Pinup Anti-Haul #1

If you are a big fan of Kimberly Clark (and you should be!), you are probably familiar with the concept of anti-hauls. However, on the off chance you are not, the point of an anti-haul is to discourage empty consumerism and encourage empowered, thoughtful purchases. In the current pinup culture fueled by social media, it can feel very pushy to buy more and more so you can fit into that perfect aesthetic. I, for one, am not the type to buy mindlessly. Because I don’t get sent things for free (though, I would not mind if I did!) and money is a finite resource, it’s important to know I’ll be able to use what I buy.

The purpose of an anti-haul isn’t to be mean to brands and businesses (there are some I don’t like and won’t purchase from and there are plenty which I do like, but will not be buying because I’m going to be smart about what I do spend on!), but to be smart about what you do choose to spend your money on. Unlike a wishlist of things to pine over, these are things I know I will not be purchasing and why I will not be spending my money on it. While Kimberly Clark focuses on makeup and skincare, I’m choosing to focus on pinup related purchases.

For me, this also feels more like a “genuine” attempt to be reliving the pinup life of the 1940’s. Purchases were often tactical, and as such, it’s a nice way to be reliving that kind of culture. So, without further ado–here’s what (sung in Kimberly Clark voice) I’m not gonna buy~

Erstwilder Grease Brooch Collection

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Let me start with this: I’m not generally the type to collect brooches to begin with (or jewelry, for that matter). But were I to be the type that did, this is not the collection I would spend money on.

I was a theatre nerd in high school and still love musicals (hell yeah for Hamilton!), but let’s be honest: I’m not entirely sure Greased Lightning is going to be recognized on sight by most people. The “Eat Your Heart Out” is actually very cute and would be one that’s definitely something you can wear with multiple outfits, but that’s one out of quite a few in this collection. There are some others that are recognizable (Frenchy, Rizzo, and Sandy, for example), but these aren’t ones that I will use often enough (they don’t look like they would go with enough outfits, and may clash with styles other than the 1950’s) to warrant the $39.95 AUD cost (approximately $32.07 USD) per brooch.

While we’re on the subject of cost, I live in the USA and the shipping for these alone only becomes free if you spend over $100 (AUD). At the time of writing this, the conversion rate for $100 AUD = ~$80.28 USD. While this is better than a lot of clothing shops (ahem, Unique Vintage) and the conversion rate is in my favor. Without the $100 AUD, it’s approximately $9.95 to ship. So it’s an additional $10 (rounded, but close enough) for a $32 brooch? As much as I may like Grease, for $42 USD, this is not worth the money spent.

Be honest: how many times are you really going to wear Kenickie? (Name one person you know who likes Kenickie best. I’ll wait right here.) Is this something you’re really going to get use out of or are you buying into the social media hype and it’ll sadly just sit there on your vanity? Erstwilder has a bunch of other cute brooches you would be much more likely to get use out of wearing, if you truly need a brooch from them. But my answer is none because I will not be purchasing this collection because it’s not the one that I want.

(Side bar: we can all agree Rizzo was the best thing in that movie, right?)

 

Besame Cosmetics Cashmere Foundation Stick

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I love Besame Cosmetics. Out of all the brands currently on the market, Besame is one of my ride-or-dies. It’s the go-to brand for many pinups because of its dedication to authenticity.

The problem with adhering to authenticity in some ways is that when you only create several shades of foundation, there is in no way you are going to be able to represent a wide amount of the population. In addition to the three shades above, there are a few more in its line-up:

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But that’s it. There are 8 total shades in this foundation line. 8. In response to client requests for extending the shade range, they add they are a small family business and will be working on expanding the range. There is a chance you may be able to find a match in this line up, but unless you live close to the brand’s stores, there’s no way to test in person to really be sure if you fit in one of the current 8 options.

The product itself is $25 for 0.31 oz making it $80.64 per oz. While this isn’t completely outrageous, there are stick foundations by other brands with significantly larger ranges. For example, the Anastasia Beverly Hills foundation stick line is also $25 for 0.32 oz (~$78.13 per oz) in 29 shades, running a much larger likelihood of being able to find a match. So, not only is it [slightly] cheaper per oz, you’ll also likely be able to find a better match.

But let’s say you test out the Anastasia Beverly Hills formula and don’t find it to your tastes or skin type. There are more foundation brands coming out with foundation sticks, should you feel the need to replicate the Max Factor Pan-Stick experience (but with something that actually is your shade range and likely something you can test). There are plenty at different price points and with a variety of shade ranges that will meet your needs.

I know some people will say, “But I love Besame and I want to support a small, family business!”–that’s well, good, and commendable, even. At the end of the day: Besame is still a business. They still want your hard-earned money. If you are going to give it to them, give it to them after they have expanded their shade range and are willing to make shades that cover more than just 8 skin tones that probably don’t include yours. Reward them when they have done something to earn it, not just because the pretty packaging makes you feel glam as hell and you might be featured on their Instagram page.

I don’t need the foundation stick and I won’t be buying it.

 

Ben Cooper x Vixen (Micheline Pitt) Collection

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I have to be clear on this one: I love Micheline Pitt, her style, her dedication to artistry, and her work ethic is inspiring. Her clothing line is outstanding and very high quality, based on the pieces I have and having owned items from Deadly Dames. It’s clear to me that she poured her heart and soul into this, and she is the one true Queen of Halloween.

Having said this, there are several reasons I won’t be purchasing anything from this collection. The first being: Halloween is once a year. While this is great for that time between summer ending (which I guess starts September 1st when Starbucks pulls a dick move and gets rid of S’mores Frappuccinos–not that I’m bitter or anything) and Halloween, how often are you really going to wear pumpkins or Halloween-themed items throughout the year? Are you really going to wear it often enough or are you only going to wear it for a period of maybe 8 weeks out of the year? If that’s the case, you’re only wearing it for 15% (8 weeks / 52 total weeks of the year) of the year; is it really worth spending the $78-144 on it? (This is not even including shipping!)

Personally: I am not a Halloween stan. I’m not a person who jumps for joy when fall rolls around (gimme back my warm temperatures and S’mores Frappuccinos). Although this is an interesting collaboration and it is executed well, it’s not going to be something I would wear enough to warrant the money spent, and I don’t care enough about Halloween to wear it. If I feel like I need to celebrate Halloween, why not invest in a black skirt or dress? It’s something I’d get much more use from, could wear year round, and therefore, a better use of my money.

That’s it for this first anti-haul. Do you have anything you don’t plan on buying? Or is there a reason you’re buying anything from this list? Feel free to share your thoughts.

 

Yours ’til Niagara Falls,

Jupiter Gimlet

The Red Lipstick Collection

“Heels and red lipstick will put the fear of God into people.” – Dita Von Teese

There is a very stereotypical pinup image: black winged liner, victory rolls, polka dots, and red lipstick. There’s a million and a half quotes on red lipstick and how empowering it is to wear. To be clear, I love red lipstick; it’s my favorite color on myself and I truly agree that it works wonders to boost a mood. This being said, red lipstick is high-maintenance and often requires multiple check-ins, much more than your MLBB (My Lips But Better) or Nude shades, and definitely require a mirror, time, and much more precision to apply.

Red lipstick is also much like a wedding dress in the way that when you know you’ve found the one–you want to wear it and show it off. Some people are monogamous to their red lipstick, but for me, I have several that I really like and vary between.

