Archive for December, 2009

Harassment from Sephora

Posted in Health and Beauty on December 31, 2009 by sbulletforever

I’ve been wanting to cool down before I wrote this little complaint, since I didn’t want to blow it out of proportion. Now, I’m a weekly regular of Sephora. I have this idea that any products I use should be the perfect ones for me, so I try out tons of products there. Skincare, haircare, men’s products (for my boyfriend and father), perfumes, lipsticks and glosses, eyeshadows and liners, primers, foundations, concealers, and every other piece of makeup you can think of- I try them and review them.

I’ve been doing this for about a year and a half now and have never had any problems with Sephora staff. In Florida and Washington they never gave me any grief for buying and then returning items. But that’s the beauty of Sephora’s return policy- you can return anything, even without a receipt. And it’s not cheap stuff, so why keep what doesn’t work? Anyways, in my year and a half of product hunting I was NEVER told that I could be given samples of products. I mean, I could always get a perfume sample, but I never knew they could make me samples of lipsticks, eyeshadows, liners, and any other product I wanted to try. It just didn’t really click with my mind that the staff members could scrape powders and other goodies in a jar for me.

Now, the thing you have to remember about Sephora employees is that not a single one of them has to go through any training to work there. They don’t have to know or try their products and they don’t go through makeup application training. Also, they act very unhelpful. I learned quickly that asking a staff member a question about what would look good on me, or what products are better quality than others, always ends up in them simply not knowing. Their job is not to sell you makeup, but to make sure you don’t steal anything from the store and to help you find something when you absolutely can’t find it yourself. NEVER have they EVER come up to me, in any of the stores I’ve been in, and suggested something that would look good on me. They hide behind shelves and gossip over the radios.

The nearest Sephora to me now is the one in Reno at the Summit Sierra. If I could go to a different one, I would, but I don’t feel like driving to California just to avoid it. Unfortunately, I’m being harassed thoroughly at the store and I finally became so fed up with it that I had to lodge a formal complaint against them with the company. Needless to say, this is going to turn into a big battle now. I feel bad, but I don’t deserve the kind of abuse I received from those untrained ‘makeup specialists’.

I’ll start with the problems I’ve had with them. For one, I was having a major breakout a few months ago and I had big plans coming up. I needed a good foundation that would make me fake the flawless look, and I was running out of time. So I went in there and asked someone to help me found my right foundation color. They tried some on me, and I bought it, but when I came home it looked terrible. Completely the wrong color! So I went back and asked a different girl to help me out. She, too, convinced me to buy a color that ended up being terribly wrong. I went in again and had a different girl try to help me, and this one ended up picking up the wrong box for me so I had the wrong color and the wrong product. I was in tears by this point. With one last try, in complete desperation, I ended up finding one very nice Sephora employee who matched me with a best-selling foundation and gave me the right color.

Now, the girls at Sephora began to ask me everytime I went into the store, “Why are you returning this?” I had tried out so many foundations and asked so many different people for help that apparently it was beginning to upset them. I’m not sure why, but they began to be very short and mean with me. I’m a lot younger than most of those women, so I’m used to older staff members treating me with disrepect. It got worse every time I went into the store. I told them numerous times that I wasn’t happy with some of the products because some of them didn’t look good, and some of them downright broke after first uses. I also told them that I WRITE A BLOG, which means that I need fresh products to try. They were unimpressed with this answer.

It got to the point that two or three of the girls would come up to me individually to ask why I was returning things, and they stopped asking me if I needed help finding something altogether. I had to dig through the product bins by myself, since the girls didn’t keep the sample products out with the displays. Then they would get upset with me for looking through there, but not one of them would keep the sample products stocked. I found numerous powders and shadows that had been dropped and shattered, but they didn’t feel the need to restock it with one that people could actually use. Once, I had hands covered in purple eyeshadow because the powder inside was so broken. An employee just looked at me, and I asked her for help, and she said she just couldn’t restock it for some reason. She didn’t even HELP ME CLEAN UP. They just watched as I cleaned up massive amounts of spilled powder off the floor and off of my hands.

I got used to their attitudes. Only three of the girls there were nice to me. I don’t know anybody’s names because they don’t feel the need to wear nametags, but I hope those three don’t get into any trouble. Anyways, everything reached a climax about a week before Christmas. I was getting presents my Mom wanted and I was trying to find myself a good red lipgloss before I flew down to Florida for the holidays. I was on the phone with my boyfriend, just browsing the aisles, when one of the Sephora employees came up to me and started loudly talking to me.

