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?


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?

NYX Cosmetics Noir collection – eyeliners galore!

You may catch me without wearing mascara. But honey, I guarantee you you won’t catch me in the streets without some eyeliner. I ain’t lyin’. Eyeliner gives the perfect definition for my otherwise mediocre eyes. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not one of those women who can’t be seen without makeup and feel ugly without it. But eyeliner? Well, it’s cosmetic king in my book. Whiiiiich is why I was lovin’ that NYX launched an eyeliner collection.

What NYX says about the collection:

“A black eyeliner collection that consists of ALL types! Choose your beauty ammunition – from skinny to big and glossy to matte, it’s your world! The collection carries eight different formulations of sleek black eyeliners, from matte, satin, glossy pencils to liquid and powder eyeliners. Drape your eyes with one or all of these waterproof, smudge-free formula liners. The collection offers various types of eyeliners that applies smooth and effortlessly for lasting and dramatic wear.” (source)

Did you read that? EIGHT different formulations, girl. I mean, seriously…who knew there were that many eyeliner formulations? Dang. I’ve only got 3 here but they’re fantastic and you betta believe I’ll be scooping up the other 5 one of these days. You know…for beauty research. Not to hoard. Yeah, research.

Liquid Black Liner

If liquid eyeliner was a high school class, in my book, it would be Chemistry. And chile, I loathed Chemistry. My teacher was decent, and learning the periodic table and all that jazz wasn’t THAT hard but I could never “get it”. I feel the saaaaame way about liquid liner. I try and I try and I’m still D’ing my way out. Sad, uh? According to NYX, “The Liquid Black Liner is enclosed with a distinctive applicator that makes precise lining and defining of the eyes smooth and easy.” And yeah, it ain’t THAT hard. But my theory with liquid liners is while it may take a ton of practice, some of us will just be better at it than others. On a good note, this liquid liner has a reallllly nice and precise tip.

Which SHOULD make application easier, but I dunno…I’m just not as good with application as I’d like. Formula-wise, I love how this liner wasn’t as watery as some of the others I’ve come across. But at the same time, it wasn’t thick either. I got a good 8 hours of wear time out of this liner before it started flaking out on me. But who really needs a liner to last FOREVER, ya know?

Um, I won’t tell you how long it took me to do that. I shall reward myself with a cookie.

Satin Finish Black Liner

“Make your eyes stand out with the velvety soft liner that stays put.” says NYX. Well alrighty then. I’m down with that. They aren’t lyin’ about the velvety touch. The formula of this liner feels super super soft. In fact, it’s so soft that it would probably do better on the lower lash line than on the waterline. It didn’t last as long on my waterline; probably because my eyes tend to water up throughout the day. One must be verrrrry careful with sharpening this as too much sharpening can result in bad breakage of the liner.

Don’t ask me how I know. Just trust me on this one. But it does give a nice and rich black finish. I applied it on both the waterline and lower lashline here.

Matte Black Liner

I can gets down with the liquid and satin liners but let’s face it, matte is where it’s at. A good matte eyeliner can last all day AND all night. Ya know…if you forget to wash your face or somethin’. I am lovin’ this matte liner. The formula is perfecto and I appreciate the packaging. I’m all for liner that sharpen themselves yo. The longevity of this liner is out of this world. In.love.

Look like I’m missing the kohl kajal black liner, glossy black liner and powder black liner. I gotta step my game up. Anyway, these only cost $6 so kudos to dressin’ up the eyelids without breakin’ the bank. You can get these from NYXCosmetics.com, Ulta.com and Ulta stores nationwide.

What’s your favorite kind of liner?

Mascara Monday: Nuance Salma Hayek Ultra-Defining mascara

Celebrity-endorsed cosmetics is one thing but celebrities who endorse cosmetics that actually rock is something else. Such is the case with the CVS-exclusive Nuance Salma Hayek line. If you haven’t seen these products in your drugstores, girl, run and check ‘em out now. I haven’t been so impressed with a cosmetics and skincare line like this in a looooong time. Oh, and guess what? This mascara is pretty awesome too!

Price: $9.79 on CVS.com
Packaging (brush wand): 5 out of 5
Overall: 5 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: This is the smallest wand ever but I absolutely LOVE it.

What I Loved About It: I love everything about this mascara. The wand, the performance, the lack of parabens, the wand…yessss.

What I Didn’t Like: I suppose it could be on the cheaper side but that’s not anything a coupon can’t solve. ;)

Overall: I think Salma Hayek is one of the most beautiful women I’ve never met. She just radiates elegance. She’s a Mexican-American actress and beauty babe. Her line contains every thing from cosmetics to hair products. The Nuance line is exclusive to CVS. Which is cool with me since I practically live in CVS anyway.

Let’s take a look at this awesome wand…


Look how slim it is!! I love it! Why don’t more so-called lengthening mascaras have wands like this? This is perfect for elongating the lases from the base. The bristles are short but I think this a great advantage. A gentle sweep is all it takes to coat the lashes with mascara and it’s just one of the most effortless mascaras I’ve ever played with.

My favorite aspect about this mascara? Why its paraben-free formula, of course. I will always salute brands that attempt to remove harmful ingredients from their products. However, sometimes the removal of those ingredients can produce subar performance on the mascara’s behalf. Not the case with this one. The formula applies easily and doesn’t get too clumpy. That is, if you don’t try to push it to the limit with a 4th coat or so. It’s not a waterproof mascara but I didn’t experience any smudging or flaking. Will it last all day? Well…meh. I found it disappeared a bit after an 8-hour work day but that’s not too much of a deal breaker for me. This is still the best non-fiber lengthening mascara that I’ve come across in a looooong time.

