Project 111/Project Pan

The beauty community is one of the fastest growing communities, the makeup industry grew a whole 6% since 2016. And while it is such a beautiful, fun, and uniting pastime and community, I think that in a sense the marketing teams took that love for makeup to make money off of us by using beauty influencers and other media to make us feel like we absolutely need all the new stuff that comes out. But over the past couple months, I felt like I was suffocating in makeup and skincare. I had so much of it, I bought new stuff at least once a week, I always felt the need to buy more even though most of the time those purchases were unjustifiable and something I already had a similar version of.

About two weeks ago, I stumbled upon an article on Refinery29 where the writer detailed her experience with Project 111, where the idea is that you can only use 11 products out of your stash for a month to show how much you actually need. This inspired me to clear basically all my makeup drawer, throw out the stuff I haven’t used in months but kept saying “but maybe I will use it later”, and then put the stuff I knew I would use in a box and hid the box.

What did I leave for myself?

  1. Garnier Fructis Micellar Water
  2. Philosophy’s “Microdelivery” exfoliating facial cleanser
  3. Caudalie “Beauty Elixir”
  4. Murad Essential C SPF 30 moisturizer
  5. Origins “A Perfect World” SPF 20 eye cream
  6. Benefit “Porefessional” Primer
  7. Hourglass “Vanish Foundation” Stick
  8. MAC “Liquidlast” Eye Liner
  9. Benefit “They’re Real” Mascara
  10. Buxom “Lip Crème” Lip Gloss
  11. Too Faced “Primed and Poreless” pressed powder

Similarly to Project 111, I also heard about a project others have started which is Project Pan, where the goal is that you can’t buy a new item until you’ve hit pan (used up) a certain amount of items with a deadline. Again, a really good idea, very structured so great for anyone who likes that kind of organization.

What I’ve done is kind of combined the two, so while I am trying to first get through the 11 items I have listed up top, I did start to branch out to other items I own, like using a Retinol treatment on some nights, and maybe adding a highlighter some days, but overall I’ve tried my darn tooting best to stay true to my original 11 items I’m allowed to use. In short, I’m going to try to shop my own stash before I go out and buy something new.

I’m so grateful that I’ve started these projects, because in all honesty I didn’t need so much stuff. I have a quarter of the tube of the Porefessional primer left, and then a tube of Smashbox’ Photo Finish primer on reserve. I have the foundation I’m currently using and if I get as pale as I was last year, I still have an almost full bottle of the Philosophy Hope in a Jar foundation waiting for me, as well as two drugstore cushion options.

All in all, I don’t think keeping to the 11 products for Project 111 is absolutely imperative,  but it gives you a core that you have to stay true to while you can also use some other items. My goal isn’t so much to show myself how little I need, its more to get rid of the excess stuff and make sure I start to actually use up what I have instead of having my collection pile up. The reason why Project Pan wouldn’t exactly work for me is because I am the slowest person when it comes to using products. The fastest I’ll ever get through a foundation is within a bit more of a year, the fastest products I go through are liquid liners, and that takes me at least 6 months.

To anyone who is also thinking of how to best declutter their piles of makeup and skincare, I strongly suggest considering these projects, because of course while its all up to you, it does provide a fairly good amount of structure so that you can get through the items but at your own pace.

I just feel like generally talking about this is so important because makeup has become more about just getting your hands on a new product rather than actually enjoying what you have and what you buy. Its become a sort of addiction where people rush to getting a new product, feel the “high” of having the new item in your hands, using it once, and then really never going back to it. I believe what sparked this kind of “makeup rush” is seeing all the stuff beauty gurus own, and thinking you need it all. But even they often say “well this isn’t something I really reach for so I’ll donate it” but a month ago she was raving about how beautiful the shades are and promised she’d use it more, causing  everyone to run and buy it.

Its refreshing to know that other people are also waking up from that delirious state and are starting to look for ways to get rid of their stuff. I really believe makeup and just beauty in general should be about fun and getting the joy of using a product rather than just acquiring more and more. At the end of the day, its all up to you and what makes you happy, but for those who are also feeling a bit of that asphyxiation from all the stuff they’ve hoarded, consider these projects because they really will help you free your life up.

