2017…look back at it Make up Edition

2017 hot garbage we know.

SO let’s talk about make up that rocked my lil world. *Again affiliate links, y’all know.

Foundation:

NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Total Control Drop Foundation. – Y’all. Y’ALL. 14$. The MOST adjustable coverage. I love this foundation. For drugstore, it is my holy grail even though it isn’t technically matte or long wear. A++

L’ORÉAL Infallible Pro-Matte 24HR Foundation. Honorable mention. This was my ride or die for a long time but, unfortunately when my skin cleared up it stopped being quite so awesome. Still HELLA good though.

Powders:

The Fiona Stiles INVISIBLE FINISH LOOSE SETTING POWDER is great. Not 26$ great, I picked mine up on super clearance at ULTA in the shade Sorrento. Finely milled, no flashback. Nice velvety finish. Ulta doesn’t carry it anymore but if you can find it discounted on Ebay yes. I’ve been using it under my foundation (we’ll talk about that later) and it is a very nice powder.

MAYBELLINE Fit Me Loose Finishing Powder. I picked this up in deep IN A DRUG STORE NEAR MY HOME, y’all that shit was amazing. So the powder is very finely milled, very soft and smooth. I’ve used a lot of loose powders and this one is right up there with my beloved Cover Fx matte powder. Even when I wear a satin finish foundation on occasion it keeps my face more matte than not. Even in the middle of the  period skin freak out, my face didn’t lose coverage or grease up. I def. recommend also it comes in a good variety of shades.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it but I spend a lot of time looking for a pressed powder that works for me somewhat close to Mac Blot Powder (holy grail powder) and this year I’ve gone through a few. My current go to fave with notes is the Wet N wild Photo Focus pressed powder. Okay first impression I found it a little hard to manage. It added coverage and is very easy to cake up in a bad way. Also the compact has no goddamn mirror.

HOLD UP.

HELLO ENGINEERS. Yes the little dome packaging is sleek, it has a weight in the hand that doesn’t say, this is cheap shit. BUT, do you know how hard it is to hold your phone up to your face, palm your powder AND put it on. Nah son.

That said, I used a super fluffy little kabuki rather than the puff and made sure to blot before powder and the finish is lovely. Velvety. Very pretty. I recommend this one for folks who wear little or no foundation. It will add a bit of coverage and keep you lookin smooth.

NEXT ONE (I KNORITE, powders and lip products man.)

Honorable mention: MAYBELLINE Fit Me Matte + Poreless Powder. This is the pressed powder and like the wet n wild can do you dirty if not applied carefully. That said it does give that silky velvet matte finish. Also super affordable. This one I don’t find in drugstores so much in my color.

Mascaras:

So I usually have a rotation of four or five mascaras depending on how I want my lashes to look. In the last few months I’ve been using ONE.

Rimmel Volume Accelerator Mascara, is a fucking ALL STAR. On the face of it, I thought I’d hate this mascara. This version has a huge brush, is very wet but y’all. First of all, it gives my lashes a lengthened fanned appearance. Also, I think it has indeed accelerated my lashes. I didn’t do before photos because I didn’t think I’d get effects. Even the Uniballer noticed my lashes look fuller. I want to try the serum too.

Wet N Wild Lash Renegade. It has a weird spiky brush with a wand and once I got the hang of it, I am very into the look. I like to wear fourteen pounds of mascara and I can with this without it getting too messy. WNW is cruelty free if that’s a thing you are into. It is cheap and hugely available. The only reason it isn’t my go to is because I have shaky hands and sometimes I can’t be having a spiky thing near my eyeballs. Love it. It is super good on the lower lash line for me, my bottom lashes are stumpy and this brush grabs them without being messy.

Lips:

I am a lip product FANATIC. Lipstick, lipgloss, balms, tinted balms YOU NAME IT! I love it.

First some all star balms. I suffer easily dehydrated lips. I have allergies and sometimes I mouth breath in my sleep and my lips crack.

A new favorite balm is the Badger Creamy Cocoa Cocoa Butter Lip Balm. I grabbed it on a whim and am very pleased. It goes on nice and thick, the cocoa butter melts right into your lips and they are very soft. It isn’t strongly flavored, it smells/tastes like unrefined cocoa butter. Also it makes an amazing matte lipstick remover and after scrub balm.

Alba Botanica Hawaiian Pineapple Quench Lip Balm.  Another newer fave. I love this one for nighttime under a heavy thick product. Nothing weird in it, it doesn’t taste/smell super strongly. This is a great balm for people who don’t like a beeswaxy or thick balm.

Gloss next. I don’t mind a matte lip but at heart I am a gloss person. I love a wet look shiny lip.

