I don’t know what is up with Revlon lately, but for a generally solid makeup brand with some rad spokesmodels (Emma Stone, Olivia Wilde), they have been outsucking every skank on the corner. The tube is lying beside me on the desk right now, getting liberally chewed out, and no emphasis is strong enough. “I hate you. I really, really hate you. I am throwing you to the wolves right now, and I hope they take their time mauling you to death.” Lash Potion represents everything I loathe in a mascara: the consistency’s too thin; it dries too fast and crunchy; it blobs all over my lid; I’ve stabbed my eyeball so many times with the freaking bi-level wand, I hear "ch-ch-ch ah-ah-ah" in my head every time I pass the display in stores…it’s a certifiable nightmare. No improved lash condition is worth the torture I’ve experienced trying to make it work.
Described as “amped-up fuchsia” on their site, it’s more accurately a neon coral-pink that can't wait to adapt to almost any skin tone you throw at it, evoking the late 70s/ early 80s club scene while offering a perfect statement lip for stripped-down warm weather minimalism. As lip colours go, this one is a universal standout, and therefore crazy-popular among MAC diehards. I’m just surprised it doesn’t come with Lady Danger/ Show Orchid strings attached, getting discontinued and reissued at the brand’s whim.
Lip Gloss -Estee Lauder - Pure Color Crystal Gloss
CorelliaCalling 3/7/2013 10:20:00 PM
[REVIEW DIRECTED AT SPARKLE AND SEQUIN FINISHES ONLY] Ugh, man. I really DON’T want to hate on Estee Lauder, because I know how committed they are to justifying what you pay for their products, but come…ON. What were they thinking? I finally got around to swatching these recently, and I’ll state for the record that pigment was intense and the finish was right-on…but beyond that, all I can say is I hope, if you give in, that you have the best makeup remover known to science. Preferably containing about 20% hydrochloric acid. I skulked over to the Clinique counter to borrow some of theirs, no luck. I own about seven spangled glosses and I know what a bitch it is to get the glitter particles off, but this was NOT the same thing. At all. Some soap and scalding water, two makeup wipes, and an alcohol rub later, my hand had resumed enough of its usual flesh tone not to provoke uncomfortable questions.
Slight spangled-gloss fail. I was so excited when I bought this, because they all look luscious—Baby Sparks, the shade I chose, is a soft nude pink with blue-violet sparkle—but I should’ve paid more attention to the texture when I swatched it, because this is the stickiest gloss I’ve put on my face since ye olde 90s, when that was almost the norm. It has, on more than one occasion, literally stuck my lips together and given me a temporary speech impediment. Yech. The brush-style applicator needs work, too; when I got mine, it was so stiff I thought they’d forgotten to attach it at the factory, at which point I proceeded to mash it around against the back of my hand for twenty seconds before the bristles softened and unfurled. I’ll keep wearing it until it runs out, because I shelled out a bomb for it ($20) and, whether I like it or not, it is very pretty. But you’d honestly do better to hunt down Nyx Glam Gloss Aqua Luxe, which is fifty times more comfortable, charges less than half what you pay for the MAC, and has at least as much dazzle and glass going on.
Avon’s another company I don’t like to dis too much, because I eat up their catalogs every chance I get (note to self: replace Smoky Diamond Glimmerstick liner). However. My SSS test run was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, but the memories are crystalline--it didn't soften my skin so much as turn it into an alt-medicinal smelling deep-fry pit. I was always afraid that if I slipped after bathing in this stuff, I’d slide all the way into the next state. Plus it leaves a really gnarly bathtub ring.
Blush -Rimmel - Lasting Finish Blush in Spring Flower 008
CorelliaCalling 3/1/2013 6:10:00 PM
So BUMMED that Rimmel went and chucked this on the scrap pile. I bought it on clearance at K-Mart, paying less than I did for the Real Techniques brush I use to apply it, and--withholding exaggeration--I've used it on my Mont Blanc/ NW15 mug every day since. A girl can grow old and die looking for the right nude blush, something to shade the cheeks and bring out your skeletal architecture without drowning your skin in colour or shimmer, and since I'm prone to statement makeup on my lips or eyes, it's nearly impossible for me to underrate this modest little tri-tone powder pod. I swirl the brush around the palette to combine the three shades, then, if I'm up to it, use the darkest shade to sink the hollow of my cheekbone, and the shimmer to polish up the crest. (Although I'm tempted to investigate a possible shade name mixup at Rimmel headquarters, since Spring Flower, to me, would be far more at home on an autumn catwalk than the actual Autumn Catwalk.)
