Sunday, 29 March 2015

turns out boring, old fashioned skincare advice works.

There are some things which are and will always be eternally true: vanilla things smell good, Mathew Gray Gubler is a hot guy, and that some boring but easy things can really help out your skin. These tips aren't revolutionary, exciting or glamorous, and certainly aren't as fun as buying nice smelling pretty things in containers. They are boring old habits, and they work.

1) Drinking water. Your body needs water for all of the "important" organs (brain, liver, kidneys ... yawn), and if there isn't enough in your body, it will steal it from your skin. Skin without water isn't so cute: dull, liney, un-plumped. So by constantly putting lots of water into your body, you can prevent this from happening really really easily. Also, water is free (unless you're buying it which is dumb) and good for your whole bod. 
2) Exercise. I hate exercising as much as the next man but getting really sweaty about twice a week seems to be helping out my skin. I imagine that all the sweat coming out of your pores stops them from getting clogged (sort of like a facial laxative, and I am sorry for that image). Also, the attractive big red face that follows exercising means there is lots of blood circulating around your chops, which is almost certainly a Good Thing. Also it might help you live longer, etc, whatever.
3) Facial Massage. At night when I moisturise, I always try to sculpt my face into shape using the Lisa Eldridge vid as my guide. This does things I don't fully understand such as improving circulation and draining lymphs (?) but makes your face glowy and will hopefully help the descent into old age be a little easier.

Boring but beneficial, and also free and good for more than just your face. Turns out common knowledge becomes common for a reason - it is usually pretty solid advice.

Friday, 27 March 2015

when things are really good

I'll just preface this post by saying I don't have anything particularly subversive or clever to say here. I don't have a link to a wider social point, or any sort of interesting overriding theme. I just have a few things which I think are really fantastic and I wanted to talk about them, ok? Usual service will resume soon.
 This Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Eyeshadow (also mentioned here) is just a cool little thing. It paints on a longlasting metallic colour which looks so cool.I have the shade called "Rio de Rose Gold" which is a perfect warm, neutrally colour. Luckily I wasn't too fond of the shade range so I wasn't tempted to buy them all, but this one seems to walk the fine line between very extravagant and somewhat subtle. I love this with v little other makeup to suggest you have made an effort, but it was a small one because you're a bit too cool.
Don't look at the mad eyebrows, look at the SKIN!!
 I'm actually amazed by this Wet n Wild Coverall Cream Foundation. I paid $2.33 for it and it outperforms every other "drugstore" base product I've tried. Glowy and covering, but most importantly, when buffed in it is completely undetectable, thus tricking everyone into thinking it isn't there.
 I bought the Lorac Pro Palette and I'm bloody glad I did. Unfortunately the only picture I've taken while using it was the most plain eye look ever (Lt. Bronze all over and Champagne to highlight), but the QUALITY is what is so pleasing about this palette. The shades are all buttery soft and really pigmented, AND I like all of the colours! If you are a very streamlined person this would be a great one eyeshadow palette to have. If you like good quality eyeshadow this is a great palette to have. This is a great palette to have.
Mad eyebrows AGAIN!
 After lots of fannying around in the world of liquid exfoliants, I decided to bring out the big guns and got the Make Up Artists Choice 25% Mandelic Acid Peel. I've only ever read rave reviews about this and I can see why. It has made my skin so much brighter, more even, softer, nicer. I put it all over with a Q-Tip every ten days and then wash it off after 3 minutes. I've never had any flaking or anything (but my skin is pretty hardy when it comes to acid) and I just feel confident that this is working. See: my makeupless and unedited face (taken with flash because I'm not that brave). Apart from extremely sensitive, I think pretty much any skin type could benefit from this - and you all know that using acids means you have to use sunscreen, ok? Definitely a great product: I'm very happy to have it.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

