UPDATE: I hadn’t realized MAC started a “sale on sale” deal today. Use code LOVERSEXTRA20 for an additional savings off the Last Chance/Goodbyes/Sale Section on the US website. The code is non-affiliated and the link is non-affiliated as well. I just wanted to be sure to mention this in time. The sale ends June 13th, 2023 and it’s supposed to be for those who have signed up to MAC’s reward program. So, be sure to log in so the code will work.
This is technically a swatchfest bonus post, but I don’t believe I can complete this coming Monday’s official post. So, I hope this replacement will suffice. I mainly wanted to show photos, swatches, and lip looks as fast as possible since these lipsticks are selling out fast. Only a few are still available on the MAC-US website, but perhaps those in other parts of the world still have access to some of them and that this post will still be helpful.
MAC x Whitney Houston in Nippy’s Moody Nude (Cremesheen)
MAC x Black Panther Wakanda Forever in Story of Home (Amplified)
MAC New Year Shine in Lookin’ Like Wealth (Matte)
Of the three shades, the Whitney Houston one is the only one I like as-is. It’s the lip color I wish I naturally had. There’s a little bit of a brown tone to it, but it’s still a muted pink (which is my preference). The Black Panther lipstick is a little cooler toned. A little greige on me. I still like the lip color, but paired with a lip liner, as shown below. I used the Juvia’s Place Lip Liner in Brownie for the demonstration.
As for Lookin’ Like Wealth, it’s a gorgeous color, but it’s a brighter shade of rose than I would want. In order to tone it down, it pairs beautifully with Nippy’s Moody Nude applied to the center of the lips on the top and bottom. Plus, I like the added shine.
So that’s everything! For those curious, I purchased additional items from the sale. The M·A·C Stack Mascara has been one of my newest mascara obsessions since it came out. Even at the reduced price of $18 and $19, I would probably still be better off sticking to my Essence mascaras or continuing to use up the remainder of the mascaras in my makeup stash. However, I couldn’t resist getting backups in the limited edition packaging of the Lunar New Year collection and Richard Quinn collab. I considered getting more pieces from the Richard Quinn line, such as taking a chance on the highlighter even though it looks far too light or the mint color eyeliner, but I decided against it. There are also the limited edition bottles of Fix+ that I would have considered getting if I didn’t already have plenty (and in scents other than Cherry Blossom, Lavender, or Rose). Fix+ scents I loved so far have been cucumber, coconut, pineapple, and watermelon. I even prefer the unscented Fix+ over the floral ones.
The sale section is filled with limited edition products, but be careful about some of the collections that were originally launched long ago! It’s not just semi-new products in there. Still, I recommend taking a peek at what’s available!
Thank you for viewing!
DISCLAIMER: I purchased these products with my own money and am not affiliated with MAC in any way.
It’s officially one year since this monthly haul/low-buy series post should have been published. There are products I bought that should have been reviewed by now and are still relevant in my makeup collection. So, continuing with the series on and off as much as I can is something I wish to do. That brings us to our discussion for today! The photo above shows the products I bought this time last year that I will dive into, and add links to the reviews I did manage to post already.
Tom Ford Eyeshadow Quad in African Violet
I bought this from the Cosmetic Company Store website (Estee Lauder Brand Outlet), and the other Tom Ford quads I own were purchased from people who said they also bought it from a CCO. Of course, I have no way of verifying the validity of that, but I think they are legitimate based on how they look compared to the one I purchased last May.
I was planning to do a dedicated Tom Ford post, but scrapped the idea because I’m no longer enamored by the brand. The eyeshadow quality is nice, and in some cases extremely nice, but I would never say they’re worth full price. I remember a time when they used to be $80, but now they’re up to at least $90. I can’t even bring myself to pay the lower Selfridges price despite their quality being admittedly better than Guerlain’s and I’ve spent more on a Guerlain quad than these at under $40 each. But, it’s actually not the price that is the problem as much as the lack of shades. At least with a Pat Mcgrath product, which has formulas I like, I can pay a similar price and have many more color options with it.
The African Violet palette specifically appealed to me because it’s one of the most colorful available from Tom Ford. However, it’s not as smooth, shiny, or blendable as the Wet/Dry formula everyone raves about. The eyeshadows are long lasting, have decent color payoff, and don’t give me trouble with fallout or kickup, but there’s absolutely nothing special about them beyond their performance being good. I can name a ton of brands with well performing eyeshadows in palettes that cost less than half the price with at least double the shade options.
The other quads I own are Photosynthesex and Honeymoon (one shade in Honeymoon fell out and off the plastic grid, so I pressed it back into a spare eyeshadow pan and turned that empty well into a custom magnetic one so that I could continuously swap out any other brand’s eyeshadow that fits).
The quality of Photosynthesex is about the same as African Violet, but it contains a beautiful duochrome and I like the color story way more, so I get more use out of it. Honeymoon is the famed Wet/Dry formula which surpasses the others. It’s more special because of the shiny finish, the minimal effort needed to blend, the refined shimmer that don’t cause issues of creasing, and being flattering on textured eye areas. However, I still feel it’s worth half the retail price at the most. I understand the brand name and luxury packaging bumps up the price, but the sturdy yet basic plastic packaging doesn’t feel as special anymore considering the fun limited edition compact colors they release every so often. I believe the eyeshadows are a pricier formula than some others out there (even within the Estee Lauder owned brands), but I feel the markup is still too high. This is why I don’t foresee myself purchasing any additional Tom Ford quads unless I get it for a price that reflects what I think it’s worth and is in the preferred wet/dry finish. I’ve heard rave reviews about the newer cream formula, but I have not tried those. It’s typically the older quads that end up at the CCS/CCOs.
In addition, Tom Ford quads are incredibly repetitive in color stories and often contain similar shades that don’t look distinctly different enough on dark skin within the same quartet, let alone among the whole line. They’re also extremely neutral leaning. Give me some Wet/Dry greens and skip the brow bone shades, and they might just get another eyeshadow purchase out of me!
So, essentially what it comes down to is me thinking the eyeshadow quality from Tom Ford is good at the lowest and wonderful at best. I have no judgements to those who are fans of the quads. I get the appeal, even though I’m not their target customer. When it comes to luxury, everyone has their own ideas of what makes a product worth it to them versus something else. For me, having some Tom Ford highlighters was worth the splurge instead. I’ll have to review those at some point!
Haus Labs Casa Gaga Blush in Amarone – This was the first of the many blushes I ended up buying from the original Haus Labs collection before they rebranded away from Amazon. A review for it can be found HERE.
Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Highlighter in Dream Light, Push Up Lashes mini mascara, and Beautiful Skin Sun-Kissed Glow Bronzer in 3 Tan – These items, plus newer releases from Charlotte Tilbury, have been reviewed HERE.
Nars Laguna Cream Bronzer in Laguna 04
I’ve discussed this product a bit in my other cream bronzer reviews, but I’ll pretend like I haven’t. Essentially, this bronzer is quite emollient, blends nicely, has a strong but pleasant beachy scent, and has the benefit of not forming a weird top layer after repeated use. The downside for me is purely the color. I don’t mind a red toned bronzer as long as it isn’t too red. This has the misfortune of being a little more red on my face than I want, plus being a deeper shade that will probably work better in the summer, but is a bit dark for me now. For those who don’t mind the cons that I listed, I do think it’s a nice quality cream bronzer, but it’s admittedly not in my top favorites. I prefer the Charlotte Tilbury one (even though it’s more expensive) and the one from Anastasia Beverly Hills.
Nars Bronzer Powder in Punta Cana
The photo below was taken in the time frame when I was at my lightest for the year, so this bronzer looks a bit deep in the picture, but normally this is a subtle, but not too subtle bronzer match for me. The depth and undertone (mix of red leaning base color plus gold shimmer) combines to a shade I like. However, despite the shimmer particles being barely noticeable in the pan, they reflect powerfully under daylight lights to the point where all you see is shine and it doesn’t even look like I’m wearing bronzer. For the longest time, I thought this shade was too light for me because of where I normally sit when I apply it and view myself in the mirror. I kept trying it every few months and when I could suddenly see it, I assumed it was because I was in my winter shade. It wasn’t until I happened to look in a different position and angle during one of the wear tests that I figured out what was happening. Once I made this discovery and could properly see how it looked on my skin in various situations, I started to enjoy this bronzer a lot more. It’s ironic that now that I like it, it’s no longer available!
Nars discontinued their shimmery and matte Bronzing Powder lines in favor of the new, for 2023, Laguna Talc-Free Bronzing Powder. I purchased shades 5 and 6 of the new one recently and have yet to review them on this blog. I can say from a first impression standpoint that I slightly prefer the new ones. The original that I have looks quite pretty on the skin, but it wasn’t seamless blending. It stuck to the skin in places sometimes, but just the tiniest bit. I’m really nitpicking at this point because it’s still easy to blend, just not perfect. I still consider it a good bronzer. Oddly enough, I have more building up to do with the new bronzers because they’re slightly less pigmented. However, they haven’t stuck yet, are smoother gliding across the skin, and an airbrush effect can be achieved with them. It’s not as airbrushed as the Charlotte Tilbury powder one, but enough to at least make me think of it.
For those who already own the older bronzers, I don’t feel it’s worth getting the new ones if you’re satisfied with what you have, and especially if you already have the matte version. It’s not different enough from the previous formula, unless you’re the type of person trying to avoid talc in products. Since the new line contains no shimmers from what I can see, I’m going to continue using Punta Cana when I want a glowy bronzer. It was the darkest in the shimmer range and the base color is similar to Laguna 6, but the shimmer makes it appear a little lighter. That difference makes me feel like it still has a place in my collection. For those who don’t have a shade in the older range, this new one might have an option. Nars now offers minis in 5 of the 9 colors, so that helps in terms of being able to try one without breaking the bank.
Oh, and if you’re my shade twin, I recommend going with Laguna 06. I prefer mixing 05 and 06 together for the perfect color, but I can’t use Laguna 05 by itself because it’s practically my winter skin tone.
Sigma Beauty Bronzer in Deep and Highlighter in Golden Hour
I’ve tried the bronzer so many times and I really do not like it. It’s so hard to blend, and try to fix after it goes on patchy, and it ends up looking like a contour if I blend it in too much because it goes too deep. It looks gorgeously warm when unblended, but it seems like there’s some grey in the base color. It’s still workable, but other than forcing myself to keep using it on top of various foundations (it looks better on top of matte ones) and switching to different brushes, I just don’t want to use it again. In fact, I had to rescue it from the declutter pile when I forgot I was supposed to keep it until I had time to post this review.
As for the highlighter, I was much more pleased with that one. I like the depth and tone of the gold. I like the smooth look to it on the skin. It’s shimmery, but not overly so. It looks even better on top of dewy skin. It’s not in my top favorites considering I do have others that supersede the shine level/reflectivity, smoothness, and refinement of particle size. However, I still use it from time to time and think it’s a fairly nice product. I don’t recommend paying full price for it though. I think I got mine for 25% or 30% off and that’s about the maximum I would pay.
BPerfect Polar Vortex Highlighter in 32F
I haven’t reviewed this elsewhere, but I am unable to do so here either because Beauty Bay shipped this product in a box without bubble wrap or padding of any kind. The only shipping protection was literally one piece of paper, as seen in the photo below the demolished baked highlighter (two if the invoice paper counts). Every bit of it was covered in highlighter from the single open flap of the unicarton to the outside of the compact and all inside the box, above the plastic mirror protector, etc. I tried to re-press it into a spare empty highlighter pan from my DIY days, but because I used a liquid and didn’t dry-press it, it changed the texture completely. When I tried out the broken highlighter prior to pressing it back, it was insanely glittery (which is not my preference). The pressed version still has very visible particles on my face and is texture enhancing, even when I apply it on top of dewy skin to help melt it better onto the top of my cheekbones. So, I don’t feel it would be fair to consider this a review in this altered form, and it’s not something I want to keep anyway.
Suqqu Melting Powder Highlighter in 101 Kagerou (Limited Edition) and Melting Powder Blush in 06 Yuubae. My review for these two can be found HERE. I’ve purchased several more items from Suqqu and had I known I would enjoy them so much, the Suqqu blushes would have been on my exceptions list for last year’s low-buy. I did manage to stop myself from purchasing every blush shade I wanted, so that counts for something, haha.
Urban Decay Mini Naked Your Way Eyeshadow Palette in Foxy
Once more, my strange aversion to using long rectangular shaped eyeshadow pans is in full effect with this palette. I’ve been able to create a few beautiful looks, but I stopped reaching for it shortly after the excitement of it being new wore off. I was drawn in by the greens, but these are lighter than I typically go for and cooler toned. I prefer the mini gold from Natasha Denona, Dior Backstage Khaki Neutrals, and ABH Nouveau palettes because they have some deeper options as well. Funky Town provides some depth, but I can’t get too dramatic with it on my skin tone.
The quality of these shades is a bit different for Urban Decay since adopting a vegan formula. I didn’t have issues blending the mattes, but they feel a little stiffer and are not as creamy to the touch. I guess all that really matters is how they perform, which is satisfactory enough for me. Foxy tends to disappear off my eyes though. If I want it to show up, I have to build it up a ton. Get Down is closer to a satin, whereas Hot Stuff and Disco are the true shimmers. The shimmers are impactful enough for me to use without feeling the need to wet my brush, but I get a lot of fallout under my eyes with Disco, so I tend to just dampen all of them. I sometimes even use glitter glue because I also have trouble periodically with the shimmers lasting on my eyes in the inner corner (my trouble spot because I tend to rub my eyes there). The shimmers are dryer than I recall from Urban Decay’s formula, and this probably adds to the issue with the inner corner, but it’s more important to me that the shimmers don’t crease on my eyes. So, I’m satisfied with them.
Overall, this is a nice palette. It’s not the most enjoyable experience in terms of textures, but the performance is there. It’s a small travel-friendly size, which I like. For the way I like to do makeup, I get about three different looks from this palette, which I find is a decent amount for so few shades. I think this should really be in the $27 range, so I recommend waiting for a sale to try it out (I got mine discounted having purchased it from someone who got it in PR). Unlike all my other rectangular pan Urban Decay palettes that I declutter due to lack of use, I’m actually going to keep this one.
ViseartHaul:Viseart Grande Pro 1x, Petits Fours in Peridot, and Bijouxette ÉTENDU Palettes – These items and more from the brand have been reviewed already HERE.
Violet Voss Olive You and Wild Dahlia Palette
I purchased these two from a Boxycharm sale and did absolutely nothing with them for a full year. Since I own so many palettes in the Olive You Forever color story, I’m going to give it to my sister and not even swatch it so it can stay in new-ish condition. So, I don’t have a review for that one.
As for Wild Dahlia, so much time passed that I didn’t realize until I was doing swatches that it contained a beautiful duochrome! This palette offers quite an interesting shade selection. The mattes blend easily, are pigmented, and smooth. The shimmers are buttery, yet not the kind that causes an issue with creasing. I am so impressed! I do own one other mini Violet Voss palette that I depotted in the hopes that it would make me use the shadows more (and it had the opposite effect), so now I’m remembering how nice the quality was and I feel I’ve really been missing out on this experience!
