Review: Benefit Roller Lash Mascara

Posted on March 16, 2015 under Reviews

I believe I am one of about ten people in the known universe who absolutely fucking hates Benefit’s They’re Real! mascara. When I worked in cosmetics, I’d get customers coming in every day raving about it, and my fellow SAs were similarly enthusiastic. On the other hand, I consider it to be my mascara nemesis.

Something you must understand about me is that I am not very picky about mascara. I don’t have sensitive eyes, and my eyelashes are fairly okay on their own, so I am not asking for any miracles. My main criteria for mascara are that it does not 1) clump together intensely, leaving me with approximately 3-5 mega eyelashes, or 2) require industrial-strength power to remove. Interestingly enough, I found that They’re Real! violated both of these requests; it is the clumpiest mascara I have ever tried, by an exponential factor, and one time I didn’t shower for five days after applying it (gross, I know) AND IT DIDN’T COME OFF.

Combined with the fact that I positively hated the They’re Real! eyeliner for similar reasons, you might say I had low expectations for Benefit’s new mascara, Roller Lash.

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Top: No mascara. Bottom: Roller Lash applied to the top lashes.

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Top: No mascara. Bottom: Roller Lash applied to the top lashes.

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OMG, a gif! Give this a minute to load; the file’s pretty big. Clearly I am not yet a gif-master. Also, sorry for the shakiness; I didn’t have a tripod on hand.

I found Roller Lash to be, essentially, They’re Real! light. By that, I mean it is prone to clumping but not terribly so, and it is quite difficult to get off but can be removed with a bit of elbow grease, unlike They’re Real! which I’m convinced would survive nuclear war.

That sounds quite negative, but I don’t hate this mascara and I will continue to use up my sample-sized tube. It’s just nothing special, in my opinion. I prefer my mascara to be a bit more lengthening than this is, and I don’t go for the slightly-clumpy look, though I know many do.

I think there are a lot of drugstore mascaras on the market that perform similarly; Maybelline’s much-touted The Falsies comes to mind.

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The brush of Roller Lash is very different from They’re Real! – it has that curved shape that was in vogue roundabout 2012/2013. I feel like we as a society have slowly been moving away from these mascaras, although these brushes were quite popular a few years ago, with high-profile offerings such as The Falsies and Covergirl’s Clump Crusher having similar shapes. The Roller Lash brush has more of a shallow curve than either of those. The brush is also significantly shorter than They’re Real!, so if that massive brush put you off that mascara, this one might be a better option. All in all, the brush is quite standard, nothing particularly innovative, but the size does make it much more reasonable to use.

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Left: Roller Lash on the top lashes. Right: No mascara. I decided to showcase the “better” eye, as when I applied it to my first eye it was quite a bit clumpier. Learning curve and all. However, although I managed to diligently avoid clumping with this eye, you can see that the effect is not super dramatic, at least not compared to my preferences. For some people this might be a good thing; for me, it’s a bit of a bummer, since I like my mascara to wow me.

I’m not a huge mascara fanatic anyway (it serves an important purpose but it doesn’t get me excited), and I think the drugstore has so many good options that I’m rather averse to buying pricier ones. Thus, I wouldn’t purchase a full-sized tube of Roller Lash even if I liked it – so a more apt question is whether or not I’d spend Sephora points on another deluxe sample of it. The answer to that is no; it just doesn’t impress me, although I don’t hate it.

If you are one of They’re Real!’s many, many proponents but you’d like an option that’s a bit less dramatic and perhaps better suited to everyday wear, you’ll probably like Roller Lash. If you are one of the other nine people on planet Earth who hated They’re Real!, skip this one.

Review: L’Oréal Color Radiance Protecting Mask / Elvive Colour Protect

Posted on February 14, 2015 under Reviews

You won’t find me denying that my blonde is 100% fake. For one thing, it wouldn’t be a very convincing argument, considering my particular hue and my near-constant roots, but I also just don’t believe in that type of coy pretense. There’s nothing wrong with altering your appearance, and not all of us are born with what we want.

You may imagine that, after enough bleach applications to take my hair from a stubbornly persistent medium brown to a near-platinum, it’s pretty damaged. And I suppose it is, if you don’t take into account what I do to care for it. But the fact is that my hair in all its bleached glory feels much smoother, softer, and healthier than it did pre-bleach.

Even as I started getting into makeup, I was ignorant about how to care for my hair. I used a clarifying shampoo every wash (shudder!), and my habit of blowing my hair dry most days left it frizzy, full of split-ends, and overall thirsty and sad. (“Thirsty and sad” is a good descriptor of a lot of people, incidentally.)

Then I dyed my hair hot pink, over a bleached base, and it became imperative to actually take care of my hair. I bought the L’Oréal Color Radiance Protecting Mask (called Elvive Colour Protect in the UK) for two reasons: to keep the colour in my hair for as long as possible, and to keep it feeling and looking healthy despite being systematically destroyed with bleach.

