Archive for the ‘Beauty’ Category

How much is your face worth? (Not as much as A.Rod.)

January 18, 2010

The always lovely Rae of theNotice had an interesting post this morning calculating the cost of her “face” today. Count all the products on your face right this very minute (i.e., no cleansers of exfoliators, but including serums, treatments, moisturizers, etc.) Mine’s kind of unfair, since I hardly ever use the same products two days in a row.

German Nivea, $15 (according to Rae, but I got mine for a measley $4)
Desert Essence jojoba oil, $6
Acne-Free senstive treatment, $8 (got in a kit for $10 on clearance at Walgreens)

Px All Skins mineral foundation $34 (scored for $15 on eBay)
Coty Airspun powder $8

MAC Gentle mineralize blush, $22 (bought on LJ for $16)

Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy, $10
Almay Pure Blends eyeshadow in Wheat, $9 (scored for $2ish at CVS beauty clearance)
WnW cream eyeliner, $3 (paid $1.50 at Walgreens sale)
WnW MegaLengths mascara, $3

Cover Girl TruShine Wine Shine, $7 (less than $2 on clearance 😦 at RiteAid )

from the gorgeous miss Kristina at Sasquatch Swatch

$77.50!  And I’m sporting the super-natural, low-key look today.  Also, did you notice how many products I got on sale?  My face probably “retails” for over $100.  Still not too bad.

How much is your face worth today? Link ’em or leave ’em, pretties!


TGI fan-freaking-tastic F!

January 8, 2010

Reasons today is awesome:

  1. It’s Friday. Enough said.
  2. The office is nice and quiet so we can get some work done…or not. However you want to see it.
  3. My Fyrinnae came yesterday!
  4. I opened up my Google Reader this morning and saw MY NAME on my MOST FAVORITE BEAUTY BLOG! I could barely contain my excitement!

Thanks again, Rae! xoxo

Strike 1: new skincare routine

January 7, 2010

So I wrote a post a few months ago about my super-duper-awesome skincare routine that I was sure was going to solve my every dermal problem and end world hunger. Except for I realized I was sensitive to the dimethicone in my acne treatment and my cleanser couldn’t wash it (or all of my makeup) off, leading to more clogged pores and blemishes.

On to round two! I’ve been using this exact routine for a few weeks now and it seems to really be working (I am literally knocking on wood as I type this).

Current skincare:

AM – wash with Desert Essence Completely Clean face wash (castile soap based)
treat with AcneFree Terminator 2.5% regular (w/ alcohol)
moisturize with Avon Banishing cream

PM – wash with MAC Cleanse-off Oil (OCM with safflower/castor oils 1x/week)
treat with Avene Diacneal
moisturize with Avon Banishing cream

The castile soap seems to dry out my skin (which, for me, is fantastic) and I surprisingly haven’t had a single problem with the alcohol in the AcneFree treatment. Even though the Avon cream has dimethicone, it was recommended to me by a girl with some of the most beautiful skin I’ve ever seen, so I HAD to give it a shot. Plus, the Cleanse-off Oil and OCM really break down whatever’s on top of the skin so I haven’t had as much pore-clogging action as usual. Diacneal = <3.

My mom has been bugging me literally for YEARS to try ProActiv, and while I was at Walgreen’s yesterday I saw the AcneFree sensitive kit on clearance for about $10. I used the regular AcneFree kit and HATED it, but the ingredients in this one looked nice (sulfate-free, tea tree oil, benzoyl peroxide in a lose dose, salicylic acid, retinyl palmitate, triclosan, silicone-free, yay!) and it had the treatment I love so much, but in a sensitive version without the alcohol. Starting today I’m using it in place of my AM routine (I hope I don’t regret this) and I’ll post updates if anyone’s interested.