beauty hoarding

When beauty shopping gets weird - complete with pathetic rationalisations. Proof both that I seriously stand behind these prods with all I have, and that I have some issues.
 Got the Neutrogena Clear Face Sunscreen, realised I couldn't get it in the UK, so got the Target own brand version for when I run out. This stuff is so bloody good; it's SPF 55 while retaining a lightweight feel on the skin and without interfering with anything else, like a mysterious but well-intentioned neighbour. Backed up both my CeraVe cleanser and moisturiser, because I am so reliant on the two of them. Like two really great mates, they are reaching irreplaceable status. UK guys - you can buy these on Amazon, although they are annoyingly a bit more expensive than from the US "stores".
Found a really great deal on the Kiehls Creamy Eye Treatment so got two. This is the first eye cream I've ever had strong feelings for, because it immediately makes my eyes look less dry and crinkly. Because I love using it so much, I'm going through it at a rate of knots, and afterwards I'm considering just using some shea butter as eye cream. It's the top ingredient in the Kiehls and I think it's what gives it such a balmy texture, but shea butter is mad cheap. Got three of the Superdrug Killer Volume Dry Shampoo on a 3 for £3 deal because this is basically the hair product that does everything I need - volume, grease-absorption and hold. Smells like paint flakes but works, and that's what counts really.
 Here's where things get a little bit worrying / embarrassing. Nine different tubes of various-branded 10% benzoyl peroxide gel. I just knew this was a pain in the arse to get in the UK, and it was about $3 a tube in the states, so I let my inner hoarder take over. I'm going to consistently use this for probably a long time, so it makes sense (to me - a crazy person) to have mutliple back-ups. It's easier to sleep at night knowing you have a years supply of benzoyl peroxide - or so the saying goes, right? I also know I will consistently be using rosewater as a setting / facial spray, so I bought 3 to get free shipping on Amazon (#justification). I pour this into a spray bottle and it makes your face glow (or, as my mum says, shine).
So, now I have a pretty signifcant what bloggers would call "stash", and what normal people would call "hoarding problem". It's quite nice knowing I'm set up for the worst case scenario (Amazon ceasing to exist, for example). Now I'm stopping this mad stockpiling before I end up trapped in a room full of lipstick and micellar waters. If anyone else has things squirrelled away for no proper reason, please tell me and make me feel like a rational human being...

Friday, 20 March 2015

waterline brighteners for suspicious eyes

I am a sufferer of some of the most naturally red eyes I know. I think it a combination of wearing contact lenses and crying all the time (kidding, kind of). Unlike all the other "problems" with my appearance, however, a red eye is really easily "fixed" with makeup. You can literally draw over the red and make it a different colour.
Taking photos of myself makes me aware how weird my face is - I'm discovering I have a lazy eye and a really weird overbite. But my waterlines look cute, right??
 Even if you don't have red there, putting a light, pastelly colour inside your eyes makes them look about 65% bigger and 78% brighter, which is a good look. It tricks people that your eyes don't end where they actually end, but extend to the top of your eyelashes. Any pale colour will work and give slightly different effects.
 The Nyx Jumbo Eye Pencils are really good for this purpose. The two I have are slightly iridescent which brings even more light to your peepers. Cottage Cheese (a gross name, right?) is sparkly white and Lavender is sparkly lilac, which counteracts the warm, red tones by being a cool colour - and a "cool" colour, too. These last pretty well and come in all manner of shades. In a pinch, they also work well as a cream highlighter on the tear duct, brow bone, cupid's bow etc. Not bad for $5.
 I also have the famous Rimmel Scandaleyes Kohl Kajal in Nude. This is very well loved, but it has recently got somewhat of the shaft because I err more on the side of pale and pastel nowadays. You can see that by comparison, this shade of "nude" is actually pretty dark, so it doesn't give my eyes the lightness I want. It lasts well and is a good product otherwise, so I think this is probably a good one for those less deathly pale than myself.
 The one I'm proud to have discovered is the Korres Eyeliner Pencil in Green-White. I found it through a series of investigative Google searches (starting with "mint green eyeliner" and ending with "Nars barrow street dupe".) My extremely limited knowledge of makeup led me to believe that using the opposite colour works to counteract the colour - and the opposite of red is green. Therefore, a pastel green colour doesn't appear greeny, just pale and not-at-all-red! See for yourself, it is what I'm wearing in the pictures. Other bonuses include it;s long-lastingness and the face it doesn't contain any poisonous eye chemicals. 
 This "trick" is one of those mythical 30 second fixers which makes you look healthier, prettier AND more engaged with life. I wear it on lots of makeup days and "no makeup" days alike. Who doesn't want bigger, brighter eyes? That's a rhetorical question because the answer is no one.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

