Saturday, April 29, 2006

What IS this blog?

Just in case you were wondering what exactly is going on around here. Questions! Answers! Rah!

Who are you, and why are you here?
Woah, heavy. Trés existential, non? Let's break this down a bit:

Who am I? I'm a 20-something grad student, who is studying all sorts of geeky things that you probably don't want to hear about. I'm Oriental, with a light-to-medium skin tone. I'm apparently a MAC NC25, although I don't use their foundation. For the drugstore makeup sisterhood, this translates to about a Maybelline Nude/Sandy Beige and a Cover Girl Warm Beige.

I have lots and lots of thick hard hair. It's supposed to be black, but it looks a lot lighter. I currently have highlights from about 5 different stylists / salons / crappy mall places / a Clairol box in my hair. I can only hope it doesn't look as bad as it sounds.

I have normal/combo skin that is somewhat prone to breakouts. I don't burn and I tan easily, but I always use SPF on my face and stick to inside spaces like an albino hermit during the summer anyway, so it doesn't really matter. I am truly a child of air-conditioning.

I currently live in Toronto Canada, land of cold windy winters and hot humid summers. No, I don't want a donut. Yes, we have cable. Thank you.

Why am I here? Look, I buy a lot of shit, right? And if I review all this shit, and put in online where others might presumably read it, it means that I buy this stuff for the Futherance of Science, and the Good of Mankind, or whatever. Plus, it gives me yet another excuse for not doing whatever I'm supposed to be doing at the moment, be it finding the cure for cancer, or mapping out the human brain, or ... or designing... super- ... ultra- ... fuel- ... efficient- ... helicopters. Or something.

Why should I listen to you?
Um, you really shouldn't, you know. I've been telling people this all my life, but they don't listen. And then they go and blame their ruined lives on me like it's my fault that I managed to convince them they'd look good with pink lowlights. Look, if you don't know me well enough to tell when I'm sober and when I'm high outta my mind, then you definitely should not be taking my advice. Especially not on important things like your hair.

That was all a lie. (I don't do drugs! Stay in school! Winners never quit! Eat your veggies!) I might be a bit of a compulsive lier, but I'd NEVER lie about a product! Cosmetics are sacred, people!

So really, WHY should I listen to you???
What, you don't find my ADHD-style ramblings amusing? Okay, fine, I'll bite. You should listen to me because I'm out there on the frontlines of drugstore beauty! (Hey, that's rather good, maybe I should make that my tag-line...) I love love love (read: am addicted to) reading all the beauty blogs out there, and I drool drool drool over the wonderful products they talk about. But I'm a grad student! I live in a basement appartment! I don't have $30 to spend on an eyeshadow! (Although I will admit that living close to a Sephora is having an unhealthy effect on my bank account. On the plus side, my hair is quite shiny these days...)

And so, with my limited budget but never-ending hunger for yet another lipgloss, I scour the supermarket aisles! I am the discount diva! The penny-pinching primper! The doyenne of drugstore cosmetics! The alliteration aficionado and the mistress of malformed metaphor!

.... um, what???
Er, sorry. I get carried away sometimes. Okay, lots. Point is, I don't think you have to spend big bucks to look great. There is no brand snobbery here... if I try a $30 lip gloss that is amazing, I'll tell you. But I'll also tell you about the fantastic $5.99 blush that I found at the supermarket. If you can regularly afford to buy Dior, super. Hugs, kisses, and soft furry puppies to you. I envy you and am eyeing your cosmetics bag as we speak. But if you can't (or won't) shell out cash for designer lines, then maybe this blog will help you decide which of the not-quite-Armani products are right for you. Maybe it'll inspire you to try a new trend at low financial risk. Maybe it'll help you discover a cheaper alternative to something you really like. Or maybe it'll just entertain you a bit and help pass the time. If this blog can accomplish any of the above, then I'm a happy girl. Heck, I'm a happy girl if I manage to not totally offend you and piss you off with the content.

Plus, I generally cover products available to Canada, thus saving fellow Canadians the grief of reading about a fabulous lust-worthy product, only to that realise that you can't get it in the Great White North.

Oh, and sometimes I will post recipes, because I like to pretend to cook.

