The Face Behind the Mask – Maintaining your Rogueish Countenance with help from Freeman’s ‘Feeling Beautiful’ Line

Greetings from the shadows, my fellow rogues!

Given the amount of time we spend tucked away under hoods and behind masks, you’d be forgiven for thinking that rogues aren’t really into skincare all that much. I mean, when you’re face to face with a scabby, festering orc, can it really criticise?

People tend to forget, however, that those rooftop chases and dank dungeons are just as hard on the face as they are on the hands and feet. Cold wind, the heat of flames, and the funny thing that the glow of eldritch enchanted weapons does to a rogue’s skin are daily challenges we all face. Often, when you get back to the inn after a quest, all you want to do is wash your face and feel clean again (never mind all that quaffing business).

Enter the ‘Feeling Beautiful’ range from Freeman, a selection of cleansers, scrubs and masks that want to help you do just that. The range is quite extensive, covering a large variery of skin quibbles – so large, in fact, that this rogue has yet to try them all. The four I’m bringing you today are the ones I’ve tried most recently, and include a couple of favourites.

Freeman Products

From left: Chocolate and Strawberry Clay Mask, Kiwi and Yoghurt Cleanser, Pink Grapefruit Scrub and Pomegranate Peel Mask. The Skelemancer has brought friends with him this time. Curiously, depsite having no skin, these guys love a good spa day with Freeman’s Feeling Beautiful products…although there seems to be a bit of a fight going on over who gets the peely mask first!

The products I’ll be looking at today are:

The Facial Clay Mask in Chocolate and Strawberry

The Facial Moisturising Cleanser in Kiwi and Yoghurt

The Facial Exfoliating Scrub in Pink Grapefruit

The Facial Revealing Peel-Off Mask in Pomegranate

You’ll note that the packaging makes assorted claims like ‘Deep Pore Cleansing’ and ‘Purging and Fortifying’. I’m going to say right now that I generally ignore these claims on any skincare product. They may be true. They’re probably only partially true. I will never know how deeply my pores have been cleansed (because I’m going on feel alone, and let’s be honest, none of us can feel every individual pore right to the bottom), and if I’ve been purged, then…well…honestly I hope I can’t feel that!

A the end of the day, what I’m really interested in is: does it feel nice? Does it make my skin break out/improve my skin? Do I like/can I stand the fragrance? Does it multitask or save me time somehow? So that, my friends, is what I will be focusing on. The pomegranate peel mask advertises ‘Mega 8 Complex’ – I’ve never bothered to look at what that is supposed to be. It’s a peel-off mask, for god’s sake. The effective ingredient is pretty much mechanical action, rather than chemical,  so ‘Mega 8 complex’ means very little. If it had other claims, like ‘repels minotaurs!’ or ‘disenchants evil facial hexes’, then I might be a little sharper about it, but it doesn’t.

So onward with the review. Below are the products themselves. The packaging doesn’t contain any warning about the undead rising from blobs of the product – it happened to me; your experience may vary.

Blobs

These skeletal warriors rose from the dead for this stuff. It must be good, right? Clockwise from the pink blob: Pink Grapefruit Scrub, Kiwi and Yoghurt Cleanser, Pomegranate Peel Mask, Strawberry and Chocolate Clay Mask.

First up is the Pink Grapefruit Scrub. This is… well, it’s a scrub. The particles are quite fine, so you don’t feel like you’re sandpapering your face, and the fragrance is pleasant and fresh (if you like grapefruit). I wouldn’t call this scrub *essential*, but you get a lot of product for your money, and it’s gentle and refreshing. The packaging is a tube. It’s sturdy, and is a good vehicle for the product, which has a very thin gel-like consistency. The only complaint I have is that if you keep this in the shower, the clear cap part can fill up with water, which then cools and dumps an icy shot down your body when you next pick it up in the shower. This is a pretty minor quibble, since it’s avoidable, but it’s worth knowing!

Scrub Blob

As you can see, the exfoliant particles are almost invisibly fine. Our skeletal friend is already making inroads on this one.

Next is the Kiwi and Yoghurt Moisturising cleanser. This one is a favourite of mine, because it does what it says on the tube. My skin feels clean and moisturised after I use this, not squeaky or dry or tight (which my skin is prone to; too much time on the rooftops makes Sylirael a dry rogue!). The fragrance is very light and pleasant, and the fluid cream/gel consistency is easy to extract from the tube and use. Highly recommended, as it obviates the need for a separate toning or moisturising product afterward (unless I have a particularly recalcitrant dry patch or some eczema, in which case I’m using a specific medication anyway). A must-have!

Kiwi and Yoghurt blob

I can’t lie, I love this stuff as much as my skeletal friend here. I, too, would climb out of the grave to get my hands on this Kiwi and Yoghurt Cleanser.

