Category Archives: Bin it!

Bin It: Laura Mercier Secret Brightener

Laura Mercier Secret BrightenerI am a big, big fan of Laura Mercier products as you might know from reading of my almost creepy love of her Translucent Powder and Secret Camouflage concealer. The Secret Brightener? Not so much.

The idea is that you use this under the eye before concealer in order to “brighten dark circles, reduce shadow and minimize discolorations”, according to the website. Which sounds great in theory except that this product is pearly pink. And I mean REALLY pearly pink. Even on my Mattel-doll complexion it shows up pink under the concealer. I believe it now comes in two shades, and to be fair I haven’t tried the second shade, so I can only comment on how Number 1 looks. Also I wouldn’t know how it reads on anyone else’s skin as it never made it near my kit.

However it could be used as a pretty highlighter on the cheekbones, just please, for the love of Mary, not under the eyes. It will give you that awful deer caught in the headlights look which you see when sometimes a celebrity is caught by flash photography with the paprazzi, and their makeup artist has been slightly too generous with the under eye highlighter. As a sweet highlighter pen it’s great as it can be tossed in your bag, and it’s easy for doing delicate spots like the tip of the Cupid’s bow.

For undereye highlighting I can safely recommend YSL Touche Eclat, Clinique Airbrush and Estee Lauder Ideal Light, but not this dude.

This one, I’m sorry to say, is going in the bin.

Bin it!*

* Does not affect my love for the Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder, nor her genius concealer and powder, which I’m still evangelical about.

Bin It: Cover Girl Line Exact Liquid Eyeliner

I love the design of this eyeliner – like a Sharpie pen for eyes, it has a nice sharp nib (not too floppy!) that when it works, does make lining eyes a cinch. Sadly however, whether it works or not appears to be optional.

The fantastic design is courtesy of the guru makeup artist, Pat McGrath, as she is the resident makeup artist at Procter & Gamble (who own Cover Girl.) And it is cheap (about $7 USD). But the after my experiences with it, the only way this dude is going near my kit is if Chanel, MAC and NARS cease and desist from production of liquid liner forever.

Friends of mine recommended it to me, and the first couple of times I tried it, I thought fab! This is ace! I gotta get me one of those! And off I went, forked out my seven dollars, and got it home (or back to my friend’s house actually). And you know what? Maybe for some it’s amazing and cat-lined Cleopatra kitty eyes in one easy stroke are all yours – instant transformation into Angelina Jolie – grrrr – or, like what happened in my case, I was Angelina Jolie for two days thinking wow, I have to post about this on my blog – and miraculously one week later it became thin, watery, anemic and grey, and not worthy of lining my cat’s dirty litter tray. As was the spare one Cover Girl thoughtfully provided for me. (I managed to get my hands on a double pack – two for the bin then, instead of one).

But my friends who recommended the product to me have had theirs for about two years and it’s still going strong, and reading reviews on the internet (like the ever useful MakeupAlley), I am not alone. So it turns out that it’s really luck of the draw. I know it’s only $7, which in the grand scheme of things is not that much, but I’d rather have given it to a homeless person or to save the moon bears than basically literally putting it in the bin.

And this is why I have a blog – because I think it happens a lot – women buy products that are crap, or crap for them, and then feel bad when they don’t look like Jennifer Aniston or Cheryl Cole. And they pay for the privilege. And it’s not good enough! We want products that work, and we’re happy to pay for them. But please help us buy the right ones that make us feel pretty, and not like a sucker, an idiot, or even worse, less gorgeous than when we came to you.

Quite frankly, that’s just not good enough, Cover Girl. Why do some of these eyeliners work, and others, not so much? And let me tell you, I have had far pricier brands’ liquid eyeliners do the same thing. Please don’t manufacture products that die after two uses. It’s just not on. It makes me furious because we as consumers are being taken for a ride, and to my mind, if you can’t make pretty much every product perfect, don’t bother manufacturing it. ‘Nuff said.

BIN IT!

And by the way , if you’re curious about why I talked about moon bears, I found out about this amazing charity the other day – it’s a charity that is restoring the sight of moon bears rescued from Chinese bile farms, where they are kept in captivity and milked for their bile (prized in some Chinese medicines). It’s as hideous as it sounds, but these veterinarians restore their sight. All together now – awww! If you’re interested in finding out more about the moon bears, the website is www.sightforsoreeyes.org.uk. I know where my next liquid eyeliner purchase money is going – and it’s to someone a lot cuter and fluffier than Cover Girl.

