Melt Cosmetics Amor y Mariposas Review

Starting on the birthday anniversary of Melt Cosmetics, the brand put this collection on sale for 60% off. With the Amor y Mariposas Palette Set bundle deal, I technically got 70% off if we factor in the full retail price of the items individually. The brand also temporarily offered free shipping with no minimum spending amount. I decided not to go overboard and just purchased the items I’d been wanting most out of the collection since its release for the holidays last year: the pressed pigment palette, blush palette, and two gel liners. I initially just purchased one liner, but at the last minute (after loving the deep greenish blue one) I decided to grab the gold as well. The notice for the free shipping minimum returned to $75, but for some reason, I was still able to select free shipping at check out.

Amor y Mariposas Palette

Before I slipped back into my neutral phase, this was absolutely my kind of color story for eyeshadows! Purple and green eyeshadows are my top favorite colors, but I didn’t purchase this when it was first released because of the $70 price and Melt’s reputation of inconsistency with their shadows. Either the palettes are fantastic or terrible, and sometimes even the good ones end up having a formula issue of mold growing in the pans or the shimmers having a strange chemical reaction and begin expanding and puffing out of the pans after 2-6 months. I haven’t seen anyone saying that about this palette, so this appears to be Melt’s “good” formula not only in reactions not happening, but also in the performance I have noticed from using it for the past month. I only have one other palette from the brand that I can compare it to, which is the She’s In Parties palette that I got from one of Melt’s Mystery Boxes last year which I still need to review sometime. That palette has more of a shimmery satin formula, along with what felt like traditional mattes. Most of the mattes in this palette are pressed pigments, so they are way more pigmented and slightly less smooth. The shimmers in this are larger and a thicker formula.

These first two rows are my favorite in the palette. The greens are perfection. The golds are complimentary. My only complaint is having such similar shades in Te Adoro and Señales, which the latter is the same color as my MAC Paint Pot, so it doesn’t look like anything on my eyes. Te Adoro barely shows on me, but I use it if I need to blend out an edge or put something under the brow bone. Having two isn’t useful for me, but the tonal differences may benefit those with lighter skin who can pair Te Adoro with the shadows in the red family and Señales with the ones in the yellow family.

From photos online, I thought Cielito Lindo was going to be a light green, but it’s actually more of a shimmery sky blue. Although Cielito Lindo translates to something along the lines of “sweetie” or “cutie baby,” the word “ciel” has roots in French and Spanish relating to the sky, so I’m not sure if that’s supposed to be a pun on the name to the color of the shadow.

Yellow shadows can also be tricky getting to show on me, but I’ve been so impressed with Mensaje. Mesquite is the only shimmer that’s a bit flaky, whereas the rest are on the thicker side.

Maria, Nueva Vida, Nube, and Almohada are the ones that take more time to blend. They want to stick a little where they are placed, but unlike other pigment-heavy eyeshadows that do this, I can still get them to look how I want with the right brushes and some time. But really, I’m not the biggest fan of red eyeshadows so I wouldn’t use those much. Also, dark purple mattes I typically reserve for the outer corner and/or lower lash line, so it’s not going to be as much of an issue as it would for being a transition, crease, or lid shade.

Abuelita looks like a coral orange or perhaps salmon color in the pan, but it deepens up more than I want on my eyes. It’s still a pretty color.

Overall, I really like this palette and I’m happy to have it in my collection! The pretty packaging and imprints in the pans are an added bonus to its beauty! I can use these shadows with any of my primers and I get very minimal creasing.

Monarca Blush Palette

I’m a blush fanatic, but I assumed I would only be able to use two of the shades in this palette, which is what stopped me from buying it when it launched. However, I can happily say I have use for 5 of the 6! The one I can’t use at all is Milagritos, which just looks ashy on my face. Vida is such a beautiful rose gold that I use as highlighter. I normally don’t like pink highlighters, but I discovered Melt is the exception when I used the Afterglow Sex Foil that was in my Mystery Box. Feliz is the other shimmery blush that I use as highlighter. It has a peachy-orange tone and golden shift.

Flor is a bit of a curve ball because it gives me a bright flushed look to my face in the beginning, but it deepens up to a less vibrant medium pink on my cheeks. I’ve only ever worn this on top of a dewy foundation so I’m not sure if it’s the moisture level of my foundation with this particular blush that’s doing it. It’s possible that the color wouldn’t change on a matte foundation or if I powder set my cheeks first before applying the blush. I still like it though.

Sonrisa was an absolute delight and surprise! Prior to owning Orange Sunny from Oden’s Eye, I didn’t have a blush in quite this tone in my collection. Melt describes it as a “soft burnt orange” which I think that “soft” aspect is due to a bit of yellow in it, but the one from Oden’s Eye leans even further on the side of yellow-orange. Because of the subtle difference, plus it having a slight sheen, I still feel like Sonrisa is a unique shade and I’m happy I get to experience it in this palette. According to Melt, Sonrisa can also double as a bronzer.

The final blush is Conmigo, a rusty red-orange, that can be built up to a very rich color on the cheeks. I prefer to use a light hand, but if I do, it looks similar to Sonrisa. So, to help make the distinction between the two clearer, I built it up a bit in my photo further below.

They’re all so easy to use and blend and the tones are so different from the typical blush palettes produced. I love this one and I completely recommend it if it’s still available!

Melt Gel Liners in Colibri and Estrella

These gel liners are incredible! Now I understand the hype! They spread so easily and smoothly without being difficult to control, like spreading beyond where I touch the color to my skin with the brush. When they dry down, they are basically budge-proof. The only area I have trouble with it is in my waterline, but it still holds on better than every other liner I’ve tried for that spot. After a nine hour wear test, Colibri was only gone from the inner and outer corner of my eyes where I get the most watery (outer corner when laying down and inner corner from my sensitive tear duct). It was perfectly in place solely in the center of my lower lash line, which still impressed me.

Because Estrella was a last minute addition, I don’t have as many photos to show of it. So, Colibri is what I used in some demonstration photos below for the different areas I’ve tried this liner out on.

Yet again, I am just so impressed with the things I purchased from the Amor y Mariposas collection. At the time that I’m writing this, it’s still available at a heavy discount on Melt’s website as I assume they are trying to get rid of their final stock in time for their next holiday drop (which may be announced around October-November if the trend continues).

I have to admit, I still cannot fully let go of my fear of Melt eyeshadows having weird things happen to them, as demonstrated in the video by Karen Harris with Melt’s newest release, so I still don’t intend to purchase Melt eyeshadows as soon as they launch. However, my love of this collection has definitely increased my interest in the brand overall.

Thanks for reading! Happy 4th of July to all who celebrate it. And speaking of Independence Day…Melt’s 30% off sale ends today, though it does not include the products from this specific collection. However, it might be a nice time to purchase for those who want both the Amor y Mariposas items, plus other collections from Melt’s site in one purchase.

-Lili

*DISCLAIMER: All products in this post were purchased by me with my own money. Links in bold blue font (Example) are standard links. Links in bold black font with a light blue background (Example) are affiliate links. There are no affiliate links contained in this specific post.

