Putting Girls To Werk! 

Hey there. 

So yesterday was International women’s day and I spent it with one of my most beautiful female friends. We spent the entire day watching reruns of RuPaul’s drag race. Why, you may ask? Because nothing makes one feel so feminine than watching several beautiful, fancy drag queens work their way down a runway and that is work with an E. 

We did this so I could conserve my energy because later on in Portsmouth I took part in talks to support the Reclaim The Night movement; started in response to sexual assault and attacks on women in the street who are then blamed for being too drunk, too scantily clad or generally too female for a man to resist raping or abusing her.

RuPaul’s drag race is a celebration of femininity, the female form and challenging gender norms. In response to that my friend allowed me to make her the most draggiest of drag I have ever done with make up. There was nothing much in the thought process. I simply told her to close her eyes and let me work my magic. And her mother absolutely hated it. But she absolutely loved it and that’s what mattered. She felt glamorous, she felt gorgeous, she felt beautiful, she felt powerful.

  

That’s the thing about appearance; when we think of women dressing up we think of us looking at them and we think of how we appreciate how they look rather than thinking about how they feel about how they look. This is the crux of the society that has created a theatre out of a woman’s appearance. Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Look, Now, Americas next top model, The Voice. These shows and magazines pride themselves on playing on people’s appearance in contrast to who they are. 

The first thing I asked the woman because I’ve never done the guys make up yet is what they want me to create and most of the time they will say just do what ever. And I have a problem with that because how I want them to look is not how they feel it’s not who they are it’s not what they want. That would be me creating what I want. And that can change from day to day. That is an accurate representation of how they feel about themselves. 
Obviously I’m a beauty blogger so I’m not exactly a massive advocate of conventional “natural beauty”; but I am an advocate for personal beauty. There is no point in making up a face if the brain behind it can’t carry the look. 

My friend is a drag queen. She is gorgeous, she is sassy, she is charismatic, and she is strong in the face of adversity in a world that would otherwise shun her; so I gave her a delicious pink and yellow look like strawberry lemonade so she could make the world eat it and … we didn’t even leave the house because it ain’t about them out there.

So the next time I’m doing your make up think about the face that you wanna put out to the world, think about who you are, think about what you wanna be on that day. Don’t be confined by the constraints pushed upon you by other people’s interpretations- glitter roots, gradient brows, tape contouring, mink lashes. If you wanna wear bright blue eyeshadow and a neon pink lip because you wholeheartedly believe that the 80s ain’t dead; tell me and I’ll do it. In a dark ass world painted grey, be a girl on fire! 
See you anon! 

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Paraben-ormal Activity!

I’m lucky enough to have avoided most skin issues; I get penny sized patches of eczema here and there on my arms and spots of rosacea when I have a cheeky drinky. And of course I have my cold-sore companion creep up. But my skin is pretty unreactive to chemicals (apart from, you know, hydrochloric acid…but I think that’s a universal skin quality).

I do know people who’s skin responds to certain products by becoming the texture of a leather handbag! I received a request to do some recon by a fellow Sassy Spoonie on Wednesday night!

Person: I DUNNO WHAT A SPOONIE IS.
ME: Keep your hair on! CLICKHERE!!!

She asked me about paraben-free concealers because she was in the market for an under-eye cover-up but couldn’t go to the market! So I took up the challenge…beginning with actually finding out what the finelinesandwrinkes a paraben was!

I found that parabens are preservatives found in most beauty products and are also used in some foodstuffs. Considering the amount of controversy there is about parabens (links to cancer, links to hormonal adjusting of skin chemistry, links to pretty much everything which is rather scary that you wouldn’t think of when putting things on your body) I’m surprised I haven’t heard of them before! Only a small percentage of the population has a paraben allergy but those who do react really badly; redness, soreness, skin sensitivity, swollen glands, fever, stomach upset if ingested. All rather uncomfortable stuff and considering make up was supposed to do the opposite of that, in my estimation, I paid real attention!

Now knowing what I was looking for and why it is important to some of my Chronically Sassy ladies (not to mention other folks) I hit my usual haunts for some swatching!

