Monday, February 28, 2011

Review and Giveaway: Shiny Mama Beauty's 'Gleam All' Pencil (CLOSED)




Hey Everyone, 

Several months ago I was given the opportunity to try one of the products from Shiny Mama Beauty, a company owned and operated by the fabulous Yana Chupenko. Yana, who worked as a product developer in the cosmetics industry for a number of years, started her own luxurious cosmetics brand, Shiny Mama Beauty a couple of years ago. Yana, who drew her inspiration for the line from the music and fashion of New York's Lower East Side, describes her line as being 'D.O.D, Decadence-Opulence-Debauchery'. She says:

"A Shiny Mama woman is a modern, confident sassy gal. She is a bold, progressive leader who, rather than follow trends, initiates them ...A Shiny Mama woman looks perfectly put together. Age does not come into play - but style certainly does, she embodies effortless grace and radical elegance. She knows what she wants: she works hard, plays hard and needs to be pampered royally, like the deserving individual that she is."


The Shiny Mama Beauty line contains three multi-purpose shimmer products meant to add glamour to any look, including the "Gleam All" pencil which I have reviewed below.



What: 
Shiny Mama's 'Gleam All' pencil is a multi-purpose, creamy, glitter-infused, pencil containing sunflower seed oil, shea butter and rosemary leaf. The 'Gleam All' pencil has two ends containing two different coloured creamy glitter products. Sunray is a vibrant metallic gold and Frost, a bright metallic silver. The 'Gleam All' pencil can be used be used on the eyes, lips or cheeks and can be worn opaquely (a more creamy consistency) or sheered out (a powder-like consistency). The 'Gleam All' stick contains no parabens and, like all of the other Shiny Mama products, is cruelty-free. Here is what the company says about the product: 

"Sparkle revolution is not dead, it just became a staple. There is nothing more glamorous than adding some shimmer / glitter pop to your existing palette - when you want to pump up the volume or make a statement. GLEAM ALL multipurpose pencil is very versatile and you can go from Downtown RocknRoll, to pure Couture Elegance of Paris runways."



Packaging: 
The packaging of the Shiny Mama's 'Gleam All' pencil is absolutely gorgeous. The pencil, which comes with its own sharpener, making it easier to sharpen its larger heads, comes in a gorgeous damask print plastic box, giving the product a very luxurious feel. The pencil itself, which is fairly thick (think NYX Jumbo Pencils) is very durable and comes with two well made caps to protect both ends of the super creamy product. 



Price: 
$25 USD on the Shiny Mama Beauty website.



Pros:
1) Its Multi-purpose: Although one might assume that the 'Gleam All' stick can only be used in the eye area, it is actually meant to use all over the face. I have personally used the 'Gleam All' pencil as an eyeshadow on my entire lid, an eyeliner on my lower lash line, a highlighter on my cheekbones and a lipstick on my lips. There are so many different uses for this product and, because it can be sheered out or built up, it can be worn both as a cream or powder product. 

2) The Glitter Is Finely Milled: Unlike a lot of the other glitter products I have used in the past, Shiny Mama's 'Gleam All' pencil has very finely milled glitter which, when applied to the skin, gives a gorgeous glow (not a chunky mess). Luckily, because the glitter is so finely milled, it does NOT sit in the crevices of the face directing attention to larger pores or wrinkles. 

3) It Can Be Used In Conjunction With Other Products: While the 'Gleam All' stick looks nice on its own, it also works very well when paired with other makeup products. Not only can the pencil be worn on top of other products, it can also be mixed in with products to create your own colour. I like to wear the pencil on top of a darker lipstick giving the lips a fuller feel or mixed with a matte eyeshadow for an edgier look. 



Cons:
1) It Creases: Although I have tried wearing the 'Gleam All' pencil over several different eyeshadow primers, I have found that it creases almost immediately when worn as an all over eyeshadow on the lids. While some people don't mind a creased look, it drives me crazy and I have resorted to wearing the pencil in a more sheered out fashion on top of other cream or powder shadows. 

2) The Price: Personally, I feel that $25 is a quite a lot to pay for this multi-purpose pencil. Although it has several different uses, it is still priced well above the NYX Jumbo Pencils ($4.50 USD) and is even more expensive than the newly released Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Shadow Pencil. 



