Retin-A Update

Holy crap it’s been awhile since I last blogged! I had to reread some of my older posts to remind myself what kind of head space I was in and of my blogging style. Needless to say, it’s been a long time. In order not to bore anyone I’ll keep what I was doing over the last couple of months for another blog post. Here, I’ll focus on what my skin has been doing since I started Retin-A back in December.

I’m not sure if I mentioned this in depth in my December post, but I went through some pretty bad purging and dryness. It was never too terrible but there were times where my skin was noticeable dry and flaky and I looked like a dehydrated hot mess. It was pretty obvious I was using a Vitamin A cream starting the second month when along with the dryness, I got quite a few bright and shiny red zits to prove it. Yes, it’s fair to say that I never broke out that badly in my life (besides when I was on hormonal birth control) and I still have some of the scars on my skin from the ordeal. But while slightly traumatizing (I mean come on as traumatizing as silly skin issues paired with OCD can be) it was necessary. My pores were still super clogged from the months spent with my IUD and my skin had loads of hyper-pigmentation to go along with that. Still, I don’t want to give an inaccurate idea of my skin. It was actually always only ‘moderately’ bad/ breaking out. Never anything cystic and my whole face was never covered. I was just a freak about it and wanted baby bottom smooth skin. Every imperfection grated on me and made me an anxious mess about stepping out of the house.

The months of purging and peeling didn’t help my situation. More angry red spots that I couldn’t even cover because my skin was so dry that the makeup I put on top of it made it look worse. Eventually, I had to switch all of my skin care up,going to a new ELTA MD UV Clear  46 Sunscreen, CeraVE Skin Renewing  Night Cream (a fucking life saver), and the Glossier Skin Tint (which has how been recently reformulated to have oil in it which seriously sucks crap but I have two pre-reformulation bottles as backup). This transition, especially with the moisturizer, helped my skin finally get some much needed hydration back all around the same time my skin was actually stopping purging and started resembling the silky smooth skin of my dreams. Oh yah, and my oil came back as soon as summer hit too.

Was it worth it? Was the fourth time I started Retin-A finally the time I was going to stick through it? Yep. It was. And I completely owe my current complexion to my patience (a big factor here), my skin care routine, and the wonderful collagen inducing rebuilding factors of Vitamin A.

Now is my skin perfect? No. It’s not. It still has hyperpigmention. Some areas are still a tiny bit dry sometimes. I have a small spot every now and again that for the most part goes away quickly within a few days. Occasionally (like once or twice since March) I’ll get something a little less small that’s a pain in the ass but Retin-A still takes care of that rather quickly. I’ve been told this is because the medication I’m on can cause breakouts, but I need my medicine and my skin is silky smooth, I wear very little makeup, and strangers now (repeat now… I never got this before in my life) say my skin looks fantastic. That’s of course, on it’s good days.

You might be wondering why I took the time to write yet another skin care journey post, the skeletons of which fill up internet chats and blog sites like ship wrecks surrounding a sand bar, but I promise I have a point. What I wanted to say here, is that it was worth it. This is coming from a woman who hates flaws so intensely that she would rather not leave the house than be seen without concealer, a woman who used to majorly pick at her skin and told her boyfriend at the time that they couldn’t Skype for her first months on Retin-A because she didn’t want to look ugly. As it turned out, no matter how much I wanted to quit during those early stages, the result was worth the infinitesimal struggle and the journey from December to March wasn’t all that painful. Yes, I still skyped my boyfriend. Yes I still went on dates and met new people. Yah, I even still looked pretty. And the end result of a couple months of discomfort was the beautiful skin I was promised. For my moderate acne and oily prone skin, it was the exact skin solution I needed.