some exciting news

Sorry, no "funny" thoughts about lisptick today, just quickly letting you know I've been allowed to do some blogging at the Huffington Post - I should be posting at least once a week but don't worry, I will save my more stupid ideas and keep writing here too. YAY and also THANKS. xxxxxx

Sunday, 15 March 2015

thoughts on some oils

There's a part of me which really wants to be a crusty hippie, never wash my hair and only use beauty products with ingredients I can pronounce. It seems like a sensible and healthy way to be. The problem is, I love the chemicals! Benzoyl peroxide is my knight in shining armour, my hair only feels clean after a pile of frothy sulfates have stripped it bare and I love wearing probably poisonous lipsticks. As anyone knows, the key to a healthy and happy existence is balance, so my attempts to make casual nods to a more natural existence come in the form of oils.
Both bought from
 I tried jojoba on my face but I just couldn't bear the sensation of it - like my face was actually melting away. I'm also not totally convinced by the evangelical cries of "it cannot clog your pores" ringing throughout the internet. I think it probably did clog my pores. I used the rest of it up as body moisturiser and much preferred it. Apparently because it is a similar makeup to the natural oil skin produces it is easily absorbed into the skin, and I am inclined to agree. In some ways, it's nice to be using something so pure and natural. But in other, more prominent ways, I think I like body moisturisers to smell good and come in handy packaging. One to try, but I don't feel committed for life.
 I have such mixed feelings about neem oil. On one hand, it is probably one of the most effective acne treatments I have tried, aside from serious and strong chemicals. During my use of this my skin was generally pretty good. It also seemed to moisturise and even reduced my forehead wrinkle a bit. On the other hand, it stinks. It smells like petrol, peanuts and onions and it's as rancid as it sounds. Many people commented on the fact my face smelled like a butt. The worst part is, the smell kind of stays in your skin even after you remove the oil, and it can creep into your nose when you least expect it. It also sort of tasted bad in your mouth whilst this was on your face. I'm giving up on this because I am no longer brave enough. But if you're at your wits end and want to try something cheap and natural, it's probably worth a look. But don't say I didn't warn you. 
And now for the slightly less "pure" side of oils. This Kukui Oil by ogx is mixed with some silicones and other ingredients I don't recognise. But it's amazing. Firstly, it comes in a spray, so it's really lightweight and doesn't have detrimental effects on hair volume. It smells pleasant but doesn't interfere with any other smells you're putting on (perfume, for example). But the real reason I'm so impressed with this is it has made my hair grow a TON. Before I came to America (3 months ago) my hair was at mid-boob length (everyone measures the length of their hair based on their boobs, right?). Now it is quickly approaching belly-button length. I'm growing it for no reason other than to have a small project. I want to see if I can get it to the belly button, but I do actually prefer my hair around the top-of-boob area. Still, if you want your hair to grow, I'm pretty sure this is the most miraculous thing I've found.
 A bit of natural with a bit of artificial colour and fragrance, but with no horrendous smell or greasy side effects. This hair oil summarises my feelings on the subject of going all natural: it's all about the balance.