Overall: 
Overall, I really like this product, especially considering that it can be used in a number of ways unlike a lot of other cosmetic pencils that are strictly for the eyes or lips. The glow that this product gives the skin is extremely pretty and the pencil has quickly become one of my favourite cheekbone highlighters. The price is definitely higher than I would normally want to pay; there is the added benefit of this pencil being both paraben and cruelty free. If you are looking strictly for an eye pencil that will not crease, this is not the product for you. However, if you are looking for a subtle way to add some glitter into your look, be sure to check out Shiny Mama's 'Gleam All' pencil here.

Rating: 
7/10 Funny Faces



Giveaway:
Yana has been nice enough to give me the opportunity to give away one of her 'Gleam All' pencils to one of my subscribers. In order to be entered to win this multi-purpose pencil, leave a comment below telling me which side of the 'Gleam All' pencil you would be more likely to use. You have one week to enter the giveaway as the winner will be chosen next Tuesday March, 8th, 2011. 

xx
Alicia

Thursday, February 24, 2011

De-Potting Series Part 3: M.A.C




Hey Everyone, 

By now most of you know that I have been on a de-potting mission this past month. I found that with so many single eyeshadow pots sitting in my drawers, I was neglecting a lot of what I own. I decided that I would get more use out of these products if I took them out of their pots (de-potting) and transferred them into magnetic palettes. In the first part of my de-potting series, I reviewed the two palettes I use to hold my eyeshadows, and in the second part, I showed you the three different methods I use to de-pot products.  Over the next couple of weeks, I am going to show you how to de-pot eyeshadows from different brands including NYX, Wet n Wild and The Body Shop. 

For today's post I've decided to start with the most popular brand to de-pot, M.A.C Cosmetics. Not only will I show you how I de-pot my MAC eyeshadows, I will also show you how I remove the inserts in my MAC palettes and how to switch the packaging on any MAC eyeshadow or blush. 


Removing The Inserts In Your M.A.C Palettes


What:
While many people like to keep the inserts in their M.A.C palettes because it makes the palette appear more organized or uniform, I prefer to remove the inserts from my palettes. Why?, you ask. Well, a palette with inserts only holds 15 eyeshadows or 6 blushes, while a palette without inserts holds 26 eyeshadows or 8 blushes. For me, it is all about the price, and I, personally, would rather save money and have my eyeshadows looking a little less organized. Removing the inserts from a MAC palette is incredibly easy and only takes a few steps. 

How:

Step 1: 
Remove all eyeshadows from the palette. This is important because you do not want your eyeshadows to get dented or broken in the process. 

Step 2:
Place a thin knife (or pair of scissors) underneath the plastic insert in the middle of your M.A.C palette. 

Step 3: 
*To note, there are six plastic clips on the sides of MAC's palette inserts that keep the inserts attached to the palette (2 on the top, 2 on the bottom and 1 on each side.)* Gently pull up on the knife until all 6 clips have been released. (Please note that you will hear 6 snapping sounds. This is not the sound of your palette breaking, but rather the sound of the 6 clips being released.) 

Step 4:
Remove the insert from the palette and fill it with your shadows and/or blushes. 



How to Change The Packaging of Your M.A.C Blush or Eyeshadow

What:
Since I de-pot all of my eyeshadows and powder blushes, I am often left with special limited edition packaging that I want to keep, but also want to return to M.A.C as part of their recycling program. There is a way to do both. Instead of returning the limited edition packaging (will now be referred to as LEP), I replace the regular packaging (will now be referred to as RP) on one of my cream blushes (which I do not de-pot) with the LEP (and return the RP to M.A.C)

How:



Step 1: 
Choose the product and packaging you want to replace. 

Step 2:
Open the lid of the product you are de-potting. You will notice that right where the lid snaps shut there is a small open crack in the packaging. Wedge your knife (or scissors) into the side of this crack. 

Step 3: 
* To note, there is a clip on either side of the plastic blush pan.* Continue to wedge your knife into the crack while gently pulling up on your knife. Continue to do this until you have released both clips and the thin plastic pan containing your product has popped out. 

Step 4:
At this point, you should be left with the empty eyeshadow or blush pot and the thin plastic pan containing your product.


Step 5:
Take the small plastic pan containing your product and insert it into your empty LEP pot. Press down on the sides of the plastic pan until both sides are clipped into place. 

Step 6: 
Take the RP of your product and place the bottom side of it onto a hot straightener (you can also use the candle or lighter method) for approximately 10-30 seconds (depending on the method you use). 

Step 7:
 Use a knife to gently remove the sticker on the bottom of the RP.

