Thursday, June 30, 2011

Gadget Jones Diary: IT'S NOT YOU, IT'S BAD DESIGN


(This fabulous cartoon is nicked somewhere else)
Author's Note:  This post is male friendly.


Hello and welcome to Gadget Jones Diary- an extension to Beauty and the Bullshit that talks about anything gadget for power women- be it  blenders, cellphones, cameras, vacuum cleaner to phone apps – I have an opinion.    And if I don’t, my guest bloggers do (you will meet them soon:-)

You might raise an eyebrow and ask what business I have as a beauty blogger reviewing these gadget thingies. 

Well, being a female, I am always right.  
And because I am as well a mechanical engineer, I can tell you why things are wrong.  So- yeah.

Let me start off by introducing you to the concept of ergonomics.  You might have heard of the term called “user interface”which is kind of the same.

The concept is easy- if it is easy to use, almost instinctive that is- then the design takes into consideration human traits, habits, characteristics - the machine, we say adapts to the man.  An example would be Apple products.  The manual is hardly a page (if there even is a manual at all) and you follow your instincts to work the machine.

On the other hand, if even after you have read the 200 page manual and it stil leaves you clueless,  if it forces you to change your natural movements, thinking process to work the machine, then the engineers  have failed on the ergonomic front.




This is the reason why I am at odds with this SEO shit.  The concept is to design your content so machine can find you easily and can have many followers and get famous and rich quick.   That means nice graphics are deprioritized as machines can't appreciate them.  And titles are thought of for machines not for beauty of semantics.   
It's bullshit.
In redesigning the new blog which you have yet to see (as my webmaster has gone AWOL last minute- another story there), my beautiful graphics are rejected in favor of machine readability.

And so i say a big "f*ck you" to machine readability.  No matter how much machines can trace me, it is still people who will read, appreciate and recommend this blog. (Phew, I am still pissed off, so am venting sorry....)

So the next time a gadget makes you feel idiotic- it's not you- it's perhaps bad design.




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The new blog design is not yet ready but I am posting these new topics nonetheless as promised.  It will get arranged soon.  Thanks for bearing with me.

4th of July Party Nails!

Big. Blue. Sparkles.



Fancy, huh?


Yay!

Kinda loving it



I used the Savvy as a base, then two coats of the Sinful glittery blue!



The shades


I just bought this topcoat because my friend recommended it,

and it seriously dried my nails in two minutes.




You guys like them!? I wanted to do a fun/crazy party nail for 4th of July weekend! I've been favoring wild nails lately, so I figured this glittery blue was perfect for the holiday.


I bought all of these polishes at Target on a whim (I know, surprise surprise, right?) I'm doing a few fun things for the long weekend - going to the vineyards for wine tastings, relaxing at the pool and going to a BBQ. I'm really happy with the way they came out, they remind me of little fireworks!


Hope everyone has a great weekend!!



Eye Makeup Remover FAILURE

NO.



Goodbye, FOREVER


This Almay makeup remover seriously BURNED my eyes so badly! I usually use Neutrogena makeup remover, but this one was closer so I thought...oh, well all makeup removers are probably the same so what the hell, right? WRONG.


I used this to remove my mascara and shadow, and was unpleasantly surprised by an awful stinging in my eyes. I ended up having to flush my eyes out with water, but even then they were beat red!! I don't have super sensitive eyes usually, but this one really got to me. I do hate writing negative reviews, but this remover just KILLED my eyes. I used it once and there it is in the trash can haha.


Guess i'll still to Neutrogena...


What makeup remover do you guys like?







Do You SMOKE?

Your eyes, that is. SMOKEY eye (I know, HA - HA right?)

I'm looking for eye shadows to create the perfect smokey eye look. I've used many different shadows previously to achieve this look, but I'm looking for the BEST. So I have to ask...

What are your weapons for the "perfect" smokey eye? I know you guys have some secrets, so share them with us!!


