Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Physician's Formula "Eye Booster" Kit Review

If you're adventurous and into cosmetics, you've probably heard something through the grapevine about some sort of 3-D, fiber mascara that's supposed to make your lashes look two times as long or like you're wearing falsies. You've probably also heard that it's not sold in stores and you have to buy it from someone you know who knows someone who knows another someone who's selling it.

Until now, apparently, since Physician's Formula now has their own Target-exclusive version.

Since I was originally looking for a Physician's Formula eyeliner when I saw this package, I figured I'd give the fiber "lash booster kit" a try. The pack was $15, which is a pretty good deal considering a single Physician's Formula product is usually in the $11 range and the pack comes with three products.

The way it works is you put on a layer of mascara to prime the lashes, then you brush on the fibers, then another layer of mascara. I know, it's a pretty involved process. Spoiler alert: It's also messy.

Here's what my lashes look like with two coats of good ol' mascara.:

Yep, that's a raccoon tail behind me.
The mascara I'm wearing  this picture isn't the one that came with the kit; it's actually one of two different mascaras I normally use: a light coat of Rimmel's Power Volume Black Smoke mascara. At this point I would normally add a heavy coat of NYX's Badunkadunk mascara (it's my absolute favorite), but I waited until the end this time.

"That honky-tonk...badunkadunk?"

And then I put on the fibers. The wand looks like this:

Looks like a mini chimney sweeper, am I right?
I learned the hard way that unlike mascara, you don't brush this on your lashes from the root to the tip. You just lightly brush it on the edges of your lashes. The first time I tried the fiber mascara, I had fibers falling in my eyes all day. It was super uncomfortable, especially since I wear a contact in one of my eyes (fun, weird fact about me).

And no matter how hard you try to not blink when you're brushing them on, the fibers will get EVERYWHERE. I'm not kidding. Even just opening the tube spills fibers all over my counter, which is enough to make me NOT want to use this. I absolutely hate a messy bathroom counter.  

And they'll get all over your face. And in your eyes some more. At this point I put on the Physician's Formula mascara to "lock in" the fibers, which will fall on your face and in your eyes even more. I'm not a huge fan of this particular mascara, but it works alright. After that, I put on a heavy coat of the NYX Badunkadunk, and this is what the end result was:


There's definitely a difference in length, but the process is so involved and time consuming that this is not something I could ever do on a regular basis. Plus I don't really like having itchy eyes all day, big surprise. However, if I have a little extra time in the morning and don't anticipate a long, busy day, I might reach for this product.

That's all, folks! Let me know your thoughts on this/similar products; I'd love to hear from you!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Thrifty Threads Thursday, 04.30.15: Little black cat (brooch)

Happy Thursday, dear readers!

If I look a little exhausted and uncharacteristically grumpy today, it's because I just turned in my publishing portfolio for graduation and am starting on my thesis now. Much grump, very not-wow. You know. Worn out to the max, but the end is in sight!

Today's look is a little Halloween-y. I love orange. I love black. I paired them together and it was the perfect spring outfit, if a little seasonally inappropriate in terms of color combinations.

Lipstick today is Toast of New York by Revlon.

This is actually a dress with a sweater thrown over, which is a fun way to make a new look with old clothes. The sweater had been sitting in my "give to Goodwill" bag for about a month, but last night it hit me that the orange would go well with the stripes, so now it's staying as a wardrobe essential.

Awkward close-up of some sleeves 'n' stuff.
I've also decided I'm really diggin' brooches lately—add that to the list of things people hardly wear anymore but that still I do. This wooden cat brooch completed the look and had Speak of the Devil stuck in my head all day.  

I took today off (mostly) from school/work stuff to relax, focus on myself, and clean my apartment (currently a mess because I can only focus on graduation projects at the moment). So far that's resulted in job hunting and binging on Criminal Minds. Go figure, huh? I can't even relax without doing something productive. 

Anyway, here's the breakdown: 

Asos dress: 9.99, eBay
Sweater: 4.99, Goodwill
Flats (not pictured): 5.99
Brooch: 4.99, eBay
Total: 25.96

And that's it from me! See ya next time! 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Thrifty Threads Thursday, 04.23.15: Channeling faux fall weather and actually wearing pants.

Hey hey, everyone.

Today's look isn't totally thrifted like it would normally be. Actually, the only thing thrifted in today's outfit is the shoes (but they're totally cool, I promise). I haven't done laundry in about a week and a half, so the pickings were slim today and I'm feeling pretty "meh" about it.  I don't usually wear pants out in public unless it's a weekend, so today felt a little off.

By not wearing pants in public I mean that I usually wear dresses and skirts. I am not a nudist. I promise.

Ahem, BUT HOW 'BOUT THESE SHOES? I am in love.

Hot air balloon mug not included.

I wished for Bradbury season this morning and got faux fall weather instead. Which is close, but not quite close enough for my taste. It's not the same when you know there are no pumpkins to carve or leaves to crunch. The wind chimes don't sound the same either, for some reason. Today just felt odd.

