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Eyebrow Pencils for Blondes!

8 May

If you’ve not kept up on this or my other blog, or are just stumbling across this entry, I am recovering from cancer – or, more accurately, recovering from chemotherapy. I haven’t lost my eyebrows completely, but they are definitely gappy and bare in spots. Balding, I guess you could say. Since this begun happening, I have tried many, many different eyebrow pencils.

I have naturally very ashy, dirty blonde hair. Dishwater blonde is the PERFECT term for it because it really is a grayish-light brown like dirty dishwater. I have highlighted it (and occasionally colored it a totally different color) since I was 16 because really, it’s just mousy. People have repeatedly told me my hair might come in a different color and my attitude has basically been, BRING IT, because I can’t think of a more unattractive hair color than my natural color pre-cancer.

With that said, my eyebrows are a similar color. And guess what? No one seems to make an eyebrow pencil in that perfect shade of mousy grey-brown. Trust me because, again, I have tried LOTS.

So far, I have found five that come as close as I can hope, but I can only recommend three of them. Here are the contenders, with two that don’t rate combined into one, as they’re from the same manufacturer and I think maybe one has been discontinued.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Definer

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Definer
This company used to make a pink eyebrow pencil which I used periodically to enhance my brows. I don’t know the name of it, and I didn’t use it all that frequently, because I’m not really a brow person. Or at least I wasn’t, until I started losing them. Anyhow I don’t see it online anymore, so they must have replaced it with this product. I wouldn’t have recommended it anyhow, because while it was great for filling it natural brows, it didn’t work great for filling in gaps and drawing on brows where there were none – it was a true pencil and was way too hard. This one worked great at first and was a nice color, but it broke within a few uses – I mean, first the tip broke off and then when I tried twisting it to get more, the entire colored portion simply fell out of the barrel. Very poor execution, especially for a $23 product.

estee lauder brow

Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Brow Lift Duo
The color on this is great – blonde brown for the win. Gives me enough color and a very fine-tipped pencil, great for simulating actual hair. Nice and soft, so easy to apply. Only complaint: I have no idea what to do with the other end, which I believe is a “highlighter” (?). A brush would have been far more useful to me, and allowed room for much more pencil.

wander brow

Wander Beauty Frame Your Face Micro Brow Pencil
Gets right the only thing the Estée Lauder brush gets wrong – nice little brush on the opposite end. Everything else is comparable, except they do offer TWO blonde choices – “blonde” and “taupe.” Although “taupe” claims to be for “ash to auburn” (i.e., me), I went with blonde and was not disappointed. I guess you should make your decision based on how strong/defined you want your brows to be. I just wanted mine to exist. Anyway, this is such a great product that I carry it in my purse for emergency re-dos.

tarte brow

Tarte Amazonian Clay Waterproof Brow Pencil
This is probably my favorite of the pencils, but as a disclaimer, I do love Tarte and find most of their products to be my favorites. Comes in “taupe,” which is a very nice match to my brows, smooth application, color stays in the barrel, long-lasting, and a nice li’l brush on the end. If you’re looking for a pencil with which to fill in gaps/draw on missing brows, I suggest you try this first – a nice soft pencil with a chill color.

This has been your cancer beauty update.

Signing off, Chemo Kate

Perricone MD No Mascara Mascara

27 Jul

perricone no mascara

I am going to TRY to start blogging more often, although they will have to be short and sweet, because having two kids under 2 is not affording me a lot of time to myself. But I miss reviewing beauty products, and lord knows I certainly haven’t stopped buying them, so I should be doing something useful with this knowledge!

I have a new go-to mascara! No, Tarte didn’t p me off (I still love you Tarte!) I just like to change things up now and then. More often now than then. Anyhow.

Enter Perricone MD No Mascara Mascara. I do not understand the bad reviews on Amazon – this stuff is the shiznit. Here are the things it does:

  • lengthens
  • thickens
  • only needs one coat
  • looks natural
  • comes off easily with soap and water, leaving no residue
  • is long-wearing

And here are the things it doesn’t do:

  • smudge
  • make my lashes feel stiff or unnatural
  • cake or clump
  • flake

No brainer! Absolutely love this mascara – it’s my new go-to!

Ooh La, Rue La!

26 Jun

Ah the subscription model of shopping. I am a sucker, and I LOOOOVE getting packages. Plus it’s a great way to try out new products without having to invest in full sizes.

So far, I am a member both of  BeautyBar Sample Society and Birchbox. And then, cause you know, I like to share the wealth, I also signed up for BarkBox. FOR MY DOG.

sample society

If you decide to sign up for BeautyBar Sample Society after seeing this, please consider using my referral code – kate78 – so I can get credit!

birchboxbarkbox

Then my friend Cait mentioned Glossybox to me. I have been meaning to look into it but not had a chance yet.

