Review: Graftobian Powder Foundation

I haven’t gotten as much use out of the Graftobian 12 color dual finish powder foundation palette as I would have guessed.  It’s still a fairly decent product, though.  It’s fairly sheer, so it’s best for women who don’t need a lot of coverage, or anyone who doesn’t want to look like a solid coverage.  I have used it mostly with mens grooming on shoots.  It seems to do a decent job with oil control—I still needed a stronger transparent powder over top when shooting with oily skin, in the sun, but it was fine for the most part.

I find myself reaching for other products more, because I hate the process of layering to get anything closer to medium coverage out of it.  For most people(A few blemishes to conceal, and some under eye discoloration) I don’t find it heavy enough to look right without a lot of work.  I’d rather use graftobian cream foundations  without any dilution as a concealer, and then thin it out to get more natural coverage over the rest of the skin.  That’s just my own preference.  Most of the reviews and raves I’ve heard about it focus on its uses in similar circumstances—men, children, people who need almost NO coverage(Or people whose skin is so oily that I don’t trust a cream foundation, even with powder over top).  Currently, I don’t find myself working on very many people who fall in that group.

It doesn’t look cakey or powdery, and blends into the skin quite subtly.

The color range is quite nice, and this palette has enough to match almost any skin tone. I’ve never met anyone  I couldn’t match in it, and I’ve used the colors over liquid foundations  to fine-tune foundation matches as well.  Most of my complaints have to do with the overall coverage.  Also, the packaging of the palette feels flimsy-it’s a fairly lightweight cardboard, and has already begun to get bent and arched from being at the bottom of my makeup kit.  It’s not as sturdy as the graftobian cream foundation plastic palettes.


Technicolor Tuesday

Yeah. This is what happens when I put on makeup while listening to chopin, trying to avoid wailing at the top of my lungs, and swearing at boyfriend and boss alike. It has been that kind of day.

Testing Benefit Stay don’t Stray primer, though.


Review: The Balm lipstick in Classified

I mainly bought this for the packaging, as a prop for a shoot. Classified is a nice sort of russet peach-perfect as a peach for cool skin tones, but DEFINITELY not neutral. You’ll want a warmer gloss, if you have yellow undertones.

The outer packaging feels a bit fragile–it’s paper, and seems to need a bit of force to slide on and off the cap.

I was a bit iffy on the formula-it wore acceptably, about 4-5 hours, no feathering, but I absolutely HATED the taste. It went on with minimal fragrance just a slight chemical taste, but about five minutes after application, the flavor and sting of mint oil got to be overwhelming. Mint is great for making our breath a little cleaner, and plumping lips. I just have a pet peeve with it in cosmetic formulas, because I hate the taste. Whether this is a drawback depends totally on your own opinion.

Overall, I doubt I’ll buy any other The Balm lipstick shades-there’s some nice ones in the range, but I dislike the taste and smell enough to prefer other alternatives. For only a few dollars more, I’d rather have a tasteless MUFE Rouge Artist Intense lipstick.

Fairy wings

This is what happens when I put on makeup while listening to La Boheme.

Scary, innet?

My skins still pretty stressed out, since it has been a rough week, visiting sick family members, planning more shots, dealing with PILES of work drama…. I’m a bit haggard.



Photoshoot breakdown-70s inspired daytime look for Monolid eye shapes

I did this for a photoshoot a month or so back.  Since the styling was 70s themed, I didn’t want the makeup to be too anachronistic, but I wanted it to have elements of the dewy glow that characterized 70s makeup.

Photography by Rudy Joggerst, Modeled by Kim K.  All Makeup/Hair/Wardrobe styling by myself.


Review: Makeup Is Art

Now, I’m a huge reader, and a researchaholic. I love looking for everything from textbooks, to magazines, to in-progress writing that I can edit. Lately I’ve been purchasing books with the intention of making sure that I have a firm grounding in ALL of my makeup technique, not just the ones I use regularly. I found Makeup is Art on amazon, and thought “Even if it’s bad, at least the pictures are pretty! And it DOES advertise itself as showing advanced techniques…”   It was pretty highly rated, and not too terribly expensive.  I have an easier time following things in print than on a computer, and I can’t focus through Youtube tutorials.

Sadly, it didn’t exceed my low expectations. The photography IS beautiful, but it is definitely NOT a textbook. I felt there were gaping omissions in the “Advanced” areas, though the breakdowns for skincare and variations on basic looks/techniques were nice.

For a book that seems to be targeted at freelance makeup artists, or aspiring professional artists, from the London Academy of Freelance Makeup, including chapters on designing editorial stories, designing looks for runway…. It was very haphazard.

Makeup is Art featured a number of photos of beautiful, advanced techniques(Like macro photography of lips, in dark gloss, with pigment spattered like spray paint), but did not discuss how to get them(Apply lipliner/lipstick, splatter with damp(not wet) pigment, PAT gloss over top to avoid disturbing pigment, using multiple brushes to avoid transferring any pigment that may get on the brush during the patting), what the limitations of the technique are (Instruct the model NOT to move her lips, put them together, lick them, unless instructed–you need to photograph it FAST—pigment spatters will bleed and fade within a matter of minutes. Not a technique for a costume party. If you have an airbrush gun, you can use that to splatter the pigment more realistically, but do NOT attempt to just blow it through a straw. It’s unsanitary. When splattering pigment, use a business card(easier to trim) or sheet of paper to cover other areas of skin that should be clean of splatters…)

The book didn’t cover ANY sanitation, any notes on product usages.  There were a number of instances were it advised students to be creative with products and usages, but not ONCE did it explain any of the common misunderstandings, like why non-toxic craft products or glitter are NOT cosmetic safe, why acrylic paint is NOT a good substitute for professional body-paint, why you need to be aware of your products recommended usages, why you need to purchase disposables, when to use lash glue vs. spirit gum vs. prosthetic products to glue items to the body, etc.  There was no information to help temper your creativity with good product safety and sanitation.

