Showing posts with label Eyelash Curler. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Eyelash Curler. Show all posts

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?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Eyelash Curlers: Trish McEvoy, Chanel and Le Métier de Beauté


The first eyelash curler I ever tried was from Revlon back when I was in high school and unfortunately it didn't do much for my straight lashes. I was scared that I would accidentally pull out all my lashes so I didn't try using one again until my college days when I had a Trish McEvoy makeup lesson at Saks. My first high-end eyelash curler purchase was was from Trish McEvoy and I've loved it ever since. I've since tried curlers from Armani, Chanel, Le Métier de Beauté, Shiseido and Shu Uemura (original and the individual). I would say all are good, but my top three favorites include Trish McEvoy, Chanel and Le Métier de Beauté.

What I look for in an eyelash curler: I focus on the curve (how it fits my eye) and the density of the pads (I prefer something on the softer side but not too soft). I'm Asian without a crease in my lids. There is a curve to my lids but my eyes are not deepset. My lashes are very straight which makes them appear shorter than they are. I found Armani's pad too stiff (making it difficult to get a good curl), Shiseido's shape didn't work with my eyeshape and pinched in the corners, Shu Uemura's was good, I have no complaints yet I think there are better options. The individual eyelash curler was good in concept but impossible for me to hold in my fingers.

It can be a challenge to see how these all compare unless you find a retailer that carries all the brands. Right now, there are various Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom stores that should carry most of the above brands. For the three that I do love, here's the breakdown and photos first, then detailed thoughts below:
  • Trish McEvoy wins for all around function, price and design (for me)
  • Le Métier de Beauté wins for having the most lightweight easy to use design with the softest pad
  • Chanel wins for aesthetics and has the thickest pad





Trish McEvoy's Eyelash Curler ($18) is a silver colored curler that comes with 1 replaceable pad and is made in Japan. If this came with refills available for purchase separately this would be holy grail material. The Trish Curler has the best feel in my hands. I have small fingers and while most eyelash curlers are virtually identical in shape and size, I sometimes find it difficult to hold some because of the angles or size of the handles. The pad has a medium density which I find ideal for getting a consistently even curl on both eyes by applying slight pressure. The pads last quite a long time and clean easily. I've repurchased numerous times. I find the Trish method of application to be helpful (although it might seem like common sense to most): "Position the Eyelash Curler as close to the base of the lashes as possible. Gently squeeze for 10 seconds, then 'walk' the curler out along the length of the lashes, squeezing as you go." I typically only squeeze for 4 seconds before releasing and moving the curler. I find curling the lashes in 3 sections helps get an even natural curl.

Chanel's Eyelash Curler ($34) is one of the newest on the market for the US. It was released in Asia a year ago, is made in Japan, and comes with 2 replacement pads. The Chanel curler comes in all black and out of all the curlers I've seen, the Chanel has the sleekest most sophisticated look. It has a very similar feel to the Trish McEvoy with an almost identical curve. The Chanel pad is thicker and stiffer but not too stiff. The curler gives a very good curl. For me, there is just one problem. Having black lashes with a black eyelash curler makes it very difficult to see exactly what I'm curling. The dark color of my lashes blends with the curler no matter what lighting I use. This requires a magnified mirror for me to see what I'm curling. This isn't too big of a problem though - if I start at the base of my lashes, I can see where to place the first curl and then work my way to the tips in three evenly spaced squeezes. Still I wouldn't use this if I were in a rush, the Trish and Le Métier work just as well and I don't have to look super closely to know what I'm curling.

Le Métier de Beauté's Eyelash Curler ($18) is finally available for sale at Neiman Marcus stores. For a while it was only available as a gift with purchase at various locations. This curler has the most curve out of all three that I'm reviewing in this post. It also has the softest most cushy pad I've ever tried. This was something I was not used to when I first tried it. Being softer I found that my first attempts gave me an uneven curl on both eyes as I was not able to apply consistent pressure. I was able to achieve a nice curl easier than ones with stiffer pads, but the result was uneven. After a bit of practice I was able to get used to the softer pad and have fallen in love since. A softer pad means that this curler doesn't last quite as long. I believe a replacement pad is included.

My general eyelash curler thoughts: I've been told that one needs to replace pads every 3-4 months and the actual curler every 9 months. I find the pads do wear down but am not always good about replacing consistently. I do clean after every 2-3 uses with makeup remover. For the actual curler, I'm equally bad about replacing. I've been told that the alignment of the hinges goes out after use which is why replacement pads are not sold for a number of brands. I always thought this seemed like a marketing scheme, but have noticed that replacing the curlers about once a year does make a difference when you compare a used one to a brand new one.

For more resources, tips and insights, I recommend these:
  • The Non-Blonde's review on Le Métier de Beauté's Eyelash Curler
  • Café Makeup's beautiful review and comparisons on Chanel and Le Metier (these are a must-read!)
  • Thoughts on replacement frequency, cleaning tips, brand comparisons see the Q&A at Sephora.com

What's your favorite eyelash curler?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Day 3 of Beauty Tools & Essentials: Tools & Accessories

Tools for the face - Foundation, Powder & Cleansing/Touch Up:

* Sponges - My fool-proof technique for applying foundation is to use an egg-shaped sponge, which allows for even application and control of the amount of coverage. The edges also allow for clean-up of smudges or fall out of powder eyeshadows. Sponges are also great for applying powder foundations, but most compacts come with their own. Refills are available from a number of lines.

* Puffs - Larger puffs are nice for applying translucent powders to set foundation. (I clean mine in the washing machine.) Sometimes you can find the smaller versions in gift-with-purchase deals.

* Facial Cotton/Q-tips - Shiseido Facial Cotton (found at Macys, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Sephora and other Shiseido counters) is a standby for me for removing makeup or fixing mistakes. Q-tips are also essential for removing smudges and getting those fine detail areas.



Top Row: Laura Mercier Velour Puff, Chanel Mini Puff (GWP), MAC Foundation Sponge Liquid/Cream

Bottom Row: Laura Mercier Mini Velour Puff (GWP), Shiseido Facial Cotton/Q-Tips, MAC Studio Tech Sponge (Set of 2)


Tools for the eye area - Lashes & Brows:

* Eyelash Curlers - There are many different curlers out there, the type that will work for you will depend on your eye shape. I find that Shu Uemura and Trish McEvoy work the best for me.

* Tweezers - My favorites are Anastasia & Shu Uemura. Tweezerman is good too, but I find it dulls after a while. The mini purple tweezers are from Nordstrom for their Anniversary Sale Beauty Exclusives.

* Brow Comb



Left to right: Tweezerman Mini Slant Tweezers, Anastasia 'Mini Berry' Tweezers (Nordstrom Beauty Exclusive, Shu Uemura Slant Tweezers, MAC 204 Lash Brush



Trish McEvoy Lash Curler from the Trish McEvoy website, but also found at select Nordstroms, Saks, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, Henri Bendel locations.
 

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