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CoverGirl to Launch ‘Star Wars’ Inspired Makeup Collection

Easy, breezy, beautiful… Jedi girl?

Disney, CoverGirl and Max Factor have teamed up in order to create an entire makeup collection inspired by Star Wars, and we couldn’t be more excited!

The new collection will include mascara, lipstick, and nail polish, all of which will be branded with the CoverGirl and Star Wars logos.

Their mascara in particular will be somewhat of a collectors item, as each tube will have a quote from Star Wars engraved right on the side. You’ll have to choose your allegiance carefully, as the mascara will be divided between “Light Side” and “Dark Side.” It won’t matter too much, though, as they’re actually exactly the same shade of black. There will be a total of 10 different tubes to collect, which is DEFINITELY enough to last you like.. light years.

ggw

Renowned makeup artist Pat McGrath was responsible for the creation of CoverGirl’s geeky new line, and it turns out that she’s a fan of the epic series just as much as the rest of us.

“I watched my first film as a young girl and, like the rest of the world, was completely blown away,” she told The Huffington Post. “I immediately fell in love with the storyline, the never-before-seen special effects, and the amazing hair, makeup, and wardrobe of Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, Hans Solo, Darth Vader, and all of the other characters.”

The collection will officially launch on September 4 and will roll out in stores nationwide mid-September.

Will you be picking up some new Star Wars inspired beauty staples? Let us know in the comments below!

Image credit: Allure.

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Beach Beauty: Easy Summer Makeup

Summer calls for carefree days and humidity-resistant makeup. Let’s be honest, the only thing that should be melting on your face is ice cream, not your makeup. Here’s a round up of my favorite everyday summer products to keep you looking glowing and fabulous all the way into September.

Step 1: Moisturize!

You’d think the last thing you would want on your face is moisturizer during the summer, but skin can get dry even if you’re in a humid climate. I try to stay as light as I can with my moisturizer because I have oily skin, and my favorite serum to hydrate right now is Origins Original Skin Renewal Serum. It keeps my skin feeling moisturized and soft without my face feeling heavy or greasy.

Original Skin™ Renewal serum with Willowherb – $39, Origins

A great moisturizer for those with dry skin is the Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47. One pump of this is instantly absorbed into dry skin, making it super soft. Plus, added SPF in your moisturizer is great for summer days. Always wear some sort of sunscreen!

Ole Henriksen Total Truth™ Vitamin C Eye Crème – $45, Sephora

If you suffer from under eye dryness like I do, try Ole Henriksen’s Total Truth Eye Creme SPF 15. It really moisturizes the under eye area, making under eye concealer go on smoother and with less settling into fine lines.

Step 2: Prime

My all time favorite summer primer is Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer Light. I don’t know about you, but I really hate the silicone based primers on the market right now. I feel like an oil slick with a silicone based primer on. Unlike the original Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer, the Light version goes on like a slightly tacky lotion but dries to a smooth texture. It really feels much lighter and less like I’m trying to clog my pores. Plus, any foundation I’ve used over this goes on like a dream!

Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer Light – $36, Sephora

Step 3: All about that base

It was really hard picking a favorite summer foundation, and my toss up was really between Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua and Sephora’s own Teint Infusion. Chanel’s foundation is incredible but I’d rather put my money towards drinks on the beach than foundation during the summer. At nearly half the cost, Sephora’s Teint Infusion is an incredible foundation for the money. It’s a serum foundation and a near perfect dupe to the Perricone MD No Foundation Foundation. It is in a glass bottle with a dropper, and 3-4 tiny (and I mean tiny!) drops evens out skin tone and makes your skin look naturally radiant. It’s a buildable light to medium coverage with 12 hour hydration (according to the packaging). This foundation sets to a natural finish, not too dewy and not too matte, making it perfect for both oily and dry skin types.

Teint Infusion Ethereal Natural Finish – $24, Sephora

My all time favorite under eye concealer for any season is the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind under eye concealer. I used to be absolutely obsessed with MAC’s Pro Longwear concealer but it really dried my under eye area out and my under eye area was never as “bright” as I wanted it to be. Not the case with the Age Rewind concealer. This stuff is pure magic for under $10. Easy application and great coverage. It has a weird sponge/felt? applicator that really gets a good amount of product on there. Just rub a bit of that on in an upside down triangle shape on your under eye and blend with your ring finger and bam! Perfectly bright and concealed under eyes.

