A BB Cream Retrospective

For years, mineral powder had me sold. I have combination, acne-prone skin and I though that the loose powder worked well at minimizing my pores and reducing shine. For years, I used Bare Minerals foundation and thought I loved it. Until the introduction of the BB Cream.

I won’t call it the BB Cream Revolution, but there have been a hell of a lot of them in the past few years. The BB Cream began in Korea, developed in the 60s as post-surgery treatment. It rose to popularity in the Asian markets in the mid-80s, and a few years ago, reached American markets, saturating our Sephoras with [empty] promises. The BB cream, known as blemish balm, or the American “beauty balm” promises a lighter version of liquid foundation that covers, protects, and even treats skin to prevent acne outbreaks and completely correct problem skin. Needless to say, I doubted one product could do all this. But I tried.

After extensive research and haunting beauty forums, I began with the Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream in Light/Medium (I have quite fair skin). Despite high expectations, I found the cream grainy and heavy, and too dark for my skin tone. It also left a visible texture on my skin, which is terrible for anyone prone to blackheads. I wanted to minimize the look of my pores, not accentuate them! I didn’t wait for the $20 half-ounce bottle to run out before scouring the Internet for an alternative. I missed my mineral stuff.

On a whim, I decided to check out Korean BB Creams. Because of my very light skin, I thought that those products, with their many different [whiter?] shades of pale, would work better for me. I also heard that the American BB Creams fell far short of their Asian counterparts; in their haste to fill the demand for BB Creams in the Western market, beauty companies in this part of the world cobbled together ramshackle products incomparable to the originals. After some hours of forum-diving, I had a name: Missha.

IMG_2874I’ve never loved a beauty product, mind you. Never. Apart from Sephora’s $10 cream eyeliner so thick and waterproof that it needs a blowtorch to remove (it doesn’t sound like a plus, but it is), this cream was the first beauty product I truly loved. The MISSHA Perfect Cover BB Cream in No. 21 (Light Beige) promises many delightful things: healing wrinkles, lightening skin tone, prevents skin aging, and providing a light, but excellent skin covering ability. Now, I don’t know about wrinkles or skin aging (yet) but I can attest that this cream gives me excellent coverage.

I’m not one of those who put foundation all over their faces; rather, I spot-treat and blend. This cream is perfect for me because it’s just a touch lighter than my own skin tone, which means that it covers red spots well. I’ve always hated bronzer and even my naturally tan face because it tends to make me look ruddy and accentuate my red spots, so I love how white this stuff is. It goes on smooth, blends flawlessly into my skin, and doesn’t clog my huge pores! Also, it has a whopping SPF 42 to indeed prevent wrinkles and premature aging from the sun.

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I encourage you to expand this picture and examine my pores. Do it. I dare you.

I bought a 50 ml (~1.7 oz.) bottle in March 2012, and it’s still going strong. On Amazon, I spent $15 for it. That’s an absurd deal, and I cannot believe how good this product is. I’m not wearing primer or setting powder, just moisturizer. American BB Creams 0; Missha 1.

Tiny frog approves of Missha

Tiny frog approves of Missha

Note: I did not receive compensation or free products for this review. I just wanted to share an experience. 

DIY: Flapper Shoes

A few months ago, I got it into my head that I wanted a flapper birthday. Or, more specifically, a Gatsby-esque birthday, complete with cloches, bottomless champagne, and an attentive Leonardo DiCaprio. I told my sister my great idea, telling her that everyone can wear cute hairbands and glittery skirts with fringe and bob their hair (extreme, but still) and she says, “Um, isn’t that a little weird? Like, for all of us to go out dressed like flappers like it’s Halloween?”

And so, with her judgmental reaction, my dreams were crushed. But it had gotten me thinking about the outfit I wanted to wear on my birthday, and the shoes. In the Twenties, and even until the Forties, designer shoes were custom-made, and the heels were specially ordered by style. These heels were made from celluloid to create a marbled look and came in all colors, jewel-tone and pastel alike. Oh, and they were also bedazzled to the extreme. The amount of detail on these heels are so phenomenal that particular ones are featured in fashion-related museum exhibitions and carefully preserved.

