March 13, 2013

The Mascara Hunt: No7 Exceptional Definition Mascara

I buy new mascara 4-6 times a year, sometimes because of a recent cold, or just when it's that time (old, crusty mascara is awful). I'm not so good at dumping old cosmetics, except for mascara. I will always remember something a friend's older sister told me when I was 13 years old. Mascara needs to be replaced often because it's "germy." Whether or not mascara is truly germy, I follow this advice.

Though I buy mascara more frequently than other cosmetics, I'm not satisfied with what is available at most retail stores. Before having cancer, any old mascara would do. My lashes were just fine. They only needed a touch up at the far ends. After cancer, I lost a few lashes that never grew back and a couple that did aren't lining up as nicely as they did in my younger days. I'm on a hunt for a mascara that doesn't cost more than $15 and touches up the color, separates the lashes, and doesn't clump.

Most mascaras seem to have some sort of a marketing gimmick. Mascara to thicken, lengthen, curl, grow, define, or do it all in one tube. It's nuts since most seem to be all hype. The last few times I've bought mascara, it's just been the old standard, Maybelline Great Lash. It works just fine but it doesn't wow me. The only mascara to wow me is one by Lancome, which I tried during a Look Good Feel Better workshop. I love makeup but when I might need a new central air system, or shoes for work, that's a bit bigger of a splurge than I'm comfortable making up to six times a year.

At Target this evening, I browsed the No7 section, noting that many items were on clearance. The company appears to be reworking their product line and clearing out previous items. Since I'm in need of mascara again, I picked the Exceptional Definition Mascara in Brown/Black.

No7 Exceptional Definition Mascara

As you can see below, my eyelashes aren't exactly full and dark without mascara. When I was younger, they really were long and thick. Amazing what chemo does to one's hair. I almost always wear mascara when I leave the house. It helps me feel awake and pretty. I think I look tired without it.

Lashes before mascara

See below for the "after" photo. I'm pretty happy with this mascara. My lashes look much better, more defined, darker without looking fake. There are no clumps either. It's a win for an everyday mascara. I'd probably go with something than thickens more for events and portrait sessions, but that's not too often. Unfortunately, if this mascara is clearance because it's being phased out, I'm going to have to find another one in a few months. I'm hoping No7 will replace it with something that's just as good or better.

Lashes after mascara, closed

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March 5, 2013

Sinful Colors Polish Review

I recently cleared out my stash of nail polish, tossing the very old bottles and reorganizing my manicure box. Many of what remains belong to the Sinful Colors polish collection. With a price under $2 a bottle and dozens of color choices, it's my go-to brand for trying a new shade. Penny has helped build the collection, so I now have a few unusual colors.

One of the colors I really like for spring, is the very work-appropriate Sinful Colors 24/7, a muted pink that goes on lightly. To achieve strong color, several coats are necessary.

While I like the color, it's not exactly long-lasting. Granted I did not use a base or top coat, but even without those, I prefer to get at least 24 hours without chipping or rubbing off. I applied the polish in the morning and by late afternoon, it looked as you can see in the photo of my hand below.

With base coat, three color coats, and a top coat, I normally get about three days without chipping, but it's a lot of work. Other Sinful Colors polish colors aren't so frustrating. In our collection at home, we have the following Sinful Colors polishes:

  • Boom Boom
  • Go Go Girl
  • Dream On
  • Tapping Nail
  • Black on Black (I wear this one most often)
  • Show Me White
  • Courtney Orange
  • Savage

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March 4, 2013

Warm Hues for Spring: Aveda & No7 Lipstick Review

I'm a lipstick junkie and I know it. I wear my favorite by No7 just about daily, often when working from home or just picking up my daughter at school. The color just makes me happy.

I've been wanting a backup color for spring, something instead of the usual pale red, that I could wear alone or mixed with the No7. Most of my fall and winter shades are a bit drab for a fun, bold spring look.

During a visit to the Aveda salon, City Looks, a sample card caught my attention. The model had a sheer reddish-mango shade on her lips and I had to have it. Unfortunately, actually seeing the suggested lipstick left me strongly reconsidering. It was more like a fire engine red and to imitate the model's look, I'd have to buy two products. I'm all about lipstick but spending $40 in one day would probably irritate my husband and bust our "incidentals" budget. Thankfully, my stylist and the makeup artist had another suggestion, Aveda's rehydrating lip glaze in Sun Kissed Melon.

I don't often wear lip gloss for the obvious reasons, like not wanting my hair stuck to my mouth on a windy day and believing gloss is best for fashion photography or models. I bought it anyway as it really was time to try something new.

Aveda Rehydrating Lip Glaze: 264 Sun Kissed Melon

At home, I applied the new gloss and really loved how smooth it went on. It didn't look like I'd coated my mouth in Vaseline. Instead, I had nice, shimmery lips in a shade that was slightly darker than my natural color. Perfect for daytime wear and I expect an excellent choice for beach and park days.

Before work this morning, I applied my usual, No7 lipstick in Number Two Power (aka pale red), which I just adore, and then added a thin layer of the Aveda lip glaze. The result was a perfect rosey peach with a bit of sheen.

No7 Poppy King Lipstick: Number Two Power
Here's what I look like wearing the two lip colors:

What I like about the No7 lipstick:
  • Smooth and creamy
  • Long-lasting color (go ahead and eat something!)
  • Moisturizes my lips
  • Gorgeous layerable shades
What I like about the Aveda lip glaze:
  • Shimmery, not high gloss color
  • Doesn't cake, looks smooth
  • Surprisingly long-lasting for a gloss color
There's no doubt I'll add to my No7 collection. At just $10 a piece, it's not a big investment for such a great product. The Aveda lip glazes are $18, which is over my threshold of lipstick spending. This was an exception. However, when I'm out, I'll probably replace it with another one because of all lip glosses I've tried, the Aveda is by far my favorite.

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