Melt Cosmetics She’s in Parties Palette and the Short Lived Mystery Boxes

I got to this review much later than expected, but I promised The Olive Unicorn Beauty I would make more of an effort to bump it up on the list. I think this is good timing considering Melt has recently launched 4 new mini palettes as part of their upcoming Bad Side Zodiac Collection and I know others share my hesitation to purchase Melt’s eyeshadow palettes given their history. Perhaps my review today can help tip the interest in either direction for someone curious about that upcoming release.

This post will mainly focus on reviewing Melt’s She’s in Parties Palette, but I did not purchase it through traditional means. This palette was part of Melt’s Black Friday Mini Mystery Bundle that was released November 2021. There was a large box for $75 and the smaller one I bought was $25 (plus $10 shipping). I watched Amy Loves Makeup post a video ASAP and considering all the boxes were supposed to be the same (and were still in stock at the time), I figured it was totally worth finally being able to try out my first Melt palette and the Sexfoil liquid highlighter formula for less money than the eyeshadow palette alone would cost.

The photo above from panningcorner on IG shows the mystery items from the $25 box, although I don’t recall getting the pencils, single eyeshadow, nor sample in mine. The liquid lipstick I believe I gave away. So, what I ended up keeping was the palette, mascara, and liquid highlighter which I will briefly review the other two in this post as well.

Regarding the mystery boxes, the brand continued to put them out in December 2021, January, and February of this year, but I believe the February box (or perhaps one more in March) was the last one. I loved that they were doing these and it wasn’t just older palettes that were a possibility to receive. The newer Brunet palette was an option for one of them, and I think the Mary Jane as well. I’m hoping that this Black Friday, they bring the Mystery Boxes back or offer a fantastic deal, even potentially coinciding with the severely discounted Amor y Mariposas Collection that was a newer and quicker reviewed purchase of mine.

Melt Cosmetics She’s in Parties Palette

I started working on this post in Spring, but other eye-catching makeup took priority. One benefit to this delay is that I’ve had the She’s In Parties Palette open and exposed to the elements for over six months, which is typically the benchmark for when any formula issues start to crop up (if at all) with Melt’s palettes. I am happy to report that my palette hasn’t had any changes to it and is still nice and usable, as well as my Amor y Mariposas palette. What a relief!

So based on my experience with both of those palettes, I fully understand why people rave about Melt’s mattes. They really are great. The Amor y Mariposas palette had pressed pigment mattes which required a bit more effort, but the three mattes in this palette are stellar! They’re buildable, blendable, and very pigmented! Total Immortal is a great shade to blend out a shadow in the crease, though it’s a bit light to be alone in the crease without a deepening shade, for my taste. It also had a little trouble sticking to my eyelid, but I can get there in the end and I usually put shimmers on my lids anyway. Last Caress is a medium-dark mauve but it goes on the eyes way darker than I expected from how it looks in the pan! I wanted that as my crease shade for most looks, but it’s so dark that it makes every eye look I created appear as though I was using Meanstreak in the crease instead, even when I hadn’t. So, without a true medium shadow in this palette, nearly every look I create turns out dark and dramatic, even when I purposely intend to create something on the lighter and brighter side. This palette is very much for dark vampy looks! And yes, Meanstreak is a nice deep burgundy, though the texture is a bit drier and rougher than the other mattes which are soft to the touch. However, it still performed just as well.

I usually describe what I did for my eye looks, but I created these so long ago, I can’t recall for certain.

I was very much looking forward to trying Melt’s shimmers, but Strange Love is the only shade that has a lot of sparkle to it and it’s not the kind of shadow I typically use all over the lid. It’s the kind I’d use mostly in the center of the eye and/or the inner corner. Skeleton Kiss also has a nice amount of shimmer to it, but because the white base color is kind of transparent, it’s more of a topper kind of shade and just looks sparkly pink. It’s another one I would use in the exact same way as Strange Love. The remaining pigmented colorful shimmers in the palettes are more like satin shadows. They are smooth, with very refined and small size shimmer particles. They are also on the thin side but fully opaque and not powdery. They also don’t crease on me. I can use She’s In Parties, the deep red, and Sleepwalk, the dark plum, in the crease in place of mattes, but I prefer to stick to my safe zone and use them as lid shades even though that also guarantees my looks remain on the darker dramatic side. As for Lost Control, there are shimmer flecks in the shade, but it’s so subtle that I’m left with a mostly matte looking shadow. This is something I don’t mind, although I would have preferred if it was either entirely matte so I won’t have a random few twinkling specks in the outer corner, or if it was a full on shimmer that could add some bling to the looks.

Overall the quality is great, the shades are pretty, and there’s something sophisticated about this palette and color story. I think it’s quite textured-lids-friendly as well. I can use any primer with it, and it performs well. So, while I personally prefer sparkle and drama to my shimmers and would have liked a true medium tone matte shade, I do recommend this palette.

Melt Cosmetics SexFoil Digital Liquid Highlight in Fetish

Melt’s imagery for this product is so attractive that I haven’t stopped wanting to try more, even though liquid highlighters are my least used form of highlighters. I’ve established in every review of this kind that I never use them enough to be worth purchasing. Unlike the Auric Glow Lust, Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter, and other liquid shimmer products that can be mixed with foundation to impart a glow or to be used in other creative ways, the SexFoil is more metallic and best suited for highlighting in the traditional manner. I’m able to pack it on to look extremely intense or, as is my preference, use it sparingly and blend it out so that it’s a little more on the subtle side. I was surprised that I ended up loving Fetish despite it being one of the two lightest shades in the line and a pink to boot! It looks stunning when coupled with a pink blush. I also like that it fully dries down, so I don’t have to deal with any stickiness or transfer other than perhaps a few shimmer particles.

I would have loved to take additional photos showing various intensity levels but this is the only picture I have wearing the product and as I’ve noted on the Home Page of my blog, I’ve had spine surgery again and am in a long recovery process which makes taking blog photos a lot more difficult and will continue to be an issue the rest of this year. So, I just had to work with the photos I took prior to my surgery.

This product makes me wish I could get more on board with liquid highlighters because this is one of my favorite formulas of them and I still wish I could get more, although I believe having a full ounce of this is excessive. I can’t even finish a foundation of the same size in time before it expires. Having this much product would be wasteful even if I did use it on a regular basis. “Minis” would have been more practical. In addition, the full price of $39 is more than I’m willing to pay, no matter how much I like it. I’d be all in at $25 and $30 would still be pushing it. But that’s just my opinion.

Melt Cosmetics Supernatural Lash Mascara

I’ve only used this mascara a handful of times (it has only been open for a month), but I haven’t had any issues with it in terms of smudging or flaking or excessive clumping, though it wants to start clumping at two layers. It’s a wet formula. I like the depth of black color. I like the length it provides, although it’s tough to fan out my lashes in a way that I prefer. This formula has the tendency to want to make my lashes go straight and not really curl or curve. I don’t use mascara curlers because mascaras I like have that effect without it. This one, not as much. The length is right, but I prefer to have a little more volume along with it. I also don’t like using this mascara for my lower lashes because I always smudge it there due to the applicator’s size and shape, and have to clean it up with some concealer afterwards.

The photo on the left shows no mascara. It looks like I have hardly any upper lashes, but my concealer and eye primers usually get a little on my eyelashes and make them harder to see because it’s blending in with the primer color. In addition, my lashes naturally stick outward except at the very tips, so it’s hard to see how long they are without mascara to lift them upwards. The right photo shows what my lashes look like with two coats of the Supernatural mascara.

The first coat of this mascara gives me length. The second coat gives me no additional length, but adds slightly more volume. My favorite mascaras are the kind that I can build up in one go before it dries. This one starts to dry on my lashes before I’m satisfied with the volume level, hence needing to do an actual second coat. This isn’t a deal-breaker for me. I wouldn’t mind doing two coats of a mascara if the end result was fantastic. The end result of this one is okay enough for me to be willing to keep using it until it’s finished, but not enough to want to purchase again, even at a lower price, when my favorites take less effort and give me more of what I’m looking for on my eyes.

I continue to be intrigued by Melt Cosmetics. I like the brand and always want to try more products, though the full retail price usually pumps the brakes on me buying all the makeup from them that I want to, like their newest bronzer launch. For those wondering, I did end up ordering the Air palette from the Zodiac Collection and am waiting to see what other products are part of that lineup.

That concludes this week’s post! Thank you for reading!

*Note: Also, stay safe my fellow Floridians with Hurricane Ian approaching!

