Good Products I Hate

I’m not the only one.

Everyone has had this experience: Buying a really popular, highly rated product only to find it doesn’t work for us.  Sometimes we try and try. The raves are so plentiful, we think we must be doing something wrong.

But we’re not. There’s nothing wrong with the product. And nothing wrong with us. Just the wrong combination. We’re just incompatible. Like two really great people who are happier divorced.

Here’s a few of my rejected highly-rated products:

Nars Orgasm Blush

nars orgasm

Orgasm is the Holy Grail (and Holy Cow, that term gets used A LOT) of blushes. I have it; I’ve worn it. I’ve dropped it. (Literally: I have just a few shards left because it hit the floor.) But I would never buy it again. This blush is a peach-pink with a gold shimmer. It’s described as universally flattering. But I guess I am not of this universe. The peachy-pink part is nice – it’s the gold shimmer that just doesn’t wear well on me. After a few hours, I have weirdly glitterly cheeks. No peachy-pink left. Just pale-ish micro-glitter.

Tarte Shape Tape Concealer

shape tape

Watch any YouTube video. EVERY popular beauty vlogger loves this stuff. Great consistency. Wonderful coverage. Long lasting. A shade for everyone. I just had to have it. But I just had to return it. Way too heavy for my fragile thin undereye area… I need something a lot lighter. It cakes on me like I am wearing actual cake.

Too Faced Born This Way Foundation


I tried this one day in Sephora. OMG – I loved it. My skin looked flawless. My discoloration and age spots disappeared. But I had recently purchased a different foundation, and I didn’t want to spend the money right away. But once Summer was here, and I needed a slightly darker shade, Born This Way was what I wanted. And Too Faced was offering a discount online. Fantastic! Only it wasn’t. This foundation just doesn’t wear well on me. It starts out beautiful. But within a few hours, it seems to show every pore – and I don’t even have visible pores. I think it creates extra pores. Fail.

Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer

butter bronzer

A light bronzer great for fair skin. And it smells heavenly. Yes, on the first statement. A big NO! on the second statement. It’s got just the perfect color, and buttery (like in its name) consistency. But to my nose… it is NOT a heavenly coconut scent. It is a cloyingly heavy (rather than heavenly) smell of movie theatre popcorn. Old stuck-to-the-floor movie theatre popcorn. I thought it would dissipate… I waited as long as I could stand it. I washed the sweet smell off my face and brought this back to the drugstore. Don’t get me wrong – thousands of women LOVE the scent. I am just not one of them.

All of these products are good, high-quality, well-loved products.

They are just not for me.

How about you? Have you found yourself at odd with the reviews on something?

Two Eye Palettes

How many eyeshadows do you need?

Most of the time, I think the answer is:  NONE.  I often use just a little of my bronzer on my lids with some gray or brown liner smudged on the outer corners, well-blended.

But when I do want shadow, I usually want something fairly neutral. Bright colors and older eyes are not especially compatible.

Here are two palettes I like – one with warm shades and one with cool. Both are travel-sized palettes, which I like because I don’t need huge amounts (when was the last time you actually used up an eyeshadow?) and they store and pack so easily (and they are more reasonably priced.)


Tarte’s Tarteist Pro To Go


Tarteist Pro To Go

This little palette of six colors retails for about $23. It’s small – each shade is just 0.03 oz – check the eyelash curler in the photo to get an idea.

This palette gives you three matte shades and three irridescent shades. With the exception of the lightest matte shade, they are quite highly pigmented.


Irridescent and aging eyes is another tricky combination, but I do add just a dot of Hype on the center of my lids once in a while for a little pop.  Or Boss (bronzy) or Dominate (warm wine) on the outer corners – but just a touch. That type of sheen works best if you have younger eyes (i.e., not crinkly eyelids) than mine. I usually use the very neutral Drive on my lid, Crisp in the crease, and either Crisp or Stylin close to my upper and lower lashline.

Here’s a look with the Pro To Go palette. I kept it warm and natural with Crisp on the lower lashline but a touch of the golden Hype on the center of my lids.



For a cooler toned look, which is my go-to look, I use:

Urban Decay Naked2 Basics


Urban Decay Naked2 Basics

This is another travel-sized palette, although it is a bit larger in size of the shadows – each being 0.05 ounces. It retails for $29.

