Charlotte Tilbury Glow Glide Face Architect Highlighters and More

This review is technically eight months in the making since the bronzer, Pillow Talk Highlighter, and mascara were supposed to be part of last year’s “May Purchases Reviewed” post that I still have yet to complete. In fact, so much time has passed that I fully used up and decluttered the travel size mini of the mascara, and had to rely on a sample size version to complete this review. The advantage of this situation is that I have very solidified options on most of the products we’ll be diving into today. But, let’s start with the newest product that I’m the most excited to talk about first!

Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Glow Glide Face Architect Highlighter in Sunset Glow and Bronze Glow

Even though Sunset Glow is my better shade match, the blended out swatch shows that it’s close to my skin tone. If it was the tiniest bit darker, I might not have liked it as much as I do.

This was supposed to be an early 2023 release, but 6 of the 7 shades were available via Selfridges for $38 on December 30, 2022. I knew Sunset Glow was the shade I really wanted the most, but it started off as a CT website exclusive for a week or so before it came to Selfridges, and I had already ordered Bronze Glow. As of this moment, Sunset Glow is still not available at Sephora, SpaceNK, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue, or Beautylish. I spotted it on the Feelunique website, so it seems the best chance to get this particular shade (if you live in the US) is from UK based places that have a US site too.

One of the first things I noticed when I got the product in my hands was how much it rattled when I held it and used it, to the point where the pan starts spinning in the compact when I try to do swatches. It’s not loose and it doesn’t fall out when held upside down. It’s just a matter of it being magnetic and not glued down. I don’t know if the ridges/raised elements on the bottom of the pan is the cause for the actual sound from it not laying evenly or if it’s due to having a weaker magnet inside the compact. It’s a minor flaw that I don’t mind because it makes it that much easier to transfer this pan into a different compact if Charlotte Tilbury comes out with something in the future with a pretty design on it. I like this outer packaging design more than the basic logo, but it’s not as cute as some of the past lunar new year compacts for instance, so I’d love to transfer this into prettier packaging some day because I really like this highlighter!

I created a chart using the images from the Charlotte Tilbury website to make it easier to see the color recommendations. Since Sunset Glow is the harder to find shade, I put that one in the middle, though it’s supposed to be in the 5th position.

According to the brand, these shades are “flawless on everyone,” but certain colors look especially pretty on certain skin tones. Bronze Glow is supposed to be the deepest color, but the shimmer looked light enough to work for me based on the brand’s swatches and examples on models. I was right in that regard, but the darker tone does keep it from looking as nice on me as it could. The point of a highlighter is to draw attention to a particular area of the face and bring that forward. Bronze Glow looks flatter and duller compared to Sunset Glow because the base isn’t light enough to create that lifted illusion. It still draws attention due to the sparkle color, but it’s not as pretty as when it’s both shimmery and lighter in depth, but not so light as to leave a pale stripe on the face. For this reason, I recommend taking the depth of one’s skin tone into account when choosing a shade despite the brand’s insistence on a universal aspect to them. As I learned, certain models are demonstrating one specific highlighter color for a reason and I found that choosing the shade closest to the model that looked like me resulted in the highlighter looking its smoothest. The “wrong” one drew a little more attention to texture.

Judging this based on Sunset Glow alone, these highlighters are super smooth. It feels slightly damp to the touch, but it is dry on the face. Part of what’s supposed to make this line of highlighters different from the rest is that it’s supposed to have a finish that looks like it’s melting into the skin like liquid highlighters would, while benefiting from the ease of use as a powder product. It looks beautiful all day and doesn’t lose its reflectivity like some lower quality shimmer in highlighters can do. This is by far my favorite highlighter from the brand and I believe it could be in the top ten ranking among all the ones I own.

Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Highlighter in Dream Light

This may come as a surprise, but I wasn’t impressed with this product initially. It’s possible that I just had a sour taste in my mouth from my first one arriving broken. When this one arrived, I was disappointed to see the random larger glitter specks particularly within the dark reddish bronze strip (#2) and champagne colored strip (#4). Part of the theoretical benefit I saw to owning this highlighter was the ability to have four different highlighter colors within one product and be able to customize the shades by mixing two or more together, but the ones on the left and right sides of the pan are so small and thin that a select few brushes allow me to pick up the single color I choose. It turns out that the only shade I feel I can pull off wearing by itself is the deep golden one (#3). For getting just that, I tend to use my discontinued Wayne Goss #15 fan brush.

When I want a stronger intensity level of highlighter, I add the tiniest bit of the light gold (#1) on the very highest point/spot on my cheekbones. Besides the random larger sparkles, my biggest reasons for not preferring Stripe #2 is that it’s too red and dark, and Stripe #4 because it’s too light. Mixing all four shades creates a beautiful middle-ground color that I like, but I don’t wear it that way because of the increased number of random larger glitter specks. Of course, the more I use this and the more the shades kick up into one another, it’s becoming increasingly more difficult to not get larger particle size shimmer in #1 and #3. So, it’s something I’m just trying to embrace.

Because this is another relatively smooth highlighter, I do like it. However, if I had to choose between the Pillow Talk highlighter and the new Glow Glide Face Architect ones, I prefer the latter because of the extra smoothness and glow it provides without looking so powdery. They are the same price, and the Pillow Talk highlighter gives more variety, but four pretty highlighter colors don’t compare to one near-perfect shade.

Charlotte Tilbury Beautiful Skin Sun-Kissed Glow Bronzer in 3 Tan

I love this bronzer, but it had me going crazy for a bit! I included multiple photos because no matter what background or lighting I use, the color doesn’t look consistent. To my own eyes, when I wear this on my face, it sometimes looks more olive, or neutral, or warm-yellow, or warm-orange. I still can’t give a definitive answer as to what undertone this bronzer in Tan has! When I first started using it, there were times I thought the shade was strange and then other times it was absolute perfection! I’ve been using it on and off since June 2022 and I haven’t figured out the witchcraft that makes it look so different sometimes, but it’s one of my top three favorite cream bronzers now. It blends effortlessly on my face and sets without needing to powder it. The longevity is fantastic. One of the things I’m super impressed by is the fact that the texture has remained creamy for all these months without a film or discolored layer forming on the surface, and hasn’t partly dried out, like some other cream products of mine have done. It’s a pleasure to use every time!
Factoring my powder bronzers into the equation, this product has a ton of competition for claiming a spot in my top five favorites, but this might just be number one among the cream bronzers. I have three others that come to mind, but I haven’t spent enough time with them to say for sure yet which is the best of the best. Perhaps 2023 will be the year I finally do a yearly favorites post again to declare the winner.

In order to enjoy the pretty swirl pattern for longer, I mostly put my brush in the same spot (top right of the compact). It looks barely used, for that reason, from the top down perspective, but I’ve created a decent dip into the pan when taking into account how little product is needed.

Below, I’ve included a photo (taken in June) of another bronzer I bought that same month and love: the Nars Laguna Bronzing Cream in Laguna 04. It’s darker and more red toned than the Charlotte Tilbury cream bronzer, which is why I prefer Charlotte’s over it. Plus, the Nars bronzer is heavily scented.

There are so many reviews of this product by now, so perhaps it doesn’t need to be said, but the cream products are darker than the powder counterparts. For example, the powder version of Tan is lighter than this cream version of Tan. The powder version of Deep is lighter than the cream version of Deep. So, despite there only being four shade options, this helps to round out Charlotte’s overall bronzer line if you don’t mind using cream versus powder. I always wanted a “Dark Tan” or “3.5” bronzer shade in the powder line, but cream Tan is filling that void for me.

The price of this is ridiculously expensive, but it was worth it to me. It’s like if the Danessa Myricks Power Bronzer Cream and Anastasia Beverly Hills Cream Bronzer had a baby and that baby acquired magical powers.

Charlotte Tilbury Hypnotising Pop Shots in Sunlit Diamond and Cosmic Rocks

I rarely reach for single eyeshadow products, unless they’re in a custom magnetic palette, so I try not to purchase things like this. However, that packaging was pretty, and having a multichrome eyeshadow in a beautiful compact that I could reuse (if I wanted to re-press a different eyeshadow into there) was extremely appealing. So, I purchased Cosmic Rocks. The only reason I ended up with Sunlit Diamond is because the brand sent me that on accident instead of the Sunset Glow highlighter. So, they allowed me to keep it and sent me a second package with my correct item inside. Sunlit Diamond is a beautiful color, so I’m happy to have it, even though I wouldn’t have bought it myself. It’s not due to the product being bad. These eyeshadows are pigmented and sparkly and stay pretty well bound together when picked up, which means I can avoid making a mess when applying them and I don’t have to dampen them to apply them either. However, I did apply the inner halves wet in the eye looks below to see if there would be a dramatic difference and there was not.
I don’t get much fallout during application, but I can get a bit of it as the day goes on. I still haven’t tried these with glitter glue, but perhaps that could prevent some of that fallout throughout the day.

Also, I get the tiniest bit of movement where the shadow doesn’t want to stay in the deepest line of my crease, but it could be the primer I’ve used with this. It’s such a minor amount for me, but I thought I would mention that anyway for those who might have deeper lines on the eyes than mine. Admittedly, since I’m not much of a single shadow wearer, I’ve tested this product the least of everything else (only four times).

As far as multichromes go, Cosmic Rocks certainly can’t compete with Clionadh in terms of intensity, but I’m not certain if that was even the brand’s goal considering their typical clientele. It doesn’t have nearly as dark of a base as the others, so I’m guessing Cosmic Rocks is meant to be a more approachable way to wear a colorful shadow and a multichrome without intimidating neutral lovers too much.

Even without being as deep as Clionadh’s Jewelled multichromes, Cosmic Rocks is still pretty dramatic on my eyes, so I’m still pleased with it. However, considering the full $34 price of the Pop Shots (I bought Cosmic Rocks from Selfridges for $25), I wouldn’t recommend if for those who love really full on multichromes. Granted, it does come in a lovely lightweight compact, so perhaps the upcharge is understandable considering it houses a multichrome eyeshadow. As much as I like Sunlit Diamond, I personally find the full price to be astronomical for a more traditional eyeshadow.

Charlotte Tilbury Push Up Lashes Mini Mascara

Right off the bat, I have to say that my experience with the sample was different from the travel size. I’m not sure if that has to do with the travel size having more product in the tube and being able to fully coat the brush or if there’s a slight difference between the two applicator brushes. All I know is that I liked the travel size enough to where I considered buying a full size, but I would never have been interested in this mascara if it was based on the sample alone, because with the sample I couldn’t build as much volume as I wanted without doing at least two coats. Unfortunately, I used up the travel size many months ago, so I cannot remember which eye looks I’ve taken in the past that I was wearing this mascara. I only have photos of this mascara using the sample size (which is in the pop shots section above).

Based on the travel size, I like that I can create a defined fanned out look with the wand. I get a decent amount of length and volume, although my lashes don’t get quite as long or full as my favorite mascaras can provide. I like that the brush is fairly skinny, so I have an easier time coating my lower lashes. I don’t get any clumping, smudging, or flaking with this either.

I considered repurchasing the travel size again specifically for my lower lashes, but after using the MAC Extended Play Lash, I decided against it because I prefer the applicator on that one and it’s slightly cheaper than the Push Up Mascara from Charlotte Tilbury. Plus, my top favorite mascaras do a good enough job with both top and bottom lashes and I just have to be a little more careful and deliberate when applying mascara to my lower lashes.

I’ve sometimes experienced a difference between the full size tube and travel size of mascaras (if for instance one is wetter or one gets too much or too little product on the applicator), so I don’t know if I would notice yet another difference if I had the full-size. But, based on the travel size, this is a nice mascara, but I don’t see myself repurchasing it.

That concludes this Charlotte Tilbury update post!

Thank you for reading!

-Lili

One/Size Disney Fantasia Collection

I thought this collection was cute, but I admittedly didn’t purchase it until it went on sale at the end of last year. Now, the products are being offered at an even greater discount at Sephora, so I wanted to post my review while there are still some items left to purchase for those who might be interested.

Disney Fantasia Face and Eye Palette

I hadn’t tried eyeshadows from One/Size prior to owning this palette, but I’m very interested in getting more if the brand comes out with palettes with my type of colors in them. The mattes are so soft and creamy, almost like a wet sensation on the fingers, despite being completely dry and a powder. The closest comparison I can think of is like Tarte Amazonian Clay matte eyeshadows, but even creamier. The matte eyeshadows in this palette are actually the most similar to the matte blushes from the Cheek Clapper trios that I love so much because of how pigmented they are while also being smoothing, blurring, and easy to blend. I’m no cosmetic chemist, but I’m guessing it’s the amount of silica and “cone” ingredients in the brand’s matte products that make them feel the way they do. It’s impressive that they managed to use dimethicone, for instance, in a matte without it sealing itself after being swatched a few times (as I noticed that pattern with certain matte powder products I own and back when I was attempting to make my own pressed eyeshadows), but I’ve observed that ingredient lists with dimethicone in a matte product tend to have kaolin clay, zea mays/corn starch, or some other oil-absorbing dry ingredient with it, so perhaps that’s why silica is paired with it. Perhaps there’s another contributing ingredient as well that I haven’t realized, but either way, I love the performance of these mattes. I have to say though that I noticed Broomstick darkens when wet. That’s why I have it swatched twice in the swatch photo above. With each swipe, to smooth out the swatch, it kept getting darker and darker in places. I don’t know if it was from oils on my finger or if my finger was slightly wet from a spot on my microfiber cloth I use to clean off my arm between swatches. So, I did the second swatch underneath when I knew for sure my finger was dry and after smoothing it just once, it still appeared like it wanted to darken on the edges. I have also observed Broomstick darken a little in my eye looks while on top of my creamier primers. I don’t mind this since it still works as a transition shade for me whether it stays true to color or deepens up, but this may be an issue for those wanting a light non-dramatic eyeshadow look. Then again, considering the intensity of the blushes and the inclusion of very sparkly transformer shadows, this palette isn’t for those wanting completely natural looks.

Ironically, the darkest matte called D Minor isn’t as deep on the eyes as it looks in swatches. It blends to a softer more subtle color (for me).

This collection going on sale at Sephora and the One/Size website since last December leads me to the conclusion that this hasn’t sold very well, and I can’t help but wonder if part of the issue is due to it trying to appeal to everyone. We have the very neutral eyeshadows that will give soft looks. Dream is a satin that looks like a pale iridescent pink at certain angles. We have pigmented but not intense mattes. Classical has small size shimmer for a refined look, while still being nice and shiny to the point where I don’t feel the need to dampen it on my lids, but the virtue of the color on my skin tone makes me want a little more impact when used in the inner corner. Anyway, the subtleties of those shades are countered by the highly reflective and glittery Oh Boy and Yensid shadows. Those are going to appeal to people like me who enjoy a more impactful look, but even Yensid could turn off some people due to the duochrome being like an iridescent pink with blue and purple shimmer. Those might be too wild of colors for a neutral wearer to ever want to use. I heard the transformer shades could be used as face highlighters as well, but that’s too outside of my comfort zone to try. Fun fact for those who don’t know: Yensid is Disney spelled backwards.
Then we have a matte blush called Symphony for those with light to tan skin tones that’s so pigmented it manages to still show up faintly on me. Then Orchestra is super dark and likely intended for medium to rich skin tones. Those that prefer matte blushes will likely not enjoy the intense shimmery golden orange, Intermission, with its metallic reflective shimmer that is not for the faint of heart. Lastly, we have the even more intense and deep blush, Finale. By having something for minimalist and bold makeup wearers, plus products for two very different skintone spectrums, there are going to be some products in this palette that people skip using altogether. Sure, the blushes can be built up or sheered out, and used on the eyes* like I did in the eye looks above, but not everyone wants to do that. I’d wager that the majority of makeup users don’t want a gigantic palette that they only use half the products and neglect the rest. Funny enough, this mixture of having a little bit of everything makes this palette actually work fairly well for me, but I’m certainly not in the majority.

*I don’t know if the blushes are deemed “safe to use in the immediate eye area” or not, so I’m not advising anyone to do what I did without conducting their own research and determining its safety for one’s self. I’m just posing a hypothetical. Blushes can generally be viewed as multi-purpose.

This palette has extra touches that could make it appealing, such as the beautiful Collector style book cover with actual Disney designs (and not just Disney-inspired drawings). The mirror lifts up to show a cute paper cut-out that reminds me of the Urban Decay Alice in Wonderland palette days. I love book style packaging, but we’re moving away from bulk these days as Pat Mcgrath Labs must have learned after the sales of the Bridgerton Blushing Delights Face Palette. Even if the size and shape makes sense for the collab, the majority prefers pretty yet sleek packaging.

I love using round cheek brushes, but in order to get Orchestra to apply sheer and even, I needed to switch to a sweeping style brush instead and apply it in one direction rather than circular buffing.

Going back to the blushes, Patrick Starrr mentions in the launch video that they are the Cheek Clapper formulas from the Trios, but the matte blushes don’t feel the same to me. They’re not as smooth and definitely feel more like a typical powder. They’re not bad, but they’re not something I’d grab to wear if they weren’t already in the palette when I want to use the eyeshadows.
The shimmery blushes I doubt I will use beyond this review. I forgot to powder my cheekbone after reapplying the Becca Under Eye Brightener (which is a sticky product) and Intermission immediately stuck to the spot, so I’d caution against wearing the shimmer ones on a dewy base. Making sure it goes on top of a powder layer first helped apply Finale more evenly, but the type of shimmer in these are not my style and are barely better than the blush shades within the Coloured Raine Glowlighters line that I despised. The color of Finale is too deep for my preference anyway. I can use Intermission as a highlighter if I’m feeling up for having it look quite apparently orange-gold. The base color is darker in Intermission than the one in the Freaky Peach Cheek Clapper Trio that I feel more comfortable using as a highlighter instead.

As seen in the photo, the shimmer formulas are very different. In the Cheek Clapper Trio, it’s a thinner sheerer powder with ultra fine shimmer that’s closer to a satin. The other one is chunky, wetter, and although it has pretty small shimmer particles as well, it’s more visible on top of the deeper orange base color. The one improvement in favor of Intermission is that the drier formula from Freaky Peach had a harder time sticking to my face and lasting on my cheekbones as a highlighter. Intermission having a wetter bind improved the longevity.

Disney Fantasia ​Bit of Magic Highlighter

If this isn’t the first review of mine you’re reading, then you know I typically prefer a subtle highlighter (or a beaming one that looks smooth and/or wet on the skin), so I’m going to just put it out there that I knew this was going to be glittery before I bought it and I still bought it anyway because of the sale and the cute gimmick of the highlighter having a different pattern depending on how it is held. That being said, Disney makes me think of sparkles and glitter, so it fitting the theme is something I’m happy about, even though that also means I’m not likely to reach for it. It’s a weird contradiction, I know.

This is semi-transparent, but there’s just enough pink-champagne hue (and mix of gold and pearl sparkles) that make it borderline able to work but also a bit on the light side for me. The depth of base color helps the situation for me, but that very thing could make it too dark for quite the range of people.

I noticed that it does blend better into the skin if it’s on top of something dewy. I’ve used three different brushes with this highlighter: the Chikuhodo Zen ZE-5, the Too Faced Diamond Light Highlighting Brush, and the Rephr 36. The Rephr brush is the most dense of the lot and worked the best for getting more than just a sparkle layer of highlighter.