-Lili

Unearthly Cosmetics Lore Palette and Gigi Blush

Unearthly Cosmetics is the new rebranded name of Alien Cosmetics. I made my first purchase from the brand round July 2021, but soon after I heard there were reformulations, palettes getting new packaging, and other changes that made me decide to take a pause before talking about them here. I purchased the Gigi blush when I thought things were settled, but once again found out news that the brand was allegedly forced to change their name. So, I continued to hold off on talking about them until they had their new name secured and were officially finished selling products that still bore the Alien Cosmetics name.

Considering their track record of making changes to products seemingly out of nowhere, I have no clue if my products from 2021 are the same as what someone will get from Unearthly Cosmetics now. In case they are, I hope this review will still be valuable, but I needed to put out this disclaimer that it’s possible the quality is different.

Lore Palette

As I mentioned above, I intended to review this palette well over a year ago. I have additional eye looks and a video showing the color shifts of the multichromes in this Instagram post.

These mattes are very dry. I remember them being a bit like this when I first bought the palette, but I think over time, before even a year had passed, the mattes got drier. Minotaur is especially stiff and doesn’t want to move from where I place it, but Cerberus and Centaur blend decently. Cerberus just requires slow building since it can get intense fast depending on the brush used. Faun is one of those matte formulas with glitter specks in it where the glitter mostly dusts away when blended on the eyes. This shadow is quite thin, so to even get the base color to show takes a lot of building up on me. I wish Faun was either a bit more yellow or that Centaur was a deeper orange because the two shades look nearly identical when used together. Ironically, during the first launch, the brand sent out palettes with a brown shadow listed as Centaur and then mailed everyone who got the wrong shade the correct orange one. Perhaps I would have liked that accidental shadow better.

I was very excited to have duochrome and multichrome options in this palette, but I wasn’t expecting such near transparent bases to the point where three of the five shadows nearly function as toppers for me. Serpent‘s base is the faintest of all and looks like it’s just a sheerer version of the somewhat more visible hot pink base in Sphinx. I use Serpent when I want blue, green, and purple shifting sparkles with cool toned looks and Sphinx’s aqua, green, and gold sparkles look best with warm toned ones. Whenever I plan to use them in the palette, I have to swatch them first on my arm to remember which effects they give because I really didn’t like the times I’ve chosen the wrong combo. My favorite multichrome of the three is Medusa, which has a dark but still semi-transparent base. It pairs so well together with the deep blue-green shimmer shade called Basilisk. Medusa and Basilisk are my two favorite shadows in this palette. All the shimmers have a smooth texture except Griffin, which is a little chunkier, but has a very high-shine look to it. It’s like a less obvious color-shifting version of Centaurus from Devinah Cosmetics.

Showing the transparency of Medusa.

Regarding how they wear on my eyes, I didn’t have anymore creasing than usual. I didn’t have any extra fallout. The shimmers didn’t dull down as the day went on and they looked decent still by the end of the day. To anyone interested in this palette, I recommend it based on preferences. In general, with it not completely meeting what I want, $33 isn’t a bad price (it was $30 at the time I bought it with $5 shipping and no tax, but I used the influencer code ANGESCHKA), though it would be more like $38 now.

This palette would be a fantastic option for someone who likes grungy colors, high shine duochrome/multichromes with no dark bases, and is mostly in it for the shimmers so they don’t mind reaching for other palettes for better mattes.

Gigi Blush

I’m not sure why “blush palette” is written on the packaging when it’s just a single blush, but in any case, I saw this shade and that Scorpion on the inside and I had to buy it! It’s aptly described on the website as a, “satin finish rosy terracotta,” blush. If I remember correctly, the brand is run by two sisters and this blush is named after Gigi and the highlighter that was released at the same time is named after Dani. I didn’t purchase the highlighter because I thought it would be too light for me, but it has a silver to gold shift. So, the gold would probably have looked nice, though I don’t know if the silver still would have been too much.
While there is visible dark pink shimmer in the blush, after all the blending that is required, I don’t see the shimmer on my cheeks.

Light-Medium application of Gigi blush to the cheeks.

I’ve tried to love this blush because it’s such a pretty color, but it’s super pigmented and not very blendable, regardless of the brush I use with it. I’ve tried my synthetic brushes like the Smashbox Sheer Buildable Cheek Brush, my MUFE Highlighting brush (basically blush size). I’ve tried my very expensive brushes with different types of natural hair suited for pigmented products, but the issue is that it sticks where it’s blended, but is also a thin powder so it’s also sheer in some places at the same time. It needs to be buffed properly to smooth it out. It’s not a terrible blush, as I have the tools to lightly apply it and switch to another brush to blend it out and make it look nice. However, with my huge blush collection, I don’t feel that it’s worth the effort for me, when I can get a smooth flush in a snap with other blushes out there.
I have tried powdering my cheeks first before applying the blush and that just prevents it from wanting to blend properly into my skin. Applying it to my cheek and then buffing with a finishing powder after also works, but again, it’s extra work.

One thing that this blush definitely has going for it though is the longevity. Using my normal application methods, this will last on my face all day without fading.

Unearthly Cosmetics released additional single blushes and highlighters in April of this year, so perhaps the formula is better than before. You really never know with their brand!

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

Note: This is my last completed pre-scheduled post. I had surgery September 15th and due to the long recovery period for this surgery, regular Monday postings will be interrupted/inconsistent for the rest of this year. I still have about 20 partial posts that were started prior to surgery, and therefore I will still have content coming to this blog, just not at a stable predictable rate. There may be a few weeks or a month gap without posts, but if you’re following via email, you will be notified of every post. Thank you for understanding.

-Lili

MOB Beauty Custom Face Palette Review

I first heard about the brand when it arrived at Beautylish as a pop-up with two pre-made sets. Neither one had enough colors I wanted in them to be worth purchasing, which is a shame because those bundles are a significantly better value. For $75, a customer can get a mascara, lipstick, and either the “Soft” or “Rich” 4+ pan palette. The best deal I saw from MOB Beauty’s own website costs $85 after using a promo code and involves creating your own custom 4+ pan palette that does not include a mascara and lipstick, just two free samples. I was especially tempted to get a pre-made set anyway, considering Beautylish was advertising back in March that once these restocked sets were gone, they’d be gone for good this time. Yet, here we are in September and there’s a “returning soon” notice for one of the sold out sets. I like Beautylish, but it appears that they pulled a ‘limited edition’ marketing stunt again.

Eventually, when the items became available individually at various places, I made separate orders to HSN, Beautylish, and the official MOB Beauty website to make these purchases as affordable as possible for a custom palette. If I had just stuck with my original 4+, it would have been fine, but I ended up spending extra by changing my mind afterwards because I wanted to try the cream formulas too, and the refills would be exposed to the air if I didn’t get additional packaging to store them. MOB Beauty is a “Clean” brand, but the part that really interested me about them is that they are big proponents of recycling and sustainability. In the next section, I will show the cardboard packaging that each product arrives in, which is great for that recycling factor, but because the refills are surrounded in post-consumer recycled plastic (50-100% PCR, PET or PP Resin with the percentage of PCR getting lower the larger the palette is), it’s not possible to store the pans in something like an empty magnetic palette, which is a system that the majority of people who want to make custom palettes use to do it. And once the refill outer packaging (40% FSC bamboo and 60% recycled paper) is opened, there’s no way to keep it properly sealed after because the sticker layer is what keeps it together. So, one ends up having to purchase either single compacts that will take up space or pay for the larger custom palette and have the smaller one sitting around in case someone wants to take a smaller set traveling and just being generally unused. The need to buy more empty palettes is the downside of the attempt to be sustainable. I appreciate the effort, but it’s far from a perfect system and it’s the customer that has to take on that additional cost because of the brand’s decision to make unique packaging that can only be used with their own products exclusively, similar to what Hourglass did with their “Curator” system. In addition, the outer packaging is easy to recycle, but there are additional steps for those wanting to recycle the makeup pans afterwards, as noted on the MOB Beauty website:

They can also be turned into a Pact recycling bin inside any Credo store in the US, provided you live near one of their ten locations within the country, or Hudson’s Bay store in Canada.

