Lashgasmic-Search for Non-Clumpy Mascara

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I have a dog but he is kind of borrowed,

I have no kids, though there are a few in my life.

I’m older so I’m not taking classes at college, and I don’t have time to take craft or cooking classes (tho that might be fun).

So, I spend my time and money pursuing a couple of things I really enjoy. Taking dance class and playing with make up and skincare.

Last week I spent 8 hours watching videos on youtube according to my fading battery report.  If you were able to slice up those 8 hours, I’d say I spent at least 3/4s watching some related video about skincare, make up, some vlogger’s sephora haul, or a few hair videos (check out provocativewoman channel-all long hair, cut and color).

Even Google is tracking your video hours-I recently saw a report that of the time spent on youtube a great big chunk of users were watching…make up videos….and what do they do with the info…..shop online.

It’s VIB and VIB Rouge shopping season-which for those of you unannointed means 20% off everything in and on sephora.com. For Rouge level, Sephora started the sale early, stopped a few days to let buyers catch their breath, then started up VIB level which included Rouge level too.

I have to admit at this point after shopping both levels (for gifts for other people-I swear!) I’m a smidge fatigued.

Having said that, yesterday I was with my buddies and I asked them what I bought.  I buy make up and skincare like one friend buys diamonds and jewelry. (I guess if I didn’t buy so much make up I could buy diamonds). Oh well.

The discussion kind of stirred up the frenzy again..but thankfully only for a little while and the desire dissipated. I did check the sephora app for the weekly wow and inbox but no takers.

Anyway.

Because I’ve found my dream creams at least for now (Shiseido Future Solutions Eye and Contour cream, Clinique SPF 30 Sunscreen and Clinique tinted City Block SPF, La Mer Moisturizer or Shiseido Waso) I’ve moved on to mascara.

Now I’ve never really had a mascara fetish. As long as it stayed on in a sweaty dance class, could take a touch up application, washed off easily and didn’t clump, I was pretty happy. I used Great Lash for years, non-waterproof and life was good.

But I, like everyone get so many mascara samples that may as well try them, right?

Side note(s):  my test for washability is to remove it with micellar water.

Side note(s): Brands please make packaging less similar.  I’ve been at counters where the salespeople had a hard time identifying the right formulas.

Here’s my thoughts in no certain order:

Estee Lauder Sumptous-smears under my eyes and definitely clumpy.

Estee Lauder Sumptous Bold Volume-I think this is the sample I got, which I would try again.  It doesn’t smear like its sister.

Too Faced Better Than Sex-pretty awesome. Long, fat lashes, washes off with micellar water and combs through pretty well if it does get clumpy.

Benefit They’re Real-impressive lengthening, though won’t take a touch up at all. I guess whatever makes the formula curly, also makes it stiff. It does lengthen enough that I can feel my lashes on my glasses.

L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes, Great Lash and other drugstore-I haven’t found anything I like for a long time, I’ll buy it to try it but take it back.

MAC-I used to love False Lashes but the people at the counter at the mall nearest to where I live are pretty horrific so I rarely buy anything MAC.

Clinique

-Chubby Lash-I liked this so much I bought for friends. But then it started clumping.

-High Impact-no impact

-Lash Doubling-good price

-High Lengths-I liked this at first because of the brush but I think the formula is too liquidy so it clumped.

Laura Mercier-Long Lash-clumpy.

Blinc-my friend recommended this brand. It has a specific way to put it on, takes no touch ups, lengthens and doesn’t clump, and washes off with water. Like it but wouldn’t buy it again.

Burberry ?-beautiful packaging. Super clumpy.

Guerlain ? I got this as a sample but the purchased tube was horribly clumpy.

Shiseido-Full Lash Multi-Dimension Waterproof-just used this yesterday. I loved loved the lack of clumping but getting it off was a struggle.  I don’t really use make up remover unless I get samples-so that’s where that lost points for me.

Bobbi Brown-a few varieties over the year but nothing I’d buy again.

Tarte-Lights, Camera, Lashes-tried the sample and tossed it for abundance of meh.

Mary Kay Lash Love-great brush, but doesn’t take a touch up. Kind of crinkly.

Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir-nothing in particular to say.

