Face Off

A One-Week Day Challenge with Nerium AD

When JoBeth Martin contacted me to try out Nerium AD Day and Night Cream, I had a couple reservations. First, I’m currently using a kickass night cream, Korres Wild Rose + Vitamin C Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial. Second, I’ve never heard of the product before. So, I researched.

NeriumAD contains NEA-8 extract, which is derived for a plant called Nerium oleander. If you Google “Nerium oleander” you will find out from Wikipedia that it is an evergreen shrub that is poisonous. Is this what makes the “Nerium Difference?” A poisonous plant?

I read some more articles that both praised Nerium as a miracle cream and demonized the cream for having a toxic extract that supposedly can’t be absorbed through the skin. I have to say that the whole thing sounds pretty weird to me. Most of the other ingredients listed on their Day and Night cream are pretty typical.

After reading more articles and blogs while anxiously eating Starbusts, I started to get concerned about trying it on my face. In fact, I even found a TMZ story claiming that Ray Liotta filed a lawsuit against Nerium International for supposedly touting “before and after” pics of him using the product. The whole story around the product just gets weirder. To be fair to Nerium, most of the anti-Nerium rants where on janky Independent media websites and blogs. Also, the only established news source to report on the brand is a St. Augustine News site that reported on the company’s proposed one million dollar donation to the Big Brother/Big Sisters charity.

All this being said, am I really willing to slather on some toxic for fewer wrinkles?

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CELS D’ENFER MAXI LASH

A weapon of seduction…

If you are like me and you love weapons (joking), you’ll be tempted to try this self-described “charming trump card and irresistible weapon of seduction” mascara. While the copywriters for Guerlain like to make strange sexy militaristic claims, they do back up their mascara formula with some science. This mascara contains three polymers. Generally, tubing mascara uses polymer to form tiny little “tubes” around each lash like a little icicle. This gives each lash, 360-degree coverage. Tubing mascara will also last even after a good cry. It might be the best choice during tax season. In this case, this mascara has one polymer to coat, the second to soften and the third to set.

 

How does it do? It works well as long as you use it with…another mascara. The Cils d’Enfer contains oils that will definitely condition lashes. In fact, my eyes stopped itching and my lashes grew after a month of use. However, I never achieved thick lashes. They were long and pretty, but not thick. Maybe, it’s me but I want it all. To achieve thick lashes, I backed up this mascara with Make Up For Ever’s Smoky Extravagant so now I have the best of both worlds: itch-free soft lashes that are also thick and smoky. Though the Cels d’Enfer does not “sculpt curves to perfection,” it is a great weapon for dried out lashes.

Breaking Bad⎯When Your Makeup is Beyond Redemption

Your makeup may be breaking bad, but not like in a psychotic antihero seeking revenge in New Mexico kind of a way. Makeup is a concoction of chemicals that have expiration dates, especially if they have natural ingredients or are water based. In the spirit of the last episode of Breaking Bad, I’ve cooked up a list that will help you know when the show has ended on your makeup.

 

Mascara

Lifespan: 2 to 3 months

Ways to kill your makeup: Never wet your wand with saliva. If your peepers turn red and glassy looking like Badger and Skinny Pete’s, it’s time to change your mascara. 

How do you know it has gone bad?: When it clumps or leaves you with a severe eye infection

 

Foundation

Lifespan: 6 to 12 months

Ways to kill your makeup: Keep your water-based foundation in a moist environment. Bacteria love moisture almost as much as the cartel like selling meth, so the more humid the environment the better the chances are that your foundation will spoil and become beyond redemption…

How do you know it has gone bad?: Any change of color is a good sign that it’s time to leave it behind like a bad habit.

 

Concealer

Lifespan: 2 years for powder and 1 year for liquid

Ways to kill your makeup: Leave the cap off

How do you know it has gone bad?: If your concealer starts to separate like Jesse and Walter, it’s time to throw it out. You’ll know when you see the colors shift.

 

Face Powder

Lifespan: The experts say two years, but I would throw mine out in a year.

