Angela Bocage

Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the beauty category.

“–Look, a rose-breasted grosbeak!”

 That’s the back of the t-shirt. The front is, “They say I have ADD. But I think…”

I decided to make a change. I have too many things going on. I want to talk about playing bass, or a great new book, or a  site where you can find great stuff for dogs, or other items that didn’t seem appropriate to my original vision of this blog…so I started another one. So far, it’s mostly the beauty and skincare info from this one, but not entirely. So, from now on, if you want the info on skin care, hair care and beauty, without all the other things I want to write about Philadelphia, animals, books, the law, ADD, et cetera, I started a separate blog just for that purpose. For pure, lovely, friendly, fun Dyke Beauty….my other blog’s devoted to just that: OK, animals do enter into things as well, but that’s the “dyke” part–isn’t it usually the case that we who were blessed with the lesbian gene also have the Dr. Doolittle one?  🙂 


Underrated Urban Decay, and supporting companies that don’t support cruelty

One of my favorite makeup companies is Urban Decay. Their grouchy little garbage cans of shadow with flip-up lids are among the most underrated products around: get past their campily overpunked names like “gash,” “uzi,” and “asphyxiation,” or my fave: “polyester bride,” and you’ve got really lovely, wearable, durable color that’s as silky as a dream and as sheer or as bold as you choose to make it. It’s the combination of these shadows’ tenacity and their creamy-silky texture I can’t praise enough… but people like the brilliant and adorable Linda Rosewood(,  who’ve never bothered with makeup, will never share my wonder at Urban Decay, because they weren’t dopey enough in high school to wear the horrid, chalky, crumbly cheap-ass drugstore crap eyeshadow I endured. I shudder at the bitter memories! But perhaps if someone were to lure such ladies to indulge themselves in a playful session of ornamentation, they’d like the little garbage cans, or the bright satin of Urban Decay’s deluxe shadow line, in spite or because of the fact it comes instead in jewelboxy little thematically embellished mirrored compacts with more elemental names like Peace, Honey, Graffitti, and Fishnets. Peace is acid-trip cerulean, Graffitti pungent green, Honey warm dark gold.

I swear my makeup obsession really began when, as little Southern girls, bunches of us would be playing outside and choose one to be The Queen,  put flowers in her hair and berry juice on her lips, bedeck her with more flowers, and any “dress-up stuff” fabric or jewelry our female relatives let us play with, and adore the female beauty of our peers (which could be anyone’s)! Actually, it more likely started with those female relatives. Look at my cousin Jennifer Horne’s “Aunts” poem (linked to at right). Of course, we were damn lucky we didn’t get poisoned by the wrong berry, bitten by brown recluses, or felled outright by some deadly birdshit-borne virus…

Like deep-Southern little girls, the Urban Decay folks know how much fun makeup is supposed to be. More importantly, they are one of the rare companies whose sites take a stand against cruelty. Too Faced only talks about that anymore in terms of the boys’ (excellent!) makeup brushes, and nary a mention remains on Stila’s site–although of course after Estee Lauder sold the company it was bought late in 2006 by an “investment firm” that also runs, among other things, an aluminum extrusion company, a couple of plumbing supplies, building materials, synthetic textile, and other companies of no discernible aesthetic focus. (But wait, don’t give up on Stila yet–instead look for more Stila news here first, because an insider has promised to give this blog the real scoop real soon!) Although Urban Decay states that they are “not a vegan company,” they are nevertheless kind enough to designate, with an appropriate paw print, the significant number of their products which are vegan.  The site can help  find other companies we critter-lovers can actively and happily support. PETA also offers a downloadable catalog of cruelty-free companies as well as a yearly caring consumers’ catalog one can order at

On eyelashes, part III; and getting my butt kicked…

In previous posts on the fringe, the lovely femmey fringe that we peek out from under or bat to express our various selves, I’m sure I’ve mentioned Diorshow mascara. My teenage correspondent and I have now gotten ourselves some of their new flavor, Diorshow Blackout. Today was my first experience with it, and it was sure enough beautiful, deeply black, very lengthening. Like its progenitor, it also sure enough dematerialized after a morning of hard work in a very warm law office. However, it did not flake or crumble into my sensitive easily-inflamed eyes, nor was it stiff or spidery. I’m certainly going to give it another go.

