Friday, August 22, 2014

Julep August 2014 Review

I miss the days when Julep arrived at the very beginning of the month. Now, it comes smack dab in the middle, just like every other subscription box. I need everything to be spaced out!

On the bright side, I got some pretty shit this month. I missed my opportunity to upgrade, so I went ahead and got my regular "It Girl" box with an eyeliner as an add-on.

The bonus this week was a screen cleaner. As someone with a flip phone dated from the late 1990s, this is not super relevant to my life.

Here's the more exciting stuff:

Julep Gel Eye Glider in Smoky Plum

As a sucker for the color purple, I couldn't pass this pencil up. Although Julep makeup products are pretty hit or miss, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this one is super nice (especially in comparison to the train wreck that was their scratchy, poorly-pigmented Kajal Eye Glider).

Calling the pencil a "gel" product seems pretty silly, since the pencil is just another typical soft pencil liner. However, I do think a lot of companies struggle to do purple pencil eyeliners (I have a few by Urban Decay that I think are pretty mediocre) and this one feels effortless. The texture and pigmentation are both lovely.

Plus, you know. The color. Look at it!

The smoky plum shade has a hint of near-irridecent sheen.

My only complaint is that smudging reads a little bit messy for this product since it does have a little shimmer to it. That's probably not a deal breaker for most, though.

Nail Polish

The nail polishes in my box were:

Joyce, a Wizard of Oz ruby red shimmer,

Kirti, a neon orange shimmer,

and Tammi, a yellow-y lime green.

In particular, Joyce makes me feel pretty snazzy.

Overall, I'm really pleased. This eyeliner is one of the best makeup products I have received from Julep. It is also one I know I will actually use, since it's not just a crappy dupe of something I already own. The nail polish colors are pretty. Save for the assumption that I own an iPhone, this box was right up my alley.

If you suddenly decide you want to join Julep, you are always welcome to use my referral link by clicking here.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Are Indie Eyeshadows Cheaper, Ounce per Ounce?: The Math

I do love both indie eyeshadows and sitting on high horses. However, after reading my one millionth, "Oh my god, every time someone buys a palette from Sephora, I want to tell them how much cheaper indie eyeshadows are!", I decided that this particular high horse needed some examining.

I've written before about how indie eyeshadows, when you break it down by ounce, aren't startling cheap. They're not expensive, but they're not a price that warrants breaking out the smelling salts.

I decided to compare whether or not indie eyeshadows come out cheaper than Sephora palettes when compared ounce per ounce.

My indie list consists of the brands I could find that state weights (as opposed to volumes) that are included in each jar. Although all of these weights were stated in grams, I went ahead and converted them into ounces in order to remain consistent with the "price per ounce" that I usually give on this site. Hopefully, this will help give regular readers a better sense of the meaning of "price per ounce" when it comes to makeup. I only included full sized jars of product. (No samples or mini jars.) I am only using the weights that are self-reported by the companies, so there is not accounting for any sneakiness.

For my Sephora palettes, I cheated and used the data from the "Sephora's January/February 2014 Eyeshadow Palettes by Price Per Ounce" post I published earlier this year. It can be found in its entirety here.