Naked2 Basics is extremely neutral – all the colors are matte except for the lightest shade, which has only a very slight sheen. They will give you a very subtle look, since they are not very pigmented, except for the darkest shade.


My most often-used look with the Naked2 Basics is Stark on my lids, Cover in the crease, and Undone along the lashline. Althought these tones are so subtle and neutral, there are lots of good combinations here. (I would guess though, if you have a deeper skin tone than I, you may need something more pigmented for a cool palette.)


As I mentioned, I often just use my Bronzer as shadow, with some well-blended liner for accent, but if you are looking for subtle eye color, these two palettes would probably give you everything you need.

I have a couple of tips for you – if, like me – you have “mature” eyes.

– It is pretty common to use a little highlighter under the browbone. If you do that, don’t go too glittery or irridescent if you have heavy droopy lids like mine. Not the right part of your eyes to emphasize.

– As with the browbone, I’ve seen lots of tutorials where the makeup artist puts a little highlighter on the inner corner of the eye. To me, this technique is also one that may not be the best look for older eyes. But a tiny dot of irridescence on the center of the eyelid can be flattering. In the inner corners, a tiny blended dab of extra concealer works better for me than highlighter to widen the eyes and make me look more “awake”.

– Both these palettes – though the powder has a nice creamy consistency – have a lot of  “fallout.” That is, you get a dusting of color falling off your brush and onto your cheeks. For this reason, you may want to do your eyes first – and then your foundation. Another way around this (although it is some kind of makeup treason to say so) – on the dark colors with a lot of fallout, I use a sponge tip applicator and not a brush. Please don’t call the makeup police on me.

– One tip I learned from YouTube that I love – after my makeup is done, I take a little concealer on a brush and I apply it on the outer corners of my eyes and sweep it upward and outwards to the outer corner of my brow. In effect, I am erasing any makeup outside the direct eye area itself. I can’t believe how much this lifts my droopy eyes. Instant Youth (well, almost.)

Ipsy vs Allure – July Samples

I decided to wait until August to review my July bags, because sometimes I just need a little more time to decide whether I like something or not.

For instance, in a previous bag from Allure I received Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Anti-Wrinkle Booster Serum, and I thought it was fairly good. But after using it a few more times, I liked it even more.  So I really should have rated it higher than I did.

So this month I gave both my Ipsy and Allure bags a bit more time.

I had planned when I subscribed to both Ipsy Bag and Allure beauty boxes that I would decide which was the better deal, and keep only one subscription.  And last month I liked the Ipsy bag a lot more than Allure beauty box.

But of course, this month just the opposite happened.

So I am still undecided which monthly subscription I like more.

In the IPSY BAG  I got:

ipsyjulybagThis little vinyl zipper bag that the samples came in. It is definitely a little too cutesy for a woman my age, but my eleven-year-old niece loved it.

brtc maskBRTC Jasmine Waterful Sleeping Mask. To be honest, this may be a great product, but I love the nighttime routine I am using right now (rosehip seed oil) – so I am putting this unopened into my collection for the women’s shelter.
ciateliner.pngCiate London Gel-Kohl Hybrid Liner (in Black). This is a good liner, but brown or gray liners are much more flattering to me. This is also going into the give-away bag.

deepdiveTarte Rainforest Of The Sea Deep-Dive Cleansing Gel.  This is a very tiny sample, but I was pretty excited to get it, since I like the Tarte brand a lot. But this cleanser was very disappointing. It left a filmy residue that I just didn’t like.

sosusanbrushSo Susan Blender Brush. I have never heard of the brand So Susan, and I have lots of shadow and other cosmetic brushes. So at first I thought it was kind of ho-hum. But after giving it a try, I find I really like this brush a lot, and I’m using it every day. It turns out to be the best of the Ipsy offerings this month.

trifleTrifle Cosmetics Raspberry Ripple Ombre Radiance Blush Palette.  This is a small sample of some unusual colors that I don’t already have in my blush collection. They work best when I swirl them together, but they are not really colors I would use a lot. The middle color makes a nice base eyeshadow though.

So that’s the bag from Ipsy. Definitely not anything I am loving, except the brush. But probably worth the $10 cost – if for no other reason that my niece liked the bag.