Ways to kill your makeup: Use it when you have a major breakout, so you can transfer bacteria to the powder. Not even Saul could help you if you taint your makeup with bacteria.

How do you know it has gone bad?: When there is a dull grey film on the surface, throw it out.

 

Eye Shadow

Lifespan: 3 months!!!!

Ways to kill your makeup:  Use dirty or wet fingers to apply the shadow on your eyes.

How do you know it has gone bad? Color changes or weird smells. If your makeup starts smelling like a burning tire, you could have other problems.

 

Eyeliner

Lifespan: 3 months

Ways to kill your makeup:  Let other people use your eyeliner or use it when your eyes are irritated.

How do you know its gone bad?: Look for a white residue or check to see if it has a smell.  Actually, this tip could be applied to a couple of other things but if you don’t want to see you makeup break bad then make sure you always keep it in a cool dry place and away from dangerous situations such as moist bathrooms, infected eyes and meth labs in New Mexico. 

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Check Yo Self–When Breakdancing Causes Breakouts

What do the Windmill, the Head Slide, the Buddha Spin, the Deadman Float and the Worm have in common? They can all make you breakout. Dust and dirt settle on moist skin.  When pores become blocked, bacteria starts to grow in numbers like Bboys heading to The Sugarhill Gang show. Your body fights back by sending white blood cells to these pores. The result in inflammation. Friction is another contributor to acne. Tight fitting shirts emblazed with unicorns, hot pink bras and 80’s spandex shorts provoke acne (there goes my wardrobe). So how can you look fly the next time you want to do the Running Man?

Things Fall Apart

Don’t let things fall apart! Wash that face with salicylic acid when you get home. Salicylic acid softens keratin (a skin protein) and helps remove dead skin cells. Ditching dead skin is bueno. It allows you skin to breathe; therefore, helps you kill acne-causing bacteria. Products such as Philosophy’s Clear Days Ahead Oil-Free Cleanser contain salicylic acid and get bonus points for having a really positive name. If you skin dries out from a cleanser with salicylic acid, reduce your weekly applications. Pretty simple. The only thing that should look like a reptile is your Snake move.

Ridin’ Dirty

Before drifting off to slumberland, wash yo self! Do not come home and make yourself a ham sandwich then fall asleep all dirty (btw-ham sandwich has no sexual connotations). Break out Neutrogena’s Body Clear. You can find it almost anywhere that carries ham and bread. The trick to helping out your skin is using a dry towel. Moist towels won’t dry you off properly and they can become bacteria farms if you don’t wash them often. Changing out your sheets and pillowcases frequently will also reduce your body’s exposure to bacteria.

All Eyez On Me

Everyone wants to look good when they go out. However, you will be inviting bacteria back home with you if you wear super tight clothing to the club. Jeans, t-shirts, tank tops—do what you gotta do to look good but wear clothes that will breathe. A good test is to ask yourself if your outfit would inspire your mother to tell you should you should dress more like a lady. If the answer is yes, you’re good to go.  Go change into something looser if the answer is no. Prevent acne from popping up under your bra by washing it after you go out. If your bra is too tight, you need to find one that fits. Have a professional measure your bra size the next time you go shopping. You never know. You could wind up going from a C to a D. Awesome bras.

Raising Hell

Everyone’s gotta go out from time to time and raise some hell, but don’t take your skin with you. Actually, please bring your skin with you but resurrect your pores by taking care of yo self.

Hey! I’m still kicking it in Allure Magazine’s Beauty Blogger of the Year Challenge. Send me some props by voting for me here: http://blogger-awards.allure.com/submission/girl-on-the-street-challenge/

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Hedda Lettuce-My Interview with the Six-Time Drag Queen of the Year Award Winner

Hedda Lettuce's Fabulous Self

Hedda Lettuce’s Fabulous Self

As a six-time Drag Queen of the Year Award winner by HX Magazine, Hedda Lettuce is one of the most acclaimed comedians and singers in the biz. Her satirical videos with original music are bar none some of the funniest you’ll ever see (and no she doesn’t lip sync.) You may have seen her on Sex and the City, Project Runway, The Dave Chapelle Show, Oprah, Ugly Betty, The Tyra Banks Show, the MTV Movie Awards and Too Wong Foo (I could go on). If you aren’t following her hilarious blog, check it out at heddalettuce.com. I was able to sit down with Hedda (at my computer writing an email) to ask her some pertinent questions about beauty.