First up a brand new fave. The Milani Stellar Lights Holographic Lip Gloss. Y’ALL. I haven’t been looking at make up for a couple of months since we’re moving/saving dollars. However, to celebrate my little poetry book coming out I snagged this on a whim because it was blue and shiny. YO. First of all, how DARE they come out with a duochrome gloss that is also hella sparkly. Second of all, the depth of sparkle in it is gorgeous. This is the holo/duochrome I’ve been DREAMING ABOUT. The color shift is visible on naked lips and it’s just amazing. I will be buying all of them.

Pro tip for brown babes especially those with dark or not red lips. Glosses like these are AMAZING on non red lips. If you want more of a nude sparkle, go for a goldenish tone version. For real.

I’ve gone through two tubes of the BURT’S BEES Lip Shine this year. One in pucker and one in the brownish shade. I found the coverage to be buildable from totally sheer to tinted. This is another one in that browny shade if you have brown or dark lips is !!!. A tiny bit sticky which I don’t mind. It is very moisturizing to me. And shiny.

For high end, hands down my pants Mac Lipglass is my shit. I buy one probably once every couple of years for at least ten years now? My favorites are the kind of milky shades, the nudes. The high sparkle ones. My favorite of the last few years came from their Star Trek inspired collab. MAC Star Trek Dramatic Color Lipglass (Warp Speed Ahead). Not the best feeling but it is so pretty I don’t even care.

Shout outs to the two dollar store glitter glosses I have that have more glitter than the more expensive ones. Don’t sleep on the dollar store y’all. Especially for small things like glosses and nail polish.

What else?

OH I have bought and used concealers and primers. Normally I don’t do all that but sometimes I like to have them on hand.

For my brown folks with the blue toned hyperpigmentation. Baby, come here. Closer, listen to your Auntie. This shit right here. WILL block that blue/blackness so you can be great. My favorite color corrector of ALL FUCKING TIME. L.A. GIRL HD Pro Concealer 

Y’all. If you are brown you want the orange. Start with a wee bit and play with it. SHIT WORKS. If you are tan down through medium beige, get the peach. If you are medium beige to very pale, get the peach and the white and mix them down.

To do undereye non hyperpigmentation things, I use NYX Professional Makeup Hi Definition Photo Concealer Wand. I grabbed it on sale and it is creamy, easy to blend for concealer noobs and is amazing.

Okay my loves. I will calm down. These are my absolute stand outs for new/recurring make up faves. Next it will be hair stuff.

Stay tuned.

Auntie loves you.

Femme Files- Playing with my make up

Let’s talk beauty today my loves.

One of the things I’ve learned about myself is that my love of make up is something that fulfills some very specific needs. It lets me play, when I was a baby potato I loved playing dress up and doing a full face of make up. I could spend literal hours carefully trying to replicate make up looks from magazines. I have lots of good memories of this.

One of them was when my Mom was a hair model for a small salon. On select days, she’d pack me up and we’d go to the salon and she’d get her hair done and do a shoot. There was a make up artist who after seeing me gently looking in his kit, set me up at a station and I successfully duplicated a shiny red lip/smokey eye combo. I loved him, I never made a mess. It was magic to me then and is magic to me now.

Once I got over hating make up for a while in my 20s because I couldn’t afford Mac and drug stores usually carried only beige and dark beige I started playing again. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. Lately I’ve been deep diving my stash for funsies.

First let me show you some old tries from years ago.

This one is from 2008ish? It was my first try at emulating a youtube tutorial. It was done by Leesha from xSparkagex (whom I still follow because she’s delightful):

hulkeye

[image description: close up of a brown eye. There is green and yellow eyeshadow on the upper lid, purple lining the lower]

Back then I was often too shy to post my make up experiments more publicly. I was in a make up lovers community on Livejournal that was so empowering and people were often so kind.

I didn’t wear a lot of color for a couple of years and I don’t know why. Lately I’ve been ALL about playing with stuff like mixing finishes, loud lips.

Let’s have a looksy.

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[image description: the author. Brown skinned femme wearing a long straight dark wig, smokey eye and sparkly red lipgloss]

This look was to go with my new wig. I have been into really undone brows (I almost shaved them off…let’s not talk about it) and here is my technique for a messy grungy smokey eye. You need something dark or black as a base. For this look I used a Sigma Black eyeshadow base that they don’t sell anymore. I also have this set from LA girl and it is the BUSINESS. It works better for me than the UD primer potion and most expensive shadow primers I’ve tried. So use the primer to rough in the shape you like then pack on black or dark eyeshadow and blend until you like it. I used the glittery black from this Maybelline The Rock Nudes Palette. For an inexpensive palette, I’m pretty into this one. Some of the shades you have to work with but overall, it is a great little thing for those dark colors. There are shimmer and matte finishes. I’m into it. The lipgloss was from the Wet N Wild Halloween collection and is super glittery in meatspace.

