Natasha Denona Love Palette Review

This is the second of only three items I purchased in the last Sephora VIB sale, the Natasha Denona Glam Face Palette being the first. I always thought the Love Palette was beautiful because reddish purple is my favorite color. This color story is a pink, red, and purple lover’s dream! However, the colors that are most pleasing to my eye are not the colors I actually wear the most on my eyes. I talked myself out of getting it for a long time, but at the reduced price of $27, I could not hold back any longer.

I knew Commitment was a cream to powder formula, but I was pleasantly surprised to see Dream was as well! Dream is one of the less common purples in my collection, so I am extremely happy to have it, although it’s a bit sheer and takes a bit of time to get it to look opaque on the eyes. Both are smooth, blend beautifully, and work perfectly well with the traditional matte and shimmer eyeshadows in the palette. I’m being a little picky, but these cream to powders are both purple. I wish Natasha added one more shadow in that formula in a red or pink shade. Then I would be especially excited because I enjoy this formula on its own and also as a base.

I very much enjoy the shimmers. Lifetime and Transparent look quite similar, although Lifetime in my palette looks much lighter than I’ve seen in some other people’s palettes. After being restocked several times, this limited edition product is finally being discontinued, so perhaps mine looks different because it’s newer and the shade from my batch was tweaked? That’s my best guess anyway. Lifetime feels like a traditional shimmer, whereas Transparent has a little more slip to it. This causes it to go on smoother, but lately I’ve found that more slip doesn’t mean better performing for my lined/creased/semi-oily lids. So between the two, I prefer Lifetime and in terms of shade, I’d have been over the moon about Transparent if it had a little more peach or pink to it, like a strong gold-pink duochrome.

Passion and Blind are nice and opaque. Pure Love is a gorgeous pink-purple duochrome. Giving is another pretty peachy-pink duochrome shade, but it doesn’t make much impact unless I apply it with a damp brush.

The mattes are fantastic and pigmented, but Heart, Heartbeat, and Soul end up looking very similar on the eyes. They are a lot darker than I expected and are better suited on me as deepening up shades. I can’t believe I’m saying this because I’m almost always wishing for more dark shades in palettes, but I really wanted Soul and Heartbeat to be more mid-toned so I could use them as crease shades without making the overall eye looks end up being so dark, and so red. I hoped for a more Terracotta tone to Heartbeat and a bit more pink/coral in a medium tone for Soul.

Even the shade Intense is slightly darker than I expected, but it’s my favorite matte shade in the palette! And because this palette doesn’t have a lot of light options, I can actually appreciate the addition of First and Valentine. First took me by surprise when I discovered it was so pigmented, it could even cover up the darker shades, but it doesn’t stick very well on top of other shadows, so it has a tendency to blend away unless I start with that shade initially. I almost made a joke about having to use First first. Hehe.
Valentine is a little more sheer than the rest of the mattes. It would be perfect for me if it was a little less cool-toned, but that’s me being picky again.

Even though I’m not sure how much use I will get out of the Love Palette, I always have the option to mix and match this with my Metropolis and Bronze palettes that share the same pan size. A few shades in here don’t perform as well, but those who like Natasha Denona’s eyeshadow formula will most likely enjoy this palette like I did.

That’s all for today! Thank you for reading!

-Lili

Sydney Grace x Temptalia Collection

Today I’ll be reviewing the full trio of Deep palettes in the collection, as well as the single eyeshadow called Dear Reader. I will also swatch the best comparisons I have between the shades Temptalia chose to the other 103 Sydney Grace shadows I own, previously swatched here.
I purchased this collection on launch day, so this is definitely not a first impression review.

Each palette consists of multiple types of finishes and textures: mattes, metallics, shimmers, duochromes, creamy shades, stiffer packed colors, grittier shadows, etc. Regardless of these differences, they are all highly pigmented shadows. Sydney Grace products always give great color payoff, but I find that these are even more intensely pigmented. Good eyeshadows will have staying power on the lid, but these looked practically the same from the start of the day to the end of the day. There’s no fading or dulling down of the shine.

There is a bit of a tradeoff though regarding the boost in pigment. The mattes give me saturated color right away, but it can look patchy initially if I don’t give a little extra blending time. It isn’t significantly more time, but it was enough to make me notice, particularly with the deeper shades like Interstellar, Sublime Reverie, Midnight Courage, and Umbra. Those blue-green mattes especially give me more kickup in the pan despite my efforts to be gentle and pick up a small amount at a time. With the shimmers, one may want to do the eyes first before the face because I get fallout during the application process, though there isn’t too much extra fallout throughout the day (at least not unless I happen to rub my eyes more than usual).

Quintessence Palette

Quintessence has my favorite color story of the three and it’s the one I knew I absolutely had to get. Ironically, I had the most difficult time creating looks I liked that weren’t monochromatic, so I sought inspiration from Temptalia’s website. For swatches, eye looks, details of the shades, etc. there is no better resource than Christine herself, so I will link the blog here and recommend giving it a look if you need additional help and information.

The last two looks were the ones I attempted to recreate (but tweak the tiniest bit) from Temptalia.

A color guide to the swatches is that yellow font = Temptalia collection, orange = the Chase Your Dreams palette, blue = individually sold eyeshadow, and green = the Tiny Marvels palette.

This palette had a few similarities (pictured above), but Temptalia mentioned that the shade called The Greatest Gift is the one she specifically wanted to keep as is, but make it more intense and shimmery.

I initially wrote off the comparison of The Greatest Gift and The Mielke Way when I was seeking dupes because the silvery shimmer in The Mielke Way gives it a completely different look. I’m not the biggest fan of icy shades, so I prefer having just the gold shimmer with the raspberry base over the added metallic sparkle. This highlights an important aspect though, which is that there are other shades from Sydney Grace’s line that I decided not to post as similarities because the intensity of the shimmer in the Temptalia collection gave it a different effect. Or if the shadows shared the same base color, the shimmer additions were different enough justify having both in my collection. I also estimate I probably have less than half of the Sydney Grace singles (at least before many were discontinued) so there may be other shades that are close. However, I don’t think many have the exact undertone or as much sparkle. I believe Temptalia owns the full collection of Sydney Grace eyeshadows, so she probably made sure that hers were different enough as well.

On the Horizon Palette

The outer packaging for this palette was too beautiful to skip. I knew instantly (and I did end up doing it) that I was going to transfer all of the Quintessence shades into this packaging so I’d have my favorite color story in my favorite palette artwork. Between the three palettes, the On The Horizon color story was the one I didn’t like and felt like I could skip. So, imagine my surprise when I ended up loving every look I’ve created with this! It opened my eyes to new color combo possibilities.

These colors are a little more subdued, but Temptalia described the intention for these to be almost like neutrals with a twist. And because I mentioned these are not the kind of shades I typically go for, it makes sense that I was unable to find similarities in my collection. I did compare it to the Dear Reader shade that was part of the collection but sold as a single because her followers seemed to love it in the sneak peek of it, but Lunar Illumination was already chosen in its place as a better compliment to the other shades in the palette.

I actually put Dear Reader with the OTH shades and moved Lunar Illumination into my custom palette with the rest of my Sydney Grace collection. I prefer it too!

Radiant Reflection Palette

Radiant Reflection reminds me so much of the Coloured Raine Cheers to the Beauty Palette because both of them possessed shades I tend to like, but the tones weren’t as appealing as I imagined once I saw them in person. I love greens, but not quite like those in Radiant Reflection. I like golds and blue-purples, but not quite like the ones in this either. Then the other shades in the palette were similar to others shadows I already have many times over in my eyeshadow collection, and not just among Sydney Grace shades. So, I ended up selling this palette. I knew I wouldn’t reach for it again because that’s exactly what happened to my Cheers to the Beauty palette which I depotted and sold most of the shades from it. I don’t regret buying Radiant Reflection because I needed to be certain I didn’t want it, as odd as that sounds. The Our Starry Night shade was so unique, Dearest Constant deep version is my type of orange eyeshadow, and Forget-Her-Not had me curious to see it in person. Once that happened, I could put the curiosity to rest.

Final Thoughts

I do feel like this trio of palettes all have similar sort of shades, but I still couldn’t talk myself into getting Quintessence only. I fell into the trap of wanting to possess all my favorite shades from the Temptalia collection and envisioning how I could mix and match the palettes with my other Sydney Grace singles. Funny enough, I only swapped three shades: Mango Tea for Sirius Starlight (placeholder and not a solidified decision), Dear Reader for Lunar Illumination, and Adore Me for Infinite Echoes (Deep). That last swap actually makes the palette more similar to the light version of On the Horizon!

Speaking of the light version, I find it amusing that my gripe with most eyeshadow palettes is when they have a disproportionate amount of light shades and mid-tone neutrals. When I used these palettes exclusively, which is how I prefer to do the testing process, I found myself actually wishing for a light matte to blend out edges and a medium brown. Temptalia intentionally left out brow bone and transition shades because it’s unlikely that anyone purchasing her palettes would not already have plenty of those types of shadows in their collection. So, in a normal situation this wouldn’t really be a problem except for those who like to have every palette being a complete palette.

As much as I think I don’t want palettes that are very similar in color story, I found myself not wanting to make any major changes to them, or even wanting to switch these around. I’m very satisfied with Quintessence and On The Horizon. The minor inconveniences for using the palettes, such as fallout and spending a little more time on my eye makeup, are fine with me because I know I will be able to make very impactful looks with phenomenal longevity. $40 per palette is a fair price, but the fact that I was able to use a promo code on top of the bundle discount made this all very reasonably priced. These palettes were even eligible for Sydney Grace’s sale/discount offerings during their annual Christmas in July sale. While I don’t recommend getting all of them purely for the sake of having a complete collection, I think they’re great quality and do recommend picking the one(s) that really speak to you.

Thank you for reading! I hope it has been helpful!

