Sunday, February 17, 2019

VIDEO: No Buy Tips That Don't Work For Me

There are dozens of no buys tips flitting about the internet, and of course, some of them just won't work for you. Here are three no buy tips that don't help me. Let me know how your no buys and low buys are going in the comments!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

No Buy 2019: One Month Update

I don't think the first month or two of a year-long challenge is all that interesting, since so little time has passed and you've likely faced few challenges. However, I've gotten a lot of questions about how my No Buy 2019 challenge is going. And since this seems to be the Year of the No Buy for many beauty bloggers and YouTubers, it's as good a time as any to update you all.

What did I want?

I jotted down three wants in my bullet journal: the new Fenty concealer, the new Laura Mercier foundation, and the Rituel de Fille range. Helpful comments from Instagram followers and fellow Redditors knocked the purportedly drying Fenty concealer off of my list. I'm still very interested in the Laura Mercier foundation, especially with all of the positive reviews coming out, so I might use a gift card to purchase it. This being me, though, I might wait until there's a sale on it to sweeten the deal. I always prefer to buy things on sale! And while most of Ritual de Fille's cream products purportedly dry out and become unusable quickly, I've been sent tons of comments that state the highlighters are an exception, especially the Alchemist Highlighter Intensifier. I'm still waffling on this highlighter, so I'll wait a while longer and see if it's worth a gift card.

By not purchasing these products I wanted, I saved $106 this month. I'm hoping that "total saved" number will grow as the year goes on!

What did I buy?

The Milk Makeup Face Gloss has been on my Sephora "loves" list for quite a while, but I just couldn't bring myself to pay $20 for such a tiny tube. When they put it on sale for $10, however, I snatched it up. After taxes, it was $10.80; I used a $25 gift card I received for Christmas to cover the charges. (I pay for a yearly Flash Shipping subscription, so there were no shipping fees.) I plan on using the rest of the gift card to buy a mini size of the Benefit Gimme Brow, but I'm holding off until Sephora puts up some point perks and samples that interest me.

As for staples, I repurchased my day cream, the Skin Laundry Daily Moisturizer SPF35. There's still a bit left in my current bottle, but it's only a few uses and it goes out of stock too frequently for me to risk it in the dead of winter.

How am I feeling?

Honestly, thus far, this hasn't been a struggle. I have a lot of willpower (aka, I'm stubborn as a mule), and when I tell myself I'm not going to do something, there's a good chance I'm going to stick to that. Life has also played its part: I'm often too busy with work to pay attention to product launches, and the water in our building randomly shuts off at least once a month, which makes me hesitant to wear makeup sometimes. Furthermore, I've been putting the money toward my other goals. I'm one payment away from killing a student loan, and holy shit, the YES YES YES! feeling I'm getting is more powerful than the need for lipstick.

That said, I'm not getting cocky. I know it's only the first month in what is shaping up to be a stressful quarter. The desire to stress shop could hit me like a truck. Also, I'm turning 31 in April, and my birthday has traditionally given me an excuse to buy a lot of stuff I don't need. I'm trying to focus on experiences for my birthday this year, especially since, by some strange stroke of luck, I'll be off work on the Friday before and Monday after my birthday.

Anything else?

Something that keeps popping up on Reddit and Instagram is that many people have already caved and broken their year-long no buy. There's a lot of guilt and shame on both sides, with the people who messed up self-flagellating themselves for making a mistake and their readers/viewers questioning how they could be so weak as to fail in less than a month. Instead of doing that, I want to stress that, while year-long no buys are very popular this year, not everybody is ready for a no buy this long.

Trust me, I know; there was a time when I spent entire paychecks on makeup I barely used. Willpower or no, telling myself I couldn't buy anything for a year wouldn't have worked back then. Instead, I started with easier challenges, like a beauty budget. Change doesn't happen overnight, my friends, and most of us need to break bad habits carefully and mindfully.

If you're struggling with a year-long no buy, I have a few less intense options that might work better for you:
  • Try a monthly or seasonal no buy. See Auxiliary Beauty for an example of this strategy.
  • Instead of challenging yourself to stop spending money, challenge yourself to recreate certain looks or make a dent in a few of the products you already own. I've written more about suggestions like this here.
  • Create a budget. Budgeting videos are huge on YouTube right now if you need some inspiration! The best thing about budgeting, honestly, is that it helps you figure out your priorities, e.g., "Wow, I spend 10% of my income on makeup and only 1% on travel, but I always say I want to travel more."
  • If you struggle with wanting to spend your disposable income the moment it hits your account, set up an automatic transfer: every paycheck, X amount goes in to your savings, a retirement fund, etc. instead of sitting in your checking. (This works best if you have consistent paychecks.)

