Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Medium Ash Review

When I cut my hair short a few weeks ago, it sparked the beginning of my obsession with my eyebrows. Not that I didn't care about their existence before but somehow with my hair being quite shorter, my brows seemed to take much more precedence on my face. I tried going back to a few of the eyebrow powders and pens I had but I hadn't found the perfect shade. The dark browns seemed much too warm and red and I tried with a charcoal grey but it was much too cool toned.

Enter the Anastasia Brow Wiz in Medium Ash, my current favorite for a natural but oomphed brow look. I think this color is the best for my Asian NC30 skintone.



Anastasia Brow Wiz in Medium Ash

Click through to read my thoughts on the Brow Wiz and before/after application pictures!

Persuasion

I posted this on my Facebook page but for those of you who missed it, here's a one color wash look I did with Persuasion, one of my favorite "one and done" eyeshadows from Darling Girl. I absolutely love the hint of green sparkle that peeks out from the purple base when the light catches it. Nothing looks fancy like a duochrome eyeshadow.

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Products Used:

Darling Girl Primped and Primed Eyelid Primer
Darling Girl Glitter Glue
Darling Girl Persuasion

When you're feeling particularly lazy like I have lately, what eyeshadow color(s) do you like to use to make it seem like you've put more effort into your look?

Darling Girl Cosmetics: Miscellaneous Eyeshadow Swatches

Today I have a few Darling Girl Cosmetics eyeshadows to swatch for you, two Diamond Dusts, one of their Rainbow Brite colors, one from their Not an 80s Band collection, and one from their Spring Social Collection. I always seem to swatch a few of their eyeshadows here and there so it's honestly a little difficult coming up with a witty title for the set. 


Darling Girl After You've Gone

After You've Gone: "The hazy blue-gray smoke of a freshly discharged gun, shot through with silver and white flashes of sparkle" This is from her "Not an 80s Band Collection". The description is pretty spot on though I think it isn't as blue.


Darling Girl Limelight

Limelight: "Bright chartreuse with pink sheen and sparkle" This is one of the diamond dusts and I think the pink sheen and sparkle benefits from the use of a glitter fixative (like Darling Girl's Glitter Glue or Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy). The base color is SO pretty though and the combination of the bright green with pink is different but works so well together.


Darling Girl Lucky

Lucky: "Pale white with turquoise iridescence in the jar, but when swatched a beautiful green flash is seen along with blue, green, and red/pink sparkles" 

I tried to capture Lucky's pretty duochrome but my camera was not having it so I suggest you pop on over to Beauty's Bad Habit where her swatch blows mine out of the water. The duochrome in Lucky is so strong, the turquoise shift is just as apparent when not over a black base. If you're curious as to how it compares to Sugarpill's Lumi, Lumi is a little smoother and more of a straight turquoise duochrome whereas Lucky has some smatterings of other sparkles and the turquoise duochrome is slightly greener than Lumi.


Darling Girl Socialite Swatch

Socialite: "Rich royal blue with strong turquoise flash". This is a super bright blue with a turquoise duochrome. At first, I thought this might be similar to Sugarpill Cosmetics Royal Sugar but it's not since Royal Sugar has a much darker base and has a turquoise sparkle whereas Socialite has a duochrome that lightens up the base in appearance and is really evident around the edges of the eyeshadow. This did feel a little drier compared to the other eyeshadows.

Darling Girl Totally Teal

Totally Teal: "An almost matte teal base with red/pink 'diamond dust' glitter" The best for last. This was easily my favorite eyeshadow from the set. The listing color and the swatch is spot on. I wish the camera picked up the pink diamond dust glitter better but I really don't mind the base color by itself. The diamond dust glitter isn't like a duochrome the way it is for some of the other diamond dusts, just a very pretty sparkle that makes it more than a teal.

Darling Girl just released their Halloween collections so are you guys thinking about picking anything up? I really had my eyes on some of the Zombie Apocolips but I gotta hold off buying it myself and maybe asking for them at Christmas.

