Dr. StrangeMauve: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Plum

So sue me, it’s been a slow day…

I had a particularly proud moment this past weekend when I convinced a rather attractive blonde that blue eye shadow could be her friend, too. Now I realize some of you just ran for the freakin’ door. It’s ok. Breathe… because today’s post is all about


Makeup is art. Our faces and bodies really are our canvases. Do not FEAR color. Plus let’s be real here, if you don’t try it you’ll never know and if you really hate it you can wash it off. Really now. Calm yourself ;)

Before we get into the nitty gritty of “Should I wear that?” we’re going to start with some color theory and definitions. Hopefully by the time we get to the end you won’t even need to ask the question because you’ll already know!

For an awesome visual lesson on this topic there is no better video out there than this one by internationally reknown Makeup Artist Robert Jones. It’s 15 minutes of your day and absolutely worth it. Go watch it and come back…

<grabs a snack and waits…>

Welcome back!

So let’s break this bad boy down, shall we?

The Color Wheel

To make any color, anywhere, ever, you only needed five colors: red, yellow, blue, black, and white.

Red, yellow, and blue are our primary colors. Black and white are used to darken or lighten. More on that later.

If you lay red, yellow, and blue out in a triangle and then mix each one with the one next to it you get your next set of colors known as secondary colors: orange, green, and violet.

If you lay those colors out in a triangle inside the original and rinse repeat you get your tertiary colors and end up with a wheel that looks an awful lot like this:

Mmm colors...

Mmm colors…

Complimentary Colors

Complimentary colors are those colors found opposite each other on the wheel. They compliment each other. Reds compliment green. Blue compliments orange. Yellows compliment Elizabeth Taylor.

Now you may be asking yourself where, exactly, that very common color brown is hiding. Funny you should ask that. Brown, for all intents and purposes, is a shade of orange.

Hues vs. Tints vs. Shades vs. Tones

Say what now? A pure hue is one of those twelve lovely colors on the wheel above. Every other color is a variation that falls under tint, shade, or tone. A shade is a hue that has black added to it. A tint is a hue that has white added to it. A tone is a hue that has grey added to it. From these we get every color in the visible spectrum.

Quick marketing lesson: You know those awesome eye shadow quads that every cosmetics company on the planet sells? Comes with four colors? Four? Yeah… hue, shade, tint, tone. It’s not rocket science. Everybody does it.

It would get pretty boring if the only flattering colors for your eyes all fell under one hue though, wouldn’t it? Doesn’t leave much room to play. That’s where…

Analogous Colors

… come in. Analogous colors are the colors to either side of your complimentary color. What this means is that if you have blue eyes your color arc would be reds, oranges, and yellows. If you have green eyes your color arc would be violets, reds, and oranges. If you have brown eyes your color arc would be greens, blues, and violets.

There is of course one exception to this very flexible rule. All of the gorgeous nude colors would normally fall into the red-orange-yellow ranges. However as they are nude they are meant to compliment your skin and not your eyes and they follow a different set of rules. When picking your highlights, smokey darks, and nudes, you need to pay attention to…


Undertones effect everything we put on our bodies, really. Whether it be a blouse or lipstick, this is the one little variable to the equation that spells the difference between you looking like you’re vibrant and alive versus looking like you’ve caught a bad case of jaundice. So what are undertones?

Most often referred to as Warm and Cool colors, colors with warm undertones have yellow in them. Colors with cool undertones have pink in them. Your skin has either warm or cool undertones. You can tell if you are a Warm or a Cool by looking at the veins in your arm. If they appear as green, you have Warm yellow undertones. If they appear as blue, you have Cool pink undertones. Similarly Warm and Cool colors will look best on your skin. Most of you have already determined which undertone you are by the colors you favor and best flatter you in your wardrobe. Warms will tend towards ivory blouses, gold jewelry, wear earthier shades of red and orange, can get away with wearing yellow, and often tan instead of burn. Cools will tend towards white blouses, silver jewelry, wear jewel tones, can get away with wearing pink, and often burn before they tan.

The best makeup example is differing shades of red lipstick. Warms want a fiery orange-red. Cools want a bluish red.

Lady Danger by MAC: a yellow toned red.

Lady Danger by MAC: a yellow toned red.

Ruby Woo by MAC: a blue toned red.

Ruby Woo by MAC: a blue toned red.

