Saturday, November 29, 2008

Splurge...or Save? The Minimalist's Guide to Makeup

One of the troubles I have as a college student is budgeting my bank account. I've noticed that throughout the years, my tastes have become more and more high end...and I spend more and more. I remember in high school, I was excited when I bought my first powder compact--CoverGirl. Four years later, I wouldn't even consider putting that on my face.

Here's just an entry about what I've learned to splurge on, and what I skip instead. These may or may not work for you, but I find it's helpful to sort out priorities so you're not in the red everytime you pay your bills.

Splurge: Foundation, powder, concealer.
Flawless skin is the foundation to good makeup. You don't want to put things on your skin that aggravate your skin problems even more, so you'll end up wasting more money on skincare and makeup. Keep testing products until you find a brand that works for you. Don't be afraid to ask makeup counters for samples before you buy. What I've started to do is bring little sample jars with me to the makeup counters in department stores and squeeze the product in there for myself, so I have a decent amount of time to test it to see if it breaks me out, really works, etc. There's no way you can figure out if a foundation is right for you by just trying it once. Give it time.
However, do note that expensive does not always equal better. For example, I've heard that Everyday Minerals foundation works better than Bare Escentuals.

Save: Blush.
I've tried both high end blush and drugstore blush. Blush is an integral part of my makeup routine; without it I look sickly. Since it's something I use everyday, you might think that it should be a product to invest in. But no, unless you're a mime or stage performer, there is no need to buy expensive blush. Sure, the quality will differ, but quality isn't necessary when all you need is a tint of color on your cheeks.

Spluge: Brushes.
With makeup brushes, I started at the very low end--e.l.f., and missha (Korean brand). When I tried higher end brushes, there was a huge difference in the application comfort and result. Like with artists and paintings, your face will only be as good as the tools you use. So test out brushes before you buy them. Do your eyeshadow brushes have "resistance?" How dense are the hairs? With your face brushes, do they hurt/poke your skin when you put them on your face? How soft are they? Generally, MAC makes very good brushes, but they are expensive. I would say the basic brushes everyone should have are: a kabuki or flat buffer brush, an eyeshadow brush, an angle brush, a blush brush, and a concealer brush (which can also double as a lip brush).

Save: Q-tips, spoolies, sponges, cotton pads.
You see these all the time at makeup counters (not that they keep the testers sanitary). I gleefully help myself to them every time I visit a store, and stash them in my makeup bag. I use the spoolie for combing my false eyelashes and brushing out my eyebrows after defining them. The sponges are great for applying foundation--you can throw them away frequently and not feel guilty because they were free. As for Q-tips and cotton pads, they cost next to nothing, and they're some of the most effective makeup tools.

Splurge: Mascara.
I haven't had much luck with drugstore mascaras. The Maybelline Great Lash so many people swear by just smears everywhere on me. Waterproof mascaras smear on me. It took me forever to find a mascara I was satisfied with.
You can start at the drugstore with your mascara search, but whether you'll find your mascara there really just depends on your genetics. Do you have naturally long and full lashes? If so, you might not even have to splurge on mascara. Is your skin type normal or dry? If so, the drugstore brand might work for you. However, I would be open minded about buying more expensive mascara. Sephora has a 60 day money back guarantee on products even if you've used them. So take advantage of that to really find something that works for you.
Gals who find the drugstore brand works for them should definitely stick to them. Mascaras are one of those expendable products you're supposed to toss every 3 months, so if you don't need a pricey brand, there's no reason to get one.

Save: Eyeshadow.
If you're a minimalist like me, you probably don't wear eyeshadow very often anyway. But sometimes, I want a pop of bright color, or some contouring to define and deepen my eyes. Drugstore eyeshadows work just fine for this. My favorite brand is L'Oreal HIP eyeshadow; in my opinion, they're the most comparable with MAC in terms of pigmentation and quality. Also, NYX is good and offers a lot of color varieties. Don't get me wrong--the high end brands tend to work better. However, HIP and NYX will do, since eyeshadows tend to be one of those products you collect to get a wide range of colors.

Splurge: Eyeliner.
Eyeliner is a lot like mascara--whether a brand will work for you and not someone else depends on your genetics. If you have oily skin or watery eyes, I would splurge on an eyeliner that won't smear or run. If you don't have this problem, there are plenty of eyeliners that are cheap, yet go on very creamily. Wet'n'Wild and NYX are some examples.

Save: Lipstick, lip gloss, lip balm.
I'm not a fan of wearing lip stick or lip gloss. Lip products are not long wearing, and they require a lot of maintenance--constant reapplying. Also, they tend to be the products we lose the most. So, why pay $20 on that lipstick, if you can get a dupe at the drugstore?