The shimmers are decently impactful on their own, and applying them damp increases it slightly, but not enough to feel like it makes much difference. I also like that I had no issues with fallout either. I can easily recommend this one! The quality is fantastic. The shimmers are shinier in the Urban Decay Foxy palette, but I prefer the colors and tones of the shimmers in Wild Dahlia, plus the softness, blend, and color options of the mattes in this one too.
Melt Cosmetics Haul: Amor y Mariposas Pressed Pigment Palette, Monarca Blush Palette, and Gel Liners in Colibri and Estrella. My review for these items can be found HERE, and since I got such an amazing deal on it, I have no regrets! Even though I don’t use these a ton, I still very much love them.
Benefit Cosmetics Wanderful World Silky-Soft Powder Blush in Crystah, Terra, and Java Crystah and Terra are in the shimmer formula and Java is the matte formula. I did not purchase anything in the satin formula because I was waiting for the delayed shade, Starlaa, to be released. I planned to review these blushes right away, but I had no idea it would take four months for that one to come out! In any case, I’ve been wanting mid-tone and deeper blush options from Benefit for so long that I just went overboard without thinking it through. My Beauty Resolutions were completely forgotten, or perhaps ignored, for this release. The review of them and even more shades can be found HERE.
Benefit Cosmetics Pore MINImizer Squad Primer Set
Aside from the fantastic price this was listed at via Asos, part of my motivation for buying this set was that I finished up a mini sample of the Hydrate primer and loved it enough to want another, but not a full-size, in addition to being curious about the Lite primer after Angelica Nyqvist raved about it so often, and I had no other setting sprays left in my collection.
I recall trying the original POREfessional primer many years ago, and liking the way it felt on my skin, but it left a cast that lightened the look of my foundation. I was nervous the Lite version would do the same, but it did not. The texture is very strange. It feels dry and chalky when it comes out, though it’s in a form soft enough to be rubbed in completely and smoothly. It’s less gel-like than typical silicone primers. It blurs my skin when I put it on, but with foundation on top of it, I don’t see the blurring effects anymore. Also, if rubbed into the skin excessively, it can pill up. I don’t consider myself as having that great of an issue with the size of my pores, so I only really require that my primer help my foundation look smooth on top of it and perhaps increase the longevity. I think my makeup looks nice initially when I put it on, but I don’t think it helps past midday. Sephora lists this as being, “Best for Oily, Combo, Normal Skin,” so it’s not surprising that it’s not the best fit for me.
The Hydrate primer, as I mentioned already, is one that I loved. The color and consistency actually reminds me of the Glamglow Thirstymud Hydrating Mask. It feels soothing on my skin because of that added hydration. It’s easy to apply. I don’t know if it extends the wear of my makeup, but so far there haven’t been any foundations I’ve worn with it that I disliked. This one is actually best for, “Dry, Combo, Normal Skin,” and although I don’t notice any blurring at any point, I think it improves the finish of my foundation.
The Super Setter I’ve only used a few times. It has a nice sprayer. Most of it sprays lightly and evenly, but with every spritz I can feel some spots that are heavier, yet when I check the mirror there are never any visible droplets on my skin. This is great news because I’ve had that issue with a few setting sprays in the past. This spray doesn’t make my skin feel tight, nor cooling, or change the look of my makeup in any way. I honestly don’t notice any effect it’s having on my face, even with longevity. So, I won’t be repurchasing it.
The two Disney collab products are sold out and discontinued. I strongly regret not posting this in time or in a separate review. I just could not make up my mind about them and kept forgetting the details of my wear tests when I kept trying them with several months gap between uses over the past year. The other highlighter is still available on the website.
Alamar Cosmetics x Disney Encanto CollectionBlush and Highlighter in Hermosa Rosa and Flex Alert
The Encanto Blush is in the brand’s Colorete Powder Blush formula. Hermosa Rosa is a stunning shade. On bare skin it has issues with longevity. There was one instance that I applied a sheer layer and it faded within 20 minutes. I then built up the color heavily and it continued to fade, but I was left with a reasonable amount of blush on my cheeks by the end of the day. Over foundation, this isn’t as much of a problem, but I still need to put at least a medium amount of blush for it to last. Trying to keep it looking sheer doesn’t work for me. Aside from that, it’s so smooth looking on the skin and even in color and opacity. It blends well. I like this blush so much that I’ve considered purchasing more from the brand numerous times, but they’re all in palettes and I’m not drawn to the shades available. However, I continue to check the brand website a few times a year to see if they have additional shades I might like as much as this one.
The Encanto Highlighter is in the Sun Soaked Highlighter formula. This is the trickiest one for me to pinpoint how I feel about it because it depends on the time of year. When I’m at my darkest, this highlighter looks terrible on me because the color looks more stark against my skin and each individual particle is that much more apparent on my skin tone which makes it look excessively shimmery. When I’m lighter, I put my blush a bit higher on my cheekbones so the highlighter, when going on top of it, looks more natural. The pink tones with the gold shift match well over the coral color. It’s still borderline glittery looking, but it somehow just works. At least, it works on top of the Hermosa Rosa blush. I haven’t liked how it looks on top of other blushes. Color aside, it looks fairly smooth and lasts all day. And even though there is a lot of shimmer, it’s at about medium intensity because it doesn’t have the strongest reflect. I would recommend this only to someone who doesn’t mind a shimmery highlight while also not expecting it to be blinding.
Alamar Cosmetics Sun Soaked Highlighter in La Playa
I love a gold highlighter, but this one looks extra yellow next to certain blushes, so I’m not sure if this is the best color for me, even though it’s the right depth. This is one of those wet look type of highlighters and it’s less shimmery than Flex Alert, which I like. It has a semi-wet feel to it with some slip, similar to the Charlotte Tilbury Glow Glide Face Architect Highlighter formula, except that sometimes that smooth buttery texture adheres too strongly to one spot in a patch/clump. I have to go over it repeatedly to try and smooth it out when it happens. Essentially, this applies better with a more resilient bristle brush. It needs to be strong enough to move the product around evenly as it goes on the skin since it’s harder to blend out once it’s stuck. But once that initial layer is down, the highlighter can be built up stronger and more intensely. I included two photos above to show how it can be applied lightly on a natural finish foundation and a pink toned blush, or built up intensely especially on top of dewy foundation and an orange blush.
Despite how long I’ve had this highlighter, my praise of it goes up or down depending on the circumstances. On paper, this should be my ideal highlighter because of the way it looks like it melted into my skin (when having a shimmer clump isn’t an issue), it being more glowy than glittery, and it being a medium gold. However, because the formula isn’t perfect, it’s not on the list of my favorite highlighters. However, it’s still nice and I do like it…70% of the time.
Oden’s Eye Solmåne II Collection: Sunlight Love Blushers in W102 Peach Gleam, W103 Sienne Lustre and B103 Orange Sunny as well as the Gel Liner Pencils in 002 Orange and 012 Golden Brown. The review for all of my Oden’s eye purchases can be found HERE. Liners were not allowed in my low-buy, but I was curious, did not own these colors, and wanted to hit the free shipping minimum which would have nearly cost the same amount. The blushes from Oden’s Eye are still in my top favorites, but I don’t use them as often as I anticipated because I have so many other favorite blushes that I need to spread the love among. Plus, I’m still using the original Oden’s Eye blushes, so when I want to reach for one, I split the choices between the new ones and old ones.
Colourpop x Winnie the Pooh Super Shock Cheeks in 100 Aker Wood and Mind Over Matter – They were reviewed HERE.
Sonia G Master Face Brush – This brush was reviewed in Fude 4. I saved $20 on it because of credit carried over from the Beautylish Gift Card sale. It would have been worth it despite my low-buy if I ended up loving the brush, but it was just okay.
CDJapan, Fude Japan, and Hakuhodo USA Haul: This month was the last time I could get Hakuhodo brushes before the price increase (up to 30% in most cases), so I placed Fude Japan and Hakuhodo USA orders for that. From CDJapan, I bought Eihodo outlet brushes, the Chikuhodo PS-2, and Mizuho brushes MB123 and MB125. The Mizuho brushes and Hakuhodo ones can be found in Fude 5. The rest are in Fude 4.
Coloured Raine Haul: Botanical Eyeshadow Palette, Cream Blushes in Copper Rose, Stiletto Rose, and Spicy and Eyeshadow Base in Wheat – These were reviewed HERE.
The Alamar products were the last ones that needed reviewing for the month of May from 2022! I hope this has been helpful and especially from a different perspective all this time later after hype for the products have died down. Thank you for reading!
When I was scrolling through the Douglas Retailer website for brands that offered deep skin options in Europe besides the mega parent brands and sub brands from L’Oréal and Estée Lauder, I came across this one and remembered even seeing a few of their items on the French Parfumdo website as well. My curiosity grew. I learned that Mesauda (or Mesauda Milano) is an Italian beauty brand founded in 2007 and mainly spearheaded by Victor Buaron, along with his two brothers who also work in the company. Although Mesauda doesn’t have the best gradient of a shade range, it’s certainly better than the other ten or so brands I hadn’t heard of on the Douglas website that didn’t make anything darker than for medium skin tones. And in some cases, the range from Mesauda is still better than the brands I did recognize. This effort to be inclusive is what got me to take the plunge and make a purchase.
The Ordering Process
Technically, I made multiple purchases via Douglas and the brand’s website directly. I was able to get free shipping via Douglas, but that came with zero packaging protection. There’s no bubble wrap, tissue paper, or padding of any kind. The box itself is sturdy, but the items inside are able to slide around and into each other. Thankfully, I haven’t received any broken items from Douglas.
From the brand’s website, shipping from Italy to Germany starts at a little over 8 euros, which isn’t too bad a price considering you get 20% off your first order if you subscribe to their emails. Unfortunately, shipping outside of the European Union is super expensive. In my first order, I had no issues other than paying via Paypal requiring me to submit the information twice in order for it to go through. I would log into my account, fill in everything, click submit payment (via paypal), get redirected to my paypal to accept everything, get redirected back to the Mesauda website checkout page with everything blank again, relog in, repeat all the same steps, and then it would let me check out! It wasn’t a time-out feature from lingering on the page too long either. This happened even when trying to check out one minute after logging in. This is tedious, but not that bad as long as the orders go through.
The problem arose when I was making a second order and my cart total qualified me for free shipping automatically if I was within Italy*. But because I was shipping to Germany, it kept giving me an error message about needing to select a different shipping option, even though there was no second option to select. So, I actually had to remove items from my cart for it to give me the paid shipping option. Not a great move from a business standpoint if the customer is forced to buy less products to make the purchase go through!
*According to the shipping page, free shipping within Italy starts at 30 Euros and free shipping to Germany is supposed to start at 60 Euros. My guess is either this information is outdated and Germans aren’t supposed to get free shipping at any minimum which led to the error, or it’s supposed to be free after 60 Euros but it switches automatically to Italy’s free standard shipping option instead of the free international one. And since they likely use different post services depending on the location, the lack of coding to switch to the courier they use for Germany (DPD) could cause the inability to check out.
Then, in that same second ordering attempt, I tried to use my reward points which gave 15 euros off my order via a one-time-use code. The problem was that because the Paypal option makes you have to check out twice, the order failing to process in round 1 made the website register as if that code had already been used. So, when I tried to check out the second time in round 2, it said the code had been used the maximum number of times! I essentially had to email customer service (they replied within 24 hours and thankfully in English) and they gave me a new code, so I checked out in round 1 without the new code, waited til it took me back to the cleared page to relog and resubmit everything and put the code in round 2 of checking out, and then it completed the order! So, in the future, if I want to make use of the reward program I will have to hope the paypal error continues so I know to only include the promo code after the first “complete order” entry fails. Otherwise, if it actually goes through, I will have checked out without my code being applied!
I let them know about all of this including screenshots and a screen recording, but it wasn’t addressed in the email response other than giving me that new one-time-use code and telling me to let them know if it worked, so I’m not sure if it was understood.
Another thing to note is that I do not getting shipping confirmation emails from them, even though it says that’s something that is supposed to happen. Instead, I get an email from the shipping carrier the day before the order is due to be delivered.
So, one one hand, Douglas is the less expensive way to go, but they don’t have all the newest products and one has to pray the parcel delivery person won’t toss the package around like they do in the US.
When I access Douglas via Google Chrome, there’s an option to translate some of the page from German to English, but it makes the page buggy and not load sometimes, which is another factor in the ordering process. Douglas also has a point system, but I don’t have enough to see what it does. I believe it accounts for essentially 10% off one’s order at different point intervals. On the other hand, the official Mesauda website is much more English-friendly and has an option to select English at the bottom of the page that’s built into the site, but sometimes it doesn’t translate everything when loaded and it still shows Italian here and there. The official site also has the benefit of the reward program, but the downside is the potential issues checking out. As I’ve only contacted customer service with Mesauda, I don’t know how Douglas customer service compares. Also, I get the shipping confirmation via Douglas, but no additional emails letting me know when it’s about to be delivered.
Onto the reviews!
Bronze Venus Bronzer in Caramel Macchiato and Rich Mahogany
In the photo above, Caramel Macchiato is on the top left and right with Rich Mahogany on the bottom left and right. The left half of the picture shows how they look in the pan, while the right half shows a more accurate representation of how the colors will look on the skin. I took these photos in the same spot but slightly different angles and the amount of light I got from the window was able to show these drastic differences in the way they look. I believe I accurately captured all swatches though.
Caramel Macchiato is a warm golden-leaning bronzer shade. This is closer to my skin tone than most of the bronzers in my collection, but thanks to the buildable formula, I can make it very apparent if I want. Between the two deepest bronzer options, I think this one fits me better. However, the other shade shows up more on my skin because it’s less of a match with my undertone.
Rich Mahogany is a medium-dark neutral brown with just a touch of red. This was actually the first of the two shades I purchased, and even though I preferred the color of Caramel Macchiato in the product images, I really didn’t expect that one to work for me. I didn’t even know if Rich Mahogany was going to be deep enough based on how it looked on the arm swatch of the darker model because I’m used to brands manipulating photos when their range doesn’t go very deep. *cough* Hourglass *cough*
I’m happy to report that Rich Mahogany could work for someone a shade or two darker than me, though it will be on the subtler side. The greater difference between Caramel Macchiato and Rich Mahogany is the undertone more than depth.
Six shades of bronzer is a nice amount, although I’m not sure if they go light enough on the spectrum either. It appears that they have the medium-tan range adequately covered.
