Last year I was greedy. I chose two words: Peace + Community

How did that go?
Well as you may or may not have realised (‘cos, y’know, I hardly *ever* talk about it), on 1st February I opened my own bijou yoga + wellbeing studio in central Cambridge.
Over the last 11 months I have turned a very worn out, dirty and run down office into a haven of peace + serenity. I have a little tribe of people who love being there to do yoga, get treatments, chill out. And I have another amazing (and rather unexpected) tribe of therapists who work there and help me out and share the space and just generally rock.
So Community, check!
As for peace, well, every time I think what an incredibly stressful year it’s been. Every time I think about how I haven’t stopped thinking about work for a micro-second this year. Every time I think «man, it’s really not been very peaceful», I have to remember the sense of utter peace and letting go I get every single time I open the door to that studio.
So Peace, check!
And now suddenly, as if from nowhere, 2014 is just around the corner
And it’s time to chose a whole new word.
At first I thought about «Ease», but it didn’t sit right. I didn’t quite know what I wanted from it.
Then I thought about «Simplicity». 2014 is already shaping up to be quite a year, and I know it’s one where I have to simplify – both in terms of my business, my home and my life.
But it still didn’t feel quite right.
And then I treated myself to one of Amy’s Goddess Readings and there was my word, right there on the reading she had done for me.
Flow
I want to be able to trust in my work and my intuition
I want to be able to trust in the universe.
I want to be able to trust in my business.
I want to be able to let go of control, to trust the process of flow and change that is life and to live by the words I say to my clients again and again.
«Just let it flow».
Last year was a lot of wonderful and momentous things. But it was also a lot of worry. And most of the things I was worrying about, it turned out, didn’t need to be worried about.
And so this year I would like to be able to be proactive about the things I can do something about, and just let the rest go.
Let it flow.
Do you have a word for 2014?

Vintage Makeup Recreation: Lauren Bacall

“Most women use more brains picking a horse in the third at Belmont than they do picking a husband.” – Schatze Page (Lauren Bacall), How to Marry a Millionaire

There’s a lot of old school movies that I love, but How to Marry a Millionaire is easily in my top three. There’s something about the writing, the cast (Monroe! Grable!), the clothes, and most of all: Lauren Bacall. As much as I love a good classic film noir, there was something about Bacall in a comedy that really hit all the right notes–between her dry delivery and superb timing, there’s a lot of reasons I always come back to this movie as one of my favorites.

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How perfect are those outfits?

In one of the ways to better marry (Eh? EEEH? Get it?) the makeup and vintage portion of this blog together, I’ve decided to try and make it a monthly challenge going into 2018 to do a makeup look similar to that of a particular starlet. I’ll do my best to also recreate the hair, but given that mine is feral, I’m not going to get worked up over it. Starting off, this series, I’m going to go off this movie to start and go with my favorite lady, Lauren Bacall.

Bacall, prior to being a leading lady was a model. She had gotten her start in 1944 with her future husband, Humphrey Bogart, in To Have and Have Not. From there, she worked on several other films with him (primarily in the film noir genre) before How to Marry a Millionaire in 1953 with Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable. The movie itself is about three bachelorettes in New York attempting to find millionaires to marry before stumbling on love with men they least expected.

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Though Bacall’s makeup is not particularly noteworthy in the movie, I’ve found an ad for her makeup I particularly like. This ad emphasizes a lot of blush–which is something I struggle with in terms of placement and amount (and exactly why I got for sheerer formulas). As this is something I want to get better at, this is why I focused on this particular one for a recreation look.

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Looking at the picture, there’s some evident things right off the bat: this was likely something done in the very late 1940’s, early 1950’s. The eyes are generally clean (albeit, hooded) with a small, winged liner. It was all done in black. Blush was strong and on the outside of the apples of the cheek, but laid on thick. The lips were stereotypical red, but with a hint of shine.

The skin was very clean; Bacall had defined cheekbones so there wouldn’t be as much need for contouring and there was likely none of that present in this look for this advertisement. If I squint, I can pick up on maybe a very slight amount on her nose, but that’s only if I squint. Another observation is that her brows were very thick with a defined arch. This is definitely something that is within my skill set, but would force me to be cognizant of application, which is the name of the game here.

I always start with a normal skincare routine, but after having let it settle, I always go to the priming steps. In this particular case, I wound up using MUFE Step 1 Primer in Redness Reduction, BITE Beauty Agave Lip Mask, and the Urban Decay Anti-Aging Eye Primer. These products lay the foundation for a smooth, vibrant canvas.

Once they were set, I started with the eyes. The MUFE Artist Shadow in M500 as a base (this has since been discontinued, but has a sister shade in M500 in the new Artist Color Shadow in M500 which is slightly more yellow-undertoned.) After extending that up to the brow bone, I used MAC Omega in the crease. After that, a bit of MAC Nylon in the tearducts and inner eye to make it appear larger. (A trick Marilyn Monroe used to use!) From there, tightlined with the Marc Jacobs gel pencil eyeliner and the Physician’s Formula liquid eyeliner to get the smaller cat eye shape.

Once the eyes were complete, I moved onto my face. I started with the YSL Touche Eclat Radiant Touch for a color corrector for my under-eyes. After that was done, I used about 3 pumps of the MUFE Water Blend (my beloved) to even out my skin tone. From there, a healthy amount of MAC Blushbaby for a natural looking blush with a bit of the MUFE Artist Face Shadow in S112 for sculpting under my cheeks to give the appearance of a more chiseled cheekbone.

The finishing touches were Benefit Roller Lash in dark brown (used in upper and lower lashes). Then, the last little touch: BITE Beauty’s lip pencil in 076 to outline the lips and MAC Chili on the lips, with a patting of MAC Nylon in the center to make it look more “glossy.”

And below is the outcome from several angles:

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And that concludes this month’s attempt. Each month will be a different Hollywood starlet, and I haven’t picked February’s, but I’ll be working on something I can replicate. Let me know if you have any ideas or thoughts.

 

Yours ’til Niagara Falls,
Jupiter Gimlet

MAC Omega: The Bette Midler of Eyeshadows

Bette Midler is one of those actresses that can do it all: she can sing, she can dance, she can act. She can even executive produce! In the same way, MAC Omega is one of those eyeshadows that is a triple threat.

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MAC Omega has been a staple in my collection for a while now, and I think it’s definitely worth showing off how great it is and the ways it can be used (assuming your coloring lends itself to using it in such a way; I acknowledge this post is not likely to work for darker skintones. Depending on your skintone and hair color, ones to possibly look at would include MAC Swiss Chocolate, Soft Brown, Soba, Saddle, or Wedge. Maybe even Carbon for eyebrows.)

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MAC Omega on top, Kat Von D Samael on bottom. Omega is more tan and slightly warmer, KVD is more mauve and cooler.

Here are the ways in which I use this:

Crease Eyeshadow

Of all the eyeshadow colors I have, this is my favorite. It’s subtle, and like a lot of MAC eyeshadows, requires some building to really get the color to pack a punch. Personally, I prefer my eyeshadows this way; it means less error when applying (more pigmentation means more room for error; issues with fallout, overdoing a color, or staining the skin when trying to remove excess.)