There isn’t anything much else to add. Either the color will work or it won’t and either the potential buyer likes the glittery look or doesn’t. The packaging and trick with the imprint is about as special as it gets. Without that, I would say it’s a middle of the road highlighter.

Disney Fantasia Point Made Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner Pen

The Disney eyeliner is the same as the standard One/Size eyeliner in the color Bodacious Black, just with slight tweaks to the packaging. When the original was first released, I didn’t pay too much attention to the reviews, but I remembered hearing that it was easy to control, dispensed a nice rich black color, but it had some kind of packaging design flaw. At the time that I bought the Disney one, I completely forgot about the design issue and only remembered the positives. The photos above and below demonstrate my experience that I can get a really thin, controlled, crisp line or at times too much comes out at once and it gets very thick. Contrary to what I had heard, it’s not immediately easy. If I do shorter strokes, I can create the line how I want, but if I rush it or try to do too long of a line in one go, I end up making it too thick. Overall though, I think I’d have liked this even more than my holy grail Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner if it wasn’t for the leaking issue with the One/Size liner when too much product is at the tip and it doesn’t go back down in the tube so it gets all over the pen. I tried to resolve this by storing it tip side up, but I don’t know what the long term performance will be like, especially with the other issue of the cap. There’s no snap closure. A small touch can make the lid lift back up, which is highly likely going to make it dry up faster if I’m not careful. When I originally had it in my makeup bag, I saw a thin line where the lid hadn’t come off completely, but it was still not shut all the way. And there have also been times that after I used it, I put the cap back on and was about to put it to the side and realized it wasn’t closed all the way because just pressing it down instinctively isn’t enough. You have to look at it every single time you press down to make sure it’s actually closed because it isn’t going to make a snapping sound that a lot of pens and markers have to indicate that it’s closed. For that reason, I wouldn’t repurchase the original either unless it was put in a different component.

As I mentioned before, I can’t remember much about the original launch, but I’m not sure if the brand decided not to make the lids snap close in order to be easier for those with difficulties with their hands? The way that the pen also has a very smooth top and bottom but a rougher plastic portion where I would naturally grip the pen (and would be easier to avoid slipping) was intentional and called a “comfort grip handle,” so I’m not sure if the cap is for hand mobility too. In that case, I would understand this feature, but that would also make this not something intended for me.

I have photos wearing the eyeliner in the first two eye looks in the palette review section.

Disney Fantasia Ultimate Mickey Puff

I’ve never been the powder-puff using type, but I always said that if I were to buy one, I would prefer for it to be thick and feel puffy and soft, which the One/Size puffs in the standard and Disney shapes check off all those boxes. The original one is a bit more practical for those who like that thick edge to be able to create a sharp line for baking certain areas, like under the cheekbones, but the Disney one has the advantage of technically being three puffs in one. So, I’ve used the bigger one (bent to avoid having the sponge ears get in the way) for applying powder foundation and setting powder. I’ve used one ear for blush and one ear for attempting to dab away shine at the end of the day. Regarding the oil, it didn’t do very much because my dry skin usually just produces enough to mix with my foundation and appear glowy, but not actually seep onto anything or actually feel oily. It’s mostly the work of my dewy foundations and mica in them, so there isn’t much that can actually be absorbed in the puff. So, I’m not the best person to test out that aspect. As for applying powder foundation quickly, it was nice for that. For getting an even but light layer, I prefer my brushes (and paid good money to ensure that those are my best tools for powder), but if I want more coverage, this puff is certainly handy for that.

Another way I’ve noticed I can get use out of the puff is almost like an eraser. If I carry my contour or bronzer too low down, I just use part of the puff (folded again to create an edge) to go over the spot with the bare puff or powder foundation to make it a little more crisp and cover up the mistake.
Because I pretty much never use sponges or puffs that come with products, I have no idea how to treat them. Do I just toss them after they get too dirty? Do I wash them by hand with soap and water? If I do need to clean it, how frequently should I do that? Also, I don’t want this floating around my train case or makeup bag, so I’ve been putting it back in the plastic pouch after each use. Powder puffs for something like a translucent powder wouldn’t look too messy, but with my products, that’s another story!

As silly as it sounds because makeup puffs have been around for ages, I’ll have to do some research on them!

Other than the Cheek Clappers and travel size minis of the Ultimate Blurring Setting Powders, I hadn’t tried anything else from One/Size until now. My interest in the brand continues to grow, though my favorite thing is still those Cheek Clapper Blush Trios. I didn’t need this collection. I have friends that are true Disney fanatics, so I know my very general liking of Disney is super low in comparison. However, even someone like me can see how much thought went into the collection and I can respect the brand for attempting to combine high quality makeup with the collectible factor, even though it’s not the most practical of packaging. I liked my items enough to be happy with my purchases. I would just love it if One/Size changed their eyeliner components because that’s one factor that made what would have been a holy grail product become something I wouldn’t purchase again. For big time Disney fans and those who were interested in these items from the time they launched, I’d say it might be worth checking out while it’s on sale and still available.

Thank you for reading!

-Lili

Pat Mcgrath x Star Wars and Holiday 2022 Review

Pat Mcgrath Labs is one of my favorite brands. Even though I was trying to avoid buying her holiday collection and only one of the Star Wars quints, those 30-40% off discounts got me in the end! The things I’m reviewing today are the remaining unreviewed items from the brand that I purchased in 2022. Technically, there are also lip glosses I haven’t showcased, but those will be in a lip collection post in the future.

Regarding what people are calling “Sticker-Gate” and whether or not the brand can be considered luxury or not, I will reserve that discussion for the very end of this post.

Pat Mcgrath Labs Eye Shadow Palettes in The Golden One, Divine Droid, and Nude Allure

I have 4 out of the 5 quints released from Pat Mcgrath. I specifically said in my review of Bronze Bliss that I didn’t want Nude Allure, but I saw additional photos that showed how the shadows actually look in person and the camera just doesn’t do them justice! So, now I own both of the holiday five pan palettes. The missing quint from the Star Wars collection is Sith Seduction which only one shade in that appealed to me until I realized it was darker than I wanted. So, I passed on that one. The completionist in me wanted to grab it anyway, but these five pan palettes are a hit with customers. I foresee the brand releasing a lot more of them in the future and it would be unrealistic for me to try and collect them all, especially if the color story isn’t to my taste. These four that I purchased are my types of shades.

Starting with the only palette that slightly disappointed me, Divine Droid, I can at least say the colors are beautiful. They look like they’re going to be as sparkly as the others in the pans, but Astro Lime, Optic Fuchsia, and Ultraviolet Messenger look slightly duller by comparisons on the eyes. Out of the reviews I’ve seen so far, I’ve observed that the highest praises for this specific palette come from Influencers that tend to wear mostly neutrals, and the strongest opinions against the palette are from Influencers who are used to indie brands’ shimmers and those who love truly vibrant colorful glittery shadows. These shades are bold and they are shimmery, but I think it comes down to the nature of colored shimmer versus reflective metallic sparkle that the colorful shades don’t have as much of as the others. The only other way I can think to explain it is that satins are shiny from a sheen and tiny shimmer particles, and Divine Droid eyeshadows look just like that, except that these shimmer particles are more apparent and textured. The shine level is the equivalent of an amped up satin. Secret Blueprint is an exception because there’s a lot of whitish-silvery sparkle, but I don’t like light blue shades and only use them when the look can benefit from having one. To get Secret Blueprint to stay bright on the eyes, I have to apply it damp. Bronze Circuit has some golden sparkle, but the color itself is less olive in person than I hoped. It’s still a pretty antique bronze-gold with a slight green tinge, but the shade doesn’t go far enough in the direction of green to be that unique.

Even though I wanted a little more from the first four shades, the true disappointment is Ultraviolet Messenger because it doesn’t blend as well and there’s barely any visible shine when it’s on the skin. By not blending well, I mean that it goes on harsh no matter how little product I use, so it requires blending, but it diffuses so easily that the magenta tone in the base starts to appear, which makes it look splotchy compared to the darker purple. I have to be extremely careful when blending it out and packing the color back on in places. It’s not so bad when I use Optic Fuchsia with it because the magenta just looks like an extension of that shade, but it’s more of an issue when I’m trying to use Ultraviolet Messenger right next to the green or blue. And despite being applied with a finger or wet, the shine doesn’t stay. It looks dull and matte on the eyes. This might make some people happy, considering we don’t have a matte in this palette and this shade could act as one or might just stay in the outer corner as a deepening shade only, but the part that made me the most excited for that purple was because it looked the most multi-colored in the pan. I wish that translated to the eyes.

The other downside to not having a proper matte is that these shimmers have so much slip to them that they’re prone to creasing without using the right products with them. In order from most effective to least effective anti-creasing abilities out of the primers I’ve tried with them are: Gerard Cosmetics Clean Canvas, Coloured Raine Paint Base, and then tied between the MAC Paint Pot and Makeup by Mario Master Eye Prep & Set if those last two are set very well with powder. Essentially, the drier the primer the better. However, even the best pairing of the primers isn’t good enough on me without having a matte in the crease to fill those lines. In some of my eye look demo photos, I skipped using the matte crease, but in practical daily usage I would always use a matte with these shades in the future.

Also, I no longer have the PML Nocturnal Nirvana Quad, but the lime green, blue, and purple shades from Divine Droid reminded me of that one. Sure enough, Dr. Ash on YouTube had the same thoughts and held them side by side in her video. Of course, the green in that palette is more multi-dimensional than this one. I don’t care for either blue shadow. As much as I was disappointed by Ultraviolet Messenger, it is easier to work with it than the purple in Nocturnal Nirvana. I sold that quad (and replaced it with the Interstellar Icon quad) purely because I wasn’t getting enough use out of it, and not because I disliked the shades. I’ve thought about that quad several times since it left my possession, so I don’t mind having something similar back in the form of Divine Droid.

We were given an actual satin in The Golden One palette, but I use Coral Blitz in place of a matte. The actual matte in that palette is Tatooine, which is a lighter brown than the one from Nude Allure. I had no intention of buying The Golden One until I realized it had that extra blendable matte formula unique to the five pan palettes so far from Pat Mcgrath, and because I was curious about Coral Blitz. As to be expected, I was thrilled with Tatooine, but the surprise hit for me was Coral Blitz. I don’t own a satin-shimmer in that tone. The closest thing I can recall is City Dawn, a “rich matte” from the Bobbi Brown Luxe Eye & Cheek Palette last holiday. This shade, with the peachy-coral and less orange tone, plus the tiny golden sparkles make it even prettier to me than the one from Bobbi Brown.

Binary Sunset is a little drier than the other shimmers whereas Cyborg Relations has extra slip to it, like Bronze Mink from Bronze Bliss. This palette isn’t as inspiring as Nude Allure or Bronze Bliss for me, but it has some great staple warm toned neutral options that will continue to benefit me as I use these palettes together.

Above is a photo comparing the three mattes (plus Coral Blitz) together, and it shows the depth differences between the browns as well. I would be thrilled for an all-matte 5 pan from Pat Mcgrath in this specific formula. If the brand includes one more brown that is lighter than Tatooine, I will feel they’ve reached their quota of neutrals and I will really be wanting more colorful mattes and/or satin-mattes. The allure of buying these quints specifically for the mattes won’t be as strong of a lure if it starts to feel repetitive. When it comes to the shimmers, I’m already feeling like we’ve hit the maximum amount of bronzes and golds needed. I also decided to compare a photo, this time below, of the most similar shades to each other from among the four palettes.

Font Color Guide: Yellow-Orange = The Golden One, Pink = Nude Allure, Brown = Bronze Bliss, and Blue = Divine Droid

If the brand can figure out how to make the colorful shimmers as sparkly and reflective on the eyes as the neutral metallic shimmers, I’d go even crazier for these palettes. For now though, after comparing the four, I’m feeling pretty satisfied with this bunch. It would take something really specific to my tastes to make me want to purchase more than these.

Coral Kiss and Mahogany Angel are the two main stars of this palette. Plum Eclipse comes in third, but it shares a similar issue with Ultraviolet Messenger from Divine Droid in that the gorgeous multi-colored sparkle doesn’t show as easily on the eyes. It still does a little and at least looks satin-like instead of matte, which is why I still like it. Coral Kiss doesn’t look as multi-colored as in the pan, but it does still look dynamic in person which is what counts the most to me. I love this shade and I love the first eye look demonstrated below. As for Mahogany Angel, it goes on the eyes darker than I expected, but I like that because I wanted a deepening shade that would work well with most eye looks. La Vie En Noir from Bronze Bliss has that blue leaning tinge that keeps me from using it as my deepening shade for most of my eye looks, though now that I think about it, it would probably pair well with the blue, purple, and green from Divine Droid.

Naked Bronze, to me, is like Coral Kiss without the extra oomph and vibrancy. It pales in comparison to that shade or even the other Bronzes from the other palettes because it is such a standard light bronze color. I’m sure others will like it more than me though since my style for most of 2022 was to wear neutrals with a twist. So far, this preference has carried into 2023 as well.

If I had to rank these from most liked to alright/fine, it would be: Bronze Bliss, Nude Allure, The Golden One, and Divine Droid. Bronze Bliss easily wins because it has the most of those metallic type shimmers which are what’s special about this new formula from the brand, in addition to the matte. Nude Allure comes second because of Coral Kiss and having an even more useful matte. The Golden One has the very special Coral Blitz, plus a matte, plus the gorgeous Cyborg Relations, but it is the least inspiring color story together in one palette which is what knocks it down from what could have been the second spot. Divine Droid is last because of there being no mattes, less reflective shimmer, and the stubborn purple.

These aren’t effortless shadows because of how easily they can actually overblend, the potential to crease, or the differences in textures causing a need to really spread and smooth out the shadows into each other. However, I really like these and am happy with my purchases. It’s one of those instances where I can say with confidence that I’m going to continue getting use out of these eyeshadows beyond this review.

MTHRSHP Mega: Celestial Nirvana

I swatched these from left to right going downward two columns at a time because I see these eyeshadows pairing nicely together in groups of six. So, the first set are the first two columns, the next set are column numbers 3-4, and the last are 5-6.

This palette has greens, purples, golds, and browns. This is very much my kind of color story, but that means it had to compete with the tons of other greens, purples, and neutrals in my collection. I heard mixed reviews about the quality of this palette, but it was honestly Altered State that continuously filled my thoughts. So many of us had been dying to get a matte green from the brand or just more greens from PML in general. They’ve released like fifty bronzes, golds, and pinks but like five greens. I actually think Pat Mcgrath hates the color green. Anyway, the old Lili was the type to buy a full palette just for one shade and I did not want to go back to that type of purchasing habit, but the brand had this on sale and after seeing Tina the Fancy Face’s in-store swatches, my resolve just melted away.

The palette was significantly heavier than I expected. I don’t know how Celestial Nirvana stacks up in weight compared to Celestial Odyssey because I skipped that Mega Palette, but it’s much heavier than the original Celestial Divinity. I like that feature because it feels more lux to me, but I also dislike it for being so large for storage and even handling every time I want to use it.

The majority of these shadows are extremely pigmented! I’ve gotten so used to creating eyeshadow looks with more softly pigmented shadows like the Lisa Eldridge Seamless Mattes and Velvets, Dior shadows, and Bobbi Brown Jadestone that I felt out of practice handling the level of pigmentation from every matte except Desert Divinity and Nightfall. I like that the brand gave softer options out of these shadows that perform like pressed pigments, but they’re almost too weak to hold their own in a palette with such bold other shades. Desert Divinity makes for a nice transition shadow, but it’s not the type that helps me blend the edges of the other colors very well. Nightfall is darker than Desert Divinity, but doesn’t give me as much depth in the outer corner as I prefer, which is why I have to lean on the brown tones within Auburn Allure to meet that line between the colorful red side and the slight lean towards brown. Auburn Allure is my best alternative if I don’t want to have to resort to the deeper yet more colorful options such as Nocturnal Navy or Violet Vixen. It was in times of searching for a neutral deepening option that I realized most of the shimmers are light and neutral (not my preference within a big palette) with Bronze Infatuation and Starlit Copper being the darkest ones that are medium depth level at best. Also, as dark as the mattes are, they deepen up even more on my eyes. Venusian Peony looks so light-medium pink in the pan, but turns medium-dark pink on my skin. The dark shades going darker (likely due to oily lids or too wet of a primer) isn’t as much of an issue for me as trying to keep the look light with the lighter shades, but it going darker than I expected.

I don’t think these mattes are as blendable as Pat’s usual formula. They’re still nice, and better than Urban Decay or Too Faced mattes for example, but not as easy to work with as I’ve gotten accustomed to for PML. Perhaps the quints have spoiled me in that regard. The truly troublesome shade is unfortunately Altered State that I was looking forward to the most. It has a tendency to stick in one place where I put it, no matter which primer I use with it and it goes on super intensely. Also, it has a blue tinge to it which I didn’t use to mind in the past, and I know that helps it to pair nicely with the blues in this palette, but I much prefer a yellow-leaning green. However, I can still make even that shadow work.

The shimmers are great. They’re fantastic. They’re impactful and just what I expect from the brand’s standard formula (not the “special” shades in the last two columns of Mothership palettes, multichromes, nor the quint shimmers). They don’t give me issues with creasing or fading, and there are no longevity issues.

In the green, blue, and purple eye look above, I attempted to tweak the look of the deep mattes by putting shimmers on top. It can be done, but it was such a long process because the mattes have to look perfectly blended underneath first. They are so intense and opaque that trying to blend them into each other just kept covering each other up rather than mixing. When I was adding the shimmers on top, which are also quite opaque, I noticed they were doing the same thing. Eventually, I was careful enough and applied the shimmer lightly enough between them to achieve the look I was going for.

For these reasons, I recommend this palette to those who love colorful shadows and are used to working with the kind that are pigmented and opaque. Even though this palette has neutral and softer options, this isn’t the type of product suited for those who just want to dip their toes into color. It’s intended for the full on color lovers. Also, as much as this price point makes sense for Pat Mcgrath, I personally wouldn’t have bought this for any less than a 40% discount because it’s not unique enough in shades or formula for me to be willing to spend a fortune on it. If this came out two years ago when we had far fewer high quality green and purple options, I’d have said this was worth the full price, but things have advanced and we’ve been flooded with options by now. There’s a lot of competition!

At the time I’m writing this, Sephora USA still has this palette available and on sale.

Divine Blush + Glow Cheek Palette in Nude Venus

When this palette went on sale, I bought it knowing full well that I had singles of Nude Venus, Paradise Venus, and Desert Orchid (in the form of the lighter half of the Paradise Glow blush duo) sitting in my blush drawer. I think we can all agree that someone who wants to use up their products shouldn’t buy a duplicate of them.

What I really bought this face palette for was the Sunset Nectar highlighter, Divine Rose III blush, and the convenience of having my favorite shades in one palette so I can take this traveling in lightweight durable packaging. I notoriously reach for blush singles over blush palettes, but that’s because pre-made blush palettes usually have shades I don’t like or can’t use, so I subconsciously make a mental note to skip it if I’m in a rush to put on makeup (which is almost every time). However, since this has all the ones I love, it’s more memorable and I do actually reach for it. By purchasing this palette, my original singles no longer served a purpose in my collection, so I gave Paradise Venus to my sister and Nude Venus to one of my best friends. I’m keeping Paradise Glow for now, but it may not survive my next declutter.