Step 8: 
Place the sticker on the bottom of your new LEP and Voila, you are done! 


De-potting M.A.C Eyeshadow 
(or Blush)


What:
While M.A.C eyeshadows and blushes can look pretty in their individual pots, it can become difficult to organize or keep track of them this way. By de-potting your products from their individual pots and placing them in a magnetic palette, you can keep your shadows organized in a variety of ways (i.e by colour, by brand, by most used, etc.)


How:

Step 1:
Open the lid of the product you are 'de-potting'. You will notice that right where the lid snaps shut there is a small open crack in the packaging. Wedge your knife (or scissors) into the side of this crack. 


Step 2:
*To note, there is a clip on either side of your product pot*. Continue to wedge your knife into the crack while gently pulling up on your knife. Continue to do this until you have released both clips and the thin plastic pan containing your product has popped out.

Step 3: 
Heat the bottom of your plastic product pan using either the hair straightener, lighter or candle method (see post here).

Step 4: 
Poke a knife in the back of the heated plastic pan until a  smaller metal pan (containing your product) comes out. Allow the metal pan to cool. * To note, these pans get extremely hot, so please be careful when you are handling them. 


Step 5: 
Heat the bottom of the original eyeshadow pot for approximately 10-30 seconds (depending on which method you use) until the sticker containing the name of the product (on the bottom of the pan) is warm.  


Step 6: 
Carefully remove the sticker on the bottom of the eyeshadow pot with a knife. 


Step 7: 
Place a magnet (can be square or circle) on the bottom of the metal eyeshadow pan followed by the original product sticker. Alternatively, you can add a white office label with the name of the product to the bottom of your metal pan. 


 ** To note, I buy a big magnetic strip from Michaels and cut out the shapes myself. You can also buy pre cut shapes from places like Walmart or Staples**


De-potting my M.A.C eyeshadows and blushes into a palette has made a huge difference in the way I use my products. Rather than searching through my drawers for specific colours, I am able to grab a palette and have all of my neutral eyeshadows, or pink blushes together. Not only does it help cut down on the amount of time it takes to get ready, it has also helped make room in my makeup drawers for some new products. After all, who doesn't want that?  


xx
Alicia

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

De-Potting Series Part 2: Three Ways To De-Pot Using Heat





Hey Everyone, 


As I mentioned in my previous de-potting series post, I have been going 'de-potting crazy' and removing all of my eyeshadows from their original packaging in order to organize my shadows into palettes, and make some room in my makeup collection. Before getting into the different brands of eyeshadow and how to depot each of them, I felt that it was important to show you the three different methods I use to depot my eyeshadows. As there is no right or wrong way to de-potting eyeshadows, I have briefly listed the pros and cons of each method I use. 


The Hair Straightner Method

What:
Using a hot straightening iron (I use mine at full heat, approx 250 degrees), place your pan bottom down on one side of the iron  leaving it to heat for approximately 2-3 minutes. Although it is not shown in the picture above, you can place a sheet of tinfoil or wax paper under the eyeshadow in order to protect your iron from melted plastic. 
Once it has been well heated, use a sharp knife or scissors to poke the bottom of the plastic casing and push out the metal pan containing the eyeshadow. 




Pro:
Its The Safest Method: This is by far the safest method for de-potting eyeshadows using heat. Because there is no flame involved, the bottom of the pan melts in a more controlled manner, and as long as you are careful placing the eyeshadow onto the straightener (I use a pair of tweezers for this), you should not have any issues with burns. 


Con:
Its the Slowest Method: Due to the fact that you are not working with a direct flame, and have a more controlled heat setting, it takes a longer time for the eyeshadow pan to heat up. This is a great method to use if you are just beginning to de-pot eyeshadows, but if you are planning to de-pot several eyeshadows at one time, this is by far the least productive method. 


The Lighter Method

What:
Using a lighter (or fire starter), place the flame at the bottom of the plastic pan and heat the eyeshadow until it is warm enough to poke a knife through the bottom of the plastic casing and push out the metal eyeshadow pan, or to slip a knife under the metal eyeshadow pan and remove it from its casing. 




Pro:
It's The Fastest Method: Due to the fact that the flame is placed directly under the eyeshadow pan, it melts much more quickly (within 20-30 seconds) and eyeshadows can be de-potted at a much faster rate. When using this method, be sure to remove any stickers from the bottom of the eyeshadow pan as they can easily catch on fire. 


