I'm happy with this product. It holds curl well, separates, lengthens, doesn't run, doesn't clump, doesn't flake. Unlike others, I haven't had any trouble with the stuff drying out too quickly -- I've been using my current tube for about 3 months and it doesn't seem noticeably drier than it used to be. Also, Tarte doesn't test on animals, which is important to me. But I'm not so sure about the packaging or brush. I always get way to much on the brush and need to scrape it off before application or else it gets everywhere around my eyes. And the faux-croc purple packaging makes the tube huge and childish-looking...totally impractical. Overall, though, this is a really nice product and I can get over the brush and the silly package.
I want to preface this review by saying that I really do not give one lippie reviews lightly. A product has to *really* fail me if I'm giving it such a low rating. And this product really did...I cannot believe that a department store brand like Clinique, which has a decent lineup of products, would produce such crap. This was sold to me as a product offering sheer coverage, usable as a very sheer foundation or a setting powder for a liquid foundation. I wanted to use it as a setting powder over my medium-coverage foundation. I thought the compact would be convenient for touch ups during the day. I've been using it for almost a month now, and I always apply with a kabuki brush. At this point, I am ready to ditch the product or give it to someone for whom it works better. For me, this does nothing to prevent shine or hold my makeup in place. I have an oily t-zone, and dry skin on the rest of my face. When used for t-zone touch ups on a warm (not crazy hot or humid, just warm) day, I find that my skin looks shiny again less than 30 minutes after application. I have this problem even if I blot a lot before applying the powder. So, unless I reapply constantly (which would make my face look caked with powder), I look like a greaseball. The only good thing I can say about this product is that it doesn't sink into dry areas or fine lines very much. But I need it to actually *work*, and it just doesn't! Even drugstore powder from Revlon does a better job for me than this stuff.
This product works pretty well, but it is a pain to use. If I can get a nice, even application, it adds lots of volume and makes my mascara last a long time. It also really helps curl hold well. But it dispenses in a way that makes lashes look funky and clumpy, and it leaves lashes very sticky once it is applied, so it makes mascara more challenging to apply. So, after curling I need to apply it, then comb out my lashes to un-clump them (which results in lots of wasted product stuck to my comb), then apply mascara *very carefully* so as to avoid re-clumping them, then wash my lash comb and wait for everything to dry out. This makes the product too much of a hassle for frequent use...I only turn to it on special occasions, and to me it isn't worth keeping around just for that.
I love the idea behind this product -- most of us aren't quite a perfect color match for any particular concealer, and this allows one to mix two colors in customized amounts to create a perfect match. This also allows one to create different colors for different parts of the face. I also love the coverage of this product -- very full! And lasting power is pretty good. But I'm not so excited about how much of a pain in the arse this is to put on. I knew that blending would take some time, but the formula is so thick, even sludgy, that it takes a lot longer than I expected. It also doesn't feel great on the skin. Also, even though I keep my brushes very clean, it was difficult to keep the compact from getting stray bits of dust, dirt, or dry skin in it (parts of my skin are very dry, so I'm sure that's part of the reason) -- because I have sensitive skin, I want my makeup *very* hygienic! Also, the color set that was closest to my skin in terms of shade was a bit too warm for me. For full coverage concealer, I prefer Too Faced (if you can find a color match...their selection of colors is pathetic) or MUFE Full Cover (which has a good selection of colors).
Makeup Brushes -Too Faced - Retractable Kabuki Brush
ms_kevala 6/1/2012 8:31:00 AM
I've had this brush for about a year and I'm very pleased with it! I bought it to replace a Smashbox kabuki, and I believe this brush is superior to that one -- the bristles are much softer, and I've experienced less shedding. Pros: Cruelty free, tight bristles, very soft. Portable. Applies products evenly and without streaking. Cons: Kind of expensive. After a year of daily use and occasional washing, I am noticing a bit of shedding (still, less than I experienced with the Smashbox kabuki or the BE kabukis I've used!).
I was on the fence about whether to give this 2 lippies or 3...I decided to go with 3, as a way of taking into account that this stuff is dirt cheap. However, I definitely won't buy it again. The most important thing with this product is to ignore the comb! It is a terrible idea...since it's in contact with the mascara, it gets little globs of the stuff in it, so using it just transfers those globs to the lashes, creating clumps. The good thing about this stuff is that if I ignore the comb and just use the want, it applies easily and doesn't clump. It separates my lashes well, too. But there are a number of bad things that will keep me from repurchasing...the formula doesn't hold curl very well, and it doesn't add volume or lengthen at all. It also gets quite dry after a couple of months, and once that happens it seems to flake, especially when applied to my lower lashes. I get that grayish raccoon look after a few hours. I think I'll go back to Tarte or Stila after this unsuccessful foray into drugstore mascaras...
Eyeliner -Clinique - Brush-On Cream Liner in Black Honey
ms_kevala 5/31/2012 12:47:00 PM
I like gel/cream liners and was looking for a good quality liner to complement my blue eyes. I bought this because the price seemed fair and I loved the color. But in the end, I wasn't impressed. Pros: The color is great. Application is fairly easy (until it dries up...see 'cons' below), so long as you use a decent brush. Doesn't irritate my eyes. Cons: As another reviewer mentioned, if your eyes are reddish from tiredness or irritation, this will make you look more tired. Worse, this started to dry up in about 3 months, even though I was always very careful to close the jar tightly. It was still usable, but became much more difficult to apply and flaked on me (both onto my skin and into my eyes). The included brush is totally useless, so forget about it if you don't already own a decent brush. Finally, the price isn't as good as it seems, because you don't get as much product as with some others (and you get less than the full pot, really, because of the way it dries up).
