Many locations are reinstating or re-enforcing mask mandates – including where I live – with no end date in sight. Boo hoo hoo on so many levels! So, interest in any kind of seasonal lip makeup is shelved for now. There’ll come a time when that all comes back and when it does, you’ll read about it here.
But now, our main style and communications with the world will be through our eyes. We’re not talking “color”, but rather the canvas and frame. Yet, your eyes have probably been through so much in the last year! Self-care and stylish embellishment are what is called for.
In the “time before,” I enjoyed wandering unfamiliar streets and duty-free shops, scouring for secret beauty potions. That’s not happening now. But I think that people don’t realize that you can get luxe, crowd favorite and cult favorite beauty products sent right to your door by Fragrance.com! I was happy to be hosted to experience it.
Collistar is an upscale Italian beauty line that helps you shortcut to chic. I first learned about their products when I popped into a little resort beauty boutique in the luxe Tuscan beach town of Marina di Pietrasanta. I had been splashing around in the sea all day and probably had some 80s blue sheen-based makeup on. The shop assistant looked like she could be a model for Armani. She didn’t speak much English, but she understood that I needed help. She took me to a rotating Collistar display and pulled out some shades that would allow the real me shine through, but most certainly in a well-finished, elegant way. Italiano!
There are lots of black eye pencils out there, but I doubt you’ll be able to top their Professional Eye Pencil – Waterproof – Black. It’s dual-ended, with a fine quality, dense, creamy liner housed in a high-quality light wood, not one of those splintery woods. The color was created to work as a liner, waterline liner and even to smudge as a shadow. You want waterproof for the waterline, for sure. I like to color the upper and lower waterlines, but only the silkiest liners are comfortable to do that. What a convenient product to have on the road! Why use the sponge on the end and not your fingertip? The sponge allows you to blend without melting the color.
One early morning, I was rocking on the front porch of the great Martha Washington Inn & Spa in Abingdon, Virginia. I did not want a picture taken of me, because I knew I had not drawn on my eyebrows for the day, but taken it was. I look like a newborn parrot in the shot. Grrr! Many years ago, I plucked my eyebrows to near oblivion, because they were too low, in my estimation. I mean, I wasn’t going to get an eye lift – I was only about 22! Now, I draw them on.
If you have to do some heavy-duty creating of brows like I do, you’re well aware that it takes multiple products to get depth of color and texture. Shiseido, the luxe Japanese beauty line, has an ingenious product that’s convenient enough to carry in an evening clutch. Brow Inktrio #2 Taupe Pencil has a thin gage automatic pencil, spooly brush and matching powder in one! So, you fill in and/or draw with the pencil, giving line and a base to top. Brush your brows into shape, which will also help take off extra texture. Then, use their pointed tip sponge to apply the built-in powder on top, giving fullness and sealing in the wax pencil. This is a very photogenic look.
In the same beginnings as one of the oldest US brands, Bourjois is a French cosmetics company with roots in stage makeup, going back to 1862! For the past 100 years, the brand has had only two owners, both among the most prized beauty manufacturers in the world. It was carried for a second in a US store, but I’m most familiar with Bourjois from duty free shops in a few European airports.
Volume Glamour Push Up Effet Mascara # 31 Ultra Black makes the eyelash curler obsolete. That’s good, because mine requires AAA batteries, it’s always dead and I never seem to have AAA batteries in the house. They’re like socks: I order them and I have no idea where they go. The mascara has a long, “teddy bear” style spoolie brush, but with relatively widely spaced, so your lashes won’t clump. Ultra Black is not the subtle charcoal black of typical mascaras, it’s a stark, almost blue-black. I think it makes the whites of your eyes look clearer. This mascara has buildable volume without flaking, which is great for everyone, but especially contacts wearers. They say it makes for “soft” looking lashes – that means, your lashes look like real lash hairs instead of tar. It has a matte finish.
Do you need a lash primer? You tell me: do you like products that make the most out of what you have? It’s like the time when my dad, as a senior, asked me, “What’s hair conditioner for?” I imagine I reacted like that teddy bear meme who looks wide eyed in one direction, then does major side eye. Ah, but maybe you’ve tried lash primer in the past and you save it for occasions when you have all the time in the world to get ready: it’s thick, clumpy and shows through your mascara. Clinique Lash Building Primer is a breakthrough product. It’s off-white, but thinner and on the sheer side. You don’t have to put 5 coats of mascara on, working the metal lash comb and hoping you don’t poke yourself to cover it. But I promise, it’s there and working! You wait for the primer dry before applying mascara, but it does dry quickly. It has moisturizers to repair and protect dry lashes.
Are you still working from home? When you’re not in a Zoom meeting, how about doing an easy little beauty treatment while you’re earning your daily bread? Patchology makes different skin patches, each for different needs. FlashPatch Revjuvenating Eye Gels are meant to apply in your eye corners for 5 or more minutes. No need to rinse afterwards, either: pat the remaining serum in for extra hydration. Good ingredients in these include glycerin, sodium hyaluronate, collagen, aloe and chamomile. These patches are clear jelly-like appliques, not stickers. They feel very cooling and soothing.
