IsaDora, a Swedish import, is positioned as an internationally appealing, fashion-forward cosmetics line, complete with European pedigree—usually a draw for North American consumers. (It's interesting that the opposite tends to be true in Europe, where American-made cosmetics have elite status.) This line also includes skin-care and hair-care products, but only the makeup is available in the United States (sold exclusively in Walgreens drugstores) so those are the items I review here. All of the IsaDora products are fragrance free, although most of the lip glosses have flavor that also imparts an aroma. For the most part, IsaDora has some impressive products, and at prices that compete favorably with tried-and-true lines such as L'Oreal and Revlon. However, I disagree with their claim that each product is of the "highest possible quality and the latest development in cosmetics." While that may hold true for several of IsaDora's better products, there are far too many disappointments (particularly in the mascara and lipstick categories) to give credence to IsaDora's claim of being on the cutting edge of makeup formulations. If you decide to explore this line at your local Walgreens, the items to try include blush, eyeshadows, a couple of the foundations, and several lip glosses. Just watch out for some odd colors that may be fashionable but not necessarily wearable—there is indeed a difference! Regrettably, none of the Walgreens stores I visited offered testers for IsaDora's products. That makes your selection more of a guessing game than anything else—though Walgreens has a good return policy. [The entire IsaDora Makeup line is reviewed in the March/April 2006 issue of my Cosmetics Counter Update, available here.]

Lift & Cover Firming Anti-Wrinkle Make-Up ($14.79) has a formula similar to that of the other liquid foundations in this line, and none of them are capable of firming skin or have special anti-wrinkle properties. After all, the only bona fide anti-wrinkle ingredient anywhere is an effective sunscreen, which every IsaDora foundation lacks. Misleading name aside, this satin-smooth foundation is a pleasure to blend and has a slightly moist, "glowy" finish that is best for normal to dry skin seeking medium coverage. It feels comfortably light, so wearing a sunscreen underneath won't make skin feel too slick or greasy. Of the six shades, three are poor representations of real skin colors: avoid Cool Beige, Medium Beige, and Toffee. The other shades are suited for medium to slightly tan skin.

Perfect Coverstick ($9.99) is perfectly awful. This greasy stick concealer comes in some of the worst shades I've seen, including a green color that is more appropriate for Halloween makeup than for daytime use. The only suitable, real skin color is Olive Beige, but you'd still have to put up with it slipping into lines under the eye, and it is definitely not suited for use over blemishes. IsaDora describes this product as "antibacterial," but it does not contain any ingredients that have that property.

Velvet Touch Compact Powder ($10.99) is a talc-based pressed powder with a smooth texture and soft yet dry, slightly powdery finish. This is worth considering; it just isn't in the same league as the best pressed powders from L'Oreal, M.A.C., Estee Lauder, or Rimmel. Six shades are available, with the best being Classic Beige Mist, Soft Mist, and Sheer Transparent. The other shades are too peach or rose, but they go on sheer, so it's only an issue if you apply this powder with a puff or sponge instead of a brush.

Light & Shade Eye Shadow ($8.99) is sold as a duo, both shades being shiny. The formula is silky but the shine doesn't cling as well as it should, and several of the duos are dated or contrasting combinations that have nothing to do with shaping and shading the eye. Unless your goal is to use eyeshadow to pull focus from your eyes, avoid the following pairings: Blue Moon, Lime & Turquoise (it looks as bad as it sounds), Caribbean Blue, and Golden Purple.

Source: Paula Begoun