Mascara Monday: Laura Mercier Long Lash mascara

No one and I mean no one makes a foundation like my girl Laura Mercier. And I know this post isn’t about foundation. It’s about a mascara. I know,  I know. I just had to say it. Everything about her cream foundation makes me just…ecstatic. Okay. And that’s all I’ll say about that. I promise. But honestly – with a foundation that good, I just knew the mascara would be just as awesome. That’s the thing about having awesome products in a brand. In your head, you kinda want everything else in the brand to be just as awesome. I can’t be the only one that thinks that. Come ooooon. I know I’m not!

Price: $24 at Sephora stores and Sephora.com.
Packaging (brush wand): 3 out of 5
Overall: 4 out of 5

What It Claims: “Laura Mercier Long Lash Mascara extends and precisely separates the thinnest, shortest, hard-to-reach lashes by expertly scooping up and lengthening each one—while delivering just the right amount of product. The perfectly engineered brush, designed to meet Laura’s specifications, dramatically lengthens and defines each lash. An innovative stretch formula lengthens, separates and curls each lash making lashes appear longer in just two strokes. The long-wearing, water-resistant and smudge-proof formula contains rich dark pigments to enhance lash color.” (source)

The Truth: Hmmm…I’m impressed.

What I Loved About It: It lengthens well.

What I Didn’t Like: It had the tendency to get a wee clumpy.

Overall: Well now – this is a lengthening mascara that I can get used to. And I don’t say that often. I find lengthening mascaras a bit tricky to work with. And here’s why – a lot of times, brands give you the “wrong” brushes. Some brushes are too plush. Others have bristles that are too far apart making lengthening and separating difficult. But every now and then, a brand will get it right. Kudos to Laura Mercier! Perhaps my favorite thing about this mascara is the wand. And it’s a no frills wand. There isn’t anything particularly special about it but it goes great with the mascara’s formula..

This wand makes it easy to wiggle though the lashes while separating the lashes with ease. Because the bristles are tinier than I’d like, it may take some time reallllly wiggling from root to tip. But patience is a virtue, darling and I found that with some elbow grease and a spoon full of sugar (I’m in a Mary Poppins kind of mood – don’t mind me), you’ll end up with nice long lashes.

Now. When it comes to lengthening mascaras, people expect the most. Myself included. I’m in the mindset of “Lengthen my lashes, you say? Well then…I want my lashes 3 feet long.” Um no. It doesn’t work like that. To really get your lengthening mascara to perform better, I recommend combing your lashes first. Untangle them and separate them as much as you can. I also recommend curling your lashes if yours are like mine and happen to be all over the place. I found that I had better results with this mascara when I curled my lashes before using it. Of course if you already have naturally curly lashes, you may need to omit this step.

3 coats of mascara seemed to do well with this mascara. I tried it with just one coat and two coats but I find it to really pop with  three good coats. Also, keep in mind that it’s a lengthening mascara so if you’re desirous of volume, you won’t be getting it from this mascara. But for lengthening? I say yay! It does a darn good job. The formula is lightweight so I’m not sure how we’ll it would do in terms of wearing allllll day but it doesn’t smudge or flake and that’s always a plus for me.

 

Bare Lashes


 


Lashes after 3 coats



Do I recommend it?: Absolutely. Especially if you’re a Laura Mercier fan!

Are you a fan of lengthening mascaras or would you rather roll with the volumizing ones?


Mascara Monday: NYX Faux Lashes mascara

I’ve been reviewing my fair share of NYX Cosmetics mascaras this year, uh? Not that I’m complaining. I mean, I’ll never get annoyed at makeup brands shooting me a crap ton of mascaras to review. The more the merrier! I am just now hitting the mid way point of reviewing half of NYX’s Boudoir Mascara Collection. I’ve tackled Pin Up Tease and Provocateur and the fiber mascara kid called Faux Lashes is up next to bat.

Price: $6.00 at NYX.com and Ulta stores nationwide.
Packaging (brush wand): 3 out of 5
Overall: 3 out of 5

What It Claims: “Infused with fibers to volumize and extend lashes. Short bristle brush for dark and heavy application.  Ideal for bottom lashes.” (source)

The Truth: It certainly is a “different” kind of fiber mascara.

