Hello, it's Temptalia! Let's do an AMA! :)


If you’re newer to the blog, let me formally introduce myself: I’m Christine Mielke, and I’m the owner, founder, editor, swatcher, writer, photographer, and pretty much the go-to person for everything except the technical stuff. I started Temptalia in 2006 and have been doing this, officially, full-time since I finished graduate school (2011). If you’ve had a question floating around in your mind about me, blogging, or Temptalia, now’s the time to ask it 🙂

What is an AMA? It stands for Ask Me Anything! I’ve done two of them on /r/makeupaddiction (one in 2014 and one this year).

I’ve been more absent from the comment sections this holiday season (one of the things I’ve had to scale back on in order to focus on holiday reviews), and I thought this might be a fun way to connect with readers during my “down time” today. Back in the day, I used to hold “Ask Temptalia” sessions periodically but have not do so in many years, so I look forward to answering your questions throughout the day!

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Christine when you are not testing a product, i love to know what are your personal favorite lipstick, blush and eye shadows shades. The ones you reach out the most.
A big hug for Mellan.

Hi Lily!

For lipstick: Too Faced Honey Bear, Estee Lauder Naked Truth, Guerlain Gems
For blush: Chanel Jersey, Marc Jacobs Flesh & Fantasy
For eyeshadows: Chanel Empreinte du Desert, Tom Ford Nude Dip, ABH Modern Renaissance, Viseart Paris Nudes

xoxo

Ha! Another Empreinte du Desert lover! Only fitting since you got me and so many others here totally hooked on that quad. I do so wish they’d bring it back and make it permanent, for all our sakes! (those who have it and fear using it up and those who are kicking themselves because they missed out on it).

Hi Christine! I have wondered over the years, how old are you? Also , excuse me if I have not paid attention, but are you a So Cal girl?

One more thing– if you could only purchase 1 newly released lipstick and 1 new or old eye shadow palette this holiday season, what would they be?

I’m 31! I was born in Massachusetts but moved to California (Bay Area) around 5 years of age. I spent 3 years at UC Irvine in SoCal for my undergrad but moved back to the Bay Area for graduate school. I moved to Arizona two years ago! 🙂

New lipstick: UD Love Drunk — such a gorgeous red and festive for the holidays
New/old palette: Coloured Raine Queen of Hearts — sort of fits both new and old, since it’s newly permanent and available again but was released in 2016 originally!

What do you do with all the makeup that gets sent to you? Out of all the brands of makeup which one do you find yourself reaching for the most like foundation, eye shadows. and brushes? The picture above is this a shot of your room if so where on earth did you find your drawers at? I just have to say Thank you so much I really do value your ratings on products and your swatches.

I donate the majority of the makeup I review (sent or purchased) – I keep certain brands (like MAC, UD, NARS etc.) that have strong followings or have been the type of brands to have a cult LE shade that could be useful to go back to. I keep permanent lines (again, like UD Vice Lipstick), but a lot of the random LE launches from other brands go into boxes for donation shortly after reviews are all done!

I wouldn’t say that there’s one brand that I reach for more often than any other – I have found that there are certain types of products I like from some brands over others (like Guerlain, I love their foundations and lipsticks but loathe their eyeshadows).

The drawers are from Ikea! They’re the Ikea Besta system. I don’t think they sell the two-sided bookshelves any more, but it was a Besta bookshelf, and then I took the shelves out and put in drawers and bought glossy black fronts for them. They were pricey (I think ~$600 each) due to all the drawers + drawer fronts, but I wanted something permanent and would look nice all the time. Plus, if I ever need to re-purpose them, I feel like I could!

Hi Anna,

I always go through a local organization – I donated to the Pro Bono Project in California and to the Sojourner center in Arizona. You could try Project Beauty Share, which is based in Washington, but they accept donations via mail! I haven’t personally donated, but I have looked into the organization (validity of their non-profit status, financials) + asked them some questions via email, and they checked out from my modicum of research.

Hi Christine! How do you determine the products to review? And how oh how do you possibly determine what dupes are for products?

Lots of love,
Daisy Campbell

Hi Daisy,

I try to cover popular brands and most of their product ranges (well, color cosmetics), and then I keep track of up and coming brands based on social media chatter, what readers mention in their favorites/hauls/QOTD answers, how readers engage with posts by a brand or types of products, views on those pages, etc.

I look through the Swatch Gallery and pull dupes; if there’s something that looks very close and I think that’s a meaningful difference that I can’t tell visually or by memory, then I will go compare in person, but the consistent lighting (and even when there have been tweaks over the years, I’m hyper-aware of how the tweaks changed overall temperature/light) helps me from needing to do that 24/7.

What are your advises for beauty bloggers who are working on a small level and do not have a lot of money to invest in high end products. We often feel that this isn’t taking us anywhere, we put in so much time, money and effort but sometimes the money doesn’t seem enough.

Can you share a little bit about your journey as a newbie. 🙂

When I started, beauty blogging was newer, and the landscape was completely different then compared to now, so I don’t think anything about my journey was helpful 🙁

I think what is important if you’re starting now is to find ways to differentiate your content from everyone else, and as a result, I don’t think that covering all products or even all the popular products/new products makes any sense if you have limited funds. If you are just reviewing products, it is a very expensive road to take. I think sharing how to use products, how to get more mileage with products, how to combine them with your stash, etc. is going to make your budget stretch further per product!

Hi Roxy! 🙂

I really enjoy what I do, so that helps a lot! I love routines/schedules, so it’s easier for me to keep doing what I’m doing than it is to take a break and do something else. Lastly, it is my livelihood and also my husband’s and brother-in-law’s, which means if I don’t do it, there’s a lot of lives that would suffer for it, and I never want to let my family down.

Hi Christine! I’m just curious how do you manage to do everything yourself. As I blogger myself I feel is overwhelming these days to take photos, test the products, write the posts, answer emails & comments and not to mention keep up with social media. I really appreciate your super powers of being able to do everything yourself. Sometimes I feel like the day has only 6 hours for me and I don’t know what to do first. 🙂 You are really inspiring! xo xo

I find having a schedule and a procedure for what I do routinely helps make sure that I don’t waste time – e.g. I clear out important emails in the morning but then don’t bother replying to anyone until later on in the afternoon (barring any important exchanges I’m expecting). I also try to photograph/swatch only as much as I can edit and have ready for posting the same day, as it is easier to do it all in one sitting, which means that I try not to take photos/swatches every day so I can alternate time spent writing reviews vs. photographing/editing photos.

Okay, yay. I’ve been wondering why you rarely review foundations? And also if you feel like you should foundations out of the “Best of” list because you don’t really try enough brands like you do eyeshadows, lipsticks and such?

Thanks! Have a good weekend.

Hi Anna,

Foundation reviews take a lot longer than reviewing say, a lipstick, as it is weeks of testing, lots of check-ins, testing over different periods, and avoiding testing any other face products for at least some days (the latter is hard to do, as I never have enough face to test everything I need to test!). I also don’t feel like I have anything of value to say about a lot of them, which might be because there’s nothing particular good or bad about it, it wasn’t for my skin type, etc.

I’ve tried the majority of the new, mid and high-end foundations that have been released over the years. I try and test a ton of products that do not up reviewed on the blog because time is finite and I just don’t have the time to write all the reviews up – a lot of categories like foundation, skincare, etc. I test regularly and if anything is truly remarkable, then it makes it on the Editor’s Choice Awards. I’m always behind on reviews and only get a fraction of what I wanted to get done (I’m kind of in a state of constant disappointment about myself, lol).

You certainly matter so much to the rest of us! No disappointment from our end. We are all awe-struck at how much you do. Thank you for all you do to help us make wise choices and save some money along the way. We love you!

