General Makeup and Appearance

My Last Ipsy Bag…

…And Why I Gave Up On Beauty Subscriptions

2016 was my year of upping my makeup game.  I went on a quest for the most perfect, holy grail, ride or die products that would work perfectly with my skin type, harmonize with my coloring, and fit my budget.  On the daily, I am a minimalist, using high SPF BB creams, eyeliner, and tinted lip balm.

My Last Ipsy Bag - Why I Gave Up On Beauty and Makeup Subscriptions by Dawn Devine ~ Davina -

My belly dance makeup kit was old, tired, beat-up, and expired.  My brushes were chewed up, my makeup bag was broken, and it was time to examine my skin care regimen, cosmetic application techniques, and choice in products. I set my goals, started with a whopping (for me at least) budget of $500, and an additional $40 a month, on average. Why did I set such a big budget?  Because I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I didn’t know how many products I would buy and try, love and keep or ditch after using for a while and discovering something better.

Davina aka Dawn Devine - My Last Ipsy Bag - Why I Gave Up On Beauty and Makeup  Subscriptions |

I went to the source of all makeup information on the web, YouTube.  I discovered a huge community of ladies and gentlemen covering every aspect of makeup from amateur to pro, young to old, dry skin to oily, deep to pale. There is practically something for everyone!  I was so inspired I even tackled a #31DayBellyDanceMakeupChallenge and put the evidence up on YouTube.
One of the things that many of these YouTubers were suggesting to “new to makeup” viewers was signing up for a beauty subscription service or two.  When more than a dozen folks suggested the same things, I decided it would be a great idea.  So I signed up for several different services throughout the year.
My Last Ipsy Bag - Why I Gave Up On Beauty Subscriptions by Dawn Devine
I began with Ipsy and Birchbox at the beginning of the year.  At first, Ipsy was a ton of fun!  I got a cute little bag, lots of interesting samples from brands I hadn’t heard of, lots of indy and indy brands that I wouldn’t have experienced without their service.  Birchbox, however, seemed to send higher end products, randomly chosen, that didn’t suit my needs or lifestyle.  But worst still, in three months, I received boxes with broken items.  When I received the third box with breakage, I decided it was too much hassle to get broken things replaced, and really, in three months, there wasn’t a single Item in a box that I wanted to rebuy.

So I canceled Birchbox and joined the mailing list to get the Sephora Play Box. I also purchased a Target beauty box.  I REALLY liked the Target beauty box, but it sells out within MOMENTS of being on their website.  It’s not a subscription service, so you have to know when it’s going on sale and jump immediately.  I tried to get two more and failed both times.  Target Beauty Box, you’re just too inaccessible for me!  I still continued on with Ipsy, going to their site, answering their questions to try and steer the products towards my needs.

My Last Ipsy Bag - Why I Gave Up On Beauty Subscriptions by Dawn Devine
In the summer, after waiting many months, I finally got into the Sephora Play Box.  I love Sephora, it’s like a temple to the gods of makeup, and their employees are their acolytes helping people find their inner glamazon. However, after receiving the Sephora box twice, I realized that it was just a little too rich for my blood.  I loved trying the products, but I wasn’t going to be buying a $40 cleanser or $80 moisturizer! It was fun to get, but it wasn’t progressing my quest to find products that I would actually repurchase. Although Sephora Play is the same price as Ipsy, it’s geared to folks with bigger budgets!
Sephora Play Box - My Last Ipsy Bag - Why I Gave Up On Beauty Subscriptions by Dawn Devine
In late summer, I decided to try Boxycharm.  The appeal of this service is that you pay a little more, but then you receive full sized products. From the very beginning it was a great box for me. They sent a nice combination of products, most of which I would definitely enjoy using, even if I decided never to repurchase, I could really try a skincare or hair product long enough to know if I like it.  Most of the items are on the pricier side, so I probably won’t try most of them, but when a box is sending full-sized eyeshadow palettes, you’re getting a pretty good deal.  I pre-bought half a year, when it’s finished, I’m going to let it lapse because I’ve resorted to giving my friends these full sized makeup eyeshadow palettes!


Contents of a BoxyCharm Subscription Box | My Last Ipsy Bag - Why I Gave Up On Beauty Subscriptions by Dawn Devine
So here I am, it’s January 2017 and my year of makeup quest has ended.  So today I canceled my Ipsy subscription.  After a year of Ipsy, I realized that I didn’t “find” anything I want to repurchase!  I also seemed to collect an epic collection of mascara minis, hand cream samples, and eyeliners to work through!  I found myself giving way so many things I simply don’t use in my world, like nail polish and sheet masks.  I got a lot of oddly incompatible products. I wound up giving the curly hair products to my curly hair friends. The skin-care samples were too small to use for any length of time to see if they would work.