I ain’t cheap when it comes to my makeup but I certainly ain’t gonna shell out for all the concealers in the world so I went fresh faced and clean armed to try some out! I stuck to high street rather than high-end; being a Spoonie is already incredibly expensive so I don’t wanna cause any one else an extra expense just because they want a little glamour in their life!

To start; Primark, PoundLand, H&M, Makeup Revolution, Sleek, MUA …the majority of the cheapest brands on the high street; they all contain parabens in their concealers. I think this goes without saying: Something that costs you £1 is going to be all-filler-no-thriller. The lower end of the market, this was probably a bit foolish place to start!

That’s not to say that an inexpensive paraben free option didn’t present itself! So let’s start there!

NewLook has a bargain make up range. This concealer was £3.99. And contained extra Vitamin C which is perfect for rejuvenation so if you have any broken capillaries around your under eye circles then this is an extra bonus!

I wouldn’t recommend this if you’re a bit of a panda like myself as the coverage is mighty sheer! But if you’ve only got some mild discolouration then this is for you. The colour range in my NewLook store was quite limited but given the sheerness of the product I don’t think that would be an issue really. It has got some buildability but eventually you are putting a cheap product on top of a cheap product and it can look a bit chalky.

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The second cheapest concealer was All-In-One from The Body Shop at £8.50. This came in a solid retractable stick with the moisturising gel in the centre and it came in 4 shades.

I was surprised to find that even with a gel core for moisturisation this concealer had some really good coverage and it was incredibly moisturising and softening on the skin. When blended in it was smooth and it didn’t settle into fine lines and wrinkles.

Getting into the more expensive areas we have Topshop concealer for £10. Following suit it was just like the others and completely paraben free however it came in a blass bottle with a plunge system for getting the product out. No I know I don’t have to use it but I am picky so bear with me; I want something that gives me just the right amount of product without any of the clean-up or waste and this didn’t allow for that.

The product is heavily pigmented and it is incredibly thick which is awesome so you don’t need a lot of it. The delivery system gives you way too much. The product itself did have some serious sticking power however it took a very long time to dry and when it was dry it was very drying. This is coming from the perspective of somebody who already has quite dry skin but if you have oily skin I think it would be a good shout.
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The final paraben-free Corrective Stick concealer I tried was from Vichy’s collab with Derma Blend. It was the most expensive by far coming in at a staggering £15. Derma blend specialises in cover-up make up for tattoos and serious scarring and this concealer presents itself as one with the best coverage.
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The product is thick, the product is buildable, the product is wearable. The colour selection is marginally Ltd even the lightest shade at the smallest amount to much orange for spot checking but for under eye circles I can imagine it being perfect. The product boasts an SPF 30 and protect against UV rays so flashback might be an issue if you’re taking/photographs but the benefits greatly outweigh those negatives; I don’t wander around with 100 W flashlight on my foreheads trying to pick out the titanium oxide levels in your make up!
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There are loads of other paraben-free options out there. This was a quick nip around my local stores to show how easy it is for you to pick something up when out and about without wasting those spoons traipsing from shop to shop.
Other brands include Lord & Berry, Tarte, NYX and Stila. These brands are only available at select boots and Debenhams stores but you can look on their website!
I hope this help’s you Sassy Spoonies and Sultry Sista’s alike get to grips with some paraben-free concealers.
Want me to do some leg work for you; leave a comment about a product you’re not sure about!
Laters!

Happy To Live In Sin

I held out for as long as I could but it was no use! I had to have it!

The Urban Decay Vice4 Palette now belongs to me, part of my ever reproducing collection of things! My make up is somewhat like the Daleks, when it feels an enemy is near (Mr Panda with a garbage bag) it shall seek to assimilate -all objects around become make-up- and exterminate –all the money in my purse is destroyed by make-up.

I am no fool, I understand that resistance is useless…until The Doctor arrives, I am a slave to a higher power. And so Urban Decay won out after months of defiance, Vice4 takes pride of place on the makeup go2 for my eyes and I couldn’t be happier!