-Lili

*Disclaimer: When it comes to collabs or creations from influencers or other public figures, I always disclose any affiliations I may or may not have with them. In this situation, I have no personal or public ties to Temptalia, but I am a frequent peruser of her blog. I consider her an invaluable resource within the beauty community as her dupes and comparisons feature on her blog has impacted a lot of my purchasing decisions as well as her reviews, which mostly tend to align with my own opinions. I respect her as a blogger, but I don’t know much about her specifically.

BH Cosmetics Birthstone Palettes

Building off the hype of their large Zodiac Palettes, BH Cosmetics released website exclusive individual mini zodiac palettes during each month of the year. In 2021, they decided to do that again through birthstone palettes. One unfortunate thing to note is that each palette contains a pressed glitter, which I will not be swatching on my arm or wearing on my eyes.

Sometimes, US customers who purchased the palettes at launch were able to get free shipping as an incentive to pay full price rather than waiting for one of their frequent sales. Ordinarily, shipping is free with purchases at or above $40. For the low price of only $9 USD per palette, having six usable shades was still worth getting in my favorite color stories, plus my own birth month.

BH Cosmetics Emerald Palette

Emerald and Peridot are the two green-centric palettes out of twelve, but I chose this one because these particular tones are more my speed. The shades Emerald and Artsy AF look quite similar on my eyes, but the main differences are that Emerald is a satin-like shimmer that is a slightly brighter green in tone, while Artsy AF has a medium-dark green base with gold and silver shimmer. Restless didn’t swatch very well, but that shadow and Stubborn both blend easily and are opaque on the eyes. They both deepen up slightly, but Restless remains olive whereas Stubborn comes off a little more brown than the red-brown shade appears in the pan. I learned the hard way that Total Package was far too sparkly to look nice as a brow highlighting shade for my tastes, but it makes an excellent inner corner and pinpoint brightening shade. Lastly, Hard Working is a stunning warm brown shimmer shadow. Overall, the quality in this palette is great and I am so impressed by the cohesive color story. I don’t have to worry about clashing shades when I put any combination of them together.

This is a fantastic alternative to the Nars Climax Palette. Emerald has less shades and is warmer in tone whereas Climax is more neutral and a little more subdued. Another alternative is the Oden’s Eye Urd Palette which has shimmers that are even more intensely sparkly than Emerald, as well as a light green matte instead of a closely similar green shimmer. For this reason, I think Urd is an even better planned color story. The listed prices are quite different though at Emerald’s $9, Urd’s $20, and Climax’s $49. The two pricier palettes are a bit more refined in mill and texture, but I had no issues with Emerald whatsoever and it was a pleasure to use, so I’d even be willing to pay $15 for this one.

BH Cosmetics Sapphire Palette

It might have been silly of me to want more purples out of a Sapphire palette, but I saw images of this product online that led me to believe Sympathetic had more of a purple tone to it and that Sapphire was a true purple-blue duochrome rather than a blue satin-shimmer shadow with a blue and purple base. I also expected Confidence to lean a little more green than it does. I went from expecting to love this color selection the most to rating it my least favorite of the three I bought. In hindsight, I should have gone with the Amethyst palette.

These mattes are on the thin side and can look patchy in swatches, but they can be built up to full opacity. In a way, I’m glad to have this formula in these particular shades because sometimes brands going for more pigmented shadows overdo it on the ultramarines and oxides (pure pigments) which are much harder to blend if the ratio is off in the formula. Of the mattes, Organized AF didn’t apply as well on top of the others, so my eye looks weren’t as smoky as I wanted.

Cool is even prettier in person than my swatches and eye looks demonstrate. Although I’m not the biggest fan of silver eyeshadows, Sporty was necessary with this color story. I prefer it over other alternatives they could have chosen such as a baby blue shimmer. After adding some fantastic blues to my collection like the Kaleidos Club Nebula and Oden’s Eye Hummingbird Palettes, Sapphire falls short. It’s still not that bad for the price though, but knowing myself, I doubt I would reach for this again if I felt like doing a blue look.

BH Cosmetics Citrine Palette

I bought this palette purely because November is my birthday month. I’m rarely impressed by bright yellow mattes because they either blend into my skin or find some other way to disappear from my eyes, but I quite like this one! Because Unique is on the thinner side, it can look patchy though and even if I build up the shadow, it still isn’t perfect. Generous and Inquisitive are the tones and depths I was hoping to get out of Transition and Crease from the Natasha Denona Glam Face Palette in Dark. If Inquisitive was the tiniest bit darker, it would be perfect, but it still gives me a decent amount of depth to the outer corner. The two brown mattes are opaque and blend well without much effort.

Determined is a peachy gold that is a bit lighter than I like for a lid shade, but it doesn’t look too bad on the inner corner. Citrine is the shimmer-satin version of Unique. Both Citrine and Dynamic aren’t the prettiest or most exciting shadows, but all the shades (except perhaps Determined) look nice when paired together.

Overall, this palette ranks second of the three because it got me re-inspired to give yellow mattes a chance, as well as yellow eye looks altogether.

That’s all I can think to include in this post. The BH Cosmetics formula has proven yet again to be not just great for the price, but great quality overall.

That’s all for today! If you celebrate Christmas or other holidays during this time, I hope you had a great one! Thank you for reading! See you in the next year!

-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 The 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

Clionadh Cosmetics Combos and Collection Update

Clionadh is my favorite brand when it comes to duochromes and multichromes. Actually, it might be my favorite beauty brand period. In one of my previous reviews, I combined Kiln and Bloodline to create a gorgeous new shade and wondered what other exciting combinations could be made. Today, I’m showing a few that I experimented with and really like! I’ll also swatch the new Charity Bundle for 2021, along with the latest additions to my single shadow collection.

The Combinations

Trial 1

Royalty comes off as an icy purple on me, so I wanted to add more of a purple (with a little blue) tinge to my look. I ended up with more blue than purple, but I still thought it was quite pretty.

Trial 2

Crown Jewel is such a vibrant blue that I consider it a statement or occasion shade. It’s not something I’d wear on a regular outing. Spire is the dramatic opposite. It’s striking, but very dark, and also a bit much for daytime usage. So, I wondered if I could lighten up Spire and add an extra shift. I love how this turned out! It’s still not an everyday kind of shade but it’s gorgeous! I see myself creating this combination again in the future.

Trial 3

Opulent doesn’t do much for me besides being used as a highlight shade, so I thought if I could add Smoulder, I could perhaps get something a little darker and more pink. I hoped it would look closer to Bloodline, but the color it turned into reminds me of Weld or the Sextraterrestrial shade from Pat Mcgrath’s Divine Rose II (which is supposed to be a dupe for Forge but I don’t own Forge to compare).

Essentially, the most dramatic changes happen when I pair a shadow with one of the Jewelled Multichromes from the Stained Glass Collection.
I tried many other combinations, but one issue I found is that some of them looked dramatically different on my arm, but on my eye there wasn’t a significant enough difference or the resulting combination looked too similar to one of the shadows already used.

Clionadh announced a shade extension coming to the Stained Class Collection, so I would be curious to see if any of them look like one of the Mixed shades I created!*

*Note: I completed this post months ago but kept pushing back the publish date. Clionadh originally announced a shade extension in time for Black Friday, but they decided to focus on restocking their current inventory in time for the sale and then afterwards fully focusing on building up the inventory of the new shades to be released in 2022. Their sale is still ongoing until December 3rd.

Collection Update

Left swatches were taken with flash off. Right swatches were also taken indoors but with flash on.

The Perfect Neutrals Collection Bundle

Other than Shani, these are not the types of shades I reach for because they rarely look nice on me. Baby pinks (or in this case rose gold) like Linny tend to look white or silver on my lids, but what makes this different is the gold they have running through it. On Clionadh’s website, Linny looks gold with a hint of rosiness, but the gold blends with my skin and lets the pink really pop. I’m left with a pale pink that actually looks pink on me, which is an unexpected surprise! It’s the same thing with Chelle that it’s supposed to be mauve, but it turns into the only lilac I’ve ever liked!

Although I’ve begun to appreciate neutrals again, I’m not interested in actively purchasing a ton of neutral shadows because they all look the same on the eyes. The reason I decided to add this bundle to my collection is because Clionadh does neutrals in a way that’s unlike the others on the market. The more intense shimmer neutrals tend to be a reflective metallic finish from other brands, rather than having this level of sparkle. The actual shimmer from others tend to be the standard gold or silver, but for instance, BrittBritt has pink, red, and gold glitter. Cookie has a pink shimmer that doesn’t translate as well on my camera but is very noticeable in person. I consider these shades to be spiced up neutrals, which is that much closer to the style of eyeshadow I’m into lately.

The other incentive for purchasing this set is that it’s Clionadh’s second charity bundle. According to their website, “100% of the profits will be split and donated to…True North Aid and The Black Queer Youth Collective.”

The previous charity bundle was limited edition, as is this one. When the Perfect Neutrals were released, the shadows were only available as a bundle, but were eventually listed individually. Some shades are already sold out and I believe I read somewhere that there will be no more restocks for it.

I should also note that the sparkle level of the shimmer shades in the bundle is similar to, but not as intense as Clionadh’s most glittery shadow options. They aren’t as flaky in texture as those and they aren’t as pigmented either. I wouldn’t call them topper shades, but the intensity lies in the sparkle level and not as much in the base pigment. It’s enough to give opaque results, but it’s not 100% opaque on the first swipe. The sparkle level and nuances of the shadows are what make this collection special, but in terms of color payoff and formula, I don’t consider them to be unique. The Stained Glass collection is where the special formula can be found.

Circle Pan Eyeshadows

Every time I think I’m finished buying non-matte circle pan shadows, I end up getting more! Ironically, I had this post completely finished and then Clionadh had a surprise anniversary sale, so the bottom three are those new additions!

Clionadh brought back four shades from their discontinued Valentine’s Day set. I purchased one, Amour, thinking it would be a deep red-orange. I like it anyway, even though it’s not as deep when compared to the rich coppery red of Poinsettia. I have been very much into rusty red shades like this lately and thought I might have dupes in my collection. They look similar in their pans, but they are definitely not the same as can be seen in swatches.

