Thursday, October 31, 2013

Review: Fright Night Hair Chalk in Slimy Lime and Cryptic Blue

OHMYGODYOUGUYSITISTHEENDOFHALLOWEEN. LAST MINUTE HALLOWEEN STUFF BEFORE IT FADES TO IRRELEVANCE UNTIL NEXT YEAR.


I found these hair chalks in the "impulse buy" section of my local Rite Aid. (By "impulse buy" section, I am referring to literally the entire makeup department.) I immediately thought, "Wow this is a really practical buy. Otherwise, what will I do if I suddenly find out that I need blue and/or green hair?" Then, of course, I gave myself a frugal high-five for purchasing a mere two colors, instead of all six-or-so that they had on display. I purchased "Slimy Lime", which is Crayola Green, and "Cryptic Blue", which is a primary-color blue. They are both simple, bright colors... the kind of colors that wouldn't confuse preschoolers. ("What color is this, Billy?" "Pink?" "STAY IN SCHOOL, BILLY, IT'S A WARM-TONED FUSCHIA.")

I have good news and I have bad news.

The bad news is that these are kind of shitty hair chalk. I found that I had a very difficult time building up any color. Furthermore, even setting it with hairspray didn't prevent massive amounts of fading. I can tell it stayed in my hair because when I showered at the end of the night, it turned my bathtub the color of a polluted lagoon. However, it kind of hung out incognito; by lunchtime, you couldn't really see the color at all.

I also discovered that I had to use an absurd amount of chalk. My hair (pictured below) took about half of each of those chalk containers and it is still subdued enough to appear half-hearted.


The good news is that these chalks do have one super handy purpose: eyebrow colors! It's hard to find a good drugstore eyebrow color and, for me, eyeshadow usually doesn't cut the mustard. They got a little powder-y when used for brows, but the color payoff is good and the price is right.

Fright Night Hair Chalk in Slimy Lime on Human Eyebrows
Fright Night Hair Chalk in Cryptic Blue on Human Eyebrows
As with all drugstore products, there is some pricing variation based on raw luck. It seems that full price on these hair chalks is $4.99 for 0.1oz ($49.90 per ounce. That's kind of pricey, especially for hair chalk, which requires about a pound and a half to really change up your hair color. For me, that's more evidence that these will work a little better as brow product, where a little will go a long way.

My Blatantly Plagiarized Halloween Costume

When you don't purchase Halloween costumes, makeup is the easiest way to pretend that you have your thematic shit together. I copied redditor Sssamanthaa's tricolor pop art makeup. The original looks like this:
Source: http://www.reddit.com/r/MakeupAddiction/comments/1pj02p/a_different_style_of_pop_art_makeup_for_rmua/
Source: http://www.reddit.com/r/MakeupAddiction/comments/1pj02p/a_different_style_of_pop_art_makeup_for_rmua/

(Now that I'm gotten your hopes way too high...) My way-shittier version that got super smudgey and weird around the neck looks like this:




This was done with Illamasqua's Rich Liquid Foundation in 105 and the Makeup Forever Flash Palette.

I hope you have a happy, totally not-at-all racist* Halloween.

*I am having a conversation literally right now with someone who thinks, essentially, that if you can't dress up as a sugar skull, a geisha, or an "indian", there is no point in dressing up for Halloween at all. Don't be that person.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Genetically Modified Yeast Serve as New Source of Fragrances

Microbial processes already offer a wide variety of familiar scents. Wine-lovers, cheese-lovers, and soy sauce-lovers alike are already familiar with the power of microorganisms to affect our favorite smelly things. Typically, sought-after fragrances such as patchouli are extracted from plants that naturally produce appealing aromas. (For example, to acquire most essential oils, steam distillation is used to rupture the plant's cell walls, and releasing the desired oils.) However, new biotechnology breakthroughs may create an alternative fragrance-source for the perfume industry: our single-celled buddies, yeast!

