Friday, August 30, 2013

Review: Sugarpill Cosmetics Sweetheart Palette

Sugarpill. Queen of color. Sovereign of shades. Czar of chromaticity. Trigger of terribly-executed attempts at alliteration. I may be an awful writer, but y'all are pretty damn good at eyeshadow production.


I will admit, I was surprised by the shimmer on some of these eyeshadows, as I had kind of been working under the assumption that all Sugarpill eyeshadows are matte... even though now that I know they are not, I am not really sure how I got that impression.

The Sweetheart palette contains:

Dollipop: A (mostly) matte hot pink.
Afterparty: A shimmery blue the color of 1980s denim that might have been worn by Robin Sparkles in How I Met Your Mother.
Midori: A pearly fantasy dragon green that is not the color of the melon-flavored liqueur of its namesake at all.
Tako: A matte white.


Now that I have introduced you to all those name, just go ahead and forget them, since the word "tako" is not nearly as descriptive as the word "white" (unless you are trying to refer to a town in Chiba...).

The palette comes with a decent-sized mirror, which is perfect for making silly faces in.

Just go ahead and assume that I am always making this face when photographing my makeup.
The colors go on like butter. (As always, swatches are two swipes of color over no primer!)

I still can't find anywhere in my new apartment with decent lighting, so outside it is...

At first glance, I was actually a little bit worried about the white color in this palette. Not necessarily about its quality, but about its... classiness? Let's just say that when I think about a giant, pigmented, white, matte eyeshadow, the first image that comes to mind isn't necessarily the epitome of good taste.

However, it turns out that my concerns were delightfully unfounded for a totally unexpected reason: these fuckers blend. And not just in a "this is a step you are supposed to take when you go about eyeshadowing" sort of way, but in a "now you have a rainbow of colors at your disposal that you didn't know you had signed up for" sort of way. That white color combines with the other colors to make pastels! Suddenly you have pastels you didn't even know you bought!

My favorite mix is actually the blue and the pink. Seriously, look at that shit. That's not because I spent half an hour trying to MacGyver some off-brand lilac. That's what happens when you put a layer of pink and then put a layer of blue on top. That's just what it looks like.


On my eyes, these basically turn to magic.

Sugarpill Sweetheart Palette on Human Face
Sugarpill Sweetheart Palette on Human Face
All the Sugarpill four-color palettes retail for $34 for 0.48oz, putting it at quite reasonable $70.83 per ounce. Their pressed eyeshadows can also be bought individually for $12 for 0.12oz ($100 per ounce). That means that if you are digging three out of four colors in any given palette, it's still worth it to get the palette, since three of those suckers will cost you $36.

Given the quality and the GINORMOUS SIZE of these eyeshadows, I can't imagine that anyone who has been eyeing this will be displeased.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Review: Clinique High Impact Mascara

You may have noticed that I don't have a lot of mascara reviews on this blog. (Indeed, I have all of zero traditional reviews dedicated to mascara.) The reasons for this started out as noble. I had this beautiful fantasy where I would create an encyclopedic guide to mascaras based on before and after pictures. Unfortunately (fortunately?) there are so many mascaras in the world. So. Many. And I acquire mascara samples like a preschool teacher acquires mild colds. As my list of mascaras to include built and built and built, it became abundantly clear that I just needed to break down and tell you about some of the mascaras that I like. So, I started with my all-time favorite mascara: Clinique High Impact.


The name "high impact" might be a bit of a misnomer for this mascara. Certainly, if I was purchasing this mascara with the hopes of wearing it to a Rocky Horror Picture Show screening, I would have been sorely disappointed. (Beyond the mascara, that would have been a bad idea anyways, as falsies are legally mandated for all Rocky Horror attendees.) So, it may help that I originally got this as a part of my "Clinique Bonus", meaning that I had absolutely no preconceptions about what it would be like.

Luckily, it would turn out to be pretty much the best thing ever. Like most Clinique products, it looks pretty unassuming. The brush is straight. The tube is black. The mascara is black (unless you buy the brown, in which case the mascara is brown). The formula is magic.