I very much like this formula of bronzer. Beyond being buildable, it has the benefit of the soft and buttery feeling texture that reminds me of the way the Huda Glowish Bronzer feels, but in a lighter consistency that’s more powdery in the way it gets picked up by a brush, while still applying to the skin in a beautiful natural sheen that mimics the look of a baked gelee formula. The brand cites coconut oil and Polynesian Tiare flowers as the sources of the “moisturizing boost with smoothing and antioxidant properties,” that is given to the skin. I believe that combination is how Monoi oil is produced, which I thought I would mention for those who like that oil in products, though Monoi isn’t specifically listed in the ingredients and it’s just coconut oil and the Tiara flowers separately. The emollient nature of this product is supposed to also aid in the adhesion to the skin, which I can attest to this bronzer lasting on me all day without fading. The downside is that I sometimes get the issue that in spots that have more moisture than others, I get a little bit of sticking of a patch that’s darker than the rest. I can mostly blend it out to look even with the rest of my bronzer, but sometimes it’s so stubborn in a sticking spot that I have to wipe it off or cover it back up with foundation, then apply powder, then redo the bronzer application in that spot. If I always powdered prior to bronzer, this might not be an issue. However, because I often skip powdering my whole face, I was able to notice this. And although I prefer to build up quickly a subtler shade like Caramel Macchiato with a brush like the Sonia G Smooth Buffer, I had the sticking issue a little more often with that brush. When I use a brush that doesn’t load on as much product, like the Sonia G Jumbo Bronzer brush, I haven’t had that problem.
To those averse to fragrance, this does contain some. The brand calls it a “floral/fruity” scent, but I just smell slightly soapy flowers. It actually reminds me of the smell of Dior powders, but not as strong.
Please click the photos to enlarge them if needed, and use the arrows to go through the slide before clicking ‘x’ in the slide to return to the post. As I mentioned before, the depths are about the same and the tone is the main difference between the two shades. They’re also on the subtle side now and if I get darker this summer, they might not show up anymore.
This bronzer doesn’t have holy grail status, but I could see myself putting this among the top 20 on a ranking list. Despite having it for over a month, I still feel I need more time with it to see if my interest in using it continues to grow over time or if it’ll be overshadowed by the others I own. For anyone interested in bronzers I purchased prior to 2023 and where I’d rank those, I have a post on that topic here.
Lust For Shine Highlighter in Guilty Treasure
Mesauda has several different forms of highlighter: liquid, baked, gel-powder, and cream-powder. Since my favorites tend to be gel-powder, I naturally chose to order this Lust For Shine formula. The texture is thinner and drier than I expected. The shimmer looks fairly smooth on the skin with its small particle size, while still being reflective. I consider the highlight intensity level to be a buildable medium, though it stands out even more on my skin tone because Guilty Treasure is on the lighter side of workable for me. I only brought highlighters with the same depth as my skin tone on the trip because I thought I would only want my highlight to look subtle, but I ended up still missing having that extra “pop” in my makeup looks. So, I bought this lighter shade out of fear that Deep Attraction might be my skin tone or deeper, which would have defeated the purpose of trying to buy a shade that differed from what I had with me. What helps Guilty Treasure to work on my skin tone is how sheer the formula is in allowing my skin tone to show through, which minimizes the cast I could have gotten if it had a base color as light as the shimmer. I apply my other highlighters first, and then add this one in strategic places for a spotlight effect. It can be blended out to a super natural shine for those who like the most subtle of highlighters, or layered up to the medium I mentioned, if one doesn’t blend it out too much. This highlighter doesn’t adhere to my skin as strongly. It will stay on most of the day, as long as I don’t touch my face more than a few times. There were some days during testing that it didn’t last more than a few hours and I realized I must have rubbed it off while sitting with my cheek rested on my hand or when I took a nap. A lot of highlighters don’t last through me napping, so that’s not too surprising. It’s just that this highlighter is easier to accidentally wipe away than others, and I have accidentally overblended it a few times already and needed to apply more. This can happen no matter which highlighter brush I use (goat, squirrel, synthetic-natural mix, fan brush, flat top, candle-shape, etc.). Also, if it’s one of my more natural days when I skip foundation, this highlighter definitely only sticks to my face for a short time. To help it adhere more strongly, I’ve tried spraying my brush to slightly dampen it the way I do with a lot of my shimmery eyeshadows. This added moisture helps increase the shine level and better melt it into the skin, but the effects are only temporary. The best way to make this last longer is to have products underneath that remain at least a little wet or emollient like a dewy foundation or cream highlight.
This formula is fairly nice and it’s easier to pick up product with the Mesauda highlighter than the Nabla one, but I’d still recommend the Skin Glazing highlighters (and it’s one euro cheaper) because of the gorgeous glass skin effect it has on the skin. I love when highlighters have a somewhat wet look to them (which gel-highlighters tend to do), but I only get a slight wet effect using the Mesauda one if all other products with it are fully dry. I still like it more than most standard powder formula highlighters, but it doesn’t make the top of my favorites list. I’m still glad I tried it because the curiosity would have gnawed at me.
Also, unlike the bronzers, this is fragrance free.
At First Blush in French Kiss, Obsessed, and Lovebite
I wanted Obsessed and French Kiss from the beginning, but I didn’t expect the blushes to actually look as vivid in person as they are depicted in the swatches, and especially for the lightest shades available. So, I bought Lovebite to be on the safe side and realized quickly that although the blushes do look lighter on the skin than in the pan, they are still quite pigmented despite their thin texture (which seems to be a theme with Mesauda powder products). Another consistent feature is the soft and silky feeling to the touch of them.
There is visible shimmer in the pan, but it’s very fine and just adds a satin soft sheen to the cheeks. The brand boasts ingredients like, “rose hip with its emollient and soothing action and Ginko biloba with its antioxidant properties,” but it appears corn oil is a more prominent feature based on the order of the ingredients on the list. The emollient factor was considered a good thing in the bronzers, though it had that sticking to wetness issue. With the blushes, I don’t have any issues like that. Granted, it does fade a little as the day goes on, but I still consider it a decently lasting blush formula.
Also, just like the highlighter, these are fragrance free.
I would describe this color as a peachy-pink-brown, and on the lighter side of medium in terms of depth. It definitely shows up on me (though it’s harder to see on camera), and does not look ashy, but if it was just a little bit darker it would be perfect for me. I wear it on its own, but it makes for a nice mixing shade if I want to tone down a brighter blush to turn it a little more neutral without making my cheeks darker.
This is a warm medium toned peachy-pink blush. I expected this to be my favorite of the three, but it flips back and forth between first and second place. I like that it shows up on me easier than French Kiss because it’s a little darker, but I think the brown in the other one compliments my skin tone slightly more. However, since it’s a warm leaning pink it’s still complimentary. I use it on its own, but I also like mixing it with French Kiss.
I have to be careful using this one because it’s such a vibrant reddish-pink shade, and pigmented to boot. I tap my brush once into the pan and work that amount of product from my brush onto one single cheek until it’s blended to be less intense. Then I repeat the process on the other cheek.
I find it interesting that my camera is able to pick up the shimmer particles quite a bit. I never noticed them as much in my lighting situations back in Germany, though the intensity of light (even natural light) is quite different from there compared to Florida.
Blush & Glow in Koralline
I think Mesauda is dropping the “Milano” part of their name because it’s not listed that way on the brand website; only on Douglas. In addition, the only packaging I could see with “Mesauda Milano” on it was this Blush & Glow product in circle packaging. This product is discounted everywhere at a price around 4 euros with only a few of the shade options available at various places, so I am guessing it’s being discontinued or will return in new packaging to match the black squares of the others.
Koralline is quite similar to Lovebite, but with more pink in it than red. I was hoping this would either be light enough to use as a highlighter or deep enough to wear as a full-on blush. I like the base color, but the pearls unfortunately create a cast on my skin tone in certain lighting situations that makes it look ashy, even though it’s absolutely deep enough of a blush shade for me (or would be without the pearl pigments). This has happened to me before with some highlighters that have a base color deep enough for my skin, but the shimmer itself is too dark or too light and that makes it unflattering on my skin tone. I had issues with pearl pigments in my Hourglass vs Guerlain post as well, and even some of MAC’s Mineralize Blushes, which is why it’s the only blush formula from MAC that I’m very picky about. It’s a bit funny that the day I took the photo, it happened to show on my camera the prettiest it’s ever looked!
The blush otherwise looks quite pretty on the skin, is smooth, contains “Jojoba oil with emollient and moisturizing action,” has decent longevity, and does remind me quite a lot of the MAC Mineralize Blush formula. However, because of that pearl (or the combination of the pearls with the “holographic pigments”), and the way it reflects in light, I planned to declutter it. However, seeing how it looks on camera, I will reconsider it.
Gold N-Roses Eyeshadow Palette
Photo from the Mesauda website (above) versus how it looks in person (below).
The online photos on the website don’t do this palette justice. The colors are much prettier in person and I was thrilled to see it contains a duochrome called Oh Wow. These eyeshadows are thin, yet give good color payoff, while being in tones that are on the softer side. For instance, instead of an intense red, we have Felicia which is a deep pink-red. Rather than a vibrant purple, Victoria is more of a muted magenta. This makes the palette perfect for someone who likes neutrals, but also enjoys dabbling in “wearable” colors or having festive options for specific outings/occasions.
The mattes take noticeably longer to blend than I’m used to, but not so long that I would call them “bad.” They just require a bit of effort. I recommend using a brush with bristles thicker than squirrel (like goat or synthetic) with them. Most of these are opaque, but Perception is extremely patchy. From the first time I swiped it on my fingers, I could see spots where my skin was showing through, and this wasn’t the case for any other shadow in the palette.
I understand that some brands prefer to make their black shadows buildable, but it gives a smoky worn out look when I use it since it doesn’t build to be entirely opaque. I like smokier looks, but not necessarily on the grungy editorial side. This shade is still usable, but I’d prefer to reach for another palette’s black eyeshadow.
As for the shimmers, I prefer using them wet to aid in the shiny look and ability to layer them up for average intensity.
Because of the way the plastic packaging feels, the shape of the pans, and the layout, this palette reminds me of Tarte and Persona palettes. However, I prefer the formulas from those two over this one and would prefer to pay the $4-$8 increased price for that quality. Because this palette hasn’t been in my possession for all that long, it still feels exciting to have, but I honestly don’t foresee myself reaching for it more than a few times after this review. I like this, but I can’t recommend it over similarly priced palettes on the market.
BARE HARMONY 3.0 Palette in 205 Hidden Green
My experience with this particular palette has additional positives and negatives over the Gold N’Roses palette. For starters, I bought it because I forgot to bring a deep shimmer or satin brown shade on the trip with me. Plus, I’m a sucker for pretty green eyeshadows and I was so intrigued by the look of Moss. It’s a combination of various green and gold/bronze shimmer, but it doesn’t have that true duochromatic effect. There’s no shift, but it’s undeniably still pretty.
I like that the pigmentation level is cranked up for these mattes, while still being just as thin. However, they require even more work than my other palette for blending. I don’t know if it’s necessarily worth that trade-off since blending time is more tedious to me than being able to get strong color payoff the tiniest bit quicker. As for the shimmers, they are wetter, creamier, and shinier than in the Gold N’Roses palette. My only issue was with Precious, because I had trouble picking up that shade on my brush without it either dispersing everywhere on my eyes in a low pigment scattered effect (because the particles aren’t bound together as much as the other shimmers) or coming up in a giant chunk if I pressed too hard into the pan. Essentially, I had to resort to spraying my brush every time I used it in order to get it to stick on my eyes in the area I wanted with minimal mess.
So, even though this palette is trickier to use, the color story is more my speed and how much more dramatic I can make my looks is why I think I might actually reach for this palette a bit more than Gold N’Roses. I have so many gorgeous palettes now in the green, brown, yellow, and gold color scheme that once the “new” feeling fades, I wouldn’t be surprised if I stop using it after another month or two and go back to using my favorites. As for whether or not I recommend Hidden Green, even though the Natasha Denona Mini Gold Palette is a few dollars more expensive and contains much less product, I believe that’s way more worth the purchase than this one. I don’t regret buying this one though because it was needed while I was overseas and I enjoyed it while my eyeshadow options were limited.
I was very curious about this product, but I don’t have a good shade in this line. I’d be somewhere in the 73 or 74 range, but I’d need a color that didn’t have that strong of an orange tone. I cannot speak to how these shades look in person, but it appears that the light to medium range is well covered and much closer in depth between shades. There are huge gaps though from C70 and onward, plus C75 and W80 don’t look like real skin tones. They look like corrector colors on the darker end. It’s not enough for brands to have dark shades in their line. They have to be colors that actually match people, or else it seems like they didn’t invest as much time and effort in the creation of those colors and they are just there for show to look more inclusive than they are.
I didn’t try the concealer for the same reason of being unable to find a color that would work for me. W90 is too light and too pink, but C95 is too dark. The range is missing quite a few tan to rich options, but this line does a better job looking like real tones (except the peach one P01 still looks like a corrector).
Talk about a shade jump! The difference between 107 and 108 is staggering! Once more, I did not have a good color match. If this was the translucent type of powder, more people could perhaps be able to pull off using the last two. However, the website states, “The formula is rich in micronised mineral pigments for improved coverage and even application all over the face.” This talk of coverage leads me to believe it’s the pigmented kind of powder that could be used to boost the coverage of foundation. In this case, the range is definitely limited for those who aren’t fair to medium.
As decent of a job as the brand has done with the products I reviewed today, there are certainly areas that could be improved if they wanted to fill out their current range as their brand grows. I wish them the best and hope that this happens. I’ll be keeping my eye out on what they’re up to when I return to Europe toward the end of this year because they make some nice products of interest to me.
“At some point in the future, I plan on doing a follow-up post featuring any additional shades I purchased, along with the closest shade comparisons to multichromes among Clionadh and from other brands, and examples of how I’ve worked each shadow into completed eye looks.”
That was my intention after my first Expansion post, but since many things happened between now and then (such as Hurricane Ian, having spinal fusion surgery, and being overseas for a few more weeks) I decided I’ll show the various photos, eye looks, and swatches that I currently have. It was getting confusing keeping track of my files on three different devices dated weeks and months apart. In my next Clionadh update post, I will have those comparisons plus missing eye and arm swatches and completed eye looks.
I’m also adding photos of the newest circle pan eyeshadows I’ve purchased as well! Plus, I finally got the other multichrome highlighter from the Dragonfruit Collection. The most I’m missing are arm swatches of Quest, Auric, and Chalice. I at least have eye swatches of the latter two and video clips of all three.
Earth Vibrant Multichromes
I now own 8 of 12 in the Earth Vibrant category, and this is still one of my favorite and most used lines within the Stained Glass Collection. The combination of beauty and subtlety is what makes these so enamoring.
We’re now at 5 of 12 Electric Multichromes, but I believe I have all the ones in this category that appeal to me and aren’t too similar to other Clionadh shades.
I own 2 of the 4 newly expanded Vibrant Multichromes, but 7 of the 12 total. These haven’t ended up being my most used category, but when I have a very specific eye look in mind, these end up being just what I want, filling that void of brightness or uniqueness.
I chose to buy Chalice from the original collection because I don’t have as many yellows and golds from Clionadh and I wanted to see how different this one would be from the few I own from them. The answer is, “not very,” as it doesn’t have an easily discernible shift which makes it like a smoother version of the glitter multichromes. This addition, combined with Queen’s Banquet, put me at 8 of the 11. That is pretty wild considering the Hybrid formula is among my least favorite of the Stained Glass lines. That isn’t to say that they’re bad by any means. I just typically like more color impact, stronger shifts, or both. So, it’s a bit funny that I ended up with so many.
