Anastasia has one of the most innovative, best ideas around with Lash Genius. It’s a clear waterproofing topcoat to use over any mascara. Since waterproof mascara is so hard to remove, most women don’t use it daily but would like their formula to stay in place at the pool, gym, or for special events like weddings- which is why I have it in my kit. I can instantly turn any of the 5 or 6 mascaras I carry into durable waterproof formulas without having to change a thing about the tubes I’ve come to rely on. It’s especially helpful to lock in color on the lower lashes which often times become notoriously smudgy.
A client last week was so excited about this mascara that she couldn’t wait to show me her gorgeous red and rose gold tube. It’s called FAIRYDROPS mascara by Scandal Queen $24 and now I’m dying to try it. She loved how it grabbed onto each and every lash with its unique twisty brush and gave her a doll-eye effect while staying in place without smudging. It’s a Japanese favorite and exclusive to Sephora here in the U.S.
If you see me out somewhere I’m probably wearing no less than 7 coats of mascara. You’d never know it because my lashes are never thick or clumpy, just long and defined and I know it’s due to the formula I’ve been buying pretty consistently now for years: LashBlast Fusion. I don’t really know the difference between this one versus the orange tube, but I didn’t like the orange and the yellow tube was great for a while but I couldn’t get it to build like I can using this formula.
My process goes like this; primer (PureLash, I’ve used it for 4+ years now), then curl (with the Shu curler of course), then the first coat of mascara using the ‘press and wiggle’ technique taking the brush from the very base of my lashes all the way up to the tip. This will lay down more than that ‘flicking’ technique where the wand barely grazes the lash tips and doesn’t pump up the roots where you want the most volume. Now let it dry. Applying more to wet lashes creates clumps so be patient – it’s only a few minutes. All dry? Curl again (hugely important – you’ll get way more of a a wide-eye effect with 2 curls instead of one), then another coat. Your subsequent layers will be applied from the mid part of the last upward and always wait until the last coat has dried. Keep laying it on until you’re happy.
With some mascaras this might be a recipe for disaster, but there’s something about this formula, brush, and technique that makes lash building so easy.
Now that you know where to spend a little extra money, let’s talk about where not to. The divide in quality between drugstore and department store brands isn’t so wide anymore (hello, Olay Pro-X!), so save where you can in these few key categories where I’ve found that it really doesn’t matter.
Mascara: CoverGirl LashBlast
I’ve always been a fan of drugstore mascara – it’s what you’d find both in my professional kit and in my bathroom. While the Maybelline pink and green might be a fav of some, I stick with CoverGirl for all things mascara. LashBlast’s fat tubes are all the rage for a reason – they’re great formulas that wear so well you don’t need to get those impossible-to-scrub-off waterproof formulas that should be a measure of last resort purchase. The one in the orange tube is fine, but I like the purple one – Fusion as it’s called – for a really long, defined look that I can layer on over and over without clumping. For around $9 or so, it’s a third of what some department stores mascaras are and every bit as good. If CoverGirl doesn’t light your fire, check out what Maybelline, Revlon, and others have to offer, you’ll find a $10 formula you love guaranteed.
Long Wear Lipstick: L’Oreal Infallible
Brides are always surprised when I tell them to grab a drugstore brand lipstick for touching-up on their big day. L’Oreal Infallible is one of the best long-wearing lip formulas out there. It stays put a crazy long time without fading, feathering, or getting all globby. It isn’t bulletproof, but I’d say only one touch-up during the day is all you need after your first morning application. Not bad for $12.
Eye Liner: NYX
Love M.A.C’s Liquidlast? Grab NYX Studio Liquid Liner for $4 – a big savings over M.A.C’s $17.50 especially because they both stay as long and have vast color selections. A powder shadow is perfect for those who can never seem to draw on a decent liner shape because it’s so simple to use, Smashbox has one for $22, as does NYX for $6. Same packaging, same applicator, and the same great result. NYX has a liner selection that I adore, most priced less than $10 and all stack up big time against higher priced counterparts.
