All Aboard The MOTHERSHIP

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Pat McGrath decided to stop playing with everyone’s emotions with the Limited Edition frenzy, and release a collection that will be available forever and ever. The UNLIMITED EDITION features three very expensive eyeshadow palettes, a collection of matte and satin lipsticks, eye pencils and lip pencils.

What’s interesting about this new collection is that if you’ve experienced any of the other collections, you’ll find major similarities with the new stuff. So, that means if you weren’t crazy about what was on the INSIDE of the collections (she’s gotten the memo about the heinous cheap packaging of collections past)… then save your money. But if you were mothership2blown away by the quality and performance of the other items, this is worth your time.

We’ll start with the small stuff first, because it packs a hell of a punch. I got two permagel ultra lip pencils (at discount, thanks to awesome human Talinda P.) in Ground Control (cool dark brown) and Manhattan (warm brick brown). The formula is STUNNING. They are gel pencils, so they glide on like silk (beware the unsteady hand) and stay put. I actually had a bit of a struggle trying to get them off.

I got these pencils to compliment what I knew would be a hot ass ashy ass mess in Donatella and (unbeknownst to me at the time) LaBeija. The Luxe Trance colors are part of the SS18 Milan set, and I wanted LaBeija and the palette… so I figured I could color correct Donatella and get Lavish for free (savings for the set is the cost of one lipstick)

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From the left: Donatella, LaBeija, Lavish and Unnatural Natural.

Don’t be fooled by the depth of color in the first two. They look dark in person too. But they swatch much lighter. Lavish is a boring shade of rose and Unnatural Natural is a gorgeous rich mahogany.

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I do like LaBeija, but it needs some warming. A couple of hits of Manhattan and it’s just lovely and warm like the swatch. Donatella is right up there with MAC Pink Friday in ‘thou dost try too damn hard.’ I need everyone to do better.

The SS18 Milan Set also includes the Permagel Eye Pencil in Black Coffee, a standard dark cool brown. Really nice formula… but not unlike Urban Decay or Giorgio Armani. Solid application and excellent staying power. But if you have the other two… skip.

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Now to the big fish, the Mothership II Palette in Sublime. Here’s the thing. This is an eyeshadow palette. It’s not a life changing set of formulas that will make you abandon all else in makeup. It’s a 10-pan (which is kind of rude for $125. We should have gotten 12) collection of mattes, shimmers and glitters. Refer to my first disclaimer. If you’re familiar with collections past in terms of finish and quality, this is not different. The shimmers are identical to the Dark Star and MetalMorphosis. The glitters identical in formula to the Phantom Collection. These are just pressed into an eyeshadow palette. The mattes are new, and they are exquisite. But they are not superior to the likes of Urban Decay and Natasha Denona. They are about on par.

That’s not why you pony up for this palette.

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The packaging is freaking ridiculous in the best kind of way. This box with the toggle closure was probably the very reason Pat went for this across the board. It doesn’t really work for any of the pencils. It looks messy and rudimentary. It works a little for the lipsticks, but there’s a lot of extra rigamoro that that gets in the way of the actual product. But for palette, it works stunningly well. This palette is less of a must have and more of a collector’s item.

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The case is hard black lacquer plastic, and the icons on top are imbedded (versus simply painted on). It has a magnetic closure and a beveled mirror that really rounds out the entire shape and scope of this palette. It’s stunning. I feel like Pat heard us complaining about her packaging and wanted to shut us the hell up. Well, she did.

I admit that when I first received this palette, I immediately wanted the other two. But then I came to my senses because as stunning as this palette is, the insides are great, but not exceptional. I chose Sublime for practicality. Subliminal is plain and boring, and Subversive is not practical for me. I have all of those colors from other brands, and I barely use them. But Sublime is a palette that I’ll reach for over and over again, therefore making it a worthy investment.

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The colors are rich and for the most part, buttery soft. The two shimmers on the far right of both swatch lists are scratchy and full of glitter. They are more suited to enhancements and better applied with a finger. Kind of like a ‘pop’ shade in Charlotte Tilbury’s shadow palettes or Tom Ford’s version.