I nabbed it from Debenhams for a staggering £43 (No shade; it’s worth it!) and I opened it to find it stashed in this too-cute black and holosexual zip-case with the words “Beauty with an edge” on it!

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The palette is a raised, green/pink duo-chrome web with the word VICE (as if I needed reminding of why I should be attending Make-up’s Anonymous) on it!

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It comes with the usual UD duel ended brush.

Can we talk about that for a second!

 

Urban Decay… is there a national sortage on bristles or something? I’ve seen thicker hair on a naked molerat! Sort it out!

Anyway- if I had bought this palette for the brush, that would have been irresponsible…! So back to the subject at hand!

Vice 4 is a beautiful mix of nudes, brights, shimmers, satins and neutrals and, actually, I would say perfect for a beginner whom wants to invest in high-end thanks to the range of colours and textures!

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Swatchy time!

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Next! If you’re a newbie at creating looks or putting colours together then Vice kinda does it for you!

I swatched the colours into columns (working in the palette rows) and that shows you complimentary colour combos. Go across these swatches (working down the columns of the palette) you can see some gorgeous clashing colour combinations!

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Of course if you’ve a wicked rainbow princess the you can rub this palette on your face and it will still look beautiful!

It took a while to commit myself to this palette due partly to the price tag and also due to my nostalgic adoration for Barry M. But now that I have it you couldn’t part me from it…sorry Barry, it’s been fun but sometimes a girl’s gotta stretch her wings and fly away with some high-class billionaire. I gotta taste of the good life…but we can still be friends? Every birthday, kids disco and Christmas when only Fine Glitter Dust will do?

Say! If you’ve read this far I should let you in on a secret: I’m having a giveaway on my instagram of some items from the Rosie for Autograph make-up line to celebrate reaching 400 followers. It’s international too so follow me @Todayspippa on Instagram to be in with a chance of winning!

Make-up Commandments!

I discovered two things this weekend! 1. As a white girl I have never really gotten the hang of the undertones of black skin; not only that but I don’t have the products available to cater for it…yet! 2. I have folk on facebook, Instagram, blog and twitter and IRL who ask for makeup advice. They ask for “what’s best” for “what I recommend” or “if X brand is better than Y brand”. I’m going to insert now that I am not certified in any way whatsoever to do anyone’s makeup and I am, by no means, the most skilled at doing makeup! My talents lie in bullshit, hording and art…which is, often, bullshitting about stuff you’ve horded! Apply those things to your face, suddenly you’ve got the basic skillset for a well-equiped mediocre makeup artist! I hope I’m selling myself short here; I thrive on low expectation!

Aside from soothing my crippling self-doubt, I mention this because it raised a theory which has been following me around when I look at my collection in comparison to the concise toiletry bags on my friend’s bedside cabinets! Unless you’re a makeup/ beauty guru or blogger, do you need ALL the things? No. And does it really matter what I think is best, what I recommend or which brand is most suitable? No. But what does matter is that you aim for items that suit you best from brands that suit you best. If you’ve got a lot of disposable income then it’s likely you’ll invest in a make-up set full of high-end products. If you’re on a budget then you will have a set of drug-store with a few high-end staples. And if you’re on a tight budget, you might have a drug-store supply! This is simply a broad overview of a spectrum of make-up dependency! There are many in-betweens and it can change conditionally; do you love your lips, do you love your face, do you love your eyes. So many variables!

It’s a science, kids! Listen up! Pencils ready! What I’m getting at is the fact that no make-up guru knows all about what you should own, buy or try; without knowing you personally, they’re really gonna struggle! So! Here are some hard, fast rules!