Now here are some before and after pictures. Unfortunately, most of my footage is photo that I can’t upload here but I did get one picture of the side of my face that broke out. Keep in mind that is was after the major redness had gone down. The second picture is of me today. 🙂

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Having Fun With Makeup

A few months ago I blogged about being frustrated with makeup. Now I’m still on a skincare “journey” trying to get my skin to the point that I’m comfortable without concealer or BB Cream/ tinted moisturizer, but I’m learning to at least like makeup again. How? I’ve been making it a point to use fun products that I wouldn’t normally have gone for so I can continue to have that adventurous and artistic relationship with makeup that I used to have. Below I’ll talk about some of the products that really helped me step out of my comfort zone.

First: My Make Beauty Face Gloss. It’s an excellent wet looking highlight that also hydrates the skin and locks in moisture. It’s also a great eye gloss (which is a look I love) and great for wearing over shadows, or my favorite way, over my bare eyelids for a natural look. I love this product and it’s make better and has less ingredients than the YSL one I almost purchased. This makes me really want to check out Make Beauty more and try a lot of the inventive things they have to offer.

Next: Everything Colourpop. For me Colourpop is that brand that I buy things from when I’m unsure if I’ll like a certain look because the products are so inexpensive, creative, and numerous that I feel like I can experiment a little bit without being completely let down if something doesn’t work how I want it to (but who am I kidding, I’m always a bit crushed if something doesn’t work out right). For me my biggest experiment (besides Anastasia’s Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette for the reds, which I hesitate to mention because now this is a comfort palette for me) was the Yes, Please! palette from Colourpop. It was the first palette Colourpop launched and I stayed away from it thinking these weren’t my colors for the longest time. I mean they’re are only three browns and one of them is the color of red clay. Plus they’re are three yellows (one matte, one light gold, and one marigold) and a whole bunch of oranges and reds paired with some peachy tones. It wasn’t a color scheme I was at all comfortable with. I didn’t know how I would make this palette wearable on an everyday basis (but I did come out with a cute, naturalish everyday eye look). I just bought it because I saw that it won a whole bunch of awards and I wanted something to spice up my life. And boy, did it. I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on my eye looks with these super warm tone shadows. The marigold and matte yellow shade are surprising hits for me and I finally found the perfect all over skin tone matching shade with ColourPop’s Full Zip (seriously my eyelids aren’t pink or anything but this shade works for that purpose). I’m in love. And I’m definitely taking this palette with me on a trip to Canada I’m going on.

Some other ColourPop shadows that really worked for me was The Ying to my Yang shadow set. These aren’t my colors in a whole different way. Once again, there are no browns, there is a matte black which isn’t something I work with a lot (matte dark browns are my jam for my outer v), there’s a sparkly white, a duochrome red/ green, and two hypermetallic shades called Snake Eyes and my personal favorite, Glass Bull (seriously one of those eye shadows that just transforms a look). I’m also taking this set on me to my trip to Canada. They’re just so cool toned, metallic, mauvey, and smoky and defintely a look. Thankfully, it’s a look that really actually worked on me and it’s a statement I like. It’ll be nice to wear these on a night out with some winged eye liner.

Other Shadows include Colourpop’s Poodle is just a beautiful pink that I like to pair with one of my other experiment: Huda Beauty’s mini  Obsessions Eyeshadow Palette in Mauves. Seriously beautiful shimmers that just won’t quit in this palette along with some beautiful red, brown, cherry colaesque shades that make my day. I recieved a lot of compliments when I was wearing this palette as well. Customers and coworkers actually stopped me to tell me how beautiful my eye look was both times I wore this so I can really appeircate this palette and the sense of adventure it brought out in me because I wasn’t exactly into wearing pink eyeshadows all the time either before this. Nor did I know how good they would look with my blue eyes.

My last makeup experiment has perhaps been my easiest and most complimentary yet: mixing cream blush colors to create a perfect concoction. Lately my go to blush has been a dab of Glossier’s Puff mixed with another dab of Glossier’s Beam. The result? A beautiful peachy pink that looks great on my skin tone (my friend even commented that my face was looking nice because it had some color to it) and isn’t too warm or too cool. I’m in love.