Don’t sleep on Wet N Wild, it is not the crap of my 90s teenagerhood. They are cruelty free and a LOT of their new stuff is the bomb y’all.

Next lewk.

20171031_061916.jpg

[image description: brown skinned femme wearing their hair in two plaits, black cat eye liner, matte black lipstick and smiling]

Technically this was my Halloween costume. Being an Old Goth means all I had to do was dip in my closet and voila, insta Wednesday Addams. Generally speaking, this is a go to I’m tired and still wanna be cute look. I have literally been doing the same cat eye for probably 20 years. Some days the wing is real big, sometimes not. I like to play with variations on a cat eye. I’ll do the upper wing in one color and the lower in another.

Some of my favorite combos include:

Black on top, messy burgundy on the bottom. I LOVE doing black on top with a metallic green on the bottom.

If you don’t have nine million liners for color pro tip.

For a neat line, do your primer or base color then use a firm small brush like this to pat on the color. Don’t swipe, pack. You can even use the edge of a sponge applicator to pat pat pat in the color. An angled brush like this one is pretty easy to use.

For a messier/grungy application, use a fluffier brush. For my eyes, I will start with the precision application and go in with a pointy blender brush like this one to blur out that shadow. Pro tip about brushes. You don’t have to use expensive brushes to do your make up. My go to daily use brushes are all from E.L.F.

My favorite foundation brush is this one from ELF. It’s their ultimate blending brush and it just works so well. I think I paid like six bucks for it. I have a 25$ one that is like it but I just don’t use it as much. It doesn’t perform as well. I have a TON of their eyeshadow brushes, the white ones. I love them.

I also love the Real Techniques brushes you can find in the drug store. My FAVORITE thing they make is this silicone eyeliner brush. Y’all. This shit right here was a game changer for me and my liner. It was weird to get used to but since there are no bristles, you can get some amazing fine control.

The thing about make up to me is that, it’s not permanent. It is for some of us, how we brace ourselves to deal with the world. Yes sometimes I do stuff that is questionable with my looks and it’s fine. I can take it off or I can rock with it.

Lately, I’ve been trying to learn how to do that neon liner look that was all the rage for a minute. I have yet to master it. I’m also trying to teach myself to put lashes on STILL and shit is hard af.

IF you wanna follow my make up shenanigans follow me on insta for mostly make up, food, random shit. Next time we’re here, I’m gonna talk about skin care I’m lusting after.

 

The Smallest Indulgences

Hello loves.

Today is fucking terrible so I’m gonna hit you with some cheap indulgences/mini reviews. Yes affiliate links are gonna be used. Don’t hate, appreciate.

FIRST THING. I love a good wet shine gloss with or without shimmer. Some glossy stuff I’ve tried lately.

Burt’s Bees Lip Shine, in Pucker.

Okay I grabbed one on a whim out of a clearance bucket because my lips were dry and if I’m gonna be real, my go to self-care, small treat thing is lip products. I’ve been wearing it all day today and the color is very sheer, the texture is thick and jelly like without being sticky. It has a pleasant but not strong sweet taste. Very shiny. Do like. I wouldn’t pay 7$ for it but if you spot one on clearance snag it.

The next thing I tried recently is the Milani Lip Oil shit.

Okay so…I LOVE how it smells. LOVE the shine but I don’t feel like it is much of a treatment. Lip oils had some moments from the early 90s and every now and I always LOVE the idea. Shine, treatment, COLOR but. Y’all. I also tried this one from Sephora and no. The thing about using an oil is that it is meant to absorb right? So while the concept is awesome and the immediate feel is really nice, this is not a great type of product for longevity. That said, if you don’t mind frequent reapplying, it is a shiny nice lil thing.

Next up, I have been getting back into my Nyx Butter Glosses. They are so great. They are inexpensive and come in some great colors. If you are someone who wants to try out some bolder lip colors but aren’t ready for something super opaque these are a great stepping stone. The colors tend towards buildable, they are shiny. They are usually 5-7$ and I LOVE them.

Another thing I love (because I’m wearing more matte lippies) are primers for lips. I like the one from Ulta. The clear Babylips also does the trick. A nice little soft layer. Some matte lippies won’t totally dry down over a primer but I’m willing to trade some wear time for more comfort.

What else?

Well, this post isn’t really about lipstick. It’s more about ways I utilize treat yosefl self care when everything fucking sucks. And right now, everything fucking sucks.

I’ve also been really getting all the way into my skin care stuff. How about a couple of quickie reviews for that?

