Products I Changed My Mind About (for better or worse)!

If I have a strong negative or positive opinion about something, you can expect that to stay the same. This post will mainly center around the items I had mixed or indifferent feelings about in my reviews, but I’m now definitively on one side.

Dior Backstage Face and Body Powder No Powder

I remember saying that for my personal needs, I wasn’t certain if this powder was worth $40. I initially didn’t notice that much of a blurring effect because if I take my time blending and concealing all my problem areas, the powder doesn’t make much of a difference except adding a flattering sheen. However, it’s when I’ve been in a rush to put on makeup that I have noticed a dramatic difference! The blurring effect is so much more noticeable from blending out harsher lines of bronzer or contour, toning down a blush, adding some life to a look that’s too flat or dry looking. This has saved me so many times from having to restart a makeup look. I’ve grown to love this powder so much and wholeheartedly recommend it now because I think everyone has those moments when we just don’t have time to make things as smooth as possible, which this powder helps with, assuming it works with your skin type.

All foundations eventually settle into the smile line on the right side of my mouth. This powder fills and smooths it over so that you can’t even see it! After several hours it starts to be visible again, but the fact that it can make this dramatic of a difference at all is amazing to me!

The left side of the photo shows my mouth area after six hours of wearing the Becca Dewing Skin Tint as foundation. It had not been set with powder all day. The right half of the photo shows what the area looked like after I applied the Dior Powder-No-Powder to that spot. It completely freshened up the area.

Rituel de Fille

I was already at a disadvantage with this brand because of my sensitivity to lanolin (which so many of their products contain). When I discovered mold growing around the outer rim of one of the Nectar Balms, I decided that I am no longer interested in any products from this brand that are not powder based. That eliminates practically everything they sell. That Nectar Balm was only 8 months old and I only used it a few times. Then 6 of those 8 months it remained clasped shut and inside a resealable pouch. So, I do not trust how the brand preserves ingredients (it’s supposed to last 12 months after opening), on top of the lanolin issue and the waxiness of other products and certain items being overpriced.

Kaleidos Space Age Highlighters

These were on the cusp of me liking them, as having visible glitter particles is not my preference, but they weren’t so sparse for me to stop using them altogether. However, I’ve embraced my highlighter preference as there are so many reflective illuminating smooth products that suit me, so I decluttered all three of them. If the glitter/shimmer in a highlighter isn’t fine enough, I will just not continue to use them. I have decluttered other highlighters that don’t fit my style such as Fenty’s Trophy Wife Killawatt Highlighter and the Oden’s Eye Solmane Palette.

Tarte Shape Tape Ultra Creamy Concealer

Other than this Instagram post, I haven’t shared my finalized thoughts about this concealer until now. Unfortunately, I really do not like it. I decluttered both from my collection. My love of the original Shape Tape runs pretty deep because I practically need Spackle to cover my dark under eye circles. The main downside to Shape Tape is that it can look dry, so the Ultra Creamy version seemed like the perfect remedy. The finish is nice, but it provides way less coverage than the original, creases significantly, and is not long-lasting. The only thing I find similar about them is the packaging. Even the original 53N Deep and Ultra Creamy 53N Deep have different undertones despite them both being labeled neutral. The original leans golden, which I like, but the ultra creamy leans pink.

Mixing the new and original concealers together improves the performance, but the combo is still worse than if I used the original on its own. Even in reviews I watched where people said they liked it, to me, their under eyes did not look as nice as usual. So, I definitely don’t recommend it.

Final Thoughts

It would have been nice to end this post with a list of five products in total, as five is a nice number, but I could only think of these four. There still a few things I haven’t made up my mind about, such as Makeup Geek eyeshadows (which I will officially review at some point this year), and Viseart shadows after being unimpressed by the Dark Mattes Edit Palette in my last Viseart purchase, but I need a bit more time with them in order to decide.

As a sort of honorable mention, I can say that the ELF Instant Lift Brow Pencil has reclaimed the top spot as my favorite brow product over the ELF Ultra Precise Brow Pencil. I liked how thin and easy it was to draw those realistic brow hairs, but I still missed the Instant Lift after I used it up. Then one day, when I went to use the Ultra Precise, I don’t know if it dried out but the whole product just slid right out. It was unusable at that point. I don’t know if it was just a fluke or if that tends to happen with the Ultra precise, but since I loved the Instant Lift anyway (and it’s cheaper and I know I can use up the entire pencil without issue), I decided the Instant Lift deserves the crown and I’m now on brow pencil #2.

That is all for today!

I have one review scheduled for next week, but my consistent return to Monday postings will not begin until September 13th. I hope you all are doing well!

Thank you for reading!


Hindash Beautopsy Palette Review

The idea of having a product that I can customize my shade of powder, blush, bronzer, contour, eyeshadow, etc. all in one palette appeals to the wannabe minimalist in me. I call myself a wannabe because I enjoy having a large beauty collection while simultaneously being overwhelmed by the amount I possess. This is why I love the concept of face palettes, but it’s very uncommon for me to find one where the majority of the makeup in it suits my preferences and needs. I’m curious to see if I will continue to like this palette after prolonged use and continuously mixing shades, but so far I am impressed! There’s pretty much no kickup and if I get a lighter imprint on a deep shade, or vice versa, I can sweep it away with a brush and it’s good as new! Perhaps this is possible because I combine shades by tapping into each color I want; I don’t swirl in one and then swirl my brush into the other.