I am also very happy I picked up Wormwood because it’s the type of maroon-brown shadow with blue reflects I used to love in my early makeup days but haven’t worn in ages!

The anniversary sale shades I purchased are Toadstool, Yukon, and Vortex.

Toadstool is described as, “A rusty red-based duochrome eyeshadow with a bright green reflect. This is technically a tri-chrome shadow that will also shift up to red.” I’ve wanted this shade for a long time but finally took the plunge. Yukon is another one I’ve wanted for a long time, but I thought it might be too similar to Rune, so I didn’t get it until now. The two shades are about the same depth, but Rune has more of a yellow-olive tone whereas Yukon is a light golden green. Vortex is like Wormwood’s cousin. It has a brown base rather than a maroon one and it has green and aqua shimmer.

Stained Glass Collection Update

Majesty is described as having, “an orange base that shifts gold-green-turquoise.” I wish more of that orange would peek through on my eyes like it does on my finger and arm swatches. The gold and green are certainly visible though. Out of the five Vibrant Multichromes I have, only Heirloom and Crown Jewel look the way I expect them to on my eyes.

Sand Blast is the most orange in color of the Jewelled Multichrome category. It’s a dark orange with a gold and lime green shift. It’s not too far off from Smoulder (magenta-orange-gold-lime) and Kiln (red-orange-gold), which is why I figured I would like those two shades more. However, I couldn’t escape the feeling of missing an orange shade like this, so it is finally here!

The other Stained Glass addition I purchased is the mini palette! It’s so cute! Even though I have zero plans to travel with my Clionadh shadows, I wanted to be able to keep my Charity shadows separate from the rest of the collection, so I put them in it. Below is a photo showing the size difference.

On Clionadh’s Instagram, I recall seeing a comment about the possibility of a Jumbo size palette in the future, so of course I’d be interested in that as well. Even though I have plenty of Coloured Raine’s gigantic 96 pan palettes, Clionadh’s shadows are so special to me that I want to keep them in special packaging as well. As it stands, my one mini and two standard size palettes are pretty much full.

This is what my collection looks like now. I downsized the Stained Glass side by five shadows: Blaze, Sunbeam, Ripple, Spotlight, and Glazed. It was not easy to let them go, but I wanted to only keep shades I could happily use on their own without needing to mix them.

I think I’m finally set on the circle pan shadows unless Clionadh brings back the mattes. Parchment, Nectar, and Raspberry Fudge from the Harvest bundle are still on my wishlist. Halo is the only one left on the list from the Stained Glass collection. If I purchase any of the extended shadows in the future, I’ll make room by placing the highlighters in my custom face palette.

The last thing I want to mention is that Clionadh’s labels have changed since August at the latest, but likely before that. They now list the shadow type and removed the brand name.

Thank you for reading and Happy Shopping this Cyber Monday!

-Lili

Natasha Denona Glam Face & Eye Palette – Dark

The annual Sephora VIB sale ended last week and this was one of only three items I purchased. The Glam Face Palette appealed to the resurgence of my interest in neutral eyeshadows, my strong love of blush, and my attraction to highlighters. I did not enjoy Natasha Denona’s original blush duos that were part of her brand launch, but I’m a big fan of the Bloom Blush & Glow Palette, so I had high hopes.

I could see from videos that the back of the face palette did not have designated holes the brand sometimes includes for ease of popping shades in and out, but I hoped that with a magnet I could still pull the shadows out and be able to interchange them with any ND mid-size pans I wanted, since they’re the same size. Unfortunately for me, these pans are glued down to the palette, and since it’s metal glued to plastic as opposed to metal glued to cardboard, the pans would not pry loose no matter how much pressure I applied with my box cutter (which I use to depot shadows sometimes). I own a Z Potter, which theoretically is supposed to allow me to depot eyeshadows without destroying the palette, but the settings needed to melt glue in thick packaging has caused me, in the past, to accidentally melt and warp the packaging of things I wanted to reuse. So, I don’t want to take the chance of using it on this palette. In my eyes, this is the prettiest Natasha Denona packaging she’s ever made with such a sleek smooth mirrored bronze surface and those rounded edges. It looks and feels luxurious. Even though being able to customize the eyeshadow shades would be a game-changer, the price of the palette prohibits me from wanting to make further depotting attempts.

The plastic flap covers the blush and highlighter, so it’s natural to assume both are cream products, but it’s just the blush that has a creamy texture. The highlighter is a pressed powder in a formula that’s new to Natasha Denona’s brand, “that uses Japanese technology to deliver an extreme glow.” The way it looks in the pan with that texture instantly reminded me of the highlighter from Beauty Bakerie’s Brownie Bar.

The Glam Face Palette comes in a Light and Dark version, but choosing between them isn’t as straightforward as using only the Light palette if you have light skin and the Dark palette if you have dark skin. Those with light to medium skin could easily pull off wearing either palette because the face products in both are essentially in the medium zone. Ignoring what the shades look like in the palette, the Light version contains a light champagne highlighter with a blush that spans from light pink up to medium pink. The Dark version contains a medium champagne highlighter with a medium pink blush that can be realistically built up to medium-dark pink. I would describe the color itself as dark coral, which is akin to medium red in terms of depth, but just with a slightly different undertone. In fact, neither cheek shade in the Dark palette is actually in the dark range, which is why choosing which palette works best for those with light to medium skin could come down to the eyeshadows and whether someone prefers lighter or deeper toned eye looks. The highlighter doesn’t have a strong base color and the shimmer particles are so bright and reflective that it looks even lighter on the skin than it does in the pan. It may still leave a cast, but not as much as it would if it had a more opaque base. The blush is a buildable formula that blends out quite sheer depending on the application tool used, but even if I get the most concentrated amount of blush onto my cheek, it doesn’t look as dark as it does in the pan. That’s what also adds to the wiggle room as to which palette works best for someone. In Natasha’s own words, the Light palette is best for those with “light to medium” skin tones and the Dark palette is best for those with “medium or tan to deep skin…but both palettes wear beautifully on all skin tones.” However, I think someone with deep to rich skin tone might want to check what the palettes look like in-store because even the Dark palette doesn’t run all that dark in my opinion. The blush swatch in the photo above was done with two swipes with my finger, which kind of says it all. I also compared it to the blush from the Bloom Cheek palette further down and that took just one swipe of the blush from that palette. That one is what I consider to be an actual dark blush.

The Bloom Cheek Palette and Hourglass Ambient Edit Universe Unlocked Palette compared to the Face Glam Palette.

While I’m comparing palettes, I should add that the cream blush from the Bloom Cheek palette is a traditional cream formula, though it sets quickly and I definitely need to use it with the cream base to tone down the color. The cream blush from the Glam Face palette is cream to powder and doesn’t feel like anything on the skin until about the third layer, which is the minimum I need to get it to show as pigmented as I want. Using the Sonia G Classic Base, I’m not satisfied with the look of the blush until I’ve applied at least three layers, but it doesn’t get much deeper than that with even a fourth or fifth attempt using that brush. If I use my fingers, I get a lot more color payoff, but because the surface of my finger is so much smaller, I still need to apply three times to cover one cheek. So, I may as well use my brush which gives the smoother blend. When I try this with a denser flat top brush like the rephr 17, I’m able to build up the color to my satisfaction in 2 dips instead, but it’s definitely still not dark. With that brush I can achieve medium-dark level with about 4 layers. A sheer layer of this blush will set to the skin and be dry to the touch, but the more layers are added, the creamier it remains. In the amount I wear, it is not sticky but it’s also not transfer-proof.

With a sponge, I’m able to get the brightest color and most color payoff with the least amount of product, but as I continued to blend, it always moves the foundation and concealer I have in my cheek area on the left side of my face that’s covering up hyperpigmentation. So, my preferred method is using a dense brush. Another nice thing about the blush is that it lasts all day.

This buildable blush takes some effort to use, but I don’t mind because the result is so pretty! It’s the kind of shade I love where I get a natural flush without it being too bright, too dark, too light, too warm, or too cool. The color is perfection. The formula is almost perfect. There are random specks of shimmer in the blush, which I’m guessing is there intentionally to aid in the shine. I think I would have preferred if this had a sheen without the flecks, but at least the particles are on the smaller side and the area looks no more shimmery than I usually have on my cheeks anyway from shimmer eyeshadow fallout.

That ties in with another major thing to know about this palette. The top of the blush has a textured film over it which will make it a struggle to get any product onto the brush bristles. I recommend wiping off the top layer first before use. I think this is something that could affect many customers’ first impressions if this isn’t done.

There’s no kickup when using the highlighter, which is nice. I can get Star Glow to look quite subtle using the Wayne Goss #15 Fan Brush and Smashbox Precise Highlighting Brush. With those brushes, I can dip into the pan multiple times to control how much I put on. However, when I use the Koyudo La Fuga del Gato highlighting brush, I gently tap my brush into the highlighter one time, yet that amount always lays an intense amount on my cheeks. Brushes make a big difference in look and performance with this highlighter! Star Glow is high shine. Even though the particles are very fine, it’s so reflective that it still gives me a sparkle effect. Sometimes I like it and sometimes it’s too much for me.

The amount of blush in the photo above is the most I can get if I’m not using a very dense brush. I would have to really go out of my way to successfully overapply the blush. The amount of highlighter in the rightmost photo was created with two passes from an brush that doesn’t pick up much product and one pass with a brush that picks up a lot. I would not want to build it up any further or it would start to look ill-suited for me.

As for the eyeshadows, I first tried following the guide based on their names. Because Transition and Crease are so close in depth with Transition being orange-brown and Crease being the slightest bit darker but red-brown, it was hard to see the distinction between them on my eyes, especially after adding Smoke. They just blended together without much of a gradient effect. I’m used to using transition and crease shades that are a little further apart in depth, so it took several tries to get used to having to be so careful where I place the shadows and how I blend where my eyes are partially hooded.

