Mascara -NYX - Doll Eye - Water Proof - Extreme Black
totoro 4/8/2013 2:37:00 PM
This mascara wasn't horrible; it just didn't live up to the expectations I had based on its name. It wasn't particularly dramatic, and for some reason I didn't even notice a difference between the color "Extreme Black" and any ordinary black. It just didn't appear that intense to me. The brush, which is what creates the doll-eyed look, covers each lash alternately short and long. Ideally, this gives a 60's mod twiggy look, yet on me, it just looked a little incomplete. Maybe it's because I have sparse and light colored lashes and a little natural volume is required in order to pull off the look. While it didn't clump automatically, I found I had to work more carefully to avoid clumping. On the positive side, it didn't smudge and lasted most of the day. As an alternative to returning it I just use it on my outside lashes in the hope that the longer bristles will give them a bit of flair.
I have both of the other well-known silica setting powders, the MUFE and Elf versions. I actually prefer this one over both. It seems to be more finely milled and smoother, so finely milled in fact, that it drifts up into the air when the lid is removed. Annoying, yes, but this is just an indicator of how very fine the particles are. As such it doesn't cake or settle into fine lines, nor does it emphasize dry patches. Just a very smooth and beautiful finish. It's 100% silica, and I don't remember how that compares to the MUFE and Elf, but I'll check the label and update. The only reason I'm giving it a '4' is because the very small amount in the jar makes it deceivingly expensive at $9.99 US (Ulta).
Mascara -Maybelline - Great Lash Mascara Waterproof
totoro 3/20/2013 2:38:00 AM
I recently started wearing contacts again so I had to buy waterproof mascara, which I've never liked and have avoided in the past. I went through many wp mascara reviews with no success. Just google "the best and worst waterproof mascaras", and you'll see why I got nowhere. For every "best of" list Great Lash wp makes, it appears on at least one "worst of" list with horror stories about raccoon eyes and spider lashes. That said, I'll just include the disclaimer that mascara preferences are highly individualized. For reference, my lashes are blonde-ish and skimpy, but I generally prefer lengthening/separating mascaras over volumizing ones (I dislike the popular L'oreal Voluminous). Some of my old faves are the less dramatic mascaras: Cover Girl Lash Exact (in the plum colored tube), Jane Fan Club (now very hard to find); and Maybelline Lash Discovery (the non-wp formula in all of these). I once tried and hated the regular Great Lash but then later tried it in the "Lots of Lashes" variety, which has more of a separating brush, and liked it much better with that brush, which seemed to make the formula easier to work with. So, when I began my search for waterproof mascara I decided to give the infamous pink tube a try. The wp version of GL comes with the standard brush only, so I bought the "Lots of Lashes" version just for the brush and replaced the brush in the waterproof tube with that one. A pleasant surprise. The GL wp formula is, imo, better than the regular GL formula. I experienced no clumping, smudging, flaking or irritation--even through 14-hour days and re-wetting eye drops. This mascara struck a nice balance between being too dramatic and not dramatic enough, looking somewhat natural but not boring. Nothing life changing or earth shattering, but just enough oomph for me. Again, I like that the plastic bristled LoL brush separates with only slight thickening, but for those who like a lot of volume and/or hate plastic brushes, the the waterproof version comes with a regular brush. Finally, this mascara is inexpensive, at $4.49 at HEB here in Texas. I gave it a '4' instead of a '5' because the regular brush makes it a deal breaker for me, and so I had to buy another tube just for the brush I like. One common complaint is that it's hard to remove compared with other waterproof mascaras, and I agree with that. However, I removed it with Neutrogena's eye makeup remover and had no known damaged or lost lashes, but this is usually not a problem for me, so beware if it's an issue for you.
