Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Beauty Look Book Essentials | Eye Basics


This is Part 2 of my Essentials Series. Today I'm sharing my favorite eye basics tools and products such as bases, mascaras and brow products. Details listed below for each product, followed by some swatches and extra photos below.

An overview on what I've looked for in each category:
  • Bases - I have normal to dry lids so I tend to look for products that are a tiny bit moist and dry down slowly so I can layer shadows without having to rush. At the same time I want something that will also dry to a finish that is longer-lasting and something that will stay put throughout the entire day. For color I know many like to match the skin color exactly to even out the lids. I prefer something with a bit of shimmer or a few shades darker otherwise the lids end up looking very flat and washed out.
  • Pencils/liners - I have found many basic browns or blacks are not dark enough or don't have the right texture. Many look great for a few hours then slide off or fade. Finding the perfect combination of color, texture and lasting power has been a challenge. Sometimes layering a powder shadow over a liner can help extend the wear-life of eye makeup. I usually prefer bronze or navy colors instead of your basic brown or black.
  • Mascaras - I have very straight lashes so without a mascara to lengthen, hold curl or volumize, I end up with raccoon eyes or look like I don't have lashes at all. Some long-wear mascaras end up feeling crunchy (if that makes sense) as they stiffen, I prefer something that has a bit more of a glossy looking finish but one that will stay put. Color is also key, I look for mascaras that look like they are a true black. Some dry down to a lighter color than what you see when it's moist.
  • Brows - I am still searching for my perfect brow pencil. I found one with NARS in Panama but they discontinued it and came out with a new formula and colors.
My tried and true list of products I've found over the years. While this is quite an extensive list, note that these were accumulated over time. There is always debate over shelf life of products, I usually keep items until they dry out, start to smell funny or just don't perform the same. Some liners/bases have lasted over 2 years - I think as long as you use clean brushes and occasionally wipe down the surface with a paper towel or cotton pad you should be ok. The only eye items I throw out regularly are mascaras at the 3 month mark.
  1. Chanel Eyelash Curler ($34, limited-edition) is a classic black eyelash curler. It was released a few years ago at all counters but you can only find it now at select places like Chanel.com. Detailed review with photos here. It works for my eyelid shape so it doesn't pinch around the edges and curls perfectly. Since it's black and I have black lashes, it can be hard to see what I'm curling unless I have good light, but the results are good.
  2. Le Metier de Beaute Eyelash Curler ($18) is a favorite at a relatively inexpensive price for a high-end curler. The pad has a bit more cushion to it but is gentle. This curls my lashes well and fits the eye shape perfectly.
  3. MAC Paint Pot in Groundwork ($20) is a classic cream tan brown color. I like it as a base for 1/2 way up the lid or as a soft contouring shade. It's darker than my natural skin tone but blends well and stays put. It helps add definition in a subtle way.
  4. RMS Cream Eyeshadow Solar ($28) might sound odd as an eye basic but the gold shimmer makes for a perfect swipe-and-go kind of color. It's all I need on lazy days and also works well as a base. The shimmery gold color helps brighten powder shadows and also intensifies colors when applied over the cream.
  5. Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Liner in Bronze Shimmer was a classic for years and then Bobbi Brown discontinued it. You may still be able to find this at various outlets (I have and stocked up). The closest color from Bobbi Brown is Chocolate Shimmer Ink (which is still darker and redder). Urban Decay has close matches as well but the lasting power doesn't match.
  6. Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Liner in Caviar Ink ($24) is a dark black but not quite a true black. There's a hint of brown in this so it's not too harsh. It's my perfect black liner.
  7. Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow in Nude Beach ($25) is another discontinued favorite. It was limited a few summers ago and is my holy-grail nude eyebase with shimmer. I wish it were permanent but the good news is Shore is a close match (just doesn't have the shimmer).
  8. Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow in Shore ($25) is a good matte nude. It's an amazing base that covers the lids and helps shadows adhere better. Depending on your skintone you may need something darker - Bobbi Brown has a wide range of neutrals to choose from. Shore is the one that matches my skin the best.
  9. Edward Bess Defining Eyeliner in Deep Brown ($29) is the best basic brown liner I've tried. It has a smooth texture so it glides on easy but it lasts all day after it sets.
  10. Chanel Stylo Yeux Waterproof in Noir Intense ($32) is the blackest black I've found that stays put. It's darker than Ebene (Chanel's classic black). I like that it's a twist-up kind of pencil. The end pops off so you can sharpen the tip.
  11. NARS Larger than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner ($24 each) in Via Appia (bronze) and Rue Saint-Honore (navy) are amazing eye pencils. These are twist up pencils as well with a removeable cap at the end to sharpen the tips. These are rich in color and easy to blend (if you blend quickly after application). Once they set, they don't budge.
  12. Le Metier de Beaute Dualistic Eye Pencil in Champagne ($36) is the classic taupe pencil that you can use as a shadow base. If you've had a makeover from any of the artists from Le Metier de Beaute, they will almost always use this - it's universally flattering and works wonders to add a bit of color to the eyes.
  13. Edward Bess Illuminating Eye Base in Suede ($30) is my holy grail eye base. There's nothing else that will help my shadows last as long as this base does. See my review and swatches here.
  14. NARS Volumizing Mascara ($25) is one of my favorite volumizing mascaras. It really does what it claims to do. It volumizes and thickens the lashes. I love that it doesn't budge or smudge. It's a rich black color which I love.
  15. Armani Eyes to Kill Mascara - Stretch ($32) is another favorite, if I were pressed to pick one favorite, this would be it. It's my does-everything mascara. Lengthens, thickens, defines, stays put, darkens and volumizes the lashes like no other mascara. There are several other variations of Eyes to Kill Mascaras. I've tried them all and they are all very good. This one grabs my thin lashes better and defines the best out of all of them. Artists I work with from Armani all have their different favorites.
  16. By Terry Eyebrow Mascara in Dark Brown ($38) is something new I've discovered. (I'll have a more detailed review later.) I have the worst brows ever. Everytime I have a makeover or work with an artist, they always ask me "what do you do to fix your brows?" My answer is usually nothing because there's usually very little I can do to "fix" them. Most pencils are too warm or too dark in color. The By Terry Brow Mascara in Dark Brown is the best brow product I've discovered. It helps define the brows and keeps them groomed. It dries to a natural feel (not a crunchy finish like many do). With this one I suddenly have defines brows that don't look so bad anymore.
  17. Bobbi Brown Tweezers ($30) grip the brows and tiny stubborn hairs. I've tried Tweezerman and Anastasia before - both of which are good, but nothing compared to Bobbi Brown. There is something about the design of the tips that helps grip hairs better. I like the classic silver design. It comes with a rubber tip to cap it so you can store it in your purse or makeupbag.
  18. Shu Uemura Slant Tweezers were my favorite of all tweezers. I'm very sad they discontinued this in the US. I keep checking Shu Uemura's website to see if it pops up again. No luck so far. Bobbi Brown is my close second for now.
  19. Leftover mascara wands are what I use to groom and brush brows or lashes. After my mascara is used up, I wash the brushes with warm water and soap and then they make their way into my brush containers to be recycled and reused. 
Eye Basics / Color Swatches



