Having A Moment

You have probably noticed that cosmetic retailers are battling it out for a piece of the beauty dollar pie. Used to be Sephora had a sale twice a year and the rest of the time I’d wait to buy stuff when there was a good gwp.

Nowadays once one retailer posts a sale or promo coupon than Macy’s or Nordstrom posts a price match. They even compete with company stores!

If you want to replenish a basic like Clinique sunscreen- should you it buy for 25% off at the company store, or hunt around for a gwp with free shipping?

If you can’t tell by now I’m of the “wait until I get a deal” crowd.  Sephora reduced their samples per order to two and the pickings are slim. Even if you’re rouge, you get nothing extra for the privilege of the upgraded plastic card.  Just the status of being amongst the crowd of the big spenders.

Or at least perceived as such.

One day I was in line and the cashier said to the woman, “You have 20000 points…..”

I was a bit shocked.

Previous to that I thought I bought a lot – mostly skincare but still a lot.

This past holiday was different.  I bought gifts and stuff for me and then said- step away from the credit card .

Nevertheless I bought MORE.

When it was all said and done I was in a drunken stupor of a makeup buying frenzy.

After recovery, I seriously had moments when walking into the cosmetic dept of any store and my eyes would glaze and I would get a buzzing in my ears.

Too soon.

I wasn’t safe from myself.

Only a few days ago when a pot called the kettle black, on the same day I dumped two eye palettes I stopped using, did I go shopping for makeup.

It was nice.

I felt calm.

I responded to salespeople, “I feel like buying today.”

I’m the type that in a nice store, I veer away from the manolo blaniks to stay in Stuart Weitzman Ville.

There’s just a price point where I refuse like a stubborn horse and avert my eyes.

Maybe I was just reacting to the pot, but I walked up to the Dior counter and bought a limited edition shadow palette.

I told myself it was to replace one of the two palettes I dumped.

The truth is-I was buying it to feel better.

Some people can face truth about themselves, and well, others just can’t, so the best thing to do is just let them look in the mirror and hope someday they will face themselves.

Now, what am I going to do with my Nordstrom  note?

Save it for something I really need instead of something I just want to feel better.

k

 

 

 

 

 

Lashgasmic-Search for Non-Clumpy Mascara

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I have a dog but he is kind of borrowed,

I have no kids, though there are a few in my life.

I’m older so I’m not taking classes at college, and I don’t have time to take craft or cooking classes (tho that might be fun).

So, I spend my time and money pursuing a couple of things I really enjoy. Taking dance class and playing with make up and skincare.

Last week I spent 8 hours watching videos on youtube according to my fading battery report.  If you were able to slice up those 8 hours, I’d say I spent at least 3/4s watching some related video about skincare, make up, some vlogger’s sephora haul, or a few hair videos (check out provocativewoman channel-all long hair, cut and color).

Even Google is tracking your video hours-I recently saw a report that of the time spent on youtube a great big chunk of users were watching…make up videos….and what do they do with the info…..shop online.

It’s VIB and VIB Rouge shopping season-which for those of you unannointed means 20% off everything in and on sephora.com. For Rouge level, Sephora started the sale early, stopped a few days to let buyers catch their breath, then started up VIB level which included Rouge level too.

I have to admit at this point after shopping both levels (for gifts for other people-I swear!) I’m a smidge fatigued.

Having said that, yesterday I was with my buddies and I asked them what I bought.  I buy make up and skincare like one friend buys diamonds and jewelry. (I guess if I didn’t buy so much make up I could buy diamonds). Oh well.

The discussion kind of stirred up the frenzy again..but thankfully only for a little while and the desire dissipated. I did check the sephora app for the weekly wow and inbox but no takers.

Anyway.

Because I’ve found my dream creams at least for now (Shiseido Future Solutions Eye and Contour cream, Clinique SPF 30 Sunscreen and Clinique tinted City Block SPF, La Mer Moisturizer or Shiseido Waso) I’ve moved on to mascara.

Now I’ve never really had a mascara fetish. As long as it stayed on in a sweaty dance class, could take a touch up application, washed off easily and didn’t clump, I was pretty happy. I used Great Lash for years, non-waterproof and life was good.