The refills have holes in the back, so one could potentially push the metal out of the plastic and commit to using the products exclusively in a Z-palette and avoid needing to buy MOB’s custom palettes, but they’re glued down. Also, since they are made of aluminum, they aren’t magnetic and would need a metal magnetic sticker to be attached to the bottoms of them in order to not slide around in a magnetic palette. The mini samples of mine were glued to the cardboard since they don’t come with the plastic bottom like the others. So, I peeled off the label stickers with the shade names and cut them into small squares before I unstuck the pans and attached those stickers onto the backs of them to at least keep the glue from sticking to things before plopping them into a Z-palette, even though they’re free floating in there. I just needed to keep them somewhere they wouldn’t get lost while I was testing out the products, and I could continue to test for an extended period instead of just once. Again, I’m not sure what a better alternative would be. I give the brand kudos for being perfectly upfront about everything though and that they have clear instructions on how to recycle these properly.

Custom Palette Packaging and Components

The photo above shows how the items for my custom 4+ palette arrived, including the two samples and two slips of paper with the ingredients listed on them. The box on the left is what they were all shipped in, so there was no wasted space, which is something I really like to see in shipping materials (provided the items are still properly protected to prevent being damaged). The brown paper below all the items was the folded up paper layer in the box. This packaging was delivered by MOB Beauty, but if you order from HSN and Beautylish, the items will come in those retailers’ typical packaging.

This is what the 6+ pan and 4+ pans look like in the back when filled vs empty. The hole used to pop open the grate to place the pans inside are visible from the back.

I used one of my clay shaping tools to do the job of opening what I call the sealing/securing lid.

Once the plastic clear lid has been lifted and the hole in the back of the palette has been poked through in order to lift the second lid, the pans can be loaded in by aligning the two protruding rectangles with those empty spaces. They do not snap into place. They have to just be gently laid on top enough to stay put until every pan is on it and that second lid can be placed back on top to secure all the sides. This is the point where at least one snap should occur, so every edge plus the center should be touched and pressed to ensure that everything was locked into place and can only be opened again via the hole in the underside of the palette.

Additional photo of an empty versus filled palette.

Despite the 6+ pan being longer, I still consider it to be a travel-friendly size from the way it fits in my hand.

Important Tip About Choosing A Shade

Since the idea is to not be wasteful, choosing the best suiting product based on the brand’s photos is crucial. There is quite the difference in depth between how the color appears in their pans versus those arm swatches, and especially depending on the model bearing the swatches as well. The way these shades ended up looking on my skin was represented the most accurately on the tan (dark-tan) model across all formulas. I wanted to mention this for those who are around my skin tone and may have been wondering whether the model closest to our skin tone does the best job indicating how it will look on us or whether the swatches have been manipulated to look more saturated than they actually are and therefore we should make purchasing decisions based on the first model pictured below. I’m happy to report that MOB Beauty did a great job accurately reflecting the swatches, unlike many other brands that want to pretend their shades look the same even on deep skin and digitally manipulate the photos to prevent showing how ashy they’d be. So, I recommend feeling free to base purchasing decisions based on the swatches of the models closest to your skin tone.

I still found it useful to compare how the swatches looked on the other models in order to figure out what the starting undertones and depths were, and see at which point the shades start to look distinctly different from each other. For example, as seen on the third model, the M49 and M50 highlighters are the same depth and only differentiated by M49 being a pale pink and M50 being a pale gold. So, on tan skin and darker, the different undertones make no difference and those two highlighters will essentially look the same on the face. On the first model, the rose-gold M51 being a couple of shades darker than M49 still looks essentially like the other two highlighters, but on me, if I wanted all different looking highlighters, I would need to choose between M49 and M50 for the first option, then M51, then M52. If I removed the choices that look different in tone, but would look too stark on me, M51 and M52 are realistically my only highlighter options.

I continued this practice for each product. I looked at how they are supposed to look on the third model, where they start to look ashy or at least too similar to each other on the first model, and then narrowed down which of those remaining options looked prettiest on the second model.

Cream Clay Formula

As seen in the photo of the Cream Clay Bronzer in M78 on the left, the creams look as if there are bubbles under the surface, but that top layer is completely smooth. Since this looks like it was poured in while hot and then set, it’s possible those are air bubbles and not an indication of anything weird happening while in transit. Or perhaps they’re just condensation marks from it starting to sweat and melt in those hot delivery trucks, but then it cooled and imprints of the droplets were left on the surface. An example of the sweating is in the mini samples section.

When it came to selecting a bronzer, there were a completely different set of models, none of which were anywhere near as dark as me. However, based on the arm swatch photo, M78 and M79 looked like they would work for me. They are the same depth, so it was just a matter of an undertone difference. M78 was described as a “rose chocolate brown” and looked warm, but leaned closer to neutral than the “espresso brown” shade M79, which looked redder. M78 was certainly the better option because I would not have wanted it any warmer.
It shows up easily when I apply it to my skin, but it sheers out a fair amount as I blend, so I have to really load on the product to get the impact level that I like. In addition, my dry skin soaks up these cream products. If I try to keep the bronzer looking subtle, it’ll be significantly faded within the hour. So, I have to actually over-apply in order to get it to last on my face. The nice thing is that if I can accept it looking heavy in that first hour, I know it’ll at least look normal the rest of the time after that. It will still fade as the day goes on, but at least the fading is at a slower pace and will still be there at least 8 hours. I have tried so many times to wear this over a very moisturized face and different primers, but it still does this. For that reason, I use this product the most with my Patrick Ta Contour Brush because I can load it on and blend it out quickly. It essentially allows me to use this cream bronzer the way it was intended. My usual Sonia G Mini Base is actually too good with the blending. In the amount of time it takes for me to keep building up layers with that brush, it’s trying to set and then I can run into the issue of it starting to look a little patchy. And when I say “set” I just mean setting into place, as it doesn’t fully dry, but it’s at least not sticky. It just gets a little less easy to budge, but will still have some transfer. Applying powders on top hasn’t been successful in setting my face either, and my powders also make the bronzer and blush more subtle in the process. Sometimes I use the cream and powder bronzers together, but then I feel like that’s adding an extra step I wouldn’t have to do with the other products in my collection.

I like the tone of the cream bronzer and the ease of use with the right brush, but if I put the complication with my skin type aside, one of the things I find lacking is that the cream bronzer ends up looking matte even without being set with anything. I personally would prefer that if I’m bothering to use a cream product, I want it to look a little dewy or have a sheen. The glow of the product in the photo is literally a combination of my sweat and my semi-dewy foundation. For these reasons, my feeling about this product is that it’s just okay. The positives and negatives cancel each other out. I don’t feel any excitement when I use this, like I do with plenty of other cream bronzers I own. Also, this formula is the type that forms a little bit of a stiff layer on top between uses, which is why I mentioned it’s imperative to keep it away from air exposure as much as possible. It doesn’t cause me any problems using the product, but it makes the experience using it slightly less enjoyable. That top layer issue at least isn’t as thick as the Danessa Myricks Power Bronzer that I love can get though, so I give the formula some credit for that. Overall, this tends to happen with vegan formulas where the ingredients are what the company says are better, but something gets sacrificed, and for me it’s the experience when using it. It doesn’t have any wow factor for being extra creamy, leaving a beautiful finish on the skin, etc. I’m at least glad that the performance is solid. I think that’s what MOB Beauty was hoping to achieve the most, but there aren’t bells and whistles to go with that in my opinion.

The Cream Clay Blush in M74 looks, feels, and performs the same as the bronzer. They both have a decent amount of pigment and blend easily, but I also need to over-apply this product to keep it lasting on my face at least 8 hours. I also find myself having to touch up the bronzer again after I apply the blush on top. I like that it blends in so seamlessly with the bronzer, but it’s almost too much. Perhaps if I picked a more vibrant and less natural-looking shade, the blush wouldn’t look like an extension of the bronzer. I still think it’s pretty, but I do enjoy pairing it with other blushes right on the apples of my cheeks to add a lighter and brighter pop. This means that my favorite way to use it involves me adding another step. It’s nice to know that it plays well with the cream and liquid formulas from other brands though.

Just like with the cream bronzer, I could apply MOB’s powder equivalents on top so that it helps with the longevity issue. However, that would also be adding an extra step and since doing that takes away the tiny bit of dewiness the cream blushes have over the cream bronzer, it would make the point of wearing the cream at all pretty pointless. I may as well just stick to using the powders, right?