In this current makeup climate, YASS QUEEN BUTTERY PIGMENTATION FROM THE GAWDS HUNTY kind of attitude and formula reigns, but I’m happy that MAC has kept their eyeshadows as they have. They’re tried and true, and you can find a *ton* of swatches for almost any shade across many skintones.

Eyebrow Powder

Before powder
After powder

It’s by sheer luck that my hair color is almost identical to Omega. Omega is the perfect amount of ashy that works for those of us on the taupe/ash blonde/very light brown spectrum. I find that it works both as a subtle powder, or can be built up to a POW! in your face, Liz Taylor-inspired brow.

Contour Powder

Again: this is another one of those situations where sheer luck by having the “right” (as in workable) skin tone comes into play that this is something I can even consider using as contour. That being said, the ultimate goal of contour is to replicate a “shadow” from cheekbones or make your chin look more pointed.

Top swatch: MAC Omega, Lower swatch: Kat Von D Samael. Omega is more tan, brown-based, while Samael is more mauve and cooler undertoned.

MAC Omega is the one eyeshadow shade they can pry out of my tiny, cold, dead hands. It’s such an excellent multitasker that I can’t imagine parting with it now or in the future.

What about you; do you have any product like this in your collection?

 

Yours ’til Niagara Falls,

Jupiter Gimlet

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + Hyaluronic Acid 2%

As a follow-up to one of my first posts, I decided to bump up a level with my lactic acid use and test out the 10% version.

In general, the product is not too significantly different. It comes in the same kind of container (glass bottle), same dispersing mechanism (glass dropper), the color of the liquid is pretty similar. The cost is even similar at $6.79 compared to $6.50 for the 5%. All all, if you’re wanting to make a change and move up a step with your skincare routine while still being gentle, this is not a bad option.

There are no specific claims that The Ordinary makes for this product on their website, interestingly enough.

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All it really states is that it is an exfoliant, which is true. The rest of what they write is something that I would expect to be lost on someone who isn’t entirely sure of where to start, which makes me think this is intentionally a product for more experienced folks. It piques my interest they don’t really make any specific claims on their website; I can’t tell if that’s a deliberate marketing move to bolster their “scientific approach,” (which is a specific marketing tool in and of itself, much like the greenwashing of “natural” or “organic” products) or if it’s that they don’t want to make any claims they can’t deliver on. However, the Sephora website gives a little more insight into what it intends to accomplish:

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So now that we have an idea of what this intends to do for your skin, I’ll share my experience and whether or not this actually managed to accomplish what it claims (at least, according to a mix of both The Ordinary and Sephora):

  • Chemical Exfoliant (or uneven texture): ✔️ Yes. I definitely do not have issues with my skin looking or feeling as flake-y when using this product. Within about an hour of initial application, skin feels very soft. Definitely true to my experience.
  • Uneven skin tone: ❌ For me, my skin tone has a lot of red/pink overtones and is reactive easily. Given the higher percentage of lactic acid, I would actually say this probably increased redness for me. That isn’t necessarily a knock on the product because this is an individual reactiveness, but this was my experience with it so I can’t give it a positive mark.
  • Fine lines and wrinkles: ❔ I don’t have wrinkles (yet) and I don’t have fine lines that are strong enough to determine the effectiveness of this, so I’m going to go with inconclusive for now.
  • Dullness: ✔️ Yes. I would definitely say this helped to brighten my skin and make it look slightly more radiant.

Compared to Sunday Riley Good Genes and The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + 2% HA

Now, compared to the other two, I’d probably say this one fits in the middle. By that, I mean the following:
Sunday Riley Good Genes is…

  • More gentle, less reactive than The Ordinary at both the 5% and 10%. (Though, not significantly enough to warrant the cost difference at the 5%.)
  • On par with the 10% for brightening/radiance factors.
  • Slightly less effective at exfoliation than the 10%.
  • Ultimately, still not worth the cost differential of almost $100.

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + 2% HA is…

  • More gentle than the 10%, but very slightly less so than the Sunday Riley Good Genes.
  • Less brightening/radiant than both Sunday Riley Good Genes and the 10%.
  • Comparable to the Sunday Riley Good Genes for exfoliation, but slightly less than the 10%.
  • Better as a first step at trying lactic acid/chemical exfoliation than 10% and Sunday Riley Good Genes.

Some other things worth mentioning about this is in the initial post, I remarked on how The Ordinary 5% had a particular smell. In October 2017, the formula was changed slightly for the 10% and the 5% where they changed the grade of lactic acid that had no odor and also removed the carrageenan from the formula (the carrageenan did not impact the smell, but the viscosity.) I suspect I had one of the newer ones because the smell on it is non-existent.

Next Steps from Here?

Now that I’ve made a comparison between the bigger players on the market, there are a few things I’d like to do once I finish off this and the exfoliant back-ups I have. Some things I intend to do next once they’re polished off:

Ren Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic: It’s in an 8.5 oz bottle with a pump (!!) and is a lactic acid exfoliant. This one should take me a while to burn through before I give a review, so it probably wouldn’t be likely until late(r) 2018 for a review on this.

Mandelic acid: this is supposedly an even gentler exfoliant, so I think this will be my next step after the REN.

I’m also sure between then and now, there will be plenty of new things added to the market for me to give a shot. But for now, this is what I expect to be doing and working on in the next several months.

 

Yours ’til Niagara Falls,
Jupiter Gimlet

Project Pan and Reverse Rouge 2018: The Start

For those unaware about Project Pan, it’s a challenge to use up products within your collection; the “pan” being the silver part that shows once the product has been used up. In 2017, I half-heartedly started a Project Pan that I barely indulged in; though, I did wind up panning the Burberry Lip Velvet.

 

This year, now that I have this space, I intend to take it a little more seriously. I have picked several products of different types, and her are the products I would like to do my best to finish off:

Lipstick: MAC Brave

Lipstick: Besame Red Velvet

Eyeshadow: MAC Omega

I chose these products for several reasons; partially, I wanted to follow through from last year. Some I would like to be able to use up and get out of my collection so I can try something new, but it isn’t something that I dislike enough to throw away. In other cases, I actually really enjoy it, but have struggled to finish products in full and want that satisfaction. Or, it’s an attempt to pare down items in my collection to something more manageable.

I’m someone that struggles with using up products; while some people work through a lipstick in a matter of months, I’ve had MAC Brave for almost two years now. As I don’t have a particularly large collection, this helps with using the products I have.

Ideally, my goal is to check in quarterly, and the last update to come at the end of 2018 with discussions on successes and failures and overall thoughts when completed. I will show progress through measuring (when able) and pictures of use for comparison with the date marked.

For now, I intend to focus on those three products. However, if in the process that either the product becomes unusable or can’t be finished, I will substitute something in its place.

 

In addition to this Project Pan, I’ll also be doing a Reverse Rouge Challenge with a few other ladies that blog. For as long as VIB Rouge at Sephora has been around, I’ve hit it every year. VIB Rouge is a status of buyer at Sephora that spends over $1000 per year. The perks are OK; free make-overs (so long as you schedule in advance), free 2-day shipping (though, as of 1/1/18, this changed to 3-day without any warning…), and early access to products.

