March 8, 2012

Prodigious Products: MAC Fluidline

And of course the shade I'm talking about is... yes, you guessed it: Blacktrack. Although I can't wait to try other colors. 

MAC Fluidline is so far the only gel eyeliner I have tried but I really feel like there is absolutely no need to try other brands.

Well, I lied! 

In the name of full disclosure, I am very, VERY curious to sample Maybelline's Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner:

And also Catrice's Gel Eyeliner:

But my curiosity is only based on budget and it's not related at all with the quality of MAC Fluidline. Like I said, I am crazy about this product. 

I am a heavy eyeliner user. I wear it every single day. Black and dark brown are my favorite colors.  My signature look for many years included a soft smudged eyeliner on both lash lines and the waterline as well.

So I figured out that applying gel eyeliner would make my look better and boy was I right!

After months of practice and experimenting with it, I changed my signature look to a more natural eye with winged eyeliner on the upper lash line. This allows me to pull of bold red lips, but that is a story for another time.

I use my MAC Fluidline with a flat, angled eyeliner brush from CALA

No eyeliner that I had used allowed me to create a perfect winged line in a deep, rich, creamy and bold way such as Fluidline. I also apply it sometimes in my waterline and it lasts much longer. 

I love that this product is very intensely pigmented and even when it dries (I know, I know, I know I am not supposed to use it like this, I experiment with products) it still works wonderfully. Mine lasted around 13 months before it started to dry, it was used at least once a day. 

I have a bit of smudging but I think it comes mostly from mascara because once its set, this thing does not budge. However, it is very easy to remove at the end of the day. But I will of course share my make up removal secrets with you later on. 

March 6, 2012

A Marketer's Analysis: The Ideal Mascara

I love mascara. I am totally obsessed with it. I have spent at least ten years of my life learning non-stop about this little product that makes such a big difference. 

Last year I had to do a market research project for my studies, the objective was to practice the Adaptive Conjoint Analysis so we had to choose a product and make some questionnaires about it. I don't want to get too technical so I will try to explain this as easy as possible. 

We had to look for the ideal attributes that a certain product would have. So of course I chose mascara. And I used the following attributes and attribute levels (click to enlarge):

For this project Differentiated Brand refers to those brands that have a very special Unique Selling Proposition, such as being hypoallergenic, contain fair trade ingredients, or some kind of innovation that puts their pricing between the drugstore brands and the luxury ones. Examples of this kind of brands are The Body Shop, La Roche Posay and Kieh'ls. It doesn't mean differentiated in the traditional marketing meaning, because of course then all brands must be considered as differentiated. 

If you don't know what tubing mascaras are you are missing out! Instead of painting your eyelashes, they coat them with the so-called tubes that are totally smudge proof since they hang on to your lashes until you take them off with warm water.  I will talk about my personal experiences with this kind of product later on.

By rubber brush I meant those with little flexible spikes such as Cover Girl's Lash Blast:

Or the one from Maybelline's Great Lash Lots of Lashes:
Well, you get the idea.

And by ball/round brush I mean the brush that Givenchy Phenomen'Eyes features:

and L'Oréal Paris Telescopic Explosion:

OK so now to the fun part, the results:

My sample was very small, but I still thought it would be interesting to share the results. With help of a program and based on the data I collected, the ideal mascara should:

- Be black
- Be waterproof
- Have a traditional brush
- Be from a differentiated brand
- Provide length as main benefit

So from now on, whenever the ideal mascara is mentioned, I am referring to a product with the characteristics mentioned above. 

Analyzing these results a bit it's obvious that being black is a given, I think it's safe to assume that most mascara users choose black. Now, I conducted this project in a humid country so I guess that's why it's so important that mascara comes in a waterproof version too. To be quite frank, I was a little surprised because in general I thought people would find removing waterproof mascara to be a hassle. I guess in this case the pros outweigh the cons.

It was not a shock to see that consumers prefer a traditional brush. Curved brushes are not super popular in my very personal opinion, since they don't really curl the eyelashes, sometimes the rubbery ones seem too exotic and the ball/round ones seem well, quite scary. 

Consumers want differentiated brands, I somehow thought that they would prefer either simpler purchase choices from a drugstore or luxurious and fancy products. I somehow assumed that these differentiated brands would appeal to consumers that are more involved in learning about the cosmetic industry. 

Finally, I learned that length is the most sought benefit. I reiterate that my sample is way too small to draw any kind of generalization from it and it was merely an exercise just to learn how the Adaptive Conjoint Analysis works. I think this is the most important attribute in mascaras. I perceive that brands base their communication and product development mostly on this. Promises about extraordinary volume, out-of this-world length, extreme curve and microscopic definition or sometimes combination of those benefits makes resisting running to sample all the new products very hard.

So in my mind this allegedly ideal product does not really exist yet. The Body Shop has Big & Curvy Waterproof mascara which judging by the name and its description provides curve and volume. 

I don't remember Kiehl's having waterproof mascaras (but please correct me if I'm wrong) and as far as I know Too Faced makes only washable and tubing mascaras. I know there are many other brands out there that fit the bill but so far only Tarte comes to mind with their Lights, Camera, Splashes! 

