Saturday, December 10, 2011

Urban Decay Naked Palettes 1 & 2

When Urban Decay started to give hints online that they were releasing a second Naked Palette, the online makeup world got really excited. I definitely got caught up in all the excitement and rather than wait for others to buy it and post their experiences about it, I succumbed and ordered the Naked 2 Palette along with the other first 4999 buyers of the palette on their website.  

Unlike the Naked 1 Palette, the Naked 2 Palette did not come with a travel-sized Potion Primer.  Instead it came with a mini-Lip Junkie Lip Gloss in Naked (sense a theme?). Also, the first online buyers also got a mini-sized 24/7 eye pencil in a gold color (El Dorado).

Along with a ton of other bloggers, here are my pics of the 2 palettes opened showing their different synthetic brushes.  I was not able to buy the first Naked Palette when it originally came out with a double-ended eye pencil, but did get the later release when they replaced the double-ended pencil which caused innumerable production delays with a basic synthetic eyeshadow shader brush. The Naked 2 brush is double-ended with a fluffy blender brush and a skinnier shader brush.

And here are the eyeshadows swatched on my arm over a very thin layer of UD's Potion Primer.  The Naked 2 shadows are on the top row & the original Naked shadows are on the bottom row.  For reference, the foundation swatch on the left end of the top row is MAC's Mineral Skin Liquid in NC37 & the foundation swatch below it is NARS Sheer Glow in Punjab.

Overall, the Naked 2 palette colors are more taupe-ish & cool compared to the Naked 1 colors, minus the Half-Baked (goldish) eyeshadow which is present in both palettes. But for very cool-toned makeup-wearers, Naked 2 may still be a bit too warm-toned.  Also, Naked 2 has 3 matte shades (Foxy, Tease, and Blackout) compared to Naked 1's 2 matte shades (Naked and Buck). 

My initial verdict is that it's a really nice palette, but if you like warm-tones, stick to the Naked 1 Palette.  I've worn the colors of the Naked 2 palette on their own once & it's okay, but I will need to work with it more and perhaps combine it with colors from the Naked 1 palette to get a look I'll be happy with.

Now switching away from Urban Decay to Mary Kay, below is a swatch sheet of the new colors for MK's Winter 2011.  I had attended an event with my Mary Kay consultant and was able to swatch them for reference.  The eye and lip pencils will now come with a tiny shaper/sharpener in its cap and they'll be a mix of new & existing shades.  However, if you're a fan of MK's Dusty Pink lip liner, you may want to contact your local MK consultant as it looks like they discontinued that shade for a new one called Soft Blush.

Back on the knitting side of things, I've timed out a tam I was working on 'cause I knit it too big (my row/round gauge was all out of whack 'cause I didn't swatch!) and I'm in the middle of knitting a sample pair of socks for someone. But in the middle of all that, I knit up a quick pair of fingerless mitts from my leftover Malabrigo Twist in Liquid Ambar:

Pattern: 75 Yard Malabrigo Fingerless Mitts
needles: size 8 & 9 Clover bamboo dpns
- had enough yarn for thumb "sleeves" so didn't bind off those stitches per pattern instructions & instead put them on waste yarn & later knit in a few extra St st rounds & ribbing.
- tubular 2x2 cast on (Ysolda's) & bind off on the body of the mitts - just to practice

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The bb cream trend

BB creams (aka Blemish Balm or Beauty Balm) creams have been getting a lot of discussion recently on a fashion/beauty forum I'm part of . So I decided to do a little online "research" and visited the local Korean market near my work a Korean cosmetics store in the South Bay.

So was are bb creams?  In short, they're an alternative to tinted moisturizers that also provide some type of skincare benefit.  According to many beauty blogs & youtube reviews, BB creams began when a German dermatologist created a cream for his patients post-laser skin treatment.  The Asian cosmetics companies, especially those in Korea, took the concept and ran with it. They're available online through, eBay (though care is needed to avoid the fake ones) and Korean and/or Asian stores in major US metropolitan areas.  They are are now slowly popping up in cosmetic brands in the US as well.

My favorite sources of bb cream review sites are the BB Cream Queen blog and this one.  They go into the multitude of brands out there.

