A million lights are dancing and there you are, a shooting star.

This is a compensated review from BlogHer and Max Factor! (They’re actually paying me to put on makeup. I’m not quite sure how to take that.)

When it comes to makeup, I tend to be a supporter of minimalism: Powder foundation, concealer for the caverns under my eyes, the briefest swipe of mascara, and sand-colored eyeshadow if I’m feeling exotic. I boldly eschew lip liner to allow unassuming sheer lipstick to dictate my meaning. (My lipstick almost always matches the exact color of my lips, which I suppose is sort of like wearing unscented deodorant that does not contain any sort of antiperspirant.)

This is me on a normal day:


I have been applying makeup in the same nondescript manner since I was sixteen years old. In fact, I have used the same mascara brand since I was sixteen. My only makeup aberration occurred during The Crazy Eyeliner on My Bottom Rim years. (Is it called a rim? You know the part of the eye I’m talking about, right? That phase seems so unsafe now, no?)

Anyway, a few weeks back I received a cosmetic care package from BlogHer and Max Factor. Inside the makeup bag were the following items:

I spent the next few days in a giddy state of experimentation. Both the 2000 Calorie Extreme Lash Plumper and the Lash Perfection Volume Couture mascaras were SO different than what I’m used to. Suddenly, my lashes were showing! (Actually, the 2000 Calorie Extreme Lash Plumper Mascara made my eyelashes thicker (or plumper, I suppose—I’ve never been a fan of the word Plump) than they’ve ever been before. And best of all? My eyes didn’t itch! (I have itchy eye issues, and as hard as that phrase is to say, it’s even harder to deal with when you’re trying not to smear mascara all over your face.))

I was unsure about the Vivid Impact Lip Color. When I opened the tube for the first time, the Pin-Up Pink snarled at me and said, “You’re in your very late thirties. You have aged out of my shade.” However, when I put it on and wore it to the bookstore? A woman actually complimented me. (Okay. She said, “I like your makeup.” She didn’t say, “I love your lips.” BUT, the lipstick was really the only stand-out item on my face!) In other words, this is good stuff. Wear it with aplomb.

The eyeliner and the Vivid Impact Eyeshadow duo were tricky for me, because I’m not accustomed to eyeliner, and I’m definitely not familiar with the technique required to pull off black and white eyeshadow. Bold color aside, the eyeshadow is possibly the smoothest I’ve ever used. It’s sort of like a powder pencil, but with a very intense amount of color.

The Lipfinity 3D was incredible. I put it on at 8:30 in the morning, and it was still going strong at 6:00 in the evening. As you know, that’s rare. Very rare. Like, Fabergé Egg at a Garage Sale rare.

This afternoon I tried on everything at once—the 2000 Calorie Extreme Lash Plumper, the Pin-Up Pink Vivid Impact Lipcolor, the Fresh Coffee eyeliner, and the Vivid Impact Eyeshadow Duo. All of a sudden, something very awesome happened.


I became an extra in the Broadway version of Xanadu! And you know I’m lying, but look at me! It’s not what you think when you think Fluid Pudding, is it?! Yet you cannot turn away! You are under my spell!

Hey! Do you want some of this makeup for yourself? (You do. I know you do.) Shoot a comment my way (with a working e-mail address) and tell me what sort of dreamy persona you could create with this makeup, or tell me if you’ve ever tried Max Factor, or tell me your Can’t Live Without cosmetic item! (Mine is the cavern concealer!) On June 16th, I’ll draw a random comment and send you $50 worth of Max Factor products! By the way, $50 worth of Max Factor products looks a little something like this:


Also, head over here for even more chances to win! (You have seventeen chances! Good luck to you!)

(Sadly, I must cut this review a bit short, because I’m feeling the urge to put on some sparkling glad rags and start a little trouble. I’ll bring the makeup with me. Who’s in?)