Garnier SkinActive The Gentle Sulfate-Free Face Wash. I picked this because my face was irritated and I wanted something gentle and non annoying. Pros- no scent, it is a good size bottle and you only need a full pump or so especially if you’ve already removed your make up. My face in particular doesn’t like this. For some reason this product tends to over cleanse my skin. I think it is because I double cleanse and it’s just too much. I tend to reserve this one for days when I don’t need to double cleanse or I wore a fuckton of make up.

[MIZON] Tube Collagen Power Firming Eye Cream is another thing I’ve been experimenting with. This is not a miracle cream but it is very nice. I’ve been using it for about a month or so. If you want something that is more heavy duty and has some power, this ain’t it. I do suggest this for folks who are under 30 or just getting into skin care. I’ll finish the tube and try a new one.

Let’s talk some stuff I want to try. I’m very experimental with some stuff and I’ve got a lil bit of a wish/needs to try.

FORMULA 10.0.6 P.M. Perfector– I am a fan of this brand when I remember it exists. I have a few of their masks and really like them. I LOVE this one FORMULA 10.0.6 Deep Down Detox Ultra Cleansing Mud Mask. It is hardcore and the bergamont fumes burn my eyes a bit but I find it really nice.

I have some facial oils I want to try too. Y’ll I cannot be without a facial oil anymore. I just won’t. I LOVE how juicy and plump they make my skin. ALSO protip, if you suffer skin flakiness near/in your hairline, using some of your face oil into your hairline helps a lot.I want to try the Mario Badrescu Rose Hip oil but I will probably buy it elsewhere because that is expensive af. When I buy more retinol from The Ordinary I’m probably gonna snag the rose hip oil as well.

ANDALOU NATURALS Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask- I REALLY want to try this one. The stuff in it looks good to me and that price is niiiiiiiiiiiiice. Y’all I am still so into the Peter Thomas Roth pumpkin mask but it is so expensive. It really would take up my self care budget for an entire quarter.

I’m super in love with the rebranding from Freeman and I want to try the FEELING BEAUTIFUL Manuka Honey & Tea Tree Oil Foaming Clay.  I really love the 4 in 1 ACV one. I love almost anything clay based.

How about some tips before I close it out for today?

Like hair typing, skin typing is only so good. Learn what your personal skin says. Mine tends to say, YO I AM OILY AS HELL BRUH! It also says, YO LOOK AT THIS FLAKY PATCH NATURE GOT ON U LOLOL FUQ U…And then sometimes it also says- LOOK HOW FUCKING FULL OF MELANIN AND GLORY I AM!

Listen to your skin. Sometimes it will let you know via rashes, breakouts or other weirdness that it has a need.

Just because something is expensive, doesn’t mean it is great. I learned this the hard way in my 20s and y’all nah.

Sometimes, starting simply works. Wash, moisturize, wear SPF. Like that’s really all. And two of those things can be combined.

If you are broke here are my instantly do something great for your skin tips:

  • WATER or other liquid, drink it.
  • If you wear make up brushes, wash them. You don’t need fancy brush cleaner. Hell you can use dishsoap, shampoo, facewash, brush wash, baby soap, body wash (best if it doesn’t have a lot of moisturizing stuff) whatever is sudsy.
  • If you are breaking out, do the above and also go easy on your face. Over aggressive cleansing can make you break out.
  • Be NICE TO YOUR FACE.

That’s all for now.

Go forth, feel cute cause you are.

I See you 2017

Hello darlings.

I hope this finds y’all well as you can be.

Can we talk about 2017?

I keep saying it, but I’ll say it again. I’m turning 40 this year. Holy damn.

Let’s talk the Old Goth at 40.

I’ve given up cheap ballet flats for good. I gave away my last pair with some sadness. I’ve figured out that because of the shape of my feet, I’m best with mary janes with some stretch, my trusty Doc Martens and boots.

And how about some protips?

If you have feet that are more narrow at the heel, Dr. Scholl’s Moleskin Plus. Look for the thicker padding and stick some of this in the back of your shoes. it can help if your heels slip around in shoes, help breaking in shoes AND it even helps breaking in new Docs. Also, y’all. Be nice to your feet. I know shit is expensive, but do take care of them, especially if you are diabetic, or don’t drive.

Next thing. It’s time to start transitioning from my holy shit I’m cold style (lots of layers and leggings and tall socks) to, oh damn I’m kinda cold but getting sweaty.

I am so tired of wearing leggings. Yes, I look adorable in them. I’m giving some major 90s realness with my big sweaters and leggings, but I miss dresses.

I’m so excited about the return of babydolls to go with my skater dresses. I’m a 90s bb and I just LOVE that there are so many affordable options for the cuts I favor and most of them come in black or kinda fugly dark floral prints.

I’m working up a new pin board (shop style affiliate link y’all) with some of the stuff I really REALLY want to be wearing for spring. I have fancy goth aspirations but frankly, I’m really a comfy femme old goth and that’s okay. A lot of what I like you can easily goth up with accessories and styling.

