Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Shy One

I only have a small number of MAC lipsticks, but it all started with Shy Girl. When I began to do a little more research into the different shades of MAC lipsticks, I made a note to put Shy Girl at the top of my list, as all the YouTube videos and blogs I'd read had sung its praises (especially this post by Evelyn and this video). At the Macy's MAC counter in New York, I picked up Shy Girl, tried it on my lips, and knew it was a must-have.

I'd describe this colour as a peachy nude with a slight silvery shimmer that's only obvious when the lipstick is taken off. Shy Girl has a subtle but noticeable sheen. In warmer light, it appears to border on a light coral. It's a Cremesheen lipstick which I've always thought was meant to be more moisturising and creamy, but I find it a bit dry and hard in texture. However, from my experience, MAC lipsticks, like Revlon, are generally quite forgiving on the lips, in that they can easily be applied straight from the tube and don't tend to settle into fine lines. Shy Girl is one of those effortless everyday colours that you can reach for without thinking. It's dark enough to not wash the complexion out, but peachy enough to not be a traditional brown-leaning nude. It's difficult to find a neutral lipstick that is the right colour and easy to wear. Shy Girl fits the bill.

l-r: MAC Shy Girl, Revlon Charm, Revlon Soft Nude, Rimmel Nude Delight, Face of Australia Iced Almond

It turns out that I have a few similar shades, but no exact dupes. The closest to Shy Girl is probably Rimmel Moisture Renew lipstick in Nude Delight, which makes sense since Nude Delight is one of my favourite, though oft-neglected, nude lipsticks. Face of Australia Lip Quench in Iced Almond looks very similar to Nude Delight in the swatch, but on the lips it's actually more of a pale, slightly pinkish beige, with a very creamy formulation that I find difficult to work with. Revlon ColorBurst lipstick in Soft Nude is significantly lighter but still has that distinct peachy tone of Shy Girl. Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Charm is the sheerest and palest, but it stains more coral, so somewhere between when it's first applied and when it stains the lips would be the closest approximation to Shy Girl. I've always loved the colour of Charm before it inexplicably changes colour, so finding Shy Girl means I can now happily wear that shade all the time.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Seeing, Not Having

I really need to go on a spending ban. I was supposed to go on a spending ban after my overseas trip, but failed spectacularly (I've since purchased Illamasqua Zygomatic, and two nail polishes and a bronzer that are in the mail). I'm finding that as my cosmetic obsession broadens, my wishlists are in turn getting longer and more out of hand. I enjoying making these collages though — it's almost therapeutic. Even just looking at everything is a treat for the eyes and takes the edge off wanting to go out and spend.

1. Clarins Eye Quartet Mineral Palette in Odyssey
I've seen this pop up on blogs everywhere (most recently Sandra and Sophia). The absolute last thing I need (apart from more pink lipstick) is more neutral eyeshadow, but the packaging and that gold shade are beautiful on a whole new level. I believe this palette will retail for $50 in Australia. Maybe I'll splurge as a Christmas present to myself ... not that I deserve it.

2. Clarisonic Mia
I was this close to buying this while in the US, but hesitated for some reason. Naturally, now that I'm back home, it's been a fixture on my mind. I feel like this might be a more justifiable purchase than more makeup, because at least there's no expiry date, and it's supposed to improve the condition of my skin, something makeup is probably doing the opposite of. But at the same time, skin care just doesn't get me buzzed the way makeup and nail polish does, so my interest isn't an overwhelming, "must have it now" urge.

3. Sigma Mrs. Bunny Essential Kit
If money were no object, this would be mine. But I really don't see myself forking out $109 (not including shipping) for a brush set, no matter how tempting, especially with my first (and only) experience with Sigma's shipping being disappointing. I actually hardly ever use my Sigma F82 or F84, but I do remember being really impressed by the quality and density of the brushes when I first opened them up. I really want to try Sigma's eye brushes and the F40, which are included in this set.

4. Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate
I'm delving more into the world of serums, and this one by Kiehl's looks like an attractive option. The price is much kinder than Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair, though it doesn't garner the rave reviews I've read about ANR. I don't know, do these things really work? Only one way to find out.

5. Stila Smudge Crayon Waterproof Eye Colour in Smoke
I'm such a sucker for cream products, and I've yet to explore the novelty of having a cream eyeshadow in a stick. This product would've never even been brought to my attention had I not seen my friend bring it out of her purse on a night out. I asked her what eyeshadow she was wearing and she showed me this Stila crayon. I tried it on my lower lashline while we were at the restaurant (as you do), and loved it. I was this close to buying it with my latest Beauty Bay nail polish order, but somehow managed to find unbelievable restraint in removing it from my cart (along with the In the Light palette).

6. OPI polishes in GoldenEye and The Living Daylights (part of the James Bond Skyfall collection)
I think I'm going to have to resort to the Australian retail price of these ($19.95), but that's how much I want these two. I've been meaning to get myself to a David Jones or some nail salon, but just haven't found the time. Why couldn't these have been released when I was in the US? GoldenEye is stunning and I can't miss the only glitter polish of the collection.

7. Morrocanoil Treatment
I've heard about this product for the longest time, but never paid much attention until recently. Hair is the one thing I basically do nothing with, and my locks are finally paying the price for a prolonged period of neglect. The ends particularly are really dry and dull. I'm hoping this might restore them to some level of glossiness and strength.

8. Benefit Sun Beam
How I wish I lived in the UK so I could nab a 4ml bottle of this with InStyle. My small bottle of High Beam (included in the Go TropiCORAL Lip & Cheek Kit) has exceeded my expectations, so now I have my sights on Sun Beam for the summer. I prefer peachy/bronze highlighters to yellow/gold or pearlescent pinks, so Sun Beam seems more up my alley. The texture of these highlighters are so smooth and blend in effortlessly into the skin, and a small amount goes a long way.

9. YSL Rouge Volupte Lipstick in Peach Passion
This particular lipstick has been on my wishlist since before I even became all that interested in makeup. I was fully prepared to buy one in the US, but for whatever reason, never found the opportunity to. Peach Passion was either sold out when I wanted buy it (e.g. at duty free), or I passed on it when it was available, thinking I'd buy it later. The gorgeous lipstick bullet is about 80% of the appeal, while Peach Passion seems to be the shade I'd be happiest with.

10. NARS Joie de Vivre Oversized Anniversary Cheek Palette
Seriously, where can I buy this that isn't Ebay at some ridiculously hiked up price? I would willingly pay the retail US price for it to be in my possession. It's unavailable on the Nordstrom website and I've more or less given up hope that it'll ever be mine. After buying my first NARS blush, I feel the desire to accumulate more NARS blushes brewing...

11. Chanel Illusion d’Ombre Long Wear Luminous Eyeshadow in Illusoire
I've still yet to own anything Chanel, but this and Vitalumiere Aqua are my picks. I've wanted this for months, but the price has always put me off, especially for something so shimmery and potentially unsuitable for daytime wear. I've yet to come across an affordable alternative in a similar shade to Illusoire, so this may be a treat to myself should I manage to stick to a spending ban until at least Christmas.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Like Skin

One of the foundations that I suddenly became very eager to try after my experience with Make Up For Ever HD foundation was NARS Sheer Glow. I watch a lot of Pixiwoo (and a bit of Tanya Burr), and I've seen numerous videos where NARS Sheer Glow was the foundation of choice. Two videos that mainly pushed me over the edge were this one, where Sam describes NARS Sheer Glow as her "current favourite foundation" and this one, where Sam lists NARS Sheer Glow as one of her top five foundations (along with YSL Le Teint Touche Éclat, Shu Uemura Face Architect, Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua and Bobbi Brown Moisture Rich). She later names Illamasqua Skin Base in a separate video. I was a little underwhelmed with MUFE, but purchasing it essentially upped the limit I was mentally prepared to spend on a foundation, and I consequently felt liberated to spend an equal or higher amount in trying out more expensive brands.