If concealer tends to set in your fine lines like it does on me, set it with an under eye setting powder. My current favorite is the $3 E.L.F High Definition Under Eye Setting Powder. For $3, this stuff is absolutely incredible. It sets concealer perfectly and you don’t feel as bad when you leave it open and knock it over because of how cheap it is.

Step 4: Bronzing, contouring, and highlighting

Contouring and Highlighting has become such a huge craze in the makeup world, but personally, I’m over it. I don’t have 45 minutes to blend out my contour on the daily. For the simplest contour and bronze, I’ve become a devout believer in Chanel’s Soleil Tan de Chanel. As pricey as this is, my goodness is it worth it. Its a universal bronzing base/ Cream Bronzer that blends so flawlessly its unreal. It does look a tad bit orangey in the container but once on the skin it just melts into this beautiful, natural, I’m-a-Victoria’s-Secret-model bronze. A little goes a long way, and lighter skin tones can definitely use this. It’s super super buildable too, and will really give you a gorgeous natural bronze. I use it to very lightly contour my cheekbones by applying it in the hollows of my cheeks and bring it along my hairline and temples with my Real Techniques flat top Stippling Brush.

SOLEIL TAN DE CHANEL BRONZING MAKEUP BASE – $48, Chanel

For highlight, I love The Balm’s Mary Lou-Manizer powder highlight. This stuff is amazing and gives you a perfect champagne colored highlight. This is amazing for all skin tones for a perfect highlight on the top of cheekbones, under the eyebrow, tip of nose, and Cupid’s Bow. Use a light hand though if you’re going for a natural glow. The Mary Lou-Manizer is pretty pigmented for a highlight.

Mary-Lou Manizer® – $24, The Balm

Hourglass makes incredible blushes and I’ve fallen in love with nearly all of their Ambient Lighting Blushes. My favorite is in the shade Diffused Heat which is a beautiful coral-red color. The Ambient Lighting Blushes are swirled with the Ambient Lighting Powders and come in a beautiful almost tie-dye like pattern. The pigment of these blushes are great and this color will still look amazing in the middle of winter on the cheeks.

To extend the wear time of your makeup, always finish with a setting spray. My favorite is the Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray, which is oil free and keeps your makeup looking fresher for longer.

Step 5: Finish off your face

A strong brow is all the rage right now and I’m totally obsessed with filling in my eyebrows. In my opinion, nothing does as great a job as Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz does. This stuff is seriously sent from the heavens and makes your brows on FLEEK. The double sided brow pencil has the pencil on one side and a spoolie on the other to blend out the color as you’re working it through the brows. I fill in my brows by drawing the shape underneath the brow first and blending the color into the brows. The point on the mechanical brow pencil is always pretty sharp too, which is perfect for gently drawing little lines in hair like strokes to make naturally full brows. I set my brows with NYX’s Control Freak brow gel which is one of the greatest brow gels I’ve used. This formula doesn’t flake and manages to keep my brows on fleek all day and into the night.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz – $21, Ulta

I haven’t found my ultimate favorite summer mascara yet, but I am enjoying both Tarte’s Lights Camera Lashes and Benefit’ Rollerlash, and have even been combining both of them.

For summer lips, I try to look as natural as possible, and my favorite nude-pink lipstick is MAC’s Kinda Sexy. It’s a perfect matte lipstick and really isn’t that drying. Plus it’s pretty long wearing too, and really finishes off the face for a perfect natural summer look.

Have you tried any of these fabulous products? Let us know in the comments below!

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Review: Beauty Blender Original Blender

One of the hottest cosmetic products on the market right now is the Beauty Blender, a makeup sponge that promises to give your makeup a flawless finish while using less of your product.

The manufacturer describes the product as follows:

The world’s first edgeless, non-disposable, high-definition cosmetic sponge applicator. The unique shape and exclusive material available only with beautyblender® ensures impeccable, streak-free application with minimum product waste. Use it with primers, foundations, powders, cream blushes, and any other complexion product.

beautyblender® features an open cell structure that fills with small amounts of water when wet. This allows the sponge to be “full” so that the makeup product sits on top of the sponge rather than being absorbed, allowing you to use less product every time. When wet, beautyblender® doubles in size and becomes even softer, returning to its original size when it air dries.

