Snatch or skip? L’Oreal mascaras

This post contains affiliate links (denoted with an asterisk), which means I earn a small commission if/when you click through to purchase. Regardless, these are my honest opinions. I do not recommend products I do not love or use myself.

Just this week I realized I hadn’t written a dedicated mascara post since I started my blog back in May, so let me remedy that right at this moment. I’m a firm believer that you don’t need to spend much money to get a good mascara; you can absolutely get it done on a drugstore budget. There are so many great options available now when you walk into CVS, Walgreens, Walmart or any other lower-cost retailer.

However for every good or great mascara, you’ll find another not-so-great one right next to it. It’s all about sussing out what your mascara preferences are and letting them guide your purchases. For example, my mascara preferences include decent volume, length & a lot of darkness (i.e. how black the product is). I want a “false-lash effect” without false lashes, if that exists. What one person is looking for in a product, another person might avoid, so please keep in mind that lists like this are all subjective. If you love something I don’t, well that’s great cause variety is the spice of life!

This post will focus quite specifically on L’Oreal mascaras, as the title indicates. To keep this short and snappy (hopefully), I’ve narrowed this to only four products: two that I would recommend to snatch, and two that I would say to skip. So let’s get into it. (This might be the start of a little series here on the blog. I’m brainstorming other products and lists atm.)

WHAT TO SNATCH!

*L’Oréal Voluminous X Fiber Mascara with Black Primer

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Image Source: Walgreens

I spoke about my love for this back in my first blog post in May, but I picked this up pretty soon after it first launched. It was garnering good reviews on social media so when I saw the display in Ulta, I grabbed it. At first it seemed too high maintenance to me because of the whole 2-step process. The first end is a lash primer; the second end is a fiber-rich mascara. I never use lash primers normally. They just seem too fussy. But I have to say this formula really wowed me, so much so I was willing to go through both steps. The first end puts a light coating on the lashes and really separates and lengthens. The second end gives a ton of volume as it deposits the fibers over top. I didn’t find it too clumpy either. My tube got old so I had to toss it, but I would happily repurchase this.

*L’Oreal Voluminous Butterfly Sculpt Mascara

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Image source: L’Oreal Paris

This one is so, so, so good in my opinion. I’ve gone through about two tubes and I would definitely repurchase again. It gives me extremely black, separated lashes with tons of length. It makes me look like I have more lashes than I do. I think it all comes back to the wand. It’s a strange one but genius. It’s long and tapers towards the front, which you may think would be awkward to work with but actually it catches all those hard to reach corner lashes. It also has plastic bristles that only cover one side of the wand, which normally I hate but it somehow works here. I wouldn’t say it gives the best volume I’ve ever seen but the length and the fluffiness of the lashes after using this is just awesome.

WHAT TO SKIP!

L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara

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Image source: eBay

Wow, I know, controversial. It seems like everyone and their mothers and grandmothers go ga-ga for this formula, but I just can’t fully get behind it. I bought this early in its hype when every beauty influencer was saying this was the best drugstore mascara on the market. The brush is very reminiscent of Too Faced’s Better Than Sex Mascara, which I very much enjoyed, so I was eager to try it. At first I remember liking it and even recommending it to my friends, but somewhere around the 1-month mark I just realized it was a mediocre mascara. It’s definitely not horrible by any means, but just nothing memorable to me. It was very black which I loved, but after a while I found the formula to be too thick to the point where my lashes would clump together too much for my liking. It didn’t give me much in the way of length either. It was just meh.

L’Oreal Telescopic Carbon Black Mascara

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Image Source: Look Fantastic

I have not tried the regular L’Oreal Telescopic in the light gold tube, but I was none too impressed by the Carbon Black version. I was hoping it might be similar to the IT Cosmetics Tightline 3-in-1 Black Primer/Eyeliner/Mascara that I loved from years back, but unfortunately it wasn’t. It’s primarily a lengthening mascara with a long wand and plastic bristles. It definitely lengthened but it didn’t separate my lashes like I would have hoped. In some places the formula made my lashes stick together so much that it looked like I had bald patches. Needless to say, I wouldn’t repurchase.

What are your favorite and/or non-favorite mascaras from L’Oreal? I’d love to know!

xo, Erica

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My favorite luxe beauty products

This post contains affiliate links (denoted with an asterisk), which means I earn a small commission if/when you click through to purchase. Regardless, these are my honest opinions. I do not recommend products I do not love or use myself.

