Subculture | Tips and Tricks

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I was immediately draw to the colors in Anastasia Beverly Hill’s Subculture but waffled so hard on buying this palette because of all the internet shenanigans around it. While I love makeup and think I’m pretty okay at putting it on my face,  I was very intimidated by this palette.  But after seeing some of my favorite beauty account post pictures of their looks and I started to think, “yeah, I can do that too.” (Side Note – this is the same level of confidence 6 hours of the Great British Bake Off gives… I start thinking “I can make a tower of eclairs, no big deal.”)

Anyway, I’ve had this palette for two months, we’ve been on a journey together, and I wanted to share some the things I have learned that make the Subculture palette really easy to use.

Keep it simple – Because the shadows have such a high pigment content, looks can go real muddy/gray real fast. I find that the best looks I make have 2 or 3 shadows, anymore than that and things get weird. I will put color one on my crease or lid and crease, then use color two to deepen the outer corner. Then, I can safely use Electric, Adorn, or Cube as color three all over the lid. The biggest mess happens when I try to use 2 of the darker shadows (Axis, Rowdy, All Star, Untamed) in one look.

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Subculture: Dawn, Fudge, Adorn

Translucent powder is a must – Setting you eyelid with translucent powder (my favorites are RCMA No Color Powder, Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder, and NYX HD Finishing Powder) will really help the shadows blend out evenly and will prevent the pigment sticking unevenly to your skin or eye primer. AND I also use translucent powder to blend out the edges of an eye look. Normally, I would use an eye shadow close to my skin tone to blend out edges, but these shadows are so pigmented that I can’t use Dawn to blend out the edges because it will change the color of the shadow I already have down. So I find that using a translucent powder can buff out the edges without changing the colors already on my eyes.

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Subculture: Roxy, All Star

 Don’t blow it out – With other eye shadows, I will sometimes use a lighter shadow to blend out a darker shadow, but that does not work well for me with Subculture. I have the most success blending a dark color into a lighter, rather than blending a darker color out with a lighter color.

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Subculture: Edge, Destiny, Electric

Place, then blend – Most of the time, I will take a shadow on my brush and slowly build layers of color until I reach the pigmentation that I want. That does not work for me with Subculture. Instead, I have most success if I used a smaller brush to place down the color, start to blend it out, and then go in with a larger, clean brush to finish it off.

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Subculture: Roxy, Fudge, Cube

Small brushes are your friend – Because the shadows can go muddy/gray for me pretty quickly, I prefer to use small brushes because I have more control over the shadows.

These tips are primary for creating looks using only the Subculture palette – it does play really well with others so using one shade from Subculture with a few shades from another palette has always worked well for me, but I like being able to create looks using one palette exclusively.

Please let me know if you have any tips or tricks for Subculture! I’d really love to know if you have found different ways to make this palette work. I have fallen in love with the colors and just want to use it every day!

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FEBRUARY FAVORITES | 2018

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Christophe Robin – Moisturizing Hair Oil with Lavender

This hair oil is the most nourishing product I have ever used. I have dry, color treated hair and a good hair oil is a must for me. This hair oil is silicone free and contains palm oil (I couldn’t find info how how it was sourced – if that is a deal breaker for you), linoleic acid, vitamin E, and olive oil. It’s a little hard to use because it is a semi-solid and can be tough to get out of the bottle – I just take mine into the shower with me and let the heat liquefy it a bit. I hae been using it for 3 months as an overnight mask or before/after styling and I have seen a noticeable difference in my hair – it feels and looks more moisturized, smoother, and all around healthier. This will probably be too heavy for someone with fine hair.

Smashbox – Camera Ready BB Water (fair)

Smashbox’s BB Water has been my everyday, go-to base! It has light coverage that evens out skin tone, lasts all day, melts seamlessly into the skin, and sets down completely without powder. This product really gives a “your skin but better look” and does not wear away throughout the day. My biggest complaint is that it takes close to a full dropper to do my entire face so I have been plowing through it.

e.l.f. – Beautifully Bare Natural Glow Lotion (rose)

This lotion is beautiful – it is a light pink,glitter free skin perfecter. I use the Glow Lotion as a primer under foundation or as a luminous base on a no-makeup day and it gives the skin an effortless, youthful, ethereal glow. This is the perfect thing to throw on if you don’t want to wear makeup, but your skin is looking a little dull or flat.

Kate Somerville – Anti Bac Clearing Lotion

I have the biggest love/hate relationship with this product – nothing clears my skin like a good benzoyl peroxide and nothing slowly sucks the life out of my skin like benzoyl peroxide. The Kate Somerville’s Anti Bac clears all of the texture from my chin and forehead, but I walk a fine line between using it frequently enough to be effective without drying the hell out of my skin. It’s made it into my February favorites because I took a good 3 month break from it and reintroduced into my skincare this month and was reminded about effective it can be on some of the problem areas on my face.

