JOAH Eye Candy Auto Eyeliner

Not bad for an impulse CVS buy! I actually had never even heard of JOAH, which would make sense because they’re a CVS-only brand and I very rarely step into CVS. Apparently inspired by Korean beauty, JOAH is made by the same people who make… um… press-on nails. Despite my misgivings about the latter piece of information, I’m really impressed with this eyeliner.

This $7 eyeliner doesn’t exactly have a robust color shade range to choose either in-store or online from at CVS itself (Black, Blackest Black, and Dark Brown were the only ones available in both cases), although their website, weirdly, has three more shades. In any case, I was in luck since dark brown is usually my go-to. The pencil itself feels somehow luxurious — it has fancy gold lettering, smooth and somewhat soft body that makes it easy to hold. You can “turn” the bottom of pencil when your liner tip runs low.

Application is smooth. Like, it’s alarmingly impossible for me to screw up lid-lining with this pencil. I think the only real annoying thing about this product is that the it depletes very rapidly, since it is so soft. While dark brown isn’t the most discernible of colors, the color is relatively accurate, without being too dark and muddy to confuse the shade with black. Did I mention it was smooth? No weird smudging going on, here. Usually my eyeliners are notorious for transferring the first time I blink after application, but I didn’t really notice any pigment transferring until about hour five or six, which is pretty good for an eyeliner (and it was light enough for me to just rub off).

Don’t tell anyone, but I still line my waterline, sometimes (I know, so nineties). This is also a phenomenal waterline pencil, since the waterproof aspect of it actually is waterproof, apparently, and won’t come crying off your lid twenty seconds in to application. Again, you might find some pigment transfer after hour five or six, but it’s not substantial. I also didn’t notice any eye sensitivity to this eyeliner — I didn’t experience any burning or irritation.

You can’t tell me Avril Lavigne’s eyeliner still isn’t a look!

Kudos to the people who make press-on nails for pulling this off! They’ve outdone what the bigger brands apparently can’t do very well, which is creating an eyeliner that actually sticks around for more than ten minutes! And, they’re cruelty free, which is awesome! I’ll be back into CVS to check out more of the JOAH brand very soon! ~A

Perceived efficacy: 5/5

Longevity: 4/5

How much I actually like this product: 4.75/5

Bourjois Healthy Mix Anti-Fatigue Foundation

This will be a confusing review because I’m going to list a lot of things that I think are “wrong” with this foundation. But — this is actually one of my favorite foundations that I’ve used!

Right off the bat, this is not a super accessible brand to find in my area. I have to order it from Ebay or Amazon, who ship it from the UK, which guarantees a good ol’ two to three week wait time. Likely because of the shipping involved, I’ve never paid less than $16 for this. Although I need about four pumps of this to fully cover my face, I don’t find myself burning through the product too quickly, so I fortunately don’t need to reorder too often.

My second issue is the shade range. Now — previously I’ve seen some reviews on this brand that the selection of shades wasn’t all that great to begin with, but I just hopped on Bourjois’s website, and it looks like they expanded their range for this foundation. Still, those shades are nearly impossible to find outside of this website — ie: Amazon doesn’t seem to have much in the way of offerings beyond no 58. Then, finding your actual shade seems to be a bit more arduous than other foundations I’ve used. Swatch tests online don’t seem to be anywhere close to what the real color is, and I ended up having to swim through shade 50 to shade 55 to actually determine what my actual shade was. I felt like 51 through 54 were completely the same shade! Final issue was that the colors do skew a bit yellow, or grey, on initial application, but it does oxidize after awhile and seems to fix itself.

Onto the actual application. I would say this is light-medium coverage, but it’s very buildable! I use about three pushes of the applicator for the first pass on my face and rub it in using my fingers. It’s very smooth, and easy to apply. I usually let it dry before applying one more light layer over top. This does have some noticeable settling into fine lines and creases, but nothing that can’t be fixed with a quick touch up, or powder. The dry time is a little bit longer than some other foundations I’ve used, I’ve noticed, but not too bad. And once dried, it’s absolutely smooth sailing for any other product you want to use over it — no pilling, or muddying the other product.

