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Claudia Stevens Lid & Lip Primer Base

My ongoing quest for an effective eye shadow primer led me into Sally Beauty Supply recently, and I decided to try Claudia Stevens Lid and Lip Primer Base.  I had never heard of this brand, but the saleswoman assured me it is a good one.  I nodded but made a mental note to keep my receipt, just in case.  Good thing.

The product description claims that this item is “makeup before the makeup”, to prevent color fading, creasing, and bleed.  Sounds good, right?

I tried the eye primer first.  My first thought about the primer stick was that it just looked greasy.  How the hell would an oily primer keep eye shadow from creasing?  It applies like a lipstick, or concealer stick, and I topped it with a light dusting of powder before applying eye shadow.

My first reaction to this product was dead-on.  This primer encouraged creasing and actually made it look worse than not wearing primer at all.  I tried it a few more times, just to make sure it wasn’t a fluke, and each time my shadow almost immediately creased and looked terrible.

I also tried the lip base, just to see if it could offset the crappy performance of the lid primer.  It ended up making my lip color goop up and collect in the corners of my lips, which is not especially attractive.  Not only that, but my lipstick didn’t last any longer with this base than without it.

I wasn’t impressed, to say the least.  I grabbed my receipt, stuffed this product back into its box, and returned it for a refund.  Out of five stars, I have to give this one a zero.  Not doing what it claims is one thing; actually making make-up look worse is downright appalling.  Save your money on this one!

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e.l.f. Studio Tone Correcting Powder

e.l.f. is a brand sold in some chain stores, like select Target stores, but if you are like me, you need to rely on the online store for this brand.  On a recent Internet shopping trip to e.l.f., I saw the Studio Tone Correcting Powder, a multi-colored powder compact that is supposed to even out skin tone and absorb excess oil.

For $3, I decided, why not? 

When it arrived, my first impression is that the sleek black compact looks much more high-end than the $3 price tag.  The majority of lower-priced, drugstore pressed powders have the same cheap plastic compact, but this one is heavier, sturdier, has a larger mirror, and actually looks sharp.

My second observation?  This powder does not come with a puff inside the compact.  Perhaps the assumption is that you will lug around a powder brush to apply this. Not me.  I had some spare powder puffs, so I tucked one into the case.  The compact barely shuts with a puff inside, but it works.

The color combination of the powder goes on very pale, which is great for someone as white as a vampire like me, but it may not work well if your skin tone is darker than fair.  I apply it very lightly, because a little goes a long way.  It looks better applied with a brush, but if I use a light hand and blend any too-heavy spots, then the puff I put inside the compact works just fine too.

But is it any better than a regular pressed powder compact?  I truly don’t notice any skin correcting qualities, or anything that special about this powder.  The website claims that this powder is multi-colored because “the Blue neutralizes orange, the Green neutralizes red, the Pink neutralizes grey and the Yellow brightens and neutralizes red.”  It just looks like ordinary transluscent powder once it’s actually on my face, albeit a bit paler than the powders I’ve used before.

Which is not to say I wouldn’t buy this powder again.  I really like the compact and the large mirror inside.  And for less than a typical drugstore brand like Maybelline or Cover Girl, it works just as well but looks nicer.  So yes, I’d buy it again and recommend it to a friend, just with the caveat that I am not sold on any complexion-correcting claims!

Wet n Wild Color Icon Shimmer Pencil

This was yet another impulse purchase, yet unlike most of my impulse purchases, I don’t regret this one!  I picked up a Wet n Wild Color Icon Shimmer Pencil in Silver for 69 cents at Walgreens, figuring if I didn’t like it, well, the kids could color with it!

I almost always wear black eyeliner, and even when I don’t, I prefer dark liners like navy or purple.  I decided to try this silver liner on its own and see how it looked.

I lined my eyes top and bottom with the silver pencil, and I instantly loved it!  The liner applies smoothly and without the glittery, teeny-bopper look of most sparkly liner pencils.  There really isn’t any glitter to this pencil; it gets its namesake shimmer from a true metallic color, not from chunks of sparkly glitter.  It’s much more sophisticated and pretty than glitter.

I wore this liner to work today and am still loving it.  I have exceptionally oily skin, but my liner is still going strong, close to quitting time.  (Granted, I applied a rather thick layer so that the liner shows up like a gunmetal gray instead of a barely-there silver.)

Bottom line?  I love this liner, love the color, and would definitely buy it again.  At less than a dollar each, I would love to try other colors, especially blue or copper.

Sally Hansen No Chip

When I take the time to paint my nails, I want that manicure to last long enough to enjoy it!  I have no tolerance for chips.  So Sally Hansen’s No Chip Acrylic Top Coat sounded very promising to me.  Sally Hansen’s website promises this top coat “seals nail color” and “helps resist chipping and peeling”.

So I bought a bottle and tested it out.  I wasn’t impressed.  Within 24 hours of my manicure, the polish chipped off from several fingers.  Fine, I thought.  I’ll give it another chance.  I applied a fresh coat of color and another layer of No Chip.  The results were the same: almost instaneous chipping!