In all, I’m happy with my haul. I will use everything in it without a problem. Gone are the days when I pony up for crazy colors and formulations just for the sake of having them. I even took my time with this (buying in pieces after the dust settled) because these days it’s more about using the makeup, versus simply collecting it.

If you’re looking for something to get from the UNLIMITED EDITION, I suggest the eye or lip pencils, and a palette with colors that you will actually use. I’ve found that the LuxeTrance lipsticks aren’t really earth shattering. The MatteTrance, on the other hand, kind of are. But that’s another post.

Ciao for now!

 

 

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Falling Out over FENTY Beauty

Yo.

Make some room on that bandwagon… because I’m jumping on board! Rihanna shook up the makeup world with the recent release of FENTY Beauty, and rightfully so. We’ve been stuck in a rut of companies biting off each other (seen one matte liquid lipstick… blah, blah, blah). And one of the most IMPORTANT things Miss Riri did is address the dark-skinned elephant in the room.

All you other makeup companies ain’t gonna worry her.

FENTY released 40… read it… 40 FOUNDATION SHADES. Now most of you know I have been bowing at the altar of DECIEM for this very reason, but the problem with that company is that it is mostly online, so you have to guess at your color. Rihanna upped the ante by releasing FENTY Beauty in every.single.sephora.location. Yep. So no more traipsing across the universe to the one Sephora location in your area with the prayer that they might actually have your shade. The flagship Sephora (Hollywood & Highland) was absolutely picked over in the foundation department. I watched as DROVES of women came in waves one after another, and made a beeline for that display! Everyone was trying to get their hands on something from this brand at any cost. I literally snatched 350 and another color for a client just as a woman was reaching for them. Yes, I know I should be shamed. But I’m not. The sales associate says they get shipments regularly, but the darker shades always sell out within a day or two of being re-stocked.

The whole shade war is a conversation all on its own. Every store has been selling out of the medium and darker shades at record speed. And good luck trying to get it online. Same problem. It’s such a lovely middle finger to all of those makeup companies (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE) who refused to offer foundations in darker shades because of the claim that they wouldn’t sell. No worries mofos. Beauties would rather give their hard-earned cash to Rihanna anyway. Win/Win. You don’t want them. They don’t want you. Everybody’s happy. Good luck on that bottom line.

I personally waited to really test this foundation. Everything is amazing out the gate, right? We get shiny new stuff and immediately rush to Instragram to declare our love for it. We also struggle to be first, and that can sometimes backfire. Age and experience has caused me to take my time. Hell…. I’m STILL working through the Pat McGrath lippies. But now that I’ve tried FENTY Beauty over the course of about 2 weeks… here are my thoughts.

For me, these are the superstars of the collection. The contour and highlight sticks perform on par with the likes of Burberry, so the quality is good. I just don’t care for them because I don’t use them. The highlighters are a cross between Becca (the duos) and Jeffree Starr (the glitter singles). They are easily dupeable, so unless you just want the FENTY versions, you can find dupes in many other brands.

Let’s talk about this foundation.

This is 350, which is perfect for my Summer skin. I also have 330 for winter. Both have yellow/golden undertones (although 350 claims neutral), which suit me perfectly. The formula itself is on the dry side, with medium full coverage. DRY SKIN TYPES TAKE NOTE. This foundation might actually enhance dry patches on your face. Moisturize for your life before hand. Oily skins will love this formula because it really hugs the face without sitting on the skin and forcing oil glands to produce. It sets in about 10 seconds and adjusts color in about five minutes. It does not oxidize. Those of you who are complaining about that DO NOT HAVE YOUR PROPER COLOR. The color does ‘settle’ over about 5  minutes though. It doesn’t go darker (which is what would happen to oxidization), it shifts the undertones. For example, 350 is supposed to be for tan skin with neutral undertones, but it immediately grabs my yellow undertones and settles beautifully on my skin after about 5 minutes. Because I’m dark enough to pull the ‘tan’ shade, the neutral undertone doesn’t go ashy on my yellow undertones, but instead balances out.

330, which is REALLY yellow, really brightens my skin by targeting just my undertones. But it’s too light at my jawline right now, so as soon as the clouds roll in for winter, it’ll be a better match.