Indie Cosmetics by Price per Ounce

The All Natural Face: $6.50 for 0.18oz, $36.11
ScaredyCat Cosmetics: $5.00 for 0.12oz, $41.67 per ounce
StarCrushedMinerals: $5.00 for 0.09oz, $55.55 per ounce
Eight Bit Cosmetics: $4.00 for 0.07oz, $57.14 per ounce
Dawn Eyes: $3.00 for 0.04-0.05oz, between $60 and $75 per ounce
Fyrinnae Cosmetics (Regular Line): $60.25 for 0.10oz, $62.50 per ounce
Hello Waffle Cosmetics: $4.50 for 0.07g, $64.29 per ounce
Fyrinnae Cosmetics (Arcane Magic): $6.80 for 0.10oz, $68 per ounce
SobeBotanicals: $4.99 for 0.07oz, $71.29 per ounce
Dreamworld: $7.99 for 0.10-0.12oz, between $66.58 and $79.90 per ounce
Sugarpill Cosmetics (Chromalusts): $12 for 0.16oz, $75 per ounce
Detrivore Cosmetics: $6 for 0.07oz, $85.71 per ounce
Glamour Doll Eyes: $6.00 for 0.07oz, $85.71 per ounce
Shiro Cosmetics: $6 for 0.07oz, $85.71 per ounce
Concrete Minerals Pro Matte: $8.00 for 0.09oz, $88.89 per ounce
Eccentric Cosmetics: $6.00 for 0.05-0.06oz, between $100 and $120 per ounce
My Beauty Addiction: $5.00 for 0.04-0.05oz, between $100 and $125 per ounce
My Pretty Zombie: $5.00 for 0.05oz, $100 per ounce
Meow Cosmetics Cat Eyes: $8.00 for 0.07oz, $114.28 per ounce
Fierce Magenta Cosmetics: $4.99 for 0.04oz, $124.75 per ounce
Kimberly Noel: $5 for 0.04oz, $125 per ounce
Little Sparrow Cosmetics: $5.00 for 0.04oz, $125 per ounce
Madd Style: $5.00 for 0.04oz, $125 per ounce
Femme Fatale Cosmetics: $6.44 for 0.04-0.05oz, between $128.80 and $161 per ounce
Concrete Minerals (Mineral Line): $7.00 for 0.05oz, $140 per ounce
Meow Cosmetics Ideal Eyes and Modern Eyes: $10.25 for 0.07oz, $146.43 per ounce
Geek Chic: $5.99 for 0.04oz, $149.75 per ounce
Aromaleigh: $7 for 0.04oz, $175 per ounce
Alima Pure: $12.50 for 0.06oz, $208.33 per ounce
Lucy Minerals: $7.00 for 0.02oz, $350 per ounce

