Kat Von D Lock-It Tattoo Concealer. I Can’t Live if Living is Without You.

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Everyone has that one product (or two or three) that they get a little freaked out about when it gets harder to find.  This concealer, in my case, is one of those products.  I’m kind of paranoid that since the concealer creme came out, this stuff is headed for the makeup graveyard.  The shade range isn’t as large as it used to be, and you absolutely cannot find it in a store.  It’s still available online, though, which is where I bought my newest tube.

This stuff covers.  I mean, it COVERS.  One day when I was sitting around the house with nothing to do, I decided to see if it actually would cover one of my tattoos.  It does it no problem.  Yeah, I had to take some time and exhibit some patience to cover over black ink, but it works.  And if it works on black ink, imagine how well it works to cover a spot on your face.  Nothing is getting through this, and it stays put for hours if you set it with powder.

To be sure, this concealer is extremely thick, and if you start trying to cake it on, you’re going to see some texture.  You know how everyone these days seems to be painting their under-eye region with concealer?  There is no way I would use this on an area of my face that large.  I use it on my chin and around my mouth, and I definitely have to work to get it blended out and smooth, but the results are worth the hassle.  It just covers so well.  It also covers the dark circles in the area immediately under my eyes with ease.

While I tend to favor Beauty Blenders for foundation, I actually think that this stuff looks better when blended out with a brush.  When I’ve worked this with sponges, it just never seems to fully smooth out.  I’m not saying this is impossible to use with sponges.  It still looks fine on areas that need a light amount of concealing, but on days when I’m a member of Team No Sleep, and the dark circles are really dark, and I need extra concealer in that area, I always ended up finishing with a brush.  I swear I could still see the tiny holes in my Beauty Blenders imprinted on my face before I broke out the brush.

I feel like the concealer creme is more user-friendly than this OG Kat Von D product, but I just don’t like that one as well.  It’s a little thinner, and the coverage isn’t quite as opaque.  I also don’t like concealers with doe-foot applicators.  I appreciate the precision it allows, but I just find them unsanitary (I’m weird.  I know.)

Also, if you aren’t inclined to paint your face with concealer, and are like me and just use it for spot concealing, this stuff lasts forever.  I got a little over two years out of this one (I’m a bit of a germaphobe, remember) and it was pretty much the only concealer I used in that time.  Granted, I REALLY take care of my makeup.

This is $25.00 for a little over a half-ounce.  If they have your shade and you’re not into using crazy amounts of concealer when you do your makeup, you NEED this.  Each time I open this little tube up, I hope that it never, ever gets discontinued.  I’ve not found a concealer that hides spots as well as this.  Sure, it takes time to blend everything out so that it looks okay, but I wish this had been around when my teenage self was dealing with acne.  It would have been a godsend.

So, please, Kat Von D, never, ever, EVER stop making this product.  I’m begging you.

–Jackie

Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil. It’s Changed My Skin.

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I’m trying to think the best way to approach this post.  For some reason, this is a really polarizing product.  Yes, it’s expensive.  No argument there, but if I had to point to one product that’s helped me the most in my struggle with adult acne, this would be it.  I can’t stress enough how much it has changed my skin for the better.  I started using it last December, and unless I decide to begin using Retin-A, I will always keep a bottle of this around.

Let me be very clear about one thing.  It hasn’t STOPPED my breakouts.  I still get the occasional hormonal one, but it has reduced the severity of them.  Between hormonal breakouts, my face stays clear.  Don’t get me started on how much it has helped with the scarring, too.  I pop my zits.  I genuinely cannot stop myself from doing it.  It’s like this weird, gross compulsion I have.  To make matters worse, I sometimes can’t wait for a pimple to form a head, and I just go in on it creating a giant mess on my face.  I’ve struggled with this for years.  I’ve gotten into near arguments with my old dermatologist over it.  I cannot make myself stop, so I’m left treating the aftermath.  This has been a god-send in that department.  It dries up the ones I do pop and they’re gone in a matter of days.  The redness hangs aroud for five to seven days, and the scarring is almost nil.

To be sure, this is a retinoid, and there was an acclimation period I had to go through.  It took me well over a month to build up to nightly use of this, and I won’t be stopping usage because I don’t want to go through that process again.  I started out using it every other night.  It made my face tingle a little, and after about a week and a half of this, it started to get dry.  I used Retin-A years ago, and the adjustment period was terrible for me.  My face would get so dry that the skin around my mouth would crack and bleed.  Once the dryness started with this, I backed off to once every three days.  I did that for two weeks and then tried every other night again.  This was fine for three weeks, and so I increased to nightly use.  Now, I will occasionally skip a night, but never more than that.

