This is the first Cargo product I've tried, and I have to say, I hope not all Cargo products are this bad. This is an eyeshadow quad with the following shades: a dull lime green, a brownish olive, a reddish brown, and a dark neutral brown. Seems like they would be a great everyday neutral palette, and it would be, if the quality of the shadows wasn't so horrible! Seriously, this is worse than any drugstore makeup I've used. The shadows themselves are grainy and not very pigmented. On the plus side, they do blend OK, but for a high-end brand, I expect a creamier shadow texture and better pigment. If I use a color base underneath, this palette is usable, but that is it's only saving grace. On the plus side, the packaging is fantastic - very pretty, sturdy, and a good, usable mirror. This retails for $28, I think I got it on sale for $15. Had I paid full price, I would have rated this a 1. However, for the price, the four shadows are generously-sized, and I do use them for "light" makeup days due to the lack of pigment. I generally do not recommend this palette, however, and I question whether I want to try other Cargo products based on this.
Mascara -Vincent Longo - The Curl Mascara in Black
jhadiq 11/2/2010 5:44:00 PM
This is a mediocre to below average mascara, IMHO. It seriously doesn't do much for my lashes at all. Doesn't really lengthen, doesn't really thicken. If I spend the time to build-up the product, I get *some* results, but not really much. If you already have decent lashes, this might be a product to try because it doesn't clump, goes on dry (and thus doesn't smudge), and looks very natural. It will add some color to your lashes if that's what you need. If, however, you need lengthening and thickening like most of us do, then this is not one to buy, especially for the price. I do not recommend at all, unless you want a very natural-looking mascara and do not need to add much else but color to your lashes.
I have thick, naturally wavy/frizzy hair that is color treated. Yes, it's a mess, ladies. So needless to say, I always need to have an effective conditioner to help get my hair in line. For me, this one fills the bill, and I'd buy it again if I stopped being fickle about trying new stuff. I am about 3/4 of the way done with the tube, and I can't say that anything miraculous has happened over time, but I do notice that my hair is well-conditioned and easier to manage when styling after I shampoo and use this. It does leave my hair noticeably softer. I do not, however, notice any help with frizziness, but no conditioner thus far invented has every helped with that. Can't say that it actually does anything to "reconstruct", either. All-in-all, it's an above-average conditioner that I do like. The scent (rosemary mint) is somewhat manly, but it doesn't really linger. Not necessarily a bad thing, though, if you don't like those strong, fruited or flowery scents. I am guessing that if you have fine, limp hair, this is not for you. For all others who need a heavy conditioner, this is not a bad product to try.
Eye Shadow -LORAC - Eyeshadow Trio in Bronzed Bombshell
jhadiq 10/24/2010 11:15:00 AM
I have come to find that LORAC shadows can be a hit or miss for me, and unfortunately, this one is more of a miss. This is a 3-pan shadow palette packaged in a screw-top shadow container. The 3 colors are a cream highlight, and medium brown, and a darker brown. All colors are very much on the warm/reddish side and are very shimmery. Although the colors are browns, some people may not be comfortable wearing these for work. While I can wear colors such as these, they are not my favorite. Also, I find the shadows quite powdery and kick up a lot of dusty product when I dip my brush, which is annoying. Doubly annoying is all the fallout I get on application. I would enjoy this much more if it wasn't so powdery/dusty and a pain to use. Finally, although they blend quite well and easily, I find that the pigmentation just isn't there. I would have preferred a stronger color payoff than what I am getting from these shadows. I would recommend putting these over a darker base. Disappointing. Now that I am working to pare down my makeup collection, I am afraid that this may end up in the discard pile.
Lipstick -L'Oreal - Colour Riche Anti-Aging Serum in Berry Exciting
jhadiq 10/23/2010 4:15:00 PM
I picked up one of these on sale at Ulta - the "anti-aging" aspect was intriguing, since at my age I need all the help I can get. That said, I didn't really notice much of a difference in my lips - perhaps I need to use it consistently for several weeks. Anyway, I do experience a slight tingling sensation (but nowhere near what you get with regular lip plumpers) and it does have a "chemically" smell, so it's probably doing something. Just nothing I am able to notice. As a regular lipstick, though, I do like it. It is on the sheer side, glides on smoothly and and has a slightly glossy finish when it is first applied. Lasting power is the same as your average lipstick. The color is a work-appropriate berry that is a great face-brightener now that we are headed for Fall. The color on my lips is true to what I see in the tube, just a bit sheerer and more subdued. As a lipstick it is a nice choice, but I would not repurchase because of the chemical smell and taste. If it actually did anything noticeable in the plumping/antiaging department it might be worth it, but I'd rather wear a regular lipstick that doesn't have an objectionable taste/smell.
