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Maybelline Fit Me Shine Free Foundation Review
Complexion, Reviews - Comments Off - April 28th, 2014

When I first heard that Maybelline’s Fit Me Shine Free Foundation was coming out, I was really hot and bothered to try it. It’s described as a “gel-stick” formula with an “anti-shine core.” I really had zero idea just what the heck it was going to be like based on the description, and it’s not often I come across something that seems all that new and different. The majority of stick foundations I’ve tried in the past have been very creamy – definitely not suited to an oily skin type. This new Maybelline one sound different, with its claims of being mattifying and having an “anti-shine” core. I bought it in mid-summer, and wore it through hot weather, and into fall. The verdict? Read on!

The product has a really fascinating texture. It’s not exactly gel-like, but it’s not greasy either. Smooth and blendable are the two best words for it. The coverage is light to medium coverage. I found it best for evening out my skin tone and giving a perfect “no makeup” look. The shade Classic Ivory 120 is EXACTLY PERFECT for my skin. I have to give Maybelline some serious props, because this is the third complexion product I’ve tried from them that blends with my skin tone perfectly. My preferred method of application is to put three stripes on each cheek, one stripe across my chin, one down the bridge and on each side of my nose, and two stripes on my forehead. Then I blend with my fingers.

First, the positives. Like I said, it blends out perfectly, giving a nice, even sheer coverage. Cream or gel blushes apply evenly on top (as if it were a liquid foundation). The finish is matte, although less matte than a powder. While my skin will get shiny as the day goes on, this foundation doesn’t make it worse. I personally thought it slowed the shine down better than a liquid foundation does, although not as well as a powder will. I really liked the natural finish. It wore very well through sweaty, humid weather, and didn’t fade or slide right of my face. It was a great option for a summer foundation. (I find powder foundations too heavy in summer.)

There are a few mild negatives. The product has no sunscreen, so a separate sunscreen is necessary if you want sun protection. If my moisturizer wasn’t totally dry, the foundation sometimes wanted to ball up a little bit on top. It’s not got heavy coverage, so a separate concealer is necessary for dark circles and blemishes.

Once summer was over I did go back to the Instant Age Rewind powder for work wear. I’ll use this when I want to wear a cream blush, since they play so nicely together. I also intend to take this with me for travel, since sticks travel better than powder foundation (which can break up in the compact if it gets dropped). Overall, this product got a LOT of wear from me this summer, and I definitely recommend checking it out!

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Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles Concealer Review
Complexion, Reviews - Comments (1) - May 19th, 2013

Was that title long enough for you? LOL. Keywords, yo, it’s all about keywords. Okay, enough snark! Maybelline has REALLY been impressing me with their products, lately, and I’m not easy to impress. After having such a positive experience with the Instant Age Rewind The Perfector Powder, I decided to really go crazy and check out the concealer specifically for dark circles. (They also have one more geared towards concealing hyperpigmentation on the face, but dark circles are my particular bane.) The verdict? SHE SHOOTS, SHE SCORES!!!

A little back story – I used Benefit’s Erase Paste for a long time, during the phase where I was addicted to wearing tinted moisturizer every day. Then I got hoooked on powder mineral makeup, which didn’t play all that nicely with a concealer as creamy as Erase Paste. I got in the habit of using a concealer brush dipped in mineral foundation to conceal my dark circles and blemishes, which worked quite well (for the most part). As long as I used eye cream, it didn’t make my eye area looked dried out. Now that I’m mostly using a pressed powder foundation (with occasional forays into liquid foundation, as I use up my beloved Chanel Pro Lumiere), I decided it was about time to try a liquid/cream concealer again.

The Eraser comes in a glass tube with a funky twist-up dispenser and a fuzzy puff applicator thing. (That’s a technical term.) You click it a few times (two clicks for both eyes seems to work), it pushes product into the fuzzy puff applicator thing and you swiped it where you need it. On the pro side, the fuzzy puff applicator thing does a pretty nice job of applying the product evenly and with a nice airbrushed-looking appearance. A pat or two with a finger, et voila! Dark circles (and other blemishes) are concealed! I’ve used it both before and after applying my foundation (even though applying after breaks the no liquids after powder rule, thhhpt to rules) and it looks great both ways. The formula FEELS GOOD on my skin. It’s hydrating, but not greasy, doesn’t settle into my fine lines or eye creases, and wears well. It has good coverage. It’s not a full bullet-proof coverage, but for everyday use I prefer to just camoflage my dark circles rather than attempt all-out obliteration. It looks more natural. So, I really, really like the “looks like skin” finish of this concealer. It photographs pretty well too.