Con:
It's The Most Painful: This method can be fairly painful for your hand and arm muscles because you not only have to keep the flame light for 20-30 seconds, but you also have to hold the flame directly under the eyeshadow pan. It is important to keep a good grip on the lighter, and sore muscles can lead to unsteady hands making burns a more likely occurrence.


The Candle Method

What: 
Using a candle, light the wick and hold the bottom of the eyeshadow pan directly above the flame. If you are uncomfortable holding the eyeshadow pan with your hands, you can also use a pair of tweezers or pliers to grip the shadow. Once the back of the plastic pan is well heated, use a knife or scissors to remove the metal eyeshadow pan from its casing. 


Pro:
The Best of Both Worlds: This is my favourite method for de-potting eyeshadows as it is faster than the straightener method (approximately 45 seconds), but also less painful (and easier to achieve) than the lighter method. When using this method, be careful not to heat the plastic too much as it can drip onto your candle and ruin it. 


Con:
It Can Be Messy: For some reason when using a candle (especially one that has been used before) to depot an eyeshadow, the black soot from the wick can transfer to the bottom of the pan creating a big mess of both your hands and the area where you are de-potting. When using this method, place an old towel or sheet under the candle and eyeshadows you are de-potting, to avoid ruining the surface you are working on.


While I have seen several different tutorials on how to depot products without using heat, I have never tried them and prefer to stick with the three methods discussed above. If you are de-potting eyeshadow for the first time, I would recommend avoiding the 'lighter method' until you have a good feel for how quickly the plastic melts. Having tried all three methods several different times, I have come to the conclusion that I prefer using the candle to de-pot. No matter which method you choose, be sure to take your time and be careful not to burn yourself (or your house down). 


Now that I have had a chance to show you different methods for de-potting your eyeshadows, as well as two different palettes you can use to organize your de-potted products, I will be showing you exactly how to de-pot eyeshadows from several different brands including M.A.C, Wet n Wild, NYX, Urban Decay and more. 


Let me know in the comment section below if you have de-potted any of your products before and if so, which method you used. 


xx
Alicia

Monday, February 21, 2011

Beauty Quote of the Week # 30



When you reach the heart of life you shall find beauty in all things, even in the eyes that are blind to beauty.

-Kahlil Gibran

Friday, February 18, 2011

De-Potting Series Part 1: Z-Palette vs. MAC Pro Palette





Hey Everyone, 


Since I first found out that MAC sold empty makeup palettes, I have turned into a de-potting maniac. For those of you who don't know what de-potting is, it involves removing a product (usually eyeshadow or blush) from its original packaging so that it can fit into a magnetized palette. The bonus of de-potting is that you get to store your makeup together in any way you want (ie. by colours, by brand, by type of product) and don't have to rummage through drawers looking for that one specific eyeshadow or blush. 


I am the first one to admit that I have a lot of makeup and having a bunch of single eyeshadows or blushes lying around often means that certain products get neglected (its hard to remember what you have exactly). By organizing my makeup into palettes, I am able to have all of everything together, so that when I want to do a certain look (ie. a purple eyeshadow look), every product has a fair chance of getting used (I am an equal opportunity makeup junkie, thank you very much).


Over the next couple of weeks I will be doing a de-potting series of posts showing you how to de-pot various types of makeup including MAC, NYX, Wet n' Wild and L'Oreal Hip. I have taken a ton of pictures so that I can show everything in a step by step process, making it super easy for you to begin de-potting your makeup. 


Before getting into the process of de-potting, I feel that is it is important to do a review of the two different kinds of magnetic palettes I use to store my makeup:


The MAC Pro Palette

What:
M.A.C's Magnetized Pro Palettes are 7.5" x 4.25" and come with inserts that fit either 15 M.A.C eyeshadows or 6 blushes. I personally take these inserts out making room for 26 eyeshadows or 8 blushes. The Pro Palettes come in one colour (black with silver writing).


Price:
$14 USD

Pros:
1)Products Look Organized: While I personally choose to take the inserts out of my MAC palettes, those who decide to keep their inserts in will have a much neater and more organized looking palette. Eyeshadows are evenly spaced apart and look more uniformed as all shadows must be the same size to fit in the pre-shaped holes (you can also fit different brands of eyeshadows that are the same size as MAC ie. Annabelle eyeshadows).