A palette like this can seem intimidating, and I was initially unsure if I would buy it for that reason. Some aspects were as tricky as I expected and some parts were easier than I thought, almost intuitive. For instance, using Beautopsy for blush is pretty straightforward. Boy, Wonder, Love, and Kills are four easy options for that. Overall, while I wouldn’t go as far as to say beginners wouldn’t like this, I think it would be most enjoyed and utilized by those with an intermediate skill level and above.

Brightening and Setting Powder

For setting under my eyes, I use the leftmost sides of Tan and Feel and rightmost side of Paint with my usual Real Techniques Setting Brush to create a pale yellow-brown. I was shocked when I realized it actually had a blurring effect and made my under-eyes look smoother! Certain concealers of mine don’t play well with powders, but so far the blurring has been a consistent feature to setting under my eyes with the light shades in the palette! The photo below shows what it did to my Tarte Shape Tape and Pat Mcgrath combo (which was not originally set with powder at all). The lines under my eyes are still there, but less pronounced.

If I want to brighten my under eyes, and not just match my skin tone, I can use pretty much any of the four lightest shades without them looking stark because they blend with the concealer. Additionally, there isn’t much difference between them when applied to my skin. On a lighter skin tone, they are distinct enough, but on me they’re all essentially white with the tiniest differences in tone. That being said, they somehow don’t look ashy on me like other pale shades tend to do, but I still try to use the combinations I think make the most sense based on their color descriptions: Lines as a pure white, Tan as a soft tan, Wet as a beige shade, and Paint as a pale yellow.

While I could probably set my whole face with a mixture of Feel and Paint, I wouldn’t want to use a small brush for that task, and I have dry skin anyway, so I don’t always set my full face.
Also, I can technically use this palette to brighten the high points of my face, but I love my shimmery highlighters and I would never be satisfied with using these matte powders to highlight anywhere other than the eye area. So, in a traveling situation, I would probably bring along a separate setting powder, plus my Kaja Play Bento Sculpting Trio for the subtle shimmer highlighter and to have extra variety. The Kaja Bento in Mochamallow was previously the only all-in-one face product I had where I loved and could use every color in it. Beautopsy now joins the ranks of the best suited face palettes in my collection.

Brow Powder and Eyeliner

I’ve spoken before about how any dark eyeshadow can be used as eyeliner and for filling in the brows, so it didn’t surprise me how well Fatum worked for that purpose. I used the darkest part of Fatum as the liner. If I want to wear just a liner and no eyeshadow, this isn’t black enough for my preference. However, when I’m trying to deepen up eyeshadow looks, Fatum is dark enough for that, and quite lovely. Hindash mentioned that you can use Fix+ to transform any of these powders into liners, but I haven’t tried that.
I like to use dark shades, but not black, to fill in my brows. The middle where Intra + Fatum meet is a shade that works for defining the eye, but was too warm of a brown for my liking. So, I switched to using the center of Fatum where it still has a little of the chocolate brown shade but is also dark enough to use in my brows. I messed up a little spot in the front and didn’t notice it in person, but of course the camera picked it up. I was a bit impatient, which is why my brow isn’t perfect, but it also brings up the point that brow pencils are so much faster for me. I know I wouldn’t use this again in my brows, purely for the time factor, but I’m glad I have the option.

For those who prefer a cool-toned dark brown or soft black for their brows, Fatum mixed with Real could probably do the trick. Real + Feel might look nice on blondes and maybe Feel and Love or Feel and Intra for those with red hair, but don’t quote me on that!


For blush, my favorite shades to use on their own are Wonder, which gives me a light but bright pink flush, and Love, which is a reddish-orange. Kills is a bit too deep for my preference to use alone, but I could always use it if I mix it with something lighter. Boy is a wearable peachy-pink for those with a lighter skin tone than mine. It shows on my skin, but I don’t think it’s as flattering on me as Wonder. If I want to give myself a peachy or coral look, I think of creating a different kind of orange with a little pink. So, I dip my brush mainly into Paint and Love with one extra tap of Wonder and buff it into my cheeks. If I want it a little less bright, I add some of the brown from Feel. I try not to mix more than two colors together because it tends not to look as nice on the skin, but this particular combo of 3-4 still works for me.
I’ve enjoyed using my Sonia G Cheek Pro and Wayne Goss The Artist Brush – Large to apply blush, as they aren’t too big for these pan sizes.

The head sizes of my brushes compared to the size of the pans. It’s not a coincidence that my smallest face brushes were all made in Japan.

There are so many combination possibilities! I experimented with some on my arm to give more examples. I put them on my bare arm, but the blend would look much nicer on the face with primer and foundation under them.

