Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Here's a picture of me wearing Peach Girl, both BB cream and blush, along with Morgana's Sheer Cherry lip balm.

A Tale of Six BB Creams

I’m getting over a cold today, so there won’t be any picture goodness, but if I don’t get off my lazy butt and write this post now, it probably won’t be written.

After reading Phyrra’s review of Holika Holika Orange BB Cream and finding the price on the Holika Holika Petite creams well within my “Oh, what the hell, I’ll try it” budget at $10.00 each from Bello-girl on eBay, I decided that my curiosity about BB creams could be indulged. I’ve purchased all my BB creams from Bello-girl, who states that she deals in 100% genuine products from each line she sells. Shipping takes anywhere from two to three weeks, depending on the total cost of your order. Each time my order has gone over $25, she’s sent it registered mail, which takes a little longer and must be picked up in person from the Post Office. So, if you go the eBay route and purchase from a Korean seller, that’s something to keep in mind. That said, Bello-girl ships quickly, and her shipping cost to you is nearly always free, so I have no complaints about the service I get from her. She also sends very sweet handwritten notes with each order, and lots of free samples.

So what BB creams did I try? I’ve stuck mostly to the Holika Holika line of creams, partially due to cost, and partially due to their size and the online reviews.

Before we get into this, so you can compare my results to your skin, I went to Temptalia’s Foundation Matrix to find my MAC skin shade number. For a better statistical match, I took three foundation shades that were close to my skin tone (Everyday Minerals Cool Multitasking Bisque, MUFE HD 115 Ivory, and Estee Lauder Double Wear Light 1.0) and matched them to the matrix. Each shade came back as a close match to MAC NW15, so that’s our basis for comparison. I will state that when I asked Joey to do the “what color are the veins in your arm?” undertone test for blue (cool) or green(warm), his answer was the same as mine – “Blue-green,” so there’s that.

On to the BB creams!

BB Cream #1 - Holika Holika Moisture (Purple) with Hyaluronic Acid SPF30 / PA++ in Shade 01, Light Beige

The texture of Holika Holika Moisture is fairly thick and creamy and I noticed right away that it was pretty dark on my arm swatch. It didn’t look quite AS dark on my face, but you could still tell I was wearing it, and coverage was medium and a bit shiny. It wore well for the time I had it on, and did not irritate my face or set off my rosacea. Still, the darker shade was just not working for me, so I passed this BB cream on to a friend with darker skin tone than I have. Some people have made comments that Holika Holika Moisture tends to “separate” during wear, but either I didn’t wear it long enough for it to do that on me, or I just got lucky.

BB Cream #2 – Holika Holika Baby Bloom with Milk Proteins SPF25 / PA++, in Shade 01, Skin Beige

I got this BB cream as a sample with my purchase of Holika Holika Moisture. Again, this BB cream is thick and creamy. The tone of it was a bit brighter than the Moisture, and it swatched fine. Then I put it on my face. The coverage for me was fairly thick, somewhat cakey, and a decent color match. I noticed right away that I felt a little itchy after application. For the first hour or so, I thought I was just being hypersensitive to having something new on my face. By the second hour, when the first angry red rosacea lesion sprang up, and I had the undeniable feeling that I’d scoured my face with coarse grit sandpaper then washed my face in flaming kerosene, I knew it wasn’t in my head. HOLY FREAKIN’ CRAP, THE BURNING. Apparently, instead of making my face baby smooth and fresh, milk proteins make my face very angry indeed. It’s a lesson I won’t need to repeat for it to *ahem* sink in.

Once I got home, I took off the rest of the BB cream that I hadn’t taken off in the restroom at work and treated my face to a Yes to Cucumbers Calming Facial Mask, which is truly amazing stuff if you suffer from any kind of skin irritation. It helps calm down my rosacea flares and soothes my skin really quickly.

BB Cream #3 – Holika Holika Essential (Orange) with Marine Collagen & Caviar SPF30 / PA++ in Shade Light Beige

I had such hopes for this one. When Phyrra and I have spoken in email and compared makeup colors and foundations, I’ve come up about half a shade to a full shade darker than she is, but I was still hopeful that Holika Holika Orange would work for me. It makes Phyrra look so utterly fantastic that I just couldn’t resist trying it.

