Tag Archives: product reviews

The Eye Makeup Day of Truth: A Blinc Mascara Review

You look tired


A few months ago, my aunt reached for my hands and gently told me that I need to wear eye makeup every day.

“I’ve noticed that sometimes you wear eye makeup but most of the time you don’t. I think that it is well worth the effort.”

Two questions:
1. What the fuck?
2. What’s with the handholding? Was that supposed to soften the blow? It’s not like she was telling me I have cancer. Just that I look like shit on the 95% of days when I don’t wear eye makeup.

My first response was denial. I loved sharing the story with friends, so we could all toss our heads back in rollicking laughter. “Ha ha ha ha ha! What is she talking about? Doesn’t she know you have three kids and work? And you’re only in your early thirties! Jus jealous, amirite?”

But then it happened again. I recounted the story to my mother-in-law (who is wonderful, by the way), expecting the same “Ha ha, that’s bitchy” response. And at first that’s what she said, in her nice and supportive way. Followed by a pause.
“I do think that it looks really nice on you,” she said. “Sometimes you look tired without it.”

Which brings me to the next response: anger. Look tired? Gee, why would that be? OF COURSE I’M FUCKING TIRED. I have an infant, two pre-schoolers, a dissertation to write, a husband who works 60+ hours a week, and lots of time-wasting Internet reading to deal with. Isn’t recommending eye make-up BLAMING THE VICTIM, here? Fuck 60-something women and their slavish devotion to potions, crèmes, and chemically derived painter’s spackle! I’ll just be over here au natural, keeping it real, showing true beauty, providing a healthy and self-confident example for my daughters, or whatever you want to call it.

The anger started to fade when I decided that I didn’t really care about being self-righteous more than I cared about not looking tired and run-down. With this acceptance is the realization that when I look more pulled together, I feel more pulled together. It really doesn’t take that long, and if I’m honest with myself, I certainly have time to do a brief makeup routine. I’m just lazy.

Since the Day of Truth, when I accepted my own need to apply eye makeup, I’ve discovered two things.
1. Once you become a person who wears makeup everyday, you need to wear makeup everyday. When I was an occasional makeup wearer, days when I slathered a bit on were pleasant surprises. “You clean up well!” a potential date once remarked to me (I’m not even going into that phrase). When people are used to seeing you in makeup, however, days when you don’t get a chance to put it on are “You Look Tired” days.
2. You really don’t need a lot to make a positive difference. I reserve the right to qualify this as I age, but for now, one eyeshadow applied with my fingers, two coats of mascara, and tinted lip balm are all I need to look “Not Tired.”

Magical mystery mascara

Mascara is the most important of these products, as I have fair coloring and light colored eyelashes. Unfortunately, we all know that mascara can kind of suck. You put it on and it looks great for a couple of hours… until the flaking settles in. After a 10-hour day, there is more mascara on towels, couch pillows, and my under eyes than there is on my lashes. Waterproof mascara helps a little bit with melting on hot days, but it just prolongs the period of black smudge transmission to include my sheets as well, as eye makeup remover leaves an oily slime on my face that I find disturbing.

I read enough beauty magazines to know the general maxim is that cheap drug store brand mascara’s are great and that there is no reason to spend more than $8 for a tube. And that’s what I’ve done, typically buying Almay, Cover girl, or Maybelline. They’ve all been fine, making my lashes temporarily look thick and long, and then over the course of hours leaching from my face. The only mascara I’ve hated was the Sei Bella Melaleuca brand. (Incidentally, I really hope that Charlie writes a Melaleuca expose at some point).

I did wonder if there is something better out there, which is why I recently (gulp) plopped down $17 for a tube of Blinc’s Tubes Mascara.

Blinc describes their mascara as forming semi-magical water-resistant “tubes” around the lashes. That sounds about as believable as leprechauns, right? It makes more sense to think about Blinc as a liquid that turns to solid when exposed to air. Heat, water, or tears can’t change the solidified “tubes” back into a liquid- thus they stay on all day without flaking or smudging. Blinc mascara is supposed to be ideal for contact lens wearers (check) and those with sensitive eyes (check again). To remove, just gently rub your eyes with warm water, and the “tubes” slide off.

Getting Tubey

So how does the product measure up? Should I be spending the equivalent of lunch out for my family of five on a tube of mascara? The answer is a qualified yes. Blinc does many things better than every other mascara I’ve tried. It stays on the eyes during the day and is easy to remove. Several hours after applying, it looks almost the same as when I applied it.

Unfortunately, Blinc doesn’t create the volume that other mascara’s do. Lashes definitely look longer and separated, but they aren’t thickened. The website calls the effect “spidery” but I think it looks a little bit like this:

Just sayin’

A “lash primer” is available for an additional $20, which is supposed to help with volumizing. The mascara is a little messier than I’m used to, as every time I’ve put it on I’ve had some black smudge marks to clean up. It’s easy enough to do with a moistened Q-tip, but may be more annoying for those who have just finished applying other eye makeup. It makes my eyes feel a little itchy, but so do other mascaras.

Although I think the price is pretty high, the prominent role of mascara in my beauty regime (which is otherwise non-existent) makes me feel like a superior product is worth it. And Blinc is superior, in many ways. As soon as “extra-wide volumizing tubes” are available, it’ll be about perfect.

What drives you nuts about mascara? Any great ones to try?

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Matilda’s Top 5 Post-Partum Products: How to Unbust the Busted

In honor of Charlie’s gestating body (which is due to expel a child-being in the early fall) today I’m going to review my top 5 post-partum products. During labor and birth your body feels more powerful than it’s ever been. Afterwards, it feels…..well, more busted than it’s ever been. But it’s not! It’ll get back to normal-ish sooner than you would imagine. It’s going to require some help, though, and these are the things you’ll need to get there, in chronological order of when you’ll need them.

