Milani Luminoso in PanMilani Luminoso, $8

This is a legacy post that I’ve given a facelift. I still love this under $10 drugstore blush – and even though I have a fancy NARS blush and I own highlighters now, this still holds its own in my collection.

There are so many stunningly beautiful prestige and luxury blushes out there.

That said, don’t let yourself get caught up and sneer at drugstore blush because some of them are wonderful. My favorite so far, to my surprise, is a $3 e.l.f. Studio offering. Modest price, modest (but functional, sturdy, and sleek) packaging – but pretty color that is perfect for every day and/or work. But this article isn’t about that, it’s about Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso.

It’s April. My No-Buy is over. Another blush finally joined the ranks.

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2016 Favorites

I’m sticking to last year’s annual favorites format because it worked well.

2016 Favorites - Garnier & Simple Micellar Water

Garnier Micellar Water, $7; Simple Micellar Water, $8

If I had to pick a single type of product to name as a favorite in 2016, I’d have to say micellar water is it. I like both of these and purchase whichever is a better value at the time. I’ve totally given up makeup wipes in favor of using this with cotton pads or a reusable makeup removing cloth.

Pantene Pro-V Stylers Mousse, $6

This mousse is my, “daily driver.” Out of the (average) 135 days per year I blow-dry my hair, this product is in my hair at least 95 of them. (The remaining ~40 is either hyper-lazy, product-free, or calls for the big guns.) It is accessible, inexpensive, and reliable – and it works well on my hair.

Gimme Brow

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March 2016 Favorites


March 2016 FavoritesMarch 2016 Favorites
Milani Luminoso
, $9 \ bareMinerals Prime Time eye primer, $18
Essie Apricot Cuticle Oil, $8.50 \ St Ives Nourish & Soothe, $5

Despite March possibly being more hectic than February, my March 2016 Favorites are less boring than last month’s. Ch-check it out.

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Drugstore Products I’ve Changed My Mind On

You get something new, and it doesn’t live up to whatever expectations you have. Or maybe it is a really great product. Even if you like it, sometimes you’ll set it aside and find yourself revisiting it some time later, only to form a completely different opinion.

Here’s a list of products I’ve changed my mind on:

Changed My Mind - L'Oreal Voluminous Miss Manga MascaraProduct I’ve Changed My Mind on
No. 1 L’Oreal Voluminous Miss Manga Mascara

At first, I was happy with this product; in fact, I posted my positive review just over a month ago. In just a month, the consistency has changed enough that the product causes my lashes to clump (even though it is not particularly dry). I can only separate them by going through them with a lash comb afterwards and I don’t have time for that. That isn’t to say the product is bad – I know some prefer that look, but I prefer definition and length to volume…so I’ve changed my mind on this mascara and will not repurchase.

Changed My Mind - Maybelline Color Tattoos

Product I’ve Changed My Mind on
No. 2 Maybelline Color Tattoos

This is something else I’ve shared recently. I tried the products but ultimately felt they didn’t live up to the hype so into the back of the drawer they went. I recently re-discovered them and found that they’re great when used with a specific Real Techniques brush. So glad I gave them a second chance.

Changed My Mind - Milani Eye Tech Extreme Liquid Liner

Product I’ve Changed My Mind on
No. 3 Milani Eye Tech Extreme Liquid Line

This felt-tip liquid liner’s formula is a great inexpensive dupe for Stila Stay All Day Liquid Liner. I used to really like it (especially at its price point), but the product itself didn’t properly flow all the way to the very fine tip of the felt pen which made it harder for me to achieve a fine line when I wanted (aka most of the time)…and so I changed my mind about it. If you want a suuuper-fine line, this isn’t the one for you. If you don’t mind your lines being a little thicker or having to go back and clean it up, this is still a good product. The formula is quality – it lasts, doesn’t smear, and is surprisingly gentle to the eye (in case your hand jerks during application and you draw on your eye – not that I know anything about that).

Changed My Mind - Maybelline Baby Lips

Product I’ve Changed My Mind on
No. 4 Maybelline Baby Lips

The Baby Lips line has had several iterations by now. I tried the first and then one or two here and there since, and the result has been the same. They were decent enough at first, but by the time I got midway through the tube I just wasn’t impressed because they feel like any other cheap balm (I actually prefer classic Chap-Stick [Cherry] to this). As a basic balm goes, there are better ones out there in terms of moisturization. As a tinted balm goes, there are ones that are better in terms of pigmentation and moisture. It just isn’t a formula that does much for me, and I will not repurchase it unless they come out with a new formula.

Originally, this was intended to be an overall things I’ve changed my mind on – but I have come to realize that I haven’t (yet) changed my mind on any of my prestige beauty products. I’ve tried things that disappointed, sure – but I haven’t yet changed my mind on one.

What about you? Have you had any products unexpectedly fall into or out of favor after your initial assessment?

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 for around $5.

Milani Eye Tech Extreme Liquid Eye Liner

Milani Eye Tech Extreme

When I heard Milani Eye Tech Extreme may be a reasonable dupe for Stila Stay All Day Liquid Liner, I had to look into it. Glorious as the felt-tip liner from Stila is, it is about $20 for a full size at regular price, which makes me kind of sad. This product, however, is only about $7-8.

Featuring a fine felt tip, the Milani Easy Tech Extreme liquid liner is structured very similarly to the Stay all Day and should be able to product similar results. According to Milani’s Site:

Non-feathering, waterproof blackest black formula lasts all day without flaking our budging.

I tested it out to see how well it met that claim. Here are the pictures, taken and laid out similarly to the Stila test.

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