I was really happy with my Allure samples this month. Here’s what I received:

feelmaskFeel Brilliant Charcoal Face Sheet Mask.  I’ll confess that even after weeks I haven’t yet used this. If it is still unopened by the time I get my next box, I’ll just donate this instead.

beautyforreallip Beauty For Real Lip Revival Exfoliating and Hydrating Lip Scrub. I have never used a lip exfoliator before. But I like this – my lips feel very smooth and the product has a refreshing tingle that seems to plump my lips. It’s especially nice before apply a matte lipstick which tends to show every little crack and crease.

briogeoBriogeo Rosarco Blow-Dry Perfection & Heat Protectant Creme. This is a very silky pre-styling conditioner. The timing for this is perfect for summer-fried hair. I’m using it and I like it.

cargoCargo Swimmables Water Resistant Blush (in Bali). I don’t really need a blush I can swim in, but one that can stand up to Zumba is a plus. And this is a pretty and wearable rose shade- not too dark but not too light. And it’s a decent sized sample too – it’s only about 1/3 the size of their regular blush, but that means it is nearly as big as the small Nars blushes that I love – and pay $30 for. I’ve worn it several times already.

burtsbeesBurt’s Bees Complete Nourshiment Facial Oil. This is not a brand I am fond of – their lip balms irritate my lips. This facial oil seems nice though, and does contain my beloved rosehip seed oil. But the sample size is teensy-tiny – I only got a few applications out of the bottle, which is nowhere near enough for anyone to to decide whether they like the product or not. It also contains jojoba and primrose seed oils as well as a long list of other seed oils. The fragrance is distinctly woodsy. I don’t like the smell of rosehip seed oil by itself, but I’d rather not have such a hodgepodge of oils – where I can’t pinpoint what is beneficial and what is not. And straight rosehip oil is cheaper.

wanderlipstick Wander Beauty Lipstick (in Barely There). This is another generously-sized sample –  half the size of their regular lipstick. And the color is very pretty – a medium rosy-mauve – that goes great with the Cargo blush. It has good lasting ability too. Another winner.

redken07 Redken Fashion Waves 07 Sea-Salt Spray. I was not overly excited to see such an ordinary brand as Redken in my Allure box. But guess what? I love this! My hair is very fine and I get really good volume and body from this spray. And I can use it on wet or dry hair. Of all the products I received this month, this is the one I am sure I will repurchase. Just goes to show that you never know what you are going to love.

So in summary, I got SEVEN products in my Allure Beauty Box, and several of them – the blush, the lipstick and the sea salt spray – are terrific. This month’s box was well worth the $15 cost.

I can’t wait to see what August brings.







Rosehip Seed Oil

Last week, I shared my experiment with using castor oil to help improve my sparse eyelashes.  I found that sometimes natural products really work.

Well, here’s another one.

Rosehip Seed Oil

About six weeks ago, I read about the benefits of using rosehip seed oil as a nighttime facial treatment. Rosehip Seed Oil is packed with vitamins, anti-oxidents and anti-inflammatory fatty acids. Many women around the world have been using this for years, but it certainly has come into fashion with proponents like Kate Middleton and Victoria Beckham.

Rosehip seed oil is moisturizing, firming, and brightening. It’s also shown to be effective in reducing and preventing wrinkles, diminishing age spots, and even fading scars.

I thought I would give it a try so I picked up a bottle at my local natural foods store. I also bought another brand online.


Some brands are quite expensive, but you don’t have to buy the pricey kind that the Duchess of Cambridge likes. I paid $11 locally and $8 online.  Just make sure it is cold-pressed, so it hasn’t lost its nutrients.

Rosehip seed oil is easy to apply. After I have thoroughly cleansed my face, I apply three or four drops onto the palm of my hand. I warm it in my hands and then massage it into my face and neck. This small amount is plenty.  Most information sources advise you to use the oil as a last step in your moisturizing routine… that you should start with your thinnest product (serum, if you use one), and then go thicker to thickest…that is,  moisturizer and then the oil.

But that order just doesn’t work for me. For one thing, I use serum as part of my morning routine. But more important, I don’t like the smell of the oil at all. To me, it has a slightly fishy smell. (some brands are worse than others, I believe). Some people say that it smells like cold tea or something earthy – but I find it fishy.

