Mascara Lash-off

Last month I went to Sephora to restock a skincare product, and was pleasantly surprised to get an additional December birthday gift at the register – Benefit’s They’re Real! Mascara, which I’ve been meaning to try out for a while! This called for a Mascara Lash-off, so I decided to face this mascara off with Covergirl’s new Bombshell Volume Mascara.

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First, the benchmark: without mascara

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Benefit They’re Real Mascara

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What It Claims to Do:  lengthens, curls, volumizes, lifts & separates. Our jet black, long-wearing formula won’t smudge or dry out. A specially designed brush reveals lashes you never knew you had!
94%
 saw dramatic length & volume
90% saw base-to-tip curl
94% saw visible lift
100% saw long-wearing results

Actual Results: I think this mascara delivered for all that it claims! I saw an increase in length and volume and curl. I especially like the domed-tip, which helped get to fan out the usually hard-to-reach corner lashes to create an even more voluminous effect!

Length/Volume: Excellent. I saw an increase in both length and volume.

Clumpiness: I applied 2 coats, which seamed to do just the trick. However, a minute later I applied a third layer just to see the effect, and found that it created a spikey, clumpy effect on the lashes. So just stick to 2 coats of mascara!

Excess Product on Eyelid: Usually mascaras that create a lot of volume leave a bit of excess product behind, but surprisingly, this mascara didn’t! You can use this mascara without any eyeliner, if so desired.

Overall rating: 4/5. I love this mascara and the effect it produces, and would definitely buy again. The only thing that would hold me back is the price tag – $23 for the high-end mascara. Nonetheless, a great mascara!

Covergirl Bombshell Volume Mascara

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What It Claims to Do: The two-step Bombshell Boost System combines extreme volume with an intensifying top coat for big, sexy bombshell lashes. Step One: Apply the extreme volume basecoat. Step Two: Finish with the intensifying top coat.

Actual Results: Wow, I was pleasantly surprised how much I loved this mascara! The first coat separates the lashes nicely and adds volume without any clumpiness, while the second coat intensifies the look. I applied 2 coats each of Step 1 and Step 2.

Length/Volume: Both were excellent!

Clumpiness: None to speak of.

Excess Product on Eyelid: A little amount, I would suggest to use this with eyeliner. With the big, bold lashes created, the eyeliner will go along nicely.

Other Notes: I really liked the softness of the formulas when applied with the two brushes. It didn’t produce spikiness like the They’re Real did when applying additional coats of mascara.

Overall rating: 4.5/5. I love this mascara! It has everything that I look for in mascaras, with length, volume, intensity, no clumpiness, and soft application. Definitely a winner! However, this one is also a little more expensive than your typical drugstore mascara at $14.99.

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The Verdict: I have to say that I love both of these mascaras and would definitely buy either of them again! The higher price tags on both of them are definitely worth the splurge every once in a while! However, today I’ll have to choose the Covergirl Bombshell Volume Mascara for the winning big, luscious bombshell lashes that it creates.

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Mascara Lash-Off

Let’s be honest, don’t we all crave long, luxurious lashes? They have never gone out of style, and I’m pretty confident stating that they never will. Countless mascaras claim to lengthen, but which ones really work? Today’s lash-off will look at two lengthening mascaras, Covergirl’s Lashblast Length and L’Oreal’s Double Extend.

Benchmark: Without mascara

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COVERGIRL lashblastlength Mascara

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What It Claims to Do: Tapered brush and mylon lengthening formula combination work together to lengthen lashes and is flake and smudge resistant.

Actual Results: Was I even wearing mascara is this photo?

Length/Volume: I don’t know if it added any length, because I could hardly see my lashes! Definitely no volume.

Clumpiness: None.

Excess Product on Eyelid: Hardly any product above the lashline, so could be applied without any eyeliner.

Other Notes: If I wanted to go for a no-makeup look, I might use this type of mascara. But then again, why even bother if I wanted to go sans makeup?

Overall rating: 1/5. I was pretty disappointed with how this turned out.

L’Oreal Paris Double Extend

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Step 1: Fortifying Extender

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Step 2: Color Magnifier

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What It Claims to Do: Creates long, lush lashes up to 60% longer. The Fortifying Extender is a conditioning, micro-fiber base coat, formulated with Ceramide-R, that visibly lengthens and fortifies lashes. The Color Magnifier takes lash length further as it coats with rich color that won’t clump or smudge.

Actual Results: The two-step conditioner and color are a nice combination! Both go on so smoothly on the lashes, and there is little to no clumpiness!