As I mentioned before, the color does skew weirdly yellow or grey at first. But after it’s reacted to the heat of your skin for a few minutes, it seems to dissipate, and matches the skin tone better without the usual orange tint that you tend to get with oxidation (powder also helps, in this case). Coverage, in general, seems to become better after the five minute mark – so if you feel like the color is too light after your first application, you may need to wait a few minutes to see the full effect.

The biggest selling point here is how beautiful the foundation still looks after 12 hours of wear (I know it says 16 hours on the bottle but hey, if it makes it to 8 hours, I’m impressed). REGARDLESS of any product you have underneath or over this foundation, you shouldn’t notice any substantial oil build up or foundation cracking around lines. This really has a phenomenal longevity. Oh, and — this is great for sensitive skin. It doesn’t cause any dryness, itchiness or irritation. No surprise break outs when you remove this, at the end of the day!

I think the only remaining issue I have with this foundation is that I sort of wish it had SPF in it, along with all the other goodies it seems to have (Vitamins B, C, E, and even hyaluronic acid), but I’m probably asking for too much. ūüėČ But this is really my go-to foundation these days. The coverage and longevity are so far unparalleled in this particular price range.

Perceived efficacy: 5/5

Longevity: 5/5

How much I actually like this product: 4.75/5

Recommended for sensitive skin: Yes

Beauty Products and User Subjectivity

I wanted to write a disclaimer on the sidebar about how I am not a doctor or a cosmetologist, I’m simply a beauty product enthusiast, and that all of my opinions should be taken with a grain of salt. Everyone will have a slightly different experience than I did with all of the products I’ve mentioned on this page. But I also wanted to add my personal take on “everyone’s needs are different/everyone is different” and “you should never fully take the advice of someone on the Internet.”

My favorite makeup and skincare YouTubers are Jeffree Star and thataylaa. Jeffree Star is probably my prime example of “everyone is different”. He tries on makeup that he loves, that I generally think is tacky and god awful. Now Jeffree, I’m sure, has sponsorships of all kinds, even if he doesn’t directly promote them. But whether he likes, or dislikes, the product, he makes himself completely clear as to why. His videos allow you to actually see how the product performs alongside his, ah, very opinionated commentary. Whether or not you agree with him, that’s up for you to decide. But I find that his brand of brutal honesty is preferable to most of the other channels that exist, where the creator is seems almost hesitant to mention the drawbacks of the product, likely because they’re trying to upsell in order for you to click their affiliate links.

Next, there’s thataylaa. I also like her for her honesty, and her head-on approach with to dealing with cystic acne: she put her makeup-free face on display for thousands of viewers at it’s very worst, and demonstrated how to use and find makeup for people with similar skin issues. It helped that she had similar skin tone/eye color/hair color as me. As a result, much of my Amazon and Ulta shopping was fueled by her recommendations.

I found Catrice Prime and Fine finishing spray through her! It worked magnificently — until I broke out, read the ingredient list (yep, after buying it, of course… my fault), and noticed it had benzoyl alcohol in it. No, it wasn’t at the very top of the list, so the chances of it being an irritant were slightly less, but I still felt weirdly jilted. I mean, didn’t she know benzoyl alcohol is a common adversary for those who suffer from cystic acne?! How dare she! In the most petty way possible, I felt disappointed in her.

Then I opened my bathroom closet a few days later and realized that my favorite self-tanner had alcohol denat listed somewhere along the second line. But I loved that self-tanner! I was never going to give it up! Double-standards galore. I digress: it made me realize that everyone’s needs and likes are going to be different. Thataylaa probably wasn’t having issues the same way I was with the finishing spray, and why would she? She isn’t me.

So when you read any review, or watch a video that demonstrates the product, just keep in mind. Your results are probably not going to be the same. A popular product won’t always be guaranteed to work for you, just the same as a lower-rated product might be your personal holy grail. I’d take a guess and say that 98% of reviewers are not professionally certified in any way to give a completely accurate dissertation (including myself!), so digest those reviews accordingly. ūüôā ~A

Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Eyeliner

Physicians Formula Shimmer

I am not yet well-practiced at applying liquid eyeliner — in the meantime, I’ve been on the hunt for a non-irritating, long-staying pencil eyeliner. I picked up the pictured trio of light brown, dark brown and black for $7. There’s a couple other shade ranges, most of which revolve around particular eye colors. It’s also worth noting that these do not sell individually, only in packs of three.