Powder Formula

Just like the cream bronzer M78, this powder version in shade M42 is described as a rose brown. However, M42 is the only one that I can actually tell has a rosy undertone on the skin.
The powder feels somewhat soft to the touch, but it’s not as smooth or silky feeling as say the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Matte Bronzer, Mented Cosmetics Bronzer, or even the newest one from Jaclyn Cosmetics. Again, I’m guessing it’s because of the consequence of not being able to use certain ingredients for clean, vegan, and sustainability reasons. The “Show Full List” option on their website’s list of exclusions reveals how extensive it gets. It still performs well enough. It’s a buildable formula but it only takes a small amount to finish my face the way I like. M42 is lighter than the cream bronzer (both are the third to last shade in their respective formulas), yet it looks even darker than M78 when built up.

When it comes to blending, I don’t have any issues unless my skin is dewy from wearing some of my favorite foundations, sweating, etc. In that situation, where I would normally apply and blend via using long sweeping motions back and forth, instead it sticks where I put it and ends up with tiny patches that are lighter than the rest because more of the powder stuck to other spots. I’ve had products with the sticking issue before, and this one isn’t as bad with it as others. Trying to blend it out fixes it enough to be passable, but not looking airbrushed and not good enough for me to feel comfortable leaving it as is. One remedy is to use a brush that deposits an even amount to the area at the same time, like the Patrick Ta Contour Brush, before blending it out. The other is to switch up my technique and apply in a circular buffing style while moving across the area I want to bronze. This one tends to be less precise, but the blush will cover it anyway. The third trick I can use is to do a second light layer of bronzer to cover the patches and then use a finishing powder to soften up the look.
This last one is my preferred method because my finishing powders with a blurring effect really elevate the look overall and add that sheen I prefer anyway. Considering how often I wear my dewy foundations, I end up needing to use at least one of these ways the majority of the time. Because that adds to the extra time I need to spend on it, I like using the powder even less than the cream despite knowing how to get it to look pretty every time. I admit that it’s a minor inconvenience, but with the amount of makeup I own, minor inconveniences are enough to get me to not use some products, and then it ends up being a wasted purchase in more ways than one.

I get a nice amount of pigment from this M20 blush, but it’s a thin formula and prone to a patchy look on dewy skin just like the bronzer. This is especially noticeable if I’m wearing a low coverage foundation where my skin peeks through the blush and it looks a bit odd seeing such a strong color, yet is see-through like a blush tint. So, I end up using the same techniques to combat it, just like the bronzer. However, because part of the bronzer gets into the blush zone, I feel that I have a quicker time making the blush look blended again, which makes it less inconvenient and therefore I’m still likely to reach for the powder blush if the palette is already out and open.

Also, no matter what the situation, I have no longevity issues with the powder bronzer and blush. They stay put all day. The powder blush does fade a little over time, but not enough to be considered abnormal.

Highlighter

I purchased the powder Highlighter in M52 because the third darkest option has a pink undertone, which I don’t usually like on myself, and everything else would look ashy on me. If I use a light hand, this one matches well enough, but if I’m too heavy handed, it’s obvious that it’s a little dark for me. The shimmer flecks are not, but the overall base color is a little deep on me for a product that is intended to highlight the face.

As has been the case with the powder blush and bronzer, this product sticks, but even more intensely on my face if I wear dewy products in the areas that I highlight. That’s handy for helping it look like it’s one with my skin, but then it’s hard to blend, even with my best brushes. The upside to it sticking is that it lasts on my face all day.
Of all the powder products from MOB I’ve tried, the highlighter is the messiest with the most kickup. The times when my face is actually dry, and therefore the highlighter remains dry, is when I have longevity issues where parts are suddenly missing as the day goes on.

I think I would have liked this highlighter more if I had one that was the same color as M52, but slightly lighter. As it stands, it’s okay. Because I only have two eyeshadows, I sometimes use the powder bronzer as an additional brown shade and this highlighter as an additional shimmer.

Eyeshadows

These are the two I chose. M48 is a shimmery olive. I like the color, but the shimmer particles are very low shine and not nearly reflective enough for my taste. Even when I apply the shadow damp, apply with my finger, or over the Nyx Glitter primer to crank up the intensity and pack on the shadow, it looks nearly unchanged afterwards. This is one of the rare times that my usual tricks fail to improve the eyeshadow look at all.

The M64 matte burgundy shadow is a bit stiff. Blending it in the crease takes some time and looks very drying on my eyes.

The shadows are my absolute least liked thing I bought from the brand. They’re way too lackluster for me. Anyone can make them work, so they aren’t completely terrible and it’s not like they don’t have pigment, but they are not enjoyable to use. There’s no creaminess to them, no smoothness or aid in the ability to be spread across the eyes. They’re able to be blended, but not as easily as I prefer. Preferences aside, I still don’t believe these are worth $12 each. I do not recommend purchasing the MOB Beauty eyeshadows.

Main Product Swatches

Free Mini Samples

The mini sample of The Cream Lipstick in M58 had a pretty sheen on the lips but felt surprisingly dry, like it was drying out my lips from the inside. Also, this isn’t the kind of formula that that you can put over chapped lips and have it smooth things over. It sinks into every spot where the skin starts to pull up and just makes lips in poor condition look worse. The photo example is after I exfoliated my lips, so I could showcase the product in the best light. It was from my second batch of pictures because my original photos of M58 looked horrific and just too bad to show, especially with my lip split on one spot. If you don’t have issues with lips being dried out frequently and you can keep them conditioned regularly, you might like the formula. Because it made mine drier, I don’t recommend it.

By the time I got around to trying the mini of The Cream Clay Blush in M71, I forgot it was a blush and not a matte lipstick. So, I have a demonstration of what it looks like on my lips, but not my cheeks. I apologize for that. Shockingly, despite how drying it looks on my lips, it actually feels less drying than the cream lipstick! I actually like this color on the lips, but it’s not my usual type of blush color to wear. Also, by the time I remembered it was a blush, my sample was especially dried out, so I didn’t bother trying to wear it on my face or take photos. It already had cracks in it the day I got it, so one can imagine how dry it was weeks later.

Final Thoughts

One would have to know ahead of time exactly how many products they want currently and in the future in order to not have extra MOB Beauty palettes sitting around. This isn’t easy considering it’s still a fairly new brand, so their options are still a bit limited. How can one make space for a potential setting powder or cream foundation in a pan, like the Patrick Ta Creme Foundation and Finishing Powder Duos? What about powder foundation? What if you think you just want a bronzer, highlighter, and two blushes, but then they release a new product that you want and now would have to upgrade to a 6+ palette or hold onto a separate single? Perhaps this is just a me problem, but when I decided I wanted those 5 face powders, I instantly had to get the eyeshadows too in order to fill the palette. Holding onto a 6+ with only 5 of them filled for who knows how long was just not an option for me. It drives me nuts to have designated spaces for a product but to keep one or more slots empty. I need to have them all filled up. So, essentially, I purchase more things that I don’t need and spent more money because of the type of organization system they’ve got going on.
Creating a new brand and a new line of products is still adding to the world’s over-consumption problem. And the truth of the matter is that I’m never going to use up these products enough to need to replace them. I love what the brand is trying to do, but unless I make MOB’s products and system the only makeup I will ever buy again, I’m not making use of their refill aspect. If MOB does expand the range and make my perfect highlighter shade in the future, wouldn’t it be wasteful to try and get that one while I still have the old one? Would I just toss out the product and recycle the rest? I can’t actually send it in to recycle without there being 5-10 empty products, so I just hold it all indefinitely? Wait for everything to expire before trying to recycle things?

As someone who doesn’t use exclusively vegan products, clean products, and doesn’t have a firm stance on buying from companies that are not considered “cruelty free” because of the selling products in China regulation debate, I find myself feeling like I haven’t gained much by having these makeup items in my collection. I feel good about supporting a brand that cares so much about the environment, but without planning to make serious permanent changes, it’s just adding yet another thing to my collection and their best performers don’t top any of my favorites by a long shot. So, rather than continue pursuing my perfect palette I spent so much money trying to create, it’s best if I leave things where they are.

For those who are very strongly about minimizing their makeup collections and only using vegan, “clean,” and less waste products, this brand could be the miracle you’ve been looking for. They could be offering something that makes you want to give up buying from anyone else. So, for those people, I’d recommend this brand and their products. But for anyone else just curious to have great makeup and create their own custom face and eye palettes with the thought of continuing to buy from all other brands and their new releases (like me), I’d say perhaps the best thing to do for the environment is to actually just skip this one.

I hope I’ve conveyed my thoughts on this tactfully and clearly. I really do wish current brands were so dedicated in helping out the environment and I wish this could be the end all be all for me when it comes to makeup, but it’s not for me. I hope I will continue to get some use out of these products, but chances are high that I’ll keep using my favorites. However, as my ongoing attempts at a low-buy suggests, I am trying harder to make fewer makeup purchases. And in a way, that’s me attempting to do my part the best way that I can.

