The Best Mascara Ever

best mascara ever

Ladies, I’ve been meaning to write this post for months. After years and years of trials and tribulations, I have found the holy grail in mascara. (And you all know I’ve tried them all, right? Drugstore, high end, what have you…have. tried. them. all.)

Are you ready?

Benefit They’re Real! Mascara.

Hands down, this is the best mascara I’ve ever used, and here’s why.

1. It does a good job of adding length to the lashes.

2. It does a bang up job of adding volume to the lashes.

3. It does not clump at all. (I DESPISE CLUMPY LASHES. Please explain to me why some people think thick, clumpy lashes are a good thing? Blech.)

4. It doesn’t feather or flake off underneath your eyes as the day goes on.

5. It doesn’t bother my contacts.

6. You don’t need a separate lash primer to get the full effect.

And, drumroll, please…

7. People ask me if I’m wearing lash extensions all the time. BOO YAH.

Yes, it’s $23 dollars, but it is worth every penny. You ladies need to heed my advice and buy some right now. (Have I led you astray yet? Listen to mama.)

For those of you balking at the price, I will tell you this. There is a drugstore version that is almost as good as the Benefit mascara. Not AS good, but pretty dang good for the price. CoverGirl LashBlast Volume. Give that one a go first, if need be. Good luck and good lashes.

The Best Beauty Video Tutorials

I looooooove me some beauty and hair tutorials, peeps.

Here’s the deal. Let me help you. Don’t waste your time weeding through thousands of videos because I’ve done all the (hours upon hours of YouTube viewing) work for you. Eyeliner woes? Check. Chic, everyday makeup? Check. Braided updos and sock buns? Trimming your own bangs? Cat eyes? Smoky eyes? Essential makeup brushes? Fuller lips? Check, check, check, check, check, CHECK.

My top 20 beauty video tutorials of all time are over at Beauty and the Beat!

The Best Bright and Dark Lip Colors

My post on the best nude and soft pink lip colors can be found here.

I am the first to admit that I’m not quite the aficionada with dark/bright lip colors that I am with lighter ones. Nude and soft pink lip colors? I’m your woman, look no further, there should be a Guinness World Record Book title for me, etc. Darker and/or brighter colors? Eh, I know enough to get by. This is probably due to the fact that my day-to-day grind doesn’t really call for loud colors on my mouth. I mean, I’m not usually rocking the uber-bright fuchsia while working out or grocery shopping or at my son’s soccer practice, ya know?

Still, I think it’s very important to have a great red, a playful fuchsia, a creamy bright pink, and a sophisticated wine for when the mood strikes. Here are my top 8.

NARS Lipstick in Flamenco

This is the perfect red. It’s sheer and strawberry-hued, and seems to work on a variety of skin tones. I love it because it’s so easy to work with – one quick swipe and you have a nice stain, but you can build it up to a full-fledged dramatic lip. I’ve written about it here and here.

Burberry Natural Lip Gloss in Tea Rose

This is a truly pigmented coral pink gloss. It’s the most perfect shade for spring, and it’s what I wore in the Pantene commercial.

NARS Lipstick in Shrinagar

If you are looking for a lipstick with a berry/wine vibe, this would be perfect. It has enough depth to add dimension to your overall look, but isn’t overbearing at all. A great color for the office.

Sally Hansen Diamond 12 Hr Lip Treatment in Baguette

I wouldn’t really call this shade too bright or too dark, but once again, it’s a gloss that is truly buildable. A sheer hot pink, it makes you look like you just ate a cherry popsicle.

CoverGirl Lip Perfection Lipstick in Eternal #350

Hold on to your hats, ladies! This super bright fuchsia is so fun, and I feel like a completely different person when I wear it. Word to the wise, though. This particular shade is called “eternal” for a reason…it doesn’t budge once on. (By the way, thanks to my Facebook peeps for helping me avoid a potential lip crisis a couple weeks ago. Great tips!)

Korres Lip Butter Glaze in Quince

Drumroll, please. If I had to pick one lip product out of all of my lip colors (nudes and soft pinks included), this would be my winner hands down. I am in love with everything about this lip glaze. The applicator, the color, the taste, the shine, the consistency…LOVE. It’s like the perfect combination of a gloss and a lipstick, and none of the Ps. (Parabens, Petrochemicals, Phthalates.) It comes in five shades, so get thee to a Sephora immediately.