Lancome Definicils-I guess if non-clumpy was the only thing I wanted this is fine. It lengthen but lashes don’t get fat.

Smashbox Full Exposure-meh. Just meh.

Makeup for Ever-Smoky Extravagant-I think I liked this but clumped after awhile.

Some I’d like to try:

Diorshow Iconic Overcurl

Wander Beauty-I have it, but haven’t tried it yet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It Doesn’t Work For Me-Macy’s Make Up Return Policy Change

I was just talking to someone about the fact that maybe 10 years ago, once you bought an expensive jar of cream, pot of gloss or eye shadow or whatever the person at the counter told you to buy that would “make you look decades younger”, you owned it.

Like a car.

You bought it, drove it off the curb and the value went down $3,000 right off the top.

Much like a now used car, a now used cosmetic item was not returnable.

But in the last 4-5 years, all stores where cosmetics were sold, shifted their policy about returning make up.

Longs, Macy’s Bloomingdales, Nordstrom’s, Neiman’s, MAC and Sephora, took back cosmetics that didn’t fulfill the salesperson’s claims and pretty much all you had to say was “it didn’t work for me”.

Maybe some people think this is tacky, but it’s not like trying to return worn underwear.

After all, make up prices have gone up exponentially while competition has increased with more and more outlets selling the call of the siren lipstick color that you just have to have this season which is really just a retread of last year.

Mascara used to average under $20-maybe in the $15-17 range-they now have gone up to $28-32.

In Hawaii, the lower range is the cost of plate lunch in a politically incorrect styrofoam container.

The upper range in Hawaii wouldn’t buy you a tank of gas for the average car.

The point is, whether you make minimum wage and only shop at Longs or Macy’s, or make a ton of money and only shop at department stores, that’s a lot of money and represents an hour of more work to buy a lousy product that doesn’t work.

Other trends-

More cosmetic companies have built their own storefronts competing with department stores.

Cosmetic companies sell product on their company store websites, often with better samples and incentives. And they ship for free with a purchase incent.

Heck, even Macy’s built out a section of hip and trendy brands like Too Faced, Philosophy, Urban Decay etc.

But yesterday the tide showed signs of turning.

I purchased a pretty blush from the MAC counter inside Macy’s less than 2 weeks ago. And try as I may, using a brush a sponge and then scraping the product to file off some loose product, I couldn’t get it on my face.

Really weird.

I’ve had products that test on your hand and disappear on my face, but clearly this product was faulty.

I was running in-between appointments and thought it would be easy.  For a Sunday early afternoon, Macy’s was pretty slow and had only 2 MAC salespeople. I waited for 5-10 minutes browsing.

After awhile, I wandered over to the hip and trendy area to see if they had the new Too Faced Natural eyes palette and decided to ask the salesperson there about returning the MAC product.

I asked nicely.

The unexpectedly normal make up looking salesperson asked if there was something wrong with the product, and no, it was not oozing with a weird smell, but YES it was faulty in that I couldn’t get it on my face.

Maybe she was a “floater” because she didn’t have a face full of make up, but she refused to take the MAC make up back.

She informed me that Macy’s policy was to not take make up back if there was nothing wrong with the product.

I asked her when that happened and the policy went into affect in October, but because of holiday sales (opportunities to sell more and avoid irritating customers), they were only starting to enforce the new policy. She offered that MAC was a leased space, and they might take the product back, but refused to budge.

The problem with that situation and response was:

  1. There was something wrong with the product because it failed to perform, and
  2. Macy’s election to enforce the policy now vs last October reads to me as they enforce the policy selectively.

This person had the obstinate firmness that meant she wouldn’t budge and again suggested to go to the MAC counter.

When I gave up, she sent out a saccharine “have a nice day”.

Went back to the MAC counter, the MAC salesperson/artist noticed I was back, excused herself from putting lipstick on the Japanese tourist with her family, and refunded my money in less than 3 minutes.

Clearly Macy’s needs to review the buying process, or at least mine:

  1. Check gwpaddict.wordpress.com to see who is doing a gift with purchase, coupon or other incent.
  2. Check out sephora.com if they have a gift with purchase I’d like.
  3. If there’s a promotion at a store we have in Hawaii, I usually get in my car, take time out of my day to physically appear at the counter, and buy the product.

