April 08, 2020

READER SECRETS The first ShopGirl beauty poll yields a wealth of beauty information

Thank you.

From the top of my recently highlighted head to the tip of my woefully un-pedicured toes, I am filled with gratitude for you, my dear readers. Your enthusiasm for the first-ever ShopGirl Beauty Poll was enough to bring tears to my eyes. Good thing I only wear mascara when I’m on TV.

Reading the responses was like reading a beauty textbook – only far more interesting. Who knew milk would soothe puffy eyes? Emily Lavoie, a 16-year-old from Carmel did. And Tamara Bryant of Camden wrote in with a great tip for gals whose hair is discolored because of the minerals in well water: Try lemon juice for blond hair and white vinegar for dark hair. Comb through your hair and leave on for 20 minutes. Wash and style as usual. Problem solved. Or, as Bryant writes, “Voila – shiny beautiful hair!”

The beauty tips ranged from the practical to the whimsical. One sassy reader says her best beauty secret is great sex. Another swears by baby oil. And many readers recommended this timeless trio: sleep, water, exercise – now that’s a beauty bargain.

As the responses piled up, a few clear favorites began to emerge. In the nail polish category, OPI well, nailed it. For best bar soap, it appears Dove can’t be beat. And when it comes to beauty tools, women across eastern Maine can’t live without their eyelash curlers. If you had the chance to splurge on one body care product or service, most of you said you’d treat yourself to a massage.

The most-mentioned brand overall was Mary Kay, and its fans are loyal. One surprise, given our distance from any Sephora, was how varied and upscale the brands were in every category. Philosophy, Smashbox, Tarte, MAC and Benefit made quite a few appearances on the list. Bare Escentuals’ Bare Minerals, the foundation and powder made from finely ground mineral pigments, took first place in the foundation category.

The beauty bargains were varied and fun. A few readers mentioned the body butters available at Dollar Tree, and St. Ives exfoliating scrub was another favorite. Palmer’s cocoa butter got a shout-out, as did Noxzema, Vaseline and Bag Balm. Most of you would splurge on a massage, but a few readers would opt for microdermabrasion or a facial. One reader mentioned Cr?me de la Mer – the “miracle” cream that costs $110 an ounce. Decadent!

Decadent or frugal, one thing is for certain – all of the readers who responded were passionate about product.

And for that, I’m grateful.

Without further ado, here are the results of the inaugural ShopGirl Beauty Poll. Please note, only the top vote-getter in each category is listed, and in many cases, respondents only listed brands, rather than specific products. Also, the winner of our satchel full of goodies – worth more than $100, is Holly Billings of Stillwater. Congratulations, Holly!

Skin care

Best moisturizer: Neutrogena products

Best facial cleanser: Olay products

Best acne treatment-prevention: ProActiv Solution

Best skin care splurge: A facial

Best skin care bargain: St. Ives exfoliating scrub


Best foundation: Tie for first – Bare Escentuals Bare Minerals, Mary Kay, CoverGirl

Best concealer for blemishes: CoverGirl

Best concealer for under-eye circles: CoverGirl

Best blush: Mary Kay

Best powder: Tie for first – Bare Escentuals Mineral Veil, Neutrogena Minerals

Best lipstick, liner or gloss: Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer

Best eyeshadow: Cover Girl

Best mascara: Maybelline Great Lash

Best beauty splurge: Bare Escentuals Bare Minerals

Best beauty bargain: Lots of rest


Best at-home hair removal: For razors – Gillette Venus; for wax – Sally Hansen

Best bar soap: Dove

Best body lotion: Aveeno

Best hand cream: Tie for first – Bath & Body Works, Neutrogena, Jergens

Best nail polish: OPI

Best top coat: OPI

Best body splurge: Massage

Best body bargain: Exercise


Best beauty tool: Eyelash curler

Beauty item you couldn’t live without: Tie – Eyelash curler and blush

ShopGirl’s favorites

Moisturizer: Clinique Dramatically Different Gel

Facial cleanser: Olay Sensitive Skin liquid cleanser

Skin care splurge: Philosophy products

Skin care bargain: Palmer’s cocoa butter

Foundation: Clinique Almost Makeup (though I’m warming up to Bare Escentuals Bare Minerals)

Concealer: CG Smoothers stick in neutralizer – it’s invisible

Blush: Clinique Rich Texture Blush in Rich Nude

Lipstick: L’oreal Colour Riche in Earth Rose

Eyeshadow: Anything by Chanel

Mascara: Clinique Naturally Glossy mascara in black

Beauty splurge: Lancome lipstick and nail polish

Beauty bargain: Wet ‘n Wild lip gloss

At-home hair removal: Sally Hansen cold wax

Bar soap: Too many to mention

Body lotion: Anything by Philosophy

Hand cream: Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter cuticle cream

Nail polish: Revlon for wear, OPI for colors, Lancome for a splurge

Top coat: Revlon

Body splurge: Olive body butter from The Body Shop

Body bargain: Pumice sponges at Target (they’re a buck in the travel aisle)

Beauty tool: A good hair dryer

Best beauty advice: From my mother and ShopGuy – stop picking your face!

Couldn’t live without: My hairstylist, Emily Fisher at Inovations in Brewer

Best beauty secret: Eat real, whole, unprocessed food

Have feedback? Want to know more? Send us ideas for follow-up stories.

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