DiorAddict Lipstick in DiorKiss #578

Love this sweet, slightly punchy pink. Dior Addict lipsticks have the best consistency too – smooth, blendable, and lovely.

NARS Lipstick in Dolce Vita

This is a good darker nude for lighter-skinned gals. It’s called a “sheer, dusty rose,” and would be perfect for the office. Plus, I’ve heard it works as a beautiful nude shade for darker skin tones.

Now it’s your turn. What are your favorite bright and dark lip colors?

The Best Nude & Soft Pink Lip Colors

As if you haven’t seen enough of my mug lately, here I am times eight. Freaky, huh? All in the name of cosmetic research, though!

Let’s talk about lip color. I love me some lip color, ladies, and here are my very favorite nude and soft pink lip colors. (We’re going for subtle, daytime shades today.)

I learned a lot of things while making this post, notably:

1. I own many pinkish nude, subtle, daytime lip colors.

2. They pretty much all look the exact same.

3. I obviously have a problem, and need to stop buying pinkish nude, subtle, daytime lip colors.

Of course, because I’m a lip color junkie, I will wax poetic on why I can’t live without each and every one of these lip colors. Let’s get started.

Dior Addict Lip Polish in Fresh Expert (002)

I’ve written about this color before, and I love it because it makes my lips super shiny, the rotating applicator rocks, and it tastes good.

Estee Lauder Pure Color Gloss Stick in Rose Dusk

I guess Rose Dusk has been discontinued (wahhhhh), but Honey Pink is similar. This is one of the most moisturizing lipsticks I’ve ever used. It creates shine like a gloss, but has the staying power of a lipstick. I also love the applicator – if you click on the link above, you can see that it’s not the traditional lipstick shape. For me, it goes on easier, and the shape doesn’t get all wonky when you’ve used half the tube.

Kiehl’s Lip Gloss in French Rose

This gloss has almost no color at all, and I usually wear this around the house or while working out. It keeps my lips really moisturized and shiny without looking like I’m wearing much of anything. I’m also a big fan of the tube applicator.

Mac Viva Glam V Lipstick

Another great lipstick. The shimmering, pinkish nude color has a tiny touch of brown in it, and the lipstick tastes like yummy sugar. Sometimes I think about eating it for a mid-afternoon snack.

Lip Fusion Micro-Injected Collagen Lip Plump in Sugar

I really love the sheen and rosy shade of this gloss, but I’m not sure if it truly plumps your lips. Do my lips look any plumper in the photo?

MAC Sheen Supreme Lipstick in Can’t Get Enough

I was just turned onto this lipstick by a friend, and I love it. It is definitely the least pinkish of the nudes I own – it’s a true shimmering nude. This shade looks great on its own, but is also fantastic when applied over darker lipsticks. Love this one.

Josie Maran Natural Volume Lip Gloss in Brilliance

I love Josie Maran’s products, but I have to say, this applicator brush splays like no other. Now, I’ve had this gloss for over a year, so maybe the company has addressed this issue by now, but the brush drives me crazy. Too bad because the color is lovely, and contains Argan oil.

Chanel Glossimer in Sirop

This is a smooth, sheer, coral pink that looks great in the spring and summer. Unfortunately, I think it’s been discontinued, but Sally Hansen makes a sheer coral lip gloss called Flawless that is very similar. (And waaaaay less expensive.)

What are some of your favorite subtle lip colors? Drugstore brands didn’t get much representation here, and that’s because I don’t like buying lip color without trying it on first. Bummer. If you have any specific questions about the above colors, feel free to leave them in the comments.

Coming soon – my favorite bright/dark lip colors!

Best Products for Wavy Hair

My 2012 resolution is to embrace my natural texture, and here are some of the products I’m currently using.

Redken All Soft Shampoo and Conditioner

Wide-tooth comb

Aveda Be Curly

Pantene Beautiful Lengths Smoothing Balm

Oribe Supershine Moisturizing Cream

Macadamia Healing Oil Treatment

Redken All Soft Argan Oil

Nuxe Multi-Purpose Dry Oil

Some of the products in the video were provided to me free of charge, and some I purchased with my own money. All opinions are my own.

