A few things happened between working on Part 1 and Part 2. First, I decided to keep a few extra products from the Mystery Bundles instead of giving them away. Second, the only lip pencil I received that smelled relatively normal in the beginning ended up starting to smell very off like the others (still without me ever even using it), so I’m no longer going to review it. Third, Melt had a 50% off sale the day after I posted Part 1, so I bought the few remaining things I wanted from the brand. This means I’ll be reviewing a few extra things not pictured above.
Part 1 with reviews of all the eye products in the photo can be found HERE.
The Sculpt Stack
This stack is surprisingly handy! I love that it comes with a small mirror as the “cap” for the stack. The med/dark bronzer and contour both work for my skin tone, but even the light/med bronzer I’ve been able to use as a setting powder! It’s just the light/med contour that I have little use for. I prefer my contours to have slightly more grey than this one has, so I had the idea to mix some of the light/med contour shade with it, but I was unsuccessful in making those two properly blend together to turn into the perfect contour shade for my liking. Using the Med/Dark contour on its own looked better than the combination of the two.
These blend easily enough, though it can stick in place a little bit if my face is dewy, but that just requires a dense brush to buff out and then it looks fine again. The Chikuhodo FO-2 is a beloved buffer brush up to that task, for example.
These don’t fade. They are matte, but not drying. I love a slight sheen to my bronzers, which this doesn’t give, but it’s still quite nice. Overall, my impression of the stack is that it’s a useful product. It’s not in my very top favorites, but I do enjoy this product a lot and will continue using it. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if this turns out to be something I like even more over time.
Ultra Matte Bronzer in Malibu
Despite the “Ultra Matte” name, I don’t find this product to be drying on the skin or to look any more matte than the bronzer in the stack. The powder feels slightly silkier to the touch, but it’s actually less easy to use than the stack because of my preference for wearing slightly dewy foundations. If I’m wearing a drier foundation, the blend is at least equal to the bronzer in the stack. Overall, I prefer the stack’s color and blendability than Melt’s actual dedicated line of bronzers. Plus, whatever makes this formula different from the one in the stack also causes it to start forming a weird film on the top layer (presumably from double dipping between the compact and the moisture on my face from skincare, primer, and/or dewy foundation).
I find it interesting that the shade range seems to lean on the darker end of the spectrum. My shade is number 3 out of 4 and Malibu is even a bit darker than I tend to wear these days, though perhaps it’ll be perfect in the summertime. However, I will realistically not reach for this because I prefer the stack and plenty of other bronzers in my collection over this one. It’s not bad, but I just don’t think it’s worth full price. Even at half price, I’d choose a Mented Cosmetics bronzer, Nabla Skin Bronzing, or Covergirl Trublend So Flushed.
Cream Blushlight in Pinched and Lynx
I’ve reviewed this type of product before and it falls into the category of loving the shades and finishes, but not liking the fact that these don’t set down to a dry finish on the skin. Just like the Rose Inc blushes that I have the same issue with, I was unable to turn down the opportunity to buy something (like a mystery box) to essentially get the blushes for free. They’re so pretty! I just wish they could set without a strong powder (like a powder blush that fully removes the glow and warps the color which defeats the purpose of wearing them at all).
Pinched looks quite similar to Polished, but I wanted an option that didn’t have shimmer and was more pigmented on my cheeks and Lynx made for a gorgeous cream highlighter. I’m satisfied with these two shades, and will use them for photos, but the continued wet feeling on the cheeks is why I will never get much use out of them in public or private. For those who don’t mind a wet creamy cheek, these are beautiful. And I know there are some people who absolutely love this formula, like Amy Loves Makeup who owns them all.
Digital Dust Highlighter in Genesis
This highlighter was in the “last chance” section of the website, so it’s discontinued now, but something about pink and gold shimmery hues intrigue me. If they’re too pink, I tend to not like them, but if they are gold with a slight pink tinge, I tend to find them beautiful. Genesis is the kind I like. The shine can be built up to medium intensity in person, but it remains subtle on camera. I thought at first it just blended in very well on a day I wore my Rituel de Fille Thorn Oil (left photo), but when I made sure to take pictures again with a drier base, the shimmer particles were more obvious, but still didn’t look very reflective on camera (right photo). So, this is the type of highlighter I would wear in public, but not if I wanted my highlight to pop in pictures.
Sexfoil Liquid Highlight in Peaches & Cream
I reviewed these before and even mentioned that I think Peaches & Cream might show up more intensely on me. Ironically, it’s even more subtle than Gold Ore, but I think it’s a far better match for my skintone and even prettier. This product has a tendency to lift, depending on what other makeup I wear underneath it, but because the base color is about my skin tone, it covers up any patches while also having shimmer light enough to reflect and still work as a highlighter for my face.
Although I rarely use liquid highlighters, this might be the exception.
Gel Liner in Fortune
I have an example of this on the eyes in the Half Lashes section with the green eyeshadow look. Just like the other Melt liners, they dry quickly, don’t smudge, and last all day without the line cracking. I prefer eyeliner pens because of the convenience of not needing to use a second tool to apply it, but I find these gel ones to be great from Melt, especially in the waterproof formula that works for the waterline, though I only reach for them occasionally. If the brand ever releases felt tip eyeliner pens, I would definitely want to give one a try.
Johnny Half Lash
This was my first time ever buying Half Lashes and, just like most full strip lashes, these aren’t for me. The issue is that I have a very rounded curve to my eyes directly in the middle. This requires me to have strip lashes that are longer than usual. My eyes also have a steep downward curve at the outer edge, which I try to balance out with cat-eye wings. So, in order to have room to adjust to my eye shape, I would need a longer half lash (something like a 3/4 strip) and for the outer portion to have much longer lashes so that it can look like it’s curving upward at the ends. On my eyes, putting the half lash from the actual middle to end part looks strange because my inner lashes are super short, which doesn’t have a normal looking transition from shorter lashes to suddenly longer outer ones. This causes the outer part to look either downturned or just makes the eye look heavy. If I move the lash slightly more inwards from the top of my curve in the center to almost the end to keep it from looking downturned, it looks even more ridiculous because the lashes go from short to long to short again.
The best I could get it to look was in the purple look when I made sure to have a wing that made the outer edge appear to curve up higher than the actual lash was curving. It still looks quite heavy though, so this style of lash just isn’t for me. If I want half lashes, I think I would need to just slightly trim a full strip and ensure it has a very flared out end. But considering my sparse and shorter inner lashes, I’d just stick with House of Lashes Iconic Lites.
Amor y Mariposas Collection
Recuerdos Lipstick and Corazon Lip Pencil
As I mentioned in the beginning of the post, I didn’t end up wearing the lip pencil because of the smell. As for the lipstick, it’s certainly an interesting color. It still has a vanilla scent to it that is similar to the cream blushlights. The color isn’t very even and this formula is very drying and the bullet was stiff. I don’t know if this is the case with all of Melt’s lipsticks (I have heard they aren’t very comfortable) or if this is just performing this way because of how long ago the collection was released. The gold packaging is absolutely stunning though. I love the details, as well as the imprint on the lipstick bullet. I will never wear this lipstick again (and removed it after taking the photo so I have no idea how good the longevity is), but I want to save the packaging and maybe pour a homemade balm into it so I can reuse it for something because it’s so pretty, plus luxurious feeling from the metal with magnetic closure.
I ended up with two of these when it was temporarily reduced to $5 with a purchase of an Amor y Mariposas item and then again when it was temporarily free with either a mystery box or certain spending minimum. It was never officially announced, but something I noticed in the website carts. So, I gave the spare one to my sister!
This mirror is beautiful. I love the gold writing on the back and the clear red color. It’s a thick plastic though, so it feels weighty but isn’t too heavy as to be uncomfortable for a handheld mirror. The only downside is that it’s quite small, around the size of Colourpop mirrors. The one I got from Gerard Cosmetics is the current one I use because it’s much bigger in size, which I compared in the photo below. I can be quite clumsy and have already broken five mirrors in my lifetime, so I don’t mind having backups. However, if my Gerard one breaks, I would probably repurchase it because I like how much larger of a mirror surface it has. I know I own plenty of palettes with mirrors, but those are heavier to lift up, or the lid doesn’t stay up in position, or the mirror is just too small for my liking. So, I continue to use hand mirrors and I like collecting pretty ones, even if I barely use the spare ones.
The brushes in the order pictured are Rubor 718, Pomulo Alto 779, Pincel Denso 23, Mini Difumadora 808, Sombra Angular 627, Sombra Plana 24, and Lapiz Fino 523.
Rubor makes for a decent sweeping blush and bronzer brush. I like the density level, but wish it was more of Pomulo’s shape. Pomulo is my kind of blush brush, but it’s not as dense as I like and makes for a sheerer blush application. If I want something this sheer, I’d just use one of my natural hair brushes, so it disappointed me a bit. Pincel is a bit large for my eyes, but I have used it as a highlighting brush. It’s okay for that purpose, but a little odd because of the pointed tip. I’ve also used it to spread out one of my more liquid eye primers and preferred it for that, though I spread the product a bit wider out than anticipated since it’s so big for my eye. Mini Difumadora I’ve also used for highlighter and do like it for that. Sombra Angular I’ve used for eye primer and liked it. Sombra Plana I’ve used as an eyeliner brush, though I would prefer if it came even thinner at the tips for even more precision. I think it’s technically a concealer brush as it’s similar in shape and size to my Smashbox concealer brush that I also don’t use for concealer. Sonia G’s Jumbo Concealer brush is much more my style in shape and thickness. Lapiz Fino is a strange one because it’s shaped like an eyeliner brush, but it’s so thick that I never want to use it for eyeliner and can’t think of any other purpose for that brush either. Maybe spot concealing, but I almost never do that.
Overall, I do think this brush set is worth the currently reduced $35 price. I got one set free in a mystery box, but I did buy another set for my sister who is always afraid to use pretty brushes for fear of messing them up. I got this set specifically for her to “mess up” as much as she wants but she still finds the gold metal outside (I’m guessing full aluminum) and lovely shade of red synthetic bristles to be too pretty.
I’ve only washed these brushes once, but I did not notice any dye seeping out. Just wanted to mention that. However, I wash my brushes with cold or lukewarm water at most.
Before we go, I should post this disclaimer…
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That’s everything for today. Thank you for reading!
The absolute newest release from Kaleidos is the Sound of Winter Lip Clay Collection. I purchased a custom bundle so I could buy the Willow Wisp Tin with Golden Rosin from that set, Pink Himalayan and Tundra from the Polar Placid Vault, and Terra from the original Sand Castle Vault. I nearly forgot that I purchased Mahogany from the Flora Noir Vault as well in one of the November or December orders, so I will include demonstration photos of that too. The release prior to that was of the Symphony Contour Trios. I purchased the option in Dark. There are five of them in total with one version darker than mine and three that are lighter. I’m impressed with these offerings considering how their first contour palettes weren’t very inclusive and only came in two options. Then, the third newest release was their line of Epiphany Glow Melt-On Eyeliners. I purchased the one called Night of Creation.
