Browsing Tag

Mascara

Eye Makeup

Mascara Hits and Misses

August 4, 2017

Mascara Testing Hits and Misses

I have a new updated mascara roundup. I’ve been trying a few new formulas and have some hits and some misses. The humidity in Florida is pretty high and the sun feels a million times stronger here than it did in San Diego. Finding one that holds up to the humidity has been a process.

  • Bobbi Brown No Smudge Mascara is a formula I had purchased from a duo over last holiday. I had it sitting in the box waiting for my other tubes to get used up. I was pleasantly surprised because the reviews with this were mixed. It had zero clumping, defined lashes, volumized, coated evenly, held the curl and had no smudging. For me this is a hit.
  • Sisley-Paris So Intense Mascara is one I tried from the Nordstrom Color Twist Set (review here). Huge hit with this one even though the comb is so tiny it looks like it won’t grab lashes. It allows you to get right at the base without touching the skin. This usually isn’t a big deal for me if the mascara is good because a quick clean up with a Q-tip fixes it after application. However this one makes application easier. It volumizes, holds curl and doesn’t smudge.
  • L’Oreal Lash Paradise Waterproof is the first drugstore mascara I’ve actually liked. I’ve tried dozens and end up throwing them all away after 2 uses because they either dry to a grey looking black, smudge or don’t hold the curl. This literally was WOW with the first try. It’s everything I want in a mascara – volume, definition and holds the curl. I absolutely love the waterproof version because there is zero smudging. Blackest Black is the color I tried and it’s a true rich black. It does take more work to remove at the end of the day but is completely worth it. Huge hit.
  • Tom Ford Waterproof Extreme Mascara has to be mentioned again even though it’s not new to me because it’s my favorite waterproof mascara. No smudging, holds the curl, volumizes – huge thumbs up. I’ve repurchased this one the most in the past year.
  • Chanel Le Volume Waterproof is another classic. The regular Le Volume is good, but I prefer the Waterproof version because it holds up better in the humidity. This is one of the few rubberized applicators I like – most other brands just don’t do it for me. A classic one for me.
  • Dior Pump N Volume Mascara was a big miss. The first application was decent for volume, holding the curl and having a true rich black color. Every application after that was a clumping disaster – even when I removed excess from the tube by cleaning it. When there’s buildup, every once in a while I’ll take the wand and run it in between a folded piece of paper. It’s just like you would do with a tissue or paper towel but using paper makes it so those cotton fibers from tissue won’t get caught in the bristles. The volume on this one is really good and there are quite a few rave reviews on this one, if it didn’t clump all the time it would be perfect.
  • Serge Lutens Comb Mascara is another miss for me. I had such high hopes for this one as it came highly recommended and the online reviews on the formula were stellar. It has a similar applicator to the Sisley-Paris one. For some reason this Serge Lutens one made my lashes look spidery. It took a while to dry and smudged with a few blinks. After it dried down it had decent staying power but didn’t hold the curl and didn’t have as rich of a black finish as other ones. It wasn’t the worst but there are much better formulas for me out there.

A few notes on other mascaras I’ve loved but didn’t feature in this roundup. Other long-time favs have included the By Terry Mascara Terrybly, Chantecaille Faux Cils, Stila Huge Lash and Bobbi Brown Eye Opening Mascara. Most of these still work for me in the humid hot weather, I’ve just been rotating through different options recently. If you’ve had your eye on the Chantecaille one I highly recommend you check out the Touch-Up Essentials Set while it’s still available for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale because it’s a great deal. The only one that doesn’t work so well for me in humid weather is the By Terry option, but they do have a waterproof version which I want to investigate.

Best Makeup Remover Lancome | The Beauty Look Book

For makeup removal longer lasting formulas and waterproof ones are going to be more difficult to remove in the evenings. Most of these I have to use a multi-step process to take them off in the evenings. Regardless of whether I double cleanse with a cleansing oil or cleansing water, I always use a cotton pad and soak it with eyemakeup remover first. My favorite formula used to be the Chanel Gentle Bi-Phase Eye Makeup Remover but these days I’ve found it’s just ok. Some of the longer lasting formulas don’t come off anymore with this one and I don’t know if the formula of the makeup remover has changed or if I’m simply finding formulas with better lasting power. Some thing goes for the Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover. It used to be a long-time go to but my last bottle didn’t perform as well as I remember it did in past years. My current go-to is the Lancome Bi-Facil Double Action Eye Makeup Remover (available in this value set from Nordstrom here and here). For cotton I’ve tried a number of brands but my favorites are from Chanel and Sephora.

If I had to pick one mascara to use for the rest of the summer that would be a hard choice. I would be able to narrow it down to three: Sisley-Paris, L’Oreal and Tom Ford.

What are your favorite mascaras for the summertime?

