Amika Polished Perfection Mini Straightening Brush. Game. Changer.

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I rarely try something once and form an opinion on it, but this little gizmo has changed my life.  Seriously.  It’s really changed my life.  Ok, maybe it’s only just changed the way that I do my hair, but that’s a game changer if I’m saying it.  For the most part, I could care less about how my hair looks, and this thing has almost changed that for me.

I’ve had my eye on the full-sized Amika Straightening Brush since I noticed it on Sephora’s website months ago.  It looks like a total gimmick, and it’s $120.00.  When reviews first started to roll in, they were pretty mixed, so I decided to sit on buying that thing.  I don’t do anything with my hair before I go to work, so I only really make an attempt to style it on my days off, which, given my profession, can sometimes be few and far between.

A couple of weeks ago, however, I was bored and looking at the website again right before I went to sleep, and there was a mini version of the full-sized brush.  They were selling it for $35.00, too!  I thought this was a total steal, so I bought it along with some foundation that I was beginning to desperately need.

When the package showed up on my doorstep, I ripped right into it and tried it out.  My hair was already dry, but I figured what the heck.  If this little purse-sized, electric brush could work on the rat’s nest I had at that time, it could work on anything.

Here’s how I dry my hair on work days or any day when I’m just too lazy to care:  I lie on my bed with my hair hanging over the edge and let my ceramic heater do the work for me.  I have really wavy hair, so it’s usually a frizzy mess by the time that I’m done with it, but I just throw it in a pony tail and go about my day.  I love my makeup, but I really don’t care what my hair looks like most of the time.

That’s what I had just done before the Sephora package with this gadget in it was delivered.  There were not knots in my hair, but it was nice and frizzy.  If this thing could make that mess presentable, it could do almost anything.

I plugged it in, waited five minutes, and set to brushing.  That’s all you have to do with this.  You don’t section your hair or anything.  You literally just brush your hair with a brush with hot, metal plates for bristles.  To my great shock, it worked.  It didn’t just work.  It worked well.  After only a few minutes of brushing my hair with this thing, it looked like I had actually used a dryer and brush to fix it.  I was floored and speechless.  I was honestly just standing in the middle of the bedroom with this thing in one hand, staring at my husband, and unable to form words for how amazed I was.

To be sure, my hair looked far from perfect, but it looked like I had actually “tried” with it.  There were still a few flyaways, and I had some trouble working the brush on my bangs, so they looked a little flat, but it worked when my hair was at it’s worst.  Awed by this straightening brush’s potential, I resolved to actually dry my hair and properly use it on my next day off.

Fast forward to my next day off, and I kept my promise.  I dried my hair with my blow dryer, and set to work figuring out the best way to use this thing.  At first I was just brushing my hair like I would with a regular hair brush, and the results were much the same as when I first used it.  It was smoothing my hair, but there wasn’t much styling going on.  I finally just took pieces of my hair and held them taut by their ends, and brushed.  When I did this magic happened.  My hair was straight and the ends were pointing the direction I wanted them to go.  It took a matter of minutes to get my hair straight and smooth.  I still can’t get over how good this little thing is.

I may buy the full-sized version this, but this little one works so quickly and so well, that I don’t know if there is any real need for a bigger one.  The full-sized straightening brush has temperature settings, which, I suppose, could be helpful, but I’m that girl who just uses hair styling tools on high.  My hair is so thick that anything other than full temperature seems to take forever.  The mini just has an on and off switch, so if you need a temperature lower than somewhere around 400 degrees Fahrenheit, you might not want to buy this.

I also have to compare the results of this to the results of a traditional straightening iron.  With this tool, you don’t end up with the pin-stright results you get from a regular iron.  That isn’t a look that I’m super into, so I don’t mind the results from this.  This doesn’t leave my hair flat, and it doesn’t tame every single little flyaway that I have.  There’s still volume and body and life in my hair when I finish using this.  This makes my hair look like I won some kind of genetic lottery and wound up with straight hair that is, for the most part, cooperative.  If you want stick straight hair, you’re not going to find it with this thing.  If you just want to look polished in a hurry, this is a god-send.  My hair tends to want to frizz regardless of what I do to it, so for me, the results of this and the results of a flat iron look the same at the end of the day.  With flat irons, I can start my day with stick straight hair, but my hair never finishes the day that way.