Mean: $107.10
Median: $94.45
Standard Deviation: $61.07

Sephora Eyeshadow Palettes by Price per Ounce

Make Up For Ever Flash Palette: $99 for 2.46oz, $40.24 per ounce
Too Faced Joy to the Girls Eyeshadow Palette: $46 for 0.9oz, $51.11 per ounce
Sephora Collection Event Entry Palette: $11 for 0.2oz, $55 per ounce
theBalm Shady Lady Volume 3: $39.50 for 0.51oz, $77.45 per ounce
Benefit Cosmetics World Famous Neutrals Palette Easiest Nudes Ever: $30 for 0.38oz, $78.95 per ounce
Benefit Cosmetics World Famous Neutrals Palette Most Glamorous Nudes Ever: $30 for 0.38oz, $78.95 per ounce
Benefit Cosmetics World Famous Neutrals Palette Sexiest Nudes Ever: $30 for 0.38oz, $78.95 per ounce
Too Faced the Chocolate Bar Palette: $49 for 0.62oz, $79.03 per ounce
Stila In The Know Palette: $39 for 0.49 oz, $79.59 per ounce
Stila In The Garden Palette: $39 for 0.49 oz, $79.59 per ounce
Stila In The Light Palette: $39 for 0.49 oz, $79.59 per ounce
Stila In The Moment Palette: $39 for 0.49 oz, $79.59 per ounce
Sephora Collection IT Palette Color Spectrum: $32 for 0.396oz, $80.80 per ounce
Sephora Collection IT Palette Glitter: $32 for 0.396oz, $80.80 per ounce
Sephora Collection IT Palette Nude: $32 for 0.396oz, $80.80 per ounce
Sephora Collection IT Palette Smoky: $32 for 0.396oz, $80.80 per ounce
Urban Decay Naked 1: $52 for 0.6oz, $86.67 per ounce
Urban Decay Naked 2: $52 for 0.6oz, $86.67 per ounce
Urban Decay Naked 3: $52 for 0.6oz, $86.67 per ounce
Clinique All About Shadow Eight-Pan Palette: $36 for 0.41oz, $87.80 per ounce
Kat Von D Ladybird Eyeshadow Palette: $36 for 0.4oz, $90 per ounce
Kat Von D True Romance Eyeshadow Palette in Beethoven: $36 for 0.4oz, $90 per ounce
Kat Von D True Romance Eyeshadow Palette in Poetica: $36 for 0.4oz, $90 per ounce
Kat Von D True Romance Eyeshadow Palette in Saint: $36 for 0.4oz, $90 per ounce
Kat Von D True Romance Eyeshadow Palette in Sinner: $36 for 0.4oz, $90 per ounce
Urban Decay Naked Basics: $27 for 0.30oz, $90 per ounce
Too Faced Pretty Rebel Palette: $46 for 0.5oz, $92 per ounce
Josie Maran Argan Beautiful Eyes: $36 for 0.39oz, $92.31 per ounce
Too Faced Boudoir Eyes Soft and Sexy Palette: $36 for 0.39oz, $92.31 per ounce
Too Faced Matte Eyeshadow Palette: $36 for 0.39oz, $92.31 per ounce
Too Faced Natural At Night Palette: $36 for 0.39oz, $92.31 per ounce
Too Faced Natural Eye Palette: $36 for 0.39oz, $92.31 per ounce
Too Faced Smokey Eye Palette: $36 for 0.39oz, $92.31 per ounce
Too Faced The Return of Sexy Palette: $49 for 0.525oz, $93.33 per ounce
Kat Von D True Romance Eyeshadow Trio: $24 for 0.25oz, $96 per ounce
Smashbox Full Exposure Palette: $49 for 0.49oz, $100 per ounce
Sephora Collection Colorful Eyeshadow Portfolio: $599 for 5.6oz, $106.96 per ounce
Sephora Collection Sand Illusions Baked Eyeshadow Palette: $15 for 0.138oz, $108.70 per ounce
Tarte Beauty and the Box Amazonian Clay Eyeshadow Quad: $22 for 0.2oz, $110 per ounce
Urban Decay Ammo Palette: $34 for 0.3oz, $113.33 per ounce
Anastasia Beverly Hills Illumin8 With Youthful Synergy Complex Eyeshadow Palette: $30 for 0.252oz, $119.05 per ounce
Kat Von D Esperanza Eyeshadow Palette: $36 for 0.28oz, $128 per ounce
Anastasia  Beverly Hills She Wears It Well Eyeshadow Palette: $34 for 0.263oz, $129.28 per ounce
Buxom Color Choreography Eyeshadow Palette: $36 for 0.26oz, $138.46 per ounce
Bobbi Brown Old Hollywood Eye Palette: $75 for 0.519, $144.51 per ounce
Bare Minerals READY Eyeshadow 8.0: $40 for 0.28oz, $142.86 per ounce
BECCA  Ultimate Eye Color Quad: $40 for 0.28oz, $142.86 per ounce
Sephora Collection Moonshadow Baked Palette in In The Dark: $27 for 0.17oz, $158.82 per ounce
Sephora Collection Moonshadow Baked Palette in In The Nude: $27 for 0.17oz, $158.82 per ounce
Sephora Collection Moonshadow Baked Palette in In The Tropics: $27 for 0.17oz, $158.82 per ounce
Illamasqua Complement Palette: $46.50 for 0.29oz, $160.34 per ounce
Urban Decay Smoked Eyeshadow Palette: $49 for 0.3oz, $163.33 per ounce
Illamasqua 4-Colour Liquid Metal Palette: $46.50 for 0.28oz, $166.07 per ounce
Illamasqua Paranormal Palette: $46.50 for 0.28oz, $166.07 per ounce
Clinique All About Shadow Quad: $28 for 0.16oz, $175 per ounce
NARS NARSissist Eyeshadow Palette: $79 for 0.45oz, $175.56 per ounce
Bare Minerals READY Eyeshadow 4.0: $30 for 0.17oz, $176.47 per ounce
Yves Saint Laurent Ombres 5 Lumieres 5 Colour Harmony for Eyes: $59 for 0.29oz, $200 per ounce
Make Up For Ever Black Tango Palette: $45 for 0.2oz, $225 per ounce
Bobbi Brown Nude Eye Palette: $50 for 0.22oz, $227.27 per ounce
Illamasqua Fundamental Palette: $46.50 for 0.2oz, $232.50 per ounce
Illamasqua Neutral Palette: $46.50 for 0.2oz, $232.50 per ounce
Illamasqua Reflection Palette: $46.50 for 0.2oz, $232.50 per ounce
Smashbox Photo Op Eye-Enhancing Palette - Blue Eyes:$40 for 0.16oz, $243.75 per ounce
Smashbox Photo Op Eye-Enhancing Palette - Brown Eyes:$40 for 0.16oz, $243.75 per ounce
Smashbox Photo Op Eye-Enhancing Palette - Hazel Eyes:$40 for 0.16oz, $243.75 per ounce
Marc Jacobs Style Eye-Con No.7 Plush Shadow Palette: $59 for 0.24oz, $245.83 per ounce
Guerlain Ecrin 4 Couleurs Eyeshadow Palette: $60 for 0.24oz, $250 per ounce
Dior 3 Couleurs Smoky Read-to-Wear Eye Palette: $48 for 0.19oz, $252.63 per ounce
Edward Bess Prismette Eyeshadow Quad: $68 for 0.25oz, $272 per ounce
Marc Jacobs Style Eye-Con No.3 Plush Shadow: $42 for 0.14oz, $300 per ounce
Yves Saint Laurent Pure Chromatics 4 Wet and Dry Eyeshadows: $55 for 0.18oz, $305.56 per ounce
Shiseido Luminizing Satin Eye Color Trio: $33 for 0.1oz, $330 per ounce
Guerlain Ecrin 6 Couleurs Eyeshadow Palette: $86 for 0.25oz, $344 per ounce
Bobbi Brown Sequin Shimmer Brick For Eyes: $48.50 for 0.14oz, $346.43 per ounce
Lancome Color Design 5 Shadow and Liner Palette: $50 for 0.141oz, $354.61 per ounce
Dior 5 Couleurs Couture Colour Eyeshadow Palette: $61 for 0.17oz, $358.82 per ounce
Dolce and Gabbana The Eyeshadow Smooth Eye Colour Quad: $59 for 0.16oz, $368.75 per ounce
Givenchy Le Prisme Eyeshadow Quartet: $57 for 0.14oz, $407.14 per ounce
Givenchy Le Prisme Yeux Colour and Shine for Metallic Eyes: $57 for 0.14oz, $414.29 per ounce
Givenchy Ecrin Prive: $73 for 0.072oz, $1013.89 per ounce

