Wednesday, May 18, 2016

DIY: Eyeshadow Palette / Z Palette

I like makeup. Probably too much, actually. I've curbed most of my impulse purchases thanks both to my deep-seated love of tireless research, and the need to see the approval of at least five internet strangers before hitting the checkout. I've amassed quite a bit of eyeshadow over the years, though, and aside from my larger palettes, I have a lot of eyeshadow singles and small palettes that don't get as much use because they're easily overlooked or perhaps I only like a shade or two within the palette. I needed to fix this!

The time had come to de-pot my eyeshadows: remove them from their original packaging to compile them all into one, easy-to-use palette. That way I'd have the colors I like, toss the ones I don't love, and then could find them all in once place. I know I could buy an expensive Z Palette, but honestly you should by now that this is not my style! Curious how to revamp your collection? Read on!

+ Eyeshadows
+ Watercolor Palette 
(or other slim, clear case)
+ E6000 Glue
+ Scissors & Pen
+ Magnet Sheet
+ Small Magnets
+ Duct Tape Sheet (optional)


First things first: remove the plastic paint insets from the palette. They're not attached in any way in this particular palette so they pop right out. Set those aside and get back into watercoloring painting like you're in second grade again! You're welcome.

There will be some plastic prongs in the middle of the palette, but the brittle plastic breaks easily. I used some wire cutters to snip them, but a number of tools could accomplish this.

Now, we're off to the races! Trace the palette on your magnetic sheet and cut it out. You may need to trim and adjust for a perfect fit so play around with it.

This step is optional, but it adds a lil' somethin' somethin' to the overall look. I think it might also lessen the magnetic force a little bit, so don't feel too bad if you skip it. I stuck the magnetic cut-out to a sheet of duct tape, trimmed off the excess, and tucked the edges behind neatly. Use some glue to secure it to the palette.

Now comes the ~scary~ part: de-potting your eyeshadows! 
My stakes were pretty low since I'm working with drugstore shadows, and, admittedly, I made kind of a mess, but after trial and error I think this is the most foolproof way to handle this:

Put one palette or eyeshadow single on a baking sheet (I recommend covering the sheet in foil to prevent a potential mess) and place it in an oven which is preheated to 200 degrees F.

Use a timer and leave it in for about two minutes. The heat is warm enough to loosen to glue keeping your metal pans attached to the base/palette, but not so hot that it should melt any plastic in such a short time. Plastic in heat is not ideal, but this was the gentlest way I found to do this, and I experienced no melting or terrible fumes. Use your best judgement though!

Use a metal tool to pry and pop those pans right out! If they don't come out easily, place the whole thing back in the oven in 30 second bursts and try again.

Once all of your eyeshadows are free, secure a magnet (or even a piece of the magnetic sheet) to the back of the pan. I used self-adhesive magnets, but you can just glue them too.

Put all of your eyeshadows into your new palette and marvel at your handy result!

Obviously, some of my eyeshadows received a little damage in the process, mostly while I was trying to determine the best way to remove them from their respective palettes. I fixed them by spritzing some alcohol and pressing over them with a paper towel, but they're not perfect. This is about real life DIY though - I really don't care about looking Pinterest perfect, honestly! This is a useful project that solved an everyday issue for me and I couldn't be happier!

What's your biggest issue with your makeup stash? Have you ever made a DIY palette or other storage? What on earth should I paint with those watercolors?!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

BEAUTY: My First ColourPop Order!

I love a good inexpensive beauty find more than anything (sorry friends & fam) and I'd had my eye on ColourPop for ages before finally treating myself to some birthday goodies a few months ago.

First, I tried three eyeshadows: two shades are Super Shock Shadow (Weenie and Telepathy from the KathleenLights Collection) and the other, Fantasy, is a Super Shock Pressed Pigment. Sleek twist-open pots offer a clear window so you can quickly see what's inside. The formula itself is almost beyond description. It's a powder, but it has such a soft feel that you'd swear it's a cream. The only thing I can compare it to is the feeling of perfectly moist soil - definitely a solid, but you can easily leave a fingerprint on the surface. Swirling a finger in the pot gives a wondrously pigmented result and the softness makes it a dream to blend.

