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The world of beauty is so competitive that it places pressure on cosmetics companies to come up with something bigger, better, and more innovative than the rest. Some have become veritable success stories and changed the world of makeup forever, like the Beauty Blender. Some others – the jury is still out.

There is a very thin and blurred line between what is game-changing innovation, and what is simply a gimmick when it comes to beauty products. We’ve found 10 of the most curious innovations in the world of makeup and even trawled the Internet to find out whether it works or not.

1. M.A.C. Rollerwheel Liquid Liner

gimmick or game changer mac rollerwheel liquid liner

When this eyeliner came out, we went nuts about it and had to try it out for ourselves. An eyeliner that looked like a pizza cutter which claims to draw super straight lines with the least effort? We absolutely had to get our hands on it.

Does it work?

In a nutshell: yes, if you’re willing to practise.

Check out the following video for our first impressions:

Since the filming of this video, I’ve continued to use the Rollerwheel Liquid Liner, and it’s now one of my top go-to liquid eyeliners. This is mainly because the ink that it comes with manages to hold up for an entire day despite my oily eyelids and watery outer corners, and it’s one of the most long-lasting eyeliner formulas I own.

What about the actual rollerwheel though? As was said in the video, it does take practice and you may not get your eyeliner right the first few times, but I don’t think it’s as gimmicky as you might think.

The rollerwheel does make drawing any straight lines a breeze – the difficulty is in precision and accuracy since the rollerwheel (being wider than the average brush/pen eyeliner tip) blocks your vision and you can’t see exactly where the wheel is pointed at. Once you get the hang of it, though, the rollerwheel makes drawing eyeliner a fast job!

M.A.C. Rollerwheel Liquid Liner retails for SGD 36 at M.A.C. stores.

2. Hourglass Curator Lash Instrument

gimmick or game changer hourglass curator lash instrument

This is basically an all-steel mascara wand. How does it work? By eliminating the conventional rubber bristles design, the Curator Lash Instrument claims to allow you to apply mascara clump-free, and the mascara wand will last you for years because it’s now actually cleanable.

Does it work?

In a nutshell: yes, if you’re willing to put up with the price and hassle.

The mascara that it comes with, Hourglass The Curator Realist Defining Mascara, is certainly lengthening as many YouTubers, including Australian makeup artist Tina Yong, have confirmed. But does the actual mascara wand itself work?

The ability to clean the Curator Lash Instrument could be a double-edged sword for many: it’s more hygienic, and you can keep using it for years rather than the three to four months recommended for conventional rubber mascara wands.

However, it also means you have to keep cleaning it every single time before and after you apply mascara. Double that if you want to use a lash primer before your mascara, since nobody wants to put a mascara-laden wand into a tube full of clear or white lash primer.

With the Curator Lash Instrument, though, the sleek and slim design makes it super easy to apply mascara very close to the base of your lashline, a technique called tightlining, without accidentally stabbing your eyes with bristles (since there are none on the wand).

The jury is out regarding whether the steel mascara wand actually helps with a clump-free application. In the above video, Tina says she finds it easier to apply without clumps because there are no bristles on the wand, but YouTuber Everyday Edit found it slightly clumpy (which might also have to do with the lash primer she used).

Many reviewers have joked that you could simply get a steel screw from the toolbox to replicate the spiral thread on this mascara wand.

Hourglass Curator Lash Instrument retails for USD 82.53 on Net-a-porter.

3. Estee Lauder TurboLash All Effects Motion Mascara

gimmick or game changer Estee Lauder TurboLash All Effects Motion Mascara

Wiggling your mascara wand left to right when you’re applying product isn’t exactly an exhausting effort, but there’s still a product here to help you with it anyway. Almost a decade ago, Estee Lauder released their first battery-operated vibrating mascara, the TurboLash All Effects Motion Mascara.

The mascara wand automatically begins to vibrate as soon as you pull it out of the cap, and there’s no option for you to switch it off until you put the cap back on. The vibrating motions are not only meant to replicate the zig-zag motion of applying mascara, but to amplify it, giving you fuller-looking lashes with half the effort.

Does it work?

In a nutshell: yes.

When we first heard of this mascara, we were on the fence as to how effective it would be. However, users on Makeupalley have weighed in and the mascara has achieved a better than average score of 4.1 over 5 on the review website.

Users say that the vibrating “separates the lashes and extends them, giving them an overall natural look”, and that the movement of the wand also ensures minimal to no clumping of your mascara.

The battery is unfortunately not replaceable, but beauty reviewer Isabella estimates that it should last about six months, after which it would be good hygiene to dump your mascara out anyway.

Estee Lauder TurboLash All Effects Motion Mascara retails for USD 42.80 on Amazon.