I really can’t recommend this enough if you’re just lazy with your hair or have next to zero time in the morning.  Heck, if you want to just spring for the big one, I say do it.  My hair doesn’t feel fried, and it looks like I actually put effort into my look.  I don’t have to use a hair dryer before I use this.  I can actually just roll out of bed and brush my hair or let the ceramic heater do its thing or whatever.  As long as there aren’t tangles in my hair, this thing works.  As long as I just pull the ends of my hair tight while I’m brushing, this works.  If I want my hair to go in an opposite direction than it usually goes, I pull the ends in the direction I want my hair to go.  That’s how I get my bangs to look polished and hide the cow-lick that I have on the left side of my head.

The Amika straightening brush wins my vote for product of the decade.  I have nothing negative to say about it.  If it breaks in the first three months of my owning it, I’ll let you guys know and I’ll change my tune, but that’s the only thing I can think of that could be a potential negative.  This thing is truly a game-changer.  I never thought I would love a hair styling tool, but given how much affection I have for the effectiveness of this, I may just forgo buying the Dyson hair dryer I’ve been pining over since its launch.  This is so quick and effective, I don’t see how that dryer could make it work any better.

Amika Polished Perfection Mini Straightening Brush:  buy this.  Now.

–Jackie

ABH Subculture and ABA Prism Palettes. Congrats on the Promotion, Chicklet.

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I have been working like CRAZY the last couple of weeks.  When I say that I’ve been working like crazy, I mean I’ve worked eleven of the last twelve days and have logged WELL over 100 hours of actual time spent at work.  I’m exhausted, I’m cranky, and I’ve never been more thankful to have two days off than I am right now.  Everything has taken a back seat to work and sleep.  Basically, I wake up, I go to work, I come home, I crash.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  I missed my three-year wedding anniversary last week.  My best friend was in town over the weekend, and we didn’t even see one another, and he was staying at my apartment.  Today is my first day off in what seems like forever, and I’m spending it blogging and drinking lots of coffee at my local coffee shop.  Later I’m probably going to take myself for a pizza date and maybe a fancy cocktail at the bar next door to my coffee shop.

Somewhere in all the chaos of the last couple of weeks, I got a promotion.  I had one day off, spent it sleeping and making a vain attempt at cleaning my apartment, and when I got back to work the next day, I got called into the office and promoted.  I’m a chef now.  The cooks have to call me chef (actually, I don’t let them because I think that sounds weird).  This is a pretty good cap to a year that started off really shitty, if I’m totally honest.  I also like the timing.  My old boss is out promoting his new cookbook that I wrote, and it comes out in the next few days.  My finances took a huge hit writing that, and he was such an a**h*le about the entire process (and about the thousands of dollars I’m convinced he wasn’t going to pay me for the work), that I can’t help but remark on the timing of everything that just happened.  I’m excited for the promotion, and I celebrated with a reward purchase of two eyeshadow palettes I sure didn’t need but definitely feel like I’ve earned.

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Yes, I bought Prism and Subculture.  I knew I wanted Prism as soon as I saw it.  I mean, seriously.  Just look at Throne and Osiris.  I was on the fence about Subculture, but since I’ve always tapped my brush into shadows and not swirled it around like a person who just wants to waste product and get powder everywhere, I went for it.  I know people either love or hate that palette, and I happen to love the way the mattes look in it.  These two look like they will complement each other nicely, and, hey, I just worked 100+ hours and got a promotion.

As far as Prism is concerned, the quality is what you expect from Anastasia Beverly Hills.  The metallics in the palette feel almost like a gel when you touch them.  The mattes are a little bit chalky, but they still blend out nicely, and there is a ton of pigment in the majority of the shades.  Sphere is the most chalky of the bunch, but it’s still workable.  It’s a neon, and there’s a ton of white in it, but you’ll still need a white base under it to see the full intensity.  I think it will look brilliant as an inner corner highlight or underneath the eye.  The only real dud is obsidian.  They’re saying it’s black, but it’s certainly not the blackest black I’ve used, and it’s a little patchy when swatched to be honest.  It’s certainly not a deal-breaker, as I have many different blacks in my collection.  Swatches on me and descriptions from the website are below.  Ignore my burn scars.  I’m not a cutter–just a cook.

