Looks to smother with confetti

My ideal New Year’s Eve involves me lounging, makeup free, in a nest of blankets with a soothing face mask, a cat in my lap and a glass of wine in my hand. With that combination I’m guaranteed to be asleep well before midnight, but at least I’ll wake up rested for the new year.

If the right group of friends is involved, going out for NYE can be fun too. Having a good crew is surely essential for surviving an environment thick with drunk, obnoxious people who feel wretched and anxious about making the first moment of the new year the perfect moment.  You need someone to raise your eyebrows at when the homely and horny girls doing obscene things to men who you suspect were hired from Craigslist to endure a champagne and desperation soaked night somehow get even more down and more dirty on a couch in the bar. You need someone to wink at as a grey beard cruises your boyfriend. You need to grimace in solidarity as the Brooklyn MC projects dancing Hasidic Jews on the wall and tells you not to take selfies in 2015. And you need someone to find confetti in her underwear the next morning after dozens of party poppers were let loose around you like a rainbow bukkake,

Yes, that pretty much sums up my last night of 2014.

This year I was fortunate enough to get confetti-splattered with some of my favorite people. And my pretty friend Jayne let me do her makeup. Originally our plan was to go with a Taylor Swift look–wing-tipped eyes and bright red lipstick that would, fingers crossed, devolve into the goopy, hysterical mess Tay Tay perfects at the end of her “Blank Space” video. taylor_swift_770_1Taylor-Swift

We took the bright wing-tipped look in the left photograph and brightened it up with some white, violet and gold colors. We also ended up skipping the red lip and going for a nude one, keeping the look light and ethereal.

jayne face 1jaybe face 1

For Jayne’s look we used:

jayne paletteLush’s cream eyeshadow, Focus

The Body Shop’s Colour Crush eyeshadow, Blueberry Night (blended into the Lush shadow, on the right side of the first strip of color)

NYX Jumbo Eye Pencil, Cottage Cheese (really bad branding on their part, we’re thinking the same thing)

Lush’s golden eyeliner, Dynamic

BareMinerals Moxie lipstick, Speak Your Mind

Jayne eyes 1

All of these products were new to me, and I love the colors we were able to achieve with the Lush cosmetics in particular. To start, we used a white eye shadow primer by NYX–this allowed us to work from a bright base and build up a luminescent effect with the other products we layered over it. On her eye lid we blended the silvery cream shadow with the light jayne full 2violet eyeshadow causing the hue to become beautifully opalescent. We then blended the golden eyeliner at the outer edge of her eye and into her eye crease to add more dimension and to highlight her blue eyes. In the inner corners of her eyes we used the Cottage Cheese pen with some powder highlighter to smooth out the color (so it didn’t actually look like clumpy cottage cheese, staying true to its stomach-turning name). For her eyeliner we used Stila liquid liner. I also added some Hourglass ambient lighting blush to her cheeks–after we dabbed on some primer and BB cream–which gave her a soft coral glow.

For my own NYE look I drew inspiration from 70s David Bowie.



70s makeup (from what I can gather from my vague interest in certain 70s idols–Dolly, Stevie, Debbie Harry, Siouxsie, Cher . . . ) was about dark eyeliner and soft but colorful eyeshadows.

12885f images-2 images-1

I went for a soft but colorful red and gold look.

Gina bowie face 1

gina bowie face 2

For my look I used:gina palette

Urban Decay eyeshadow, Freelove

Madison Street Beauty eyeshadow, Flamingo (this is the darker, shimmery color below and mixed into the lighter, peachy, less shimmery Freelove)

Lush eyeliner, Dynamic

UD eyeshadow, Half Baked

MSB Golden Bronzer

NYC City Proof Twistable Intense Lip Color crayon, Roosevelt Island Red

Gina full bowie 1I covered my lids in the gold eyeliner (you’ll note I used this as an eyeshadow instead of an eyeliner on both Jayne and me). I also lined my top lids with this color and extended it into a pyramid shape in the center of my lids, going into and above my eye creases. Then I shaded the inner corners of my eyes and into the creases on either side of the “pyramid” with pink eye shadow.  I dusted and blended around the edges of these colors with the red, glittery eye shadow.

I used the golden bronze to contour around my face, going for a more subtle Bowie contour-mask look (as seen in the picture below).David-Bowie-as-Ziggy-Stardust

The rusty-red lip color definitely made this look stand out, and I got the glossy effect by applying a gold lip gloss over the top. The NYC lipstick crayon I used was less than $5, long-lasting and tasted like cake or some sweet dessert–definitely worth it!

