Laura Geller At-A-Glance
Strengths: Liquid foundation and concealer; lots of products to add shine to skin; good selection of pressed powders; the cream and liquid blush; enviable lip gloss; the sugar-themed eyeshadows; great brow tint; one remarkable mascara; original Spackle.
Weaknesses: Only one foundation (sold at Sephora; Geller has a hodgepodge of others that come and go on QVC); no foundations, concealers, or powder shades for dark skin tones; contour powder is way too shiny; several average powder eyeshadows; disappointing long-wearing lip paint; incomplete and often not well-made assortment of brushes; the daytime moisturizer and lip scrub contain needless irritants; claims that products do not contain parabens or mineral oil, but they do.
Laura Geller is the namesake line of a New York City makeup artist who appears regularly on QVC, where her line stirs intense curiosity—at least based on the number of requests we routinely receive to review it. Geller's line also has rolled out to several Sephora stores, a business development that has brought in droves of questions from women who don't watch QVC or shop its Web site. No matter: They all want to know if Geller's products deliver the goods and are a cut above the rest.
As we approached the attractively laid out displays at Sephora we were hoping to find exciting products that were indeed a notch above the rest. Regrettably, it took me only a few minutes to realize that, like so many other cosmetic lines, glitz and enthusiasm can go a long way toward making much ado about mostly average and overpriced products. (By the way, Geller sells most of the same products on QVC, though they're often in pre-selected "value" kits.)
We have no doubt that some of the curiosity about these products has to do with Geller's own enthusiasm for them. Watching her on QVC, you get the feeling she's the friendly next door neighbor who, upon trying your spaghetti sauce for the first time, comments, in her own inimitable but non-offensive way, that "it needs more oregano," and then proceeds to add it. Her goal is to make the process of becoming your own makeup artist seem easy and nearly effortless, and her products are designed to support this objective. "Be your own artist" and "make life simple" are catchphrases she uses throughout her product demonstrations, much to the delight of her models and the customers who call in to profess their love and adoration for Geller's products. There isn't a mascara or blush anywhere in the world that deserves this kind of praise, but we guess it helps sell lots of product.
Inspiration is great, especially if it empowers women to develop skills that lead to self-confidence and improves self-esteem. The downside is that Geller's products aren't "the best" way to become your own makeup artist—at least not if you're in the market for remarkable products—because there is nothing here that is not easily replaced by products from countless other brands.
Whether or not you'll like Geller's products over a competing brand's often comes down to personal preference and performance expectations. For example, if you want a water-based primer that differs from the many silicone-based formulas available, Geller's Spackle product is something to check out.
Most of what Geller showcases on QVC she refers to as "hero products," in the sense that they're time-saving, multi-tasking options for women on the go who want it all. The trouble is that the products she positions as "heroic" aren't nearly as multipurpose as she describes. She speaks of her Brighten powders (of which there are several) as being foundation, concealer, powder, highlighter, and insert-your-own-makeup-category-here all-in-one products, but they're absolutely not unless you want to walk out of the house looking unfinished, chalky, and shiny. There are makeup products available from other lines that can pull double- or even triple-duty, but we couldn't find one that does it all in Geller's assortment.
There are some worthwhile products in Geller's line, but even most of those suffer from being overpriced considering what you get. If there weren't similar products available elsewhere for less money, the splurge might be worth it, but in total, that's not the case.
We found it contradictory and downright ludicrous that Geller eschews parabens preservatives and has jumped on the "mineral oil is a no-no" bandwagon, even though dozens of her products contain parabens, and a few also contain mineral oil. If you're going to denigrate ingredients on television, the least you can do is make sure you're not using them in your own products!
For more information about Laura Geller, call (800) 625-3874 or visit www.laurageller.com.
Note: The Laura Geller products I reviewed are primarily the ones you will find at Sephora stores. These and other Laura Geller products are also sold on QVC, and several of the products have limited runs on the network. Most of the Geller products sold at Sephora are the mainstays of this line.