Thursday, 12 March 2015


  Wearing sunglasses is one of my favourite hobbies. I have sensitive peepers anyway (something to do with contact lenses or something), but even if I didn't strictly NEED them, i would still "need" them. I just think they look make you look cooler, and me and my housemates have been known to have "sunglasses-mandatory" nights out. It's fun, everyone treats you like you're special.
 My clothes are mostly neutral coloured and "simple" (boring), and if I'm wearing makeup, 90% of the time it will be a "five product face", but in my sunglasses choices I let my inner high-maintenance diva take over. The more extravagant and ridiculous, the better. But don't get it twisted, I still want my sunglasses to be cheap, because that way I can have an expansive wardrobe of different ridiculous touches to add to any outfit. Here are two pairs I got recently and am very pleased with (they are both from eBay and were about $10 each - eBay is the BEST PLACE for cheap and silly sunglasses).
 The first pair are some Celine knockoffs. I hate to admit it but I do enjoy a fake designer sunglass - everything about my appearance from my poorly cut fringe to my extremely smashed phone screen suggests I have no money, so these make a nice contrast. I do sort of see that these are somewhat gaudy and horrible, but scruffed down with the rest of my appearance I just really like them. 
 The second pair are Miu Miu "cut out" knockoffs which are just so cool. They are slightly tamer than the Celine pair, and basically look like a classic, boring pair of sunglasses but with the bottoms cut off. (A classic with a twist? But what a horrible, overused phrase.) I favour a tortoiseshell frame because I think they look super great with an all black outfit (where black sunglasses look a bit teenage-emo). 
 Sunglasses are the easiest way to add a "bit of jazz". Seriously, all you have to do is put them on, and you're done. You have to wear some when the sun comes out, so why not have them be fun-glasses?

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

just-been-kissing lips

In some ways a pinky-reddy lip goes against all of my beauty ideals, in that it is conventionally "pretty" and appealing. However, a focus on the "just-been-kissing" look results in a cooler way to wear pinky-red, Disney princess lips. A jbk smudge firstly implies that you have been kissing, which is fun and cool. But it also implies that you don't really care enough to fix your lipstick, and that you probably just want to go on kissing people. 
Adore Delano is such a jbk icon.
Slightly subtler in Rimmel Kate Moss 110.

First, you need to choose your weapon. The look (a pared down version of Adore Delano's) can be achieved with a balm, a lipstick or a gloss-stain, so it's versatile and requires absolutely no skill. I focus all the product in the center of my mouth, and then rub it outwards. You could call this "kissing" your fingertip, however that is too depressing to contemplate and I'm not calling it that. I think this might be what people call an "ombre" lip? The idea is to start strong in the middle and fade outwards to nothing. It's advised (by me) to go very very slightly over the edge of your lips to maximise the jbk vibes.
Top to bottom: Maybelline Pink Quartz, Rimmel Kate Moss 110, L'oreal Endless Red.
 The entry level jbk lip is any sort of pink/red tinted lipbalm, which makes your lips look like you've been kissing a lot and have swollenish, soreish lips that you've lipbalmed over. I have an inexplicable affection for the Maybelline Baby Lips. The "Pink Quartz" one gets extra points for smelling like sweets and being packed with glitter. 
 Your favourite red lipstick can easily become a jbk lip. The Rimmel Kate Moss 110 is matte and therefore pretty long-lasting, particularly when smudged and pressed in. It's a great red-pink-coral.
 The ultimate in jbk lips come in the form of the L'oreal Wet Shine Stain in "Endless Red". It's an extremely pigmented gel which looks shiny and plump, and stains the lips underneath for bloody ages - I put some on my arm and it lasted several days. It can be carefully applied to give a really cool, precise, glossy and long-lasting red lip, but applied with a finger it is smudgy, jbk perfection.
I just wanted to put this picture at the end because it's one of my favourites ever. Imagine if this was how you got your just-been-kissing look ... sigh.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