Along with the season change, I’m changing my whole work day. I’m retiring from being a professional night owl and moving back into the daytime worker world. I’m not enthused about getting up at the buttcrack of dawn, I am pretty excited to think that my partner and I will be able to go out and do stuff!

Also, like since I might actually have a life outside of work I need going out wear right?

I want to stop here to make a note of something I’m experiencing in the post Trumpfuckian nightmare.

As things have progressed, I’m settling into this very uh, peaceful rage. I want to pull out all my weapons all the time and that includes my Femmeness. I am walking around with my booty out, back straight and chin up.

I walk around giving fewer and fewer fucks about a lot of things daily. Among them, what anyone ever has to say about how I look, how I work out my gender presentation etc. Not. One. Single. Fuck.

Being that I’ve been unable to wear the amount of dresses I like, I’ve been opting for feeling like I’m representing some beat face rugged Femme Realness and I look quite unbothered.

My go to look aside from big sweaters and leggings and tall socks has been my new FAVE skinny jeans. Y’all, I actually really hate to wear jeans. I don’t like how denim feels on my skin most of the time. I have the Lovesick High Waisted black skinny jeans.* They are super black, very comfy. I’m kind of chunky teenager size and I have these in a size 15 for bloated days (today) and a size 13 for a tighter fit. I do find the legs a bit too long for me and they aren’t as skin tight skinny on me as they are on the model but I actually really like them. I also have the lower rise version and I would actually pay full price for em.

For a jeans hater like me, they are pretty great.

I also enjoy some nerdy tees. Uniballer and I are both big fans of Tee Turtle (good sizing range, variety of cuts, GREAT prices and cute designs).

And as for my make up, I’m back to dabbling in the slightly weird. Today behold my faceballs.

Okay so I’m wearing a big ass wing today. For my big wings I do not fuck around. I use a very very black gel liner. (Affiliate links ahoy) My current hands down fave is the L’ORÉAL Infallible Gel Lacquer Liner 24 Hour liner in Blackest Black. I’ve used eleventy billion kinds of liner and for a big ole super black wing this is my never fail. It is as dark as Mac Blacktrack Fluidline but it’s not 17 damn dollars. A lot of the time I buy them bogo and always have a back up.

Being that I was really not fucking around, I used my Aesthetica Pro Series Lip Brush for my liner. Now I know some of you are like um, but lip brush? No seriously. If you have a big ole eye and love a bigass wing, this type of brush makes things way easier. Also, remember if you have a bigger brush the line is always gonne be chunkier and you may need to go in with a smaller brush to pack product at your lashline. I have like four of that type of brush and they are perfect for me.

Next I did something a lil weird. I put this random (it is in an unlabled baggie so it may have been a prototype or 1 off) bright red eyeshadow right in the inner corner of my eye above the liner line. That wasn’t an accident I did it on purpose. I used a little flat shader brush like the one in this kit on amazon. I didn’t blend I just packed color in there. To pack color on, you want to press press press and not do wiper motions. I really wanted a splotch of friggin red and didn’t put on another color or blend it at all. I used the edge (this takes practice) of the same brush and packed that color on my lower lash line too. I took it to the end of the cat eye liner (I cannot get a good pic) and a little in the inner corner tear duct area. Then I piled on mascara and finished with my fave griege nude lippie.

NYX COSMETICS Lip Lingerie Liquid Lipstick in Honeymoon. I’ve tried both high end and low end liquid matte lippies and the lingerie line is in my top two for comfort and wear.

Then I powdered the shit out of my fave and walked out the door.

I cut my own damn bangs on this wig, I’ve got a rekindled interest in doing less “proper” make up. I don’t give a fuck.

I want to fully inhabit the fuck out of my GenderQueer Chunky Assed Old Gothness.

How I present my outer body is my armor. It is how I survive and how I shore myself up when I’m flagging. Look at my face, I know that not only am I the enemy of many factions who are now in charge that it will chap their collective ass to have me walking around with my head up, not cowering in fucking terror.

So you know what?

Fuck it.

That said, I’m going to resume my little body modification savings fund. Maybe for my birthday I’ll finally get my septum pierced or get a small tattoo.

If you followed me from the blogger days, y’all know every year at the gentle prodding of friends I make a ridiculous wishlist for my birthday. I made one. If you buy me a book PLEASE buy the cheapest copy. I don’t need em brand new y’all. Find that here. 

I am depressed and scared. I’m making some other life changes that are scary but happening. Life is rolling on and I gotta roll with it or get flattened.

Stay tuned for some other major announcements.

If you want to follow my other writing, sign up to my writer newsletter which is really a love letter to my fellow creatives. I talk about art, resistance, trauma, what I’m workin on. Lots of stuff. Check out the archive here and sign up if you’re so moved.

