What’s behind the scenes for a makeup blogger?

Makeup Wars small but necessary

I love the fun of Makeup Wars. The group brainstorms ideas to share together but since we are so diverse in our taste we all have different thoughts on how to execute the idea. This week we’ve chosen to share what makes our beauty world spin. The items we don’t routinely talk about but we can’t live without. No makeup allowed today but where would I be without these?

some samples*affiliate links

Let me start with Tweezerman. I’m obviously a Tweezerman junkie though I admit to loving other tweezers too but where would I be without my Tweezerman I-Lashcomb and slanted tweezers? A hairy unkempt mess if you want to know the truth.

My partial Tweezerman collection

Next I’m onto eyelash curlers. Having short stubby lashes that are stick straight isn’t the most fun. I love mascara and feel unmade up without it. Therefore one of my most necessary tools is an eyelash curler. My favorites are Tweezerman’s Rose Gold Classic*, Kevyn Aucoin The Eyelash Curler, and Shiseido’s Eyelash Curler. These are the ones that fit my eye shape best. I hate when I pinch myself with an eyelash curler which is why some days I need to stay away from one of these.

eyelash curlers: Shiseido, Tweezerman, Kevyn Aucoin

Since we’re still on eyes I need to talk about eye makeup remover and everyone who reads this blog knows I’m a huge fan of the Mary Kay one. I buy two at a time even though it lasts forever. But I don’t want to be without.

Mary Kay Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover

That leads me into other makeup removers which makes me think of Micellar Water. (I feel like I’m writing the makeup version of “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”.) My number one pick for years has been Bioderma Sensiblo H2O Micellar Water. To save money I started buying Simple Micellar and now I’m into Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water in the pink all skin version.

Bioderma Sensiblo H2O Micellar Water, Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water

So if you give a mouse woman a micellar water she needs something to use it with and I have 3 I use. I’ve talked about the DHC Silky Cotton Pads forever so you are probably sick of that but I also like the ones from Kleenex and Shiseido for different reasons. The DHC Silky Cotton are both absorbent and sturdy. The Kleenex Soft Cotton Pads (not moistened) are big and are great for your whole face as well as eyes. But it’s not the most absorbent so sometimes I have to use more water than I prefer. Now that Amazon has them though I’ve bought them again since it made it easier than their website. Shiseido Facial Cotton is so soft that it sets the standard for makeup wipes. For really stubborn mascara I prefer the DHC but for soft effective eye makeup removal Shiseido feels the most luxurious.

Shiseido Facial Cotton, DHC Silky Cotton Pads, Kleenex Soft Cotton Pads

I can’t forget about makeup brush cleaner. We all get lazy and forget to clean our brushes often enough but it really is essential. I have a stash of MAC Brush Cleaner because I stocked up before I lost my discount. I am loving my new PUREbrush* cleaner since it’s easy to clean a brush instantly with it even if I’m not near a sink.

PUREbrush Cleaner, MAC Brush Cleaner

One more item that I don’t want to be without is Invisibobble*. I remember hearing my friends talk about Invisibobble Traceless Hair Rings and wondering what the heck it was. Now that I know I have them all over – drawers, purse, cosmetic bag. I love these little things and love the variety of color and sizes they have. They come in sets of 3 which at first I thought was overload. I gave one to my sister and instantly wanted it back. These phone cord rings stretch and hold, then they bounce back into shape. My granddaughter with her silky hair looks so adorable when I put the Nano Invisibobble in for a little pony on the top.

Invisibobble regular and Nano

Invisibobble regular and Nano

There are so many more but these are the ones that this mouse blogger uses all the time. What’s behind the scenes for you?

Check out what the team has chosen as their necessities.  —  Marcia


Beautylish Mystery Lucky Bag – I love it, would you? #luckybag2016

Beautylish Lucky Bag 2016

Beautylish Lucky Bag 2016

I’m sorry but you can’t have this so I apologize in advance but I’m so enamored with this Lucky Mystery Bag from Beautylish that I had to share it so you can take advantage of this next year.

In December 2015 I received an email from Beautylish that their Mystery Bag was on the way and to put my name on the waiting list. As soon as it became available to order I did so and this beautiful package arrived in early January. Beautylish does this once a year and the cost is $75 plus $5 shipping to the US. It’s available to other countries but the shipping charge would be higher. I first noticed this in 2014 and was sorry I hadn’t participated so last year I jumped on it and purchased the mystery bag (see my review here). Obviously I did again. I’m overjoyed with this purchase since my products are outstanding.

