Milani EasyBrow Automatic Pencil

I overlooked it for years, but the presence of groomed brows can really do a lot for a face. There are various methods by which you can achieve this – brow pencil, brow powder, tinted gel/mousse/pomade, brow tinting (dye), or if you’re extra-extreme you could go for the whole, “permanent makeup,” bit aka tattooed on awkwardness. If you want to keep things easy, pencils or powders are the way to go. I wanted to try a pencil without shelling out for an Anastasia Brow Wiz, so enter Milani EasyBrow Automatic Pencil (which has a similar idea, packaging-wise, as the Brow Wiz).

 Milani EasyBrow Automatic Pencil - Natural Taupe and Dark BrownMilani EasyBrow Automatic Pencil – Natural Taupe and Dark Brown
The messy cap? That’s why you don’t cap things without looking at them.

Surprisingly hard to get me hands on in my area (no one seems to carry it! I had to order it), I was excited when the products arrived. The stick has two ends – one end houses the product, and the other contains a spoolie brush, both are protected with a cap. The center of the stick is printed with the product name and color but it is printed in gold (the stick, as you can see, is a light brown or taupe color) and is difficult to read. Fortunately, closer to the spoolie end there is a band with the color printed on it. I purchased Dark Brown and Natural Taupe; my brows either neither color, but I planned to use them in concert with one another and blend them to get closer to my haircolor.

The Milani EasyBrow Automatic Pencil was a bit surprising to me. It is both wider in diameter than I anticipated and it is SOFTER than I anticipated. Softness isn’t usually a quality we think of as negative, but when it comes to a brow pencil, you want a stiff product so you can easily produce dozens (or however many) of feather-light strokes that help define your brows. With this pencil it is entirely to easy to slip and end up with an awkward, hard line because it is so soft.

They have the consistency of a liner pencil (it glides too much!) rather than what a brow pencil should have. That isn’t to say this is a bad product, but there is a learning curve associated with it – you have to hold the product at an angle and use short, flicking strokes to achieve the right look. If you went a little too far, don’t worry – you then blend it out/together with the attached spoolie. Since the Milani EasyBrow Automatic Pencil is so soft, blending isn’t a very big deal…you will want to clean the spoolie off every so often, though, just as you would any other brush.

Milani EasyBrow Automatic Pencil swatchesMilani EasyBrow Automatic Pencil swatches – light hand above, more pressure below
From Left: Natural Taupe, Dark Brown

In all, although the products serve their purpose, I am on the fence about repurchasing. I really like brow powders and feel that I can get a more precise look with powder and wax than I can a soft pencil like this. This product, however, is very purse/makeup-bag-friendly and for those with much darker brows than myself may not be bothered by softness (rather, the ease of getting too bold a line). Someone who has more time to spend on their makeup regularly might be more satisfied than I am but ease and efficiency are both things that come into play, especially when I’m talking about a product called, “EasyBrow.” I don’t hate it, and I’m not immensely disappointed – but I was definitely hoping for greater performance from this product. If you’d like to give it a shot, the Milani EasyBrow Automatic Pencil is available from retail drugstores and drugstore.com for around $5.

Not a Fan: OPI Sheer Tints

I’ve said before that nails are my thing (though my nails have been bare for the longest time in recent memory because I haven’t had time to redo them, ahem). Even though I do not jump to buy every newly-released nail line, I do like to stay abreast of what is coming out.

The makers of my second-favorite polish to-date (I’m Not Really a Waitress, if you’re wondering) have released a new product that is all over blog-land and twitter: OPI Sheer Tints polish. The OPI Sheer Tints line consists of four glossy top coats that just so happen to have a touch of color. The shades, in classic OPI-wordplay-style, are:

  • I’m Never Amberrassed – sheer, warm yellow.
  • Be Magentale With Me – sheer magenta (pink)
  • Don’t Violet Me Down – sheer, mid-tone purple.
  • I Can’t Teal You Like Me – sheer, mid-tone blue.

I’ve checked them out on several blogs and OPI’s own promotional material, including their tutorials. I just cannot get excited or interested in these things. The yellow (I’m Never Amberrassed) makes nails look discolored and, frankly, kind of gross. Perilously Pale shared some swatches of the polish (please go check out her blog!) and although her assessment is positive, I just don’t care for it. Here’s her photo of I’m Never Amberrassed.

OPI Sheer Tints - I'm Never Amberrassed from Perilously Paleagain, this is not my photo – photo is courtesy of Perilously Pale.
credit where credit is due, everyone! don’t be shady.

