It has taken a week or 2 to get the hang of this, but after much determination and experimentation, I can heartily recommend it. What I found so difficult was getting over the texture, realizing that what Shu is calling a gel, is in fact more a putty or paste, almost like caulking compound. Obviously from a marketing standpoint, "Brow Gel" is a whole lot more appealing than "Brow Putty" or "Brow Compound". A short, stiff, natural bristle brush with a really flat profile is required to pick up product and get a neat application. First, I scrape the bristles across the surface picking up a small amount, which has an odd texture, like dry crumbs; then I really work it into the bristles until the crumbs dissolve into smooth pigment. I paint back & forth inside the jar lid for this. If you don't, you'll have dark crumbly bits falling all over your face; this could be what's turning people off. Usually I brush my brows first with a small toothbrush or clean mascara brush, just to get the oils to the surface, clear away dead skin and neaten the hairs. Then you simply paint your brows using short, delicate brush strokes. This is one of the only brow products I've ever used where the color truly grabs onto the grey/white brow hairs, and fills in small bald areas giving a soft, natural look. Finally I comb through them again with a clean brush and touch up if needed. I removed one point for reasons that may seem obvious, this is A LOT of work and a finicky, high-maintenance process but with practice, beautiful results can be achieved in just a few minutes so in my view, it's well worth it. Also, I've been using Hazel Brown which for my coloring seems a bit dark and not warm enough. Hopefully the lightest color will look prettier.
This was my first Lancome mascara and based on my experience it might be my last. I've waited months before reviewing to give it the benefit of the doubt, since most mascaras require some break-in period. On the plus side, the tube seems to go on and on and on; I've been using it for months and it shows no sign whatsoever of drying out. But to call that a plus is kind of like praising a restaurant with really lousy food just because they give huge portions. Product is super wet, goopy, clumpy, messy, lashes look crusty and overly mascara-ed, and not in a good way. Given the eccentric brush shape I assume it's meant to have a sweet spot, but however much I repositioned and rotated the brush, for the life of me I couldn't find it.
I really don't get the point of this product, and I have some major issues with it. First of all, I find it difficult to dispense a small enough amount, oftentimes a large blob of mousse comes exploding out of the can which is wasteful. Then the foam completely liquifies upon contact, which creates a problem if you have carefully layered on skincare and sunscreen first. Rather than creating a barrier between skincare and foundation, which is what I expect from a primer, this reconstitutes or melds the layers together, taking forever to dry, and it leaves a flat, weird finish behind. And the gratuitous SPF is so low it's not even in the ballpark, so other than to increase marketability I have no idea why they bothered. Since it garners rave reviews I'm glad I tried it, but will stick with my favorite Laura Mercier.
Liquid -Bobbi Brown - Luminous Moisturizing Foundation
2westies 10/20/2009 4:20:00 PM
Foundation is one of those things that is so individual it's hard to take another person's advice, and it's something about which I rarely sing praises. Having said that, Bobbi Brown really nailed this one. In Warm Ivory, it makes my skin— 50+ year old normal to dry with visible pores and a few discolorations— look utterly flawless, even-toned and with a subtle glow. No small acomplishment. It literally glides on and for me, maintains its smooth finish throughout the work day without changing color. Yes it's scented, but it's low-key, clean and pleasant. It outperforms Armani Luminous Silk, and is on a par with my #1 all-time favorite, Armani Face Fabric, and it's more readily available.
Eye Shadow -Bobbi Brown - Metallic Long-Wear Cream Shadow in Chrome Patina
2westies 10/20/2009 3:30:00 PM
Unfortunately Chrome Patina is a disappointment and does not match the quality of BB's other Long Wear Cream Eye Shadows. It's an interesting steely gray, on the cool side but still suitable for warm-toned complexions. It applies as an uneven, sheer wash of gray with very noticeable glitter, and unlike the many others in my collection, it does settle into creases. I waited too long thinking I'd start liking it, but now regret that I didn't send it back.
After going through a couple of free samples, I've found this to be a decent, well-performing, mid-priced mascara. Nothing spectacular, but not bad. The major cons are that it sheds tiny black specks of dried product over the course of the day, and also the black, though super dark, appears dull and flat, like charcoal. It leaves a stiff texture to my lashes that I'm not crazy about but again, nothing horrible. It applies smoothly and evenly, providing decent length, definition and volume. In a pinch I'd buy it again, but only after exhausting every other intriguing mascara out there. And at the rate they keep appearing on the market... not likely to happen soon.
