This has been in the drafts for months, I’m just a terrible person who is unworthy of my friendship with Mai, the wonderful, helpful, adorable, kind, insert a thousand more superlatives here blogger behind Portrait of Mai. If you read makeup blogs, you’ve probably heard of her, as she’s really active in the community and has spoken up against unethical brands before. I wanted to introduce you all to her.
- How long have you been into makeup? When’d you start?
I recall wearing a little bit of makeup in middle school but I remember really getting into makeup when I joined the Mac_Cosmetics Livejournal community and when my sister came home with Black Tied and Deep Truth Eyeshadow to wear with her homecoming or winter formal dress. I was extremely into MAC, I never bought a lot of it but I was an avid member of Specktra.net (a MAC community site) and was trading for MAC when I could.
- Is there one product you would consider your ‘vice’? I’m a lipstick girl myself.
Eyeshadows. I adore loose and pressed eyeshadows and I’m in the process of pressing my loose shadows to save space to buy more eyeshadows! (Ed Note: She has since gone on a pressing rampage, and has tons of tutorials and helpful info on her blog on how to do it yourself.)
- Do you have any advice for makeup newbies regarding buying makeup online? Because I feel like as beauty bloggers, a lot of us experiment with indie brands and they’re usually not sold in stores. What are some stores to avoid or lessons you’ve learned that only beauty blogging has taught you?
It might seem obvious but search for objective reviewers and reviews. I adore Makeupalley as a source for non-blogger reviews for indie and mainstream brands. For bigger brands, Temptalia sets the standard for objective reviews. When it comes to indie brands, take the time to search for reviews and be on the lookout for constructive reviewers and reviews versus empty praise. Search for swatches. I’m quite cautious about spending my money with Indie brands, even though they’re often cheaper than some of the drugstore products that I buy on impulse. The fact that I can’t physically hold or see it in person makes me more wary which is why I rely on swatches to bridge the gap and to help make a more informed decision. A few of my favorite resources for Indie Swatches are http://www.phyrra.net/, http://swatchstorm.blogspot.com/, and http://rockrollglam.com/ And take the time to search for repackagers. With mineral makeup companies, repackagers are companies that take unblended mica and resell it without disclosure to the consumer that the color is unblended and the color not mixed by the company. There are many companies that will offer unblended shades for the consumer but the good ones will disclose that it is an unblended or “primary pigment”.
- If you had a thousand dollars to spend on makeup, what would you get?
As many Fyrinnae Eyeshadows as I could (Fyrinnae is #4 on my list of top makeup brands), lots of Darling Girl lip products, the rest of the Sugarpill pressed eyeshadows, a few Shu Uemura Lashes, and then Chanel products to suit my Pixiwoo fan girl heart.
- What are your HG items?
Physicians Formula Eye Booster Liner. Darling Girl Glitter Glue or Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy. Bioderma Crealine H20. Aquaphor.
- You have been really outspoken about the LimeCrime situation (one of the reasons we’re friends I think hehehe) can you tell our readers more about it and why they should care?
To sum up the issue, I and others found offense in the Lime Crime Chinadoll Campaign for their recent Chinadoll palette release because we thought the image was done in a poor manner and the text accompanying the campaign was perpetuating Asian stereotypes and done in a racially and culturally insensitive way. I described my grievances in a post that eventually got the attention of the owner of Lime Crime and she actually reached out to me to ask me a few questions on my post. However she decided not to ask me any questions and in the end, said she was not going to change anything and was going to keep the text the same, even though it offended many people.
- Seeing the different responses I’ve gotten has made me reevaluate my intentions with the posts. When I initially posted about the topic, my intention was to say “This is offensive, please read why it is.” Then I started getting comments from people saying “I’m not offended personally, but I can see why you are” and it made me think that what my goal should be is to say “This is what I find this offensive from my perspective of being Asian, please read why I feel this way”. I can’t always make people feel offended by something I feel offended by, but I can at least try to get them to see things from my perspective. It made me much more acutely aware that my experiences as an Asian American have altered how I see things like the Chinadoll campaign. I know others didn’t find the text "Don’t let her milky skin, pouty mouth and flushed cheeks fool you, underneath the poised facade, there lies a heart of a tigress" offensive but my perspective of having to deal with Asian stereotypes made me view things differently.
- From my post, I started thinking about the issue of Asians (be it South East Asians, South Asians, or East Asians) not often being talked about or represented diversely in popular media in the US and I think because of that, we should be more aware of the things we say or do so we don’t offend others. The concept of stereotypes when applied to Asians is often described as being “positive” since they’re always things about Asians being good at math or being the model minority but they’re just as restrictive as perceived “negative”. I think that’s why we should care about the issue of the Lime Crime Chinadoll campaign and also the owner’s response to the controversy. The whole thing brings up the issue of tolerance and respect and how it’s important to educate yourself to not stay ignorant in the face of obvious issues. I found myself extremely disappointed that the owner decided that she “wasn’t going to kill her (the Chinadoll concept) just because it makes some people uncomfortable – that would require sacrificing my artistic integrity”.