I admittedly have an excessive makeup collection for a single person. Though it may not seem like it considering all the newly released makeup I purchased in 2021, I actually made a bigger effort to talk myself out of getting makeup in categories I already had favorites of and didn’t need. Each product reviewed today were things I thought I successfully anti-hauled, but all it took was a sale for me to change my mind!
These purchases were all made in 2021, so my beauty resolutions for 2022 are still intact and going strong! If anything, this post is an example of why I had to come up with a better plan for this year.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Cream Bronzer in Hazelnut
This purchase I attribute to Angelica Nyqvist’s many videos talking about how fantastic this product is, including her end of 2021 favorites. I wish I could say I had the same experience, but I just find it to be okay at best. This cream is easy to blend out, to the point that I have to build it back up, but if I overblend while building it up, it starts to look patchy because it’s setting in spots at different times. On the opposite side of the issue, I try not to apply too much at once because the shade is a bit deep for me. The shade jump between Hazelnut and the next lighter shade, Caramel, is huge. Hazelnut was my only color option. So, perhaps if I had a better match that didn’t put me at risk of overblending, I might like it better. As it stands, I prefer the Danessa Myricks, Kaja, and Sol Body/Colourpop cream bronzer formulas above the one from ABH because those three all blend quickly and easily into a skin-like finish. They’re also just as deep, or in some cases deeper, than the ABH without the blending and building troubles.
I’ve used this about ten times, so it’s possible I could find another brush that works better with this bronzer other than the Sonia G Mini Base and Scott Barnes #65 Flawless Face Brush, but between using a sponge, brush, or finger, the end result looks similar for all of them. I’m cutting my losses and rather than figure out how to make this one work better, I can just use my no-fuss cream bronzers that I like instead.
Pat Mcgrath Labs Skin Fetish: Sublime Skin Highlighter in Lunar Nude
I couldn’t resist the gold packaging with that embossing, but I’m at least glad I waited for a sale. I told myself over and over that Lunar Nude would look too light for my skin tone, so I shouldn’t get it. I was half right. The shimmery reflective particles are light gold, but the base color is a copper color. It even looks copper or gold depending on the lighting of the room and the angle. The base tone helps it look a little more wearable on me, but it’s still lighter than I’d prefer in a highlighter.
I can see the shimmer particles on my face, which is also not my preference, but I also realized that certain brushes of mine pick up more of the sparkle than others. On the website, there was a note to pair this with the highlighting balm duo. When I used the balm and then applied Lunar Nude on top, it definitely helped to make the product melt into the skin and look super smooth and achieve that “wet look” that I enjoy. However, it really cranks up the intensity level and the fact that the highlighter is too light for me becomes way more obvious. Since I figured out how to use it to my preferences, I like the formula but not the actual shade. Ultimately though, I don’t think this is worth buying at full price except for collectors and luxury product lovers. For anyone looking for the best highlighter on the market for the best price, this isn’t it. Much better and more affordable options are out there. It’s “pretty good” at best. I personally prefer Pat Mcgrath’s Divine Rose highlighter. That one is listed as a “futuristic gel-powder formula” in the “Skin Fetish: Ultra Glow” line whereas Lunar Nude is a “luxe gel-powder formula” in the “Skin Fetish: Sublime Skin” line. It’s possible they are the same formula, but Lunar Nude leaves more sparkle on the skin, which is the biggest difference other than the color.
Pat Mcgrath Labs Highlighter Comparisons
Different lighting to reveal the color shift of the trio.
Of course, since making this purchase, Pat Mcgrath has released similar highlighters to Lunar Nude’s formula in the Bridgerton collection. I don’t believe either of those new colors would look nice on me. If PML releases a shade variation I like in this same formula with the same special packaging and same or similar embossing, I would most likely sell Lunar Nude and buy that one. As it stands, this one isn’t getting much use in my collection but I still don’t want to part with it without a superior replacement.
Smashbox Loves Becca Under Eye Brightener in Dark
Although Becca Cosmetics is no more, a few best selling products were resurrected through Smashbox. This decision is presumed to be made by their parent company Estee Lauder.
There were originally just two shades: light-medium (now called Fair/Light) and medium-deep. The Smashbox x Becca version has two more in the mix: Medium and Dark. It’s my understanding though, based on a YouTube video by All Beauty by Sarah, that the original medium-deep color is actually close in depth to the current Medium shade with the main difference being that the original had a stronger pink tone to it. The third darkest shade now is called Medium/Dark and is much darker than the original medium-deep. The final shade, and the one I picked up, is Dark. Based on the description and the shade in the pot, I expected Dark to be too dark for me. Technically, as this is supposed to brighten my under-eyes, I should have gotten Medium/Dark. However, I prefer for my under eyes to match the rest of my face rather than being brighter, so Dark works perfectly for that. It’s the best matching color-corrector type of product I have ever used because it has a slight orange tone to hide my dark circles, but there’s also enough brown to make it look natural. I try to avoid showing my skin discoloration as much as possible, but in this instance I felt it was necessary to show a demonstration photo below.