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Left to right:  Lucid (duo chrome white gold with pink reflect), Eden (ultra-matte coral pink), Unity (ultra-matte nude ochre), Sphinx (metallic warm bronze), Osiris (duo chrome midnight violet with red reflect), Sphere (ultra-matte electric green yellow), Obsidian (ultra-matte deep black), Dimension (duo chrome silver grey with pink reflect), Parallel (ultra-matte truffle), Pyramid (metallic yellow gold with green reflect), Throne (duo chrome blackened blue-green with multicolor reflect), Saturn (ultra-matte terracotta), Eternal (metallic violet copper), Lure (ultra-matte ashy lilac)

Now, here’s what I have to add to the descriptions:  Eden is your standard peachy pink shade.  Sphinx is a super creamy bronze with purple shimmer.  Obsidian, as I said earlier, is more grey than black.  Dimension is a very sheer silver with a pinkish-purple shift that I think will look amazing on my green eyes.  Pyramid is a true gold with green shimmer.  Throne (my favorite) is a green with a black base and multicolor shimmer.  Eternal is a copper with almost the same purple shimmer as Sphinx.

For anyone who owns Modern Renaissance and has touched the shade Vermeer, then you know how the metallics in here feel.  Texture-wise, this palette is very similar to Modern Renaissance, so I anticipate that it will be much easier to work with than Subculture.

Speaking of Subculture, here are the swatches on my arm and descriptions from the interwebs:

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Left to right: Cube (duo chrome pink pearl), Dawn (ultra-matte sand), Destiny (ultra-matte sage green), Adorn (metallic bronze), All Star (ultra-matte vintage wine), Mercury (ultra-matte slate grey), Axis (ultra-matte blue-green), Roxy (ultra matte muted coral), Electric (duo chrome lime-gold), Fudge (ultra-matte warm bronze), New Wave (ultra-matte citron orange), Untamed (ultra-matte tarnished green), Edge (ultra-matte gold mustard), Rowdy (ultra-matte blackened purple)

Cube is the almost nonexistent shimmery shade on the far left that is closest to my wrist.  It has potential as a topper, but not much otherwise for me.  Overall, I find the descriptions of these shades to be very true to my results.  These behave almost like a softly pressed pigment.  The blues and greens in Subculture are very intense.  Axis stained my arm and made for some difficult removal.  Untamed and Rowdy were not far behind it in that respect.

The color payoff in Subculture is superior to that in Prism, but Prism is by no means bad.  If anything the shades have more slip to them and blend easier than those in Subculture.  The colors in Subculture do not seem to be firmly pressed in the pans, and even just moving my fingers around to pick up color for swatches dislodged quite a bit more product than was necessary before I got the hang of how to handle the eyeshadow.  I don’t know how travel-friendly these would be, and I don’t intend to find out.  It seems like a good drop could shatter them.

(Edit:Two days after typing up my initial draft, I wore several shades in Subculture for a night out. Here’s my takeaway of eight hours of wear over UD Primer Potion. A VERY light hand yielded intense color payoff.  A working knowledge of color theory is a must when dealing with these colors.  I used Axis and All Star beside one another and and was very careful to not mix them lest become a muddy gray brown color. Rowdy on top of All Star works fine. That lightened All Star and the shade became an orange-ish pink. Cube actually made a cool highlight when light hit it.  I didn’t find the shadow itself to be difficult to work with, but I went in knowing if I barely tapped a brush into a pan, I would have plenty of product for my needs. My big beef with the palette is the shadow began to wear off along the crease of my eye.  This doesn’t generally happen to me. By the time I got home I had a semi-circular line on each lid where the shadow had just disappeared from. Everything else looked fine.)

I know some people are saying that these palettes look the same, but I honestly don’t see it.  I’ll concede that Roxy and Eden are dupes for one another.  So are Fudge and Parallel, but those are neutrals, so who really cares.  As far as everything else, the undertones look different to me, and the shimmers in some similar-looking shades are quite different when worn.  I don’t think these palettes look the same, but I do think they were designed to play really well with one another.

Here are side by sides of all the possible dupes I could think of in the palettes:

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Left to right:  Eden (Prism), Roxy (Subculture), Unity (Prism), Dawn (Subculture), Sphinx (Prism), Eternal (Prism), Adorn (Subculture), Parallel (Prism), Fudge (Subculture)

Eden and Roxy are virtually identical, but Roxy is more intense.  Unity and Dawn look similar in the pan, but Dawn shows up more mustard than Unity.  Sphinx and Adorn are similar, but Adorn has more gold in it, and Sphinx is more purple.  Parallel and Fudge are basically the same, but, like I said, it’s a brown neutral.  Who cares.

