Showing posts with label Mascara. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mascara. Show all posts

Friday, July 18, 2014

In Rotation | Beauty Look Book Mascara and Lash Primer Picks

I typically limit myself to a couple of mascaras I use at any given time since I keep them for 3 months max before tossing but I've been testing new ones and I've discovered some new favorites. I have half a dozen I'm using right now and I've picked out my favorites to share.

When it comes to my lashes, I'm really picky with mascaras or lash primers. I have really straight ones that often don't hold the curl with most mascaras even with a lash curler (my essentials here). I also find a lot of black mascaras turn grayish looking after they dry on my lashes, smudge or end up feeling crunchy and flake during the day. When it comes to mascara I look for something that will last all day without clumping, flaking, smudging and something that stays a true lush black color and holds the curl.

I'm hesitant to try lash primers and lash serums because I don't like having an extra layer of product on my sensitive eyes. I'm a novice in this area so if you have any recommendations I am all ears.
The mascara and lash products I have in rotation right now:

  • Shu Uemura Lash Builder ($33) is a lash builder serum to help create a longer lusher lash look, I've been testing this for a few weeks and am still undecided on what I think but it's been in my lash rotation, it darkens and defines the lashes when you apply it but I haven't seen a visible difference after I apply colored mascara, reviews seem to indicate you will see results over time
  • Diorshow Maximizer Lash Plumping Serum ($28.50) is something I've used for several years, I don't use it everyday but it's a favorite base that helps mascara adhere better to the lashes and makes it catch the lashes resulting in a fuller look, I like that it doesn't impact the curl after using a lash curler
  • Guerlain Maxi Lash Waterproof ($30) is something I discovered thanks to RaeView, it's the first waterproof mascara I've tried that doesn't make my lashes feel crunchy, this one needs 2-3 uses to break it in, it gives lush rich black lashes, volumizes, doesn't clump/flake/smudge and defines the lashes nicely, I haven't tested it at the beach or pool but it seems to be sweat proof and lasts all day
  • Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Stretch ($32) is a staple in my beauty arsenal, I've repurchased this numerous times (probably a dozen tubes by now), it's my favorite mascara of all time because it does everything I want - lengthens, defines, thickens, darkens the color and stays put, it's easy to apply and gets the little corners easily because of the tapered brush tip, the bristles are well designed to grab on to the lashes and glides on easily
  • Chanel Le Volume de Chanel ($30) is the only Chanel mascara I like, it's a lightweight mascara that glides on easily and doesn't clump, it stays put and doesn't dry to a grayish finish like other Chanel mascaras do (at least for me), I like the Black and Bleu (navy) for fun, but mostly use the black
  • NARS Larger than Life Volumizing Mascara ($25) is another favorite that I've repurchased numerous times, it is one of my favorite volumizing mascaras that doesn't flake or smudge, this one has a big fluffy brush so it can be prone to clumping after a while due to buildup, I wipe down the brush with a small piece of paper wrapped around the tip (tissue or paper towels will get caught in the bristles, so paper actually is best to clean the brush) and then it's back to perfection
If I were pressed to pick just one mascara to live with the rest of my life, it would be the Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Stretch. If you're looking for something more wallet-friendly, a few other  less expensive favorites I've tested and purchased numerous times include Clinique High Impact Mascara ($16), Topshop 3d Curve Mascara ($20, or in this Eyeliner/Mascara Set for $24) and MAC Plushlash Mascara ($16) has been a long-time favorite. I've tried dozens of drugstore mascaras (literally) and for some reason they've all turned grayish in color on my lashes and I've never found one that holds the curl.

What are your holy grail lash primers, serums and mascaras? I've been researching lash serums and would love your thoughts on any you've tried.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Topshop Makeup

It's been years that many of my readers have been e-mailing me about Topshop Makeup with raves about their blushes and lipsticks and numerous requests to try the brand and review it. Topshop is one of those brands I don't have easy access to, but it's been on my list to try for quite some time. Topshop recently reached out to me to try a few items from their makeup line and I was thrilled to get my first look. There are so many gorgeous posts about their lipsticks from many UK bloggers. The items they sent for review included their 3D Curve Mascara, Brighten in Moonlight, Kohl Pencil in Coal and Saint Lipstick.