Perhaps this product should be called Chips A Lot, or something else more truthful in regards to its performance.  I gave this product one more shot, hoping it was the nail color that was the problem, but the different nail color also chipped right away. 

No Chip ended up in my trash can.  I give this product zero stars!  It’s terrible and actually seems to encourage chipping.  Not exactly what I look for in a top coat.


Wet ‘n Wild MegaPlump Mascara

I am a confessed mascara junkie, and it’s very hard for me to pass up trying a new mascara, even if it’s a brand I don’t particularly like. Take Wet ‘n Wild’s MegaPlump mascara, for instance. I am not a fan of Wet ‘n Wild, and not just because the brand has a stupid, 80’s name. I have just found that most of their products end up in the trash can not long after I open them because they are, basically, cheaply made and not top performers.

Strolling through Walgreens one day, though, I spotted this mascara on sale for barely a dollar. It was absolutely an impulse buy, and I fully expected to hate it, toss it, write a scathing review, and be on my way.

Except a funny thing happened: when I first applied it, I thought, “Hey, not bad.”

Wet ‘n Wild’s website claims this mascara “instantly plumps for up to 5X the volume”. Well, I don’t think anyone will be terribly shocked that a cosmetics company’s claims about its products are hyper-inflated, and this one is not an exception. Five times the volume? Hardly. But what I did get were defined lashes that fanned out and looked fuller, didn’t clump, and didn’t flake.

I curl my lashes, so that helps, but I assure you, even with an eyelash curler, some mascaras are still crap. And the no-flakes-no-clumps thing is huge, since I have found most mascaras commit both sins, no matter how much you paid for it.

Pros: inexpensive (about $3 or $4 regular price); clean application; no clumps; no flakes; makes my lashes fan out; makes my lashes look thicker; easy to remove with make-up remover

Cons: doesn’t live up to the 5x thicker claim, but I didn’t expect it to; brush may come out of the bottle a bit gloppy, but a simple and quick roll on a tissue will easily remove excess mascara

Bottom Line: I was pleasantly surprised with this mascara. No, it won’t make your lashes look pumped up and super-voluminous, but honestly, how many mascaras claim to do that but don’t deliver? I like a mascara that goes on cleanly, separates my lashes, defines my lashes, and simply looks good without making a mess of flakes all over my face. This one delivers, much to my surprise (did I mention I didn’t expect to like this mascara?)

Would I Buy It Again?: Yes, I would buy this mascara again.

Maybelline The Falsies Mascara

After my brief self-imposed retirement, I am back, here today to review Maybelline The Falsies mascara. I’ve mentioned before that mascara is one of my favorite beauty products, so when I saw this beckoning to me from the shelves of Walmart, I caved and put it into my cart.

The product claim (according to Maybelline’s website): “The Falsies Mascara delivers a false lash look; giving you a full set of voluminous, bold, fanned out lashes and the appearance of no gaps from any angle. The Pro-Keratin and Fibre enriched formula is designed to deliver immediate results, distributing volume and visible intensity to your lashes. The patented ‘Spoon’ shaped brush helps fan lashes out.”

My first impression of this mascara was that I really liked how it makes my lashes look. They looked thicker and stood out more. Unfortunately, this mascara also flakes like a damn snowstorm. Little black flecks surrounded my eyes all day, and I had to keep cleaning them off.

The next time I tried this mascara, I rolled the wand lightly onto a tissue to remove any excess, a trick I read in a magazine somewhere. It works great for some other mascaras I have used, making application cleaner and preventing clumps and flakes. Well, not this one. I still had flakes around my eyes. I don’t want my eyes to stand out because of the ring of black flakes left by my mascara!

So, much as I how I like how this mascara makes my lashes look, it is only getting 2.5 stars out of 5 because of excessive flaking.

Pros: relatively cheap (about $7 at Walmart); makes my lashes look thick and dramatic

Cons: flakes. Lots of them! And I’m not a fan of bent mascara wands. (How, pray tell, does a bent wand make it easier to apply?)

I wanted to like this mascara, but flaking is a huge pet peeve of mine when it comes to mascara.

Would I purchase this again? No.

Updated Review: Aussie 3 Minute Miracle


Sometimes, apparently, I jump the gun in posting a negative review of a product. That was the case with Aussie Deeeeep 3-Minute Miracle, which I originally reviewed in May 2009 (read the review by clicking here).

After writing that review, essentially stating that I simply wasn’t impressed with this conditioner, I let the bottle sit in the shower, untouched by me again. My two stepdaughters have enjoyed using it instead, when they are not swiping my far more expensive Oscar Blandi hair conditioner, that is!

On a whim a weeks ago, I decided to give 3-Minute Miracle another try. I’m glad I did. I’m not sure why my hair seemed to respond to it differently this time, though my hair is colored and seems to affect the products I use. The day I decided to try it again, I wore my hair down, and I couldn’t help but notice that only did my hair smell really good, it was very soft and smooth also.

Since then, I have emptied the original bottle and had to buy a new one! For about $3 at Walmart, this conditioner has become one of my favorites. I’m glad I gave it another chance!