My biggest mascara-related challenge is getting the length and volume I want without my lashes deciding to form a union of ONE GIANT MONOLASH HEAR ME ROAR. This is a problem I have never faced with this mascara. A few swipes gives me lovely lady-like lashes with no trouble. The end result looks both natural and feminine. (The brown version might be perfect for a no-makeup-makeup look.) It never smudges, it lasts amazingly, and it doesn't require gouging out my eyes to remove. Basically, this is a simple, no-nonsense mascara that epitomizes what a mascara is supposed to do.

You may need to click on this picture to see what the fuck is going on. I moved and I am still trying to figure out where in my new house I get acceptable lighting.

Although I fully intend on maintaining my collection of near-infinite mascaras, Clinique's High Impact mascara will absolutely always be on my shelf. 

Clinique High Impact retails for $16 for 0.28 oz, or $57.14 per ounce.

Least Surprising Study Ever Suggests That Sleep Is Good For Your Skin

When I don't sleep, my undereye circles turn a bright and stylish shade of purple. My face will swell, adding some much-needed volume to my lips. My eyes look even droopier the beauty-icon Marilyn Monroe. My skin dulls, providing that much-coveted "matte" look. Finally, my blemishes will increase, which... uh... builds character?

Despite these clear cosmetic improvements, a new study has come out that suggests that sleep deprivation may not be the key to beauty!

Pretending to sleep.
Research physicians at the University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleavland, Ohio led by dermatologist Elma Baron, MD, conducted the study. Baron notes, "Insufficient sleep has become a worldwide epidemic. While chronic sleep deprivation has been linked to medical problems such as obesity, diabetes, cancer and immune deficiency, its effects on skin function have previously been unknown."

Researchers recruited sixty pre-menopausal women. Using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (which you can find online here, scoring can be found here) and a sleep log, participants were evaluated for the quality of their sleep. The women also had their skin assessed using visual cues, UV light exposure, and skin barrier disruption.

Women with poor sleep quality were more likely than good sleepers to have fine lines, hyper- and hypopigmentation, and a reduction in skin elasticity. (They were not more likely to have deep wrinkles or other sunburn-related damage). They also took longer than good sleepers (over 72 hours) to recover from UV-light-precipitated inflammation.

Women who slept better also rated themselves as more attractive. 

Obviously, this study is correlational, meaning that we cannot infer causation (regardless of Dr. Daniel Yarosh's claim that "poor sleep quality can accelerate signs of skin aging"-- this study does not show that!). Women were not randomly assigned to have shitty sleeping habits. It is perfectly likely that a third variable could explain the relationship between sleep and loveliness. For example, socioeconomic status  (SES) might be a plausible explanation. Low-SES women may be constantly stressed, getting bad sleep, getting bad nutrition, and finding themselves unable to take care of their skin as thoroughly as their high-SES peers. That being said, this study is still a good first step towards examining the relationship between sleep and skin.

Also worth noting: the study was commissioned by Estée Lauder. Since they don't sell beds, though, this doesn't horrify my inner skeptic too much! Caveats aside, I won't be skipping my beauty rest (but that may be because sleep is one of the best things ever).

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Review: Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Crayon in Blacquer

Who doesn't want to smear Marc Jacobs on their face? Given how good he looks for 50, it is only a matter of time before Marc Jacobs' cheek swabs become the latest pseudoscientific anti-aging craze. Marc Jacobs' new cosmetics collection for Sephora won't make that dream a reality, but it has eyeliner, so it is objectively way better.

I recently picked up a sample of the new Marc Jacobs "Highlighter Gel Crayon". Despite the fancy name, it is definitely an eyeshadow pencil akin to the Urban Decay 24/7 eyeliners in both softness and opacity.


In terms of how black the blackness of this black is? It's moderately black. If its blackness was an earthquake, it would be a 5 on the Richter scale. Swatched next to Urban Decay's 24/7 pencil liners, it is definitely darker than Zero, but lighter than Perversion. (It is closer in color to the latter than the former.)

If Zero and Perversion had a baby, it would be this color and consistency... but it wouldn't be a twist-up! I love me some twist-up eyeliners, and I really appreciate the fact that Marc Jacobs' 'highliners' were made with this in mind. (Maybe it's because I usually stick to liquid or gel eyeliners, but sharpening eyeliners always seems like such a pain to me.)