Eye Basics / Tools


I hope this comprehensive post gives you a list of ideas on what to try. We all have unique eye shapes, skin tones and skin types, so what works for you will depend on a number of factors. I hope the descriptions and details above will either help narrow down what to look for. If you can schedule a sit-down session with your counters, I recommend it. Artists have a wealth of knowledge - sometimes scheduling in advance can help them make sure they have extra staff on hand.

If I were to pick only 5 items for eye basics, they would be:
1) Le Metier de Beaute Eyelash Curler
2) Armani Eyes to Kill Mascara - Stretch
3) Edward Bess Illuminating Eye Base in Suede
4) NARS Larger than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner in Via Appia and
5) Shu Uemura Slant Tweezers


What are your holy-grail tools and eye basics?

17 comments:

  1. great post! I really like your style and pics! :) I'm new to your blog but certainly will come back!! keep up the great work!
    xo
    Alice

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  2. I love the way you photograph your pictures and this is such an informative post! thank you!

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    1. Glad this helped Steph! Do you have any basics/staples for eyes that are your favorites?

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  3. Fantastic post! I'll have to try something from Edward Bess, I have nothing from his line yet. A couple of my HG basics for eyes: Too Faced Shadow Insurance, my eyelids have always been oily and eye shadows creased like crazy until I discovered this product. Tweezerman tweezers, a mini for the purse and regular sized for home. Chanel Stylo Eyeliner in Santal, it wears like iron and the brown color goes great with many eyeshadow colors, loreal infallible eyeshadow in endless pearl is the perfect base color underneath all my eyeshadows...:)

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  4. Hi Sabrina,

    I love the look of Bobbi Brown Shore, what a pretty shade! The NARS eyeliners are a favorite too, though they do tend to tug a bit!

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  5. Sabrina, your blog just gets better and better!

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    1. Thank you Lori - so kind of you to say, made my entire weekend and through today :)

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  6. Lovely picks! I'm really excited to try the RMS cream shadows- their Living Luminizer is fantastic! xo

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    1. I keep hearing such great things about the Living Luminizer, I keep debating between this or the new bronzer. Will have to try them soon.

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  7. I am adoring how thorough and amazing your posts are lately xx
    Casualllyawkward

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  8. Great post! I'm definitely going to check out some of the products you've mentioned, I can never have enough eye makeup.

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  9. You have the best posts! So detailed and well written :)

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  10. I've been on the hunt for an excellent eyelash curler! thanks for sharing your faves!

    Angie Wilson | http://www.thefashionfuse.com/

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  11. Lovely picks!
    My holy grail eye products are By Terry BlackStar Shadow sicks, essence extreme crazy volume mascara and painterly paint pot!
    I am on the quest for a pencil liner I will give that Chanel one ago!
    TarteTanya

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  12. Very helpful entry, as always. Seriously, one of the reasons why I enjoy this blog so much is the beautiful pictures. Chic and Alluring

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