I Swear This Is Not An April Fool’s Day Post

Mmm… cheezburger….

Brought to you courtesy of Burger King Netherlands. “Get a Tasty New Look!”

Yummy, or gross? You decide.


Fenomenally Phunny Philm

In the phew short hours since this waltzed into my Phacebook inbox via a phriend-of-a-phriend (thanks, Rob Rogers [not the phamous famous one]), it appears to have gone viral, as I am now seeing it everywhere! Well, good phor it, I say, and good phor its creator, Jesse Rosten.


Progress Update: BB Cream Testing

In response to my own curiosity and that of my Loyal Readerz and Vixenz, I have been testing some Korean BB creams to see how they compare with what we are starting to see stateside.

I ordered creams from two different brands (Missha and Skin79) via eBay and Amazon. I started testing with the Missha, but after three days of an atypical and ever-increasing number of whiteheads I think I am going to have to stop testing that one, at least until my skin heals. This does not please me, as I like the product otherwise. Ordinarily I’m not prone to breakouts from products, but all evidence points to this cream as being the culprit.

In the meanwhile, I’m going to try to continue using the Dr. Jart BB cream I reviewed previously, since I don’t think I have trouble with that one. Once my skin is back to normal, I might try the Missha again or the Skin79.

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/justin_d_miller/5139225141/sizes/l/in/photostream/

Quickie Responses to Recent Wall Posts

No, I didn’t drop off the face of the planet. I may have perhaps loosened my grip on it for a bit, but I have not been sucked out to space by a giant black hole, unless by “black hole” we mean my research project, in which case that is exactly what *did* happen, how did you know? Still trying to claw my way back to regular blogging.

In the meanwhiles, two quick responses to recent wall posts.

A Biologist asked if we could discuss Kate Middleton’s wedding makeup, and the answer is OF COURSE WE CAN! I didn’t post about it earlier because (as is so typical for me) I had Big Plans to do a post with a “what she looked like” picture compared with a “what I think she should have looked like” picture via Photoshop. Have I done that? No I have not.

Here is my take on the whole business. There is no question that Kate generally knows her way around a makeup bag. Her eyeliner wasn’t crooked, her lips weren’t misshapen — all of that is fine. My problem with it all was not her technique, but her choices, and what those choices tell us about how she wants the world to see her.

Now, you should know that before the official engagement photo was taken, a makeup artist had done her makeup, and she hated it and took it off and insisted on doing her own. So there is already a history here of wanting to be controlling about this. Which I get.


One of the things that makeup does for us is allow us to emphasize the features and characteristics associated with qualities we want to portray ourselves as having. Ruby-red lips = sexy. Smoky eyes = mysterious. Etc. So when you are choosing makeup for a public appearance, you should think about what you want to broadcast about yourself. This is especially true when the public appearance is your wedding and it is being broadcast around the world and BILLIONS OF PEOPLE ARE WATCHING.

So what were Kate’s choices? Ones that made her look old, hard, pinched, and … I have to say — controlling. What makes me say that?
— eyes tightly lined with black, all the way around
— brows that are too heavy and strong close to her nose, which makes her look like she’s perpetually wanting to squinch them up in annoyance
— a too-heavy hand with blush (and again, I don’t think this is a technique issue, I think it’s a choice issue)
— a sad lack of fresh, youthful colors and the dewiness of youth. That makeup could have been the makeup of a 50-year-old, not a 29-year-old. Everything is too taut, too tense, too full of harsh lines and contrast.

What do I wish she’d done instead? That’s what I want to show you via a Photoshopped picture.

Then there’s the other issue — I can’t believe the Queen let her get away with doing her own makeup. If you are marrying the future King of England, you have a public image to consider, and it is your obligation to uphold the good image the royal family is trying to present of itself by being a team player. Does this mean losing some corners of personal freedom? Yep. For God’s sake, they can hire the best makeup artists in Britain — I can’t believe that any of them would have made her look clownish. A good makeup artist can work with you to help you get the look you want in a better version than the one you could have produced yourself. You can’t convince me that Kate was better off — in actual execution, in concept, or in significance — doing her own makeup than by having it done for her.

And now for something completely different.

Ab_grp asks the very pertinent and timely question: “[N]ow that summer is just around the corner I was wondering if you have any tips for maintaining a polished look without appearing too made up. For example, today I feel that I am wearing too much eye makeup with my tank top and capris. Still, I don’t want to look as, um, natural as I do when I first roll out of bed. Is there a post on this that you could direct me to, or do you have any thoughts on finding that balance? Thanks!”

Ab_grp, are you suggesting that we don’t all roll out of bed, toss our hair back, and saunter to the bathroom looking like the women in Dior ads? Perish the thought. ;)

I think there are two ways to go about this:

1. Use less product.
2. Look like you use less product.

In the end the goal is the same, but most of us will probably end up reaching it via option #2.

