Sephora LashCraft Length & Volume Mascara. I Just Don’t Get It.

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I got this in a Play box six months ago, so it’s time to toss it even though there is a good bit of product left in the tube.  The actual formula for this mascara is amazing.  It is really long wearing and doesn’t smudge and is super black and may be one of the better formulas I’ve ever come across.  It’s on par with the wear time you get from tube mascaras like Blinc.  It doesn’t budge until you want it gone.  It’s quite affordable, too.  The full-size is twelve dollars.  There are drugstore mascaras that cost more than this.

I will never buy this, however, because of one glaring problem–the damn wand.  It’s rounded on two sides like a normal mascara brush and flat on the other two.  At first I hoped this would be a good way to get at my outer lashes a bit more easily.  The first few times I used this, it worked great.  I got excellent volume and decent length with minimal clumping.  Once it started to dry out, it was all downhill.  The flat edges of the wand hold onto clumps and deposit them on my lashes or water line, depending on how the wand is turned in relation to my eye.  Cleaning the brush with a tissue or paper towel helps to a degree, but the clumps are still there.  Turning the brush to try and keep the clumps away from my lashes just gets annoying.  It would grab groups of lashes and clump them together and just generally started to look terrible.  This was after only seven weeks of air exposure.  Mascaras are supposed to last six months.

This formula for this is so good that I thought about buying disposable mascara wands and just using those, but I shouldn’t have to do that.  Just redesign the wand, Sephora!  It’s a real piece of junk.  If you just want to play around with it and try to get it to work, go for it, but don’t get your hopes up.

Don’t buy this!  Seriously, don’t but this.  If the day ever comes that Sephora redesigns the wand, run, don’t walk to Sephora and try it out.  I’m not kidding when I say that the formula is amazing.

Sephora LashCraft Length & Volume Mascara:  I don’t need this.  I’m not going to buy it.

–Jackie

Grande Lips Collagen Boosting Plumper. This works?

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I’m not really one for before and after pictures.  I feel like if I can’t look in a mirror after a few months and see a noticeable difference in my face, then a product isn’t worth my time, but I almost wish that I had taken a picture before I started using this regularly.  I’m still not sure if it works, but it’s the first lip plumper I actually like.

This came in a Play box months ago, and, given my aversion to lip plumpers and glosses in general, it sat by my bed for months and months.  One night I picked it up before turning in, braced myself for the burn that I was certain would occur, and cracked open the tube.

Much to my shock, there was a slight tingle, but it went away after a few minutes.  My lips didn’t feel like they were on fire.  Something was happening, though.  This clear gloss turned the areas it touched blood-red.  It didn’t make my lips look any bigger, but it didn’t make me miserable to wear, so I left it on and went to sleep.

The next day my lips felt so moisturized.  I usually wake up with dry lips, but not after that night.  I must admit I was impressed.  The instructions say to use this twice a day for visibly fuller lips.  Now, I don’t need any help in the lip fullness department, and I don’t like wearing gloss, so I just ignored the directions and used this every night before bed until the tube ran out.  I never felt any stinging after that first night, but even as I was getting toward the bottom of the tube, it always made my lips turn red.  I put it on the back of my hand out of curiosity, and it left a red mark where the gloss had been.

Anyway, this lasted about five weeks, and by the end of it I was pretty sure my lips had a different look about them.  They didn’t look fuller around the perimeter of my mouth, to be sure, but those tiny little lines that everyone has in their lips looked smaller.  Once the tube was gone, this effect went away within a week.  I am not saying this plumped my lips in the traditional sense.  I just feel like it moisturized them so well that they looked plump because they were really well hydrated.  The hyaluronic acid in this stuff was really doing its job.  So, for once, I do wish that I had taken a photo before I started using this.

Now, do I like this enough to drop $27.00 on a tube of lip gloss to use each night before I go to sleep in an attempt to continue this experiment?  No.  As I said earlier, I don’t need any help in the plump lip department.