It sounds great on paper, but does the Beauty blender stand the test of time? I’ll let you know the good, the bad, and the downright ugly based on my experience with this product.

Six Months of Beauty Blending

I purchased my Beauty Blender at Sephora at the suggestion of a friend and I was extremely anxious to try to it out!

First I ran it under the sink and let the sponge expand with the water. I immediately noticed that a lot of the pink dye was running off into the sink, but to be fair the manufacturer did warn that this could happen the first time you use it.

I dabbed some of my foundation in little dots around my face and slowly began to blend it in. I bounced the sponge around my face, rather than smearing it, and eventually my foundation was indeed even and flawless.

Six months later I found myself still using it,  and I was extremely impressed at how seamless the foundation looked with each use.

My foundation would normally look caked before, but with the Beauty Blender as my main tool my skin finally looked like smooth, natural, and honestly just incredible.

I really couldn’t believe how different the foundation looked just by using the sponge (which made me extremely happy since I initially paid over $50 for that foundation!).

I know I sound like an infomercial, but it’s absolutely true.

But, please note, the only reason why this product worked for me for so long is because I was dedicated to making it work.

First I would begin by dampening the sponge under the sink and then squeezing most of the water out of it. Then I would blot some of the foundation onto my skin and begin to use the sponge to blend it in using the bounce method that I mentioned before.

I made sure that I was blending outward, that way I didn’t have a sudden discoloration when I got to my hairline

Depending on how much coverage I needed I would sometimes use another pump of foundation (namely days with a breakout), but on most days I could get away with only one pump. Normally I would use two or three pumps, so this was definitely a welcomed change!

When I was finished with my makeup for the day I would then thoroughly clean the sponge and store it away in its original cylinder packaging.

To clean the sponge I did use the Beauty Blender soap, which is, unfortunately, sold separately unless you buy it as part of a bundle. However, the soap did last me months (and I cleaned this thing every day) and it eventually outlived the sponge itself.

The Downward Spiral

After about six months of daily use and cleaning my Beauty Blender finally gave out.

The texture of the sponge changed and became slimy to the touch. I tried to rigorously clean it but that sliminess unfortunately didn’t go away.

I also noticed that the sponge stopped blending my normal foundation properly, as it would  leave dark spots of foundation on my face that I of course only noticed while I was out in public.

It would absorb most of the foundation so I ended up having to use two pumps of foundation rather than one in order to cover my entire face. On top of that, in order to get it blended properly I had to put in a lot more effort and check it over multiple times.

I eventually stopped using the Beauty Blender entirely after I realized that the sponge was most likely responsible for my recent breakouts. Note: I can’t confirm whether or not it caused my face to break out, but I do believe it is related.

The pros:81eVNgrTI1L._SL1500_

  • Easy to use
  • Easy to clean
  • Allows you to use less foundation compared to other methods of application
  • Has a long life span when taken care of  and stored properly

The cons:

  • Expensive compared to similar sponges
  • The sponge cleaner is not included with the basic blender
  • Long fingernails may accidentally tear the sponge
  • Sponge loses its ability to accurately blend after months of consecutive use

The bottom line:

If liquid foundation is your go-to then the Beauty Blender may just be the perfect addition to your cosmetics arsenal. It’s easy to use, effective, and, when used properly, will actually save you foundation.

However, cost may just be the biggest factor playing against the Beauty Blender. The average consumer may find it to be too pricey for their tastes, especially considering the fact that the cleanser is sold separately.

Luckily there are several bundle deals available at Sephora that can help slim down the costs compared to the price you would pay if you were to purchase these items separately.

But ultimately, it is in my opinion that the Beauty Blender’s longevity and usefulness make it 100% worth the price.

Have you tried the Beauty Blender? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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Why You Need To Start Toning Your Skin

You cleanse, you moisturize, but do you tone? If not then you should do your skin a great favor and start today.