You will want to have, in your bag of tricks, a “no-makeup makeup” look. This is not actually “no makeup” — it’s the set of products you use to make people think you are wearing no makeup. In summertime, this is a good base look for everyday, and if you are feeling like being a little bold it is easy to take one feature out of this look and jazz it up just a bit for something that is a little more interesting but that still doesn’t look like a full face of makeup.

What will you need for a “no-makeup makeup” look?

1. Primer of your choice. If you are going to try to convince people you are not wearing much makeup, you will want the canvas to be in as good a condition as possible.
2. A sheer-to-medium foundation or tinted moisturizer in something that is as close to your actual skin tone as possible.
3. A colorless, translucent, or lightly tinted powder for getting rid of shine. If your skin is very good, and/or if you like mineral powder foundation, and if your primer is good enough, you may be able to forgo a cream or liquid foundation or TM in favor of just primer and powder.
4. A concealer that can be used on dark circles, blemishes, and eyelids.
5. An eyeshadow in the neutral brown family, something light that covers any remaining discoloration but that is close enough to your skintone that it doesn’t look like eyeshadow. My go-to shade has been ULTA Cocoa, but I think they stopped making it years ago. A light taupe for cool tones and a light neutral-to-warm brown for warm tones works well.
6. A brown eye pencil (brown always looks less made-up than black). Try reducing (or eliminating entirely) any eyeliner on the lower lid.
7. Black or brown mascara, applied lightly.
8. Clear brow gel. If you feel like adding color to your brows makes you look too “done up,” skip that part, but do groom them with clear mascara.
9. A peach-toned blush. Creams are nice for summer if your skin isn’t too oily, and they often look less like makeup than powder blushes. Peach almost always looks less made-up than pink.
10. Clear or tinted lip gloss or balm.

From this basic summer set-up, you can always choose to bump up one feature or another. Maybe you want a slightly more bold eye, so you dust a little blue or violet shadow along the upper lash line. Or you want a bolder lip, so you use a lipstick (applied gently and concentrated more on the center of the lips than the edges), with a balm or gloss on top to soften it. Or you play up the cheek with a little bit of bolder color (or by dabbing some of your lipstick on the apple of your cheek and blending, which is one of my favorite things to do for summer because it’s subtle).

What you really want is something that is clean, well-groomed, and shine-free. If you have really good skin, you can probably do this by actually using less product. Most of us, unfortunately, have to fake using less product by just making different choices.

Other tips and tricks, or other comments about the Royal Makeup? Please share them in the comments!

Kate Middleton photo via People; The Earth via http://www.flickr.com/photos/donkeyhotey/5679642883/



That is all.

(Post-Oscars party, apparently.)

Friday Snark: Bobbi Brown Peony and Python, MAC Wonder Woman

Friday Snark is a new feature that may be regular, irregular, or completely unpredictable. It may show up on days other than Friday. It will, however, be snarky.

Who (or what) is Snark Bait in this installment?

Bobbi Brown Peony and Python Eyeshadow Palette

Quoth Bobbi’s website: “Inspired by lush peonies & the playful, feminine chic of cult label Tibi, Bobbi introduces the NEW, Limited Edition Peony & Python Palette. Soft pink lilacs play off cool grays to create a distinctive eye that’s equal parts lovely & edgy…. Comes in a gorgeous Peony & Python case, designed by Tibi exclusively for Bobbi Brown.”

Here is the palette:

Question: Has Bobbi Brown ever actually seen a peony? Because they don’t come in any of them there colors. Oh, wait, she mentioned lilacs. Yeah … not the same. Also, those purple shades are hardly “pink-toned.” They look pretty blue from here.

And as for the case, Bobbi says gorgeous, I say ZOMG fugly.

I do not know why cosmetics companies have to come up with such horrible-looking bags, cases, and palette coverings. Someday I think I will do a blog post with all of the horrendous bags I’ve acquired.

This palette will run you $50, but for $95 Bobbi is also offering a Neiman Marcus exclusive set in which it seems more likely that she has, in fact, seen a peony. Here is that:

Hey! That compact in the upper right is a color found in a peony! Is that a blush? No? Oh. I see. It’s called Pink Peony Illuminating Bronzer. Um… maybe I’m being a silly academic, what with insisting that words actually mean things, but a “bronzer” is supposed to give you a color that is, well, bronze. Bronze is a real color. It is not pink. There is no such thing as a “pink bronzer.” But how about that lip gloss? Oh, that’s called Pink Lilac. In Bobbi’s defense, there is also a peony-colored lip gloss available separately that’s called Pale Peony. It is significantly darker than Pink Lilac. But there is also a lipstick dubbed Lilac which is not the color of any lilac I’ve ever seen. Swatches aren’t out yet, but in the tube it looks… well, dark brownish pink. In fact, it’s much closer in color to a … oh, never mind.