What is one beauty tip that you think women can benefit from? Don’t paint your lips too far outside of the line otherwise you look like a clown (or, you’ve been intimate with a clown).

What is a total beauty or fashion faux pas that you want to change? Only a woman working in a cornfield should wear flats. Otherwise ladies, suck it up!

What do you absolutely need to have when hung over? A shot of whisky and a man.

How do you repair the damage from drinking? By drinking some more.

What is a must have from the local drugstore? A pregnancy test.

What is an annoying trend right now in fashion? That damn two toned hair! You know, one color on the top and another on the bottom. It just makes a girl look poor. Pick a color you silly bitches!

Favorite fashion icon. – a mash up of Charlize Theron and Cher.

Thank you Hedda for being a beacon of fashion for those in a storm of ugliness. Visit Hedda Lettuce’s website heddalettuce.com for more beauty, fashion and dating tips.

Hey! If you like my blog, vote for me for Allure’s Beauty Blogger of the Year Award here: http://blogger-awards.allure.com/submission/fake-eyelashes-dont-need-to-be-a-drag/

Fan Mail from My Makeup Brushes

Dear Faith,

Thanks for using Bobbi Brown’s Kohl Cake Liner. I absolutely LOVE how it goes on along your upper and lower eyelids to create smoky eyes. It’s also freaking awesome how you sometimes apply a small amount of water to my bristles before using the liner. The look is totes dramatic.

Love, Your Smudge Brush

Dear Smudgy,

Thank you for the letter. I promise to be extra careful to avoid pulling your bristles when I wash you with anti-bacterial soap and let you air dry. I will also promise not to let my cat into the bathroom again. That last incident must have been traumatic for you.

Hello,

Why do you use me for small jobs like defining the outer lid of your eyes and not the crease?

Feeling Misunderstood, Small Blending Brush

Dear Small Blending Brush,

You are perfect for creating an illusion of depth by defining the outer v of my eyes. Though I do love how your big brother, Medium Blending Brush, is able to use his densely packed fibers to blend eye shadow across my lid, you cannot be replaced.

To whom this may concern,

Why do we have to get baths every week?

Hating My Bath Time, Foundation Brush

Dear Foundation Brush,

Your bristles are like a free two bedroom apartment in the middle of San Francisco for bacteria. In fact, the damp conditions of the bathroom make their living environment even more pleasant. It would be one thing if the bacteria remained on your bristles. Unfortunately, bacteria can spread to the foundation and skin. Yuck! Every makeup brush needs to be cleaned at least ONCE a week. I try not to get any water on your ferrule (the part that holds the brush to the fibers) or your handle to prevent damaging you. Sorry it’s a drag, but it’s for our best interests.

Hey Lady,

What the heck? I haven’t seen you in months. Why haven’t you come around? Do you think you’re too good for me?

Mad and Angry, Spooly Brush

Dear Spooly,

Of course, I don’t think I’m too good to use you for my eyelashes and brows. To tell you the truth, I’ve been seeing another brush. Benefit’s Speed Gel is just really convenient for me to use. This quickset eyebrow gel is a great tint for my brows and holds them in place all day. Sorry things had to work out like this. I promise to think of you fondly sometimes.

Hey! Do you like this blog? Check out my bio on Allure’s Beauty Blogger of the Year Challenge. Vote for me, so that I may dominate the beauty world or at least get the title of Beauty Blogger of the Year.

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What Haiku Can Teach Us About Eyeliner

The short night

on the hairy caterpillar

beads of dew. – Yosa Buson

If you’ve had a short night (passing out on the couch after work) or long night (gallivanting around town), make sure that you wash and DRY your face properly before shellacking another coat of eyeliner. Those of you who are using an eyeliner at your waterline (inner eye rim), make one clean pass. Don’t go back and forth like it’s a coloring book. You can also use Buxom Insider Eyeliner, which is specially formulated (contains antioxidants and vitamins) and has a velvety tip to prevent eye irritation.

