Anatomy of Beauty

Getting Down to the Bone of the Beauty Industry

Stace, Where Have You Been?!

Hi all! I know, I’ve disappeared for a bit. Frankly, there have been many things keeping me away from you all. The nature of my job physically kicks my ass, and lately work has been busy. There has also been a slew of bad things happening to me lately. Starting with my kitty unexpectedly passing away, the Boston marathon bombing, my grandmother almost dying, and my parents splitting up. Psychologically and emotionally I’ve been having a difficult time. I hope the next half of the year turns out to be more positive.

My point here is that I haven’t forgotten about this place and I haven’t abandoned this little project of mine. I have plenty more to come. It’s just a matter of execution. Hopefully very soon. 🙂

Hoping you are all well, and if there are any requests for reviews or any other kinds of posts, please feel free to share.

I also may be starting a blog documenting my struggle with mental health, emphasizing on anxiety disorders….in case anyone else here may be interested. 

Take Care!



Holy Crap, A Video

My first youtube video in years!



Winter Proof Lips…and I Mean It!

Long time no blog! Work at the funeral home has burnt me out. I had a restoration project that was pretty intense.

I also lost my dearest friend and companion. His name is Tague, but I always called him “Handsome” and he is a seal point persian cat. He was 11 years old, and to my knowledge had absolutely nothing wrong with him. I just found him in his little napping area “sleeping.” I’ve been crying for days.IMG_1165


Anyway, apologies for all the venting…on to the actual post!

There are two products that I have used religiously for years when it came to either healing chapped lips or protecting them from further dehydration and pain. I’ve got nothing fancy to offer you here. You can find both products at your local pharmacy. I am so passionate about the efficacy of these products that I believe my very first youtube video was about this duo, and I’m pretty sure I rambled for a good 10 minutes. yikes.




Yep. That’s it. This may be my most boring post yet! Seriously though, these products offer such relief that I can’t be without them.

So when your lips are burning like hell, and you can’t help but lick them for a .5 second relief, (only to really cause more irritation) thats when I reach for the Chap Stick. Let me be clear here…when I say Chap Stick, I don’t mean the Moisturizing, Strawberry, Cherry, etc crap. Light blue tube. MEDICATED. (important details here) Applying this will give you instant relief. No exaggerations, either. One tube has .15 oz and prices vary depending on where you live/where you buy.

Aquaphor by Eucerin is my next choice. I was given an entire box of these little sample sizes when I started the Accutane treatment (for severe acne.) This is your super heavy duty moisturizer and defense against the elements. If after applying your Chap Stick, and you finally feel better, slap some Aquaphor right on top of that. Your pout will be signed, sealed, and delivered. Some winters, I get some really dry patches around my nose, forehead, or even eyelids. I’ve been known to dab some of this on overnight to help my skin pipe the #*%& down! I’m not exactly sure what sizes Aquaphor comes in as I’m still working on the box of samples I was given. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen pocket sized tubes at Target. Prices will also vary here as well.

Seriously, these two products are power houses when it comes to dealing with irritated, dry lips. I’ve heard others talk about Carmex as well…I don’t have much experience with it, but I do know that if it’s not medicated, its not for me.

Hoping you all are in better spirits than I,


Cotton Pads…I mean $20 Cotton Pads

Today’s my day off. Can’t you tell?

I don’t know if this is going to be a controversial topic or not. I don’t believe cotton pads have that ability, but hey, I could be wrong.

I’ve always been weird about cotton…cotton balls, rounds, squares, etc. Their texture just kind of freaks me out. *hoping someone out there knows what I mean*

I’ve tried using such products (usually purchased from pharmacies) for various applications. Tried using them to remove nail polish. It was okay…until the moistened cotton fibers started sticking to the polish of the hand I was using to hold the cotton. *shudders* Tried using them to remove makeup. It was fine until the pad started pulling apart.

I don’t know. I don’t have a great explanation, but I just don’t like the cotton thing. Do they sell those rounds that you find in those Almay Eye Makeup Remover jars, but dry? That, I could probably do.

