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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)



Who are you, anyway?
Where can I buy a certain product?
What can you tell me about makeup precautions?
How many teaspoons are in a jar of MAC pigment?
How quickly does makeup expire?
How do I make pigment samples?
How do I ship makeup around the world?
How do I shop and bid safely on eBay?
Where can I find other makeup resources online?
What products are pictured in your title image?




Who are you, anyway?

My name is Sara, and I'm a makeup addict.

I'm a freelance makeup artist, and I love wearing, applying, and collecting cosmetics. I've always had strong artistic inclinations, and I find working with makeup to be a terrific form of self-expression. I also love making people smile, and it always makes people happy when I do their makeup.

This site evolved from a series of pages that I'd put together over the past few years documenting my makeup work and collection, plus answers to peoples' requests for product photos, lists, and tutorials. It continuously evolves. I hope you like it.



Where can I buy a certain product?

I buy most of my makeup and supplies online. Here are some links to my favorite makeup-related retail sites:

When you can't find what you're looking for, try Froogle. I hunt down a lot of great items and deals with their search engine. And if you see something on makeupaddict.org that you'd like to find, just ask and I'll try to tell you where to buy it for yourself!



What can you tell me about makeup precautions?

Sometimes you will come upon a makeup product with a warning regarding where and how you use it, such as "not intended for use in the eye area" or "do not use on or around the lips." These precautions are there for a reason -- the product may carry a risk of irritation, allergic reaction, or long-term health issues if they are used against their warnings.

As a makeup artist, I adhere to product precautions. I don't want any harm to come to myself or my clients. My body is precious to me, and I'd rather use products for their intended uses. With the amazing range of makeup products available today, you should be able to find a safe alternative for nearly any product that carries a warning. Need red eyeshadow? Blue lipstick? Glitter for the eyes? It's all out there in a safe version.

For MAC product precautions, check Specktra.net (there's also a FAQ at the bottom of that page). For more general cosmetics safety infomation, the FDA has an online Cosmetics Handbook.



How many teaspoons are in a jar of MAC pigment?

One topic that regularly comes up in MAC forums is making/buying/selling pigment samples. More specifically, there are often questions about measuring these samples and the volume of pigment in a full-size jar.

Pigments are sold by weight (measured in grams), and samples are usually measured by volume (in teaspoons). This means that a single jar of pigment does not contain a standard number of teaspoons. Some jars actually contain different weights (the frosts are mostly 7.5g, and mattes and metals are usually 2.5g), and the "fullness" of the jar varies between shades and handling. Some of the mattes are half-full, so clearly they produce fewer teaspoons than a packed-to-the-top frost shade. Some shades only seem to make about eight 1/4 tsp samples... others can make over twice that many!

There is no straightforward conversion between grams and teaspoons. You'd have to know the density of the pigment to figure that out, and the density varies greatly between pigment textures and how you handle them (shaken up, a pigment might be less dense than if it had settled).

When it comes to packaging samples, so-called "5 gram" sample jars are a confusing thing -- they don't really refer to the volume or weight of the contents! You may recall from grade school that one milliliter of water weighs one gram. A "5 gram" sample jar holds exactly 5 milliliters of water. So the inside of the jar holds a volume of 5 milliliters of water.

What does this have to do with teaspoons of pigment? Well, this is a tad tricky as well. There are actually three different international standards for a teaspoon! There's the metric (5mL), imperial (3.55mL), and US (4.93mL). These are all commonly used in the US and abroad. If you assume that you're using a metric teaspoon, then a 1/4tsp sample will fill about a quarter of a "5 gram" sample jar. Obviously, the other standards of teaspoons would fill the jar a little less. It also depends on how you fill your spoon (level, packed down, heaping, etc.) and how the contents are handled after filling (shaken up or allowed to settle).

So when it comes to the original question, "How many teaspoons are in a jar of MAC pigment?"... well, the world may never know.



How quickly does makeup expire?

As a makeup addict, one of the great worries about having a large makeup collection is that products could expire before they are used up. There is a lot of debate on exactly when makeup expires, but I can give you a few guidelines and ideas to consider.





How do I make pigment samples?

Some products come in containers that hold more product than most people can use by themselves. One popular example of this is with MAC pigments, where a full-sized jar of a color could last an individual for a decade (or more), especially with infrequent use. With these products, it makes sense to sell samples out of a full size jar... or to purchase samples instead of buying your own jar.

