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The Lipstick Page Forums Beauty & Fashion Blog: April 2005

Old School Dain Minimalist Purists
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, April 29, 2005 1:37 AM (Eastern)

I suppose I'm more of an old school Dain Minimalist purist lol... I remember the old days when Dain introduced this exotic concept on LP...the minimal stash. (Not to mention skincare as the literal foundation of beauty, with color cosmetics mere icing on the cake.)

It's either that, or, I just went through a massive phase of cosmetic experimentation, acquisition and soul-searching. The phrase here would be "went through"; for me personally the journey is next to finished. I've tried it all and done it all and, it's finished for me.

I still love makeup, of course. Makeup is something that women do for themselves. They don't actually do it for men, most of whom would not know a MAC lipstick from a Mack truck...sure, men appreciate it, us looking good, but when a woman buys makeup or puts it on, it's a moment that's not for the house, the kids, the family, etc. It is a moment that belongs to her.

It's just that I no longer crave it. I've settled down with some tried-and-trues...brands, products, shades that I know will work for me.

The craving phase lasted some years for me. It was the "kid meets candy store" sort of thing.

Recently I started refining the concept of wearing shadows specifically to pop my green/hazel eyes...many shadows don't, even if they're nice shadows...and even that phase of operations is next to done.

Hence, my relatively small stash. I even used a lipstick up. It sounds silly, but lipsticks take about three or four months to use up, if you wear only one lipstick for that three to four months. Owning two lipsticks, somehow means that one of them takes months and months and months to wear down to the metal. A Use Everything Up purist would then bring out the lip brush and "UEU" the stub, but, to me it's good enough to get to the metal edge. Then it goes on the Back to MAC pile.

I've yet to UEU an eyeshadow...ever. Before I converted to beauty junkie-ism, I did not wear eyeshadow much.

On the other hand...I could use a few more of those MAC Eye Kohls.

Colleen Shirazi continues to blog here: Life of Colleen
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The perfect blush
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Thursday, April 28, 2005 12:53 AM (Eastern)

It's a bit tough to find this actually.

I tend to think of blush as less a color cosmetic, and more a foundation one. i.e. I think less in terms of having a blush wardrobe--like an eyeshadow wardrobe--and more of owning one or two blushes that work; that add natural-looking color to your face.

Why two? If you can find your Holy Grail blush, then you would need only the one blush. Nothing wrong with that. If you're a blush fanatic, then you would own more than two. But two can be a good, useful number.

My Holy Grail blush was Lancome Blush Subtil in "Rose Charmant." It's been discontinued, and when I went to the Lancome counter, I didn't see anything remotely similar in the new Blush Subtils. Well...bugger. What can you do?

Prior to Rose Charmant, I did not have a grail blush. I had some that I liked but did not feel committed to.

As much as I like drugstore makeup, I can say that I have not found a drugstore blush that worked for me. The best d/s brand of blush imo is L'Oreal. Consistently, even blush connoisseurs can find a L'Oreal blush to like...from the gel and stick blushes to Blush Delice to Feel Naturale.

For me though, since I don't want to own a lot of blushes, I prefer department store...the lasting power is better, in the main, and the colors complex enough so that blush klutzes (raises hand) can manage 'em.

To replace Rose Charmant (sob), I found a reasonably close match in MAC Sheertone blush in "Blushbaby." The same rose tone, muted with brown, perhaps not quite as deliciously peachy as Rose Charmant, but's still being made.

I also swapped for Cargo "Catalina" blush. This is pretty cool...looks like slightly warm-toned Bazooka in the pan, but goes on surprisingly subtle. Catalina is matte, in a world of shimmery blushes; this can work to your advantage, but apply a little at a time.

How can you find the right blush????? I would highly recommend shlepping to the MAC counter, or the counter of your choice...ask the people at the counter for advice...try a few on. If something catches your eye, buy it by all means, but you have to find something natural...something that makes you look better, but not blush-y.