I bought Sheer Glow in the US, where it retails for $42. With tax, it came to about $46. In Australia, it'll set you back $68. There was only one bottle of Fiji left in the Sephora that I visited, and I didn't even notice until I'd already purchased it that there were foundation marks on the black cap. Someone must've opened it up and tested it. I don't really know how the store's return policy works, but I'm hoping it isn't the case that you can buy a new product, use it a couple of times, return it, and the next day it's back on the shelf for the next person to purchase. I also set my sights on Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua, but I left it until the last moment thinking I'd buy it at the airport duty free, only to find that they didn't have the shade I was after.

As many have noted, the main point of annoyance about Sheer Glow's packaging is the lack of a pump. It makes it inconvenient to have to unscrew the lid and essentially pour a bit onto your hand each time. When it's new and you haven't used much, it's not so much a problem because after shaking the bottle, a layer of foundation will kind of collect at the entrance, and you can dip your finger into it to get a sufficient amount, rather than having to tilt the bottle and pour it out. But I'm envisaging it might be a bigger problem once the foundation starts running out. It's just not as sanitary or easy as a pump.

The instructions state that you're supposed to warm the foundation in the hands and apply it with the fingers. I first started testing out Sheer Glow while still on holiday in the US, using a small amount applied with the fingers, mainly around the edges of my nose and corners of my mouth, then spreading whatever remnant amount was left onto the rest of my face. The thin layer really made a noticeable difference in brightening up my complexion and evening out my skin tone. Back home, I need more coverage in the mornings in less time, and I now prefer using Sheer Glow with a Real Techniques Buffing Brush. I don't find there's that many issues with the foundation not melting into the skin because of the lack of warmth from the fingers. I use the buffing brush mostly in circular motions, but sometimes I stipple it as well, and if there's still the slightest streakiness, I go over parts of my face with my fingers to smooth any unblended lines out.

There are a lot of things that I like about NARS Sheer Glow. It's not as temperamental as Make Up For Ever HD foundation, in that you don't need to make extra special effort to moisturise and exfoliate and prime for it to go on smoothly. That doesn't mean that it effortlessly flatters imperfect skin. I still find that it can cake and emphasise dry patches (especially if you want more coverage) if the skin underneath isn't smooth and well moisturised. The finish is glowier than MUFE in a lit-from-within, subtle way, which is a big plus. I powder my T-zone after applying this in the morning, but still find I need to do a major blot after about 2 hours, which then makes me sufficiently matte for the rest of the day. I think Sheer Glow photographs better than MUFE, as the latter has a more matte finish. It feels comfortable and lightweight on the skin. I'd say it has medium coverage, in that it evens out skin tone and redness and covers mild blemishes, but I'm not sure about anything more than that.

Is this foundation necessarily better than lower end ones that I've tried? It's a good shade match, the finish is beautiful, with powdering and blotting I can control oiliness, it is fairly long lasting, and a little goes a long way especially when spread with the fingers (with a brush, you do have to use more). All those aspects make it a superior foundation to say, Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum (I need to mix #52 and #53 to get my shade, it starts to seriously fade by the end of the day) or Revlon PhotoReady (too glowy for everyday wear, extremely shiny after 1-2 hours, cakes on me for inexplicable reasons). But at the same time, I'm finding that I have been making more of an effort to improve my skin, namely using serums and oils, moisturising well, and regularly exfoliating and using masks. Without those steps, it's likely that a foundation, no matter how potentially impressive, would probably not work as well on me.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Slap, Slather, Spritz

There comes a point when a makeup junkie realises that buying more cosmetics is not a good idea, but they still need something to take away the itch. Enter skin care. Lately, I've been dabbling a bit more in an area that has traditionally not excited me very much. But spending money on lotions, mists and serums in the hope of improving the condition of my skin just seemed like the logical next step after spending (way too much) money on generally polluting my face with whatever makeup I slap onto it every day.