I now own 12 of the 20, though this category didn’t get expanded last year. It was just a matter of seeing more photos of Forge in a different light that prompted me to get it, even though it’s supposed to be similar to Pat Mcgrath’s Sextraterrestrial shade from Divine Rose II, which I don’t even use that often anymore despite how pretty it is. I didn’t get a chance to compare them yet though, so that will be added to the list for next time.
I believe there are just two of these in the line so far, and it was released after the big expansion last year.
This category is supposed to be a brighter, more glittery version of the Jewelled multichromes. By using a grey base instead of a dark one, I can see how this line might be more appealing to those who felt the Jewelled ones were too intense, but that intensity is what I love about them. I can see the increase in sparkle, but there are other lines from Clionadh if I want a glittery multichrome versus a smooth metallic looking one. So, I don’t think this is a category I’ll be exploring as much (since I prefer the Jewelled ones), but I’m happy to have been able to try one.
Deep Iridescent Multichromes
Despite missing arm swatches of Auric, I own 8 of 12. This isn’t surprising considering this is my second favorite line from Clionadh. I would love to own them all, but I don’t think I would get as much use out of the missing four shades, though I’m still tempted by Lapis Lazuli.
Also, I’m not sure if I’ve shown this before, but Clionadh has been including brand stickers in orders and I’ve saved them to stick onto custom palettes, such as the Viseart Empty SlimPro Palettes which Clionadh Stained Glass shadows fit perfectly into. I place stickers on the front and underside of the lid.
Stocking Stuffer Shadow Trio in Tree Skirt, Timber, and Tinsel
This was the brand’s holiday release for 2022. It even came with a tiny Christmas stocking to go with it.
Additional Individual Circle Pan Eyeshadows and the Pitaya Fruitlighter
Caribou always appealed to me, but there was a time period when I wasn’t as interested in buying the neutral colors from Clionadh, though that has clearly changed by now. So, I finally bought that one. Centaur is a new eyeshadow released in 2023, and I’m not usually interested in taupe shades, but this one looked so pretty that I felt compelled to order it.
With this purchase of Pitaya, I now have both Dragonfruit Collection Fruitlighters that I use as eyeshadows.
That’s all I have for today! I apologize for this being quite disorganized and unfinished, but I wanted to be sure I finally got out at least something after all these months owning these additional Clionadh products.
Also, for anyone wondering if I’m going to purchase Clionadh’s upcoming Deep Sea Treasures palette the brand showed as a sneak peek of the cover art on Instagram…I’m not sure if I will. Without seeing the color story yet, I assume there will be a lot of blues, which is not my preference. As much as I love the brand, if the palette consists of too much of a shade I don’t wear a lot (such as the reds and pinks in the Dragonfruit palette), then I skip it and save that money towards a different new product release.
So, it’s probably likely there will be a lot of blues, and if so, I will probably pass on this one.
In my Failed Low-Buy post, I mentioned that between Black Friday and holiday sales, there were 24 eyeshadow palettes I hadn’t even swatched. Although I’ve made several palette reviews since then, I still had so many untouched palettes. So, just before I left for my trip, I wanted to at least swatch some of them to help get the ball rolling.
Huda Beauty Em(power)ed Palette
Although I still haven’t used this palette, I wanted to say that Manifest It is that strange gel formula that Huda added to the Naughty palette, but the pigment is in cream form instead of the circular balls. In order to swatch that shadow accurately in this palette filled with all different eyeshadow textures, I had to take a cosmetic spatula and basically recombine the clear hard waxy gel and pigment together to get an even coating of color. Initially I pressed my finger into it, but then a giant chunk came out of the palette, and I figured I would need to fully mix it to get it to even adhere back to the pan without falling out.
Also, when I first saw this palette, I was so excited because I misread the cover and thought Huda was partnering with the (RED) charity, which puts (RED) on their products and I even used to have a shirt with EMPOWE(RED) on it. It was something I used to support when Bono was the face of it back in my high school days and early college days, having bought several merch items with it. Then I realized it was (Power) being singled out in the word and had nothing to do with it. I was disappointed, but still wanted the palette for all its textures, being a neutral color story that actually appealed to me, and to finally have my first of Huda’s larger size palettes and see if the quality is really that much better than the smaller ones as some people have said.
Lethal Cosmetics Evergreen Palette
I prefer to get individual eyeshadows of the exact shades I want from Lethal Cosmetics, but the amount of singles I wanted from Evergreen would have cost more than the full palette. Plus, with the Black Friday discount, I was able to get even more of a deal.
Lethal Cosmetics Eyeshadow Singles in Runic, Symmetry, Lithophyte, Volant, Parsec, and Nox
These were the singles that made more sense to buy individually. I also haven’t worn them yet, but I’m pleased with this selection. They weren’t intended to be a cohesive color story, but it’s a happy accident!
In addition to the palette, I also bought the adorable strawberry sponge, which I have not used yet either.
I intended to review the Glamlite Happy Hour Collection, but I had such a difficult time dealing with the intense creasing (some of the worst I’d ever experienced) that I was too turned off by the palettes to review them. I stayed away from the palettes that came after, that is, until this one from Strawberry Shortcake. The shades (including those gorgeous Duochromes) were too pretty to resist and I used a code during the launch to make it even less of a risk if it didn’t turn out the way I hoped. We shall see how it goes with this one in the future!
Beauty Bay Dark Fantasy Palette
I’ve heard good things about this formula, so I waited until they had a color story that spoke to me to buy one. They certainly swatch beautifully! I’m hopeful that I’ll like it!
Buxom x Ash K Holm Palette
This is the exception to the palettes purchased during Black Friday 2022, but this palette was from November 2021, and I only used it once back in April 2022. I put one eye look on each eye twice, and never felt inspired to use it again. I like the color story, and as silly as it is, the shade being called Scorpio made me want to like this palette even more. However, the quality was just “fine.” It certainly wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t spectacular either. I barely tried anything from Buxom, which is why I bought this palette in the first place. However, I’ve been debating so long whether or not to even keep this palette because I want more than just okay eyeshadows in my collection now.
That’s everything for today. Thank you for viewing!
Ranking posts and videos are always interesting to me, but my collection is so big that there are very few categories that I can show in their entirety without feeling like it’s an overwhelming task to remove them from their various storage spots. In the case of bronzers and contours, it’s also hard to remember them all when some are mixed in face palettes with other products. So, for this ranking post, I am only including individual products and bronzer/contour palettes without blushes or highlighters. It’s fairer that way considering the bronzers in my full face palettes are likes but not loves. The closest to “love” I have in one is the Kaja Bento Mochamallow Trio, which I am still working through at least the cream bronzer/contour. It’s quite dark for me now until summer comes around.
I will also separate my favorite cream/liquid products and favorite powders before combing them both in a top ten. Granted, these photos were taken and this list compiled prior to the release of the new MAC Sunstruck Bronzers, Pat Mcgrath Labs Skin Fetish: Divine Bronzers, Nars Laguna Talc-Free Bronzing Powders and the shade extension for the Rare Beauty Warm Wishes Effortless Bronzer Stick. I bought Nars shade 6 and Rare Beauty’s shade Full of Life during the Sephora VIB sale and had it shipped to the US. I bought Matte Rich Golden and Radiant Rich Rosy from MAC and had it shipped home since it was unavailable on the MAC DE website at launch. I bought Bronze Divinity and Burnished Honey from PML and had it shipped to my current location, but Desert Glow that I bought later won’t arrive in time for this post and even if I delayed this post to include it, I wouldn’t have had enough time with the Pat Mcgrath bronzers for it to be fair to include them in this ranking. However, expect a review of those 2023 bronzers in the future! For now, I will include a sneak peek of the two Pat Mcgrath Bronzers at the very end of this post.
The starting point we’re working with (minus 2 Melt products and 2 Colourpop ones I forgot about until midway through sorting)!
Some products I already decluttered prior to taking the large group photo is the Wayne Goss Radiance Boosting Face Palette and Patrick Ta Contour/Bronzer Duo. Both of them had alarming looking bumps in the powders, so I did not want to risk using them, even though they’re supposedly oil spots according to customer service. This happened after only the second use with Wayne Goss, but the Patrick Ta one developed after about a year.
Below are the separated creams and liquids.
If I had to do a declutter, below is what I would narrow things down to. I essentially removed the Tarte Cream Blushes, Danessa Myricks Contour Balm, and KVD Mod Liquid Contour. I really like all three products, but if I had to rank ease of blending of all the creams, Tarte comes last. Plus, I don’t have a perfect shade and rely on using two products together. I’m trying to simplify my collection, so if I have bronzers I like better that are a better shade, as much as I like the Tarte, it doesn’t make sense to keep them when it takes up space and prohibits me from getting more use out of the others. If my collection was smaller overall, keeping it for variety would have been fine. As for the Danessa Myricks Contour Balm, it was always a warmth adding shade for me and didn’t give much of a shadowing effect. Plus I didn’t care for the texture of it on my skin. Lastly, I do like the KVD one and it looks amazing when I apply it perfectly, but the tricky part is that initial application process. Using too much or too little looks pretty bad, so I feel it would benefit me to not keep such a finicky product.
Narrowing things down to my absolute favorite cream bronzers would be the three below. The Colourpop Super Shock Bronzer includes both my Summer to Winter shade and Winter to Spring shade. I actually hated the first ABH Cream Bronzer because the color threw off the look. However, my correct shade (Terracotta) looks beautiful which is why it surprisingly made the list. The Charlotte Tilbury Cream Bronzer is one I was unsure about for a while because I could swear the undertone looked different on me every time, but I continuously reach for it.
The biggest factors as to why these three made it is because of not only the color, the ease of use, the impeccable blendability, longevity, and setting down to a dry or dry enough finish on the skin, but also primarily because over time these creams have not dried out or created a film on the top layer or changed in consistency in any way. I loved the Rose Inc Bronzer for all the above reasons (and especially how it set to a non-tranferring finish), but it dried out in the container! I can still use it, but it’s so tough to get the product out now. I like the Nars Laguna Bronzer a lot, and it would be up there with the ABH one, but it’s a little more emollient, is borderline heavy in fragrance, and the color is a little more red than I prefer. If the shade was more on the deep golden side, I’d have still kept it in the favorites. The Glossier Solar Paint is beautiful, but it’s a little heavy on the shimmer (even more than the Kosas) and the liquid blends nicely, but buffing out some of that shimmer isn’t as easy. I also loved the Danessa Myricks Power Cream Bronzer, but it’s a tad too dark for me now and it does have a big issue with forming chunks on the top layer. Those chunks increase the need to spend extra time smoothing it out when it’s on my face. The difficulty with smoothing it out is increased when the color is already too dark for me.
Sometimes I feel like more of the bronzer from Danessa ends up being scraped away than applied to my face.
Now for the powder products:
The Fenty bronzer represents all of them in my collection (which includes this individual in Mocha Mami plus the Bronzer/Highlighter palette).
In some cases, I own multiple shades because I have to mix the two together to create a better shade match. In the case of Coloured Raine, Jaclyn Cosmetics, and Glowish, I just have one shade that works and the other is too dark. I kept them in case I get significantly darker (quite easy if you forget sunscreen just once in Florida and are outside for hours), but I’m considering decluttering them.
It was quite easy to declutter the L’Oreal Powder Foundation that I used as bronzer because it was nice but not a favorite. The Juvia’s Place Bronzer Duo always looked pretty but didn’t stay on my skin. The ELF Contour Palette I never even used despite having it for years and I don’t think I would ever get around to using, so I could let it go. What should technically also be let go is the Glowish Face Powder which I purchased to use as a shimmery bronzer. It’s way too glowy and texture enhancing, but I don’t want to declutter it yet. I can’t explain why except some part of me feels like I can get it to work somehow.
Below is what I narrowed down to actual favorites of the ones that survived the declutter. Some that didn’t make the list due to being a nice but not standout formula, in a shade that wasn’t perfect for me, are: The Nars Bronzing Powder, Fenty Sunstlk’r Instant Warmth Bronzer, and The Gucci Bronzing Powder. The ones excluded because the formula was nice but not necessarily as special as the others (and shade was not factor) is the bronzer within the Kaleidos Contour Trio and the Coloured Raine Powder Bronzers. The Vieve Bronzer/Contour Duo didn’t make it purely because I haven’t used it enough to form my opinion. I can’t even remember if I used it one time at all. Perhaps only once.
The Makeup by Mario Perfector is nice, but didn’t make the favorites because of the trickiness of trying to get a strip of bronzer with only a little bit of the top strip for slight satin type of shimmer, but not any of the actual shimmer strip which has much too large and noticeable of glittery shimmer particles.
At this point, had I remembered the Melt Contour/Bronzer Stack and Melt Ultra Matte Bronzer, the Stack would have made it to this point above, but neither would make the “Top Favorite Powder Bronzers” pile below.
Because these are my absolute powder favorites thus far, I deal with having two shades of Mented Bronzer and two of the Hatice Schmidt Labs Bronzer.
I’ve surprised myself by putting the Jaclyn Hill Sun Bathe Pressed Bronzers, Makeup Revolution Glow Splendour, and I Heart Revolution Tasty Coffee Bronzer this high, but they’re quite good! I have to give them credit. I thought for sure I would declutter the last two, but when I tried them again, I was too impressed to let them go. The I Heart Revolution one is similar to Coloured Raine’s bronzer, but the slight addition of shimmer is what edges it above because of the slightly prettier finish from my perspective. Revolution’s bronzer is similar to Jaclyn’s, which is similar to Mented, which puts it nearer to the bottom of the favorites. Jaclyn’s didn’t make it beyond this point because of the strong (though tolerable and somewhat pleasant) fragrance and the fact that the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Matte Powder Bronzer is just better.
Some products that are past favorites that didn’t make the list were my decluttered Fenty Contour Matchstix and Uoma Beauty Double Take Contour and Highlight Stick. I liked them at the time, but not enough to repurchase them which is an indication for me that they’d make it through some of the rounds, but not the final ten. The same goes with the Benefit Hoola Toasted Bronzer that I loved, but the hardpan issue and it being too deep for me (and Caramel is too light) is why I decluttered them.
This is what I’m left with for my top powder favorites!
Below (somewhat in no particular order but kind of in that order), are my top 10 bronzers! All of them are products I’ve used for nearly a year or several years!