I bought the face trio and multichrome eyeliner during Black Friday, but I didn’t receive it until late December. The newest Lip Clays were available for purchase mid December and did not arrive until early January, so I have spent less time with these Lip Clays, but they’re no different than the ones I’ve used throughout 2022.
Photos I take in this spot tend to wash out my skin, but I’m not posting these face-foward pictures for color accuracy. I just wanted to show examples of the Lip Clays on the face without being zoomed in so closely. Also, I frequently wear two different eyeshadow looks on testing days, so please excuse that.
I now own twelve Lip Clays. My opinions of them haven’t changed, and those who wish to see my reviews of the rest can find them here and here. I’m still impressed with how long wearing yet comfortable it is on the lips. It’s transfer resistant, as long as oil from food hasn’t broken it down, and it’s easy to touch up. I love the plush velvety texture, although it’s not as completely unique as I thought. I recently learned that Colourpop’s line of Lux Velvet Liquid Lipsticks are similar enough that I would recommend those as an alternative if Colourpop happens to be more accessible to someone than Kaleidos. The lip products have similar price points, though Colourpop tends to have deeper and more frequent discounts. Kaleidos makes unique shade options though for the more daring and color-loving makeup wearers.
The only new development about the Lip Clays I’ve experienced is that Wild Apple separated a bit. Unlike all the other Lip Clays that maintained their mousse-like texture, my version of Wild Apple was giving me fully liquid swatches until I stirred it in the tube and it mixed back with the rest of the lingering thick creamy product inside that I’m used to seeing. It’s even visible in the swatch photo above with all except Wild Apple having mostly dried down in spite of me waiting a few minutes for it to dry. Wild Apple was part of my oldest custom set that I purchased a little over a year ago. The other three Lip Clays that came with it haven’t changed. The smell is slightly more chemical-like, so it might be starting to turn early considering the 18 month period after opening date.
I’ve been using the Symphony Contour Trio quite a lot since it arrived. The powders feel super soft to the touch and remind me of the Hourglass Ambient Lighting and Laura Mercier Candleglow Perfecting powders, put more heavily pigmented. The fill shade is supposed to be the illuminator that, “delivers soft, from-within radiance with buttery smooth powder that expertly blurs skin textures and naturally brightens targeted areas.” I’m a bit confused that this is considered a glow product when I am unable to see any shimmer or sheen to the powder whatsoever. The only glow I get is from my foundation. The powder imparts a natural finish at best, which is why I feel so comfortable using it to set my under eyes. Kaleidos also sells the “fill” compacts separately and I was considering getting a lighter shade since this just sets things in place and doesn’t deliver on the brightening effect (possibly due to the color depth), but I’m not sure if the Tan version would be too light for me. Had this product been less of a setting powder and more of a finishing one with shimmer or a sheen like the Guerlain meteorites, I’d have been willing to give another shade a try. But I only need it for setting and am perfectly happy to have this one for that purpose. That also being said, kudos to Kaleidos for the fact that all my comparisons to this product are high end brands because that’s the quality level of this product and for a really great price!
The packaging is surprisingly weighty metal while also being sleek and easy to hold in the hand. I’m quite impressed with the design!
When it comes to using the sculpting contour shade or the chisel brontour color, I get near airbrushed results when my base makeup is matte. When it’s on my typical slightly dewy or natural finish foundations, it can require a little more effort on my part because it may stick a tiny bit where I first lay the product down. Because the sculpt shade is a bit deep for me and I already have to use a controlled hand to have it blend into my skin, I have to be especially careful to apply a little at a time and with a brush that will disperse the product lightly while also aiding in the blend. With the chisel shade, I don’t have to worry about being as precise with it because the color match suits me better. In fact, when I use this trio, I often reach for the fill shade and chisel shade and skip trying to contour. The sculpt shade is cool-toned and deep, so it does have a sculpting effect, but I prefer to have a little more grey so I can actually create a faint shadow. So, if I’m in the mood to contour, I still reach for my Hindash Beautopsy palette instead.
Although not completely perfect, I like this a lot and foresee myself continuing to get use out it!
My review of this liner is a first and second impression, so please keep that in mind. I will update this post in the future if I discover anything that differs from what I experienced initially.
I love multichromes, so it’s only natural that I find multichrome eyeliners super appealing. However, I know how to turn eyeshadows into liners, so I’ve tried for the longest time to prevent myself from buying them for the convenience/ease of not having to scrape some off and mixing it with a liquid product (like MAC Fix+, isododecane from TKB Trading, Inglot Duraline, or Mehron Mixing Liquid) and applying carefully with a brush and then having to clean off the tools, etc. So, I ultimately skipped getting the $28 Natasha Denona Chromium Liquid Eyeshadows, the $26 Danessa Myricks Twin Flames, and JD Glow MultiChrome Gel Liners for $18.50. It was also easier to pass since those are liquid products. I was a lot more tempted when I heard Sugar Drizzle had multichrome eyeliner crayons, but I don’t think they are sold individually and I’m always wary about purchasing from small indie brands for the first time. So, when I was already making that Black Friday order from Kaleidos, the $12.80 (regularly $16) was too good to pass up on. Around the same time, I got the Danessa Myricks Beauty Infinite Chrome Pencil in my Mystery Trendmood Box, so it’s only natural to want to compare them.
I chose Night of Creation because its the type that no matter what lighting situation it’s in, the angle, or whether it shows a visible shift or not, I would love it and use it in the same way. Kaleidos describes the colors as, “Ultramarine, Violet, and Dark Plum,” and I often use deep and vibrant blues and purples on my lower lash line as a pop of color to a neutral look or as a secondary color to an otherwise monochromatic eye. The other liner color options, for example Limelight, goes on the spectrum of blue, blue-green, green, and yellow-green in a look that I might not want any yellow because the warmth could clash with an otherwise cool tone look, for example. Of course the benefit to having a multichrome is to have a shift, but not if the shifting color might look off next to the tones of other eyeshadows I would be wearing. Night of Creation has all cool tone bold colors, which means it’s most likely to all look good or not at all. That makes it simpler to know when I want to incorporate it in a look or not.
Night of Creation applies so easily to my hand, but on my eyelids with my lines and texture, I had to go over the same spot for a full minute in order to get the opacity level shown all over my eyelid in the photo above, and at least ten times to just my upper lash line. This isn’t due to a lack of creaminess. The product is soft, but it’s as if I get a coating of the black base and have to keep rubbing over and over until the sparkle part with the actual pigment comes off. For this reason, I haven’t thought to use this in my waterline and don’t plan on it either. The product tip is very thick and not easy to apply precisely. I’m someone who loves doing a wing and had to switch holding the pencil from 180 to a 90 degree angle to try and get a thinner line using its side. I still had to sharpen up the edges with concealer in the examples above. Also, I can still see patches in the full lid example, so I don’t plan on using this pencil for that in the future and will stick to keeping it on the lower and/or upper lash line.
One advantage the Danessa Myricks pencil has over the one from Kaleidos is how thin it is, which makes it so much easier for me to use precisely. I know a big complaint from customers about it is how little product one gets in the Chrome Micropencils, but as someone who normally takes six months to use up a black eyeliner, even if it was in almost every eye look for those six months, a product like this one that I’m going to use a lot less frequently should last me ages. Kaleidos has 0.20 grams compared to Danessa’s 0.15 grams, so I’m fine with that difference. Some brands give a ton of product, but among the micro pencil category, the Hourglass 1.5MM Mechanical Gel Eye Liner is 0.06 grams and the Shiseido MicroLiner Ink Eyeliner is 0.08 grams, so those have even less for around the same price and they’re not multichromes.
They’re both beautiful on the eyes. Because they’re very different colors, I don’t think it would be fair of me to compare shifting ability and shine between them (dark vs light color and contrasting shifts vs similar color depths in shifts), but Tina compared several in her video here. She actually owns Charoite, which is most comparable to Night of Creation.
These are also both waterproof. I do not recommend trying this on without a waterproof makeup remover or an oil of some kind to help break it down because these are truly waterproof, especially the one from Kaleidos. Most of the time when a product is waterproof I can still remove it from my skin with Bioderma, but neither of these budged at all when I made multiple passes over my swatches with Bioderma and my Makeup Eraser cloth. I then used regular hand soap and water, which only the tiniest bit of the Danessa Myricks came off at. I then used Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Liquid Soap that contains oil in it and that removed about half of the Kaleidos and most of the Danessa Myricks. Ultimately, I still pulled out my Sephora Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover which did the trick but was still not a breeze to do like I expected. So these are no joke! When I was using the Kaleidos liner on my actual lids, a piece of it broke off (during the attempt to cover the whole lid when I was rubbing the eye repeatedly and forcefully) and fell somewhere on my laminate wood floor. I couldn’t see where it was, so I assumed it rolled under the bed and I planned to deal with it later. What I did not realize was that it didn’t roll under the bed. I accidentally stepped on it when I got up, and since I was wearing socks I didn’t feel a thing. I started walking to my door and then realized I had a trail of probably fifteen spots of deep shimmery purple smudges into the laminate. I grabbed a paper towel and some water to start wiping it up, and when it wouldn’t budge I remembered in horror that it’s waterproof.
So, I had to use oil to remove the trail of liner smudges from across the floor, and then use soap and water to get the oil residue off the floor, and then dry it all up again so I wouldn’t accidentally slip and give myself a whole new set of problems.
The moral of the story is not to underestimate the waterproof power of these liners! Haha.
As for longevity on the eyes, they both live up to the claims of being smudgeproof, but because I get oily lids and I tend to rub my eyes, these had some spots that wore off by the end of the day. My upper lash line was fine, but the inner portion of both my lower lash lines had missing product. The Kaleidos held up better though than the Danessa Myricks one did. Those that get oily lids, but don’t rub their eyes, plus those that don’t have an oily-lid problem should have no trouble with longevity. And I should also mention that even though I have oily lids, removing the leftover liner was not an easy task.
UPDATE FEBRUARY 28, 2023: I ended up buying two additional Danessa Myricks liners and thought I should add swatches of them here since I will be unlikely to re-review them again.
Well, that’s everything I could think to mention! I hope you have a great week and thank you for checking out this post today!
This experiment examining my monthly purchases has been fascinating for me to see all grouped together. January was indie and high end. February was indie and drugstore. March has shaped up to be a little of everything! There’s no consistent pattern and that makes me wonder how the rest of the year will be. Will I purchase more things or less things? Will I have an entire month of products solidly within one price range? Is it possible for me to go an entire month without buying a single thing? We will see!