So far, I’ve used the shadows with the Gerard Cosmetics Clean Canvas, MAC Paint Pot, and Urban Decay Primer Potion. Although Cocoa and Layin’ Low aren’t darker than my natural eyelid color, I found that Transition shows the best when I use the clear-ish primer from Urban Decay. The shade Crease blends well on all of them. Smoke is a great deepening up shade, but I have to be careful to remember to give Paint Pot some time to dry down before applying the eyeshadows, or else the shades I lay down will darken up and be more difficult to blend. I don’t have to set Paint Pot with powder before using it with the eyeshadows in this palette, but it allows me to get started quicker. Another thing I observed is that I need to be careful in which direction I blow away the powder kickup. Sometimes the leftover matte eyeshadow dust goes into the pans of other shades and then when I dip my brush in there, I get a mix of another matte color.

The shimmers aren’t very intense unless they’re applied with a damp brush. Using my finger somewhat works for Inner Corner, but the shimmer from Outer Corner doesn’t stand out much without being foiled. Even if applied wet, I was still expecting something more sparkly like the shadows in the Lorac Noir palette. In order to create that effect, I have to pop Inner Corner on the center of the eyelid.

For my eye shape and considering the eyeshadow colors available, I will probably end up using Transition or Crease, but not both of them in the same look. I foresee myself using the mattes to create structure and then pulling a lid shade from another palette to complete the look, so some of the blend work will probably be covered up by my lid shade and the hooded skin anyway.

The eyeshadows are beautiful. From the lens of a neutral wearer or someone who loves wearing the same go-to eye look on a daily basis, I can see how this palette would be a beloved staple in their collection. I am absolutely crazy about the blush. The highlighter is nice, though not my favorite formula. Overall, this palette was completely worth the price at 20% off. It’s aesthetically pleasing on the outside and inside, and every single pan of product in this palette is usable for me. Even if it’s not my favorite, I can still use it all. I love it and I have no regrets purchasing it, but it doesn’t top the Hindash Beautopsy Palette in terms of the color variety I can get, the multiple types of uses, and being travel friendly. I can do my brows, eyeliner, blush, bronzer, contouring, setting powder, and eyeshadow with that one. Even though the Glam Face Palette has shimmers, I know I would still get bored of just having those two shades and would need a supplemental eyeshadow palette to use with it, just like I need with Beautopsy. The only thing Natasha’s palette has Hindash’s palette beat on is that it includes a highlighter, but since that doesn’t crack my top favorites list, I would want to bring a different highlighter if I took it traveling anyway. This wasn’t the most practical purchase for me, but I wanted it regardless. It brings me joy! In any case, this is going to be a more all-encompassing palette for a lot of other people, so if you were thinking about getting this one, I do recommend it.

That’s all for today! My next post will be after Thanksgiving, so for those who celebrate it, I wish you a happy time and I appreciate you stopping by my blog!

-Lili

Is Lorac Back? Reviewing the Lorac PRO Fairytale Forest and Noir Palettes

I have nostalgic feelings when I think about Lorac Cosmetics. I bought my first palette from them in July 2014 and later it became the topic of my very first post on this blog! Back when I probably had ten total palettes in my makeup collection, I got so much use out of that Lorac Pro 2 Palette. This was during my short lived time of actually preferring cool toned eyeshadows over warm ones. Who would have thought!

I very quickly learned that I only liked Lorac’s PRO formula. The shadows in their Unzipped line was alright, but the PRO palettes were quite pigmented for what was available on the market, as well as being blendable. At a time when Urban Decay’s Naked line was their biggest competitor, I always favored Lorac’s formula over theirs. Unfortunately, the brand faded into near obscurity over the course of several years. They tried to make a comeback towards the end of 2020 with a revamped PRO line, but they returned with a large variety of primarily neutral shadows which many of their customers had gotten tired of in the first place. Lorac updated their packaging, formulas, and lowered their prices per palette, but they are nowhere near as popular as they used to be. Ulta put their palettes for 50% off during the 21 Days of Beauty, so I bought one purely for curiosity and nostalgia reasons. With the October release of Lorac’s smidgen of a more colorful palette, Fairytale Forest, the brand captured a temporary moment of hype. Macy’s had 15% off beauty products, so I went ahead and bought it in the hopes of eventually creating my version of the perfect semi-neutral palette. That didn’t quite go how I planned.
Will Lorac seize the moment and revitalize their brand or will they sink? Have their formulas improved? Are they worth buying?

These are some of the questions I hope to answer in this review!

The Lorac Mega Pro (purchased in August of 2019) is the only older Lorac palette I still own. Previous palettes owned were the afterGLO palette, Sweet Temptations Eyeshadow Collection, Pro 1, Pro 2, Unzipped, and Unzipped Gold.

OLD versus NEW

I’ve had the Mega Pro for two years and did not even swatch it until I began working on this post! The shade variety was so much less colorful in person than I expected from photos online. The retail price is $60, but I bought it on sale for $30 from Lorac’s website. It’s one of the few older palettes they still sell and it has been restocked a myriad of times since the first one launched in 2014.

Based on previous experience with their older formula, as well as this Mega Pro palette, I can see that the main difference between the previous mattes and the new ones is that the old formula is soft but more powdery. The current mattes still have quite a bit of kickup and they’re still soft powders too, but they’re silkier now. Both are blendable, but with the older mattes they needed a creamier type of primer like the Lorac brand primer that used to come with those original PRO palettes. The current mattes are more buildable and have enough grip that I can pretty much use any of my primers and get a nice result, though I prefer them the most with MAC Paint Pot.

Regarding Lorac’s specific ingredient changes, they no longer use mineral oil, kaolin, and parabens. Instead, the newer formula has shea butter in addition to many other emollient and skin conditioning ingredients. As far as I can see, the main preservative replacing parabens is potassium sorbate. There’s also glyceryl caprylate, which can have antimicrobial benefits, but that isn’t it’s primary function in cosmetics.

The newer matte formula is a noticeable upgrade, but still fairly similar to the original. The difference between the newer and original shimmers is literally visible by looking at them in the pans! Lorac now includes shinier and sparkly ingredients such as synthetic fluorphlogopite, calcium aluminium borosilicate, and diamond powder. Often times I don’t even feel the need to wet my brush before using them on the eyes because they’re intense enough to my satisfaction. However, I do get a lot of fallout when I skip using them wet or with a tacky base, so I recommend doing that. I still think there’s a place for Lorac’s more satin leaning shimmers, but I very much prefer the effect that the current shimmers give. The older ones were smooth whereas these current shimmers are creamier with more slip to them; they’re almost wet to the touch with a finger, but I can feel the grit from the sparkle shades when I apply them to my eyes.

Lorac Noir Pro Palette

As beautiful as this palette was, I knew it would have shades that look pretty redundant for my skin tone. This is why I jumped on the half price sale, considering I figured I would just use half of Noir. I still found myself really liking this palette because even though I cannot get a wide range of looks, I appreciate the fact that there are cool tones and warm tones as well as different finishes.

White Diamond is a true topper shade, as it has white sparkles but no base color. Rendezvous has silver sparkles and a brown base. That base color blends with my skin tone, so it gives me a topper shadow type of effect. Those two shades plus Stardust all have the same creaminess and slip as the traditional shimmer formula, but with those three I can also feel the actual grit from the glitter when I apply them to my eyes. Majestic is the high sparkle exception that I don’t feel grittiness from when I use it. It’s a grey/gunmetal type of shade, like Onyx, but Majestic is a glitter/sparkle eyeshadow whereas Onyx is a fine but impactful shimmer for those who want something reflective but not as dramatic. Whisper, Primrose, Lust, Silver Moon, Dahlia, and Whiskey are traditional shimmer shades, which is the area that feels most repetitive. Silver Moon is distinct enough, but Primrose, Lust, and Dahlia will give me nearly the same look on the eyelids despite their different tones. Black Violet is a nice smooth satin, but the purple hue doesn’t show as much as I wanted.

The mattes are a good gradient. I can use Ecru as my brow bone shade. Soft Taupe doesn’t show up on me at all, but it would probably work for someone else as a transition shade. A shade like this can still be useful in blending out edges without making the area lighter, but the way these shadows blend, I don’t feel like I need to use it that way either. Sable works as my transition shade. Burgundy looks mostly brown if I use a light amount. I have to really pack it on to get the reddish tones to show. Smoke looks so much darker in the pan than I expected. It’s a deep cool toned brown that is satisfactory enough for me to be content with that as my deepening up shade without needing Ink, the true black shade.

I tried my hardest to create some variety with these shadows but I found myself making the same 4 looks, even though I used totally different eyeshadows: a red look, a smokey warm look, a smokey cool look, and a caramel/gold look. Essentially, the only way to get some truly different looks comes down to the eyeshadow style and placement of the shadows like the classic placement, a halo eye, a cut crease, etc. That is what will bring the most variety. I am really pleased with this palette though and I do recommend it for the ability to create something basic, glam, or something in-between. It’s a good neutral all-rounder type of product with great quality that surpasses the original PRO formula.

Lorac Fairytale Forest Pro Palette

The six shadows on the bottom right corner are what got me to buy this palette. I could not get them off my mind! I figured between the Noir palette and this one, I would really have some repeats. So, my plan all along was to mix and match shades between them to create my ultimate semi-neutral palette. I did not expect to like Noir in it’s pre-made state as much as I did, so my plans had to change.

Birch, Oak, and Earth look identical on my eyes, and I sometimes skip applying a brow bone shade altogether, so those three aren’t useful to me. Wherever I apply Mushroom just looks like my skin color depth but as a cool tone shade. It doesn’t make as much impact as Fog, which is a darker and cooler grey. Rosewood is like a dusty pink. I have to built it up a lot to get it to show more pink and less taupe. Essentially, the entire top row doesn’t add much to my eyeshadow looks, but I was at least prepared for that. I was banking the most on Redwood and Woodland for a color punch and depth. Once again, to get more of the orange tone to show in Redwood, I have to build it a lot. With these more colorful mattes, I get pigment right away, but it either comes off grey or brown in those first few layers on the eye. That’s why I’m still pleased with the Lorac mattes overall, because they still give me something, but to get the colors to show true to what’s in the pans is where the time and effort comes in. I am impressed though that despite how much I pack on, they layer well on top of each other and are easy to blend. Woodland is the darkest shade and helps to deepen up the look when I pair it with the lighter colors, but I can see that it’s not quite as deep as I’d like when I use it with the midtone mattes and darker shimmers.