Thank you for reading.

-Lili

10 Things I Purchased Purely For The Packaging

I can list too many examples of times I’ve wanted makeup and the look of the packaging swayed me into purchasing. There are also times I really wanted the packaging, so I chose whichever version would look best on me out of the options. The products I’m discussing today are the items in my collection that I bought purely for the packaging with the complete knowledge that the makeup inside didn’t suit my tastes. In this post, rather than reviewing the items, I’ll be looking deeper into why they attracted me so much.

Also, some of these photos were taken as long ago as October 2020. I’ve had the idea for this post for ages, but the fact that these items were always intended for the packaging and not the product inside, I kept dragging my feet on reviewing them. That’s why it took so long for me to finally complete this post.

Nostalgia Purchases

Glamlite Concha Highlighter

I believe Glamlite was founded at the end of 2017, and although I was interested in their products, my fears about online security made me extremely hesitant to purchase from anywhere but retail websites until 2019. I was even more selective about purchasing from relatively new indie brands, which I considered Glamlite to be. When I found out that Glamlite had a concha highlighter, all fears were thrust aside and I didn’t care that it wasn’t on sale and that I would have to pay full price for shipping. I wanted it and it was the only thing I bought in that first order!

The reason I had this kind of reaction is two-fold. For starters, my dad was a horticulturist from my childhood to teen years and commuted to and from the Tampa area for work, which has a large Hispanic population. The majority of the employees at the company were Mexican and would bring traditional dishes to the workplace. When I was a kid, my dad would sometimes bring me a concha that he got from someone selling them at work. I wasn’t allowed to have desserts and snack foods often, and I grew up with food as a reward system, so I was always so excited to be able to have one, especially the pink ones which were my favorite!

So, psychologically, I associated conchas with good behavior. I think this is the top reason I wanted to have that pretty packaging because it appealed to that desire to reestablish that feeling of being rewarded if I had it in my possession. The highlighter is too light and icy for my skin tone, but I needed it anyway.
The second reason is that I haven’t eaten a concha in like twenty years. I miss them. I don’t have access to them anywhere nearby. So, purchasing the highlighter was like my way of holding onto one forever. Ever since buying it in August 2020, I took the one photo pictured above and then never touched it again. It’s just been chilling in my highlighter drawer, but it brings me an inexplicable joy just knowing it’s there.

Sola Look Charmed Palette

I learned about the Charmed Palette in July of 2020, but Sola Look had even fewer products available than Glamlite, which made me super nervous as to the brand’s legitimacy. I still signed up for their emails, so when I was notified a few months later about their 50% off labor day sale with free shipping, I was sold.

The original Charmed television show came out in 1999, but I didn’t hear about it until somewhere between 2002-2004. I was fascinated by the concept, but it wasn’t until one of my best friends bought me the first season on DVD that I was hooked! Absolutely hooked! After the final season, I rewatched the show in its entirety on an annual basis until around 2016. My friend and I were such fans of the show that I even made her a 167+ page photo album and recreation of the Book of Shadows, which required me to scour every episode of all 8 seasons to find wherever they showed a page of the Book of Shadows and type it up. It took months! I miraculously still have a copy of the typed pages and even though I intended to make one for myself too, I never ended up doing it. Instead, I have this palette to represent the Book of Shadows!

At the time that I bought the palette, Prue, Paige, Belthazor, and Piper were the only colors I was interested in having. This was far too neutral for me in 2020, but I can appreciate the shade selection a bit more now. I could have sworn I actually started a written review for this already when I did eye looks, but I couldn’t find anything on my computer except those swatches. I had to replace my harddrive last year after some of my files were corrupted, and I didn’t have everything on the cloud like I thought, so perhaps this was one of the missing things.

In any case, I described how much of a super fan I used to be, but the reason it holds so much importance to me is because the main characters were so relatable. I had a lot of lonely years and seeing these super powerful women and witches not always have their lives together, but be able to overcome it with the power of sisterhood, faith, love, etc really appealed to me. The relationship between Piper and Leo was my ideal dream romantic relationship. I would watch the show and say to myself, “That’s the kind of man I want.” The relationship between Phoebe and Cole/Balthazor also taught me that sometimes love isn’t enough. Love should never cost you to give up who you are and your ideals to make it work. It’s a painful lesson I had to learn in my real life and seeing the Charmed ones all make incredible heartbreaking sacrifices that would cause them pain, but they were better off doing, gave me the strength to make certain decisions as well. There are some dark themes in the show but also, the scenarios the characters got into were so entertaining and made me laugh during times in my life when I was really struggling with my mental health. The show helped me through those times in a way I can’t explain. That’s why I so badly wanted to combine my admiration of Charmed and my love of makeup together. That’s why I couldn’t resist eventually getting a palette with such a core important symbol of the show.

This palette is no longer available as Sola Look closed in February 2022.

The Cuteness Factor

The Creme Shop Hello Kitty Macaron Lip Balm

I talked about these in my lip balm post already, and how I expected the formula to do absolutely nothing for my lips, but I wanted it for the cute packaging! I love macarons and have even made some macaron clay jewelry (as well as the dessert), so there’s that. I didn’t watch the Hello Kitty show(s), but she’s so cute that I frequently want Hello Kitty themed things. I have no idea why I’m so drawn to her! There’s just something so intriguing about her being this cute character I see everywhere and know nothing about, even to this day. Hello Kitty has a die-hard following and I keep buying these items because I want to experience that excitement they have and be part of that club too!
I looked into why the design of Hello Kitty tugs at the heart and according to an article, “Branding expert Dorie Clark puts Hello Kitty’s popularity down to her simple, mouthless design. ‘She’s stoic, she’s expressionless, and people can put onto her almost any kind of emotion…she can mean almost anything to anyone.'”

ETUDE HOUSE x NESTLE: HERSHEY’S Play Color Eyes Mini Eyeshadow Palette

The idea of having makeup that looked like food that someone could pick up and get confused to find out it’s not edible was something my mischievous side always wanted, but there aren’t many that look realistic enough to trick someone or the item is too large and cumbersome to store. This release seemed perfect for me, but the adorable squares that looked just like the ones from a Hershey bar are what ultimately got me. I didn’t have the heart to even swatch the pans for fear of ruining it, and I don’t plan on trying it anytime soon either. I want it to remain pristine.

Too Faced Glowver Puppy Love Highlighter

2020 (above) vs 2022 (below)

I love gold packaging, gold tone highlighters, and I’m a dog person. This would have been a match made in heaven if the highlighter wasn’t way too light for me, but I wanted it anyway. It doesn’t look too crazy on camera if blended in properly, but it’s more obvious in person. The shiny packaging with an adorable puppy face outside and imprint on the inside were too much to resist, but I couldn’t bring myself to pay full price for something I wasn’t going to use. It launched around May 2019 and I patiently waited for a sale that could justify the purchase. October 2020 it dropped to half price on Too Faced’s website, which is when I finally snapped it up! I really wanted this because it’s so cute, but it equally fits in the second category as a luxurious looking product because of that gold compact.

Looks Luxurious

Too Faced Diamond Light Multi-Use Diamond Fire Highlighter in Canary

This seemed a lot more luxe to me in photos than when I got it in my hands, but I still really loved the unique octagonal shape of the packaging that held the all too glittery highlighter. It’s a bit bulky as well and even though it’s not on the level of me wanting to display it like I originally intended, I still don’t have the heart to get rid of it. At the very least, I would want to repurpose it in some way, like clean it out to be used as a keepsake box or jewelry box but at some point I think I will just end up decluttering it. The fact that it still reminds me of gems and luxury is what lured me in.

Smashbox + Hoodwitch Crystalized Highlighter and Cover Shot: Crystalized Eye Shadow Palette

I don’t believe I was aware of these products when they were originally launched in 2019, or I must not have thought they were worth getting at full price. In any case, when I eventually discovered these on Mercari, I purchased them for zero purpose of ever actually using them. I wanted to clean out the packaging to put my own DIY eyeshadows and face powders in them, but when I saw how pretty the gem design was inside the highlighter, I couldn’t bring myself to destroy it. So, both of these have been sitting untouched (by me) in my collection. I might still one day repurpose the eyeshadow palette, but the packaging for that one feels flimsier than the highlighter.

