As I have been experimenting with Korean skin care and cosmetics, I’ve come across a few products that can easily take the place of my former favorites, sometimes at a fraction of the cost. I am not going to say these items are dupes, but I will say that for me they’re “just as good as” items.
I’ve purchases these products at several different sites, including Amazon (great selection!) and Memebox (fantastic sale section!). I’ve been satisfied with the service from both places. For products like these it’s a good idea to shop around, then check total shipping costs to get your best bargain. I’ve seen the same Korean product vary by $10-15 just because some places (ahem Sephora ahem) try to capitalize on how “exotic” the brand is. Shop around, babies.
As a long time lover of my Ole Henriksen CC creme (and having two backups in my dressing table) It pains me a bit to say that
Both have sunscreen (SPF 20 vs 30, but enough for indoors), both offer me good coverage, both wear well during the day. Both are unfortunately limited in their color options, I am lucky enough to fall within the range. I can’t see myself buying the Ole again as long as the Skin Food is available. I am not a giant fan of the big wooden cap, but underneath it is a pump. A squeeze tube with a pump? I am into it.
Again, Ole loses this one. Purely on the price difference. Sorry dude.
Both of these clean my face of makeup when I get home from a day at work (I deep clean later.) Both smell nice, don’t dry my skin, and feel refreshing. The Ole wins on quantity (30 vs ??? in the Skinfood version. The package doesn’t say, but I think it’s about 20) but Skinfood wins on price.
Now this one was not as easy, because I still think the more expensive version is slightly superior, but
I have been a fan of the Anastasia product for more than a year now, but COME ON. It’s $21! And the packaging on it isn’t great, and the last three I’ve bought have had the actual product detach and fall from the tube. I lost a whole chunk of product that way. That’s ridiculous. So, yes, it has the finest tip and is a good formula. But this Babyface is also a nice formula, and with a bit more effort I can get an almost identical result, for $3.20. Going to have to hand it to Babyface here. If you click on the link there you can see that the Babyface has an angled tip, with one side very narrow and one a bit wider. It’s nice and hard, and gives good color payoff. I’ve never used it, but looking at it, it reminds me of the Hourglass Archbrow Sculpting Pencil in shape, and that one’s $32 friggin dollars.
I have never much seen the point of Benetint, in any of its iterations. I am always getting samples and deluxe samples of it, and they just roll around in my makeup drawer. Too sheer. To sticky. Drying. Doesn’t do much for me. But if you’re looking for a lovely deep stain, let Etude House set you up. This stuff gives the prettiest just-bitten vampire dead lip effect ever. It’s a gel stain so it’s not super long lasting, but it stays put a good few hours. Could probably be used on the cheeks too. Plus I love the packaging and color name. Win!
So that’s it for now! I am glad to finally have this written up and posted, it’s been in my queue for almost two months. As I continue to find new “Almost” or “As Good As” products for lower prices, I will be sure to let you know.
*This is for sale at Etude House’s site for $4.00, but with $8 shipping. From Amazon it’s a bit more expensive, but shipping will be free if you’re Prime.
I have been pondering this a lot lately. Whether it’s possible to make/keep/relate to friends in adulthood. What friendship means to me, or could mean. How it all freaking works and why I don’t know how to do it.
I have a spotty track record for holding on to long-term friends. That’s partially my nature and that’s partially my circumstances. Growing up I was the youngest kid on my block, and the youngest girl by a long shot. I was introverted and stayed home reading. My brother had friends all up and down the street, made more friends in school/scouting activities, and had the same core set of good friends all his life. He had a lot more freedom of movement as a child, and was able to go visit his friends on his bike and go off all day to play with them. For various reasons I couldn’t do the same, and got used to spending most of my time alone. Danny was able to easily add in more people to his life, and always seemed to have lots of people around him. For me, it was not so easy. Throughout grade school, middle school, always the same. I was anxious, suspicious, awkward. I was smart and perceptive and paranoid. I had no skills to manage the way I felt, and what was happening to me at home. All the secrets made me feel so set apart, so unlike other people. I had friends, I had best friends, but I didn’t have them easily.