Splurge: Fragrance.
Ever walk by someone who smells like "old lady," or just really cheap perfume/cologne? I am very sensitive to smell, and if there's one thing I can't stand, it's unpleasant odor. It gives me a headache, or a violent sneezing attack. So do yourself and those around you a favor, and don't scrimp on the perfume. Keep testing different brands until you find one that you like, and works with your skin chemistry. It is incredible how a good scent can directly uplift your mood (not to mention how many people will compliment you on how wonderful you smell).

Save: Eyebrow powder/eyebrow liner.
There's no need to go out and buy expensive eyebrow mascaras, powders, or pencils. You can easily find a color that works for you at the drugstore. I've used Wet'n'Wild pencils for years and they work great. Look for a shade that works for you, and you're set. When it comes to your eyebrows, you simply need to apply color sparingly, and always remember to use a spoolie to distribute the product so it looks natural. Brush the eyebrows in place with clear mascara (I use Maybelline) and clean up any excess with a q-tip if necessary.

I will do another one of these entries later on skin and body care. Happy December, everyone! Christmas is coming...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Clarisonic Skin Care Brush - Week 2

I'm on week two of using the Clarisonic! I actually don't see dramatic improvement in my skin from the first week. Like I speculated, my skin might have plateaued. I might even be nearing "that" time of the month since I got two little pink/red pimples on my forehead, which means that the Clarisonic can only treat your skin from the outside, but you still have to take care of your health for great skin. Aside from those two zits and a clogged pore on my nose I can't get rid of, my skin is just fine.

My skin is continuing to absorb whatever I apply on it very well. As we're getting into winter, I've had to change my moisturizer since my skin was becoming very dry. If I wash my face with the Clarisonic and I don't tone and moisturize immediately, my skin does feel a bit tight. However, the Clarisonic is not hurting my face anymore, which is a good thing. I usually repeat moving it over my forehead, t-zone, nose, upper lip, and chin, but not on my cheeks. I still have it set on the one minute setting. I wasn't able to use it last night or this morning, though, since the charge ran out, so right now I'm letting it sit in the cradle for a full 24 hours to see if that improves the battery life. Last time, when I charged it for about 5 hours, the charge only lasted about 5 days. I've never had a product that has required this much time to charge (I get annoyed waiting for my camera, phone, or ipod to finish charging, and that typically takes 3 hours) so this is something Clarisonic should probably think about fixing.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the states!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Kiehl's Friends and Family Sale

From now until December 1st 11:59 EDT, get 20% off your purchase at by entering FAMILY at checkout. Make sure you select the 3 free samples at checkout with your order.

You can also print out the below picture and bring it to the store for the discount. Click on it to maximize.

I've actually never really used any of Kiehl's products, but I started using the Abyssine Serum about two to one and a half months ago. I will do a full review once I've had more time to evaluate whether it really works. I tried looking up reviews for this online but all I found were reviews on the Abyssine Cream or Abyssine Eye Cream...meh.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Shu Uemura Friends and Family Sale

Get 20% off and free shipping at by entering SHUFRIENDS at checkout. Don't forget to register as a member; they will pack you free samples.

I'm totally buying the Luxe false eyelashes. I was so upset when they sold out during Sephora's friends and family! Normally, I wear Ardell or e.l.f. false eyelashes, since they're so cheap. I'm getting the hang of wearing them frequently...they aren't so hard to apply.

Shu Uemura is the leader when it comes to false eyelashes...if you have the money, definitely get their lashes.

Look at how beautiful they are...

The Viktor and Rolf collaboration lashes are packaged so gorgeously in a white box, on top of a white mask. This collection came out ages ago, but I'm still salivating over them.

The Holiday Collection has some cute lashes too. My favorites are the slant purple lashes and the mini red lashes.

Conversely, if you're looking for a good false eyelash glue, I highly recommend Shu Uemura's. It costs $8.50 for a tube, but this is the best glue I have ever used. I tried DUO, the brand every one else raves about, but it simply did not work for me.

Another product I really like is the mini eyelash curler. At $17, it costs only $2 less than the regular curler. This curler might not work for everyone, but it really helps me reach every single lash.

Have fun shopping!

Clinique Brush On Cream Liner

If you've been following my posts, I recently purchased the Clinique Brush On Cream Liner in true black during their October bonus time. The liner claims to be long wearing and water proof. I've been wanting a black cream liner for a very, very long time. I have very oily lids, so it's hard for me to find the right eyeliner. My eyemakeup will always smear under my eyes. I think my upper eyelids must overlap onto my face when I blink or something, since this is such a problem. This is why it's taken me so long to purchase a product that is probably very basic for all the rest of you out there.

