Thursday, April 29, 2010

Quick Tip: Mascara Resi-don't!

If you're constantly plagued by clumpy, flaking mascara, no matter what brand you use, it may surprise you to know that what's on your wand might not be at fault- it could be what's already on your lashes. If you count on your facial cleanser to remove your mascara at the end of the day, you may be leaving residue behind on your lashes. Even if the leftovers are invisible, residue from today's mascara can keep tomorrow's coat from performing the way it's meant to. If you notice that a new tube works great for a few days, then beings to fail you, build up could be the culprit. Use a gentle, non-oily remover like MAC's Pro Eye Makeup Remover before you wash your face every night. For more stubborn long wearing and waterproof formulas, try a dual-phase formula like Lancome's classic favorite, Bi-Facil.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Product Review:
Diorshow &
Diorshow Blackout Mascaras

I'm a professional makeup artist who has always told people: if you want to save money on your beauty routine, buy drugstore mascara. Cheap mascara options abound, and in my general opinion, price is not indicative of quality when it comes to mascaras. Factor in the reality that mascara needs to be replaced every 3 months to keep it sanitary, and it seems downright silly to spend $25 on one tube!

Having said this, new technologies pop up constantly so I tend to look at every 3 month interval as a new chance to try the latest and greatest. When "greatest" is mentioned in the realm of mascara, for many people, one word comes to mind. Dior. The french fashion house dove into beauty decades ago when Christian Dior himself started designing perfumes. Since then, Dior's mascaras have reached cult status. After trying them recently for the first time, I now know why.

I tried two of Dior's legendary formulas- Diorshow and Diorshow Blackout. True to the claims, both mascaras gave me glamorous, almost false lash volume and length. To wit; normally I don't see a huge difference when I curl my lashes, but after wearing these mascaras a few times, I found myself digging that torturous contraption out of my case. The Dior mascaras simply defined my lashes so well that I needed a bit of curl- my lashes honestly looked a bit silly sticking straight up!

The original Diorshow formula is available in three shades: Chestnut, Azure Blue and Black. I always use black mascara on myself (and recommend it for everyone but the fairest blondes.) The black of Diorshow's original formula is almost black/brown looking in the tube, though on my light brown lashes, I'd say it reads as a soft black. It still packs a dramatic punch, but the softer shade keeps it suitable for daytime. The wand is a traditional bristle brush, average in length but much fatter than most. Despite the pudgy brush, I didn't have any issues applying the mascara, even with my relatively small eyes. In an odd turn for mascara, the original Diorshow has a distinct rose scent, which I'll admit made me apprehensive. Fragrance in any facial product gives my sensitive skin pause, but around the eyes, it's down right scary! Luckily, I didn't experience any sensitivity from the mascara, and I've actually become quite fond of the scent!

Diorshow Blackout is, as the name implies, an answer to the critics of the original Diorshow's "not-quite-black" black. More true black than the original Diorshow, with a glossier finish, Black-Kohl is actually the only shade Blackout comes in. Despite the addition of what the company calls "thickening powder" I thought the formula itself seemed thinner and more moist than the original. For the first few uses, I felt like the Blackout didn't adhere to my lash as well and tended to produce spikier lashes (spider-lash) especially w/ more than one coat. After a few uses though, as the formula dried down a bit, the differences in performance between the two formulas virtually disappeared.

Of course, nothing is all sunshine and roses, and Diorshow is nothing if not an example of this. Both formulas have a major pitfall: after 4-5 hours of wear, I was left with ring around the eyeball. This is not a common problem for me- among the 50 or so different mascaras I've tried in my lifetime, only two other formulas (neither Dior) have ever given me the dreaded "raccoon eyes". While I was massively disappointed by this factor, I have to admit that Diorshow mascaras look so amazing, I was willing to play around to find a fix for what I consider a fatal flaw. My best results were achieved by simply not applying the Diorshow to my bottom lashes- though even then I occasionally had some darkness at the end of the night. I also noticed that both mascaras had a tendency to flake if applied too heavily. To me, this isn't as much of an issue, since one good coat of Diorshow is really all that you need, but regardless, for a $25 tube of mascara, it's a fault nonetheless. I should mention that both formulas are available in a waterproof formula; I'm curious to see if the difference in formulation solves any of the issues that I had.

All in all, I'd say that Dior is definitely not over-rated in it's fame, even if it does have some pretty big issues. I'd give the product a 7.5 out of 10. It definitely performs above average, even with it's faults. The waterproof formula is definitely on my list- maybe it's my perfect 10!