Beauty At An Angle


I never pre-write posts, but this one needed such careful attention that I didn’t just want to gush and press publish without thinking through exactly how to say what I want to say.
Ok, so this morning, on my way to a early meeting, I took a different train. When I reached London Bridge I had to change trains and ended up having to wait while someone in a wheelchair was given a ramp by the guards to get on the train. The man in the wheelchair – very young, maybe early twenties – was one of the most physically disabled people I’ve ever seen. He was excruciatingly twisted even in the chair and permanently poised in a position where his body fell foward; almost doubling him up. His neck sent his head slightly back, exacerbating the forward position. I’m afraid to say that I burst into (quiet) tears.
Not only because of his disability, but more because he was one of the most exquisitely dressed and presented men I’ve seen in a long, long while. He wore an immaculate, and obviously specially made, pin stripe suit, his hair was perfectly groomed with a little bit of gel to give it some fashion spikes. He was completely and perfectly cleanly shaven and had skin to die for. In another life, he’d probably be editor of GQ.
I just found the effort it must have taken to even get into that suit, never mind get into work in a wheelchair, independently, and looking so dapper, beyond moving. In fact, while I didn’t look past the disability as such, I found myself admiring the things I’m programmed to look at after years in beauty – skin, hair, clothes – that must have taken such extreme effort and care. I was full of awe that despite how hard it all must have been, he’d bothered. He was clearly on his way to work and was tapping out texts one handed on his mobile phone, so while I was discretely dabbing my eyes he was probably off to trade millions in the city. I don’t know. I hope so. I just felt a kind of overwhelming pride in him I suppose, without knowing him at all and thought what an amazing ambassador for people with severe disabilities he is.
It’s really hard to write this without sounding patronising or overly sentimental; it isn’t meant to be either but there was something about him that touched me and bowled me over at the same time. The experience gave me a salutary reminder that people do notice and appreciate great presentation and pride in appearance, and that beauty really does come in all formats.

Ecotools Kabuki

A short very short review: Ecotools retracktable kabuki is so soft, dence and just perfect. Buy it :D In fact  I bought this from Finland but I noticed that iHerb sells it now too, so I ordered my second kabuki and maybe just "a few" other brushes too ;) I have tested SO MANY kabukis (Inglot, MAC, EDM etc) before but I find this one best.

Hyvin lyhyt arvio: Ecotoolsin kabuki on erittäin pehmoinen, sopivan tiivis ja kertakiakkiaan vain ihan täydellinen. Suosittelen :D Ostin tämän Suomesta mutta nyt huomasin, että iHerb myy sitä myös. Tuli sitten tilattua toinen jemmaan (ja ihan pari muutakin Ecotoolsia samalla ;). Olen tosiaan testannut todella monta kabukia vuosien mittaan ja tämä on minusta paras. Olen nyt käyttänyt tätä kolmisen kuukautta, unohdin vain postata aiemmin. *huoh*  




have you tested this? Did you like it?

Davines SU Tan Maximiser


I'm not much of a fan of Davines hair care, which is unfortunate as that's what they're best known for, but I think it is possibly that I just haven't found the right products for me. However, I've been using Davines SU Tan Maximiser and it's just a joy! I like tan maximising creams anyway, but if there is one criticsm, it would be that they are generally too thin in consistency. This one from Davines is nice and thick but not at all cloying; it's got a beautifully silky texture and does a great job at moisturising too. Nice one. 

I've found it online for £15.99 but it is quite tricky to track down. Let Google be your friend on this one! 

The Bullshit On Brushes


Author warning: This post is for people who apply make up. Macho male readers may skip this one.



If you want to apply make up well, whether you are the future Pat McGrath or a girl who just wants to be pretty - you need proper tools.

I strongly advise that before you go gaga over Viva Glam287 or buy the NEW L’Oreal revolutionary 25 patent pending crap- first find yourself a good set of make up brushes. Brushes are an investment you will never regret which I cannot say for the first two.

And speaking of brushes, I am sure all of you have your suspicions. And I am here to confirm it.
Can you really imagine MAC to have its own brush factory or Shu Uemura to have its own curlash making machine?