For the end of 2015 maybe I’ll go for the gold forehead circle.

Bren and Jayne on bus

Beauties still got to commute to the par-tay


Dead Laura Palmer

I wish that Halloween came more than once a year so that I could have more excuses to come up with costume and makeup ideas.

This year I returned to the Twin Peaks theme that inspired me in 2011when I dressed up as the Log Lady.


And now dead Laura Palmer:

LP3 LP 4


Without my plastic casing I look like Ariel from The Tempest.


Siouxsie Cixous

This look, modeled by Brenden, started out being Siouxsie Sioux inspired and then quickly became part Hélène Cixous and part Morrisey in execution. Maybe porno for Egyptologists too. But I guess that’s what happens when you have intense eyebrows, colombina masquearade mask eye makeup, and fluffy blown back hair.



Brenden is a lesbian in training for Pittsburgh, PA. His makeup interests include Rupaul's Drag Race, goth eyeliner, and whatever Gina wants to put on him.

Brenden is a lesbian in training for Pittsburgh, PA. His makeup interests include Rupaul’s Drag Race, goth eyeliner, and whatever Gina wants to put on him.

brenden 8First, let’s review the bad. One of the biggest mistakes I made in pulling off this look was using Covergirl Clean Oil Control Foundation. Brenden definitely got what he paid for when he purchased this foundation–a pigment that made him too yellow and did not control shine AT ALL. This “anti-luisance” was lackluster but not in the way we wanted it to actually help us lack luster on Brenden’s face. This foundation may have been the worst makeup product I’ve ever used.

Despite these set backs, and even if it is hard to see in the photos, Brenden’s intense, hieroglyphic eye makeup came out beautifully. Props, thanks and general shout out is in order for our friend Megan who helped us highlight how truly awful and cheap Covergirl cosmetics are in juxtaposition to the good, high end makeup she provided for this look. (As a side note, Megan knows a lot about makeup and will hopefully become a regular contributor!)

Brenden 6For Brenden’s look we used:


Although I’m not providing a palette picture here, you can imagine it would look like a bunch of black smudged onto my arm. We were able to achieve some depth and nuance in this look, however, by adding highlights with the light shadow colors, Sin and Nude. We also blended in Gunmetal and Illamasqua’s Alluvium to create a rich, shimmery smoky effect that added interest and softness to all of the black layered on black layered on black.

Lots of layering is indeed what I did to line and shadow Brenden’s eyes: I drew the lines I wanted to further darken and shade in with the Maybelline Kajal Kohl Liner first, then I applied the Armani black silk shadow over that, then I painted over that with the L’Oreal lacquer (see my review of this lacquer here), and FINALLY I sealed it with more Armani silk shadow. I really liked the Maybelline liner. It doesn’t come on intensely black, but it made it easy to map out where I wanted to apply more extreme pigment, providing a nice base that didn’t smudge.  Also, the Armani silk shadow is no joke–it created a black silkiness that was perfect for creating bold dark lines that blended into a smoky shadow over Brenden’s eye lids.

Another unfortunate aspect about this look as it appears in these pictures is that you can’t really see how truly creamy and beautiful the Burberry lip cover is here. The Devon Sunset color is a not-too-bright, not-too-nude coral pink that added some color and softness to the severe, dark palette we used for this look. Plus, Brenden’s lips have a naturally dramatic bow to them, making the Clara Bow lip that Siouxsie perfected really easy to achieve on him.

Oh, and then after the glasses were put back on, Brenden’s look became mostly Rachel Maddow.

brenden glasses

Swallowtail Siouxsie Look

Today’s look is part yellow swallowtail part Siouxsie Sioux.  red-blue-yellow-black

A friend of mine is going to guest model for Vampid soon, and he wants to rock a dark-eyed Siouxsie Sioux look. In preparation for this future post–coming soon!–I bought some new makeup to experiment with siouxsie-siouxdoing thick black lines and shading around my eyes. In the process of such mad makeup experimentation, I came up with this look.

Because I knew getting dark Siouxsie eyes would require a lot of product, I kept it relatively cheap and picked up L’Oreal Infallible Gel Lacquer Liner. I chose this particular liner because it looked like it would give me a lot of product for my money and came with a liner brush.

