Monday Musings: Beauty Update

Happy Monday ladies. I’m happy so many of you liked yesterday’s post. I’ll try to do those going forward when it makes sense. Proportion plays a huge role in whether an item does or doesn’t flatter our shape. Today I’m musing about some new things on the beauty and makeup front.

I hate to throw anyone under the bus, but it’s my responsibility, to be honest with you. I’ve loved, used, and recommended the Urban Decay eye and lip pencils for several years. They’re reasonably priced, stay on well and come in beautiful colors but I no longer recommend them.

broken Urban Decay lip and eye pencil on A Well Styled Life

This is the third time the center of a half-used pencil has come unattached and fallen out. That’s crazy! No matter the price, if I’m only getting to use half of a product, I’m paying twice what I should for it. Dino Platz magic wand makeup remover

These tarte mascara on A Well Styled Life

The Lights Camera Action Tarte mascara has been my favorite for several years until I bought a travel size of their Big Ego Vegan mascara. My theory on mascara is that once you have a decent formula inside the tube, the most important thing is the brush. The bristles on this Vegan mascara are longer on the outside to follow the curve of your eye. It just fits the eye better so it can reach the inner and outer lashes.

rosegold tweezerman eyelash curlerMy eyelash curler pad bit the dust in December. Rather than hunting for a replacement to fit a very old eyelash curler, I upgraded to this new one. The pretty rose gold color makes me happy plus it comes with extra replacement pads. The most important thing about an eyelash curler is that it has a flexible pad so it doesn’t break your eyelashes.

These 4 are still my favorites


Did you know that press-on nails are back in a big way? My nails are crap. There’s just no better way to describe them. They seem to be doing OK one week, then something goes crazy and they all tear, peel and end up looking embarrassing. Last week I did a deep dive into nail products on Google and discovered these press on things are hugely popular. I mean really popular. Turns out actresses and editors alike sport these things when they have an occasion and want nice looking nails.

I bought a set, stuck them on and felt instantly glamorous. They remove without damaging your own nails by simply putting a tiny bit of polish remover around the edge. They’re not for long term wear but perfect for those times you’re going somewhere and your nails look horrible. Plus it’s hard to go wrong at $8.99. To be honest these look better on my hands than the acrylics I used to get years ago.

And in the category of why and who wants this? Second-hand beauty products are about to boom in 2020. They say it’s the next wave of resale. Some sites sell recently owned, unused products and some sell products that are used but have at least 50% product left. Let me just say ew, and not for me. Each site has different sanitary rules. Now you know.

What have you upgraded or tossed from your makeup collection lately?

Thanks for reading and remember to wear what makes you feel confident.


  1. Larryn Griffith says:

    Hi Jennifer!
    I’m fairly new to your blog but enjoy it very much. Glad to have found you.
    I’m 68 and have worn mascara since I was about 15 or so. I use the waterproof to avoid the dark runny mess that can sometimes occur in rain or through tears. I’ve used Cover Girl Professional for a long time now and always used their water-proof makeup remover. The products worked well, my eyelashes looked good, and the removal of the makeup went smoothly.
    Lately, Cover Girl has changed their make-up to this big, wild-eyed brush and mascara concoction, and it just doesn’t suit me. The brush layers the mascara too thickly and in clumps, and I don’t feel the mascara is good quality anymore. On top of that, I can’t find the Cover Girl Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover anymore. I started using Micellar Water, the waterproof makeup remover version, but it doesn’t work very well, takes some rubbing, and leaves bits of mascara behind. My lashes look a little like they’ve been through a war.
    Do you have any recommendations for a good quality waterproof mascara and make up remover that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg? We’re on a slim budget. I noticed what you wrote about Sephora and was interested, but the cost is a little high for me. I still have the remover to consider. Is there a long-lasting mascara that might work for me instead?
    Thank you, Jennifer!

  2. I am encouraged by you and by those who commented to finally discard those makeup and beauty products that are old and/or just not yielding desired outcomes. Why is it SO hard for someone (me) to throw things out?

  3. I confess I have purchased a specific product on eBay (new in the box) when a manufacturer has discontinued it and I can’t find it anywhere. But once I find a replacement, I move on. Not to mention that anyone who has stockpiled it typically adds a ridiculous upcharge. But as they say, desperate people do desperate things. 🙂 As for something that’s been opened or is long out of stock, no thanks.

  4. I will NOT be taking part in the buying of someone else’s makeup!!!! Sounds absolutely gross! I would think it could be very unsanitary! I am forever trying new beauty products. I try to find ones that are good but not overly expensive. There are a lot of good youtube videos on drugstore hacks that are comparable to more expensive brands. Thanks for these suggestions. I like the idea of those makeup remover swabs!

