On the comfort zone

Posted on April 24, 2015 under Thoughts

I am, generally, quite adventurous with my makeup. I’ll wear a dark purple lipstick or blue eyeshadow in public. Sometimes I’ll even wear them both at once. Hell, I own black lipstick.

In the past year or so, I have considered myself a fairly adventurous person when it comes to makeup. But lately I’ve been thinking, and even though I wear makeup that a lot of people would consider adventurous (or even too much), I still have my own comfort zone. That comfort zone just happens to include several shades of purple lipstick.

Like, there aren’t many colours I will wear on my eyes. Anything that could be reasonably classified as a neutral, check. Purple, check. Blue, check – but generally in small doses. Red, orange, yellow, green? Anything neon? No way.

I generally avoid wearing false eyelashes, because I feel overdone with them on. I hate that feeling, that people think I’m trying too hard, that I’m wearing too much makeup, that I have something to hide. And for some reason, false eyelashes make me feel like that. Wearing red lipstick to class does not make me feel like that, and it makes no sense. It’s the same damn thing! It’s indulgent, it’s unnecessary, it’s a noticeable alteration to my appearance. But, even though I think false eyelashes are fun, I just cannot abide by them for myself.

And lipstick – well. Lipstick is where I have the fewest boundaries. While I’m still tentative about adding colour to my eyes, I rarely go anywhere without a bold colour on my lips. But survey my collection and you’ll find a variety of colours – but only one orange, and one warm red (which is sheer). No peach, no coral, no beige-y nudes, no browns. I do not do warm colours on the lips, hardly ever. I’ll do them on the eyes, I’ll do them on the cheeks, but I will not do them on the lips.

And why? I look good in my orange-red. I look good in my straight-up orange. But those colours are just not in my comfort zone, and so I avoid them. How many times have I worn my orange lipstick in half a year? Maybe three. And yet it’s sitting there, alongside so many other lipsticks, and it looks just as good on me as plenty of the other colours I own, and I ignore it because it scares me a little bit.

So I guess I’m as much in my comfort zone as anyone else. Because even if it’s bigger than other people’s, it still exists. And it’s always hard to get out of your comfort zone, because even though I have that orange lipstick and I can put it on just easily as any other colour, it’s tragically underused.

One of these days, I’m either going to have to use that lipstick or give up and get rid of it. It’s sure as hell not doing me any good sitting stagnant and unused.

Review: Boots Botanics Replenishing Night Cream

Posted on April 19, 2015 under Reviews

I adore having friends who are into all things beauty, because often they introduce me to new products! I’m pretty adventurous about makeup brands and styles, but when it comes to skincare I’m not exactly far-ranging. Chalk this up to the fact that I don’t find skincare very exciting or chalk it up to the fact that I mainly stick to the brands I’m trained to sell, but either way I don’t often try new things.

However, when I was with Aisling in March, she introduced me to a new night cream, and by “introduced me to” I mean she told me not to bring any of my toiletries because she had things that I could try.

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As luck would have it, she had recently picked up a new night cream from the Boots Botanics line, and I was stuck in a night cream rut since I just had not found one I loved. After using hers twice, I was hooked – and when she mentioned that it was half off an already very good price, I practically ran to Boots to pick one up for myself!

It’s hard to write about skincare in an exciting way, much less moisturizers, so here’s what I will say: it works. It feels nice. It sinks in easily. It smells good (a bit like a pine tree, but with a tiny hint of citrus). I wake up in the morning and my face still feels hydrated and soft, but not at all greasy.

This product is from the Botanics anti-aging line, which is not really a concern of mine right now. However, a quick glance at the ingredients makes this cream very appealing to me – vitamins E and C and hyaluronic acid are great ingredients for any age!

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I will note that the scent may be a deterrent for some people – fragrance sensitivity is a real thing, and I’m a bit surprised that a product that’s marketed as being more “natural” (whatever that’s supposed to mean, if anything outside of being a marketing buzzword) would have such a strong scent. Because, yes: it is fairly strong. Personally, I don’t mind, because I’m not sensitive to such things and I think it smells nice – very calming. But this is something to know if you tend to do better with unscented, or lightly scented, products!

As for the texture, it’s unsurprisingly quite thick. It’s definitely a cream, and definitely on the heavier side of things. I wouldn’t want to use it under makeup! However, as a night cream, it’s perfect: it’s definitely hydrating, but it sinks in reasonably quickly and never feels or looks greasy. I’d say this is probably best suited to people on the normal to dry side of things due to the thicker texture, but I don’t think it would exacerbate oiliness – it just may be overkill.

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Is this picture art or is it art? Don’t answer that.

Another thing I need to mention is the packaging, which I’m not a fan of. Tub packaging is just not desirable when it comes to preserving active ingredients and keeping them at their most effective, plus it’s not the most hygienic. However, tub packaging is the norm for night creams (probably due to the thicker texture), so it’s not like this product is falling behind other night creams in that regard. I still do want to mention it, though, because I’m pretty serious about preferring, well, basically any packaging that’s not a tub.