When I got to high school I did OK for awhile, tried to build and be part of a friend group – but impostor syndrome did me in. How could anyone really like me? They didn’t even really know me. It wasn’t even possible to know me, I was a cranky lost chameleon.
I changed high schools, twice, so I couldn’t keep a solid set of HS friends. I started college, I made friends, I moved, I made friends, I moved back, and then I moved again. With each school change and move I disconnected from the people I left behind. Since they only knew a version of me that I constructed to suit the time and circumstances, there wasn’t any real connection or reason to stay in touch.
By the time I settled in at a residential college I was a few years older than most of the kids there. I wanted to fit in, but my life experience was so different now, on top of my personality still not mixing well with others. I made some friends, and then I joined a sorority. Surely this would bring the type of friendship I’d read about! Close friends, sharing secrets, late night gossip sessions, love and acceptance. Yes, all of that took place in my sorority, just not for me. I didn’t know how. I was too practical, too guarded. At that point I was also too depressed, though I didn’t really understand it yet.
Then, after graduation, in order to increase my feeling of connection, I up and moved to another country! Ha ha just kidding, I was twenty five times as isolated and alone. My boyfriend had a super-tight friend group, but I was an adjunct to that, they’d known each other for years, and there was still a language barrier at that point. Plus they were all heavy drinkers and smokers, and I hate bar culture. I made some friends of my own, but they were mostly ex-pats too, and our friendships were transient in nature, at best. All my colleagues were in work cycles, where they’d go to other-country assignments for 2-3 years at a time, nothing was permanent.
After four years of that, I moved back home to the states. Determined to find my own people, to build my own life. And you know, for the most part I have. I have a lovely group of talented diverse “friends.” I go to their parties, they come to mine, we social media all the time! But still.
Friendships, close personal friendships, especially with ladies, they quite escape me. I don’t know how they work. I see other people with them, and I know they exist, but I don’t know how to get me one.
One of my favorite things to do is watch YouTube videos of other girls with their good friends. Lily Pebbles and Anna are the most charming.
Look at that. Look how they get along. Look how they have interests in common, and how much they laugh. They laugh! They are having fun and they share things and it’s clear to see they enjoy each other’s company.
I also love to watch the girls from Pixiwoo, sisters who just know each other so well, and are so integrally connected to each other.
Just watch the way they talk to each other. They’re so in sync.
I know these relationships can’t be perfect, and have their irritations, but they’re obviously sets of people who are very close, and really enjoy each other and sharing their common interests.
I know I can’t go back in time and get a sister. I know I can’t go back in time and make some childhood friend of mine stay life-long (nor would that have worked, because most of my childhood friends are nothing like the person I am today.)
But I do try, I am trying, I do want some kind of good lady-friends relationships for myself and I do not know how to make them happen. Let’s get it clear – I know a lot of amazing women. Really cool and fun and admirable women. But most of my friends are quite busy. The ones with small children are pretty much out. I mean, nobody wants to text me eyeliner photos or watch a video I recommend or do a midnight run to Target for a new lipstick release when their kid is on the squatty potty or they have to go to mom group or whatever.
I have other friends who seem to prioritize their sexual relationships above all, and don’t have time for girl things because they’re so into whatever their partner (or potential partner) is doing. OK, it’s cool that you share interests with your mate, go on with that. My other friends just don’t have interests that match mine. I love to get together and talk with them, but they’d find my day to day excitements boring and trivial, and I might find theirs the same. Still other women I know are kind of mean and nasty. They’re not at the point in their lives where they’ve given up being mean and catty and competitive. I don’t want to be around that kind of energy – nor do I have the time or inclination to be constantly schooling someone on how awful they’re being to other women, or explaining to them why their left-handed compliment about my new dress won’t fly. I want friendship, not passive-aggressive battles.
There are other women I could/can/do reach out to, but to be totally honest the last person I tried to be close friends with didn’t work out for me, and when I tried to do what was (to my mind) a pretty gentle friend break up/ cooling off thing with her she had an absolute freak out and it was very unpleasant. I still get people asking me about it and reporting weird shit she’s said about me. So now I am even more gun shy about friend dating than I am about partner dating. I mean, what if I try to get closer to someone and then after awhile I realize it’s not for me, and then they freak out? When you’re dating someone a breakup is a thing. When you’re friends with someone apparently you have to commit to that forever? Like, do I owe myself to someone just because I tried to befriend them? Obviously no, but I don’t really want to be in that situation again.