This comes in a twist up plastic tube, so there’s no need to sharpen a dulling pencil. Packaging is visually basic, twist up is fine, amount of product is standard.

Application is DIFFICULT!¬†I was scared I’d somehow cut my eyelids open getting this on! You have to press down REALLY hard. The pigment on the lighter shade of brown is non-existent. Even the dark brown needs several — no, MANY, layers of product to “show up”. The black is a little bit better than the dark brown, but not by much. In any case, if you can manage to apply this product, it will seem lightly-colored in comparison to other, same colored eyeliners. There are glitter specks in this product, but they’re very subtle.

The good aspects about these eyeliners is that they have a fantastic longevity, and minimal transfer to the upper eyelid. This stayed on me for 8+ hours with only a very faint trace of the pigment going where it wasn’t supposed to be. Maybe that’s the trick to a long-staying product: near-impossible application.

Another positive about this eyeliner is that it didn’t cause any irritation for me at all. My eyes are very sensitive, and I didn’t experience any burning or itching on or around my eyelids throughout the day.

The good parts about this product make me really want to give this product a positive review since it’s¬†so¬†hard for me to find non-transferring and non-irritating eyeliners. But the application is just… unbelievably difficult. You’ll need more time than usual to apply the product if you want any pigment at all. ~A

Perceived efficacy: 3/5

Longevity: 4.5/5

How much I actually like this product: 2.5/5

Rimmel Scandal’eyes Shadow Stick

Rimmel Scandal Eyes Stick

I really love the idea of non-powder eye shadows, but I can’t ever seem to find one that sticks, not even the internet-coveted Maybelline Color Tattoo. My eyes are very sensitive to powder, so I would¬†love¬†to find a gel-type product that will stick around on my lids.¬†Unfortunately, this product was not the solution to my dilemma.

This is a super cheap buy at $4-5 at most drugstores. I picked up the taupe color that is in the picture, and “bulletproof beige”. It’s a gel-pencil — instead of using powder, you can apply this directly to your eyelids. Because my eyelids tend to, ahem, “sweat”, I applied primer before application to help give this product some more staying power.

Even as I was applying this,¬†both¬†colors, I could BARELY see the pigment, and I felt like no product was even leaving the pencil to begin with. Alright, go over it one more time. Still nothing. Alright, one more time… nope. I could hardly see any color. What little color did appear quickly… disappeared, during my thirty minute commute to work.¬†I used these pencils for about a week to see if maybe I just needed to break through that “new” layer of product to get to the stuff that actually worked. Nope. Still no coloration.

Now, given that it’s a gel-pencil, the same concept as many eyeliners on the market today, I imagine that the darker colors would probably have much better staying power.

To add insult to injury, sharpening this is a nightmare! It’s really difficult to create a new tip, after you’ve worn it down the first time. I’m bummed that this didn’t work. I generally like Rimmel — I’ve been happy with their other Scandal’eyes products, but this product just didn’t work at all. ~A

Perceived efficacy: 1/5

Longevity: 1/5

How much I actually like this product: 1/5

 

Maybelline Master Chrome Metallic Highlighter

Maybelline Master Chrome

Happy New Year, everyone!

The packaging really drew me in, with this product: It just looked so¬†cool¬†and modern…

This comes in four different colored powders: molten gold, molten rose gold, molten peach, molten topaz. I picked up the first two. The coloration on the molten gold was fairly good — gold, as advertised, although it was relatively subtle. The molten rose gold … not so much color. It seemed more like a “bright”/white gold, and I couldn’t really see that there were any tinges of pink.

As I mentioned before, this is a pretty subtle highlighter initially, so you may have to try a couple heavy-handed brush swipes if you want to amp up the brightness. Once the level you want is achieved, it does look quite nice! The powder is pretty consistent throughout the entire package, so you won’t swipe your brush in “too much” glitter at any one point, which I’ve noticed to be a problem with a few products. This consistency gives way to a smooth application, and you shouldn’t need to blend too much of it out.