The perfect red can be hard to find, but I have found it to be generally easier when you know your undertone (reminder: mine is yellow, and as we’re leaving summer, I’d approximate it close to NC15 in MAC terms.) Knowing that I also have blue eyes, I also prefer reds that have more of a touch of brown to them, which helps my eyes pop a little more than they usually would. I don’t prefer orange-based reds because it’s just a smidge too bright on me and helps to wash me out

All this having been said, I also wanted to include my personal collection of reds with swatches and some reviews, seeing as how I have worn each multiple times and for several hours on end.

In all of the swatches, I am not wearing any foundation and nor is there a lip liner below. My lips are not fairly pigmented, so they do tend to represent the colors well.

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MAC Chili Lipstick

  • Purchased from: MAC Pro Store Chicago on Michigan Ave (can also be found on MACCosmetics.com, Ulta, Macy’s, Dillard’s, Nordstrom, and anywhere MAC Cosmetics are sold)
  • Price: $17/0.10 ($170 per oz)  (NOTE: It looks like MAC recently raised their prices to $17.50; when I purchased this, it was $17)
  • Formula: Matte
  • Cruelty-Free?: No

MAC Chili was one of the first reds that made my heart stop the moment I saw it on myself. I’ve always looked for a true brick red on me and this has been the closest I have come to finding that balance of mutedness and just the right amount of brown tinge without going too far into brown lipstick.

Given that it does have a muted quality to it, I think this is definitely a red that can be used in both the office (depending on your work environment, of course!) and for a night out. As it is a matte lipstick, it also doesn’t have very much of a glossy sheen to it, which helps when you’re trying to balance the line between “professional” (again: ymmv depending on your contextual work environment!) and pinup.

There is definitely transfer with this lipstick and of the options included in this post, probably has the second lowest longevity. This being said, depending on how much and what you are eating has an effect on the wear of it. If you are not eating, you can get 7-8 hours of wear without touch-ups no problem. However, this is not realistic for most people and if you do eat, you will need to reapply. I generally find that I wind up taking off this lipstick before I eat, regardless of whether or not it is with a fork or if it is greasy or not. This just helps to stave off the Joker look. If you do not remove it before eating and do not reapply, you’re likely to get 4-5 hours of wear. (Again, red lipsticks tend to be more high maintenance.)

As with all MAC lipsticks, it is a scented lipstick and has a light, vanilla scent to it. Given that MAC has been around for some time, most folks familiar with makeup and MAC are aware of this already. The Matte formula is one of my favorites, but I loathe the Retro Matte formula. Compared to the Retro Mattes and with this lipstick, there is no drying feeling or dehydrated lips when I remove it and it does not crumble off throughout the day.

The other nice thing about this shade that is worth mentioning is that I think this would work really lovely on darker skin tones just as well as lighter ones. Again, I would probably still recommend it for yellow/greener-olive undertones, but nonetheless, I do think this is a shade that works for a lot of folks with that particular undertone.

 

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NARS Audacious Lipstick (Marlene)

  • Purchased from: Sephora (available at NARSCosmetics.com, Sephora, Ulta, Nordstrom, Barney’s, and anywhere NARS is sold)
  • Price: $34/0.14 ($242.86 per oz)
  • Formula: Satin/Cream
  • Cruelty-Free?: At the time of purchase, yes. However, NARS has recently made the decision to sell in China which means the cruelty-free status will be no longer effective once this is done.

If you have followed me on Reddit, you will know I have done a fair amount of complaining about the NARS Audacious formula on the makeup subreddits. I had bought several when it first came out (Charlotte, Anna, Rita, and Janet), and while I loved it initially, I really grew to dislike them and wound up purging them from my collection. On the surface, they seem great: incredibly pigmented, there are colors that are not easily replicated among other brands, decent size for lipstick (0.14 compared to the usual 0.1-0.12ish) which makes it cheaper than most other high end brands when compared price per oz, and it’s a pretty decent sized collection. I get it.

But every time I put on one of these lipsticks, I’m reminded why I don’t like this formula. It’s creamy to a fault; if you don’t blot this, it will smudge onto your face. And even if you do blot it, it can still easily migrate off your lips. It transfers very easily and if I’m not careful, I have wound up with it on my nose. I also find that not even wearing a lip liner really helps with preventing it from going beyond the lined areas. When I wear this, it is slightly drying on my lips. 

I would also strongly recommend removing this before eating. Without eating, I have gotten up to 8.5 hours of wear without issue, but when you eat, regardless of how you do it, it is going to smear. And when this stuff smears? It leaves a very difficult to remove stain on your face (which is a testament to its longevity, except on the wrong part of your face.)

So, if I don’t like this so much, how come it’s still in my collection? That’s a great question. The short answer is twofold: 1. My significant other’s grandmother’s name was Marlene and for our wedding day, this is the lipstick I intend to wear to recognize her presence in spirit. The other, 2. I get hella compliments whenever I wear this shade. As a vain lizard woman, I can live off of compliments, so thus, it stays.

I would probably not recommend this one for work. It’s just a bit too bright and glossy for my personal tastes, but on the weekend or when I need to get dolled up? It’s one of my options definitely on the table. But, of all my red lipsticks, because of the high maintenance involved with the formula, it is my least worn shade of red.

There are some good things about this lipstick. It does not have a scent for those sensitive to smells. The packaging is very nice and hefty, with a magnetic lid for safe closure. Although it is also a brighter red, it’s not bright enough to be blinding on my skin tone but add some life into my skin. Also, when I want to be really authentic with my 1940’s looks, this red makes a lovely blush when I dab a little on my face (side note: as a blush, this formula is pretty great.) It also reapplies fairly well, which is important with red lipsticks.

 

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Besame Classic Color Lipstick (Red Velvet)

  • Purchased from: BesameCosmetics.com (also available through Sephora, Dermstore.com, and several other retailers)
  • Price: $22/0.12 ($183.33)
  • Formula: Satin/Matte
  • Cruelty-Free?: Yes

Red Velvet is a fairly famous shade online, used in several movies and TV shows (most famously, the shade used by Peggy Carter for the Captain America and Peggy Carter television show.) It’s a deeper, true neutral red. On me, it does tend to lean slightly more blue-based and cooler (as seen above and in the swatches below), but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Despite this, I still find that it flatters tons of people with yellow/olive undertones. The other perk about this leaning blue-based is that it tends to make teeth look whiter.

As many in the pinup community are aware, Besame Cosmetics is a company that reproduces actual vintage lipstick colors. This particular shade was based on one produced in 1946.

This lipstick is arguably one of my favorites in my collection, and not just because it is Peggy Carter approved. The quality is outstanding; like the other lipsticks, it is not transfer-proof, but I don’t find that it smudges as easily. Despite being listed as a satin, it does have some matte qualities (though, I hesitate to call it a demi-matte because of a “glossier” appearance.)

I have gone 9 hours without a touch-up on this before and that is despite drinking coffee and having food (albeit, not greasy and with a fork). It will smudge if the food is oily, but that’s pretty understandable.

The lipstick does have a vanilla scent to it, similar to the MAC lipsticks. However, unlike the MAC lipsticks, one thing that makes it really easy to apply and reapply on the go is that the bullet shape is slanted, which is great when trying to get in the little crooks of the lips.

Out of all the lipsticks I own, Besame’s formula ranks in my top three. It’s solid, dependable, and definitely one I go to when I want to recreate my Peggy Carter cosplay or when I feel like I need to wear a red at the office, this is my go to. It’s a shade that works on multiple skin tones and I have yet to see look “off” or bad on anyone. It’s the closest thing I have seen to a universal lip color (sit down, MAC Russian Red and Ruby Woo.)