It's nice and thin, which makes it easy to apply, but it is definitely hard to get a really crisp line (as it is with virtually all pencil eyeliners). It wears well, but I did have some very slight smudging under my eye at the end of the workday.

Marc Jacobs Highliner on Human Face
Overall, I would say that this is a good product for pencil eyeliner devotees, especially anyone yearning for a twist-up version of the Urban Decay 24/7 Pencil Liners. It may not have the same rainbow of colors, but a snazzy teal, dark blue, and silver, it's off to a good start. If you are a gel-liner-lover, though, who was drawn in by the name, I doubt you will find yourself converted.

I wish I could answer the question about how much this fucker costs per ounce, but apparently no one has any goddamn idea how big the full sized eyeliner pencils are. The Sephora website claims that they are 0.1oz each, but that doesn't make any sense, because that would be the hugest, most unwieldy eyeliner ever. (A three-foot-long eyeliner is hardly a practical idea.) Temptalia, on the other hand, claims that they are 0.01oz each. This makes a million times more sense, but my deluxe sample is labeled as 0.013oz. I highly doubt that they made the samples larger than the full-sized product. (I don't know, though, if my sample is mislabeled, or if Temptalia was less than diligent about accurately transcribing decimal points.) I can tell you that they cost $25 each. $250 per ounce? $2,500 per ounce? Somewhere in between? It's truly one of the deep mysteries of the universe.

If one of y'all happen to find this eyeliner somewhere, please do take a note of the mass and I'll be sure to update this.

Update: According to a commenter, these pencils are 0.5g/0.018oz, which is  $1,388.89 per ounce.

Random Sample Grab Bag: Perfume Reviews Part 3

Armani - Code Eau de Toilette (For Dudes). $62 for 1.7 fl oz ($36.47 per oz)



This smells like "are you fucking kidding me? It's gone already?" I have no idea what this stupid perfume smells like because by the time the alcohol fades, the scent has basically completely faded as well, leaving behind the faint aroma of flatulence.

If this scent were being worn by a fictional character, it would be Pumba from the Lion King (1994).

Bvlgari - Mon Jasmin Noir Eau de Toilette. $83 for 1.7 fl oz ($48.82 per oz)


This smell is very mild, but it's a nice mix of jasmine and orange juice. It smells like someone who is putting a lot of effort into being special, but who is not quite succeeding.

If this scent were being worn by a fictional character, it would be Bella Swan from Twilight.

Carolina Herrera - 212 Men NYC Eau de Toilette (For Dudes). $58 for 1.7 fl oz ($34.12 per oz) 


For a scent supposedly aimed at men, this is remarkably feminine and youthful. It smells a little woody, but mostly it smells like a sweetened version of oregano.

If this scent were being worn by a fictional character, it would be Peter Pan from Peter and Wendy.

Clean - Rain Eau de Parfum. $69 for 2.14 fl oz ($32.24 per oz)



Normally, I think of a delicate scent as one that as one that is soft, floral, and light. Somehow, this fulfills none of the categories, yet still seems to fit "delicate" perfectly. This smells like a musky honeydew melon.

If this scent were being worn by a fictional character, it would be Satsuki from My Neighbor Totoro (1988).

Donna Karan - Cashmere Mist Eau De Parfum. $82 for 1.7 fl oz ($48.23 per oz)


This perfume smells like freshly washed sheets when you put in slightly too much laundry detergent, and then you overfilled the dryer so that they are still kind of damp when you take them out. It is a very powerful scent.

If this scent were being worn by a fictional character, it would be Scarlett O'Hara (at her most tired and overworked) from Gone With the Wind.

Givenchy - Gentlemen Only Eau De Toilette (For Dudes). $59 for 1.7 fl oz ($34.71 per oz)


"Gentlemen only"? Don't fucking tell me what to do, Givenchy. This smells like cedar and pepper, neither of which are reserved for men. This smells like someone who doesn't know that women are allowed in the workplace (although the description of stating that is epitomizes "courtesy, elegance, and chivalry" probably doesn't help my impression of it).*

If this scent were being worn by a fictional character, it would be Chi-Fu from Mulan (1998).

John Varvatos - Vintage Eau De Toilette (For Dudes). $64 for 2.5 fl oz ($25.60 per oz)


This smells like the inside of a new leather jacket, with a bit of cinnamon thrown in for good mix. This may technically be for menfolk, but I think this makes an absurdly sexy women's perfume.

