Last week I spent $500 on cosmetics.
And if you think that's crazy, bear in mind that Americans spend billions on cosmetics each year.
The good news is, there's a method to my madness. I invested my time, looks and some serious pocket change so that as you flip through your favorite glossy magazines this month, you won't be tricked by the airbrushed, artificially enhanced model looking back at you.
Here's what you must know about the newest products and their promises.
Leave it: Revlon Color Stay Ultimate Lipcolor Liquid Lipstick
The advertisements claim that this product will last "up to 12 hours." Mine lasted about 6 hours. Impressive, but every minute that I had this lipstick on my lips was a minute too long. I purchased "Top Tomato," a fire engine red that goes on slick and quickly dries to a super matte finish. In fact, Color Stay Ultimate Lipcolor Liquid Lipstick was extremely difficult to remove; the company recommends using an oil-based makeup remover. Yes, the color truly does stay but the formula is so dry and unappealing on the lips, I just wanted it to go away.
Love it: Lancome's Oscillation Powerbooster; $39 at department stores or lancome-usa.com
This product is actually a vibrating lash primer that promises to "boost the appearance of natural lash growth" while fortifying and strengthening the lashes. The ad I saw stated that after one week, users see thicker and longer lashes. But there is a small asterisk on the Lancome site that reads, "The vibrating primer enhances the appearance of lash thickness, density and length so that naturally occurring lash growth is more visible/noticeable." Translation: This product will not cause your lashes to get longer or thicker, however, the primer can make your lashes appear longer and thicker. It works by coating the lashes with a fiber that lends a visible boost.
Leave it: Clinique's Redness Solutions Instant Relief Mineral Powder
The ad claims "visible redness and broken capillaries vanish." Not so for this reviewer. Yes, I have redness. I even have a broken capillary. Neither "vanished" with the use of this new product from Clinique. As far as powders go, this is a mediocre product. Plus, it's hard not to expect greatness from a product that promises to make flaws virtually disappear. Truthfully, I am not sure which was worse, the product itself or the letdown from my overblown expectations. I think there is a lesson here just in case a product company somewhere is listening.
Love it: Rimmel Glam'Eyes Lash Flirt
"Fluttery lashes for flirty seduction," that's the Rimmel promise. My 14-month-old son wasn't taken with my batting lashes, but I was impressed with the effectiveness of this affordable product. The thin, easy-to-maneuver wand makes lengthening and separating lashes a breeze. My only gripe? It sure looks like Kate Moss is sporting eyelash extensions in the ad for this product. Please, cosmetic companies, hear my plea and do away with the fake lashes in mascara ads. We can handle the truth.
Carolyn Brundage is the founder of TampaBay.PrettyCity.com, a guide to all that is hip and happening in local beauty. Need beauty advice? E-mail Carolyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.