Tag Archives: product reviews

Destash & Trash – Mascara

I tried a few new things for the lashes over the last few months. Some I finished. Some…not so much.


This was a not so much. I love Tarte’s Lights, Camera, Lashes mascara. It makes my lashes fluffy and volumized without clumping, just the way I like them. I sprung for the waterproof version because my family suffered a loss. And I am a weeper. It was absolutely iconclad in its waterproofness. But its formula otherwise was not at all like its regular counterpart. It’s wetter, so it clumps. And although it enhances length, it does nothing for volume, so I had spider leg lashes, even with primer.


Speaking of primer, I got a sample of the Lancome Cils Booster XL, and I absolutely love it. Not only does it help with volume and separation, of which I need extra with the medically-enhanced lashes, but it keeps mascara from smudging under my eyes.


I can’t remember where I got this sample, but I really enjoyed this Volume Vixen mascara. The brush was a little odd – I should have taken a photo (blogger fail!) – it had natural-style bristles with gaps. I thought I would end up with a clumpy mess, but it all worked the way it was supposed to and gave me some fantastic volume.

Mask Monday

I have been reunited with my Dr Jart Sleeping Mask! While I was out of it, I tried out a couple of new things.


I had high hopes for the Korres Greek Yogurt Sleeping Facial. I didn’t like it back in October; I gave it another try last month, and it still didn’t suit me. It felt too heavy over all the layers I use at night. And there was a lot of peeling, but I’m not convinced it was dead skin. I think it was the product itself. I decided to pass this on. Maybe it’ll work better for someone who otherwise keeps it simple.


After giving up on the Korres, I remembered the Peter Thomas Roth mask minis I have in my mask drawer. Some of the gel kinds can be used as sleeping masks. I liked this one much better. I got two traditional uses out of this mini, and finished up the jar with a week’s worth of sleeping mask usage.

One of my goals this year is to use up more of my non-sheet masks and peels.


So, I pulled out the Ladykin Greenharmony Pear Mask Pack. This one had a lotiony consistency. It felt and smelled just lovely, and left my face feeling very soft.

I used up three sheet masks:


Both the Hanaka and the Urban Dollkiss currency masks were thin and adhered well to the face. The Shara Shara mask was a little thicker, but smelled divine. All moisturized nicely and none of them made me sensitive.

Skin Care Sunday – A Couple of Moisturizers and a Cleanser

I know I mentioned Garden Girl in yesterday’s post, but I knocked this out recently. Quench Coat is one of my favorite moisturizers. Highly recommended for dry sensitive skin. It’s also silicone-free, which is something I look for in my night skin care these days. Sometimes in the dead of summer, it’s a little much, even for my skin. I switch to something lighter for a couple of months.


I do try to alternate between Quench Coat and other natural moisturizers at night time.


I love Mad Hippie’s vitamin c serum, so when I ordered it last time, I picked up some different things to try out. The face cream was nice, but not nearly moisturizing enough for me. At least not for my fall/winter skin. I ended up mixing this with an oil and finishing it up that way. It did absorb nicely when used alone, even over serums.


I squeed a little when my TJ Maxx started carrying Shiseido. I’m not super picky about cleansers. I found myself tiring of this one halfway through the bottle, and I’m not sure why. It left my skin feeling clean and a little tight, but not super dry. I guess for the price, even at a discount, I expected my socks to be knocked off. They weren’t. But it was a good, average cleanser nonetheless.

Skin Care Sunday – In the Shower

I’m slowly but surely working through my backstock of shower gels. This is one of those products where I get bored of a scent, try something new, get bored of the new scent, ad nauseum. I’m sure I’m not the only one!

I managed to finish off three of them recently:


This Bodycology wash had to be at least three years old. Its scent didn’t seem to fade much and was very pleasant.


So, I picked up my first bottle of this last year and liked the scent so much I went a little crazy and bought six of them. (Really, Mel?) After this, I have three more to go!


I got this from my Beauteque bag earlier this year. It had a creamy texture, which I usually don’t like in body washes, but this was an exception. It sudsed up really well. And it smelled exactly like strawberry Quik!

Sample Saturday – SPFs

I’ve had a historic problem with sensitivity to sunscreens. I’ve been trying out a few, paying attention to ingredients and how my skin reacted.


First up is Clarins. Its primary SPF is a physical one, which I usually seem to respond well to. I did have a bit of a tingle upon first application, but it didn’t burn. It was light and it sat well under makeup. I would definitely use it if I got my hands on it again, but I don’t think I would go out of my way to buy it full-price.


This burned as soon as it made contact with my skin and began balling up almost as fast. If you are any sort of sensitive, I would totally skip this.


Benefit’s also burned, but the texture of the lotion itself was very nice.


