Dec 092013
 

Marc Jacobs Mascara1

When the Marc Jacobs Beauty line opened in August, I went to a Sephora in New York City (where I was visiting at the time), and asked the store manager to point out the hero products for the line. He pointed to a few products, including Marc Jacobs Lash Lifter Gel Definition Mascara ($26).  I took a chance, and bought a tube. I’ve been playing with it for the past few months, on and off, trying to pull my thoughts together to create a cohesive review.

Marc Jacobs Mascara3

First off, the packaging is oversized in that Marc-Jacobs-fun sort of way. Getting out this giant tube feels both luxurious and a little playful. The packaging has a large hole in the top–far larger than most mascara openings. I mean, it’s noticeably larger than any I’ve tried before.

Marc Jacobs Mascara23

Because the hole is so large, and there doesn’t seem to be much resistance pulling out the brush, you don’t get much “scraping” action when you pull. With many formulas, that might give you clumps. Not this one. The formula is decidedly very wet, without any clinging fibers that I could see. The brush can be quite loaded up with uber-black gel formula.

Marc Jacobs Mascara5

Whether you like this mascara will depend, I think, on how much you like your own lashes. It will magnify what you have, so if you like your lashes you will be pretty happy I think. It doesn’t give a natural look because it adds a super-dark black, a bit of length and bit of curl. So, yes you will get a fringe effect. However, the Marc Jacobs Lash Lifter is not consistently transformative in its effect, in my opinion, to give va-va-voom lashes. If you find your lashes aren’t as long as you’d like them to be, or too straight, and you want to add far more drama, you might keep looking. I didn’t think that Marc Jacobs Lash Lifter curled as dramatically as Yves Saint Laurent’s Baby Doll or Guerlain Le 2. I did not find that this mascara had as much of a volumizing effect compared to Yves Saint Laurent Faux Cils, Giorgio Armani, Guerlain, NARS, or some of the Chanel formulas over the recent years.

Marc Jacobs Mascara2

The formula is quite long-lasting, I experienced no smudges or flaking. My lashes didn’t get any “crunchy” feeling. They remained soft to the touch throughout the day.

Also, and I may be the only individual who noticed this, I had some inconsistency with application. This might be because there can be a lot of mascara on the brush when you pull it out on some days, while perhaps not on other days. Honestly, I’m not sure. But the inconsistency happened several times and so I cannot write this review without mentioning it. Some days I was pretty happy with the effect. Other days, much less so. That’s unusual for me–I usually know what’s happening when I pick up a tube.

Perhaps a more expert makeup artist would say that the wet formula, and generous amount retained by the brush, gives one better control. After several weeks of trying, I didn’t figure out why one day my lashes looked acceptably long and separated on the first coat, and the next day needed three coats and still seemed a bit inadequate. Also, one word of warning with this mascara. Never, ever, ever touch your lashes without giving them some serious dry time. If I tried to touch up my liner after applying this mascara, it destroyed the nice separation that the brush allows with normal application.

In the bonus point category, this formula makes an awesome eyeliner. Sometimes I used my Laura Mercier push brush to pick up some of this deep black formula and worked it into my lash line. This was a perfect, long lasting liner that went perfectly with this mascara. Really, so long lasting and awesome when used that way.

Marc Jacobs Mascara21

Overall, the Marc Jacobs Lash Lifter Mascara is a premium version of a super-wet formula. I don’t know any high end mascaras that give this same ultra-black effect in a wet gel. There is some lengthening and curling, and a very long-lasting and non-crunchy formula. Those looking for dramatic volume or length might wish to keep looking elsewhere. As with all things in the beauty world, viva la difference– although I personally prefer a more dramatic formula, I know that some readers might have been looking for something with these qualities for a very long time. Undoubtedly unique, I’m sure that there will be many aficionados who will find that this is their “hero” formula. Again, these are just my opinions and (of course) your mileage may vary.

This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup).

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Jun 212013
 

Revlon Lash Potion51

A few weeks ago, Revlon sent us a tube of Revlon Lash Potion by Grow Luscious Mascara ($7.99 retail). I bought a twin so that Liz and I could test and demonstrate this for Cafe Makeup.

Revlon Lash Potion52

Many who love high-end makeup don’t mind economizing for drugstore mascaras.  I can see why.  In the past, I’ve had good luck with L’Oreal’s mascara–most recently, L’Oreal Voluminous False Fiber Lashes Waterproof Mascara. Although it’s a bit clumpy, it doesn’t leave my lashes dry and crunchy (as some drugstore mascaras do), and it doesn’t smudge.  Revlon’s Lash Potion is said to “drench[] lashes with a potion of strengthening proteins for captivating volume and length” and give “maximum volume for clump-free length.” Essentially, Revlon’s is advertised to moisturize, condition, and give dramatic volume and length.

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Nov 122012
 

The other day, I was thinking that I hadn’t seen a truly great mascara from Chanel since 1998.  One release in Europe last year–Sublime de Chanel–had promise on the first try.  However, even Sublime did not seem to be as dramatic as the former Chanels, or the current Armani Eyes to Kill, or Guerlain Le  2 Mascara.

