Monday, November 1, 2010

Makeup Monday: Promises, Promises

Can you achieve a professional looking smoky eye in just two steps, with one product? According to CoverGirl, you can. My mom often says, "I'm from Missouri - the 'Show Me' state." Well, I'm not from Missouri, but I take after my mom. I was skeptical.

I'm not against drug store makeup. In fact, I have a pretty even mix of high and low end makeup. There is certainly a noticeable difference in many products, but there are a lot of great, cheaper alternatives that are available out there. What I'm often displeased with, however, is their marketing. In an effort to reach the masses, they make things seem way easier than they actually are. Not that they're all that complex - but it takes a little bit more work than they advertise in order to achieve the looks they present. When the consumer follows their advice and their look ultimately falls short, it's easy for them to feel defeated and just give up all together.

Makeup - particularly more complex eye looks such as the smoky eye - can be daunting for those with limited experience. I remember wanting to try it, but deciding it was easier to forgo it completely. I didn't want to risk the embarrassment of looking like a little girl who got into her mom's makeup case. While it is absolutely within reach for the every-gal, a lot of makeup brands often make a big mistake: making false promises of great results with little to no work or skill.

There are plenty of gorgeous looks out there that involve just a few steps and very little skill. A swipe of mascara, a bit of blush and some lip gloss lend a fresh-faced look. Highlighter near the tear ducts and under the brow give an instant wake-up. But when an advertisement promises a professional looking smoky eye in just two steps with one product, I have to wonder: is anyone buying this? Take, for instance, the CoverGirl SmokyShadow Blast. I find it hard to believe that a) the makeup artist only used one product (two shades) for Drew's gorgeous look and b) they followed the two steps on the package. Since they sent some products over for me to try out, I figured I would give it a shot and see if it delivers.

Taken from the fact sheet:
Easily achieve smoky eye perfection - it's almost like having a makeup artist at your fingertips!

Two steps? Sounds easy enough. Let's give it a shot. Tutorial and pictures after the jump!

I used the Silver Sky Covergirl Smoky Shadowblast, which has both a silver and purple side, and followed the directions exactly as stated. "Big, bold smoky eyes with amazing results?" Not exactly. It's quite lackluster. The package said nothing about blending - remember, it's only two steps - though the fact sheet suggests smudging and blending to perfection. Ah, they left that part out! But since this is geared toward people with little to no makeup expertise, I think that's an extra step worth adding. Wouldn't you rather go the extra length for a more desirable result?

But alas, even with blending, this certainly leaves a lot to be desired. Instead, I suggest using this as a base for a smoky eye. Using a colored base gives it greater intensity, so this is actually a great starting point for a smoky eye. But like most things in life, it takes a little bit of work to get it right. So, let's take it several steps further and create something that is actually big and bold.

Note: I used a base underneath to prevent creasing (I read that others had a lot of issues with it). Before you put this on, use a base such as MAC Paint pot or Urban Decay primer potion. Creasing is such a bummer.

Since the CG base was silver and purple, I went for a silver, purple and black smoky eye. Here's what I used:
MAC Bare Study Paint Pot
Covergirl Smoky Shadowblast in Silver Sky
MAC Electra eyeshadow (used wet)
MAC black tied eyeshadow (used wet)
MAC pinked mauve pigment
MAC blacktrack fluidline
Benefit badgal lash

After the initial application, follow these additional steps:

It takes a little more work and several more products, but the end result is worth it!

As for the CG Smoky Shadowblast? My verdict: I wouldn't go out of my way to purchase it, but if you already have it on hand, use it as a base...with another base underneath it.

p.s. The final photos were taken on a different day than the step by step, so there are some slight differences.


  1. Wow, you're so good with makeup! I do the same stuff all the time, but you make me want to try new things! I actually went out and bought some pink lipstick after one of your tutorials!


  2. I had the same experience with the CG product too. I LOVE what you did here -- just gorgeous!

  3. hahah I was skeptical of these too, you worked it into the final look really well though! p.s. I am in love with your hair bow!

  4. I'm so in awe of your makeup talents. You have so much to teach.
    I also really appreciate you giving this such a fair and honest review. It's really helpful to relative makeup-newbies like me to read these posts.
    Thank you! evie x

  5. that's hysterical-- you used the cover girl two step process as the jump off point for a whole treasure trove of makeup products used to make a smokey eye look! what a gorgeous job! i am half asian, and always find it is hard to find good tutorials for eyes like mine. thank you for proving that it can be done, and well!


  6. Michelle: Did you have problems with creasing? It feels like it would crease a lot without a base.

  7. Evie: Thank you! I don't want to upset CoverGirl, but I also don't want to mislead my readers. If they sold it in conjunction with matching shadows, it would make so much more sense.

    Samantha: Kind of defeats the whole point of the product, right? Haha!

  8. great look! I love how 80's influenced it is, reminds me of souxie and the banchees

  9. Looks awesome! Just curious, where did you get your bow? I love it!

  10. Yes - major creasing!! The ads and the drawing that came with the product really fool you into thinking you'll achieve the Drew look.

    btw, just tweeted about your blog and how much I love it :-)

  11. Hungy Tigress: It's by - from their cheaper line, heart by!

  12. how beautiful! and the bow looks great! for the first time i kinda want one :)

  13. i liked your 'review' of this! :D thanks for giving an honest one. :D

    love your lips here btw! :D

    Animated Confessions

  14. You look amazing--really wish I could apply eye make-up that well

  15. I'm pretty sure I live for makeup Mondays.

    I saw that exact CG project last time I was in Ulta, but put it back because of the issues I've had in the past with shadow sticks (i.e. the creasing).