My next experiment is going to come in the form of the trying the Fudge gloss (a beautiful red brown color) from Anastasia Beverly Hills. I saw this on someone at Sephora and I immediately fell in love. I just have to wait until next month to purchase it because my New Year’s Resolution was to only purchase one cosmetic product a month.

What are some ways you’ve been experimenting with makeup recently? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

My Cotton Candy Space Princess Look/ NYX Ultimate Brights First Impression Tutorial

So just to be clear I never usually buy what I say I’m going to buy because something else takes my fancy for no particular reason and I usually spend a long time planning any purchase over $10 because otherwise, I have a history of being unhappy with my purchases. However, in this case, I went for it. I bought NYX’s Ultimate Brights Palette when I was at Target the other day because I had a look in mind and I hadn’t been so inspired by a palette (that I could reasonably afford) in a long time. Below I’m going to walk you through the look I created and give my thoughts from my first time using the palette.

First off, here is what the palette looks like (keep in mind though that apparently starting from the red shade on the left, colors two, three, and six are pigments and not safe for direct use in your eye… which is really confusing and they don’t exactly spell that out anywhere but in a photo on a covered up sticker on the back):

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It’s really full of bright colors and different tones but there are a lot of pretty wearable shades in the palette as well that could be used to make a fun, but not so in-your-face look.

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For example, the yellow, orange, and muted green shades along with the more muted pinky purples aren’t quite all unwearable on the daily, especially if they aren’t paired together or with another, more muted companion palette. Personally, I bought this to really go all out there so you won’t see me using it for something subdued any time soon, but I do want to point out some of versatility this palette has.

Now here are pictures of the look I created with the palette (I didn’t use winged eyeliner because I really wanted the shadows to pop on their own):

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Now as you can see, my eyebrows are all crazy (ignore that if you please) but the look is also really simple (I only used three shades and three brushes, not including my finger tips), and the lip really adds to the otherwordly spaciness of the whole ensemble.

I’m going to walk you through what I did rather quickly because it took a couple of seconds honestly.

  1. First I used the pinky purple shade in my crease with a Real Techniques crease brush (after I applied eyeshadow primer) and just really buffed it in there.Inked20171108_105005_LI
  2. Next, I used the cool toned, more cotton candy-esue blue shade on my entire lid, patting it on with an ecotools eyeshadow brush before I switched to my wet n wild large shadow brush to get more pigment on the brush (and therefore more color pay off). I felt like this shade needed a little building up, but once I got it there, I was quite happy with the appearance.Inked20171108_105005_L2
  3. After that I took my crease brush and went into the hot pink shade, first patting and blending on my outer v eye area for a diffused pink effect and then really laying the pigment down some more with the same brush. Then I popped quite a bit of that same shade into the inner corners of my eye and to the inner part of my lid (but not into my crease) because I decided to go for a sort of ‘halo candy eye’ effect. When all that was done the blue looked a little more subdued than I wanted so I patted more of the blue from the second step on my eyelids with my finger. That’s when I really felt how intense the color pay off was so I highly recommend trying your finger with some of these shades.Inked20171108_105005_L3
  4. Lastly, and I guess I lied a little here, I did use some of that fun bright blue shade on my lower lash line simply with a crease brush. I also took my finger and popped more of that hot pink shade into my inner corners for a really bright effect.Inked20171108_105005_L4

And that was the full look! Of course I added mascara and my usual face makeup on next (there was some fall out with the palette, but only the blue shades) and went in with my Glossier Paint Cloud in Puff, a tiny bit of highlighter, and for the lips since I wanted a really liquidy look, (I went back in forth between wanting to use this product and the Glossier lip gloss for a glass sort of effect) Colourpop’s Ultra Glossy Lip from their My Little Pony Collection in the shade Ponyland.