But my nighttime moisturizer, Origins Night-A Mins, smells heavenly. And it is quite thick and blends well with the oil. So I apply the rosehip seed oil first, and the Night-A-Mins moisturizer last. So I get the lovely smell and not the fishy smell.

And six weeks later, I see results.

My skin is plumper, firmer, and my fine lines are less noticeable. I think even my deeper wrinkles look a little improved. I haven’t seen much improvement in my age spots, but I think that may need more time. Age spots are very difficult to lighten.

Overall, I am really happy with my rosehip oil, and it nows has a permanent part of my skin care regimen.

And now I have a further reason to love Rosehip Seed Oil.

I love trying new makeup ideas, and I recently saw a video about getting a more “glowy” summer look.  This idea really interested me, because sometimes I feel that I look a little powdery – like my great aunts used to look in the 50s. I am not quite ready to look so old!

The video I saw suggested adding a drop of facial oil to your foundation. Any oil – argan oil, maracuja oil, rosehip oil – even just plain almond oil. Any oil that is good for your face can be added to your foundation.

So I gave it a try. I used my rosehip seed oil. And just a drop into my foundation (Origins Plantscription) didn’t overpower me with the smell either. I would say the ratio is about 3 parts foundation to 1 part oil. And yes, it added a wonderful sheen to my matte foundation. I lost a bit of opacity, but I didn’t really mind, since the finish is so beautiful.

I still felt I needed a setting powder to make my makeup last. I was a little worried that I would lose the glow.  But I had also recently invested in a new pressed powder, Laura Mercier Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder. This powder has a subtle and beautiful luminosity. It’s fine enough to even use to set undereye concealer.


Color “2 – Light”

And it works beautifully. I can set my foundation and not lose the glow.

What a nice summer look!

Thank you, all you little rosehip seeds!


On my way to the gym. My makeup has been on for more than four hours, and it still has a nice glow.


My Natural Eyelash Treatment

I mentioned some time ago that I was trying out a natural treatment for my sparse eyelashes.

This is a photo from 2 months ago.


original lashes

I took this closeup of my eye to illustrate how dark my undereye area was. But I was horrified at my eyelashes. I have always had very sparse, short eyelashes. But the eyelash situation was getting worse.

And the disappearance of my eyelashes was kind of a vicious circle, because I was wearing more and more mascara to cover up the problem, and then getting it all off at night was really hard on my lashes, causing me to lose more.

I thought about using Latisse or something similar, but I was worried about the side effects. I especially didn’t like the possibility that my eye color would change. I don’t have the most beautiful eyes in the world, but they are a nice blue color with hints of green and grey. The color is about the only thing I like about them.

In addition, I have read that products like Latisse are a vicious circle in themselves. Because when you stop using the product, your lashes revert right back to where they were before. So you are pretty much stuck taking the prescription forever.

So I did a little research on whether there might be a more natural remedy.

And the answer surprised me:


Yes, castor oil is good for your eyelashes (and brows and hair and skin too.)

Castor oil is high in Vitamin E and other minerals and proteins. It is antibacterial. It also is very gentle, and odorless and colorless.

It promotes hair growth – and especially eyelashes, because it not only promotes growth but also thickness and strength.

I did quite a bit of research – this is my eyes I’m talking about, and I don’t want to harm them in any way.

Once I felt assured that castor oil was safe, I went to the health food store (you can also buy it online) and bought a bottle of cold-pressed organic castor oil. Cold pressing is important to leave the nutrients intact. 


It costs $10.99 for sixteen ounces. It’s a huge bottle, and there was no legible expiration date. But castor oil has a long shelf life (often a couple of years),  and it fairly easy to tell when it has gone bad, as it becomes cloudy and smells rancid. If I am in doubt at all, it’s inexpensive enough to just toss the bottle and get a new one. 

I did a patch test first. Even if a product is harmless, you could still be allergic to it. After I was convinced I wasn’t sensitive to castor oil, I started my regimen.

At bedtime every night, I applied the castor oil to my lashline and eyelashes with the small e.l.f. smudge brush in the photo above. (a q-tip is fine too). 

In the morning, I rinsed off any residue when I washed my face. I used the castor oil every single night, and never had any irritation, redness, or swelling. My eyes were just fine.

I also stopped using my eyelash curler for a while too, since I felt I needed to be as gentle with my lashes as possible.