Short ‘n’ sweet – It didn’t. Longer version – It REALLY didn’t. The whitening agent in the Essential turned me grey, and while the texture of the cream was quite nice and a bit thinner than either Moisture or Baby Bloom and the finish not as cakey, it didn’t matter when the color made me look like I’d been suffering from a long term illness. Holika Holika Orange made its way to the lovely Phyrra, who could get the use from it that I couldn’t.

BB Cream #4 – Holika Holika Peach Girl with Peach and Strawberry Extracts SPF37 / PA++ in Shade 01

I almost didn’t try this BB cream. I received a sample with my Holika Holika Orange BB cream, but was so disheartened by my experiences so far that I almost threw it away. Still, ever the optimist, I tried it one night as we were going out to dinner figuring that if it hated me or I hated it, then I wouldn’t be wearing it long and I’d lost no money on trying it.

When I opened the package, I was confused. See, Peach Girl in Shade 01 is actually lighter than Holika Holika Essential. I swatched them side by side on my arm to compare, just to be sure. Essential is warmer and greyer in tone, while Peach Girl is lighter, a cooler pink and has a softer finish. Still, press ahead in the name of BB cream research, eh?

Wow. That’s really all I can say. It’s all I could say each time I went by the mirror with Peach Girl on my face. The coverage is a soft medium, so all my rosacea bumps are covered without being obvious, and the permanent blush on my cheeks turns into a soft pearly glow.

I looked amazing. Not only that, but something in Peach Girl loves my skin because my skin looked better after I took it off that night than when I’d first put it on. The same thing happened the second night I used it, using up the rest of my sample.
Since my sample didn’t come with the nifty peach cream blusher that’s included in the full size of Peach Girl, I didn’t get to try it until my full size arrived on Saturday. After some bad experiences with cream blusher I was a bit hesitant to try it, but I needn’t have worried. While it looks like a bright coral peach in the container and when you first put it on, it blends into a gorgeous, natural peachy/pink shade and the cream itself is pretty easy to work with and blend with your fingers.

BB Cream #5 – Missha Signature Real Complete BB Cream SPF25 / PA++ in Shade #21 Bright Pink Beige

I tried the 20ml sample size, which is $14.99 from Bello-girl. Missha’s BB cream has a lot of different extracts and ingredients listed, so instead of typing them all out, it mentions ginko leaf water, amino acids, lavender extracts and skin lipids as part of the ingredient list. I was a little hesitant to choose between shade 13 and shade 21, but after doing some digging around online and finding a BB cream review that actually shows Missha shade 21 on someone who is also an NW15 skin tone, I decided to go with it. I’m glad I did, because shade 21 actually looks a little too grey on me when I first put it on. Luckily, it settles down and looks more natural after a minute or so.

The texture is very smooth and thin. This may be the thinnest BB cream I’ve tried, so you have to be careful when dispensing it. It’s better be cautious and add more if you need it in spots than to be generous because the finish tends to be a bit cakey if you’re not careful. Still, it holds up well for all day wear, even in the August heat, like the trip Joey and I took with our friend Carolyn to Cincinnati earlier this month. ‘Cause let me tell you, people, it was hot and humid while visiting that lovely city on the Ohio River, and even after a day of running about in town and going to the top of the Carew Tower,( an annual tradition, even though I’m an acrophobe), my makeup still looked pretty darned good when we headed out to dinner at The Rookwood (if you go there, get the olives appetizer – tasty!).

I know Missha is one of the more recognized BB cream brands, and while I really can’t complain how the Missha Signature Real Complete performed for me, I’m also not in love with it either. I think if you were going to give it a try, I’d definitely look for the 20 ml size to purchase before you commit.

BB Cream #6 – Holika Holika Watery (Green) with Green Tea and Glacial Water SPF25 / PA++ in Shade Bright Peach

This was my standard BB cream while waiting anxiously for Peach Girl to arrive. I decided to try it since I loved the way Peach Girl had looked on me and wanted to compare the two peach tones.