Compared to some other beauty bloggers, my bb cream collection is actually not that big. But before I discuss the brands I've tried so far, I'd like to point out that some of them were samples and/or gift-with-purchases (GWP's). From left to right are:

- MAC Cosmetics Prep & Prime Beauty Balm BB Cream - Not a true BB cream. It works great as a foundation primer.  It's currently only available on MAC's online site.  I purchased this after I used up my regular MAC Prep & Prime SPF 50 face primer.

- Dr G Gowoonsesang Brightening Balm Cream - on the recommendation of the Koreana Market sales associate (SA).  This is my favorite in terms of oil control for my combo skin. It's a little gray on initial applicaton & also a bit lighter than my skintone.

- The Face Shop Power Perfection BB cream - on the recommendation of the The Face Shop SA.  There are up to 4 The Face Shops in the South Bay now (Santa Clara, Milpitas, and San Jose). Actually sheerer than Dr G & not as good oil control, but a little less gray.  Also, the only one that made me break out so far.

- Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream in #27 - Shade-wise this is the closest to my skin tone, but the oil control isn't as good as Dr G. Missha is one of the most popular brands used the US because it's got the broadest range of all the Korean cosmetic companies.  It's still rather limited though. Most brands only have 1 to 2 shades that have a gray or pink cast on initial application.

- Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream in #23 - This is actually a first-time buyer GWP for ordering from the Missha US website.  Full-size! And it also came in a travel size set that was another of my GWPs. It's lighter than the #27 of course, but mixed with the travel size #31 (not shown) that came in the GWP set, I can  get closer to #27.

- Missha BB Boomer - This is a "primer" before the BB cream.  It's got shimmer & a slight pink cast. I'm still undecided on the benefit of this, but it may be useful in the cooler months under the bb cream for more moisture. 

- Missha Signature Real Complete BB cream - Also part of the travel-size set GWP.  I haven't tried this yet.

Not shown are the little samples I got from Sephora for Boscia and Dr Jart+ .  Unfortunately I forgot to ask the SA which Dr Jart+ sample she gave me as Dr Jart+ has 2 different versions. The Boscia has little glitter flecks which I don't like. It's sheerer than the other bb creams I've tried & has no oil control whatsoever.  Dr Jart+ was also a disappointment as it's the sheerest of them all & also had no oil control. 

Here are most of the BB creams swatched on my arm not blended out.  For comparison purposes, I've added my foundation shades on both ends.  Starting left to right:
MAC Mineralize Skinfinish liquid in NC37, MAC's BB cream, Boscia, Dr Jart, Dr G, The Face Shop, Missha #27, Missha #23, Missha Signature Real, Missha BB Boomer, NARS Sheer Glow in Punjab and a NARS Sheer Glow sample in Syracuse.

Here they are again blended out a little bit, but not as much as I would on my face.

I blended the creams out a little more to get closer to my actual application process & then took a pic of the swatches over an hour later.  Unfortunately my sunlight got covered by clouds, so my lighting isn't the same.  BB creams tend to oxidize over time, some more than others. This usually tends to help the bb creams match skin tones better, but it can also make it harder to determine which bb cream to buy.

I haven't found my holy grail bb cream, but I've come closest with my Dr G & Missha #27. And I'll still need to experiment by mixing them together.  I'm good for now & probably won't buy more for awhile.  I may or may not buy the other most popular bb cream out there, the Skin79 Hot Pink.  Interestingly enough, it hasn't been that popular at the Koreana Market so they stopped selling it.  They do have the Missha brand, though not the full range of colors all the time.  I hope this helps if you ever come across these.

I'll be back to crafting in my next post.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Back with the crafting...mostly

Another pair of Socks that Rock are done! Part of the Ravelry Socks that Rawk Quarterly KAL.

Pattern: Breaking Hearts by Turtlegirl76
Yarn: Socks that Rock lightweight in Rabia
Needles: size US 1.5 (2.50 mm) Knit Picks nickel-plated dpns
mod: 6" leg instead of the 6.5" spec'd in the pattern

Love how the colorway knit up.

Still playing with my Cricket loom, this time making a little washcloth out of some kitchen cotton, Sugar'N Cream in Violet Stripes. I still need to wash the washcloth (heh) and trim the fringe to a much shorter length.

I also had a great mail weekend when I received a few goodies.  I got my prize yarn for Irish Girlie Knits Design Spring KAL.  It's Chameleon in Ballerina by Dubai Knits, aka Jhocy, who moderates Irishgirlieknits' Ravelry group. And speaking of Irishgirlieknits, I also bought her cute canvas bag to use the next time I'm knitting up an Irishgirlieknits pattern.