I would describe this as a clear, somewhat bright orange apricot. I had been looking for a color similar to MAC Peaches (which I love) for a long time, and though this isn't as close to Peaches as I first thought, it shares the same end of the color spectrum and has no noticeable pink undertones. MAC Peaches is more muted and has slightly more orange than Frivole. Neither blush, however, looks (to me) as if it has any pink. For comparison, Chanel Malice has some discernible pink and is more of a coral than Frivole. Because of the sheer and buildable formula of Chanel JC blushes, this color will work on a variety of skin tones, even paler ones. (though it might not work on cooler undertones). Despite its brightness in the pan, Frivole easily and seamlessly blends to look natural on my NC 10-15 skin. The texture is characteristic of JC blushes, appearing matte in the container and on the skin but having an almost invisible sheen up close, just enough to give dimension but not enough to reflect light or have any shimmer at all. I love these Chanel blushes and occasionally splurge on them, but they cost $43 US, and so I gave Frivole a 4, only because I think no blush should really be that expensive. Even though the quality is superior, I think a price that high is just because of the legendary brand name. If this blush does strike your fancy but you don't want to spend so much, it is similar, as I mentioned, to MAC Peaches, which is gorgeous. The only reason I looked for a duplicate color is because the Sheertone blushes break me out. :( I also noticed that Laura Mercier's Lush Nectarine has a similar effect but like many warm colors, has some recognizable pink undertones to it.
I've collected Benefit boxed powders over the years and admit to my mixed feelings about them. It's a love/hate thing, and Bella Bamba is no exception. I agree with those who call this color watermelon pink, and so I won't try to describe its actual color, whether it's pinky apricot or reddish pink or peachy pinky red or whatnot. Despite what some say, I agree with someone who said the color is actually unique and hard to pinpoint. (though it does remind me of an old compact blush by Benefit called "Take a Picture; It Lasts Longer." ) In any case I adore it because it brightens up my very pale warm toned complexion so beautifully when used as a blush (it would be way too intense as an allover powder for paler skins). As to whether it works best on paler or darker complexions, there's not a lot of rhyme or reason. I've noticed that many people with medium and darker complexions complain that the color won't show up on them until they've layered it several times and then it's overdone, looking clownish and too bright. On the other hand a lot of fair skinned reviewers say it shows up with one layer and isn't too intense for them. One explanation might be that it's not only intended as a blush, but also as an allover face powder, so while the color is intense and bright, the pigment isn't very densely packed into it like it would be if it were strictly intended as a blush. Because of this sheerness the pale peeps can use it as a blush, but those with medium and darker complexions must layer it to make the color visible beyond a mere sheer wash. By that time it's layered to the point of looking overdone. So although it claims to be multi-purpose product, it seems that people can wear it as either a blush or an allover brightener, but can't easily adjust the application to use it as both. I will say that I usually have to work hard to blend out intense blush colors like this, and I don't have to do that with BB, so this explanation makes sense to me. I'd probably buy Bella Bamba again for the singular reason that I love the color, don't mind the shimmer, and actually like the fragrance. Otherwise, it has drawbacks, especially from a budget and practicality standpoint. It's $28 US; the bulky cardboard box packaging makes it a pain to transport, all the more problematic because of its poor staying power. If a makeup item is going to disappear within a couple of hours it should at least be portable so you can reapply on the go. (I find all the Benefit blushes to be very short lived) The high shimmer factor will annoy all but the sparkliest on sparkle fans (I like the shimmer). Then there's the fragrance, which I describe as fruity and watermelon-like. I find it pleasant, but let's face it. If a product has a scent some people are going to hate it. Considering all the above, BB really is more of a whimsical makeup item. Now that I think about it, I''m going to poke around for similar colors in other products and formulas and will update this review if I find any.
I got this in the sample size sold at Ulta. For me, it not only failed to add the drama of false eyelashes, (as the name implies it will), but it didn't even perform like a good daytime mascara intended for low key or natural looks I really like New York Color Instant Lash Mascara for that purpose. It looks natural but doesn't make my lashes look underwhelming. At several hundred percentage points up the price scale, Benefit's TR actually looked duller and duller as the day wore on. Building it up with layers didn't seem to help at all. Though I've read that other reviewers find it to be a deep, dramatic black, for some reason the color seems to show up as a soft, dull black on me.(it might be the undertones of this particular black). On a positive note, it didn't smudge or flake or leave me with raccoon eyes nor did it irritate my eyes at all.
