Worth it? bareMinerals Lash Domination Mascara

This is a legacy post from the archives that has been given a facelift. Content remains the same but may have been edited for readability/clarity.

bareMinerals Lash Domination mascarabareMinerals Lash Domination Mascara

Mineral makeup mogul bareMinerals happens to make my favorite-so-far mascara, the Flawless Definition Lengthening mascara. At some point in the last year or so, they added a new member to their lash line (ha), the (full name, deep breath) bareMinerals Lash Domination 10-in-1 Volumizing Mascara. I love edgy product names, except when I don’t.

Benefits

According to bareMinerals, it:

  • Volumizes
  • Lengthens
  • Thickens
  • Separates
  • Lifts
  • All-day wear
  • Mineral fortified
  • Resists clumps
  • Fights flakes
  • Smudge-resistant

Hrm. I don’t really count the last three as benefits, as any decent mascara should do that anyway, even one that costs me $3. Oh, but it has quinoa in it. I wonder if they’ll release a kale version?

GWP is Good Enough For Me (to try)

My sass aside, because I loved (and had not yet repurchased) the Flawless Definition mascara, I was very excited when I received this deluxe sample as GWP in a Sephora order I made months ago. I only opened it in late March (2014), however, because the drugstore product I was using was still good (and mascara shelf life rages me, so I try to avoid using multiples simultaneously); I did not want to set the clock ticking too soon.

Finally, the time came to crack ‘er open arrived. Because I decided to be edgy like the product and not look up reviews, demos, etc. My first impressions were:

1. Wow, why is the applicator portion of the wand so long?! My eyes are not that big.

2. Ooh! The short plastic bristles I like!

3. …oh they better not be arranged in a spiral. They’re arranged in a spiral. Fuuuu–

I told myself, “Okay, who knows, the spirals could be awesome. Let’s slap it on and find out.”

Application & Wear

I applied it – it went on easy enough, the consistency of the formula is very similar to the Flawless Definition. I was pretty happy to see that. My lashes looked pretty awesome in a single coat. The formula held up through the day, was non-irritating, and did not flake or smudge. By the end of the day, however, they lacked the oomph of the morning and I noticed it did not hold the curl I placed before applying. My lashes were black, but not curled up, so my eyes did not look as open as they had.

Thinking there may have been an adjustment period, I wore it every day for a week with similar results. I may or may not have poked myself in the eye once trying to maneuver the strange spiral applicator. The days I applied two coats held the curl a little better, but not substantially so. It was also surprisingly difficult to wash off for a non-waterproof formula, unlike the Flawless Definition line. I really had to scrub with my Ponds wipe to remove it, and had to go under my lower lash-line carefully (even when I did not coat those lashes) so I did not look like a raccoon. I do not have a separate eye makeup remover, but you may want one. Alternatively, you can use oil to remove – such as olive or almond – and you should have an easier time.

The Bottom Line

It is not really worth it. Though bareMinerals Lash Domination comes at you with a sassy name and flashy packaging there are drugstore mascaras (such as L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Excess) that outperform this $18 tube that generally receives under 4 (out of 5) star reviews, often between 3.6 and 3.8. While it doesn’t make sky-high claims, it also does not perform as well as its older sister, the Flawless Definition. It’s a fair bet during Ulta’s half-off sales, though.

At least three (more, really) of the ten, “features,” are things we all expect from our mascara, not new enhancements. On top of the so-so performance of the product, the awkward design of the wand – both the spiral bristles and the length of the bristle section makes it a little difficult to work with. If you want a bareMinerals mascara, go with one of the original Flawless Definition formulas – the original Lengthening is my personal favorite.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links – this means I may get a very small percentage of the sale if you decide to buy something. I’ll only tell you that something is awesome if I have verified it myself!