It changes frequently, but here’s what I’m using:

AM: Biologique Recherche PIGM 400, Drunk Elephant C-Firma, Shiseido Benefiance WrinkleResist SPF 18 (if I’m doing an outdoor activity, I’ll put on something with a higher SPF)
PM: Biologique Recherche PIGM 400, Differin, Drunk Elephant B-Hydra, Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Cream

I just switched my PM moisturizer (I was using belif Aqua Bomb and finished it) to Drunk Elephant Lala, and my Drunk Elephant C-Firma is nearly done, and I’ll be switching to Skinceutical’s C + E Ferulic Serum to replace that part of my routine.

Hi Christine! FWIW, I have LOVED Skinceuticals CE Ferulic. A few weeks ago, I finished a bottle and switched to Drunk Elephant C Firma (because it’s so really highly regarded and it’s cheaper!). Sadly I think I had a reaction to C Firma – after several days I was covered in tiny rough bumps :-/. Not the result I was aiming for! It MIGHT have been related to an IPL facial I got a few weeks prior but I’m not typically sensitive or likely to react to stuff… Anyway hope you enjoy the Skinceutical!

I have heard really great things about it – super pricey, but I’m here to try it and see how it stacks up against C-Firma!

Sorry to hear that C-Firma did not work for you, though 🙁

Hi Hina,

Unfortunately, I have normal-to-dry skin and have only lived in dry climates (California and Arizona), so I don’t have any recommendations I can give you from a personal standpoint.

Here are some of the foundations that I feel like are very long-wearing and hold up to high temperatures that might work on oilier skin types: Fenty Pro Filt’r, Estee Lauder Double Wear, Kat Von D Lock-It, Lancome Teint Idole, YSL All Hours, MAC Studio Fix Fluid, L’Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte.

Not Christine obviously.

But, I in the subtropics and we don’t run AC, my skin is dry to normal during our faux winter and normal to combo in the summer- my favorite foundation is a demi matte/satin finish (depends on the products I use with it) it’s YSL’s touche eclat and I can’t recommend it enough, it’s quite pricy though, but if you live in the US it’s not to hard to get matched. This plus the Laura Mercier setting powder holds up 12+ hours.

My absolute favorite setting powder is the Laura Mercier translucent loose powder ita amazing, but I’m not going to write another wall of text since it’s fairly easy to find reviews for. Hope this helps.

Hi! I have normal skin, but I live in Singapore, so I can tell what found works best in crazy hot and humid weather. I love rmk liquid foundation. Super sweat proof,oribavky the most sweat proof in my stash. But doesn’t offer the Betts oil control. Very skin like finish. Light medium coverage to medium. Ysl all hours is great if you like more coverage. Estee Lauder double wear stays like the ysl, but I feel it’s a little more matte. Shiseido synchro skin is a beautiful foundation, very skin like finish. It has a good high medium coverage. You can also check shu uemura petal skin foundation. It was developed to resist de humidity and heat of South Est Asia. On me, it’s almost too drying sometimes, it has good oil control and longevity.

Regarding loose powder, I am huge fan of RCMA no color powder. It has a great finish, but it is not the best at oil control. I like innisfree no sebum mineral powder for that.

Hope this helps!

Hi Christine – Love your site! Do you ever do video tutorials? You have superior eyeshadow blending skills as showcased in your reviews and I would be interested in an eyeshadow tutorial where you show what brushes you use and your blending technique to create the eyeshadow looks.

Hi Christine! Do you have any brand or product recommendations for people with sensitive, reactive skin? I know when I go to Sephora they speak highly to me about the Cover FX brand.

For what type of product? Normally, I think skincare or maybe foundation so Cover FX would not immediately have come to mind…

Drunk Elephant seems to be a big skincare brand for more sensitive skin from what I hear from readers (I wouldn’t describe my skin as sensitive/reactive… more like resilient, lol). There’s also Paula’s Choice, which isn’t quite as pricey as DE. I also like Kiehl’s and Origins for solid skincare offerings that don’t feel like they over-promise (most of the time).

For foundation and sensitive skin (in terms of brands), I’d say more like Dr. Jart+, Clinique, Dr. Brandt (probably brands that are known for skincare or mixing skincare+base together).

I have sensitive skin that reacts to a lot of stuff and tends to be acne-prone. I can’t even use Differin, since I had a severe reaction to it and it caused me to react to every single other thing that came in contact with my skin, including shampoo! I’ve had really good success with Paula’s Choice products and with Cerave. I use my Clarisonic Fit or Luna Mini morning and night with Cerave SA Cleanser (occasionally substituted with Cerave Hydrating Cleanser). In the morning, I use Paula’s Choice 2% BHA liquid, followed by Dr. Brandt’s Flaws No More R3P Cream (discontinued, sadly), and Paula’s Choice Invisible Finish Moisture Gel. At night, I use Paula’s Choice 2% BHA liquid, Paula’s Choice 8% AHA gel, Dr. Brandt’s Flaws No More R3P Cream, and either Too Cool for School Egg Mellow Cream or Paula’s Choice Resist Barrier Repair Moisturizer.

My skin hasn’t felt this smooth in years, and the BHA/AHA combination keeps most blackheads and acne away, and helps clear up any hyperpigmentation from any acne spots that do form.

Hi! I have the most reactive/sensitive skin and I am a Drunk Elephant believer. Try to start with their pekee bar and marula oil for a week. My skin was completely transformed. Then gradually start incorporating their night serum and day serum. My skin changed. My rosacea is gone. I trully hope it works for you!

I’m an AZ native but 2 1/2 years ago I finished my phd and moved to AL. Totally different climate. What oils do you use on your hair and skin in AZ to control the dryness? What’s your grad degree?

Hi Pixie,

If I use any hair oil, it’s usually whatever I’m testing, but I have liked and repurchased Moroccanoil’s treatment in the past. My hair doesn’t feel dry, so I don’t use hair oils much – maybe once a week or less!

I have a JD/MBA.

Very impressive! What motivated you to go to law school? Do you find that the law school experience is of use to you in your line of work? I find that many lawyers are unhappy with their work and looking for a more fun career. Having read through the Q&As, it seems like you found a fun & fulfilling career even before choosing to go to grad school. So I am curious why you chose to spend the time/$ going back to school for a JD/MBA. BTW, your hard work and professionalism makes you a stand-out in the beauty blogging community. Thank you!

Hi Minna,

My plan was always to do a combined JD/MBA program, as I expected to either go into corporate law or into finance (a lot of CFOs have JDs). The timeline wouldn’t have let me to do the blog full-time after I finished my undergraduate program – I started the blog October 2006 and I graduated UC Irvine in June 2007 and was enrolled in my graduate program that started August 2007! The blog made some extra fun money at that point and wasn’t even considerable as a job until a few years after it started.

I absolutely use my education – I own my own business, so there are lots of aspects of it where having a JD/MBA are very useful!

Christine, I’ve been reading since the beginning. The beautysphere has changed so much & not in a good way. Too much $$$ going to influencers who just love every product, the never-changing IG « look, » too many low quality products rushed out, etc. How can beauty get itself back on track?

I think beauty has come a long way, and it is better now than it was before: more diverse, more accessible, held more accountable, and with more high-performing products at lower price points. It’s hard for me to answer because I don’t think it’s off track myself. Brands are always going to go to the influencers who have the most influence, so try to follow, like, and share the content of influencers you do like or of brands you think are doing a good job and don’t follow/participate/encourage influencers and brands that aren’t what you’d like them to be – I think that’s really the best that any individual can do.

Hi Christine! I have two questions for you:

Your comment section is one of few that I feel comfortable enough to sharing my thoughts and opinions. Could you talk about how you’ve been able to cultivate a safe, positive space on the web?

Do you use an eye cream? And, if so, what’s your favorite?

Hi Monica!

Thank you – that means a lot! All comments require approval, and those who have tried to troll me know that I don’t approve their comments nor do I do much other than trash them. In the past, on posts that were more “controversial,” I often put disclaimers with respect to the spirit and tone the comments should be adhering to, and I will close comments if it becomes an issue. On some borderline comments (someone who I think has “good intentions” but could say it in a better way), I might allow and reply to try and explain why it’s not quite in the spirit of things here – something like “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” or talk about how some think red lipstick is a sign of poor morals and others thing it’s powerful, so we can speak for ourselves rather than speaking for everyone else (“I don’t like red lipstick on me” vs. “Red lipstick looks awful on everyone!”).