MAC Wonder Woman

Speaking of fugly bags, I would be remiss if I did not share with you this gem from the MAC Wonder Woman collection, which I skipped entirely for various reasons that I’ll rant about separately if you like. Dear readers, I do not quite know how to prepare you for the shock, other than to entreat you to sit down. Behold — the MAC Wonder Woman utility belt:

Is MAC serious? Oh, yes, indeed they are. Sayeth their website: “To meet the demands of the Wonder Woman life, a Utility Belt Brush Set! Wear as an accessory.”

The demands of the Wonder Woman life apparently require … a gold fanny pack.

When I was five, the demands of the Wonder Woman life pretty much only required a set of Wonder Woman Underoos. Because I was an overachiever, I also made a tiara out of cardboard. It never occurred to me that I needed a gold fanny pack. You have to wonder if MAC actually telling people to wear these as an accessory is some sort of giant prank.

(And no, there is no invisible plane. Sorry.)


Still Here, and Thanks for All the Fish

This is a sharing-the-love post. We will shortly be returning you to our regular snarky product commentary already in progress.

I’ve had a generous handful of unsolicited nice comments come in over the last couple of weeks, even though I’ve not been blogging as regularly as usual, and I just want to say thanks for those! New readers have come out of the woodwork, new people have contacted me about guest blogging, old favorite people have contacted me about guest blogging, and we even received a Bloggy Award! — which I will be paying forward to other deserving bloggers posthaste.

Thank you guys so much. It makes such a difference knowing there are people out there who get value from the blog! Very motivating, and humbling, and inspiring.

And, now, onward to mail! I mean, blog.

(And if you know where “onward to mail” comes from, then you know how I wasted spent a sizable chunk of my winter break.)
Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/23516766@N04/2243963785/

2011 New Year’s Beauty Resolutions

Happy New Year!

OK. Time to check in on how I (we) did on last year’s resolutions. Here were mine:

Things I said I would start doing in 2010:

— “Spend out” by using luxe products I’ve already purchased.

Status: Achieved, mostly. I did a much better job of using the things I had and not saving them for “special occasions.” Where I didn’t quite meet my goal (OK, didn’t meet it at all) was in using the luxe skincare samples I have.

— Purge unused and expired skincare and makeup more often and more ruthlessly.

Status: Achieved, mostly through periodic reorganization of stash.

— Experiment with a greater variety of makeup looks, even for regular old going-to-work days.

Status: Achieved. I even wore purple false eyelashes once this year.

Things I said I would stop doing in 2010:

— No more buying cosmetics when angry, drunk, or both.

Status: Mostly successful. I had a few slip-ups, but in general I managed to avoid using cosmetics shopping as a emotional-crisis-management technique.

Overall, I did pretty well, in the beauty resolution department, anyway. What do I have on the resolution agenda for this year? Read on.

Things I will start doing in 2011:

— Being more selective about purchases: questioning whether I really have a use for the item and whether it will really suit me. This includes being more savvy about color selection and whenever possible, not buying unswatched. There is no reason for me to buy Teh Season’z Hot Product if I know it won’t suit me. (MAC Ripe Peach, I’m looking at you.)

Things I will resume doing in 2011:

— Washing my face before bed every night almost every night. This is something I used to do religiously and stopped doing. I know exactly why I stopped doing it, and it wasn’t due to laziness. There is a particular reason I stopped doing it, and I need to overcome this behavior and get back on the bandwagon. I’m realistic enough to know that expecting 100% success is unreasonable.

Things I will stop doing in 2011:

OK, this is really “things I will reduce doing in 2011,” but: Making enormous impulse cosmetics purchases. I have successfully separated buying cosmetics from managing my emotions, but I’m still too susceptible to large impulse purchases. (The blog doesn’t help.) Again, I know that expecting 100% success is unreasonable, but I’m shooting for some major improvements.

How about you guys? How did you do in 2010, and anything on your agenda for 2011?

Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tinytall/4950670414/

Happy Holidays!

A very Merry Christmas to those who are celebrating, and a Joyful December 25th to those who are not! May you all find the red lippies of your dreams in your Christmas stockings or at your local Sephora.

Much love,


Take That, Cosmopolitan

http://i874.photobucket.com/albums/ab304/rsmithsss/overanalyzingmag.jpgThere are no words to express how much I love this fake magazine cover. Thank you, rsmithsss, whoever you are.

From http://i874.photobucket.com/albums/ab304/rsmithsss/overanalyzingmag.jpg