Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Ask Temptalia Revisited

Yesterday, I had the urge to do an old school “Ask Temptalia” session, so I asked readers on Facebook and Twitter to submit any questions they had via e-mail, and I would answer and post them the following day (which is now!). So without further ado, here are those questions and my answers…


Is there a lip liner like MAC Quartz out there? I had no idea it was going, and can’t find anything like it.
I think it was discontinued awhile ago, and I never owned it, but going off of some swatches I was able to find on the internet, maybe Make Up For Ever #9C would be worth checking out.

I have a lot of pigment in my lips so lipsticks never look like they do in the tube. Any suggestions for something that will tone down the color in my lips without drying them out or changing the color of the lipstick?
Lip primers can help (and sometimes have more hydration benefits), but generally, a dab of concealer or foundation does the best job of muting your natural lip color. If you just use a little, it won’t be drying and shouldn’t change the lipstick color drastically. You could also try using a lip liner that’s similar to your lip color but a few shades lighter, so it helps to lighten your natural lip color but not in a drastic way like concealer/foundation would.

When you apply eyeshadow, do you apply darkest to lightest or vice versa? Does one method make blending easier than another?
I usually apply from left to right, but if I want to use a matte shade in the crease, I’ll often apply that first with a big, fluffy crease brush. Then, I’ll go back with a smaller brush to add more definition to the crease with the same color or something darker. I find it easier to blend light into dark by gently pulling the lighter color into the darker one, but you can really do it either way.

My forehead is ridiculously shiny but it’s shiny from dry tightness, or I moisturize and it seems moist but not greasy but still very shiny. What can I do? I’ve tried toners and Studio Fix Powder. Is there a mattifying gel that works?
Are you giving your moisturizer enough time to sink in? If your moisturizer hasn’t absorbed fully, it can still look shiny. I try to give my moisturizer 30 minutes to sink in before I apply any makeup. For mattifying primers, I like CoverFX Matte and NARS Pro-Prime. If you find yourself shiny and really dislike it, you might want to carry around a pressed powder like Clinique Stay-Matte Sheer Pressed Powder, MAC Blot Powder, or Urban Decay De-Slick.

More Q&A!Β 

Basically, I live in AZ which has one of the (if not the) highest rate of sun cancer and I’m trying to be really good about wearing sunscreen on my face every day! The problem is I’m not really sure how to go about it since you are supposed to reapply it every couple of hours regardless of its strength. Am I really supposed to take off all my makeup (foundation, concealer, blush etc) every couple of hours and start over? Or does being protected from the sun really not work with having a full makeup routine? Is there any sort of sunscreen that can be sprayed or something OVER face makeup?
I’m not a doctor or scientist, so first, I’d recommend checking with your doctor or dermatologist. There’s a quickie video here from dermatologist Dr. Schultz that seems to say that if you’re not outdoors, you probably won’t need to reapply your sunscreen. It’s when you’re sweating, swimming, in the sun, etc. that reapplication is most important. He used the example that if you swam, your makeup would come off, so reapplication isn’t a problem; but if your makeup is still intact, then your sunscreen is probably still intact as well. If you’re not being photographed, consider sunscreens and products with physical blockers like zinc oxide, which don’t break down in the sun, while many chemical sunscreens do break down over time. Others might recommend powders that you can apply over makeup throughout the day, but it seems like the jury is still out on whether you can ever apply enough powder to provide the marketed SPF coverage without using a ton of product (Christine from 15 Minute Beauty has an excellent post on picking out sunscreen and the pitfalls of using powder-based sun protection).

For ages, I’ve been looking for the perfect silver nail polish, but I haven’t found it yet. MAC’s “$$$$$ YES” is pretty close, but still not quite there. What I’m looking for is for a foil, even mirror-like silver nail polish. The Minx-silver is exactly what I’m looking for; and now I’m wondering, is there a way to achieve a finish like that at home? It doesn’t have to be nail polish (or could you think of one that comes close?), but I live in Germany so Minx isn’t an option sadly!
Have you perused through the silver nail polish swatch gallery? These are the silver polishes I’ve come across personally – it sounds like SpaRitual Looking Glass or Duri Celebrity might be what you’re looking for!

