Sunday, January 12, 2014


I totally ripped off my post title from Childish Gambino, who I don't even like, because I can't come up with a good post title.

So, old friends, it has been a while.  In July, I moved across the country, started a new job, started to get ridiculously ill, got diagnosed with Crohn's Disease, continued to be's been fun. And by fun, I mean the exact opposite.  For a while there, I wasn't even wearing makeup.  Other than my eyebrows and mascara.  MY LIFE WAS IN SHAMBLES.  Okay, not really, but have you ever noticed how when everything is coming together, everything is still falling apart?  I have found there is no point where you finally look around and say, well, that's settled.  I think if I ever get to that point, I should prepare for the apocalypse.

Enough about me.  So a few weeks ago, I tried out a product line called GlaMERLips by Make Up by Mer after seeing a few of the makeup artists I follow in Instagram recommend it.  I was like WHATEVER IT'S ONLY TEN DOLLARS and didn't really expect anything out of the ordinary.  I have made my own scrubs, which were either too rough on my lips, didn't do much, and/or tasted like shit (and usually all 3), have bought various scrubs (the most successful being Lush's Popcorn Scrub, but it still under-performed).  NEVER HAPPY.  I live in a pretty humid city, but it still gets cold (especially so, this year, I am told), I am on some medications that give me dry mouth, and staying hydrated is either something I forget to do or have trouble doing because REASONS.  Then, I am a lip biter.  My lips get chapped and crack and then I bite them, as if this is some effective way to combat the whole situation.  (PRO-TIP: It's not.)

I ordered Cinnamon and Bubblegum, first.  Cinnamon has a brief plumping effect, but mainly I love that it tastes like Red Hots.  I followed the directions Mer includes, which are basically scrub in a circular motion for 60 seconds, then wash it off or lick it off, whatever.  It's edible, I'm lazy.  It left my lips really soft, scrubbed off a lot of dead skin (except for the areas where I had been biting) and was overall awesome.  I had the same results with Bubblegum, Lemon, and Champagne (the latter two I ordered because I wanted Champagne before it was gone SUE ME).  If you enter the code IG at checkout, you even get a little gift! Her lip balm is pretty good, too, even if I will never leave my Jack Black lip balm.

Bottom left: before.  Bottom right: after, with lip balm.
You can still see I had been biting my bottom lip up like whoa in the second picture, and it's not the best photo of my lips around (I took it with the front facing camera n the iPhone 5, so...the back camera would have been better), but there was a big difference between the two.  

Also, Mer is totally sweet - I posted a review on my IG, and she reposted it and genuinely thanked me.  You can find her shop at GlaMERLips or find it through her website, Make Up by Mer.  She ships quickly and is wonderful!  GO GO GO.

Stay beautiful, party people.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

and this is how a great adventure begins...

Short update, mostly to say I am sorry for the severe lack of updates, but it will be that way for a bit because I am relocating to TEJAS for work.  It is exciting and stressful and all kinds of things but I barely have time to do my makeup, much less compile posts.  I promise I will be back as soon as possible, and I am always sharing my musing on my twitter, the link is in the sidebar if you want to follow.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

"Heels and red lipstick will put the fear of God into people." - Dita Von Teese

A post on red lipstick was requested of me.  Red lipstick is what got me into this whole mess, and red lipstick always seems to the bar even the most daring makeup mavens aspire to (someday).  Your wish is my command.  Also, while some people were watching cartoons after school I was watching Cindy Crawford on Oprah show the guests how to fellate their finger after lipstick application so they didn't get it on their teeth, so I guess I am just predisposed to this kind of nonsense.

Remember in the days of dial up, when you would post something on a message board and people would flip out of if there were photos and you didn't put a PIC HEAVY warning on it? I laugh in the face of PIC HEAVY warnings.

These are all of my red lipsticks, lined up like little soldiers, on the bathroom counter.  One two three four HUT one two three four.

This is my grandma, proving that I am genetically predisposed to be glamorous.

This is me with naked lips, and I feel naked.  My boss at work told my eyebrows looked perfect the other day and I was so lucky, and I said, "Thanks, drew them on myself!" No shame.  Never any shame.