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For the round up: I was really impressed with the color selection and color pay off from these shadows. They were exactly what I wanted and I was able to create a simple, but punchy look from them too. The palette is definitely beginner friendly (as you can probably tell I’m not an eyeshadow goddess or anything) and the only time I had the slightest trouble was with the first blue shade. That being said, it’s more than a bit strange that the pigment shades aren’t technically ‘safe’ for getting into the eyes. Thankfully, a majority of the shades are however. 🙂

I’m really looking forward to seeing how I’ll use this palette in the future! Thanks for reading and let me know what looks you would like to see with this palette!

 

 

 

For later

OK there is a story behind this two pictures. I’ve been dealing with a lot of stress lately so I haven’t felt or looked my best. Today I couldn’t sit still thinking about going to work because I couldn’t stand how ugly I looked or useless I am.

I took these pictures because I want to be able to look back at them at a later time and call myself on my bullshit. Right now I just can’t but I can say: Here is what I look like today and I’m going to work like this.

And that’s enough for right now. Please let me know if you have any tips for when you feel like this!

Cool Products I Want to Try Out ASAP

Now that I have a job and some means of income that doesn’t pull straight from my savings, I can afford to be looking at some cool new products. Now this doesn’t mean I can afford all of them (or nearly all of them) but these are some things I’ve been considering now that I have money and the Sephora VIB sale is coming up!

First off, let’s start with lip products. I really want to get my hands on Touch in Sol’s Metallist Liquid Foil Lipstick in LucyJasmine, or Sophie. Now I’m leaning towards Sophie because the color is right up my alley, but I really want something wearable as well. Well, as wearable as glitter lips can be! I already have a sample size of Zaza and I think the formula of these is fantastic! It would be a perfect New Year’s Eve/ Holiday lip color or a nice special occasion thing when I feel like going all out.

Now moving on to eyes… I really want an eye gloss. I know they’re always rated poorly and you can get a similar effect just by putting lip gloss on your eyes but I want something that’s actually formulated to be around my eyes and I’ve sampled eye glosses before so I know what I’m getting into (and I love them). Here are some options: a super pretty clear eye gloss from YSL that I’ve previously sampled or Mac’s Studio Eye Gloss/ Steve J & Yoni P for a super shiny, wet look. Let me know if there are great cheaper options out there, please!

While we are still on eyes I’d like to get to more traditional eye makeup like Laura Mercier’s Eye Caviar stick in the shade Tuxedo or Kiko Milano’s Long Lasting Shadow Sticks in the shades Black and Lagoon Blu .I like the texture (but not the cost) of the Laura Mercier one but I saw (the super awesome) Youtuber violette_fr use the Kiko ones in some of her videos and I loved the way her looks turned out!

In the eye department I’d also like to try NYX’s Ultimate Eyeshadow Palette in Brights because I’m a big fan of having fun with makeup now and I know I could make the brightly colored eyeshadows wearable for work (or you know, my days off).

Now I’m sure everyone else has tried Fenty Beauty but I have yet to buy any products from the brand. I’ve gotten shade matched in the foundation (shade 120–for fair skin with neutral undertones… and also the third from lightest shade because I’m so god damn pale) and that had a nice feeling, though I didn’t end up purchasing because I don’t do foundation. However, what I’m really interested in are the Match Sticks (yes I love Stick products) in the shades Amber (a super cool contour shade that makes me want to try contouring), Starstruck, and Confetti. I’ve also seen these used on the eyes and they looked like a great multi tasking product so I’m super keen on these.

Ok we are getting near the end of my list but I would also like to throw out that I really want to try ELF’s Mad for Matte 2 because the shades seem really similar to the Too Faced Just Peachy Matte Palette, their Sport Active line (because I’m into sweatproof makeup), and their Beautifully Bare Highlighting Stick in the shade Fresh Morning Dew because even though it has Coconut Oil and my skin is majorly acne prone, I still love the idea (and look of) a pure glossy, wet-skin looking highlight. I can’t help myself.