3D Curve Mascara ($20 for 9.5 ml/0.30 fl oz, made in China) comes in Black with a large brush. I found it did give a multi-dimensional look for my super thin and straight lashes. The color is a pure black and stayed black after it dried (some mascaras tend to look grayish on my lashes once dried). I found it lasted quite well without any smudging but I did get a bit of flaking by the end of the day. If it didn't flake I would give it an A+ rating. My first attempt at taking before/after photos of my lashes below (along top lashes only):

Brighten in Moonlight ($14 for 1.5 ml/0.05 fl oz, made in Italy) is a one-shade fits all under-eye concealer. It comes in a twist up tube with a brush applicator. I was worried this would be too pale or pink for my skin, when swatched it looks very light and very pink against my olive skin. However it has a sheer slightly luminous (but without any shimmer) quality to it that blends well with my medium/tan skin. I was really surprised how this brightened the under-eye area. I tend to avoid concealers under the eyes in general since they end up looking too heavy or cakey. This one has enough sheerness to it to even the skin without looking heavy. To apply this, I've been dabbing it under the eye over foundation and set it with powder. It lasts well all day. I'm not sure if this would work on anything darker than a Chanel B40 or MAC NC40 - if you've tried this I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Kohl Eye Pencil in Coal ($8, made in Czech Republic) is a dark black pencil. I found it to be a pure rich black with a smooth texture that doesn't tug. The lasting power is quite good and I didn't get any smudging or pulling with the pencil. (Also available in Sable/Dark Brown). Finding a good true black for me is difficult. Most black pencils end up looking too harsh, too grey or just not really dark enough. Coal is a good true black that applies very smoothly and stays put. I couldn't ask for a better pencil for the price.

Saint Lipstick ($16 for 3.5g/0.12 oz, made in Italy) is a pale peach pink cream. This one is difficult for me to evaluate simply because the color is so light I think it will be hard for anyone to pull off this color. Since it's drastically paler than my natural lip it tends to enhance any crease or imperfection even with smooth lips. Given the raves and beautiful reviews I've seen of Topshop lipsticks on other blogs I suspect it's only the color that makes this one not work. For me to be able to wear this one I had to cover the entire lip with a darker nude lipliner, apply a light layer of Saint Lipstick and blend like crazy. If you've tried any of the lipsticks I'd love to hear about the colors and formulas you've tried.

I like the look of the Topshop makeup line although it's completely different from what I normally go for in beauty brands. I have their shop in Los Angeles on my list to check out - I'm hoping all the stores carry the full makeup line. Have you tried Topshop Makeup? I'd love to hear your recommendations. I already have a list going from readers to check out their blushes - but I'd love to hear your thoughts. (This Glow Highlighter looks seriously amazing, tell me do I need to check this one out?)

This post contains press samples sent for review and affiliate links. All opinions are my own. For more information refer to my disclosures.

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 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?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Minimalist on Monday

I think every week should have a three-day weekend. Two days simply isn't enough time to do the things I want to do (the fun stuff). Today's look is quick and easy with a simple black cotton dress, tan belt, black flats, ivory leather bag. Outfit is almost entirely J.Crew (I can always rely on them for a classic simple look). Leather bag is by Balenciaga. Makeup is all barely-there natural colors. I'm a minimalist at heart even if my natural "no makeup" look isn't really minimalist if you break it down to what I'm wearing.

Inside the bag:

What I'm wearing today: Chanel Tweed Rose Blush, Chanel Taupe-Délicat Eyeshadow Duo, Chanel Espresso Stylo Yeux, Armani Eyes to Kill Mascara, Chanel Confidentielle Rouge Allure, Chanel Star Glossimer, Jo Malone Orange Blossom Cologne, Chanel Peche Nacree Le Vernis

I hope each and every one of you have a great week! Remember Chanel Rouge Coco Shines come out this week in the US!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Battle of the Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Mascaras: Excess vs. Regular

I've gushed over and over again raving that Armani's Eyes to Kill Mascara is my holy-grail-life-changing type of product. I have medium length lashes that are super straight which makes them look shorter than they really are. After discovering the magic of eyelash curlers I still found it challenging to find the right mascara for my eye shape and lash type: one that thickens, lengthens, defines and does not smudge, flake or irritate my eyes, and most importantly, one that also holds the curl.

