Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Which Cult Beauty Items Are Not (or Are) Worth the Hype?

Part 4 of the "I Don't Get It" series.

MAC Spice

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 now looked orange on me.

NARS Orgasm

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.

Stila Kitten

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 satiny pinkish-beige that is cool toned, please let me know because that color would nicely round out my eyeshadow collection.


Chanel Mademoiselle

How could one little lipstick, described as a muted rose pink, turn into such a terracotta 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 single 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.

The Good

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 hyped-up products I love.

YSL Touche Eclat

I adore 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. I apply it in the inverted V made famous by Trish McEvoy, and my skin just glows.

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 that crazed crimp reminiscent of the curling-iron bang circa 1984.

Lancôme Definicils Mascara

I can't believe I walked by the Lancôme counter for more than a decade without trying their Definicils mascara, even though I read countless reviews on how great Defincils is. It really is most excellent. The black has the barest whisper of navy undertone.

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. It's really a shame you need to use so much, as this stuff isn't cheap. I'd love to know of cheaper alternatives because there will come a point where I tired of spending so much on hair cleanser.

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 beautiful, unique colors. I don't wear nail polish often, but when I do, it's almost always Chanel I reach for.

BeautyBlender sponge

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 if you use it damp. Worth it.

Bobbi Brown Eyeliner Gel

A decent color selection and amazing longevity, I own a couple of these (Granite Ink and Graphite Shimmer), more than I will ever use in my lifetime. I love that I can apply the gel over the lashline, poked into the lash roots, or I can tighlined from below without irritation (as long as I let the pigment dry before I start blinking). The color stays put ALL day, which is a double-edged sword because it can be quite challenging to remove if tightlined. Bobbi Brown gel liners are the best out there.

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. Shiseido might have been the first, but now many makeup brands carry these blotting tissues.

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. I don't care for the need to layer. If an eyeshadow color does not stand on its own, it doesn't get purchased. Life is too busy and short for co-dependent makeup.
  • Spray-on foundation, any kind. How does one keep it off your hair and brows and eyelashes? Eek, no, not interested.
  • Urban Decay Naked Palette. It looks so pretty in the palette, but there is too much shimmer and 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. Some things are best left where they belong.

What are your must-have cult products and which ones disappointed you?

All photos from stock via Google images


  1. For some part of this post I felt like you were my makeup soul mate. However, Chanel Glossimers are one of the few glosses I love (no weird scent, taste, texture and the look good) and Chanel lipsticks are the only one I find I can put on without prepping lips first. I also love the Chanel nail polishes... Let me count the ways I love Chanel ;)

  2. Well, if I am perfectly truthful, it's lipgloss in general that I don't care for. I love lipstick, all kinds, but lip gloss leaves me cold. That said, Chanel is the *least* offensive. The ones I reach for moderately often are Star, Seashell, Pink Teaser, Bel Air, Mica, and Wild Rose. Does that redeem me at all? ;D

  3. I love this series! I have to admit, I'm kind of a follower when it comes to these things. I'm a huge fan of NARS O; I think I went through one point in time when I wore it nearly every day for two months. But, I can see how this color would be too intense or too shiny on some skin tones. I'm totally with you on BB eyeliner gel and Shu; they are essentials! I'm very intrigued by LM's sparkling pink as well; I've never seen it before, yet I can already see a nice little spot for it in my stash =P

  4. Dovey, if Orgasm had been pink instead of peach, I'd be all over it. I don't mind racy names ... in fact, I was looking at Deep Throat earlier. I actually READ that book about Linda Lovelace, though I passed on the XXX film, and it's funny how 'Deep Throat' has percolated down through history since the 70s (e.g., Bob Woodward of the Washington Post/Watergate). But I digress as usual!

    Have you never seen LM Sparkling Pink? I should really review it, as it's a standard. I prefer its previous name (Pink Champagne) because it represents the color more accurately with a name that connotes hints of gold (as in real champagne). On the surface, it looks like any pinkish-beige lipstick (and as a nude lover, this might appeal to you), but on my lips, it's a velvety soft pink with a whisper of brown to tone down the coolness. In natural light is where this lipstick really shines because I can see the underlayer of gold when I turn my head from side to side.