What I Loved About It: NYX is dead on about this mascara being great for bottom lashes. It rocks in that department!

What I Didn’t Like: It didn’t give me nearly as much volume as I would have liked.

Overall: I guess I should just come right out and say it – I’m a fiber mascara snob. I am. I don’t wear them regularly (primarily because I’m lazy and it can take a good little while to apply a fiber mascara) but when I do, I’m serious about ‘em. There are only about 2 brands that I feel have done fiber mascaras beautifully. Mind you, I’ve tried more than a dozen fiber mascaras; drugstore and higher-end. That said, while NYX’s Faux Lashes does a decent job, it’s just so so when it comes to fiber mascaras.

But not because the wand sucks. Because it doesn’t…

 (photo credit)

Y’all know I am also a photo snob so please excuse this press photo. I usually take my own but my camera was on the fritz this weekend. Boo. This is actually one of better fiber mascara wands. Especially if you’re looking for a fiber mascara that does more lengthening than volumizing. No need to ask what my preference is. Y’all know I LIVE for volumized lashes. If if you’re a fan of lengthening and separating the lashes, this wand makes it so easy to do so. It is also great on the lower lashes. I tend to ignore my lower lashes most of the time (again – laziness strikes when getting ready in the morning) but when I want some added va va voom-ness to zee bottom lashes, this is the ideal want to give me that length.

Formula-wise, the mascara is great. It is chockfull of fiber thingies and applying them to the lashes couldn’t be easier. But again, because of the wand’s slim design, you aren’t really able to coat and paint the fibers on your lashes efficiently to get a fuller effect. And like I said, if your goal isn’t volumized lashes – no lost love there. But considering the claims said this mascara would give us volume, I just don’t think it delivered in that department.

But is it still a good mascara? It’s okay. I found application to be fine except throughout the day, it seemed to disappear a bit. I would even push it to the limit with 3 coats and the overall look just looked so so. If ladies with shorter and smaller lashes are looking for a fiber mascara that is easy to apply, this would be a great start. Just don’t expect to have crazy Drag Queen lashes with this kid.

 

Bare Lashes

 


Lashes after 3 coats



 

Do I recommend it?: It’s only $6 so if it doesn’t rock your world, you haven’t broken the bank. I do think there are better fiber mascaras out there so you can probably pass on this one.

Whatcha think? Are you a fan of fiber mascaras? Have you tried this one yet?


Mascara Monday: Anastasia Lash Genius Waterproof Topcoat

I love getting the opportunity to review mascara-like products that aren’t really mascaras. I mean granted this topcoat goes on the lashes LIKE a mascara but it isn’t exactly a mascara. It’s cool stuff and the Anastasia team should feel like geniuses for created something like this. Because it makes sense. And us mascara lovers have been needing something like this forever. Why spend the money buying waterproof mascaras when you can just use your favorite mascara and top it off with THIS waterproof topcoat?

Genius!

Price: $21 at Sephora.com 
Packaging (brush wand): 4 out of 5
Overall: 4 out of 5

What It Claims: “A clear topcoat that instantly waterproofs, refreshes, and protects any mascara all day, without drying or clumping. This advanced, lightweight formula glides on smooth, dries quickly, and gives your lashes a touchable, soft lacquer finish that lasts all day. ” (source)

The Truth: Man. I’m not the type that NEEDS a waterproof mascara but for those that do, this is the perfect choice.

What I Loved About It: I like how it doesn’t change the look of your mascara. Nor does it change the consistency of the mascara in any way.

What I Didn’t Like: The wand is a bit Plain Jane. I would have loved for the bristles to be a bit more plush.