Mean: $169.10 per ounce
Median: $119.05 per ounce
Standard Deviation: $133.39

I did a t-test to see what was up.

I was generous in my data examination in two ways: for the indie companies, I used the lowest price available when a range of prices was presented. For the Sephora palettes, I excluded the Givenchy outlier because seriously, what the fuck.

My data did support the notion that indie eyeshadows are cheaper than Sephora's range of eyeshadow palettes, t(109)=2.44, p=0.016.

However, when you examine individual brands, it's clear that a sense of superiority in your financial choices is not necessarily warranted simply by the decision to buy indie. Well-regarded indie brand Shiro Cosmetics, for example, is nearly identical in price per ounce to Urban Decay's overrated beloved Naked Palettes, at $85.71 per ounce versus $86.67 per ounce, respectively. My Pretty Zombie is priced in line with Smashbox, both at $100 per ounce. The most expensive of the indies are similar in price to NARS, YSL, and even Dior (The shmanciest of them all, Lucy Minerals, at $350 per ounce, is quite similar in price to Dior's $354.61 per ounce).

Additionally, if you recall from my previous analysis, Sephora palettes are skewed towards the expensive, with the most palettes hitting the $80-100 per ounce price point. With the average indie shadow hovering around $100 per ounce, cutting out all the fancy bullshit that Sephora sells will leave you with patterns that are more similar than different. It would be very feasible for a price-concious shopper to spend comparable amounts of money on the same amount of eyeshadow as indie aficionados, even if they shop at Sephora.

Price can definitely be a consideration when choosing indie eyeshadows. However, based on the data here, I doubt it would be a primary reason for most people to switch to indie products. Luckily, as a lover of both indie and commercial cosmetics, I can confirm that makeup of all stripes has the potential for awesomeness.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Review: Pumpkin and Poppy Oak Bark Contouring Powder

Given the popularity of contouring in the makeup-loving world, it's pretty surprising that there aren't more contouring products that fall into the realm of believable shadows. You can love the look of contouring with bronzer all you like, but the vast majority of those who attempt it simply look like someone who put bronzer on their face in a strategic fashion. If your goal is the illusion of cheekbones-to-die-for, most people (even the warm-toned) will need something at least a little bit cooler.

As a certified member of the "cool-toned and fair skinned" club, finding the right color is even more of a pain in the ass.

Pumpkin and Poppy, an indie brand, advertises their product's believability, noting that "most bronzers are warm in tone and too dark for a natural contour."

Cue the anticipatory music.

OH MY GOD, IT'S SO BEAUTIFUL. The ashy taupe shade reads like a genuine shadow.

This is the most natural-looking contour shade I have ever used.

To highlight the level of awesomeness here, I swatched it next to two commonly used contours for fair skin: NYX Blush in Taupe and Illamasqua's Cream Pigment in Hollow.