But I, like everyone get so many mascara samples that may as well try them, right?

Side note(s):  my test for washability is to remove it with micellar water.

Side note(s): Brands please make packaging less similar.  I’ve been at counters where the salespeople had a hard time identifying the right formulas.

Here’s my thoughts in no certain order:

Estee Lauder Sumptous-smears under my eyes and definitely clumpy.

Estee Lauder Sumptous Bold Volume-I think this is the sample I got, which I would try again.  It doesn’t smear like its sister.

Too Faced Better Than Sex-pretty awesome. Long, fat lashes, washes off with micellar water and combs through pretty well if it does get clumpy.

Benefit They’re Real-impressive lengthening, though won’t take a touch up at all. I guess whatever makes the formula curly, also makes it stiff. It does lengthen enough that I can feel my lashes on my glasses.

L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes, Great Lash and other drugstore-I haven’t found anything I like for a long time, I’ll buy it to try it but take it back.

MAC-I used to love False Lashes but the people at the counter at the mall nearest to where I live are pretty horrific so I rarely buy anything MAC.

Clinique

-Chubby Lash-I liked this so much I bought for friends. But then it started clumping.

-High Impact-no impact

-Lash Doubling-good price

-High Lengths-I liked this at first because of the brush but I think the formula is too liquidy so it clumped.

Laura Mercier-Long Lash-clumpy.

Blinc-my friend recommended this brand. It has a specific way to put it on, takes no touch ups, lengthens and doesn’t clump, and washes off with water. Like it but wouldn’t buy it again.

Burberry ?-beautiful packaging. Super clumpy.

Guerlain ? I got this as a sample but the purchased tube was horribly clumpy.

Shiseido-Full Lash Multi-Dimension Waterproof-just used this yesterday. I loved loved the lack of clumping but getting it off was a struggle.  I don’t really use make up remover unless I get samples-so that’s where that lost points for me.

Bobbi Brown-a few varieties over the year but nothing I’d buy again.

Tarte-Lights, Camera, Lashes-tried the sample and tossed it for abundance of meh.

Mary Kay Lash Love-great brush, but doesn’t take a touch up. Kind of crinkly.

Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir-nothing in particular to say.

Lancome Definicils-I guess if non-clumpy was the only thing I wanted this is fine. It lengthen but lashes don’t get fat.

Smashbox Full Exposure-meh. Just meh.

Makeup for Ever-Smoky Extravagant-I think I liked this but clumped after awhile.

Some I’d like to try:

Diorshow Iconic Overcurl

Wander Beauty-I have it, but haven’t tried it yet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Siren Song aka I Need More Make up Like a Hole in My Head

My name is Kirsten.

I am a skincareandmakeupaholic.

Less than 2 months ago, a friend and I were getting caught up in the fervor of Black Friday, and pre Black Friday, and Purple Thursday, and Pink Saturday and Hangover Monday. My email promotion inbox was going crazy with special offers and super sales for more more more!

I was giddy!

Not only did I buy for myself, I bought for my clients and my friends, saying, with my eyes bulging out of my head like a crazy person, “I can save this for their birthday…..next year”.

LOL

And as Christmas grew closer, I said with steely resolve, “Stop the madness!”

And then yet, another unpassable deal came in my inbox.

I was among the group of shoppers who did not set foot in a mall, except to purchase two of the same shirt for someones on my list.

Even then, they both did not fit.

Anyway.

I am trying really hard to think of what the last deal was that I bought that I just couldn’t not have.  I think it must have been some sephora deal because I have 2 tubes of City Defense and 2 bottles of sunscreen and I am not a hoarder.

And what do I have to show for it?

Nothing that I can easily recall.

A pity story.

A sad story.

Perhaps a state of madness.

And yet, I found myself a week ago watching “reveals” on youtube for the Too Faced Cosmetics mystery bag and feeling non-buyers’ remorse for not jumping at it with my credit card memorized in my head, poised for the next deal.

I feel like I am in my withdrawal state.

Actually looking for something.

