when I unscrewed the cap it looked worrisomely different from--more beige than I'm accustomed to--my usual foundation/BB cream shades.
However, I hadn't perused the pamphlet first, which claimed that it's a one-shade-fits-most product.
At first sight, I thought, 'Hmm...'. When I blended it out on my face, though, it was basically undetectable. Partially in the sense that, like other Western BB creams, it didn't provide that much coverage.

Now, the post-Cyber-Monday-'12 Deluxe Mystery Travel Bag, which I mentioned in a previous blog post.

Contents, as you can see above:
  • a translucent vinyl zippered pouch,
  • a travel-sized Supercurl mascara,
  • a mini 24/7 shadow pencil in Rehab (not an unpopular/hard-to-use colour, thankfully),
  • a sample eyeshadow primer potion (UDPP) card,
  • a full-sized Lip Junkie in Naked, and
  • a travel-sized container of All Nighter spray (of which I purchased an XL size in this same shipment).
All in all, given the full-sized Lip Junkie--not bad for US$16, although I wouldn't call it a 'must-have' steal. If you need a larger sub-total to qualify for free shipping, though, this would be a good choice.

And just because--a photo of the entire haul. Three lipsticks in Oil Slick!

I also received my MUA shipment today, so I'll be posting swatches of some of those items later.

01 December 2012

Glossary is live

I just put up a glossary of terms frequently encountered online in beauty-related user content. I'll be adding lingo definitions, along with cynical commentary, regularly. :)
If you run into an abbreviation you're unfamiliar with, feel free to throw it my way; and I'll attempt to decipher it and return to you a pseudo-omniscient answer.

I also ordered two Kat Von D palettes from Sephora today, using my Beauty Insider certificate for $15 off $50.

Starstruck is one of her new mini four-pan eyeshadow palettes, in shades of brown, red and gold. I ordered two, since it's currently on sale for $13 (originally $50)--even less than when her previous mini palettes were on sale for $15--and has adorable packaging and comes in wearable yet unique colours.

The Starry Eyed Makeup Palette is her holiday set for 2012. It contains four shadow trios and two (full-sized!) Everlasting Love liquid lipsticks. It's currently on sale for $34, originally $49. Currently, I don't see many swatches of it circulating online, though that will doubtlessly change now that the product is discounted; I'll be sharing photos of it when I receive it. The packaging on this is, as always, beautiful and unique as well. I've enjoyed my other purchases from her line--the Angeles palette, and her Kat Eye set--so I'm looking forward to these.

30 November 2012

New Urban Decay offerings, and more

Today, Urban Decay made a few new things available on their site: the Naked Basics palette, newly-packaged setting sprays and Triple Threat eyeliner set (as seen on Black Friday).

For the new setting sprays, Dew Me has been renamed to Chill (Cooling & Hydrating). The new packaging is more aesthetically pleasing; and at US$29 for 120mL/4oz, is somewhere between the original XL's (retail US$18 for 177mL/6oz; currently still available for $18) and the original travel size (retail US$12 for 15mL/.51oz).
Side-by-side comparison of the old vs. new packaging.
(Please excuse the pixellated rendition of the old Dew Me--the image was whisked away from their site as if by the KGB.)

The Triple Threat travel pencil set (US$19) contains three two-thirds-sized Glide-On Eye Pencils in Zero (black), Demolition (deep brown matte) and Rockstar (shimmery eggplant). I think this is better than the old Jet Set duos, which were the same size, but more expensive (US$15 for two). The colours in this one are even more wearable.

Naked Basics (US$27) is a wallet-sized palette of five mattes and one shimmer shadow, in creams, browns and a black. There are close-up swatches at Temptalia. Given the price, I don't think that the bold advertising claim that it's 'the palette you can't live without' is speaking to a consumer like me. The shades don't seem unique enough for me to want to zomgdr00LhumphUmphNgnGngngng!!1nnng it, and even within the palette itself it seems there is not a significant difference between the lighter shades. Sorry, UD; maybe you need to cut your shadows with a little more crack...