Third on my list is the Pomegranate Peel-Off mask. Now, this is a bit of a special case. I personally don’t really think that peel-off masks make that much difference to the quality or purity of my skin…but I’ll be damned if they aren’t incredible fun to use. It’s just like that episode of MacGyver where Murdoc peels off his face – you know, the one that gave you nightmares as a kid. Brilliant. The product is a very thick, clear gel with a hint of purple colour to it, and you have to be quite careful when spreading it over your face not to catch any of your eyelashes/eyebrow hairs etc accidentally, as it can be a bit ‘waxing’ if you’re unlucky. It can be washed off, though, if you get it somewhere unfortunate, so don’t worry. I think you also need to be quite slow and gentle when peeling it off, as it does stick quite well, and fast peeling results in a sort of burning feeling. Still, so much fun. Also excellent for startling people in your household or adventuring party.

Peel-Off Mask

Not a melted gleatinous cube, but a sample of the Pomegranate Peel-Off Mask. Perfect for the rogue who likes to have fun with peel-off disguises.

Last but not least is the Clay mask in Strawberry and Chocolate. I won’t lie, like many clay masks, it looks like you’ve smeared your face with the contents of a baby’s nappy. However, it is a wonderful product if you are prone to oily skin (or oily areas). The consistency is very thick, like a paste, but it spreads smoothly and softly onto the skin, and washes off perfectly when it’s dried. The other great advantage to it is that it can be used as a cleanser for a quick mattifying wash! I kid you not; take a little bit, thin it with water and rub over your face as if you were using a normal cleanser. Don’t wait for it to dry, necessarily, just rinse off as usual and complete the process with your favourite moisturiser. Multi-tasking! The fragrance is…strawberry and chocolate of the kind that you get in products that are not strawberries and chocolate. It’s not unpleasant, and it doesn’t linger, but it isn’t the real thing, if you know what I mean.

Clay masks are quite hard to photograph attractively, but what this one lacks in aesthetic charms, it makes up for in quality and affordability. Perfect for the rogue who sometimes feels like the hinge grease has spread to his or her face

Clay masks are quite hard to photograph attractively, but what this one lacks in aesthetic charms, it makes up for in quality and affordability. Perfect for the rogue who sometimes feels like the hinge grease has spread to his or her face

The verdict: Freeman’s ‘Feeling Beautiful’ line is a great range of affordable cleansers, masks and scrubs, with a variety of pleasant ‘flavours’ and it covers a decent selection of skin types/problems. The sizing is generous and the products do their job! What more can you ask for, really? (A map to a loaded dungeon printed on the back? Possibly. But you can’t always have everything you want).

The practicalities: Freeman’s Feeling Beautiful skincare products cost NZD 9.99 – 19.95 /USD 3.99 (depending where you shop; prefer pharmacies over Farmers) for 150 mL/6 fl. oz, are permanent, and may be acquired from assorted chemists/pharmacies/drugstores etc around the globe, as well as the Freeman Beauty website. Many of the products also come in sachet (‘travel size’) form, containing just a few uses (0.5 oz) for ~ NZD 3 -5 / USD 1.99.

Until next time, fellow adventurers, don’t forget to check for traps!

Syl

I am an adventuring rogue, not a mercenary for hire, and as such, all opinions expressed here are my own, based on a genuine fondness for/interest in this product. If you have any queries or suggestions, please do not hesitate to pin your parchment to the board (contact me) at thepaintedrogue [at] gmail [dot] com., or use the contact form provided!

Back to Basics! A Classic Red for Every Rogue: Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Fire and Ice (#720)

Greetings from the last shadowy doorways of 2013, my fellow rogues!

There comes a time in every rogue’s life where he or she realises that their kit is missing a critical component. Amidst all the newfangled trap defusing equipment and exotic sleeping draughts, there is a corner of their kitbag that is crying out for a solid, dependable classic: the Classic Red Lipstick. Or possibly hemp rope and hinge grease. It could go either way, really.

Hemp rope and hinge grease may be useful, but they don’t make you feel unstoppable – enter Revlon’s Super Lustrous Lipstick in Fire and Ice, a lipstick with a pedigree equal to its pigment. This shade has been produced by Revlon since 1952, which, if nothing else, should tell you that it’s one of the most multi-purpose, striking shades out there. Other shades may fall by the wayside, but Fire and Ice goes on – just like an exellent rogue, really.

F&A + Sigryn

Sigryn is a classy dwarf warrior. She knows her classic red lipsticks – and wants you to as well!

Alright, babbling aside, Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Fire and Ice is a classic, opaque, red creme (satin finish) lipstick. It will give you intense colour in one pass, and the bright red colour leans either pink or orange depending on your skintone. On this rogue, it leans slightly pink, but is still definitely a hot, red pink. It is truly stunning. The packaging is standard Revlon, and is totally functional – a nice aspect of the tube is that the top is transparent, so you can see at a glance which colour is inside (saves time when rummaging through the spoils of your last dungeon raid to find your lipstick. Especially when the owners of said dungeon are bearing down on you, brandishing edged weapons).