That’s So Retrograde

I’ve casually listened to this podcast for awhile now, but recently I have been on a binge listing to the whole catalog, and re-listening to episode I have really loved! It is a wellness podcast that covers everything from numerology to foam rolling. It is hosted by two hilarious women – Elizabeth and Stephanie. They are very well informed and yet are still constantly surprised and learning in each episode. They ask the perfect questions and have hilarious banter with their guests – even the episodes with guests I’m not particularly interested in are still entertaining. I have linked to an episode with Rose Marie Swift, the founder of RMS Beauty.

Kevin Aucoin – The Sensual Skin Enhancer Concealer and Foundation – Review

Kevin Aucoin’s The Sensual Skin Enhancer is described as “a must-have concealer and foundation that covers, contours, perfects, and corrects as it mimics the appearance of healthy, radiant skin.” You can “cover all your bases with this one of a kind, all-in-one, Kevyn Aucoin original formula. Correct, conceal, and contour with this complete coverage foundation. Jojoba oil, honey, and minerals hydrate the skin and create the ultimate soft, dewy complexion. The formula is long-wearing, sweat-proof, and perfect for all skin types and tones.” It comes in 16 shades, in a 0.63 oz plastic jar and retails for $48.00.

This product offers light (diluted with a primer) to truly full coverage and has a satin, skin-like finish. It lasts a full 12 hours without having to be set with powder and does not transfer throughout the day. Face products (bronzer/blush/highlight) blend out easily over the Sensual Skin Enhancer without a setting powder. A little goes a lonngggg way – I use a rice size amount on my forhead, chin, and each cheek. I find that a foundation brush works best to blend it out – a makeup sponge takes away too much coverage for me.

I really love this product for quick, everyday makeup. It can be mixed with a moisturizer or primer to create a tinted cream that lasts much longer than a standard BB Cream. I also use it as a foundation and it really covers everything I want to cover and truly looks like skin. I doesn’t cling to dry spots, accentuate pores, or settle into fine lines. It can be kind of hit or miss on my undereyes – I have to use the slightest amount and I do need it be set with powder. If I use too much or forget to set it, then it is a little greasy and cakey and weird.

Despite liking the product, I don’t love the ingredients or the packaging. I wish the Sensual Skin Enhancer came in a squeeze tube. As a general rule, I don’t like tubs and a tube or pump would be more hygienic and convenient. (Perhaps it’s to thick for a squeeze tube or a pot is more congruent with Kevin Aucoin’s luxury appeal.) I feel very conflicted about the ingredient list – the primary ingredient is mineral oil. My skin doesn’t have an issue with it, but I know it’s not really the best thing to put on my face. Also, Mineral Oil is cheap AF so I feel like I’m feel like I’m really paying for the name.

I think I would buy it again, but I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone because of the mineral oil and the price point.

Ingredients it DOES have:
Mineral Oil
Parabens – Spehora’s site has the producted listed as paraben free, but it does contain Methylparaben

Possible Irritants:
Talc
Fragrance
Mineral Oil

Vegan: No – honey and beeswax

Tested on animals: No

Complete ingredients:
Mineral Oil, Polybutene, Diethylhexyl Succinate, Polyethylene, Quaternium-18 Hectorite, Calcium Carbonate, Dextrin Palmitate, Honey, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Tocopherol,Cera Alba (Beeswax/Cire d’abeille), Butylene Glycol, Cholesterol, Lecithin, Talc, Triethylhexanoin, Methylparaben, Fragrance (Parfum). May Contain (+/-) : Iron Oxides (CI 77491,CI 77492, CI 77499), Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77491).

Andalou Naturals – Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask – Review

In a Few Words
A brightening mask that is Non-GMO Project Verified, Gluten Free, Nature Derived, Sustainably Sourced, and always Cruelty Free.

The Andalou Naturals Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask contains “fruit stem cells, vitamin C, and glycolic AHA blended with manuka honey and organic pumpkin” and “gently dissolve and sweeps away dull, dry surface cells, exfoliating and resurfacing for even tone, smooth texture, and a luminous complexion.” It comes in a 1.7 oz plastic jar and sells for $15.00.