Makeup Geek Empty Magnetic Mega Palettes
It’s quite unfortunate that Makeup Geek Cosmetics is no more. I didn’t add this to my Beauty Resolutions post, but I’m unofficially on an empty magnetic palette no-buy, and have been for years. I have so many unused small ones (25-30 pan ones), or what I refer to as small compared to the Coloured Raine 96 pan palettes. They don’t resell well either, so I try to avoid getting them, but these plastic Mega Vault Palettes from Makeup Geek are such a better and sturdier quality than even Z-palettes (which are already better than other more affordable cardboard packaging alternatives). For this reason, I bought two additional ones at 40% off on Makeup Geek’s website. I suspected prices would be further reduced in April, but I didn’t want to take the chance of these selling out. It’s a good thing I did because they were out of stock within a few weeks.
Wayne Goss The Luxury Eye Palette in Imperial Topaz
Between the Beautylish Lucky Bags and Wayne Goss Lucky Bags, I knew there would be plenty of untouched or only swatched palettes available on Mercari. I’ve wanted to try Wayne Goss’ eye shadows since the beginning, but I couldn’t bring myself to pay full price for six neutral shadows. So, for almost half off, I was finally able to see if playing the long game was worth it.
I didn’t have faith that these shadows would be worth full price, and it’s still not unless at least 4 of the 6 colors are someone’s style, but this really is a high quality formula! Well, the black shade is an exception but the rest are fantastic. Shades #1, #2, and #4 are satins, #6 is a topper type of glittery shimmer, shade #5 is a texturally soft matte, #3 is a very dry and stiff matte. What makes the difference between the mattes is the lack of stearates (which can account for the softness of the texture) and zea mays (oil absorbing but silky feel) missing from the black shadow that were included in the medium matte brown.
The satin shades can be used in the crease in place of a matte, but I have to be careful using #1 anywhere beyond highlighting spots because it’s so light and #2 is practically my skin tone, so it doesn’t show very much beyond adding a sheen to the area. I also wish #5 was a little deeper. I thought I would be able to mix #5 and #3, but #3 is so stiff that it doesn’t mix well with others. It reminds me of the black shade in the Hindash Beautopsy palette in the sense that it looks like it’s going to give a lot of pigment when it first touches the skin, but it’s a buildable formula that requires multiple layers to get something dark and dramatic. I appreciate that this type of shadow is perfect for smokey eye looks, but I’m able to get that effect from Hindash’s palette twice as fast and I consider that a little slow to use!
These shadows have fantastic longevity with very minimal creasing. I was impressed to discover #1 can cling to my inner corner when a lot of other shadows don’t by the end of the day from all the times my eyes get watery or I rub them. #6 also impressed me because I don’t get glitter specks on my cheeks either throughout the day. The glitter is spaced out when applied to the eye, but I can make it look less like a topper if I apply it wet.
Imperial Topaz is supposed to be that go-to palette for everyday quick and easy looks. However, they aren’t the perfect tones and depths for me, the scattered glitter effect from the nicknamed “celestial” shade isn’t my preference, soft satins are generally not my preference anymore either, and the black shadow takes effort to use. So, it’s not possible for this to be an effortless essential palette for me. I can still make nice looks with it, but it wouldn’t be worth me paying $55 for it, and I say that as someone who is willing to spend more than that on a palette if it’s nearly perfect for me. In my opinion, this palette should be $45.
As for those who love satins, celestial shades, creating soft looks and/or glam looks, is of a different skin tone in which #2 could work as a transition shade and #5 could add dimension, I can completely see how this would be an ideal neutral palette for someone. The perfect palette even. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case for me, but I am still going to continue to stalk Wayne Goss launches in the hopes that one day he’ll release my ideal eyeshadow palette! The Tourmaline palette almost got me, but not quite! This palette takes the third spot in my 24 max goal.
I realize I’ve forgotten to mention something that will only be important to some people, but I will include this note now. Whenever I purchase the first product from someone who is a celebrity, influencer, or public figure, I always disclose my thoughts on them for those who may be worried about whether my review is clouded by personal feelings positively or negatively. When it comes to Wayne Goss, even though I am subscribed to him on YouTube, I only watch 5% of his videos, so I sometimes forget he is technically an influencer. I’ve always put him in the box of Makeup Artist/Industry Professional, which most people typically don’t have parasocial ties to, and therefore wouldn’t need disclosing. So, for full disclosure now, I used to be a big fan of his and that is what got me to first start buying his brushes in 2015. His products were the reason I placed my first Beautylish order. At some point I lost interest in his videos because the reviews are always glowing since he almost never reviews products he doesn’t like, so at that point I stopped thinking of him as an influencer and instead as a brand owner and professional. Certainly, by this point, my opinion of him is neutral.
Dior Forever Couture Luminizer in Golden Glow 04
Well, I said I would eventually get a Dior highlighter in my Beauty Resolutions and here it is! All the luxury beauty channels I watch say that Dior makes the best highlighters, so I’ve wanted this since it launched. I was planning to buy it during any retailer’s 20% off sale, but I happened to find an untouched one on Mercari at a significant discount, so I snapped it up! I just did not want to pay full price for a formula I’ve never tried before and that I honestly didn’t think would live up to the hype.
I didn’t think of the implications when Angela van Rose mentioned that the base color doesn’t show very much in this highlighter. There wouldn’t have been an issue for me if the color in the pan was the tone of the shimmer, but since the base is almost transparent on the skin, I’m left with the actual color of the shimmer which is a bit too light for me. I love how the highlighter melts into the skin. I love how fine the shimmer particles are and how it gives a glassy wet-skin glow to my face. However, I can only get away with wearing it if I take my time to really blend it onto my cheekbones and even then, I’m not sure how successfully I pull it off. The best results I can get (pictured above) is with the Smashbox Precise Highlighting Brush which somehow picks up more of the powder and deposits less of the shimmer onto my cheekbones. If I want to continue using this, I could try to pair it with one of my darker highlighters.
In terms of longevity, this lasts all day without the shine dulling down. It’s absolutely beautiful. I just wish it was a little darker. There are six different colors in the range, but I’m not convinced 05 Rosewood would be any better on me and 06 Coral Glow is supposed to be similar to Pat Mcgrath’s Divine Rose, which I already own. So, I don’t plan on purchasing another one. As for the full retail price, I would say it’s not quite worth $48, but I bought PML’s Lunar Nude at the reduced price of $45, and this highlighter is better than that one. So, if Dior did release a similar formula of highlighter with a gold shade that would work better for me (something like Becca’s Topaz), there’s a good chance I would buy it and possibly at full price.
Also, I didn’t realize this had a scent until I was watching other videos to compare the different shades and someone mentioned it. I checked and can confirm mine does have it too, but I had to put it right up to my nose to detect it. It’s the same fragrance as my Dior Powder No Powder, so I guess it’s the brand’s signature scent for powder products.
Colourpop Super Shock Blushes in Chamomile and Sounds Grape
These purchases, combined with last month’s heart shaped blush, put a big dent in my goal of ending the year with under 15 blushes. Plus, Colourpop is not even on my blush exceptions list! The review for the Super Shock formula of blushes (with some highlighters snuck in) can be found here.
Chamomile is as pretty of a color in person as it looks online, but Sounds Grape is so much darker than I expected!
If I use a heavy amount, it looks similar to the shade Cheerio, so I have to be careful with this one and apply lightly. If I only use a little bit, the look I get is exactly as I hoped and is beautiful. I have no regrets buying these two blushes!
Colourpop Super Shock Highlighters in Flute Punch and Got Glow
Flute Punch was part of my official Colourpop order in March. I bought it so I could have a lighter version of Champagne BB that I enjoyed in February. Both were from the Feelin’ Bubbly Collection, but for some reason, I got Flute Punch in the basic permanent Super Shock packaging and not the special edition one. Colourpop Super Shock Cheeks in the highlighter formula weren’t on my exceptions list because as much as I love them, I wanted to not purchase anymore so I could use up what I have. I caved when I bought these and that was very naughty of me. As for Got Glow, the Colourpop x Avatar the Last Airbender collab, I purchased it from Ulta. I thought the color was beautiful and I wanted to try the tie-dye formula. When the Avatar Collection was released a week after my order, I regretted not waiting for something else I wanted, as this could have been the last item in my official Colourpop order instead of needing a “filler” item. The fact that it was available at Ulta, so I could add it to my order without needing to pay for shipping or meeting the price minimum was why I happily broke my rules and bought it.
The line on my cheek near my ear in the Flute Punch photo is from wearing a mask, not the cheek products.
Colourpop Pretty Fresh Face Powder in Dark 18
Because I had a 25% off coupon that would mean the difference between saving a few bucks after having to pay for shipping or spending a few extra dollars after hitting the free shipping minimum, I decided to add this as a “filler” for my order. The only other items that interested me at the time was a hair accessory or additional blushes and highlighters, which I did not want to add to my yearly tally. So, even though I’m on a definite powder no-buy, I decided to try this one as my first complexion product from Colourpop.
According to the website, this powder can be used on its own as a foundation or as a setting powder. I accidentally chose a shade slightly lighter than my skintone, but when I used this with my natural hair brushes, I get such a thin layer of product that it just blends in and may as well be translucent. As to be expected, I get a lot more coverage if I use the extremely thin powder puff that came with it. The slightly off shade still isn’t noticeable with the puff anywhere except the areas of my face where I have darker discoloration. So, this is only a problem if I’m trying to wear this product on a bare face. There are no issues when I’ve used concealer over my hyperpigmentation and then applied the powder afterwards. After looking at a few videos and seeing shades 19 and 20, I don’t believe there is a shade in the line that would suit me for foundation purposes. So, I will not be trying to get an additional shade.
I like the softness of the powder’s texture, how it helps to even out my skin tone, and it sets my makeup in place. It even works as a setting powder for my under eyes and adds a little extra coverage and brightening if I apply it towards the end of the day if my concealer is starting to fade. I’m pretty happy with this product! The result I get with this is like a less expensive version of MAC’s Mineralize Skinfinish Natural.
Tarte Shape Tape (Original) in Deep Golden
In my Beauty Resolutions, I mentioned that this was one of the rare times I would allow myself to have a backup product. I got it for 50% off during Ulta’s 21 Days of Beauty. I’ve discussed this concealer in so many different posts on this blog. The only thing special about this one is that it’s yet another shade in the same Deep 53 range, but in a different undertone that looks like it will be better for me than Deep. As I’m trying to use up my other concealers, I don’t plan on opening this one anytime soon in order to keep it fresh until I’m ready for it.
Also, I just wanted to show Tarte’s packaging change between the purple box to a clear plastic one.
Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Intense Black
This was another Ulta 21 Days of Beauty purchase. It’s a backup item, but I mentioned this was a possible purchase in my Beauty Resolutions and Hyped Drugstore Products posts. This is a long time holy grail eyeliner, so I’ve discussed it plenty of times on my blog.
Covergirl TruBlend So Flushed High Pigment Bronzer in Ebony
Since I got free shipping from buying a Beauty Steal (Shape Tape), and I had some funds left on my gift card, I added this to my order. In my post about Drugstore Items Worth The Hype, I discussed how much I enjoyed the Sweet Seductions blush from this range and wanted to try the bronzer. This is still a breach of my beauty resolutions because Covergirl is not on my list of no-buy exceptions, but I have no regrets because this is such a great bronzer! The way that it is similar to the blush is that it’s very blendable, but rather than shimmery, it adds a pretty sheen to the skin.
If I use a dense brush, I don’t have to build it up as much. The Ebony shade is perfect for my skintone as a true bronzer, rather than all the brontours I’ve been using lately. It’s only a few shades darker, so I don’t get a ton of sculpting with it unless I really build it up, but it matches my undertone so well in providing a very natural looking warmth. I highly recommend it and can easily say it’s my favorite bronzer available at the drugstore as it truly rivals some high end formulas.
The partial indent on my cheek is from wearing a mask.
Olivia Palermo Beauty Eyeshadow Palette in Regalia
Mercari to the rescue again! When Olivia Palermo Beauty launched, I wanted a palette solely for the packaging, which I heard was luxurious and weighty. However, I had enough sense not to spend $58 for color story I hated. The Soirée and O’Naturel palettes were all that was available until February 24th when Regalia was released. I was about to order this from the website with the 15% off coupon for signing up for emails, but the shipping price deterred me. There is a free shipping minimum of $60, but a palette plus the cheapest item in the shop (a $29 lip balm) makes that free shipping minimum really $74 after the coupon. So, I decided to play the long game. What a stroke of luck that I found a seller three weeks after the launch willing to part with one of her unused palettes and for just $28! And in the terms of my eyeshadow palette low-buy, this purchase takes the fourth spot in my 24 max goal.
The first time I tried out this palette, I tested it with the MAC Paint Pot on one eye and no primer on the other. The texture of the eyeshadows felt different from what I’m used to, which is why I wanted to test them without a base to make sure it didn’t negatively impact the shadows. My findings was that the matte shade deepened up quite a bit on the primed side, even though the Paint Pot had enough time to set. I used Smoky Quartz in both creases and the shade was not easy to blend on either eye. The performance of the shimmers were much better. I did not wet my brush or use glitter primer, yet I didn’t see any glitter fallout at the end of the day, only the particles that fell from the initial application. This was shocking considering how packed with sparkle Diamond Dust is! Diamond Dust was even applied on the eye without the primer! As for the primed side, Antique Diamante is borderline a glitter-shimmer shade and that didn’t have fallout either.
Rose Gold is labeled a satin, and I agree with that. Malachite, Antique Diamante, Amethyst, and Diamond Dust are all called shimmers, but Malachite and Amethyst are much more satin-like in comparison to Antique Diamante and Diamond Dust. The four shimmers also have a black base to them. I could see the darkness in the smudges they left on my fingers after swatching them. This helps those shimmers to pop and increases the opaque look to them. I don’t need to load on the shadows to make an impact.
I find it interesting how soft the satin and shimmers feel (minus Diamond Dust), how pigmented they are, and how smoothly they apply. A lot of other formulas have slip ingredients like dimethicone in a higher concentration in order to achieve that spreadability and creamy feel, but because this one doesn’t rely as heavily on dimethicone, it barely creased on me. The fallout-free and crease-free aspects alone might make this palette worth full price for some people. That isn’t the case for me, but as someone with a lot of lines on my eyes and oily lids, it’s an aspect that is gaining importance to me as I get older.
“Glittering gems and precious metals,” are the inspiration for the Regalia palette. For my personal preferences, I would have liked a matte black to emphasize the sultry smoky side of the shimmer shades and give me the level of depth I enjoy most, but I appreciate the fact that having the warm brown gives me something to pair with Rose Gold for a daytime option, and so I don’t feel restricted to just use that shade exclusively for highlighting the eyes. Technically, the shimmers are dramatic enough to wear on their own, so having a color like Smoky Quartz offers more variety to the looks and is probably less intimidating for some people than a matte black would be. I just wish it was a more blendable shadow.
I am of course thrilled with my purchase at the reduced price, but I’m not sure how I would have felt if I paid full price for it. In addition to the creasing and fallout being non-factors, and the tones of the shadows looking flattering on my eyes, this has phenomenal packaging that literally weighs half a pound! The outer shell is metal, which makes up for most of the weight. The inner portion surrounding the pans and mirror feel like plastic, but I’m not certain about that. The total weight of the actual shadows is 7g/2.5oz, which means the packaging alone is over 5.45 ounces. I can see how this palette would be a nice luxury purchase for someone and the experience certainly raises its value. However, for those who don’t care about packaging and just want something nice for a lower price point, the Lorac Pro Fairytale Forest palette isn’t a dupe, but it gives a similar vibe for $39.
Lastly, I remember reading Trendmood1’s post on Instagram for people commenting to be nice when she posted about the brand’s launch. This was during the time of back to back announcements of celebrity beauty brand launches, which people were voicing their displeasure over. I hadn’t heard of Olivia Palermo until that post, so my interest in the brand is purely for the products and not the person.
Vieve Sunset Blush in Sorbet
I’ll get this disclosure out of the way now, since this is my first Vieve Product. I am familiar with the name Jamie Genevieve because of other Influencers, but I don’t know anything about her. I wanted to try this brand because Brit Clarke consistently raves about the products and discusses every new launch. Plus, in one of the focus groups I’m part of, I learned that another beauty retailer is interested in knowing people’s thoughts on the brand, which increased my curiosity as to whether the products live up to the hype since they may eventually become easier for me to obtain in the US. So, my interest is in Vieve, not the owner.
I said in my Beauty Resolutions that I would avoid buying products from brands that are new to me, but the discount on someone’s unused backup blush was too good to miss out on. Being able to determine how good the highly praised blushes are would help me decide whether I should look into the bronzer duos since I’ve had my eye on those but wasn’t sure if I should splurge on the duos from Victoria Beckham Beauty instead. A lot was riding on this!
Once again, the partial indent in my cheek is from wearing a mask. It’s not the makeup.
Sorbet is exactly how I wanted Nars Orgasm X to look on me. Although it’s described on some websites as being a peachy shade, I view this as medium to medium-dark coral shade with super fine gold shimmer that gives a satin appearance when looking straightforward, but gives a golden glow when it catches the light. I believe this shade could work for those several shades darker than me in the “deep” category. It’s firmly pressed in the pan to help minimize kickup and also make it easy for those with lighter skin tones to be able to wear a bold color like this without overdoing it. That said, it doesn’t take much effort to build it up on my cheeks. So, it’s pigmented but buildable. I once made the mistake of rubbing my squirrel hair brush roughly back and forth thinking it wouldn’t pick up that much, but as soon as I put the brush to my face, I immediately got more pigment than I bargained for on my cheeks and had to tone it down with foundation. I prefer to slowly build up three layers for the perfect amount for me. It lasts on my cheeks all day without fading. Overall, I think it’s a great quality blush and I would be tempted to purchase the other shade that caught my eye, Piazza, but that is supposed to be similar to Mented’s Clay Too Much and Fenty’s Rose Latte, so I will just stick to this one.
Regarding the full price of $32, I think that’s actually fair considering the performance. I also like the effort to make the packaging look luxurious if you don’t stare at it too long. For instance, the black leather with the gold logo/name plate is reminiscent of a designer handbag, but the product is lightweight in the hand and faux/vegan leather wrapped around cardboard and a shiny thin plastic covering on the inside. And what looks to be a metal tag is plastic. It’s pretty, but I can’t help but compare it to Pat Mcgrath’s blushes which perform the same, plus have that pretty rose embossing, as well as the sleek weighty plastic compact. PML’s blushes are $38 but they’re always on sale and the minimum sale discount would make it the same place as the Vieve blushes, so if they had similar shades I would buy the one from PML instead, unless I was going on a trip. Then the Vieve blush would have the advantage. Vieve also has the PETA bunny on the packaging, which the cruelty-free, vegan, gluten-free, paraben-free, and fragrance-free aspect is important to a lot of people. PML doesn’t advertise having all vegan formulas, but I did not see carmine, fragrance, or parabens in the blushes and they say they do not test on animals. Although I’d prefer to purchase PML blushes, I do recommend the Vieve ones and I’m thrilled to have this Sorbet color.
Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer in Glass Slipper
In March, Fenty had their annual Friends and Family sale at 30% off for customers with an account or 25% off for everyone else. This is always the time I get the previous year’s Gloss Bomb holiday set since they tend to always be available beyond Christmas. My two complaints about the Gloss Bombs are that I wish they had more pigment and less visible shimmer. The 2021 Glossy Posse: Fantasy 4Sum Mini Gloss Bomb Collection contained a Cream Color Drip, which is a formula I hate, and even more glittery versions of the gloss bombs. So, I opted out and decided to get Glass Slipper, which is a clear gloss with no shimmer since the original gloss bombs barely change the color of my lips anyway. Although I’m supposed to be on a lip product no-buy, there is an allowance for replacement lippies and things I had to delay purchasing from the previous year (though technically I replaced the replacement option). I have old gloss bombs I need to toss out, so this purchase is allowed, but it’s still subject to my 5 lip product maximum for 2022. This makes number 4. My review of the Gloss Bombs and Cream Color Drip can be found here.
Hindash Monochromance Gradient Palette – I did a dedicated review to this product here. I decided in my Beauty Resolutions that if Hindash released another gradient palette, I wouldn’t count it as part of my eyeshadow tally since I tend to use these more on the face than on my eyes.
Sonia G Cheek Pro – When I bought the Hindash Palette, it was during the Beautylish Gift Card Event where you can get a $20 credit on your account for every $100 spent. This purchase, although it shouldn’t be allowed under the section about not buying repeat products, got me to the $100 threshold. My review for this brush can be found here, though I’ve discussed it multiple times throughout my blog.
KVD Good Apple Lightweight Full-CoverageConcealer in Tan 173
I’m not supposed to be buying backup products, but here I am again! This is a different shade than I reviewed here previously, but it was on sale for 30% off and I used up so much so quickly that it wasn’t unreasonable to have a replacement in this specific instance. Concealers are one of the few makeup products I go through regularly. It takes me 6-8 months to use up a 0.33 oz tube of Tarte Shape Tape, so the same is probably true of the Good Apple since it has the same amount of product and nearly the same coverage. In fact, comparing the weight of my new bottle to my current one, I used up about a third of the product within two months.