In terms of user-friendliness… Y’ALL. I find this foundation a DREAM to apply with fingers. Honestly, beauty blenders (even that sponge which is absolutely on par in terms of quality with a BB) and brushes are a great way to waste foundation. You need SUCH a little bit to get the job done. I recommend starting with a quarter pump and working your way up as you need it. I can use a quarter pump on my whole face. The formula blends so fast and so easily, you can slap this on in the back of a car (or a dimly lit club bathroom… you know who you are) and be good. I had no issue putting it on in a hurry and going on about my life. I also found that I really don’t need powder on top of it (remember what I said about it being friendly to oilier skins). It’s fine to touch up or blot, but this formula sets so well that it’s not a necessary step.

FENTY keeps the idea of ‘universal beauty’ with the Lip Gloss in FENTY. There is one color that’s supposed to be universally flattering. It appears to be a gorgeous dark bronze shade on lighter skin tones. On me its a shimmery rich bronze/nude. I really like it.

Notable misses with this collection are the blotting powder (FLASHBACK ALERT), and the highlighter in Metal Moon. The payoff on the latter is awful. The other highlighter reminds me so much of the Gold 001 from Pat McGrath that it was a total pass for me. I also don’t care for the brushes (but I’m a brush snob so there’s that), and until someone makes a better primer than the By Terry CC Cream (high end) or Too Faced Hangover RX (low end), I’d be hard pressed to get a new one.

Overall, this launch is a triumph. Rihanna did the damn thing, and she deserves every ounce of praise that comes her way regarding FENTY Beauty. Color this old makeup snob thoroughly impressed.

Breath, Body and Tracy Anderson Method

Okay.

So after decades of giving Miss Tracy Anderson the ultimate side eye, I dragged my tail into a multi-task bands class at the request of Amazing Human and Habibi Ambassador DaLette Anderson…

And I never left.

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Here’s the thing. Bands KICKED MY ASS. Like, for real had me sitting down and questioning my life choices. What I didn’t realize was, there was more to come. So after I got my weight up (so to speak), I ventured into atTAin.

What in the Sam Hell…

Y’all. LISTEN.

Attain is a warmup, a light arm workout, and the most intense precision mat training for legs you have ever come across. I swear that Tracy is straight trolling us sometimes like “I wonder if they are really going to do this?” Insanity. Most of the moves come from the core. That means, less sit-ups than you ever thought you needed. And although Miss Tracy has been caught on camera talking shit about yoga and Pilates (the internet is forever y’all), I spot a LOT of both yoga and Pilates in the moves. Which might also explain why my body embraces them. Now, in her defense, the video I saw was from years ago, and if Tracy doesn’t do anything else, she learns and she grows. That is an admirable quality. Because anytime you can go from being called all kinds of crooks and liars (Indiana is all: ‘The North Remembers ‘) to being celebrated as THE GO TO PERSON for a life and body change… I’m just saying.

She’s good. She pays attention, she’s not arrogant about the moves (she’s known to modify them if they don’t work precisely the way they are supposed to), and she’ll get results. I lost three inches the first couple of weeks. And then when I realized I was paying an arm an a leg to ‘drop in’ to classes, I joined. Screw it.

Make no mistake, this is the most money I’ve paid for ANY KIND OF ANYTHING per month, and I take yoga for free! Insanity. But it’s strengthened my yoga practice, my Pilates practice, and my sleep (and y’all know how much I value my sleep. Maybe you don’t. But yeah, it’s a thing). Overall I just perform better. Oh, and those little annoying last few pounds just fell off… never to be seen again. Everything is tight and toned and my flexibility kicked up right nicely. And I’m no spring chicken, so when I tell you that my 43 looks 25… I’m not playing. Because clearly Tracy ain’t playing with me.

Did I mention that we work out in a heated room with springs on the floor, surrounded by humidifiers? Yeah. That too. Thank goodness I teach at Corepower, where heat and humidity are the order of the day. Otherwise, there would be some serious misunderstandings around here.