I’m an NC30 in MAC foundation and I have the following questions regarding a neutral everyday look for me.
What lipstick and lip gloss would you recommend? What three eye shadows would you recommend for crease, lid and highlight. What color blush?

MAC Crosswires Lipstick/MAC Nymphette Lipglass. MAC Bamboo, Soft Brown, Shroom. MAC Margin or Peaches.

I use mainly MAC eyeshadow and am wondering what are the best colors to use on older faces with wrinkly eyelids? I know frosts aren’t good, but what colors do you recommend for highlighting?
You can use satiny finishes, like MAC Shroom or Vanilla!

I’m looking for a lipstick that actually stays put and I don’t have to touch up so often during the day. I’m a busy and active mom and would like to find something either by Mac Cosmetics, Smashbox or Bobbi Brown that doesn’t have to be reapplied throughout the day. I’m not a fan of the lipstains as they dry out my lips and become cakey as the day goes on. I look for the quickest makeup steps possible and like to keep a simple, sophiscated look. I’m looking for a nice brown color but not something overly dark.
If you like MAC, have you tried their new Pro Longwear Lipcremes? They do wear for several hours without drying, and some of the darker shades stain, so you’ll still get a fair amount of color even as it wears off. You might like So Very Good, which is slightly brown.

I am 6 months pregnant and I no longer feel like putting on a ton of makeup, but I need to do something to brighten my face! Is there something I can do that doesn’t involve foundation or powder?
Congrats on your pregnancy! There are definitely a multitude of products that can do that, and they’re luminizers. These are often lotions/moisturizers that have light-reflecting particles (like shimmer) in them, so you can apply easily and still get a little glow and brightening effects. A few suggestions to check out: MAC Strobe Cream/Lotion, Smashbox Artifical Light Luminizing Lotion, or Givenchy Mister Radiant. You could also use a cream highlighter, like Benefit Watt’s Up!, which is super easy to use and gives a subtle glow.

What’s the best way to apply MAC pigments and glitters? (What products are best to use underneath, what brush works best, etc.)
I prefer using MAC’s Water-Based Mixing Medium with pigments. With glitters, it also works, but using the Eyeliner Mixing Medium can sometimes be a little more durable. If you’re using an adhesive base (like the mixing medium), you shouldn’t need product underneath it if you just want the pigment color to stand out. I like using the 242 brush with pigments, but the 239 will also work. You want it to be firm enough to pick up the pigment without getting color between the bristles too much, especially if you’re laying them down with a little dampness.

I have a simple (and yet complicated) question. I honestly cannot figure out how to use highlighter–liquid or powder. I have a thing of Benefit’s High Beam and I can’t figure out how to apply it in a way that makes me look any different than I normally look! Every one I’ve ever seen, swatched, or used seems to either not show up on my somewhat-dark skin or turns me into a pores-ahoy disco ball. Help?
Benefit’s Moon Beam would probably be the better shade for your darker skin tone, which might be why you don’t find it works with your skin tone at present. If it’s a liquid or cream, sometimes the best way to apply is by gently patting it against the top of the cheekbones with your finger tip. This way, you can warm it up and gently blend it out so it’s smooth but still noticeable. Not all highlighters are created equal, so some are really sheer and others have larger particles so they can emphasize pores. If you have a liquid one that is too much, you could try adding it to a moisturizer or immediately applying while your foundation or moisturizer is still “wet.”

If you could only use 5 MAC brushes do to your whole face, which ones would you use and why?
109, 116, 134, 239, 266.

