One Size, Terra Moons, and Other April Purchases Reviewed

Welcome to my fourth low-buy check-in! This month’s three biggest hauls were due to Sephora’s Spring Savings Sale, me redeeming my points at Ulta for $125 worth of products, and the weakening of the YEN compared to USD enticing me to make several purchases from CDJapan and and Fude Japan. Most of these products were reviewed in posts prior to this one, and will be linked to open in a new browser tab, but there are still plenty to review for the first time here today.

SEPHORA COLLECTION Microsmooth Multi-Tasking Baked Face Palette in Captivate

This is allowed in the Low-Buy under the face product category. I am so glad I finally bought this because it makes for a fantastic travel palette! There are two versions available from Sephora and I heard wonderful things about the deeper palette called Captivate, but baked products can sometimes look lighter than they would appear on the skin, so I wasn’t certain this would work for me until I had help on this topic from Beauty Blogger, Nikki.

The bronzer is a fantastic shade for me in terms of both depth and undertone! Despite being a matte product, it leaves a beautiful natural finish and is very quick and easy to blend. I’m really impressed with it! The matte blush is one of my favorite type of red tones that reminds me of MAC’s Mineralize Blush in the shade Flirting With Danger. It can be built up to look intense, but I prefer to wear a very light application of it on my cheeks.

The shimmer blush is on the subtle side, but I still get a noticeable flush of color. It’s like a slightly lighter shimmer version of the matte shade in the palette. If I had to choose my favorite, it would be the matte one, but I still wear both. As for the highlighter, it’s not the most finely milled, but it’s still very pretty and if I chose to use this palette for the blushes or bronzers, I wouldn’t feel the need to reach for a separate single highlighter. I would just use the one in here.

The longest wear test I’ve had with this face palette is ten or eleven hours and only the shimmer shade started to fade at the end of the day, but I consider that to be a good result. The others remain looking nice until I’m ready to remove them.

While I was on a trip in April, I actually forgot to bring an eyeshadow palette, so I relied on Shade 3 for depth in the crease and Shade 1 was my lid shade. Considering I got this already relatively affordable palette for 30% off, I am very impressed and happy with the quality and have no issues recommending this palette.

SEPHORA COLLECTION 2-in-1 Brush-on Lash Adhesive – This was definitely supposed to be a No-Buy, but it had been on my list for a long time and when all Sephora Collection products were 30% off during the Sephora Spring Sale, I chose to buy it anyway.

I’m sorry that I don’t have an actual review for this item. For all these months, I have tried to get myself to test this out, but I just don’t want to. I haven’t been feeling like wearing false lashes in a long time and I really don’t want to open this product and start that timer ticking on how long it will last unless I’m ready to start wearing false lashes regularly again, or else this truly will be a wasted purchase. This was holding up my ability to get this post out, so I decided to just explain why there’s no review for this one and to publish it. When I eventually do, I will edit this post.

Patrick Ta Major Sculpt Contour Brush

It’s a bit ironic that in my post about “Synthetic Brushes I Bought in 2021,” I mentioned that despite liking some of the ones I bought, I didn’t plan on getting any additional ones, yet for the Sephora Spring Sale, I couldn’t help myself and got it after enjoying the Patrick Ta Blush Brush so much. This one is the perfect softness, head shape, and the bristles are packed at the right density to accomplish a fantastic sculpt that isn’t too sheer or too sharp. It’s the right balance of showing the product while also being nicely blended.

I love this brush so much for use with both my powder and cream bronzers and contours, that I was able to skip getting the Sonia G Lotus Base brush when that one was no longer tied to the full set. Being satisfied with a brush so much that I feel I can skip getting a similar Japanese version is a huge deal and shows just how highly I value this one from Patrick Ta.

Even though the Sonia G Mini Base is still my preference for cream bronzing and contouring, if the cream product is too sheer or too close to my skin tone and needs to be applied at maximum pigmentation, the Patrick Ta brush is my top choice. It’s also my favorite for powder formulas that need building up.

One/Size Cheek Clapper 3D Blush Trio Palette in Freaky Peach

I love this product so much! This is an all blush trio palette in three different finishes, but even though I can only use the shimmer one as a highlighter, I’m not counting it as a face palette. As a blush product, I was supposed to be limited on how many I buy this year, and I was also not supposed to purchase anything from new brands. This is my first ever One/Size purchase and it’s so great that I can’t regret it.

The peachy-coral cream blush, Rump Shake, is a very interesting texture. The closest I can compare it to in terms of formula is the LYS cream blushes. This reminds me more of a silicone balm than a traditional creamy emollient formula. It’s is very pigmented, blends easily on the cheeks no matter what type of tool I used to apply it with, it leaves a healthy sheen but it’s not dewy or sticky on the skin. Freaky is the name of the matte blush and it looks far too light for me in the pan, but One/Size face color powders deepen on the skin. So, it’s actually a medium toned shade of peach that is pigmented, yet buildable. I only need one dip in the pan though if I want to layer it on top of Rump Shake. I should also mention that tougher bristles can lead to a lot of kickup in the pan, so I use my softer natural hair brushes with the powder blush, and that also helps me to not overapply. I can’t emphasize enough that the cream and powder are quite pigmented, and me being able to use them both individually despite there being just one trio lighter than this one is proof of that. Whiplash is the shimmery golden peach blush topper/highlighter in this trio. It’s too shimmery for my taste as a blush topper, so I use it exclusively on top of my cheekbones. It’s a beautiful color, but unlike the other two products which give me zero issues with longevity, this one doesn’t want to stick to my skin for more than four hours. It lasts a few hours longer if I use it with a dewier foundation or wetter type of cream product, but six hours is around the time that the shine of the shimmer particles dulls down. So, for days I need my highlighter to last, I reach for something else. Considering I still have two other faultless products in this trio and the third is still usable, I’m very happy with this purchase and I do recommend giving this a try. For a long time, I was really tempted to buy additional shades, but I like the fact that each of these colors are distinctly different. Most of the other Cheek Clapper options are intended for monochromatic looks, and while I can still see the value in that, I feel like I’m getting more bang for my buck if I have different colors over different formulas. The cream blush isn’t the type I’d be afraid to wear in summer because it’s a little stiffer (as opposed to being super emollient) and the effect on my cheek isn’t that far from a matte look, which makes it not that much different of an effect as the powder blush. So, if I had the Rich Betch trio where the cream and powder look nearly identical, I would feel like I got a duplicate product. This is the only reason, other than my low-buy, that I haven’t purchased the two other Cheek Clappers that held my interest.

Tarte Sea Power Flex Concealer (Mini) in 53S Deep Sand

I bought this when Tina (The Fancy Face) raved about it in several of her YouTube videos. Even though concealers are allowed to be purchased in my low-buy, I didn’t want to take the chance of wasting a product if I didn’t like it, so I just bought the mini. That turned out to be a good decision because I hate this product. The shape of my tear troughs is such that products that are too creamy don’t stay put in the lines of my under eyes, so the concealer moves, creases, or does both even when set into place with powder. Because I have almost the opposite issue with Tarte’s Shape Tape, I didn’t expect their Power Flex to be a creamy intensely creasing product on me. The finish of it at least looks pretty and hydrated, but the negatives outweigh the positives.

The biggest issue I have with this product is that it offers medium buildable coverage, but I cannot get the maximum full opacity I need. The shade match is perfect, but my dark circles are still visible underneath even when I use 3 times the amount of my normal concealers. The Power Sea Flex is marketed as being full coverage, but the fact that it isn’t is reason enough to be unwearable for me. Unfortunately, I can’t even use it in other areas of my face because it doesn’t do a good enough job concealing my hyperpigmentation and scars.

This situation is very specific to me because many people don’t have the intensity of skin discoloration as I do, nor the amount of lines. So, those who have youthful and moderately blemished skin could find themselves loving this product.

Ellis Brooklyn Scent Diary Fragrance Discovery Set – It has been ages since I purchased anything perfume related! I’m unofficially on a no-buy with fragrances, but I can’t regret getting this since I rarely buy full-sizes anymore. I also hadn’t done a perfume post since 2015, so I decided to make one dedicated to this and other perfume samples that can be found HERE.

Sol de Janeiro Beija Flor Elasti-Cream with Collagen and Squalane (Travel Size)

After experiencing the terribly smelling Bom Dia Bright cream that the brand previously released (mine smelled like potent olives instead of plums), I was too skeptical to purchase a full size of the Beija Flor even though the product claims sounded fantastic. The smell of this is at least pleasant, but a bit strong. It’s not surprising that parfum is listed as the third ingredient. I don’t know how to describe the scent, but it has been hyped up a lot by people on social media saying it smells like Baccarat Rouge 540. I’ve never smelled that fragrance myself, so I cannot confirm or deny if this is true.

The texture of this is very thick, yet it doesn’t feel as moisturizing as my other skincare products. It’s at least occlusive, so I like that it prevents my skin from drying out further. I haven’t noticed any other benefits when used on my body, like the advertised skin firming and cell turnover, but I still intend to use this up. I prefer the moisturization level of the brand’s Coco Cabana Cream, so perhaps I can apply that first and this new one after to seal it in. I believe I left my Coco Cabana in Germany, so unfortunately I cannot test out that combination anytime soon.

Farmacy 10% Waterless Vitamin C Serum

I was pretty shocked when I found this serum for such a low price on Mercari literally days after it launched at Sephora. Then again, this is one of those products that were sent to quite a lot of people in exchange for a review, so someone was bound to not want theirs.
I’m on a skincare low-buy, but I’ve been on the hunt for a good Vitamin C serum with a stable formula that will last longer than six months after opening. I believe that this has an airless pump mechanism and there are two holes under the bottle that support my theory. If it is indeed an airless pump, combined with the waterless formula, I anticipated that this could limit the issue I have of Vitamin C serums oxidizing and losing their efficacy before I can finish them.

The consistency of this is very runny and feels greasy initially, but this is also an oil-free formula. The brand says that propanediol ingredient is the reason it feels this way, but it does dry down on the skin after a few minutes and is no longer greasy, but I am left with a tiny bit of residue on the face. If my skin is especially dry, I don’t feel anything at all. Ultimately, this doesn’t matter since I put a moisturizer and other products on top afterwards anyway.

When I apply it to my skin, it instantly has a warming sensation. The first time I used it, my face was approaching almost burning level, but that only lasted a few minutes. It has never been hot like that again, and just continues to have a mild to moderate amount of warmth in the first minute that I apply it.
General skincare advice for Vitamin C usage and other acids is to start small, like around 5% depending on what the active ingredient is, and gradually increasing it over time as needed. I hadn’t used a potent version of Vitamin C in a while, but it was still in my routine enough that I didn’t expect to get a burning sensation from just 10% of L-ascorbic acid. So, just as a reminder, this could potentially be too strong for someone new to using Vitamin C or with sensitive skin, and consider how often you may be using other acids in your routine as well.