    Sparkling Pink is similar to NARS Dolce Vita lipstick, with a bit more pigment and staying power. It is also more moisturizing. Laura Mercier lip products are stellar, and at $22, they are among the cheapest out there. Check it out when you get the chance. It's as close to nude as I get. (:

  5. Love these posts! :) I actually really like Stila Kitten & UDPP, but I do agree that they are over hyped.

  6. Oh, I don't mind the hype, Vinty. Usually products get hyped because they deserve it. If I were in my 20s, I bet I'd adore both Kitten and UDPP, but since my skin makes so much less oil now, I have to be careful of overly sparkly shadows and primers that suck all the moisture from my skin!

    In fact I LOVE Kitten in the pan and really want a replacement. I need ideas, people!

  7. Oh so much here to agree with! I SHOUTED at the computer when I got to the bit about Chanel Medemoiselle, I thought I was going crazy when the 'universally flattering rose pink' turned frosty dark brown on me.

    In the UK we have No7 lipliner in 'nude' designed by the wonderful Lisa Eldridge to be (I believe) the only lipliner you need. like spice by MAC, it's Orange. Capital O intentional.

    Also paintpots, soooo dry and streaky. got painterly, slapped it on, threw it in the bin. yeah, THAT good.

    Another one I feel alone hating is Bioderma cleanser. I got two big bottles from a French pharmacy and smugly prepared to love it. It smells and tastes (don't tell me you don't go near your lips with cleanser) like pure evil. And if I use it on my eyelids it makes them sore.

    Much LOVE goes to MAC eyeshadow 'club' - like a beetle's back with a gorgeous warm brown halo. How does it do it?

    Rouge Bunny Rouge XXX lip plumper, the best and most comforting night treatment I know, if you don't mind a bit of cat hair stuck to your lips in the morning...

    Make Up Forever lift concealer. perfect colour, perfect light coverage, a 15ml tube and with careful application I don't even need foundation. Sigh.

    Lastly Marks and Spencers lipstick in Rose. the most flattering deep matte pink I've ever seen. Department store own brand so I don't regret buying four of them. Not one bit.

    Also beautyblender, No7 concealer brush, Kerastase Nectar Thermique (a true magic potion for straightened hair) and Shu Uemura hard brow pencil. What all brow pencils should be, works miracles on patchy brows, but soooo hard to get!

    Never tried anything Nars (ridiculous naming. I'm an adult but I won't walk into a shop and ask for anything called 'Orgasm') O.P.I polishes (the bottles just look huge and nasty!) or Edward Bess (although after reading about it for well over a year I'm now waiting for 'Night Romance' lipstick to arrive from Zuneta.

    Here in Munich where I live we have a shop (also online), called KultKosmetik. It seems to sell all the niche stuff that Zuneta doesn't and between the two I spend far too much on cult (read 'expensive') products.

  8. Excellent post! I'm with you on the NARS Orgasm, it does absolutely nothing for me either, and is far too shimmery for my taste. Same thing goes for Black Honey. I also see a reddish-brown raisin on my lips, not the pretty, berry stain that's promised.

    I've tried a few of the items on your good list and agree with you on all of them (Moroccanoil's fantastic stuff and I love BB gel liners), I'm not a huge fan of Touche Eclat though. It's a nice product, but I've tried similar things from other brands which seem to work better for me. Dior's version in Candlelight offers slightly more coverage, is easier to blend and seems to be a better colour match too.

    I really like the sound of Laura Mercier's Sparkling Pink and the BeautyBlender sponge sounds excellent too, will have to check these out!

  9. Munichjoolz, I've seen Lisa apply Boot No7 to her own lips, and it does look nude with a hint of pink on HER. How unfair for it to turn orange on the rest of us.

    Thanks so much for listing all your other HGs.