Pat Mcgrath Lunar Nude Sublime Skin Highlighter

I’ve reviewed this product already, but this is one of those items I had to include here too because I knew ahead of time that I would find it too stark for my skin tone, but the gold packaging screamed luxury as well as the stunning crown embossing on the inside. Whenever Pat Mcgrath veers from the permanent black packaging, it’s incredibly difficult to turn a blind eye to it. Of all the products in the “luxury” category in this post, this one actually is luxurious, rather than just looking expensive. In the past, I hardly splurged on makeup beyond the high end category, so I was drawn to items that looked luxurious that was also within budget. I learned that it still won’t fulfill me to have fancy packaging if I can’t actually use what is inside. So, that’s something I’m trying to keep in mind now.

Bésame Cosmetics 1959 Sleeping Beauty Eyeshadow Palette

I bought this deeply discounted from Besame’s website and intend to keep it in pristine condition. None of these eyeshadow colors spoke to me, but I have a fascination with book-like packaging. This obsession of mine paired with the luxurious aspect of the gem pattern and top edge gilt/gilded page edges made this a must-have.

Fulfilled the FOMO

I Heart Revolution Teddy Bear Eyeshadow Palette Honey

When the gold teddy bear Sephora x Moschino collection was released, I did a full review about the difficulty people had obtaining the items, as well as created a section specifically stating that I was anti-hauling the bear shaped palette. The reasons I cited were the repetitive colors both within the palette and among the shades in my collection, as well as the huge bulky shape that would take up too much vanity space. I did end up regretting not getting it, so when Makeup Revolution created smaller teddy bear palettes in various colors, I purchased this gold one in order to combat the FOMO I felt from missing out on the Moschino palette. Even though I’ve never used the makeup inside of this one and I don’t have any intention of doing so, somehow just having this in my collection for the very low price succeeded in making me not miss it. I probably wouldn’t have used the Moschino one anyway, so at least this takes up less room, wasn’t as much out of pocket, and fits on my vanity.

Although I try my best to avoid purchasing things purely for the packaging, I’m sure I will become susceptible again. In analyzing the traits that specific products have that succeed in getting me to buy them, I can recognize the signs and hopefully be able to rationalize with myself why I shouldn’t get them.

That’s all for today!

-Lili

Clionadh Cosmetics 2022 Stained Glass Expansion

Indirect Outdoor Lighting

Direct Outdoor Lighting

Direct Indoor Lighting

Various Angles of Indirect Outdoor Lighting

R1 (left to right): Etched, Monarch, Estate, Noble.
R2: Niello, Coat of Arms, Citron
R3: Bronze Fountain, Wall of Ivy, Royal Plum, Estate, Hedge Maze, and Iron Gate

The long awaited expansion to Clionadh’s massive Stained Glass Eyeshadow Collection is here! 54 new shades were released on August 8th. This new batch of multichromes extends the current formulas already available, in addition to ones we haven’t seen before. Also, Ciel and Glaziers Mark were reformulated.

I would have loved to purchase more than the thirteen I selected, but considering the shipping cost and Route Package Protection fee, I couldn’t fit more in the budget. Clionadh has the permanent promo code CROSS FORMULA which saved me $10 off my order of 10+ Stained Glass Eyeshadow singles. All bundles are already discounted, and therefore exempt. Influencer codes also only apply to the brand’s standard eyeshadows.*

*Update 09/2022: Clionadh announced that some influencer codes were newly affiliated. At that point, I noticed that certain influencer codes did include the Stained Glass Collection in the discount. I’m not sure if that was intentional or not.

My goal for today’s post is to show the shades and swatches to the best of my ability. I tried to get this out at quickly as possible to help those who are still trying to decide before the favorites go out of stock. At some point in the future, I plan on doing a follow-up post featuring any additional shades I purchased, along with the closest shade comparisons to multichromes among Clionadh and from other brands, and examples of how I’ve worked each shadow into completed eye looks.

Unless specifically stating otherwise, the majority of these shades were applied on eyelids and arms with no primer and not applied damp. I used concealer in certain areas to counteract the discoloration around my eyes, but it was not used enough to qualify as a primer either. I also applied the multichromes with a combined technique utilizing my finger and a brush.

Shadow Close-Up Videos

First Impression

Earth Vibrant Multichromes
in Bronze Fountain, Wall of Ivy, Royal Plum, Estate, Hedge Maze, and Iron Gate

I purchased six of the eleven multichromes in this highly anticipated new formula from Clionadh. Having “neutrals with a twist” is ideal for me in my current makeup phase, so it makes sense that I was drawn to the Earth Vibrant Multichromes the most.

I find it quite interesting that these shades are super shifty (as seen in the pans), but because they aren’t drastically different on the color wheel, like Estate’s yellow-gold to lime to greenish aqua, most of the shifts aren’t as obvious on the eyes and can pass for one solid color if there aren’t various sources and angles of light. The Earth Vibrant shadows remind me of the Pastel Multichrome formula in terms of the texture and smoothness of the shimmer, but these are shinier with more shifts.

Bronze Fountain is one of my favorites out of the entire bunch that I purchased! It’s the terracotta base that shows through underneath that makes this shade extra special to me, especially with the lighting in the house. The bronze tone with the lime and gold shift and even more subtle aqua shift is the ultimate middle ground between loving colorful eyeshadows and neutrals.

Whenever I come across a green-blue-purple multichrome, like Wall of Ivy, I can’t help but compare it in my mind to Verte, which is perhaps my single favorite eyeshadow from Clionadh. The main differences between the two are that Verte has a cool tan base versus Wall of Ivy’s warm brown one, in addition to the green in Verte being almost like a radioactive color. Wall of Ivy is still vibrant, but looks like the color mint. Because of how light the shimmer appears on my eyes, a shade like this will stand out more on my skin tone.

I can’t wait to try Royal Plum in a purple-smoky eye look! It has a fascinating grey-plum base, which gives it the overall gunmetal-esque look on my eyes, though I can still see the pink-purple going into aqua. This shade is one of the most unique multichromes in my whole makeup collection.

As I mentioned earlier, the “golden yellow-lime-aqua shifts” in Estate still mainly looks yellow or chartreuse. So even though it could pass for a “normal” eyeshadow to someone who isn’t staring intently at my eyes, how vibrant the yellow and lime elements can get depending on the light are still interesting aspects of this shade.

I knew Hedge Maze wasn’t going to have a dramatic shift, but because it has a grey base, I expected it to look smokier, like Royal Plum, and darker. In the end, it looks mainly like a medium-dark green with gold shimmer. Because that’s a very common type of color in my collection, I’m not as impressed with this shade. In addition, when I wear it outside, it looks quite similar to Wall of Ivy, but even less shifty.

I thought it was very strange how Iron Gate looked grey-olive-gold when worn indoors, until I looked at the pan photos I took and saw how in one split second in the light, it did turn that color. In other types of lighting, this shade is mostly gold-lime, and is like a toned down version of Estate. There are supposed to be peach and aqua shifts as well, and the base color is “grungy mauve” which likely accounts for how it managed to have that greyish tone I noticed while I wore Iron Gate inside the house. I’m still not sure how I feel about this shade, and I think I need to see how it pairs with other eye shadows in order to finalize my thoughts on it.

Bronze Fountain, Royal Plum, and Wall of Ivy are easily among my favorites and were absolutely worth the purchase for me.

Electric Multichrome Pigment in Niello

I surprised myself by choosing only one of the twelve shadows in this brand new formula. Several others interested me, including Mural which was the first of the new Stained Glass shadows to sell out on the website. However, there were so many swatches of Mural and other Electric Vibrant shades that I liked or disliked out of all the photos and videos I watched prior to the release day, that I wasn’t confident I would think anything other than Niello was worth buying.

However, now that I’ve seen Niello in action, I do wish I bought a few more of the Electrics I considered getting. Every shift is so pretty and even when it looks the most lime, which is perhaps the least interesting part for me out of the “dusty purple base with gold-lime-aqua shifts,” in a completed eye look, it’s the lime that turns super bright and electric, which helps make the look pop.

In the double eye look photo, I have just Niello alone on the lids in the first look. The second look was created using the Clionadh Tropico Highlighter on the inner corner. The rest were used with the Natasha Denona Metropolis Palette with Ripe on the lower lash line, Enigma on the outer third of the eye, a tiny bit of Royal in the center (which didn’t add much to the look and I skipped it in my version on Instagram), and Lethal on the inner third as well as blending out most of the crease.

