Age, makeup, hair…

So I recently hit 29, which has coincided with my skin starting to show its first signs of aging. I’ve also been shifting towards a more grown-up lifestyle and image over the past few years, yet I’ve started working in increasingly low-key settings with a more casual dress code and funkier limits for hair and makeup. While I don’t much miss the slutty zany clubbing clothes of my skinnier and drunker youth, I do kind of miss some of the crazy makeup, and I admit to taking advantage of the casual setting by rocking bright turquoise shadow/liner from time to time!

I keep hearing (mainly from the Lauren Hutton brand) that women “of a certain age” should avoid shimmer-based makeup. I’m starting to notice that some shimmery makeups do indeed settle in my few fine lines and make me look older, but others still seem to flatter. I definitely decided a few years ago that glittery makeup was a no-go for me anymore, except for really extreme occasions, like New Year’s Eve or maybe my upcoming bachelorette party.

I now work in a very young-looking industry (video games) with loads of women who wear pigtails and black lipstick well into their 50s and are covered with visible tattoos and dye their hair crazy colors. And I feel like this skews my perceptions of age- and work-appropriate makeup and hair stylings in a “normal” setting, partly because I’m in a techie bubble (heavily influenced by Japanese trends too) and partly because those definitions themselves are shifting.

All this has got me wondering what everyone else thinks! (This was modified from an EDS post, but I wanted to blog it too to see if there’s any different feedback from that community.)

When are you too old to wear makeup with glitter in it? Is there a difference between glittery eye makeup, glittery lip stuff, glittery nail polish?

When are you too old to wear zany colored makeup, likecolored eyeliner? How about very bright lip color? Bold blusher?

What about false lashes? Crazy colors of nail polish (like very dark/black, bright blues, etc.)? Do any of those have age restrictions?

At what age do you stop wearing shimmery stuff? (We can talk skin age rather than actual years — like how lined does your face have to be before it’s time to lay off the shimmer? Is there a good litmus test for this?)

What about twee-seeming hair trends, like headbands orbraided styles or what have you? Any restrictions on type, color, material of fascinator, hats, etc. that have just gone over my head? What about hairstyles that are throwbacks to prior decades, like perfectly teased 60s flips, long straight middle-parted 70s Cher hair, or 80s side ponytails à la Flashdance? What’s your limit?

Anyway, I was just curious to solicit the opinions of other beauty nerds out there. Any input from posters of any style, skin type, age range, etc. is most welcome!

Bridal beauty

So last weekend, I volunteered myself as a wedding cake baker as well as a wedding makeup artist. This was for a very close friend’s lower-key wedding, but boy, it was still a surprisingly laborious labor of love! It really made me realize how being a makeup artist is totally different than being a savant regarding one’s own cosmetics applications. In the end, she was a beautiful blushing bride, but I think it had more to do with her naturally gorgeous features than with my touches!

I couldn’t get over how many of my pal’s features just behaved, well, differently than mine. When I was applying her eye shadow, the actual shape of her eyeballs kept throwing me off. Sounds weird, but it really did! And she required a much lighter touch than my usual makeup, which I knew she would, but it was still hard for me to gauge. (I was mostly using a Smashbox eye shadow trio in brown hues that I had gotten as a birthday freebie.)

I also couldn’t figure out how to make NARS Albatross work on her. I struggle with making it highlight my own skin properly, as I find it can cling weirdly and make me look overly gold. But magically, even though this stuff was super-pale gold, it somehow made her look darker and, like, inappropriately tanned and dark-circled! I can’t wrap my head around it, but we both decided it didn’t look right and just took it off. (Thank goodness I had thought to bring some Sephora makeup remover pads for easy on-the-fly decisions like this!)

Lastly, when I used my favorite shade of nude tokidoki lip stain on her, it just looked completely different, and the shape of her lips was so distinct from mine. The defined line that I tend to draw around my cupid’s bow looked awful on her, and I couldn’t figure out how to tell her to purse/pucker/flatten/pout her lips for an ideal application on top or bottom. We eventually got it working, but not for lack of effort!