Contest Rules:

  • The contest begins at 9:00 p.m. (PT) 05/15/09 and ends at 5:00 p.m. (PT) 06/16/09.
  • No duplicate comments.
  • You may receive an additional entry by linking on twitter and leaving a link in the comments.
  • You may receive an additional entry by blogging about this contest and leaving a link in the comments.
  • This giveaway is open to US residents, aged 18 and over
  • Winners will be selected via random draw, and will notified by e-mail.
  • You have 48 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
  • Please see the official official rules here (because you can never really be too official): Official Official Rules

Picture 2
6/16 Congratulations, Nicole! You’re our winner!!!

95 thoughts on “A million lights are dancing and there you are, a shooting star.”

  1. The decision to put on everything at once and take that fantastic photo makes this the best review post ever in the history of review posting.

    I like the look. It’s like if Audrey Tautou was sold into Russian brothel slavery, and then was rescued by Johnny Depp, that’s what she would look like in the second half of the movie before it got all smeary from the chase scenes.

    I think the rim is called the waterline, so basically you rim the waterline with liner.

  2. Any comment string that already starts off talking about rimming, I figure I might as well get in on it.

    If I had sparkly eyeshadow I would channel my stepmom from the 80s, big hair, big glasses and all. Just because it would be fun.

    It’s getting into summer and my must have is the Bare Escentuals Mineral Veil – I think I may head to to it with that stuff this year.

  3. My can’t live without product is Bare Escentual’s Prime Time eye primer. It makes my eyeliner stay on forever.

    Please, please, please share the name of the cavern concealer. Everything I’ve always seen is to help with puffiness.

    I’d kill for puffy.

  4. I’d love some max factor makeup.
    I have a very very bad makeup hoarding habit. Not only do I wear the same mascara as when I was sixteen, I am still using the original tube!

    New makeup would be fabulous and might convince me to throw away my old stuff!

  5. I would love some make up. My nephew is a fabulous makeup artist and makes people beautiful. I cannot even bring myself to ask him HOW to put make up on. And he is a man. Who wears makeup. How sad…

    If I had this fantastic make-up I would make people refer to me as ‘Beautiful’ for the rest of the year :)

  6. Holycowowza, Woman! That is glam to the max!! You look fantastic!!!

    (Not that you don’t always look reasonably fantastic, mind you, but, I mean, just…wow!!!!)

    Please, under no circumstances should you consider this comment an entry — if that random number generator generates my number, you just movie right on along to another spin. There’s no way I would ever put that stuff to good use. But that request for more information about your concealer? I second that. One of these days I might just have to stop at the cosmetic counter where they offer free do’s — those places always completely terrify me, but the art of concealing stuff is definitely something I could get on board with.

  7. My can’t live without make up item is my F.Y.Eye from Benefit. It’s basically a eye primer. I invest lots of money in the F.Y.Eye and then buy cheap cheap cheap eyeshadows, but they stay on because of my primer. It’s a win win.

  8. Fun! I used Clinique blush for years, but recently tried the MF one that’s multi-hued…I’m sure there’s a more proper name for it. But anyway: I like it very much.

  9. Hahahahaha! That photo is gold.

    I didn’t know what to do with eyeshadow until I typed “make-up tutorial” into a YouTube search. There is some GREAT info on there and now I can use, like, three different colors of eyeshadow and actually have them look nice and not streetwalker-ish.

    The one product I’m really liking lately is my Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer. I see that others have commented on using a primer and I must agree. My make-up stays on all day now. Whee!

  10. I recently threw away all my old sticky and smelly (lipstick starts to STINK after 10 years) makeup. Then I took my mostly-used remnants and combined them in new containers. Five compacts of powder dregs mushed together make one big container of usable face-swipe. I melted down my unusably bright lipsticks, and mixed them together with old Chap Sticks, and poured the results into the emptied Chap Stick containers. All of this because I’m too cheap/lazy/buyers remorseful to go out and buy new stuff. Although, if I did, it would be Max Factor’s Sheer Moon Berry, which I’m also pretty sure they discontinued years ago.

    I also have only ever found ONE mascara that does not smudge, and guess what? That’s discontinued too. I know mascara is “sooo important” but the raccoon eyes are not worth it to me. How did these new ones hold up?