I’m a bit skeptical of eye cream – I try them here and there and never have an “a-ha!” moment.

One time I was at The Bay and at the Chanel counter a sample of an eye cream. That particular cream – did more from me than any other full size of any e/ cream. However that full size Chanel e/cream was over CA300$ for 15ml. Well, I do have 300 bucks , but not for an eye cream. Although I actually saw a difference.

Hi, Monica– I’m replying to you because I finally DID have an “aha!” moment with an eye cream, and that was after feeling for years the way Christine does, that they’re OK and all, but not really a ‘wow, what a useful product’ kind of thing. I’ve tried everything from a ton of Mario Badescu (nice, hydrating, etc) to Sisley super-costly, MAC’s longstanding one, etc.

About 4 months ago, I bought 100% Pure Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream at Dermstore, and I truly saw a difference… enough so that when I write up face and eye looks, I now make sure that I add “eye cream” before any moisturizers, primers, etc. It’s inexpensive and I had no reaction. I read some super positive comments on the page, but didn’t really believe them. Now I’m a convert, too. Maybe you will like it as much as I do.

BTW, I’m older, and the little wrinkles around my eyes were seriously bugging me. You look a lot younger, so maybe you’re just looking for prevention? I’m pretty sure the one I use now is more of a hiding-wrinkles than preventing them product, but naturally it claims to do both. Just saying… I don’t notice them disappearing or anything (I don’t want to overpromote this cream as any kind of miracle, because it’s not!).

If I had a hobby, it would be makeup, so I don’t know if that would even count since it’s sort of work, too… 😉 If you ask me what I do for fun, my answer is work. After that, maybe going out for dinner at a night restaurant!

Hi Christine! When you test a big lip launch, how do you keep your lips from getting torn up? (Especially the last few years when mattes have been so big, and so drying?)

I try to respect my limits – I can usually do 30-50 lipsticks in a go – 30 being average and 50 being a creamier formula. Something that tugs a lot or stains a lot, then maybe only 10-15. For liquid lipsticks, I will use an oilier remover (rather than makeup wipes), as I find it reduces the rubbing a bit and helps extend my ability to swatch!

Otherwise, on a day-to-day basis, it’s rare that a product is so bad that it really does lasting damage to my lips (like bleeding etc.). If I am testing a drying formula, I’ll try to alternate testing days – so Monday will be a drying product day, Tuesday something more hydrating, Wednesday drying, and so on.

Hello I was wondering if you can help me out with starting my own blog and YouTube bratty channel like some tips and tricks and editing programs.

Hi Michelle,

I haven’t done YouTube in years, and when we did, my husband handled editing and used Adobe Premier (we also used PCs and Nikon equipment – all less popular choices in the YT community!), so I can’t help there… I prefer WordPress for a blogging platform, and I think it’s still a solid entry for anyone starting out.

Tips and tricks:

1.) Make sure you’re doing it for the love of beauty – it is hard to emerge and make it a living.
2.) Think about your content and how it can be different from what else is there. If you are doing the same thing as everyone else with nothing new to offer, what will make you stand out or why would someone watch your content over all the other channels they’re already subscribed to? People only have so much time; they can’t watch everyone, so make sure you give them a reason to tune in.
3.) Have fun!

Hey Christine.

I haven’t read through the comments, so I apologize if this has already been asked.

What did you major in, what’s your master and what would you be doing if you weren’t running Temptalia?

Hi Jocelyn,

For undergrad, I have a BA in Economics and BA in Political Science. For graduate school, I have a JD (law) and an MBA (business). I probably would have gotten a third masters in accounting and gone into accounting/finance!

I’m glad I read the comments because I was going to ask what you did your Masters in. I’m impressed! You are highly educated! A JD? I’m thinking that makes you a lawyer! I was just thinking earlier today about going back for Pol Sci/History once I’m able to go on a senior citizen (free) program. It’s age 60 if I’m still in Maryland or 65 in my beloved San Antonio, TX. I’m still paying my student loans from my BS/MS in Information Systems which is my second career. I also love what I’m doing, it’s important! I was also curious how you came up with the dupe list, I assumed that would be hugely time consuming and the fact that some products, eye shadows come to mind are not always true to pan, some brands I’ve noticed this with.

I’ve been pulling similar shades for years – almost as long as reviews have been around – but after awhile, it was hard to remember all of them off the top of my head, so I wanted to have a system where they’d be in a centralized location! I only list similar shades I’ve swatched, so I don’t pull dupes based on pan or tube photos, just based on [my] swatches 🙂

Congrats on finding love in your second career, Anne!!

Thanks for the opportunity — what you do is so interesting to me, and so I have a few questions:

How has the beauty industry evolved in the years you’ve been blogging?
Has your personal style evolved over the years — like more/less/different color preferences, etc.?
If you could give your younger self one piece of business advice, what would it be?
If you (ever) have a whole day off, do you go without makeup at all a/o what is your most minimal routine?
Is there a style icon of that’s particular inspiration to you?

1.) It’s more inclusive and accessible – I feel like you can get just about any product you want at the right price. There are better shade ranges (and still room for improvement!), and there are brands that I think speak to different types of people and preferences but nothing is barred. I just feel like it’s more acceptable to wear blue lipstick today than it ever was in the past.

2.) Not really. I still love my corals and teals, love my shimmer! I’d say that I appreciate neutrals and more understated makeup more now than I did when I was younger, but I still enjoy and gravitate toward brighter and bolder options.

3.) I am very fortunate that my mom is and remains my business mentor, so she helped me avoid making mistakes. I think I’d tell myself to work harder sooner since I didn’t know where it was going initially!

4.) If I know I have a ton of errands that need to get done, I’ll do them in the morning and then put on makeup for testing when I get home. I don’t love putting makeup on and then removing only to put it all on again re: my skin (I do it often enough with removing blush and eyeshadows that I don’t want to aggravate my skin more!), so I’d go without makeup vs. putting on a minimal amount. I can’t recall taking a day off – even if I need to do something like hang out with family all day, I’ll still be testing something! But we can pretend that I do, and my answer would be: whatever the mood struck me as; I might play with products I recently enjoyed or pull out something I used to love or I might wear no makeup at all!

5.) No style icon!

Hi Christine, I have loved your blog for years now and this is the only one I follow, as I love your impartial reviews and the great range of products you test. I have 2 questions for you.
How do you keep your eyeshadows from blending into one? I struggle with this, especially when using colours of similar shade.
Secondly what are your feelings on ethics of cosmetic companies? I am particularly interested on your thoughts on animal testing? I know a lot of mainstream companies don’t allow it in certain countries but if they disribute them to China they will be tested on animals so cannot be classed as truely cruelty free.

Thanks for all your hard work, I really appreciate all that you do. x

Hi Kate,

Practice makes perfect, and it sounds like for you, maybe blend less than you think you need and take a step back? It could also be the type of eyeshadows you’re using – more powdery/dusty ones get muddy faster in my experience!

I think you have to buy from companies that align with your ethics/needs, and even if you can’t be 100% consistent or perfect across all aspects of your life, doing some is still better than none, if it is an issue of importance to you. I certainly look forward to more viable alternative testing methodologies and governments accepting the test results from them.

Hi Christine! Here’s my question:

Have you or would you ever consider having a “how-to” on your site where maybe once a month or so you could write a post on specific makeup techniques? I thought of this the other day while searching online for information on how to use bronzer vs. contour. I found myself thinking, WWCD (What Would Christine Do?).

Hi Christine! Love your blog.
How old were you when you first started using makeup? Did a friend or family member teach you the basics or did you learn on your own?

Oh wow. I didn’t start using makeup until my mid-twenties because no one in my family uses makeup. I had no clue what I was doing and am thankful for YT tutorials. Always love you eye looks!