Fuck. I don’t know. I don’t know how friendships works, clearly. I am now at a stage of my life where I know who I am. I like this person, and I think it’s totally sensible that other people would like me too. I am capable of staying centered, no matter who I am around. I am financially sound, I have money and time to shop and travel and dine out and enjoy my life, and yet I don’t have a default person to do that with. I don’t want a dude partner, I want a bestie. How do you get one of those? I suspect you have to get one organically, and I don’t think that’s going to work for me.
Yeah, so it was the VIB Rouge event sale thing recently, and everyone and their mom has been posting their hauls. I really needed absolutely zero things, of course, but that didn’t stop me buying a few. Mostly new/innovative things, or new colors of things I knew I loved.
I have been taking some crap photos this month, so I swiped Sephora’s photos for the descriptions below. I doubt they’ll mind, as I am promoing their products.
Here are my shots:
From Urban Decay:
URBAN DECAY – Eyeshadow in “Dive Bar” – $18.00 – really just an impulse buy, but a good one. Very, very pretty and multi-faceted color.
URBAN DECAY – 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencil in “Anarchy” – $20.00 – I already knew I loved this formula, just needed a bright blue-based pink liner. Splurge, but whatever.
URBAN DECAY – Naked Skin Weightless Complete Coverage Concealer in “Light Neutral” – $28.00 – Just as lovely coverage and non-creasy-ness as everyone said. Good buy.
From not-Urban Decay
COVER FX – Custom Cover Drops in N25 – $44.00 – Everyone is reviewing these, and loving them. I love the innovative idea, and I think this will be a good product. Still working out how I like best to use it, though.
BENEFIT COSMETICS – The Porefessional: License To Blot – $20.00 – I honestly only bought this because Bunny talked about it on her channel. It’s really nice so far though, and the shine wars will be starting up here soon, with the arrival of summer humidity.
SEPHORA COLLECTION – Colorful Duo Reflects in “Mermaid Tail” – $12.00 – Who can resist this name? Lovely duochrome glitter goodness. Needed it like a hole in the head.
FORMULA X DELETE – Nail Polish Remover – $10.50 – gets polish off in a flash. It’s horrid for my nails, but my nails have been trashed all year anyway, so.
Total damage $152.50, $129.62 after discount and before tax.
Hrm, I didn’t think I’d spent that much. But considering one item was $44 that’s really not too bad. I only have about $450 to go this year to re-up my Rouge status, so I think that this Rouge thing really works out for Sephora. Every year I’ve been Rouge I’ve spent more than the year before.
Anyway, that’s my haul! Let me know if you have questions about anything.
Pinterest strikes again! I saw this pin last week and immediately wanted to try it. Look at this lovely lipstick palette.
This seemed like a cheap and easy project for me because A) the over-abundance of lipsticks I already had, and B) the palette and pans were only $12 with free shipping from MAC. I ordered them immediately and waited impatiently for their arrival. Yesterday the makeup junkie’s blessed high holy day of OUT FOR DELIVERY finally arrived, and I set up a work station yesterday evening to get started.
(not pictured) roll of toilet paper for ongoing cleanup
I wish that I’d had a deep metal measuring spoon like the original tutorial had, all mine of that size/shape were plastic and thus unsuitable. You want a deep spoon that will maximize melting area and minimize surface area – the more surface area on the spoon the more lipstick you will waste.
To start off the de-bulleting (?) I used Bite lipsticks, for a few reasons. Half of the Bite lippies I have are in these $12 double-ended tiny tubes (see Sephora Luminous Creme Lipsticks) These are a good way to try an expensive lipstick formula in different colors, but the packaging has some drawbacks. Not only do they give zero color indication on the outside of the tube, the label on the end is so tiny as to be unreadable. So you have to pull out each one, open it up, check both sides to figure out which one you want, it’s a pain.