From left to right: NXY Taupe, Pumpkin and Poppy Oak Bark, Illamasqua Hollow
In comparison to Oak Bark, NYX Taupe looks reddish and ruddy. It's not a terrible color, but it's just a hair too warm. Add that to its inexplicable tendency to be coated in a hardened layer of oil, and it's no surprise that it has moved its way out of my rotation permanently.

Illmasqua Hollow, on the other hand, reads like a bruise on someone with jaundice. It's got a yellow, almost sickly effect in comparison to the lovely Pumpkin and Poppy shade. Again, it does a totally adequate job for contouring… but the new guy blows it out of the water.

On my face, Oak Bark looks something like this:

I am a nitpicky person, so I do have to point out the minor imperfections.

The first is that the Pumpkin and Poppy store on Etsy is not well-stocked. As of this writing, there is exactly one jar of Oak Bark in stock. To me, this reads as unprofessional, as if the shop owner is not expecting any significant sales. It would also be very frustrating if you, for example, wanted one for yourself and one as gift, or if you were a makeup artist and wanted a jar that you could use for a client. Sucks for those people, because you can only buy one! Because this is a perpetual issue, it seems that this is just the way that the shop is run (it's not that stock is actually low)... and that just doesn't make any sense.

The second minor issue that I have is that there is no pressed powder version available. Indie stores rarely have a pressed powder option, so it's not unexpected, but it means that this product can't be literally the perfect contour product available. If I could buy a pressed powder version of this contour, I would have to buy in bulk. (Just kidding. There would only ever be one in stock.)

Oak Bark retails for $8.75 for a 20g/0.71oz jar. I foolishly did not actually weigh the contents, which can be very variable for indie products. However, assuming 0.71oz of product, the powder retails for a very wallet-friendly $12.32 per ounce.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Ipsy July 2014 Review

Next up in ridiculously belated reviews… SHIT I GOT (from Ipsy).

This is what it looks like in a pile:

BeFine Food Skin Care Daily Moisturizer with SPF15 (1.5 fl oz), approximate retail value $22.06

Moisturizer! You could wear it! Marginally more exciting that body lotion! SPF 15! That's technically better than not wearing sunscreen at all!

This moisturizer advertises "rosemary, pomegranate, and rice" on its label. If you want to know what it smells like, rice is definitely the closest.

Hang Ten Dark Tanning Oil (1 fl oz), approximate retail value $1.50

This was probably the biggest cause of tipsy-related "sad trombone" noises last month. It was sent to a wide variety of people ranging from very dark skinned to very light skinned, many of whom responded with an "Um, no thanks."

I'm actually not as offended by this product as I have been by other tanning products that subscription boxes have hoisted on me, simply because there's nothing deceptive about it. I won't use it, but I don't use all sorts of random shit I get sent in low-cost boxes like this one.

BareMinerals 5-in-1 BB Advanced Performance Cream Eyeshadow in Divine Wine (0.03 fl oz), approximate retail value $5.40

A new product from a known brand isn't an Ipsy sample to shake a stick at.

Although the fact that BareMinerals is trying to capitalize on the whole "BB" trend is pretty eye-roll-worthy, the product is decent.

It's a very creamy formula with a consistency that is reminiscent of Cool Whip. You can apply it with the included doe foot applicator and blend it with your finger (or a brush for people who don't mind immediately having to wash your brushes). It blends relatively well and, once dry, stays put. It's also quite opaque.

Divine Wine is mysteriously a taupe color, rather than the burgundy shade the name implies.

Elizabeth Mott Tints and Sass Lip and Cheek Stain (full size at 0.35 oz), retail value $22.99

Another cheek/lip stain that is identical to all the cheek/lip stains on the market? Bring it on…

You could find a hundred near-identical products if you wanted, but this one is fine.

On lips and cheeks.

Pür Minerals Big Look Waterproof Mascara (0.12 oz), approximate retail value $14.12

I found this mascara to be consistent with drugstore mascaras in quality… but the packaging is pretty excellent. The glittery water droplets on the handle are cute as hell.

Otherwise, it's a thick-brushed, medium-wet formula that gives both length and volume, but is spectacular in neither characteristic, and that has a tendency to cause your lashes to stick together.

If you want glamorous packaging, though...

Total Box Value: $66.07

Overall, this box was fine. Obviously, the dollar value is pretty good, given the $10 a month price tag on the subscription service, but there was no standout product that I'm excited about. Most of these things I will probably never use again. The tanning oil, for example, only made it out of its plastic wrap so that I could take a photo.