Silk Naturals Eye Spy Fall 2012 Collection

silk naturals eye spy

Silk Naturals has just released their Fall 2012 collection which includes a few matte eyeshadows, lip products, blushes, and a cloned mini eyeshadow collection that you might like to try.

 Each product listing has swatches too so don't forget to check those out!

First off, they have their clone collection of the Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette


Silk Naturals Naked 2 Palette Clone

I remember asking them months ago if they had any plans in the works to replicate it and they mentioned that they didn't. It turns out though that Urban Decay's decision to sell in China spurred them to create it and while Urban Decay has decided to not sell in China, Silk Naturals is still going to release the collection. Their clones aren't perfectly spot on because Silk Naturals takes effort to not include talc and other ingredients that are often more common in mainstream cosmetics.

Secondly, there are a few new lip products in the Kisser Slicker formula.


Silk Naturals Eye Spy Kisser Slickers

Thirdly they came out with a few eyeshadows. How often do you see loose white matte eyeshadows? That matte teal looks extremely appealing too.


Silk Naturals Eye Spy Eyeshadows

Lastly, there are a few blushes out to round out the collection.



Silk Naturals Eye Spy Blushes

I'm not sure if I'm going to pick up anything from this collection but I'm sure that a clone collection of the Naked 2 Palette has been eagerly awaited. Are you going to pick up anything?

Darling Girl Holly Jolly Holo Gloss Swatch & Comparison

As few of you guys know, a little while ago I was sort of part of this collaboration between Darling Girl Cosmetics and a few other bloggers. We talked on Twitter about having glosses named after us and out came this mini collection of Blogger Glosses. 

Mine was named Mai (so narcissistic but I suppose I never claimed to not be) and was partially inspired by another gloss that Darling Girl carries, Holly Jolly. The two are so similar that I figured I could show how different it actually is.

First off, here's Holly Jolly.  

Darling Girl Holly Jolly swatch

Now here's a swatch of both glosses, this really shows off the difference.

Darling Girl Cosmetics Holly Jolly vs Mai Holo Gloss

Holly Jolly is described as a "Deep blue based red with gold and green flakie" and Mai is described as a "Cherry red with golden green flakie". Both have that gorgeous flakie sparkle but you can see that Holly Jolly is much bluer whereas Mai errs more orange based.

and a split lip picture of both glosses.

Darling Girl Cosmetics Holly Jolly vs Mai Holo Gloss

The difference is so subtle that I think you don't need to own both (though I'd love for you to own my namesake gloss!). If you find yourself favoring blue based reds, Holly Jolly is for you and if you favor orangey red and helping stroke to fuel ego, get Mai gloss!

Do you own either Holly Jolly or Mai?

Darling Girl Primped and Primed Eyelid Primer Review

I'm so so thrilled to be posting this review on Darling Girl's Primped and Primed Eyelid Primer! If I had to pick my favorite indie brands, one of the ones at the top of the list has to be Darling Girl Cosmetics. I adore the company for many reasons, one of which is the variety of products that they offer. I love seeing indie companies that produce more than eyeshadow and Darling Girl fits the bill by offering lip glosses, lip balms, bath and body products, and more.

darling girl cosmetics primped and primed

I know previously they used to have an eye primer called "Stay The Day" but it isn't offered anymore and the ingredients are quite different from Primped and Primed. I have tried a few indie eyeshadow bases but never a primer so I was really happy about trying this out.

Darling Girl Primped and Primed Eyelid Primer

Product Description: "The perfect prep for your eyelids, Primped and Primed will help your eye shadow wear longer and resist creasing."

Packaging: Plastic 3 gram jar with a screwtop black lid. I know that not everyone will like the potted packaging because it may not be sanitary enough for some, but you can certainly use a flat paddle brush to pick up the primer and apply it to your lid.

Price: $4.00 for 3 grams of product (I even weighed it myself!)

Where to purchase: Darling Girl Cosmetics.

Cruelty Free? They are cruelty free.

