Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Misadventures in Pressing

Hello all!

I am now back in the states and for some time now have wanted to share my adventures, or as the title better puts, MISadventures.  I place emphasis on the "mis", "ill" "mistaken" "wrong" "wrongly" "incorrectly"... you get the idea.  I say this because I have come to the conclusion that pressing is not for me.  Users on /r/indiemakeupandmore on Reddit often share their pressing projects and I always end up ooh-ing and ahh-ing at what they've made that I resolved to try it myself.  Evidently, pressing isn't as easy and fool proof as everyone made it out to be, and through the various days I spent attempting to press eye shadows I've found that perhaps this fun DIY is not meant for everyone.  In any case here are some of my handmade disasters :D Last minute swatches are also included.

The supplies that I used, not pictured are the palettes that are now filled with my pressing trials!  I have one more empty palette from TKB, though I think I will wait to press into those pans.  I tried both Jojoba Oil and Glycerin as a binder, thinking, oh maybe it was the binder that resulted in...that.  Alas, it was not and all batches ended up with the same problems I encountered on my first trial.  I also used 91% Alcohol, glass droppers, and a metal sculpting tool for mixing.  I avoided plastic because of the alcohol, and anything wooden because of its porous surface.  I also made sure to sanitize everything!

These are my first trials, utilizing old palettes.  In retrospect it was probably really ridiculously unintelligent to leave everything without labels, but for the most part I pressed with eye shadows that I didn't mind if I lost or mucked up.  Thus, unfortunately I don't have names for any of these.  Though, the issues I faced throughout my entire pressing experience present themselves in my first trials as well.

Inconsistency in quality after pressing was my main issue.  Some eye shadows pressed to a buttery and lovely consistency, they weren't powdery or crumbly.  This was the texture I wanted to achieve, sadly, it seemed to only come to fruit randomly.

Problems I faced were powdery eye shadows that seemed crumbly to the touch, eye shadows that felt dry but were still pigmented, and eye shadows that cracked and lost a lot of their pigmentation.  :(

This was my second try, an even more "I don't care, whatever I hate everything" try at pressing.  Frustrated and dismayed by my first trials, I decided to try different proportions of alcohol and glycerin.  I used my samples for this experiment and again ended up with the same varied results.  I came to find, however, that proportion wasn't the most salient to the finished pressed eye shadow, but rather, the eye shadow itself, its own properties affecting the whole pressing process.  Eh.  I've let it go, haha.

Note the cracked pan, and note the empty pan that kissed oblivion upon its conception.  It begs the question, what did  I do to deserve this??

My most recent trials, perhaps the most "successful", especially the palette on the left.  Again, I do apologize for not labeling anything.  I was fairly pleased with these, though I still haven't found the tried and true way to get the buttery consistency of the shadow, only still happening upon it by chance.  Though  I didn't have any crack or become unusable so I do regard that as a small success!

Lessons learned: DO NOT TRY TO FIT FIVE GRAMS OF EYE SHADOW INTO ONE PAN IT WON'T WORK.  Cue vulgarities and mild tears of frustration.

And those were my three separate forays into pressing!  Without further ado, some last minute swatches!

Swatches from the first trial, Palette to the right

Swatches from the first trial, Palette to the left

Swatches from the second trial, Palette of samples

Swatches from the third Trial, Palette to the right

Swatches from the third Trial, Palette to the left

For most of summer I didn't wear eye shadow because of an eye infection/irritation I got in Japan, when it subsided and upon returning home I haven't really gone out or done anything that warrants the effort of eye shadow and its almost necessity for tedious blending.  I also got new glasses so I've been trying to figure out how it fits into my aesthetic as it is quite different from my old pair.  I haven't used these pressed shadows very much, as they are often reminders of my FAILURES ;___________________; and all too apparent inability to follow instruction in a way that allows for a desired outcome (insert tears) (lots of tears) (who cares if the eyeliner smudges) (IT WAS ALL IN FUTILITY)

BUT, really, I've accepted my shortcomings when it comes to pressing, it was an interesting and for the most part fun and enjoyable learning experience and perhaps someday in the future I will return to it.  But for now, I'm cutting my losses and admitting defeat.  Most of the shadows are still very much usable and I look forward to using them in the future :)

Thank you for reading!
Till next time. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Summer Saviors and Acquisitions

Hello All!