Here’s the takeaway on this from the perspective of someone who, on any given day, moves from loathing to outright hating plumpers:  This stuff is worth a shot if you have thin lips and have tried plumpers and been disappointed by the burning or lack of effectiveness or combination of the two.  My lips have always been super sensitive to the “tingle” in lip plumpers.  This is the ONLY one I’ve used that didn’t outright burn so badly that I removed it.  You may want to give this one a shot, but you’ll have to keep using it to see any kind of lasting effect.

Grande Lips Collagen Boosting Lip Plumper:  I think this actually works, but I don’t need it.  I’m not buying it.

–Jackie

Perricone MD Face Finishing Moisturizer. I. Just. Cannot.

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Look, I’ll be the first to admit that I can tolerate a lot of smells and tingles on my face for the sake of seeing if something might actually work well for me, but I just can’t with this crap.

I got it in a Sephora Play box, and I’m tossing it after seven or so uses.  There’s still a good bit of product left in the jar, but ugh.  The smell is so strong and pervasive, which is a gripe that I had with the GlamGlow Illiminating Moisturizer.  As soon as I removed the cap from this jar, the smell of cheap rose perfume filled my nostrils, and, as anyone who reads this blog knows by now, I freaking hate that smell.  I genuinely find it repulsive.  The smell lingers, too.  Rub it on your face, and you get the opportunity to smell old lady perfume each time you inhale for a breath for the next five minutes.  Sorry, but that’s not my cup of tea.

So, yeah, there’s that.  If it worked really well, I would almost be willing to tolerate the smell, but there’s one other problem that, when coupled with the noxious fumes, is a deal breaker.  This stuff stings.  No, not stings.  This stuff stright-up burns.  It makes my face burn in random places.  I pop any zits that crop up on my face, so a stinging around those areas wouldn’t really surprise me, but this crap made my whole face burn.  Forehead, cheeks, chin–everywhere.  And the stinging doesn’t go away quickly.  After ten minutes I still felt it.  At first I thought I was acclimitizing, but it didn’t go away.  Days later, this still burned when I would use it.  I can’t imagine how anyone could tolerate this.  In the garbage it goes.

And the price?  Sixty-nine dollars for two ounces!  They have to be kidding, right?  There’s no way in hell I would pay that for a moisturizer that smells like old-lady perfume and leaves me unable to tell if it actually, you know, moisturizes because my face is on fire.

No, no, no, no, no!  Spend your money elsewhere.

Perricone MD Face Finishing Moisturizer:  This is a flaming pile of sh*t.

–Jackie

Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser. We are in Like with One Another.

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I’m pretty devoted to Origins Checks and Balances face wash, so something big would have to happen for me to buy something over it.  Something big did happen one day when I went to the Oculus to buy my favorite face wash.  The Sephora there had only recently opened and they hadn’t stocked all of the products yet.  They have Origins when I go in now, but it wasn’t available four months ago.  They did have Clarins, so I got this instead of going to my usual store at Columbus Circle and dealing with rush hour subway traffic on the way home.

This stuff is good.  It’s gentle, and doesn’t break out my finicky skin.  It removes makeup well enough.  Foundation and day to day eyeshadow don’t stand a chance, but mascara and heavy eye makeup will stay behind.

I LOVE the way this smells.  I think it smells like cotton fields in the summer.  It smells so clean that I just adore it.  I would almost buy this over and over because I love the smell so much.

This retails for $26.00 for 4.4 ounces, which is a bit more expensive than my preferred face wash from Origins, but not so much that I wouldn’t purchase this again.  Overall, it’s just a good, gentle cleanser, and I feel like you can’t go wrong snagging this if your usual happens to be out of stock.

–Jackie

Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye Mascara. Meh.

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If anyone spends thirty dollars on this mascara, they need to have their head examined.  It’s completely forgettable.  The length I got from this was just OK.  The volume I got from this was just OK.  It would smudge after only a few hours.  And talk about smudge, I would end up with raccoon eyes by the end of the day.