My Thoughts on the Formula/Wear Time:

Primped and Primed looks semi translucent in the pot but applies clear onto the lid. I'm used to using primers in a squeeze tube or with a wand versus in a pot so it took a few tries to figure out how much primer to actually use. Using too little means the eyeshadow won't adhere as well to your lid and it'll crease faster so using more is better. You'll know you have enough because your eyelid should feel slightly tacky and that really helps to grip the eyeshadow, giving it a near foiled look. I found that you can pick up the perfect amount by swirling your finger lightly over the surface five to six times.

I have oily hooded eyelids which usually do a number on my eyeshadow. When I used Primped and Primed underneath my eyeshadow on a hot 90+ degrees day, I got 11-12 hours of wear with minimal to no creasing, only fading of the eyeshadow.

In the gif, you can see that after 12 hours, I had the beginnings of creasing in the inner corner. This was after spending the day in 95-99 degree weather in San Diego so I really put it to the test.

(I used Darling Girl Smoking Gun eyeshadow)

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I thought it'd be handy to do a comparison between Too Faced Shadow Insurance (the primer I was currently using), Primped and Primed, and Glitter Glue to show how foiled Primped and Primed can make an eyeshadow look. I used Aromaleigh Dark Matter eyeshadow to compare.

As you can see, Dark Matter looks especially foiled over Primped and Primed and Glitter Glue and less so over Too Faced Shadow Insurance (though it's just as good!)

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I am honestly so impressed with this primer. If you do have glittery or super sparkle filled eyeshadows, this does a decent job at gripping the sparkle but you'll get better results using a glitter fixative (like Darling Girl's Glitter Glue or Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy!).

Right now I do like Primped and Primed more than my current Too Faced Shadow Insurance and that's because I don't have to keep shaking and squishing the tube to ensure it doesn't separate. I'm really glad to be able to find an indie eyeshadow primer that works so well! I mean for $4.00, it's one hell of a deal!

UPDATE*

When I was testing out this primer, I mainly used loose eyeshadows as opposed to pressed eyeshadows. After some further testing, I've come to the conclusion that although this primer is excellent and better than other primers for loose eyeshadows, I don't like this as much for pressed matte. The very quality that makes it perfect for loose eyeshadows, its super adhesion, makes it not so good for pressed matte eyeshadows because then the eyeshadow sticks TOO well, foiling essentially, and becomes difficult to blend out. It doesn't darken shimmery eyeshadows but does make blending a little difficult.

I'm not sure if I'm explaining myself well so I have a few pictures to show what I mean. The eyeshadow on the left was applied over Primped and Primed and the eyeshadow on the right was applied over Too Faced Shadow Insurance. In both eyeshadows (Sugarpill Flamepoint and a color from Physicians Formula Classic Nudes quad), the color over Too Faced Shadow Insurance is the true to pan color. If you want to keep your matte eyeshadows its true to pan color, I wouldn't suggest using Primped and Primed.


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Would I repurchase? Yes! It's not an eyeshadow primer I'd use with matte eyeshadows but it is excellent especially for loose eyeshadows.

I'm curious to know, what's your current eyeshadow primer of the moment? If you don't use any, are you thinking about picking this up?

Disclaimer: I purchased this myself. All opinions are my own and there are no affiliate links in this post.

If you guys want to see more blog posts like this, feel free to check out the Saturday blog hop!

Beauty and Fashion Tech

Darling Girl Ghost with the Most and Zombies! Halloween Collection

Darling Girl Cosmetics has finally released their much anticipated (for me at least!) Halloween Collection! I didn't purchase anything from last year's Halloween collection and though I shouldn't be purchasing any from this year's collection, it certainly is tempting.

The release is split in two with one half called Ghost with the Most and the other called Zombies!.

Ghost with the Most is the collection of sixteen eyeshadows inspired by a certain movie, can you guess which one it is?

 Darling Girl ghost with the most collection

Zombies! includes some of the most amazing looking glosses (adorably named Zombie Apoca-lips), Spectral Shifts, and Duochrome Blushes.

