Benefit They’re Real Mascara

Thanks to a Sephora recently and finally opening in my area, I have been able to expand the brands that I test and review.  I picked up Benefit’s They’re Real mascara based on these marketing claims:

What it does:

Research results:
-94% saw dramatic length and volume*
-90% saw base-to-tip curl*
-94% saw visible lift*
-100% saw long-wearing results*

This mascara features an exclusive brush specially designed to maximize the performance of the long-wearing, glossy formula revealing lashes you never knew you had! Staggered bristles grab close to the root, boosting length and volume beyond belief. The precision bristles on the custom-domed tip lift, define, and curl even your tiniest lashes. The end result is luxurious, silky lashes that won’t smudge, clump, or dry out.


The first time I tried this mascara, I swore I had to have applied it incorrectly.  How else to explain the Super-Glue stickiness, clumps, and overall unattractive results?  So the next time I tried it, I tissued off some of the mascara from the brush for a lighter application.  Same gloppy, sticky results, no matter how many times I tried applying it or how differently I applied it.

I shouldn’t have been surprised, since I thoroughly loathed another mascara by Benefit, BADgal Lash Mascara.  It seems to me that Benefit has the real possibility of putting Super Glue and Gorilla Glue out of business with their sticky messes, but have no idea how to make a decent mascara.

My summary: zero stars out of five.  I hated this product and found no redeeming qualities about it at all.

Needless to say, I returned this mess of a mascara and got a refund to hopefully try out something better!


Revlon ColorStay Ultimate Liquid Lipstick

You’ve probably seen the advertisements with Jennifer Connelly sporting impossibly bright, Bozo-the-Clown red lips, hawking Revlon’s ColorStay Ultimate Liquid Lipstick. This product makes some lofty claims, like:

*Food-proof lipcolor with a built-in, ultra-conditioning topcoat

*One-step application- No topcoat required for comfortable wear

*Stays comfortable and wears beautifully for up to 12 hours

*Does not feather or fade; no touch-ups required, even after meals

Well now! I’m not a fan of long-wearing lip color because it feels like liquid chalk with an oily top coat and leaves me with the itchy desire to just wipe the crap off my mouth already. But when I spotted this item half price (about $4.50) at Target, packaged with some promotional items on clearance, I decided to give it a whirl.

The liquid lipstick applies like a lip gloss with a wand applicator. I brushed on a coat of Miracle Mauve and instantly started to have doubts. As the lip color dries, it has that same chalky feel that I know and don’t love, so I used some lip balm on top as a comforting clear coat. So much for “no topcoat required for comfortable wear”.

Okay, onto the next test: “food-proof”. I checked myself out after eating lunch, and once again I was disappointed. Though some color remained, it was only around the edges of my lips, so I just looked like I slapped on crazy lip liner in the dark with a shaky hand. It definitely required a touch-up, and that is when I discovered the next thing I don’t like about this product. Applying another coat on top of a lunch-smeared, already-dried coat left it flaking and uneven, and decidedly unappealing.

It has taken only 2 days of testing this product to lead me to hunting down the receipt and begging Target to take it back. My overall rating: 0 stars out of 5.

This product is overpriced (about $10 regular price), does not come anywhere near to living up to its claims, is uncomfortable when it dries, won’t last through a meal, and definitely requires some sort of topcoat to reach any degree of comfort. But why bother when it fades anyway?

I have never been a fan of Revlon products, and ColorStay Ultimate Liquid Lipstick is no exception. This product did nothing but reinforce my dislike of Revlon.

Avon Beyond Color Plumping Lip Color SPF 15

I received my Avon order yesterday and have 3 new products to review! First up is Beyond Color Plumping Lip Color SPF 15, which besides having a ludicrously long product name, is a great lipstick.

I bought mine in the shade called Sugar Cane (below):

I’m not a fan of loud, bright, or dark lip colors, so this shade is perfect, subtle and pretty but still says “Hey, I took the time to put on some lipstick.”