I love y’all.

Take care of each other and yourselves.

Love,

Auntie Shannon

 

 

#bodygoals #beautygoals and thangs.

I’ve been daydreaming pretty heavily lately about my end game in terms of body modification. Oh wait, you didn’t think this would be about waist trainers or some shit did you?

Nope.

If I was going to do any waist training it would be tight lace corsetry. But that’s a whole other entry.

SO.

Due to financial shit, my partner and I were unable to get our septums pierced for his birthday and I’m pretty bummed about that. I really want to finish up facial piercings in the next year or so. I want my septum and each nostril. For summary, of course.

I really like the idea of having an upside down triangle of shiny things in my face.

Beauty as I age involves a lot of thought about body modifcation. My ultimate dream is to be a heavily tattooed little old person someday. I’m talking pretty much a full bodysuit of tattoos, maybe a few implants and scarification. I’m talking serious.

I dream about being a Nazgul Alien Evil Queen.

Since I was a little baby potato, my dreams in terms of my own looks have always involved body modifications of one sort or another. My tattoo dreams (I have about 10 medium to smallish ones planned right now) are just, right now they feel out of reach because it is expensive. I’m hoping that I can get either a poetry/personal survival related piece on my right forearm or two small ones behind each ear soonish.

I’m working up to getting at least the spiritually meaningful ink first. Then the fun stuff.

One of the other things I’ve really thought a lot about is using accessories to help me feel beautiful in my gender/expression.

So since I’m currently putting bits of money aside for new fancy goth stuff let’s talk about stuff I want.

I want prescription sclera lenses. I actually really want to get my eyes tattooed and blacked out, but, that body mod isn’t totally a safe one and given how bad my vision is I feel like it would just fuck up my vision more. I’m also really into these.

The other thing I dream about is having custom grills. My favorite are this style. I want them fanged, top and bottom in the white gold.

The older and more comfortable I get in my body, the more I want to explore how I present myself to the world. I want to try out ways to make myself look alien or monstrous. The traditional or trendy ideas of beauty have really stopped being at all influential or important to me.

I don’t really do a lot with my eyebrows. Occasionally I shave or wax them into thin eyebrows but I’m terrible at drawing them on and filling them. I wish I was better at it so I could shave them off and have different ones daily. I really LOVE super artistic brows and it’s a skill I hope to attain.

While I’m on the countdown to 40 (I turn 40 next March) I’m so happy that my expression of my own beauty is becoming this weird thing where I screw around with make up and I’m not afraid not to do pretty, professional looking make up on myself. I spent a lot of time a few years ago feeling very unimpressed with my make up skills in spite of the hours of practice I put in.

These days, I’ll throw crap on my face until I feel cute and sometimes it works sometimes not. And I’m fine with it. I’m proud of it.

My engagement with beauty is strictly on my terms. This is possibly the greatest gift in terms of beauty I’ve ever given myself. Even more than taking time to learn to take care of my skin or hair.

In terms of my gender expression, I’ve settled on just being a non-binary femme alien nazgul monster queen. Like, that really does it for me. The gender thing we’ll talk more about.

There is something so joyful for me in  not beating myself up on any level about the zero fucks I give about what is age appropriate, normal, pretty or whatever.

So how about some peeks at what I’m into lately?

I’m really into the soft grunge look. That said, being that I’m not pale I have had a bit of a time figuring out how to make it work. Also the techniques. I got the technique down today, but I used an eyeshadow that’s too made on my skin. Also, for me, I want my skin close to flawless and beat. Almost every tutorial is done by/for White/pale people so I’ve had to improvise.

I’m getting back into dramatic ass super extra big ole winged liner. Big Wings. I’ve been experimenting with different liner formulas. I like my cat eye liner big and black. Or big and black on top color on bottom. My Old Goth standby.

What am I ready to get back into?

Experimenting with ways to look like a creepy, mostly dead doll type figure. Not sure how to get what I see in my head, I’m working on it.

Also big shiny lips. We’ll do a lip look post later on.

I’m finding myself ready to play with my looks again and it’s fantastic.

Lately I’ve been kinda plainish for my taste mainly because I’ve not had the energy so I’m working on it.

Wanna see my face?

Come follow me on Instagram. Most of my insta is selfies and I’m going to resume actually trying to get good make up shots.

The best part about this is that I’m living proof you are never too old or too anything to reframe how you think of beauty, both your own and other folks. You just have to try.

Next time we’re gonna talk about fashion and my concept of low key cosplay in every day life. Ways to invoke your faves without dropping legit cosplay money.

 

Summer Brown Femme Goodness.

Okay I’m not super into revisiting my previous post.