This mask delivers results on a budget- the next morning my skin is noticeably brighter and smoother. I can use it once a week without any irritation and I leave it on for maybe 20 minutes and follow with oils/moisturizer. I do get a slight tingle when I first apply, but it is not uncomfortable and does not last long. For reference, the only other acid mask that has cause a tingle is the First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Intensive Peel Mask, The Ordinary’s AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution doesn’t cause any tingling for me and nor do any acid toners I have used). It seems like it would be gentle mask because there is less than 1% glycolic acid (it is not listed anywhere online, but I emailed the company), but I think it is the combination of glycolic acid, Vitamin C, and spices that cause the tingle. I’m not sure I would recommend recommend this for those who have never done a peel mask or those with very sensitive skin – I think that If a experience a tingle, most people would.

A budget friendly exfoliating mask that delivers results, but may not be for newbies to acids or those with sensitive skin.

Notable ingredients it DOES have:
Vitamin C – Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate
Glycolic Acid – <1%
Manuka Honey
CoQ10
Tamanu Oil

Notable ingredients it does NOT have:
Mineral oil
Parabens

Possible Irritants:
As a whole, it is a pretty strong mask and could cause irritation.

Vegan: No – Manuka Honey

Tested on animals: No

Complete Ingredients:
Cucurbita Pepo (Pumpkin) Puree*, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Purified Water (Aqua), Vegetable Glycerin, Manuka Honey, Hydroxypropyl Starch Phosphate, Tocopherol, Fruit Stem Cells (Malus Domestica, Solar Vitis) and BioActive 8 Berry Complex*, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Calophyllum Inophyllum (Tamanu) Seed Oil, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Glycolic Acid, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C), Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract*, Ananas Sativus (Pineapple) Fruit Extract*, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract*, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Fruit Extract*, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Hyaluronate, Lecithin, Caprylyl Glycol, Aspalathus Linearis (Rooibos) Extract*†, Phenethyl Alcohol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Eugenia Caryophyllus (Clove) Flower Extract*, Myristica Fragrans (Nutmeg) Kernel Powder*, Cinnamomum Cassia (Cinnamon) Bark Powder*

Tinny London – Brand Review

I made this purchase from Trinny London almost two months ago and I really needed the extra time to form my opinion on the line. For most of the products, it was not love at first site. The philosophy of the brand is to have a “stack” of products that looks natural, is easy to apply with your fingers, and is perfect for travel so you can touch up throughout the day. And all of the products do fit that description, I just had a hard time fitting them into my routine and it took quite a few trial runs to get them to work for me.  I was having problems with the cream products because the last step of my skincare routine is usually an oil and they looked greasy on me. So I have found that I have to skip the oil and use a light moisturizer to make a whole Trinny London face. My feelings are all over the place on the brand – I love products, I hate products, some are worth the price and some definitely aren’t… but I have three more things in my cart soooooo *shrugs*.

The BFF Cream – This is supposed to be a shade adjusting, skin perfecting face cream with SPF 30. I like it as the SPF step in my routine because it’s very thin and hydrating and it does give a slight glow. But, I can’t layer this with most of my moisturizers because it will turn my face into an oil slick and it does not do anything in terms of coverage. So, while I do enjoy using this, I would not buy it again because it’s essentially a radiant SPF … for $50.00 (I would recommend the Heimish Artless Glow Base – a luminous SPF primer). This comes with an empty pot so you can carry some with you in your stack – mine currently has Kevin Aucoin’s The Sensual Skin Enhancer in it.

The Just a Touch – This was a total miss for me. It has a sheer/light coverage (TL says it can be build up to full, but I have not been able to do that) and an extremely short wear time. To be fair, TL is marketed as a brand for natural makeup that is easy to apply on-the-go and this product does check those boxes. It looks very natural on the skin, evens out my skin tone and will last a few hours if I set it with powder. Outside of running errands or a quick trip into town, I have no use for this.

The Golden Glow in Jensta and The Right Light in Starlight – These two were the high points of my purchase and I would totally buy them again. They are still a bit greasy and if I want to wear them on their own I do have to adjust my skincare, but they work well over satin/matte foundation. The bronzer is a FANTASTIC shade – it’s not red or orange or muddy at all. The Golden Glow truly does give you a sun kissed appearance. I am fair (N20) and I usually hate most bronzers because they just look wrong on me, but the Golden Glow adds a beautiful hint of tan to my face. The Right Light is a very subtle and natural, but it gives a truly lit-from-within appearance to the skin. I would recommend/repurchase these two products.

I’m currently eyeing some of Trinny London’s lip, cheek, and eye products because, while their base products aren’t for me, I like the bronzer and highlight enough to keep exploring the line!

The Ordinary – Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2% – Review

In a Few Words
A simple overnight exfoliating treatment.

The Ordinary’s Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2% is a “high-strength exfoliating serum with lactic acid and hyaluronic acid. It resurfaces the skin to promote a bright, even tone and a smooth, soft texture.” It comes in a 1 oz glass bottle with a dropper and sells for about $7.00.