I’m even stocked up on hair care. I bought a round blow dry brush.

When I wander the store post holiday-I actually take a mental inventory of everything I have searching for something that I might need.

I read recently that Toys R Us had to temper their online sales promos with their in store promos. The year before, they had such monstrous online shopping that they had to take inventory from their brick stores.

Is this perhaps what happened to sephora? The first days after the holiday, my inbox was void of sephora deals.  Only in the last few days have they started up.

But then, brands like Kiehls and Fresh must have been holiday wanna bees cuz right up to and a little while after, they were still letting me know that there were products to be bought and samples to have.

Even gwpaddict.com wrote last week that there were lots of coupons but no big gwps yet.

Wanting for nothing and yet still searching.

That’s gotta be so wrong.

k

 

 

 

 

Take it to the Matte-Too Faced v SmashBox

My biggest beef nowadays is shadow products made in China. Anything I put on my body should not leave me in doubt as to how it was a manufactured (Tarte).

I imagine that the mark up on cosmetics is crazy-like in the triple 000s. So, why would companies push for more by risking their reputation by manufacturing in Vietnam, PRC and other questionable places?

Granted just because a product is manufactured in the US, France or Italy does not mean it is magically blessed with the safeguard that some disgruntled employee has not spit in the product or otherwise-but why escalate the issue?

Anyway.

The salesperson at Macy’s did not know the answer. She tried to sell Tarte to me-and I asked her if she knew where the eye shadows were made-she did not know, but to her credit, expressed dismay that they were made in China.

So, she presents me with 2 shadow pallettes-SmashBox and Too Faced. Both have nice matte finishes, a nice selection of colors and no shimmers or glitter.

The SmashBox palette is made in Canada and the pigment in the shadows is poor. Much like rubbing on drugstore shadows, you could use the whole pan and not get the color payoff.

Cue the fail buzzer.

The Too Faced eye shadow palette has playful packaging and comes with a guide for various daytime and evening looks using the colors.

And?

Made in the U.S.A.

Another big plus-lots of color pay off.  A small brush stroke of product and pat of color and you’re done! Plus the colors don’t fade like Charlotte Tilbury’s Sophisticate palette.

For eyelids that can’t really tolerate a big smoky eye, which doesn’t look very good on saggy lids anyway, a high recommend for Too Faced Natural Matte palette of neutrals.

K

Dr Glossy-Loma Organics

Readers of my blog know that I have had a love affair with Neuma organic shampoos and conditioners, smoothing creams + Kitoko oil.  Between the organic products and using glosses instead of ammonia-based hair color, I have given credit to using quality products for my hair’s awesome condition.

Many people do not realize that I have been coloring/glossing my hair for about 10 years now because I stuck with my natural color, once in awhile being talked into a small bit of highlights, which don’t suit me, so I abandon after one round (several times).

When I first started coloring I was using ammonia-based products (at the salon) and what I thought were good quality shampoos like S-Factor and Bedhead. Turns out only the Goldweil products, which are pricey, were the only ones that were not contributing to damaging my hair into a frizzy dry mess.

By the time I met Hillary J at Winam Studio, my hair was pretty crispy-which she coaxed back into condition by glossing. Add to that Lincoln Wang’s ever-changing selection at BOSS Beauty Supply on Nimitz.

Lincoln is always searching for the next great product to improve upon the last. On my last visit, I came in with freshly washed and dried hair-and since I’ve never been one to section my hair to dry, it was a bit “puffy”.

I was looking at the new “Loma” organic product line-and Lincoln suggested a squirt of their smoothing creme and tonic–adding from the back and bottom of my hair and working through the strands, ending up with the last bits of product for the front bangs.

Seriously, in seconds, my hair transformed from being puffy to being sleek and almost achieving the same look the stylist at the salon gives me.

I’m all about easy so I was in love at first sight with Loma.

Plus, the fragrance is pretty wonderful. I grew up in Japan when the erasers had a indescribable fruity-like scent, and the Loma products have the same lean.

Lincoln had/has a 3 pack of shampoo, conditioner and smoothing creme. I also purchased the tonic which is like a hair oil-not as thick as Neuma’s argan oil, but not as thin as Kitoko oil. (BOSS members receive a discount).