While I initially loved the little bag that comes with every Ipsy mailing, I found myself being overrun by these little bags. Some were cute, but others were not to my taste, and all of them were about the same size.  I only need a few bags in that size, so I found myself giving them away at the holidays filled with mini and full sized products I received throughout the year.

Things I'll never use | My Last Ipsy Bag - Why I Gave Up On Beauty Subscriptions by Dawn Devine
Overall, what I learned is that I would rather have that $10 – $20 cost of the subscription in my makeup budget so I can choose exactly what I want and need for my collection. The tiny thrill of opening an unknown package in the first quarter of the year, by August had turned to an overwhelm of samples and minis. I now have a bowl of samples sitting in my living room waiting for friends to visit and partake, like a calorie free candy bowl for makeup lovers!
What journey am I on this year?
I’ll let you know in a few weeks once I dial into my 2017 quest!
Here’s wishing you glamor in 2017!
Dawn Devine ~ Davina
January 15, 2017
Belly Dance General Makeup and Appearance

Blue Assiut Look

davina-blueassiut-torquay-headshot-webI recently posted a blog about the sources from my assiut, and I received several requests to share what products I used to create my “Blue Assiut” makeup look.  This photo was snapped in the Toorkok Hotel in Torquay, UK at the Celebrating Dance festival. This is the look I put together to wear while I was just walking around enjoying the workshops, teaching, and shopping in the souk.

Because I was traveling internationally, I really had to plan strategically to take the minimum amount of makeup to make a maximum impact.

Before I travel I “rehearse” my performance outfit from head to toe.  That includes putting on a full face of makeup.  My method is to put on my makeup as I would before a performance, and as I use each product, I put it into my makeup bag.  This simple procedure makes sure that I have everything I need with me.  Because I put my cosmetics into my checked bag, I always choose affordable internet and drugstore products.  If they don’t survive the rigors of travel and become either broken or lost, they are affordable to replace.  I also avoid taking special or limited edition makeup that I would be sad to lose.

If you are interested in hearing more of my thoughts on the pre-packing ritual of the makeup rehearsal, and the cosmetic products I used to create this look, check out the YouTube video below.  Enjoy!

Happy Costuming & Dance,
Dawn Devine ~ Davina
November 21, 2016

General Makeup and Appearance

Help – My Depotted Eyeshadow won’t Stick to Magnetic Palettes!

Dawn-31-LooksBar2One of my projects for the month of August was to declutter and organize all the bits and pieces of makeup that are in my life. Usually I conduct an annual makeup clean up in January, but this year, I wound up waiting until I completed a makeup challenge.

Throughout the month of July, when I took on the “31 Day Belly Dance Makeup Vlogging Challenge.”  All the looks and videos are up on my YouTube channel and the videos range from “informative” to “OMG, What was she THINKING?”  It was a fantastic learning experience and an amazing challenge to tackle and complete!

However, quite frankly, I made a big mess!  There are lipsticks in every corner of my home, and boy, I never realized how obsessed with concealer I am!  The things you learn when you challenge yourself when you’re challenged! Over the course of 31 days, I touched every drugstore-priced makeup product I own. So now it’s September, and I thought I would take some time to share some of the smaller “projects” that fall under the larger umbrella of decluttering my makeup collection.  Without further ado, here’s how I conquered my broken palette!

Happy Costuming and Dance!
Dawn Devine ~ Davina
Sept. 7, 2016

Transforming Aluminum Makeup Pans
for Use in Magnetic Containers

For my 31 Day Belly Dance Makeup Vlogging Challenge in July, 2016, I made a few rules for myself.  My principle mandate was to use affordable drugstore and internet products to keep the costs down.  Many women wear makeup every day, and dialing it up the intensity for stage requires an investment in new products.  Other ladies might never have been involved in cosmetics and suddenly find themselves needing to put together an entire makeup look from scratch.  Either way, makeup can be very expensive and learning new techniques can feel daunting.  So in my challenge I wanted to share some of my favorite discount products.

However, budget products can be very hit or miss.  While there are many brand loyal women, in my experience, there isn’t one company that can solve all of my cosmetic challenges.  So, my goal was to share the products I love with students of the dance who are working on perfecting their perfect performance look.