    I have always wanted to try MUFE concealer, now I have another reason to. I tried MAC Club but, alas, it didn't work for me. So pretty in the pan, but I really need to wear straight-up cool eyeshadow colors, and those with green in them are always more beautiful in theory than in practice on my skin. But I can definitely see why that one gets a lot of love.

    Your lipstick from Marks and Spencer sounds gorgeous. I love Rose shades because they aren't pink but they aren't quite red, and they most closely mirror my own lip pigment. If you like deep roses, I hope you like Night Romance. Tender Love used to be my favorite, but now Night Romance has kicked it out of that spot.

    I just checked out your KultKosmetik online. I couldn't read much of it (took only one semester of German), but I recognized the thumbnails of many familiar products. Nice!

    All silly naming aside, I do like some NARS products. His blushes are quite pretty, as are many of the eyeshadow singles, but they are worth testing in person, as the mattes can be powdery and the shimmery ones can be chunky and very low on pigment (which is why the duos are not a good bet for me). His lipsticks are what I stared with and many are gorgeous (Gipsy, Dolce Vita, Manhunt, Fire Down Below [how's that for a double entendre--sounds like a venereal disease], Flamenco ... ). Sadly, they discontinued my favorite reds: Kink and Moroccan Red.

    Now, as for OPI, the names are silly and the bottles are clunky, but some of my favorite colors are from that brand, and they do last well. See if you find a color you like and give it a try--they're pretty cheap, at least compared to Chanel.

  10. Nat, I know many are divided on Touche Eclat. Since I don't need tons of coverage, I am happy with what it does for me, but I have also heard great things about Clinqique's version, and I bet that is at least two thirds cheaper!

    I am not sure if you'd love Sparkling Pink--it might not be pigmented enough for you. As I said, it's my version of nude, and I have to be in the right mood to wear it. It's not a MLLB shade because it's almost exactly the same color as my lips, and the brown or beige in it almost visually takes my color down a notch, but the pink and gold save it from being ... corpselike on me. It's certainly worth looking at in person. If you already like NARS Dolce Vita, then you'd probably like Sparkling Pink.

    The BeautyBlender is annoying tool with more upkeep than I like (I usually use my fingers for foundation application), but once I saw how the finish was, I was sold. The trick is to soak it completely, wring it out thoroughly!

  11. Zu Zu, I just want you to know that I inhaled my cup of tea when I read what you said about 'Fire Down Below' and imagined you (not that I know you) saying that in a deadpan voice at a Nars to get a cloth...

    Also if you are tempted I think you should know that I have very pale and cool skin (Diorskin Nude shade 010) and use MUFE lift concealer in shade 1.

    I know, I can't shut up.

  12. My job is done for the day. *snort* I would definitely do deadpan. Either that or I'd channel Bullwinkle's voice and really freak them out at the counter.

    Thanks for the color tip! I am also fair/cool (I wear MUFE F&B 38 Pink Porcelain), so shade 1 in their concealer is probably a good one for me.

  13. Love love love this article. I do like Spice lipliner still and totally agree with you about UDPP. It did nothing for my eyes. LM's tinted moisturizer is too yellow for me but I did like the finish. I also love Pink CHampagne; I have the old version though.

    LOL- yes, I have Medieval and forgot about it. I can wear it but as yet, have not made it out of the house with it on!

  14. Great great great post! I will have to come back and address this with you more when I'm not feeling so lazy LOL. BTW I wear MUFE F&B 38 too!

  15. Ammie, I am not surprised you like Spice since you like Kevyn Aucoin's lip pencil in Medium, which is similar (more beige than orange, though).

    OK, your task for this week is wear Medieval to the end of your driveway!!

  16. Woo hoo, PP, I new we pale faces stuck together! We even have solidarity in our foundation.

  17. MAC's Spice is definitely too warm for me, too. Glossimers are nice, but when they turn rancid before my Lipglasses do, that makes me very angry. I don't think I'm going to buy another Chanel lipgloss for a long, long time. The stickiest glosses I have may be by Stila, but I don't mind sticky. I associate stickiness with longevity, which I like!