(Red lipstick, by the way, just screams at me “LOOK AT MY MOUTH! LOOK AT MY MOUTH!” and seems desperate in a please-pay-attention-to-me kind of way, so I’m not a fan of red lipstick.)

The texture of this lipstick is wonderful, very smooth. I can’t stand dry, chalky lip color, and there is none of that here. The color is subtle but sticks around nicely. I don’t notice any plumping effect, but I bought this lipstick for the color and not for its supposed ability to make my lips look like someone sucker-punched me in the mouth, so I really don’t consider the plumping effect in my review. (The word “plumping” makes me think of baking a turkey or chicken…since when did we women want any parts of ourselves plump anyway?)

The regular price of this lipstick is $8, but it is frequently on sale, so watch Avon’s website for specials.

Overall I give this lipstick 5 stars, and I would definitely purchase it again to try out more colors.

NYC Color Wheel Mosaic Eye Powder

Yet another impulse buy, but unlike most impulse buys, this is one I was actually glad I bought. I’ve seen NYC’s Color Wheel Mosaic Eye Powder in stores, and I’ve read great reviews about it, so when I was deliberating my next frivolous cosmetics purchase in the Wal-mart make-up aisles, I grabbed the Color Wheel in Beyond the Sea (colors below):

The first challenge with this product is how to apply it, as each individual color is rather tiny, and the eye shadow does not come with an applicator. I bought a small pack of disposable eye shadow applicators and was on my way.

One pet peeve I have with eye shadow sets is that I typically like a handful of colors in the set and would never dream of touching the rest of the odd, not-for-me colors in the palette. However, I like all of the colors in the Beyond the Sea color set, from a shimmery light brown to a deep brown to a pale aqua. My favorite is the shimmery brown, but the aqua looks great with a bold, black liquid eyeliner to offset its light color.

For a whopping $3.99, this is a great product. The eye shadow colors stay true and apply smoothly. The shimmery colors are not cheap glitter and don’t shed glitter all over your face like some other sparkly shadows I have tried. They’re just the right touch of dazzle for your eyes, but still subtle and classy.

I have yet to be disappointed by NYC’s cosmetics, and I wish stores around here carried a more extensive selection of their items. I’m a fan of their lipsticks especially, which I’ve reviewed here: NYC Ultra Moist Lipwear.

The Color Wheels come in 5 color options:

Brown Sugar
Beyond the Sea
Pink Cadillac
Brown Eyed Girl
Purple Rain

My only complaint is the lack of an applicator that can remain with the eye shadow case. For such a low price, I can deal with it, but I wonder why an applicator isn’t part of the price.

TRESemme Heat Tamer Spray

Now that I am growing my hair as long as it will grow, I am much more concerned with protecting it and keeping it healthy. I blow-dry my hair as infrequently as possible, with the result that most days, my hair is either in a ponytail or dangling lazily in my face.

I hit the hair care aisle in search of something to protect my hair on days I actually don’t sleep in, and actually have time to blowdry it. I decided to try TRESemme’s Heat Tamer Protective Spray.

Product claim:
“To guard against heat styling damage and friction, spray this multi-use protective spray to keep your hair shiny and incredibly soft. It’s a fantastic tool for instantly transforming all hair textures, enhancing hairs’ flexibility to reform and hold shape. Also, the moisture-locking vitamin complex hydrates and is heat-activated to guard against harsh styling damage.”

Instructions for use:
“Spray liberally 6-8 inches away from mid-shaft to ends. Its trigger spray offers easy misting.

Use both on damp hair before you blow-dry and on dry hair before curling or flat ironing to shield hair from damaging heat.”

I have tried this product a few times now, spraying it on the lower half of my hair before blowdrying. I don’t use mousse or gel because (a) I don’t like the greasy feel of product in my hair, and (b) my hair is stick straight and doesn’t need any coaxing to be flat as a board.