The longevity was great on this; I’m still glowy by the end of an 8-hour day! For an $8 price point and plenty of product in the dish, this is a good buy. My only gripe with it is the coloration, but I think that’s mostly personal. I don’t think (any) gold really looks good on my skin tone, and I also didn’t feel that the rose gold was pigmented enough. Still, this is a solid buy for anyone looking to add to their daily look, without blinding anyone!¬† ~A

Perceived efficacy: 4/5

Longevity: 5/5

How much I actually like this product: 4/5

Maybelline Volum’express The Falsies Mascara

Maybelline Falsies.JPG

For as long as I’ve been interested in makeup, I’ve been impulse buying Maybelline mascara based on the cute packaging and the occasionally deceptive makeup buzzwords that make me think this mascara is going to change my life. The Falsies is no exception, although it does appear that it delivers on it’s product names’ promise!

This comes in a really cute purple tube and retails anywhere between $4 and $13 (low end was Target on a sale day, high end was Ulta, who almost always overprices all of their product anyway). The wand is fairly long and has quite a few bristles to pick up more of the product. Apparently this also comes in four different colors including brown and blue, but I’ve only ever seen “Very Black” in stores.

Application is fairly good, since there are a lot of bristles you will get a lot of color and product on the first swipe or two. But, also by nature of having a lot of bristles on the wand, I would also advise you go light-handed because having all of that product = potential to clump! Although this mascara is admittedly pretty easy to separate lashes once the clumping occurs.

The overall effect of this is actually pretty good. This probably provides some of the longest length I’ve ever seen in a mascara, and the volume is pretty good as well. You don’t really need more than two or three coats to get the true false eyelash effect.

Now, the longevity… meh. This stuff has some pretty bad fallout from start to finish. Most of the mascara’s effect will remain with you throughout an 8 hour period stretch, but over that period I’ve ended up flicking away quite a bit of black dust from my cheek. And that stuff sticks — it’s not like the tiny particles you can just shake off, some of it will end up absorbing into your skin and you’ll have to apply water to get it out. Weirdly, all this said, I didn’t feel like I had any issues with this stuff getting into my eyes, and if it did, it didn’t cause any over-the-top irritation.

So for overall effect, I really like this. I was extremely impressed by the length and the non-spider legs volume approach it took to get there. But if you’re going to wear it, make sure you’re close to a mirror with a sink — it’s not a good “wear it to the office” mascara!

Merry Christmas! I hope all of my readers have had a wonderful holiday season! ~A

Perceived efficacy: 4.5/5

Longevity: 3/5

How much I actually like this product: 3.5/5

Peter Thomas Roth Oilless Oil Squalane

Peter Thomas Roth Oilless Oil

I was looking around to try out squalane oil after Timeless’ squalane broke me out badly. Realistically, these oils probably shouldn’t vary too much from product to product, but what can I say, I’m a glutton for punishment!

Though the bottle is small, you won’t be finding yourself go through the product very quickly, even though you will seemingly end up needing to squeeze out more product than you initially thought (which, by the way, the dropper is impossibly hard to squeeze). It’s very lightweight, and not heavy in the sense that you feel it will really stick on you for a long time. I’m guessing that was the reason for it’s name, “Oilless Oil”. Though citing that the product does not have olives in it, this does smell faintly like a cooking oil.

Application on the skin is relatively easy, although as I mentioned before, I’ve ended up needing to dip back into the bottle to get more product — for an oil, it doesn’t spread very far. That said, it’s extremely absorbent for an oil. It will feel as though you haven’t even applied it after an hour or two, and if you’re careful, you could probably go ahead and start layering other products on over it.  This is actually ideal since squalane works best to penetrate the skin prior to putting on additional products. I personally default to wanting to using squalane an emolliant, instead since I had so much trouble with products pilling in my past run-ins with squalane!

I didn’t break out from this, which was great! But although this product is nice for an added boost of moisturizer, and I appreciate the aspect of not feeling sticky and slimy for more than an hour or two, I don’t really feel that this product is doing anything in the long run. It might be good as an emolliant before you go to bed as a last step if it complies with everything under it, but that’s about it.