Depotting-Foil-Eye-PaletteOne of the affordable products that I love for belly dance performance is the BH Cosmetics Foil Eyes Shadow Palette.  These shimmering, shiny, colorful, and crazy affordable eyeshadows are almost always on sale. At the time of this writing, it was only $12.  When I purchased it, it was made even more affordable with a site wide sale.  As you can see from the photo below, I’ve tried, used and loved many of the colors. Over the course of the 31 days, I featured this palette in nearly every look.

Depotting-White-Shadow2While the eyeshadows in this super-affordable palette are fantastic, the packaging itself left something to be desired.  In less then two weeks of daily use, the frosted top of the packaging broke off and the pans of eyeshadow began to spring free of their cheaply made molded plastic tray.  “No worries,” I thought to myself, “I’ll just pop this in a magnetic palette!” However, I soon discovered that the pans are made from aluminum and are non-reactive with a magnetic surface!  What’s a girl to do with her eye shadow pans popping out?!

My mission, glue washers onto the backs of my eyeshadow pans and place them in a magnetic container. So I raided the tool shed with a magnet in hand and found a bag zinc washers with some iron content so they would stick to the magnet.  I also located some glue that would hold metal to metal together.


This process is super simple.  Turn your depotted eyeshadow over on a piece of paper, in this case, I used paper towel. I like to make four small dots of glue and then place the washer onto the glue.  It’s good to read the label on your glue for dry times.  This glue did a fine job for this project, but there are many different formulas and brands that would work, just be sure to get an adhesive that works for metal to metal purposes.

Once the glue dried, I placed my shadows in a magnetic palette from the company Shae Moisture, purchased through Target on line. My next step is to pick my favorite colors from the BH Cosmetics Modern Mattes eyeshadow palette.  While I love, and highly recommend all the shadows in the Foil Eyes palette, I found that the colors in the Modern Matte palette were very hit and miss, so I’m only going to pick the colors that worked for best for me and fill in this tin!

Shadow-Magnetic-Palette copy


General Makeup and Appearance

Makeup I love, part 1

Makeup-Green-Yellow-Eyeshadow-DavinaDaily Makeup Products
31 day belly dance makeup YouTube vlogging challenge

Throughout the month of July, 2016, I’ve been working on a 31 day vlogging challenge and have been putting together a variety of fantastic looks for attending, mc’ing, and performing in dance shows. In some videos I go into more details than others about the products I choose to use to build the look.  Although there are a few products that I’ve only used once or twice, most notably, lipstick, there has been a consistent set of basic cosmetics that I turn to again and again throughout this challenge.  Below is a list of the products I’ve had on my studio work table turned vanity throughout this challenge.  There are a lot of things on this list, but know that I would NEVER wear them all at once!  Because I’ve changed lipstick and lip liner virtually every day of this challenge, I will be putting together a second list of lip products that I have been using and like.  The list of lip products would be longer than all the rest put together, so they will get their own list.

Because my mandate was to use drugstore and affordable internet cosmetics, I did buy some products untested and found that occasionally, I got something just didn’t work out for me.  In the list below, I’ve only included in this list the products that I really like and that have really worked for me.  So if you see it here, it’s been a winner for my over 40 dry skin.   Wanna watch the videos? Check out this YouTube playlist.

Happy Costuming!
Dawn Devine ~ Davina
Aug. 2, 2016

Skin Prep
Boots No7 – Protect & Perfect Advanced Serum
Boots No7 – Protect & Perfect Intense Eye Cream
Garnier – Moisture Rescue Refreshing Gel-Cream for Dry Skin
CeraVe – Sunscreen Face Lotion SPF 50
St. Ives – Timeless Skin Collagen Elastin Moisturizer
Studio Davina – Hydration Spray – with grape seed oil and glycerine

L’Oréal – Revitalift Miracle Blur
Boots No7 – Instant Illusion Wrinkle Filler
Rimmel – Lasting Finish Liquid Foundation (Ivory)
L’Oréal – True Match Foundation (N2 Classic Ivory)
Nyx – Dark Circle Concealer (Light)
Nyx – Above & Beyond Full Coverage Concealer (Fair)
BH Cosmetics – Pro Perfecting Concealer (Light)
Physicians Formula – Super BB Compact Cream SPF 30 (Light Medium)
Physicians Formula – Super CC Powder SPF 30 (Light Medium)
L’Oréal – True Match Powder – (C2 Natural Ivory)