Instead let’s talk about stuff your own Femme SparkleQueen loves for summer.

Now I know that matte lips are still super in but as much as I love them, I love a big ole shiny lip even more. Especially because the AC is kicking where I work and my poor lips suffer.

Most of what I’m gonna show you are some individual links(most are affiliate links) that I love on my own dark lips. My lips are brown and red and some of these won’t give full coverage but look really pretty on lips that aren’t necessarily all red or all pink. I’ll put everyone on a pin board y’all can check out at the end too for easy access.

First up drugstore faves.

First up the Maybelline Baby Lips Moisturizing Lipgloss. I picked two of these up a while back on a pure whim and omg. Y’all so pretty. My favorite is the shade A Wink of Pink. The sparkles aren’t chunky and it is shiny and the wear is very nice. I’m also a fan of the just a glimmer color. It is pretty and on more purple toned lips absolute magic.

For some POW color, the Nyx Cosmetics Intense Lip Butters mother fucking deliver. I probably have five of them at this point and they are stunners. Soft on the lip and SHINY. BLAM.

Next another constant favorite. Like, y’all. These are honestly some of my thow in my bag go to for the gleam glosses. L’oreal Colour Riche Le Gloss. Now these aren’t opaque on my lips, but, but the shine and the tint. I have several an a few that were discontinued. Brown lipped folks, that Chocolate Obsession is a really beautiful glossy brown that will highlight your natural lip color.

Let’s move on to lipsticks. I’m a lipstick fanatic. I’ve been known to have a legit meltdown over a great lipstick.

Nyx Round Case lipstick. If you are experimenting with colors, are poor or don’t want to spend a lot these lippies are great. Gorgeous colors, soft, shiny texture. I have had many many of them. Great for those just starting out trying to find colors you like to wear. Remember, we don’t have to spend it all to look fabulous.

Another Nyx lippie I love. The Butter lipsticks. Creamy and gorgeous. The shade Hunk is hands down one of my favorite lipstick shades EVER. Amazing on brown skin.

I SWEAR I’m not a rep for Nyx or anything. I just really love their lippies. A couple more.

My current favorite lipstick is from the Nyx Wicked Lippies line. If you’ve been dying to try out some wild ass colors, this line has some wild ass colors. I have the dark grey and the purple and they are so pretty. Neither of those looks to be available right now, but have a look anyway they are great.

Next if you like a vampy lip, I feel like these are a MUST have. Every single one looks great on brown skin and just UNF so good. The Nyx Simply Vamp Lip Cremes. This is one line where I feel like if I had them all I would in fact wear them all. I do love a deep dark lip and these are just gorgeous.

Other brown femme stuff.

If you like a kind of all purpose kind of thing, let me give you one of my fave protips.

For a cute, glowy mega easy look here’s what you need. Do your face how you do. I do full coverage foundation. You need a mascara that makes your lashes go POW POW POW. And you need a bronzer.

For this multi use you want one that is only one shade darker or lighter than your skin and has some shimmer. Shimmer at your own discretion.

Here are some bronzers I have used for the multi purpose and like. Now these are not for highlighting/contouring. If you follow me on Insta you know I don’t really do all that.

Rimmel Natural bronzer. I’m pretty brown so I have the dark one called Sunbronze.  

Makeup Revolution Vivid Shimmer Brick. UNf both of these. I actually killed a rose gold one and need a new one.

You’ll also need a couple of different brushes depending on how you like to do your make up.

When I go for the eyes, I use either a fluffy brush like this or if I want to pack in the bronzey shimmer I use one like this. 

Now take your bronzer and apply it to your eyelids, cheeks, tip of your nose, cupid’s bow where ever you want a bit of that extra glow. Fluff up your lashes.

And then top it off with a stellar lip color.

If you don’t fucks with make up a lot, this is an easy put together beautiful look. Trust me. If you are afraid to do too much, you can have an easy eye, glowy skin and BOOM LIPS.

I did it today and couldn’t get a good photo. OF COURSE but it’s a go to move for me.

Next beauty post, we’re gonna talk about foundations and my undying love of a matte matte MATTE, beat face.

What are your go to looks?

What lippies do you like? Come on tell Auntie. OH also I may try a real tutorial so…..stay tuned my homies.

 

My Best Skin Ever.

I have always had a lot of issues with my skin. From puberty until this minute, my skin has been by turns:

  • Super holy shit oily
  • Scaly
  • Rashy
  • Sensitive
  • Acne prone
  • Fuzzy
  • Prone to hyperpigmentation if I scowl at it
  • Mysterious
  • Hateful

You get the idea.