4. Lancome Ôscillation Powerfoundation Mineral Makeup SPF 21

gimmick or game changer Lancome Oscillation Powerfoundation Mineral Makeup SPF 21

It seems like the late 2000s were a great time for vibrating makeup products. Besides vibrating mascara wands mentioned above making an appearance on the beauty scene, Lancome also released the Ôscillation Powerfoundation Mineral Makeup SPF 21, a micro-vibrating powder foundation applicator.

Does it work?

In a nutshell: maybe.

People were really on the fence about this one – while many liked the quality of the powder foundation itself, most users didn’t see the point of having a vibrating applicator at all.

Makeupalley user missgiselley raves about how the powder foundation looks natural and isn’t cakey, but says, “It’s a bit hard to apply with the puff and I’ve heard it can get messy but I think this foundation itself is worth it. (just use a kabuki brush instead … if you want).”

The beauty reviewer behind YouTube channel ABeautyfulSentiment has also given this a generally positive review, saying that the powder is “very seamless”, and referring to claims that the 7,000 micro-vibrations per minute that the applicator affords is supposed to give you softer skin over continued use.

Lancome Ôscillation Powerfoundation Mineral Makeup SPF 21 retails for SGD 59.99 on Qoo10.

5. Too Faced Mood Swing Emotionally Activated Lip Gloss

gimmick or game changer Too Faced Mood Swing Emotionally Activated Lip Gloss

You’ve heard of mood rings and mood necklaces, but have you ever heard of a mood-dependent lip gloss? Too Faced released the Mood Swing Emotionally Activated Lip Gloss way back circa 2009 and you can imagine the hype that surrounded it back then. The product is meant to start off as a clear lip gloss, which will somehow change shades or colour according to your mood throughout the day.

Does it work?

In a nutshell: not really.

OK, did anyone really expect it to read your mind and your moods? The Mood Swing Emotionally Activated Lip Gloss, like many other mood-dependent jewellery, simply changes colour and shade according to your body heat. Furthermore, it didn’t exactly change colour so much as just switched from light to hot to dark variants of pink.

Most people were not particularly impressed by the product, although people did like that it left a pinkish stain on the lips even after the gloss has worn off. However, many users were disgruntled that there wasn’t a lot of product for its price (about USD 18.50), and that it didn’t perform significantly better than any other drugstore lip gloss, besides having gimmicky shade-shifting properties.

Too Faced Mood Emotionally Activated Lip Gloss has most likely been discontinued.

6. Lipstick Queen Frog Prince Lipstick and Blush

gimmick or game changer Lipstick Queen Frog Prince Lipstick Blush

This is yet another colour-changing product but we’ve got to admit, it’s a lot cooler than the previous Too Faced lip gloss. Instead of changing from clear to pink, the Lipstick Queen Frog Prince Lipstick and Blush created waves in the YouTube community last year because it changes from a very deep green to pink!

Also, colour-changing lipsticks may not be exactly fresh, but a colour-changing blush? This, we’ve got to see.

Does it work?

In a nutshell: yes!

Surprisingly, the blush actually performed a lot better than the lipstick, even though we would have expected the opposite. In general, though, the Frog Prince collection was a complete success with beauty junkies worldwide, garnering very positive reviews from YouTubers and casual reviewers all over the Internet.

The success of the Frog Prince collection is primarily due to the quality of the product. The blush turns into a gorgeous shade of pink that is flattering on a wide range of skin tones, and is reported to have excellent longevity, lasting all day without any fading. Application is also easy with its creamy, blendable texture.

The blush and lipstick only really shows up green in the pan or tube: the moment the pigment comes into contact with your body heat, it immediately turns a shade of pink that matches your body temperature. You don’t have to worry about looking like Elphaba from the musical Wicked while waiting for the colour to change.

While people ultimately love the Frog Prince products for its quality, and not so much because of its colour-changing properties, you have to admit that the gimmick attracted all that hype and attention in the first place, and the fun factor did play some role in people using these products often enough to form a positive opinion.

Bonus fact: Lipstick Queen also has a Hello Sailor lipstick which is blue in the tube, and turns mauve on the lips.

Lipstick Queen Frog Prince Lipstick and Blush retails for SGD 42 and SGD 40 respectively on Escentials.

7. Beautyblender Blotterazzi

gimmick or game changer Beautyblender Blotterazzi

Any makeup junkie would admit that the Beautyblender is one of the most revolutionary makeup sponges to have hit the beauty industry. But what about the Blotterazzi? It’s basically a flat sponge, with the hot pink colour and the teardrop shape reminiscent of the original Beautyblender, and its purpose is to blot oil.

The Blotterazzi claims to absorb only the grease and shine from your face while leaving your makeup undisturbed, and comes in a cute compact that’s shaped exactly to fit two pieces of Blotterazzi sponges.