All in all, I have vastly more respect for the challenges that makeup artists face now — it definitely is a trickier art than just working with the face you see in the mirror every day. Minute differences in people’s bone structure, fleshy bits, etc. really change the canvas, so to speak! It makes me eager to schedule my wedding trial run so I can put my mind at ease about how my makeup artist will handle my own face’s inevitable quirks… time to schedule that bachelorette shindig, I guess!

AVOID THIS MASCARA AT ALL COSTS

Back when I did my Great Mascara Review earlier this year, I fell in love with three top seeds: Clinique Lash Power, Too Faced Lash Injection Pinpoint, and the non-waterproof but still excellent DiorShow. If I learned *anything* from testing out that many different mascaras, it’s that you should stick with what works!

But lately Wedding Mode has kicked in, which means I’ve been trying out all sorts of makeup products I’d normally never touch in order to find the best long-wearing formulations. So when I ran out of Lash Power and saw that Dior apparently had a new, awesome, better-than-ever waterproof formulation called Black Out, I opted to give it a try instead of restocking my Holy Grail of Clinique.

This Black Out mascara, however, is BULLSHIT. (Please pardon my French, but Dior friggin’ deserved it.) It is the WORST formulation I have EVER tried on. It makes lashes stick together and look super clumpy/spidery, it doesn’t really lengthen or volumize, it smears and rubs off very easily, it drips when WATER hits it, and I couldn’t get it to come off with a cocktail of FOUR different makeup removers. (And I broke a capillary in the process trying to rub it off.)

Needless to say, I went straight back to Sephora and exchanged it for a fresh tube of Lash Power (and put the $10 I saved towards a bottle of bliss lid + lash remover — maybe I can learn to love my Too Faced more for longer-wearing events if I can take it off properly without breaking out.)

In conclusion, screw you, Christian Dior! You get no stars and no more of my dollars.

The Inevitable Ed Hardy Theorem

I mean, this had to happen eventually, right? My proposed theorem is something along these lines: whenever a douchey new trend/designer comes out, there must inevitably be douches who actually wear/buy their merchandise, thus exposing it to more douches and making it more popular. Someone must inevitably then swoop in and create a douchey/stinky perfume line, which will inevitably eventually expand into a line of douchey cosmetics, most likely with douchey (aka “zany”) packaging.

Basically, I’m a mathematical genius, Ed Hardy sucks, my coworker who wears this perfume makes me gag when it still smells “fresh”, and at least the mirror is big. Right?

100% Pure Eye Shadow Palette — a disappointment

So, dear beauty freaks, I have kept you waiting for a very long time.  Yes, I finally got around to ordering another 100% Pure product — namely, their eye shadow palette.  Since the item is often out of stock on their QVC Store, I jumped when I saw it listed at Chocolate Lotus.

I first purchased the Cocoa palette, reasoning that plummy shades don’t usually flatter my already-pink-toned skin, especially if they had a lot of red to them — and these certainly seemed to, if my Web browser’s color specs weren’t deceiving me. So I settled on cocoa, praying it wouldn’t be full of terra cotta shades.

But once the item arrived, I could tell with one glance that only one of the six shades would look non-hideous with my coloring. Thankfully, Chocolate Lotus’s Kim is AWESOME, and she let me exchange the item free of charge. So I really wanted to like this item even more!

Sadly, though, the plum palette is not my thing either. I have a slightly higher percentage of shades that work on me — I’m going to ballpark it at 2.5 of the 6 (don’t ask) — but the wonky rating is rendered moot by the shadows’ textures. Though each pan is a bit different, almost all of them are very hard, and almost gummy — no powder sticks to my brushes, and the only way I can get any pigment onto my lids is to really scrape it off with my fingers and rub it in. (Which seems like I’m further compacting/oiling up the pans, so I’m not keen on this method.)