This, mercifully, never caused me to get the dry, peeling skin that I got from Retin-A, but my skin did purge.  You know the kind of pimples I’m talking about.  The tiny little things that seem to crop up out of nowhere all over your face–even on areas you don’t generally get pimples on.  My skin definitely looked worse before it looked better.

The oils in the bottle–chamomile and blue tansy–seem to help keep my skin from getting too dry, especially while I was acclimating to the product.

I still get breakouts when I’m incredibly stressed out.  This stuff is good, but it can’t magically fix brain chemistry.  It does help to mitigate the severity of the breakouts, though, and, as I said earlier, it’s a god-send when it comes to clearing up scars.

With all that being said, this stuff comes at a steep price  It’s $105.00 for an ounce, and $55.00 for a half-ounce.  I buy it a half-ounce at a time because this stuff lasts for months.  Seriously, it just takes a few drops to cover your whole face.  I feel like buying it in half-ounce bottles means I’m getting a fresher product more often, and, really, you’re only saving five bucks if you buy the big one.  Plus, the smaller bottle is easier to travel with.

So there’s my thoughts on Luna.  I, for one, can’t imagine a world where I would have to live without this, and I can certainly understand the apprehension one would have to buying it.  But if anyone reading that post is like me and has super moody, acne prone skin, I would not hesitate to suggest trying it out.  It most certainly has changed my skin for the better.

Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil:  I love you and can’t live without you.  In fact, I’ve already started using my newest bottle.

–Jackie

Rahua Omega 9 Hair Mask. Garbage.

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I’m going to briefly go over my hair type for anyone new to this blog, but if you’ve been around since the beginning, you know the drill.  I have very thick, wavy, and super oily hair that I have to wash every single night.  If I don’t it looks a mess after 36 hours.  I don’t do hair masks because for normal people who wash their hair two or three times a week, the results of hair masks last a week.  For me, however, I’m lucky if I can get four days.

I’m also not blessed in the patience department, and the idea of shampooing my hair, putting this mask on, and sitting around for twenty or thirty minutes with drippy hair sounded like my own personal hell, so some actual planning had to go into when I would finally get around to using this.

I decided to give it a shot after I went out for a run and kind of overdid it.  You know the kind of workouts that you KNOW you’re going to feel the next day.  I got back to my building, thanked the powers that be for elevators, and crawled into my apartment with every intention of taking a bath.  Perfect, I thought!  I can finally use that stupid hair mask that’s been sitting in the bathroom for a month while I sit in the tub so I’m not dripping water and hair product all over my living room.

I had to use the entire tube for my hair–22 milliliters.  I combed it through, tied my hair up, and set to reading in the tub for thirty minutes.

It smells like eucalyptus, and I loved it.  “Hmmm, maybe this will actually be good for my hair,” I thought as I sat there enraptured with the smell.  It was heavenly.

At the end of thirty minutes, I got up, rinsed it out and waited for my hair to dry.  That’s when my confusion set in.

How does a hair mask manage to make your hair simultaneously stringy and dry?  I was at a loss.  The package purported to make my hair shiny and repair damage, but it just made the ends look like I neglected to cut and wash my hair for a couple of years.  I feel like I’m being dramatic, but my hair was genuinely gross.  By the time it had dried, it was too late at night for me to wash it again, so I just had to brush it and toss it in a ponytail.  I had work the next day, anyway, so it wasn’t the end of the world.  I couldn’t wait to get home and shampoo my hair.  Twice.

Fortunately, as I said earlier, the effects of hair masks don’t last long on me at all, so by the third day my hair was back to looking normal.  At $58.00 for 200 milliliters, there’s no way on Earth I would ever buy this for myself, but with the way it made my hair look there’s no one in the entire universe I would have the nerve to recommend this to.  It was awful.  So very, very awful.  I’m actually getting kind of irritated just sitting here thinking about it.  I hate this stuff.

Rahua Omega 9 Hair Mask:  I actually hate you.  I would never buy it.

–Jackie

Milk Makeup Blur Stick. I Wanted to Love You.

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Dude, running this often is no joke. I feel like someone keeps coming into my room while I’m sleeping, beating me up, and then quietly leaving. I topped twenty total miles last week, and this one looks to be much the same. On a positive note, though, I’m sleeping like a baby for the first time in ages. If I had known I would sleep this well practically every night, I would have gotten serious about running ages ago.

Sorry, I just needed to bemoan the fate of my calves and shins for a second. Let’s talk about the Blur Stick!

