Two Faves & A Fail: Cetaphil, Revlon, Mad Hippie

So July was a month that happened.

I got a new job! That’s a thing. I got through several rounds of edits on the manuscript, started plotting out a new project, and rewatched Sons of Anarchy for the umpteenth time. I also rediscovered the Mad Hippie Cream Cleanser and how much I love it.


Image Courtesy of Mad Hippie

“Natural” products and I, as a rule, don’t jive well together. A lot of the plant extracts and essential oils they put in them are irritating at best, break me out at worst, and in the long run I don’t believe most of them are beneficial for the skin; usually the opposite. But this cream cleanser only has two of those at the very bottom of the ingredients list, and while it doesn’t remove makeup or sunscreen on its own, this is my favorite morning cleanser. It leaves my face feeling soft as if I’ve already put lotion on, and honestly as smooth as ceramic. I swear it helps with redness, too. If your skin is very oily or sensitive, this may not be the first thing I would recommend. But as my oily skin has become more normal and I’m less prone to breakouts, this is a cleanser I will gladly repurchase.

Cruelty free, vegan, $15.99 for 4 oz. on the Mad Hippie Website.


Deionized Water (Solvent), Sesame Oil (Sesamum Indicum) (Emollient/Moisturizer), Caprylic/capric Triglycerides (Emollient/Solvent), Shea Butter (Butyrospermum Parkii) (Moisturizer), Cetearyl Glucoside (Viscosity Control), Carrageenan Gum (Thickener/Viscosity Control), Vegetable Glycerin (Emollient/Moisturizer), Caprylhydroxamic Acid (Preservative), Caprylyl Glycol (Emollient), Sodium PCA (Emollient), Green Tea (Camellia Sinensis Leaf) (Antioxidant), Jojoba (Simmondsia Chinensis) (Emollient), Squalene (Emollient), Organic Macadamia Oil (Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil) (Moisturizer), Organic Jojoba Oil (Simmondsia Chinesis) (Moisturizer), Yeast Extract (Antioxidant/Moisturizer), Glucosamine HCL (Antistatic), Vitamin E (Tocopheryl) (Antioxidant), Sodium Hyaluronate (Humectant), Algae Extract (Humectant), Orchid Extract (Orchis Mascula) (Debateable.), Titanium Dioxide (Light Absorbing, Opacifying)

A new favorite has been the Revlon HD Lipcolor in Pink Cloud. I’ve mentioned before that I usually love wearing bright colors, but lately, maybe for the summer and maybe just because I have been interviewing for this new job and relying on “no-makeup” type makeup, I’ve been seeking out a specific shade and formula that I could only describe as “baby lips.” As I was returning the fail item I discuss below, this beautiful little gem jumped out of the display, of its own accord, and into my grubby little gremlin hands.

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Can you believe that?

I have heard EmilyNoel83 rave about this formula on YouTube for years it feels like, and now I understand why. The formula is creamy, balmy, and while the lasting power isn’t superb, this one is comfortable hours after application and I can touch up without a mirror.

More importantly, it gives me the interview-ready baby lips I desire.

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Cruelty free, $8.99 for 0.1 oz on Ulta’s website.


Mica (Pigment), Titanium Dioxide (Pigment), Synthetic Wax (Emollient/Antistatic), Polyethylene (Viscosity Control), Synthetic Fluorphlogopite (Viscosity Control), Hydrogenated Polyisobutene (Emollient), Red Iron Oxide (Pigment), Black Iron Oxide (Pigment), Yellow Iron Oxide (Pigment)

July wasn’t all sunshine, rainbows, and new capitalist opportunities. I was looking for a physical SPF, as I was unhappy with the chemical ones I was using before. I have loved the Josie Maran sunscreen, and was looking at the tinted version as a way to bypass foundation or tinted moisturizer altogether when my skin was behaving. Imagine my joy hearing whispers of the Cetaphil Redness Reducing Facial Moisturizer SPF 20 on the Makeupalley Skincare board!

Imagine my utter disappointment after I tried it myself!

This cream suffers from a few things. To get this out of the way, there are several ingredients that have been shown to reduce surface redness in skin. While it’s not unheard of to use caffeine in this manner, it’s relatively new compared to niacinamide, licorice extract, etc. The argument is that caffeine restricts blood vessels, thus reducing redness, and also has some soothing properties.

I want to say that I picked this up with no expectations that this would have a substantial affect on the redness in my skin, as even “tried and true” methods that I listed above are ultimately cosmetic, and if you have rosacea or chronic redness, the only proven solutions are going to be found at a dermatologist’s office. So in this regard, I wasn’t disappointed. Because it didn’t have any affect on my redness.

What it did was make me look like I smudged mud all over my face.