KVD Vegan Beauty ModCon Liquid-Gel Contour in Tan-Deep
I didn’t think this kind of product would work for me until I had such nice results from the Glossier Solar Paint bronzer. Then I started hearing more and more people speak highly about this product, so I was curious about it. This was part of the 30% off sale, so I figured I’d give it a try, even though I’m on a contour No-Buy with only Charlotte Tilbury and Pat Mcgrath as exceptions.
Also, I should address the fact that the labeling and everything says Tan Neutral 30, but names in promo images and on websites refers to this as Tan-Deep. They are the same product.
There is a learning curve to this product, which I wanted to show in my swatch photo how I still didn’t manage to get a smooth opaque blended swatch in the first attempt. Essentially, the issue is that this product doesn’t layer well and dries quickly. To get a pretty result, I have to work in one section at a time (one cheek, the other cheek, then the forehead) and make sure I apply enough product to the area. If I apply the right amount, it just takes about 5-10 stamps or swipes to blend it in seamlessly, depending on the brush. If I overapply the product, and therefore have to spend more time blending, spots will start setting while I’m continuing to manipulate the product and that causes it to become patchy. If I underapply the contour, and therefore have to add an additional layer, spots where there is more product from the first layer will be darker and dry unevenly like some liquid lipsticks do that don’t layer well. The KVD contour essentially has to be smoothed out fully and allowed to dry undisturbed in order to look great. When I nail it…I nail it! It looks amazing and is so quick! But when I mess up, I have to literally remove all my makeup in that spot and reapply my primer, foundation, and then try again. I thought I could get better at it over time, but I find myself just not wanting to reach for it and risk the hassle.
I have tried it with a sponge, which is not my usual go-to method. Because of that gel consistency, a damp sponge really lessens the pigmentation and I had to build up multiple layers. Even though I could add layers without the patchy issue, I lost that ability to be precise, so I ended up spending just as much time fixing it. The other issue is that the contour looks more like it’s sitting on top of my skin after using the sponge, wheres the brushes I’ve used let me really press it in, though I have to admit that I can get an even more skin-like finish with my cream contours and bronzers. I’ve used this KVD contour on top of both matte and dewy foundations and I still get random results that are either stellar or needs to be redone, so it may just be an incompatibility thing with my skin since I didn’t get on with the Colourpop Cheek Dew Serum blushes which were a gel formula too. Then again, a ton of people had a bad time with the original release of those serum blushes.
Some positives about this product is that I don’t have longevity issues with it and the color match is great for me. The neutral aspect gives it a slightly cool tone without looking unnatural against the warm undertone of my skin. The great experiences I have with the contour rank so high that I personally still like the product even though I admittedly seldom use it.
Huda Beauty Mini Glow Obsessions Highlighter Face Palette in Rich
I wanted this last year, but the outer packaging was so off-putting that I couldn’t bring myself to get it. I hoped seeing it in person would change my mind. Spoiler alert: it was even worse, especially after seeing how it looked on my camera from the very first shot I took head on. It’s like one of those internet cursed images!
All three quads went on sale at Sephora for $14 and technically this is a face palette, which is allowed for this brand according to my low-buy rules, so I went for it! I no longer have Rouge status, but with the FREESHIP code I was able to get free shipping, claim some point perks, have some samples, and pay for it with a gift card I redeemed from Swagbucks.
I’m glad I was able to get this for a deal because when swatched, these are pretty much the same shade! I literally started laughing out loud as I was swatching them on my arm because highlighters have the issue already of looking too similar on the face despite the tone differences and this one has the added disadvantage of being all coppers. #1 is a light copper, #2 is a pinkish copper, #3 is copper, and #4 is bronze-copper. They’re pretty but they are all the same, which wouldn’t be as disappointing if I hadn’t really wanted more of a real blush shade out of #2. Then again, I don’t think I would have worn any of these as blush or bronzer because of the metallic shimmer being way too strong for anything but highlighting. I basically look at this as having paid $14 for a single large highlighter, which isn’t a bad price.
The formula is quite thick and a little chunky. It reminds me of an eyeshadow, and a bit like the Glowlighters from Coloured Raine. This kind of highlighter requires a brush that can pick up just enough product to spread evenly, but lightly on the high points of the face if you don’t want a blinding look.
I retook these photos to show how Rich #1 can look more seamless and blended in the skin with the right brush, and how Rich #2 and #4 look in daytime lighting as opposed to nighttime when I took those two last time. In the daytime, it’s easier to see the slight pink tinge to the #2 highlighter.
Other than the similarities in colors and the slightly chunky texture, I think this is a beautiful product and I’m thrilled I bought it for this price. I also did a little craft project to make the packaging a bit more palatable for me.
CDJapan had a points-in-exchange-for-reviews event on Chikuhodo and Koyudo brushes purchased from their website (and not other retailers). I was able to accumulate enough points from reviews, my already existing points, my quarterly bonus points, plus use a coupon, to be able to make another order for a really great deal. Since testing multiple brushes usually takes me several months and I like to review a decent number all at once, my review for them will be coming in a future post.*
*DISCLAIMER: I started working on this post in March. All of the brushes shown and all comments above were made prior to me becoming a CDJapan Affiliate. This particular post does not contain any affiliate links.
Whew! That was a lot, but we’ve reached the end! This is the first month that I feel I did very poorly with my low buy, but I’m determined to do better next month. Thank you for taking the time to read! If you like my content, be sure to click the follow button to be notified whenever I post, or you can bookmark this page and return for my weekly posts on Monday 11:30 am EST! If you’re new and would like to see my previous months, January is here and February is here.
In under a month it will be two years since Marlena Stell rebranded Makeup Geek and two years since I started purchasing their products. I have some experience with the original shimmer eyeshadow formula, thanks to a sale they were having of their older products, but I cannot compare the original mattes to the ones now. For some reason, I use these shadows once and then go 3-4 months before I use them again. The cycle of use and disuse continued until September 2021 when I committed to thoroughly testing them once and for all.
About half of the square pan eyeshadows were purchased within a few months of the rebrand. The remainder were purchased during new launches like the Soft Focus Colors Collection and Fall Scenes Collection. The face products were purchased at different points in 2021, but I consider them fairly new, especially the bronzer since the shade I purchased was just released in September.
Makeup Geek Individual Shadows (old and new)
All swatches above Caitlyn Rose are from the older collection. The shades with an asterisk in front means it came from the All That Glitters Palette, which I depotted. The “Blue My Mind” color is stated as the name on the palette, but the actual name printed on the bottom of the pan (which I saw when depotting) is “Surf’s You Right.” I don’t know if this was a simple name change at the last minute or if it’s an example of quality control issues Makeup Geek may have had in the past.
I haven’t worn all the older shadows, but I’m very impressed with the ones from the All That Glitters Palette. The exceptions are Venom and Hype which are satin shades and they don’t feel as nice as they did when I first bought them, so I think it’s actually time to toss them. Same goes for Plot Twist and Caitlyn Rose which are beautiful but crumbly now.
I have to also mention the pigment in Blue My Mind is insane! The formula feels wet like a cream to powder shadow, but I have no idea if it’s supposed to be like that. It’s so opaque, sparkly, and intense, but the texture makes me a little concerned as to whether it’s time to throw that out as well. I purchased all the older circle pan shadows in March 2020, so it’s not unrealistic for them to be going bad by now.
I don’t have many of Makeup Geek’s current foils, but I actually prefer the sparkle and shine level of the original foils over the new ones. I even like the older formula better because I have creasing issues with Mystical and especially Medieval. Medieval isn’t as smooth as Mystical either. Illuminaughty, Grandstand, and Epic don’t crease as much. I really like those shades. The foils are described on the website as being a cream and powder hybrid. Perhaps the cream element is what gives it the tendency to crease. While I’ve always had some deep lines around my eyes which is natural to crease a little, Mystical and Medieval move so much to the point of leaving blank spots. It’s quite disappointing since they were the two shades in the rebrand I was most excited to buy. One issue all the new foils have though is that the shimmer dulls after a few hours. This isn’t completely unusual for me, but when they aren’t super sparkly to begin with, they basically look like satins by the end of the day.
Regarding the mattes, the only eye base I’ve tried that works well with them is the MAC Paint Pot. In the photo below, the top half shows where the mattes patch off the lid after being worn for less than an hour. The bottom half shows how the shadows looks after the same length of time when redone over MAC Paint Pot. It’s not perfect, but it’s much better. I don’t remember which shades I used here because the eye photos were taken at least six months ago.
Most of the mattes don’t have pigmentation issues. A few that I own are a thinner more powdery formula than others (like Chickadee and Peach For the Stars), which do fade me on quickly. Even those that fade will still leave a hint of color all day if I use the Paint Pot as a base. I learned though that the absolute best results are just like the face powders and look better if the eye has been set with a powder layer first. These are definitely not creamy mattes, so my eyes can look extra dry and ashy with some of these lighter shades. I think the dryness is what I initially couldn’t pinpoint as to why I was underwhelmed by MUG shadows.
These are some of the looks I’ve done prior to reviewing. I don’t remember which ones I used. I had a few additional shadows that didn’t make this review because I didn’t like them or they were too similar to other shades I purchased. I sold Daydreamer, Wine and Dine, Creme Brulee, Current Obsession, and Latte as Usual.
The best of the Makeup Geek mattes blend nicely and easily and show up opaque the way I like. The downside is that whatever shade it looks initially will turn into a darker variant of brown after a few hours. Had Me At Yellow turns into a mustard yellow-brown. Back To The Fuchsia turns purple-brown. Curfew turns dark brown almost black. I don’t mind these changes as much considering the brown-blends still look pretty and they mostly last all day.
Courageous, Unleashed, and Invincible are part of the Power Pigments formula which are supposed to be the most saturated and most pigmented mattes Makeup Geek have. They give more opaque results right away compared to the other mattes, they are more vibrantly colored, and they have a drier rougher texture. The last one is to be expected when using actual pigments over micas and dyes. The Power Pigments used to be more expensive than the regular mattes at $7.99, but were lowered to $5.50. I think this was a good decision because I don’t believe they are that much more special than the regular mattes considering most of them can be built up to the same level of opacity.
Contour in Scandal (discontinued)
Makeup Geek does not currently have contour products available for purchase, but I got it during a sale shortly after the rebrand. This is a great contour color for me, however, this product doesn’t blend very well. Wherever the powder first touches my skin is where it will stay. Every time I use it, I have to apply a finishing powder to blend out the edges or foundation to sharpen where it got too spread out from me trying to blend it. It still looks heavy even when applied with my softest most loosely packed brushes. This product was probably created at the height of contouring when it was popular to be ultra pigmented, sharp, and intense. If Makeup Geek brings the contours back, I hope there’s a formula change to produce a more natural or airbrushed look. I can make it work, but I likely won’t use it again. The sale price was under $2, so I can’t complain too much.
