#MakeupMonday – The Basics: Mascara



If you hadn’t noticed, my Monday posts tend to be geared towards the makeup “every user”. Non-pro, aspiring pro, makeup journeyman, makeup novice, etc. Mondays are where Makeup to Go just talks product. Without. A. Doubt. the number one product I am asked about is mascara. All the folks who ask about it – laypersons and fellow makeup artists alike – seem to be on the eternal quest for the perfect mascara. It’s kind of a set-up of a question, however, because I also find mascara to be an intensely personal choice. So what I might look for in a mascara someone else may hate, and my “holy grail” mascaras might end up in someone else’s trash bin.

All I can do is offer my advice as someone who – because of my work as a makeup artist – has tried a lot of different mascara on a lot of different eyes.

That’s the thing, and that’s what my reviews are generally based upon. Just trying product on myself does nothing to let anyone know what a given product will do for them. And actually I don’t ever wear mascara. Having used a lot of different products on a lot of different faces, however, I have some pretty concrete ideas about what I’m looking for. My criteria for The Basics Mascara are…

1. Volume
Length can be created with just about any modern mascara with the right technique, but what I really like to add to all lashes I work with is Volume. Therefore, I tend to like thicker mascara formulations.

2. Definition
I like to pick up every single lash, this adds to the illusion of increased volume and gives lashes that “flirty” look I like.

3. Non-Clumpy
Spider eyes – off the runway – are unattractive. I do not want the lashes sticking to one another.

4. Long-Lasting
Needless to say having to do a re-apply is a non-starter. Adding more if you want more is one thing, but the initial application should be able to go the distance.

5. Finish
Like any healthy hair, lashes have a natural sheen to them. I prefer mascaras that do not dry too matte and cake-y.

Criteria established, here are some of my top mascara picks both new and classic. OH and another thing: I base my assessment on the formulation, not the brush. As we discussed last week, I cut off the wand and use disposables anyway.

In no particular order…

1. RMS Beauty – Mascara
This naturally derived, Eco-certified brand constantly delivers. If you’ve been disappointed by the performance of natural mascaras before, look no further than RMS. Rose Marie Swift is a makeup artist and her line performs like a makeup artists’ line. The Mascara is available in either a Defining or a Volumizing formula. While I like both, I tend to gravitate to the Volumizing whenever it’s time for a re-stock.

2. Korres – B5 & Rice Bran Mascara
Korres used to be a fully naturally derived brand as well, unfortunately via corporate buy-outs that’s no longer the case. In fact I hear they may no longer be cruelty-free which is unfortunate. Back when these things were not an issue I used to use their B5 & Rice Bran Mascara regularly. They describe it as lengthening and defining but I found it gave nice volume as well. I used to describe it as my “natural Great Lash”.

3. Dior – Diorshow
What can be said about Diorshow that hasn’t been said already? 30K “Loves” and counting on the Sephora website tells the tale. This mascara creates thick, juicy, velvety lashes even when you do not use their legendary wand (just use a fat disposable wand for similar effect).

4. Benefit – They’re Real Mascara
As the name implies, this mascara is supposed give the illusion that you’re wearing falsies. It doesn’t look like you’re wearing false eyelashes, lol, but it does a very nice job of building up lashes, particularly those on the – shall we say – more puny side. This formula is lengthening, volumizing, and curling all in one. I have heard, however, people say it caused their lashes to dry out and break off so they must be using some powerful stuff in the formulation. I’d either save this one for special occasions or use a lash conditioner regularly (Vitamin E or Jojoba oil works wonders to condition the lash line).

5. Besame – 1932 Cake Mascara
Every now and then I encounter a client who says that any mascara they use just slips off almost immediately. For folks who find this to be the case, I recommend going to a cake mascara. All mascaras used to come in cake form pre mascara tubes. The formulation is drier by nature (to use, you just activate with water) and less prone to slippage. Besame Cosmetics is a relatively new brand with a vintage feel and I’m digging their cake mascara. The colors (available in Black and Brown) are rich, the formulation is smooth, you can apply as many layers as you dare to get the depth and fullness you desire, and once applied it lasted all day. I recently used it on a photo shoot and it was fabtastic.