First I thickly lined my top eyelids with this liner and half of the creased area above my eyelid. Then I connected and filled in the two lines I made at the outer corner of my eye. I also smoothed everything out and sealed it with black eye shadow.

bee close up 1

After using this product, trying to maintain this SSS look for the entire work day, I’d rate it a 6/10 for being just so-so liner. While it is easy to apply, doesn’t smudge too much, and stays on all day (fading just a tad), I’d prefer a creamier, more richly pigmented liner–and something more truly like black lacquer.

Also for this look I picked up some yellow eye shadow by Revlon ColorStay. I chose this brand simply because it was the only distinctly yellow eye shadow I could find in the drug store on the day I was shopping for makeup. This eye shadow came in a palette which included a gold, purple and black color.  Like the L’Oreal liner, this Revlon eye shadow is only so-so: I had to use a lot of it to get it as bright as you see in the pictures, and if I hadn’t used primer the pigment would have been even less vibrant. I also used the gold color to highlight the inner corners of my eyes.

bee eye 2

The clear star product I used for this look is the lipstick—-NYX “Indie Flick.” This color is powerful, vibrant and didn’t fade easily. I will definitely be wearing this lipstick frequently, especially as the weather gets colder and I need a nice color pick-me-up to bring at least some visual warmth and fieriness into my life.

The products I used:

bee product picture

Revlon ColorStay eye shadow in yellow, gold, and black

White NYC waterproof eyeliner (to line my waterlines)

L’Oreal Infallible Gel Lacquer Liner

NYX Matte Lipstick in “Indie Flick”

Urban Decay Primer Potion (not shown)

Make Up Forever Smoky Extravagant Mascara (not shown)


palette picture bee

The palette from top to bottom:

White NYC eyeliner

Gold Revlon ColorStay eye shadow

Yellow Revlon ColorStay eyeshadow

NYX “Indie Flick” Matte Lipstick

L’Oreal Infallible Gel Lacquer Liner in black

First of Many First Day of School Looks

You can never be over the first day of school look when you are a teacher, no matter how over it you may be. The first day of school often sets the tone for the rest of the year, and you can definitely fuck it up (and I have). What is a teacher with bright pink hair and who is often mistaken for a college freshmen to do to style herself in confidence, knowledge, and authority for the first day of school? Go with a bold, black winged eyeliner to add intensity to an otherwise clean, nude look that’s what. Wearing a vintage Armani blazer with stacked shoulder pads helps too.

Blog school look 8

This look combines both adventurous intensity with understated but complex simplicity (an oxymoron, I know, I’m the literature scholar, but I’ll explain). The adventurousness comes from the thick eyeliner and full, long fake eyelashes. The simplicity comes from the natural, clean look of the seemingly simple face makeup and nude lip. This simplicity is quite complex, though, in terms of the layering and blending of products that went into making my complexion so glowing and flawless.

Blog school look 7

Blog school look 6

Here is a list of items I used on my “first day of school” look:

product picture 3

Too Faced Brow Envy brow kit

Maybelline Great Lash waterproof mascara

Stila Stay All Day waterproof liquid eyeliner

Sephora fake eyelashes

Too Faced Lip Insurance lip primer

Hourglass Femme Nude No 4

Milan Shadow Eyez 12 Hr Eye Shadow, 11 Sand Dunes

Urban Decay Naked palette

Urban Decay Primer Potion (not pictured)

Givenchy Photo’Perfexion Foundation, Color 106 Perfect Pecan

MAC Prep + Prime face prime

BareMinerals Stroke of Light eye brightener

BareMinerals foundation powder

Too Faced Teddy Bear makeup brush set (plus a cheap foundation brush I picked up at my local drugstore)  

I started with my eyes and applied the Urban Decay primer potion generously to my lids and eye creases. Then I filled in my lids with “Nude” from the Naked palette. Applying it with an eye shadow applicator brush, I didn’t shade it into the crease of my eyes.

Then I took a liner brush and drew a black curved line, smiling up from the corner of my outer eyelid towards the end of my brow line, with “Creep” from the Naked palette. I lined the powder exactly where I wanted to apply my eyeliner. Lining with eyeshadow before the liquid liner shows me where to put the darker, longer-lasting, and harder-to-correct liquid liner. As a final touch, I sealed it all with more black eyeshadow, which also allowed me to blend and smooth out the line I drew with the eyeliner pen.