Mascaras come and mascaras go. It's hard to remember them all, which ones I've taken for a whirl, and which ones I've never been tempted by. I've had so many in my life I could write a book-length memoir. Most of them left me with at least a fond memory or two, even if the love didn't last long. Some were just wallflowers with no flair. Others were drama queens. There were the good old standbys, always reliable and available on a Saturday night. And those that disappeared like a thief in the night leaving me heartbroken and in need of a new mascara love. This one tempted me; at very first I thought I liked it. But it ended up, like so many others, a mismatch. I hardly ever review mascaras, even the ones I dislike, but "Falsies" clumped like nobody's business, which is a deal breaker for me. Probably the biggest issue I have with it, though, is its claim to look like false eyelashes. At least in my experience, nothing could be farther from true because false eyelashes do not clump like that. It's possible that I don't have the right application technique down, but this mascara made my lashes appear short and spiky, and in no way did it deliver on its promise to give a false eyelash effect.
I'm never without this powder, especially in hot Texas summers. The scent is so comforting, sort of vanilla and apricot like (as someone else described it). So divine it makes me feel like a little kid again--in a good way, when after bath and pajamas, it's story time and then you say goodnight to the whole world before floating away to dreamland. :-) OK back to adulthood. . . where was I? Oh yeah, it still makes a great after-bath powder before bedtime or in the mornings. I've never used it as a face powder, though after reading about people doing so, I'm sure I'll try at some point. Of course it's talc-free and has a list of quality ingredients, which at one time included rose buds and myrrh, but I'm not seeing that on my current bottle; maybe they changed the formula. In any case, it contains bentonite, (the clay used in facial masks) which is probably what gives it such great moisture and oil controlling properties. This really is a nice multi-purpose powder, and here in Texas it's less expensive than most of the other natural baby powders made for the health food store market.
Highlighters -NARS - Highlighting Blush Powder in Albatross
totoro 8/11/2012 2:08:00 AM
This is a stunning and unique highlighter. In the pan it appears as a slightly golden-yellow off-white color, but on the skin the color disappears and leaves a subtle sheen. Its texture is finer and more invisible on than most other highlighters. The only other one I find comparable is Lorac's "Perfectly Lit", and I like Albatross better. Perfectly Lit is more of a light translucent beige color; it also has a very finely milled texture and looks beautiful and natural on. But the glow it gives when applied just doesn't quite inspire the awe that Albatross does, not to mention that it requires a more skilled application with the right brush (I need to use a stippling brush with that one or it's too concentrated). Albatross is more foolproof and faster; I can get results in a hurry with any brush (as another reviewer said) and even with a sloppy application. It's glowy from within rather than shimmery or glittery. ELF makes a nice dupe for this, and I have that one, but since I got Albatross I don't reach for it much anymore. It is quite nice and is good for travel because it's more replaceable if it breaks, but I prefer Albatross when I want to look extra radiant. (Though I can say that the ELF one is a good dupe if you're on a budget) Like all Nars' products, this is expensive (price is the same as blushes), but I consider it a worthy splurge.