Bullet

As you can see, Sigryn is mesmerised by the magnificence of this classic red lipstick. You will be too…
(note the transparent top to the cap – very handy!).

Now for some swatches: the first one is in natural (morning) light. The swatch pulls somewhat orange in this picture, interestingly. You can also see that the texture is very opaque, and leans to the semi-matte end of satin.

daylight swatch

Interestingly, this natural light swatch looks both orange-y, and matte. This isn’t exactly untrue of this lipstick (it can pull orange-red on some skintontes, and it is toward the matte end of the spectrum), but it’s not quite how I experience it in real life. I guess its magnificence is just confusing the camera.

Next up is diffused light, just because I could. The colour really glows, no matter what light you put it in. Definitely not a shade for the faint of heart, but then again, if you are feeling timid, sometimes a gorgeous, unashamed, vibrant lipstick can be just the thing to boost your confidence. Remember, mindflayers can sense fear and weakness, no matter how momentary. Before they get the chance to feed on your psyche, dash on a lick of this, and your confidence will send them packing. Essential for deep dungeoneering defences.

Diffused light! Just because. Here you can see more of the red tones in the lipstick, and some of the satin shine.

Diffused light! Just because. Here you can see more of the red tones in the lipstick, and some of the satin shine.

Now we have direct artificial light, to give you the best idea of the extent of the sheen on this lipstick.

Artificial light

Sheen! Also, this is the reddest of the swatches, to my eye. Such a dynamic colour…hooray for another multitasking product!

The wear time on this lipstick is phenomenal on me – enough to see you through the journey to the dungeon, the dungeon itself, and then the celebration in the tavern arfterwards. In other words, about 6 hours. I will admit, however, that I follow Lisa Eldridge’s method for bulletproof red lipstick, which includes using this lipstick to lay down a stain first. I am, as usual, too lazy to use lipliner, but even after 6 hours I only see minor feathering – no migration.

One small warning (but also a recommendation, oddly) is that this lipstick stains like a %$&#*!. This is great, in the sense that you can use it as a lipstain, a cream blush (if you’re brave and talented at blending) *and* a lipstick, but you need to be quite careful during application. I only ever apply lipsticks staight from the bullet, and use the tip of the bullet for ‘lining’ and filling in the edges, because that’s just how I roll (I’m a rogue who likes to live dangerously). If you usually prefer to use a lip brush however, this is probably not the lipstick to try a new application method with.

Below is a photo of the stain left from the swatch. The lipstick was only on my skin for about five minutes, and I couldn’t scrub the stain off. It will require either scrubbing with makeup remover, or  (on the lips) the action of many, many hours of saliva (you all know what I mean – spit will remove any lip product eventually, and we’ve all probably used it as an emergency makeup remover at some point).

Stain

The stain left by brief contact with Fire and Ice. As you can see, it does lean a little pink on me – it’s actually very pretty as a lip stain in its own right.

Fire and Ice has no particular smell or taste, so the minotaurs will have to look elsewhere for prey. The texture is smooth, has a slightly ‘coating’ feeling, and has normal levels of moisture for me. It doesn’t dry out my lips at all, but it isn’t precisely *hydrating*, in the active sense. One final note on the stain – because it is so bright, and isn’t easily ‘dissolved’ by things you put on top of it, I find it useful for altering the colour of other lip products. I have a greyish purple lipstick that I will review for you all soon, and I like to put a stain of Fire and Ice underneath to give it a bit of pep. If you have a nude lipstick, or a brown lipstick or a pink lipstick (or any lipstick, really), that you feel isn’t quite right for you because it’s too sheer/pale/sickly/dull, then try a stain of Fire and Ice underneath it before you give up on it – you might be surprised by how attractive the result is!

The verdict: An excellent, long-wearing, opaque, intense, bright red lipstick. Perfect as a lipcolour, a stain, a blush, and a ‘revivifyer’ (may have made that up) for other products that aren’t quite pulling their weight. As if that weren’t enough, it’s also a classic, historic shade, prefect for any rogue who likes to come out on top in any situation (make of that what you will…).

The practicalities: Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Fire and Ice (#720) costs NZD ~28.oo / USD 7.99 for 4.2 g/0.15 oz, is permanent, and may be acquired from chemists/drugstores etc the world over.

Until next time, fellow adventurers, don’t forget to check for traps!

Syl

I am an adventuring rogue, not a mercenary for hire, and as such, all opinions expressed here are my own, based on a genuine fondness for/interest in this product. If you have any queries or suggestions, please do not hesitate to pin your parchment to the board (contact me) at thepaintedrogue [at] gmail [dot] com., or use the contact form provided!