I’ve read several of your posts saying that your readers prefer to use MAC paint pots as eye shadow base (ESB). You also recommend using Benefit Creaseless cream eye shadow as a base. My question is, providing that these ESB doesn’t crease or budge, can you use them underneath pigmented powder eye shadow without a primer (aka. ESB = primer)? If it’s the case, can they hold metallic or glitter eye shadows as well? I don’t have access to UD and Too Faced so I consider if it’s worth to invest on NARS.
Yes, you can use powder eyeshadow on top of a product like MAC Paint Pots or Benefit Creaseless Cream Eyeshadows. When it comes to loose products or glittery eyeshadows, you’ll find that most eyeshadow bases and cream eyeshadows are not quite enough to hold them on. I would say a product like Benefit Creaseless Cream Eyeshadow is better than Urban Decay Primer Potion or MAC Paint Pots. I believe Too Faced makes a product specifically for glitter eyeshadow or products, so that might be better out of all the products. Though eyeshadow bases and primers can technically be two separate things, they usually serve very similar functions and most only need one.


How did you get brands to send you samples of their products? Did you contact them first telling about your blog or did they contact you?
answer Both, but I started blogging five years ago, and the atmosphere was very, very different. I know that these days PR firms and brands are inundated with requests. It can be difficult for brands and firms to distinguish which blogs are credible and deserving of samples and which are simply in it for freebies. If you are just starting out your blog, it’s better to establish yourself first, so you can prove to brands you are serious, dedicated, and you’re about more than free products. At present, I only reach out to a brand when there is something very specific I’m looking for and expect to review. You want to make sure that if you put in a request that you are really serious about reviewing it–I never guarantee, but I know that I’m asking for something because readers really want to see it, so I fully intend to test it, and will make the final call on whether it gets posted at that point.

I’m starting my blog in Spanish, and sadly, here it is a bit dangerous to contact strangers. How did you know that the companies contacting you were not a stranger with bad intentions?
I only work with people who have email addresses from the brand’s website or an established public relations firm. For example, I do not work with people who send me an email from @gmail or @hotmail; I want to see @covergirl or @maccosmetics. I know in America, you can also get third-party mailboxes, so if you are giving out your address, it is not your home address.

What do you do with all the stuff you swatch and don’t use?
Depending on the product, I may keep it for later consideration for a review because generally, I only swatch if I intend to review. If I don’t expect to review, I don’t open or touch it. If I don’t keep it, then I donate to a local legal aid fund, which has an arm that provides legal services to victims of domestic violence. They distribute the products to both their clients (who are the victims) as well as the volunteers (as they provide legal services for free/low-cost).

How many hours do you spend on Temptalia?
Around 70 hours a week. I’m usually at the computer by 8AM and work until lunch time on various things (approving comments, responding to emails, replying to comments, writing 1-2 posts for the remainder of the day). I eat lunch (30-45 minutes), and then I resume blog-related activities. It depends on the day, product launches, etc., because I’ll either photograph and swatch products or edit and crop photos to get them ready for actual write-ups in the afternoon. If I’m not photographing, then I apply whatever products I’m testing (and I usually squeeze in a lipstick or gloss in the AM, too!) before heading back to the computer. If I am, then I usually photograph and then apply those products afterward. Another break for dinner for about an hour, and then I edit photos or write-up posts. I usually head to bed around 11pm. On a really good day, I’ll manage to be productive for 12 hours, but I’m usually not that good and am productive for 10 or so. I take short breaks throughout the day, though :)

Why don’t you review X brand? Y product?
It’s unlikely that there is a specific reason. There is only so many hours in a day and so many products I can review–if I could review every product possible, I would totally do it, but it’s not. I try to listen to readers and keep an ear to the ground about what seems to be most interesting to them to help direct what brands or products I review. I also try to review products that are interesting but perhaps pricey, so you can see what they really look like and how they perform without breaking the bank–it’s less painful to spend $2 on a drugstore lipstick and have it bomb than spend $30 on a high-end one.


In the last few months, which product has seem to disappoint you the most?
MAC Big Bounce was pretty disappointing.

