Makeup Wars picks favorite eye makeup removers

Counting down just like David Letterman does to get to my all time favorite Eye Makeup Remover!
1430010167_eye-make-up-remover_product#5  RIMMEL JUST LET IT GO – I received this in an Influenster box and I have mixed feelings about it. The price is right at under $5 and it’s very gentle. It never burns my eyes. But if I wear a gel eyeliner or a heavy mascara, I have to pick a different remover since it’s just not powerful enough.
1430010090_p_makeupremovers_eye_longwearingwpliquidmakeupremover#4  ALMAY LONGWEAR & WATERPROOF GENTLE EYE MAKEUP REMOVER  – I need to have a waterproof eye makeup around for certain water resistant mascara and Almay is always consistent in this category. I’ve used Almay most of my life so I keep an eye out for sales on the brand and keep a small stash of these around. No burning, no oily feeling afterwards, and does a good job of removing mascara.1430010034_p_makeupremovers_eye_oilfreeeyemakeupremoverpads#3  ALMAY OIL FREE GENTLE EYE MAKEUP REMOVER PADS – These are staples in my life. I have used these since I started wearing eye makeup. I can’t even imagine how many jars of these I’ve gone through. They are fragrance free and hypoallergenic. They are not the least bit oily so they are perfect for touch-ups or goof-ups. I don’t necessarily use them to take off my makeup at night but this is what I travel with and I use this to clean my gel eyeliner brush. Once I started doing that I stopped ruining brushes.
1430009957_00500960_just_release_me_re_a1#2 PHILOSOPHY JUST RELEASE ME EYE MAKEUP REMOVER – I’m wondering if they are going to discontinue this since they are marked way down on the Philosopy website. I might just have to order a few. I love this product but I hate the opening. I probably spilled 1/4 of it by mistake. The top is too wide without a stopper but that’s the only negative I have about this eye makeup remover. It removes everything without a problem.
1430009842_mary-kay-oil-free-eye-makeup-remover-h#1 MARY KAY OIL FREE EYE MAKEUP REMOVER – Actually I thought about just writing about this one alone. Mary Kay has me wrapped around their little finger with this Oil Free Eye Makeup Remover. There’s nothing I don’t like about it. It never burns, stings, or leaves an oily residue. The top has a stopper on it so I don’t spill it out as I’m putting it onto a cotton square. I love that I can use this with whatever makeup I’m wearing. It’s not specifically for waterproof but I’ve rarely had a problem removing anything with Mary Kay. Don’t ever stop making this MK, please!!!

Mary Kay Eye Makeup Remover wins!!!

Mary Kay Eye Makeup Remover wins!!!

Now that you’ve met the 5 eyemakeup removers of my life, what are yours? I’m sure I can find room in the bathroom cabinet for another. — Marcia

*Rimmel sent by Influenster, rest were purchases

Top Ten Tuesday’s drugstore favorites

If you set me loose in a drugstore what would I buy? Money is no object in this dream setup. I don’t think I’d overspend though because the things I really like and buy over and over just aren’t that expensive to begin with.

Yes To Blueberries eye cream – I was a little worried this would have a fragrance but if it’s there I can’t really tell. I’m impressed with this eye cream and am happy to recommend it. I found it with a $5 off coupon on it plus I had a 25% off CVS coupon so the price was just right. And the product is just right. The best drugstore eye cream I’ve used (and keep using).

Almay Oil-Free Gentle Makeup Remover Towelettes – of all the wipes at the drugstore this is my favorite. It’s not fragranced, they stay moist and they are gentle on my skin. While I don’t like to take off eye makeup with a towelette I will with this. It’s not great on mascara but it works in a pinch. The big reason I like these is that I really do feel clean and refreshed when using them.

Milani Eye Shadow Primer – this is a winner. I always recommend an eyeshadow primer and they have one of the best and at a price you can afford.

J.R. Watkins Liquid Hand Soap – it’s impossible to tell you how many of these I go through. There might be better liquid hand washes out there but I love how gentle this is and the wonderful citrus fragrances it comes in. I now have one at every sink in my house and a few in my linen closet so I don’t run out.

Maybelline Color Tattoo 24 Hr shadows – the first batch of Color Tattoo came out at the same time as L’Oreal Infallible cream to powder shadows. At first I was all over the L’Oreal but time hasn’t been especially kind to those and a lot of mine have dried out. They are still usable but the Maybelline Color Tattoo have stayed the course. The longer I have them, the more I love them. There are a few shades I really love like Barely Beige, Branded Beige, Nude Compliment and Sleek and Spice.