Armani's Eyes to Kill was the answer to my seemingly never ending quest for the perfect mascara. There are a number of other mascaras I like, but none had the wow-factor like Armani's. It's also interesting to note that I've been a long-time Armani fan, but I hated every single previous mascara release from the brand. So I was skeptic when I first tried Eyes to Kill, especially at a jaw-dropping $30 per tube, but I'm glad I did. I actually tried a mini sample first before buying a full-sized tube. The heavy weight sleek black tube makes it feel worth it when it's in your hands.

Left = Excess, Right = Regular

Armani has since released 2 other variations, a waterproof version and Megan Fox's Eyes to Kill Excess. I never tried the waterproof version - my experience with waterproof versions is that they tend to be too harsh on my lashes, the formula is just too thick and dries to a consistency that makes my lashes feel brittle. Not to mention they are a huge pain to remove from the eyes in the evenings. The new Eyes to Kill Excess has a killer slogan, "exceptionally volumizing mascara, drop dead seduction in a single stroke." As soon as I opened the e-mail about this, I had to try it out.

So how do they compare? You can read more detailed product information about the Eyes to Kill Excess formula on Armani's website (linked here for your convenience). I will start by saying that I prefer the regular formula, read on to find out why. Here is what I noticed about each:

Eyes to Kill Regular: According to Armani, "Dress the eye with powerful, plush, voluminous lashes. Fine, fluid Microfil technology creates intensely captivating lash texture. Micro-waxes combined with a fineness agent allow for smooth and easy application, revealing weightless volume and length."

I'm featuring my #5 Blue Grey Night in the photos, but mainly rely on my #1 Steel Black (currently missing in action). The formula dries to a stiffer finish which holds the curl and lasts all day (unless you start crying or are splashed with water). There's also something about the texture of the mascara + the big bristles that grabs onto your lashes coating them evenly and fully. This results in thick lush lashes for me. The #1 Steel Black doesn't look like a true black when wet, but applies darker than what you see resulting in a true black finish. Finding a true black is hard for me - many brands have black mascaras that dry down to a greyish finish making my lashes look ashy. Even though my lashes are black, I've often had better success with dark brown mascaras. I love the way the sleek heavy tube feels - it's simple, straight and nice to look at.

Eyes to Kill Excess: Seems to be the exact same in bristle shape/size to me. The difference is in the formula which, according to Armani contains "The fusion of a Wax™ Complex and the new texturizing agents creates a fluid and creamy texture that glides onto the lashes and allows for an easy, homogeneous application." Also, the Excess formula is supposed to be a darker black color than anything they've made before.

My personal observations is that the Excess is a great mascara. I definitely notice that it's a deeper more dramatic true black. I also notice a difference in formula in the sense that it's more creamy and less stiff. There is no smudging or flaking. It holds the curl and lasts all day. I personally found that I had to pump the brush a bit inside the tube to get more product on the brush for a better application. On me it clumped a bit the first few applications. I had to experiment with my application technique to get a smooth finish and thick even look. It definitely has a softer feel on my lashes. The packaging is still heavyweight and sleek, it just has a glossy finish on the tube.

Regular vs. Excess: Because I have such wimpy lashes, I need all the help I can get. The Regular formula has a stiffer, thicker, more volumizing dramatic finish, but I can definitely feel like I am wearing mascara. If you have sensitive eyes and found the Regular formula too much for your lashes, but still want a similar finish with a weightless more natural feel, try out the Excess formula. Unfortunately the Excess only comes in 1 shade, black.
My review might seem odd since the Excess formula has been marketed as a darker more dramatic version of the Regular Eyes to Kill. I like them both.

Summary comparison of the features for the Black shades (sorry for the confusion, I can't find my regular Steel Black right now):
  • Color: Both are true blacks, Excess is a deeper darker black
  • Volumizing: Regular is more volumizing
  • Defining: Excess is more defining
  • Lasting Power: Same, all day, but not waterproof or cry-proof
  • Texture: Regular is thicker
  • How it Feels on the Lashes: Regular is stiffer more dramatic, Excess is softer and more gentle
  • Smell: Same scent, not noticeable once on the eyes
  • Overall Effect: Regular has more of a wow-factor, Excess has a darker blacker finish
  • Brush Size & Shape: Same, although in the photo, the blue seems fuller (it just has more product on the bristles from more frequent use, the excess has only been used 4 times so far) - this can show you the difference in formulas though, the regular just seems to adhere to bristles and lashes better

Both retail for $30. I usually buy mine from Neimans or Bloomingdales. At this time I don't know if the Excess is limited edition or not. I can only say that I hope they keep the regular formula. I don't regret buying the Excess and have no intention of returning it. Sometimes it's nice to have variety.