Note: all photos were taken in the most natural light I could find, and the only photo editing I did was to exposure and brightness to emulate how they really look in person as much as I could. You will also notice that I had no desire to have some kind of uniform blow up doll look because it's not my style, I save that for the professionals.  I am also a very neutral cool when it comes to skin tone, so people who find themselves at any extreme may have a hard time.  Also of note, the close up picture is a truer representation of the picture in all cases.

Let me start with Sephora The Red, which I bought for $12 USD and have never actually worn before this blog post:

It is a deep, true red, with bluish undertones, but when I put it on I could tell why Sephora would call it The Red.  It is The Red some people spend years looking for and never find.  Their formula isn't bad, either. It is moisturizing; I am not sure how much wear you would get out of it but it did go on a little heavy so it didn't seem like it would be gone in an hour.

Nars Pure Matte, Mascate:

This is another deep red, more brick red than The Red, in a matte formula.  I put on lip balm before using pretty much any matte lipstick, but especially the Nars Pure Matte and the MAC retro matte formulations.  I prefer semi mattes (most of MAC's mattes are really more on the semi matte side) because these are so drying that I end up with dried, flaking lips because my lips tend to be on the dry side to begin with and while I can use clear Lip Glass or other clear gloss over the top of the lipstick, that makes the lipstick prone to bleeding, even with lip liner.

Nars Pure Matte, Vesuvio:

Vesuvio is a mid-tone red, not as bricky as Mascate and not as blue as The Red while still being a lot more blue than some of the alternatives, but still bringing all the problems of a true matte formula.

Nars Semi Matte, Jungle Red:

 To me, this looks like the semi-matte version of Vesuvio.  Nars Semi Matte lipsticks wear well; I would have more but the price tag ($26 USD) and also they have less colors than several other brands other there.

Nars Semi Matte, Heat Wave:

This is the same formula as Jungle Red, but more of an orange undertone, but not so orange that it ends up and orange-red or (in my opinion) would be unflattering on a wide range of skin tones.  It certainly looks more orange when I wear orange, but if I don't, it looks more red.

Onto the MAC...I will start with two of my favorite colors but my least favorite formula: the retro matte.

MAC Ruby Woo:

I just LOOK unhappy, don't I?

Ruby Woo is supposed to (like the next lipstick) be flattering on all skin tones, and I think it does that pretty well.  I love the color.  If you want a lipstick with 8 hours of wear, the retro matte is your formula, hands down (and just your luck, the RiRi Hearts MAC collection drops online this week with two more retro matte lipsticks and there are eight more dropping this fall).  I can't get through the day without some Lip Glass over it because my lips start peeling from being so dried out.  I also have dry mouth problems from medications, so this is a problem I have to begin with (full disclosure, it is only fair) so that might not be a problem for someone who isn't me.

MAC RiRi Woo:

The color is similar to RiRi Woo, but RiRi Woo's more pronounced blue undertones are very obvious to me.  I am almost much happier wearing this one, maybe because I remembered to put lip balm on before apply so it didn't tug and drag on my lips.


MAC Red is a Satin lipstick.  It has a good color payoff and tries to an almost semi matte finish, but being that I already consider MAC's matte finishes to be already more of a semi matte finish than matte, this could get confusing.  This is more of a pink-red than any of the other reds I own, and yesterday's blog post had be proclaiming I did not like it, but these photos have me rethinking that.

MAC Lady Danger:

Lady Danger is a matte finish, but goes on creamy and is a red-orange.  It is similar to So Chaud, the lipstick that will follow, and if you aren't a junkie, having both would probably be superfluous. They are similar to Nars Heat Wave, but more orange.

MAC So Chaud:

Not much commentary on this one because it is very similar to Lady Danger. Matte finish, red-orange, goes on creamy. We loves it.

MAC Chili:

Chili it aptly named.  After going through all these other lipsticks and putting this one one, it seemed very brown.  It is still a pronounced red, but it seems to have more brown undertones than I originally thought.  I think it is a unique color, but matte finish, creamy application, love.

MAC Russian Red:

Russian Red is a matte finish, has blue undertones but is similar to Sephora The Red while being lighter in tone.  I find the color a little similar to RiRi Woo, but not as universally wearable.

MAC Lady Bug:

This is one of the few reds available in the Lustre finish.  A lot of people don't like Lustres because they are not long lasting, but they are low impact when it comes to color so can be a  a way to dip your metaphorical toe into the pool to test the temperature.  I also have Cockney which is a Lustre, but in all the reds, forgot to swatch it. It looks about the same but has some glitter so it doesn't go on as smoothly; I don't see any glitter when I wear it and just bought it because its name is Cockney and I am 12.

