September 24, 2009

Mascara Madness!

Hey Beauties!

Mascara! It plumps, lengthens, colors and makes your eyes look alive! It comes with all kinds of brushes: skinny, fat, round, vibrating, rubber, plastic or bristled. It can cost $5 or it can cost $50. It is a makeup must-have!! The biggest problem is find the perfect one (or more!)...piece of cake! Riiiight. Mascara, like all makeup, is very subjective, and this blog is strictly my humble opinion, so you may totally disagree with me and your best friend as to which is perfect...add your views to the comments below!

I have a small pile of mascaras here, both purchased and samples, so I did some mini reviews of them using the same criteria for each (how scientific of me!).

First I'll list the name, the type of brush, waterproof or regular formula, color, and volumizing, lengthening or curling formula. Then I will rate each one based on the following qualities:

Did it stay put (STAY PUT) all day?

Was it clumpy (CLUMP) going on and require combing out?

Did it keep my lashes curled (CURL) or straighten them out?

Did it volumize/lengthen/curl (PERFORMANCE) per the advertising claims?

How easily is it (REMOVE) removed?

I'll also include NOTES about my experience.

Ready, set, GO!

Bare Escentuals Buxom Lash: Large diameter rubber bristle brush, regular formula, black, volumizing formula.
NOTES: This mascara would be my favorite non-waterproof. I totally love the big fine bristled rubber brush...I never have to de-clump. It does undo the curl in my lashes just a bit, but not totally.

Clinique High Impact Curling Mascara: Curved, tapered traditional bristle brush, regular formula, black, curling formula.
NOTES: I tested the curling performance by curling the lashes of one eye and not the other before applying the mascara. The pre-curled lashes only lost a small amount of curl and they stayed that way all day. The uncurled lashes didn't curl much and only unevenly. I would say that if you want curled lashes, buy a Shu Uemura lash curler at This mascara sort of came off in crumbs...and not all at once, so even though it wasn't waterproof, I had to use eye makeup remover to get the remainder off. I didn't get a lot of clumps, but I did comb out the lashes to make them look better.

Estee Lauder Sumptuous Bold Volume Lifting Mascara: Large diameter, tapered traditional brush, regular formula, Black, volumizing formula.
NOTES: I'm not exactly sure what volume and lifting mascara is supposed to do, but it made a clumpy mess of my lashes and straightened out my lashes completely. Yuck.

Benefit Bad Gal: Large tapered traditional bristle brush, regular formula, plum, volumizing.
NOTES: I got this because I wanted to try out a plum mascara to see if it would make my eye color pop. It didn't exactly do that, but it is dark enough for my lashes. Being a large traditional brush, it didn't surprise me that it clumped a bit, but it did some volumizing, didn't obliterate the curl and was easy enough to remove. I like to use it once in a while for the plum color, but it isn't a formula to use everyday. Meh...

Maybelline Pulse Perfection Vibrating Mascara: Narrow plastic bristle battery powered vibrating brush, regular formula, blackest black, defining formula.
NOTES: Is it really necessary to have a vibrating mascara wand?? I mean, isn't wiggling the brush back and forth manually enough? I guess somebody thought it wasn't. Well, save your money on this one. The plastic brush is one of the worst type of brushes second only to the comb versions. The color is fine, but it started to flake late in the day, didn't define much and I still can't figure out what good the vibrating is. Only the last third of the brush vibrates anyway. Pass.

Smashbox Lash DNA Mascara: Very large twisted double-helix style traditional bristle brush, regular formula, jet black color, lengthening/defining.
NOTES: This has the biggest mascara brush I've ever seen, and I use Lash Blast! It is also the worst brush I've ever used. It is so big that it is impossible to get to the lashes at the corners without smearing it on your is awful to maneuver! Also related to the brush, it clumps everywhere, completely straightened my lashes, and certainly didn't lengthen or define anything. I love love love Smashbox, but I hate hate hate this mascara. Sorry.

Cover Girl Lash Blast: Large diameter rubber bristle brush, waterproof, Very Black, volumizing formula.
NOTES: This is my HG mascara! It makes my lashes very black, very full, keeps them curled and stays put all day (and all night if you forget to take it off!!). It does require waterproof eye makeup remover, but I've found 2 brands that whisk it right off: Mary Kay Non-Oily Eye Makeup Remover and Make Up For Ever Sens' Eyes Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover.

Cover Girl Lash Blast Length: Long narrow rubber bristle brush, regular formula, very black, lengthening formula.
NOTES: This is a brand new addition to the Lash Blast family, and it lives up to its pedigree. It does for length what Lash Blast does for volume. It is a regular formula, so the curl relaxed a bit more than I would like, but it really made my lashes LONG! It comes off just fine and never clumps. I have a new secret: I curl my lashes, use Lash Blast Length, then top it with Lash Blast Waterproof...woohoo! My lashes look like falsies!!

