I was looking for something to line my waterline, and MUA steered me in the right direction. It says it's $24.50 on the Lancome (US) website, but I got it for about $8 on Amazon. This is a beautiful dark, dark brown (black coffee is a good identifier for the color) that works well as a daytime liner and is soft enough to go on the waterline with no irritation. For me it has good lasting power, too, as long as I wear primer (for the top lid) and don't tear up (for the waterline). I find myself reaching for this every day. It's quite easy to use, for those of you with unsteady hands.
Makeup Brushes -Sigma - F80 Flat Top Synthetic Kabuki (was SS197)
Loopachu 7/21/2011 11:11:00 PM
I don't like everything I've tried from Sigma, but this is a winner. Super soft, dense bristles are perfect for buffing in liquid foundation. Leaves a very natural finish with no streak marks. The brush cleans well and does not shed. I've also used it for blush and bronzer to get a slightly sheerer application and it does fine there too.
I did about a cup of mayonnaise mixed with the flesh of an avocado. I really should have put it in a blender, but I just tried to mash it up with my hands and there were chunks left in the mask. Then I put this all in my hair, smoothing it up as I went (it was thick enough that my hair sort of stuck on top of my head) and wrapped my head in plastic wrap and then a towel. I actually left it like this overnight instead of just 20 minutes, an hour, what have you. It made a bit of a mess in the shower but I shampooed through twice and it all seemed to come out. I did add conditioner afterwards but only to the bottom half of my hair. I have long hair, and my ends still feel a bit dry, but it added a lot of shine and volume. My hair's naturally very soft so I can't say about that, but it just has lots of body and looks very healthy. Kind of a messy fix and I don't much like the smell, but it seems to work and is far cheaper than other deep conditioning treatments :)
Hair Styling Tools -Unlisted Brand - Denman Grooming Brush
Loopachu 7/19/2011 10:57:00 AM
I got this hoping to dupe the $150 Mason Pearson, and while this is also not super cheap at $19 or so, it's certainly more in my price range. I have long, fine hair, and lots of it, and while it's straight it has a tendency to wave a little and get VERY frizzy, especially in the summer. This brush does what countless anti-frizz serums have failed to do for me, and that is to take all that frizz down. I haven't been using it for long enough to say whether the natural bristles take the oil through, making the scalp less oily and the ends more moisturized, as is the claim, but I really like the effect it has on my hair. I don't own a straightener but the results are similar to when I've had it straightened. I would imagine that if your hair is super curly and thick the brush wouldn't be able to get through it (the bristles are short and not as rigid as the plastic in a paddle brush), but for any other hair type I'd give it a try. :)
Concealers -Maybelline - Mineral Power Natural Perfecting Concealer
Loopachu 7/16/2011 5:32:00 PM
I can understand why some people are having trouble with a color match on this one. I bought it online so I was able to get it in Sand (medium 0-1) but in stores they only had Fair and Ivory. It's very warm, which I think would do well if you have blueish or purpleish dark circles, but I have more bags that are just darker skin color, so I'd have rather it ran more neutral (I'm neither pink nor yellow under-toned). It also seems light for medium - I'm light-medium usually but I think I could have gone a shade darker. That said, it does very well for what I need in concealing - mostly disguising the line of the bags, which i can do by dotting and then patting in with a pinky finger or by taking a liner brush to the concealer wand and literally drawing that line, then blending out with a finger or brush. I like that it dries matte because I hate when a concealer has "light-reflecting properties" which means shiny shiny shiny especially in photos, which is kind of embarrassing. If you have severe dark circles you might do better with a thicker concealer - it has good pigmentation for a liquid but liquids are always sheerer.
This is quite a wet mascara, so it has a lot of buildability. You can get a dramatic effect if you're patient (although obviously not a "false-lash" effect with a mascara -- if you want that just wear false lashes!) The downside of the wetness is that it smudges really easily after you first apply, and with the big brush you have to be careful not to muck up your eyeshadow. I think it gives a good bit of length and definition, and it's quite dark. It's not super volumizing, though. My lashes have a bit of curl to them already so I can't say as to whether it holds a curl.