Another couple of things I think are really helping:

  • Changing pillowcases often (I just got a sheet set with FOUR pillowcases, score!)
  • Using microfiber hand towels and baby washcloths to exfoliate at night (and it feels soooo good to wipe off the cleansing oil)
  • Washing things that will touch my face (i.e. towels, washcloths, sheets, pillowcases) in sensitive skin, fragrance free detergent and bleach, when I can
  • I used to use witch hazel religiously but not as much anymore. I still love it in emergencies, though.
  • I also read online at that skincare treatments are more effective and work faster when refrigerated. I have no idea what the science is behind this (if any) but I need to remember to put mine in my beer….ummm…..I mean, beverage fridge.

If you have any good skincare tips, please please share!

Last loves of 2009

December 31, 2009

Here on the last day of 2009, I came across a few posts of monthly “favorites” that I never got around to posting. Let’s do a quick & dirty of some goodies I’ve used over the past few months.


  • Tresemme 24-hour body shampoo (only used a few times, but it was good)
  • Soap & Glory the Righteous Butter lotion (smells DELICIOUS)
  • regimen (doesn’t work as well as it used to. btw, my old skincare regime is trash, so an update is coming soon.)


  • Quantum Beautiful Brunette shampoo (found on Miss Natty’s Beauty Diary)
  • Natural Instincts haircolor (I mix dark brown and brown-black)
  • Pretika sonic dermabrasion skincare brush (kinda ehh now but I did love it)
  • Femme Couture baked bronzer in Summer Love (MAC Pleasureflush dupe)
  • DIY brush cleanser and disinfectant by EnKore (find it here)


  • Witch hazel as toner (still amazing, but drying)
  • Revlon Colorstay foundation (love. that is all.)
  • MAC Cleanse-Off Oil (rediscovered hardcore love)

I read theNotice every day and so should you.


  • Avene Diacneal (I will never be without this again)
  • Rimmel lipsticks (my favorite is Airy Fairy, but I have and love Celeb and Kasbah too)
  • Wet ‘n’ Wild cream liners (these suckers stay put)
  • MAC Creme Cup (been wanting this forever)
  • Avon Beyond Color Plumping lip conditioner (thanks Rae for the rec)

BONUS: Wild Animals by the Pinker Tones and Backspacer by Pearl Jam

The Pinker Tones are a Spanish pop group I found on one of the DirecTV music channels. You can’t help but dance when you hear “Electrotumbao.” And who doesn’t know Pearl Jam? Some of the tracks on Backspacer are just kinda eh but I could listen to “The Fixer” over and over again, while “Just Breathe” can make me cry a little:

“Yes I understand that every life must end
As we sit alone, I know someday we must go
I’m a lucky man to count on both hands
The ones I love
Some folks just have one
Others they got none
Stay with me
Let’s just breathe”

In memory of Tommy Tyson. I know you’re up there singing with the angels.

And the budgeting begins: my last beauty haul of 2009

December 31, 2009

Happy holidays, people! New Year’s Eve is my least favorite holiday of the year (tied with July 4)…I don’t know why, I guess I just never have plans and sit around watching Twilight Zone marathons. But today wasn’t half bad – after work I was idling around town before I decided to head to Walmart to check out some Hard Candy. Before that, I stopped in at the Dollar Tree and hit the JACKPOT. Recessionista at Nouveau Cheap is always doing posts about the awesome things she finds at dollar stores, so I thought I’d join the party.

I got three Sally Hansen Natural Butter Lip Shine Glosses in Nectar (a light nude-beige), Berry (a sheer berry red), and….another one I can’t be arsed to go get out of the car, but it’s a light natural pink. These are super moisturizing and taste and smell delicious. I’m a sucker for anything with the word “butter” in the name and these were definitely worth the $1 price tag.

I also got four (eep!) Sally Hansen Lacquer Shine for lips in Jasmine, Peony, Ginger, and Orchid. The first three colors are natural-looking pinky-mauves, while Orchid is a brighter, darker purple-pink. I’ve only tried Jasmine, but it was very pigmented and actually came out darker than the looked in the tube. These are, in my opinion, actually liquid lipsticks instead of glosses. Jasmine has a glossy, rather frosty finish which I’m not a huge fan of, but I think with the right eye makeup it could work.