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This is something that I have decided I will not actively pursue obtaining again, but if it happens, it happens. This year will likely be largely repurchases and for a lot of the products that I do use and like, I can really only get them through Sephora (e.g. Make Up For Ever, Kat Von D, etc.)

The Reverse Rouge Challenge, on the other hand, will be using up at least $1000 worth of products at the end of the year. This includes makeup, skincare, hair care, nails, and other tools that you may use. Destashes also count towards the total. Again, much like Project Pan, I will intend to be updating this quarterly (though, it will likely get its own post going forward instead of being amalgamated with Project Pan.)

 

Those are the current ground rules I will be working off of this year for this Project Pan and the Reverse Rouge Challenge. Are you planning on doing a Project Pan or Reverse Rouge Challenger this year? If so, what are the products you’re planning on using up?

Yours ’til Niagara Falls,
Jupiter Gimlet

Pinup and Beauty Resolutions for 2018

‘Tis the season for all the good beauty and pinup bloggers to give their riff on their resolutions going into 2018, and particularly inspired by Renee at Bad Outfit Great Lipstick, and so too, I throw my hat into the ring.

This year, one of my bigger goals is to get my finances in order. I have a car loan, student loans, and there’s plenty of things I know I can be doing to get my ducks in a row to be better prepared for any future emergencies, etc. Being in good financial health is one of the keys to being healthy, especially in America (and for those of us with high-deductible health plans!)

With that in mind, there are some key ways I intend to strategize to handle my expenditures and curb impulse spending in the next year:

 

1. For any new release, waiting at least 30 days and at least 2 reviews from “trusted” folks.

As far as beauty goes, there are few things that get me excited like a good new foundation launch or, sometimes, the occasional lipstick launch with colors that haven’t been heavily produced (still waiting on my retro, orange-based coral of my dreams…) And as much as I love my MUFE Water Blend, I also like trying other stuff and I fall prey to the mentality of “B-b-b-but what if I find something I love more!”

There have been times I have jumped the gun and bought something sight unseen before having the ability to try it. Living in Louisville (as opposed to my former home in the Chicago suburbs) means I will not get access to try all the beauty things my heart desires. With that being said, because I may not get access to try new products firsthand, I am forcing myself to wait at least 30 days after the initial launch and require at least 2 reviews from trusted folks.

While I generally don’t follow a lot of YouTube beauty folks, I do have a few on Instagram or other blogs that I follow. I find their reviews tend to be more comprehensive, tried for a longer period of time (as opposed to a single day), and test for more variation in formula. Additionally, I find their photography is less likely to be photoshopped or influenced by heavy lighting.

If after both of these situations have been met and I am still interested, ideally, I would like to be able to get a sample from Sephora or try out at Ulta before buying. And from there, if all is good–the purchase is allowed.

 

2. A set amount for true vintage clothes; $200.

I have a confession, my friends. It is not something I am proud of, but I have to cop to and get this off my chest. I–am terrified to wear my true vintage clothing. There’s several reasons for this: the pieces that I do have, I actually really love. They fit well, they’re cute, but–if I ever tear or wear them to excess, I will not be able to replace it.

And that’s ri-goddamn-diculous of me. That’s the entire point of clothes! To wear them!

So, for this year, I am putting a strong cap on my true vintage clothing spenditures. I have to get over this, and to do it, I’m going to force myself to actually wear them and get over that. And if I don’t, I have at least one or two people I know that will sell the pieces on my behalf. If I do wind-up selling, I’ll allow the amount it sold for to roll over and be added to the $200.

 

3. Try and explore more looks with makeup and being more adventurous

I am confident in my ability to do a cat eye (after many years of practice), I can apply eyeshadow relatively comfortably–but I don’t really do a lot of variation beyond that. One of the things I would like to do this upcoming year is do a monthly vintage look recreation–it will get me out of a rut and try and force my hand at learning new styles with my products I already have.

It’ll also tie my love of vintage looks with makeup and keep things a little more cohesive around these parts.

 

4. Quit the yo-yo weight bullshit.

For those unaware, I am 5’0″. When you are smaller, you tend to reflect weight easier. A pound difference gets easily reflected in my face, and also: on my hips. A pound makes the difference between whether I’m throwing an angry, teary hissy fit in the bathroom that I can’t fit into my clothes or whether I’m wearing a lot of the clothes I’ve bought that fit me when I’m <=110 lbs.

I’ve decided my new threshold weight will be 112 lbs.–any time I come creeping up on this, I have to go to the gym and eat better. This will allow me to fit into the clothes I have better, reduce a lot of the yo-yoing (my previous was 115 lbs.), and be more active on the whole.

I imagine for some people, this is one of those things where they’re rubbing their fingers together and rolling their eyes; it’s not lost on me. People don’t like it when someone who is generally considered petite waxes on about their problems, but it’s annoying to keep repeating the cycle and keep having those moments where all I can wear is jeans but I really want to wear the nice clothes I’ve bought.

When I can wear the pinup clothes I have–I feel better. I look better. This will also help me wear a lot more of my actual vintage clothes too, as a lot of them tend to be tighter fitting.

 

5. Focus on things I have by focusing on more outfit-related posts.

This one is more pinup-focused than beauty; I want to show off more of the outfits that I have instead of purchasing more than I actually need. I’ve done a pretty significant outfit cull this year to allow for room for the clothes I want to wear. I also inherited some clothing from my grandmother upon her passing, and would like to make some posts dedicated to her memory.

Additionally, now that I have a camera, I think this should be easier to accomplish by myself than needing to rely on other people to take pictures of me. (Which doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like to do more photoshoots; I definitely have people I love working with and would like to do a few more shoots with in the upcoming year.)

 

6. Make more purchases at Ulta than Sephora when possible.

Truth be told: I’m not a giant fan of Ulta despite their better rewards program. Their stores tend to be poorly maintained, poorly staffed, and poorly educated (not every Ulta is like this, but of the multiple I’ve been to in several states, this is a recurring issue.)

But given that they do have 20% off coupons more frequently and a rewards program that offers “cash” (as in points translate to money that can be redeemed on purchases, not actual money) in lieu of fancy deluxe samples, I am more inclined to spend there.

This means a better return on spending. So, for brands where I can get it at both places (e.g. Anastasia Beverly Hills, Bumble and Bumble, etc.), that’s where I will purchase from. However, many of my preferred brands (e.g. Make Up For Ever, Kat Von D, BITE Beauty, etc.) are all Sephora exclusives.

Right now, I have horded away enough points for a nice little spending spree, but I intend to save up for the Dyson hair drier.

 

7. Project Pan

There was a half-hearted attempt on my end to do a Project Pan in 2017 that got left by the wayside, but as I now have more of an outlet than Instagram for these things, it’s definitely something I intend to pursue harder. I will be posting about this and the items I intend to use in about a week or so.

 

8. Replacements only no buy until April

In the spirit of getting my finances in better health, I’ve decided to put myself on a no buy up until April (with replacements only being the exception.)