Contour and Bronzer

To contour my nose, I can use Feel on its own, but I prefer the look of Feel and Real together to create a proper shadow. I can use pretty much any small brush, but I’ve been liking the Scott Barnes Eye Winger #63 because the unique shape automatically creates a symmetrical line if I contour between the bridge of my nose and my brows. Most of the time I skip contouring my nose, but when I do, I like to keep it as subtle as possible and just add shadow where I need it. For instance, sometimes all I do is add contour powder on either side of the bridge of my nose, just in the middle where there’s no definition. In order to do that though, I definitely cannot use a warm/red toned contour powder, which is often what is available on the dark-deep end of contour shades. I need something cool yet not too dark, which has always been a challenge for me to find.

To contour the rest of my face, I tap my brush into the center where Feel and Real meet. I can use something with a flat top like the Chikuhodo Z-3, but I also prefer a brush with a tapered tip like the Wayne Goss Air Brush, Wayne Goss Artist Large, and Chikuhodo KZ-05.
For bronzer, I use the leftmost sides of Intra and Feel. Sometimes I use just Intra. I’ve tried different brushes, but the Chikuhodo FO-2 is my favorite to bronze with this palette. Since I only use the leftmost sides of the powders for bronzing, I dip the right half of my brush into the powders (without getting anything on the left side), I can apply with that half of the brush and blend out with the half that didn’t get any product on it.
It was a little funny to me when I discovered that the Beautopsy palette wasn’t created with bronzer as much in mind, since Hindash likes to use cream products for that purpose, yet I was able to find a bronzer combination that worked so well for me!

I’ve tested this palette over matte and dewy foundations. When I use them on matte foundations or bare skin, the blend of these powders on the face looks so good! On dewy products, it’s almost as if these don’t want to stick to the skin. It takes longer to blend and the end results looks okay, but not nearly as nice as it looks over a matte one.


I believe Beautopsy is foremost a palette for the eyes, and ironically, this is the one aspect that having only mattes as options isn’t entirely satisfactory to me. It has been quite a few years since I’ve created all matte eyeshadow looks on a regular basis. When doing an all matte look, there is no room to hide, nothing to cover up any mistakes or distract from poor blending the way shimmers can. It is a craft that looks so simple but requires immense skill to perfect. Plus, I just love putting a shimmer on my lids, so if I was on a trip, I would have to bring at least a small magnetic palette of shimmer eyeshadow singles with me.
As much as I admire sultry smoky eyes, I mainly prefer to do colorful eyeshadow looks, or at least to have a neutral crease with a bright color on my lids. This is another reason I would want a supplemental palette.
This also doesn’t give intense payoff right away, and this makes perfect sense for Hindash. As a makeup artist, he would want a product that builds up and blends well. When I say that this doesn’t fully line up to how I like to do my eye makeup, it’s not me saying the palette is bad. It’s just obviously suited for those with a different eyeshadow style than mine. In addition, the buildable nature that I don’t like as eyeshadows is what makes them so fantastic as face powders. Plus, the slow build issue I get is only when I try to use a regular eyeshadow primer underneath. If I use a complexion product as a base, I have no qualms with how long it takes, but more on that in a moment.
Regarding the texture of the shadows, these remind me a bit of Viseart. However, Viseart shadows give a little more pigment per brush stroke, but the Beautopsy powders feel a little silkier. Zea Mays is the second ingredient in the Beautopsy palette, and it does have that cornstarch feeling to the touch, which could account for the added silkiness over Viseart’s shadows.

Preferences aside, my biggest challenge was finding the right base for these powders as eyeshadows. I absolutely hated using the Gerard Cosmetics Clean Canvas. I had to keep making alterations because it wasn’t blending the way I wanted and it took so incredibly long to get it in a state that I thought was presentable. I had to start over again several times. I didn’t have much luck with my tried and true MAC Paint Pot either because it was as though the shadows didn’t want to build on the eye and at one point I switched to my finger to try and pack it on. Usually I only have to do that with shimmers. I got better results when using the Urban Decay primer potion, but surprisingly the best results I’ve had were when I used concealers and foundations as bases! I discovered this first when I used the Tarte Shape Tape and then again when I used the Pat Mcgrath concealer, although that one creased badly when I left it unset for too long. I’ve been using the MAC Foundation Stick as an eyeshadow primer, so I wasn’t as surprised to see that the shadows blended well over it. However, out of all the bases I tried, the best results I’ve had were with the Dermablend Flawless Creator Foundation Drops. Those drops are basically a foundation and concealer hybrid. So, if you have this palette and you’re struggling to use these over eye primers, I recommend using a complexion product as primer instead. This discovery changed my opinion of these as eyeshadows for the better and I’ve enjoyed using them so much more!

One issue I still haven’t resolved is that the shades in the top half of the palette disappear off my eye by the 5-6 hour point. It happened regardless of the base I used. The bottom half of greys, black, browns, and reds lasted 9-10 hours before I ended the wear test. Perhaps this is caused by a difference in how the lighter shades are formulated/the amount of pigment in them. That’s my best guess, although the shadows have the same ingredient list, excluding Love, which is listed separately.

I usually go into details about how I create a look and which shades I used in the eyeshadow portion of my reviews, but I mixed so many things that I lost track.

Looks 1 and 2 are both over the Gerard Cosmetics Clean Canvas.