Foundations -Cover Girl - Outlast Stay Fabulous 3 in 1 Foundation
CorelliaCalling 3/1/2013 11:16:00 AM
CoverGirl is convinced they’ve outdone themselves. And yes, this is a solid contender in the longwearing foundation arena…but, not so fast. They’ve earned the right to brag about the coverage, because we’ve got a warhorse here, fighting to secure and defend the title of Drugstore Double Wear. My legendary dark circles went down like Custer and my (admittedly faint) reminders of blemishes past met their Waterloo. But sometimes a warrior can be an overachiever, in that full-coverage formulas will never be my default setting. No matter what brand logo they’ve got slapped on them, prestige or high street, they suffocate my pores and generate heat like a portable Venusian cloudcover. So for me personally, this is more of a utility-infielder product : spot reinforcement during my premenstrual breakouts…light concealer on days where I can get away with BB Cream or less…full foundation when I’m aching to do a full-on, go-to-hell LOOK. I can’t complain about the shade/ undertone range—well, I could, just not for my own sake—but my biggest issue is with that recurring archnemesis of all foundation wearers: oxidation. I noticed that, once I’d buffed it into my skin, it took on a vague but unmistakable Sunkist (not "kissed" but "kist") overcast. I’ve taken to mixing it with a small amount of Holika Holika Aqua Petit Jelly BB Cream in shade #1 to counteract that, and so far, so good, but I didn’t sign up to Frankenstein my foundations together. The four lippies stand, as this is more of a win-in-process than a step-up-but-fail, and I will recommend it to people questing for an airbrushed complexion on a layman’s budget. However, I don’t think I’m ready for a serious relationship with it. Something about it just brings out the commitment-phobe in me.
Lipstick -Revlon - Revlon Super Lustrous in Fire and Ice
CorelliaCalling 2/9/2013 9:44:00 AM
This beauty launched in 1952, and it's been relevant ever since. As you'd imagine from its date of birth, it's a very creamy, fiery, coral-based, quintessentially '50s pagoda red. What makes it unique is how it seems to adapt to a variety of complexions without losing any of its hard-hitting, borderline neon strength. Definitely a keeper, and--no surprise--I tend to relish the fact that part of the midcentury visual norm can be used to torment 21st-Century squares. Irony makes the world go 'round. Although, again, if you shy away from very strong, statement-making colours, then despite the diversity of the fan base, this one probably won't be up your street.
This isn't just me being cheap, because I've experimented with every price range from ELF to Dior, and there really is something about the Megalast line. They're PACKED with pigment and the fashion-conscious colour range never ceases to amaze me. As to a downside, they are very heavy and dense, so they do dry out while they're sitting on your mouth, but you can expect that with pretty much any matte or long-lasting formula. I'd suggest doing some prepwork with a creamy balm before you even start your makeup: blot off the excess when you get around to painting your lips, then dab a waxy (not glossy) balm over the top after applying, which will make it a little more comfortable without creating too much texture interference. A lip brush wouldn't be a bad idea, either, considering the weird flat-top shape of the bullet. What makes this particular red--out of itself, Cherry Picking (pinky blue-based), Purty Persimmon (orangey) and Stoplight Red (dark true red)--such a killer is...maybe the fact that I ignored it for so long. Usually I'm drawn to bloodier, bluer reds, whereas this is more of a straight-up primary deal, but it was another case of showing up at the store with a fresh pair of eyes and going, "Hmmmm..." For the most part I like my reds to jump off my face, and this one is on it, every time. (Based on that endorsement, if you prefer something more low-key, a whisper over a shout, then move on, because this probably isn't the red you're looking for.)
First, let's get the bad news out of the way: though they look interchangeable, not all lash curlers are created equal (see my ELF review). The good news is, I've learned that you don't necessarily need a Shu Uemera budget to spare your fringe and your pain sensors. I'm about as Asian as a kilted bagpiper, but due to the specific shape of my eyes (narrow, fairly hooded--Lucy Liu meets Jennifer Lawrence), I often look to Asian girls for eye makeup advice, and a Thai-American acquaintance suggested I try this while I'm hitting up Ebay to bid on the (alleged) HG Shu contraption. So far, it's been an impressive ride. The spring mechanism seems random to the max, but it's nowhere near as bulky, unweildy or destructive as the Sally Hansen and ELF models. Rather, it's just big enough to capture all my lashes in a single squeeze, I've pinched myself a whopping one time (which was just me being a klutz), and I haven't lost a single lash. Best of all, it arranges my lashes in a soft, feathery upsweep rather than a 90-degree zigzag. Don't misunderstand, I plan to get my hands on the S.U. before year's end, but good old Revlon has made this a quest of curiosity rather than desperation.
Misc Beauty Tools -E.L.F. - Mechanical Eyelash Curler
CorelliaCalling 1/20/2013 9:03:00 PM
One of these days, I swear, I will do a five-lippy rave about ELF’s Studio brushes, which sit proud and welcome among Real Techniques and Japonesque in my quiver. And about Pink Passion blush, which has all but overthrown Nars Mata Hari as my HG fuchsia cheek. But tonight, I’m not here to review; I’m here to WARN. I’ve got a spotty history with eyelash curlers in the first place, and after my experience with these suckers, I’m thisclose to swearing them off, full stop. This morning, about forty-eight hours after I bought it as a call-up for my last one, I withdrew it from my eye and noticed a quantity of severed lashes poking out of the cushion—seems the compression bar had actually punctured whatever cheap crap it was made of, and taken some of my already sparse fringe along for the ride. There was no logical or acceptable reason for this to happen (ie. squeezing too hard); the good news is, I caught it before the loss could register on anyone’s visual radar, my own included. Furthermore, I’m out just under a buck, but I can’t in good conscience go on with my life and not issue a heads up. Call it a public service message. AVOID, ABORT, whatever you need to do…just DON’T.