Just simply alive,
Both of us, I
And the poppy. – Kobayashi Issa

I had my doubts about MAC’s Eye Kohl Hot Poppy until I tried it. Its red tint gave some depth to my hazel eyes. Blue eyes look really remarkable with red eyeliner. While I know it’s dramatic, you can line the top with any red eyeliner for a very chic look. Notice, I suggested using it on the top. If you go nuts with red eyeliner on the bottom of your eye, you’re going to look like the queen of the zombie ball.

Thus spring begins: old
stupidities repeated,
new errs invented – Kobayashi Issa

Every spring-cleaning, I make the mistake of throwing out my trusty eyeliners and starting fresh with trendier ones. Every spring, I realize I’ve burnt bridges and go back to buying my favorite brands. If you get the bug to clean out your makeup, make sure you save the old eyeliners before you’ve fallen in love with a new brand. You may even need a couple of days of practice with the new eyeliner to completely switch over. Don’t rush yourself. A bare-chested snail doesn’t hurry over a lotus leaf (Haiku reference).

All my friends
viewing the moon –
an ugly bunch – Matsu Basho

This is actually a pretty mean haiku, and I was surprised those exist. However, use a good all day eyeliner or you could wind up a member of the ugly bunch. I suggest Stila Waterproof Eyeliner. It is simply impenetrable. This eyeliner creates a dark barrier around the eye that keeps it smudge proof all day long. In fact, you’ll have to cry over a lost love while zooming across the Bay in a rocket boat before you’ll do any damage to your makeup. Haiku has a lot to teach us about makeup and life. If you are able to apply your eyeliner with the same type of focus as a caterpillar climbing a dewy leaf under a full moon than you’ve got a chance for fabulous eyes.

Vote for me for Allure’s Beauty Blogger of the Year Challenge at this link!

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Slinging Some Beauty Advice for Allure

Allure Magazine has decided to hitch their tiny publication’s wagon to my big time star (just joking). Today, they announced my involvement in their Beauty Blogger of the Year Challenge. Yay! I’m really excited, because Allure is a standup magazine. They were one of the first publications to report the heath risks of breast implants and expose drug abuse in the modeling industry. Allure is also one of the few magazines that you can put down and not vow to lose ten pounds.

I Will Wrestle a Tiger for the Challenge

Ok, so that’s not true. In the next five weeks, I’ll be involved in some challenges that compromise my ability to look presentable to my adoring fans (I’m talking about my cats). Each week a new challenge will be featured on the Allure website: http://blogger-awards.allure.com/contestant/faith-mcgee/  The blogger with the least amount of votes gets kicked off the beauty island and has all their makeup brushes stripped from them.

Come and Get It

While I can’t give you any details about the challenges, I can tell you to buckle your seatbelts for Michael Jackson impersonators, beauty tips from a fabulous drag queen and some non-celebrity performances! Feel free to tell everyone you’ve ever met about it and to vote for me. Actually, vote for the best beauty blogger in the challenge. I’d love to go to New York and win the title of “Best Beauty Blogger,” but the best blogger should be the one who wins and not the one with the most “fans.” Check out my blog frequently, because I will be serving piping hot beauty advice.

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Dolly Parton is the MacGuyver of the Beauty World

“It costs a lot of money to look this cheap.” – Dolly Parton

Other than being the best country singer and songwriter in the biz, Dolly Parton is a total MacGuyver when it comes to incorporating poisonous everyday items into her beauty routine as documented in her memoir, Dream More. Her ability to improvise while stuck in the sticks with a matchbook, some berries and honeysuckle is inspiration/dangerous.