In addition, they also put up a Deluxe Mystery Travel Bag on their site.
This Mystery Travel Bag is packed with fan favorites in both full and compact, travel-friendly sizes. This little bag is filled with over $45 of UD products. TSA Coveted And Approved!
It pictures a small zip-up plastic sleeve that looks the same as that for their TSA bag promo (three deluxe samples of gloss, shadow pencil and mascara) that they were offering previously for orders of $75+. This one costs US$16; but since at least one full-sized product is promised, who knows what'll be in it? Perhaps they're clearing out in preparation of whatever changes are to come from their acquisition by L'Oreal. I'll post about it when I receive it with the rest of my haul. I also grabbed three lipsticks in Oil Slick, currently $3 each; the Black Palette, currently $16; and an XL All Nighter spray in the old packaging. My free sample is an 'Early Exclusive Sample'. I definitely don't mind getting to try new products when I'm helping with the supply of the (discounted) old.

I'm looking forward to trying Maybelline's new Color Tattoo shadows. I do hope they recycle more of their limited-edition neutral fall ones--I never got a chance to grab Rich Mahogany, since drugstores are typically a huge mess with slow-to-restock employees (or maybe that's just because I usually end up going to CVS at 3 AM).

Speaking of Maybelline, I received a sample of Maybelline's Dream Fresh BB from Walmart. This specific one is no longer available, but others are. I'll be doing a tutorial on the look in the promo image in the future.
Also got samples of TRESemmé's Split Remedy shampoo and conditioner with my pre-Black-Friday order from GoJane... what are they, mind-reading wizards? I waste a crapload of time cutting off split ends when I'm trying to distract myself from work. So maybe, if the stuff works well, the time savings could justify the price increase over my typical 79-cent VO5 purchases... haha, nah. (However, if you're into reducing split ends, spending a lot of money and using natural products, my sample-packet experiences with Giovanni's Smooth as Silk conditioner have been pretty good in the past.)

Another aside: Got my Iron Fist Zombie Stomper heels in the mail today as well. A little disappointing that they didn't notify me until today that they were out of stock of, and thus didn't send, the dress I ordered; but the shoes are simply charming enough to distract someone like me, who usually just wears guy shoes. (I have to leap over cracks, crack addicts and puddles, and dodge cars when I run between bus stops here in LA, thank you very much....) Zombies might be over-done, but you'd have to be a pretty big hipster to not even feel the smallest bit of excitement over bows on a bright-green toxic-waste-soaked-skull caricature.

See you next time for some swatches and sarcasm!

23 November 2012

Black Friday/Cyber Monday 2012 Sales

Quick post here.
Lots of sales going on this weekend--including from various indie cosmetics sellers who don't run promotions often.

I've spent the last couple hours spending a considerable amount of money--enough to make my ramen-filled lifestyle seem vain--at indie companies Geek Chic Cosmetics and Shiro Cosmetics; as well as at Iron Fist Clothing. I'll do swatches once I receive each shipment, assuming my mail doesn't get stolen again...

Here's a list of some of the sales I like:


  • Cherry Culture: 20% off - code TKGS20. Valid through Sunday. Sales from them aren't uncommon, but they're a good place to stock up from.
  • Beautycrunch: Spend $50+, get 20% off + free Stila Sexy Eye Kit - code BLACKFRIDAY. Valid through Sudnay.
  • Missha: 40% off. No code, prices pre-applied. Valid through Monday.
  • Shiro Cosmetics: 15% off - code CAGEAPPROVED (source). Valid through Monday the 26th.
    Also, all fullsized shadows from their Portal-themed Science Collection are on clearance for 20% off, or $4.00 per jar.
  • Geek Chic Cosmetics: 30% off + free mystery extra item. No code, prices pre-applied. Their site was slow early this morning.
  • Coastal Scents: 50% off; no code, prices pre-applied. Sale through Monday.
  • e.l.f.: BOGO (buy one, get one) 50% off + free shipping - code BLKFRI. Today only.
  • NYX: Nothing for Black Friday, but there will be a sale for Cyber Monday. Check back later.
  • Makeup Academy: If you missed the 35%-off sale, then items are now 3 for 2 for over a week.
  • CVS: 25% off + free shipping online. There are also various in-store deals through Saturday, including $4 ExtraBucks rewards on Revlon Lip Butters.
Nouveau Cheap also has a list of deals, mostly online.