This was my favorite. It’s a light lotion with a faint citrusy scent and a physical SPF. It was also moisturizing enough to use as a standalone moisturizer in the morning and didn’t interfere with makeup. None of the above really did that for me. I missed it when it was gone, and bought the full size as soon as I could afterward. So yay!

De-stash & Trash – Summer 2015 Nail Empties

This is part two of my epic summer de-stash & trash.  If you didn’t catch the first one, I took a break from just about everything to get myself through the busy season at work.  But I kept track of my products just the same!

There are a lot of nail-related things this time around.  I spent a couple of weekends finishing The Great Swatchening of my collection and weeded out a few things as I went along.

De-stashed nail polish

First up is a very sheer Orly called Frozen that I picked up at a special Walgreens display.  It was hella-sheer – this is four coats – and struggled to make them even.  It just wasn’t something I ever wanted to use again.

Sally Hansen is my crack.  I know that I don’t usually like the trendy experimental collections that come out every season, but that doesn’t keep me from trying them out anyway.  This purple, called Velour, was supposed to dry down to look like the fabric.  Semi-matte and plush.  My problem with the formula was that it never really did dry and the formula was gloopy and difficult to spread evenly.  Sure, I could have used a top coat, but that would have defeated the purpose of having a textured polish in the first place.  Out it goes!

And I have met very few China Glaze polishes that I’ve actually liked.  I picked up the cult favorite Flip Flop Fantasy on a whim and regretted it the first time I tried to apply it.  The color is lovely but the formula manages to be gloopy and sheer at the same time.  To get a similar color with a better formula, try K.B. Shimmer’s Bahama Drama or Leggo My Mango.


Keeping on the anti-China Glaze theme, I had a similar experience with In a Lily Bit, the lavender cream in the middle.  Sheer, yet thick and it chipped within hours of application.  I was hoping that the glitter on the right, Tail Me Something, would be similar to my favorite from the brand, Dorothy Who?.  It’s not.  The glitter density isn’t there for it to work on its own, but it’s too dense to really be a topper.  And the chipping!

I had tried a few Rainbow Honey minis before I subscribed to the full-sized mystery bag.  The problem with the minis is that they’re really only good for one application.  Even though there’s enough polish in there for three or four, the RH formula dries up almost as soon as the air hits it.  This one was called Deep Heart Sea, and it was lovely the one time I wore it!


The same goes for Chemical Plant and Aurora.  They were lovely, but the minis are only good for one use.

base and top

I went through a couple of base coats.  My favorite is the Nailtiques Formula 2.  It doesn’t really keep my mani on very long, but to be honest, I haven’t met one yet that does.  (Yes, even Orly Bonder.)  But I don’t really mind because I feel that Nailtiques is nice to my nails and I get bored with a mani after a couple of days anyway.

Next is Rainbow Honey’s All Your Base.  (Complete with a practice O from when I did my Orioles mani in the spring, of course.)  I used this for swatching, and it worked really well.  I had to start thinning it out about two-thirds down and kept thinning it until I couldn’t get the brush saturated anymore.

Rainbow Honey sends out a lot of scented top coats, and I’m always disappointed.  Not because they don’t work or I don’t like the scents but because I just don’t want the extra step at the end of my mani.  I want to top coat and go.  So these are really wasted on me.


I went through a lot of remover.  For me, remover is remover is remover.  Really, the Sally Beauty Supply non-acetone is the only one out of the many I’ve tried is one that I will never use again.

In my Beauteque bag a couple of months ago, I got a little cup of cotton balls that were fashioned to look like cotton candy.  (Of course, it was Tony Moly!)  They were just cotton balls, but the packaging was so adorable I had to get a shot before I used them up.  I used them for both swatching and makeup removal.


Finally, I tried out one of K.B. Shimmer’s mani shots.  I loved the lemon verbena scent to this.  The smell is the main reason I enjoyed this product. I also enjoyed the fizzing.  Because who doesn’t enjoy some fizzing, right?  The soaking was relaxing, and I enjoyed the warm water.  But once I was done, I felt like my hands were drier than they were before the treatment.  I have one more in a different scent that I’m going to try to see if I get different results.

That’s it for my nail-related empties this summer!

De-stash & Trash – Summer 2015: Makeup, Beauty, & Fragrance

I take a break from just about everything during the summer.  While the rest of the world is vacationing and enjoying a break from school, librarians are enduring their busiest season of the year. I live and work in a 40,000+ town in one of the fastest growing counties in the country.  This summer, our library had over 2,000 kids participating in the annual Summer Reading Program with attendance that ranged from 60-350 at any given event with each kid checking out dozens and dozens of items afterward, creating a never-ending stream of people from open to close.

And exactly how are libraries obsolete again?