This look is over the Pat Mcgrath Concealer. It was my attempt to recreate what I was trying to do in Look #1. The shimmer in the bottom half of the photo is Sun Scorched from Terra Moons Cosmetics.

The peach-pink-orange-red ombre look is over the MAC Foundation Stick. The look below it is over a MAC Paint Pot.

The grey look is over the Urban Decay primer potion. The shimmer on the lid in the bottom half of the photo is Helix Nebula from Terra Moons Cosmetics.

I used the Dermablend Flawless Creator Foundation Drops as the base. This shimmer on the lid is called Kamakura #10 from the Viseart Coy palette that I bought as a single shade. This green look was photographed many hours after I first applied it.

I have used eyeshadows as blushes and blushes as eyeshadows in the past. This palette is the first time I’ve ever preferred the secondary usage over the intended one. I was so surprised at how seamlessly these powders worked together as face products. These were not my first choice for eyeshadows until I found the right base, and now I very much like them too. They are of great quality and I foresee myself continuing to use the last 6 shades as the framework for my shimmer lid shadows.

Overall, the formula of these powders are truly special to be able to be as versatile as they are. In Hindash’s launch video, he said it took a couple of years to create this gradient palette. I tend to roll my eyes whenever influencers say that, but in this case I believe him. I can clearly see the labor of love that went into the Beautopsy Palette. I also say this from the perspective of someone who admittedly didn’t know who Hindash was until the release of this palette. I did a little research for the purpose of this review. I respect Hindash’s artistry and the way he and/or his team has been supporting smaller and larger creators equally, even liking my photo of his palette on Instagram. There still isn’t a parasocial relationship there, so I can say from a fully unbiased perspective that this is a great product and I do recommend it. It’s become for me more than just a cool and innovative release. For the past 6 weeks I’ve had it, I’ve used it for at least one purpose every single time I’ve put on my makeup, whether it was to add depth to an eyeshadow look, do a quick nose contour, to set a cream blush, etc. I store most of my makeup in drawers, but I’ve been keeping it in my train case which holds products I use the most often or am trying to pan, because I want the easy access.
Whether the cost is worth it though depends on how often one would utilize something like this for the eyes, face, or both. There are several times I’ve owned something of fantastic quality, but for whatever reason it remained unused. So, that is something that has to be factored into the decision to purchase. I’m glad it worked out for me.

Does this palette interest you? Let me know what you think!


ELF Cosmetics Bite Size Face Duos and More

2014 was the year my obsession with makeup really started, but my history with E.L.F. began in 2011 at the latest. My Aunt bought me one of their Smoky Eye books that had a step-by-step diagram of how to achieve a smokey eye. I don’t believe I used it that often but compared to the chalky eyeshadows I’d been experiencing at the time, I thought it was amazing. This was the period when I was still using sponge tip applicators and I’d never heard of actually blending eyeshadows!  

Elf Cosmetics, and myself, have come a long way since then. They managed to produce some nice quality products at very affordable prices long before Colourpop. Despite having incredible Japanese brushes of the highest quality, I still use some of my ELF brushes that have lasted me years!

But I’ll try to keep this post on the short side for once. I have 4 out of the 8 Bite-Size Face Duos, the newest additions to their line of minis. I also recently purchased another Bite-Size eyeshadow quad, making my total of those 4 out of 8 as well.

At the cost of $3, they’re definitely worth checking out. I recently did a massive MAC blush and highlighter post, so the quality of these duos don’t blow me away when compared to MAC’s formula. However, the color combinations are pretty; they’re lightweight but still decently pigmented, and they blend into the skin nicely without being patchy. I can’t ask for more at this price point. An odd bonus point for me is that I’ll finally have the satisfaction of hitting pan on a blush because the pans are thin and I could definitely get through one eventually.

I will be posting cheek swatches, but because some of the shades are so light, I wanted to show what my bare cheek looks like with just foundation for comparison purposes. I’m wearing the Shiseido Synchro Skin Self-Refreshing foundation with SPF in 440 Amber. In the grey shirt, I have the original ELF poreless primer. In the pink shirt, I’m using the MILK Hydro Grip primer.

Watermelon – This shade is too light for me, and it’s emphasized by the white/silver shimmer in the blush. It looks matte based on website photos, but it’s far from it. I was also disappointed by the highlighter shade, which is a beautiful salmon color in the pan but just comes off icy on my cheeks. I don’t see myself reaching for this one anymore, or even repurposing the blush because of the shimmer. Even though it doesn’t work for me, it would look beautiful on someone of a lighter complexion (especially neutral to pink undertone).

Guava – This is the only matte blush out of the four duos I have. It’s just dark enough for me to be able to wear this, but I think the buildable nature also helps me to pull it off. It looks brighter and more coral in the pan, but that doesn’t translate to my cheeks. In swatches, it looks very similar to Watermelon, but thankfully without the frosty shimmer.

The highlighter in this duo is the most flattering of the four for my complexion. The Guava duo is one I will keep using.