And then these final six pictured below are my absolute holy grails! These are the ones I would repurchase immediately. In fact, when I return to the US, I am planning to try the repackaged and slightly reformulated Kosas Sun Show Baked Bronzer (in the yellow version of this packaging) that I purchased in the VIB sale. My old one is too dark for me now (shade Deep/Dark), and I believe it’s the equivalent of Paradise, but Paradise might be slightly lighter. The original smells pretty off (like old frying oil) but had such a pretty effect on the skin that I kept using it. Plus, it’s one of the few shimmers that make it high in my rankings. The Huda Glowish Bronzer in Tan and Hatice Schmidt ones have that baked gelee effect leaving such a beautiful natural sheen to the skin in a stunning blend that one normally gets from a cream, but these are definitely powder products. What puts the Glowish above the Hatice is just that I can use one shade versus needing two. And of course the Charlotte Tilbury is the most powdery of the powder bronzers in the ultimate holy grail list. It gives the most beautiful airbrushed finish. I need something like a 4.5 version between Tan and Dark (basically the color of the cream version of Tan which is darker than the powder version of Tan) in order for it to be perfect, but because of how blendable it is, I can certainly pull it off. I reserve it for when I’m not trying to look entirely natural and want to look snatched but well blended. A glam look.
The ABH one got edged out purely because I don’t need three creams at the top and Colourpop’s price trumps ABH. The Nabla Skin Bronzing has an amazing formula like the Hatice Schmidt one, but it’s subtle on me and Nabla doesn’t have any darker shades available. Mented didn’t make the holy grails because of the needing two shades issue (plus Charlotte Tilbury’s powder formula topping it). The Covergirl Trublend So Flushed High Pigment Bronzer didn’t make it because as much as I’m impressed by that bronzer (enough for it to make the top ten) the powder surface is starting to change a little bit (not blending quite as well as it was in the beginning). I think the formula expiration is quicker than the others. I noticed this briefly the day before I left for the trip, but I will look into it further when I return in May (and update this post if needed).
*UPDATE: MAY 29, 2023 – The Covergirl Bronzer is 14 months by old now and has indeed started to not blend as well, but is still workable with a beautifully smooth finish. I would keep it where it is on this particular list. However, in testing out quite a few new bronzers released in 2023, there’s at least one that would be guaranteed to knock this out of the top 10.
So, that’s my bronzer collection decluttered and ranked (33 keeping of the ones featured here)! Now that I’ve done this, I feel it will be a bit easier going forward to stick better to my low-buy in the bronzer category. I have to admit that I’m curious about the Hermes Plein Air H Trio Healthy Glow Mineral Powder, but I could only ever dream of trying that in the refill. Plus, I hear it’s not too far off from the Charlotte Tilbury Powder Bronzer or Victoria Beckham Matte Bronzing Brick (another long time lust). If that’s the case, I should be all set on my bronzer collection. Or at least…I want to be!
As promised, here is a sneak peek of the PML Bronzers!
Welcome, lovers of Japanese brushes! If this is your first time visiting, I’d like you to know that I have a page that’s accessible on the left menu bar with every Fude post linked, as well as a description of the topics discussed in those posts and a list of which brushes are in which posts. For cell phone users, this page is visible by clicking on Navigation. If this is not your first time here, welcome back!
Regarding my measurements, “hair width” is measured from the widest part, regardless of the overall brush shape. I don’t measure thickness. In some cases, I included widths in a range. This means I happened to measure it prior to washing the brush and the second number is what it bloomed to in size post-wash. Anything with an asterisk indicates that I had to measure that one myself as those numbers were not listed on the website. All figures listed in inches are converted estimates.
With costs of materials ever increasing and supply of certain hair types being harder to acquire, brush prices also increase. So, the prices I’ve listed might not reflect what is current, though I will do my best to keep them updated.
*DISCLAIMER: To those who have been using my affiliate link to shop from CDJapan, thank you so much! The commission from that was used to pay for one of the brushes in this post. Otherwise, all other brushes discussed today were purchased by me with my own money.Non-highlighted links in bold blue font (Example) are standard non-affiliate links. Links marked in bold black font with a light blue background (Example) are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to get a commission if purchases are made directly using my link. Whether you click to shop through them or not, I appreciate you visiting and I hope you find the information I’ve provided to be helpful!
The Mizuho OEM been around since the 1970’s with its company located in the Kumano area. It was originally part of the calligraphy world, which is why they say they have “180 years of history and experience.” Their focus is on simple brush designs with high performance and functionality of their makeup brushes, cleansing brushes, water color paint brushes, nail brushes, and more. Besides their own line of brushes, like their flagship MB series and others, they are the manufacturers of Shaquda brushes. Additional information on the brand can be found here (including a fantastic video seeing the full brush making process) and here.
Mizuho MB114 Highlighter Brush
Full Length: 169mm / 6.65 in
Hair Length: 38mm / 1.5 in
Hair Width: *21mm / 0.83 in
Bristle Type: Pine Squirrel / Pony
I’m not the biggest fan of pony or horse hair in my brushes, but I was surprised that this combination of hair was softer than I expected. It’s good at picking up some harder pressed highlighters, such as baked gelee formulas, but I would caution against using it with loose highlighters or softer pressed ones because my issue with this brush is the size. Despite having angles and what seems like a thin section along the side, I very often apply too much highlighter in a wider stripe than I want. It’s not so bad with highlighters that blend out easily, but if I’m wearing the kind that wants to stick where it is placed, I have to switch to a stronger blending brush or apply blush back over the top of the section where it got too low onto my cheeks. This is because the more the brush is used between washes, the wider it fluffs out. I guess this could also be remedied if kept in a brush guard, but I generally don’t use those with non-round brushes. Perhaps I should eventually give it a try.
I tend to apply it along the edge horizontally and then turn the brush vertically to blend it out with that same edge (after wiping off the excess onto a microfiber towel). I do like this brush, and have been using it quite a bit, but only if it’s within reach and my favorites are elsewhere. Those with small faces or are heavy-handed might want to be careful about placement and which highlighters to use with this brush.
I never expected to use this brush as much as I do, but it’s fantastic at picking up eyeshadows and packing them on, is tapered enough at the tips so that I can even use this to deposit and blend out color on my lower lash line, but I can also turn it on its side and blend out the edges of my shadows in the crease as well. I use it in the same way as the Sonia G Builder Three and Builder Pro, but the pine squirrel bristles give it a different feel. What I like about those Sonia G brushes is that they’re tightly packed, so I can have strong buff and blending power but with it still feeling soft on the skin. With this brush, it’s dense but still flexible. It doesn’t have the blending strength as the Sonia Brushes, but because of the way it picks up and disperses the shadows, it doesn’t require a heavy amount of blending to begin with. Of course, this is the case with good to high quality eyeshadows. If I’m using the type of shadow that sticks to the spot its applied on first, this brush applying things heavily but a little more dispersed isn’t going to matter with an eyeshadow that’s tougher to blend. The few times I was able to notice this was when using pressed pigments from brands that are inconsistent with their quality. So, it’s only because I’m always testing new palettes that I ran into a few eyeshadow duds with the brush. In my personal time, I only use eyeshadows I like, and most palettes I buy are good quality and higher. So, this is rarely an issue. I really like this brush and it has become one of the four main packing eyeshadow brushes I use with every eye look. This has been the case for about ten months now!
I bought this brush because I thought it was fully round and wondered if it would be comparable to the Chikuhodo Z-11. The only similarity is the hair type, which admittedly the Chikuhodo brush hair is slightly softer. However, I get a stronger blend with this brush than the Z-11, which is why I like this one much more. This is the most used squirrel eye brush in my collection (besides the MB123), even more than my Houkodou GS-1 and GS-2. It’s because the shape is a combination of a blending brush with the length of bristle and tapered tip, with the width of a packing brush like the Sonia G Builder Pro. However, this preference may change once I start using the Sonia G Keyaki Trio with the Canadian Squirrel hair. I still need to test those out after my long trip ends.
If I have an eyeshadow that I want to pack into my crease, but have it dispersed thinly (but also opaquely and more than a “wash of color”), this is the brush I like to use. I also tend to use it with my starting eyeshadow that transitions into the crease, in addition to highlighting under my eyebrow arch. So, even though I don’t consider this a workhorse brush, which tend to be my favorites, I get quite a bit of use out of this brush for other aspects of my eyeshadow looks. This brush works best with drier formulas like dry shimmers, satins, and mattes. I don’t recommend using it to try and pack on shimmers (the MB123 is better for that), especially these wetter dimethicone heavy shimmers that are growing even more popular these days.
And then just for size comparison, here is the brush next to the Houkodou GS-2. I personally have found this Mizuho brush to be more useful due to the shape and recommend this one over the GS-2.
This is a last minute addition to the post in the sense that it’s on the relatively newer side, but I’m including it here since this is likely the last Mizuho brush I’ll be buying unless they release something new. I set out to try this brand, and I feel like I’ve gotten to do that with the eye brushes at least.
I’m not sure if it’s just that the hairs are longer, but the pine squirrel hair in this brush is the softest pine squirrel in my collection. The MB123 is surprisingly soft too, but as a packing brush that one is tighter packed and bound to effect how it feels. However, despite this one certainly not being floppy, I’m able to feel the quality of the hair and I’m very impressed. I recommend trying at least one pure pine squirrel brush from this brand.
Considering this is a gigantic eye brush, I’m surprised how much I like it. The shape of it aids in precise application despite its size. I can sweep on eyeshadow using the widest part and it picks up quite a bit of product, but I can also apply and blend shadows on the tips, moving the brush side to side. I usually only use large eyeshadow brushes with matte products, but considering the point the brush comes to, I’ve been able to apply shimmers to my lids without too much fallout.
In addition to using this with eyeshadows, it also doubles as a small highlighter brush! I’ve liked the results I got for that purpose with this brush.
Within my collection the closest similarity I can think to compare it to is the Houkodou GS-1. I really like that brush as well, but I prefer this shape and it deposits a little more eyeshadow. This may be a downside for those who like a wash of color, but with my skin tone, the more the better.
All of my limited edition handle Hakuhodo brushes were purchased from Fude Japan, the only place that I know that has them available. I’ve placed multiple orders from them by now with no issues in terms of products arriving to me. There have been a few instances where I didn’t realize a certain brush was on the website or a new one was added before my order shipped, and Toshiya of Fude Japan had been kind enough to make a separate invoice for me so I could combine the orders. The timing of when I order tends to take about two weeks to ship. He mentions on his blog, if I remember correctly, that he goes to the Hakuhodo shop on Saturday and what’s in the shop can be picked up but brushes that have to be sent over from the main factory can take a week or more. It can also take extra time if a lot of people are ordering at the same time. Right before the Hakuhodo price increase, I believe it took nearly a month to ship out. So, for those impatient, this is something to consider if you want a brush that’s available at multiple other websites. However, I’ve always felt it was worth getting these special ones I can’t get elsewhere, including having to absorb that shipping cost.
Hakuhodo S113 Highlighter Brush Round & Flat
Full Length: 174.5mm / 6.87 in
Hair Length: 31.5mm / 1.24 in
Hair Width: *25mm / 0.98 in
Bristle Type: Goat
Ferrule: 24-karat gold plated brass with clear coating
This is actually a momentous occasion because at the start of my dive into the fude world, it was my dream to one day own a Hakuhodo S100 flagship series brush. I’ve always credited Wayne Goss for starting my obsession with Japanese fude, because when he first mentioned the brushes he would be making, other people hinted at Hakuhodo being the actual brushmakers. When I browsed Hakuhodo’s US website and noticed they had some less expensive dupes in their own line (at the time), that is what sparked my interest in learning more about them. My first ever fude purchase was with Hakuhodo at the end of 2014, followed by some of Wayne’s brushes a few weeks later. However, my interest in Hakuhodo specifically and those vermilion handles can be attributed to Tati Westbrook who used and loved the S100 series. I could never justify spending more for the special handle, 24 karat gold plated ferrule, and blue squirrel hair when I could spend significantly less to keep the hair and ferrule but get the black handle S100Bk version instead. Even the S100Bk I couldn’t justify when I could lose the ferrule, switch to goat, and get an even more affordable B series version. There’s a synthetic i-series too, but I’d rather get a synthetic fiber brush elsewhere.
I just couldn’t wrap my head around paying face brush prices for eye brushes, and at the time I was definitely unwilling to spend so much on the S100 face brushes, so I thought, “Maybe one day.” As the years went on, the brushes only got more expensive and I didn’t think I would ever be able to justify having one until Fude Japan had this S100 brush listed at the S100bk price at $59! I figured this was my chance after nearly eight years of pining for at least one of these vermilion brushes! I’m glad I did because after the 2022 price increase, the brush is now $97 on the Hakuhodo USA website.
One thing I have heard about the downside to the vermilion handles and the slanted handle edge is that the paint chips easily. This is something I will have to keep my eye out for when using this brush. So far, I’ve been careful and haven’t noticed any issues since my purchase about a year ago. Admittedly, I don’t use this brush that often though because it’s precious to me. Also, I think keeping this brush in a cup with other brushes could increase the chance of it chipping. Most of the time, I keep it in the silicone makeup brush holder/stand like this for example.
I’ve used this brush for highlighter purposes, and it’s fine, but I have other shapes I like better. My preferred usage for this brush is either precision bronzing (especially with a bronzer that’s a bit dark for me, so I can apply it lightly and carefully) or for setting my under eyes with powder. It nicely fits the contours under my eyes. I still have a preferred brush for that purpose (the Real Techniques Setting Brush), but this is leaps and bounds softer. I’m not surprised that these are the two ways I like to use this brush considering it’s the same for the Wayne Goss Air Brush, which reminds me of this one. I took comparison photos below.
Hakuhodo S110Blush Brush Round & Flat
Full Length: 175mm / 6.89 in
Hair Length: 38mm / 1.5 in
Hair Width: *36mm / 1.42 in
Bristle Type: Goat
Ferrule: 24-karat gold plated brass with clear coating
I was content to have my newly acquired S113 be my only flagship brush, however, seeing the S110 for sale on the private account fude_sale_page on Instagram changed my mind. As I started to watch more videos of fude lovers ranking the B110 as their favorite blush brush and it being a staple brush from the brand, I started to regret not buying it. Of course, it’s a bit of a risk to make a brush purchase outside of a retailer site or official selling app, but it worked out for me and I was able to get this beautiful S110 at nearly the same price as the B110BkSL was (in 2022).
Even after the price increase, I ended up ordering the Hakuhodo J110 September ’22 Limited Edition Red Handle Blush Brush from Fude Japan. Since the specs and performance are supposed to be the same, it isn’t necessary to give this version of the brush a separate review, but I thought I would at least include some photos of it.
Also, for size reference, the rephr 05 blush brush is similar in size and shape to the the Hakuhodo S110.
I also purchased the Hakuhodo J5523 September ’22 Limited Edition Blue HandleEyeshadow Brush, which is another one I reviewed in my original Fude post, so I don’t think it’s necessary to review again. However, I thought I would include photos of this one also.
Back to the J110, I still use it and it’s a great shape, but because the one I specifically use is pre-owned, I think it’s just not bundled as tightly as it used to be when it was newer. I always keep my rephr brushes in brush guards or aloe sealed to keep them dense because that’s how I prefer to use brushes of this shape and they’d be perfect for me if they were easier to keep dense and not so airy. Even my Hakuhodo travel Hello Kitty brush gives me similar blush results as this one, so I definitely don’t need to buy any more of them.