Anyway, so I’m on sephora’s site and come across Shiseido’s Facial Cotton. Now, this stuff has practically a 5 star rating AND it costs $9.50. I DID. NOT. GET. IT.

Long story short, I have a gift card, so I give in and purchase. I’m a convert. The shitakie at the pharmacy doesn’t compare to this stuff. My mind is made up.


Now i get a sample of the cle de peau “le coton.” What?!? There are MORE options? I couldn’t wrap my brain around how many different ways you could make cotton squares awesome. Let me (finally) give you some photos/stats/opinions.



Shiseido Facial Cotton: 100% Cotton. Retails on for $9.50. There seems to be a question about the quantity of a package. Some people say its labeled on the back, others I think are making up numbers. 😉 I actually opened up my packaged and came to 162….yeah, I don’t know either.

cdp: they claim that the pad is a “blend of refined cotton fibers wrapped in a layer of silk.” Both Barney’s and are selling a 120 count for $20. O.O

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Differences? Well, Shiseido is smaller and slightly thicker, while cdp is a little larger but slightly thinner. It also has the logo stamped into the square. Aside from the price doubling, thats about it. I honestly can’t tell the different between the two otherwise. They both have more strength when I pull on them the long way. They more easily expand if I pull them wide. (Please keep in mind, the strength of these still doesn’t compare to the pharmacy counterparts.)

Correct me if I’m wrong here, but I’m pretty sure Shideido owns cle de peau. I can’t see the justification of doubling the price for (what looks like) less product than the Shiseido version….which ultimately feels and performs identically.

…..end rant…



Eeeek! Liebster Award!

As is obvious, this is a very new blog. I have a lot to learn, a ton of website development to do, photo quality issues to work out, and I’m sure another 2590831 things.

I probably had perhaps 3 or 4 posts, when the absolutely lovely Miss Ellinor of SubtleDancer ( notified me that she graciously nominated me for the Liebster Award. I was so excited, yet confused (I had no idea what a Liebster Award was) that I googled it.

In a simplified gist, I see the Liebster Award as a big ol’ high five from one blogger to another, along with the opportunity to learn more about each other. Right on to that!

Here are the questions SubtleDancer has posed:

  1. Favorite children’s book?  The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
  2. Where was your most recent vacation? Europe: Amsterdam-Brussels-Paris
  3. Five items do you use every day? Beauty related? My Vanity Lit Mirror, iTunes, Notebook (for reviews), Tangle Teaser, The Clock (I could sit there, playing, all day)
  4. If you could live anywhere, where would you live? US: Here and somewhere between Seattle and Portland. In the world: So far, Amsterdam
  5. Last time that you were surprised? Honestly, when I realized people were reading this blog.
  6. Your biggest pet peeve? Relationships are the most important thing in life. I can’t have Lying.
  7. If you could have any career, what would it be? A full time Artist
  8. Favorite scent? Firewood
  9. Favorite dessert? Tiramisu
  10. Favorite animal? I am a big animal advocate. I love all animals and value their lives as much as my own. That includes you, Mister Spider setting up shop on my ceiling.
  11. One thing you hope to accomplish this year. After purchasing my first home and never being in any kind of debt ever in my life….I’d say get my credit card debt cleared….then work on student debt…then that sneaky mortgage….probably not all in one year….unless I start playing the lotto.


I’m assuming I’m supposed to make up my own questions and nominate some bloggers. To be frank, I really don’t know a whole lot of you yet. I’m discovering new blogs daily, and I’m getting to know a few of you slowly, but surely, so I think I’m going to have to hold off on this portion until I have more than 2 people that I follow regularly.

Ellinor, I thank you for the “high-five.” It encourages me to keep this little blog going, and that maybe it is worth something to someone…even if its just me. Cheers, Mon Ami!


Inglot….Beyond the Eyeshadows

Happy Sunday! I’m hoping we’ll see some spring weather soon, but in true New England fashion…Who Knows!

