Why is My Eyeshadow Hard and How Do I Fix It?

So you’re applying your eyeshadow, but then you realize that it no longer has the pigmentation that it used to. What gives?! You look closer and realize there’s a hard “film” or “layer” on top of it that prevents you from picking any product up! How did that get there? And more importantly, how do you get rid of it?

Before and after using the makeup cleaning hack!

That film forms over top your powdered makeup when there’s water or oils being transferred onto it. If you used a wet or damp brush, your finger to apply or swatch the product, or if you haven’t washed your brushes recently, you can expect to see it show up! The worst part is, water and oils can pose as a health risk because they can contaminate your beloved powdered products with bacteria and microbes. You definitely wouldn’t want to get any of that near your eyes, or you may get eye infections!

So now that we know what it is and why it’s caused, how do we get rid of it?

Luckily, there’s an easy solution! All we want to do here is lift the top layer away. That can be done quickly and painlessly with some super sticky tape! Dab the top of the affected powdered makeup multiple times with some clean tape until you no longer see evidence of the hard film. Once it’s gone, the pigmentation of your eyeshadow will return!

Massive TaoBao Haul

You may recall awhile ago that I spoke about the swimdress haul I got from AliExpress… Well, I’m hooked! I was surfing TaoBao, just curious to see if there were any sellers there with similar products for cheaper prices (since the average swimdress on AliExpress was about $50 CAD.) Lo and Behold, they had tons of them, all for affordable prices! So naturally, I just had to get some more… Oops!

Everything laid out!

As you can see in the photo above, I bought 13 dresses/outfits, all meant for swimming, but definitely versatile enough to be worn as bodysuits or regular dresses. Call me crazy… Or obsessive! 🙂

To purchase everything and get it sent to my house in Canada, I had to use a purchasing agent. I used Superbuy. The site was really easy to navigate and adding items to cart and paying for everything was a smooth and painless process. If you aren’t planning on making a huge purchase in the first place, I wouldn’t advise you to make a purchase at all. The international shipping fees have a minimum payment value, but if you enter the next “tier” of weight, it’s only a small extra fee. That’s why I say it’s best to reserve TaoBao shopping for larger hauls! Of course, this also means a higher upfront payment. Even though you’ll be saving money in the long run (because lots of these items are so cheap), you’ll want to buy more things to make the international shipping worth your while!

Without further ado, here are photos of me modeling my brand new swimdresses!

Can you believe this dress only costed 26 RMB? That’s $3.86 USD!!

This one cost me 98 RMB, about $14.55 USD. They also gave me a free spa headband as a gift. (Shown in the haul pic.)
This one is made of velvet and cost 135 RMB, about $20.05 USD!
This one was 88.20 RMB, about $13.10 USD.
This one was 118 RMB, about $17.52 USD
This one cost 112 RMB, about $16.63 USD.
This one cost second highest at a whopping 210 RMB ($31.18 USD)
This one cost the most at 211 RMB ($31.33 USD)
This one was 119 RMB ($17.67 USD)
This one was 98 RMB, about $14.55 USD

These modeling photos are all from my Instagram feed, which you can find here. Obviously, not all of the swimdresses I purchased were shown yet, so be sure to follow me to see the rest of them!

Marc Anthony Salon Expert Color Care Review

My hair is naturally straight, but sometimes I like to style it with my curling iron! When I do, I need a good hairspray that holds, because my hair doesn’t like to keep a curl.

Why and how does hairspray even work?

That’s a darn good question! Hairspray works because it coats your hair with invisible synthetic polymers. These polymers basically act like a thin coat of glue, which keeps your hairstyle together and intact. That’s why if you use too much hairspray, your hair gets that strange “crunchy” texture!

So what’s the best hairspray to use?

I’m honestly still figuring that out myself! I’ve tried many different brands, with some giving better results than others. One in particular stood out to me, however!

Marc Anthony’s Salon Expert Color Care hairspray is one of my go-to hairspray products at the moment. It has the hold that I’m looking for, but doesn’t smell like chemicals!

This one smells light and fruity to me, which is so much better than the heavy perfumes and chemical-like scents I notice with other brands. This product also gives the hold I need with less product, so I don’t end up getting to the point of having that “crunchy hair” texture!

I also like that it is gentle on colour-treated hair, as I used to have my hair dyed. It’s mostly faded out now, but back when I just dyed it, it was crucial that I only stuck with products that were safe to use on colour-treated hair!