If this scent were being worn by a fictional character, it would be Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica.

Marc Jacobs - Honey Eau De Parfum. $72 for 1.7 fl oz ($42.35 per oz)


This perfume smells like what I imagine it must be like to wake up in Hawaii. It smells fruity and a little bit oceany, but the fruit scents melt together into a sort of happy, sunny scent. 

If this scent were being worn by a fictional character, it would be Hi'iaka from Hawaiian mythology.

Philosophy Living Grace Eau De Toilette. $44 for 2.0 fl oz ($22 per oz)


This smells a little bit like lilies, but mostly it smells like you took a shower. This may be a good option for the dirty hippies among you who want to re-join civilized society for an evening without actually having to wash your hair.

If this scent were being worn by a fictional character, it would be Pig-Pen from Peanuts.

Viktor and Rolf Spicebomb Eau De Toilette (For Dudes). $85 for 1.7 fl oz ($50 per oz)


Given that Viktor and Rolf's Flowerbomb is one of the few perfumes I have actually broken down and purchased (it smells So. Fucking. Good.), I was really excited to try the dude-centric version of this perfume. At first, I felt overwhelmed with the smell of my grandma's house (admittedly, she had a nice-smelling house, but I rarely feel the desire to smell like dead people). After a moment, I thought the smell seemed more like a classic cigar (or at least how a classic cigar smells from inside when the old men in your family go outside to smoke). However, after a few moments, the scent changed again, leaving a scent that is less spice and more floral. It feels clever and complex. It may be lovely, if you can get over the completely hideous grenade packaging, but I probably will be sticking with Flowerbomb.

If this scent were being worn by a fictional character, it would be Lord Henry Wotton from the Picture of Dorian Gray

*Before I get linked to by Men's Rights Advocate groups: this is a joke.

P.S. Remember how I said that Chloe's Eau De Parfum was really, really, really boring? Since I wrote that, I have picked up the exact same sample an additional THREE TIMES because it is so boring that I keep forgetting that I have already tried it.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Review: Maybelline Vivids Color Sensational Lipstick

As one of the brands that inaugurated middle-school me to makeup, Maybelline maintains a major place in my heart. The 'Vivids' lipsticks show that they deserve it.

I purchased Shocking Coral, Vivid Rose, and Pink Pop.


One thing that immediately bothers me about the packaging of these lipsticks is that all the fucking colors are packaged in the same orange-y plastic. I know I don't normally get to admire the color of my lipsticks when the lid is on (no X-ray vision), but for some reason I have a real visceral reaction to the packaging and I always kind of expect that the color in the tube to be related to the cap. I consistently think "Oh, I don't want that color". Then I open the cap and think, "Just kidding. Yes I do." I wish the color was either a reflection of the color of the lipstick OR that they were a totally off-the-wall color like turquoise. (Or, you know... a neutral.)


Each of the colors is bright and opaque. They apply smoothly, which is a great pairing for such gorgeous colors.

Shocking Coral is a warm reddish coral.
Vivid Rose is rosy fuchsia color.
Pink Pop is a bubblegum pink.

From left to right: Shocking Coral, Vivid Rose, and Pink Pop.

I didn't actually have particularly high hopes for the lasting ability of these lipsticks since the colors are so off-the-wall in terms of color, but all of them deliver. Even Pink Pop, which I all but wrote off as something that would need constant re-application, easily passed my "four hours and a meal" test.

Pink Pop Before and After Four Hours Plus a Meal
Vivid Rose Before and After Four Hours Plus a Meal
Shocking Coral Before and After Four Hours Plus a Meal
Maybelline Vivids retail for $7.49 for 0.15 oz ($49.93 per ounce). Given that the quality easily equals much more expensive lipsticks, I would highly recommend them to anyone who likes bold lips. (The meanest thing I can say about them is that I don't like the color of the packaging.)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sephora Points: Spend or Save? A Mathmatical Analysis

I am not going to lie. I am one impatient motherfucker when it comes to Sephora points. I am not sure that I have ever managed to save up for a 500 point perk, let alone one of the laughably gigantic free-vacation-to-Paris ones. I'll just have to pay for my own trips abroad. (Just kidding. I never get to take vacations.)

