Bin It: Stila Smudge Pot

Whilst I hate to kick a brand when it’s down (as of last week Stila was just brought back from the brink of receivership by a private equity firm who have bought it. It’s not been doing well since Estee Lauder sold it in 2006), and there are quite a few Stila products I like, this ain’t one of them.

 Stila-Smudge-PotsThe Smudge Pots (in my humble opinion) are the worst of the current crop of gel eyeliners. And the reason I know? Because the good stuff (ie the Bobbi Brown Long Wear Gel Eyeliner I posted about last week) is in my kit, which leaves the rubbish (ie Stila Smudge Pot), in my personal makeup bag. Isn’t there that saying that the cobbler has no shoes? Well that is definitely me. I have my fancy pants amazing work makeup kit all organized and color coded and with so much stuff in it I have actually injured myself carrying it around (which is just sad but also happens to be true), and then my own makeup bag is beyond tragic. It’s full of gift with purchase brushes (I know! The shame! The horror! I am always telling clients off for this!) and brushes I didn’t like enough to put in my kit, and my makeup is either things I have doubles of, or things I have pulled out of the Vault, where makeup at my place goes to die.

 Which is where the Stila Smudge Pot comes in. It flakes, it smudges, it’s like pushing an eyeliner brush through tar (which at 6am is even less fun than it sounds) and its consistency is just plain wrong. Then by the end of the day when you’ve been working so hard, and (let’s face it) sweating, and you haven’t had time to look in the mirror, when you actually do, what do you find but two very attractive half moons of black nestled in the creases of your under eyes. SO HOT.

 If you want to go halfway between the worst (Stila) and the best (Bobbi Brown), you would find the MAC Fluidline, which is quite nice and creamy and is certainly cheaper than the Bobbi Brown. It’s by no means terrible, so if, at this delicate stage in our global economy you are finding your financial affairs a little straitened, you could definitely do worse than this one. I usually use this at the shows as most of the shows are sponsored by MAC.

 But please, stay far, far away from Stila Smudge Pot. And I’ll take my own advice and I will too.


Bin it – NARS mascara in Black Orchid

Nars Black Orchid Mascara  



Nars Black Orchid Mascara


I flat out hate this mascara (and that’s not a word I use lightly). It has a brush that looks like it escaped from 1985, and it performs so poorly compared to the rest of the NARS brand, I was quite staggered. OK, I think mascara manufacturers have gone a little OTT with all their rotating brushes, and fancy little combs, and rubber spikes and ones that look quite frankly like torture devices (hello Givenchy, I’m talking to you), but in 2009 something that low-tech just doesn’t cut it. Even Maybelline Great Lash (or Not So Great Lash as I like to call it) is fancier than this mo-fo.

In the interests of fairness, I’m just going to go and try it again: Nope, still made my eyelashes look like 5 little sticks. Its formula is thin and has an unerring ability to get at the ends of the lash and sort of clump, and then the crappy retro brush pushes your lashes together into aforementioned sticks. There is just no way to separate the lashes then to fan ’em out and get ’em fluffy. And we all know how much we love a full and fluffy lash!

In all honesty I wanted to love this because the square rubber packaging is so chic, and I have to admit to being a sucker for NARS in general (despite it’s excessively high price point). There’s just something about the witty names, gorgeous colors and the rubberized packaging that never seems to date that means a couple of times a year I find myself purchasing more sparkly eyeshadows and blushes I rarely use, but when I do, they make me happy (maybe because I’m actually justifying that hefty price tag? Not sure).

But this sad little mascara is one for the bin. Send it back to sing with Huey Lewis and the News – you know it wants to!

Bin it!