I’ve taken several Master Classes with Tracy herself, and I find her to be giggly and engaging and extremely positive. She talks to everyone, jokes, laughs off missteps and is overall a hyper-energetic and positive human being. I get measured every month, get tips on eating and moving and doing what’s best for MY body (not anyone else’s). Tracy long-time right-hand Maria Kelling takes excellent care of me, reprimands me lovingly when she catches me sitting on my ass drinking water and staring hatefully at the trainer and pushes me to get my cardio in to handle this body. Ashanti (best manager ever) makes sure I’m taking care of myself when I travel and gives me tips to keep going. It’s been 4 months, and I feel amazing. The environment is positive (we all smile and encourage each other… because Lord knows the workout is hard enough without having to also deal with someone’s attitude). I’ve become a better yoga practitioner, a better teacher, and a better listener of my body. Tracy is not for everyone. You have to be willing to do the work, and not expect a quick fix. It will challenge you to go further than you think you can, and do ONE.MORE.REP. The trainers do everything (and more) than we do, and they are a testament to untapped resources of strength and determination. I have a lot of love for those women (who are all in the above video. Truly amazing human beings). They bust their tails, and encourage us to get out there, smile and do the same.

So yeah, that’s what I’ve been doing since year got kicking. Like I said, it’s not for everyone. But I can say in this moment that it’s definitely for me.

Ordinary Colours: Serum & Coverage Foundations

Okay, I’m trying to get back into the swing of blogging things…

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I’ve been using The Ordinary Colors for a few weeks now. Both the serum and the coverage foundation are excellent, but for opposite reasons.

The Serum Foundation behaves more like a matte foundation, at least on me. It goes on and sets almost immediately, and has a powdery finish. I found that it took all of the moisture out of my skin, which is fine for my oil slick of a face… but I can see it being problematic for dry skin types.

I don’t know why they call it a serum foundation, honestly. It has all of the properties and the coverage of a matte coverage foundation. Sometimes I think they got my bottles mixed up and I ended up with mislabeled formulas.

In contrast, the Coverage Foundation has the most natural finish that I’ve experienced to date. It is thinner and definitely more ‘serum’ like than the serum foundation. It’s also about a quarter shade darker. Both the colors I got were 3.0Y which are a dead ringer for my skin shade.

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The serum foundation is on the left… the coverage on the right. Now you can see that the serum is a little ‘runny.’ Don’t let that deceive you. When it sets, it goes full coverage and matte.

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What I love about both foundations is that they literally become part of your skin. I’ve been using them in comparison to other foundations and I remain thoroughly impressed. I tested them against the Bobbi Brown Serum Foundation and The Ordinary Coverage Foundation won hands down. Beyond performance, the price point is insane at less than $7 a bottle. There’s no reason to miss your match; if you end up with the wrong shade… you can just trade it out for a more suitable color.

I’m still going through all of the offerings from DECIEM. I am over the moon about the colours (reviews coming on the Photography Foundation) and I’m okay with some of the skin care. I’m partial to NIOD because it’s a little more involved than some of the other lines. I also love the STEMM line (Black Fulvic rocks!) and the Hydration Support from HIF (hair is fabric).

This brand set out to turn the cosmetic industry on its head, and I dare say it’s succeeding. Despite the most hilarious cautious reviews from some bloggers and vloggers who are beholden to other companies (you know who you are), the vast majority of people who try DECIEM offerings have nothing but glowing praise. The products are designed to work. They don’t look fancy and they don’t make claims beyond what the products are specifically designed to do (save for HIF… I don’t know what greasy-haired person they designed that stuff for, because I CANNOT wash and go. I need a separate conditioner). Overall, I really like this brand. I like their mission statement and the price point is beyond agreeable. For me… so far, so very good.

 

PHAME 2017

Hey!

Yeah, I know. And I won’t get into the massive sweep of changes that is my life. But trust and believe it’s taken a moment to get grounded and get back online in a significant way. This weekend was PHAME. I need to know what’s going on because a lot of stuff at this convention you can easily find in your neighborhood ULTA and/or Sephora. Not much more. PLUS, I see that it’s open to the public now. I guess IMATS killed the game with letting in every person on earth with a YouTube channel and PHAME had to get on board. No matter. It was still pretty dead. Maybe the era of the makeup expo is taking a turn. I did manage some curiosity for Moira Cosmetics, which appears to be a Korean brand based in LA. Price point is IMG_2100gorgeous (of note since I’ve been in a serious relationship with DECIEM of late). So we’ll see what’s what. I picked up mostly skin care to check out for AGENDA, and a blush palette for myself and a contour palette for my sister.

