Saturday, 14 February 2015

Benefit Mascara Duel - Roller Lash v They're Real!

Nobody does mascara hype quite like Benefit, there is no doubt, and even though I am not the hugest fan of gimmicks, I have to admit that I enjoy the extent that Benefit go to when they release a new product. My problem is usually I don't find Benefit can back up all the promises they make, and there are very few Benefit products that I actually love. Benefit allege that their 'They're Real' mascara is the top selling mascara in the UK and that they sell a couple of tubes per second or something to that effect, which baffles me because I don't think I've ever met anyone who absolutely loved it, and I know I certainly wasn't a convert. I quite liked Bad Gal and went through at least a dozen tubes of that back in the day, but I've never been able to gel with They're Real. Which is why I was anxious to try their new mascara, but reluctant to fork out for it. Luckily for me, Elle were giving away a free travel size in this month's magazine. I just wanted to do a little comparison post to compare it to They're Real, without the PR talk and buying into the gimmicks. To compare like with like, I am basing my comparison against a mini They're Real which was in a Christmas gift-set that my manfriend gave me this year. 

Benefit They're Real!

The grey and distinctive packaging of They're Real has become iconic now in the beauty world, as has the spiky, pointy wand. It is a rubber wand, which I don't have an aversion to per se, but this one has the long, pointiest spikes that almost make my eyes bleed when I apply it. The sight of the wand alone is enough to make me wince and shiver and my eyes actually tremble when I unscrew the lid. I find this excruciating to apply and the end result is not even worth it in my opinion. I can't bear to go too close to my lashline because this just hurts, and I find the wand is too long and straight and the spiky ball at the end is too big and clump creating. Removing it is a pain in the ass because it actually feels quite tacky on my lashes and then gritty once you start removing it. That said, it's not that it's that resistant that it will stay on your lashes all day long, I find this mascara just flakes off on the top of my cheeks over the day. It doesn't hold a curl, it just doesn't do anything for me. It is probably one of my least favourite mascaras that I have ever tried.

Benefit Roller Lash

Image result for benefit roller lash

The full size Roller Lash comes with a pink rubberised top on the wand which I think is meant to resemble a hair roller, hence the name, but I don't really buy into the gimmick. Ok, the pink and black is pretty but other than that, it's a bit meh! The wand is different to any other Benefit mascara wand to date but, I have to say, not different to any other wands on the market (I've been using the Maybelline Lash Sensational for the last few weeks and the wand is quite similar). It's curved, which makes it quite comfortable to apply, and the actually brush isn't too long for those of us with smaller eyes. Another rubber brush similar to They're Real and Benefit claim that they have cracked the lash curling code with their innovative brush but it's just not THAT innovative to me, it's not too dissimilar to many drugstore mascaras available on the market. 

The formula of the mascara is a little too wet for my liking but this is a problem I find with a few mascaras. I'm tempted to leave the lid of this mascara for a while to dry it out a bit to make it less wet and shiny, as I find it makes my lashes stick together. and is not the easiest to build up yet, but I reckon with a bit of air, this mascara would apply better and it would be easier to build up without creating clumps.

The Comparison

As you can see, the wands are not too similar looking, but they do perform differently. Whilst the teeth on the TR wand are long and pointy and stab your eyes, they are considerably shorter and closer together on the RL which makes it easier on those of us with sensitive eyes. I did find that the mascara product, because it is so wet, seems to congeal in the teeth of the new comb and make the lashes stick together instead of clumping together. I didn't notice much of a lift or curl in my lashes and to be honest, I think the formula of both mascaras performs the exact same but the wands distribute the product differently. Overall, I probably prefer the Roller Lash because it doesn't make my eyes bleed, but there is not enough volume and definition for my liking. Whether my thoughts will change on this now when the mascara dries out a bit, time will tell. Am I going to rush out and buy a full size of this new Roller Lash mascara? Absolutely not! I think you can do much better for your buck to be honest!

Roller Lash on the left, They're Real on the right

So, whilst it was not an absolute fail, I just didn't find myself to be impressed or intrigued with the new Benefit mascara offering. I definitely think it is more suitable for sensitive eyed peas like myself. 