Yes to Carrots Daily Facial Moisturiser with SPF 15 This is somewhat of a bizarre moisturiser, in that it is initially very hard to work into the skin. Once applied, you really need to keep rubbing it in to eliminate any traces of the cream itself and have it completely absorb into the skin. It dries pretty quickly however, and leaves the skin softer and with a moisturised barrier. I like that it is mostly natural and the SPF 15 is a welcome feature, albeit the bare minimum I'm comfortable with in my day cream.

The Body Shop Vitamin E Nourishing Night Cream This is a pretty thick cream that I'd describe as being a little on the greasy side, which I personally don't mind in a night cream. It has a fairly strong flowery scent which might be off-putting to some. I don't think it's anything special, but I also don't have any specific complaints about it. At any rate, it's better than the Nivea Daily Essentials Rich Regenerating Night Cream I bought earlier in the year. I picked this up on sale in the US for $10. I wouldn't buy it at the Australian price of $27.95.

Josie Maran 100% Pure Argan Oil I purchased the 15ml travel size in Sephora for $15 and began using it immediately on my holiday. I had this routine that I religiously stuck to where I used two drops of it mixed in with a good dollop of Nivea Soft that I'd then slather over my face. I'd do this day and night. I wasn't really scrutinising the condition of my skin throughout my vacation, but I can say in the three weeks that I used it, my skin wasn't dry at all. I also didn't break out. I'm not sure if that can be attributed to the argan oil, or a combination of totally unrelated factors, but at least I didn't experience any negative effects. I've yet to use this directly on my skin, or on my hair or body, mostly because I'm trying to ration it like a precious commodity. I accidentally dipped the dropper into a bit of cream and then put it back into the bottle, which led to a momentary upset in thinking I'd forever contaminated the purity of the argan oil.

Caudalie Beauty Elixir Another Sephora purchase. I bought the 30ml one for just under $20 mainly out of curiosity. It has a somewhat funky smell. Not sweet or flowery, more of an earthy, pungent, essential oils kind of smell. Citrus and peppermint. While refreshing, I don't really know if it does anything. It's really more of a novelty to have, especially with the pleasing weightiness of the frosted bottle and the shiny, tight cap. I keep forgetting to spray this before applying my moisturiser as the instructions state. I'm not convinced it could work as a makeup setting spray as it contains a whole bunch of oils (in fact, the oil literally sits at the top of the liquid and you have to shake the bottle before using it). It seems more for adding a touch of dewiness to your skin or for a "pick me up" during the day, mainly because of the scent. For that purpose, I think I prefer my Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist (it's a lot cheaper as well, with the 100ml being $31, as opposed to $US48 for the Caudalie before tax).

Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentrè I bought this at the Spa & Beauty Expo from the Scotty's Makeup stand for $28 (down from the retail price of $35), which is a ridiculous price to pay for what is essentially a basic moisturiser that's been overly hyped. If you're in Paris and stop by a pharmacy, it's worthwhile to pick this up as it's $12 or something. Otherwise, I'm sure you could find cheaper alternatives. I don't enjoy using the Lait-Crème Concentrè as a moisturiser, as I find it quite greasy and rich, in the sense that it doesn't fully absorb into the skin. I really love this as a primer though. I place my normal moisturiser, let that sink in for a few minutes, then place a layer of Lait-Crème Concentrè over it. I find that you need to use a decent amount, definitely more than pea-size, otherwise it doesn't spread easily. But for whatever reason, it not only smooths out any dry patches and helps foundation to apply better, I also find it makes it last longer too. I prefer it to the other primer that I occasionally use, Face of Australia Face Base.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

How Much Is My Face Worth?