Once you start paying attention to colors, and you start swatching colors on your skin when you are choosing, you will start to recognize the warm and cool undertones and know which will be most flattering on you. Another example is eyeshadows. Even when dealing with nudes, sometimes especially when dealing with nudes, the undertone is important.

Crystal Avalanche by MAC: a yellow toned nude.

Crystal Avalanche by MAC: a yellow toned nude.

Blanc by MAC: a pink toned nude.

Blanc by MAC: a pink toned nude.

If you are using these colors as the all over lid color to start your eye makeup with, the undertones will skew your end result based on how well they compliment your skintone.

All The Pretty Colors

So earlier in this post I was using words like “red”, “orange”, and “yellow”, and in response you were using words like “WTF?!?” and “Are you mental?”. No, I do not expect you to put fire engine red eye shadow on your face (even though you could, if you wanted to). You have to remember we’re using makeup-speak here. Remember our tints, shades, and tones. One easy example is that all of the colors we would consider “gold” fall under yellow. All of our browns fall under primarily orange. Rusts and ruddy plums fall under red.

So while you may not flock to this red:

Passionate by MAC

Passionate by MAC

You may adore this one:

Girlie by MAC

Girlie by MAC

And while I’d prolly not walk outside wearing this:

Chrome Yellow by MAC

Chrome Yellow by MAC

I’d think nothing of wearing all of these:

Nylon by MAC

Nylon by MAC

Ricepaper by MAC

Ricepaper by MAC

Gorgeous Gold by MAC

Gorgeous Gold by MAC

One note to end today’s post regarding reds. Reds can be gorgeous. They can also be troublesome. I will post more later on what colors to wear where to achieve different effects. However for this lesson please keep in mind that if you have more mature skin, if you often have redness around the eyes, or like me you have a red complexion due to acne, rosacia, etc, you want to avoid wearing red around the eyes. It will make those other reds you are trying to conceal look even redder. This includes your pinks, your mauves, your rusts and ruddy plums. Even some of the brickish browns are culprits. While I defintely want to see people experimenting with color I don’t want to see people looking like they are inflamed and bleeding from the eyeballs.

Unless it’s Halloween and that was what you were aiming for.

I think your... um... face is running...

I think your… um… face is running…

Stay fabulous!

Foundation Oxidation, or “How Not To Look Like An Oompa Loompa”

Hello fabulous people :) It has been a month of crazy project after crazy project at work. Today I finally have a chance to stop spinning for a little bit so we’ll see if I can get this typed up!

In my last post I mentioned something called oxidation. Now when you see this word, most people think of the green patina on copper or, less attractively, rust on iron. While these are certainly different materials, the mechanism here between the very green Statue of Liberty and your foundation are similar. What this means, in summary, is that the various metal oxides that make up your makeup (ha!) are reacting to the sebum and natural oils on your skin and shifting color. This behavior isn’t exclusive to foundation but it’s certainly the one that is most obvious. Oxiation is also known to make blush and other colors muddy and grey. I have the particular joy of having found some conclears that turn a muddy grey when applied which does me such a great service when I’m trying to conceal dark spots.

“But Wendy, if it was as simple as that then everyone would have this problem. Why can my friends wear this foundation and look great, but if I wear it I look like a tangerine?”

Well that’s because nothing we do with, to, or on our bodies is ever that simple. We have to take our own personal body chemistry into account. While some foundations are notorious for oxidation (I’m looking at you, M·A·C), for the most part it is more likely an issue between your personal body chemistry + the chemical make up of your makeup + the oxygen in the air around you.

Everyone’s skin forms what is called an acid mantle. This mantle is a protective barrier made up of sebum and sweat.

Quick biology lesson: sebum, from sebaceous glands, are the oils that protect your skin. If you have too much you are battling acne. If you have too little you are battling dry skin. The only place you don’t have these glands are on the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet.

The next player in this game is pH. You hear this term a lot but it’s not always clear what it even means.

Quick chemistry lesson: pH stands for potential Hydrogen and is scale from 1 to 14 that gauges how acidic a substance is. On that 1-14 scale, the natural pH balance of skin is 5.5. This number is effected by our own natural body chemistry, the time of the month, what we eat, the weather, you name it.

I rather appreciate that they used "wine" as a value...

I rather appreciate that they used “wine” as a value…

So what we get here is a combination of the various metal oxides in your makeup reacting to the acids in your natural sebum and further reacting to the oxygen in the air around you.