 

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Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick (Project Chimps)

  • Purchased from: Reddit Makeup Exchange subreddit (purchased with my own money); product was limited edition but available through Sephora and KatVonDBeauty.com)
  • Price: I paid $17 for it as it was never used. However, it retailed for $20/0.22 oz, making it ~$90.91 per oz)
  • Formula: Matte
  • Cruelty-Free?: Yes (also vegan)

This lipstick has a special place in my heart. Prior to going for public health, I studied primatology. I had gone through field school and did several research projects, including an individual one of my own with semi-captive lemurs. Although chimps are not my particular favorite ape (that honor goes to gibbons), it’s a lipstick for charity and I had missed out when it was first released so it felt like it was something I needed in my life.

And boy, am I glad I have it. I wasn’t on the liquid lipstick train prior to this; having previously tried Kat Von D’s ELL formula in Outlaw a few years back, I hated how it wore on me (it wore away within an hour of application and smudged horribly) and I was wary that I would have liked this one.

Fortunately, my fears were unfounded with this one. Application is probably the most difficult thing with this lipstick; one layer is all you need and it can be difficult to get just right at the top of your lip line.

When applied, it dries fairly quick and is very lightweight. There have been times I have forgotten I was even wearing a lipstick until catching myself in the mirror. It wears a very long time, but it’s another one I would recommend removing before eating. Greasy foods can definitely make this product smudge.

Speaking of reapplication, it fairs all right with it, so long as you are not applying multiple layers. When this happens, it doesn’t remove the other information, but it doesn’t build well. One layer is truly all you need and it’s better to remove and then reapply than just flat out reapply.

Additionally, the product tends to have a chemical smell, although it dissipates quickly.

I have worn this into the office before and it’s a really nice product. It’ll transfer slightly onto my coffee cup, but not enough that it’s very noticeable. It’s longevity, lightweight formula, and the color are reasons enough for me to love it. I wish it wasn’t a limited edition product, though!

 

Entire Collection Swatched

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From left to right and taken in indirect sunlight: NARS Marlene, Besame Red Velvet, MAC Chili, and Kat Von D Project Chimps.

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From top to bottom in direct sunlight: Kat Von D Project Chimps, MAC Chili, Besame Red Velvet, and NARS Marlene

 

All of the above are my favorite reds which tend to share a more muted, brick red color rather than a blue-based red (though, I do have one!) Have you found your perfect red? Feel free to share with me which reds have your eye!

 

Yours ’til Niagara Falls,

Jupiter Gimlet

#MakeBlueEyeshadowGreatAgain

Much like leopard print and mutton chops, blue eyeshadow is one of those things that immediately and knee-jerkingly provoke images of dated, “tacky” vintage in the hearts of many. Or, if you have a soft spot for late 90’s through early aughts television, it invokes the image of Mimi Bobeck from The Drew Carey Show.

This is unfortunate. Blue eyeshadow is one of those things that can really make a person’s eyes pop, depending on the shade.

Although it didn’t start in the 1960’s (it was used commonly in the 1950’s), it was a very popular shade during that time. This was also the time makeup started to help evoke an individualized identity beyond fitting into standard society. Looks became more diverse (especially compared to the 50’s, where looks were largely the same across the board) as subcultures started to grow, especially as the Civil Rights and feminism became more of an issue for many. People wanted to be less cookie cutter, and with it, so did their makeup trends.

Given that we’re fifty years out and still having similar issues today of individualism vs. collective society, I’m all for bringing back blue eyeshadow to help establish individuality. Here are some ways in which blue eyeshadow contributed to doing that during the 60’s.


Mod Style Blue

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When you think of mod style, there is one name that jumps out at anyone familiar with the subculture, and that is Twiggy. The particular pastel shade of blue she wore made her eyes pop, particularly when paired with her trademark dramatic cut crease.

Mod subculture was started in Great Britain in the late 1950’s, eventually coming across the seas and influencing Americans. Some of the hallmark traits included an affinity for modern jazz (hence the name), sharp Italian clothing with bold, geometric prints and bright colors, and was an extension of beatnik culture. Prior to mass commercialism, many individuals who identified as mod were highly interested in pursuits related to philosophy and art; this was the onset of when clean cut began to be phased out by longer hair styles (for men and women) and higher hemlines on skirts.

As such, with the boldness and brightness came an affinity for pastels, including blue, as seen above.

 

Glamorous Steel Blue

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Although the youth were beginning to diversify their makeup, there were still many women (especially in high society) that clung to glamorous looks. Blue eyeshadow, although not created in the 1960’s (it was worn in the early 1950’s), still had a hold on many women.

In higher society, the blue eyeshadow tended to take on more of a gray-ish tone; another way of holding onto past years. Gray eyeshadow was very common in the earlier century, and this cooler, gray-toned blue helped bridge the divide between the youth of the day and traditional glamour.

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This being said, it was not the only way. Max Factor was a brand that also largely worked in the movies up until being sold in the early 1970’s. During the 1960’s, it had expanded into department stores (think of it similarly to brands like Clinique or Estee Lauder today.) The subculture which embraced it tended to prefer matte formulas (as seen above and the “Monteil Look”), whereas more youthful looks gravitated towards less matte and more shine.

 

Movie Star Blue

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In 1963, a little movie by the name of Cleopatra came out, starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. As far as Hollywood stories go, it is one of the most famous for several reasons; the intrigue between Taylor and Burton, the sheer amount of time it took to film (and how long the film runs in general), and behind the scenes conflicts. When the movie came out, there was also a marketing push for Revlon to create a product line and tutorial inspired by the movie. A copy of these images can be found at She was a Bird.

This look is one of the more iconic Hollywood roles and has been replicated several times over by celebrities and magazines when trying to remember Hollywood nostalgia. Alberto de Rossi created the initial look, but when he became too ill to continue to assist on the movie, Elizabeth Taylor herself was able to reproduce it successfully enough to paint it on herself and was filmed doing so in a future movie.

As a sidebar: although it was not an issue back then (especially for the commercial aspect of selling the movie), it likely wouldn’t fly today without (and reasonably so!) controversy behind having a white American woman play the role of an Egyptian woman. Please exercise consideration if this is a look you intend to pursue; culture is not a costume and nor should it be treated like it!

 

 

Bringing it back to today:

There are tons of brands today that create a blue eyeshadow to suit multiple skin tones and with various finishes. Professional brands such as MAC Cosmetics and Make Up For Ever have a wide variety available for purchase.

For me, personally, I am a huge fan of Sugarpill Cosmetics’s Home Sweet Home. Sugarpill Cosmetics is a brand that is cruelty-free and this particular shade is vegan. It’s a well beloved brand, particularly in the drag art community for the variety of colors it offers.

Home Sweet Home is a perfect matte, powder blue formula that really encapsulates the pastel shade of the era. It is a cooler shade of blue, but not so cool that it would be difficult for people with yellow or warmer undertones to pull off. I do think it would work well on darker skin tones, but I would be concerned about it potentially being ashy on very dark skintones.

In my experience, it requires a base shade (so something closer to your natural skin tone first) to go down first before you get the intended pay off and it has to be layered. Some people may not prefer this, but with these colors that can be punch-in-the-face bright, I personally prefer it because I would rather build it up. Additionally, another perk of that kind of formula is significantly less fall out (or less of the powder falling off your eyes and onto your face).