It’s mediocre at best.  Virtually anything you could pick up at the drugstore would work as well if not better (Maybelline Lash Stiletto, I still love you).

I couldn’t imagine Bobbi Brown would intentionally design a product this average.  I mean, I LOVE Bobbi Brown makeup.  I kept using this thinking it was just user error, but nothing ever improved.  After ten or twelve times, I gave up.  It’s just nothing special especially for the price.  I mean, if you’re looking to spend this much on mascara, go out and buy Diorshow.  You’ll get length and volume with no clumps.  That’s what this is going for.  At least I think that’s what this is going for.

Now that it’s been established that I don’t like this at all, it’s time to say something nice.

This mascara is VERY black.  It’s got kohl in it, and it shows.  (I think the kohl is part of the reason why it smears so badly, but I’m being nice now.)  It doesn’t make your lashes clump together when you start piling it on, but…

…but I cannot get any length from the application.  I’m sorry, I’m not spending thirty bucks on this.  Seriously, go to the drugstore and pick up L’oreal Lash Paradise (or just about anything for that matter), and you’ve got something just as good or even better.

Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye Mascara:  No, just no.  I’m not getting this ever.

–Jackie

Fresh Rose Hydrating Eye Gel Cream. Good, but Nope.

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This stuff got me through a pretty disastrous winter a little over a year ago, so I’m not about to speak ill of it.  All I am going to do is question if it is actually worth the price.

I suppose this is a product of getting older, but I’ve started to get dry skin around my eyes in the winter.  It can get quite irritating right along the outer edge.  I had never had this problem until that winter, and it is annoying to say the least.  I tried a couple of the anti-aging eye creams I had lying around the apartment, but they only seemed to make things worse.  After that I headed off to Sephora in search of a solution.

I remember that day quite well.  There was a really pushy Philosophy rep there that tried so hard to sell me on the Hope in a Jar eye cream.  I grabbed a bottle and walked away from her just to get away even though I didn’t really want to buy it.  I didn’t feel like spending fifty bucks on something I was almost certain would make the problem worse.  I held onto that stupid, little jar waiting for the Philosophy lady to wander away from the display so that I could put it back while I continued to look for an eye moisturizer.  I despise just dumping things back in random places and am a complete nut about putting things back exactly where I found them.  This extends to every area of my life.  Yeah, I’m neurotic.  I’m also pretty antisocial and was doing my best to avoid having to go back over there and tell her that I never wanted that stuff in the first place and ask her to put it back on the shelf.  I waited and waited for her to move away, agonizing over what I should do about that Philosophy jar, and I found this in the meantime.  It was $41.00 for a half ounce and it appeared to be a moisturizer and only a moisturizer.  I hoped it would be the answer to my prayers and decided to buy it.

I walked around for another few minutes waiting for this lady to move away from the display and then finally ended up dumping the Hope in a Jar by the Boscia products.  That was painful, but not as painful as human interaction at that point.  I was getting sweaty, and I could feel my heart starting to pound.  I headed to the checkout, paid for the Fresh eye cream and fled.

I knew it was going to smell like rose when I bought it so I mentally prepared myself for the offensiveness to my olfactories, and broke open the jar.  The skin around my eyes was red and raw, and if this stuff worked, I’d be willing to deal with smells.  I worked entirely too much product into my eyes until I couldn’t see it anymore.  To my great happiness, it worked, and it worked well.  It was instantly soothing–like a wave of relief.  The skin around my eyes felt great for hours, and within a week, the redness and irritation was gone.  At some point I decided to keep it in the fridge to add to the soothing factor, and that’s where it lived for months.  Jared would occasionally ask why I was keeping eye cream in the refrigerator and go back about his business.

It does smell like roses, but I don’t find it to be a total put-off.  I usually loathe the smell of roses, but I could deal with it in this cream and not just because it’s a total god-send for dry skin around the eyes.  It actually smells decent, and it’s not totally overwhelming.