Hakuhodo F6210 (April ’22 Limited Edition Mint Handle)
Full Length: 168mm / 6.6 in
Hair Length: 28mm / 1.1 in
Hair Width: *36-42mm / 1.41- 1.65 in
Bristle Type: Goat and Synthetic
Although I still prefer my Wayne Goss 15 (discontinued) fan brush because of the flat wedge formed via the tips, I’ve grown to really like this brush! I have several highlighter products now that include thin strips that are tough for any other of my highlighter brushes to pick up solo without mixing with the other shades next to it (like the Bobbi Brown Brightening Blush with the two shimmery strips and the Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Multi Glow Highlighter). So, this brush is quite convenient. Completely opposite to the Mizuho highlighter brush I mentioned earlier, this one gives me the upmost precision. I don’t use it to pick up hard pressed highlighters, but medium and lighter go great with this one. Even wetter highlighters like the Charlotte Tilbury Glow Glide Face Architect highlighter works well because this is combined with synthetic bristles, which I wasn’t happy about at first, but this brush works well with so many formulas, is a great shape, is soft, and easier to clean. So, I’ve come around on the synthetic and goat mix. I can blend in the highlighter pretty well with this brush and although I personally don’t use the baking technique, this would be a good one to dust away excess powder.
Hakuhodo S4001 (April ’22 Limited Edition Green Handle)
Full Length: 180mm / 7.09 in
Hair Length: 40mm / 1.57 in
Hair Width: *33mm / 1.3 in
Bristle Type: Goat and Synthetic
We can’t love everything we buy, and this happens to be one of those situations. I have tried to use this brush in so many ways with so many products and I haven’t found a single one that I like this for. The ends are pokey (though not sharp, just the bunches that are packed together are able to be felt when the tips bend from pressure onto the skin), which I don’t like. Using foundation with it is streaky. Cream bronzers don’t blend well enough. Powder bronzers work better, but don’t give me the airbrushed effect that I like. Cream and powder blushes look patchy. I lowkey hate this brush, but I’ve always strongly disliked duo fibre stippling brushes. I hoped this one being from Hakuhodo would change my mind, and I honestly bought it for the gorgeous handle. I wish it could have been more functional though.
This photo shows my other peeve with the brush. I use foundations that tend to be either thick liquids or runny ones. The amount of product “absorbed” by the brush with the runnier ones is excessive in my opinion. I don’t easily go through foundations, so product wasted in my makeup tools doesn’t bother me as much as the thought of how dirty this gets. A simple wiping of the brush onto a microfiber towel isn’t going to cut it. That much above from just one use is a lot.
I consider this a stippling highlighter brush because these hairs are not uniform and have that stippling feel to them, while still being soft. I actually love this one because of the slant. Any of my highlighters that need to be blended out to make them sheerer or subtler is great with this brush because of the way it hugs the curve of my cheekbones and have both firm and softer bristles (softer in the area of hair that splays outside the circumference of the ferrule) that buff out the highlighter without disturbing the makeup underneath. It’s also dispersed a little more widespread as well because of the spread out angled length, which I apply along my cheekbone with that angled side. When I’ve been in a hurry, I’ve also used this brush to set powder under my eyes. The thinner tips bend to fit in the corners, although it can feel a bit pokey due to this specific shape when used that way. For highlighter though, I’ve grown even more fascinated with the Kebi style, so when I see other limited edition handle brushes with this shape, I’m automatically tempted. I’m just not sure if I will like them as much as this when the ones I’ve seen are even longer and look either more dense or less dense. I would certainly be interested in this same brush in an even more dense version.
Hakuhodo B104 Powder Brush Round (L, Gold Handle)
Full Length: 190mm / 7.48 in
Hair Length: 50mm / 1.97 in
Hair Width: *40-50mm / 1.57 – 1.97 in
Bristle Type: Goat
This brush expands a ton after the first wash. When it’s that airy, it’s only really usable for me with loose powders or lightly pressed powders. Something like my Dior Powder no Powder, the one I use most, would be aggravating to try and pick up with a brush like this. It’s one of the largest in my collection, alongside the Chikuhodo FO-9, but even that one is a combination of both airiness and still picking up powders a little easier. Some powder brushes can also be used for blush, but this is much too large for that. Some people love this kind of brush for bronzer, and something lightly pressed could be quite nice for this too, but huge bronzer brushes aren’t what I typically reach for. So, I have very limited uses for this brush. I’m still glad I bought it though to be able to experience a Hakuhodo classic.
Hakuhodo Hello Kitty Slide Face Brush L Round & Flat (70’s) [XB007]
Full Length: 144mm / 5.67 in
Hair Length: 40mm / 1.57 in
Hair Width: *32mm / 1.26 in
Bristle Type: Goat and Synthetic
Handle: Synthetic Resin/Black
The slide reminded me of the size of the S110. The shapes aren’t quite the same, but it’s the closest comparison I could find.
I wish I could have gotten the Hello Kitty pink handle version, but I couldn’t find it available for purchase. In any case, I’m not usually interested in retractable brushes, but Jaybirdwalking was discussing it in one of her Hakuhodo on-site showroom videos and said the sliding mechanism was actually well made and the brush was versatile. I agree on both counts. When the brush is showing only a small amount of hair, it’s a nice shape for applying highlighter. The fully puffed out version does okay for all-over powdering (and nice with a loosely pressed bronzer), but I like dense brushes a lot, even for face powder. So, I prefer when the slider isn’t all the way down and the hair is compact and a semi-large size for blush purposes. I’ve taken this on trips with me because it’s a nice multi-purpose brush when one doesn’t want to bring many things, but I still have individual powder, blush, bronzer, and highlighter brushes I prefer to this one. This does many jobs adequately, but none that are a particular favorite. So, this brush doesn’t tend to get much use from me except on trips (though not my current one).
Hakuhodo J7012BkSL Fan Brush [H3926]
Full Length: 170mm / 6.69 in
Hair Length: 30mm / 1.18 in
Hair Width: *42mm / 1.65 in
Bristle Type: Hog
Ferrule: Nickel-plated brass
I love feeling and owning different types of animal hair brushes, which is why I bought this one from the Hakuhodo USA website. I actually got a phone call from them because of this brush and them wanting to verify that I understood hog hair is very wiry and hard. Some people in the past have been disappointed, expecting every brush to be soft, so they made it a common practice to check in with the customer before the order is fulfilled. I thought that was quite fantastic customer service. I explained that I expected it to be hard, but that I love collecting every type of hair for a brush I can find, but still asked what most people use these brushes for. The woman on the phone said heavy stage makeup (the thick type that gets painted in large areas and not just for the face but the body) as well as body glitter application.
For fun, I tried to use this on my cheeks as a traditional highlighting brush. I will not be doing that again because it really is scratchy. It’s like the world’s softest floor sweeping broom or soft fishing wire or a paintbrush with dried glue on it. It’s thick and coarse, but the scratchiness doesn’t come from sharp tips. The roughness is noticeable on the face, but not as much of an issue on the body.
What I’ve realistically used this brush for, since I don’t wear body makeup, is to take off the top layer of products that are hardpressed or hardpanned. It loosens things up enough that I can then pick up the kicked up product with another brush to apply the product to my face. So, I don’t need to use something like this very often, but it has come in handy several times. I wouldn’t recommend it to the average makeup wearer, just those who would very specifically need a brush like this for the purposes described above.
Comparison between the F6210 and J7012.
HakuhodoYachiyo(Traditional Powder Brush) Medium Round [H2384]
Full Length: 128mm / 5.04 in
Hair Length: 33mm / 1.3 in
Hair Width: *22mm / 0.87 in
Bristle Type: Goat
Handle: Covered with Cane
This is another purchase made for the style rather than function. I wanted something traditional, like the Yachiyo brush from Nars, but I heard that one has scratchy bristles. This Hakuhodo version is soft, though not as soft as the similar head shape of the Chikuhodo T-4.
With the handle being so short and thin, this brush feels so fragile in my hands despite it having taken no damage yet. It just feels like the wrapping could unravel if I grip it too tightly. For that reason, this brush is mainly decorative in my collection, now that I’ve used it enough times to know that I love the shape and construction of the brush head. It’s just a matter of having this same head with a different handle. That I can definitely recommend. And perhaps one that is slightly bigger because it’s quite small even as a cheek brush. For that reason, it’s even smaller than my usual small brushes for bronzer. I recommend it strictly as a blush brush.
I should also note that I purchased the medium handle size (for $39 at the time), but Hakuhodo sells a “large” size too.
Koyudo Gray Squirrel Angled Powder Brush [OUTLET]
Full Length: 140mm / 5.51 in
Hair Length: 40-45mm / 1.57 – 1.77 in
Hair Width: *52mm / 2.05 in
Bristle Type: Gray Squirrel
Even though I definitely don’t need anymore powder brushes, I couldn’t resist the thick fluffy look to the brush from the website photo, especially for the price. There were only three or five available at the time that the Koyudo outlet brushes were released on the CDJapan website, so I had to act fast. Unfortunately, it was not as thick or fluffy as the photo example. This is one of the rare times that I received something from the outlet options that wasn’t better than I expected.
On the bright side, it’s quite soft. It’s a pretty looking brush and well constructed. The bristles are on the lighter end of medium density. I haven’t had any shedding from it. It picks up lightly pressed powders fairly well. I like how it evenly distributes product on my face. I’ve tried to use bronzer with it, but it was just okay. I prefer keeping it as a designated powder brush and to use it in a sweeping/dusting motion across the face to get a light even layer of powder foundation or setting powder. Because of the shape, I wouldn’t want to use it with a powder that I would typically buff out. It’s an interesting addition to my collection in terms of shapes, but I really didn’t need it and even though it was a good value for the hair type, I should have skipped it.
Koyudo OUT22-18 Heart Shaped Blush Brush [OUTLET]
Full Length: 125mm / 4.9 in
Hair Length: 35mm / 1.38 in
Hair Width: *40mm / 1.57 in
Bristle Type: Goat and PBT
I bought this brush on a whim because I always wanted to have a Koyudo heart shaped brush, which is what I first knew the brand for. I didn’t expect it to actually be functional, but I was even more shocked by the results! I absolutely love using this brush with bronzer! I dip it lightly into the product so that it picks up a little bit of bronzer on both curves of the heart. I then hold the brush against my skin and move the brush left and right with the curves also going in a side to side motion so that both parts are doing double the buffing work one after the other. It picks up the perfect amount of product and builds it up easily. I feel like products go on even smoother with the brush. It was quite the surprise!
Bristle Type: Goat Hair (Sokoho according to the product description section and not the usual spot on CDJapan’s website)
For one final time, Koyudo restocked the Black Handle series which was originally released in 2013 and then discontinued. I wanted one of the brushes in the collection purely for that reason and it was only natural that I chose a blush brush, which is my favorite fude type to purchase. It’s a decent brush, but nothing particularly special. I prefer round shapes, and this one is more ovular. It’s a bit thick to be using for sweeping, but the tapered tip doesn’t feel intuitive for circular buffing motions. I can still use it either way, but it’s not my favorite. Plus, I wish the hair quality was higher. It’s an okay experience on the cheek, but it’s not what I think to grab when there are plenty of softer ones in my collection that I’d prefer to use on my cheeks for that plush soft application experience.
In the off chance that this brush gets restocked once more, the link to it can be found HERE.
CB White Canadian Squirrel Blush Brush (Red Handle)
Full Length: 160mm / 6.3 in
Hair Length: 35mm / 1.38 in
Hair Width: *28mm / 1.1 in
Bristle Type: White Canadian Squirrel
While this is a CDJapan Beauty brand brush, Koyudo is the maker of this brush. I always wanted a White Canadian Squirrel type of brush out of curiosity to see if there really is much difference between this and regular Canadian Squirrel. I feel like this is slightly more resilient than the yellow kind (and more resilient than grey squirrel), but since I don’t have a ton of experience with WC, it’s possible that it’s not always the case and comes down to the batches and supplier.
I’ve used this a few times with blushes and bronzers, but this is honestly a brush I’m not going to get much use out of because the whole special part about it is the rarity of the white tips and I don’t always have the easiest time getting my white brushes back to their pristine color. So, if I use the wrong red blush that stains the hair pink/red or too pigmented of a bronzer for it to turn light brown…I lose the original color and that kind of defeats the purpose of having this hair specifically and I’d have been better off just getting the slightly less expensive Canadian Squirrel. So, my paranoia about it keeps me from using it anymore. This is also why I haven’t explored White Pine Squirrel hair either.
I can say this brush surprisingly worked nicely for blush and bronzer purposes considering this brush isn’t very full, even after being washed, and I prefer round face brushes over sweeping paddle shaped ones. I understand why this hair type is so coveted when it has the benefit of being as soft as grey squirrel while giving a stronger application of powder products. In the future, if I’m able to afford a thicker fluffier version as a face brush, I would probably get one. However, it would have to be in Canadian Squirrel and not White Canadian Squirrel so my fears wouldn’t hinder me from using it!
One other thing I’d like to mention is that at the time I bought it, the USD to YEN was far in favor of US currency, so I bought it for significantly less than it costs now. However, even at that price and with the additional promo coupon deals CDJapan offered, I don’t think this brush is worth the price in terms of function. For such a small amount of hair in the brush and what it can accomplish, there’s so much else out there that can do the same or better for less. In fact, I’d recommend the next brush I’m about to mention over this one. In terms of having something with hairs that are hard to acquire, a pretty handle, and is well constructed, then I can see why a Fude Collector would be drawn to this or other brushes of this type. Getting the CDJapan-Koyudo version is a more cost effective way to experience this than the more luxurious handle version from Koyudo.
Sonia G Lotus Detail Brush
Full Length: 173mm / 6.81 in
Hair Length: 28mm / 1.1 in
Hair Width: *28mm / 1.1 in
Bristle Type: Dyed and Undyed Saikoho Goat
Sonia G is one of my favorite brands for Fude, but I’ve been blunt about how the Lotus Collection didn’t work out for me as well as I wished. I might be missing out when it comes to the Lotus Base brush (but decided I didn’t need it since I very much love and am satisfied with the Patrick Ta fully synthetic Contour Brush), though I know I’m not missing out on the Worker and I was disappointed with the Builder and Cheek, and really don’t like the Soft Definer. I took a chance buying this one when it was available as an individual brush and I am so happy it was worth it!
The brush is listed as being great for blush, contour, and highlighter though I disagree with the highlighter part. Sure, it can be turned along the thinner portion along the angle, but I personally feel it deposits highlighter in too wide of an area. And one can apply it with the tips, but the amount that gets dispersed just isn’t worth the effort to build up and blend out, though I can understand it’s still possible and is just an extra benefit for this already multi-purpose brush. I love using this the most with blushes because the precision allows me to apply pigmented blushes precisely so that I don’t accidentally cover too much of my bronzer. Also the density from the shorter hairs to about the middle of the brush is enough to nicely buff out what I’ve applied, and the less dense middle to longer bristles that splay wider across the slant edge disperses the blush more lightly. This ensures that one has control of where the more concentrated amount of blush goes but it’s still buildable overall and gives a blended affect as the dispersal of product goes from concentrated to least concentrated. Of course, that’s if applying along the angle. Applying in a circular motion mainly applying pressure with that denser portion is better for blushes that are on the sheerer side to those who want maximum color payoff. The special purpose that I have for this brush is due to the shape, overall size, and density which is that I love mixing two different blush shades with this brush. This brush is fantastic when I want a darker color towards the back and a lighter color on the apples. I can create a very easy gradient effect with this one.
