Thursday, October 29, 2015

Review: L'Oreal Visible Lift Blur foundation

After 25, there are definitely things you might want to "blur." This has become the new buzzword in the makeup industry: Optical illusion through makeup that takes down the appearance of things like fine lines and wrinkles through a "blurring" technique. Call it the reverse HD effect. The product retails for close to $15 (pricey for a drugstore foundation) and comes in a plastic squeeze tube.

This foundation looks great on the skin upon first application. I don't see a visible difference in things like fine lines, nor do I see any lifting effect, but it does create an airbrushed finish. As a cautionary, if you have combination to oily skin, the foundation wears down and separates very quickly. The initial result lasts a short amount of time.

I imagine this product lasts much better on someone with normal to dry skin. It has a moisturizing texture and isn't long-wear. I also don't know that I buy into the "blurring" effect of the product: I remember trying Lancome's Teint Resist, and in every single light (including florescent), I looked amazing (and of course it's off the market). I swear, that foundation contained unicorn tears. Optical filters are a wonderful idea, but the company doesn't really explain how the product works, and I don't see that dramatic an effect on the skin.

If your skin is dry or normal and you want to minimize the look of fine lines, this product is possibly worth a try. Overall, I don't think it's worth the hype or promises. Miracle? No. Blur? Undetermined.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Review: L'Oreal Voluminous Superstar mascara

Mascara is one of the hardest products to review, because everyone's lashes are different and take to mascaras differently. I rarely review mascaras because I have a very sad story: I have typical Asian lashes - short, straight, almost non-existent. They're a little like Whoopi Goldberg's eyebrows.

I'm envious when I watch the non-Asian reviewers applying mascara and it boosting what's already there. For me, finding a mascara that produces a visible result is a huge accomplishment. The first mascara that accomplished this for me was Cover Girl Professional mascara. A few years back, I discovered the L'Oreal Voluminous line. There have been so many offspring of this original version that I can't keep it straight: Some have worked for me; some haven't. L'Oreal's Full Definition performed so well on me, I kept repurchasing it. Then, as it happens, it got discontinued.

I tried L'Oreal Superstar mascara on the hunch that a primer would help the helpless. To my amazement, the primer adds a level of volume and definition to the lashes. The mascara itself produces visible length and volume to my lashes. Here's the litmus test: If after I apply the mascara, my lashes touch my glasses, I know a measurable impact occurred. This happens every time I apply this mascara.

The brush is the standard L'Oreal Voluminous curved wand. The formula is thick but doesn't appear clumpy on the lashes. The mascara applies smoothly and leaves lashes evenly defined. After a day's wear, there is no flaking or smudging.



Sunday, October 18, 2015

What It Means to be a Journalist

The job that intrigues people the most about me is that I was journalist. They think it sounds glamorous, maybe gutsy. When I try to explain the world of it, I am thrown back into a fascinating whirlwind of stories - other people's stories. To be a really good journalist is to be able to morph yourself into someone else's world and mind long enough to tell their story.

Here's how it started: I was a child who got put in the Blue Birds group for reading comprehension. The Blue Birds were the strongest readers and writers. When other children would struggle with a word, I'd get so frustrated that I'd want to get up and read it for them. I could remember how to spell a word just by seeing it once. My brain didn't work like that in other areas, but words landed in my mind like photographic images.

I would write prolifically as a child, spending hours I couldn't recall later roped into the world of the word. Something happens to a writer's brain during the writing process: Time stops and you lose all sense of self. Words actually appear on the page before your brain fully processes them. Literally, I would stand up a few times and wonder, How did that get there? I didn't write that.

While other students struggled trying to figure out their major in college, I knew that I would be a journalist. I didn't know it isn't always a lucrative career, and it's one of the one's most susceptible to economic collapses. I once read that passion doesn't make sense. You follow it because there's no other choice.

The dichotomy of me is that I'm by nature a very introverted and shy person. Once I got into a journalism job, I learned fast that I'd have to fight that in order to pull information from people. I also learned journalists have terrible reputations: People just inherently don't trust them. People would test me with "off the record" and "on the record." If they later saw anything that was "off the record" in print, they wouldn't talk to me. This never happened, because I never burned them. Yet I knew I was getting tested for my integrity.

When I got to New York City, I became a financial journalist. My manager told me my first day, "Call traders. You're going to sink or swim." It was one of the scariest tasks as a early twenty-something, but I swam.

Here's what worked: I got straight to the point; I listened; I used my soft, feminine voice to entice them to call back (that's as far as I'll go with playing the "girl card"). I also learned about people very fast: Some of the most outwardly friendly traders were the scammers, and the most bristly trader ended up being the most honest. Journalism is a strange dance of psychology: You're reading them, and they're reading you.

I left journalism when September 11, 2001 hit. Many of the young journalists voluntarily walked away. Why? Because in the midst of tremendous grief, we were asked to call people and pull a story. Here's where I'm not a hardcore journalist: When someone is hurting, I don't want to intrude and ask them how much it hurts so I can get marketable copy.

I remember us sitting in a divey bar shortly before we all left. Prince's Purple Rain was playing in the background. Our futures were unmapped, but we were young with the mystery of time on our side. In the years following, I went back into journalism, then I tried a series of office jobs that were boring but provided the false sense of security journalism never does.

The reality is, I am still a journalist. It's in my blood. No job compares to telling the truth of our world.