Three Times the Treasure: Clinique ‘Whole Lotta Candy’ Holiday Set – Chubby Sticks in Pudgy Peony, Voluptuous Violet and Two Ton Tomato

Merry lurking, fellow rogues!

I hope you’ve all been having an enjoyable festive season, with much quaffing, feasting etc. With some of the madness over, i’m checking in at the last minute (according to my schedule) to bring you a review of a wonderful gift I was given yesterday! To whit: the Clinique ‘Whole Lotta Candy’ holiday set.

The Clinique Whole Lotta Candy holiday set. Three times the usual Chubby Stick treasure! Also pictured – a slice of the village this rogue did most of her holiday feasting in…

The set contains three mini Chubby Sticks, in the shades Pudgy Peony (a bright, sheer, pink), Voluptuous Violet (a nearly transparent red-based purple) and Two Ton Tomato (a bright, sheer warm red), all in limited edition ‘candy’ patterned casing. The size of the whole stick isn’t dissimilar to a full size Chubby Stick, but there is less product (just under half) in the tube, hence ‘mini’. Attached below is the ingredients list, for your viewing pleasure.

The ingredients list/product details. I still have to wonder who came up with some of the names for these things. It's more original than 'Rose pink' or something, but 'two ton tomato' makes me giggle like a goblin at a rat race. Don't even bet me started on 'chunkiest chilli'...

The ingredients list/product details. I still have to wonder who came up with some of the names for these things. It’s more original than ‘Rose pink’ or something, but ‘two ton tomato’ makes me giggle like a goblin at a rat race. Don’t even get me started on ‘chunkiest chilli’…

 

Clinique’s Chubby Sticks are actually already a favourite of mine – I have two other shades, full size, that I will bring you at a later date. I find the texture to be smooth, easily applied, and very moisturising. They have a balm-like texture, a very light fragrance and no discernible taste. On me, they wear a good three hours or so, enough to get you through a couple of rooftop chases (where you’ll need the balm against the wind) and a celebration in the tavern afterward. Because of the slightly waxy texture (not in a bad way) I find that these last quite well through modest drinking/eating. Some of the shades can leave a soft stain.

 

From left to right: Two Ton Tomato, Voluptuous Violet and Pudgy Peony.

From left to right: Two Ton Tomato, Voluptuous Violet and Pudgy Peony.

The packaging is structurally identical to the full size Chubby Stick – there’s just a pattern on the barrel and the cap is transparent plastic instead of silver. The Chubby Stick packaging is excellent, I find, with a twist-up action (so you don’t need to worry about cluttering up your kit with a sharpener or wasting product) that is very smooth and a snug fitting cap that doesn’t pop off in your bag. There’s nothing more embarrassing than whipping out a dagger to fend off a rabid harpy, only to have the creature burst out laughing because your weapon is smeared with multicoloured gunk.

 

Closeups

Left to right: Pudgy Peony, Voluptuous Violet and Two Ton Tomato

 

In general, Chubby Sticks impart a sheer to medium wash of colour with a soft sheen. They’re perfect as ‘my lips but better’ colours with one or two passes, while some shades will yield definite and distinctly bright colours with a third or fourth pass. I can’t speak for all of them, as I’ve only (now) tried five shades out of what seems like about twenty, but every one I’ve tried has been at least useful as a ‘shade I can quickly dash on to perk me up while being pursued by orc hordes’ – seriously, never underestimate the power of a lip product that’s hydrating, imparts a soft, pretty colour, and can be applied without a mirror. The shape of the chubby crayon also makes application very easy. Even when it gets ‘blunt’, I still find it precise enough to get a good even line.

 

Swatches

Swatches in natural daylight, from left to right: Two Ton Tomato, Voluptuous Violet, Pudgy Peony.

 

In the above swatches, Two Ton Tomato and Pudgy Peony were two or three passes each. Voluptuous Violet was the result I got after, effectively, scrubbing at my arm with the crayon. The shade is, shall we say, rather sheer. However, when applied to the lips, especially if you don’t have a strong natural lip colour, it gives a slight berryish stain – I’m guessing that if your lips are more pigmented, it will probably just somewhat deepen the colour you already have. This can be very pretty for an effortless ‘pick me up’, but I’m not sure I would purchase the full, individual size of Voluptuous Violet at the price Clinique are asking for it!

 

Swatches 2

The same swatches under artificial light to show the sheen. Interestingly, Two Ton Tomato takes on a much more orange tone in this lighting!

 

One of the reasons that I like Chubby Sticks so much is that they are yet another multitasking product. The ones with medium pigment (like Two Ton Tomato and Pudgy Peony here) can be used as an ’emergency’ cream blush if you need to put a bit of colour in your cheeks at short notice! Obviously, because of their texture, you will get a slightly dewy effect, but you’re never in danger of applying too much, and if you have a few seconds to blend a bit more of the sheen away, then the stain is actually quite pretty and lasts for a little while. Mind you, this probably applies more if you are as ghostly pale as I am. Deeper skintones might find the exercise a bit pointless? Let me know if you try, I’d be curious to know if it works for those less vampiric than this rogue!