Eddie Funkhouser Ultra Definition Eye Liner –  I know, I know! I write about this all the time but it’s the best black liquid eyeliner I’ve found. It’s $9.99 and some of you are lucky enough to have a Rite Aid with Eddie’s products. The rest of us can go on his site or Dermstore.

Maybelline Master Glaze Blush Stick – totally impressed with these. I have two and I’d have a lot more if I didn’t own tons of cream blushers. These little sticks are dynamite on color, blend on my skin well, and last a good amount of time. Set loose I’d buy them all up. I have Pinched Pink and Pink Fever (shown) and I’d love more.

Sinful Colors nail polish – I’m totally impressed with these $1.99 beauties. I’m sure they aren’t all created equal but the three I received are fabulous. All lasted a solid week and got compliments for that solid week.

Maybelline Color Show Nail Polish – this is the other nail polish brand I’m always stopping and looking at. If I was set loose I’d buy all of these and all the Sinful Colors ones. The Maybelline wear well and have great trendy colors.

Milani Total Lash Cover Mascara – It took me a while to find this after My Newest Addiction reviewed it but seeing it on her made me excited to find a drugstore mascara this great. This has the most unusual brush. It takes a bit of playing with the brush to get big lashes but it is a winner.

CapriClear Spray On Moisturizer – this is new to me and I haven’t had a lot of time to use it since it was sent to test but I’m so impressed with it already. I know it’s number 11 out of a list of 10 but I wanted to introduce it. This non-fragranced spray on coconut oil moisturizer is so easy to use. Great for after the shower, out of the pool for the day or just about anytime. It’s not greasy so you use and keep on going. I’ll test it more and review soon. It’s available at CVS, Walgreens, Ulta.

Drugstore shopping can be fun but if you notice I don’t have any type of foundation or concealer on my list. That’s one area that is still missing a favorite. If you have any to recommend, bring it on. In the meantime visit my fellow bloggers to see what other treasures can be found. — Marcia

Wipes and washes

Wipes and Washes

Wipes and Washes

I remember as a tween fighting about cleansing every night. I never wanted to wash my face and I hated taking baths. We lived in an old house and the water always felt cold to me. My, how time has changed all of that. Now I wouldn’t think of going  to bed without cleansing my skin. Even on my laziest nights I do something or I’d be tossing and turning worrying about my pores getting clogged and my skin being unable to breathe. It’s one of the most beneficial steps in skincare.

I’m sharing some of the products that I’ve been using for the last few months. I go through a lot of wipes, both daytime and nighttime, so if this seems heavy on that end it’s because they get used for so many things.

Wipes from Aveeno, Atopalm, Almay

Wipes from Aveeno, Atopalm, Almay

Atopalm Moisturizing Cleansing Wipes (empty now)

Atopalm Moisturizing Cleansing Wipes (empty now)

Atopalm Moisturizing Cleansing Wipes ($12.99 for 25) – I bought these from Dermstore because of their skincare claims. My logic was that if I was going to use a wipe at night instead of a cleanser that it would help to have one that was also moisturizing. I’ve used several Atopalm products with success so I knew these would be ones I like. According to Atopalm: ATOPALM Moisturizing Cleansing Wipes are luxurious cleansing cloths formulated with exclusive Multi Lamellar Emulsion Formula and vitamin E. The nourishing blend soothes and softens your skin while combating environmental influences. Allantoin calms as portulaca oleracea extract minimizes redness. Grapeseed, jojoba seed and olive oils deliver moisture, leaving your skin luminous and supple. I never use these on my eyes but I do feel like these are the best for my skin of the wipes I’ve tried.

Aveeno Ultra Calming Makeup Remover Wipes

Aveeno Ultra Calming Makeup Remover Wipes

Aveeno Ultra Calming Makeup Remover Wipes ($6.99 for 25)* – I’ve been using these for a few years now. These are actually daytime wipes for me since they are fragranced and I prefer fragrance free before bed. “With ACTIVE NATURALS® CALMING FEVERFEW® , an ingredient related to chamomile, these wipes leave sensitive skin feeling soothed and balanced.”

Aveeno Positively Radiant Makeup Remover Wipes

Aveeno Positively Radiant Makeup Remover Wipes

Aveeno Positively Radiant Makeup Remover Wipes ($6.99 for 25)* – These are a newer wipe from Aveeno. I like that they are oil free. Unfortunately these are fragranced so I don’t use them to remove my night time makeup but I do use them often when I’m swatching products for reviews. The swatches come off cleanly without leaving any residue so I can keep on truckin’. If you aren’t sensitive to fragrance I highly recommend these. “They combine exclusive ACTIVE NATURALS® Total Soy Complex, an ingredient long known to enhance skin’s radiance, with gentle cleansers that won’t dry out or irritate skin.”