Lotions/ Creams -Bath and Body Works - Cashmere Glow
CorelliaCalling 1/19/2013 9:12:00 AM
[BATH & BODY WORKS SERIES #8] Forever Red is supposed to be B&BWs hollaback to the department store fragrance counter, but with all due respect, I think Cashmere Glow captures a much more convincing aura of throwaway luxury. The notes—bergamot, golden peach and apricot, jasmine, and a huge question mark the formulators call “cashmere musk”—are so seamlessly and expertly blended, it’s not easy to separate one from the other; they all fuse into what can best be described as rich, inviting warmth. It’s a comfort scent. My favourite thing is the uncharacteristic restraint of its sweetness; the vanilla isn’t going to make anyone think you’re on the dessert menu. Correct me if I’m wrong, but excepting jokes about a zombie apocalypse, I don’t think that being cannibalised is on anybody’s bucket list.
[BATH & BODY WORKS SERIES #7] To me, Carried Away started out as an underachiever, then it became an underdog. I never had anything against it; it just took a long time to distinguish itself. Cute packaging concept (bouquets of various flowers floating in the sky like balloons), but kind of “meh” in execution. Nice fragrance (tart notes of raspberry and meyer lemon mellowed by jasmine and creamy earthy sweetness), but not a huge shakeup from any other fruit-meets-flowers in my experience. So I ignored it and ignored it until, long story short, it took an accident—a lotion eruption--to get some on me. Deciding to just go with it, I raided the samples for more, plus a few blasts of fragrance mist. Imagine my surprise when it didn’t disappoint. The fruity tang, whang, whatever melted down into the floral heart, creating a clean, vaguely lickable freshness that I never would have expected, given my temperamental body chemistry. It’s not a very self-evident scent once it’s settled into your skin—well, my skin, really—but I like that subtlety, and even as it’s ghosting out, it retains most of its upbeat, free-spirited personality. Also, for the record, I don’t think it smells anything like Sweet Pea, despite sharing a fragrance note or two: Sweet Pea is more of an old-money-antibellum-front-porch-with-a-mint-julep thing, whereas Carried Away evokes a younger, looser, girls-just-wanna-have-fun mood. Will definitely purchase the minis come spring.
Fragrances -Bath and Body Works - sea island cotton
CorelliaCalling 1/5/2013 9:45:00 AM
[BATH & BODY WORKS SERIES #6] My nose is fine with this scent. Can’t complain at all. It’s my gorge that disagrees. About two seconds after I smell it, it’s a concentrated effort not to dry heave. There’s a sickly sweetness in the depths of this ostensibly fresh, outdoorsy fragrance that my system wants no part of. Before anyone asks, I can’t remember if I had the same problem with Cotton Blossom, but I don’t think I was ever in any special hurry to buy it.
Lotions/ Creams -Bath and Body Works - Japanese Cherry Blossom-lotion
CorelliaCalling 1/5/2013 9:43:00 AM
[BATH & BODY WORKS SERIES #5] This either is, or at one point was, B&BW’s most popular fragrance. I can see why. Japanese Cherry Blossom was the next wave of Cucumber Melon: unique enough to start a craze, but restrained enough not to polarise their customers. It’s a way to feel exotic without scaring off the status quo. I remember testing the fragrance mist for the first time, not long after it had settled in among the Signature Collection, sniffing my arm and having a mental orgasm over the notes, each more intriguing than the one before it. Cherry blossoms! Asian pear! Vanilla rice! Imperial amber! At the time, I was going through a fetish for anything Oriental, so it was safe to say I’d found the scent of my dreams—cue mad dash to the register. Give or take a decade later there’s still a vestige of sentimental favouritism between me and JCB, but there’s also a part of me that resents its longevity with the company while others I loved just as much—Butterfly Flower, Velvet Tuberose, Orange Sapphire—were chucked on the scrap heap. It’s weird, but I have to admit it. I want to ask A FRAGRANCE, an inanimate consumer entity, “What makes you so bloody special?” Which is why I haven’t committed to anything beyond the miniature trifecta in five years. If you are interested, I recommend the lotion, or the triple-moisture body cream, over the fragrance mist, because the scent seems to flow better in its creamy forms, whereas with the mist, each set of notes—top, middle, dry—comes jutting out at you from all directions. Just trying to spare you the literal and figurative headache. PS: If I had the option, I'd rate this a 3.5, and answer "Maybe" to the repurchasing question. Since I'm not a total Debbie Downer, I went with the most positive available responses.