 

Christian Louboutin

Christian Louboutin Les Yeux Noirs

April 5, 2017

Louboutin Les Yeux Noirs | The Beauty Look Book

This spring Christian Louboutin has expanded his beauty line to include eye makeup in his Les Yeux Noirs collection. True to Louboutin style these are luxurious pieces with elaborate packaging that are like works of art. I have two pieces to review for you today but the entire collection includes:

I was kindly gifted the Les Yeux Noirs Amplifying Mascara in Khol and the Oeil Vinyle Luminous Ink Liner in Khol. I’ve reviewed quite a few Louboutin products before, both purchased items and press samples and have been really impressed with their nail polishes and lip products. Based on this I had extremely high expectations for both the mascara and liner. After testing I have one product I feel is a total hit and one item I have luke-warm feelings towards.

Louboutin Les Yeux Noirs | The Beauty Look Book

Louboutin Les Yeux Noirs | The Beauty Look Book

First – the packaging on both the liner and mascara is just out of this world gorgeous. They are so unique and the packaging makes quite the statement. Design-wise they are functional and very easy to hold and use. Travel-wise they aren’t really travel-friendly. I tried both items in the black shade Khol and both are true rich black colors. Even though pigments have improved these days there are still some brands where the black shades actually look grey once they dry down.

Up first is the Les Yeux Noirs Amplifying Mascara in Khol. This is a true black mascara that comes with a rubberized applicator in a heavy weight tube. When it comes to mascara I feel like I’m usually disappointed. I have straight lashes that doesn’t hold a curl very well. Also since they are straight I find many are prone to smudging. In testing mascara I know that there are some formulas that take a couple uses to get it going – I’m not sure why but sometimes the first application just doesn’t work. That was the case with the Louboutin mascara. The first use did not do much of anything for my lashes except darken and define slightly. I gave it two more tries before it started to work properly am glad I did because it performs well.

It is described as having a formula that gives dramatic volume, enhances definition, length lift and curl of the lashes. I found that it did all that it claims with the exception of one area. For me it was a bit lacking in volume. As I’ve mentioned with other mascara reviews though – if a mascara can hold the curl, doesn’t clump and doesn’t smudge then to me I’ll give it a thumbs up. I can build up volume with a few coats but it does take some work and patience on the upper lashes. I rarely wear mascara on my lower lashes because mascara tends to just clump and smudge. I gave this a try on my lower lashes and it’s amazing there. Even with mildly humid warm weather here in Florida I had no smudging from morning until late evening. I will say it’s not waterproof but it doesn’t claim to be. The packaging is heavy weight and design makes it easy to hold and apply. Luke warm feelings are mainly due to price and the fact that it doesn’t knock my socks off for volume. The most I’ve spent on mascara before was with the Chantecaille Faux Cils Longest Lash Mascara which is $72 and I was not happy about spending that much even though I’ve spent more on palettes and lipstick before.

Louboutin Les Yeux Noirs Mascara | The Beauty Look Book

On the nails is Edgypopi reviewed and swatched here

Next is the Oeil Vinyle Luminous Ink Liner in Khol which I think is just incredible. I’m not much of a liquid liner person although I’ve tried a number of formulas that are good. I just prefer pencils or dark shadows as liner because it’s easier for me and I find them more forgiving with the precision aspect. Also many tend to bleed or just don’t have enough pigment and end up looking ashy or grey on my eyes. The Louboutin liquid liner has a felt tip that is soft and easy to use. It also has a rich glossy black ink finish – the pigment and finish are what make this an amazing liquid liner. It lasts all day without smudging and there’s no bleeding when I apply it. For me it set pretty quickly which is nice – sometimes if a liner doesn’t set right away it can be prone to smudges when I blink. I give this one a solid thumbs up. Pigment is rich, texture is smooth, application is flawless and easy to build for a perfect cat eye. Finish is glossy but dries and sets 100% without smudging. It lasts all day. It literally covers everything I could want in a liquid liner.

Louboutin Oeil Vinyle Luminous Ink Liner | The Beauty Look Book

A closer look at the packaging and detail of the applicators:

Louboutin Les Yeux Noirs | The Beauty Look Book

Applicators:

Louboutin Les Yeux Noirs | The Beauty Look Book

Closer shot:

Louboutin Les Yeux Mascara and Oeil Vinyle Luminous Ink Liner

Swatches of the mascara and liner with different pressure applied to show how you can control the thickness of the lines:

Louboutin Les Yeux Mascara and Oeil Vinyle Luminous Ink Liner

Swatch comparisons with a flash:

Mascara and Liner comparisons

Louboutin Les Yeux Mascara and Oeil Vinyle Luminous Ink Liner | The Beauty Look BookBottom line both are solid performers. I absolutely love the liner and think it’s 100% worth the splurge. With mascara I think it’s just ok but mascara is hard for me in general to love because I have such high expectations. My lashes are so straight and sparse that few mascaras can really do everything that I want it to. Many times my expectations are just too high. For the price I think the lip products are a better splurge. I’m still obsessed with the lip lacquers (my picks reviewed and swatched here and here) and I think the lipsticks are excellent (red ones also reviewed here).

