Review, Swatches & Dupes: MAKE Matte Finish Blush in Cinnabar

Someday soon I’ll have to do a monochrome look– nothing but reds from brow to chin. I’ve got a vault full of appropriate lipsticks from the orange to the wine. And my stash of red eye makeup is nothing if not respectable– I tend to favor that sickly sorceress look in the winter. What I didn’t realize till I started planning this post: I also own more red blushes than peaches or pinks. They even outnumber my signature purples!

I guess it makes sense. I’m a fan of rich pigment in my color cosmetics and hey– maybe I like a fairytale narrative guiding my hand when I stipple. Red cheeks are for princesses charmed in old-growth forests, a color palette of snow and blood.

Speaking of palettes– art historically inspired beauty brand MAKE has been on my radar for a while, ever since Carina started killing it with their eye and lip palettes. Based in New York, they’re known for high-concept capsule collections distilled from, say, the watercolor hues of English Romanticism or the baked-clay colors of a technicolor desert. Basically, MAKE is smart, deliciously pretentious, with a strong point of view– a bluestocking’s beauty brand. They also a earmark portion of their proceeds for We See Beauty, a non-profit that supports “women-owned, worker-led cooperatives”. (You can find find MAKE  at a number of retailers, online and in meatspace. But if you want to maximize the amount of makeup money to go to WSB, consider buying from We See Beauty’s virtual storefront!)

I’ve been lusting after their palettes for a while now, especially after seeing what Carina could do with three different shades of tonal white. But I thought I’d ease myself into MAKE with a smaller purchase. So here’s their Matte Finish Blush in Cinnabar, an “intense crimson with a red undertone”.


Availability: $25 on We See Beauty, Barneys New York, or Nasty Gal 

Quantity: 0.16 oz

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Guest Post: NYX Macaron Lippies with Katy!

I’ve got a special pre-Halloween feature for you! Here’s a guest blog from my friend Katy, who has great taste, especially wrt unconventional lipstick colors:

Hi, i am Katy and I am not a beauty blogger but I care a lot about non-natural colors that i can put on my face.

A thing that you should know about me before we begin is that I have been on a quest for opaque unusual-colored lipstick for the last several years, so this is a topic very near to my heart. During Ulta’s 40% off sale, I finally got around to picking up my favorite 7 NYX Macaron Lippies. Although that sale is over, they are now buy one get one 50% off on the Ulta website!

Swatches from top to bottom: Chambord, Lavender, Coconut, Citron, Violet, Pistachio, Blue Velvet. Also check out my scar at the top; I got it when I was a little kid.

Swatches from top to bottom: Chambord, Lavender, Coconut, Citron, Violet, Pistachio, Blue Velvet. Also check out my scar at the top; I got it when I was a little kid.

Overall, I really love these! They are very creamy, and very opaque. The only ones I found lacking in opacity were Citron and Coconut. The most heavily pigmented and opaque ones were Violet and Chambord. My absolute favorite is probably Lavender but I’m maybe biased because that’s my favorite color. I also love Pistachio!

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FOTD: Radical Haircut Edition


Eyes: Too Faced Shadow Insurance in Candelight, Too Faced Brow Envy, Benefit High Brow Glow, theBalm Pressed Eyeshadow in in Stand-offish, Selfish, and Sophisticated from the NUDE ‘tide Eyeshadow Palette, Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on Eye Pencil in Black Market, Tarina Tarantino Eye Dream Hyperliner in Broken Doll, Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Waterproof Mascara

Face: Skin79 Oriental Gold BB Cream Plus,  Make Up For Ever 5 Camouflage Cream Palette in No. 2, Nyx Powder Blush in Bourgeois Pig, Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light and Incandescent Light from the Ambient Lighting Palette, Tarte Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Finishing Powder, Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray

Lips: Nyx Extra Creamy Round Lipstick in Pandora layered over Illamasqua Matte Lipstick in Atomic

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Review, Swatches, Dupes & FOTD: One Direction Up All Night Makeup Kit

Full disclosure: I’m a Zayn girl.

So I’ve been friends with Larry fanfic luminary Jess– that’s figgingharry on Tumblr– since high school. We met at the most awesome nerd camp on the continental United States, and then we did undergrad together. Those were the pre-One Direction days. Now undergrad’s over, which is sad. But it does mean that I now have disposable income– enough to go visit Jess when they were doing research in Istanbul! (Paid for it out of my stipend by eating a lot of ramen and putting a moratorium  on trolling for second-hand designer eBay finds– never let ’em tell you  that you can’t live a glamorous jet-set lifestyle on a humanities grad school stipend, folks!)

TLDR; I now listen almost exclusively to One Direction. (And Taylor Swift. I hear the two fandoms don’t like each other, which is a species of tragedy.) So as a beauty junkie, I think I was morally obligated to buy one of their makeup kts. Our favorite boyband, already renowned for their ventures into the profitable realm of fruityfloral perfumery, has released three such makeup kits so far. There’s a lot of product in each. You get an eyeshadow palette, a tube of mascara, a chubby eye pencil, a pair of lip products, a nail polish, and a set of body stencils. The last thing’s basically useless, but still– I’d say it’s a pretty good value for less than the cost of one NARS blush.

The kits are cleverly named after the band’s three albums. Take Me Home seems to be mostly neutrals, for that “effortlessly gorgeous, girl-next-door look”– definitely not me. Midnight Memories, on the other hand, features bombshell staples– red lip, smoky eye– for the “rock n’ roll girl”. I already have way too many of those shades, despite not being particularly rock n’ roll. So I went for option three:


One Direction Up All Night Makeup Kit. The artfully desaturated picture of the boys is actually on a plastic sleeve that slips off– the case itself is a mere image of brick. I guess it’s like the equivalent of reading The Hunger Games with a plain white book jacket? I say The Hunger Games (instead of, like, Twilight) because it– like 1D– is a teenybopper pop culture phenomenon that I actually really like.