The obvious advantage this has over ordinary blotting paper is that it’s washable and reusable, so it might be more environmentally friendly. You don’t also have to deal with a public display of gross, oily pieces of blotting paper, since oil is just going to soak into the Blotterazzi and not show up.

Does it work?

In a nutshell: not really.

If we’re going to look at its intended purpose of blotting oil, it seems like the Blotterazzi failed to impress many reviewers and YouTubers like Tati (video above). Many said the oil absorption of the Blotterazzi left much to be desired, and that simple blotting paper or even tissue did a better job at getting rid of shine.

Other users have instead begun using it for other purposes, such as using it to apply makeup, especially loose powder, although we can’t help but wonder why a much cheaper velour puff couldn’t have done just as well. Some other users have also said a dry Beautyblender performs the same as the Blotterazzi in terms of oil blotting, so you don’t have to spend money buying a whole other product for that purpose.

One of the best uses for the Blotterazzi, it seems, is simply to touch up any creased or smudged makeup throughout the day. Unfortunately, this could be done just as well with other (cheaper) sponges and puffs.

Beautyblender Blotterazzi retails for SGD 34 for two pieces on Sephora.

8. Artis makeup brushes

gimmick or game changer artis brushes

When Artis released these toothbrush-shaped makeup brushes a couple of years ago, it caught everyone by surprise. Makeup brushes had heretofore been of the same cylindrical barrel and it was hard to tell whether the new shape would be a stroke of genius or a simple gimmick.

Does it work?

In a nutshell: yes.

This is mainly due to the high quality make and the extremely densely packed bristles of the Artis brushes, but according to many YouTubers and reviewers out there, it does an excellent job at applying makeup, especially liquid foundation, without leaving behind unsightly streaks and smudges.

The brushes come in varying sizes, from large ones that could cover nearly your entire cheek, to ones smaller than your actual toothbrush, perfect for getting at the inner corners of your eyes or even to apply eyeshadow.

The Artis brushes are also built to last: the bristles are said to be able to hold up against most brush-cleaning detergents, the brush head would retain its shape after washing and because it is composed of synthetic hair (Artis is cruelty-free and vegan), the bristles don’t shed easily.

Artis makeup brushes retail on Net-a-porter from USD 46 onwards for a single brush, and USD 172 onwards for a set.

9. Laneige Two Tone Shadow Bar

gimmick or game changer laneige two tone shadow bar

By now, most of us would already know of the Laneige Two Tone Lip Bar, which is a diagonally-split lipstick that makes it that much easier to create the gradient lip look that’s become super popular. However, did you know that Laneige also has a Two Tone Shadow Bar?

Yes, this is actually a cream eyeshadow stick that packs two different complementary eyeshadows in one bar, and which promises a flawless application with just one swipe. Is it too good to be true?

Does it work?

In a nutshell: probably not.

There are mixed reviews about this product, mainly because of its formula. As local YouTuber Trish Young mentions in the above video, the gold eyeshadow from the shade Humming Coral quickly becomes dull and the shimmer loses its impact before you’re even done with your eye makeup.

Unfortunately, it does not seem to do well with eyeshadow primer either, according to Yichen, a reviewer on the local Sephora website. She reviewed the product twice, and said that the shadows smudge and does not dry down even with eyeshadow primer underneath.

Local beauty blogger Cheryl says it’s a relatively decent product, but offers no oil control so if you happen to have oily eyelids, you will have to touch it up regularly throughout the day. However, she does note that the colour payoff is pretty good, and recommends it for those who are very new to wearing eyeshadow as the product blends the colour perfectly for you.

Laneige Two Tone Shadow Bar retails for SGD 38 at Sephora and Tangs, and at varying prices on Lazada.

10. Sigma Spa® Express Brush Cleaning Glove

gimmick or game changer Sigma Spa Express Brush Cleaning Glove

This is one of those products that you would never have thought you needed until you actually see it in action. We all love makeup, but most of us don’t really love cleaning our makeup brushes, even though we should. This brush cleaning glove from beauty brand Sigma is here to make that process that bit easier.

It’s essentially a piece of silicone shaped vaguely like a glove, and covered all over with different patterns of ridges. Not only does it protect your palms from drying out with all that detergent you’re going to come into contact with, the ridges is also said to help your brushes get a deeper cleanse than you could give it with your hands alone.

Does this work?

In a nutshell: yes.

The Spa Express Brush Cleaning Glove has become a hit since its release. Many users have said that it helps them clean their brushes quicker, faster, and more thoroughly. You will say hello again to the original colour of the bristles on your makeup brushes – it provides that deep a clean!

Some users have said, however, that you could also use a much cheaper rubber glove from the supermarket, but it seems likely that the various ridges on the Spa Express glove contributes significantly to the brush cleaning process.

Sigma Spa® Express Brush Cleaning Glove retails for SGD 35 on Sephora and Zalora.