After 30 days, my lashes looked like this:


30 days of treatment

Notice especially my left eye (which is the left in the photo too), as that is the same eye as in the first pic. The big bare spot I had in my “before” photo right in the center of my eye is filling in. My right eye also had a bare spot and that is showing improvement as well.

After the first month, I started using my eyelash curler again once in a while, and did not see any negative effects.

And now it has been two months. 

Here’s what my lashes look like now:


60 day r

60 days of treatment

The bare spots are completely filled in, and I have noticeably more lashes.

Are they still sparse and short? Yes. Probably always will be, given my genetics. But they are very much improved, and I have more lashes than I ever imagined I would have. 

Look at them side by side: Here’s my left eye in the “before” photo and the same eye in “after” photo. I have absolutely no makeup on whatsoever. 

I think it is just amazing.


I’m going to continue with the castor oil regimen, and hope for even more improvement. But even if this is as good as it gets, it’s pretty good to me!

And once I cover up my dark circles and add a little makeup and a LOT of mascara:



How happy (and gorgeous) are these eyes ?!?!?!

Brighter Lips

I am all about natural looking lip color. I love a nude lip. I have dozens of Taupe, Pinky-Taupe, Taupey-Pink.

I especially lean towards the nude colors (‘my lips but a little better’) because I have really thin lips, and I tend to think a bright lipstick makes them look even smaller.

But last week I visited the hairdresser – and decided to go even blonder for the summer.

And I love it!

But I think with my hair color so light, it might be a good idea to brighten up my makeup. So I don’t look too washed out.

I have several blushes that I can build up a little and have a bit more life to my cheeks, but there is no way taupe lipstick will be anything but taupe, no matter how many coats you want to use.

So I bought a few brighter lipsticks to go with my new look.

I didn’t want to pay a lot though, since I’m not sure I am going to really love the look. And there are some really good buys out there without spending $20 each.

Here’s what I bought:



I have heard a lot of good things about Wet n Wild liptsticks in general. They are fairly good quality at an amazingly low price. So I picked one in their Megalast line and one in their Silk Finish line.

In Silk Finish, I bought Black Orchid.

This is a really dark plum in the tube and goes on a bright berry-plum color. It is very silky, as the line implies. With a creamy smooth application. The color is a little too dark for me, but it’s lasting ability is not great, so within an hour, I have just a berry stain on my lips which is just fine by me. I don’t think I will wear this much, but it was 99 CENTS !!


Wet n Wild Silk Finish in Black Orchid.  (Sorry, that it clashes so badly with my cherry-red top. )


In Wet n Wild’s Megalast line, I bought Mocha-licious.

This is described by other bloggers as “true brown” – but on my lips, it definitely has a rosy hue to the brown. I love this one!  This is longer lasting than the Black Orchid, and it applies drier and less smoothly, but with care, you can get a very nice application anyhow. I definitely have lip products with much better staying power, but it’s not bad. It will last several hours, but not through a meal. This is Wet n Wild’s more expensive line – this one cost me $2.24!


Wet n Wild Megalast in Mocha-licious

The most expensive of the bunch is Boots No7 Moisture Drench Lipstick in Berry Blush. Ulta lets you try on the Boots brand (one of the few “drugstore” brands that has testers) – and so I knew exactly what I was getting into, and I do love the look. It’s bright but not overly bright. It also feels great on the lips and is reasonably long-lasting. I’ve only had it a week and have worn it 5 times already. This was $12.99.


Boots No7 Moisture Drench in Berry Blush


Not so bright, you’re probably thinking. But it’s mega-bright for me.

I’m not sure I am willing to give up my nudey-lips. And I don’t think I will ever go really dark and daring. But these colors – muted shades of Plum, Mocha, and Berry – will get me through the summer – for just over $16 total.

Another shot of a very happy me in $2.24 Mocha-licious.


Wet n Wild Megalast in Mocha-licious.


My Highlighter Stash



Over the last few years, and especially over the last few months, I’ve collected quite a few highlighters.

But highlighters are a bit tricky when you’re over 40… and REALLY tricky when you are over 60.

But using the right product with a light hand, they can add a beautiful glow to your face.

I initially thought I would go through all the highlighters that I own (and even some I’ve tried but have not purchased) but this post would get really long.

So let my give you my overall impressions about highlighters in a general way, with a specific mention of five of my favorites.