I have been enjoying possessing my favorite shades in an all-in-one palette that makes it so much easier (and less messy than dealing with kickup in multiple separate compacts) to dip into multiple pans at once to create tailored blush looks on my cheeks. In addition, I know exactly which product to grab for those shades, whereas the black lacquer packaging between the blushes, blush duos, and highlighters are identical and require me to read the backs of them all to tell, without having to open them, which shade is which.

I probably didn’t need to have Divine Rose III considering I already owned the other three blushes, plus Electric Bloom, as well as the Divine Rose II duo and Cosmic Coral duo. I’m still happy I got it though, because it’s giving me the effect I wanted from Nude Venus, but with more depth. Because Nude Venus has to be built up a lot to show on me, I always paired it with Paradise Venus and kept it concentrated on the apples of the cheeks. Now, I either use Divine Rose III on its own for a medium toned pink flush, or mixed with a combination of all the other blushes in the palette. To see additional blush photos with my review of the single blushes, they can be found here or my review of the blush duos can be found here. I haven’t noticed any quality differences between the individual blushes versus the ones in the face palette. They’re just as beautiful and long lasting as ever!

My favorite highlighter from Pat Mcgrath is still the Skin Fetish: Ultra Glow Highlighter in Divine Rose. It has the smoothest formula, gives the wet look I love that melts into the skin, and it doesn’t look glittery. Sunset Nectar is more similar to the permanent line of Skin Fetish: Divine Glow Highlighters, which have more apparent shimmer particles, but they still blend beautifully into the skin. I keep wishing for a Skin Fetish Ultra Glow Highlighter in a dark golden color without the slight pink tinge Divine Rose has. I didn’t expect Sunset Nectar to work for me because it is extremely light in the pan, but it somehow does! It looks powdery and stark pinkish-white on my skin when it first goes on, but when I blend it in and then pass my blush brush back over the edges around it, I think I can pull it off!

Below are different examples of lighting and days wearing these products. The first photo of the three is the Divine Rose III blush (no highlighter yet) under a ring light and wearing MAC foundation in NC47. The second photo is the same day with the same products, with the addition of MAC’s Sparkling Wine shade of highlighter, while under indoor light (with a little natural light peeking through the side). In the third photo I’m wearing the Sunset Nectar highlighter, plus a combination of Paradise Venus, Nude Venus, and Divine Rose III blushes. It’s under the same light as the second photo, but I have the Estee Lauder Futurist Foundation in 5W2 mixed with the Nars Light Reflecting Foundation in Macao mainly on the perimeter of my face.

We’ve reached the end of the review, and this is the point where I’d like to give my input on the recent “controversy” the brand has had over the Star Wars Collection, as well as the discussions around the brand devaluing itself between the frequent sales at significant discounts and the cheaper palette options and materials.

Starting with the Bantha in the room…As much as I love the Pat Mcgrath brand, it was certainly not a good idea to put Midnight Sun on sale for around $70+ until literally the day of the Star Wars launch of the same Midnight Sun palette for the full $128. It automatically sends the message to the customers that the Star Wars version isn’t worth the price and/or to wait for the Star Wars one to eventually go on sale for $70 as well. I was pretty shocked when I heard the news and watched the video going around because of what it signified for me about the brand going forward. Still, none of us can confirm with certainty that the Star Wars stickers were slapped on top of old unsellable palettes and put in Star Wars unicartons, the same way we can’t confirm that this year’s holiday specific lip products and mascaras had Star Wars stickers added to them after being removed from their original unicartons and put into Star Wars ones. Even if that’s exactly what they did, rather than viewing it as the brand trying to dupe people into buying an unpopular palette, I can see it from the perspective of the brand no longer keeping Midnight Sun on sale and putting it back at the original price with the bonus of a Star Wars sticker for free. I have been craving owning another special edition packaged palette from Pat Mcgrath, like if they took the Mothership unicarton artwork and found a way to get a high quality version of that print onto the palette, I would be thrilled. If it comes in the form of a sticker, I wouldn’t mind that either, so long as the sticker couldn’t just be peeled away. That’s where I think the brand really went wrong.

When I had packaging I didn’t like, I used Washi tape, stickers, and Mod Podge Dimensional Magic to create something I felt was beautiful. The way I did it, nothing is going to be lifting up or peeling off anytime soon. So, I don’t think Pat Mcgrath using stickers is as big of an issue as them placing many of them crooked (which cheapens the look) and not using a permanent adhesive. I don’t know if they had factory workers or machines applying those stickers, but if it was real people, I can see the benefit of making the stickers removable so they can attempt to fix extra crooked stickers on the palettes, but that’s a bit cheap to not use a stronger adhesive and be willing to toss out the imperfectly placed ones in order to ensure the customer won’t have the edges of the sticker lifting up within weeks or months of owning those palettes.

When I first saw the Star Wars Midnight Sun palette cover in photos, I actually thought it was a sticker with epoxy resin on top. Perhaps epoxy wouldn’t be clear enough (as it can turn yellow, although the vintage Star Wars image being yellow might have hid that), but at least then people would have an actual plastic feeling packaging that couldn’t be removed. This reminded me of the time when I was experimenting with Mod Podge versus Epoxy Stickers for jewelry when it came to cutting out images from Archie comic digests and turning them into pendants. I wasn’t very satisfied with either outcome so I abandoned the idea. However, that was due to a clarity issue. People who have the palettes in hand seem to think the stickers are pretty and are just disappointed by how easy they are to lift up or some people just don’t find stickers to be luxurious. The flat type of stickers I agree don’t look high end, but the raised ones are different in my eyes. Most people wouldn’t know how to make one themselves. The arts-and-crafts-loving side to me instantly started wondering if I could create my own covers for the PML palettes, but with how expensive they are, I don’t trust my skills enough to chance ruining it. However, I started thinking there might be people on Etsy working on making their own Mothership Stickers to sell. I think the brand could make bank creating their own palette sticker covers if they find a much stronger adhesive. I’d pay $15-$25 just for that because of how much of a sucker I am for pretty packaging. It’s a shame they ruined the concept because of how they went about “Sticker-Gate.”

I’ve seen some other complaints about the fact that we have stickers on top of the quints and them being cardboard. While that’s valid for people to feel that it’s not very luxurious, I feel the growing complaint about it is piggybacking off the Midnight Sun issue. We’ve had cardboard packaging for ages, starting with those six pan MTHRSHP palettes which I believe the brand released for the first time for holiday 2018 with the cumbersome envelope style flaps. The original six pan Star Wars palettes were the first time we got magnetic closure cardboard palettes in 2019. At some point (I believe 2020) we started seeing clear sticker labels on the bottoms of the packaging instead of the print being etched on. I remember being perturbed along with everyone else when the sticker on the first Mega Palette for holiday 2020 (Celestial Divinity) was crooked, but that was the point in which we all could have gotten off the hype train with the brand if we wanted.
It’s as if people are just now noticing the printed paper edges of these palettes. It’s not new. The holiday quints from 2022 has stickers on them too, but they were the same pink background color as the palettes, so perhaps it wasn’t as obvious as the white ones from the Star Wars Collection. People are also pointing out the edges of the paper covering all of a sudden, but again, it’s only obvious because the paper is a shiny solid color without the busy pattern to distract from the fact that the holiday quints are folded and glued the same way.

I thought it was a bit funny that the holiday Mega palette for 2022 is larger and thicker than the first one. That extra weight ironically makes it feel more luxurious, but I haven’t seen anyone talk about that. Another funny thing is that the sticker on the back of my Star Wars quint was crooked and I was able to peel that off and affix it at least better than it was previously. It’s the kind of sticker that air bubbles are prone to form under without using something like a credit card to press it down evenly, but I was able to get the bubbles out with my fingers without one.

I think there is absolutely something that can be said about the downgrade of packaging between the Mothership palettes to the cardboard ones, plus the sticker labels. I think it’s absolutely valid to feel like it’s not luxury. I’d just like to point out that Natasha Denona doesn’t have labels etched on her palettes either. There are clear label stickers. Her things are a similar price point to Pat Mcgrath, and she has long been experimenting with more “affordable” options with the $69 midi palettes and $27 minis, yet I hardly hear a conversation about it being less of a high end brand for offering smaller and more wallet-friendly palettes. Also, for environmental reasons, an argument can be made about using cardboard versus plastic, though I think a lot of beauty collectors prefer the plastic (myself included to be honest, but I don’t turn up my nose at cardboard anymore). Charlotte Tilbury has sticker labels on the back as well. I see most of the complaints are about having stickers on the front, but I’ve also seen complaints about them being on the back instead of etched in, which is why I wanted to mention it because those same people never said a word about the other two brands I mentioned.

Everyone knows by now to not buy Pat Mcgrath at full price in most situations. However, if we’re going to accept that we’ll only buy the products at 20-40% off, we cannot expect to still get weighty plastic or metal bespoke type of packaging. It just doesn’t make financial sense for the brand. And the big Mothership palettes don’t usually go on sale for lower than $89. We can have a luxury line in the form of those larger palettes with the luxury packaging while still offering other price points like Natasha Denona has done or even Dior with their Backstage line. I’m at least glad they aren’t lowering their ingredient quality or “Going Full Urban Decay” by releasing a product and immediately putting it on sale for 50% off two weeks to two months later.

Materials aside, I understand why there’s a growing feeling that Pat Mcgrath Labs is losing its luxury feel when people have spotted the products at T.J. Maxx and when it feels like there have been discounts basically all year long with the sale announced and lasting what seems to be 2-4 weeks, a week break, and then the next one starts in an ongoing cycle. It does bug me sometimes when I purchase something and just a month later it goes on a deeper discount.
I don’t have anything to say to rebut that feeling. It’s valid. What is also valid that I think are bigger reasons the brand doesn’t feel so luxurious is the ridiculous wait time between when the products launch and when it finally ships out. There are points where it felt like we all just paid for an unofficial pre-order because nothing ships out to anyone for weeks or the launches have been staggered out and only the palettes are available at one time and the blushes get launched a week or so later. Pat Mcgrath doesn’t have a reward program, so myself and others sometimes prefer to skip the guaranteed 10% off promo code at launch in favor of being able to purchase from Sephora using a gift card or to have the reward points accrue over there. Many times the product finally comes to Sephora by the time the warehouses PML uses starts to ship things out. Unhelpful or slow to respond customer service is another thing that makes the brand not feel like a luxury one. Items not being properly wrapped in the boxes and arriving broken is another. It has been my experience with them that if an item is known to break easily, they will send a new one with the acknowledgement that it’s possible the replacement will come broken again, but they will still ship it out anyway as a “one time courtesy.”
Perhaps PML isn’t in the luxury category anymore, but they are still a high end brand in my eyes.

So, do I think Pat Mcgrath Labs is going downhill? It feels that way, but not necessarily. I think they’re cutting corners and have been cutting corners for several years now. I think they’ve set a precedent to wait for a sale. I think Sticker-Gate isn’t as big of an issue in itself, but is one example of a larger issue within the brand. I think plenty of people will closely scrutinize everything the brand does going forward, but the hype won’t die down. The issues the brand has are all able to be fixed and forgotten if that’s what they actually want to do. There will be exciting new launches to come. People, like me, will still try to wait for a sale, but also certain items will likely be bought at nearly full price. I also expect more repackaged products to be released. I’ve done my fair share of complaining about the issues within PML, but they’re still one of my favorite brands and I’m excited to see what’s next.

Thank you for reading.

-Lili

MAC Black Panther, Holiday ’22, and More

We’ve got ourselves another MAC Cosmetics post! These are the products from MAC that I purchased during the final few months of 2022. I’ll begin with the two item types I haven’t purchased or reviewed from MAC before, but the blushes and highlighters are formulas I’m very familiar with and will probably not have much new to add. For those interested in my previous MAC posts, the list with links can be found on this index page here.

Additional MAC Items

MAC Glow Play Lip Balm in Floral Coral

This is one of a few items I redeemed as a free birthday gift from MAC’s Reward Program. It’s a sheer product in a soft formula. The top layer of the bullet instantly melts when it touches my lips. If I apply the amount of balm to my lips based on how it feels, I get almost no color. I can build it up to show a pink tinge, but the amount I need to apply for that leaves my lips feeling excessively wet in a way that isn’t quite greasy or oily, but it’s a similar enough sensation that is uncomfortable for me. After I wear it for a short time, it gives me the feeling of dripping around the edges and a strong urge to wipe it off.

For this reason, I haven’t been using this beyond the handful of times I wore it to test it out. And even though it feels moisturizing, my lips aren’t actually being conditioned. The moisture lasts a few hours before I feel like I need to reapply, even if there’s still some balm left on my lips.
If I want to wear a slightly colorful balm for a short time, like in photos, this is fine. If I want a balm that’s actually lip conditioning and having color isn’t a necessity, I’d reach for plenty of other balms instead. So, I don’t really recommend this. According to a sneak peek I saw on IG, MAC might be releasing a Valentine collection of new and/or existing shades of Glow Play Lip Balms and other lipsticks. I won’t be purchasing them.

MAC Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15 Foundation in NC47

This was a Black Friday purchase when MAC had 40% off complexion. The pump for this foundation is sold separately, and unfortunately was full price. I wish the package with the pump came with an extra cap that could fit over the foundation instead of the little dispenser cover piece because I always lose tiny parts to makeup and skincare (like the little spoons to scoop out products in jars).

With “fluid” in the name, I expected this foundation to be watery like the Uoma Beauty Say What Foundation or Kosas Tinted Face Oil, but it’s more viscous than those while still managing to feel lightweight on the skin. MAC describes it as being a, “buildable, medium to full coverage [foundation] in a natural matte finish.” While I agree with the buildable claim, the amount I would normally pump out and blend in with my Blendiful gives me light coverage, and I have to use quite a bit more product in order to get a solid medium. I can technically build it up to nearly full, but I have to focus on targeting my areas of discoloration specifically, and at that point it can look a little mask-like since it’s not my absolute perfect shade. So, I keep it at a nice medium and use concealer in the areas I need more coverage.

Additional photos of me wearing this foundation, under a different lighting situation (using my ring light), is in the highlighter section.

When I wore it the first time, I thought it was a pretty good color match, but upon subsequent usage and building it up to medium-full coverage, I realized it’s about a half a shade off in depth and it’s my correct undertone family but not perfect. The fact that I can wear it at all is quite surprising because I remember a time when I tried a sample of NC47 and it was too light for me, but the next shade NC50 was way too dark. I figured the hypothetical NC48 shade (if it existed) would be my perfect shade, but apparently NC47 can work for me in winter. Since I plan on wearing this at medium coverage level, it’s good enough of a match for me to keep it in rotation.

I do like the natural-matte finish of the foundation. It’s supposed to be sweat and humidity resistant, but I challenge that as well, since I managed to look sweaty on a day that was only 75 degrees Fahrenheit outside (and even colder in the house) when all I was doing was taking blog photos and rearranging my makeup drawers in the span of under two hours. It makes me wonder how this will look on me in the summertime when it’s between 85-98 degrees.
After I noticed how it was looking, I powdered my face (I initially skipped that step) and that helped to take away the extra shine. The other days I wore it were not hot days and I wasn’t doing anything that would make me produce sweat, so my face remained looking matte even without powder. So, I’m not sure what to make of those results. I will say that I love the fact that this sets on me to the point of being dry to the touch without a trace of wetness/creaminess and no transfer on my fingers that I can see. I love my natural and dewy foundations, but those usually come at the price of various levels of being transferable. I’ve had to train myself to just not touch my face and to be careful when switching outfits and hugging people. It’s actually a relief to have a foundation with some coverage again that I don’t have to be so careful with. I just wish they had my full on perfect shade in depth and undertone.

This is a pretty nice foundation. I like it, but I still prefer my Rose Inc and Estee Lauder Futurist Hydra. I can also think of past Nars Foundations and the original Makeup Up For Ever HD and Ultra HD that I preferred as well when I owned them. I haven’t been using this very long, and normally I don’t review a foundation until I’ve worn it at least 10 times, so there’s still room for my opinion to change. If that happens, I will try to remember to update this post.

My Latest MAC Highlighters

I make it a point now to try and make my MAC purchases via Selfridges because of the price difference being in favor of USD, or from MAC’s website when they have a sale of 30% off or higher. However, it was only the MAC Indulgent Glow Face Kits that came to Selfridges, so I had to purchase the others elsewhere. Of course, I could have waited until a potential sale for the collaboration items, but I didn’t want to take the chance of them selling out, so I purchased the Black Panther Royal Challenge and Whitney Houston ones at launch. I did at least get 20% off on Black Panther’s Royal Vibrancy when I bought that one from Ulta. At the time I’m posting this, the Black Panther Collection is on a deeper discount on MAC’s website, along with last year’s holiday items.

For those who may be curious, in all four highlighter photos I’m wearing the MAC foundation in NC47, The Anastasia Beverly Hills Cream Bronzer in Terracotta (newest shade addition to the line that came out after my review), and the Pat Mcgrath Divine Rose III blush.

MAC Indulgent Glow Face Kit/Set in Sparkling Wine

These kits came in two versions: Sparkling Wine and Rosé. I was impressed by the presentation of the box in a beautiful creamy light pink color and with a raised pattern on the surface.

The bag the items come in is quite cute. I haven’t found a purpose for it yet, but it’s a nice “free” addition considering MAC Extra Dimension Highlighters have risen in price to $40 (or $44 for collaboration versions). This set being $44 normally, means the bag and brush that come with it are essentially free. I paid $35 for it from Selfridges, so the deal was even better.

I didn’t have high expectations for this brush, but it actually surprised me!
The more deeply shaped and intricate the embossed pans are from MAC, the harder it will have been pressed. That makes the top layer a bit tougher to pick up product from when using softer bristle brushes. This one feels soft, but the strands themselves are strong enough to really dig into the highlighter while still dispersing the product softly across the skin. Rather than following the direction of the brush, I swirled it roughly in the pan in a circular motion to get the most product pickup with the least effort.
I’ve used this brush enough times that it softened the surface of Sparkling Wine, so I can now pick up the product with my natural hair brushes. Prior to that top layer being broken into, it was extremely difficult.

I’ve also used this brush to apply blush and bronzer in a sweeping motion and it’s pretty good with those as well!

The highlighter embossing encapsulates the “Bubbles and Bows” theme MAC chose for holiday 2022.
MAC Highlighters tend to be smooth to the touch, but even when I rub my finger across the smoother part of the bow, it feels slightly rough and dry. However, it has such a healthy glowy sheen with a few twinkling sparkles that are just enough for me to feel like this is a festive highlighter I would want to wear to a holiday event, and not enough to be considered glittery. This contains medium size sparkles instead of large ones, which is probably why I actually find them to be quite pretty and wearable.

Ever since Fenty’s Trophy Wife highlighter came into being, I have feared pigmented deep yellow highlighters because of how terrible they look on me. So, I was afraid this one might be too yellow because of the way it looks in the pan, but then my fear switched to worrying it might be too light after seeing the swatch. However, on the face, it looks so pretty to me! Sparkling Wine has a semi-transparent base with just a hint of a yellow tinge to it. The color that peeks through blends with the undertone of my skin while not being pigmented enough to cause a stripe with the low amount of product I apply to my face. It also balances out the pearly looking particles within the highlighter. It looks lighter than Royal Challenge in swatches because the color of the inside of my arm is lighter than my face, but on my cheeks, the fact that Royal Challenge has a more pigmented and lighter base color gives it the lighter appearance, whereas Sparkling Wine’s slightly tinted base allows my darker cheekbone color to show underneath which makes it look darker than Royal Challenge overall. I really like this! As the embossing starts to wear down, I know I’m going to struggle with that part of me that doesn’t want to ruin it versus the side that wants to make sure I get good use out of the products I own. However, this embossing is lingering quite well so far, so I guess I have a ways to go before I need to start worrying!

