I just did some day drinking with a friend to celebrate our last day of teaching this semester, so it’s fair to say that I won’t be getting any work done this evening. But a single dark & stormy (yes, I’m a lightweight) hardly prevents me from blogging. I’ve done a lot of product reviews recently, so I thought I’d break up the monotony with a tag I found on the blog Chic Dabbling. Some beauty tags have weirdly farfetched questions (“what would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and a thief was making off with your nail polish collection?”), but this one is refreshingly straightforward! Warning: it’s a long questionnaire and I’m as wordy as ever. You might need your own dark & stormy to make it through this post.
1. Do you remember your first makeup item?
I’m not entirely sure which makeup item was my very first, but it may have been the clear Revlon Moon Drops lipstick my grandma bought me when I was 12 or 13. It came in the green Moon Drops tube and had that heavy floral smell, but it was more of a balm or stick gloss than an actual lipstick. When my grandma was growing up in Brooklyn in the ’30s, her parents forbade her to wear makeup, and I think she felt that she was giving me a freedom she never had. I couldn’t have cared less about makeup back then, but I must have appreciated the gesture, since I still remember that lipstick.
Another candidate for first makeup item was the set of seven mini Pochacco nail polishes I received for my 13th birthday in 2000. Again, I wasn’t interested in beauty at the time, but the bottles were so cute that I kept them—in fact, they’re still at my mom’s house today! The polishes all have a slightly frosted finish, and there’s a red, orange, yellow, lime green, light blue, dark blue, and purple. On the bottles, there are pictures of Pochacco doing various sports. Very cute.
This is Pochacco, by the way, if you’re less immersed in Sanrio lore than I was in 2000:
First answer and I’m already rambling. Must be the coffee I’m drinking to counteract the rum.
2. What kind of coverage do you prefer from foundation?
I’ve never worn foundation (never even tried it on), but I’m curious about the Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint, which is supposed to be very sheer. So I guess I prefer very sheer coverage? I don’t have perfect skin by any means, but I’ve never liked the thought of covering every pore with makeup.
3. Favorite high-end brand?
I haven’t tried many high-end brands, if by “high-end” you mean Chanel, Guerlain, Dior, etc. They’re out of my budget, and I still favor cruelty-free makeup. My favorite non-drugstore brand is NARS, though that would probably be considered mid-end.
4. What cosmetic brands have you always wanted to try but still haven’t?
I’m curious about Japanese brands like Addiction, Three, and Suqqu, as well as newer high-end Western brands like Charlotte Tilbury and Surratt. (A lot of this is Belly’s fault.)
5. Favorite drugstore brand?
I haven’t encountered a drugstore brand that does every product category well, so I have different favorite brands for different products. For concealer, I like CoverGirl (I’ve been using the same concealer since high school). For mascara, Revlon. For blush, Milani and Sleek. For lip products, NYX, Revlon, Milani, and Maybelline. For eyeshadow and eyeliner, I tend to go higher-end, though I do love Maybelline’s metallic Color Tattoos.
6. Do you wear fake lashes?
Nah. Seems like a lot of trouble, and I’ve never understood the appeal.
7. Is there any kind of makeup you can’t leave the house without?
I almost never leave the house without applying a lip product, even if it’s just a balm. I think I’m addicted to the feeling of having something on my lips. And when they’re in especially bad shape (right now, for instance), I like to be able to conceal the dry bits.
8. What is your most cherished makeup product?
I…don’t think I have one? Maybe my NARS Audacious Lipstick in Angela because of that cool magnetic tube, but I don’t love the Audacious formula, so I wouldn’t say I “cherish” Angela. I got really attached to NARS 413 BLKR over the winter, but again, I’m not sure I cherish it so much as I enjoy wearing it. I guess I do cherish my lipstick collection as a whole!
9. Do you utilize coupons, rewards cards, and sales when you shop for cosmetics?
I don’t follow sales religiously (too much temptation, ironically), and I don’t buy enough at Ulta or Sephora for my points to matter. I used to take more advantage of sales at CVS, but now I do so only when there’s something I already want.