6. Tarte – Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 Mascara
Anyone who reads Makeup to Go with any regularity knows I love Tarte cosmetics, so let’s just get this out of the way: I’m totally biased. Over the years they’ve had a number of mascaras and they’ve all been excellent in my opinion. What’s nice is Tarte has “greened” their line and become a largely naturally derived brand yet the performance has remained the same. The 4-in-1 lengthens, curls, volumizes and conditions for lush and dramatic lashes. I prefer this for private clients vs for photographic use (I think the conditioning oils make this mascara break down a bit faster under lights). This is an excellent mascara. They also make an extra Volumizing formula and a waterproof formula.

7. Givenchy Phenomen’Eyes Mascara
Ok, remember when I said I was judging these mascaras based on the formula not the wand? Well this one really IS about the wand although fortunately you can find disposable wands with the unique ball shape. I know some folks who disdain the ball but it is the secret to picking up every. single. lash. I mean EVERY lash, even those teeny tiny ones in the inner corner. If you prefer to use a traditional wand you’ll still be happy with the result. The formula itself is creamy, smooth, and non-flaking and leaves you with well-defined, long and lush lashes with a nice sheen.

8. Maybelline – Great Lash
The legend and with good reason. Thick, gloopy and crazy pliable, with the change of a wand type I can create any kind of lash I want. For me Great Lash is the “winner and still champion” of all mascaras. And at $6-$8 a tube, it isn’t painful to throw it out and get a new one when 3 months time is up.

HONORABLE MENTIONS: I have a couple of items I think are worth a mention even though one I do not use often and one is new to me:

Anastasia Beverly Hills Lash Genius Waterproof Top Coat was a game-changer for me. I do not care for waterproof mascaras nor do I tend to need to use them often. With this handy-dandy top coat I can make any mascara I wish to use waterproof. Lash Genius, indeed!

Buxom Custom Mascara Bar. I do not have any insight as to how well it works, but it’s a pretty cool idea. Basically you purchase Buxom’s Vanity Lash mascara and then based on the desired lash (volume, length, definition, etc.) you choose the perfect brush to accomplish the look. I used the Vanity Lash mascara on a private client this past weekend (it was her own mascara) and I did like the way it amplified her lashes which are rather short. So if you’re a fan of Buxom, or if you’re trying to find what brush works best for you, this is worth trying.

#MakeupMonday – Kit Sanitation

Makeup to go makeup to go blog kit sanitation

The Clean Team


A couple of weeks ago here on Makeup to Go Blog, I posted an article regarding knowing when it was time to say “Goodbye” to your old makeup (click to read “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do: When to Toss Makeup). In that article I made mention of the fact that some rules can be bent or even broken. The trick? Kit Sanitation.

Makeup artists refer to their makeup product & tools as their “Kit”. If you have a lipstick, an eyeliner, a mascara and a few brushes, that is your Kit. Makeup artists obviously have a lot more in their Kits (not to mention an artist that does Airbrush or an artist that does FX), but the point of the story is whether your Kit contains 5 items or 500, proper care, maintenance and storage will enable you to keep and use your products longer. I debated doing this post as a “Makeup Monday” or as a “Biz Talk” post but as I was writing the makeup purge post I realized this is relevant info for pros and non-pro makeup lovers alike 🙂

THE HARD TRUTH
Humans are bundles of bacteria, as are most things in the world. It is this constant contact with a barrage of bacteria why we cannot just keep makeup indefinitely. Think I’m exaggerating? Check out this LiveStrong article on the different types of bacteria found on cosmetics, transmitted through human contact.

– Staphylococcus epidermidis
– Staphylococcus warneri
– Pseudomonas aeruginosa
– Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus

So we’re talking 3 different forms of Staph infection, and one other infectious bacteria that is even worse. No bueno.

WHAT TO DO
Short version: Keep your stuff clean!!!!!