  11. I’d love some new makeup. I need new makeup! My face begs for help!

    My favorite item right now is Philosophy’s Supernatural gel blush.

  12. I work with opera singers, for whom I hire professional spacklers, er, make-up artists. (actually, they’re pretty darn fabulous) But, being neither a singer nor a huge makeup wearer, I need a little help in not blending into the background during the post-show parties. And I’d LOVE to get my Xanadu (btw? saw it more times than I care to admit. A muse on roller skates. MY LIFE’S TRUE CALLING.) on and show those sopranos that administrators can be hot tamales, too!

  13. I share the same lipstick philosophy as you, and my must-have thing is Revlon Colorstay lipstuff in Bare Maximum. it’s the exact color of my lips, only better, and it lasts all freakin’ day.

    By the way, love the 2nd pic! :)

  14. Xanadu? Yes, I guess the lip color isn’t quite right for the Addicted to Love video.

    I would like some makeup please because I am a 47-year-old woman who routinely walks around looking like a 9-year-old boy. (Except with wrinkles.)

    My must-have makeup item is a powdery eyebrow pencil from Avon, without which my eyebrows (I do have some, honest to God) are completely invisible.

  15. A facebook quiz told me that my song was Addicted to Love by Robert Palmer.

    I would gussie myself up to be one of the guitar chicks.

  16. I simply must have a good mascara! And of course that’s the hardest thing to find! I can’t wait to try this stuff!

  17. you look really great. and a bit david bowie-like. and i mean that in a really good way.
    i wear mascara and lip gloss. sometimes my lip gloss is vaseline.

  18. Now when I look at that eyeshadow I think of ballroom dancing or Priscilla Queen of the Desert because you look so damn glam in it! Yes, some people might find the whole drag queen thing to be offensive but those gals know how to apply make up in ways that those of us born with only X’s can never even dream of. That whole highlight thing under your brow is divine.

    I can’t live without moisturizer with uber SPF, and a good one at that. I live at altitude and in supreme dryness. After that it is mascara. And then a good lip gloss.

  19. I have two make up favorites. Smashbox Photo Finish Primer and Smashbox Eyebrow Tech. They’re both fabulous.

  20. Don’t need the make up but CANNOT skip commenting –


    could you please sing something from ABBA?

  21. I can’t live without my Bare Minerals concealer and Mineral Veil. I love love love them both ~ they hide my rosacea! Yay!

    You look so pretty in both pics, although in the second one I’d say your channeling your inner Pat Benetar. :) In other words, you look fierce!

  22. You know how kids these days try to recreate the 80s look and it feels weird to those of us who lived them the first time? If they were as good at it as you are with that FABULOUS eye shadow (so envious) I don’t think it would make me feel so weird.

    I might be marching in the Mermaid Parade this year for the second time and I feel like that eye shadow is something I could use as a basis for my costume. I had an OK costume for a first timer last year but there’s SO MUCH more I could have done!

  23. After hearing a few people gush over how cool Sephora is, I finally had to stop in the mall to meet her. I think I may be addicted. A candy shop for makeup! And they have so many lines of makup. At the department stores, you feel like just walking up to one counter locks you in to that brand. Sephora has all the brands available. I found that to be very cool. And the urban decay eyeshadows very sassy, yet depending on how liberally I apply, perfectly appropriate for work. I spent more than I anticipate and I would love to go back and pick up the primer some have mentioned above. I also realized how out of date some of my other markup is, so I would love the MF set!

    (Would I get any sympathy points by mentioning that I was laid off on Wednesday and will not be returning to Sephora any time soon–unless it would be to return the smokey-eye shadow that I have not yet opened?)

  24. Max Factor – Did You Know?
    (not a duplicate entry, but just wanted to share some interesting MF facts.)

    I took a college in stage makeup as part of my technical theatre/costume design major and Mr. Factor is one of the first names you hear. Grease paint had been around for years, used in theatre, ballet…clowns. Max emigrated from Russia through NYC and ended up working a perfume, makeup and hair goods concession at the Saint Louis worlds fair in 1904. (Which is why I feel I can address him by his given name, as I grew up practically in Dogtown and Forest Park.)