10. What type of product do you buy the most of?
LIPSTICK. I have about 60 and can rattle off at least five more that I’d like to try: ColourPop Mars and Botanical, MAC Whirl, Marc Jacobs Je t’aime and Sonic Truth…
11. Do you like colorful shades of makeup (lipstick, blush, etc.) or neutral ones?
In general, I prefer neutral eye makeup and colorful lipstick, though I’ve been wearing a lot of neutral lip colors in the last few months. With blush, I can go either way: my most-worn blush is Illamasqua Zygomatic, a pinkish beige, but I also love more colorful blushes like purple or peach. The makeup I wore today is a good example of my usual preferences:
12. What is your favorite eyeshadow color?
Gray! Exciting, right? I also love plum shades. (And plummy grays, and grayish plums.)
13. Is there a brand that you absolutely can’t stand?
Like Chic Dabbler, I’ve never bought from Lime Crime and I never will. It just doesn’t make sense to me that anyone would. These days, there are dozens of brands selling wacky lipstick colors with whimsical packaging—why buy from someone who dressed as Hitler for Halloween, asked her fangirls to attack Temptalia for giving her lipsticks mediocre reviews, and failed to notify customers about a huge security breach on her website? Come to think of it, I’m not crazy about most personality-driven brands (Kat Von D, Jeffree Star, Kylie Jenner). They feel a little cultish to me.
14. Do you like trying new skincare products or do you keep a certain routine?
My basic regimen (cleanser, moisturizer, toner) usually stays the same, but I love trying new masks! Earlier this month I bought four different sheet masks at oo35mm, along with the Skinfood Black Sugar Honey mask. I’ve also been loving my samples of the Glossier Mega Greens mask:
15. Favorite bath and body brand?
Lush. I know they’re less ~natural~ than they pretend to be, but I love their bath bombs, soaps, and lotions.
16. If you could only buy from one brand, which brand would you choose?
NARS for sure. Its use of color is innovative but not off-the-rails wacky, its overall standard for quality is impressive, and it offers a wide range of products without being as overwhelming as MAC.
17. What brand do you think has the best packaging?
I’m currently crazy about my Too Cool for School lip tint, also from oo35mm. It came in a tiny cardboard box that looked like a milk carton! And the tint itself has a picture of a milk bottle! Why can’t Western brands do packaging that’s whimsical but not childish (looking at you, Too Faced)?
Overall, though, NARS is the first brand that comes to mind. I know a lot of people complain about the rubbery finish of NARS packaging, but I don’t mind it—I think the matte black looks sleek and modern. I also like the gold gaudiness of YSL, honestly.
18. Which celebrity always has great makeup?
Fan Bingbing and Lupita Nyong’o have reliably great makeup, but I don’t follow celebrity makeup very closely.
19. Do you belong to any online makeup communities?
I have an account on MakeupAlley, but I haven’t used it in years. I also read a few beauty subreddits but have so far resisted making an account, which would just encourage me to waste more time on Reddit than I already do.
20. Five favorite beauty/lifestyle influencers?
In general, my makeup is more influenced by films, art, and overall aesthetic sensibilities than it is by specific people (wow, that sounded pretentious). Kate of Drivel about Frivol had a huge influence on my beauty philosophy, though. Oh, and I hate the word “influencer.”
21. Do you like multifunctional products like lip and cheek stains?
I’m weirdly prejudiced against products that claim to have more than one use. I want each of my products to be very good at one thing, you know? I don’t like ambiguity. And yes, I know this is totally irrational.
22. Are you clumsy while putting on makeup?
I’m clumsy while doing everything. As my friend Alex once put it, I’m “not good at existing in three dimensions.”
23. Do you use makeup base/primer for the eyes?
Yes, I use NYX’s HD primer for my eyeshadow. It’s pretty good, but I’d like to find a more effective one. I don’t use a primer for my whole face, though.
24. What do you love about makeup?
I love that I can use it to evoke specific moods, aesthetics, works of art, and historical periods. I love that we live in an era in which electric indigo lipstick is readily available at a low price point. I love the geeky online community that has grown up around makeup. I love that I can establish an instant bond with another woman by complimenting her lipstick. Makeup can be either social or intensely individual, and best of all, it washes off at the end of the day. What’s not to love?
As always, feel free to do this tag if the mood strikes!