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cosmetics review

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water

On my recent Ulta trip, I got a great haul of products.  To be honest, I went in knowing I wanted to make the trip a big one.  I didn’t just lose control and buy everything that I saw (not that I haven’t done that before).

This time, I tried to exercise a modicum of restraint and purchase only those things that I needed.  Or had really wanted to try for a long time.  I mostly succeeded 😉

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water - Try It Kit

One of my purchases was the Smashbox Try It Kit, which contained several primers, including Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water.

The kit included four of Smashbox’s most popular primers, including Photo Finish Primer Water, Foundation Primer, 24 Hour Shadow Primer, and Hydrating Under Eye Primer.  The Smashbox Photo Finish line of primers is their most popular, but they make a bunch of other primers for different purposes.

At first, I picked up a full sized bottle of Photo Finish Foundation Primer, as I recently ran out of my ELF Poreless Primer and needed something to replace it.  However, during my hour or so of wandering around the store, I found the Try It Kit and decided to give it a go.

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water - Try It Kit - Beauty Chaos

Four products to try in one box?  Yes, please.

It’s a good thing that I purchased the Smashbox Kit when I did, because soon after I was hired to work on a CBS show.  I’m not allowed to say which one until it airs (the first rule of Fight Club is you don’t talk about Fight Club).  But it’ll be on in late July and I’ll let everyone know then.

During the day, my makeup has a tendency to melt and smush in different ways.  It’s one of the drawbacks of living in the hot desert climate – no matter how much powder you apply, makeup will run.  So I decided to try a few different tactics in order to keep my makeup in place this time.

One of the main reasons I like the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water is that there are several different ways to use it.

First, you can spray it on as a primer (hence the title) to prep skin for foundation.  Next, it can also be used as a setting spray after you apply your makeup, to keep your makeup in place all day.  Finally, makeup artists swear by using it throughout the day to keep makeup set and freshen throughout the day.

Also, Smashbox Cosmetics is cruelty free, which is always a wonderful bonus.  I can’t wait for the day when all cosmetics are cruelty free.  Can I volunteer to be their lab experiment subject?

The online reviews for Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water are pretty great.

According to the Ulta website, 93 percent of women said it left their skin instantly hydrated.  90 percent said it absorbs quickly and their skin felt refreshed after first use.

I had much the same experience with the Primer Water.  As soon as I sprayed it on, my skin felt refreshed and hydrated, and my skin didn’t feel as heavy as if I’d applied a creamier primer.  Major plus, since my skin is oily and feels like I have a slick on it most of the time.  I didn’t take it with me to freshen during the day, and I didn’t use it as a setting spray.  I purchased a different setting spray that I wanted to try, but next time I’ll give this a shot.

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water Pin - Beauty Chaos

On a 90 plus degree day, my makeup pretty much stayed put.

I wore the Primer Water under a BB Cream and not foundation, which may have contributed a bit to the smearing, but not much.  My makeup stayed in place for the hour drive to the studio, five hour wait, one hour of shooting, and hour drive home.  Considering the heat, I’d say that’s a win.

Cost and Where to Buy

As I said, I got my Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water at Ulta in a primer kit.  The kit cost $29, which I thought was a steal considering that it contained four primers.  The full sized Primer Water is 3.9 ounces, which goes for $32.  The Smashbox website has it for the same price. eBay has it for around $23, if you’re willing to take a chance on that.

Summing Up

I think Smashbox Photo Finish Primer Water is a great buy.  You get three products in one, and it keeps makeup in place really well.  I’m excited to try it with a foundation instead of BB Cream.

What’s your favorite primer?  Leave me a comment or message me here!  And don’t forget to subscribe!

Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Mascara

I have always been drawn to Benefit Cosmetics.

The packaging speaks to me.  The bright pink with all the cool retro-looking photos – I dig it.  So trying out the Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Mascara was a no-brainer.

There’s even a Benefit Cosmetics vending machine in the Burbank Airport.  I’m sure there’s others in other airports, but Burbank is the only place I’ve seen one.  Every time I have down time at the airport, I inevitably end up circling the Benefit vending machine, the products winking back at me like expensive bags of chips or candy bars.  I usually have to pry myself away.

Benefit Cosmetics They're Real! Mascara Pin - Beauty Chaos

The first thing I ever purchased from Benefit was their Kitten Sparkling Body Powder.

loved it.  This was back in college when I was still wearing things like sparkling body powder, and I used to dust myself with it every time I went out.  Unfortunately, Benefit has discontinued the Kitten, but they bring it back for limited offers every once in a while.

Now, before I get into the review, I’ve been feeling overwhelmed lately.  Maybe it’s because I’m doing too much.  Maybe it’s that a spider tried to assassinate me this morning as I was waking up.  One of the foster cats, Moonshine, thwarted his attempt, but he’s now lost in my bedroom waiting for his next opportunity.

Just look at those faces!

Oh, and the foster cats are still with us.  The people who were interested apparently lost interest.  Their loss – these girls are amazing and they are welcome here for as long as they like.  Or at least as long as they’re saving me from spider assassins.

Now, back to Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Mascara.

Benefit Cosmetics They're Real! Mascara - Beauty ChaosI came upon a display at Ulta with a bunch of different mascaras, several of which were “fan favorites.”  Since I had already tried a few of the ones on display, including Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara, I decided to try Benefit.

The packaging, of course, is adorable, with the signature Benefit script screaming “They’re Real!” in orange and red across the black box.  Copy on the box says that 94% of users saw dramatic length and volume and visible lift, and 90% saw base to tip curl.  Apparently 100% of users saw long wearing results, which is a pretty hefty claim for any company as it leaves absolutely no margin for error.