Oden’s Eye Solmåne II Blushes and Liners Review

I shocked myself that I “only” bought three blushes and two eyeliners from the Solmane 2 Collection. The palette was quite beautiful, but not unique enough to add something different to my large eyeshadow collection. The highlighters are iridescent, sparkly, and pale, which isn’t flattering on me. However, I noticed that the shade Sienna Lustre in the shimmer blush formula seemed perfect for me to use as a highlighter. So, I feel like I’m still getting to experience a highlighter from Oden’s Eye that just happens to be in orange packaging instead of the purple ones. As for the eyeliners, I only added them to my cart so I could qualify for free shipping after using an influencer code to lower the price total. The brush came free and is one I already have and reviewed before, so I will not be reviewing that one here today.

Sunlight Love Blushers in W102 Peach Gleam, W103 Sienna Lustre, and B103 Orange Sunny

Other than the eyeshadows from Oden’s Eye, their blushes have always been my second favorite category of makeup from the brand. I’ve raved about the Alva blushers in the past and always wished they would expand the range, so I am very happy that they have, especially in this updated beautiful packaging.

Because the Alva Flower blushes are among my top favorite shimmer blush formulas, I’m happy to see that the Solmane II shimmer blushes are just as great. The Solmane II mattes are even better than their matte Alva Fruit blushes since they are softer and less powdery.

Peach Gleam

Peach Gleam shows more true to color with a white background.

The shimmer in this is ultra refined, to the point that it looks closer to a satin formula with a golden sheen. The larger size glitters on the right side of the pan don’t really stay on the face, which is something I’m grateful for as I love the sheen-like shimmer finish. It looks like a satin head on except where the light directly catches it, giving it such a beautiful gentle radiance rather than a harsh metallic reflect that some brands opt for in their shimmer blushes. Peach Gleam is what I wished Taj Mahal from Nars would be like on my cheeks!

I struggled trying to decide between Peach Gleam and Orange Sunny, which is how I ended up just choosing both. Their finishes aside, the main difference is that Peach Gleam is a red-leaning orange. Because it has that golden shimmer though, it works with both red-warm looks and golden looks. Orange Sunny is a yellow leaning orange and I only liked it when paired with gold, neutral eye, or other eye looks that compliment yellow. When I wore it with a red toned eye look, Orange Sunny didn’t look as pretty to me as Peach Gleam did. So those are some things to consider.

Sienna Lustre

Sienna Lustre shows truer to the pan color with a white background. However, this blush on the skin is a medium tone peach, which looks more similar to the photo with the colorful background.

There are simply “shimmer” and “matte” categories for the Oden’s Eye blushes, but I can see a textural difference between Peach Gleam and Sienna Lustre, which are both considered shimmer blushes. Sienna Lustre clearly looks more shimmery in the pan and in swatches, but I can see and feel the extra slip it has to it more than Peach Gleam.

This is a close up of Peach Gleam (left) compared to Sienna Lustre (right).

Silver in highlighters rarely look flattering on me, but I am happy to see that Sienna Lustre just takes on a peachy golden look on my skin and all that visible silver sparkle doesn’t show on my cheeks. The silver is basically an overspray, but without impacting the color overall. Admittedly, whenever I use this blush/highlighter, I try to avoid picking up product from the right side of the pan, but I did thoroughly rub my finger on that right side for the swatches and it still didn’t look silvery on my arm.

Because this has visible shimmer particles, I prefer to use Sienna Lustre as a highlight. I also prefer using it on top of Orange Sunny instead of Peach Gleam, since I personally believe the peachy tone looks better as a highlighter over a yellow-orange blush than a red-orange one. It still doesn’t look that bad together, as seen in the face photo above.

One other thing I noticed is that although I have no longevity issues with Peach Gleam and Orange Sunny, Sienna Lustre starts to dull down and disappear from the skin as the day goes on. I still have most of it on by the end of the night, but sometimes I’ve noticed missing sections where I assume I must have touched my face at some point in the day.

Orange Sunny

Orange Sunny shows true to the compact color with a white background. However, the photo on the left is still relevant in revealing the yellow-orange tone of this blush as opposed to the terracotta orange-brown I expected.

As I mentioned already, I believe the matte formula in the Solmane line is even better than the Alva blushes because it’s richer in pigmentation, softer, not as powdery, and blends better into the skin. I hope Oden’s Eye continues to expand on their blush line to include even more shades and darker ones as well. The ones I have are as deep as they go. In my photo wearing Orange Sunny, I could have applied a little more product, but it doesn’t get much deeper than what is already shown.

Although I think the matte formula from Oden’s Eye has improved, I am still the most impressed with Peach Gleam. The brand’s shimmer formula continues to rank among the best in my substantially large blush collection with Peach Gleam, Little Jasmine, and Sweet Tulip being the ones I use.

Gel Liner Pencils in 002 Orange and 012 Golden Brown

These pencils are creamy and a bit on the soft side. I accidentally broke off the tip of Golden Brown while trying to swatch it on my arm, and I wasn’t even being rough with it. It’s nice that they included a sharpener at the other end of the pencil. I discovered that as I accidentally tugged off the back.

I’ve tried both of them in my waterline and they don’t last. My eyes are just too watery. They last quite well as liner for my upper lash line, as well as an all over shadow for the lids.

Even though I added these to my cart solely for the free shipping minimum, I’m not upset at getting them. I feel like I would have been more impressed with these if I hadn’t just used the Amor y Mariposas gel liners from Melt Cosmetics, which have phenomenal staying power and remain intense, sparkly, and shiny. There is a huge gap between the retail price of Melt’s liners versus the ones from Oden’s Eye though. I can also say I like these more than the pencil liners I’ve purchased in the past from Colourpop.

That’s everything for this review! I didn’t have a ton to say because there wasn’t much to critique. I really like the products I bought from Oden’s Eye’s newest collection and I definitely recommend them.

-Lili

Drugstore Makeup Worth The Hype?

I’ve been burned a lot by drugstore makeup, so I tend to only buy the products that have been hyped up for a year or longer. I know it’s possible for drugstore makeup to be on par with, or even better than, high end products, which is why today’s post is an attempt to see which of these items are beyond just being, “good for the price.”

Milani Cheek Kiss Cream Blush in Nude Kiss

When choosing this shade, I accurately detected that the color in the pan should be a dark enough blush color for me. What I failed to take into account was the sheerness of the formula. If I treat it like other cream blushes and pick up my usual amount to somewhat build it up, it blends away to nearly nothing. No matter how much I attempted to build, it would not go on my skin opaquely. However, if I load a lot onto my brush and apply it to my cheeks all at once and then blend it out, even picking up the excess with my Blendiful (yes, I’m still using that old thing), then I am left with a gorgeously dewy looking cheek.

I didn’t have high hopes for applying this blush with my fingers, but once again, I can get a nice result if I apply a lot of product to my cheeks at a time. This is why I don’t prefer using this blush with a sponge either, since the dampness from the sponge thins the formula and I have to use an excessive amount of product to compensate.