Out of all the Holika Holika Petit BB creams I tried, this one is my favorite. The peach tone suits my skin and the finish is a soft medium, and maybe a little more matte than Peach Girl. It wears well, doesn’t irritate my skin and looks very natural on me. It doesn’t quite have the “Wow” factor of Peach Girl, but it’s a very close second. It made getting ready in the morning very easy indeed.

The listing in Bello-girl’s eBay shop states that Watery is for dry skin, but I’ve found that it works just fine for my oily skin. All in all, for $10 or so, it’s a great bargain and I will keep it as my backup/alternate BB cream.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Randomosity Sale!

Whimsy Beading is holding a Randomosity Sale! Starting now and continuing through midnight on Monday, August 29, you can spin the wheel, take a chance and save with discounts on your favorite Whimsy Beading items or free shipping! Click the link below to find what QR coupon code Madame Fate has in store for you. The QR codes will change at random times, so you can take the first one you see, or wait for another one to come around - just leave your browser open on the image to see it change!

As always, please do not use the coupon codes to purchase Wear the Lilac Charity items.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Kelly Bobs Her Hair

I have a longing/love affair with the many variations of the bob hair cut. It's been my chosen cut since I was 14 years old, and I've had my hair in a bob more often than just about any other cut.

Each time I get my hair bobbed, I swear I'll never stray from its lovely look again, but we both know I'm a liar. I start looking for other, newer cuts, and then one day, the length that made up my bob is gone away and it takes me forever to grow it back out. Now, my hair actually grows really fast thanks to the battle between two endocrinal/autoimmune conditions that cause hair to either grow too much or too little, but I'm not complaining really.

It's just...I like new haircuts. I like trying new styles. And yet, I always come back to my bob.

Which I have done tonight.

I have a not-quite-chin length, A-line, stacked bob with bangs. My hairdresser has styled it in a lovely straight, smooth style, but I can tell you that come tomorrow morning, it will be wavy and messy. Come the weekend, I plan on dying it purple-black and putting in some pink. I've been told off at work a few times for not having my pink streaks in for a while.

And it will still be my bob. Welcome back, bob. I've missed you.

P.S. You can also see how the OCM is working for me. This is me with BB cream on from this morning, no powder and no photo tricks other than to brighten the lighting a bit and correct the photo temperature and size.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

OCM, days Seven and Eight

Day Seven:

The Mixture: Same 2-to-1 (ish) Sweet Almond Oil to Castor Oil, 2 drops Lavender essential oil.

The Method: Same

The Results: A bit more scrubby feeling than usual, still very smooth and moisturized after steaming/removing. I have not been using an evening moisturizer since starting OCM, with the exception of Burt's Bees Repair Serum around my eyes before I go to bed. I do still use MetroCream on my rosacea after my face has dried.

Day Eight:

The Mixture: 1 part Grapeseed Oil, 1 Part Sweet Almond Oil, 1/2 part Castor Oil, 2 drops Lavender essential oil.

A new challenger! After doing more reading I decided to include some Grapeseed Oil into my oil cleaning mixture. It's highly recommended for acne prone, aging and oily skin, so it seemed like just the thing for me.

The Method: Same

The Results: Scrubby feeling during oil massage, and a nice smooth feeling on my skin. After steaming/removing, my skin felt clean and very moisturized, more so than when I was using just Sweet Almond Oil and Castor Oil alone. I am noticing that my usual "Rudolph the Red Nosed Rosacea Patient" look in the morning was diminished and after getting up and moving about, the pearly pink shade in my cheeks seems to be fading a bit, which is good. I'm hopeful that it means that the healing properties of the oils are helping to repair my skin. We will continue to see as time goes on.

Grapeseed Oil isn't all that cheap. It's not quite as spendy as Jojoba Oil, but it's up there. I do know that my food Co-op sells it in bulk as well as in individual bottles, so if you wanted to try a bit before committing, that would be what I'd do.