Here’s a shot of all the shades side by side:

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Top (left to right):  Lucid, Eden, Unity, Sphinx, Osiris, Sphere, Obsidian, Dimension, Parallel, Pyramid, Throne, Saturn, Eternal, Lure
Bottom (left to right):  Cube, Dawn, Destiny, Adorn, All Star, Mercury, Axis, Roxy, Electric, Fudge, New Wave, Untamed, Edge, Rowdy

I will say that I love the shade range and color variety here but hate the layout of these palettes, but that’s neither here nor there for me since I’m going to depot them anyway.  I’ll just put them in a Z-palette in a way that inspires me, but each is cohesive if you think about it with some color theory in your reasoning.  I just hope the shades in Subculture don’t shatter when I try to remove them from the palette.  I use an induction burner to depot my shadows, and the method is pretty idiot proof, so if anyone is curious, you can read about how I do it by clicking here.

I certainly don’t think that anyone needs BOTH of these.  They’re $42.00 each, and if only one of them is speaking to you, just buy one.  The cost of this purchase with tax was $91.46 bringing my yearly Sephora total to $1,000.34.  That’s still not enough to reach VIB Rouge status because Sephora doesn’t include tax in their calculations like I’ve been doing.  I didn’t set out to reach VIB Rouge again this year, but at this point, I’m so close that I’ll just buy the Hourglass primer that I’m out of and one or two other things and be there.  Yeah, that’s a ton of money, but I have to reiterate that I spent nearly four times that amount at Sephora last year.  I’m still calling this exercise a win, and now I’m off to play with my new array of shadows.

–Jackie

The Foundation Purchase that Turned into a Mini Haul.

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I’ve been getting low on foundation for some time now, and I’ve been going back and forth on what kind I should buy.  I’ve used Diorskin Nude since 2008 or so, and it’s amazing.  It works extremely well, doesn’t break me out, and I always come back to it after I try anything new.  The coverage I get from it is medium but buildable, it looks natural, and it lasts all day on me.

My skin has decided to be unusually cooperative for the last couple of months, so I’ve not had many acne scars or discoloration I’ve had to worry about.  I started using tinted moisturizers for work (I favor Tarteguard) because I see no point in wearing foundation to work when it costs fifty bucks for a bottle, my skin already looks good, and I’m just going to sweat off whatever foundation I came in with by the end of the night.

I got a sample of the Vanish foundation stick from Hourglass in a Play box a couple of months ago and was blown away by how good it was.  To my pleasant surprise, the shade they sent was a perfect match for my skin, so I’ve been using it to death.  The coverage I get from this foundation is extremely full, yet so natural-looking and so lightweight when it’s blended that I can’t understand how it works.  I used the sample all over my face, blended it out with a brush, and went back in to use it as a concealer under my eyes and around my chin.  It works as a concealer yet looks completely natural.  It’s bizarre.  To be sure, there were a couple of cons, so I went back and forth on deciding between Vanish and Diorskin Nude for a month before I took the plunge and cheated on my old, faithful foundation.

To be quite honest, this stuff ain’t cheap.  It’s $46.00 for a quarter ounce versus $50.00 for an ounce of my usual from Dior, but given how full the coverage is, a little should go a long way.  I also refuse to wear this to work because it HAS to be set with powder, and I don’t wear powder to work.  I find it gets a little slippy on me, otherwise, so I’m just going to stick to Tarteguard for work and Hourglass for my days off.  That will buy an even longer product life.

Part of what also influenced my decision is that Sephora online was running a limited time special and threw in a mini of the Veil Mineral Primer for only a few bucks more than the foundation stick.  A mini of this retails for $19.00, and I got both for $52.00.  I’ve tried it before and hated it at first, but after the second deluxe sample I’ve gotten of it, I think I kind of like it.  The mini version here should give me enough product to form an actual opinion on this.  Like everything from Hourglass, a full-size isn’t cheap.  It’s $54.00 for an ounce, and I already love their Ambient Light primers, so I doubt I’ll commit to a full-size of Veil.

I also bought the mini version of a hair tool I’ve been looking at for months.  I’ve wanted the Amika straightening brush since I saw it ages ago, but couldn’t commit.  The mini one popped up in Sephora’s “Just Arrived” section, and I jumped on it.  I figured if this works decently, I may just buy the full-sized one.  It was $35.00.  There’s a review of it coming in the next few days.  It’s changed my life, and I love it.

I also used 100 points for an UD Naked Skin liquid highlighter in the shade Sin.  I’ve heard mixed reviews on the highlighters, so I’m happy to get a smaller size to try, and Sin is one of my favorite shades of all time from the brand.