Bronzer in Chestnut
The color in the pan looks great for me. Unfortunately, this shade looks almost identical to the contour when I actually apply it to my skin. It has a golden sheen with fine gold specks throughout, which gives it the appearance of warmth, but the actual base color is deeper and neutral toned at best. When I apply this, most of the gold is brushed off the skin and what I’m left with creates a shadow and very little warmth. The swatch photo in the blush section shows how similar Chestnut and Scandal look when blended.
The bronzer blends easier than the contour, but the only way it looks nice is if I’ve set my face with a layer of powder first before I blend the bronzer on top. Powdering first gives a softer nicely blended look that I want. However, since 2020, I pretty much stopped using setting powders except under my eyes. If I use a powder at all, it’s a finishing powder which is the last step in my makeup routine. Because it’s not my usual style to set my foundation before I apply the rest of my face products, I don’t see myself reaching for this over the other bronzers I own. However, if I was willing to switch up my style, I know I could get a really beautiful end result. I did end up purchasing the shade Burnished during Black Friday, which is much more cool toned of a shade and just barely deep enough to show on my bare face. I have not yet had the chance to try Burnished over foundation.
Blush in Chivalry
Chivalry is a pretty terracotta brown shade. It performs better than the bronzer on unpowdered skin, but I’m still not completely impressed with the finished look unless it has that powder layer underneath it. Then it looks quite beautiful and almost airbrushed. This technique reduces the amount of pigment I get on the cheeks at once, but it also prevents me from getting darker patches where my brush first touches my skin. In the photo below, the left set of swatches were done with my finger and the right set were blended with a brush to demonstrate the blend without powder (though the sticking issue would have been more prominent if the swatches were applied on top of foundation).
Because powdering isn’t an absolute necessity with the blush and I can still get it to look nice if I take my time blending and use fluffy airy brushes, I could see myself continuing to use this beyond testing purposes. It has good staying power and can be applied lightly for a subtle flush (if powdered first), medium intensity on unset foundation, or built up to a fairly deep shade.
I purchased Covet during the Black Friday sale and I like it even more than Chivalry because medium pinks tend to be my favorite.
Also, unlike the bronzer and contour, the blush leaves a bit of kickup in the pan.
Highlighter in Midnight Sun (discontinued)
This highlighter color is discontinued, but I very happy I could get it because I think it’s a flattering shade on me. It’s quite funny that I like it so much considering this is listed as being best suited for fair skin tones. It does look pale in swatches, but as the cheek photo shows, a highlighter for someone lighter than me should look way more bright and stark. Then again, this isn’t a blinding type of formula. A shade actually geared toward my skin tone would probably not stand out on my cheekbone as much as this color does, which is just the right amount for my taste. Of all the face products, I like the highlighter formula the most.
Full Spectrum Eye Liner Pencil in Plumeria
This is another last minute Black Friday addition to this post. It did not arrive early enough before my trip for me to thoroughly test it. I watched how Marlena used this pencil and was drawn not only to the color, but the fact that it could be smudged out as a shadow color or base and is supposed to be almost water resistant. That element worked well on my arm. After giving it some time to dry, it couldn’t be moved by rubbing it with my finger. Even after wetting it, it didn’t smudge, smear, or run. However, for some reason this pencil did not last on my eyes for even an hour. I do have oily lids, so perhaps this is the reason. I tried it one time on bare eyelids with no primer or other eyeshadows. I put it all over the lid, blended out on my eye like a cream shadow. In an hour, about a third was gone. When I checked a few hours later, there wasn’t any of it left. Since it worked on my arm, I’m guessing this is a “me” problem and anyone who does not have oily eyelids will be able to use this pencil. In the future, after testing it thoroughly, I will update this post if I found a way to keep it on my eyes.
I couldn’t end this review without discussing some of the things I noticed about the compacts offered by Makeup Geek. Whether you get the clear or gunmetal lid of the mini palettes, they both have a magnet of standard thickness and rounded edges. The square pan face powder singles fit perfectly inside them. On the other hand, the “Travel Vault Palette” with the gunmetal lid that anyone who makes a custom 9-pan palette will get, has the kind of magnet I get from the craft store in thin sheets with the peel off sticker on the back. As can be seen in the photo above, mine was not cut properly to the size of my palette. It arrived with the edges lifted up and when I press to stick them back down, they still don’t lay perfectly flat and are curved. When I watched reviews during the rebrand, I saw plenty of other people had warped magnetic bottoms like mine. The actual palette packaging is well constructed, sturdy, and beautiful. The mirror in the lid is a nice quality and a great size. However, I believe Makeup Geek cut corners (literally and figuratively) with the magnets. At one point I had four of these palettes and three out of four were not cut, laid, and stuck properly. When you have expensive eyeshadows, the last thing you want is to have to worry about the whole sheet lifting off and your shadows breaking. I have two of the travel palettes left and I took the better glued one on a trip with me and had no issues. However, I cannot say what would happen if someone keeps their shadows in there at all times.
The main reason I don’t keep my Makeup Geek pans in there is because of all the wasted space. I can understand the older circle pans not fitting better into the palettes considering their shape, but I expected the rebranded new shadows in their mostly square shape should be made to fit the palettes. They still only fit 9 shadows. I understand wanting enough space to be able to easily take the shadows in and out, but it doesn’t look good in my eyes. It looks like I took another brand’s shadows and tried to put them in Makeup Geek’s palette because they’re so ill-fitting. It bothers me when a pre-made palette is larger than it needs to be, but having dividers between the shades indicates it was intended to be that way. Custom palettes without those dividers look untidy on the part of the one who made the palette. Me.
In addition to the eyeshadows not fitting well, there is only room for one face product; if you put one face product, you can only add a maximum of 5 eyeshadows that are still widely spread out. One of the things I love about making custom palettes is having things line up and looking orderly. If it can’t be orderly, I enjoy at least filling up as much space as possible, so it’s a pet peeve of mine that they are this way. The only brand’s shadows that fit nicely in the Makeup Geek palettes are the mini circle shadow pans from Colourpop such as the pans from the Blue Moon, Lilac You A Lot, Star Wars The Mandalorian The Child palette, etc.
There is one other palette type for sale called the Mega Vault Palette. It’s the Matrix Shadow Palette that holds 28 shadows, and those at least fit nicely on all sides with a reasonable amount of extra space. When comparing the 9 pan palettes (whether old version or travel vault version) to the Mega Vault, it’s clear to see a palette of that size should have been made to hold 16, not 9. Marlena has expressed her struggles keeping her brand afloat, so I can see the desire to reuse packaging or try to drum up buzz by announcing a rebrand. I just wish the shadows-to-palette aspect was better planned out for the 9 pan palettes. Then again, perhaps this is why the custom palettes are so deeply discounted. In case anyone is wondering, I kept my Makeup Geek shadows in a custom magnetic Juvia’s Place palette, which I don’t believe is available for sale anymore. I kept them there until I bought the Mega Vault.
Whenever I review a brand from an Influencer, I disclose whether there are any personal feelings involved. I started following Marlena on YouTube shortly before her rebrand and although I only watch a quarter of her videos, I do like her as a person and I’ve improved my eyeshadow skills because of her live demonstration videos. At the same time, I was also very unhappy with the situation between her and Tina (The Fancy Face) which played out after I already made my initial purchase from the brand. Because of that incident, I did not want to review the products on my blog. However, this was two years ago and my opinion of Marlena returned to a neutral state. I wish her and her brand success. Even though the products aren’t a perfect match for my skin type or my application style, I’m still interested in seeing what else they create in the future and am likely to continue purchasing from them.
That’s all for today! I’mgrateful you’ve taken the time to read my review and I hope the information was useful.
*UPDATE: MARCH 4th, 2022 It is quite sad to see that Makeup Geek Cosmetics is officially closing in April. Even though I didn’t love a lot of the products, I wanted to see the brand grow and improve. I wish Marlena the best with her next endeavor as she is the type of person who doesn’t give up on pursuing her passions (as even stated by her in her brand closing video). In the event that someone new has come to my blog in search of recommendations on what to purchase before the items are gone forever, I easily recommend the highlighters and the Mega Vault empty magnetic palettes. Perhaps even the blushes, but that’s all. I know the brand is best known for their eyeshadows, but I personally think they’re just okay. Since my review, MUG has released a primer, mascara, and brushes but I haven’t tried those, so I cannot say anything about their quality.
The idea of having a product that I can customize my shade of powder, blush, bronzer, contour, eyeshadow, etc. all in one palette appeals to the wannabe minimalist in me. I call myself a wannabe because I enjoy having a large beauty collection while simultaneously being overwhelmed by the amount I possess. This is why I love the concept of face palettes, but it’s very uncommon for me to find one where the majority of the makeup in it suits my preferences and needs. I’m curious to see if I will continue to like this palette after prolonged use and continuously mixing shades, but so far I am impressed! There’s pretty much no kickup and if I get a lighter imprint on a deep shade, or vice versa, I can sweep it away with a brush and it’s good as new! Perhaps this is possible because I combine shades by tapping into each color I want; I don’t swirl in one and then swirl my brush into the other.
A palette like this can seem intimidating, and I was initially unsure if I would buy it for that reason. Some aspects were as tricky as I expected and some parts were easier than I thought, almost intuitive. For instance, using Beautopsy for blush is pretty straightforward. Boy, Wonder, Love, and Kills are four easy options for that. Overall, while I wouldn’t go as far as to say beginners wouldn’t like this, I think it would be most enjoyed and utilized by those with an intermediate skill level and above.
Brightening andSetting Powder
For setting under my eyes, I use the leftmost sides of Tan and Feel and rightmost side of Paint with my usual Real Techniques Setting Brush to create a pale yellow-brown. I was shocked when I realized it actually had a blurring effect and made my under-eyes look smoother! Certain concealers of mine don’t play well with powders, but so far the blurring has been a consistent feature to setting under my eyes with the light shades in the palette! The photo below shows what it did to my Tarte Shape Tape and Pat Mcgrath combo (which was not originally set with powder at all). The lines under my eyes are still there, but less pronounced.
If I want to brighten my under eyes, and not just match my skin tone, I can use pretty much any of the four lightest shades without them looking stark because they blend with the concealer. Additionally, there isn’t much difference between them when applied to my skin. On a lighter skin tone, they are distinct enough, but on me they’re all essentially white with the tiniest differences in tone. That being said, they somehow don’t look ashy on me like other pale shades tend to do, but I still try to use the combinations I think make the most sense based on their color descriptions: Lines as a pure white, Tan as a soft tan, Wet as a beige shade, and Paint as a pale yellow.
