Sunday, November 16, 2008
6 Products Actually Worth The Dough (a.k.a, 6 Products I'm Thankful For)
As we all know by now, I am into finding the best deals with makeup, and I think the fact that some mascaras are approaching $30 or even $40 (Dior, Lancome, Chanel) these days is crazy. I've also seen eyeliner pencils that are almost $20, lipsticks going for between $25 and $30, and blushes for $25 (yeah, I'm talking to you, NARS, on that one). So most of the time, I'm striving to introduce you to those lesser known companies out there that produce quality products that equal or even surpass these super-expensive ones, or I'm finding all those coupon codes that will help you buy those expensive ones for a little less than their usual exorbitant retail price.
However, over the years, I have found a couple products that I actually will pay the high price to get. That's because with these products, you really do get the results promised - it's not like when you buy a supposedly super-luxe mascara and discover that it's no better than your Maybelline The Colossal you got for $7 at Walgreens. These few products have made my skin better, made my eyes totally fabulous, and just generally improved my makeup routine in such a dramatic way that I will agree to pay for them (although I still do wince at the price and wonder what's in there that causes the price to be that high). So, without further ado, here are some of those products:
1. Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion ($16) and Too Faced Shadow Insurance ($17). These products appear super expensive, since the containers are pretty small. However, they really are wonder products - using either one before shadow application means that makeup is going to stay there ALL day and well into the evening. In fact, that result happens with just a tiny amount of product, so once you realize that, the container doesn't seem so tiny anymore. In a way, it does save you on makeup, too, because you're not always reapplying your eye look due to fading or creasing. Beautiful! (Just be aware that no matter how cute the UDPP container is, it's totally impractical, and when you think you've got all your product out and are about to throw it away, watch this video about how to get several months' worth of hidden primer out of that thing.)
2. MAC Kohl Power Eye Pencil in Feline ($14). This could be the perfect black eyeliner. The color is that rich, kohl black, and the pencil is soft - leading to that slightly smudged look we all love. The softness of the pencil also means extreme ease of application. While I rarely line the lower waterline, I find this pencil is superb for lining the upper waterline - just one stroke across and the line is there. No fussing around, no slipping pencils stabbing your contact lenses, no nonsense. Plus, the pencil is really long, and will last quite a long time since you don't need much to get a fabulously pigmented line. I think everyone should have one in the train case.
3. Murad T-Zone Perfecting Gel ($40). Okay, this one is a big splurge, but I am serious when I say that together with Aromaleigh's Nocturne nighttime mineral treatment, this gel has revolutionized my skin. It has just the right amount of salicylic acid/glycolic acid to gently exfoliate and dig all that crap out of the pores - plus, it's spiked with pomegranate extract, which has been shown to zap free radicals and boost resistance to damage induced by sun exposure. Produces soft, smooth skin and reduces the occurrence of those pesky breakouts that my combo skin can experience. Smells great too!!
4. MAC Pigment in Vanilla ($19.50 for a full size, $1.59 for a sample at The Body Needs). For most MAC pigments, I go for the samples Cheryl at The Body Needs provides - they're so, well, pigmented that a little goes a long way, and the samples last me a long time. Those full sizes really are HUGE. They're designed for professionals who are using them day in and day out - but if you're a mere mortal, one full size pigment is almost overkill and it's not really worth the $19.50. However, Vanilla is an exception to that rule - the $19.50 full size in that shade is definitely the way to go. Vanilla is all about versatility - it's an absolutely gorgeous ivory color that has a very subtle bronzish, copperish duochrome when blended. It's great for a lid color, a browbone highlight, or a cheekbone highlighter. It can be lightly dusted all over the face (or mixed into your moisturizer) to wake up tired skin - or use just a tad more to get an ethereal glow for evening. It can be mixed into your body moisturizer to produce a lovely shimmer all over. I've even mixed a little in with some smoothing serum and run it through my hair to add extra shine and shimmer there too! I'm sure there are a million other things you can do with Vanilla too!
5. Urban Decay 27/7 Eyeliner Pencil in Bourbon ($16). This eyeliner is the bomb... it's a perfect warm brown with hints of gold microglitter in it. It can be dressed down on casual days and it can be packed on and smudged for a pretty take on a smokey evening eye. Either way, the gold microglitter gives your whole eye area a lift - don't fret, it's not like that big, teeny-bopper type glitter. It really is tiny, and it provides lovely little sparks of gold when the light hits you right. And ... it really lasts until you take it off without smudging, running, crumbling, or doing anything ugly and terrible.
6. CHI Silk Infusion ($8.95 for 2 oz). Almost ten bucks for 2 ounces of product? Ouch. Well, not really - because this stuff is AMAZING. In fact, every CHI hair care product I've tried has been amazing, but I'm just going to focus on this one because it's quickly become one of my can't-live-withouts. Silk Infusion is made with, of course, hydrolyzed silk protein. A lot of hair products have this, though, so what's the difference? Well, the smarties at CHI have put the silk protein in an ionized format - this way, it can bind to the damaged areas of your hair much better, and the whole process is actually enhanced by the application of heat from your dryer or styling tool. That leaves even poor, dry, damaged hair like mine looking and feeling like... well, silk. I use about a nickel sized amount on my wet hair before drying, and then I often use a few more drops on my hair once it is dry to replace any moisture lost during the blowout. It imparts incredible shine to the hair, improves texture, and behaves like an all-around wonder product. Plus, since you don't really need a whole lot at once, even the 2 ounce bottle lasts a long time.