WELL.

Today, Rue La La is offering a DEAL on Glossybox – $40 for a $100 membership. WHAT! So yeah. I signed up. And maybe, if you’re anything like me, you should too.

rue la la glossybox

If you’re a member of a similar program, please share the details and your referral code below, or tweet it to me @kate78, #lipglosslife!

Naked Princess/theBalm Mary-Lou Manizer/October’s Birchbox

19 Nov

I kinda love Birchbox. And by that I mean I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with them. I am always excited to get my surprise box of samples in the mail. I am always excited to open it. But I am only sometimes excited by the samples inside. I have to stay faithful to them, because they did introduce me to my favorite hair product ever, Orofluido. And I have NEVER been faithful to a hair product as long as I have to Orofluido. It’s truly the best. But sometimes their boxes are just meh. However, they can’t have a home run every month, I guess, so I try to be patient.

Well last month’s box was not just a home run, but a straight up grand slam. TWO products I love AND a product so ridiculous that it’s blog worthy. How much more can a girl ask for?!?

First the good – theBalm cosmetics Mary-Lou Manizer. Super cute “luminizer” you’re meant to be able to use all over your face. I have mentioned before that I am not a fan of anything that makes my face look shiny – it’s not a good look on me. Or, I think, on most women who are not either at a photo shoot or on a runway. But that’s just personal opinion, so take it with a grain of salt. That said, I DID use it as an eyeshadow and it is DARLING! A lovely, shiny gold color, just enough to be noticeable without being overbearing or too fancy. A perfect every day shadow. My main issue with this one is the cartoon woman on the front of the packaging, who looks just like this girl I used to know and hate. I might scribble her face out or something to make it easier for me to use it. Otherwise, a great product.

Next, the even better – Naked Princess Naked Shine Lip Gloss. Okay, again, main issue is very superficial – the name. “Naked Princess?” Are you effing serious? What…. I don’t… Okay moving on. The color I received was called Barely Nude and it is SO fabulous! It really is very nude, but shiny shiny, soft, not sticky, and smells like white chocolate! I can’t say enough good things about this gloss. If you’re looking for a sweet, pretty, simple, every day gloss, you found it. I went on Amazon and bought several more in different colors and I don’t regret a one. I am, however, embarrassed to tell people the name. Naked Princess… Jesus.

And finally, the most hilarious – tili Bags Small. Ahhahahaha, ahhhhahahahahaha, hahahaha, haha, ha – you’re kidding, right? Because I see you calling it a “Lifestyle extra” and a “stylish reusable bag” but it’s actually a crappy Ziploc, not even as heavyweight as the Hefty Zip bags I use, and it’s kinda ugly, and you’re trying to sell me 12 of them for $8.50, when I can get 22 heavier weight and more see-through Hefty quart-size bags for $2.68. (Let me break that down for you – that’s 12¢ for a Hefty bag, or 71¢ for a “tili” fashion bag. Made of plastic. Exactly like the Hefty bag. But not as heavyweight.) I just couldn’t let this one go, Birchbox. Super silly. Nice try, though.

Anyhow, all that said, last month was a real coup for the Birchbox! Two awesome items, one HEElarious item, and one happy shopper. Well done!

 

Too Faced Better Than False Lashes Nylon Lash Extension System

18 Nov

In a word: weird.

I suck at putting on false eyelashes, and for the most part, there’s really no reason for me to do so. I am genetically blessed with lovely, curly natural lashes that only require some darkening and thickening to look almost as good as fake on their own. Nonetheless, there are times when I want that over the top, mascara ad look that can only be accomplished with falsies, and I have absolutely no luck applying them. It takes me hours, I end up with glue everywhere, and about 60% of the time eventually just give up.

So when I saw this “Lash Extension System” from Too Faced (whom I like a lot) at Sephora, of COURSE I thought, “Well why the hell not?” Date night with the huzz Friday was the perfect excuse to try it out.

The positive: my eyelashes looked awesome, no doubt. They did NOT look like fake lashes, nor did they look anything like the lashes on the box. But they looked damned good – better than any just-mascara-alone has ever made them look. Thick, long, and black as night.

The negative: everything else. You have to do about 4 coats all told for the entire process to be complete: base, weird fibrous middle, then 2 top coats. That alone is a deal breaker for me, because I just don’t have the time to do four coats of anything. Another problem is the stuff flakes off under your eyes (just a tiny bit, I have seen worse), and is VERY hard to remove. I was still taking it off the next day – probably another issue related to the whole four coats thing.

But none of those things are the worst thing. The worst thing is the weird, fibrous middle coat. Oh god just thinking of it actually makes me shudder a little.