Today’s little review will be about Inglot. No, I will not be discussing their eyeshadows (unless you want me to.) I just feel like those reviews have been done to death, but If anyone out there actually cares about my particular opinion, I’ll give it a go. Unfortunately for me, I do not have a counter anywhere near me, and their website is rather difficult to work with. The line just lacks any cohesiveness when it comes to their numbering systems, and the site swatches are useless in my opinion. Generally, when it comes to Inglot, I watch lots of reviews and look up plenty of blogger swatches.

Im feeling rather chatty today. On with the products!


I purchased the AMC Mousse Foundation in FC 100. It retails for $14 and has 11g of product. I also purchased the AMC Cream Blush in 85. It retails for $12 and has 5.5g of product.

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I don’t have much to say about the blush. Its kind of a gingery red color. Its creamy to the touch, but once blending it into my hand, it felt almost powdery and dry (in a good way.) Off the bat, this gave me the impression that it wasn’t going to feel greasy on the skin, and it indeed doesn’t. The pigment is strong (which I always love.) It does have a slight reflective quality, but it just adds a very slight glow to the skin.  There really isn’t much of a scent to this product. If you stick your nose in the pot, there is a slight hint of…something…perhaps I can describe it as plasticy. Again, its extremely faint, and undetectable on the skin. The packaging is simple. A sturdy, but light plastic pot. The cap twists on and off smoothly. I enjoy this blush. My small stippling brush fits nicely in the pot. The price point is refreshing, especially after those last couple of high end posts!

Next up, we’ve got the foundation. Packaging is the same, and the texture of the product is as it describes: mousse-y. It has a very light weight feel to the skin. Out of the jar, it has a very light almost floral makeup-y scent. I don’t believe this to be an issue. If I’m not mistaken, FC 100 is the lightest shade available (its usually what I always go for.) Now, I fought with this foundation for days, people. First, I applied the Inglot primer, then used my ELF flat top powder brush to apply the foundation. Holy banana hammocks, the dry skin patches were everywhere! My skin looked fine just a moment ago! It was a no go. The following day, I again used the Inglot primer and instead applied the foundation using a damp sponge (Laura Mercier if you’re wondering.) The results were slightly better, if I could even say that. I could still see the emphasis on the dry skin flakies. Yuk! I was about to put this thing to bed, but I had one more idea. I made sure to moisturize (using an SPF) and instead of using the Inglot primer, I used a sample of the Hourglass Serum Primer. I then applied the product with my fingers. Holy hickin’ hillbillies!!! I had a great finish on the skin. It was practically undetectable. O.O I had quite the “Eureka!!!” moment….but don’t get too excited. Turns out, this foundation is VERY sheer. It has a slight bit of buildability, but that’s just not my style.

SO! Verdict on the foundation is that its just not for me. However, I will say, that if you have oily skin, and are looking for light coverage, this little guy might be just right for you, especially at a $14 price point. (Depending on how long it lasts as well)

All for now, lovely friends!


Bring It, Burberry!

Today, I’m going to touch on another high end brand that isn’t quite so offensively as expensive as Tom Ford, but still pricey nonetheless. My particular purchase came from, as my local store didn’t have a Burberry counter. boooooo. hiiissssss. *throws tomatoes*

Anyway, here are the goods:


The Lipstick is from the Lip Velvet line in No. 304 Redwood. It has .12oz of product and retails for $30.

The eyeshadow is from the Sheer Eye Shadow line in No. 9 Rosewood. It has .088oz of product and retails for $29.


My general thought on the packaging is an A+. Much of the packaging has some weight and the plaid detailing, both on the outside as well as right in the product itself, is just delightful. The lipstick case has a square, dark charcoal matte finish (with the plaid reflecting in the light.) I imagine this design choice has to do with the matte, long wear formula. It’s a bit more lightweight than the eyeshadow case, but the cap  has the unique detail of magnetizing shut…not in any which way, in case you were wondering…it has to sit just on the right side to snap closed.

The eyeshadow case is a reflective, stormy gray color, with the plaid etched in, of course. The compact comes in a little black velvet pouch, also advertising the signature Burberry plaid. Upon opening it, there is a full size mirror, a generously sized pan, and a single sponge applicator. Best part? you guessed it: Magnetic closure, son!