As a semi-germaphobe I just cannot believe the condition in which I’ve see some people’s makeup and tools. Sad to say, I include non-pros AND pros in this statement 😐 Keeping your products and tools clean will not only lessen (not eliminate, lessen) the risk of catching some of the afore mentioned nasties BUT it will enable you to keep makeup longer. No makeup artist is buying a limited edition NARS palette and then tossing it after a year, that’s laughable. I owned my beloved “Skin Deep”, “Emotional Rescue”, and “Rapture” palettes for about 6 years or so (from when they came out until this past Labour Day weekend when I did my purge) and they were in steady rotation in good working use for about 5 of those 6 years. That final year was me being in denial and not ready to let go, even though the lipsticks were giving me that telltale smell 🙁

HOW TO CLEAN

Ask a number of makeup artists and you’ll likely get a number of different answers, but in 15+ years I’ve never had a sanitation complaint or had talent have a negative reaction (that I am aware of) from my Kit. Here’s how I keep it clean;

Cream Products
(Foundations, Blushes, Eyeshadows, Lipsticks, etc):
SPRAY WITH ALCOHOL AFTER USING.

In my professional life I use a (preferably metal) spatula to take product out of its container so I can use it on my talent/client. On myself, of course, I just use the product directly on my face. In either case, I give a quick spray with alcohol after use (yes, even when using a spatula because the product has been open and hence exposed to air). Let the alcohol sit on the product for at least 30 seconds. I just give my product a good spray down and let it air-dry and by the time its fully dry it is good to go.

Powder Products
(Eyeshadows, Blushes, Bronzers, Pressed Powder, Powder Foundations, etc.)
SPRAY WITH ALCOHOL AFTER USING. Wipe top layer periodically.

Powders should last you a while because they do not carry bacteria the way creams and liquids do. That said, unlike creams and liquids you have to use them right out of the pan. With creams and liquids you can decant as needed and not have to “double dip” into your product. Since using powder products is a constant “double dip” you’ll want to keep that top surface clean. Spraying with alcohol will NOT compromise your product, just be sure not to over saturate your product, and let the alcohol evaporate completely. You can – and should periodically – use alcohol wipes on your powder product so that you are actually removing the top layer of product revealing a fresh, new layer underneath. Some people recommend scraping the top layer of powder products, but one time of accidentally crushing your favorite eyeshadow, blush, or bronzer and you’ll see why I’m not a fan of that method.

Liquid Products
(Foundations, Liquid Highlighters, Illuminators, Lotions, etc.)
USE PUMP and/or TUBE DISPENSERS

These are tricky because they generally need to be shaken and then most people pour the product out into their hand, often touching their hand. Once bacteria is in there, there is no way to get it out. My solution: Use liquids that come in a pump bottle. That way you only dispense what you need and the rest stays safe and isn’t exposed to air, your hand, etc. If your favorite product doesn’t come in a pump bottle or a tube, move it to one. Places like The Container Store or my beloved MUJI that I wrote about have empty pumps and tubes available. NOTE: Glass is better than plastic in terms of longer term storage. If you get a plastic container, don’t try to reuse as plastic is porous. Just toss it when the product is empty and get a new one. Extra Germaphobe Points: Wipe the opening of your pump bottle/tube with alcohol periodically 🙂

Makeup to go makeup to go blog kit sanitation

Cut the wand OFF. Maybelline Great Lash comes like this now (click to see larger)



Mascara
CUT THAT WAND OFF!!! Use Disposable Wands Instead

Mascara just does not live long so your first order of sanitation business is just to accept the reality of that reality. However, you can make your mascara last longer by ditching the wand that comes with it and using disposable wands the way professionals do. And by ditching the wand I do not just mean not using it, I mean cutting it off. Why? Because every time you take the wand in and out of the tube, you are pumping air into the product. This not only increases the likelihood of introducing bacteria, it also dries the mascara out faster so you have to replace it sooner. By cutting the wand off you can stretch your mascara’s life from 3 months to as many as 6 or maybe more*. NOW – a lot of the hype with many mascaras on the market IS the brush itself and how it applies product or separates lashes or what have you. IF you want to use the wand that comes with the mascara you certainly can (on YOURSELF, not using it on multiple people), just know that you’ll have to replace your mascara more frequently.

Pencils
KEEP SHARPENED. SPRAY WITH ALCOHOL.

Pencils can actually last a while if well cared for. I do an alcohol > sharpen > alcohol routine for all of my pencils in my kit. For yourself, if you just sharpen your pencils** right after using it and keep your pencils covered (don’t lose those lids!) you’ll be removing that outer layer where the bacteria lives and your pencils will stay happy longer. Extra Germaphobe points if you sharpen your pencil AND spray with alcohol after each use.