Anyway, today was kind of a lazy day, in terms of dressing, by my standards. I mean, I'm wearing jeggings. Sort of. Are they jeggings if you can cuff them? Because I did that, and it looked cute. Maybe that's why today felt so strange.

This shirt is one of the only t-shirts I like to wear out in public as well; I prefer to stick with blouses most of the time. I do have a handful of horror-punk band t-shirts from my high school/college days because I'm not a crazy person and do enjoy a comfy tee now and then, but usually that "then" is on a weekend when I become a hermit.

Really feelin' this hair.

Here's a picture with Archie's big booty in it, because he insisted. What a scallywag.

But enough of my jabbering. Here's the breakdown:

Shirt: 9.99, Ross
Pants: Gifted, but estimating 12.99
Hoodie: 20.00, Target
Shoes: 7.99, Goodwill.
Total: 50.97

Yeah, that's a large number and I don't really like it. But how 'bout them shoes?!

Alright, that's enough from me today. See ya next week!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Thrifty Threads Thursday, 04.16.15

Hey there, readers.

Today's look is sort of vintage inspired (go figure, like most of my outfits are). But what even is vintage, anyway? It seems like if something looks old then it's fair game to call vintage.

While nothing from today's outfit is vintage, I sure felt like a secretary from the 1940s (albeit a 1940s secretary whose skirt is about five inches too short). And unfortunately I only have one picture to show today because I'm never home at a time when:
  • There is good lighting
  • Children aren't running around outside shooting water guns 
  • Neighbors aren't smoking cigarettes in flannel robes in 70-degree weather and watching me suspiciously
Anyway, onward to today's outfit (featuring a gross filter because I tried to compensate for poor lighting and it didn't work).

Spoooooky shadows!

I bought this skirt in March and hadn't had a chance to wear it until today because I didn't have a blouse that wasn't too dressy—aka a crisp white button-up that would make me look like a tight-ass boss bitch.

Not that there's really anything wrong with that. It's just not a look I like to go for because

A) My face naturally frowns when it's resting and people tend to think I don't have a personality, and
B) I'm a bit of an old soul

So, yep. I knew I needed a zazzier blouse, but nothing too crazy. I found this one at Goodwill last week and thought it was a perfect match for the skirt. Also I'm kind of obsessed with polka dots. And Peter Pan collars. It was fate.

Now, here's the breakdown:

Skirt and belt set: 5.99, Goodwill
Blouse: 4.99, Goodwill
Nylons: 5.00, Walmart
Flats (not pictured): 5.99, Walmart
Total: 21.97

Not bad, huh? Especially for an outfit people will totally take you seriously in because you're so put-together. Three cheers for professionalism?

In other news, I tried a new foundation today by Bare Minerals and am pretty in love. My face didn't feel sticky or caked-on all day, which is a good example (relating back to my last post) of when you should spend the money on nicer cosmetics. Sticky gunk face is gross; avoid it at all costs.

Lipstick is Fire & Ice by Revlon.

Alright, that's it from me. Have a great weekend!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Cash-Saving Cosmetics Tips

I have a thing for makeup—nice, quality makeup that doesn’t look cheap or wear off quickly.
I’m also a graduate student and don’t make a lot of money at my current job. What a conundrum, right? What am I supposed to do? 

I’ve found a few ways to combat this issue, and I want to talk a little more in depth about the various ways you can save money on beauty products while still buying for quality.

You know what’s cool about beauty stores? They often have membership programs where your purchases earn you points that can be used for samples, coupons, or free gifts. 

If you don’t already know, one of the best perks is definitely free birthday gifts. Ulta and Sephora both give their members a free birthday gift each year during the month of their birth, and it’s always something high-quality and worth stopping in to pick up. 

Last year Ulta gave members Calvin Klein mascara (full size, not sample!) and this year it was an Ulta eyeshadow palette (normally $22) which I use on a regular basis because it’s that good. It glides on so smoothly and holds the pigment all day.  

Membership has its perks.

Sephora also does birthday gifts to members. This year it was sample size Nars matte lip pencils (which I was ecstatic about because Nars is crazy expensive). 

Membership has its perks x2.

And let’s not forget about hair color! Back when I was a redhead, I would buy my color from L’Oreal in a box. But did you know they have a membership rewards program? Each time you buy a box from them, snap a picture of the code on the bottle of dye inside. Enter the code on their website, and when you have five codes L’Oreal will send you a coupon for a free box of hair color. How neat is that?! 

Ulta usually does a sale each spring called 21 Days of Beauty, during which time select high-end products are 50 percent off. I like to keep an eye out for sales like these (either by mail advertisement or emailed ads/newsletters). I’m still kicking myself for not picking up a Too Faced blusher while it was only $15.  

Another thing I like to keep an eye out for is discount codes sometimes emailed by companies whose email lists I subscribe to—especially if I’m eyeing a certain product from a particular company. 

