This is okay. The main reason I wouldn't repurchase is b/c it leaves my lashes looking spiky and like I've applied mascara really badly, even with scraping/wiping off the excess or using a lash comb before and after application, respectively. The plastic bristles feel stiff, not squishy, and they're spread a little too far apart for me--hence, the spiky, clumped-together lash look. The brush on a whole a bit too big for me, too, and I have a tendency to get the stuff on my lids (plus the formula is on the wet side). However, it isn't irritating to my sensitive, dry eyes and lacks parabens, though the waterproof version does. The Blackest Black shade is just that, too. As for the packaging, I like the bright blue and hot pink colored tube, but not its shape. The handle tapers off to a cone shape and makes it difficult, though not impossible, to grip. The smudge and curl-holding factors aren't bad, but not great. There's some minimal smudging 1/2-way through work, but is easily swiped away. If I over-curl, the mascara wilts my lashes, but not all the way down again. Maybe a bit less than perpendicularly. So, eh. I'll stick w/ my $2 Jordana stuff. Note: this review is for the washable version.
This is a pretty good mascara, but it is a rather high-maintenance one, too. My lashes did end up looking thicker, longer and a bit more curled than my normally straight, Asian lashes look. But, I'm not sure the time and effort involved with getting that effect is worth it. The first time I tried this, I applied it right out of the package, kinda just slapped it on, not even sure which part of the brush I was using. I kept wondering why everyone kept mentioning a "spoon shape" and using the "flat part of the brush" vs. the "edge of the brush." It looked awful. Clumpy lashes, mascara on my lids, ick. Then, I remembered reading on a blog that the formula improves as it dries out, so I put it away for a couple of weeks, went on YouTube to unearth the mysteries of the brush's shape, and then tried again. Okay. So, the whole waiting thing is the first part of the high-maintenance comment. Here's some more evidence: 1) You have to offload a ton of mascara first, either by scraping it off on the edge of the tube, or wiping it off on a tissue first. 2) You do get better results by using the flat part of the brush (think the part that would correspond to the back of a spoon), but if your vision is like mine and you only wear glasses (which of course you can't be wearing while applying eye makeup), it may take a bit longer to find that shape and hold it towards your lashes accordingly. 3) I needed a lot of time for lash combing afterwards to get rid of residual clumping. This is not ideal in the mornings when you're in a rush since metal lash combs and speed are not compatible for me. In terms of holding a curl (so very important for us straight-lashed people), it was fair. Yes, it wilted it, but not all the way. I'd say my lashes were held out perpendicular to my face. The smudge factor wasn't bad. Not great, but not bad. It did start to smudge halfway through my day, but not in an overtly obvious way. Unfortunately, it tended to leave those little balls of mascara at the ends of my lashes. Using a lash comb usually helped with this, but again, it took slow and careful movements. Now, I have other mascaras that give me the same effect, but for cheaper and/or with less effort involved, so I wouldn't repurchase. Note: I try to avoid eye makeup with parabens as I'm 98% sure they're the ingredient that make my eyes burn. Thankfully, the washable version of The Falsies does *NOT* contain parabens, though the waterproof one and the Black Drama shade do (both the regular and waterproof). HTHS.
This was my first purchase from Real Techniques and what led me to buy other brushes in her line. It consists of 4 brushes with gold-colored, lightweight ferrules: Buffing, Contour, Detailer, and Pointed Foundation, all for under $20. The first 2 I use everyday for buffing in foundation and blush, respectively. I have literally shunned all other face brushes for these (including brushes that are 2-3x as expensive) and I bought another set so I can rotate them.
* The Buffing Brush is mostly flat-topped with rounded edges and applies powder foundation perfectly. It always seems to pick up the right amount and the brush itself is soft and comfortable on my skin.
* The Contour Brush is kind of an elongated, slightly tapered dome shape and on the small size, which I prefer for applying blush--it lets me have control over where I place it on my face. I usually use a light circular motion to apply.
* The Detailer Brush hurt when I tried using it on the skin around my eyes [for concealer and to apply powder e/s to my lower lashline]. However, I think I'll keep it as a lip brush since it seems to have the right amount of stiffness and give.