not playing by the rules

Sometimes I buy things and don't end up liking how they work, sometimes they get usurped by superior prods, sometimes in a pinch I discover multi uses for an old fave, and sometimes I buy something with rebellious intentions in mind. Here are a bunch of things I like to use in ways not intended.
 First is the Wet n Wild Color Icon Bronzer in "Reserve your Cabana". This is certainly not the traditional colour of a bronzer, and I originally thought it would make a nice highlight. However, extensive swatching in direct sunlight (being obsessive about makeup is sometimes weirdly stressful) showed that there was no actual shimmery particles in this prod. So I've started using it as a sort of all over setting / glow-boosting hybrid and it's bloody lovely. Probably similar to those Hourglass Ambient Lighting ones, but $5. These types of things are hard to describe, but it gives an almost imperceptible blurring effect, and makes your face look lit from within. It's also SPF 15 which is pretty cool. If you have a highlighter which you're finding too subtle in targeted areas, and you are a fan of a glowing (shiny) complexion, might I suggest dusting it lightly all over.
 I have a lot of love for Cymex Lip Protectors, as they are the best functional lipbalm I've tried (in a tube, cheap, works, makes lips look glossy and pink). Whilst on a plane recently (I'm a jetsetter, it's not a big deal) I tried this on my cuticles and it did a great moisturising jobby. I don't think a separate cuticle oil is necessary when you have any old lipbalm, and this one works particularly nicely.
 I've recently had a skincare revelation: I don't think my skin particularly likes salicylic acid. It seems to irritate without any noticeable "activity" reducing benefits. I have a whole bunch of salicylic acid prods to get through now, and I've been using this Bravura London Detoxifying Eucalyptus Toner on my arms and feet. The skin there is much hardier to potential iritation, and the effects of this are much much better than with manual exfoliation. It's a cool feeling to not have something go to waste. This one was mid-range, but if you've got some skin texture issues on your bod, salicylic acid is so easy to buy cheaply - any drugstore acne range will have something.
 I still have a soft spot for the Lacura Gentle Face Wash Gel. It's from Aldi, which is not exactly a cool place to shop for skincare, but it's cheap (under £2) and as far as my limited knowledge goes, the ingredients are fine. This has been surpassed by the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser, but I've been using the Lacura fellow to clean my makeup brushes and it really does the job. If you think about it (and trust me, I have - so deep) you shouldn't really wash your brushes with things you don't want on your face, because your brushes touch your face a lot. I would buy this again for brush cleaning purposes - and if, like me, you have an embarrassing collection of cleansers and a fussy face, this is a good way to use them up.
 Don't play by the rules. Don't follow the instructions. Be your own person, man! And never, ever throw anything away.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

a nude illusion

Yes, I'm wearing clothes, it's a NUDE ILLUSION ok
Feat. a rogue lock of hair.
 In honour of episode one of the new series of RuPaul's Drag Race: my favourite products to create a naked looking face. Of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with your genuinely naked face, and me telling someone else to bother to wear makeup is like a lazy pot calling a lazy kettle lazy. I can count the amount of days in the week I wear makeup on a couple of fingers. But for days when you want to look like you're wearing no makeup but just look a bit better, I have some recommendations. For me, and I know it's all subjective, "better" equates to glowier, browier, bigger-eyed and pinker-lipped.
  First is a new love who I am hot and heavy for, the Jouer Luminizing Moisture Tint in Pearl. Sometimes I feel like cheap things are just the same, but then I get something like this which just feels expensive. It gives minimal coverage, more of a blurring than a concealing effect, and has tiny tiny bits of shimmer which diffuses lights over your chops and makes your face glow like the moon. It's love! I know it's early days but I'm not afraid to say it, ours is the love that dares speak its name. To add extra shine I put the RMS Living Luminizer on my inner eye corner and browbone. This is a long term and committed relationship. In spite of generally being a makeup floozy, if I'm putting on makeup, I'll put on this. It's bloody expensive for such a tiny and seemingly useless little pot, but it's one of a kind. It gives a wet look shine with almost undetectable shimmer, and it lasts for ever on your face. I've used it every day for a year (?) and there is no end in sight. You feel like you don't need this until you have it, and then it's game over.
 Hairy eyebrows are still my jam, and add structure to a seemingly-naked face. I put through a really cheap brown mascara, I'm sure the cheapest brown mascara you can find will work fine for a makeshift tinted brow gel. If it's cheap, chances are it won't be particularly amazing in terms of volume or length, so if you play your cards right it should just add a touch of colour and hold. I focused the majority of the product in the front section of my eyebrows, because I think a bushy front section (stop it) looks kind of youthful and relaxed. I curled my eyelashes which makes my eyes look about 46% bigger and put a touch of mascara on my top lashes, more to colour them in than anything else.
 To add a subtle bit of sculpting to a face that errs on the side of enormous I used the Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Exposed. It chisels the cheekbones without actually being a contour - mysterious but interesting. Finally I smudged some of the Nivea Lip Butter in Raspberry Rose on my mouth. I really do want to try to By Terry Baume de Rose, and the worst part is I know one day I'll lose my mind and actually buy it, but for now this is doing the trick. It's pretty moisturising, smells good and imparts a milky-pinky look.
 Now tuck your penis between your legs, whack on a lace front wig and werk!!!! (I'm talking about Drag Race again, duh.)