Availability: $28.50 from Lord and Taylor, Dillard’s, Macy’s, or Boscov’s 

Quantity: 0.20 oz eyeshadow, 0.13 oz lipstick, 0.23 fl oz lipgloss, 0.27 oz nail polish, 0.22 fl oz mascara Continue reading

Liebster Award

The lovely Audrey from Blushable Me tagged me for the Liebster award forever ago! I promised I’d do it the next time I was questing for procrastination fodder, but I ended up procrastinating on my procrastination and… But anyway, here it is! The Liebster is a cute meme-cum-questionnaire that’s been making the rounds among the beauty blogging community– once tagged, you answer some questions furnished by your tagger, and then you pay it forward by nominating three other blogs you like and providing the with questions of your own. Having been tagged, I feel like I’ve Made It as a small-time indie beauty blogger! liebster-award1

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Review, Swatches & FOTD: LORAC Mint Edition Collection

I snagged this retro-inspired value pack during a LORAC event on Hautelook. I mean, a) it was cheap, b) I needed more one-and-done palettes with eye and cheek products– for, you know, travel and stuff and c) I’ve got a fondness for all things vaguely vintage that feels somewhat perverse and at times #problematic. Whatever. The flash sale’s since expired, and it looks like Ulta’s sold out. But you can still get this bundle for about 58.33% off on the LORAC website! Supposedly that’s part of the brand’s VIP sale, which I believe has been going on since roughly the Tokugawa. But a deal’s a deal!

Silver and Mint Wristlet Bag, Eye/Cheek Palette, and Lips With Benefits Gloss in Christian

Silver and Mint Wristlet Bag, Eye/Cheek Palette, and Lips With Benefits Gloss in Christian

Availability: $15 on LORAC

Quantity: 0.25 oz of eyeshadow, 0.11 oz of blush and 0.19 fl oz of lip gloss Continue reading

Review, Swatches & Dupes: All of the Tilt/Shift Lipslicks!

I actually took all these photos more than a week ago, but school happened, and also I decided to make pop fanmixes for Confucius and Nero instead of processing them. (Next I’m gonna do Liu Bang slash Gaozu, founder of the Western Han– it’s technically related to me Area of Study, so.) Good thing I took notes so I know what’s what! I have better study habits for beauty blogging than for actual study…. Here I’ve got a set of lip products from Tilt/Shift Cosmetics, indie purveyor of celestially named cosmetics. They’ve got a collection of planetary loose pigments in gorgeous duochromes, but I opted instead for the Lipslicks. These are matte in finish, wax-based, and packaged in a little pot if you order the full size, so you’ll have to grab a lip brush if you want to take advantage of the “medium to full coverage”. They’ve got a medicinal mint smell, redolent of dental hygiene. The texture’s slightly stiff but, as the website notes, they tend to “melt on the lips when used”. I don’t find them particularly drying, which is nice I took advantage of a packaged deal called, appropriately enough, the Big Bang, so I was able to get samples of all eight shades for $10.80. The trade-off’s in the packaging– these came in little plastic baggies, and there was barely enough room to maneuver my brush for application. I did experience a little streakiness and resistance with these, and every color took multiple coats to reach opacity. I suspect I would have had an easier time of it with the full-size jars.


(L-R): Chaos, Zenith, Gravity, Supernova, Equinox, Nebula, Solstice, Aurora

Availability: $6.50 for a full size or $1.50 for a sample size from Tilt/Shift Cosmetics

Quantity: 0.15 oz for a full size

Special Deals: Get a Big Bang package with all eight shades in full-size jars for $44.20 or in sample baggies for $10.80 Continue reading

Sale Alert! Nyx at Ulta

Nyx products are going for 40% off this week at Ulta! Technically the sale also includes Revlon, Physicians Formula, and Almay. I’m sure they all have very decent products– pretty sure I owned some Almay Wake Up Liquid Makeup during early undergrad that I pretty much liked? But Nyx is my favorite drugstore brand– very possibly in the running for my favorite anything brand for makeup. So I’m going to fixate on the goddess of night, and her entourage of mythologically named lipsticks. The sale ends next Saturday, September 4.

Sale prices doing include Nyx Kits over $14.99, but there are plenty of other goodies you can pick up, including the widely touted Butter Lipsticks and the neon and pastel Macaron Lippies for those more adventurously inclined. (I’ve had middling luck with smooth coverage when it comes to Earl Grey and Lavender— but the cost of entry’s so low now I might experiment with a couple other colors anyway.)

My picks are below. But first I wanted to show you this– the most perfectly named powder blush of all time. I think I may need this because I’m supposed to give my undergrads a Very Brief Intro to Marx tomorrow. Too bad it wouldn’t arrive in time for the hour of my need.

Nyx Powder Blush in "Bourgeois Pig".

Nyx Powder Blush in “Bourgeois Pig”.

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Review, Swatches & Dupes: Darling Girl Soft Focus Blush in The Magic Lamp

I’ve had an unusually unproductive week (and I feel like my ground state is pretty unproductive anyway)– highlights included a cocktail, a head cold, and two extremely long, extremely dense statutes from the Gracchan age. But what better way to bounce back than with some indie blush?

I’ve already reviewed a couple of purple powders— they’re rapidly becoming one of my things. This third one, Darling Girl’s The Magic Lamp, is from the brand’s Soft Focus range, meant to “blend into skin with no visible texture”, with a finish “somewhere between a matte and a satin”. Darling Girl describes it as a “mid-tone lavender with reddish undertones”.


Availability: $5.90 for a full size or $2.50 for a petit from Darling Girl Cosmetics

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