Monday, January 30, 2012

FOTD/EOTD: Dark Pinup Look

I got in some items today from Beauty Without Cruelty, so I wanted to use them right away (of course!).  This look is a darker pinup look.  The only difference between this and a classic pinup look is that I ditched cherry lips for a deep plum.

On my eyes: Benefit Stay Don't Stray primer, MSC e/s Birfday Suit, Honey Rose and In the Buff, MAC eye kohl in Fascinating, Sephora Waterproof Kohl in Keep Black, Tokidoki Perfetto Liner in Sabochan, NYX e/s in 01 Black, Sephora Lash Plumper mascara in Black

On my face: Beauty Without Cruelty Creamy Concealer in Fair, MAC Studio Fix Powder in NC20, Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer, Urban Decay blush in Score; On my lips: Beauty Without Cruelty lipstick in Deep Plum over MSC lip bomb in Snoball

FTC: All items used in this look were purchased by me except: all items by BWC were sent to me for consideration, the Urban Decay blush in Score was a gift, and the Benefit primer sample was also a gift.  I used these items because I like them, and that is my honest opinion.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

FOTD/EOTD: Candy Eyes

While recording my January favorites, I realized my eyes had a definite theme: candy.

Here's the overall face:
NARS Sheer Matte Foundation in Mont Blanc, MAC Studio Fix Powder in NC20, MAC Studio Finish Concealer in NC20, Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer, Jordana blush in 38 Coral Sandy Beach, & TKDK Perfetto Liner in Sabochan for the brows, TKDK prismagloss in Ciao Ciao
Here's the eyes up close:
Benefit Stay Don't Stray primer, TKDK eyeshadow in Killer Candy, MAC eyeshadow in Blue Candy, Wet N Wild eyeshadow in Brulee, MAC Fascinating eye kohl in Fascinating, TKDK Perfetto Liner in Sabochan, MUFE Smoky Lash mascara in black
Should I do a tutorial or is this one pretty straightforward?

FTC:  All items used in this look were purchased by me except for: the Jordana blush was sent to me for use and consideration, the Benefit primer sample was sent to me by a friend, and the MUFE Smoky Lash mascara and the NARS Sheer Matte foundations were items I received from work.  I was not compensated for this look.  I used these products because I like them, and that is my honest opinion.

REVIEW: Cruelty-Free Cosmetics

Back in October, I received a package from Cruelty-Free Cosmetics.  Now those of you who have been with me since at least October know that it was the busiest time of 2011 for me.  I was working fifty plus hours a week so even though I wore the pigments I received and took notes, I never recorded my review.  In November I started my job at Sephora and that led me into the Holiday Season of Retail Madness.  That carried into Return Hell January, and now we find ourselves in nearly February.  Where did the last three months go!?

So I wanted to come over here and make a blog post where I could post photos and swatches a little bit easier than a photo.  This is something new for me, so I welcome suggestions for improvement.  =]

Cruelty-Free Cosmetics was started by Natallia after she went vegan and wanted more cosmetic options.  She and I had prevously been youtube friends from her previous channel, so when she started her own line, I was very excited to try it!  She sent me four pigments to try out:

From left to right: Silver Taupe, Plum Potion, Spiced Cider & Heart of Gold
Swatches and my review after the jump...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Vegan Hair Dyes

I was recently asked about what hair dye I use by a girl I met at Sephora, and truth be told, I use the least desirable "vegan" option.  But the reason I'm posting today is because I do want to change that, and share what I find with you guys.

I'm currently using Revlon hair dye, which is technically cruelty-free (but the parent company obviously isn't).  It's cheap, it's easy to find, and it doesn't bleed much, which is important when you dye your hair black all the time.  I've heard that the other options available to me tend to bleed, which is probably because they're stains, not horrible chemicals to slather on my scalp, which is pretty close to my brain.

A simple google search led me to a blog post about vegan hair dyes.  This was posted in December of 2010, and yet this has never popped up for me as a search result.. it was meant to be.  I suggest you all go and read her article.  I'm going to look into the LUSH Henna dyes more because they're the easiest for me to get my hands on, but I think I'm going to end up going the Manic Panic or Special Effects route..

Fellow vegans, what hair dyes do you use?  I'm not even necessarily going to crazy color, I tend to keep things calm and black, haha.

Vegan List from Sephora

This list is very out of date.  Please do not use it as a shopping guide.  Check my list of cruelty free brands in the top bar.  I will be working on getting updated lists.  Thanks.

I do have a list specific to the Sephora I work at:

I contacted Sephora and specifically asked for a list of vegan products carried by the company, and they responded with a rather long list, fortunately.  Unfortunately, she clearly stated that this list focused on which items were vegan, not whether or not they were tested on animals, so I'm going to have to go back & compare notes.  Also, I'm not sure how current/up to date the list is, which is another thing I have to check into as I compare notes.  But, regardless, here is the list I was given.  I added some formatting to make it a little easier to follow.  I know some items are missing because I know that Philosophy has a primarily vegan line, and they aren't on this list at all.  Their response is after the cut.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Hey guys!!  Mo and I are hosting a super exciting Valentine's Day contest!!  I hope you'll all check it out & enter!  There are two ways to enter, one being video submissions and the other photo, so there are no excuses to not participate!!  =]  All of the details are after the cut.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sephora Lash Plumper mascara ftw.