You can find the Louboutin Les Yeux collection online and at Louboutin Beaute counters now. I have yet to see the full beauty line in person but hope to make a trip in the next month to see it live. Available online at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Sephora, Saks Fifth Avenue and Christian Louboutin.

Have you checked these out yet? What’s the most you’ve spent on mascara or eyeliner?

Many thanks to Louboutin for gifting me the Les Yeux Noirs.

Charlotte Tilbury

Charlotte Tilbury The Supermodel Brow Lift Kit Review

March 29, 2017

Charlotte Tilbury Supermodel Brow Kit | The Beauty Look Book

Charlotte Tilbury launched a new set called The Supermodel Brow Lift Kit ($124) containing 5 of her essentials for creating her flawless eyebrow look. I’ve already tried a few of the items individually in the past and I think it’s great that Charlotte Tilbury has launched some sets for those who are just starting to get into her line. This kit allows you to choose your own colors, if you were to buy everything separately it would retail at $138.50 so you do get a bit of a price break with the set. What’s inside the kit:

  1. Legendary Brows Brow Gel
  2. Brow Lift Brow Pencil
  3. The Retoucher Conceal and Treat Stick
  4. Life Changing Lashes Eyelash Curler
  5. Full Fat Glossy Lashes Mascara in Black

Up first are the Brow Lift brow pencil and Legendary Brows gel. I selected the color Supermodel for both which is a good neutral-cool medium-deep brown. I have dark black hair but it has a lot of natural streaks of red and brown so pure black is often too harsh and some browns contain red which is a no-go for me. Supermodel is a deep enough to look natural on me and doesn’t look harsh.

The Brow Lift brow pencil has beveled tip and it’s a twist up on one side with product and a brush at the other end. It has a slightly waxy feel which helps fill in sparse areas. The color and texture are really good and easy to apply.

The Legendary Brows comes in a clear shade which I’ve tried and liked. I was really interested to try the tinted version which I like a lot better. It helps add a bit more definition in a natural way and does help to keep flyaways in place.

Charlotte Tilbury Supermodel Brow Kit | The Beauty Look Book

Here’s what the Supermodel brow pencil and gel look like on me, since I have odd-shaped brows I usually go light with product because one swipe too much ends up looking really harsh. Foundation shade worn is the Becca Aqualuminous Foundation in Light and Beige mixed (review here), on the lips is MAC Lustre Lipstick from the Work it Out collection Testosterone (review here). It’s barely noticeable but on the cheeks is a sheer wash of the Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow duo in the lighter option (both options on the face here).

Beauty Look Book Brows Charlotte Tilbury

Brow swatch comparisons: Diorshow Brow Styler in Universal Brown is my most-used brow pencil because it’s the easiest for me to use without overdoing it, Kevyn Aucoin Precision Brown Pencil Brunette is darker, Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz in Medium Brown has a bit more warmth, Tom Ford Brow Sculptor Espresso is my second most-used pencil because the color works for me, Glossier Boy Brow in Brown is a good one for natural brows and runs a bit lighter but still works for my dark hair, Tom Ford Fiber Brow Gel in Espresso is my favorite tinted brow gel because the tiny fibers help fill in the brow naturally, By Terry Brow Mascara in Dark Brown was my first tinted brow product which I’ve repurchased many times.

If any of you want a more comprehensive brow post for natural brows let me know and I’ll put one together with thoughts on some powder formulas and tools I like. Let me know in the comments!

Brow Pencil and Brow Gel comparisons | The Beauty Look Book

Up next are the Full Fat Lashes Mascara in Glossy Black and the Life Changing Lashes curler. I’ve tried both and I think the mascara is just ok. I have super straight lashes so I need a lot of volumizing for them to show up. What I do like about the mascara is that it’s a true black, it doesn’t clump and is pretty good at not smudging. It doesn’t hold my curl and it doesn’t add much volume but everyone I’ve talked to about this in person loves this one.

Charlotte Tilbury Supermodel Brow Kit | The Beauty Look Book

For the Life Changing Lashes curler I bought one a few years ago when her line launched. I no longer own it because it got so much use and wear I had to throw it away. I haven’t repurchased or looked at them since – not until this kit arrived for review. For some reason I feel like the one she has right now has been improved – it feels a bit larger in size and more hefty than the original (which I really liked). The one she has now is still very good. The curler portion seems to be larger but since I don’t have the original one I owned I can’t really compare – if you have purchased them before let me know if you think there’s a difference. It does a great job at curling without pinching. The rosegold finish is just so pretty!