I am hoping to be able to put up the post on BB Creams very soon, by the by. I am still anxiously awaiting my package of Peach Girl and the Strawberry Pore Magic Cover powder. It was two weeks on Friday since I'd purchased, so I'm hoping it won't be much longer now.

Friday, August 19, 2011

OCM, days Five and Six

The mixture: 1 teaspoon of Sweet Almond Oil, 1/3 (ish) teaspoon of Castor Oil, 2 drops Lavender essential oil

The method: The usual massage, though I'm sitting down to maximize my "massage until I get tired" routine. I'm a big girl. I like to sit down. You don't have to. I only steam/remove once, otherwise my face starts to feel too tight and dry, which is not the goal here.

The verdict: So far, so good. A little "scrubby" action, great relaxing scent of lavender, no major breakouts.

Additonal benefits: My BB cream goes on like a dream in the morning, my cheeks are now a pearly shade of pink instead of Female News Anchor Red, and I've noticed that my forehead and T zone have lost a lot of their oil slick resemblance as the day goes on. My BB cream is very nearly the same dewey finish it was when I put it on this morning. (Incidentally, I'm using Holika Holika Watery BB Cream for its soft peachy-beige finish. I will post about all my BB cream adventures just as soon as my tube of Holika Holika Peach Girl gets here.)

So, judging from this, you'd think I'd be telling all of you how freaking wonderful OCM is and how you all have to go get some type of natural body oil and castor oil RIGHT NOW to start trying this wonderful face cleaning method, right?

Well, I'll say that OCM is working well for me. I don't know if it will work well for you, because you are not me, and I am not you. I am not a believer that one size fits all or that any one regimen is the right one. I will say that if you want to try OCM and you don't have the dough to invest in a bunch of oils, this is what I would do - I'd find the nearest Food Co-op or health food store near me, and go talk to the person in the natural care aisle about getting a few samples of oils to try. They usually have them in bulk containers and will sell them by the ounce. You won't need much, maybe an ounce of Castor Oil and an ounce or two of a carrier oil. This way, if you don't like OCM, you haven't lost much.

If you do try OCM, let me know how it works for you. If you want to tell me why you don't like OCM, I'm more than willing to give you the space to do that, because I think that's just as important as a glowing (heh, made a funny there) endorsement online.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Four Songs that Annoy the Crap Out of Me

Let's take a break from talking about my new facial cleansing regimen to discuss a little music. More to the point, music that gets on my nerves. To stay in keeping with my somewhat more relaxed and zen-like ambitions for living my life, I'm only going to target four songs. Ready? Here we go:

1. "Wishin' and Hopin'" by Dusty Springfield.
The song itself is a classic of pop, and it's catchy as hell. It's a well written song by two gentlemen who knew damned well how to make a song. I just don't like what the song says. Even as a little kid, listening to this song in my dad's truck on the way home from some outing or another I remember thinking "Wait a second! Why do I have to change everything about myself to get this mythical guy? Why doesn't he like me for who I am? Well, screw him! I'm not changing just to be his." I'm sure my thoughts weren't quite so articulate as a kid, but the general idea has always been there. The message that you have to change yourself to find love isn't one I want to bop along to.

On the heels of that...

2. "You Belong with Me" by Taylor Swift
This is a Nice Guy™ screed, all dressed up in its angsty,lovelorn teenage best with some faux-country trappings and a pretty, virginal looking girl behind the microphone who doesn't even need the Extreme Teen Makeover™ to remind us that she's very, very attractive and should get the guy in the end. But - having the song sung by a girl doesn't make it any less creepy, any less entitled or any less manipulative. Think about how it would sound coming from a 35-year-old man to a woman. You still think it sounds all romantic?

3. "The Great Pretender" by The Platters
Yep, that's two classics of rock and roll on a four song list, and this time I'm taking on a band who helped put Do Wop on the map. Why, you ask? Well, it's nothing personal against The Platters.

Let me tell you a little story. Once upon a time, there was a theme park called Opryland. My parents took my sister and I there on many a summer vacation. They liked it better than King's Island, which I did not, because at King's Island, I always got a Scooby Doo sippy of fruit punch! Opryland did not have Scooby Doo, and therefore was theme park slumming it as far as I was concerned.