So I decided to analyze exactly how much I am screwing myself by deciding I need this 100 point perk RIGHT NOW. It's important to note that this is list is not currently up-to-date; it is from earlier this month. Thus, I have no idea which of these samples are currently in stock at the present date.

All perks are organized alphabetically by brand. ("Oz" refers to fluid oz where appropriate.)

100 Point Perks:

Alterna CC Crème (.85 oz), approximate retail value $8.50

Anastasia Brow Gel in Clear (0.085 oz), approximate retail value $6.68

Amore Pacific Treatment Enzyme Peel (0.2 oz), approximate retail value $4.80

Bite Beauty Lip Shine in Prosecco (0.17 oz), approximate retail value $20

Bobbi Brown Makeup Remover (1 oz), approximate retail value $7.35

Boscia Self-Defense Vital Antioxidant Moisture SPF 30 (0.5 oz), approximate retail value $12.86

Bumble & Bumble Bb. Texture Hair (Un) Dressing Creme (0.5 oz), approximate retail value $2.80

Bumble & Bumble Straight Blow Dry (0.5 oz), approximate retail value $2.90

Bumble and Bumble Thickening Hairspray (1 oz), approximate retail value $3.50

Chloe See By Chloe (0.13 oz), approximate retail value $5.96

Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector (2 x 0.24 oz), approximate retail value $3.96

Clinique High Impact Mascara (0.14 oz), approximate retail value $8.00

Clinique Moisture Surge Intense For Very Dry To Dry Combination Skin (0.5 oz), approximate retail value $10.88

Dior Hydra Life BB Crème SPF 30 (0.16 oz), approximate retail value $5.27

Dr. Brandt Glow by Dr. Brandt Ruby Crystal Retinol Hydracreme (0.25 oz), approximate retail value $9.56

First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads (7 pads), approximate retail value $3.27

Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer SPF 15 (0.16 oz), approximate retail value $8.32

Korres Volcanic Minerals Volumizing Mascara (4ml), approximate retail value $10.37

Lavanila Pure Vanilla Fragrance (0.13 oz), approximate retail value $5.46

Lady Gaga FAME (0.23 oz), approximate retail value $7.44

MUFE Smoky Extravagant Mascara (4ml), approximate retail value $14.61

Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer - St. Moritz (0.31 oz), approximate retail value $6.85

Nude ProGenius Treatment Oil (0.16 oz), approximate retail value $12.48

Ojon Rare Blend Oil Total Hair Therapy (0.20 oz), approximate retail value $4.67

Ole Henriksen Perfect Truth CC Crème (0.19 oz), approximate retail value $6.84

Philosophy Love Sweet Love Shampoo, Bath & Shower Gel (1 oz), approximate retail value $1.50

Philosophy Purity Made Simple (1 oz), approximate retail value $2.75

Philosophy Take A Deep Breath Oil-Free Energizing Oxygen Gel Cream Moisturizer (0.4 oz), approximate retail value $6.80

Sephora Collection Instant Moisturizer (0.169 oz), approximate retail value $2.00

Smashbox Classic Primer (0.25 oz), approximate retail value $9.00

Tarte Amazonian Clay Double Detox Facial Mask (0.10 oz), approximate retail value $7.60

Tarte Pure Maracuja Oil (0.23 oz), approximate retail value $6.22

Tocca Graciella (0.17 oz), approximate retail value $6.80

Too Faced Primed & Poreless (0.17 oz), approximate retail value $5.10

N=34
Mean=$7.09
Median= $6.80
Min=$1.50
Max=$20


 500 Point Perks:

Benefit Next Big Fling, contains They’re Real! Mascara (0.10 oz), The POREfessional (0.75 oz), approximate retail value ($7.66 + $30) = $37.66

Benefit Sweet to Meet Ya, contains Girl Meets Pearl (0.4 oz), Benetint in Rose (0.13 oz), BADgal Lash Mascara in Rich Black (0.14 oz), approximate retail value ($30 + $9.29 + $10) = $49.29