This is for a few reasons:

1. I generally have a small collection as is and want to use more of it up. This is the year I would generally like to finish both a lipstick and eyeshadow.
2. I have a nice amount of products that could stand to be reviewed individually and thoroughly, that aren’t products reviewed to death by the hype-osphere.
3. Saving money never hurts.

I’m allowing replacements only because I generally don’t stock myself with extras in most cases. I don’t have back-ups of anything except my night-time moisturizer and exfoliator. Everything else is bought after running out.

I did receive a gift card or two, so that is something I would allow myself to use because it’s not my own money, but in general, I am trying to keep my spending and unnecessary purchases low this year.

 

Those are my plans going into next year. What are your goals? Are you going on any specific plans or how will you be challenging yourself?

 

Yours ’til Niagara Falls,
Jupiter Gimlet

Beautylish Lucky Bags: worth it?

Today is the day that Beautylish opens its doors to allow people to get a “Lucky Bag.” It’s an idea inspired by the Japanese tradition, fukubukuro, where street merchants make bags of goods out of their stock and sell at a significant discount for the new year.

Beautylish has been doing this for several years now and I participated last year. It is possible that the general offerings may change going into next year, but it remained pretty consistent between 2016 and 2017 in what it offered.

There were two rounds offered this last year; a XL Beautylish Lucky Bag at $160 and the standard Lucky Bag at $75. I purchased the $75 Lucky Bag, and my contents were the following:

Clearly, I got well over my $75 price of admission in product value (which is over ~$100), but in retrospect: I only had two real things from the bag that I got personal value from, the Bioderma Sensibio (a staple for me; $6.90 for 100ml) and the Wayne Goss 02 brush ($35). The actual personal value I got from the bag was a total of $43.90; a significant difference of $31.10. Though I did wind-up selling the Modern Renaissance and Z-Palette, they also had to be reduced in cost in order to sell from the full retail value (/r/makeupexchange is a great place for buyers, not so much for sellers.) But with doing this extra step, I was able to get to $75.

I still have two of the products (IT Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream and the BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector) that I’ve not been able to unload and won’t be using (IT Cosmetics has a ton of silicones in it which my skin is reactive towards and the BECCA is not a shade that works for my skintone), but will probably pass on as gifts to friends that would be able to give them a loving home.

As far as whether or not I think a Lucky Bag is worth it, here’s things that help make it easier to make the decision if you are considering this:

In Favor:

  • If you are someone that likes surprises, this will be great for you.
  • If you are willing to try anything you receive (many bags gave out Jeffree Star products; a controversial brand due to the owner’s personality and attitude towards–well, a lot of people.)
  • If you have spare money to burn ($75 is a little pricy for a crapshoot of products you aren’t guaranteed to love.)
  • If you are OK with potentially not having a full personal value of $75 returned on your investment (see above, in my case).

In Contrast:

  • If you are someone who likes to carefully decide your own products, this is not a good way to spend your money.
  • If you are very conscientious about which brands you support and purchase from, this is not a good way to spend your money. (Particularly if animal testing or animal products are a concern for you; the brushes, in particular, may use animal hairs.)
  • If you are not OK with not getting a full amount returned on your investment for both actual cost return and personal value return, this is not a good way to spend your money.
  • The Lucky Bags give items out at random, which means (and especially for people on each end of the skin tone spectrum), there may be colors in your bag which may not suit your skin tones or may cause reactions depending on skin sensitivities.

Personally, I will not be participating again this year. Between only getting two actual products that I would use (though, I do love the Wayne Goss brush!) and offloading the rest, this wasn’t a great decision for me, especially because I am someone who likes having a smaller collection. There are also plenty of people that also enjoyed their experience, but I think this is one of those things where you need to have a realistic grasp on your personality before knowing if you’ll be content or not. The Lucky Bag I got generally didn’t work out for me and my tastes, but that was a personal experience–yours may be different if you participate and you may get some things you really love.

If you’ve participated before, did you enjoy your lucky bag? Would you participate in future years? Let me know your thoughts.

Yours ’til Niagara Falls,
Jupiter Gimlet

Makeup Inventory for 2017

Relatively speaking, I have a smaller wardrobe of makeup products. The amount that I have is relative to each person; some people only have a product or two so mine might be larger, others may have 50 lipsticks alone. The “right number” for each person varies depending on the person. For me, this is my current collection as it stands going into 2018.

In an effort to moderate my collection, I am including if I would or intend to repurchase, how I use the product, and if it’s something that I may destash in the future (and why/why not that would be the case). These things are important because it gives me an idea for what in my collection I would be leaning towards replacing and making impulse purchases and to be prepared for it, so that way, I am not buying things impulsively when I’v already got similar products in my collection.

Taking a look for what I already have can also highlight what it is I may be missing, and again, may be inclined to purchase without foresight, but for now, I am actually content with what I have and don’t see any glaring gaps in things I may be missing. Below the cut is everything I currently have.

Foundations

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Make Up For Ever Water Blend Face & Body Foundation (Y215)

  • Purpose in Collection: It stands as my every day foundation to even out my skin tone. I consider it “Holy Grail” and it is the one foundation I return to and works best with my skin type.
  • How do I use it?: As a foundation, of course. But this also really helps as a “tinted moisturizer” and adds moisture back into my skin. I can definitely notice when I haven’t used it frequently and it makes a difference in my skin.
  • Repurchase?: Absolutely! I’ve already purchased it twice before and am currently on my third bottle since it has come out in July 2016.
  • Destash?: No. This will have a spot in my collection for as long as it is produced (or until something better comes out.) I sometimes use something with slightly more coverage for photoshoots, but this is what I wear almost daily.

Tarte Cosmetics Rainforest of the Sea SPF 15 Foundation (Porcelain)

  • Purpose in Collection: Foundation with more coverage for photoshoots.
  • How do I use it?: As a foundation, so something to even out my skintone. It’s better used in the months I have not had a lot of sun exposure, but also used to reduce redness in my face.
  • Repurchase?: Have not decided. It definitely has higher coverage than my beloved Water Blend, but I only would be able to use it for a portion of the year. As Water Blend is sheerer, it fits my skin better for more months.
  • Destash?: I wouldn’t say I won’t do it, but it depends on how much use I can get out of it. My skin is a hair too dark to make this work right now. If this doesn’t get as much use as I would expect it to, I will likely destash.

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Face Products

Make Up For Ever Step 1 Primer (Nourishing)

  • Purpose in Collection: Face primer.
  • How do I use it?: Enhance length of foundation longevity and increase moisture in my dry ass lizard skin.
  • Repurchase?: Yup. I’ve tried other moisturizing primers, but this works the best for me, in my experience.
  • Destash?: No. I use mine fairly regularly and I find this works well enough to not be replaced.

Dior Flash Luminizer Radiance Booster Pen (Pink)

  • Purpose in Collection: Under-eye concealer.
  • How do I use it?: Reducing the appearance of under-eye bags and dullness.
  • Repurchase?: No. Per my previous review, I prefer a different product and would rather use that over this. It’s thicker than I prefer and the brush is very prickly on the delicate skin area. (In fairness; I know this isn’t intended to be used as a concealer, but that’s how I use it.)
  • Destash?: No. It may not be what I prefer, but it gets the job done and I’m also relatively sure I’m coming to the end of the product sooner rather than later anyways.

