After my recent product purge, I’ve become obsessed with finding healthier cosmetic options for those of us who want quality products with quality ingredients.
Armed with a bountiful Sephora giftcard from the holidays, here’s what I bought myself:
1. bareMinerals Flawless Definition Mascara in “Black” ($18)
Skindeep score: 2
Verdict: It takes about two or three coats before I start seeing volume, but as the name suggests, the definition is phenomenal. Also, the brush is pretty nifty for preventing clumps. For length, would purchase again. For volume, not so much.
2. Tarte Beauty & the Box Amazonian Clay Eye Shadow Quad in “Secret Garden” ($22)
Skindeep score: 2
Verdict: So far so good. I wish the gold was a tad sunnier, but the olive and brown are so deliciously rich. I’m not yet sure how I feel about the highlighter shade. I usually love gold undertones, but this one has very little shimmer/sheen and isn’t quite as luminous as what I want. But, for the price, this is an excellent basic. Would purchase again.
3. Benefit Watts Up Highlighter (freebie in Sephora’s birthday goodie box, $30 full sized)
Skindeep score: 2 — Had to run a “Create Your Own” analysis.
Verdict: Heeellllll yeah. I can hardly praise this product enough. The color is gorgeous, blends fantastically, and is lightweight. I use under my brows, on the inside corners of my eyelids, on my cheekbones, and on the bow of my lip. Love it! I feel as though my face radiates sunshine when I’m wearing it. If I had to pick one all-over facial product for those days when you’re tired but feel like putting on a little sum’n sum’n, it would be this. Love it. I will be buying the full-size product as soon as my free sample runs out.
4. Tarte Matte Waterproof Bronzer in “Park Ave Princess” ($29)
…not this. (This is the cover of the older, more toxic formula.)
Skindeep score: 2 — Had to run a “Create Your Own” analysis. Make sure to get the new formulation!!! The old one was 4-6.
Verdict: I’m bummed I had to toss out my old, toxin-laden one. Price-wise, it hurts. However, since I rarely wear bronzer in the non-summer seasons, I can stand buying this once a year. And as the title suggests, it’s gorgeously matte (no sheen!) and stays put all day. Contours well, too. Would purchase again.
Waterproof: “Black Lace” and “Girl Talk”; Nano: “Azur Blue”
Swatches – a thick line of each, then a smudged line of each. Notice the little flecks of glitter in peachy “Girl Talk”.
Skindeep score: 1 — Had to run a “Create Your Own” analysis.
Verdict: The sales girl warned me that Sephora waterproof eyeliner pencils can sometimes be “gunky” during the removal process, and remedying the situation requires an oil-based makeup remover. Now I understand what she meant. It takes many-a-swipe of my makeup remover wipes to get most of it off, and even then, there’s always some left over. With that said, this eyeliner stays put all day (and night) and glides on very easily. The colors are very pigmented, which is awesome for the price. Would purchase “Girl Talk” again, but I’m on the look out for a black pencil which removes more easily. As for the nano pencil, will purchase again in more colors.
6. Make Up For Ever Brow Corrector in “25 Ash”($20)
Skindeep score: 2 — Had to run a “Create Your Own” analysis
Verdict: I usually don’t buy products with “corrector” in the name because, y’know, that implies that there’s a “problem”. However, Aqua Brow warrants an exception. This stuff is FRIGGIN’ INCREDIBLE. I almost cried tears of joy when its ingredients passed on Skindeep with a score of 2. Again, cannot praise this stuff enough. I have used pencils and powders and waxes for years, but I’ve been hooked from the get-go on this goop, and you will be, too. I first saw it used by makeup artist Carmindy on TLC’s “What Not to Wear” and dashed out to Sephora to try it myself. Used with an angled brush, gahhhh. Total eyebrowgasm. I gently squeeze the bottle and apply it in a thin stripe directly onto my brush. A few swipes on each brow, and it makes an insta-arch. Thick brows, thin brows… You can create them all. It surprised me how far one little bottle goes. Will buy again 4x per year for the rest of my life. Hardcore lust right here. Yum.