Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Last Chance Saloon: The Good, the Bad and the Binned.

I could have titled this 'the good, the bad and the sold-in-a-recent-blog-sale', but sometimes, even with my verbosity, I have to recognise a title too triumphant and its subsequent trumpeting of one of my worst foibles (and well - some of these products really did end their short life in the bin).

I'll hold both of my hands up and say it, though, that another one of my foibles is being easily bewitched by makeup products. The problem is that I'm instinctive, and not in the useful DUCK! THERE'S AN ANVIL SWINGING TOWARDS YOU! kind of way; it's more the BUY BUY BUY! HOARD HOARD HOARD! instinct which kicks in, a remnant from those hunter-gatherer days, except for those more cosmetically-inclined. It is, in its very essence, a kneejerk, a lurching swoop of greedy-eyed consumerism winked into existence by a complicated game of Chinese whispers on YouTube - of course you've already heard, you already know: you've already bought the product on someone's say-so. Other peoples' warnings on the pointlessness and awfulness of this product become a tinny litany drowned out by the deafening noise of the cash register, and the dollar (sorry, but pound sterling doesn't have quite the same ring...) signs lighting up with a sharp ping over the heads of CEOs of major corporations.The thing is - and here's an admission for you - I do this all the time.

And it's not just that I do it all the time, it's that I'll go back to a product multiple times, despite hating it, just in case it's better the next time, because someone said they like it.

I'm all about being rigorous - which I can keep telling myself while I keep getting seduced. However, it's not me waking up to the proverbial absent other side of the bed, but the product in this case, as I sneak out in the small hours, shoes in hand and trying not to trip over anything.

If you're going to force me to get to the point, I'll give it a go (somewhere in the next 4 paragraphs, hopefully). This blog post is dedicated to not those products I simply disliked, but those products I disliked and then purchased multiple times (whilst stillnurturing said dislike), and how they fared in my 'rigorous' (read this as indecisive, or monumentally stupid) testing procedures.

First up, the good:

All images from Google Images.

1. Urban Decay Liquid Liner in Perversion: I actually read reviews on this and made what was probably the most informed purchase since I got into the whole makeup thing. I tried it at home and felt like throwing it against a wall: who were these reviewers who dared to express the words 'holy grail' in reference to this product? And how could any purveyor of fine (in both senses) liquid liner corroborate their views? Surprisingly, nobody put their hands up to that one, and I was left angry and stuck with a clingy product. Months later, I had an argument with my Shiseido Fine Eyeliner and was forced with one of two options: wear no liquid liner, or wear the Urban Decay liner. I tried it and it was okay. Then, being the lazy, apathetic thing that I am, I continued using it until it ran out. And THEN, not knowing what to do, I panicked and bought another. And that is how the Urban Decay liquid liner won its way into my suspicious heart. It's the blackest black, lasts all day and the brush is fantastic. Shame about the poorly-designed bottle, though...

Only one product? I'm a harsh mistress. Let's move on to the bad.

2. MAC 266 Brush: Are you all hiding comfortably in your bomb-shelters? Only there's more high-end bombshells to come... The MAC 266 is one of those superfluously must-have brushes, by which I mean that you think it's must-have until you buy it, and then conspicuously ignore it (all the while justifying your purchase) for months. The 266 brush came to me when it was pressed into my hands by an obsequious shop assistant quick on the link-sale. Oh, I was buying Fluidline, she enquired, then perhaps I might like to try a brush with it? I acquiesced. Famous last words. This brush is lauded for perfect eyeliner application, but on me, it just shuffles product around rather than placing it and don't even get me started on doing a cat-eye. Not perfect enough.

3. MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack: This inky pot does not aid the metamorphosis into carbon-eyed femme fatale - rather it's all a little femme banale. It's dull, not black enough, too thick, too time-consuming, too dry and - what's this? You need to use a separate brush with it? ... If you're like me and wear liquid eyeliner everyday, and if you're also like me and prolifically lazy, then cleaning your brush everyday becomes a machination you really just can't be bothered by. The thing is, Fluidline was supposed to be the best of the best, cat's whiskers, crème de la crème... But it's just so average.

4. MAC 187 Brush: I feel as though I'm descending into an illicit subculture by bad-mouthing this darling of the world of cosmetic brushes, but let me explain. I've bought this brush 3 times (sold 2 and gave one away to my mum). It's had 3 chances to impress me, and it's always been a nasty, bristly cad who leaves broken brush hairs embedded into my makeup, and that would be alright if it actually... did something well enough, instead of doing several things poorly. For me, this brush doesn't even rank as high as a one-trick pony, as it can't even get one thing right. Take it out the back and put it out of its misery, its golden years are numbered.

An ominous gunslinging whistle and a tumbleweed... it must be time for the binned.

5. BeneFit BeneTint: Painting on my makeup is sometimes described as donning one's proverbial warpaint, and this frivolous slip of a thing takes that to a whole new level. BeneFit advise to apply three dots to the cheeks and blend upwards - and perhaps I'm not quick enough with this, but I either end up like I have extremely accurately-positioned acne, or watercolour battle stripes. And warcries and tomahawks aside, that kind of look only really goes down well in one other place: a fancy-dress party.