    I am always surprised that NARS Orgasm gets so much love. Seems like a regular, dupable color that only gets so much attention because of the name. I think Deep Throat is just as good, but it's also very poorly named. I remember being in Sephora when a teen was getting made up before a concert. While I think the lip pencil's color is fabulous (and I do own it), I'm not sure I would have bought Sex Machine for her were I her mom.

    I could not have described Kitten any better than you did. I knew my eye area had sun damage, but I hadn't realized it was that bad until I wore Kitten! I am willing to bet that the formula has changed since Stila's been sold so many times. It's probably a case of it being great years back and then magazine editors got lazy and kept putting it on their "greatest" lists without even trying it again. Isn't that how Great Lash keeps getting kudos?

    I am afraid to put Mlle lipstick on next time. I'll have to be alert to make sure I don't get the dreaded brown mouth. :( I actually removed Lipstick Queen's Medieval from my wishlist after testing it on my hand and deeming it too warm. You don't find it to be overly warm, or do you like the contrast it gives? I can wear Black Honey with just a swipe or two, but it's unflattering after that.

    UDPP is definitely a drying product for me. I have to be consistant with eye cream at night if I use it more than once in a row. I think Too Faced's Shadow Insurance is a little more forgiving and less drying, but I've had eye shadows look different over TFSI versus what I get over UDPP. They have at least changed the container of UDPP to a squeeze tube, I believe, so there's slightly less waste. I've also tried Benefit's Stay Don't Stray, and that was definitely more stray than stay after a few hours.

    Cetaphil never did anything for me, either. It's a good general product to try (and my mom loves it), but I need my cleanser to do something. Like, y'know, clean my face...

    I am tempted to try argan oil in my hair, even though it's fine, thin and oily at the roots. Does Moroccanoil smell kind of spicy? The salon I recently went to sold it, so I wonder if that's what the stylist used on my hair that made it smell good for days! Munichjoolz mentioned Kerastase, and the one product I loved by them was discontinued. It is so easy to use and makes my hair so pretty! Were I flush with cash, I'd try more from their line. And Leonor Greyl products, too...

    I could comment on more of your list, but I'm going to stop before I hit any word or letter limit! ;)

  18. I agree with you on almost 100% of these. I never could figure out the allure of Spice lipliner - it instantly oranged up on me. Orgasm looks awful on me. I can't blend eyeshadow with UDPP on my eyes.

    Your treasures are almost all ones I'd pick myself, especially TE.

  19. @Dia, I never noticed that Lipstick Queen's Medieval was warm. Maybe it is and my lips just blue it up, but I really like it for a very sheer red that can be worn absolutely anywhere. I will pay closer attention next time I wear it (tomorrow!) to see if it's warm. if it is, then it's flattering on me. I can wear both warm and cool reds (cool being the most flattering), but I don't like orange reds as much because they make my teeth look yellow.

    My hair is also fine, thin, and oily at the roots, and Moroccan oil is wonderful on the morning I wash my hair. I doubt I use even an eighth of a teaspoon. I started skipping a day (and my hair became less oily, go figure!), and I just fluff up my pillow-do the next day with a blow dryer and boar bristle brush. I can't speak for all argan oils, but Moroccanoil smells heavenly, almost like hazlenuts.

    I LOVE Kerastase on my hair ... for a maximum of three weeks, and then my hair turns to straw and I have to use a different product.

  20. Marcia, I imagine Orgasm would look awful on your fair cool skin.

    Oh! I forgot to mention that my favorite eye primer is by Paula Dorf. I've been using it consistently for over 10 years, and it is spectacular. It even plays nicely with Bobbi Brown cream eyeshadows. I wish I could say I thought that one all up by myself, but credit for that goes to Gaia of The Non-Blonde.

  21. I have the same problem with lippies with too much gold or orange. I need my teeth to look less yellow, not more! I did swatch Medieval in Anthropologie, so maybe the light was off, but it didn't strike me as being particularly cool-toned. A bit more orange-y than I had anticipated it to be. But that could be brightening on cool-toned skin.

    Hazelnuts you say? No bueno- I'm allergic! I'll have to look into argan oil further. Thanks for the heads up!