As for contouring, this brush fits nicely in the hollows; so I do like it for that purpose. Bronzer wasn’t listed in the website description, but I tried it anyway, and because my forehead is so rounded and the brush is so small it was a little cumbersome trying to use an angled brush for that purpose. Round, round-flat, or flat-tops are my bronzer shape preferences. I haven’t reviewed the Sonia G Jumbo Bronzer Brush here yet, but spoiler alert, that one is amazing! I love it so much. It’s not one that I use all the time, but when I do, it’s such a pleasurable experience.
I initially felt $36 was a lot for such a small brush, but considering I can use it as a great contour brush and a special purpose blush brush, plus it being not much more expensive than Sonia’s eye brushes, I now think it’s a reasonable price.
Also, even though this isn’t one of the fusion brushes (saikoho+synthetics), in addition to powder, I’ve used this with MAC Glow Play blushes (cream/putty) and cream-to-powder formulas on occasion.
Eihodo NO.327 Blush Brush [Outlet]
Full Length: 128mm / 5.04 in
Hair Length: 35mm / 1.38 in
Hair Width: *27mm / 1.06 in
Bristle Type: Gray Squirrel and Sokoho Goat
6000 YEN to 3300 YEN ($24)
This is one of the more disappointing brushes from the Outlet, but not because of the handle or ferrule quality. This brush is visually stunning! It’s just on the smaller side. A 35mm head isn’t too bad in terms of length, but it’s not a very full brush. It’s for the best that it has a pinched ferrule, so it’s at least not as floppy as it could have been. I find this brush only really useful for sweeping blush and no extra benefits like being able to buff satisfactorily with it either. The shape reminds me of an even smaller version of the HS-2 Hana Sakura Blush Brush, but the HS-2 is a way more useful brush. These bristles are a little softer, even though it’s the same hair mix as the HS-2, but I recommend that HS-2 way more because of it being far more efficient and liking it with sweeping on both blush and bronzer.
In case someone still wants this brush and it gets restocked, it can be found HERE.
Eihodo NO.329 Powder Brush [Outlet]
Full Length: 145mm / 5.7 in
Hair Length: 50mm / 1.97 in
Hair Width: *40mm / 1.57 in
Bristle Type: Gray Squirrel and Sokoho Goat
This brush has a similar handle to the previous one, and similar gorgeous chocolate brown ferrule, but this ferrule is matte whereas the other is shiny. Because this brush has the proportional amount of hair I expect of a powder brush and for the size dimensions, I consider it a much more worthwhile purchase than the previous one. It’s about medium density and does a decent job sweeping on powder, though nothing extraordinary. The mix of hair leads to the brush being soft enough to be satisfying to use, but doesn’t pick up product as well as I wanted considering the amount of goat that is in it. I’m still happy with this brush though when I remember to just use it with loose and lightly pressed powders, and especially soft baked ones (not baked gelee). I don’t expect it to be very versatile, as I keep it to strictly powder use and not blush, bronzer, or contours.
At the time the price was listed as 10000 YEN that was reduced to 6000 YEN ($44). On April 13th, 2023 this brush was restocked for the same 6000 YEN and is available HERE.
Eihodo Makie Blush Brush Kozakura [Outlet]
Full Length: 125mm / 4.92 in
Hair Length: 40mm / 1.57 in
Hair Width: *31mm / 1.22 in
Bristle Type: Pine Squirrel
I was so pleased with this brush that I bought two others to give as gifts! It’s Pine Squirrel, so it’s not the softest of the squirrels or even quite as soft as the Koyudo BP017, but it still feels quite lovely. Also, to have such a gorgeous Maki-e handle with it at this price was quite the bargain! Functionally, it’s a little flatter and not as packed with hairs as I’d hoped (altering those two things would have made it perfect), but it’s still workable for a light application of blush. It applies things on the more sheer side because of the smaller width, and it’s slightly airy, while the flexible bristles make it naturally buff better while applying. So, it’s the type that works well with products that one wants applied precisely, yet remain buildable. This is why even though I like it with blush, I enjoy it even more with bronzer applications. It’s not too bad with contours either, though I prefer an angled or even thinner brush for that purpose.
I usually prefer longer handles on my brushes, but the beauty of the handle makes up for it.
I thought it would be interesting to compare it to the Koyudo BP017 that also has pine hair, as well as the CDJapan/Koyudo White Canadian Squirrel Blush Brush.
This brush was priced at 8000 YEN, but I bought it for 4400 YEN ($32). It has been restocked several times, so those who want to save the product page to their bookmarks can find it HERE.
That’s everything I have for this post. I’m so sorry it took this long to finally do, but life throws a lot of unexpected things our way! I still have plenty more Fude updates coming, though per usual, it will be at least a few months for the next one. I have an ongoing directory list here of what’s coming next.
I planned to make this post over three months ago, but I did not anticipate Suqqu discontinuing their line of Melting Powder Blushes! It’s barely a year since they were first launched and there was supposed to be a permanent range, not just the limited edition shades. According to the brand, they were having too much trouble sourcing the raw materials. Whatever is already in production for 2023 is still coming out, but there will not be more after this year. It’s quite a shame because the Armani and Suqqu blushes are among my favorite cream to powder formulas for blush. I guess this post also serves as a shade comparison guide for those who want the Suqqu colors but are unable to get them in time and would like a potential alternative.
In-depth review of the formula and photos demonstrating the Suqqu shades 06 Yuubae and 07 Yoiurushi can be found here.
In-depth formula and performance review with photos demonstrating the Armani blush shades 30 Warm Coral and 60 Warm Plum can be found here.
Let’s start with the Armani blushes because I want to not only feature the newest addition to the line, but also comment on the texture differences among the various shades and information on the batches.
Armani Neo Nude Melting Color Balm in 52 Neutral Pink
When I purchased the newest shade at the end of last year, I also bought a second version of 60 Warm Plum. One of my only gripes with the Melting Color Balm line is that I absolutely love the creamy and soft texture of shade 30 Warm Coral, but that might be the only one that feels that way. Shade 60 Warm Plum was extremely hard and also difficult to pick up the product and apply it to the cheeks. I thought perhaps it was defective and wanted to wait long enough to eventually repurchase it. When I got the new shade 52 Neutral Pink, I pressed my thumb very hard in the pan and it left an imprint. It’s still nowhere near as soft as 30, but it’s at least better than 60. I still wish it was a little creamier, but it’s at least good enough for me to recommend. As for my new shade 60, I pressed ridiculously hard and could barely make an imprint on the surface. Despite purchasing it a year and a half since the initial launch, the Armani US site is/was still selling the original hard pressed batch, as seen by the identical batch codes.
Shade 30 came out first in the initial launch, and even though 60 was supposed to be part of it, it was not available for purchase anywhere until about four months later. Both of them still have the same black sticker, which I believe indicates that “first” release. The brand new addition to the line, 52 has a whitish color sticker, so that seems to be a safe sign in knowing it wasn’t intended to be part of the initial launch and is truly new. But, as seen below, both shade 60s have the 78U14K batch code and are identical in their dried out super hard texture.
I love the color of 60, but it’s such a pain to use. On the bright side though, I realized that with enough uses, it does eventually soften up. I guess one could call it breaking the top layer, but if that’s the case it’s a far and deep layer. It never gets to the softness level of 30, but it gets closer to being like 52.
As for how shade 52 wears on me, it applies nicely with a brush and is okay with fingers. I haven’t tried a sponge this time, but in my previous review using a sponge was the quickest way to get use out of shade 60, so I’m sure it works fine. Of all my brushes, I like to use my Sonia G Mini Base brush with it the most. The blushes have a decent wear time if a significant amount is applied (and will certainly last longer if set with powder). Because of the creamy consistency though, it’s more prone to transfer.
Shade 52 looks a bit prettier now than when I initially bought it. It might be too light for me when summer comes, but my preferred usage for it is to mix it with shade 30 anyway to create what I consider an actual coral color. Shade 30 is described as warm coral, but I consider it to be a terracotta. Adding the pink from 52 is my favorite combination! I’ve also mixed 52 and 60 together, and that makes for a pretty mauve. It’s just more difficult trying to mix those two together when they’re on the drier side than trying to mix with the creamy 30.
So, even though I love these and do recommend them, I have to point out that they aren’t perfect across the board and the different shades may be easier or harder to use than others. These aren’t hyped up, but they tend to get extremely positive reviews from those that own them (and for good reason).
Suqqu Melting Powder Blushes in 02 Haruoto and 101 Hoteriiro.
These aren’t the newest additions to the line, but they are the most recent ones I’ve purchased. As was the case with Armani 52, this 02 shade from Suqqu looks better on me while I’m at my lightest, but it is definitely not a flattering shade on me when I’m darker (particularly because of the cool tone). I don’t think I will end up keeping this one in my collection, especially if there’s someone on Mercari who might want this after it’s officially discontinued. It’s something I’ll consider when I’m back home or I might just give it to a friend. I’ve considered the idea of mixing it with one of the darker shades, like I did with the Armani ones, but considering how many Suqqu blushes I own in total, I would rather dedicate my focus on getting more use out of the ones that work for me on their own.
Shade 101 is sheerer than I expected and more shimmery as well. It’s objectively pretty, but not my preference. I feel like it emphasizes the kind of orange tone my foundation can lean, which is not what I want. So, I may rehome this as well. It might make a pretty blush topper, so I will at least try that first sometime before deciding to keep it or not. However, when I want this kind of shiny orange, I could always reach for the orange blush from Hourglass that was in the Tiger Palette. That one even has more pigment.
Comparison Swatches Between Armani and Suqqu
None of these colors are dupes for one another even though I always pictured them being similar in my mind. I think it’s understandable considering I own a pink, orange, and red for both. If anyone else is curious to see how they compare, I hope this will bring some clarity.
Newest Blush Releases from Armani and Suqqu
The handwritten numbers were my attempt to figure out which shades from the promo pic that attracted me to the Armani blushes coincides with the brand’s swatches. It’s not easy to figure out considering these are not widely available at the time I’m writing this.
Armani is releasing Luminous Silk Glow Blushes and Suqqu has two Pure Color Blushes coming in the Pre-Summer Collection and two Melting Powder Highlighters in the actual Summer Collection. I was very much interested in the Armani ones until I watched a review that had me questioning whether the colors I want will look the same way in person as they do online, or if they will even show up on me with their level of sheerness. So, it’s unknown whether I will pick one up or not. I’m leaning towards skipping until there’s a big sale.
For Suqqu, I had the 138 Blush in the Pre-Summer collection shipped home to the US. As for the Summer collection, I’ve gone back and forth on this, but I might just pick up one of the Melting Powder Highlighters. Although I suspect it will have silver shimmer, and I hate silver in highlighters, the other colors within the swirl of the orange/brown swirl one might make it something I like. It being limited edition makes it difficult to “wait and see,” and I certainly don’t want to miss out.
A few things happened between working on Part 1 and Part 2. First, I decided to keep a few extra products from the Mystery Bundles instead of giving them away. Second, the only lip pencil I received that smelled relatively normal in the beginning ended up starting to smell very off like the others (still without me ever even using it), so I’m no longer going to review it. Third, Melt had a 50% off sale the day after I posted Part 1, so I bought the few remaining things I wanted from the brand. This means I’ll be reviewing a few extra things not pictured above.
Part 1 with reviews of all the eye products in the photo can be found HERE.
The Sculpt Stack
This stack is surprisingly handy! I love that it comes with a small mirror as the “cap” for the stack. The med/dark bronzer and contour both work for my skin tone, but even the light/med bronzer I’ve been able to use as a setting powder! It’s just the light/med contour that I have little use for. I prefer my contours to have slightly more grey than this one has, so I had the idea to mix some of the light/med contour shade with it, but I was unsuccessful in making those two properly blend together to turn into the perfect contour shade for my liking. Using the Med/Dark contour on its own looked better than the combination of the two.
These blend easily enough, though it can stick in place a little bit if my face is dewy, but that just requires a dense brush to buff out and then it looks fine again. The Chikuhodo FO-2 is a beloved buffer brush up to that task, for example.
These don’t fade. They are matte, but not drying. I love a slight sheen to my bronzers, which this doesn’t give, but it’s still quite nice. Overall, my impression of the stack is that it’s a useful product. It’s not in my very top favorites, but I do enjoy this product a lot and will continue using it. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if this turns out to be something I like even more over time.
Ultra Matte Bronzer in Malibu
Despite the “Ultra Matte” name, I don’t find this product to be drying on the skin or to look any more matte than the bronzer in the stack. The powder feels slightly silkier to the touch, but it’s actually less easy to use than the stack because of my preference for wearing slightly dewy foundations. If I’m wearing a drier foundation, the blend is at least equal to the bronzer in the stack. Overall, I prefer the stack’s color and blendability than Melt’s actual dedicated line of bronzers. Plus, whatever makes this formula different from the one in the stack also causes it to start forming a weird film on the top layer (presumably from double dipping between the compact and the moisture on my face from skincare, primer, and/or dewy foundation).
I find it interesting that the shade range seems to lean on the darker end of the spectrum. My shade is number 3 out of 4 and Malibu is even a bit darker than I tend to wear these days, though perhaps it’ll be perfect in the summertime. However, I will realistically not reach for this because I prefer the stack and plenty of other bronzers in my collection over this one. It’s not bad, but I just don’t think it’s worth full price. Even at half price, I’d choose a Mented Cosmetics bronzer, Nabla Skin Bronzing, or Covergirl Trublend So Flushed.
Cream Blushlight in Pinched and Lynx
I’ve reviewed this type of product before and it falls into the category of loving the shades and finishes, but not liking the fact that these don’t set down to a dry finish on the skin. Just like the Rose Inc blushes that I have the same issue with, I was unable to turn down the opportunity to buy something (like a mystery box) to essentially get the blushes for free. They’re so pretty! I just wish they could set without a strong powder (like a powder blush that fully removes the glow and warps the color which defeats the purpose of wearing them at all).
Pinched looks quite similar to Polished, but I wanted an option that didn’t have shimmer and was more pigmented on my cheeks and Lynx made for a gorgeous cream highlighter. I’m satisfied with these two shades, and will use them for photos, but the continued wet feeling on the cheeks is why I will never get much use out of them in public or private. For those who don’t mind a wet creamy cheek, these are beautiful. And I know there are some people who absolutely love this formula, like Amy Loves Makeup who owns them all.