MAC Sheertone Blush (Ladyblush)

  • Purpose in Collection: Blush.
  • How do I use it?: Adding color back into my face to look human.
  • Repurchase?: I can’t answer this quite yet; the amount of product on this is huge and while it definitely lasts well and this color goes with everything, I would repurchase this but I don’t know that I actually will when it is used up.
  • Destash?: No. I don’t know of another blush I would actually use to replace this. It goes along with everything without clashing too much.

Make Up For Ever Artist Face Color (S112)

  • Purpose in Collection: Contour.
  • How do I use it?: Adding definition to my face; contouring. “Darkening” my face when using the Tarte Rainforest of the Sea to make the color match better by darkening at the points where it connects with my neck for cohesion.
  • Repurchase?: No. It’s not a bad product, but the color is “redder” than I would prefer a contour shade to be. I prefer more gray-based contour powders to emulate a shadow better.
  • Destash?: No. I can see myself using this, especially as it’s my only one. It’s not a bad product, it’s just not an ideal shade for my skintone. Until I either get really annoyed or it looks awful in pictures, I’m willing to use this up. As it stands right now, it’s not noticeable and can be tolerated.

Kat Von D Lock-It Loose Setting Powder

  • Purpose in Collection: Setting powder.
  • How do I use it?: Setting the under-eye area concealer.
  • Repurchase?: Yes. It’s not perfect, but it’s much better for dry skin than the Laura Mercier Loose Translucent Setting Powder and emphasizes the drier skin to a lesser degree.
  • Destash?: No. I will be using this up for sure, as I don’t have a back-up and there’s no indication of a better setting powder for drier skin on the market.

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Brow Products

Benefit 24-Hour Brow Setter Shaping & Setting Gel

  • Purpose in Collection: Brow gel.
  • How do I use it?: Keep the shape of my eyebrows in place throughout the day and makes it easier to trim them once set.
  • Repurchase?: As written previously, no. I much prefer the Anastasia Brow Gel and will be using that once this has been used up.
  • Destash?: No. Although I don’t like this as much as the other and have a Brow Gel ready to go, I’d much rather use this up. While I don’t buy into the sunk cost fallacy, it isn’t abhorrently bad enough to just toss or try and sell (especially when I’ve used it enough to not warrant the price for shipping.)

Anastasia Brow Wiz (Taupe)

  • Purpose in Collection: Brow product.
  • How do I use it?: Reduce sparse appearance in brows, make brows look fuller.
  • Repurchase?: Maybe? I prefer other brow products, but I would be willing to repurchase again. Some people state that they’ve gone through this quickly, but I’ve been using it for 3 months and am not close to using it up yet.
  • Destash?: No. While it’s not the best brow product I’ve ever used, it’s a nice pairing with a brow gel. I will definitely be using this product until completion.

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Eye Products

Urban Decay Eye Primer (Anti-Aging)

  • Purpose in Collection: Eyeshadow primer.
  • How do I use it?: Enhance longevity and pigmentation of eyeshadow and liner. I find it also helps to reduce the creasing effect due to my eyelid and how it is creased.
  • Repurchase?: Yes. I have used a few others and didn’t like them nearly as much as this one.
  • Destash?: No. I use this regularly and haven’t found another similar product I like nearly as much as this one.

Benefit Cosmetics Roller Lash (Brown)

  • Purpose in Collection: Mascara.
  • How do I use it?: Enhance lash length, separation of lashes, and additional volume.
  • Repurchase?: Yes. This is my fourth repurchase of this item and is my favorite mascara. It comes in both brown and black, but I typically wear the brown daily.
  • Destash?: No. After playing with other mascaras, this is the one I prefer the most.

Kat Von D Shade and Light Eye Contour Palette (Lazarus, Samael, Solas, Saleos, Sytry, and Shax)

  • Purpose in Collection: Neutral eyeshadows.
  • How do I use it?: Eyeshadows used for neutral, office-conservative/friendly, or general looks. I don’t use a lot of color, so these are the standard eyeshadows I use.
  • Repurchase?: Although I like the shades themselves, there were enough shades in the palette itself that I didn’t like or would not use that would cause me not to repurchase these. Instead, I would replace with similar singles. These come with fallout and there are other formulas I prefer without it.
  • Destash?: I think there is a reasonable likelihood after reviewing these colors that during my next destash, I will probably wind-up throwing out one or two of these colors given that I don’t use them all regularly.

MAC Eyeshadows (Omega, Vex and Nylon)

  • Purpose in Collection: Eyeshadows.
  • How do I use it?: Eyeshadows used for neutral or general looks. Omega also triple threats as a brow powder and a contour powder. Bar none, Omega is the one eyeshadow I would consider closest to “holy grail” in my collection based on this. I use Nylon as an inner eye highlight to make my eyes look bigger. Vex is used for more vintage looks.
  • Repurchase?: Both Nylon and Omega have a role in my collection that no other product fills. Vex, I am on the fence about.
  • Destash?: I would not destash any at this point. I use all of them fairly regularly and I quite like the MAC shadow formulation.

Make Up For Ever Artist Shadows (M500 and S114)

  • Purpose in Collection: Eyeshadows.
  • How do I use it?: A eyeshadow base that is close to my skintone; a gray used for vintage looks.
  • Repurchase?: The Artist Shadow formula has been discontinued (and will be reformulated), so not an option.
  • Destash?: Not M500; it’s easily my most used eyeshadow, but S114 could be on the pile if I don’t feel like I can use it as much as I should. I’ll be honest: I was disappointed by these eyeshadows. I don’t mind a sheerer formula, but these require a lot of building up and even then, it doesn’t build as nicely as I’d hoped.

Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Eye Crayon Eyeliner ((Earth)quake and Blacquer)

  • Purpose in Collection: Eyeliner.
  • How do I use it?: Tightlining. Adding dimension to eyes and drawing out the blue in my eyes.
  • Repurchase?: I would not repurchase Blacquer (I rarely use it), but definitely would for (Earth)quake which I use almost daily.
  • Destash?: I can foresee Blacquer being destashed if I continue to not have a reason to use it. I rarely use black for every day purposes because it is so stark against my coloring. I use it really only for special occasions or photography. (Earth)quake is used almost daily, so it would not be destashed.

Physician’s Formula Eye Booster 2-in-1 Lash Boosting Eyeliner + Serum (Dark Brown, Ultra Black)

  • Purpose in Collection: Liquid eyeliner.
  • How do I use it?: Vintage looks; particularly cat eyeliner.
  • Repurchase?: Yes. The price is right, it stays on even in humid temperatures without smudging, and comes in a dark brown.
  • Destash?: Possibly the black, but the dark brown is definitely a keeper. I just don’t use black liner enough.

Lip Products

MAC Cosmetics Lipsticks (Kinda Sexy, Chili, and Brave)

  • Purpose in Collection: Lipsticks.
  • How do I use it?: Kinda Sexy is the resident nude lipstick, Brave is MLBB (My Lips But Better), and Chili is the brick red of my childhood dreams.
  • Repurchase?: I would repurchase all three happily. The formulas are great, colors are excellent, and I find I really like wearing all three colors.
  • Destash?: No. All of them fulfill a unique position in my lipstick library and so they shall stay.

Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick (Project Chimps and Double Dare)

  • Purpose in Collection: Liquid lipsticks.
  • How do I use it?: When I need something that won’t smudge easily or wear off easily, these are the ones I turn to. Project Chimps, much like MAC Chili, is a fabulous red brick color. Double Dare is a great pink that I can wear both pinup and “unpinned.”
  • Repurchase?: Yes, but Project Chimps was limited edition and there is no indication Kat will be bringing it back permanently. Double Dare is a newer addition to my collection and hasn’t been worn enough to establish this yet.
  • Destash?: No to either.

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution (Love Liberty)

  • Purpose in Collection: Lipstick.
  • How do I use it?: Darker “vamp/berry” lipstick for fall/autumn.
  • Repurchase?: Yes! I love the formula, I love the color, all of it is great. No complaints on this.
  • Destash?: No. I haven’t found a darker shade in a formula I like and a color that works for me as well as this. Plus, this fills a specific role for me. Even if it doesn’t work as an “authentic vintage” kind of shade, it’s pretty enough and works for me that I won’t be destashing it.

Besame Cosmetics Classic Color Lipstick (Red Velvet)

  • Purpose in Collection: Lipstick.
  • How do I use it?: I used it for my Peggy Carter cosplay, but also for office-friendly red and presentations when I need to be pumped up.
  • Repurchase?: I actually have a back-up of this waiting, but I would definitely repurchase this. The formula, as a bullet lipstick, is top notch especially for a red. I don’t necessarily believe in a “universal” color, but this is the closest I’ve seen to it yet.
  • Destash?: No. I still intend to do some Peggy Carter cosplays and I love wearing this color. It’s kind of like the instant kick you get from hearing something like Bohemian Rhapsody or We Will Rock You.

Givenchy Le Rouge (Mandarine Bolero)

  • Purpose in Collection: Lipstick.
  • How do I use it?: With the combination of the MUFE Aqua Liner in 23C to create a lovely orange-based, retro coral lipstick. Mostly worn during spring/summer months.
  • Repurchase?: This is technically a repurchase, but I think after this, I am going to have to do some more experimenting. As much as I know I can get in the ballpark for what I’m going after with this, there has to be something closer than this out there.
  • Destash?: I won’t say no, but I think it’ll be much more likely when the MUFE Aqua Liner in 23C gets used up that this will also probably be tossed or sold. It pulls more pink and white-based than orange and slightly muted without the liner, and I’m not really into that.

Make Up For Ever Aqua Liner (23C – Orange)

  • Purpose in Collection: Lipliner.
  • How do I use it?: Adding more of an orange emphasis to Givenchy Mandarine Bolero and mutedness; without it, it’s more pink and more white-based.
  • Repurchase?: Not unless I would also purchase Mandarine Bolero; I really use this as an addition to that product.
  • Destash?: Not unless I would also be destashing Mandarine Bolero. These two work together and are used together. If one goes, both go.

BITE Beauty Lip Pencil (076)

  • Purpose in Collection: Lipliner.
  • How do I use it?: Maintaining precision, adding depth and color, and increasing longevity for red lipsticks.
  • Repurchase?: Yes. I quite like the formula of it and it really does help to extend the wear of the lipstick.
  • Destash?: No. I like this product enough that I will definitely use it up.

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Analysis

This is everything as it stands. Here are some things I have personally noticed in analyzing it:

  • I can generally keep track of everything and while I typically don’t replicate in a lot of areas, this is something I would like to continue to work on to keep reducing. While red lipstick is a staple piece of a vintage makeup wardrobe, I don’t really need to have that many.
  • I don’t have a highlighter after realizing I generally don’t like it and don’t think it really helps. I prefer a more traditionally “matte” look (even though I have drier skin) and I don’t particularly like how highlighter looks on me.
  • Getting a better concept of knowing what colors work best for me (e.g. reds, berries, orange-based corals) helps to reduce impulsive purchases and things that won’t work (i.e. vampy, white-based pinks, greiges, etc.)
  • Even though I have all neutrals, I don’t necessarily use them all and I know I can cut down on it. At this point, it is just knowing which ones to cut.

At this point, I have a collection that is a nice size and can be cut down slightly. I don’t have any particular gaps that I can see would need to be filled at this point. I think at this point, it’s being able to use products up that will be the bigger challenge. I intend to do a Project Pan for 2018 (and will document it here). But given my sloth-like pace on using products up, I foresee a lot of these will remain into next year.

How do you feel about your collection going into next year? Are there particular gaps you are looking to fill? Or are you content and working towards using products up?

 

Yours ’til Niagara Falls,

Jupiter Gimlet

How to Foundation Match Guide: Part 1 (Determining Skin Type)

Let’s be frank: foundation matching is a pain in the ass on the same level of paper cuts on the webbing of your hands, folding a fitted sheet, or making French macarons. Some of the difficulty is that depending on where you fall on the skintone spectrum, shades may not even be available or prevalent. Adding to this is making sure you have a reasonable understanding of your actual skin type to know which formulas are appropriate. There’s a lot that goes into a good foundation match, and I’m working on a guide to make it easier for folks.

Part 1 (this post) will be dedicated to determining skin type.

Part 2 will be dedicated to determining undertone.

Part 3 will be how to actually match a foundation.

Part 4 will be how I found my foundations that I use and things to consider when picking a foundation.

With this being said and noted, let’s get right into it.

Knowing your skin type is critical to knowing what kind of formulations work best for your skin. Knowing your skin type is also important to make sure you are treating and caring for it well; your integumentary system (skin) is the largest organ you have and is visible to the eye; you wouldn’t treat your respiratory system poorly, so why wouldn’t you take care of your skin?

There are roughly about 4 skin types with multiple conditions (e.g. someone may have dry skin as the skin type, but reactive or dehydrated as the condition.) I consider it not to be firm and to be on more of a spectrum.

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Spectrum image from VermontSoap.com; I removed the part about “Sensitive Dry” because sensitive is a condition, not necessarily a type.

Where I sit on this is on the dry portion of the spectrum, leaning into very dry territory. I was able to determine that I have drier skin in a few ways:

My first hint was that before having a regular skincare routine, whenever I put foundation on, it tended to look flaky and scaly on my skin, and never really quite looked like skin. It would remain sitting on the top and look like it was peeling off. Furthermore, some people may have skin that “glistens,” but mine never really does–it stays relatively flat and without a lot of dimension.

All skin produces oils to some degree, but dry skin types produce significantly less than oilier skins. When it comes to foundation, this is a problem because you want it to meld into your skin so it looks like–well, skin, obviously.

Given that I am most familiar with dry skin types, I’ll start there and move my way towards more oily skin types:

Dry Skin

Dry skin is essentially the chronic loss of moisture (namely, oil) within the skin. It can be characterized as having some feelings of “tightness” in the skin (though, as someone with dry skin–I’ve never actually noticed this, so your mileage may vary.) Because of the loss of moisture, it means the skin barrier can be more susceptible to certain conditions and become more reactive/sensitive (such as eczema and infections.) Dryness can also be a condition, but if you have it chronically, it is more a skin type than condition.

