thru the looking glass

a jumble of thoughts on makeup from a novice

URBAN DECAY EYESHADOW PRIMER POTION
Product Description: The genie in this bottle fulfills three wishes: eyeshadow that lasts, more vibrant and lasting color, and absolutely NO creasing.
Yay!
People are seriously in love with this product
Nay
Packaging is inconvenient
Ideality Review ★★★★☆
A note on the shades available, there’s Original (nude color), Eden (tawny matte), and Sin (champagne shimmer). I originally bought the Sin version, reasoning that it’ll give extra oomph and double as an eyeshadow since I’m lazy. However, you can’t really blend Sin primer out like a shadow. For me, it was more trouble than it was worth. I exchanged it for the original, and I am now very happy!
One star was withheld for packaging. Although the potion bottle design may be cute, I initially thought it was childish and was turned off to the brand in general because of it. It was only after a Sephora saleslady intro’d me to their 24/7 liners that I became a UD convert. Also, the design just isn’t practical. A more efficient design would be a tube shape like Too Faced Shadow Insurance.
Speaking of which, do you really need to get this primer, cult favorite UD Primer Potion? While its reputation is well-deserved, there are other tried-and-true primers out there, such as Too Faced. AllWomensTalk.com lists their top 7 makeup primers, check it out. Price-wise, at $18 it is not the priciest ($30 and up), nor is it the cheapest ($10 range). It’s all up to you and your preference.
References: Urban Decay website, Are Primers Worth The Extra Step? (this link’s for face primers), RealBeauty.com claims L’Oreal has the best drugstore primer ($12.95), 4.4 out of 5 on MakeupAlley

URBAN DECAY EYESHADOW PRIMER POTION

Product Description: The genie in this bottle fulfills three wishes: eyeshadow that lasts, more vibrant and lasting color, and absolutely NO creasing.

Yay!

  • People are seriously in love with this product

Nay

  • Packaging is inconvenient

Ideality Review ★★★★

A note on the shades available, there’s Original (nude color), Eden (tawny matte), and Sin (champagne shimmer). I originally bought the Sin version, reasoning that it’ll give extra oomph and double as an eyeshadow since I’m lazy. However, you can’t really blend Sin primer out like a shadow. For me, it was more trouble than it was worth. I exchanged it for the original, and I am now very happy!

One star was withheld for packaging. Although the potion bottle design may be cute, I initially thought it was childish and was turned off to the brand in general because of it. It was only after a Sephora saleslady intro’d me to their 24/7 liners that I became a UD convert. Also, the design just isn’t practical. A more efficient design would be a tube shape like Too Faced Shadow Insurance.

Speaking of which, do you really need to get this primer, cult favorite UD Primer Potion? While its reputation is well-deserved, there are other tried-and-true primers out there, such as Too Faced. AllWomensTalk.com lists their top 7 makeup primers, check it out. Price-wise, at $18 it is not the priciest ($30 and up), nor is it the cheapest ($10 range). It’s all up to you and your preference.

References: Urban Decay website, Are Primers Worth The Extra Step? (this link’s for face primers), RealBeauty.com claims L’Oreal has the best drugstore primer ($12.95), 4.4 out of 5 on MakeupAlley

(Source: heartisbreaking)

The Mall Kiosk Seduction

Weighed down with numerous shopping bags, I was on my way to exit the mall when I realized I’d forgotten one dude in my holiday shopping. I turned around and was only a few feet away from the chocolate shop when a kiosk saleswoman nabbed me. Half an hour later, my wallet was emptied and I was walking out of the mall with a nail care set, chocolate completely forgotten.

According to WiseGeek.com, “the mall kiosk takes advantage of foot traffic in shopping malls and seeks to attract impulse buyers,” and they will do everything in their power to seduce you on the spot. From my firsthand experience at two kiosks where I fell hook-line-and-sinker, I’ll give you guys some tips.

First, they invite you to try their product, whether it be a hair straightening iron or a lotion. Once you’re lured in, they will talk nonstop about how special their product is; most shoppers are too polite or intrigued to break away. After demonstrating the product, the retailer will encourage you to give feedback, getting you to admire the product out loud. Playing off your longing and captivation, they bag up the product, put it into your hands as if you’ve already bought it, and allow you to feel as if you own it already. At this point, most shoppers are a goner: when you’ve already oohed and ahhed over an interesting product, and you have it in your hands all ready to go, it takes much willpower to thrust it back into the retailer’s arms and march away.