I did not notice any difference in performance between the mattes in Noir and Fairytale Forest. However, Fairytale Forest does not have any shades listed in the sparkle formula, just shimmers and metallics. The two “metallic” shades, Pine and Grove, felt like the traditional shimmer formula to me, though perhaps slightly less wet to the touch. Enchanted, Wind, Wildflower, and Evergreen feel borderline between creamy and wet to the point of being almost chunky in texture (but not quite).

I was shocked to see North Star described by the brand as a “soft baby pink shimmer” since it looks flat out white to me and definitely sparkly. Both North Star and Folklore feel a tad drier than the rest of the shimmers, which is emphasized by the semi-gritty texture as well.

Butterfly stands out as it feels completely unlike any other shadow in the palette. It has the most slip, seems to have a transparent base, and is like a topper duochrome looking pink or rose gold depending on the angle. Enchanted looks like a duochrome as well, but it doesn’t have an actual shift. It has a bronze base which contrasts with the golden olive shimmer.

The only shimmer that I don’t think applies very well is Komorebi. It always looks patchy when I first apply it and it has to be smoothed over multiple times in order to look even in color. I smoothed it out in the swatches*, but apparently I didn’t smooth it over enough because it still doesn’t look as nice and even as the others.

*Note: When I changed my blog template, it made the proportions smaller than usual. In case someone doesn’t know about this, clicking on any photo on this blog will show the enlarged version of the picture. Also, holding the CTRL button and pressing + or – will magnify or minimize the size of font and photos on the website. I personally keep it at 110 or 120%

In the bottom two looks, I didn’t use any of the same shades, yet they look very similar.

Without distinct crease shades, I can’t get as much drama as I like, even though I’m getting more colorful options than Noir. I know myself and know that I would never reach for this palette if I kept it as is, just like the Mega Pro palette I couldn’t bring myself to even swatch in such an uninspiring shade selection and layout. So, I decided to combine the two!

REARRANGED PALETTES

I depotted my favorite shades out of the Mega Pro palette, stuck a label sticker on the bottom of each pan to keep track of which shadows are which, and placed them in a custom mini magnetic palette. The pans are magnetized, but unlike these newer palettes, the older ones were held in place with glue. Whenever I depot palettes with the intent to reuse the packaging, I cut a strip of magnetic tape and place it at the bottom so I can pop the shades in and out as much as I want. However, Lorac’s pans sit so flush with the surface that even the thinnest magnet would cause the pans to stick up and out, which impacts the ability to close the palette properly and this would get even more eyeshadow all over the mirror than it already does.

I removed Woodland from the Fairytale Forest palette and replaced it with Smoke from Noir to give me the depth I wanted and add a little smokiness. I filled the one vacant spot in Noir with the shade Gray so that I could keep with the theme of a traditional smokey neutral palette. Swapping out Smoke for Gray is the only change I made to Noir. Woodland is currently in the custom mini palette, along with the entire top row of shades from Fairytale Forest. In my first color swap version of FF (shown below) I initially kept Rosewood, plus added the shade Dusty Plum, but I ended up not getting enough impact out of either of them for my liking. They were too mid-toned. This is how I ended up removing them both again and putting Orchid instead.

First custom version

Current custom version

Orchid is not very opaque, but since it’s something I want to just use as a transition shade and blending out color for Mulberry, I don’t mind. Also, if I want a satin version of Mulberry, I basically have that in the shade Merlot. Redwood is the only original matte shade in the FF palette that remains. I could have kept any of the three lightest mattes, but I actually liked the Camel color and figured it could do the same job, just more subtly.

When I think of Fairytale Forest, I expect sparkle, iridescence, and a decent amount of greens. I would say that’s the most lacking aspect of the premade palette. I wish there were some matte greens in it. In any case, I added Deep Teal because I want to use it as a smokey green shadow to deepen up eye looks, even though it’s a satin and not matte. If Lorac ever sells a different kind of green as a single shadow, I might replace it. I thought Maroon was a good choice since it’s a neutral shade but the pink shimmer in it pairs well with both the browns and the reddish purples. Apricot was another last minute decision when I felt like I was missing a light color shimmer to highlight the brow arch. My other two light shades, North Star and Folklore, are too sparkly and don’t have a strong enough base color to them to fill that role. When I use Apricot, I can see it in person but it doesn’t pick up on my camera very well. I have a soft spot for chocolate brown shimmers, so that is why I chose Granite.

I think my choices still invoke the spirit of Fairytale Forest while still giving me just enough color to satisfy my desire for both colorful and neutral eyeshadows. I’m back to being tired out of neutrals for Lorac though. As wonderful as the quality is, I don’t need anything else from them unless they start really delving deeper into the realm of colorful shadows. I think Lorac could become popular again if they got out of the neutral box. Other brands that keep cranking out neutral palette after neutral palette have embraced exciting packaging as a way to entice customers into buying similar products repeatedly. As much as I like Lorac’s very professional (though basic in design) black packaging, the outside doesn’t grab me as a consumer, so it comes down to the color story. I want one that’s exciting and I don’t want anymore repeats than I currently have.

That’s all for today! And just so everyone knows, from November 14th through November 16th (my birthday!), Ulta has the Noir, Fairytale Forest, and other palettes on sale for 40% off! The link I included is a regular non-affiliated link.

-Lili

Oden’s Eye Legendary Diversa Collection

Oden’s Eye Cosmetics is a brand I’ve really come to love over the past year and I’ve tried quite a few of their products. Their color stories and finishes don’t always match my style, but there was something compelling about the entire Legendary Diversa Collection. I couldn’t choose between them, so I decided to purchase all three. They each retail for $34 USD and shipping is free on orders over 50 euros (roughly $58). Influencer promo codes did not apply to the collection, but they worked on everything else. Each palette also comes with a corresponding scarf that matches the cover art. My products came in a special edition Legendary Diversa box, which I’m not sure if I got because I purchased all of them or if anyone who orders from the collection gets it.

I also got a free brush, which has happened for my last few orders. Again, I’m not sure if this is because I spent a certain amount of money or if everyone gets a free item when they order. I have not used the brush yet, so I will not be reviewing it here today. If you’d like to see my review of other products from Oden’s Eye, click here.

One thing I’d like to fully disclose is that these three palettes are collaborations with YouTubers: The Fancy Face, Annette’s Makeup Corner, and Judy. I follow Tina (The Fancy Face) and consider her one of my favorite YouTubers. I’ve spoken about her several times on this blog and while it’s true I would have purchased her palette regardless of the color story (this is partly to do with my trust in the quality of Oden’s Eye makeup), my support of her does not mean it gets a free pass. I hold it to the same testing standard as any other product I review. Annette is someone whose videos I watch from time to time and have started to watch a little more recently. As for Judy, she left me a nice comment on Instagram, but that’s the extent of our interactions. As for her content, I’ve only watched her Oden’s Eye videos. I wanted to make sure I put that out there in case anyone wonders if I will be biased. The artwork for all three palettes were equally beautiful and I wanted them all for that reason. The book-like format, sizing of the palettes, the unique outer texture, the reflective holographic sections that add a sort of glow when the light hits it, the shapes of the pans, etc are all so appealing to me. These packaging details are all part of the brand’s aesthetic. The collaborators’ images were used for the covers and it’s their color stories, themes, and final decision whether the formulas are up to par, but because these ladies were working with a great brand, it’s not surprising that I’d like their palettes. The infamous Too Faced x Nikki Tutorials collab is proof that the best of ideas a collaborator has will still do poorly if the company they’re working with fails on their end. Besides the packaging, I love Oden’s Eye’s formulas, so it’s just a winning combination between the brand and these three ladies. It comes down to whether someone likes Oden’s Eye shadows and in these particular shades.

Before we get started, I just wanted to add (so I won’t have to repeat myself three times) that each palette has a multichrome. These don’t have a dark base and they’re a thin metallic smooth type of formula, so they will actually look very different if layered on top of different eyeshadow colors. These provide a lot of shade variations and combination possibilities to the palettes.

The changes in lighting really do effect the looks of these shades. It’s mind boggling how they appear distinctly different in the pans, and while indoors, but if I step outside they suddenly look quite similar to each other.

These don’t surpass my top three favorite multichrome formulas from Clionadh, Devinah, and Terra Moons, but I do like them. They’re nice and shifty and perfect for those who don’t like the chunky, glittery, or dark-base types of multichromes.

The Hummingbird Palette

This palette appealed to me because it’s so bright and colorful. Purples and greens are my top two favorite eyeshadow shades, but I think I may have been intimidated by all the different color choices if it wasn’t for the Kaleidos x Angelica Nyqvist Club Nebula palette. The Club Nebula and Hummingbird palettes have a very similar vibe to each other. Because I learned what shades I like to pair together in Club Nebula, I knew exactly which combinations I wanted to try with the Hummingbird palette. Club Nebula will not be restocking, so if anyone missed getting that palette, I think this one is a great option.

There aren’t any spot on dupes, but some similar looks can be created. I will say, I prefer the multichromes from Oden’s Eye over the ones from Kaleidos. As much as I like the matte formula from Oden’s Eye, I think the mattes in Club Nebula specifically are even more my speed. The pros and cons for both make it so that I couldn’t choose which one I like more, so perhaps those who already know they like Club Nebula will enjoy Oden’s Eye’s palettes as well. Just as I felt the Club Nebula color story inspires me to try new things, I still see even more shade combinations I want to test out with the Hummingbird palette that I haven’t yet. It inspires me as well.

