I first purchased this beauty editor-recommended lip pencil in 1993, after reading about a new-to-me brand called M.A.C. in a fashion magazine. Touted as a universally-flattering liner, it was supposed to be the only lip pencil a woman needed, but it was just OK, a touch too warm. I used it sporadically over the next few years and then lost or tossed it. A couple years ago I repurchased it, and it was much worse than I'd remembered; it looked orange on me.
Not one of the Orgasmic blush, lip gloss, nail polish, or multiple (highlighter) flatters my skin tone.
I sometimes wonder if Orgasm has reached cult status on its name alone, as there is nothing especially unique about the color. Surely this shimmering peachy pink blush looks beautiful on many ladies, but it just makes me look feverish, and I'd rather get that flush the old fashioned way.
This eyeshadow is so pretty in the pan, a shimmering champagne pink beige that I hoped would be like a second skin for my eyelids. But, alas, no.
Instead I get an uber-sparkly finish that highlights every flaw around my eyes and makes the skin look like crumpled tissue paper. If anyone knows of a more subtly shimmering pinkish-beige, please let me know because that color would nicely round out my eyeshadow collection.
How could one little lipstick, described as a muted rose pink, turn into such a horror fest on me?
I am convinced that Mademoiselle is the Mood Ring of lipsticks. It looks so rosy and beautiful on Vanessa and in the tube, but it turns a hideous brown-orange on me--and that surprises me because my lips are a medium-pigmented mauve-rose that usually turn most lipsticks cool or cooler.
Urban Decay Primer Potion
This primer gets much love, but not from me. I expect primer to even out skin tone, so eyeshadow I apply over it is unadulterated by red skin or blue veins. UDPP is a beige silicone product that provides nice slip, but worsens the appearance of my eyelid skin, making it look crepey. I also hate the packaging, which wastes a lot of goop.
Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer
I really wanted to like this TM because I am a huge fan of Laura Mercier products. Alas, it is too dewy for me (and I do not care for the oil-free version), but the worst bit is that the chemical sunscreen reddens my skin, defeating the purpose of evening out my skin tone.
Clinique Black Honey
This "almost" lipstick continues to win awards in beauty magazines--it's even in Elle magazine's Hall of Fame. I once read that Madonna wore it on the cover of her Ray of Light album, and Black Honey is THE "lipstick" that beauty pundits insist is universally flattering. It is not. I am part of the universe, and Black Honey is not flattering on me.
Although it is described as an ultra-sheer berry stain, I see a reddish-brown raisin color. It has the unwanted tackiness of a lip gloss, and it has no staying power. I realize a sheer lip product won't last long, but I get better mileage from lipstick/gloss hybrids by Chantecaille and Laura Mercier. Worse, Clinique's formulation dries my lips. I much preferred Clinique's Sheer Raspberry Almost Lipstick back when they sold more than just this color.
Other super-popular products that don't wow me:
- MAC Lip Glass. Too sticky and product accumulates in the corners of my mouth.
- MAC Paint Pots. Stiff and drying. And while Painterly looks perfect in the pot, it turns orange on me.
- Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser. I cannot use this product for the chemical stench of it alone.
- Essie Ballet Slippers. Continually cited in magazines as the perfect pale pink, this nail polish gives me lobster hands.
- LipFusion Plumping Gloss. It's gloss, after all.
This post would be unbalanced if I didn't include some of the products that I think are worth the hype. Here are just a few of the ones I love.
|YSL Touche Eclat|
I really love this highlighter/concealer hybrid. So much, in fact, that I am on my third, which is unprecedented for fickle old me. It doesn't conceal as well as it highlights, but my undereye circles aren't that awful, and it provides some nice brightness along the nasolabial fold.
|Lipstick Queen Medieval Tinted Treatment|
Medieval is a gorgeous clear and very sheer red that even the shy could slather on, without a mirror, and never worry about looking too done up. Are you reading this, Ammie?
|Shu Uemura eyelash curler|
After years of using a Revlon curler, I was initiated into the shu cult, and I love this curler for giving me truly curled lashes, not a 90-degree angle sharp crimp.