I know there are a lot of other popular cream liners on the market. Make Up For Ever's Creamliner is $20 for 0.14 oz. MACs Fluidline is 0.1 oz and costs $15.00. The Clinique brush on cream liner is $14.50 for 0.17 oz. So, the Clinique jar has slightly more product than both of these products, and you get slightly more bang for your buck. It comes in a light, plastic jar, so you don't have to worry about dropping and breaking it. (I dislike Fluidline because the jar is so heavy!) It also comes with a cute tiny flat eye liner brush, but I haven't used it. The bristles are natural hair, which in my experience, doesn't work very well with gel or cream product. The brush will probably work on those of you with larger eye folds or creases; I have very small creases so I need a thin, stiffer brush for the job. I apply this with my super fine eyeliner brush from Coastal Scents. By the way, at $1.99, this brush is an absolute steal! I can never get the hang of liquid eyeliner, but this brush makes it easy for me.

I've been using this eyeliner pretty much every day along with my Urban Decay Primer Potion, and it's absolutely wonderful. I'm amazed with how smoothly it goes onto my eyelids--no tugging at all. And you can really ply the product onto the brush and not have to worry about it smearing coz you've caked too much on your skin. If you end up with a clump on your lid, it's easily smoothed over or blended with a q-tip or your brush. If I apply my eyeshadow primer to the back of my hand, then swipe this eyeliner on top, and then place my other hand or fingers on top, it stays completely in place! Not only is this eyeliner smudge resistant, but it's also extremely long lasting. I could wear it for 24 hour and it will still be in place. Overall, I'm very impressed and so glad I bought the product.

I did use this on my lower water line, and it lasted just fine. However, I wouldn't recommend it for the upper eyelid waterline...when I tried that it smeared under my eyes. Then again, as I've said, my eyes are strangely built so that may not happen to you. Make sure you test it.

As for removal, the eyeliner washes off pretty easily with liquid soap. However, if you have sensitive eyes, I'd recommend using makeup remover or cleansing oil first, and then washing your face.

Some people have even claimed to use this eyeliner as an eyeshadow base! I haven't tried that myself, but I might do that...I have a black eyeshadow with silver glitters in it, I wonder if it could hold the glitters in place? I've always been frustrated about the glitters not showing up!

I will be back next week with more updates...stay tuned.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Clarisonic Skin Care Brush - Week 1

I couldn't wait to open my box from Sephora and start using my Clarisonic brush! Everyone who used it raved about how their skin started glowing and they were receiving tons of compliments. I wanted nothing less than the best so I decided to give the Clarisonic a shot. My skin was already improving before using the Clarisonic because I was cleansing, toning, and using Estee Lauder Idealist daily. I wasn't sure my skin could improve any further, so if I didn't achieve fantastic results like everyone else you bet I'd make use of the 30 day money back guarantee.

From the little brochure that came with my Clarisonic:

"The Clarisonic sonic technology works with the natural elasticity of your skin to provide deep, thorough, gentle daily cleansing of the skin. Cleansing is the foundation of a complete skin care ritual. Oscillating back and forth at a sonic frequency that produces 300 movements per second, a flexing action is created between the outer and inner brushes that works deep within the pores to loosen dirt and oil. The brush motion effectively cleans, clarifies, and stimulates, resulting in smoother feeling and looking skin, allowing your serums and moisturizers to absorb better. Skin is left soft and pampered without harsh abrasion or chemicals. Clarisonic reduces dry skin patches, oily areas, and blemishes and removes six times more makeup. Pore size, fine lines, and wrinkles appear smaller."

The Clarisonic also claims to remove 6 times as much makeup than regular cleansing, and is 2 times as effective as regular cleansing. I never really thought that makeup particles might be still sticking to my skin after using my Clinique Liquid Facial Soap and toning, but apparently they were. Cleansing sounds like such a basic step in taking care of your skin that we don't think much about it, and dwell on purchasing things like serums and masks instead. In reality, if we don't cleanse our skin thoroughly, whatever we apply on top doesn't fully absorb into our skin, and we don't reap that product's benefits. So with the Clarisonic, there are two main objectives: 1) cleanse, exfoliate, and massage the skin thoroughly but gently, and 2) properly prep the skin for the subsequent steps in your skincare regimen.