I rarely get the 500 point rewards because I think most of them are marginally okay, at best, but I decided to spring for one from Boscia:

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It has a number of products that I’ve already used and knew that I liked and the Charcoal Pore Pudding that I’ve had my eye on for some time.

Included in the reward are the following items:
–Luminizing Black Mask (love it)
–Thermal Black Cleanser (love it)
–Porefecting White Charcoal Mattifying Treatment Primer (like it)
–Revitalizing Black Hydration Gel (love it)
–Charcoal Pore Pudding (new to me)

I’ve already taken a hard dive into using the things in the reward box, so I’ll post reviews as I finish them up.

The total for this online shopping trip was $94.73, so that brings my yearly total to $908.88.

–Jackie

Living Proof No Frizz Nourishing Oil. I Don’t Technically NEED This.

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Okay, I suppose I should be honest about this.  I’m going to buy it regardless of whether I lie to myself and you or not.

I use frizz serum pretty much daily.  If I leave my house on a humid day without any in, I’ll start to look like a poodle within minutes, so frizz serum has been a staple in my life since, and I kid you not, sixth grade.  I’ve used a lot of them.

The first was good old Frizz-Ease that was all the rage in the mid-nineties.  After that I moved onto trying various others, but none of them really stood out as anything exceptional.  They all basically feel like an oil that coats your hair and keeps it from going too crazy when the humidity goes up.  I finally settled on one from L’oreal, and I’ve used it for the last four or five years.  It’s cheap, I get a ton of product, and it lasts forever.  I need only two or three bottles a year.

This stuff doesn’t work any better than my L’oreal, and that one doesn’t work any better than Frizz-ease or any other frizz serum I’ve tried, and it’s stupifying to me that I’m seriously entertaining buying it when a 3.4 ounce bottle costs $38.00.  I mean, there’s a smaller 0.85 ounce option available for $20.00, but why not just go all in.  It’s way cheaper.

The only reason I’ll buy this when my L’oreal serum runs out, which will likely happen some time in December or early January, is the SMELL.  I know I’ve said this every single time I’ve finished anything by Living Proof, but I wish they would bottle this smell as a perfume.  I dearly love it.  It’s so fresh and citrusy and just generally wonderful.

I don’t mind supporting the company, either.  Overall, their products do exactly what they claim to do.  Sure, they’re expensive, but I find with this you truly get what you pay for.  I don’t spend a ton of money on shampoo because my oily hair necessitates that I wash it daily, but every so often I splurge, and their shampoos and conditioners are fantastic.  And there’s that SMELL.  They make my hair manageable and soft.  Yeah, there are a few dud products in their line, but the vast majority of the time, I know I’m going to get a product that performs when I shell out the cash.

I feel like their shampoos, conditioners, and styling products (especially the Night Cap Overnight Perfector) genuinely outperform anything else on the market that I’ve tried.  I can’t say the same for this.  It works as well as any other frizz serum I’ve used, but it’s not noticeably better.

My thick hair requires an amount the size of a quarter.  This works great when I use a dryer and a flat iron on my hair, but I still need extra curl cream or wave spray when I let it air dry.  My hair gets REALLY frizzy when I do nothing with it, and it’s been that way since I was a child.  If it’s not humid out, this keeps my hair looking sleek and smooth all day.  On a hot summer day in the city in August, not so much.  As soon as I start to sweat, my hair begins to frizz, but this helps control it more than if I used nothing at all.  It eventually reaches a point where the frizz doesn’t get any worse, but that’s generally when my hair starts to get obviously sweaty and begins to gross me out.

The honest truth of the matter is that I can say the same thing about virtually any frizz serum I’ve used over the last twenty years.  I’m going to replace the L’oreal one with this one that costs five times as much for half as much product purely because I love the way it smells, and the smell lingers in my hair.  Although, now that I just typed that last sentence and really put things into perspective, maybe I won’t shell out that kind of cash.

There you have it:  This frizz serum is great because of the way it smells, but you’re going to be hard-pressed to call it obviously better than Frizz-Ease or any other similar product.  I can’t tell you to not buy it because I’m most likely going to own it soon, but just accept that you, like me, are just buying it for the smell.

Living Proof No Frizz Nourishing Oil:  I don’t need you, specifically, but I’m going to buy you.

–Jackie

Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder. Simply the Best.

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There’s a reason why everyone uses this stuff:  you’re going to be hard -pressed to find anything better than it is.