This was my PHAME face. There are plenty of pros who will give you guys all kinds of complicated Instagram face. Y’all know I am not the one. On me is Gleam Melanie Mills in Peach Delux and The Ordinary Coverage Foundation in 3.0Y (which is my dead on shade… like it was made for me!). Natasha Denona Duo Glow in Alba is on my cheeks and eyes, and Sugarpill Trinket is on my lips… also lined with Louboutin Lip Liner in Safki. That’s some random dark brown liquid eyeliner that came in a random press kit (seriously, there’s no label on it but it works perfectly for me) and Louboutin mascara.

 

As you can see, mostly the usual suspects. I said hi and gave some hugs, and as I’m sitting here typing this and looking at that picture of Dose of Colors, I’m wondering HOW THE HECK I FORGOT TO GET CAMPFIRE LIQUID LIPSTICK FOR THE MILLIONTH TIME????? Ugh. I forget it at Naimies, at PHAME… hell, I forgot it at IMATS. Whatever. Maybe it’s not meant for me to have.

 

I sincerely love Crimes Of Beauty. Ever since I met the owner years ago, I am here for her apparel and makeup bags. Once upon a time, she had a mug that said Wake Up. Slay. And I neglected to get it and regretted it. Now she’s got sweats that say it so you KNOW I had to do it this time!

 

Yeah.

I picked up a few things… nothing major. Mostly stuff for review and a few goodies for my baby sister…

 

All in all, not too shabby. I HAD to support Miss Melanie Mills of Gleam, because she’s just the most awesome. Same for Crimes Of Beauty. I love those women… always a smile, a funky pose, a hug and genuine love. We need more of that the world over.

Stellar Limitless Foundation & Concealer

A lovely person on Instagram requested this review, so here it is! I’ve been testing the Stellar Limitless Foundation and Limitless Concealer, with amazing results.

First things first: I let Sephora pick the color for me. I was kind of stressed about it… I cannot lie. You know some folks will either have you looking burnt or grey. Depends on the day and the lighting (and the level of cluelessness). Anyway, they picked s11 for my foundation and s03 for my concealer. When they arrived in the  mail I instantly yelled TOO LIGHT! But look what happened:

Right.

Stellar was created with the ‘in between shades’ in mind. You know who we are:  not too light, not too dark, not too red, not too pink… just somewhere in the middle and yellow, orange and olive all to be damned. While it’s easy to cheat a standard foundation or concealer with a color corrector, who wants to do that all the time? Not me. So I’ve been super excited about this.

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Finish wise, this is radiant. Not slap-your-momma-disco-ball radiant, but it does leave a ‘glow’ on your face. But that has nothing to do with the formula, which is kind of on the dry side. I like it because of my oily skin, but I don’t know about the ‘cling’ factor on a drier skin. The coverage is light to light/medium. I had to go over problem areas with the concealer, which is a DREAM. It’s opaque and creamy and a little goes a long way. Plus it doesn’t crease or flake.

I also go the blush in Eclipse…

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…but I forgot to do a swatch. SMH. It’s more golden peach than pink (no matter what it looks like in the pan), and will work as a highlighter on anyone darker than me. The finish is not super shiny, which I like. Pigment is ‘medium’ … so you might need to build it a bit for a good color payoff.

Overall, I really like these. I’ve been reaching for the foundation and concealer daily for about two weeks, so I definitely use them. If you’ve purchased base makeup from Sephora before, maybe trust them to pick your color for you (if your habits are in the system). And if they screw it up, no worries… you know you can always walk in the return. 🙂

FOTD’s and Opinions

I haven’t been here in too long. So busy hovering over Habibi and trying not to die with my latest madness with Tracy Anderson. One of the Corepower teachers also works there and convinced me to go to class… and the next thing you know I’m going twice a week. What the hell… but it WORKS. I sweat for my life, but fortunately I’m used to that because of hot yoga.

Meanwhile, all that sweating and working out works wonders for my skin. So I’ve been able to try out foundations and see their actual performance without stressing about coverage.

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen all these already. Apologies.

This is trying the Elcie Cosmetics Minimalist Palette. It’s okay. Reminds me a lot of the Louise Young Basic Palette from 100 years ago… which was later blown out of the water by FullSizeRender(8)the Becca Ombre palette. Becca still wins in this round.