This serum with its additional ingredients are intended to brighten and even the skin, combat dark spots and hyperpigmentation, and keep it hydrated. I use this in cycles, so it’s hard to tell how much this serum alone is contributing. The two other products I rotate through have been giving me slight gradual improvements over time and adding this one to that cycle has not given a noticeable boost above the norm. So, there are three possibilities I can think of:

  • The serum is as effective as my current products, not better or worse.
  • The serum isn’t contributing at all and the benefits to my skin are from the other products I’m using.
  • The serum could be more effective, but I don’t use it consistently enough.

I’m going to play the long game on this one and just continue to use it the way I have been and if I run out of the product and I notice its absence, I will consider repurchasing it at that time. However, based on past experience, I just don’t think Vitamin C is that effective for me. I get better results from AHA’s like the Farmacy Honeymoon Glow AHA Resurfacing Night Serum. Even that hasn’t rid me completely of my hyperpigmentation, but it noticeably faded those areas and the smile line that gives me trouble isn’t quite as deep as before. I’ve been relying on AHAs and BHAs well over a year, and in a cycle, so it’s not a fast process. I had improvements right away within the first week, two weeks, and then month, but after that achieving anything further has been a very slow process as adhering to a consistent skincare routine has never been my strong suit.

Lastly, as shown in the photo at the top, this product “leaks” in the sense that it always has the tiniest of droplets around the pump when I open it, even if I wipe it down along with the cap after using it. The droplets are so minimal in size that it doesn’t bother me much and I don’t consider the amount enough to feel like I’m losing product. However, I’ve seen some photos online of other people having a more significant leaking problem than me. I always keep mine stored upright, so perhaps this is why I don’t have as much of an issue as others do. I recommend avoiding putting this in a bag, flat in a drawer, and don’t take this traveling.

Dior Backstage Glow Face Palette in 002 Glitz

I really should not have bought this, breaking my highlighter no-buy aside, because I heard these highlighters would be sparkly and I don’t like visible glitter specks in my highlighters. So, I can’t explain why I was so determined to buy it.

This was yet another Mercari purchase. I make it a point not to review products I’ve purchased from a third-party if I purchased them too long from the launch date to be assured of its authenticity, but I also wanted to show what I purchased in April for low-buy purposes. So, I guess take this particular section with a grain of salt. I do believe this is the real quad, especially with that typical Dior scent these have. Below is how the shades look on me.

The highlighter named Peach is the only one without glitter that I would call a true shimmer shade, but unfortunately it’s too light for me. Because Bronze is closest to my skin tone, the glitter isn’t as obvious as the others. I didn’t have any issues with wear time or fading, but this palette isn’t for me and I may eventually declutter it.

Florasis Floral Engraving Odey Makeup Palette (The Encounter)

I forgot this wasn’t even the Florasis palette I wanted (the Floral Engraving Phoenix). I was just so excited to be able to grab a completely unused and untouched one of their stunning looking palettes at a reduced cost off of Mercari. You know a brand is doing well when people want to make dupes, but I was still surprised to come across one such dupe on Amazon. In any case, I am happy with the results of this palette but I wish the blue shade wasn’t in this because it contains PET (plastic glitter) which isn’t safe to use in the eye area. I also don’t think anyone wants to see glass listed as an ingredient in their makeup.

The “glass” probably refers to “glass microspheres” which are apparently so tiny that they aren’t dangerous. However, there is still PET, so I have chosen not to use or even swatch that blue shade. Also, I can only guess that the numbers start from left to right and top to bottom. Not all countries have writing in that direction, but I assume this is the same as English.

Florasis is a Chinese brand, so I can’t help but compare them to Zeesea. This palette is made of cardboard, but Florasis typically has very luxurious packaging, similar to Zeesea. However, Zeesea doesn’t currently have eye shadow palettes with as intricate of pan embossings as the ones from Florasis. This price point of Florasis products are also much higher.

The website states that this palette is mutli-functional and the formula of the shadows certainly contributes to that. It’s listed as a powder formula, but they feel like a matte lipstick to the touch; like a stiff cream essentially. Applying with a brush was tricky because it wants to stick and dry to the bristles.

So far, I’ve stuck to my rate of two eyeshadow palettes per month so I adhered to my low-buy with this purchase (even though I said I wouldn’t buy from brands that are new to me this year). In addition, some of these eye shadows can be used for contouring, blush, and highlight, so it counts as a face palette too.

I haven’t touched this palette since I completed my initial wear tests. I could not even remember how I did the eye looks above because it was so long ago. Considering I never reach for this, the versatility aspect still didn’t make this a good purchase for me, but I just couldn’t let go of the idea of trying out at least one Florasis palette. My curiosity has been satisfied.

Terra Moons Cosmetics Chameleons in Terrestrial and Spring Equinox Multichromes in Galactic Blossom and Vela Supernova

If you’ve used Terra Moons chameleons and multichromes before, these work the way you’d expect. All three are super sparkly looking with large glitter particle size and the colors are intense. The formula is smooth to the touch, but when applied to the eye without a tacky base or being applied with a brush that has been sprayed to wet it, it can get messy. So, I do recommend something like the Nyx Glitter Primer to keep them applied precisely and minimize fall out.

Terrestrial was a pre-order item that didn’t begin shipping until May. I used my points saved from their reward program in order to essentially have the shipping paid and part of the item. BadtoTheBrow noticed it was similar to Bloodline, and I am obsessed with how Bloodline looks in photos and on everyone else, but the base color doesn’t show through on my eyes. So, rather than buying a second Bloodline to check if it was a fluke, I wanted to try the one from Terra Moons in the hopes it would be more of what I wanted from Clionadh’s multichrome.

Unfortunately, Bloodline and Terrestrial basically are the same shade. I can bring out a little more of a pink look if I pair it with another pink shadow around it and I can always pat a red multichrome on top to manually create the red-toned look I want, but I wish it was naturally the way it looks in swatches on me and didn’t require extra effort on my part. I didn’t bother to show comparison swatches between the two because the swatches looking slightly different on my arm doesn’t show the issue of them looking identical on my eyes. And for whatever reason, Terrestrial’s shifts are easier to detect on my camera than Bloodline, so comparing eye swatches wouldn’t be a fair representation for Bloodline either.

Galactic Blossom and Vela Supernova were pre-orders that were supposed to begin shipping in June, but I got lucky and had mine arrive in the middle of May. According to my Low-Buy rules, I’ve pledged to only purchase a few single indie eyeshadows per collection, so this was definitely allowed. My only regret is that I didn’t buy these two with my order of Terrestrial in order to save on shipping costs and time.

Photos showed Galactic Blossom as a strong pink-gold, and in some cases, shifting into literally a rainbow. I’d never seen a multichrome shift to so many colors, so I absolutely had to get it. Unfortunately, on my eyes it looks mainly yellow, and on camera it looks limey yellow-green with some pink. It’s not what I wanted, but I do like how it looks in person. On my arm, at sharp angles I can see that rainbow towards the edges, so it’s not false advertising. It really can shift that way, but it doesn’t look like that on my eyes and I want others to be aware of that possibility that it’s not going to look the same on everyone and how it looks depends largely on the curvature of the eyes and lighting.

As for Vela Supernova, the colors are what I expected, but ironically, I like it the least of the three. It’s not as unique of a purple shade as I anticipated. I admittedly can’t think of multichrome dupes myself (Temptalia says Roseline, Cerise, and Mosaic) but the shade of purple looks like what I have as some of my purple shadows without the shifting ability.

I don’t get fading, dullness, or any other longevity issues with these multichromes. Terra Moons really stepped up in their multichrome offerings to the point that I think they’ve tied with Devinah for the #2 spot of best indie multichromes (from North America at least). Clionadh is still holding that #1 spot in my eyes.

PAT McGRATH LABS x Bridgerton 2 Blushing Delights Blush + Highlighter Palette and PAT McGRATH LABS x Bridgerton 2 SatinAllure Lipstick in NÉGLIGÉE – The dedicated post to these products are HERE. Technically the Blushing Delights Palette is a face palette, and therefor allowed in my no-buy. The lipstick makes 5 out of 5 in my goal to end the year without purchasing anymore lip products.

Billie Eilish Eilish Eau de Parfum Travel Spray – The review for this is in the same post HERE as the Brooklyn Ellis perfumes. This was part of my Ulta points redemption, so I did not pay anything out of pocket.

MAC Wild Cherry Glow Play Blush Color Peaches ‘N’ Dreams and MAC Mini Macstack Mascara – These two were also part of my Ulta point redemption order and have already been reviewed HERE. I said I wasn’t going to get another Glow Play blush and I resisted for about a month or two, but my interest in peach blushes (especially in my favorite formula) got me again! As for the mascara, which I am on a year long no-buy for, I at least feel better that it wasn’t a full size purchase and that I’ve stuck to the mascara no-buy pretty well so far. However, I want to continue to stick to it and not purchase another in 2022.

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Face Serum SPF 60+

Left are the active ingredients of the discontinued Neutrogena Ultra Sheer versus the active serum ingredients on the right.

This is the only Ulta point redemption item I have left to review! I did have one other purchase in my order, but they kept sending me the wrong shade so that product was returned. In any case, I was the biggest fan for 7-8 years of the Ultra Sheer Liquid SPF 70 Sunscreen until it was discontinued. The fact that this is supposed to have 60 SPF protection while also being in a thin formula intrigued me. I planned to either wear it alone or wear it to help boost the effectiveness of my current sunscreen, the Round Lab Moisturizing Sun Cream SPF 50++.
I don’t think double-sunning (I just made up that term…can we please make “double-sunning” a thing?) is that bad of an idea, because in one of Dr. Dray’s videos, she said the Round Lab is fantastic for a variety of reasons, but she views it more as a moisturizer that happens to have a very good sunscreen in it due to it not being waterproof (and therefore not as reliable in occasions where one will be sweaty). This serum isn’t waterproof either, but I feel like I’m doubling up, in theory, by having both this serum and moisturizer/sunscreen with high spf. This serum leaves no cast on me and although it’s slightly greasy looking as I start to apply it, that look doesn’t remain when it’s fully rubbed in. I do have dry skin though. This serum isn’t a fluid consistency like my previous holy grail sunscreen, but it’s very lightweight and easy to rub in, unlike the Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch that I despise. It’s like a good middle ground between the two.

I’m on a skincare low-buy, but sunscreen is an exception since it’s vital that I have a good one. The kind of acids I’ve been using make my skin more sensitive to the sun, in addition to living in Florida with an extremely high UV index the majority of the time. It’s imperative that I keep my skin protected.

I haven’t had any issues with pilling while wearing this serum, plus the Round Lab Sun Cream, plus makeup, so I’m happy with this product. I don’t know if it will be completely necessary for me to continue repurchasing it in the future if I find a waterproof sunscreen that I end up liking, but we will just have to see!

Nars High Profile Cheek Palette – This was a limited-edition holiday release in 2021 that I intended to purchase, but so many reviewers commented on how similar the blushes looked to each other. So, when I found one on Mercari that was barely more expensive than a single full size Nars blush, I decided it was worth getting at that point. By the time I bought it, I had already finished my Rediscovering Nars Blushes post, but I had to admit I was curious to try this gel powder formula to see if it would give me an additional finish from Nars that I could like besides their mattes. The review is HERE and as a palette with a highlighter along with the blushes, I think I’m going to allow myself to count this as being allowed in my low-buy.