Explain…

Cleansing, as we all know, clears the skin of dirt, makeup, and nasty little bacteria. But what you may not have known is that cleansing (especially with a harsh cleanser) also strips away some of your skin’s natural acidity that is key to maintaining healthy, glowing skin.

Toners will restore natural PH levels in the skin, leaving your skin healthier, vibrant, and younger looking. Toners also aid in skin cell regeneration, which is great for acne sufferers, as scars will be visibly reduced in time.

So when should I use the toner?

You should ideally use a toner right after you cleanse. The toner will finish the work of your slacking cleanser, erasing any more dirt gunk that may have been left behind.

Just note that your toner may dry out your skin, so it’s best to let the toner absorb into your skin and then follow it up with your favorite moisturizer.

Okay… what toner do I use?

Your local drug store will have at least one shelf dedicated to toners, but that’s not your only option.

I personally am a huge fan of do it yourself home remedies, especially when it comes to skincare. So for my toner I went right to the pantry and grabbed the apple cider vinegar.

apples-and-vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is rich in natural alpha hydroxy acids and has a PH level of 3 when diluted, making it ideal for restoring lost acidity in your skin.

But before you start smearing apple cider vinegar on your face, please note that you have to dilute it first! Putting raw apple cider vinegar on your face is sure to yield a nasty reaction.

You can start by mixing 1/4 raw apple cider vinegar and 3/4 filtered or sterile water and apply it to your face with a cotton ball or pad. If the mixture is too harsh, just add more water. Too weak, add more vinegar. Easy as that!

The hardest obstable to overcome is the stench. With this toner you will literally smell like a salad. The benefits completely overshadow the cons, and luckily after a few applications you will become completely nose blind it.

That’s great and all but i’d rather just buy it…

If you do choose to take the drug store or Sephora route, just make sure to read the ingredients carefully and avoid products that are known irritants to your skin.

If you need a little cheat-cheat, Totalbeauty.com has a great run down of 22 toners at varying price points.

Are you going to consider using a toner on your skin? Weigh in in the comments below!

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BUT WAIT… THERE’S MOAR! – Espionage Cosmetics Nailed It! Again

But Wait

One year ago, GeekGirlWorld featured an interview with Jaimie Cordero of Espionage Cosmetics. This time around, GGW chatted with the always wonderful Jaimie and Emily to talk about the newest Kickstarter: Nailed It! BUT WAIT… THERE’S MOAR! Espionage Cosmetics, despite its amazing growth, continues to be a small woman-owned company “for nerds, by nerds, where nerds are.”

Since the tremendously successful initial campaign last year, the nail wraps have been doing great, both online and at conventions. When asked what some of the bestsellers are, while nebula and tentacles have been consistent top sellers, the comic book wraps are very popular at comic conventions. Sci-fi conventions see upticks in related nail wraps, so audience is clearly a factor. It has been great traveling to such a variety of cons and seeing what people get. Glitter has also proven really popular.

The team has learned a lot from last year’s Kickstarter, and, in true Espionage Cosmetics fashion, really listened to the customers. Jaimie says they have really honed down production, and almost everything stays in country* (because ‘murica!) All joking aside, it is fantastic to support local manufacturing, entrepreneurship, and innovation. Espionage Cosmetics is very excited to be able to create jobs here and turn what started out as a small-scale project staffed by friends into a viable business. Office operations have improved and grown. They have learned what works best, and fastest, both when dealing with production and with customers. Some people like glitter versions, others… not so much. Keeping that in mind, there are more options, and delightfully, more fandoms.

Cumberbabes, get on this
Cumberbabes, get on this.

In fact, Espionage has proudly announced the addition of licensed designs and collaborations with comic book authors, artists, and guest designers. Thanks to the overwhelmingly positive response to the initial Kickstarter, Jaimie and Emily say Espionage found that creators, particularly authors and artists, started approaching them about partnering up. Collaborations so far include comic designs from Little Vampires and Rat Queens; authors Clive Barker, Robin Hobb, and Seanan McGuire; and actual scientists like NASA’s Bobak Ferdowski to improve existing designs and develop new ones (what will a molecular biologist concoct? We shall see!)

clive barker
These wraps feature excerpts from Clive Barker’s The Hellbound Heart

According to Espionage, the process for creating the designs and getting approval has been a fantastic experience, with open communication and constructive feedback during concept development. Many of the collaborators found it a unique challenge to create definitive art that can fit on a fingernail. In the end, these exclusive designs completely embody the collaborative spirit, and creators can reach their female audiences in a new, innovative way.

