I have two main uses for this, but that's enough to make this worth keeping around. 1. On the cupid's bow of the upper lip and below the fullest part of the lower lip. Note: I do not extend the line all around the lip -- that tends to looks like clownface makeup. The trick with this is to use a spongetip applicator -- I like the applicator e.l.f. sells for $1 for eye shadow -- to blend the line outward. Looks natural, but still make the lip look plumper and more defined (at the same time!). 2. Just under the lashline where there's any purple discoloration and in the "tear trough" underneath the eye. I have many concealers that can work there, but it's easiest to place the color precisely with the sharpened tip of the Reverse Lipliner. I also find the color doesn't smear or travel as much as creamier concealers do.
Eye Shadow -Cargo - Cargo Eyeshadow palette in Warm Neutral
Sarasotagirl 1/18/2010 6:20:00 PM
If you're pale and distinctly yellow-toned, this is a good all-around palette for a subtle, neutral eye, or as a base for accent colors. As with all Cargo shadows, the formula here is soft and blendable, with decent color payoff. I don't have any trouble blending any of the colors to get a new shade -- and I can't always say that about my MAC shadows. I paid $16 for the palette during Sephora's half-price liquidation of Cargo merchandise -- I'm not sure I would have paid the original $32, but I would pay $20-$24 gladly. The four colors are labeled with where they're supposed to go: Browbone: Matte white, just barely yellow-toned Lid: Light yellow ochre (a little lighter than MAC's Soft Ochre Paint Pot, actually) with soft shimmer -- not frosty, but definitely pearlescent Crease: Matte light golden brown with virtually no orange or red tones. You would think this color would be available in every line at all times, but IME, it isn't -- most versions are darker or orange. Outer corner: Medium taupe that veers a little more to gray than brown. The pan shows a few sparkles (much fewer than the lid color), but I don't see them on the eye. I'm NC10, and this the first "neutral" palette I've found that has colors light enough to look neutral on my skin. If you're more than medium in skintone, you'd likely find this palette useful mostly to highlight or blend with other colors. Update: The hinge on the compact broke after only a couple of months' use, and I wasn't carrying it around. So I elected to try to depot the shadows -- and managed to do some real damage to the lightest and darkest colors. Oh, well -- they're soft. The pans will fit in an e.l.f. palette that you've pulled the divider out of or in a Z palette.
I paid $12 for this during Sephora's half-price closeout of Cargo merchandise -- that's about $6 too much. Only the darkest color shows as pigment on my lips, and keep in mind that I'm pale (NC10) and my lips are only moderately pigmented. The other three colors are essentially whitish shimmer that needs to be reapplied often. And you don't even get that much! That huge tin conceals the fact that the gloss pans only go down half the depth. The one saving grace is that the gloss itself is not that sticky -- I don't end up pulling my hair off my lips every two minutes. But other glosses manage that feat. This is a big "meh."
Wildly pigmented, smooth and blendable blushes for $3 a pan. Believe. I have three matte colors in 36 mm pans: Natural, Amber and Soft Beige. I bought them to fill out an eight-well palette with four neutral matte La Femme Shadows (Nude, Taupe, Brown, Dark Brown) and a 36 mm Graftobian cake eyeliner (Espresso). I figured I'd use the blush colors as blushes or shadows or contours or something. And I've found they work great for a multitude of uses. None of the names really fits my conventional understanding of colors, though. Natural is a light golden apricot, yellower than most peaches and not muddy. It works well for me as an accent eye color, since I'm NC10 and definitely warm-toned. It's also a great warm-toned "natural" blush for me. I doubt it would work for anyone cool-toned, though. Amber is a medium pink-brown, the kind of balanced, suits-many-undertones color you find in many lines. It is not bright but also not very muted -- this is the most "blush" of the three colors. Soft Beige is a slightly plummier, more muted version of Amber. It is not beige in any yellow/tan/brown sense -- rather, it's a muted color that would work as a contour color or to mute a too-bright blush. I use it with a very light hand when I want a toned-down look. Medium or darker skins would probably be able to use it as a straight blush color. One note: These are HUGELY pigmented. I must apply with a skunk brush, lightly, and blend or the colors are too strong (though keep in mind I'm really pale). They also last very well for blushes -- I don't find myself naked-faced by midday. Truly a great value.