Some folks will argue that last part saying that isn’t as big of a factor. In my own personal experience, when I’m seeing a foundation oxidize, it gets significantly worse as soon as I step outside. I’m going to go ahead out on this limb here and suggest that while that is not the primary cause, it certainly doesn’t help.

Now what do we do about it? There are some options. Not all foundations are created equal. Different brands, lines, and formulas are going to have different chemical make up and will react differently to your skin. This leads us to a point I can’t possibly stress strongly enough:


Any cosmetics shop or counter worth their salt will let you try a foundation sample (or three) to see if you like it. USE THIS PRIVILEDGE. Do NOT buy a $30-60 bottle of foundation without test driving that bad boy! You are putting this stuff ALL OVER YOUR FACE. Don’t feel bad about trying it out and not buying it until you know it’s right! A happy client is a return client. It’s better to take a few samples and come back to buy the one that was best rather than buy something that doesn’t work and come back to return it. Anyone in retail knows you are far MORE likely to make additional purchases and return in the future if you are happy with the product. Most people aren’t making additional purchases if they are returning a product they were unhappy with and if they’re really ticked off they aren’t coming back at all. Especially if they are returning a product that they wore out in a social situation and they suddenly realized they looked like Snookie.

Although I think in this case it’s a lot more than just her foundation…

Color matching is of course important. A makeup artist will select 2-3 shades closest to your skin tone and apply streaks, normally near your jawline, to swatch the color on your skin to find the best match. Also, if you are near a Sephora, they have a fancy little machine called the Pantone Color IQ which determines your Pantone color code and is pretty awesome. HOWEVER, once you find the right color and apply the foundation the oxidation begins. Now to be clear, most foundations rely on natural oxidation to achieve a more perfect color match. Many of them are very much geared this way, especially when you are looking at something like a BB or CC cream where there are only a small number of color options (often light, medium, and dark) to choose from. What we are looking to avoid here is when the oxidation goes too far and you suddenly look like an extra for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Why do you keep asking if I used a primer?

Why do you keep asking if I used a primer?

One thing to keep in mind here is that even your favorite foundation can color shift at times due to changes in your body chemistry. So how do we deal with that?

Primer. Specifically a silicone based primer.

“But Wendy, I thought we used primer to keep our makeup in place?”

We do. The function of the primer is to form an even layer on top of your skin that locks your makeup in place. Reread that line… form a layer. That’s right. The primer is forming a protective layer on top of your skin, creating a barrier between your acid mantle and the makeup. This simple step will greatly reduce the oxidation in your foundation.

You can help this along a bit further, as well. While you should always start with clean skin when applying makeup, beginning any makeup routine with an antioxidant moisturizer will further limit oxidation. Antioxidant… oxidize… get it? Got it? Good ;)

Some things to note…

Oxidation is more likely with cream and liquid foundations, however it will occur in any foundation type, including powders.

Oxidation is not usually an immediate reaction. It can take a half an hour or a few hours. This is why it’s important to test drive it home.

The color shifts can be subtle depending on lighting. Give yourself an hour or more after application and then check in fluorescent light, incandescent light, natural light, and my personal fav, the rearview mirror of the car. This may seem like overkill, but you can hit all of these points between the store, walking outside, getting in your car, and getting home. If after a few hours you’re still good to go, awesome!

If you are finding a foundation oxidizes on you, check the ingredients. Write down any of the oxides. If you keep doing this you may be able to pinpoint which oxide doesn’t agree with you and save yourself some time and effort in the future by knowing not to bother with foundations with (insert oxide here) in the ingredients.

If you find yourself between two foundation shades, ALWAYS go with the lighter shade. I realize that the bronzed look is in right now. That is what bronzer is for. A rule of thumb is that you can always go darker from lighter but it is very difficult to go lighter from dark. Wearing a too dark foundation is difficult to correct. Or, in short, you look foolish. Honestly, this one could be its own post.

 And that is my crash course in How Not To Look Like An Oompa Loompa!

I hope to see some of you Sunday at 2pm for Princess Farhana‘s Exciting Stage Makeup workshop!

Alphabet Soup: Things people call Foundation

Why hello there! Welcome back! I have been a bad, bad otter as I realize it’s been almost a month. Time flies when I get home from work exhausted. Upside is my current assignment has a good bit of downtime SO… here we are ;-)

One of the first things that you learn you need to add to your makeup toolbox is foundation. I know once upon a time not so terribly long ago the only thing you really needed to know about foundation was what shade you were. Not so much anymore. Now there are not only shades, but every kind of brightening, firming, pore reducing, age defying, sheer, full, tinted, gravity bending… you get the idea.

