Almay One Coat Mascara: My Holy Grail Drugstore Mascara

Almay One Coat Masacara | ThoseGraces.com

I’ve done it! After trying about 20 drugstore mascaras, I’ve finally found one that works for me. Hallelujah! I’ve been using the Almay One Coat Lengthening Mascara for the past two months, and I can safely say that this is my new holy grail drugstore mascara. And, of course, I wanted to share my new discovery.

Why I don’t wear high-end mascara

Before I dive into my review, let’s talk about high-end or department store brand mascaras. I typically don’t wear them. I’ve tried samples, but other than that, I have no interest. And here’s why: No matter how nice Chanel or Tom Ford mascara might be, I’m just going to throw it away in three months. That’s what you have to do to prevent bacteria from developing in your mascara. Why would I spent $20 or $30 on something I’m just going to toss out?

Friends have pointed out that I could just wear high-end mascara for special occasions, but it will eventually dry out and my money will also be wasted. And that’s exactly why I stick to drugstore mascara, which only sets me back $6-$12 per tube.

Ok, onto Almay’s One Coat Lengthening Mascara

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about the Almay mascara. I bought because it was on sale and I paid about $6. I had pretty low expectations since nothing by Almay has ever wowed me. I’ve tried products from Almay over the years, and they’ve all been, “Meh.”

When I took this mascara home, I immediately fell in love. Almost all of my previous drugstore mascaras flaked or smudged within an hour or two. The worst culprit of flaking was CoverGirl LashBlast, which is a shame because I really love the brush on this mascara. But I digress.

The Almay One Coat Mascara stays put all day. It doesn’t flake and only smudges when it’s really hot out or when I accidentally leave it on when working out. (Bad, Courtney!) And I didn’t even have to choose the waterproof formula to get all those benefits! I’ve also been using the same tube of mascara for about 2 1/2 months and it has yet to show any signs of drying up. I’ve never had clumpy lashes either. Swoon, swoon, swoon!

The only negative thing I could potentially say about this product is that the name is bit of a misnomer. Realistically, you will need more than one coat. If you’re going for a very natural look, you might prefer only one coat, but to get nice and lengthened lashes, I definitely needed about three coats.

The Almay One Coat Lengthening Mascara retails at Ulta for $8.49. It also comes in four other formulations.

Natural’s Not In It: I’m Back and Blonde

Back and Blonde | Those Graces.com

After a two month hiatus from blogging, I’m back! For awhile life was hard and I couldn’t find much joy in my once beloved hobby, but you know what they say. Distance makes the heart grow fonder, which is exactly what happened so I’m back! And BLONDE! So, so blonde. And I love it!

Let’s jump right in talk about the hair. I needed a major change and highlights weren’t going to cut it. I went to see my colorist and friend Andrae at Mirage Hair Design in Natick. When I got there I was on the fence about going really blonde, so Andrae and I debated back and forth about the merits of being really blonde versus just kind of blonde. Once I sat down in the chair, I told Andrae, “I just want to feel like I’m doing a big change.” He jumped in immediately and said, “Let’s go for it, let’s do all blonde.” I was sold!

Going blonde isn’t the most glamorous process. It takes time and you look silly. Which I guess is probably how I felt the the first time I was blonde, except my friends did it, which definitely was not a salon experience. I can tell you right now that if you want to go from brunette to blonde, do it at a salon unless your best friend is also a colorist. Just trust me on this.

The whole process took about two hours, which seemed short to me. I swear when I was blonde before and I would go for highlights, it took four hours. Needless to say, Andrae is amazing at what he does and I’m sure that’s why the process was quick and painless. No really, it didn’t hurt at all. I even have such a sensitive scalp that I tear up when people brush my hair. This was the fourth or fifth time Andrae did my hair. He’s done everything on me from ombre to brunette to blonde and it always turns out amazing.

I’m glad I took the leap to go back to blonde. I’m under no delusions that it will be easy to maintain, but I’ll tell you what, it sure does look great.

You can (and should!) follow Andrae on Twitter and Instagram. He’s hilarious, genuine and gives great advice along with doing amazing hair.