If you like getting random makeup in the mail and you don't especially care whether or not it sucks, Ipsy will get the job done. Still, I definitely wish that a greater percentage of these products were something new, interesting, or high quality.

If you are feeling the urge to join Ipsy, you are always welcome to use my referral link by clicking here.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Birchbox July 2014 Review

What month is it again?

Here was my July Birchbox:

Cynthia Rowley Beauty Eyeliner in Black (0.03oz), approximate retail value $12.00

At some point, you kind of run out of things to say about nice, soft, well-done pencil eyeliners. Other than the adorable polka dots on the packaging, this liner is functionally identical to Urban Decay's Zero and to the hundreds of other eyeliners that are also exactly like Urban Decay's Zero.

Do you want a lovely, not-as-black-as-it-could-be-but-still-black eyeliner with polka dots on the lid?

Well, this is that.

It also goes on faces.

It works like pencil eyeliners do.

The end.

Real Chemistry Luminous Three Minute Peel (0.17 fl oz), approximate retail value $4.80

This would be a lot more exciting if it wasn't moderately deceptive. The implication is that something called a "peel" is going to peel off a layer of skin. Indeed, it appears to do so: clumping "skin" all over your face. However, the ingredients list is pretty snooze-worthy: some water, some moisturizing ingredients, some surfactants. Most importantly, though, is the polymer labeled a "carbomer", which is clumping once it hits the oil on the surface of your skin. This is fine if you want a mild physical exfoliant, but not so fine if you have been led to believe that this "peel" is going to, you know… peel.

The brand might be "Real Chemistry" but it sure isn't "Honest Chemistry".

Supergoop Daily Correct CC Cream SPF 35+ (0.1 fl oz), approximate retail value $2.04

I don't think there is anything I can tell you about this that isn't demonstrated effectively in this very orange swatch:

It didn't make it onto my face because that is not in the same genre as my skin color.

Naobay Body Radiance Lotion (1.01 fl oz), approximate retail value $2.88

Like almost all lotion, this lotion is adequate. It has a very light, sweet smell. It's not especially thick.

I'm not in love with it being labeled "organic" since the term "organic" is not regulated by the FDA. Although a cosmetic product can meet the USDA organic requirements by being made with 95% organic ingredients, the Birchbox website is claiming that only 19% of the ingredients in this lotion are organic. According to the USDA, products that contain less than 70% organic ingredients "cannot use the term 'organic' anywhere on the principal display panel."

Harvey Prince Imperial Gardenia (estimated 0.03 fl oz), estimated retail value $3.30

There is a beautiful, peppery, spicy layer to this gardenia-inspired fragrance. I actually like it a lot. The reason I wouldn't purchase this is because it is inexplicably only available in a 0.3 fl oz size.

One Year Subscription to Women's Health Magazine, retail value $9.99

I wouldn't normally count this, but you can send the card back for a $9.99 refund, which makes the entire Birchbox purchase $0.01 plus the points you get for reviewing the items in your bag.

Total Box Value: $35.01

I probably would have been pretty grumpy about this box… but it came out to near-free with the refund. If you count my points (10 points per item for a total of 50 points, worth $5 in the Birchbox store), I came out ahead. Hard to complain about that.

If you suddenly decide you want to join Birchbox, you are, as always, welcome to use my referral link by clicking here.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Review: Manna Kadar Cosmetics Eye Palette in Diamonds Darling

I'm a gray eyeshadow lover. Give me an ombre gray palette and I'm fifteen minutes away from looking like a slutty black and white photograph.

Manna Kadar's Diamonds Darling palette not only has the right color scheme, it has a name reminiscent of Nicole Kidman sitting on a sexy swing in a cabaret venue.

I will assume that this is a language translation and not merely a way to confuse people who don't know the difference between 'palette', 'pallet', and 'palate'. 

The very plain packaging is not appealing, but I was hoping for a diamond in the rough, especially given the palette's $45 price tag.

Sadly, there was no diamond to be found. Given the texture, I am pretty sure that what I got was a mix of craft glitter and kosher salt.

In the picture, it looks so damn pretty (dusting of fallout aside).

My swatches, though, will probably serve to dissuade you:


That looks like quality that I would be disappointed to find at the dollar store.