Here I went back to the Kat Von D Metal/Matte palette, and wondered bhy I’d left it alone for so long. I really like it. I didn’t go near that Pastel Goth mess because I’m not 12. Just seemed like a phenomenal waste of time to play in grade school tea party clown pastels like I used to when I was 5. Plus I heard the quality is a hot mess. But I don’t imagine you can put that much white in a pigment and end up with anything other than matte chalk… so yeah.

Kat Von D is like any other brand… sometimes it hits, sometimes it misses. I have the Alchemy Palette shoved in some dusty corner. I still need to review it. FullSizeRender(9)

Although you know my opinions about the Surratt Foundation, I’m still using it. I still hate the damn brush. The formula is exquisite though. It’s just like skin, no matter how much you pack on. It’s a fantastic canvas for a single color theory look because it doesn’t distract from the hue of whatever you chose to put all over your face. I adore matte rust colors, and Danessa Myrik’s 24hr Cream Color in Rustic is my JAM.

The lips also got lined in Charlotte Tilbury’s Hollywood Honey (because… awesome),and you already know that mascara is Armani.  I know some people have issues with it, but I absolutely love it. I’m on my third tube. Damn shame. I haven’t even cracked that Better Than Sex one that came in the heart shaped FullSizeRender(10)waste of time from Kat Von D and Too Faced. I hope by the time I get to it, it’s not dried out. Here’s hoping.

This was fun. Back to Pat McGrath Metalmorphosis… with the gold cream and her original Gold Pigment. Whew! Love. She pissed me off with that crappy Skin Fetish mess (that they had the NERVE to bring back in stock. But no Phantom? M’kay) in the horrid packaging. This is by far my favorite Path McGrath offering. The golden sheen on my lips is from that Bite Beauty Lipgloss they had out for holiday. Not sure if you can still get it. I put it over Marc Jacobs Mahogany (blotted all the way down to keep the goth vibes at bay) and it held all day without a touch up. Plus, Bite lippies just smell like a dream. They do this so well (lips). I wish other companies (cough cough… Guerlain) would take notice.

 

First take on the Stila Liquid Metals. This is Rose Gold Retro. Definitely my favorite of the bunch because it’s not full of silver sparkles. I know they were trying to do ‘shine’ with the formulas, but all that silver looks wack in things like bronze or dark brown. I also have the gold (which also has silver crap in it… boo!). I’ll see how it works out and report back. This IMG_9653one held like a charm. They’re not waterproof, but they wear very very well until you take them off.

And back to Victoria Beckham we go! Still one of my favorite collections. I know the colors are basic, but the formulation and the performance is exemplary. Lips are the new Bite Edgy Neutrals… I think this one is in Cremini. They are a little scary at first (they are kinda goth), but really wear well. A little goes a LONG way. I applied it right from the bullet, and I didn’t like it. But when I used a brush and patted it into my lips with fingers, it looked much better.

Sooooo last night on my Instagram, a model that I used to work with put some stuff under an FOTD about wearing a crap ton of makeup. You guys know that I’m all about that SKIN. Your skin has to be in good shape. And if it’s not, whip it into shape. All the  makeup in the world won’t change that. And no, this doesn’t mean that people who insist on drag to go get groceries have crap skin. But it’s just always funny to me that a makeup style that was specifically used to soften the features of men, is now being used to erase the features of women. I came from the school of thought (despite very heavy influence by Kevyn Aucoin) that a face should wear the makeup; the makeup should not wear the face. So I’m personally not a fan of it… but hey. To each his/her own. My thing is, as long as it’s not being used as a crutch it’s all good. If you can wash it off at the end of the day and like what you see… that’s healthy. If not, maybe it’s a good idea to see what will happen to the world if you venture out without your ‘face.’ Here’s a hint: nothing. The sun will rise and the earth will turn. And maybe you’ll get to know your actual face a little better. 😉

Unless I’m working (and not at the yoga studio), there’s no makeup on my face. One night I went to the studio to teach new teachers, and wore makeup. They had no idea what to do. LOL They know my face… without foundation, powder, shadow and mascara. At least two of them said that they prefer me without it. Huh.