Skip to main content

making faces :: product review [stila, benefit]

thought i'd take the opportunity of a truly miserable sunday afternoon [is it just me or does bad weather seem a lot worse when it happens on sunday?] to give some quick [for me] thoughts on a couple of things i've picked up lately, one new to the market, one just new to me.

stila sparkle eye liner "curacao"
this is a brand that i've wanted to try for a while, starting chiefly from the fact that my first exposure to them came from seeing their name on early iterations of companies that don't perform animal testing. while it's a lot easier to find companies who meet that criteria nowadays, i was still always interested to see what stila did. it's just that i could never find them. for whatever reason, their products never seemed to be on sale any place i could actually get to. reluctant to make my first experience an online exchange, i waited and was recently rewarded when i went into murale and found that the lise watier display had been uprooted in favour of a shiny new stila one. [smart move on their part- watier is available everywhere in montreal, whereas this is the only location in the downtown area that has stila.

i was a blank slate, having no idea where to even start with the brand, so i was surprised when what really caught my eye was a bright blue sparkly liquid liner called "curacao". i say surprised because i'm not normally much for eye liner in any colour other than black and, in particular, blue is a colour i tend to avoid since i find it makes my actual eye colour look faded. it's just that this one looked some damn pretty and so damn unique compared to just about anything else on display. the colour when i tried it on the back of my hand was intense and i figured that, if i was going to try something new, i might as well go all the way new. and as it turns out, these particular liquid liners are new to stila as well.

curacao sparkle liner
the formula on these is fairly watery- i found that on my eye [where i'm not inclined to push down with tremendous force], i needed a couple of coats to build up the intensity. i also found this meant that it took a few seconds to really properly set. the good aspect of that is that if you make a mistake, you can just wipe it away and it's like nothing happened. the bad part is that you need a little patience applying or else you're going to have smudges all over your lids. once set, the staying power is great. it doesn't budge and it maintains its intensity of colour, which is probably one of the main reasons people choose liquid liners to begin with.

the reason people tend to avoid liquid liners is because they can be really, really finicky and messy to apply. however with these, that's not so much the case. aside from the fact that you can clear away an "oops" pretty quickly, the long, conical applicator gives you a great deal of control over where the product goes and is not prone to dripping where you don't want it. i found the application smooth, even and neat, despite having to layer the product to get the intensity i wanted.

that layering is actually my biggest problem with these liners [or at least with the one i've tried]. the applicator makes it easier to do, but to me, trying to line up layers of eye liner is just asking for problems. once i did get the colour where i wanted it, though, i do have to say that it's very beautiful. i love the way it shimmers when it catches the light and adds just a flash of blue to my eyes. that effect can be more subtle when worn with other colours, or could be more dramatic if used on its own against a nude/ neutral base.

there are eight shades available of the sparkle liners. i would characterise them as "standards"- black, brown, olive, purple, blue and teal for colour. curacao is more original- more of a royal blue than a cyan base and a sort of ultraviolet reflect. there is also a mauve-grey ["starry"] that looks a little more distinctive than most dark grey shades available.

stile sparkle liners are $22usd/ $30cad, which puts them firmly on my s**t list for currency gouging, but the product is nice enough to warrant giving a try to whichever colours grabs your fancy.

available from sephora and murale [canada]. 

benefit full-finish lipstick "mod squad"
oh benefit, i so want to love you, with your slyly humourous marketing and your highly specialised products designed to meet needs i didn't realise i had, but we just never quite seem to connect. i'm extremely glad to see that the california-based company who celebrate both femininity and feminine power have grown to such a success and i still believe that their "bad gal" mascara is something to which all other mascaras secretly aspire [which makes me wonder why they've launched a new one this summer], but i just seem to have very little luck using their products myself.

their "high beam" highlighter is a beautiful, moonlit shade, but it settles in my pores something wicked. "dr. feelgood" priming balm makes my skin feel like velvet, but after a few days' use, it has a tendency to make me break out. their "creaseless cream" shadows work far better on me than most creams, but i still find they leave my lids feeling "sweaty" and can irritate the corners of my eyes [although they're not nearly so irritating as the mac "big bounce" shadows]. i keep going back to them because i love their attitude, their products are inventive enough to keep me interested and both "bad gal" and their ubiquitous boxed blushes are standouts.

their lipstick crossed my path when i had a hankering for a summer version of a lighter, cooler pink, something a little less heavy than mac's "saint germain" and a little more neutral than guerlain's "fuchsia delice". "mod squad" fit the bill quite nicely, because, despite the name invoking visions of opaque sixties white-pink kissers, the shade is quite sheer and, while definitely a cooler nude pink, it reads as quite natural with a single pass.