SUQQU Melting Powder Blush in 07 YOIURUSHI – This and all my Suqqu purchases have been reviewed HERE. Suqqu was definitely not on my list of exemptions to the blush low-buy, but I was curious how this new formula stacked up to the usual powder formula.

MAC Surrounded by Stars Extra Dimension Skinfinish Palette – The review can be found HERE. MAC’s Magnificent Moon Collection is supposed to be in celebration of Ramadan and was released worldwide first before coming to the US. I purchased mine from Selfridges since it was there first, I was waiting for something to add to my cart to get the Suqqu blush, and I had free shipping via the annual global shipping program I signed up for with Selfridges. Since it’s a split highlighter and blush quad, it’s allowed in my low-buy.

CLIONADH HAUL – I decided that I would do a dedicated post to this haul, found HERE, but as a Thursday bonus instead of my usual Monday postings. I’ve mentioned endlessly how much I love Clionadh eye shadows and multichromes, so there isn’t much to say about the formulas and it’s just a matter of showing them off and possibly doing comparisons to other indie brand shadows.

FUDE JAPAN HAUL and CD JAPAN HAUL – I believe the brushes I purchased in April have already been reviewed HERE, with the exception of the Hakuhodo brushes which are still being tested.

That’s all for today! If you’d like to see previous posts in the low-buy series, as well as sneak peeks for the upcoming ones, I created a dedicated page to it HERE. If you’d like to see more content from me, be sure to click follow via email or to return back every Monday at 11:30 am EST! Thank you for reading!

-Lili

My February Purchases Reviewed: KVD, Essence, Tarte, etc.

I wish it was possible to have reviews for my February purchases up quicker, but two of the orders were from international brands, which took nearly a month to arrive. I then needed adequate time to test out the makeup, but I was away from home quite a lot in the month of April. So, here we are now!

Some of these items have already been reviewed by now, so in order to give the unreviewed products their time to shine and not be repetitive, I will just add links that open a new tab to the locations of the previously discussed products.

KVD Beauty Good Apple Lightweight Full-Coverage Concealer in 167

This feels like old news by now since so many reviews have been released about this super hyped up concealer, but I may as well give my take on it too. This product, in terms of performance, has surpassed the identically priced and beloved Tarte Shape Tape Concealer! I have to use it in specific ways though in order to get it to last all day.

This product is full coverage but spreads very easily within the first half minute or so. The applicator feels lovely on the skin, but the amount it picks up is too much for my entire face, even when I scrape the excess product off the tip. With the scraped off amount, if I try to blend in the same spot, it still spreads outside of the brush zone, so I have to continue blending out the edges to get it to seamlessly fuse with my foundation, which can lead to it moving too far. How I minimize this is by applying a thin layer of concealer to the areas I need coverage, but I leave a little room on the edges and try to avoid my under eye lines. Then I wait at least 45 seconds to let it start to dry. Then I start blending and tap my brush onto the wettest parts that haven’t settled yet and use that to spread and cover all the blank spots. If I’ve lost some of the coverage by then, I dot the tiniest bit of extra product to those areas and smooth it out. This technique allows me to use the least amount of product, but prior to this, I learned it’s better to apply the concealer in two light layers rather than one heavy one. It also helps that I use the Sonia G Jumbo Concealer brush which doesn’t trap the product in its bristles or pick it back up off the face.

I don’t follow the inner and outer corner concealer application spots, the concealer triangle, or other shapes beauty gurus show because my dark circles and discoloration are unique and must be applied in the way that suits my face. I was in a bit of a rush when I took this picture, but that initial application doesn’t have to be perfect. The key is to cover most, but not all, of the undereye darkness and discoloration so that even less product will be able to settle into those lines later when I blend in the rest of the concealer. This is the method I use exclusively with the KVD Good Apple Concealer.

I’ve also been content with leaving my concealer as is and not setting it with powder, though without powder, I’d need a decent amount of product in order to keep it lasting all day. Denatured Alcohol is fairly high in this concealer, as the fifth ingredient. This probably helps with the quick dry down/partial self setting aspect, but it does concern me as someone with dry skin to have a drying ingredient in it. However, I decided I will continue using this concealer, at least until I’ve used it up because I like it so much. I love that it’s so lightweight but builds up to full coverage and looks a little more hydrating under my eyes than Shape Tape, even with the alcohol. It’s also longer lasting than Shape Tape. I think it’s important to prep my under eyes, but if I use a moisturizer (I don’t use eye creams anymore) with too many oils, it will break down my concealer quicker than usual. I’ve had better success using my primers/priming moisturizers like the Bobbi Brown Face Base, Tatcha Silk Canvas, Touch in Sol Pretty Filter Glassy Skin Balm, MILK Hydro Grip Eye Primer, etc. If I use something under my concealer, that’s when I make sure to set it with powder.

Regarding the color options, I recommend paying close attention to the swatches because some of the shades are randomly darker than the swatch above and below. Several shades are also essentially the same depth, but just have different undertones. When I was trying to figure out which one to get, it was quite confusing. If KVD created something between 173 and 177, that would be my ideal color provided it’s actually darker than 167 but lighter than 177. My current shade works under my eyes, but it’s too light for the hyperpigmentation around my mouth and gives a grey look when I cover it up. And for those who don’t know, I prefer having a concealer shade that matches my face, rather than being a few shades lighter. The dollops of product depicted for each shade are also much deeper than in reality, so I recommend going by the swatches or seeing these in store to be safe. My nearest Sephora never has anything new but both malls closest to me are closing, so I know that’s not possible for everyone to do.

For those curious, here are some swatches and shade comparisons. I only have a mini of the Deep Shape Tape right now, which I suspect is lighter than the full size, so I would say take that with a grain of salt, along with the Pat Mcgrath concealers which are nearly used up and also changing in consistency and should probably be tossed out. I typically mix PML’s 22 and 24 to get a better match and Lancome’s 460 and 495 to get a better match as well.

One thing to watch out for though is that after using it for a month, the color seemed a little darker than when I first got it. I think it’s due to repeated exposure to air. I will continue to monitor what happens with this concealer as time goes on and update this post if necessary.

Nyx Marshmellow Smoothing Primer (Mini)

I was always intrigued by the idea of this primer, but I held off buying it until I tried a sample of it and loved how it gave me what I wanted out of the Touch in Sol Pretty Filter Glassy Skin Balm, but with more of a shine to my skin. The sample I got was perfectly blended and mixed, but in my $8 mini, the oil and rest of the product is partly separated so much that it leaks out of the tube every time I open it. I know this is common in some products, but it’s quite the annoyance trying to apply it evenly to my face and not get too much oil in one spot. Before every use, I rotate between shaking the tube and massaging the packaging a few times to try and get them to mix back together.

This has a light marshmallow scent to it. There are quite a few claims on Ulta’s website like, “This primer smooths, softens, extends makeup wear for 16 hours, hydrates, soothes, evens tone, minimizes texture, blurs lines, adds a soft focus finish AND keeps makeup fresh.” After several wear tests, the longest being ten hours, I can only confirm the skin softening, minuscule amount of line blurring, and keeping makeup fresh. I hoped that the initial shine I got on my skin when first applied would continue throughout the day, which it does sometimes, but at other times this primer actually partially mattifies my skin. I would not have noticed if I hadn’t done several wear tests using the NYX primer only on one side of the face. Sometimes it goes on perfectly clear and at other times it leaves a slight white cast, which at least is undetectable once foundation is on top, but still it’s quite the strange phenomenon. The only explanation I have is the separation of the formula and me being unable to consistently mix it back together in the tube. So, on those matte days, I don’t know if my skin is actually being hydrated. It at least feels hydrated, so that’s a good thing for me.

I don’t wear makeup for long enough to know if it would last 16 hours and I have no idea what a “soft focus finish” from makeup would look like in real life, so I can’t confirm or disprove those claims either.
I still like this primer, but not enough to repurchase it unless I somehow start noticing the other supposed benefits like a more even tone, minimized texture, and an increase in the blurring power.

Essence Coffee to Glow Highlighter Beans

Calling this subtle wouldn’t be the right wording, but it gives more of a sheen or glow than a blinding reflect. It lasted a full eleven hours without fading during my longest wear test and with my best primer. The worst performance of it when combined with different base products left me with a very subtle sheen by the nine hour point. I’m quite shocked at how similar it actually is to the Guerlain meteorites in terms of performance, though it’s a little more toned down than those and the Guerlain is a little more friendly to texture.

It smelled like coffee when I first bought it, but a month later it smelled faintly like coffee but mostly like pencils. It’s the type of smell that is detectable when I put it on, but I can’t smell it after I finish blending it. According to Ulta and Essence’s websites though, these are somehow fragrance free. I skimmed several videos to see what others had to say about the beans, and theirs had a smell too, so I don’t know why this is the case if they aren’t supposed to be scented. Maybe it’s the foam or packaging itself that’s scented and not the makeup.

There are way less beans in the cup than I expected because there’s a foam layer that fills most of the space, as can be seen in my product photo far above. I don’t mind this since I’ve never gotten even a quarter of the way through a highlighter.

It is easier to get powder from the lid rather than trying to pick up product off the beans because I have occasionally gotten crumb size pieces between the bristles of the brush and when those fall to the floor it makes a mess. The beans stay mostly intact if I rub my brush over them, but they are not difficult to break. One shattered between my fingers when I tried to swatch each of the three colors against my arm and it got everywhere!

Considering I did not enjoy the Essence Pure Nude Highlighter Palette, I’m shocked how much better these are and how much more I like them. For those who like subtle highlighters and don’t mind scented makeup, I’d recommend trying these out if they’re still available. Also, those of a lighter skin tone can remove the darkest beans if there is a concern of this leaving a dark cast on the face. Conversely, those with a darker skin tone can remove the golden yellow beans if there is a concern of it being too stark, but I think it may be less of an issue for those on the deeper skin tone spectrum as can be seen here in this YouTuber’s video.

Essence Coffee to Glow Eyeshadow Palette

I should note that these two Essence products and the Nyx primer are all allowed in my low buy under the stipulation of “products that I intended to get last year but was prevented from doing so for one reason or another.” I tend to prefer colorful eyeshadow palettes, so the only reasons I wanted this palette were for the glossy and swirl shadows. I felt like it would somehow give me a taste of Huda Beauty’s Naughty Palette which has those types of shadows in it.

The #5 gloss shadow has a hard gel layer with all the pigment pearls at the very bottom, so I had to crush it down to the pan in order to get any color out of it. I expected it to just be a gimmick and it would certainly have been pointless wearing it on its own on my eyes if I hadn’t mixed it. It’s supposed to be a “universal eye shadow topper,” but that isn’t my makeup preference. Instead, I use this as a base primer and it greatly increases the longevity of the shimmers I apply on top, as I saw in an eleven hour wear test. I almost always get creasing on my eyes, and using the gel as a base does deepen the creases, but it also keeps my shimmers in place and prevents the transfer that I get from my lid to my crease when I use a regular eyeshadow primer.