Overall: Whoa! Anastasia gets major props from me. Even if this topcoat sucked, I’d still have to get the brand an A for effort. Many many mascara users desire the waterproof effect in their mascaras. In fact, I’ve heard many gals say that they WON’T even think about wearing a mascara unless it’s waterproof. And I can see why – waterproof mascaras are perfect for those who like longterm use, have allergies, rub their eyes a lot or tend to sweat. And many makeup artists prefer to use waterproof mascaras on their clients. Personally, I don’t need a waterproof mascara. My favorite mascaras work well with lasting all day and that’s primarily because I don’t wear my mascaras longer than 9 hours or so. And it’s not like I’m doing anything more than doing computer work most days so I’m okay with regular mascaras.

Still, this topcoat surprised me and I’ve been enjoying using it with my favorite mascaras. It’s pretty awesome because it doesn’t do anything but make your mascara even more functional. So who can complain about that, uh?

The wand is just okay…


It could definitely be worse so I won’t complain about it too much. I do wish it were a bit more plush but short lashes, long lashes, thick lashes or thin – it’ll work just fine. The key is to apply a good amount after your mascara has dried. But not “It’s been on for an hour and super dry” kind of dried. So yeah, while I wish it had a bit more frills to it, it gets the job done and that’s all that matters. Oh! And the bristles are nice and stiff and that realllly helps with application.

Consistency-wise, this paraben-free topcoat reminds me a lot of Shiseido’s Mascara Primer. It has a jelly-ish look and feel to it. If you rub it in between your fingers, it feels a lot like a gel you’d put in your hair. When applying it on the lashes, I found it was best to apply after the mascara dried a bit. One coat does the trick and I love that it doesn’t shrink the mascara or make it too soft. Nor does the previously applied mascara lose its length or volume. It doesn’t get weighed down either. It’s as if you didn’t even do anything. Which I can appreciate.

This topcoat is definitely a luxury and not a must-have for those who have already found their ideal waterproof mascara. But, if you’re looking to give your favorite mascaras that extra fix of waterproof-ness, you’ll definitely need this.

It was hard to actually SHOW the topcoat on the lashes so I didn’t feel the need to post pics of zee lashes this week.

 

Do I recommend it?: Yep! Only if you think you’ll need it. It’s a pretty dope product.

Whatcha think? Would you find any use out of a waterproof topcat?


Mascara Monday: Maybelline Volum’ Express MEGA PLUSH mascara

Well, well, welllllll….look who has a new mascara. It’s Maybelline! Are you surprised? I’m not, darling. When it comes to mascaras, you can always depend on Maybelline for hitting us with the latest and sometimes greatest. Looks like we’ve got another sibling of the Volum’ Express crew. I’m wondering how this one can beat The Falsies. But we’ll see, won’t we?

Price: $6.29 on Target.com
Packaging (brush wand): 3 out of 5
Overall: 3 out of 5

What It Claims: “Innovative formula and precision brush design lengthen and separate each lash for high-definition, all-day wear. Wheat protein strengthens and defines without clumping or flaking. Vitamin E conditions and nourishes for soft, flexible lashes. Panthenol prevents your lashes from becoming dry and brittle.” (source)

The Truth: Man. I think I like many of the other Volum’ Express mascaras better.

What I Loved About It: I can see how many will really like the lightweight formula. It’s perfect for those with sensitive eyes.

What I Didn’t Like: The flexible wand just isn’t cutting it, bro.

Overall: If I didn’t have a blog that was based on mascara I would have stopped reviewing Maybelline mascaras a looong time ago. Why? Because The Falsies and Great Lash LOL are two of my favorite mascaras EVER. And I think I’ve had enough mascaras from the Volum’ Express line. Me thinks Maybelline should go ahead and retire that, ya know? BUT at least this mascara comes with something new to the table. According to Maybelline, this is the first ‘gel mousse’ mascara to hit the market. At first I was all, “Nah uuuuh, Maybelline! COVERGIRL NatureLuxe was first!” But after further research, I’ve discovered that COVERGIRL calls NatureLuxe a ‘mousse’ mascara. Not gel mousse. Okay whatever. Tomato tah-mah-to.

I’ll go ahead and say it, I’m not a fan of this formula. And not because it isn’t effective but because it’s almost impossible to get insanely volumized lashes from these mousse-y formulas. And I get it: not everyone needs insanely volumized lashes. But honey, I do. And mascaras that give me less than that make me cry. True story.