They don’t. In fact, no cosmetic company does.

We all source from brush manufacturers, a majority of them are from the Far East. These suppliers offer no exclusivity, except of course that they will not stamp the MAC brand to another brush customer.
Bear this in mind- cosmetic brands are in the business of beauty, of image, of bullshit. That means, we have offices- not factories. (I will cover this in detail in a future post: Do you REALLY know where your cosmetics came from?)

And so, when you look for make up brushes- though an expensive brand like MAC might reassure you of good quality, it is possible to get the same quality from a less expensive source.

If you are ready to be a savvier brush shopper, you only need to train yourself to evaluate brushes the way brand product managers/purchasers do.

Our process goes like this-
  1. Suppliers are screened by our purchasing/audit managers.  They sometimes go to China to check first that the company is legit and are really capable of supplying 2million pcs a year.  Since we do not name our suppliers, what ever they do to get those natural hair is something we do not need to know- not that I am suggesting...
  2. We give suppliers a brief, how much, what for, the “look” we are going for, the level of quality we expect and so on.
  3. We get submissions from approved suppliers
  4. Our packaging managers evaluate the brushes for quality
  5. And our product managers evaluate it for pleasure of handling, user experience and image presentation
Fortunately for you, you do not need to go to China. On the other hand, you do not get to keep and use the brushes for months to test before you can decide to buy it.

Here are my general tips if you want to save money :-
  1. AVOID MAKE UP BRANDED BRUSHES. They have mark ups so high that warrants them a place in purgatory. Buy generic or a brush brand instead.
  2.  TRY TO AVOID MAKEUP WITH APPLICATORS. High end brands include applicators on eyeshadows, blushes. Not only are these awkward because of their short handle, they add to the cost of packaging that could have been allocated to the budget of a better texture.
    If you have a choice, opt for products with no applicators And use your own set of brushes instead.
  3. LEARN TO EVALUATE BRUSH QUALITY. Learn the basics of brush quality and evaluate like a real packaging/product pro.
  4. BUY BY THE SET. Once you have found good quality brushes, it is much cheaper to buy by the set rather than by piece.
  5. BUY FROM BEAUTY PROFESSIONAL STORES. There is bound to be one in your city where the salon owners go. Search them and be amazed at all the savings you can make with all your beauty products. Don’t know where they are? Let Google be your friend.
  6. CHECK SUPPLIER FAIRS. If you have the opportunity to go to cosmetic fairs, it is a good venue to buy supplies on the last day of the fair as supplies will sell them all for cheap so as not to bring them back home.

HOW TO EVALUATE BRUSH QUALITY LIKE A PRO
I will assume here that you already know which brush is which.
If you don’t, hmmm... will have to provide you the links for laters.  Or fellow bloggers, I would be happy if you can  link up and promote your instructional blogs on brushes here.

Here goes:
There are 3 parts to a brush- the hair, the ferrule which holds the hair to the handle and the handle.

