Almay One Coat Mascara: My Holy Grail Drugstore Mascara

Almay One Coat Masacara |

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.

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.

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

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

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 |

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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My $10 Makeup Lighting Solution

Makeup Lighting Solution |

I recently realized that I needed to update my makeup lighting system. In an ideal world, I would always apply makeup in natural lighting. However, in the real world where the sun goes down at four o’clock in New England, this is simply not realistic. I went on the hunt for a new lighting system and came up with an easy $10 solution!

My old lighting method for makeup application was to sit in front of a floor lamp placed directly in front of me. However, this always cast shadows on one side of my face, making it impossible to evenly light my face. I also tried to light my face from both sides with clamp spotlights but experienced the same issues with shadows.

The quick and expensive route would be to buy a lit vanity or lit makeup mirror. However, living in a one bedroom apartment on a budget led me to rule out both of these options. Then one day I remembered I had a few white round hanging paper lamp shades from Ikea that were sitting unused under one of my dressers. These were left over from my wedding and I initially repurposed them for video lighting before moving onto a studio lighting kit.

I dug out the paper shade and hung it over my desk from an unused curtain hook. The great thing is this setup takes up zero desk space and can be adjusted up and down, which means I can use the shade as a desk lamp or for makeup lighting. When I use it to apply makeup, I position it directly behind my mirror so it casts a natural soft light that mimics sunlight. I’ve had zero issues with shadows and my makeup always turns out nice, soft and well blended.

If you’re like me and have limited space and budget, a simple hanging paper lantern from Ikea might do the trick!

Kate Winslet Ruined My Eyebrows and Other Tweezer Tales

Searching for the right eyebrow shape takes time, but with patience and creativity, you can find the shape that best suits your face. Keep reading to find out how I found the right shape for my face as well as tips I recommend for those new to eyebrow grooming.

Titanic In 1999, I loved Titanic like most 12-year-old girls. One day I sat on my bed staring at poster of Leo and Kate when I became fixated on Kate’s eyebrows. I grabbed a pair of my mother’s tweezers, sat down in front of the mirror and proceeded to pluck off half my left eyebrow. That’s when my eyebrow obsession began.

While most girls my eye were busy with hair and clothing, I became consumed with eyebrows. I drew different shapes in my notebooks and pointed out to my friends which shapes I liked the most. I always plucked them myself, reasoning that if I messed up then it was a learning lesson. If someone else messed them up then I would just be, well, angry.

On Finding the Perfect Shape

Up until college, I followed the general rule of thumb for eyebrows to never pluck above the arch. Then a friend suggested I throw out all eyebrow rules. Breaking the rules wasn’t easy, but once I started, I wanted to try everything. I experimented with shapes–thin, long, short, arched, straight. However, for the past five years, I’ve kept my eyebrows relatively the same. Inspired by Natalie Portman’s eyebrows, I tamed my arched eyebrows to be straight.

If you’re uncertain about how to find a shape that works for you, here’s some guidelines to help you out:

Buy a good pair of tweezers. Do not buy $1 tweezers from the bin at the drugstore. Investing in a quality pair of tweezers will save you time and pain. I use Tweezerman’s Slant Tweezers.

Start slow. Don’t pluck off half your eyebrow like me. If you’ve never plucked your eyebrows, you may not know how quickly your brow hair grows. If your brows grow slowly, avoid making drastic changes if you’re unsure of the results.

Learn the rules, then break them. I spent the first six years of plucking my eyebrows following these rules: 1) Never pluck above the arch, and 2) Keep the ends long. Learning the basics first will give you a good idea of what type of shape you like without over-plucking or ruining your brows. Once you learn these rules, break them all you want.

Notice other people’s eyebrows. Since most models and celebrities in photoshoots will have their brows filled in or photoshopped, looking at magazines can be unreliable. Look at candid shots of celebrities instead. You can also look at the brows of the people around you. What shapes do you like? Can you try it out on your own brows? Just because your brows aren’t like someone else’s doesn’t mean you can tweeze, pencil and fill your way into them.

How to Pluck Your Eyebrows

Two years ago, I made a video on how I pluck my eyebrows for my YouTube channel. I’ll try to make an updated video soon, but here’s the older one!

If you’d like to see more videos, you can subscribe to my YouTube channel. Let me know if there’s any videos you’d like me to make!