Those of you who imbibe likely already know that yeast are capable of producing alcohol and carbon dioxide in a process called fermentation. The yeast don't really give a shit about either of these two byproducts; to them, all that is important is that substrate-level phosphorylation generates enough ATP for them to be alive. Thus, slight genetic modifications allow these microfungi to produce something more pleasant-smelling than alcohol. You know, stuff you might want to make perfume out of.

Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Source: http://www.microbiologyonline.org.uk/about-microbiology/introducing-microbes/fungi
Companies like Amyris, a company founded on the principles of sustainable alternatives to petroleum, have dedicated departments for this sort of synthetic biology. Amyris says of their "flavors and fragrances" department, "[We will provide] an alternative, reliable, and cost-effective supply of well-known and highly sought-after ingredients which suffer from pricing, availability or sustainability concerns, [create] new 'building blocks' from which novel and cost-effective ingredients can be developed, and [develop] new and unique ingredients for our partners to be used directly in fragrance and flavor compounds." In other words, plants that wildly fluctuate in cost and scarcity will no longer dictate the cost of fragrance. This could significantly reduce the cost of a bottle of perfume. There may even be beneficial effects for conservation. For example, commercial use of sandalwood (which includes a black market) may threaten the tree's very existence in India. Alternative sources of sandalwood essential oil could help ensure the species' survival. Furthermore, a new avenue of scent-production may open up possibilities for innovation in the perfume industry, since perfumers would no longer be shackled by mere nature. As a nice bonus, it's a completely sustainable process.

Although only a limited number of fragrances are currently produced in this manner, scientists are working to expand the percentages of the over 6400 natural and 10000 synthetic fragrance compounds that can be generated using synthetic biology. Independent companies such as Evola, Isobionics, and Allylix are working to expand the collection of microbially-produced scents. Their current projects include smells ranging from saffron to valencene, a citrus odorant.

Vanillin
Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vanillin.svg
Critics worry that these genetically modified yeast will harm the economies of the generally-poor countries that supply us with our current delicious-smelling things. Less coherent critics worry that the product isn't "natural" enough. For example, Friends of the Earth wrote a particularly fear-mongering piece that that you can read here. An email to subscribers last August asserted, "There’s nothing ‘natural’ about genetically engineered yeast that excretes vanilla flavoring." (I am as bleeding-heart-liberal as they come, but man do left-wing groups get weird when you start talking about GMOs!) These products admittedly do raise some labeling concerns. Can we call the product "natural"? In countries where genetically modified foods must be labeled, what do we say? Although it is chemically identical to alternatively-sourced products, it was created by means of genetic modification.

My personal concerns are more mundane. Vanillin, the phenolic aldehyde gives vanilla its principle aroma and taste, has been chemically produced from molecules like eugenol, a component of clove essential oil, or guaiacol since the 1920s. However, it doesn't take a master chef to know that buying "vanillin" at the grocery store will give you only a faint shadow of pure vanilla extract. Vanilla extract contains hundreds of compounds on top of vanillin. Although chemically produced vanillin costs about $12 per 1 kg-1, as compared to $4000 per 1 kg-1 for vanilla that was extracted from vanilla pods, the price difference, to me, seems justified given that these two products provide such different sensory experiences. I worry that, as a relatively new industry, genetically modified yeast won't be used to provide truly complex scent profiles for perfume. And seriously, who wants to buy a bottle of boring perfume? (That being said, I'll be happy to be proven wrong.)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Get It Before It's Gone: LORAC Rose Blush

Unlike fancy makeup blogs who get free stuff sent to them and/or review things right when they come out, I have the joy of picking things out a thousand years too late, right when they go on sale!


