Sunday, 31 July 2011

Natural Angel Lash Extender review: Bargainous brush-on fibres

Natural Angel Lash Extender

One thing I love about Manhattan is the number of huge drugstores everywhere. I can't walk a block without popping in to a 24-hour Duane Reade for a "quick browse". I could spend three hours in some of the fancier ones and still not feel like I've had a good enough look at every piece of make-up.

This weekend I found myself in ol' Duane again and randomly came across something called Natural Angel Lash Extender, hanging up with the make-up accessories. It was only $10 and I figured I'd never know if it works if I didn't try it. Check out the "after" pic on the packaging below - it's not digitally enhanced at all(!) Anyway, it turned out to be quite a nice little find...

Natural Angel Lash Extender pack

If you've seen the ModelCo Fibre Lash mascara which had a big PR push lately, you'll be familiar with the brush-on lash extensions concept -

"Instantly brush on hundreds of tiny lash hairs in seconds! Natural Angel Lash Extender instantly and dramatically lengthens, adds volume and strengthens your lashes. Delivers longer, fuller, thicker, healthier lashes in seconds."

The instructions are to apply mascara as normal, then layer on the fibres to just the tips of lashes while the mascara is still wet, then finally seal the fibres in with another layer of mascara.

The applicator of Natural Angel Lash Extender is basically just a little stick covered in millions of little black cellulose fibres, each measuring about 1.5mm long.

Natural Angel Lash Extender wand

Because the fibres are so minuscule and lightweight, they get everywhere. Using a tissue to catch the strays fibres is essential in order to avoid a hairy face.

Applying the fibres is a cinch and takes just seconds. I can literally see my lashes getting thicker, plusher and longer with one sweep of the wand.

Once the fibres are on, I find it best to use a "wet" mascara to seal them on e.g. Max Factor 2000 Calorie. If the mascara is too dry, it can end up pulling the fibres around too much (which happened to me when I was taking photos for this post) instead of just sticking them in place. The fibres are black so are easily covered up.

Weirdly, it doesn't matter how much mascara is loaded on top of my newly extended lashes, it doesn't drop the curl from using eyelash curlers. As anyone with straight lashes knows, this is truly a miracle.

While the final coat of mascara is almost dry but not yet fully dry, the "extensions" are very pliable and can be pushed with a finger to get a extra bit of curl at the ends of the lashes.

Here is a photo of my everyday lashes with one coat of mascara. I can't usually go much thicker with (non-waterproof) mascara because my lashes would end up straightening out from the weight:

Natural Angel Lash Extender before

And here is the result of Natural Angel Lash Extender. The result is a little clumpier than it should be because I was faffing around too much with the camera between coats and the mascara I used was too dry. The fibres would otherwise normally lie flat and be smoothly blended into my lashes.

Natural Angel Lash Extender after

I'm really pleased with Natural Angel Lash Extender - it thickens and lengthens my lashes in a way that no other mascara can do on its own. I also love the way that I can load up my lashes without the curl dropping out. I now have a use for all the mascaras I almost threw out for not holding a curl.

If it works on my pitiful lashes, it wouldn't surprise me if you could achieve a similar effect to the absurd "after" pic on the packaging if you have naturally long and curled lashes.

I have been known to wear false lashes on the rare occasion but I always feel self conscious wearing them (I'm permanently convinced they're peeling off but no-one's telling me), so I think I'll be swapping them for brush-on fibres from now on.

The application of the fibres is so quick that I would even use the product for days I'm not doing anything special. It makes my normal lashes look so wimpy in comparison. The only thing that would put me off using it every day is having to brush off all those little fibres which fall on my face.. it takes ages to get them all. I need a little lint roller for my face!

I don't notice any flaking when I'm wearing the fibres - as long as they're sealed in with enough mascara, they stay put until I remove my mascara at the end of the day.

Overall, a big thumbs up from me!

Ingredients of Natural Angel Lash Extender
Cellulose, Panthenol, Tocopherol, Cynara Scolymus, Oscimum Basilicum

If you can't get hold of the Natural Angel brand of brush-on lashes, there are some similar products available in the UK and US from around £13 and $15:

Talika Lash Extender
Divaderme Lash Extender - pretty much identical ingredients to Natural Angel Lash Extender
Japonesque Fast Lash Thickening Fibers - but fibres are white
ModelCo Fibre Lash - includes mascara too, but fibres are white, and expensive at £35 / $43

Update: I'm thinking white fibres might actually be better because they won't look so much like facial hair when they fall on my face!

Monday, 11 July 2011

How to stop glasses or sunglasses slipping down your nose: Ear grips!

I'm surprised that these nifty little ear grips aren't more well known. Sure they're not sexy but they are incredibly effective! If you have an insubstantial nose bridge (like me) or a sweaty nose in the summer (like me), then you'll know how it feels to be constantly pushing up glasses and sunglasses.