Bin It – Chantecaille Total Concealer

Chantecaille Total ConcealerOh how it pains me to write a negative review about Chantecaille – there are so many great products in their lovely, plant based botanical range – but this ain’t one of them.

I have tried this concealer quite a few times because I do so want to like it – their Future Skin foundation is one of my all-time favourites – but every time it’s just one big disappointment. I’ve tried it on a few jobs, and at home on myself, to no avail.

It’s a thick cream which I paint on with a small brush (as I do with all my concealers), and it doesn’t sheer out properly – it sits on the area you’re trying to conceal like concrete spackle. To be fair, it is a full coverage concealer and I know there is a market for this type of product, however it’s a bit hardcore to my tastes. With a bit more blending it improves, but it sort of clings to the under eye area, making it look powdery, cakey and dry – not cute! You know those pictures of celebrities you see every once in awhile when they look like a deer caught in the headlights, their under eyes flashing like radioactive fallout due to over-zealous concealer application? This is what I’m talking about. Even worse, it disappears after a couple of hours, leaving a pale, powdery residue on a hitherto corrected but now obviously UN-corrected dark circle. Great. Thanks.

They have another concealer called Bio-Lift Concealer which is supposed to be amazing, so I’ll need to give it a go soon in order to recover from the shock of a Chantecaille product I don’t like – really, it’s quite disturbing. I love their skincare, foundations, brushes and blushes – even their eyebrow pencils are pretty good. But the Total Concealer? Not so much.

BIN IT!

Bin It – Maybelline Lash Discovery Waterproof (but keep the brush)

Maybelline Lash Discovery WaterproofIn my ongoing quest to discover the ultimate waterproof mascara I did a raid on Walmart yesterday. It was a smash and grab affair of L’Oreal, Maybelline and Revlon, (and it has to be confessed, two li-los for the pool WITH cup dispensers, God Bless America!). But yesterday’s poolside experiment was less than successful.

Maybelline Lash Discovery has one of the ace-est brushes ever – it’s a shrunken wand that allows you to get to every single little lash, including the bottom lashes that can be fiddly with a regular brush (and if you can do that with the outsized monster brush of Diorshow mascara, more power to you because you’re more woman than I am!)

And for the bottom lashes it’s great to have waterproof mascara as this is where you tend to get smudging, from oils and eye blinking. However, if this is the mascara you’re wearing underwater you are in big trouble as it smudges. Not massively, but enough to look like an under-eye shadow that on me looks like a giant puffy eye bag, not dissimilar to a Krispy Kreme donut (something else I have been enjoying whilst in America. Mmm, donuts). However, not something I want on my face. So for me I’m going to keep the brush, but for the mascara it’s Bin It!

Bin It: Mineral Powders. All of them.

Mineral PowdersMineral makeup, mineral makeup – it’s everywhere, and it’s being sold to consumers as the be-all and end-all of your skin and foundation woes. You would have to have been living under a rock (and then slathering it all over your face with a Kabuki brush) to miss out on this hot new trend.

Um, I just don’t get it. And it’s been explained to me a million times. It sounds like something dreamt up by a Scientologist, but when you buy into the craziness, also like it’s so weird that it COULD just be the greatest thing ever: Pure ground up rocks get buffed onto your face with a brush, all over, in a circular motion, and the more you buff the shinier it is and hence! The more like skin it becomes. So technically you end up with a face of perfect-looking skin. Problem is, what it actually looks like is a big old face of buffed-in shiny powder foundation, laid on with a trowel.

I’ll tell you what looks like skin – skin! Real skin, your skin, on its own. So if you have pimples or under eye bags, or pigmentation or rosacea, why not deal with those problem areas with a good concealer and a concealer brush, instead of covering all your beautiful skin with a faceful of grey sludge?

OK, I know people who love it, and they say it’s changed their life and that’s wonderful when makeup makes you feel good, but personally I just don’t get it. Apparently, it’s so natural you could sleep in it. Why on earth would you want to sleep in your makeup? The thought of having a layer of stuff on my face (even if it is a bunch of hypoallergenic crushed up rocks) whilst I’m sleeping makes me feel icky. The only time that should be happening is when you’re passed out and can’t find your face wipes after too much Wine Time!