The Clarisonic is supposed to be charged for a full 24 hrs prior to first use, but I missed that info in the little brochure since I wanted to just take it out and start using it immediately :P Plus, it's been my experience that chargeable items usually come partially or fully charged anyway, so I wanted to drain its power before recharging it fully (my dad always said that chargeabe things like your cell phone, ipod, camera, laptop, etc. should be completely or almost completely drained before recharging so you extend the battery cycle life. Batteries have a limited amount of rechargeable cycles).

The Clarisonic has only one grey button, which you use to turn it off as well as toggle between settings. There is a one minute and a two minute cleansing setting. I've only been using the one minute setting because truthfully, I haven't figured out how to get to the two minute one, haha. Honestly, the time setting isn't that important to me. For the two minute setting, the Clarisonic simply stays on an extra minute. For the one minute setting, you're supposed to wash your forehead for twenty seconds first. Then the Clarisonic will shudder and beep, and you move onto your cheeks for the next ten, then it will shudder and beep again, and you move onto your nose, shudder and beep, move onto your chin, and you're done. I don't really follow this, since I think those guidelines are the Clarisonic's "Guide to Dummies." I probably spend 20 seconds on my forehead, 10 on my cheeks, 20 on my nose and chin, and another 10 on my neck. Though my Clarisonic came with the "sensitive" head brush, I find a minute is plenty of time to cleanse for me. Like I mentioned previously, my skin changed from combination to normal, so I can't deal with too much exfoliating now. The first couple times using the Clarisonic was somewhat harsh; I spent too much time exfoliating my cheeks. So make sure no matter what your skin type is, you go easy on your skin, and not use the two minute setting out of sheer over eager excitement.

Some other possibly helpful tips...

- Use the Clarisonic in the shower. The steam will help open up your pores, and you'll get a much better cleanse.
- Remove your eye makeup first, especially if you use tubing mascaras. I didn't do this and learned the hard way--I had to pick out all those little tubes from my brush head. Also, if you wear waterproof makeup, it could stain the bristles, so be sure to remove that as well.
- Before using the Clarisonic, wash your hands with soap (you should always do this anyway, especially if you use traditional cleansing). Dampen the brush with hot water. I use liquidy facial soap (the Clinique and L'Oreal I mentioned in a previous post), and I squeeze a bit into the center of the brush. With my clean finger, I briskly rub the bristles to get a lather. Then, I splash warm water on my face a couple of times, put the Clarisonic against my skin, and turn it on. Supposedly you can also put your soap directly on your face instead, but I tried that and the brush wouldn't lather, so the brush actually hurt my skin. Try both and see what you prefer, but I believe putting your cleanser directly on the brush is best, you also use less product that way.
- You don't need to apply any pressure on the brush. Just lightly move it over your face, the bristles will do all the work. If you apply pressure, you'll actually prevent the bristles from oscillating effectively.
- After using the Clarisonic, I rinse it out with warm water first, then disinfect it with searing hot water. I blot the bristles against my towel and then leave it to dry. When I first started using it, the brush constantly had a gross bacterial smell when I was done with it. I poured a capful of rubbing alcohol onto the bristles after each use to try to get rid of it and disinfect the brush. My brush head doesn't smell anymore, so that's good.

OK, now on to the opinion stuff you've waited for.

I've been using the Clarisonic twice a day, every day. The first couple days, I didn't notice much of a positive change in my fact, my forehead started to get little comedone bumps again, and I had to use an extractor to get the sebum out. My forehead also got pretty dry at the same time. I did observe that the brush was cleansing extremely well, though. Out of curiosity, I tested the Clarisonic on my ribs in the shower. Normally, the skin on my rib cage will still have a film of dead cells or soap (I'm not actually entirely sure what it is) even after I wash with soap and a loofah. After running the Clarisonic over it, my skin was completely smooth and clean. I was tempted to use the Clarisonic all over my body!

I was a bit disappointed at first with the results on my face. All things skin require patience, though. :) By the 5th day of use, I definitely started to notice positive change. My skin was more even, taut, and starting to glow. By the 6th or 7th day, my cheeks regained a natural flush (this hasn't happened in a long time). I have no dry patches, pimples... my nose pores are all clear (I put on a peel off mask and no whiteheads or blackheads came out!). I am very happy so far.

Hopefully my skin doesn't plateau...I would like to see further improvement!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Get Rihanna's Look - "Rehab"

I'm still working on my Clarisonic post, but I wanted to write a quick entry about Rihanna's new music video, "Rehab."

The video for this single just premiered on MTV. Rihanna is looking more gorgeous than ever!

(I don't know why uploading screen shots decreases their quality. You can check out the video here)

To get Rihanna's look, you will need to do the following steps:

If you have dark eyes, consider wearing light blue or green colored contacts. I like Freshlook and Acuvue.