Eye Shadow – Cream Bases and Powders
Nyx – Jumbo Eye Pencil (Various Colors)
LA Girl – HD Pro Primer Eyeshadow Stick (Black, White, and Nude)
Maybelline – Color Tattoo by Eye Studio Metal (Silver Strike)
Wet N’ Wild – Color Icon Shadow Palette (Tunnel Vision)
BH Cosmetics – Foil Eyes Palette
BH Cosmetics – Carli Bybel Eyeshadow & Highlighter Palette
BH Cosmetics – Galaxy Chic Baked Eyeshadow Palette
BH Cosmetics – Take me to Brazil Eyeshadow Palette
BH Cosmetics – Wilde & Alluring – Baked Eyeshadow & Highlighter Palette


Eye Liner, Brows, Mascara & Lashes
Physicians Formula – Shimmer Strips Eyeliner Trio (Nude Collection and Blue Eye Collection)
Essence – Eyeliner Pen Waterproof – (Deep Black)
L’Oréal – Infallible Gel Lacquer Liner 24 hr (Blackest Black)
Covergirl – The Super Sizer Mascara, Waterproof (Very Black)
Daiso – Assorted Japanese Eyelashes
BH Cosmetics – Studio Pro HD Brow Pencil (Brunette)
Colourpop – Brow Pencil (Black N’ Brown)
Maybelline – Eye Studio Brow Define and Fill Duo (Deep Brown)
L’Oréal – Brow Stylist Plumper Brow Gel Mascara (Medium to Dark)

Blush, Bronzer & Highlighter
Maybelline – Master Glaze Blush – ((All Discontinued 🙁 — sorry))
Makeup Revolution – Ultra Blush & Contour Palette (Sugar & Spice)
Rimmel – Kate Sculpting Kit (001- Golden Sands)
Ulta – Sculpting Palette (Astoria & Rosette)
L’Oréal – True Match Lumi Powder Glow Illuminator (Ice)
ELF – Illuminating Palette


A list of the lip products used in the 31 day vlogging challenge will be included in its own upcoming post.

General Makeup and Appearance

Final Week of #31 Day Belly Dance Makeup Vlogging Challenge – Home Stretch


Hello Gang!

Here’s an update on that #31daybellydancemakeup vlogging challenge I attempted in July 2016.  I missed a few days, so this challenge is spilling over into August as I start day 24 in a few minutes.  Over the past month, I’ve learned a lot about myself, my makeup skills, and the art of editing video.  I’ve gotten a lot of messages about this project and I thought I would share a few thoughts on why this has been such an experience.

Q – Why did you do this?

A – Because video is scary, and the only way to get comfortable doing it – is to do it.  So like a hot day at the pool, I dove into the deep end with a big challenge to get over the pain all at once!  It is my hope, that I will be able to get to work on a series of video tutorials for my costuming techniques in the fall when my latest book projects are completed.  As I work on finishing up Becoming a Belly Dancer: From Student to Stage, A Stage Craft handbook by Sara Shrapnell, Alisha Westerfeld, Poppy Maya and myself, I realized the project is at the point where it’s more routine and detail oriented than creative and fun.   This video project gives me a great creative outlet, while learning new video editing skills to use in the future.



Q – How are you making your videos?

A – On my iPhone.  I’m shooting the video on the front-facing camera of my iPhone.  I’m using iMovie for IOS on my phone to do my editing, and uploading to YouTube and FaceBook directly from my phone.


Q – Why do Makeup Challenge?

A – Because it felt like a challenge, but doable.  There’s no way I could have invested the time into making a costume every day!  This seemed like a challenge that I could take on that was of a manageable daily time commitment, something that is important to the overall “look” of a belly dancer, and by sticking to affordable internet and drugstore products, I was able to keep the costs within my budget.


Q – What has been the hardest part of this project?

A – Making time for it!  Depending on the day, I would spend a lot, or a little bit of time on these makeup looks.  Some days it went amazingly fast.  On other days, I would have difficulty speaking or thinking of something to say.  “I did this makeup because I HAD to” just isn’t interesting.  As I have become more relaxed speaking to the back of my phone, I’ve found it’s been easier to shoot, and consequently easier to edit.


Ultimately, as I enter the last week of this challenge, I’ve learned I really enjoy making videos, playing with makeup, and that there IS such a thing as false eyelashes that are “too big.”   I’m adding each of the days to a playlist so that people who really want to see the complete arc of the challenge can check it out. Now it’s time to go and put on another face and make a video.

Happy Costuming!
Dawn Devine ~ Davina
Aug. 1, 2016