    Maybe I'll bump Greyl up and demote Kerastase on my "to try" list. I don't need help making my hair straw-like. I can do that on my own cheaply. :P

  22. There are a lot of things that I don't get the hype for. Yes, like you and everyone else I bought MAC spice and honestly was disappointed by how warm it was. And like you I rebought it a few years back and still didn't like it. Nars Orgasm I rebought 4x's and each time gave it away to someone who loved it more than me. I have to tell myself not to buy it for the 5th time.

    Stila was great when it was a makeup artist line when Jeanine Lobell was still a tv ma, the quality was there but the line was hard to get.

    In truth I don't buy many products with big names anymore unless there is some fantastic product in their line like Diego Dalla Palma and his lipsticks. I usually end up depotting the majority of the stuff which leads me with an empty pretty case that I paid more for than the pressed talc or whatever. Okay, I will stop I am just prattling on like a fool and this cough syrup isn't helping it.

  23. Well, to be fair, with Kerastase, my hair felt like buttah for 3 weeks until the day it didn't. I repeated the experiment twice more and, yep, the very thing in Kerastase that coats the hair shaft to make it weighty and smooth eventually makes it frizzle up.

  24. Olivia, I depot a lot, too. I like to have everything in one place to make my morning decisions easier, and now that I have pared down my stash significantly, I hope to be able to do so. I have three Unii palettes and I LOVE them!

    I am very interested in niche brands, but some most of them don't take returns, it's a real risk since I can't see the stuff in person--especially with the skin products, like foundation and concealer.

    To date, I have had the best luck with Julie Hewett and Besame Cosmetics, though I am now interested in Dan Read.

  25. Dia, (& Zu Zu)

    The discussion about Kerastase seems to be about the haircare in general, which I'd just like to say I've never tried, - My love goes only to the Nectar Thermique, the straightening cream. It's like nothing else I've ever styled my hair with, honestly, I've used it every time I've washed my hair for the past two years and can honestly say it has had no negative effects on my long hair. Must say you've put an end to my curiosity about the shampoos now though.

  26. Hi Zuzu, I had no idea that Deep Throat was actually a book. Yeesh, I'm really behind in pop culture.

    I would love to see your review of LM's Sparkling pink. It's a shame they changed it from champagne, since that sounds prettier. From what you described, that color really is right up my alley =)

  27. Dovey, I'll do Sparkling Pink within the next week. I am still in crisis mode with the renovation, and I want to get my house back to peace and serenity before I do any product reviews, but it will be top of my list.

    Deep Throat was a movie starring Linda Lovelace, a 70s porn star. I never saw it, but I was curious about her and read the book, which I think was called Inside Deep Throat. The film was radical in its day but I am sure it's mild by today's standards.

  28. As far as I am concerned YSL Touche Eclat is really bad! Most MAC products are overpriced and not worth thy hype. Same thing applies to MUFE and Rouge Bunny Rouge. NARS deep throat is better.

    The beauty blender never fails to deliver. Estee Lauder Double Wear concealer is awesome, and so is YSL Teint Resist.

  29. I'm with you on most of these. Orgasm blush just sort of disappears on my skin.

    I also think Smashbox Photofinish primer isn't worth the money.

    And Clinique Black Honey? Bleh.

    Love the she uermura curler. I order them online now that they're not sold in the US anymore.

    Still a fan of Diorshow mascara, waterproof.

  30. Late to the paaartay here but I have to agree w/ you on most of the list:

    Spice looks like poop on my lips- hate the color and the smell of it too!

    LM TM- yuck city- gives me a major grease face!

    UDPP- OMG! I tried and tried to love this but I don't - it does absouletly nada for me. I can't blend shadows to begin with!

    Cetaphil- another poor performer- Crisco cleanser anyone??

    Clinique Black Honey- funny enough, I used to like this. Last fall I bought a tube on a whim because I was lemming blackberry stained lips- wrong, wrong, wrong! It was awful on me, I took it back. The Clinique lady was like *it looks great on everybody* - whatever.