Cream and Liquid:

Creams and liquid highlighters seemed to me like they would be perfect for older women, as they would be less likely to settle into any wrinkles and fine lines. But I have found that cream sticks are really hard to blend in. Either they look like a streak across the top of the cheekbones, or if I work hard at blending them in, they disrupt my foundation. They sit ON my skin rather than looking like part of my skin. And the liquids with their tiny doefoot applicators aren’t great for blending naturally either.  If I use any of mine at all (and I have two stick highlighters and two liquid) – I find it it better to put the product onto my fingers and dab onto my cheekbones, rather than apply the product directly to my face.

Powder Highlighters:

I think the pressed powder highlighters give the best look, whether you are going for a subtle glow or an intense strobe highlight.

It’s important to find a product that is finely milled – that feels velvety and almost creamy, so that it will melt onto your skin and blend with your makeup in a non-streaky way. It also shouldn’t be what makeup reviewers on YouTube call “Chunky” – that is, have large pieces of obvious glitter. As the day wears on, a too-glittery product ends up by showing specks of that twinkly shit on your face – you look like you’ve been sweating and then feel asleep with your cheek on a Christmas card.

So here are the products I have that I like:

For a subtle glowy look, I have two products that look very similar on my face:

lauragellerhighlightLaura Geller Baked Highlighter in French Vanilla. I heard a lot of great things about this silky and subtle highlighter. Laura Geller has moved to a showier highlight – the baked gelato line, so the only place I could find it was on the Laura Geller website in a kit with a foundation/bronzer compact and a brush for $35. To get all those products for $35 didn’t seem like a bad deal, so I went ahead.

And it’s very pretty. It goes on smoothly, blends well, and is very understated. I like it a lot better than the pressed foundation/bronzer combo that came with it.

essencepurenudeThe other highlighter I like for an understated glow is is Essence’s Pure Nude Highlighter in Be My Highlight. Again, I had seen rave reviews on YouTube. And it’s crazy inexpensive – I found it at Ulta for 4.49!

And it has 0.24 ounces versus Laura Geller’s 0.06 ounces.

They are nearly identical on the skin – here’s how they look side by side:

0714171033 (1)

Laura Geller on the left; Essense on the right.

As you can see, the Essence Pure Nude highlighter has slightly more sheen. I actually prefer it. And the price is incredible – so if you are looking for a subtle glow – I wouldn’t even bother buying both. Just the Essence.

If you want to go more dramatic – here are three great products.

For the middle-of-the-roaders:

balmmaryloumanizerThe Balm’s Mary-Lou Manizer.  This goes for about $24 for 0.3 ounces. It has more sheen than the first two products, but it is not all-out intense. It’s the grand old dame of highlighters. (The Balm products are not carried at Ulta or Sephora as a rule, but you can find them online or at Kohl’s.)

And while I am describing this product, let me add that for most of us, how much product is in the compact is not all that important. I got my Mary-Lou Manizer in a sample size from Birchbox. It’s incredibly tiny. It’s almost gone now, but I have had it for THREE YEARS!  Look how tiny my sample is, and I still have a little left.



This is important because of the price of the next product I’m sharing with you:

beccaopalBecca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal. This is a gorgeous highlighter. (Becca’s Champagne Pop is also a lovely shade). Opal has a distinctly golden hue. And even on pale skin like mine, the gold translates to “lit-from-within-but-better” glow. And it’s not subtle. But it’s also not cheap. It goes for $38 for .28 ounces. However – there is definitely a way to get this highlighter with less of an investment. You can buy a travel size.

beccagoontheglowFor $20, you can buy the set called “Glow On The Go” at Sephora or Ulta and get 0.085 ounces, paired with the liquid highlighter in the same color. I don’t like the liquid nearly as much… but knowing how little highlighter you really use, at least you don’t have to make a huge commitment to add it to your makeup stash. (And styles change – highlighter could be passe in a year.)

And the last product was a tremendous surprise – and delight – for me.

wetnwildhighlighterWet-n-Wild To Reflect Shimmer Palette in Boozy Brunch. This product is as crazy looking as its name. I never ever would have picked this up if I hadn’t seen a YouTube video where the reviewer was freaking out because it was so good. And it costs $5.99 for .4 ounces.  It looks like a camo print of yellow, pink and brown. But oh my, on the skin… well, it’s nearly a dupe for the Becca Opal that I love.