* The Pointed Foundation Brush is the real head-scratcher of the bunch, though. It's too small for applying liquid or cream foundation, but it's too big to use for concealer. Love the pointed shape, just not the size. If you only like to apply foundation to small patches of your face maybe it'll work, otherwise...I just can't figure out what to do with this one.
As for the carrying case, I really like it. I use it in its stand-up/easel form to dry my brushes by insert them upside-down. Then, turn them every so often and they're done! I've never had a problem with them drying flat on one side even if I forget to turn them b/c it's really easy to fluff them back up once they're dry. Also, for synthetic brushes, which are notorious for taking forever to dry, these don't take any longer than my natural bristled brushes. They sure as heck don't shed anywhere near as much as others do. I think one finally gave up a single hair, but otherwise they're still going strong. I considered knocking off a lippie for the Pointed Foundation Brush, but given the quality and price and the fact that I actually bought another set gives this brush set a 5.
Love this thing. I was using an elastic headband and either a medium-sized claw or clip to pull back as much of my hair as possible, but w/ a chin-length bob that's layered, this was not always successful in keeping my hair back and dry. I saw this on drugstore.com on sale and figured I'd try it--glad I did! It keeps everything back and tucked away and makes washing my face and applying all of my lotions and potions easy. I throw it in the washing machine once a week or so. I personally hang-dry mine, but it would probably be fine in the dryer. I can see this being a plus for those w/ long hair b/c you can tuck your hair into the Tassi and none of it will flop back over your shoulder when you lean over the sink. A note: I wear it backwards w/ the logo up front above my forehead. This "end" is wider, so it works better for keeping the layers back. If you have medium to long hair, make sure the logo's in the back by the nape of your neck so there's extra room to tuck your hair. Also, if I lost this, yes I'd absolutely repurchase, but I'd probably wait for a sale. Otherwise, it's $15. There's also a "Tiny Tassi" size for kids and people w/ smaller heads. No measurements on the website, though. It just says it's 30% smaller.
Makeup Brushes -Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman - Buffing Brush
mudpud 2/10/2013 2:53:00 PM
Another rave for this brush, which is sold as part of the Core Collection set. It's a mostly flat-topped brush with rounded edges and is perfect for applying/buffing powder and mineral foundations to the face. The handle is color-coordinated (gold, to denote use for the face) and is light and easy to grip. No shedding or scratchiness. Easy to clean. Most synthetic brushes that I've used in the past take forever to dry, but Real Techniques brushes are the exception--they dry almost as quickly as my natural-bristle ones. As others have mentioned, I *REALLY* wish this was sold separately since I would really like another one. I'm actually considering buying another Core Collection set just for this brush. Note: I've used it in a pinch for applying liquid foundation, but prefer the Expert Face Brush for liquid as it's denser and stiffer. Also, I like the carrying case and use it in it's stand-up/easel form to dry the brushes by inserting them upside-down. Then, I twist them around while partially damp (~a few hours later or whenever I remember to). Works perfectly and I've never had a problem with them drying flat on one side.
This $3 pen gets the job done and is nice and portable and very easy to throw in your purse for touch-ups throughout the day. The cap is secure, too. You *will* need to wipe it down with a tissue immediately after use or your eye makeup will stain the [white] tip. I don't know if it affects performance so much as it makes it look dirty and gross. The main reason I wouldn't repurchase, however, is that I found the tip to be scratchy and it definitely bothered me enough that I have no desire to use it, effective or not.