So will you advertise on this thing?
Nah... then this all would become a chore for me, and I don't want that. Besides, I swear WAY too much. You don't want potential customers to associate your product with such filthy language. Unless you're all about that kind of thing, I guess.
[EDIT: Dammit, I've made a liar out of myself yet again. Okay, fine. No ads unless I really like the company, or think the service will actually help you, or if they make me an offer I can't refuse. Or if I feel like rolling around in some more hypocrisy. There.]

Okay, but what's with the name? Glitterati??? You think you're all rock royalty or something?
Rock royalty? Dudes, I grew up in Calgary. That's like Texas North. Definitely no chi-chi glamour there. Good steak and mountains, sure, but glamour? Jann Arden is our most fanciest export. That should tell you something. (Love ya Jann!) As for the name... I don't know, I had to pick something. And I always thought that if I were ever to start a glam rock band à la The Darkness, I'd call it The Glitterati. Sadly, some boys from England have beaten me to it, so I'll just have to use this blog to live out my fantasies of wearing lots of tight pants and black eyeliner, and sleeping with hot young groupies.

Or not. You know.

You whiny bitch, you totally cussed out my favourite product / slammed on my homies / angered me unbelievably with your ignorant rantings. How do I give you a piece of my mind?
Oops. Sorry. All hate mail and death threats can go to Flowers and warm cookies are also welcome.

Wait a minute... so the whole reason for this blog is that you're a make-up junkie with a compulsive spending problem and waaaay too much time on her geeky geeky hands?
You betcha. Thanks for stopping by, and enjoy the ride!


Friday, April 28, 2006

Bizzay Friday

Ooooh, oh so much to do today. I am working on a review of Crest Vivid White Night toothpaste, as well as a thing about "who the hell do I think I am and what is this blog all about anyway"-ness.

So stay tuned and be patient-ful. I'll be back soon with review-ments of more cosmeti-cals!

(Sorry, too much ANTM.)

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Product Review: Demeter Laundromat

Hello hello! I have nothing clever to say about today's review, so let's just get right to it:

I'd been eyeing the Demeter line for quite some time now. The idea of realistically capturing a single moment in life was very appealing to me, whether it be that first whiff upon entering a Bernard Callebaut store, or the scent of rich foamy espresso. Of course, while I love luscious foody smells because... well, because they smell like luscious foody goodness, I don't necessarily want to wear them as a perfume. Perhaps as a scented shower gel, or a room spray or candle, but not aggressively on my skin.

Enter Demeter's Laundromat. As the name would imply, it smells like laundry. Actually, it smells like a dryer sheet, plain and simple. It lacks the metallic zing of an actual laundromat (none of that Eau de Homeless Guy and his Bag O' Vino either*), and I don't think it quite captures the warmth of clothes right out of the dryer.

What it does capture perfectly is the clean hard smell of laundry soap. It reminds me of a hard bar of Ivory soap. (This is all conjecture, as I've never actually used Ivory. But it's how I'd imagine Ivory soap to smell like.) It smells fresh and clean and chemically, but in a good way. Of course, I also love the smell of cement stairways, WD-40, and parking garages, so take my words with that in mind.

Anyway, this is certainly a safe fragrance -- I wear it during meetings and conferences, as I can't imagine it possibly offending anyone. However, it's also unusual enough to leave intact my delusions about my own cool offbeat-ness. Plus, I think it'd be impossible to overload on the scent.

I also spritz it on when I'm feeling tired and worn and gross at the end of the day. It's the perfume equivalent of taking a shower and slipping into some freshly washed, snuggly sweats.

As with all Demeter Pick Me Up Colognes, the lasting power on this is not magnificent. Laundromat is probably one of the longer-lasting ones... I can go about 2 or 3 hours and still get a hint of scent. It does seem to stick around longer on clothing... I like to spray it on my camisole or, um, bra, to keep the scent near me throughout the day. (Be careful on silks or delicate fabrics, of course.)

At $25 CAD for 1 oz., this is surely a good bet. But what I really really want to try are the "weird" Demeters, like Paperback and Thunderstorm. If they're what I imagine them to be, I'd spray that shit everywhere. Sadly, Sephora doesn't stock those, so I'll probably just finally pony up and buy them off eBay untested one day. Oh, and I am also just dying to try Comme des Garcons' Odeur 71. (You lie Sephora! You don't have this! Not in stores anyway. *sniff*) If anyone's ever tried these, let me know what you think!