Buxom Glow & Tell, contains Buxom Lash in Blackest Black (0.2 oz), Divine Goddess Luminizer (0.23 oz), Buxom Big & Healthy Lip Polish in Tonya (0.07oz), Hot Escapes Bronzer in Tahiti (0.07 oz), approximate retail value ($19 + $3.22 + $8.87 + $5.16) = $36.25

Caudalie Brighten & Renew, contains Make-Up Remover Cleansing Water (1.69 oz), Vinoperfect Radiance Serum (0.33 oz), Vinoperfect Day Perfecting Fluid SPF 15 (0.33 oz), approximate retail value ($7.06 + $26.07 + $16.25) = $49.38

Clinique Best-Loved Kit, contains Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion (1.0 oz), Repairwear Laser Focus Wrinkle & UV Damage Corrector (0.5 oz), All About Eyes Serum De-Puffing Eye Massage (0.17 oz), Almost Lipstick in Black Honey (0.04 oz), approximate retail value ($6.19 + $23.75 + $10.20 + $8.57) = $48.71

High-Shine Hair Kit, contains Ojon Damage Reverse Instant Restorative Hair Serum (0.5 oz), Phyto Phytojoba Intense Hydrating Shampoo (1.0 oz), Living Proof Prime Style Extender (1.0 oz), Alterna Bamboo Smooth Kendi Oil Dry Oil Mist (1.0 oz), Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing Split End Sealer (0.38 oz), approximate retail value ($7.35 + $2.84 + $4.00 + $5.95 + $5.59) = $25.73

Laura Mercier Flawless Best-Sellers, contains Foundation Primer (0.5 oz), Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 in Nude (0.5 oz), Shimmer Bloc in Golden Mosaic (0.14 oz), Eye Basics in Wheat (0.1 oz), approximate retail value ($9.41 + $14.33 + $26.67 + $13.89) = $64.30

Living Proof Styling Essentials, contains Prime Style Extender (1 oz), Amp2 Instant Texture Volumizer (0.25 oz), Restore Mask Treatment (1 oz), Restore Shampoo (0.33 oz), Restore Conditioner (0.33 oz), Nourishing Styling Cream (0.33 oz), approximate retail value ($4 + $3 + $5.25 + $1.16 + $1.16 + $1.49) = $16.06

MUFE The Greatest Hits, contains HD Microperfecting Primer in #0 Neutral (0.16 oz), HD Microfinish Powder (0.035 oz), Aqua Eyes in 0L Matte Black (0.025 oz), Sens’Eyes Waterproof Sensitive Eye Cleanser (0.84 oz), approximate retail value ($5.39 + $11.88 + $5.96) = $23.23

Stila Must-Haves, contains Smudge Stick Waterproof Eye Liner in Stingray (0.01 oz), Lip Glaze in Apricot (0.05 oz), Stay All Day Waterproof Volumizing Mascara in Black (0.10 oz), All Over Shimmer Liquid Luminizer in Kitten Shimmer (0.05 oz), approximate retail value ($20.00 + $13.75 + $7.86 + $2.00) = $43.61

Summer Starter Kit, contains Shiseido Urban Environment UV Protection Cream + Broad Spectrum SPF 40+ (.57 oz), Lancôme Hypnôse Star Mascara (.068 oz), Anastasia Brow Gel - Clear (.085 oz), bareMinerals Multi-Wrinkle Repair Serum (.17 oz), Dr. Jart Black Label Detox BB Beauty Balm (.33 oz), Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer SPF 15 (.16 oz), approximate retail value ($9.00 + $14.10 + $6.68 + $8.50 + $7.92 + $8.32) = $54.52

Tarte Amazonian Treasures Collection, contains Lights, Camera, Lashes! (0.10 oz), Amazonian Clay Waterproof Cream Eyeshadow in Shimmering Moss (0.10 oz), Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Exposed (0.05 oz), Pure Maracuja Oil (0.23 oz), Amazonian Clay Finishing Powder (0.07 oz), approximate retail value ($7.92 + $19.00 + $6.50 + $6.22 + $6.34) = $45.98

Tocca Cleopatra Fragrance Viaggio, contains Rollerball EDP in Cleopatra (.17 oz), Mini Candelina in Cleopatra (2 oz), approximate retail value ($6.80 + $7.17) = $13.97

N=13
Mean=$39.13
Median=$43.61
Min=$13.97
Max=$64.30



So, what is the verdict? Spend those points or hoard them forever?