1) Moisturize your face and cover any blemishes, redness, and under eye circles with concealer. Use a kabuki or flat bronzer brush to distribute mineral powder foundation evenly all over your face.
2) Using an angle brush, fill in your eyebrows with a matte eyeshadow or eyebrow powder two to three shades darker than your hair color.
3) Prime your eyelid with a cream colored eyeshadow base from the lash line to the brow bone. Then, with an eyeshadow brush, pat on a powder cream colored eyeshadow from the lash line also to the brow bone.
4) Everyone's eyes are shaped differently, so using your own eye shape as a guideline, find your crease, and sweep a shimmery golden brown eyeshadow directly onto your crease, extending it outwards past your eye in a V shape, but not past the ends of your eyebrows. Only shade slightly above and below your crease--do not extend the color to the lash line or the brow bone.
5) With a soft blending brush like the MAC 224, take a slightly darker brown powder eyeshadow this time and ONLY shade your crease. Do not shade above or below your crease. This will add depth to your eye.
6) Dip your eyeshadow brush into a shimmery nude powder eyeshadow, and lightly sweep this across your eyelid, from the lash line, but stopping before the brow bone.
7) Using a blending brush, blend the shades on your eyelids in a windshield wiper motion, so the colors look like a gradient, rather than 3 layers of color.
8) With black liquid eye liner, or an angled brush and black cream/gel eyeliner, line your upper eyelid as thinly as possible.
9) Dip a q-tip or pencil brush into the lighter shimmery brown eyeshadow you used on your crease, and line your lower lashline.
10) Line your waterline with a black kohl eye pencil, or cream/gel eyeliner.
11) Curl your eyelashes. Apply several coats of black mascara to top and bottom lashes, concentrating the mascara on the outer lashes.
Optional: If you have short eyelashes, consider applying false eyelashes. For a more subtle look, cut one of the eyelashes in half, and apply the halves to the outer ends of your eyes.
12) Apply bronzer or a peachy brown blush lightly along your cheekbone.
13) Lips: you can try a nude lip or a red lip like Rihanna here. For nude lips, prime your lips with balm, then line and fill them in with a nude lip pencil. Top with clear or nude colored gloss. For red lips, prime your lips with balm, and then line and fill in with a red lip pencil. Using a lip brush, carefully apply a matte red lipstick. Blot with a tissue or blotting paper, and then apply the lipstick with a lipbrush again. Finish with a sheer peach colored gloss in the center of your bottom lip.

I hope that was helpful!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Product Updates - Skinfood Mushroom Multicare BB Cream SPF 20, Estee Lauder Idealist Refinisher

Every so often, I will do a review on the products I've already reviewed before if there's been any changes. Since our skin can change with the seasons, or whatever products we use, this will help you make an informed decision.

- - -

Remember when I reviewed the Skinfood BB Creams awhile back?

If you read my entry, you'll remember I didn't like the Skinfood BB Cream at all. The color spheres didn't spread out on my skin...they sat on top of my dry patches, they creased and gathered in certain spots, and the product wouldn't mix very well with moisturizer. The bb cream just looked gross. I was ready to throw it out--but I didn't.

Well, as I've been taking care of my skin more lately--drinking tons of fluids, cleansing and toning properly, moisturizing, and using Estee Lauder's Idealist Pore Minimizing Skin Refinisher, my oily/dry combination skin has improved so much! My skin is regulated and balanced now. My forehead and nose actually DON'T get oily after washing. For the first time, I can wear thicker moisturizers on my T-zone and chin! This is very exciting.

Well, now that my skin has improved, and my skin type has moved into the "normal" category, I started reaching for the Skinfood BB Cream again. And I must say, having good skin makes all the difference with how makeup will turn out. I've been applying the Skinfood bb cream around my nose and under my eyes to reduce darkness, on my chin, and I am not seeing the spheres settle or oxidize anywhere! And since my skin doesn't get oily anymore, the color stays in place all day.

So, once again, I have to rave about Estee Lauder's Idealist. If you have combination or oily skin, I highly recommend you try out this product. You might not like it at first--since it does have this sort of silicon/primer texture to it, your skin will feel slippery and oily to the touch after application. This just means that the product is doing its work, and penetrating your pores to get the oil out. If you experience this discomfort, I suggest you start by using this product as part of your night time skincare regimen. Wear it to sleep alone, and if you need more moisture, apply some cream on top. Make sure you cleanse and tone thoroughly so the Idealist can absorb better into your skin. If you see results, then you can work your way to also using it during the day under your makeup, so you maximize its efficacy. If you exfoliate your skin regularly, it's great to use this product, since it aids in improving skin texture and cell turnover by eliminating the dead skin.