Pomegranate – This is the one duo made for darker complexions. On the day I wore the pink shirt, I wanted to show how sheer the blush could be applied, because I knew it was pigmented enough that I could actually overdo it. In the grey shirt, I used a denser brush for stronger impact with just a few swipes.

Even though this one is better suited for my skintone, it still comes off a little darker than I prefer. So, I’ll continue to use this with either a very light application or by combining it with a lighter blush nearer to/on the apples of my cheeks.

Coconut – This shade is a little harder to blend than the others, but the formula feels slightly creamier and less powdery (satin finish). I believe this shade was actually intended to be more of a bronzer shade for light-medium skin tones, rather than a blush for tan, dark, or deep complexions, but I decided to try it as a blush anyway. It reminds me a bit of the Format shade from MAC. I like this one, but I’d love it if it had a slightly reddish tone. I’ve worn this shade the most so far, but since I already own a similar shade that I like better (Format), if I continue to use it, I would use it as a blush topper over blushes with some red in it. For example, I’ve worn it with MAC’s Burnt Pepper shade to tone it down a bit, and it looked pretty nice once I was able to blend it in properly, which took a while. I haven’t decided if it’s really worth it trying to use up or not. TBD.

For some reason, the highlighter formula in this duo is different from the others. The glitter is much chunkier, and I’ve never liked sparkly highlighters. It’s a shame because gold is my most loved shade of highlighter among any brand. I was really looking forward to this one until I saw the texture in person.

Berry Bad – In my pictures wearing a grey shirt, I wore the lightest and darkest shades in this palette. The lightest one doesn’t show up on me. It’s a buildable shade but still not opaque enough. The second shade is a more metallic formula compared to the rosy shimmer in the third pan. When I put the two next to each other on my lids in the photo below, I could barely see a difference in person, let alone on camera. And the combination of textures when I applied both shades with a wet brush looked odd and did not blend together seamlessly, so I reapplied the rosy third shade with my finger all over the lid to get that original dull dry texture back. Then I applied the metallic shade wet to the lower lash line so I could still show it in this look, although dampening that shade made it look reddish copper instead of orange copper. In my crease, I have the darkest shade. Basically, the last two in the quad are the most pigmented, but still look very light.

For now, I like it enough to keep using the last three shades. It’s still better than the Acai palette, but not as good as the Jalapeño or Truffle. I’ve discussed the other three mini palettes in this post if you’re interested in seeing more about them.

ELF’s Instant Lift Brow Pencil was in my favorite products from 2019 post, and I still love it and have continued to use it consistently since then. I recently bought the Ultra Precise Brow Pencil with my ELF website order because Ulta only sells the 4 lightest shades.

The Instant Lift Brow is 0.006 oz. Not only is the Ultra Precise Brow Pencil much smaller in packaging size, it actually contains a third of the product at 0.002 oz. What I love about the Instant Lift is how creamy it is, though that also means it only stays put as long as you don’t accidentally rub your brows. The Ultra Precise Brow is a bit stiffer, as is necessary to maintain the precision, but it’s not as stiff as all the other brow pencils I’ve used. It’s also not quite as easy to remove.

Both shades are in Dark Brown. The Instant Lift is $2 whereas the Ultra Precise is $5. Despite the Ultra Brow being more expensive for less product, I never go through my brow products before having to toss them, so I think I will continue purchasing the Ultra Brow in the future because I really enjoy how sharp I can make my brows look! That being said, I still love the Instant Lift and will continue to use it up until it’s finished or it’s time to throw it out.

The original Poreless Putty Primer has been touted as the dupe for Tatcha’s Silk Canvas primer, but I can tell the difference. The ELF primer is more emollient and actually easier to blend into the skin than the Tatcha primer. On the smooth areas of my face, they perform similarly. However, my favorite place to put the Tatcha primer is under my eyes, because I noticed it helps my Tarte Shape Tape to look a little less dry and minimizes the look of creases under my eyes. They’re still obviously there, but when I tried to ELF primer under my eyes, within hours they drew attention to them in the worst way. It made the concealer slide away in some spots and gather up in the creases instead. It basically looked worse than if I’d used no primer at all with Shape Tape. I can still recommend this primer (and I will still use it) on the rest of my face, as it worked nicely everywhere except the under eyes.

I think the original is a great option, but I absolutely hate the Luminous Putty Primer. At the time I bought it, I didn’t realize the luminosity was due to shimmer particles; that it would leave visible glitter specks randomly dotted all over my face, even under the foundation, and look like I had glitter fallout from eyeshadow before even doing my eye makeup.

The Putty Eye Primer that I own is in the shade Sand. These eye primers are often compared to the MAC paint pots. It does feel similar straight from the eyeshadow pot, but as it’s applied to the eyes and dries down, it takes on a very stiff texture that is similar to the feel of the ABH eye primer. MAC paint pots stay a little more creamy on the skin.

I enjoyed the Putty Eye primer for about four months until my eyeshadows were no longer sticking to my lids as well when I used this product. The formula became drier over time and a week after I started writing this, I checked again and it’s even drier than before. I no longer have the original box to confirm, but I believe it has a 6 month or less period after opening suggestion. Some products perform well for much longer than the PAO number, but this one didn’t. There are youtubers I admire who like this product (though the videos were first impressions while the pots were still fresh), but I don’t think it’s worth getting when there are other brands who make affordable eye primers too which last longer.