2)It Has a Hard Shell: MAC palettes have a hard, fairly durable, outer shell that protects makeup from being dented or smashed. I have dropped these palettes many times and for the most part they have remained shut. The inserts that come with the palettes keep your eyeshadows or blushes in place so that they don't move around and are less likely to get chipped. If you choose to take the inserts out, there is a greater risk of your products getting chipped or smashed. 



Cons:
1) Not See-Thru: One of the major cons of the M.A.C palettes is that the lids are not clear and don't allow you to see what is in your palette without having to open it up. While this may not be an issue for someone who has only one palette, for those who have more than one, this can be fairly annoying. Makeup artists need to work quickly and having to open up each palette to find what you are looking for, can waste a lot of time. 

2) Magnets Are Not Strong Enough: While the MAC shadows seem to adhere to the magnetic sheet at the bottom of these palettes, other magnetic eyeshadows don't seem to stick to the palettes properly (I have tried several types of magnets).

3) Only One Shape of Product: If you choose to keep the inserts in your M.A.C palettes, you can only fit one shape and size of eyeshadow in your palette (no squares, rectangles, bigger circles, etc.) While this is okay if you only want to store M.A.C shadows, people who want to store all of their shadows together can't do so. 


Overall: 
Overall I think the M.A.C Pro Palettes are just okay. If you are looking to keep your eyeshadows neat and uniformed, this palette would work well for you. For those of you looking to store different shapes, sizes and types of products together, this is definitely not your palette. I believe there are better options for palettes on the market and will not be purchasing any more M.A.C pro palettes (although I still have 6 to work with). 

Rating:
5/10 Funny Faces

Where to Purchase:
MAC Pro Pan Palettes can be ordered online at the MAC Website or in MAC free-standing stores (they are not available at MAC counters. At least not where I live). 



The Z-Palette 

What:
The Z-Palette is 8" x 4.75" magnetized palette that holds various shapes and sizes of products. For comparison, the Z-Palette can hold 27 M.A.C eyeshadows or 8 M.A.C blushes. The Z-palette comes in four unique colours/patterns including black, pink, zebra print and leopard print.



Price:
$20 USD

Pros:
1) See Thru Lid: One of the biggest positives of the Z-Palette is that it has a see-thru plastic lid allowing you to see exactly what is in your palette. Although I do label all of my M.A.C palettes (ie. green eyeshadows), it is so much easier when you can see exactly which products are in your palette. 




2) It Can Fit Any Shaped Product: Because this palette has one large, magnetic surface and no inserts, it can hold any shape of product (circle, rectangle, octagon, etc.) allowing you to store several different types and brands of product together. 




3) Durable and Strong: While this palette is made out of eco-friendly recyclable materials (cardboard), it is extremely tough and durable. It also has an extremely powerful magnetic seal which helps keep the palette closed tightly. In order to test just how strong this palette really is, I threw it around my room from several different heights (I know, crazy, right?). The palette remained closed the entire time and no shadows were damaged. 

Cons:
1) It Can Look Unorganized: To be honest, I am so in love with this palette that it was hard for me to find a con. However, if you are someone who likes all of your makeup to look organized and professional, this might not be the palette for you. While you could put only a specific brand of products in the palette (ie. all mac eyeshadows), without set holes to put them in, the palette can look somewhat messy (compared to the M.A.C palette with the inserts). For me personally, this is not a problem, but it may be something to consider for others. 

Overall:
Overall, I think this is a great palette to own. I love that it fits all different kinds and sizes of products and has a clear lid allowing me to see see each individual items I have in it. I will definitely be purchasing some z-palettes in the very near future (like tomorrow). 

Rating: 
9.5/10 Funny Faces

Where To Purchase:
The Z-palette shown was sent to me for consideration from LeCosmetique, an online store that carries a range of pro-cosmetic products for professional makeup artists or makeup enthusiasts. If you have a chance, definitely check out this website, LeCosmetique sells a range of products from 88 eyeshadow palettes and disposable beauty tools to professional airbrush systems and my dream makeup case, the zuca bag (seriously, check this thing out). Z-palettes are $20 ($17 for professional makeup artists) and shipping in the US is free if you spend over $50. 




MAC Pro Palette or The Z-Pallete?
The Z-Palette For Sure!!


I am so in love with the Z-palette and will be placing an order for 3 more of them within the next couple of days. If you are looking for a well made palette to store your de-potted makeup products, I very highly recommend you check out the Z-palette.


xx
Alicia