Has there been a collection you decided to just skip as a whole?
No, I don’t think so. I review products based on what readers want, not necessarily what I like or am interested in.

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64 thoughts on “Ask Temptalia Revisited

  1. Yvonne

    Thank you so much for answering my question Christine, you’re the best!! :) xx

  2. Leah

    Wow, I had no idea you spent 70 hrs a week on Temptalia. It just goes to show how dedicated you are to the blog and your readers. Thanks for this interesting article and keep up the good work.

    (P.S. I believe you meant “revisited” in the headline of the article.)

  3. I’d like to add a silver foil nail polish suggestion: Orly’s Shine. It’s perfectly silver (no taupe, pink, or yellow), and it has a foil finish.

  4. I was always really curious as to why you reviewed so much more high end products than drugstore, but it makes total sense after reading your “Why don’t you review X brand? Y product?” question. Thanks!

    You’re a true inspiration to me as a blogger. I spend about 3 hours a day working on mine and sometimes it feels like forever. I can’t imagine spending 70 hours a week on it!

    • It’s definitely the primary reason content skews on the pricier side or why I include luxury items as well :)

      Thankfully, it never feels like 70 hours, LOL! When I have to break it down and think about it, I can never believe it!

  5. Leah E.

    Is Temptalia your full time job? Or are you working on top of 70 hours! Either way, amazing job, this is my favorite beauty blog by far!

  6. Devi

    In response to your review of higher end stuff, I actually feel really bad when you buy really expensive products to review and they turn out to be total duds. >.< If you received it all for free, I wouldn't feel so bad, but just knowing that you're spending money in order to save your readers' money… that's some real dedication.

    • Aw, don’t! I’m really lucky that a lot of the products I review are samples, so I just look at it on the other side – I could be paying for all of it!

  7. Frances

    Christine, this feature is WONDERFUL and I’m so glad to see it here again.

    Selfishly, I love that you cover lots of high-end products. Some HE makeup is really pricy so I always look for someone else’s opinion on it, whereas a drugstore dud doesn’t hurt all that much, just as you said.

    Will there be another session? And how would we submit our questions?

    Lots of love,


    • Hi Frances!

      You can always submit questions via Formspring, which I do check every other day or so and answer questions through that medium :) If I do it again, I’ll likely ask people to send in their questions via email and announce I’m taking questions via Twitter/Facebook.

  8. Vicky

    Loved this post! I hope you make more. :)

  9. clam

    I have a question but you don’t have to answer, it if you don’t want to. Do you have any weird makeup related dreams?

    • Not usually – I’ve definitely had a couple in the past, but I don’t dream too often, at least not that I can remember (I wake up every hour – I don’t sleep well at all!). Sometimes I dream I’m writing posts, though!

  10. Cristal

    You are just awesome!! πŸ˜€

    You are so dedicated..I so appreciate all your hard work that you put into your blog.
    Thank you for responding to your reader’s questions..I’m sure you made their day πŸ˜‰

  11. Mango the mango

    Re: Tight shiny dehydrated forehead–
    I used to have that too!!! Then I learned it was because I was using way too harsh skincare products. I had really oily skin, so I was using all sorts of oil-fighting things including strong alcohol-based astringents. No amount of moisturizing helped. About a year ago, I cut out all alcohol from my skincare/makeup products and switched to cleansers/toners/moisturizers for sensitive skin. A good toner is Clinique’s Mild Clarifying Lotion because it still has salicylic acid to help exfoliate, but no alcohol. Now my skin is not tight like that anymore; it’s more supple and LESS oily!

    In the meantime, I used a plush silicone-based primer (in my case, Maybelline Age Rewind primer, but any primer with a thicker texture will also work) to disguise some of that tautness. I also liked Urban Decay’s De-Slick (the powder) because it helped mattify and blur the skin, so it looked softer.