HAIR – most important determinant of quality.
It is the type of hair that determines the usage of the brush and also decides on the brush quality.
  • Ask your vendor what hair is used and check that it is appropriate for intended usage. 
    Sable is best for small brushes because of their snap and resilience in which there are different grades and which price vary quite a lot - there are European (better) and Chinese varieties and the best of which is the kolinsky sable from tail of male weasel (i am so not making this up!) and  because of the high price of the Kolinsky sable, it might be worth checking your art supply store for smaller eyeshadow brushes. Goat hair is favored for big face brushes especially the cashmere goat which are extra soft. Squirrel and badger are also good choices.  Remember that they come in different grades so best is to test.  Camel hair (which is not made from Camel but pony etc.) not expensive has its virtues though i wouldn't say they would be the best for eye brushes.
    There are synthetic hairs that are used to mimic natural hair - and I wouldn't say no to them- they are cheaper and can be good - again, you have to test.  (Being an engineer- i believe in the virtues of plastic).
    And then synthetic/mix synthetic is inevitable for emulsion brushes (foundation, concealer, lip) as natural hair tends to sop up the emulsion. (Taklon and Nylon are your usual polymers here)
  • As hair have different grades and can thus differ a lot in quality, test that hair is comfortable when used on skin. Though soft may be nice for face brushes, you will need different aspects of quality for foundation, eye brushes..
FERRULE- check that they hold the hair well by slightly tugging the hair and by brushing on a clean surface.
  • Material: Brass is strongest, nickel and corrosion-resistant steel are also good. Aluminum ferrules  are cheaper but are weaker .
  • Construction: seamless ferrules are better  (no welds, joint- it is one continuous piece).  Ferrules with seams tend to pull apart and allow paint, solvents, and water to accumulate, causing loosening or damage to the handle. 
  • Finish : Though sometimes left plain or with a clear or gold colored coating, copper and brass ferrules are usually nickel-plated for appearance and corrosion resistance
HANDLE – wood or plastic.
  • Feel Get the feel by mimicking application on face/eyes. Length, hardness and diameter should feel right,  provide the right amount of comfort and control for eye precision application or light face brushing. 
  • Finish The finish is up to your taste but remember, the fancier, the more expensive for no increase in quality or performance.   But brushes have not only be functional but as well pretty and inspiring, innit?

WILL ART BRUSHES PASS FOR COSMETIC BRUSHES?

In principle, art brushes can do the job. In fact, the best and original cosmetic brushes are made by art brush manufacturers (Leonard Pinceaux France) and they will have lower price mark ups than cosmetic brushes. The downside is
  • handles might be too long/thick for makeup application
  • there are different grades of hair even if it is the same animal source.  So  you have to be vigilant and test that the hair are comfortable enough for your skin
So there you go. My first post in Beauty and the bullshit where i encouraged you to buy.
Wasn’t so bad innit? (rhetorical question i ask myself).


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NB  
I have posted this in advance to buy time for my webmaster.  
I have more articles being uploaded as we speak to the new site.  I am quite annoyed for this delay but rest assured that new site or not, you will see all the articles today.  
Thank you for your patience!




STRANGEBEAUTIFUL Strikes Again


I really do like these anti-colour nail shades from STRANGEBEAUTIFUL that twist up hues into an interesting and edgy palette. The forthcoming collection, Volume V Library of Color, is a little different in coverage than previous collections giving a semi-opaque coating. The shades take inspiration from the Hudson River estuary and in particular, the 19th century brick factory that dominates the landscape. The boxed set of 10 colours launch into Liberty in August, £55.

Have a great weekend!

I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!  I'm taking off for a few days so see you all soon!



Image courtesy of www.mentalfloss.com


Thierry Mugler The Taste of Fragrance Limited Editions

This morning I attended the launch event of the Thierry Mugler limited editions available later in the year. Mugler fragrances are owned by Clarins. I have to hand it to the Clarins PR because she knows I loathe Angel. Absolutely do not like it, and also knows that I am not a big foodie fragrance fan, so they kind of know up front what is coming here and yet still wanted me to experience the scents. That's quite brave!

So, here we go, a run-down of the event and the fragrances. I'll start with breakfast:
How perfect is that plate of food?! 


Before introducing us to the fragrances, the new face of Thierry Mugler was revealed as Eva Mendes. 




So, the scents. Basically, they've taken all the favourites and given them a gourmande twist - so they smell as they do and then some. The whole thing about Angel is that it is a power-packed chocolately scent, very heavy and very sweet, so the addition to that means you will either love it more or hate it more. Olfactory Artistic Director (don't..), Pierre Aulas has introduced the concept of the 'taste of fragrance'. Got to admit, I didn't quite get it, but it's something to do with the way the fragrances are constructed: usually a fragrance has all its ingredients blended at once but for these LEs the concentrate and the 'taste enhancer' were matured in separate vats and brought together only at the very end. I think maybe the taste enhancer aspect is to do with the food scents used but either way I'm struggling to get my head around that one. 

