Beginner, Eyeshadow, Face, How-To, Smashbox

Smashbox Wonder Vision Mega Palette

smashbox wonder vision palette

Ulta exclusive, $49

WHEW! This palette was a chore to swatch and photograph. It’s really hard to shoot a picture of a mirror without capturing your own reflection. Have you ever caught your own face in a reflective surface before you had to time to prepare yourself? Yuck, right? It’s like that, but instead of being a passing glance, it’s there on your camera roll so you can really look at how squishy your chin looks.

Photography problems aside, I’ve been having so much fun with this palette! It’s been sitting in front of my mirror since I brought it home, and I’ve used it almost every time I’ve done my makeup since then. It’s the first non-Naked palette I’ve bought in a long time, and with 30 shadows, 3 blushes, and a bronzer, I think it’s a good buy.

This post is going to be long on photos, maybe short on words. We’ll see. I never set out to write most of the stuff I end up posting.

smashbox wonder vision inside

smashbox wonder vision interior

This palette contains a wide array of colors and finishes, and they’re all coordinated to make putting together looks easier. I tried to swatch all the colors on my arm, but, they didn’t show up like I’d hoped. This is the first time I’ve swatched a whole palette! Bear with me!

smashbox wonder vision swatch 1

smashbox wonder vision 2

smashbox wonder vision 3

Most of the colors were very easy to work with, the exception being some of the matte, light colored shadows. A couple of them took a few more swipes of the brush to get them to show up bright, but that’s ok. They were still manageable, and I didn’t go, “Eww. No.” Which I’ll totally do! It wasn’t even close to a deal breaker for me. I’ll take a buildable color over a garish mess any day. Those couple of semi-sheer shadows were nothing when you put them with the rest of the shadows in this palette. The satin, and shimmery shadows were absolutely gorgeous. They blended nicely and the color payoff was great. The silver, in particular, was soooo pretty.

I know a lot of people are intimidated by palettes. I’ve heard from two people just in the last week that they don’t know where to start with palettes, they aren’t sure how to use them, so they just don’t buy them. I understand that. That makes me sad though because palettes can be a really great buy. They’re particularly great if you want to expand your makeup collection without spending a lot of money. This Smashbox palette has 30 shadows in it for $49. Their eyeshadow trios contain colors that are just a touch bigger than the shadows in this palette, and those are $28. I think this palette would be great for beginners, or anyone who gets overwhelmed by their choices because Smashbox has made this palette very easy to use. Besides the coordinated colors, it comes with four clear plastic cards that show you how to combine colors to achieve a more in depth look. They’re really cool because you just place them over the colors you want to wear, and you can see exactly which colors you should be using where.

smashbox wonder vision card

Isn’t that rad?! I used the cards myself a few times to check them out, and the directions were clear and easy to handle. It’s a good way to learn a little more about how to apply shadows. Once you get the hang of it using the cards, you’ll probably feel more confident on your own with other shadows!

These are a couple looks I’ve done with this palette since I’ve had it. I don’t always take pictures in front of my lights and backdrop every time I do my makeup, we’d never get out of the house if I did. But, I did grab a couple. The first one is primarily silver, and the second one uses the rust colored shadows show above.

smashbox wonder vision look1

smashbox wonder vision look2

Sorry about the lighting in the last photo. I didn’t intend to use this picture here, I was just looking at my own face. You know how in Clueless, when Cher is picking out outfits, she says she always takes polaroids because she doesn’t trust mirrors? It’s the same thing as that. I catch things that need to blended or touched up all the time like this. Plus, I like  any opportunity to look at a good picture of myself!

The blushes are nice, they’re also buildable, so that’s good. I think a lot of people prefer that in a blush. The bronzer is GREAT. It isn’t shimmery, so it’s good for contouring. I’ve been using it to bring up my cheekbones, and I love it. I predict I’ll hit the pan on the bronzer, actually.

This palette is a good buy financially and artistically. It has colors that can take you to a lot of different places with a lot of different looks. It makes application easy to understand, and easy to do. It would be really good for traveling. Wait. Do other people travel like I do? Does this seem like a lot to bring with you? I don’t think it does. You could slip this in between a couple of shirts, no problem. Then, you’d have neutrals and bright colors for whatever you wanted to do! It’s so easy!