This is a lovely gentle cleanser. I have quite sensitive skin so for me the gentler the better with cleansers, but I also like them to foam so that I can get makeup off and feel like I've got a good cleansing. I don't necessarily use the products from the "regimen" but I follow it in practice (avoid anything that will irritate the skin, use only 2 percent BP). I also use this to wash my makeup brushes. It keeps them in good condition (you can't get much gentler than a face wash) but it gets all the muck off if you're patient. And it's cheap! My only gripe is that with a pump you can't travel with it. I'd like to see more facial cleansers with a cap.
This is marketed as a leave-in conditioner, but I don't find that it adds any moisture to the ends of my long hair (where I really need it). Rather, the texture is kind of dry and straw-like after, it's odd. I don't really get tangles, so I can't say much about that. I don't really like the scent, it's kinda.. chemically? but I don't mind it either. Overall, I'll look for something else next time.
The colors in this palette seem like perfect neutrals to play with, for a smoky eye or a daytime look or what have you. But I find the pigmentation really disappointing. I'm not sure why, but the brown side of the palette just doesn't show up for me at all. I'm not super dark so I'm not used to this happening. The gray side is a bit better. I do, however, really like the black liner to use with an angled brush. The packaging is clean and neat, but the magnet that keeps the lid closed makes the whole thing kind of heavy. It's not super travel-friendly. The included brushes are okay, but I use my own.
Eyeliner -L'Oreal - Pencil Perfect Self-Advancing Eyeliner - Carbon Black
Loopachu 6/11/2011 6:41:00 PM
I prefer a pencil for tightlining/lining the waterline, because it makes me nervous to use a gel or a liquid that close to the eyes, and I like that this is self-advancing because I always lose sharpeners. The pencil is soft and goes on easily, like a kohl, which is nice for the waterline especially. It smudges like crazy, though. It just doesn't stay put at all, which I find very frustrating. I can't recommend this, especially for the price (I think I paid almost $9).
Applied poorly (with too much), this does terribly, but applied correctly this covers like a dream. On the back of a hand, apply a dot about a grain of salt in size, and apply this to the undereye area with a brush that gives you some precision. I've used a MAC 217 in the past, but I've recently picked up a Stila #2 undereye concealer brush, which allows me to draw very carefully down the line of the darkness. It's very opaque, and doesn't settle into lines. If you're finding it's doing that or getting cakey you're using way too much. My only gripe is that it goes on shiny, which I can mostly combat by setting with powder with a tapered blending brush, but it can sometimes show up in flash photography. I also like that it has collagen and vitamin K, which are supposed to help with undereye darkness. It's expensive, but when you consider how little you're using it should last forever.
This is a sheer pink very similar to Bubble Bath (I find it slightly pinker than BB) or even Sweet Heart (I find it a bit sheerer than CC and less milky). I think the people that are frustrated with it are wanting it to be opaque and it's just not designed that way. On its own it's sort of a "your nails but better" with one or two coats. It's also a fabulous base to a French mani because it really pinks out the nail beds, and if you want to do an American mani it's sheer enough to use over the white tips. I'm not sure if it's because it's a d/c color, but the brush on mine is wider than I'm used to with OPI polishes, and I find that sometimes makes me pack on too much. The formula is pretty OPI standard, chip resistant, all that good stuff.
I have to admit, I bought this because of the hype. And like many other people who are neutral fans, I already had dupes of most of the colors. But I do find that I use the matte shades fairly frequently (naked and buck) and I really like virgin as a highlight. If you don't already have a big stash of neutrals this would be a really handy palette. I think the reason people are disappointed is it can't possibly live up to the massive hype it's caused for itself. I have the version with the brush, and I think it's a good little brush for applying the shadow densely. I use something else for blending.
This runs a little more of a hot pink on me than it looks in the pictures. I tried this on my fingernails, but I think it's a little too daring for me. I do, however, really like it on the toes. It adds a nice pop of color against nude or black sandals. I recommend this if you like bright colors, and I think it would be a good summer color. It also seems to be pretty chip resistant, even without touching up the top coat.
This is a thick, stark white. I almost think it's a little too white, even for a French mani - it looks a little like you dipped your hands in white out. I've heard a d/c'd shade (OPI Getting Acquainted) is a little subtler if that's what you're looking for. I also like putting a sheer pink over top (OPI Passion, Bubble Bath, etc) that softens it a little bit. I find the thickness makes it a little easier to work with when trying to paint a tip carefully, but it's also hard to fix mistakes, and it takes quite a while to dry. I had a couple of nails chip two days after, even with a top coat, which was frustrating.