The first shade, which should be a brilliant, glittery white, is basically the eyeshadow equivalent of one of those glitter nail polishes where each coat gets you like four flecks of the glitter. You would get equivalent pigmentation by brushing past one of those white, glittery, fake trees that are put on display around Christmas.

The second shade, which should be a light gray glitter, is somehow even less pigmented. I could use it as a setting powder on days where I want to look just very slightly undead.

The third shade is a slate gray glitter. It's probably the least crappy of the shades in the palette, but it's in such bad company that this is sort of damning with faint praise. It looks like I am looking at my arm through a single layer of gray cellophane.

The fourth shade is a matte black. There are a million matte blacks in the world, and this one is terrible. It's splotchy and patchy and badly pigmented.

Finally, the last shade is a matte black with a purple glitter. This was the biggest disappointment in the palette not because it was the worst shade, but because I was expecting it to be a gorgeous, shimmery purple. Nerp. Never have hopes and dreams, as they will only be crushed by the terrible eyeshadow you purchase.

A few looks that were cobbled together using this atrocity of cosmetics:

Manna Kadar eyeshadow palettes retail for $45 for 0.33oz, putting them at a slightly pricy $136.36 per ounce. Since literally everything about this eyeshadow palette is awful, that is exactly $136.36 more than you should ever pay for an ounce of this makeup.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Testing "The Goss Method" for Foundation

For those of you who don't already know him, Wayne Goss is a makeup artist and a prolific, popular beauty youtuber. I'm always particularly amused by his hyperbolic video titles, which include names like, "HELL JUST FROZE OVER! PLEASE WATCH!", "WTF!!! THE LIP SCRUB YOU AIN'T GONNA WANNA MISS!", and "FOREO: SKIN CLEANSING OR SEXUAL PLEASURE?! BOTH ACTUALLY-- REALLY!" I always have this vision of Wayne Goss happily yelling at me through my computer screen about concealer.

As much as I enjoy watching random youtube tutorials while I do the dishes, it's rare that someone gives a tip that is truly unique or transformative. Although there is joy in seeing a thousand perfect smoky eyes, very few people stop in their tracks and go, "Holy shit! Brown eyeshadow!"

In March 2014, Wayne Goss released a video called, in his usual fashion, "THIS FOUNDATION TIP CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE". You can watch the whole video here, but I'll also walk you through it for those who like to skim.

I won't go so far as to say that it is life-changing, but it's definitely unconventional. So unconventional, in fact, that it goes contrary to every piece of makeup advice you've ever heard: put on your powder, Goss recommends, before you put on your liquid foundation. In his video, Goss says, "I know that we're told, 'We don't apply liquids or creams over powders.' This will work fine. All of that moisturizer, primer, whatever [you put on first, will be] locked into the skin with a powder."

You probably don't need any new products to give it a try. Goss notes, "All you'll need is your moisturizer or primer and anything else you put on your skin, you'll need a powder and you'll need a foundation." He recommends that you start with your primer and moisturizer and get it all rubbed in. Then, if you want, you can add something shimmery and liquid. "I know you think it's mental," he says, "but you powder your face first. Take the brush and powder over all this moisturizer and primer." Goss advises you use "a loose powder, not a pressed one". He continues, "Powdering it, even with a translucent powder, will add a small amount of coverage. If you use a powder that has a little bit of coverage to it, skin tone, you will get more coverage on your face for area that are problematic." He adds, "…what will happen is: a. you'll need less foundation. You will absolutely not use anywhere near the same amount of foundation. You will find that, if you're no very dark under the eyes, you certainly won't need to use concealer. But it will fill in and cover and stay on the skin. Your foundation is going to stay all day long now… [and] it will cause the foundation to set immediately." Finally, Goss suggests, "If you have oily skin, it will be a good idea for you to add a fraction of powder just down the T-zone."

This idea got a lot of positive attention on the internet machine, probably in large part because it's so "what the fuck" for makeup lovers. People had to try it to see if it was some elaborate April Fool's prank to give everyone on Reddit's MakeupAddiction a serious case of cake face.

I've actually been playing with this foundation method for a long fucking time; I started when the video first came out. At this point, I have a lot of feelings. However, it's hard to get a really good sense of a foundation method without a side-by-side, and I simply haven't seen one for this technique.

So, I did one.

Goss makes a lot of claims about this method. Broadly speaking, I would say there are three overarching ones:

1. You will use less foundation.
2. You will get more coverage.
3. Your foundation will last longer.

I'm going to deal with each of these.

