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.