Friday, 30 January 2015

hairy eyebrows

I don't know if it's through over-saturation or what, but I am so over the perfect, Kardashian style, ombre, fifteen-products and one hour of perfecting, "strong brow". My brow goals are set on something higher now, and that thing is a wild, out of control, bordering on unibrow, werewolf look. Perhaps not the prettiest, but certainly easy to maintain, and, in my head they are now the "cool girl" way to wear brows.
It deeply offends me that that creepy makeover guy felt that Princess Mia couldn't be a princess and have werewolf eyebrows at the same time.

I have naturally somewhat ashy, somewhat hairy brows. I've never been much of a plucker because of my lazy sensibilities, and since brows took off in a big way I've been dyeing them on the reg. I use a product from Eyelure called "Dyebrow" (very well done) in the shade black, which isn't black but very dark brown. I get it on Amazon.
 I basically do it when I can be arsed, but they only look properly hairy for about three weeks. Then day to day, I wear brow (or sometimes not brow) mascara ... and that's it! I like the Rimmel Brow This Way (I'm not sure I properly understand this pun), or a brown mascara from a pound shop. I brush them upwards and try to get every hair to maximise werewolf potential.
Left, wearing Rimmel. Right, wearing the £1 brown mascara.
 It's weirdly hard to take a photo of your eyebrows without the rest of your face looking rather too deep in thought about what is essentially facial hair. Notice, new fringe, which acts like a signpost on my face saying "Have you noticed how hairy my eyebrows are?"
Recently I've been experimenting with some cheap American brow options. I bought the e.l.f. eyebrow kit in the lightest shade, which is much lighter than my eyebrows. But I like to apply the shadow with a smudgy brush in an imprecise manner, which acts as a sort of "dry shampoo" in terms of volumising the hairs. I also bought the Tame and Treat thingy, which is pretty cool. One end is a super fibrous mascara which really bulks up the hairy-factor, and the other end has some sort of dubious "vitamin infused gel" to encourage growth. I've only used the gel a couple of times, but I genuinely think the hairs are getting longer and thicker (and even, dare I say it, curlier. Which I know wouldn't be a plus for everyone, but I'm into it). Very impressive. I've heard castor oil also works well for this, but castor oil stinks like the bottom of a shoe. 
I think hairy eyebrows are cute and cool, and a perfect antidote to the crisp, drawn on brows which are bloody everywhere nowadays.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

empties (and fulls!)

Hey look I've used more things (and because variety is the spice of life, I thought I'd include some things which aren't technically empty, but that I'm not going to empty.)
 I've made it through a winter in England and Princeton, still wearing lipstick, without my lips cracking off! I entirely have the unglamorous Cymex lip protector to thank. It's cheap and because it's sheer/white it looks kind of milky pink on the lips, v cute. I also finished (!!!) a Peach Kiss version of the Maybelline Baby Lips. I think this might be my perfect nude lip product - both in terms of it imparting a sheer peachy nude colour, and that it feels like your lips are clothed only in a balm. I've already repurchased it.
 I finished the Aldi own brand hydrating serum, which I used as a serum+moisturiser because I'm only 21 and I am somewhat of a lazy bum. It's good because it hydrates without feeling heavy or greasy, it costs about £3, but I fear the frangrance in it has begun to irritate me. I don't think I'll buy it again, but I am curious about the other £3 Aldi serums. I used up a carmex and it was ok, but I'm pretty sure the ingredients are kind of dreadful - it had salicylic acid and menthol and things like that. I've moved back from carmex to cymex - a subtle but important difference. I also used up this whole Clarins exfoliating toner and I thought it was rubbish. It didn't do anything and I usually get on really well with liquid exfoliants. I think it was just way too mild for me.
 A whole picture gets dedicated to the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water because it is the (and also, look, it snowed and my window view is v picturesque). It's so cheap and does exactly what Bioderma does (maybe - never tried it). I use this as my cleanser when I'm not in the shower. I think washing my face a lot less has really been helping out the situation. Anticipating this dark, GMCW-less time, I brought another with me from England and I'm pretty sure I'll buy this forever.
 Here are some guys I am breaking up with, product-wise. The Bobbi Brown Longwear Even Finish Foundation just isn't very good! It stinks like lavender, which I'm sure won't do skin any favours, and is way to dry even for my normal/oily skin. This would probably only work on people who are incredibly oily. I bought the Neutrogena Ulta Sheer Sunscreen from a pound shop, and then immediately realised it was almost certainly expired. There's no point wearing sunscreen which isn't screening the sun so I'm tossing it (I have been using the breakout-free version of this recently and I think it's so good!). The Seventeen BB Cream is ok, but this colour just isn't working for me. I got Medium because Light was a baby-pink colour, but it's too dark and muddy. I'm also throwing away the Tattoo-Me liner from Seventeen because it's too difficult to use - and when you make a mistake it's almost impossible to rub it out. Might work for extremely skilled liner-ers, but not for a clumsy oaf like me.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