Dry skin can be caused by your genetic makeup, climate changes (e.g. shifting into winter; and to compensate, heating and AC), harsh soaps, medications (particularly some contraceptives), and age. Typically, as you get older, the drier your skin will become.

Other than yours truly, two examples of someone with drier skin include Rae at The Notice and Renee over at Bad Outfit, Great Lipstick.

If you were to blot your skin and have minimal oil on the paper, you likely have dry skin. For those of us with this skin type, here are things I’ve come to learn that might be helpful for you:

  • Avoid powders! Powders tend to suck up more moisture to adhere better to the skin; when you have dry skin, you need all the moisture you can get.
  • A good skincare regimen is really critical, especially if you want to avoid looking flaky.
  • For foundation recommendations, stick with liquids and creams. Mineral-based foundations can work for dry skin, but will require substantial preparation.
  • Silicones can work for certain dry skinned ladies, but in my experience, I have found them to contribute to dryness and aggravate my skin. I typically avoid silicone-based formulas whenever possible.
  • Another ingredient to avoid otherwise include denatured alcohol (tends to dry out the skin further); this does not include fatty alcohols (unless you know your skin reacts poorly, but this is an individual case-by-case issue).
  • Occlusives are awesome and are the best at replenishing moisture back into the skin.
  • AHAs are your friend! If you have sensitive skin, lactic acid and mandelic acids will be much kinder than glycolic acids, but if your skin can handle it, glycolic acids will also do the trick.
  • Drier skin types are more likely to be sensitive, so be wary of products with denatured alcohol and fragrance!
  • Water consumption is important and will help get moisture back, but it will not cure it if it is a chronic issue.

I have previously wrote about my skincare routine, for anyone with dry skin and wanting to get an idea for what products to research or look into for themselves.

 

Normal Skin

Normal is the phrase that gets thrown around, but perhaps the better explanation of it is “Balanced.” People with this skin type typically have skin that doesn’t veer too oily or too dry; were it to be a scale, it would rest right in the middle.

Generally, people with this skin type may have conditions, but there’s not a real underlying issue otherwise. Their pores typically tend to be smaller, skin can be radiant, and in short: they generally won the genetic lottery.

Some examples of bloggers with normal skin include Christine of Temptalia and the Beauty Professor.

That isn’t to say that there aren’t things people with normal skin types should (or shouldn’t) be doing, but given that the balance is there, there’s fewer things to worry about.

  • Generally, may need some extra moisturizer but can adjust products to preference
  • Despite not needing to treat a certain skin type, sunscreen should still be utilized for skin exposure to the sun to avoid anti-aging if you plan on being outside for extended periods of time.
  • Keep track if any problems arise from certain products (and this goes for any skin type.)
  • Can generally use any type of foundation successfully; dependent upon preference.

 

Combination Skin

This skin type can be aggravating for those that have it and typically presents with issues of both dryness and oiliness. Most people have it manifest in their T-zone area (oily T-zone, dry face otherwise), but it is dependent on person and can be present anywhere. Pore sizes may be different depending on the area, as well (larger in the oilier areas, but smaller in the drier spots.)

Some examples of a person with combination skin includes Karen from Makeup and Beauty Blog and Beka over at Makeup Nerdery.

Combination skin can be caused by genetics, climate conditions, and several other factors.

  • “Multimasking” might be the trend made for combo skin types; this entails placing masks (or it could be other products) intended for dry skin on your drier areas and masks intended for the oily portion there and rinsing off at once.
  • Gels, light-weight creams, or serums are best suited for combination skin types
  • Liquid and mineral foundations may work best for combination skin as it can work for the drier and oilier areas; powders may be too much for the drier areas (depending on how dry), but creams may be too emollient for the oilier areas.

 

Oily Skin

Oily skin is usually characterized as having an over-abundance of oils. It is when there is an excess of dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which causes the sebaceous gland to overproduce sebum. It can cause the skin to look like it is glistening when there is excess oil present, and because of the overproduction, also cause pores to appear larger (contrary to popular belief, pores do not open and close.) However, as part of this appearance, when the pore linings thicken, blackheads and white bumps can appear and it can cause blockages, which can contribute to acne flare-ups.

People with this skin type can be more prone to acne, much like those with drier skins can be more prone to reactionary skin conditions.

Some examples of people with oily skin types include Jules over at The Brauhaus and Jackie Aina.

Oily skin is largely determined by genetics, but can be influenced by medication, diet, climate, and incorrect product use.

  • Avoid emollients! This may lead to pore blockage and blemishes.
  • BHAs are the exfoliants you are looking for and may help reduce the appearance of pore size.
  • Much like dry skin, oily skinned folks may want to avoid certain ingredients like denatured alcohol and other drying ingredients as it may trigger further oil production.
  • Liquids, lotions, serums, and light gels are the type of moisturizer formulas you should be looking into.
  • The best foundation types for this skin type include liquid and powder formulas; minerals should work too provided they do not contain ingredients that upset your skin.
  • Some ingredients that can be helpful (ymmv) for oily skin include clay, honey, green tea, and snail mucin.

 

Skin Conditions

Given the length of this post as is, I would be remiss if I didn’t also include a little bit about certain conditions for skin types. As with all of this, it is important to note: for any treatments, consult your primary care provider (PCP) or a dermatologist first.

Sensitive/Reactive Skin

This skin condition is typical for those with drier skins (but can be present in any skin type). It can be triggered by medication (in my case) that causes the skin to react to the presence of certain ingredients, and can manifest in the form of hives, blemishes, or other means. In my particular case, I know heavy silicone-based formulas tend to aggravate my skin, so I avoid them whenever possible.

Acnegenic

This skin condition indicates that the skin is prone to acne responses. This can be very painful and cause self-esteem issues. It can be treated with skincare or may need medical intervention (i.e. medication), but a good dermatologist will be able to diagnose and help with this for those affected.

Dehydrated

Dehydrated skin, much like dry skin, exhibits a lot of similar characteristics so it is unsurprising that it can be confusing to determine. Though, the big tell with this condition is that skin can be both oily and dry feeling at the same time, and when this is the case, it is a good indication that the person has dehydrated skin.

 

This wraps up this section of the guide. For any questions or concerns, or things you’d like to see (or because this is the internet, any complaints), put it in the comments section.

 

Yours ’til Niagara Falls,

Jupiter Gimlet

Chelsea Crew, Fluevogs, Bettie Page Shoes, and B.A.I.T. Footwear: A Pinup Shoe Review

“A shoe is not only a design, but it’s part of your body language, the way you walk. The way you’re going to move is quite dictated by your shoes.” – Christian Louboutin

There are a lot of things I’m picky about; a good fried egg, the perfect red lipstick, the fabric, cut, and design of a dress (it is a huge pet peeve of mine when patterns don’t match up), but shoes are damn near the top of my list of the things I demand quality and excellent presentation on. As Cinderella taught many of us; a good shoe can change your life.