When I set my makeup with this, it doesn’t budge.  Primer, foundation, concealer, and this, and I am good, quite literally, all day.  My foundation doesn’t settle, and until temperatures start to creep toward the high eighties, it doesn’t melt off.  I don’t know what’s in this jar, but it’s magical.  It also keeps me matte most of of they day like other powders just can’t.  I don’t joke when I say I stay matte for almost nine hours on days with good weather.

It lasts forever, too.  That jar in the picture was bought in April 2015, and it lasted until August 2017.  If you don’t bake (and I don’t), the plastic on the jar will weaken before the product inside is gone.  At least that’s what happened to mine.  I dropped it on the floor a few months back, and the side of the screw top broke off.  A few weeks later, another piece just fell off.  I was thankful that the jar was almost finished by this point.

It takes almost no powder to set your makeup.  I tap a little bit into the cap, swirl a powder brush around in it, tap the excess back into the cap, and tap the brush across my forehead.  I repeat the process for each cheek, and that’s all I need.  Going crazy with this powder is also ill-advised.  You’ll end up looking ghostly if you’re not careful, and flashback in photos is pretty much a given.

And speaking about tapping product into the cap, this stuff is super finely milled, so you’ll end up with half the jar in the top of the cap if it happens to get turned sideways in your travel bag.  The best way I have found to combat this is to not remove the little plastic film covering the holes through which the powder is dispensed.  I take a safety pin or needle or any sharp, pointy object and break the film over half of the holes.  Then I either run the needle around the holes to enlarge them or use a hair pin.  Yeah, it takes a little bit more work to get the product out of the jar when you need it, but you don’t end up with a giant mess in the cap when you’re not expecting it, and given how little product it takes to actually set your makeup, you’re not out THAT much more effort.

I currently don’t own another of these powders, and I’m missing it greatly.  I bought a travel size of the Kat von D setting powder to try out, and I swore I would use it all before I bought another one of the LM powders, but I just don’t know if I can keep that promise.  The Kat von D isn’t bad by any means, but I just like this one better.  I feel like it keeps me more matte.

If you’ve never tried it, go out and get a travel size at $23.00 for a third of an ounce.  Given it’s lifespan, that will last you at least six months and you’ll have plently of time to form an opinion about it.  Then go out and buy the full-size for $38.00 for an ounce.  Yes, that’s quite a bit of pocket change for a jar of powder, but it lasts forever, and it’s totally worth it.  They’re even making it for darker skin tones now, so everyone is covered.

Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder:  Yes, I love it, and yes, I need it.

–Jackie

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

Lancôme Drama Liqui-Pencil Long Wear Eyeliner. These Things Rock.

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I freely admit that I’m a loyalist when it comes to Urban Decay eyeliners.  They don’t come off.  The shade range is extensive, and I just love them.  However, I bought a blue green shade of the Drama Liqui-Pencils about a year ago, and, I’m here to say, I’m slowly becoming a convert.

These may be the smoothest pencil liners I’ve ever tried.  There’s no skipping or tugging.  The colors are intense, and they do. not. fade.  Removal is hard even with eye makeup remover, but I don’t care.  They last all day, and they don’t irritate my contacts, which has started to become a problem for me over the last three years.  I can’t use certain shades from Urban Decay anymore because I’ll turn into a teary-eyed mess.  Perversion is out.  Woodstock is no more.

These are great, too, because I like the amount of time I get to work with them before they set.  I find I get about a minute, which is enough time for me to smudge one eye and move onto the other.

I adore the metallics in this range, which is why I picked up two when I was in Sephora the other day.  They were on sale, and no, I didn’t need them, but the price was just too good to pass up.  Ampoulé is the metallic purple I’ve been dreaming about (Bright purple! Pink micro-glitter!), and Forêt Enchantée is a dark green metallic with micro-glitter in it.  I can’t wait to try them out.

I have no real complaint about these liners in general.  My only minor gripe is that they can be a little difficult to sharpen if you’re using an old and/or dull pencil sharpener.  The product is really soft, and before I bought a new sharpener, my first one would just kind of break off in the sharpener before I could get a decent tip on the pencil.  That’s not something I was happy about given the $23.00 price tag on these puppies.  I replaced my sharpener on a whim one day, and the problem magically went away the next time I used my blue-green liner.  That put them right back in the running for the best liner ever.

I picked these up for $15.00 each, so with tax I spent $32.66 on my last outing.  That brings my yearly total $814.15.  I’m almost out of foundation, so I’m going to have to get some soon.  I’m quite torn between my usual one from Dior and the stick foundation from Hourglass.  Suggestions? Anyone?

–Jackie