Darling Girl zombies! collection

Will you be picking up anything from the collections?

A Little Bit of Lip Mathematics and Blog Updates

(I might have stolen the Lip Mathematics name from the lovely Robyn of Stay Beautiful whose ideas on mixing and matching lip products together to create a new color is absolutely genius. She hasn't updated the series in a while but I'm hoping for more soon. I think it's so smart to do and a great way of using the lip products you have [while staving off the desire to purchase more!])

(By the way, I'm slowly moderating the giveaway entries so I'll announce the winners when I'm done!)

Lip Mathematics first, boring blog updates afterwards!

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(Portland Black Lipstick Company Black Lipstick and Besame Cosmetics Carmine Lipstick)

My inspiration for doing this post is this video by DustyOHunter on the Estee Lauder Pure Color Vivid Shine Lipsticks. I basically fell in love with the Gunmetal Luminzer which is used over lipsticks to turn colors "deep, dark, dramatic". I'm supposed to be on a no/low buy now so I couldn't justify purchasing the $25.00 lipstick so I went searching for a few dupes before figuring out my own DIY version.

Part of me figuring this out required searching for a dupe of Lipstick Queen's Black Tie Optional.
(which I also heard about from DustyOHunter's blog) Black Tie Optional (BTO) is different from the Estee Lauder Gunmetal Luminizer because BTO was used as a base for your lipsticks instead of a topper the way the Gunmetal Luminizer is. BTO was discontinued but they did/do(?) offer a gloss version of their BTO and when I saw my tube of Portland Black Lipstick Company (PBLC) Black Lipstick, a lightbulb went off in my head.

I realized I could create a decent BTO copy by mixing a bit of gloss (I used Homeoplasmine, which is basically French petroleum jelly with some plant extracts) with a smidge of my Black lipstick to create a sheer black base. The idea of using color theory to alter lipstick shades isn't a new concept by any means, just something I hadn't thought of when it came to figuring out multiple uses for my Black lipstick.

If you had OCC's Tarred Lip Tar and some clear gloss, you could easily get the same result but since I already had PBLC's Black lipstick, I decided to use with that. This truly makes me want to own some of the OCC Lip Tars to try the technique out (Rx is seriously calling my name!) I much preferred using the black gloss as a base for my lipsticks as opposed to layering it on top because using it on top made the look a little too grey whereas it blended easier when it was a base. You can definitely experiment to see what you like best!

Here's how it all worked out:

Portland Black Lipstick Company Black + Vaseline

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Besame Carmine

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Besame Carmine + Black Gloss

Here's a side by side picture before and after the black gloss so you can see the difference. It's not too drastic but I really like the "After" since I wasn't so fond of how bright and orangey Carmine was and the black gloss base toned it down.

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For all those people wondering what you could possibly do with those "strange" black, blue, yellow, etc colored lip products, this is the answer. Opaque lipsticks seem to do better, along with brighter colors. DustyOHunter (I feel like such a fangirl because I've mentioned him so much during this post but I don't care) recommended warmer colors and mid-tone/light warm colors looked well. I tried it with a nude lipstick (Revlon's Soft Nude Colorburst Lipstick) and it just turned out terrible because the lipstick didn't have enough color to balance out the base. I mainly have red lipsticks and the effect looked quite nice. Experiment to see what looks best on you!

Onto the boring blog-related bits!

I'm slowly but surely trying to get into the swing of blogging again. Trying to do posts has been a little tough, especially looks of my makeup of the day when my day starts early and I am doing student hours in a speech & language clinic at school (meaning bright makeup is out of the question and putting on makeup only to take it off a few hours later is effortful at 7 in the morning). Last semester I had all night classes so doing posts was much easier since I had perfect morning light but this semester is all full of morning/afternoon classes (and a horrible Friday afternoon class!) which cuts into swatching time.

