And in other top priority international news … mascara.

I can’t speak about mascara without first stating that I use three different kinds every time I apply.  Every. Time.  It probably takes me a solid five minutes or more to do mascara beginning with bare lashes, and it is by far the most exciting part of my makeup shenanigans.  You know how it is … you get the whole routine going on and then the mascara is the beautiful bow on the package to top it all off and pull it all together.  It adds that final one-two-punch of drama and seals the deal, and everyone seems to like it in a different way.  I get really mad when I see girls with what I don’t perceive to be enough mascara, or it’s clumpy, or whatever.  But what’s funny is that they probably do it that way everyday, and they probably think my own mascara job sucks.

But allow me to offer up one assertive opinion on the subject- I don’t really get people who can use just one kind of mascara.  I mean, one kind?  Do you eat just one kind of cheese, too?  Or do you watch just one movie you like on repeat and never watch any others?  You may argue that you’ve found your eternal favorite that you’re loyal to, but when there are so many kinds of mascara to choose from, you know there’s got to be even more out there that you’d enjoy and use just as much as your beloved one, perhaps along with it.  Maybelline New York probably cranks out about three new kinds of mascara every year alone (with 50% of them being useless, in my opinion … Great Lash can suck it), and I’d say every other makeup brand puts out perhaps at least one new kind of mascara per year, including drugstore and luxury brands.  The options really are veering on endless.  I mean, come on … they make ones that vibrate now, for crap’s sake.

Mascara’s also a particular pleasure of mine because it’s the one cosmetic item that I truly believe can deliver quality performance for under ten bucks.  Go ahead and buy the thirty-dollar kind, but I believe that the stuff you find at the drugstore is just as capable when it comes to mascara.  DiorShow?  Eh, not worth all the hype (and it’s got perfume in it … yuck and for why?).  BeneFit Bad Gal?  I’ve had way better.  I’m usually one to push for spending the extra bucks when it comes to makeup, but mascara is my true exception.

So, after trying countless kinds of mascara, I’ve finally found three kinds that I can truly place my faith in (or at least, when they’re all used together).  I usually find myself looking for volumizing formulas because my lashes aren’t particularly dense, and CoverGirl’s LashBlast Fusion has been a staple of mine for probably two years or so now.  That stuff is great.  If I had to use just one kind, I’d choose this.  However, I don’t apply this kind first.  I first apply just a couple coats of Revlons‘ Grow Luscious by Fabulash to lengthen my lashes and build a tacky base.  Next, I apply some of BeneFit’s They’re Real by wriggling the rubber brush at the base of my lashes a few times.  This creates the illusion of fullness, and because it’s an especially wet, inky formula it makes the lashes look much darker and dense, and it builds well on the tackiness of the Revlon.  A lot of formulas can suffice for this part of my process- L’Oreal’s Voluminous Carbon Black works well, too.  After this, I finally begin applying as many coats of LashBlast Fusion as I want until I’m satisfied.  This creates volume and separation, and because it’s another tacky formula it can just keep building and building.  Oh, and every kind I buy is in the blackest shade I can get, but I have heard that brown-black photographs better and that brown mascara on the bottom lashes looks much more natural.  And speaking of, I don’t do mascara on the bottom lashes.  I never have.  Things just start looking a little too spidery-smudgey for me when it’s on the bottom.  That green tube in the picture, by the way, is the newest mascara from CoverGirl called Clump Crusher.  Seriously.  But I’ve got to admit, I tried it just this morning for the first time and it’s ahhhhhhhh-mazing.  Might be the beginnings of a new favorite.

I’ve honestly got I-don’t-know-how-many kinds of this stuff in my current possession, but the item will be a forever staple of mine and so I’ve got no reason to stop trying all of them!  Cheers to spider-eyes!  xo, MR

Lipstickyyyyy.

So, picking favorites isn’t easy.  I get all crazy when magazines come out with their “Best in Beauty” issues each year and they list off what they’ve determined to be the best body lotion, best facial exfoliant, best taupe eyeshadow, best bright eyeshadow, best sexy fragrance (as compared to fruity, among others), and so on and so forth.  I guess what makes me go all batty when I read such things is the horrible itch that develops in my brain that says I need … to buy … all of it … now.  Seriously.  I will breach all of my own contracts I’ve made with myself about “Natural only!” and absolutely no parabens or mineral oil in my body products if Allure tells me that that big bottle of deliciously buttermilk-y thick-as-batter body cream that smells like Paula Deen’s house filled with cinnamon and sugar and the laughter of ten thousand happy children (for only $10!!) is uhhhhh-mazing, despite the 100% petrochemically-derived ingredients.  Give it to me.

It takes a lot of effort for me to sort out what my own favorite products really, really are. It’s difficult to sort through all the voices, suggestions, images, and reviews.  But we can start small.  We can start with … lipstick.

Now, I can really hang with all kinds of lip color.  This is only referring to lipstick, a kind of lip color that I probably wear the least.  I picked my favorites of four shades- red, pink, beige/nude, and dark.

MAC Lipstick in Russian Red–  I know their Ruby Woo shade is equally as popular, but it’s just too dry for me.  This gem of a red can be worn everyday with a decent amount of comfort, and it’s flattering on all skintones.  The “flattering” part is kind of big for me too, because I have this weird quirk of getting especially irritated at seeing the wrong shade of red on a girl.

CoverGirl LipPerfection Lipstick in Spellbound–  This is one hot shade of pink, and I love it paired with just black topliner and mascara.  It may seem scary in the tube, but just think of it as a happier alternative to red.  I like to wear it in the fall when it’s less expected, and it’s stunning against an all-black ensemble.

Yves Saint Laurent Volupte’ Sheer Candy in Lush Coconut–  I still haven’t nailed the beige/nude category to satisfaction. I feel that every kind I try is still just a little too pink, and I’m looking for that J.Lo beige that looks incredible on tan and olive skin.  For now, this one is sheer (more like a gloss stick) and smells like mango.  I wear it when I just want to add a little something to my lips besides balm.

L’Oreal Colour Riche Lipstick in Spice–  This stuff is just so … vampy.  I’ve been so inspired by Camilla Belle’s rich, daring lip color at the MET Gala this past year and this seems to get me pretty darn close to the look.  I like a slightly Twenties look with a dark lip, kind of costume-y.  And there’s no better season for color like this than autumn.

So tell me … any favorites of your own?  Brands you swear by?  Recommendations for me?  xo, MR