We outnumbered our main branch (which is twice as big as ours in a city three times the size) in program attendance and came within 300 of their SRP sign-ups.  Despite the huge numbers of people walking in our doors and the ever-growing statistics, we’re working with fewer man hours than we were when I was hired in a decade ago because our town council can’t really wrap its collective head around the fact that we’re an essential service, and that all these people moving into our area come from places that actually value education and culture.  They’ve kept our funding level for three years straight.

Now, we’re much luckier than a lot of libraries in our area – even the metropolitan one in the county next door.  Many budgets are getting outright cut.  But there’s one significant difference: most of those communities have stagnant or decreasing population.  Ours has doubled in a decade.

So, I’ve spent the last few months working, eating, sleeping, and working without much energy for anything else.  I have, however, been keeping track of the stuff I use up for an epic three-part D&T.

Beauty Sponge

I discarded my last ever Real Techniques Beauty Sponge.  I used to love these, but I’ve noticed the quality decreasing over the past year or so.  This particular sponge disintegrated after its second use and wash.  I’ll be springing for the Beauty Blender from now on.


I tried out a lot of mascara this summer.  I actually finished the Tarte Gifted and loved it.  Almost more than their Lights, Camera, Lashes.  It made my lashes look thick and fluttery at the same time, but just like L,C,L, it transferred on me like a mother.  I used a waterproofer over it and that made it last all day without flaking or smudging.

I finished a couple of tubes of Cover Girl’s Professional Remarkable Waterproof mascara – one ran out at the very beginning of the summer and the other I used throughout.  This is a very dry formula, which I enjoy quite a bit.  My lashes are long – even longer now, but we’ll go through that in a sec – and anything that’s wet tends to make me look like Tammy Faye Baker.  This stuff builds nicely and doesn’t smudge or transfer at all when I use it by itself.  The downside to the formula is that it tends to dry up about two months in.  But it’s an everyday workhorse mascara for me, and the benefits outweigh the longevity by a long shot!

The last two mascaras I didn’t like at all.  Urban Decay’s Perversion applied all right, but about a half an hour after application, I started to itch.  The itch just got worse the longer I wore it, and I noticed some redness on the lids after I removed it.  And it started to smudge underneath my eyes almost immediately.  I could deal with the smudging, but the reaction will keep me from trying Urban Decay mascaras in the future.

Finally, Essence’s Get Big! Lashes was also a smudger.  It didn’t do much for my lashes besides darkening them a little.  I got it as a freebie, so I didn’t feel bad just getting rid of it.

Travatan Z

This is a medication, but I felt like I needed to talk about it here because it does influence my beauty routine quite a bit.  Over the summer I was diagnosed with high eye pressure – I’m extremely nearsighted, so this is probably the cause.  I could have had surgery, but opted for the nightly eyedrops instead.  I learned later that one of the side effects of the drops was eyelash growth and possible darkening of the iris, similar to Latisse. (In fact, Latisse and eyelash growth serums like it were derived from glaucoma drops like Travatan.)

I’ve been on the drops for a little over two months and I have seen a significant change in my eyelashes.  They’re much longer, thicker, and darker.  I actually had an awkward growing-out period where they were downright unruly.  I have not had any iris darkening, but the tech at my doctor’s office said that, although very few people experience this, my blue/green/gold eyes seem to be the type that it happens to the most.  So we’ll see.


I decided to de-stash this blue Rimmel eyeliner.  I try blue eyeliner every single summer, expecting it to be a fun pop of color.  I haven’t found a blue yet that doesn’t clash with my eyes.  I have resigned myself to the fact that I’m just not comfortable working with blue.  Purple on the other hand…


I’m also de-stashing this NYX concealer.  It was one of the first I’d purchased after getting back into makeup.  It’s a couple of years old, is too hard to use for undereyes and, in the rare event that I need facial concealer, it doesn’t really cover well.


I picked up a Becca foundation on Hautelook.  While it was pale enough for me, it made my skin itch and burn almost immediately.  I took it off right away, but the redness and tenderness lasted for a couple of days.  The only other foundation I had this sort of reaction to was Stila’s Illuminating Liquid Foundation.  I’m beginning to think I need to stay away from anything that says “radiant” or “illuminating.”  I have started keeping track of ingredients to try to figure out what I might be allergic to.


I generally don’t try much fragrance because I’m kind of sensitive to them, but I keep getting samples.  So I figure I might as well sniff them, at least.  The first might as well have been called Versace Instant Headache.  I couldn’t get it out of my house fast enough!  Marc Jacob’s Mod Noir was actually pretty nice.  It was a clean, unisex scent that I actually wore for awhile.  It lasted well and didn’t turn on me. (Which is another problem I have with perfumes.  Rose in particular is my nemesis!)  While I wouldn’t spend the dough on this one particularly, I would be happy to try another sample.

So that’s it!

In addition to daily swatches, I should have the summer skincare and nail care D&T coming up in the next little while, as well as a special project polish post.