Hi Christine!

I was wondering which brands do you get most excited for their releases, (specific product lines or just in general)?

Which companies have the best and worst (ignore that part of you’re not comfortable answering) customer service and social media?

And since it looks like you have a bunch of Tom Ford fragrances which are you favorites and why? Also, if you have jasmine rouge and the rose one which do you prefer?

Thanks so much!

These brands come to mind (but I’m sure there are some I’m forgetting!): MAC, Urban Decay, ColourPop, and Bite. I can get excited for particular releases for brands like NARS, Chanel, Kat Von D, Tom Ford, Viseart, and MUFE – but some of the stuff is ho-hum in terms of inspiring any personal interest.

Ulta has some of the worst customer service – just terrible solutions given to those CS associates (I don’t want to return a $1 item, wait 30 days for a credit, and then get a reship), but it has improved somewhat lately, though their packaging and shipping speeds remain awful. Sephora is usually fine – I’ve only had maybe a couple of bad experiences but have dozens of good ones (I order a lot, so I have faced pretty much every issue possible!). Tarte required sending back a palette with a broken mirror prior to getting a new one, which I felt was a shoddy process, but they did, eventually, agree to overnight me a new palette and wait for my return. Too Faced has the worst processing time (BEFORE shipping!). ABH has always been great (very fast to ship + has promptly helped via CS for issues). Beautylish has the best packaging/CS for major retailer. I haven’t had any issues with Saks, Neiman Marcus, or Nordstrom but rarely do Nordstrom for beauty as their free shipping is slow. Chanel is the best packaging/CS for a single brand – absolutely above and beyond. Selfridges is well-packaged and fast, but it’s always air since I’m int’l.

I haven’t had any issues purchasing (well, not that I can recall!) directly from MAC, ColourPop, NARS, Kat Von D, Marc Jacobs Beauty, LORAC, Dior, Smashbox, Stila, Milani, Bobbi Brown, Zoeva, Clinique, YSL, Burberry, Laura Geller, Clarins, Shiseido, shu uemura, theBalm, Sleek, Wet ‘n’ Wild, Giorgio Armani, Becca, Estee Lauder, Hourglass…

My favorite Tom Ford fragrances are Oud Wood, Amber Absolute, and Tobacco Vanille. I’m not really a big fan of floral scents, so I’m not going to be helpful on discerning between those two, lol!

Hi Christine! I just realized I didn’t put my #1 question in my first comment do here it is.

What has been the hardest obstacle with the blog, and have you ever received feedback that was so negative or aggressive that you seriously considered stopping blogging? If so, what pushed you to keep going? Thanks.

I’m fortunate that I’ve had a lot of support from friends and family, and my mom has always been my mentor (in general, but she has held C-level executive roles, so she helped and was often a negotiator on calls and the like), so I think that I was able to escape a lot of pitfalls bloggers can face, particularly when going full-time. Prior to blogging, I did e-zines from age 12 or 13 until I went to college, and I did daily e-zines at that – so the whole writing and publishing content every day? I’ve been doing that since I was 13! I’ve been doing it longer than I haven’t been doing it!

I have never seriously considered stopping. I don’t even think I have given it any real thought! I think more about, “What if it doesn’t earn enough for me to keep doing it at this level?” I have countless readers who do enjoy the content, and the proof is in the continued success of the blog through the years – I can see my hard work payoff each and every year, so I think that makes it impossible to think, “Yeah, it’s quitting time!”

I was going to ask about your degrees, but I saw the answer. The reason I was going to ask though, is to ask how you got so good at makeup?! I was wondering if you had special training in it, but I don’t think there is a graduate degree in makeup! How did you learn how to do those incredible eye looks you come up with?

Second question, how do you decide which brands to review? I notice you don’t do nearly as many reviews of “mainstream” department store brands like BB, EL, Lancome. Is there a reason for that?

I think you’re just too kind, Patti! It has honestly been trial and error for me – and practice makes perfect! When I was in college, I routinely played around with makeup and always loved eye makeup over everything else, so you could often find me applying dramatic eye makeup at 9PM and washing it off an hour or two later!

I do review Bobbi Brown here and there (Luxe Lip Colors, Highlighters – there have been 30 reviews this year), but a lot of their palettes have been terrible so I stopped buying those (and I bought one recently, and it was still terrible) and more so than other brands, their seasonal launches seem extremely repetitive. I do review Estee Lauder as well – 60 reviews this year – like the Victoria Beckham collaboration, Bronze Goddess Gelee, and just about all shades of their Pure Color lipstick ranges. I don’t recall them coming out with that much else this year, though? Lancome is similar to Bobbi Brown where they have some really big misses and aren’t that popular with readers, so I only buy products that are getting buzzed about. All three of those brands are also ones that I purchase 100% of product from, and while I don’t have any problem buying product for review, I have to careful I put more of that money toward products that readers really want to see most first.

All three of those brands, though, release a LOT less product compared to some other brands, like MAC, Urban Decay, ColourPop, etc.

Hi Christine,

Just wanted to say thank you. I have been following your blog since 2009 and you’re my go to person for every beauty buy. I am a lipstick junkie, but recently got into eye shades a lot. My favorite palette is the Naked 3. Last month I finally ordered some stuff from Color Pop and Colored Raine and I am totally blown away by the quality of their eye shades compared to brands such as Nars. Thank you so much for highlighting products which are not easy to find on your own.

Keep up the good work!

Seher

Hi Christine,
I’m curious as to how you developed your methodology or criteria for testing. How did you decide on the different criteria for each product type, the testing methods, and how do you make sure it’s consistent every time? I was also curious about how you come up with dupes, but you already answered that. I think it’s amazing that you search for dupes for each product! Which brings me to another question, would it be possible to automate the dupe finding process in some way? Or maybe the technology doesn’t exist yet? Thank you so much, your blog is definitely my go-to because I trust that your reviews will be balanced and free from too much hype.

Hi Lubna,

It’s a process of trial and error over many years – the last time I revised the rating system, I spent a lot of time writing it out and all of the various nuances and factors that I might consider depending on the type of product, what the max +/- could be, etc. A lot of the more minute criteria is provided by the brand through whatever marketing spiel they have (‘most pigmented, long-wearing eyeshadow ever!!!’), otherwise I just go off of what seems to be average across brands (e.g. no mascara should flake!).

Every swatch is categorized from light to dark, cool to warm, matte to shimmer-tastic, so once I assign those numbers, I can see nearby shades quickly, so I don’t have to load up every single brown eyeshadow if I know it’s a dark brown eyeshadow. There are surely some ways to automate, but with makeup having a lot of reflective qualities and changes in opacity, it would be hard to get 100% accuracy – like you could try to get the average color from the center of a swatch photo, but if it was a sheer beige, the automation will fail.

Hi Christine,

I’ve been reading your blogs everyday for years. Your makeups are always beautiful especially eye makeups!!?
You make readers feel comfortable to ask questions and participate in the community
I also really admire how you reply to some mean comments with such class(don’t see them here but saw them on social media sometimes), you handle them haters so well
My questions are..

1. Do you still get excited for some new makeup launches and can’t wait to try them out(like us?), or do you just get right into work mode like what dupes do they remind you of, how many days will this collection take to review and how will you squeeze them into your already packed schedule, etc.?
2. Any plans to have your own makeup lines or maybe collaborations? You might not have time or interest but we’d love to use the makeups you create. I’m sure there were some proposals:)
3. What is your favorite makeup cleansers, do you double cleanse?
4. Do you like facial masks, how often do you use them and if you do what are your favorite? Or do you get facial sometimes? You have such healthy skin I’ve never seen a pimple!!

I enjoy and appreciate and thank you so much for all the hard work you do!!

PS : I read above that you’re in constant disappointment because you’re always behind… please don’t!! You’re already overworked yourself as is!! I can say for everyone we’re all amazed in how much you do each day every day!!