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Duping that Perricone MD "No Makeup" Look

A no buy tip I repeat often, in part because it works so well for me, is "focus on the look, not the products." This tip saved me from a $100+ purchase of Perricone MD products, which always tempted me because I love that "no makeup makeup" look and easy-to-apply makeup. By looking at the promotional images for the range, I reminded myself that the actual look they create is easily duped with stuff I already own.

Noticing the laughably tiny shade range for Perricone MD's No Foundation Foundation and No Concealer Concealer was already a turn-off, but it's also easy to see that these are not especially unique products. A tinted moisturizer with SPF and a serum-textured concealer? If you have a decent amount of makeup, you probably already own those. I replaced Perricone's foundation with my Philosophy Renewed Hope in a Jar Skin Tint, a favorite of mine, and lightened up by undereye circles with the Sephora Bright Future Gel Serum Concealer. I think that Sephora concealer is "meh," to be honest, because it creases constantly and fades after a few hours. Still, it gets the job done.

If you dislike tinted moisturizers, you could probably get the same effect by applying a similar sheer, skin-like concealer to blemishes and discoloration, then topping it with a bit of powder. You could also try sheering out your favorite medium coverage liquid foundation with a bit of moisturizer.

The easiest products to dupe were definitely the cheek products. The blush was at the top of my "wants" list until I realized that I already own a product that's the same damn color, the Becca Beach Tint in Watermelon. As for the highlighter, my original inclination was to use some MAC Strobe Cream. I decided to go with something even more natural and barely-there, so I applied a few dots of YSL Touche Eclat to my cheekbones. Normally, I wouldn't use this as a highlighter on its own, but I wanted to look like I wasn't wearing makeup, so...there you go.

Here's where things get a bit hairy: Perricone MD doesn't have a "No Brow Pencil Brow Pencil," or what the fuck ever they'd call it, available. And while a lot of makeup artists have created amazing natural looks that I'd love to duplicate, I've noticed that they pretty much always choose models with fantastic eyebrows. I, however, have terrible eyebrows. I tried to lighten them up just barely using a bit of Anastasia Brow Wiz in the back half of my brows, avoiding fuller front portions, but it still looks a little drawn on. Hey, I never claimed to be a makeup artist. At least I have eyebrows now!

As for they eye makeup, the replacement for the Perricone MD mascara was clear: Glossier Lash Slick. Used sparingly and applied with a light hand, it gives you that separated "I just got a lash tint" look I often love. To mimic the look of the No Eyeshadow Eyeshadow, I used some Catrice Prime and Fine, since it's a translucent beige color that camouflages the discoloration on my eyelids. I had no interest in the Perricone eyeshadow, to be honest, but a dupe is a dupe.

Finally, it was time to replicate the lipstick. The Perricone MD lipstick is a glossy, sheer, slightly warm pink--pretty, but easy to dupe. I decided to replicate it by dabbing a small amount of Kosås Rosewater lipstick on to my lips, then topping that with some Glossier Balm Dot Com. Kosås says Rosewater is a "cooler" pink, but I find that it reads like more of a watermelon color on my lips.

So there we have it: my attempt to dupe the Perricone MD "No Makeup Makeup" look. I don't think I was entirely successful, thanks to those eyebrows, but it did save me some money. Hurrah! No Buy 2019 is still on track.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

REVIEW: Kosås Tinted Face Oil

We're all prone to marketing pushes, and I'm no exception. When Kosås started promoting their products via Instagram ads, and several accounts I follow began posting about the Tinted Face Oil, I started nosing around for reviews and photographs. Despite the hype kicked up by that marketing push, however, there's still relatively few in-depth reviews of the Kosås brand. Wanting to fill that gap, slash, totally suckered in by slick advertising and products that seem right up my alley, I purchased both the Tinted Face Oil and a Weightless Lip Color on Black Friday.

Natural light on top, ring light on bottom. From left to right: Kosås Tinted Face Oil in 02, MAC Face & Body in C1, NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly, Sephora Bright Future Concealer in Fondant.