I kept using it because I actually like it.  It isn’t designed to be an anti-aging product.  There’s nothing in it that irritates my eyes.  It’s just a moisturizer, and it performs wonderfully in that regard.  I got a little over a year out of a half ounce jar, and I used this almost every night.  It was totally worth the upfront cost if you’re worried about how long it will last.  A little bit of product goes a long way.  The smallest bit of product on the tip of a finger will cover my under eye area, and there’s a bit left over, so I just bring it into the socket.

I was ranting about eye creams to a friend of mine back in January when she told me that she finally got sick of looking for one and had just started using coconut oil.  I thought it sounded like an idea with a ton of potential, so I vowed to give it a try once I was out of this little jar.  I kept my promise, and, to be honest, coconut oil works basically as well as this at a fraction of the cost.  When the skin around my eyes gets dry these days, I just reach for the coconut oil.

I’m not going to buy this because coconut oil seems to be working as well as any eye moisturizer for me, but I wouldn’t tell anyone else to pass it up.  This is one product from Fresh that makes a real difference.  I will never forget the relief I felt when I started using this on that crappy winter day.  I have not clue what I would have done without it at the time.

I can’t recommend it enough if you have painfully dry skin around your eyes, but I would also just suggest trying coconut oil first.  You may find you’ll save a ton of money and you’ll have a vat of product that you can use on areas other than your eyes (or you can cook with it, if that’s your kind of thing).

That’s my take on this.  If you want it, buy it.  It’s a great product.  Just be aware that there are more affordable options that perform just as well.

Fresh Rose Hydrating Gel Eye Cream:  Thank you for your service, but I don’t need another one.

–Jackie

Dr. Jart Black Label Detox BB Cream. Goodbye Old Friend.

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There was a time not all that long ago when my skin was pretty bad, especially given that I was knocking on the door of thirty years old.  My makeup routine started with primer, then I applied a layer of this BB cream, then I put foundation on over that and finished with concealer on my pimples.  It worked for me, but it was time consuming, and you could definitely tell I was wearing a ton of makeup.  This created a good bit of noticeable texture around problem areas like my chin.

When my skin finally started to clear up, I kept this around for days when I just didn’t feel like bothering with foundation.  This doesn’t offer a ton of coverage, but it was enough to even out any redness.  I liked that it was a perfect match for my skin tone, and I liked that it had moisturizer and sun screen already in it.  I like to keep things simple when I can.

Then one day came when I just sort of stopped using this and it has just been kind of sitting around.  It’s certainly not a bad product, but as my skin has continued to improve, I’ve just kind of moved onto things like tinted moisturizers on days when I feel like being lazy.

It’s a really good BB Cream.  It’s on the thicker side.  I find that there is a distinct difference in Asian and American BB creams.  Specifically, Asian-developed BB creams are thicker than American ones.  American BB creams just feel like a tinted moisturizer to me.  Dr. Jart is a Korean brand, and it shows here.

I don’t find that the sunscreen oxidizes too badly as the day wears on.  It provides just enough coverage to even out areas that I want to cover, but not so much that it looks like I’m wearing a mask.  This is still the best BB Cream I’ve come across.

Back in the day, this marketed itself as self-adjusting, but that is a total lie.  It’s for fair skin, and maybe, MAYBE, medium skin.  If you put this on dark skin, you’re just going to look ashy, and there’s no way around that.  I think Dr. Jart has since dropped the self-adjusting claim.

I found this recently and broke it open certain that the sunscreen in it had expired.  Was I ever right about that.  The smell coming out of the tube was the smell of Cheetos.  I knew it was time to toss this.  I don’t feel bad about it, and we’ve had a very good run together.  I’m glad that I found out about this stuff when my acne was giving me a terrible time.  It definitely made my life much easier then and made it even easier when my skin was clear.  If anyone is looking for a BB cream, this will always be my top recommendation.  I just don’t need it anymore.

This retails for $36.00 for 1.5-ounces, and if you’re looking for a good BB cream, this is the only place I would tell you to put your money.  It’s like an old friend to me.  We’ve had our run together, and it’s time to go our separate ways.

–Jackie