On the con side, the fuzzy puff applicator thing isn’t the most hygienic thing in the world. You can’t remove it and wash it. The directions recommend wiping it off with a dry tissue after use to remove excess product. Umm, okay. Supposedly it’s treated with some kind of anti-bacterial magic, and it’s not like I’m licking it or something. Probably, washing it would introduce more bacteria than just leaving it alone (since bacteria really looooove water and wet things, I imagine getting it really wet would just make it a nice germ home). I’m not a huge bacteria-phobe, but it’s worth mentioning in case you are. The applicator also means it’s not friendly for pro makeup artist use – it’s really difficult to get the product off the applicator and onto a concealer brush for a truly hygienic application on a model. Since that’s not a concern for most people, it’s not a big deal. It’s too bad though, the stuff photographs nicely but it’s too much of a pain in the ass for me to want to use it in my kit.

It’s been a long time since a concealer impressed me, and I’m pretty darned impressed with this one. It does what I want it to, at a very budget-friendly price. I give it an enthusiastic two thumbs up!

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Stage Makeup Fun
Eyeshadow, Makeup Fun, Random Stuff - Comments (2) - May 3rd, 2013

I feel so bad I’ve been neglecting my blog so much. Only 5-ish weeks to go of school, and then hopefully I’ll have some free time again to blog. I have such a backlog of stuff to review!! This post is about one of the projects I worked on in April, creating a stage makeup look for my school’s fashion show for charity. I worked with two other students to create this look. The students were able to get discounts on fashion items from I did all the makeup except the contouring, I pay to do a lash lift and tint kit and my classmates did the hair, the face contouring, the pretty head-piece and the false eyelashes. Didn’t it come out awesome? The model is my sister. She walked on a catwalk and then posed for these photos. I didn’t know when I got dressed that morning that I’d be in the picture too or I would have worn something nicer than a crappy black polo (my standard student “uniform.”)

I used a Ben Nye Cream Color in a Special Red as the base for the eyeshadow. It had a tendency to crease (despite my best efforts with primers and powdering on top) so I don’t recommend it for everyday use. For the purposes of our show, I just smoothed it out right before she hit the catwalk. I used Detrivore’s Hemoglobin eyeshadow on top, to add richness and depth to the red. Ordinarily, Hemoglobin on top of a primer is sufficient for a rich, red color, but under the bright lights of the stage, using a red cream base gave it the extra kick I was looking for. The foundation is Chanel Pro Lumiere, which I’m sad to say has been discontinued. *cries* (I’m wearing Maybelline Age Rewind The Perfector Powder, which looks pretty frickin’ decent under those bright photo lights, I must say…) We highlighted with the lightest color from the Ben Nye Fair Personal Makeup Kit, as well as using the dark shade for contouring. Unfortunately, I can’t remember what blush we used, as we borrowed it from someone else. A generic white eyeliner pencil went on the lower waterline, and I used MAC Brun eyeshadow to fill in her brows. (I also use MAC Brun every day on my own brows.) The lip color is an Essence lip liner pencil, called In The Nude. It was essentially the perfect nude lip! We used Ben Nye Lumiere Luxe Powder in Iced Gold, a super shimmery gold powder as extra highlights on the face, and dabbed on her arms and legs (after they were generously moisturized) as well.

As for my makeup, I really can’t remember what all I used, although I’m pretty sure I’m wearing Detrivore Cosmetics and Shiro Cosmetics eyeshadows, and Detrivore Cosmetics blush. The lip is L’Oreal Infallible Gloss in Coral Sands (best nude gloss ever). The concealer is new and awesome (and inexpensive!!) and I need to tell you all about it in another post. For now, let’s admire how minimized my dark circles are, despite the bright lights.

Overall, this was a great experience in stage makeup and I had a blast. I have another photoshoot at the end of the month, for which I still need to develop a concept and find a model…

Photos taken by Erin Berzel Photography

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Maybelline Instant Age Rewind The Perfector Powder Review
Cheap Thrills, Complexion, Reviews - Comments (8) - February 11th, 2013

So, this was originally an EOTD post, but yeah. The eyeshadows have mostly been discontinued, so while it turned out super fabulous, it was going to be a terrible EOTD post from a blog perspective. Instead, you’re going to get a review on Maybelline’s Instant Age Rewind The Perfector Powder. I’ve been meaning to review this for about a month now, but just haven’t gotten to it. So, here it is!