I wanted to love this.  I tried SO HARD to love this, but at the end of the day, it just didn’t work out for me.  With that being said, I don’t think it’s a bad product.  It just didn’t work for me.

I’ll start with the good things about the Blur Stick.  The packaging is great, and it makes the product in the tube really easy to use.  You just swipe it on and blend with your fingers.  It actually does blur imperfections, cancel out redness, and minimize pores.  If you stop there and don’t use foundation, I would say you would be set for the day.

For me, at least, the problems started to happen about four hours after I put foundation over the top of this.  The Blur Stick settles, and I mean SETTLES into the few fine lines I have around my mouth and in the crease of my eye lids.  If I wasn’t wearing foundation, I would just wipe the gathering product away and keep going, and it wasn’t a big deal.  If I had foundation on, however, that just accentuated the problem.  I had some really bad makeup days while wearing this.  I mean, I had lines of foundation in the creases on my face.  It looked genuinely bad.  My makeup didn’t seem to last any longer with this, either.  If anything, it seemed to break down more quickly.  As in it was all but gone after about six hours.  And it’s not like I was using a different foundation than my gold standard.  I have only one bottle of foundation in my apartment.  Diorskin Nude.  It’s my holy grail foundation, and it would take a miracle to get me to use something else on the regular.

This stick left me utterly perplexed as to how it could be so good on its own yet so terrible under foundation.  The sample in my Play box yielded eight uses, which was enough to make me glad I hadn’t shelled out $36.00 for the full size.

If you’re not one to wear foundation, I’d say give this stuff a try.  On its own, it was mattifying and helped my skin look like my skin but better.  If you like to go for the full-on makeup look, though, there is no way I could tell you to use this.  I mean, I have definitely had days where I thought my makeup looked just ok, and this product wasn’t involved.  With this, though, my makeup looked consistently bad.  I always ended up wiping my makeup off halfway through the day because my looks had reached the point that no makeup was better than the makeup I had on.  I mean I HATED the way this stuff made my foundation look.

I’m trying to think of a skin type that could benefit from this.  I’m normal, and it didn’t work for me.  Certainly not oily.  It already moves around too much, but it makes for a nice matte finish while it does work.  Maybe dry skin.  It feels smooth going on and definitely didn’t dry out my skin.

Oh, Milk Makeup Blur Stick.  I really did want to love you, but, just no.  I don’t need this, and not buying it.

–Jackie

Shopping while Depressed.

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I haven’t really been feeling my best the last few weeks, and Sephora sent an e-mail earlier this week informing me that I was eligible for quadruple points since I’m a VIB Rouge.  In an attempt to make myself feel better I decided to take advantage of the offer, so I headed out to Sephora Columbus Circle yesterday and went a little crazy.  I guess it was a good thing, since that shopping episode seemed to be the kick in the ass I needed to get off the sofa and take a shot at living my life.  A few things I bought, I needed.  A few things I bought, I didn’t need, and they gave me yet another sample bag, so I ended up with a ton of products.  Here’s what I got beginning with the things I actually paid for:

Boscia Charcoal Jelly Ball Cleanser:  I’ve wanted this since it came out, but was a bit apprehensive to purchase it because so many cleansers break me out.  It feels really cool and works really well according to the reviews, and I figured with all of the charcoal in it, this one was probably a safe bet.  If anything, it might dry me out, but I have my fingers crossed that it won’t break me out.  I picked it up for $20.00.

Urban Decay Anti-Aging Primer Potion:  I went into the store specifically for this because my own tube is starting to dry out.  I usually get a travel size of the original formula, but they were out of that one.  I figured I would give the anti-aging one a try.  I don’t wear eye makeup at work, so the travel size of this stuff lasts me forever.  I used to buy the full-size tubes, but I gave that up a couple of years ago.  There is just no way I can get through it before it dries out.  This is one of those holy grail products that I can’t imagine not having on hand.  If you wear bright eyeshadow–or any eyeshadow, really–you need this.  This makes creased shadow a thing of the past, and does a pretty good job of keeping finely-milled glitters in place.  Cost: $13.00

Anastasia Beverley Hills Brow Wiz in Soft Brown:  I can’t live without this little pencil, and the one I currently have is getting a little low.  I got this one because it’s the only thing I use in my brows, and running out of it when I still have one brow left to do is nothing short of infuriating.  I like to always have an extra on hand to prevent this from happening.  Yeah, I know we live in an era when people like to use a half dozen different products in their brows and spend a half hour making them look perfect, but I honestly don’t need to.  Mine stay in place, they’re quite thick, and I just use this to fill in a few sparse places in them.  Cost: $21.00