The best value in makeup today. Truly: Fantastic shadows at about $3 for a pan the size of other brands' blushes. No, I'm not just squee-ing. I have four of the matte shadows (Nude, Taupe, Brown and Dark Brown), which I bought for a basic neutral eye palette. Nude is a basic ivory, balanced between warm and cool. Taupe is medium-light, balanced very well between gray and brown -- a true taupe. Brown is a light-medium warm golden brown -- it reminds me very much of Bobbi Brown Taupe (which is milk chocolate brown and way warmer than La Femme Taupe). Dark Brown is a neutral medium-dark brown -- not as dark as an espresso. I'm NC10, definitely warm-toned, and I use Nude as a highlight, Taupe as a lid color and Dark Brown in the crease very successfully. I will smudge some of the Brown in when I want to warm up the look. I think the trio I've named would work well for many undertones. All four of my shadows are smooth, highly pigmented and very blendable. They are similar in quality to LORAC, my previous fave brand and superior, IMHO, to BB or MAC. They are soft, so swiping a brush across the pan will kick up some extra powder, but who cares about waste at this price? I can get very precise, saturated applications, as well as very light applications -- I don't find I have to work hard to get the look I want. Versatile, in other words. I bought 36-mm pans from www.camerareadycosmetics.com to save myself the grief of depotting, but La Femme is available at other e-tailers, such as frendsbeautysupply.com, too. I put my pans in a Graftobian eight-well palette ($12 and looks a lot like the Chantecaille $48 one), displacing the Graftobian shadows I bought first for $8 each and have since, um, thrown out. The La Femme are orders of magnitude better. No wonder pros swear by them.
Lipstick -Bobbi Brown - Creamy Lip Color in "Heather Mauve"
Sarasotagirl 12/11/2009 10:09:00 AM
UPDATE 1/2011: After I had worn this down to a nub, 9 year old DD tells me: "Mom, that makes you look like a ghoul." DS, 11 years old, concurs: "I hate to tell you this, but it looks really bad on you." DD: "And it makes those little gunky things on your top lip!" Tossed. ORIGINAL REVIEW: Heather Mauve is the Creamy Lip Color that is recommended to women who match Brown (not Brownie, not Brownie Pink, but Brown) for a neutral lip. It is exactly that. I match Brown -- dead on -- and Heather Mauve is MLBB. No other color is as precisely right. Ergo, I own and wear this all the time. Yes, I agree: It is a very muted pink brown. It has little appeal in the tube -- compared to most other neutral, pink brown lipsticks, it looks like gray sludge. I know. Apparently my lips are kinda gray-pink sludge. Nice to know. However, Heather Mauve evens my lip color (important to a 48-year-old) with a satin, not-matte not-glossy finish. The formula is sheerer than the main BB Lip Colors (which are, IMHO, far too thick and slimy for the price tag) and I prefer it infinitely. I like other lipstick formulas better -- Chantecaille's and Lipstick Queen's -- but no one has hit my color as well as BB. Sigh. (For reference and possible help: I'm NC10-15 with moderately pigmented lips. I don't match any BB foundations exactly; I'm not that yellow. I'd wear Porcelain in some of the formulas in a pinch. I do match Becca LSC in Sand. I'm a Soft Autumn, if you know that system -- pale, muted, warm but with some neutral elements. I look best in lipsticks that are not bright, not light, not dark, not pink and not orange.)