Lastly, I have the Deep Chestnut shade of the 16HR and Hydrating Camo concealers, yet they look like different shades. The original camo concealer has an olive undertone, but the hydrating version is lighter with a very yellow undertone. This difference in color was also noted by Samantha March who wears a very different shade than me, yet still encountered this issue. When you look at the consistency of both concealers, the hydrating one does look more fluid and has a creamier feel under my eyes when it’s freshly applied. After it sets, it continues to look dewy but it feels just as dry as the original. This doesn’t seem to be the case for everyone, but it is for me. I was hoping at least one of them could be an inexpensive replacement for my Tarte Shape Tape, but I can’t find a color to suit me.

In addition, these concealers also have the problem of not lasting as long. Granted, they lasted longer than the PAO date, but still quicker than any other concealer I’ve purchased. The 16HR Camo concealer has spots where the color is starting to separate in the tube. The Hydrating Camo concealer, which I’ve had an even shorter time, is definitely separating. I only used it perhaps five times in the seven months I’ve owned it, so I can’t even say it’s due to overexposure of oxygen from opening and closing the tube. Even if they did last longer, I don’t like the formula of the hydrating one anyway. I do prefer the original, but the shades and undertones in the range are a bit strange to me. I will be tossing them both out, but I at least showed swatches in the gallery further up in the post, even though I didn’t demonstrate them under my eyes.

That concludes this post! I hope it has been helpful. Thank you for reading!


Products I Loved in 2019

Happy New Year!

In 2018, I spent an all-time low on beauty products. In 2019 (despite my lack of blog posts) I spent a record high! While I have enjoyed my purchases, there are very few that obtained holy grail status for me. And despite eyeshadows being my favorite type of cosmetics purchase… shockingly none made my list! Here are the winners in no particular order:

Nabla Skin Glazing Highlighter

The light gold is Amnesia. The bronze shade is Lucent Jungle.

I initially had a bad first impression of this highlighter because I used a brush that had bristles too soft and fluffy to pick up the product. Once I switched to my Wayne Goss ones (the Air Brush and Fan Brush #15) they both did the trick! If you get this, just keep in mind that it is pressed a little harder in the pan than many other highlighters.
I love that the shine stands out when the light hits it, but it is otherwise on the natural side. I prefer having a wet look (which this gives) or a lit-from-within type of glow over a highlighter that’s too glittery.
I even love this more than my Guerlain meteorites (especially the 2019 holiday release)!

Photos using the Nabla Highlighter in the shade Amnesia

NARS Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder

The one downside to this powder is that I use it mainly to set my concealer, which can be a bit wet, which is creating some hardpan on the surface. After several months of use, though, it still hasn’t reached the point of the hardpan portion needing to be scraped off.

The new shade Sunstone

I loved the original Nars translucent loose powder because I genuinely could see a difference in my photos when I used it or not. My foundation looked more smoothed out in pictures. However, I stopped using it because it was just slightly too white, creating a bit of white cast. Thankfully, this shade doesn’t have that issue! I even prefer this over my previously holy grail status Laura Mercier Translucent Powder in Medium Deep, mainly because that one can still cause a cast with flash on if I’m too heavy-handed with it. And the shade is just a tad too dark. However, Sunstone is perfect for me!

Nyx Sweet Cheeks Creamy Powder Blush (Matte)

The shade Bang Bang looks the best on my complexion. I use it alone or sometimes mix it with Red Riot. I find that the other blushes are too light and only purchased them because the photos looked much darker on Ulta’s website. Thankfully, I bought them on sale so it wasn’t too much of a monetary loss. Ever since I purchased this line of Nyx Blushes, in August, I have used these almost exclusively because they are buildable (within reason of skintone) and blendable. Plus the price is fantastic for blushes of this quality!

Fenty Beauty Match Stix Matte Skinstick

The shade Espresso

I think this was a 2018 release, but I finally bought it this year and love it! It blends so well and stays put, although it’s not transfer-proof. It’s also incredibly hard to find something dark enough to contour with (that’s also not too red). I always use this for jaw contouring because I don’t seem to have a knack for blending out powders well enough along my jaw.

Half the time I use the Fenty stick to contour my cheeks as well, but the applicator is too big for my nose and looks off in color there, so I stick to powder products for my nose. If I run out, I will definitely purchase another. This product is a must-have for me!

Benefit Cosmetics Hoola Matte Bronzing Powder

Just like with contouring, it isn’t easy to find a bronzer deep enough for me to use. Others I’ve purchased didn’t do anything for me. However, I was curious to try this product and I could finally see a difference! I like the way it warms up the edges of my face. I still believe it is a product that isn’t necessary for me, but it adds that extra oomph when I want to do a full glam look.
Toasted is the shade that suits me best. The second darkest one is Caramel which is far too light for me. It wasn’t that long ago that Benefit expanded their range from 1 to 4 bronzers, but the leap between Caramel and Toasted is so big that I hope they expand the range further this year.