Charlotte Tilbury Life Changing Lashes Curler | The Beauty Look Book

Swatches of the set, first without flash:

With flash:

Last but not least is The Retoucher Concealer. This is a twist up with brush kind of concealer. I’ve owned #3 in the past and used it up but since then have gotten around 1 to 1.5 shade lighter in color. Of course now that I’ve been in Florida for a month now I’ve gotten a bit of a tan with the outdoors so I’m in between shades. Right now #2 works well to brighten the under eye area perfectly for me. It has medium smooth coverage and gives a natural looking finish. If you need more coverage I would say this is not the best for blemishes or dark spots. I used mine up to the end and planned on repurchasing but have a lot of other formulas I’m testing so never got around to it.

Charlotte Tilbury The Retoucher Concealer | The Beauty Look Book

I swatched them all in a concealer story I did a while back but am reposting for reference:

Charlotte Tilbury The Retoucher Concealer Swatches | The Beauty Look Book

Charlotte Tilbury Supermodel Brow Kit Review | The Beauty Look Book

Bottom line this is a great kit for easy to do brows. You can use the Retoucher under the brow bone to highlight or open up the eyes and also underneath to brighten. The soft emollient blendable texture makes for a nice natural look. I love both of the brow products for a natural easy everyday kind of look. The only item I’m not crazy about is the mascara but I’m going to try experimenting with some primers and lash bases to see if I can try to make it hold the curl better.

You can find the The Supermodel Brow Lift Kit online now at Charlotte Tilbury for $124. Have you tried any of these before? If so what did you think? If not do you have any go-to brow products?

Brow kit provided courtesy of Charlotte Tilbury for review.

Base Makeup Eye Makeup

Natasha Denona Star Palette, Eye Light Highlighting Concealer, Eye Shadow Base and Mascarade Mascara Launches

October 28, 2016
Natasha Denona Star Palette - The Beauty Look Book

Natasha Denona’s Star Palette ($169) launches today at Sephora and Beautylish and it’s a stunning beauty with 18 eyeshadows. The shadows are cased in a magnetic flat palette similar to the Eyeshadow 28 Palette (Green Brown reviewed and swatched here). The overall color theme of the Star Palette is warm, bold and glitzy. She’s launched some other basics for eyes over the past few months and today I have a roundup to share with you today.

Natasha Denona Star Palette - The Beauty Look Book

In today’s review includes:

Up first is the Star Palette which is just breathtaking at first glance. I’ll say up front it probably will most likely not be for everyone just
based on the color options, especially if you’re on the conservative
side for makeup. I rarely ever wear glitter shadow (except for ones by
Tom Ford and Charlotte Tilbury) as it’s not something I feel comfortable
wearing. I also don’t wear reds or wine colors on my eyes. Still this palette has a mix of colors and textures that is mesmerizing. In general I really like Natasha Denona’s mattes and shimmers – they are really great in quality, smooth in texture and have the prettiest finishes. Her glitters come in a mix of really fine shimmer/glitter and then chunky. Out of all the colors in this palette I would say there are 2 glitters I won’t wear and 2 of the reds that I don’t think I would wear on my eyes.

The left side of the palette has:

  • Spectrum is an antique gold sparkle with tiny micro glitters
  • Earth is a dark chocolate matte brown
  • Bellatrix is a metallic peachy champagne
  • Flesh is a matte warm peach flesh
  • Orion is a duo-chrome blue brown shimmer
  • Gemma is a soft satiny brown plum gold
  • Atria is a sparkling copper orangey shade with tiny micro sparkles
  • Titania is a matte warm brown
  • Cosmo is a sparkling brassy gold

Natasha Denona Star Palette - The Beauty Look Book

Natasha Denona Star Palette - The Beauty Look Book

For the right side of the palette:

  • Diadem is a matte dusty grey-mauve
  • Vega is a matte pink peach rose
  • Galaxia is a sparkling glitter icy white with a chunky finish
  • Phoenix is a bright red satin shimmer
  • Supernova is a silver taupe shimmer
  • Electra is a red magenta satin
  • Polaris is a glitzy pale gold
  • Atik is a matte brown sand color
  • Rhea is a gorgeous peach red copper with shimmer

Natasha Denona Star Palette - The Beauty Look Book

Natasha Denona Star Palette Swatches

The colors are all very soft in texture. The glitters and crystal shimmer colors are a bit chunky and prone to have more fallout when you apply so it’s best to use with a damp brush or over a super creamy base in a patting motion rather than brushing. Quality-wise her shadows are excellent. When it comes to palettes if there are 2-3 shades I don’t think I will use I try to restrain myself from purchasing so in this case if I had applied my rule I would have probably skipped it (this was kindly gifted by Natasha).

Next are here Eye Light Highlighting Concealer and Eye Shadow Base. I’ll say up front I give both a thumbs up.