    I like Kitten and in the past used up at least 3 pans of that sucker and have MANY backups in my stash (and I haven't worn it probably 2 years- sick, just sick)!

    I like Glossimers- yeah, I'm a sucker for the gloss.

    I used to be able to wear the big *O* but it sits lonely now - it just doesn't excite me at all.

    I'm tempted by the Prep H rumor but it's a hard sale when I think of where that stuff goes- I don't need anymore help having a *butt face*

  31. Would I be un-cool if I said that I didn't have any cult favourites? I suppose so. :) I think it all stems from the fact that I have always had problem skin and I've never had the freedom to choose anything and everything to slap on my face (because I know I'll have breakouts as a consequence). So, I stay within safe parameters for foundations and blushes, no matter how tempting a certain product is. Btw, I agree, I'm convinced most ladies got sold on Orgasm because of the name. It's a nice shade but the crux of it is that it's pure marketing genius, me thinks.

    I over-compensate with eyeshadows and lip products but even then, I went through your whole list of cult faves and gosh, I don't own a single one of them (I have the Shu half eyelash curler, but that's a different creature)! Somebody, arrest me! I was however drawn to a couple of items, like Moroccanoil and the WEN product (first heard of WEN from Jeanie who raved about it). Face blotting sheets - for years, I never went anywhere without them in my handbag. Mine were not Shiseido's though. As I age, I use less and less of them now. That Preparation H tip has got to be the most memorable beauty trick I have ever read to this day. I remember telling my Mum about it years ago and she thought I had gone mad! :D No, I've never tried it and never will!

  32. Wit, I don't think anyone could call you uncool. So you're not swayed by fads and lemming hysteria. I envy that! I do think that after being swept up in fad fever, I am finally slowing down and reaching a place where I am becoming more thoughtful about purchases. I'd rather have a new sofa or screen in my porch, rather than have a bunch of makeup that looks pretty, but which I don't use.

    Like you, I tend to stick with one foundation/powder product, and I exercise my less than stellar willpower with lipstick and eyeshadow. I actually don't get having more than one foundation ... unless you really need a winter and summer version because of a suntan, but I don't tan so there's little point for me. I'll happily stick with my VLWC and JI bases as long as they are made. And most of the time I don't even wear blush. I never actually bought Orgasm but I tried it on enough times in Sephora to keep telling myself, "Nope. Don't get it."

  33. Brilliant post! I agree with everything but the Glossimers...and I even mostly agree with what you said there (slightly sticky, etc)...but I still love them, with the caveat that I only choose colors I know are pigmented or opaque. But I COMPLETELY concur with you that Kitten becomes a shimmer bomb and Black Honey also turns brownish on me.

    If you are looking for a good highlighter shadow, try Benefit's Leggy. On my (our) pale skin it's virtually flesh-toned and adds a nice shimmer to the brow bone without looking overdone. It's also the perfect base for natural looks or cat eyes. I use it ALL the time for one thing or another and have hit serious pan (unheard of for me). Highly recommend!!

    I really, really need to check out Touche Eclat, but haven't gotten around to it as the other highlighters I've tried under my eyes have made me look quite crepey.

    Other than those few discrepancies, you and I are on the exact same page. Good thing we read each other's's going to save us money in the long run! :)


  34. I love Kitten, it is the perfect neutral shade for me (my colouring is pale, blonde and English). My only problem is the palette does not travel at all well but the Smudge Pot gets around the breakage.

  35. Mopsy, I tried! It took me years before I finally gave up. Especially because the original Stila textures were so divine.

  36. Shannon, I am way behind in thanking you for the suggestion, but you were right about Leggy. It's still to shimmery for me to use as an allover wash, but as a lid color--especially on the inner corner--Leggy is beautiful. And VERY silky-soft.

  37. I mean not worth the hype.
    Worth: Shu Uemura Stage Performer.

  38. I hear so many people saying that the Chanel polishes chip easily though?

    1. I get better than average wear with Chanel polish (far better than essie, OPI and Rescue Beauty Lounge), but I keep my nails short, so maybe that plays a role.


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