I am not a fan of seeing the smile line of a nail through polish unless it is a neutral sheer meant for a relatively natural, subdued look. These just remind me of poorly-formulated, cheap polishes in the past (like the kids sets?). OPI themselves tweeted this photo on an, “ombre,” manicure done with the product, and I’m just not impressed, and would definitely not purchase these for $10 each.

I don’t really care for ending things on a negative note – I have seen some pretty cool things done with them by other bloggers, like this rainbow manicure from Lacquered Lover, or this dotted yellow mani layered over white (for opacity) and this gold-striped ombre pink set both from Nail that Accent. While I’m happy these bloggers made these OPI Sheer Tints work for them, I just think if I HAVE to conjure up that much creativity to get a product to, “work,” for me, then it isn’t a very wise purchase.

Zoya Earth Day Polish Exchange

Zoya Earth Day Polish Exchange
photo courtesy of the Zoya blog.

Health- and eco-conscious polish brand Zoya is known for their awesome promotions such as free bottles of polish (you just pay shipping). The promo du jour is actually a re-run: Zoya’s Earth Day Polish Exchange, which runs this year from April 21 – 28 with promo code ZDAY2014.

Add as few as five bottles of polish to your cart and as many as twenty-four, then enter the promo code – the polish should drop from its regular price at about $9+ per bottle down to $4.50 per bottle OR $5 for their fancy glittery PixieDust products and special effect toppers. Unfortunately, it does not include their newest summer connection line(s), but I think you’ll live. You’re looking at spending $22.50 for five (regular) bottles of polish – not bad, especially considering that some drugstore polishes are more costly and these are 5-free. Additionally, carts over $30 currently receive a free gift – a 2oz. bottle of Zoya Remove Plus Nail Polish Remover.

Once you receive your new, fancy, 5-free polish from Zoya’s Earth Day Polish Exchange, you can then send them old, unwanted polish to be safely disposed of in accordance with EPA guidelines (FYI – you aren’t supposed to toss them in your regular, residential trash). Zoya will accept up to as many bottles as you purchased – so if you purchased 9 bottles of polish, you can send up to (but not more than) nine for disposal. You could also just send three, if that’s all you wanted to purge. You are not, however, required to send in any old bottles to take advantage of this neat promotion.

This would be a great way to start someone’s polish collection (especially considering you are not required to send in old bottles) or try Zoya products while getting some variety without a huge cost-commitment. It also may make a nice Mother’s Day gift (right around the corner, people – May 11) if your Mom enjoys having lacquered nails. You might also just be looking for justification to buy more polish – so you’re welcome. I haven’t tried any Zoya polish yet, but I look forward to doing so!

Also, Zoya doesn’t know who I am and they didn’t ask me to write about this promo – I, as a polish junkie and sale-stalker, just wanted to look out for my fellow polish-fanciers.

PSA: Now Available – Nyx Macaron Lippies

Nyx Macaron Lippies
Nyx Macaron Lippies
photo courtesy of nyx’s instagram

 

I’m not cool enough (yet!) to have given you a first look at these suckers (or…cookies? Do macarons count as cookies?) but they were announced as available for purchase today. The Nyx Macaron Lippies (their word!) line, which conjures images of Crayola crayons of my youth, consists of brights, pastels, and three neutrals that are so unlike what we’re used to seeing in lipstick shades (unless you’re a LimeCrime veteran).

Retailing for $6 a pop (here I go again with the incorrect sweets references), the adventurous, the creators, and the collectors alike will be able to stock their stash. It seems as though the lipsticks are intended to be mixed (or so I think from the presence of the white and black shades) into custom-blended colors, but I have no personal experience with the formula which is purportedly a long-wearing satin-matte.

Those who crave color for their smile but bemoaned the lack of sub-$15-each options (OCC Lip Tars and LimeCrime are both more costly and more difficult to come by) will be pleased by the wallet-friendly option. It remains to be seen whether or not retail outfits (Target, Ulta, etc) will pick up the Nyx Macaron Lippies line, but it is still a step in the right direction.

I will personally be passing; unless I picked up a few to mix shades to get a more, “wearable,” hue or being silly at a con, I couldn’t see myself going after these (no hate!) because I am pretty tame with lipcolors (Beso and Adora aside). What are your thoughts – will you explore these colorful lipsticks?

Long Weekend

It was a long weekend. Fortunately, it featured some of these:

melsterbunny

AKA best Easter candy of life, especially after they have been slightly chilled in the ‘fridge. Step aside, Peeps and Cadbury eggs. This is a firm marshmallow bunny coated in a thin layer of chocolate – basically, it is perfect. I don’t have as much of a sweet tooth as I used to, but this is delicious without being overwhelmingly sweet.

Anyway, it was a long weekend because it was a busy weekend. Lots of running around. Regular posts will resume on Wednesday.