Before I leave this subject for the moment, just want to mention two hallowed principles of mascara that I have always ignored: wiping the wand before application, and making sure each tube of mascara you obtain is then tossed out after six months. I say, no no no–because while those principles no doubt sell more mascara, I’ve never had any harm from old stuff. Perhaps I just use it a lot and it’s always run out before six months? No, don’t think so, because none of the lovely wands of Diorshow I sometimes find in purses I haven’t used in a while 😉 have never harmed my eyes either…and they are rather touchy, irritable eyes. And wiping the mascara off the wand before using it? Redonkulous! The stuff’s supposed to get on your eyelashes, and all those stiff little bristles are designed to comb it through! (I feel such outrage when confronted by baldfaced lies, can’t you tell?) Also, the glorpier it is when extracted from the tube, the better the brush is for resting gently for a moment at the very base of your lashes where they’re thickest, wiggling minutely back and forth until it’s stuck in them, and then sweeping all that glorp out to the ends for gorgeous black curving fringe.

On why I’m not the best makeup reviewer/blogger today….let’s review, now, some of the symptoms of depression. There’s sleep trouble, either doing it too much or too little. Eating troubles, likewise. Feeling worthless, or to put it in mundane terms, like you’re not doing a very good job as a mom, a racing-pig trainer, a manicurist, a competitive swimmer or whatever your passion is, and like you’re not doing very well for your children, or racing pigs, or manicure customers, or swimming coach, even though you love them very much. And loss of interest in normally enjoyable activities; which means, say, that even though you absolutely love going out on the balcony of your Venetian palazzo to blow soap bubbles of an evening, you suddenly notice several sunsets have passed without their wobbly rainbow shiny fragility floating out over the canal and you just don’t have the energy to care too much. It’s a mysterious and no doubt cyclical girly-thing and will no doubt be over any day now. Meanwhile, some sleep is in order…

First, do no harm–a crucial footnote to any mascara primer

First, the latest post from Bass Cat Lady reminds me that the removal of mascara needs to be addressed pronto–before one more person’s eyelashes are “decimated”! The best way to avoid breakage, hands down, is to remove all eye make up, especially mascara, before bed or as soon as it’s no longer deemed necessary. Since mascara formulations must strike a balance between staying power and easy removal, any regular user has probably ripped out lashes, at one end of the spectrum, and at the other end of the spectrum, has seen only a grey under-eye smudge in the middle of the day to remind them they even put any on in the morning. One example: as much as I love Dior’s Diorshow mascara, I learned to fear the tenacity of their waterproof formula–for my needs, it was too, too solid. I accept that I have to watch for flakes and creeps under my eyes during the workday (and cheerfully concede the incipient allegory’s subtle as a brick!) but one can usually take a powder room moment to repair and reapply. If you can keep a tiny bottle of Lorac’s regular or oil-free makeup remover with you, or even better, a plastic bag with a soft makeup sponge or two soaked in either formula, you can be ready for anything. Almay’s eye makeup remover wipes are a very frugal and readymade alternative, effective little white disks in their own small flask, but contain so much solution that those without extremely dry skin will probably have to clean up the clean-up with a dry tissue. And if you’re too exhausted by bedtime to do anything else, like my loved ones who toil as a homeworked-swamped high school student and an ER doc, at the very least swipe a pretreated Almay disc or Lorac-saturated sponge over your tired eyes and gently pat your whole face with a damp warm washcloth for sweet, eyelash-healthy dreams. 

Where minimalism fears to tread, unless you’re Tilda Swinton: a mascara primer, part I

From the cats’ eyes of the 1950s to the smoky eyes of just last season, sandwiching Jean Shrimpton and Twiggy and Joni, Madonna and Cyndi and Chrissie and Joan, Halle and Angelina, in between, fashion has never yet in my lifetime (and for some time before that personal milestone, smile) championed minimalism where the dark fringe of our eyes is concerned. Only Tilda Swinton is the exception, that lovely androgynous thing: to practice eyelash minimalism, thanks to her, is to follow her, and it’s simply futile. You’re Tilda or you’re not.