On the beauty side, I received my order from Nolan Roberts Cosmetics. For those who enjoy competitive reality tv, Nolan Maka'awa'awa was the winner of the Blush makeup artist show.  The show originally aired when I didn't own a dvr, so I never watched it.  It was a fellow makeup addict friend of mine who recommended I check out his make up. He has ties to Hawaii as I do, so I figured I would show a little support and try a few of his items. He has a small collection so by the time I finally got around to ordering from him, some of the items I wanted to try were out-of-stock.

He's got bonus points from me for his beautiful packaging for shipment, but here they are out of the wrapping. Going clockwise from the top are his Dream Cream (an oil-free, paraben-free, non-fragranced moisturizer w/subtle champagne shimmer), Valley Girl lipgloss, Pretty Woman shimmer powder blush, and Cafe matte eyeshadow.

They're swatched on my arm in the following order: Cafe e/s, Pretty Woman blush, Valley Girl lip gloss, and Dream Cream  unblended.  I don't have a face-of-the-day pic with them all on since I've got all the colors mixed in with other brands.  I will say however, that his items are very long-lasting (I believe he gears his formulations for those who work out & dance).  His gloss especially is really long-lasting but doesn't get that tight dry feeling. I love the fact that his Dream Cream is paraben-free for those who have issues with parabens.  It still absorbs really well & isn't at all tacky-feeling or too filmy-feeling which can happen with creams that have silicone in it.  Also, the shimmer is really subtle so I don't have to worry about being all vampire-sparkle-y.  (I will warn you though Nolan has a fun Twilight Edward tutorial video up.)

So thumbs up so far and I'm looking forward to when he re-stocks his permanent items as well as some new summer items he's got planned. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

More with the "knitted" make up

Okay, I lied. I'm not quite done with the knitted make-up review yet. But first up is my first little wonky scarf that I wove on my fun Schacht Cricket Loom. Even the Monkeys got to help me out.

Not surprisingly, I will need to work on keeping my selvedges more even as well as how consistently I beat the weft yarn. Not to mention weaving the ends in evenly as well. Like other yarn-y adventures, I'm going to be learning how to better calculate my yardage requirements. I chose some Knit Picks Swish Worsted yarn (Dublin & Semolina) I had in my stash thinking it would be enough. While I warped plenty of yarn for the length I hoped to weave, I ended up not having enough for the weft and so the woven section of the scarf's quite a bit shorter than what I was hoping for. And since I was weaving from the stash, I decided not to buy one more skein 'cause it would defeat my entire purpose of weaving from the stash.

In the end, the final dimensions of the woven section turned out to be (excluding the fringe) 5"x50." A little short for me, but probably pretty good for a kid scarf.

As noted in my last post, I wasn't happy with my Revlon Custom Eyes palette in Sweet Innocence so I exchanged it for the Rich Temptations palette.  I also caved and got the Physician's Formula Cashmere Wear bronzer.

PF & Revlon

Here's the bronzer swatched on my arm. It's heavily applied in comparison to the much smaller amount I would use for my face so it'll show in the pic. It's got a nice shimmer/glow so it wouldn't give a too sparkley effect that some bronzers (or certain mineral foundations) do. 

The other reason for no bronzer-on-face pic is that I took quite a few badly aimed & un-focused pics of my cheek before I gave up & did the much easier to photo arm swatch. For now, I will give the bronzer a thumbs up.  I may report back later on how long it wears on my face.  

Lastly, here are pics of the Rich Temptations palette on my eyes.

There were a couple colors that has that too-hard-pressed issue the returned palette had, but not as badly. Since these colors were more pigmented &  not chalky, they were easier to work with. I even like the grayed green  & played w/a little of it on my lid. My one caveat is that like the Naturally Glamorous palette I did keep, the colors in this palette are also all shimmery.

In the end, I think I can give the Revlon eyeshadow palettes a good recommendation.  Even the one color palette I didn't like may work for someone cooler-toned & paler than me. But just to make it clear, they won't replace my love for NARS Cosmetics.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Trying something different

But first, I finally finished my first kit from A Verb for Keeping Warm's (avfkw's) Pro-Verbial Club.  Sorry for the lazy non-modelled pic, but at least it's blocked.