Had I known how sheer these would be, I would have gotten Merlot Moment. I bought Nude Kiss because I wanted something natural, but it’s still a touch too light to look completely natural on me, so I could see myself mixing this shade with some of my more pigmented cream blushes.

This formula does not set in the amount I have to use packed on, but it’s at least not sticky. It remains creamy to the touch and easily transfers. It also absorbs into my dry bare skin very quickly, so I need a barrier between the blush and my skin (like a layer of foundation) to prevent that from happening. When applied on top of foundation, this still begins to fade within a few hours. To get this to last, I use setting powder on top. This step also reduces the amount of product transfer and the balmy feeling to the skin, but it still doesn’t dry down completely.
With a foundation layer, packed on blush, and a setting powder layer, this blush starts to fade at eight hours. Considering the fact that I don’t like blushes that don’t set, I’m still impressed with this formula. It’s like a better version of the Tower 28 Beach Please Cream Blushes that so many people love, but I hate. I certainly recommend the Milani Blush over the one from Tower 28, but it’s possible the Tower 28 blush is longer lasting. I can only guess that because the Tower 28 blush I tried was more pigmented, but I don’t know its full wear time because I couldn’t stand the feeling of it on my skin and could not complete a wear test. I understand why the Milani Blush gets so much hype, and I like it, but I won’t be purchasing the others.

Below is a photo comparing the swatches off all the blushes we’ll discuss today.

J.CAT Beauty Blush-Mallow Soft Blusher in Thank You Berry Much!

This packaging is like an even cheaper version of MAC’s compacts. I feel like I could accidentally break the flimsy lid every time I open it. My fears for this cream blush are warranted considering my first one arrived broken in the mail, so Ulta replaced it.
I bought this on a whim because the look of it in promo shots and its description as, “a marshmallow textured formula,” reminded me of the Armani Neo Nude Color Melting Cream Balm Blushes (at least Warm Coral is that way). The J.Cat blush isn’t as emollient as that one and is a little stiffer, but once I’m able to pick up enough of it, it spreads fairly easily. It’s only $4, so I wouldn’t have asked for a replacement if I didn’t like the formula but I was so impressed!

Thank You Berry Much has a good amount of pigment, but because of the tone, it’s subtle on my cheeks. Despite the “berry” in its name, it’s a terracotta shade. I like the warmth it provides to my cheeks and by the eight hour point, it is significantly faded. It’s at least solid without fading up to six hours, and past eight hours it still clings on for an hour before disappearing. This also depends on whether or not I’ve set it with a powder and how often I’ve touched my face. When first applying, the blush dries enough that it’s not sticky to the touch and I don’t feel the need to set it with a powder. There is a tiny amount of transfer if touched and a low amount if accidentally rubbed.

This is one of the few blushes I like applying with my fingers, though I still end up applying it with a brush more often. The brush just requires a lot more building up. I can really pack on color with a damp sponge, but the sponge picks product back up, leaving splotches on the cheek. It also turned the blush into an odd vibrant coral orange shade. I think it’s a reaction between the water and the dyes. Sometimes eyeshadow formulas with dyes in them have color bleed out when I’m pressing them back in the pan with isopropyl alcohol. I’m guessing the dye in the blush reacted to the small amount of water in the sponge and caused a similar situation of the dye seeping out.
Because of the patchy results, I wouldn’t use this blush with a sponge again anyway. Fingers and brushes are the way to go.

As it stands, I think the one I have is the only shade I’d enjoy out of what’s available on Ulta’s site, but J.Cat has sixteen in total. The consistency is fun, the shade is pretty, and it performs fairly well on my skin, but this might be one of those things that are fantastic for the price as I can think of several cream blush formulas I prefer more.

Covergirl TruBlend So Flushed High Pigment Blush in Sweet Seduction

I like shimmery blushes, but so many that I encounter have too metallic and/or reflective of a finish or the shimmer particle size is large and takes it to the glitter level. I am so pleased to have found a great one at the drugstore, and it’s entirely thanks to Nikki posting about it on her blog. She mentioned that it can be found for as low as $7.99 at retailers like Walmart and Target. I purchased this from Ulta, which is normally $10.99, but between the sale and an additional promo code, I paid $5.30 for it. In my eyes, it’s absolutely worth getting and I’d even be willing to pay somewhere between $15-$18 for it! I have very few blushes in this exact tone, somewhere between a mauve and warm pink that adds life to the cheeks but is still grounded. It looks smooth on the cheeks, especially as it settles into the skin, and gives the right amount of shine.

“High Pigment” in the name could probably sound intimidating for some, but this blush is very blendable and therefore easy to get a subtle look or tone down. It’s also buildable, and I could get it to look even more intensely than my photo demonstrates above, which I used a medium to borderline heavy amount of blush. Nine hours is the longest I’ve worn it for, so far, and it was still going strong with no fading that I could see.

There aren’t any other blush shades in the line that interest me, but this experience makes me want to try the bronzer version and see if the Ebony shade would work for me.*

*Note: Spoiler for my March purchases post… I have tried Ebony and it does work and I do like it a lot!

Essence The Blush in Believing

Ulta bumped up the price to $3.99, but it was $2.99 originally and on sale for $1.79 at the time I bought it. It had been on my wishlist for months because I was curious as to whether or not such an inexpensive blush could actually be good, as well as wanting something I could throw in my cart to meet the free shipping requirement if needed. The only thing holding me back was the uncertainty of whether any of them would be deep enough for me. Thanks to Stef, another blogger who posted swatches of the four blushes available at Ulta, I was able to feel confident that the shade Believing would work for me. This mauve blush takes a little building up, but it does show on me and is actually quite flattering! It also lasts through a full day of wear. This is perhaps the best performing blush I’ve used at this kind of price point besides the ELF Bite Size Face Duos, which the combined weight of both the blush and highlighter (0.16 oz) is nearly the same amount of product as the one from Essence (0.17 oz). I like this, I think it’s good, and I could see myself continuing to use it, but it doesn’t quite cross into the “I love it” category. It’s equal to the quality of Colourpop blushes, which is around the $10 price point. So, for those who like Colourpop blushes and don’t mind having plain packaging, this blush is practically a steal.

Essence Pure Nude Highlighter Palette

Based on Ulta’s photos, I really thought the bottom shades in the Highlighter Palette were deeper than they ended up being. The second version called the Sunlighter Palette looked too deep for me, but I should have searched for photos from other customers and bloggers because I would have discovered it’s so much lighter.

I heard so many people say the Essence Pure Nude single compact highlighter was the perfect dupe to Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders, but I saw those in person and knew they would be too light for me. When I saw the palettes on Ulta’s site, I thought those would be deeper, but we know how that turned out. It’s possible that because the singles are baked, the formula and performance is totally different from these highlighters in the palette, since these aren’t the most refined and have a creamy slip to them that all baked products I’ve used don’t have. So, I guess I still can’t determine how good those singles are, but I can at least confirm that the highlighters in the palette don’t compare to Hourglass at all. They aren’t even the best options from the drugstore. They are too light for me, so they go on my skin bright and intense,yet they dull down so quickly and fade within hours. Even with a dewy product underneath, these highlighters don’t last on my face. They’re also a bit tough to blend and Pan #1 is flat out powdery and almost chalky. The other three weren’t as bad, but they reminded me of a slightly worse version of the Haus Labs highlighters in the Blush and Highlight Duos I’ve reviewed before. I can get the shades in this palette to work and look super pretty on the cheeks initially, but this formula just doesn’t last, which is the main reason I don’t recommend them.