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Friends From College Series Review

I know this is totally not my field of expertise, this is a beauty blog not a film/TV blog but I just wanted to share my thoughts on the new Netflix original series called Friends from College that I recently finished. I guess I just found the show so stupidly appalling that I wanted to share somewhere.

Obviously spoilers!!

I’m really not entirely sure what this show wanted to establish and prove. Here in America, we have a very glorifying view of college and many people that I’ve met said they’d literally give up their current life (spouse, children, everything), to go back to their college days for even just a week. Pretty much, the main friend group which we follow here is those people exactly. They all have their own lives and families but occasionally they meet up and wreak havoc on their new lives all for the false sense of reliving their youth. Ironically, according to the significant others of the friends, it turns into a shitshow every time they get together because their interactions are part showing off and one-upping their friends and the part having a problem with letting go of their younger years.

To me this is such a troubling mentality and I wish people would just grow up. I know aging is no fun but come on, you can never go back to your younger years and the sooner you come to grips with that, the better off you’ll be. Not to mention they ruin their family lives and hurt their spouses because of this selfish obsession of staying forever in college.

This is clearly a comedy series and while hiring definitely good actors, like Keegan-Michael Key, Fred Savage and Nat Faxon, the way the show was written gets really stale really quick especially from using the same jokes and same humor to try and keep it afloat. An example of this is poking fun at Twilight and other young-adult literature and showing just how frustrating it is that they pull in all that revenue. While funny to an extent and frustrating, this really is old news. Mentioning it now, years after everyone forgot the Twilight trilogy, its just silly. Another sad attempt at making this mess funny is repeatedly making Key’s character Ethan do stupid voices and impersonations whenever he’s anxious. According to both the other characters and the audience, its annoying and out of place. It makes sense that Key does it in his skits during the “Key and Peele” series because he is impersonating different types of people there. But here, where he is supposed to play one character it just makes zero sense why he resorts to that kind of thing. Maybe the first time its funny, but seeing as he does this every damn time, you really do get tired.

The last and worst offense of this show is giving the viewers extreme cringe-worthy second-hand embarrassment for the stupidity of the characters. Rather than using real comedy that is funny and interesting, they put the characters in stupid situations that aren’t funny and a three year old could have thought of.

Testing on Animals vs. Cruelty Free – the Bigger Picture

Being in the beauty sphere, this is a common question we find ourselves asking: to test or not to test on animals. Personally, I don’t have much of an opinion, or at least I’m finding myself at a fork in the road because on one hand of course I don’t want to be inflicting pain on animals who especially have nothing to do with beauty. But there’s no use denying that some brands that are cruelty free and achieve the coveted Leaping Bunny sometimes cause awful effects on human consumers like hair loss or worse.

This specific post is inspired by Chaz Dean’s hair brand WEN. I myself have never tried his products but I know my friends have used it and I’ve seen it sold in the luxury section of CVS and Walgreens haircare. Recently, WEN has been under fire for a class action lawsuit where thousands of women noticed significant hair loss after using a cleansing conditioner of his.

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The pictures of the victims are gnarly. Women shown literally have chunks of hair missing and the whole story brings me to a question about the beauty industry as a whole. First of all, this experience shows the terrible effects that animals have to go through that now thousands of women experienced and worse. So while yes they get commended for not testing on animals, they get bitten worse in the ass because they ruined thousands of women’s self-esteem, as well as also losing millions of dollars.

And the only reason these incidents happen is because large companies rely so heavily on nasty chemicals. Not testing on animals is only half the battle, even though other makeup brands like Kat von D may act like that is the whole battle. Animal tested or not, the products still contain phthalates and what not, the only difference is that companies that do test on animals use perhaps less of the bad product or in a right combination because they see the bad effect it has had on the animal. It is imperative that companies take responsibility and start using better products. It isn’t difficult and there are lots of brands that are 100% natural and organic and others that use mostly natural ingredients. And it isn’t at all as expensive as many of us think.