it surprises me that this is listed as a "full finish" lipstick, since i find the formula to be quite light. while it's not sheer, the colour of my lips definitely pokes through a little. if i layer the colour [which brings it closer to that light, cool "mod pink"], this becomes more pronounced, since the colour of my lips "fights" with the colour of the lipstick. personally, i didn't like the effect of the lipstick once it was layered- it seemed to apply very unevenly and the formula is slippery enough that it becomes more uneven every time your lips move. as a light, fairly sheer shade, i liked it very much, so whether or not this is the colour for you may depend largely on what you want to get from it.

mod squad- the cat hair is simon's touch
the formula, as i mentioned, is very moist/ slippery, almost more like a gloss. very strangely, although the colour itself doesn't have any shimmer or frost i can discern, there is a fine "grittiness" i can feel on my lips. i can't imagine why that would be the case or why someone wouldn't fix it, because it feels like you've got dust or dirt on your mouth. if you can get used to that, or learn to ignore it, the formula is quite moisturising and i did feel like my lips were getting some benefit from that. [i'll give you a moment to groan.] being a pretty emollient texture and a lighter colour, it's not a long-lasting shade; i would say i could get two hours or so of wear [assuming i could stop pleating my lips trying to figure out the grittiness] without having to reapply. based on what i've red, lipsticks in general seem to last less time on me than on others, so your mileage may vary.

there are definitely things that i like about this shade and some of the things i don't like, i can forgive because they're not as noticeable in a light/ sheer colour as they would be on the kind of colour i normally wear. but, once again, it seems that benefit and i are just doomed to be a little bit out of synch.

benefit full-finish lipstick is available in 20 permanent shades. $18usd/ $22cad [gets a slight growl, but canadian customers can order directly from benefit's web site].

available at sephora, murale, select shopper's drug mart/ pharmaprix locations and on line from

here's a quick look incorporating both products.

lush colour supplement "jackie oates"
diorskin nude hydrating concealer "001"
mac mineralize skinfinish natural "light"

mac e/s "neutral pink"
mac e/s "prussian"
mac megametal e/s "prance"
stila sparkle eye liner "curacao"
diorshow mascara

mac mineralize skinfinish "pink power"

benefit full-finish lipstick "mod squad"

nails [visible above, so i figured i'd share]
nars "desperado"


D.Sadie said…
That liner looks amazing! =)


*Check out my giveaway:
flora_mundi said…
The colour is pretty spectacular. I'd definitely call it the stand-out of the line.

as long as you're here, why not read more?

imperfect ten

whatever you've heard about the democratic contenders' debate that happened thursday, i would hereby like to tell you to ignore it and, if you have the time, go and watch as much of it as you can [stand]. the biggest story coming out of the debate should really be the appalling talking points that the mainstream media have latched onto, especially the ten-second battle between julian castro and joe biden over healthcare. that literally might have been the least consequential thing that happened all night and i'm including the ad breaks.

ten candidates is still too many a lot but this is the first time that we've had the heaviest hitters all hitting each other. at the same time, they also took somewhat stronger shots at donald trump than they had before [some more than others]. the debate was a full three hours but, unlike the cnn debates where i spent the last half hour or so throwing money at my television in a desperate bid to bribe the moderators to wrap it up quic…

worldwide wednesdays :: peace and prosperity through... socialism?

every year an organization called the institute for economics and peace produce a highly regarded report that rates 163 countries on their relative level of peacefulness: the global peace index. i happened across an online post about this year's report that made me do a double-take. although i'm a frequent critic of the united states, i am aware that they are one of the most developed countries in the world; nearly all americans of all are functionally literate, most have access to healthcare, most have access to potable water, freedom of speech is enshrined in the constitution, etc. many, many countries can't boast these things. so imagine my shock when i saw in the summary of the report that the united states ranked 118th of 163 countries. i couldn't imagine how that was true and, indeed, it was wrong.

they rank 128th.

how the hell is it possible that the united states is less peaceful than countries like honduras [consistently one of the most violent places in the …

dj kali & mr. dna @ casa del popolo post-punk night

last night was a blast! a big thank you to dj tyg for letting us guest star on her monthly night, because we had a great time. my set was a little more reminiscent of the sets that i used to do at katacombes [i.e., less prone to strange meanderings than what you normally hear at the caustic lounge]. i actually invited someone to the night with the promise "don't worry, it'll be normal". which also gives you an idea of what to expect at the caustic lounge. behold my marketing genius.

mr. dna started off putting the "punk" into the night [which i think technically means i was responsible for the post, which doesn't sound quite so exciting]. i'd say that he definitely had the edge in the bouncy energy department.

many thanks to those who stopped in throughout the night to share in the tunes, the booze and the remarkably tasty nachos and a special thank you to the ska boss who stuck it out until the end of the night and gave our weary bones a ride home…