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I am ultra pale, so I’m used to working with base products darker than I am. But this only comes in one shade, and I would put it roughly at a NC 25-30. Even for me, that’s a big jump to try and work, especially for the amount you need to adequately protect your skin from the sun. It blends in a bit, as I tried to show in the photo above, but it never really looks good. Moreover, because it is mineral sunscreen, the pigments have a sheen to them even when I powder overtop.

Despite looking oily, though, this is far from hydrating even on my normal-oily skin. If anything, it feels a bit dry. I imagine because it has such a high amount of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, both of which can be very astringent and chalky, and the first real “big hitter” moisturizer, ethylhexylglycerin, is over halfway down the ingredients list, followed by glycerin itself. They are the only real “moisturizers” in the formula, all the other fatty alcohols and silicones you see are largely just emollients that add some slip and silkiness to the formula. For a face cream that in theory seems to cater to sensitive, red skin that includes such a high content of astringent physical sunscreens, the lack of moisturizers seems super odd to me.

No good.

1.7 oz for $18.99 on Ulta’s website.


Titanium Dioxide 10.1%, Zinc Oxide 7.8% (Sunscreens)

Allantoin (Anti-Inflammatory), Benzyl Alcohol (Solvent/Preservative), C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate (Emollient), Caffeine (Debatable), Caprylyl Methicone (Skin Conditioning/Occlusive), Cetyl Diglyceryl Tris(Trimethylsiloxy)silylethyl Dimethicone (Surfactant), Chromium Oxide Greens (Pigment), Dicaprylyl Carbonate (Emollient), Dimethicone (Emollient), Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate (Anti-Inflammatory), Ethylhexylglycerin (Moisturizer), Glycerin (Moisturizer), Hydrogenated Lecithin (Emulsifier), Iron Oxides (Pigment), Isohexadecane (Solvent/Emulsifier), Magnesium Sulfate (Viscosity Control), Methylpropanediol (Solvent), Silica (Viscosity Control), Tocopherol (Antioxidant), Triethoxycaprylylsilane (Emulsifier/Binding Agent), Trisiloxane (Emollient), Water (Solvent)

If your July wasn’t kind to you, I hope at least that the eclipses around the corner in August treat you better. If you have had any luck or mishaps with these, let me know!

See ya!



Internet Recommendations: April 2017

I have trawled through the internet so you don’t have to!

I am a semi professional internet person, and I’m here to help you separate the wheat from the chaff, as it were. All the shit that’s fit to upload with no or limited repercussions due to the toxic culture of the internet 🙂


Cold Crash Pictures

This is one of my favorite under-appreciated channels on YT. I’m not a movie buff or whatever by any stretch of the imagination, but sometimes I can pretend to be watching his videos, which are always clearly well thought out and insightful in addition to being edited well. Is that a weird thing to notice? Like they are just easy to watch partly by virtue of being put together so nicely. He also shares my love of the Animorphs, which I hadn’t thought about in years until he mentioned it in one of his videos. The best part of this channel is when you get snippets of his very very cute dog, though.


Let me tell you a thing: once upon a time I lived in a house where I had, very literally, zero internet access. I moved to said house maybe two years after YouTube started to become a Thing(TM), and lived there for another two years after. When I finally moved back to the land of the living, I had no small amount of catching up to do with all the channels I had watched before. I didn’t end up sticking with a lot of them, especially in the beauty community, since I felt it had changed in that time to something different that I didn’t (and still don’t 🙂 ) like. But I’ve been watching Taylor’s videos since the veeeery beginning, and it’s because I feel like she genuinely has a different vibe and brings new and different things to the table. And frankly in the beauty community that’s a bit hard to come by. (Does that make me sound like an asshole? Don’t answer that). She just seems like a good egg and you should check her out if you haven’t already, especially since her third foundation series is about to start up again!!

Lilly Jarlsson

Right at the start of the year, I chopped like eleven inches of my hair off. I mention this because I originally stumbled upon her channel looking for a pin-curl tutorial before the Big Chop in an effort to manage it — hers was, I will say, the only one I found that I really understood and helped me get the technique down. Lilly does her videos in both English and German, if that entices you any, and she has such a unique and fresh perspective on what beauty is and what it means for like actual real life. Her videos are also just relaxing to watch and I think she is honestly just…elegant. Not to be dramatic but…I watch her videos and I feel like the type of woman who wants to get her shit together. Her vintage tutorials are also some of the better ones with regards to historical accuracy as well, and she’s just generally a delight to watch.


Bad Outfit Great Lipstick

Remember when I told you I didn’t have internet, that one time? Renee’s original YT channel was another that passed the great purge. She also sent me a RAOK once, many many moons ago, when I was still on the MakeupAlley Boards, and I feel forever in her debt for it or something. She’s very thorough in her reviews and she introduced me to my beloved Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer so I can’t see how I couldn’t mention her wonderful blog here. (It’s also so organized…literally it’s so well organized I think you just need to go witness it for the experience).