The LORAC website is pretty much built for impulse buys. They have free shipping on any size order, making it gloriously easy to say, "I think I need another eyeshadow. And... another... and another..." (I would be really curious to do an analysis of website strategies to see whether a no-minimum free shipping policy helps a cosmetics company, by encouraging customers to make purchases from the company website, rather than going through a middleman like Sephora or Ulta, or whether it hurts, because no one will ever go, "Oh, what the hell, I'm $10 away from free shipping. I might as well buy X." Either way, the free shipping option fills my heart with joy.)

When LORAC has good shit in their sale section, it is irresistibly tempting.


The LORAC blush in Rose is a dusty rose color with taupe undertones. It's very lightly pigmented. Swatching it for you all was a bit of a challenge, actually, since everything looks softer in photographs. (Luckily, after about eight thousand 'well, that's not dark enough's, I managed to snap a passable picture.)


Although it looks subtle in the pan and in my swatches, this blush turns to a wonderful, natural-looking flush once it hits my cheeks. It's the perfect produce for anyone who is fair and frequently ends up looking like they got smacked in the face when they wear blush. There's no way to go overboard, even if your celebrity-look-a-like is Casper the Friendly Ghost. However, if you have medium or dark skin, I would definitely skip this particular shade, as I doubt it will show up.


The LORAC blushes are marked down from $20 for 0.09oz ($222.22 per ounce) to a much more reasonable $10 for 0.09oz ($111.11 per ounce). The price per ounce is actually not that low (a Benefit boxed blush is only $100 per ounce at full price!), but the overall price is super reasonable. Thus, these blushes are a good choice for indecisive people who want to own a million small blushes rather than a couple of massive ones.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Review: Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation in Vanilla

I've been playing with this foundation for a while and some of y'all have caught on to this fact and have started pestering me for more information. However, you've had to wait, as it took me a really long time to make my official conclusions about this product. The question was never "do I like this product?"; It was "do I like this product fifty-five dollars an ounce?" At that pricepoint, mixed feelings get the sad trombone noise and you move on.


Hourglass Immaculate is a really unique foundation. The "liquid-to-powder" shit is no joke. I have never used a liquid-to-powder item that is as no-nonsense-it-just-fucking-works as this product. Although I find myself lusting after the concept of a full-coverage powder foundation, the finished look when I use Hourglass Immaculate is so close to my imaginary, awesome full-coverage powder in appearance that I should probably just sit down and shut up. As soon as you blend the liquid into your face, BAM, it's a powder.

Sadly, there are a few negatives associated with this incredible property. The first is that it has a tendency to get streaky if you don't know how to handle it. Even though I usually love brushes for liquid foundation application, this is a product where my fingers really give me the best control. I also strongly recommend using a lighted, magnifying mirror so you can identify streakiness the second that it occurs. If you miss it, it's now a powder and you have to wash the steak off and try again, as you can't just layer more foundation on top. (Trust me, that's a recipe for cake-face.)

The other big problem is that you can't put concealer on top. Normally, I do my concealer on top of liquid foundation because it lets me "fill in the gaps" that my foundation didn't cover. The powder finish means concealer has to come first.


These caveats aside, I unequivocally adore this foundation. It has excellent coverage and it can leave even the oiliest of skin with a perfect matte finish all day. The shade range is pretty good in terms of fair-er shades, although it looks much more sparse on the darker side of the spectrum. I wear "Vanilla" (described as "very fair with pink undertones"), although "Shell" could conceivably work in the summer.

Tarte 12H Amazonian Foundation in Ivory on the left, Hourglass Immaculate in Vanilla on the right.
I would definitely recommend this to a very specific subset of makeup-seekers:
  1. You must already love makeup. There are lots of foundations that are easy to work with, and this just isn't one of them. If you already feel really comfortable with makeup application, you can make this sucker look flawless. If not... it will just be frustrating.
  2. You must have really greasy skin. The uber-matte powder-thing can be awesome, but any dryness will look terrible underneath. Bonus points if your oily skin usually causes foundation to migrate throughout the day.
  3. You must be able to justify spending $55 on a single fluid ounce of foundation. That's obviously a shitload of money for foundation. 
  4. Obviously, you must want a matte look with plenty of coverage.
I can justify the slightly absurd cost because there is literally no similar product on the market. I like the effect, so, for now, I'll soldier on! I tend to wear this for fancy events or when I suspect I might get kind of sweaty.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Beauty Bullshit: Ionic Hairdryers