I grabbed the only Sally Hansen Moist & Matte lipstick I could find, this one in Linen. It’s a warm light pinky-brown. I only have one other Moist & Matte (in Shantaug) and while its orangey color isn’t quite for me I do like the formula. It’s a liquid lipstick in a twist-up tube and the finish is just what it says – moist and matte.

Finally I got a couple of Maybelline nail polishes – a Salon Finish in Nude Creme and an Express Finish in Matte Grape. The names are pretty self-explanatory, though I would say that the grape is more of a dark smoky blue-plum.

From Walmart I got a Pure Ice nail polish in Kiss Me Here (concrete gray), a Wet ‘n’ Wild blush in Heather Silk (bright medium pink…I’ve heard it’s a dupe for NARS Mata Hari, I believe), and a set of Fing’rs Edge nails (black french tips with skulls). I have them on now and they’re totally badass. I like them so much I may not even take them off for my friend’s wedding on Saturday. I can’t find a photo of these online ANYWHERE, but they’re available on their website.

(Psssst…tonight, by accident, I discovered a neat little trick for applying fake nails. I didn’t want the glue to ruin my nails, so I applied two coats of strengthener [Sally Hansen Get Thicker] and let dry until tacky. I then went to match the fake nails up to my real ones, and I found that they stuck on really well to my freshly polished nails. It’s only been a few hours so I can’t say how the wear will be, but I’ll pretty much try ANYTHING to keep me from having to use nail glue!)

Sorry for the lack of pictures, lovelies! My camera’s been MIA since my move in July. I guess I can’t really make fun of my sister’s boyfriend for losing his Wii in his last move.

Here’s to a beautiful 2010!


November 9, 2009

Since graduating from nursing school (where no nail polish was good nail polish), my nails have been painted CONSTANTLY – hot pink, black, dark green, purple, aqua…you name it, I’ve done it. I guess I ran out of inspiration ’cause lately I’ve just been rocking my nails au naturale. Well consider me inspired – these manis rock!

My next one will be Zoya Raven with a LA Girls taupe holographic glitter a la Lianne’s “Blackberry Bling:”

And Katy Perry’s blingin’ it out, just how I like it:


What are your favorite fall nail trends? Let me know in the comments!

Major-league products for a minor-league price: ELF cosmetics

November 2, 2009

ELF, come on, you’re KILLING me here. Today I dropped by Tar-jhay with B. to pick up some cheap Halloween candy (a SUPER-SIZED bag of Kit-Kats for $3?! Yes please!) and perused the ELF items. For those not in the know, ELF stands for Eyes Lips Face and their standard line items retail for a staggering $1 each. They also offer a mineral line and a Studio line, with those items retailing for around $3 each.

Recently the blogosphere got all worked up when ELF announced they would partner with Target to produce specially-packaged items to for the chain. See, I was a bit confused, because my Target has always had elf, albeit in “regular” packaging. That confusion was heightened when I got to the beauty department today and in one endcap were the new, sleek, black boxes with an assortment of new “for-Target-only” goodies, and in another display right next to it was the traditional ELF stuff. Um, what? The new display was really picked over so I headed over to the old one…holy moly. I’d never looked at the shadow quads before but they had some really gorgeous colors. It seems that I’d heard that they weren’t that pigmented but now I’d really love to try them out.

There was also a “newly designed” eyelash curler in the old display, which piqued my interest since that’s one of my favorite items from the line. Neither display had any brushes, which is a shame because their standard eyeshadow brush is my most favorite tool EVER (I have five). Word is that Studio brushes will debut in Target sometime next year, which I’m really excited about. I have the flat-top Studio powder brush and it’s amazing for applying mineral or powder foundation. Oddly enough, I’m also loving their Studio blush brush for applying liquid foundation (I was trying to find something in my stash similar to the Sephora #55, which I am really wanting to try).