If the retailers did a little research about shopping behavior, the same holds true for a lot of items that people could buy in a store-If they find it online cheaper and they don’t have to get in their car to buy it, they buy it online.

Why would they waste time and gas to go to the store?

Online retailers have struck down the “I need to try it on” customer buying objection by making returns as easy as putting it in a box or envelope and returning the item POSTAGE FREE.

Heck, they will send UPS to pick it up.

Moral of the story?

Be nice to the customers that physically appear in the store, cuz brick and mortar is a dying concept.

k

 

 

 

 

Siren Song aka I Need More Make up Like a Hole in My Head

My name is Kirsten.

I am a skincareandmakeupaholic.

Less than 2 months ago, a friend and I were getting caught up in the fervor of Black Friday, and pre Black Friday, and Purple Thursday, and Pink Saturday and Hangover Monday. My email promotion inbox was going crazy with special offers and super sales for more more more!

I was giddy!

Not only did I buy for myself, I bought for my clients and my friends, saying, with my eyes bulging out of my head like a crazy person, “I can save this for their birthday…..next year”.

LOL

And as Christmas grew closer, I said with steely resolve, “Stop the madness!”

And then yet, another unpassable deal came in my inbox.

I was among the group of shoppers who did not set foot in a mall, except to purchase two of the same shirt for someones on my list.

Even then, they both did not fit.

Anyway.

I am trying really hard to think of what the last deal was that I bought that I just couldn’t not have.  I think it must have been some sephora deal because I have 2 tubes of City Defense and 2 bottles of sunscreen and I am not a hoarder.

And what do I have to show for it?

Nothing that I can easily recall.

A pity story.

A sad story.

Perhaps a state of madness.

And yet, I found myself a week ago watching “reveals” on youtube for the Too Faced Cosmetics mystery bag and feeling non-buyers’ remorse for not jumping at it with my credit card memorized in my head, poised for the next deal.

I feel like I am in my withdrawal state.

Actually looking for something.

I’m even stocked up on hair care. I bought a round blow dry brush.

When I wander the store post holiday-I actually take a mental inventory of everything I have searching for something that I might need.

I read recently that Toys R Us had to temper their online sales promos with their in store promos. The year before, they had such monstrous online shopping that they had to take inventory from their brick stores.

Is this perhaps what happened to sephora? The first days after the holiday, my inbox was void of sephora deals.  Only in the last few days have they started up.

But then, brands like Kiehls and Fresh must have been holiday wanna bees cuz right up to and a little while after, they were still letting me know that there were products to be bought and samples to have.

Even gwpaddict.com wrote last week that there were lots of coupons but no big gwps yet.

Wanting for nothing and yet still searching.

That’s gotta be so wrong.

k

 

 

 

 

When Chubby is Good-Clinique Chubby Lash

Question-what are you willing to pay for mascara that delivers the same affect as falsies without the pain of glue? I’ve been trying out a variety of formulas, brushes and price ranges in the last year. From Cover Girl to lines I never use like Burberry and Guerlain-it was love at first sample, only to find in the long lash dash to non-clumpiness none of them made the grade.

I also recently watched a make up video where the artist came out and said it-“I like to use mascara after it’s gotten a little old because otherwise it just gets too clumpy. I wait til it’s dried out.”

But then, in the inner sanctum of our own confessions, we all know the golden rule for eye products, especially liquid based ones like mascara-one shall not use products older than 3 months else risk of infection.  Also along the same lines; one shall not use other people’s eye products at all.

Anyway.

I recently started liking Clinique City Block sun block  because it has a little color in it-I think they added tint because the original formula made people look pasty. I like the tint-it’s just right for a little smoothing out of my complexion without the fussiness of foundation and the incomplete sunblock coverage of tinted BB cream with spf.

Can I get an upgrade?

I noticed that upscale stores have better gwps. Specifically the Clinique gwp at Nordstrom and Blooms has products like Chubby Lash and kohl eye liner. At Macy’s you pretty much get High Impact mascara and yet another tube of liquid facial wash.

This is how I came to find my chubby friend. I took it out and lazy as I am, refuse to put on more than one coat. Chubby Lash delivers both long and thick lashes without clumps.  Plus, if I do want a touch up later, I can re apply the mascara and it still won’t clump.