With regular primers like the MAC Paint Pot and Gerard Cosmetics Clean Canvas, my eye looks using this palette are still fine past ten hours but the shimmers aren’t as intense. As for the mattes, I was impressed with the color payoff. They blend sufficiently. I just wish Essence included a deeper shade because I can’t get much depth out of shades #1 and #8 which are the two darkest colors in this palette.

I always use #3 to blend out the edges of the other mattes in the crease. For the inner corner, I use #2 or #6 but my favorite thing is to use them together for the inner corner highlight because #2 has the best reflect but it can be a bit dark depending on how much of the darker swirl is used, whereas #6 is lighter but not shinier. Those two shades don’t last as long on my eyes because I do touch my eyes frequently throughout the day and these are easily removed by touch, no matter what primer I use.

#4 is a nice metallic shade and both #4 and #6 feel like normal shimmers with some slip, but the #2 “bouncy swirl” shadow is quite creamy/wet feeling.

This palette is only $8 and is unscented. It was definitely worth me purchasing, even if it was purely for the fun of playing with some of these uncommon textures and formulas. The lightweight packaging feels like recycled cardboard and the palette is tiny and fits in the palm of my hand, but what it lacks in packaging quality, it makes up for with the eyeshadow formula.

Rephr Hydration Cream 1.0

I purchased this when rephr was offering a “set your own price” option where one could pay even as low as $0 to get it, plus the shipping cost. When I first used it, I applied way too much to my face and continued to get dewier throughout the day. In many subsequent uses, I learned that if I applied a smaller amount, it fully absorbs into my skin and is fully hydrated without leaving a trace of shine, which is fantastic for non-makeup days! I only like a little dew to my skin when I have a full face on; I don’t want to look shiny when I’m barefaced.
I’m also impressed by this formulation because it meets the requirements of my dry skin as a powerful moisturizer that is also lightweight. Rich/Heavy products tend to clog my skin. It’s not the easiest to find something that lets my skin breathe while also lasting all day.

Some highlights about the benefits of this moisturizer are that it’s fragrance and essential oil free, it’s made in Korea, it’s made of recyclable lightweight aluminum packaging, and it contains:

  • Niacinamide (5%)
  • Dimethicone (3%)
  • Glycerin (3%)
  • Centella Asiatica Complex (2%)
  • Meadowfoam Seed Oil (1%)
  • Panthenol (0.5%)
  • Algae Complex (2.0%)
  • Soybean Complex (1.5%)

Other lightweight moisturizers for my face that can do the job are the Innisfree Jeju Cherry Blossom Jelly Cream ($25 for 50ml), Round Lab Birch Juice Moisturizing Cream ($15-36 for 80ml), Laneige Water Bank Hydro Gel ($38 for 50ml), Saturday Skin Waterfall Glacier Water Cream ($39 for 50ml), etc. So, rephr is offering quite the deal at $26 (listed price) for 100ml. The only one of those I mentioned that I like better than this one is from Round Lab, though I believe the rephr cream may be more occlusive.

I’m terrible about keeping to a consistent skincare routine, so I can’t say how this product performs on a regular daily basis, but I’ve used it enough these past few months to be able to say that it’s great and hasn’t caused me any issues.

Colourpop Pressed Powder Blush in 4ever Yours – That review is here.

This is was the first official breech of my low buy this month. I’m not supposed to buy blushes unless it’s one of the brands on the exceptions list, which this is not. Considering how similar it is to the heart shaped blush I bought from Colourpop last year, I should have stuck to my guns and not gotten it.

Colourpop Super Shock Highlighter in Champagne BB

According to the rules of my low buy, I should not have gotten this either. It’s the classic case of wanting it because I like the formula, but I don’t need anymore, especially when I have them in shades I already like. My only defense was that I at least removed the other highlighter and three blushes I had out of my shopping cart, but I just ended up buying those anyway in March. Oops!

This shade looks a bit too dark for me in swatches, but when it’s diffused onto the skin, it looks like the perfect depth and still brightens the area due to the sparkle. It lasts on my cheeks all day and I can’t even regret this purchase because it’s great! Unfortunately, this particular Super Shock has already been discontinued.

Oden’s Eye x Angelica Hela Palette – The review is Here.

This fits in line with my two eye shadow palettes per month rule. I’m doing quite well with that so far!

Kaleidos Lip Clays (plus Smokey Nostalgia Tin Box) in Skinship, Cognac, and Bare – The review is Here for both the Lip Clays and Blush listed below.

I purchased the custom bundle which requires 4 lip products, but the fourth was a gift for a friend. So, I’m not counting that last one as part of my lip no-buy and my total is currently 3 lip products out of the allowed 5.

Kaleidos Smokey Nostalgia Blush in P03 Sanguine – The review is linked above.

This is another purchase that technically goes against my low-buy. Kaleidos isn’t on the exceptions list for blushes, but I have always wanted to try one from them and couldn’t due to the shades not being suited for my skin tone.

MAKE UP FOR EVER Electric Brushes Set

This set with tax came to $36 from Nordstrom. The original price was $69 and has a retail value of $150. It includes :

  • 106 Foundation Brush: a brush for applying and blending all kinds of foundation for an even result.
  • 124 Powder Kabuki Brush: a brush with a short and slender handle for ensuring smooth and even application of all powders to create a lightweight, flawless result.
  • 152 Highlighter Brush: a brush for easily and delicately highlighting your face and body with its soft fibers.
  • 228 Precision Shader Brush: a paddle-shaped, flexible brush for applying, blending and smudging all types of eye products quickly.
  • Brush case

Today’s review will be about the foundation, powder, and highlighter brushes, but I’m going to give someone the shader brush. I rarely like synthetic eye brushes, so it would be a waste for me to even bother trying it. In general, I prefer natural hair brushes, but I’ve always wanted to try these, just not at full price. It was still very early in my exploration of makeup when MUFE decided to make their brushes fully synthetic. Regarding my no buy/low buy, I’m unofficially on a makeup tool low buy. However, I didn’t set any restrictions in writing.

The Foundation brush, I had seen in action during a Rouge event many years ago when a MUFE representative did my makeup and I wanted it ever since. I typically don’t like paddle style brushes, but this one works just as well as I remembered. I get zero streaks using this brush. I’m able to apply and spread foundation easily and get around edges and small corners with ease as well. I have a background with painting ceramics, and painting on canvas is an occasional hobby, so I can’t be sure if that plays into why this brush is so easy for me to use, but it is.

This brush can also apply a crisp line for cream sculpting products, though the shape of the tip isn’t the best for blending, but I can still do it with this brush.
It costs $36 which ended up being the price I paid for the entire set. I personally think it’s worth $25 at most, but having this brush made the whole set worth it.

I find it so strange that this is listed as a Highlighter brush considering it’s bigger than my Smashbox Cream Cheek brush and many other blush brushes.

It applies far too much highlighter for my preference, so I consider this a blush brush instead. That being said, I’m not the biggest fan of this brush for that purpose either. There’s so much bristle for such a flimsy floppy splay that doesn’t feel like I have much control of the blend. It’s like it smears blush across the skin like a mop rather than buffing in the blush. When I use easy to blend and pigmented blushes, this brush works perfectly fine. However, with a sheerer blush or lower quality one, it takes forever since it’s lacking firmness and makes things look patchier. I figured if this is problematic with powders then maybe cream blushes will be better for this brush, but that’s not the case. It doesn’t allow me to fully work the cream products into my skin and it just sits on top of it. With even more emollient creams, it has the issue of spreading product too far out.

This retails for $37, which I don’t think it’s anywhere near worth that. If I had bought this #152 brush individually, I would have returned it. I don’t recommend this one.

The retail price for this one is $52! I can’t recall if I ever paid over $40 for a synthetic fiber brush, so it’s no surprise that I wouldn’t normally buy a brush like this. The handle on this one feels even sturdier than the others in the line.

It’s the most dense at the very center and looser packed around the edges. When I put this brush handle side up against my palm, it sinks in at like a centimeter before it forms what feels like a wall. It’s so solid that I can’t get the bristles to splay, it just stiffens. This does the same thing when I apply a powder to my face. If I grip the handle and use a normal amount of pressure to spread powder on my face, it feels incredibly firm to point that it offers very little movement and the bristles drag heavily across my skin.

The way I like to use it is holding it in a looser grip and just blending with the tips without applying pressure. This method still gives me a strong blend without feeling like I’m using the world’s densest brush or attempting to exfoliate my face. I’m not saying that these brushes are scratchy. The bristles on all of them are soft, just not the softest synthetic I’ve felt, especially when pressure is applied and it drags on the skin. These fibers actually remind me a bit of pony hair, but softer. Now that I know the trick to using this brush, I do like it and I’m happy it’s part of the set. It can’t compare to my natural hair powder brushes, but I use those for an airier and more blended finish. This brush is one that I’d use when I want to actually load on a thin solid layer, like with face powder, before blending it out.

Even though I’m not planning to use this brush, I wanted to show how it looks through the plastic. The retail price is $25.

I feel like I got an absolute steal on this brush set! Even though I don’t want to purchase anymore synthetic fiber brushes, I can’t regret buying these.

MAC Glow Play Cherry Blossom Blush in HD Cherry Tree – The review is Here.

Considering how many MAC blushes I own, this shouldn’t be on the exceptions list, but it is because I don’t have the willpower to cut off the brand that ranks number one with blushes for me. So this purchase is still allowed according to my Beauty Resolutions.

Tarte Amazonian Clay Best of Cheek Set (Holiday 2021)

This set went on sale for $22 on 2/22/22, so with tax it came to just under $24. I always wanted to try this formula of Tarte blushes because people have been raving about them since I started getting into makeup and they always said that despite the holiday items being notoriously lower quality, this formula from Tarte was always great. After trying these minis out for myself, I can understand why these are such beloved blushes! The longevity is insane. I’ve done several wear tests with the longest being eleven hours and by that point the blush still looked freshly applied!

I used the maximum amount of Exposed, a moderate to heavy application of Charmed, a heavy application of Captivating, a moderate amount of Delight, and a light to moderate amount of Fantasy on the cheeks. Charmed and Delight had more room for building up.

I bought this expecting to only be able to wear the darkest blush in the set and just test out the formula of the highlighter, so I was pleasantly surprised to see everything show up on me! Exposed is described as a “nude pink” and admittedly barely shows because the brown tones blend into my skin. The pink is what makes it visible, though it’s on that cusp of being too light for me, so I will probably find a new home for that shade.
Charmed is a limited edition “bright pink” that I consider a light-medium tone that works for me if I spend a little time really blending it into my skin. The one that I’m actually shocked that I can wear because it’s even lighter than Charmed is the “bright peach” shade called Captivating. It looks crazy at first, but it warms up as I blend it in. I love the look of peach blushes, but they are usually ashy on me, which is why I go for corals as my closest equivalent of peach. It excites me to no end to have found one of the rare peach shades that I can pull off!
The last blush is another limited edition shade called Delight. It’s a “deep rose” that’s a cross between Exposed and Charmed, but darker. It’s the most natural looking of the shades on my cheeks and it’s the only one I don’t have to build up for depth of tone reasons and not pigmentation reasons. All of these blushes have a good amount of pigment.
As for the highlighter, the limited edition “rose gold” shade Fantasy is too light for me. Beyond the shade match, the way it reflects in the light emphasizes texture in a way that other highlighters I’ve used that are even lighter than this one don’t do. I don’t have enough experience with Tarte Highlighters to be able to say if this is indicative of their formulas, but I have an upcoming review where I tried another one that I liked much better and did not have the reflect and textural problem. That one went on smoothly, whereas this one sticks in places and takes a bit of blending in, so I think it’s just an issue with this particular highlighter.