While I could probably set my whole face with a mixture of Feel and Paint, I wouldn’t want to use a small brush for that task, and I have dry skin anyway, so I don’t always set my full face. Also, I can technically use this palette to brighten the high points of my face, but I love my shimmery highlighters and I would never be satisfied with using these matte powders to highlight anywhere other than the eye area. So, in a traveling situation, I would probably bring along a separate setting powder, plus my Kaja Play Bento Sculpting Trio for the subtle shimmer highlighter and to have extra variety. The Kaja Bento in Mochamallow was previously the only all-in-one face product I had where I loved and could use every color in it. Beautopsy now joins the ranks of the best suited face palettes in my collection.
Brow Powder and Eyeliner
I’ve spoken before about how any dark eyeshadow can be used as eyeliner and for filling in the brows, so it didn’t surprise me how well Fatum worked for that purpose. I used the darkest part of Fatum as the liner. If I want to wear just a liner and no eyeshadow, this isn’t black enough for my preference. However, when I’m trying to deepen up eyeshadow looks, Fatum is dark enough for that, and quite lovely. Hindash mentioned that you can use Fix+ to transform any of these powders into liners, but I haven’t tried that. I like to use dark shades, but not black, to fill in my brows. The middle where Intra + Fatum meet is a shade that works for defining the eye, but was too warm of a brown for my liking. So, I switched to using the center of Fatum where it still has a little of the chocolate brown shade but is also dark enough to use in my brows. I messed up a little spot in the front and didn’t notice it in person, but of course the camera picked it up. I was a bit impatient, which is why my brow isn’t perfect, but it also brings up the point that brow pencils are so much faster for me. I know I wouldn’t use this again in my brows, purely for the time factor, but I’m glad I have the option.
For those who prefer a cool-toned dark brown or soft black for their brows, Fatum mixed with Real could probably do the trick. Real + Feel might look nice on blondes and maybe Feel and Love or Feel and Intra for those with red hair, but don’t quote me on that!
For blush, my favorite shades to use on their own are Wonder, which gives me a light but bright pink flush, and Love, which is a reddish-orange. Kills is a bit too deep for my preference to use alone, but I could always use it if I mix it with something lighter. Boy is a wearable peachy-pink for those with a lighter skin tone than mine. It shows on my skin, but I don’t think it’s as flattering on me as Wonder. If I want to give myself a peachy or coral look, I think of creating a different kind of orange with a little pink. So, I dip my brush mainly into Paint and Love with one extra tap of Wonder and buff it into my cheeks. If I want it a little less bright, I add some of the brown from Feel. I try not to mix more than two colors together because it tends not to look as nice on the skin, but this particular combo of 3-4 still works for me. I’ve enjoyed using my Sonia G Cheek Pro and Wayne Goss The Artist Brush – Large to apply blush, as they aren’t too big for these pan sizes.
The head sizes of my brushes compared to the size of the pans. It’s not a coincidence that my smallest face brushes were all made in Japan.
There are so many combination possibilities! I experimented with some on my arm to give more examples. I put them on my bare arm, but the blend would look much nicer on the face with primer and foundation under them.
Contour and Bronzer
To contour my nose, I can use Feel on its own, but I prefer the look of Feel and Real together to create a proper shadow. I can use pretty much any small brush, but I’ve been liking the Scott Barnes Eye Winger #63 because the unique shape automatically creates a symmetrical line if I contour between the bridge of my nose and my brows. Most of the time I skip contouring my nose, but when I do, I like to keep it as subtle as possible and just add shadow where I need it. For instance, sometimes all I do is add contour powder on either side of the bridge of my nose, just in the middle where there’s no definition. In order to do that though, I definitely cannot use a warm/red toned contour powder, which is often what is available on the dark-deep end of contour shades. I need something cool yet not too dark, which has always been a challenge for me to find.
To contour the rest of my face, I tap my brush into the center where Feel and Real meet. I can use something with a flat top like the Chikuhodo Z-3, but I also prefer a brush with a tapered tip like the Wayne Goss Air Brush, Wayne Goss Artist Large, and Chikuhodo KZ-05. For bronzer, I use the leftmost sides of Intra and Feel. Sometimes I use just Intra. I’ve tried different brushes, but the Chikuhodo FO-2 is my favorite to bronze with this palette. Since I only use the leftmost sides of the powders for bronzing, I dip the right half of my brush into the powders (without getting anything on the left side), I can apply with that half of the brush and blend out with the half that didn’t get any product on it. It was a little funny to me when I discovered that the Beautopsy palette wasn’t created with bronzer as much in mind, since Hindash likes to use cream products for that purpose, yet I was able to find a bronzer combination that worked so well for me!
I’ve tested this palette over matte and dewy foundations. When I use them on matte foundations or bare skin, the blend of these powders on the face looks so good! On dewy products, it’s almost as if these don’t want to stick to the skin. It takes longer to blend and the end results looks okay, but not nearly as nice as it looks over a matte one.
I believe Beautopsy is foremost a palette for the eyes, and ironically, this is the one aspect that having only mattes as options isn’t entirely satisfactory to me. It has been quite a few years since I’ve created all matte eyeshadow looks on a regular basis. When doing an all matte look, there is no room to hide, nothing to cover up any mistakes or distract from poor blending the way shimmers can. It is a craft that looks so simple but requires immense skill to perfect. Plus, I just love putting a shimmer on my lids, so if I was on a trip, I would have to bring at least a small magnetic palette of shimmer eyeshadow singles with me. As much as I admire sultry smoky eyes, I mainly prefer to do colorful eyeshadow looks, or at least to have a neutral crease with a bright color on my lids. This is another reason I would want a supplemental palette. This also doesn’t give intense payoff right away, and this makes perfect sense for Hindash. As a makeup artist, he would want a product that builds up and blends well. When I say that this doesn’t fully line up to how I like to do my eye makeup, it’s not me saying the palette is bad. It’s just obviously suited for those with a different eyeshadow style than mine. In addition, the buildable nature that I don’t like as eyeshadows is what makes them so fantastic as face powders. Plus, the slow build issue I get is only when I try to use a regular eyeshadow primer underneath. If I use a complexion product as a base, I have no qualms with how long it takes, but more on that in a moment. Regarding the texture of the shadows, these remind me a bit of Viseart. However, Viseart shadows give a little more pigment per brush stroke, but the Beautopsy powders feel a little silkier. Zea Mays is the second ingredient in the Beautopsy palette, and it does have that cornstarch feeling to the touch, which could account for the added silkiness over Viseart’s shadows.
Preferences aside, my biggest challenge was finding the right base for these powders as eyeshadows. I absolutely hated using the Gerard Cosmetics Clean Canvas. I had to keep making alterations because it wasn’t blending the way I wanted and it took so incredibly long to get it in a state that I thought was presentable. I had to start over again several times. I didn’t have much luck with my tried and true MAC Paint Pot either because it was as though the shadows didn’t want to build on the eye and at one point I switched to my finger to try and pack it on. Usually I only have to do that with shimmers. I got better results when using the Urban Decay primer potion, but surprisingly the best results I’ve had were when I used concealers and foundations as bases! I discovered this first when I used the Tarte Shape Tape and then again when I used the Pat Mcgrath concealer, although that one creased badly when I left it unset for too long. I’ve been using the MAC Foundation Stick as an eyeshadow primer, so I wasn’t as surprised to see that the shadows blended well over it. However, out of all the bases I tried, the best results I’ve had were with the Dermablend Flawless Creator Foundation Drops. Those drops are basically a foundation and concealer hybrid. So, if you have this palette and you’re struggling to use these over eye primers, I recommend using a complexion product as primer instead. This discovery changed my opinion of these as eyeshadows for the better and I’ve enjoyed using them so much more!
One issue I still haven’t resolved is that the shades in the top half of the palette disappear off my eye by the 5-6 hour point. It happened regardless of the base I used. The bottom half of greys, black, browns, and reds lasted 9-10 hours before I ended the wear test. Perhaps this is caused by a difference in how the lighter shades are formulated/the amount of pigment in them. That’s my best guess, although the shadows have the same ingredient list, excluding Love, which is listed separately.
I usually go into details about how I create a look and which shades I used in the eyeshadow portion of my reviews, but I mixed so many things that I lost track.
Looks 1 and 2 are both over the Gerard Cosmetics Clean Canvas.
This look is over the Pat Mcgrath Concealer. It was my attempt to recreate what I was trying to do in Look #1. The shimmer in the bottom half of the photo is Sun Scorched from Terra Moons Cosmetics.
The peach-pink-orange-red ombre look is over the MAC Foundation Stick. The look below it is over a MAC Paint Pot.
The grey look is over the Urban Decay primer potion. The shimmer on the lid in the bottom half of the photo is Helix Nebula from Terra Moons Cosmetics.
I used the Dermablend Flawless Creator Foundation Drops as the base. This shimmer on the lid is called Kamakura #10 from the Viseart Coy palette that I bought as a single shade. This green look was photographed many hours after I first applied it.
I have used eyeshadows as blushes and blushes as eyeshadows in the past. This palette is the first time I’ve ever preferred the secondary usage over the intended one. I was so surprised at how seamlessly these powders worked together as face products. These were not my first choice for eyeshadows until I found the right base, and now I very much like them too. They are of great quality and I foresee myself continuing to use the last 6 shades as the framework for my shimmer lid shadows.
Overall, the formula of these powders are truly special to be able to be as versatile as they are. In Hindash’s launch video, he said it took a couple of years to create this gradient palette. I tend to roll my eyes whenever influencers say that, but in this case I believe him. I can clearly see the labor of love that went into the Beautopsy Palette. I also say this from the perspective of someone who admittedly didn’t know who Hindash was until the release of this palette. I did a little research for the purpose of this review. I respect Hindash’s artistry and the way he and/or his team has been supporting smaller and larger creators equally, even liking my photo of his palette on Instagram. There still isn’t a parasocial relationship there, so I can say from a fully unbiased perspective that this is a great product and I do recommend it. It’s become for me more than just a cool and innovative release. For the past 6 weeks I’ve had it, I’ve used it for at least one purpose every single time I’ve put on my makeup, whether it was to add depth to an eyeshadow look, do a quick nose contour, to set a cream blush, etc. I store most of my makeup in drawers, but I’ve been keeping it in my train case which holds products I use the most often or am trying to pan, because I want the easy access. Whether the cost is worth it though depends on how often one would utilize something like this for the eyes, face, or both. There are several times I’ve owned something of fantastic quality, but for whatever reason it remained unused. So, that is something that has to be factored into the decision to purchase. I’m glad it worked out for me.
Does this palette interest you? Let me know what you think!
