CoverGirl

CoverGirl At-A-Glance

Strengths: Inexpensive and widely available; a hugely improved selection of foundations, several with reliable sunscreen; good concealers; enviable pressed powders; some fantastic Lash Blast mascaras; mostly great eyelining options; a vast selection of lip color options, from the long-wearing Outlast to sheer lip glosses to the wholly impressive Lip Perfection lipstick; several great options in the Queen Collection.

Weaknesses: The older foundations are seriously lacking; the newer Advanced Radiance foundation has great texture but disappointing SPF rating; powder blush and eyeshadows; terrible makeup brushes; all of the "Clean" products contain irritating ingredients.

Since 1961, CoverGirl has been slowly building a portfolio of cosmetics that today is about as all-encompassing as a makeup line can be. Originating from the same "medicated" ingredients found in Noxzema Skin Cream (which was never medicated in the least, but seriously irritating for skin), the debut products are still available, albeit with slight modifications. The good news is that for the past several years CoverGirl has consistently updated their line with some very impressive products, especially their foundations, concealers, and vastly improved pressed powders. They also offer some excellent eye and lip pencils, lipsticks and lip gloss, and one of the all-time best long-wearing lip paints, Outlast.

What's puzzling is that although many of CoverGirl's latest products are progressive, they tend to hang on to the lackluster-to-poor options, including abysmal powder blush and eyeshadows and their long-standing, very irritating Clean Makeup. These items may be part of CoverGirl's humble beginnings, but you certainly don't see parent company Proctor & Gamble adding eucalyptus oil and menthol to their Olay products or to products of any of the other cosmetics companies they own. If those ingredients were so important, why not use them everywhere? Needless to say, the great products outnumber the disappointments, and the prices make it easy for those on a budget to be beautiful and enjoy some state-of-the-art products, provided they shop wisely.

CoverGirl's Web site is extremely easy to navigate, and presents a wealth of product information, along with practical (if somewhat cutesy) tips and tricks for successful makeup application and for finding the shades that work best for you. CoverGirl's consumer relations department is consistently helpful if you have any questions or concerns. For example, if one of your favorite items was discontinued, you might want to know what replaced it, and they will let you know. Such service and customer concern is yet another powerful reason to believe CoverGirl really has its (class) act together.

For more information about CoverGirl, owned by Procter & Gamble, call (800) 426-8374 or visit the Web site at www.covergirl.com.

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