Gel / Liquid Liners
NOT A WHOLE LOT YOU CAN DO

With Gel liners, which is what I primarily use, I scrape a small amount of product out with a spatula and I spray the gel liner with alcohol after each use. As we all know, gel liners tend to dry out quickly anyway, and alcohol hastens the process. Therefore like mascara, this is just a category of product that does not last very long.

Liquid liner is great for personal use but tricky for pro use because the brush/applicator sits in the product in the tube. Therefore to use the product you are constantly double dipping. For professional use if I decide I’m going to use a liquid liner for whatever reason it’s a case of one and done for me. I use it and I give it to the person I used it on and just keep it moving. For personal use, you can wipe off the brush/applicator tip with alcohol before re-inserting it into the tube. This may help a bit but again, this type of product by its nature just doesn’t last long.

Tools
(Brushes, eyelash curlers, pencil sharpeners, etc.)
CLEAN, BABY, CLEAN

I said this in a previous Makeup to Go post and I’ll say it again: Everything I just wrote is completely moot if you do not keep your TOOLS clean. Your TOOLS are the items making direct contact to the skin and hence they are the carriers of the bacteria.

– WIPE BRUSHES AFTER EVERY USE. Its not hard, in fact it only takes a few minutes. Wiping your brushes with a specifically designed quick brush cleaner will remove surface oils, skin cells, etc. that get on your brushes. Hence you won’t transfer that back to your product, hence your product will live longer. There are many brands, just make sure they disinfect as well as clean pigment. And always let the brush dry completely before using again, you do not want brush cleaner on your product or on your face! In a pinch you can always use good ole alcohol (just be forewarned, over use of alcohol will dry your bristles and cause your brushes to age prematurely). My brush cleaner of choice: Parian Spirit

– DEEP SHAMPOO your brushes at least once a week. If you’re doing makeup on other people, please do this as close to daily as possible. Again, there are a number of good brands, and in a pinch you can use either a shampoo/conditioner all-in-one like Pert, or any baby shampoo. My brush shampoo of choice: Clean Brush

– WIPE METAL TOOLS such as tweezers, eyelash curlers, pencil sharpeners and spatulas with alcohol after every use. And when they start looking raggedy, just replace them.

– WASH YOUR HANDS before doing anything. Our hands are our most important “tool” in our “kits”. Before handling anything and certainly before touching your face, wash your hands with soap and hot water. At very least wipe with a sanitizing cloth and use hand sanitizer. It makes a huge difference.

PRODUCTS TO HELP YOU STAY CLEAN

Alcohol
Preferably NOT 99% alcohol, it evaporates too quickly. I use either 70% or 91% alcohol, both of which are readily available at any drugstore. 70% is my favorite. The water content helps the alcohol evaporate more slowly so it disinfects more thoroughly but it is not so much water that it will ruin your product (I wouldn’t recommend a 50% alcohol, too much water).

Beauty So Clean
I’ve not personally tried it but I know many pros who swear by it. The main active ingredient in BSC is alcohol. The difference with BSC is the addition of emollient agents. They claim that straight alcohol can dry out and alter your cosmetics (not in my experience) and that BSC is formulated with a balance of disinfectants and emollients to prevent that from happening. Again, I’ve never had a problem with straight alcohol, but Beauty So Clean works and it smells good. If you’d prefer to use something other than straight alcohol, Beauty So Clean is there for you.

– Parian Spirit Brush Cleaner
(NOTE: Parian Spirit has lower alcohol content than most pro brush cleaners and uses citrus spirit as its main cleaning/disinfectant agent. Therefore it does not dry as quickly as other “quick clean” brush cleaners and the smell is very citrus-y. I love it, some folks hate it lol)

Clean Brush Shampoo
Solid brush shampoo to deep clean your brushes.

Bleach
This shouldn’t need to be said but I’ll say it just in case: DO NOT USE BLEACH ON YOUR COSMETICS PRODUCTS. It’ll ruin them. However I do use a small amount of bleach on a q-tip to clean my pencil sharpeners periodically. Wipe, let sit for a bit, then RINSE with water and dry thoroughly. Do not try to soak your sharpener in bleach, it will rust all the metal bits (ask me how I know that 😐 ).

STORAGE makes a big difference as well in the longevity of your products but speaking of long, this post already is. Look for a post on storing your cosmetics in an upcoming Makeup Monday.