Natasha Denona Eye Light and Eye Shadow Base

Natasha Denona Eye Light and Eye Shadow Base

For the Eye Light there are four shades, my best match is Shade #2. These come in a twist up click pen applicator with a brush. #1 for some reason was a dud for me as there was a lot of separation that happened inside the tube and the product came out very watery. The other three shades had no issues. These have what Natasha calls “spherical powders” inside which means they don’t need to be set with powder after application. I always set concealer and foundation with powder, but the formula really is one that sets well and doesn’t need power. Swatch comparisons for reference to NARS Radiant Creamy Concealers, Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Concealer (review here) and MAC Pro Long Wear Concealer in NC35.
I use these under the eye and they cover my moderately dark circles really well and brighten the area. It goes on smooth, there’s no creasing and they blend to a flawless finish. Many look dry under my eyes (the NARS, MAC and MUFE are among the few I can wear) and the Natasha Denona one joins the club of Beauty Look Book approved undereye concealers. It doesn’t darken which is a huge plus for me in terms of color matching.

Natasha Denona Eye Light Concealer, NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer, MUFE Ultra HD, MAC Prolongwear Concealer

Next are the eye bases which are creamy and dry to a soft smooth finish. I feel as though I’m one of the few who does not have oily lids – I usually need a base with some kind of emollient texture and to date the Edward Bess Illuminating Eye Base has been my favorite. Others like ones from NARS, Urban Decay, Too Faced, etc. dry out my lids and make my skin look wrinkled.

The Natasha Denona Eye Shadow Base is perfect for evening out the lids and has a creamy feel to help powder shadows adhere better, not just with her brand but also other powder shadows. I find it tied in terms of quality and finish with the Edward Bess one.

Natasha Denona Eye Shadow Base vs Edward Bess Illuminating Eye Shadow Base

Last but not least are the Eye Lash Curler and Blackest Black Mascara. I found both to be just ok, but not great. For some reason the Eye Lash Curler just would not curl my lashes, although the shape and size worked well for my eye shape. No pinching and my fingers fit inside the loops just fine. I just found the curling pad didn’t help create a curl like the MAC Eye Lash Curler or Chanel Eye Lash Curler (my two favorites).

The Mascara has an odd shape brush, almost pear-shaped and I had a difficult time getting my lashes coated with the brush. It did add depth and dimension. There was no smudging which many readers know is rare for me with most mascaras. I just need lots of volume and this was lacking in that department for me. For reference two that work for me right now are the Stila Huge Lash and Bobbi Brown Eye Opening Mascara.

Natasha Denona Star Palette, Eye Lights, Eye Shadow Base

I think the Star Palette has some amazing colors but palettes can be hard to love if you don’t love all the colors. There are only 4 out of the 18 I don’t see myself wearing on a regular basis and perhaps I’ll experiment more with the glitzy ones in the upcoming weeks. The Eye Light Concealer and Eye Base are both excellent – I hope the swatches help if you’re ordering sight unseen.

You can find select Natasha Denona products now at Sephora and Beautylish. Do note that the Sephora Rouge 20% off sale starts soon and will run from 11/4 to 11/7 so if you have this on your wishlist you may want to wait until the sale to buy this.

Many thanks to Natasha for sending a lovely package of items for me to try out.

Edward Bess Eye Makeup

Edward Bess Earth Tones Natural Eyeshadow Palette, Perfect Line Every Time, Big Wow Full Brow Pomade and Wish Granted Mascara

October 27, 2016
Edward Bess Earth Tones + New Eye Launches

Edward Bess has launched quite a few new things including some classic additions in eye makeup along with three new perfumes. Today I’m reviewing the eye makeup – all true to Edward Bess style where makeup is classic to enhance your features in a natural way but make them look better. I got a sneak preview back in September at Neiman Marcus while visiting his counter. He swatched his new Perfect Line Every Time Liner on the back of his hand and once it sets it does not budge. If you are able to visit any of his counters while he’s in store (all locations listed here) I highly recommend you do – you will be in for a treat.

In today’s review lineup:

All eye products are available at Net-A-Porter. The liner and mascara are also available at Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman. Eyeshadow, liner and mascara are available at QVC (some prices vary with sets).
Edward Bess Earth Tones Neiman Marcus Beverly Hills
Up first is my favorite item the Earth Tones Naturally Enhancing Eyeshadow Palette. It has five natural shades that are very natural but not invisible. The colors look like they run neutral-cool in the palette but on my skin they have a mix of neutral, cool and warm. Colors have the most beautiful finely milled kind of shimmer and texture is buttery soft for smooth natural application. If you like bold full pigment kinds of shades you may find this too natural. But for the person who wants a very natural look for the eyes and a palette that is easy to wear for everyday this one is a great one.
Edward Bess Earth Tones Eyeshadow Palette

Colors are a pale cool white shimmer, satiny light pink mauve, medium warm plum shimmer, shimmering grey taupe mauve, deeper cool-toned purple. Swatched below:

Quick eye look with all colors on the eyes:

Edward Bess Earth Tones swatched

I couldn’t find anything quite like the colors in this palette from what I own. I pulled the Dior Eye Reviver Palette reviewed here which has a similar effect in the natural finish but runs cooler and has a sheerer finish with some of the shades.