Glitter Vibrant Multichromes
in Empress and Noble

This formula combines the large glitter particle size of some of the shadows in the Glitter collection, as well as the bright base and “intense colour shifting reflects” of the Vibrants. I bought two of the five newly released shadows, but the shade Regal was introduced last year and shares the same formula. I don’t own that shade, so this is my first time experiencing this category of multichromes for myself.

This formula is the kind I will only apply damp or with the Nyx Glitter Primer (as demonstrated in the outdoor closed eye swatch picture). For the open and closed eye swatch worn indoors, I applied them to bare lids to show how this formula can be a bit flaky and messy without some sort of aid to keep it in place. Empress has “a pink-red base with pink-peach-gold-lime shifts,” which I can certainly see in the pan. It has a similar vibe to the shade Bronze Fountain, but with more emphasis on the pink, peach, and gold. The lime is subtler. I like this shade, but I still need to compare it to a lot of other shadows in my collection because I’m not sure how much more different this really is.

Based on the description of Noble as “a warm violet base with pink-peach-lime-aqua shifts,” it sounds like it’s meant to be the purple equivalent of Empress, but this color doesn’t shift as much. I knew that ahead of time, thanks to seeing swatches in advance on Clionadh’s Instagram, but I wanted it anyway. I figured pink-purple-aqua would still be a pretty combination, but the pink is so pale on me in certain lighting situations that it looks silvery. I really don’t like that aspect.

Glitter Multichrome in Etched

My current Glitter Multichrome collection after being whittled down. Etched is on the bottom right.

Quite a few shadows that I own in this formula ended up looking much different on my eyes than I expected. So, I ordered the shade I wanted most out of the eight new ones, and decided that if I still want others after I see how they look on more people, I can get them at that later date.

This shade is mainly blue, which rates low as an eye shadow color I like to wear, but because it has that beautiful pink-violet shift and it’s all with a purple base, I really wanted to get Etched anyway. It’s certainly pretty and even though I could have been fine without this shade and likely won’t use it regularly, I’m still happy to own it.

Vibrant Multichrome in Monarch

My Vibrant Multichromes with Monarch at the top.

Monarch was the only shade I wanted of the four new additions to the Vibrant Multichrome category. I am absolutely thrilled with it! It’s like a more orange toned version of what I wanted Bloodline to be on me. In fact, both Bloodline and Royalty have a silvery look to the shimmer on my eyes. I was so relieved to see that this did not happen with Monarch. The base color in this is red, but all that gold makes it look orange.

I can certainly see the gold shift and subtle bit of lime, but not the aqua described on the website. I don’t mind because the way it looks is gorgeous enough for me.

Deep Iridescent Multichrome in Citron

My Deep Iridescent Collection with Citron in the middle.

I only purchased one of the seven new DI Multichromes, but there are several more on my wishlist that I wanted and only stopped myself from getting them because the other shadows on my list seemed more color-shifting and unique. However, don’t be surprised if/when you see additional Deep Iridescent shadows in a future post!

All of the Deep Iridescents have a unique finish to them, as seen in the close-ups of the pan, and Citron is no different. Putting that shade on my eyes reminded me why it’s one of my favorite formulas from the Stained Glass Collection and I instantly regretted not taking the chance on getting more of them. I love how smoothly they apply and look on the eyes. Citron in certain situations looks quite unique because of that “cool taupe base with chartreuse-lime-aqua shifts,” but in the type of lighting I’m most commonly in, it reminds me yet again of Verte, which is part of this collection. More than just aqua, the shift in Citron looks borderline purple on me. Since, I love purples and greens anyway, I don’t mind. While it does remind me so much of Verte, the fact that Citron looks mainly chartreuse/lime when I’m outside keeps it distinctly different and justifiable to have both.

Hybrid Multichrome in Coat of Arms

My Hybrid Multichromes with Coat of Arms at the top.

This is one of the three new additions to the Hybrid category. I was interested in the others, but since the Hybrid formula is one of my least favorites in the Stained Glass Collection, I didn’t want to set myself up for disappointment and stuck to just one. Also, even though I say this is my least favorite formula, I clearly haven’t had the heart to declutter any of them, so that’s an indication of how much it’s a preference issue and not due to lack of quality.

Coat of Arms is certainly not as deep and rich on my eyes as I expected, but thankfully it’s still a very pretty color. I’m actually glad it’s not as dark as it looks in the pan because I was concerned it would be too similar to Tapestry or the Jewelled Multichrome Spire, but it turns out those other two lean much more on the blue side. It’s quite similar to how Shard looks on me, except that Shard has a warmer purple look to it, whereas Coat of Arms is deeper and the stronger blue shift gives it a cooler toned look to it. For a Hybrid Multichrome, I’m pleasantly surprised how much I like it. However, I feel quite certain I have shades like this in my collection, so I haven’t decided if getting this one was worth it.

Arm Swatch Videos and Photos

Sometimes it takes a long time to process in HD, so if for some reason it doesn’t load, here is the link to the unlisted YT short.

Closing

The only categories I did not purchase anything from were the Series 2 Iridescent Multichrome expansion and the newly released Pearlescent Multichromes.

As for the shadows I did purchase, I’m happy with my choices, though I still can’t help but want the few additional shades I had left on my wishlist. When I decide to look through my multichrome collection again to see if I have colors that are similar enough, perhaps I won’t feel that way. As I mentioned earlier in this post, I wanted to share the most important photos as soon as possible, but I also want to take my time enjoying this collection at a leisurely pace since I don’t think any other eyeshadows this year are going to top these. I want to have something new to look forward to trying out for weeks to come.

Thank you for reading and hopefully sharing in my excitement over these gorgeous multichromes! If you want to see my previous Clionadh reviews, I have links to them in this index post.

-Lili

One Size, Terra Moons, and Other April Purchases Reviewed

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

SEPHORA COLLECTION Microsmooth Multi-Tasking Baked Face Palette in Captivate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Patrick Ta Major Sculpt Contour Brush

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Farmacy 10% Waterless Vitamin C Serum

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dior Backstage Glow Face Palette in 002 Glitz

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

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

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

Florasis Floral Engraving Odey Makeup Palette (The Encounter)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Face Serum SPF 60+

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Lili

Celebrity Makeup Reviewed: Rose Inc, Rare Beauty, Haus Labs, etc.

I have no issues with influencer and makeup artist brands, but something about celebrity brands tend to be a turn off for me. With a makeup artist, the passion for makeup is obvious because they made it their career. With beauty influencers, they tend to have enough content on social media for people to be able to tell what their skill level/expertise is when it comes to beauty, as well as being able to see a pattern in their makeup preferences and whether or not it will align with the viewers. Regarding celebrities, I seldom know anything about why they decided to get into the makeup industry until they actually have their own collaborations or start their own brands. The situation with Iggy Azalea and Doja Cat who did hardly anything to promote their collabs with BH Cosmetics, despite Doja Cat at least being known for enjoying makeup, demonstrates how much of a cash grab celebrity involved makeup products can be. This doesn’t mean those brands will forever have mediocre products attributed to their names, like the case of Haus Labs with their terrible run on Amazon, but seemingly successful rebrand at Sephora. So, today I am analyzing a few products I got in 2021 and the first half of 2022 to see if my opinion on celebrity makeup brands and collabs will remain the same by the end of this review.

Rare Beauty

Rare Beauty Magnetic Spirit Eyeshadow Palette

I got this palette as a present from one of my friends. I was always drawn to the color story and had this on my list of things to eventually get, but after buying the MAC Tempting Fate Palette and Flower Beauty Jungle Lights palette, I felt those had too similar of shades for me to purchase this one. So, I skipped getting it, but I’m happy to have it now.

Because this and Jungle Lights are especially similar, I would recommend looking at that post for additional eye looks.

I really wish there were some mattes in this palette, but because the four center shades are satins, those can be used as mattes. The pink base in Ablaze doesn’t show as well on my skin tone, so I essentially use it as a topper shadow. The satins don’t crease, but Ablaze and Passion sometimes settle in the lines of my eyes. I personally prefer more sparkle in my lid shades, so as much as I like this palette and the colors within it, I actually recommend to those who have a similar eyeshadow style as me to get the Flower Beauty Jungle Lights Palette instead. Jungle Lights has less impressive packaging, but the tones in it are more flattering, give more pigment and sparkle intensity, and blend easier so that I can even custom mix shades. The formula of the Rare Beauty eye shadows are more traditional, so it’s not as versatile as the palette from Flower Beauty. It’s ironic that I recommend replacing one celeb item with another as Flower Beauty is also a celebrity brand, but founded by Drew Barrymore. Since Jungle Lights came out first, and several years ago, I wonder if Selena’s creative team was aware of that color story and chose to ignore the fact that they were creating something similar.