Of the three palettes, the Hummingbird palette has the most number of different finishes and also the greatest variation within the formulas. There are five mattes, the multichrome, two metallics, and four shimmers.
Among the mattes we have Lagoon which is right on the cusp of being a cream to powder, or “cream to matte powder” as Tina describes it in her launch video. It’s just barely creamy enough to be detectable by touch in order to tell it’s more than just a creamy feeling shade. In fact, it reminds me of the satin-like metallics (Realism and Passion) and creamier shades (Obsessed and Colourful Black) from the Oden’s Eye Norn’s Palette. Unlike those shades from the Norn’s Palette, this one has no tugging on the skin and performs just like the other mattes. It’s a dark almost navy blue in the pan and can look that way if packed on, but when Lagoon is spread out, it’s revealed to be more of a deep teal. That’s why I compared it to Queen of Blades in the Club Nebula section rather than Void. Clear Blue is a very thin matte that can be built up to full opacity. It’s not my kind of shade on its own, but it makes a fantastic shade to blend out the edges of a matte. I love pairing it with Star Apple because it makes the edges turn a light violet purple. It also works beautifully with Lagoon. But speaking of Star Apple, that’s my one troublesome shade from the palette. All the other shades are easy to apply and blend, but Star Apple takes significantly longer to get an even color. At first I thought it was because it’s a patchier shade, but then I realized that whatever red-raspberry tone was used to create this purple actually peeks through. It’s visible in the edges of the swatches as well. When I take photos, the red that shows through makes it look unblended, even though it’s completely opaque in person. So in order to make it look nice for the camera, I actually take a tiny bit of Lagoon and blend it in. The blue from Lagoon mixed with the red spots in Star Apple turns it purple without changing the overall color. As much as I love the concept of the shade and how perfectly it captures the color of the actual fruit, it makes the most sense to just use it paired with the other pink and red shades in this palette. If I want to pair it with blues, I need Lagoon with it. Red Hills is a beautiful dark red that when applied in a thin layer shows a lovely warm orange hue it has to it. Hibiscus is the last matte and it’s a stunning vibrant deep-pink red shade. It’s difficult to describe and I don’t have a shade like this in my collection, which is a pretty big feat. The closest thing I have to it are some of the neon mattes from Terra Moons and Splash from the Coloured Raine Vivid Pigments. With Hibiscus, using the right primer will ensure it stays vibrant on the eyes. There are a few times I had issues of it deepening up.

The main differences between the metallic formula with shades Feathers and Tropics compared to the shimmer formula is just that they are a bit smoother and more fine. The other shimmers are a bit wetter in texture and a little on the chunky side. Among the shimmers, the shade that really stands out is Hummingbird because it’s a duochrome that’s mainly dark purple but has a variety of shades of purple and blue shimmer.

The Giant Wolves Palette

The Hummingbird Palette is vibrant and fun whereas this color story is the most “me.” It’s the selection of shades I was drawn to the most. It still has greens and purples, but with a grungier smoky side to those shades.

The first time I watched Annette’s launch video, I actually missed the part where she said each row of three could be one eye look. When I was deciding which colors to pair with each other, I swatched them in order on my arm. I did notice the groups of three were nice, but I loved how the groups of four looked together. Making those initial swatches was when I noticed the shade Hati was incredibly hard to pick up. I had to make 3-4 passes to build it up to what is shown above. It wasn’t so much an issue of being sheer as it was not getting it to spread across my arm. The fact that I could get product onto my finger every time showed me that it wasn’t hard panned, but the shadow was so compacted that I knew trying to pick it up with a dry brush would be quite the chore. I thought mine was a dud until I rewatched Annette’s video and saw that she said this shade was, “…harder pressed in the pan than I wanted.” This could mean physically pressed too hard or the use of too much of a binding ingredient. As it stands, the shade Hati is the only one I wasn’t impressed by and since a looser press had the chance of changing my feelings about it, I decided to try the physical route and repress it myself. I broke up the shadow using a cosmetic spatula and it remained in large soft chunks like dimethicone heavy shimmers tend to do. Then I used the spatula to lightly flatten it back down, particularly the edges, and then placed a paper towel over the shadow and gently pressed down with my finger. I did not add any liquids. It was a dry repress. I suspect there was already slightly too much dimethicone in the shadow in proportion to the other ingredients, but what I did still improved things a bit. I could swatch Hati across my arm with 2 passes. I considered it a topper type of shade before and pressing it myself didn’t change my mind about it. It can be built up to be very sparkly but it’s too sheer for me to want to use by itself, so I’ll keep using it as topper to add extra sparkle to looks.

We have three other shimmers and seven mattes. They all perform perfectly and the only noteworthy things I want to mention is that Desolate looks a lot more green in the pan but on my skin it comes off as a green leaning dark teal. The actual shade description according to Oden’s Eye is, “grey…with a slight green tone.” Annette describes it as a “bright dark green” so I feel better about the fact that it’s hard to describe this kind of shade. But as I said, it’s more of a teal on my skin. Astral looks more gold than it does in the pan and Sköll is like a duochrome purple-blue. It’s a black based purple as opposed to the brighter purple of the shade Hummingbird from the Hummingbird palette.

This palette also inspires me to try new combinations and brings me so much joy to use.

 

The Red Dragon Palette

This is the most neutral of the palettes, which made it the only one I wasn’t certain I would get. However, I have Annette’s reveal video to thank for deciding to get it because the poolside video with the sun hitting those swatches showed the palette in all its glory. The colors are so much more stunning and more interesting than it looks on the surface. And then combined with Judy’s eyeshadow look in her launch video and using the shade Dragon for blush…I was officially sold!

This is the most matte-heavy of the palettes with a grand total of eight. They all work beautifully and blend easily, but I should note that Sunrise, Jade, and Serene are a bit thin and will need some building up in order to be fully opaque. Also, Sunrise and Serene have a very hard time showing on camera, but they are visible in person. The effects of using Sunrise as the transition shade into Jade really helps to emphasize the yellow tone within Jade, but Jade is still beautiful on its own.

For deepening up looks, my options are Claw, Fire, and Aurora which add enough depth if I’m only pairing them with the light shades, but if I want to also use a mid-tone like Amber or Yin, then they aren’t quite as deep as I’d like for my skin tone. Aurora in particular looks like it should be dark enough, but I have a hard time layering it on top of other shadows. I appreciate the fact that Judy wanted to have these darker shades so no one would have to pull from other palettes to create a look, but it’s something I’ll still likely end up doing in the future.

Using a white or light base helps to distinguish all the red colors when I use them together on my eyes. They can get muddled if I don’t place them correctly, or use either a clear base or one that matches my skin tone.

I’m really quite shocked how much I enjoy this palette. I would not have thought to pair that mustard yellow-brown and jade green with those reds. I still struggle with shade pairing and finding new ways to put colors together, so this was a great learning experience. I’m very happy I decided to get this one as well.

So, do I recommend these palettes? Absolutely, yes! I recommend giving Oden’s Eye eyeshadows and even their blushes a chance. The older original palettes contain pressed glitters, but the releases in the Norn’s Collection and onwards do not have them.

That’s all for today! Thank you for reading.

-Lili

Amazon Makeup: Haus Labs and Zeesea Cosmetics

The Amazon Prime deals that started on June 21st included 60% off Haus Laboratory Products and 20% off Zeesea Cosmetics. These deals were enough for me to take the plunge into both brands for the first time!

Also, before we get started, I’m going to address the Oompa Loompa in the room. I took these photos just after I returned from my trip. Because I had gotten darker, I needed to resort to mixing foundations and I did not realize I looked so orange until I finished everything. Sorry about that! I don’t always publish a post in the order that I work on them, so this is why my skin tone looks “warmer” than usual!

Haus Labs

Haus Laboratories Heat Spell Bronzer Highlighter Duo in Volcanic & Lava

This bronzer is the darkest in the Haus Labs line, but it will only show up on someone of my skin tone or lighter. The range could definitely use a darker option, but it’s the perfect shade and depth for me. I was impressed by how smoothly it looked on my skin despite how dry it felt to the touch and how patchy it looked when I first tried it on my bare face. This is one of those formulas that work best over a foundation. It doesn’t take much building to show on my skin, it blends very quickly, and it lasts on my face through a full day.

When using the bronzer, it looks perfect with so few swipes that I get the impulse to continue blending it in (because I’m not used to a product blending so quickly), and that’s when I run into problems. If I keep trying to blend or build up more product, it turns an unflattering darker color and starts to get patchy. The best way to use this is to apply it to the skin and when I blend to the point of, “Wow, this looks nice,” is where I have to stop or things will only go downhill after that.

The highlighter in this duo is the right depth for me too. However, it is very lightly pressed in the pan. It is extremely powdery with so much kickup. It doesn’t make a difference if I use a natural or synthetic brush, the result of the absolute barest touch in the pan leads to my brush being coated in an excess of product. I have to wipe some off my brush every time I use this product or else I will look way too sparkly for my liking. Also, it mostly sticks wherever you first place it, so blending away the edges to avoid a highlighter stripe is not easy to do. My remedy to this is to switch my usual application order and apply the highlighter before my blush, that way the excess of highlighter can be blended out while I’m blending the blush. The blush edge also partially covers it.

This highlighter is a mix of small particle shimmer with some larger shimmer particles spread throughout the pan. Because the larger sparkles are sparse enough to not draw too much attention, I don’t mind as much. I still have to be careful to use the smallest amount on my face though, and an example of a light application is in the photo on the right.

Although I can get really nice results with this duo, I’m not sure if the quality is consistent across the entire Heat Spell line. I can get stellar results if used in the specific manner I mentioned, but the fact that it can easily go wrong is why I would say these powders are similar to what Makeup Revolution and BH Cosmetics produce, but better. They’re both inexpensive brands with face products that aren’t exactly the highest quality, but they will get the job done. This duo at full price is $26, but from the view of these as two separate items at $13 each, it would be in the ballpark of those brands. While I think this is good for the price, the Kaja Bento Trio formula is an upgrade for $1 less for slightly less product spread across three pans. I also think the Beauty Bakerie Bars (Neapolitan, Brownie, and now Lemon) have the better blush and bronzer as well, though there’s way less product at $18.

