Thursday, July 18, 2013

Review -- Mary Kay Products (Mascara, Lash Primer, Cream Shadow & Lipstick)

Note: I did not pay for these products; I received them in an Influenster VoxBox. If you're unfamiliar with Influenster, it's a program where companies can share their products with a community of consumers, who then share their opinions about the products. You can find more information here (including how to sign up, if you're interested). That said, I assure you that these are my honest opinions.

I've wanted to try Mary Kay products for a while now, but somehow I never got around to it.

(Part of it, I think, has to do with the price -- not that the products are super expensive, but they seem a little pricey for a mail-order brand that I can't see or test the items ahead of time. I mean, I've purchased from Avon off and on over the years, so I'm not averse to the idea in general, but Avon's prices have always seemed more reasonable and they regularly run specials so it seems like there are always good deals to be had.)

So when I received the Influenster VoxBox featuring Mary Kay products last month, I was pretty excited.

It was a completely no-risk way to try the brand and see what I thought of the quality.

Sounds good, right?

The first product that I tried was the Mary Kay Lash Primer.

Mary Kay Lash Primer

Mary Kay Lash Primer
I should go on record here and admit that I love lash primers in general. I love the look of thick, voluminous lashes and while plenty of people can achieve that effect by layering several coats of mascara, I always wind up with clumpy, spider lashes when I try to do it.

I usually have success with lash primers, though, because they coat the lashes to bulk them up, but they typically have a thinner consistency than mascara so they don't make my lashes look as clumpy.

The Mary Kay Lash Primer claims to add volume and length to your lashes, while also serving as a lash conditioning undercoat. It is probably the thinnest lash primer that I've ever tried, so the results that it offers aren't that dramatic -- I didn't notice any real lengthening action going on, just some modest volumizing.

I'm okay with that, though.

On an average day, I don't usually want super dramatic lashes so this has become my everyday lash primer.

It retails for $15, though, so I'm not sure that I'd be willing to shell that out every month or two for the results that this delivers. However, I'm not aware of any drugstore lash primers that are sold separately so maybe this is the most affordable option out there.  (If anyone can recommend a lash primer that's less than $15, please share!)

The next product in the box was the Mary Kay Lash Love Lengthening Mascara, which I was super excited to try out. That's because I've heard Michelle and Laura from the MM&L Show on YouTube gush about the original quite a bit and I love those girls.

Mark Kay Lash Love Lengthening Mascara
Since I have pretty short lashes, the lengthening formula is probably a better option for my lashes -- and I have to say, I really love the formula. It definitely lengthens the look of my lashes, but it really separates and defines them too so you get soft, fluttery lashes that are so pretty.

The Lash Love Lengthening Mascara features a plastic brush, which actually isn't my favorite type of wand but this one is actually slightly curved to fit the contour of your eye so the mascara is really easy to apply.

Mark Kay Lash Love Lengthening Mascara's brush
 It also pairs really well with the Mary Kay Lash Primer because the mascara does the lengthening work while the primer helps thicken, but neither formula is thick enough to cause clumps or spider lashes.

The mascara retails for $15, which seems reasonable as far as mascaras go. I'd recommend this one for sure.

(But if I'm being perfectly honest, I don't know if I'll repurchase any time soon simply because I have plenty of mascaras that I've gotten in kits and samples sitting in a drawer, waiting for me to use them so I don't plan on buying any mascara any time soon.)

The box also included the Mary Kay Cream Eye Color in Violet Storm.

Mary Kay Cream Eye Color

Mary Kay Cream Eye Color in Violet Storm
 The formula is fairly thin, which I think helps prevent it from creasing on the eye.  It's also pretty creamy, though, so it's easy to apply and blend. I don't ever apply a cream shadow without a primer like Too Faced Shadow Insurance or Urban Decay Primer Potion underneath, so I can't say how long these shadows would last on their own.  However, with a primer underneath, it stays crease-free for me for a good 8 to 10 hours.

The box also included the Mary Kay Cream Eye Color/Concealer Brush ($10), which is your standard flat, synthetic concealer style brush. It works well at applying the color, but using a finger seems to work just as well, if not as precisely. I don't think there's any need to buy this particular brush anyway since you probably have one (or, in my case, 8) just like it already in your collection.

Mary Kay Cream Eye Color/Concealer Brush

The shade, Violet Storm, is mid-tone violet with a metallic finish. A single layer is fairly sheer, but you can build it up to be more opaque and intense. I find that I use it most often as a colored base under powdered shadow (It is perfect under Provocateur from the Urban Decay Vice Palette, a gorgeous light lilac shade that's tough to work with because it's got quite a bit of chunky glitter. Mary Kay Violet Storm is a great color match and really helps keep the glitter in place.)

Mary Kay Cream Eye Color in Violet Storm

The Cream Eye Colors retail for $14, which once again seems reasonable -- though the budget-friendly Maybelline Color Tattoos always seem like the best cream shadow choice to be these days.  Still, I would recommend the Mary Kay Cream Eye Colors if there's a shade that you particularly like and can't find in the Maybelline range.

(I'm actually considering picking up Pale Blush, which is a matte peachy shade that you know is calling my name.)

The final product in the box was the Mary Kay True Dimensions Lipstick in Pink Cherie.

Mary Kay True Dimensions Lipstick

Mary Kay True Dimensions Lipstick in Pink Cherie
 Like the Revlon Lip Butters, Maybelline Color Whispers, and L'Oreal Colour Riche Balms, this is mean to be an intensely hydrating lipstick.  It certainly feels amazing on the lips -- smooth, lightweight, moisturizing, and creamy -- and it looks pretty great too. It doesn't accentuate dry patches or flakes at all.

In terms of pigmentation, though, I'd put it more in line with the Maybelline and L'Oreal versions than the Revlon Lip Butters.  The color payoff is pretty good, but ultimately, they're fairly sheer.

My problem with the lipstick is that Pink Cherie, a bright mid-tone pink, is just not a shade the works for me.  I can wear it if I apply it so it's super sheer but I don't think I'll reach for it all that often because of the color.

Mary Kay True Dimensions Lipstick in Pink Cherie
 And I would be remiss if  I didn't mention the scent -- it's an old lady florally perfume type scent.  I don't enjoy it all, and I'm not particularly sensitive to fragrance.

These lipsticks retail for $18, which seems pretty steep to me. Coupled with the cloying scent, the price makes me hesitant to purchase any of these in the future.

All that said, I think if a Mary Kay product catches my eye in the future, I wouldn't have any qualms about ordering it. While all of the products don't necessarily do it for me, I don't have any real issue with the quality of the products. However, I don't see myself becoming a regular customer simply because I can find products of the same quality that are less expensive and I can actually check out in person if I'm so inclined.

Are you a fan of Mary Kay?  What are you favorite products?

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