Pierre Aulas
Angel has had a kick of bitter chocolate added to the already heady patchouli, caramel and vanilla mix. It is stunningly over the top. Alien, already drenched in jasmine and amber has had an accord of salty caramel added which makes it give you that same feeling as when you know you've had too much pudding, but still say yes to another helping knowing full well you will regret it for the rest of the day. Womanity, actually wasn't too bad, because its taste enhancer is fig chutney which is just green enough to knock the sweetness back a bit. The mens fragrance, A*Men, is already laden with patchouli, vanilla and coffee so the addition of chilli pepper is just bringing a little spice to the party. So, smelling the raw ingredient additions on the paper testers - caramel, patchouli, chilli peppers and chutney, while eating candy floss, chilli truffles and sweet figs was probably the once of the most magnificiently candied experience I've ever had. It gave me a headache and the most frantic sugar-rush of my life.


To get us in the foodie mood, we were offered blue candy floss and mini toffee apples.

A plate of ingredients...

More chocolate!

Testers: first we smelled the original and then the Gourmande version
All of them are exactly the sort of scents I never want to smell again in my life.. the Mugler fragrances really do divide opinion.. they're too sweet, too strong and too much for me. In the new ad campaign, Eva Mendes is seen alone in a train carriage. I'm convinced she managed to clear the carriage by dousing herself in Angel. I know I'd move. 

Nonetheless, I'm pretty sure they'll sell out. Once you've got the Mugler habit, it seems, you never lose it.



Stila Lip & Cheek Stain Swatches

Lip Stain by Stila at ShopStyle
I've always been interested in the Stila Lip & Cheek Stains but they've always seemed on the expensive side to me so I've never actually taken the plunge to buy one. However, having swatched them a few times, I thought that taking some photos for anyone else interested out there might be a good idea.
Stila Lip & Cheek Stains L-R: Pomegranate Crush, Cherry Crush, Acai Crush, Mango Crush, Raspberry Crush, Yumberry Crush and Coconut Crush
T: Pomegranate Crush
B, L-R: Cherry Crush, Acai Crush, Mango Crush, Raspberry Crush, Yumberry Crush, Coconut Crush
T: Pomegranate Crush
B, L-R: Cherry Crush, Acai Crush, Mango Crush, Raspberry Crush, Yumberry Crush, Coconut Crush
These stains really need to dry fully before their resistance sets in but the darker the colour the better the stain. I let them dry for a minute or so and then went over my hand with a cotton pad filled with make-up remover, here's how they held up.
As you can see Acai Crush held up the best by far. Coconut Crush held up the least. The second best was Raspberry, then Yumberry, Mango, Pomegranate and Cherry. I was disappointed by the lack of power coconut had as that was the one I was leaning towards buying due to the lovely shimmer it has. Not anymore!

What about everyone else, have you tried the Stila Lip & cheek stains? How do they hold up for you?

Best Blog Award & Other Bitchin' Blogs!


A big THANK YOU to Jessica Riviera for nominating me! (click here to check out her blog).

She is a new follower of mine and she kicks ass!
Her blog chronicles her exciting journey as a makeup artist,
and shares her work through photos and fun makeup videos.
Check her out!!


Here is the tag that goes along with the Best Blog Award, and below are blogs I choose to nominate!

7 things about me:

1. I have unopened makeup items and still feel the need to buy more.
2. I have an 18 year old brother - he's 7 years younger than me and about a foot taller than me!
3. I'm slowly trying to wean myself off of reality TV, but I think I need rehab
4. I love to bake for people, but rarely taste what I make
5. In college, I had a beta fish named Vincenzo who lived in a giant martini glass
6. I just started using an eyelash curler last year, and still can't get over what a difference it makes
7. I recently took my gel nails off after 3 years. My nails feel naked! However, I am enjoying experimenting with all different nail polish shades.

-Favorite Color: To wear: Black. For other things: Red

-Favorite Song: Any Motley Crue song.

Your favorite dessert: CUPCAKES.

What is pissing you off: Being inside at work. It's gorgeous out today!