As for the Skinfood Mushroom BB Cream, I would only recommend this to ladies who have normal or dry skin types. However, don't use it if you have flakey dry skin as it will cling to all your dry patches. As always, make sure to wear your regular sunscreen, primer, or both underneath to give the bb cream a smooth canvas. This way, your skin will look more natural and flawless.

I received the Clarisonic brush last Tuesday, so I'll be updating on that in a couple of days. I intend to give you readers weekly updates on that, so stay tuned!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Japanese Cult Fashion - H&M collaborates with Comme des Garçons

I take a break from my reviewing to address the new H&M and Comme des Garçons collaboration.

Rei Kawakubo, renowned designer and brains behind the Japanese brand, has created a series of black and white, deconstructed outfits wearable to work or play.

Yesterday, the debut of the collaboration in Harajuku, Tokyo saw over 2,000 fashion forward shoppers stream into the new store. Many had camped outside the store as early as Wednesday in six hour shifts, braving rain and cold to purchase from Kawakubo's collection.

The collection will be available to US shoppers on November 13th. I was perusing the outfits on H&M's nifty little mannequin display. Definitely loving the frilled collared shirts, the deconstructed black jackets, the gothic lolita dress, and the oversized riding pants...I'll hopefully have time to stop at the Newbury store this weekend to check it out! Warning, though: customers are only allowed to purchase 2 per style per item, to prevent any greedies from clearing out the store's stock! :)

Speaking of collaborations, I'm so excited that Alexander McQueen will be launching a line at Target come spring. Eek! Time to start saving your pennies in that dusty piggy bank!

sources: H&M and WWD.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Tubing Mascaras: Imju Fiberwig vs. Blinc Kiss Me, Clinique Lash Power, Estee Lauder Double Wear Zero Smudge Lengthening

ju Fiberwig has replaced Blinc Kiss Me as the top selling mascara in Japan. It advertises "paint on false eyelashes" to tout its lengthening effect. Like the typical fiber based mascaras on the market (think Magic Lash--Pursebuzz does a great review), Imju Fiberwig also contains fibers that attach to your lashes with each stroke. As a result, Fiberwig is like a fiber based primer and mascara in one.
In addition, Fiberwig promises to be water-oil-sweat resistant, and thereby, smudge proof. It is easily removed with warm water (no soap necessary, like with Clinique Lash Power). Much like Blinc Kiss Me, the mascara wraps around your lash to form tubes, rather than merely depositing pigment like most mascaras.

I've been using this mascara for about a month now.
As I pointed out in my Blinc Kiss Me mascara review, I have trouble finding mascara that doesn't smudge underneath my eyes. I hopped onto the fiber/tubing mascara band wagon with excitement. While Blinc definitely held up to its promise of not smudging, it wasn't perfect. The mascara clumped on my thin, sparse lashes, creating spikes. My lashes looked as they were stuck to each other in little sections. Thus, Blinc isn't dependable for perfectly separated, long's a bit of a gamble every time use it, I reach for it hoping that it'll distribute evenly. Since the wand deposits too much product on my lashes, they also end up feeling hard and spiky. Not like this is a huge problem, since I don't go around touching my eyelashes, but this makes them actually harder to curl since they're weighed down with product (I have stick straight short lashes).

So, I was a bit skeptical trying the Imju Fiberwig. When I opened the tube, the first thing I noticed was how HUGE the brush was. It reminded me of Benefit's Badgal, which also has a huge, plump brush. The photo in the picture above doesn't really show you how dense the wand is. The wand itself looks denser because of all the fibers it picks up when you take it out of the tube. (I would take a photo, but my camera is broken...incase you're wondering why I haven't shown any pictures so far!)

Despite the big size of the brush, I was still able to get to the base of my eyelashes and brush the mascara very nicely from base to tip. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my lashes did not clump at all. If there was the slightest bit of excessive product, a couple more swipes of mascara and I was able to brush the clumps away. No matter how many coats of mascara I put on my lashes, this stuff NEVER got clumpy. I kept adding on many, many coats so the fibers would continue to lengthen my lashes. I didn't count, but I wouldn't be surprised if I applied about 2 0 coats. My lashes were always perfectly separated and defined. I also liked how they felt flexible to the touch, never brittle, after the mascara dried. My lashes are so straight that I have to curl them AFTER I apply mascara (I know this is a taboo, but my lashes do not curl otherwise). The Fiberwig held the curl, while Blinc did not.
Also, speaking of drying, this mascara dries very quickly...and I mean, like in 7 seconds. This is probably because it's more liquidy than Blinc, which is somewhat thicker. So, I apply this mascara to my lashes in sections, working on the inner corner and middle section until I ge t my desired length and thickness, and then the outer corner. You have to reapply the coats when the mascara is wet, just like with Blinc, or the mascara will not go on smoothly. The difference with Blinc is that Blinc takes a lot longer to dry. This was a source of frustration for me because I would blink when my Blinc wasn't dry yet, and have to wet a cotton swab to get the mascara off my under eyes. With Fiberwig, that doesn't happen, thankfully.