So, in this set of five travel size products, I intend to continue using three of them. That makes the usable items worth $8 each in my eyes based on what I paid, plus the knowledge I gained in learning that I really like the Amazonian Clay blush formula! Each compact contains 1.5 grams of product, so the three I’m keeping equals 4.5 grams that I paid $24 to have. A full size blush from tarte is 5.6 grams for $29.
For these reasons, it made the set worth it, but I wouldn’t have felt the same way if I paid the $39 full price. Tarte lists this as being a $75 value, but there’s a combined product weight of 7.5 grams, which means the set should actually cost $38.84.

This is why I always recommend waiting for Tarte’s holiday items to go on sale. Then it has a chance of actually being worth buying if the products are not 100% suited for someone.

We’ve now reached the end of the post! I had so many products to review, which I expected would slow down my purchases for March, but it did not! It worked in the beginning of March but halfway through the month things got a bit crazy. I would estimate that post won’t be ready until August. I hope you’ll visit my blog again soon! And if you missed January’s purchases, they can be found here.

-Lili

I Said I Wouldn’t Buy These, But I did!

I admittedly have an excessive makeup collection for a single person. Though it may not seem like it considering all the newly released makeup I purchased in 2021, I actually made a bigger effort to talk myself out of getting makeup in categories I already had favorites of and didn’t need. Each product reviewed today were things I thought I successfully anti-hauled, but all it took was a sale for me to change my mind!

These purchases were all made in 2021, so my beauty resolutions for 2022 are still intact and going strong! If anything, this post is an example of why I had to come up with a better plan for this year.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Cream Bronzer in Hazelnut

This purchase I attribute to Angelica Nyqvist’s many videos talking about how fantastic this product is, including her end of 2021 favorites. I wish I could say I had the same experience, but I just find it to be okay at best. This cream is easy to blend out, to the point that I have to build it back up, but if I overblend while building it up, it starts to look patchy because it’s setting in spots at different times. On the opposite side of the issue, I try not to apply too much at once because the shade is a bit deep for me. The shade jump between Hazelnut and the next lighter shade, Caramel, is huge. Hazelnut was my only color option. So, perhaps if I had a better match that didn’t put me at risk of overblending, I might like it better. As it stands, I prefer the Danessa Myricks, Kaja, and Sol Body/Colourpop cream bronzer formulas above the one from ABH because those three all blend quickly and easily into a skin-like finish. They’re also just as deep, or in some cases deeper, than the ABH without the blending and building troubles.

I’ve used this about ten times, so it’s possible I could find another brush that works better with this bronzer other than the Sonia G Mini Base and Scott Barnes #65 Flawless Face Brush, but between using a sponge, brush, or finger, the end result looks similar for all of them. I’m cutting my losses and rather than figure out how to make this one work better, I can just use my no-fuss cream bronzers that I like instead.

Pat Mcgrath Labs Skin Fetish: Sublime Skin Highlighter in Lunar Nude

I couldn’t resist the gold packaging with that embossing, but I’m at least glad I waited for a sale. I told myself over and over that Lunar Nude would look too light for my skin tone, so I shouldn’t get it. I was half right. The shimmery reflective particles are light gold, but the base color is a copper color. It even looks copper or gold depending on the lighting of the room and the angle. The base tone helps it look a little more wearable on me, but it’s still lighter than I’d prefer in a highlighter.

I can see the shimmer particles on my face, which is also not my preference, but I also realized that certain brushes of mine pick up more of the sparkle than others. On the website, there was a note to pair this with the highlighting balm duo. When I used the balm and then applied Lunar Nude on top, it definitely helped to make the product melt into the skin and look super smooth and achieve that “wet look” that I enjoy. However, it really cranks up the intensity level and the fact that the highlighter is too light for me becomes way more obvious. Since I figured out how to use it to my preferences, I like the formula but not the actual shade. Ultimately though, I don’t think this is worth buying at full price except for collectors and luxury product lovers. For anyone looking for the best highlighter on the market for the best price, this isn’t it. Much better and more affordable options are out there. It’s “pretty good” at best. I personally prefer Pat Mcgrath’s Divine Rose highlighter. That one is listed as a “futuristic gel-powder formula” in the “Skin Fetish: Ultra Glow” line whereas Lunar Nude is a “luxe gel-powder formula” in the “Skin Fetish: Sublime Skin” line. It’s possible they are the same formula, but Lunar Nude leaves more sparkle on the skin, which is the biggest difference other than the color.

Pat Mcgrath Labs Highlighter Comparisons

Different lighting to reveal the color shift of the trio.

Of course, since making this purchase, Pat Mcgrath has released similar highlighters to Lunar Nude’s formula in the Bridgerton collection. I don’t believe either of those new colors would look nice on me. If PML releases a shade variation I like in this same formula with the same special packaging and same or similar embossing, I would most likely sell Lunar Nude and buy that one. As it stands, this one isn’t getting much use in my collection but I still don’t want to part with it without a superior replacement.

Smashbox Loves Becca Under Eye Brightener in Dark

Although Becca Cosmetics is no more, a few best selling products were resurrected through Smashbox. This decision is presumed to be made by their parent company Estee Lauder.

There were originally just two shades: light-medium (now called Fair/Light) and medium-deep. The Smashbox x Becca version has two more in the mix: Medium and Dark. It’s my understanding though, based on a YouTube video by All Beauty by Sarah, that the original medium-deep color is actually close in depth to the current Medium shade with the main difference being that the original had a stronger pink tone to it. The third darkest shade now is called Medium/Dark and is much darker than the original medium-deep. The final shade, and the one I picked up, is Dark. Based on the description and the shade in the pot, I expected Dark to be too dark for me. Technically, as this is supposed to brighten my under-eyes, I should have gotten Medium/Dark. However, I prefer for my under eyes to match the rest of my face rather than being brighter, so Dark works perfectly for that. It’s the best matching color-corrector type of product I have ever used because it has a slight orange tone to hide my dark circles, but there’s also enough brown to make it look natural. I try to avoid showing my skin discoloration as much as possible, but in this instance I felt it was necessary to show a demonstration photo below.

Cream products almost always move in my under-eye area, but what makes this one a little different is the very sticky texture. This product has gripping power similar to the Milk Hydro Grip Eye Primer, but stronger than that one. This makes it ideal for applying a concealer on top, even though based on the color match, I don’t find that to even be necessary. However, it will not set on its own, so I either have to apply a concealer that sets down like the Tarte Shape Tape or apply a setting powder to my under eyes (or both). If I apply the Smashbox x Becca corrector by itself, it will settle badly into creases. So, I need at least something on top to keep it from creasing and to continue looking smooth.

So, I have an answer to using this product to hide my dark circles and keep it looking as smooth as possible considering I have heavy lines under my eyes. This product would be perfect if it wasn’t for the transfer issue. No matter what products I apply on top of the corrector, it will lift off my under eyes if I accidentally touch it or if I try to wipe away shimmer eyeshadow fallout. So, despite being the perfect color match for me, this isn’t a holy grail product. I use it on days when I’m not planning to go anywhere and am just putting on makeup for Instagram and Blog photos. I am at least glad I’m still getting use out of it. This would work wonders for people who don’t touch their face or rub their eyes as much as I do, so I still recommend it, but I would be wary about potential issues. Also, I would use a dedicated brush specifically with this product because it’s a bit of a pain to use with my favorite concealer brushes the way it coats the hairs in its sticky texture.

Flower Beauty Jungle Lights Palette

The release of Flower Beauty’s Desert Lights palette didn’t take away the major hype surrounding the original Jungle Lights palette. That’s what ultimately caused me to finally want to try it out. I’ve also always been curious how it stacked up to the MAC Tempting Fate palette a lot of people were comparing it to.

In the photo above, in the “Flash Off” set of swatches, I put a yellow divider line to help show the differences between the Flower Beauty swatches on the left half and the MAC swatches on the right half. In the “Flash On” set of swatches, I did not put a divider in order to keep it from impeding on seeing how similar the two sets look next to each other in every shade except Amazon (which had no equivalent) and Jaguar.

The Flower Beauty Jungle Lights formula is as creamy as everyone says, except Paradise and Jaguar have less slip and feel a tad more gritty. I also like the sparkle and shine level of these shimmers, which clearly surpass that of the MAC Feast Your Eyes Palette from the Tempting Fate Collection.

They’re as nice as people say, and I appreciate the fact that they last fairly well on my eyes as long as I pack on enough color with my finger (which is the recommended application method) and am content with the colors fading a bit to a duller color by the end of the day.

I think it’s worth looking into, especially at the price point. $17.99 is great already, but between a sale and coupon codes at Ulta, I got this one for $8.68. I still would have thought it was worth it at full price.

One of the most fascinating aspects of this palette was when I came across a reddit post showing 47 different shade combinations that could be made using this palette depending on which shade was on the bottom layer and which one was on top. Of course, the differences aren’t as obvious on my skin tone, but there were enough combinations to leave me thoroughly impressed. I took photos of some of the most obvious color changes with comparisons to the individual shades on their own to make it easier to see the differences.

And then the photo below shows all the individual shades plus my favorite five new shade combinations.

Unfortunately, some of these shade mixtures don’t show as well on my eyes as they did in arm swatches. However, it’s still fun to play around with the combinations. It makes for a more versatile palette.

I wish there were some mattes included, but I could perhaps continue to get use out of this if I remember to pull it out in conjunction with some of my all or nearly all matte palettes.

Sigma Beauty Berry Glow Cheek Duo

I really thought this duo looked nice on my skin in person, but in photos, the blush looks very ashy. The fact that it’s cool toned does look a little off to my own eyes though. I’m torn.

I bought the duo for about 40% off during a Black Friday sale and thought it was an extra great price considering it came with a brush as well. The brush will be reviewed in an upcoming synthetic bristle brush post. Considering the ashy look of the blush on camera, I’m not sure if I’ll continue to use it. I guess as long as it still looks nice in person, and I could potentially mix it with a warmer blush, I still somewhat like it. However, considering I also had mixed feelings about the Cor-de-Rosa blush palette, I think this will be the last blush purchase I get from them. I do like the highlighter, as it’s quite smooth with a small shimmer particle size and it doesn’t look stark even though it’s such a pale highlighting shade. It comes off a little more champagne-gold in person even though it looks almost platinum on camera. I’m almost tempted to investigate Sigma’s Glowkissed Highlight Palette from last year, but I have a full highlighter palette already from Danessa Myricks that I just bought during Black Friday too. I certainly don’t need another.

Those who are fans of the Sigma blush and highlighter formula already will likely enjoy the quality of this duo as well. I will continue to give it a few more tries to solidify my own feelings on it, but it’s just “nice” in terms of quality in my opinion. It doesn’t quite reach the “great” territory.