The good news is, despite this mascara not being ideal for me and my needs, it works well if you’re a fan of separation and soft lashes.

The wand…


The wand looks a lot like The Falsies except there’s a bend in it that makes it flexible. No me gusta. I prefer my wands to be sturdy and stiff because I find that they give me greater control when applying. Maybelline says the flexible head shock helps with lifting the lashes. Do I agree? Meh. I get its purpose but I’d much prefer a sturdier wand. It’s definitely a preference thing though, ya know?

Despite it not being my favorite, there are several great things about this kind of formula. The consistency looks a lot like most mascara formulas so it’s likely that you won’t notice any difference until you begin applying it to your lashes. For one, the consistency is nice. It isn’t goopy, super thick or watery. It’s nice and makes applying to the lashes easy. I had a hard time noticing much of anything after just 1 coat. It took THREE coats for me to really see a difference in my lashes. That’s the thing about this gel mousse formula; because it isn’t heavy, you may find yourself staring in mirror wondering where the mascara you just applied went. It’s there! It’s just soft and faint. This kind of mascara is a makeup minimalist’s best friend. I also found it to be an ideal mascara for those who have sensitive and watery eyes. Because the formula is so lightweight, I didn’t have to worry about any flaking. Which is a huge plus. I could rub my eyes and not have to worry about any mascara particles droppin’ in ‘em.

I typically wear 2 coats of mascara with this one but pushed it to the limit with 3 just to see where I could take it. It thickens up a bit but still not where I’d want it to be.

It’s not a bad mascara. Not in the least.

 

Bare Lashes

 


Lashes after 3 coats



 

 

Do I recommend it?: Sure! While it doesn’t fit my needs, if you really like lightweight mascaras whose wands give great separation, you’ll love this mascara.

Okay Maybelline mascara lovers….whatcha think about this one? Yay or nay?


Mascara Monday: LORAC Special Effects mascara

Dang. It’s been forever since I’ve reviewed a mascara. Probably a good 3 weeks. And to be honest,  me and my lashes needed the break. My lashes are stronger and a bit longer and I’m glad to break my hiatus with a mascara like this. Because, let’s face it – when it comes to mascaras, LORAC can’t do any wrong in my book. And here’s why…

Price: $23 at Sephora and Sephora.com
Packaging (brush wand): 5 out of 5
Overall: 4 out of 5

What It Claims: “LORAC Special Effects Mascara delivers a double dose of lash beauty. One side is a primer containing natural oils, DL-Panthenol, and plant extracts to revitalize your lashes, making them stronger and softer. The other side features a carbon black Defining and Lengthening Mascara that is formulated with unique polymers to stretch and hold lash shape for clump and flake-free lashes. Both formulas are infused with mother-of-pearl to keep lashes supple, healthy, and shiny.” (source)

The Truth: These wands are epically amazing. Wait. Is epically a word?

What I Loved About It: I’m in love with the wands. They are great for separation and really help elongate the lashes.

What I Didn’t Like: I think the primer has too much of a gel consistency and so it makes the mascara not as long-lasting as I’d like it to be.

Overall: I love everything about the brand LORAC. If you haven’t heard about this brand and you’re in the mood to try somethin’ new, hop to it, girlfriend. I’ve tried everything from their eyeshadow palettes to their Multiplex 3D Lashes mascara. That mascara is effing awesome and so I was wishing on a star that Special Effects would woo me too. And it did! Here’s the thing – it’s one of those dual wands-type mascaras. I ain’t gonna lie….these kind of mascaras are a bit annoying. I’m not always in the mood to apply a mascara primer AND then mascara. I know…it’s not like this insanely laborious task so I really should even complain about it.

Luckily, these beautiful wands make it easier….


 

Gorgeous right? Both wands are exactly the same and they are quite exceptional. Ideal for those with short and sparse lashes, these wands were easy to wiggle right through my lashes while coating each lash with mascara. However, because the bristles are plastic and not like “brushes”, you won’t get much volume. Which is okay. Sometimes a darn good lengthening mascara can make me forget about the desire for volume.