Even though I live for a good drugstore beauty find, I still have plenty of more luxury beauty products that I frequently indulge in. I love having a mix of high and low-cost items in my stash; it gives you a well-rounded understanding of all the beauty world has to offer. I’ve spoken about plenty of more affordable products here on the blog, so I wanted to take this opportunity to devote an entire post to my luxury beauty faves and tell you why I love them so much. To challenge myself, I picked one item from each category. But of course I slightly cheated here and there, so in some instances I’ve included a runner-up. Without further delay, here we go.

FOUNDATION

Dior AirflashShop here

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Image Source: Feelunique.com

I’ve actually never talked about this product on the blog before, but this is probably the most beautiful foundation I’ve ever used, hands down. Beautiful in terms of both the finish and the texture. What you see pictured above is actually an aerosol can so the product sprays out in the most fine texture you can imagine; this is essentially airbrushed makeup. I preferred to spray it directly onto a damp sponge and then blend it in all over my face. When I first bought this I tried spraying it directly onto my face from the can but that resulted in a horrible mess. The combination of the fine-textured foundation and the damp sponge was total magic; my skin looked glowy, fresh and almost plumper when I applied this. I don’t have this in my collection at the moment since my previous bottle got old and I sadly had to toss it. Even though this is insanely expensive, I would still repurchase it. It’s that good.

*First runner-up: Bobbi Brown SPF 25 Tinted Moisturizing Balm

CONCEALER

Too Faced Born This Way Super Coverage Multi-Use Sculpting Concealer – Shop here

I did an entire review on this product which was packed with detailed information so please check that out for photos & swatches. Even though I didn’t find the most ideal shade match for me, I still love this concealer. The application, the coverage level, the longevity, the finish, everything is lovely. I’ve used this as both an undereye concealer and also as a spot corrector all over my face when I don’t want to wear any other base. I’ve never noticed any cakiness or significant cracking (I don’t always set it with a powder either). Great stuff.

*First runner-up: Tarte Shape Tape Concealer

POWDER

*Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette

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You see how much I’ve used of this powder? I have never, repeat never, used a product up or seen as much pan as I have with this palette. I love it that much. Hourglass just knows what they are doing with powders. Typically I take a duo-fiber kabuki brush and swirl it around all three colors/finishes, and then lightly dust it all over my face. It doesn’t look like traditional powder in the slightest; it gives you this beautiful soft-focus finish to your skin with the tiniest bit of sheen. It never looks cakey or dry on me. My mother refers to it as a “veil” and I think she’s onto something.

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From L to R: Radiant Light, Incandescent Light, Dim Light.

I know the swatches are hard to see especially on my light skin tone, but there are three different colors and finishes in this palette. Radiant Light is a beautiful pearly cream shade, which you can buy individually as well. Incandescent Light is exclusive to this palette and has the most noticeable shimmer/sparkle to it. And Dim Light is the deepest shade of the three that has the most warmth; it’s a light peachy shade with very fine gold shimmer. You can buy this individually as well.

EYE PRIMER

MAC Pro-Longwear Paint Pots – Shop here 

I spoke about my love for MAC’s Paint Pots back in a much earlier post I did on my favorite cream shadows, which you can check out here. I also have swatches in that post as well that you can reference. But I’ve been using Paint Pots as eye primers for years. They are creamy and blend across the eye very easily. I use the lighter, skin-tone shades (for my complexion) like Painterly and Camel Coat. They have just the right amount of tackiness that powder shadows really cling to well. I wish MAC would bring them out in stick form for even easier application!

EYESHADOW (POWDER) 

MAC Sumptuous Olive – Shop here

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When I was making my list for this post, this shade was an absolute no-brainer for me. I’ve been using and enjoying this product for years and years. It applies on the eye like a dream and blends out perfectly with hardly any fallout. And the color! One of my absolute go-to’s. It’s a wonderful mix of gold and olive green, and it has just the right amount of shimmer. This is one of MAC’s Veluxe Pearl finishes. I usually just apply this all over my eyelid, into the crease and smudged along the lower lash line as well; nothing else on the eye apart from lots of black mascara. It’s the nicest daytime-appropriate smokey eye I can think of.

I swatched this alongside my favorite highlighter, which you’ll find below.

EYESHADOW (CREAM) 

Bobbi Brown Long Wear Cream Shadow Sticks – Shop here 

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Bobbi Brown Shadow Stick in Taupe

I also talked about this product in my favorite cream shadow post, so I won’t stay here long. But these are so easy to use, creamy and they stay on quite well. (You may get a little creasing at the end of the day, but nothing major. If you want to be extra safe, put a primer on underneath.) I just love shadow sticks though, and while you can absolutely find them on a budget in the drugstore, I have yet to find one as creamy as the Bobbi Brown version. They come in loads of colors and finishes, so there’s something for everyone. The two I have are both matte: Taupe and Nude Beach. Check out my earlier post linked above for swatches.