Like all the tubing mascaras, Imju Fiberwig came off with warm water and my r egular cleanser. I didn't have to rub my eyes with makeup remover. Also, the fibers in mascara didn't get in my eyes, nor did the mascara sting my eyes, so Fiberwig should be perfectly safe for contacts wearers. I've heard that Magic Lash can get messy with all the fibers, so definitely look to this mascara as an alternative. The fibers never flaked off or smudged onto my face either, so Fiberwig definitely has equally amazing staying power as Blinc.

OK, so you're thinking, there has to be something bad about it. Yes, my only complaint is that Fiberwig does not get your eyelashes anywhere near "false eyelash long." Maybe there's a trick to applying the mascara that I haven't discovered yet? I've resorted to rotating the mascara wand as I stroke it from base to tip--my own manual Spin Lash, haha--but the results are yet to be seen! Though I'm not terribly bothered by this since I never expected my lashes to magically morph into false lash length in the first place....but I'll keep trying and let you guys know later if I was successful.

Now, this mascara worked for me, but it might not work for you. My lashes are short, sparse, and stick straight. I have no idea how well this mascara would work on people who have full, lush lashes already. This mascara costs $22 at Sephora (the only place you can buy it in the US, perhaps Little Tokyo or K-town might carry them though? I've never looked there) and only comes in black. Definitely try Blinc and Fiberwig both at the store before you purchase if you can't decide. If anyone is interested, I could organize a Fiberwig haul from Asia at a lower cost and have it shipped to you. If I get enough emails or comments I'll look into it.

Now, there are two other alternatives that I know of, if you've tried both Blinc and Fiberwig. Clinique Lash Power Mascara uses similar tubing technology and vows to stay put for 24 hours without flaking, smearing, smudging, and removes with warm water. What attracted me to trying this mascara was the tiny little brush, which reminded me of Maybelline's Lash Discovery. I think Lash Discovery is discontinued now except in the waterproof version...which is unfortunate.

You can't really tell how tiny the brush is in the picture, but trust me, it's tiny!

Pursebuzz has a great video reviewing Clinique Lash Power Mascara, in which she shows you the comparison with Lash Discovery in the beginning. Though she highly recommends the product, I do not recommend it.
I tried this product twice--once at Nordstrom's, the second time at Macy's. The first time was around August 2008, the product worked great on me--no flaking, smudging, my lashes were defined and separated perfectly. I thought I was going to replace Blinc with the Clinique. The second time was around a month and a half ago, and this time, the mascara flaked all over my undereyes! There might have been a little smearing going on. I notice the reviews for this mascara are quite mixed, so again, try the mascara before you buy it. At $14.00 a pop, it is cheaper than all the other tubing mascaras, but don't make your decision based on price alone. Since I have oilier lids than most people, I can definitely attest to how effective a mascara's staying power is..and Lash Power just doesn't cut it.

Estee Lauder's Double Wear Zero-Smudge Lengthening Mascara comes in second place for cheapest tubing/polymer mascara, at $19.50. In contrast to Clinique's Lash Power which claims 24 hour staying power, Zero Smudge claims it stays put for 15 hours. However, it also is only removable with warm water, so you do NOT remove it with eye makeup remover.

Like Clinique Lash Power, I only tried this mascara twice. It came in one of those free gifts with purchase--concealer on one end, and mascara on the other. The double ended feature compelled me to immediately stash it in my makeup bag--who doesn't love convenience? The first time I tried the mascara, I was wary because the wand was definitely bigger than Lash Power's, so I thought it might clump. However, it also didn't clump my lashes at all--it defined them perfectly and stayed on all day! The second time I used this mascara was when I stayed overnight at a friend's and was putting on my makeup the next morning. Later that day, when I looked in the mirror, I saw that the mascara had smeared underneath my eyes. I was extremely disappointed. So in terms of effectiveness and price, this mascara is the worst out of the three. Whereas the Clinique mascara merely FLAKED, this one actually SMEARED, which shows that something is amiss in its polymer formula. I do NOT recommend Estee Lauder's Double Wear Zero-Smudge mascara.