Secondly, Bite lipsticks have something wrong with their formula, which makes them (to my mind) unsuitable for stick format. I have had several of them separate or melt down, even just sitting in my drawer. My favorite nude from them (Musk) did this just from being carried around in my purse:
The lipsticks are just too soft, they separate and then chunks of them fall off into the lid. I was hoping some of this little guy would be salvageable, but it was too creamy to even scrape out. Total loss. That makes me sad because I really love this color, but I won’t spend the kind of money Bite asks ($24 for .15 oz) on a formula that will literally fall apart. Could be that this is due to the really high pigment content – OK that’s cool and I appreciate it, but any good lip product has to be a combination of high performance and shelf-stability, especially if you’re going to charge $24 a tube. These are creamy and pigmented, they feel and look great on the lips, but they’re prone to falling apart and they also smell kind of funny.
While I was on the Bite melting kick I also melted down my mini High Pigment Pencils, for pretty much the same reasons. The colors are nice, but they mush up in the tube, separate and get oily.
So here’s how you do it. You take the spoon, and you chop the lipstick off into it. For these smaller products I could use the whole tube and still not fill up the pan. For full size products the whole tube was too much and would over-fill the pan.
Chop this part into the spoon, scrape any remainder from the inside of the tube into the spoon (I really wished I had a mini spatula for this, but I made do with the tip of a knife.)
Then melt the product down over the candle flame. It takes a little practice to get the spoon at the right height over the flame so that it melts fairly quickly but does not boil around the edges. I swirled the spoon contents around some, to get the middle to melt more quickly.
Some lipsticks got foamier than others, which was probably to do with their varying ingredient content. You will see in a later photo that one Wet N Wild lipstick got very foamy. Wonder what’s in that one? Industrial detergent?
Pour the melted lipsticks into the pans; they set up again very quickly. The bottom row here in the picture above is the first row I did—these are all Bite. You can see that they are not 100% full, since these were lipstick minis. They are also a little bubbly. I think that if I’d had more product, the bubbles would have been forced out.
The process was fairly easy, but I was sad about the product waste coating the spoon surface. Note: do not think that the spoon is cool enough so that you can wipe the melted product out of it with your finger. IT IS NOT COOL ENOUGH. #ow
After the Bite lipsticks were done, I moved on to other lipsticks I like or have had in my collection for a long time but rarely use for various reasons. (Some of them I don’t use purely because the sticky lid residue from safety stickers is so annoying. Looking at you CVS.)
My notebook came in handy for jotting down color brands/names so I wouldn’t forget.
It was interesting to see how metallics melted down vs creams, and it was really fun to see how perfectly some of them went into the pans when I had plenty of product.
You can see middle left up here is that the Wet n Wild lipstick (Cherry Bomb) that got super bubbly and strange in texture when melted. Who knows what’s in that stuff anyway, or how they only charge $1 for it. It’s probably made of people. That was the only lipstick that behaved in that particular way.
Another interesting experience was melting down two colors that are really pretty but basically unwearable on their own. Tony and Tina “Intuitive” which is a metallic taupe (discontinued) and a super old Bath and Body shop lippie in #50, a metallic lilac. I don’t want to toss them, but I never think to wear them. They’re probably better for mixing, or using atop other colors.
So I made a pan of each of them, but then (since they were full tubes) there was extra. I poured the extra Tony and Tina in a spare pan, then I poured the extra Body Shop in there too. Look what it did! Science!
I am not going to lie, if MAC sold this as a summer collection color I would buy it in a heartbeat.
Once I was done pouring everything I waited for it to cool
and then I went in with cotton swabs and cleaned up the edges of the pans. I only had one incident of spillage, with Revlon Rum Raisin dropping into Bite Meritage. But they’re similar colors, so no huge contamination there. I did accidentally drip a few different lipstick colors into the candle while swirling them around, so that may be funny next time I light that candle.
Here’s the aftermath of the project:
And I got to throw away a lot of tubes, which was fun and satisfying. More space in my drawers! Also, I congratulated myself on using cheap TP instead of pricier kitchen roll, it worked very well to clean the spoon and knife between uses.