Yay4Tay asks, "I am super late to the party (catching up on all your posts), but I would love for you to address how every hair tool ever is now boasting it's modern 'ionic technology!'
http://www.numeproducts.com/image/cache/data/anc_marquees/Technology-1020x217-1020x217.jpg
My husband says this is the stupidest shit ever, as basically anything using heat is using 'ionic technology' as it basically translates to 'blows hot air!', and this is not anything to tout as new or amazing. But then I see shit like this:
http://www.conair.com/what-is-ionic-technology--faqinfo-6_27-185.html
And I'm like... it's time to ask Robyn."

There are quite a few ionic hairdryers on the market, but they all make the grandiose statements about their products. Conair's claim is that "An electronic ionizer generates negative ions, which neutralize positive ions in the atmosphere. The neutralization process seals the hair cuticle, reducing frizziness and leaving the hair shiny." H2Ion adds that their ionic products "prevent heat damage by reducing hair's drying time, infuse vital moisture to dry brittle hair and eliminate frizz" [sic]. (No, you didn't read it wrong. That's not a sentence.) Claims can get even more wacky. For example, Fitness magazine says, "The negative ions break down water molecules to one-fifth of their size, so they're able to penetrate each shaft, hydrating from the inside out." I hope even those of you who haven't taken a science class since high school can work out why that is a steaming pile of crap all on your own. (I even saw someone touting that magnetism was somehow involved! Whoever wrote that certainly didn't think that through successfully.)

Pseudoscience or no, the yellow is pretty.
Source: http://www.conair.com/images/325.jpg
Note that these are three different mechanisms by which these ionic hairdryers supposedly work. Either they:
1. Bind to positive ions that are damaging your hair,
2. Reduce drying time, or
3. Magically bend physics.

The last of the three we're just going to address using dismissive laughter. But what about the first two?

First, a basic chemistry recap: An atom is a basic unit of matter. At the center, it has a nucleus containing positively-charged protons and neutrally charged neutrons. Around it is a cloud of negatively charged electrons. If it contains the same number of protons and electrons, the atom is neutral. If it contains too many or too few electrons, it is an ion.

Water molecules are bent, meaning that they are polar. One side of the molecule is positive and the other side is negative. As a result, the positive side of one water molecule will be attracted to the negative side of the other molecule, meaning they get stuck together. This is called hydrogen bonding. As a result, water frequently will stick together in a sort of weak cluster. Real life water that you actually use when you wash your hair is filled with ions of all kinds. For example, sodium, potassium, hydrogen, and calcium ions are all in water to some extent or another.

Hydrogen Bonding
Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c6/3D_model_hydrogen_bonds_in_water.svg/400px-3D_model_hydrogen_bonds_in_water.svg.png
According to the marketing, ionic hairdryers are blowing some mysterious negatively-charged ions at your head when they work. I actually can't even find any evidence that this occurs (the sources are the brands who are trying to sell you their products), and if it does occur, I have no fucking idea what ions we are even talking about. Saying "an ion" is almost as vague as saying "a molecule". Which ion? Which molecule? I assume we are talking about ions like O2- and N2-, but I can't find a single piece of commercial or non-commercial literature that is willing to be specific about the physics of what they are purportedly achieving. Nonetheless, we're going to assume that these hair dryers are actually pumping out negative ions for the purposes of this post. This certainly is possible (using high voltage charges), so I don't necessarily find that suspect on its own.