I didn’t bother taking photos of highlighter #1 or #2 because they looked so terrible on me and are clearly not intended for dark skin anyway.

Maybelline Master Chrome in Molten Topaz and Molten Peach

I don’t have a lot of drugstore highlighters, but there seems to be a pattern of longevity issues with them. With this Maybelline formula, I can at least get 6-8 hours before they begin to fade. Molten Topaz is smooth, creamy feeling, and blends well into my skin. If it wasn’t for the fading, I would have mistaken it for a high end formula. Molten Peach is a stunning color, but there are noticeable large silver glitter specks throughout the pan and I am not a fan of glittery highlighters (especially silver), so this is not something I’d wear again. I wish I knew Molten Peach didn’t have the same milling of the powder as Molten Topaz, so I wouldn’t have wasted my money buying it, but it was only $5 from Amazon. I also bought Molten Topaz from Amazon for $6.

Although Molten Topaz is still not in my top favorite formulas, I think it is quite good and that the hype is well deserved. The biggest difference between this and more expensive formulas is the longevity. As for Molten Peach, that shade doesn’t give me what I want from a highlighter, so I don’t think that one is even good for the price at $10 considering I have Colourpop Super Shock highlighters at the same price that I like more and those last all day.

Revlon Skinlights Prismatic Highlighter in Gilded Dawn

Talk about a glittery cheek! In some lighting, it’s alright, but it’s really glittery up close. I despise how this looks with some brushes that pick up more of the shimmer onto the brush than the rest of the powder, but even at its best it’s still too much for me. I don’t think it looks flattering on me purely because of the visible glitter. I did attempt a full wear test and it didn’t last to the eight hour mark. It has that glassy reflect to the skin like most baked gelée products. The base color blends into my skin so well, and it feels smooth to the touch, so this really could have been a hit for me if it had finer shimmer. At the same time, I know a lot of people don’t mind glitter and some people even love it, so I still get why this is hyped up.

The Results With My Best Brush

I thought it might be interesting to compare some of my least expensive highlighters together in the picture below. I like Colourpop the most, then Maybelline, Revlon, and Essence.

L’Oreal Paris Infallible Fresh Wear Foundation in a Powder in Copper

I go through phases of wanting powder foundations, but I’ve had so much trouble finding the right shade that I’ve mostly given up. When this line came out, I was interested to see so many deeper toned options and at drugstore prices, so I thought it might be worth investigating. I watched plenty of videos to try and find my closest shade, but the overall consensus was that the foundations lean too warm for me past Hazelnut. Hazelnut in the liquid foundation was too light for me and I had to mix it with Copper, so this information made me realize I was highly unlikely to get my perfect match in the powder form and that I should skip getting it. However, in one review, someone said that this powder foundation makes for an excellent bronzer and I decided I needed to try it for that reason alone!

So, I cannot say how this product performs as a foundation. I’ve only worn it around the perimeter of my face to add warmth, but no extra depth, to my skin. It lasts all day, although it’s quite subtle because I didn’t go for a darker color. This also makes for a good balancing shade for times my foundation or concealer is too light or too cool and I need to add some warmth back.

Because I don’t use this for its intended purpose, I don’t think I’m able to judge whether it’s worth the hype or not. I can at least say I have use for it in my collection.
Ironically, just a few days ago L’Oreal actually released this product as bronzers.

For the sake of science, I’m tempted to see how the two products perform similarly, but the ingredient lists are almost identical excluding two ingredients towards the end of the list. So, I think they could be considered the same product in additional shades.

Nyx Gimme Super Stars! Epic Ink Black Eyeliner (LIMITED EDITION)/Vegan Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Black

I actually bought this by mistake, as I didn’t realize this was part of Nyx’s Holiday 2021 Collection that released two weeks after the Nyx x Netflix Casa de Papel (Money Heist) Collection. I was entranced by what looked like a gorgeous coppery packaging and I ran out of liquid liners, so I clicked whichever version on the website was available that wasn’t in the standard black packaging. It turns out it didn’t matter. The one I received was a pretty gold pen and apparently the Netflix version is still gold too. Only certain promo pics gave it the coppery outer appearance.

I’ve made it known that the Stila Stay All Day liquid liners are my holy grail. This version from NYX is very comparable, but Stila is still better in a few crucial ways. For one thing, I’ve used up a NYX Epic Ink liner pen already, so I know how it performs when it’s starting to run out of product towards the end. It ends up being less pigmented, like the liquid and pigment are separating. This causes feathering sometimes in the lines of my eye. It also means I have to reline a few times to get the full opacity. With this new pen that I have, the watery aspect has already started. I’m not sure if NYX messed with the formula because I heard someone else say the same thing in a video this year. I have to add that I can sometimes get feathering from the Stila pen as well.
The second way Stila is better is that the NYX pen doesn’t go over multichromes and some of my thicker shimmer eyeshadows as well as Stila. I have to make multiple passes when using those types of shadows as well, which increases the chance of me making the line too thick for my liking. When this NYX liner is good and working right, it’s just as great at the Stila one and really is waterproof, but it admittedly still has weak points.

The NYX liners are only $10 and could be even less with a coupon, so the few issues I have with them seem to be worth dealing with compared to Stila’s $23 liners. However, Ulta has Stila’s liners in their 21 Days of Beauty and other sales for $11 often enough that I would normally encourage others to skip the one from NYX and wait for a sale on Stila instead. In 2021, Ulta actually kept Stila off the sale page and the usual holiday kits with two products for $22 weren’t included that year, which is how I ended up buying another Epic Ink Liner instead. After getting the Stila liners at half price for the last six years or so, I was adamant about not paying full price for it. And sure enough, it has already been on sale for $11 in 2022. So, I recommend the NYX liner in the event that cheaper waterproof liquid pens aren’t available, but for anyone who can hold out, getting Stila on a sale is more worth the wait.

Well, that’s everything for today! To sum it all up, the Covergirl blush is the only one I can fully endorse, but all the other blushes and the Maybelline highlighter (Topaz specifically) are all great for the price and perhaps worth looking into as well.

-Lili

My Last 10 Colourpop Eyeshadow Palettes

I originally drafted a post called, “Colourpop Update from Nov 2020 Til Now,” which was intended to finally catch up on all the Colourpop purchases I was making. The issue I ran into was that I kept waiting for my orders to arrive, but I was continuously buying Colourpop products monthly. Essentially I never caught up and that’s how we got here today. I have seven palettes and three quads that I bought from Colourpop that have just been sitting in my collection this whole time waiting to be used and reviewed.

