Thursday, December 8, 2011

What is up with "Beauty for the People?"

"Explain yourself, woman."

Number one, if you ever feel like spreading the word of my blog, you know, verbally, you have to say it like this: "BEAUTY FOR THE PEOPLE!" I was going to use all caps in my banner, but that is just obnoxious.

I tried to figure out what kind of tack I would take with this blog. What should stand out, concerning my approach to beauty and cosmetics? Beauty products are great for women whatever their size? That probably means I have to do outfit pictures or something. Nah. Makeup minimalist? I wish.

I don't like paying a lot for makeup. I don't mind paying a fair price, so once in a while I will fork over $20-something for a higher quality item. However, I have limits.
What a steal! I'll take three.

I cannot, cannot, in good conscience, pay $30 plus for a lipstick or even worse, lip balm. I can't even tell you how many times I pass by the Fresh displays and pick up the tinted lip treatments. I look them over. I smell them. Once I even walked towards the Sephora counter to pay for my purchase, my heart beating rapidly in my chest.

I turned around and pretended like I needed to get another item at the back of the store.

I returned the balm to the shelf and practically ran out of the store before I lost my senses and purchased it.

And that was $22.50. Could I afford it? Yes.

Did I have good, even great alternatives in my makeup case back home?


And I ask myself, how much do we want to spend on items that will eventually expire?

Have you ever finished a lipstick? I have perhaps used one or two down to the very nubs, but that's about it. Even though I use some of them very often, it just looks like the tips are worn. Could I justify spending an hour's worth of pay to purchase an item that will cease to be new, that will collect dust in my makeup drawer, that will -- one day -- no longer be the best of its kind?

This is my shopping philosophy.

Once in a while, I spend more money on certain products. Typically, they're palettes with multiple shadows or blushes. I will never, ever purchase a single eyeshadow that costs $20.

I mostly purchase drug store brands or items from places like The Body Shop, L'Occitane -- not too expensive, but higher quality and slightly higher prices than most drugstore brands. If I want a high-end product, I'll look for a sample size or wait for a limited edition package to come out, containing multiple items for a lesser price.

I can't purchase expensive items like YSL lipstick or Guerlain's Meteorites. If I do, it's a once-in-a-blue-moon kind of treat that I will cherish. I don't go out and buy multiple colors. It's a purchase I've thought about for many weeks, months, and I make sure I use it as much as I can.

But you know what? For us peons, beauty is still attainable. Great cosmetics and beauty products are still attainable. Drugstore brands are competing with the big names and churning out products which are challenging the champions of the beauty industry -- all with a dramatically lower price tag attached.

Look at the blogs around you. When I think about the major bloggers, who receive packages and packages of free makeup to review, sometimes I feel envious about the sheer amount of makeup they get to play with. But really, I don't want to be in that position. There comes a point when too much is too much. There comes a point where it's no longer a victory, a little adrenaline rush to find the perfect item.

There are many more issues to discuss when talking about my approach to purchasing cosmetics. What about organic cosmetics? Fair trade ingredients versus cheap mica? Am I a makeup minimalist?

Is it unconscionable to have such a large, expensive cosmetics collection in the society we live in today? Should we start reevaluating what we own and what we want to own?

I'll address these questions as time goes on.

In the meantime, let me know what you think about this topic. Am I crazy? Is this a good way to approach beauty? (I'd prefer the latter, but I'll take the former, too. :) )

Until then... Au Revoir!

Face of the Day - December 8, 2011

As I settle in for the night with Rammstein (Wollt Ihr Das Bett in Flammen Sehen, if you must know) my wrists hurting after a day of work, I am suffering for you, dear readers, and taking more pictures of my makeup.

Here is what I looked like this morning.  -->

At 10:14 p.m. EST, I promise you, I look nothing like this now. Especially the smile part. What is up with that?

What was I thinking as I rummaged through my makeup drawers?

I love looking for new color match-ups that work really well. I decided to go with tamer shades of green and match them with muted pink blushes and lip colors. There's some shimmer on my eyelids, but it's not overwhelming at all.

Which products did I use?

Other than my usual suspects...

Left to Right:
Wet N Wild Color Icon Eye Shadow Trio: These Color Icon trios are a great bargain. However, Wet N Wild's color combinations confuse me. I guess it's better than just seeing another palette of differing shades of brown or gray...but still!

This particular palette is in C382B/Cool As A Cucumber.