I have mixed feelings about this product. Ultra smooth liquid texture makes it easy to apply & blend, it feels cool and soothing to the touch, the color even and intense for the first hour or so. Unfortunately on my eyelid— and this may not happen for everyone—it quickly wears away, disappearing where my eyelid creases. The initial pretty opalescent shimmer dissipates, becoming slightly uneven, almost blotchy. In all fairness, I think on smoother (maybe younger?) eyelids this may not be a problem, but it definitely is for me. I bought the sage green and cantaloupe/melon, both gorgeous summery colors which I keep in my bag for the inevitable touch-ups. SInce it is a less than perfect product for me personally I would not repurchase. But I recommend you try it at the counter, continue shopping for 45 minutes, then check yourself out in a mirror.
Blush -Guerlain - Divinora Radiant Blush - Apricot Souffle 515
2westies 5/20/2008 1:13:00 PM
Other than the overbearing signature Guerlain (love it or hate it) violet scent and clunky over the top packaging, this is a product without flaw. It has been my #1 go-to spring/summer blush since purchasing it at Saks this past February, surpassing even my beloved Shu Peach glow-ons. High praise indeed! The shade is exactly what I've been looking for, a clean bright pastel peach with absolutely no muted or muddy undertones, and a very close match to Kevyn Aucoin's cream blush, Tansoleil. Ultra finely milled, the brightness blends out beautifully for a peaches and cream porcelain doll glow. My one broken record comment is that for the high price I'd prefer less grandiose packaging, more product and NO scent. If not for those factors I would have rated this a 5.
The perfect blush color for warm red lipstick, or for when I'm wearing no makeup and just need a hint of color. To my eye it's less a Peach and more in the Amber family, like a very soft, bleached out terracotta. Pale blush in such a wide color range that applies so smoothly, isn't chalky, and wears well, seems unique to Shu Uemura, in my experience.
Eye Shadow -Christian Dior - 1 Couleur Powder Mono Eyeshadow in Brown Sequins
2westies 2/20/2008 1:58:00 PM
Yet another gorgeous neutral taupey brown added to my stash, this one with a highly metallic finish. A sophisticated color with elegant packaging, it pairs beautifully with BB Bronze Shimmer Gel E/L—an almost perfect color match— for a modified, office-appropriate smokey eye. Exceptional quality overall, it blends very smoothly and easily over LM Eye Basics/eye primer, but not so well on top of the ever-popular UD Primer Potion. The question is not so much would I buy it again but more, why did I ever buy it in the first place? With dozens of similar colors I forget it's there and hardly reach for it.
This has become one of my favorite mascaras. The application is absolutely friction free, extremely smooth with clean, even coating. Unlike other reviewers, I find it to be extremely curl enhancing. In fact, if I carefully press and hold the brush horizontally into my lashes in mid-swipe, I can actually create some decent, lasting curl, and I have the world's straightest downward lashes. In my experience there were just enough fibers to give awesome length, and they stay neatly in place. All around a winner!
After wearing this shadow every day for almost a week, I have come to the conclusion that I do not like it. Normally I love anything Nars and in my view, there's always room for one more in my already huge stash of brown eye shadows. But Voyage is just a chalky dirt brown with unruly bits of glitter. Application is streaky and uneven with the glitter particles ending up all over my face before they disappear entirely leaving a plain, bland brown lid behind. This was a spur of the moment impulse buy and I wish I had tried it out a few times and/or checked with MUA first.
I bought this blush at Nordstrom—no thanks to the BB SA who said don't bother, it won't show up, and it has become one of my favorite, most often reached for blushes. A dusty, delicate rose pink, it shows up as a natural rosy flush of color on my warm ivory complexion, just a very fresh, un-made-up look. It is precisely what I have long been searching for— a powder version of my favorite cream blush, Nars Pennylane. Though I do need a touch-up later in the day, the quality is excellent nonetheless.
Ever the optimist, I keep hoping to find a drugstore mascara that works for me. Unfortunately this one isn't even close. Like other reviewers, I was lured in by the ultra-spiffy tube design— a mod riff on maybelline's ubiquitous green. Too bad the gunk inside is so awful. I didn't object so much to the flimsey wand & brush, but the coverage is so poor, so uneven, and after a few hours it migrates to my upper eyelids, looking like badly applied, splotchy eyeliner. I accidentally bought Soft Black which is a sludgy gray that barely shows up on my lashes at all. My next trip to Targét I will have to force myself to stay away from the makeup dept. The temptation to find a deal is so great, but I usually end up wasting money.
It's taken me over a year to decide, but other than the beautiful color selection—and some colors are indeed magnificent— I can not find much to recommend about these lipstcks. I have Sexy Tango, a gorgeous corally red, and Beige Strasse, a too-frosty-for-me peachy copper. The formula is a bit drying though not waxy, and the signature Guerlain violet scent is overbearing and irritating to my throat, and it doesn't dissipate with time. Some eau de parfum I could name should last as long as this lipstick's scent. The much admired, dowager friendly tube feels nice in the hand, but for my taste it's an over-designed clunker. If these were unscented I'd be more forgiving of the somewhat minor flaws, but for the high price there are other lipsticks I feel better about buying.