It’s a bit fascinating how Colourpop’s marketing completely sucked me in. Here I was making monthly orders without even using and enjoying any of it, yet still unable to stop myself from continuing to buy the next “Must Have” thing that appealed to my sense of nostalgia or my love of particular color stories. Colourpop’s shipping went from a week to deliver (years ago) to a minimum of three weeks for delivery now. So, by the time I received my products, the hype was already gone and I felt very little motivation to post about it via social media and even less for my blog. It was like constantly chasing the excitement of what’s new, having it fade by the time it arrived, and then seeking something else to replace that feeling. The cycle was quite unhealthy and I knew that in the back of my head, yet they still got me regularly. The craziest part is that I actually did resist a ton of collections, yet I still ended up with all these unused eyeshadow palettes (plus everything else from other categories).

Colourpop x Raw Beauty Kristi At Forest Sight Collection Palette

Although this palette is no longer listed on the Colourpop website, so I cannot double-check the ingredients, Amanita has the symbol for what I’m guessing is a warning about potential eye staining due to the dye(s) used.

I only used this palette two or three times prior to reviewing it again now. This should be a color story I’m crazy for, but for some reason I don’t like how most of the shades look on my eyes and in combination with one another. The exceptions to this are Evergreen, Fiddlehead, and Homegrown. I love the shade Emerald City, but it’s a very patchy shadow. PNW at least fills the role. It’s blue, but leans closer to green than a standard blue shade. Other than my dislike of the tones, the patchiness of Emerald City, and the fact that Old Growth doesn’t show as pink on me, I think the other shades are okay despite them overall feeling dry and not the easiest to work with. I think this palette being a few years old by now is why the performance has declined from that first initial impression I had. It’s not bad, but it’s not as easy as my newer Colourpop palettes.

I always discuss my stance on an Influencer who is part of the collab, so in the case of Raw Beauty Kristi, I am still following her on YouTube though I don’t watch her anymore. She’s more into lifestyle content now, especially post having a baby. Congratulations to her, but I definitely don’t have the same attachment to her now as I did when I first bought this palette. Also, this is the only collab palette of hers that I have purchased. I did not buy her palette with PUR.

The packaging for this collab is cute. I love the theme. This collection was restocked quite a few times since Nov 2020, but I don’t believe it will be available anymore, which saves me from needing to say whether I recommend it or not. Other than Evergreen, Colourpop has these shades many times over among all their palettes, so most people could put this color story together on their own out of what they already have.

Colourpop x Star Wars the Mandalorian Child Pressed Powder Palette

There are no eye safety warnings for this palette. The Force arrived broken, but I was able to re-press it.

I haven’t watched the Mandalorian TV show yet, but everyone knows about “Baby Yoda” (Grogu) and he looks absolutely adorable! I tried for a while to resist the packaging, but eventually I got it during a sale.

I love green eyeshadows and even though the depths of these greens are lighter than I typically go for, I really enjoyed the looks I’ve been able to create. However, the photos below show that I can make a similar look using entirely different eyeshadows from the palette. The matte shades aren’t redundant, but the swatches show two similar golds and two similar greens regardless of how they look in the pans.

The shadow quality is great. I think it is among Colourpop’s best in terms of performance. To those who like this color story, I could easily recommend this.

Colourpop Wild Child Palette

Sometimes Colourpop puts the warning asterisk next to the shade names on the inside of the palette, so I wrongly assumed this had no eye safety warnings. On the back of my palette, Grasslands was marked with the symbol of not being safe for use around the immediate eye area, but on Colourpop’s website it’s the shade Lashes that is listed as having PET glitter. More than that, it’s in an actual pressed glitter formula, so I will not be swatching or using that shade. This is quite unfortunate considering Lashes is the one that pretty much sold me on this palette. Since I cannot tell if my original packaging is correct and if Grasslands should also be considered not eye safe, I decided I won’t be using that shade on my eyes either. I dislike sequin/matte eyeshadows with shimmer in them anyway, and I don’t feel this particular color adds anything to the palette, so it’s an easy skip. I plan to depot them both after this review.

Fierce arrived shattered, so I pushed it back in, but it became a mess every time I used it. I somewhat resolved this by repressing it with some 90% isopropyl alcohol, but it still gives me fallout on the eyes if I don’t apply it wet.

The thought of getting rid of 2 out of 9 shades would normally make me question my decision to buy the palette, but the fact that I love all the other shades is why I don’t have regrets. If I’m reaching for a neutral shadow, I like a deep shimmery chocolate brown like Icon. I can build up enough depth to my liking with Feisty. Ground Crew makes for a nice transition shade and Close Up looks great in the crease. Herd to Get isn’t really my preference for the lid, but I do think it looks nice on me and it makes sense to have a shade like this in this palette. #Spotted I use for blending edges if needed since it doesn’t really show on me. Just like Herd to Get, I wouldn’t want to put Fierce all over my lids, but it’s a beautiful highlighting shade for the inner corner and center of the lid.

I like the looks I’ve created with this and I do want to continue using this palette. In the month of February, I made all the palettes listed in this post a part of my “shop my stash” and I repeatedly kept reaching for this one over the others. The quality is great and I easily recommend it. If there’s one thing Colourpop should nail, it’s a neutral palette considering how many of them they release and how chock full of neutrals most of their palettes are, including the more colorful ones.

Colourpop Lush Life Palette

Speaking of a colorful palette with neutrals, we have Lush Life which is one of the most recent CP palettes in my collection. There are no eye safety warnings. I think the quality of the shadows in this palette is very good. It’s definitely among the best Colourpop has ever produced. The neutrals are pretty, though Eden is less of a plum brown than I expected from product photos online. It also gives me just barely enough depth for my liking.

It’s Paradise and Palm Palm are similar. This palette also has several matching matte and shimmer counterparts (On the Prowl and Juicy, Noni and Hotness, as well as Eco and Wild Life), which sometimes I can appreciate. In this instance, I find it limiting, but I plan on depotting some of these shades to create a custom palette anyway.

I have to give props to Colourpop for that stunningly vibrant Monsoon shade, and for it being so smooth and even as well. It’s probably the best vibrant blue I’ve seen Colourpop do. That shade paired with the greens, oranges, and yellow certainly capture the tropical vibe they were going for, and I like it a lot. This is another one I could easily recommend, even though it’s not something I’d be likely to use much if I kept them within just this color story in this palette.

Colourpop High Tide Palette

There are no eye safety warnings for this palette. It was first released as an Ulta exclusive before arriving on the Colourpop website. It’s mind boggling how much I felt I needed this palette until I actually got it in my hands. I love the look of these colors, but these are not the kinds of shades I wear all together. I don’t like pale blues on me, which eliminates half the shades. As for dark teals, which always attract me, I actually got sick of by the time I got around to using this palette. It was the last of the ten I tried and I kept dragging my feet on using it because I dreaded having to come up with eye looks for it. A lot of these palettes contain a teal/greenish-blue/warm blue and I was tired of wearing them back to back each day. Then, on the flip side, the third column of the palette contains cool blues, which was a nice change of pace, but I’m not the biggest fan of cool shadows on me. So, it’s quite perplexing how I was so intensely drawn to this palette and then quickly flipped opinions. It revealed my tendency to buy palettes with shades I find alluring, without thinking of how I would actually wear the eyeshadows together to make a look. This wasn’t a very expensive lesson, but it was a lesson all the same.