Clearance sections
If you’ve never dug through the clearance section of beauty stores, you’re gonna start after reading this. They’re a treasure trove of great deals—sometimes hit-or-miss, I’ll admit—and you never know what you’ll find. 

Clearance section products don’t necessarily mean that they don’t work well or are out of style. Sometimes products are there because the store overstocked, the products are seasonal leftovers, or because the makeup cake cracked inside the package. 

Two small cracks? No biggie.

I don’t know about you, but a small cracked cake of eyeshadow doesn’t bother me—especially when it means a $30 palette is marked down to $19. 

And did you know Sephora has a clearance section? They do. And it’s amazing. 

Sample sizes
I think I survived about a year and a half using sample sizes of Urban Decay’s eyeshadow primer on a daily basis before I caved and finally bought a tube of it. Crazy, right? They came free in one of the Naked palettes, and you really can’t go wrong with free samples.  

There are also sites where you can buy sample sizes for a few bucks to test out an expensive product before you buy it. A great example of this is The Body Needs, where you can purchase little sample pots of MAC lipsticks and other MAC products for $3–6.  This is fantastic for testing out colors or foundations you’re unsure about and would hate to waste $18+ on if it doesn’t work out. 

The Body Needs MAC sample in "Dare You"

Drugstore dupes
I like to do my research before buying any drugstore dupes of brand-name beauty products, but there are definitely some out there that are worth their salt. 

One of my favorite drugstore brands for eyeshadow is e.l.f. They’re cheap, but the colors have a nice pigment and brush on smoothly. I got one of their 32-color palettes for only $6 and am very impressed. I mostly bought it because I don’t have the Naked 2 palette, and the e.l.f. one has a nice range of browns and greens without trying really hard to be an Urban Decay product. 

I also really like Wet’n’Wild’s matte lipsticks. Some of the colors are good MAC dupes, but they don’t wear as well as MACs do.  You do get what you pay for, however, as they’re only $1.99 each. If it’s not a color I think I’ll be wearing on a regular basis, I’ll opt for the Wet’n’Wild version (or any other brand that has a comparable dupe).

If you’re looking for a dupe but don’t know where to start, I suggest browsing Pinterest—I’ve found many great product reviews there. 

Beauty swaps
But what about those inevitable impulse purchases that didn’t work out—the stuff you swore you’d wear but hardly touched and would hate to throw in the trash.

Have you considered swapping products with a friend or family member? I hadn’t either until fairly recently when my cousin and I were woefully contemplating purging our makeup drawers of the stuff we’d hardly ever used. It seemed such a shame to throw all that money away. We both mailed each other a box, and it’s been a lot of fun testing out and swatching everything.  

What fun!

Ultimately, there are some things I won’t buy cheap. Foundation, for example. Primer. Most lipsticks. You can usually tell when someone is wearing a product that’s really cheap, because it won’t wear well on their skin or look very flattering. But that doesn’t mean you can’t save a little money in your pursuit toward nice cosmetics—hopefully some of these tips help! And as always, I’d love to hear any tips you have that I haven’t mentioned.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Thrifty Threads Thursday, 04.09.15: Channeling Elaine Benes

Hello, everyone! It's time for yet another Thrifty Threads Thursday. This time, I'm channeling Elaine Benes of Seinfeld—or at least that's how this dress makes me feel (maybe a little more so because Elaine is also an editor). 

Lipstick is Rose Wine by Revlon.

Today's weather was super nice. I didn't have to wear my usual boots-leggings-coat-sweatshirt combo. I got away with oxfords and a light cardigan (not pictured), and it was wonderful. Archie enjoyed snooping around the patio while I tried (fairly unsuccessfully) to take these pictures. I think we're both ready for summer and lots of sitting outside.

Outfit breakdown:
Dress: 5.99, Goodwill
Oxfords: 4.99, Goodwill
Cardigan (not pictured): 5.99, Goodwill
Total: 10.98 

Wow, what a deal, huh? I have a sneaking suspicion these totals will continue to be pretty low as the weather warms up. Also, I stopped by Goodwill after class today. So... keep an eye out for more outfits, I guess...

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Thrifty Threads Thursday, 04.02.15

Hello, everyone! I don't know about you, but sometimes (most of the time) dressing for spring baffles me. It's too warm for leggings but still a tad too chilly for bare legs. Today's Thrifty Thursday is my attempt to dress for fickle spring weather: a light coat (not too heavy, and it can be removed if the weather warms significantly) and nylons, as they do surprisingly keep you just a bit warmer. 

Poor photo quality brought to you by my strategically placed tablet.

Normally I wear a cardigan with each of my dresses, but today was nice enough that it wasn't required. 

Yes, that's a corgi welcome sign behind me.
Outfit breakdown:
Coat: Goodwill, $12.99
Dress: eBay, $7
Nylons: $5
Flats (not pictured): Wal-Mart, $5.99
Total: $30.98 

Lipstick is Cranberry Luster by Sephora.
Overall, not bad for an outfit that can either be professional or dressed down for a more casual look. 

P.S. I have dark hair now. What do you think?

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