Product Packaging Pros & Cons

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One thing I've noticed is the recent trend to package your old favorites in new designs that may mean a thicker brush or different applicator.  For example, eye creams that come with a roller tip or a foundation that used to pour out now has a permanent sponge on top whether you want it or not.  So do these cosmetic changes enhance the product or decrease the effectiveness?  Since we spend our hard-earned money on this stuff, I wanted to know so I could report back to you which ones I think have made changes that are beneficial and which ones may be a waste of your cosmetic cash. 

Eye Opening Picks & Pans
Big changes have popped up in eye makeup products that promise to pop your lashes.  With the popularity of the eye lash lengtheners, many mascara brands are promoting their wand size and formulas to compete with the long lash trend.  So, I purchased a few different brands to see which one truly gave me great eyelashes. 

Starting with a very inexpensive line, Wet n Wild has a mascara that houses the wand so tightly, it never clumps.  I like that a lot and I like the price tag of $4.99 for the Wet n Wild Lash Intense brand, but it wasn't my top pick. 

Two-headed mascaras, as I call them, have been around for a while now, but I hadn't found one I that I really liked until my friend turned me on to the Maybelline XXL Pro 24 Hour Bold mascara.  Wand #1 is supposed to build your lashes and wand #2, as the ends are labeled, is meant to seal the mascara for 24 hours.  I found this particular mascara to work well and I was surprised how long my lashes looked with this product.  My gal pal was right and the price is right as the two-wanded wonder sells for $8.99 at drug stores.  Another cool thing about Maybelline is their website which has step-by-step videos that show how to create a color plush look using the brand's eye shadows, liner and mascara.  Check it out at maybelline.com.

Something interesting that several of my friends and I noticed was a mascara that we liked when it was new, but didn't hold up as well as other lines.  Sphere-headed and unique, the L'Oreal Telescopic Explosion worked well to get up and under lashes, but we all agreed that that the results didn't last very long.  After several uses, we discarded this very different eyelash brush mascara and went back to the traditional wand brands.

Another interesting applicator is sold by Rimmel London and the wand brush is more of a comb.  While it is true that a comb applicator prevents clumping, I did not think it gave my lashes volume near as much as the more traditional wands, which brings me to my next mascara and to my next question: is bigger better?

Rimmel also offers a mascara that promises 14x the volume complete with their biggest brush ever.  I was intrigued as I like big fluffy mascara wands.  L'Oreal Extra-Volume Collagen also has a giant brush that promises 12x the impact and L'Oreal's Colossal brand touts that it will beef up your lashes 9x their original volume.  So, who has the bigger brush?  L'Oreal's looks slightly bigger, but they all go on in a pretty similar manner. 

To my surprise, I have to say that bigger isn't necessarily better, as both tended to clump.  I always believed that I preferred the bigger wands until I did this particular comparison.  Out of the three big boys, I liked the Maybelline Colossal brand.  However, my #1 vote still goes to the Maybelline XXL Pro that I mentioned earlier.  And that was the one my friends were raving about. 

Fun in the Sun Stuff
The fun in the sun days have arrived!  Like most of us, I can't help but admire the spray tans sported by those dancing show celebs, but getting a golden sun glow worries me.  I think tanning beds are a big no no and with Arizona's alarming skin cancer rate, sunbathing should be done with caution.  So, when I spied a suntan spray at Target, I was intrigued.  The Glow Getter Face & Body Sun Powder Spray did indeed shoot out an instant tan on my skin instantly giving me that dance star bronzed body look.  I liked that a lot, but I didn't like the strong fumes and wondered about inhaling this stuff.  Plus the spray tan gives you no protection against sunburn, so wearing it with your bikini is not a good idea.

So, I decided to return to getting a little bit of sun with swimming and hiking.  So, that brings me to a quick discussion about sunscreen.  An alarming news alert hit the wire last week warning consumers that sunscreen may actually be dangerous.  Now I was confused!  Is sunscreen dangerous, protective or both?!  

Because I am not a dermatologist or scientist, I won't go in to details, but I will tell you that after reading several extensive articles on the sunscreen subject, experts warn that some of the chemicals in numerous sunscreens may be actually hazardous to our health.  Now that is scary! 

So, I did some more research and discovered a great website that gives you a list of sunscreens deemed safer due based on ingredients.  The site is run by EWG (Environmental Working Group) and can be found at ewg.org.  After checking the site, I opted to purchase a line called Badger because the EWG site gave it a very high rating of a #1 in safety.  Badger Sunscreen For Face and Body is going to cost more with a $15 to $20 price tag, but the higher price is worth the lower amount of chemicals.  I found mine at Sprouts Farmers Market.

Brushes, Sponges & Rollers
For brushing teeth and nails, I have two products that I love.  First green and good, the Preserve toothbrush is made from recycled yogurt cups and the packaging includes instructions on how to easily recycle this brush when you are ready for a new one.  Visit preserveproducts.com/recycling.  This site enables you to download and print a postage-paid label to mail your used toothbrush in to be recycled again, but you can also mail them your #5 plastics that so many cities do not accept for recycling.  Keep your teeth and the earth clean! 

Another type of brush that I love is Sally Hansen's new Complete Salon Manicure nail polish.  Not only does the polish also function as a base and top coat, but it also has a wide brush that glides easily over the entire nail in one swoosh.  Although I did not think a bigger brush meant a better mascara, I did find that bigger is better when it comes to nail polish.

Several foundations now include built-in brushes and sponges, but I still find that my tried and true triangle sponges give the best and most even application.  Sponges also absorb bacteria, so using a new sponge each time is the smart way to go.

When shopping for beauty products like lip gloss and eye creams, packaging is offered in rollers, tubes and creams.  Rollers work well by evenly distributing the formula and I recently read that rollers also help keep bacteria away from the skin.  This is because you never need to touch the roller with your fingers so it is not contaminated by the germs on your hands. 

So, the next time you browse the cosmetic aisles, consider not only the color and brand, but pay attention to how your favorite formula is packaged before you lay down your dollars to lay on your products.  Knowledge is power that can help to keep your beauty and life on a budget.