Auxiliary Beauty

I found this blog through the very organized sidebar of Renee’s blog 🙂 All their posts are well written and their lip swatches, particularly, are the stuff of dreams in that they seem to be genuinely and consistently all true to color and the comparison swatches they do are legitimately helpful. Also they just seem cool like I aspire to be and isn’t that the whole reason anyone wants to follow a blog? I appreciate that they are a Glossier Realist and sometimes they even make me want to consider doing a Low or No Buy with their own posts on the same. Crazy, I know.


The Lunar Nodes of The Horoscope

If you are into astrology to any degree, this is a video you need to watch, honestly. You’ll get more out of it if you have a bit of background knowledge, but if you don’t just save it for later and make sure to come back when you’re ready to learn about the Lunar Nodes and their purpose. Olga really explains the axis of each sister sign well and the differences in karmic versus personal or psychological astrology — an excellent balance of theoretical astrology and practical examples and applications and delivered in a way that’s very easy to engage with. Astrolada’s channel overall can be a bit overwhelming even for me who has a certain grasp on astrology as it is, though most all of the content itself is very good. This one particularly is a stand out, though.

Bein, if you are somehow reading this, avert your eyes. This is that gift I told you I couldn’t wait until your birthday to give you. You customize a pet, name it and they mail you a personalized book about you and your pet. I mean…do I need to say anything else? I have only just now placed the order so I’ll update everyone if it takes an especially long time to ship or anything weird, but it’s such a sweet gift idea I couldn’t not mention it.

There you go! Things I’ve loved especially and wanted to share. It’s like I’m your sugar daddy and the currency in our arrangement is —

I don’t actually want to continue that metaphor. Hope the rest of your week is gr8 — enjoy the time suck that are the above links 🙂

The “Oh Shit” Makeup Bag + Bonus “I Have Fucked Up” FOTD: Late For Work Edition

I am a recently converted but strong believer in keeping a makeup bag in the purse, backpack, car, etc. I’ve upgraded to such a bag from just having a few (or twenty) lipstick tubes rolling around in the bottom of my purse because it finally hit me that rather than be five or ten minutes late to my office trying to rush to look semi presentable at home, I can toss all my shit in my bag and take five minutes in the bathroom at work while my decrepit computer boots up.

(Wake up earlier! I hear you suggest. Go to bed at a reasonable time! You cry. I don’t hear you over the sound of frantically spraying dry shampoo.)

Anyway! Some days makeup isn’t a priority. That’s life. But undoubtedly I’ll get called into a meeting or get roped into drinks or dinner after work and want to spruce up a bit. The result is something along the lines of this:


Thrilling, exciting, groundbreaking. I know.

I don’t attempt any funny business or cool-girl shit when I’m pressed for time or fucks to give. I conceal the extra terrible parts of my face, slap enough color on to look alive, and hope the lights are dim enough to make up for the difference. To do so, I keep a few things in my bag:

  1. Concealer
    • My forever fave is the Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer. I can use this easily as a foundation as well if my skin is really not having it and it’s just the easiest for me. If you don’t want to shell out that $50 or fiddle with a pot you have to put your fingers in, NYX HD Concealer would fit in nicely here since it’s so easy to blend.
  2. Eyebrow Gel
    • Do I look like the kind of heifer that can bother with a pencil? (Even if I need it) I want my brows visible, so people know I have them, and that’s all I’m really asking for. And it adds shape or something to my otherwise shapeless, moonlike face. Whatever. I’ve been using the Jordana Fabubrow and will probably not be going back to the Glossier Boy Brow, if that tells you anything about how I like it.
  3. Cream Blush
    • I’m wearing the Josie Maran Coconut Water Cheek Gelee in Honeymoon Honey here, but I believe they are discontinuing these? (2017 is where joy goes to die??) I usually rely on my ELF Cream Blush Palette, though. The colors blend easy and give you enough options to work with — that peachy color I throw in the crease of my eyelid if I have a spare second for definition, and if you really wanna get wild you can pat them on the lips pretty comfortably. The mirror is also massive and wonderful and so helpful for the chronically late and unprepared.
  4. Mascara
    • My Lash Discovery Waterproof is dead as a doornail, so I’m going through this Define-A-Lash I impulse bought at Target since it was on clearance. I’d suggest something that’s mostly just lightweight and not prone to smudging when you’re slapping it on like a NASCAR tech does a tire at a pit stop.
  5. Lip Gloss/Colored Balm


Honorable Makeup Bag mentions are a pair of tweezers, a lip balm, and a letter from you, to you that reads “get your shit together.”