EYELINER

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eyeliners – Shop here 

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Three things I look for in an eyeliner: 1) goes on creamy; 2) gives me playtime to smudge; 3) sets for the day. The Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eyeliners tick all these boxes for me. Of course you can get really good eyeliners in the drugstore; I have a few of them myself. But there’s something about these I absolutely adore and always will. I have them in a variety of colors and finishes; they’re all awesome.

MASCARA 

*Stila HUGE Extreme Lash Mascara in Black (for upper lashes);

Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara (for bottom lashes) – Shop here 

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Image Source: Cult Beauty

I’m a little high maintenance with mascaras I know. I need two all the time: one for the top lashes and one for the bottom. I can’t deal with smudging mascara, which is what I experienced before I discovered the Clinique product. I wrote about both mascaras in much detail in my very first blog post, which you can read here. The Stila is perfect for those who want dramatic and volumized lashes that are very black; it’s not for those who go for natural mascara looks. The Clinique is specifically made for bottom lashes so the brush is tiny and the formula is perfection; no flaking or smudging in sight. Both are total winners in my book.

*First runner-up: Lancome’s Hypnose Drama Mascara

BLUSH

YSL Baby Doll Kiss & Blush – Shop here 

Blush is so important in my makeup routine because I’m so fair-skinned. I love nearly all colors of blush from brights to neutrals, but I tend to lean towards more warm tones like pinky-peaches and pinky-reds. I also heavily prefer the finish of creams over powders, so my go-to for years has been the YSL Kiss & Blush which is a dual lip and cheek product. I spoke about my favorite cream blushes in this post which included the YSL product plus swatches. The thing I like most about this product is the staying power. It goes on like a cream-gel hybrid, blends out quite easily (beware of some of the darker colors though) and stains the cheek. I don’t mean stain like you’ll never get it off, but it’s still there in some form at the end of the day. Blush is one of the first makeup products to fade on me so when I find one that actually lasts, it’s a keeper.

*First runner-up: Stila Convertible Color

HIGHLIGHTER

*BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector – Opal

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From L to R: Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal, MAC Sumptuous Olive eyeshadow.

I got three Shimmering Skin Perfectors in a set years ago called Spotlights, which included Pearl, Opal and Moonstone in the cream versions. I ditched Moonstone since it was too yellow for my skin tone and hung onto Pearl and Opal. I love the formula on these, but then again who doesn’t love Becca highlighters? They’re some of the best on the market. They’re creamy and blend seamlessly into the skin with the tap of your fingers. And the amount of shimmer is just perfection in my opinion; not overly shiny or obvious in the slightest. If you’re looking for a blingy highlighter, go with the powder version over the cream (or layer both together).

LIPSTICK

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick – Shop here 

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Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillow Talk

Although this is a fairly recent addition to my lipstick collection, it’s become my absolute favorite. I wrote about this in my makeup travel bag post, but I find the formula on these lipsticks second to none. Comfortable, easy to swipe across your lips, and with decent staying power. I feel this is more of a semi-matte finish because there’s a generous amount of give when you rub your lips together, although the color gives off no shine. I would happily repurchase again and again for a formula this good.

What are your favorite luxury beauty products? Tell me in the comments, I’d love to know!

xo, Erica

The best tinted moisturizer for summer?

If you keep up with my blog you know that I’ve spoken about my dry skin several times here. If you are a newer or first-time reader, well hello! I’m Erica and I have dry and sometimes rough-textured skin. It’s a key factor that influences how I shop and buy face products like foundations and concealers. So it stands to reason that I have been searching for the best tinted moisturizer for years.

In the past I was a big fan of the well-loved IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream, which I know is much more than just a tinted moisturizer. I loved the coverage, the finish it gave my skin and the intense hydration it offered. Unfortunately though I had to stop using it. Quick story time. If you’ve never used the IT Cosmetics CC Cream before, normally it smells faintly of lemons. However, I bought one tube from Ulta that smelled horribly as soon as I opened it. I returned it quickly and got a second tube: same horrible smell. I thought to myself, perhaps there’s a bad batch at Ulta. I’ll wait for a bit, use something else up, and then repurchase it. I finally bought a mini tube some time later that was fine for a few weeks, but then I went to use it again and that horrible smell was back. No joke, it smelled like I was spreading a fart on my face. Not cool IT Cosmetics. (Has anyone else had this experience by the way?)