MAC x Whitney Houston Extra Diminision Skinfinish in Just Whitney

This is another highlighter that was hard-pressed in a way that just affected the very topmost layer and is now getting easier to use as the print is fading. And, once again, I’m reaching the point where I want to keep it intact, but want to be able to wear it. This is slightly smoother and less drying feeling than Sparkling Wine. It’s certainly closer to the kind of deep golden highlighter shades I tend to prefer to wear. Just like all my other highlighters from the brand, this lasts all day and remains shiny without losing its reflectivity as the day goes on. It’s a solid product, but because it’s the most common type of color in my collection, I instinctively compare it to everything else I own, and then it doesn’t seem quite worth the $44 price tag. If the highlighter was in standard packaging, I believe it should be within the $28-$35 range. Because of the collaboration with such a powerhouse of an icon (or at least Whitney’s Estate on her behalf), the pretty limited edition packaging, and the highlighter embossing, the special factor is there. So, I don’t mind it being the price I paid, but I’m just not sure this particular color being added to my collection would be worth it otherwise. For anyone else though, I would recommend it with the acknowledgement that it could be considered a bit overpriced.

MAC x Black Panther Extra Dimension Skinfinishes in Royal Challenge and Royal Vibrancy

I still haven’t watched the Black Panther sequel, but I loved the first one, so I felt an inward obligation to purchase at least one thing from the collection. I tried to purchase the Black Panther Cosmetic Bag, but that was an utter mess. Even though I purchased it at 2am EST (I assume it launched at midnight), my order ended up canceled due to being “sold out,” but they didn’t cancel it until three weeks later after it was sold out at other retailers too. The most irritating part is that I called them about nine days in to ask them about the fact that they priced it at $35 whereas everywhere else had it for $25 and then they later changed the price to $25, but I hadn’t been reimbursed. That call, had the bags truly been out of stock, would have been the prime moment for them to let me know there weren’t any left and to cancel my order so I could have time to buy it somewhere else. However, they didn’t do that, so I don’t believe their statement to me about the bag being out of stock since the launch day, yet it somehow took weeks until it read “sold out” on the website.

Anyway, these two shades are gorgeous, but a better combination for me is to have Royal Challenge on the bottom and a little bit of Royal Vibrancy added on top. That way, I can get some of that darker shimmer without the dark cast when I turn my head at certain angles. In photos, Royal Vibrancy looks perfect for me, but I’ve been unsuccessful in capturing the dark cast I’m referring to from it being a little too deep bronze-red for me.

The texture feels soft and smooth. It’s softer than the others, but it’s also not as hard pressed because the embossing isn’t as detailed/intricate. Also, it’s lasting me quite a while. I forgot to take a photo of Royal Vibrancy prior to being used (or at least I lost the photos of it if I took them) so the picture I included above shows it after about eight uses and it looks nearly untouched! Granted, I was swiping highlighter across the entire pan and not just zeroing in on one specific spot in order to keep it looking even.

At the same time that I purchased these two, I also bought the Tom Ford Shade Illuminate Highlighting Duo in Tanlight that reminded me of a combination of those shades. However, in swatching them together, I see that the tones are slightly different. The lighter shade in Tanlight is more flattering on me than Royal Challenge and the deeper shade is not as dark, and therefore works on its own for me better than Royal Vibrancy. Most of the time I just mix the two Tanlight shades together for a highlighter shade I love a lot and it’s in an even smoother finish than the ones from MAC. Considering I paid around the same price for Tanlight (it was slightly discounted at Nordstrom) as the two MAC highlighters combined, it’s funny that the Tom Ford one was the better purchase for me. However, I also bought these as Black Panther/Wakanda Forever merchandise, so I don’t regret it.

While I could have waited for these highlighters to go on a deeper discount, I like the franchise and didn’t want to chance missing out. So, for me, these were worth having. I think I will stop using Royal Vibrancy though, in order to keep one looking pristine, and just start using Royal Challenge mixed with a different darker highlighter, such as the R.E.M. Interstellar Highlight in Miss Mars.

My Latest MAC Blushes

I currently have 35 MAC blushes in my collection (this number fluctuates as I get rid of some and purchase others) which is by far the most blushes I own from a single brand. Despite having so many, I can’t help but remain interested in them because MAC makes some of my favorite finishes, plus they’re pigmented, and are very long wearing. These four I’m discussing today are the remaining few that hadn’t been reviewed yet on this blog.

MAC Glow Play Blushes in Just Peachy and Groovy

That’s Peachy was the other free birthday item I chose. Based on how it looks, I thought there was no way it would show up on my skin. However, I felt the same way about Peaches ‘N’ Dreams, which ended up working on me too, so I tried it on a whim and was floored! Granted, I have to build it up a ton to get a flush of peach, but it still works and I think it’s beautiful!

Groovy looks like a deep coral-orange on me, and thankfully not a pure orange. As much as I love Heat Index, which was previously my favorite shade, Groovy dethroned it after just once use. I avoided getting this color for a long time because Nikki and a few others mentioned the formula difference in Groovy compared to the other Glow Play Blushes. It’s been a few years now since the Glow Plays launched (January 2020), so I think the original disappointing batch of Groovy are no longer being sold. Or at the very least, I was lucky and got one with the same texture as the others. I was more willing to chance it because I waited for a 40% off sale on blushes.

The Glow Play line remains one of my favorites from MAC and in general because they have the softness and sheen of a cream/putty with the benefit of drying down. They’re buildable and blend right into the skin. It’s a really gorgeous product that I highly recommend trying for those who haven’t.

Because there are such subtle differences among the shades I own, I figured it would be helpful to show the ones I own all together and in swatches.

And for those who like limited edition packaging, MAC currently has the shades Heat Index and So Natural in their Lunar New Year 2023 packaging for their “New Year Shine” collection.

MAC Mineralize Blush in Hey, Coral, Hey…

I included a picture of how the blush looks on my finger, plus a swatch that isn’t fully blended, to demonstrate my issue with this particular Mineralize Blush. The deep reddish-coral pigment is gorgeous and is a tone that looks pretty and suitable for me when I pick it up, but it’s got a light base powder that when blended lightens the shade overall and turns it ashy on my skin. This is even evident looking at the surface of the blush itself between the darker and lighter patches. It’s not super ashy, but just enough on the cusp to make me not want to wear it.

I’ve had issues with most of the Mineralize Blush shades I’ve tried in the past (and said it looked too matte and dry and lighter on my skin than it looks in the compact), and now I’m starting to wonder if the base color in this particular line of blushes from MAC is the reason most don’t work for me. Love Thing and Flirting with Danger are currently the only two that I’ve liked and don’t look ashy on me because the pigment is deeper than I’d normally wear, but is more toned down and lighter when blended on my actual cheeks. It’s unfortunate that it took me buying six of them to finally realize why some shades of Mineralize Blushes work for me, yet others don’t. But, I’m happy that now I know that if MAC creates more colors in this formula, it’ll be safe for me to get them as long as they are the deepest ones (and deeper colors than I normally go for). Any of the colors that look medium-dark or lighter in the compacts just won’t work for my skin tone.

Hey, Coral, Hey… isn’t staying in my collection, but I still recommend the Mineralize Blush line overall, as long as it’s well established to be careful selecting the right colors if you have a dark/deep skin tone. The two shades that work for me are in my top favorites, not just among MAC blushes but among my blush collection as a whole.

MAC x Stranger Things Powder Blush in He Likes It Cold

This color makes me think of MAC’s Flirting with Danger and Frankly Scarlet blush shades. I’ve tried several times to capture the variations in undertone, but they barely show a difference on my skin tone. I retook the photos again, but had to do brush swatches because my older powder blushes from MAC really don’t like to be finger swatched anymore. Nikki, who I’ve mentioned several times here, did a clear comparison of those three shades that can be found here on her blog for those interested, as well as a ton of other MAC content and more. Essentially, the undertone of those shades are going to make a bigger difference if you’re lighter than me (and then perhaps on the other end of the spectrum, if you’re much deeper).

I tried my hardest to skip buying this blush because I had similar enough shades to it, but I think I ended up paying $15 for it when it went on sale, so I couldn’t resist. This release celebrates Stranger Things Season 4, but I only watched seasons 1-3, so I don’t understand the “He Likes it Cold” reference (but it sounds creepy). It’s a pretty color, applies smoothly (even smoother than MAC’s older matte powder formula), and performs as fantastically as I expect from a MAC blush, so I’m happy I bought it. I just caution using a light hand with this particular shade.

That’s everything for today! I’m on another year long low-buy, so I would love to say it will be a long time before I do another MAC post, but that feels unrealistic as it’s one of the brands I purchase from the most. It can be expected that additional new releases from MAC will be reviewed here at some point, if not at launch, then perhaps after a big sale.

Thank you for reading!

-Lili

Disclaimer: Other than free birthday gift items everyone who joins MAC’s free reward program is entitled to (I can’t recall if you need to be a certain tier for it though), I purchased all the other items with my own money. I am not affiliated with the brand. There are no affiliate links in this specific post.

Reviewing Coloured Raine After a Two Year Break

From 2018 until 2020, Coloured Raine used to be my number one favorite brand for non-multichrome eyeshadows. What made me take a long break from buying their palettes was them discontinuing their eyeshadows to go full vegan.
I’ve had issues with some vegan formulas blending away to nothing, or being too hard to blend, and being patchy. Some of the ones that did perform decently didn’t have an acceptable preservation method (tying in with the “clean beauty” anti-parabens movement), so I’d get hardly a year before the performance of the shadows changed and/or went bad.
So, I was already skeptical about whether or not Coloured Raine’s new vegan formula could measure up to their old one. When they released their Juicy Boost Collection in August 2020, the reviews I watched with the demos were terrible! That was enough for me to want to steer clear of their eyeshadows until their 2022 Memorial Day sale in May. I figured that should be enough time for the brand to fix whatever formula issues they had, so I decided to give them another chance.

The formulas, textures, and how the makeup performs turned out to be different depending on the collection. In today’s post, I’ll be sharing my observations and experiences with these products. Just keep reading to find out which items I loved and which ones I should have avoided!

Coloured Raine Cream Blushes in Spicy (Original), Stiletto Rose and Copper Rose (Botanical Collection)

The first thing to know about these blushes is that despite them all sharing the description of “cream blush,” the original four that launched, which includes Spicy, are completely different from the two blushes from the Botanical Collection. The ingredient lists are different, along with the textures and pigmentation. The container of the originals are larger than the Botanical Blushes too!

Spicy has a waxy consistency that’s so tacky it lifts up when touched. It’s thicker and more opaque. Picking up a little is still too much, so I put it on the back of my hand and warm up a small section first before applying it to my cheeks with that finger in tapping motions and then a final light sweep of the finger across the cheeks to ensure it’s fully smoothe. A little product comes off underneath, but it’s so pigmented that it will cover up the missing spot anyway. A brush will pick up way too much, but it’s still possible to use by putting it on the back of the hand or a makeup palette first (or even tapping the excess off on a towel) to get a lighter even layer across the bristles before applying it to the cheeks. I still prefer fingers because I have more control that way and can also warm up the product.

The Botanical Blushes have a higher concentration of slip agents (various silicones) that feel a little more gel-like, but still like a softer wax once the heat of a finger melts that top layer. I keep my finger on top of a spot for several seconds before I start to rub to pick up the blush onto my finger and tap it onto the cheeks. It looks like it will be just as pigmented as the original line of blushes, but when blended, it sheers out a fair amount. So, it takes a few light layers to build up to my satisfaction. This product also lifts what’s underneath, but it still looks fine to me as a veil of color. In the spots with discoloration that lifts, I put concealer back on top of the discolored spot and pack a little more blush on top, and those additional layers help it to stay.
I can use a brush with these, but it doesn’t pick up as much product without warmth.

These blushes remain creamy on the face. If I’m wearing something like the Rose Inc Luminous Foundation Serum, that wetter products tend to set well on top of, and apply the Botanical blushes in a thin layer with a brush, it can mostly set down. However, for the amount of pigmentation I want that isn’t just a flush, it’s going to remain creamy feeling on the skin unless I set it with powder. Spicy will absolutely not set on its own, plus easily transfers, so I only wear it powder-set. Setting all three of them with powder only temporarily makes them feel dry but at least does take down the creaminess enough that it won’t feel sticky or tacky. Powder-setting also makes the Botanical Blushes more transfer-resistant, but when it comes to Spicy it will definitely still transfer when touched, just a little less. Setting with powder has the final benefit of toning down the intensity level of Spicy, and even Stiletto Rose if I go overboard with that color.

These blushes will last all day, even without powder, as long as they aren’t touched. However, it’s just my preference to set them with powder, especially with a powder blush on top to add some nuance to the shades.

The photos above demonstrate the blushes with different foundations and at different times of the year. The middle three with the dark blue shirt were under the lighting conditions of my ring light. The others were with indoor lighting and some natural light coming in from behind the window blinds.

Had I completed this review three months ago, I’d have said, “These blushes require a little more effort, but are nice enough that I may still reach for them from time to time.” However, I’ve been going through my cream and liquid blush collection a lot more lately, and in comparison, these rank so low on the list. They still aren’t bad products, but I have so many options that don’t pick up product underneath, don’t require warmth or having to baby the formula, or do any other extra steps. Plus, my other blushes are in far more interesting colors. I’ve realized that I don’t like standard crayola type of blush colors like a pure orange, pure red, or pure pink. I love reddish browns, terracottas, pinky-orange corals, pinkish-browns, etc. Those type of colors look more natural on me. I expected Spicy to be a reddish orange with some brown, but it’s actually a slightly yellow leaning orange that may as well just be “orange.” Copper Rose sounded like it would be a fun copper-pink, but most of its warmth just comes from being picked up and mixed with my foundation and concealer while being blended on my cheeks. It’s not a very unique pink by itself. Stiletto Rose is a very common rosy red, although it’s the prettiest to me of them all.
I always wore a combination of Stiletto Rose and Copper Rose (on the apples) together anyway, which is why I initially had a better impression of those blushes. However, if I view these as individual products, they’re not something I want in my collection anymore.

Coloured Raine Lip Liners in Pine (Secret Garden), The Bee’s Knees (Queen Bee), and Decadent (Botanical)

It was very difficult to tell the differences among the selection of lip liner shades on the website. I now realize it’s because the ones I wanted are so incredibly similar! Pine was the first one from Coloured Raine I tried and later bought a backup of because it’s the first shade I ever found that I can actually cover my full lip-line with and have it look normal. I have a very thick and pronounced lip line (Vermilion border) that is way lighter than my lips and surrounding mouth color. So, when I have used lip liners on my actual lip line (and not just the edge between the lip and lip line), it always emphasized that thickness and looked like I attempted to overline my lips because it sticks out, even when it’s still within the lines. The color is described as a “spiced brown” and I consider it like a caramel-pink-brown.

The Bee’s Knees is described as a “brick” color, but it looks more like a neutral brown to me on my arm. In fact, I looked at the website photos again comparing the other shade in the Queen Bee collection and The Buzz is supposed to be the neutral brown. I almost wondered if some got swapped in the manufacturing process because my lip pencil stick doesn’t have any red in it that I can see, like the ones below, and instead looks like the brown ones near it. However, on my actual lips I think I see some red tones after building up the color? Like maybe a splash? If so, it’s certainly not as red as I expected and less red than I’d expect from a brick color. When built up, it’s also darker than Pine. It’s pretty regardless.

The third and final lip liner shade is the darkest of the three and also the creamiest, which I find interesting since it’s the one that launched first. I’m guessing the brand decided to switch formulas after this collection, which is a very plausible theory based on a comparison of the ingredient lists. The other two glide across the lips nicely and aren’t too soft or too stiff, but I do prefer the feel of Decadent. This color is described as, “neutral brown with slightly cool undertones” and I can see that in the squiggle swatch. Also, the lip liners from the Botanical collection came with sharpeners at the bottom. The newer lip liners do not. Perhaps the brand didn’t feel it was necessary because of the formula differences.

I haven’t noticed any issues or differences with the longevity among them all. They suit my needs and because they’re all so similar in color, they all work for me and give me that ability to line my lips in a way that others I’ve tried haven’t. It’s very specific to me, but it’s a huge deal. In general, objectively, I still believe these are a nice comfortable long lasting product.

Coloured Raine Paint Base Eyeshadow Base in Wheat

I first tried this primer underneath the eyeshadows from the Coloured Raine Botanical Palette and was disappointed to see the shadows creased. After all, the eyeshadow primer is expected to work the best with the brand’s own eyeshadows, so that wasn’t a good sign for anything else I planned to use with it.
However, in using it with my well behaved and favorite eyeshadows, and then as an alternative primer for eyeshadows I was testing that didn’t perform as well with my MAC Paint Pot, I realized it actually wasn’t the fault of the Paint Base! I’ll get back to the Botanical Palette in the next section, but basically every palette I tried with the Paint Base performed better or at least equal to my other primers! It quickly became one of the primers I keep in rotation along with the Gerard Cosmetics Clean Canvas and MAC Paint Pot. In fact, I bought a backup of it during the brand’s Black Friday sale.

I really like the ABH eye primer, but it is quite drying. That one helps to combat the oils that produce on my eyelids, but that’s sometimes to the detriment of buildable type of eyeshadows being able to stick properly. This Coloured Raine primer is similar to the ABH primer, but is less drying, which makes it the better of both worlds between combating the oils but still ensuring the eyeshadows can adhere properly. It’s fantastic! Because I bought the shade Wheat, it matches the color of my eyelids better and isn’t so stark against my skin, but still helps the shadows to pop. As with most primers, a little goes a long way (though not as long as the ABH and Gerard Cosmetics ones which are even more pigmented and thicker in consistency). Wheat still provides a good amount of coverage over the discoloration on my eyelids.

It’s interesting that the brand touts the squalane and sodium hyaluronate because I would have expected that to not go well with oily prone lids and would produce too much moisture for me, but it works somehow! The Paint Base sets on my lids to a natural finish. Perhaps those ingredients are what keeps it from being as drying as the ABH one.

When I’m working with an eyeshadow formula that’s not very creamy with a rougher texture, this primer can take a little longer to blend the shadows on it, but it’s a minor difference in time. That’s the extent of the negatives I’ve found in using this primer throughout the year, which made it an almost entirely positive experience.

Coloured Raine Botanical Eyeshadow Palette

I mentioned in the Eye Base review section that despite it being from the same brand, the Coloured Raine eye primer and this palette worked fine, except that it could not keep the shimmers from retreating from the deep line I have on my lid/crease. I have since used this palette with all my tried and true primers, and none of them stop this from happening. The best results I get though is if I set the primer with powder first. Then I’m much less prone to movement and creasing, but it’s not foolproof.