When it comes to blog changes, I added a few more social media buttons to the top of the sidebar so it'll be easier to find me on Facebook, Twitter, Hellocotton, etc. I moved the search bar to the top so it'd be easier to search for posts (if you weren't able to find them using the different tabs on top!) and lastly I also changed my tags around a bit and made two dropdown menus. One lists the types of blog posts I've done (Swatches, EOTDs, FOTDs, etc) and the other lists the brands I've used on the blog.

I'd also thought I'd take the time to talk about the ads and affiliate badges I have on the blog. I don't think I've ever talked about them before but better late than never! In the interest of full disclosure I do have advertisements on the blog, mainly my Blogher ad in the sidebar and a few Google Adsense blogs at the bottom of the sidebar and the bottom of the blog. The advertisements help to offset the costs of running the blog (my domain name which I recently got, my Flickr account, a little bit extra for the things I buy for the blog).

The affiliate badges (and occasionally the affiliate links) give me a commission when you use them to make a purchase. Whenever I do write a post with an affiliate link (say a Sugarpill affiliate link) I will include a nonaffiliate link (and mark it as such) if you don't feel comfortable using my affiliate link. Much like the advertisements, the affiliate links help to offset any costs from running the blog (not only the monetary costs but the time spent writing, editing, taking pictures, etc) I most definitely do NOT want to make you feel guilted into using them, they're just there for your convenience and to help give a little back to me. I certainly don't feel entitled to anything and I don't think you guys owe me anything because you read my blog.

Just to be clear, I don't do paid reviews; any money I do make from the blog comes from the advertisements or the affiliate badges and links I have.

If you managed to read this far, I send you my love.

FOTD, Blog Update, and Poll Results!

First off, here was my face of the day. This semester around I have a lot of day classes so I've really gotten into the habit of wearing a bold lip over doing eye makeup. I got this Milani Lip Flash Pencil in Photo Flash on sale a little while ago through creative couponing (CVS extrabucks plus a $5 off $10 and a 25% off coupon meant this was about 60 cents). It is a super bright, erring on metallic raspberry pink and I think it's so pretty. I'm not sure if I like the formula yet but I gotta keep wearing it before I have an opinion on it.

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Secondly, I'm not sure if you guys might have noticed but I finally got rid of the .blogspot.com and got my own .com domain! The new domain also gives me a new email address so if you want to ask me any questions, you can at mai@portraitofmai.com

Lastly, I wanted to talk a little bit on the poll results and how I want to do better reviews. From the results, most everyone voted to see more eyeshadow and lipstick/lipgloss swatches and also anything featuring Indie Cosmetics so I'll try to do more posts on those topics!

With my future reviews, I do want to focus less on how well a product does relative to its price and more on the performance of the product. I think it is easy to get into the mindset of excusing some faults of a product because it doesn't have a high pricetag but I know that isn't quite fair to do so.

Oh and what brands (indie or otherwise) have been your guys' favorites or ones you've been curious about? I'd like to get an idea of companies to write about!

bdellium tools 765 vs MAC 272 brush: Dupe or Not?

bdellium 765 vs MAC 272

My love affair with MAC makeup is basically over but I can never rid myself of my MAC brushes love. They are pricey to be sure and while I know you can find some decent dupes of some of their brushes, it seemed like one for the 272 hadn't been perfectly duped.

When I was at The Makeup Show LA in March, I saw that bdellium tools had a brush that looked like it might have been a viable candidate to replace the 272. I used it and was pretty satisfied for it but I wasn't able to get my hands on a 272 to compare it to (because it was discontinued a long while ago) until pretty recently. I thought it'd be handy to compare the two!

(I made sure to wash and dry both brushes with a brush guard so I could compare them both in the same condition)

Availability: welp the MAC 272 is discontinued so you can't get your hands on it (it retailed for $21.50 when it was still available) but the bdellium 765 is readily available at a few different vendors (listed on Bdellium's site) for $7.92 for either the Travel or Studio style or $9.68 for the Maestro on Bdellium's shop or $9.00 and $11 respectively at the other vendors. When I got it at The Makeup Show LA, it was $5.00 for the Travel style.

