Friday, July 25, 2008

Sephora Product Binge Review - 3rd Q, '08

Since I am a self-admitted Sephora junkie, (check out this blog post for confirmation) I went on my quarterly Sephora binge this week and bought a few things. As I’ve learned through the years Sephora could market dust bunnies and make them sound like this season’s “must have”, so for the benefit of… well probably no one really… I figured I’d review the things I bought, things I loved, and things that are going back from whence they came…

Imju Fiberwig Mascara: This mascara is said to be all the rage in Japan. It supposedly contains tiny fibers so that when you apply its like little hair extensions for your lashes. I’ve tried every mascara from Chanel Interminible (Splendora’s “Best Of” pick), to Bad Gal (Sephora’s “Best Of’ pick) to good ole Maybelline pink-n-green. Imju claims its like “liquid false eyelashes”. I dunno about that. Its good but not great – and definitely not “false eyelash”-esque. It did make my lashes look longer, but certainly not thicker. Overall I’d stay with either Bad Gal Lash or Maybelline “blackest black”. But still, I’ll keep it and I give this one a B.

Smashbox Jet Set Waterproof Eye Liner: So far so good though today is the first day of use. It does NOT come with a liner brush which is a small complaint and if you use more than one color of liner ever (I alternate black and brown depending on the day and the shadow) I’m not exactly clear how to clean off your brush since this stuff is waterproof. I like that it stays in place quite well but doesn’t have the hard edge of a liquid liner. And they claim that it will even stay on the inner rim of the lids – a tough thing to accomplish but necessary for the perfect evening smokey eye. This one gets a B+ but by 8:00 tonight if its still around I’ll move that to an A.

Laura Geller Lip Stay: I got this once as a “deluxe” sample and loved it so much that I decided to buy some “real sized” ones in different shades. I had the “pout” so I bought the “pucker” (a goldie/apricot) and the “holly” (a burnished red). This stuff stays on but doesn’t require a million re-applications of the top gloss like the cheap department store “all days” do. In fact I rarely ever re-gloss more than once a day. Also the department store brands tend to make my lips “peel” and then I chew them to shreds. This doesn’t do that at all. I tried the apricot shade this morning and its starting to get a little chalky, but I think that’s also just part of the color (more of an old fashioned frost than a shimmer). This one gets an A.

Dior DiorSkin AirFlash Spray Foundation: I’ve had my eye on this foundation for a long time. It comes in an “airbrush” (i.e. aerosol) can and you spray it on your face. I pulled it out of the box, read the instructions (hold it a bit away from your face, close your eyes and spray in a “Z” pattern starting at your forehead). First, the coverage is thick and chalky. It also didn’t disperse well so I could easily tell where it was and where it wasn’t, requiring blending or touchups. If I wanted to manually apply foundation I would have purchased a traditional bottle for much less – the idea here is to get a matte airbrushed look. In addition, I ordered the second lightest shade, Cameo 202. I use Jergens self-tanning facial moisturizer every morning and am naturally not fair skinned to begin with. Holy orange-pink mask batman. IF I would ever buy this again I would most definitely get the most fair shade and hope for the best. However I seriously doubt I’d give this another go. For the steep price tag ($60) it doesn't deliver. Its going back. This one gets a C-.

Tarte Natural Beauty Cheek Stain: I have used a bunch of different cheek stains from Benetint to Revlon’s Pinch Me stain. I never did love the Benetint despite is popularity… too watery and too hard to blend. I always needed a damp makeup sponge to make it work. I *loved* the Revlon but it has been discontinued as a seasonal item (wahhhh). So I tried the Tarte cheek stain gel stick. LOVE it. Easy to put on, easy to blend, long lasting, natural sun kissed look – love love love. This one gets an A+!

ColorOn EyeEnvy – Smokey Kit, Rhapsodey in Grey Kit, Flaunt Kit: This was my main reason for my shopping binge. I got an email about this product. In a nutshell, its “stick on” eyeshadow. Yup. Its pre-put-together eyeshadow shades on oval “stickers” that you press on your lid, rub, set, and go! It comes in more demure shades up to something like the animal print set (cheetah, zebra, etc!). I was so enamored by the idea that I bought 3 sets. At $25 a set it doesn’t make these cheap. I was a little disheartened to find out when I got them that there are only 5 duos per set, however once I read the instructions I saw that one “oval” should be enough for both eyes (with the exception of a couple sets that have a specific “right” and “left” eye set up). I tried out the plumy-brown shade in the Smokey kit this morning. I know its something that I will just have to “get the hang” of, but I wasn’t as pleased as I’d hoped. It was hard to position the oval since it was nowhere near the same shape as my eyelid and the colors didn’t go up to the brow – they stopped just after the crease. So I was going to have to do some manual fill ins which goes against the whole idea of the product. Once I did get it on, it ‘stuck’ better than I’d hoped, but I discovered its not a powder, but a cream. That was unexpected. Not bad or good, just different. The instructions say to use your finger to blend the colors together. Unfortunately once I started blending the lighter cream color just disappeared. I ended up with almost one monotone shade of brown across my entire lid. I used a little of my own pink shimmer for the brow bone area and then “set” the look with the enclosed brush and clear powder. It’s stayed well so far, but is already creasing (4 hrs after application). I’m also disappointed with the lack of color diversity. I like my eyes to pop and these are not turning out how they did in the ad photos at all – especially for what is being billed as a “smokey eye”. For $25 I’m just not sure its worth keeping the other two boxes that I haven’t opened yet. I’ll try again this weekend with the rest of the smokey kit and if I get any better or if other colors are easier to manage I’ll report back. But for now due to the bland, overall color with no distinction, the creasing and the hassle, I’m giving this a disappointed C.

Ojon Ultra Hydrating Shampoo: I’ve looked and looked at Ojon products for months and months. The back story is intriguing (supposedly made from products indigenous to some tribe of folks known the world over for their hair) but I’ve noted it often says it is for people with long hair. Since the kiddo chop, mine is not so long. So I’ve held off. But as one of my sample choices, I got this shampoo. I could tell a definite difference in one use. The thing I noticed right away while rinsing is that it didn’t weigh my hair down at all… in fact it almost felt squeaky clean. I had to use my old Bumble and Bumble conditioner, so that may skew the results, but I’m a fan so far. Also, random note, I liked that the sample came in a lined papery packet instead of slick plastic one - easier to grab/open in the shower and seems like it would be greener. I don’t know if repeated use would build up and make my hair heavy but I’m willing to give it a shot and will probably be ordering a small sized shampoo and conditioner. So far, it’s an A.

Tarte Mineral Powder Bronzer in Park Avenue Princess: This was my “free deluxe sample”. Not much to say about it since I really have a hard time thinking one bronzer is much superior to the next. It’s a nice color; not too overwhelming and not too “shimmery” – which I like. I’ll probably never use it much – I’m not big on “bronzers” but for someone who likes a gentle touch of glow I’d say this is a good choice. I do have to wonder if they sent the other color (Hotel Heiress) instead since it seems awfully dark to me but eh - just a comment - no biggie. Just due to my own indifference toward bronzers though I give this one a B.

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