Cream Gerbera barely shows despite packing it on. I don’t mind, as I’d prefer a shade that light to be subtle rather than stark. Iberis and Leonidas have a decent amount of pigment and all three are decently blendable, but that’s a little bit of a letdown in itself because I remember how rich in color and buttery feeling Coloured Raine’s mattes used to be before they got rid of their single shadows. These are fine but not particularly special. The same goes for the shimmers. They are pretty and shimmery enough for my taste, but the formula is so much thinner, less smooth, way less impactful, less pigmented, and not vibrant like their single shadows once were. I mean, Coloured Raine shimmers used to be S-tier. Being “just fine” is going to be hugely disappointing by comparison. The quality of this palette reminds me of Colourpop, which is mostly good, but it’s not even like the best of Colourpop’s formulas.

These types of colors and this overall color story is a lot softer compared to what the brand used to release. I commend them going outside of their comfort zones. However, it isn’t just the color selection and lack of color saturation that makes it slightly underwhelming for me. There are so many brands that make satin shadows and have palettes with soft colors that still somehow look elegant and beautiful on the eyes. The literal texture of the eyeshadows themselves are so soft and buildable. These shadows don’t have those same qualities. They aren’t made the same way.

I also thought it was quite strange that the colors I expected based on how they looked in the pan did not look the same on my skin. Iberis was much more red than plum. Leonidas was a truer orange instead of terracotta. Rose Gold also had a stronger red tone, like a burgundy, when I was expecting a shimmering plum. The colors are still pretty, but when other eyeshadows like from Oden’s Eye and Sydney Grace give me a visceral excited reaction to using their palettes, I don’t see why I would want to reach for this one that doesn’t spark joy. It’s a new year. Being a decent, nice, workable palette isn’t enough. On the bright side, this isn’t one of Coloured Raine’s newest palettes and I believe they’ve continued to work on their formulas since the next palette is one that I actually will be keeping in my collection.

I forgot to mention in the last look that a tiny spot of Primavera is in the center of the lower lash line too.

Coloured Raine Queen Bee Palette

Unlike the Botanical Eyeshadow Palette, this one does not have “Eyeshadow” in the name, which is because it contains pressed pigments. Considering my experience with the previous palette, I was so nervous that the bump up in intensity with the mattes would mean the shadows would perform worse, but that’s not the case. Honeycomb is actually very soft and smooth feeling. I absolutely love this color of orange. Beehave and Pollen in Love are a little rougher to the touch, but they pack on the lids well and blend fairly well. I’ve had a little trouble building Bee-Witched on the other shadows at times, but it just takes a little more effort to get the definition I want without overdoing it or having it look unblended. It’s definitely not my favorite black matte, but it’s workable.
Using Honeycomb and Beehave together in the same eye look can be a bit tricky because I get a lot more pigment from Beehave right off the bat and it can easily overshadow/overpower Honeycomb, so I have to be careful with its placement.

The two shimmers look like they would have the same texture, but they’re definitely not the same formula. Unbeelievable is a chunkier and flakier shimmer that gives me a lot of fallout. It’s a foil shadow, but even applying it damp doesn’t give me the smoothness I want. I don’t enjoy that shadow at all and won’t be using it again when I open this palette. It’s a shame because the color is so pretty.
On the other hand, Mind Your Beesness is an almost glowing green-gold duochrome with more slip to it so that it glides easier across the lids. Because the binding solution is better, I get less fallout with this one. Honeycomb, Mind Your Beesness, and Pollen in Love are the colors that make this palette memorable and make me excited whenever I use it. This is the one that gives me hope for even better palettes in Coloured Raine’s future.

Black liner was also added to the upper lash line of the last look.

The eyeshadow primer and lip liners are absolute wins for Coloured Raine. The blushes aren’t the best and I have mixed views on the palettes. Considering what I paid, it was worth it to me to give them a chance and figure out how I feel about what the brand produced in 2022. At this point in time, I have hope for them in 2023 and I am truly rooting for them. However, the competition among indie and mainstream brands alike is the toughest it’s ever been. I recognize that they’ve lowered their price point, but I’d rather spend more for better quality. For me to continue purchasing from them, their products have to be truly special or incredibly appealing to my tastes. I look forward to seeing what they’ll release this year and I hope others will still give them a try. I heard positive reviews about their Rebellious Nudes palette, so I feel they’re on the right track. Here’s hoping!

Thank you for reading and Happy New Year!

-Lili

Lisa Eldridge Eyeshadow Palettes and Lippies

Today’s post will be a long one. There are tons of other reviews about this new holiday launch, but I believe I can add a little more to the conversation with all the comparisons of colors, textures, sizes, pricing, and more that I’m including. There are a few additional items that I wanted to purchase from the brand, but they’re out of stock and will not be available again until 2023. I’ve heard that the brand also intends to expand on the eyeshadow range (along with making the eyeshadow system fully customizable with some form of empty palette option), so there will be a Part 2 at some point next year.

Whenever I review an Influencer/MUA/Celebrity owned brand on this blog for the first time, I include a disclaimer for those concerned about possible biases. So, first, I will say that I’ve been a subscriber of Lisa’s YouTube channel for eight or nine years. I’m not a very consistent watcher, but I’ve had a long time respect for her makeup knowledge, skills, and I own her Face Paint book. Her love of Suqqu, Hakuhodo, and other natural hair brushes is part of the reason (along with Wayne Goss, Tati, etc) that I was motivated to try Japanese brushes for the first time. I’m not following Lisa Eldridge on other social media platforms. I’ve had no personal interaction with her. When it comes to the cosmetics brand, I have only begun purchasing things as of a month ago despite it being around for about four years. So, while I do respect her and like her, I feel I’m still detached enough to review these products objectively. However, the Lisa Eldridge brand is a luxury one and whether I believe the items from a luxury brand are worth the money or not is a lot more subjective due to the nature of things like packaging, special ingredients/formulas, ordering experience, and other extras factoring into the cost. In other words, the value placed on packaging (for example) and its usefulness vs its worth in beauty is going to differ from person to person.

Lisa Eldridge Eyeshadow Formulas

When it comes to these shadows, the colors are secondary to the finish, which is the best indication for whether or not they’re worth buying. There are a few outliers, but the formulas are overall consistent. So, I recommend deciding on the finish and then choosing the shades within those categories that are the most appealing. The single shadows I chose to buy are a hint to my personal preferences: the Velvets and Seamless Mattes.

*The numbers next to the finishes indicate how many I own out of the total of each type available.

Velvets (7 of 9) – I can’t think of any other brand’s eyeshadows that feel like this. The closest comparison is Natasha Denona’s Cream Powder formula, but smoother (or as the name suggests, more velvety). These give an even but thin layer of color. A soft look is fast to achieve. If I want the shadows built up to the full color displayed in the pans, that takes a little extra time and sometimes needing to reapply one shade over the other. However, this is worth it to me because of how perfectly they blend into each other and blend on the eyes. The darker shades are great for adding a smoky effect and definition, but the overall look will still mostly be soft, even with the more vibrant shades, like Victorian Trim.

I alternate between using my fingers and brushes with these eyeshadows, and using a finger sometimes causes too much product to bunch up and gives the surface of the pan a mottled looking texture, but it doesn’t seem to be effecting my ability to use them.

Seamless Mattes (2 of 6) – These feel even closer to the Natasha Denona Cream Powder shadows, but ND’s older formula that’s creamy on the surface but isn’t as wet as her newer ones. This means that the Seamless Mattes are similar to the Velvets, but with more color payoff. Ironically, the Velvets have a more matte looking texture than the Seamless Mattes, which have a little bit of a sheen to them. Although I use certain Velvets to create depth, I think the Seamless Mattes are better suited to that task because of the increased pigmentation and that sheen which looks better when applied on top of the shimmers/metallics I use on the lids.

I also alternate between using a brush and my fingers. I prefer to use a brush for precision and quicker concentrated packing of the shadows. With repeated use of my fingers, the surfaces look like they are forming hard-pan, but they haven’t actually solidified, so I don’t think they will. My older Cream Powder ones are like that too and haven’t become hard-panned either.

Luminous (1 of 3) – Mercurial is the only Luminous finish shadow I have, but it’s a duochrome. I don’t know if the others are as sparkly as this one, but the website description about giving either a light wash or intense top coat effect is accurate. This finish is way more impressive as a topper than the actual Top Coat shadows and is a bit grittier (just in comparison to the insanely smooth texture of some of the other shadows). It’s also easier to build up the opacity than the shade Grotto, which is supposed to be “full on [and] glittery.” I usually prefer to apply shimmers with my fingers, but I get a little fallout with Mercurial, so I tend to start with a brush and then pack on an extra layer with my fingers. Sometimes, I’ll just use it on top of Glitter Glue/Primer.

Metallic (2 of 2) – The Metallic category, at launch, didn’t have the Satin/Metallic subcategory, but I’m glad the brand updated that distinction on the website because I immediately noticed a difference the first time I tried Grotto and Madrigal versus Swansong and Mage within my Sorcery palette. Grotto and Madrigal have a visibly sparkly texture and are more reflective. Madrigal is the most special of the Metallics and Satin/Metallics, but that’s because of the tone of it and being more impactful and shiny on the eyes than the Satin/Metallics. It’s good, but I can name tons of shadows that can do the same or better at a better price. Plus, the glimmer effect dims a little as the day goes on. I’m glad it doesn’t dim down completely or fade off the eyes, but for $16 each, I expect more. Grotto is a shadow I really despised in the beginning. It’s much thinner than Madrigal and I have to apply more layers to get it to show the color and not just the sparkle. The website says, “Both metallics can be applied with fingers for full opacity, or as a wash with a brush,” and Grotto is much more prone to being a wash. I hated that quality at first because it was getting lost in my eye looks and blending too much into the other shades, but I’ve grown to appreciate it slightly more with time. The main reason being that it makes it easier to transition between other shades and also can add a greenish tinge to shadows for an interesting twist. I don’t like that this one fades, but it stays pretty for a while. I would still prefer to use many other greens in my collection over Grotto, so that one isn’t worth it. Madrigal, may be an exception. I still haven’t decided.

Satin/Metallic (4 of 7) – What makes the Satin/Metallics different is the smaller glitter particle size and smoother (satin) texture. These have much lower reflect than the shimmers and metallic shadows I’m used to, though they are a little more sparkly than satins from most other brands. The shimmering quality isn’t intense enough for my liking at all. What they have going for them are the pretty shade offerings and the opacity level. They aren’t “chunky” but a little goes a long way in spreading across the lids, but trying to build it up won’t make it any more intense. As flattering as the tones are, they’re not worth the single shadow price to me.

Top Coat (1 of 2) – This one I genuinely hate, and I don’t use the word “hate” lightly. It’s so difficult to pick up the product. Then, it hardly adds anything to the look after packing it on the lids, no matter how many times I try to build up the layers or even if I apply it wet or with a glitter primer. To be fair, in the website description and in Lisa’s launch video, it’s made very clear that the Top Coats are intended to be subtle. However, a good top coat eyeshadow for me is one that is the opposite and is the most glittery and sparkly type of finish of them all. I didn’t even wait for this review to be posted before I replaced it with Cherubim in my Myth palette. I will never buy one as a single from the brand.

Illusionism also keeps giving the appearance of being about to hard-pan, but since I’ve had trouble packing on the shadow from the beginning, I can’t tell if it actually is starting to or not.

Lustre (0 of 1) – This one I don’t own, so I cannot say what it’s like. I would have purchased Taffeta Fan to try out if the refill option hadn’t sold out. According to the website, “The densely packed, smooth and extra small pearls gives this texture a soft lustrous, pearly finish.” Since the “soft” shadows or shadows with the option to be applied softly haven’t been entirely worth it to me to purchase, I may have lucked out in not being able to buy it, as it sounds like it won’t be my preference.

I’ve had the most success using these shadows with the Gerard Cosmetics Clean Canvas and Coloured Raine Eye Base. MAC Paint Pot and the Makeup by Mario Eye Prep had a tiny bit of creasing, but nothing that obvious. They worked better when set with powder though. So, I recommend using a primer that fully sets but isn’t too drying either. This prevents creasing and aids in longevity. In addition, wetting the non-mattes helps to bring out the shine in the eyeshadows, but it’s a temporary fix. After a while, it goes back to looking however intense it was prior to being dampened.

Also, I have been enjoying using the Velvets and Seamless Mattes with eyeshadows from other brands too. They layer well and the Velvets work like paint in being able to make shadows a little more pink, purple, etc when added on top.

Sorcery Eyeshadow Palette

Just looking at the pans, the textural differences between the Seamless Matte, Luminous Duo, the two Metallics, and two Satin/Metallics are evident. The Luminous is most sparkly of all and the Metallics have larger particles than the Satin/Metallics.

Sorcery was the first palette to sell out, which is unsurprising to me because it contains the brand’s only duochrome and this has been the year of the green eyeshadow palettes. All of these shades appeal to me (although I’m still in an anti-blue phase but I can still even appreciate the beauty in the vibrancy of Swansong).

I understand that the inspiration for this palette was a peacock tail, and so the blue was necessary. The fact that Troubadour is a very blue leaning green helps to tie Swansong to this palette, but that makes both deepening shades in here blue. I found myself wishing I had either a dark brown to tie in with the greens and gold, or wishing for a true deep green. That’s why I ended up purchasing Deep Ochre and Fired Earth in the event that I wish to remove Swansong entirely.

As a standalone palette though, Sorcery is fantastic and the one I recommend the most. Having such a special shade like Mercurial, plus a unique tone of gold in Madrigal, getting an uncommon (at least in my collection) color like Mage, and one of my favorite formulas in Troubadour makes this especially desirable out of the premade palette options from the brand.

The first four eye looks were using the Sorcery palette alone. I felt that Swansong was quite overpowering in making the blue the focus point when the other shades were the ones I wanted to stand out. So, in the future, if I use Swansong, it will be as a slight pop of color on the outer corner or lower lash line.

Since I purchased the brown shades, I wanted to show how I would likely use them with Sorcery. I then wanted Madrigal to look a little more green, so I added Grotto to one of the looks for a subtle tinge difference. Also, I didn’t feel that I showed off Mercurial enough, so I made sure to include an eye look using it by itself and then as a topper with other shades.

Myth Eyeshadow Palette

I bought Myth later in a separate order. Once I tried the Seamless Matte from Sorcery and heard other people saying the Velvets were like it, but even creamier, I knew I had to buy this palette. Doing it this way was the easiest (and most cost effective) option to get the majority of the Velvet Mattes from the brand. Natasha Denona’s Cream Powder shadows are one of my top favorite formulas, which I’m often tempted to buy whole palettes just to get. So, even though I have shades like Victorian Trim, Violet Stone, and Nocturama a hundred times over in my collection, it was worth getting Myth to have those shades in the Velvet finish. I didn’t own Natasha Denona’s My Dream Palette at the time though, so I didn’t realize I’d be getting two shades similar to Victorian Trim, but more on that in the comparison section later.

Mauve Decade is a shadow I barely have in my collection. The only shade I can think of that’s comparable to it is Naaru from the Kaleidos x Angelic Nyqvist Club Nebula palette. Anything else that looks remotely similar has too much white base in it, turning it pastel, and then it ends up looking ashy and unflattering on my eyes. So, Mauve Decade is extra special and unsurprisingly one of the first single refill shadows to sell out.

I don’t have a lot of shades like Faded Amethyst either, but that’s because I’m not usually interested in that color. I can admit that it looks pretty with the others in this palette though, so I don’t mind having it. Illusionism is the only shadow I knew I wouldn’t want ahead of time, but it was coming with the others anyway. I could see in the launch video that it just wouldn’t give me the oomph I wanted. Even if someone wants a sheer and subtle topper, I can’t see how it’s worth the refill price with the myriad of other indie brands that make phenomenal topper shadows that can be applied sheer or more impactful if built up. Toppers with duochromatic features. I will give Illusionism praise though for not leaving me with much fallout. Perhaps that is enough to make someone desire the Top Coat formula from the brand, but the trouble I had picking up the product to get it on my eyes is a bigger deal to me.

The look above was inspired by the one Lisa did in her launch video. I tried to create some variety in the examples below, but I would realistically do the same one above every time I open this palette (minus Illusionism and just applying Faded Amethyst wet for more impact). I’m obsessed with the combination! I would have never thought to do a magenta pop of color in that spot had it not been for that video. Lisa’s look in the launch video pretty much sold me on the palette.

Since the Muse palette leans pink, the shades from there pair very well with the ones from Myth. So, I wanted to include an example of that in the final eye look above. Also, I wasn’t sure which section I should put this message in, but I wanted to warn about the reddish purple type of shades in this palette. I get teary eyes often and when I’ve worn the shades Vintage Mulberry and Victorian Trim, and had to wipe the corners of my eyes, the tears were pink. It happens every time my eyes decide to be watery. Those two shades basically run on me like non-waterproof mascara can. They haven’t hurt my eyes, but I just wanted to forewarn those in rainy climates or who have watery eyes like me that it could happen. I’ve continued to wear those two shades in my outer corner for depth, but I no longer put them on my lower lash line.
Because my eye shape makes me prone to easily getting mascara and shimmer particles in my eyes while taking off my makeup, I’m not quite as concerned when the pink from Victorian Trim gets in my eyes as well, but I felt it was important to mention that the color is easily transferred to the liquid when wet.

Eyeshadow Palette Refills:

Cherubim and Vintage Mulberry (Muse) plus Deep Ochre, Fired Earth, and Bronzite (Cinnabar)

I didn’t buy these shades all in one order. I started with Cherubim first because I was in love with that color. Most pinks look lighter on my skin, and finding a light-medium pink that will show up looking like a soft pink and not ashy isn’t that easy for me to find. I also knew this was the shade I wanted to replace Illusionism with in the Myth palette. Then, because I wanted a shade to add depth without looking so dark and plum like Nocturama, I bought Vintage Mulberry. Vintage Mulberry ended up not looking as dark on my eyes as I expected, so it’s darker but not enough to add as much structure as I wanted. Considering it’s a Velvet, I’m still glad I got it. Then, I couldn’t decide which brown I wanted to use with the Sorcery palette that wasn’t cool-toned, so I added both Deep Ochre and Fired Earth to another order.
By the time I bought Bronzite, I already knew the Satin/Metallic finish wasn’t my favorite, but I wanted to give it one more chance and also I wanted a neutral shimmer option. I didn’t realize it would be so orange in person and also so intense! That was a surprise, but still a nice one.

The singles came in their own individual boxes. There are no magnets or plastic used. I just peeled off the sticker keeping the flap securely closed, lifted the flap, and flipped the eyeshadow pan out into my palm. Most of them I had to clean off excess shadow powder around the edges and bottoms of the pans. They are not labeled, so I added my own handwritten sticker labels to them. Some pans are fully flat whereas others have bumps on the bottom. I’m not sure why they aren’t all the same. I can’t help but wonder if the bumped ones were intended for the palettes in the early stages of developing the eyeshadows, but then they decided to offer refills individually and just made all the rest smooth? Or maybe the bumped ones come from a different lab? Perhaps stock of one type of pans were purchased first and the others were found at a better price and purchased after? I’m throwing out complete guesses in the dark. It’s a curious thing that really doesn’t matter at the end of the day. They both stick just fine to magnetic palettes, so that’s what counts.

For the eye looks using my refills, I felt it necessary to show the step by step process because the shade and depth differences are so subtle and I felt it would be too difficult to tell which shades had the most dominance over the look if I only showed the end results.

Shade Comparisons to Natasha Denona’s Cream Powder Eyeshadows

To make things a little easier in this section, I color coded the shade names.