Buy the Smashbox Wonder Vision Mega Palette exclusively at Ulta HERE.

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Beauty Tools, Beginner, Eyeliner, How-To

Cat Eye Tips

stila

Look. I’m a little bit of a bullshitter when I need to be. I think I might be the World’s Smartest Lady, so I’m usually pretty confident in my ability to figure things out. I’ll fake it until I make it. Unless I think I can’t make it, then I’m all, “This is stupid!” and I quit. Who needs to keep at something stupid? Also, I can dish it out, but I can’t take it. That piece of info is neither here nor there, but, I thought since I was freely discussing the worst parts of my personality, it was worth mentioning.

What I am not faking is my ability to do a killer cat eye. I wasn’t always good though. I’ve spent lots and lots of time making a huge mess of my eyelids. But, at this point, I’ve been working at it for 15 years, so it doesn’t intimidate me anymore. I can bang out an even, perfect line in just a couple minutes. It’s extremely satisfying, and I want that feeling for you too.

I thought I’d share a couple tricks I use that might help you achieve a cat eye!

1. Draw the tail first! That’s the hardest part, but it’s easier if you do it first, and then connect it to the rest of the line. You can always build if you need to, but you’ll have a good line to follow. Pick a static, easy to find spot you can match to the other side, and start the end of your tail there. Like, line up the end of your tail under the end of your eyebrow, then do the same thing on the other side.

2. Do your bad eye before you do your good eye. You guys know what I mean, right? Your dominant hand will be the same side as your good eye. I’m sure you’ve already figured that out though. It’s way easier to match a good eye to a bad eye than it is to do it the other way around. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve drawn a beautiful cat eye on the right side, only to draw a completely different cat eye on the left side. It’s so annoying. That’s how you start down the slippery slope of, “I’m just going to even this up a little!” You know where that gets you. Nowhere good.

3. Start with a thin line. You can make it thicker little by little. This is self explanatory.

4. If you really struggle with liquid liner, consider switching to a gel liner with an angled brush. Years and years ago, when I would still take half an hour to do my liner, Benefit came out with a thin, angled eyeliner brush that totally revolutionized the cat eye for me. I used it for a long time, and it made my eyeliner so much easier, it was ridiculous. After I went back to liquid liner, I didn’t really have the same struggles. Those brushes are like liquid liner training wheels.

sonia liner brush

This one is available at Target for $5.99. I have it, and it’s solid. The angle makes it much easier to see what you’re doing, and it feels more natural in your hand. Get a little pot of liner, and you’re good to go!

5. PRACTICE! Like I’ve said here before, you might be bad at something the first few times you try it, but you probably won’t be bad on your twentieth time. If you have the time and attention span, do your cat eye, wipe it off, and do it again. Or, do it on days you don’t have anywhere to be. The experience adds up, especially if you’re working at it regularly.

These are the best tips I can think of right now. Keep at it and you’ll grab that cat by the tail, I promise

I hope these tricks help!

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Beginner, Education, Guest, How-To, Lab Bunny Crew

Newbie to Junkie: Tips for Beauty Beginners

Today, I have a post from MY NEW INTERNET FRIEND, STEPH. I asked her to write a guest post after another friend, Denys, said she thought, based on Steph’s comments, she’d be a great fit for the site. After Denys pointed it out, it seemed so obvious! DUH. The only reason I missed it was because I spend most of my time thinking about myself. 

Because cosmetics and beauty have always been a part of my life, I often forget that not everyone has the experience and know-how that I do. It’s come up here before. Steph pitched her idea for a post about tips for beginners who are looking to step up their beauty game, and I was like, YES, DO THAT!! Her recently acquired knowledge is thorough and insightful. She’s a natural! 

I’m super excited to have her stepping outside the comment box and into the spotlight! I hope you all enjoy reading what she has to say as much as I did. Thanks for your great comments and warm messages, Steph! I’m so happy your voice is a part of The Lab Bunny!

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Steph post photo

Hi!  I’m Steph, fellow beauty junkie!  I’ve been a fairly regular commenter on The Lab Bunny and was extremely flattered to be asked by Sarah to guest post.  I’m a novice when it comes to makeup, especially compared to Sarah’s mad skills, but I’ve been actively working to get better over the last year.  I want to offer some advice on getting started to my fellow newbies, but first I want you guys to understand why I stayed away from makeup for so long. 