ELF Instant Lift Brow Pencil

Deep Brown (the darkest shade currently available)

I am in utter disbelief that this brow pencil only costs $2. It’s super soft, easy to use, and easy to wipe away with my finger if I’m rushing and make a mistake. That same benefit is also a downside because it can smudge if you rub it. However, I tested it with water and it holds on well, as long as it remains untouched.
I’ve been using this for several months and haven’t had any issues with it yet. At the same time, I’ve admittedly not worn it during the Summer yet. I will update this post if any issues arise!

House of Lashes Iconic Lite Lashes

False lashes have been a struggle for me to use for years! They still aren’t easy for me, but I’ve finally gotten a better handle on them in 2019. I’ve also realized that my particular eye shape makes things more difficult. My upper lashline is very rounded and few lash bands can accommodate such a high arch. My eyes don’t look wide compared to my wide face, but they are still wider than the average person’s eyes. It’s very common for someone to need to cut the lashes shorter, whereas Ardell lashes and many others are actually too short from the start. Eyelure and House of Lashes are the top brands that make styles for my eye shape. The Iconic Lite, in particular, is the most flattering pair I own. They’re gorgeous, fluffy, not too heavy (the regular Iconic lash is too dramatic for my taste). The band is average (not flimsy or too thick). And I’ve seen these go on sale quite often. Minimum of 30% but I stocked up when Ulta had them at 50% off just two weeks ago.

Please excuse the sticky mess on the used lashes. They were never the same once I used Huda Beauty’s new Tacky Lash Glue on them. That glue is amazing until you get it on anything other than skin. It’s like removing tar. Anyway, my used pair finally lost its shape after at least 15 uses. I’ve used it on and off since October 2018 (I only wear lashes for photos and not everyday use). This is on par with the amount that House of Lashes advertises on their website, although Ulta has it set much lower.

Top paragraph block from Ulta’s site. The bottom is from the House of Lashes website.

As can also be seen in the lash photo, because they are handmade, every pair of HOL lashes look a bit different. Some are fluffier than others. Some fan out a little wider. Some are a little longer. In most cases, this is fine. The multiple boxes of Iconic Lites I have are similar enough to not notice. But I did get a pair (used in the photo below) that were shorter than the others and the two different length layers were a little separated. It looks fine from far away but between my real lashes and the separated double layer, it makes this particular pair obvious that I’m wearing falsies. The point of the Lite range is supposed to be less drama and a little more natural, so if you can buy HOL in store, I’d recommend that over purchasing them blindly online.

Honorable Mentions

Left Flash. Right no Flash. Both were taken in different rooms with different lighting.

In the photo above, I’m using all of my favorite products mentioned in this post. If I had to choose a favorite from other categories such as mascara, foundation, etc. the products I used could be considered my honorable mentions as they are my current favorites:
Face Primer(s) – Guerlain L’Or Primer in areas I contour. Tatcha Silk Canvas elsewhere
Eye Primer – Mac Paint Pot in Groundwork
Foundation – Nars Sheer Glow in Macao
Concealer – Tarte Shape Tape in Deep
*Eyeshadow – Sydney Grace Multi-Chrome Cream Eyeshadow in Alexandrite on the lid. Fenty Snap Palettes #6 and #8 elsewhere. These are new products I’m testing and not part of the honorable mentions. I’m shocked to say the palette I used most this year was the Morphe Jaclyn Hill 35 pan palette. Followed by Colourpop’s As You Like It palette.
Mascara – Loreal Lash Paradise
Eyeliner(s) – Nyx Matte Liquid Liner on the lash line. Milk Long Wear Gel Liner in Boss on the waterline of the inner corner of my eyes
Other Contour – Mixture of Colourpop Pressed Eyeshadow in Cloud Nine and ABH Contour Powder in Carob
Lip Product(s) – Nars Satin Lip Pencil in Rikugien and Fenty Gloss Bomb in Fenty Glow

Thanks for reading and I wish you an amazing 2020!
– Lili ❤

Beautylish Lucky Bag 2016


Beautylish is an online retailer which I use to purchase from overseas brands like Wayne Goss and Chikuhodo. They have an annual grab bag where you spend a specified amount of money and receive full size items worth an even greater retail value. This year, the bags were $80 ($75 plus $5 shipping) with the promise of at least $150 worth of products. Canadians had an extra duties fee, making their total $95.

If you hadn’t heard about these bags, I would not be surprised. It never made the front page of their website. On Dec 22nd, Beautylish’s email subscribers were sent a link to sign up for early access. I am subscribed under two different emails, and ironically it was the account I did not sign up on which was sent the purchase page link. I was informed by a few other beauty lovers that they did not receive the email either.


$80 is a lot of money to spend blindly on beauty products. It may not work with the buyer’s complexion or skin type. They could get products they don’t use or products they already own. I keep a list of items I’m saving money to purchase. So I had to decide whether or not I would be happier just buying a Viseart palette outright, or two $40 items I’m guaranteed to enjoy. I compared the Lucky Bags from 2015 and instead of a random sampling, last year’s participants had to choose between a Natural, Bold, or Makeup Artist themed bag. With the exception of the MUA bag (the first to be sold out), I was not impressed with what I saw. However, Beautylish is a company that strives to make their customers happy and I was willing to bet the 2016 edition would be much better.