The most obvious player in this game is reliable ol’ foundation. You can dress it up, dress it down, powder it and make it sparkle, but in one form or another it’s been around since makeup became the thing to do. It can be found in powder, liquid, cream, and mousse. The only huge differences here are matters of preference, really. Some skin types (dry, oily, etc) take to certain types better than others (ie powder foundation doesn’t always work real well with dry skin, etc). Now for our purposes I will differentiate foundation into two categories: regular and full coverage. Regular foundation is the tried and true workhorse, meant to give you an even complexion as a foundation for the rest of your makeup. Pretty straightforward. Full coverage foundation is more opaque and meant to obscure more serious skin and coloration issues. For a gal like me with cystic adult acne and the scars to prove it, I tend towards full coverage foundation. Honestly I’d tend towards grease paint if it was just less… greasy. Anywho…

In the last year or so (or so says my brain with a really faulty calendar) some new players have come onto the market. Namely BB creams started popping up in the US. BB cream, short for Blemish Balm or Beauty Balm, originated in Germany in the 60’s as a treatment after facial peels and surgery and was introduced in South Korea and Japan in the 80’s where women valued a youthful, porcelain complexion. BB creams are normally offered in a limited number of shades (if not just one) and rely on oxidation to match each skin tone. We’ll talk more on what oxidation is in a later post called How Not To Look Like An Oompa Loompa.

Following the success of BB creams came CC creams because marketing people are nothing if not creative and original. The selling point of CC creams is Color Control or Color Correction. What this means in practical layman’s terms is that it’s geared to cancel out redness or yellowness in the skin. Very exicting.

Not to be outdone, they are now shopping the idea of a DD cream because why the hell not, really. I’ve heard these touted as Daily Defense creams. I’m waiting now for the EE creams (Extra Exfoliating?) or even SS creams (Spectacular Spackle?).

Moving right along we also have a less common but equally baffling product called tinted moisturizer. It is exactly what it sounds like. Someone took moisturizer and added color to it. Because clearly, more similar products with differing names and descriptions makes this all so much easier on people. Yep.

So what you are probably asking at this point is what is all this mess and what’s the difference? That’s a great question. The real short, to the point, least complicated answer I can give you is “opacity”. Every different type of all of the above is going to claim to be (insert all of the good yummy skin properties here) so really sticking them to those criteria is moot. After all’s said and done it’s about coverage. And the best way to exlain that is with pictures!

The tricky part was finding a volunteer who wasn’t me who would let me slather makeup all over their face. Having searched high and low I found such a willing subject. Some of you may have met them before. Everyone say hello to Ollie the Otter :)

Ollie really had no say in the matter...

Ollie really had no say in the matter…

Now Ollie is a perfect candidate for this test for a few reasons. One, he doesn’t complain. Second, all those dark browns and crisp black lines are a great way to really show off the opacity of a foundation that you really aren’t going to see when watching YouTube videos of pretty young women with great skin.

Now one thing that is important in every makeup lesson is tools. What do we use to apply the products? Good brushes and tools will be where much of your makeup budget should go. They are pricey up front but if taken care of will last you many years.

In the case of liquid and cream foundation the fun new tool that everyone, including the best of the world’s makeup artists, is swearing by is the beautyblender. One of these will run you $20 and it is worth it.

Yep, I'm an egg.

Yep, I’m an egg.

Now this little critter looks awefully small at first glance but that’s because it’s dry. The first step in the directions is to get it wet and squeeze. What then happens is this:

Size does matter.

Size does matter.

Now the brilliant minds who came up with this critter will tell you to “bounce” the foundation onto your skin. I just envision women standing in front of mirrors lobbing gobs of foundation at their faces expecting it to bounce. To be more clear, you use the sponge to tap and pat the foundation on. Don’t rub. Rubbing actually causes skin problems like blemishs and redness. So don’t do it.

On to the products!

First we start with BB Cream. For this I am using Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Beauty Balm SPF 25 PA++ which will run you $34.

Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Beauty Balm SPF 25 PA++

Dr. Jart+ Water Fuse Beauty Balm SPF 25 PA++

Not so opaque.

Not so opaque.

The moral of this short story is that if you have great skin and aren’t looking to really cover-up anything (acne, blemishes, discoloration, etc) you can totally get away with BB Cream.