 

Bare Lashes


Lashes after 2 coats


 

Do I recommend it?: If you like simple wands, this is the mascara for you!

Worry not! I’ve got more fabulous products from the Nuance Salma Hayek line to review. Have you tried any thing from there yet?


Mascara Monday: Milani Total Lash Cover mascara

One of my beauty BFFs has two new mascaras hitting the scene and I’ll be reviewin’ both of ‘em. First up is this gal. And oh my words…the wand on this mascara may just have you gasping in horror. Or gasping in ________ (insert a great antonym for horror). Which sounds insanely dramatic, I know, but come on…what’s a mascara review without some dramatics? Yeeeeuuuuuh!

Price: $7.79 on CherryCulture.com 
Packaging (brush wand): 3 out of 5
Overall: 3 out of 5

What It Claims: “Mascara with 3 zone brush. 3 Zoned Brush applicator provides multi-performance zones: Zone 1: DEFINE inner & outer lashes, Zone 2: BUILD center lashes, Zone 3: CURL comb applicator, Non-clumping. Long-lasting, comfortable wear.” (source)

The Truth: ZOMG! This wand is scary!

What I Loved About It: It’s a rich and super black mascara. If you can avoid it the clumping, one coat should be just fine.

What I Didn’t Like: The wand is too large and in charge and it makes applying difficult.

Overall: I can’t believe this is my first Milani mascara review. Lame, uh? What a way to start the day because I am actually really in love with the packaging of this kid. And despite its curves, I can actually appreciate the hefty wand….


Until it makes its way to my lashes. I’ve used several (okay, more like 150+) mascaras and this one is definitely one of the most interesting. I kinda dig how pretty the wand is when their isn’t mascara on it.

But man is it somethin’ else WITH mascara. The concept makes sense to me. Define, Build and Curl. Cool. But execution is something else and if you don’t have a stead hand, you may run into some problems with this bad boy. For one, because the wand is so large and gets coated with so much mascara, application gets tricky. Especially if you have super short lashes like me. While I managed to coat my lashes evenly, it was no easy feat. Attempting to not get mascara on the lower lashline was tough. But once I got the mascara on the lashes, it gave me a good amount of volume and length. Curl? Meh. But you know how I feel about mascaras that say they “curl” lashes. I think the curling action comes more from technique than actual formula. But of course, that’s just my theory. What do I know?

I managed to push it to the limit and get a good 3 coats on my lashes, but it was time-consuming. The large wand and my short lashes don’t work well together. Formula-wise, the formula is a bit on the thicker side. Ya gotta be careful with those thick mascaras as they tend to flake throughout the day. Such was the case with this baby. The flaking wasn’t horrible but if I went to rub my eyes, I’d rub away a bit of the mascara away too. Womp.

Bare Lashes


Lashes after 3 coats


 

Do I recommend it?: If you can get past the weird wand and semi-flaky formula, this isn’t a half bad mascara. It just didn’t work well with my special needs lashes. :(

Yo Milani lovers?! Have you tried this mascara yet?


Mascara Monday: YBF Beauty Xtreme mascara

Haven’t heard of the brand YBF? Well, up until a few months ago, I hadn’t either. This brand has launched on Ulta’s website and I just had to check out their mascara. But of courseeee. Oh, and what does YBF mean? It stands for “your best friend”. Cute, uh? And yes, cheesy too. :D

Price:$14 at Ulta.com
Packaging (brush wand): 4 out of 5
Overall: 2 out of 5

What It Claims: “Xtreme Mascara builds the lashes to create super sexy, sultry irresistible looking peepers in an instant with dramatic definition! The patented, half-moon shaped, thick mascara brush hugs and separates each lash for precise application for high definition, curl and volume! Water resistant formula helps keep lashes pliant, glossy and flake free! It will last all day and night!! For flirtatious lashes, you’ll love two coats!” (source)

The Truth: What an interestiiiiing formula.

What I Loved About It: Whoa! This mascara gives a great amount of length!

What I Didn’t Like: The formula is weird and it starts removing itself from the lashes throughout the day.

Overall: Oh man, this mascara is so wonky. What a way to start a review, uh? I wanted to like this but it’s just…strange. Let’s talk about the wand first. It isn’t the worst.


In fact, it isn’t bad at all. I don’t have  anything negative to say about it. It’s the perfect wand for a mascara with this kind of formula. And what kind of formula is that you ask? This is a matte mascara. I’m not of friend of these kids and for several reasons. Matte mascaras, are the absolute worse when it comes to lasting all day. In fact, within a few hours of applying this one, it virtually disappeared. I don’t know how or why but it did. If I happened to rub my eyes, instead of flaking away ,the mascara smeared away. Which means it definitely isn’t an ideal mascara for those with sensitive eyes. So no, I’m definitely not a fan of this mascara because the formula and longevity just aren’t up to par. The good news? Some of the other products from YBF Beauty look pretty awesome so I’ll definitely be trying some of those. Have you seen the packaging of their lipsticks? They are goooorgeous!

Bare Lashes


Lashes after 2 coats


 

Do I recommend it?: It pains to say it but no. But if you’re partial to matte mascaras, you may like it.

Have you tried anything from YBF Beauty? And what’s your take on matte mascaras?