My first experience with makeup was a traumatic one.  I was in the fourth grade and had been picked to represent my school for a fundraiser.  Being the representative was a BIG DEAL; I wanted to look perfect for my moment onstage, so I asked my stepmom to give me a makeover.  She agreed, and I immediately started imagining what I’d look like once she was done.  I’d never worn makeup before, but even at that age I was a firm believer in its ability to make the ordinary into something more.

I remember sitting down in the dining room, surrounded by her beauty tools.  As she went to work, I envisioned what the end result would be.  I was guessing I’d pretty much look like Cindy Crawford or Jennifer Aniston.  As soon as she finished, I raced into the bathroom to check out how gorgeous I’d become, only to see this staring back at me:

mimi

I wish I was joking, but I had bright red lipstick, an insane amount of blush, clumpy mascara, and blue eyeshadow for days.  I’ve got nothing but love for Mimi, but I just don’t have the coloring to pull that kind of look off.  As I stared at my reflection in horror, I heard my dad call to me that it was time to head out.  There was no fixing this before school started.

I’m not going to get into the details of how that day went down for me, other than to say that the adults at my school were surprisingly polite about my brand new baby hooker look.  Predictably the other kids were assholes.  I decided that day that makeup was not to be trusted.  Some people looked good with it, but I was not one of those people.  I stayed pretty far away from makeup after this, except for lip gloss and mascara when I occasionally went to a school dance.  Luckily I was a big tomboy in high school, so it didn’t come up often.

It wasn’t until I hit my mid-twenties that my girly gene finally kicked in.  I started small by having mini spa days every few weeks, complete with manicures, face masks, and deep hair conditioning treatments.  To me, these things are basically the gateway drugs of the beauty world.  They take almost no knowledge or expertise to use successfully, so using them served as a good transition into girliness.  After a few months of that, I felt ready to start tackling makeup again.

Getting into makeup can be really intimidating.  There are a million different products, many of which you may not have realized existed before.  Below is the best advice I have for someone who’s just starting out.

Know what look you’re going for, and don’t get overwhelmed.  There are so many different ways to do your makeup, and if you don’t get an idea in your head of what you like, it’s going to be hard to decide where to start.  Take some time to look at pictures and think about what speaks to your.  Do you want to look natural?  Dramatic?  Retro?

Personally, I’m obsessed with a perfect cat eye and really red lips.  When I started out, I knew that’s what I wanted to be able to do; it helped me get an idea of what products (other than the basics) I need to buy and what techniques I needed to learn.  Going to a makeup counter and asking them to give you an application in your favorite style is also a good idea before you start buying products.  A smoky purple eye could look amazing on you, or it could make you look like you’ve just gone up against Mike Tyson for a few rounds in the boxing ring.  It’s best to find that out before you buy the eyeshadow.

Practice every chance you get.  DO NOT wait until an hour before you’re leaving the house to attend a party to become an expert on creating the perfect smokey eye.  You will fuck it up, you won’t have enough time/expertise to fix it, and the night will end in tears.  When the pressure’s on, stick with tried and true makeup you’ve done in the past.  Practice applying colors, products, and looks you’re never used or done before when there’s no rush.  One of my favorite times to test new tricks out is just before I wash my face at the end of the night.  Even if I completely screw it up, I only have to look at my face for a minute before it becomes a clean slate again.  There are still things I regularly make a mess of, but practice really does make perfect.

Use the internet!  Seriously guys, it’s not just for porn anymore.  There are a million different resources available, including everything from product reviews to step-by-step tutorials.  Whenever I’m getting ready to buy something new, I do a ton of research before I take the plunge so I don’t get stuck with something I hate.  Once you’ve got a short list of products you’re interested in, head to a Sephora, Ulta, or department store makeup counter and test all the things.  There is no substitute for getting a product in your hands and checking it out for yourself.  I always feel better about making a big makeup purchase if I do both of these before I pull the trigger.

Some of my favorite online resources for buying products and getting tutorials (other than The Lab Bunny, of course) are listed below.