Obviously, I was in the middle of a phone conversation. She was a large woman and she completely blocked my path, now allowing me to go anywhere. I’m pretty sure she’s one of the store managers there- she has black and purple hair. In any case, I actually had to tell my boyfriend to hold on because this woman just wouldn’t stop talking over us, and she wasn’t waiting for me to finish my coversation. She went off on a tirade, telling me things like, “You know, you’re wasting so much product. You’re personally filling up landfills, and you should care more about the environment. If you need to try on products, try them on in the store.” By the way, trying things on in the store (in poor lighting) is not a good idea. Trying something out for a few weeks at home is a better idea. That way, you can try on different shadow combinations, try using different primers with foundation to make it look best, or just generally get a feel on if you like it enough or not.

“Any one of us here can help you find what you want! We can apply makeup, if that’s what you need.” Yeah, because they were just so helpful when I was trying to found foundation months ago. I trust my own judgement more than I do theirs. I told her, “Look, I write a blog, okay? That’s why I’m trying all these products.”

In any case, she stormed off and left me stunned in silence. My boyfriend heard the whole thing, and he was just as surprised as I was. I got really upset, and I declared very loudly that I was going to lodge a complaint against the company for this abuse. I DON’T DESERVE THEIR DISRESPECT. I’m always very cordial and polite to them, despite the way so many of the girls treat me. Another employee was stocking a shelf right next to me, and she didn’t even look at me when I said it. I was furious. These women were acting like I was personally wasting their money and time! I spend thousands of dollars there, and they only treat me like dirt.

I could understand it if I was going against the store return policy, but I’m not. I’m not doing anything wrong. I feel bad wasting the product, but I didn’t have other options. At least, I didn’t think I did. I went up to the register and did my returning/buying, and I was supremely pissed off. One of the staff members came up to me there, and she told me exactly what the purple-haired lady had told me, but in a nicer way. “You know, these returned products go straight to a landfill. It’s a lot of waste. If you ask us, we can make sample products of anything you need. But we don’t do it unless you ask us to, so just keep that in mind.”

WOW. In all my time of going there, I had never been told about that. I didn’t know until THAT MOMENT that they could have given me samples of eyeshadows and lipsticks and primers and all those other goodies. That could have saved a lot of waste, and a lot of frustration. Needless to say, I went home and immediately called Sephora and registered a formal complaint. They were shocked at the way I had been treated, and they said things were going to change.

Why were they so rude? Is it because I’m younger than them? Or because they felt personally wounded that I was wasting all those makeup and skincare products? I spend enough there to be considered a VIP client, but instead they treat me like a criminal and tell me I fill up landfills. And they never deigned to speak to me and let me know that I could have had a million samples of anything I wanted. I hope none of my beautiful readers has ever had those kinds of problems with Sephora. If you have, don’t hesitate to call the company and speak your mind. I love makeup with a passion, but I don’t think abuse is worth the shopping trip.

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Laura Geller Lipgloss in ‘Devilish’

Posted in Health and Beauty on December 30, 2009 by sbulletforever

I love red lipsticks and glosses, but finding one that looks and feels great is harder than you’d think. I wanted to find a glossy, darker red for the Christmas season, since my signature red lipstick is very bright and matte (for pin-up style makeup). I ended up trying Laura Geller’s lipgloss in ‘Devilish’, which is a mildly shimmery red that sits directly on the border between dark and bright. It’s a very classy color, and I hate to say that it’s a ‘cherry’ shade because there are just so many different interpretations of what cherry should be. In any case, it’s a universal flattering shade.

The gloss itself is $16 at Sephora, so it’s not going to drain your piggy bank. It takes quite a few applications to get the gloss out of the tube and coated onto your lips, since the applicator only drags a little gloss out of the tube each time. I think that since it took so many coats to fully gloss my lips up, this tube isn’t going to last a long time. But most people would only wear this when going out somewhere, when they want to look special. Makeup, for the daytime and for your average business office, is usually neutral and light. Personally, I’m encouraged to keep an ‘edgy’ look for work, so glossy red lipstick on an everyday basis isn’t so unusual for me.

The gloss is buildable, which means that it starts out as a light color and gradually darkens with each coat you apply. I would definitely not consider this a ‘dark’ red, but it truly is an intense cherry color. For some reason, it reminds me of Dorothy’s ruby slippers in ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ It’s just so hard to describe! Once coated on my lips, it looks fantastic. I can see that where I’ve put more coats on, the color gets darker, but on the peaks of my lips, where I don’t apply as much, it’s a little lighter. It adds constrast to my lips without making it look silly.