Next I used my liner brush to line my lower eyelid with “Buck” from the Naked palette, using only eye shadow as a subtle eyeliner on my bottom eyelids. I didn’t line my waterlines on either my upper or lower eyelids because I wanted to keep the look of my eyes wide open and clear. To finish off my eyes,  I cleaned up my mistakes and excess eye shadow dust with a little more eye primer where needed. Finally, I highlighted the inner corners of my eyes with “Sin” from the Naked palette, making sure to coat my tear ducts and blend the shadow into the brown Buck color I used to line my bottom lids. Note that I only blended the Sin into the beginning part of the line I made with Buck–I  did not trace the Sin all the way down to the other end of my eye.

Moving onto my face, I used a foundation brush to apply face primer all over before I applied my foundation. Then I took my highlighter pen (the BareMinerals eye brightener) and applied it directly onto my forehead lines, smile lines, above and under my eyebrows, under my eyes, and on top of my cheekbones. I let the product sit on my face and did not blend it in until after I did my eyebrows and lips. I didn’t use bronzer or blush although I might have if I felt my complexion lacked depth and nuance, looking too pale and lifeless.

For my brows, I used the small angled eyebrow brush in my brow kit to trace the top line of my brows, following my brow line. Then I traced the bottom line of my brows in the same color. I filled in my brows with the lighter brown color in the kit and blended, shaped, and smoothed everything out with a brow brush. I cleaned up the excess pigment and dust around my brows with a q tip and then set the brows with the brow wax in the kit, brushing them one final time. Lastly I highlighted under my brows with the highlighting powder in the kit, blending into the highlighter pen I used to highlight the same area. I also blended some of the highlighting powder from the brow kit into the Sin color I used to highlight the inner corners or my eyes.

Before gluing on my fake eyelashes, I put on mascara to my top and lower eyelashes to help curl the lashes and hold the fake lashes in place. Then I moved onto my lips where I first traced a thin highlighting line around my entire mouth with the Milan eyeshadow pencil, using it as a lip highlighter but not exactly as a lip liner because I applied it just around the outside of my lips. After coating my lips with lip primer, I put on my nude lipstick.

For my final touches, I blended the highlighter still siting on my skin (always blending up into the lines and areas I wanted to hide or emphasize) and sealed in everything with a big, fluffy blending brush dusted with BareMinerals foundation powder.

So, a lot more went into this look than might appear considering the simplicity of the nude palette I used.

Along the top of my wrist from left to right: Palette used for school look

A smudge of the BareMinerals Stroke of Light above the Givenchy foundation

MAC Prep + Prime

Hourglass Femme Nude 4 between two strokes of Milan Shadow Eyez in Sand Dunes

Going down the rest of my arm from top to bottom:

Stila liquid eyeliner

Creep eye shadow

Buck eye shadow

Sin eyeshadow mixed with highlighting powder from the brow kit

And that’s it! Take a bow!

Blog school pic 7

Do you hate this final picture of me (below) as much as my “content editor” (a friend I bullied into giving me constant feedback about my blog and visuals)? He thinks the last photo has terrible lighting and degrades the quality of the other photos. I think the photo shows the “curtain falling,” and my return to my sloppy, more poorly lit, candid everyday world. 

Mascara and Luscious Lashes, Beginnings

Introduction to Mascara and Lash Products to help you get started

Finding a good mascara is really tricky! Sometimes the mascara you use might not be that great, but you can’t really tell because the applicator brush does a good job coating, feathering and lengthening your lashes. Most mascara I try for the first time I instantly love because new mascara always goes on smooth and usually looks good. After a few uses, though, it gets clumpier and doesn’t seem to produce the same magical effects. Also, as you may know, you should throw out mascara after three months anyways.

Jodie Austin Cypert, modeling mascara application. Photo by Jodie.

Jodie Austin Cypert, modeling mascara application. Photo by Jodie.

For these reasons, I suggest getting for free or buying sample-size mascaras because the samples usually contain enough mascara to last a couple of months. Sample-size products allow you to try a variety of products more quickly and each time you throw away an expired sample size of mascara you don’t have to feel like you are wasting a lot of expensive product. With sample sizes you don’t have to limit yourself to using only one mascara until it is finished—you can switch between a few different products getting different looks and affects on a day to day basis.