Yellow = Lisa Eldridge
Green = Natasha Denona Metropolis Palette
Purple = Natasha Denona My Dream Palette
Red = Natasha Denona Love Palette
Orange = Natasha Denona Bronze Palette

Troubadour, the “deep inky teal,” looks exactly like Symbol in the pan, but it’s much closer to looking like Enigma because it’s closer to blue than green. I would love for Lisa Eldridge to come out with a green like Royal. Actually, I’d love a dupe for Lethal and Troop too.

I didn’t realize the Cream Powders from the My Dream Palette were so similar looking. Instinct is the closer dupe for Victorian Trim, but it’s more pigmented. Had I realized this ahead of time, I might have reconsidered buying the My Dream Palette since I already owned Myth. At the same time, I can see that an argument could be made in favor of the Natasha Palette at $69 (around $58 with the 20% off discount at Sephora plus tax) for 15 shadows versus the Myth Palette at $68 for 6 shadows. I can’t say which one I prefer because I’ve yet to use the My Dream Palette other than swatching Instinct and Edgy.

The shades from Metropolis are the oldest of the Cream Powders I have in this pan size. They are starting to not swatch as well, but they are a month shy of being two years old, so they aren’t that bad in terms of age. However, I have been wishing for a replacement and I’m thrilled to be able to get them from Lisa Eldridge as an alternative.

Having Chrism is why I didn’t buy Raw Sienna or Tea Room, since I thought those two might be too light for my liking and Chrism is right on that border and can be used in place of those two in the eye looks I wanted to create.
Deep Ochre and Antique are quite similar but, again, it’s from my Metropolis Palette that is getting up there in age. So, I don’t regret buying Deep Ochre. Fired Earth is a great choice since I didn’t have a dark neutral brown in this type of formula.

The Cream Powder shadows and the ones from Lisa blend and build perfectly together. So, I’m feeling a lot more with satisfied with the amount I have and feel like I can even skip buying Natasha’s Palettes (especially in light of the many controversies the ND brand has had even just this year alone). I’m more content with waiting for Lisa to release even more shadows with these finishes.

After comparing all these swatches, I see that I’d love to have some yellows, an orange, and more green tones as Velvets or Seamless Mattes from Lisa Eldridge. These are the ones where I feel the refill price is worth it for me. I also see the potential usefulness of having Lamp Black and Smoke & Mirrors, the only two shades from the Vega Palette that caught my interest. Perhaps those will end up being reviewed in Part 2 next year, if I get them during a restock.

Eyeshadow Pan Size and Palette Size Comparisons

I was extremely interested in the idea of being able to use the gorgeous eyeshadow palette container for traveling with Lisa’s shadows, plus shadows from other brands, but the wells are too short to fit my Clionadh shadows and even my medium sized Viseart pans. The Natasha Denona midi pan sizes can fit though, so there’s one saving grace. All the other square pan single shadows in my collection are far too large to bother trying to fit them in. Technically, I could put the small size Viseart pans in here, but that would feel like wasted space.

The “Extra Large” size of Make Up For Ever Artist Color Refillable Makeup Palette from Sephora (only 4 inches wide), not to be confused with the Refillable Pro Makeup Palette which is much larger and from MUFE’s website, is slightly bigger than the Lisa Eldridge palettes. For the sake of storing the two Lisa palettes and refills together, the Extra Large MUFE palette came in handy. I don’t know if Lisa Eldridge will make the empty palettes themselves be available for purchase, or if customers will have to buy six refills in order to get the palette with it. If I end up not being able to buy the empty palette alone, the MUFE one will have to suffice.

The comparisons of Lisa’s eyeshadow price per gram to Pat Mcgrath, Charlotte Tilbury, Natasha Denona, etc have been done by others. There’s no denying her shadows are extremely expensive. The palette I feel compelled to discuss instead is the Olivia Palermo Eyeshadow Palette in Regalia, since the Olivia Palermo brand is also in the luxury sphere, has similar sized palettes with six shadows, and is at a near enough price point (on the surface).

Regalia is $58 for 7 total grams of product at around $8.29 per gram. Sorcery is $68 for 5.7 total grams of product at approximately $11.93 per gram. I’d like to note that the industry standard is at least 1 gram per shadow and Lisa’s are slightly under that at 0.95 grams. So, this math just doubles down on what we already know about not getting one’s money’s worth in terms of the amount of product contained within these palettes. The customer’s view on the formulas, shades, likeliness to use up the eyeshadows, and more are the determining factors in the “worth” of them for the price. Honestly, I don’t mind having eyeshadows with less product because my collection is too large to ever hit pan on them anyway.

Then, regarding the packaging itself, they are both beautiful luxurious looking gold palettes. Lisa’s are aluminum or some other kind of lightweight metal. The shadows are interchangeable and that’s a bonus factor in being able to use them for travel and take up less space and weight in a travel bag or purse. Olivia’s is weighty like a brick! It’s some form of very heavy metal. Two of Lisa’s palettes are literally still lighter on the scale than a single one of Olivia’s palettes. In fact, it would take three of Lisa’s to surpass the weight of Regalia alone. However, this is kind of like a display piece. It wasn’t intended for travel or being on-the-go. Whether someone wants a custom designed weighty luxurious product to keep on the vanity or a bespoke unique and functional product is up to the customer to decide which factor is most appealing. I personally love the weightiness of Olivia’s palette because it screams luxury, but I can’t deny that Lisa found a way to make hers elegant while being a lot more practical.

Weight depicted on the scale above is in ounces, not grams.

For the price point, Olivia’s palette is what I expected from Lisa, but I think I’m happier with how Lisa’s actually ended up being. I still don’t think it would have been worth the price without the Velvets and Seamless Mattes though.

Palettes Rearranged

Of course, now that I have the extra shadows, I played around with the different color story possibilities. Below are my favorites.

The first palette of the bunch is what my Myth palette currently looks like. For now, I left Sorcery as is. However, I am the most likely to change it to the last arrangement out of my examples above.

Lisa Eldridge Lip Products

I have to post the disclaimer that I am NOT a lipstick person. I buy them and most of the time end up not wearing them. I’m a gloss person through and through, but it’s really difficult for me to want to shell out anything above $20 for a gloss and I usually wait for a sale that I can buy a higher end gloss below my $20 preference. However, for the sake of science and my interest in the way the Gloss Embrace formula was described as being nourishing for the lips, I bought one. As for lipsticks, anything over $25 is…well it just doesn’t happen! Prior to my purchase of the True Velvet Lip Colour, the most expensive lipsticks I ever bought were from Bite Beauty for I think $26. I never expected to be so drawn in by the rave reviews, massive hype, and my growing curiosity in the brand that I would spend $36 on one from Lisa before even trying the other luxury lipstick brands I’ve had for ages on my beauty bucket list. But here we are!

True Velvet Lip Colour in Velvet Affair and Gloss Embrace Lip Gloss in Blush

I love the gold on both the lipstick and lip gloss. 10 out of 10 for packaging. I especially like the magnetic closure of the lipstick cap which adds to the weightiness of the product (but isn’t too heavy to make it inconvenient to take on-the-go). I also like the embossing around the bullet in the attempt to make it look like actual velvet.

Despite how dark the bullet of Velvet Affair looks, it’s too light for my comfort level to wear by itself. I saw the wonderful array of model photos on the website and purposely intended to get a near-nude lipstick shade. It just ended up being the kind of color that I only like when paired with a darker lip liner.
I heard the lipsticks can be used on the cheeks for blush, and when I really pack the color on, I think it does work nicely for that purpose. I’ve only tried it twice and didn’t do a full wear test, so I’m not sure if there are any issues with transferring or fading when using the lipstick on the cheeks. However, I liked it for the short times I wore it that way. On my lips, I also have only worn it so far for a short time and haven’t done a full day’s wear test. I intend to update this post with my thoughts once I do.* At this moment in time, I see why people like it because of how comfortable it is to wear a lipstick this matte. I may one day try another color if it’s the perfect shade that I can wear without lip liner, but as a non-lipstick person, I don’t think it’ll be worth it for me to have more than one of these Velvet lipsticks. The times I’ve actually loved lipsticks have been with more satin type of formulas and sheer buildable ones. So, perhaps the Lucents will capture my heart even though they are less hyped up.

*UPDATE Dec 26th, 2022: It remains comfortable feeling all day, and surprisingly there’s a lot left on the lips after a meal. Despite it not feeling drying, it does still dry my lips. I still like it, but this isn’t the product that will somehow turn me into a lipstick lover, unfortunately!

The lip gloss is really nice! I love how long I can feel the sealed hydration effect on my lips, even after the top layer of the gloss is gone. I have only worn it a few times, but I do like it. I wish I had more colors, but that price tag is deterring me. I haven’t yet decided for myself whether the gloss was worth it. I would say yes if it was the only one in my collection, but considering the others I own and love like from Fenty and Pat Mcgrath, perhaps it’s not.

In addition to photos of lip swatches up close, I like to also show a pulled back photo to show how well or not the lip products compliment my complexion. In these photos, I’m wearing the Hourglass Ambient Soft Glow Foundation, Lisa Eldridge eyeshadows on both eyes, Velvet Affair lipstick on the lips and cheeks, my mix of lip liners around my lips. I also have on the Melt Cosmetics Ultra-Matte Bronzer and the MAC x Whitney Houston highlighter.

I have the Luxuriously Lucent Lip Colour in Meet Me in Berlin on my wishlist for the same reason as the Liquid Lurex Eyeshadow in Liza…because of my difficulty with resisting products that I have a personal connection to. In the case of the lippie, it’s because of my boyfriend in Germany. In the case of the liquid eyeshadow, it’s because it’s my sister’s name (though pronounced differently). Truth be told, I’m not a single eyeshadow (unless depotted) or liquid shadow type of gal, but if I were, it would be Titania and Zora that would be more my speed. So, it’s very likely that a review of the Liquid Lurex, Luxuriously Lucent Lip Colour, and additional Eye Shadows from a future launch can be expected in Part 2 in 2023.

Velvet Makeup Pouches

These can normally be purchased for $25 each in various colors. However, there is currently a deal that a free bag will come with every purchase of three or more items. The Pompadour color was available with the eyeshadow launch. At some point they ran out and I saw the blue one there for a short time, the cherry red one for a short time, the Emerald which I made a purchase to get, and then the Pompadour shade returned. There was one point where no bags were in stock at all and therefore no gift with purchase option with it.

I didn’t think these were that special until I actually got the first one in my hands. I love the luxurious texture of the bag, the pretty logo, the variety of colors, and the zipper. I actually keep my Lisa Eldridge products together in one because of how well they fit in it. I can see why these are collectable to some people and if a purple variation was released, I would likely be willing to buy it outright!
For Oden Eye’s Saga of Freja collection, they had an exclusive sage green velvet makeup bag for those who bought the entire bundle and I just couldn’t do that when I didn’t want the majority of the collection. So, I’ve had the dreaded feeling of having missed out. In a way, the Emerald bag from Lisa Eldridge has finally filled that void even though they are different sizes and shapes entirely.

Ordering Experience

Apparently, the brand has a distributor in the US and worked out some kind of deal to keep the shipping free for US customers. That has been one of the reasons it’s been so much easier for me to talk myself into making the additional purchases (when I told myself I’d only buy the Sorcery palette and nothing else).

Ordering from the website was hassle free. The shipping is fairly quick and so far has taken anywhere from 3-7 days to arrive. It only tends to be longer if I made a purchase just before the weekend.

The items are well packed and instead of generic cardboard boxes, they are white with the brand’s logo on the inside. I haven’t had any order mixups and everything has arrived intact. For that reason, I’ve had no need to interact with customer service, but I’ve heard they’re great.

The only thing I wish was that I could actually create a customer account so I could see my order history in one place and keep a wishlist on the website. However, it might be for the best not to have that kind of thing stored.

So, overall, my ordering experience has been great with this brand. The prices are a bit hard to swallow, but my interest in Lisa Eldridge makeup has increased a lot and I look forward to seeing more.

That’s everything I’ve got! Thank you for reading! Also, if I messed up the shade names, please excuse that. I have been calling several shade names the wrong thing for three weeks and only in this past week I realized my mistake and had to fix all the errors I could spot.

-Lili

Viseart Palettes: Violetta, London Étoile, Grand Pro 1x, Bijouxette and Peridot

This post has been in the works since I purchased three of the palettes during Viseart’s annual Spring Sale in May. I was having some issues with the Grande Pro 1x, which is why this review got so delayed. Then, I bought London Etoile during the Beautylish Gift Card Event in October, and Violetta in November. So, this post is now featuring all the Viseart palettes I purchased in 2022!

Before we dive into the reviews, I just want to get the discussion of the pan sizes out of the way. I think it’s important to know for those who like to customize/rearrange their palettes. The standard original eyeshadow pans Viseart launched their brand with is their largest size and are part of the newly named “SlimPro” palettes. Their medium size pans are part of the Petits Fours and Étendu palette lines. The smallest pan sizes are part of the Petites, Petit Pro, and EDIT palette lines. Also, the original Grande Pro 1-3 palettes were in that largest/standard pan size, but the Grande Pro 1x has the medium pans. Below is a photo showing the standard, medium, and small.

PETITS FOURS – VIOLETTA

Violetta is one of the three holiday quads and one of Viseart’s newest releases, which I purchased from Beautylish at full price. I’m not going to downplay how much I love this palette. It is literally the best offering of finishes Viseart has ever put together in a quad, the most cohesive and unique color selection, and their best eyeshadow quality yet! It also happens to swatch better than a lot of Viseart’s other palettes.

I normally despise mattes with random flecks of glitter, but Couperin is such a gorgeous mauve-pink shade that I don’t mind. Plus, one of the reasons I don’t like sequin type shadows (Viseart calls it a “matte hybrid finish”) is that when applied, the shimmer is mostly gone but it looks out of place having a few individual specks on the eye unless I pair it with a shimmer. With a color like Couperin, I don’t see myself using it in an all-matte look anyway. I have been such a fan of this shade that I’ve paired it with other eyeshadow looks I’ve done lately, and that is not a usual thing for me to do. I will usually only reach for additional palettes to pull out specific shimmers, so a matte shadow being memorable for me is rare. Also, a shade this light to show up pigmented on me and remain looking mauve without looking ashy is not that common, even among similar Viseart shades in other palettes.

Verrerie is described as a, “midnight-purple with a duochromatic metallic finish,” and I am obsessed! It has beautiful bright reflective shimmer that is more impactful than Viseart shimmers I’ve used in the past. In fact, the sparkle quality and duochromatic nature is on par with some of my favorite smaller indie brand’s duochromes! I haven’t felt the need to even apply it damp, though I recommend glitter glue because I have gotten some fallout without it. This shade and Couperin together is a dream for creating a light ethereal look. The base color is in the same family as Châtelet, which makes them go well together too, and the blue shimmer on top of that deep gunmetal with a greenish tinge really pops. This is an amazing lid shade, but also makes for a very pretty and popping inner corner shade and highlighting shade.

Châtelet is the least unique color of the bunch, but it goes so well with the others that it makes sense to be included. This matte is pigmented, but easy to blend and layer with the other shades. It’s great for adding depth, but also can be sheered out and not look too dramatic if it’s also in the crease.  

Lastly, we have Perchoir, which is a slightly green leaning “gunmetal with a metallic pearl finish.” I have to be a bit more careful with this one as it’s so pigmented and intense, but that makes it great for adding depth, smokiness, drama, and lining the eyes.

How the intial three eye looks came about is that I essentially took photos at each stopping point that I felt I could have been pleased with how it was and could have left it alone. The first one is the lighter look for minimal daytime makeup. The second one is where I would usually stop after adding a little more depth and tiny bit of smokiness. The third is a more dramatic going-out-at-night type of look. They are three similar looks that I love equally for different situations. It’s a truly special quad with no longevity issues, no blending issues, and I’ve been able to use them effectively with all my primers. This gets a glowing recommendation from me!

PETITS FOURS – PERIDOT

I love greens, olives, and golds, so I knew this quad would end up in my collection. Illusion is the only matte and unfortunately it barely shows on my eyes. Having a shade like this doesn’t add any value to me in a quad, but it will be just fine with my other Viseart shadows.

I’m a little confused by Viseart’s metallics because sometimes they are shimmery and wonderful even in their dry state, but at other times they are like Gatsby and are more like satins until they are wet. Gatsby is described as a “khaki with a metallic finish.” When wet, the intensity is raised, but it’s still a tame shadow. I like the color, but I prefer the shade called Khaki from the Dior Backstage 008 Khaki Neutrals palette because it has a stronger green hue to it.

Greenlight is the darkest shade, but it’s not as deep as I would normally prefer for my outer corners. So, I feel like this quad still lacks a depth-providing shade. Being viewed as an individual shadow though, it’s a beautiful color that’s bright and shimmery. It beats out the Emerald shade from that Dior Backstage Khaki Palette I reviewed here before, but not Pine Green which is along the lines of how deep I wanted Greenlight to be.

Gimlet is the last shade. It’s a nice bright yellowy green that goes well with Greenlight and for highlighting purposes. However, I prefer a deeper yellow shimmer or the green to be stronger to wear Gimlet as a lid color. The middle ground limits things for my personal preference, but I needed a bright shade for my inner corner, so I see its purpose in the quad.

I got the Charlotte Tilbury Eyeshadow Quad in Green Lights around the same time as Peridot. Essentially, because I wasn’t completely satisfied with the khaki shade and I had long been lusting after Green Lights since it was released, I decided to just get it after all. I only recently learned the story behind it (thanks to Temptalia’s blog), that began with a quad called The Rebel which had a pale shade, deep teal-green, olive, and spring green. That palette was discontinued. Then in 2020, the brand released the same color story as the Green Lights palette, but called it The Rebel even though the shades were different from the original The Rebel palette. Then, later that same year, “Green Lights” was released despite it being essentially identical to the current iteration of The Rebel quad. I don’t know what the point was in doing that, especially since Green Lights is apparently limited edition and so once it’s gone, The Rebel will continue to be sold with the Green Lights color story instead of the original. Strange choice.

This screenshot was taken from the Charlotte Tilbury US website.

CT quads are swatched by the brand in a clockwise direction, but I stick to my typical left to right and top to bottom.

Even though Peridot gives me the most variety as a curated quad, I actually prefer the Charlotte Tilbury quad. When I’m craving olives, I’m craving something with a more toned down color, but with amped up sparkle, and paired with neutrals. I don’t usually want a bright shade to go with it like how bright of a green that Greenlight is or with something as lemon-lime green as Gimlet. I would have preferred a traditional gold instead. Plus, Illusion hardly shows up on me, so it adds nothing to the quad. The upside is that Peridot is half the price of Charlotte’s Green Lights quad. The shadows don’t feel the same, as they’re very different formulas, but they’re both still high quality performers. So, even though I don’t like the Peridot color story, I like the satin and shimmer shades individually and had already planned to swap around the shadows within my Viseart collection to create a green quad I prefer. For that reason, I’m still glad I bought it (especially at the $17.50 sale price).

PETIT PRO LONDON ÉTOILE

I knew I absolutely did not need London Étoile. I have similar enough shades within my Viseart collection, but I just couldn’t skip it. With purples, green-brown, and gold, this palette may as well have been named Lili Étoile because of how often I’m drawn to these type of colors.