I love pressed powder foundation, but it’s been years since I tried a drugstore version. Way back in the day, like, seven or eight years way back, I wore Prestige’s Wet/Dry Foundation. It was actually pretty good, and I went through two compacts of it before switching to something else – mostly because it got hard to find. I haven’t used a drugstore powder foundation since then. I was doubtful about this new Maybelline one, but I really couldn’t resist.

The powder comes with a “primer” built in – it is, I presume, the white swirl in the powder. Once you open it and swipe it, it becomes apparent that the swirl IS something different from the pigmented part of the powder, as it has a slightly different texture. Swiping the included foam sponge across the surface will pick up an even amount of both, and it applies to the skin without any weirdness from the white part. The overall texture on my skin is lovely. I LOVE THIS POWDER. LOVE IT.

It has a medium coverage when applied with the included foam sponge. It evens out my skin tone, provides ample coverage for my taste (I like the medium coverage, I don’t need it to be bulletproof), and doesn’t settle into fine lines. This is a HUGE deal for me. I have a different (much more expensive) brand of compact powder foundation to review that does settle into lines, which is why this Maybelline one is now my go-to product. (Mr. Expensive Formula has become my carry-along-for-touchups product.) Even when applied with a concealer brush, the Maybelline formula really doesn’t offer as much coverage as I want for concealing, however. I use what’s left of the mineral foundation I was using (now discontinued, boo hiss, and the reason I needed a new foundation) to conceal, and get the coverage I want. Mr. Expensive Formula works nicely as concealer as well.

I kind of want to just summarize this product as “I LOVE IT GO BUY IT” but that doesn’t give you much info. Besides the not settling into lines thing, The Perfector Powder also wears quite well. It really doesn’t fade, and does provide an adequate level of oil control, what you’d expect from a powder. I’m using the second lightest shade, Light 02, which is a great match for my skin. It doesn’t oxidize orange-y. The texture is very silky and lovely. One caveat – the finish is on the sparkly side. It advertises that it “adds a touch of radiance for a younger looking skin instantly,” and that means some sparkles. Some people are not going to like the bit of disco-ball effect it gives the skin. I personally am all about the sparkles, so it’s cool. But it’s something to keep in mind before purchasing.

Like I said, it comes with a foam sponge, which works just fine for applying a medium coverage layer. It also looks nice if you use a chubby brush like the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush to apply it – which I like to do around the nose and chin. The compact has a secret compartment for the sponge, as well as a mirror tucked in there.

So, the pluses – relatively inexpensive (under ten bucks), looks great, wears well, love the sparkles, love the sponge applicator, love the texture. The minuses – it sparkles. I’m in love, and giving it two thumbs up.

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2012 Post-Mortem & Best Of Stuff
About Claire, Best Of - Comments Off - January 11th, 2013

I was feeling a little bad about not doing this post BEFORE the end of the year, but then I looked and saw I wrote last year’s Best Of late as well, so I’ll stop feeling bad. 2012 was …interesting for me. I didn’t work this year, so my budget for buying beauty stuff was pretty limited, and not going off to work each day proved to be a deterrant to doing my makeup regularly. I also had a really hard time with depression thanks to a pharmacy making an error with my medication, that I didn’t catch for several months. That really sucked away my motivation to write, too. Which is all to say, if you’re still reading my blog and didn’t quit last year, THANKS. I promise to do better this year! (More on that in a bit.)

Anyway, my best of list is the standout stuff from last year. Here’s the goods.

Best Body Product: St. Ives Naturally Smooth Body Lotion was an awesome find. Clearing up a rash I’ve had for 20 years? YES PLEASE. Runner-up: One Hand Washes The Other’s Buttella. It’s chocolate-y hazelnutty awesomesauce.

Best Facial Scrub: One Hand Washes The Other’s Black Magic Scrub rocks. Runner-up: St. Ives Naturally Clear Green Tea Scrub is a decent substitute if you’re in a hurry and need a scrub now.