To get free samples you can ask people at makeup stores if they have samples of certain products and/or you can save up frequent-buyer reward points at places like Sephora or other makeup outlets to use on samples including various mascaras. You can also sign up for services like Birchbox, Glossybox, etc. which allow you to come across and try out new products and mascaras on a monthly basis for a decent price. Birchbox also works on a point system that can allow you to get and try more free products.


Here’s a list of specific mascaras I’ve tried and my general comments:

 Benefit, They’re Real: This gives me a long, full lash. The brush has a little ball at the end, useful for painting the bottom lashes and harder-to-target small lashes closer to the corners of the eye.

Make Up Forever, Smoky Extravagant: This gives me a dramatic, dark and thick lash. The brush is big and bushy, good for getting a lot of product directly onto the lash for a bold lash look.

Too Faced, Better Than Sex: This separates my lashes and coats them thoroughly, giving my lashes a more dramatic look. This product can come on a little thick and can be hard to smooth out. The brush is feathery, which is why it is hard to smooth the product onto the lashes. It is effective mascara, though, if you want a bold, striking lash.

Urban Decay, Perversion: This also gives me a dark, feathery lash, and I prefer it over Too Faced’s Better than Sex because it’s easier to apply and smooth out.

Benefit, Roller Lash: This is probably my favorite mascara at the moment. The brush is thin like a hair curling iron and seems to really lengthen and separate my lashes.

Honestly, cheap drugstore mascaras are perfectly fine at getting the job done too. A classic, reliable choiceis the pink and green Maybelline Great Lash, in the waterproof variety or not.

There are also mascara primers on the market, but I have never noticed any noteworthy difference or improvement when I use such products.

While I’m not into primers, I do recommend Anastasia Beverly Hills’ Lash Genius clear waterproof mascara as a general mascara sealer and for waterproofing mascara if the product you already use isn’t waterproof.

If you want a source for extensive mascara reviews, try the blog, Clumps of Mascara. Blogger Brittany Minor has tried almost every kind of mascara you can find!

A note on fake eyelashes:

Fake lashes are another really popular option right now and will certainly give you long, full luscious lashes. Plus, as long as you don’t coat them with mascara and/or if you gently clean them, you can reuse them. Of course, finding the lash with the right shape, length and fullness–one that is perfectly suited to you–requires some searching and experimentation. However, you can always cut the lashes at the ends to better fit your eye shape, and you can trim down the lashes themselves to your desired length (but I always fail horribly when I try to do the latter!). Just remember to never cut the lash while it is glued onto your eye. Also, when you apply the lash, don’t put it exactly in the inner corner of your eye. Placing the lash in the inner corner makes wearing false lashes uncomfortable, and the look and illusion of the long, full eyelash isn’t botched if you line your eye with the fake lash a little further down your lash line.

A common and easy to find eyelash glue is DUO, which you can buy at most drugstores. Put a small amount of the glue all along the line of the fake lash, dabbing a bit more at each of the eyelash ends, and hold in place until it is dry. Placing the lash can be tricky at first, but it comes easily with practice. Make sure to start at the inner corner, holding until the glue becomes more tacky and solid, and then press the rest of the lash down following your lash line. Finish by making sure the end of the lash at the outer corner is also firmly set.



Brows, Beginnings

Introduction to Brows and Products to Help you Get Started

Brows really define and shape your face so don’t neglect them just because they can be tricky to master. Because big, bold eyebrows are fashionable right now, there are a lot of different products to choose from. Plenty of comprehensive brow kits exist, ones that come with coloring powders (to line and fill in brows with an angled brow brush), setting wax to hold the brow’s shape, highlighter to go under and emphasize the brow line, tweezers, brow brushes and combs, and shaping stencils. If you want to keep it simple, though,  tweezers, a brow pencil, a waterproof gel, and a brow brush are all you need. You can always highlight with any highlighter you already have, which includes light, shimmery eye shadows, eye shadow pencils, liquid highlighters for your eyes and face, and highlighting face powders.

I do think that plucking, over using a razor or waxing, is a good move for brow care. You don’t want to use a method of hair removal that’s too radical or permanent because you want the hair to grow back so you can fix mistakes or try different shapes. Laser removal of hair and then tattooing your brows onto your face sounds like a bad idea to me. Gravity has an affect on tattoos and can make your brows look droopy and odd as you age. If you live in a place where you can find someone with skill to shape your brows–by eyebrow threading, waxing or plucking–I would recommend giving it a try and observing how they shape your brows so that you can try to replicate their work on your own (or just continue to make appointments with them every few weeks!).