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I added cute things to this picture – am I a real blogger now?

When I went blonde in April, I put my Color Radiance products away since I was using purple shampoo and conditioner to maintain my hair colour. But let me tell you a (potentially obvious) fact: regular conditioner just does not cut it when it comes to hair that has been bleached eight times.

I pulled out the Color Radiance mask in June, and within two washes my hair felt alive, even though it was objectively more dead than it had been in my entire life. I’ve been using it faithfully since then, every single time I wash my hair, and my bleach-destroyed hair is paradoxically in the best shape of its life.

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Because this shit is magical. Seriously, I think there is some sorcery involved in how damn good it is. I brush my hair infrequently because I have wavy hair and brushing it messes up the texture. Sometimes, it can get quite tangled in the back. But when I rinse this mask out of my hair, I can always run my fingers straight through it, no detangling efforts required. It’s soft, it’s smooth, and I have no frizz or split ends. (That also has something to do with the fact that I stopped using heat on my hair, of course.)

The texture of this product is of medium thickness, and can be best described using the very technical term “goopy”. I usually use my middle three fingers to scoop some out of the tub, which is enough to cover my hair. You don’t want too much of it; a little goes a long way! If your hair isn’t super damaged then I’d just apply this to the ends, but I need to cover my hair root to tip because it gets crunchy and dry all over otherwise. The texture thins out a bit about halfway through the tub, but this isn’t a con to me – it still works just as effectively.

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So, basically, if you have damaged or dry hair, whether it’s coloured or not, you need this stuff in your life. It’s cheap, a tub lasts forever, and it works. I’m on my third tub, and I will continue buying it until the universe blesses us with something that is somehow even better.

L’Oréal Color Radiance Protecting Mask / Elvive Colour Protect retails for about $8 CAD or £5 for 300mL (10.6 fl oz), making it $0.026 CAD per mL ($0.75 per fl oz) or £0.17 per mL (£0.047 per fl oz), and can be found at any drugstore/pharmacy.

Review: Topshop Glow Highlighter in Polished

Posted on January 30, 2015 under Reviews

I love the concept of highlighter. I love the idea of looking like I glow from within, like an ethereal goddess. I love the idea of drawing attention to the tops of my cheekbones, the arch of my brows, my cupid’s bow.

The reality of highlighter, as a product that exists in real life, is not my favourite, and mainly for a selfish reason: it’s hard to find one that works for me.

Many, many highlighters are gold-toned, when I generally go for cooler-toned cosmetics of all types. And many of them are actually darker than my skin, which surely defeats the point of highlighter. Benefit Watt’s Up, I’m looking at you. (But not just you. I’m just angry with you because you’re a gorgeous product – for other people.)

My previous favourite highlighter was gold-toned but fair enough that it worked for me: the cult classic Mary Lou-Manizer by theBalm. However, I only own that product in a palette, which makes it not super convenient for travel, as the palette isn’t one of my go-tos for eyeshadow. (One of these days I should get around to depotting it, but it’s more fun to buy new things!)

Enter the Topshop Glow Highlighter in Polished, a cool-toned, pearlescent cream highlighter with irridescent pink shimmer.

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Topshop Glow Highlighter in Polished on cheekbones, bridge of the nose, and cupid’s bow.

I know that description sounds a bit nuts, but I love it. It’s a step above natural, but not so weird that it can’t be worn in an everyday setting. Once it’s tapped into the skin (and it positively melts in), you just look a tiny bit ethereal, like you might have a small amount of mermaid DNA. Which, I mean, who doesn’t want that?

The texture of this product is very interesting: it looks like a cream eyeshadow, but it’s not as solid. I would describe it as mousse-like. It reacts very well to body heat and blends easily with fingers. I haven’t used it with a brush because I pretty much always apply cream products with my fingers, since I find creams generally respond best to that bit of warmth.

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Close-up of Topshop Glow Highlighter in Polished on the cheekbone.

A word also must be said about the packaging. That word is “lovely”. The matte, frosted glass pot is so clean and pretty, and I love the whimsical touches on the Topshop makeup packaging. The little stars and handwritten font are adorable! Plus, it just feels so solid in my hand. The glass – rather than plastic – is a nice touch; it makes it feel more expensive than it is, although it is a bit pricier than your average drugstore product.

This product is very difficult to photograph – pictures just don’t do justice to that irridescent, pearly glow. But trust me – it is seriously gorgeous, and my new go-to highlighter.

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On the left, a heavy application so you can see the colour. On the right, the highlighter blended in to my skin.

Topshop Glow Highlighter retails for £9 ($17.27 CAD) and can be purchased in Topshop stores or online. At 0.14oz, the price works out to £64.29, or $123.36, per oz.