1. Handy Dandy Spray Bottle

The Miracle Worker

This small chunk of plastic, which likely retails for about $1.49 (I’m not sure because my hospital gave them away for free), is your first post-birth lifesaver. Because There Will Be Blood. And the blood will rain down so profusely you will wonder many times if something is wrong. I had this conversation on repeat with my nurses:

Me: (nervously) There’s a lot of blood….

Nurse: Yes.

Me: Are you sure that this is a normal amount of blood? It just really seems like a lot.

Nurse: (looking over distractedly) Yes.

Me: But I just passed a huge clot!

Nurse: (glimmer of interest) How big was it?

Me: As big as my fist!

Nurse: (walking out the door) Yes. That’s normal.

So even if you feel like the special effects director from Carrie, it’s probably normal, and they don’t care. But these little spray bottles will make you feel semi-human again. Try to talk someone into tearing their eyes away from the baby for a few minutes every couple of hours to refill with warm water and spray liberally all over your blooming lotus every time you change a pad or use the bathroom. You’ll feel clean and soothed, if only for a moment. Make sure to hide the first one the hospital gave you the day before you are released so that they’ll give you a spare, and trust me, water is all you need. Why on earth you would want to purchase organic witch hazel PEPPERMINT OIL fluid to spray on your very sensitive, swollen, and bruised parts is beyond me.

2. Pads and Cheap Cotton Panties

These are the hideous mesh panties you get at the hospital. Ladies with sensitive skin- beware! I was allergic. Think red, prickly, underwear-shaped rash allergic.

While in the hospital, you will be equipped with what seems likes cases of brick-like pads and several pairs of mesh-like underwear. But though it will have slowed down a bit, you’ll still be bleeding. For WEEKS. Or MONTHS.

Consequently, you’ll need to replenish your supplies quickly, and often. For the early days, when you still need to change pads every hour or so, I recommended Always Ultra-Thin Overnight Pads. Note that these are not the “fresh scent” ones. I don’t like my children or my pads “fresh”. If I wanted to smell like an incontinent person I would pee in my pants. See what I mean? The “freshness” isn’t fooling anybody. Plus, you’ll be changing those babies so often at the beginning they won’t have enough time to develop an odor.

If you wear your regular underwear at this point in your post-partum life you will: A. Potentially be depressed because they don’t fit;
and B. Ruin them.

So it’s smart to buy a couple of packs of 100% cotton underpants a few sizes larger than you would regularly wear. The 100% percent cotton part is important because you are still swollen and uncomfortable and the last thing you want is polyester rubbing against your wounded skin (the same will be true of your incision if you have a c-section).

Cheap cotton panties. You’ll rejoice when you get to toss them!

Finally, I really can’t say enough about how much more comfortable cloth pads are than disposable ones. When the blood flood finally starts to recede, you will be a lot more comfortable with a cloth pad set-up than continuing with the disposables. I don’t recommend them for the first week or two after birth because you would need so many that doing laundry would be a constant issue, which is the last thing a new parent needs. Here is a very helpful primer on how to make your own cloth pads, should you be interested. And don’t think that you’ll just wear tampons instead, because you aren’t supposed to and I really can’t imagine wanting to put something up there at this point in time. But I had a nine-pounder, so take that for what it’s worth.

3. Nursing Pads

The best disposable option

In general, I am a huge fan of reusable products. Not only are they beneficial for the environment, they are also genuinely more comfortable. I’ve used cloth pads for years and cloth diapered three children. But I just couldn’t find any reusable nursing pads that I loved. There must be some out there, and I’d love suggestions. But if you are going to go disposable, then these Lansinoh pads are the best. They stay firmly in place, are discrete, are large enough, and don’t have a “fresh scent”. You know I don’t like “fresh scents”.

4. The Nursing Gown

Your boobs will also be this big

The first three items on the list aren’t much fun, as necessary as they will be. But these amazing Aimee’s nursing gowns are the post-partum product that you didn’t know that you needed but you can’t live without. I promise I have no affiliation with this company, and in some ways I find them annoying because their shipping takes a while and they seem to be out of stock of the colors I want fairly often. But their product is really superior. The gowns are very well-made, soft, and amazingly supportive even for frightening massive “first milk” breasts. Most importantly, they make you feel attractive and put together at a time when you are leaking from all orifices. I buy one for every single friend of mine who gets pregnant and every single one has told me that it was the best gift that they got. I wish that they came in patterns and more color options, but otherwise these are as close to perfect as it gets.

5. If You Must, Here’s a Girdle Recommendation

“Breathable” mesh makes this one slightly bearable

Here’s the hard truth: your uterus will remain larger than normal for a while. Consequently you will still be looking pregnant even when you are holding your baby in your arms (which is why you should have your baby in your arms at all times, by the way). There are all kinds of “miracle girdles” out there that promise to make your stomach flatter faster, as long as you bind it tightly for the month immediately after birth. Needless to say, I couldn’t find any randomized control trials examining this. But I fell for it, and purchased several different kinds after my second and third children. Did the girdles help? After my second and third pregnancies it seemed to take forever for the belly overhang to fade, but it retrospect it was only 1-2 months. I never wore them all day every day because they can be really uncomfortable. I liked this one purchased on Amazon the most (and the price was comparatively reasonable).

So why am I recommending girdles if I’m not sure they worked and they were really uncomfortable? Because sometimes the placebo effect is real. That’s why it’s called an effect.

And there are Matilda’s top 5 post-partum products! Some of you may be asking, where are the prescription painkillers? And yes, those are important. Very, very important. But as pregnant ladies can’t buy those ahead of time (or if they do, we don’t condone it) I decided to focus on things to stock up on. What are your favorite post-partum products?

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