Beautylish Mystery Lucky Bag 2016

Beautylish Mystery Lucky Bag 2016

What makes this even more special is that everything in the package are new products that are for sale on Beautylish and other websites. It’s not outdated items, they are all things you’d buy in a heartbeat. I’ve seen a few blog posts on the bag and while no one received the same exact products, every one I read was wonderful.

This year’s Mystery Bags was called the Lucky Bag in honor of a Japanese New Year’s custom. Fukubukuro is a Japanese New Year custom in which merchants and retailers make grab bags filled with unknown random contents and sell them on a substantial discount. They’re called “lucky bags” or “mystery bags”.” My Lucky Bag has a value of $162 which is 2X what I paid.

What’s inside? Let’s start with BECCA OMBRE ROUGE EYESHADOW PALETTE ($40)

Becca Ombre Rouge Eyeshadow Palette

Becca Ombre Rouge Eyeshadow Palette

Becca Ombre Rouge Eyeshadow Palette

Becca Ombre Rouge Eyeshadow Palette

This is one of Becca’s most sought after eyeshadow palettes. The five coordinating shades are all warm colors. The texture of these shadows is phenomenal. I sent this to a good friend since it’s too warm for me and I could practically see her jumping up and down from afar.

KEVYN AUCOIN THE MATTE BRONZING VEIL in DESERT DAYS  ($48)

Kevyn Aucoin Matte Bronzing Veil

Kevyn Aucoin Matte Bronzing Veil

Kevyn Aucoin Matte Bronzing Veil

Kevyn Aucoin Matte Bronzing Veil

You are reading this from a very pale woman who rarely uses a bronzing powder but this is the exception to the rule. There are two shades of this incredibly silky bronzer and I’m so lucky that I received the lightest one. I can use this for the subtle type of contouring I like, a subtle bronzer, or a blush.

Kevyn Aucoin Matte Bronzing Veil in Desert Days

Kevyn Aucoin Matte Bronzing Veil in Desert Days

WAYNE GOSS brush 05  ($20)

Wayne Goss brush 05

Wayne Goss brush 05

Wayne Goss brush 05

Wayne Goss brush 05

What makes this most exciting for me, besides the fact that I adore brushes and Wayne Goss brushes, is that I really wanted this brush. 05 was in their original set of brushes but they’ve revamped it and this is the new improved version. It’s a detail brush that works on lips and lids. I may have a ton of brushes but this is fabulous and I’m thrilled.

RMS BEAUTY LIP & SKIN BALM ($25)

rms beauty skin & lip balm

rms beauty skin & lip balm

rms beauty lip & skin balm

rms beauty lip & skin balm

rms beauty is a beauty lovers secret. It’s not a brand that’s talked about that often but it’s the real thing. It’s a cruelty free organic brand with the best products. I’m lusting after their Living Luminizer and one of these days I’ll take the plunge. The Lip & Skin Balm is available in two scents – Simply Vanilla and Simply Cocoa. I received Simply Vanilla which has a light vanilla scent. I love it. I wish it wasn’t a pot but I use it at home. “RMS Beauty Lip & Skin Balm is made of superior food-grade biologically active ingredients that support natural skin functions, giving you a visibly healthier appearance. Each ingredient in this must-have skin-rejuvenating formula has been carefully selected for its traditional healing abilities. Use regularly to heal, protect and hydrate skin, soften fine lines and give skin a smooth texture.”

BIODERMA SENSIBIO MICELLAR WATER (mini size $6.95) and IT COSMETICS HELLO LASHES MASCARA ($24)

Biorderma Sensibio Micellar Water and IT Cosmetics Hello Lashes

Biorderma Sensibio Micellar Water and IT Cosmetics Hello Lashes

As if the Lucky Mystery bag could get any better, there were two of my very favorite products in it. I’ve purchased both over and over. Having the travel size of the Bioderma Micellar Water is fabulous. I love this size for travel and for home use. And do I have to extol the virtues of IT Cosmetics Hello Lashes or have you heard me talk about it at least a dozen times before? These two are staples in my life and I am thrilled to find them in my bag.

Bioderma Sensibio H2O (also known as Créaline H2O) is a no-rinse micellar cleanser and makeup remover specially formulated for sensitive, normal to dry skin types. It can even remove water-resistant face and eye makeup! A soothing emollient thanks to cucumber extract, it clears up irritated skin and produces a feeling of instant freshness. Fragrance-free, alcohol-free, paraben-free, and hypoallergenic.”