Inspired by Mo's new post here about her favorite liquid liners, I decided it was nigh time I wrote about my favorite mascara. While I am well aware the liners and mascaras are hardly the same thing, just.. stay with me here.

It was the summer of 2010.  I was approaching my 23rd birthday and I got those emails to remind me, "Hey dumbshit, it's your birthday!  You get free stuff this month!"  Oh, glorious day!  I rounded up the locations where I was entitled to free-ness in celebration of my birth, and headed out the door.

I saved what is almost always the best for last: Sephora.  Sephora had an amazing gift in 2010 (and 2009, and 2011, and though it isn't my birthday yet, as an employee of Sephora I am well aware that the gift is pretty damn cool this year as well) and this gift literally changed my life.  Well.. it changed my life in so much as finding your holy grail mascara can.  I know, epic.

I won't lie, I had to cheat and look online to see what else was in the gift that year (and you can cheat and look here if you forget, too).  It was a silver green nano liner, a tiny size of Aspen Summit eyeshadow, and *cue harps* the Lash Plumper.  They were all Sephora brand, and in a quick rundown for a review:
1. Silver Green nano liner - good liner, horrid color for me
2.  Aspen Summit - I still have this tiny guy and he is doing doing a great job as an inner corner highlight
3.  Lash Plumper mascara - this changed me

This mascara is perfect [FOR ME].  It isn't too wet, it isn't too dry; and it's buildable.  It doesn't flake, it doesn't budge, but I do suspect it is the product at the end of the day that gives me a hell of a fight to remove.  It's okay, I still love it, and wear it every day without hesistation.

Since trying the product for the first time in July of 2010, I have tried other mascaras, always on the quest to try exciting, new things; but I have always returned to my beloved Lash Plumper mascara.  At a measly $12 a tube, it's not much more than what you'd pay at the drug store.  Yet it performs like so many of the high end mascaras that it is constantly surrounded and mocked by.  I don't know if I actually think the two are dupes, but it and the Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes! mascaras are the only ones I've ever even considered repurchasing.

I guess there will be a comparison in the new future.  I can't just leave it at that, can I?

For nostalgia's sake: My full size I'm currently working on & the original tiny size I received for my birthday.

FTC:  Although I initially received the sample size of this mascara as a free perk, I have paid for all additional tubes with my own money.  These are my honest opinions.

EOTD: Showing Purple Some Love!

On my face:
MAC Studio Fix Powder in NC20
Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer
MAC blush in Coygirl

On my eyes:
MSC Pop N Lock base
MSC e/s in Gossip all over lid as base color
MSC e/s in Kiss With a Fist in the inner corner
MSC e/s in Heartbreaker all over lid
MSC e/s in Revenge below eye
MSC e/s in Birfday Suit as the brow highlight
Sephora Waterproof Kohl in Keep Black
Sephora Lash Plumper mascara in Black
ELF Waterproof Eyeliner Pen in Plum for the eyebrows

MSC lip bomb in Snoball
MAC mattene lipstick in Fresh Amour

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I'm getting the Dinair.

I had to title the post that way. I've made a decision and I'm getting it, damnnit!

The main reason I have chosen to get the Dinair has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with a photography company I regularly work with. They are, more importantly, good friends of mine. They are brilliant people and are constantly coming up with these amazing ideas for photoshoots, and their brilliance has forced my hand here. I need the Dinair. I have no idea how else to do some of the things they ask at even a fraction of a satisfactory level. Sure, I could stick with brushes and sponges and etc for some of the things they were asking, but I'd be limiting myself and their work by not making the investment. Frankly I'd be a tad embarassed if another mua asked me, "Oh.. why didn't you use airbrush for these full body jobs" and I only had the excuse of not owning one. An opportunity has presented itself to not only grow as an artist, but to help others grow as artists, and I'll be damned if I'm going to hinder both of our abilities. *fist slam!*

All seriousness aside, I had a shoot with the aforementioned couple last night, and am very eagerly awaiting the results. Our large friend from the Grammastola family got to come play, so I'm waiting to see how many people ask if she's real or not in the photos. Yes! Swisgaar is real. That's my public statement. You saw it here before the questions started, haha.

I have a tentive shoot scheduled with another photographer on the 28th. I have never worked with this gentleman before, which is always a little scary. Not that I fear strangers, but working with someone new from a professional standpoint is always a little scary. I love making professional contacts and mainly hate when it just doesn't work out, due to a difference in vision, skill, personalities, etc. So yes, I'm nervous to work with someone new... and cautiously excited. =]

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Debating "Business Expenses" for 2012 [To Airbrush or Not?]