    After the fair, he moved on from our town and opened shop smack dab in the middle of what would become Hollywood. Max was the one that started creating makeup specifically for early black & white motion pictures, and was instrumental when color movies came about. The actresses loved what his Pan-Cake Makeup (insert little patent thingamabob here) was doing for their complexion, that they started wearing it off stage. And as with today’s stars, the rest of the female population started clamoring for this thing called makeup.

  25. Time for a new me! Recently laid off after 8 years of helping Mr. Boss build his company, I am now bereft of work. I need to look and feel my best fro upcoming interviews!

  26. Cannot live without sparkly lip gloss. It’s an obsession really. And I’m nowhere near the appropriate age demographic for sparkly lip gloss. Sigh.

  27. Now that I am 32 I have decided that it is probably time for me to be a real grown up and start wearing makeup. :) free makeup would be an awesome start!

  28. My favorite makeup item: Bobby Brown eyeliner gel. I jabbed myself in the eye many times trying to get it on with a brush, but I figured it out. Least favorite but I wear it daily: Clinique mascara. The Clinique part isn’t the problem. It’s the pointy thing coming At My EYE that I don’t like.

  29. with this new hair cut I can’t quite figure out and some of that fancy makeup, I might just look like Tawny Kitaen. I think.

  30. I can’t live without my eyelash curler. It’s pointless for me to put mascara on if my lashes aren’t curled. Plus they distract my son for precious seconds so mommy can finish getting ready. Win-win I’d say.

    samanthajocampen at gmail dot com

  31. Hey there, Ziggy Stardust, awesome review! Why do I suddenly want to watch Clockwork Orange? As a true product whore, I would love nothing more than to win more products–yes! Also the absolutely best and also completely smudge resistant mascara is KissMe. I am not wrong about this–instead of painting your lashes it coats them in tubes and it is difficult to explain why it’s so different but it is great, really.

  32. You look kinda sorta FABULOUS as a XANADU extra. And kinda Hot.

    Of course, I love me some Xanadu. The movie version. With Olivia Newton John. A Much-Underrated CLASSIC! :)

  33. Lately my must have is Bare Escentuals Buxom lip gloss in a whole bunch of colors. I think I just like how it makes my lips tingle.

  34. I am a cosmetic junkie. I either do a heavy eye and a muted lip or vice versa. I do have a mix of drug store finds mixed in with dept. store favs. My favorite new find is Pur Minerals ( i like the convenience of the compact).
    LOVE your pics.

  35. I love, love your before and after picture ~ you look amazing with this wonderful makeup, say tango anyone! I’d love to create an alluring dramatic look with these products, a cross between a dewy dreamy Jennifer Lopez look and a touch of edgy rock n’ roll look, its all in the blending that you do with the color, what fun that will be!

    The one cosmetic I can’t live without is also my concealer, and I use the Benfit Boi-ing Concealer. I find that it covers up any little imperfection that may appear on my face really naturally and smoothly. I think I use it everyday for one reason or another, LOL!

    I truly enjoy creating new looks for myself with makeup and would love a chance to see what these Max Factor products can do for me! I have not used them before, and now that I’ve seen how they transformed you into a goddess I want to do the same for myself!

  36. I don’t often do as dramatic a look as you’re sporting in photo #2 :o) but I AM a fan of B&W eyeshadows (ditto gray and silver), so sign me up for the free MF goodies. And here’s my required input to enter: I am currently loving this shimmery silver and black pencil-type duo from drugstore brand Milani. (Even my boss who never notices ANYTHING commented on how pretty my eyes looked. It’s not glittery, though, just shimmery – ’cause at a certain age, glitter just doesn’t do it.) Bonus input: Milani makes a great blush (“Luminous”) that is a remarkable knock-off of the far more expensive and highly regarded Nars “Orgasm” blush.

  37. My fave is lip gloss, but I ALWAYS forget to re-apply throughout the day, so it is basically pointless. I need me some of that fancy stuff that stays on until 6pm!