Edward Bess Earth Tones vs Dior Eye Reviver Palette
Edward Bess Earth Tones
Next are the Perfect Line Every Time Liner in Deep Deep Black and Wish Granted Magic in a Bottle Mascara in Onyx. The Perfect Line liner is a deep true black with a twist up style applicator and smudge brush at the end. It does indeed last a very long time (all day on me) with out smudging or budging once you apply and let it set. It glides on easily without any tugging and gives a rich deep black color. It does set quickly so if you need to smudge or blend with an applicator I recommend you do so quickly.
The Wish Granted Mascara is a true black mascara. It’s described as a long lasting clump free mascara to add volume. I am extremely picky with mascara as I have straight lashes that require curling. Most mascaras smudge, don’t hold the curl, or flake. This one from Edward Bess did not smudge and there was no clumping so on those points it’s a winner. For me I have a serious need for volume and this one can be built in two layers for volume but I found it didn’t give me as much drama as some other formulas. 
Edward Bess Perfect Line Every Time and Wish Granted Mascara

Perfect Line in action at Edward’s counter:

Edward Bess Perfect Line Every Time

Last but not least are three brow products called Big Wow Full Brow Pomade . It comes in three colors, Light Taupe, Medium Taupe and Rich. I can use either Medium Taupe or Rich for my coloring and it’s really really good. It is an easy to blend natural looking brow product. It has a whipped formula that is lightweight and has the ability to coat hairs or fill in sparse areas. As one who finds I can’t wear any brow products with red, I really like these color options. He has a Dual Ended Brow Brush for these, but I find you can use any angled brush. I tried with the MAC 266 and Wayne Goss Brush 21 and both worked really well.
These look natural and are easy to use. Thumbs up.

Edward Bess Big Wow Full Brow Pomade

Edward Bess Big Wow Full Brow Pomade
One last quick look from my visit to his counter at Neiman Marcus Beverly Hills. Many of you often ask what my natural lip color looks like, here’s a photo of me without anything on the lips – it was after lunch and everything had worn off. To the right is his Big Kiss Lipstick.

Bottom line some solid additions to Edward Bess’s line. I really love his Earth Tones Eyeshadow Palette and the new Brow Pomades and as a natural-neutral makeup lover these are just perfect. I’ll have a dedicated post on his fragrances soon. One briefly reviewed in my Fall Fragrance Loves for Him and Her post if you want a quick peek.

All eye products are available at Net-A-Porter. The liner and mascara are also available at Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman. Eyeshadow, liner and mascara are available at QVC (some prices vary with sets). All items also available from his website Edward Bess.

Have you tried these yet? If yes what did you think?
Many thanks to Edward for keeping me stocked on his latest and greatest.
Eye Makeup

Kevyn Aucoin The Making Eyes Kit x Space NK

September 27, 2016
Kevyn Aucoin Making Eyes x Space NK Exclusive

Every once in a while I’ll try a product and wonder what took me so long to try it. Kevyn Aucoin eyeshadows fall into that category (along with some of the blushes reviewed here). For the longest time I’ve avoided many items from the Kevyn Aucoin beauty line simply because of the price points. So many of his products have been widely raved about, and rightly so due to their good quality and solid performance. Kevyn Aucoin recently launched a set exclusive to Space NK called The Making Eyes Kit ($125, a $160 value if you purchase items separately). This kit includes:
  • The Essential Eye Shadow Set Palette #2 (0.04 oz)
  • The Precision Brow Pencil Brunette (0.03 oz)
  • The Expert Mascara Black (0.4 oz)
  • The Eyelash Curler
  • The Eye Pencil Primatif Basic Black (0.04 oz) 
Space NK kindly sent the set for me to try and part of me was really excited to try things I’ve always been curious about. The other part of me wondered if this would live up to the hype as the items look incredibly basic. I love beauty basics and classics but sometimes there are products that just simply seem a bit too basic to justify the splurge when less expensive options will work just as well. I was really impressed with the Eye Shadow Palette, Brow Pencil and Eye Pencil. More thoughts on each item below.

Quick look at the box. The set comes cased in a large black box with a mirror. I like that everything has it’s own individually molded compartment so if you have this shipped to you, items stay in place. I’m not sure what I’ll do with the box at the moment. I suppose I could use it for travel by taking out the insert. The larger mirror is nice to have when you’re on the go. However the box is made of cardboard so I don’t  know how well it will hold up traveling.