When I first tried this brush to apply stick foundation to my dark spots and melasma, I swear I felt warm tingles of happiness all over. From a makeup brush! Before you alert the authorities, let me say that if you use stick foundation, spot concealers or cream shadows, you owe it to yourself to check this brush out. I am a little mystified why this particular brush is so much better than the half-dozen similar ones in my stash, but it is. If you're familiar with brush terminology, this is a "fluff," a rectangular brush that is slightly shorter than it is wide (this one is 7/16 inches wide and 6/16 inches long) and that has slightly rounded corners and is only slightly chiseled toward the tip (as compared to, say, a filbert or a dome/round, which are very chiseled). It is made of white goat hair that is packed densely into the ferrule; it is both soft but not super-flexible. It's kind of a "medium" brush. These shapes of brushes are used to pack color on and are often sold as blush brushes, cream brushes or lid-shadow brushes. I love love love this one for stiff creams such as MAC Paint Pots and foundation sticks. It is *brilliant* for these, laying on an even layer with soft, feathered edges. It is the fastest application of spot foundation I have ever tried, and I have decades of experience. I can put a dab of stick foundation around my nose or on a dark age spot and blend it in one move. Very often, I truly don't need to go back to feather the edges. Normally, I wouldn't consider a natural-hair brush for a cream product, but I think it is precisely the goat hair that makes for the lovely soft edges -- I never get those with synthetic concealer brushes without a little work. Something about the combination of brush fiber, shape, length, etc., in the Touch Up Brush is exactly right. I also do love it for cream shadows of any ilk, but I would especially hate to have to go back to applying a Paint Pot with my fingers or another brush. I get no skips in coverage, no unevenness. And now I need another one.
Tinted Moisturizer -Bobbi Brown - Extra Spf 25 Tinted Moisturizing Balm
Sarasotagirl 12/5/2009 8:16:00 PM
If I were to tell you that this is best thought of as a moisturizer that happens to have a few extra benefits -- rather than, say, a foundation -- I'm guessing you would think this is a waste of money. Wrong. This is a product that is making me rethink how to deal with my over-40, dry and melasma-bedeviled skin. For several years I've figured that I couldn't risk a TM or sheer foundation. So I searched for medium or medium-to-full foundations, and I found some decent ones. Even so, I'd usually have to dab stick foundation or concealer around my nose and on my worst brown spots and then set the whole thing with powder. Whew. But I guess it all depends on the TM. When I first put the Extra Spf 25 Tinted Moisturizing Balm on, I kind of think nothing much has happened. Then I dab tiny amounts of stick foundation (if I'm using BB, it's Warm Ivory) on my spots and set with RCMA powder, etc. And ... amazing. I look better than I ever did with the medium coverage stuff, even the BEST medium-coverage stuff. I don't mean that my skin looks perfectly even-toned, but that the overall effect is the best, on balance, that I've been able to manage, better than trying to get every spot covered. The balm is just glowy enough that it blurs uneven texture and just pigmented enough that it makes my skin look evener without looking like makeup. This is the same strategy that Chantecaille espouses with Real Skin/Just Skin and then stick foundation, or Becca with its Luminous Skin Colour and stick foundation -- I just didn't think it could work for me. I stand corrected. Perfected. Whatever. I like BB's balm because you need so very little to get very moisturized skin. And I need a lot of moisture, especially in winter, to keep flakiness at bay. This delivers. I scoop a little out with my Graftobian stainless steel spatula and spread with my fingers or a paddle-shaped foundation brush. When I say that I think of this as a moisturizer, not a foundation, I mean that I apply only enough to moisturize my face -- I don't apply more of the balm to try to get more coverage. Thoughts: This runs darker than any other BB foundation I've sampled. I use the lightest, Alabaster Tint, and it's both yellow-toned (not pink, as some of the other BB Alabasters are) and pretty close to NC15. The sheerness, though, makes it wearable for NC10-15 me. It can oxidize on me a little, unless I wear a primer (LM's, FWIW), but many things oxidize on me. And put me down as someone who looooves the lavender scent of this.
Brown is the color of my lips. I know this for a fact, not only because I've gone through two or three tubes of it in my life, but because I was typed to Brown in the BB Lip System at the counter. (By all means, get thee to a BB counter and have them find your "natural match" lip color. It's entertaining, and it does help in thwacking your way through BB's 25 million "pinky brown browny pink pinkish brown" offerings.) In other words, "Brown" is a medium muted pinkish color. The SAs tell me this is Bobbi Brown's favorite color -- so I gather it's the lip color for many other people. (The BB Lip System offers 12 other colors from her line that have similar undertones and are supposed to flatter you, in addition to the color that matches you exactly. Here's a link: http://www.bobbibrown.co.uk/popups/lipsystem.tmpl) How does Brown compare with other BB colors? IME: Tulle Brown: a slightly lighter, pinker Brown Brownie: a more muted, "browner" Brown, though roughly the same depth of color. Brownie Pink: Brown, but deeper. Midway to Raisin. Raisin: a deeper, more burgundy Brown -- the suggested "deep" color for women who match Brown. Nude: a slightly more golden, peachier Brown. Roughly the same depth. Golden Brown: deeper than Nude, but similar. I love BB's colors -- if you're muted, neutral-to-warm like I am, her counter is the best for finding flattering lipsticks. She practically makes a fetish of muted warm lipsticks. However, I seldom adore the formulas. The Lip Colors are a little too opaque and matte to be my faves, though I can make Brown work if I apply it with a brush over lip balm.This is a function of aging: In my 30s, Brown was the color I could swipe and go. Now I need something sheerer, like the Heather Mauve Creamy Lip Color, or with pearlescence, like BB Metallic Lip Color (formerly Lip Shimmer) in Vintage Rose. These days, those are the two I love for every day.