I have been away for some time, in part because the last couple of weeks of high school was a bit hectic and in part because I have gone away for the holiday!  In between graduating and delayed stop overs in Tokyo and finally reaching my destination, I have recognized that it is difficult to do blog-ly things without a computer.  In truth I didn't want the extra baggage of my dinosaur of a laptop, but it has proven difficult to circuit the world wide web with my measly iPad, a device that does not prove user friendly to users with clumsy sausage fingers and thumbs (re: Me).  But at this time I have been temporarily loaned a laptop and as such would like to share a couple things.  Mainly, my summer favourites, dubbed "Summer Saviors" and my haul thus far, dummed "Summer Acquisitions" (because I'm feeling a little sassy this morning).  My flight experienced a prolonged delay and I ended up staying the night at a hotel in Tokyo, I ended up perusing the drugstore there and bought a couple of things.  Additionally, I fully embraced the Duty Free in the Narita International Airport with one indulgent purchase (only one!)  In any case here are some haphazard photographs taken with a dirty lens (Excuse the dust)!

Summer Saviors

Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion
First and foremost would have to be sunscreen.  Though, I would have to admit that I get really lazy about sun protection in the cooler autumn/winter months, I'm a bit of a die hard fan of sunscreen in the warmer spring and summer months.  I picked this up a couple months ago and it's fairly nice.  Before I had been using Neutregena's Sheer Touch.  I'm not entirely sure how to sum up the good and bad of sunscreen, only lathering it on after I moisturize and crossing my fingers and hoping it helps.  When I'm in the sun for extended periods of time I also like to utilize spray on/mist sunscreen as it is easier to apply several times over a span of time.  

Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv 

I'm fairly sure that this is one of my favourite powders.  It's the reason I'm so keen on loose powder products even though they're a bit difficult to use as the scenario of "that's too much...tap tap...AND now it's all gone" happens all too often.  Additionally this doesn't travel very well, I would still have to say that I've used it with regularity and it has not failed me.  Next on my list to try is Sunday Riley's transluscent powder which I will hopefully pick up when I return to the states.

Sephora Cream Lip Stain in Always Red 

I've talked endlessly about this (well about all of these as they are constant favourites), I'm not sure what else to say.  It goes on matte, it dries and it will stay.  We (my family and I) went to an island and I swam in the ocean wearing this and it still clung on.  Of course it did not look perfect but I was really surprised.  I wore it for the entirety of our weekend involving lots of ocean water and sand and more water and it performed fantastically.  And I'm fairly sure I convinced three different people to buy it woohoo!

Estee Lauder Stay-in-Place Flawless Wear Concealer

Again, I've tried a lot of concealers and fall back to this.  I will repurchase it when it dies and it's almost there, in fact most recently the sponge tip broke up mid application :'(((((((((

Anastasia Beverly Hills Illumin8 Palette, shade 5

I use this to fill in my eyebrows, it's nothing special, I just happen to have it.  Though I'm fairly clueless about brows so I just tend to use whatever.  I've used this all summer and I do like it, it stays put and doesn't travel.  I've also used it as eyeliner on the rare occasion.

Summer Acquisitions

Lancome Teint Visionnaire Foundation: I purchased this before I left the states.  I've never used this before and didn't even pick up a sample before buying but I don't regret it.  Though I haven't used this often, (my summer face routine skips foundation) on the occassions that I have worn this, I've been rather taken with it.  Additionally there a small pot of concealer attached to the cap of the foundation!

Dreamgirl Lovelight BB Powder in shade 3: In honestly this caught my eye because of the packaging.  I'm not entirely sure how a BB Powder is meant to be different from your usual powder but this is nice.  It was also extremely cheap (with a bit of a dubious ingredients list).  It goes on smoothly and has light-medium coverage and SPF 15!  This is actually a replacement of the first one I bought, which I took with me to our weekend at the island but that cracked.  It was my first experience with a cracked product and nothing else broke in the way that it did.  This leaves me a little disappointed at both the product itself and the woman who convinced me to try it touting it's compact nature as a product I could take with me for on the go touch ups.  My conclusion is that this powder does not take well to transport.

