Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Review: Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Volumizing Mascara


Ok, if you're going to put "stay all day" in the name of your product, it damn well better stay on all day. This does not. It stays on until approximately midday, and then it begins to migrate to the skin directly below my eyes.  The rest of the experience is not much better. Application is mediocre; it has a triangular brush that to my mind is too sparsely populated with bristles. While it does volumize, it does so sloppily - this formula is prone to clumping. To me, this mascara is a definite miss.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Review: Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask


This mask is a triple threat. It contains an exfoliating enzyme (pumpkin), a chemically exfoliating acid (AHA), and physical exfoliant (aluminum oxide crystals). While it is certainly effective, I find the combination a bit too harsh on my skin. Where they really go wrong is with the physical exfoliant. To use this, you smooth on some delicious-smelling orange brown goo all over your face. The directions say to massage it into your face. If you do this, you'll feel the gritty crystals tearing up your skin and smear away the real winners in this mask: the AHA and the enzymes. So, instead I recommend my method, which is to just let it sit for 5-10 minutes and then rinse off. You can mostly bypass the physical exfoliant this way but still get the benefit of the more gentle AHA and pumpkin. Be warned, chemical exfoliants and enzyme masks do give a tingling feeling for most people. If it spikes into a painful burning sensation, rinse off immediately. All in all, if used correctly, the Pumpkin Enzyme Mask yields a smooth, glowing skin surface. I like it, but would not repurchase because I find the exfoliating crystals annoying and unnecessary. There are plenty of other masks in this market that do the job without risking skin damage if used incorrectly.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Review: Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Waterproof Mascara


I don't know why I even bothered buying this one. I hated the regular Diorshow; in spite of its widespread acclaim, it was awful on me. I guess I was hoping the waterproof version would at least be less smudgy. Alas, it was not. In addition to leaving awful black smears under my eyes, this didn't even look good on my lashes. It has the sort of brush I like the most - a curved one with even bristles. Yet, the application was awful. I had all sorts of clumping, and despite the name of this mascara, it can't hold a curl for squat. Possibly the worst mascara I have ever purchased.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Review: MTJ High Definition Mascara


This is one of those obscure brand mascaras I received in some subscription box long ago and finally got around to trying. It retails for around $20. Immediately upon opening it I was intrigued by the brush.  I have never seen that design before. It looks like some kind of landscaped shrub, with ever wider spheres of bristles as you move away from the tip. Applying mascara with this brush was a DREAM. I have never had an easier application experience, so a huge thumbs up for shrub brush. The formula itself was also very promising initially. My lashes almost looked false, such was the length and definition that this mascara delivered. Not so much on the volume, though, and the big test for me is always how it looks after a few hours because I am ridiculously smudge-prone. Unfortunately, by midday my doll lashes were mirrored by raccon-like smudges under my eyes. Not a good look, regardless of how long your lashes look. If you are not prone to smudges, I would recommend giving this a try, both for the novelty of the brush and the very flattering results.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Review: Too Faced Shadow Insurance Eyeshadow Primer


A good eyeshadow primer can make or break even the most well-applied eyeshadow look - and I am far from a skilled make up artist.  I had high hopes for Too Faced Shadow Insurance because it gets rave reviews AND it comes in a tube, which is my favorite form of packaging. It feels a bit greasy on application and even though I let it dry, I still felt like my lids were oily when I put on eyeshadow, which caused my brushes to get a bit gunky. Shadow application was good with this primer and I got a very smooth finish. It does extend the life of your eyeshadow, but the oilies caused some of my looks to crease. Since my lids tend to be a bit oily to begin with, this primer probably isn't a great match for me, as I tend to think it adds to the problem. Also, the longer I used it, the more I had cause for another complaint: the stuff separates and you squirt out nothing but oil unless you vigorously shake the tube for a few minutes.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Review: Urban Decay Sheer Revolution Lipstick in Ladyflower



This is the sheer version of the Urban Decay Revolution lipstick, which I happily got for 50% off from Sephora, as the line is being discontinued. I only got one--Ladyflower--and I'm glad I only bought one because I'm not liking it much. I normally like sheer lipsticks, but despite this one's soft and balmy texture, my lips were irritated and felt dry after I'd worn it for a few hours. It reminds me a lot of MAC Huggables in texture, except that the Huggables are nice and moisturizing over time. Longevity is ok; one side effect of being somewhat drying is that it seems to deposit a decent amount of pigment on the lips. The Ladyflower color is a deep, rosy pink that I find very flattering. Overall, though, I think the discontinuation of this line is no great loss to the make up world.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Review: Alterna Caviar CC Cream


My typical hair product regimen when I wear my hair curly is to apply a leave-in moisturizer of some sort, followed by a product that will give me some hold, such as a gel, then air dry. This Alterna CC Cream fits neatly into the first step, as it delivers reliable moisture to my hair.  I find my hair is softer and shinier when I use it, and I love the delicious citrus scent that all of the Alterna Caviar products have. The price is also not terrible. The tube you see above cost me $25, which is clearly far beyond drugstore realm, but also not even close to Oribe pricing. I do find one thing a bit gimmicky about the marketing of this product, and that's the "10 in 1" claim. Alterna says it does the following: "It provides moisture, shine, smoothness, softness, anti-breakage, heat protection, light hold, UV protection, manageability, and strength." Well, ok, I'll give them credit for most of those things (though not any hold and I can't attest to heat protection as I don't use heat tools when wearing my hair curly). But really, this is no different from the benefits provided by any good leave-in, so I find it sort of disingenuous to claim this is some sort of new miracle product. If you can get past all of that, it's still a good buy for curly girls.