1. Invest in what you love.

Don’t waste money on loads of eyeshadows in colours that you don’t like or won’t use. If you’re all about nudes then buy yourself a really good pallet of nudes but if you’re not really about playing up the eyes then buy a small pallet of nudes. If you’re all about mastering a decent red lip then devote your funds to a reasonable lip scrub, lip balm, lip pencil and red lipstick! Otherwise it is just money down the drain! Trends are fleeting; if you think bright blue eyeshadow makes you look like a circus time-warp from the 80’s, you’ll feel like a clown! Even common make-up practices might not be up your alley; you don’t have to highlight, strobe, contour, grout or spackle (please don’t google those, they’re not trends…yet), trust me. Especially if you’re quite happy with your face looking the shape it is! Embodying your own idea of beauty will make you feel more confident and then you will look more confident.

2. Clear out and clean up.

Boots, Superdrug, Sephora, Ulta, Debenhams…at the end of the dairy aisle in Tesco. You’re going to succumb to an impulse purchase every so often. My biggest issue is travelling away from home for the day or a week and realising I have forgotten a lipstick to touch up or a mascara on the morning of some party or other! These purchases are great in a pinch but sooner or later they end up gathering dust at the bottom of your makeup bag because they’re just not your go-to product! Another thing is that your products get shifted around (especially when you’re in a rush) so you can end up reaching into your bag for an eyeliner and coming out with a hand that could have been trapped in a Chilean mine-shaft! This can be off-putting when you want to create a look without ending up knee deep in cosmetics or with camo-stripes as foundation! Not only that but lots of nasties grow in un-kempt makeup bags and old products! Devote some time to going through your stash and sift through what is full, empty, clean, dirty, impulse-buy or make-up staple. Wipe your dirty products down, sharpen your pencils before replacing the lids, and wash your bag! It’ll hurt your heart to have wasted the money, and feel tedious, but it’ll save you agro in the long run!

3. Make some space.

This may seem a tad gratuitous, especially if you’re not a makeup fan…and if you’re not then we’re going to have that talk about why you’re here… on the off chance I haven’t swayed you into cosmetic compulsion. But another time! So yeah, space! Whether it be you’re makeup bag, a shelf, a corner, a room or an entire wing; you need a place to keep all your treasures in one place. This is aided by making that space exclusively for the application and removal of makeup! So either there is a mirror in that space or you equip that space with a mirror, it’s one decent way to keep you shiz together! The issue then comes if you’re mates are pre-drinking in the lounge while you’re stuck in the bog (toilet/restroom) or make-up area. This can be combatted in two ways; ensure you’re makeup is portable or engineer the space to be more accommodating! Whatever space you choose, this is how you avoid finding a lipstick under the sofa!

I prefaced this by saying hard, fast rules…I struggle with the 3rd so these are more like guidelines than actual rules! Though I consider myself a special case…and for “special case” see “lost cause”, I still find myself reaching breaking point and coming back to these 3 basic codes of conduct when it comes to my make-up!

What do you think? Are these some decent commandments?

Blink and You’ll Miss It! 

Michelle Keegan is beautiful in my opinion and, as seems to be the trend, has blossomed enough for a make-up company to snap her up to advertise something! I harbour a little bit of envy for her, to be honest, and who wouldn’t? The girl is hot, with a hot man and a hot lifestyle (many many Marbella holidays).
Enough of my girl-crushing, let’s talk product!

I was doing my usual procrastination on YouTube (because that’s how you earn a degree) and up MK popped up with a new Revlon mascara!

Revlon have created an easy-to-shop line of mascara’s, each colour coded for a different look. And I chose the All-In-One with the red top; volume, length and colour!

The packaging is really pleasant; the tube is matte black and the lid is lipstick red. It sort of resembles a dry marker. Not appealing to all but there is something distinctly pleasing about the reminder…possibly the smell? Which, while I remember, is actually quite strong! I don’t think I would want to accidentally stick myself in the eye with the brush.

However the brush is so dinky that an eyeloke wouldn’t cause too much damage. And it narrows at the top which means you can reach every lash but the bristles are few and short. This sort of affects the separation of the lashes somewhat so they seem to taper groups of them to points. However! If you have a lash comb then that shouldn’t be too much of a problem!

The product is thick and has fine fibres through it which gives a lot of volume! And it is super black creating a really classic, glamorous look!
I took this pic come the end of the day and there was no flaking or smudging after 5 hours wear and that is a major plus in comparison to other drugstore mascaras I own!