So for this project, this is one that comes close to the concept of the ideal mascara: it is black, waterproof, from a differentiated brand (natural, cruelty free, without synthetic fragrance, no phthalates, green packaging...), has a traditional brush and well it doesn't specifically provide length but it promises the bombshell lashes you love. So I could definitely recommend this one to the participants of my study. 

Please remind me of other products that could be considered ideal, according to the findings of my project.

The final part of the study was to perform three so-called market simulations. Besides the ideal mascara, I had to choose two other products so that the program would tell me which one was most likely to be purchased.

The fun thing about this is that I got to choose two real and very popular products: 

The first one is Diorshow Waterproof by Christian Dior that I chose for being black, having a traditional brush, coming from a luxury brand and providing volume and length:

And the also beloved Maybelline's The Falsies Volum' Express, chosen for being black, washable, having a curved brush, from a drugstore brand and providing volume and length:
So as you can see, I was trying to play a bit with the attributes of the products. 
The outcome from the two first market simulations was that the ideal mascara was the favorite, followed by Diorshow Waterproof and finally Maybelline's The Falsies
The third market simulation showed that Diorshow Waterproof was most likely to be purchased, followed by the ideal mascara and then Maybelline's The Falsies

If I had to do this study again I would definitely adjust the attributes to make it a better research tool and of course use a bigger sample. So far, this project was the most fun I've ever had doing. 

March 3, 2012

The Perfume Reviews: Tease by Paris Hilton

I thank Fragrantica for opening my mind. A couple of years ago I wouldn't even consider sampling celebrity fragrances. I just assumed many things about them and boy was I wrong! Alright, not all of them are masterpieces but the best thing about the perfume world is that there is always something for everyone.

Now I have to say already that tuberoses are my favorite flowers and by far one of my favorite notes so it is natural for me to hunt around for my tuberose fix. 

That's how I came across Tease by Paris Hilton.

I am in no way a fan of Miss Hilton and I really don't read tabloids or care about celebrity news. Except when it comes to their fragrances.

It is well known that Paris Hilton's fragrances are usually located where the line between fruity florals and sugary gourmands is very thin so kudos to Parlux for venturing into the white floral world. 

I think that the real reason behind the choice of notes is to stray a little from their usual target market and appeal to women in their late twenties, thirties and so on. 

The whole marketing around the scent is different from her usual image. I have to confess that I find the bottle lovely.

Now to the good part, here are the notes:

bergamot, white peach, Fuji apple
frangipani, jasmine, tuberose
blond wood, hot sand, amber

 The author of this composition is Steve de Mercado.

Tease opens with tuberose and a syrupy fruit juice composed mainly of apple and peach. The bergamot is almost completely overpowered. One does not need to wait long for the fruits to tame down and the tuberose to shine as the queen of this composition. The jasmine is slightly noticeable, it stays in the background. At this stage I also perceive what I assume is the hot sand, turning the composition a bit rough and a tad rancid. 

Tease by Paris Hilton is classified as a Chypre Floral, although to me, it is essentially a fruity tuberose.

This Eau de Parfum has an incredible sillage that might scare those that cannot bear white florals and fascinate those that can be enchanted by their sweet, fleshy dewiness. Tease has an excellent longevity too.

I must confess that although it is quite enjoyable, Tease is not my favorite tuberose. I find the fruits too syrupy and overall the notes not being perfectly well blended together. I do wear it, because I do like it but my tuberose journey is far from being over.

March 2, 2012

The Perfume Reviews: Couture! by Moschino

The one, but not the only one.

I have always been fascinated by perfumes but it has been really the last couple of years that I spent my time researching about this wonderful industry: the notes, the olfactory groups, the brands, the noses...

During my fragrant trips I found a gem, the holy grail of perfumes (for me, at least). Without further ado I present you the wonderful, the perfect Couture! by Moschino.

This Eau de Parfum is classified as a Floral Woody Musk
Here are the notes:

mandarin orange, pepper, bergamot
peony, pomegranate, jasmine, poppy
benzoin, vanilla, cedarwood

Rossella Jardini, the art director for the Moschino brand describes Couture! as an irresistible essence of life and pure joy. I totally agree with her. Moschino Couture! was launched in 2004 and it was one year later that I came to know this precious concoction.

This is one scent hard to describe, especially in terms of specific notes. They're all perfectly blended together and it's exactly that harmony that is so fascinating: it's a bit fresh, a bit sweet, a bit spicy. 

Far from being overpowering, Couture! is rather energizing and I wore it during both day and night feeling perfectly comfortable. This perfume is for me something very special, it represents for me the two best sides of femininity: strength and sweetness. 

And it's by far really the only perfume that deserve to be called Couture!

Now, why do I call it the One but not the Only? The ugly part about this wonderful perfume is that it has been discontinued. Once I finished my first bottle I searched for it in different countries (even continents!) only to find out that only some online shops offer the last bottles of it.I even e-mailed the company but never got an answer. So I look at my empty bottle with nostalgia and sniff the cap from time to time while I'm instantly reminded of good old times. So that left me obliged to go hunt another signature scent. Sounds easy? It's NOT!

Welcome to Cosmetic Edition!

Welcome to my little corner of the cyber world dedicated to my biggest passions: cosmetics, perfumes  and marketing.

For many years, my brain has been collecting all sorts of information about products, brands and companies that make beauty products and fragrances and now I want to share my knowledge and experiences with the world.

If you are a cosmetics and perfume addict as me, please feel at home!