ELF sends me emails all the time with online coupon codes and offers, and although I walked out of Target empty-handed today, I have a feeling I’ll be placing an online order soon. In today’s newsletter I saw that they have a new Studio lip balm (supposedly comparable to the Fresh sugar lip treatment) and a new line of Studio pressed powders. I jump at the chance to try new powder foundations in hopes of finding something I like as well as my MAC Studio Fix. Click the image to learn more!

Will you be checking out ELF at Target? Let me know in the comments!

The all-star, pro-bowl, MVP skincare routine

October 18, 2009

My skin has spent the last, oh, 22 years or so trying to make my life miserable. There has never been a time I don’t remember it being oily, and as a teenager is was constantly red and broken out, a lovely contrast to my otherwise Snow White complexion. During spring break of my sophomore year of college my mom offered to buy me ProActiv. Before accepting her offer, I did a little research on my own. I stumbled upon the regimen and thought I’d give it a shot; it was cheap and I had a suitable cleanser and moisturizer anyway. I am not exaggerating when I say it changed my life. For the rest of college I hardly wore foundation and was comfortable going nearly bare-faced almost all the time.

Well that all changed about three weeks ago. I wasn’t using the regimen anymore, I was trying a bunch of different cleansers, and God only knows what else I did, but my skin punished me. It looked worse than in high school, and I was running out of ideas. Again I stumbled on, and after getting my breakouts under control, I modified it into my perfect skincare routine.


  • Wash with Aquanil cleanser. Aquanil is Cetaphil’s cousin in that it is super-gentle, but it actually cleans the skin. You can get it behind the counter at any pharmacy. I bought a 16-ounce bottle for about $12.
  • Treat with Paula’s Choice 2% BHA liquid and Blemish Fighting Solution. I keep the BHA in a small spray bottle and 3-4 squirts is enough for my face. Rub that in, then apply a generous amount of the Blemish Fighting Solution. It has 2.5% benzoyl peroxide, which is the key ingredient in the regimen. I have the crazy belief that no matter what you put on your skin, you won’t break out if you use BP. These products are a little pricey but they are very carefully formulated to be gentle on the skin, so I think they’re worth it.
  • Moisturize with original Nivea creme or Nivea Soft creme. I usually use the Soft creme in the daytime because it’s lighter but still does a great job moisturizing. I never would have thought to put this on my face until last weekend while I was staying with the fauxsister. My skin was super dry and flaky from the BP, and dousing my face in chlorine while swimming with the baby that morning hadn’t helped things. “I’ve got something for you,” said fauxsister when we left the gym, and when we got home she pulled out her little blue tin of Nivea. I was hesitant (I had only used the creme on my hands and body), but she’s got beautiful, glowing skin so I slathered it on. Best thing ever, and I feel so budget-savvy with a one ounce tin ringing in at 99 cents.

How cute are these?!


  • Cleanse with Aquanil. If I’m wearing heavy makeup I’ll use MAC Cleanse-off Oil or just add some olive oil to the Aquanil (it really helps moisturize too). I LOVED the Cleanse-off Oil when my skin was more oily because it really deep-cleans without stripping the skin. I still like it but it dries out my skin a bit.
  • Treat with Paula’s Choice BFS and RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle serum. Don’t be fooled, retinol does so much more than improve the look of wrinkles. I use it to treat current breakouts and blackheads, fade old acne scars, and improve my skin’s texture. Just a pump covers my whole face. I’m looking at trying some other retinol serums, namely DERMAdoctor’s Poetry in Lotion or Philosophy’s Help Me during Sephora’s upcoming Friends & Family event.
  • Moisturize with Nivea creme. If my skin is really dry, I’ll reverse the order and moisturize before I treat. It doesn’t seem to affect the absorption of the treatments, but I’m not a scientist so I don’t know.

I also use the Oil Cleansing Method two times a week at night in lieu of regular cleansing. I LOVE IT. I can really feel it unclogging my pores and it feels so good to use natural ingredients on my face. You can read more about it here. I use a mixture of castor and jojoba oils.