Overall, I really like this product. I’ve been using it for nearly a month now and it’s one of my favourite skincare products in my current rotation. Despite the less than ideal packaging, I think it works very well, smells good, and is an excellent price (even when it’s not half off). Is it revolutionary or really special at all? No. But is it a solid product that I will happily use up and consider repurchasing? Definitely.

Boots Botanics Replenishing Night Cream retails for £7.99 ($15 CAD) for 50mL, or £0.15/$0.30 per mL. It can be purchased from Boots locations or online from Boots.com.

Makeup Interview: Heather

Posted on April 16, 2015 under Interview

Today I’m sharing with you the last post in this installment (for now, at least): an interview with my pal Heather! Heather is an 18-year-old student from Canada, and she’s been my friend for about two years now.

1. How would you describe your style of makeup?

I think my style usually flips between bold and classic. I love bold colours and trying new things but sometimes I also just really love classic or “natural” looks.

2. Describe a makeup look that you would consider “classic” you.

I think a classic look for me is a more porcelain look, fairly matte, with dark, smokey eyes and dark red lips.

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Heather says, “This is a pretty old picture but this was one of the first looks I tried and I became very attached to it. Also you’ll notice my eyebrows were very wild during this time.”

3. About how long does your normal makeup routine take? What does it consist of? Do you do anything else while you do your makeup, like drink your morning coffee or watch TV?

My normal makeup routine usually takes about 20 minutes. I usually listen to music while getting ready and lately it’s been a lot of Taylor Swift and Hall and Oates because both are very upbeat and honestly just make getting ready that much better.

4. Where do you get makeup inspiration from? Are there any websites or YouTube channels you visit regularly? Any celebrities whose makeup you might draw inspiration from?

I mostly draw inspiration from musicians. Haim and Lorde are ones I tend to be drawn to the most because I love Haim’s subtle looks and I love the way Lorde switches things up. I like to experiment with makeup a lot to see what colours work on me and I often use looks I find in magazines to do that.

5. Do you feel that your makeup helps to convey your personality, or is a way in which you can visually and aesthetically construct a sense of self? What are you trying to convey through your makeup, if anything?

I think the way I do my makeup is kind of the complete opposite of who I am as a person, if that makes any sense. To me it’s a way to step outside my own boundaries and express myself in a way I can’t necessarily do in other parts of my life.

6. Why do you wear makeup?

For me, I think makeup just makes me feel kind of like a whole different person and I like that. I love the way I can put it on and by the time I’m finished I’m like “Woah! Look at you!” That might sound kind of negative but I just really love the way makeup can transform you.

7. When did you first start wearing makeup regularly? When did it become an interest for you, i.e. something you actively wanted to talk about, read about, etc? How did that interest develop?

I first started wearing makeup in my second year of high school. It started off super simple with just foundation and some black eyeliner and gradually progressed to me taking more time and effort into my looks. I think it was sometime in late 2013 that I really started to become interested in makeup and all the different things I could do with it. I now find myself looking for new products when I’m out [lipstick has become my weakness] and searching for new things to try.

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“I did a lot of digging to find this gem. This is the look I wore everyday to school for like, an entire year. It was very simple and boring and my eyebrows were..shameful..but I’ve grown a lot since then!”

8. You like to wear a lot of dark lip colours, which is something that I know a lot of people I’ve talked to feel like they can’t “pull off”. What is it about dark lipstick that you like so much, or that makes you feel comfortable? And what are some of your favourite dark lipsticks?

When I first started wearing makeup I never in a million years thought I would be cool with wearing half the stuff I do now. For me, I love the contrast of darker lip colours with my [very] pale skin. I feel like it brings something more out of what ever look I’m trying to achieve. The first dark lipstick I ever bought was Rimmel’s Bordeaux and it remains to be my favourite dark colour to wear and once I was introduced to it, Revlon’s Matte Balm in Shameless became a very close second.

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“I love Shameless so much!”

9. When I think of you one of the first things I think of is how you are super, super interested in music. Would you say that any of the artists you like have influenced your self-presentation, or the aesthetic side of yourself that you’d like to convey to the world?

Absolutely! I definitely get most of my inspiration from my favourite artists. Emily Haines has always been a big inspiration to me in a lot of different ways and actually the first “look” I ever experimented on with makeup was one inspired by her. I absolutely think my favourite artists shape my life more than almost anything else mostly due to the fact that I feel very connected to them through their music. I think that I’ve learned so much through that medium that it would be very hard for me to deny its involvement in me being the person I am.

A big thank you to the lovely Heather for sharing!

I’m placing this series on hiatus for now, but I’m fairly certain it will come back at some point. I love looking into people’s brains and collections, so this will probably not be the last of it.

For anyone who originally expressed interest in being interviewed, feel free to send your answers to me still – I will post them! I’m just not currently actively seeking new people to interview.