PMD Personal Microderm

PMD Personal MicrodermPMD Personal Microderm, $159

I’ve been questing to achieve skin that doesn’t piss me off for a while now. Around the holidays, I ordered a PMD Personal Microderm system from Nordstrom to try. My concerns:

  • General exfoliation/cellular turnover
  • Sebaceous filaments
  • Skincare product absorption
  • General preventative aging stuff

PMD Personal Microderm describes their device as…

…a revolutionary at-home skincare tool that provides the same brilliant results as professional … treatments. PMD Personal Microderm combines Patented(1) Spinning Disc technology(2) with Perfectly Calibrated(3) Vacuum Suction to brighten, smooth, and even skin tone and texture. Personal Microderm reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, blemishes, and enlarged pores. This exfoliation process removes the dead, dull skin cell barrier, increases blood flow, and boosts the body’s natural production of collagen and elastin.

Having a Patent isn’t as Big of Deal as it Sounds

First things first: I hate when marketing departments throw the word, “patented,” in front of something. It’s a buzz-word. It isn’t more impressive simply because it was patented. Not to be crass here, but toilet tissue was patented, too.

Patented

Just add, “Technology!”

Second, more marketing criticism – “Spinning disc technology.” You know what else uses spinning disc technology?

frisbee

Perfection is Ambitious

Third, throwing in that golden adjective, “perfectly,” is a little bold. Different skin types need different things, so let’s not pretend that there really is a one-size-fits-all level of suction. That is what the PMD Personal Microderm devices offer, but to call it perfection is a bit much.

The Device

The PMD device receives largely positive reviews, but my first impression of the PMD Personal Microderm was that it felt lightweight and flimsy in my hands. Here’s this fairly large handle…made, clearly, of hollow plastic. The balance was poor. It wasn’t comfortable in my and and felt awkward to hold. On top of that, I nudged the power rocker several times during normal use. Poorly thought out.

The PMD Personal Microderm device is not battery powered, so treatment needs to take place near an outlet, which may be a detractor to some. I’d rather have consistent power and performance than the freedom to traipse around my apartment while sloughing off my skin’s outermost layers. There are two threaded plastic caps that hold the exfoliating, spinning disc in place; one wide, one narrow. The wide discs and cap are intended for larger surface areas (cheeks, forehead) and the smaller discs and cap are used in narrower spaces (around the nose, etc).

To switch discs, unscrew the cap, pull the disc cylinder out, and replace. I found that the disc cylinders were a little snug and stiff when it came to removing and replacing, but I accepted this if it meant they were secure.

Usage

Prior to use, you should wash your skin with a mild cleanser and pat dry. Skip moisturizers.

Starting at the bottom center of your face, hold the PMD Personal Microderm to the skin and use the other hand to hold the treatment area taut. Moving outward and upward in steady strokes, move the device across the skin. Easy enough. PMD has you start with a super-gentle white disc to help you acclimate to the device and prevent you from destroying your skin.

After the first two uses, I graduated from the white discs to the light grey (ultra-sensitive) and blue (sensitive) discs. After each use, my skin was red but not in pain. My skincare products did sink in quickly after use and that day and the next my skin was fairly bright.

Over Time

Using it once weekly for six weeks did not seem to be significantly impactful, however. I had to work hard to deal with sebaceous filaments just as I would have without the device, and the lines that developed in my forehead woefully (albeit not unexpectedly) early are just as noticeable as they ever were.

Also, although the exfoliation was there I didn’t find myself getting better with the device – I didn’t go slowly by any stretch of the imagination, but it was difficult to smoothly glide over my skin; the disc wouldn’t stay in proper contact with my skin as I moved the PMD Personal Microderm device around. It would skip with the suction and tug a bit, which was uncomfortable but not injurious. I did not have difficulty lining up my strokes to avoid a, “tiger stripe,” effect that some users reported.

Reviews report that the devices loses suction after about a year. That’s disappointing considering the cost of the device. If it truly gave professional results, a limited lifespan would be completely worth it (after all, how much is microdermabrasion at a med-spa?)…but it doesn’t.

The Bottom Line

A rarity, I ended up returning the device after six weeks of use. I wouldn’t recommend. Why?

