Category Archives: Bag it or 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.


Bag It: Dior Beige Massai

Dior Beige MassaiThis is officially my favourite eyeshadow set at the moment, and it’s been in my kit so long that it’s the old enamel blue and black stripes (and that’s old! I think I bought it pre-2000) and it’s still getting cracked out on a regular basis.

Why so good? Well it has the perfect nutmeg brown for starters, which has a slight bit of shimmer but only a touch (the other four shadows are matte). It has a cream, which I never use but hey at least it’s there if I ever need to do – well, a cream color, a gorgeous matte peach which has just the right amount of blue to it, not too coppery, an almost wine color which is lovely on blue and green eyes mixed with the brown, and my other fave, a mustard-y camel color which is just the wrong shade of tan to be oh so right.

They’re gorgeous mixed together or used separately but they are a kit staple, so for me it’s BAG 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.


Bag It: NARS Velvet Matte Pencils

Oooh, baby, where do I start? Honestly these are the best thing to pass your lips since chocolate was invented, and if you’re a lippie spastic (come on, be honest, I think lots of people are), it’s pretty much foolproof.

The chubby Crayola-like stick takes me back to my stationery collecting days at school (yes, before I collected makeup I obsessively collected stationery – am I sensing a trend?) And it’s totally Collect ‘Em All!Nars-Velvet-Matte-Pencils

Basically it’s a cross between a lipstick and a pencil, and like it says on the box, it’s truly MATTE. I’ve been into matte lips and over gloss for quite some time, so these are a timely edition to any makeup bag. However if a glossy lip is your thing, you can add your gloss of choice over the top and you have a perfect lacquered lip.

The deep reds are amazing and the orange-y one, Red Square, is this weird off color that is great for shooting editorial because it’s so strange, and the pencil glides over your lips to impart deep, rich matte color. I can’t think of a single color that I don’t like in this range, and I have about 8 (so far!) in my kit. The fleshy beige of Belle de Jour, the perfect mauve of Sex Machine, the warm browns of Bettina and Tortola which are so right for a natural lip, and the pink perfection of Roman Holiday are all staples in my kit. No more excuses for bodgy lip outlines and thin, anemic looking color coverage! Importantly, for our makeup artist friends out there they are light, portable and take up no space, which is relevant when your kit is making Bungalow 8 on a Saturday night look empty.

Its easy pencil application means that you don’t need to fiddle with a lipbrush and a multiple layers of lipstick to get the right depth of color and a perfect line. Get thee to a NARS counter immediately and

Bag 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!

Bag It – Laura Mercier Brow Powder

Oh such an old favourite. I have had these in my kit since God was a boy, and used it on practically every client who needed some eyebrow help (and baby don’t we all in these troubled times?)

Illamasqua brow brush

Illamasqua brow brush

They need a stiff brush, like the Illamasqua brow brush (sadly both the Laura Mercier brow brush, or the Chanel eyebrow brush I am currently using have been discontinued). Any of these bad boys will do the job. The beauty of the powders is that you can blend the two colors together to get just the right shade, and it comes in 5 different tones.

Laura Mercier Brow Powder

Laura Mercier Brow Powder

There is even a version for redheads which is nice for our oft-neglected russet brethren. The blonde ones have an almost green cast which is the color region you need to be in to correct blonde brows – taupe-y, ash to green. Sounds weird, but anyone who has been using blonde pencils with too much red in them will know what I mean (as one of my friends unkindly said to me in my late 1990’s, pre-makeup career, ‘Why are your eyebrows orange?”).

And the Brunette powder is a perfect dark brown with a black right next to it so you can get a little bit dramatic if you feel like it. It fills in spaces and gives strength where required. If your brows are lovely and full and don’t obviously look like they need help, put the tweezers down, and thank your lucky stars. You don’t need them.

Bag it!