usa thrifting

There are certain things America just does better than the UK: their dedication to cup holders, plug sockets and cheap enormous coffee (with french vanilla dairy free creamer - hello) is amongst some of the best I've seen. And as you'd expect, the consumer experience here is bigger and better, too. For the most part I try to balance my makeup shopping habits out by sticking to second hand consumerism (because then it doesn't count, right?). Here are some of the things I have found which I am very pleased about.
If you're an avid follower of my instagram you'll have already spied these clumpoes I got for $10. They were originally taller, but because idgaf I cut them off in the ankle area. They lean more towards the "spice girl", retro side of clump, I think because of the flared out platform. Kind of stupid, but I have worn them a lot already because so am I.
 This second pair of shoes was purchased out of necessity during a particularly icy visit to Cambridge. They remind me of those Doc Martens that are a bit different from normal Doc Martens, and I have worn them every day since I got them, because sometimes practical shoes are the practical choice. I think they look especially good with tights and a dress for a Bratz Doll aesthetic.
 After a long period of time off, I am back on the flannel shirt bandwagon! But only when following some rules: 1) no bright colours, 2) must be free flowing and not at all stiff, and 3) can only be worn buttoned all the way up. I am against the tying-around the waist look for reasons I cannot properly justify. Annie Kreighbaum, my idol and namesake (just kidding, my namesake is actually maybe Annie Lennox), said something about only wearing a flannel shirt like you were a teenager skater boy as the best man at his dad's second wedding, which is a position I strongly advocate.
 I am very pleased with this, because I feel like it is the sort of thing you could pretend is "dressy" enough to go on a night out in, but it is really just a box of velvet with a collar. I actually bought this because of a bit in the Grimes video for Oblivion, and also because of all those old photos of Courtney Love. Basically, I think black tops with white collars look very cool and also make all makeup choices (ie lots of makeup or no makeup) look better.
I also bought these Ralph Lauren jeans covered in white flower patterns. I think they are good replacements for boring old non-flowery jeans to make you look like more of a "risk-taker" or even "fashionista" (*throws up*). They don't fit great, (too big, too short, too low-waisted) but for $2 I couldn't leave them behind and I feel confident they are not beyond help (a strong endorsement if ever I made one).
So yes, while charity shopping is good, thrifting is better, and I'm sure this won't be my last session. Lots of love xx

Thursday, 15 January 2015

makeup which is so cheap i can hardly believe it.

Shopping for makeup is never more thrilling than when the possibility exists of buying something for $1. And here is an unexpected twist: so far, everything I have bought with similar low, low prices has been either fun or useful, which is all I ask for in my purchases.
In my newly-formed opinion, the holy grail of dirt cheap makeup is wet n wild. They seem to excel in unusual colours and innovative textures, and everything works like it is more expensive.
 First, look at these bloody eyeshadows! They are from the Comfort Zone palette, which cost around $5. If you are anything like me, the mirror shine of each of my fingertips will be very pleasing to your eyes. They are really soft and easy to move around and just so beautiful, and look at the weird and wonderful colours. (Apologies for weird photo reminiscent of E.T.)
And here is a bunch of other things, namely the Megalast Liquid Lip Colour in Click on my Hyper Pink (wtf), the Colour Icon Kohl in You're Always White, and the Colour Icon Glitter Single in Bleached. ($3, $1 and $1 respectively.) The liquid lipstick applied on its own dries down to an almost plasticy finish, which will certainly mega-last, but will feel awful and make you look weird. However, when I tried this again I applied loads of lipbalm first, then mixed the two products together on my lips. Then it worked well as a normal feeling lipstick which wore to a bubblegum pink stain. Perfect for channeling Nicki Minaj (my hero). The white eye pencil is really comparable to many more expensive ones, and works well in the waterline to give that alien-esque, wide eyed look I crave. The glitter dabbed on your tearduct lends itself to a similar look. (If you're wondering, my main makeup look recently is dead on the mouth, alien in the eyes, and all around attractive to boys.)
Finally, a word, if I may, on the ELF line of $1 makeup tools. The Total Face Brush has become my everyday BB cream applicator - it blends really seamlessly and quickly. The Smudge Brush is the lower-lash-line smudger of my dreams. And the eyelash curlers (not photographed) are incredibly close in quality to the Shu Uemura ones (though not quite as good, and I don't understand how this can be! They are both torturous eyelash clampers, yet the Shu one is a touch better).
I am sure this won't be my last cheap makeup spree, as I have had unmitigated success and there is nothing that cheers my spirits more than incredibly cheap makeup working out well on my face.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