I haven't done a tag on this blog before, and this one seemed to be the easiest one to start off with as it requires no thinking on my part. To my understanding, all you need to do is add up the price of all the products you usually use in the morning, and invariably become shocked at the total cost. I've picked items that I used on a particular day last week, so this is more or less my current routine. If I'd done this tag a month ago, the NARS Sheer Glow would be substituted for Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum or Missha Signature BB cream, the Benefit Hervana would be Rimmel or a Bourjois round pot blush, and the Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow/Liner would be a Maybelline gel eyeliner or Savvy by DB pencil.

For a long time now, I've been starting off with the eyes and then doing my base. I know that usually it's the reverse, but I just find it easier that way. I've been neglecting my powder eyeshadows for cream products, mostly due to laziness. I'd say that currently, I use cream eyeshadow for at least 3 of the 5 weekdays I wear makeup. I know I harp on about it constantly, but it's really been all about Maybelline Bad to the Bronze, usually darkened slightly with a deeper colour (here, I picked L'Oréal Infallible eyeshadow in Bronzed Taupe). I've been liking Benefit Busy Signal on my lower lashline and how it seriously doesn't budge. If I can be bothered, once or twice a week I'll use either of my Urban Decay Naked palettes, Wet n Wild Comfort Zone or Silent Treatment, or Revlon Polished Bronze. Cheap dual-ended Sportsgirl eyeshadow brushes, Bourjois Liner Feutre and my Shiseido eyelash curler are staples. Benefit They're Real has been my mascara of choice since I bought it.

I've been alternating between NARS Sheer Glow (applied with a Real Techniques Buffing Brush) and Make Up For Ever HD foundation (applied with a Real Techniques Stippling Brush). I figure I might as well use up my higher end/"better" foundations since I probably won't be able to finish up both before it's technically time to dispose of them thoughtfully. According to the instructions in the box, you're supposed to apply the NARS with your hands (presumably to warm up the product and have it blend more seamlessly into your skin), but I still use a brush for convenience. Lately, I've also been powdering using my Real Techniques Powder Brush with the middle section of the Australis Face-A-Holic palette, which contains their pressed powder in Deep Natural. I never used to powder, but I'm finding it does make a significant difference to how long my foundation lasts.

Lastly, I do my cheeks and highlight. Blush is probably the one thing I change up the most, but I just picked Benefit Hervana (applied with my Real Techniques Blush Brush) as it's a nice all-rounder. I've been liking the 4ml bottle of Benefit High Beam that was included in the Go TropiCORAL Lip & Cheek Kit for my highlight, though I also frequently reach for my Jemma Kidd Dewy Glow All Over Radiance Crème. I'll sometimes use bronzer to contour (Benefit Hoola, NYX Taupe or the matte contour colour in my Napoleon Perdis Ultimate Contour Palette), usually applied with either my Real Techniques Contour Brush or Multi-Task Brush.

So what's the damage? If something belonged to a kit or set, I've included the price of the whole thing just to make it easier.
  • NARS Sheer Glow in Fiji $46
  • Benefit Hervana $30
  • Maybelline Bad to the Bronze $12
  • Sportsgirl eye brush $3
  • Ecotools concealer brush (part of their Bamboo 5 Piece brush set) $26 (yes, you read right. The set's $26 in Australia. Crazy.)
  • Bourjois Liner Feutre $14 (usually $24, but I purchased it with a $10 off voucher)
  • Maybelline Baby Lips in Relieving Menthol $4
  • Benefit They're Real mascara $25
  • Benefit High Beam (part of the Go TropiCORAL Lip & Cheek Kit) $30 
  • Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow/Liner in Busy Signal $21
  • Shiseido eyelash curler $15
  • L'Oréal Infallible eyeshadow in Bronzed Taupe $10
  • Real Techniques Blush Brush $15
  • Real Techniques Buffing Brush (part of the Core Collection) $30

Total: $281

Cue shock and horror. If I'd included items that I sometimes use (along with primers), the figure would be well above $300. If I'd replaced some of the more expensive items with cheaper alternatives and ditched some brushes, it'd still be over $150. But in terms of cost per wear, I still think I get my money's worth. A more horrendous prospect would be a tag like, "how much is my makeup collection worth?". I don't want to know.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Round-the-Clock Gold

