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?


Nail Art with Q-tips

Sooooo remember when I did that post about moving? Yeah well, before and after said move, 6 out of 10 of my nails broke off. 6, y’all. And I mourned each lost. I love me some nail polish and took great pride in my long and pointy nails. But all things must come to an end and I’ve been learning how to love my nubs. Especially since I’ve learned how to make them all fancy using Q-tips Precision Tips.

Yeah noooo. My obsession with these Q-tips have yet to cease. But thanks for asking. If you are a no frills kind of gal when it comes to nail art, you’ll love this look. It’s simple, don’t require a Ph.D. and it takes very little time to do.

If you’ve got some nail jewels layin’ around and want to fancy up a bit using ‘em, Q-tips can help.

I’ve always struggled with applying these little jewels. Tweezers do a great job at picking them up but then I struggle with placing them on the nails. Orange wood sticks work OK but it takes forever getting the jewels to stick to them. Q-tips Precision Tips, however? They work wonderfully…

Simply wet the Q-tip with just a bit of water…

Pick up your jewel…

And slowly apply it to desired location.

The Q-tip leaves behind your jewel without any lint. Pretty cool, uh?

This is a sponsored post. Q-tips® product was  provided by Unilever, the makers of Q-tips®; my tips and usage suggestions are my own.

 

[CONTEST ENDED] 

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?


New hot ‘n cool lippies from Manic Panic

Remember that time – that loooooong time ago when I did a post on the awesomeness that was a Manic Panic lipstick? Welp. I’m back with more awesome Manic Panic lipsticks. I know. You’re excited. I can feel the excitement through the interwebs. How weird would that be? You know…to be able to feel emotions through the internet….

I know, I’m so weird. I am forever thinking about the strangest stuff.

Anywhoovers, even though I’m all moved in the new joint, I am still trying to find the best places to take pictures. Our new place is a condo and I don’t have a backyard, porch, patio or anything. So hang in there with me while I found ideal spots to take pretty pics.

Because let’s face it – cosmetics intertwined with nature is much more interesting than white backgrounds. I’m just sayin’…

Much like Physicians Formula’s light up lipglosses, Manic Panic’s High Voltage Lip Glosses have a built-in light. Yes, I know these are gimmicky but they are so fun. I managed to get my hands on 2 of those glosses.

There’s Naked, the soft pink frost…

Oh, and please excuse my chipped nail polish. Would you believe I haven’t polished them in over a WEEK. *gasp* Let’s move on before I start shivering again. Like most of these light up lipglosses, these come with groovy mirrors on the back. I find them to be perfect for touching up on the go. Oh but wait, I also snagged Radioactive….

Somehow Radioactive looked better swatched on my arm than on my lips. While it is indeed a red, it certainly looks more vibrant in the tube than in person. But still – it’s a nice deep red with enough blue undertones to make me happy.

What I love about these lippies:
-They’re vegan!
-They’re scented but they aren’t heavily scented.
-They are super glossy and provide a ton of shine to the lips.
-There are only 4 shades but there is a nice selection of shades.
-While not long-lasting, they are moisturizing with a non-tacky formula.

What is just so so about these lippies:
-I believe that you can only get them online. Womp.
-I’m not a fan of how the light comes on the minute you unscrew the top. It’s a battery waster and makes it difficult to apply lip color when you’re already surrounded by a bunch of light. I would much prefer a dedicated button for the light.
-They’re $12.99 which my be considered steep for some.

 

Stepping away from lip glosses for a quick sec, I took a stroll with the lovely Hot Hot Pink lipstick.

I never owned MAC’s Candy Yum Yum but I reckon this baby is close in shade to that insanely popular lip color. This lipstick is BRIGHT.

It’s a stunning neon pink that I WISH I could wear solo. But my warm tones won’t be complimented with a pink this bright. My best bet is to use it in conjunction with a nice berry lipliner. And I’m okay with that.

Manic Panic’s lipsticks are reasonably priced at $8. Which is about right for a brand that sits comfortably between drugstore and higher-end.

Off I go to figure out how to get more use out of that Hot Hot Pink. Or pank as some of us would call it. :D

Get your Manic Panic fix from zee website.

Pretty Polishes: butter LONDON’s Blues and a Green

The beauty room is slowly but surely coming around and I came up with the awesome idea of putting my favorite polishes in racks on the wall in some kind of pretty decorative fashion. Only a few brands will make the cut and of course, butter LONDON will be one of the brands that get on display in the Beauty Café (as will Cult Nails and A.England). The rest of the brands will be housed neatly in crates.

A few weeks before I moved, I got to snappin’ random shots of the butter babies…

Big Smoke is a dusty pseudo-metallic blue that doesn’t look like any blue polish that I own.

And check it – it’s a dark blue that LOOKS blue. Which hardly ever happens. That reason alone is why Big Smoke will always have my heart. And it’s super shiny with no top coat. WIN!

Say ‘ello to British Racing Green!

Ohmigoodness, this green is wonderful. Not a fan of greens but want to dabble around with them a bit? This is the one to go for. It’s a subtle green but still has a ton of personality.

As does Dosh.

butter LONDON describes Dosh as a molten apple-green with pretty shimmer. It isn’t as bright as chartreuse and looks like every bit of a Granny Smith apple.

As soon as I get to unpacking, I’ll be dabbling around with more of my butter LONDON polishes. I am well on my way to owning ALL of their polishes.

A bit much? Yeah. Kinda. But hey…some girls buy shoes… 8) You can grab butter LONDON online and at select department stores.

Any bL lovers in the house?

Dr. LeWinn by Kinerase Lip Resculpt 3D Lip Balm. Yay or nay to lip lip plumpers??

 

I’m all about reviewing products of brands that a lot of us have may never heard of. That’s where this lippy comes in. While I’ve heard of Kinerase, I have never seen any of their balms and skincare products in drugstores. But, they’re there! Yep, this lippy and other Dr. LewWinn by Kinerase products are sold in Walgreens, Walmart and other drugstores. Pretty groovy, uh?

Let’s rap about this balm.

Aside from promising to plump lips in 5 minutes, this paraben-free balm also increases moisture in lips in just 20 hours, has SPF 20 as well as leaves lips with a nice shine.


In terms of packaging, it isn’t the prettiest lip gloss in the world.

If you’re a guy or gal that could care less about packaging, then this shouldn’t be a deal breaker. I’m always weary of products that claim to plump lips. And for several reasons:

1. I obviously don’t need any plumpin’ in my lips.
2. Just what is it that makes my lips plump?
3. …..and will it wear off?

I question these things. While most gloses that promise “plumping” use peppermint oil to swell the lips up a bit, I can’t quite put my fingers on what gives this product the plumping action. That is…IF the plumping action exists. I didn’t notice any difference in my lips, but then again, I’m gal who has large lips. And has no problems with them either. 8)

Aside from not noticing any plumping, the gloss was a little too watery for my taste. It kept seeping in my mouth. The taste and smell are a bit too medicinal for my liking. It’s not the best lip balm I’ve ever tried. But I’ve certainly tried worse. I’ve spotted this kid at Walgreens and you can also get it from Walgreens.com for less than $10.

What do you think? Do you believe products when they say they’ll plump your lips?

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)