Best of 2011 – My Hair and Beauty Favorites

I’m always mentioning a product or two in passing, but I’ve never put together a comprehensive list of my very favorite hair and beauty products until now. A few days ago, I sat down on my bathroom floor and spent a good amount of time going through my cabinets and makeup case, making sure not to forget anything. Every single product on this list is something that I currently use and love. (Um, obviously NOT AT THE SAME TIME.) Enjoy!

Blow Dryer: Sedu Revolution Pro Tourmaline Ionic 4000i Hair Dryer

Travel Blow Dryer: BaByliss ProTT Tourmaline Titanium 1500 Compact Dryer

Flat Iron: Sedu Pro Ionic Ceramic Tourmaline Flat Iron

Curling Iron: Hot Tools 1-inch curling iron

Clipless Curling Iron: Sedu Revolution Clipless Curling Iron (My thoughts on the Sedu vs. the Enzo Milano here.)

Everyday Brush: Mason Pearson

Round Brush: Sephora Large Round Brush and Marilyn Brush Tuxedo Pro

Paddle Brush: Wigo Straighten and Shine Paddle Brush

Ponytail Holders: Emi-Jay Hair Ties and Goody Ouchless Elastics

Shampoo and Conditioner: Redken All Soft

Drugstore Shampoo and Conditioner: Pantene Medium to Thick Solutions – Breakage to Strength

Hairspray: Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Working Hair Spray

Mousse: Pureology Colour Stylist Silk Bodifier Volumizing Mousse

Smoothing Cream: Oribe Supershine Moisturizing Cream

Smoothing Balm: Pantene Restore Beautiful Lengths Smoothing Balm

Curl Cream: Pureology Real Curl and Bumble and bumble Curl Conscious Defining Creme

Curl Prep: Aveda Be Curly Style-Prep

Setting Lotion: Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Color Hold Styling Tonic

Protective Serum: Macadamia Oil Healing Oil Treatment

Leave-In Softening Serum: Kerastase Chroma Riche Luminous Softening Essence

Texture Spray: Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray

Texture Creme: Bumble and bumble Texture Creme

Dry Shampoo: Klorane Extra Gentle Dry Shampoo

Drugstore Dry Shampoo: Batiste Dry Shampoo

Foundation: Armani Luminous Silk Foundation (Seriously, ladies. Nothing compares. Quit the elusive search for the perfect tinted moisturizer and just plunk down the cash for this foundation. I apply it with a light touch, and my complexion has never looked more radiant, FOR REALS. Compliments all the live long day.)

Undereye concealer: Clinique Airbrush Concealer

Powder Blush: Chanel Blush Duo Tweed Effect

Drugstore Powder Blush: Neutrogena Sheer Highlighting Blush in Fresh

Cream Blush: Illamasqua Cream Blusher in Promise

Drugstore Cream Blush: Maybelline Dream Mousse Blush – Soft Plum

Pencil Eyeliner: Laura Mercier Kohl Eye Pencil in Brown Copper

Drugstore Pencil Eyeliner: CoverGirl Perfect Point Plus Eyeliner in Espresso

Cream/Gel Eyeliner: MAC Paint Pot (I use Blackground as a liner, and I love the Groundwork shade as a daytime look on my lids.)

Mascara: Laura Mercier Full Blown Volume Lash Building Mascara

Drugstore Mascara: Prestige My Biggest Lashes Mascara in Very Black

Eye Primer: Kat Von D High Voltage Eye Primer in Skin

Can’t Live Without Eye Shadow Brush: MAC 217

Red Lipstick: NARS Sheer Lipstick in Flamenco

Nude Lipstick: MAC Viva Glam V

Lip Gloss: NARS, Chanel, Dior, Kiehl’s, Korres…too many to count!

Everyday Lip Pencil: Boots No. 7 Line and Define in Nude

DUDE. That’s a lot of links. If you have any specific questions in regards to any of these products (or if I’m missing a product category you’d like to see), let me know in the comments!

Disclaimer: I have received some of these products as samples over the years, but would (and do) spend my money on all of them.