  5. I would get manicures with gel polish for several years but I found my nails were splitting. They were beautiful and strong but the remover was very harsh. Since November I’ve been using Nail Envy and my nails are looking great. They are healthy and growing without splitting. You apply two coats on the first application, then skip a day and apply another coat for about a week. You can even use it as a base coat if you want some color. You might want to give it a try.

      1. Nail Envy by OPI is a great product. After wearing acrylics, then silks for years my poor shredded nails were a mess! My Granddaughter introduced me to Nail Envy about 2 years ago and now my nails are so strong – my “problem” now is they grow so fast I have to keep cutting them!

  6. My favorite mascara is L’Oréal Voluminous. I’ve tried all kinds and always go back to this.
    This summer I started using Rapid Lash eyelash serum on my lashes and eyebrows and find it really works! They were kind of disappearing, very thin. Today my husband took my picture and goodness, I’m going to 3 times a week on my eyebrows. It’s only 23$ and one tube lasts almost 3 months.

  7. Elizabeth says:

    I am all for reusing/recycling. But used makeup sounds disgusting…who knows what where it has been, how it has been stored or what has been stuck in it…

    I really appreciate your comments regarding proportions, since mine are very different from yours, but I enjoy your fashion sense and this would help understand why something would work or not …Often I know that something isn’t right or not working, but can’t figure out exactly why not..

  8. Christine says:

    I keep trying to find mascara that gives me volume, doesn’t give me raccoon eyes, doesn’t make my eyes/lids react and is easy to remove. So I’ve tried and tossed many. Using Cover Girl at the moment. I have also tossed all my coloured eye shadows, as I’m using only neutrals now. Am in need of a good taupe eyebrow pencil!

  9. I’m fine with barely used clothing. Sometimes it’s a good thing. Any shrinking has already taken place or any loss of color so what you see is what you get. I’m a fan of vintage too. However used makeup is like using someone’s toothbrush. That’s a bad idea if you ask me.
    Now, so you can envy me, LOL I have great nails that are nice and sturdy, grow fast and need very little filing. BUT, I don’t want them to grow. I work in hand built clay and do lots of crafts so I cut them suckers off every week. Toenails grow fast too so that’s bad. Forgiven?

  10. beth byrd says:

    I can’t imagine using second-hand beauty products. The idea really makes my skin crawl. I can’t imagine this is very hygienic.

    I was a subscriber to Ipsy for about year and found some great products. But many of them ended up being tossed out because I didn’t care for them. It was fun to try new products every month, but after a year I ran out of room for all the samples. Plus I have more make-up bags than I’ll ever need.

  11. Elaine @ Following Augustine says:

    I agree… EW! I’m an avid thrift store shopper, but the idea of using second-hand beauty products completely grosses me out.

    At this point in a cold, dry winter on the Canadian prairie, my nails are in terrible shape. I think I might have to try some of those press on nails or at least have a set on hand for a special occasion.

  12. I recall you mentioned in an earlier post that you suffer from MGD as do I. Do you find the Tarte mascara stays in place? So far the only one that I find that works is the Blinc mascara. I would be pleased to find another mascara that I could use.

  13. Elaine Thomas says:

    Hi Jennifer, I have recently started using a glass/crystal nail file from Malva Belle (Amazon) and it has made a huge difference in my natural nails. Also, check out THRIVE for the best mascara ever. After trying their mascara I am now using their foundation.

    1. I did try Thrive mascara but had a hard time making it build volume which is what I need most. Do you layer yours?

      1. Sometimes I put two layers but not every time. Depends on how much time I have. Last year (before I started using Thrive) I had a lash lift and tinting. I was amazed how well that worked. No need for a lash curler and could get by without mascara. Plan to do that again. Like you, I have thin hair and lashes, also, dry eyes! What’s a girl to do?!! Love your post.

  14. Thank you so much for the suggestions, Jennifer and shall definitely give the Anastasia eyebrow pencil a try. Also do appreciate the nudge to edit my cosmetics even though I don’t have an abundance of them. As for purchasing 2nd-hand cosmetics; don’t think so (shudder) and cannot conceive why anyone would ever risk doing so, as there are reasons why even new products are sealed.