  • The results were not consistent with the marketing or hype.
  • I found it challenging to use consistently without skipping over my skin.
  • I did not see anything beyond short term, 1-2 day benefits.
  • Limited lifespan at approximately one year.
  • High replacement/consumable cost at $15-20 for a set of 4-6. When each disc should be replaced every 3-4 uses, that adds up!
  • Sensitive heads feel decently abrasive (not painful); can’t really see someone using a coarser disc without discomfort.
  • Device felt flimsy and isn’t designed with ergonomics in mind for the cost.
  • Seemed that I had to work entirely too hard to contend with sebaceous filaments, which are common and not stubborn…if I had that much trouble with that, how much difficulty would someone using it for anti-aging concerns have?
  • The lines in my forehead are just as obvious as ever. I’m not trying to get rid of them, per se – of course I have lines in my forehead as a cynical twenty-something – but this did nothing to them, which I think would be concerning, again, for someone looking into the PMD Personal Microderm device for DIY anti-aging treatment.

Fortunately, I found and use something else. Have you tried any at-home microdermabrasion substitutes?

Alpha Skin Essential Renewal Gel 10% AHA

Alpha Skin Essential Renewal Gel 10% AHAAlpha Skin Essential Renewal Gel 10% AHA, $15

Alpha Hydrox 10% AHA Lotion used to be a staple of mine, but I discontinued use because it felt greasy and gross to me. Time passed and I experimented with skincare, and I found that my skin likes a mix of physical and chemical exfoliation. During our break, Alpha Hydrox rebanded to Alpha Skin; new logos and packaging, new (higher) price tags. Little did I know, they sold the gel I now use, Alpha Skin Essential Renewal Gel 10% AHA, before. If I only knew!

Applying

Retailing at $15 for 1.7 fl oz, the Alpha Skin Essential Renewal Gel 10% AHA is a thin, clear gel that housed in a short squeeze-tube. When I use the product, I apply a pencil-eraser-sized dollop to clean skin in circular motions with my fingertips. It isn’t remotely greasy – I give it two minutes to absorb, then apply 2-3 drops of argan oil. I apply before bed and have glowing, smooth skin in the morning.

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Contigo Chill

Contigo Grace

Hydration is important. After about a year of using a Camelbak Eddy which was hard to clean, I switched to a Contigo Grace water bottle. I love that I can drink from it one handed; the Grace is designed such that you don’t have to fumble with unscrewing and re-securing a cap. It is lightweight yet sturdy and inexpensive to boot.

The Contigo Grace is great, but it isn’t insulated. Generally, I like my water cool (not cold – somewhere between room temperature and cold) but it is difficult to keep it that way if you’re carrying the bottle around by hand. It ends up warming up a bit more than I love when I’m running between meetings at work. Solution: Buy an insulated one.

Enter the Contigo Chill

Contigo Chill

The Chill features a similar one-handed, push-button dispensing design as the Grace, but it’s stainless steel and maintains temperature for about 12 hours. I’m really enjoying it so far.

So far, so good. I’m happy with it; I got the Scuba Blue one, but if my Target would have had the Matte Black/Berry one, I would have gotten it.

If you’re partial to one-handed use with sip-valves and straws, the Contigo Ashland Chill is your guy; my husband has the non-insulated version and it’s just as sturdy and excellent as the Grace. The straw

The Bottom Line

The opportunity to test the Contigo Chill in the heat of summer has not yet manifested because I’ve only had it for about two months. Do I think it will maintain cold or cool in 90+ degree heat for twelve hours? No, realistically – but even four hours would be awesome in those conditions. I convinced my husband to get a Contigo Chill in addition to his uninsulated bottle from them and we haven’t looked back.

No Buy Oops – What I Bought

I broke my no buy by getting a disappointing manicure. Fortunately, the pedicure I got with it was decent, but dear heavens is it difficult to get a manicure that doesn’t suck.

I learned my lesson – I DIY for a reason!

Anyway, while we’re at it – when I was planning, I failed to recognize that Ulta was going to release a 20% Platinum Perk and that Sephora was going to have its coveted BI sale smack in the middle of my attempted limited consumerism.

Oops.

It’s not all bad. I didn’t go crazy. I bought:

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