The Nourishing line is for “dry, thirsty and thrashed hair including chemically treated”, and the fragrance is actually cranberry and pear.

It also has “Creatine –35% more effective than any protein or keratin on the market at rebuilding the internal tensile strength of the hair especially color, foiled and bleached hair types. You can never overproteinize the hair when using Loma”275_loma_pic.

I tested the product’s moisturizing power too. The next time I had my hair colored, I skipped the moisturizing treatment so I could see just how well the products worked.

The results are impressive. My hair almost achieves its pre-color virginity.

In case you go shopping in Hawaii-Lincoln has moved to the opposite side of Nimitz business center–he has relocated next door to Eagle cafe and Sensually Yours.

K

 

Expectations-Motels v Resorts

I’m the kind of person that although I like a nice bed with super soft sheets and fluffy comforters, I still go kicking and screaming when I go on “vacation”.

No, I don’t like to work all the time, and

No, I’m not a workaholic, but

Yes, I’m picky and have some germ-phobe tendencies, where

I think of a hotel room as a germ-plagued breeding ground for infection.

I believe the 20/20 investigative reports-

So I do what I can so I can feel a little better, no

matter what I bring flip flops to wear around the room, because although

I live in Hawaii and take off my shoes in the “house”, other

people do not, and wear their shoes in hotel rooms and shared spaces.

I once stayed in SFO at the Hotel Monaco- the web photos had cute cupid, all-set for romance rooms- even the hotel entrance had flying cherubs on the ceiling. But

getting into the room was another story.

I could not stop thinking about how many people did you know what on that divan, or that chair

You get the picture.

Anyway

Back to the subject

Last month we went to a wedding in California in a small college town, as we drove up, I said oh, it’s a motel, kind of like Holiday Inn.

Staying in a wedding spirit, I found that the room tho plain, was presentable. The sheets were a little “crisp” but it did have a Keurig.

According to the wedding coordinator, tho there was a major chain hotel nearby, this place was “the” place to stay.

And it was pretty cool–when we checked in we got a coupon for a free drink in the motel cocktail lounge, which served a pretty good glass of their own house wine, from an area vineyard.

They also gave us coupons for a free breakfast with an up to $8 value for each night we stayed.

The cafe is a bustling place and altho the wedding party and a few sports teams were in the house and overflowed to the cocktail lounge, the scrambled eggs and kale were out of this world.

Maybe I’ve just gotten used to getting one flat scrambled egg, a skinny piece of toast and an oily piece of sausage for double the price, but I ate the same breakfast all 3 mornings.

So, my expectations were over the moon exceeded for what I thought would be a passable experience, into one where fluffy scrambled eggs subbed in for the fluffy bed and soft sheets.

Interestingly enough, soon, I will be heading out to a 5-star resort, where, so far my expectations were high, but the customer experience has been pretty well, “motel-like”.

More later upon my return,

k

Heading Down the Yellow Brick Road-Battle of the GWPS

Seriously, my eyes and fingers always answer the siren call of the GWP.  My favorite go to blog is GWP Addict-a daily update of all things GWP, written by Lisa of Arizona.

Over the years I have found some tried and true products that I like so much that I will always buy them for my basics and it takes a lot to turn my head to pull me away from my beloveds-Clarins’ SPF sunscreen, Kiehl’s Rosa Artica Moisturizer and Kitoko and Neuma hair products.

So, when I see it’s time to stock up on my basics, I go to gwpaddict.wordpress.com to see if there are gwp offers for whatever I have in mind.

I recently started using Estee Lauder’s Advanced Time Zone Age Reverse eye cream (which I haven’t written about yet!), which has the consistency similar to rosa artica moisturizer-a heavy (shortening like-yes like the baking stuff) cream that I rub a very small 1/2 pea sized or less amount on my finger tips and apply in the inner corners of my eyes.  It retails for $58 a jar.