Other than the colors, the actual quality of these shadows is nice enough. The mattes are a bit on the thinner side, but I can understand wanting to do this since shadows this saturated can be harder to blend and patchy depending on the ratio of pigment/dyes. Two dips with my finger in the pan (as seen in the swatch photo) show how evenly I can spread the color, but also how they’re not as opaque because of how thin the powder is. The mattes have to be built up a little. As for the shimmer formula, there’s a bit more slip in these than usual. While this can help with spreading the shadows, it’s so much that I can accidentally pick the shimmer back off my eye and either onto my finger or move it to gather on a different spot. It basically can create sparser areas devoid of shimmer that I have to build up and smooth over. This doesn’t happen in a large enough area to be a nuisance, but it noticeably adds time when creating a look. This may seem like bad quality, but it’s just a matter of someone’s preference because some people really like that dimethicone feel to shadows or like a shadow that takes little effort to blend, even if it does mean having to build it up though. I’m able to create very pigmented looks, so I applaud Colourpop for that. However, I’m planning on only keeping Mussel Beach, Must Sea, and Lunar, so I can’t really recommend this palette on the basis of this not adding much to the Colourpop line. I do love that Mussel Beach is a bit different for Colourpop as a brown-teal duochrome shadow. It’s a teal version of Clionadh’s Vortex, but without much shine. That’s the one aspect that would have been better with the Mussel Beach shade if the shimmer particles were brighter.

Colourpop x TinkerBell Palette

This palette is no longer listed on the Colourpop website, but there appears to be no eye safety warnings on my packaging. I’m slightly conflicted about my feelings on this palette because it always makes me think of the Child palette, but then I want to reach for that one instead of this because those two pale beige-pink eyeshadows are so off putting. It’s a pet peeve of mine to see redundant shades and multiple brow bone shades. This palette hits at both of those points with Second Star looking insanely ashy on me and Big Magic being less ashy, but also not showing up very much at all. Once again, we have a mattes with shimmer counterparts between Awake and Neverland as well as Sleep and Tink. And, again, I feel as though this limits my looks.

The upside to this palette is the really great quality. I had no issues blending the mattes. The shadows are pigmented. The shimmers are opaque and easy to apply. Place Between is sparkly and gorgeous on the lids. Neverland is this deep green-blue that I tend to like. The palette packaging is very cute, though I wish it didn’t have actual glitter on it. It’s the gritty kind that you can feel is raised when handling the palette, and the kind that will start sprinkling a few glitter particles here and there as time goes on.

The biggest struggle I had was trying to fit the brown-pink shade, Place Between, into my eye looks while trying to exclusively use this palette. It makes sense to use it with the pink mattes, except that those shades don’t give me any color. So, I am forced to pair it with greens and I’m not sure how much I like that. It’s certainly a different color combination for me, but I don’t know if it’s a “nice” kind of different.

Colourpop released another green palette with a pop of pink called Limelight. I’m curious to see the reviews and comparisons for that one.

Colourpop x Hocus Pocus Witching Hour Palette

Hello Billy has an eye safety warning on the Colourpop website, which I believe is due to the dyes/staining. The palette arrived a bit messy around the edges of the pans, but nothing was broken.

Halloween is my favorite holiday, so I grew up watching and loving Hocus Pocus. I didn’t get anything from the first collection between the IP and Colourpop, but this palette had such a “me” color story that I had to buy it. I’ve complained about this aspect before, so I won’t harp on it, but I still need to point out the matte and shimmer counterpart thing as well as the similarity of Summon Us and All Hallow’s Eve on my skin tone.

As has been seen in many of the other palettes reviewed today, I tend to pull 5-6 shadows in my eye looks. With this palette, I’m satisfied with my looks when I stick to 2-4, which saves me time. I like that I don’t have to think too hard about what I want to do with this palette. All the eye shadows perform nicely. I recommend this for those who don’t already have one of Colourpop’s many palettes containing teal-ish blue and purples like It’s a Mood, Play it Jewel, or So Jaded.

Colourpop Eyeshadow Quads in Creamsicle, Mocktail, and Secret Life of Scorpio

EYE SAFETY WARNINGS: For Creamsicle, Big Treat has PET glitter while On a Stick, I’m guessing, is dye/staining warnings. For Mocktail, Shaken has PET glitter. For Scorpio, Secrets Secrets might also have the warning for dye/staining. I should have been more careful and checked for PET before purchasing since I don’t like to use polyethylene terephthalate, even if it’s not in a pressed glitter formula. I am sad to say I will be decluttering Creamsicle and Mocktail from my collection since the pans in the quads are not removeable/replaceable. Plus, Iced from the Mocktail quad fell out of the pan on me already. I was able to press it back in, but I don’t want to have to worry about that happening again in the future.

Prior to working on this post, I only used Creamsicle and Mocktail twice each. The photo above showed the looks I created for Instagram. I was very much into these softer shades at the time that I bought them, which was when Colourpop first started making quads in this clear packaging. I love the concept of being able to have a curated look without needing to think about it, and having all the shades show up nice and pigmented on my eyes and not give me any issues to use. I also liked the level of sparkle, which I now know has the chance of being PET glitter, so I’m a bit unhappy about that.
Before I knew this, I had already purchased the Scorpio quad because I knew the quality was going to at least be decent. This was also the first time anything Scorpio related (my astrological sign) had a color story I liked, as well as being the prettiest of the twelve released! Secrets Secrets is one of Colourpop’s most repeated type of reddish purple/burgundy colors they like to do, and the performance is always the same: very pigmented but slightly patchy. I always find this kind of shade appealing though. The shimmers are quite beautiful, but soft. They need to be applied wet or on glitter glue in order to make an impact.

Scorpio is a nice cohesive quad, but part of what always draws me to Colourpop is their packaging. Other than the outer cardboard that this comes in, there’s no design on the front of it to distinguish it from all the other quads, which makes it less special to me. No one is going to know this is a special Scorpio quad except me when that lightly imprinted Scorpio symbol is rubbed off the Secrets Secrets shade. If I’m buying makeup with basic packaging, the quality inside has to be worth it for me to reach for it. This quality is good, but I don’t intend to buy anymore. In fact, as much as I like the Colourpop palettes I have, I never reach for them. It’s always the packaging, rather than the eyeshadow formula that draws me in. So, unless they collaborate with an IP that would be nearly impossible for me to skip like Harry Potter, Doctor Who, a first actually good Marvel collab, etc. I’m going to try my hardest to stop buying Colourpop eyeshadow palettes.

BONUS REVIEWS

I decided to go ahead and also show the other eye products I also bought from the brand since November 2020 until now.

Colourpop x Raw Beauty Kristi At Forest Sight Liners in Marigold and Spare Thyme

Spare Thyme sold out in my cart during the initial RBK launch. I was able to snag Marigold. I don’t have many colorful liners, and something about Colourpop ones (perhaps how matte and dry looking they can be) don’t look great on my waterline unless I border them with an additional black liner as a frame between the color line and my lower lashes (for example the first look in the At Forest Sight section). The fact that it took three or four restocks before I could successfully buy Spare Thyme before it sold out is why I ignored this fact with Marigold and decided that somehow Spare Thyme would work better. In this case, it actually does look better, but it’s more to do with it being a darker color. All the previous Colourpop liners I used were light shades. Because of my personal preferences, I can’t be objective in saying whether they are worth purchasing or not.

