mascara

Review: Tarte Rejuvelash

A Biologist’s recent comments on the Wall about mascaras flaking got me thinking about this product, which I don’t think I ever reviewed.

Tarte’s Rejuvelash is an oddball little product that I can’t manage to either like or dislike. It’s a clear, moist gel with aloe and vitamins that you can use later in the day to refresh your mascara if your lashes have started to dry out and get spidery. It declumps and helps make lashes feel softer and more natural. So you could do a day at the office and then use this to refresh your look before going out at night instead of swiping another coat of mascara on and possibly making your lashes either clumpy or more spidery.

Oddly, you can also use it as a sort of primer and apply it to bare lashes before putting on mascara. Which is kind of counterintuitive — if it’s supposed to soften mascara, it seems like it would be kind of a bad primer. But it’s not bad. It doesn’t lengthen lashes at all (then again, it doesn’t promise to), but it does make mascara go on with fewer clumps.

I think I just don’t wear nearly enough mascara for this product to make a real difference. I also think I’m OK with that.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Tarte review if (in spite of how much I like their products overall) I didn’t pick on their marketing language. Ready?

Quoth Tarte: “This unique lash exhilarator uses a blend of natural emulsifying agents in combination with our patented flexible bristle brush to gently eliminate clumps.”

Lash “exhilarator”? Really? When I put it on, are my lashes going to jump up and down with excitement? Someone needs to scour the Tarte offices and remove every single thesaurus they find. I bet they have ’em hiding under plants and stuff.

By the way, “flexible bristle brush” means that the joint between the brush tip and the shaft bends crazily when you try to push it back into the container because the flange around the opening to the container is really tight and the stem of the brush doesn’t really seem quite strong enough to push the brush into the container. (Yes, innuendos abound here. But it would be vulgar of me to mention them.) And the bristles themselves aren’t really flexible, and even if they were, your lashes hardly provide enough resistance to make them bend.

Tarte also cites the “Skinvigorating ™ ” ingredients that Rejuvelash contains:

• Aloe leaf extract (I’m all right with that one)
• Provitamin B5, a “vitamin B derivative that treats and thickens lashes” (I’m all right with this one too, although the “thickens lashes” part is always an iffy claim)
• Vitamin C, an “antioxidant that fights free radical damage and prevents oxidative stress and premature signs of aging, while brightening skin.” OK, here we get into trouble. Do I really have free radical damage on my eyelashes? Are my eyelashes prematurely aging? And vitamin C brightens skin, maybe, but I’m putting it on my lashes.
• Water, because “pure water delivers and retains moisture.” ::eyeroll:: Water delivers moisture? Who’d a thunk it? And water retains moisture? ::beats head against wall:: And we’re not even getting into the “pure” issue. Really, Tarte is the only company that is trying to spin the leading ingredient in almost every single skincare product we buy into a unique brand-specific value-adding component.

OK, enough. It’s all right. It does help mascara look fresher at the end of the day. And if they didn’t make all these fabulous claims for it, I probably wouldn’t even be tempted to snark about it.

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Tarte Rejuvelash: $16

Provenance: Purchased

Price/Value Ratio (high-end: poor/fair/good/excellent): I’m wavering between “poor” and “fair” on this one. For the price, my lashes aren’t nearly exhilarated enough. I wouldn’t say they’re anything beyond “mildly pleased.”

Purchase again? Nah.

(Have you used this product? Love it? Hate it? Want it? Give a holler in the comments!)

In Search of the Perfect Mascara, Part II

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Onward to Avon’s Daring Curves Waterproof Curling Masacara in Black. This was on sale at the Avon site (www.avon.com) for $2.99. The brush has an interesting spiral, instead of the curved brush I’ve come to expect from curling mascaras.

The Avon site describes it:

New tri-curl brush lifts and holds lashes all day, even when wet. Get lashes up to 59% curlier, 400% fuller. Flakeproof. Waterproof. .21 oz. net wt. All Avon mascaras are hypoallergenic and opthalmologist-tested.

I wonder how they measured curliness; I sure would like to see the before and after photos of the eyelashes. On to the test now. I did the test with full eye makeup regalia, being I had another engagement to attend earlier today (a neighbor’s daughter, must be something in the water …).

Now I am all in favor of a plastic seal around the tube so you know your mascara is fresh and new, but this seal was ridiculous. Its perforations were impossible to lift and break without chipping my fresh manicure; the seal was too tight to use the blade of little manicure scissors to open. I had to resort to using my dental pick to create a tab along the perforations so I could break the seal, which ran along the entire length of the tube. This is not how I want to use mascara. I usually buy several at once, tossing every 3 months then reaching for the next tube. I should not need an arsenal of instruments and a plan of attack to open the next tube. Seriously. Applying the mascara was fairly easy, though without instructions on any special way to use the triple spiral brush, I didn’t know if I should just stroke or roll the mascara, or if it even mattered. Sometimes more is more.