You Will Use Less Foundation

This was pretty easy to check thanks to my unreasonable precise scale.

First, I divided my face neatly in half, (using nail striping tape, actually) like so:

I then layered on my pre-foundation products. Although Goss doesn't mention sunscreen, y'all know I am a sunscreen addict. I started with EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46. Above that, I put Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion. Finally, I layered on Smashbox Photo Finish More Than Primer Blemish Control. I was like a human parfait: all about the layers.

On one half of my face, I added a layer of Bare Minerals Mineral Veil. Then, I added my foundation: Wet'n'Wild's Coverall in Fair. (I went full Goss and used my fingers to apply.) On the Goss-free "conventional" side, I added the same Bare Minerals Mineral Veil to set my foundation. (I didn't add any to set the Goss side.)

I weighed my foundation usage.

The conventional side used 0.196g of foundation to get adequate coverage of my blemishes.

The Goss side? A comparatively low 0.152g.

Obviously, this is a single trial, so I can't promise you thousands of dollars of savings or anything, but this claim does appear to be true. Using the Goss Method likely will save you on foundation.

I think even more notable than the difference in foundation, though, is the relative ease of application. Using the Goss Method, your foundation won't mix with the underlying layers, which can cause streakiness and a frantic need to blend.

You will get more coverage

I used less foundation, but how was the coverage? I left off all other face products (contour, blush, highlight, concealer, etc.) so that there was no distraction from the foundation.

Unfortunately, I didn't have the forethought to take makeup-free photos of my face on each side, but I can promise you that each side of my face has similar levels of acne and scarring.

Here's how the conventional foundation method looked:

And here's the Goss Method:

Both sides look fine, honestly. I think the biggest difference is the finish. A Goss Method face will have a finish that is most characteristic of the foundation. A conventional face will have a face that is most characteristic of the setting powder.

I'd call this claim "inconclusive", although it's not implausible, especially with a lower coverage foundation. Again, though, I did also use less foundation, so if I was especially skilled at layering on many coats of foundation, I probably could get more coverage without using more product.

Your foundation will last longer

Finally, I wanted to see how the foundation wears.

The weather was 97 degrees Fahrenheit and raining: perfect for a foundation stress test.

12 hours after application, here is how the conventional half of my face looked:

You can see that there is definitely some acne scarring that has unburied itself from its shallow skin-toned grave. It's still mostly covered, but it's starting to become visible.

The Goss method:

Happily, the scarring has not re-appeared here! However, there is a caveat when you get super up-close-and-personal with my skin:

The pinker part is my natural skin chilling underneath.

There's a little cakiness going on. The Goss Method isn't always cake-free. It's minor, but it's also definitely only on the Goss side and not on the conventional side. If you look, you can see that there is foundation sitting on the skin.

I think I would still call this better, especially given how faint the foundation appearance is on the Goss Method side, but I want to make sure that the trade-off is noted.

I have used the Goss Method now countless times and this is actually the third side-by-side I've done, each with a different foundation (it's the first I've photographed). This is the first time I've had this problem. It's also the most extreme weather in which I have attempted the Goss Method. If you're going to be in an office all day, I'm guessing that there will be less cake-related risk involved.

I'd call this claim "true", with the caveat.

Miscellaneous Other Notes

Based on my experiences over the last few months, I do have a few modifications on Wayne Goss's initial advice about what kind of products to use. I find that really, really boring foundations typically work the best. If your foundation is too liquid or too thick or too moisturizing, your results simply won't be as appealing. The one time I tried to do it with a tinted moisturizer, it was such an awful mess that I had to wash my face. Stick with the medium-to-full-coverage foundations that seem remarkably similar to every drugstore foundation ever.

I've also found that, despite the initial warning to use a loose powder, many pressed powders do a wonderful job. What is important is that the powder is very finely milled and that not a ton of powder comes off onto your brush. The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders, for example, do a very nice job.

Overall, I think this technique is a wonderful tool, even if it's not witchcraft. It allows more customization on the finish of your makeup and it does stretch your foundation for longer. It can help with makeup longevity. I think it's especially helpful for heavy sunscreen users: anyone who has struggled with putting on large quantities of sunscreen and then layering makeup on top should especially give it a go (I originally intended on giving this post a slightly different focus and calling it "How "the Goss Method" for Foundation Saves Sunscreen).
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