Just some makeup reviews!

I’ve been going a bit crazy with makeup recently. Now that I found a foundation in my shade and figured out how to work with my hooded eyes, my makeup game has improved by about 500% and I’m not planning on stopping soon. I also feel more confident in my skin and like I can wear bolder looks, and I know what I want in a product. Thus began my search for a holy grail liner, a bright and colorful matte palette with decent pigmentation and figuring out if I can hack a nifty beauty tool.

L.A. Girl – Glide Gel Liner

Now this thing right here is what I call a god damn miracle in pencil shape. I have liquid, gel and regular kohl liners but I run into issues with all of them. My lashes are too thin, light colored and short to make liquid liner look good, even when I tight line. Gel works really well but the ones I’ve found that I like aren’t exactly smudge or waterproof. Kohl liner just makes me look like a panda after a couple of hours, especially when I use it to tight line.

Then there comes the L.A. Girl Glide Gel Liner and I’m blown away by how well it holds up. Once you apply this liner and allow it to set, it really doesn’t go anywhere. It takes an oily makeup remover to take off. After I swatch these liners on my hand and wait a minute, I can pretty vigorously rub my finger on top and nothing happens to it. I have to keep going for a while or involve spit or oil to make it budge, so unless you’re rubbing your eyes all day long nothing’s going to happen to that liner. Not only that, the way it applies is an absolute dream. It’s a pencil liner but it applies like a gel. Without any pressure or needing to warm up the pencil it just glides onto your skin like nobody’s business (which is probably why they named it the way they did!). For only 5 euros a piece, with the very black pigment payoff and all the qualities it has, I genuinely can’t complain.

Kara Beauty Bright & Matte Eyeshadow Palette – ES02

I’ll be honest with you: after searching for a palette that I liked and stumbling on the Morphe Brushes 35B palette, I had my heart set on that one. The pigmentation looked good for the price, the range of colors was diverse, every color has a matte version which was important to me and it wasn’t going to cost me an arm and a leg. (More honesty: if I had the money, I’d definitely have shelled out 73 euros for the Viseart Bright Editorial palette.)

Unfortunately, Morphe products are all the rage at the moment thanks to big Beauty YouTubers promoting the crap out of them, so my favorite online makeup store has been out of stock for weeks and they’re not expecting a refill until the beginning of May. I know that Morphe does private labeling (which doesn’t bother me at all) so I started looking for Morphe ‘dupes’ that contain the colors I need.

Lo and behold, I stumbled upon the Kara ES02 palette – pretty much an exact duplicate of the Morphe 35B, and about 5 euros cheaper to boot! I watched some swatches/reviews on YouTube from the few folks who’d gotten their hands on this. They all agreed that the matte colors are more pigmented than the Morphe palette, but the shimmers are better with Morphe. Since I specifically wanted this for the mattes I didn’t care much about the latter, especially because I already have a shimmery rainbow colored palette.

Why the difference though? No idea. The colors appear identical so I’m assuming they’re from the same factory, but the ingredients are different between Kara’s and Morphe’s palettes, so who knows what happened there. Maybe the new batch of Morphe palettes coming in May are more like this?

All I know for sure is that I really, really like the way this palette looks once applied to my eyes. The pigment is good, but better when applied wet. A white base brings the colors out perfectly. It’s definitely buildable if you use them dry too. One thing I highly, highly recommend is using a good eye shadow primer. And I mean a legitimate primer, not a concealer or moisturizer. I tried one eye with a primer + white concealer, and another eye with just white concealer, and the eye without a primer stained something fierce. I spent 15 minutes trying to clean it off, which is not something I enjoy doing at the end of the day.

Kara’s palette is exactly what I wanted. The pigmentation is not mind blowing, but solid enough to work with. I’m super impressed for the price and color payoff for sure!

Dry makeup brush cleaner

You’ve probably heard of the Sephora Switch. It’s a sponge in a tin on which you swirl a used (dry) eye shadow brush to clean it and immediately dip it into a different eyeshadow. It doesn’t replace washing your brushes regularly but it will save you a crapton of tissues and makeup wipes to clean the brushes between uses. There are other brands available and I was fortunate enough to get a free brush cleaner with my recent makeup order!

I want to start by saying: this works excellently and allows you to apply multi-colored makeup faster with a minimal amount of brushes. Need to blend with a clean blending brush? Just swirl it around on this thing a few times and you have a clean blending brush. It’s easy to take with you and doesn’t take up a whole lot of space. It will last you a long time and all you have to do is rinse it out in soapy water every now and then to clean it.