Length/Volume: I’m not sure I buy into a product “lengthening” your lashes upon application, but the mascara went on nicely and I liked the lash separation. After these photos, I actually added a coat of volumizing mascara just because I prefer a little extra volume, but I think for an initial coat or if you don’t like to wear a lot of mascara, this is a great choice.

Clumpiness: None to speak of. I think the “fortifying extender” is a nice prep and the “color magnifier” brushes on very smoothly, like silk on your eyelashes!

Excess Product on Eyelid: Hardly any product above the lashline, so could be applied without any eyeliner.

Other Notes: I really liked this mascara, especially the primer/color combo. As I stated before, I like the va-va-voom that volume brings, but I found that pairing this mascara (first/second coat) with Maybelline’s The Colossal mascara (last coat) is a home run combination!

Overall rating: 3/5. I definitely use this on a day to day basis. Marks off only for the lack of intense volume that I prefer.

Side-by-side:

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The Verdict: As you might guess, the winner for lengthening mascara this round of the Lash-Off is L’Oreal’s Double Extend. Sorry, it’s hard to tell in the above photo, but trust me, in person, the Double Extend is significantly better. I’ve been wearing it a lot this past week, and it’s a nice mascara that I’d definitely recommend to anyone looking for a nice lengthening mascara. Enjoy!

Mascara Lash-Off

Shopping for mascara can be overwhelming, with so many different brands and formulas to choose from. Who’s to say what actually works? I confess, I’ve been buying the same mascara for the last few years, mainly because it’s a great mascara, and it really seems to do the job for me!  However, instead of just going with what I know and like, I think it’s important that I do a thorough study of mascara and what options are available to me and my readers, so I’ve decided to compile a series of “duals” by comparing 2 mascaras side by side under the same categories and discovering which formula/brush combo emerges victorious.

Mascara is a very short-lived product – most formulas start to dry up and clump after only 3 months of use. For this reason, it’s ideal to stick with drugstore brands, since it’s easier to justify spending under $10 every few months than some of the higher price points found at the makeup counters, and I’ve found the quality of drugstore brands is just as effective.

For today’s “Lash-Off,” I’ve decided to compare two Maybelline varieties in the Volume category. Maybelline has a ton of great mascaras, but what really is the difference beyond the pretty packaging? Let’s take a closer look at two of their mascaras, “The Falsies,” and “The Colassol.”

First, here’s a no-mascara benchmark:

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Maybelline Volum’Express “The Falsies”:

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What It Claims to Do: Unique flexible wand helps to lift and separate lashes to provide the look of more lashes. The Patented Spoon Curler brush loads every lash with flexible hold formula to instantly build volume that goes up and out at the corners.

Actual Results: 

Volume: Not bad! I felt like it was successful in adding some “umph” and creating long, thick lashes.

Clumpiness: Slight clumpiness factor, but easily combed out with the brush. However, after more than a week of being opened, this clumpiness is harder to comb through and doesn’t go away like I’d like.

Excess Product on Eyelid: Requires careful application, because excess product is prone to get on the area above your lashline. Definitely wear eyeliner with this mascara to cover the tracks easily.

Other Notes: I love the “false lash” effect of this mascara! Only bad thing about it is the smell! Kind of like play-dough…

Maybelline Volum’Express “The Colossal”:

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What It Claims to Do: Mega Brush instantly zooms on 9X the volume, without clumps. Volume-pumping formula contains collagen.

Actual Results: 

Volume: I love the way that this mascara effectively separates and elongates the lashes to create volume. The formula isn’t quite as thick as “The Falsies.”

Clumpiness: I didn’t notice it on the first coat, but the second coat produced some slight clumping that was easily brushed away. Once again, this product shows more clumpiness after the first week of being opened.

Excess Product on Eyelid: There was also a slight amount of unwanted mascara on the upper lid upon application; once again, I would be careful applying and wear eyeliner to cover it up.

Other Notes: Like I mentioned, I like the detailed separation of lashes with this mascara. Like “The Falsies,” however, it also has a bad smell!

And here’s a view of the two mascaras side-by-side:

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The Verdict: Both mascaras score a 3.5/5 overall for their performance. This is a tough decision to make, and I’ve waivered back and forth all day! I think it ultimately comes down to preference and the look you are looking for, because these are two excellent mascaras. “The Falsies” created a thicker lash, with a softer effect, while the “The Colossal” defines the lashes by separating them effectively to produce a more intense look, with less thickness than the first. However, someone has to win this dual, so for today, I’ll choose my preference. The winner is “The Falsies” for a soft, full lash look!

What do you think? Which of the two mascaras do you prefer?

Note: I’ve found that after about 3 weeks of using both of these mascaras, I like them less than I though – my origin 4/5 score for both I downgraded to a 3.5 score. After about the first week of “freshness,” The Falsies gets noticeably clumpier upon application, and The Colossal has less of a volumizing factor than I’d like, with additional clumpiness. 