So ultimately, the only mascara that gets my complete stamp of approval is Imju Fiberwig Mascara. Blinc Kiss Me Mascara I also like, but not love. Fiberwig has made it into my list of holy grail makeup items and I will definitely repurchase it when I run out.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

What did everyone get?

Ahh, I am so broke!!!!! After reading so many rave reviews, I caved and bought the Clarisonic Skincare brush. Not sure if it works, but there's a 30 day money back guarantee, which I will definitely take advantage of. I was watching Becca's youtube videos (there are 4 of them), as well as Pursebuzz's review, which explained that the Clarisonic increases the efficacy of moisturizers and serums because it cleanses your skin much more thoroughly for better absorption. I'm excited, hope I get it soon!

Recent hauls:

Sephora (thank you Friends & Family discount!):
Clarisonic Skincare Brush
Clarisonic Normal Brush refill
Sephora complexion extractor with lance
Sephora double ended blemish extractor

Clinique (woo hoo free gift with purchase!):
Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel
Cream Gel Liner in Black
All About Eyes

I'm scratching my head trying to figure out if there's anything else from Clinique I might want...since I want to grab Nordstrom's free gift. I'm thinking the Moisture Sheer Tint with SPF 15 in that my skin is improving I can use less mineral makeup/bb cream!

No worries, I will review everything in due time...give me a couple weeks to a month to give you a honest, thorough review!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

More discounts, free goodies

You know and coupon queen! As brands are gearing up for the holidays, there are TONS of discounts to be found. Here are the ones you should definitely watch out for:

Friends and Family 20% off any purchase November 6th-10th. Use coupon code FF2008 at checkout. Only one coupon code with purchase. Free shipping on purchases of $50 or more. Not valid in Canada.

Friends and Family 20% off any purchase November 5th-7th (Starts at 12:01 am and ends 11:59 pm). Click here. Free shipping on orders of $25 or more. Paypal users also get a 20% off, but the offer starts earlier (November 3rd at 12:01 am). Check your email for invitation or click here.

NORDSTROM:'s bonus gift with purchase may have sold out, but you can still get a Clinique bonus gift from Nordstrom! From November 5th to November 23rd, receive a bag of:

  • Rinse-Off Foaming Cleanser (1.7 oz.)
  • Zero Gravity Repairwear Lift Firming Cream (0.5 oz.)
  • Multi-Compact with Colour Surge Eye Shadow Duo in Beach Plum
    and Soft-Pressed Powder Blusher in New Clover
  • Lash Doubling Mascara (0.14 oz.)
  • Long Last Glosswear SPF 15 in Bamboo Pink
  • Long Last Lipstick in Blush Coral
  • Silvery Lipstick Case
  • Elegant travel bag designed exclusively for Clinique by Trina Turk

For the first time ever: Trina Turk for Clinique. The chic fashion designer's favorite Clinique beauty essentials, in an exclusive cosmetics bag designed by Trina herself. Yours with any $25 Clinique purchase. A $65 value.

With your $75 beauty purchase, receive a beauty box filled with samples. Includes: Estée Lauder - Advanced Night Repair, Clinique - Liquid Facial Soap, Lancôme - High Resolution Eye Cream, Clarins - Super Restorative Tinted Moisturizer, Basic Research - NEW Strivectin Wrinkle Filler, Shiseido - Massage Card (Redeemable In-Store), Elizabeth Arden - Ceramide Gold Ultra Restorative Capsules, Ralph Lauren - NEW Notorious Fragrance, Calvin Klein Fragrances - NEW Secret Obsession, and Emporio Armani - NEW Diamonds for Men. Offer valid on select brands (Estee Lauder, Clinique, Lancome, Clarins, Basic Research StriVectin, Shiseido, Elizabeth Arden, CK Secret Obsession Fragrance, Emporio Armani Diamonds Men Fragrance, Ralph Lauren Notorius Fragrance).

If you missed out on the Nordstrom's Estee Lauder bonus gift, try Bloomingdale's. Currently, with any purchase of $39.50 and up, you get to create your own gift as well. The only differences I see is that the lip gloss comes in a tube, the eyeshadow is in more of a square palette, the makeup is divided into "warm" or "cool" shades, and the cosmetic bag is much more chic :). Click here.

Get a free five piece gift with any $50.00 purchase. Hurry while supplies last!

Their friends and family event is also going on right now! 20% off if you enter HOLIDAYJOY at checkout. This offer is valid from Nov 6th to 12th.