Powder -Shiseido - Sun Protection Compact Foundation
mudpud 2/2/2013 2:52:00 PM
I have always had great luck with Shiseido's powder foundations, so I decided to try this out due to the higher SPF. While I marked this as a repurchase, I wouldn't buy it again as a foundation, but either as a setting powder for liquid foundation or to throw on over sunscreen to mattify my face on low-makeup days. The reason is b/c I found the coverage very sheer, a bit too sheer--and this is coming from someone who prefers that coverage and look. As others have mentioned, the shades look very dark in the pan, but apply much lighter on the skin, so don't look at the SA like she's crazy when she gives you something that looks like bronzer. I am about a MAC C3, BB Warm Beige, Shiseido O40, normal-combo skin type and was matched to the SP50 shade, but they are pretty forgiving. It has the typical floral scent that all Shiseido makeup has which I'm used to now, but I'd rather it be unscented (I usually have problems w/ scented makeup and skincare, but don't experience any breakouts or--worse--rashes when I use this). As with the other powder foundations, it's sold separately from the case which I personally like. I *believe* the round pan is the same size and shape as the now-resurrected Powdery Foundation's pan, so hopefully I can interchange the 2 pans inside the 1 compact instead of having to buy a case for each.
Powder -Shiseido - Perfect Smoothing Compact Foundation SPF 15
mudpud 8/11/2012 6:55:00 PM
I also was a long-time fan of Shiseido's Powdery Foundation, so when this was marketed as its replacement, I bought it right away. Unfortunately, it pales in comparison to the Powdery Foundation, IME. First off, it's so soft and loosely packed that 1) it flies everywhere when you use a brush and 2) your brush will actually leave drag and/or pock marks in the powder. Using the included sponge gave me a heavy, cake-y look. The best way I found to apply this was to use a rounded sponge (the Beautyblender or one of its knock-offs, etc.) and pounce it into the powder, then do the same to apply it to my face. But the thing that makes it truly thumbs-down for me is that throughout the day, it would react with the oils in my skin and sort of separate and crease in my t-zone, with or without the use of a primer. My skin is slightly combination, so I can't even imagine what this would do on oilier skin. The foundation also has the signature flowery powder scent which may or may not be a factor for some. Color match seemed to be okay: O40 for this golden undertoned, medium-ish complexion (~C3, BB Warm Beige 3.5, BE Golden Medium, Shiseido Sun Protection line SP50). I think this is more of a 1 1/2.
Makeup Brushes -Real Techniques by Samantha Chapman - Blush Brush
mudpud 4/12/2012 5:32:00 PM
This brush is soft and fluffy and considering it's synthetic, I find it dries pretty quickly after being washed. That being said, it was too big for me to use as a blush brush and doesn't pick up much product. Fortunately, this makes it an excellent brush to apply a light dusting of powder to set foundation and tone down shine. I personally like the stand-up bottom, but if you store your brushes in a cup, I can see it being a bit cumbersome. Overall, though, a great brush for the price and I'd repurchase it if I lost it. Side note: Since the end tapers in, I suppose you could just use the tip to apply blush. I, however, just love how soft it is, so I have a tendency to squish this brush all over my face, lol.
Mascara -E.L.F. - Wet Gloss Lash and Brow Clear Mascara
mudpud 2/16/2012 2:05:00 AM
My brows are fairly thick and, as is typical for Asians, grow in all different directions: straight up in the center, horizontally in the middle and straight down at the ends. I REALLY need a gel that will keep hold of the hairs, especially the ones that grow downwards. I've tried several different brands of brow gel and this is hands-down the best one. All of the others wimped out on me halfway through the day and/or (in the case of the clear ones), started turning white and flaking after a few hours. Since I have dark brows, those flakes were extremely noticeable and made me look like I had dandruff falling on my face. This doesn't turn white or flake off, PLUS it lasts all day, AND it only costs $1. In terms of its other intended use, I have tried this as a mascara, but it was only okay, so I'll be using that side for my brows, too. The one drawback to this product is that the opening is a little too big, so you'll need to scrape off a lot of the excess from the wand. My experience with most of the e.l.f. products I've tried is that they're "pretty good for the price you pay." Wet Gloss Lash and Brow Clear Mascara is just pretty awesome. Period. A note: I never thought the 2 sides were different formulations--I just assumed that they were kept separate so that the color tinting that inevitably happens to clear brow gel wouldn't "contaminate" the mascara side. Also, I don't think that the brush sizes and shapes are much different. UPDATE 8/12/12: Having two [smaller] separate tubes of the gel is actually a huge positive. You know how clear brow gel always gets thick and orange-y brown from coming into contact with your foundation and/or brow color? It also doesn't seem to hold as well. Well, when that happens with the side you're using, flip it around and start using the other side. Problem solved! It also turns out that the smaller amount is just about the right amount--in other words, by the time it turns all gross, you've pretty much run out anyway so there's very little waste.