(I truly wish MUA would allow "maybe" as a "would you buy again" option. Because this product is a big "maybe.") The Z Palette is well-described below. What I like: The flexibility and the size, which is not too big, not too small. I have about 15 MAC-sized shadows in there now and can probably get a dozen more. So I'm set for a while. (I'm a minimalist.) What I don't like: The shallowness of the palette. MAC, Px, LORAC and a few other brands fit easily. But other things I'd like to include -- like my depotted LM concealer and my Paula's Choice shadows -- are just a wee bit tall. I can get it shut, but barely. So double-check your actual pans -- if they're substantially deeper than MAC, you might not like the way they fit. UPDATE: I've measured, and maybe this will help: 4mm deep pans fit perfectly; 4.5mm deep pans *might* make it difficult to close the palette, though they might not; 5mm pans keep the palette from closing securely, though the lid will come down. Be sure to measure both the pan and the magnet you attach, if you need one. The cardboard. I know this is more substantial than other cardboard palettes, but still -- it's cardboard. Mine has already gotten a buncha dings and dents in a few weeks' use. And I find it not so easy to keep clean. My Graftobian palette (granted, it only takes 36 mm pans, so it's not as flexible) is plastic with a mirror, easy to wipe clean and cost $12. I'm not sure why this needs to be $20.
Lipstick -Neutrogena - MoistureShine Soothing Lipsheers [DISCONTINUED]
Sarasotagirl 11/21/2009 4:59:00 PM
Everyone who's in love with an expensive product dreams of finding a really cheap dupe. Some want an exact dupe, but I'm usually satisfied with something 80 percent as good -- and if it costs a lot less than 80 percent as much, I'm ecstatic. Which is why I'm about to compare the Neutrogena LipSheers to Chantecaille Lip Chics. Lip Chics are my idea of a perfect lipstick -- just enough pigment, balmy feel, no irritation, gorgeous shine -- but they're $30 for 0.07 ounces (that's about $428.57 per ounce!). And I can only find two colors that work on me. Enter Neutrogena MoistureShine LipSheers. Are they as good as Lip Chics? Well, no -- but they're 80 percent as good, if the minty tingle doesn't dry your lips out or irritate them. Even better, I have three really great colors in them and I can wear five or six well. Mocha Chill is the best MLBB I've found in years upon years of searching. (For reference, I'm about NC10, warm but muted in coloring with moderately pigmented lips.) It makes me look GREAT even when I have no other makeup on. That's a rare thing for a 48-year-old to be able to say. (My other great colors are Honey Breeze, a sheer muted peach that is what I wanted Chantecaille's Sari Rose to be, and Sunset Berry, a browned berry that is very like Lipstick Queen's Saint Berry, but sheerer and glossier.) But the winner is the price point. The suggested retail for the LipSheers is about $9 for 0.06 ounces, or $150 an ounce -- nearly one-third the price of the Lip Chics. But it's rare to pay full price: BOGO-half off deals abound, making the real price closer to $6 -- or $100 an ounce. One quarter the price of a Lip Chic. Maybe a better price comparison is with the MAC Slimshines, which the LipSheers greatly resemble (minus the frost). Slimshines are $14.50 for 0.08 ounces, or about $180 an ounce. The Neutrogenas come in at 5/6th the price. Maybe I'm harping on price, but in this recession, I really like finding something that fills the bill for a lot less than I thought I had to pay. If you're looking for a sheer lipstick, the LipSheers are well worth checking out.