I was hoping to come across the new limited edition Maybelline Color Tattoo 24 Hour eyeshadows while in the US (Barely Beige and Mossy Green being of particular interest), but only managed to find a single pot of Gold Shimmer on display at Duane Reade. It was probably the colour I was least keen on, mainly as it appeared too similar to Bold Gold, but I couldn't resist the allure of adding a new neutral Color Tattoo to my collection. I'm still eyeing the shades I couldn't get, but I'll need to wait until they hit our shores (if they ever do).

l-r: Bad to the Bronze, Gold Shimmer, Bold Gold

l-r: Bad to the Bronze, Gold Shimmer, Bold Gold

l-r: Bad to the Bronze, Bold Gold, Gold Shimmer

Gold Shimmer is a creamy, opaque goldish bronze with slight olive tones. It's not so apparent in these photos because they were taken in very warm light, but on my lids, the colour definitely appears green-tinged. Compared to my go-to staple Bad to the Bronze, I find Gold Shimmer a bit too heavy for everyday wear. However, I much prefer Gold Shimmer to Bold Gold, which I find way too yellow, patchy and difficult to apply. Gold Shimmer is much richer, metallic but not frosty (unlike Bad to the Bronze), smoother and more easily blended with the fingers. I actually prefer the consistency and texture of Gold Shimmer over the only MAC Paint Pot I have in Rubenesque.

Despite not being completely sold on it initially, Gold Shimmer ended up exceeding my expectations. It works well for a fuss-free, all-over shadow on its own, with excellent pigmentation and texture. Being a darker shade, it can also be applied under the eyes to define the lower lashes. It's not going to beat Bad to the Bronze, but at least it provides an appealing alternative.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Pink Perk

From when it first came out, I've had my eye on MAC Viva Glam Nicki. Yes, it's bright, bold and possibly unwearable, but the pull remained strong. I was mostly interested in how it would apply to my lips. I'd heard that it leans coral or pink depending on the individual, and I was very much hoping it was the latter on me. Prior to my trip to New York, I'd never owned a single MAC product, so naturally I was motivated to change all that while I was there. Though I'd written quite a lengthy list of things I wanted to get, when I actually found myself at a MAC store or counter, I started to have second thoughts about whether I really needed the majority of what I'd written down. Maybe it was the sheer variety on display that gave me analysis paralysis. Maybe it was the fact there were so many other brands that had made themselves available to me at US prices, that MAC was looking slightly less desirable compared to what was at Sephora. Maybe I was thinking about the truckload of makeup I had at home that I'd never use up in my lifetime. Either way, I only ended up buying four things at MAC, three of which were lipsticks. Viva Glam Nicki was one of them.

Like most MAC products, I don't think the packaging is anything special and strikes me as utilitarian more than anything. That could be why MAC products don't really appeal to me when I see them, despite the merits of the contained product. In my eyes, the shape of the lipstick is very much akin to a fat tampon. The lipstick itself is a bright, yellow-based medium pink. On my naturally pigmented lips, I find it applies a little dark. Not like a soft Barbie pink but a bit more reddish. However, it definitely pulls more pink than coral (thankfully). I find the formula to be really drying and staining. As the lipstick is so pigmented, I probably wouldn't wear it straight from the tube, unless I wanted to invite comments about my ridiculously bright mouth. It's much more wearable and flattering when dabbed on sparingly and mixed with a bit of lip balm.

l-r: MAC Viva Glam Nicki, Revlon Lip Butter in Sweet Tart, Innoxa Pink Peony, Sportsgirl Rosie Posie

Before I acquired Viva Glam Nicki, I had a few lipsticks in my collection that I thought might be close to it. I was curious to swatch them alongside each other. In terms of colour, the Revlon Lip Butter in Sweet Tart appears to be the closest in my eyes, but it's sheerer and a smidgen darker and more raspberry-toned. Innoxa Lovely Lips in Pink Peony (swatch here) is considerably darker and more fuchsia, but equally bright. Sportsgirl Rosie Posie is less pink and more coral, but has similar pigmentation and consistency.