  38. I gotta have mascara–I have blonde eyelashes and without it, I look like a kid. After my hubby and I got married and while on our honeymoon, I stepped out of the shower and showed him for the first time my fresh face. He stopped in his tracks and said, “Oh my gosh, I married a 12 year old.” True story. I wear mascara every day, whether it be to the pool, the gym, the store, whatever. Gotta have it.

  39. My ‘can’t live without’ cosmetic item (other than sleep, heh) is also,definitely mascara. I go back and forth between brands but I NEVER leave the house with out it. Its my security blanket. My warm, fuzzy, cosmeticy security blanket.

  40. All I got is this: I’m about to turn 30. I feel beautiful and vibrant and whatnot, but man, i am starting to develop some very real and disturbing caverns. I neeeed some MF to reduce the impact of these bad boys!

  41. I can’t live without my green concealer. It does wonders on my very ruddy complexion, without being heavy and super concealer-y.

  42. I love the Xanadu look. Maybe I could borrow your look the next time my husband and I are feeling adventurous and decide to play naughty space alien :)

  43. Hawt! The pink lips look especially smashing!

    I find I look remarkably more youthful and well-rested if I wear foundation. I save it for special occasions when I don’t want people to tell me how tired I look. I have a new baby, okay?! *crying softly*


  44. Oh. My. Goodness! I would do exactly what you did because I personally am fighting the fact that a grown woman isn’t reeaaallly supposed to wear sparkles. Plus if that lipstick is really called 80’s pink I am completely sold.
    Love (Is A Battlefield),

  45. I LOVE your Xanadu makeup – tres chic!
    I’ve definitely tried Max Factor makeup over the years, I’m always falling in and out of love with their 1000 calorie mascara.
    I think if I win I will have to create a Fairy Princess persona with this makeup, I think it screams out for it!

  46. I love that you have the courage to show yourself made up like this! There is NOTHING better than playing around with new makeup.

  47. I recently got attacked at a Sephora and came out looking not unlike your 2nd pic. Best of all it was downtown over my lunch break so everyone ever saw me. Oddly no one commented. I’m not sure what to make of this.

  48. I wander around looking at make up and have no idea what to get. But I do love trying to look like I know what I’m doing. That’s the persona I go for: Down With It. I’m still not sure what “it” even is.

  49. Makeup isn’t just for humans…

    When I was a teenager, instead of experimenting with makeup on myself, I would dress my german shepard up in my clothes and put makeup on her face. I spread bright eyeshadow above her eyes. I brushed blush across her cheeks. And I would even use some lipstick to spread on her whiskers to make them stand out. She was the most chic dog in town!!!

  50. Holy toledo, that’s some sparkly! I need some new mascara but I’m frightened of the lipstick and eyeshadow. I’m more of a “hooker red” lipstick kind of gal, anyway.

  51. I used to use Clinique City Base, but have found that Loreal makes an almost identical product for a much lower price. It’s the Loreal Feel Naturale Light Softening compact.

  52. I am definitely digging the sparkly shimmer eye. I don’t know if I have a must-have product or not. Because I am a make-up junkie. I feel that I can’t wear the same product two days in a row. I have multiple lipsticks that I use in a month, just to “change it up.” I think that means I have a problem. So therefore, I think I need more make-up. Don’t you? Sign me up please :).

  53. I WAS all about the rim eyeliner..BLACK…burned with a lighter/match to give it that extra stick on the inside lid. Could that be why I wear bi-focals now?
    As an EX Mary Kay consultant I have run out of free makeup..pick me for the goods.

  54. Wow – that’s fantastic! If I had sparkly makeup like that? I would finally launch my cabaret career with a new drag character, Adam LamberTina. I would go on American Idol, goaded by my abusive husband, then walk away from it all to become a Buddhist. Then, um, obviously become a cabaret singer.

    Can’t-live-without is definitely Lancome’s Dual Finish Powder Foundation. Because nobody wants to see even a hint of my actual face.

  55. Your “aged out of the shade” made me laugh. out loud! In my cubicle!

    I don’t need any more makeup ever in my life but I think you look very fetching.