[EDIT 05/02/06: Speaking of Demeter, check out Robin's post about Demeter's new LE Play Doh perfume over on Now Smell This. They really do think of everything, don't they? This one probably won't be for me, but it'll be fun to sniff!]

* Yes yes, I am horribly un-PC and I am going to hell. I know. I'm taking a program for that... it has... steps? 12 of them?


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

4 things...

1. Broke up with S today. Bit of a bummer. (Um, the break up, I mean, not S.)

2. MAC Select Cover Up has now been deemed mild-to-moderately-bad break-up proof.*

3. My new NYC Pencil & Pout glosses arrived today! Much love for these -- possible review to follow. Ebay rocks!

4. The Beauty Brains answered my question about hair restructuring treatments! Very honoured to get such a speedy reply, and from the Left Brain, no less. (As a linguist, I am bound by the laws of geekdom to favour the left brain, although I do also love the ability to recognize faces and mentally rotate shapes and whatnot.) As I suspected, the "restructuring" hype is basically bogus. Read their response here while I go cry in the corner about the 14 bucks I basically wasted on TIGI Dumb Blonde. (How aptly named!)

* Oh what, did I just use my personal strife and life drama as a segway into talking about a freakin' concealer? Fuck grad school man, I could make much more money as a souless Hollywood ad exec.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Product Review: Yves Rocher Deligloss

Ahhh, spring! Is there anything quite like it? All chock-full of metaphor about rebirth and renewal, life, love, youth, etc. Sunshine glittering down, fresh air tinged with fragrant new blooms, the green zing of tender blades of grass... it's enough to make even a die-hard cynic step just a little bit lighter.

The best part of spring? Colour! This is the time when we ditch all those dramatic plums and smokey greys of seasons past, and embrace sheer, fresh, and fruity colour. And one of my favourite ways to celebrate the occasion is, of course, to go make-up shopping!

I visited my local Yves Rocher store in the mall a few weeks back. Yves Rocher is a European line of skincare and cosmetics, with locations in Belgium, Austria, Algeria, and Canada*. I'd never paid much attention to the store until they had their Spring sale. 30 items under $3? How could I resist?

One of the things I picked up there was the Deligloss, part of their Luminelle line of makeup. Honestly, it didn't look that impressive in the tube... just another pinky, shimmery gloss. But what with my addiction to glosses and the sale and whatnot, it ended up in my shopping basket.

As it turns out, this unassuming gloss is perfect for the new Spring look. Trends this season seem to focus on bright eye colour, healthy-looking pink cheeks, and soft & subdued pretty lips. While I admire the barely-there nude lips that models sported on the runways, nude lipcolour tends to make me look like a corpse, which is a look that I can achieve well enough on my own sans produit, thankyouverymuch.

Deligloss in Pink Grenadine seems to be my translation of the nude lip. It's a light, mauvey pink that's got enough colour to add life to my lips, but sheer enough to let some skin show through. It's like a fresh youthful version of a My Lips But Better shade. It smells like sweet yumminess (berries and citrus maybe? I can never tell um, I'm an idiot. It's mango-y & tropical. I think the pink was throwing me off), and the shimmer is very subtle -- no chunky glitter here! Staying power is not fantastic, but it's not atrocious either. It's about on par with your typical gloss.

The tube is slim enough to carry around, and the screw-on cap keeps things neat. The medium-thick gloss squeezes out of a slant tip applicator and is not at all sticky. I suppose you could apply directly from the tube, but I prefer to use my finger. It's pretty sanitary, as you're not digging into a pot to get the product. Deligloss slicks on easily, and while it's not hugely moisturizing (see the Zoya Hot Lips review if you're looking for moisture), it feels very nice on and doesn't dry out my lips.

Sadly, I can't seem to find the gloss on the Canadian website anymore. I'm not sure if this means it's been discontinued, or if they're reformulating the shades or what. I do remember that it also came in a peachy looking colour, and a pale watery pink.

I'm really glad I 'discovered' Yves Rocher. I also bought their Arnica Hand Cream and Phytum Oxygenation Shampoo, and was quite impressed with both. Normally, both those products run in the $8 to $10 range, which is a bit much for the amount you get, but I gather they have sales quite often, so nab them if you see them for cheap! [EDIT 05/20/06: Click here to my reviews of these 3 products!]