My experience was with the glue that came with the Ardell Lash Starter kit for individual lashes. I was a noob to false eyelashes and explained my apprehension and inexperience to the SA at my Ulta. She strongly recommended the individual lashes since I was a beginner. Another customer tried to warn me about the glue, saying that it was hard to remove. I got the product anyway and ended up regretted it later. After a tedious and harrowing attempt to apply the lashes, I ended up with two of them, one on each eye. Fortunately, I was able to pull the others off before the glue dried; I wanted them off because I couldn't get them to sit properly, and they kept turning in all directions (and just looked weird and creepy). These two remaining lashes were stubborn, so I tried eye-makeup remover but soon realized the glue had already dried and these puppies were staying put. At this point I decided as a last resort to use the Adhesive Remover that came in the kit. In a stroke of luck,I did some research before doing that and decided not to after reading reviews rife with horror stories about burning eyes and lost eyelashes. Needless to say, I wore glasses for the next few days in an attempt to hide the awkward lashes dangling from my eyes. Finally, they did come off after days of trying to loosen them with regular eye makeup remover. Maybe I'm just a spaz, since other people were happy with the stay-put results. And I guess stubborn glue is better than false eyelashes that fall off during a date, so it goes along with the territory of individual lashes. Apparently a stronger glue is needed to keep them on, probably because unlike strip lashes, they can easily slip off between individual natural lashes. Still, how the S.A. thought that kit would be good for a beginner is beyond me. The package didn't have extensive instructions. I bought a regular sized tube along with the kit (which I never opened), and there was no mention of the need to use an adhesive remover! It should at least explain that these will stay on for days and that only a harsh solvent will take off the glue. The Ardell individual lashes have some great reviews, and so I hate to diss them so, but I just have to warn anyone who is inexperienced; you may have no problems (maybe you're more coordinated than I am), but it's good to be informed of the risks and possible pitfalls beforehand. I recommend having someone help you, someone who has experience. Also, give them a trial run at a time when you DON"T have an important event coming up, since they won't come off with regular measures, and the remover can cause lashes to fall off and/or irritated, swollen eyes.
UD Naked lip liner pencil is one of the most flattering and versatile nudish lip liner colors I own. By "nudish," I mean that it's nude on most people in the medium skin tone range (and maybe darker, idk) but since I'm so pale, a true "nude" lipliner has to be even lighter, clearer, warmer and less brown, so Naked is a bit too deep to be truly nude on my lips, if that makes sense. (Midnight Cowboy is closer to an actual nude on me). Having said this, I have my favorite nude lls that suit that purpose, and I use them when the makeup emphasis is on eyes or cheeks. For an everyday go-to lip liner, however, an MLBB liner like UD Naked is ideal. A light-medium pinkish brown, it compliments almost any mid range lip color and has the right amount of brown to tone down or add dimension to a wide variety of lip colors. This is why I love--and reach for--it so often. This, and the fact that, like all UD 24/7 lip liners, it wears like nobody's business. And unlike a lot of long lasting lip liners, it goes on softly with no tugging of the lips or skipping, etc. The only downside for some peeps might be the fact that it has to be sharpened, but I prefer that b/c it gives more control over the size of the point.
Blush -Tarte - Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Dollface
totoro 8/9/2012 12:43:00 AM
Dollface is one of two blushes I brought with me on the last long trip I took (the other was UD fetish). The texture is absolutely matte with no shimmer whatsoever, and the color is a light, cheerful, somewhat bright, clear pink (that isn't too bright for pale skin). As other reviewers have said, it's not too cool (though when I first saw it I thought of it as a cool blush; when you see it next to something really cool, like Tarte's Adored, it puts things in perspective). I imagine Dollface suiting medium skin tones as well as lighter ones, and this blush compliments just about everything and any makeup look. It can be played down to look like a barely there natural flush or played up to achieve the "china doll" look it's named for. This is why it's one of my favorite traveling companions. Since I tend to get tired of using the same blush over and over again, I have to be careful when packing makeup for a trip. The product has to be so gorgeous and versatile that I don't get tired of it and can pull together different looks for day and night, warm and cool, casual or elegant, strong lips or eyes, etc. Dollface meets all the above criteria. I do have to touch up at least once during the day (in fewer than 12 hours, especially in humidity and heat), and that's why it gets only four lipsticks. To be fair, though, I don't think I've ever met a blush that would stick around that long on me. :-/ Blushes tend to wear off for some reason. I got the mini-size in a set along with a small travel size of "Park Avenue Princess" bronzer. This makes it even better for an on-the-go makeup bag in my purse or for travel. Love!