Colourpop Colour Stix in Free Time, Venus Slipper, and We’re Off

My issue with light shades of Colourpop liners are multiplied with the matte version of these Colour Stix. I don’t like the look of them on the lids from my experience with We’re Off and other videos I’ve seen online. Unlike this one, Free Time and Venus Slipper actually dry down and don’t rub away as easily. I’ve had Free Time for nearly a year longer than Venus Slipper, and that one is a bit stiffer. It’s not as easy to get smoothly onto the lid, so I’d keep that in mind for those wanting eye products to last longer than the recommended period after opening.

I’ve purchased a few of these for my sister, so I do like them (at least the shimmer/metallic formula), but shadow sticks generally aren’t my style, so I don’t think I’ll purchase more in the future.

Colourpop x Disney Princess Down in New Orleans Super Shock Shadow

This SuperShock is more of a topper kind of shade, so I haven’t attempted to wear it alone on the lids. It took several rubs to get that swatch to even build up to that. I definitely did not buy this shade for the color. I bought it because I’m quite the fan of Tiana. Her personality reminds me of my sister in so many ways, so it’s only natural she’d be my favorite Disney Princess.

I could barely see the seafoam green base in the shade on my arm. When used as a topper, all I see is silvery white, so those with dark skin should keep that in mind. This shade is even less pigmented than my other Super Shock Eyeshadows, but if CP was aiming for a topper, they certainly nailed it. If it wasn’t for the Princess and the Frog theme, I would never have picked up a shadow like this, but it does have its uses as a highlighting shadow. I know myself though and I never reach for eyeshadow singles, so this is just a collector item for me.

Colourpop Garden Variety Jelly Much Eyeshadows in Saguaro and She Grown

If those shades look dried out, it’s because they are. Saguaro was my “new” shade that I bought a little over a year ago and never used. When I finally opened the jar, as can be seen by the crust around the edges, I discovered it was dried out. The lid was partially open, so there was no hope of me being able to avoid that. Every so often in my Colourpop orders, products with lids aren’t screwed on all the way. I try to remember to check for that, but in this case I completely forgot to and just left it in the original packaging until it was time for this review.

I could still rub the surface of these shades. I was surprised to see that She Grown, the shade I’ve shown before in one of my last Colourpop reviews, swatched more smoothly than Saguaro even though it’s four months older than Saguaro and had been opened and reopened several times.

I’m going to toss these out, but they certainly were shiny and gorgeous. It’s a shame they went to waste because of my same issue with reaching for single eyeshadows. Because these eventually dry out, I can’t recommend them.

Colourpop Act Natural Defining Mascara

I’m wearing this mascara in the sections demonstrating the Colour Stix on the eyes and the RBK eyeliners. I got this for free in one of my orders. The bristles keep the lashes from clumping and turning spidery, but as much as I like long lashes, I still want some volume. This mascara formula is on the wet side. I’m not satisfied with how it looks after one coat, so I have to apply and then wait for it to dry before I go for an additional 1-2 coats. I’ll keep using this mascara, but I prefer mascaras that give me length and volume in one built up coat. Because this doesn’t meet my preferences, I recommend checking out Essence, Maybelline, L’Oreal, etc for some affordable mascaras that I prefer.

Alas! We have reached the end. Thank you for reading!

-Lili

Makeup Geek Review

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.

Customizable Compacts

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’m grateful you’ve taken the time to read my review and I hope the information was useful.

-Lili

*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.

INDIE BRAND SPOTLIGHT: Persona Cosmetics Review

I’d like to begin this post by noting the Georgia Blush, Del Mar Highlighter, and 24Hr Eyeliner were gifted to me by Persona Cosmetics for the purpose of customer satisfaction and not for blog/reviewing purposes. I will go more into detail on that in the Terracotta Blush section.

Prior to January 5th, I only had the eyeshadow palettes. The Identity Two palette specifically had become the closest thing I had to an everyday palette. I loved it so much that I bought the older one, the original Identity Palette afterwards to see how they compared. Ulta briefly listed it for half price and I figured if it had the same formula as the Identity Two, I did not want to miss out, even though the color story isn’t my usual go-to.

Persona Identity Palette

I’m not sure if the formula was changed or updated when Persona updated the packaging of this palette from cardboard to plastic, but I do find these shadows to be a tiny bit on the drier side. The shadows still perform nicely despite being slightly less pigmented (excluding Fearless). I was also surprised to see how grey Maverick looked on me considering how brown it looks in the pan. The overall color story is a little more cool-toned than I expected, but I like having some of these shades anyway. Ironically, I still have to mix Humble and Charming together to highlight under my brows (to avoid looking ashy) like I do with Kind and Loyal. Goddess is a brighter alternative I wanted alongside Resilient. Goal Digger is the more traditional gold shade I wanted alongside Unique. Audacious is the kind of shade I love to have in the crease, so I’m very happy to have that one. It leans more orange than than the shade Passionate which leans more pink. One of the things I really wanted from the Identity Two palette, after using the pink leaning white shade called Honest, was a white leaning gold. When I saw Sassy, I was hopeful this might be it, but it’s more of a silver shade. If Persona ever makes an Identity Three, I hope that pale gold will be in there, though I can still use Goal Digger for the purpose I envisioned.

Persona Identity Two Palette

I raved in-depth about this palette in my 2020 Eyeshadow Tag. If I had to declare a favorite premade eyeshadow palette from 2020, it would definitely be this one. It was one of my favorite palettes to pair with my beloved Clionadh Cosmetics multichromes. Everything I mentioned about the formula of this being creamy, pigmented, blendable, being worth the full retail price, something I can take traveling (which I have by now) and being versatile enough to create simple or complex looks and go neutral or colorful holds true. What I forgot to mention is that Limitless makes an excellent powder eyeliner.

I have additional looks with the Identity Two Palette in the 2020 Eyeshadow Tag post.

Now that I’ve compared both, I can say that the Identity Palette is great, but the Identity Two is the version that suits my preferences specifically: creamier, slightly more colorful, more pigmented, and warmer. If an Identity Three palette is ever released, I will probably purchase it on launch day. The palette would most likely still be neutral, as the owner and brand’s overall aesthetic favors everyday/natural glam.

Persona Superblush in Terracotta

Terracotta is the newest addition to the Super Blush range. As I went completely bananas for blushes last year, I naturally had my eye on them for a very long time. It was difficult to find anyone with a deep complexion wearing Georgia or Carmel via Instagram, Youtube, Persona’s website, or Ulta’s site. There was only one woman I could find, who was darker than me, and I could hardly see the colors on her cheek so I thought perhaps these shades just weren’t meant for me. When Terracotta was released, I had an even harder time trying to figure out if this shade would work for me or not, especially as even the color in the pan looks vastly different depending on the lighting. I watched one of Sona’s videos (owner of Persona) and it looked pretty light on her, but she mentioned that this blush gets much deeper the more it is layered. The website also listed Terracotta specifically as being suitable for medium to dark skin tones. My foundation shade among inclusive ranges like Make Up For Ever, Nars, Fenty, etc tends to be in the beginnings of the dark category and often called medium-dark, sometimes even the tail end of the tan category. So, I figured this should give a subtle color to my cheeks at the very least. Considering how often MAC’s paler shades surprisingly worked for me, I decided to give it a try and purchased the Georgia and Terracotta duo (with the intent to give Georgia to a friend for Christmas).