As a youngster my problems with my skin were heavily involved in the very few images of Black beauty I was exposed to. Like many other folks of color, as a kid, I was quite a bit darker skinned and that was a problem for me. By the age of about 15 I thought I knew how to fix my face:

  • Lighten my skin
  • Fade dark marks at any cost
  • Pluck my face clean of EVERY SINGLE FUCKING EXTRA HAIR

Etc.

Around this age, I (this was 1992ish) I also started to realize that the methods for dealing with problem skin, foundation and concealers etc was not available to me. When I went to Rite Aid or where ever the darkest shade of anything I could find was usually Tan. Or rarely I could find either a pale caramel color or super dark. Nothing in between.

Thus began a (at this point) 20 year search for “good” skin and the start of my very fraught relationship with skin care.

Up until about five years ago my quest was for smooth, velvety perfect brown skin. Achieved either through skin care or make up or both. Flawless the way Black women are supposed to look according to what I knew about Black beauty.

I researched and have spent thousands. I tried saving up for microdermabrasion, I bought at home microdermabrasion products (don’t), expensive systems (proactiv etc), scrubs, fancy cleansers, special fucking towels all promising to fix my problem.

A few years ago I decided to stop trying for the perfection I thought I was supposed to have.

Well, what actually happened was while I was looking for some foundation that provided coverage, didn’t break me out and that I could afford I broke down into tears at home because I couldn’t find or afford anything that seemed like it would help. My face was broken out and my hyperpigmentation issues were getting worse and my latest DIY terrible idea had made things worse.

I also sat myself down and wrote in a journal what I really needed from my skin and skin care. This is what I came up with:

  1. Less discomfort in the form of rashes, itching, irritation.
  2. Affordable in terms of the amount of self care money I set aside quarterly.
  3. Smoother skin
  4. Moisturized skin

With that in mind I started with doing a few simple things. I started drinking more liquids. I figured out that my body functions better on more hydration. I also got back on the vitamins I take. Yes, I know a lot of folks say that vitamins are bullshit. For me, if they are bullshit they are bullshit that helps me feel better overall so it’s worth it.

Next thing, I found my perfect combination of skin cleansing. On the advice of many  YouTube makeup folks, I remove my makeup with wipes. I use the ones I buy at Big Lots or Grocery outlet. I’m not super particular as long as they are good and moist and can remove at least 95% of the five pounds of eye make up I wear regularly.

Second, I worked on finding the cleanser for me. I bought a lot of high end deluxe samples of things and used some drugstore stuff. What I need in a cleanser is gentleness that also gets my skin squeaky clean. I went back to a product I don’t know why I ever stopped using. African Black Soap. Now, let me explain y’all a thing. The secret to success with African Black soap is in finding the company/formula that works for you. I prefer to use it in liquid form. I also use it to shampoo my hair and wash my body fairly often. If you use the bar, remember it shouldn’t be solid black generally speaking. Handmade African Black soap is brownish and looks kinda poopy and is soft.

My next important cleansing thing is my Clarisonic Mia. Yes, that is expensive as shit. I was gifted one, but had been saving up.

Here is my super pro tip. Prior to even thinking about getting it, I picked up the Dynamic Duo face brush from Sephora. It’s like a big version of those little face brushes you can get at the drugstore. I used that daily, and still use it on my chest and back of my neck and it led me to investigating the Clarisonic. It is pretty great to use, fits nicely in the hand and does a lot of what I like about the Clarisonic.

As I’m talking about these things, bear in mind that it took me a good year or so to get through and figure it all out. I have a rule about trying out skincare. Barring immediate skin irritation, I use products for a full 60 days before I decide if they are working or not. Take photos of yourself before or jot down in a note how your skin feels or how your makeup goes on if you wear it. If you have menstrual cycles, try to give a product, at least 2 (if you’re regular) full cycles to see how it works.

So if we pause there, here’s what happened. I noticed after a few weeks of just these changes that my foundation was going on far easier. It took less to get on my face. I also started to notice that long term gentle treatment of my hyperpigmentation caused a lot of it to start fading.

The next thing was to find a good nighttime moisturizer. On a whim, I went with a Vitamin C serum and the Olay 7 Effects moisturizer. The combo of these things has made my skin routinely silky and the serum has upped the efficacy of my Black soap in helping keep my skin clear even around my period and has prevented a lot of hyperpigmentation and faded a lot of what I had.

Overall, what I’ve learned is to be gentle with my skin. As oily as it is, usually we’re told to throw EVERYTHING at it to stop the oil. That doesn’t work for me. I need clean, well moisturized skin.

My rules for the best skin I’ve ever had:

  1. Use suncreen/moisturizer every day I go outside.
  2. Give Products a chance to work.
  3. Don’t expect miracles.
  4. Drink some damn water.
  5. Always remember to remove make up.
  6. Have some fucking fun.

There you have it.

And here you have me with my spotty nekkid face and my fully beat all glam face.