Oh, and in other news, I find the template of this blog to be very very blah. I'll have to do something about these colours... I mean, what's with the sickly avocado green, Blogger? I foresee pinks, purples, and all! sorts! of! fun! But that will have to wait until I have time to mess around with codes, so you'll have to bear with me for now, gentle readers.

*Those in the States can order stuff online, but to my knowledge, there are no retail locations in America yet.


Monday, April 24, 2006


Ever wonder exactly what it is about salon shampoos that you're shelling out all that hard-earned cash for? Have you ever felt frustrated at all the hype extolling the virtues of "natural" this and "organic" that, because none of it actually tells you what's so great about natural & organic ingredients anyway?

Me too! And that's why I'm so excited by The Beauty Brains. Check it out -- this blog takes common beauty myths and debunks them, and answers questions from inquisitive readers about the products they know, love, or hate.

Science and beauty! Awesome. Who says you can't be smart and pretty all at once?


Product Review: Zoya Glossy Lip Balm

You know how you always have that one elusive beauty product that you can never find? Whether it be the perfect tube of lipstick, or the shadow with just the right amount of shimmer, or that difficult-to-match shade of discontinued blush? Well, for the longest time, my obession was with finding a particular red lip gloss.

See, I had bought a red gloss from the Gap a few years ago. It was the most beautiful shade of candy-apple red ... red enough to be a classic red, with enough blue in it to suit my tastes and skintone. It was pigmented, moisturizing, and it lasted for more than 10 minutes. This was the gloss that I thought looked alarmingly bright in the tube, but once on, would make my whole face look alive. Plus, it was only a dollar during the after-Christmas sales, so score, right?

Er, yeah, until I ran out of the gloss. It hadn't occurred at the time that the low low price meant that it was very very discontinued. Bummer! And so the search began.

I scoured the cosmetic aisles of my drugstore, testing every shade of red gloss or sheer lipstick I could find. I hounded Sephora. I even wandered by the department store counters to see what they offered (as if I'd pay $30 for a gloss though, even the perfect one). No dice. Finally, I happened upon a Trade Secrets store in the mall one day, while I was waiting for my friend to try on some pants*. And there, tucked in amongst a bajillion bottles of nailpolish and fancy shampoo, was this:

The Marachino shade of Zoya Glossy Lip Balm looked frighteningly dark in the the tube. (The picture above is NOT Marachino) It was a shade that conjured up images of Hollywood starlets of the 40's, or vampy, simmering seductresses in low-cut gowns. Not that those are bad looks, but I couldn't imagine wearing a shade like that to go grocery shopping, you know?

But I was a girl on a gloss-finding mission, remember. So I went ahead and grabbed the tester.

My first impression of the gloss was that it was THICK. It took a bit of effort to squeeze out of the tube. I saw that it was quite pigmented, too. Nevertheless, I intrepidly (is that a word?) smoothed some on to my lips, and then ran out side to check the colour in better light.

Oh! It was lovely! A wonderful shade of soft cherry-plummy red. It imparted a soft shine (not supershiny like MAC lipglass) and it felt really really moisturizing. I usually can't wear gloss without some form of lipbalm underneath, but the Zoya Hot Lips felt nourishing. It was somewhat sticky (not quite as Lipglass though), which I took as a good indication of its lasting power. Plus, it smelled like fruity cherry candy, which was a major bonus for me (doesn't taste like anything though).

I ran back in and paid the $10 CAD for the gloss. It was the most I'd ever paid for a lipgloss, I think, but it was sooo worth it. It really does stay on... even after a cup of coffee. The sheen wears off, but the moisture and a bit of colour will stick around. The colour is very buildable -- if you put this straight on your bare lips with a lip brush, you can get a rich, dramatic colour (for a gloss, anyway). However, if you're like me, and just smoosh it on with a finger, it looks much more muted and subdued. Of course, for the truly timid, just slick on some lip balm before you apply this gloss. That gives you a sheer wash of colour that's perfect for a fresh casual look.