Whenever I do not use a base shade (as seen above), it actually tends to pull more gray on me, and I suspect this is largely due to my yellow undertones. If that is a look you are intending to recreate, this is how I would recommend doing it, but I cannot guarantee people with olive, beige, pink, or neutral undertones would be able to have the same effects due to skin pigmentation.

As an eyeshadow itself, even if I use my tried and true eye primer, I find that it does fade by the end of the day in color and becomes less opaque. This is not a concern of mine, but as I want to provide an honest review, if this is a concern of yours, it may be something to consider prior to making the purchase.

Although things have changed since the 1960’s, I still think it remains the same that blue eyeshadow is a characteristic to help establish your identity and what subculture (if any) you may belong. Today, some might think blue eyeshadow is a characteristic of a time long ago, but it still can be used in fresh and vintage-inspired ways to show who you are.

Putting the Blue in Bluegrass

Inspired by Rachel Ann Jensen’s Brooklyn Bridge Betty shoot, I knew I wanted to do something that was a cross between that and Cinderella. Fortunately, I found myself in the right hands with Janna Michelle Photography, who loved the idea as much as I did and we decided to run with it.

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Outfit Details:

True Vintage Longline Bra from MzJonesBoudoir

Cardigan from Amazon

Pearls were from eBay

Pants were from Silken Twine Australia

Shoes were Bettie Page Shoes

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Hair and Makeup was done by yours truly. It was not until after this shoot, I learned that the difference between a ton and a buttload of pomade is what helps you keep your bumper bang in shape all day.

Makeup of the Day:

  • Foundation Primer: Make Up For Ever Nourishing Primer
  • Foundation: Make Up For Ever HD Foundation Stick (Y215)
  • Under-Eye Concealer: Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat Radiant Touch (1)
  • Setting Powder: Kat Von D Loose Setting Powder in Translucent
  • Eye Primer: Urban Decay Anti-Aging Eye Primer
  • Eyeshadow: Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow (M500 (Ivory)) for base, MAC Cosmetics Eyeshadow (Omega) in the crease
  • Eyeliner: Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Pencil (Blacquer), Physician’s Formula 2-in-1 Lash Boosting Eyeliner + Serum (Blackest Black)
  • Mascara: Too Faced Better than Sex Waterproof
  • Blush: MAC Cosmetics Sheertone Blush (Blushbaby)
  • Contour: Kat Von D Contour Refill Powder (Sombre)
  • Lipstick: MAC Cosmetics Lipstick (Kinda Sexy)

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The photos themselves were taken outside of the famous Galt House Hotel, a Louisville institution. It’s a hotel that overlooks the Ohio River and is one of the most glamorous spots in Louisville. The original Galt House was opened in 1835, later destroyed in a fire in 1865. It eventually reopened in a slightly different spot down the road, being rebuilt in 1869 and tore down in 1921.

The Galt House was eventually reopened in 1972 as part of a revitalization project and is the Galt House we know it as today. It hosts two towers along with a restaurant and is to this day the only riverfront hotel in the city.

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The photography was done for this shoot by the masterful, Janna Michelle Photography. Highly recommend her work for all Louisville-based shoots!

 

Yours ’til Niagara Falls,

Jupiter Gimlet

A Mascara Comparison and Review: Part 1

I have been watching a lot of Game of Thrones, with the season finale airing last night and on my mind. Now I think I am Daenerys Targaryen because obviously, as a lizard woman, she appeals to me. (Also, I can stand blisteringly hot temperatures in the shower and my significant other is long-haired and sort of looks like Khal Drogo if you squint, so that basically makes me her, right? Right. I knew you guys would agree.)

As far as beauty goes, the only two brands that may be able to get me even sort of close to bend the knee in loyalty are MAC Cosmetics and Make Up For Ever, and even then, I can’t profess absolute fealty. I swear no allegiance to one brand for everything, and for these two brands, the mascara offerings are not sufficient for my demanding* tastes.

(* = does not smudge, flake, or irritate my sensitive, contact-wearing eyes but also volumizes and separates. I have no need for lengthening in a mascara because although blonde, my lashes are long.)

As such, I have decided to give a few brands a running shot to joining House Gimlet, but whether or not they “bent the knee,” well–keep reading.

Yves Saint Laurent Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils Babydoll

  • Price: $32 for 0.2 oz
  • Purchased: Sephora (full price; can also be found at Nordstrom and YSL Beauty website)
  • Ingredients: Water, Paraffin, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Acrylates Copolymer, Cera Alba/Beeswax, Copernicia Cerifera Cera, Ethylene/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, Steareth-2, Cetyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Acacia Senegal, Ethylenediamine/Stearyl Dimer Dilinoleate Copolymer, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Silica, Caprylyl Glycol, Hydrogenated Jojoba Oil, Hydrogenated Palm Oil, Fragrance, Disodium Edta, Magnesium Silicate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Panthenol, Tin Oxide.

I don’t know why the hell these brands insist on having names that are like this. I know it’s partially a marketing thing and for the price of this, it better impart a sense of glamour for something I’m supposed to only use for three months before tossing. (Except I didn’t because I’m asking for an eye infection because gotdamn, you guys, $32 on a mascara is not something I am keen to use for only 3 months.) It’s also worth noting I used this from May up until late August, wherein I stopped because I just got annoyed with it. Could I have probably used it for longer? Sure, but I didn’t want to, so take that as you will.

I’ve sampled a few YSL mascaras in my time, and although the ingredients list a fragrance, I can’t smell one. But as an aside: WHY. I’ve railed on them for this before and I will continue to do so; there is no reason for a mascara to have a scent. My eyelashes don’t need to smell like anything. No one is sniffing my eyelashes or anyone else’s, for that matter.

Sass aside, something I actually really do like about this product is the shape of the bristle. I find that bristles that tend to be “spikier” tend to work better with my lashes in keeping things separated and adding volume. I don’t find that they clump as much on me and so long as I’m not half-asleep, I’m pretty decent at avoiding stabbing myself in the eye with it. In this particular mascara, I don’t find that I have to worry about clumping as much because of that bristle shape and how it works with my lashes.

I also find the formula itself is not exactly dry (because of my eyes, I prefer to avoid drier mascaras), but it’s not sopping wet. It’s a really nice middle ground and I definitely do not need to rub excess off on the side of the tube when taking the wand out. For the price, the formulation is very nice.

For those that are considerate of this, YSL is not a cruelty-free brand. I do not specifically buy products on cruelty-free status alone, though, it is a nice perk if it is.

Now, as you’ll remember, I have a very specific criteria whether or not I like a mascara. In case you forgot, here’s how it stacks up to my needs.

  • Smudges? ❌ It sure does. I put down a layer of setting powder on my eyes to try and reduce the oiliness of skin and foundation to try and get it to be rubbed off, but it still smudges within 5 hours of wear on me regularly.
  • Flakes? ✔️ Fortunately, it does not! No flaking has ever been noticed in the 3+ months it’s been used.
  • Eye Irritation? ✔️ Another fortunate no, despite the presence of fragrance as mentioned earlier.
  • Volumizing? ✔️ Yes, I do notice that it does volumize, but not as much as I would like, especially at the price it retails for.
  • Separates? ✔️ Oh yes. If separation is the main thing you look for, this is what this mascara excels at. Where it drops the ball in volumizing, it makes up for tenfold in separation, largely due to the shape of the bristles

Now, ultimately, the main question: would I repurchase? Yes, but only if it were discounted. There is no way in hell I would be paying full price for this with the amount of smudging it does regularly. I think it would actually serve as a nice first layer of mascara and possibly work well with others.