Hi Lindsey,

Thank you! 🙂

1.) Yes, definitely! I still enjoy seeing new products, but I don’t really “process” them the same way: when it arrives, I start photographing/swatching first so it gets the white glove treatment (quite literally!). I might even be more excited to share swatches with readers than I am to swatch…

2.) I do not have anything planned at this time!

3.) I like using cleansing oils, and I’m not super picky – I like ones I’ve tried from Bobbi Brown, MAC, Tatcha, Shiseido, and shu uemura. I tend to favor shu uemura, though! I don’t double cleanse, but I do go back and use a q-tip dipped in remover for lower lash line/waterline product removal.

4.) I do like face masks (and facials) but am terrible at remembering to use them! I’m older now, and a lot of the acne I had was when I was younger (early 20s) and controlled between topical products (clindamycin + Differin), so I’m more lucky than my routine being particularly inspiring!

Hi Christine!

I want to say I love that you have been so consistent in what your blog is about through the ever changing whirlwind of this industry. I’ve had several bloggers I followed on IG that have become just another face as they got bigger and became the typical IG look. I love that you have stayed unbiased and fair through the years.

Since you’re such an encyclopedia of knowledge, I’ve wondered if any brands have ever reached out to have a collection with you? Have you ever thought about that? If you could do a collection with a brand, do you have one in mind and what it may consist of?

Thanks!

Hi Cat!

Thank you!

I created an eyeshadow with MAC many years ago, but I think that’s it for me. I am lucky to get press samples these days, let alone opportunities to collaborate, so they definitely aren’t knocking on my door!

I’d want to do it with a relatively mainstream brand with mid-end pricing or lower (greater accessibility for readers), and it’d really have to be with a brand that 1) had fairly reliable quality, and 2) would give me control over the collaboration to ensure that only what I intended would have my name associated with it.

Oh gosh now I remeber that MAC collection! I was just getting into makeup then and wasn’t able to get any pieces.

I know you’ve mentioned that MAC had actually stopped sending you PR for a while, yet you kept buying the collections to review. I’m surprised to hear you don’t get much! I feel like you’re the best blogger out there because you have a set system to hold the products to.

Speaking of, are there any products you don’t bother to review anymore because the products are consistently D/F reviews? I remember when you would review the NARS shadow pencils (prior to the reformulation) and you would actually seem aggravated they kept performing so badly.

Hey Cat,

There are definitely products where if they have done badly, I usually don’t keep reviewing them, but it may depend on the brand or whether it was sent vs. purchased – like Kat Von D’s Everlasting Lip Liners rate really poorly, so I wouldn’t take money out of my review budget to buy those when I feel like the reviews would get pretty repetitive after awhile vs. putting that budget toward a new product or another brand or formula that may be more interesting. I have no trouble giving out low ratings, but if I didn’t already buy all the shades, I just don’t see the point in beating a dead horse!

Hi, Christine! I don’t have a question, just wanted to thank you for all of the work that you do on your blog. I especially appreciate you around the holidays when I’m deciding what to buy from the Sephora sale, and also looking for Christmas presents. Your reviews are where I turn first!

Hi Christine!

First, thank you for all the hard work you’ve been doing for years! Your blog is the one I’ve been reading for the longest time religiously every day. I’m not sure exactly when I started but it should be close to 8-10 years, and it’s been so helpful all this time.

Now my question: do you know of a good online resource regarding filing taxes for bloggers? I’ve made a little bit of money from my blog this year, only a few hundred dollars, but I want to file my taxes properly. I read conflicting advice and I’m not sure what the rules are! Are you supposed to pay taxes on PR samples? Can you deduct the cost of products you buy specifically to review on the blog? I’ve asked different people and I always get different answers.

Hi Lulle!

I don’t have any online resources to share, but you might want to look into a CPA – I have always had one, so he takes care of figuring out what can/can’t be deducted and what I owe! It’s likely going to be related to how/what/why, and a CPA will be able to give you guidance based on your answers.

Hi Christine ! Your eye shadow placement is always so pretty! How do you decide where to place which colors? My colors sometimes look oddly placed or not individualized enough.

Do you have a favorite concealer? And lastly do you use a under eye setting powder on top of your concealer? If so which one? Thanks so much!!

Hi Denise!

I usually just go light to dark but occasionally will do a halo eye where the lightest color is on the center of the lid with more contrasting shades to the left and right! You might try blending less than you think you need, and then, take a step back and see how it looks from more of a normal distance!

I rotate through a few when I’m not testing anything new, but here are ones I keep in my drawer: NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, Cle de Peau Stick Concealer, IT Bye Bye Undereyes, NARS Soft Matte Creme, and ColourPop No Filter. I use UD’s Velvetizer to set my undereyes most of the time!

Really enjoyed reading the Qs and As posted so far!

My question:

We’ve seen a lot of total revamps lately, such as UD’s giant Vice lipstick launch and the MUFE new eye shadow formula. KvD is gearing up for a Studded Kiss revamp. What formula would YOU like to see get totally revamped? And what improvements would you like to see made as that revamp?

MAC eyeshadows. For the love of all that is holy in beauty, they are in need of a redo. The formula could be better and embrace more of the latest technologies, and the shade range itself could be overhauled – obvious favorites should certainly stay, but there are so many missing shades!

Oh yeah I can definitely see that! I am always surprised by how poorly they do in reviews, and how they have not tried to step up their game with so many other brands doing a better job in a similar or less expensive price point!

Hi Christine!!! I have been reading your blog daily since 2010, and I started commenting in 2014, and I haven’t stopped since! ?. You have created such an amazing, open, and educational corner of the internet, which as you know the internet can be very cruel.

My question is slightly weird ahah. You are an Asian Women, who has built up so much success, and positivity for herself. (Fist pump!) And as a fellow women of colour blogger. I have ALWAYS wondered, how do you ignore/move past people who don’t like to see you succeed for what and who you are?

Hey Shannon,

Truthfully, I have not experienced much adversity with respect to race. (I did, however, grow up in the Bay Area, CA, which has a higher Asian population, though I’m not usually identified as Asian by others!) I do, however, feel that it’s fairly routine to be treated like a moron because I like makeup and I am female, so usually I let my confidence come through when speaking with them, display my knowledge/expertise, and not let anyone actively treat me like I’m dumb.

My advice is not much… only to lean on others who know your value to help you see/maintain your vision of your own value and keep fighting the good fight to breakdown stereotypes and biases.

I love your answer Christine! I totally agree with you, and I think you’re fighting the good fight!

I work with politicians for work, and they’re all in their 50’s and 60’s. And I’m a young 20 something, and CONSTANTLY get belittled for wearing makeup. I’m constantly told if I put as much time into my work, as i do makeup id be ” further in my carreer” yet I’m the youngest person at my job, EVER.

Thank you for taking the time to do this!!

I just want to keep doing what I’m doing as long as it will hold out 🙂 I’m already married, have a house, etc. so hopefully, stay happily married at this point!

How do you figure out the product dupes? Your suggestions are so detailed! (98% similar, 2% pinker, etc.) I also love your blog and have been following for the past year. Keep up the good work!

I look up the swatches through our Swatch Gallery – the consistency in lighting (and the fact that I’ve edited and taken all the photos to begin with, plus have tried the products I’ve swatched makes it easier for me to identify any minor changes or shifts in lighting over time, too, so I can compensate for it, should I be comparing a swatch from 2017 to something in 2014) allows me to get a pretty good idea of how similar something is or isn’t. If it’s really similar and seems meaningful to take the time to compare in person, I’ll do so assuming I still have the original product, though I tend to do this more for re-released versions of shades to check for consistency across releases.

Thank you for all of your hard work. Was it hard to convince your husband and brother in law to work for Temptalia?

How’s Mellan doing? Ever thought about getting him a furry sibling? I look forward to seeing his pic on Fridays.

What brought you to AZ?

Do you ever take a vacation?

Hi Robin!

My husband has worked with me since the beginning (well, my boyfriend at the time), and when we needed another developer, it made sense to bring my brother-in-law on since that was what we was doing and between random stranger and family, I definitely opt family 🙂 Most people romanticize working from home, so it was definitely not hard to convince him!