Next in line is the Tinted Moisturizer. For this I am using CLINIQUE Moisture Surge Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15 which will run you $27.

CLINIQUE Moisture Surge Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15

CLINIQUE Moisture Surge Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15

Little more opaque.

Little more opaque.

This one packs a little more oomph. If you are looking for some subtle color evening qualities this could be an option. One downside to TMs, BBs, and CCs is that each brand, even differing products within the same brand, will have differing levels of opacity. Much like I will expound upon in my Oompa Loompa post, it is always best to try these out ON YOUR SKIN to make sure they are what you want before you drop $25-60 for a whole vat of the stuff.

On to the foundations!

Now I am a brat and I asked the lovely gal at Sephora to recommend for me the best foundation they had. Her response was Yves Saint Laurent LE TEINT TOUCHE ÉCLAT Illuminating Foundation SPF 19 which will run you $57.

Yves Saint Laurent LE TEINT TOUCHE ÉCLAT Illuminating Foundation SPF 19

Yves Saint Laurent LE TEINT TOUCHE ÉCLAT Illuminating Foundation SPF 19

Yep. Looks like foundation.

Yep. Looks like foundation.

So in the grand scheme of foundations this is about the opacy I would expect. Would I spend $57 for it? Heh… yeah see, that’s what free samples are for.

Last but not least is the heavy hitter for today: the full coverage foundation. When I asked for a waterproof, streakproof, zombieapocalypseproof, hide all these red spots and acne scars worthy full coverage foundation, without hesitation I was handed Kat Von D Lock-It Tattoo Foundation. This little bottle of awesome will run you $34. Now for those of you who are unfamiliar, KvD has tattoos ON HER FACE. She’s kinda known for it. That and being a tattoo artist. Which is presumably why she has tattoos on her face. Sometimes she wanted to cover up some of the tattoos along her temple and the full coverage foundations on the market just didn’t cut it. Much to my joy she created her own. Behold the awesomeness…

Kat Von D Lock-It Tattoo Foundation

Kat Von D Lock-It Tattoo Foundation



Just a reminder of how dark black and brown are :p

Half an Ollie! Ollieclops?

That is probably the best extreme example I can come up with unless I can find a volunteer with rich dark chocolate colored skin who is willing to make themselves look really silly on camera!

As I conclude today’s visual tour I can’t stress again how important it is, not only for your skin but for your sanity, to find a favorite cosmetics store and get comfortable with trying things out and asking for free samples. Any makeup artist worth their salt wants you to be satisfied and realizes that if they help you pick out some options and let you try them in the comfort of your own home you will likely return to them. Mental note to selves, you can ask for 3 samples from each of the “worlds” at Sephora, the worlds being skin, fragrance, and color. Foundation falls under color. Many of the TMs and BBs fall under skin. And if the “cast member” really likes you he or she may “forget” how to count to three. Just sayin’.

Best Makeup VLOGS

I am loving my new job but the thing I have to remember is that I was assigned to my first position during their busiest time of the year because, duh, that’s when they bring two temps in. I adore the guys and gals I’m working with and am dreading transferring to a different group but such is the way of the temp pool. The only real downside is I’ve been a smidge exhausted, hehe. I’ve been taking a lot of notes for posts and will hopefully get caught up here soon.

One thing I’ve done is gotten myself completely buggering sidetracked on YouTube watching makeup vlogs. Note: blog is written… vlog is video. This is a makeup blog. I do not plan to be making videos. There is a list of reasons for this. Items at the top of the list include the fact that I don’t consider myself particularly pretty and don’t like pictures of myself. The fact that I can’t stand the sound of my own voice is a close tie. I also don’t have a video camera so HEY, more excuses to not see myself speaking on video. Awesome ;-)

There are a lot of makeup blogs and vlogs out there already. There are even makeup blogger awards! You can (and I have) waste days, weeks, years even, watching various makeup vlogs. You watch one and see three more in the sidebar you want to watch. Next thing you know it’s 4:23am, you’ve gone through half a bottle of wine, and you’re still not sure what eye shape you have or what is the best contouring shape for your face because eight different people have given you sixteen different answers.

I will admit that I have one favorite makeup vlog. This person is a professional MUA (that’s makeup artist for those of you just joining our program). They are not sponsored or otherwise influenced by any cosmetic companies. Their opinion is very much their own, based on their lifetime of experiences as a professional MUA. They have two channels on YouTube, even, one for more specific makeup related info and one for more chitchat and so forth. They also happen to be a British fellow named Wayne Goss.