Estee Lauder Sumptuous Extreme Lash Multiplying Volume Mascara

  • Price: $10 for 0.09 oz as the travel size (larger size is available for $27.50 for 0.27 oz; making the full size a better bargain at $101.85 compared to the travel size at $111.11)
  • Purchased: Ulta (full price; can also be found at Nordstrom, Sephora, Macy’s, Estee Lauder website)
  • Ingredients: Water / Aqua / Eau, Stearic Acid, Myrica Cerifera (Bayberry) Fruit Wax, Sucrose Polybehenate, Polyisobutene, Polyvinyl Acetate, Paraffin, Aminomethyl Propanediol, Isostearic Acid, Panthenol, Pantethine, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Extract, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax / Cera Carnauba / Cire De Carnauba, Kaolin, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Cholesterol, Hydrogenated Olive Oil, PTFE, VP / Eicosene Copolymer, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil Unsaponifiables, Sodium Polyacrylate, Simethicone, Polyester-5, PVP, Silica, Caprylyl Glycol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Hexylene Glycol, Nylon-6, Laureth-4, Nylon-66, Polyethylene Terephthalate, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Chlorphenesin, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide, Phenoxyethanol. May Contain: Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Mica, Black 2 (CI 77266), Ferric Ferrocyanide (CI 77510), Copper Powder (CI 77400), Yellow 5 Lake (CI 19140), Chromium Oxide Greens (CI 77288), Chromium Hydroxide Green (CI 77289), Carmine (CI 75470), Bismuth Oxychloride (CI 77163), Aluminum Powder (CI 77000), Yellow 5 (CI 19140), Blue 1 (CI 42090), Bronze Powder (CI 77400), Blue 1 Lake (CI 42090), Ultramarines (CI 77007).

I don’t want to give this one too much time, but suffice it to say, I don’t like this mascara at all, and I’m disappointed by how much I don’t like it.

As most people are aware, Estee Lauder is not a cruelty-free brand.

The formula is a wetter formula, but it is not excessive and does not require you to peel it off by rubbing it on the side of the tube to reduce the amount of product. It actually goes on nicely, despite the massive bristle size for a travel size mascara. The bristles are not my particular jam, but I do find that they are effective in increasing volume (though, not as much as I’d prefer).

  • Smudges? ❌ Hand to god, within a half hour of putting this on, the smudges were there. I think part of this is because the formula is just so wet, it takes FOR.EV.ER. to dry down, and even when it does, it has enough emollient ingredients that it will continue to smudge after the fact.
  • Flakes? ✔️ This mascara did not flake in my experience.
  • Eye Irritation? ✔️ Another fortunate thing I did not experience in trying this product.
  • Volumizing? ✔️ Yes, it does volumize, but not as much as I would like to see. The bristles are helpful at adding volume.
  • Separates? ✔️ Not really. It doesn’t exactly clump them, but it doesn’t coat every lash individually as well as I’d like.

Would I repurchase? That’s going to be a no from me.

Too Faced Better Than Sex (Waterproof Version)

  • Price: $12 for 0.17 oz (full size is $23 for 0.27 oz; travel size is $70.59 per oz and full size is $85.19 making the travel size a better deal)
  • Purchased: Sephora (can also be purchased at Ulta and Too Faced brand website)
  • Ingredients: Water / Aqua / Eau, Stearic Acid, Myrica Cerifera (Bayberry) Fruit Wax, Sucrose Polybehenate, Polyisobutene, Polyvinyl Acetate, Paraffin, Aminomethyl Propanediol, Isostearic Acid, Panthenol, Pantethine, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Extract, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax / Cera Carnauba / Cire De Carnauba, Kaolin, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Cholesterol, Hydrogenated Olive Oil, PTFE, VP / Eicosene Copolymer, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil Unsaponifiables, Sodium Polyacrylate, Simethicone, Polyester-5, PVP, Silica, Caprylyl Glycol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Hexylene Glycol, Nylon-6, Laureth-4, Nylon-66, Polyethylene Terephthalate, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Chlorphenesin, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide, Phenoxyethanol.

As a sidebar, I tried the non-waterproof version before and it actually might be the mascara I’ve tried that I like the absolute least. In the spirit of being completely honest, I don’t understand how it has the cult appeal it does. The bristles are massive and coated with product to the point where even wiping it on the sides doesn’t get the job done.

So when I decided I was going to give the waterproof version a shot, I had a conversation with myself that was a lot of side eye and a lot of hemming and hawing. But! I am actually really glad I went and tried it, because it isn’t like the non-waterproof version in the ways that made me really loathe it.

The formula is wetter, but unlike the non-waterproof version, it is not soaking wet and caked on the bristles. You don’t need to rub off the excess, it’s actually in a fairly manageable amount from the get go, which is great. I’m also usually not one to be seduced by packaging, but I really like the touch with the water droplets and how it feels on the packaging. It’s a great touch and reminiscent of the MAC collection a few years back that did something similar.

Over time and using this product, I did notice it became drier and more susceptible to things that weren’t present upon my initial experience. If I were to purchase a larger size, it’d be definitely something I’d be wary of and probably prevent me from repurchasing. I didn’t notice it have an effect on what I would like to see from a mascara in terms of volume and separation, though, even as the formula dried out.

Too Faced is a cruelty-free brand, for those that are looking for products that meet that criteria.

One thing I will note about this product: removing it was PAINFUL. I had made the mistake (because I can get away with doing this with non-waterproof mascaras) of keeping my contacts in while trying to remove it the first time I wore this, and it burned. It burned throughout the night and continued to make my eyes water until the next morning. When I wore it later and had removed my contacts to remove the product, I didn’t experience the same sensation. Something to beware of for those of us who wear contacts.

  • Smudges? ❌ Initially it did not on my first several wears of this product, but after it started to dry out, I did experience smudging with the product. Due to the size of the brush, it did smudge product on my eyelids.
  • Flakes? ❌ Initially it did not, but on my last several wears, I did notice some minor flaking with this product–likely due to the product drying out.
  • Eye Irritation? ❌ Yes. Contact-wearers beware! I don’t know if this might happen for others, your mileage may vary on it.
  • Volumizing? ✔️ Yes, it did a solid job of volumizing and was in the ballpark of where I would like to be with volume. Even as the formula dried, this did not change and was consistent.
  • Separates? ✔️ It’s not the separation I would like to see, but it still did a sufficient job and I would not consider it an issue, even as the product dried out.

Would I repurchase? Maybe, but only if I needed something cruelty-free and waterproof for only a short amount of time. Otherwise, it doesn’t hold up to daily use due to it drying out.

L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise

  • Price: $9.99 for 0.25 oz (making it approximately $39.96 per oz; though, this price is from Ulta and the price seems to vary depending on where it is purchased from.)
  • Purchased: Ulta (can also be found at Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, Amazon, and generally anywhere else you may purchase drugstore-priced products)
  • Ingredients: Isododecane, Cera Alba / Beeswax / Cire Dabeille, Copernicia Cerifera Cera / Carnauba Wax / Cire De Carnauba, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Dilinoleic Acid / Butanediol Copolymer, Aqua / Water / Eau, Allyl Stearate / VA Copolymer, Oryza Sativa Cera / Rice Bran Wax, Paraffin, Alcohol Denat., Polyvinyl Laurate, VP / Eicosene Copolymer, Propylene Carbonate, Talc, Synthetic Beeswax, Ethylenediamine / Stearyl Dimer Dilinoleate Copolymer, PEG-30 Glyceryl Stearate, Candelilla Cera / Candelilla Wax / Cire De Candelilla, Panthenol, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, BHT. May Contain: CI 77499 / Iron Oxides, CI 77891 / Titanium Dioxide.