Kevyn Aucoin Making Eyes x Space NK Exclusive
First a look at the items swatched:

For me the winner of this set is The Essential Eye Shadow Set Palette #2 which has a mix of cool tones. The set comes with a little instruction card on how to apply the colors but I took one look and decided to apply them my own way. I have no crease in the lids so most of the time I need to apply shadows differently from most other women anyways in a gradient. Since I have no fold or crease I don’t usually do the outer corner or v-shape blending.

Colors in this palette include a shimmering soft but pigmented black, lavender purple shimmer, beige satin, white frost, bone satin. All of the colors have some degree of shimmer but it is very soft on the skin. If you’re a no-shimmer kind of person for eyeshadows I think this will still work for you as the finish is VERY very soft.

The pigment is medium but buildable. Texture is very soft and looks natural on the eyes. As one who does not really like cool tones (especially white frosts) because they often look sharp or contrast with my olive skin I was surprised to find this one worked really well with my skintone for a cool-toned smoky eye with a hint of purple. The black looks like it could be chalky if you swatch it on the hand or arm. With a brush it’s intense and very pigmented but not too sharp. It’s a very good one to apply along the lash line and easy to blend and smoke out. Below shows all the items in the kit applied including the mascara, liner and brow pencil.

The only other added product was the Laura Mercier Caviar Eye Stick in Rose Gold all over the lids used as a base.

Next are The Precision Brow Pencil Brunette and The Eye Pencil Primatif Basic Black. The Precision Brow Pencil is very easy to use and Brunette is a good neutral to cool toned brown that works for my dark hair. For me I like that there is no red undertone which I find some brow pencils have, yet there’s not too much grey which can sometimes cause my brows to look ashy. I like that if you twist product up you can also twist it back down.

The Eye Pencil in Basic Black is one of the deepest black pencils I’ve tried. It has a smooth and super creamy texture. In terms of lasting power it stayed put on my eyes all day without any smudging or budging. I used it along upper lashes and waterline. That being said, I will usually also see how it holds up on the arm. When I test liners, let it sit for about 30 minutes on the arm, then take my finger and swipe it across the arm swatch to see how much it smudges. On the arm it smudged while some other liners set and don’t budge. That being said I tried this on a few different days and on my eyes it lasted all day without any budging so for me it’s a winner.

Last but not least are The Expert Mascara Black and The Eyelash Curler. Both of these have been raved about by many people. To date I have only tried the mascara in mini forms that usually come with the Space NK gwps and had not really been that impressed. The full size does perform better but my heart still belongs to the Stila Huge Extreme Lash Mascara and Bobbi Brown Eye Opening Mascaras for volume, curl-holding and lasting power. The one from Kevyn Aucoin is a deep black, doesn’t clump or smudge. It does a good job at coating each lash but for me it simply does not hold the curl and doesn’t give me the volume the other two do. Do note that I have incredibly skimpy straight lashes so I need a miracle mascara to make it look like I have any.

The eyelash curler works well too. I was relieved to find there was no pinching (for me the Shiseido one everyone raves about just doesn’t work for me at all). It has a very lightweight feel which makes it easy to use but I prefer something with a bit more weight to it. That being said it performs well and I am happy to own it.
Bottom line a solid set of good eye basics. I am already plotting another eyeshadow palette purchase because this one is just so good. If you have any recommendations for the palettes or duos let me know! You can find all the items in this set individually if you prefer to pick and choose items on your own. However the Kevyn Aucoin The Making Eyes Kit as a set is a Space NK exclusive.

Have you tried any of these yet? What did you think?
The Making Eyes Kit was provided courtesy of Space NK for review.
Roundup

10 Mascaras Tried and Tested

June 6, 2016

 

I’ve been playing with quite a few mascaras over the past several months – some from early January. As I’ve worked my way through a few tubes I’ve made notes on thoughts for these and kept them to photograph next to each other so you can see the brush sizes and shapes. I have really straight relatively wimpy lashes that are often barely visible unless I have mascara on. I rarely ever wear anything on the bottom lashes because most brushes are too big to catch the tiny lashes. That combined with the fact that most mascaras smudge on me is another factor for why I don’t wear anything on the lower lashes.

 

I have tested a few lash growth serums but am still undecided – I suspect that they require months of use to see results. I received a sample tube of Rapidlash earlier this year and as of today I’ve hit the 71 day mark of use. I have started to see some results but they are still on the subtle side. If you have ones you’ve tried that worked let me know.