The result? I love this stuff. It not only smells good, it makes my hair soft and shiny, and there’s way less frizzing than when I don’t use it during blow-drying. I can’t keep my hands off my hair today, it’s so soft.

Apparently I’m not the only fan, as this product garnered some pretty enthusiastic reviews on

Bottom line: for about $4-$5, it smells great, conditions my hair, makes it smell good, makes it soft, controls frizz, and even seems to add some volume. What’s not to love? I would definitely buy this again.

Cover Girl Continuous Color Lipstick

Cover Girl’s Continuous Color lipstick is not new, but I’ve never tried it before. I have to admit I am not a Cover Girl fan, partly because of their wildly annoying “Easy breezy beautiful!” advertising campaign. (Is “easy” really a word most women would like associated with themselves?)

On the prowl for a new lipstick one day, though, Cover Girl’s Ice Blue Pink #505 caught my eye: offers this swatch of the color:

I decided to give it a try. I love the color, and it looks great with spring-y eye colors like teal, blue, and aqua, offering up a pretty color on the lips without being garish, bubble-gum-y, or overpowering, even on a face as white as mine. Being fair and very light, few lipsticks don’t look loud on me. This one is great and already one of my favorite lip colors.

As for the long-wearing claim of this product, well, I haven’t found that to be true. A few sips of water from my water bottle, and the color needs to be reapplied. That’s my biggest pet peeve of lipstick in general, and this one is no exception, despite its claim of “lasting color”.

Still, for about $5, this lipstick comes in so many colors, you are bound to find one that looks good on you. Having trouble finding a color? Cover Girl’s website offers a service called Get ColorMatched. Simply register with your hair color, eye color, skin tone, and a few other questions, and you’ll receive their recommendations for colors that will look best on you.

According to Cover Girl, my best lipstick colors are Rose Quartz and Iced Mauve.

Bottom line: the product doesn’t live up to its long-lasting color claim for me, but the choice of colors is amazing, and the lipstick has a great texture and feel, and I like the ColorMatch option on their website. I was disappointed the color doesn’t last longer, but I still recommend Cover Girl’s Continuous Color lipstick.

Mary-Kate and Ashley Paper Me Pretty

Okay, I’m humbling myself to admit I purchased a cosmetic item from Mary-Kate and Ashley, best known as the diapered, bug-eyed duo from Full House, but what can I say? As an oily-skin victim, I am irresistably drawn to any product that promises to control the oil.

Walmart carries the Mary Kate and Ashley cosmetics line, mostly glitter this and glitter that, but the Paper Me Pretty items caught my eye because I like mattifier (oil blotting) sheets. Instead of caking on a build-up of pressed powder, oil blotting sheets dab up the oil and don’t drop more make-up on your face to cause a break-out waiting to happen.

Mary Kate and Ashley’s Paper Me Pretty Mattifier sheets come in a small box that slides open to remove the sheets (called “glamour sheets” on the box…how quaint). I bought a box, considering the $4 purchase an investment in my beauty blog research, and tested them out.

Bottom line? I can’t stand them. Waste of money. The “glamour sheets” are teeny-tiny, which is great for not taking up much room in my purse, but means I have to use 2 or 3 sheets to blot any oil off my face. Given that oil-blotting papers are most likely going to appeal to us with oily skin, cutesy little sheets that may blot an entire one-square-inch area are not very practical.

The paper itself just doesn’t seem to apply itself to that oil-blotting task, either. Even e.l.f.’s $1 oil-blotting sheets perform better than Mary Kate and Ashley’s version.

My advice? Take that $4 and spring for Clean & Clear’s Oil Absorbing Sheets. They’re the best ones I’ve tried so far. But if glitter eye shadow, glitter lipstick, or body glitter is your thing, then Mary Kate and Ashley still have you covered!