Danessa Myricks Beauty and Mented Cosmetics are brands I’ve been curious about over the past year and I decided to try a few things from each of them! This is also the first time in a long while since I’ve purchased something other than eyeshadows from Coloured Raine!
Danessa Myricks Balm Contour in Deep 1
Danessa Myricks is a makeup artist and her products are intended for use in a professional setting. By that I mean there is a learning curve to these products. They aren’t beginner friendly. I absolutely did not like this product until the sixth or seventh time I used it. The issue is that I just needed to find the right tool; in my case it was the Sonia G Mini Base brush from the Keyaki Set. I didn’t like the results when I used my fingers, a dense contour brush, a dense concealer brush, a Beautyblender, and the Tati Blendiful. A heavier application gives a more intense sculpted look, but I prefer the controlled yet natural looking blend which a medium density brush can provide.
When it comes to this shade match, I was surprised how orange it was considering most contour products are cool toned to create a shadow. If I want to use a warm color to contour with, I prefer to have one that is more shades darker than my skin tone. However, if I exchanged or purchased Deep 2 instead, then I believe it would be too similar to cream contours I already have in my collection. So, I’m glad I chose Deep 1, but I wish it wasn’t as warm so I could use it on all areas of my face. I don’t mind using warm contours on my forehead and cheek bones but I hate them on my jaw and nose.
I also tried the underpainting technique (applying a heavy layer of dimension creating products to the skin first and applying a light layer of foundation on top to shape the face in a less detectable way) but I think I need a darker shade if I want to continue using it in that way. Deep 1 is a touch too subtle on me with underpainting, but perhaps I just need more practice.
Danessa Myricks Dew Wet Balm in Clear
There are four other shades of these balms, but they contain shimmer. Based on website photos, I was concerned the shimmer/glitter particles might be too large for my liking, so I thought getting the clear one would be a safer bet. This reminds me of a stickier version of the clear balm in Pat Mcgrath’s Highlighter + Balm Duo. With my hair down, loose strands have stuck to my face while wearing this. Although this product is intended to be worn alone or with makeup, it looks too much like I have Vaseline or lip gloss on my cheekbones if I’m bare faced, so I prefer to use it with makeup.
This product, like many highlighting balms, disturbs my makeup underneath. Thankfully, the shine is still visible under foundation. I figured out that I like this product when I’ve applied it to my cheekbones, then I take whatever foundation is left on my brush or sponge and apply it over the top of the Dew Balm. It still gives me shine without the Vaseline look or sticky texture. I can leave it like that or use the Dew Balm as a wet base to apply a highlighter on top of it for a very intense shine. I have an example of what it looks like as a base for a powder highlighter in the Mented Bronzer section.
Mented Cosmetics Bronzer in Vacay
Mented has four shades of bronzer. I suspected Vacay, intended for medium/tan skin tones, would be only a shade or two darker than me while Yacht Life, intended for deep skin tones, would be darker than I wanted and too similar to Fenty’s Mocha Mami, which I already own. Vacay turned out to be as light as I thought. If I really pack it on, it does work as a subtle bronzer. The undertone of the powder is a bit on the pinkish terracotta side, so in many photos featured here today, I’m actually wearing it as a blush. I believe Vacay is actually lighter than Mented’s Clay Too Much blush.
This formula is so smooth and reminds me of the Airbrush Bronzer from Charlotte Tilbury, but at a fraction of the cost. I am extremely tempted to buy Yacht Life and assuage my curiosity as to whether I would like it better than Vacay (and to find out how similar it really is to Mocha Mami), but I have to remind myself that I have enough bronzers as it is. It has been difficult to talk myself out of it and I’ve had it in my cart via Ulta about to check out at least three times by now. If I didn’t already have the Charlotte Tilbury bronzer, which is still the smoothest one I own, I would have absolutely purchased the other shade from Mented.
Mented Cosmetics Lip Liner in La La
I forgot my lip product no-buy when I purchased this, but I’m secretly happy to have it. I like that it’s retractable and I was able to get this for $9. It’s the kind of shade I love using all over my lips. It isn’t too drying and doesn’t look as bad as it could over my non-exfoliated lips, which is nice. It stays in place. The Tower 28 lip gloss contains oils, so I was surprised to see how well it lasted with that gloss on top, as long as I didn’t eat or drink anything.
Propa Beauty lipsticks impressed me with their brown-skin friendly versions of lighter shades with wearable pinks and oranges. Mented’s range impressed me with their nude lip shades. If I wasn’t on a lip product no-buy, I would be looking further into Nude La La, Dope Taupe, Foxy Brown, and Mented #5. I watched a Q & A session with one of the brand owners and she was explaining how Mented wanted to create nudes that weren’t just brown. Shades that matched, for instance, the darker pigmented brownish purple of my natural top lip. I always tried to get shades to match the pink in my bottom lip, but after seeing that interview, I became so intrigued by the idea of matching the brownish purple part instead. I intend to do my best in sticking with my no-buy and will perhaps try another Mented lip product in the beginning of 2022.
Coloured Raine Bronzers in Cinna-Bae and Naughty Spice
These bronzers look very similar on the skin, but Cinna-Bae is on the warm side and Naughty Spice is more neutral.
Between the two, Cinna-Bae is absolutely better suited for me. It’s the right tone and depth. Coloured Raine did a fantastic job with their product photos to help me decide that this was the best shade for me. I still purchased Naughty Spice in case I was wrong. I also wasn’t sure how pigmented they’d be, so I thought having a darker version as well couldn’t hurt. I am able to build up Naughty Spice and use it as a Bronzing-Contour. In the photo above, I applied somewhere between a light to medium amount of Naughty Spice. I used a medium amount of Cinna-Bae. It’s nice to know I can still use both though. Also, these are labeled as bronzers but on Coloured Raine’s Instagram they say these can be used as setting powders and contours as well.
The bronzers are smooth and blend well, so it’s tempting to get additional shades to try the other uses, but I refrained. I would say this formula reminds me of Fenty’s Sun Stalk’r Instant Warmth Bronzers. It doesn’t beat out my top 3, but I think it’s still very good quality.
Coloured Raine Focal Point GlowLighters in Bourgeois and Just Peachy
In my Kiko Milano review, I mentioned that there are only a few brands I trust to make a shimmery blush that I like, and unfortunately Coloured Raine is not one of them. On the individual product pages it says the Focal Point Glowlighters can be used as blush, so I thought these would be like the Nabla Skin Glazing formula that are highlighters but also come in blush tones like Adults Only and Lola that make them suitable for blush too. At the very least, I thought they might be similar to MAC’s Extra Dimension Blushes which are very shimmery but still flattering. I was wrong.
I own two of the Coloured Raine x Power Blush and Highlighter Duos, and while I thought the highlighters were too glittery for my taste, I thought the matte blushes were decent. If Just Peachy and Bourgeois were a matte formula, I know I would enjoy them because the tones are so pretty, but in this formula they are unbelievably metallic! I’ve been struggling with my camera lately and with flash off, it could not begin to show just how metallic looking they are in person when the light hits them, nor the intensity of the shades. If I try to use the lightest amount of Just Peachy, my cheeks look slightly peach from straight on, but when I tilt my head and a little light hits my cheek, all I see is a blinding gold. As pretty as the color itself is, I don’t want a gold blush. If I apply enough product to get the peachy tone to show at all angles, then it looks like I tried to use a metallic eyeshadow for blush. It’s the same case with Bourgeois. The burgundy base color is overshadowed by the intense hot orange shimmer.
Both blushes without flash.
Bourgeois with Flash On.
As blushes or blush toppers, these are unwearable for me. It comes down to the reflectivity of the shimmer. The Focal Point Glowlighters also come in traditional highlighter shades of golds and bronzes. This formula is much better suited for highlighting purposes. For those who like highlighters at this level of intensity, getting one of their standard shades (pictured below from their website) would be my recommendation.
Coloured Raine Large Powder Brush
This brush is the biggest in my entire collection and also the heaviest. I think this brush is weighted because the ferrule is very heavy in a way that isn’t proportional to the heaviness of the ferrule of the Angled brush. I’ve only had one other makeup brush that was weighted in order to create a better balance for how the brush should be held and applied to the face, to intuitively allow the user to apply the right pressure with the brush. I’m not sure if the ferrule weight of the Large Powder brush was chosen for this reason, or if it was purely to allow this brush to be able to stand upright on a flat surface with ease.
As mentioned before, the flat bottom of the handles let these brushes stand upright. The handles are plastic. The bristles are synthetic. The coffee color gradient of the handles are as pretty in photos are they are in person. The fibers are soft, but as wide as the bristles are splayed, they are not densely packed. They are long and floppy and bend dramatically with light pressure from a single finger.
I don’t mind the floppiness from the Powder Brush because the volume of the brush combined with the placement where I grip the brush (towards the base of the ferrule) allows me to sweep a light dusting of powder all over my face quickly without the bristles bending enough to impede the application. It’s a pretty good brush considering the $13 price.
Coloured Raine Angled Blush Brush
This brush technically cost $5 instead of $10 because I purchased it in the $21 bundle price with one of the bronzers. I expected this brush to work well with the bronzers since they were grouped together, but I despise this brush. I admittedly don’t favor angled brushes, but some like the Chikuhodo FO-4 are exceptions. On top of that, these bristles are not dense enough. They don’t give me enough pressure to blend. The floppiness of the brush impedes my ability to use the product. I can still use this brush with a lightly pigmented blush that wouldn’t require much blending but I recommend skipping this one. A better alternative is the Real Techniques Sculpting Brush which goes for around $15 individually, but Target has a set of three brushes and a holder for $20. The set includes the Real Techniques setting brush which I own two of and have been using almost exclusively for years to set my under eye concealer with powder. And full disclosure, the Target link is not affiliated and I make zero money from sharing it.
I’ve been curious about other Danessa Myricks products, like the Twin Flames multichromes, Color Fixes, and Vision Flushes. All the reviews I’ve seen, combined with my own experience, leads me to believe I can create beautiful looks with DM’s makeup if I’m willing to invest time into learning how best to use them. I foresee myself continuing to explore more from the brand in the latter half of 2021.
As for Mented, I’m definitely excited to try more from them in the future, especially since they’ve been made available at Ulta. It was tough for me to skip out on the blushes, but I haven’t seen enough videos and photos online to be able to tell which shades, if any, are my style. If new shades get released, I’ll be all over them!
I’m always interested in the new things Coloured Raine comes out with. In a “Behind the Beauty” episode a while back, the owner hinted at a Queen of Hearts 2 palette coming out, so I am still looking forward to that and more from the brand.
That’s everything! Thank you so much for spending your time with me today! I already had that impromptu Saturday review, but I wanted to keep the Monday schedule consistent and still make this post available today.