I don’t know about daring curves; daring lift is more like it. As in, most of the lashes are lifted rather than curled, giving me a bit of a startled look. However, the lashes at the outer corners are not lifted, though they have mascara; they tangle in the lower lashes. Not a comfortable feeling, especially if I’m anticipating meeting and greeting guests while photographers are snapping away. I’m at a loss for how Avon can say it makes lashes 59% curlier and 400% fuller. The lashes are a bit fuller but not curly, just lifted. The black is a little more intense than the black of the L’Oreal Panoramic mascara.

The preliminary verdict: My daughter the bride told me my lashes looked very clumpy, which seemed to get worse as the day wore on. By the end of the day, my eyes felt somewhat irritated. The mascara came off easily with Neutrogena oil-free eye makeup remover.

Update: Today I’m trying it again. I rolled out the brush under the lashes, which seemed to give more of a curl plus uplifted effect. I was more careful in applying at the outer lashes, so that helped with the tangling I had yesterday. It definitely has a tendency to clump, which in my experience is unusual for a newly-opened tube of mascara. Usually when I have had clumping (with Le Grand Curl or Courbe Virtuouse), it signified time for a new mascara tube.

Final verdict: I rate this mascara good, downgrading it due to clumping and the difficulty I had removing the plastic seal. I know my eyes are more sensitive than other folks’ eyes, so I’m leaving itching/irritation out of the ratings. Repurchase? Probably not, since there are other options from which to choose. Provenance: purchased.

In Search of the Perfect Mascara, Part I

I realize that perfect is really relative; what’s perfect for me may not work at all for you. So let me start by saying I have a new mascara need. My older daughter became engaged late October. An early March 2010 wedding is planned. So I am furiously involved in wedding preparations, as well as stepping up my beauty routine.

Now I am one of those folk with long thick s-t-r-a-i-g-h-t eyelashes. Stick-straight. It’s a family trait. We actually do recognize relatives on my father’s side (scattered across 3 continents due to World War II) by the eyelashes. Add to this my dire aversion, no loathing, for eyelash curlers. So when curling mascaras came out about 10 years ago, I was sold. Le Grand Curl by L’Oreal, waterproof, was it for me.
Fast-forward a few years. I was out in Los Angeles for a nephew’s bar-mitzvah. While wandering through Beverly Center, I realized I hadn’t packed Le Grand Curl. (Good thing I was in Bloomingdale’s when this realization hit.) I hied me over to the Lancome counter (hey, it was promotion time) and checked out Courbe Virtuouse. Not waterproof, but gave me an amazing curl. And came off easily with oil-free eye makeup remover (I use either Lancome Bi-Facils or Neutrogena and recommend them equally). And one more feature: it felt gentle and soothing, absolutely no irritation whatsoever. This is important because my rosacea has spread to my corneas and I can’t tolerate any irritation around my eyes. Even some eyedrops burn. But Courbe Virtuouse has one drawback that makes it unsuitable for March 2010: it is not waterproof. And I am positive I will wind up crying at some point during my daughter’s wedding. And I am also positive that the moment I appear with raccoon eyes and try to scurry off for a quick repair, I will be waylaid by a guest, needed to fix some catering emergency, or captured in photos forever.

Thus I am in search of the perfect mascara: curling and waterproof. Ergo I bought L’Oreal Panoramic Curl Mascara (Waterproof) in Black. At $7.99, it’s one of the less expensive mascaras out there.

The L’Oreal site says this about it:
Unique waterproof formula curls and separates your lashes to the extreme with Panoramic Curl™ Extreme Curl & Separating Waterproof Mascara. Patented Liftcurl Brush plus Flexi-Tech polymers hold lashes for an eight-hour curl and separate lashes 360°, creating the ultimate eye-opening panoramic lash effect.

* Waterproof.
* Ophthalmologist-tested and allergy-tested.
* Removes easily with waterproof eye makeup remover.
* Suitable for sensitive eyes and contact lens wearers.
* Flake-proof and fragrance-free.
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I liked the brush, the color (the black is soft, not too harsh against my fair skin) and yet gives enough definition to my lashes that I think would work for photos. That’s the good. The bad? The curl was not as pronounced as I would like (not like the curl from Le Grand Curl unless memory deceives and nothing like Courbe Virtuouse). The worse? After several hours of wear, my eyes began to itch. This has never happened to me before in my entire history of mascara-wearing. The future? I’m going to try it again. Maybe my eyes were tired that day, maybe I was exposed to some irritant in the lab.
The verdict? Price for value, I’d still rate it good. There was some curl there, definitely. As a basic mascara it is fine (I did not test its waterproof property though). It did not come off quite as easily as Courbe Virtuouse using Neutrogena remover, but then it has a different formulation. I would say it came off fairly easily. Repurchase? At this point, possibly (I bought 2 tubes in case I loved it). Provenance: purchased.

Update: Gave the mascara another try while wearing full eye makeup regalia for daughter’s engagement party. This time I had no itching whatsoever, impressive lashes, and a little more curl (I think the secret is in how I wield the wand). And it came off like melted butter when I used Bi-Facils eye make-up remover.

Final verdict redux: for the money, this is a good to excellent mascara.

I’ll be test and reviewing more curling waterproof mascaras, so stay tuned.