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

H.G. U.S. drugstore skincare

Are there any words which make me happier than "drugstore" and "skincare"? (Apart from "free" and "gift", I don't think so.) My stay in the US is nearly up, and I wanted to write what will basically be an ode to some of the things I have found here which will be what I will use on my face for a very long time. I'm trying to keep my skincare streamlined and simple because in my heart of hearts I do think that's better, but for me it is an unexpectedly hard task. Obviously there are some extras, but the above photo is pretty much all I'm using. Simplicity is true happiness or something, although I still think true happiness is owning every colour of lipstick you can imagine. 
I watched a YouTube video with Paula Begoun ("Paula" from "Paula' Choice") and she compared the CeraVe Hydrating cleanser to one from Creme de la Mer. I've fallen pretty hard for it. It's the most simple but pleasant cleanser I've used, it goes on like white slime, doesn't smell, doesn't foam, doesn't really do anything. I just rub in onto a dry face and then splash off with warmish water. After using your skin will feel magically softer but not like it's coated with any grease. It seems to hydrate at a deeper level or something, it's seriously impressive. 
The combination of something I'll discuss later and the most serious winter I've ever experienced (the US doesn't fuck around) left me with the driest skin I've had in my life. After being so impressed with the cleanser I got the corresponding moisturser, which again is beautifully plain. It is scentless, which I like because fragrance is superfluous and irritating. I use a whole big pump morning and evening, it seems to properly hydrate without leaving a film and it sits really well under makeup. I think I might actually be over the fancy skincare compulsion which haunted my bank account for years. I don't want products which have big claims and fancy tubs and are a really "luxurious" experience to use. I want things that are plain, simple and do what they say they will in the most undamaging and unproblematic way.
Onto the dry-making culprit whom I would forgive anything, the Clean & Clear Persa Gel. This is a benzoyl peroxide gel-cream. It's a touch drying and irritating (although my skin is getting used to it), but it is scientifically stopping bacteria from breeding inside my skin. It works, and I can't really imagine life without it.
I love SPF, and that might be one of the most boring things I've ever said. Every beautiful old lady ever says use SPF every day, and I trust them. This Clear Face one from Neutrogena is amazing (as amazing as SPF can be). It's factor 55, doesn't irritate my cantankerous skin and goes well under makeup. No complaints whatsoever.
Now when (God, WHEN???) will these amazingly simple, cheap and effective products make the journey to the UK? *drops mic* I feel an emotional attachment to them that is more than just a lustful excitement of a new product. I feel like we're really building a long-term relationship based on trust and mutual respect. The more I learn about these prods the more I like them. They're not the most attractively packaged, but they get me on a deeper level or some other dumb rom-com metaphor.