6. BeneFit Bad Gal Lash: I always get a surge of hope when I buy a BeneFit product. Maybe this time it'll be different. Maybe this time, even if there's no long-term potential, we'll flirt a bit and have a second date. I'm always wrong. You see, for the tiniest while, Bad Gal Lash was my official holy grail, right before the point where I cracked and bought my first Diorshow. There came a day when I purchased my second garish tube, and excitedly bore it on the bus home. I applied it and it was like an epiphany, of sorts. My lashes looked spidery, ready to crawl off my face. They looked thin and spindly, like the worst kind of spider that used to live in my attic and terrorised my childhood. They looked grey. From then on, we ignored each other forever more and I considered another (very expensive) mascara as a potential family member instead. BeneFit never fail to disappoint.

7. MAC Fix+: There are only so many pretty little epithets I can pepper this post with. I'll save them for the product which makes me most angry of all, however... which isn't this. However, I'll just leave you with just this (don't ever think I'm running out of steam; I'm conserving energy): It is water, with things added, in a spray bottle. And we're paying £11. That's gotta be some excellent quality plastic in the bottle, seeing as the product itself doesn't seem to consist of much...

8. Highlighting Pens: An overly-made-up lady forced me into a too-high chair at a counter one day and prodded me with her fingers which smelled of cigarette smoke. She told me I looked tired, and that my under-eyes could use some pep. She applied a dubious pink goo and patted it in. And then looked at her handiwork proudly. There's such an awful catalogue of errors here, that I don't know where to begin, but somehow, being insulted, annoyed, fumigated and shoved into a vertiginous chair made me buy the product: the famous Touche Eclat. It was probably curiosity - maybe it was going to be better than the Dior SkinFlash I'd bought 6 months earlier? No? Oh. Well that's that then. If it's not technically (and I say this with the deepest scorn) a concealer, but it's not shiny enough for a highlighter - then what is it? Oh, it's only the world's quickest selling beauty item, priced at a shiny twenty-something pounds. But what does it do? Sweet F. A.

So there they are, hung out to dry - those products which I've repurchased (cha-ching!) and their own special saloon-style shoot-em-up.

Much love to all of you - especially if you made it all the way down to the bottom.



  1. Its weird how people like different things! I absolutely love my fluidline and it is the only eyeliner i have ever found to stay on all day and not transfer!!

  2. I love your hatered of highlighter pens! I am also begining to seriously dislike my 187, it worked at first but now the novelty has worn off I just don't see it's purpose, it doesn't too anything terribly great for me!

  3. I simply LOVE your posts. Seriously,they're excellent! For some reason Fix+ works for me and Blacktrack is one of my favorites,but we agree to disagree and I respect your well written opinion!
    Tonia xx

  4. Great post, your blog is a joy to read :) my only real disappointment so far has been MAC Bitter, terrible texture, awful piss weak colour payoff.

  5. My 187SE lives there in my brush holder thing and looks a bit sad and pink, it's good for blush but nothing special!

    I also think fluidline is over rated, I like gel liner but like 10 pound for the pot which dries out? no thankyou, I'll get the sleek one!

  6. I like the little sad face on the Touche Eclat!! lol

    Love fluidline...when I use it! Most of the time I turn to my other liquid eyeliners because I can't be faffed to tat about with a brush and am in a rush to get to work on time! I bought the 266 when I first got a pot of fluidline as well! Haven't been able to do a decent cat eye with it yet! :(

  7. This article made me giggle with how honest and upfront you were.. I agree about the fluidline in blacktrack..I don't think it's black enough and it is far too thick! :) xxx

  8. @Glitter and Love It is - beauty's so subjective :) I do find it stays on all day, but I find that there are other cheaper gel liners which do the same for a fraction of the cost - I guess I wanted to dispel a little of the hype :)

    @JewlieMcK But it's so true! Touche Eclat has no part in my daily routine... The 187 for me - when I bought it - I was SO excited and thought that that was it and I had the best brush ever. I was so disappointed :(

    @Tonia Haha, glad to give you a little entertainment, even if we differ in opinion :) I think with beauty - it's not just that we're all different and special individuals, it's that we use products differently too - so that may well contribute to why people hate certain products.

    @Jade Bitter is AWFUL! I actually couldn't believe how bad it is for a Pro-only product. Horrific stuff. Thank you for your lovely comments, lady :)

  9. @Simone Totally agree - though the SE brushes were always inferior quality to the usual ones. Mine sat for ages and then it went to my mum - where it sits in her drawer as it sat in mine. So sad :(

    @Ms. Wedgie It wears its sad face very justifiably, I feel :) Touche Eclat will never be a part of my makeup routine, poor thing :) I will never understand why they still sell the 266 with Fluidline - false advertising - but then it's all about the money...

    @scouselovesmakeup Glad to be of service, my lovely :)


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