This project was super fun and satisfying in many ways. Since I didn’t even fill up one set of pans, I think I may use the other side of the palette to press some loose pigments, another type of product I never seem to pull out of my drawers and use. So this whole thing may really help me make better use of beautiful products that would otherwise be languishing. I am really pleased with how this turned out.
Thanks to Beautezine for the fun idea! Let me know if you have any questions.
If you’ve been keeping up, you will know that this is a year in which I’ve determined to simplify. One of the ways I’m attempting to do that is by not purchasing as much clothing – and what better way to give up a thing than cold-turkey, right? So I haven’t bought any clothing since December—and you know, I really don’t miss it a bit.
(Wardrobe staple items are excluded, so I did buy three new pairs of plain black leggings and one plain black long sleeved tee to replace one that had worn out.)
What I’ve found in the last 4.5 months is that I wear a uniform. It’s black leggings, a black dress, some kind of scarf or necklace, and maybe a jacket.
This dress is one of my favorites, I like it so much I have two of them identical. I wear one at least once a week to work. Very flattering over the boobs of doom. Neckline not too low.
I also have two black spaghetti-strapped swing dresses, and I wear them regularly with either a jacket over them or a shirt under them.
These are the things I choose when I go out, when I go to work, when I run errands, they’re just the things I feel comfortable in and don’t have to think about.
Of course, I have a huge closet full of other things, not as perfect as these things, and I have been pulling more stuff out and mix and matching in the last month as spring rolls in. Stripey tshirts with jumper-dresses over them, or stripey t-shirts with high-waisted skirts, or (as today) hot pink maxi skirts and black tees. A lot of black and white with a splash of color.
I’ve also been throwing out lots of things, or putting them in donate/resell piles. Things that don’t fit? Gone. Things I actually don’t like to wear? Gone. Worn out things I’ve had since my 20s? Gone. I threw out a sweatshirt yesterday that I wore when I was in college. It was an old Gap one and it said “Final Victory 29″ on it. I remember my boyfriend at the time used to make fun of it because it was super oversized, and he used to call me “Final Victory” whenever I was exercising. I’ve kept it more than 20 years because some guy I haven’t spoken to in almost that long thought I was cute in it. Literally what am I doing? I am cute all the time irrespective of the comments of others.
I’ve also been examining some of my attitudes towards dressing. I buy things and I think I never wear them because I never go anywhere nice, but then I go somewhere nice and I still want to wear my old basics and not be fancy. I don’t think I am in the mood for being looked at, or drawing attention to myself. I want to look put together, but I definitely don’t want it to look like I am trying. Because I am for sure not trying. I guess that’s why all the makeup’s been neutral lately too. I just don’t want to feel very visible. How much I don’t care needs to show. One day I might care again, I hope I do, in a healthy way, but right now I don’t care. I just want to wear something respectable enough that people treat me well, and otherwise be low-key.
Of course my idea of low-key dressing is probably not the same as other people’s idea.
Anyway, I am hoping to come out of this year with a severely streamlined closet, and a clearer idea of the types of things it’s worth it for me to purchase in the first place. My year-long clothing-buying hiatus has not been a challenge in the least.
I’ve been wanting a new bag for months now, something perfectly me. I’ve even ordered and returned bags for not being quite right. Finally I was at TJMaxx this weekend and found this Betsey Johnson “Bow Regard” (gettit!?) beauty and made it mine.
Then yesterday after the WORST computer trauma “everything is wrong and everyone is an idiot” day at work I decided to go to the mall and buy the Anastasia Liquid Lipstick in Potion like I have been wanting, but won’t pay $10 to ship. I checked online and they had it in stock, but when I got there it was GONE. I over-reacted in a ridiculous way, considering there are people dying all over the world and all I wanted was a lipstick, but you know how those days go, right? And the fact that it was a computer glitch, when my whole day was a giant computer glitch – ugh. Anyway to comfort myself I went to Nordstrom Rack and there I found a new wallet/wristlet by Hobo that matches my bag very well, and also is slimline so I don’t shove too much stuff in it. I am well pleased.
Also I think that lipstick has been discontinued and I bought one on ebay for $28 because that is the kind of week I am having.