When we start talking about the purpose of ionic hairdryers, though, my creeping suspicions simply can't be ignored. A negatively-charged ion that you might generate in the air, such as O2-, will pass off its extra electron to one of the copious ions already in the water before it will bind to your hairshaft. Thus, it can't directly solve your hair's damage problem. Furthermore, a few extra dissolved ions aren't going to break up the massive amounts of hydrogen bonding occurring in your soggy hair, so reduced dry-time seems equally unlikely.

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/vincent0849/4324597295/in/photolist-7A9G7k-5FVgPv-5FVgs6-4pUeh-2WXcyR-6jiJrH-4YxtmT-92GMXS-7ZTPn9-7ZTNwo-tJh25-4qpafe-337qbL-cmLLyC-cmKsqs-cmKoZG-cmKr6j-cmKs4Y-cmKqqQ-cmKnhS-cmKrww-cmKo1b-64TUc6-ACsCN-78ymGb-ak7gXe-CPsp7-FXkZD-3aQDA-dpbPoG-HmVDV-Gi2X2-8rx9S4-9SdTGG-7cahNn-4LVrhA-4yEWhc-3cBfz6-5CU5qj-a7cHke-a7fyHf-a7cACD-9wXHaa-7NhUBV-hYoGc-7JFcvd-5QBF13-7yoZQ4-4uUfpE-51ZpG-4YDfui/lightbox/
There aren't a ton of consumer tests out there, but what does exist seems to support this theorizing. For example, a Good Housekeeping Institute comparison of ionic and non-ionic hairdryers found no relationship between whether or not the hairdryer was ionic and the overall dry-time of participants' hair.

The chemical implausibility combined with the complete absence of any scientific information whatsoever suggests that, when it comes to hairdryers, "ionic technology" is, well, a load of hot air. Presumably, companies are trying to create a public perception that masks the sad reality: hair dryers just aren't very good for your hair. It may be more than 'blowing hot air' (as Yay4Tay's husband suggested), but it there's no evidence that it will have any practical implications for your locks beyond that of a traditional blowdry.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Ipsy October 2013 Review

 I've officially been subscribed to Ipsy for one year! We've had ups and downs galore. Here's what showed up in my October bag:


The bag itself quotes Ralph Waldo Emerson (without citing him): "Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is art." I would posit that the corollary is also true: not loving things that are ugly is also taste. It is my sophisticated palate that allows me to conclude that this is one ugly-ass bag.


Ole Henriksen Truth Creme Advanced Hydration (0.25 fluid oz), estimated retail value $6.72


Holy cow. I have never put a product on my face that smells as strongly this moisturizer. If I was a dog, I'm pretty sure it would have knocked me over dead. To me, it smells like those chocolate oranges that always pop up in stores around Christmas time, which are mildly delicious but would be even more delicious if they weren't tainted by the scent of artificial citrus.

As for it's moisturizing capacities? It did fine, but I didn't see anything that made me go, "I NEED TO SPEND $45 ON THIS!"

Nourish Organic Coconut and Argan Body Lotion (1 fluid oz), estimated retail value $1.25


I had really low hopes for this product. I don't really use body lotion and I don't like coconuts. However, this product did manage to hobble over my low expectations because it doesn't smell like coconut at all. The scent is a bit hard to describe-- if you made super, super sweet hard candy out of thyme and smelled that with one nostril, and then smelled a big old pile of black pepper with the other nostril, you might be in the right ballpark.

Buxom Lip Polish in Dolly (0.07 fluid oz), estimated retail value $8.87


Heyyyyyy something looks familiar. I recently reviewed the Buxom lip gloss in Dolly here, and you can check out the full review there if you recently found me via google/have mild retrograde amnesia. It's a product that I like, but it's definitely not a product that I needed to have a duplicate of.

Big Sexy Hair Blow Dry Volumizing Gel (1.7 fluid oz), estimated retail value $3.39


In the pursuit of data, I always test products for you, even if it is not something that I would typically use. However, I don't even own a blowdryer! To me, this is just a big ol' tube'o'crap.

