Thursday, July 12, 2007

Frugal beauty.

Behold, the stubbiness!

And that, boys and girls, is the Shu Uemura eyebrow pencil that I have been using and will continue to use until it disappears, hopefully after I've received my next paycheck.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Genie In A Bottle, or the Urban Decay Primer Potion

I first became aware of Urban Decay cosmetics in my late teens, and I was utterly blown away by the company who dared to name a nail colour 'gangrene'. The brand's twisted, unprissy aesthetics struck a chord with my inner smudgy-eyelinered, torn-fishnet-stockinged alterna-chick. Indeed, Urban Decay was founded in 1996 by a woman who worked for Cisco Systems who was sick of the sea of pink nail polish in the market at the time.

My first over-the-counter makeover was by an Urban Decay sales assistant during the sultry summer of 2000 when I interned at a television news station in Taipei. I left the mall with sparkly blue eyeshadow (Urban Decay does not do 'matte'. For the most part.), sparkly bubblegum pink lips and a small bag containing a tube of the same sparkly bubblegum pink gloss which I promptly gave away to a friend when I returned to college that fall. After a brief flirtation with the Midnight Cowboy eyeshadow - what was a dorky Government major going to do with super-glittery beige eyeshadow? - I sadly concluded that I simply wasn't hardcore or even interesting enough for Urban Decay.

Fast forward to 2007, where I've a bit 'put away' for a rainy day, a tiny disposable income from my day job as a PR drone, and most importantly, a willing if not slightly diffident State-side contact who made Sephora runs on my behalf if I batted my eyelashes hard enough. I was also clocking time on, where while browsing the most highly-rated items on the website, I noticed that the Urban Decay Primer Potion was getting resoundingly positive reviews. Primer Potion fans raved about how eyeshadows stayed fresh from dawn 'til dusk, and I figured that legions of experienced makeup aficionados could not be wrong. I informed g33kchic of the news, and she quickly tapped a travelling co-worker to get her a tube. g33kchic was an instant convert, and I waited for an opportunity to get my own tube.

Now, as the proud owner of a tube, I can tell you in my own words that this stuff works. In true Urban Decay style, the primer comes in a purple tube with a silver cap whose sleek curves would not be out of place on the dresser of a certain 60's television genie. Given the eye makeup of the era, the primer potion might have made Jeannie's toilette a little easier. The primer potion comes with a sponge applicator with which I dab little dots of primer onto my eyelid before smoothing them all over with my ring finger. The 'potion' is a nude formulation that goes on sheer and subtly smooths and evens out the skin around the eye area, creating a base for your eye makeup with a death grip on your shadows. This eye primer pretty much solved the problem I had with migrating eyeshadow, which left me looking like a panda and very much worse for the wear at the end of the work day. In fact, I even use a little bit along my lower lashline, where I like to apply a smidgen of black shadow as liner.

My one and only gripe, and it seems so petty to quibble when this is just magic in a tube (hah, see that?), is that I am unable to gauge how much is left or even how much is in there to begin with. When I pull the wand out of the tube in the morning, I am sometimes unconvinced that the sponge applicator picked up any product at all. Perhaps this is one cosmetic product in which I shall have to have some blind faith.