The quality products that Beautylish sent are beyond my wildest dreams. It’s hard to put out $75+ and not know what you are getting but as you can see Beautylish came through. Sign up for Beautylish emails so that next December you can get on the list too. Which products in here would you be excited to own?  — Marcia

*affiliate links

Beautylish Mystery Lucky Bag in Neutral revealed with a giveaway

Beautylish mystery Lucky Bag 2015

Beautylish mystery Lucky Bag 2015

I love surprises even if they do cost me $75. I’ve shopped at Beautylish many times and have always loved what I’ve bought there. The brands they carry are pretty amazing – Inglot, Charlotte Tilbury, Kevyn Aucoin and Wayne Goss brushes – just to name a few. When they offered a mystery bag with $150 worth of products I decided to take a chance on it. There were 3 available (Bold, Natural and MUA) and I wavered. By the time I chose there were only 2 left and I decided to take the safest route and ordered Natural.

The contents of Beautylish Lucky Bag 2015, neutral

The contents of Beautylish Lucky Bag 2015, natural

Of the 6 products in my bag 5 hit the bulls eye both in quality and appropriateness. There’s one anomaly and that’s the giveaway item (saved for last). If you are a BIZ reader then you know I’d rather have eye makeup than anything else so when there were 3 items that fit that category I knew my money was well spent.

Kevyn Aucoin Eyeshadow Duo 210

Kevyn Aucoin Eyeshadow Duo 210

I haven’t had a new Kevyn Aucoin eyeshadow in ages so opening Duo 210 in Sugared Peach and Rust Brown Shimmer was a thrill. Eyeshadow! Kevyn Aucoin! Peach and brown! Can’t beat it. At $42 for a duo I knew my bag was a winner with the first product opened.

NUDESTIX Mascara

NUDESTIX Mascara

To go along with the great eyeshadow there is a NUDESTIX Mascara. I’ve been wanting to try NUDESTIX for a long time so this was a happy find. I haven’t used it since I have 3 open mascaras but I hope to love it and report back. This is a lash lengthening formula ($24) that is also a treatment mascara.

Wayne Goss brush 20

Wayne Goss brush 20

Wayne Goss brush 20

Wayne Goss brush 20

What could be better than a Wayne Goss brush? The only thing I can think of is that I don’t have this brush even though I do have a few Goss brushes. Brush 20 is designed with a tapered end for smudging. It is also great for defining anything from a cut crease to a modern soft smokey eye.  ($30) This is a very firm brush that’s still super soft. I have used it to smudge some eye crayons I’ve been wearing and it’s perfect for that. It’s also great for smudging along the lashline.

Bliss Body Butter in Blood Orange and White Pepper

Bliss Body Butter in Blood Orange and White Pepper

Unfortunately it can’t all be eyes but when it’s the Bliss Body Butter in Blood Orange and White Pepper ($29) that makes it okay. This is the only Bliss body product I’ve ever bought for myself so it’s a great find for me. I’m a citrus lady when it comes to products I use on my body and this is a scent I already know I like.

Indie Lee CoQ-10 Toner

Indie Lee CoQ-10 Toner

When I read this description of the Indie Lee CoQ-10 Toner ($32) I knew that it was meant to be: “An alcohol-free toner featuring CoQ10, a powerful antioxidant found naturally in almost every cell in the body. Aloe Vera and Hyaluronic acid provide added hydration and help balance the skin’s pH level. Ideal for normal to dry skin.” Aloe Vera and Hyaluronic acid are enough to get me wanting to use this. I’d never have bought it on my own so this adds something new to my skincare collection.

Lit Cosmetics Summer Sparkle Lit Kit

Lit Cosmetics Summer Sparkle Lit Kit

Now this is the only product that doesn’t fit in the “Natural” bag. Lit Cosmetics Summer Sparkle Lit Kit is not natural, no way Jose. Lit Cosmetics is for a different age bracket than Beauty Info Zone is in. I’m sure it’s wonderful since other reviews of Lit Cosmetics are mostly raves. But it’s not for me. This sells for $19.95 at Sephora, the kit is Hello Sunshine – soft creamy porcelain glitter w/ hints of orange sun bursts.