Almay Oil-free Makeup Remover Towelettes

Almay Oil-free Makeup Remover Towelettes

Almay Oil-free Makeup Remover Towelettes ($6.99 for 25) – I’ve experimented with different drugstore towelettes and found that the Almay are the ones I like best for night use. I love that they are oil-free and of equal importance fragrance-free. I have used these on my eyes although they aren’t great for removing gel liner or mascara. Mostly I use these on my face though and it feels like I’m getting my face washed without water. Almay says: “hydrates and soothes skin without irritation. Botanical blend of aloe, cucumber and green tea. This face makeup remover leaves no greasy residue, so there’s no need to rinse. Hypoallergenic.”

Cleansers - Herbal Choice Mari, Philosophy, Painted Earth

Cleansers – Herbal Choice Mari, Philosophy, Painted Earth

Herbal Choice Mari Organic Makeup Remover

Herbal Choice Mari Organic Makeup Remover


Herbal Choice Mari Organic Makeup Remover  ($22 on sale for $16.95)* –  This vegan and organic makeup remover is for the nights I have time to take off my makeup properly. It’s not really a cleanser, it’s more of a pre-cleanser. Directions say to put it on a piece of cotton and gently remove your makeup. It melts away the color quickly. “This natural makeup remover does not contain alcohol, chemicals, detergents or preservatives.” It’s recommended for use on eyes too so it’s really an all in one cleanser. It has a very slight herbal fragrance but it’s very slight. It doesn’t annoy me and I’m quite picky about fragrance. It leaves skin moisturized since it contains organic olive oil but it’s not the least bit oily. Some nights I follow with a cleanser and some just with water. If you can’t tolerate glutens, this is a great choice for you.

Painted Earth True Elegance Cleansing Milk & Make-Up Remover

Painted Earth True Elegance Cleansing Milk & Make-Up Remover

Painted Earth True Elegance Cleansing Milk & Make-Up Remover ($23.50)* – This cleansing milk really is elegant. There’s something special about its thick creamy texture that makes you feel like you are moisturizing as well as cleansing. It contains coconut milk which is what must give it that creaminess. You can use this on a pad to wipe off makeup but I prefer it as a regular cleanser. It works especially well with something like a Clarisonic or the Foreo Luna though you don’t really need a tool for it. It entirely removes all makeup, including eye makeup. I prefer to use a dedicated eye makeup remover on my eyes but I’ve used this too without stinging. With Painted Earth products you can always look to see the ingredients which I think is helpful. There’s an herbal fragrance to this so I follow with toner to lessen any lingering scent.

Philosophy Just Release Me Eyemakeup Remover

Philosophy Just Release Me Eyemakeup Remover

Philosophy Just Release Me Eyemakeup Remover ($18) – I normally use Mary Kay Oil Free Eye Makeup Remover but I was at a JC Penney Sephora and this was on sale for $12 when I was checking out so I decided to pick it up. The first time I used it I spilled a lot because the top is wide open and I didn’t realize that. But I’ve since learned to use it properly. This is a dual-phase eye makeup remover that is gentle and oil-free. It seems to work slightly better than the Mary Kay one on stubborn makeup like mascara and water-resistant eyeliners. Even though it’s more expensive than the MK I will replace it when it’s done so that I have something with this gentle power. Philosophy says: “Philosophy Just Release Me™ Dual-Phase Oil-Free Makeup Remover gently yet effectively breaks down and removes the toughest eye makeup, even waterproof makeup, without irritating the eyes. Formulated with natural aloe, and chamomile and cucumber extracts, this soothing essential works to calm, clean, cool, and refresh the eye area.”

Obviously I don’t use these all every night. I base my choice usually on how much time I’ve left myself, how much makeup I’m wearing and how lazy/industrious I am that night. All are products I have no trouble recommending and will continue using them.

What are your favorite wipes and cleansers? I’m always looking at different options so please share. — Marcia

*products sent for editorial consideration

others were purchases

Makeup Wars brings you My Favorite Makeup Brush

This is the 5th mission of the Makeup Wars team. Some weeks they make me pick and choose like in the Taupe wars and the favorite Summer Lippy wars. Some weeks the Makeup Wars leaders make me work like they did in the $20 Face challenge. And some weeks they make me get really glitzed up like they did in the Most Expensive Face wars. Well this week we’ve been assigned to show you our favorite brush. It’s like they handed me a mission on a silver platter.