Now, Carnaby is the exception. It’s a pale cream beige that’s too light for me and looks ashy wherever I use it. The brand says it can be used, “for highlighting the brow bone for all skin tones,” but I politely disagree. It only looks passable on me if I blend it out so that there’s barely any pigment left, and then I even add a little Piccadilly to tone it down. So, I even prefer to skip using Carnaby entirely and just use Piccadilly in the crease with another shade added to deepen the look.

Camden is a traditional dark gold, but it’s much needed in this palette because of how many deep shades there are in comparison to the wearable lighter colors. It’s the pop of brightness to most of my looks. It’s got a lot more intensity to it than the other shimmers, so I don’t need to use it wet, but if I do, it gives off an intense metallic finish.

Brixton is a matte, “Boysenberry purple,” and looks especially similar to Blackened Honey from the Grand Pro 1x and Beaujolais from the Dark Mattes. This shade blends decently enough, but not as easily as the other mattes we’ve discussed so far. It takes a bit more work and is a little troublesome to get it to show distinctly if there are too many shades already packed underneath it.

Tottenham is described as a “muted sage taupe with a metallic duochromactic shimmer finish,” which is close enough to the golden olive that I expected when I ordered the palette. However, I don’t know how this is considered a duochrome. Irrespective of that, it’s still my favorite shadow in the palette and has a satisfactory amount of sparkle to it.

I don’t have any Viseart dupes of Dalston, but reddish burgundy shimmers and metallics are very common in my collection. I think it’s quite beautiful in person, but for some reason, my camera has a very difficult time capturing how vivid it looks on my eyes. How Viseart shadows can sometimes look on camera, particularly the deeper purples, is an issue I will get more into in the Grande Pro 1x section. So, I just want to reiterate that it looks even better in person than my eye looks below suggest.

Portobello is a medium tone matte fuchsia shade that in the pan looks so similar to many other shades in my collection, but how it looks on the eyes and swatched is much more vibrant than I expected, which is a quality I like about it. Sometimes a purple like this can be tricky to formulate, but this one gives me no issues building and buffing.

Shoreditch is the final shade in the palette and described as a “soft metallic plum with a shimmer finish,” and it’s my go-to shadow to deepen up any of the looks in the palette. It naturally goes well with the purples, but it takes on a dark brown appearance when it’s next to the neutrals, so it works with shades like Tottenham and Piccadilly too.  

I’ve enjoyed every look I’ve created with this little palette. The quality is solid. Although I still believe I didn’t need this palette since I have enough shades close to the colors in this one, I’m glad I bought it anyway. Considering how tiny the pan sizes are, I probably should have waited for a sale to get it so it could feel a little more worth the price ($25 is what I’d have preferred), but I still got a deal of sorts because I bought it during the Beautylish Gift Card Event.

BIJOUXETTE ÉTENDU

Viseart has a rainbow palette in the form of their Editorial Brights, but I view Bijouxette as the brand’s jewel toned rainbow. To me, this is the ultimate Viseart palette for people who like a matte neutral eye base with a pop of color on the lids. I tried to create a wide variety of looks further down to show off every color in this palette, but I could keep it simple with Nouveau, Sidecar, and Speakeasy and then add Prohibition on the lid and be perfectly happy with that.

Every matte in this palette is pigmented, but blends and layers well. They’re buildable and long lasting on the lids. I would prefer Carnelian to not have that sparkle added to the orange, but most of that comes off by the time I’m finished applying it to my eyes. I don’t know for sure if Viseart tweaked their matte formula, but these seem to be even better performing than the ones I own that were released prior to October 2021.

For a long time, Viseart’s shimmers weren’t praised among consumers because they were an artist brand known for making things that work beautifully in the television and film industry, which meant small less reflective shimmer particles and basically being glorified satins. However, around the time of the launch of the Grand Pro 2 palette, they started amping up their shimmer intensity. In the past year or two in particular, they’ve also gotten more pigmented and colorful. The shimmers in Bijouxette are, in my opinion, Viseart’s best shimmer quality yet. I feel that these can actually compete now with Clionadh’s standard circle pan shadows and Devinah’s shimmers. Granted, some are still on the satin side like Scandalous, or not completely opaque unless built up heavily like Jade and Cubism, but after Verrerie from the Violetta palette, every shimmer in Bijouxette ranks higher in my books than all the other shimmers in this post. They’re quite good. They apply smoothly across the lids, but they don’t have that dimethicone slip to them that other creamy/buttery formulas often have, which means I don’t need to worry about creasing and I don’t need glitter primer either.

I’m very glad Viseart started releasing smaller and more “affordable” palettes. I got this for $26, but based on my experiences with it, I’d have been happy paying full price. I don’t know that the original 12-pan palettes in the standard sizes were necessarily worth the retail price for non-makeup artists or those with extensive eyeshadow collections, but if there was ever a Viseart palette that I would recommend to a colorful shadow lover wanting to try the brand for the first time, this is the one I would suggest. Color preferences aside, if the quality in this one isn’t to someone’s liking, I don’t think any other palette from Viseart can top it.

GRANDE PRO 1X

When I saw this on sale for half price, I was so excited because I lusted after the original Grande Pro for years, but it was never in a price range that I could justify to myself. Then it sold out and was discontinued. I planned to mix and rearrange my older standard size Viseart shadows with the ones in Grande Pro 1x instead, but completely forgot that the pan sizes in 1x are medium! So, there went that idea, but I can at least interchange them with the other palettes in this review (excluding London Etoile).

This mega palette is the reason I’ve delayed posting a Viseart review for ages. My experience with the mattes in here has been so inconsistent. The biggest issue has been that so many eye looks (deleted and not posted here) looked horrible on my camera. They were so beautiful and well blended in person, but for whatever reason, they just do not translate on my camera. They looked so patchy as if my skin was showing through. I kept trying to add more to cover up spots that I saw on camera that looked odd (though I still couldn’t see it that way in my mirror) but it never helped. I literally started to question if my optometrist was wrong and if my eyesight had suddenly gotten worse, though I didn’t have this issue with palettes from any other brand! I would add additional product over the spot in question and it would then look unblended, but if I blended it in, then it would cover up too much of the other shade in the look or turn a different color. It drove me mad! No matter what primer I used, it kept happening with back to back eye looks. I would be so happy with how they looked in the mirror and then take the photo and feel that sense of pride deflate. Considering these are meant to look great on camera, it boggled my mind as to why this was happening. I still don’t have an answer. Perhaps it’s just something that happens without a high quality camera and/or professional lighting. Again though, this issue is exclusive to the Grande Pro 1x and Dark Matte Edit palettes. My other Viseart eyeshadows look great in various lighting situations and with the devices I use.

To put this in perspective, I’ve been using Viseart shadows since January 2016. My first palette was the original Dark Mattes. Some of the shadows in that palette had to be tossed out by now, but most are still performing wonderfully to this day. However, I started to feel uncomfortable at the idea of using a palette so old. So, in April 2021, I purchased the Dark Mattes Edit palette as a partial replacement with the bonus of some shimmers. I had no issues with Viseart’s mattes prior to this purchase, and my last purchase from them had been the Boheme Dream in December 2019 when they still had the original sharp edge palettes and not the curved SlimPro ones. The Dark Edit palette gave me such a rough time using the purples and black matte, that it put me off buying another product from Viseart until this year. The Dark Edit palette had the same issue with it that I was dealing with regarding the Grande Pro 1x, so by this point I started to question whether the Viseart matte quality had dropped considerably at some point between 2020 and 2022. I hadn’t used the other two palettes I got in the sale by that point because I was so disheartened by my experience with Grande Pro 1x. I spoke with Queisyani who is one of the two biggest Viseart fans I follow on IG (murderingjellybabies being the other) and she reminded me that Viseart previously had a difficult transitional period adjusting to expanding from France to the US and that this may account for the time in which Viseart’s matte quality wasn’t measuring up for some people. This issue with the mattes did appear to be a temporary thing considering the Bijouxette and Peridot palettes I bought at the same time worked perfectly fine. Then I started to think about how the Dark Matte Edit palette had been newly launched when I bought it in April 2021 and that even though I bought the Grande Pro 1x in May 2022, it originally launched in February 2021. It’s possible my Grande Pro 1x was from that original batch. Bijouxette was released in October 2021 and Peridot in November 2021, so it started to seem more likely that palettes produced between 2020 to mid 2021 (or at least released in February 2021 to April 2021) could have been the ones affected.

I’m happy to say that the mattes in palettes with launch dates from October 2021 and onward seem to have consistent quality again! In fact, I love the mattes I bought between 2016-2019, but the ones from the end of 2021 and onward are as good as they used to be or arguably even better!

The eyeshadow examples above aren’t to my satisfaction, but they were the best of everything I had with the Grande Pro 1x. As I mentioned, they all looked so pretty in person, but looked worse on camera. However, this palette is not a complete dud. I had less trouble with most of the lighter and mid-tone shades. They are on the thin side, so building up the opacity level was a challenge with some of the shadows in the 1st and 2nd columns, but columns 3-5 were perfect. The darker shades took a little more time getting them to layer on the other shadows, but the outcome of the blend was so pretty in person. The shadows that were most problematic were the truly vibrant shades: Red Coral, Bougainvillea, and Cobalt Blue. They even felt drier to the touch than the other shadows. I didn’t expect Pumpkin to cooperate, but that one is colorful and performs well. I shouldn’t have been surprised though, as Viseart really nails orange.

When there’s an issue with the blend of a matte, it can usually be covered up with a shimmer, so that’s where this palette is at a disadvantage. There aren’t any shimmers to hide the flaws.

Based on the palette in front of me, I cannot recommend it to others. However, this comes with the note that newer batches of the Grande Pro 1x are possibly better performing than the one I’ve got. For the time being, I’m not going to declutter this palette. I plan to reduce the number of lighter shades, especially the ones that just look white on my skin or look too similar to each other. Then, I’m also going to remove the troublesome darker shades and fill the empty spots with shimmers! Or completely rearrange all the medium sized pans. I just have to remember not to wear a Grande Pro 1x all-matte eye look when I’m taking photos!

Wow, this was a monster of a post.

I hope this has been helpful and that you’ll return to visit this blog again next week!

-Lili

Benefit Cosmetics Wanderful World Blushes and Limited Edition Set

Benefit’s new collection of blushes in the full-size and minis launched in May of 2022, and I bought them as soon as they were released on Benefit’s website, with the exception of Starlaa. Starlaa was the shade I wanted the most, so I planned to wait until it was available for purchase before posting this review. I figured it was delayed in shipping and would be ready in a few weeks, but rumor has it that Starlaa was pressed too softly and was shattering in transit, so Benefit had to remake them, which caused a four month delay! These powder blushes are on the softer side, so even my original mini of the Terra blush arrived broken. Granted, Benefit’s packaging of it was abysmal in the flimsiest recycled paper envelope in the world’s thinnest padding I’ve ever seen. It’s a miracle the other two didn’t break with it! The customer service exchange was tedious and required my email to be forwarded and to wait for the initial response back before trading multiple additional exchanges of information including photos, providing the lot number (only found by peeling back the sticker off the bottom), etc. The customer service rep(s) were polite, but the hassle of this instance and knowing what kind of horrible packaging such a delicate product was put in, makes me not want to order from Benefit’s website again. I opted for a replacement instead of a refund, and feel lucky that the second one made it safely.

In September, I saw Starlaa first available in the UK in one of Benefit’s holiday sets called the, “Blushin Benetint Bundle,” but in the mini size. I decided that since I waited so many months already, it couldn’t hurt to wait to get the full-size when it would eventually come to the US. I ended up buying it from QVC and got a discount with a promo code.

The holiday set called “Beauty Mail Blush n Brush gift set” (or “Blush ‘n Brush Delivery” later in the US), with the limited edition blush called Terra Spark, was also available in the UK first. I loved the original Terra blush, so I grew too impatient to wait for Terra Spark to come to the US and immediately ordered it from Selfridges. Imagine my surprise when I found out the shimmery red-gold blush I planned to use as a highlighter was basically Terra with a gold overspray!

The left swatch shows the first swipe with the gold overspray. The right swatch shows the second swipe from the same spot.

Terra is a “golden brick-red blush,” listed as having a shimmer finish, though the gold shimmer running through it isn’t nearly as obvious as other shimmer blushes I own. The only difference between Terra and Terra Spark (when the overspray is gone) is that Terra Spark has a stronger golden sheen, which alters the tone from brick-red to a slightly orange hue. They essentially look the same on my cheeks, though perhaps on someone with a lighter skin tone, the differences may be more significant. Those two blushes are so close that I had to double-check my files to make sure I didn’t get them confused in the cropping and labeling process because Terra can still look a bit terracotta if the light hits that shimmer a certain way too.

I put a photo with no blush next to Starlaa to emphasize how subtle the color is on me, but that it does show up.

Photos of Crystah, Terra, and Java (while I’m wearing a ponytail in the section further down) were taken on the same day in June. The photo of Starlaa in the grey shirt was from October. The photos in this section were taken in November. I had to resort to using my ring light to get consistency in showing the way the blushes look on me. Previous attempts to retake these photos without it resulted in vast differences due to foundation choices, problems with my camera, and lighting issues. The highlighter and bronzer I’m wearing in this batch of photos above is the R.E.M Beauty Interstellar Highlighter Topper in Miss Mars and Huda Glowish Lightweight Blurring Pressed Powder (as bronzer) in Deep Tan.

Though they are technically different, I feel that the promo images for Terra Spark are misleading in representing how much of an impact the gold shimmer will have on the look of the blush.

I bought this primarily for Terra Spark, though the set also came in a cute tin with a sheet of stickers and a retractable synthetic fiber blush brush. The tin can be reused for anything like storing pens, makeup brushes, liners, candy, holiday treats, and more. I haven’t decided yet how I will be repurposing mine.

I didn’t expect to get much use out of the Benefit Multitasking Brush, and most of its value to me was the fact that it’s a limited edition version (same brush with painted white dots). However, it’s quite a bit handier than I expected because of the adjustable aspect! When the bristles are fully out, it’s the most floppy and least dense. To me, it’s almost unusable with the blushes in that state, but it’s perfect for something like a face powder that I’d want applied in a sheer layer and to be able to blend without needing to buff. With the head retracted a little further (about a third down) is the sweet spot for using this brush with the blushes. I get the amount of density I like for buffing them in. With most of the bristles pushed below, the brush is at its densest and strongest buffing power, suitable for something I want extra blended like sculpting powder products.

I have also used this brush with the Rare Beauty Soft Pinch Liquid Blushes, Glossier Solar Paint Bronzer, and the Nars Laguna Bronzing Cream in order to test out how this brush works with cream and liquid products. It works beautifully with them because of that ability to control how tightly or loosely the bristles are compacted, and therefore adjust to what each individual product requires. It stays in the position I set it, for the mostpart, but if I apply too much pressure it does start to slide down. However, I’m still very pleased with this brush and the fact that it came in this set for $30, which is the same price the non-limited edition brush retails for anyway.

I’ll get back to the blushes now.

There are three different finishes among the permanent blushes: Crystah and Terra are shimmers, Starlaa is a satin, and Java is a matte. The shimmery affect in Terra is on the subtle side, though the base color is pigmented. I only need one dip in the pan to get the amount of blush I would normally want; two dips makes the blush prominent, but not garish. I would not exceed two dips into the pan with the brush. With Crystah, the gold shimmer is more abundant and brighter. It’s like Benefit’s version of Nars Orgasm X, but better in my eyes. One layer of blush is all I need to give me a vibrant flush of pink. I can see it straight on, but when I turn my head to the side, the gold reflects brightly and literally makes the pink less visible wherever the light is hitting it. So, at certain angles, it looks like I just have a golden cheek with the barest amount of pink tinge underneath. A lot of coral blushes with gold shimmer that I’ve used in the past have ended up looking silly on me because of the way light reflects off the shimmer, but in the case of Crystah, Benefit made the base color so pigmented that it still ends up looking pretty to me, especially since the shimmer is so fine in size. If I add a second layer, I can definitely see more of the pink color even when light hits it, but that means it’s also very intense when looking at it head on. I prefer to just stick to a light layer when using it alone, or it looks fantastic on top of Benefit’s blushes and as a topper for other blushes in my collection.
When it comes to Terra Spark, just like Crystah, the base color also pulls a disappearing act wherever a certain intensity of light hits the shimmer, but because the surrounding blush area is a much darker color than Crystah, it makes those camouflaged sections look patchy or poorly blended. So, I prefer to now use Terra Spark as a blush topper instead. That isn’t to say the Benefit shimmer formula isn’t opaque enough to be standalone blushes, it’s just the reflection issue that makes me prefer to mix them with other blushes.

Starlaa, in my eyes, is like a sheerer and slightly lighter version of Terra. This “rosy bronze” satin blush is mattifying, but it does have a sheen to it that keeps it from looking flat and adds a pretty finish to the skin without detectable shimmer. I have to build up this color a lot as the brown in it blends in so much with my skin tone. However, I love the slightest whisper of rosy pink that’s visible on my cheeks in person. It’s especially great for no-makeup makeup days. For that reason, I get a fair amount of use out of Starlaa, which is my second most used blush, while Terra reigns as the favorite.

Lastly is Java, which is thankfully not the kind of matte that will look powdery or heavy on my dry skin. In fact, it doesn’t look like a flat matte to me, but I wear mostly natural/dewy/glowy foundations, so that could be a factor. Java is described as a “rosy mocha” and one layer is more than enough product for each cheek since it, like most of the others, is so pigmented.

All of these blushes, no matter the finish, are long lasting on the cheeks. I love the fact that there are options to buy a decent amount of these in mini sizes. It makes it easier to afford owning multiple shades and is less wasteful, since I would be surprised if I used up all of even the mini sizes. Although I’m over Benefit putting their pressed powder products in the box packaging, this launch is when they introduced the slimmed down packaging that no longer included those mini brushes that a lot of us never used anyway. Also, I was glad to see that although the mini size is quite small for the $17 retail price, the pans are wide enough that I don’t have an issue fitting the blush brushes I want to use with them into those boxes.

Those who don’t like fragrance may not like these as they have an orange blossom or some other kind of sweet floral scent. Because I like this formula so much, I overlook the fragrance, and thankfully I am able to stop smelling it on my face after a few minutes. I thought I would post some comparison swatches of these to other brands that don’t include fragrance in their blushes.

Starting with MAC, Ambering Rose is nearly identical to Terra, but with a little more gold shimmer. Ambering Rose is in my top three favorite blush shades from MAC, so I understand now why I love Terra so much. Unfortunately, Ambering Rose is discontinued, but at least Terra is a good alternative. Peachtwist from MAC is also still available. It’s not an exact dupe, as it leans more peachy-pink, but it’s quite close.

I’m sure I could find more dupes for Java, since I have quite a few pink and red leaning brown blushes now in my collection, but since MAC makes my favorite blushes, a dupe for it would be my top recommendation. MAC’s Format has the same base color as Java, but it’s like the shimmer version with fine golden specks. MAC’s Raizin is matte and quite similar, but with a stronger red tone to it. Raizin had too much red in it for my liking, and I always thought it would be perfect if the brown was stronger in that shade, so I’m happy to have gotten my wish in the form of Java.

The closest dupe I have for Starlaa is MAC’s Sunbasque. I never use it because it’s too light for me to work as a blush. Starlaa is just barely dark enough with just enough of a deeper pink for it to show on my skin.

