Monday, 7 July 2014

Empty Product Review: Almay Smart Shade Primer

Hello Coralistas! It's been a while. I was on vacation and then I got lazy. Sorry about that.

But one thing I decided in my time off was that the 5 products thing wasn't working quite as well as I'd hoped. For one thing, there were times when I'd fall in love with a particular blush or mascara, and then found myself disappointed that I'd have to scrap it to move on to the next product. For another, it still made it quite easy to keep buying products while I was supposedly cleaning out my collection.

Instead, I'm going to do this: when I finish a product, I'll write a post. It lets me run through the things I love and you get a much more thoughtful review than you would with just a couple of weeks' worth of use. It also (hopefully) encourages me to stick to products I already own. Otherwise it'll be about 2 years before I can tell you about a new blush I bought.

Which brings me to my first empty product: a few days ago, I ran through the last of my Almay Smart Shade Primer. I bought this after using up all of my Stila One Step Correct Primer (which looks almost identical) because the $38 price tag was pretty steep for a product that I'd have to re-purchase every month or so.

 The Almay is certainly cheaper but still not necessarily affordable as it ranges for between $16-18 in Canada, depending on where you shop. Let's get something out of the way quickly: the two products aren't really comparable. Despite looking the same, Stila's primer is much thicker and, sadly, much more effective. But at more than half the price, it's a bit of an unfair battle for Almay. So just reviewing Almay on its own, here were my thoughts:

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Spring Cleaning Your Makeup Collection


As you all know, I have a makeup problem. So while it's not quite Spring yet, my collection is in need of a serious airing-out. And this guest blog series is going to function as the cosmetic equivalent of a carpet beater, shaking out the rather shocking amount of makeup I don't need -- or want. Above is a collection of 5 of the items I've been using regularly for the last two weeks. Every fortnight (I'm fancy like that), I'm going to review 5 items of makeup that I've used every day for those two weeks. Whatever I just can't make work will either get gifted or -- if it's totally unusable -- tossed. Let's get started:

Thursday, 7 November 2013

What Happens When a "Makeup Guru" Gains a Bit of Weight?

For anyone who hasn't spent the last year tumbling down the YouTube rabbit hole of makeup "gurus" — a somewhat nebulous term to describe lifestyle and cosmetic vloggers, some of whom are actual artists, but most of whom are just rich girls with good cameras — this is Tanya Burr. Tanya is the future sister-in-law of the Pixiwoo sisters (MUAs and vloggers) who started her own channel a while back, focusing more on a tween marketplace by doing Twilight tutorials and endless "I love hot chocolate and scarves!" videos.
She's cute. She's not quite my speed, between the hot chocolate addiction and the baby voice, but I can appreciate what she's trying to do and I appreciate that it's not really for my benefit.
With that said, she came back onto my radar in the last year because there was suddenly an enormous amount of online nastiness about her appearance. Tanya, an obviously gorgeous girl, gained a little bit of weight over the last year.
The photo above is pretty much the heaviest she's been, so that should give you some idea of the kind of bullshit we're already about to embark upon.
From Guru Gossip, a nasty corner of the internet where people gather to talk shit about girls who post YouTube videos of themselves putting on makeup, here are some of the comments that haven't yet been deleted by moderators:
From Tanya's new chocolate cookie blog post:

"Use your hands to separate the mixture into 10 blobs (I think "blob" is the perfect word for them!)"

Hilarious- when I saw the title I was thinking blob is becoming the perfect word for her...
Biba girl:
Actually she called herself "a little stumpy blob" once already. At least she's realistic....
There are more, but it's a bit depressing to sift through them, honestly.
I suppose my point is this: these girls aren't celebrities. Tanya occasionally gets to attend premieres and she teams up with other artists, but ultimately she could be better described as a businesswoman trying to sell her talents as a makeup artist and is very likely making a decent salary just from her videos alone. But apparently when your business is beauty, you must constantly be both the entrepreneur and the model. And you can't age or gain weight or go through any kind of emotional distress.
What really disgusts me are the kind of comments that suggest people are only pointing out her weight as a kind of public service: "Oh, what if young girls see her and think it's okay to be fat?" What is this logic? Who in the Western World is currently confused about the present beauty standard?
And what's the benefit of bullying her? I understand, again, that she's in a beauty industry, but part of the point of "gurus" is that they're meant to seem like ordinary people showing you how to do every-day makeup. They aren't really supposed to be models or professionals (even though Tanya claims she is a professional MUA). If you don't like her, if her slightly patronizing tone or uninspired beauty videos do nothing for you, then why are you watching at all? I hate the "Don't like it? Don't watch!" comment, but in this case it seems warranted. Especially when it comes to her appearance, why should it matter? A tutorial is allowing you to see how you can apply makeup to your own face, so the canvas should be somewhat irrelevant, shouldn't it?

Friday, 11 October 2013

Feel Greasy, Look Glossy with Baking Soda Shampoo and Apple Cider Vinegar Conditioner

I have had frizzy, wavy/curly hair that drove me insane as a teenager and remains a frequent pain well into my 20s. It's been long, it's been short. It's been red and black and blonde and brown. But it's never been particularly shiny.

A few years ago, I tried co-washing to bring out my curls, and was left with sort of a greasy mop. Clearly double-conditioning wasn't for me. 

But I'd never been brave enough to try a full-on purge of beauty products for my hair. So this week, I decided to give the infamous baking soda shampoo, apple cider vinegar conditioner a try.

And here, so far, are my results.

This is how my hair looks most of the time. A little flat, a little frizzy, and lacking in real curl or wave. Unfortunately I didn't think to take an official "Before" photo, but this gives you a good idea:

And this is how my hair looked on Day 2 after I'd washed with the BC/ACV mix:

So it does look a lot shinier and glossier for sure. I can't say that the curl definition is really there, although my boyfriend told me that it looks "bouncier."

The one major downside, though, are my roots:

That's where you can really see the grease starting to build up. It's not "gross," per se, however the next day I did rush out and buy a dry shampoo so that I wouldn't have to give in and wash my hair just yet. The shampoo, which is from Klorane, works wonders, however I have been warned about a bit of nasty build-up with any dry shampoo, no matter how good.

I am currently on Day 4 and I'll probably give in and wash my hair tonight or tomorrow morning with the mixture again. Ultimately I'd like to reach a point where I'm only having to wash it once a week, but the oil buildup, combined with the dry shampoo, is making my head itch a little bit, which makes me uncomfortable and, frankly, makes me feel a little bit like a Dickensian orphan. 

Again, however, looks-wise it's great. Thick, healthy, shiny and bouncy. It just feels a little heavy/itchy.

More pictures and progress soon!

My Mix

The mix I've decided to use is one that's very low on both of the "essential" products, as they are, respectively, quite basic and acidic and too much of either could throw your PH balance out of whack. 

So currently I'm using about 1 tbsp of baking powder to a cup of water for shampoo and about a quarter-cup of apple cider vinegar to a cup of water.

I've put them in old small-sized Philosophy body wash bottles for easy distribution in the shower. Do make sure to create a brand-new batch of baking soda each time, though, as baking soda "activates" in water, and then effectively goes dead if you leave that mixture for too long.