Breaking Up is Hard To Do: When to Toss Makeup

makeup to go blog makeuptogo blog when to toss makeup

You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em… (Lyrics © D. Schlitz)


I am sure for many of you the above photograph is highly depressing if not devastating.

Yes, that is a trash bag filled with makeup. That bag contains everything from NYX cream blushes (which I loved back in the day) to NARS Artists Palettes. Yes, you read correctly: NARS Artists Palettes. Discontinued ones that have not been available in years and years. Why would I commit such an atrocity? Because it was time. Sadly, all good things come to an end and for a lot of the makeup now residing in that trash bag, their end actually came and went a while ago yet I was still holding on. Today’s musing: When to Toss Makeup.

Students and others have heard me talk about my makeup room. It actually stores more than just makeup but obviously as a makeup artist, the makeup is amongst the more important things I store in there. Anyone who’s heard me talk about this room has also heard me talk about how I get new makeup quite often. It is the blessing of being a working artist however I recently had to confront the reality of the truth; I had way too much old makeup taking up too much space. So much so that my new makeup wasn’t making it into the storage room and instead the new makeup was living in my dining room. I would show you a picture of how that was, but it’s embarrassing so, no.

Why To Toss
There are a myriad reasons why makeup might need to be tossed. The real question is why we do we hold onto makeup in the first place. My theory is that memory is a powerful thing. And memory leads to nostalgia and nostalgia leads to holding onto items well past their due date. As I was doing my purge I realized that EVERY single piece of makeup I own is attached to a memory of my life and career. Be it a career milestone or a personal treat of some kind, every piece of makeup I picked up sent me back in time to some recollection of yesteryear. Thus, it made it very difficult to purge the old makeup, but purge I did and purge you must. There comes a time when you have to let go of sentiment and face reality head-on. In deciding what to keep and what to toss I gave myself 3 criteria:

– Is it still in good condition?

– Do I still use it? Does it serve any purpose?

– Can someone else use it or is it just DONE.

The first one is a no brainer. It is dangerous to use makeup that has expired be it on yourself or on others. If it has a funky smell or the colors have started to change, that’s an automatic trip to the trash. The second criteria helped me assess where I am now. I am not in the same place in my career that I was 5 years ago, and certain products – while I may really like them – just never get used anymore. They’ve either been replaced by new fabulosity or I have found my Holy Grail Staple of that item type. If it is not being used, it is taking up valuable real estate and it needs to go. Lastly, just because I cannot/do not use it does not mean someone else cannot. Whenever possible I prefer to recycle makeup either to friends or what-have-you (women’s shelters and other charities can only accept new and unused product).

When To Toss

Generally speaking there are broad guidelines that can be followed to know when to toss a given cosmetics. To paraphrase Morpheus, some rules can be bent, some can be broken. There are some rules, however, that MUST be followed strictly (MASCARA!!) in order to maintain makeup health. These are broad (i.e. not absolute) guidelines for once a cosmetic is opened and in use. We will get into how to bend/break the rules next week…

makeup to go blog makeuptogo blog when to toss makeup

(Click to see larger)


Powders – 2 – 4 years
Powder eyeshadows, powder blushes, pressed powder, loose setting powder, etc. Powder FOUNDATIONS are a little different due to the pigmentation and other ingredients that may be added. I would keep powder foundations the same length of time as cream/liquid foundations.

Creams – 12 – 18 months
Cream blushes, cream eyeshadows, foundations, concealers, etc. Liquid foundations last about a year.

Lipsticks – 12 months

Pencil Liners – 2 years
With good care, pencil liners can (CAN) last up to two years. Regular sharpening removes the used layer of product and keeps the product clean/sanitized so that it lasts longer**.

Gel / Liquid Liners – 2 months

Mascara – 3 – 6 months
Please do not try to play games with gel and liquid liners and mascaras. Not only are these products creams/liquids which transfer bacteria more readily than powders do, but these items are used in one of the most sensitive and infection prone areas of your body.

The other more specific way to see when to toss makeup is to look and see what your makeup is telling you;

makeup to go blog makeuptogo blog tarte cosmetics amazonian waterproof matte bronzer compact park avenue princess

(Click to see larger)


Nowadays, most cosmetics products feature this icon of an open cosmetics jar with a number next to it. That symbol is telling you once this product has been opened, you have X number of months to use it. So in the case of this Tarte Cosmetics Park Ave Princess compact, once I open it up it should be good for about 12 months.