-Both formulas define extremely well, both lengthening and thickening.
-The original Diorshow is available in 3 shades. The addition of Blackout brings the Diorshow range to 4 colors.
-Formula only requires one coat for full intensity.
-Both formulas are long wearing (though they can migrate).
-Dior is widely available online, in most upscale department stores, and at Sephora.

-Mascara can flake if applied to heavily.
-Both formulas have a tendency to migrate under the eyes, especially if applied to the lower lashes.
-The original formula of Diorshow is scented. This posed no problem for me, but it could be a consideration for those with known sensitivities to fragrance.
-The price ($24) is a bit steep, but reasonable compared to other high-end mascaras.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Under the Sea

This is the color combo that restored my faith in blue eyeshadow! A childhood in the 80s instilled in me a healthy fear of the baby blue monster, and when I began my career as a makeup artist in the mid-90s, I stayed as far away from the stuff as I could. Frankly, it was too soon- we needed time to heal. One day, the brand I worked for (ironically nicknamed Mama Blue) launched a brilliant matte Crayola blue eyeshadow that screamed "Try me!" and my world was turned on its head. OK, maybe that's an exaggeration, but since my line wasn't exactly known for their vivid shades, anything beyond the normal subdued spectrum was game for me!

It's been several years since I took the leap into the big blue with that vivid Crayola color, and I'm happy to say, my forays into the wild blue yonder gave me the tools to cure many people of their abhorrence of the azure, terror of teal...condemnation of cyan. OK I'm done.

Needless to say, when Sugarpill Cosmetics generously sent me a package of their goodies to try, I was thrilled to see that a few of the shades in the assortment were perfect for one of my favorite looks. This look has always reminded me of the ocean; bright blue where the sun hits the shoals, cool kelpey green in the depths, with mysterious glimpses of what I like to imagine could be the flash of mermaid fins (so much nicer to me than slimy, scaly fishes!)

The great thing about this look is that it's super fast to do- the analogous colors gradate easily from one into another, so you don't have to spend a ton of time blending.
  • After priming the entire lid, apply a matte bright yellow to the inner 1/3 of the lower eyelid.
  • Using a small, dense brush, apply a vibrant kelly green to the remaining portion of the lid, leaving just a bit of bare skin at the outer corner.
  • Use the same brush (after wiping it clean) and lightly blend the horizontal line between the yellow and green, being careful to leave a bit of the unadulterated yellow at the inner corner of the eye.
  • Next, take a vibrant mid-tone blue and apply it to the outer 1/3 of the eyelid.
  • Using a fluffy shading brush loaded with a bit more of the blue, extend the color up into the outer V area, blending it lightly with the green in the middle.
How far up you choose to bring your color will vary based on your eye shape and comfort level. Since my eyelid is quite small and I have a good amount of space from crease to brow, I like to extend my color slightly above my crease. If you have more lid space, or you're a bit color shy, you may choose to keep your shadow mostly on the lid, blending just slightly into the crease for dimension.
  • To soften the top edge, use a skin-toned powder on a clean fluffy shading brush and swipe left to right over the edge where the colors meet bare skin.
  • Apply a deep blue liner to the outer half of both the top and bottom lash lines.
  • Using a tiny smudger brush, dust a shimmering gold on to the tear duct and inner half of the lower lash line.
  • With the same brush, go back to the inner corner and extend the gold from the tear duct up onto the lid, following the line where you blended the green into the yellow.
I have to interject here- I generally try keep shade descriptions in my tutorials kind of ambiguous (it's so not necessary to rush out and buy the exact one I have- use what you own!) but I have to gush a bit about Sugarpill's Goldilux. I am so glad Amy sent me this shade! I have tons of golds; I'll admit, I never would have purchased this one on my own. For the most part, I find most golds eminently dupeable. Sure, some are more antique gold, some closer to bronze, but essentially the finish is the same and I find myself grabbing for whichever is nearest. Goldilux, however, is different from any other gold shadow or pigment that I own. It's an intense, metallic true gold, which is nice on its own, but what sets it apart is its twinkle. Goldilux's shimmer particle size is so fine that it blends in perfectly with the pigment, resulting in maximum wattage without visible chunks of glitter. It's just plain gorgeous. Now, resume tutorial:
  • Again, using a small smudger, blend the vivid blue shadow over the liner along the bottom lash line. Moving inward, lightly blend the blue into the gold at about midpoint.
  • Swipe on a quick coat of black mascara on the lashes, or falsies if you're feeling fancy, and you're ready to go!