I picked this up for a little cheaper than the normal listing price of $22-28 via someone’s destash — I definitely would not pay full price for it, if I actually decided to rebuy!

Perceived efficacy: 2/5

Longevity: 3/5

How much I actually like this product: 3/5

Olay Regenerist Micro Sculpting Cream

Olay Regenerist Micro Sculpting

Wanted to see what the hype was all about, since this is one of the more popular lines of moisturizers on the market. Picked this up online for $13 (Ulta is selling for $28, but Walmart says $10 for the same amount of product, huh? Not sure if it’s a newer formulation or what, but, anyway…). Love the packaging, heavy glass-like bottle and there’s a good amount of product inside.

The product is a really smooth feeling, white cream with very light fragrance. The texture of it is cashmere-ish, as much as a moisturizer can be. I like that about it. It initially looks like it absorbs into the skin pretty well.

Until the next morning, that is. Nice, white patches of “dry” skin start showing up (although it’s actually just dried product). This isn’t an issue if you’re going to hop in the shower and wash the remnants off anyway, but it is ill-advised to wear this out during the day, even though the jar instructs you to use it morning and night. I made this mistake and used this prior to putting makeup on, and then I went to work. Not only did my foundation pill when put over this moisturizer, but it started to pill and dry up on it’s own through the day, causing more little white, “dry” spots on my skin. UGH.

My skin definitely feels softer after using it — likely from the paraffin? — and it looks smoother overall, but these effects are just temporary and disappears once the product is washed off. I’m not convinced that it’s doing anything long-term. I also feel like this would be a problematic product for people with mature or wrinkled skin.  On the plus side, it hasn’t broken me out! It also has niacinamide in it, which is neat, although I’m not sure if it’s enough to make a difference.

This probably will not be a re-buy of mine, but it does feel nice, and isn’t the worst thing on the market as far as night creams go. Just as long as you’re only using it as a night cream… ~A

A note from future A: I forgot to mention that this has benzyl alcohol in the ingredient listing. Not cool!

Perceived efficacy: 3/5

Longevity: 5/5 (although, if used as a day cream, this longevity is actually problematic!)

How much I actually like this product: 3/5

Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Eye Crayon

Marc Jacobs Highliner

What the… why does this get such good reviews? Did I get a faulty product, or something? Oh man.

This is a gel crayon, so I would expect that the color gets applied relatively easily, without having to push down too hard. Not so with this eyeliner. With a surprising amount of force, the color does come out¬†okay, I guess, but not as thick and rich as other gel crayons usually do on the first go. Alright, fine, I guess I’ll just have to go over it a few … more… times. Nothing new to report here, just a normal eyeliner with slightly shinier packaging at a super high price point ($20-$25!!!!), with normal black coloration and harder-than-usual force required to apply it.

I wore this eyeliner over three days. Two with my Lash Paradise mascara (which doesn’t irritate my eyes or flake very often), and one day without anything (I know, I know, eyeliner without mascara is apparently a makeup sin). Every single one of those days, my eyes¬†burned¬†and subsequently started to tear up after fifteen minutes. This is never a good situation to be in when you’ve just hopped into your car for a forty minute commute.¬†This eyeliner is not for people with sensitive eyes!¬†I cannot stress that enough. Either that, or I really did buy a defective product. But I’ve applied so many other eyeliners onto my eyelids — heck, I’ve even used them on my waterline — without tearing the way I did with Highliner, so I know it’s not me being sensitive to eyeliners in general.

When I was stuck to carry out the sentence of having this on my eyes for a little bit longer than usual sitting at work, I noticed that it started to transfer onto my upper lid after two hours of wear, even with finishing spray and primer/concealer having been applied underneath, so the longevity was trash, as well.

There are better eyeliners out there for people with sensitive eyes. There are better, easier to apply and smooth eyeliners,¬†period.¬†This product is absolutely not worth the price — or any price, at all. ~A

Perceived efficacy: 1/5

Longevity: 1/5

How much I actually like this product: 0/5.