Smashbox Bionic: Medium sized tapered traditional bristle brush, regular formula, black violet, lengthening/volumizing formula.
NOTES: I like the color of this mascara...deep purple, dark enough for my dark lashes. It didn't flake until late in the day, didn't clump much, but it also didn't do much for my lashes either. No extra length and not much volumizing. Kinda mediocre, but I will use it for casual wear.

There are hundreds of mascaras out there, so this is just a drop in the bucket. I didn't get smudging from any of them, but I keep my eye area oil free which keeps that from happening. If you have comments about the mascaras listed here, or anything else in fact, be sure to add them below!! I'd love to hear what you think!

Until next time, Stay Beautiful!


September 23, 2009

Pretty Peepers: Smashbox Eyes Have It!

Hey Beauties!

This week I've been playing with my Smashbox toys for eyes and I've found some brand new keepers and a couple of items with the potential to line the trash can if they don't pass some new trial runs. I have to apologize for the lack of pictures...I took pictures, but technical difficulties have gotten the best of me this week. :-(

Photo Finish Lid Primer - This little tube has me questioning my loyalty to Urban Decay Eye Shadow Primer Potion...Gasp!! What it has that the UDESPP doesn't have is that it acts as a sort of concealer for the eyelid. It dries more completely and manages to cover any visible veins and darkness on my lids. I was able to blend eye shadows more smoothly and they stayed put all day. I think I may have a new fav! A+

Eye Beam Double-Ended Brightener - When I first looked at this double-ended pencil, I wasn't sure it was something I'd be using. I have the Photo Op Under-eye Brightener, and highlighters for the brow area, so why do I need this? WELL, the beauty of this handy little tool is the point of the pencil makes it very easy to precisely highlight the inner corner of the eye without getting the rest of the area messy. It also allows a precise application just the under brow. The "eye" end of the pencil is a slightly pink shimmer and the "brow" end is a pale gold shimmer. After practicing a few times, at least the brow end is quite useful. My only issue with the eye end is the shimmer...fine lines abound in my inner eye area...not a great look. I like to use a pale matte eye shadow in that area but younger eyes may like the shimmer better. B-

Cream Eyeliner in Black Plum - I really like the soft but not too soft texture of this eyeliner. It went on smoothly, even underneath my upper lashes, and stayed on all day. I love the Black Plum color also...purple, but dark enough to be grown up and not too flashy. And the bonus is, I haven't had a good purple/plum liner because I hadn't found one I I have one! A

Jet Set Waterproof Eye Liner in Midnight Purple - I really, really wanted to love this liner. The color is great and it is waterproof! The first day I put it on, I used it under my upper lashes with a touch of pale eye shadow for a casual day. Within about an hour, it started flaking off into my eyes and it continued the whole day! I was miserable! The second time I used it, I put it on the top side of my upper lashes (with the cream liner underneath!) and it was just fine. The texture of this liner is very firm and sort of dry...been in the warehouse too long?? As long as I use a larger brush (MAC 209) to apply it, it is workable, but the small liner brush (MAC 208) just can't pick up any product. If I can't make this work, I'll stick with the creme liner. C+

Waterproof Shadow Liner Duo in Ideal Eyes - I wasn't quite sure what to do with this stuff when I got it. It is in a little compact, but it has a small plastic cover over the product inside. One side is a creamy pale gold, the other is an ashy brown. A liner/shadow brush was included in the set to use with this product, but it was a bit large and not pointy enough for the liner and shaped funny for shadow: I have other plans for this brush. I'm not sure I'm comfortable with cream shadow anyway, so my less than glowing experience just means I haven't messed with it enough. This product comes in other colors that may seem more useful to me...maybe I'll try one of those, but I'm keeping my mind open on this one. B

Glamoureyes Hazel Eye Shadow Quad - This is one of those products that only comes in a set and it comes in several eye colors: blue, brown, green, and this one, hazel. The hazel version includes a pale gold satin, a lavender taupe matte, an olive green shimmer and a very dark slightly shimmered dirty plum. I have been using the pale gold quite a lot and the green is very nice with it. I like the lavender taupe with the dark plum, but the plum is a little bit hard to blend compared to the other colors. Depending on the shade of hazel your eyes are, either the cooler purples or the warmer gold/green will make your eye color pop...mine look great with the purples because they are a greenish blue with a little dark gold around the iris. My sister has yellow green hazel eyes and the gold/green combo is striking. A-

And last but not least, my favorite and oddly enough the only real freebie in the bunch:

Eye Shadow Trio in Head Shot - These are my new favorite shadows for everyday or casual wear! Pale gold and beigey-pink shimmers and a velvety chocolate brown matte make for a nice natural, easy wearing combination. These shadows are extremely long wearing and stay true all day. Ding, ding, ding! I think we have a winner!! A+

Coming up: Mascara Madness!