The brow bone shade is a cucumber green, almost bordering on a green-off-white type color. Who wants to put green under the brow?

One day, I promise, I am going to follow these palettes to the letter, and you are going to see how awful they could be. Dark green all over my eyelid, purple in the crease. Great. I've always wanted to look like I just got punched in the face.

Anyway, back to today, while it's still actually December 8th.

I used the brow bone shade all over my lid and slightly above the crease. I used the eyelid shade, a quietly sparkly green, to line my upper lids.

I decided to use a contrasting shade in the crease. It doesn't show up too well in the picture, but I used...

Essence Quattro Eyeshadow Palette: I used the 06/Rock Angel palette.

In the crease, I brushed copious amounts of the dulled lime green shade. I suppose if you look closely, you can see the contrast between that and the cucumber green shade.

I'm still working on my eyeshadow skills, if you can't tell. (What skills?)

Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstick: I adore this lipstick. It's the perfect dusty pink. Although I'm seeing little bits of shimmer, it is very low-key. When I'm looking for a matte lipstick, I'll pull this out.

Problem is it's a bit drying. I have to put a good layer of lip balm on my lips before dragging this across. I wouldn't call this moisturizing, but it's fine with my Baby Lips underneath.

CO Bigelow Mentha Lip Tint: I wore this on top of my lipstick, more for the fresh peppermint with every inhale. It's lovely.

But this lip gloss is quite good, peppermint aside. It's slightly tinted. The shade I'm wearing is Magenta Mint.

Maybelline Mineral Power Blush: On my cheeks, I brushed a bit of this blush in Original Rose. I've read a lot of negative reviews for this blush, but I quite like it.

Their cream blushes, on the other hand....

Maybelline Great Lash / Lots of Lashes Mascara: I received several free tubes of this mascara as a part of Maybelline's latest campaign.

I wish I still had a tube of Great Lash so that I could do a comparison post. Problem is, I've got so many mascaras now, and I try to limit how many mascaras I own.

I'll post a review of this, hopefully tomorrow.

What the heck is this?Not even worth watermarking. Go ahead
and steal this image. You're welcome.
Sorry that I can't post a good picture of the swatches, because I really need practice. I'm just mastering taking pictures of my face without shattering the camera lens.

Anyway, I'm not sure whether I'll keep posting detailed "FOTDs," as they call these types of posts. Sometimes bloggers just list the products. But I do love capturing the moment of what exactly I was thinking, what I was looking for when I woke up in the morning, when I reached into my makeup drawer.

If we look at this as an art form of sorts (and I know that many women do), let's treat it as one. Is every choice deliberate? Do we just look for what happens to be up front? Do we take our outfits into consideration?

If they are this detailed, though, it might not be an every day type of post.

But we'll see.

Au Revoir!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What's always in my makeup bag?

Like any good makeup addict, I wear different eye shadows, mascaras, blushes, lipsticks, etc. on a daily basis. I always switch it up. I mourn over the fact that my much-loved lipsticks look practically unused, because as much as I love them, I can't commit.

(Don't worry, habibi. This attitude only pertains to shopping.)

But I came to a crossroads a few years ago. I was spending money on purchasing different foundations, different types of powder. Loose, pressed, translucent -- you name it, I had it. And it took forever to get through any of my facial products. My sister even went through my makeup bag and told me, "You have all of these unused foundations and powders in here. Why?"

Why indeed?

At that point, I stopped looking for the best and found what was good enough. Perhaps there are better foundations, better powders out there. But I was going to deplete my wallet and waste money if I didn't stop looking. Aside from the occasional swatching parties at Sephora,* I'm content with what I have for the moment. And with some of these products -- I've been faithful to them for a year or more!

And you know what? It's great to stick to my routine. More money for perfume and eyeshadow palettes I probably don't need.

Right now, I'm using...
(from left to right)

NYX High Definition Eye Shadow Base: Let me tell you the truth, here. Once upon a time, I had Urban Decay's Primer Potion. And once upon a time, my it made my eye shadows crease like hell. My already oily eyelids were perfectly shiny. I stopped using primer for a long time. 

Just last year, I finally had the courage to throw away the virtually unused bottle of UDPP. 

I cried the entire time.

For under $10, this does an amazing job. After moving furniture for 12 hours, yeah, you're going to get some creasing. But I work in my home office, and even with the occasional bank, post office run, my eye shadow looks pretty good at the end of the day.

Tread lightly, though. I learned to apply as little product as possible across my lids for minimal creasing. Wait for a few minutes before applying any shadow or liner.

