Avon has desirable prices but too many of the beauty products fall short


February 03, 1994|By Paula Begoun | Paula Begoun,Special to the Sun

I would like to say I loved all of Avon's products. At these comparatively low prices, I tried very hard to like them. The tally sheet isn't great. There are some definite bargains, but not everything is worth recommending. Hopefully, the following review will help narrow the field.

FOUNDATION: Avon has five types of foundation that are remarkably good. The color selection is neutral, with only a few shades that are too pink or orange. That is a strong positive. Each of the five foundations contains sunscreen with an SPF of 6. Not great, but better than nothing. Natural Finish Creme Powder ($6.49) has an excellent texture and is recommended for normal to dry skin. It is best for normal to slightly oily skin with no visible pores. Perfecting Creme ($4.49) is a very emollient foundation that goes on smoothly, providing medium coverage. It is recommended for very dry skin, but it isn't emollient enough to fit that category. The ingredients actually make it quite matte. It would be great for someone with normal to dry skin looking for better coverage. Oil-Free Liquid ($4.49) provides lightweight coverage and a matte finish. It is good for someone with normal to oily skin.

Enhancing Liquid ($4.49) goes on smoothly and provides medium coverage. It feels quite emollient on the skin and is actually good for normal to dry skin.

Pure Care Gentle Liquid Makeup ($4.49) is also oil-free and provides light to medium coverage. Glycerin is its second ingredient, so it tends to feel more dewy. The claims for this one are endless, everything from hypoallergenic to non-stinging and non-burning. Any foundation that contains sunscreen, as this one does, runs the risk of causing an allergic reaction.

EYE SHADOW: Avon's Silk Finish eye shadow collection is quite extensive. All of the shades come in varying combinations of Silk Finish Singles ($1.99), Duos ($2.99), and Quads ($4.49), which are conveniently broken up into cool and warm tones, and there are some attractive, soft neutrals. Almost all colors designated matte turned out to be shiny. I never recommend shiny shadow because it makes skin look wrinkly and is unsuitable for daytime wear.

BLUSH: The colors for the two different types of blush -- Color Release ($5.99) and Natural Radiance ($4.99) (they actually have very similar ingredient lists and aren't that different except for the name and the price) -- are conveniently broken down into warm and cool colors. The texture is quite nice, but the ones identified as matte turned out to be shiny. Like shiny eye shadow, shiny blush is a problem. Shiny products are never suitable for oily skin.

Avon also offers a blush cream stick called Natural Radiance Blush Stick ($3.99). Cream blushes don't last as long as powders and are difficult to blend on most skin types.

LIPSTICK: With four types of lipstick and Avon's broad color selection, you would think lips are well covered, but that is not the case. While the colors are good, they tend to soft pastels, and the textures are all fairly similar. The Color Rich Lipstick ($2.99), Satin Smooth Lipstick ($2.99), Unlimited Moisture Lipstick ($3.29) and Color Release Long-Wearing Lipstick ($3.29) all go on sheer and slightly greasy (as opposed to opaque and creamy), which means the color doesn't last all that long and it takes a lot of swipes to build up any color at all.

MASCARA: At these prices I wish could say these are wonderful mascaras, but they aren't. They aren't terrible, but they don't build up well and can't compare to some of my favorites at the drugstore. A positive is that they don't smear and they wash off easily. Try them if you aren't looking for a mascara that builds up long and thick. An interesting touch, although one I consider unnecessary, is the date dial on the cap. If you set the dial for the month you start using it, it tells you when three months are up so you know to purchase another. I think three months is too short, plus the dial comes loose easily and then you're guessing. Mascara generally gets used up or dried up in three to four months anyway.

Model Perfect Mascara ($2.99) builds up the thickest of all the mascaras; Body Workout Mascara ($2.99), which supposedly stays on better while you exercise, is just the same as the other mascaras. Pure Care Mascara ($2.99) claims to be designed for contact wearers, but there seems to be no difference in how it goes on, wears or washes off. Wash-Off Waterproof Mascara ($2.99) has the most confusing name, although it does wash off just fine. Advanced Wear Waterproof Mascara ($2.99) is very stubborn, just what you want in a waterproof mascara.

Next week: Avon skin care products.

Paula Begoun publishes the Cosmetics Counter Update. For a free introductory copy, write: Beginning Press, 5418 South Brandon, Seattle, Wash. 98118.

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