When you're upset, you: Are bitchy

Your favorite pet: A giraffe.

Black or White: to wear? Black

Biggest fear: Clowns.

Best feature: HAHA oh who knows

Everyday attitude: Work hard, play hard

What is perfection: happiness with yourself

Guilty pleasure: Star Magazine

Bitchin' Blogs You Should Be Reading:


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Puff Puff...Pout

Some seriously glittery lippy





Juicy






Nom nom nom


Bonnie Bell Kiss this Gloss







Peachy/pink sheer color




I picked up this gloss in Ulta because...well...do I really need a reason? I'm an addict, it's what I do. This gloss is very glittery and punchy, and is very silky on lips...translation: this is not sticky AT ALL. Bonnie Bell has been around forever, and is usually associated with chapsticks and whatnot. I took a gamble on this item and it turned out nicely.










SUPER pout =)




Blog is Going on Break

I need a break from blogging.  I want to be selfish and just think about me, myself, and I.  Hope you don't mind.  This will also give me a chance to get my body back to normal after all its injuries from muscle sprains.  (I think I sprained my brain also.)  Blogging should be back after the 4th of July.  And, for you Americans:  Happy Independence Day!

If you have any compliments, insults, or

Rock and Republic Giveaway!

Back a couple of years ago when I was in my Rock and Republic eye shadow phase I bought as many of their gorgeous shadows as I could get my hands on. Then sadly the line was discontinued, which is a shame because their shadows were really quite lovely.  Anyhow, recently I was lucky to catch one of my favorite shades (Diffused- a very wearable mid- toned brownish taupe with soft shimmer) and one of their crease brushes on Hautelook to share with my readers!





For a swatch of Diffused click here.


To entered for this giveaway:
Please make sure you are a follower 
Please leave a comment on this post about a favorite discontinued line or product. Were you able to find a suitable replacement or are you still searching?

I love reading your responses!
* prizes are brand new/full sized and purchased by me


I will mail anywhere and the contest winner will be chosen one month from today: 
July 29, 2011(with the random number picker)

Thanks once again for all the support, comments and kindness- I truly appreciate it.

Tarte for True Blood Palette Swatches

I got permission from a wonderful fellow MUA goer and superb blogger Polish Wasteland to post her photographs and swatches of the Tarte for True Blood Glamour Me palette. Not only is it awesome in the layout it has great shades that seem very pigmented! I'm so excited and I want one for myself!
The palette also comes with four looks you can do with the 17 eyeshadow shades! Vampy Vixen, Not Your Average Waitress, Vamp Glam and Luminous Fairy.
Look at the awesome corset top of the palette!

The black gel liner, the shadow primer and the mascara.

Light Box lighting L-R: The Light, Fairy, Dusk, Dawn
Window Light L-R: The Light, Fairy, Dusk, Dawn
Outside Lighting L-R: The Light, Fairy, Dusk, Dawn
Light Box Lighting L-R: Werewolf, Waitress, Nocturnal, Charmer
Window Light L-R: Werewolf, Waitress, Nocturnal, Charmer
Outside Lighting L-R: Werewolf, Waitress, Nocturnal, Charmer
 Light Box Lighting L-R: Glamour Me, Stake, Bayou, Telepath, The True Death
Window Light L-R: Glamour Me, Stake, Bayou, Telepath, The True Death
Outside Lighting L-R: Glamour Me, Stake, Bayou, Telepath, The True Death
Light Box Lighting L-R: The True Death, Immortal, Moss, Legend, 'V'
Window Light L-R: The True Death, Immortal, Moss, Legend, 'V'
Outside Lighting L-R: The True Death, Stake, Moss, Legend, 'V'

Slightly powdery texture of the shadows
My favourites have to be "V", The True Death, Stake, Moss, Nocturnal, Werewolf, and Dusk. What about you are you digging this Tarte palette?

Thanks again to Todo Es Posible from MUA and Polish Wasteland blog!

Also if these aren't enough swatches for you Evermore Beaute has swatches of the palette as well as the lip stain and the cheek stain.

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