The next three are from the Limited Edition Marilyn Monroe Collection, but that has been released once, so who knows what MAC will do in the future and if there are dupes out there, go for it.

MAC Charmed I'm Sure:

I. Love. This. Red. One of the artists at my local MAC counter describes it as a raspberry red, and it is as close to a good description as I can get.  It is a deep and full red that has a berry tinge to it without it being so much of a berry tinge that you can really put your finger on it.  It is a matte finish.

MAC Deeply Adored:

I love this one too.  I love them all.  This could be described as a darker version of Charmed I'm Sure, but I think it is also a little bit more berry toned as well.  Also a matte finish.

MAC Scarlet Ibis:

This red is very orange in person, bordering on being an orange-red as opposed to a red-orange.  It is (in my opinion) more orange than Lady Danger or So Chaud, though close.

I am also throwing in a Revlon Lip Butter in Candy Apple because that is a good way to work your way from the world of gloss into the world of lipstick and it is also not overwhelming as far as color goes, so you won't look in the mirror and go OH GOD WHAT IS THAT (which is basically what happens to me when I look in the mirror without lipstick these I know the feeling).

There are also colors like this which can get you accustomed to lipstick in bolder colors but Not Quite Red until you are ready:

MAC Ablaze (sold as part of the limited edition Fashion Sets and no longer available); it is a reddish coral in a matte finish.

 Then one day you will wearing colors like this like it ain't no thang:

MAC Rebel

Even works with hipster glasses!

Now go out there and put the fear of God into people!  (Dita is wrong, you don't need the heels.)

Saturday, May 25, 2013

bring me lipstick, or bring me death.

There seems to have been a bit of a lipstick revolution occurring in my personal corner of the internet. It started when Erica tweeted something at me about the OCC Lip Tars and I was like "yeah...AND?" to which she responded that she forgot I wasn't a lippie person or some such.  Around this same time I was fighting this urge deep inside to wear red lipstick because I felt like a red lipstick person on the inside.  Now that I think about it, this urge is not all unlike the need to hold your pee when there is no bathroom in sight, eventually it will come bursting out of you. But I digress.

Nars addict that I am when it comes to blush, I ordered Nars Pure Matte lipstick in Vesuvio and Mascate and Nars Semi Matte lipstick in Jungle Red and Heat Wave.  I couldn't know which would actually look good on me because reds are such a picky thing. I don't like reds that are more a cranberry color than an actual red (like MAC Red, but more on that later).  The Pure Matte was drying as any Matte will be, so it was not until I wore Heat Wave on that second day that I fell down that rabbit hole.

That weekend found me at MAC. Because I had read all these things about how Ruby Woo was The Red Lipstick that a person needed to have from all the lipstick goddesses. I walked away with Ruby Woo, Girl About Town, and Candy Yum Yum.  And therein started what we will only refer to as the The MAC Problem from here on out.  I don't want to talk about how much lipstick I have purchased from MAC but I have run out of good colors to buy.  I am actually not the biggest fan of Ruby Woo and the recently released RiRi Woo; the colors are amazing, but they are so drying when their other matte reds are more of a semi matte and I can get through the day at work without feeling like I have a case of drug induced dry mouth or some other crazy weirdness going on.  The only red I have gotten from MAC that I didn't like was MAC Red, a satin, and that is because it more a cranberry.  If I can figure out how to wear it with the right eyes and blush, I would like it more, but that is the confusing part of revolution.  I was never a lipstick person, now it is all, SHIT.  WHAT DO I DO NOW!?  I have not gotten Brave Red because while I want a cremesheen red, every time I swatch it in the store, I feel like it is more berry than red.

I find myself at the MAC counter talking to the makeup artists and knowing which lipstick they are wearing.  I can tell you the minute differences between Ruby Woo and RiRi Woo. They know my name at the local MAC counter.  I called up to ask a question the other day and said, "Hi, it's Athena blahblahblah" and when I hung up, my coworker's jaw was agape and she then had the entire office sign a prescription for makeup rehabilitation for me.


Until next time,
Athena Henry

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Two days later...

And I am still in love with my makeup from Friday. 