9 Steps for Unearthing Products with Harmful Plastic Microbeads (Updated)

How to Find Out if Your Exfoliator has Plastic Microbeads {Those Graces}
My heart sunk last week after reading the article Don’t Lather, Don’t Rinse, Don’t Repeat, which describes a study of the Great Lakes that revealed something quite disturbing. The microbeads, or microplastics, found in beauty products are ending up in the world’s lakes, rivers and oceans. What damage are they doing exactly? On Earth reports,

While microbeads may be less visible than plastic bags, they are no less environmentally problematic. For one thing, they “look just like fish eggs, and thus like food” to a variety of aquatic organisms . . .  All marine micro-plastics are troublesome, given their tendency to absorb and concentrate persistent organic pollutants that can potentially accumulate in the fatty tissues of anything that eats them. Moreover, when plankton, lugworms, mussels, or fish fill up on toxic junk food, they may well lose their appetite for healthier fare. Dutch scientists who fed mussels tiny nano-particles of polystyrene found that the shellfish subsequently ate less and grew less.

Since they are small enough to pass through pipes without issue,  they are also small enough to get through wastewater treatment systems. And Americans buy cosmetics containing more than 573,000 pounds of microbeads each year. This has become such an important issue that New York is now seeking to ban products containing microbeads.

Chances are you probably own products containing the plastic microbeads. If you’re concerned about the environment, you’ll want to invest some time figuring out if the products you use hurt our valuable water sources. In this post, I’ll teach you how to do that as well as provide natural alternatives to these harmful products. 

9 Steps for Unearthing Beauty Products with Plastic Microbeads

To figure out if your products contain plastic microbeads, you’ll have to perform an amateur science experiment. OK, I’m not sure it’s actually scientific, but it worked for me.

Step 1: Gather suspected products. This means cleansers, masks and exfoliators. If you’re unsure if something contains microbeads, squeeze a small amount of product between your fingers and rub them together. If it feels gritty or sandy, it most likely has microbeads.

Step 2: Grab the number cups or containers that corresponds to how many products you’re testing. Make sure you choose a container  you can easily fit your hand into. Line each product in front of its corresponding cup.

Step 3: Fill the container with lukewarm water similar to the temperature you use to wash your face.

Step 4: Squeeze about half a teaspoon of product into the water. I recommend using more than you would on your face so you can get a larger sample.

Step 5: Swirl the product in the water to break the product up.

Step 6: Let the container sit overnight. Make sure to leave the corresponding product in front of the container so you remember what’s in there.

Step 7: The next morning, slowly empty your container halfway.

Step 8: Put your hand inside of the container and feel for any product that settled at the bottom.

Step 9: If you feel that same gritty texture you felt in Step 1, you have plastic microbeads on your hands. Literally. It didn’t dissolve over 8 hours and probably never will.

I did this test for all my products with microbeads. Sadly, there was plastic in every single one. I’m still questioning what to do next. I’m definitely not going to use them, but I feel just as bad by sending them to the  landfill. What an eco-friendly dilemma! My plan is to throw them under my sink, pretend they don’t exist and then toss them out next time I move. I figure in the end, they’re probably less harmful in the landfill than they are in our lakes and streams.

Natural Alternatives

Do not fret! There are tons of natural exfoliators out there that you can make yourself. From baking soda to lemons to salt, I promise you there are options. I pinned about 17 natural exfoliators and recipes to my Beauty Board on Pinterest to help you get started!

What to Do With Them

Microbeads have been in the news lately, and like me, a lot of people are wondering what to do with their microbead-filled products. You can read more about what to do with yours here.

More Information

Thank you to readers who contributed more information in the comments section.