Digital Dust Highlighter in Genesis
This highlighter was in the “last chance” section of the website, so it’s discontinued now, but something about pink and gold shimmery hues intrigue me. If they’re too pink, I tend to not like them, but if they are gold with a slight pink tinge, I tend to find them beautiful. Genesis is the kind I like. The shine can be built up to medium intensity in person, but it remains subtle on camera. I thought at first it just blended in very well on a day I wore my Rituel de Fille Thorn Oil (left photo), but when I made sure to take pictures again with a drier base, the shimmer particles were more obvious, but still didn’t look very reflective on camera (right photo). So, this is the type of highlighter I would wear in public, but not if I wanted my highlight to pop in pictures.
Sexfoil Liquid Highlight in Peaches & Cream
I reviewed these before and even mentioned that I think Peaches & Cream might show up more intensely on me. Ironically, it’s even more subtle than Gold Ore, but I think it’s a far better match for my skintone and even prettier. This product has a tendency to lift, depending on what other makeup I wear underneath it, but because the base color is about my skin tone, it covers up any patches while also having shimmer light enough to reflect and still work as a highlighter for my face.
Although I rarely use liquid highlighters, this might be the exception.
Gel Liner in Fortune
I have an example of this on the eyes in the Half Lashes section with the green eyeshadow look. Just like the other Melt liners, they dry quickly, don’t smudge, and last all day without the line cracking. I prefer eyeliner pens because of the convenience of not needing to use a second tool to apply it, but I find these gel ones to be great from Melt, especially in the waterproof formula that works for the waterline, though I only reach for them occasionally. If the brand ever releases felt tip eyeliner pens, I would definitely want to give one a try.
Johnny Half Lash
This was my first time ever buying Half Lashes and, just like most full strip lashes, these aren’t for me. The issue is that I have a very rounded curve to my eyes directly in the middle. This requires me to have strip lashes that are longer than usual. My eyes also have a steep downward curve at the outer edge, which I try to balance out with cat-eye wings. So, in order to have room to adjust to my eye shape, I would need a longer half lash (something like a 3/4 strip) and for the outer portion to have much longer lashes so that it can look like it’s curving upward at the ends. On my eyes, putting the half lash from the actual middle to end part looks strange because my inner lashes are super short, which doesn’t have a normal looking transition from shorter lashes to suddenly longer outer ones. This causes the outer part to look either downturned or just makes the eye look heavy. If I move the lash slightly more inwards from the top of my curve in the center to almost the end to keep it from looking downturned, it looks even more ridiculous because the lashes go from short to long to short again.
The best I could get it to look was in the purple look when I made sure to have a wing that made the outer edge appear to curve up higher than the actual lash was curving. It still looks quite heavy though, so this style of lash just isn’t for me. If I want half lashes, I think I would need to just slightly trim a full strip and ensure it has a very flared out end. But considering my sparse and shorter inner lashes, I’d just stick with House of Lashes Iconic Lites.
Amor y Mariposas Collection
Recuerdos Lipstick and Corazon Lip Pencil
As I mentioned in the beginning of the post, I didn’t end up wearing the lip pencil because of the smell. As for the lipstick, it’s certainly an interesting color. It still has a vanilla scent to it that is similar to the cream blushlights. The color isn’t very even and this formula is very drying and the bullet was stiff. I don’t know if this is the case with all of Melt’s lipsticks (I have heard they aren’t very comfortable) or if this is just performing this way because of how long ago the collection was released. The gold packaging is absolutely stunning though. I love the details, as well as the imprint on the lipstick bullet. I will never wear this lipstick again (and removed it after taking the photo so I have no idea how good the longevity is), but I want to save the packaging and maybe pour a homemade balm into it so I can reuse it for something because it’s so pretty, plus luxurious feeling from the metal with magnetic closure.
I ended up with two of these when it was temporarily reduced to $5 with a purchase of an Amor y Mariposas item and then again when it was temporarily free with either a mystery box or certain spending minimum. It was never officially announced, but something I noticed in the website carts. So, I gave the spare one to my sister!
This mirror is beautiful. I love the gold writing on the back and the clear red color. It’s a thick plastic though, so it feels weighty but isn’t too heavy as to be uncomfortable for a handheld mirror. The only downside is that it’s quite small, around the size of Colourpop mirrors. The one I got from Gerard Cosmetics is the current one I use because it’s much bigger in size, which I compared in the photo below. I can be quite clumsy and have already broken five mirrors in my lifetime, so I don’t mind having backups. However, if my Gerard one breaks, I would probably repurchase it because I like how much larger of a mirror surface it has. I know I own plenty of palettes with mirrors, but those are heavier to lift up, or the lid doesn’t stay up in position, or the mirror is just too small for my liking. So, I continue to use hand mirrors and I like collecting pretty ones, even if I barely use the spare ones.
The brushes in the order pictured are Rubor 718, Pomulo Alto 779, Pincel Denso 23, Mini Difumadora 808, Sombra Angular 627, Sombra Plana 24, and Lapiz Fino 523.
Rubor makes for a decent sweeping blush and bronzer brush. I like the density level, but wish it was more of Pomulo’s shape. Pomulo is my kind of blush brush, but it’s not as dense as I like and makes for a sheerer blush application. If I want something this sheer, I’d just use one of my natural hair brushes, so it disappointed me a bit. Pincel is a bit large for my eyes, but I have used it as a highlighting brush. It’s okay for that purpose, but a little odd because of the pointed tip. I’ve also used it to spread out one of my more liquid eye primers and preferred it for that, though I spread the product a bit wider out than anticipated since it’s so big for my eye. Mini Difumadora I’ve also used for highlighter and do like it for that. Sombra Angular I’ve used for eye primer and liked it. Sombra Plana I’ve used as an eyeliner brush, though I would prefer if it came even thinner at the tips for even more precision. I think it’s technically a concealer brush as it’s similar in shape and size to my Smashbox concealer brush that I also don’t use for concealer. Sonia G’s Jumbo Concealer brush is much more my style in shape and thickness. Lapiz Fino is a strange one because it’s shaped like an eyeliner brush, but it’s so thick that I never want to use it for eyeliner and can’t think of any other purpose for that brush either. Maybe spot concealing, but I almost never do that.
Overall, I do think this brush set is worth the currently reduced $35 price. I got one set free in a mystery box, but I did buy another set for my sister who is always afraid to use pretty brushes for fear of messing them up. I got this set specifically for her to “mess up” as much as she wants but she still finds the gold metal outside (I’m guessing full aluminum) and lovely shade of red synthetic bristles to be too pretty.
I’ve only washed these brushes once, but I did not notice any dye seeping out. Just wanted to mention that. However, I wash my brushes with cold or lukewarm water at most.
Before we go, I should post this disclaimer…
*DISCLAIMER: Unhighlighted links in bold blue font (Example) are non-affiliate links that will not generate commission. The vast majority of links on this blog are traditional non-affiliate ones. Links marked in bold black font with a light blue background (Example) are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to get a commission if purchases are made directly using my links. The price of the product is not affected by these links, and anyone who uses them would be supporting this blog. Whether you click to shop through them or not, I appreciate you visiting and I hope you find the information I’ve provided helpful!
That’s everything for today. Thank you for reading!
Joining the Legendary Diversa line from Oden’s Eye, the Perfect World Collection is their new round of Influencer collabs. Makeup Just for Fun and Lauren Mae Beauty are two of the three YouTubers they worked with that I’m subscribed to, but it was only Amanda’s palette that I felt would add something to my collection. I was one of the early purchasers, so I was able to get the faux silk ribbon that came with it.
At the time that I’m writing this, Flora Story is the only one that sold out. It’s being restocked for one final time on March 23rd, so I wanted to make sure I included my first impression thoughts in this Swatchfest post. I also included two eye looks for this palette, as well as Solmane II, which is another palette the brand continues to restock. Cat’s Breath is still available, but I suspect it will be discontinued once sold out, just like the other items in the Freja Collection.
My previous reviews of other Oden’s Eye products can be found listed with links on this page here.
Oden’s Eye + Makeup Just For Fun Flora Story Palette
It’s interesting that the multichrome, Dawn, looks yellow and pink in the arm swatches when it’s purely orange on my eyes. In fact, this multichrome reminds me of Pink Chameleon from the Norn’s palette and Double-Sided from the Hela palette. I love being able to get multichromes from Oden’s Eye at an affordable price, but they tend to look a bit similar to one another.
These mattes are mostly easy to use, but they feel slightly thinner than I’m used to from the brand. They still give decent color payoff despite being soft muted colors, with the exception of Sage that ended up looking quite similar to Clover on my eyes, even though they look completely different in swatches. The issue is that I had a harder time building up Sage to something deep enough for my outer corner. Without being able to build it up more opaquely, there wasn’t as much distinction from Clover which was used first. Perhaps I would have gotten more color payoff if I used Sage first.
I used Orchid first in my second eye look, but I was disappointed that this turned out to be one of those types of purples that have a magenta tinge that when blended out gives me two different tones of purple and makes it look improperly blended or patchy on my eyes no matter how much I build it up. I still managed to create a look that I thought was beautiful, but I covered up some of the patchiness by throwing the shimmer on top. There might be a trick to using purples like these that I just haven’t discovered yet, and I only played with this palette for one day, so perhaps another primer could have also helped the situation.
As for the shimmers, some felt chunkier and wetter than others. Best Buds felt and performed the most like a typical Oden’s Eye shadow, but I was suprised that Misty was not very easy to smooth onto my lids. Despite being thick, it still had some spots I could see my skin beneath. Magnolia was thinner in consistency and didn’t have as opaque of a base either. It also gave me quite a bit of fallout. In using these shimmers, I suddenly remembered the complaints I’d heard about there being too much mineral oil or dimethicone in some of Oden’s Eye’s new single eyeshadows (inconsistently across the range). I’m wondering if they started increasing the amount of it in their formulas with these newer palettes from Christmas last year and onward. How wet it feels and the consistency doesn’t necessarily dictate how it will perform though because Lush was a little thick and wet, but did go on more opaque than the other shimmers.
It could be the case that these shimmers perform exactly the way Amanda intended. I think she prefers building up her shadows and likes color, but not too intense. For that reason, I wouldn’t want to judge this palette as any sign of the direction of Oden’s Eye. I just wanted to compare it to other palettes in the past so one can have an idea of what to expect.
The eyeliner in the Green look is from Melt Cosmetics.
Even though this isn’t my favorite formula, I still like the palette and the shades and it’s not too hard to come up with a pretty look with a little bit of effort. It’s not so much effort as to make me not want to reach for it though, nor consider it bad in any way. It’s very nice, just not on the level of amazing. I can appreciate though that the colorful nature of it, while still being in softer tones, makes it stand out among past palettes from the brand. I was right in thinking it would be something different from the kinds of palettes and color stories I usually get. Plus, the added wetness led to only the tiniest amount of creasing. The amount I consider negligible.
I bought both the Christmas Eve and Merry Christmas Palettes from Oden’s Eye and received two free ornament keychains with my purchase. I was very easily drawn to the Merry Christmas palette because of the greens and how on theme that color scheme is, but the Christmas Eve palette wouldn’t leave my mind. There was something so intriguing about the non-blue shades. I’m still in anti-blue mode, but I can feel that start to dissipate for now. At the time, I still felt it was worth getting the palette for all the other colors. That turned out to be a great decision because it was even more gorgeous in person and Oden’s Eye did not end up restocking these two despite the pleas from customers who I still see three months later asking for a restock on social media.
Christmas Eve Palette
Merry Christmas Palette
I’ve used these holiday palettes every so often since getting them, but mostly in combination with eyeshadows from other brands. That’s why I don’t have many photos of those instances (used on non-testing days). The hype is real on these! I love the shades. I love the performance. The shimmers are so bright and reflective. The mattes are still on the thin side, but blend and build beautifully. I think there are some similarities between these shades and past palettes, but I like having them in one place. I admittedly have only used half of the eyeshadows in both palettes, but so far so good! If other palettes hadn’t taken priority (ones actually available to purchase), I would have used these way more already. I wanted so badly to bring at least the Merry Christmas palette on the trip with me, but I didn’t have room.
Although the brand hasn’t said anything about restocking them, I think it would be smart if they waited until this coming Christmas to bring them back. As much as the demand is for them now, they are still holiday themed palettes, and it would make more sense to return during the actual holidays. As long as they keep the same formula (which does have some chunkier and wetter shimmers like in the Flora Story palette, but they’re at least fully opaque), I would recommend getting one or both.
Solmane II Palette
I only used this palette once so far, just before I left for my trip. In the eye look using the entire bottom row, I had a easy time applying everything until I got to Black Hole. Normally, I tend to love the black eyeshadows from Oden’s Eye (Colourful Black from the Norn’s palette is still one of my favorites to this day, plus I like Complete from the Hela palette), but this one was tougher to blend. I tried to build it carefully and slowly. I could still make it work, but it’s definitely not effortless.
Galaxy was also not the easiest to use either, similar to Orchid from the Flora story palette. However, I was in a rush doing that eye look, so I’m going to give that one another shot in the future. Meteor is more like a topper shadow, but still pretty. I could have used it on its own and been happy with the look, but it also worked to intensify the shine level on top of Hallucinations.
For being nearly pastels, I was impressed with how Soft Cloud and Dream looked on my eyes (more so Soft Cloud because of the opacity). Pastels aren’t the most flattering on me, from my perspective, but I’m interested to see how else I can incorporate these shades in future looks. They look and perform similarly to shades I own from Lethal Cosmetics.
I definitely need to use this palette more before I make up my mind about how I feel. Sometimes it only takes one instance to know, but not this time.
Cat’s Breath Palette
I don’t have any opinions on Cat’s Breath because I haven’t used it on my eyes yet. I just wanted to share the swatches. This palette and Solmane II are the ones I bought during Black Friday because I was attracted to some of the shades, but not all, and I didn’t think buying them at full price would be a good idea for me. Honestly, I wanted Cat’s Breath for the packaging artwork. I mean, how cute is it?
I hope this was helpful, even though it wasn’t a full-on review. As I mentioned in the beginning, I know the restock for Flora Story is coming in a few days, Solmane II was just restocked recently as well, plus a few of the Oden’s Eye singles. This will probably be when a lot of new purchases will be made, but I also wanted to remind the shoppers out there who love a good bargain (like I do) that Oden’s Eye usually has a decent sale during Easter, or at least they usually have some kind of deal like Mystery Boxes. That could mean wanting products from launches two weeks apart with shipping to consider. It would be a risk to wait if you want the Flora Story palette, but I wanted to at least give that reminder about Easter.
For those who may be wondering, I do consider myself a big fan of Oden’s Eye products, but I won’t be buying the individual shadows unless they make some announcement about they having a “new and improved formula,” after the major creasing and fading issues I’ve seen on Instagram. The fact that I’m on another low-buy this year is what saved me from potentially being in the same boat. I’m also disappointed about the lack of transparency about it and them not addressing it despite how many months have passed. Plus, I’ve heard customer service complaints have been ignored, which in my experience had always been good in the past. So, I’m not sure what to make of that situation. I think it’s important that I at least mention it because I don’t want anyone to make purchases without knowing potential issues that may arise with certain products or customer service.