Tag Archives: shopping

To be discontinued …

I appreciate loyalty in friends, spouses and pets.  As for brand loyalty, I’m not as constant, especially when it comes to cosmetics.  Since I’m a pro, I’m confident that I’ll manage to find a replacement if my favorite black eyeliner is discontinued.  And no, I’m not telling you what my favorite black eye liner is.  It might get discontinued.

For some, the thought of a favorite lip color no longer being available for purchase requires breathing into a paper bag.  Not that there’s a correlation between the loyalty to the lip color and said product being flattering.  It’s just something these women feel comfortable wearing.  Like sweat pants.  Which usually aren’t flattering.  Bam.

Meanwhile, cosmetic manufacturers will continue to discontinue stuff, so that they can throw something new at your face to see if it will stick.  The beauty industry, like the fashion industry, operates according to the principle of Constant Stimulation, and keeping consumers guessing is very stimulating, and very profitable.  And given the monstrous variety of makeup on the market, it’s hardly rational to think there can only be one of something that will work.

Trust me on this one – like lovers, there’s always a replacement for whatever you think you can’t live without. It’s make-up,  after all –  not a vital organ.  Less hope, more wisdom.

Smart beauty shopping: three questions to ask yourself before you buy

Visiting the cosmetics section of department store is sort of like running the gauntlet (an ancient form of punishment wherein one must run between two rows of assailants who repeatedly strike at one’s person).  A useful analogy, considering the crap women have to put up with from beauty retailers, who are coming at them from all sides with the latest products.

One way to stop overzealous sales people in their tracks is to pretend that they are, for example, your husband, your child or a pet.  “No” should be much easier using this simple visualization tool.

In addition to growing a pair, here are three questions you can ask yourself before you lay out your hard-earned cash on a new beauty product:

What’s my budget?  Don’t get sucked into the vortex of luxury cosmetic brands if you can’t afford it –  expensive products aren’t necessarily better and if you believe that they are, then you should be able to support your beliefs financially.

Do I like the scent and or/ texture of this product?  This is an especially important question when buying skin care products, which only help you if you’re consistent with them.  You should like the way a product smells and how it feels on your skin so that you’ll actually use it.

Do I like the packaging?  For some, packaging is a major factor when making a cosmetic purchase.  Will it be on display, or tucked away in a cabinet, and if the former, do you care what it looks like?  Maybe not, but a poorly designed compact or palette, the kind that break almost instantly, get scratched up, and/or become a crumbled mess kind of bum me out.  I look for packaging that suits my simple aesthetic and that delivers a satisfying “click” of quality, like the seat belt of a fine German automobile.

Now go get ‘em, tiger….


Three cheap and useful last-minute beauty gifts

Countdown to the holidays and that stocking is looking mighty empty.  Here are three fun giftlettes for the beauty-conscious on your list:

Sephora Collection Precision Pore Cleansing Pad ($6 at Sephora)


This wee pink thing could replace your $100 Clarisonic in an instant and never needs recharging.  It feels like a thousand tiny fingers are massaging (and exfoliating) your face, and you can use it with any cleanser (I use Aquaphor baby wash).  Plus, the silicone pad has a suction cup so you that can stick it to your shower tile, or wherever. Genius!


Revlon Marchesa Slant Tip Tweezer ($10 online and in drugstores)


Most of us are not going to afford a Marchesa gown any time soon, but while we’re saving our pennies, errant brow and chin hairs will continue to sprout.  Might as well pluck with aplomb.  Revlon also makes a sparkly pink one for “Vegas Barbie” types.


Kevyn Aucoin Lash Curler ($21 at Nordstrom)


Better than the Shu Uemura version in my opinion and with a namesake that’s somewhat easier to pronounce.  Comes with an extra red pad that you won’t have to use for years, because the original pad (firm, so it works better) will last so long.  99% of women need a lash curler, but won’t necessarily spend on it, so consider this a luxury item that will make you look very generous and well-informed.

Happy Holidays and New Year to all of you.  Less hope, more wisdom.

Buy wisely: mascara


There seem to be new mascaras introduced to the beauty market daily.  Brands usually advertise these breakthroughs using models and celebrities wearing false eyelashes.

I did a quick search on drugstore.com to see how many options one might have in choosing mascara.  Brace yourselves: there are 236 choices from 35 different brands.  Then I learned that there are an additional 180 choices from 47 brands on drugstore.com’s partner site, beauty.com (what I would have given to think of that domain name first – I’d be writing this from Bali).  Beauty.com carries what are considered more prestige brands, so if you shop on drugstore.com, you are either poor or just have bad taste.

The most expensive and terribly named mascara (By Terry “Mascara Terrybly”) is $48.  The least expensive is by the brilliant cheapo brand e.l.f. at $1.49.  You have 414 others choose from.  And that’s just from these two sites.

Clearly there are way too many mascaras, and I want to steer you away from being a ninny and spending $48 (or more, because the most expensive mascara I could find was $70) on a tube of dreams.

I always tell my clients that the best place to purchase mascara is at the drugstore – expensive is not better in this case.  Make-up artists, as a species, are fond of L’Oreal Voluminous for its reliability, and I’ve been using it in my kit for years.  But I just experimented with Maybelline Full ‘N Soft Waterproof ($7) because it’s one of the top rated mascaras on Make-up Alley, and it’s really good.  As the name suggests, no crunchiness, and the brush is easy to work with.  No smudging or flaking whatsoever.

While I tend to think that waterproof mascara is for brides and scuba divers only, and because true waterproof mascaras require an oily remover, which is a pain, I’m still for the waterproof version of Full ‘N Soft because with warm water and soap, this stuff (mostly) comes off.

Lash wisdom: curl them first (I prefer the one made by Kevyn Aucoin – worth $21 because you’ll have it forever) and then apply mascara from root to tip, wiggling at the root to get all of the lashes involved in the fun.  Don’t get sucked into gimmicks, like mascaras with wands that wiggle for you.

Go, spend your hard earned money on a tube of empty promises.  But I’d rather you spend $7.