Yarn: avfkw's Luster in A Whale's Migratory Tail - only 1 g leftover!
Pattern: Blue Whale by Stephen West - my first West pattern knit up.
needles: KP Harmony circs in size US 7
No mods, at least not intentionally.

When my yarn stash got a bit big, it seemed a natural progression for me to branch out into another craft that helps reduce the stash in a quicker manner than knitting.  Sometime last year, I got this Schacht Cricket Loom from Purlescence Yarns using a gc my DH gave me for the holidays.  As luck would have it Purlescence Yarns had a beginners/intro to rigid heddle loom class this past weekend that I could actually attend. I loved practicing weaving on the 3 rigid heddle looms Nathania set up plus one table harness loom, so before I lost all memory of all that know how shoved into my brain, I warped my own Cricket yesterday with some Knit Picks Swish Worsted stash yarn, not without some mistakes of course. 

If all goes well, I hope to purchase a 10-dent and/or 12-dent heddle so I can use up my multitude of thinner weight yarn, especially all my sock yarn stash for gift scarves.  Along the way, once I get comfortable, I may move up to a Schacht Flip loom so I can play with more textural work either with a second heddle or with pick up sticks.

So, what I'm about to try is a bit different for my blog, but not so different to my life pre-knitting. The caveat being is that my pics are probably crap, especially the ones I took of the eye makeup on my eyes, but at least they were taken next to a window in morning light without flash. There are definitely a lot of makeup/beauty blogs & YouTube videos that are much better at this than I am. 

There were 1-2 fun excited threads on Ravelry about a couple makeup brands having their powder products imprinted with knitted fabric.  For example, the Physicians Formula Cashmere Wear bronzer has a cable-y imprint pattern. But since I'm not much of a bronzer user, I tool a look at Revlon's latest incarnation of their CustomEyes eyeshadow & liner palettes which are embossed in a stockinette stitch pattern.  Being a makeup addict, I couldn't resist the lure of my two obsessions being combined into one small package.  Well, technically there are 6 packages of differing color combos for Revlon.  I picked two, the Sweet Innocence palette on top in the pic below & theNaturally Glamourous palette below that to play with. 

As with many makeup brands, especially in the drugtore variety, quality control can be hit and miss.  Sometimes the packaging is nicer than the application and wear as one of the palettes proved to be.  The first one I tried was the Sweet Innocence palette.  I used the 3 middle shades over Urban Decay's Primer Potion (UDPP) as my base,MAC's Bordeauxline eye pencil as liner & NARS mascara (because some makeup addicts like to know). My other caveat being is that I did my usual application for daytime/work wear.  The makeup artists and gurus that post really excellent makeup blog pics and youtube videos do pile the color on so they show up well onscreen.

The middle color worked well as a base shade as far as pigmentation is concerned but it's on the chalky side for my warm-toned skin.  The peachier color to the left was a bit sheer with not much color payoff.  The worst offender with the lack of color payoff so far is the warm plum shade which I tried to build up in my outer corners & as liner over the eye pencil. Also, the eyeshadow was pressed so hard that I couldn't get enough product on my makeup brush without having to apply much more than with say, NYX eyeshadows (to use another drugstore brand to compare). If I get around to it, I'll try the other two shades in the palette & give a verdict on their color payoff as well.

Next up I tried the Naturally Glamourous palette, again over UDPP & with MAC Stubborn Brown eye pencil.  This palette didn't have the overly hard-pressed problem the Sweet Innocence palette had.  It also didn't have the low pigmentation problem, so overall I was happier with it.  The only caveat is that all the colors in this palette have shimmer, unlike the Sweet Innocence palette.

So my overall verdict is that the palettes are okay, but choose one wisely. But as very makeup artists say, if the makeup doesn't work, it can always be washed off.   Just be sure to check the store's return policy on makeup if you're not happy & want to return it. Some drugstores that used to accept makeup returns, no longer do.

Other makeup deets for reference:
Foundation range: MAC NC35/37, NARS Santa Fe/Punjab, Stila E (variation due to season & makeup artist recommendation)
Equivalent powder range: NARS Beach, Stila medium
Anastasia brow powder in brunette - because Stila discontinued my favorite duo eyebrow powder duo (Boo!)

I'm not sure if this was a fun thing to do or not, but it was definitely different.  Next time, it'll back to the usual yarny craft stuff.