Brow Powder: Any Line Will Do
Right now I’m using a light taupe mineral shadow for my brows just because I have it laying around. Before that it was this $4 Ardell Brow Defining Powder, but it really doesn’t matter. Yes, a brow-specific color is the best bet since color correctness is key, but as long as you get the shade right you can use any powder you have on hand to get the job done.
I ordered these ultra thin paper lashes for a shoot over the summer where the model wore peacock feathers in her hair because I thought they’d look cool fitting into the theme. It was before Sephora picked up the Paperself lash line so I ordered them from Asia and payed a fortune for shipping. While the quality and look are very cool, they aren’t without problems.
First, they’re paper (obvs) so you can’t curl, mascara, or even manipulate them much. I tried my best to make them ‘curl’ back the way her own lashes did, but they wanted to stick straight forward totally hindering a view into her eyes rendering them pointless (she couldn’t really see out either.) It pained me to rip them off of her knowing I wouldn’t be able to use them again (once the paper is wet from the glue- forget it, they’re a one-time deal), but I decided to switch to the smaller outer corner Peach Blossom ones hoping for the same look without the full strip that covered her eyes. Again, no dice. After the photog snapped a quick test shot, it was clear that what looked really cool in person just didn’t translate into anything on camera. It just looked strange and got lost against the color I’d placed on her lids. They also have a mind of their own – each lash in the same set had a different shape (one curly and the other more straight), even with some manipulation I wasn’t able to get them to look the same.
But they look so damn cool.
They might work if you don’t use dark shadow or much liner so you can see the full pattern against your lid, or if you just want to compliment a Halloween costume where your interactions were up close and not for a camera. I really wanted to love them and rave about them, but it just didn’t work out that way.
See the line HERE at Sephora.com and note that the model wearing the lash on Sephora’s site has what I believe to be a photoshopped version of the lash, they aren’t that large – if they were it would be easier to see them on.
Another day, another makeup transformation. I took these over the weekend at a wedding I worked at the Brown Palace here in Denver. It’s the brides sister (and maid of honor), who requested a punched up version of her usual look with some bronzy highlights that would photograph well. Here’s the before and after along with a few things that made the look possible.
My Hero Products for the Look:
Estée Lauder: Bronze Goddess Soft Duo Bronzer
Finding a bronzer that looks good in the office is one thing, but finding one that photographs well and lasts all day is another. Lauder has gotten good at bronzing and their one-shade-works-for-most duo is a go-to for a lot of makeup artists because of its instant tanning affect that’s perfect in any light. Keep in mind that bronzer isn’t meant to be used all over the face, just the top of the forehead, chin, and under the cheek bones gives a dynamic look. A little bit of brozner is pretty and youthful, bronzer all over is Jersey Shore.
Tarte: emphasEYES Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liner in Black
emphasEYES is as good as any gel liner out there (better than Bobbi for precision because it isn’t as slippery) but with mineral-derived pigments and a natural formula.I used it on her upper lash line with the pointy side of the brush (shown below), then I did a smudgy application under her lower lash line with the diffusing side of the brush. I’ve seen girls literally cry over this liner without it moving. Liner is important to a look and this is one I trust.
L’Oreal: Double Extend Eye Illuminator in Black Quartz
I’m still using Double Extend in my kit – I’ve never had a problem with smudging or moving and these are brides and bridesmaids who are basically sweating and crying all day long. Double Extend Eye Illuminator offers the same great formula on one side in black, but replaces the primer side with a shimmering formula and a round tipped brush meant to highlight the lashes. I don’t know how much the glimmer actually brings a highlight to the lash, but I love the shape of the brush to work mascara into the outer part of the lashes where they’re the longest and need some extra bulk.
KohGenDo: Maifanshi Moisture Foundation in Shades 2 and 3 blended together
I’ve blogged about KohGenDo Foundation before, it’s a well-loved pick for Makeup Artists who forgo airbrushing for a more controlled (and safer) application. It enhances skin and gives a good amount of coverage without making it look like you’re wearing a mask. You can see in these pics that some of her freckles are still showing (I outright refuse to cover freckles beyond what the foundation does because I think they’re so cute), but the bulk of her discoloration is gone and her skin is still showing through and glowing. No need to powder over top either, the formula itself contains 10% powder so it’s self-setting.