    Hope this helps, Question Writer! If you decide to make changes to your skincare routine, please remember that it can take months before you see significant changes. Good luck!

    • I also have oily acne prone skin and using all of those ingredients also made my face worse! I also switched to sensitive skin products and they worked so much better!

      • Alison

        I totally third this! For years in my early teens I thought stripping away the oil and taking it OFF (usually in harsh, cruel ways) by drying it out would make my face look less shiny, or if products felt like they were doing radical things to my face (Like making it squeaky) they were doing something well. Now I use much gentler products and my skin is much better and less greasy for it.

        Though I must put in a word here for my Clarisonic. ^_^ That + My gentle cleanser + Moisturiser is heaven.

        • Alison

          I also didn’t moisturise properly. That was awful for my skin. Combination and oily skin need moisture, too!

        • Mango the mango

          Lol I used to love the squeaky sensation! I was all like, “Good job, face! Now you’re really clean!” Of course, now I know better…

          And I just bought a Clarisonic during the F&F sale. First time use, couldn’t stop touching my face afterward! I couldn’t believe the difference it made.

  12. Stacy

    Hi Christine,

    it’s really obvious that you spend the amount of time that you do on your blog!! I I discovered you about 2 or 3 years ago and you are my “Go To” site for beauty!! Thanks for all of your hard work!! You are very much appreciated!

  13. Claudia

    Thank you so much! These answers are SO helpful!

  14. thank you so much Christine for taking out time and answering πŸ˜€ i still miss those sessions :(
    you are still and always will be THE BEST Blogger on Earth :)
    and am so luckyyyyy to know you and found you πŸ˜€ ( not to forget met you )
    GOD !!! what would i have done without you and Temptalia ??
    I sware you are totally adorable as a person and this shows in your responses and how dedicated you are to your readers. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

  15. Ana

    You’re amazing Christine! I just discovered you about a year ago and my day isn’t complete if I don’t check temptalia!

    I truly believe in your reviews! keep on working like you do!

    Greetings from Mexico :)

  16. Hey I just want to tell you that I was browsing some Chinese ebay makeup stores(well, not ebay but pretty close), some of the makeup stores are using your pictures and they even put their own logo on your pictures! I think it is not right so I think I HAVE TO tell you that…

  17. Maeri

    Thank you so much this was absolutly helpful
    I don’t know if your answering questions asked
    in comments but had to ask this..
    I have dry skin and I rememer reading a post
    where you list a moisturizer you use to help ease the
    dry spots I remember it was pretty expensive 65 dollars?
    I’ve been trying to track down the post but no luck.
    Thanks for your time :)

  18. Dana Almarri

    Hi from Qatar.
    I’m a big fan of yours and also my sisters, cousins and friends.. you wouldn’t believe it but we take your reviews very seriously here and discuss it whenever we meet.. when there is a new collection coming up its Temptalia where we get all info..
    In my country Qatar, makeup is very essential and we are thankfully able to buy high end products, so it’s a delight always to see a review of this kind..
    Thank you so much for all your hard work and i really enjoy your blog and refresh it twice a day,, its an reading entertainment for me and i love it..
    A Question for next time..
    how effective is Clarisonic for face cleaning and how much should we use weekly…

    • Hi Dana!

      Thank you so much! I find the Clarisonic very effective at cleaning, and the best part is probably the timer, since it ensures you work the cleanser into the skin for a long enough period. Depending on the brush head, your skin type, and the cleanser you use, it may be appropriate for more regular use or more infrequent use. I’ve used it everyday without issue, but these days, I’d go maybe 2-3 times a week, since it does exfoliate as well and we don’t necessarily need daily exfoliation!