Mellan is good! We’re a one-dog household, I’d say. Mellan has a lot of health problems, so being able to focus all my time and attention to him works out in his interest, and it means that he doesn’t have to compete with a more able-bodied dog.

California is really, really expensive! When we lived in California, we moved more rural so we could afford a home, but we missed being more centrally located, especially nearer to a greater variety of restaurants. The problem was moving closer felt impossible; we’d be getting less house, less yard, a house in need of major remodeling, and we’d be paying over double just to be 20 minutes closer. We both work from home, so we can work from anywhere, so we started to consider moving out of state. I don’t like humidity or snow (or cold weather in general), and we wanted to remain pretty close to California, as our families are both there, so we ruled out most of the states. Phoenix is a massive metro, so if we ever need to get different jobs, it’s doable here. We also loved the idea of being able to get a one-story house.

If I have to leave town, I usually end up pulling 18-20 hour days for each day I won’t be home, and then I still need 4-6 hours per day wherever I am for day-to-day stuff I can’t prep for ahead of time because there’s no one who can fill in for me. So, I avoid traveling and can’t say I’ve had a non-working vacation in at least 15 years!

My sister works contracting jobs and has the same issues with vacations. She brings her computer with her whenever she goes out of town and has to be able to get internet access. So she gets to work from home, but she can’t ever really disconnect. It’s a catch-22.

Same for me! I love both of your blogs, and am so happy that they each have a different “voice” so I get a lot of variety from the two of you.

Christine, thank you again for all you do. I read your blog every day (especially on my lunch) and it really truly brings a little ray of light when my workday has been rough. Your work ethic and classiness is such a wonderful thing. And the products you feature and the amazing photos..it’s all just so great. Thank you!

Hi Christine:)

I’ve been following your blog since 2007. I loved it then and still do. Your site is STILL my #1 makeup blog site I go to for reviews before I purchase anything. In fact, your review alone will be the deciding factor for me to make my final decision!

I would like to know, how did you come up with the name Temptalia?

Thanks!

This is a pretty open question but what are some specific formulas that you think are unique and “undupeable?” I’m thinking like ColourPop super shock shadows……etc?

ColourPop Super Shock Shadows are the same type of formula as Dior Fusion Monos, Chanel Illusion d’Ombres, and MAC had one, too… they all pre-dated ColourPop – ColourPop was just one of the first do the formula at length and at such a low price point!

There aren’t any formulas that really come to mind as unique or undupable, but I have a pretty shoddy memory these days and a characteristic like unique isn’t one I mentally mark, you know? I’m sure there are some that are at least less dupable. I won’t really remember or notice if something isn’t as well-duped only when I start looking for dupes specifically.

Hi Christine, I have been following your blog for a long long time, probably when it is first started. But I may have missed a post or so, so I want to ask how the name “Temptalia” came from?

Hi Christine, here’s a big ‘thumbs up’ from a dutch fan. I love your work for a welcome daily source of inspiration and animation during my busy work- and family program. As the launching of the products in The Netherlands in general runs just a few days after publication of your reviiews, I get enthousiastic or warned by your professional criticism, before I get hit by the marketing machines or my own greediness. So many many thanks to you and your tremendous work, and also to your loyal respondents for their experiences and suggestions…. in particular Nancy T, to who’s comment I scroll first, as I consider her an equally appreciated sidekick ? of yours, who’s opinion and taste I also always blindly rely.
Now I finally come to my question; I know you have many international visitors to your site, but from what country/continent most of all, and are there any underrepresenteted countries in your opinion? Can I find specific european product/brand information or suggestions on your website, or can you make a review/forum on best webshops to buy? Keep up the good work!

Hey Kristel!

Nancy is an amazing lady 🙂

7% is from Canada, 7% from UK, 4% from Australia, and 3% from Germany round out the top 5 countries (excluding the U.S., which is 1st). In the last 30 days, 228 countries are represented! We could definitely be stronger in Asia given the population numbers there, I imagine!

One of the things we are working on is trying to tailor the ‘where to buy’ list of retailers by geo/region, but it’s a little complicated and we have a few things ahead of it – but it is definitely something I’d like to do.

I noticed that you have never tested any Jefree Stars Cosmetics products, even though you test indie brands. Is it because he is a controversial person? Do you try not to test products from brands you don’t personally approve for some reason?

I love your blog and reviews. I also love the way you converse with us.

Being in my late 40s, I feel encouraged with your looks to be more daring with my purchases. Recently I found out I have a hormone/thyroid imbalance that is getting fixed and I’m looking forward to getting my ultra imbalanced skin back and am already seeing improvements so I look forward to being able to use products that flaked on me. To wake up to dewy skin is a dream come true!

I have a few questions. Did you go to beauty school or take any classes? You seem to have a strong command of colors (cool, warm, etc). I have Italian and Philippine background so gravitate towards towards what you like. However, I can’t do the pinks and reds and sadly will be giving up my MR by ABH to a young lady I know. She’s been wanting it and it is just too pretty to sit unused.

You say you donate? I’m curious as to what groups. I sometimes give away stuff I don’t use to my stepdaughters or mother. But sometimes they either can’t use or already have the product.

How often to you try to tie your looks to what you wear? I’m finally loving all the coppery looks but winter is coming!

Also, how do you treat your lips to make lipstick last? Do you use a brush and dusting of powder? And chapping? I have tried sugar scrubs but by midday, they are flaking.

And when shopping at Sephora with that horrible lighting, what recommendations do you have when it comes to picking out colors? I’ve made horrible selections based on that lighting only to get home and see it in a different light.

Thanks for all you do. The ladies at my local Sephora are quite young and I turned them on to you when you swatched all those Vice lipsticks. I’ve Ben following you since 2010. They had no clue at the time!! The Sephora at the big mall 20 minutes away, my buddy there is the perfume guru and even he knows of you and envies your Tom Ford collection. I can’t wait for my Tobacco Vanille to arrive!

Thank you, TexasMermaid! 🙂 I hope your skin gets back to normal soon – that will be so nice for you!

I didn’t take any school or classes for beauty/makeup. I was just SUPER into it and joined a community on Livejournal that was all about MAC makeup, so I was just very immersed in it.

I donate to a local organization in Arizona, the Sojourner Center, now. There is Project Beauty Share, which will accept mailed-in donations – they are based in Washington! Other ideas: local women’s groups/shelters (but check, a lot only accept new), any people (or their kids/spouses) that provide household services (when I was in CA, my UPS delivery man was AMAZING, so I always gifted him some bags to take home to his daughter + wife), office break rooms, etc.

Since I’m at home most of the time, I dress quite casually! It’s more often that I’ve put on some makeup look and changed my shirt to coordinate better with my eye makeup, LOL! A lot of the time, I have two different eye makeup looks on (one on each eye), and they may or may not be similar so that throws a wrench in the whole coordinating outfit situation!

For the longest lip color possible (and not using liquid lipstick), it’s making sure lips have no balm on them prior to applying anything (I let balm soak in, then remove it entirely before putting on the lip products!), then lip liner (all over lips), lipstick applied directly from the tube, light layer of powder, and then a little more lip color on top with a lip brush. My lips don’t get too flaky often, but you might consider switching your lip balm for another type of lip balm (check the first few ingredients) to see if something else would work better to minimize the flaking.

Don’t be afraid to step outside of the store and go to the nearest skylight or even pop outside of the mall to see how things look in more natural light.