Product List:

Base: Too Faced Shadow Insurance (or Urban Decay Primer Potion- I use them interchangeably.)
Inner Lid: Buttercupcake Pressed Eyeshadow (all shadows used are from Sugarpill Cosmetics)
Middle & Outer Lid: Midori Pressed Eyeshadow
Outer Lid, Outer V & Lower Lash Line (Outer): Afterparty Pressed Eyeshadow
Lower Lash Line (Inner), Tear Duct, and Inner Corner: ChromaLust Loose Eyeshadow in Goldilux
Top Lash Line and Waterline: Blue Jay Duo Eye Pencil (Vincent Longo)
Mascara: Diorshow in Nior/Black
Brows: Automatic Brow Pencil Duo in Soft Brown (Estee Lauder)
Natural Brow Powder in Light Brown (Merle Norman)


MAC 239 (small dense eyeshadow)
MAC 222 (fluffy, domed shader)
Lancome #10 (small smudger)

*Pro Tip: I actually used my finger for this part! Shocking but true; sometimes you can't beat a clean digit for dense application. While it's generally true that brushes give you more control over the placement of your color, using your fingers helps you become more comfortable with your bone structure, which helps you learn where to place color.

Monday, April 12, 2010

This Week's Sales:
Bionova, Clinique, Senna Cosmetics and
FREE Batiste!

This week, HauteLook hosts QuickTrim, Idol White and EBoost on Monday, April 12th. Next, on Wednesday check out Baby Quasar Pro Skincare, followed by Bionova Skincare on Thursday, Nutra Sonic Skincare on Friday and Epicuren Baby Skincare on Saturday.

Gilt Groupe starts out the week with Go Smile on Monday, skipping to Clinique on Wednesday. The Groupe is keeping Friday, Saturday and Sunday under wraps for now, so make sure you check back later this week for updates!

RowNine reminds us that Mother's and Father's I mean, we're a bit far out there for Dad's day, but I guess it never hurts to be proactive! Both the Men's and Women's fragrance gift boutiques start Monday. Oddly, Beyond the Rack has a Men's fragrance boutique starting this Monday too. The site is touting brands like Nautica, Burberry, Hanae Mori, Marc Jacobs, and a ton more, so if you're browsing for the man in your life, don't forget to comparison shop (if he's anything like my fiance, he'll appreciate that as much as the actual gift!)

Elsewhere, Rue La La has Corioliss on Tuesday, April 13th, while Editor's Closet hosts Senna Cosmetics on Thursday, April 15th and Sea Enzyme on Friday. OH, and I have to say: Eeeek! Tokidoki is up for grabs in The Closet on Monday, April 12th. TKDK does have a new beauty line, but it's exclusive to Sephora, so this sale will be focused on the line's super adorable accessories. I'll definitely be checking it out! If you want to, make sure you click here for a personal invite to create your free account!

While I'm thinking of it, anyone like free stuff? An odd little find, but leave it to me...whilst perusing my local Kroger's prestige haircare section, what did I see but my favorite dry shampoo, Batiste! I need to do a full-on review, but take this as a mini: it's good, go buy some. Oh, and did I mention free? The caps on the Batiste at my Kroger store all boasted a "try it for free" mail-in rebate! So for the cost of a stamp (OK, I guess I lied, it's not totally free...) I grabbed a can. I should mention, I normally buy my Batiste at Sally Beauty, because it's almost a dollar cheaper there, but I've never seen the rebate being offered on the cans at Sally's so it's possible this is a retailer-specific deal. Kroger owns several other grocery chains though, so hopefully you can track one down near you!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Urban Decay Friends & Family!

The image says it all. I got this lovely graphic in my email today, but in case you didn't, here's the info:

Today through next Monday, April 19th visit and get 30% off of your entire purchase! There's no fine print- 30% off of anything on the site, including sets, limited edition and clearance items! Urban Decay even pitches in free shipping on any purchase over $50, so you really have no excuse not to buy something!

While it's on my mind, if you're not a Sephora Beauty Insider, now would be a good time to sign up. It doesn't cost anything, you earn rewards that can lead to free goodies, get early access to new products, and qualify for exclusive discounts for Beauty Insiders only. Next week (April 12-19th) you can get 15% off online purchases when you use the code BI15.