Last but not least I want to try some of Target’s new skincare items by the brand Whamisa in the Green Tea Line for Oily Skin because 1) it looks like it could actually work and 2) after I was already interested in purchasing it Ingrid Nilsen, who has a very similar skin type to mine, recommended it.

Now that’s just about it for my list of makeup I want to try but mark my words, I will be buying whatever Glossier’s Holiday Set is this year because while I had a not so great experience in their store, I love their makeup and I deeply regret not purchasing last year’s set (especially since I own almost everything from it).

Thanks for reading this! Let me know what you’re thinking of purchasing in the coming months!

 

 

 

 

 

My Experience at the Glossier Show Room

Let me save you some suspense and come right out and say it: I HATED IT.

Now that that is out of the way, let me explain to you what I thought the experience would be like and how excited I was to get my ass to NYC to go to this store. From everything I read in magazines and on  Intothegloss and from my own experience as a long time customer, I expected something popular but chill. I thought it would be a place where one could go after a long day, get great customer service, and just generally feel  better after they left. I expected the Glossier Showroom to be like my afternoon espresso pick me up. I thought this would be a place to hang out, to experiment with makeup, and be relaxed. You know somewhere I’d look forward to going to. Somewhere I’d want to go back to. I knew that it would be small and there would be a lot of people, but I thought it would be a special place. I guess I expected too much because it was none of these things.

First, there was a line out the door, which I was fine with. I expected it. It was NYC after all! What I liked less was that there was a person in a light pink prisonesque jumpsuit (I’m not kidding, the get-up/ uniform was weird and part of what made me so uncomfortable) managing the crowd fairly poorly and cramming us into a tiny elevator. Now I’m sure twenty people stuffed like sardines in a can into a very small elevator was against fire code regulations, but you know, who gives a shit, right? It’s ok to almost die to get your hands on some makeup.

Yah, it was at that point that I realized this was a “hell no” experience for someone like me. To be fair I’m extremely anxious, so I won’t hold how crowded the store was against them, but I will say the elevator was stuffed past maximum capacity and so was the store itself, once we got up. That’s not cool, no matter who you are. If there was an emergency, there would have been an all out stampede and people would’ve died. I’m not joking or saying this to be cruel. I’m saying that they needed to do a better job of crowd regulation. It was impossible to move around the store and try the makeup samples. It was not at all the relaxed place I’d read about online or in numerous articles. It was a shit show.

The people dressed in the pink jumpsuits weren’t terribly helpful or friendly. That’s fine. I worked in retail. I know how it is. But it was strange that they looked eerily similar, despite being of different races and ethnicities. You could tell they were all wearing Glossier products, which I suppose is the point. It was just so obviously a display of the stores merchandise on near perfect looking people in such a Stepfordish fashion, that it made me uncomfortable. Now I’m all here for the fresh faced beauty, minimal look. That’s why I like Glossier and their products. But I didn’t see any creativity. I saw forced smiles and platitudes all throughout the store. There wasn’t really room to try any of the products on and it was incredibly difficult to see where everything was because there were so many bodies blocking everything. At first I genuinely thought that the store didn’t carry the entire line of Glossier products. It took a lot of searching through an incredibly small store to find what I wanted. Then I was handed a piece of paper and told to wait in a long line (again, long lines weren’t the problem) and fill out my order like it was some sort of fast food joint. Actually, that’s sort of what it felt like–a makeup fast food joint during rush hour where everyone was tired and hungry, and just wanted their shit and to go home.

So I waited there with my friend and that list, by the two chairs where people could “hang out”, which I assume was the space that all the magazines and blog posts talked about, and wondered why I had traveled for this. Yes, I was frustrated at this point, but I still wanted the products because they were to be my birthday present. I was willing to deal with the strange atmosphere, unpleasantly crowded store breaking all sort of fire regulations, and not really being able to comfortably test the products because I was already there and knew what I wanted. When my friend asked me what was the point of going to the store instead of ordering online before I could even answer,the person in front of us turned around and point blank said “there is none”. Yep. There was none. This wasn’t a special place with amazing customer service and a cool vibe. Ordering online had always been a pleasant experience with free returns and beyond excellent service. This was pink pastel hell.