Have you tried this new Benefit mascara yet, or any of the other Benefit mascaras? Do you buy into the Benefit gimmicky marketing or do you feel insulted by it? 


Monday, 9 February 2015

Makeup Storage Inspiration #1- Drawer Dividers (feat. Ikea Alex Unit)

I posted a picture on Instagram earlier today of my latest DIY makeup storage solution, and it caused quite a flutter. I've had the Ikea Alex 9 Drawer Unit for almost two years now, and I was never really 100% happy with how most of my makeup was stored. I used the Antonius inserts but I found that these were bulky and took up a lot of space without storing enough/ I also had some drawer organisers from Penneys/Primark but these were far too flimsy to store the volume of products that I wanted to keep in them. I blogged last year about my lipstick storage solution (click here if you would like to jog your memory) and my nail polish storage solution (read all about it by clicking here) and those DIY posts were quite well received, so I thought I would share my latest storage invention. I love DIY and art and I'm pretty creative, so I took myself off to Art & Hobby to look for supplies to build the perfect dividers. I'm absolutely chuffed with how these turned out so if you want to find out, keep reading!

What you will need:

Foamboard- This is the key component of this storage solution. I picked up an A1 5mm size card which was big enough to create dividers for four different drawers. This cost €5.99 in my local Art & Hobby which was bargainous. Even though there was only one depth available in the store I went to, there were lots of different sizes- A1, A2, A3, A4 etc. Try to get the 5mm depth if you can because this will reinforce the structure of the foamboard when you chop them down into dividers. 

Stanley Knife/Blade- I love me an auld Stanley knife and this works perfectly at cutting through the foamboard neatly. Neat is absolutely key in creating these dividers so make sure you have a good sharp blade and something to protect your work surface. 

Measuring tape- You will need to know the exact measurements of your drawer.

Pen and ruler- for marking the foamboard out and getting the right measurements. 

Detailed plan of desired end result- this is mucho importante and the success or otherwise of your drawer divider mission will rest upon whether you got your measurements right. This is a bit mathematical and you will have to dig deep and find your inner engineer. Think about how many compartments you want in your drawer, how big do they need to be, how can you make them fit. I drew out a map with the exact measurements for each drawer I was working on.

First things first. and this applies irrespective of what drawer you are using as your basis, get your measurements down to the last mm. FYI a shallow Ikea Alex drawer in the tall unit is 42cm x 29.5cm and the depth is about 6cm. If you get an A1 piece of foamboard, the measurements should be 84cm x 60cm which is almost perfect to start working with- half it, then quarter it, and you will get four Alex drawers out of one single sheet, making it a very respectable €1.50 per drawer to create the dividers. 

Next up, once you have your measurements, you can start marking the foamboard accordingly. In simple terms, I took 6cm columns, marked where I wanted the dividers to meet down along, and left a 3cm x 5mm rectangle to cut out to that I could get the dividers to stick together snugly without the need for glue or adhesive. You should have three long pieces and three shorter pieces.

 Once you have the 6 dividers cut out into strips, take out the little rectangles that you've marked.

...and you will be left with 6 pieces of foamboard like this!

Arrange the foamboard strips so that they all interconnect with each other. If you got your measurements right, they should be very stiff, wedged together but not bent 

Insert the structure into your drawer- again, if you got your measurements right, it should fit in very snugly against all four sides of the drawer. The foamboard is good and thick and strong so it pretty much feels like little wooden dividers.

And voila! There you have it! Can you believe how simple, inexpensive, quick and effective these dividers are? They are miles better than anything you could buy in a shop and you also have the freedom to make the compartments whatever size you want. It's so simple, a kid could do it (but you might want to watch them with the knife!).

As for an example of the finished product and the results proper dividers can bring, check out my blush and single eyeshadows drawers now that I have proper dividers. I'm just chuffed with the result- I don't think you can achieve better than this to be honest!

So, tell me, are you inspired to go out now and DIY up some of your own drawer dividers? Are there any other makeup storage tips that you would like to share?