There comes a time when it all has to come off. You may have seen cleansers where the label says, “removes makeup, too!”. I’m thinking what they really mean is, takes off a dab of rice powder on your nose or some such. You need makeup remover to take off actual makeup, including eye makeup. Many years ago, I was staying at a friend’s house and it was time to clean up for the night. I hunted in cabinets high and low. “How do you not have any makeup remover?!” I yelled out in astonishment. I ended up using some salad oil. Salad oil. I kid you not. My skin and eyes were not doing well in the morning.
Before the internet, cosmetic companies would put out how-to and product information booklets at their counters or you could write for one to be sent. I don’t have an older sister or any semblance thereof, so when I was a pre-teen, I collected many of them and saved them. Believe it or not, I still have them! One of the pamphlets is from Clarins. I guess I assumed that just the very second I grew up, I’d look like one of the high cheekboned models with French twists and by God, I needed to be ready. Clarins Instant Eye Make Up Remover has two distinct parts – a clear formula and a sea-marine colored formula – that you shake up to combine. I have this New Age peace oil bottle where you do the same thing and the trick is to watch it slowly separate, which is calming. The makeup remover is intended for heavy and waterproof makeup – that would include glittery ones that are nearly impossible to get off! It’s definitely lubricious, but not heavy or goopy. I was able to use it on a tissue and with just a few delicate swipes, my makeup was gone. After I had followed with a gel face cleanser, I noticed that my eye lids were silky! This stuff does something terrific for your skin besides just removing cosmetics.
Origins Well Off Fast & Gentle Eye Makeup Remover is a non-oily, gentle eye makeup remover with cucumber extract. “They” always say to use cucumber slices on your eyes to refresh them; use this instead! You don’t know about the state of the cucumber you’re slicing and sticking on. I liked how this removed even those cosmetics I use, like dark liner, that tend to stain my skin and hang around for a few days. I know some people go for that stained look, but it’s not very professional for Zoom meetings.
Estee Lauder Take It Away Gentle Eye and Lip Longwear Makeup Remover (All Skintypes) is one of several makeup removers made by the company founded by a woman who innovated how women look. It has a very fluid, silky feel, but doesn’t appear to have oil, as I judged by the ingredient list. Lots of cosmetics brands flaunt the matte, long-wear, stains, “ink” and other hard-to-remove formulations as of late. It’s good to have a one-step remover, because people used to apply petroleum jelly-based removers and then, something liquid. This formula won’t leave residue on your eyes or impede your ability to wear contacts. The bottle has a safety cap, so it’s definitely not going to leak.
Maybe you have teens or skaters around you who keep you updated on cutting edge Japanese makeup brands. Or maybe you don’t! Global beauty secrets are definitely a “thing” and you don’t have to miss out, no matter where you live. Fragrance.com carries cult labels that you used to only be able to find in little boutiques hidden in funky neighborhoods of the biggest cities. Kiss Me Heavy Rotation Gel Waterproof Eyebrow Liner is going to be very helpful to those who wouldn’t just like, but actually need to keep your brows in place no matter what. It comes in a couple of colors. I tried the darker brown which has the slightest bit of red – but not so much that if you are regularly a taupe brow gal, you won’t be able to also get good use of it. It’s highly, highly pigmented, with the cushiony application of a gel in a self-sharpening applicator. I used it before going out in the humidity, getting a haircut, swimming in a pool (though I’m more the splish splash on a Saturday night type), hanging out in a hot tub and it still was in place! So, if you have alopecia, plucked off all your eyebrows as a youth or have been in an accident, you’re going to appreciate it’s longevity. There’s a built-in spooly brush on the opposite end. Though the packaging is in Japanese, I can see by the illustrations that you should kind of stroke on little dashes, use the brush and then fill in as necessary. They also suggest it be used as eyeliner!
Grande Cosmetics is a brand behind efficacious lash treatment products. They have a few mascaras, but there’s a new one: Conditioning Peptide Mascara Rich Black. Just like the hair on your head, there are many reasons why your lashes may have gotten dry and brittle. Perhaps you use harsh cleansers (like for acne). Do you swim? Are you constantly inserting and removing contact lenses? Even some medications can affect your lashes. This mascara comes out very, very creamy – more fluid than you may be used to. And yet, it applies with a drier consistency than you might expect, not goopy at all! It’s formulated to be buildable – without flaking – and be water resistant but still easily removable. It creates a glamorous lash.
If you’re familiar with the 1939 film The Women, the beauty treatment scenes are modeled after those created by cosmetics titan, Elizabeth Arden. Those smile lines around your eyes might be structural/age related, but they might also be super dryness, too. If the tops of your cheekbones are patchy and lined, you might be looking at (mere) dryness, which – the good news! – can be fixed! Perpetual Moisture 24 Eye Cream seems like it would be heavy or sticky, but instead, it has a light crème-gel consistency. It has Vitamin C, proteins and extracts. I use it at night and it does its thing as I sleep, never interfering with cosmetics application at all.
Here’s an easy beauty tip: you can “lift” your face so easily by brushing up and affixing your brows. Who knew? Maybe you’ve shied away from using a brow gel, thinking it was like some 1980s glue-like hair gel. Not with Andrea Brow Gel! It has a serum consistency and indeed, has conditioning ingredients like panthenol. You take the spooly brush and with one or two strokes, your brows are lifted, sculpted and shined. After a few seconds, it dries and you can’t feel anything to the touch – you don’t have crispy brows. Even no-makeup look types will enjoy the subtle, but noticeable improvement.