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Chaos:  These are the best eyeliners ever.  Period.  You get about a minute to work with them, and then they set, and they don’t come off.  Chaos is one of my favorite colors in the UD line, and I have it in every form.  Eyeshadow, liquid liner, regular liner, you name it.  I got a new pencil because this color makes me happy.  It’s a bright, matte cobalt blue that looks terrific on just about anyone.  It’s also great for lazy days when you want to look like you really tried.  I just line my eyes and call it a day.  You don’t need a primer with it, and it’s so bright you don’t really need any shadow to go with it.  When you wear this, all the attention is on the liner.  Cost: $20.00

Urban Decay 24/6 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Alkaline:  This is a limited edition color to go with the launch of the Naked Heat palette, but I hope that it becomes a part of the permanent collection.  As many shades of liner as UD makes, you would think they had something similar to this, but they don’t.  It’s a really deep reddish brown color, that makes my green eyes pop.  It’s not as harsh as a black or even dark brown liner for a daytime look.  This color is seriously amazing and everyone should get a pencil of this before it’s sold out.  Did I need it?  Nope.  But I don’t care.  It made me feel better about myself.  Cost:  $20.00

Urban Decay Vice Liquid Lipstick in Amulet:  I got this with 100 Beauty Insider Points because I’ve managed to avoid buying any of these liquid lipsticks.  The reviews for them are pretty bad.  Most boil it down to them being extremely drying and flaky.  The color is a very pretty brick rose shade, so if it works, great.  If it doesn’t I still haven’t bought any of these things.  I may like it, but I highly doubt it will be better than the Kat Von D liquid lipsticks I adore so much.

Sephora also threw in a makeup bag (sigh, I have too many of these) with a ton of samples in it.  Here they are:

–Maison Margiela Replica Tea Escape perfume
–Clean Reserve Amber Saffron Perfume
–Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Crayon in Blacquer
–Peter Thomas Roth 24K Gold Pure Luxury Lift and Firm Prism Cream
–Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask
–Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask to Clear Pores (I love this stuff and don’t think I’ve ever actually paid for a solo tube of it.  It’s in all of the Origins gift sets.)
–Perricone MD Hydrating Cloud Cream

Did I buy crap I don’t need?  Sure, but I feel immensely better, and for once, the feeling wasn’t just a passing one, so I’ll take it.  The total for everything with tax came to $102.34 bringing my yearly total to $740.11.  I need to lay off, I know.  I realize that is a pretty big number to some people, but at this point last year, I was in WELL over triple that number to Sephora.  I keep telling myself that, yes, it’s high, but in relation to where I was, it’s much better.  Even though I have weak moments, I’m still making progress.

–Jackie

Sephora Play August 2017.

20170816_174630I suppose I should start this post with a bit on an explanation as to why I have been AWOL for most of the previous month.  The vacation bit was obvious, but vacations don’t last forever, and upon my return to New York, I was basically thrown back into work full-force.  I worked for almost two weeks straight, and by the time I got around to a day off, I didn’t feel like doing anything aside from reading a book.  All of this was coupled with a nagging suspicion that a depressive episode was coming on, and I really wasn’t one to talk about makeup or anything to anyone.  I started running more and eating better in an attempt to stave off the flood of negative emotions I knew was inevitable, and that helped to a point, but still.  The last couple of weeks have been pretty rough.

I managed to land three days off this week, and that’s gone a long way to help.  I vowed to do whatever I wanted to in an attempt to feel better, as I know this, too shall pass.  Yesterday, I ran six miles, ate a giant salad, went shopping, swung by a protest in the city, and caught up on some television.  Today, I laid in bed until 2:30 in the afternoon, made myself shower, and trooped over to my coffee shop.  The intent was to just read a book and binge on lattes, but I broke out my keyboard and am making a stab at this whole typing thing again.  The knowledge that there is ‘nduja pizza within walking distance is tucked safely in the back of my brain, and the promise that I’ll have some if I can make it through one blog post is at the forefront of my gray matter.

I actually got this month’s box three days ago, so I must commend Sephora on not taking forever to get the latest Play box to me.  This one seems to be a great one, too.  I played around with a couple of the products while I did my makeup today, and, on first impressions, they hit this one out of the park.  Without further ado, let’s get to it.  There’s pizza waiting for me.