I was afraid that this would turn out to be your average, cheap lipgloss that disappears without a trace after a few hours of talking, eating, and/or drinking. Turns out, this little beauty leaves a gentle stain on your lips. This gloss survived 4 hours of Christmas dinner, leaving a tint to my lips even after the thicker gloss had worn off. It does have a little bit of shimmer, but it isn’t so intense that you notice it unless you’re standing under direct light. But it’s a very beautiful gloss, and it’s a very affordable price.

‘Devilish’ has my seal of approval! Since the gloss was such good quality I’m going to have to go try out the other Laura Geller products I’ve heard so much about. The company sells ‘baked’ products, which are as good for your skin as mineral makeups are, but these are made out of hardened MOUSSE. It seems silly, but you apply it with a brush just like a mineral powder, and it actually feels lighter and softer than mineral powder. I just ordered a  Laura Geller baked kit off of QVC, so I’ll review it at the end of January!

DuWop’s Private Red Lipstick

Posted in Health and Beauty on December 19, 2009 by sbulletforever

Color-changing products are the latest fad in makeup. These special items (glosses, lipsticks, and cheek colors) all adhere to your personal pH levels and change color. I’ve been looking for a dark red lipstick, so I decided to try out DuWop Private Red lipstick, which is a self-adjusting lipstick that changes to a personal color of red. Here’s what I thought:

When I opened the tube, I thought the lipstick looked like the perfect shade of dark red. It truly is lovely to look at. Applying it was a pain; for some reason, this is the messiest lipstick I’ve ever applied on my lips. I use Urban Decay’s Lip Potion Primer and DuWop’s Reverse Lip Liner, but I still had trouble ‘staying in the lines.’ This is a lipstick that WILL FEATHER, so make sure you use some kind of liner and primer to keep it together. This also smears terribly and leaves pink marks on your skin, so be careful. Use some makeup remover if you make a mistake so you don’t leave marks around your lips like a clown.

Now, despite the fact that it was very easy to apply and smeared easily, it looked VERY DRY on my lips. It highlighted every crack and crease in my lips, which was very disconcerting. I keep my lips pretty moisturized, and I’m too young to be losing any collagen, but I still ended up looking like I had very old, very dry lips. It did change color after several minutes, but I was so disappointed by its poor quality that I hardly noticed. It really was such a beautiful color, but even after coating my lips with three layers of lipstick, I still felt like the creases of my lips were on display.

I hope to find this same color in a different brand. Sadly, this one is being returned.

Benefit Cosmetics Concealers

Posted in Health and Beauty on December 18, 2009 by sbulletforever

I have dark circles from hell under my eyes, and despite the fact that I get plenty of sleep at night, they don’t go away. So I’ve resorted to using concealers on them, and my first choice was Benefit Cosmetics. I tried out their two concealer products: “Boi-ing” industrial-strength concealer and “Erase Paste” brightening camoflauge. Here’s my take on them:

Boi-ing is your average concealer for a decent price ($18). It DOES CONTAIN TALC, so be sure to only use it on your under eyes. Putting it elsewhere on your skin may cause you to break out. It works pretty decently- my dark circles blend more into my skin, just leaving grey marks. The difference between using the Boi-ing concealer and not using anything at all is very significant. This concealer comes in three shades, so finding your color is pretty foolproof.

Erase Paste is a brightener/concealer, but it costs a pretty penny ($26). It doesn’t contain talc, so it’s safe to use on any part of your skin. You can just put it on your under eyes, or you can spread it across your cheeks or your entire face to add some brightness. It adds a natural glow to your skin, so it doesn’t look like you just bleached yourself out (most brighteners tend to look like that). I like the brightness it adds to my under eyes, but unfortunately it isn’t a strong enough concealer. Like the Boi-ing, it just makes the dark circles look grey instead of black. If I were looking for a highlighter to add brighteness and even out my complexion, this might be nice. But for an undereye concealer, I wouldn’t bother spending all that cash.

I tried using the Boi-ing under the Erase Paste, but the two DO NOT combine well. It hardly gave me any more coverage, and the two concealers ended up looking cakey and pretty gross.