Reddit’s Makeup Addiction Subreddit (http://www.reddit.com/r/MakeupAddiction/)  Reddit can be an awful place sometimes, but their Makeup Addiction subreddit is fantastic.  You’ll find links to articles, tutorials, information about new products, and before and after pictures.  You can also post your own pictures up for constructive criticism and suggestions on your makeup.

Reddit’s Makeup Exchange Subreddit (http://www.reddit.com/r/makeupexchange/)  This is another really useful subreddit, and it’s one of the first places I go when I want to try a new product.  It’s premise is this: users post up lists of the products they have that they’d like to get rid of, or lists of products they’re trying to track down.  Other users can then offer to swap products from their own collection, or buy products outright.  Sometimes the products are used/sanitized, sometimes they’re brand new.  I’ve had great luck trading here; this month alone I picked up Urban Decay foundation and the Urban Decay Naked 2 palette for well below retail.  More details on how the swapping system works are listed on the site, and there are many other makeup swapping sites out there if this concept interests you.

Temptalia (http://www.temptalia.com/)  This is one of the greatest sites for product reveiws.  Not only do you get detailed descriptions, ratings, and gorgeous swatches to look at, duplicate shades from other brands are linked so you can check out all the options available to you.

The Beauty Department (http://thebeautydepartment.com/)  This site has so many comprehensive how-to guides for basically every aspect of makeup application.  If you don’t even know how to apply foundation yet, The Beauty Department can help.

xoVain (http://www.xovain.com/) This site has a lot of good (and completely random) makeup tutorials.  They did “how to look like Bowie” earlier this year!  Alle’s posts in particular are wonderful.

I hope this was helpful!  I know I’m kind of long-winded, so thanks for putting up with my rambling.

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Education, Eyeshadow, How-To, Links

The Blends

One of my biggest beauty pet peeves is seeing unblended eyeshadow out in the wild. Like, I get it, these things take practice. But, DAMN GURL, YOU GOT A MIRROR OR WUT? How do people not see these things?

It can just look really bad. That’s all I’m saying.

Check out this tutorial: 3 Easy Ways To Blend Your Eyeshadow Like A Pro

The first two blends are especially relevant to the looks most people want to do. That last one, the cut crease, that’s some more advanced shit; use only if you’re ok with people looking at you.

 

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Eyeliner, Eyeshadow, Fave Looks, How-To, Links

Too much eyeliner for the house!

rachel bilson the to do list tbd

I have a sort of complicated relationship with The Beauty Department. Some of their stuff makes me roll my eyes, some of their stuff makes me scramble for my brushes and a reason to do fancy makeup. Like this “RED CARPET BREAKDOWN” of Rachel Bilson’s look at the premiere of “The To-Do List” has got me wishing we weren’t broke right now, so I could get dressed up and go out.

Check it out HERE.

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Eyeshadow, Face, How-To, Moisturizer, Unsolved Hysteries, Urban Decay

Unsolved Search Hysteries

unsolved hysteries

One of the best things about having this site is getting to see the summaries of search engine terms that bring people to the Lab Bunny every day. In this grab bag of internet psyche, some of the searches are hilarious, some are disturbing, and some are actually decent. I thought I’d do some little quickie answers to help with these UNSOLVED SEARCH HYSTERIES!!

is Trader Joe’s body butter good for face?”

I wouldn’t do that if I were you. Body lotions and face lotions have different ingredients and different properties. Even an all natural body lotion is probably going to be much heavier than anything you’d want to use on your face, and they probably aren’t non-comedogenic, so they’ll maybe block your pores. You only want to put lotions on your face that are non-comedogenic and, preferably, made specifically for faces.

how to UD eyeshadow no glitter fallout”

Those UD glitter eyeshadows are pretty notorious for their fallout. I getcha. They’ve worked to improve their formulas over the years, and I’ve found the fallout issue has improved, too. Improved does not equal no fallout though. These are the best things you can do to minimize glitter fallout from any brand of shadow: 1. If you’re doing a heavy glitter or dark shadow look that you know to be prone to fallout, do your eyes before doing your foundation, powder etc. It’s easier to clean up any mess that way, and you don’t have to redo anything that got smudged, or you had to wipe off.  2. Use a primer, or an epoxy. If you can, instead of layering different shadows underneath, apply the glitter shadow directly to your primered lid. 3. Use a flatter brush to press the glitter shadow onto your eye instead of brushing or swiping. You deposit more glitter that way, and you’re able to concentrate color with less distribution onto your cheeks and around your eyes. 4. Hold a folded tissue under your eye, against your cheek, to catch anything that drops. This works under your bottom lashes too to keep mascara from getting where it shouldn’t. 5. Setting spray.