Overall, I'm fairly happy with Viva Glam Nicki. I don't have anything exactly like it, and for whatever reason, I always find myself drawn to slightly crazy, fun girly shades. Best of all, all proceeds of the lipstick go towards the MAC AIDS Fund. I can rationalise the purchase as making a donation to a worthwhile cause, while also getting a free lipstick.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Calling Me Sugar

I was starting to have serious doubts about whether Revlon Whimsical (430) would ever be released in Australia, so I was hopeful of coming across a bottle while in New York. As luck would have it, I found one in a random Rite Aid store. It was a glorious moment. Whimsical combines two of my favourite things in nail polish: pastels and glitter. I once attempted to make my own version, but it was a garish imposter. The real thing is much daintier, with nicely dispersed glitter, and a soft, muted and distinctly pastel tone. Composition-wise, it's a pale, slightly dusty blue with hints of seafoam, paired with pink and blue hex glitter, much smaller silver hex glitter and almost imperceptible silver and blue microglitter.

I managed to paint Deborah Lippmann Glitter in the Air on my nails at Bloomingdale's using the tester provided (which made me think, why don’t we have any nail polish testers in Australia?). As far as I could tell, Whimsical and Glitter in the Air were more or less identical, the only difference being the Revlon is a fraction of the price. Both are very sheer. I placed one coat of Revlon Blue Lagoon (092) as a base, but still needed 3-4 coats of Whimsical to even out the colour. Simply put, it’s a pain to apply and takes forever. But like all my favourites, the labour is worth it for all the pretty at the end.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Instant Lashes

Considering the relative short shelf life of mascara and the quality and performance of cheaper brands, high end mascara has never particularly appealed to me. But for whatever reason, when I saw the wand of Benefit They're Real on display, something told me that I'd probably like it. A lot. It reminded me a bit of my beloved Maybelline Define-A-Lash, with its stiff spikiness and defined bristles. The tip looked intriguingly like one of those Medieval spiked balls, and the girl at the Benefit counter kept emphasising how it didn't smudge, and then showed me the pack with the complementary travel size, and before I knew it, I was handing over my credit card for something I never planned to buy.

The pack I bought isn't bad value as the free travel size mascara has the full-sized wand and is 4g, which is just under half the full 8.5g size. I imagine that the travel size would still last a decent amount of time. As for the mascara itself, I'm surprisingly impressed by it. It has thoroughly exceeded my expectations. I would go as far as to say this is the best mascara I've used. I'm even considering repurchasing at Australian prices when both the travel and full size run out.

I have fairly typical Asian lashes, i.e. short and mostly straight, and having monolids, what eyelashes I have are largely overtaken by my eyelid. If I had naturally lush, curled and long lashes, I'm sure I could use whatever rubbish mascara was available and be set, but I need all the help I can get. My trusty Shiseido eyelash curler is an unmissable first step, and one coat of They're Real is enough to bring my lashes to the point where they're actually visible. I have darkened, thickened, separated, clump-free, lengthened lashes. Better still, it holds curl and smudging is kept to a minimum. The last part is somewhat of a revelation, as I don't think I've come across a single mascara when applied to my lower lashes, that didn't bleed and smear by the day's end. They're Real really stands out in that respect.

l-r: bare lashes, with one coat of They're Real

Something about the wand and formula means that even when this mascara is whacked on in a somewhat haphazard manner while rushing out the door in the morning, it doesn't smear and smudge all over my eyelid. I've found the spiky tip of the wand is particularly useful for coating the small, fine bottom lashes. Needless to say, I'm glad that the combination of the Benefit sales assistant's persuasion and enthusiasm, and my own boundless capacity to buy makeup that I don't need, resulted in this purchase.
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