Le Volume de Chanel mascara, just now being released in the U.S., has a winner that is very similar in effect to Guerlain Le 2.

The name “Le Volume de Chanel” suggests that the mascara will add volume to lashes. Put aside your visions of caterpillar-lashes, as this mascara gives a surprising amount of length, curl and definition. Le Volume gives your lashes an oooomph factor times one hundred, yet still manages to ensure that one looks appropriate.

According to the sales associate at the Chanel San Francisco boutique, the wand is called a “snowflake” design and it ensures clump-free application.

I found that the wand was very intuitive and effortless to use. Sometimes mascaras can be too dry, but Le Volume applied easily and quickly. There were a few tiny clumps, easily pushed away with the wand or nearby lash comb. Some of my lashes did stick together, but it wasn’t nearly in the same category as Benefit They’re Real.

I’ll try to do a review with Liz over the next few weeks–we’re on opposites coasts at the moment but still doing our very best to bring you everything we can under the circumstances.

Bottom line–love. I’ve only worn it for one entire day, as this is a preliminary report. No flaking, no smudging, no fading. Good curl, great lasting power. Great definition. Definitely has the high oooomph factor of the former great Chanel mascaras.

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Jul 112012
 

The drought of new collections coming into France continues. Here, “Fall 2012″ actually means Fall 2012.  I saw one exception today going through Sephora–Lancome is launching a new mascara– Hypnôse Star.  They’re using Betty Boop as the star, who is adorable (between you and me, is Betty Boop’s mascara photoshopped?). Anyway, here’s the introductory video for the mascara, starring Betty Book and Daria Werbowy:

What really caught my attention is that Lancome has appeared to have  entirely changed its eyeshadows–these are called Ombre Hypnôse Mono Eyeshadows. They are separated into three categories. On the left, light neutrals in Fresh and Luminous.  In the center, deep, striking, and accent colors in Sophisticated and Chic.  On the right, deep crease and liner colors in Glamour and Intensity (click to enlarge):

I really loved the Fresh & Luminous shades (No. 102 was an especially nice pearly beige), but there were so many buttery soft and gorgeous ones in this entire grouping. I noticed that Lancome (wisely) retained Erika F (it’s in the middle Sophisticated and Chic group on the top).

I’d certainly love to see these come to the U.S. someday (hint, hint!). In my opinion these are so different from the ones available in the states. They would really add depth to Lancome’s U.S. offerings.

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May 092012
 

Lately I’ve been using very emollient eye creams (ah, the joys of beauty blogging!) Guess what’s in emollient eye creams? You guessed it–oil! Guess the best way to remove mascara (even waterproof mascara)? You guessed it again–oil!  The combination of an oily moisturizer and mascara is a recipe for disaster because you are wearing the mascara and a removing agent at the same time. Some eye creams gave me raccoon eyes as early as 10 a.m. Not a good situation, trust me. I decided to skip right over waterproof formulations and go the distance. I  checked out a fiber mascara.

Because I wasn’t sure that I’d like this type, I made a minimal investment of $8-9 at a drugstore to try out L’Oreal’s Voluminous False Lashes. I thought that if this worked well, I could go for some of the fiber mascara’s sold at Sephora (see here and here) and perhaps on some of the Asian makeup sites.

So, what’s the deal with fiber mascaras?

  • Your lashes are coated in little fibers like this (from the L’Oreal package):
  • Fiber mascaras tend to be super-waterproof  (although very hard to remove)
  • Some are said to give a more dramatic effect

For the L’Oreal, I found that the claim of super-waterproofness was solid. I was able to put drops into my eyes without any problem whatsoever. Even the most emollient eye cream did not create any smudging. These are truly all-day lashes.

As mascaras go, I found that the L’Oreal fiber was respectable but not the most dramatic or volumizing that I’ve ever used. It has a dry texture. The first coat is devastatingly natural looking (if you want a natural look, you won’t be quite as crushed). I usually built up using three coats toward a pretty good everyday eye. It’s no Armani or Guerlain. But it is absolutely smudge-free.

As is common with this type of mascara, removal is a challenge. I used the Sonia Kashuk Eye Makeup Remover from Target ($10). I soaked a cotton pad with the remover, held it over my closed eye for about 20 seconds, and then the mascara came off easily by gently sweeping the cotton pad over the mascara. I found that this remover worked better for me than my traditional Shu cleansing oil.

The Sonia Kashuk smells has a vague rubbery smell. You know the smell that Barbie heads have, when they’re new? It’s unavoidable, think back. Yeah, pretty much that same smell. I may switch to the Lancome Bi Facil Eye Makeup Remover when the Sonia Kashuk runs out.

Thanks for reading about my little fiber mascara adventure. I’m going to use up a few more of my standard mascaras, then likely try another fiber brand from Sephora later this year. And invest in the Lancome remover.

 

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