Glow in the dark! So you can see what's coming to get you!
These Little Vampires glow in the dark!

True to the title, the BUT WAIT… THERE’S MOAR! campaign has a bevy of new designs, backer levels, swag, and rewards. For round one, there are twelve designs available (you can see them on the Kickstarter page). As stretch goals are reached, more designs will be unlocked, and you gain the ability to select your finish (glitter vs. non-glitter, etc.) on the wraps you choose.

Nerd_Maps
Because dudes will never ask for directions.

Asked what they like best about the Nailed It! line, Jaimie says that even someone notoriously bad at nail polish can use these, so it is a great way to express a fandom quickly, and there is just a great ability to play around with them. Emily loves the fact that you do not have to sit and wait for ten minutes or more for the nails to dry. Plus, the designs are really rich and intricate, people are often amazed when they see them.

Who wouldn't sing the praises of these wraps?
Who wouldn’t sing the praises of these wraps?

The sooner stretch goals are reached, the sooner everyone can see the new designs in the works. The new rewards include new T-shirt designs, stickers, buttons, humidors (to extend the life of your wraps out of the protective foil package), and themed booster packs. Check out the different backer levels – if you can afford it, you can donate at a level that will get you prototype nails, promo materials, and more.

The funding for this project will kickstart the development of heat-reactive, holographic, and mirror print nails – the second step in the evolution of Espionage Cosmetic’s Nailed It! line. Want to know more? Then this Kickstarter needs to get funded – there are 23 days left!

Nerd_Makeup_Ambassador_shirt_low_res
Express yourself with all the nerdy awesomeness.

Hot on the heels of BUT WAIT… THERE’S MOAR!

In October, Espionage Cosmetics will release a line of cosmetics and nail wraps preceding the launch of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. That’s right – Espionage is gearing up for a full make-up collaboration (nails and cosmetics), and the Espionage team is very excited about it.

To keep up to speed on the wild world of nerd make-up, you can follow Espionage Cosmetics on Tumblr, Instagram @espionage_cosmeticsTwitter, or Facebook.

 

 

*Correction: The article originally stated that all production stays domestic, but the production line for the wraps is in another country. Espionage Cosmetics’ everything shadows and lip serums are produced domestically.

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Behind TARDIS Blue Eyes

I am officially in love with nearly all the eye shadows I’ve tried from Shiro Cosmetics. However, I am not entirely sure how to feel about the fact that the “Nic Cage Raking Leaves on a Brisk Autumn Morning” is a fantastic everyday eye shadow and my go-to choice when I am unsure what to use. Full disclosure: I am no make-up guru; I think I am generally pretty terrible at stuff like this. I figure, if something works for me, it can work for most people.

Shiro Cosmetics, with its motto of “makeup and geekery,” is a line of mostly vegan, small-batch-crafted cosmetics focusing primarily on eye shadows, lip glosses, and bronzers. Popular culture (mostly films and television programs) inspires all the custom color batches. Obviously, I am kind of a geek (I am a writer for Geek Girl World, after all,) and I enjoy fandom-inspired everything (pretty much) so when I first heard about Shiro I immediately thought, I have to look into that. If I’m buying make-up anyway, why not? And that tends to be my reasoning for a lot of things. I realized the other day that on average, I have no less than two different fandoms on my person at any given time (today features a Supernatural necklace and Sherlock earrings.) I bought a bunch of samples, loved them, and told Ari about them. When Ari asked if I could write some reviews for the makeup, I immediately worried that I would have to post pictures, which, yes I know, make articles more visually interesting. Here’s the thing – I am reluctant to post identifying pictures of myself online (that is a discussion for possibly never). Shoes, nail polish, stuff I like – not a big deal, but a picture of something that clearly shows me? l do not generally post those. There is exactly one picture in my more than 1,000 pictures on Instagram (hush) that shows me completely, and that is because I am standing next to the Mark VII and throwing up ‘gang signs’ (I dearly hope you get this reference). Clearly, I kind of really enjoy my online anonymity. Still, I suppose it cannot last forever, and I rationalized that it would be a good thing to show how this makeup looks on a POC (because I have experienced firsthand the disappointment of seeing a color that I love only to have it not work with my skin tone at all).