Products used:

–Makeup Forever HD foundation &  powder
–Nars Lovejoy blush
–Urban Decay Gilded bronzer
– Urban Decay Nevermind, Jagged, Penny Lane, and Anonymous eyeshadows
–MAC Saigon Summer with Revlon Lip Butter in Creamsicle

Sunday, April 21, 2013

sparkling for the city that never sleeps - FOTD

  • Lit Cosmetics Siberian glitter over Sugarpill Lumi shadow
  • Urban Decay Armor
  • Urban Decay Provocateur (both from the Vice Palette)
  • Make Up Forever Aqua Black cream liner
  • Dior Extase mascara in 090
I uploaded it to Instagram when I got on the train to the city and a few minutes later saw that Phyrra had liked it and I felt like I WON THE WHOLE DAY.  //fangirl moment

P.S. I am trying to get back into updating on a more daily basis, I have been having a makeup identity crisis with a new-found love for lipstick but I am starting to find my footing again.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

so I promised a video...

and felt like I was completely exhausted from existing today, so I was going to not do it, but I promised, so I did it.  I had major lighting issues but the main idea was someone wanted to know how I did my blush, so.  Not my best work, but here it is.

I am having a makeup identity crisis, so let's just talk more about blush.

So, this week.  This week, I bought a plane ticket to visit friends across the country in 61 days, and my biggest concern is not wanting to check all my makeup because I don't like being that far away from it and WHAT IS SOMEONE STEALS A NARS BLUSH.  I assuaged this worry by buying a cute dress so that my legs have some breathing room for when it is BALLS HOT:

Why hello, Old Navy fitting room.  It matches my eyes.
I also set out on a mission to prove that I could wear Nars blush in Exhibit A, since the entire internet said it was best suited for women of color and fair-skinned ladies may just want to stay away.  Legit, historically it has been hard to find good color matches if you are at either end of the color spectrum.  Too light, everything makes you look like a clown. Too dark, nothing shows up on your skin.  I am not saying I completely feel the pain of the women who had nothing but Covergirl's Queen line (which I think has been since discontinued) back when all we had where I live was drugstore makeup, but when someone tells me, oh pshaw, you can't wear that color, it was like when my ex-husband told me that I couldn't go out and get more tattoos.  I went out and got one.

Here is Nars in Exhibit A:

I keep seeing it described online as a FIERY ORANGE.  No.  It is red.  It is a bright, matte red.  So the first thing I did  when I got it was wear it to work:

I had to do a lot of blending and remember a little of this color goes a long way.  On my skin tone, which is a NC15ish if we are talking MAC, 115 in Makeup Forever HD foundation, and an N2 when I have a tan in the only drug store foundation I will touch, L'oreal True Match, I had to diffuse the color LIKE A BOSS.  A little goes a long way, but I had to blendblendblend, then set with powder foundation and setting powder.  It worked though, and I proved the naysayers wrong.  By the time I got home from work (some 9.5 hours after putting it on), the setting powder and powder foundation were wearing a little thin and I kind of looked like I had just run a breathless mile, but it won't be a blush I never touch again.  I actually really liked the color, which was a pretty true red on my skin, giving me a rosy cheek look.

Yesterday, I wore Nars Lovejoy:

Not sure where the bad shadow came from, but the color is a little rosy with brown undertones.  I loved it on:

You can see my baby fine hairs on my face again, which is totally hot. (Fun story: one time I decided I wanted to get my entire face threaded for flawless makeup application.  So I did, and apparently I am allergic to the lotion they use because my face was a contact dermatitis mess for 2 weeks which ruined any future thoughts of doing the same thing. Don't be me.)  The color is buildable and doesn't go on too heavy, but seriously, I looked flawless:

This brings me to my makeup identity crisis.  In those two photos, I am wearing Nars Heat Wave semi-matte lipstick.  In the photo showing Exhibit A, I am wearing Nars Pure Matte in Vesuvio.  If you know me, you know that I simply don't do lipstick.  I do lip gloss, usually in a nude color, that I apply once and forget about for the rest of the day.  Apparently all that changed this week.  I decided that I wanted to be a red lipstick person, because dammit, I feel like one on the inside.  I guess I am one on the outside now, too, and it is making me loose my footing a little.

I promised someone a tutorial on how I apply my blush, and that will be up later today. I PROMISE.