I have sensitive and very acne prone combination skin. A Stila rep suggested this to me and gave me a sample. Silicone-based primers have given me breakouts in the past, and I was hoping that this would be a good alternative. In a primer, I look for something to mattify and prevent makeup from sinking into dry areas or the fine lines that are starting to form near my eyes. Unfortunately, this product didn't do either of those things for me. This stuff *did* seem to make my makeup last a bit longer. However, my t-zone got shiny just as fast as it does without primer (even though I always use finishing powder), and my makeup sank right into fine lines and pores (though it might have looked a little better in dry areas). Despite its fancy multi-colored look, this didn't seem to diminish redness for me, either. I'm just glad I got a sample before purchasing the full size product.
Moisturizers -Trader Joe's - Nourish Oil-Free Antioxidant Facial Moisturizer
ms_kevala 5/31/2012 6:29:00 AM
I have sensitive combination skin, prone to both acne and dryness with flaking. I was looking for an affordable moisturizer *without* SPF to use at night. This product is very good for the price, and works for me as a night moisturizer for most of the year (in the dryest months, though, my skin is too dry for it). It doesn't make me feel greasy, doesn't irritate my sensitive skin, doesn't break me out, and doesn't pill up when applied over treatment products. It performs as well as some of the pricier moisturizers I've tried. However, while it's not greasy, it doesn't sink in perfectly and doesn't leave a super matte finish -- it takes a few minutes to fully absorb. I use something more matte and with some SPF for day, especially because of my very fair sensitive skin.
I wish this product worked for me. I have sensitive combination skin and was looking for something to minimize pores and keep my makeup looking fresh. This keeps my makeup looking good for several hours and has a nice matte finish. It does a decent job of controlling oil, too. It doesn't make my pores disappear, but it does a good job of keeping my makeup from sinking into them. BUT this stuff makes me break out. I wish I'd realized before I bought the full size bottle. I was really surprised, because the regular Smashbox Photo Finish never broke me out and this stuff is supposed to be better for acne-prone skin. But every time I use this stuff I get several pimples a few days later, even if nothing else about my makeup routine has changed. So, I'll have to keep looking for a primer that works for me.
Eye Primer -Urban Decay - Eyeshadow Primer Potion - Original (UDPP)
ms_kevala 12/20/2011 4:47:00 AM
This product is good, but not great. The formula works well, preventing creases for several hours, and it keeps eyeshadow from fading. However, it contains lots of parabens and Too Faced Shadow Insurance works just as well. Also, I prefer the thinner, smoother texture of Shadow Insurance. At least UD finally improved their packaging, though!
Moisturizers -Desert Essence - Daily Essential Moisturizer
ms_kevala 12/12/2011 11:50:00 PM
I try hard to buy only cruelty free products, and it can be tough to find a good quality, affordable cruelty free moisturizer. So, I was excited to try this after reading the reviews. Unfortunately, my sensitive skin didn't react well. Like a few others, I experienced itching, redness, and irritation. Fortunately, the irritation passed pretty quickly, but it was bad enough that I will definitely not try this product again. So...I'll keep looking for that perfect moisturizer.
Shampoo -Avalon Organics Botanicals - Biotin B-Complex Thickening
ms_kevala 11/16/2011 10:40:00 PM
I have a lot of fine, normal, very long hair. It can look limp and lacks volume. I have tried 3 biotin shampoos, this one, Jason's, and Mill Creek's. I like them all, but Mill Creek was probably my favorite (though it's the hardest to find!). If you're looking for a biotin shampoo that's more moisturizing, try the Mill Creek Biotin Shampoo. I would be happy to buy the Avalon shampoo again, though, as it works well and is more widely available. It makes my hair look fuller and leaves it very shiny. I have not used it in conjunction with the biotin conditioner because I love my Trader Joe's Nourish Spa Conditioner and they work well together. This is not a moisturizing shampoo, but I haven't found it to be drying, either.
Shampoo -Avalon Organics Botanicals - Lemon Clarifying Shampoo
ms_kevala 11/16/2011 10:17:00 PM
I bought this because I was looking for a clarifying shampoo for occasional use. My hair is pretty normal and I don't put products in it, but because it is long, it takes oil from my scalp a long time to get to the ends and moisturize them. So, I wash my hair less often than many people in order to keep the ends moisturized, and this occasionally leads to a bit of oiliness on my scalp. I like a number of Avalon products (the biotin shampoo is very nice!) and I found this on sale, so I thought it would be a good choice for eliminating occasional oiliness or a bit of buildup. But I was so wrong! The scent is wonderful, but the product really does not clarify. In fact, it seems to do the opposite -- it made my scalp very flaky, which is something that has happened to me only a few times in my life. A very disappointing product.
This mascara surprised me, because I've tried Stila mascaras in the past and have found them to be overpriced and mediocre. But I like this one a lot. The formula is rather wet, but it dries quickly. It separates lashes very well, has a wonderful intense color, and never clumps up on me (not even when I do 3 coats or apply it to my bottom lashes). It lengthens nicely, makes lashes look fuller, and will hold a curl. My only complaint is that the brush is a little big. At first, I found it hard to apply, even though I don't think of my eyes as especially small. But I got used to it after about a week, and I'm very glad I persevered, as I love this formula!