Sorry, my impatient toddler fingers smushed 'em all.

L to R: Weenie, Telepathy and Fantasy

Swatches of Weenie, Telepathy and Fantasy...ARE YOU KIDDIN' ME?!

As you can see, the color is deep and beautiful. Like, seriously beautiful. Like, dipped-my-fingers-in-liquid-metal beautiful. I wore Weenie basically every day for weeks after I got it, and I still reach for it all the time. Telepathy is great for gilded smoky eyes, and Fantasy is always going to make a statement, and that statement is "Check out my eyes because they look AWESOME."

Weenie Super Shock Shadow on eyelids
Telepathy Super Shock Shadow on inner corners
Fantasy Pigment all over lids

You know I had to try some lip color, right? I've heard such mixed reviews on these matte liquid lipsticks, and now I completely understand why. I don't know if I love them or hate them! My first try-on was Succulent, and I was shocked by how dry and strangle-y it made my mouth feel. I can handle some dry lips - I love longwearing mattes - but this was by far the most Death Valley-esque lipstick I've tried. I felt like I'd sucked on a stick of chalk, a feeling I remember from when I used to dress up in my sister's elbow-length prom gloves and pretend to smoke chalk "cigarettes" and drink champagne, as most seven-year-olds do. Oh, just me?

All of the shades gave me this overwhelming dryness and usually crumbliness on the first go, but I found on subsequent wears they were much more comfortable. Maybe I just knew what to expect or maybe they needed to air out a little, but I do find myself wearing them regularly. I especially love Lychee because the purple hue is so bright and bold, but I've found LAX to perform the best of the bunch. Definitely exfoliate your lips and put a good balm down before playing with these guys!

Swatches of Succulent, LAX, Lychee, & Dr. M Ultra Matte Lips fresh from the tube
Swatches of Succulent, LAX, Lychee & Dr. M Ultra Matte Lips after drying down

Again, the shades are beautiful. Succulent is a great orange-y red, which is somehow toned down and neon all at once. LAX is the perfect dramatic blood red color. Lychee is bright and fun, but still really wearable. Dr. M is a very deep green, perfectly matte but also full of microscopic glitter. 

Ultra Matte Lips in LAX on the lips
Ultra Matte Lips in Lychee on the lips

I'm glad I gave into the hype and tried this brand, though I'll likely stay away from any more matte lip colors just to be safe. For such a decent price they really do have a lot to offer, and the delightful sensation of touching these eyeshadows is worth it alone!

Have you ever ordered from ColourPop? What are your favorite affordable makeup brands? Got any offbeat color lipstick faves to share? 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

DIY: Minimal Nail Art

I've gotten back into doing my nails recently, after a stretch of only occasional (at home, duh) manicures and plenty of naked nail time. I started getting used to the look of bare fingernails on my hands for once. Also, it's nice to not have to do something you once found compulsory, especially when that thing makes your whole apartment stink like a science experiment gone wrong.

Even so...I'm back, baby! Screw the stinky fumes and time consuming nature of manicures! Screw the fact that I spend an hour minimum on something that is literally designed to start coming undone the second I'm finished with it! It looks fun, okay?

I like an intricately drawn wintery scene or a smattering of spring flowers as much as the next nail art enthusiast, but lately I've embraced the idea of minimal nail art.

Minimal nail art is an easy way to have some unique fun on your nails, but without the effort and commitment of a full scale design. I like to do simple, basic shapes and lines on bare nails for a decorated, but not overly fussy look. Let me just show you:


Nail Polish Colors of Your Choice
Clear Tape
Top Coat
Dotting Tool, Stickers & Nail Polish Pens (optional)


Start by applying a base coat. I like Beauty Secrets Moisturizing Base Coat, but any clear polish, or none at all, will do. It's good to shape them first too since we'll be showing a lot of naked nail.

I like to do a different design on each nail just to keep it extra loose. Some ideas are the diagonal stripe, seen here, or a basic triangle, below. I cut strips of clear tape and create a stencil of sorts right on my nail, then simply paint inside the borders of that tape. When it's dry, remove the tape quickly but carefully and you should have some nice designs.
It doesn't have to be perfect either! Minimal = easy, guys!