  56. I am often asked if I am sick if I don’t have makeup on, especially on my eyes. I still go without makeup several days a week, because I can!!

    I am at a loss for words to describe your second photo…it’s so ….electrically alluring!

  57. I have to be honest. At first, I was slightly frightened by the second photo. That much beauty surrounded by bling and sparkle can be overwhelming. Since the first look, I’ve come to be drawn to it, in a completely platonic way, of course.

    Make-up is an unfortunate necessity for me. I have rosacea, and if I don’t cover it with something, people start at me like I have leprosy. Having a two year-old, however, often hinders me from taking much time with it. I also have used the same make-up since I was a teenager. Maybe it’s time for a change, huh? Look what it did for glamorous you?!

  58. I am not to risky with my makeup, but I would love to play up my green eyes.. I hear purple is good for green eyed gals like myself.

    Would love to win

  59. My absolute must have at-all-times is MAXalicious Lip Glaze Lip Gloss in the colors Table For Two and Just a Crush. I have several of each of these colors stashed everyway in my purse, laptop case,diaperbag,glovebox,locker, etc. I feel so naked without lipgloss, it instantly makes me feel better and more “complete” when I have it on, lol!

  60. I should probably start remembering to wear makeup when I leave the house. It would be great to win some!

    I love the Xanadu reference — too funny!

  61. You? Are hawt.

    (Also I am not eligible to win the prize, because I already got one THANK YOU MAX FACTOR! but I could not keep my sense of your hawtness to myself. That is all.)

  62. Wow, what a transformation. You look like you’re so ready to go have some fun — and not in your 30s! I’ve turned into an I carry lipgloss with me but that’s it kind of girl and that’s just sad. I need some new makeup!

  63. I remember the time before kids, when I wouldn’t walk to the mailbox without makeup! Now between housework and 2 toddlers, I’m lucky if I have time to put on anything! But when I do, I have to have concealer ! I have itchy eye issues to, so I rarely use anything there! It would be nice to not look like myself every once in a while!

  64. You probably don’t realize how glamorous you really do look — in a GOOD way! I know it doesn’t fit the persona you have so carefully crafted, but the “let’s make some trouble” look is really beautiful!

  65. my favorite is bare minerals and mineral veil-they both hide alot . And I never leave the house without my lipgloss

  66. Oh, I want the make up! Please? I could put on a lot of eye make up and then rub it around some, and apply the lip stuff sort of around the vicinity of my actual lips, and then I could stumble around in my front yard, with the baby, muttering things like, “OH PRESHUS, if only you would SLEEP, then your DADDY would come home at night!” And then the neighbors would have something new to gossip about.
    Think about it. You’d be bringing joy to a whole NEIGHBORHOOD.

  67. Even in my days of Wine, Loads o’ Money and No Kids, back when I purchased primarily Estee Lauder products, I still always used Max Factor’s 2000 Calorie: Original Recipe. I cannot wait to try this new version and will be buying some tomorrow since “mascara” is an actual line item on my shopping list.

    Also, I rarely enter giveaways, but this one is so much fun, I have done multiple comments.

  68. to be honest, i’ve always wanted to try the max factor dual color mascara! i’ve never been brave enough. but if i knew i could look like you…maybe now i will give it a shot!

  69. My ‘I cannot live without’ item is Cover Girl Marathon Mascara. In the green tube. Go to the lake and it lasts for three days. Okay, so that probably isn’t the healthiest thing ever, but it lasts for three days!!

  70. I think you look like one of those women that was in Robert Palmer’s band. You know the ones that fake-played the instruments! Too funny.

    You are beautiful with or without makeup. I mean that in a nice way…not a creepy stalker way. Just so we’re clear on that. :)

  71. OOH! I love that you and I have the same makeup routine before the “MAXOVER” the fact that you like this stuff is great – even if the new look is a bit, um, over the top – and makes me want to try it.

  72. I’m thinking that I haven’t even THOUGHT of Max Factor since I was in high school and they came out with some powder that I fell in love with….

    Still, that stuff looks good…and who doesn’t need to rock the 80s every now and again?

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