I bought this after being underwhelmed by Good Genes and T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum (they were fine but not mind blowing). I use this every other night and apply a full dropper before my oil. I also give it 5-10 minutes to absorb before I move on to my next step – if I move on to my next step then the LA + HA will pill.

The Ordinary’s Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2% is… fine. I didn’t really see any improvement in my skin, but it did a good job maintaining my skin. I would buy it again because the price is so good and I would like to try it on my body (currently I am using an exfoliating lotion from Paula’s Choice). I think I liked Sunday Riley and Drunk Elephant better, but I’m always wanting to try something new so next up is Stratia’s Soft Touch AHA.

This treatment would be good for someone on a budget or someone who wants to try an inexpensive acid treatment before buying a luxury item.

Notable ingredients it DOES have:
Lactic acid – “an alpha hydroxy acid that gently exfoliates to reveal clearer, more radiant skin”
Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer – “a form of hyaluronic acid that boosts skin’s moisture content for a plump, supple, and smooth appearance”

Notable ingredients it does NOT have:
Mineral Oil
Parabens

Possible Irritants:
N/A – though, given the nature of the product, it might irritate sensitive skins

Vegan: Yes

Tested on animals: No

Complete Ingredients:
AQUA (WATER), LACTIC ACID, GLYCERIN, PENTYLENE GLYCOL, ARGININE, POTASSIUM CITRATE, TRIETHANOLAMINE, SODIUM HYALURONATE CROSSPOLYMER, TASMANNIA LANCEOLATA FRUIT/LEAF EXTRACT, ACACIA SENEGAL GUM, XANTHAN GUM, TRISODIUM ETHYLENEDIAMINE DISUCCINATE, PPG-26-BUTETH-26, ETHYL 2,2-DIMETHYLHYDROCINNAMAL, PEG-40 HYDROGENATED CASTOR OIL, ETHYLHEXYLGLYCERIN, 1,2-HEXANEDIOL, CAPRYLYL GLYCOL.

Detox Box | December 2017 – STILL AVAILABLE

The Detox Market describes the box as “a monthly box that allows us to share with you our tried-and-true favorites and game-changing discoveries. Each month you’ll receive products that are universal and exceptional—you know, the “holy grails”. Products that have people complimenting your skin, and asking what you’re doing. At The Detox Market, our search for the best in green beauty isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.
We have strict ingredient standards, high expectations for performance, and a need to connect with the passion behind each brand. The products that make it are proven to be above and beyond.” The box will feature one brand and each box has a guaranteed value of $90.00.

This month’s box included three products from Dr. Alkaitis – a mask, toner, and facial oil. I have never even heard of this brand so really love that the Detox Market includes cards that introduce you to the brand and the founder. I think the education included in the box is a wonderful touch – it gives you some insight into the products and the brand philosophy! This box also came with a booklet/catalog from the brand itself that gave detailed information on the history of the brand, quality standards, products, skincare regimens, and ingredients. This month’s Detox Box has a total value of $143.00.

Dr. Alkaitis has a PhD in Physical Chemistry and created his brand with the philosophy that “if you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your skin.” He takes a wholistic view that skincare goes beyond topical treatments and a complete picture of  good lifestyle choices lead to a healthy body and healthy skin. Dr. Alkaitis produce their products in their own factory and source their ingredients from producers that they have a person relationship with.

Organic Universal Mask – The mask is like a green juice for your skin (and it smells like!) that feed your face with superfoods such as Alfalfa, Wheatgrass, Chlorella, and Spirulina. It can be mixed with raw honey or goat’s milk yogurt! The box included a small packet of honey to try with this mask. I mixed mine with water and left it on for 20 minutes and it is definitely like your green juice in the morning – it smells gross, it’s not luxurious, but you keep doing it because you know it’s good for you.

Organic Herbal Toner – The toner is an aloe vera and witch hazel base that balances the skin. The third ingredient is “alcohol (drinkable grape alcohol)” and that made me a little nervous to use it, but the Dr. Alkaitis booklet actually addressed this concern stating “unlike de-natured alcohol that us mostly used, our organic grape alcohol is highly beneficial for your skin and facilitates the nutrient rich composition to be optimally absorbed by your skin.” I have used this twice and haven’t experienced any burning or drying from it.

Organic Nourishing Treatment Oil – This oil contains 15 antioxidant rich and anti-inflammatory herbs in a base of Organic Jojoba, St. John’s Wart, and Andean Mountain Rose Hip Seed oils. I can be used on the face, body, hair, and nails. I have not tried this yet! I have a few oils going right now and I want finish some up before I open a new one. I am disappoint that this high end oil comes in a plastic bottle – given the price point, I would expect glass packaging.