As with any online site, there is always the risk of buying something that does not work out since you are unable to try it first in person. Fortunately, Shiro offers sample sizes of their products, so you can purchase a bunch (like I did) and not feel as if you wasted money on something you end up barely using (I will address this in another review with some of the lip colors I bought). What I really appreciate about Shiro’s offerings is that, while you can tell how the colors were inspired, they can be surprisingly subtle, and are wonderfully blendable. Most can easily be worn on a daily basis, casually out and about or to work. Beyond staple shades of brown and grey, there are reds, greens, golds, blues – but we’re not talking heavy like The Hunger Games. The versatility is lovely.

Shiro_samples
So many samples
 

First example: TARDIS. I got a pot of this eye shadow (not lip-safe, unfortunately,) because TARDIS. Do I really need to explain? This is a blue, shimmery eye shadow that can be done very subtly, offering an understated pop of color for casual daily use, but can be easily made vibrant for a night on the town (or a Doctor Who party. Whatever.) Every time I wear something blue, I happily whip this pot out to use, but color-matching is not a requirement (I just like to do it sometimes). And if you like, you can totally do a solid shock à la Jem and the Holograms (confession: Stormer was one of my favorites, and Aja was badass (did I have a thing for blue hair when I was little? Maybe yes. And Lady Gaga should probably just go ahead and completely cop their style because she’s at least 75% of the way there.)

I have a basic make-up routine: moisturizer (at some point before the application of cosmetics,) primer, maybe foundation (sometimes, if I feel like it, or need to hide something in which case it might become concealer + foundation,) a light blush or bronzer, eye make-up. My entire make-up routine, mascara included, takes less than 10 minutes in the morning, which is great, because some days I end up running late. Someone in a hurry can really turn this into an exact science, no joke. Here is what I currently use: Oil of Olay moisturizer, Too-face primer, Too-face eye primer, Shiro brand bronzer, Shiro eye shadow, Sephora black eye shadow as liner, and Revlon lash blast mascara. That’s it, that’s the lineup. There are some really great tutorials on YouTube from fantastically knowledgeable people about makeup and application – just do a quick search and tons of actually helpful videos pop up. I am not that helpful. Or patient. There are many ways to apply eye shadow, so pick what works for you. I have a selection of brushes procured over the years and maintained well through cleaning. If you would like to get new brushes, try e.l.f. brand brushes available at Target; most of them cost $1.00 each (I plan to try out their fake lashes at some point because for a dollar, why not?) This is a good way to experiment with tools without breaking the bank. I am all for cost efficiency.

So. The TARDIS eye shadow is a loose powder. Now, I tend to avoid sparkly…anything…but for Shiro I seem to be making an exception. This is what the powder looks like in the pot.

Oooh, sparkles
Oooh, sparkles

I usually opt for the outer “V” application of shadow, but for this I went for all over coverage, like so:

TARDISallover

To temper the blue a bit, I actually layered it with Nic Cage Raking Leaves on a Brisk Autumn Morning and ended up with something darker and lovely and suitable for work.

This tumbler is no longer in existence

Terrible lighting for the photo, I know, but you can sort of see that the TARDIS tumbler and the eye shadow are close, even though I darkened it with Nic Cage. Please note: tumbler is a misnomer. These things cannot tumble – they will simply break. I speak from experience. You may also note that my nail polish matches the tumbler. It is actually from SuperBlack Lacquers, and a review on that brand will be forthcoming.

Another favorite shade:

IMG_0920
This might have been a limited time only thing. Sorry!

IMG_0921

Again, Shiro is great in that you can sample their numerous shades at very little cost. You have to keep an eye on the site’s FB page, though, since new colors are constantly coming in, being voted on, and phased out.