There are a few pinup-related brands out there and few reviews on them, so I thought I would take the time to share my thoughts on a few brands of shoes that I regularly wear and advise what is worth the coin and what isn’t.

Chelsea Crew

Chelsea Crew is one of my ride-or-die brands and I love them. They’re work horses, I’ve had a pair last me for a good four years with regular wear and tear, and I always get a ton of compliments whenever I wear something from them. While they can be dressier, they’re never uncomfortable. I’ve worn a few pair while trekking around New York City for miles and never once got a blister, and that alone gets brownie points in my book.

Their heels are often sensible and while it’s a reproduction brand, they make sizing that is sensible and comfortable. While I’m all for vintage styles, vintage sizing is something I can’t necessarily get behind (mostly because while I have size 7 feet, they are slightly wider than average. This brand makes it slightly wider, which is awesome because I don’t have to sit there from the get go and wonder if my feet will fit.

Chelsea Crew is a company that was created in the USA, but is fairly secretive about their production practices. I have not been able to determine where their products are created and an email sent to their customer service has not yielded a response. If this sort of thing is of top concern to you, it may be something to consider before making a purchase. Speaking of this; Chelsea Crew does not sell directly from their website, but can be obtained from wholesalers such as Shoegasm, Royal Vintage Shoes, and a few other sellers.

I think very highly of them and think they balance out cost (generally around ~$50-60) with quality, and would definitely purchase from them again if I found something for my collection.

 

John Fluevog Shoes

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I was introduced to Fluevogs by a friend who raved about only needing to change the soles on a pair she had over 4+ years and had my interest piqued from that point forward. If you weren’t aware, Fluevogs are a little quirky, but have some shoes that are vintage-inspired and they are freaking expensive for regular purchase (generally, they range from ~$150-450 depending on type of shoe, etc. Sale shoes typically run the gamut from ~$65-350.)

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This being said, my friend was not lying. These shoes are some of the most comfortable ones I’ve tried and whenever I wear them, I’m guaranteed at least a compliment or two. Of the shoes above, the ones I wear most are the pinup shoes (center of the picture). They’re wedged shoes, but I can wear them for hours and have walked miles in them without issue.

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One thing I would recommend (and how I got my pairs) is looking for second-hand Fluevogs. They still have absurdly high resale values, but they aren’t going to hurt your wallet as a new pair might. Plus, buying second-hand items is just a good environmental practice, so it’s a win-win. As you can see from the picture above, the second-hand ones I bought could really use a new paint job, which is something I will be investing in to keep them looking good and wearable with future outfits.

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For those that look for vegan shoes, you will be currently disappointed by them. Per their website,

While we have had success producing Vegan Vogs in the past, recent collections have been without vegan options as we continue to research different production methods and materials. We are currently in search of a leather substitute that is both sustainable and affordable, without compromising the quality that we’ve come to be known for. We have faith that Vegan Vogs will return and when they do, we intend to be shouting it from the rooftops (as well as on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram)!

Fluevogs are also open about their business practices, advising the following regarding their production facilities: “Large portions of our shoes are made in Portuguese factories; some we have been working with since God was a boy. We also use factories in Mexico, Peru, China, and Vietnam. All of our factories are ISO 9002 certified, which is primarily an international quality certification, that relates to consistency and standards of production and quality. In addition to that, from an ethical standard, our factories fully comply with the Labour Law of the PRC act of 2007 (also known as the Worker’s Rights Act of 2008). This brings all of our factories in line with “Western” labour standards, and they are all checked regularly.”

Fluevogs can also be really eccentric in design, which is fine if that is what you are into, but for true vintage or vintage-inspired design, they aren’t my go-to brand. Still, they are ones I would highly recommend. Though, I would recommend them second-hand if possible. I’d repurchase, but again: not where I’d start, especially when I’ve had good luck with cheaper brands.

 

Bettie Page Shoes

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Bettie Page Shoes are a brand named after the infamous pinup, Bettie Page. They are a vintage reproduction brand that is lower-to-mid (depending on your budget) priced and can be found pretty easily on the internet, specifically on Amazon (which is where I found my two).

Look, I made it clear that when I started blogging that I would be honest. And in all honesty: I’m really, really disappointed I had spent an Amazon giftcard or two on these. The exterior part of the shoes are nice enough and resistant to scuffing, but the insides are a mess. The soles detached from the shoes and this occurred within the first week of wear. Because of this, there’s no way I would recommend these for daily use.

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On the left pair, you can see where the sole is detaching from the shoe and remains curled up.

I don’t wear the blue pair that often (and did wear it during the 50’s Cinderella-inspired photoshoot), but it’s OK to wear for a decent amount of time and can walk in them comfortably. Given this experience, I wouldn’t recommend them (and definitely will not be repurchasing) unless you need something delivered within 2 business days and it’s not something you’ll be wearing for daily use, unless you’re willing to replace the soles.

 

B.A.I.T. Footwear

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B.A.I.T. Footwear is one of those ubiquitous pinup brands that if you are on social media, you have probably seen worn by the big name pinups. (Cue the “If you’re a pinup on social media, are you really a pinup on social media if you haven’t posted a picture of yourself in B.A.I.T. Footwear on Instagram?” gag.) A friend of mine, 8-Bit Pinup, is also a pretty big fan of their shoes.

B.A.I.T. is an acronym for “But Another Innocent Tale” and they are a very vocal company for non-human animal rights and often have donations for local humane shelters.

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I’m going to eat some crow on this one, and I’ll explain why: after having been burnt on Bettie Page Shoes, I was hesitant to try B.A.I.T. shoes. I really wasn’t sure I wanted to go through another pair falling apart after having spent $50+ on them, and online, some of the materials looked similar. But I bought the yellow pair seen above, and blissfully: I was wrong and bought the other two seen here (and a few others on the way from Black Friday sales.)

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The matte shades are less scuff-resistant, but they are comfortable to wear over several hours. I’ve worn them with stockings and without and didn’t have any issues with chafing or blisters. This being said, I also break in my shoes by mushing them a bit and wearing them with thick socks/stockings around the house until they “feel” right. As Jessi points out rightly, one of the things about vegan leather is that it requires a little extra breaking in.

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They have a pretty significant variety of shoe types available (heels, boots, wedges, etc.) and in a huge variety of colors which appeals to me immensely. It is strictly a vintage reproduction brand based on actual shoes from the 1920’s-1960’s, and it is reflected in a lot of their products. B.A.I.T. is also a vegan brand, which is great for those that are looking for a vegan option among this list.

B.A.I.T. is one of my favorites (and I’m so, so sorry for being hesitant!) and I’m glad I gave them a shot and have repurchased.

 

Of the brands listed in this post, the ones I would strongly recommend without hesitation (assuming they fit your ethics and budget) are Chelsea Crew and B.A.I.T. Footwear. I would recommend Fluevogs as well, but only if it fits your budget (seriously, there are just as good options out there at better price points) or you can find good second-hand ones.

 

Let me know if I am missing out on any of your favorite brands or if there’s any you would like to try!

 

Yours ’til Niagara Falls,

Jupiter Gimlet