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The Products:

The Burberry line consists of mostly neutral, very wearable colors. These two are no exception. I purchased both of these items with little swatching information, and based most of it off of the website swatches. (a waste, i know, but all turned out well)

The shadow is interesting to me. Its called Rosewood, it looks kind of like a rosey taupe color in the pan, with no glitter…perhaps a sheen, if you will. When I swatched it on my hand/arm I almost felt as though the rosiness muted itself, and the light reflective properties bumped up, leaving me with a shimmery cool brown. My first impression was literally, “Meh.” Then, I applied it to the lids….and thats where the magic happened. The pigment was subtle, but as I packed the color on my lid, the rosiness returned! It was subtle, wearable, and eye catching. The more I use it, the more in love I fall. I will absolutely be investing in more of these shadows….sometime when I have the cash monies.

The lipstick swatch here is coming off quite a bit more bold and red than it actually is. I consider Redwood to be a rosy mauve. Keep in mind, this formula is full on pigment, so almost any shade is going to pack a punch. No.304 Redwood is actually on the lighter end of the Lip Velvet line spectrum of color choices. Its not fully matte…..Satin I’d say. Lips are comfortable wearing this product. It doesn’t appear to dry out the lips over time, and it wears beautifully. After drinking tea, having a cocktail, and smoking a pipe (tobacco, in case you’re curious 😉 hah) I still have an even distribution of color.

Tom Ford Cosmetics….Ehhh, What the Heck!

I honestly didn’t think anyone would come across this blog….never mind follow/like/comment on it. What a pleasant little surprise! Many thanks to those who have reached out.

…and I digress…

So, there’s been some buzz about this offensively expensive Tom Ford cosmetics line. There are very few physical counters in the US, so many of us would have to order online and pray to sweet baby jesus that the online $45 lipgloss swatch was dead on. If you really wanted to research further, another option would be to google images of real life swatches…its what I did.

What did I get? I made sure to choose wisely, due to said obscene prices. I purchased a lipstick and eyeshadow quad via

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The Eye Color Quad is in 03 Cocoa Mirage, retails for $75, and has a total of 10g of product. The price made you throw up a little bit, didn’t it? Me too. I had to know what $75 eyeshadow felt like! The palette comes in a faux suede pouch with “Tom Ford” embossed in the fabric. The packaging is a lightweight dark brown plastic with gold colored trim. The closure is magnetic (yay!), and upon opening the compact there is a large mirror. Along with the 4 eyeshadow pans, included are 2 double ended applicators (3 sponges and 1 tiny angled brush.) This palette offers a good everyday warm brown neutral look. 3 of the 4 shades are matte, and 1 is a shimmer. There is a light, off-white/cream color….good for highlighting the brow bone and inner corners. Next is a basic medium brown. The photo makes it look cool and ashy, but in reality its quite warm. Next, you’ve got your dark shimmery brown. The shimmer isn’t crazy…pretty sophisticated in my opinion. Finally, a nice dark matte brown.

My personal thoughts? I appreciate the emphasis on the matte finish, as opposed to all of the shimmer and glitter seen in most palettes.   The colors themselves are easy, everyday colors. The texture is pretty soft and creamy, but not as much as the Wet n’ Wild shadows. The pigmentation and blendability are good. SO…the million dollar question (or $75 question)…is it worth it? In my honest opinion: it depends on your budget. Now, don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with this product. If Tom Ford is well within your means, then full steam ahead! However, there are comparable products at a better price point.

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The Lip Color I purchased is in 03 Casablanca. It retails for $48 and has 3g of product. I would describe this color as a rosy mauve. The formula is full on pigment, so it does pack a punch, but I would consider this a wearable color. With that being said, I will note that I naturally do have fairly pigmented lips. The formula is comfortable on the lips. It is creamy, but it doesn’t have too much slip. The finish is not matte. It does have an element of shine and dimension, but it isn’t glossy by any means. I will say that the wear is rather superior. I can wear this lipstick through a full work day, and still round out the day with an even wash of color.

Is it worth it? I vote yes on this one. I think the finish and wear allows for comfortable everyday use. It still definitely is a splurge item for many of us, but having at least one of these wouldn’t hurt.