It’s the biggest selling foundation in America, and one of the major brands even has a tour bus that travels the States, preaching to the unconverted about the wonders of shiny mineral makeup face.  So I know I’m probably going to get some flack for this post. Most major brands now have something mineral in their lines, including Prescriptives, MAC, Maybelline, Revlon, Clinique, L’Oreal, Laura Mercier, Lancôme, Dior and the originals which are Bare Escentuals and Bare Minerals.

I do know that its quick and easy application method is alluring for some, and certainly if you feel like you need to cover a lot of problem areas quickly, it could seem like a gift from the gods. Plus the fact that it doesn’t have a lot of the nasty chemicals that some of the conventional cosmetic brands do is positive. But as one of my clients with sensitive skin yesterday told me after she had been on (and off) the mineral makeup train, just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it won’t make you break out! Like anything with foundation and skincare it’s educated guesses and trial and error to find what works for you. So if that’s mineral makeup, you go girl! But for me, it’s heading to the big storage unit in the sky.

BIN IT!

Bin It: Stila Smudge Pot

Whilst I hate to kick a brand when it’s down (as of last week Stila was just brought back from the brink of receivership by a private equity firm who have bought it. It’s not been doing well since Estee Lauder sold it in 2006), and there are quite a few Stila products I like, this ain’t one of them.

 Stila-Smudge-PotsThe Smudge Pots (in my humble opinion) are the worst of the current crop of gel eyeliners. And the reason I know? Because the good stuff (ie the Bobbi Brown Long Wear Gel Eyeliner I posted about last week) is in my kit, which leaves the rubbish (ie Stila Smudge Pot), in my personal makeup bag. Isn’t there that saying that the cobbler has no shoes? Well that is definitely me. I have my fancy pants amazing work makeup kit all organized and color coded and with so much stuff in it I have actually injured myself carrying it around (which is just sad but also happens to be true), and then my own makeup bag is beyond tragic. It’s full of gift with purchase brushes (I know! The shame! The horror! I am always telling clients off for this!) and brushes I didn’t like enough to put in my kit, and my makeup is either things I have doubles of, or things I have pulled out of the Vault, where makeup at my place goes to die.

 Which is where the Stila Smudge Pot comes in. It flakes, it smudges, it’s like pushing an eyeliner brush through tar (which at 6am is even less fun than it sounds) and its consistency is just plain wrong. Then by the end of the day when you’ve been working so hard, and (let’s face it) sweating, and you haven’t had time to look in the mirror, when you actually do, what do you find but two very attractive half moons of black nestled in the creases of your under eyes. SO HOT.

 If you want to go halfway between the worst (Stila) and the best (Bobbi Brown), you would find the MAC Fluidline, which is quite nice and creamy and is certainly cheaper than the Bobbi Brown. It’s by no means terrible, so if, at this delicate stage in our global economy you are finding your financial affairs a little straitened, you could definitely do worse than this one. I usually use this at the shows as most of the shows are sponsored by MAC.

 But please, stay far, far away from Stila Smudge Pot. And I’ll take my own advice and I will too.

 BIN IT!

Bin it – NARS mascara in Black Orchid

Nars Black Orchid Mascara  

 

 

Nars Black Orchid Mascara

 

I flat out hate this mascara (and that’s not a word I use lightly). It has a brush that looks like it escaped from 1985, and it performs so poorly compared to the rest of the NARS brand, I was quite staggered. OK, I think mascara manufacturers have gone a little OTT with all their rotating brushes, and fancy little combs, and rubber spikes and ones that look quite frankly like torture devices (hello Givenchy, I’m talking to you), but in 2009 something that low-tech just doesn’t cut it. Even Maybelline Great Lash (or Not So Great Lash as I like to call it) is fancier than this mo-fo.

In the interests of fairness, I’m just going to go and try it again: Nope, still made my eyelashes look like 5 little sticks. Its formula is thin and has an unerring ability to get at the ends of the lash and sort of clump, and then the crappy retro brush pushes your lashes together into aforementioned sticks. There is just no way to separate the lashes then to fan ‘em out and get ‘em fluffy. And we all know how much we love a full and fluffy lash!

In all honesty I wanted to love this because the square rubber packaging is so chic, and I have to admit to being a sucker for NARS in general (despite it’s excessively high price point). There’s just something about the witty names, gorgeous colors and the rubberized packaging that never seems to date that means a couple of times a year I find myself purchasing more sparkly eyeshadows and blushes I rarely use, but when I do, they make me happy (maybe because I’m actually justifying that hefty price tag? Not sure).

But this sad little mascara is one for the bin. Send it back to sing with Huey Lewis and the News – you know it wants to!

Bin it!