For tweezers, Tweezerman seems to be a ubiquitous brand that people like.


To line and fill in my brows, I use an Anastasia Beverly Hills brow pencil. It works to provide pigment and setting wax all in one, and it comes with a brow brush on the other end of the pencil. If you line and fill in your eyebrows too dark, use the brush to brush out and gradually erase your mistakes. Another option, similar to the Anastasia Beverly Hills pencil, is the Urban Decay Brow Beater pencil–I’ve used this and liked it very much.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Perfect Brow pencil

Urban Decay Brow Beater 

I seal my brows after I use an eyebrow pencil with Anastasia Beverly Hills’ Lash Genius clear topcoat. I love this product! It also works to seal in mascara or to just use as clear mascara for your eyelashes. Other options are Anastaia Beverly Hills’ tinted brow gels and Bare Minerals’ clear, waterproof mascara (that works great for brows and eyelashes).

Anastasia Beverly Hills, Lash Genius Topcoat 

Anastasia Beverly Hills, Tinted Eyebrow Gel

Bare Minerals, Locked and Coated Clear Lash Topcoat






About Eye Shadow Primer

Getting Started With Primer

If you want to use and experiment with eye shadow, you should definitely get a primer. Primer makes a night-and-day difference in how colors show up on your skin and how long the pigment stays on. I use Urban Decay for my primer needs—specifically Primer Potion. Urban Decay has other primers too, but I’d stay away from the one called Sin. Sin is super shimmery and might make achieving a nude, natural look difficult.

Urban Decay Primer Potion 

When shopping for primer, you can test out different primers on your skin and note how shimmery they are, how thick and creamy they are, and how dark or light the pigment is. I find that a thick, creamy primer works better as a primer for eyes (face primer is a different story). And the lighter the primer is the more the color that you put on top of it will appear bright and truer to the way it looks in the palette.

Also, eyeshadow primer can be used like a concealer or eraser to cover up or wipe away any mistakes you made with eyeshadow or eyeliner. Sometimes I even use primer mixed with eyeshadow to smooth out my eyeliner, especially if I’m trying to achieve a flawless winged look. AND you can use primer as a concealer over your smile lines because eyeshadow primers are usually engineered to not get stuck in creases.

If you use bright, bold, or neon colors, try to find a primer that is as light or white as possible. This will ensure that the vibrant colors really show up on your eyes. White primer can be hard to find, but I suggest the NYX primer.

NYX Eyeshadow Base





Eyeliner, Beginnings

Introduction to Eyeliner and Products to Help You Get Started

When I first started wearing makeup as an adolescent/young teen, eyeliner was a particular challenge. The smooth lines I tried to create always turned out wavy and clumpy. After trying to line my waterline, I’d be in tears with eyeliner smudged and running down my face. Expertly applying eyeliner takes practice, but it is a skill you can quickly learn and intuit on your own. My mother’s only advice to me when I asked her what to do with my new eyeliner pencil was, “Don’t poke your eye out”–and I still managed! Although I still occasionally end up with a black line smudged on the side of my face at the end of a long day, I’ve learned some tricks about smoothing out my lines and getting long wear out of the products I use. For instance, after I apply the eyeliner I usually seal and/or layer it with eyeshadow to for a smooth and blurred effect that seals in the liner.

For liquid, long-lasting eyeliner I use Stila’s Stay All Day Waterproof Eyeliner. You can use Stila’s liner to achieve a dramatic look with a thick line and cat-eye technique (a good, simple tutorial by Keiko Lynn can be found here), or you can achieve something subtle with just a thin line of color to make your eyes pop a little more than usual.  I usually only use liquid liner right above my top lash line, but you could also use it below your bottom lash line (not on your waterline, though). Thickly applied underneath your eye will give you a more severe, gypsy look.

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner

Another liquid eyeliner pen I like is Kat Von D’s tattoo liner. I’m a fan of Kat Von D’s makeup line because I think she makes good and affordable products. She’s also vegan and so is her line–but you may want to fact check me on that.

Kat Von D tattoo liner

For an eyeliner that will stay put but is still smudgeable (to better blend into eye shadow for a smokey look, for instance) I recommend a gel eyeliner. You can also use a gel liner to line the watermark of you upper lash line. I use Marc Jacobs gel liner, and I set it with a black or brown eye shadow on top.  Of course, though, there are other similar and less expensive products out there including ones by MAC, Stila, Bobbi Brown, and NARS.I’ve heard good things about the Urban Decay Super-Saturated Ultra Intense Cream liner (that does sound intense, doesn’t it??), but I haven’t tried it myself. Some of these products, such as the Urban Decay liner, come in pots, and you apply it with a liner brush that you usually buy separately. Others come in pencil or crayon form (usually the kind that you do not need to sharpen).