Well, one very hot summer's day, my sister and I were wandering through the "Do Wah Diddy City" portion of Opryland, a place devoted to all the neon-colored kitschy Fifties and Sixties goodness that you could possibly stand, and as I was to find out, more than a ten-year-old girl could reasonably be expected to stand. See, we were supposed to meet up with our parents in Do Wah Diddy City, and when we got there, our parents were nowhere to be seen. Rather than go running all over the park looking for them (my idea!), my sister sensibly suggested that if we stayed in one spot and just keep walking around, they would eventually run into us and all would be well. My sister should be thankful that she's seven (yes, seven, Donna!) years older than I am and was therefore the better thinker of the two of us. So, we stayed put in Do Wah Diddy City. The thing is, the soundtrack in Do Wah Diddy City was a bit limited. As in four songs limited. Do you want to know how many times you can listen to "The Great Pretender" in a two-and-a-half hour stretch, which was the amount of time we were separated from our parents? Twelve and a half times. Now try being ten years old, scared you're never going to see your parents again, and not having enough money to get a sno-cone, let alone food and trying to hide all this from your big sister. I think I've blocked out the other three songs in the Do Wah Diddy City repertoire, but my loathing for "The Great Pretender" has stayed with me for the last 26 years. No offense, The Platters. It's not you. It's me.

4. Any song by Ke$ha
I don't care which one. Pick one. Any of them. But I swear to the heavens, if you attempt to play one of them in my presence, I will jab a pen in your eye. Everytime I hear one of her songs, I'm terribly afraid those brain cells that immolated themselves in protest of the aural abuse will never come back.

And finally, to give a little karmic payback for all my song-hate, here's a song that scares the crap out of me:

Little Bitty Pretty One by Thurston Harris
I used to love this song as a little girl. That is, until the day my parents and I sat down to watch the John Carpenter adaption of Stephen King's novel Christine. Little Bitty Pretty One is the song used when Christine the evil, evil (but very pretty) 1958 Plymouth Fury attempts to kill her owner's new girlfriend by having her choke to death on a hamburger while in the car. I can't hear that song to this day without seeing that bit of the movie in my head. Fair point to you, John Carpenter.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

OCM, Day Four

The mixture: 2-to-1 (ish) Sweet Almond Oil to Castor Oil, 2 drops of Lavender essential oil.

The method: The standard "massage until I get tired of it" time, 1 time steaming/removing.

The verdict: The Lavender EO made the mixture feel a bit different on my skin going on. No "scrubby" removal of facial detritus. The Lavender EO also made the mixture smell great and perfect for a just-before-bed facial treatment. My face felt smooth and clean afterwards, but not itchy. This morning, it did seem like my facial irritation was less.

Monday, August 15, 2011

You want me to put WHAT on my face to clean it?

This weekend I decided to do a little research into the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM for short).

A lot of beauty bloggers love OCM. It's a favorite recommendation on rosacea and acne forums too, which is what started me down the research path. Because, let's face it, I'm soon to be 37 years old, with very oily skin and I'm still breaking out like a teenager in spots, let alone the itchy, burning, red hell that is rosacea. I'll try anything that's supposed to help those two conditions at least once, though the thought of putting oil on my oily face didn't make sense. The proponents of the method rave about it, especially OCM's ability to clear the pores of old, deeply set-in plugs. Some people talk about the oil massage part feeling like they were using a facial scrub from the number of plugs that were coming out. The articles I read made a good argument for at least giving it a go, so it was with a "Oh, what the hell" attitude that I decided to do just that.

I did okay in high school Chemistry but nearly flunked out of college Chemistry, so the only thing I really know about the mechanics of the oil cleansing method is that like dissolves like, although if you click that link, consider yourself warned for a very long Wikipedia article on solubility.