  15. I do think recycling someone else’s make up is carrying the reduce, reuse, recycle too far. And, I’m a firm believer in the three Rs.
    I’ve narrowed down my make up routine to mascara, a light foundation and lipliner/lipstick. I can’t speak for everyone but I find as we get older we need less. I pay more attention to face wash gel, serum, sunscreen and moisturizer.
    My nails have been terrible since I had acrylic nails. They break constantly and are really short. I’d love to have beautiful nails but I don’t think false ones may damage them more. Hopefully, over time they will get healthy again. What do you use to help your nails get strong again?

    1. I’ve been taking Biosil and lots of calcium but they still need help

  16. Linda Lennon says:

    No thanks to used makeup! I have been tossing most of my makeup and plan on replacing it. Since retiring and moving cross country, my lifestyle has changed dramatically and all of it for the better. I hit the nail salon once a month for a mani/pedi. We swim year round here & my toes need to look good. Usually I do a very pale, pink gel on my hands but do a deeper pink on my feet. When I need a clean up from a makeup (usually mascara) oops, I dip a q-tip into my package of makeup wipes. It absorbs just enough fluid to do the job. Those Magic Wands look cute but at $8 for 20 I would go through them in no time.

  17. Used cosmetics, doesn’t seem sanitary. I have seen used perfumes online for sale, but how would you know if it’s the real thing? I have sensitive skin and allergies to latex and fruit extracts, so I tread carefully. I always ask about return policy, I would have many items only used once. I just returned a lipstick last week. Interestingly, the only polish I can use, so far, is from H&M! I would have to test out the glue in the fake nails.

  18. -Vicki Mikola Dack says:

    My best eye lash curler is still my orginal one! And its 50+ years old. Have had replacements and they are rip-offs — Too light in weight, the pad is to hard, and/or or its way too fragile to use, not manufactured well! Like every one else have decided that the stuff that’s NOT being used – out it goes! We are moving in the Fall and just don’t want to transport boxes of stuff that is not used daily. Have decideded to return to the 3- bag theory – Daily, Work – Volunteer; now that I am Retired, Evening/Special Events. Place everything into each bag from — Eye brow colour, eye shadow – 2 shades, eye liner, mascara – Brown, for daily, Blackish-Brown for Work, and Black for Evening wear; cheek colour – blush or bronzer, lipliner, lipgloss/lipstick, plus a nail colour shade that goes with each bag! And in a basket – Skin care cleasning products plus Moisturizer, Primer, and foundation – light and medium range for changing seasons. Can remember in my first apartment (as a career woman) had one small shelf in the linen closet that contained all my beauty products! And now, we won’t go into that………………….its one shelf or no deal! Have a Great Week!

  19. I can’t imagine “previously owned” beauty products – sounds nasty to me! I haven’t tried the press-on nails. My nails go through cycles from okay to horrible, but they are getting worse with age. I’ve tried so many creams, lotions, oils – you name it and I’ve come to realize that I’m never going to have nice nails. I think genetics has a lot to do with it. For a while I was getting dip nails, and loved the way they looked, but the cost adds up so quickly! I did notice, though, that when I was getting the dip nails I had far less trouble with hangnails.

    1. I have wondered about dip nails. Do they destroy you own nails? Although as I wrote that I realized mine are horrible so I can’t imagine it would matter. Maybe it does.

      1. I’ve had my nails dipped (powder coated) three times. My daughter has had hers done for a few years! It has not damaged our nails and in fact allows them to grow out undamaged! Nothing I did, including housework, scrubbing, etc. damaged the finish at all! I would advise getting a very neutral color as the base of your nails will show a lot as they grow. Also ask for an experienced nail technician….it makes a big difference!

      2. Thank you Kathe!! I’m really tempted by it. My nails will never be awesome but I’d like more consistency.

  20. A big no to Smashbox eye shadow. In my search to find eye shadow in a particular color or two and not sold in multi packs alongside of colors I do not use, I picked up Smashbox. Great colors but the shadow has a tendency to scatter residue under the eye and on the bridge of the nose. Lesson learned, Mac single pack shadows are still my favorite. I agree with the comment above that Mac makes a great lip pencil.

    1. Kits are a problem that way. I hate to buy colors I won’t use.

  21. I to have stopped using acrylic nails. It took awhile, but my nails are finally healthy. I like using Ella & Mila cuticle oil. Keeps my cuticles healthy.

    1. I think cuticle care is sooo important. I just started using a duplicate rose seed hip oil bottle I found. I don’t want it to expire so I’ll use it up on my cuticles and see. Fingers crossed it helps.

  22. Try Savvy mineral makeup by YoungLiving. No chemicals . Only natural with essential oils. Pure essential oils, that come with a seed to seal garantee.

    I enjoy reading your emails.