The total value of the Beautylish Lucky Mystery Bag that I received is $177 so they beat the promised value. Take away the $20 for the item I’m giving away and I still have $157 worth of wonders. Will I do this again next year when it’s offered? Absolutely. There’s no knowing what you’ll get (here’s Beauty by Krystal’s bag) but that’s the fun. — Marcia

GIVEAWAY INFORMATION – In this giveaway you’ll receive a black leatherlike Sephora cosmetic bag containing: Lit Cosmetics Summer Sparkle Lit Kit as seen above, a deluxe sample of Buxom Mascara sealed, deluxe sample of Dr Jart+ BB Cream, a sealed Blinc Mascara, NYX Butter Lip Balm in Marshmallow, NYC Lipstick in Sugar Plum plus more samples. The giveaway is for US and Canada and is open through Wednesday January 28th at 11:59 pm EST. Something for everyone and even better if you are a sparkle girl.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Lisa’s new and improved top ten primers list

I wrote my original ‘Top ten primers‘ post back in 2010, a few years after my primer obsession began. Finding an excellent primer was life-altering for me because for the very first time my makeup actually lasted all day.  I’ve always had strange skin, products don’t last long on me at all – I put blush on and an hour later, it’s completely gone.  For a long time I thought there was nothing I could do about it – until I found a primer that actually made my makeup (and most happily my blush) last a whole day.  I think I bought every primer on the market for the next few years after that. I have owned and used so many different primers I am ashamed to put a number on it. 

Lisas top ten primersThis list is a long overdue update of my personal choices for the top ten primers – each one is unique, they all have their advantages, and they are all excellent.  Which primer I choose is determined by the condition of my skin that day, my skin tone, and the foundation I am going to use. (A side note – I was astounded by the price increases when I updated them!)

My top ten list is not in any particular order – these are my top favorites, but they are all equal in terms of play time they get.

Kevyn Aucoin The Primed Skin Developer

Kevyn Aucoin The Primed Skin Developer

1.  Kevyn Aucoin The Primed Skin Developer ($68)

The earlier version, called The Sensual Skin Primer, was actually the primer that began my obsession.  I used it one day and could not believe how vibrant and fresh my makeup was 10 hours later. The new version is even better – I use the Normal to Oily one.  The texture has slip but it doesn’t feel extremely silicone heavy.  It dries quickly to a satin finish.  It keeps makeup on like no other.  There are some drawbacks, though – it is an expensive item, so expensive that it hurts to buy it.  I tend to use this on special occasions only to try to make it last as long as possible.  And while I love the hygienic pump bottle, it drives me crazy that I never know how much I have left.  Regardless, I will never be without a bottle – and a back up.

Grand Central Beauty Skin Perfecting Primer

2.  Grand Central Beauty S.M.A.R.T. Skin Perfecting SERUM+PRIMER ($68)

I like to say that the only time I have ever been wrong was that one time I thought I made a mistake.  Unfortunately, in reality I have been wrong on a few more occasions than that…and I was completely wrong about the S.M.A.R.T. Skin Perfecting SERUM+PRIMER.  While it has a slew of cool ingredients, including squalane from brazilian sugar cane, apple, watermelon, lentil, rice and soybean protein, I initially thought it worked better as a serum than a primer…totally incorrect.  This is a kick ass primer.  It keeps makeup looking totally perfect for 12 hours.  Every time I use it I think, “How could I have been so wrong??”

Reviva Labs Makeup Primer

Reviva Labs Makeup Primer

3.  Reviva Labs Makeup Primer ($19.50) This is absolutely one of my favorite primers of all time.  It has silicone, but it isn’t super thick.  I find that it works best if I apply the primer and then let it sit for about three minutes.  It has a slightly wet texture at first that will collide with your concealer and foundation application. If you wait a few minutes it dries down to a beautiful finish that helps concealer and foundation apply and wear perfectly.  It does everything a primer should do:  makes skin super smooth, allows even application of concealer and foundation, and increases longevity.  

Pur Minerals green_primer

4.  Pur Minerals Colour Correcting Foundation Primer in Green ($31):

This is the primer I reach for when I’m broken out.  The green color balances out redness from acne, broken capillaries, and rosacea.  It doesn’t make me look like an alien – the green transforms into a beautiful, even skin tone color.  Less is more with this primer. You don’t need much to neutralize redness and create a perfect canvas for foundation.