As I mentioned in my response about teaspoons in a jar of pigment, there is no standard number of samples per jar. But most people make one-quarter or one-half teaspoon samples and package them in small plastic sample jars (for purchasing info, check this answer). Here's my method for making samples for sale or swap:

  1. Invest in a few basic supplies up front. Get at least one set of metal measuring spoons with 1/4 teaspoon and 1/2 teaspoon spoons. Little jars, obviously. And labels are great to have, too. I buy 1" round inkjet/laser labels from data-labels.com, download their template, and make printed labels for the bottom of each jar. Have some scotch tape on hand to put a piece on each jar to "seal" it, because sometimes the jars come a little unscrewed in transit.
  2. I print up my labels, stick them on the bottoms of the jars, and start filling with my little measuring spoons. I clean the spoon between colors to avoid contaminating the samples or my jars. I usually measure in slightly heaping spoonfuls -- where the pigment is a little heaped above the level measure of the spoon. This is mostly out of generosity, and respect for the fact that some pigments are "fluffy" and may settle later and seem like less than a full spoonful. I screw my jars shut, stick on a little piece of tape, and get them ready to ship.




How do I ship makeup around the world?

This is mostly a continuation of my answer about making pigment samples, but it applies to other products as well. Please note that this answer is written for people within the United States.

If you're doing much mailing on a regular basis, an inexpensive digital scale that weighs in ounces (with at least a resolution of 0.1 ounces) is essential. Some bulk packs of bubble mailers (in small sizes like #0 and #1 if you're going to sell small items like samples) are important, plus packing tape and some postage stamps in basic amounts. Optional supplies include bubble wrap (for extra padding), some postal rubber stamps (like "FIRST CLASS" and "FRAGILE" -- try eBay for great prices), tissue paper (for wrapping orders and keeping everything together), and little goodies to throw in with orders.

I find that I can keep enough stamps on hand to put postage on domestic packages without going to the post office. This is why it's great to have your own scale... you don't have to wait in line! The USPS first class rates work in a logical fashion -- 37-cents for the first ounce, and 23-cents for each additional ounce (up to 13 ounces). This rates page from the USPS is great for reference.

Outside of the US, shipping costs vary widely. You can use the USPS postage calculator to calculate rates to other countries. You almost always have to visit the post office to mail packages internationally. These packages will require a customs form, which you can pick up at the post office and prepare in advance.



How do I shop and bid safely on eBay?

One of the places that many people have found great deals and rare items is on eBay. eBay is always a gamble, since you're usually dealing with individuals and not established companies. There are a lot of potential problems with eBay transactions -- items not arriving, things not as described, people with poor attitudes or service, getting overcharged for shipping, etc. But it can pay off -- sometimes, you'll find some amazing deals, work with friendly and generous people, and generally be a happy camper.

If you're going to buy off eBay, here's my advice:

  1. Do your homework. Know the retail price of the item you want to buy, and know if it's current/discontinued. People constantly list items with incorrect information, claiming high retail prices, or that an item is "hard to find" when it isn't. Know about the item and bid with confidence that you're not getting ripped off. Also do your homework on a seller -- read their feedback, and their feedback left for others. If they have recent negatives, or a lot of negatives, bid with caution. They're most likely doing something wrong.
  2. Read EVERYTHING in the auction. Read their descriptions, terms, payment methods, and shipping costs. There can be some fairly kooky stuff in there! The auction terms are a contract, so you want to know what you're agreeing to, right? Shipping is an especially important section to read, because a lot of sellers overcharge on shipping. It doesn't cost $5 to send an eyeshadow via first class mail. Look at payment methods, too, because you don't want to discover that they only accept something you don't have (obscure payment sites) or something unreasonable (a money order received within 3 days of end of auction).
  3. Be logical -- if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Like extremely low prices, or something VERY rare in large quantity. Perhaps it's legitimate... but if your intuition says it's not, don't let yourself get ripped off. People sometimes sell sketchy items like knock-offs, mislabeled items, or used store testers repackaged in boxes. You'll probably get a lot of help from reading about the seller and the terms of the auctions -- most of the horrible ones are clearly bad news from the beginning.
  4. Don't let yourself get overexcited in the heat of the moment. I know auctions can be really exciting and addictive, especially if you're a makeup addict and find something great! But it helps to set limits for yourself (like, "I won't pay more than a buck less than retail for this, including shipping"). One of the nastiest things about eBay is bidding wars -- that's when many people get out of control and over-bid on items. Sniping helps a lot -- a program like eSnipe.com will allow you to bid your maximum a few seconds before auction end. That prevents your bids from driving up the price before the end, and keeps you from disregarding your limits (and common sense) in the excitement of the auction.




Where can I find other makeup resources online?

There are many great places to find information about makeup, plus communities designed for makeup enthusiasts. Here are a few of my favorites:

There are many other fabulous sites... just do a search or check the links from some of the sites I listed!



What products are pictured in your title image?

The eyeshadow and lipstick in the title image are both by MAC, and among my favorite shades: Casino eyeshadow (a limited edition shade from the 2005 Lustrevision collection) and Fresh Moroccan lipstick. I chose these shades because they are beautiful, and both are flattering to many different skintones and complexions. For a substitute for Casino that's not limited edition, try MAC Amber Lights.