Thank you so much for spreading the word!! xoxo

Hi Christine, firstly thanks so much for your reliable and super detailed reviews, I’ve followed them for so many years and I get genuinely excited to read them 🙂
I wanted to ask how to balance a love of makeup with a more professional environment or with people who don’t understand it, because I am a grad student in biology, and in my lab we are allowed to wear makeup but most people don’t at all, and I can sometimes feel quite out of place wearing a full face. I wear it everyday because I enjoy putting it on, but sometimes people will comment on how much I’m wearing and I feel like the stereotype is still kind of there about how liking makeup/fashion as a girl makes you somehow less intelligent. Especially as a scientist that makes me really feel like I’m either going to stifle my interests during work time or give off the wrong impressions to some people. Thanks for your replies 🙂

Hey Melody,

I wish I could help more… there are sort of two ways to go about it – one, keep wearing exactly what you want for yourself, since you enjoy it, and ignore the comments, or two, try to take the time to explain how it’s part of your self-care, how you relax or how you to express creativity.

I think it depends on the environment and whether you think you can alter the perceptions of your fellow students/workers or if you find that it’s like talking to a wall. Though I wouldn’t want to do it, and part of me would be angry about it, I would tend to be more inclined to tone it down if I felt like I needed to in order to advance in my career. My hope would be that at some point, I’d be high enough on the corporate ladder that I could start bending those unwritten rules more.

In law/business school, professors routinely treated me as incompetent whenever I wore makeup, and I just wore it anyway, because I knew better and felt like it was a real flaw that they were so judgmental, that they couldn’t see beyond the superficial… but I knew they weren’t people I’d be seeing beyond school.

I learned some cool stuff about you through reading the comments. You’re so dedicated to your craft and I’m impressed with your organization like how you will test matte lipstick one day and do creamy ones the next.

Since you often try things that don’t make it into a full review do you think you could do mini reviews on like Instagram? Where you just give a quick first impression and a swatch? I don’t need a grade on it but just your initial thoughts would be nice.

Hey Jenny,

That would be a great idea if I had more time to spare! It’s certainly something I would consider if I could find ways to be more efficient and free up more time 🙂 I give first impressions when I’m comfortable doing when I post sneak peek swatches, but if I don’t give them, it means I don’t feel confident in saying anything yet – it might be a new formula or that I think there are discrepancies in swatches vs. application or that it’s too in the middle to tell yet.

Hi Christine! I’ve read your blog since late 2006 and still love reading it every single day, even when I’m on vacation! 🙂

Having lived in the Bay Area most of your life, are there things that you miss now that you live in Arizona? The food perhaps–because we some pretty amazing pho, especially down in South Bay or L.A. area–the exotic fruits and vegetables? The beaches, the pretty chill atmosphere, the geography, etc.?

I’m originally from Canada, but have lived in the Bay for several years now, but I still miss the snow and having four distinct seasons. I don’t think I will ever get used to so much sun and heat!

Hey Christina,

I really only miss my family! Occasionally, in the dead of summer here, I’ve missed the reprieves we’d get in California, but I’m inside most of the day and forget how hot it most of the time. As far as food goes, I only miss having more Chinese and Korean restaurants, as those are the two types of cuisines that do not seem as well-represented here, but they can be had here, just not as much in the way of choice.

I don’t like the beach myself, so I probably went a dozen times in my entire life! My favorite pho is from my mom (which has a pretty different taste than what’s served at most Vietnamese restaurants! I don’t mind it, but it’s different, and there are a lot of Vietnamese restaurants in AZ), and always freezes some for me and brings it when she visits or I could make it myself if I was not so lazy, lol 🙂 I think both states are beautiful – they just have offer types of natural beauty – but neither is better or worse to me.

I find people are a lot friendlier here in Arizona than California – maybe it’s that it’s not as face-paced here or it could be just that it’s more of a service industry where I’m at. For me, I’m actually a lot more relaxed, less stressed, and generally feel happier being here than in California – I actually found both SoCal and Bay Area to be pretty frenetic rather than chill, but I’m sure it’s just the areas I was in or the people I knew. It just felt like constant traffic, people everywhere, everyone in a rush, etc. The Bay Area is definitely more diverse culturally/ethnically, though!

Oh I know what you mean! I personally find California pretty stressful to live in, but I always assumed that’s because I’m from Canada, which is not as fast paced as the Silicone Valley (I might be generalizing here, since I haven’t lived everywhere. Lol!). And I am a total snow bunny, so no beaches for me! Everyone else I know and who has visited loves California, though, so I just described the general image people have of the state–albeit, a romanticised view. I personally feel like I’m working and stuck in traffic all the time. Lol! 😉

And yes, nothing beats mom’s pho!

I’m glad you are enjoying Arizona and shared your thoughts. I always enjoy hearing what it’s like to live in other states and how it compares to California. When I lived in Canada, the only places people ever talked about in the U.S. wer California and New York, so it’s nice to learn about other places.

I can’t imagine being a snow bunny! I was cold all the time in California, LOL! My husband prefers the cooler temperatures of California over the higher ones in Arizona, but I do not miss the rainy California winter (but I would probably freeze to death in any place that actually SNOWED!).

We were at home, but every time we’d go out or go to the nearest city (San Jose), it was just hectic – traffic all the time! I know it takes my mom two hours to get to work now and used to only take an hour!

Not sure where in Arizona you are… I lived in Tucson for three years and miss AZ all of the time now. There is *no* good Chinese food in Tucson as far as I could tell, but there are some really great Vietnamese options (Com Tam Thuan Kieu on Orange Grove was always my favorite) and I was a regular at Yoshimatsu/Sushimatsu and Sushi on Oracle.

Hi Christine! I’ve been randomly thinking about this recently… have you run out of Chanel Dragon backups yet? And has another lipstick made your heart pitter-patter like that in recent memory?

I read the entite AME, so I know its wretched of me to ask more question! To follow Temptalia in real time your site directs the reader to DISQUS. After reading its info, I got the impression commenters are heard verbally like a conference call. So embarrassed to have to ask this!!

Hi Christine! What’s your vision for Temptalia in the next 1-5 years? Any major changes, or just minor tweaks? Thanks for all your amazing and hard work!

Hi Lin,

Frankly, I hope I can just manage to stay relevant in a space that is constantly changing! I don’t anticipate any major changes, since we’re established and major stuff is usually confusing for the readers so it’s more likely that we continue to expand and refine features over time based on the needs and wants of our community!

Hi Christine,

What have been your favorite and least favorite beauty trends over the past decade? My personal favorite has been the fresh/dewy skin movement, and my least favorite has been liquid lipsticks (I’m such a wimp when it comes to the discomfort). Apologies if this question has already been asked, I read through most of the comments and didn’t see this one!

I don’t think I have a least or most favorite – I’ve always liked a variety of makeup products, so when I think about trends, there’s not much that sticks out at me – especially if I try to remember anything beyond the last couple of years. It’s probably more my terrible memory than anything, though, so my apologies!

I’m sure if I was in your position I would feel the same way! Trends come and go so quickly; it’s hard to keep everything straight. Thank you for your answer, and thank you SO much for everything you do! I’ve been following Temptalia for years now, and I’m grateful we have someone so thorough and inspiring in the makeup world. I love coming on here and getting lost for hours!

Hi Christine!

For once, I am in time for an AMA! So glad you continue to engage the community and provide such stellar content.
The question I ask you has been one I have been struggling to find an answer to (and a little clumsily worded):
What are general color-combination guidelines for a full face of makeup?

For example, if you do a purple eye what colors blushes and lip colors look best with it? Or have a hot pink blush, what lip colors and eyeshadow should you pair with it? Searching for this sort of thing online always invariable leads to a color wheel and discussion of complementary colors. But it hardly makes sense red lips would look best with blue eyeshadow just because they are opposites on the wheel! Or only cool-toned shades. I have asked other bloggers and MUA’s about it but rarely get a consistent answer or one that can be methodically applied. I think because you review and wear so many products together, that you would have a unique perspective on this. There are no rules in makeup, and one could theorhetically wear anything with anything. But I still wonder if you had any go-to combos that are tried and true or you have noticed work well over the years?

In addition, would you consider this as a future feature on the site? Like “this lipstick shade has been voted to pair well with this eyeshadow in this color” type of finder? No other blog comes to mind at having such an encyclopedic selection of products, nor one that has a user-voted mechanism to find harmonious combinations.