The verdict: All in all, this is a great little set of Chubby Sticks, perfect for those looking to try out a few shades, or those looking to expand their collection cost-effectively. Voluptuous Violet is very sheer, but sometimes that’s just what you need. I am a fan of Chubby Sticks in general, and can only recommend them to any rogue who likes a hard-working, attractive lipbalm/stain/stick/paladin.

The practicalities: Clinique’s Whole Lotta Candy set costs  NZD 40.00/US 25.00 for a set of three 1.2 g/0.04 oz (each) lip crayons. The same shades, and many others, are available in full-size Chubby Sticks in the permanent line, which cost NZD 40.00 / US 17.00 each for 2.8 g/0.1 oz. Clinique products may be acquired from assorted chemists, department stores and Spehoras around the globe, as well as www.clinique.com.

Until next time, fellow adventurers, don’t forget to check for traps!

Syl

I am an adventuring rogue, not a mercenary for hire, and as such, all opinions expressed here are my own, based on a genuine fondness for/interest in this product. If you have any queries or suggestions, please do not hesitate to pin your parchment to the board (contact me) at thepaintedrogue [at] gmail [dot] com., or use the contact form provided!

A Walk on the Bright (Purple) Side – Make Up Forever Rouge Artist Intense in #15 (Violet Pearl)

Greetings from darkened doorways, my fellow rogues!

I’ve previously posted about another purple lipstick, also from MUFE, and I wanted to bring your attention to this one as its opposite! Where Satin Blueberry is dark, Pearl Violet is bright. Where the former is a satin, the latter is a metallic shimmer. What both of them have in common, however, is that they are gorgeous lipsticks.

Blog and MUFE

Make Up Forever Rouge Artist Intense Lipstick in #15, Violet Pearl, with Grog’s brother Blog.

Make Up Forever Rouge Artist Intense #15 (a.k.a. Violet Pearl) is a shimmery, metallic bright violet lipstick. If you’ve always wanted a purple lipstick but the conventional offerings are always a bit too reddish or ‘plum’, this lipstick has your back. It is boldly, unashamedly, beautifully violet. The application is surprisingly good for such a metallic lipstick, which I normally find drag like the feet of a bored cave troll. It goes on quite smoothly and only needs two or three careful passes to get excellent coverage. The wear time is somewhere in the region of 3 hours, which is about average on me, although it can wear slightly patchily depending on how you treat it (no feasting if you want it to stay smooth!). Its other wondrous property is that it isn’t drying in the least on me, which is something I often find with shimmery shades.

Blog and his violet pearl

Blog is a little more steadfast than his brother , and is keeping this lipstick cautiously in his sights. Despite his amusingly appropriate name, you’ll note that Blog isn’t laughing.

This lipstick is as fun as it is beautiful, just like a well disarmed trap. While its darker fellow can be more serious and mysterious, Pearl Violet is a riotous party of colour. I wish more companies made this kind of lipstick, with this quality. No, it isn’t a one-pass, full pigmentation kind of shade, but it’s also not drying, not draggy and moderately hydrating, which is pretty damn amazing for a metallic. Your lips will be so gem-like, you’ll have dragons trying to add you to their hoard (the perfect way in to raid one, just saying…).

Now for some swatches…

swatch

Three-pass swatch under artificial light to capture the shimmer. I catch both blue and pink glitter here, my fellow sparkle fanatics!

I find artificial light the best for showing the glitter and shimmer in things, and you will find that the light from a nearby torch, candle or dragon will have the same effect.

daylight swatch

Daylight swatch! Complete with goosebumps, because the breeze was a little chill.

Next up is daylight (morning) – the shimmer is a bit less intense/obvious, but the colour is still as gloriously purple as ever. This is still about two or three passes for ‘opacity’.

daylamp swatch

…and here we have…artificial daylight! A dalight bulb lamp, that is. This shows…well, just that it’s really pretty, I guess. Also that after three passes, the opacity is really quite good.

And finally a ‘daylight’ bulb lamp. You can see that the colour stays quite true under multiple sources of illumination, consistently giving you a satisfyingly vibrant, shimmering violet. The only tip I’d give for easier application is making sure your lips are smooth and lightly balmed first (wipe off any excess ‘greasy’ balm though), just to keep application simple. But then I suppose that goes for most lipsticks anyway. I didn’t find that I experienced any sort of feathering or beeding, and it doesn’t seem to magnetically attract itself to your teeth either.

vanquished!

Aha! Blog has managed to vanquish his foe. Or so he thinks, anyway. The lipstick is still having a great time – just look at that glorious colour!