After some experimentation, your blush "type" will emerge...mine is rose or clear pink. Peach, plum, wine, tan, eh...I like them, but not on me.

Once you know what general color suits you, you can shop around...find the brand and formula that does what you want.

What about brushes? I like my Sonia Kashuk blush brush just fine. You can buy it at Target. I've never met a brush that came with the blush, that was worth using.

I don't have much advice re cream blush because I don't use them.

How to apply? Once you have your right colors and nice big fluffy soft brush at the ready, that is most of the work. The right color blush will be easy to apply where the wrong color will be work. The nice big fluffy brush will make it dab-dab and go.

Smile broadly--that actually does work--get a little color on your brush, and start toward the bottom of the "apples" that pop out when you smile that widely. Blend up and outwards, the blush should fade as it gets toward the sides of your face.

Look at yourself in the mirror. Do you look better?

If not, dab a bit more blush on your brush, and start again, this time a bit higher than before. Blend up and out again.

By now you really should look better--and, as I read long ago on the old Jane cosmetics site, once you look better, that's it. That is enough blush.

Blush goofs: applying blush too close to your nose. That will make you look sunburned.

Too much blush on the sides of your face will give you that lovely 80's racing-stripe look; it's dated.

Too much blush altogether will make you look overexcited and overdone.

Not enough blush is less sin than all of these, so easy does it.

Final note...not everyone needs to wear blush every day. I don't. I have enough natural coloring in my face to not always need it.

But, you should still have some on hand, for those pale days, or when you want to look extra good.

Colleen Shirazi continues to blog here: Life of Colleen
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The perfect lipstick
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Wednesday, April 27, 2005 7:07 PM (Eastern)

So...what is your perfect lipstick and how do you find it?

Is there a difference between drugstore lipstick and department store lipstick, beyond the (sometimes significant) price difference?

Here I must employ a common beauty board term: "meh." Sometimes price does not quite mean quality, nor a guarantee that you will love this lipstick a year from now. Sometimes lower price does not mean greater value for your money.

In any is my personal experience in the wide world of lipstick.

Department store brands overall have superior packaging. Drugstore brands tend to be functional, but not particularly pleasurable...just a plain old lightweight plastic tube without much pizzazz.

A few d/s brands have used rather stylish packaging, such as the old Fetish and Jane: minimal clean-design tubes.

A few department store brands have used rather homely packaging...Clinique comes to mind...and paying more does not mean better packaging...MAC comes to mind. Probably the cheapest department store brand, MAC has lovely sleek tapered black tubes that go with everything.

Department store brands seem to have better reds. I searched for my perfect red in drugstores over some years, and have yet to find it. A few have come close...Revlon "Blackberry" Super Lustrous lipstick, Black Opal "Barely Mocha" lipstick...but most turn bright fuchsia pink on me with just a trace of red.

As far as lasting power, you have the edge with some department store brands. My sheer MAC lipsticks last as long as full-coverage d/s ones, for example (and I loathe to reapply). Conversely, the Cliniques I've tried fade faster than Revlon.

All of that why buy drugstore brand lipsticks? Some of them are good. Revlon Super Lustrous is a good brand, now that they're unscented/unflavored. L'Oreal is good if you don't mind the L'Oreal rose scent.

On the health food store side, find a Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer or a Terra Tints colored lip balm for a few bucks (both have good colors and function as lip balms).

Some of these lipsticks rival department store brands, and, they are cheap, or else they go on sale and get cheap. Falling out of love with a cheaper lipstick means you can toss it without an excess of "trashcan remorse." There is the variety/experimentation factor too in that, if you are paying $18 for a lipstick, you can play with only so many.

So why buy department store brands? You get to swatch before you buy. There tend to be greater selection and more complexity in will find shades here (such as the aforementioned elusive perfect red) that don't exist low-end.

Another factor is that drugstore brands, infuriatingly, discontinue their shades and formulas at the drop of a hat. If commitment is your thing, you will face more heartbreak at the drugstore than the department store.