My skin is looking so good these days I’m going without foundation, and my family and friends are commenting on how it looks. I’m almost to the point that I don’t need any “face” makeup, and that’s really exciting! I’m waiting on a Pretika sonic skincare brush in the mail, and I hope that will just put me over the top. I’m also taking a daily multivitamin with iron, vitamin B-complex, and extended-release fish oil. I think the fish oil is doing great things from the inside out!

What are your skincare secrets? Share in the comments!

Show those pearly whites

October 13, 2009

Thanks to Christian, dear friend of my fauxsister and all-around super-sweet gal, for this tip! (Her husband’s a dentist, so consider this professional advice.) Everyone wants a dazzling smile and we all know that oral health is a key component to overall health and beauty, but who has time to floss these days? You do, if you keep a pack of flossers in your car. Floss on the way to work or school, at red lights, in traffic jams, whatever. I’m so going to try this out!

I’ve also been trying out Kandee’s teeth whitening regimen. It’s working out well so far, and it costs under $10! Check out her video for more.

Ha ha, for a post on oral health my go-to people are a SWEET friend and a gal named Kandee.

I’ll just take a $92 endorsement: Hard Candy cosmetics

October 7, 2009

Did y’all know that according to, Tiger Woods makes almost ONE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS a year, with $92 million in endorsements? Get. Out. What would one even do with $100 million?

One answer: buy a whole lotta Hard Candy. My first Sephora purchase ever was a Hard Candy glitter eyeliner, brown with gold sparkles. I never use it now but, ahhh, the nostalgia. Now that Hard Candy can be found at Walmart, I can afford to let my collection multiply and grow. A comprehensive look at the line can be found at Nouveau Cheap, but here’s a quick rundown on what I scooped up.

Run right out and get...

  • Painted Lady lipstick in Crush. Beautiful golden-coral-red. It reminds me a lot of my favorite MAC lipstick, Lightly Ripe, the only lipstick of which I own backups. Sheer feel, not creamy or heavy. And how could you not love that packaging?

  • Blush Crush baked blush in Honeymoon. Light peach shimmer with cool pink veining. This blush makes me want to start reciting Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Very similar in color to MAC’s Moon River (HoneyMOON, duh), but instead of the frosty mess I usually get with the former, Honeymoon delivers a lovely, glowy flush of color. Glow of health, not sparkle of disco ball. Ahhhh. My fair-skinned girls NEED to pick this up.

You might consider getting…

  • Intensif-eye Radiant Shadow Stick in Star. A vibrant royal blue cream shadow stick. Color payoff isn’t the greatest, but I think it would work better as a base (NYX Green Tea shadow is lovely over top). It did crease and wear off kind of quickly, but to be fair my lids were pretty oily and I didn’t prep them at all. I can’t wait to try it under MAC Bang On Blue.
  • Ginormous Lash mascara in Mudslide. I was expecting a maroon-brown with some shimmer from the looks of the tube, but it’s just your basic brown mascara. I also expected a huge wand a la Diorshow, but it’s actually a thin plastic brush with rows of little plastic combs, kind of like Cover Girl Volume Exact. I wouldn’t venture to say that my lashes were anywhere near “ginormous,” but it’s a good basic mascara nonetheless. I prefer slightly dryer mascara formulas, so maybe after this thickens up a bit I’ll have better results.

You can skip:

  • Balm Girls tinted lip balm in Carol. Sheer (putting it mildly) purple-berry. I don’t think they know the meaning of “tinted.” This, my friends, is a clear balm masquerading as a super-pretty color in the tube. I swatched it on my hand, I put it on my lips, and there is no color to be seen. It also has a funky smell and taste so off-putting that I’m thinking about taking it back. These seriously need to be flavored to match up with that cute packaging. However, they are very glossy and moisturizing so if you can take the taste of Play-doh, have at it.

Have you tried any of the new Hard Candy products? Let me know what you think?