So, in conclusion:
Colour? check!
Texture? check!
Moisturizing? check!
Smell? check!
Lasting power? check!
I think I may have found the perfect red lip gloss! The one drawback is that you must apply it with your finger or a brush, which is somewhat inconvenient. I do like that the screw-top lid is neat and prevent leaks though.

Hot Lips comes in a wide variety of shades. I haven't tried any of the other ones, but you can check them out here. (Note: the Marachino shade looks almost purple-black on there, so I don't know what is up with that. The shades might not be represented accurately.)

So yipiee! Thank you, Zoya! Thank you, Trade Secrets! I found a winner! Does this mean I'll stop buying red gloss? Most likely not. But at least now I won't scare the nice ladies at Shopper's Drug Mart with my frantic and incessant search for the right one!

* And my friend got 2 pairs of fantastic pants. It was a good shopping day.


Friday, April 21, 2006

Have a Drink!

While I'm here wasting time anyway, why not post a wicked awesome recipe for Margaritas? This recipe can easily be found on the internet, but credited plagiarism counts as research around here, and besides, some of you might be all about instant gratification, so here it is!

Easy Margaritas:
- 1 can of frozen Limeade
- 1 tray of ice cubes
- 6 oz of tequila
- 2 oz of triple sec (you can get all fancy and use Cointreau or Grand Marnier if you're trying to impress)

Dump everything in a blender. Blend until it looks like a margarita. You can add a bit more ice if it tastes too strong. Salt some margarita glasses (or not, whatever. But if you don't, you're a total FREAK), then pour the stuff in. This makes about 4 drinks. Or ONE, if you really like your booze. Enjoy!

Courtesy of


Product Review: MAC Select Cover-up

Holy macaroni am I feeling overwhelmed right now. There's so much to do, and so much other crap going on that I think I'm having a mini meltdown!* But lest my mental state be reflected in my appearance, I figure this is the perfect time to talk about a new concealer I purchased. Because, as I always say, if you must feel like crap, you should at least look good while you're at it.

I've had dark circles under my eyes as long as I can remember. Seriously, I look at pictures of myself when I was 9, and they were there. Although they're not horrendous, I won't leave the house without at least putting concealer on them. Up until now (or "hitherto", if you're all keen on using big words), I was using a combination of Maybelline's Instant Age Rewind and True Illusion concealers. I liked the smoothness and blendability of the Age Rewind, and it seemed to add some luminosity to the area. However, the coverage was too sheer, so I had to top it off with some True Illusion for extra oomph.

Using 2 concealers actually wasn't too big of a pain: I'd just dab it on with a finger and go. The amount of coverage was acceptable, and the Maybelline stuff was certainly affordable. However, lasting power was crap! If I so much as teared up a little during a sneeze, the concealer would start to smudge. (I'm pretty sure this is the True Illusion's fault) And if I actually got something in my eye and tears started flowing for real? Forget it -- I'd have to run to the nearest mirror and basically re-conceal the whole area.

I finally got tired of this concealer-smudging paranoia and decided to go look for a better product. I knew MAC had a fairly wide selection of colours, and with their somewhat cult-status as a cosmetic line, I thought I'd check them out.

The lovely MA at the counter sat me down and demo'd the Select Coverup in NC20 on me. She applied it with a cosmetic sponge, which gave waaaaay too sheer coverage for my liking. However, the colour match was great, and I did like the natural-looking finish. Plus, she mentioned that coverage was buildable, so I plopped down the $13 for it and took my new purchase home.

For a liquid concealer, I find the Select Coverup quite thick. Also, it grabs on to the skin rather well, and you have to work quickly to blend it if you're using your fingertips (like I usually do). Frankly, it was kind of difficult to manage. However, once I switched to using a concealer brush, the Coverup became much more compliant. I could indeed build coverage to my satisfaction, and, most importantly, it stayed in place! I could sneeze without fear again! Rejoice!

This concealer can also be used on blemishes with satisfactory results. Again, using a pointy concealer brush is key here. You can tap your pinky over it to help blend, but applying it with fingers seemed to make it splotchy and cakey. On the plus side, it doesn't look all weird and glowy like some undereye concealers can. It dries to a matt (but not dry) finish on the skin, and so won't emphasise spots. You can also dab this over any red areas, and it helps even out skin tone. I would definitely suggest starting out with thin layers though, as this makes blending much easier.