BL1bBenjabelle Tulip Brush Tree

bl3bbl3cbl3Price: $24.95

Last year, I bought myself a brush tree dupe from Walmart and since then I’d been considering getting a second one. Now, I don’t have to and it’s such a cute shape! Drying brushes flat on their side is good but I find that hanging them upside down works best.bl3d

Charlotte Tilbury LTE Luxury Palette in Fallen Angel

bl8bl8b2Price: $65

I’ve been itching to try Charlotte Tilbury products but the price deterred me. I’m always looking for deals and CT is a brand I only see at full price. The other Luxury Palettes are $52, but because this one has limited edition shades and packaging, it’s even pricier. I only received my bag two days ago, so I would like to play with these shadows longer before I make a judgment but I really like them. The colors are beautiful but I would have to pair them with another palette if I wanted to create a look that really pops.


The lightest color is under the brow and on the inner corner. The lid is a mixture of both lighter colors. The brown shade is in the crease and I added a touch of black on the outer corner.

CTeyescI love this shimmery neutral look!

Kevyn Aucoin The Creamy Glow in Patrice

bl6bl6bPrice: $26

A huge percentage of buyers received either a KA blush or bronzer. I don’t wear bronzer so I feel lucky that I got a blush. Patrice appears to be the only shade in the collection that I could pull off, so I was relieved to see that one in my bag. I am a fan of the KA brand so this was another hit for me. The way it blends reminds me of the Make Up For Ever HD blushes, but I do think I prefer MUFE’s over this one. It is still nice though.

bl6cIt Cosmetics Universal Brow Pencil

bl7bl7bPrice: $24

Again, I was glad to see this over the mascara option because I have a box full of unopened mascaras but I only own one brow product. This twist-up pencil is supposed to work for everyone. It is a cool toned shade that creates a shadow under the hair which makes the brows appear filled without adding additional color. At least that’s been the result for me.bl7cI consider myself a brow beginner so this product is actually perfect for me. I wasn’t as precise as I could have been when testing this out, but it takes a lot of effort to overdo it haha. I can see myself using this for everyday looks!

Becca Ever-Matte Poreless Priming Perfector

bl5Price: $36

I’ll reserve this primer as something to gift a friend. I have heard great things about this product for those with combination/oily skin. Because mine is dry, I can achieve and keep a matte face quite easily. Testing this out myself would be a waste so I’m keeping this unopened.

Bioderma Sébium H2O

BL2Price: $6.95

This is a stock photo from the beautylish website. The one I received is bubble-wrapped and I’m keeping it that way for a friend who could use this. I love Bioderma and already have 1.25 liters worth of the Sensibio version, so it would be a waste for me to try out this one.


Based on what I have seen on Instagram #luckybag2016 I’ve compiled this list. It is not 100% comprehensive as I’m sure I missed a few.

Bioderma: Sensibio and Sebium

It Cosmetics: Universal brow, Mascara, Pores no More

Becca: Backlight Primer, Ever-Matte, The One Perfecting Brush, Undereye concealer, Shimmering Skin Perfectors (Pressed, Poured, Liquid), Ombre Eyes Palette

Kevyn Aucoin: Blush, Bronzer, Eye Pigment

Charlotte Tilbury: Eyeshadow Palettes, Lip Pouch, Filmstar (Bronze & Glow and Killer Cheekbones), Charlotte Tilbury x Norman Parkinson Items

Benjabelle: Brush Tree

Beautylish Gift Cards: $20

Wayne Goss: 05 Brush, Brow Set

Chikuhodo: Sakura Set (VERY FEW)

Natasha Denona: Eyeshadow Palettes

TooFaced: Eyeshadow Palettes (Natural Eyes, Sugar Pop, Chocolate Bar, Boudoir Eyes)

Viseart: All Eyeshadow Palettes

rms: lip2cheek, eyeshadow

Glamglow: cleansers and treatments

Nudestix: (something in a case)

By Terry: Gold Baume de Rose Parure

Bliss: Lean Machine (VERY FEW), hand cream, spray, cleansing milk, 15-minute facial, cooling gel

Sugarpill: False Lashes

Jeffrey Star: Lip Scrubs, Velour Liquid Lipsticks

Korres: Lip Butter, Black Pine cream, Sleeping Facial

Anastasia Beverly Hills: Self Made Palette


blgbsmallerBeautylish sent out prestigiously branded, high quality items. Many of them are best sellers! The total retail price of my bag is $182.90 but it is only as valuable as the products I can actually use. Since my favorite items would have cost $140, the $60 savings is something I am extremely happy with! That being said, I’m not sure if I will take the gamble in 2017. The number of items I saw on Instagram which I already have made me feel like it was pure luck I got products I’ve never owned. If I had a guarantee that my account profile photo would ensure that I don’t get complexion products too light for me or bronzers I couldn’t use, then I would sign up in a heartbeat!

But let’s be real…the lure of potentially getting another fantastic bag will make me participate again next year. 🙂

❤ Lili