Monday, March 08, 2010

Ask The Non-Blonde: Mostly About Makeup

There have been some recurring questions recently that I thought should be addressed in a blog entry instead of in the comment section. This one would be mostly about makeup, so I'll dedicate separate posts to other topics. Please feel free to ask more questions here or in email if you're more comfortable with that.

What is your holy grail mascara?
I have several, each one offers specific benefits. An important thing to remember is how a mascara's performance differs between people depending on the length and density of their lashes. That's why you see such a range of opinions on the same mascara. That said, my shortlist includes the following:
Giorgio Armani Eyes To Kill- It has the best goop/effect ratio. It looks and feels natural while delivering major length and definition.
Givenchy Phenome'Eyes- Criminal length, nighttime only.
Le Metier de Beaute- Best colored mascara. It's never dusty or weird, actually more a black with a hint of green and black with a blue undertone.
Lancome Hypnose- A classic that never fails to enhance, lengthen and define.

Do primers (eye and face) really make a difference?
Yes. They improve application, color integrity and make your makeup last longer and look fresh. I'm often bewildered to see women who should know better and put time and money into their makeup routine, yet skip the primer and get the "melty face" in the early afternoon (or sooner, if it's a muggy August day).

Which brand makes the best makeup?
There's no way I can answer this. I have favorite items from just about every brand I've blogged about. Of course, some brands keep raising the bar by producing beautiful, innovative products. Just follow my reviews and you'll see...

Which brand makes the best lipsticks?
See above.

Is there a perfect concealer? I think I've tried everything and still, no holy grail.
Short answer: Probably not. Longer answer: When I'm trying to do as perfect a makeup as possible, I find myself mixing two colors until I get it just right. I'll show an example in the coming weeks with a Smashbox concealer.

You don't review anything from brand ________. Why is that? Don't you think it's good?
I only review what I'm interested in trying and/or wearing. It's that simple.

You don't swatch 100% of the products you blog about. Why?
I enjoy swatches and know why they're so important, but sometimes no matter how hard I try, the photos don't turn out even half as good as I'd like. Swatching color is a lot more complicated than it looks, because the goal is to make it as accurate and true to life as humanly possible, but light, angle and camera quality also play a huge part here. That might be the reason so many brands and retailers don't even bother. Then there's the issue of my photos (and the text) being taken by people and used (often for profit) on other sites.

Can you do tutorials on how to do makeup?/Can you post photos of your face wearing the product and showing how to use them?
I'm not a makeup artist. I've become pretty good at understanding my own face with all its quirks and doing my own makeup, and I can probably do a nice job with my sister and my mother. However, makeup application should be very individual (and makeup artist who don't get that are the ones who produce sad clown faces) and tailored to your specific needs- where exactly to put the highlighter, the contour color or the width of the line above your top lashes- it's all about you, not about me.

Can you show examples on different skin tones?
The Non-Blonde is my very personal blog. I only have one skin tone and that's what you get here. While I'm equipped with a pale and blond husband who is amazingly cooperative (remember this?), he has to draw the line somewhere.

More question? Please ask! I'll do a follow up "Ask the Non-Blonde" next week.

Photo by Nina Leen, 1945, from


  1. I am searching for a decent and eye-friendly black waterline liner that doesn't make me weep and stays a while. Any suggestions?

  2. I really appreciated this round-up: I tried (and bought) the Armani eyes to kill when it appeared in your best 2009 list! I'm very happy with it, Thank you.

    Oh, and yes, I have a skincare-related question: I know your love for secret de vie, but I wonder if you have some other wonder creams to suggest: those that appeared in your posts lately seem to really deliver in the mosturising/lighting up field, but I was mostly interested in the firming/lifting effects. Anything to suggest?

  3. I have one issue, which always confuses me:
    Moisterizer, Serum, Sun cream, Primer... Do you use all of these products everyday and if yes, in which order? I never know if I should use sun cream before or after moisterizer.
    Thanks for your help, this was a great post (as usual!)

  4. this isn't makeup related but i'd love to know more about your cats! how do they get along with each other? how do you deal with the fuzz on your clothes? i keep lint brushes at work and in my purse. sad, but true.

  5. I loved the Q&A, Gaia! I have the same issues. I don't want to model makeup I use, but instead try to describe it. I'm sure I don't always do the best job with words, but...

    I find it hard to get true photos of makeup. It's strange; I can photograph antique silver with precision (and that's hard because it reflects light), but makeup swatches have become another story. Yours are good, and I love the inquisitive kitties!


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