Monday, April 5, 2010

This Week's Sales:
Kevyn Aucoin, Fusion Beauty, Enzo Milano,
and more!

Hope every one had a great weekend! Here's a peek at this week's sales.

Head over to HauteLook for the Kevyn Aucoin Beauty sale on Monday, April 5th. On Tuesday, the site hosts Kaplan MD skincare, followed by Fusion Beauty on Wednesday, Pixi Beauty on Thursday, and Demeter Fragrances on Friday.

In the Editor's Closet's this week, we have the Monday feature, Morris Organics followed by Enzo Milano on Tuesday Of course, if you want to visit the EC, click here for a personal invite to join!

On Wednesday, April 7th, Billion Dollar Babes presents POP Beauty.

Thursday brings us Completely Bare Hair Removal at the Gilt Groupe, ending the week as we have it so far, but of course, I'll keep you up to date on weekend sales as I learn of them!

Oh, and when you're done shopping, make sure you check back here for Sugarpill week! If you haven't read my review, check it out here and see a sneak peek of all three looks, personally created and executed by moi! From a colorful cut-crease to smoldering metal, I'll tell you what to use and how to use it so that you can create your own version at home! See you soon!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Don't Skip Your Sugarpill!
Product Review:
Sugarpill Eyeshadows

Those of you that are beauty freaks of the tech magnitude have no doubt heard of Sugarpill Cosmetics. Since their launch on February 15th, the brand has prompted countless tweets, blog posts and YouTube vids. For those of you who aren't as, let's say "immersed", or perhaps are still trying to make up your mind, here's a bit of info and, of course, my take...

Sugarpill is a line that came hotly anticipated from counterculture cutie Amy Doan. Shrinkle, as she's more commonly known, has long been a fixture in the indie alt-fashion scene. She's well-known for her clothing line (available on both eBay and Etsy) and always presented stunning, bold makeup looks as complements to her frocks. When rumors started circulating that Amy was developing a makeup line of her own, of course, my curiosity was piqued. Years down the road, here we are.

When I contacted Amy about reviewing the line prior to the release, she generously offered to send me a sampling of items from the line. She also graciously answered a few questions for me to share with my readers.

First and foremost, because of the recent hubbub about indie lines repackaging wholesale pigments, I wanted to give Amy the opportunity to to ensure my readers that Sugarpill isn't just another in a long line of repackaged disappointments. When I asked Amy about the origins of Sugarpill's formulas, she emphatically declared that she is not a re-packager. She explained that the lab she works with designs shadows EXCLUSIVELY for Sugarpill. This means that not only are the products not repackaged wholesale pigments, but they're also definitely not private label cosmetics. In fact, Amy told me that she considers the creation of her colors half of the fun, so much so that she's not sure why someone would even want to repackage something that someone else created. I concur!

Indeed, upon viewing the Sugarpill range, it's quite obvious that Amy loves colors. Sugarpill's range is full of vibrant, opaque shades- as of right now there's not a brown, grey or nude in sight. If there is any downfall to Sugarpill, it's simply that, with 9 shades of pressed and 11 shades of loose shadow, there simply aren't enough colors! Lucky for us, Amy tells me that she's already working on the next collection, and has her future sights set on superbright and colorful nail polishes, glitter eyeliners, lip glosses, and lipsticks.

As far as the product itself, what can I tell you that hasn't been said in every other review out there? The pressed shadows I tried (Buttercupcake, Poison Plum, Midori and Afterparty) all proved to be long wearing and crease resistant (even without a primer!) The shadows are vibrant and surprisingly opaque, but I did find that the application could be a bit uneven on bare skin. The addition of primer underneath went a long way towards ensuring a smooth, uniform application and 100% opacity. Besides, let's be honest, I'm never going to apply shadow for the day without a primer underneath anyway, so the bare skin test was simply that- a test. I did also notice that different shades had different textures- some were smoother than others, and while a couple (Midori & Afterparty) felt a bit chalky under my fingers, they looked smooth & satiny on the lids.

With Sugarpill's ChromaLust Loose Eyeshadows, I found primer a necessity. Without a primer, I felt like the loose powders only packed about 50%-60% of their full punch. They were definitely not what I'd classify as sheer, but even an uncolored base (like Urban Decay Primer Potion or Too Faced Shadow Insurance) made the pigments give their intended, 100% color payoff. I also feel like a primer was essential for extended wear. Having said that I have to add: I've never used any loose pigment, from any brand, that didn't need a primer underneath. Since it's the norm rather than the exception, I certainly don't consider this factor a detriment to Sugarpill. Indeed, where many other brands of loose pigments irritate my eyes, I didn't have any itching or watering with any of the 6 shades of ChromaLust Loose Shadows that I tried. I also found that the ChromaLusts applied wet beautifully- without clumping or flaking once dry.