Sure, as an industry we’ve come a good mile from where we started. I mean, there was a Ownza-Sephora-Sephora_02E9C18Btime when makeup contained lead and caused women’s skin to develop a sallow tint and boils but I mean we are still experiencing some nasty side effects to this day. And to me the problem often lies in companies that pose as all natural, like WEN, Fresh, Amore Pacific and so many others that make it out as if their ingredients are all natural and its just so good for you but when you read the ingredients list its all chemicals! It all comes down to marketing. These brands market themselves as all natural and healthy and people buy it, heck they even had me fooled before.

And its not only the companies’ fault but also the consumers’. People are uneducated buyers and go for the marketing techniques big companies use. So I challenge you, my dear reader, to take your beauty addiction to the next level and make a true change. Don’t support companies that sell you chemicals and put it in pretty ‘organic’ looking packaging. What saddens me is that there are tons of companies that are all natural and honestly use good ingredients that get absolutely overlooked. One company that is carried in Sephora is Belif and so far the products that I’ve used were all natural and did make a positive difference in my skin. Its amazing what a little bit of research before purchasing does for you. And another place you could go for natural products is Whole Foods. They have various brands that are surprisingly at a way better price point than most of Sephora’s stuff and are so widely underrated!

wf skin

At the end of it all, famous people, and famous businesses didn’t get there on their own, and the reason they are where they are is because we the people put them there. Without our support, they couldn’t have the fame and success. And we all want a healthier life, and a better future for ourselves as well as for the world. They say no positive act is too small and my personal contribution will be reviewing and recommending more natural products alongside cult classics. Its hard to wean yourself off of popular beauty, but for the sake of my health and helping the beauty community I will definitely do my best to try.

 

Why Makeup Today is More than Just Skin Deep

Makeup was always the subject of controversy. Whether it was a symbol of status, or just a tool to accentuate features, makeup related to something more than just a pigmented paste and people always had an opinion on makeup and who can/should use it.

A concise history

We know people have been decorating themselves since the dawn of time with warpaint and clothes and what have you, however one of the first signs of the true use of makeup was in ancient Egypt where Egyptians used makeup for a religious purpose and celebrations. Its no secret that Cleopatra was considered the beauty icon of the time with her elaborate beauty regimen like bathing in milk and other such wild ideas. However, makeup wasn’t used only on women in ancient Egypt, men also had their moments of glamour. Granted, not everyone had access to cosmetics but before public ceremonies, the pharaohs used special makeup palettes often created just for that event and to symbolize the dramatic change that was going on.predynastic-egypt-met-museum5-15-12-4

Centuries later, with Christianity rampant and controlling governments, makeup became a sign of vanity (a sin) and was chastised, and meant only for the lower class, especially prostitutes. Oddly enough, this mentality stuck around until the beginning of the 20th century. The first time humanity really saw a new rise to makeup was during the roaring 20s, and the rise was made possible by film. Originally, makeup was intended for actresses of the silver screen whose features needed to be made more dramatic due to the poor film quality. Kohl liner, lipstick and powder all rose to fame only because of film. In fact, the classic bee-stung lips that are the chief characteristic of 20s beauty (aside from bobbed hair) were created when Maxmyllian Factorowicz, founder of the Max Factor makeup brand, took a pomade with his thumb and pressed it onto an actress’ lips. Two presses on the top lip to create a cupid’s bow, one on the bottom lip. 20sThe rest was filled in with lip liner. The reason for such a style lipstick was because at the time, the lip products melted off due to the high heat from camera lamps and applying the pomade in such a manner kept the product together. And so, the bee-stung lips were born. Of course, how could women keep calm when watching their favorite film starlets like Clara Bow and Louise Brooks break hearts and look so beautiful doing it? They wanted this new makeup too. This was also the period that the term ‘cosmetics’ changed to makeup and started to be sold everywhere. At the time, makeup became a sort of accessory. It was considered stylish to carry around a pressed powder or a little tube of lipstick.

Since then, makeup became a staple in every woman’s life, and became normalized in society…to an extent. My sophomore year Home Ec. teacher was the most charming Southern Belle from Atlanta, Georgia. She told us that her grandmother passed away never touching so much as rouge in her life thinking it was sinful and lacked class. As the years went by, makeup became used more and more to cover up flaws and accentuate features. Though it became normalized, women began feeling like they absolutely needed to wear makeup in order to look presentable to the public and to look prettier. And this is also where I believe there is a difference, between makeup back in the day, and makeup today.

