With drugstore staples like Maybelline, L’Oreal, Neutrogena, Rimmel London and CoverGirl already on its shelves, Walgreens has further expanded its beauty section with the addition of a new, exclusive cosmetics line called CIRCA Beauty.
Designed to give customers a luxury line of makeup at drugstore prices, the CIRCA Beauty offerings range in price from $8 to $15 and feature a full set of products for the face, lips and eyes. And like other drugstore brands before it, the line also has celebrity endorsement: Actress Eva Mendes is the spokeswoman and creative director).
After getting wind of CIRCA Beauty’s launch, I decided do a review of the line. Checking out the company website before visiting a store, I made a wish list of products I thought would be the most interesting and headed down the street to my nearest Walgreens.
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Unfortunately, I soon discovered that the store didn’t have the full CIRCA Beauty line in stock yet. It did, however, have a display filled with an initial offering of some eye products — including mascara, eye shadow and eyeliner.
Before I even got it out of its box, the first thing I noticed about the Absolute Lash Icon Mascara was how heavy it is. Instead of being sleek, the mascara tube is rather bulky; I’d describe it as being big and sturdy.
The mascara’s wand, which looks like a hybrid between Benefit’s They’re Real! and Urban Decay’s Perversion, was also big and it grabbed tons of product when I dipped it into the mascara the first time.
Of the two products, I found the mascara to be more interesting as far as design and packaging. The Fade to Black Precision Eye Ink just looked like a typical liquid eyeliner pen.
Fab or flub?
Flab! After trying out these items, I concluded that the new line shows lots of promise. And surprisingly, despite the less-impressive packaging, my favorite (and the one that earns a Fab rating from me) was the Fade to Black Precision Eye Ink.
Mastering liquid eyeliner is hard, and unless you know what you are doing, you can end up looking like a raccoon. But the Fade to Black Precision Eye Ink is easy to control and you don’t have to worry about the eyeliner bleeding into your eyes as you apply it.
With little effort, I was able to create a nice cat-eye look and it didn’t budge one bit throughout the day. The most impressive thing about this product for me (and something I always check for in an eyeliner), is that it didn’t end up leaving a black ring on my brow-bone area — something that often happens by the end of the workday with other eyeliners.
Overall, this was a great buy.
As for the Absolute Lash Icon mascara, I liked it and found it to be a good product, in theory, but there were two things that kept me from giving it a Fab rating.
First off: that big, bold wand. While I love its design, it’s just too big and doesn’t allow you to apply the mascara from the root of your lashes outward without getting some of the product on your face.
Also, the mascara goes on clumpy. I’m not sure whether this is due to the product formulation or because the wand holds so much mascara at once, but after I’d applied it, I had to grab my Tweezerman eyelash comb and use it separate the lashes and remove excess mascara.
Despite the annoyance of this extra step, I did love the look of my eyelashes and thought the mascara did a wonderful job of lasting through the day. (It didn’t flake or come off even during my afternoon workout).
Overall, I remain open to trying out more CIRCA Beauty products in the future. I think the line is a good fit for consumers who are looking for makeup products that bridge the gap between drugstore and high-end categories.