All in all this is a winner…and if it brings me closer to being Michelle Keegan, I am completely on board!

Get Your Glow From Downtown

I used to think I had a bouncing baby face…correction, I used to have a bouncing baby face because I carried a large amount of puppy fat. I do still have some spectacular tweekable cheekables but they have evolved into something a little less beachball-y and a little more adorable. This is what happens when you give up binge eating Cadburys mini-rolls kids! Preserve some cheekbones, don’t abuse chocolate; treat it kindly with a glass of wine to wash it down!

Where was I? Oh yeah! Tackling the moon-face will probably always be a curse of mine because I’ve been blessed with wide cheeks, wide jaw and wide forehead for all of Nasa to see. Capturing the angles with the camera was always my method of choice until I discovered contouring!  And from contouring…I discovered strobing; some new-fangled trend that I am yet to dedicate myself to in the day-to-day. Think contouring in reverse. In response to this trend or perhaps the other way around, high end brands have begun churning out shimmer after shimmery shade of highlighter to bring out the more edgy edges of your visage. Call me tight but I am loathed to shell out £30!!! for a trending product no matter how desperate I am for a cheekbone that rivals Ange in Maleficent! Judge all you want! A girl’s gotta eat…and this girl can’t live off own-brand miniature chocolate rolls! Gimme the good stuff!

So while some more dedicated (and probably a tad more well-off) make-up gurus are investing in Anastasia Beverly Hills Gleam and Glow palettes, I went on the hunt for something a little less bankrupting! Imagine my joy when I found a remarkable dupe from my guilty pleasure Makeup Revolution! I give you the Highlight and Radiance palettes. Jumping out at me like gold bullion from the stand for a mere £8 each from Superdrug; Yup! That’s for me!

The Highlight pallet features three shades more on the cold end of the colour spectrum and I mention it first because it is undeniably my favourite! They don’t have names for themselves but I couldn’t resist giving them some of my own!

 

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L-R: Tchaikovsky, En Pointe, A.Pavlova

 
So the first is Tchaikovsky; so named because he wrote the score for several of my favourite ballets…you’re going to notice a theme here VERY quickly. Tchaikovsky is a yellow-toned ivory with a gold shimmer.

En Pointe is next because I think it is the exact same colour as a pair of brand new satin pointe shoes. It is a near to neutral nude with a peach shimmer.

A. Pavlova (so named after the Prima Ballerina…or the dessert…I’m not picky but I am hungry) is a cool pink with a rose gold sheen and this, by far is my favourite from my favourite palette of the two! I loved it so much that I did a random make-up look just so I could use it as much as possible! Here I use it on my cupids bow, nose bridge, brow, cheekbones and on the inner corner of my eye. Simply can’t get enough.
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The powders are smooth and don’t clump but, I have to admit, they’re not as fine as a high end product…I’m not complaining. I believe in layering so I wasn’t put off by the fact that I had to apply the powder twice to get some extreme pay off. But I don’t think you’ll be wanting such a strong appearance for every day wear as this anyway!

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The Radiance palette is something I see being perfect for the summer time but, for whatever reason, it didn’t sit as well on my skin in either colour or texture as the other. I guess for the sake of not appearing biased (THE OTHER PALETTE IS SO MUCH MORE BEAUTIFUL AND WONDERFUL AND NICE AND I AM GOING TO WEAR IT SO MUCH) I will have to name the colours in it to…they’re not going to be as inventive, I warn you.

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L-R: My Skin But Better, Barbie Flesh, Slutty Skipper

So! First we have My Skin But Better. And by this I mean I am not entirely sure if it’s just a translucent powder with a hella lotta mica in it. It really is just the tone of my skin but with a healthy sheen.

Barbie flesh is next. It is a lighter, cooler nude with a satin pearly finish.

Finally we have Slutty Skipper. It is a warm honey shade with a satin gold sheen which I think is probably my favourite but I’m not gonna be wearing it for another few months as it’s quite tan whereas I am channelling my inner Casper the friendly ghost and am so pale that I practically glow in the fricken dark!