Easy DIY Jelly Highlighter

I love this product so much and I made it with only 3 ingredients! It’s a great (and affordable) dupe for the Farsali Jelly Highlighter and is SO blinding and buildable! This small jar will last me hundreds of applications!

You just need a jar to store it in (any clean, empty one will work!), some aloe vera gel, mica powders or old highlighters, and preservative (I used vitamin E/tocopheral).

Why these ingredients?

I’m glad you asked! Aloe vera gel is very good for the skin! It smooths, soothes, and moisturizes really well. It has anti-inflammatory properties and contains many vitamins and minerals for healthier skin! It also has that “jelly” consistency that we’re looking for, so it makes for the perfect base. Vitamin E is also great for the skin and serves as an anti-oxidant. It’s natural, provides added benefits for your skin, and helps prolong the shelf-life. Micas are skin safe mineral powders that add shimmer and sparkle, so it’s great for eyeshadows and highlighters!

Because we’re making this in our kitchens and not a special lab, keep in mind that our products can spoil a lot easier than products you can buy at the store. Vitamin E oil on its own is not enough to keep it from spoiling, so if there’s any change in consistency, colour, or smell, toss it out and make a new batch!

For this recipe, I didn’t really use any measurements, as it’s more about what you prefer! It’s almost impossible to mess it up because of this, so eyeballing is totally fine.

Scoop the desired amount of aloe vera gel into the container you chose to store it in. I filled mine about 3/4 of the way. Next, you’ll add a drop or two of vitamin E/tocopheral liquid in and mix. Be sure to mix it thoroughly! Lastly, you’ll want to add the mica powders until it is as shimmery as you’d like. If you’re using old highlighters, be sure to grind it to a fine powder before adding or it will be clumpy! Mix it all together and test it out! The fun part is being able to swatch it right away! If it’s not shimmery enough, feel free to add more micas/highlighter powder and mix it up again.

Look at that poppin’ highlight!

DIY Matte Brown Eyeshadow

Disclosure: I’m not a professional (I’m self-taught!), nor can I guarantee the results will be the same for you!

If you plan to follow these steps, remember that you’ll have to buy all the ingredients up front. Most of these ingredients don’t come in smaller sizes than 30g, but they’ll last you a long time because you only need to use a little bit of each ingredient for every eyeshadow you make! Just remember that it can cost a hefty amount up front, but you won’t need to buy replacements often! It ends up being SO much cheaper than makeup already made that you can find at Sephora, Ulta, or other stores. The best part? You can customize it exactly how you want, too! Bye-bye topical allergies and colours you don’t want to be forced into adding to your collection!

All the ingredients you need can be found at soap, candle, or makeup supply stores. I bought mine at TKB Trading (USA based), Voyageur Soap and Candle (Canadian based), and Candora Soap (Canadian based).

Ratios and ingredients may be different depending on the desired outcome:
1/4 tsp Cocoa Brown Natural Clay (color, bulking, adhesion)
1/8 tsp Sericite Mica (slip, adhesion)
1/16 tsp Kaolin Clay (bulking, adhesion)
1/16 tsp Calcium Carbonate (bulking and oil absorption)
As needed Oxide Powder (color)

Mix the measured ingredients together. Add oxide powder to your liking and mix. Disperse the preservative into binding agent if needed, then add the liquids to the powder mixture until it has the consistency of wet sand. I usually use about 3-4 drops of the preservative in about 8-12 drops of binding agent. You don’t want it to be too wet after adding the binding agent because then it won’t dry. The binding agent is made of oil based substances, so it will not evaporate. Add a drop of binding agent to the pan and spread it around to create a very thin layer on the bottom of the pan. Add the powder mixture in layers and press with a tool between the layers. Keep doing this until the powder is gone (usually around 3-4 layers). I find it best to use after you’ve waited 12-24 hours after making it to give it time to settle.

Don’t forget to swatch! 😉

AliExpress Swim Dress Haul

I recently discovered the magic of swimdresses! Don’t know what that is? It’s basically a dress that you wear to go swimming. I like these garments a lot because they’re very versatile, which I can explain more later!

If you’d like to watch the video review + try-on haul, here it is:

I really like the swimdresses I bought because they’re versatile. Most of the styles I’ve seen don’t give away the fact that they’re meant for going swimming in! I even wore some of these as regular dresses in the summer already! Unfortunately, I don’t have photos of me wearing them all, but most of them are modeled in the haul video above.