Goss Makeup Artist

Goss Makeup Chat

You can also find Wayne on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. He’s on G+ as well but I’ve honestly never paid G+ much attention. One social media site is enough for me to keep up with.

Why do I adore Wayne? Because I like honesty. I like not being pandered to. I don’t particularly like cutesy and some of these makeup vlogs seem like the gals are trying to out cute each other. Please, please make it stop. Wayne is also a lifetime acne sufferer, much like me, and he has numerous videos on his channel on how to deal with the various issues we folks with bad skin (hence the tagline for this site) deal with on the regular. He is very real, very relatable, and his advice is very practical. If something is great, he will say so. If something is crap, he will say so. Wayne is my go to guy for all things makeup vlog.

I hope you like him as much as I do :-D

Product Review: Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips

So once upon a time, in a land far, far away called Lower Slower Delaware, I was a teenager with a nasty makeup habit. My father realized when I was young that I had been effected by my grandmother’s influence and this was a lost battle for him.

Of course I was also a teenager bussing tables for money so I wasn’t exactly rolling in cash. Sure, my grandmother would buy me makeup at the nearest department store because, after all, Barbizon was kinda her idea, but it was always Clinique and it was always brown :-?

Off to the drug store I went! And low and behold, trapped in pretty little crystal cases, I discovered Physicians Formula shimmer strips. I got the one for brown eyes. I loved that thing. I wore it, quite literally, to death.

Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Shadow & Liner for Brown Eyes

Imagine my particular surprise to see these little strips, mentioned some twenty-plus years later, in one of my favorite blogs. Shut the front door, they still make these things? TO THE DRUG STORE!

Of course what fun would it be if I didn’t play around a bit, right? Riiight SO I cackle my way home with my stash:

Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Shadow & Liner for Brown Eyes
Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Eyeliner Trio for Brown Eyes
Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Kohl Kajal Eyeliner Trio for Brown Eyes

First thing to note about the Shimmer Strips line is they come in four color sets: Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes, Hazel Eyes, and Green Eyes. They also have Nude and Smokey sets. The colors are rich but not so shocking that they can’t easily be worn to work. The eye shadow strips can be used with the included sponge tipped applicator or, if you are a brush fan like me, a small eye shadow brush.

The results of this test were 2 for 3. In the grand scheme of things that’s pretty awesome.

The Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Shadow & Liner for Brown Eyes was everything I remembered it to be, if not more awesome now as an adult and having a better understanding of what good makeup is. The color applied smoothly. The strip is laid out in three sets of three colors, lined up from darker to lighter. The darker shades can easily be worn for more pop, perhaps on stage, and the lighter shades are certainly work wearable, even for we office dwellers. I suffered zero fallout from the shadow without having applied primer. Twenty-plus years later this strip still passes the test!

On to the Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Eyeliner Trio for Brown Eyes. This was a new product for me and I can tell you I am a TOUGH judge when it comes to eyeliner. The biggest sin for me is eyeliner that not only smudges, but leaves “clown-face” half-circles on my eyelids after a short time. This is why I stick only to waterproof eyeliners, and even some of those don’t pass muster. Now these little sticks were lightweight and applied smoothly. No clumpies! Even being waterproof I was able to use a flat angled eye liner brush to smudge the line in to my lashes before it set. It is also waterline safe and applied easily with no burning. Now for the real test and I can say that, after two solid and HUMID days at work, this eyeliner did NOT budge. SCORE!

Lastly we have the loser for this round: Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Kohl Kajal Eyeliner Trio for Brown Eyes. Now these are a GREAT idea. Most major brands have a crayon type line. They’re great when they work. These… do not work. This even started out badly. I was trying to carefully wiggle the rather tight and somewhat awkward cap off of the first one and when it popped off the whole head of the crayon popped off too. So I stood in the bathroom trying to warm this thing with my fingers and crush it back onto it’s seating. Not the best start. It did not apply smoothly. At all. I got chunky bits up top and below. Smudging them with the brush to try to smooth them out was a no go as well. Instead of smoothing out the line it just rubbed it off. These little weird pens don’t retract either, so I was worried the whole time if I bumped it the wrong way the whole head would come off again. It also occurs to me that if you used it, as you used it you’d be getting a wider and wider head with no way to sharpen the thing. But I pressed on and once I had what I thought was a passable, albeit thick, line, I headed downstairs. It wasn’t more than 20 minutes and most of it had smudged off. I regret that these are now back in their packaging and will be returning from whence they came.