All that being said, I could see myself reaching for the bronzer again, particularly for a matte look. However, my top favorites tend to have a satin or shimmer sheen which won’t be replaced by this. The highlighter in the duo is also a bit troublesome having to be used so delicately, so I won’t get use out of Lava.

Haus Laboratories Head Rush Blush/Highlighter Duo in Rock ‘N’ Rose & All Night

There is one other blush duo deeper than this one, but I’m not interested in berry tones, so I got this instead. The blush looks pigmented, but the thin powder still requires building up. In addition, it gets muddy when blended too much, especially in the spots where it overlaps with a bronzer regardless of the brand used. For the photo below, I had to wipe some of the Heat Spell bronzer away to get the pink color to show instead of the murky brownish-pink it turns. The blush is pretty, but I think the quality is lacking.

The highlighter shade is pretty interesting. I thought for certain it would look terrible on me, but it’s not too bad! It’s actually a somewhat duochromatic pink and light gold that reminds me of the Kaleidos Space Age highlighters. The Head Rush highlighter did not have the powdery kickup issue like the Heat Spell highlighter, but it’s not as soft either. It’s a decent highlighter/blush topper, but it shows a lot more of the larger shimmer particles, which deters me from wanting to use it.

I had some reservations about recommending the Heat Spell duo, but I can easily say I don’t recommend the Head Rush ones. The market is filled with so many incredible blushes and highlighters that are superior in quality. They might not be part of a duo, but a better blush and highlighter separately can be found at any price point. Nyx, Milani, and Colourpop all make better and cheaper blushes and highlighters. The Maybelline Master Chrome is another highly rated highlighter option. At the very least, the Colourpop Cheek Palette Quads come with three blushes of comparable quality and a better highlighter for $12. For that reason, even at the $15.60 price I paid for this duo, I don’t think it was worth it.

I have no feelings positively or negatively about Lady Gaga, but considering Haus Labs is owned by someone as well known as her, I had an expectation that the products would be on the higher end of drugstore prices but have even better quality. I’m not certain they lived up to even that, so my interest in trying more from the brand has dropped to zero.

Zeesea Cosmetics

The Zeesea palettes I purchased are possibly the most beautifully packaged products I own. The lining around it is a gold color, the top is slightly rounded and shiny enough to see myself in it, the design is partially raised in texture, the background design is an ombre of colors, and the designs are just beautiful. I love ancient history, particularly ancient mythology, so it was an absolute given that I needed something from the Egyptian collection. The Kitty quad I purchased as an inside joke, but I thought the color story was very cute too.

Right off the bat though, I need to give the warning that these palettes contain PET (polyethylene terephthalate) glitter. Although it is “cosmetic grade,” it is still made of plastic which is dangerous around the eye area. I hate pressed glitters because of the sticky formula and the difficulty with removing them. Only one shade in these three palettes have that clumpy pressed glitter formula, but my stance on PET glitter is that I try to avoid all shadows that contain it, regardless of the consistency and formula. When I saw how reflective and sparkly and large the particles were in person, that’s when I suspected these had shadows that were not eye safe. I did a few looks with these palettes, but I will not be using them anymore because I so easily get makeup in my eyes. Even when I’ve used the tape trick to remove the glitter, there’s still always some left behind and one of my eyes was irritated for a few days. So, these are being kept purely as collector pieces. However, I have still played with them enough (especially before I looked up the ingredients to confirm my suspicion about the shimmers) to be able to give a full review.

ZEESEA The British Museum Egypt Collection Eyeshadow Palette in #05 CRUX ANSATA

The Crux Ansata, or Ankh, is one of my favorite Egyptian symbols. This was also the palette with the color story that suited my tastes the most out of all the Zeesea x British Museum collaboration palettes (at least before the release of #09 Crystal Skull).

Shades 1, 2, 3, and 13 are all very soft, smooth, and pigmented. Shade 1 has a lovely ankh imprint in it, Shade 4 has a sphinx imprint, and 13 has a scarab beetle. Shades 4 and 15 are a little drier but still smooth and pigmented. Shade 6 is a thin powder but smooths out nicely. Shades 9 and 16 are a little drier and rougher and tend to stick to the skin where you put them, but they still blend out in a reasonable amount of time and don’t stay patchy. Shade 16 also has an eye of horus imprint in the eyeshadow.

Shade 5 is a stunningly beautiful and softly packed highly reflective glitter shade with the largest glitter particles in the palette. Shade 7 is a creamy satin with a little sparkle and Shade 8 is a reddish orange creamy duochrome with a little gold sparkle. Both 7 and 8 had a sparsely glittery top layer that seems to be mostly gone after using them a few times, so I’m not certain if it was just the top layer only or if the glitter still runs throughout.
Shade 10 is another creamy feeling shimmer with a strange mottled combination of green, blue, pink, white, and yellow which turns into a pale icy green. Shade 11 is mainly a green and aqua blue sparkly duochrome with a slight pink shift. Shade 12 is a beautiful rusty orange-red satin, and Shade 14 is a copper metallic shimmer.

ZEESEA The British Museum Egypt Collection Eyeshadow Palette in #06 EYE OF HORUS

I also chose this palette because of the iconic Eye of Horus symbol and the color story was unexciting but still wearable. I can’t pretend I didn’t want to know what Shades 9, 10, and 12 were like in person.

Shades 1, 4, 11, and 16 were that smooth and pigmented formula I noticed in most of the mattes in the Crux Ansata palette. Shade 1 has the eye of horus imprint. Shade 3 is very powdery and had to be smoothed out. Yellow shades don’t stand out easily on my eyes and this is another example of that. Shades 2 and 5 are creamy shimmers. Shades 6 and 14 are subdued satin shades. Shade 7 is a badly formulated pressed glitter which stuck to itself in the pan and I had to scrape it to get enough product to swatch on my arm. The texture was so unlike other pressed glitters I’ve felt in the past that I didn’t realize it was one at first until it swatched terribly. Shade 8 is not an opaque shimmer and takes some building up, which surprised me considering how pigmented the other shimmers are.

Shade 9 is what I can only think to call a demi-matte white because it looks matte but there’s still a sheen to it, and not strong enough of one to be considered a satin but it looks like the kind you get from mica powder. It’s also the strangest mix of cream, blue, gold/brown spots blanked out in white. I’m not sure what the purpose was in making this shade. I have no idea if they were trying to accomplish something with the pattern or if it’s just to have a different look. Shade 10 is a somewhat putty-like shimmer in lines of silver, bronze, and gold that pulls mostly gold. Shade 12 is another duochrome like in the Ankh palette as an iridescent white to blue but with a light purple shift.

Shade 13 is a super wet (not creamy) thick chunky shimmer. I really did not like the texture of this one. Shade 15 is smooth but not quite as soft as the other mattes. It still performs well though.

ZEESEA Tipsy Kitty Eyeshadow Quad in #03 Fruit Punch

This quad was my newest purchase, which did not come from the Amazon Prime Day sale, yet it was the first one of the three I started using. Shades 1 and 3 take some building up, as these mattes are thinner than some of the ones from the Egyptian palettes, but the end result is pretty and worth the extra effort to have a nice soft look. I had an easier time using Shade 4. These tones are also very nice and complimentary to each other. Shade 2 is a bit wet and a little chunky, but using MAC Fix+ helps it to spread and increases the color saturation.

Because Zeesea is a Chinese brand which creates products for the style that is popular in China, as well as catering to lighter skin tones, I am limited in the types of products from them that I can use. The quality is better than what I expected from the brand, but I can’t in good conscience recommend them beyond purchasing purely for the packaging. The British Museum palettes are pretty enough that if I had a stand to put them on, I would display them in the house, not just with my makeup. However, for those wanting to use the actual eyeshadows, I really caution against those plastic based glitters used. I wish Zeesea would exclusively use the safer alternatives like synthetic fluorphlogopite and sodium or aluminum calcium borosilicate. Even some versions of bismuth oxychloride can be quite reflective and sparkly. When I briefly perused Zeesea’s ingredient list on the website, I could see that they contained some of those alternatives but still had them in addition to the plastic glitters, which is quite a shame.

That’s all for my exploration of makeup brands on Amazon! I don’t think there will be a part 2 to this. I hope you have a fantastic day! Thank you for reading!

-Lili

MAC Tempting Fate Collection

The Tempting Fate Collection’s gilded baroque packaging, unique textures, and overall fall aesthetic earn it the title of the most beautiful release from MAC in 2021, according to me. I limited my purchases to the three items I would use the most or don’t have as many of in my collection. I ordered the lipstick first from MAC and it arrived within days. The palette, which I ordered the next day when it became available, got lost in transit for a few weeks and had to be reshipped to me. The particular shade of strobe glaze was only available in the UK at the time, so I ordered it from Selfridges. Now that I have all the items together, I can finally review the collection!

MAC Tempting Fate Lipstick in Tarnished Reputation

There are six shades total ranging from a pale nude to deep berry in matte or amplified lipstick finishes. Tarnished Reputation is in the matte formula and though it looks pink-orange in some lighting, this pulls vibrant coral orange on my lips. It’s a bit too bright for my taste on its own, but I like the way it looks with a dark lip liner.

I only have a few MAC lip products, so my experience with them is limited, but I believe this is their traditional formula and quality. It also has the familiar vanilla scent. If you’re a fan of MAC lipsticks, I think you will like the ones in this collection too.

MAC Tempting Fate Strobe Face Glaze in Punk in Spice

There are three shades total. As of October 1st, Punk In Spice has yet to be made available in the US from MAC. However, I could get it from Selfridges US and it’s also now at Look Fantastic US. When I spoke with a MAC representative, they said the shade was not UK exclusive, but they did not have a date as to when it would be available elsewhere. I watched this review from Sinem Salih who did an amazing job making me want this strobe glaze even though the product looked so sheer I wondered if it would even be worth the price. I could also clearly see how gel-like the effect was on her cheek, but I still wanted it! I hate that kind of texture but I somehow convinced myself Punk in Spice would change my mind and make me step outside my comfort zone to do some glossy editorial looks. I’m not convinced I did the right thing in buying this product, but I don’t fully dislike it.

