Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Ask The Non-Blonde: More (Semi-)Personal Questions

I'm behind. With everything, but especially beauty reviews. The long Thanksgiving weekend was used mainly for eating and getting acquainted with a new camera and a new lens. I didn't leave the house on Black Friday and just from the traffic around our neighborhood I have no desire to do so until February (to those who don't know, I live in Mall County, NJ). The most exciting purchase of the week (other than the lens) was a new vacuum cleaner, which those of you with pets will understand. The old Dyson was falling apart (literally) so it was put out to pasture in favor of a new model. Some of the small kitchen appliances are about to follow. But this is a beauty blog, so let's not talk about my grievance against the food processor. Instead, I'll answer a bunch of recent questions that have come up in comments, email, and social media.

1. I always see vloggers/bloggrs doing an "empties" post and find it hard to believe they really finish all the beauty products when they rotate between so many. Have  finished anything recently? Do you ever?  Can you do an empties post?
I'll start at the end: No, I won't do an "empties" post because that would require keeping all those tubes and bottles instead of recycling/binning them right away. Between storage space and OCD I can't even consider it.
I definitely use things up. Obviously, the most frequent items I need to replace are various hair products and shower gels, as well as makeup removers (mostly Bioderma for eyes and oil cleansers), and of course sunscreen. I also go through skincare at the same rate everyone else does: sheet masks, sleep masks, and my variety of snail creams and serums. When it comes to makeup, primers and other base products get used up despite a larger-than-average selection (latest victims: Cle de Peau concealer, NARS powder and Guerlain foundation, all have been replenished), I replace my mascaras frequently enough, and use up liquid liners relatively quickly. Next come lip glosses that are reapplied frequently, and occasionally a favorite lipstick or lip crayon (I've recently repurchased NARS Rikugien). It's been a while since I used up a blush, but I do see pan once in a blue moon, especially with cream blushes. As for eye shadows (powder, not creams which do get used up here and there), my second-oldest Chanel quad (I think it was Gold Rush) recently bit the dust. I didn't fully  hit pan, but heavy use  (especially with damp brushes) finally killed it. Other than that, I suspect I won't use up another eye shadow until my next life.

2. Are you still using the snail products? Have you changed anything for your winter routine?
Yes, I'm still on the snail trail and it works like magic. I go through a tube of the Mizon gel cream in 6 weeks, and will also need to repurchase the Black Snail cream soon. I did need to add extra hydration lately, in teh form of La Roche Posay Toleriane Riche in the AM and a religious and generous use of my Laneige sleep masks at night. I'll probably add  more before the month is over. My beloved BFF oil, most likely.

3. What did you buy at the recent Sephora sale? Are you planning to shop during the gift card event?
  I bought some gifts, quite a few eyeliners (you'll hear about them soon), repurchased a lip treatment I've recently finished (the Bite mask), and a dry shampoo. Not terribly exciting, I admit. I do plan to take advantage of the gift card (which I have yet to receive), mostly for the other Ciate x Olivia Palermo palette, because I love the one I have so much.

4. What is your brow routine?
I shape my eyebrows carefully every two or three weeks, pluck strays as needed, and forget to fill them in about half the time. I've realized years ago that the fact they're of completely different shape is an important part of my facial expression, so I don't fight it and never try to make them look even. The unibrow of my childhood is long gone, and I've lost some length with the years, but I think my brows are still pretty decent, and Instagram brows don't suit me, so that's all I do (for now).

5. Do you own any Urban Decay Naked palettes? Do you like them?
Yes, I have Naked 2 and Naked Basics 2, and think that both are spectacular. None of the others seems enticing enough in color or textures.

6. What part of your beauty routine do you get professionally done? 
Only mani-pedis every two week. Eventually I'll also have my hair dyed at a salon, but I still  have very few gray hairs (thanks for the genes, Mom!) so I don't feel a need to color it.

7. Did you do your own wedding makeup? If not, would you do it now? What did it look like? 
 My wedding makeup was professionally done. I chose an almost beachy tan/bronzed look with a liquid black eyeliner (but no flick, as that wasn't very popular at the time) and a reddish brown lip (it was the 1990s, after all). I brought my own mascara, Lancome Definicils, and my own lipstick, Lancome Sugared Maple (the formula was different back then, and the color had a lot more red in it than the current version).
If I were to do it again I'd still go with a professional makeup artist for the skills and the relaxation, but I suspect I'd be a nightmare client. I know I'd bring my own makeup to use, and probably also my brushes. I think I'd go with a more or less similar look. Judging from the photos it was a good choice. Maybe wear a classic red lipstick.

8. I can tell from  photos that your glasses aren't black, but couldn't figure out what it is.
You're right. My older pair is an ombre-like aqua and tortoiseshell that I feel suits me better than black. Last week I got a new pair in a different shape and a new color: burgundy. I love them even more. I guess I really like color.

9. Who is your dream makeup artist? 
The late Kevyn Aucoin. I'd trade my soul for a session with that magical man. If I had to choose a living one it's either Pat McGrath or Lisa Eldridge.

10. What's the best beauty advice you were ever given? Did you follow it? What's the one piece of beauty advice you'd give someone?
My mother taught me since before I can remember that it's absolutely worth it to take the time and put in the effort and money for skincare and makeup. It's so ingrained in me that I can't imagine being any other way. This blog is at least partly a result of that.
I'd probably say the same thing to anyone asking for advice, but will also stress that sun protection comes before anything else. So much of what we (or I) do is to correct the damage of careless sun exposure, so just imagine not having to deal with that.

Photo of  Colleen Moore and Virginia Lee Corbin from Footlights and Fools (1929)


  1. Ah, Lancome Sugared Maple! That was a great color. I remember wearing it frequently. It provided a nice dose of color while somehow remaining a neutral. Sounds perfect for a wedding--maybe someday you'll post a picture...?

  2. Ah, memories of wedding makeup! I did my own using trusty products (lips & nails in Dior Figue/Fig, a lovely discontinued shade), the only thing I splurged on was a three-pack of ampoules (Biotherm something) to help the makeup stay on fresh all day and night.

    Thanks to my genes I got my first grey hairs at twenty-three, so I have had plenty of time to get used to them! I just sort of picked Jim Jarmusch as my style icon and decided to get along with them. I always get a chuckle when someone refers to me as a blonde.

  3. I never heard the expression Instagram brows before. I was calling them drag queen brows. It is like those girls try to draw on their brows and contour to the max to look like a Kardashian or something and wind up looking drag to me.

  4. Thank you for doing this :-) I would absolutely love to have been able to have Kevyn Aucoin do my makeup, too! I wish my mother had taught me what yours taught you. As I get ready to turn sixty I'm still getting past the idea that putting time, effort, and (especially) money into my appearance is somehow evil. I'll get there some day!


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