Maybe I’ll use the money to buy another Shadow Strip ;-)

Enough typing for one night. Work comes early!

Full disclosure and a little thing about loyalty…

Once upon a time, I walked in to a boutique in a mall and encountered two women talking excitedly with the manager. They were all wearing the official “boutique” colors so I assumed they were with the company. Because I’m FREAKIN’ NOSY I started talking to them. Turns out they were what I will from here on out refer to as “community consultants”. In a matter of weeks they had friended me, chatted at me, and submitted my name to be added as a consultant as well. And this, kids, is how my time as a Bare Escentuals Angel began.

For the following years ALL of my makeup was BE. ALL of it. I owned literally nothing else because I wanted to support the brand and be loyal. Because clearly, something is wrong with my head. Every month they would send me free samples and I was supposed to share them out to my friends. The problem here is that, at the time, most of the women I knew were online. Mind you, this isn’t a problem now but at that time I was new to the area so I knew no one. So I kept collecting the stuff. Some of it I would try (often once) but much of it I would not, and it would go in to the Bag Of Doom I kept in the spare bedroom. I’d also use my “points” to buy discounted sets, many of which would include colors I’d never wear, or that were the same color with a different name as colors I already had. Into the bag they went. And so it went… until 2010.

In 2010 the Japanese cosmetics company, Shiseido, bought BE. Without getting into all the details of branding and public face (because that would make this a LOT longer), part of the “deal” was that they would make no major changes to the brand for three years. At least that was the agreement. However shortly after acquisition we who purchased and used the makeup started seeing changes. Product line changes. Serious quality changes. Apparently there was quite a fight going on in the background between the BE team and Shiseido regarding material quality. People who never had a problem with their makeup were starting to have breakouts, even so far as allergic rashes. This was while they had an agreement to not be making major changes.

That agreement ended in 2013. One of the first changes Shiseido made was to terminate the Angel program. A few hundred women who had spent, easily, thousands of dollars each, on their products, whose sole purpose was to promote the brand in the community. Axed. We were given the new “points” card specially printed with “Founding Member” on the face of it as our parting gift. Uh, thanks? This will come in super handy if I get locked out of the house I suppose. They also shat in the face of the decades long position as leader in the field of mineral makeup and loose mineral foundation and turned their attentions to… you guessed it, a liquid foundation line. Like every other brand on the planet. Oh, and to use it you should totally buy this super special unique application brush that can really only be used for our special foundation for the low, low price of $28. At this point you could kiss product quality goodbye. I have not purchased anything from them since 2013, and my purchasing had slowed down considerably already since 2010. I am, unfortunately for them, not alone. This, kids, is how you MURDER your brand loyal customers.

So what does this have to do with anything?

Well first of all, don’t expect any BE related reviews from me, LoL! The only things I did keep when I offloaded all of my hoarded BE was one, singular Buxom Insider Eyeliner (because it doesn’t give me clown face like the BE ones did) and a handful of the small sized Buxom Lip Gloss. The lip gloss is super tacky and it doesn’t last, but I liked the color and wanted to hang on to a few until I found suitable replacements :-P

Secondly, brand loyalty is a great thing when it’s working for you. The thing you have to keep in mind, however, is that no matter how loyal you are being to your brand, your brand is a PROFIT DRIVEN ENTITY and is not, in fact, loyal to you. You are a consumer. They see you in terms of sales figures. If you leave there will be others to fill your place. You may be IN LOVE with one brand of lipstick, but if someone comes along and says “hey, this one is super freakin’ awesome, you should try it”, don’t discount their opinion just because it’s not from the brand you are loyal to. You only do yourself a disservice. It’s really actually okay to be loyal to more than one brand at a time. It’s like trying to tell someone they are only allowed to have one friend. That’s silly and often how mental breakdowns occur. Don’t try it. It’s okay to have a close group of friends and many, many acquaintances. Same holds true for brand loyalty.

There’s also the simple fact that different things work for different people. Differences in skin type, skin color, body chemistry, and activity level will drastically alter results of the same product between different people. It’s a simple fact of biology. You may LOVE the foundation from one brand but find that their eyeliner doesn’t do it for you. Don’t stress. It’s really ok to tell the consultant in the store and ask for advice. One of the great things about a store like Sephora or Ulta is that they know a ton about makeup because that’s what they DO all day, but they aren’t loyal to one brand over another. And it’s in their best interest to make you happy. So they should offer you options for whatever makeup concerns you are having.