All in all, I'm very happy with my purchase. The tube will last a long time, and it's a good multi-purposer. No more layering concealers! The downside is that I must use a brush if I want full coverage, and this takes much longer than what I'm used to (it probably adds about 5 minutes to my morning routine, although this might go down with greater practice). But, in return for awake-looking eyes that last through the day with no touch-ups, it's a small price to pay!

[EDIT: It's raining cats & dogs today, and I got an eyeful of water, courtesy of a drippy awning. Not fun, but the the Cover-up stayed in place! No touch-up needed! Hurrah!]

[EDIT #2: Apparently, I was just a make-up klutz. It no longer takes 5 minutes to put concealer on. I've discovered that if you use your fingers for the undereye, it's fine so long as you pick up enough product. Three cheers for MAC Select Cover Up! It's a winner!]

* So of course, blogging is the way to reduce my workload and use my time efficiently.

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Friday, April 14, 2006

Product Review*: Pureology SuperStraight

Ok. So, I've never been a cosmetics snob kind of girl. In fact, I've always believed that your regular ol' drugstore cosmetics usually work as well, if not better than their high-end competitors. And even if the pricier stuff is better, the difference would be so minimal that paying 3x for the product would just be downright silly. While a cushy MAC lipgloss might make me feel all splurgy and special, I do most of my buying from my friendly neighbourhood Shopper's.

But -- there's nothing wrong with free samples of ridiculously priced products, right? WRONG! I believe drug dealers are familiar with this marketing tactic.

Last night, I found these samples of Pureology's Super Straight Shampoo & Conditioner in my make-up bag. Acutally, they had been there in full sight for god knows how long (we're talking years here), but I never bothered to rip them open. I guess I was feeling adventurous last night, so into the shower they went.

The shampoo didn't look like anything special... in fact, I've already forgotten what it looked like. It lathered ok, and smelled all organic and botanical and shit. Like... lavender? [EDIT: I sniffed the remanents of the sample. Lavender? I don't know what I was smoking... it smells like fizzy cola. Maybe fizzy, organic, and botanical cola, but there's a definite cola zing] Normally, I'm not a fan of lavender or other herby smells, but I recently had my very first facial, and the botancially-smelling stuff they used on me made my face feel so damn good that positive associations were instantly formed. Connectionism is a wonderful thing.

Right, Pureology. So I rinse out the shampoo, and then put the conditioner on. There wasn't a lot of product in the sample (my hair eats up conditioner), so I had to use add bit of my regular conditioner to cover all my hair. Same smell as the shampoo, but this looked a bit thicker than regular conditioners.

When I rinsed it out, my hair was lacking that egg-yolk slip you get from the silicone-loaded deep conditioners I know and love. Bummer. But I did feel all vindicated: see? The $20 products don't do anything more than my freakin' Thermasilk! This stuff is highway robbery! And with that cheerful thought, I went off to bed.

Fast-forward to this morning. Even before I had straightened my hair, even before I'd passed so much as a comb through it... I could see that it was SHINY. That kind of deep glow that you see from strong, dark hair. It actually made my hair look a bit darker. Neato.

I continued with my usual routine of shine spray + straightener. When I was done, I was again surprised by the amount of shine... I probably didn't even need the shine spray. Also, my hair was not that "wimpy" kind of soft that I usually get from drugstore products. You know the kind... it's silky, but kinda flat and floppy. Nope... this time, my hair felt soft, but also strong and nourished. And I still smelled all botanical goddess. Strangely, I actually found my hair a bit harder to straighten. Not in an annoying way, it was just as if my hair was standing up for itself (see above re: wimpy hair). But oh, the shine!

So shit! Of COURSE the shampoo/conditioner that I fall in love with is a bajillion dollars. (Or $25. Whatever.) Of course. And now I don't know what to do. I love shiny hair, but I also love food. Plus, if they cut off my water, how the hell would I use my lovely new hair stuff? Such a conundrum.

For now, I shall make peace by going to look at my shiny swingy tresses. Enjoy it while it lasts, hair. You probably won't be getting a treat like this again for a while.

* Let's not kid ourselves. Product reviews are no longer 'random' -- they have become the raison d'etre for this blog. Why keep up the pretense?