Zoya Nail Polish in Mason (full size at 0.5 fluid oz), retail value $8.00


Mason is a bright plum with a subtle fuchsia shimmer. It was opaque in two coats. This is part of the Fall 2013 Cashmeres and Satins collection, so it is brand new!

Total Box Value: $28.23

Overall, I'm not very happy with this bag. The nail polish and the Ole Henriksen moisturizer will get used, but the rest is just stuff I need to find storage space for and/or give away. Ipsy, stop giving me chores!

Review: Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics 'Cosmetic Glitter' in Magenta

"The herpes of craft supplies" can sometimes be difficult to work into your routine. I got this Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Glitter as a gift, actually, and it sits on my vanity, taunting me with its shininess on a daily basis. "Look how pretty I am!", it says. "TOO BAD ALL I WANT TO DO IS INFILTRATE YOUR TEARDUCTS, CAUSING MODERATE IRRITATION OF THE EYE AREA."


The problem with glitters, for me, is that I see their beauty and think, "I want to rub this on my eyelids." OCC's suggestion that we "mix [the glitters] with [our] favorite hairstyling products" seems comparatively similar to what a 7th grader might have done in the 1990s. People might also mix it with nail polish or lip gloss, but that doesn't hold a candle to coating your lids in pure discoball glitter madness.

The magenta glitter, which definitely comes across as a fuchsia-y purple, is clunky and square, offering the potential to scratch up your lovely corneas.


Fortunately/unfortunately, I've always been a bit of a rebel. Hypothetically, if you were considering using this glitter on the eye area, which you totally shouldn't do for safety reasons, I might recommend putting the glitter over a particularly gooey base, such as Fyrinnae's Pixie Epoxy, in order to get a nice, opaque layer of glitter. However, I know you wouldn't do something so blatantly reckless. I only put my eyes at risk for the sake of science. I am the Madame Curie of cosmetic glitter.


OCC's Cosmetic Glitters retail for $14 for 0.08oz of pure sparkle, ringing in at $175 per ounce.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Birchbox October 2013 Review

It's hard not to love a monthly present in the mail! I even love them when they are mild disappointments, like getting a gift card to Best Buy instead of a check. Hey, at least you can put that card towards a toaster oven!

(This philosophy may partially explain why I continue to subscribe to beauty boxes...)

Here's what I got for October:


TheBalm Stainiac in Beauty Queen (0.04 fluid oz), approximate retail value $2.27


I was really excited to get this product in my Birchbox because theBalm is one of my favorite brands and I had previously considered purchasing this product sight unseen. Unfortunately, when I use it on my lips, I can find zero qualities that distinguishes this product from a tube of jello. Its gel-like consistency was really sticky on my lips and it applies in a manner that is patchy and unflattering. The stickiness did go away after a couple of hours (with the color remaining), but I don't feel like that redeems it for its unpleasantness.


Interestingly, although I hated it on my lips, I really liked it on my cheeks. It adds a really natural-looking flush. To use it, I just dabbed the doe-foot applicator onto my finger and patted it onto my face. It is definitely a subtle look, which is nice for anyone who is worried about overdoing it on the blush. I think it would be more difficult to apply on someone with darker skin, since no one wants sticky cheeks.

Using theBalm Stainiac on both cheeks and lips.
I'll definitely be using the rest of this sample, but I will be using it exclusively in its function as a blush. I don't think I'll be purchasing the full size, however.

Beauty Protector Protect and Detangle 'Protect & Shampoo' Daily Shampoo (estimated 0.75 fluid oz), estimated retail value $2.05


The Beauty Protector Protect and Detangle is one of my favorite products that I've received from Birchbox, so I was really excited about the prospect of trying their shampoo and conditioner. Both products smell... maybe like baklava? It's hard to describe the scent. It's pretty, though. Unless you hate Greek desserts, in which case you simply have no taste.