Here’s the last three products swatched on my hand and you’ll see what I mean:


Left to right: Mary-Lou Manizer, Becca Opal and Boozy Brunch.

Notice in the photo the intensity of the shine you get from the Wet-n-Wild product. And although you can see when you look at the compact above my hand how much kickup you get in the powder (it’s a powdery mess, and not as silky as the Becca) – it still goes on the skin nearly silky-smooth and doesn’t look glittery.

To compare the amount of reflective shine you get – here’s another photo, with the subtler Essence Pure Nude Highlight versus the Wet-n-Wild Boozy Brunch:


Essence on left; Wet-n-Wild on right.

I really like all these products.

My favorite for pure silky perfection is the Becca Opal.

But if you are on a budget… why not try the Essence or the Wet-n-Wild?


Becca Opal



Close-up of Opal in natural light. Well-blended for a subtle glow.


P.S. – a freebie tip. If you want even more shine, (perhaps so aliens could see your cheekbones from Pluto), spray your face with setting spray, and then apply the highlighter before the spray dries. Wowsa.

No-Powder Look

Many women my age worry that wearing powder cosmetics will age them – emphasizing fine lines and settling badly into their uneven skin.

While I love my powder blushes, bronzers, highlighters and shadows, as well as my loose setting powders, I decided to do a makeup look today using no powder products at all.

It’s possible. And it’s actually pretty good.

So those of us “mature” women who have dry skin or well-earned wrinkles or just want to look softer and more hydrated, here’s a look you can try.



Here are the products I used:

Primer:  Cover FX Anti-Aging Primer and Too Faced Lemon Drop Shadow Insurance

Foundation:  Laura Mercier Candleglow in Macadamia mixed with Clinique Even Better in 03 Ivory (because I have slightly more color now that summer is here)

Concealer:  Per-Fekt Skin Perfection Concealer in Luminous (under eyes) and Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer in Medium (on age spots and freckles)

Bronzer:  Nars The Multiple in South Beach

Blush:  Nars The Multiple in Portofino (this is my favorite cream blush of all time)

Highlighter:  Becca Skin Perfection Spotlight in Opal

Eyes:  Shadow: Nars The Multiple in South Beach as base  with Maybelline 24 Hr Color Tatoo in Tough As Taupe on outer corners/undereye and the Becca highlight for a bright spot of color on inner corners

Brows: Fiona Stiles Brow Pencil in Blond Ash (I have to admit though, I much prefer my Smashbox brow powder here – this is where I should have cheated and used a powder.)

Liner:  IT Cosmetics No-Tug Gel Liner in Black-Brown

Mascara:  L’Oreal Lash Paradise in Blackest Black

Lips:  Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner in Epic as base with Butter/London Plush Rush Lipstick in Lucky

The result is a very understated natural look. I was tempted to use more makeup than usual, so it would photograph better, but I am on my way out the door, and in person, I look like I have on plenty of makeup. It’s really quite glowy.

I set with Milani’s Make It Last, but my guess is that this makeup will not last as long without my favorite setting powders.  But I’ll let you know.




June’s Allure Beauty Box

Here it’s the end of the month already and I haven’t reviewed Allure’s Beauty Box for June.

I think I waited so long because it was kind of a disappointment.

The theme was Glow Getters – and here’s what I got:

Deco Miami Nail Lacquer in Feeling Fuego
John Frieda Frizz Ease Keraflex Hairspray
Yves Saint Laurent Touch Eclat Blur Primer
Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Anti-Wrinkle Booster Serum
St. Tropez Self Tan Express Bronzing Face Sheet Mask
Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask

Here’s the detail for each:

Deco Miami Nail Lacquer 

decomiamiThis is a  bright coral nail polish. It appears to be a full-sized product (although the bottle is tiny and the print on the label is even tinier. But assuming it’s full-sized, it has a retail value of $12.50. This is not a color I like, although I’ve tried it on my toes and it’s not bad. However, I find nail polish unexciting. I want to discover new products in a beauty box. I can buy nail polish in a zillion colors anywhere. Would I ever order it online? No. This just has no value to me.