Hark! A drugstore option? Why yes. Normally, I avoid drugstore mascaras because the last time I used one, after several attempts to find one between several options, I wound up with flakes and irritated eyes for days after the fact.

This one, though, surprised me. I knew it was worth a peek when Sabrina of The Beauty Lookbook raved about it, so I thought I’d give it a shot. Mascaras are a very “your mileage may vary” product for everyone, so I wasn’t expecting to like this as much as I did.

After looking at the ingredient list, I’m surprised I like it as much as I do. I notice that it contains denatured alcohol, which is one of my known skin irritants (regardless of location on the ingredient list–which corresponds to the amount it is present in the product–I would think would irritate my eyes!), but it doesn’t seem to bother them, even upon removal. (Though, it is worth noting when I do remove waterproof mascara, I tend to use an oil-based cleanser; coconut oil usually, though only around the eyes and nowhere else on my face.)

The formula itself is nice; it’s wetter, but not sopping wet. Given the presence of denatured alcohol, I do find that it dries quickly and I don’t have to worry about transfer to my under-eye area. The bristles on the lash are typically not what I prefer, but I do find that it doesn’t clump it right away. However, unlike the other mascaras on this list, despite using “Blackest Black,” I don’t find it is particularly opaque and have to build it up in several layers. L’Oreal is also not a cruelty-free brand.

There are some things about it I don’t love–for both the pigmentation and the volume I want, I really have to build this up and the more I build it up, I come close to more clumping. We’re not talking 80’s rock show level of clumping, but it’s enough where I can notice on myself and I don’t love it. With that, it takes a little away from the product.

  • Smudges? ✔️ Not even a little. It’s the only product on this review that didn’t smudge at all, even after several uses and expecting the product to dry out. I suspect this is due to the presence of the denatured alcohol, which would help it “dry” faster on the lashes.
  • Flakes? ✔️ None! I don’t notice any little flakes in my under-eye after the end of a 12 hour day.
  • Eye Irritation? ✔️ Nope! Even in removal, I didn’t need to remove my contacts and nor did I have any burning while wearing it.
  • Volumizing? ✔️ Yes, however, it does need some building. Once you get to a second or third layer, though, it’s definitely in the ballpark of where I like to be.
  • Separates? ❌ Initially, yes, however, with each subsequent layer, it does tend to clump lashes together.

Would I repurchase? Yes, especially for the price. I think this is a real knock out product and especially for a waterproof mascara, I think it’s pretty impressive.


Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara

  • Price: $14.00 for 0.21 oz (making it approximately $66.67 per oz for travel size; full size retails at $26.00 for 0.32 oz making it $81.25, with the travel size being the better deal.)
  • Purchased: Sephora (can also be obtained from Marc Jacobs Beauty website)
  • Ingredients: Water, Paraffin, Glyceryl Stearate, Synthetic Beeswax, Stearic Acid, Acacia Senegal Gum, Butylene Glycol, Palmitic Acid, Polybutene, Oryza Sativa Cera (Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Wax), VP/Eicosense Copolymer, Ozokerite, Aminomethyl Propanol, Phenoxyethanol, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Stearyl Stearate, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Sodium Nitrate, Tropolone, Disodium Phosphate, Polysorbate 60, Sodium Phosphate, Iron Oxides (CI 77499).

This one hurt me the most. I had a lot of high expectations for it, seeing as how Beka over at MakeupNerdery loves it, but I don’t.

From the first time I tried applying this, the product has way too much product caked on. Even after several uses, you can see from the picture above, that the type of bristles it has lends itself (in addition to probably the wettest formula I’ve tried) to just having the product caked on. Despite brushing the side of the tube with excess product, it still gives you way more than you’ll actually need to apply.

Upon application, it’s a hot mess. If you’re someone who constantly runs short on time; don’t bother using this product on those days. You’re going to spend time cleaning your under-eye AND lid space because of how much product is on the wand (even if you use a tissue to wipe excess off.)

Even trying to clean it off, it smudges almost immediately and constantly throughout the day, largely in part to its very wet formula that doesn’t seem to dry down. Even if you try not to blink for a minute, it will still transfer.

It has sleek packaging that’s a nice minimalist black, but the bristles make the product and applying it a mess. Additionally, it is a cruelty-free product, if nothing else.

  • Smudges? ❌ Very smudgy due to its wetter formula.
  • Flakes? ✔️ None, but as it is so wet, I’d actually be shocked if it did flake in any way because that would mean it would have to dry down some.
  • Eye Irritation? ✔️ Nope, it was gentle to wear and remove.
  • Volumizing? ✔️ Yes, it actually does a great job of adding volume, but at the cost of time in clean-up.
  • Separates? ❌ Nope. Because of the shape of the bristles, it really does a piss poor job of separating them and instead does a great job of giving that Yzma-style lash clumping.

Would I repurchase? Unless there’s a reformulation, it’s going to be a hard pass from me.

Lancôme Monsieur Big Mascara

  • Price: A deluxe sample size which was redeemed. However, it is available for purchase in two sizes: travel size ($12/0.13 oz making it approximately $92.31 per oz) or full size ($25/0.33 oz making it approximately $75.76 per oz)
  • Purchased: Sephora (can also be obtained from Ulta, Macy’s, a ton of other places where Lancôme is sold, and Lancôme brand website)
  • Ingredients: Water, Paraffin, Glyceryl Stearate, Synthetic Beeswax, Stearic Acid, Acacia Senegal Gum, Butylene Glycol, Palmitic Acid, Polybutene, Oryza Sativa Cera (Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Wax), VP/Eicosense Copolymer, Ozokerite, Aminomethyl Propanol, Phenoxyethanol, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Stearyl Stearate, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Sodium Nitrate, Tropolone, Disodium Phosphate, Polysorbate 60, Sodium Phosphate, Iron Oxides (CI 77499).

Mediocrity, thy name is Monsieur Big. This product is the definition of mediocre; there’s nothing about this product that’s bad, per se, but there’s nothing about it that’s great, either, especially at the price point.

The bristles are massive for the product (although I suspected this is due to getting a deluxe sample, it looks like it really isn’t that different on the actual full size product.) It’s coated in product and while the formula is opaque and “wetter,” it dries down in an adequate amount of time. The bristles don’t work for my smaller, deep-set almond eyes and inevitably, product winds up on my eyelid.

Lancome is also not a cruelty-free brand, for those concerned.

Despite the name, I don’t feel like it adds that much volume and it definitely does not separate. What it does somewhat well, though, is add length. That’s a great trait, but that’s not what I purchase mascara to do for me and it’s not the highlight of the marketing for the product, according to the Sephora website (“A high-volume mascara that delivers bold lash volume for up to 24 hours.”) If you’re into lengthening mascaras, give it a shot, but if you’re into either volume or separation, just pass on this.