After years of soul-searching and trying this and that, I ended up with two MAC "Lustre" formula lipsticks, Viva Glam V and Sophisto. Viva Glam V is somewhat more versatile in that (on me anyway) it is truly neutral and can be worn with warm or cool eye makeup. Sophisto is somewhat prettier than VGV...a bit more color, a bit cooler (which makes teeth look whiter), more lipstick-y all around.

These taste faintly of vanilla (as do all MAC lippies), last well, keep reasonably well (more than a year, since it takes forever to use up a lipstick)...the price is right for me. If ever MAC dared discontinue Sophisto (VGV is part of the fundraiser series so not to worry, they'll continue making it), I would feel momentarily sad, yet I would replace my Sophisto with another MAC Lustre there is that security-blanket feeling there too.

These are both sheers (compatible with my full lips, which look clownish in more solid colors).

Am I in lipstick heaven? Is the search over with? is actually.


Colleen Shirazi continues to blog here: Life of Colleen
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Back to MAC
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, 1:48 AM (Eastern)

What if you have never heard of Back to MAC?

You take 6 empty *plastic* containers from your MAC brand makeup products...anything plastic such as lipstick tubes, eyeshadow pans, pressed powder compacts, and so forth...this currently includes empty Paints too...clean 'em out, and return them to your MAC counter. You get a free MAC lipstick.

The only lipstick you can't get as a freebie is one of the Viva Glam fundraising series, but you can use a Viva Glam empty tube as one of your B2M items.

Colleen Shirazi continues to blog here: Life of Colleen
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Adult Acne
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Monday, April 25, 2005 12:41 PM (Eastern)

This is something I've lived with in one form or another, since 1995. It "started" when I was 29 years old; prior to that, I'd had the normal bout with acne as a teenager, then perfect skin for more than fifteen years.

I'm not the kind of person to sit and cry. I've always taken an interest in finding the root cause. That was my original interest in Internet beauty forums: I was looking for a cure, or, if there were none, a way to get my life back under control.

Acult acne is much, much harder to deal with than teenage acne. With the latter, you always knew it would end some day.

Adult acne is indefinite. There are a million expensive treatments for it, and no talk as to what exactly is causing it. It's not a world-wide phenomenon from what I've absorbed, over these past ten years of searching for answers. It is specific to American and Canadian women, with some fairly recent reports from Europe.

That indicates strongly that its cause is environmental. We're eating something that's causing it; we're taking medicine that's causing it; we're using products that cause it.

Anyhow...I would like to share what I've tried and what has and hasn't produced results, along with some advice derived from my six and a half years of reading, on various Internet boards, about others' experience with it.

Please note that I am not a doctor. This is mainly first-hand experience. When I include something that's observed, not first-hand, I will so note it.

Possible causes

Allergies: some people have reported food allergies, and allergies to specific substances such as parabens.

You would need to take a battery of tests to determine if your adult acne is caused by allergies.

Diet: I became suspicious about diet when I observed that the vast majority of adult acne posts on the beauty boards were from American and Canadian women. Why not Europe? What's the difference?

One factor could be genetically engineered foods. No one knows what kind of allergic reaction people could develop from being exposed to genes in contexts and levels they would never naturally be exposed to.

Another could be growth hormones added to meat. Europe bans certain growth hormones (and uses others, from what I can gather). Their justification for banning them is that they have not been tested in the way a real person, exposed to low levels of these hormones over their lifetime, would experience them.

Another could be antibiotics. Acne has a bacterial factor.

Another could be that the food we eat now is less nutritious, from being mass-produced. I've read theories that much adult acne is caused by a decline of certain nutrients in our diet.

Birth control: another factor could be the hormone-based birth control that we take.

I ran a poll on a board and found that hormone-based birth control figured into many women's memories of how their adult acne started. It was either starting a new pill or getting off an old one. (This is true of myself too.)