This is NOT long-wearing! On me it generally survives a couple of hours and a cup or two of coffee (but not food) before disappearing. This comes in a thin, long package and retails for $20 for 0.04 oz. Yes, 0.04 oz. (A typical lipstick in my experience contains 3-4 times that amount). So, not only does this product not work as advertised, it is really expensive! Those are two pretty big negatives in my book, which cause me to downgrade it three lippies. I cannot with good conscience even give it an average rating because you can buy an inexpensive drugstore lipstick that performs the same or better as this. As for the product itself, the slim packaging makes it easy to apply, and the color glides on effortlessly. The consistency is quite smooth and doesn't feel drying. I find Stila lipsticks to be on the sheer side - this one is a little more opaque, which I like. As for the color, it is a warmer neutral - a medium peach neutralized with some brown. A good everyday, work-appropriate color. Won't be repurchasing - it is simply too expensive for a product that does not work as advertised.
Lips -Avon - PERFECT WEAR Plump & Stay Lip Color - Plump Peach
jhadiq 10/20/2010 9:02:00 PM
OK, color me impressed by this inexpensive, humble little product from Avon. I'm surprised I am the first to review this, because it's really quite good! This retails from Avon for $9, but like with virtually all Avon products, you can get them for far less on sale or promotion. I personally got this on BOGO. Anyway, this is similar in concept to MAC Pro Longwear lipcolor. It is a double-wanded product that is a lipcolor/stain on one end, and a clear glossy topcoat on the other. The extra bonus is that the topcoat also has "plumping" properties. Frankly, although I do get the stingy sensation that you get from most plumpers, I don't really see any plumping. For me, that is beside the point. The best thing about this product is that as a long-wearing product, it actually works well. If you've tried stains/long-wearing products before, there are two things that typically go wrong. They either are drying like heck and/or they flake or wear off unevenly. While this isn't exactly moisturizing, once I apply the color and the coat, my lips genuinely look moist and filled-in. When I am out and about, I just touch-up with a gloss and I am good to go. Also, as it wears down, it doesn't flake and also wears fairly evenly. I really like this product. On me, it doesn't last all day, but it looks so good on, I can't complain. As for the color, it is the perfect peach - not too orange, not too pink. I reach for this often because it goes with so many neutral looks, and genuinely brightens my face. Worthy of a try.
This is a great deep berry-red that I've been reaching for regularly now that the weather is getting a little cooler. Perfect for Fall!. In the tube, it can look a little scary-dark, but like most Stila lipcolors, it sheers out to an almost natural-looking color. Perfect for a more sophisticated lip look for day against my NC25 skin. Not at all OTT, but not exactly a wallflower color, either. Just right. This isn't drying, but I do apply a balm underneath. Average staying power. Comes packaged in Stila's vintage cardboard tube, which frankly, I hate, since it really doesn't hold up at all in your purse. As much as I like the color and formulation, though, it doesn't merit my saying I would buy it again (if I could, that is, since it's discontinued). I feel that the color and texture could be duped less expensively, and for better packaging! Thank goodness Stila has since gotten the good sense to stop the cardboard.
I bought this to have a cheap product to throw in my travel makeup bag. For that purpose, it truly fills the bill. The powder is packaged as a kit, including the pan of brow powder alongside a pan of brow wax, a small (but useless) pair of tweezers, and a brush to apply the powder/wax. The container is also housed in a plastic case that is also handy for travel. The powder is soft and smooth, and on par with more expensive brow powders I have, including the super expensive Anastasia powder. The wax included in the same packaging is also convenient to have for travel, and the included brush is surprisingly useful when you don't want to bring a separate brow brush on travel. For my purposes, this is perfect, and I will most certainly repurchase to keep in my travel kit. My biggest gripe with this is that it only comes in one color. Also, the packaging is somewhat cheap and would probably fall apart quickly if you didn't also keep the it in the included plastic case. That said, it certainly gets the job done, and it is dirt cheap! Worth a try on that basis.
This is a rosey nude-brown lipstick that is on the darker side of nude on my NC25 complexion. The color in the tube is more-or-less what I get on my lips. It's a darker, more sophisticated look of nude, that is wearable with many looks, day or night. The texture is a matte, opaque creme, and isn't too drying, but not exactly moisturizing, either. No complaints here - it's a basic creme lipstick. Has a nice vanilla scent ala MAC, which you won't smell or taste once you apply. (A good thing, in my book) At $19, though, I wont be repurchasing. I feel that I can dupe this color fairly easily elsewhere, and the rest of the lipstick's qualities are really pretty average and not worth paying a premium for.
Makeup Brushes -Sonia Kashuk - Bent Eyeliner Brush
jhadiq 8/24/2010 11:22:00 PM
I bought this entirely because of the hype. Buys like this yield a 50-50 ROI, but it this case, I have to say I WIN! Yes, this really is a great brush. Better yet, I only paid $4.99 (+tax) at my local Target. I was somewhat skeptical that a bend in the brush could make a difference, but it yes, it does. I feel that I have more control over my upper lash lining with cream/liquid liners, and can put a more mistake-proof, clean line there. I own the MAC 209 as well, and do not get the same ease of use as I do with this brush. The bristles do splay a bit, but that isn't such a big deal to me, because once I dip it into the product, I can smooth it out on a tissue in order to get a very fine, precise line. For 4.99, this is an absolute steal, and IMHO, very much worth a try. If you had problems getting a thin, precise line with cream/liquid liners, give this a try. You may be pleasantly surprised. If not, heck, you're only out 5 bucks.