That’s everything! Out of the five items, I wish I could have successfully anti-hauled the ABH Cream Bronzer, Sigma Duo, and this particular shade of PML highlighter, but I really expected to love them and wouldn’t have known otherwise without having bought them first to try out. I will certainly try harder to stick to my anti-hauls in the future.
Thank you for reading!

-Lili

Reviewing New (to me) Products at Sephora

With the annual VIB sale starting soon for Rouge members, I wanted to post a quick review of the newest items I bought from Sephora that were mostly purchased during the Friends and Family sale last month. To anyone who doesn’t have Rouge status, and therefore wouldn’t get 20% off, I recommend waiting for sales directly from brand websites which tend to be discounted by at least 20%. I personally don’t think 10-15% is that much of a savings unless it’s from one of those rare brands that never put their products for sale or their shipping fees make purchasing from Sephora a better deal.

Danessa Myricks Beauty Power Cream Bronzer in Deep

I officially have a new favorite cream bronzer! Granted, I don’t have that many of them, but this takes the top spot. Formula-wise, I loved the ones from Colourpop/Sol Body but the tones didn’t look as nice when the products were sheered out on my face. This bronzer from Danessa Myricks is such a highly pigmented and smooth cream that melts into the skin. It reminds me of that Sol Body formula but in a tone that works for me and doesn’t have fragrance. Deep looks deceptively lighter in the pan. The true shade is the darker spot where my brush picked up the product in the photo above. If this bronzer wasn’t so blendable, this shade would be too dark for me. However, I just do a single tap into the product with my Sonia G Mini Base brush and I can cover most of my face with it because it spreads easily and I have some time to work with it before it sets. The spreadability is due to having a lot of emollient ingredients in this bronzer. When I first got it, I could even see liquid seeping around the edges of the compact, likely due to the heat while being shipped, but it doesn’t feel oily or greasy on the skin.

It sets to the point of being dry to the touch, even without being set with powder. It doesn’t come off on my finger if I just touch the spot where the bronzer is, but a tiny bit will show on my finger if I rub across it. Also, this is so pigmented that it has a bit of a staining effect on the skin, which definitely aids in longevity but requires more effort to remove from the face.

I didn’t fully blend the bronzer above so it would be more visible in the photo, but in actuality, this cream bronzer looks so natural on my skin! I’m wearing it in every photo in today’s post. I like it much more than the Danessa Myricks Balm Contour, which I have in the shade Deep 1. The Balm Contour is even warmer of a shade and looks like a bronzer rather than a contour, but it’s not as smooth in texture as the actual bronzer formula. I want to keep my cream bronzer and contours to a minimum, so that’s the reason I haven’t tried the Anastasia Beverly Hills Cream Bronzer, Saie Sun Melt Natural Cream Bronzer, or the Glossier Solar Paint Luminous Bronzer that I’ve heard are fantastic quality (well, the last one I just want out of curiosity). However, this one from Danessa has quelled the desire to get anymore…for now at least! I bought this during the Friends and Family sale, but it’s definitely worth full price.

Huda Beauty GloWish Cheeky Vegan Blush Powder in 02 Caring Coral and 03 Berry Juicy

There are four shades total in the new blush line from GloWish. Caring Coral is a “mid tone rosy coral” best suited for up to tan skin, but since mid tone pinks are my preference, I wanted to try it anyway. Caring Coral is interesting because the darker pink swirl in the compact is definitely deep enough for my skin tone but the lighter swirl made my cheeks look visibly ashy when I tried it on my bare skin no matter how much I blended it. However, when applied over foundation, the swirls of colors mix better to create a more even shade that works for me. I was instantly reminded of Coral Flush from Hourglass and those two look quite similar in swatches.
As much as I tend to avoid berry toned blushes, I saw several reviews where Berry Juicy actually had more of a brown-pink look to the skin if applied with a light hand. I can confirm that it looks very natural and more muted pink than berry-pink if I don’t build it up too much, so I’m shocked to say I prefer Berry Juicy on me! I also like the look of using Berry Juicy all over my cheek, but keeping Caring Coral contained to just the apple of my cheeks, as demonstrated in the highlighter portion of this post.

I’m wearing the same bronzer, foundation, and concealer in every face photo.

This formula is supposed to impart a “soft focus glow,” feel buttery on the skin, and last up to twelve hours. I haven’t worn these blushes for that long, but they do seem to be long-lasting. They didn’t fade when I tested them for up to nine hours. I don’t notice that much glow or radiance to these powders; they look satin-matte on my cheeks, or mostly matte. They feel similar in texture to the GloWish bronzers, though slightly less buttery or creamy. I also have to add that the GloWish bronzers impressed me so much and became part of my top three favorites in the powder bronzer category, whereas these blushes are nice but not particularly special. They’re alright for the price. Some customers may be unhappy with their tiny size compared to the bronzers, but I don’t mind because I doubt I would ever hit pan in them anyway. It also helps that I got this for 20% off, but the full price of $21 isn’t too bad in my opinion.

And speaking of the bronzers, if you haven’t tried those, I definitely recommend them! Sephora has a few of the bronzers available in mini sizes, which I assume will be the same sizes as the blushes since they are close to the same price at $19.

LYS Aim High Pressed Highlighter Powder in Fearless

I bought this with my own money from the LYS Beauty website before becoming an ambassador for the brand. I have more details about that in the “Full Disclosure and Affiliations” section of my About Me page if you’d like to know more, along with my link to the brand website (which I’m not sure if it still works in terms of generating a commission) and affiliate code (LYSUNBOXLILI which is no longer active).

I normally go for a lighter shade of highlighter, like a champagne color, but I wanted something less common in my collection. That’s why I bought Fearless, a gorgeous bronze gold pressed powder highlighter. It’s close to my skin tone, so it looks more subtle despite how reflective and sparkly it actually is. I recommend this for someone who likes a strong highlighter, as the other two shades available are quite beautiful. However, it’s commonly known to those who frequently read my blog that I don’t like large glitter particles in highlighters. The smaller the better for me. The particles in this one aren’t so large that I wouldn’t use it, but I admittedly don’t wear it often and the visible shimmer keeps it from being among my favorites. I’ve been tempted to purchase the shade Brave to see if I would like it more, but the particle size keeps me away. It doesn’t look that way on camera but it’s something I see in person.

In addition to the pressed powder highlighters, LYS also released liquid highlighters and a highlighting serum, but I haven’t tried them. In my Glowing Skin post, I mentioned that I don’t use those kind of products enough to justify purchasing anymore in the future, which is why I’m sticking to powder highlighters from now on.

I decided to put my review of the highlighter here because it’s a new release from Sephora, but my actual recommendation for the Sephora sale are the cream blushes. LYS is pretty affordable already for a Sephora brand, but I’m always a proponent of consumers getting the best deals wherever they can. So, the sale is a great time to try the brand’s formula if you haven’t already. The cream blushes have not been surpassed yet in my eyes. I’ve been raving about them ever since I got them, and that was long before I had any connections to the brand.

Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Eyeshadow and Concealer Primer

This primer is so tricky to use, but when I do it right, it’s such a game changer! I’ll just say right off the bat though that I hate it for eyeshadows. In order to get the best results, applying a thin even layer and smoothing it out with the finger is crucial. If it’s too thick, it won’t “dry.” I’m using quotes for the word dry because it’s not supposed to actually feel dry to the touch. When it “dries” it changes from an almost greasy feeling (which is strange for a gel looking texture) to a slightly tacky feeling. With a thin layer, this takes about five minutes to get to this point. If I’m impatient and try to apply shadows before it gets tacky it will just smear and move the eyeshadow around and look extremely patchy. If I didn’t blend out the primer with my finger to create an even layer, it will still smear and move because it would be too thick to dry down at all.

If I follow the instructions and do those steps above, in the best case scenario the shadows will grip to the primer and appear very intensely on the eyes. However, it grips so well that I cannot blend them out! So, if I’m going to use this on my eyes, I keep it concentrated to just the eyelid where I want my shimmer to stick. I haven’t tried this primer with that many different eyeshadow formulas, but in this demonstration using the Urban Decay Born to Run Palette, the primer did intensify the shimmers and mattes, but the matte shade darkened up a lot. The primer itself is clear, so the wet consistency caused this to happen, which some people will not like. I’m not sure if I like that aspect myself. Perhaps this doesn’t happen if I use even less product, but either way, I don’t like that I can’t blend the shadows, so I didn’t continue to try testing it.

What I absolutely love this primer for is to use with my concealers. I have intensely dark brown under eye circles and hyperpigmentation that require the fullest of full coverage concealers to camouflage the darkness. The best results I’ve ever had are from the original Tarte Shape Tape and/or mixing it with the Pat Mcgrath Concealer. Those two are full coverage and last the longest on my skin because I have a second issue of concealers usually getting absorbed into my skin so easily. With the MILK primer, I’ve been able to get full days of wear out of my concealers even though it’s only advertised to last for eight hours! Granted, by the end of the day it certainly doesn’t look fresh, but at least it’s still there! This product even makes concealers that didn’t work for me before to last longer! In order to achieve this, I once again have to apply a thin layer, smooth it out with my finger, wait at least five minutes for it to dry, and then dab/stamp/stipple the concealer over it with my Sonia G Jumbo Concealer brush. Swiping motions will disturb the primer. It needs to be patted on in order to last. I can actually feel the grip as I stamp it into place. I do not set my eye with powder, as that will eventually lead to the lines under my eyes looking even more dried out and emphasized as it wears throughout the day.

This primer touts ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid, Hemp-Derived Cannabis Seed Extract, Niacinamide, and Aloe Water for added moisturization and hydration. I don’t find this to be very hydrating to my under eyes. If anything, it looks just as dry or drier if I don’t prep my skin. I have found that doing my usual steps with the primer but then smoothing the tiniest bit of Laneige Cream Skin Refiner (Moisturizer/Toner) on top of it and letting it dry again before applying one of my concealers, other than Tarte Shape Tape, does make my under eyes look less dry. In my case, this need for an occlusive layer prevents moisture from being taken out of the lower layers of my skin and gives the Hyaluronic Acid something to draw on instead. That’s my best guess. Since the primer is supposed to be applied to clean skin, it’s implied that prepping the undereyes with a cream or something else may not allow the primer to work as effectively. The Laneige Refiner is the most lightweight moisturizing product I have, so it works well. I have not tried to use this primer though with eye creams.

I have seen quite a few negative reviews for this and I understand why. I had to play around with this for weeks to figure out how to get the amazing results that I have with this product. I think whether this product works for someone or not will depend on their skin type, the condition of their skin, if they’re using their regular skin care routine with it, if they’re allowing it to dry first for long enough, the application technique, etc. Now that I have the routine down, this product is absolutely worth it to me for the extra longevity benefits to my concealer. However, I can see how this wouldn’t be for everyone, especially if they want it exclusively as an eyeshadow primer. So, this may be a polarizing primer. This is another one of those products I’d happily pay full price for, but I did get it for 20% off during the Friends and Family sale.

Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Wear All Over Full Coverage Concealer in 460 and 495

I purchased each of these shades during sales on Lancome’s website ($17 and $20) thanks to Nikki here on the beauty blogosphere and BeautyDealsBFF on Instagram. 495 is darker than my usual concealer shades, but it’s still lighter than the darkness under my eyes. In addiction, it’s very orange toned which works as a sort of corrector color. I prefer concealers to match my skin tone, which is why I bought 460, the next shade down, but not a perfect match. I can wear 460 alone for a brightening effect, but the combination of the two shades is my favorite way to use them.

What I like about this formula is that it’s full coverage, but I’ve used it for weeks now and at best it lasts six hours or at worst my skin just absorbs it shortly after I complete my eyeshadow look unless I really pack it on. Some powders help with longevity but other powders don’t. I was on the verge of giving up and switching back to just using the Tarte and Pat Mcgrath concealers, but I tested it with the MILK Hydro Grip Eye Primer and it works wonders! With that primer, it lasts me all day and it’s less drying than Tarte Shape Tape. Once again though, I do not set it with powder when using it over the MILK primer as that can make it look dried out and emphasize the lines under my eyes. The combination of these two shades, plus the primer, is such an exciting discovery! As a standalone product, I’m not sure if I would recommend it to everyone across the board. There are too many variables when it comes to concealer to be able to say any is universally lovable.

Estée Lauder Futurist Hydra Rescue Moisturizing Foundation SPF 45 in 5N2 Amber Honey

I used to be shade 6W in Double Wear, but when I had a sample card for this particular foundation, the 6W1 shade was way too dark for me. 5W1 was also way too light, so I thought my best hope would be 5N2. It’s the only shade between the two in depth.* When I first pump out the foundation, it looks fairly warm, but it does dry to a more neutral color on my skin. It’s not a perfect shade match but it’s close enough that I don’t feel uncomfortable wearing it in public.

*UPDATE August 30th, 2022: I’m not sure at what point it was added, but there is now a 5W2 shade!

The directions say to shake well, and that’s actually important considering it contains SPF. If I forget to shake and squeeze the tube, sometimes the color will look a bit off, either darker or lighter than it should. So, I make sure to give it a good mix before using it.

For a “moisturizing” foundation with a finish that’s supposed to be radiant, I don’t think it’s that radiant. I’d call it a natural finish, at least on my dry skin. This is more evident in the first photo in the bronzer section before I have any blushes or highlighters on my face. It would look a little more dewy if I built it up, but then it would feel heavier on my skin, so I prefer to use a light to medium amount.
A sheer layer of this foundation provides medium coverage, which impresses me for something that feels so lightweight on the skin. When I wear it, I think my skin looks smooth and even, especially paired with some of my newer finishing powders. I’ve actually been using it more than the Nars Soft Matte Foundation, when I just named that one my new holy grail earlier this year. If this did give full coverage with a sheer amount and was a closer shade match to me, then it would be my absolute favorite. As it stands though, it’s in my top two in terms of formula! The only other negative is that it doesn’t like to stick in my problematic smile line and tends move away from that spot, even if I powder it down. I have to rely on concealer to maintain some coverage there.

I always try to mention if a product has fragrance. I do notice a pleasant skincare type of scent that reminds me of the Fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask when I first apply it. I actually like this smell because it’s not overpowering and is nostalgic for me. I checked the ingredients and fragrance is there, though almost at the bottom of the list.

I bought this during Ulta’s 21 Days of Beauty when it was 50% off at both Ulta and Sephora. I was always curious about this foundation because of how highly Mel Thompson spoke about it. My goodness, I miss Mel. May she rest in peace.

I think that’s where I’m going to end this post.

For anyone curious about what items I don’t need and am trying to talk myself out of getting during this sale…they would be the Patrick Ta Major Headlines Blush Palette, Smashbox x Becca Under Eye Brightening Corrector in Dark, Guerlain Meteorites in Gold Pearls, Beautyblender Bounce Radiant Skin Tint and Beautyblender Bounce Liquid Cream Blush in Flirty Rose. The fact that I don’t use my current Patrick Ta Blush Duo is why I’m talking myself out of the blush palette. The Estee Lauder Futurist Foundation is why I know I don’t need the Beautyblender Skin Tint (plus I already have two bottles of the regular Beautyblender Foundation). The Lancome 495 concealer shade is why I don’t need the Becca corrector. The new Hourglass powders are why I don’t need the Guerlain Meteorites and the Beautyblender blush is a cream, which I have too many of open currently in my collection. Plus, some of these items I foresee going on sale for more than 20% off in the future.

What products are you thinking of getting during the sale? Is there anything I’m talking myself out of buying that you actually hope I will review in the future? I’d love to know in the comment section. Thank you for reading!

-Lili

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!

-Lili

My Concealer Collection and Declutter

This is the next installment of my Declutter Series! Concealers are the only category of products that never go ages without being tried, so everything I’m discussing here (besides the concealer sample card swatches) have been tried at least once before. It’s also easier to tell whether I like one or not because my needs are very specific. For me to like a concealer it has to be pigmented enough to cover my intensely dark undereye circles (like nearly black under eyes) and have minimal settling into my fine lines. I might hold onto multiple foundations if I’m in the mood for one that is dewy or matte, sheer or full coverage, etc. With concealers, they either meet the requirements I need or they don’t, so there isn’t any reason for me to hold onto as many as I currently have.

As I noted in my Foundation Declutter post, I use the Dermablend Flawless Cover Drops as concealer, and it is currently tied with the Pat Mcgrath Concealer as my favorite product to cover my dark undereye circles. I have hyperpigmentation and scarring on my face, but I’m not nearly as self conscious about those areas as I am with my under eyes. For that reason, my favorite concealers will always be full coverage ones. Since I discussed the Dermablend product in my foundation post, I will be excluding it in this one.

MAC Pro Palette Studio Finish Skin Corrector x 6

Although I hardly use color correcters, I got an incredible deal on this palette and thought that not only could I get the Ochre and Pure Orange shades I used to have in the liquid form, I could also use the Orange color as concealer on its own because it’s deep enough to pass for brown. I also figured Deep Brown would make interesting eyeshadow base, particularly with multichromes. I didn’t take into account the fact that cream complexion products are extremely finicky on my skin. There isn’t a single cream foundation stick I’ve tried that I’ve liked. I also have a high rate of failure with cream concealers for under my eyes. I lucked out with this product that I can get a decent 5-6 hours out of the shade Orange if I set it. However, I like this better when paired with another concealer and actually used on top of it instead of underneath it.

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser and Dark Spot Corrector in Tan and Caramel

I was surprised to see that Tan is actually darker than Caramel, and is a decent shade match for me. It has been a long time since I bought these and despite severely disliking them, I kept them in the hopes that I could find a way to make them work. I did not succeed at that. The biggest issue, beyond settling into my lines, is that there just isn’t enough coverage. I find it ironic that this is specifically a “dark spot” corrector and supposed to help with aging eyes, yet mine looked pretty terrible using this. I was even more disappointed because this is one of the most hyped concealers in the Beauty community. I waited years for Maybelline to finally expand their shade range so that I could see for myself what made them magical. Instead, it was a complete waste of money. I think the powdery/velvety finish is interesting and I can see why others with less problematic undereyes could like this. I should have gotten rid of them when I knew I wouldn’t use them anymore, but now that they’re very old I definitely have to toss them out.

Pat Mcgrath Skin Fetish Sublime Perfection Concealer in MD22 and MD24

PMG’s Concealer in shade MD24 is a great match for my under eyes. When I used it in other areas of my face, I noticed it turned into more of an olive color. I love the high pigmentation and natural looking finish so much that I bought MD22 in the hopes that this would work better for me in all areas. I like that it’s light enough to brighten my under eyes, and it does remain neutral in other parts of my face. Because it is a little lighter than my skin tone, I still prefer to use other concealers elsewhere on my face and keep this one exclusively under my eyes.

I’ve only recently begun to experiment with mixing the Pat Mcgrath Concealer (MD24) and Tarte’s Shape Tape (Tan Deep Sand). The results are that I get a better shade match that neither alone can provide. The combo dries down to a semi-matte finish that gives me the lasting power of Shape Tape without the dryness and without needing to powder it. This might become my new favorite mixture, but I need to continue to test it out. Plus, I have to admit that it’s a bit excessive. I’m not sure I can recommend others spend $57 (if full price) to follow my example.

If I’m using the Pat Mcgrath concealer by itself, it sets on its own quickly, but it will fade within four hours. With a powder, it lasts until the end of the day, but not all powders will work. I’ve only seen good results with powders that contain cornstarch as a main ingredient, such as the Pat Mcgrath Under Eye Setting Powder, Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Setting Powder, and Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder. When I tried this with the Chantecaille Perfect Blur Finishing Powder, Fenty PRO FILT’R Instant Retouch Setting Powder, and Nars Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder, the concealer faded quickly. I had this post ready to go when I decided at the last minute to buy the PMG Under Eye setting powder, so I don’t have a lot of experience with it, but I wanted to note that if I add extra moisture to my under eye (like an eye cream) I like the way it looks better than if I just apply concealer and powder with no skincare underneath. However, using extra moisture leads my concealer to break down in 6-7 hours whereas I’ve worn it “drier” for up to 9 hours and it was still going strong.
Essentially, when I use this concealer under the perfect conditions, it looks amazing, but getting it that way is a bit of a challenge. Skin discoloration is the prime source of insecurity I have when it comes to my face, so I’m willing to take my time with the concealer step in my routine. The end result is worth the trouble to me, for now, but it’s possible I might get tired of the inconsistent results and just stick to the Dermablend Drops and/or Shape Tape. But when it’s good, it’s so good!

If you’re interested in purchasing this one, it’s important to know that the bottle is made of glass. This is not something I’d feel comfortable taking with me traveling. I’m afraid I might even break it at home! Also, the $32 price tag is a lot, but I waited for the brand to have a sale and got it for 30% off.

Tarte Shape Tape in Tan Sand, Tan-Deep Sand, Deep, and Deep Sand

As mentioned earlier, this got partially unseated as my favorite concealer after many consecutive years. When it comes to using PMG’s Sublime Concealer with a powder versus Shape Tape alone or with a powder, I like the results of PMG more. In any case, Tarte expanded their range to include Tan-Deep Sand, Deep Sand, and a few others. Knowing Tan Sand is super light and Deep can sometimes be darker than my skintone when I get less sun, I was hoping Tan-Deep Sand would be a nice middle ground shade. Unfortunately, there is barely a difference between them despite their jump in number from 42S to 47S. The reason I have a light color at all is because I needed it to mix with Deep. I guess I should be glad my new mixing shade is slightly less stark? As for Deep 53N and Deep Sand 53S, I expected them to be the same shade with different undertones. While I’m happy Deep Sand has more yellow in it, it’s also a little darker than the shade Deep, which I absolutely didn’t want. This only has a PAO of 6 months, so when it’s time to get rid of my Deep shade, I’ll have no choice but to mix my remaining Tan-Deep Sand and Deep-Sand concealers together if I want to continue using them. I kept Tan Sand past its date because I wanted to try and use it up, but I’ve thrown it out now.