I’ve been wearing Estee Lauder tinted moisturizers and BB creams for years now. Most recently I’m at the end of my Double Wear All Day Glow BB Moisture Makeup, which provides a lovely finish and glow to my skin but sadly not enough moisture for my liking. It seemed like the perfect lightweight moisturizing base always eluded me. So when my mother told me that the Bobbi Brown SPF 25 Tinted Moisturizing Balm was hands-down the most hydrating face product she had ever used, I was enthralled. She had bought a pot years ago and absolutely loved what it offered her dry skin: hydration, nourishment, & natural glow.

It’s all I needed to hear. I picked up a tub at a Blue Mercury store, but it was a little hard to track down to be honest. At Lord & Taylor they told my mother that the Moisturizing Balm is being discontinued, yet all the shades are still available for purchase on Bobbi Brown’s official website. I tried finding some additional information online but I couldn’t find anything that said this product is being phased out. It’s still available for purchase on Amazon as well, but it seems the stock is low so just be aware.

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Here is the official description, claims and benefits from Bobbi Brown’s official website.

Product description$60.00 for 1 oz./30 ml. 

A lightweight foundation alternative for dry, dehydrated skin, this formula is ultra-rich and blends easily, giving skin a dewy look with light coverage.

Who is this product for?

Those with dry skin who want an incredibly emollient tinted moisturizer with sun protection too that’s great for layering over other skincare favorites.

Product benefits

Broad spectrum SPF 25 helps protect skin against damaging UVA/UVB rays. Argireline® peptide boosts skin’s natural collagen production and clary sage ferment strengthens skin’s protective moisture barrier. Water-in-oil emul­sion creates a uniquely rich and emollient balm texture that helps promote immediate and long term moisturization.

How to use the product

Apply as you would a moisturizer all over the face using your fingertips or the Foundation Brush (sold separately) for a more finished look.

How I use the product

I apply just as described above. Using my fingers, I swipe and blend in the product all over my face just like I would with a moisturizer.

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My thoughts on…

Packaging: I feel two ways about the packaging; a slightly weighty glass component that’s sleek-looking with a matte black cap. On one hand, I think it’s quite beautiful and chic. On the other hand, I think it’s totally inconvenient and cumbersome. I’ll never travel with it unless I decant some of it into another container, which I never, ever bother doing.

Rating: 3.5/5 ⭐️

Application: It goes on like a dream and blends right into the skin with a few swipes or circular motions of my fingers. As the brand claims, it’s extremely emollient and feels much more like a moisturizer than it does a base product. I have not used this with a beauty sponge or makeup brush, so I cannot attest to how the product would apply then. I also should mention, this product has a pronounced scent when you first apply it which may or may not be a problem for some. My mother describes it as being reminiscent of Noxzema products, so think of camphor or eucalyptus. The smell definitely dissipates after you apply the product. I love the smell personally.

Rating: 5/5 ⭐️

Coverage: This does not provide much coverage at all, but then again it doesn’t claim to do that. “Lightweight foundation alternative” and “light coverage” are right in the product description. It just subtly evens out your skin tone, so if you have problem areas or blemishes you will absolutely need a good quality concealer to pair with this. Personally, light coverage is not a negative for me. Overall my skin is usually well-behaved, so whatever base or foundation I’m using tends to be lighter coverage anyway. I reserve my medium-to-high coverage products for concealing.

Rating: 2/5 ⭐️

Finish: What this lacks in coverage it makes up for in the finish. After you apply it all over your face, you’re left with beautifully moisturized skin that radiates with this natural, healthy glow. There’s a subtle sheen that bounces off the product that’s just perfect in my opinion; unlike any other face product I’ve used before. The product definitely has some tackiness to it that doesn’t completely 100% dry down. That being said, if you blend it in really well it will feel the same as if you’ve applied a really nourishing moisturizer a few hours before. You can still feel the softness or slight tackiness but the majority of the product will have dried down.

Rating: 5/5 ⭐️

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Swatch of Alabaster Tint

Shade selection: There are 7 shades in this range: Alabaster Tint, Extra Light Tint, Light Tint, Light to Medium Tint, Medium Tint, Medium to Dark Tint, Dark Tint. When inclusivity in the makeup world is as important as it is now, this is not an ideal scenario. Brands, both high-end and affordable, are expected to produce fuller ranges of base products that cater to a wider spectrum of complexions. It would be preferable if Bobbi Brown would offer more colors in this range, however, remember again what kind of product this is. It wasn’t formulated to be a true foundation but a “foundation alternative.” It’s a very specific product that is not intended to perfectly match your complexion in order to provide coverage; its primary role is to offer hydration and some SPF to dry skin.