I'm a little less in love with the theories that are commonly spread around, that adult acne is "genetic" (I think only one woman who responded to the poll had any other relatives who had it; I certainly don't, and it's seldom mentioned on the boards) or caused by "hormones." How did the human race (or at least the American/Canadian part of it) suddenly develop "hormones" over the past five or ten years?

Possible treatments

The first step is to determine whether you have cystic acne or not. If you do, my advice is to immediately book an appointment with a dermatologist.

Dermatologists in the U.S. are wired one way: they have little interest in preventing acne, and much interest in prescribing prescription medications to treat it. For cystic acne, you are dealing with something serious. So while you're figuring out possible causes, you will need to be under the care of a dermatologist.

The second thing to look at, is your birth control. If you're taking hormone-based birth control and you have adult acne, it may be well to try a different pill or method.

I've been on Yasmin for almost three years (see my Adult Acne Blog, written under my former pen name Josephine). It has helped, a lot.

Ortho-Tricyclen also helped; I switched mainly because my HMO stopped covering Ortho.

Other pills have been a disaster. My personal advice is to give any pill one month. If you're living in acne hell at the end of that one month, then switch.

The third thing to change is your diet.

There are some companies that sell "skin vitamins" such as Murad or Oil of Olay. I haven't tried them; I did a lot of research on the Net for articles mentioning a connection between nutrients and acne.

Make sure that the vitamins you end up taking, are safe for you if you are pregnant or could become pregnant.

Do not mortgage the house to buy skin vitamins. They're vitamins. There is no such thing as a magic vitamin that only one company manufactures. High doses of vitamins can be dangerous on top of it all.

But do look into vitamins. My skin has gotten much the point that I can basically forget that I have taking Yasmin and a special multi-vitamin (the latter are not all the same; do the research and consult your doctor as to what is safe to take).

Try reducing the amount of regular, growth-hormone produced meat and dairy products that you eat.

Try reducing the amount of garbage food, such as fast food, soda, junk food, etc. that you eat.

Try to integrate as much fresh salads as you can into your diet.

Some of these things...reducing the hormone-produced meat, for example, can produce almost immediate results. I know when I've eaten that Pizza Hut pizza; for a few days afterward, my skin will react. It's still worth it to eat Pizza Hut once in a while but you have to have a grip on cause and effect with acne, in order to not feel as if your skin breaks out when the wind blows in the wrong direction?

Okay, so you've booked your derm appointment for cystic acne if applicable.

You have examined your birth control method and experimented enough so that you've found something that at least does not aggravate your acne, and possibly something that helps (you will see results one way or the other during that one-month trial period).

You have investigated possible food or substance allergies.

You have overhauled your diet to include a multi-vitamin, more fresh salads, minimal exposure to hormone-produced foods, cut out that soda, and so forth.

These things should help.

As far as topical treatments or topical causes, I really don't believe in that. Back in my perfect skin days, yes, I would get clogged pores when I got lazy and didn't wash out my powder puff frequently enough. That's it. I ate crap and slept in my makeup. These things do not cause acne.

Any topical treatment strong enough to penetrate skin deeply enough to affect acne, also destroys your skin. Differin would be a prime example. It's excellent as a spot treatment though.

Unless you have an allergy to a specific substance, there is no such thing as "this product is breaking me out"--unless it is a product you apply to only one part of your face or body, and only that part is breaking out.

I've seen this many times on different boards--does this product cause breakouts? I suppose a few of them do. But does your acne go away if you stop using this product? In my case--nope. I've gone without foundation or powder...doesn't prevent acne.

I look forward to updating these posts as more information about adult acne arrives.

Colleen Shirazi continues to blog here: Life of Colleen
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Eye Makeup for Green Eyes #2
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Friday, April 22, 2005 3:33 PM (Eastern)

Here I would like to recommend a some specific shades for green-eyed women with overall warm-to-neutral coloring, like myself. I'll start with department store eyeshadows, then cover liners and lower-priced options in subsequent posts.