Flower Beauty by Drew Barrymore

I was curious about the new Flower cosmetic line by Drew Barrymore found exclusively at Walmart. The site claims to use high end ingredients without the cost. This is due to, the site states, the decision to not invest in major advertisement campaigns as many other brands do. The products are made in the USA and are not tested on animals. I went ahead and tested a range of products.



Starting with lip products, above is the Sheer Up Lip Tint in the shade Dewy Rose. It retails for $7.98 and comes with 2.8g of product. The twist-up plastic packaging is light with a frosted cap. The site claims that this is a sheer lip color, but I disagree. Pigmentation is right on. There seems to be an ever so slight shimmer, but due to its glossy finish, it is almost undetectable. Color selection is limited with only 5 colors ranging from a rosy nude to the above seen bright red. I like this product more than the CoverGirl jumbo lip version, but not as much as the Neutrogena version.



I purchased one lipstick from each available formula. Both formulas retail for $6.98 and have 3.5g of product. Both collections also have 9 shades each. The white tube is the Kiss Stick Velvet Lip Color. My particular shade is in LS3 Tender Tuberose. The finish is pretty darn close to matte, but as the name indicates, I’d say it has a touch more of a velvet or satin finish.

The black packaging is the Kiss Stick High-Shine Lip Color. The shade above is LS13 Ginger Lily. As expected, the finish is glossy. I have no qualms with either lipstick formula. They are both creamy, wear like any other decent lipstick, and have only a very slight scent. I’m neutral about the packaging, however I do appreciate having a swatch of the color showing through on the bottom. They are good lipsticks, but nothing to write home about.



Cheeks! I’ve been loving cream blushes and this is no exception. The Win Some, Rouge Some Creme Blush retails for $7.98 and has 4g of product. The shade above is in BL5 Primrose & Proper. It is extremely emolient and pigmented. The pot is small, so I’d recommend using a smaller sized stippling brush. It blends out nicely on the skin, and can be easily built up to the level of pigmentation desired. It currently comes in 6 shades.

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The Ready, Set, Glow! Blush/Bronze Duo retails for $9.98, has 4 different shades, and has 8g of product. I chose to try out the darkest pairing called BD4 Sunkissed & Single. I was pretty timid and conservative with my initial application, however I soon realized how less pigmented it really was. The above swatch was layered 3 times. I don’t mean this in a negative way. Nobody wants to look like a clown, however the way it looks in the pan is somewhat deceiving. The texture of the product is smooth, however the bronzer has more of a shimmer than the blush, which doesn’t seem to be the typical preference. The packaging gets brownie points from me for having a magnetic closure.

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The Skincognito Stick Foundation was a tricky one. It retails for $8.98, comes in only 8 shades, and has 9g of product. My personal skin tone is quite fair and leans neutral to cool, so my best educated choice here was shade SF2. Turns out it was still much too yellow for me. Aside from this, I did appreciate the product’s creamy texture and ease of brush blending. It didn’t emphasize any dry, flaky skin, but left my skin a little bit on the dewy side. I tried layering the product to add a little bit of coverage, but I didn’t note a sizable difference. I would call this foundation maaaaaybe  medium coverage. It’s personally not for me, but I think its definitely worth trying. I just tend to be really picky about foundations.

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Next up, some eye products! Along with creme blushers, I’m also a sucker for cream shadows. Color Play Creme Eyeshadows retail for $7.98, have a decent 12 colors to choose from, and have 3.5g of product. The shade shown above is called CE3 Wild Geranium. The packaging confuses me a bit. Its in a pot, like many cream shadows (think Maybelline’s Color Tattoos), however upon opening it, it has that flat plastic lid just like the Loreal Infallible Eyeshadows. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought the purpose of that little lid was to keep the powder of the Infallibles packed in there. I don’t see the purpose of this here with a creme product. Speaking of creme, it actually has more of the texture of a mousse or soufflé, than a creme. I’m okay with that…it was just an observation. 🙂 Skin application is smooth and silky, and this particular shade is quite shimmery and metallic.