There are all kinds of recipes online to use in OCM. Most of them boil down to a mixture of Castor Oil and a carrier oil, such as Olive Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Sunflower Oil, etc. Some recipes tell you to use more Castor Oil and less carrier oil, some do the opposite. Some say you should NEVER use more than few drops of Castor Oil, some have it as much 70% of the mixture. That's not even starting on the essential oils you can add to the mix to give you even more skin benefits. But the basics are this - Castor Oil acts as a cleansing agent and the carrier oil acts to dilute the Castor Oil (which is very thick and viscous) so it will sink into your pores and clean out all the yucky stuff, as well as provide skin moisturizing and nourishing benefits.

Confused yet? Yeah, me too. Still, we must press on in the name of science and skin relief!

So far, I've used OCM three times at home. I decided to try a simple mixture of Castor Oil and Sweet Almond Oil, since it was a recommended carrier oil for oily, sensitive and *ahem* aging skin types. I am using the basic method of cleansing using OCM, which is as follows:

1. Wash your hands well, then mix your oils. Some people use their hand for this. I use a small glass container and a measuring spoon that I wash out with soap every night.

2. Apply the oil to your face. Some people recommend getting your face a little wet before taking this step, some say to just put it on top of your makeup because the oil will clean off your makeup too. It's really up to you what's best for you. I tend to wet my face with a little warm water.

3. Warm the oil in your hands a bit, then massage the oil into your face, starting at the center and working out toward your hairline. Do this for X number of minutes (I haven't been keeping track so for me the time is "Until my arms get tired and I want to stop.")

4. Wet a wash cloth or face towel in hot water, the hottest water you can stand. Wring it out and put it on your face, on top of the oil. Don't rub. Don't scrub. Just sit there under the wash cloth until it cools down, then gently wipe the oil from your face. Repeat as needed until your face feels clean.

Here are the results so far:

Day 1: 2-to-1 mixture of Castor Oil and Sweet Almond Oil. Massaged in and steamed/removed once. My face felt clean, not too tight, but slightly itchy.

Day 2: 2-to-1 mixture of Sweet Almond Oil and Castor Oil. Massaged in and steamed/removed once. Definitely some plug removal and "scrubby" feeling during the massage. Not itchy afterwards. My face felt clean and moisturized. I skipped my evening moisturizer and just applied MetroCream afterwards. My face still felt very smooth the next morning, and not irritated.

Day 3: 2-to-1 mixture of Castor Oil and Sweet Almond Oil. Massaged in and steamed/removed once. Again, my skin felt clean, just a bit tight and slightly itchy again. This makes me think that the oily skin recipe that is heavier on the Castor Oil is a little too much for my skin. On the upside, I am seeing a bit of the "glowy" effects you're supposed to get from OCM, and this morning applying my BB cream (the use of which is another post for later), my skin took it effortlessly and felt very smooth indeed.

So far, I like the results from OCM. I tend to keep Sweet Almond Oil and Castor Oil in the house anyway, so I haven't lost any money from trying this method out. I haven't had any breakouts from the "purging" yet, and my face does feel clean but not stripped and the redness from my rosacea seems to be calming down a bit. We'll see how this goes!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I'm playing around with my blog format today. It's going to look a little wonky.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Best Colored Lip Balm in the Universe

No, I'm serious.

I hope the lovely and talented Grey doesn't mind me "me tooing" her Pick of the Week post like an AOLer hopped up on Skittles and a double espresso, but I just have to give some love to my favorite indie lipstick maven ever, Morgana of Morgana's Cryptoria.

In early July, Morgana released her new line of awesome lip balms. I snagged Fusion, Luminous Lava, Countess Bathory and Eternal, then proceeded to squee like crazy when my package arrived.

They're a lipstick, they're a lip balm, they can leap tall buildings in a single bound if you throw them hard enough! They're lush, moisturizing, full coverage cover with the amazing colors and sparkle that Morgana is known for.

You know you want some.

Incidentally, did you also know that Morgana carries hair dye? She does! It's right here. Support indie, support local, and with Morgana's help, look amazingly gorgeous doing it.

**I should note here that Morgana did not ask me to make this blog post. I'm doing it for free, my opinions are completely my own, and I am receiving no samples or other compensation for this post. I just want to share the Morgana love.
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