Hi Zoe,

I find that it can be a matter of intensity and undertone of what you’re wearing but more importantly, your undertone and skin color. There’s just no hard and fast rule, IMO, and what works for me won’t work for everyone. How light or dark, how matte or shimmery, how cool or warm a particular product matters, and how that color translates on someone’s skin could be noticeably different depending on how light or dark they are, how warm or cool they are, and even just how they apply products!

The so-called “rule” to start with is that only one feature is very enhanced – that’s why if you see a deep smoky eye, you’ll often see less color on cheeks and lips – so the focus is on the eyes and the features aren’t competing, but I have worn and certainly have seen others wear bold eyes and lips together or a more dramatic cheek and lip or everything bold and loved the way it looked… it really depends on your perception of what “looks good.” I am routinely reminded of what I shouldn’t wear, and there are many times when I liked what I was wearing or how it looked on me.

My perspective is quite skewed these days because I very rarely wear anything that coordinates – in fact, most of what I wear is probably ugly to most people because I wear two different sets of eye makeup, two different cheek colors, and my lip color changes as I test colors throughout the day and may ever even come close to coordinating with whatever else is on!

There are definitely color combinations that work better on me than others, but like I said, that working on me is just me (but also how I perceive cohesiveness and what is “acceptable” to my sense of beauty). Here are combinations I like on me:

– blue/green/teal eye makeup with peach/coral blush and gold/bronze/peach/coral lips
– pink/purple eye makeup with pink/coral/lavender/plum blush and beige/pink/plum/mauve/purple/berry lips
– near black eye makeup with beige/brown/peach blush and beige/peach/pink lips
– neutral eye makeup with anything blush and anything lips
– red lips with pink/peach/coral/beige/brown/plum blush and gold/bronze/neutral/taupe/olive eye makeup

Thank you for the very detailed answer. All of that makes a lot of sense! It’s very reasonable that skin shade and undertone would affect this sort of thing. I appreciate your tip on picking one feature to have the focus fo the look.

Who is telling you what you shouldn’t wear!? They obviously have no idea what they are talking about. I always like seeing the color combinations you end up with when testing multiple products. It can be very inventive and refreshing!

Thank you so much for those bullet points on general color family combinations! Saving these tips to try myself. Can’t wait! 🙂

Hi, Christine–

I finally thought of a question (and it hasn’t been asked, at least not that I saw when I read through everything on the page at the moment). It’s silly-verging-on-ridiculous, but I’ve honestly wondered it more times than any other throughout the past year or so:

I know that in the beginning, and for quite a few years, you didn’t mention the “lines” created by pressing your lips together when you wear lipstick, or whether or now a product sunk into lip lines. But they must have done so all along, right? With all the formula upgrades and new technology being employed to create cosmetics and skincare, this can’t be a brand-new problem. So, my super-facetious question is, do you recall how and when it was that you added that as a feature of all your lipstick/gloss reviews?

Also, I’d like to echo the support of all the people who’ve mentioned that you’re extremely hard on yourself! If you have few hobbies, never take vacations, and work almost all the time, you should NEVER get down on yourself for not accomplishing enough. I certainly hope, at least, that your husband and brother-in-law point out to you on a regular basis that you’re a hyper-over-achiever, which is probably partly responsible for your success, but can put you under unnecessary stress over the years.

Or maybe I’m just jealous of your discipline!!

Hi Emily,

I cannot speak to 10-year ago me in terms of that specifically – if they did and I did not say anything, I can only imagine it did not register as an issue? I was 19 or 20 at the time, so perhaps I was too stupid to realize that? I’m really not sure. I feel that my lips have changed over time, personally, to some degree.

That being said, I went through and looked at reviews from, and it seemed like I’ve been mentioning settling into lip lines since at least 2009:

2009 – mentions of settling into lip lines in reviews (example: https://www.temptalia.com/mac-trend-fw-09-collection-review-lipglasses-review-swatches-photos-lip-swatches/)
2010 – mentions of settling into lip lines in reviews (example: https://www.temptalia.com/mac-flesh-lust-lipglass-review-photos-swatches/)
2011 – mentions of settling into lip lines in reviews (example: https://www.temptalia.com/mac-naturally-lipglasses-review-photos-swatches/)

I didn’t look at every review – I just looked at random MAC Lipglass reviews (since I know they would be very present in older reviews and also more prone, as a gloss and with MAC’s propensity to release milky shades, to have that issue). In terms of 2006-2008, I didn’t have all products and wasn’t taking close-ups of everything (only what I bought) and did a lot of more general “reviews” in 2006 and 2007 and only started doing–barely–better reviews in 2008 (still terrible reviews, though), and I would have only been wearing makeup for maybe two years when I started the blog so I would expect I was a complete idiot to begin with and only marginally less stupid now 😉 It’s entirely possible that in my stupidity, I did not know that “settling” was a problem or an issue initially but looks like I wised up at some point.

Christine, the last thing I wanted to do with my question was cause you to beat yourself up MORE than you already do!! Your reviews were never ‘terrible’ when you started; you were younger than most, yet you gave more usable information and were more descriptive than most bloggers at the time. And currently, at a time when many of us are beginning to mistrust the industry-co-opted-blogging community, you remain credible, as you must see from all our comments to you.

I just thought it’s amusing that we all discuss what sinks in and and what doesn’t all the time now, when I recall very little chatter about it when I first started learning about makeup (that was about 10 years ago, after years of paying no attention except to stage makeup when acting/stage-managing/directing college and community theater projects), but I’d trust your research over my faulty memory any day, so I guess I just didn’t notice until the last few years!

I think it’s important to recognize how weak my reviews were when I started – they were truly terrible. My husband is really the only one who has kept me from deleting everything before 2013. They might have been honest, but they were still pretty poor with respect to what a review should convey and include! You are being kind where you really don’t need to be – I don’t dwell on it, but I also know I have improved my reviews significantly because I saw those shortcomings in my past reviews over time. I couldn’t be here today without starting there 🙂

I think with the matte lipstick trend, we’ve all become a lot more aware of our lip imperfections as they often maximize imperfections, and now that we’re shifting to glosses, I think those are often culprits of getting into lip lines, too (in a different way).

Thanks for doing this Christine. I really enjoyed running down the comment section to see your answers. You do such a good job answering comments and interacting with everyone!!
You’ve answered most of the questions I’ve had. I’m so impressed how you come up with dupes. You post so much content every single day. How many hours a day do you spend with products on your fast to test etc. I’ve actually tried to guess before how you can review so many lipsticks in such a short amount of time. Eye shadows as well, especially when they are larger palettes. We have a similar eye shape, I’ve been learning more and more about how to place eye shadow from your looks.

Hi Emily!

It depends on the day, but I usually wear a full face of everything for 10 hours and I change my lip product as I go through the day, usually putting something on around 7AM. For lips, I try to do something from 7AM, then eat lunch, apply the next product after lunch, then have dinner, and then after dinner, at least one more, so three per day on average but sometimes I can squeeze four in and other times only one or two if they’re very long-wearing!

Hi Christine,
I don’t have any specific questions, but to congratulate you on absolutely everything you do for our community of readers here.
And I hope, that someday, you will take a well earned holiday like the rest of us do.
You’re an inspiration and I have leant so much from reading your blog and the other readers’ comments.

I have always been curious as to why you don’t feature more drug store brands on your blog. Also can you please add the original Naked to the vanity (after holliday review time of course, cause dang your busy).Thnx 🙂

I only have a finite amount of time, so my focus is on mid and higher-end brands, though I definitely try to include more affordable options, I just don’t always have the time as the priority is mid- to high-end, as those are more expensive, less accessible, and can be harder to find honest reviews for.

The original Naked palette is in the database… I’m not sure which you’re asking for! https://www.temptalia.com/product/urban-decay-eyeshadow-palette/naked/ It’s been there for years!

Thank you for the link, I tried several times to find and add it. I’m sure it was a user error on my part lol. I love your vanity database, gosh do I ever have a lot of dupes in my collection…

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