The shampoo is thicker than a drugstore shampoo, but not as thick as some of the practically-the-texture-of-honey shampoos I have received from Birchbox in the past. Unfortunately, the price is just unjustifiably high for me. Although the Birchbox website says that you should "apply a quarter-sized amount", Birchbox has no goddamn idea how long my hair is. A quarter sized amount of shampoo might cleanse my pubes. I have so much fucking hair on my head! I am basically Rapunzel over here. This sample bottle was, like, one use. If I could buy shampoo by the gallon, I would.

I also couldn't help but roll my eyes at Birchbox's seriously silly suggestion about its function: "It’s powered by pearl powder, which is rich in conchiolin, an ingredient that acts like the hair protein keratin." It would take so many fucking leaps of logic to get to 'and thus this product is good for your hair' that it's a little bit hilarious. We're not characters in the Phantom Tollbooth, Birchbox. We don't like to jump to conclusions.

Beauty Protector Protect and Detangle 'Protect & Condition' Daily Conditioner (estimated 0.75 fluid oz), estimated retail value $2.05


It's a similar story for conditioner, although the scent is much more fragrant!

Evologie Stay Clear Cream (0.33oz), approximate retail value $20.46


The feeling of wearing this moisturizer is very satisfying because it's really thick, but it absorbs into your skin really quickly, leaving you with a nice, matte finish. Sadly, though, it seriously messed with my makeup when I put it on over it, making my foundation look patchy. I'll be using the rest of this sample, but only as a night cream.

The price is also way too expensive to be reasonable, but y'all knew that already.

Chapstick Hydration Lock (full size at 0.15oz), retail value $2.99


This product feels really great on my lips. It is much more moisturizing than a traditional chapstick. The texture is really different as well. It feels very silicone-y. I did check the ingredients, and yup! There's dimethicone (the ingredient that gives Smashbox primers that texture we know and love), which is not in traditional chapsticks.

Birchbox in particular is advertizing this as a lip primer, which I thought was a surprising choice because Chapstick sure as hell isn't advertising it that way. (This is presumably because the average Birchbox member is a different audience than the average Chapstick customer.)

I decided to test its lip-priming abilities using MAC's Just a Bite lipstick, which I wore through one working day (something like eight hours). I wore Chapstick's Hydration Lock under the lipstick on one half of my lips and just the lipstick on the other half.

I was actually pretty impressed with the results. I was expecting either no difference or for the Chapstick side to do worse, since it's kind of... slimy. I would say that the difference was mild, but I definitely see more color on Chapstick-primed side of my face.

Admire my crooked teeth.
It's worth noting that this is just Chapstick Hydration Lock versus literally nothing. It's perfectly possible that a regular lip balm will work just as well. That's an empirical question that I would have to test. It does definitely do better than a control, though. At $2.99, it's probably worth a try.

Total Box Value: $29.82

Overall, I'm moderately pleased with this box. I didn't find any new holy grails, but I was generally happy with all the samples I got. If I was a rich lady and could justify spending $22 on 8 ounces of shampoo, the box would have worked a little better for me. (I can justify it on makeup, but not on something that I use up so quickly.)


You may have noticed that I like musicals...

Friday, October 18, 2013

Review: Darling Girl "Oh The Horror!" Halloween Limited Edition Eyeshadow Collection

To start, I want to make a simultaneous apology and not-at-all-an-apology for what was and will continue to be more sporadic posting than y'all are used to. I got a new job (I'm working for Early Head Start) and they wanted me to begin right away, but I had to give two weeks notice for my old job... so I'm just working two full-time jobs right now. As a result, I have been coming home and thinking, "Fuck blogging! My readers can go peruse my archives or something." (Sleepy Robyn is less polite than Full Functioning Robyn.) Anyways, please do keep that in mind. My schedule should be more normal in a couple of weeks and then I can get back to being the anal retentive lady you all know and love.

