The Lorac PRO was my first palette. I still have it, and it is a workhorse. I loved it so much that I purchased, without question, Lorac PRO 2 and Lorac PRO 3, which later had posts.
I don’t own any of the Mega PRO palettes; I am more than a bit jaded on mega palettes and holiday palettes at this point. Now, I’ve owned all (regular) PRO palettes for a while and have had time to put them through their paces.
My first and for several months only palette once I got into makeup, the first Lorac PRO palette served me extraordinarily well. As a neutral, light-to-medium-at-most skintone, it had everything I needed to handle work, evening, weddings, etc. Garnet looks incredible applied with a wet brush.
I am not a self-proclaimed, “beauty guru.” I’m not here to convince you that I, “totally love,” or that you, “definitely need,” every damn beauty product under the sun. That said, I do enjoy neutrals quite a lot and (probably) own more than I need (insert excuse about variety being the spice of life here). When I was shopping, ages ago, for a small neutrals palette, I was disappointed to find new resources comparing Naked Basics vs Naked2 Basics.
I got my hands on my first MAC brush. I’ve actually had it for a couple months now but have waited to share (I do that). In truth, I expected my first MAC brush to be a 242; you know, all that pigment-packing glory? Oh well.
So I finally got what many consider to be the Holy Grail of blending brushes – I was able to use Plenti points at the MAC counter in Macy’s to get a few bucks off it. Let’s put MAC 217 vs bdellium 776 (what I’ve been using and have been just OK with) – and see which is better.
Many moons ago, I was the happy owner of an Olay Pro-X Facial Cleansing System. Then, in late 2013, I upgraded to a Clarisonic Mia 2. Before I took the leap, I searched for a good, in-depth review of both systems so I could gauge whether or not it was worth bothering to shell out the money. I found a lot of, “Well like Clarisonic is just, you know, better. And it’s rechargeable. And sonic…but the Pro-X is nice if you’re on a budget!”
So, since I have experience with both, let’s pit the Clarisonic Mia 2 vs Olay Pro-X. Be warned, this is a very text-heavy post.
Clarisonic Mia 2
Rechargeable w\ induction charger
AA batteries (included)
Brush Head Price
1 for $27 (multiples cheaper)
2 for $12 (Amazon)
1 oz Clarisonic Gel Cleanser
.68oz Exfoliating Cleanser
Personally, I wasn’t impressed with either included cleanser so that much wasn’t important to me, but the investment in the Clarisonic Mia 2 vs Olay Pro-X is very different. The initial output is higher, and the heads are more expensive. I buy packs of four once a year at a discounted price and try to find a decent promo code (like at least 20% off that) and stack it with a great cash-back offer from eBates. Batteries, on the other hand, aren’t cheap – I recommend investing in a set of reliable rechargeable batteries to offset that cost.
Brands L’Oreal Paris and Maybelline feature products that are very similar to one another (like their gel eyeliners) and for good reason – both drugstore makeup brands fall under the L’Oreal Group’s portfolio.
I’ve finally had the opportunity to test both L’Oreal and Maybelline gel shadows – Maybelline’s Color Tattoo (available for $6-ish on Amazon and at drugstores, etc) formula, and newer (to me – not new in general), L’Oreal’s Infalliable Eyeshadow (available for $7-ish on Amazon and at drugstores, etc). Now that I’ve had adequate time to play with L’Oreal’s Infalliable offering (and have really, really come to enjoy the latter), I wanted to share a comparison and review.
First, let’s check out the packaging of the L’Oreal and Maybelline Gel Shadows:
On the left, we have Maybelline’s Color Tattoo, lid down. The bottom of the glass pot includes information about which sub-line it is from (this is Barely branded, which I talked about in my Color Tattoo post – it is from their Metals sub-line), and also boasts that it will wear for 24 hours. That said, unlike my accidental 28 hour test of Maybelline’s gel liner, I haven’t made a point to push this past a normal day. The cap includes more information about the product, such as the shade name, batch number, and product volume (4 grams or .14 oz).
On the right, we have L’Oreal’s Infalliable Eyeshadow, also lid down. The L’Oreal packaging is a bit more simple, not as loud with the font used, and it allows for an unobstructed view of the product inside (this is Bronzed Taupe). The pot is lower profile, sleeker, and is more of a squared shape with a round screw-on cap. Like its Maybelline cousin, the cap has a sticker featuring batch, color, and volume (3.5 grams or .12 oz) information on the cap. A notable difference is that unlike the Color Tattoo, this Infalliable Eyeshadow features acrylic (plastic) packaging; this makes it lighter (and sturdier!) which I personally consider a plus, but glass is more-often associated with luxe when it comes to product packaging…something L’Oreal usually tends to pursue.