|Lancôme Definicils Mascara|
I can't believe I walked by the Lancôme counter for more than a decade without trying this, even though I read countless reviews on how great Defincils is. It really is quite excellent.
|Moroccanoil hair serum|
I resisted trying this hair oil for the longest time because my hair is very fine and thin, and I assumed adding any oil would make it limp and greasy. Not. This stuff calms down the halo of frizz from new hair growth without weighing the rest of it down, and it smells divine, like sweet nuts. And luckily, I don't get buildup, so I do not have to clarify often. I prefer the Light version.
|WEN Cucumber Aloe Cleansing Conditioner|
I've tried the no-poo method using straight-up conditioner and my hair felt great. For a couple days. Then the greasies would come back with a vengeance. A lovely blogger sent me several huge samples of WEN. I tried it, loved it, and ordered the full size. Still loving it, and this is so worth the hype, even on my ultra-fine, thin hair. WEN leaves it soft and manageable without any frizz or dryness. I can even skip a day washing, and I don't have to use the above-mentioned hair oil.
|Chanel nail polish|
What can I say that hasn't already been said. I love Chanel polish, from the colors to the formulation. Elegant packaging, decent longevity, and love love love. Worth every penny.
Anyone who reads beauty blogs knows how incredibly popular these little tubes of pretty pigment are, and to be sure, they are beautiful to behold. For a long time I did not get it. I had a half dozen of them (Star, Seashell, Giggle, Pagoda, etc.), and I just didn't see what the big deal was. And then I found myself purchasing some of the more pigmented ones, like Myriade, Jupiter, and so on, and I was head over heels in love! Shiny, glossy color that last for hours without making my lips feel like they are glued together. Best ever.
I admit I was among the first to pooh-pooh this silly-looking sponge, but it really does provide a poreless finish, from liquid foundation to tinted moisturizer to BB cream. And it doesn't suck up much product. Worth it.
|Bobbi Brown Eyeliner Gel|
A decent color selection and amazing longevity, I now own nearly a dozen of these. My very favorites are Black Mauve Shimmer, Caviar Ink, Granite Ink, Graphite Shimmer, and Indigo Ink. I love that they can be applied over the lashline, poked into the lash roots, and tighlined from below without irritation, and the color stays put ALL day. Bobbi Brown gel liners are the best out there.
|MAC Satin Taupe eyeshadow|
I have been purchasing MAC products since 1993 and no longer love it the way I used to, but Satin Taupe is a gorgeous silvery-cool bronzed brown that looks good any time. I believe this eyeshadow is listed as a frost, but (like Tissueweight) I do not find it frosty at all, more of a satin finish. It was this eyeshadow (and MUA reviews and YouTubes) that reawakened my dormant makeup obsession a couple years ago.
|Laura Mercier Sparkling Pink (fka Pink Champagne)|
As a person not fond of the nude trend, this color is as close to nude as I get. A lovely pink with undertones of brown and gold, this shade gets lots of love from me, even though it is not my most flattering color. It's a lipstick I can grab on the run and apply without thought (or even a mirror).
|Shiseido Pureness Oil-blotting Papers|
My skin is no longer as oily as it once was, but there was a time when I would not go anywhere without my Shiseido papers. I discovered them around 1987 and thought they were a brilliant idea. They might have been the first.
And for the sake of full disclosure, here are some of the cult items I have never tried:
- La Mer anything. I chortled when my friend, Veuve, called it Le Meh.
- Le Métier de Beauté Eye Kaleidoscopes. Call me a wimp, but I don't care for the need to layer. If an eyeshadow color does not stand on its own, it hits the bricks.
- Spray-on foundation, any kind. How does one keep it off your hair and brows and eyelashes? Um, no, not interested.
- Urban Decay Naked Palette. It looks so pretty in the palette, but there is too much shimmer in that palette for me, and way too many warm colors.
- MAC Russian Red lipstick. I believe this is matte or satin formulation. Most MAC lipstick is already drying on me, so it's a no go.
- Preparation H as an undereye puffiness reducer. I just can't get past its intended use.
What are your must-have cult products and which ones disappointed you?
All photos from stock via Google images