  19. Ana G.

    Amazing job Christine!!70 hours, really?? Wow..I really appreciate that you review so many high end stuff; It really is helpful and you have saved me so much money…XXX

  20. Super helpful post Christine! thanks alot

  21. my

    Thanks so much for all the time and effort you put into your blog. I never go shopping for cosmetics without checking out your blog first…your reviews mean a lot to me. Keep up the excellent work! :)

  22. Thanks so much for the shout out above for my sunscreen post!

    It is pretty much impossible to get the advertised SPF from a powdered product. You would need to apply many grams of powder and you’d look completely crazy. You were right when you said that with “typical” wear you don’t need to reapply. Running to and fro running errands, driving to work, etc. Those aren’t high exposure periods, even in Arizona (I know, I lived in So Cal for a long time!) Chemical sunscreens (which is everything except Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide) are inactivated when they’re working, the sunlight actually changes their chemical structure. So, if you’re only spending a few minutes here and there… I wouldn’t worry as much about reapplication as I would just making sure that I had enough of a broad spectrum sunscreen applied in the morning.

    I think the time really worry about reapplication is when you’ll be spending a lot of time in the sun and you know that you’ll be inactivating your sunscreen because of it. For me, this is mostly vacation time at the pool, amusement parks (wow, I miss my Disneyland season pass!) and outdoor events like football games now that I’m back near Michigan Stadium. These frequently aren’t times that I’d be wearing a full face of makeup, especially that trip to the pool. In which case, reapplying is usually fine. But, when I am wearing more makeup (that football game) I typically reapply sunscreen only to heavily exposed areas, like the tips of my ears, my cheeks, forehead and nose. I like to use a stick sunscreen and then blend it out with my fingers. When I know I’ll be doing this I avoid a heavy foundation, but I’ve found a BB Cream or tinted moisturizer can handle this type of reapplication over the makeup. You’ll need to experiment and see what works best for you.

    On a totally different note, I know that I spend quite a bit of time on my blog, and although Temptalia is much more comprehensive than my site, I’m really impressed with how much time you spend on it Christine! Your reviews are always spot on and I love your photos. The hard work shows!

  23. I can tell that you do spend a lot of time on Christine, but I never thought 70 hours a week!

    You are so dedicated to this blog. And this is definitely the best beauty blog out there, so professional(I thought there were a team of editors behind this site when I first walked in!). I’m totally addicted to your blog, I check for updates everyday! Whenever there’re products that I’m curious about, I’ll go to your reviews first. What you think about the products just means a lot to me. And seeing you reply that “Why don’t you review X brand? Y product?” question, I’m so touched, now I see why is mostly higher-end and everything is for the readers’ preferences.

    Thank you so much for your hard work! I love! Hands down, the best beauty blog!

    • Thank you so much, Emma! :)

      Yep – I know that there is sometimes a perspective that I’m simply biased (personally) to high-end, but when you can’t review everything, I will tend to make the call to review something at a higher price point just because I’d rather you not waste $30-50 than $3! I am always, always on the hunt for really great affordable beauty products, though, so I do test them and keep an eye out on certain formulas or products that readers seem really interested in (like Wet ‘n’ Wild’s Color Icon Trios!). I’d definitely like to have more of a mix, so it’s something I’m always working on :)

  24. Ashley Sarah

    I really enjoyed reading this. I am glad you did it!

  25. Tatyana G

    This post was really helpful and answered some of my questions as well. I think you have the most comprehensive reviews of pretty much every product that I have been curious about. Love your blog and thank you for all the time that you put in.

  26. Katelyn

    i was wondoring were i could get mac glitters form ?

  27. Cat

    Thank you for doing this. I’m still a total newbie to your blog but I absolutely love it, and this Q&A was awesome to read through! Thanks for answering my questions too :)

  28. Cortney

    In response to the person looking for silver nail polish, I just found a fantastic one from Revlon. I’m actually wearing it right now (got a pedicure yesterday)!

    Here’s the link to where I found it:

    The color is called Metallic. It really has a great shine and great pigment. I had planned to do my toes in this silver but also came across an amazing red, so I did the red and used the silver in a “french tip” fashion. Hope this helps if you haven’t already found one! πŸ˜€