Best Indispensible Multi-Tasking Face Product: Murad Skin Perfecting Primer (Acne and Shine Control formula) has become one of my must-have products. This is an awesome multi-tasking product – it has salicylic acid in it, so I can eliminate one of the serums I usually use from my morning regimen. It controls shine and mattifies like a champ. It evens out my skin tone, and is a great makeup primer. Basically? It’s FABULOUS.

Best New Tool I Found This Year: The Real Techniques Expert Face brush quickly became my brush of choice for applying foundation.

Best Lip Balm: This is a tough call, but I think the eos lip balm spheres have to win. I started using the medicated Tangerine one pretty religiously when I was sick in December, because it was TOTAL WIN on my chapped, peeling lips. The vanilla one from the Alice In Wonderland set is still my favorite.

Best Shampoo: I’m still loving Suave shampoo. I bought a bottle of the Rosemary Mint stuff to try, and I like it too. (Review coming!) For a basic shampoo that’s cheap, it’s great.

Best Mascara: Maybelline The Colossal Cat Eyes Washable mascara was the best new mascara I tried this year.

Yup, it’s a pretty short list this year. So, why will this year be better? I am going to school at the end of the month, for a five month program, to get my esthetician’s license. Yup, Claire’s Beauty is going to beauty school!! Much like going to work, I intend to wear makeup every day, because I hate looking schleppy in a professional setting, which means regular EOTD posts again! I’m looking forward to getting back into that routine. You can also expect interesting tidbits about skincare, etc., as I learn them. Happy 2013 everyone!

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5 Things: Mascara That Did Float My Boat
5 Things, Cheap Thrills, Mascara - Comments Off - November 8th, 2012

As a partner to my last 5 Things post, I wanted to make a list of five mascaras that did impress me, enough that I’ve re-purchased them and/or recommend them!

Let’s refresh what I want in a mascara. What do I want? Full, soft, individually defined lashes. My lashes are decently long enough already, so I mostly go for volume. I prefer not to have to bust out the lash comb to separate lashes, but a brief brush is ok. With that said, here are five mascaras that made the cut.

1. Kiehl’s Marvelous Mineral Mascara is gentle on the eyes, requires minimal work to make it look good, doesn’t flake off or smudge during the day, and washes off easily. I repurchased this twice.

2. Maybelline Volum’ Express One-by-One Washable Mascara. Oh my. This may very well win the award for Claire’s Favorite Mascara Of All Time. I’ve gone through two tubes, and will probably buy a third. It is FABULOUS. My lashes have volume, but also separation, I almost NEVER have to comb, it lasts all day with no smudging or flaking… dare I say, it’s practically perfect?

3. Maybelline Volum’ Express Colossal Cat Eyes Washable Mascara. Hate the waterproof version, LOVE the washable version. This one is all about the brush, which really does seem to help with curling, and getting all your lashes. I love it almost as much as the One By One.

4. Maybelline Lash Discovery Mascara. This one is all about the mini-brush. You can get right down to the roots without smearing mascara on your eyelids with this mini-brush. Nice formula too. I’ve purchased this at least twice now.

5. L’Oreal Extra Volume Collagen Plumping Mascara. I really liked the bigger brush on this mascara, and the plush look of the formula. It’s good stuff.

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5 Things: Mascara That Didn’t Float My Boat
5 Things, Cheap Thrills, Mascara - Comments (1) - November 1st, 2012

Mascara is a tricky thing to blog about. It’s hard to get decent lash pics, and quite frankly, most of the time my lashes come out looking the same because I want them to look a certain way – and I’ll fuss and futz to get them that way. So generally my criteria for mascara doesn’t really depend on what the end result is, but rather how hard I had to work to get there.

What do I want? Full, soft, individually defined lashes. My lashes are decently long enough already, so I mostly go for volume. I prefer not to have to bust out the lash comb to separate lashes, but a brief brush is ok. With that said, here are five mascaras that DIDN’T excite me.

1. Maybelline Volum’ Express Mega Plush Mascara. I wanted to love this. It’s got this gel formula that’s supposed to leave your lashes softer, not brittle, but with volume. It has a “flexor” brush, that’s supposed to be a plus, but I don’t really see that it helps anything. Mostly, the formula is a little too wet, which means my lashes stick together and have to be separated with a lash comb. I do like the results, but it fails the “too much work” test. I won’t re-purchase.