Brush length:

bdellium 765 vs MAC 272

The width of the bdellium brush is just about the same as the MAC brush but it's slightly longer and rounder at the top. The 272 has a much more blunt cut, angular top.

Brush density/fluffiness/use:

bdellium 765 vs MAC 272

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The bdellium brush is much fluffier than the MAC brush, that combined with the longer bristles means that the bdellium brush is a touch more floppy than the MAC brush. It doesn't mean that the bdellium brush isn't controllable, you'll just get more precision in the crease with the MAC 272. The MAC 272 works much better as a shader brush because the sides are flatter compared to the bdellium brush.

Brush softness:

Both brushes seem to be made out of goat hair and though the bdellium brush is soft, the MAC brush is much softer.

Overall:

Though they are similar, I wouldn't call them dupes. I know that on bdellium's Amazon site, the description used it say it was comparable to the MAC 272 but it has since been removed. I think if you are looking for the 765 to replace the 272, it doesn't. I much prefer using the bdellium 765 for blending out transition colors between the crease and browbone or applying the browbone highlight. The 272 is very similar to the MAC 239 in width and density so it can work to pack color on with the flat side and be able to contour and shape the crease. The thinner profile means it suits my smaller eyes better.

I forgot to mention, I quite like the short handled option from bdellium tools. Some brands have gigantically long handles which can be difficult for me to control so I do appreciate the short handles of the Travel brushes!

Are you as into the MAC brushes as I am? I know that there are brands like Sigma and Crown Brush doing similar brushes so most of the time I'm cool with getting the cheaper option but sometimes I'm more willing to wait out for the original.

Sugarpill Cosmetics, Now Available at Beautylish Boutiques!

I've been a little distracted with school so I completely neglected to mention that Beautylish opened up a shop on their website and that Sugarpill is available now their Beautylish Boutiques. The Boutique is a new part of the website and each month they'll feature a different brand with different specials along with stocking brand favorites. The first shop they featured is Sugarpill and there are a few different specials I wanted to talk about. I think you might still have to sign up for an invite but it's completely worth it.

Sugarpill Cosmetics at Beautylish Boutiques

Shipping is free for orders over $35 and $5.00 if your order is less than $35. Unfortunately they only ship within the United States so any international fans may want to ask for a CP.

First off, if you wanted to get your hands on the Limited Edition @#$%! Eyeshadow that was available at IMATS LA (and you didn't want to take your chances on winning it in my giveaway) then you can get it through Beautylish's shop but only with the purchase of a Heart Breaker Palette. I know that a lot of people might own it already but it's a great value to get both the Heart Breaker Palette + @#$%! for only $34.00 (and you could sell the palette later if you already owned it).

Secondly, I'm not sure if you guys remember my Sugarpill at Beautylish's Beauty Social post last October where I talked about some Chromalust trios that they were going to be released. I honestly forgot about them myself until I checked out Beautylish's shop and saw that they were finally available for sale there!

Sugarpill Cosmetics Chromalust Trios at Beautylish Boutiques
At the event, I only saw the Frostbitten, Reckless, and Zillionaire trios but they also have the Atomic trio available too. These all look to be full size by the way and retail for $30 (valued at $36!)

Atomic contains Lumi, Decora, and Royal Sugar. Frostbitten contains Birthday Girl, Tiara, and Darling. Reckless contains Absinthe, Starling, and Stella. Zillionaire contains Goldilux, Junebug, and Hysteric.

Lastly, they have Beautylish exclusive lashes for sale! The price on the eyelashes seems to have gone up from $5 to $6 but the lashes that were previously $8 didn't go up in price. They aren't carrying all the lash styles but they have five exclusive pairs and fifteen styles available in total.

They're going to have a new Boutique coming up on the 5th selling brushes and tools by makeup artist Billy B so I'd take part in the Sugarpill Boutique before any of the specials go away!

(None of the links in the post are affiliate links)