    Did you use the tap trick that you used a few posts ago to get the clean line on your outer eye? It worked wonders for me when I tried the same look, but just can't seem to get a similar effect without it- wet brush or not.


  16. Alyspank: I didn't use tape for this, just a densely packed brush, used wet. I sprayed it with Fix+ and "mixed" the shadow to make a nice thin paste.

  17. I'm so glad that you posted the tips. I bought the exact same CG Shadowblast combo awhile ago, and it did not turn out as expected. As you showed to add additional eyeshadow to achieve the smoky eye look, I just might have to try that sometime. The drug store makeup that has worked for me for smoke eye look is L'oreals Color Smokes eye shadow in Blackened Smokes. Thanks for sharing your blending techniques, very helpful!

  18. Your eyes look great..its so refreshing to get an honest review of a product..thank you:)

    Stop by and say Hello ♥
    Shop @ Lulus w/my Sponsor Coupon Code

  19. I don't know if you already answered this, but what lipstick are you wearing here?

    Thanks for such an honest review!

  20. heyy

    was just on your boyfriend's blog!

    i couldn't actually leave a reply, so i decided to leave my comment on yours. :D big love :)

    anyway,, you guys are the next greatest thing next to chuck and blair.

    i give you my blessings. haha


  21. Oh, Keiko, thank you saying this! This whole thing about drugstore brands! Cause it means a lot coming from you, you being as skilled at makeup as you are. This is exactly how a felt, especially with the smoky eye effect. Every time I tried it, I either look like a little girl or a complete idiot. Even though I followed the product instructions! Nowadays I know how to accomplish it, but still, I don't do it so often thanks to the "trauma" in the past.
    And well, need I say how good it looks on you?

  22. fantastic tutorial! I love the colours in this one, will definitely have to try when I get some spare time.

    Sharon xx

  23. Hmm that was really misleading, and thank you for sharing :) I loved the look and you made it look so easy :D I am going to try this! thank you ^__^ and you look beautiful as always


  24. Thanks for the tips! I've never taken the time to learn how to apply anything more than mascara and eyeliner, but I'm ready to start some more advanced make-up application. Also, did you make the bow yourself? It's fab!

  25. Thanks for the review! I didn't believe they could get that look without creasing or smearing either - thanks for confirming my suspicions!

  26. At first I thought the first 3 photos were with just the CG products. I saw it in the store and highly doubted it worked--thanks for confirming this.

    Love the final look!

  27. I've loved reading your blog for years! You always look so cute and your creations are so fun! I also love your makeup tutorials but I wondered if you knew that some of the products you use test on animals. I don't wanna sound "preachy" but I know you love animals like most people and I figured maybe you were unaware of some of these companies. It can be tricky since wording can be different saying that their makeup isn't tested on animals but the ingredients in them are.

    Covergirl is owned by P&G which still tests on animals as does Benefit! MAC and Urban Decay are great companies though!! And a lot of what they do supports animal causes! If you want more info look at

    Again. Sorry if this is unwanted information! Love your blog!!

  28. you look so beautiful! I love the bow too.

  29. i'll try this soon!! looks simple, hope i get it right!

  30. What a great point you made about drug store make up promises! I never thought about it that way, but you're right!

    Thanks for sharing!

    ~ Katie

    P.S I love how you did this tutorial. I've been wanting to do make-up tutorials for a while, but I don't have a good video recorder - this idea could work well for me! Thanks!

  31. Monica: Thank you for the information. I didn't know that, but it's irresponsible of me to use it without doing my research first. I know MAC and Urban Decay don't test on animals, but I didn't realize CG did (though now that you mentioned their parent company, I should have known).

    p.s. Benefit tests on animals?! That's a shock. So disappointing, since I really love some of their cosmetics. I'll still use what I already have but I'll start putting a disclaimer - and from now on I will consult the list before I buy. Thank you for the tip.

  32. northwest is best: Thank you! It's not made by me, it's by a company called - it's from their cheaper line, heart by :)

  33. It's nice to see that someone acknowledges the fact that makeup can be difficult and takes a lot of practice. Oftentimes, it seems like it is something that comes naturally for the ones who do it, and for someone like me with very limited skills, it is discouraging when something doesn't go the way it is supposed to at the first try. So I usually just give up and most of the time go without any makeup.
    But this motivates me to try harder/longer, and maybe eventually my make-up skills won't be so limited anymore :P
    I really love your make-up posts!

  34. Great job! Pretty colors! =)

  35. Wow, this looks amazing! My favorite tutorial yet. :)

  36. i love m.a.c!!!

    you look gorgeus!!!

  37. looks amazing, i like that silver eyeshadow

  38. i dont know how i JUST found out about your blog! i love ALL of your makeup looks!

    please tell me what lip color you are wearing here (and all future videos), because i love them all!

    i must get them for myself! :)