2. Maybelline Great Lash Lots of Lashes. The famous pink & green tube is supposedly a perennial favorite of women everywhere. I’ve never liked it. But, being a sucker, I picked this one up because the brush looked cool and it had potential. After all, it’s supposed to give good separation and definition. Does it? Nope. First, I have to layer on a zillion coats, because this is a really thin formula. It’s also really wet, so my lashes want to stick together and I have to comb. FAIL. If I spend WAY TOO MUCH TIME fighting with it, I’ll get to something like the results I want. But life is too short to fight your mascara. I really hated this one.

3. Rimmel Glam Eyes Lash Flirt. See my review here. It didn’t suck terribly, but it didn’t float my boat either.

4. Maybelline Lash Stiletto Voluptuous. To be fair, this one falls into a “sort of floated my boat” category. I liked the formula quite a bit, but the brush is a little wonky and means I have to apply it verrry carefully, or I get it on my eyelids. I didn’t pitch it, but I won’t re-purchase either.

5. Maybelline Volum’ Express Colossal Cat Eyes in Waterproof. You’re probably thinking, Geez what is this woman’s obsession with Maybelline mascara? The thing is, when I find a Maybelline formula I like, I LOVE it. So, I keep trying new ones hoping to find my next holy grail. This one, in the waterproof formula, isn’t it. (The regular washable one, however… but that’s another post.) I love the curved brush, I like the results, I loathe waterproof mascara formulas. I wasn’t paying attention when I bought this, and bought the waterproof by mistake.

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Best of 2011
Best Of - Comments Off - January 7th, 2012

2011 was an interesting year. I stopped buying a lot of corporate cosmetics and started buying a lot of indie cosmetics, which was really satisfying. I didn’t buy as much perfume as I have in the past, but what I did buy I really love. One the minus side, some of the companies I reviewed have closed, but on the plus side others have thrived. Overall, it was a pretty good year for beauty.

I found a lot of products to love this year, so my list is kind of all over the place. Here are my picks for Best of 2011.

Best New Eyeshadow Color: This one is easy. It’s THEO! The lovely Rosa at Black Rose Minerals created Theo for me, a color inspired by my kitty’s fur and green eyes. It’s like taupe with a bonus.

Best Eyeshadow Collection: By collection, I mean a group of colors meant to go together. This is a tie, between Linnaeus Cosmetics’ Echidna and Ruby Throated Hummingbird collections. The Echidna colors are wonderful neutrals, and the Ruby Throated Hummingbird has bright, VERY sparkly colors. I love them both.

Best New Lip Color: My favorite this year is Morgana Cryptoria’s Hibiscus Lip Balm. Last I heard, the lip balms were probably going away, but I bought this same shade in the Lip Gloss formula. Whatever formula it’s in, I hope the shade remains permanently! It’s the best baby pink I’ve found.

Best Eyeshadow Name: Nutella Whore from RockABetty Beauty. I was there when the name originated, so it’s fun being “in” on the joke. Also? It’s a great sparkly brown.

Best Product I Still Can’t Live Without: Urban Decay Primer Potion. I still haven’t found anything that works as well for me and my crazy-oily eyelids. Without Primer Potion, wearing eyeshadow would be impossible.

Best New Mascara: I love Maybelline’s Volum’Express One By One mascara. It’s the perfect combination of volume and separation in one tube.

Best Face Care Product: Annmarie Gianni Skincare’s Herbal Facial Oil for Oily/Acne Skin is amazing and splurgeworthy. I love how my skin looks when I use this regularly.

Best High End Perfume: I try a whole lot of high end perfume this year, so it’s pretty easy to give this to Balenciaga Paris. I love how sophisticated and interesting it smells.

Best Cheap Thrills Perfume: All of One Hand Washes The Other’s Solid Scents in the Private Stock collection. At a mere $4 each, they’re like Pokemon – gotta catch ‘em all!

Best Body Care Product: Aveda’s Composition oils are probably my favorite body care product I discovered this year. I have the Energizing, Calming, and Men Pure-Formance varieties, and they are all equally wonderful. They are wonderfully versatile: apply to your scalp and leave overnight for a deep treatment, apply to your skin after your shower for a body oil, add a little to your bath water for a lovely aroma… I primarily use them as an after-shower moisturizer and love them.

Overall, 2011 was a pretty good year for beauty shopping! What are your favorite products that you discovered last year?

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