What makeup is today

Personally, I feel that makeup in society has gone through a massive change in the sense of what it truly means. Makeup used to be (and sometimes still is) a means to perfect yourself, to conceal features we don’t like and draw attention to features we do like. And while that is truly fine, and it is ok for you to wear makeup because it makes you feel more confident, I believe the huge makeup industry that we see today is about more than just looking pretty. All of the people we see who are makeup artists, who create YouTube channels dedicated to it, and who are fascinated by makeup don’t see it as a chore to do to look better. With all my heart I feel we, the beauty mavens who receive so much criticism for our love for makeup, don’t do it to look better but because it is simply enjoyable for us.

I know any girl who is more involved in makeup and that is reading this post can commiserate on the never ending comments of family and loved ones.

“But why do you feel the need to wear makeup?? You’re so pretty without it!”

“Babe I think you’re so pretty without makeup you don’t need it.”

“Goodness you spend so much money on Sephora and Ulta, but you’re already so beautiful!”

Dear grandparents/parents/boyfriends/friends/random people I’ve never met before,

The compliments are noted, thank you. And I don’t need to wear makeup, you’re right. In fact, I am perfectly content and confident with my features the exact way that they are. I have no issues not wearing any makeup at all no matter where I go. The problem, my friends, is that I simply love applying makeup. To many girls it is a legitimate interest, just how some can enjoy drawing, cooking, baking, knitting, or literally any other pastime. Makeup has a stigma and I do understand where it comes from, but it shouldn’t apply, especially not to girls who do it for fun and who love makeup for the process and not necessarily because they see it as something they need to do to feel prettier.

The stigma around loving makeup is that you are shallow, insecure, and lack confidence. Out of all the people I’ve met who also loved makeup and were more or less professional about it, none became confident because of makeup, none felt like it was imperative to wear makeup, and none did it because they felt ugly without it. I swear that just about every person I have met who loved makeup and saw it from a more legitimate and professional standpoint didn’t love it for making them prettier. As a matter of fact, looking better (because that is what makeup was intended for like it or not) is more of a byproduct of the interest and fascination and not exactly what we aim to achieve. Maybe some do, but at the same time most of those makeup-crazed individuals do it for the fun of application and not to turn heads. I’ll be honest, I don’t wear makeup to look prettier. I do it because I enjoy it and because I enjoy putting makeup on. For me, the actual process of sitting down and “beating my face”, as the pros put it, is what makes it enjoyable. People telling me I look good isn’t what I aim for and those compliments don’t make me feel any better about myself.

On the other hand, if its a person who I see also loves makeup and the beauty industry tells me “your makeup/eyeliner/blending looks amazing”, then I will feel proud. What is the difference you ask? Well, because anyone telling me I look good is a pretty shallow compliment, its something based just off of physical attributes (even if I had to put efforts into getting to that point), however when a fellow makeup lover tells me my makeup looks good, they are complimenting my technique and my skills. And that’s what counts. They are complimenting something I cultivated, something I invested my time in, something I’m interested in. There is a shift between the pure physical look and the effort and skill you put in to create something.

top-makeup-artist-Mario-Dedivanovic

In the same way you wont try to deter an artist from drawing, an amateur chef from cooking, or a baking enthusiast from baking, why should you tell someone who is interested in makeup to stop doing it? To me, its people being closed-minded and living in the past, thinking that makeup is purely for enhancing features and refusing to see the different facets of it.

Makeup is a science, makeup is an art. There are so many products and techniques out there, and all of us are specialists. We know about skin, about ingredients, about color combinations, about structure, about optical illusions. And we never stop learning. To us its about so much more than a compliment of “wow you look so pretty”.

Purity Made Simple Cleanser

The staple of most makeup and skincare addicts is philosophy’s all too well known purity made simple one-step cleanser (retailing for $24). Allure’s number one facial cleanser for 10 years is popularly regarded as the best cleanser for anyone to lay their hands on for several reasons. Its 3-in-1 formula removes makeup, deep cleans, and tones the skin, as well as conditions lashes and brows. The texture of the product is an emulsion (which I find to be unusual for a cleanser), although it is also offered in an oil and gel formula.

What sets it apart from other cleansers?