Lipstick -Maybelline - Color Senational - Autumn Rush
Sarasotagirl 11/20/2009 2:24:00 PM
If I were Bobbi Brown, I would be mightily worried about the Color Sensational line, especially its brown-pinks and naturals. These lipsticks aren't quite as creamy as BB's, but they are very darn close and the colors seem to be extremely well-edited. I need warm, muted colors that are neither too pale nor too dark and that have a *little* pink in them (I'm a Soft Autumn, if you're keeping score) and I seldom find more than one in a brand that fills the bill. But I had maybe five or six strong contenders in the Color Sensational line. Whoa. And with the BOGO, they cost less than a fifth of the price of one Bobbi Brown creamy lipstick. Double whoa. Autumn Rush looks like sludge on the Maybelline website and not that exciting in the display, but it's a mid-toned MLBB on my moderately pigmented lips. Neutral, low-key, but not dead and very flattering. The coverage is moderate-to-full and satin. Wear is decent -- creamy lipsticks do come off -- but it doesn't seem to feather much at all. I think these taste and smell like wax and a hint of masking vanilla. I don't mind the scent -- I think it's interesting. I have absolutely no problem with irritation, and I sometimes do get reactions from floral-scented lipsticks. I got this at a BOGO, which made each one about $4.
I like Narcissia, but I don't love Narcissia. What I like: The texture of the formula, which is as creamy and glossy as previous reviews have said. Very luxurious, not drying. And, the packaging. I used to think I didn't care what the makeup packaging looked like, as long as the product was great. Now I see that's true for me for everything BUT lipstick. I care about the lipstick tube. And Chante's are understated and beautiful. What I don't like: The scent. It's faint, I'll grant you, but it's rose and it bugs me. (Yes, I did notice it in the store. I thought I'd get used to it.) I love rose scents as perfumes -- I wear violet scents every day, often paired with rose -- but not on my lips. And, finally, the color is a bit wrong for me. I'm very pale, but warm and muted. Usually I wear peaches and bronzes or peachy browns; LQ Saint Nude is my typical color. I went to Chante to get something a bit "more," with more pop than a brownish nude. Narcissia IS that, a pink with just a wee bit of peach and a wee bit of muting, but it turns out it's only good on me in some lighting. I can make it work with a gold gloss (LQ Big Bang in Time, BTW) and I think I'll like it better in summer. But for fall, it looks just too peeenk on me. YMMV. What I'm not sure about: I've worn this for nearly a week pretty continuously, and now and then it seems a little bit irritating. (I know! Chante lippies are NEVER irritating!) Other times, no irritation. My theory is that something else I'm wearing -- a skin product? a balm? I dunno -- is not working with this. I am sensitive to some fragrances in lippies, so maybe that's it. But it doesn't happen every time. Weird. Is this worth $28, before tax? If you can get the right color and the rose scent doesn't bother you, absolutely. The formula is that good.
Misc Beauty Tools -Graftobian - Stainless Steel Mixing Palette and Flat Spatula
Sarasotagirl 10/26/2009 2:02:00 PM
I echo everything Olivia142 says about the spatula, below. It's great. I use it every day to mix my foundation (I'm using Graftobian's' Hi-Def Creme these days) with neutralizers to get the perfect color. Can't live without it. I *don't* have the palette yet, though, because I'm using the stainless steel square I pried out of an old e.l.f. palette (which was $1, IIRC). It's on the small side, but it works. The one downside: The edges and corners are shaaaarp. But it's holding me until I get the pennies to buy a less dangerous palette.
Count me among the smitten. $7.50 for 0.5 ounces; you use one small drop at a time, so a bottle will last ... forever? I put a drop on the mirror of my eyeshadow compact, dip my SK bent eyeliner brush in and use it with any shadow or cake liner. Budgeproof perfection. I have no idea why I ever used pencils, liquid liners or gel eyeliners. Compare to MUFE's similar product: $20 for 0.4 ounces, or BE's, $18 for 0.5 ounces. Now, if you WANT to spend more for an eyeliner sealer, be my guest, but I'd rather get another cute eyeshadow.