If you like looking at pretty pictures of makeup, enjoy!  If you need a book that covers all of the basics, that can remind you of the importance of using a good lip-liner when you are away from the computer, or encourage you to experiment with lip stain, enjoy!

Honestly, if you have time and attention, you can learn more from watching youtube artists, if you’d just like to refine your techniques for your own face.  I feel I should warn you, though—the scope of the book was ALSO fairly limited in the skin tones/ethnicity’s of models presented, and there was no discussion on common skin diseases.  So there is comparatively  little information on dealing with monolid eye shapes, Middle Eastern undertones, deep African skin, dermatological diseases or conditions(like severe Excema, allergic reactions, rashes, tattoo cover, which forms of Tinea may be contagious, and how to prevent contaminating your supplies if you are working on a model with the condition, or just trying to prevent spreading the discoloration on to other spots on your own face, etc.)

If you want a book that will help you adjust your techniques for the professional arena, or provide a THOROUGH discussion of makeup technique, this is NOT it.  It may help with reference(showing photographers examples of different period looks that would suit their concepts, or asking if they want this intensity of smoky eye, or that one.)  and it has a lot of great material if you are a hobbyist, or someone who is just widening their cosmetic love beyond the face they put on for work every day.  But it does seem to be wrongly marketed a bit. I certainly expected more than 1-3 pages of pictures and info for each discussion.

Strawberry Shortcake

I didn’t like this. It was just a bit rough, since I haven’t put on makeup in forever.  I  wiped it off, redid it, and it became yesterdays look.




How heavy a peach can an african swallow carry?

Because peaches are prettier than coconuts, the liner wings look like swallowtail, and I’m in the mood for some Monty Python humor. Or a strong drink. Or a lobotomy.

Apologies for the absence…. We had a family member in the hospital, so the past few weeks have been pretty…. incoherent…. Things are fine now, but for a while there, I could barely remember my own name, let along where on my face I could use that brush! Will try to post some new stuff this week, though. And groom my eyebrows, and get something dewier for my skin.  I’ve had SO many issues with allergic reactions, and stress hives.


quick daytime smokey eye

Eh, it matched my dress. I’ve been so tired this week, working overtime and running around, that I haven’t touched my makeup. Ugh.


Review: OPI Black Shatter nailpolish

The world knows, by now, that I’m not much of a nail polish nut. I bite my nails, and have genetically tiny nail beds to start with, so fancy nail art is out of the question, and many nail polishes don’t apply easily, due to the shortness of the nails. I’d hoped Black Shatter might be a fun way of dressing up my nails, and in some ways it is. It’s not very easy to control, though. THe product dries REALLY fast—-I usually dip the brush in the product after every few nails, but I notice a skin of dried product on the brush itself, and around the neck of the cap, that hardens WAY too fast. I have had nail polishes for years that change their consistency less than Black Shatter has in a month. I’ll probably only be able to use half the bottle before the rest is unusable half-hardened clumps.

The clumps can make it difficult to gauge how much polish is on the brush, to get the effect you want. Apply a THIN coat of polish, you get lots of thin streaks and shatters. Apply a thicker coat, and it breaks in larger areas. For small nails, you DEFINITELY want the thin coat—the large coat barely shatters at all on my pinky nails, if it is applied too thickly. It works better now that my nails are a little longer, but at their shortest, it is NOT worth using the polish, because it will barely shatter.

I find myself removing and redoing it about two-three times per nail, to get an effect I like, because of how difficult it is to control. This is obviously tedious, since you have to wait for the base coat to FULLY dry, to apply it, only to discover that it didn’t shatter in a way that matches the rest of your nails, or a clump of product on the brush meant it applied too thickly and didn’t shatter.

The effect is definitely unusual. Either you like it, or you don’t. That said, I’ve NEVER gotten compliments on my nails, except when I’m wearing the shatter. I’ve had models, random people at work all asking me to look closer at them, and if that’s black shatter on them. It’s very distinctive, and is an easy way of getting a fancier look, if you wish.

I just dislike how quickly the product ruins itself, and how difficult it is to control. The black itself seems to dull the colors underneath—I’ve only found a few colors that actually seem to show up in the teeny shatters, and some formulas of the base coat won’t work, even AFTER they dry. You apply shatter overtop, and it pulls the coat of polish with it, exactly as if it was wet. The effect is NOT flattering, because the base color is no longer visible except at the edges of the shatter.

It has taken a LOT of trial and error to feel comfortable working with Black Shatter. I’ll keep trying to make my peace with it, because I DO like the concept. It’s definitely not an “apply and go” nail technique, though, the way you would think.

Here it is, shown over Sally Henson Byte nail polish, with a glossy topcoat, and over Sinful Expressions Bleeding Heart, and Essie Matte topcoat(To show the texture of the shatter more).

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