The primer: Like most primers, this one is white and the gel-y consistency mimics most primers. It’s okay. Not spectacular. In fact, I actually prefer using this mascara WITHOUT the primer. The primer tends to make my lashes soft thus resulting in limited wear time.

When I don’t wear the primer, I find that the mascara lasts a lot longer and my lashes are a lot sturdier and harder. I suppose it’s a preference thing. I’m a gal that prefers lashes on the harder side. Granted, I don’t want them like bricks but if they’re semi-stiff without being damaging, I don’t mind it.

So yeah – this mascara sans the primer gives darn good length and separation with longevity. Score! Gotta love a mascara whose results actually live up to their claims. I can’t tell you how many times this DOESN’T happen. Oh! And this mascara is free from synthetic fragrances, dyes, petrochemicals and phthalates. But it’s not free from parabens. Which is…kinda weird.

Bare Lashes


Lashes after 1 coat of primer

Lashes after 2 coats of mascara

 

Do I recommend it?: Absolutely! Especially if you’ve got the pennies to spend on something fancy. Just know that you may like the mascara better without the primer.

Any LORAC fans in the house? What do you think about mascaras that come with primers attached? Do you ever use ‘em?


Cos Bar now at Target!

Yo yo yo! Where my Target beauty lovers at? I have this ritual. Every Saturday morning after I leave the gym. I go to Target. For no real reason either. It’s own my way home. That’s reason enough, right? I also like to take some peeps at the new additions down the beauty lanes.

If you’re a regular Target beauty shopper, you see some awesome new finds from The Shops of Target. Target has partnered with several business owners of speciality stores to give customers the opportunity to purchase some really cool products. One of those businesses is Cos Bar.

Native to NYC, owner Lily Garfield moved to Aspen and launched Cos Bar. It’s a groovy brand and I’d love to see a boutique with products like these in my streets. The collection includes a ton of beauty baubles including body care products, bath accessories, beauty tools, manicure essentials and cosmetic bags. I’m featuring a few of the goodies from the line.

Oh! And if you’re a budget-conscious gal like moi, each product is under $20. Hollaaaaa!

Skincare wise, Cos Bar has everything from body washes to body butters. This Orange Citrus Body Butter ($6) smells divine…

….a little bit of Cos Bar history.

And ingredient-wise…

I thought this brand would be a little more on the preservative-free side but alas it’s not. :(

But still, it’s a fragrant body butter (and not overly fragrant either) that does a great job at bustin’ ash without the greasy feeling. So that’s good. For zee eyebrows, Cos Bar has these adorable tweezers…

For $4, they do a darn good job at a pluckin’! Careful though…after a few uses, the print started to rub off a bit.

Which made me drop a tear. I get emotional over things like that. Cos Bar also has falsies!

*gulp* I have yet to master the art of applyin’ and rockin’ lashes but I have declared 2012 as the year for when I start rockin’ the falsies. That said, stay tuned for a review of these. A pair of 3 falsies ain’t bad for $9. Am I right?

Cos Bar also has some nail polishes and y’all KNOW I’ve got to check those out. I’m anxious to do some more peering at peering at Cos Bar and since I’m at my neighborhood Target at least twice a week, that’ll be easy. I am so impressed with Target’s ability to show entrepreneurs some love by bringing their products in stores nationwide. As if I needed another reason to love big red. 8)

My Top 6 Favorite Mascaras

This should really be a hard post for me considering I’ve reviewed well over 150 mascaras but it’s not. Most of the mascaras that I review are decent but only a handful are amazing. And I know that sounds pretty lame but let’s face it, many brands make all of these claims about how amazing their mascaras are when in reality…they’re just okay. But these babies here? Oh man. If I didn’t have to regularly review mascaras, I’d just stick to these. And because I could write even MORE about these beloved mascaras, I’ll just give you 3 of my favorite details about them.

