Saturday, October 29, 2011

Old Skool: Forty Years of Great Lashing

Maybelline celebrated the fortieth anniversary of Great Lash Mascara this year. This is no small feat—as other makeup products have come and gone this mascara has managed to become one of the bestselling cosmetic items of all time. It's been the #1 selling mascara in America for most of its forty years.


Here's why I think Great Lash has stayed on top this long:
  • Quality: it's a good, basic clump-free mascara at a reasonable price.
  • Shade Range: It comes in a wider variety of shades than most mascaras. The range includes three different blacks, clear (so hard to find) and a bright Royal Blue that is like no other mascara I've ever seen.
  • Packaging: the lime green and hot pink tube is fun and eye catching (any resemblance to my blog is purely coincidental :). Incidentally, any resemblance to Lilly Pulitzer's designs is not coincidental—they were actually the inspiration for the packaging. Although other features such as the logo and tube shape have evolved over the years, Maybelline has wisely kept the iconic pink and green combination.
  • Tradition: Many girls' first mascara experience came from experimenting with their mom's makeup kit which inevitably included this mascara. The easy application and familiarity led them to choose the same product when they made their first mascara purchase.
As part of Maybelline's celebration they commissioned three famous designers to create patterns for a limited edition collection. Pictured above, from left, are the designs created by Tracy Reese, BCBG/Max Azria and Vivienne Tam.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Nail of the Week: Revlon Facets of Fuschia

Here's what I'm wearing this week. I don't think Revlon could have come up with a better Halloween shade than this black with purple glitter from their Fall 2011 Expressionists collection. I especially like the chunky texture. It's a big hit with kids too—I brought it to my nephew's birthday party a few weeks ago and my nieces lined up to put it on their fingers and toes!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Halloween Nails: Ghastly Ghosts

I think these are my creepiest Halloween nails yet! I used water marbling to create these ghosts, then added the eyes and mouth with a pointed q-tip.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Drugstore vs. High End Makeup: Cream and Gel Eyeliners

As far as I’m concerned there’s no distinction between these two types of pot eyeliner. Bobbi Brown’s gel is no different than Smashbox’ cream.

Bottom Line: Buy drugstore, specifically Physicians Formula.  PF’s Shimmer Strips Eye Enhancing Gel CreamLiner matches the quality of high end brands. The price is a steal (sets of 3 run $10-$11, where high end brands can be as much as $22 per single shade.)

PF’s liner comes in stacked sets of 3 based on eye color. The only caveat here is that you may not be able to find a match for your favorite high end shade—most conspicuously absent from PF’s collection is a plain black (each black has a subtle colored shimmer.)  Also there’s no match for Clinique’s classic Black Honey shade. Still, there’s a pretty good overall selection. Check out my list below for a guide to the shades in each stack.

The PF set comes with a brush that is less than stellar—not a big deal considering high end liners don’t come with a brush at all. No need to go high end for the brush either, Target’s Sonia Kashuk line offers a professional quality option (the Bent Eyeliner Brush) for just $5.99.

Avoid other brands of drugstore cream/gel liners including Maybelline, Jane, L'Oreal & Wet n Wild. These get mixed reviews on many makeup discussion boards and in my personal experience they all have a tendency to flake.

Btw PF is on sale at CVS this week (buy one get one/50% off). Or if you’re really on a budget you can hold out for one of the next 40% off PF sales which regularly run at Ulta, Kmart & the big 3 (CVS, Rite Aid & Walgreens.)

Shimmer Strips Shade Guide
Brown Eyes
dark purple
dark brown
black with subtle purple shimmer
Hazel Eyes
dark olive/gold taupe
medium purple
black with subtle purple shimmer
Green Eyes
bright forest green
dark bluish violet
black with subtle green shimmer
Blue Eyes
dark royal blue
bronze-ish brown
dark navy blue with subtle blue shimmer
Glam Collection (all metallic)
Brown Eyes
yellow gold
black with bronze shimmer
Hazel Eyes
amethyst (silvery purple)
black with gold shimmer
Green Eyes
black with pewter shimmer
Blue Eyes
black with silver shimmer

Saturday, October 15, 2011

This just in: Sally Hansen Nail Polish Strips Christmas Collection

Just spotted this new collection in Target yesterday. I'm partial to Snow Bunny but these are all cute! Check out Frock Star—this looks like a close match to OPI’s Rainbow Connection which is a hot item right now.

Drugstore vs. High End Makeup: Powder Blush and Eye Shadow

Bottom Line: Splurge on high end

This is one category where drugstore brands have yet to catch up. Surprisingly, even Revlon and L'Oreal can't match the quality of the best high end brands. In general, drugstore brands lack pigmentation and are not finely textured—this results in low color payoff, uneven application and poor staying power.

My picks for the best high end powder blush are:
Bobbi Brown ($24)
Illamasqua ($24)
Lorac ($20)
MAC ($19.50)
Nars ($27)

My picks for eye shadow (prices listed are for singles):
Bobbi Brown ($20)
Lorac ($19)
MAC ($15)
Nars ($23)
Stila ($18)

Drugstore vs. High End Makeup: Mascara

This is the first in a series I'll be posting.

First up: mascara. Bottom line: Never buy high end—this is one category where many drugstore selections are just as good, if not better. Also it's the one category where Maybelline and its parent company L'Oreal excel the most. Here are drugstore alternatives to two popular high end mascaras:

Dior diorshow ($24.50) = L’Oreal Voluminous ($8-$9)
Lancome Definicils ($25) = Maybelline Lash Stiletto ($7-$8)

If you’re really on a budget, check out your local Dollar Tree. I’ve recently spotted two stellar mascaras there: L’Oreal Featherlash (currently discontinued) and Maybelline Full ‘N Soft.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Halloween Nails: Bat Girl

Here's another entry to my Halloween nail art collection. For this I diluted several dark purple shades with a clear polish to make the color as sheer as possible, then added layers gradually moving upwards to create a gradient. At the top are LA Colors Jewel Tone with a light coat of Revlon Facets of Fuschia. The bats are from a set of Nalene Halloween decals from Walgreens. 


Saturday, October 8, 2011

OPI: Miss Universe vs. Miss Piggy

OPI It's MY Year

OPI is all about Limited Edition collections, particularly with celebrity/movie/event tie-ins. Here are shades from 2 of these collections: the first and my current favorite is It's MY Year from the Miss Universe 2011 collection. It's a gorgeous purple with gold shimmer. The collection debuted last spring but is still available in a few beauty supply stores.

OPI Designer De Better

The second shade is from the recently released (believe it or not) Muppets movie collection. The shade is Designer, De Better, a metallic gold which looks beautiful in sunlight but a little plain indoors.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Nail of the Week: Water Marbled Half Moon

Here's my take on the half moon manicure that's so popular right now. Typically it's done manually with binder reinforcement circles and only 2 shades. But since I'm a water marbling addict I decided to do a variation with a few extra shades thrown in. From the bottom up, the shades are:

  • Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Platinum
  • Jordana Sweet Rose
  • Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Plum Power
  • Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Black Heart