The only time it does flake or clump is when, 

It’s gotten too old to use.

How’s that for product safety?

K

Little Joys-aka Items You Buy To Make the GWP Threshold

Or when you live in Hawaii, the extra item(s) that you buy when you need to buy something more to make the free shipping threshold.

Sometimes I’ll go ahead and buy more than one of the same product at the same time, but it’s a rarity when I like something that much, or plan to give it to a friend because I highly endorse the product.

It’s like when I’m in Nords and I see the Clinique rep and she points out the Early Access giant Dramatically Different Cream that comes with another regular sized cream of the same.

_12550393It’s a siren call.

I have to stand there and take a mental inventory of my beauty supply products cabinet(s). Yes, I said cabinet(s)-which actually is three shelves in the medicine cabinet, the top portion of the vanity, one full drawer of the vanity, underneath bf’s vanity (but only a small area for larger items like shampoo and travel stuff) and finally the catch all closet in the hallway for stuff like body wash.

As it turns out, after that mental gyration, I don’t need another of the same cream – though I really do like the cream version of Dramatically Different.  I use the lotion formula samples all the time, and use the cream version over my serum and under my sunscreen. I just use a small 2-pea sized dab smoothed between two fingers and pressed on-the moisture lasts the entire day.

So, anyway.

One of the products that I bought to make the threshold is Benefits’ Dandelion box o powder blush travel sized mini for $15 bucks.

When I received it-I took one look and thought-hmm rip off, hardly any product and doesn’t look saturated.  I watched a net video of how to use the product and promptly didn’t try it for a couple of weeks.

Time makes for a desirous heart.

On a day I was planning to stay home and work, I still put some sort of a “face” on, so I took out the Benefit product. The little flat sweeping brush that comes with is rough and cheapy but it fits in the box and does a good job of getting the product on. Smooth it out with a real brush tho so you don’t look like you have two pink racing stripes on. search

I like to use the product on the very tops of my cheek ‘bones”. The light peachy pink with no shimmer gives me a little boost of color that I like and when blended out a bit looks a little fake healthy-but better than without.

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but the retailer always wins with the threshold game.

k

PS

I hate Clinique’s pricing structure–their PepStart Eye is $26.50 and their GWP threshold is $27, so unless you want yet another sharpener…..

 

Take it to the Matte-Too Faced v SmashBox

My biggest beef nowadays is shadow products made in China. Anything I put on my body should not leave me in doubt as to how it was a manufactured (Tarte).

I imagine that the mark up on cosmetics is crazy-like in the triple 000s. So, why would companies push for more by risking their reputation by manufacturing in Vietnam, PRC and other questionable places?

Granted just because a product is manufactured in the US, France or Italy does not mean it is magically blessed with the safeguard that some disgruntled employee has not spit in the product or otherwise-but why escalate the issue?

Anyway.

The salesperson at Macy’s did not know the answer. She tried to sell Tarte to me-and I asked her if she knew where the eye shadows were made-she did not know, but to her credit, expressed dismay that they were made in China.

So, she presents me with 2 shadow pallettes-SmashBox and Too Faced. Both have nice matte finishes, a nice selection of colors and no shimmers or glitter.

The SmashBox palette is made in Canada and the pigment in the shadows is poor. Much like rubbing on drugstore shadows, you could use the whole pan and not get the color payoff.

Cue the fail buzzer.

The Too Faced eye shadow palette has playful packaging and comes with a guide for various daytime and evening looks using the colors.

And?

Made in the U.S.A.

Another big plus-lots of color pay off.  A small brush stroke of product and pat of color and you’re done! Plus the colors don’t fade like Charlotte Tilbury’s Sophisticate palette.

For eyelids that can’t really tolerate a big smoky eye, which doesn’t look very good on saggy lids anyway, a high recommend for Too Faced Natural Matte palette of neutrals.

K

Light in a Palette-Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette

I’ve stayed away from using powder formulas on my face for years, but now that my face is settling in and not needing as much moisture, I’m taking a second look at powder.