If you have tried either, what are your thoughts? Experiences? Rants or raves?

For your reference, my other mascara loves include DiorShow, Dolce & Gabbana, NARS Volumizing, Estee Lauder Projectionist, Clinique High Impact Mascara, MAC Plush Lash, Kiehl's Marvelous Mineral Mascara, Shu Uemura Basic.

Mascaras I've tried and did not like include MAC Zoom Lash, all of Chanel/Bobbi Brown, Laura Mercier Thickening, Lancome Definicils, YSL Faux Cils, Trish McEvoy High Volume, Le Metier Waterproof, Clinique Naturally Glossy, Clinique Lash Doubling, Benefit BADGal (note - this is based on my own personal experience). In general I do not like waterproof formula mascaras.

There are a number of mascaras I've tried that I'm indifferent to - ones that weren't great but weren't bad. Too many to mention, although I definitely haven't tried all types or brands.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Giorgio Armani Fall 2010 Picks For Me

When I saw that the fall collection from Armani had launched online, I knew I had to get the new Eyes to Kill Mascara in #5 Blue Grey Night ($30) and the Powder Blush Duo ($49). I've loved every single powder blush released by Armani and the new one for fall is exquisite. The Fall Quad ($59) purchase, I credit to Gaia from The Non-Blonde (see her sneak peek here) who has a way of creating major lemmings for me.

My sales associate called me as soon as they came in, which I highly appreciate (it pays to be a loyal customer). For some reason, Armani has been distributing extremely limited quantities of stock to the counters near me. For the past year they have received extremely limited stock and usually don't get testers until months after they receive the product to sell. For this collection, she only received 3 blush duos and 3 quads. There were no testers, but being familiar with the quality of their eyeshadow quads and blushes, I didn't need to test these before purchasing.

My thoughts on each item:

Eyes to Kill Mascara #5 (not swatched) - For this one they had a brand new tester so I eagerly tried this one out with a tester mascara wand. In the tube it's a metallic smokey blue-grey. It goes on darker than it appears in the tube and looks lovely on the eyes. This is my first non-black mascara purchase. There are a number of gorgeous shades by Chanel (plum, bronze, aubergine, etc.) however, the formulas cannot compare to Armani's Eyes to Kill (my all time favorite mascara). The Eyes to Kill Mascaras defines the lashes, thickens, lengthens and holds the curl. All without flaking or smudging or making the lashes feel brittle. It's pure love and worth every single penny.

Maestro Eyeshadow Quad Fall 2010 - The pigment on this is incredible. The colors however are definitely out of my personal comfort zone. I think the combination of colors are odd for use all at one time. I really have no idea how I will be able to pull off all shades at once. I'm not sure that I think "fall" when I see it. The blue and navy makes me thing "nautical" which is not something I really associate with fall. Still the colors in the palette are stunning and unique to Armani (see comparisons to Maestro Singles 6, 21 and 33 below). In it there is a denim-colored shimmery bright navy, smokey deep brown with plum, pale silvery blue, shimmery olive almost khaki colored brown. The artist suggested mixing the navy and dark brown together for a smokey eye.

Blush Duo Fall 2010 - Lovely fresh hot pink with a soft pale pink. In typical Armani Blush style, soft texture/finish, natural semi-sheer finish, makes the cheeks just glow. The pale side has more color and is more pink than Blush #12. I used this blush duo as soon as I got home mixed together. It's just so pretty. I've compared it below to some other pinks from D&G, Bobbi Brown, Paul & Joe and Armani. No swatch comparisons as blush shades are extremely hard for me to swatch accurately. *Note* someone mentioned this is $80+ on the armani website and is also listed under the cream-blush duo, I think this an error but I'm not certain. Mine was $49 US (before tax) and it's definitely powder on both sides. The price can be confirmed on

More photos.

I passed on the new Purple Eyes to Kill #7 (simply too purple for me, just as Gaia described). I didn't see the new lipsticks, but they seem a bit dark for my taste.

Monday, February 8, 2010

NARS Larger Than Life Mascaras: Lengthening and Volumizing

I've been testing out my new NARS Larger Than Life mascaras for a little over two weeks now since my last NARS makeover and feel ready to finally give a review!