So as everyone else has said, this doesn't smell like lemon zest, but more like lemon-flavored candy. More specifically, it smells like Lemonheads, which are awesome, but practically scream their bad-for-your-teeth artificial-ness through their scent. Throw (is that the term?) is on the weaker side. I wouldn't repurchase this one.
This used to be known as the One Step Face Cleanser - Normal to Oily/Combination Skin. They are exactly the same formula, just with different names. I have been using this cleanser pretty consistently for over 10 years now and I luuuuuurve it. It's fragrance-free, colorless, doesn't foam, and gets my face clean without drying it out (I'm a normal-combo skin type). Every so often, I'll stray and try something else, but my skin lets me know fairly quickly not to do that again. I buy the 16 oz bottles when they go on sale (bonus points if shipping happens to be free at the time) and always have an extra bottle ready to go. This and the 2% BHA gel are my 2 favorite products from Paula's Choice. Definite HG status.
Treatments -Paula's Choice - CLEAR Acne Fighting Treatment - 2.5% Benzoyl Peroxide
mudpud 1/21/2012 1:54:00 AM
This is the exact same product as the original Blemish Fighting Solution, only with a new name, different packaging, and marketed as part of the CLEAR acne-fighting line. Way back when, BFS was sold in a bottle with a flip top cap which worked much better with the watery formula. Packaging this in a tube means a lot runs out, so I store it in my medicine cabinet upside-down to alleviate that. As for use, I will apply this all over my face after cleansing and toning (but before moisturizing) about once a week as a preventative measure, and always at night. I will also use this as a spot treatment at the first inkling of a breakout, but no more than 3 nights in a row. Using it more than that results in dry, flaky skin. This in conjunction with the 2% BHA gel (which recently has received it's own name-change and face-lift) keeps my skin pretty clear and happy. Now that Paula's Choice constantly offers monthly sales, I stock up accordingly. HG status.
Lip Treatments -Paula's Choice - Lip and Body Treatment Balm
mudpud 1/21/2012 1:39:00 AM
Using this on a consistent basis keeps my lips soft and prevents chapping. I have also used this on dry patches, my cuticles, and my elbows. For those who are sensitive, it does contain lanolin and for those who are concerned, it is petrolatum-based. As for the packaging, I have bought this several times and here's my experience: the first time I bought it, I'm pretty sure it came in the larger 0.5 oz size. The second time it was in a tiny, tiny pot that made it very difficult to get at with my finger and might have been called something else--I think it was just labeled as something for lips. It was also on clearance. The last few times I've bought it, it's been back in the larger 0.5 oz size and has been called "Lip & Body Treatment Balm." So, it sounds like the company received enough complaints about the miniscule size that they reverted back to the original size and name. Good. I went through that tiny pot in no time, or rather, I would have if I could've gotten to all of it...
Silky Cotton are tiny, flat, pillow-shaped, "mini-luxury" cotton pads that I use nightly to apply toner to my face. They don't shed or fall apart, which is what happened when I used to use the cotton rounds/pads from the drugstore. Because of this, they're also great to use when removing nail polish. Some people suggest cutting them in half, but I prefer using them whole as I am extravagant like that, ha ha. But seriously, in a small way I feel like I'm treating myself when I use one--it *is* the little things, after all. It's true that they come packaged in a bulky cardboard box, but I just take them out and put them in a decorative candy tin in my bathroom (and recycle the box, of course--smug smug). On a less-helpful-to-you-but-still-makes-me-happy note, I recently discovered that the used Japanese bookstore near my house sells DHC products, so it's just as easy to buy a box (or 4 as I did last time) as it is to buy cotton pads from the drugstore. UPDATE 3/15/13: If you can't get these in-store or don't want to pay for shipping off of dhccare.com, purchase from dermstore.com. If you create an account and then add these to your 'favorites' list, you automatically get 10% off and shipping is always free (in the U.S.--even to Hawaii and Alaska).