I recently discovered King Under the Mountain and it might be my new favorite (move over, Nic Cage!) 

kingunderthemountain3

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Interview: Jaimie Cordero of Espionage Cosmetics

Nebula Nails

There was a time in the not so distant past that people could not be overtly passionate about anything deemed “geeky” to the mainstream world. A woman could not proclaim her love for zombie flicks or video games or anime or sci-fi television programming without coming under fire (oh wait, that still happens. Never mind.) Fortunately, “geek chic” has become a widely accepted form of personal expression. It is currently en vogue, so to speak. I was just in Target yesterday and saw a t-shirt with GEEK CHIC emblazoned across the front, so no one can tell me differently. Today, in nearly any city, people go about their lives nonchalantly wearing t-shirts with their favorite pop culture phrases, or toting custom-made bags, shoes, and/or accessories depicting their favorite shows or characters (confession: I generally have no less than two pieces of different fandom-inspired items on my person at any given time.) Cosmetics are no exception to this phenomenon. There are lines of nail polish, lipsticks, eye shadows, and more, all inspired by films, television shows, and pop culture trends. Sometimes a person just wants that exact same eye shadow without having to be an actor sitting in a make-up chair, right? In the grand scheme of “if you build it, they will come,” catering to such dreams can be both lucrative and fulfilling.

Enter Espionage Cosmetic’s latest project: “Nailed It!” Espionage Cosmetics takes make-up to new levels of nerdom, focusing on quality products with fandom inspirations. Their self-adhesive nail wraps provide perfect nails without minimal effort. Gone is the time consumption of layering coats of polish (and the frustration of needing to start over if the design is not quite right, or the polish gets smudged, etc.) Each set of nails comes with several sizes to ensure the perfect fit, and are touted as easily adjustable. Remove the wraps from the package, press and shape to your nail, trim the edge as necessary. To lengthen the life of the wraps, a quick-drying clear topcoat is recommended. That is all there is to it. Designs range from Doctor Who to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, steampunk to zombie killer. Proudly (or subtly) displaying a favored fandom has never been easier.

Jaimie Cordero, CEO/Artistic Director and one of the masterminds behind Espionage Cosmetics, took the time to tell Geek Girl World about the company’s origins and answer a few questions. Jaimie is a professional make-up artist. At work, she would mix a few of her versatile personal core products to use on set, which eventually led to the desire to start her own company.  With a team of make-up aficionados around the world, Espionage took shape. Jaimie says, “There are other great makeup companies for sure and we wanted to do it differently in a few ways:

1.) Not take it so seriously.
2.) Sell a product that we loved but knew wasn’t the end all be all of existence. We at Espionage are very open about the fact that not everyone has time to put on a full face of make up every day AND THAT IS OKAY. Most people have limited time for things like perfect eyeliner. So what little time a normal person does have to dedicate should be fun and not daunting/feel like a chore.
3.) Create marketing that would be a playground for creatives and would immediately cause a connection with our nerdy audience.”

Geek Girl World: What do you hope people take away from the concept of Espionage Cosmetics?
Espionage Cosmetics: That it’s okay if your make-up and nails don’t look like the million pinterest boards you have saved. It’s okay to only have three make-up brushes. We love that you have a full beautiful life that keeps finding the perfect lip color on the back burner. Being a mom/going to college/working on your cosplay/raiding with your guild/having game night with your family are all more important than what the beauty industry will have you believe.
If you do pick up any product from Espionage, all we want is to see that you enjoyed our promotional material packed with Easter eggs of geek wonder; and that if you do purchase our product it made your life a little brighter, more fun, and that it added much needed glitter.

GGW: Espionage Cosmetics is quite interactive with its consumers/fans; any plans to do make-up tutorials, etc. to enhance the consumer experience?
EC: That is a project we are working on! We have a lot filmed, it is just the chance to edit things that is hard to come by! Kickstarter has been a full time gig! However once that comes to a close and packages are out we hope to resume some filming and a lot more editing!

GGW: Why use Kickstarter for this particular project?
EC: We chose crowd sourcing for two reasons:
1) Our company has been built entirely on incoming cash. Which means that we have survived and grown entirely off of income from conventions, online orders, and wholesale accounts like ThinkGeek.  No debt. No credit cards. No loans. It was important to the business foundation we have built to keep it that way. Crowd funding was the way to do that.
2) Gauging public interest on our product. We knew we thought the nail wraps were the best thing ever, but knowing that there was a definite (and massive) interest is a big deal for a small company like ours. It helps us gauge future projects, designs, and inventory decisions for the next year of conventions and what not.

turtle nails

GGW: What do you hope to grow the Nailed It! line into? (Will you take polls or design requests?) Will it be something you will offer online, or only at conventions & events?