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The feel of these are more talc-y and I felt the application wasn’t as smooth as it could have been with powder clinging to dips and fine hair all over the show…and I’m not exactly sporting much bum-fluff on my face!

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The one thing I will say about both is that there is a lot of shimmer in them. The aim is for it to be fine but any fallout is gonna have a bit of a sugar-plum fairy effect so watch it! I, personally, love glitter in all it’s forms so I relish in that extra sparkle I leave behind every hand shake!

So here they are in a row!

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Daylight without flash.

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Daylight with flash.

If you’re low on funds and still desperate for an attempt at the strobing trend, this is a perfect alternative to ABHs!

See you anon,

P

Kisses Like Sugar! 

You recall the bubblegum from Venus Lush lipstick Passion that I reviewed a while ago? Well here’s something to get your sweet tooth aching even more! From the people that brought you the shade of choice of the triple breasted hooker in Total Recall, I bring you some more lip goodies that will have you licking your lips so vigorously and salaciously that no Martian…Venution? Alien! That no alien will be able to resist!

Lush Cosmetics released their Valentines Day lip bits just in time for the weather in Portsmouth to turn a teensy bit more frightful (I’m from Scotland; I have no idea why people are so bundled up…isn’t it still summer!?). My lips respond to this minor change in temperature by drying up like the harsh, cratered surface of an unterraformed planet. Not to be caught off guard by such things, I nabbed some stuff to beat the cracks into submission and ensure my smooch-pillows stayed as snoggable as possible (yes…I just called my lips smooch-pillows…I have gotten over the embarrassment of that and so should you!).

 

Ooft…ain’t no kisses happening here!

I nabbed The Kiss lip scrub made by Tomek, your friendly neighbourhood Lush buddy:
A combination of caster sugar, sea salt and cocoa butter with red edible hearts and a pink “glimmer lustre” (I didn’t really see that part personally but there was a little pink tint to my pasty wasteland smackers after application!) It contains Sicilian mandarin and almond essential oils and smells and tastes like strawberry fricken candyfloss! Yummy!

I’m skeptical of the purpose of the edible hearts other than the fact they are super duper cute!  The scrub is gentle and sort of tickles, I like to apply it to my lips with my ring finger and rub it across the skin in circular motions with the tip until I can’t resist just sticking out my moist tongue and tasting…this is beginning to sound a bit too erotic. I have very sensitive lips; remember that time I made us both feel uncomfortable when I called them “smooch-pillows”? Ha! Yeah! That was…mortifying…but it shows you how delicate they are! It’s just not an abrasive scrub. I’m not sure if it was because I needed to put it on again or because I loved the sensation but it certainly didn’t do my lips any damage to reapply! And that time I rubbed my lips together instead of using my finger and pouted like a living sour patch kid, before lapping it off like a happy space puppy! The Panda watched; The Panda was bemused.

Thanks to the cocoa butter and essential oils there wasn’t much need for any further products…but I wanted to apply some anyway! Plus they were still a tad on the super dry side after the very awkward and lopsided 3 mile walk The Panda and I took! So I popped on some Buttered Brazils lip balm lovingly created by Shida which contains Brazil nut butter, obviously, but also dark chocolate of all things! Yummy! AGAIN!

 

It’s got a grainy texture at first and then rubs in to being super moisturising without being sticky!

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Totally smoochable smooch-pillows!

It wasn’t necessary but I shoved on this Body Shop Born Lippy Balm in strawberry (a common purchase for the last 13 years or so because it literally tastes like strawberry laces) to give my lips a little more of a rosey glow!

Behold! My newly terraformed, plump peckables are all luscious and ready for any thing! Like my Plum-Plum Girl Rouge Velour from Bourjois!

 

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I think I’ve used so many food themed products on my lips that you could literally eat my lips! I’m off to find me a xenomorph egg, get me a facehugger!

Yeah… that’s the xenomorph queen getting off with an MIB agent…this stuff exists, don’t ask me where I find it (look at the link) but this actually exists!

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