Maybelline Mineral Powder Natural Perfecting Powder Foundation: Okay, I know it's no Bare Minerals. But with a good brush, it evens out my skin tone quite well. The coverage is quite sheer, which I wanted. 

After age 20 or so, I decided to stop applying thick foundation every day and let my natural skin texture show through a bit. I'll use the Cover Girl Nature Luxe foundation for work and other outings, but I generally just use this powder foundation on a daily basis.

I started using it on my wedding day and I'm still on the same container. If you're looking for a high-end powder and you're unwilling to pay a little more, consider it. I paid about $6 for this and it is still going strong after a year of daily use. What's $30 for a product that will take you a year to finish? Good cost-per-use, if you ask me.

I use the (3) Natural Ivory shade. I've always had a problem of choosing foundation that was too white for my skin, but this is just right. Thank God my neck and face match in pictures now!

EcoTools Powder Brush: I always used to walk the aisles of Target and look on in envy at the EcoTools brush set. For the longest time, I haven't been able to bring myself to invest in brushes, so I didn't want to pay around $10 for a single brush (which I know is actually ridiculously cheap. You will learn how cheap I am as I write more about my sale finds).

But one day, there it was in all its glory, the powder brush with a clearance sticker. $1.56! Victory was mine.

I was previously using the powder brush that came with the Maybelline foundation, which was pretty scratchy. I think I actually cooed when I started using this lovely, soft brush. I haven't gone back to the other powder brush since.

I think it's high time I purchased the other ones, don't you?

Maybelline Baby Lips lip balm: In (05) Quenched. I received this and other samples from BzzAgent as a part of Maybelline's latest campaign.**

I am a hard sell when it comes to lip balms. I had been using one from Dylan's Candy Bar for about a year or so, but I wasn't too happy with it. I also wasn't willing to acquire 20 lip balms in order to find The One. I stuck with my pot of delicious Strawberry Licorice.

But I received this package and tore it open like it was Christmas morning and I was 8 years old again.

I honestly wasn't anticipating loving the lip balm, but I did. Unlike other balms, it doesn't apply as a thick layer that awkwardly rests on the top of your lips. It's not heavy at all, but it's not too light as to be useless. With a light layer, I can apply lipstick on top of it.

I'm a sucker for tinted lip balms, so I'll review the other ones in a later post. I even purchased a few of my own, if that will convince you that I'm not simply shilling the product because I received it for free!

I'm not gifted in the area of describing a particular product's scent, but I'm determined that this particular shade smells like Fruity Pebbles. Go ahead. Get your tube of Quenched if you have it. Smell it. Am I right?

I never talk about how lip balms taste because I think it's crass to eat your beauty products.

L'Occitane Facecolour Powder: If there is one company j'adore, it's L'Occitane. I fell in love with the place even before I became a beauty product fanatic. One year, I was flying first class to Europe, and the stewardess brought us airline pouches filled with hygiene products, and best of all, L'Occitane products. The lip balm and hand cream were simply amazing.

I regularly shop there and get perfumes and the smaller sized bottles of face products. When I heard that they were going to be entering the makeup realm, I squealed with joy. On my anniversary trip, I finally picked up a few items, which I will review later.

But I've been using the "Facecolour Powder" in Helene on a daily basis. Bye bye, High Beam. I sweep it across the tops of my cheekbones and use it in other places as a highlighter.

Cover Girl NatureLuxe Foundation: "Luxury touched by nature!" Whatever. They added a little cucumber water and now it's touched by nature.

I do have to admit, it is lovely and light. And it smells great. So, Cover Girl, you got me.

This foundation's formula also includes an SPF 10 sunscreen and jojoba extract. The coverage is sheer, which again, is what I'm currently looking for in foundation.

I received this from BzzAgent as a part of Cover Girl's NatureLuxe campaign.** The shade, 310, is a tad light on me, but not bad at all. It's difficult to find the perfect shade for my skin. Nevertheless, it replaced my Maybelline Mousse Foundation, which was quite good but a bit on the heavier side. Both products work quite well for my skin, though.

I don't wear cream foundation very often, so there's still plenty of product left in the tube.

And that is my daily routine!

*Any time I go into Sephora, it's a party.
**I received these products for free with no other monetary compensation. You can sign up as well and spread the word about the products you receive. Visit

Monday, December 5, 2011

Apologizing for my face.