Opened, the L’Oreal and Maybelline Gel Shadows are two different scenes – the Maybelline Color Tattoo has the product right there in your face, but the L’Oreal Infalliable Eyeshadow has a little secondary lid that sits atop the product. Though it isn’t loose or of such a consistency that it may escape if you accidentally invert it, I imagine this secondary lid is to help tamp the product in place to keep it from drying.
L’Oreal and Maybelline Gel Shadows
I’m going to be a little backward and share swatches before sharing consistency details. I’ve swatched the L’Oreal and Maybelline Gel Shadows on the back of my hand. Both products were picked up with a finger and applied with one swipe over no primer – this is how they are out of the pot. You can’t see it in the photo so well, but the L’Oreal Infalliable shadow, pictured left, is a bit more even in one pass than the Maybelline Color Tattoo. They are both great; excellent pigmentation and color payoff. Both L’Oreal and Maybelline gel shadows pictured are frosty metallics, but Bronzed Taupe features a shinier, almost wet-look finish on my hand here compared to Barely Branded, which looks satiny in comparison.
Now, my favorite part: the formulas. Though these are both gel-type shadows the formulas and consistencies could not be more different.
Maybelline’s Color Tattoo formula, though gel, is actually somewhat stiff. Although they recommend applying with a finger for best results (like you might do with pigments), I found that using this non-flat shader brush gave me the best results. I apply with my finger from time to time and usually regret it – I just can’t get an even application with my finger unless I pat, but I find patting this product with my finger doesn’t give me great color payoff, even if I press, unless I pick up a TON of product. Once it is on, it dries swiftly and does not budge. I like using Barely Branded as a base for other gold or light-neutral eye looks or to use in a single-shade look for lazy days. I have oily lids and this is fine through a ten-hour (office!) workday without additional primer.
L’Oreal’s Infalliable Eyeshadow formula is much softer – we hear the word, “buttery,” tossed around a lot to describe product texture in the beauty world but seriously, this reminds me of butter. Not room-temperature butter, firmer than that, but still definitely smooth – it glides on BEAUTIFULLY with a finger or a brush. I actually prefer using a finger with this to swipe or pat it on my lid. That is invaluable to me – as much as I love makeup, I reeeally love sleep, which sometimes means I don’t have as much time to do my makeup as I’d like…I like not having to grab another tool, and I love that it is so easy to work with. I haven’t used this shade as a base yet because I feel like it would be more appropriate as a base for a darker look (which I don’t do a ton of), but it is also fantastic for lazy or single-shade days (which I’ve had a lot of lately).
In the past two weeks I’ve REALLY been loving using the L’Oreal and Maybelline gel eyeshadows in Brozned Taupe and Barely Branded in concert to create a nice, neutral two-step eye that is appropriate for work. Slap on mascara and wham, you look like you put some effort in when really it took like, oh, maybe two minutes tops (before coffee). They’re definitely worth their price tags.
A couple weeks ago I did a first look at the Elma and Sana Argan Oil, and now I feel as though I can adequately review the product. Fortunately, this won’t be a talk-your-eyes-off-via-text review.
Verdict: Don’t bother with this one, at least not for facial use.
The consistency of this product is thinner, resulting in having to use more product to effectively moisturize. Granted, this is only a 2-4 drops more than you would need to use of the Josie Maran product – but still. On top of feeling thinner, it somehow also feels greasier. Of course it is going to have a bit of slip to it as it is an oil, but it kind of felt like vegetable oil or canola–if I wanted that, I could probably just grab a jug of Crisco. My skin took longer to absorb it – which makes a ton of sense, I know. I used it nightly for two weeks and thought I was crazy for the first few days, but nope – it really did take longer to absorb. The color of the oil is not the same – Elma and Sana Argan Oil is closer to being clear, which suggests additional processing:
Elma and Sana Argan Oil vs. Josie Maran Argan Oil
On top of that, this oil does have a smell. You will frequently see that Argan Oil on its own should not have a scent. This has a distinct smell, but it is difficult to describe – but it doesn’t smell very natural, and not at all like the odorless Josie Maran. It is neither foul nor particularly offensive, but when you anticipate an odorless product, having an odor is unpleasant.
Furthermore, I feel that this product caused me to break out. It did not cause irritation or redness, but I did develop blemishes during use of it – I typically only get 1-2 small, manageable ones per month (cycle-related), but I have FIVE that are currently healing (non-cycle-related). My under-eye area is back to being a bit dull.
I’m going back to using Josie! I think this product is an OK body moisturizer is fine for the ends of the hair (if you’re into that – I’m not, but I tried it for science), and it is definitely nice for cuticles, but I don’t recommend it for use on the face. Something about the way they processed this oil doesn’t really let it do what it is supposed to do for your face.
Especially considering the somewhat-illiterate label and website…just pass on this one.