Now for the part where I piss people off. Yay!

I know a TON of women (and a handful of men) who are Mary Kay, or Avon, or Younique, or (insert a hundred more here) consultants. They are very, very interested in getting you to use their brand. So far as they will ask you to bring them receipts so they can show you just how much more of their product you could buy from them instead of whatever it was you bought. I get it. This is their livelihood. They need to make sales. For some of them this is their ONLY source of income. This is why I’m not in sales, seriously. I don’t want it to come down to needing to sell another mascara to be able to pay my phone bill. Now if you want to tell me about some awesome new item you have that fits the description of something I am looking for (waterproof eye liner, waterproof mascara, waterproof lip liner, waterproof… you get the idea) then AWESOME, I will sample that bad boy. But if you want to invite me to a party where you scold me for spending more money on other brands and try to convince me that you have every possible thing I could ever need and I should just pitch that other, lesser stuff well… I will prolly eat your chips, drink your wine, take a catalog, thank you for your time, and not buy anything. Sorry, but I learned my lesson with the whole BE fiasco.

That, and I’m kinda attached to my liquid eye liner. Sorry :)

Three cards I use and one I don't...

Three cards I use and one I don’t…



Hello there :) I’m Wendy, better known to most as the dancing otter. For those of you new to my program please be advised that my native languages are sarcasm and innuendo. I do also speak English to assist those who don’t understand the other two.

Please make yourself comfy, grab some wine and cheese, and I hope you enjoy, learn something, or at the very least get a giggle out of our time here together.

So why am I writing YET ANOTHER INTERNET MAKEUP BLOG? Dear gods, it isn’t because we need another one. I suppose it has more to do with where I’ve been, where I am, where I’m going, and the amazing women I meet along the way. Some of them have stated that they are interested in what I’m saying. For the sake of not repeating myself ad nauseam I decided HEY, why not write it down.

I’ll start with where I’ve been. I grew up in a house with a grandmother who was rather fond of makeup. I learned by example. When I was a teenager she started trucking me off to Barbizon every week. Now while I will admit as an adult that this was in fact HILARIOUS, at the time it was rather eye-opening and as I got older I realized that I had learned a handful of things TO do and a WHOLE SLEW of things to NEVER EVER do again. Oddly enough, some of the latter were far more pressing. In my late teens and early twenties I started working with community theater and performed as an extra in an independent movie or two. I spent most of my time juggling wardrobes, prepping wigs, purchasing makeup for the shows, as well as advising and often applying the makeup. Fast forward to my mid to late twenties when I started taking dance classes as a hobby. While I knew that dance would be great for my health and help alleviate many of the physical aches and pains that came with my compacted spine and my twice diagnosed fibromyalgia, what I didn’t realize is that the greatest thing I would get out of dancing was the incredible community of women, women I consider my friends and in many cases my sisters, who my life would be so much less vibrant without. Which brings me to where  I am now.

Every woman brings her tools to the tribe. That is the way of things. My knowing how to sew has been one valuable skill, surely. My ability and willingness to talk to absolutely anyone about absolutely anything was another. However as we progressed as a student troupe and began performing more often, sometimes outside in natural light, sometimes inside in artificial light, sometimes on stage with bright, glaring florescents mere feet above our heads, it occurred to me that many of my dancing sisters weren’t wearing proper, or in many cases any, makeup.

Now some of these ladies have AMAZING skin and don’t really need help in the day to day. What most gals who don’t wear or aren’t familiar with makeup don’t realize or understand is just what sort of effect the various lighting we are performing in can do to our faces from a distance. And if there’s a photographer there you can be assured they will take photos, and there is only so far you can push Photoshop when you didn’t think to line your eyes before you walked out on to the stage.

My goal here is to share my experiences, past, present, and future, to help a sister out. And that’s where we’re going :)

One last thing to mention here is that, while solidly and comfortably middle class, I am by no means independently wealthy. Sure, I could totally go out and spend $50+ on a tube of lipstick. And that would be STUPID. I could buy two, or more, for that price, and get the same quality with change left to grab a chai on the way out of the mall. For serious. So for the sake of sanity and not going bankrupt I hope to offer practical advice that won’t leave holes burned through your wallets.

As I’ve been making notes in preparation for this, I’m going to grab a drink, get comfy, and start typing.

I hope you enjoy!