Another minor complaint is that the packaging is blah at best. I’m glad there’s a nice big mirror, but there’s nothing to keep the wallet closed, and the well for applicators isn’t deep enough for decent tools. All in all, I think most makeup aficionadas would agree that these are just not a superior product. 100% Pure has some fabulous ideas, for sure, but they don’t always translate when it comes to usability. (Ahem, body butter and concealer…)

I’m still keen on the line, but I won’t be taking any more pricey chances on maybe items, like I did with this $30 palette. It’s a real shame that Bath and Body Works won’t be carrying 100% Pure in more of their stores, because I’m sure I’m not the only one who would like to be able to try before I buy! There are so many other newish items I’m dying to sample, like the brow powder, cream eyeliner, and tinted moisturizer. But until there’s a better way to test them out, I’m afraid I’m holding off for now.

It’s not just the canvas

I recently became interested in cream and gel eyeliner formulas, after reading some EDS raves about how long-lasting and smudge-proof MAC Fluidline is. And I wound up doing a couple of MUA swaps in which I inherited a MAC Fluidline pot and a Smashbox Cream Eyeliner, so suddenly I had a cheap and easy way to test these babies out. But I was TERRIBLE at applying them! I just couldn’t figure out how to make them go on nicely, even though I consider myself a relatively savvy makeup user.

So I did a little research. The Smashbox description of my newly-received swap item recommended using their #21 Arced Liner Brush, so I checked out that product on their site.

I’d actually never seen a bent brush like this — probably because I’ve never used cream/gel eyeliner before. I picked up a slightly cheaper (but still very high-quality and super-soft) Sephora version, their Professional Platinum Angled Eyeliner Brush #23. It also looks like you can get Bare Escentuals or Benefit versions for cheaper, but I don’t trust those brushes as much as I trust Sephora’s Professional line. (I strongly prefer dense, synthetic brushes that never shed a hair, and Too Faced and Sephora are my go-to brush companies.)

This cracks me up, because I should’ve known the right brush would make all the difference. I could never master those artfully deep-set slightly-smoky triangles you can do on your eyelid, until I got my Too Faced Angled Eye Shadow Brush. And applying mineral powder concealer to blemishes became infinitely easier with my Sephora Professional Concealer Brush #46 and my Everyday Minerals Oval Concealer brush (I alternate them so they have time to dry between applications). I may be a makeup savant, but I’m only beginning to call myself a tool savant. Once I can fully master an eyelash curler without getting that horrible crimp line, I’ll be ready for my certificate.

I’m just loving how my new eyeliners look. They create great definition, without disappearing like a normal eyeliner pencil, and without creating as sharp a line as a liquid liner. (They’re much more forgiving during the application process than liquid liners, too.) I find it a bit more awkward to do my left eye than my right, but I manage okay — the bent shaft of the brush really makes it a lot easier. Now, if only they could make ALL beauty tools so ergonomic — I might never burn myself with my straightening iron again!

Dr. Hauschka Pure Care Cover Stick vs. Cover Stick Puncto

Dr. Hauschka recently released the new Pure Care Cover Stick in the US, but I only realized today that it’s meant as a replacement for their old Cover Stick Puncto. Had I realized this, I probably wouldn’t have purchased it — the old Puncto went bad on me surprisingly quickly, and the color was never quite right. (I’m much too pale for an 02, but just a shade too dark for an 01.)

I bought the Pure Care in 01 to try it out and see if it’s any better with my coloring than the Puncto was, but they look like they’re exactly the same. And they feel the same. And they smell the same. The only real difference seems to be the packaging — which is good, really, as it *does* expose the product to less oxygen, so theoretically it might protect it better from going bad.

Either way, I was pleased to learn today that my local Whole Foods allows you to return any cosmetics or skincare product you try and don’t like, as long as you keep the receipt. This actually really surprises me, but I’m thrilled — especially since they foolishly don’t have testers for many of their products. So I’ll be returning this, and thus returning to my Great Concealer Search.