brown lipstick 2: the american remix

It seems like all I want to do with my lips these days is to remove all traces of life from them. There is something about the brown lip which perfectly combines the aesthetic of a "cool girl" and that of a professional woman who will tc of b all day. (Not as easy as it sounds.) I was worried when photographing these it would quickly become clear that I had purchased three of the same lip product, but the pictures make them seem reassuringly different (at least to a lunatic like myself).

The first brown lip of the home of the brave is a subtle one with shimmery bits. I think if Rachel from the early days of Friends was around today, she would be all into this (not series one where she is so above Maybelline, but maybe after she gets the job at Central Perk and is broke but still kind of fabuluz). This is the Maybelline Babylips Crystal in Twinkling Taupe. I know Babylips are a somewhat polarizing product (as passionate as the debate on cheap tinted lipbalm can really get) but I like 'em, aside from the inherent creepiness of the name. I'm not sure a reference to a baby's lips is ever going to be a selling point.This one will tone down any totally ugly red or pink tones in your lips, add shine and make them smell and taste like cake. No complaints here.
The Nyx Soft Matte Lip Creams have a surprising array of brown offerings for a $6 lip product - I didn't even buy all of the browns, (The one I didn't buy was called London; London is boring because I have actually lived there.) What I did go for was Stockholm (second left) and Abu Dhabi (far right). Stockholm is what I would term a peachy-brown, while Abu-Dhabi is darker and more cool toned. Both are matte, and apply well but require a little bit of building up. They last ok, and I find them easy to top up on the go.
Finally, the long-lasting-matte-brown-piece-de-resistance appeared in the form of the Sephora Cream Lip Stain. This is seriously amazing stuff - long-lasting, comfortable, opaque, not a billion dollars, the perfect shade of true brown and again smells like cake. I should say that when I removed the swatches from my arm, this stuck around for a while in all its brown glory (not a pleasant phrase). 
Next on my list is the OCC lip tar in Sebastian. Not so much brown, more of a taupey-grey, I believe it will take my new found corpse look to the next level. As soon as it isn't sold out everywhere, it shall be mine.
More US beauty stuff to come. XXXX

Friday, 2 January 2015

non-fiction reads

Because real life is fun too (just kidding. But these books are all enjoyable.)
I'll Have What She's Having by Rebecca Harrington was in equal parts funny and informative. Did you know Karl Lagerfeld has eight Diet Cokes a day? etc. It took me about two hours to read and those two hours were enjoyable. It probably won't change your life but it probably will make you laugh. OK??
On a completely different note is The Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst by Ron Hall and Nicholas Tomalin. This was so strange and sad and interesting. It is about a man who took part in a round the world boat race which was, as the title suggests, unsuccessful. Don't worry about it being too boring and about sailing because it mostly isn't. It's mostly about the human condition under extreme pressure and the capabilities of the mind and things like that. It has really good quotes from Crowhurst's writings during his voyage and it so spooky and dark and just generally fascinating. 
The Silent Woman by Janet Malcolm was also really great. It is very clever because it's not just a piece of writing about Sylvia Plath, but it's a piece of writing about how pieces of writing about Sylvia Plath make a person into a character, and that sort of thing. 
Devil's Knot by Mara Leveritt is a really super in-depth look at the case of the West Memphis Three. I bought this after I had exhausted every documentary about them to be found on the internet, and sometimes I get really obsessed with things like this (also, I cannot be the only one who thinks young Damien is somewhat of a fox?). It was very well done and readable and I enjoyed my experience of reading it.
Nobody approved of my reading Stiff by Mary Roach, but they were all wrong. There is nothing wrong with reading a book about human cadavers over the festive period. If that is something you're interested in, this book is a very good choice. Even though it seems a bit morbid, I think ignoring the fact of death is stupid. There is a good part of the book commenting that at birth and death we are reminded of the biological-ness of life and we spend the whole bit in between trying to remove ourselves from the biological-ness (she phrases it a bit better than that). I think trying to ignore the fact we are all going to rot and decay is irresponsible and unhelpful, so read this instead.

Happy New Reading Year! xx