The tube itself is this futuristic looking dark chrome color, really cool.  And the brush is specially designed for Benefit to give ultimate results.

The reviews on Ulta.com are mixed.
Benefit Cosmetics They're Real! Mascara - Left Eye Only
Mascara left eye only

I’ve seen some products where the feedback is overwhelmingly positive, and those products usually are shoo-ins.  While They’re Real! has a good amount of five star reviews, there are also a pretty significant number of two and one star reviews.

The reason I’m mentioning this is I find this mascara…underwhelming.  It works fine, lengthens a bit and darkens my lashes, but not nearly to the extent that some other mascaras I’ve tried do.  I’m a little disappointed, to be honest.  With the packaging boasting such amazing claims, I thought for sure I’d found my next favorite.  Unfortunately not, especially for the price tag of $24.

Cost and Where to Buy

Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Mascara can be found at Ulta, Sephora, and the Benefit Cosmetics website for $24.  On the Benefit site, there are three colors to choose from: black, brown, and blue.

Summing Up

Benefit Cosmetics They're Real Mascara - Beauty Chaos
Top: Naked
Middle: One Coat
Bottom: Two Coats

By all means, conduct your own experiment with this one.  I’m kind of spoiled when it comes to mascara; I expect a lot, and if my lashes don’t look like I’m wearing falsies, I’m not happy.  Based on the five star reviews up, and many claiming it’s their favorite, I imagine there are plenty of women out there for whom this mascara works magically.

Got a mascara you want me to try?  Leave me a comment or message me here!

ELF Poreless Face Primer

Random Thoughts

On the docket for today is ELF’s Poreless Face Primer.  But first, some randomness, as promised in my original conception of this blog.  It’s so funny, because while I was in the shower (which is where I always get ideas) I had tons of things to write about.  The trick is getting them all on the computer before they fly out of my head.  Which happens quickly :).

I have four cats living in my home currently.  It’s not like I have wayward cats just stopping by; I say I have four currently because two are foster cats.  So maybe I do have wayward cats.  Bottom line, I have two more than I usually do.

I also have a robot vacuum, a Bobsweep to be precise.  And I love the robot vacuum.  I’m fairly certain about 80% of my life is spent vacuuming when I don’t use the Bob (that’s his name).  Unfortunately, one of the cats got scared of the Bob last time I ran him, and peed on one of the couch cushions.  So now, Bob is just another piece of furniture that I stare at longingly when I’m vacuuming.  With the regular vacuum.

So there’s the random thoughts for today. Onto ELF’s Poreless Face Primer.  Now I, like most women, spent most of my youth not wearing foundation.  In fact, I thought for years that it aged me.  I look back on those days fondly.  With what I would define as starting-to-be-aging skin, foundation definitely makes all the difference in whether I look 27 or 47.

For years, I also did not indulge any thoughts of “primer,” except on special occasions where I was being made up by a makeup artist.  Again, I remember these days fondly, for now I put on primer sometimes when I’m not even putting on foundation.  It offers a nice, even finish to apply loose powder or highlighter or whatever.

ELF Poreless Face Primer Pin

First Impressions

I would like to mention that, even as I’m writing this, one of my cats (the jerk) is tearing at the corner of my shag rug.  I’m sure I’ll talk more about him later.  At first glance, I really like ELF Cosmetics.  The aesthetic of the brand is simple, something akin to MAC, perhaps, very clean with simple black packaging.  I wish it were more mainstream, as I often have to go hunting for it in the drugstore and usually find it on the end of an aisle somewhere.

The consistency of the product is hard to describe.  It almost feels like liquid powder, if that makes any sense.  It’s slippery but light.

More Thoughts

By the time I got around to buying ELF Cosmetics Poreless Primer, I had already tried a few ELF products.  So I kind of knew the caliber of the brand, which I think is good.  ELF always stacks up well in product comparisons that I’ve read on other blogs, so I was optimistic.

Now, I have huge pores.  Cavernous.  Surface of the moon.  And it’s just getting worse as I get older.  I’ve always been envious of those girls with perfect skin.  I have a few girlfriends whose skin looks like its been airbrushed all the time.  I want to kick them, just a little bit.

So here’s me starting out without makeup today.   This gives me a ridiculous amount of anxiety — I hate looking at photos of myself without makeup.  But I think this is something a lot of women struggle with and my new rule is that I have to do things that scare me and be brave.  So here:

I don’t know if that gives an accurate representation of what my pores look like, but I’ll spare everyone the close-up of my nose.  Now, the next photo is me with just the primer on my face, pre-makeup application.

ELF Poreless Face Primer - Beauty Chaos

Still not great, but markedly less shiny.  And my pores aren’t jumping out at me anymore, demanding that someone use them as swimming holes or something.

Better, right? This is me with the primer, undereye concealer, ELF Loose Powder and Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara, one coat.  Not going to win any awards, but also not going to scare anyone at the pet store.

Cost and Where to Buy

ELF Cosmetics Poreless Primer can be found on the ELF Cosmetics website for $6, Amazon for $5.99, or at your friendly CVS store for $8.00.

Summing Up

I’d give ELF Cosmetics Poreless Primer an 8 out of 10.  I’m definitely incorporating primer into my makeup routine from now on, and I think this does what it sets out to do.  The price is very good.  My only complaint is that I think sometimes it makes me break out.  But not always.  Yeah, I thought that would end when I left my teens, too.  Surprise!

Want me to try a different primer?  Leave me comment or send me a message!