It's also totally fine to freehand some designs, like I did on the heart and eyelashes, or use a dotting tool to make polka dots. You can literally drop of splash on polish on the middle of each nail if you want - the point here is to be minimal and easy! Don't you love easy things?

Finish by adding a top coat and that's it! I like to mix up colors and designs, but again, do whatever feels fun to you. Sometimes I just doodle on my nails and call it a day.

I forgot: the absolute best part of this manicure is that it will last way longer than a regular paint job! You know how nail polish usually chips away around the edges first? There are no edges here, guys. Meaning your designs are safe in the center of your nail bed like a little, brightly colored island that only you have to power to remove when you're done with it. Look how powerful you are!

Are you into minimal nail art? How often do you paint your nails? How much do you love low-commitment beauty?

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

BEAUTY: Morphe 35S Palette Review/Swatches

Doesn't it seem like makeup brands spring up overnight sometimes? Think about it - two years ago we were not even talking about ColourPop (and probably would've mocked the unneccesary "u" right?), but now their name is thrown about so frequently we can feel like we're missing out on something we barely just learned existed.

The same can be said for other YouTube-famous online makeup brands like Morphe. I saw the brand written about on beauty sites, reviewed in videos and used in tutorials, and since I like to keep an eye on these up-and-comers, I had checked out their offerings and maybe even pinned a product or two. I can be skeptical about beauty newbies, but when I saw their 35S Smokey Eye Palette, I was interested in trying it out for myself.

Because I have a wonderful and generous sister, I received this palette as a surprise gift in the mail, but you can buy it either directly from Morphe or from Amazon, where it seems to be a couple of bucks cheaper with free Prime shipping.

The Pros
I was instantly struck by the palette's size upon opening the package - this thing is a full 9" x 6" and each individual eyeshadow is about a 1" circle. You get a lot of product here for the price, but I was curious if that product would be worth it.

I'm happy to say that, overall, I think this palette is certainly worth the price, as even though not every shadow is well pigmented, the majority are at least useable, with many being supremely soft and colorful. There is also a great mix of colors here. I don't feel drawn to the million neutral palettes available these days (how the hell did we, as a society, decide to get this excited over taupe?!), but this palette offers a selection of useful neutrals, as well as bold brights and some unusual shades you won't find many other places, like the banana yellow and magenta.

There are both matte and metallic finishes, and several groups of shadows that can be worked into no-brainer smoky eye looks. This is a very user friendly palette, meaning that you can either choose to play around or work within a given color family or zone to get whatever look you're going for.

The Cons
My biggest complaint is that there are too many similar shades in this palette. Looking at the above photo, you'll see several bright blue shades, each appearing slightly different from the others. In the swatches below, you'll notice they come out of the pan looking nearly identical. Just kind of a bummer since this is a missed opportunity for even more color selection.

The same can be said for black shadows, and you might wonder why the bottom row of this palette appears to have three of them. I did too, but after swatching I saw that they are each different, with the first black in the bottom row being deeply pigmented, while the others are weaker and read more like dark gray. Again, just a missed opportunity to stuff even more color into this palette. 

Some shades are too weak to use, specifically the tan shade at the end of the top row, and some are crumbly, like the pink at the end of the fourth row.

First Row Swatches (the last shade showed up so lightly that I accidentally cropped it out of this photo!)
Second Row Swatches
Third Row Swatches
Fourth Row Swatches
Fifth Row Swatches
I get a lot of use from this palette, and love having such a mix of colors on hand. It would also be great for traveling, since it could get you through many looks. Honestly, the super metallic shades make this completely worthwhile to me, as they're so bright and unique I go back to them again and again. Also, even though I disparaged the color earlier in this post, the taupe eyeshadow third from the left in the fourth row has become a constant in my makeup life - it's even more gorgeous in person. Wait, one more con - I wish these colors had names so I could reference them a little easier!

Have you tried any Morphe palettes or brushes? What is your favorite affordable makeup product? What other beauty newbies are you dying to try?

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