As far as wallet impact, Sugarpill definitely gets an A+. Compared to MAC's pressed shadows, which break down to $9.67 per gram, Sugarpill's $3.00 a gram for their single shadows is a total steal! As a matter of fact, Sugarpill even beats what I pay for MAC after my professional discount (refill pans with pro discount = $4.40/g.) Another apt comparison would be Make Up For Ever, which runs around $7.60/g. But wait, it gets even better! Sugarpill offers 4-color palettes; at $34 for 4 full size pans, this is the most economical offering of them all!

Sugarpill's loose pigments not only stack up well against the big-name competitors, but also against some smaller indie brands; Sugarpill's ChromaLusts end up costing $2.40/g, while BFTE Cosmetics can range from $2.15-$6.50/g, Glamour Doll Eyes ring in at $3.00/g, and Aromaleigh rounds out between about $6.04-6.67/g.

Sugarpill packages their loose eyeshadows by weight; at least 5 grams per jar (though Amy says she likes to give a bit more, just to be safe!) The picture above shows how my pigments arrived- you'll notice some are filled to the top, while others seem little more than half full. This is because some pigments are more dense than others, and thus settle more during shipping. Since all pigments are packaged in the same size jar, some will look fuller than others, though they all contain a generous 5+ grams of product.

If you're new to purchasing loose pigments, please note that there's a difference between 5 grams of product and a 5 gram jar. I've seen 5 gram jars packed to the top with pigment that only weighs in at a bit over one gram. It's important to pay attention to the actual amount of product you're getting, rather than the jar size. Many retailers list the amount right in the product description, others put it on a separate page: often under "FAQs", "About Us" or "Q&A". When in doubt, contact the seller and ask before you buy!

Having ordered makeup from Amy's eBay store several times prior to the launch of Sugarpill, I always found her service speedy & friendly. Amy is incredibly warm and personable- I ordered my first Kryolan Aqua Color from her and when I had questions about applying it, I emailed Amy asking for her advice. She emailed me back and gave me great, detailed info (her favorite way to apply it, what kind of brush she used, etc...) Her messages were warm, as if she was talking to a good friend, and she never made me feel as if I was bothering her. To me, this is what good customer service is all about.

Last but not least, a point of interest for all of the pros out there. Knowing that the shadows in Sugarpill's quads are magnetic and POP! right out, I asked Amy if she had any plans to make the pans available for sale as is, without packaging (which would make us professional artists very happy!) and she tells me that answer is quite possibly yes! She also says that while she'd not initially considered a professional discount program, now that the requests are rolling in, she's seriously considering it.

All in all, Sugarpill does not disappoint. I'd give the line a 9 out of 10. Since I've never ordered as a Sugarpill customer, I can't give direct testimony to that aspect of the operation, but the line's bold colors, true color payoff, and value for the money will definitely have me purchasing in the future!

- Highly pigmented pressed powders give great color-payoff
- Blend easily without losing depth or vibrancy of color.
- Long wearing and smudge-proof
- Did not cause any sensitivity, itchiness or watering on my eyes (many pigments I've used do.)
- Many of Sugarpill's products are Vegan, those that are are clearly marked on the site.
- Great value for the quality and amount of product.
- Reasonably priced, flat rate shipping ($5 on all US orders, free shipping on orders over $75)
- Website swatches show packaged product, as well as shots of the color on skin. Photos are individually taken of each actual color (not a single shot edited to digitally approximate the color of the product, which is common practice.)
- Links to independent users' tutorials let you see the product in action (how it applies, what shades look like on different skin tones, etc...)
- Cute extras like sparkly Sugarpill stickers are included for free with each order.
- Loose shadows are packaged in jars without sifters. I feel that this results in less mess and waste than jars with sifters.

- Loose pigments are boxed in unsealed jars; I did experience slight leakage with one of the six pigments I received. The breach was contained to the product's own box, and thus did not affect any other items in the shipment.
- Pressed shadows can apply unevenly on bare skin, I recommend a primer.
- Only available via website
- Limited product/shade range

For details on all three Sugarpill looks pictured at the beginning of this post, stay tuned this week....

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...