Don’t fall for the discount trick. Many retailers will claim they’re giving you a “secret” discount that you shouldn’t tell anyone else about. Supposedly, they’re the manager with a superior manager code, but since they’re such busy people, they might not be here tomorrow - so you need to buy from that individual specifically, today, immediately, to get that huge ‘discount.’ Or, they will take you into their confidence - they’re just a lowly employee, and if their manager finds out about this, they are sooo dead. This will sound irresistable, but know that when you go home and look up that $90 product online, the regular eBay price will be $30. It is inevitable that kiosks do not give you the best bargain, especially when they pay rent for the kiosk space. In fact, kiosk products are regularly marked up 150% from the wholesale price.

Another marketing technique is to appeal to your guilt. Knowing it’s likely that you’re guilty about spending so much money on yourself, especially during the holiday season, retailers may wink and give you 2 for the price of 1, “Keep one for yourself, and give the other to friends or family!” In general, they will appeal to how many people their product will bring joy to.

That being said, the product can be a good buy, not necessarily a major ripoff. But stop at the first sale, and do not get wooed into buying a second and third and a fourth. These cart vendors don’t stop once they get you if they can help it. Next comes the $60 cleanser they marked down to $19 just for you, or the $40 mud pack for $9. But I put my foot down, saying I was completely broke thanks to purchase #1, though the girl was begging me Oh! At least check your wallet! Aww…

Long story short, if you want to protect your sanity and your wallet, RUN. AWAY! Once, a hair iron vendor was all hey baby to my friend, and because I had already bought and regretted and know how all this works, I had to drag my friend away from that cart. She kept staring longingly at the promises of straight hair, I had to call her name countless times to snap her out of it. If you do get caught, lie straight through your teeth - say that you’re in a hurry, that you’ll be back later, that you absolutely hate pineapple coconut pepperoni scented lotion (even if you actually long for it like mad), and resist the siren call!

References: The Retail History blog has a great rant on the subject; WiseGeek's quick explanation of mall kiosks; Washington Post article on how kiosks enable immigrants to fulfill the American Dream; and a small article on marketing to Generation Y

Neutrogena MoistureShine Lip Soother

Product Description

Despite its fancy full name, “Neutrogena MoistureShine Lip Soother Cooling Hydragel SPF 20,” it’s basically a lip gloss with SPF!

Notable ingredients are cucumber, chamomile, and glycerin. Cucumber’s famous for cooling; chamomile for soothing; and glycerin is a popularly used compound that smooths, lubricates, and absorbs water from air.

~*~

Yay!

  • Very moisturizing
  • Pleasant, peachy smell
  • Not sticky
  • Delivers and delivers well: soothes/lubricates/moisturizes
  • Easy to layer with other lip products

And Nay…

  • Most complain that it’s too sheer. People, this is a moisturizing gloss, not lipstick moisturizer extraordinaire.
  • Lot of complaints saying $8 is pricey
  • Some say it’s sticky or doesn’t smell good
  • Do not expose to hot temperatures. Sunscreen might separate and make product runny.

Ideality Review ★★★★★

[Note: test the cap before buying! It should resist to twisting if it has never been opened before. The first one I opened was clearly used by previous customers and looked disgusting. Don’t buy opened products!]

On my lip gloss quest, I have encountered many interesting types. Some plumped, some shined, some smoothed. But my lips still chapped, which led to lots of peeling, ugh! But now… I have found hope.

I bought the MoistureShine in Sparkle (color 45) for $8.99 today at CVS; you will typically find this lip gloss around $6-$8, depending on where you go.

Sparkle is the sheerest, nudest color they had, a plus because my last chapstick darkened my lips too much. But when they say Sparkle, they’re not joking. My lips become quite glittery (but not in a distractingly flashy way), so beware if you don’t like glitter. But I’ll live, because this. lip gloss. is. awesome!

Opening the cap, you can smell peaches, I love it! Definitely the selling point for me in the store. There is a slight cooling sensation when you first apply, and it feels like a lotion for the lips. (It isn’t chilly to the extent of Bare Escentuals Buxom glosses). Neutrogena truly delivers on their promise to moisturize. You can smack your lips around and it’s just… so smooth and sort of pillowy.

Some of it got on my finger, but it absorbed into my skin easily with no sticky feeling left over. I didn’t even have to wash my hands with makeup remover!

I’m so obsessed with this lip gloss now. I want to carry it around with me everywhere, and apply it every chance I get! Definitely a must-try product and a great drugstore product!