Overall coloring is important! I can't wear some of the cooler colors that flatter green eyes, such as lavenders, cool blues and greys. Likewise, those with cooler coloring can't wear the oranges and bronzes that make my green eyes pop.

Here is the queen of duo shadows for warmer-coloring green eyes, the Nars Babylon Duo:

It's kind of a weird-looking duo as one side is a medium, frosty, cross between orange sherbet and orange creamsicle, and the other is a dark, matte, greyish purple shade.

Together though you get really good results. For some reason, the two shades balance each other perfectly to pop green eyes.

Here is the queen of the single shadows, Urban Decay Kiss:

Unlike many pink shadows, this one goes on a tad warm and a bit brown, so you don't get that lovely "I've been crying for hours" look. Slight shimmer. It's more of a lid shade; it's possible also to do a crease with it.

Breathing down its neck, we have MAC Trax:

For a very long time, I thought Trax was pure deep purple with gold shimmer...not so. It has a very heavy underlayer of rose to it, and it's practically half it is a unique blend of purple, rose and gold that does your green eyes good. And it's not all that deep either; it's a medium shade that works fine in your crease or on your lids.

Finally, we have a black|Up quad:

I don't have a price for this but it certainly behaves like an expensive shadow quad. You get four beautiful, finely milled, pigmented, long-lasting shades that work well together. Plus a double-sided brush that is actually functional.

This is a very warm, yellow-gold to orange based quad, so it's out if your coloring is cool. But if you can wear orange eyeshadow, you will like this one.

Colleen Shirazi continues to blog here: Life of Colleen
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Eye Makeup for Green Eyes #1
Posted by Colleen Shirazi, Wednesday, April 20, 2005 8:15 PM (Eastern)

This is something I'm always interested in; it's ongoing. I will cover all of the products I've found that work in a series of posts.

I think the first thing to do is decide whether your overall coloring tends toward the cool or the warm.

"Cooler coloring" green eyes will do well with blue-based or neutral purples and lavenders, cooler greens, cooler pinks, cooler blues, and blue-based greys. I don't know this firsthand; I've gleaned it from the FOTD's on the forums. :)

"Warmer coloring" green eyes (like mine) will do well with orange, peach, bronze, mauve, red-based or neutral purples, some blue-based purples and greens; green-based blues and warm greys.

It's fairly easy to tell which one you are, by trying out some (cheap) eyeshadows. If the cooler, blue-based ones look ashy and harsh on you, you tend toward the warm. If the warmer, orange-based ones make you look sick, you tend toward the cool.

Some shades suit both cooler- and warmer-coloring green eyes such as MAC Vapour:

Vapour is a "velvet" shade; it's not quite matte. It has a twist of subtle sparkle in it. It's basically a white shade with an underlayer of pink. It flies as a wash, lid, or base shade for me. If you can't wear almost-white shadows except as a highlighter, it won't be worth it to get this, but it seems to suit a wide range of women.

Nars Ireland duo:

Seems unlikely but somehow that frosty, mint green shade almost exactly matches my eye color. It has a little blue in it, a bit of neutral tone...apply it sheerly on your lids and see what happens.

The grey, frankly, seems to exist solely to go with the green. It is a soft, warmish, matte medium grey.

MAC Permaplum and Heirloom liners:

Permaplum is deep blue-based purple with a hint of pink sheen (the sheen doesn't show that much on). It's a staple deep purple shade for me, slightly more versatile than MAC Bordeauxline (which will be featured in later posts).

Heirloom is less a traditional (dark) liner and almost more of an eyeshadow or "eye brightener." It's part silver, part lavender. It seems to be the favorite of green-and hazel-eyed women with overall cooler coloring but it's pretty on me too.

I will write more later with shades specific to warmer-coloring green eyes.

Colleen Shirazi continues to blog here: Life of Colleen
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