My only issue with the sponge is this: the markup on these is ridiculous. The Sephora Switch is almost twenty dollars. The actual product probably doesn’t even cost a buck to make. You can go to the pet store and purchase a coarse aquarium filter sponge, cut it to size, stuff it into a random empty tin at home and it will be the exact same product. Similarly you can purchase a cheap bunch of stippling sponges intended for special effects makeup and probably spend no more than 1 or 2 dollars per sponge.

There is nothing special about this. It is just a coarse sponge that is used in a wide variety of situations, and I have to be honest and say I am bothered by the way it’s marketed. I will never deny any company to make a profit with good products, but whereas I can’t make my own buttery eye shadows and press them into a professional looking palette, this is something that even a child can purchase with their allowance and make without needing an adult at all. And they want us to shell out twenty bucks for it? This is just a gimmicky way to make a lot of profit.

If this is something you really want to try out for yourself, just make it and save yourself the money. I was already considering doing that before I got this for free, and it’s exactly what I expected. If the sponge wears out, I’m just going to my local pet store and replace it.

All in all I am pleased with all of these, even if the sponge irks me a bit on the marketing side of things. I have been experimenting with various looks and I’m very excited for the warm and pleasant spring days to arrive so I can start wearing bold, floral inspired looks! I’m also prepping for Pride Month with rainbow eye looks to dazzle everyone in sight!

Would you like to see more makeup reviews? My blog isn’t makeup focused but I enjoy reviewing products. I ordered the Red Cherry lashes I talked of before and most of my issues disappeared with them. If you want to hear my thoughts on Red Cherry lashes and their glue, let me know! 🙂



I need help with false lashes

The glue-on lashes make my eyes look fan-fucking-tastic. I’m able to apply them just fine (and will practice more in the future), but I run into two issues:

  1. The ever so famous “one of the corners came off” issue happens to me every single time, despite royally applying glue to the corners and them sticking for an hour or two just fine. Yes I allow the glue to dry before applying. I have no idea how to fix this.
    • Someone suggested cutting the lashes into 3 sections but that might look like crap too. Anyone have experience with this?
    • I’m very curious to try individual lashes, are they less likely to come off than full band lashes? Are they more difficult to take off?
    • It might be the lashes and the glue themselves. They are ‘cheap’ drugstore brand (Kruidvat) and obviously plastic-y, the glue might not be very good at all, but I’m not experienced enough to know. I’ve never tried more expensive or different brand lashes because I couldn’t justify investing when I’ve barely worn/planned on wearing falsies.
  2. I have a cylinder in one eye, which means my right eyeball is shaped different from my left. This in turn makes my eyelids uneven, and the lashes don’t apply the same way to each lid. Should I just accept that they will always look uneven or is there a fix for it? I’m fine with my eyes being different (sisters, not twins, applies to everything and not just eyebrows!) but if there’s a way to improve symmetry I’m all for it.

I want to order some nice Red Cherry lashes with the ‘Red Cherry She Gloo Clear’ in the next week with my birthday money – any thoughts or recommendations for other lashes/glues are most welcome. (Keep in mind I live in the Netherlands, so not all brands may be available to me.)

Spring fever

The weather is warming up, flowers are starting to bloom and the birds have begun to sing in the mornings again. It’s spring, and with it comes the relief from the dark, cold winter months.

My birthday is right around the corner, in just a few days, and as I did last year the urge to groom myself more than usual is strong. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve begun wearing makeup again. Not to please the eye of anyone else, but for the routine of applying it, the routine of taking it off, and feeling like a slightly different me and being excited to discover new things about myself.

I know makeup is often vilified as a tool to ‘deceive’, and for some it is a tool to hide who they really are out of shame. In my life, I consider makeup a method of accepting myself and building upon who I am, rather than to hide or change myself. In order to apply makeup, I need to accept my face the way it is. I have hooded eyes, and no amount of applying makeup the way everyone else does will make it look good on me because my eyes are shaped differently. By saying “Okay, what can I do with makeup that complements my hooded eyes instead of forcing techniques that don’t look nice to me?” I encourage myself to see my body positively. In order to stick to the routine of applying makeup, I need to truly believe that I’m doing this for myself, that I’m worth the gussying and that I deserve to feel good about myself. For the longest time I felt like I didn’t deserve to wear makeup because I didn’t think I was pretty enough. Now I feel I am.