One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard about this concealer is that it’s too drying or it looks scaly under the eyes. While it can do that if the under eyes aren’t prepped and hydrated properly, I realized that this concealer doesn’t need to be set with powder. Skipping setting it has definitely helped to make it look less dry.

Despite having new favorites, Tarte Shape Tape is like a comfy blanket. I don’t feel secure with my concealer collection without having it there as a backup. At least once a year, Ulta puts these on sale for half off, so that’s the time when I stock up. Tarte does that at least once a year as well on their own website. The travel size is also available for every shade, but the full size is 10 times the product for less than 3 times the price. The full size is way more cost effective.

Hynt Beauty Duet Perfecting Concealer in Dark and Deep

Ulta had a sweepstakes of sorts and I won these two concealers! The jar is made of frosted glass. Dark is an outstanding shade match and the product inside is super creamy, but that is why it doesn’t work for me. It doesn’t matter if I leave it alone or use powder, this concealer gathers alarmingly quickly in the lines under my eyes in a very unflattering way. Matte liquid concealers tend to set fast. The only cream concealers I’ve had success with are stiffer, less emollient ones, which is why the wonderful texture is what keeps me from using products like these. If you typically opt for cream concealers, you might like this one and it does have great coverage. Since I can’t use them, I’m not keeping them in my collection.

Nars Soft Matte Concealer in Amande

This concealer has a whopping 30 month period-after-opening! I admittedly have owned this for a bit longer than that. It’s one of the few cream concealers that stays put and doesn’t crease as badly. I prefer leaving it unset but if I do use powder, less is better. Amande is the best shade match I have in Nars concealers I’ve used in the past (though the formula of the famous Radiant Creamy Concealer was terrible on me). Even though I like this, throughout the years I kept reaching for Shape Tape instead, so this product was hardly used, which I think is why it’s still in such good condition. I’m not willing to get rid of it yet. I want to hold onto it for one more month so I can form a more solid opinion of this concealer. If I don’t, I have a feeling I’d repurchase it in order to find out, especially since I’m such a fan of the Soft Matte Foundation and I’m curious to see how the two work together.

Too Faced Peach Perfect Matte Instant Coverage Concealer in Nutmeg

I thought this product looked so beautiful under my eyes, but the scent they have in the Peach Perfect line is so overwhelming and headache-inducing that I couldn’t handle it. I tried to wear it twice, but hours later the smell remained. Each time I wore it, I ended up washing it off because I could not deal with the fragrance. It’s a shame because this is one of the few cream concealers that work for me and this had the potential to be in my top 3 favorite concealers. It’s being phased out of Sephora, so anyone who wants this can pick up some of the few remaining shades for 50% off. It’s creamy but somehow doesn’t move on my face. The finish is natural and it has the amount of pigmentation that I need. If Too Faced releases an unscented version in the future, I’d buy it. Unfortunately, I don’t foresee that happening.

Maybelline Super Stay Full Coverage Under-Eye Concealer in Tan

I bought this on a whim in-store. I knew the shade was too light but the only other shade available was too dark and I really wanted to try the formula (and also use a coupon with a spending minimum). I was pleased with the amount of coverage it provided. I heard it was supposed to be less drying than Tarte Shape Tape, but I did not find that to be the case. For this reason, I didn’t use it ever again. I’m fairly certain it’s old now, so I’m throwing it out.

Benefit Boi-ing Cakeless Concealer in No.9

I bought this because I wanted to test out the formula but didn’t want to commit to a full size and this was the darkest shade available as a mini. Even though it’s a liquid, this settled too much in my not-so-fine lines, so I did not test this further or try to get a better shade.

Amazing Cosmetics Amazing Concealer in Dark Caramel

When I mentioned before how all my concealers get tried as soon as I get them, this one is the exception. Every so often, I would get a sample of this concealer as a gift with purchase, so I knew I liked it. When Ulta put it on sale for 50% off, I bought it…three years ago. I hadn’t even removed the safety seal until the day I started working on this post.

The shelf life of unused makeup isn’t that long, so I’m surprising no one by saying this was expired when I finally opened it. The smell of crayons was extremely strong. On the bright side, I can at least say that I liked this concealer based on the samples I tried earlier in my makeup journey. It’s full coverage, which I need. Clearly, though, I didn’t like it enough to actually start using it once I had the tube in my possession. I wish I could remember why, but I’m not going to put this on my face or buy another one. If I get hold of a sample again, I will update this post with my findings.

It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eyes Concealer in 35.5 Rich W

I bought this after seeing PopLuxe’s rave review. He often cites this as one of his favorite concealers. The shade match was atrocious (I fully blame websites for making this appear darker online than in person). Even the name implies that this is going to be a dark shade. 35.5 Rich W is darker than my Shape Tape mixing shades, yet if I wore those under my eyes (which I have), they don’t look anywhere near as lifelessly grey as the one from It Cosmetics. I’ll give this some credit for being medium-full coverage, but It Cosmetics is notoriously terrible at making shades darker than medium. I’m glad I only bought the mini size and didn’t pay full price.
Aside from their brushes and mascaras, I haven’t had much luck with their other products. I think I’m going to take a long break from this brand.

Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place High Cover Concealer SPF 35 in 5N Deep

This is an extremely old and discontinued concealer that I kept around for shade comparison purposes (I haven’t used it on my face in many years). It’s the best shade match I’ve ever had, or at least in the top two, and it was a favorite for a long time. I found better products since then, which is why I never repurchased it. Since it’s so dried out that I could barely swatch it, I can’t even use it to compare the color, so it has a new home in the garbage.

Samples and First Impressions

Estee Lauder Double Wear Radiant Concealer in 5N Deep and 6N Extra Deep

The texture of this sample reminded me of how my discontinued Double Wear concealer used to feel, which is a bit strange considering this is in a liquid tube and I can’t imagine it’s supposed to be this thick. That’s the trouble with samples and full sizes sometimes; it’s possible they could be different due to the container. I tried the 5N Deep sample anyway, and it creased too much for my liking.

Rare Beauty Liquid Touch Brightening Concealer 450N

I actively watched this fade over and over in the area of my smile line. I applied more and set it, but it refused to stay over my smile line and still partially faded around my mouth. Ironically, the place that the majority of the time fades, under the eyes, is where it remained the best for a short time. Without powder, this lasted about two hours. This still only lasted about four hours on the powdered side before the fading was unflattering. Even if this lasted longer, I’m not crazy about the dewy finish, and I mean real dewiness not the natural finish or semi-matte kind. I don’t want my under eyes to shine because it brings attention to the sunken hollows of my under eyes, which isn’t so bad as long as the dark circle stays covered, but not great if the concealer starts to wear off as the day goes on.

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Light Capturing Self-Setting Concealer in 41 and 52

Shade 52 creased within minutes. When set, this still barely lasts an hour. It settles in lines and fades and just does not work for me. I was very disappointed considering how well MUFE products usually work for me, and this is supposed to be self-setting. It’s honestly one of the worst concealers I’ve tried, so even though this is just a first impression review, I can’t recommend it.

Too Faced Multi-Use Sculpting Concealer in Chai

I used this sample for swatches, but I’ve purchased the full size concealer before and in this same shade. This is a much loved product that did not work for me. It didn’t give me the coverage or finish I wanted. It settled in my lines. I swiftly returned it.

Final Thoughts

After the decluttering process, this is what I’m left with:

I’ve going on a low-buy and no-buy for a lot of product categories, but the concealer category isn’t one of them. I don’t mind continuing the search for the ultimate concealer that works for me and could potentially be even better than Dermablend Drops, Shape Tape, or Pat Mcgrath. I’m not in a rush to get anything new and I still don’t want a large concealer collection, but it makes sense for me to expand the area that combats my biggest insecurity.

Thank you for reading.

-Lili

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!

-Lili

Under-Eye Concealing Part 1

1cI’ve been searching for the perfect concealer ever since I began wearing makeup. Do you see these dark circles? I need it!

pandaFoundation is extremely difficult to find at the drugstore for darker skin tones but getting my hands on one that matches, let alone within five shades of me, has proven impossible. My local stores don’t sell lines like the Covergirl Queen collection or Iman. Based on the photos I’ve seen online, those would not match me anyway. This is why all my concealers are in the double digits for retail pricing.

Prestige brands might provide me with the right color, as I will elaborate shortly, but I am still seeking a formula that suits me best. I will focus on four concealers today, but I have many more to share in future posts.

howtoRound 1

line1Sephora Bright Future Gel Serum Concealer

sephgel15 Dulce De Leche – tan, neutral with yellow undertone

I was originally matched to 16 pot de crema based on my colorIQ with Sephora, but that looked far too dark for me. Dulce de Leche was a better choice, although it is a little orange. The tip is dome shaped and the formula is lightweight.

sephapThis matches fairly well once set. I knew from its name that this might move a bit throughout the day. So, I wasn’t surprised that after a while it tried to run away from my under eye wrinkles.

sephstrSmashbox Cosmetics BB Cream Eyes Broad Spectrum SPF 15

smashbbDark

I bought this on a discount using my points from Birchbox. The consistency is thicker than I expected but it dries quite matte and is comfortable to wear. The tip is a brush, which is great for on-the-go usage but I don’t like twist up products because they don’t allow me to control how much I pump out. It also makes washing tricky.

smashapWhat I like most about the formula is that it’s on friendly terms with the lines under my eyes.

smashstrOxidation is my issue with this. It becomes more than one shade darker. The end result is still lighter than the darkness under my eyes. For that reason, I still use it. At some point I may try a lighter shade and just hope that the after-oxidation color isn’t still too light.

svsSephora is on the left. Smashbox is on the right.

Round 2

line2Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer

narsAmande – medium dark with golden olive undertones

I know full well that I have better success with liquid concealers and yet I still bought one that has “cream” in the name! This concealer is extremely hyped up in the Youtube beauty community, so I figured I would give it a shot anyway.

The texture is nice and it comes with a doe foot applicator.

narsapIt applies beautifully but I can’t get it to work for me.

narstrI keep trying to get it to stay put but I don’t think it’s going to happen.

Stila Stay All Day Concealer

stilaWarm #13

I purchased mine on sale at Hautelook (not currently there). My shade is available on the Beauty website but if you match any of the 14 shades on the official Stila site, they are on sale for just $5 (at the time of my post)!

stilaapIt’s creamy and much used in comparison with my other concealers. I typically don’t use this alone. Usually, it’s on top of a darker concealer which was a technique a Macy’s employee at the MAC counter showed me. I haven’t used that method in a very long time. The result below is not surprisingly similar to the Nars and Sephora concealers.

stilastrsvsNars is on the left. Stila is on the right.
all4swaFrom left to right: Sephora, Smashbox, Nars, Stila.
flash was on. Not set with powder.

Some concealers require a generous layer of product, the tiniest amount of product, more powder, the bare minimum of powder, etc. Because I’m not entirely certain I’ve unlocked the proper method for each of my concealers, I am reluctant to call any of these “bad” and will just say they aren’t the right fit (yet). I also incorporate color correctors in my dark-under-eye-covering routine, but that is a topic for another time.

I hope everyone’s holiday was a good one and that your new year is off to a fantastic start!

❤ Lili