  • Smudges? ❌ Does transfer to under eye area after a few hours of wear.
  • Flakes? ✔️ None.
  • Eye Irritation? ✔️ Nope, it was gentle to wear and remove.
  • Volumizing? ❌ No, required several layers to build up.
  • Separates? ❌ No. Additional layers clumped lashes and there was no visible separation upon initial application.

Would I repurchase? Nope, not even for the travel size. There’s way better options out there that would better for me at multiple price points.

 

As stated earlier, mascara is really one of those “your mileage may vary”–it varies because of variation in eye shape, eye sensitivities, lash size, lash type, and a ton of other reasons. What may work (and may not have worked) for me may not be your experience, but if you’re ever looking at any of these, I hope it provided some guidance in whether or not you will or will not purchase.

 

Sunday Riley Good Genes v. The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2%

It is a good time to be a chemical exfoliant fan, particularly if you enjoy lactic acid. In the last few years, lactic acid has been becoming more and more prevalent among exfoliants, which is great if you happen to have more reactive, sensitive skin. Lactic acid also tends to be excellent for drier skins as it helps retain moisture.

Both of these products that are getting focused on today are fairly well-esteemed in the chemical exfoliant niche. However, I do not believe you need both. I tested out both of these products over several months and as promised in my prior Instagram post, I thought I would give an update on my review and offer a comparison between these two products in the beauty zeitgeist of the moment.

After I completed my first bottle of The Ordinary 5% Lactic Acid + HA 2%, I went and got a sample or two of the Sunday Riley Good Genes from Sephora to refresh my memory and to see if my results would be replicated. Normally, I use an AHA/lactic acid every other day rather than every day. In this period and spacing out the products, I went 3 days without using a chemical or physical exfoliant (this is the time frame I’ve managed to figure out through multiple means of being really damn lazy and not using skincare that the effect from a chemical exfoliant stops working on me and I start flaking.) This was to see if the results would be different between the two so I could narrow down what the differences were between products.

With the exception of the samples, I paid for both products and used both; Sunday Riley Good Genes (SRGG) lasted me from early January to mid-April. This was during winter, although the winter this year was fairly mild, with few days of dry coldness. The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2% (TOLA) lasted me from mid-April to late June, in a very humid period, so I would not expect my dryness to be worse in this period.

Now, with that out of the way, I can get to the nitty-gritty on these reviews.

 

 

Sunday Riley Good Genes (SRGG)

  • Price: $105 per 1 oz (Note: I bought this on a post-Christmas sale for 30% off, so it was approximately $78.75; Also comes in a 1.7 oz bottle for $158 making it slightly cheaper per oz at $92.94/oz in that size.)
  • Purchased: Anthropologie (can also be found at Sephora and DermStore.com)
  • Ingredients: Opuntia Tuna Fruit (Prickly Pear) Extract, Agave Tequilana Leaf (Blue Agave) Extract, Cypripedium Pubescens (Lady’s Slipper Orchid) Extract, Opuntia Vulgaris (Cactus) Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract & Saccharomyses Cerevisiae (Yeast) Extract, Lactic Acid, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Butylene Glycol, Squalane, Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone, Ppg-12/Smdi Copolymer, Stearic Acid, Cetearyl Alcohol And Ceteareth20, Glyceryl Stearate And Peg-100 Stearate, Arnica Montana (Flower) Extract, Peg-75 Meadowfoam Oil, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus (Lemongrass) Oil, Triethanolamine, Xantham Gum, Phenoxyethanol, Steareth-20, Dmdm Hydantoin

SRGG has a cult following, and I can understand the appeal behind it. It really is an excellent but gentle chemical exfoliant. It comes with a pump (which I love, personally) and is in the form of a cream rather than a liquid. Although I don’t buy based on packaging alone, it is a nice-sized, stand up bottle made of glass. It looks fairly elegant and while I’m not the biggest gold lover, it gives it a nice appeal.

The product has a noticeable and strong scent. The scent itself does not fade away quickly on me and could take up to an hour before dissipating. I found it unpleasant at first, but over time, I came to appreciate it. It’s got a very light lemony smell, but also smells of chemicals which–well, yeah, it’s a chemical exfoliant. No shit, Sherlock.

For those that prefer to only purchase products that do not involve animal testing, the brand does not test on animals.

The product promises to do the following according to the advertisement on the Sephora website:

Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment is formulated with high potency, purified grade lactic acid that immediately exfoliates dull, pore-clogging dead skin cells, revealing smoother, fresher, younger-looking skin. Fine lines appear visually plumped while the skin looks more radiant. With continued use, the appearance of stubborn hyperpigmentation and the visible signs of aging are reduced for a healthier-looking complexion. Perfect for all skin types and all ages, this treatment is enhanced with licorice for brightening, Good Genes clarifies, smooths, and retexturizes for instant radiance.

Here’s what I found to be in my experience, both initially and after giving myself a refresher after trying it again:

  • Exfoliant: ✔️ This did an excellent job of keeping flaky skin at bay and making my skin feel soft without being too harsh.
  • Fine Lines: ❓ It’s hard to say on this one. Since my initial review, I was able to find a few on my face, but I don’t know that this product necessarily prevented them or if they occurred after using. I’m doesn’t really seem like this did a lot on that front, so I’m going to have to consider this one inconclusive.
  • Radiance: ✔️ Initially, this one was inconclusive for me but after going a second round, I do think this product adds radiance and a brightening effect.
  • Hyperpigmentation: ❔ As I don’t have hyperpigmentation, I can’t speak to this one and so it will remain inconclusive on my end.
  • Redness Reduction: ✔️ So, they don’t say anything about this in the description, but I do have to share this because it did work very effectively for me at reducing redness. It didn’t clear it up completely, but it definitely reduced it significantly.
  • Anti-Aging: ❔ This is going to be another inconclusive for me. As I look very young as is, you could argue that it kept me looking young, but that’s–probably not the intended purpose to keep someone looking 14.

 

 

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2% (TOLA)

  • Price: $6.50 per 1 oz.
  • Purchased: Beautylish (also available through Skinstore.com, ASOS, and the brand’s website)
  • Ingredients: Aqua (water), Lactic Acid, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Triethanolamine, Potassium Citrate, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolmer, Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract, Arginine, Acacia Senegal Gum, Xanthan Gum, Trisodium Ethylene-Diamine Disuccinate, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Ethyl 2.2-Dimethylhydrocinnamal, PPG-26-Buteth-26, Ethylhexylclycerin, 1.2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol.

TOLA is one of those products that’s flying off the shelf and it’s not hard to see why; The Ordinary is a very affordable but effective product line. It doesn’t shy away from using effective chemicals (a plus in my book because I don’t buy into the hype around organic being best.)

Like Sunday Riley, this brand also does not perform any animal testing. It’s also a vegan product. (These two things are not necessarily the same; Ethical Elephant explains it very well if this is a concern for you.)

The product itself is in a small, clear glass container. It’s minimalist, but does not seem to have anything to deflect UV influence on the product, which is interesting to me because I would think it would degrade the product faster. Another quirk about this product is that it has a dropper as opposed to a pump. Given that the product is liquid rather than SRGG’s cream, this makes somewhat more sense.

The Ordinary has gone and explained why they use a dropper as opposed to a pump, and it largely comes down to a functional purpose despite being less cost efficient. While I appreciate the conscious effort on their end to not waste product/money, I still do prefer a nice pump at the end of the day. Not to mention, for someone like me, I’m prone to losing at least 15% by being a clumsy asshole anyways (as evidenced by how much faster I used this product up comparatively.)