I will say though that the colors run quite dark and quite yellow. I first tried out the Light Tint in store, which if you had told me was the Medium Tint I would have easily believed you. I ended up going with the lightest shade, Alabaster Tint, which is still yellow but at least much lighter than the Light or Extra Light Tint. To be honest, the yellow undertone doesn’t show on my skin either in natural light or in photos, again proving the point that you don’t need a perfect match to use this product. I would recommend trying this in-store if you can, as the color swatches online are misleading.

Rating: 4/5 ⭐️

Longevity: Surprisingly this has more longevity than you’d expect from such a lightweight product. I wore this out on a sunny, warm day for several hours and when I returned home and looked in the mirror, I still could see the effects of this product on my skin which was truly impressive. I’ve tried this both with and without a primer underneath; the base primer really boosts the longevity, as you would expect. So if you want this product to last the longest it can, use your favorite primer underneath.

Rating: 4/5 ⭐️

Price: This stuff is super expensive at $60.00 for 1 oz. or 30 ml. of product. There’s no way around that. While I truly love this product, I don’t quite understand why it is as expensive as it is. If you compare it to another higher-end tinted moisturizer, like the Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer for instance, you get 1.7 oz. or 50 ml. of product for $45.00. I have not used the Laura Mercier product so I cannot attest to its effects or quality, but you can’t deny that the difference in quantity & price between both products is significant.

Rating: 3/5 ⭐️

Final thoughts

I have to say my mother was right about this one. This is absolutely the most hydrating face product I have ever used. I love it so much because I feel like it was formulated just for me and my skin needs. I like lighter coverage products that offer moisture and glow to my skin, and this does it all. So is the Bobbi Brown SPF 25 Tinted Moisturizing Balm the best tinted moisturizer for summer? For me, definitely yes, and perhaps for others with dry or dehydrated skin who don’t mind splurging a bit. I just wish the packaging was a little less bulky and the price was lower. I will most likely continue to use this into the fall and winter since my skin will only become more dry as the weather becomes colder.

Would I repurchase this in the future (assuming this isn’t being discontinued)? Despite my love for it, I’m not sure at this point. I would like to try some more inexpensive tinted moisturizers to see if they could give me the same level of glow and hydration at a lower cost. If anyone has any affordable tinted moisturizer recommendations, please, please let me know in the comments below. I’d love to know!

Have you tried the Bobbi Brown Tinted Moisturizing Balm? If so, would do you think of it?

xo, Erica

 

 

My high/low lip combo of the moment

I absolutely love a nude-colored lip. It’s my usual go-to now when I want to look a little more done up. (Most days I wear nothing at all on my lips, which I guess is a true nude lip!) Even a few years ago I was a little more adventurous with lip colors; I was partial to bright pinks and berries primarily. But these days, it’s nudes, nudes, nudes, particularly either brownish or pinky nudes, like MAC’s Twig or Flower Beauty’s Honey Nude. I think the shift happened when I started dying my hair red in 2012. True pinks just seemed to clash with the warmth of my hair color.

Continue reading “My high/low lip combo of the moment”

My top 5 fave cream eye shadows — #dreamytextures

(Stay tuned for something special at the end of this post!)

So I spoke briefly about my love for all things cream in this post recently and I promised that I would deliver a follow up on my favorite cream products. I realize now that including all my current favorites in one post would be too long-winded and ambitious. I will be dividing them up in separate posts starting first with my top 5 fave cream eye shadows here. I decided to start my list with the more expensive items and work my way down from there. Other than that, the following products are no particular order; I love them all equally. This is more about my affinity for particular formulas and #dreamytextures, rather than for specific colors. Yes, all the following happen to be varying shades of brown, but that’s what I wear most on the day to day.

Continue reading “My top 5 fave cream eye shadows — #dreamytextures”

Current Mascara Heroes (and those that are unsung)

Mascara is an essential in my makeup menu. Even if I wear nothing else on my face, I have to at least put mascara on. It’s completely transformational and gives the eyes – no matter the shape – that little bit of needed definition. Your eyes look instantly wider and brighter. My preferred lash look is intensely black, volumized and separated.

Mascara is an essential in my makeup menu. Even if I wear nothing else on my face, I have to at least put mascara on. It’s completely transformational and gives the eyes – no matter the shape – that little bit of needed definition. Your eyes look instantly wider and brighter. My preferred lash look is intensely black, volumized and separated. I really have no time for brown mascaras or for those that look overtly “natural” on the lashes. To me this defeats the very purpose of the product. I love the look of completely pared down makeup everywhere else on the face but with dark, dramatic lashes to add that point of interest.

Continue reading “Current Mascara Heroes (and those that are unsung)”