Etude House CC Cream in Silky:  Whenever I'm in Asia I am keen to try asian products may it be local cosmetics or Korean or Japanese cosmetics.  Etude House is Korean and produces cutely packages goodies, I would guess calling to the inner Princess in us all.  (Upon entering the shop I was greeted with "Hello/Welcome Princess!" which is an attribute of the shopping experience that has not changed since the last time I visited several years ago).  Again, not entirely sure what a CC Cream is but it boasts the 8 benefits in 1 product.  Plus it has SPF 30.  It's one of those white face products that's meant to "adjust" to each individual's skin tone.  I've only tried this once and really liked the finish of it though it had very minimal coverage.  Surprisingly it blended decently into my skin, only half a touch too light.  Next on list to try is a Cushion Foundation!...Granted I find one in an appropriate shade.

Shiseido Integrate Powder Foundation:  Integrate is one of the many brands owned by the Japanese powerhouse that is Shiseido (who seemingly owns 90% of the beauty products in Japan), it is on the lower end of the scale in terms of price in my attempt to try products from different pricepoints in Japan.  I didn't bring any makeup with me on my carryon or backpack (I was not expecting to spend the night), and checked in all of my cosmetics and skincare.  I bought this late in the evening at a 24 hour convenience store in my hotel.  I was pleasantly surprised, both by the product and the puff it comes with.  Very smooth upon application and has lovely coverage.  The puff had two sides, the typical sponge/puff texture and one likened to the feel of velvet.  I rather like this, though it does not travel well at all.  The powder refill doesn't lock into the container and thus moves around in the case.  Surprisingly it has survived intact, just a tiny chip seen in the photo above...which is much more than I can say than Version 1 of the Lovelight powder.

The Face Shop Lovely Me:Ex You Face Blusher in 09 Cinnamon Dream:  Very recently purchased is this blusher from The Face Shop, another Korean brand.  I think this is meant to be a bronzer or contouring product, and I think it would be lovely as such on lighter skin tones.  It works as a very subtle contour for me (medium/dark skintone).  As such, I don't have a very developed opinion of it.  It's okay.

Careline Oil Control Blush-On in Fresh Tomato:  Another recent purchase (a clear trend here...), this was, like the Shiseido Integrate powder, from the lower end in terms of pricepoint.  I wore this yesterday and the colour did feel fresh to me!  It also stayed put and remained giving me a flush for a good chunk of time.  I am pleasantly surprised with this.  Although a major detriment of this product, one that will prevent me from purchasing other colours, is that it does contain Palm Oil.  I didn't find any conclusive evidence that it's sustainably harvested, and at the pricepoint of this product, I have to assume the worst.  On the plus side, I have now found a new colour for blush that I like!

Dreamgirl Shinin Thru Single Blush:  Really pigmented blush, also containing palm oil :(  This doesn't blend very well, but it packs a punch.  I've worn it several times but it felt very standard to me, nothing that was pleasantly surprising or particularly striking.  Again, I really only bought this for the packaging. Also I am convinced now, after learning of the products name (Shinin Thru) that this is targeted towards pre-teens wanting to dip their toes into the big bad and beautiful world of makeup.

Ever Bilena Single Blush-On with Vitamin E in Brown:  I have to be completely honest and admit that I bought this because of the colour name.  "Brown", upon seeing this I had a good chuckle.  I thought this might make a soemthing of a contouring powder, but is actually much much too light and too shimmery to be as such.  I've used it to add a subtle glow to my cheeks.  I saw several of these with quite lovely shades (accompanied by terribly misleading names, read: a bright magenta named Shy), though again, the ingredients list leaves much to be desired, so unfortunately I won't be purchasing any more of these blushers.