What are your procrastination-friendly makeup faves or tricks? What do you keep in your makeup bag? I’m nosy and want to know!!

Cheeky Valentine’s Recommendations for Real Life

Something to hold you over until you get your hands on the discount chocolates tomorrow.

I know a lot of people in the book-o-sphere are making or have made “romance”-centered recommendations in the holiday spirit, and I thought of making the same. But I don’t read a lot of books where romance is the primary focus, and none of which I could recommend. It’s my own fault, really. I have my Venus in Libra in my 6th house, and my tastes are very picky and particular. In fact, I honestly think two of the most romantic things I’ve ever read are actually on AO3. (As an aside: I know fandom and fandom culture has had a weird culture shift recently into like, the public eye. But I came to age on the internet and in fandom during a time where this stuff was kept on the down low. [Post on that coming eventually]. The fact I just linked to AO3 on my public blog feels strange still).

But I figured I could still throw a few ideas out there for folks of the cinematic persuasion. (And use this as an open call to hear about your favorite romances across books, TV, etc.!)

For the Single and…

  • Thirsty: Boys Over Flowers (Netflix), Luke Cage (Netflix)
    • Boys Over Flowers was one of the OG “reverse-harem” series I was introduced to. It’s very, very sweet, but also focuses, as a main plot point, on a group of handsome, wealthy men. I feel contractually obligated to mention it here for that reason. Enjoy.
    • Simone. Missick. Rosario. Dawson. Alfre. Woodard. Round that out with Mahershala Ali, Mike Colter, and Theo Rossi and you have the best looking cast of any MCU production. (The fact that it is, in fact, the single best thing [with the single best soundtrack!] Marvel has produced to date is really only the cherry on top).
  • Jaded: Whipped (YouTube), Unreal (Hulu)
    • A pilot for a series I desperately hope gets picked up by some platform so I can have more of it. A straight-laced man walks in on his girlfriend engaged in a BDSM scene with another man. In an effort to win her back, he winds up in a sex shop. Foolery ensues. Obviously 18+ and NSFW but worth a watch, as are all the “product infomercials” they’ve also uploaded.
    • Love isn’t real and the proof is in this show, which you should have already been watching before now, to be honest. Beautifully written and complex characters in an unflinching look at reality television and reality TV romance, this one is particularly binge-able.
  • Uninterested: Luther (Netflix)
    • Alright. Okay. Let me explain. In addition to just being fresh on my mind as the most recent series I’ve wrapped up, I want to say now that I think Luther could also serve as fodder for the Thirsty. And the Jaded. Luther is for everyone. My real reason for including this is Idris Elba who deserves all the awards known to man because I think Luther explores, among other things, love as a verb. Love in the things you do (or don’t do) for others, and love beyond romantic love. Platonic and familial love, in fact, are shown more often in this way than romantic love. I don’t view that as the main theme, like the way they stress questions of morality v. legality and such, but I saw it enough I figured I could make the stretch to recommend it here.
    • (Honorable mention: Flashpoint Paradox, also on Netflix. I promise you need no DC comics knowledge to enjoy it, but I’m recommending it here for similar reasons as I did Luther above; this is a very good movie that focuses, among other things, on relationships between our friends and family and the lengths we could or should go for their well-being).

For the Hopelessly Romantic, Single or Otherwise

  • Practical Magic (Netflix)
    • The aesthetic, though. Also believing in love and magic etc., etc. Put the lime in the coconut and do yourself a favor and just watch it and be happy.
  • Pride and Prejudice (2005!)
    • I mean…I don’t know if I’m even legally allowed to post this without listing this movie.
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier

For the Folks Who Just Want Something CUTE, dammit

  • Lovely Muuuuuuuco! (Crunchyroll)
    • Is there anything more pure and good than the love between dog and owner?
  • Fruits Basket (Funimation)
    • If you just want to cry. Like, laugh first, maybe. And coo a bit. But then to cry about your own life choices and how no love in your life could compare to —

Everyone Who’s a Bit “All of the Above”

  • Beating Again. Beating Again. BEATING AGAIN!!!!! (Netflix). This show…this show. Everything you could possibly want. Everything! This was enough to melt my own icy heart and bring me to tears several times. This was also clever and funny enough to keep me belly-laughing when my tear ducts weren’t otherwise occupied. This is, to date, the only series I have ever gone back to re-watch. Just…watch it, and then come back and let’s talk about it.

As for me on V-Day, I’m going to finally sit down and watch Big Eden on Hulu, and maybe finish Yuri! On Ice.

(Also, I struggled thinking of readily available, happy [or at least happy-ending] series or movies involving sapphic women, especially as main characters. If anyone has any recommendations I would be much obliged).

Before you leave, might I also recommend: my favorite bath soak, face maskwine, or tea with any of these selections?