For starters, I think it’s important to make clear that this MAC Strobe Glaze is very different from MAC’s Strobe Cream, which is a product I actually like as a glowy primer underneath foundation and liquid highlighter when patted back on top. The Strobe Cream gives a more traditional highlighted almost metallic shine. The Strobe Glaze is gel-like and a bit greasy when rubbed in. The purpose is to give a dewy wet look when used subtly or full on glossiness. It reminds me of a combination of Danessa Myrick’s Dew Wet Balm with Colourpop’s Cheek Dew Serum Blush formula. At first I was using what I considered a small amount and absolutely hated the look. However, I realized I needed to use the tiniest amount to get a palatable glossy cheek.

In the leftmost photo in the gallery above, I show what my small amount looked like on my cheek (which I despised) and the other photos showed how I was able to tone it down when using that much. Applying a light layer of any kind of powder over the Strobe Glaze kept some of the shimmer but made it look less glossy. It was still greasy to the touch, but a lot less sticky than before. The biggest downside though to using this amount of product is that it gave my skin more of a textured look and I noticed lines I hadn’t seen before.

Although I could use the product this way with powders on top or to intensify a powder highlighter, if I wanted to use the product on its own and actually be happy with it, I needed to use half as much as I was before!

I have a large face, so this is the amount that works for me per cheek, but if you have a smaller face you may want to use even less! I can get Punk In Spice to look even more to my liking when I dab the remnants of my foundation on the brush on top of it. It tones down the glossiness but leaves the shine. Eventually after about an hour or so it finally dries down. Sticky products on my face usually drive me nuts, but this product is so lightweight that it thankfully doesn’t bother me. Though it dries to the point of no longer being sticky, I can still feel greasiness if I rub the spot where it was applied, so this product is really not for someone who likes cheek products to dry down to nothing.
I should also note that the ideal order for me to use this is applying it to my bare skin in areas I want the wet look and applying foundation and all the rest of my makeup after. I would prefer to leave the concealer step last since this takes off some of my concealer anyway and I need to cover the spots back up because of my intensely dark under eye circles. Plus, setting the concealer with powder will help to set the Strobe Glaze further in the spots where the two products touch.

If I utilize these tips, I see myself continuing to use this from time to time after my review, which is shocking considering I normally hate glossy-balmy highlighting products. For those who want that glossy dewy cheek, the Danessa Myricks Dew Wet Balm produces a prettier look. Feel free to see photos in my past review to compare. I ended up selling my Dew Balm anyway. The only reason I would keep using Punk in Spice is because using it with other products like foundation, powder, and highlighter reduces the feeling on my skin I tend not to like, as well as being able to use it by itself if I only use the tiniest amount. The tiniest amount of Danessa’s Dew Balm was still too much for my personal taste on its own. MAC’s Strobe Glazes have only been limited edition thus far, but it’s a permanent product in Danessa’s line. Then again, Punk in Spice will likely go bad before I could even use up a quarter of what’s in the tube because of how little product is needed. I believe the Rose Gold Glow shade of Strobe Glaze would require a ton of product though if you are of light-medium and darker skin tone and want to use it as a blush.

For my personal taste, the Strobe Cream is better than the Strobe Glaze (even though it’s more expensive), but I knew going in that the Strobe Glaze wasn’t a product meant for me. As much as I like the Strobe Cream, I enjoy the free samples and don’t love it enough to actually buy the full size, which really says a lot about my take on liquid illuminating products. I always still prefer a powder highlighter.

MAC Tempting Fate Feast Your Eyes Eyeshadow Palette

MAC says this palette contains three textures never seen before from their collections: Metallized Prismetallic Eye Shadow (All That Jam), Luminous Leather Lustre Eye Shadow (Yesterday’s Gossip, Golden Rage, Midnight Stunner*, Brocade Renegade), and Glitzy Sparkler Eye Shadow (Feast Your Eyes, What a Pear, Velvet Vamp).
MAC classified Midnight Stunner as a Leather Lustre on their website and on the actual packaging, but the other three Leather Lustres are like a cream-powder hybrid with a satin matte finish. Midnight Stunner is most similar to the Glitzy Sparkler What a Pear in terms of pigmentation and texture. The shimmer in both of them aren’t as sparse, nor with as transparent of a base, as Feast Your Eyes and Velvet Vamp. However, if those three are considered Glitzy Sparklers then surely Midnight Stunner should be one as well. So, I believe that shade was mislabeled. It wouldn’t be the first mistake with this collection considering every single one of my eyeshadow pans are skewed to the left and have gaps between the shadows and the edges of the circular cutouts. While I waited for the palette to arrive, I had plenty of time to watch videos and I could see that this misalignment of the shadows was a common occurrence. The palette has not been restocked (even though everything else that sold out since the launch has been restocked multiple times), so if it does become available again, I hope they will have fixed the issue for everyone else. It says a lot about where MAC is at as a company by letting these be sold in this condition. MAC Limited Edition releases are some of the most coveted collector items within the makeup world, so to have them so sloppily put together with a possible misprint as well is an indication of the drop in quality MAC fans have been noticing in the last few years.

MAC’s eyeshadows are among the very few products I don’t like from the brand, but since these are all new formulas, I was hopeful this would be different. I’m happy to say I really like this palette but I had to figure out how to use the Leather Lustres because my goodness the longevity was atrocious!

If you’ve used this product and had no issues, please let me know in the comment section what kind of eye primer you use or whether you have dry or oily eyelids because I would love to know how others use this without using the tips I’ll be sharing here today.

I have to start by explaining I use MAC Paint Pot as my eyeshadow primer, and one would expect there to be zero issues when using MAC products together. However, after about three hours I noticed major creasing and fading of the Leather Lustres specifically from that point onward. After experimenting many times, I discovered these only work with MAC Paint Pot if I put the Leather shade on top of it and then set it with a powder. It doesn’t work if I set the Paint Pot with powder before applying the Leather shades. The powder has to be the last step.

With Paint Pot as the base and set with powder, there is still minor creasing after three hours. By seven hours the creasing is more noticeable and the shadow fades in some spots. At 8 hours it’s still pretty good overall, but it will only continue to get worse from this point on.

If I want the absolute best results where longevity and creasing are not issues, I have to apply the Leather shades to my bare skin, apply a powder on top to set it, and then use Nyx Glitter Primer on the eyelids in order to lock the shimmers in place and produce a more opaque look. With this method, the eyeshadows will still be going strong after eight hours. By eleven hours there is barely any change except to the Yesterday’s Gossip shade which I can’t get to last no matter what method I use. Applying the shimmers to the lid while damp can still work to pack on the shade enough to cover the skin underneath and keep the shimmer in place, but I do notice some cracking and wearing off that starts around eight hours of wear. So, I very much recommend sticking to the bare eye method from the crease and above but Nyx Glitter Primer under the shimmer shades.

Feast Your Eyes and Velvet Vamp are great on their own for a scattered glitter type of effect and they are so much more reflective and sparkly than my photos show. I couldn’t capture how multicolored they look in swatches with my camera’s focus setting, so that’s why the picture below of Velvet Vamp is blurry.

Because of how beautiful the Glitzy Sparkler shades are, I still feel as though the palette is special. All That Jam was also quite the surprise with how pigmented it was and how easily it applied to the lid with opaque results without any additional help. It’s also the star of the palette along with the Glitzy Sparkler formula.

Going back the the Leather Lustres, I have to add that beyond the longevity issue, they are a stiff formula and require a dense brush to have the pigmentation level I need for my skin tone. For the crease, I use them with the Sonia G Jumbo Blender. Sometimes I’m impatient and skip using brushes altogether and apply them to my lids with my fingers for the fastest results. I think overall, this entire palette is very much geared towards those who like to apply shadows with their fingers.

Brocade Renegade is the deepest shade in the palette, but it’s such a bright purple that it doesn’t add much depth, so it’s impossible for me to get anything but a soft look for my skin tone. MAC describes this palette as “rich” and “decadent” but that isn’t the case for me, especially since Golden Rage, the shade that looks dark chocolate in the pan is a very warm mid tone brown. It’s so warm that it’s nearly orange. I don’t mind, but it limits the kind of look I can achieve using this palette alone. It’s not a unique color story, but overall, I do really like this palette since I know how to use it. The only shade that is truly a dud for me is Yesterday’s Gossip and that’s because it doesn’t last on me, looks quite ashy on my lids, and I don’t get as much of the pink tone as I’d like. It’s only really good as a brow bone shade, but it ends up just looking like my skin tone anyway.

There’s one other aspect I would like to address which is that I noticed MAC changed the photo on the website to reflect a palette where the shades are arranged differently than mine. Even in the featured photo section of the page, you see two different MAC employees from different countries where one has the palette in the order of the shades on the website (from Thailand) and the other has them in the order of my palette (from Mexico).

I don’t know if this is purely a matter of some MAC employees getting their hands on a promotional palette that looks more aesthetically pleasing arranged in this new way or yet another clue pointing toward production issues. Is it merely a difference in look? Are these other palettes formulated differently? Was this how the shades were intended to be arranged all along, but palettes like mine were sloppily put together because of a manufacturing issue? Is the arrangement difference intentional based on regional preferences or miscommunication between multiple manufacturing sites? If MAC does restock this palette, will they all be arranged in this way on the website or do different countries get a different arrangement?
I wish I had the answers, but contacting MAC has been unhelpful in the past, so I don’t think I would get an helpful answer to this either.

This collection was not the slam dunk that I thought it would be, but I still like it. I’m rooting for MAC to become that “It” brand it used to be with a higher standard of quality again with some innovation and creativity. It’s hard to forget how badly they botched that Sims collaboration from their end. With talks of a Whitney Houston Estate collaboration planned for 2022 and the photos I’ve seen sneak peeked for Holiday 2021, I don’t know if I’ll be getting my wish.

That’s all for now. Thank you for reading!

-Lili