While in line I sent my boyfriend this string of texts:

Me: I just got to the place I went to NYC for and I’m extremely underwhelmed.

Him: What was it?

Me: A makeup store. It’s just so crowded. I want to explode. And I had a fucking turmeric latte. It was coconut milk and turmeric. I am so done with myself. I am clearly not an NYC person.

Him: I don’t know what turmeric is.

Me: It looks like gold dust. It’s a spice. I paid for damn coconut milk with gold dust.

Him: It doesn’t sound like you’re enjoying yourself.

Me: I want to kill me.

When I got to the register, I was relieved. I asked the cashier if I was able to use my store credit in the store (it was store credit I got because I made a return) and she said no. I’m not going to lie. By then I was pissed. Not at her and not visibly so, but I just didn’t get it so I asked her why I couldn’t use my store credit in the store. She said it was something about wanting the showroom to be special and separate from the online store. I internally screamed as she continued to explain how the store was really for New Yorkers and the whole point was that you could test the product and blah-blah-blah it was unfortunate, but no, I could not use my store credit in the store. I still got my birthday present and my friend cracked a joke about how awful the uniforms were to the staff and the cashier laughed because honestly, the uniforms were really fucking weird and the woman wearing it seemed to agree.

Now I was still hopeful and happy because I knew I was going to get a Glossier perfume sample. That made it all worth it to me. But as soon as I got on the subway and sprayed it on my wrists, I felt all the wasted hours hit me all at once. I gave my best friend my wrist to smell and she said “this is straight up Juicy fucking Couture”. And it was. By then, I was truly done.

I didn’t write this to shit on Glossier. I love their makeup. I’m going to continue to purchase it. Just online, never in person. Never ever again. I no longer think of Glossier as the “brand that cares”. They’re just like every other makeup company out there, trying hardcore to sell their products. And no, I would never wear their sweatshirt. Just their makeup.

 

 

 

I’m a bit exhausted with makeup

Wearing makeup used to be many things for me. At first, when I started wearing it, it was just concealer. Then I got into the heavy black eyeliner on some days and years later in college, I had a love affair with lipstick that is still ongoing. In between then I learned how to do a lot of different eye shadow looks but that my thing was always complexion–it couldn’t be too heavy but I needed spot concealer for my spots and discoloration.

Makeup became fun for me around the time I started to have really serious struggles with OCD and I needed something artistic to help me feel good about myself. I created many different eye looks and had a lot of fun playing with my look without attaching it to who I was as a person.

When makeup became less fun was when I started to have skin issues. I recently identified the problem (hormonal birth control) but it’s going to take a bit for my body to regulate itself out and for me to feel comfortable with myself again.

Now, at this present moment in time, I’ve lost a lot of enthusiasm for makeup. I dislike feeling the need to wear it. I hate how my skin looks, but I still hate the feel of foundation so I stick to my tinted moisturizer and concealer.

Now I just want to feel good about myself and my skin. I’m tired of eye shadow and makeup all the time. I just want skincare and comfortability. To look like me but a bit better. To be travel friendly and really low maintenance with my makeup use for the most part. I’m just tired of trying to make myself feel better using the external. I want to feel good and have a happy relationship with myself.

This post isn’t to shame anyone. I myself still wear makeup, but right now it feels out of need, like someone is going to spit at me on the street if they see how ugly I look without it. And that’s not a pleasant way to feel about something I until recently, enjoyed so much.

Below I inserted pictures of me on a bad skin day with makeup on and one without makeup. One day, hopefully sooner rather than later, I hope to be happier with the picture on the right. Until then, I’m going to try to trudge out of this funk.

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