Saturday, 7 February 2015

Getting out of the FUNK- brunette to blonde

You may or may not have noticed that I have been very quiet on the blog, Facebook and Twitter over the last few weeks. By any standards, those weeks have been incredibly challenging. I don't really do these kind of feelings posts on the blog by choice but I feel like context is important in this post. I qualified in December (I'm officially a solicitor now, yay!), and started a new job as in-house counsel with a huge American multinational in Dublin, which is pretty much my dream job about five years earlier than I expected. The transition from apprentice to newly qualified is quite daunting in itself, never mind starting out from scratch again, but you have to seize these opportunities as they arise.  I worked a good deal from home over the Christmas break, and started 2015 off with the best intentions. 

Unfortunately, on 13th January, my lovely Nana passed away peacefully in her sleep, completely by surprise. I feel a profound sense of loss that the only connection I had with that generation is now gone forever- it's almost like I've lost a part of myself. I cannot believe we will never have a discussion again, that I'll never have the absolute pleasure of her company again. So I haven't really felt like blogging or even felt like myself since. I was also struck with farmers lung a pretty nasty chest infection- I actually went to the doctor I was so ill- no small feat for me I can tell you, finished course of antibiotics yesterday and feeling much better. I just feel like the last two months have been a period of huge change and my spirit has been so suffocated that I have not had the heart to blog. My bad mood sprung to the fore when my marine engineer manfriend headed back to the sea sea sea on Thursday for the next few months. I kind of felt like I was in a funk and I decided just yesterday that there was only one thing to get me out of this funk- a new 'do. I duly booked an appointment for today and told them I wanted a colour change and that I wanted to go back to blonde. You know when you just need something to shake you up- THAT. I loved the balayage, and I will definitely indulge again, but I needed brightening up and something different.

The before:

I've had balayage now for about 18 months now- which, considering I was blonde for the 10 years before it, was a miracle. I did love it but I was bored with it, I wasn't really making much of an effort anymore and I did promise myself before Christmas that I would change my hair up in the new year. My hair had also gotten very long and was in dire need of a good chop. When I arrived to the salon, the girl on reception was shocked that I wanted to change the colour because she loved what I was already sporting- and I admit I did have a second of 'what the heck am I doing?' but I persevered. 

The process:

I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with my hair today but I knew that I wanted to be considerably lighter leaving the salon without jeopardising the quality of my hair. I discussed more balayage with my stylist but ultimately opted against that- I didn't want blocky colour. Instead I decided to go with a full head of meche highlights. The poor hairdresser must have put 200 meche packets in my thick hair and my neck was struggling to hold the weight of my head but I didn't even have to go under the heat or need a toner so I'm glad I went with the one colour. 

The result:

Balayage- what balayage? Safe to say that any trace of my tinted lengths were obliterated. I'm chuffed with the results and that the colour lifted so much in just one round of highlights without looking too golden. It's hard to capture the actual colour with artificial light. I also had three inches lopped off the ends- good riddance to bad rubbish and all. It's not too dramatic to make me feel like I am looking at a stranger in the mirror but it is definitely dramatic enough to stir something in me again. I think I forgot how much I prefer lighter hair on myself.

I'm chuffed with the results and that the colour lifted so much in just one round of highlights without looking too golden. It's hard to capture the actual colour with artificial light. I also had three inches lopped off the ends- good riddance to bad rubbish and all. It's not too dramatic to make me feel like I am looking at a stranger in the mirror but it is definitely dramatic enough to stir something in me again. I always loved being blonde but just got sick of the maintenance. 

I already feel like my mood has lifted at least 10 notches and I'm glad I did take the plunge. It was exactly what I needed, and I'm looking forward to adjusting my makeup now in light of my new 'do. I know it sounds superficial, and I'm no psychologist, but the difference a haircut and bit of fake tan has made to my mood today is actually immense, and I'm seriously interested in looking into the psychology of hair now. If any of you are feeling down and out or a bit bluesy, I strongly recommend a trip to the hairdressers ladies!

So thanks to everyone for the lovely supportive messages over the last few weeks whilst I was in my funk and make sure to let me know what you think of my new 'do in the comments below! 

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