OCC Skin Primer

5.  OCC Skin Primer ($27.50):This is a really cool primer.  Not only is it great for the face, but you can also use it as a lid primer for mineral eyeshadows.  It’s unlike most primers.  You HAVE to shake the bottle before squeezing some out – and then be careful when you do, because it has a thin, liquid consistency.  Once applied, wait until it dries because it applies quite wet, but does dry down to a super smooth, satiny finish.  And boy does makeup stick to this stuff!

Paul and Joe Protecting Foundation Primer

6.  Paul and Joe Protective Foundation Primer ($32)

This is, by far, the strangest primer I have ever used.  And I love it.  It has an SPF of 30.  It’s also super watery – it must be properly shaken before squeezing the product out.   It has a very thin consistency that dries down to a satiny finish.  It also has super fine, really tiny microshimmers in it, which gives skin the best natural looking glow.  The primer looks really yellow, but it goes on colorless – aside from the glow.  Makeup lasts and lasts with this primer.  I find that I reach for it when I am using very matte, oil-inhibiting foundations like Clarins Truly Matte Foundation because the microshimmers counteract the flatness.

Cle de Peau Correcting Cream Veil

7.  Cle de Peau Correcting Cream Veil ($76)

I have a love-hate relationship with Cle de Peau.  Some products I adore and will buy despite the exorbitant price tag.  Other products I can’t stand, and I get offended at the price of items that do absolutely nothing for you.  This primer, however, is well worth the price.  At the same time, I get the sample sizes at the counter when I can…they are great for travel and give several weeks of use. This primer is a thick, creamy lotion.  You don’t need a lot of it – a little goes a very long way.  In fact, if you use too much you will get a distinctly white cast to your skin.  Use the right amount and it sinks into your skin nicely, leaving no white or greyish cast.  Skin is super smooth, lines are filled in, and makeup goes on beautifully and lasts all day.  Pores look smaller and it lessens oil production throughout the day.  Get a sample at the counter before investing, but I’ll bet once you try it, you’ll want the full size version.  I love this under cream foundation.

IT Cosmetics Feel the Moment Primer

8.  IT Cosmetics Feel the Moment Anti-Aging Primer Serum ($38)

The Feel the Moment Anti-Aging Primer Serum is a thick, super hydrating primer that makes skin baby smooth.  Ingredients include caviar extract, hydrolyzed collagen, peptides, hyaluronic acid, vitamins A, E, and C, argan and jojoba oils, and avocado.  The serum is in glass jar with a dropper,  and two drops is more than enough to prime and hydrate.  It goes on slightly tacky then dries down to create a perfect canvas for makeup. This is just what I need for perfect makeup when I have dry skin.  I have gone through two bottles of this and am halfway through my third!

Algenist Pore Corrector Anti Aging Primer

9.  Algenist Pore Corrector Anti-Aging Primer ($42)

This primer comes in an opaque airless pump which keeps the product integrity and effectiveness safe and sound.  It does everything a great primer should do – it reduces the look of pores, creates a satin finish for easy makeup application, and it keeps that makeup in place and reduces fading throughout the day.

Ingredients include Alguronic Acid, which ramps up the anti-aging quotient. I am thrilled that over time it actually improves my skin – but I am even more thrilled with the immediate results of perfectly primed skin. And, of course, not looking like a sad clown with melted makeup at the end of the day is a huge plus!! The Pore Corrector Anti-Aging Primer has a beautifully lightweight texture that doesn’t feel heavy on the skin. While liquidy, it dries quickly and truly makes that beautiful canvas you need to happily play with all the rest of your cosmetics art supplies.

Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy

10.  Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy ($7)  So this is a bit of a cheat…it’s not a face primer, but it is such a fantastic eye primer I had to put it on the list.  If you like pigment eyeshadows, you need this.  If you have oily lids, you need this.  Heck, it’s only seven bucks…try it out!  A tiny dab makes eyeshadow not only cling to your lids for dear life, it also brings out a vibrancy you never knew the eyeshadow had in the first place.  I think of my Pixie Epoxy as liquid gold.

The biggest difference I notice between my original list from five years ago and the one I have now (beside the price increases!) is the addition of primer/serums.  Primers don’t just prime anymore, they also treat the skin.  Most people probably only need or want one, maybe two different primers.  I happen to be just a *little* obsessive about makeup, so my collection is extreme – but if you are looking for a primer, I am sure you can find something perfect for your needs on this list.