Much like SRGG, this one has a scent too. The first few times I used it, I longed for the lemon chemical stench of SRGG, but I’ve come to tolerate it. It does fade quickly despite its strength (within 10-15 minutes.) It’s hard to describe what this smells like; it’s got a fruity underbody to it but it just reeks of chemicals.

Now, here is what the Beautylish website describes it as:

This treatment gently resurfaces the skin to promote a bright, even tone and a smooth, soft texture.

If nothing else, I appreciate the brevity. Here’s how I find my first go round and second go with this product:

  • Exfoliant: ✔️ It keeps flakes away and leaves skin smooth after application.
  • Brightness: ✔️ It does, to a degree. I definitely find my skin looking bright right away, but by the middle of the next day, it has faded some.
  • Redness Reduction: ✔️ Again, it does reduce redness. I find it’s actually very red upon application but when I wake up, the redness has gone away. This is likely due to my skin being more sensitive.
  • As this product does not indicate anything about fine lines or anti-aging, I am not judging it for that. Not that I really could anyways, since those are difficult things for me to pin down on my skin.

 

 

Conclusion

No one needs both of these products. Although I find the SRGG is more effective at keeping redness away longer and slightly more effective at reducing redness, it isn’t enough to warrant the $98.50 price differential.

Here’s what I would recommend: if you are needing to look good for a special day, really need that anti-aging or fine line reduction, or have the budget to not break the bank by buying it regularly, it may be worth splurging to get SRGG.

However, for most people, it’s really unnecessary. TOLA does close enough to the same thing at a significantly lower cost. Considering skincare is something that should be as regular a habit as brushing your teeth, for me, it’s a no brainer: The Ordinary wins this one for me.

Skincare Empties – Summer 2017

I believe in many things; that your favorite sandwich tells a lot about you (mine is BLT for those wondering), that “positive vibes only” is a whole lot of fair-weather bullshit, and that taking care of your skin is basic care for everyone. Your skin is your largest organ; treat it as you would any other part of your body. You wouldn’t let your cardiovascular system go uncared for, so why would you let your integumentary system?

I will be the first to admit that all things considered, I am genetically #blessed with “good” skin. I rarely develop blemishes (and those that are tend to be either reactive to something I have worn or due to my bad habit of touching my face when frustrated), I generally don’t have a lot of discoloration, no acne, and the actual worst of it is some persistent redness.

I didn’t develop a skincare routine until I was 23, but even before this, my years of being a teenage hermit did me some good in the fact that I rarely exposed myself to sun and kept out of skin cancer and photo-aging’s way. But as I am now (said in Wayne’s voice from Wayne’s World) a little bit older and a little bit wiser, I do have a skincare routine set in place that I will eventually expand upon. It is not much of a routine, but it exists.

Today, though, are what I’ve gone through thus far this summer, now that I have a few things.

As I said before, I don’t have a particularly extensive routine and I generally don’t follow the Korean Beauty line of using 10-11 products in a given night. However, when I do use is tried and true for me and my dry, reactive skin. None of what I say here should be taken as a comprehensive review, but I’ll share what these products do for me and what role they fill in my skincare routine.

Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm – Facial Cleanser

  • I tend to use two cleansers to remove makeup or to clean my face. This particular one serves as my cleanser for removing facial makeup. I use a little bit of the Shiseido cotton rounds and swirl it in the tub (usually at the ends rather than the center), wet it, and begin to remove my makeup. I find this is not particularly drying and does a great job at not irritating my skin but doing the job in which it was intended when purchased.

 

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2% – Chemical Exfoliant

  • As a lizard woman, it is important for me to have a heat rock to digest, but also a chemical exfoliant to keep my flaky skin at bay. I prefer lactic acid to glycolic acid because it is much gentler and is much more effective at reducing my redness. I also tend to prefer a chemical exfoliant over a physical exfoliant out of concern for micro-tears in the skin and the simple fact it’s much easier to deal with; I just use the dropper (not my favorite method) onto a cotton round and lightly press into the skin and let it sink in for 20 minutes before moving on.

 

belif The True Cream – Moisturizing Bomb – Night Moisturizer

  • There are many things I generally do to keep the scale-skin at bay; I use a chemical exfoliant, I use moisturizer, I (sometimes) use oils, I use a nourishing primer, I use a water-based foundation. While all these things are nice, this is the only product that has really made a difference in my skin’s moisture levels (well, that, and actually drinking water.) I use it at night-time because it is a thicker cream, but once it’s on the skin, I don’t personally find it to be particularly heavy.

At some point, I will be doing a more thorough review on each of these products. All three of these are staples of mine and it certainly won’t be the last you hear of them from me.

Yours ’til Niagara Falls,
Jupiter Gimlet

An Introduction

Hello, hello!

My name is Jupiter Gimlet and I’m a petite pinup, makeup hobbyist, and Public Health graduate student. I’m a native of New Jersey, raised in Wisconsin, and nurtured in Illinois now living in Kentucky (“Land of the fast horses and slow pours,” as the promotional materials say.)

During the day, I’m what I call a “payer slayer” and yell at insurance companies to pay healthcare providers, I wear makeup and vintage-inspired clothing. At night, I go to graduate classes for Population Health Management. Once upon a time ago, I was also a primatologist, but those days have long since gone (I mean, when was the last time you saw a listing for a primatologist on LinkedIn?)

Although I love vintage fashion and style, I’m not here for vintage values. I’m a mouthy broad and I have no desire to return to the days of long ago; just only the glamour that comes with it and only if it is applicable to everyone. I believe yesterday’s glamour is always welcome today, but only if you can make it for everybody.

I have a deep love for vintage fashion and beauty (makeup and skincare), but I’m also rather fond of anthropology, biology, architecture, traveling, and cooking. I also love nerd culture (especially DC/Marvel comics and movies!) I believe in clever consumerism, social consciousness, and I don’t believe for a minute that just because I am interested in feminine hobbies that it is any less worthwhile. I also believe context is sovereign and when dealing with history, context is required.

You can expect pinup related things, beauty talk, fashion discussion, and historical backgrounds of the aforementioned. When I can, I’ll be happy to share any travel logs or talk on architecture.

As a beauty blogger, this is the information you may need to determine whether or not my reviews or recommendations may be something that may be worthwhile for you:

  • Skintone: ~NC10-15 (very strong yellow undertones with red overtones in face and chest) depending on time of year (ideal foundations for me are Make Up For Ever Y215 (both Water Blend and HD Ultra Foundation Stick) and Tarte Rainforest of the Sea (Porcelain).
  • Skin Type: Dry, reactive (due to contraceptive use)
  • Hair Color: Ash blonde with cool undertones
  • Hair Type: Fine, thin but normal
  • Eye Color: Blue with both gray and green (it shifts depending on the light)
  • Favorite Beauty Products: Foundation, Eyeliner, Lipstick, and Perfume
  • Lesser Liked Beauty Products: Blush, Contour, and Highlight

I started a blog because I like the formatting options it gives me, and while I love Instagram, I don’t love that it cuts the spaces between and has a difficult algorithm, so for that reason, a blog seemed like the ideal solution. Plus, it gives me my own little soapbox on which I can perch (because that is what the Internet is for, if nothing else, right?)

What I hope for you as readers is that you find this both educational and interesting. I hope it is something that everyone of any skin tone, background, gender, or any identity may find it worthwhile.

Yours ’til Niagara Falls,
Jupiter Gimlet