I am in a huge debate with myself. I have spent the last 24 hours agonizing over what I want to do as far as professional supplies for the year. Should I just get brushes and stop at that? I've already decided on the Mr. Bunny set from Sigma. Even though I like the Mrs. Bunny Kit's colors, I have to go with the obvious and more professional option. I am really excited to be able to add a 100% vegan brush set to my colletion and be able to also offer that to clients.

For those of you on the market for vegan brushes, they also offer a travel size kit for only $59, so that may be a better option for those of you who are looking to spend less than $100. You can check out the full Bunny Collection and all of it's vegan offering's here. I know it can be difficult to find vegan brushes that aren't compromising on quality; which is silly. Why should vegans have to compromise on quality just because we don't want to hurt animals?

So the next item I've been debating with myself about is the Dinair. I feel like my work and what I can offer clients will be limited until I have all of the tools necessary to the trade, and a good airbrush set is essential to a fully functional kit. The price tag isn't pretty, but if I'm using it on paid events, I'd be able to make the money back very quickly. But that comes to the next issue.. over saturation of the field. There are so many people in Cincinnati calling themselves makeup artists. I think that's another huge reason I need the Dinair. Being able to offer airbrush not only gives me an edge over competition, it also shows that I am professional and serious about what I'm doing. I've invested my time and money if I have airbrush to offer.

I would love to hear feedback from fellow makeup artists who have struggled with the choice of whether or not to invest in and offer airbrush to their clients. I'm mostly hoping it's not going to be a wasted purchase in the area I'm in. However, I won't be in Cincinnati forever, and I'm sure bigger cities offer bigger opportunities (but with bigger competition, I'm sure).

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I emailed Sephora about cruelty-free brands.

Disclaimer: This list is obviously inaccurate.  Please check my list of cruelty free brands on the top bar.

Dear Beth,

Thank you for contacting

Our private label brand Sephora Brand is cruelty free (meaning that the products have never been tested on animals). At Sephora we carry over 200 other brands and we cannot guarantee that all the products from these brands are cruelty free.

Here is a list of some of brands that we carry that do not test on animals:

Amazing Cosmetics
Anthony Logistics
B. Kamins Chemist
Bare Escentuals
Benefit Cosmetics
Bremenn Research Labs
Carol's Daughter
Dr. Brandt Skincare
Frederic Fekkai
Jack Black
Jonathan Products
Juice Beauty
Kat Von D
Korres Natural Products
Laura Mercier
LaVanila Laboratories
Ole Henriksen
Perricone MD
Peter Thomas Roth
REN Clean Skincare
René Furterer
Rosebud Perfume Co.
Skyn Iceland
Stila Cosmetics
Too Faced Cosmetics
Urban Decay

If we can assist you further please feel free to contact us at


Valerie Beauty Advisor

Monday, January 2, 2012

Waiiit. It's 2012? Recap of November/December.

I honestly couldn't tell you what I did the last two months.  I worked through the holiday rush at my dream job (Sephora) & even occasionally got to work in "color" (on the floor with clients).  I've met a lot of wonderful people at Sephora and really couldn't ask for a better cast.

Here's a breakdown of what happened in youtube world, as that's the only way I know how to gauge my time...

I kicked off November by trying to give closure to October with videos such as the Halloween tag (with j0hn, even!), followed by a long overdue review of (fancy contact lenses here!), and then my favorites video for October (I love...).  Next came a few tutorials, everything from my face routine at that time (little has changed to date), a bright blue look (oh, that Sally Sapphire) and a look I'm particularly happy with (Ghoulies & Redrum Plans).  That was all for tutorials for a while because after that I started working at Sephora & moving into my current apartment.  I uploaded a delayed mailtime about two weeks late and a vlog to explain my absence.  I launched a since closed contest/giveaway and posted a haul of my small amount of black friday purchases (yes, they came from Sephora, ha).  Next came my first holiday tutorial, inspired by the iconic Christmas tree, and one inspired by a lesser know icon, Yo-landi Vi$$er.  I ended the month with cheater's NMM vlog and another tutorial, this time of the frosty lavender & gold variety.

Then came December... I started off by combining two tags into one mega-tag, the Holly Jolly Tag & Wish List 2011 tag until it became.. somewhat epic.  & by epic, I simply mean long.  Another NMM vlog snuck up on me, so I let j0hn do all of the work.  I finally posted my December favorites about a week too late, and got into the holiday spirit with a Rudolph the red-lipped reindeer look for a contest (I didn't even place, by the way).  I finally got the prize video together for my contest just in time for another NMM vlog to creep up.  Then things got too busy & I had to combine a vlog with an impromptu tutorial and OOTD.  I finally found time to do something I'd been waiting for, a Frosty the Snowman tutorial that turned out better than I had hoped.  I finished off the month with some prize mail from Miss Marell and a joint haul video with Mr. 1313.

Now we find ourselves in January.  I want to get up a 2011 favorites video, but I may settle for the top 11 products of 2011 tag.. boo.  I hate settling.  In the meantime, here's this week's NMM vlog, featuring a Ninja!  So what if it's a blender and not a master of martial arts.. it's still a ninja!

See you guys soon, I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday season.