Until next time, Stay Beautiful!


September 15, 2009

In your face: Smashbox!

Hey Beauties!!

Lately I've been collecting an extraordinary number of products by Smashbox, so I've divided my stash into groups, starting with products for your face!

The first face product I tried in the Smashbox line was the High Definition Healthy FX Foundation, $38 at I got it as part of a purchase of the Master's Class Vol. 3 Complexion Perfection-Light. I like this foundation because it goes on smoothly and has good for your skin Vitamin C even though it is a bit less pigmented than the Make Up For Ever HD foundation. The color in this set, Light L3 is a bit dark for my skin, maybe L2 or L1 would be better...guess I'd better get myself over to Sephora to find out!

Oddly enough, while the foundation in this set is too dark, the Camera Ready Concealer 3.0 is a bit too light! The concealer is pretty good if you don't have circles in the heavy duty class like mine...there wouldn't be enough in the tube to cover mine!! Good creamy texture though!

One of my favorites in this set is the Photo Op Under Eye Brightener. This stuff really does perk up my eyes and helps to reflect light away from my under eye bags and circles! Bravo!! You just pat this luminescent liquid in the under eye area ON TOP of concealer. Magic!!

After my experience with the makeup artist video during my Arbonne makeup demonstration (see the blog in the archives), I've finally put the next product to good use: Pressed Powder/Bronze Lights Duo in Fair/Light (Bronze Lights is sold on its own for $28 at Sephora). I've never had much use for bronzers...I always thought they looked too fake, or if they were shimmery, too shiny. The makeup lesson demonstrated contouring using bronzer, so I've been working the contouring using this matte bronzer and I really like it! It is the perfect color for my warpaint stripes here!

The next two face products are from a Smashbox set I purchased on QVC. They have several makeup lines on their website ( and have some exclusive items in each line. If you haven't looked there, check it out!

The first product from that set is the whole reason why I ordered it in the first place: HALO Hydrating Perfecting Powder. This is my Holy Grail of powder foundations! It has a shaver to freshly shave off the silky, buildable coverage powder. My face feels soft and hydrated, not tight or dry in any way! In fact my complexion was nearly flawless! Definitely a keeper, $59 at Does the price seem steep? Compare the price of HALO at $59 for .75 oz to Bare Minerals at $28 for .2 oz: HALO is $78.6 per ounce; Bare Minerals is $140 per ounce! Surprise!

The last product was another one of those that I wasn't sure I'd have a use for. The Soft Lights powder ($28 at Sephora) in Illuminate is a highlighter powder with four colors of powder to swirl together. Using the contouring and highlighting tips from the Arbonne demonstration, I'm using this and the bronzer every day! It isn't too glittery-shimmery (you know how I hate glitter!!) and it gives just the right amount of light where it is applied.

Of course I love and use the Artificial Light that I wrote about last week in my favorite things and I love the Photo Finish Foundation Primer, primarily because a combo version of these two items was included in the Complexion Perfection set. It was a nice idea to put them in a tube with another tube inside of that, so that they could be squeezed out together, but in reality the ratio was always different depending on how hard it was squeezed. Now I just have separate bottles and mix in my hand...same effect!

Smashbox really has an outstanding line of foundations and face products. I encourage you to try them! One of the other highlights of the line is that the compacts, if they have a solid or half solid lid have mirrors inside! I like that I can take a compact with me and not have to worry about how to see the application.

Next time: Pretty Peepers by Smashbox!

Until then, Stay Beautiful!


September 8, 2009

FOTD: A Few of My Favorite Things!!

Hey Beauties!

I hope everyone had a restful holiday weekend!

I was rummaging through my makeup drawer and decided to do a blog about my favorite products. These aren't current favorites (those can change daily!!), they are more like all time favs. They aren't in any particular order, so let's take a look!

Urban Decay Eye Shadow Primer Potion - This stuff is worth it's weight in gold! A swipe on each eyelid, spread around with a fingertip, apply your shadow and it won't budge for the whole day (and night if you don't wash it off!). It comes in two versions, the original, sort of a transparent off white that pretty much disappears on your lid, and the newest version, Sin, a shimmery pale gold-beige (same as eyeshadow with same name) to use as a base color. The cute little genie bottle has been accused of making it difficult to get the stuff out after a's a hint: when it seems like it is almost gone, take out the swiping stopper thingy. There is A LOT more in there!! Wouldn't do my eyes without this stuff! The price is right for making eye makeup stay on...$17 at Sephora.

Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm - Best lip balm I've ever used. Period. It goes on smoother than ChapStick and smells like peppermint. In the winter, when my lips get so dried out, this is the only thing that will heal them. I wear it to bed every night and use it under lip gloss, lipstick, etc. and on its own. I love that it has coconut oil, peppermint oil and vitamin E and costs about $3 at drugstores and discount stores.

MAC Eye Shadows - Yes, all of them. They are very highly pigmented resulting in excellent color payoff. The range of colors and finishes is just amazing for $14.50 at MAC stores and counters or I have more MAC shadows than all the others put together...probably because they were the first ones I started to collect!

Bobbi Brown Corrector and Concealer - I have the darkest most permanent circles under and around my eyes, due only to, dad and sis all have them too. I feel like I have tried every concealer out there (not true, but I have a drawerful that might appear so), so when I took the plunge and tried the BB Corrector, recommended for really dark circles, with the Concealer, I found my Holy Grail concealers. Granted they are expensive by my standards at $22 for each one at, but I tried others when my first containers ran out, and probably spent 3 times that on concealers that didn't even come close. So I caved and got the best. Never. Going. Back.

Bare Escentuals Brow Color - My eyebrows aren't that bad...maybe a little sparse, but I've spent the last couple of years getting them to the shape I want. I use different brow products here and there, but my every day go-to product is this brow powder. It is fast, fills in and still manages to look natural. AND, it is very reasonably priced at $11 at Sephora.

NARS Blush - It sounds like such a cliche, but really, this is the best blush!! It isn't all flyaway powdery, and it goes on like silk. It lasts forever, and has such awesome colors, like the iconic Orgasm. My personal fave is Deep Throat. Time to empty the piggy bank to shell out the $25 for it at Sephora!!

Smashbox Artificial Light Luminizing Lotion - My skin used to be all peaches and cream when I was growing up (yeah, I was one of those). But after 40, it started looking dull and kinda dead. That's where this luminizing lotion makes a difference. Sometimes I like to mix it with my primer and put the foundation on top, but I've also mixed it into my liquid foundation for nighttime looks. I've found it works to put it on before mineral powder foundations too. So if you are in that 40-something or older group and your skin is looking tired...try this stuff: $24 at Sephora.

These are really the only things I could come up with that I hadn't changed in a long time! I love trying new products, so if you have any suggestions, add your comments below!

Until next time, Stay Beautiful!!


September 5, 2009

A Seester FOTD!!

Hey Beauties!

My seester Cheryl and I did a little bonding over makeup today! To say that she isn't the makeup addict that I am is like the Black Knight's exclamation in Monty Python's Search for the Holy Grail upon having his limbs cut off: "It's only a flesh wound!" The woman almost never wears much makeup. She doesn't have a regular office job, so she doesn't see much point.

SO, I begged her to let me do her face and frankly, I think she is GORGEOUS!! So here is the before shot, actually with foundation and concealer, because we almost forgot the photos altogether:

Then after I worked my magic:

We didn't do a before picture for me because we were racing against nap time for my nephew, so here is my finished look:

We used the very same colors except for the foundation and concealer and being the paleface and she having a swimming pool in her neighborhood.

Yeah, we're related! Now tell me who is fair cheating!!

FOTD products:

Foundation-Cheryl: MUFE HD in 123
Foundation-me: MUFE HE in 118
Concealer-Cheryl: MUFE Lift Concealer in 2
Concealer-me: Bobbi Brown Warm Ivory
Loose Powder-Cheryl: NARS in Beach
Loose Powder-me: NARS in Eden
Powder Blush: Smashbox in Blushing Rose
Bronzer: Smashbox Bronze Lights
Highlighter: Smashbox Soft Lights in Illuminate
Under eye Brightener: Smashbox Photo Op Under eye Brightener
Eye Brow Powder: Bare Escentuals in Brunette
Highlight Eye Shadow: MAC Blanc Type
Mid-tone Eye Shadow: MAC Omega
Contour Eye Shadow: MAC Satin Taupe
Gel Eye Liner: Bare Escentuals Buxom Lashliner in Leatherette
Pencil Eye Liner: MAC Powerpoint in Industry
Mascara-Cheryl: L'Oreal Voluminous in Black
Mascara-me: Bare Escentuals Buxom Lash in Blackest Black
Lip liner: Maybelline Moisture Extreme in Nude
Lipstick: Maybelline Moisture Extreme in Peach Mocha

I played with some of the Smashbox products that I'm blogging this week, but only a few!

Until then, Stay Beautiful!!