Well, in all likelihood, none of you will be completely shocked by the answer: it depends. The mean of the 500 point gifts is $39.13, which is just a hair over five times the mean of the 100 point gifts ($35.30) meaning that, on average, it is slightly better to save up your points. However, some low-value crap gifts (worth less than some of the high-value 100 points gifts!) are definitely dragging down the median.

The median for the 500-points gifts is much higher than the mean, meaning that most of the gifts are higher value with a few gifts dragging down the score. On the other hand, the median for the 100-points gifts is lower than the mean, meaning a few higher value gifts are dragging up the mean; this is another point in favor of, in general, saving your points.

However, I was expecting to see the 500-points gifts being valued at dramatically more than five times the 100-points gifts... and they just aren't. When you factor in the number of products you may not even use (e.g. tinted moisturizers that are the wrong color, products you already own, etc.) it may not affect the approximate retail value as I calculate it, but it will certainly affect what the gift is worth to you personally.

As a result, I think that the data here suggests that if you see a 100-point perk you want... you should get it. Unless you plan on waiting for that perfect 500-point perk where you love every single product you sample, you're probably not gaining a lot of value by hoarding those points.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Ipsy August 2013 Review

Ipsy can sometime be a shit. "Oh, thanks for the craft glitter!" But sometimes it's truly a work of glory. I can't say this bag is perfect, but it's pretty fucking good.

The bag itself was a missed opportunity. I liked the print when I just saw glimpses of it online and thought it was just a neat abstract print. Unfortunately, that is not the case. I don't need products that say "Glamor Academy" on them. Incidentally, that sounds remarkably like a failed Vh1 show.


All together, I received:
August 2013 Ipsy All Together!
 Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in 69 (0.03oz), approximate retail value $7.33


This was the big promotional hype-y item that Ipsy has been peddling this month. Subscribers either got this or a chapstick (talk about a lack of parity!) and DAMN I am glad I got this.


As faithful readers know, I have already purchased and reviewed a couple colors of the new Urban Decay Revolution lipsticks. I liked them... but I might like this one even better. The pigmentation on the brighter colors seems to be even more saturated and rich than the more neutral colors I purchased.


69 is a medium red with a hot pink undertone that adds a lovely playful feel.


The lasting power is particularly good on this one, as well. It made it through my entire shift at work and a sandwich. Even after it fades, your lips remain stained for another few hours.

Mica Beauty Shimmer Powder in Bronze (full size at 0.1oz), retail value $14.95


I do prefer my off-the-wall indie loose shadows to this "new penny" metallic color from Mica, but this sucker will certainly get used.


Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer (0.25oz), approximate retail value $9.75



I already own the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer, but who doesn't need a travel-sized bonus?

Michael Todd True Organics Pumpkin Nutrient Rich Facial Mask (1oz), approximate retail value $10.00


I was pleased with this product. First of all, it smells like you are rubbing pumpkin pie on your face, which has always been one of my lifelong dreams. Secondly, some of its ingredients are actually empirically supported! Specifically, glycolic acid, as the smallest alpha-hydroxy acid, can readily penetrate the skin and remove dead skin cells, effectively chemically exfoliating! I will say, I find it... odd that a mask that is advertised as being 'moisturizing and nourishing' has a chemical exfoliator, but hey, I'll take what I can get.


Pixi Lash Booster (estimated 0.1 fluid oz), estimated retail value $6.80


Unfortunately, this product is simply not my mascara soulmate. Although it is lengthening, it doesn't lengthen as much as other mascaras. It doesn't thicken my lashes at all. Any attempt to get drama results in my eyelashes clumping together. This might work well for someone who wants a really subtle mascara, but this was a very anti-climactic mascara application for me.


Bonus- Lime Crime Nail Polish in Crema de Limon (full size at 0.3oz), retail value $8.00


As always, Ipsy offers a "bonus" to those who refer at least two new subscribers.

When I first opened this nail polish, I thought, "Wow, I didn't think companies as small as Lime Crime would make samples of their nail polish." However, a quick google search revealed that nope- Lime Crime nail polishes are just really fucking small. I generally try to avoid Lime Crime for a wide variety of reasons (their racist ads and their harassment of bloggers who write less-than-glowing reviews being the most salient for me, personally), but I am more than happy to take their free stuff.