Now mind you like I said before the reason I threw these items away was because they were not in condition to be given away. Hence they were not in condition to be used, hence they were just taking up space. Most of the time, however, I do give my overflow makeup away either to homeless/domestic abuse shelters (which is my first choice), or to students as prizes, or to my friends etc. etc. The point of the story is this: one way or another you’ve got to know when to let it go. The benefits since my purge has been faster kit organization and packing for the jobs I’ve had since the purge and just an overall sense of calm whenever I walk into that room. And getting my dining room back! Further, since throwing out the old and writing this article (which took me about a week to do) I’ve actually received two more packages of makeup. As Nicey Nash used to say when she was the host of The TV show “Clean House”:

When your hands are open to give, they are open to receive…- old proverb

**Only if you sharpen after each use and keep your sharpening tools clean, however.

#MakeupMonday – #TarteCosmetics Rainforest After Dark

Tarte Cosmetics Rainforest After Dark Fall 2014 Collection makeup to go blog tarte cosmetics fall 2014 collection

Tarte Cosmetics Rainforest After Dark Fall 2014 Collection



I had the good fortune to be invited to a launch event for Tarte Cosmetics fall 2014 collection: Rainforest After Dark. The new collection features Tarte’s ever popular Amazonian Clay-based cosmetics in new products, formulas and color schemes.

What really caught my eye in the new collection was the limited edition cheek and Eye- color palette, which I guess you could say is Tarte’s take on the popular “naked” style palette. The colors are wearable for a wide variety of skin tones, the texture is creamy and velvety, and it’s less shimmery and more wearable than a lot of other neutral palettes.

The other belles of the ball were the Colored Clay tinted Brow Gels. They look like mascara tubes but they feature a tiny precision size wand to pick up every single brow hair and coat it with a sheer wash of color.

Tarte Cosmetics Colored Clay Tinted Brow Gel makeup to go blog tarte cosmetics fall 2014 collection

Tarte Colored Clay Tinted Brow Gel


In addition to the new collection, Tarte had all of the old favorites on display. I refrained from taking yet another cheek stain which I do not need and instead focused on the Amazonian Clay blushes which I hadn’t played with before.

Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush Tarte cheek stains makeup to go blog tarte cosmetics fall 2014 collection

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hr Blush & Tarte cheek stains


Thanks so much to Tarte for sponsoring this event and for having me in attendance. I am certain I will be using these products for the various events happening this coming weekend.



tarte cosmetics smolderEYES liner makeup to go blog tarte cosmetics fall 2014 collection

smolderEYES(tm) Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liner



tarte cosmetics self tan towelettes Amazonian bronzer makeup to go blog tarte cosmetics fall 2014 collection

Tarte Brazilliance(tm) skin rejuvenating maracuja face and body self tanning towelettes and Amazonian Clay waterproof bronzer



LipSurgence lip colors tarte cosmetics makeup to go blog tarte cosmetics fall 2014 collection

Tarte Cosmetics – my beloved LipSurgence(tm) lip colors




Click here to check out the full new collection…

Maquillage Givenchy

Maquillage Givenchy Phenomen'eyes Mascara

Givenchy Phenomen'eyes Mascara


Last year I was sent a “sampler pack” of Givenchy products. I have to be honest; I’d never even tried Givenchy before. A lot of the “haute” makeup lines are great for everyday use but actually not that great for a makeup artist’s kit (too simmer-y, too fragranced, etc.) so I did not tend to consider them for my kit save for an errant product here or there. Givenchy changed my mind about their line, and using the high end lines in my kit in general. The colors are pure, rich and true while the formulations are light and not too “makeup-y” looking. They’ve fully incorporated themselves into my kit and they are also a fantastic line for everyday wear.

Photo’Perfexion & Prisme Foundation – Givenchy describes the Photo’Perfexion Foundation as having been “inspired by digital imaging”. In other words, this is their take on a High Definition formula foundation. As I’ve said before, Hi-Def foundations are fast becoming my favorite for both on-set and real life. The combination of high-pigmentation in a lightweight base is a big time winner. I was concerned about Givenchy’s formula for photographic usage due to it’s SPF 20 (spf is generally a problem for photography) but so far it’s not been an issue on either tests or jobs in various lighting conditions. For the non-pro the texture, finish and the fact that it has sunscreen makes this a perfect foundation for everyday wear as well.