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Last but not least, and quite possibly the star of the show….we have the eyeshadow quads! Shadow Play eyeshadow quads retail for $9.98, have 4 different colorways to choose from, and have a total of 6g of product. This particular quad is called Foxy Browns. It contains 4 shimmer shadows, and a matte dark brown. I appreciate this mixture of finishes, as too many eyeshadow palettes on the market offer all but matte shadows….leaving you with disco eyeballs. The quad comes with a sponge tip applicator, and again, gets my brownie points for the magnetic closure! The texture of these shadows is truly luxurious and creamy, and the pigmentation is perfection. I did a little experiment with these guys….I applied the creme shadow (shown above) as my base, and did my look using this palette. At the end of the day, I took off my makeup…except for my shadow work. (It’s a no-no, but its for the sake of experimentation!) I was pleasantly surprised to see that the following day, my eyeshadow was still in place, and lookin’ good!

My second blog post may be longer than the first! I thoroughly enjoyed trying all of these products, and I appreciate the brand POV. I love that these products are make in the USA, and that they are not tested on animals. (At least the finished products aren’t….more research to be done on this in the near future.) There weren’t any products that I disliked. I would say that the stick foundation was the least exciting as the shades and coverage just weren’t there for my needs. I did very much love the creme blusher and the creme eyeshadow. I look forward to trying more shades. Finally, as I stated above, the star of this collection is the eye shadow quad.

For more info, go to

Barney’s Love Yourself Beauty Bag Event 2013

First blog post!…and its a big one!

My favorite beauty event, by far, is done via Barney’s. Their gift bags are literally stuffed with high end samples, most of which are deluxe size along with some full size goodies.


Here’s everything I received: The Items I ordered, a step up gift from Chantecaille, and the sample bag.

I decided to give Chantecaille a run for their money this time around. I purchased The Elephant Palette $82, Save the Sharks Palette $83, Cheek Creme in Demure $34, and the Future Skin Oil-Free Gel Foundation $72. I also added the ever-so-popular Giorgio Armani Master Corrector in 1 $37.


For spending $200 with Chantecaille, I received their step up gift, which included: the Flower Infused Cleansing Milk, the Retinol Body Treatment with Rose and Edelweiss, the Nano Gold Energizing Face Cream, the Frangipane EDP, and the Faux Cils Mascara in Black. These items came in a fuchsia pink wallet/clutch. Inside, there is a zippered compartment, a cash slot, and 6 card slots.


As you can see, the bag really did come filled to the brim with so many things! The bag itself is made of a durable canvas with navy, white, and orange stripes. The inside is lined and the zipper has what appears to be a leather navy tassel attached to it.


On to the samples! Here’s a complete look at everything in the bag.


Starting with fragrance: L’Artisan Parfumeur La Chasse Aux Papillons EDT, Hermes Jour d’Hermes EDP, Kai, and Tocca Florence EDP.


For makeup: Koh Gen Do Moisture Foundation (in various shades), Rouge d’Armani in Beige 100, Rouge 400, and Pink 500, Cle de Peau Le Coton, Kevyn Aucoin The Elegant Lip Gloss in Anastasia, Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer, Deborah Lippmann Nail Polish in Sweet Dreams, Nars Pro-Prime Multi-Protect Primer SPF 30 Sunscreen, Bobbi Brown Soothing Cleansing Oil, and Sue Devitt Defining Eyeliner in Laki.


Last but not least, skin and body care: Radical Skincare Anti-Aging Replenishing Extreme Moisture (I received 2 for some reason), 3Lab “M” Cream, Shiseido Benefiance Wrinkle Resist 24 Intensive Eye Contour Cream, Bionova Upper Lip Wrinkles Treatment, Chantecaille Magnolia, Jasmine, and Lily Healing Emulsion, Noble Isle Willow Song Bath and Shower Gel, and (Malin+Goetz) Vitamin b5 Body Moisturizer.

Whew! That was a lot of stuff! This event, done twice per year, gives me a chance to splurge and buy products I would never normally buy, and it also gives me the opportunity to try an array of brands and products I may not have heard of or given thought to.

Side Note: I’m aware the photography here isn’t ideal. As I continue working on this blog, I will continue to work on the kinks.