I, too, received this as part of "My Mother, My Hero" collection, which is still listed on the BeautyCrunch.com website as of this writing. I admit that I was a bit skeptical about this color, because in the tube, it looks like a scary-dark plum that was too cool for my warmer complexion (NC25). I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised - on me it's more of a sheerer berry, that is definitely not too cool. It's a nice option when you want a little more color on the lips, but not OTT. No shimmer, which is also nice, and great for everyday with neutral or smokey eyes. Packaging is a sturdy aluminum, way better than the cardboard stuff Stila sometimes likes to use. I don't find this particularly moisturizing, though - I still need lip balm underneath for my poor chapped lips. As much as I like this, I probably wouldn't repurchase, since I feel that this color can be closely duped at a similar or better quality level with less expensive/drugstore lippies.
Makeup Brushes -E.L.F. - Studio Small Precision Brush
jhadiq 8/23/2010 7:04:00 PM
I am reviewing both the Small Precision Brush and the Small Smudge Brush at the same time, because they are very similar. I honestly believe that it is not necessary to buy both, and which one you buy depends on the size you prefer. The Small Precision Brush is slightly larger than the Small Smudge Brush. Frankly, it seems to me that the names are reveresed. I think that the Precision Brush is actually the better smudger (since it's bigger) and the Smudge Brush is more precise because it is smaller. But whatever. I use these more-or-less interchangeably to apply cream eyeliner, and IMHO, this is really the only makeup use I'd use this for. The bristles are short, Taklon, and a little stiffer than I'd like for shadows or smudging. I also prefer natural bristle brushes for powders and smudging. I personally prefer the Precision Brush (the bigger one) because I find that the Small Smudge Brush is a bit too small, even for creating a fine line. It is sturdily made for $3, so it's worth a try if you are looking for a brush to apply cream eyeliner. I ended up putting the small smudge brush into my manicure kit so that I could clean up stray white polish for when I do a French Manicure. (Dip the brush into polish remover and do precision polish removal from the nail with the brush). All-in-all, I feel I get more than my money's worth with these, and would definately repurchase if I had the need to again.
Makeup Brushes -E.L.F. - Studio Line Small Smudge Brush
jhadiq 8/23/2010 7:03:00 PM
I am reviewing both the Small Precision Brush and the Small Smudge Brush at the same time, because they are very similar. I honestly believe that it is not necessary to buy both, and which one you buy depends on the size you prefer. The Small Precision Brush is slightly larger than the Small Smudge Brush. Frankly, it seems to me that the names are reveresed. I think that the Precision Brush is actually the better smudger (since it's bigger) and the Smudge Brush is more precise because it is smaller. But whatever. I use these more-or-less interchangeably to apply cream eyeliner, and IMHO, this is really the only makeup use I'd use this for. The bristles are short, Taklon, and a little stiffer than I'd like for shadows or smudging. I also prefer natural bristle brushes for powders and smudging. I personally prefer the Precision Brush (the bigger one) because I find that the Small Smudge Brush is a bit too small, even for creating a fine line. It is sturdily made for $3, so it's worth a try if you are looking for a brush to apply cream eyeliner. Since I liked the Precision Brush better, I ended up putting the Small Smudge brush into my manicure kit so that I could clean up stray white polish for when I do a French Manicure. (Dip the brush into polish remover and do precision polish removal from the nail with the brush). All-in-all, I feel I get more than my money's worth with these, and would definately repurchase if I had the need to again.
Highlighters -Stila - Illuminating Finish Powder 2006 Winter in Bronze
jhadiq 8/1/2010 11:01:00 AM
I would classify this as a shimmery bronze highlighter. I would not use this as a bronzer, or all over the face. All that said, I was pretty surprised how much I liked this product, particularly since I really hated the Rose Gold product. This and Rose Gold are like night and day in terms of product consistency/quality. Where Rose Gold was hard as a rock and had no pigment, this is a smoothly applying product that gives a very nice glow as well as color. Although Stila says you can apply this all over the face, frankly, I think this is way to shimmery for that. I use this on my cheekbones only, and apply a pink or rose blush on the cheeks. It's the perfect look for the summer - makes you look like you got a little sun when you didn't. The shade is what it says it is - a bronzey glow that does seem to mimic the color you get when you get a little sun. The texture is much nicer than Rose Gold, but not as good, IMHO as the newer MAC MSFs, which now have an almost creamy texture. For this reason, I will not be repurchasing this particular product, and continue buying my MSFs.