Marc Jacobs gel eye liner

UD Ultra Intense

Example of a brush you might use to line a gel pot product

To line your bottom lid and waterline, I’d use a traditional waterproof eyeliner pencil—nothing fancy. In fact, my go-to is the inexpensive NYC waterproof brand that you can get at most pharmacies. I’ve also used and really like Makeup Forever’s Aqua Eyes eyeliner pencil. Again, I like to seal in the liner with a dark brown or black eye shadow, which is easy to do if you have an eyeliner makeup brush that looks like the one in the link below (I’m showing a MAC-brand brush so you can see the shape, but which makeup brush brand is best is a whole different topic to pursue).

NYC eyeliner pencil

Makeup Forever Aqua Eyes

Eyeliner brush

Introducing and Philosophizing

General Introduction: 

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As I sat down to write an email to a friend who asked for some makeup advice, I realized she wouldn’t want the monstrously long email I ended up composing. I decided to transform what started as a personal email into a public blog intended for friends who want to discuss all things makeup with me. As an unapologetic disclaimer: this is not the blog of a beauty guru or expert or vendor. I’m a student-enthusiast who documents her vanity with a pronounced interest in asserting the validity of generating everyday inspirations, curiosities and experiments with makeup and beauty. Vampid, for now just outlining the beauty basics and preferences of a single killer babe, aspires to articulate a makeup manifesto, one that convinces you that the beauty lifestyle is about much more than what might be snubbed and condemned as ever-encroaching vapid, vampic femininity.

Also, since I daylight as an English Literature graduate student, I have a lot of thoughts about thoughts and cynical readings of various aspects of culture and society. I may not, however, have great grammar, and I may not always produce the most polished writing, and FUCK YOU if you think that grammar and rhetoric are the primary concerns and interests of someone in my field (and thank you for noticing the spiteful glory of this run-on sentence). My academic interests include literary and cultural texts that come to bear on the ways we make sense of gender, race, sexuality and class historically and in the present. I’m also particularly interested in texts that offer critiques of imperialism, globalization and neoliberalism. Perhaps confusingly then I am very much not an intellectual and feminist killjoy when it comes to a lot of things in popular consumer culture including, if not especially, makeup. You can explore more of my thoughts about this seeming paradox in the Waxing theoretical . . .  subsection of this lengthy post. Or you can just skip it because you already know smart, confident people wear and love makeup, like duh.

 Moving on to what this blog is and is not:

This archive of beauty information is not meant to be innovative or showy—putting a new twist or adding a zany take to a popular topic that already saturates the Internet. There are a lot of blogs out there that do a good job with pictures, slide shows and videos, creating some really beautiful, well-edited stuff that I can’t compete with. I will, however, provide links to vendors and other blogs that provide more detailed and visual accounts of the products and techniques to which I allude. My intention for now is simply to share with you the makeup things I’ve found and like. I’ll be covering the basics and hoping to inspire and empower you to experiment with a beauty regimen that you make your own.

Additionally, since I’m a girl who likes to splurge but doesn’t have pockets that runneth deep, I can’t promise detailed reviews of all the new and coolest and hautest products. Yet, this blog will not be about “beauty on a budget” or “beauty on the go.” It will just be a blog about the beauty and beautiful things I happen to procure at unscheduled moments in my life. It is definitely a vanity project. With revelry.

This blog is also not about “beauty with a conscious.” Although, I will try to indicate when things are or are not vegan-friendly and cruelty-free.

Finally, this blog is especially not about lotus-eating, guilt or my antifeminist descent into the unhealthy corporate beauty-chemical-industrial complex. I would love to further write about and discuss the feminist and for-everyday-and-everyone aspects of makeup. In fact I hope to have a friend soon guest blog about this very topic. In some ways this blog is motivated by my need to find a way to deal with the rage I feel whenever people insist that they prefer people, especially women, who don’t wear makeup. The people who say such things are celebrating an absolute fiction about women who are “above” superficialities because they are smart, brave and beautiful—just the way they are! This narrative places just as many unfair and demanding expectations on women as the one about the harm inflicted on women’s self-esteem by the lofty beauty standards promulgated in the media with done up and airbrushed models. Statements valorizing the “natural” or “nude” look of non-makeup-wearing women, or women who simply don’t appear to be wearing makeup, assume, falsely, that to look natural and naturally beautiful requires no premeditation, intention, skill, time, editing, concealment, theatricality, artificiality or effort.