Swatching Crystah and Nars’ Orgasm X side by side, I now see why Crystah is a better fit for me. It’s more coral leaning in the base color rather than pink. With my undertone, I find corals to be more flattering.

So, those are all the new Benefit Blushes in my collection! When I love a blush formula, I tend to want to buy all the shades that work for me (or appear as though they would work), so I’m still tempted by Butterfly and PomPom, but those are currently only available in the full-sizes, which is why I haven’t taken the plunge. And when it comes to which finish I prefer, I’m so thoroughly impressed by how smooth and blendable Java is and how natural it looks on my face, so the mattes are my favorite. Then, when it comes to the satins or shimmers, the satin is the safer bet, because it doesn’t have as reflective of shimmer in it, but at the same time I can’t help but wish it was either firmly in the matte or shimmer categories. The slight shimmer effect in the satin feels almost pointless. I prefer the look of the shimmers over the satin, but Terra Spark and Crystah had that reflective issue while Terra did not. So, it would be riskier for me to blindly purchase another shimmer blush in the hopes that it will perform more like Terra.

Also, regarding the formulas, Benefit Powder products tend to get hard-pan easily if swatched too much. I was surprised to see that I don’t have this issue with the matte and shimmer blushes, but for some reason Starlaa does have that problem. So, I scraped off the top layer lightly and began using brushes for the remainder of the swatches I needed to do.

Well, I believe that’s everything I have to say about the Wanderful World Blushes! I love them and recommend them (but I personally would wait for at least 20% off which is easy to find between all the retailers that carry Benefit products).
Thank you for reading!

-Lili

Artist Couture Love Sprung 3 and Quickie Palette Review

The brand had a 40% off sitewide sale on Labor Day, so I used that as an opportunity to buy two items I’ve been unable to get out of my head. Love Sprung III had a blush that looked similar to Love Sprung II that I own and reviewed before and the Quickie palette admittedly has four repeat shades already present in the original Supreme Nudes palette, so I talked myself out of buying them until this all too enticing deal.

Love Sprung Face Palette 3 (listed as VIII for version three)

It turned out that despite how similar Infatuated and Divine Amour looked in their pans, they are different enough on the cheeks. I’m happy to say version III is the perfect one for me and the formula seems even better than the previous version II! The highlighter is certainly not as wet and is easier to apply and blend smoothly on the face.

I find it fascinating that Divine Amour and Infatuated look similar in the pans, but Infatuated is closer to Peach Blossom on the skin.

These blushes are very pigmented but easy to blend out, smooth looking on the skin, and the kind of tones I love. There’s a lot of kickup in the pan, but I don’t mind that when it’s so easy to clean because all the edges are smooth plastic. Peach Blossom surprised me that it showed so easily on my cheeks and deepened slightly, but it still maintained the peachy look I wanted. I had to build it up even more for the photo, so it looks a bit darker, especially next to the bronzer I’m wearing, but I think it will still look nice on a wide range of skin tones. Golden Aura is not very far off to my skin tone in terms of depth, so I can get a subtle look easily (which I prefer) or I can build it up to about a medium amount of shine. The shimmer isn’t light enough on me to be intensely bright. With Divine Amour, I barely need any product for it to show, but I don’t need to worry about being light-handed with it if I’m using one of my softer, looser, more delicate bristle brushes.

Even though I originally questioned why the brand would make such similar looking peach and pink leaning blushes among the three Love Sprung blush and highlight trios, this new one is my favorite! It’s the one I will actually get use out of and its slim compact packaging makes it easily portable. I’m very happy with this one!

Supreme Nudes: The Quickie Palette

I was relieved to discover that the quality in the Quickie palette is the same as Supreme Nudes. Artist Couture’s palettes do not get consistently positive reviews. The Caliente, Ethereal Bloom, and Supreme Mauves palettes spring to mind as some I’ve heard people assume had a different formula based on the performance of those palettes. So, I’m glad that the mattes in Quickie are the pigmented and soft shadows that I’m familiar with and because of the amped up sparkle level of these shimmers, those have been upgraded in my book.

In my review of Supreme Nudes, I mentioned that all I see among the mattes are a bunch of brow bone shades, Aesthetic, and Mink. So, I support the decision to cut out some of those transition/crease shades, especially since Nudist, Transcend, and Eccentric had the same effect on my eyes. However, the cooler toned taupe called Undressed in Quickie replaced Silhouette which was a more neutral version and I would have preferred to keep Silhouette. However, because Undressed can take the look in a more cool toned direction, I understand why the brand wanted to swap it out in this mini palette.

The four new shades in this palette are Iconic, Brilliance, Supreme 2.0, and Undressed that we discussed above. I knew I was getting repeat shadows when I bought this palette, but I wasn’t expecting the new ones to be so similar to the full size. I do like the extra shimmer in Iconic over Lavish and the fact that it’s more of a true gold. Brilliance has no dupe, but it looks silvery white on my eyes, so that limits how I’d use it. I tried using it as a lid shade in the demo to do something different, but I don’t think it looks good. It’s just a spotlight shade for me. As for Supreme 2.0, I like that it has more sparkle and is a darker olive than Supreme, but with that silver shimmer, it gives the shade a cool toned look when I usually prefer to do a warm toned one if I’m wearing “natural” colors.

I thought having this mini would be handy for travel, but since it’s still not my perfect palette and by now I have many other green and neutral palettes I prefer, I would be more likely to take something else on vacation instead. I thought that I might like having a condensed version of Supreme Nudes and get a lot of use out of it, but I have only reached for Quickie a handful of times while knowing there are still shades in Supreme Nudes that I prefer. I also thought that if I ended up favoring either the Supreme Nudes or Supreme Nudes Quickie, I could declutter the other one, but my enjoyment of Iconic and Supreme 2.0 with my favorite two mattes (Aesthetic and Mink) is so strong that I can’t give it up, even though it still feels like I bought two of the same thing, yet have no will power to get rid of either of them. At least I only paid around $18 for Quickie.

So for those who like the color story in Quickie, I think it’s a nice palette even if it wasn’t the best decision for me to buy it. Considering the price difference of Mini Supreme Nudes Quickie being $30 and Supreme Nudes being $45, getting the mini for full price doesn’t feel like it would be worth it to me. I recommend trying to wait for a sale, which I expect to be possible at least one more time this year. For those who love Artist Couture mattes, the brand recently released a Supreme Nudes Matte Masterpiece palette in the same size and packaging as the Quickie palette. I won’t be picking that one up.

That’s all for today! Thank you for reading!

-Lili

Swatches of Previously Reviewed Makeup in New Shades

With today being Black Friday and holiday sales approaching, now is the time it’d be the most useful for me to get as many reviews out as possible. I’m constantly testing new products, but it takes ages for me to get closeups, swatches, demos, and the written portion of posts completed to my level of satisfaction. I’m allergic to posting first impressions, but I think it may be helpful to share photos of the new makeup I purchased that are just new shades of things I’ve already reviewed for this blog. The formulas of everything should be the same, and therefore the performances should be no different, with the exception of the first item I’m showcasing below.

Fenty Beauty Double Cheek’d Up: Freestyle Cream Blush Duo

The compact color is stunning! I bought this partly for the packaging, along with liking Fenty’s permanent cream blush formula that I reviewed here. Since “Freestyle” is still in the name of the duo, I expected the formula to be the same, but it’s a little more emollient and slightly less pigmented. Because Peony Droppa is on the lighter side, it takes an extra few layers to build it up on me, but Mali’booze just needs one additional layer to build up to the level of opacity I get from the original shades. I was pleasantly surprised that Peony Droppa showed up on me and actually looked nice despite being cool-toned (warmer blushes look better with my undertone). I’ve only used this duo twice so far and I prefer how they look when I use the darker blush all over my cheek and keep the lighter one on just the apples. Trying to wear them mixed was a little tricky trying to find the tonal balance I liked, so I think I’ll stick to either using Mali’booze alone or applying both in those specific zones on the cheeks.

The compact is much bigger than the standard cream blushes and each half of the duo is 3g, meaning each shade in the duo has the same amount of product as the full size single cream blushes. The cream duo compact has the same dimensions as the full size bronzers, highlighter duos, etc. I get two products in one for $34 instead of $44 if they were sold separately, however, I still prefer Strawberry Drip to both of these shades because I get the bright popping color without it clashing with my skin tone. So, in my case, I’d still be better off buying a single blush. I got the duo at a discount via Ulta, and my single blushes from Fenty are two and a half years old by now, so this is a good time to have a replacement.

I was planning to make a dedicated Fenty update post, so I have photos already wearing this one, but I thought it would be best to just include them here.

Fenty Beauty Sun Stalk’R Face + Eye Bronzer & Highlighter Palette

I bought this one from Mercari. I have reviewed the Mocha Mami shade of Sun Stalk’r Instant Warmth Bronzer as an update to one of my bronzer posts here. I barely used it because the shade was more red than I liked, particularly for a matte formula. I suspected one of the other colors could work, or that I could mix the deepest two in this palette together as a better match. It turns out I was correct, as Coco Naughty works on me, or I can mix that one with Thick Mint for extra intensity. I was so concerned with knowing my correct shade that I failed to consider the fact that the formula is good but not great. There wasn’t a need to try and find a better color if I was still going to reach for my Huda Beauty Glowish Bronzer, Charlotte Tilbury, Kosas, and Nars bronzers first.

I find it interesting how much the color Private Island blended into my arm. At some point I’m going to test if that shade can be used as an all over setting powder or to set my under eyes. If so, that would be a nice way to make this palette even more useful.

The Phat Glass highlighter was a little broken, but I pressed it back. Also, that shade is way too light for me, so I don’t wear it alone anyway. The Gold Card color is very beautiful and suits me really well. I can wear it alone or mix it with Phat Glass for a little extra brightness. I’ve also used it on the cheekbones and then added Phat Glass to a tiny portion of the highest point to really emphasize the structured look I want in that area. It’s nice to finally have a Fenty highlighter that matches my preferences in terms of the smaller shimmer particle size. All others I tried from Fenty had some aspect that’s usually a negative, such as being in stick form in the MatchStix, an unnatural color as a Killawatt, or ultra glittery like the Diamond bombs. Even the Chocolate Swiller Fenty Toast’d Swirl Bronze Shimmer Powder with its smooth texture has some larger particle size shimmer specks that makes it something I only want to use periodically.

LYS Beauty Higher Standard 3-Piece Cream Blush Set

Grateful looks so much like Confident in the pan, but when swatched, it looks more like Self Love instead. This mini trio is $20, making it a really great option for trying out additional shades from the brand. The retail price of the single blushes is $16 and each individual “mini” has about 2/3 the product of the full size. The packaging isn’t as lux with the clear lid, but that also makes it easier to figure out which shade I’m grabbing. I only tried these out once so far, and don’t have pictures of each blush included, but that one time using it was enough to know the formula of the minis is the same. It’s one of my absolute favorite cream blush formulas, if not the top favorite, and I’ve felt like this long before I joined the LYS ambassador program. I’m technically still one, but I haven’t done anything for the brand in nearly a year. More about that is detailed here. As for my first review of this cream blush formula, that can be found here. All three included in this set show up on me.

Huda Beauty GloWish Cheeky Vegan Soft Glow Powder Blush in Sassy Saffron

This is another one of those situations where I was so enamored with the look of the new shades that I forgot how I actually felt about the formula being “not particularly special,” mentioned here. I thought this was colorful enough to work on my skin tone, especially with how much richer it looked online, but it was very ashy the first time I tried it. I will have to try it again focusing on the deeper swirl to see if that helps, but I have my doubts. I bought this during Sephora’s previous VIB sale, but Huda’s official website has an even better deal going on.

Chantecaille Perfect Blur Finishing Powder in Med/Dark

In my powder declutter post discussing the original shade here, I mentioned that I wasn’t getting the same amazing results that had been hyped up in all the reviews I’d seen, so perhaps a darker shade would work better on me. I planned to sell the original and get a darker version. The first iteration of the Med/Dark shade was from Chantecaille’s Flower Power line, but I hated that packaging and that wasn’t nice enough to make up for me having to sell that gorgeous hummingbird packaging. I contacted Chantecaille during that time, and they told me they wouldn’t bring the new shade in that hummingbird packaging, but it would at least come in the larger size of their “pebble” compacts, like their philanthropy blushes. After that, the Dior Powder-No-Powder was released and I got so much more blurring from that than I ever did with the original shade and at half the price, so I decided to just give up on this powder. Then, as luck should have it, Space NK had it deeply discounted during their sale in June this year. With shipping included, I only paid $33 for it!

The Med/Dark shade is much better suited to me. It looked invisible on my inner arm, so there was no point trying to post a swatch of it here. Even with the photo uploaded to my computer, I had a guess as to where it was based on my skin looking slightly more matte, but I wasn’t confident enough to mark it. Getting that new shade did work out better for me than the original. I could see a little bit of blurring, but it was nowhere near as good on me as the Dior Powder-No-Powder. So, I still recommend that one over this (though the Dior one has a sheen and this powder does not). I’m just glad I didn’t spend a fortune on it to figure that out!

Tarte Amazonian Clay Blushes in Blissful and Natural Beauty

The Tarte blushes I owned were minis reviewed here. I really enjoyed them, so when Ulta had the full-size blushes on sale in September for $14 each, I couldn’t resist and bought several more. Since Exposed worked for me, I thought Seduce would be even better, but it doesn’t show on me at all. That one is out of my collection, so I couldn’t include it here. The tartelette blush in bloom Amazonian clay cheek palette didn’t work for me either, excluding the darkest shade, but it was too cool toned looking on me so that’s not in my collection anymore either. I’m glad Blissful and Natural Beauty worked out! Tarte’s Amazonian Clay Blushes have the issue of looking light in the pan but sometimes they work for me and sometimes they don’t, so I never know until I actually try them out.

One/Size Cheek Clapper 3D Blush Trio Palette in Phat Ass

I loved the Freaky Peach shade, reviewed here, and was always drawn to Phat Ass, but with how similar the cream and powder versions looked, I didn’t think it would be worth it to buy another trio from One/Size. However, I saw a good deal on Mercari and bought this. Unfortunately, the shimmer exploded in the package, so it took quite a while for me to repress it (not my best work) and clean off the cream which it had also gotten into despite the plastic flap. Unlike Freaky Peach where the shimmer blush was light enough for me to use as a highlighter, the BBL shade in this one is a bit too deep and pigmented in the base color for that. I can use this as an actual shimmer blush or blush topper though, the way it was intended. It’s the kind of shade that’s along the lines of a Nars Orgasm X, but I like this one better!

Pat Mcgrath Skin Fetish: Divine Glow Highlighter in Venus Nectar

Venus Nectar was another broken item I had to repair (dry pressing wasn’t an option with how broken it was). It’s on the pink side, but I love this formula from Pat Mcgrath. It’s a shame that I still can’t get the exact golden tone in this formula that I’m looking for with Bronze Mirage, reviewed here, being a bit deep for me. PML’s Ultra Glow Highlighter in the pink packaging still hasn’t been topped for me. Swatches of Venus Nectar and Bronze Mirage will be in the next section of PML highlighters lower down.

Pat Mcgrath x Bridgerton Skin Fetish: Sublime Skin Highlighter in Incandescent Gold 002

Don’t ask me why I bought a Bridgerton highlighter. I’m citing temporary insanity. I know I hate deep yellow highlighters (being scarred from Fenty’s Trophy Wife), so I opted for the other one instead because I heard it’s still gold but with a sheer base that’s technically supposed to work on the majority of skintones. The glitter level is my main issue with it, but I forgot that the highlighters in this particular formula, similar to my Lunar Nude highlighter (reviewed here), share this excessive sparkle feature. I only have this photo to show of it on my bare face. As much as I’d prefer not to show something like this, it’s all I’ve got at the moment.

As the swatches above show, the sparkle level and shimmer particle sizes are very different. I prefer the Divine Glow over the Sublime Skin, and I need to remember that in the future!

Rose INC Cream Blush Refillable Cheek & Lip in Wisteria

I’m sensing a pattern here. The pattern of trying to find the ultimate blush shade from every brand, despite how I feel about the formula. The Rose Inc blushes don’t dry down, as mentioned in my review here, so I have to be in a particular mood to wear them. I don’t know if I got confused while comparing the different shades on the Rose Inc website, but I could have sworn Wisteria looked darker in photos I saw. This shade does not work on me at all. It shows up, but is extremely ashy. I didn’t know it was going to be significantly lighter than Foxglove, which is already just a flush of color on my cheeks. In any case, I vow to myself that I will not buy another Rose Inc Cream Blush. Now, if they start making powder blushes, that will be another story.

Rose Inc Skin Enhance Luminous Tinted Serum in 100

In one of my Rose Inc orders, I got samples of additional foundation shades. Because of that, I was able to see that despite how much I loved the shade 110 (in that same review linked in the blush section), shade 100 is the better undertone match for me. So, I utilized Rose Inc’s fantastic Pre-Black Friday sale to get my better shade! I have to add though that I was shocked 100 is my shade considering the model photos on the website. Based on the model, 100 shouldn’t be for me at all. But it is!

Rose Inc Solar Radiance Hydrating Cream Highlighter in Prismatic and Lustrous

This is a bonus mention because I hadn’t shown these on the blog until now, and I don’t intend on including it in any other posts this year. I bought the two refills of the Rose Inc Cream highlighters because I wasn’t sure if this formula would be closer to the blushes or the bronzers. These fall somewhere in the middle. They don’t fully dry down like the bronzers, but they aren’t as emollient feeling on the skin as the blushes, but that may also be due to me needing less product to get the impact I want. Prismatic is too light for me and I don’t intend to keep it in my collection. Lustrous is the perfect shade for me though. I wasn’t sure if I should get it because it looks dark online and bronzes tend to be too deep on me, but this is a lot lighter in person and more golden leaning. I’ve only worn them a few times, but I still don’t know how I feel about this product. As of now, they don’t get a recommendation from me despite the color and wet look that I like. Towards the end of the night I notice more texture and I’m not sure if the product slightly picking up is user error yet or a formula issue.

Nars Blush in Dolce Vita

I saw a review somewhere that this blush would work on deeper skin, despite how light it appeared in other photos I had seen. It was so pretty that even though Nars blushes (reviewed here) don’t quite measure up to MAC blushes that I have no shortage of, I still wanted it. Sometimes when I see a Nars blush shade I don’t own, I think I should hold off on buying it because chances are high that it will end up in a palette with some other repromoted shades. But Ulta had another deal, so I went with it and have no regrets! I like it quite a lot!

Vieve Sunset Blush in Piazza

In my March purchases post, here, I said the blush formula was great quality and that I wanted the Piazza shade, but it was supposed to be too similar to others I already own in my collection. SpaceNK’s pre-Black Friday sale made me change my mind and I bought this, plus the bronzer I had been curious about since its launch. It takes a while to arrive from GB, so it only arrived a few days ago. I haven’t actually worn this shade yet or the bronzer on my face, but they all look like they’ll work for me. And I have no reason to think Piazza will not be great since I’ve enjoyed Sorbet so much.

Whew! That’s everything for today! I did way more talking than I expected, though this isn’t a typical Swatchfest.

I hope everyone had a great day yesterday and that this post will be helpful for all the sales going on! I tried to get this post out in a rush, so if there are typos or errors I missed, please excuse them! Thank you for reading!

-Lili