I never really checked out Hourglass in Sephora or department stores. But at Nords, a make up artist that used to be with Laura is now repping Hourglass. I’ve always liked her because she demonstrates the product but does not over push me into buying something that doesn’t work. Just the right touch as a salesperson.

Hourglass has a trio of their Ambient Lighting powders in a palette for sale in department stores and at Sephora. When I checked it out online at their company website, I found that you can mix and match and make your own palette for $8 more. images.jpg

That’s pretty cool. Because the powders are made to reproduce different lighting situations.

For example, if you’d like to go around like you’re candlelit, you can choose the shade, “Dim light”.

If you’re sitting in the office under fluorescents there’s a shade for that, as well as highlighting shades too.

DIFFUSED LIGHT: A soft, warm, pale yellow powder that conceals redness and gives skin clarity—like a soft ray of morning light.
• DIM LIGHT: A neutral peach beige powder that blurs imperfections and highlights a radiant complexion with the perfect balance of warm and cool tones.
• ETHEREAL LIGHT: An opalescent sheer, cool white powder that mimics a moonlit glow—even in broad daylight.
• LUMINOUS LIGHT: A champagne pearl powder that creates a soft, incandescent candlelit glow—day or night.
• MOOD LIGHT: A soft, sheer lavender pink powder that mimics the softest, most forgiving light and brightens the complexion.
• RADIANT LIGHT: A sun-kissed golden beige that enhances overall complexion with believable, subtle warmth, and also extends a summer glow.

The come on is that these powders correct so you can put your best face forward with a flick of your fluffy brush.

And the best thing is, they work! After I apply sunscreen and maybe a pea size tinted moisturize for light coverage, I brush the powder(s) on and I immediately like the affect.

A high recommend, and with the mix and match palette found online even better.

k

Charlotte’s Web-Charlotte Tilbury Comes to Honolulu

I’ve been intrigued by the Charlotte Tilbury brand having read about the products in mags and getting an occasional sample from mainland beauty buy bags.

Sidebar-when a salesperson treats giving you a sample like the sample is very special and limited like Revive, it feels more special. And maybe just maybe I’ll actually do the little pin prick thing in the corner and use it a drop at a time.

Hah. Who am I kidding?

Generally speaking I use the most of the packet on the first try, I figure I’ll give it a good try the first round.  If it doesn’t pass muster I put it on my feet.

Anyway.

Nords opened with much fanfare near Bloomies. The make up area is more like Sephora with alleyways by product lines and a strip of stations in the center with weekly make up artist picks. Overall it’s pretty cool.

Walking around the first day, I spied the Charlotte Tilbury counter-I was immediately drawn to the palettes since I just dumped 3-4 shadow palettes I was bored with or I decided were too old (6 months) to use anymore without risking infection.

Er-or that’s just an excuse. I know people keep powder shadow for years.

Makeup artists trying color product on the backs of their hands is a pretty useless exercise. Unless the person is your sib with the same coloring-what’s the point?

Texture is kind of hard to convey as well. But I told the artist my pet peeve is powders with a lot of fall out.

I’m in the habit of doing my face before eyes, so going back for a do over to take off stray powder is not going to happen.  If it’s a big make up day, I put my eyes on first then foundation.

Otherwise, I don’t have the time.

The Luxury Palette, Sophisticate is pretty neutral and not much different than what Bobbi Brown or Laura Mercier offer.  The colors; prime, enhance, smoke and pop are numbered-which for me, is the way I would put them on; base, eye socket, corner and I haven’t figured out what do with pop since it’s a brown with not a lot of personality. It will probably just be one of those leftover colors.

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I’m the kind of shopper that does not buy on impluse. Rather I like to think about it and really I don’t read reviews very often.  I went back a few weeks later after yearning for the palette overcame me and ended up buying a lipstick, gloss and a eye shadow pencil on presale thinking or was impressed upon that the beauty event was going to be something special with a crappy bag filled with deluxe samples.

Instead, I was very disappointed in Nords. I am disappointed with Nords beauty bags. Unless you buy online, the Hawaii store only gives you a crappy make up bag. I guess I look disappointed because the salespeople usually throw in a couple of samples but it’s pretty pathetic.

Anyway.