Etude House Dear My Blooming Lips-Talk Lipstick in RD306: A devilishly handsome deeper red that is surprisingly wearable because of the softer cream formula that is both lightweight and is more sheer than it is opaque.  I was pleasantly surprised by how this wore on the lips, especially for the shade that it is.  It didn't feather at all which is a common problem I've experienced with a handful of lipsticks.  Another positive is that it is quite comfortable to wear (though still not holding a flame to my beloved Dior Serum).  Also...really really lovely packaging that does evoke a sense of "Princess".

Ever Bilena Matte Lipstick in Dusk: Gorgeous colour, in the same colour family as Estee Lauders Woodland Berry.  I wasn't particularly impressed by the formula of this lipstick or the wear time.  I have grown to expect longer wear times from Mattes, and this faded after about two or so hours.  I probably won't be purchasing anymore shades.

The Face Shop's Face It Wrinkle Repair Lipstick in BR801:  I actually didn't buy this, and was instead given it.  Extremely comfortable formula to wear with a sheer but buildable colour.  This is a nice natural/ almost MLBB shade for me.  It saddens me that this line is limited to only three colours :(

KATE Colourlicious Diamon in BR-4:  I am quite enamoured with this palette and have used it more than the other mini palettes I've brought with me on this trip.  I adore the look it gives when you follow the diagram in the packaging and love how all the colours look together.  I wish I had purchased more of these!

Heroine Make Volume & Curl Mascara:  I don't know much about mascara and as such can't make any sort of developed or refined judgment on eye lash related products.  ...I gravitated towards this because of the cute packaging (...another common trend).  I am forever searching for a mascara wand that can be pulled out of the tube with the right amount of mascara product.  This one pulls out with gobs on, and I end up having to spend a good amount of time trying to decrease the amount on the wand.  It's a nice mascara though, and I didn't experience any smudging wearing it bought on my upper and lower lashes. Let us take a moment to appreciate the bright magenta tube!

Jill Stuart Blossom Dual Cheek Color:  Last but certainly not least is my one indulgent purchase from Tokyo.  This blush is breath taking.  From the beautifully ornate packaging, to the product itself, to the included travel blush brush which clasps onto the blush compact.  This blush has two colours, both in loose powder form.  The formula is like silk and applies like a dream.  The blush brush is a lovely surprise, it is EXTREMELY soft and gorgeous to apply blush with.  It's also quite convenient as it is a travel friendly retractable brush.  This is my favourite purchase thus far and it is still housed in its original box.  If given the opportunity I will certainly try more products from Jill Stuart.

And thus concludes my haul so far.  I have several more weeks before I leave and intend to try a couple more products.  I'm trying to avoid buying products I can easily acquire in the States and so have focused on local and Asian brands.  In terms of my summer face, it has been fairly constant, usually utilizing the above mentioned Summer Saviors.

My usual summer routine involves the same steps, I put on some concealer, apply powder on top, I fill in my brows, I do a bit of contouring, put on some lipstick, and if I'm feeling extra sassy I put on some eye liner.  (I also got new glasses! and a haircut!) If I'm going out I add eyeshadow/eyeliner, blush and setting spray.  Because I've been spending so much time in the sun, I have become increasingly darker, and it's fairly obvious that my face products are now much too light for me (see standing picture of me pretending to be cute on our terrace).  The difference between my face and neck, and more apparent, between my face and legs are a bit dismaying.  But such is life and such is life during the summer I suppose.  I'm not someone to stay in the shade or abstain from summer fun because I'm afraid of getting darker so I have wholly embraced and look forward to a slight need to adapt my base routine. 

In any case, that's all the I have to share.  This summer has been a time of change and new experiences and of course many feelings of excitement but also fear for what lies in front of me once July ends.  A new beginning waits for me in university, far from home and the people I have developed relationships with in my four years of high school.  Though it disheartens me to say that there will be many good byes, some of them final, it brings a smile to my face and butterflies in my stomach to thing of all the hellos and pleased to meet you's that are yet to come.  I'm still unsure of where I'm headed, and I'm still forever piecing together who I am and who I will be, but I lie content with the fact that these are all things that I control.  That my future lies directly within the realm of my own personal possibilities, and that's something to treasure.

Thank you for reading :)
Till next time!