I acquired this lipstick in Paris, and traveling constraints once again meant I had to dispose of the packaging. As such, I cannot give you a snapshot of the list of ingredients right at the moment. The website for the product does indicate that it is ‘paraben free’, for which they (once again) receive a massive eyeroll. The packaging is simple and classic, even a bit functional, almost as if someone mated a medicinal product with a Chanel lipstick tube. It shuts with a satisfying and solid click and the bullet moves smoothly and cleanly in the tube. What can I say? MUFE makes a good purple lipstick!

The product has a light, pleasant violet scent (how appropriate) and no particular taste (that isn’t related to the fragrance)

The verdict: An excellent, comfortable, riotously, unashamedly violet purple lipstick. Perfect for the rogue who knows how to have a good time, and do it in style.

The practicalities: Make Up Forever Rouge Artist Intense Lipstick in #15 (Pearl Violet) costs EUR 20.50 for 3.5 g/0.12 oz, is permanent, and may be acquired, with the rest of the MUFE line, from assorted Spehoras around the globe (although the available colours are highly variable, in my experience).

Until next time, fellow adventurers, don’t forget to check for traps!

Syl

I am an adventuring rogue, not a mercenary for hire, and as such, all opinions expressed here are my own, based on a genuine fondness for/interest in this product. If you have any queries or suggestions, please do not hesitate to pin your parchment to the board (contact me) at thepaintedrogue [at] gmail [dot] com., or use the contact form provided!

Getting to the Pointe of Keeping on Your Toes – Bloch Aspiration Pointe Shoe

Greetings, my fellow rogues and bards,

If you will excuse the trail of terrible puns in the title, I’d like to introduce you today to a particularly fine potential tool for the dancing rogue or bard. I am referring, obviously, to the Bloch ‘Aspiration’ pointe shoe. They were the first model of pointe shoe I ever used, and I have only good things to say about them. The photograph below is an ancient one that I took with a terrible phone camera, but it’s the only personal image I have of the shoes in an unused state.

Brand New!

Brand new! A terrible phone photograph from many years ago…of some nevertheless very shiny Bloch Aspirations.

Note how beautifully shiny the satin is. Note how fancifully I have arranged the ribbons and tied the strings in little bows. Note how I carefully took the photo before I stitched in the big, ugly but nicely supportive elastics.

Below is another pair of Aspirations, in their ‘used’ state. As you can see, superficially, they still look alright. I am one obsessive compulsive rogue when it comes to keeping my shoes looking nice – the last thing you want when dancing up a bolstering enchantment or boureeing past an awestruck guard is for the spell to break when they notice your hideous, mangled shoes.

Used Blochs

Not as mangled as you expect them to be? Why, thank you!

However, you will notice that the ribbons are now a sort of sick, beige colour, the inner lining is a nice sweaty grey and the satin is grungy around the edge of the box. You will probably also have noted the fact that I have written ‘L’ and ‘R’ into my shoes. I can assure you that I do in fact have INT > 10 – this is because I sew my ribbons and elastics, and make any other alterations, while my foot is in the shoe, so the fit is customised. Writing the letters in saves time (and pain) later. Stop snickering!

*Ahem* The tips of the shoes have also fallen victim to many, many tendus:

Munchy toes

Pictured: your pointes on too many tendus. Not pictured: Syl making any effort to darn or suede her shoes.

Although there is a lot of satin that has remained basically prisitne…almost mysteriously so….

Satin

Even I am surprised how good some of the satin looks, and I was the one being careful with them.

Part of this, of course, is the way I used them, and the way they broke for me. I never broke in my shoes by hand – it was by foot! By sheer force of arch (hence all the additional tendus), if you will. At the time, I would have liked to have given them to Grog the Orc and had him pre-mangle them a bit so they were easier to use, but in hindisght I think my foot strength benefited much from the extra work. The shank is, I believe, the hardest one you can commonly get for this model of shoe, and by Corellon, did I know about it while I was breaking them in.

Pointe sole

Again, not as grungy as it could be. You’re probably asking yourself why I would keep a manky pair of pointe shoes…good question…

My size is 4E (yes, I have wide feet – all the better to balance on planks laid over trapped dungeon pits with, my dear!), and as you’ve probably seen from previous photos, I use two elastics, criss-crossed over the instep for a bit of extra support. I can’t really show you the way my shoes finally wore out, because it’s deep in the box, just under the ball of my foot. I found I could no longer stay comfortably stable in releve, and when I worked the shoe gently next to my ear, a horrbile crunching could be heard from inside the box. It really was the most terrible grating, crumbling sound, not unlike the noise you get as skeletal archers are dragging themselves from the earth to skewer you with a thousand moldy arrows.

Anyway, how long did they last? Originally, I’d say about a year of on-and-off use. Now, I’d expect significantly less! I’m using a different shoe these days, which I will tell you about later. In the meantime, here is what they look like on the foot of an actual rogue:

En Pointe

The purplish colour of those tights? That’s the colour you get when you’re too lazy, er, I mean, busy raiding a dragon’s hoard, to wash your pink tights separately from the rest of your predominantly dark wardobe.