EC: As of now we have already listened to the public about what they want in designs! I just can’t tell you which ones specifically :) The wraps will definitely be online. We have already been successful in having ThinkGeek pick up a lot of the “Nailed It!” designs! And of course there will be the conventions to track us down at. Which is the best idea! This way you can see each design in person!

GGW: How did Espionage decide which designs to do first?
EC: We did what is done for all of our projects. We took an informal poll of what nerd thing our employees, interns, and creative wanted to wear. Then we made each one a thing!

GGW: There has been a recent trend of fashion and cosmetics inspired by pop culture/films (most recently Cover Girl x The Hunger Games: Catching Fire for the Capitol Collection.) Is there the possibility of such an official partnership/event in the future for Espionage? If so, what would the dream partnership be?
EC: We actually have two major ones in the works! And another 3 we have already informally begun the process for! Our dream is obviously to have the discussion about Star Wars licensing as well as LOTR.

GGW: What is the next project for Espionage?
EC: Currently there are 5 other major projects that are in the wings in various states of being ready for the public eye. At this point it is all about figuring out which one to put in the game. I guess I am still making that decision :)

bloodynails

For the Nailed It! Nail Art Kickstarter project, learn more here. The project is already fully funded, but you can still back it. The more stretch goals met, the more designs unlocked.

For more about Espionage Cosmetics, find them online at Espionage CosmeticsTwitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Full disclaimer: after learning more about Espionage, I personally backed their Nailed It! project on Kickstarter.

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Sugar: Sweet Ways to Exfoliate

Image via beauty-advices.comExfoliating your face and body is an amazing way to achieve beautiful, soft, glowing skin. And it’s easy! Simply scrub your body gently with an abrasive substance, and poof! Say goodbye to all that flaky, built up dead skin.

But with the process being so simple, why do so many of us invest in costly facial scrubs? In truth, you can get the same, fresh results not by visiting your local drugstore, but rather your very own kitchen.

So open up your cabinets and crack out the sugar, ladies!

Sugar’s naturally soft, yet abrasive texture makes it the perfect exfoliant for your skin. There’s no discrimination between sugars, either. Both the white and brown varieties of sugar will work equally well. Yet if you desire a stickier substance, brown sugar will definitely be your best choice.

And considering how so many of us already have sugar at our disposal, this at-home beauty treatment is totally budget friendly. That’s going to be a welcomed relief to many wallets, especially with the YWCA estimating that women are spending over $7 billion on beauty products annually.

But it’s not only economical, it’s 100% natural.

Next time you find yourself in the beauty aisle, pick up a facial wash and read the drug facts. You’re sure to see ingredients such as neopentyl glycol dicaprylate, disodium lauroamphodiacetate, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, propylparaben, and cocamidopropyl betaine. I don’t know about you all, but I can barely pronounce those words, let alone understand what impact they have on my skin. As it turns out, most of these ingredients are simply chemical agents meant to bond the product together, as well as agents designed to preserve the product during it’s possibly lengthy shelf life.

Image via buzzle.comWith sugar, you skip the unnecessary chemicals and get straight to the sweet result you desire.

But don’t start rubbing sugar on your skin just yet. The same abrasive properties in sugar that remove dead skin also have the power to injure new cells. Without a moisturizing agent, you run the risk of a bad skin rash or even cuts.

To solve this problem, you just need to get a little culinary.

Half a teaspoon of honey and a full teaspoon of sugar will create a wonderful facial scrub full of antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. And if honey isn’t on hand, extra virgin olive oil will work just as well and will moisturize your skin in the process.

For those of you who suffer from acne and oily skin, this must sound like a nightmare. But don’t worry! You can turn your favorite facial wash into an exfoliant by simply mixing a few sprinklings of sugar into your wash.

Beautiful skin at a low cost? Now that’s what I call sweet.

Have any other exfoliation ideas? Let us know in the comments below!

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