I purchased the original Black Orchid Mascaras from NARS years ago and remember loving them. I asked the artist how the new ones compared to the old version and she told me the newer ones contained Vitamin E and Macadamia Nut Oil which made for a better formula that would not smudge or flake. If you go to the NARS Website, there is more information and a mini video of the new mascaras in the Lengthening & Volumizing formulas (click on More Info).

The artist who did my makeup used both mascaras on me, she first applied a layer of the Lengthening Mascara (skinny brush with almost rubber-like bristles) and then followed with a layer of the Volumizing Mascara (thicker almost chubby like bristles).

The combination/result = instant lash makeover and enhanced eye definition. Each retail for $25 and since I was so amazed by the results I decided to purchase both of them.

After testing these out some more on my own, here are my thoughts:

Test Method 1: Lengthening Alone - I really love this one. Just one coat thickens and defines the lashes with a true black finish. It holds my curl and doesn't smudge or flake. I just apply one coat. The brush seems similar to Dior Iconic which I also love. My only (tiny) complaint is that the very tip tends to accumulate a bit too much mascara so I just need to dab it on a piece of paper to remove the excess.

Test Method 2: Volumizing Alone - This one is a bit more difficult to work with for me. I like the finish, but it's a bit high maintenance to apply. The brush is lush and full which is nice, but unfortunately it picks up way too much product. I had to take a piece of paper, wrap it above the bristle and wipe off the excess. I couldn't get the right balance of product on or off the wand in order to get a decent application. There was either too much product on it, or I took too much off.

Test Method 3: Lengthening/Volumizing Combo - Unfortunately I couldn't recreate the look the artist did without clumping and making an absolute mess of my eye. She did use the disposable NARS mascara brushes which had significantly less mascara product on them. Perhaps that's why it didn't turn out clumpy.

So, you might ask now that the NARS Lengthening Mascara seems to be a new favorite, how does it to compare to other mascaras I've raved about? My current favorites:

Nars Lengthening $25.00:
* Pros - defines, lengthens, holds curls, makes my lashes look really black
* Cons - not a fan of the rubber packaging just because it gets dirty easily, also the handles are longer than your average mascara which feels weird to me

Dolce & Gabbana $29.00:
* Pros - defines and gives a natural defined lash look
* Cons - doesn't really hold the curl either, expensive

Diorshow $24.00 (mini version):

* Pros - instant false lashes look in a rich black color, this gives the most dramatic plush lash finish for my non-existent lashes
* Cons - doesn't hold the curl

Diorshow Iconic $27.00 (not pictured):
* Pros - defines, lengthens, goof-proof wand
* Cons - doesn't hold the curl

Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill $30.00 (mini version):
* Pros - thickens in one coat/sweep, even application, no clumping and holds the curl & I've gone through 2 tubes so far
* Cons - expensive, but worth EVERY penny

I tried to take before and after pictures of my eye with the new NARS mascara but couldn't get a good photo to demonstrate the effects. Have you tried the new NARS mascaras? What are your thoughts?

Or have you tried anything else on my favorites list? Did you love or hate any of those? YMMV (your mileage may vary) with each of these. I know of girls who LOVED the Eyes to Kill and others who absolutely hated it. I'd love to hear about your experiences for those who have actually tried these.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

DiorShow Black Out Look - Catwalk Eye Makeup (Sephora Exclusive)

Received another goodie in the mail yesterday from along with my new shadows which is the DiorShow Black Out Look set which basically their Black Out Mascara that comes in a soft black tied pouch and a mini iridescent quint of Smoky Light 019. The set retails for $24 so you basically get that cute quint for free.

I'm a huge fan of Dior Mascaras, I actually prefer Iconic and DiorShow, but couldn't pass on this cute quint.

I have seen this on various e-bay international seller auctions and have been looking all over to see if they have this quint in a full size, but I believe it's only in the mini size right now. I haven't had a chance to test it out, but it seems like what I wanted Sky Glow to be (that is the quint minus that powder blue shade which I know I will never wear).

Has anyone seen this in full size or know any other details? I think I would be in heaven if this came out in full size, even more so than when they released the Leather Palette for Eyes and Iridescent Leather quint.

* Due to the uber-tiny size of this, I probably won't be swatching the palette. Thanks for understanding!

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