The combination of the shade name, the creamy, Easter-y yellow color, and the frosted glass somehow gave me the expectation that this would smell like Lemon Pledge. It doesn't; it smells like nail polish.

This polish was opaque in two coats, which is actually pretty impressive for a pastel color.

Total Box Value: $48.83 not including bonus, $56.83 including bonus.

Face look featuring August 2013 Ipsy products together.
Overall, I would say that this bag was quite successful. The only thing I won't use is the mascara, and even that I was happy to try.

If you are interested in joining Ipsy, you are, as always, welcome to use my referral link by clicking here.

Friday, August 16, 2013

"Artificial Skin" Potential Animal Testing Alternative

The release of ThinCert Cell Cultures by multinational biotech company Greiner-One seems to be the perfect opportunity raise questions about the scientifically sound alternatives to animal testing. For the past few decades, animal testing has offered the only viable method of experimenting on intact, living tissue. Products like ThinCert may change that.
Source: http://faq.greinerbioone.com/images/159/ThinCert.jpg
I am perhaps a non-ideal candidate for reporting on issues having to do with animal testing, since I probably couldn't give fewer fucks eliminating it about it. Can't even find two fucks to rub together. I have done research on animals, I've performed my share of vivisections, and I think animal research is one of the most important tools in the scientific arsenal to provide safe and effective treatments to humans. Let's just say that I would sacrifice a lot of rats to save a few people. I'm also aware of the stringent requirements placed on animal researchers and feel that if you are concerned about animal wellbeing, you'll find a lot more animal mistreatment looking through a few "Craigslist: Pets" ads than you will in laboratories. "Guinea pigs need more space than that, dickfaces!" (Some of the requirements on researchers are so strict as to be directly counterproductive. For example, I had some friends running pharmaceutical trials on rats. Because they had to guarantee that the rats would be kept in optimal conditions until the rats died, they were unable to adopt the rats out after the study concluded, since they could be held liable if anything happened to one of their many, many subjects. Instead of finding adoptive homes, they were forced to euthanize them. Probably not what PETA had in mind...)

[As a side note, companies that claim that their ingredients have never been tested on animals irritate me to no end. Just because you personally didn't test on animals doesn't mean that the ingredients have not been. Indeed, the tests on animals that have been conducted are one of the reasons that we know that your products are safe!]

With my personal feelings aside, obviously there are lots of people who feel very strongly that animal testing is unethical. If we eliminate animal testing for cosmetics, we are, in essence, left with three options:
  1. Literally never try anything new in cosmetics ever, ever again.
  2. Give potentially unsafe products to consumers. Lash Lure 2.0!
  3. Create alternatives to animal testing (that don't involve human guinea pigs). 
Clearly, the latter of those is the most appealing option, and it is the niche that Greiner-One hopes to fill with ThinCert. Usually, in-vitro tests involve cells that were cultured in a petri dish or something of that ilk. Tests for product efficacy using this method can hardly be considered applicable to human beings. Traits such as cell migration, cell communication, and tissue differentiation are not accounted for with such crude methods. With ThinCert, these problems have been solved, making a much more realistic method for exploring potential dangers such as cytotoxicity. 

Even for those who have no vested interest in animal testing, there are huge benefits here. Scientists do have to work really, really hard to create humane environments for their subjects, and that gets expensive as hell. If you have 50 cages, you get to have 50 rats. Need more than 50 rats? Well, I guess you're going to have a long-ass study. Enjoy doing the same shit over and over and over again! These kinds of products could save significant money. 

Does the release of this product mean we can euthanize all our lab rats in celebration? (I mean... send them to the farm...?) Definitely not!

Unfortunately, these tests can only simulate a really narrow variety of potential pitfalls. Want to know if neon pigments are eye-safe? You simply need eyes for the test, period. One day, we might have a product like this hanging out in cosmetics companies labs across the US:

Let's face it, though. If we had a product like this, people would be pissed as hell about this, too!
Source: http://media.tumblr.com/a6c7acc8d4af3d11e9e25b4761f7b753/tumblr_inline_mgmyhxPSsw1qhsfhh.png
But we just aren't quite there yet. 
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