  23. Jennifer I’m so glad you replaced your old lash curler. I had an old one that snapped one of its hinges when I was using it, and a piece of the metal mechanism forcibly sprung out and nearly hit my eye. Fortunately it missed by a hair. It scared me so badly I’ve not used a curler since, old or new. I’m sure newer tools have less risk.

    1. That’s terrifying! I’d be afraid to use one too. A great mascara brush should help curl yours lashes a bit anyway.

  24. Yesterday I ordered all new eye makeup from Sephora because I currently have an eye infection and I need to throw out all the eye products that could be contaminated. I sterilized my brushes, hope that is good enough. As far as my nails go, I am a pianist and we keep our nails short and unpainted. I have found that never painting my nails keeps them strong and healthy. Years ago when I did paint my nails, they were flaking and cracking badly. I do have a great cuticle cream from Burts Bees.

    1. Sterilizing you’re brushes should be enough. When it happened to me, I soaked them in boiling water and soap, then rinsed. The brushes survived and were just fine.

  25. Second hand makeup is a big no thank you for me. Yikes. I’ve pared down so much of my makeup (I used to have a veritable MAC counter in my house.) Skincare is another story as I like to experiment (I’m forcing myself to use down my supplies.) Farmacy Honeymoon glow is my go to and I love the Herbivore Bakuchiol Retinol Alternative.

    1. I’m addicted to several Herbivore products. They smell so wonderful and have no nasty additives. Xx

  26. Connie Haines says:

    I made a point this past year of pitching out everything from my make-up and bath products that I had purchased and then wasn’t thrilled with; then unearthed a dozen or so little trial packets and potions which I tested and also pitched (all but one – an Hourglass liquid to matte finish foundation I LOVED!!) The result is a streamlined makeup drawer with colors and products that are the cream of the crop for me. Also down to ONE signature scent (Michael Kors original) and got rid of everything else. This makes for pleasant mornings and a simple routine.

  27. Teresa Landers says:

    Terrible nails were my curse too. Polish looked nice for a week or so and the nails even grew, but ultimately polish made them worse than ever. Then I discovered Burt’s Bees lemon butter cuticle cream. Daily use of that and a good quality crystal file has provided me with decent (albeit) natural nails most of the time. A nail white pencil spiffs them up when that matters (dampen your nails first).

  28. I have found Mac lip liners and eye liners to be the best out there for my money. I’ve used them right down to a little nib of a pencil and they continue to stay intact and the product is always fresh. Not to mention the bazillion of colour choices.
    I stopped getting acrylic nails 2 years ago. It was the combination of cost, time commitment and quite frankly the silliness of glueing stuff on my finger tips! Don’t get me wrong I love the look and the durability of the nails but I’ve opted for regular manicures with pale polish. Hands are Always neat and tidy just not quite as glamorous as before but way more practical. Press on nails might do the trick for short term option. What brands have you tried and which did you like the best?
    As for beauty products that work, for me it is hands down the Estée Lauder Nighttime Recovery Complex serum! This product has made the biggest difference in my skin tone and texture. Reduced pore size, fine lines and wrinkles, smoothed and moisturized my skin. I love it!!

    1. I used the Kiss set from CVS. They’re short to begin with, then I filed a bit shorter so don’t get in the way. Great for a dressy occasion but not practical for daily use.

      1. My girlfriend swears by the new powder nail color none invasive to the nail and stays looking really nice Have not tried it myself but her nails look fabulous

      2. Correction its called dipped nail polish and helped restore her damaged nails from many years of acrylic damage

      3. Do you know what brand it is? There are so many

  29. I bought the Urban Decay Cherry eye shadow palette today, along with some Bobbi Brown lipsticks. I have found that the JBobbi Brown retractable eye liner pencil either breaks and when it does pop up, won’t retract, the gel eyeliner dries before I finish the pot, somI stick to a powder eyeliner, wer the brush and it works for me. I have found the Shu Umera eye lash curler the best to use and out of all the mascaras I have tried, Maybelline to be the best (for me). As for nail polish, I have revolting fingers, gnarled from osteoarthritis, so I keep my nails very short and buff them, no polish. Last week, I chucked out anything broken, old and looking manky – and by this I mean my makeup and not me.

    1. Lol! I’ve chucked it all out too. It feels so good to pare down.

  30. Paulette Levy says:

    Interesting post. I’m a Bobby Brown fan for eye liner pencils and their Blonde retractable eyebrow pencil with little comb (?) on the other end. It’s slanted and looks very natural. Love their bronzer in Natural and well, everything! (However I stay with Vichy or Murad for skincare). They don’t “do” makeup, just care for skin…..

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