Not pictured in the photo above is the amazing position I had to get into to hold the lamp and camera at the level of my foot, which I was trying to put some weight on despite the fact that the shoe is horribly broken in the functional sense. There’s even a little rusty nail sticking through the sole somewhere. Good times.

As a final note, I would like to disclose that I wear the adorably named ‘ouch pouches‘, to try and preserve my toes. My current shoes can be worn without them, but the inside of these Bloch Aspirations was designed with ‘suffering for your art’ in mind. It will take all the skin off your feet if you don’t have some sort of padding (lambswool/foam/enchantment) in there.  With ouch pouches, I suffer only the occasional bit of damage to the inner corner of my left big toenail, and yes, I can still ‘feel the floor’. Anyone who tells you that you need to bleed to be a good dancer is not your friend. That said, it may still happen, pointe shoes being what they are!

The verdict: An excellent shoe, especially for rogues new to the art of dancing on their toes. Just one tip – pad your toes a little to truly customise the fit and make them comfortable for you, and don’t listen to anyone who tells you you have to suffer.

The practicalities: Bloch Aspiration pointe shoes cost NZD ~140.00/USD 62.00/GBP 39.95 per pair , and may be acquired at your local dance store (depending which brands they stock), or online at http://www.blochworld.com/ (or your country’s variant of this URL).

Until next time, fellow adventurers, don’t forget to check for traps (especially on the floor, if you’re dancing)!

Syl

I am an adventuring rogue, not a mercenary for hire, and as such, all opinions expressed here are my own, based on a genuine fondness for/interest in this product. If you have any queries or suggestions, please do not hesitate to pin your parchment to the board (contact me) at thepaintedrogue [at] gmail [dot] com., or use the contact form provided!

Hand over Foot – or vice versa? The Body Shop Almond Oil Hand Rescue Treatment

What’s up (in the rafters, waiting to strike), rogues?

As anyone who has traversed a shattered catacomb/carried groceries up a hill/danced en pointe etc etc knows, sometimes your feet need a little TLC. Hands, too, take a beating, whether you’re out in the elements, washing up a lot, or throttling the mad Goblin King.

Well, you’re in luck, lads and lasses, today I have for you another multitasking potion for your adventuring kit – The Body Shop’s Almond Oil Hand Rescue Treatment. As a quick note, it’s been renamed  ‘Almond hand and nail butter’, but it’s the same potion, really!

The Body Shop Almond Oil Hand Rescue Treatment - and Hilarion

Here we have Hilarion, championing his favourite hand/foot cream. The man tromps around in metal shoes and swings weapons barehanded – if anyone knows about hand/foot treatments, he does.

I know what you’re thinking: ‘Syl, it’s a handcream. There’s no way it’s rich enough to be a foot balm without making you slip and break your neck when you apply it. That’s why they called it a *hand* cream. Really, I think that goblin king might have knocked your head harder than you thought’.

And it is indeed intended as a product for the hands – but I think the Body Shop is missing a great opportunity by not broadening the scope a bit and adding ‘foot’ somewhere to their marketing. I know they have other foot products, but as far as I can tell they’re all peppermint scented (which not everyone wants all the time), and why lug two products around when you can use one?

As you can see in the photo below, the texture is quite thick, but it’s creamy and melts quickly on the skin, lasts long enough for a good massage, and then skinks into the skin quickly enough that your rations don’t slip out of your grip at lunchtime. I particularly like it as a foot massage cream, actually. It has the added benefit that it won’t really irritate any broken skin you might have on your feet (blisters, eczema, cracks etc), unlike some of those peppermint products! Obviously, if you have serious cracking or damage on, say, your heels, it’s not designed to *fix* that, but it won’t burn either (always a plus).

Dig in!

Hilarion, already digging in. The texture is soft enough that you needn’t use edged weapons to get some out, but Hilarion’s got his own way of doing things, I guess.

The packaging is, well, functional. It’s a pot, what more can you say? But it does close well enough, and the cream never seems to dry out or separate. The product has a light almond-y, ointment base-y sort of smell, which is inoffensive on the hands and can’t be smelled all the way from the feet. (This is yet another advantage over the peppermint ones for the practical rogue – those peppermint scented footprints and fingerprints you’re leaving will have the minotaurs laughing all the way to dinnertime). The pot size is also portably small, and sturdy enough to survive most dungeoneering. The product can also be acquired in a couple of different sizes of tube, with a slightly less rich formula, if desired.

Current look

The current version/appearance of this multitasking moisturiser, taken from http://www.thebodyshop.co.uk

I find that the best time to apply this product as a foot balm is in the evening before bed/your first watch of the night. That way it has a good long time to soak in, and you can be a little heavier handed than you might be if you were just going to put on your boots and go. As a hand cream, you can apply it whenever, really, but may wish to be a bit more sparing if you only have a couple of seconds to spend on the process. This is one to be savoured.