There’s always a reason why some products earn their name in the beauty hall of fame, and the purity cleanser certainly has its reasons. Compared to many cleansers I have tried, this cleanser promises to give the deep clean, without stripping the skin of hydration. Many skincare users find that cleansers, especially foaming ones, take out  oils from the skin, leaving it uncomfortably tight and dry. This is the cause of many factors: using an astringent cleanser containing a lot of alcohol or the foaming factor which also rids the skin of oils.

The reason why purity feels different for users is because of the heavy use of oils (12 essential oils) and the toning portion of it. For a long time, especially in K-beauty, toning was a crucial step because it gave you the double cleanse and removed any unnecessary chemicals left behind be it from hard water or the cleanser you used. Many people heard that toners balance the pH and that is true and it is still necessary. Tap water in many places still may be slightly acidic and acids on the skin are drying. Toners help restore a bit of that moisture as well as take off any excess chemicals left on the skin. Which this is why purity is so unlike other cleansers, for the toning attribute.

Ingredients? 

Oh boy, here’s where things get interesting. Although philosophy propagates itself to be a brand all for health and wellness, the ingredients used in the products don’t exactly fit that description. Despite using the 12 essential oils which they are so proud of, this cleanser still contains some harmful chemicals, like parabens, a form of formaldehyde (imidazolidinyl urea), and yellow dye to give it the classic purity gentle yellow we all come to love. Kudos to philosophy for making this product fragrance free, I truly commend them for that because fragrance alone gives enough chemicals and alcohol that’s a detriment to the skin. But it also feels that modern skincare has come so far, there’s brands that are alcohol, paraben, sulfate, and just everything-free. Working within the company, the question was even brought up of maybe getting rid of the parabens but allegedly, ditching these preservatives was impossible since it would change the iconic product too much.

Personal experience

Purity made some pretty big claims, and working in the brand gave me ample opportunity to try this products and test how true those claims are. Seeing as there were 3 claims, I will address all three in the order they were presented…

  1. Removes all makeup – Definitely true. I wore MAC’s Liquidlast eye liner and that thing doesn’t budge no matter what you try once it dries unless its a bi-phase makeup remover and even then, it requires some harsh rubbing. Purity truly does remove absolutely all makeup that’s on the skin and its eye friendly too. Meaning it will remove waterproof eye makeup and won’t irritate the eye.
  2. Deeps cleans into pores – False. Granted, that’s a huge promise to make good on even from lines that are dedicated specifically for pore purification. But I didn’t notice any kind of deep clean or clean pores like they told me it will. Continuous use over months didn’t help with getting rid of clogged pores or preventing new ones from forming. And although I said its difficult to do, it isn’t impossible, e.g. Boscia’s detoxifying black cleanser. So yes, it provides a decent clean at best, but nothing deep and pore purifying if that’s what you are looking for.
  3. Toning – Well, all the oils do take care of that for you. However, I’m personally not sure if those oils do so much to give you the double cleanse and tone like a traditional toner would. Yea, oils soften the skin and provide some hydration, but that isn’t all a real toner is supposed to do. It tones the skin and gives it an extra clean, not just makes it soft like say a softening concentrate would. For that reason, I’m unsure if I can say it really tones, or if its less stripping than another cleanser would be.

Verdict

The purity cleanser is called the busy girl’s cleanser and so much is true. I suppose it is highly efficient to remove your makeup, clean your skin, and tone all at once and carry on with your day and for that purity is a truly exceptional product. Personally, the cons outweigh it for me because it doesn’t give me that deep clean that I want, even if my desires are a little unrealistic, and the toning doesn’t really count for toning just because it has a lot of oils in it. I could just as easily use a straight-up facial oil and it still won’t give me the true toning I need. Plus the parabens and carcinogenic formaldehyde also make it a bit iffy for me. However, I won’t stop using the product. Its definitely nice to use after a long day of wearing makeup and just wanting to get it all off, but its not something I would use in the morning after my skin releases all those nightly toxins to help get them out because I know it would never do that. Therefore, this cleanser isn’t my main cleanser and I try to only use it when I need it to remove makeup after a whole day but I’ll be honest when I say even then my skin doesn’t feel thaaat clean.

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