storage

Review AND GIVEAWAY!!!: Minerals Mate Makeup Mixing Tray

I think that with this post I am the rueful winner of the “(Barely) Better Late Than Never” award. My school lets out somewhat later than most others, and with finals and graduation and then suddenly being handed a project (what? for me? oh, no, you shouldn’t have, NO SERIOUSLY TAKE IT BACK), I am shamefully late with this post. And yes, this is all compounded by the annual “School just ended and it’s all I can do to get out of bed and make my way to the couch, where I stare listlessly into space and drool on my pajamas” business. I think that my contract should include a mandatory all-expenses-paid weeklong spa trip after every year’s graduation ceremony.

Anyway, I am genuinely sorry about that because I have had this terrific little product sitting around for a few weeks now and haven’t had the chance to sing its praises to you! This product is the Minerals Mate Makeup Mixing Marvel Tray.

About a month or two ago, I suddenly rediscovered an interest in loose mineral cosmetics. And when I say “interest,” I mean “obsession.” I walked into a Bare Minerals store (for I think the first time ever) and saw that they had giant rotating tiered lazy-susan kinds of things on which open pots of mineral eyeshadow were arranged in rows according to color and intensity, and I lost my head completely. You have to understand how I am about color. When I go to Macy’s, I inevitably spend five minutes staring longingly at the rainbow-organized spectrum of pashminas on display in the accessories section. I need another pashmina like I need a degree from the University of Phoenix, but oh! how I love to stare at the pretty colors. What is my favorite color, you ask? It is “every color.” Every color, all together. So the idea of having an every-color spectrum of eyeshadows (on display! on a rotating lazy susan!) made me so excited I could hardly contain myself.

So now I have a miniature version of their lazy susan display in my makeup area at home. No, seriously, I do. That is what I mean when I say “obsession.”

However.

There’s no getting around the fact that loose mineral makeup, for all its beauty, is a giant mess. The stuff gets everywhere. And it’s really hard to get the right amount on your brush, especially if you have decided to go to open storage like I have. You may not have a lid handy to tap the excess powder into — and then what are you supposed to do with the extra product? Try to put it back into the container? Yeah, you go ahead with that, and I’ll sit here with a glass of lemonade and snicker at you. No, take your time. I’ve got allllll day.

And this is why I’m so glad that someone thought of the idea of a mixing tray with multiple compartments (with lids!) for the purpose of mixing and managing mineral cosmetics. The Minerals Mate is a little godsend of a product. It has several wells of various sizes in which you can swirl, tap, and buff to your heart’s content. Want to mix two colors together? Plenty of room! Want to foil your loose shadows by mixing with water? Plenty of room for that too! Want to mix your foundations or blushes or things that require a larger mixing pan? You are covered! Want to clean your brush and need a textured surface to loosen pigment? Yep, you’re covered for that one as well.

Each tray has four smaller wells and three larger ones, and they all come with snap-on caps to prevent spillage or leakage. (I removed the lid from one large and one small well just for photographs.) Although the product packaging implies that its primary purpose is for use with mineral products, there’s no reason at all why you couldn’t use it for liquid foundations as well; the snap-on caps help keep any leftover product from drying out. If you have ever tried to mix product to get a custom shade (foundation, eyeshadow, concealer, blush), you know how difficult it can be, not least because of the logistics. With Minerals Mate, I could custom-blend foundation in about five seconds. It is easy to clean and best of all YOU CAN PUT IT IN THE DISHWASHER! (And, not for nothing, but I can see a whole range of uses for this little gizmo beyond makeup application. Next time I sit down to bead some jewelry I am so temporarily repurposing this as a bead holder.) They come in two colors: charcoal-and-black and the red-and-white one you see here.

The maker of Minerals Mate was kind enough to send me one product for review and another to GIVE AWAY TO YOU GUYS! If you’d like to win the Minerals Mate pictured above (unused and opened only to photograph), leave a comment on this post and I’ll pick a winner randomly. Deadline for comments: Thursday, June 7, at 11:59 pm Eastern time. 

And a special note to my academic readers: the maker of Minerals Mate is also a member of our tribe! In addition to her non-academic day job, she teaches part-time at a large university in the south. So support our peeps! Every Minerals Mate tray you buy is one less student paper she has to grade. (I totally made that last part up. But wouldn’t it be nice?) Seriously, you’ll be getting a super-useful little product and also supporting a fellow academic, who is also a lovely person you’d enjoy chatting with. She’s definitely one of the tribe.

The regular price for Minerals Mate trays is $19.95. If you’d like to pick one up, use the code 2468MineralsMate to get 25% off at mineralsmate.com! That code runs through … uh, today. (I am so sorry. I am so late. I blame work.)

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Provenance: Sent for consideration.

Price/Value Ratio (accessories: poor/fair/good/excellent): Excellent.

Purchase again? Absolutely. I can see it being useful in all sorts of ways beyond makeup.

(Have you used this product? Love it? Hate it? Want it? Let us know in the comments!)

Beauty on the Go: Caboodles “It” Bag in Sassy

This is the Caboodles train case I picked up at Target, although apparently it’s actually called an “It” Bag, and the particular fabric style is called “Sassy.” Whatev. Like I said, it’s a little bigger than I wanted (dimensions 9.25″ L x 7.5″ W x 7.25″ H), so I will end up putting more than just cosmetics into it — e.g., deodorant, contact lens solution, and perhaps a small dog. I do wish it were a little smaller, but it’s got a good combination of features.

One of the primary reasons I chose this one is that the sides of the case are reasonably hard but not metal. Metal train cases are chic, but it always seems to me that too much of the footprint is taken up by the case itself. They also had softer plastic cases shaped like rectangles with rounded corners, but those were too soft and squishy and felt flimsy. In typical Goldilocks fashion, I wanted the one that was, of course, just right, and this seemed to fit the bill. I also like that it has handles, and that they fold down against the top of the bag. Surprisingly, not all of them had this feature.

The interior of the bag is roomy and there are lots of collapsible elastic storage compartments for specifically-shaped items. In other words, there are little pockets that you could pull out to hold a lipstick or that you could leave collapsed against the side wall and it wouldn’t be wasting any space. The interior divider is also removable via Velcro so if you needed to carry larger objects, you could just remove the center wall. The other thing that made me really like this one is the lid: on the underside it has an elastic band in which you can put lip or eye pencils, skinny brushes (provided the handles aren’t too long), etc. This is covered by a flip-up/flip-down plastic sheet that attaches with Velcro to the bottom of the lid so that your brushes don’t smear on anything. The lid won’t accommodate thicker-handled brushes, but as long as they’re short, they could go in one of the other elasticized bands against the wall of the case.

I’ve taken pics of the various features of the bag, and then threw some random products in there for good measure to show scale and how some of the side pockets might be used.

Slots for lipstick, etc.

Removing the interior divider

Interior of lid (plastic overlay not shown)

Lots of room.

Thoughts? Ideas? Comments, please!

Caboodles “It” Bag in Sassy: $17.19 at Target