Ultraflesh Panthera

  • Coolest packaging EVER!
  • It’s a higher-end and preservative-free mascara. You rarely see that.
  • Has a wonderful and light but longwear formula.
  • Super easy to use. Even for the insanely clumsy folx like me.
  • Removal is a breeze.
  • Long lasting and eye popping. This mascara REALLY opens up the eyes.
  • Flawless fiber mascara with thickening and lengthening properties
  • An “interesting” wand that doesn’t affect application but it’s still cool to look at.
  • Like most fiber mascara, it removes with ease.

Nuance Salma Hayek Ultra-Defining

  • The perfect wand. I mean, perfect!
  • Gentle formula.
  • Awesome awesome lengthening power.

Rimmel Lash Accelerator

  • Thick formula but still allows you to lengthen beautifully.
  • Long lasting!
  • It’s memorable because it was my 100th mascara review.

Maybelline Great Lash Lots of Lashes

  • Incredible heart shaped wand.
  • 10x more effective than the original Great Lash mascara
  • Gives volumized lashes with only 1 coat.

 

Have you tried any of these mascaras? What is your absolute favorite mascara eeeeever?

NYX Crimson Amulet collection – vampires everywhere are rejoicing!

So there’s this new movie coming out called Dark Shadows and NYX Cosmetics has a nice little makeup palette in honor of it. Don’t hate me but I totally had to Google Dark Shadows to see what this movie is all about. Doesn’t look like it’s up my alley considering it’s staring a vampire. But the plot looks pretty funny – a vampire from the 1700’s wakes up in the 1970’s. Hehe.

I love when makeup brands have products and collections dedicated to movies, TV shows and pop culture events. And for $25, this Crimson Amulet collection palette is pretty groovy.

What NYX has to say about it,

“LIMITED EDITION! Captivate and mesmerize with your beauty using the Crimson Amulet collection. This palette inspired by the film “Dark Shadows” comprises of 24 matte and shimmery lush eye shadows, 5 intoxicating blushers, 1 luminous highlighter, 4 succulent lip colors, 1 HD Studio eye shadow base for a more intense eye shadow hue, and 1 extreme black liquid eye liner. Recreate the enticing female characters’ in Dark Shadows using the collection!” (source)

So when you open up the book, you’re lookin’ at 24 shadows…

Flip the book and to the left you’ve got some descriptions of 3 vampire-y ladies.

And to the right…

More goodies!

So let’s start with the shadows.

I always appreciate palettes that contain various textures. It looks like frosts run this book but there are a few decent mattes up in here. Like the black matte.

It’s not as rich and intense as I like my blacks but it’s not too bad. I swatched a few other shades and textures…

Most are pretty sheer and will require a ton of packing on to appear vibrant on the eyes. My experience with NYX eyeshadow palettes are that the shadows are typically just so so. In fact, that’s the case with a lot of eyeshadows from those all-in-one palettes. Even after doing some swatching, I ended up with quite a bit of fall-out….

But again, if you don’t mind putting some elbow grease in applying these shadows, you can definitely crank out some nice looks with them. Skippin’ on over to the right are the mini eye shadow primers and eyeliners.

I mean, honestly…I have neeeever seen such an eyeliner so small. It’s adorable!

It’s perfect for the palette but I’ll definitely be throwing it in my travel tote. It’s a really nice eyeliner too. Applies easily and lasts longer than I thought it would.

Then there’s the eyeshadow base…

It’s a bit creamier than I like ‘em and unfortunately my eyelids don’t play nicely to creamy bases.

The blushes and highlighters are phenomenal. They’re super pigmented and long-lasting. Two of ‘em look a lot like NARS’ Orgasm and Albatross. And they’re really nice dupes if I do say so myself.

And last but not least, the lippies. Very rarely do beauty aficionados get excited about lip products in palettes. They usually require having to use a lip brush and let’s face it, many of us would rather apply a lipstick, or gloss with a brush or doe foot applicator. But these lip colors are REALLY nice. Really really nice.

So yeah, for $25, this palette is fierce. While the shadows are so so, the blushes are nice, lippies are superb and I’m in love with the teeny tiny eyeliner. Dark Shadows fans or not, this is definitely a palette you may want to check out. Especially if you’ve been yearning for some new products but don’t want to break the bank.

Snag it from NYXCosmetics.com.

Sooooo, yay or nay to vampires?