Paula Dorf Eyeliner brush x3

To be honest my favorite brush wasn’t what came to mind first though. I initially thought of the MAC 217 brush since I use it every single day. It’s extremely versatile to me. I also thought briefly of the MAC 239 brush since that one is also another that gets used constantly. I really don’t want to be without either of these two in my collection.

The runners up: MAC 239 and MAC 217

But the true star – the winner – the brush I need more than any other is the Paula Dorf Eyeliner Brush. I’ve never come close to finding a brush that could take its place. It’s the perfect size for both my hand and for my eye. My eyeliner of choice is a gel liner. I have a drawer full and use them probably 6 days out of 7. The brush can make or break the way my eyeliner looks though and Paula Dorf’s Eyeliner Brush makes it. So much in fact that as you can see by my picture I have 3 of them! Plus I’m pretty sure I have another in my travel kit. How could this brush not have won???

Paula Dorf Eyeliner Brush in all its glory

PD eyeliner brush head

The brush has the thinnest yet sturdiest head of any I’ve tried. A long time ago there was a brand called Who’s The Fairest? and they sold a very thin brush that I liked a lot. Two problems though – one the brand went out of business and two the brush didn’t have a long life. Eventually it would break down and either become weak or splay and had to be tossed. I don’t find that at all with the Paula Dorf brush. I’ve had these brushes for years now and they work as good now as they did when new. I can’t tell the difference in the age of these brushes.

What I do to take care of them might make a difference in longevity. I take an Almay Non-Oily Eye Makeup remover pad and roll the dirty brush on the pad. It cleans the brush without leaving a residue and helps keep its shape. I’ve cleaned them other ways too so I know it’s the brush that’s so wonderful.  I’ve actually reviewed the two of these before about two years ago. My love hasn’t changed.

The brush is 5 ¼ inches/13 cm long with the head being a drop more than ¼ inch and less than 1 cm long. At the widest part of the handle it’s just ¼ inch wide. It fits comfortably in my hand and is easy to maneuver. I can do a thick line, a typical line or if I’m very careful get an extremely thin line.

size comparison

This is a brush I’d go to war for!! Join my Makeup War friends by clicking the arrows or icons to see what other brushes you’ll want to add to your shopping list. I think the Paula Dorf one should be number 1 on your list though. — Marcia

Almay Intense I-Color Eyeliner: Is it as good as Make Up For Ever Aqua Liner?

I love a bargain.  When I saw the Almay Intense I-Color Eyeliner ($7.49) at my local CVS, I thought well cool!!

Almay Intense I-Color Eyeliner

It looked like it had the same stiff liner wand as my favorite Make Up For Ever Aqua Liner ($23), but it sure was cheaper.  I bought the Almay purple amethyst color that’s marketed for brown eyes. I was pleased to find that applicator wand indeed has a stiff end that make lining with liquid very easy, even with shaky pre-coffee hands:

Love the applicator, and I think the color is very pretty.   It’s a medium violet-purple with a tiny amount of shimmer..

Almay Intense I-Color in purple amethyst

 It’s flattering for brown eyes, but don’t limit yourself based on the Almay recommendations, this shade would work for most eye colors.

Make Up For Ever Aqua Liner #9

I wondered how the formula and applicator would stack up against one of my most favorite liquid eyeliners, the spectacular Make Up For Ever Aqua Liner #9.  So I did a little test.  Here’s a swatch of both colors – obviously the Almay is purple and semi-matte, and the Make Up For Ever is a metallic blue.  I thought the Almay might have an advantage, as metallic liquid liners tend to flake and fade a bit more than mattes.

Almay on top, Make Up For Ever on bottom

The applicators are basically the same, and this type of applicator is really genius compared to the wimpy, limp brush liners of the past.  The firmness means you can use the tip for a very precise, thin line, or you can use the side for a thicker, more dramatic look.  The applicators are the same, the colors are both very pretty, so the deciding factor was WEAR.  My question was, how long did the color last, and how vibrant was it? 

There was a very clear winner:

And the winner is...Make Up For Ever!!!

Make Up For Ever.  After thirty minutes, the Almay had faded considerably and even smudged like crazy.  The Make Up For Ever was still vibrant, even after rubbing it with a kleenex.  In fact, when I washed my hand the Almay came off with just water.  The Make Up For Ever needed scrubbing and soap!  I guess that makes sense since the Aqua color products were originally created for water ballet performers.