Post facto I checked out the reviews on her products–I have to agree that the eye shadow stick is pretty meh.  I’ve used it as accent which is ok, but as a primer base it slides off my lids making all of the shadow fade prematurely.

The Sophisticate Luxury palette shadows are highly pigmented and go on smoothly with the right brushes, but I have to say they fade over the course of the day and I do not have greasy lids so it’s the product.

The lipstick is probably the best of the lot.  The Stoned Rose color is a coral brown and has good staying power.  The gloss is pretty but I don’t wear gloss much so….

Checking out how to use the palette online-CT’s own vids are pretty meh. The vids that bloggers post are much better using the colors as base and accent interchangeably.

Would I buy CT again? Probably not.

Check this out–really? Who wants lashes like this? Looks like a mascara nightmare.https://youtu.be/Rsc1qYcNnuo

K

Battle of the Titans-Honolulu, Hawaii Make Up Landscape

Or at least the make up counters.

In the last 6 months, Ala Moana Center, Honolulu, Hawaii’s version of America’s Greatest Mall, has opened two major contenders in the battle for the beauty budget dollar.

Prior to the holidays, Bloomingdales opened in all of its splendor. I never went into post holiday, cuz, I really don’t like crowds.

Post holiday, Nords opened in the same wing of the mall.

Kiehls is slated to open soon-a company store stand alone near L’Occitane.

I’ve always been pretty lazy about traversing the entire mall-and now everything I want is located on one side.

Like a sailboat with the heavy contenders sitting on the same side, beauty mavens, the elite is all on the west side of the mall.

Nords opened in a brand new, much larger space–the beauty department is almost designed like Sephora with rows of cosmetic lines in separate corridors.  Nords also has the deluxe samples for sale-in center stations.

One thing I like is their “try it” stations-hey, on Friday night I don’t remember the name exactly, but brands have the GWP or other products set out in the center stations for people to try and play with. I like that.

It’s a wunderland.

Nords also boasts the first Charlotte Tilbury counter-known for the makeup artist turned entrepreneur-her eye shadow palettes are gorgeous-soft and silky powders. The make up artists are pretty knowledgeable and wear the make up product well-

I think it’s owned by Goop(sunscreen) but there is a running water wash basin-which I greatly appreciate so I can wash my hands of the products instead of just using alcohol or Purell.

Bloomingdales is pretty awesome and I love the calm atmosphere-read-less busy. I appreciate this fact, tho of course it is very hard for salespeople. The store itself is wonderful, a high shine new cousin to SFO’s store. The marketing people need to get busy cuz, as gorgeous as the store is, there is a perception issue.

Nords and Bloomingdales are pretty much parallel in pricing and offerings-but somehow people think B is much pricier.

Nay, B is the same as Nords-B just offers trendier labels in clothing. But cosmetics-the prices are the same.

Take a walk to the west-side-it’s really worth it.

And if you happen to live in K-town meaning Kahala or vicinity, check out Anela, who is heading up Macy’s Kahala’s new cosmetic headquarters with Urban Decay, Smashbox, Anastasia, Philosophy and more, products to offer. Anela is a make up artist who I met at BOSS Beauty Supply, the headquarters for beautiful hair. She’s very chill and very knowledgable-give her a visit.

K

What’s Up With That?Sephora Pricing Same Product, Same Size at a Premium

I pride myself on shopping around for the best deal-when all things are the same, same product, same size-I still look for the extra whatever to sweeten the deal.

The other day, I shopped online while my friend was driving and talking on speaker phone as we researched the best deal for a certain eye cream and moisturizer which was on her shopping list for the day.

After a few clicks, I helped her figure out how she could get the cream(s) she wanted, get the brand GWP, and the store GWP!

So this morning, the siren call of a Bobbi Brown GWP came in via Sephora’s daily sell email. I click on it-it looks good, so I check for the Estee Lauder Advanced Time Zone eye cream I like.

At Sephora a .5oz jar is $62.

At Macy’s a .5oz jar is $58.

WHAT?

I have become increasingly suspicious of Sephora’s practices.

I get that the 100 point aka $100 threshold for the VIB deluxe samples really cost me $100.

And that they now sell the same deluxe samples that the brands giveaway in GWPs in the stores and online.

But to add injury to insult by pricing at a premium?

I don’t think so.

K