Ok ladies, what is your favorite primer?  Is there another amazing primer out there that I just have to try??  There’s always room for one more!  – Lisa

Mystery Make Up Bag: What’s inside Lisa’s bag?

I must admit, my makeup bag never stays the same.  I always have waaaay too much stuff in it, and I am constantly changing things out and rotating colors.  Here’s my latest bag, and it’s filled with most of the ‘regulars’ as well as a few ‘guest stars’ for the week.

Lisa's Mystery Make Up Bag

I love my make up bag, I think it’s so pretty with that sweet flower.  This was a special from Sephora, although I got this one as a gift from an amazing friend.  And you would not believe how much stuff I can cram in there:

I never realized how much I had jammed in there until I put it all together for the family photo!!

I always have some primers, loose powder, and concealer with me.  Here I have my favorite primer, Reviva Makeup Primer.  It’s perfect under any type of foundation.  I also have Eye Rescue, an eyelid primer from Make Me SmoothMMS quit carrying this a few years ago, but I totally stocked up before that happened.  It’s the best eyelid primer there is.  I also have a pot of concealer by Cinema Secrets for quick touch ups, and a little jar of Make Up For Ever HD Finishing Powder.

I always carry these two foundations with me, because both last forever and conceal any flaw without looking fake.  On the left is my trusty Dan Read Silver Screen Series Foundation, the best cream foundation ever.  On the right is a can of ERA everyday foundation by Classified Cosmetics.  This is a spray on foundation, remember how Carmindy used to use this on What Not to Wear?  It’s fantastic, quick, and easy.

For blush, I have my trusty Paula Dorf applicator which smooths out both foundation and blush.  I also have two Origins Pinch Your Cheeks liquid blushes, one in Raspberry and one in Coralberry.  These are flipping amazing – the best natural color that just doesn’t fade.  I also have a Suqqu powder blush in 02, which is a super pretty peachy/pink (I think was a gift from Lydia!).

Lately I have been using Dior Extase mascara, although this tube is just about ready for the trash.  I also always have one pencil liner and one brow liner with me.  In this bag, I have Make Up For Ever’s Gypsy Aqua Eyes pencil, the perfect matte brown, and a new addition to my bag, Senna’s Sketch-A-Brow.

I always have two eyeshadow palettes with me, one with cool colors and one with warm.  In this bag I have Kevyn Aucoin’s Palette #2, which never lets me down for an amazing cool eye look.  The black eyeshadow works as a great black eyeliner, and as you can see this is one palette where the applicators are actually fabulous and get a lot of use from me.  Next to it is a Shu Uemura Holiday Palette in Dignified Grace, with a gorgeous selection of warm colors plus a pretty peach blush.

And finally, my lip products.  These probably get the most rotation, I grab different lippies almost every day.  Here I have Armani Lipstick Mania 14, a sweet peachy-pink, then Lipstick Queen Butterfly Ball in Goodbye, a deep shimmery mauve, and then Armani Shine/Brilliant 13, a sheer medium pink.  My lip gloss is Le Metier Sweet Cream, which makes every color look even better.

Whew, that’s it!  I hope you enjoyed this quick peek into my make up bag – well, this week’s version anyway!  – Lisa

Side by Side – eyelash curlers

I’m pretty sure you noticed a new feature on Beauty Info Zone that’s called Side by Side. Of course since you are reading this that’s probably a duh!! type of statement. With Side by Side Lisa and I aren’t duking it out like we do on our “versus” reviews. Instead we are reviewing either the same brand with two viewpoints or products that are similar but both pretty terrific. Today’s review fits that second category. Two wonderful eyelash curlers that we both use and love – Le Metier de Beaute’ and Kevyn Aucoin. We flipped a coin as to which one we’d review. There are no losers, only winners if you choose either of these two tools.

MARCIA:

I need to use an eyelash curler. My lashes aren’t long enough though the new technologies like Revitalash have made a positive difference in the way they look and how mascara improves my eye makeup. For me the most important aspect of an eyelash curler is the fit. You might like the ELF eyelash curler that costs $1 (not me, I hated it) or one that costs $20 from the majority of cosmetic companies. If it’s not comfortable on your eyes, it’s not worth anything at all.

My review is for Le Metier de Beaute’s Dualistic Eyelash Curler. This is a tricky one to review since I can’t find it for sale but the Le Metier counters usually have these and I’ve seen it used as a gwp several times from them. Mine was a gwp item (that I spent a fortune to get). My guess is that if it were for sale it would cost between $20 and $25. It does not come with a refill for the pad but I presume that if you bought the ones from Maybelline or Shiseido it would fit in just fine.