Many of these swimdresses have built-in bras and shorts, so when I decide to wear them as regular dresses, I skip the bra and don’t need to put on safety shorts! Because of this, it’s easier to wear backless dresses without worrying about sticky bras or going bra-less. You still get the support without needing to find alternate support options.

Wearing a swimdress during a trip to the cottage!

Some of the swimdresses use a built-in bra that has underwires. I usually remove them because they’re uncomfortable. If you’re not a fan of them either, you can find out how you too can remove them in my how-to post here.

Luckily, the pink swimdress pictured above doesn’t have built-in underwires! Instead, it has removable padding, just like padded bralettes and sports bras do. I find these styles to be the most comfortable and most natural looking for my body type.

Overall, I’m addicted to these swimdresses because they’re so versatile and comfy! If I could, I’d wear them everyday! Too bad summer only lasts a couple of months where I live.

How to Deal With Topical Allergies

HELP! I suddenly developed an allergy to all of my makeup products! Topical allergies are annoying, uncomfortable, and inconvenient! Because of them, I am no longer able to use the products I loved. I noticed these issues after using my new beloved BH Cosmetics and NYX palettes, only for the third time each…

From then on, whenever I put makeup on, my eyes would get tingly and start to sting and get itchy… Then they would swell! Even taking the makeup off right away didn’t prevent the horrors that came next. I would get conjunctivitis in the eye(s) I used makeup on (inflammation and swelling of the eye that turned into bacterial or viral infections) and then a couple days later, I’d get skin flaking on my cheek beneath the affected eye, very clearly contact dermatitis! Even worse, I had to go through a period where this contact dermatitis turned into impetigo! The doctors I saw didn’t even know what it was (since they weren’t specialists), so I had to self-diagnose and suggest it as a possible cause for the infected sores on my cheek. Luckily, the Fucidin cream I was prescribed worked like a charm and got rid of these issues… But NEVER AGAIN!

After jumping through all those hoops (and months of suffering), I decided I would completely stay away from makeup, at least until I could figure out with a dermatologist what the issues were.

Unfortunately, once I saw the dermatologist, she said the only recommendation she had for me was to test the products on my skin and see what causes a reaction — that was exactly what I wanted to avoid. Instead, what I decided to do was take a look at all the ingredients in the palettes I used and see which ones they all had in common.

Talc.

The biggest ingredient that they all had in common was talc! I took a look at my other makeup products and noticed it was a common ingredient in so many items I owned! I decided to sell, give away, and trash everything I owned that had talc listed in the ingredients. Once I finished doing that, I was left with so little. I decided to test a few of the seemingly okay products, most of which were highlighters. They didn’t cause any issues for me, but I also applied them nowhere near my eyes. I wasn’t left with very many eyeshadows, and because of the talc issue, it was difficult to find feasible, affordable, and nice-looking replacements. I was honestly at a loss.

I really missed doing all these different makeup looks and collaborating on artsy makeup looks with fellow makeup artists. Aside from all of that, I overall just missed being able to post something I was excited about to Instagram. I had to find a solution!

Then it hit me. What if I made my own makeup?

Hear me out: I know it’s a challenge to find the perfect formula and that it could end up being costly to shell out all this money for bulk amounts of supplies… But it would make my allergy woes almost disappear because I could create my own formulations and omit the ingredients I suspected I had problems with!

I was on a hunt. I decided to bite the bullet and pick up a ton of ingredients that could save me the trouble of experiencing another topical allergy. I bought supplies from TKB Trading, Candora Soap, and Voyageur Soap and Candle. Since I received my supplies, I’ve been researching different formulas and experimenting with these ingredients, trying to find the perfect formula. Obviously I had to avoid or substitute the problematic ingredients. Talc seemed to be a major one, but at times I wondered if perhaps some waxes and synthetic ingredients were also culprits of my contact dermatitis, puffy eyes, and eye infections after every use of makeup.

Due to this topical allergy experience, I’ve done a 180° switch from being reckless and buying whatever I thought looked pretty to diligently reading ingredients lists and opting for products with more natural ingredients when I had the chance to. Whenever I could, I would also get products with shorter ingredients lists, as that’s way more helpful in narrowing down allergens!

Hopefully I never have another day in my life that I suffer from contact dermatitis!

Affordable Mermaid Highlighter Palette

When I made an order online at Urban Planet, I noticed that they had a mermaid themed highlighter palette at an affordable price point. I couldn’t resist the urge, so I added it to my cart to try it out!