Before I had my laser eye surgery, I had ear grips on my glasses but I left them on the frames when I gave them away to be recycled. Then I bought these Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses and although they stayed put initially, it was a different story once I got them out on holiday in Bermuda recently where not only was the sun blazing but it was also 80% humidity. The sunscreen and sweat basically meant I gave up on wearing them completely. Aviators seem to be particularly heavy for some reason and I just couldn't fight gravity.

So this weekend I bought this super stylish "deluxe eyeglass repair kit" which contained nice, new ear grips...

Glasses repair kit

The ear grips themselves are flexible, tadpole-shaped pieces with holes which you slide the arms of your glasses through. If the ends of the arms are too wide to fit through the holes (but skinny otherwise), you can use the screwdriver in the kit to detach the arms from the frames then slip the grips on from the other end. I had to do this with my Ray-Bans. It literally takes minutes.

transparent ear grips for glasses

The ear grips that came in this particular kit are discreet and transparent so they're virtually invisible when worn. I had to try quite hard to get a photo of them showing up.

When you're wearing frames with these ear grips, you'll find that the centre of gravity shifts from the nosepieces to the ear grips. So the frames will be much less dependent on gripping the bridge of the nose and will instead balance between the ears and nose. So glasses/sunglasses are much more comfortable to wear, your nose gets a rest, and those pesky red nosepiece indentations are no longer a problem. Plus I've heard that wearing heavy glasses can slowly form a bump in the nose over time!

The ear grips are particularly handy for when you're looking downwards (e.g. when reading) or jumping around, because they hook onto the backs of your ears and stop the glasses sliding forward.

There you go. That is the secret of keeping glasses and sunglasses at the top of even the most flat and sweaty noses! I could do a cartwheel wearing my modded sunglasses and they'd still stay in place!

Don't go into an opticians asking about these ear grips... they'll have no idea what you're talking about. I've only ever seen them in cheapo "spectacle repair kits" that are the kind of thing you'd find in pound shops or on eBay. I bought this particular kit from the pharmacy, Duane Reade in New York for $4.69.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

LORAC Perfectly Lit Luminizing Powder in Luminous - My new favourite highlighter

LORAC Perfectly Lit Luminizing Powder

I have been looking for a while for a new powder highlighter ever since I dropped my NYX Mosaic Powder and it smashed to smithereens. I really liked the NYX powder but I took the incident as an opportunity to look for a new highlighter that would give a softer glow and wasn't so "white".

Over the course of several weeks, I literally tried every single highlighting product in Sephora and finally plumped for LORAC Perfectly Lit Oil-free Luminizing Powder in "Luminous" which was the only powder that gave a candlelit glow without any glittery sparkles or overly golden tones (gold-toned make-up makes me look ill). I really love it!

Here's how the powder is described:

Perfectly Lit Oil-Free Luminizing Powder instantly puts your face in its best light, giving your skin a luminous Red Carpet glow. This oil-free, velvety powder brightens and evens, helping skin appear naturally radiant. This unique luminizing powder helps diminish the appearance of imperfections by optimizing the effect of light, for a youthful, luminous, glowing complexion.

And here is a heavily applied swatch of the Luminous shade. There are two other shades available - Radiant (golden brown) and Spotlight (warm beige) but I like Luminous because it's more a pearly cream than gold. It gives a really nice delicate glow to the face and instantly transforms flat, dull skin to radiant, healthy-looking skin. The powder doesn't contain talc or kaolin so there's little chance of it looking chalky, and it's addictively silky to use.

LORAC Perfectly Lit Luminizing Powder Luminous swatch

The mirrored compact comes with a round, flat sponge inside, but it seems a bit useless as an applicator. I use a fan brush to lightly dust the powder over the tops of my cheekbones to make them look more pronounced than they actually are. This is how it looks on my beige skin tone:

LORAC Perfectly Lit Luminizing Powder Luminous swatch on face

LORAC Perfectly Lit Luminizing Powder is designed for use all over the face, but the Luminous shade would be difficult to use all over unless your skin tone is very pale. As a highlighter, I can see it being great for most skin tones. The other two darker shades might be better if you're looking for an all-over brightening effect.

The full ingredients of LORAC Perfectly Lit Oil-free Luminizing Powder are:

Mica, Nylon-12, Zinc Stearate, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Ethylhexyl Methoxyxcinnamate, Dimethicone, Lauroyl Lysine, Octyldodecanol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Tocopherol. May contain Bismuth Oxychloride, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides, Ci 77499.

I have nothing bad to say about this product! If you can get hold of it, it's a must-have! Only a small number of Sephora stores seem to stock LORAC these days but you can buy it online from here for $32 with free shipping which is where I ended up buying from because the shade I wanted was out of stock in my local Sephora. I apologise profusely to readers in the UK because I can't find an easy way you can get this other than putting it on your shopping list for next time you're visiting the US... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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