Dear Readers,

You will be subjected to multiple photos of my face. For this, I apologize.

Love, Lorraine

Why am I making a post apologizing for my face?

One of my biggest pet peeves, when it comes to blogs, is reading a great "Face of the Day" or review entry that ends with this type of sentence: "Oh my God, guys, I'm sorry for my wonky eyebrows!" or "Ew, check out the crow's feet! Sorry about that."

Honestly, I'm not paying attention to your flaws most of the time. I'm reading to check out your makeup. But thank you for calling my attention to your [fill in the blank]. Now I can't see anything else.

I used to think that you had to be vain, to some extent, to want to post your pictures on the Internet in general. I can't tell you how long I waffled on writing a beauty blog. I love blogging, but I honestly think that I am not photogenic.

  • I've got a wonky eye.
  • After overplucking my eyebrows at 14, they have refused to grow normally ever since. It shows.
  • I've got acne scarring.
  • My nose! There are no words.

The list goes on.

But you know what? I'm getting over it. Perhaps I am more vain than I thought!

(Or I just really, really want to write about beauty products!)

I reserve the right to make my photos a certain size. So dear readers, while you will be able to see my makeup perfectly well, the original image will not be 1000x800. I'm not sure why you would need to inspect my face that closely, so I hope the size of the photos will suffice.

This is officially my apology post. I am not going to comment on every little pimple, stray hair, whatever.

I'm no makeup artist, although I hope to improve with time. I'm human. My face has bumps and lines I wish weren't there, but I'll take that up with God later.

I also don't have much time for Photoshop, so you'll have to accept me as I am, sans blur tool.


Who are you, and why should I care?

My name is Lorraine and I'm a jack-of-all trades contractor for non-profit organizations and the government. Basically, I spend all day on the computer. Yet, when my work is done, I can't tear myself away from it.

I'm 24. I have a Bachelor's Degree in International Affairs, with a concentration in Middle Eastern Studies. I've been married for about a year now and can kvetch about men leaving toilet seats up and leaving their slippery basketball shorts on the floor with the best of them. My husband and I will be converting to the Eastern Orthodox Church and I can't stop talking about it.

If you happen to believe in horoscopes -- which I don't -- I still happen to fit my Gemini classification quite perfectly. I rant about the bourgeoisie and consumerism, yet I visibly twitch whenever I enter a Sephora because my inner shopaholic just wants to buy everything.

I'm an aspiring minimalist who purges items and then goes shopping.

I aim to resolve these issues, preferably in a public manner.

That's all you need to know for the moment. I'll divulge more information as time goes on.

Why should I care, again?

I get it -- everyone has a blog of their own. Every female with a camera, a credit card, and an Ulta Rewards  or Sephora Beauty Insider card takes pictures of their purchases (see: hauls) for public consumption.

I know I'm not unique in this regard. But give me time.

I've thought about writing a beauty blog for a while now. I used to publish a political blog, back when the phenomenon was fairly new, just getting to the mainstream.

My approach to beauty blogging is a little different. If you catch me using the words "lusting," "I die," or "lemming," feel free to mercilessly taunt me in the comments. For those of you who use similar beauty industry talk in your blog, don't worry too much. I probably read your blog on a daily basis and I probably enjoy it.

Exhibit A
But I don't write that way, nor do I speak that way. I don't intend to.

Anyway, this has been brewing for a while. I have a ton of ideas. I'm leaving Post-It notes all over my beauty products, probably confusing visitors and habibi.* ---->

I've got a definite point of view. I read magazines and write little notes about advertisements and stories. I have opinions on packaging and marketing tactics. Besides swatching eyeshadow palettes to my heart's content, I want to dig a little further. Why are we buying this mascara? Because we like the quality or because the company was savvy enough to send free samples to all the major bloggers? Obviously, the quality is probably good. But how did we hear about the quality? A major PR campaign? Allure Magazine?

You lost me.

I tend to digress. Forgive me.

I want to have a conversation about the beauty industry. And I want you to join me.

I want to hear from you! Feedback and great discussion will inform the topics I choose to write about later on. I know things will be going slowly in the beginning -- probably quite a few "0 comments" entries before I hit my stride -- but I will always check and respond.

Thanks for visiting. Please e-mail me at beautyandtheindustry -- @ -- (remove the dashes and spaces if you are not a bot, please) with anything -- questions, information, comments. Critique my eye makeup and recommend a foundation.

Go for it. I'll wait here.

*"My darling" in Arabic.