I know that Macy’s is supposed to have an Estee Lauder event soon, early in September, so I’ve been waiting around-but I thought I’d check Lisa’s blog for any specials. So lo and behold Macy’s is having a Tuesday Flash Sale!* As you guys know, beauty products rarely go on “sale” unless they are about to expire or be discontinued so I snapped up the eye cream and a Laura Mercier Bronzer that someone put on me at NMs but I didn’t feel like buying at the time. The Estee product had a mini-gwp of advanced time zone eye serum(meh) and mascara(rarely buy mascara because companies always give samples. yay!).

So was feeling pretty happy about that.

However this morning, Sephora sent their daily blah blah of whatever is new, and I, heeding the call, open it and check out the new beauty lines, and failing to be sold, go to the Fresh products page, which eventually leads me off sephora.com to gwp addict in search of whatever.

I had seen the Nords $125 gwp gift bag with a bunch of samples, but I did not know there is also a gift bag for a $50 threshold. When you compare the two, I’d rather pay the $50, cuz from my point of view the $50 had better samples and less perfume which I don’t wear.

$50

06-29-15-p04-cid0628156443-7-adam-38ab9e85-1d00-4cde-8a97-a4c20110e43d-fil-file $125

august-gwp_promo

I already knew I needed to restock my Clarins’ sunscreen-I had tried the Murad Invisible Blur which is great, but no great gwp so I bought the Clarins,plus Nords is offering a two-fer sale of $62, a savings of $22. But as I am checking out, I think to look at the Estee offer.

A much much better gwp than Macy’s for a $45 gwp threshold, plus spend $5 bucks more and you get the $50 gwp bag!

I know so what, but I work from home so little things are exciting.

The clincher for me is that Nords ALWAYS has free shipping to Hawaii which is a huge perk. It’s pretty much why I do not shop the Fresh or Clarins’ company online stores because shipping is outrageous to Hawaii. I mean it’s like they are sending the products to Russia.  (I recently got ballet slippers from Grishko Russia, and unbelievably, shipping was free!).

Anyway.

It pays to be a shopper, and a free shipper.

k

*These offers will expire and may not be available when you read this post.

The Time Factor-Me Vs The Pro-DIY Gloss Color

Seriously, the last time I colored my hair at home was at the old house which had a giant bathroom and carpet. I completely ruined my t shirt, stained my hands and had smudges all over my face.

My gfs have no problem with the process-they just apply, wait and shampoo out!

Me-not so much.

However lately I was inspired by a youtube vid of a young girl citing pretty much the same reasons why I would do my own hair. It just costs too much to go to the salon now that I am on the 3 week cycle.

At $80 a pop-it’s just too expensive.  Add in my time and the expense and it totals $4500 a year!

So, I watched all I could watch on youtube about using the same gloss product my hair stylist(s) uses, and went in to Hillary J for a tuneup. I had started to do a lighter color treatment, then turned back as my hair started to fall out. (Went to the doc and he tested me, and pretty much came up with no explanation, but knowing that is the only thing different…)

So I got my hair color back into shape and let it grow out a few weeks.

I admit I was nervous because I tend to be a slob when something takes a certain level of meticulousness, and the bf already thinks I’m messy (though I’m not really-he’s just insanely anal about some things).

Nowhere did it say to mix the gloss and processor until it thickened. So I was painting it on in my middle part area while it was still thin.

Feeling like hours later, I watch the clock cuz part of the exercise was would it be worth the time I lose billing hours vs the $80 expense and the 1.5 hours of time for time in the chair and travel?

I finally get the product all into my hair though very messy and difficult to reach in the back.

Processing time I figure is a little shorter since it took 40 minutes to get it in my hair.

I jump in the shower to rinse and it is an explosion of black color all over.

Immediately I think in my paranoid way that it is going to stain and our  housekeeper chooses the most inopportune times to not show up at the very last minute.

Anyway.

The color rinses off and down the drain. I just apply my Kitoko conditioner, and PH Rebalancer and let it air dry.

Turns out I did a pretty good job. Only a few white strands were missed, and my hair felt fine in terms of softness and was shiny.

I think the net-net is I will go in for tune ups, but I think I’ll save my hard earned cash for other things like eye cream.

k