Sometimes I see comments rolling by (particularly from men) who tell others “You don’t need to wear makeup, you actually look prettier without”. Well intended or not, you have to realize that nobody is dressing up and wearing makeup for you, and unless it is specifically asked for your opinion on a person’s makeup and appearance is very unwelcome. Maybe a few people are doing it for those reasons, but a majority do it for similar reasons to mine. It is a method of self-caring, like taking a shower and brushing your teeth. To create routine is to stabilize your mental well being. To groom yourself is a reflection of feeling worthy of taking care of yourself. Makeup is also a hobby, the act of applying it and discovering new ways to use it is just fun and makes you feel good.

At the end of the day, most of us look into the mirror with bare naked skin and consider ourselves attractive and pretty. Most of us don’t wear it to lie to others about our appearances. We don’t invest a lot of money into products just to hopefully appeal to someone else – this is for us.

The comments I’ve received recently are not “you look so much better with makeup on”. They are “You look so much happier and brighter wearing makeup” – because they understand I’m doing this for myself, not for them, and it makes me happy to do things for myself.

Flutter those lashes

Being broke is staring into your freezer and realizing that you only have enough food to last you until Friday. Maaaaybe Saturday. Then for Sunday you’re probably going to be drinking some broth made from a broth cube, or a bowl of oatmeal – hopefully with milk, otherwise with water. The move has taken a big chunk out of my weekly food allowance. (Remember, someone else is in legal charge of my finances, and I get an allowance every week to buy my groceries with. This administrator pays all my bills and deals with all the financial paperwork for me.) I keep running into small things that need acquiring or replacing, like light bulbs, hygiene products, detergents and so forth. Here and there I can’t find some things in the moving boxes and have to repurchase those too. Things that aren’t all that costly, but that can easily take a 1/4th bite out of my budget because it’s not that big. And then I still have to buy everything else with that.

I’m still eating every day, but the worry of feeling like I’ll have days where I won’t have a decent, balanced meal is driving my anxiety up, and I start to binge on the foods I do have. It’s like there’s a voice in the back of my mind that keeps whispering “EAT EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW, WHO KNOWS WHEN YOU’LL EAT NEXT?!” which is absurd. I’m not that poorly off, I have food, I can even binge (poor wallet), but the possibility is still there and that’s enough to set me off.

That’s making me feel physically very crappy. It means my bloodsugar is through the roof on plenty of days, and I’m having my period on top of it all so I’m perpetually tired as it is. Not a good combination. In an effort to cheer myself up and steer myself in the proper direction again, I unpacked my makeup supplies. I’m going to have to sort through a lot of it in the next couple of days and wash out all my brushes because I haven’t done that in a while, and there are lots of items that are no longer sanitary for use.

Plus almost all of my mascaras (3 tubes?) dried out because it’s been so long since I last wore makeup regularly. Damnit.

That’s what prompted a visit to the dollar store at the beginning of last week. Dollar store makeup gets a pretty bad rep, because it’s cheap and doesn’t wear long on most people. I guess it depends on how you apply it and how you go through your day. I bought a new mascara, new lipstick and ended up trying out a gel eyeliner (including brush) for the first time. It didn’t even cost me 3 euros all together (2.80 I think?). Throw in a pack of 25 makeup wipes for 65 cents and I’m set for a while.

I’ll be honest: this makeup is as good as any other drugstore brand of makeup and costs much less. It even doesn’t irritate my eyes as much. The lipstick combo with lip liner lasted all day long with some of my leftover setting powder applied on top, and the gel liner has made tight-lining a breeze (something I could never accomplish with kohl, felt tip liner or liquid!). The mascara isn’t as amazing as some of the more expensive brands, in the sense that it doesn’t create WOW lashes. But being a natural blonde, I’m just happy my lashes are visible with mascara to begin with!

I even napped with my makeup on and it wasn’t destroyed or even horribly smudged. I ate, I drank, and the lipstick didn’t need touching up. I also got a lot of compliments from the women at my group about how nice it looks on me.

Foundation is unfortunately off the table for a while. My psoriasis is flaring up in my face (eyelids and cheeks) and on my hands, and both creamy and powder foundation just bring out horrible flaky patches of dried skin that no amount of makeup can fix. I’d rather moisturize and go through the day with a flawed complexion and no eyeshadow on than put myself through that itchy hell. Here’s to hoping it wears off soon. I’ve been wanting to go full on out with my makeup again. It’s so relaxing and so much fun to dramatically change how I look every now and then. 🙂