The first time I used my Le Metier eyelash curler I got a little worried. I did pinch my eyes with it but that was an anomaly and I’ve never had the problem since. I’ve been using it since I got it a few months ago. What I notice about it is that it opens wider than my Kevyn Aucoin curler therefore it makes it a little easier to get my lashes in there. It’s a nicer looking curler than my others but that’s not why I like it. I like the cushy pad it comes with, that it’s so easy to use and that it gives me a long lasting curl. I give this a thumbs up. If you are at a Le Metier counter, be sure to check this out and add it to your cosmetic tool collection. I’m sure you’ll like it. — Marcia

LISA:

Marcia, I have to say that I adore my Kevyn Aucoin lash curler.  I have long lashes – but they are stick straight.  If I don’t curl them, it looks like I don’t even have any lashes at all.  I have used the Kevyn Aucoin lash curler for about six years now, and replaced it only once.  For someone who curls their lashes every single day, that’s a pretty good track record.

This curler definitely fits the size and shape of my eye.  I have large eyes that are deep set and hooded.  The KA lash curler has never once pulled or hurt my lashes.  I love the red rubber guard, it does help me to line up my lashes correctly.

The opening is perfect – not too wide as to be unwieldy, and not too small as to make it difficult to get all my lashes in there.  And the curl it gives is very natural, it doesn’t put a funky kink into your lashes.

The only thing I notice, which is true of all lash curlers, is that it’s important to keep it clean.  It’s easy for mascara to collect on the outside of the curler, so I wipe it down every day after using it, and I find the curler lasts and lasts.  I also wish that the red rubber guards were sold separately, because they wear out far quicker than the actual curler does. – Lisa

Either way, a good lash curler is an investment well worth the money and the BIZ recommends both of these. What eyelash curler do you use? We’d love to know.

Lisa’s top 10 primers

I became obsessed with face primers several years ago.  I’ve always had strange skin, products don’t last long on me at all – I put blush on and an hour later, it’s completely gone.  For a long time I thought there was nothing I could do about it – until I found a primer that actually made my makeup (and most happily my blush)  last a whole day.  After that, my obsession began, and I have owned and used over 50 primers.  This list details my top ten primers – each one is unique, they all have their advantages, and they are all excellent.  Which primer I choose is determined by the condition of my skin that day, my skin tone, and the foundation I am going to use.

My top ten list is not in any particular order – these are my top favorites, but they are all equal in terms of play time they get.

1.  Kevyn Aucoin The Sensual Skin Primer ($42):

This is actually the primer that began my obsession.  I used this primer one day and could not believe how vibrant and fresh my makeup was 10 hours later.

The texture has slip but it doesn’t feel extremely silicone heavy.  It dries quickly to a satin finish.  It keeps your makeup on like no other.  There are some drawbacks, though – it is VERY expensive for a small amount of product – less than an ounce.  I tend to use this on special occasions only to try to make it last as long as possible.  And while I love the hygienic pump bottle, it drives me crazy that I never know how much I have left.  Regardless, I will never be without a bottle – and a back up.

2.  Lips2Kiss Face2Flaunt Fabulous Facial Primer ($29):

Now here’s a nice, large bottle of primer for a reasonable price.  I love this primer, especially with aerosol foundations like ERA.

It has a thick texture and goes on dry.  It does contain silicones, so be aware if your skin reacts to them.  I love the way it keeps makeup looking fresh for a very long time.  I just have to be careful not to use it too many days in a row because I can have skin issues with silicones if I use them too often.

3.  Hard Candy Sheer Envy Primer ($8.00):

I love how this one has an SPF of 15 – multi-taskers are always a bonus.  I definitely notice a reduction in shine with this primer, and it doesn’t dry out my skin.

This is probably the thickest primer I have in terms of consistency, it smooths on and absorbs like a dream.  It’s a dry primer so it does not take long to absorb at all.  It’s great to use with mineral makeup because it’s not the least bit wet.  It also is fabulous to use if your concealer is on the dry side – this primer makes your skin so smooth everything applies easier.  It’s amazingly affordable, and easy to find – this is sold at Walmart.