These sentiments supporting the pervasive preference for “natural beauty” have made some of my friends hesitant or embarrassed to wear and experiment with makeup. This blog is also particularly written with these friends in mind—the ones who have to endure, “You look so nice! What’s the special occasion?” when they occasionally decide to rock a bold red lip for no special reason. Please don’t humor the people in your life who want you to only present yourself to them in a way that is more comfortable and familiar for them.

 Make Yourself Your Own Test Subject:

Since this is not expressly a technique or review blog, rather one that wants you to develop your own beauty habits, I want to stress the importance of getting out there and physically getting your hands on and in makeup. The best way to develop your tastes and preferences is to go shopping and try things out. To clarify, when I encourage you to shop, I don’t mean that you have to buy, continuously, a bunch of crap you don’t necessarily want or need. Instead, get to know products by looking at, smelling and applying samples on in a store. Sephora, Ulta or makeup counters in department and drug stores are places where you can test out an array of different products with or without buying anything. Sometimes these places even offer classes and complimentary makeovers and tutorials. Additionally, you can often reap a bunch of free samples and benefit from other promotions when you actively and physically go to a store to explore makeup.

Another good option to help you test and sample a variety of products is to sign up for a monthly beauty sampler from online retailers such as Birchbox or Vegan Cuts Beauty Box. While you pay for these boxes, they provide you with large- and sometimes full-size samples of the latest products.

 Please contribute and comment:

If you are already a beauty addict or advanced makeup artist without hang-ups about how makeup and beauty inscribes you with shameful consumerist femininity, this blog may not be for you. However, I’d love for people with extensive experience and strong opinions to comment and contribute! I’ve emphasized this blog as one for friends, but, as a publically displayed writing project, strangers are of course welcome!


 Waxing theoretical about the point of this blog, the point of it all (said like a true drama queen) . . .

Putting on my theory cap for a second in order to spout abstractions to explain my intellectual and personal interests in makeup: I believe that we are all constantly incited to perform and present ourselves to others in ways that correspond with the terms of individualization and socialization that are always being produced and reproduced in the societies we are born into. While we are forced to comply with the norms of this world, we also continually undermine those norms since it is only through our constant citation and reproduction of them in everyday life that they are given any power and authority. To that end, makeup is just another way of expressing how we make and unmake ourselves as social beings. Put differently, makeup is another way we expose and manage our vulnerabilities in the unavoidably intimate situations that come from living among others. In every way that we put ourselves together in preparation to interact with the rest of the world, including the costumes and masks we adorn to face family, friends, and colleagues in private and public life, we constantly and often unconsciously negotiate and try to control how we present ourselves to others to elicit certain relationships with them.

The bottom line is that we always rely on illusion and fabrication to compose a self. Makeup isn’t the only or even most striking example of the way we create illusions to make ourselves look a certain way under the gaze of others. Moreover, makeup can be just as well used to confound and distort misogynist, racist, homophobic, and other hateful discourses as it can be used to desperately showcase one’s need to be accepted by a society that continually degrades and humiliates the very people upon which it places unattainable standards of beauty. I choose to wear and experiment with makeup as a creative act that I find stimulating and inspiring. I also wear makeup for the way it makes me feel empowered and in charge of a certain narrative about my self and my life even if that isn’t always the truth.

Wearing makeup is certainly a selfish act in the sense that it is something through which I seek to find pleasure and profit. However, the pleasure and profit I receive from makeup need not come from satisfying the heteronormative male gaze that both demands that I perform my femaleness in certain limited ways for its pleasure and profit and that also condemns me for bending to its will. In fact, I shouldn’t have to defend why I wear makeup and how it can be a feminist act because doing so reinforces the predominant criticisms that makeup is indeed for the vain and superficial—that makeup enthusiasm can’t be intelligible without invoking or countering such pervasive assumptions and censure. But before we just agree that makeup can be part of a rich and enriching experience of life, let me emphasize once more: makeup is not just the shameful obsession of the pathetic, self-loathing victims of this misogynist capitalist world!