“boringporno.com”

Sounds great. Good luck with that. Sorry I couldn’t help. Or, maybe I did. Since there aren’t any people f’ing on this site, this would make some pretty boring porno. So, I’m sorry. Or, you’re welcome.

*****

Unsolved Hysteries: SOLVED. Keep the search engine terms coming, weirdos.

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Education, Friday I'm in Love, How-To, Kevyn Aucoin

Making Faces by Kevyn Aucoin

fridayiminlove3

 

I had no idea what I was going to run for today’s Friday I’m in Love. I have something for next week, but that would call for a photo, and my hair is in no condition to be captured online for all eternity.

Have you guys noticed that my hair is always a mess? I feel like I talk about it nonstop. Seriously, if I didn’t think I would look exactly like my dad, I’d shave it off. Girls that can pull off shaved heads are dead sexy to me. Doesn’t it sound so freeing? My friend that does my hair would probably stab me to death with her scissors if I asked her to just shave it off. I like to make her do things to my hair she doesn’t want to do, but that would probably be too far. She’d snap!

Lucky for me, during a conversation with a friend last night, I mentioned this book, and my brain hamster started running on her wheel.

making faces

Making Faces by Kevyn Aucoin, $16.01

You’re looking at my own well loved, bruised and battered (mmm….battered) copy here. I’ve hauled this book around with me from house to apartment to pool house to house to apartment to house to apartment to house since 1999. You can’t tell from this picture, but the pages are coming loose and it’s full of random bookmarks. I love this book. I’m not exaggerating. I have actual love in my heart for this book. If they ever stopped printing it, I’d put my copy under lock and key, in an underground bunker, behind some of those lasers you can only get past if you do sexy butt wiggles all around them.

It’s like this: if George Michael’s video for “Too Funky” is my origin story, then Making Faces is my time spent on a Chinese mountain with Pai Mei, learning the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique.

Kevyn Aucoin was an extremely gifted and talented artist. His techniques and advice still hold up, and even at nearly 15 years later, his looks aren’t dated. This book covers nearly everything you’d need to know about starting out in makeup, and taking your makeup to the next level. It has segments on skincare and prep, facial structure, shading and highlighting, brows, foundation, concealer, liner, lashes, lips and cheeks. It even has a little bit on cosmetic surgery. He doesn’t just tell you about eyeliner and lipsticks, he talks about different eye and lip shapes. He doesn’t just tell you about contouring, he shows you in an exaggerated, easy to follow way, where everything is supposed to go. He’ll teach you how to build a face that will highlight your best features, or, he’ll teach you how to completely cover your eyebrows so you can draw on new ones. This book is brilliant. Completely.

After he teaches you the basics of makeup, he shows you wearable looks for many, many, many different faces and occasions, following that with more in depth costume and heavy transformation looks. The step by step instructions are easy to follow and well illustrated, and the photos are totally stunning.

making faces courtney love

This is so beautiful, it hurts my heart.

I mean, look at freaking Courtney Love up there!! I’ll admit to having a soft spot for her looks through the years, disheveled and otherwise, but come on. This look, this photo, it’s really something ethereal.

SIDE NOTE: When I was, like, 13, I told my mom I wished I looked like Courtney Love and she was all, “LIKE A HEROIN ADDICT?!?!” And I was like, whoooah, yeesh, calm down. I just wanted to have real big boobs and be able to wear one of those clingy satiny dresses without rolls showing. Hey, one out of two ain’t bad.

All the years I’ve had this book, I still break it out to check myself. I feel like I can still learn from it, even though, not s my own d, my own makeup skills are above average.

Please, please buy this book for yourself. I promise you will be completely enthralled, entertained and educated.

Buy “Making Faces” HERE.

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