I’ll have to say that I wasn’t impressed by Benefit Cosmetics concealers. The Boi-ing is a decent price for concealer, but I can’t stand products that contain talc (they make me break out so badly!). The Erase Paste is a good highlighter that doesn’t make your skin break out, but it just didn’t cut it as an undereye concealer. I’ll be returning these two products tomorrow and start looking for a better concealer that will knock out those black circles that plague my undereyes.

Urban Decay Lip Primer Potion

Posted in Health and Beauty on December 16, 2009 by sbulletforever

Primers are beautiful things. They make your makeup last longer, and many of them have extra brightening or healthy effects. One of the best-selling brands in the makeup market, Urban Decay, is famous for their line of skin, lip, eyes, and eyelash primers. I’m just going to review the lip primer potion today.

The stick looks colored, but it goes on clear. It’s a very thick, waxy primer that actually flakes off a bit when you rub it on your lips. And believe me, you really have to rub in hard. The primer literally puts a matte layer on your lips that gives the lipstick something firm to hold on to.

You have to apply at least three or four coats of your lipstick over the primer potion. The wax seems to absorb much of the first two coats, dulling the color. But it seems to me like once the wax is ‘filled’ with those first coats, the third and fourth will look normal.

No, this primer does not make your lipsticks look brighter. It does, however, make your lipstick last longer. The wax coating is a protective barrier that holds on to your lipstick color like a jealous girlfriend. I use mine when I’m wearing red lipstick (Benefit’s Full-Finish Lipstick in Flirt Alert), and it keeps it on through hours of eating, drinking, and talking. After a few hours, however, the red had dulled to a bright, red-tinted pink. That would be the wax layer. All my lips require is another coat of the red and I’m set to go for another few hours.

No, it doesn’t feel waxy on your lips. It just feels like a coat of lipstick that you forget is even there. Yes, it’s a little messy since the wax flakes off, but it isn’t so bad. It does have moisturizing effects, since the wax is so thick. You can use this before applying LIPSTICKS, GLOSSES, OR PENCILS. It’s a bit of a pain to use, and it does require an extra touch-up here and there, but I’d say it’s worth it if you’re out for hours on end. It lasted like a champ through my Halloween night!

Arm Acne (A.K.A. Keratosis Pilaris)

Posted in Health and Beauty on December 11, 2009 by sbulletforever

I’ve always suffered from bumps and discoloration on my arms, which I figured was just acne. But it turns out that those bumps are caused by two things: ingrown hairs and keratosis pilaris (known as chicken skin). Tons of people have it and don’t even know it.

I’ve been to a few dermatologists (which are useless, in my opinion) who said that exfoliation is the only way to get rid of it. In truth, exfoliation is the way to get rid of many body problems. Bad smells, ingrown hairs, acne scars, dry skin, and acne can all be prevented and treated with exfoliation. There are two types of exfoliation you need to know about: DAILY and WEEKLY. Daily exfoliation means using a washcloth and a gentle body scrub (with beads in it) every day to wash your body. Weekly exfoliation is much more intensive and should only be done twice a week, followed by either a clay, sulfuric, or moisturizing mask. This erases the layers of dead skin that trap hairs (creating ingrown hairs), bacteria (causing acne), and gets rid of the discoloration of scars. The exfoliation should be done to the face AND body, but remember to only use body soaps for the body and face soaps for the face. The skin on your face and neck is much more sensitive than the skin on the rest of your body.

Let’s get back to the issue of ‘arm bumps’. These are very difficult to get rid of, and while daily/weekly exfoliation helps, it still isn’t quite enough. There is only one treatment I’ve found that works: Dermadoctor KP Duty Scrub. This is the miracle treatment of all treatments for body ailments. The scrub is a course, thick, white paste that comes in a huge jar, and the jar lasts about six months. What’s so great about this little scrub is that it’s a medical peel and a microdermabrasion treatment in one, which means it scrapes away the dead skin and eates away imperfections at the same time. A double whammy!

You rub a small amount of the scrub on dry skin, let is set, and then rub it off in the shower (preferrably with a wash cloth, if your skin isn’t too sensitive). This prevents and treats keratosis pilaris, prevents ingrown hairs, erases acne scars on the chest and back, makes skin smoother and more moisturized, and keeps away bacteria. I use this for everything, even as a pre-shaving treatment. My legs retain smoothness and moisture, and the hairs become easier to shave off.

This is also great for tattoos! It takes a lot of very intense exfoliation to make a tattoo fade, so don’t worry about this scrub eating away the ink. The KP Duty will clean away just the top layers of skin over the tattoo, brightening it.