Matchstick Eyeliner

In one episode, MacGuyver uses a machine gun with a cord, a stick and some matches to fire a firearm remotely. Dolly Parton, on the other hand, creates a sexy smoky eyes look with the help of a match. The basic premise of this trick involves lighting the match and dunking it in water. When it dries, you can use the end to spread phosphorus and wood splinters underneath you eye. How does it compare with Laura Mercer’s Caviar Eye Liner and Eye Liner Brush? Not so great. If you don’t mind using a multivalent nonmetal chemical element of the nitrogen group right next to your eyeball it works great!

Red Pokeberries Lipstick

Indigenous Americans used red pokeberries to treat itching, certain types of cancers, rheumatism and syphilis. Dolly Parton used red pokeberry juice as a lipstick when growing up in Tennessee. Up front, I’ll mention that these berries are poisonous to mammals if they are not cooked properly.  Generally, the berries are boiled down and used for pies or to poison husbands (just kidding). I want to reiterate that this plant can kill you, so leave the danger to Dolly Parton.

Honeysuckle Perfume

Forget about buying an expensive bottle of honeysuckle perfume if you have the plant in the backyard or your neighbor’s backyard. Making the perfume is pretty easy. Simply, snip off a couple of stems with your fingernail scissors and place them in a bowl full of water. Let the bowl sit overnight and then boil down so you have roughly 1 tsp. left. Add 3 drops of glycerine to the mixture and store in your refrigerator next to your Champaign and condiment collection. The perfume lasts three months.

By following Dolly Parton’s tips, it will cost you almost nothing to look cheap. Use these beauty tricks at your own risk. Some beauty secrets should remain secret.

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A Shout Out

Going to Oakland’s Stript Wax Bar is like a night out at a regular bar that has cauldrons of wax, exam tables and strange lighting. Ok, it’s not like going to a bar at all. However, they do have some kick ass waxing experts that make the trip less harrowing than other salons. Before I go into how awesome they are, I’d like to reveal my own personal horror stories.

The Night of the Living Dead

My former esthetician was a waxing ninja—wax on wax off. Between cracking jokes and ripping waxing strips at a lightening speed, I barely had time to scream in agony before she was done. The honeymoon ended when I came to see her on a day that she looked deathly pale. Ten minutes into my Brazilian waxing appointment, she excused herself to dry heave into a garbage can in the hallway. If I hadn’t known that she was sick, I would have taken offense. I frantically pondered how I was going to remove the wax and myself from the situation.

The waxing room was somewhere in the dark depths of the salon’s matrix. Could I find my way out? My cell phone rang. I know enough about horror movies to know that you should never stop to answer your phone. I saw the doorknob rattle and braced myself. She staggered into the room with eyes glazed and mouth open.

As soon as she tried to assure me that she was feeling better, she sang a rainbow into the trashcan. I took that as my chance to make a break for it. I learned a major life lesson that day that I wished that I had just learned from a horror movie: avoid people with pale complexions who sway and moan.

Horror Show

Like the opening to many horror stories, I bought a Groupon one day. My Groupon was for the waxing services from a particularly shady place in San Francisco that was a stone’s throw from my house.  From my bedroom window, I witnessed their raucous parties. Raucous may be a fairly subjective description, but in my book it includes guys with shaved heads wearing tutus and chucking popcorn at passing cars.

Though my gut told me no, my wallet told my gut to shut up, and I booked appointment for a bikini wax. Everything about the experience was normal until it was time for me to get dressed. Like a disastrous candle-making project, wax covered my legs and nether regions (Quick question. Is everything called the nether regions in the Netherlands?). When I asked my esthetician if it was normal that half the wax pot was left on my body, she assured me that it would simply “fall off.” I can assure you that the wax did not “fall off” as I was trudging up the San Francisco hills wearing tight jeans.

Tales from the Stript

The Stript Wax Bar doesn’t play around. You won’t walk out with wax stuck to your leg or the stomach flu. While their wax services are not completely painless, they provide you with numbing spray and Champaign. Nothing about the experience there is nightmarish and with a couple glasses of the bubbly, you’ll find yourself almost looking forward to getting waxed. Their waxistas are remarkably professional, unzombie like and a total delight to work with.

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