I purchased the Tinted Face Oil in shade 02, since it's the lightest shade with yellow undertones. As these swatches demonstrate, 02 is roughly NC15 on a MAC scale. It works fine for me when I'm self-tanning my neck, which, frankly, is something I've been doing regularly for the past six months or so because I'm tired of trying to match the single whitest part of my body. Since this is not a full coverage base and it has a skin-like finish, I'd guess it would work for anyone in the NC10 - 20 range. There are only 10 shades in the entire range, but there's a solid gradient, and Tone 10 is quite dark.

The texture of this product is different from just about any other foundation I've tried, and I've tried dozens. My Instagram followers bombarded me with two questions over and over--"How does it compare to the original Glossier Skin Tint?" and "How does it compare to MAC Face & Body?"--and I'm here to tell you that it's kind of like those two products had a super-runny baby. The texture is extremely thin and watery; it starts running down your hand immediately after you squeeze it out of the thin, plastic nozzle. A little goes a long way: a dime sized amount was enough for my entire face, and it has an incredibly powdery, silicone-ish feel to it that makes it slide across the skin in seconds.

Initially, I wanted to call the Tinted Face Oil a light coverage base. However, looking at these photos, I can see why the brand would call it medium coverage. This has the same sort of blurring effect that the original Glossier Skin Tint had, making it look like it provides more coverage than it technically does in photographs. In both real life and photographs, redness and patches of uneven color are evened out; blemishes are softened, but not completely covered; freckles are still visible. The difference is that the tint has a "soft focus" effect in pictures and a "skin like" effect in real life.

You can see the oil settling in to the fine lines around my lips. I took this photo after I'd already patted the product out of these lines three times. By the way, I hope you all appreciate the fact that 30-year-old me is giving you these sexy shots of my fine lines, youth-obsessed culture be damned.

The problem with this blown-out effect, of course, is that it's pretty damn hard to take macro shots. While this looks perfect and natural in pictures, and from about a foot away from my face, get a little closer and you'll see that this clings to dry patches. Even more annoyingly, it doesn't stay put: I had to pull this tint out of my fine lines at least four times, and it would transfer on to my fingers or fabric if I touched it for hours after application.

In terms of wear, the Kosås Tinted Face Oil is "meh," and I say that as somebody with very dry skin. My nose was oily in a few hours, which is no surprise, but you can also see a bit of shine and wear on my forehead and chin at both the 4 hour and 10 hour marks. I also noticed that my skin looked even dryer and flakier after several hours of wear. And each time I wore this product, I would notice new, painful, under-the-skin pimples in odd places at the end of the night, suggesting that something in the formula broke me out. Since it's hard to see in these time lapse photos, here are some super-sexy macro shots:

That picture on the left gives new meaning to "frosted flakes."

When it comes to rating the Tinted Face Oil, there's part of me that wants to give it three stars. I'm thrilled to see the darker shades at the end of the range, the actual texture of this product is beautiful, and it looks fantastic in photographs. But even if I set my personal acne triggers aside, I have to think about how useful this will be to most people. It doesn't stay put, even on dry skin, and it emphasizes both dry and oily patches. I have to admit to myself that I lean toward a 3 out of 5 because I so desperately wanted this to be a new favorite for me. That desire? That's not worth an extra star.

Rating: 2 out of 5
Kosås products are available on their website.

Friday, January 25, 2019

Lipstick Diaries, Round Four: Besame Tango Red and Glossier Cake

I have enough red lipstick to coat my entire body a million times over, but damn if I didn't finally buy Besame Tango Red in a snap during Black Friday 2018. While this product's description and swatch photos I'd seen made me think this wouldn't be my most flattering red, I still wanted it. And I can now confirm that yeah, other Besame reds are much better suited to my coloring, but this is still a gorgeous shade. Tango Red seems very similar to Carmine in the tube, but on my lips, it reads more pink and less orange, and it has a more muted quality to it. It's a relatively unique shade among my slew of reds. I agree with Besame: this would be truly stunning on people with olive undertones or a deeper skintone.

Oh, and yes, I bought a new tube of Glossier Cake to test out the Generation G lipstick's freaking third formulation in the last five years. I've gotta say, I agree with most of the reviews that have come in: the new formula builds better, but is more drying and accentuates the lines in my lips like woah. Just look at how parched my mouth looks in this photo, and I'd JUST applied the lipstick fifteen minutes before! I like the shade and the sheerness, but the new formula isn't comfortable in the slightest and definitely isn't worth the money.