The verdict: A worthy addition to any rogue’s backpack – perfect for the hands after a rooftop chase, or the feet after a quest that takes you all the way there and back again.

The practicalities: The Body Shop Almond Oil Hand Rescue Treatment (now the Almond Hand and Nail Butter) costs NZD 24.00/GBP 11.00/USD ? (the US website crashed when I opened it :-P) for 100 g/3.5 oz, is permanent, and may be acquired at your local Body Shop, or online at http://www.thebodyshop.com/ (or your country’s variant of this URL)

Until next time, fellow adventurers, don’t forget to check for traps!

Syl

I am an adventuring rogue, not a mercenary for hire, and as such, all opinions expressed here are my own, based on a genuine fondness for/interest in this product. If you have any queries or suggestions, please do not hesitate to pin your parchment to the board (contact me) at thepaintedrogue [at] gmail [dot] com., or use the contact form provided!

A Walk on the Dark (Purple) Side – Make Up Forever Rouge Artist Intense in #49 (Satin Blueberry)

Greetings from the shadows, my fellow rogues!

It might be a little harder than usual to see me – today I’m wearing a particularly dark and gorgeous purple listick, perfect for adding a little shadowy camouflage (or drama – dramouflage?) to your adventuring toolkit.

Make Up Forever Rouge Artist Intense in #49 (Satin Blueberry).

Make Up Forever Rouge Artist Intense in #49 (Satin Blueberry). Grog seems skeptical, however, as he’s not keen on blueberries.

Make Up Forever Rouge Artist Intense #49 (a.k.a. Satin Blueberry) is a richly pigmented, opaque, satin finish listick in a deep, warm, blackened purple. It applies smoothly and evenly, and has a cloaking, slightly hydrating feel on the lips. The wear time is excellent on me – I find that this one will still be keeping me in the shadows even after clearing a medium sized dungeon (or 4-5 hours).

MUFE #49 - the bullet

Grog seems to be fleeing in terror – success! The perfect lipstick for raiding any orc lair.

I stated previously that lipliner is something I find more tedious than trying to trim all the heads off a hydra (although admittedly less dangerous), but this lipstick may actually require it. I don’t bother, generally, but by the end of those 4 or 5 hours, the edges have started to feather a tiny bit. This is particularly noticeable on me, as I have the paleness you might expect of someone who spends most of their time in pitch darkness. If you need it to look perfect for a long time, however, you might wish to line your lips with a matching or colourless liner first.

Swatch

The very bottom of the swatch shows what you can get with one light pass – pigment aplenty! The top of the swatch is two passes to show how dark you can get it with minimal effort. Application is very smooth and even for such a dark lipstick.

Speaking of perfection and wear time, I find that sometimes, with dark/bright lipsticks, they fade from the inside of my lower lip first, giving a rather vampiric look to the centre of my mouth (potentially not a bad thing, if you’re trying to infiltrate a vampire lair). If this happens to you, or the lipstick won’t even apply nicely to that area in the first place, I suggest going over the lips with a good lip balm first. This will help even out the lip texture/moisture and help the lipstick to apply more evenly. You can probably do this with lipliner as well.

IMG_0570[1]

The gates of Carcassonne. Not pictured: hordes of tourists. To be fair, it was fairly quiet out front when I took this picture, but inside was another story…

 

I acquired this lipstick in the village near the fortress of Carcassonne, and traveling constraints meant I had to dispose of the packaging. As such, I cannot give you a snapshot of the list of ingredients right at the moment. The website for the product does indicate that it is ‘paraben free’, for which they receive a massive eyeroll. The packaging is simple and classic, even a bit functional, almost as if someone mated a medicinal product with a Chanel lipstick tube. It shuts with a satisfying and solid click and the bullet moves smoothly and cleanly in the tube.

The product has a light, pleasant violet scent and no particular taste (that isn’t related to the fragrance)

The verdict: An excellent, long-wearing, opaque, intense dark purple lipstick. Perfect for the rogue who wants to try and stand out while they melt into the shadows (no mean feat!).

The practicalities: Make Up Forever Rouge Artist Intense Lipstick in #49 (Satin Blueberry) costs EUR 20.50 for 3.5 g/0.12 oz, is permanent, and may be acquired, with the rest of the MUFE line, from assorted Spehoras around the globe (although the available colours are highly variable, in my experience).

Until next time, fellow adventurers, don’t forget to check for traps!

Syl

I am an adventuring rogue, not a mercenary for hire, and as such, all opinions expressed here are my own, based on a genuine fondness for/interest in this product. If you have any queries or suggestions, please do not hesitate to pin your parchment to the board (contact me) at thepaintedrogue [at] gmail [dot] com., or use the contact form provided!