John Frieda Frizz Ease Keraflex Hairspray


Likewise, John Frieda hairspray didn’t exactly make me jump up and down. I suppose this sample might be useful for traveling – except that I almost never use hairspray. The sample is worth $1.54. But considering I will probably not use this, it also has no value to me.  But this might be a nice product for the box I am building for the women’s shelter… so I’ll give it a $1.00 value.

Yves Saint Laurent Touch Eclat Blur Primer


I was pretty excited to see this in my box. Yves Saint Laurent has a wonderful reputation in makeup and skincare – especially their Touch Eclat line. This is a 1/3 size sample. It’s a thick liquid with gold flecks. It’s applied nicely – although I didn’t see the glow the gold flecks are supposed to provide. Unfortunately, I have worn this twice now, and although my makeup looked very nice at first, this primer did nothing to make my makeup last. Just today, I put on my makeup at 1PM to go out for a few hours. Then a bit later – at 5PM, I was going out again, and found that I needed to touch up my foundation and blush – because it had all but disappeared. The sample has a retail value of $17.16 ($52 an ounce) – and I may use it once in a while, but I doubt it, since I have primers that work much better. I am sorry to say that this has no value to me.

Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Anti-Wrinkle Booster Serum

This seems like a fairly good serum. It feels nice on and absorbs quickly. It has a retail value of $20.28 (full size goes for $78 for one ounce).  As much as I do like it and will use it, I don’t think it will take the place of my favorite serum, Origins Perfect World, which has a beautiful texture and lovely orange and bergamot fragrance – and costs $44 an ounce. But I will use this occasionally, so I would value it at the value of my Origins serum, so $11.44 for the .26 ounces.

St. Tropez Self Tan Express Bronzing Face Sheet Mask

This is a weird-looking (like a horror movie hockey mask) sheet permeated with self-tanner.  But I don’t self-tan my face. I like having a peaches-and-cream complexion. It goes for $9, but it has no value to me. (And not really useful at the homeless shelter either.)

Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask


This is the only product that I was really happy with. I’ve heard lots of good things lately about the Tata Harper brand. And this is a pretty good mask. The photo above make it looks like it is a heavy clay color, but it is really a pale peach colored gel that dries clear on my skin. This is a bit silly, but I like that I don’t look freaky when I have this on my face. I live on a secluded country road, but OMG, just let me put on a bright green face mask and the doorbell is guaranteed to ring. Besides being normal-looking, the mask did a nice job too. It left my skin feeling deep-cleaned and refreshed. The full size retails at $58 – so I’m not sure at this point I would spring for it, considering there are lots of good masks that are less expensive. But I will use this for sure, and this .25 ounce jar is worth $14.50.

So all in all, I received one product (the mask) that I really like, and one (the serum) that is okay. The total value of the box for me was $26.94. And the monthly fee was $15.00. So, I guess I got my money’s worth, but I can’t help feeling disappointed by this month’s box.


Lash Paradise – UPDATE!

The day after I posted my review of L’Oreal’s Lash Paradise mascara – of course I found what I had been looking for.

I had reviewed the waterproof formula, because that was the only thing I could find.

But I walked into Walgreen’s yesterday for shower soap and there it was!  The non-waterproof regular formula (as well as the waterproof) in a big display. With lots of options for colors –  what in the world is the difference between ‘blackest black’ and ‘black’, anyway?

So I grabbed the blackest black (why not?) and shelled out my $9.99 plus tax.


And I tore open the package and tried it out in the car!

Of course, I was already wearing mascara so it was not a good test.

The next day, though, I gave it a fairer test. And I must say, it’s really good. Many of the reviewers have said that the waterproof version of Lash Paradise is just as good as the regular version. But I would disagree. The waterproof version is superior only in that it does curl your lashes a bit. With the regular version, I had to use (gently) the eyelash curler I have been trying to avoid.

But in voluminizing and lengthening, I think the non-waterproof version outperforms the waterproof version. Two coats worked just fine for me, as opposed to the three coats I needed of the waterproof.

So here I am with two coats of the regular L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise:



Just to remind you – I have sparse straight fine lashes. Almost no lashes, to be honest.

So L’Oreal Lash Paradise is pretty darn good.

A dupe for Too Faced’s Better Than Sex mascara?  I still haven’t quite decided – I love my BTS!

But it’s close!  If you want to save about $12 a pop, you might want to give Lash Paradise a try.