Luckily, my drowsiness is occasionally interrupted by super spectacularly pretty eyeshadows. I actually originally saw that Darling Girl "Oh The Horror!" Halloween Collection on facebook. The very first color on the list was Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, which is this vibrant canary yellow. I immediately thought, "I need to own all of these colors." It was a wise decision.


The full Halloween collection contains 22 eyeshadows. I'm also swatching All the Pumpkin, which was the sample that I got with my order. The collection is incredibly well-designed, with a big variation of colors ranging from bright to neutral. It has highlights, it has crease colors... There are also lots of unique shades.

I also love the square jars, which I think really set these shadows apart from some of the other indie eyeshadows that I have tried.

From left to right: Death by Unicorn, I am Pain, Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, Camp Blood

Death by Unicorn is a frosty baby pink with some silvery shimmer. This is one of my favorite colors in the whole lot!
I am Pain is a baby blue with a metallic sheen.
Attack of the 50 Foot Woman is a straight-up traffic yellow.
Camp Blood is a warm, tin foil silver.

From left to right: the Invisible Man, Heads Will Roll, Here's Johnny, The Count

Invisible Man is a pale lilac with teal glitter.
Heads Will Roll is a dusty, medium purple.
Here's Johnny is a maroon-based purple.
The Count is a glowing royal purple.

From left to right: the Mummy, the Boogeyman, Frankenstein, Sleep Kills, Lonely Assassins

The Mummy is a metallic gold with a green iridescence. This is my favorite of the "neutrals".
The Boogeyman is a taupe with pink glitter.
Frankenstein is a coppery gray.
Sleep Kills is a warm medium brown.
Lonely Assassins is an ashy gray with pink and green glitter.

From left to right: Monster Within, King Kong, Go Go Godzilla, Creature From the Black Lagoon, Seven Days Later

Monster Within is a black with turquoise and green glitter.
King Kong is a dark green with blue-green glitter.
Go Go Godzilla is a grass green with gold sparkle.
Creature from the Black Lagoon is an aquamarine with golden glitter.
Seven Days Later is a silver with both a turquoise and a pink sheen.

Bathed in Blood, Bad Ash, Ripley's Cat, Pumpkinhead, All the Pumpkin

Bathed in Blood is a pearly medium red with pink glitter.
Bad Ash is a carrot orange with silver glitter.
Ripley's Cat is a coral with a pink and gold shift.
Pumpkinhead is a dark, reddish orange.
All the Pumpkin is a copper-y orange with a ton of gold.

As always, I swatched these guys without primer. This is something that I sort of struggle with, because the rationale for using "two swipes no primer" is so that weak pigmentation is immediately evident to the reader. However, I have never had a pigmentation problem with loose shadows, and a bit of primer or Pixie Epoxy shows the color of the shadows a lot better. Let me know if you have strong feelings about the way that I do my swatches and I'll do my best to accommodate reader desires.

The Boogeyman (no primer on left, over Pixie Epoxy on right)

Here are a few looks that I have done using the Darling Girl "Oh the Horror!" Halloween Collection:


I am super pleased with this purchase and would definitely order from Darling Girl again. In fact, if the option is available (the Darling Girl store is currently closed), I may re-order Death By Unicorn, I am Pain, the Invisible Man, and the Mummy in full-size versions because they are unbelievably pretty and I know I'm going to use them up in no time.

The quarter of a teaspoon of product in these petite jars weighed in at 0.7g/0.025oz. The individual shades, then, are a nice, even $100 per ounce for the mini-size. I did order a full size shadow from the Darling Girl permanent collection to compare, but it seems that I was mistakenly sent a petite jar. Assuming, though, that the full-sizes are, in fact, three times the petite sizes, they would weigh 2.1g/0.075 and, at $5.90 a jar, cost $78.67 per ounce.
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