Like anything and everything else in fashion’s shimmering barometer of zeitgeistical fluctuations, this could be changing as I write, but it has been oddly consistent for fifty-some years. So for the next few weeks at least, perhaps months or a year, we’ll be emphasizing that penultimate vestige of approved body hair. [Or for even longer, should one live away from the coastlines and practice the wily art of protective coloration.]  I’m going to cut to the chase here; what’s the best way to help our eyelashes carry the burden, be the concentrated microcosm of all the information sent by healthy shiny rich shadowy fur? 

It’s essential to use a fine primer before applying mascara. While many of Shiseido’s products have inspired me to rapturous awe over the years (starting in my twenties, theirs was my first comprehensive skincare system), their mascara primer is not among the pantheon; it’s shockingly useless. Smashbox makes an adequate mascara primer, if used in conjunction with the balance of the system I’m breaking down here, but it’s to Sue Devitt’s that I always return. Devitt, justly revered for the Sari sheer lipcolor that is minimalism at its prettiest, makes the mascara primer product that would simply evaporate on contact when it hit Sephora shelves in the more amusing parts of Manhattan. [Remember, as with any product review here, please don’t hesitate to share with the class if you’ve discovered a splendid alternative.]

Primer is the first key, heat is the second. Even a so-so drugstore mascara will be more effective if you heat the tube under hot tap water until its very warm to the touch before applying. When you do the same with your Sue Devitt lash primer and your Diorshow black mascara, you’ll get an effect so gorgeous you may want to skip eyeliner. To be continued!

Laboratoire Remede sunscreen: hold your head high, though it be goopy

Laboratoire Remede is another highly recommended sunscreen, also available at, in light, medium and dark tints. Its silky liquid texture,  I admit, is different from most sunscreens, but if you can get used to shaking it up before use, you get SPF 30, a degree of coverage from fairly sheer to medium, a nice non-drying smoothness, and a mild degree of mattification. It’s not inexpensive, but hardly exorbitant. I consider it a much better value than drugstore brands because it’s highly effective against sun damage, doesn’t make your eyes miserable if you exercise reasonable care, and  its oil-free formula won’t give you breakouts to deal with later. I’ve actually come to like the goopy texture, finding it sensually similar to heavy dairy cream. So far have only used the fair and the medium tints, though, which correspond to my winter and summer skin, so if you use the dark formula, please let me know how it works for you. When I lived in New York I once had to put some on while waiting on the 14th Street 2-3 platform and some skanky Eurotrash heterosexuals were giving me the fisheye…but one must be brave and resolute in skincare, grasshopper.

Murad’s excellent sunscreen

Sunscreen is not optional. Unfortunately, many sunscreen products either blind you painfully if you sweat (or even glow); cause breakouts; smell like wound dressing; or magically spawn what looks like pencil-eraser detritus when you try to apply foundation or blush over them. It does not help one’s quest to make one’s nacreous spouse wear the stuff when she gets to clear her throat, look grim, and point with sardonic reproach to the huge headlight on her nose after wearing it for just one day! Thus my appreciation for Murad’s Oil-Free Sunblock SPF 15 Sheer Tint is partly for all it isn’t.

On the positive side, its pomegranate-based formula is great for your skin: we know even oily skin needs hydration, which this product provides without any hint of greasiness–it even mattifies a reasonably oily complexion. Its  delicate, fresh scent is pleasant but unobtrusive. While the benefits of pomegranate are still being explored, the lovely results of this stuff may convince you to be part of the Continuing Pomegranate Research cohort. While I still love my Stila, Urban Decay, and other blushes, I don’t want or need foundation when I wear it because of how nice its light, creamy tint looks.  

My only wistful sigh: when I remember this product is only SPF 15. Sunscreen at this protection level really needs to be reapplied every two or three hours. As delicious as this one feels on your skin, that isn’t a hardship by any means, I just don’t always remember to do it. 

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