Verdict: Five stars because all of its promises came true, it’s a small thing that can make me happy everyday, and I can heartily recommend it.

References: Linda labeled this a drugstore fave and posted swatches; epinions have quite in-depth reviews; featured on the cover of Seventeen in August 2009; makeupalley reviews

Note: Because of my excellent experiences with Neutrogena products, I am a big fan, but am not affiliated with the company in any way. This is not a paid review.

Blackheads

Blackheads are basically plugged up pores (oil + dead skin cells) that make your nose look like a strawberry, though they also occur on the chin and cheeks.

Amazingly, it has nothing to do with dirt, it’s all about the oil production.

If it’s just oil stuff, why’s it black? Sites keep using this fancy term, oxidation, which basically means the oil combines with oxygen and turns up as this black colored abomination.

Blackheads are resistant, evil scum.

  • Scrubbing will not work
  • Stop touching it, you’ll only increase oil production
  • All your normal routines and cleanly ways won’t help
  • You can try a “comedone extractor” (blackhead remover tool), but you risk infection, scarring, and other horrors.
  • You can try other specialized blackhead remover products…

The easiest way to get rid of them is to go get a facial and extract them professionally. Plus, the rest of your face gets a treat!

(However, I will update this article when I find a quality product that works)

References: Paula the Cosmetics Cop; picture taken from wiki

Bumble and Bumble Straight: Manage Your Curly Hair!

Contrary to what the product name says, this tube of hair gel can actually be used to calm down the frizz that everyone who has curly hair is probably very familiar with. It makes your hair feel very soft, it also makes it quite easy to deal with as long as you dry it properly after applying the gel. Like all gels, if you dry it oddly, you’re going to have to deal with your hair looking like that till you wash your hair again ;)

The Process:

I will focus on how this works with curly/wavy hair because that is what i have.

Wash your roots thoroughly and condition your tips deeply. I either finger comb my hair or use a (very) wide toothed comb right after you shower. Most of the days I just squeeze the excess water out and leave the hair to dry by itself. If you want to dry it with a towel use one that is very absorbent and just squeeze your hair, do not, under any circumstance, rub your hair dry. Curly hair does not do well with being rubbed dry, because it is too fine and you will be left with frizzy hair without fail.

When you feel that your hair isn’t dripping water anymore but while it still feels damp and cold, take a drop of the product and rub it in your hands then finger comb your hair. Start from the tips and twist your curls, with your hands, in the natural direction that they have started turning in. It is recommended that you put very little near your roots since this could make your hair flat.

Sometimes, after applying the gel, I braid my hair lightly or tie it up in a twisted bun form. This makes sure that the hair dries with well formed curls. A lot of this is trial and error, the only thing I can promise you is that, if you use the product your hair will not be frizzy and it will be very soft to the touch. If all else fails, once your hair dries you can use a straightener (or drier while your hair is still damp) and set your hair however you please. The product is a good protective layer against the heat of the straightener. Your hair will remain without frizz till the next time you wash it, that is the one guarantee that this product provides, it is also the reason behind my usage of said product.

Verdict: 4.5/5 stars || Other Reviews of this product

Guest post submitted by mochabunnie to Thru The Looking Glass

Laneige Multi-Cleanser

Product Description

All-in-one foaming cleanser, makeup remover, and exfoliator for all skin types. Contains AHA (alpha hydroxy acids), Vitamin E Acetate, and ivy extracts.

Yay!

  • feels fresh
  • a little goes a long way
  • cleanses and does the job well
  • result = soft skin
  • the packaging is so cute/feminine!

And Nay…

  • pricey ($22) for a cleanser
  • beware “all skin types” claim
  • (probably for Normal skin types)

Ideality Review ★★★

Score, free sample! At first, I applied this straight out of the tube, smearing the cream on my face until I remembered it was a foaming cleanser. But even after lathering it up, it was never truly foamy. It’s okay, but I wasn’t too impressed. Neutrogena Foaming Cleanser has more foaming action, and Clinique Exfoliating Scrub really gives me soft baby skin, so ehh.

References: The Powder Room clearly admires it; c5-fan Beauty loves it to death; Cookie was happy with this as her first cleanser; and Jayio's high expectations fell flat.

::site revamp::

I am going to gradually re-edit all my posts on here to organize this site into a more comprehensive, informative database on products and how-to’s. A directory of makeup, if you will. Stay tuned!