Beauty Blender Micro Mini:  I like Beauty Blenders, but I’ll be honest.  I like the Sephora Perfectionist better.  The density of the sponge is roughly the same, and I like that it is pointy on both ends of the sponge.  This makes it easy to do foundation and concealer with one end and highlight and contour with the other.  It’s also half the price of the beauty blender, and if you check the sale section of Sephora.com right now, you’ll find that they are on sale for five bucks.  Those are amazing.  I also like the one from Real Techniques.  I find it to also be roughly the same density as the Beauty Blender.  Why do I bother bringing those two up when Sephora sent a Beauty Blender?  Easy.  I will never pay $20.00 for a sponge that I have to replace every three months when there are options on the market that are cheaper and just as good, if not better.  With that being said, I’m going to use this for concealer and highlighting, and I’m going to love it because Beauty Blenders are as good as everyone makes them out to be.

Clinique Dual-Ended High Impact Mascara and Primer Duo:  I’m wearing this on my lashes now, and I’ll say that I like the primer, but I’m on the fence about the mascara.  The primer does a good job of adding length to my lashes, but I’m not so sure about the mascara wand.  It’s pulling my lashes together and making them look a little spider leg-like.  There’s not much volume to speak of.  Granted, I’ve only used it once, so I’ll keep at it and see if the problem lies with the operator and not the tool.  The black color of the mascara is VERY black, so I’ll give it that plus.

Hourglass Vanish Seamless Finish Foundation Stick:  I’m so glad I finally got my hands on some of this without having to pay for an entire tube.  I do not say this lightly.  If this stuff doesn’t break me out (that’s a big IF…everything seems to break me out sometimes), it will replace the Diorskin Nude foundation that I have used since 2008.  Yes, I realize that this stuff is expensive, but it is nothing short of amazing.  It is EXTREMELY pigmented, so it requires very little product to get coverage.  It feels like a liquid going on, and not some thick, greasy mess that some sticks can feel like on me.  The best part is that it blends out to look like skin.  Not skin covered by makeup.  Skin.  I have no idea how something this full coverage can look this natural.  I find the use of concealer isn’t necessary with this product.  If I want extra coverage, I just add an extra dot of foundation on places like acne scars or under eye circles and blend.  It hides EVERYTHING.

KORRES Golden Krocus Ageless Saffron Elixier Serum:  I find KORRES to be a bit of a mixed bag.  I love their body lotions and washes, but their skin care usually winds up in a disaster on my face, meaning most of it breaks me out.  This is an anti-aging serum that purports to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.  I’ll give it a try, but I confess to being a bit nervous about it.  It is much thinner in consistency than most of the skincare products that I’ve tried, so I’m hopeful.  Plus, it smells amazing and is a lovely golden, shimmery color in the bottle.

Alterna Haircare Caviar Anti-Aging Miracle Multiplying Volume Mist:  This is supposed to be moisturizing and volumizing, but I could care less.  As I’ve said before, for as much as I love makeup, I really could not care less about my hair.  As long as the frizz is under control, I’m good.  I keep it in a ponytail at work, and don’t really do much heat styling on my days off.  I also have a ton of hair, so, thankfully, I don’t really have much need for a volumizer.  My hair is pretty voluminous if I do say so.  This stuff smells really good, so, of course, I’ll use it, but most hair styling products don’t really do much for me.  I’m not super excited about this one, and if I’m being totally honest, I would really like to make it a month without some kind of hair styling product showing up in my Play box.

Burberry My Burberry Black:  I’ve not given this a spritz yet, but I generally like Burberry scents.  This is a floral, so points there.  Top notes of jasmine, which I like.  Middle notes of candied rose and peach nectar.  I like one of those.  Base notes of amber and patchouli.  I HATE patchouli.  That’s mostly why I haven’t tried this one out yet.  I’m a little scared.

So there’s the breakdown of this month’s box and also the explanation of why I have been so scarce.  Hopefully, I’ll get back to regularly posting sometime soon.  I have quite the back log of products I’ve used up and need to talk about.

Total spent at Sephora this year: $637.77.

–Jackie

Programming Note

I got back to New York almost two weeks ago, and this is the first day I have had off since I arrived at Penn Station from my vacation.  It was spent reading mediocre Stephen King novels, drinking lots of coffee, and eating pizza and drinking wine served to me by my extremely hot Italian pal (not to be confused with my Russian pal, who is the most gorgeous individual I’ve ever laid eyes on).  Hopefully, I can get back to regular updates in the next few days, but until then, I’m slated to dye my hair even more red than it already is and go to a pop-up dinner at South Street Seaport presented by Alon Shaya.

I hope to saunter into work for drinks tomorrow so my crew can see that I do, in fact, clean up on occasion, and pray that the leather skirt I plan on wearing to dinner tomorrow night still fits after all of the wine I consumed this evening.  Wish me luck.

–Jackie