The Prisme Foundation is a single compact with four different shades of powder foundation. The theory being that you can blend, shape and highlight all in one product (and there are 5 compacts for a variety of skin tones). You can, but it would take a bit of makeup know-how. The Prisme worked well alone and with the Photo’Perfexion.

Mister Light – Ever since YSL introduced it’s famous Touche Éclat product, every other line has made their own variation of it. Of these variations, I like Givenchy’s take on this concealer/corrector/illuminator-type product. It’s a bit lighter weight than Touche Éclat, in my opinion, but it still delivers a night hit of light and life. Givenchy also has the Mister Bright, a colorless illuminator. For kit purposes, I find I use Mister Bright more often, but if you want a concealer/illuminator all-in-one, the Mister Light is the product for you.

Prisme Again / Prismissime Mat & Glow – Again working it’s “Prism” theme, the Prisme Again blushes is a quad of four coordinated powder blush colors which can be used individually but is most likely meant to be blended to an idea shade. I found that individually each color was fine, but blended together it was rich, luminous and fantastic. That said, however, I do think the Prisme Again Blushes are best suited for personal use rather than in a makeup kit because there’s no way – that I can see – to depot these to put them in a palette without destroying the product.
The Prismissime Mat & Glow is simply one of the best bronzers I’ve ever owned. It’s no longer on the Givenchy site, but it’s still available at Sephora. The compact consists of 9 bronzing colors, 6 matte and 3 shimmer, in varying shades from dark to light so you can blend, highlight and glow to your heart’s content. It’s not great for a kit, either, in terms of packaging however it keeps me from having to carry 3 or more different shades of bronzer so it saves space in that sense.

Pop Gloss / Rouge Interdit Shine / Rouge Interdit – Pop Gloss is – as the name implies – Givenchy’s lip gloss (they’ve since also introduced Gloss Interdit so more on that in posts to come). This is a relatively lightweight, high shine gloss and it comes in a nice array of colors, including two great reds. The Rouge Interdit Shine is a full-body lipstick. The “Shine” comes not from any kind of gloss, but rather the lipsticks are sparkly/pearlescent. My favorite of the lip products is the The Rouge Interdit lipstick. Rouge Interdit is a satin formula, high pigment, creamy and luscious lipstick for serious lipstick wearers. Even the more “subtle” shades are full and rich. In my usage they’ve lasted long and photographed beautifully and I can attest that they feel fabulous to wear (I took one for my own personal use 😉 ).

Prisme Again Eyes / Phenomen’eyes Mascara – Like the other Prisme products, the eye shadows are in a quad of coordinated colors. While it works for me in the blush compact because I blend the colors together, the size of each color in the eye shadow makes it a bit of a challenge to work with. That said, the colors are quite gorg and the formulations are creamy and blend-able and wear well. I would also recommend this more for personal use rather than kit.

Last but not least the “Star” of the line, the Phenomen’Eyes mascara. They make a regular version, and a “lash extending” version – Phenomen’Eyes Effect Extension – but I’m going to talk about the regular version. The formulation is very good; a true rich black, doesn’t flake or clump, and builds up nicely. Also, I have a lot of mascaras that build volume but not many that build length and the regular Phenomen’Eyes – even without the extension fibers – does so nicely. Here’s the thing; it’s not so much about the mascara as it is about the fabulous applicator. Instead of a traditional mascara wand shape, the Phenomen’eyes uses a spiked ball that allows you to pick up every lash root to tip, inner to outer corner. It really is phenomenal, and I suspect all the brands will have a knock-off of this wand soon. The downside is – for a pro artist – we don’t use mascara directly from the tube. We have to use disposable wands for sanitation purposes, which negates what’s really special about this product. Therefore, unless you are working with a personal client and plan to use this only on that one person, I would have to say that this product is better suited for personal use than in a professional kit. If you’re looking for a great mascara for your own use, I’d give this a look-see.

In all, I’m quite impressed with Givenchy’s re-vamp of their makeup line. It’s been in use both in my kit and in my personal use and I look forward to trying the new additions to the line.