When I tested both on my eyes, I had the same results as I did on my hand.  The Almay faded in about an hour to almost nothing, where the Make Up For Ever looked almost as good at 6 p.m. as it did at 6 a.m.  It may be more expensive, but it’s clearly the better choice.  – Lisa

Lisa’s favorite drug store mascaras

I can be a bit of a makeup snob, but when it comes to mascara I am a total fan of drugstore brands.  In fact, I have four favorites that I buy over and over again.  I did an eye look that I really loved with my Kevyn Aucoin Palette #2 (pictured below) and one of my favorite mascaras, Maybelline the Colossal Volum’ Express ($7.79) and I thought hey – I should take pics with all my favorite drugstore mascaras and compare them.

My personal bias is for mascaras that give me lots of thickness, lots of length, no clumps, and no smearing.  I like my lashes to look as big and full as possible.  There is no room for a ‘natural’ mascara in my stash!! (You can find these mascaras at any drugstore, I bought mine at CVS).

Here’s the first eye look with The Colossal Volum’ Express.  This is only two coats, and my lashes have great volume and length.  I love this mascara, it never smears and only clumps when it’s getting toward the end of its life.  The brush is great, it really grabs your lashes so although it’s big, it finds even the tiny lashes.

My next favorite is Cover Girl Lash Blast Volume ($8.69). 

This one doesn’t lengthen as well as the Maybelline Volum’ Express, but it is fabulous at thickening and giving me a full, soft looking fringe.

I don’t like the brush as well, it’s big and doesn’t ‘grab’ the lashes.  But it never clumps, and never smears.

I love how soft my lashes are, and how even they look after a few coats.

My next favorite is L’Oreal Telescopic Explosion ($9.49).  At first I bought it just because it looked like something I could buy at the local Renaissance Fair, and for some reason I was anxious to use such a thing on my eyes.  I guess if that’s my only perversion I am doing ok…

Of course this is a whole lot like the infamous Givenchy Phenomen’Eyes Lengthening Mascara ($30), which I have to admit I have yet to buy.  I figured why get that one, when I can get this one at a fraction of the cost?  

I ended up loving the bizarro brush, which grabs every single lash, even ones I didn’t know I had.  This is one of the few mascaras that I will also use on my bottom lashes, because the brush is so excellent at grabbing them.  I do love this mascara, although it lengthens more than thickens, and I usually prefer a little more dramatic of a look.

And last on my list of favorite drugstore mascaras is Almay’s One Coat Nourishing Mascara Triple Effect ($8.19). 

I used Almay mascara all through high school and college, so this line is a sentimental favorite of mine.  This mascara does a great job of lengthening and thickening.

My only complaint is that it can be a little clumpy, especially after a month or so of use.

But I love how I end up with a super long, defined but thick fringe of lashes. 

There you have it – my top four drugstore mascaras.  Based on the pictures, which one do you think looks the best?  – Lisa

Like peanut butter & jelly or ham & eggs

There is one brush that I won’t ever give up. I’ve never found a substitute for it and I’m not even looking for one (a rarity for me).  I use it every single day.

In the past I’d found eyeliner brushes that I liked but there was always a problem.   I felt like Goldilocks at times.  One was too thick.  One was too soft. One was frayed after two months of use.  One was the wrong bend, another was the wrong angle.  And one was just right: the Paula Dorf Eyeliner brush!  I have tried so many brushes but I’ve never found a brush that works better with gel eyeliners.  It’s the right size, the right shape and the right thickness.  I have two in use and two unopened in my drawer though I doubt I’ll need these unless I lose my current ones.  This is available at

The 100% taklon brush is 13 cm/5 in. long, the brush head is a little bit longer than .5 cm/ .25 in long, the tip is pretty fine but it’s also very sturdy.  It costs $20 and is one of the best investments I’ve ever made.  To increase the life of my brush I now clean it with peanut butter Almay Non-Oily Eye Makeup Remover pads.  This keeps the tip from fraying and will help make this brush last for years.  I don’t have to bend the tip anymore to clean it off.

These eye makeup remover pads are a treasure for me.  I’ve used them for years to help take off my eye creations.  I especially like to use these when I’m doing my makeup.  If I make a mistake or just plain don’t like what I’ve done, I can use a pad and know that it leaves no oily residue behind so that I can continue to finish my makeup.  They contain a Botanical blend of aloe, cucumber and green tea that nourishes lashes and delicate skin.  Once I discovered the trick of using a pad to clean my eyeliner brush though I knew I’d never let these go.  The retail price is about $5.99 for the jar of 80 pads but they are often on sale.  I stock up when I find a good sale.  This is the peanut butter to my jelly, the ham to my eggs (bad analogy since I despise eggs, but you know what I mean).  — Marcia