I know some brands are aware of the problem and are planning on phasing them out. I found this link: http://www.beatthemicrobead.org/en/industry.
–Caryn

I have been telling my clients for years to stay away from microbeads. Very harmful to the skin.People tend to rub so had without realizing it that they cause micro tears in the skin. Unseen to their eyes. These micro tears thin the skin making it age faster. It can also cause hyperpigmentation since the body is trying to repair those tears quickly.
Susie of Esthetic Goddess

Kryolan Opens Boston Store and I Geek Out

Kryolan City Boston
When I first started geeking out about makeup about six years ago, one of the first brands I stumbled upon was Kryolan. The German brand made its name in theater and became critically acclaimed for its professional grade products. Up until recently it was only available in-store or by special order, which is why I never saw their products in person. So you can imagine my excitement when fellow Boston blogger Elissa of Style Wire told me that they opened a Boston store.

Kryolan City Boston
Though they have stores all around Europe, Kryolan City Boston is the brand’s third U.S. store. They also have locations in San Francisco and Chicago with plans to open up a New York City store next month. My experience at the store was unlike any other makeup store. U.S. brands like MAC and Sephora pale in comparison. The store is bright yet friendly and the products are a-maz-ing!

Kryolan City Boston
These products pack a punch with quality pigmentation and unique colors. They carry a green lip gloss and lipsticks that glow under a UV light. They even carry blue lipstick, which I’ve been hunting for since December. They have eyeshadows in just about every color. Needless to say, this isn’t a routine shopping experience.

Kryolan City Boston
The staff was also very helpful, and unlike other stores, I never felt talked down to. They had great advice and helped me find exactly what I was looking for! It was very welcoming and I never felt intimidated despite never having seen Kryolan in person.

Kryolan City Boston
Another great thing about Kryolan is that prices range from $2 to $42. I bought two lipsticks that retail for $2.40 each. Their lip glosses run around $17 while their HD foundation costs about $42. Since Kryolan manufactures their own products, they’re able to keep prices relatively low. If you don’t want to spend a fortune to have some fun playing with color, Kryolan is a great place to get started.

Kryolan City Boston
I definitely plan on stopping by Kryolan City Boston soon! You can visit them at 31 St. James Avenue in Boston.

View More Photos from Kryolan City Boston

How Long Does It Take to Apply a Full Face of Makeup?

How Long Does It Take to Apply a Full Face of Makeup? | BeautyShy.com

Whether you’re an expert or a novice, around the holidays you might pull out your makeup stash more than usual. In your quest to find the perfect look, you might stumble across makeup guides that promise a great holiday look in no time flat. With estimates from anywhere from three to thirty minutes, it may be difficult to estimate just how long it takes to apply a full face of makeup. So, how long does it take exactly? I sat down to find out!

Process and Tools

Products for Full Face of Makeup | BeautyShy.com


Bobbi Brown Corrector in Porcelain Bisque, Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage in SC-2, Milani Mineral Blush in Mai-Tai (similar), Tarte Smooth Operator Powder in Translucent, Revlon Colorstay Foundation in Buff, Stila Stay All Day Mascara, Nyx Matte Lipstick in Merlot, Maybelline Expertwear Eyeliner in Ebony Black (similar), NYC Kohl Eyeliner in Taupe, MAC Lipliner in Redd, Benefit Blush in Bella Bamba Not Pictured: Urban Decay Naked Palette

For my time trial, I used Bobbi Brown’s “Makeup Manual,” which outlines 10 steps for achieving a basic makeup look that requires a full face of makeup. Though the process advertises ten steps, it could easily be closer to thirty in order to get the look you want.

1. Corrector and Concealer
2. Foundation
3. Powder
4. Blush
5. Lipstick
6. Lip liner
7. Brows
8. Eyeshadow
9. Eyeliner
10. Mascara

Before I started my makeup, I pulled all the products so searching for them wouldn’t add to my time.

The Verdict: How Long Does it Take to Apply a Full Face of Makeup?

As a moderately skilled makeup user, it took me nearly 16 minutes to apply a full face of makeup. That means if you’re new to makeup, this look could easily take you 30 minutes to get it just right. No matter how long it takes you to properly apply makeup, the key is to take your time, have fun and enjoy the process! When you take your time instead of rushing, your makeup will turn out better and you might learn a new trick or two in trying to get the perfect application.

How long does it take you to apply your makeup? Do you ever find yourself rushed around the holidays? Comment to share your experience with me and other readers!

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