If you’d like to watch a video version of my review, you can here:

This palette costed me $12.99 CAD and it’s called “Mermaid Vibes” by the brand Color Story. I’ve seen it in various Winners and Marshall’s locations as well.

There are either different shades in the palette. After swatching each other, I realized that I wouldn’t be able to achieve a blinding highlight with any of these. I was slightly disappointed by that, but it definitely wasn’t a deal breaker. Upon application, however, it was clear that the pigmentation of the colours would be prominent the more you build. I wasn’t a fan of that, as the last thing you’d want is for your highlight to very clearly be an unnatural shade of lilac!

Photo taken after swatching it for my video review

From left to right on the top, there’s a light tan/beige, a light subtle green, a lilac, and a darkish periwinkle blue. From left to right on the bottom, there’s a peachy orange, a darkish pink, seafoam green, and a muted yellow.

When I swatched them, they seemed more matte than shiny. They felt very a powdery as well. There is a very subtle sheen, but for the most part, I felt that the colours showed up more strongly than the shine did.

When I applied them, I felt that the lighter colours appeared with more sheen and, although the pigment is definitely there the more you build, the shine was more prominent than it appeared with swatches.

Overall, I wasn’t a huge fan of this palette. The quality is fine for what you pay, but to me, it felt like a “starter” makeup palette more than anything else. Because of that, I will probably end up giving it away to someone I know who is just starting out with the joys of makeup application! 🙂

How to Remove Underwires From Your Clothes

Are you not a fan of underwires? Don’t worry, I’m not a fan of them either! They usually hurt more than they help! Talk about a frenemy… Luckily, there’s an easy way to cut them out of our lives… Er… I mean clothes!

If you’d like to see a step-by-step video, you can follow along here:

Removing those pesky wires is much easier than it seems! If you take a look at the underside, you’ll quickly be able to locate where the wire is housed. Find the perfect spot on either end to poke a hole into the material. You can choose either the inside end or the outside end, it doesn’t matter too much since it’ll be concealed anyway. Poke your hole with a sharp pair of scissors, ensuring that it’s not too big of a hole. Once you’ve poked deep enough, you should be able to pull the wire out with no issues. Do this for both cups. No need to seal up the hole with a needle and thread, either! If the hole is small, it won’t grow bigger, so sewing it up is not necessary.

“Why bother doing this?”

I get this question a lot! For me, it’s a personal thing. I’m not a fan of bras and swimwear that have those wires built-in. They poke and feel extremely uncomfortable! On the other hand, if I opt for clothes that don’t have these wires at all, they tend to be very different in style. Take LaSenza bras, for example. Their only wire-free options are unlined/unpadded, or very thinly padded! I like to have at least a little bit of “support” with the padding there, so I tend to buy regular bras and swimsuits but remove the wires when I feel I need to!

Blinding ¥300 Highlight From Japan

I was excited to try all sorts of new beauty products on my trip to Japan! They have all different kinds of interesting products you can’t find in North America. One of the things I was curious about was their makeup. While I was there, I bought two highlighters. I wanted to compare the quality and price points against each other, as they were bought in very different stores. In North America, a product purchased in Sephora would have extremely different quality and price from something purchased in, say, a dollar store. For this reason, I wanted to do an experiment. One of the items was purchased for ¥1,900 (about $19 USD) at a drugstore and the other was purchased for ¥300 (about $3 USD) at 3Coins ($3 store).

If you’d prefer to watch my reviews rather than read, you can right here:

The product I purchased at Bic Camera was Excel Lucent White. It comes with a flat brush, all packaged in a plastic box.

The Excel Lucent White highlighter is definitely buildable, although the first application is a lot more of a subtle highlight than anything else. When I swatched it in-store with my finger, it gave off a blinding appearance. When using a brush for application, you definitely won’t get the same amount of product, so it’s unlikely you’ll get a blinding highlight from it unless you build a ton.

The product I purchased from 3Coins is the Magic Closet loose highlight powder. This product was extremely easy to pick up with a brush upon application, so it gave off a stronger “blinding” effect. It’s easy to use this product for both subtle and blinding highlights, as it’s quite versatile, but when comparing it to the Excel Lucent White highlighter, it seems to be easier to build into a blinding highlight. Such high quality is not expected from a product with a low price, so I am thoroughly impressed!

Overall, both products are exceptional quality for the price you pay. If you’re looking for something more blinding,however, opt for the loose powder! You’ll get more “blind” for your buck. 😉