It is white and like cotton candy. For some reason I thought it would be at least moist, but it’s not. It’s dry as paper. So you use a mascara wand to apply a dry, white, cotton-candy-esque – god I can’t even think of a word to describe it – COAT of stuff to your eyelashes. And it doesn’t stick too well so you’re kind of repeating it again and again wondering if you’re doing it right. It reminds me of the tiny furs on caterpillars. Seriously weird. Anyhow if you make it through this step, which I barely did, you then follow with two coats of the other normal mascara-like stuff on top. And then, as the pièce de résistance, your eyelashes stick together. I don’t mean the top ones stick to each other. I mean the top ones stick to the bottom ones, like a Venus flytrap. And I didn’t even use the caterpillar fur on my lower lashes, for fear of that very thing. It seemed to subside after about an hour – either that or I just stopped noticing – but at first I basically wanted to rip my eyelashes out.

I cannot in good conscience recommend this “system,” no matter how good it makes your lashes look. Maybe if you’re doing a photo shoot or something and can wash it off right away – no, not even then. It gave my eyeballs the creepy crawlies, and that is never okay.

 

Mascara THROWDOWN!

31 Oct

I have been trying different mascaras lately. I don’t know why. Boredom? I just thought, there are so many out there, why not? Largely a disappointing experience, but here are my findings anyhow, in a very short, succinct format.

Chantecaille Faux Cils Mascara
When I bought this, she told me it doesn’t smudge. That is a lie. It does. A lot. It smells like roses and it’s not the worst of the smudgers, but it does end up under my eyes after a long day. Good color, good consistency, easy application, good volume. Too expensive to smudge that way.
3/5 lashes

Eyeko Skinny Brush Mascara
I like the logo for this brand, and I think we all know I’m a sucker for anything pretty or gimmicky. I’m not sure what the thought process was in naming any mascara “skinny” anything, because that seems pretty counterintuitive, but this mascara is actually awesome. I literally just took a nap in it and it looks exactly the same as when I applied it. I have had no smudging issues with it; when it comes off it actually just seems to flake a little, which is way easier to remove than smudging. Color is good, lashes look thick and long. A tiny bit clumpier than I’d prefer but not too bad, and might thicken up with repeated usage. One coat is enough. Only complaint – hard to get off. Really had to scrub it off my eyes.
4.5/5 lashes

Make Up Forever Smoky Lash Mascara in 6 (Purple)
Great mascara. I picked this up at Sephora because I had a hankering for some purple eyelashes. Great application, great staying power, easy to remove, little to no smudging, BUT (isn’t there always something?) doesn’t look very purply on. If you look VERY carefully it’s purple, but it’s not jumping off my face purple. The only reason to wear purple mascara is so that people are like, Hey, look at those wild lashes! This doesn’t accomplish that. I may as well just use the black. So as a mascara, 5/5 lashes. As a purple mascara…
3.5/5 lashes

Mally Beauty Volumizing Mascara
The definite winner of the bunch, and a reader/friend submission at that! Wendy F. recommended I try this brand after one of my other mascara posts, so I did. It’s great! Color is good, application is easy, nice thick lashes with no clumping, one coat does it, easy to remove, minimal smudging, meets pretty much every requirement I have! I am at the end of the tube now, hence my exploration into other types, but if you’re not in the mood to explore and simply want a reliable, standard mascara, I don’t think you can go wrong with this one.
5/5 lashes

On a related note, the first person to tell me what the hell mascara and flagellation have in common wins a prize. EVERY time I write about mascara, WordPress suggests I tag my post with flagellation. I must know why.

Winners, Backlog, & Other Jazz

8 Oct

WOW I am way behind. I have so many reviews to share and just no time lately to do it! Baby is coming in 10 weeks (!) now, so the heat is really on. I’m going to try to cover some ground this week – thanks for bearing with me!

First up, the BUXOM contest closed, but the winner never replied to my emailed request for a mailing address. I gave her a week, but have now announced a new winner – Erina B! Erina, I sent you an email – please reply with your mailing address within the next week, and I’ll get your set out to you. Otherwise, I will draw a new winner next Monday and keep going until I can get a response.

Second, I’ll be posting another blog with a NEW contest (only a week late) – this month the winner will receive a Tarte Statement Lips 5-piece LipSurgence Collector’s Set! I LOOOVE the Tarte Lip Crayons and I think you will too. Another of Kate’s favorite things! Sorry I can’t give you a car like Oprah, but it’s a close second, right?

Finally, reviews. Hoo boy, I have some reviews! Before bed lip gloss, bath bombs, a certain subscription sale site that begins with a Z, and pregnancy in general. Is there something you’d specifically like me to test and review? Please let me know! You can comment, Tweet, or email me with ideas. I know I owe Shari a liquid eyeliner review, and I will work on that tout suite.

Okay, next up – contest blog! Thanks again for your patience, lovelies!