Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mineral makeup and I don’t mix

After 2-3 weeks, I can now confidently proclaim that mineral makeup and I don't get along.

About 6 months ago, I decided to give mineral foundations a try, starting with Prescriptives All Skins Mineral Makeup SPF 15. Now I must first start by saying that I have combination skin: oily on my T-zone and normal everywhere else. For my whole life, all my blemishes have only ever occurred on my T-zone. However, sometime after using the new foundation I noticed my first ever pimple on my cheek. I was really surprised, but I decided to blame it on my skin just acting weird. After all, we had just had a harsh winter and my skin had suddenly become really dry when it never used to, so maybe this was just another odd occurrence.

Photo from Prescriptives.com

Then, I bought Lancome’s Ageless Minerale (I still had not linked the skin imperfections to the product type). Again, the blemishes continued to appear on my cheeks. It was really bad. Every time an inflammation dissipated, another one appeared. It’s really hard to feel confident when you know there’s a zit (or two) sitting on your face. Still, after months of this torture, never for a moment had I thought that it was the foundation’s fault because of all the “good press” about mineral makeup. There was always something else to blame.

Photo from Lancome.ca

Among the different things I tried to fix my new skin problem:
  • I became obsessed with washing my hands (perhaps a good thing after all, in these times of flu pandemic)
  • I changed my cleanser and exfoliator (I actually prefer these ones now…)
  • I added more steps to my skin care regime
  • I tried drinking more tea and avoiding junk food (another good thing…) 
  • More stuff I probably forgot

Hmm. I guess, all in all, it helped me develop some good habits… but at the price of my skin.

Eventually, I had come to the realization that the only way my skin would heal was if I went without makeup until the problem went away. However, the crazy thing was that I could not NOT wear makeup because I had to cover up the war zone on my face. And what did I use to cover up? Yes, more mineral makeup. Needless to say, it did not help.

Finally, one day, I thought, “I really wish my skin would go back to the way it was… Maybe if I went back to the foundation I used back then, it would be better…” And so I did. And for the first time in months, my skin was at peace. Then only a handful of days after the decision to go back to my old foundation, a blog post from Ma Petite Chou surfaced that somewhat validated my choice.

I know that there are MANY people for whom mineral makeup works, judging from the myriad of positive reviews and awards. There is probably a brand out there that will work for me, too. But the trauma is done. I won’t be touching another mineral makeup for many, many years. It’s too bad because I really liked the Lancome one (the packaging was genius).

So this is to all the girls and women who may be considering mineral makeup for the first time.
  1. KNOW your skin: skin type and how it usually acts.
  2. Read product reviews and research their ingredients (within reason). Makeupalley.com is where I go. I had seen some negative reviews (not too many) for the products I used, but I had decided not to pay too much attention to them. You can bet that I will be more careful from now on.
  3. If you notice any negative change in your skin after you’ve tried the new makeup, stop using it. It could be redness, itchiness, or (worse than usual) acne. Whatever it is, stop using the makeup. You may wish to give it a second chance, that’s okay, but stop if it fails you yet again. Don’t be stubborn like me.

I still have a number of red spots left over from all the blemishes, but with patience and good care, I think they will fade. It will take a long time though, that’s for sure.

P.S. In case you're wondering, I am now using MAC Face and Body Foundation for everyday use, and Lancome Photogenic Lumessence for special occasions/going out.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The ankle boots that changed my mind

When ankle boots started to become popular a few years ago, I really didn’t like them. I thought they looked grandma-ish and they cut the line of the leg in an unflattering way. There was no way these types of shoes could ever look good on a person! That was what I thought until I saw these Miss Sixty booties.

The fabric pulled over the boot makes the opening of shoe seem a bit wider and non-constricting. And of course, there are the buckles. How could I resist?

 As with any pair of shoes that I absolutely love (rather than just like), they ended up being hard to find. There are Miss Sixty flagship stores in my city, but I could only find the boots in dark forest green. Then, I was told by the sales person that for this geography, they could only get the green ones. How does that make sense? Anyway, of course, I turn to the web. I had to go through many websites that were either out of stock or charged ridiculous fees, in order to finally find a reasonable place. I bought the pair in November 2008, in black and in my size, and I still love them.

Lately, for Fall 2009, I’ve noticed that Nine West has... been inspired by the Miss Sixty booties, I guess? Just take a look at these! They call it the Ottavio.

Photo from NineWest.com

They are practically the same except for minor differences such as:
· The lack of the Miss Sixty logo (of course)
· The point of the shoe is slightly different
· The heel shape is different
They also only cost a fraction of the price. I am not sure what to think of this, but what I know for sure is that I bought mine in 2008 and I have had a whole year head start to enjoy them!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Shoe story: Laurence Dacade Nathalie Buckle Heel

You know you really wanted something if you’re sad when it’s gone. This is the story of the shoe that nearly got away.

By the beginning of 2009, I had seen a lot of great cut-out boots and shoes on the runway and on blogs; however, I had never thought that any of them would work for me. For example, I thought that these Margiela cut-out boots were genius and that the leather looked luxurious. But then I thought, “When would I ever wear these?” They were gorgeous, yet I could not imagine a single outfit featuring me in them.

Photo from Stylefeeder.com

I was starting to think that this type of shoe was just simply not for me, until I found these.

Photos from ForwardForward.com

Granted, they are not cut outs. It’s more like a shoe and then a piece of leather covering the heel and ankle, plus a few buckles… but it was close enough and it worked for me. Except that I had doubts.

I had never heard of the designer Laurence Dacade before, so I did a little search and… not much came up. The official site looked very professional. I found out she was based in France. The sole review that I found for another one of her shoes said that they were very comfortable. So I thought (Warning: my reasoning barely holds together)… “Christian Louboutin works in France too. Their shoes are in the same price range. A review said that her shoes were comfortable. Louboutin shoes are comfortable… Sold!”

Okay, not immediately, anyway. I make a policy of not buying anything non-essential if my budget will not allow it. Given the budget that I had drafted at the beginning of the year, if I had bought those shoes right away, then I would have been left with very little in my “Fashion budget” and I had planned on buying a few other pricey things, such as a good new winter coat and boots to live through several Canadian winters. Thus began more weeks of questioning… and during that time I briefly forgot about those shoes. When I checked back… the shoes were on sale… and… my size was sold out.

My heart sank.

I began frantically scouring the web for that same pair in my size, but to no avail. Then I started to despair and settled on searching for any other brand of shoes that had a design similar to it. There were some candidates, but no love at first sight. After despairing, I started to get my resolve back. Since people were buying these shoes online before trying them on, maybe the woman who bought the pair in my size would not like them and return them? So I began checking the site every day, and one day… it came back. I bought it right away.

I could have saved myself the heartache by buying it earlier, but I do not regret a single thing. A budget is there for a reason, after all. And besides, by waiting, I got:
• A better deal on the shoes
• A lesson in online shopping (if your size gets sold out, wait to see if anyone returns it)
• A better appreciation for these beauties (in my opinion)