  • Steam: Autumn Sale, lots of stuff. Currently, Max Payne 3 for $15 (75% off) and Sleeping Dogs 50% off. (I no longer buy games unless they're $5 or under, but these are still tempting.)
  • SureFire: 25% off + free shipping. Monday only. (This is the first time they've done a post-Thanksgiving sale!)
  • Newegg: Various discounts.
  • NameCheap: Various rotating discounts on domain services, through Monday.

You can also Google for sales yourself.

Enjoy your shopping, but don't forget to save a little for the next round of holidays, unless you plan on becoming a hermit between now and then.

21 November 2012

Ipsy (MyGlam) Bag, November 2012: Photos

This is the third bag I've had from Ipsy/MyGlam/Rebranding-of-the-Quarter subscription service so far.

My first bag from them (and from any thing-of-the-month service) was the May 2012 one--the receipt upon which I immediately ended my description. Most of the products were... well... cheap. The one better one, the lipstick, came in a shade unwearable on its own, although it worked quite well for when I was trying to dress up as a zombie (true story).

But last month's bag, the Bombshell one, promised contents good enough to get me to try again. They finally, kinda, lived up to their promise of 'personalised beauty'--imagine that! Since they called that one their 'best bag yet'

At a Glance:

  1. The Balm - Meet Matt(e) eyeshadow single pan
    Sample: .9g/.03oz (roughly the size of one full pan from the palette).
    Full size: 9.5g/.33oz for 9 pans. Retail price: US$34.50.
  2. Chella - Eyebrow Defining Gel
    Sample: 3.5mL/.12oz.
    Full size: 5.6mL/.19oz. Retail price: US$18.
  3. Starlet - Intense Eyeliner
    Full size. 1.5g/.05oz. Retail price: US$11.00.
  4. bareMinerals - Marvelous Moxie gloss
    Sample: 2.25mL/.07oz (same size as in their mini sets).
    Full size: 4.5mL/.15oz. Retail price: US$18/CA$23.
  5. 'tini - Speakeasy Collection Nailtini lacquer
    Full size. 15mL/.5oz. Retail price: US$13.

The Bag:

A more sophisticated-looking bag, though still with budget-quality zipper and cloth.

As usual, this was mailed in a blindingly shiny magenta envelope. I feel sorry for the postal service worker who had to deliver this.

Meet Matte Eyeshadow Single:

Shade: Matt Batali, a dark matte cocoa brown. About the size of one of the pans in the full nine-shade palette. Scratched it with a fingernail to give you a better idea of what it looks like when you accidentally scratch it with a fingernail.

Chelle Brow Gel:

Clear brow gel with a mascara-like applicator.

Starlet Cosmetics Intense Liner:

Shade: black. The 'Intense' version doesn't seem to be on the company's site... yet.

bareMinerals (by Bare Escentuals) Marvelous Moxie Gloss

Shade: Daredevil, a sparkly berry wine. This half-size is the same size as in their current holiday five-piece gloss sets. This shade is in this year's Cool as Ice set.
Nice, but I'm not big on gloss--especially not $18-a-tube big. You could probably feed a village of third-world children with that money, after shipping; giving a child a tube of gloss might constitute, like, a snack for such a child. Or just an emetic, so a negative snack. Awesome.

Nailtini Nail Lacquer

Shade: Millionaire, from the Speakeasy collection. Lots of gold confetti, mixed with some green/teal; the picture on the right better reflects the colour in real life. It's pleasant to look at, but if you're looking closely at my fingers (weirdo), you can probably tell that I'm not a nail polish person. If I can't gift it this year, I suppose I can use it to enhance the Sharpie penises I draw on passed-out people...

Tomorrow: I photograph the contents of the Influenster College VoxBox I received today--while it's still bright out, and I haven't started working or shameful family-less Thanksgiving drinking.