Unfortunately, Terracotta doesn’t work on me. At the time, I felt duped by the ‘suitable for dark skin tones’ label considering the shade isn’t just faint, it disappears entirely. It’s too close to my skin tone. I have four heavy layers of blush in the photo above, though it looks like nothing. I tried to leave a comment on their website to warn other shoppers about the description inaccuracy, but my comment was never made public. So, I wanted to at least warn those who followed me on Instagram about it. I had no idea Persona Cosmetics would see my post (or I expected it would be ignored by them if they did come across it). Their response was beyond anything I expected. Not only did they change the description from “medium to dark” to “medium to tanned skin tones,” which was the best case scenario outcome I could have hoped for, they also refunded the amount I paid specifically for Terracotta, sent me Georgia (since I had already given mine to my friend) because they were confident that shade could work for me, and sent the eyeliner and highlighter as extra surprises. It became very clear to me that customer feedback is important to them and they didn’t glaze over the situation like plenty of other brands would. It restored my confidence in the brand. It was especially poignant considering a short week later, Hourglass tried to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes with their release of the Ambient Lighting Palette Volume II, promoting it with a photo where the model and palette looked edited to appear deeper. The shades in the trio palette were repromoted ones (two of which I have) and that darkest shade which is considered a bronzer is what I literally use as a highlighter. The response from Hourglass was to simply remove the photo from Instagram and ignore the problem entirely. The different responses between these two companies are night and day, and I have even more respect for Persona Cosmetics when the situations are compared. This is the reason I felt it was important to share this story. If I’ve had a customer service issue in the past that was rectified, I would normally delete my original post since it was resolved. This time I kept my post on Instagram and am talking about it here because I think it’s really important to show the growth and integrity that was shown to me by Persona’s response, and also to present this as an example for how brands should handle things.

The last point I wanted to make is that I’ve tried to use Terracotta many times on my cheeks (and it actually makes a decent under eye setting powder). There was one time that I had it on and a slight tinge of color actually showed on my cheek by the end of the night. I don’t remember what foundation I was using at the time, but it led me to believe that if this shade is applied on foundation that oxidizes or will allow my natural oils to come through, it could potentially show on my skin. I have since tried to recreate that same scenario and have been unable to get the color to show visibly enough on camera (hence the hours later photo in the gallery above). So, I still stand with the fact that this won’t work on someone with my same skin tone. In the best case scenario situation it’s barely a whisper of color.

Persona Superblush in Georgia

Persona was correct. This shade does work for me! Honestly, I was pretty shocked considering my friend who I gave my original one to said it’s perfect for her and she is much lighter than me (though still in the caramel family). It gives a very light flush of pink as if I’ve been out in the cold. If I really layer it on, it’s the type of shade that I think of when anime characters blush, which is super cute!

Persona Del Mar Cali Glow Highlighter

As seen in the Georgia section, the Del Mar Highlighter is perfect for me! It’s close enough to my skin tone to blend in very well, it can be as subtle or as shimmery as I want, and there are no chunky glitter particles! Although I am wearing the Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter under my foundation on the high points of my cheek, this highlighter looks just as great without it. I need to use it a bit longer to see how often I reach for it, but it could potentially knock Nabla’s Skin Glazing in Amnesia from the top spot on my list of favorite highlighters!

Persona 24HR Waterproof Eyeliner in Black

I’m going through this pencil very quickly as I feel like I lose a lot of product when I try to get the tip sharp enough with my Nars sharpener, which I need to sharpen every 1-2 uses. This formula is very creamy and easily glides across the skin. That softness does make it difficult to sharpen as I previously tried to use it with the sharpener that came with my MILK Makeup Gel Eyeliner, but that did nothing but instantly break off the tip. I like that when this dries it becomes smudge-proof and when I use it at an angle I can make lines in varying thicknesses. I can make a very precise thin line across my lid, but creating a sharp tail has proven immensely difficult due to that blunt tip. So, I just draw a line as well as I can and then use concealer to clean up the outer corner. The fact that this stays so well in the waterline makes this pencil worth it to me and I’m curious to see how long this pencil will last at the rate I currently use it. For the precision issue, I usually have to use a brush with my MILK eyeliner pencil, so the fact that this is nearly as black and budge-proof as that, while still being easy to remove with Bioderma (and the creaminess makes it easier to spread with a brush), makes the potential for me continuing to like and use this very high. I’m glad I have it, but I honestly wouldn’t recommend it in this current form. If Persona comes out with a retractable/twist up version, I’d buy it in a heartbeat.

That’s everything! I will continue to keep my eye on new products from this brand as I am more excited about them than ever. They recently launched lipliners and colored balms, but I’m on a lip product no buy. I’ll keep my eye out for the next new release from them!

Thank you for reading!

-Lili

Swatchfest Part 2: Harry Potter x Ulta

Harry Potter had a huge impact on my life, even into adulthood. I have memories of spending time at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter with friends and significant others. Although the initial launch of this brand collab happened around the time J.K. Rowling was actively trying to get herself canceled on Twitter, I couldn’t help myself but to purchase this collection despite being underwhelmed by the palette designs for my favorite House (Ravenclaw), the bland and poorly represented color stories, and what I imagined to be the actual quality of the products considering this is part of Ulta Beauty’s line of cosmetics.

The Eyeshadow Vault from the first launch was so disappointing, in terms of color stories, that I had zero inspiration to use it on my eyes and it just functions as a collector item. This is why it’s perfect for a Swatchfest post!

The palettes have color initials in the center of the photo in case it is unclear which palette represents which house, as it can be understandably confusing.

Ulta recently released specific house cosmetic kits which included a mini eyeshadow palette, tinted lip balm, an absolutely adorable quill pot eyeliner, and a jar of highlighting pearls. I purchased the Ravenclaw one and was pleased with the palette’s color story this time around. The packaging as well is so much better. It looks like an officially licensed product and not an “inspired” knockoff like the last one.

The lip balm is a pretty color but way too emollient and has an odd slightly burnt waxy smell. The cream liner needs a few layers to look completely opaque but it’s pretty, and the highlighting pearls are exactly as I imagined they would be: dusty and ashy on my skin tone.

The Ravenclaw bag didn’t come with the Ravenclaw House Kit. I just bought it during the first round of Harry Potter x Ulta products that launched. Although I liked the second round better, I don’t have much hope for an actual recommendable third round. So if there will be one, I hope I have the strength to save my money and resist it.

Again, I couldn’t help adding a little bit of input to the Swatchfest. Thank you for taking a look at this post!

-Lili