4.  Pur Minerals Correcting Primer in Neutral ($31):

This is a really great primer, especially under liquid foundations.  I find that it evens out skin tone, even though it doesn’t really have a ‘color’ to it.

It has a thin, liquid consistency, and takes a few minutes to dry down.  Once it does, your skin is extremely soft and silky, not sticky at all.  It does contain silicones, but doesn’t have that super slick feel.

5.  Pur Minerals Colour Correcting Foundation Primer in Green ($31):

This is the primer I reach for when I’m broken out – the green color balances out redness from acne, broken capillaries, and rosacea.  It doesn’t make you look like an alien – the green transforms into a beautiful, even skin tone color.

The consistency is a little thicker than the Correcting Primer in Neutral, but it’s also fantastic under liquid foundations.  Less is more with this primer – you  don’t need much to neutralize redness and create a perfect canvas for foundation.

6.  OCC Skin Primer ($20):

This is a really cool primer.  Not only is it great for the face, but you can also use it as a lid primer for mineral eyeshadows.

It’s unlike most primers.  You HAVE to shake the bottle before squeezing some out – and then be careful when you do, because it has a very liquid, thin consistency.  Once you apply it to your skin, WAIT until it dries – it applies quite wet, but does dry down to a super smooth, satiny finish.  And boy does makeup stick to this stuff!

7.  Murad Skin Perfecting Primer ($35):

Murad is probably better known for its skin care, but this line has some pretty amazing primers.  Marcia reviewed her favorite here – and my favorite is the Skin Perfecting Primer.  This primer gives a matte finish which is perfect for my oily t-zone.

This is the only tinted primer on my list (well, except for the Pur Minerals green-tinted primer).  Because of the tint, I find it works extremely well with lighter coverage foundations and tinted moisturizers.  It evens out skin tone beautifully, and truly inhibits oil production in those difficult areas like the nose, forehead, and chin.

8.  Covermark Hydrating Base ($16):

This primer was formulated to be used with heavier coverage foundations.  As such, it’s a moisturizer as well as a primer, which helps eliminate dry patches that can be accentuated with a heavier foundation.  I am fascinated by how this primer actually does moisturize as well as help makeup last longer.

The consistency is very wet, so be sure to allow for a few minutes of dry down time.  Somehow this primer kind of sinks into your pores, so the full coverage foundations don’t become little dots all over your face. And you get a huge amount for a terrific price.

9.  Paul and Joe Protective Foundation Primer ($30)

This is, by far, the strangest primer I have ever used.  And I love it.  It has an SPF of 30.  It’s also super watery – you MUST shake it before squeezing the product out.  By the way, the packaging has changed since I bought this – now it’s in what looks like a squeeze tube.

It has a very thin consistency that dries down to a satiny finish.  And, it has super fine, really tiny microshimmers in it, which give your skin the best, natural looking glow.  The primer looks really yellow, but it goes on colorless – aside from the glow.  Your makeup lasts and lasts with this primer.  I find that I reach for it when I am using very matte, oil-inhibiting foundations like Clarins Truly Matte Foundation, because the microshimmers counteract the flatness one can get from very matte foundations.

10.  Cle de Peau Gentle  Smoothing Base for Pores ($75)

I have a love-hate relationship with Cle de Peau.  Some products I adore, and will buy despite the exorbitant price tag.  Other products I can’t stand, and I get offended at the price of items that do absolutely nothing for you.  This primer, however, is well worth the price.  At the same time, I get the sample sizes at the counter when I can – what I have pictured is a sample tube, which is great for travel and gives you several weeks of use.

This primer is a thick, creamy lotion.  You don’t need a lot of it – a little goes a very long way.  In fact, if you use too much you will get a distinctly white cast to your skin.  Use the right amount and it sinks into your skin nicely, leaving no white or greyish cast.  Your skin is super smooth, lines are filled in, and makeup goes on beautifully.  It also lasts all day.  Your pores look smaller, and it lessens oil production throughout the day.  Get a sample at the counter before investing, but I’ll bet once you try it, you’ll want the full size version.  I love this under cream foundation.

Most people probably only need or want one, maybe two different primers.  I happen to be just a *little* obsessive about makeup, so my collection is extreme – but if you are looking for a primer, I am sure you can find something perfect for your needs on this list.

Ok ladies, what is your favorite primer?  Is there another amazing primer out there that I just have to try??  There’s always room for one more!  – Lisa

Disclosure:  some products were PR samples, see our disclosure statement for more information