The Most Well-Kept Beauty Secret: Model in a Bottle

Let me let you in on one of the biggest secrets that beauty industry has to offer: the original Model in a Bottle setting spray. Now this product won’t transform you into the next Gisele Bündchen or Naomi Campbell, but it will give you an appearance of smoother skin that lasts all day long!

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Model in a Bottle is a setting spray that you apply after creating your beautiful makeup look. With just a few sprays on your face, your makeup will lock in place all day and into the night, will give your skin a smoother appearance, and will help keep the oils on your face from breaking down your makeup. I know, it almost sounds too good to be true!

As described on the company’s website, Model in a Bottle:

  • Dries with a translucent matte finish
  • Absorbs excess oil
  • Doesn’t clogs pores
  • Never interferes with or reduces the effectiveness of SPF
  • Is fast drying, never sticky
  • Has a fresh clean scent
  • Adds moisture with Aloe Vera extract
  • Not tested on animals
  • Proudly made in the USA

This is truly an amazing product – I never go to a wedding, portrait session, or any other event without packing this in my kit. I use this on virtually every single person I apply makeup to for special events, as it is resistant to humidity, tears, smudging and water. Especially in humid climates where makeup tends to melt off of your face, this product is a savior! I have used this on brides on their wedding days, and their makeup has lasted from the morning when it was applied to late in the evening for the reception and all the things in between.

Where to Buy: so far, I have only found it on Amazon or on the company website, for $18-$21 (depending if you buy the original formula or the one for sensitive skin). It is well worth the cost, as a little goes a long way!

How to Apply: Make sure to hold the bottle at least 6 inches away from your face and spritz just 3-4 times.  Keep your eyes closed for a good 10 seconds before opening so it has time to dry. If needed, fan your face a bit after spraying.

Review: Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge for Lips and Cheeks

I’ve been looking for a nice cream blush lately, for a little bit more long-lasting color, as a lot of times powder blushes will fade as the day goes on. While scanning the different makeup counters, I came upon Bobbi Brown’s Pot Rouge for Lips and Cheeks. I have to say, while I don’t own a ton of Bobbi Brown products, this little makeup excursion was a reminder that I should! (Sorry, wallet…) Bobbi Brown’s makeup line focuses on what made Bobbi Brown so well-known as a makeup artist: a natural, no-makeup look. I love her mantra of: “Beauty isn’t about looking perfect. It’s about celebrating your individuality” and  her belief that “makeup is a way for a woman to look and feel like herself, only prettier and more confident.” Don’t you love her already?!

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But let’s back up  to this pot rouge. First of all, this product can double as both a blush and a lip balm. But this isn’t one of those products that skimp on both sides of what they’re supposed to accomplish (like two-in-one shampoo and conditioner. It just doesn’t cut it!). The pot rouge works well both on cheeks and on lips. AND you can use your fingers to apply! I personally prefer to use a foundation brush for the blush, by using one side to apply the cream and the other side to buffer and blend, but you can use your fingers just as well if you feel like you have more control that way. The cream blush isn’t so intense that it gives a clown like effect; rather it gives a gentle just-pinched look. Also, with the lip balm, you can use your fingers or a lip brush to apply. A touch on the lips creates a soft, stained finish. Top it off with a swipe of lip gloss, and you have a delightfully natural glow!

Coral is one of my favorite shades for my skin tone, so I selected Calypso Coral to take home with me. I love the look and the feel of this cream blush, it became an instant favorite! Here is my awkward attempt at self-photography to capture this look. Thank you Bobbi!

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Makeup Brush Holder

Makeup brushes are probably the most important part of any makeup kit. All of the different techniques you apply, whether advanced or simple, are so much easier to do when you’re using the right brush. But brushes can get cluttered and dirty in your makeup bag, so here is a solution to keep them apart and easily accessible for your morning routine: a makeup brush holder:

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What I used:

  1. a plastic vase (there are tons of selections at craft stores or someplace like TJ Maxx. I got mine at Hobby Lobby) and
  2. small pebbles, also from Hobby Lobby.

This is incredibly easy to put together! Just pour the pebbles in the vase, about half way full, and voilà! You have a makeup brush holder. Place your brushes inside the vase and they will stand neatly upright. You can even place them in the holder after you wash them to let them air dry and ready for use in a few hours.

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Of course, you don’t have to use small pebbles – you can also use small marbles or anything else that will hold your brushes upright. This is a great addition to any bathroom, or a simple (and inexpensive) gift for your friend that doesn’t have one yet!