For Better or Worse

For Better or Worse: Belif Skincare

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At last month's Sephora VIB sale, I picked up a couple of items that I instantly fell in love with. Since I wanted to make sure the sentiment lasted, I've been using these products daily and feel confident enough to deliver an unbiased review. I think I've found the best, budget-friendly skincare line - belif.  I know I've focused on skincare quite a bit lately, but the unofficial summer kickoff is coming in a few weeks, and we want great skin so we can skip the makeup.

The two products I have (and already love) are the Creamy Cleansing Foam Moist and The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb.

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The Better:

With the cleanser, I needed to replace my current product when I ran out since, even though it was my favorite cleanser up to that point, it contained all sorts of fragrance, dyes, and nasty chemicals.  The Creamy Cleansing Foam Moist is a deep-cleaning balm that you can feel working without making the skin feel tight after rinsing. A huge plus: you only need about two drops, so this bottle will last close to year even with daily use.

I also wanted a night cream to help seal in all the oils and treatments used in my nighttime routine, but I didn't want to double up on my uber-expensive La Mer (once a day is all I can afford at this stage in life!).  After some research, I purchased this gel-like cream, and it does a perfect job.

The Worse:

This is super nit-picky, but I wish the lid of the cleanser was a flip-top instead of a screw top...it gets a bit cumbersome in the shower.  With the moisturizer, it definitely sits on top of the skin.  That's why I specifically wanted this formula, but some folks might really dislike it.  When this jar runs out, I'd like to try another version just for fun.

The Verdict:

With something for every skin type and a very affordable price tag for the amount of product as well as the amazing ingredients, I highly recommend not only these products, but also the entire line.

For a last-minute Mother's Day gift, Sephora has some nice belif gift sets!

 

Photos c/o Sephora.com

For Better or Worse: Chanel Yeux Stylo Waterproof Eyeliner

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This liner has been so highly suggested that when I was in the market for a new eggplant-hued one, I finally decided to give it a try.

The Better:

I love the color, the application is smooth, and, blame marketing, but I do feel fancy busting out the one and only Chanel product I own.

The Worse:

Basically everything else. First of all, this this was $33. Shocking. I figured that because it was so highly recommended AND it was labeled "long-lasting" I would get more for my money. Nope. I have to apply about three layers to achieve non-sheer results. And, worst of all, the pigment disappears throughout the day.

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Although it doesn't slide around, I almost would rather it did because, instead of being nonexistent, at least it would look a little smokey. Frankly, I get better results from the Maybelline Lasting Drama liner.

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Here, I applied one swipe of the Maybelline and went back and forth three times with the Chanel, let it dry, then rubbed over the lines:

 

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The Verdict:

Skip it.

For Better or Worse: Farmacy Soothing Sheet Mask

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When it comes to at-home face masks, I believe the best formula is to spot-treat.  For example, eye patches for under-eye puffiness and hydration, a clay mask on the T-zone, and a hydrating mask everywhere else. But that's the dream (well, the dream is to have a standing appointment at the Spa de La Mer in NYC...), and in reality, I'm lucky to have the time/discipline/patience to do a weekly mask at all.  Enter: the sheet mask.

If you haven't already, you must try a sheet mask because it is an easy delivery system for potent, healing ingredients  - Sephora has their own, reasonably-priced brand that is great for first-timers.  You can find a sheet mask for any issue, and as a bonus, there's almost always enough left-over product in the mask's packaging that you can use it as a serum.

So recently, I tried the Farmacy Hydrating Coconut Gel sheet mask in the "soothing" variety, purchased here.

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It's $24 for three masks, and there are several additional varieties including Oil-Control and Anti-Wrinkle.

The Better:

This really did soothe my itchy winter skin, so points for that.  Also, there was an incredible amount of the serum left within the packet.  I had enough to smooth not only on my face, but also on my entire body.  After about 30 minutes, my skin was more plump and glowing without feeling slick, and I was pleasantly surprised that my skin was still hydrated the next morning.


 

The Worse:

While it was a lovely mask, and the ingredients are top-notch, I get better results from a slightly less-expensive mask (this one).  Also, the packaging is confusing.  The mask sits between a blue film and a paper-like sheet.  The directions instruct me to remove the blue side, but not the other, so I left it on.  When I posted the above photo on Instagram (@ElectraLane), Farmacy actually reached out to let me know I needed to remove the paper layer.  Awkward.

The Verdict:

This is a great mask.  If you're willing to spend $8/mask, go for it.  I probably will not repurchase because I already have favorite premium-ingredient sheet masks (La Mer and SK-II), and as stated before, I get even better results from a cheaper version.

For Better or Worse: Lashes

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Today Electra Lane is debuting a new monthly series entitled For Better or Worse, which is my version of monthly favorites. This month, you need to know how to get long, fluffy lashes without extensions or strange rituals.  Full disclosure: my dad passed down great lashes (thanks, Dad!); however, they have become slightly longer and almost doubled in thickness since I started doing this.  But let's start with what not to do...

Worse:

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I purchased this as an add-on item during Black Friday shopping because I was curious.  If you really need some serious lash growth, this might be a great product for you, but I say skip it. First of all, I accidentally used too much and a little dripped into my eyes - it felt like I used a jalapeno for eyeliner.  Don't know about you, but I want especially my nighttime makeup-removal routine to be as quick and efficient as possible (otherwise I won't take it off at all), so adding this extra, tedious step simply was not going to happen.  That said, I wasn't consistent enough with the application to see any results - maybe four or five applications in two months, and they suggest twice a day.  Nope.

Better:

(Photo c/o RainbowLight.com)

I am NOT a doctor, nurse, nutritionist, or health professional in any sense, and anything of this type should be cleared by your doctor before you take it!!!  However, if your doc says it's okay, prenatal vitamins are legit.  My hair stylist says it's the biotin and folic acid, but it could be ground-up Capuchin monkey toenails for all I care.  Not only are my lashes growing, but so are my hair and nails.  This specific brand also has your probiotics and digestive enzymes, plus all the good stuff that comes in a multivitamin.  As long as I take it with breakfast, I don't have any stomach irritation, so this is the quickest, easiest, and cheapest way that I've experienced to get the eyelashes I want.

Here are my lashes with no mascara:

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Curled and with mascara (NARS Audacious):

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Side by side:

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