The color of this blush has been described in so many ways--a berry, red, pink, or plum. I think it's a subtle combination of all these, but calling it a neutral berry would suffice. It's pretty natural looking and would work with so many different skintones. There is the tiniest bit of shimmer, but this does not show up when applied; it just looks like a natural glowiness. This is one of the most versatile blushes I own; it was one of two blushes I took on a trip to Japan last summer, when I knew I couldn't schlep a lot of makeup with me everywhere. It held up reasonably well in the high humidity, though I did need to touch up during the day (I usually have to touch up blush). A very good quality blush that is so versatile and natural on many skintones in the light and medium range.
Grain is a soft, peachy beige; it's a satin finish shadow and one of the first Mac shadows I ever purchased, back when it came in the larger container (the company later started packaging Grain--along with several other oversized shadows-- in the smaller, regular sized pots). The only reason I can think of that these were ever in larger pots is because they were meant to be all over washes or base colors, so more product would be used. The color Bisque was also packaged this way. Grain is one of those colors that can be underwhelming and often gets underestimated, but I find it rather unique; I've yet to find an exact (or nearly exact) dupe for it, with the same color *and* texture. Being a satin finish means it won't dazzle with shimmer, and to some it might be rather plain. But like Shroom, which is also a satin, it exudes a subtle and understated glow. The color is a bit darker than Vanilla or Shroom, but for light and medium skintones, it's still light enough to be used all over the lid, and/or under the brow or inner corners. . . so it's very versatile. I consider it a warm leaning color, but I think it could be used with a range of neutral colors. Like another reviewer, I often use this when I just want a clean simple look. If I want more shimmer, I can add a lighter and/or shimmery shadow to the center of the lid and under the brow. This shadow also looks great on my lower lid, where it disguises purplish or red discolorations and really brightens up my eyes. Hence it works so well on lazy or tired days and weekends just bumming around. It can used for a no makeup look--or played up along with other warm or neutral colors for something more elaborate. Because of this versatility, Grain is a great take-along shadow. It is part of my "desert island" eyeshadow palette, a collection of four mac staples in pans, placed in an empty elf compact (the exact shape and size of the empty mac four pan ones, only more durable and with a mirror; $1.00 at target!). Its traveling companions are Vanilla, Shroom, and Wedge. I still have my old large one but bought a pro pan size just so I could do this. I really love this color!
I just got this and so far I like it. I see that this foundation isn't faring well in reviews here on mua. I'm guessing that it can be troublesome for those with oily or acne prone skin. I just got it in 0.5, the lightest color, which is neutral (maybe leaning a bit toward cool neutral). The next shade up is 1.0, which leans more toward warm neutral. I experienced only a tiny bit of oxidation initially when it dried, but nothing outside of the range of normal. At first, the finish looked a bit dewy to me--until I looked at it close up and realized that it's not dewy but rather sort of demi matte. It probably blends more easily with the foundation brush, but I applied it with my fingers and the finish looked flawless and natural. I did not get the brush, so I don't know how the special brush application differs from applying with fingers or a with a regular foundation brush. (the UD brush is rounded and flattened). I have combination dry and sensitive skin, and I find that this doesn't look cakey at all. The coverage is light to medium but appears to be buildable for fuller coverage. I haven't tried to layer it, but I'll do that and update my review with anything I notice. One layer does smooth out imperfections (redness, broken capillaries, pigmentation, etc.) better than average, probably due to its seamless texture, if that makes any sense. It does make my skin look smooth and flawless, with a sort of "no makeup" finish, so yey! As with all foundations, the only way to know for certain if you'll like it is to try it (and keep the receipt; Ulta and Sephora both have uber friendly return policies) Last week Ulta advertised a sample giveaway (of this) with the purchase of any UD product (there might have been a minimum purchase amt.; I don't remember) which is a hassle-free way to try it. The foundation comes in a cylindrical plastic bottle with a pump and retails for $38.00 for 1 oz. I know this is far from the most expensive range of foundations, but still, it's not chump change.