Cream products almost always move in my under-eye area, but what makes this one a little different is the very sticky texture. This product has gripping power similar to the Milk Hydro Grip Eye Primer, but stronger than that one. This makes it ideal for applying a concealer on top, even though based on the color match, I don’t find that to even be necessary. However, it will not set on its own, so I either have to apply a concealer that sets down like the Tarte Shape Tape or apply a setting powder to my under eyes (or both). If I apply the Smashbox x Becca corrector by itself, it will settle badly into creases. So, I need at least something on top to keep it from creasing and to continue looking smooth.
So, I have an answer to using this product to hide my dark circles and keep it looking as smooth as possible considering I have heavy lines under my eyes. This product would be perfect if it wasn’t for the transfer issue. No matter what products I apply on top of the corrector, it will lift off my under eyes if I accidentally touch it or if I try to wipe away shimmer eyeshadow fallout. So, despite being the perfect color match for me, this isn’t a holy grail product. I use it on days when I’m not planning to go anywhere and am just putting on makeup for Instagram and Blog photos. I am at least glad I’m still getting use out of it. This would work wonders for people who don’t touch their face or rub their eyes as much as I do, so I still recommend it, but I would be wary about potential issues. Also, I would use a dedicated brush specifically with this product because it’s a bit of a pain to use with my favorite concealer brushes the way it coats the hairs in its sticky texture.
Flower Beauty Jungle Lights Palette
The release of Flower Beauty’s Desert Lights palette didn’t take away the major hype surrounding the original Jungle Lights palette. That’s what ultimately caused me to finally want to try it out. I’ve also always been curious how it stacked up to the MAC Tempting Fate palette a lot of people were comparing it to.
In the photo above, in the “Flash Off” set of swatches, I put a yellow divider line to help show the differences between the Flower Beauty swatches on the left half and the MAC swatches on the right half. In the “Flash On” set of swatches, I did not put a divider in order to keep it from impeding on seeing how similar the two sets look next to each other in every shade except Amazon (which had no equivalent) and Jaguar.
The Flower Beauty Jungle Lights formula is as creamy as everyone says, except Paradise and Jaguar have less slip and feel a tad more gritty. I also like the sparkle and shine level of these shimmers, which clearly surpass that of the MAC Feast Your Eyes Palette from the Tempting Fate Collection.
They’re as nice as people say, and I appreciate the fact that they last fairly well on my eyes as long as I pack on enough color with my finger (which is the recommended application method) and am content with the colors fading a bit to a duller color by the end of the day.
I think it’s worth looking into, especially at the price point. $17.99 is great already, but between a sale and coupon codes at Ulta, I got this one for $8.68. I still would have thought it was worth it at full price.
One of the most fascinating aspects of this palette was when I came across a reddit post showing 47 different shade combinations that could be made using this palette depending on which shade was on the bottom layer and which one was on top. Of course, the differences aren’t as obvious on my skin tone, but there were enough combinations to leave me thoroughly impressed. I took photos of some of the most obvious color changes with comparisons to the individual shades on their own to make it easier to see the differences.
And then the photo below shows all the individual shades plus my favorite five new shade combinations.
Unfortunately, some of these shade mixtures don’t show as well on my eyes as they did in arm swatches. However, it’s still fun to play around with the combinations. It makes for a more versatile palette.
I wish there were some mattes included, but I could perhaps continue to get use out of this if I remember to pull it out in conjunction with some of my all or nearly all matte palettes.
Sigma Beauty Berry Glow Cheek Duo
I really thought this duo looked nice on my skin in person, but in photos, the blush looks very ashy. The fact that it’s cool toned does look a little off to my own eyes though. I’m torn.
I bought the duo for about 40% off during a Black Friday sale and thought it was an extra great price considering it came with a brush as well. The brush will be reviewed in an upcoming synthetic bristle brush post. Considering the ashy look of the blush on camera, I’m not sure if I’ll continue to use it. I guess as long as it still looks nice in person, and I could potentially mix it with a warmer blush, I still somewhat like it. However, considering I also had mixed feelings about the Cor-de-Rosa blush palette, I think this will be the last blush purchase I get from them. I do like the highlighter, as it’s quite smooth with a small shimmer particle size and it doesn’t look stark even though it’s such a pale highlighting shade. It comes off a little more champagne-gold in person even though it looks almost platinum on camera. I’m almost tempted to investigate Sigma’s Glowkissed Highlight Palette from last year, but I have a full highlighter palette already from Danessa Myricks that I just bought during Black Friday too. I certainly don’t need another.
Those who are fans of the Sigma blush and highlighter formula already will likely enjoy the quality of this duo as well. I will continue to give it a few more tries to solidify my own feelings on it, but it’s just “nice” in terms of quality in my opinion. It doesn’t quite reach the “great” territory.
That’s everything! Out of the five items, I wish I could have successfully anti-hauled the ABH Cream Bronzer, Sigma Duo, and this particular shade of PML highlighter, but I really expected to love them and wouldn’t have known otherwise without having bought them first to try out. I will certainly try harder to stick to my anti-hauls in the future.
Thank you for reading!