I wanted them.

Here are some examples:

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So I collected all these pictures and prepared to make my very own flapper-inspired shoes. (Seriously, I need an intervention.)

I started with the heel:

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I found these for $25 at my local Easy Pickins (Modcloth had them for $40 + shipping!) and then I ordered two sample-size swatches of fabric from a fabric website. They were 3 x 5″ swatches, which was the perfect size for the back of the shoe.

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Then, I ordered a beaded appliqué piece from Etsy that I tore apart to reveal only the jeweled parts, along with some blue rhinestones from a craft store. I also picked up white paint.

Photo Oct 01, 5 54 28 PM Photo Oct 01, 1 15 18 AM (1)I started by making patterns of the back of the shoe with muslin, then cutting out the correct size fabric:

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Glued it on with simple fabric glue.

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Lovely! Now the heel…

I used white paint with a little shimmer in it to duplicate that shiny, celluloid effect. It’s not perfect, but I like the way it came out:

Photo Oct 02, 2 30 04 PM Photo Oct 02, 3 33 44 PMI put two coats and then cleaned up any “coloring outside the lines” with a toothpick. Then it was time to bedazzle!

Photo Oct 02, 11 23 08 PMI glued the appliqué on the heel with E-5000 glue, the strongest thing known to man. I also used it to attach little blue rhinestones to the outline of the heel, shown below!

Photo Oct 03, 1 05 09 AM (2)Here they are! My very own bespoke Twenties-inspired heels.

fashion: Lily Bart

I love when literature and fashion make friends; for example, this blouse from Modcloth named after the main character in Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth–the “Lily Bart Blouse.” I read The House of Mirth in high school, but I think I’m definitely due for a re-read. In the meantime, I’ll wear pretty things:

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fashion: witchy

Rainy days mean indoor photos and flash; perish the thought!IMG_2626IMG_2627 IMG_2634

Love these boots so much! Beware of dancing, however. Pointy toes are v. sharp.

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top Garbage shoes Jeffrey Campbell for Nasty Gal purse Charming Charlie shorts Forever 21 lace cover thrifted

fashion: frozen

Yes, I was frozen when I took these photos outside! But it’s okay, because I love the cold. I wore this snow-inspired outfit to a Christmas party this week!

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This old skirt from H&M was far too long; I bought it a couple years ago but only wore it once or twice, but I decided to hem it so I could wear it this season. My sister cut the skirt because I can’t be trusted with scissors.

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This skirt makes me wish I could be a ballerina, if only I had the smallest amount of dance talent!

IMG_2518Blush pink and burgundy is my absolute favorite color combination; I must wear some form of it every other day!

skirt H&M – heels Tobi – lace top Garbage – tattoo tights Etsy – fur vest Charade – coat Modcloth

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My Christmas Lit & Fashion Haul

As you can probably expect, I got plenty of clothes, shoes, jewelry, and books for Christmas. Not too shabby:

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I love the print on this skater skirt, and the slight steampunk vibe of the statement necklace.

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Gilmore Girls on DVD, and some great books I’ve been salivating for: The Lowland, The Valkyries, The Alchemist, Neverwhere, Bellman & Black, and The Moonstone. January will be a month filled with great reads, so stay tuned!

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shoes from ModCloth and Jeffrey Campbell! Evangelina mesh booties, Flair-y Tale Boots, and Haute on Your Heels Booties

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And the coat from Modcloth I was waxing poetic about just a few short weeks ago…

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Haul ^ I’m ready for a long, cold winter filled with reading by the fire, plenty of scarves and boots, and some great hot chocolate!

fashion: you're makin' me blush

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Blush pink is one of my favorite colors, and I love the bat sleeves on this blouse. You might recognize these shoes from a post I did a while back–they’re actually solid tan boots covered in fabric! They were really fun to make.

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shoes DIY (click here for the tutorial) pants Charade necklace Joyce Leslie top Charade

Merry Christmas everyone!

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