 

Onto the mascaras I’ve tested out. Some are repeats of classic staples. I usually like waterproof versions because they are the ones that really don’t smudge on me. However there are quite a few that leave the lashes looking and feeling a bit crunchy or that turn slightly greyish when they dry so I’m really picky with formulas. The image below is interactive so you can click on the icons below to shop the mascaras:

Shown above from bottom to the top:
  • Clinique High Impact Mascara ($16.50) is one of the mascaras I’ve used for the longest, I discovered it years ago and it’s a great basic mascara to add definition and volume, it’s not the most volumizing formula but the black is a true black color and doesn’t smudge, flake or clump.
  • By Terry Terrybly Growth Booster Mascara ($48) is one I received as a gift with purchase at a counter a year ago, it’s a formula that is very expensive but gives a really nice lush look to the lashes, it is supposed to have a growth formula inside it, I haven’t noticed any visible growth from this one but it’s not one I use daily, I like this because it doesn’t flake, irritate or clump, it holds the curl and adds nice volume you can layer.
  • Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara ($29.50) I love Dior mascaras but often times they just don’t hold the curl for me, I gave this a try in hopes of finding one that does and was thrilled to find that it did for me. There were a lot of mixed reviews online – people either love it or hate it. I found it held the curl and did not smudge. I would have liked a bit more noticeable drama for me, you can layer it but on me it was easy to over-layer where you get that slightly cakey look. The fact that it held the curl and didn’t smudge moved this into my thumbs up list.
  • Burberry Bold Lash ($29) is one I used a few years ago, loved it and repurchased once. I gave it another buy and have no regrets. This is best on me with one good coat. I apply at the base of the lashes and wiggle the tube to apply – it coats lashes evenly without clumping and it does not smudge on me.
  • Stila Huge Extreme Lash Mascara ($23) is one I tried in the Birchbox Beauty in Bloom Box (review here and it’s still available). It far exceeded my expectations and I proceeded to search for it in stores. I could not find it anywhere near me so I ordered online. It’s my new favorite formula although it is a bit hard to remove in the evening. I like this for the most drama and definition. It holds the curl and doesn’t smudge and looks like a true black.
  • Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara ($26) is one I had high hopes for because I really love the O!Mega Lash Mascara (that one has been my most repurchased formula over the past year). The Velvet Noir has an ultra deep color. It has a unique curved brush that dips in the middle of the wand to match the curve of the eye and get the corners. Application is really easy and it looks incredible. Unfortunately for me it does not hold the curl. Smudging is minimal but still happens a tiny bit on me with this one.
  • Marc Jacobs Feather Noir Mascara ($24) is an ultra skinny mascara – one of the tiniest wands I’ve ever seen! It’s made mascara application on lower lashes possible for me. I have super sensitive eyes so it does tickle a little when I apply this but it has such a fine wand it will catch tiny lashes without touching the skin. It did not smudge on me when I used on lower lashes. I think this is a winner if you’re one who is looking for a lower lash mascara.
  • Charlotte Tilbury Legendary Lashes Mascara ($32) I love all things Charlotte Tilbury so when this launched I had high hopes. The regular mascara from her line is ok in my experience. This one is like a face lift for the lashes. I rarely notice the smell of mascara but this one smells like it has a tiny bit of perfume and it smells amazingly fresh and pretty. I have mixed feelings on this one. I’ve put this to the test over the last month. It gives that faux mascara look by adding incredible volume and definition – it’s really impressive. It holds the curl, doesn’t flake and is non irritating. However half the time it smudges. The other half of the time it does not. Even when I have an extra powdered under-eye sometimes it still smudges. If this came in a waterproof formula I think it would be 100% flawless for me. Right now it’s 50/50 on the smudge factor.
  • Chanel Le Volume Mascara ($32) is a classic. I like the regular black version but try to buy the plum shades when they launch because they are often limited-edition. There are two formulas the regular Le Volume and Le Volume Waterproof. I like both but for me waterproof is the way to go especially in humid warmer months. It adds volume and doesn’t smudge.
  • MustaeV Maxi Lash Volume Mascara ($18) is one of the deepest black mascaras I’ve tried. It has a super skinny wand so it’s easy to grab all the lashes – even the ones around the edges. I was really impressed how well it stayed put – no smudging for me on all testing occasions. It’s not the most volumizing for me because I have such wimpy lashes but it’s a good everyday kind of mascara that never clumps on me and I love the true black color.
Another view of the mascaras, different angle:

 

 

So which one is my favorite? Right now it’s a three-way tie between the Stila Huge Extreme Lash Mascara, the By Terry Terrybly Mascara and Chanel Le Volume. The Charlotte Tilbury Legendary Lashes is almost perfect – it smudges on me half the time I wear it.

 

If you’re looking for a new mascara I hope you found this roundup helpful! As always – I’d love to hear about your recommendations! At this time I don’t use a base/primer or a top coat for the lashes. I know several of you have recommended the Clarins Double Fix as a way to prevent smudging. I still have yet to try it but just ordered it so will let you know how it works. I’ve played with a few false lashes on occasion but find them too time consuming to apply on a daily basis – I know it just takes practice to get used to but it’s something I just haven’t gotten into yet.

 

If you have any tips, tricks or advice on lash growth serums I’m all ears!
Press samples featured include the Charlotte Tilbury, MustaeV, RapidLash. Gifted item includes the By Terry Mascara.