Overall, Rare Beauty is an exception to my viewpoint on celebrity makeup. I have enjoyed the liquid blushes in the past and have heard wonderful things about the other products in the line. I have no opinions about Selena Gomez personally, so that was never a selling point for me, and yet the brand’s marketing and product quality have left me with a very positive impression. Rare Beauty and Fenty Beauty have done things right and have set the bar for other celebrity brands.

Since I mentioned Flower Beauty already, I should probably explain that I like movies Drew Barrymore has been in, but that has never made me interested in her brand. The only products I own from the brand is the Jungle Lights palette, because it has been so hyped up, along with Blush Bomb Color Drops (aka the Glossier Cloud Paint dupes). I also bought one other item a long time ago, which I think was a powder blush. Whatever it was, I just remember that the powder quality was chalky and the shade was unflattering on my skin, so I returned it.

Rare Beauty Positive Light Liquid Luminizer Highlighters (Samples) in Transcend and Flaunt

As beautiful as liquid highlighters are, I rarely reach for them, which is why these were never on my list to try unless they got released in mini sets like Rare Beauty has done for the blushes and lip products in the past. I’m happy that I was able to try them because these have been hyped up a lot. What I really like about the formula is that these blend in nicely with my Smashbox Precise Highlighting Brush. I have time to blend it in before it dries fully. It captures that wet gleaming skin look that I love. It’s a bit more metallic than I usually go for, but it’s stunning to look at and I do occasionally like a blingy highlight.

I probably would not have chosen these two shades for myself, but they turned out to be great! Transcend is a rose gold shade, and I usually don’t like the look of pink toned highlighters on me, so I built up my blush in order to hopefully get the highlight to look more natural on me. I think that tactic worked! When it came time to try on Flaunt, I toned down the blush to the level I would normally wear it so I could see the true color of how this “bronze gold” shade would look on me. I think it also looks nice, though it would have been perfect if it was slightly darker. Also, I have to acknowledge that Flaunt doesn’t look quite as smooth because I applied too much and continued to try and blend it out after it had already started to dry. So it looks a little messier than when I tried on Transcend, but that’s user error and not a flaw of the highlighter.

As curious as I am to explore more of the highlighter shades, I’m sticking to my original resolve that I should not purchase makeup I’m not going to use up unless it’s for sale as a mini. It’s nice though!

For those interested in the blushes, I reviewed Joy and Love here.

Rose Inc

Rose Inc Blush Divine Cream Blush (Refill plus Samples) in Foxglove, Anemone, Azalea, and Dahlia

I initially wanted this as soon as it launched, but I saw reviews that this formula was a bit sticky, which is a feature of cream blushes I usually can’t stand. However, on Black Friday when Rose Inc had all products discounted on top of a $10 off promo code and free shipping, there was no way I could pass it up.

Had I known that I would actually like the formula and that this Foxglove shade would actually work on my skin tone, I would have purchased the version of it that came in an actual compact. I have empty magnetic palettes I could put it in, but for now, I’m content with the plastic clamshell and box to limit air exposure for the cream.

The other reviews I’ve seen were right about this having a sticky texture, but that issue is resolved with a little powder on top of it. In the powder set photo above, I used one that was too dark and covered up too much of the blush, but normally this does the trick. The only unfortunate aspect is that setting with powder loses the flattering dewy sheen that this blush naturally provides, so I would probably continue to wear it without being set for photos, but if I planned to be in public and concerned about accidentally touching my face, I would then set it with powder. It lasts all day and while I wouldn’t personally recommend it at full price considering the myriad of lower priced cream options, I do think this is nice and worth checking out on sale.

I should also note that between using a brush, sponge, and fingers, my preferred method is to use my fingers because I have a lot of control that way. Using a slightly damp sponge is also a great option for packing on the color and blending seamlessly. I don’t recommend using a brush though because that sticky texture coats the bristles and causes them to bunch up, which impedes on being able to get a nice blend on the skin.

This product can also be used on the lips, but I don’t like how it looks or feels on mine, so I use it exclusively on my cheeks. Foxglove is described as a warm terracotta, but it looks coral on my cheeks.

Since I’ve continued to be curious about the blushes, but they aren’t worth full price for me, I’m very happy to have this sample card to try. I’m particularly happy that I’ve been able to satisfy my curiosity about whether Anemone was the type of coral I could pull off or if it would be too light for me. It is indeed too light for me as I have to build it up to an unreasonable amount for it to show. I’m glad I chose Foxglove over Anemone when I was deciding which shade to get. I didn’t expect to like Azalea because it looked like a deep almost magenta pink and is described as a berry, but when used sparingly, Azalea just takes on a nice medium pink tone. It doesn’t look like the type of shade I identify as a berry color. As for Dahlia, which is described as a deep berry, it looks more like a deep red on my skin. If I use the same amount of Dahlia as I do of Azalea, it’s hard to tell a difference on camera, so I had to build up the color way past the amount I would normally use for the Dahlia photo below. I don’t like how Dahlia looks when built up, but I can attest to it being quite pretty when applied in a light layer.

Photo taken from Sephora’s website.

I find it fascinating that in the professional swatch photo, the biggest variation for how the shades look on the skin are on the deeper and paler arms. The swatches look so similar on the tan arm.
I believe the descriptions of the colors are represented most accurately on the darkest arm, so anyone lighter than that model should be prepared for the blushes to look a little different. Since I fall somewhere between the dark and medium/tan toned arm, I guess it makes sense that the blushes don’t quite match their descriptions on me. I ended up scraping out both sample cards of the blushes and putting the shades in small jars in order to continue using them!

I know Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is a model and I liked her in the Transformers movies, but that wasn’t enough to make me interested in her line. What caught my attention was the blush because I am a blush addict. I’ve heard nothing but great things about the other products she launched with, so I planned to continue to try more if there was anything that matched my makeup preferences and came in the kind of packaging that appealed to me. This post would have gone up in June, but then I surprised myself by purchasing the cream bronzer which I liked so much that I bought yet another item from the brand during their Friends and Family sale!

Rose Inc Solar Infusion Moisturizing Cream Bronzer in Seychelles (Returned) and Capri

I purchased Seychelles based on photos making it look far warmer and deeper than it actually is. Considering I had been successful with choosing the second to last shade of the Charlotte Tilbury Cream bronzers and Nars Laguna Cream bronzers, I thought maybe the third time would be the charm for the one from Rose Inc. That turned out to be a mistake. It’s too light for me, combined with being such a cool-tone leaning neutral, that it looks grey on me!
The same day that I purchased Seychelles, I saw the true color of the bronzer in this review and immediately realized that it was not going to work for me. I contacted Rose Inc to try and switch the shade in my order, but the customer service rep said it wasn’t possible to alter orders and that I could return it and get my correct shade instead. So, I did just that. The return process was easy and the two times I exchanged emails with customer service, I got responses back quickly and the reps were professional yet friendly. So, that’s another plus in my book for Rose Inc.

I never had Capri and Seychelles at the same time, so I don’t have photos of them next to each other, but I do have photos of them in comparison to those other cream bronzers I mentioned.

The photos of the Seychelles bronzer are worn on top of the Estee Lauder Hydra Futurist Foundation. The Capri bronzer demonstration photo on the left is on top of the Rose Inc Serum Foundation, and the one on the right is on top of the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Foundation (sample).

In three of the four different shade representations, Seychelles looked warm. It’s the main photo that shows how cool toned it is, but I thought maybe that was a difference in the lighting.

In any case, Capri was definitely the best color option for me. It has some reddish warmth to it that prevents it from looking like a contour. Although this is a good shade for me, it’s the darkest bronzer in their line, which I don’t think goes far enough on the spectrum. Charlotte and Nars have deeper options, and while Rose Inc is still “new,” I believe they should have an even darker option, especially since there are three shades darker than mine in the foundation, yet it’s doubtful Capri will work for those who wear those shades since I still have to build it up for it to work for me.

You can tell I really like a product when I’m extra passionate about the shade options because this is something I want everyone to be able to experience. The formula is very unique in that it looks emollient like a grease product in the container and doesn’t have the typical thick consistency of a cream, but it goes on the skin so smoothly like a medium coverage tint product. I expected a sticky feeling because of the consistency of the cream blush, but this bronzer actually dries down! It’s described as a cream to powder formula, but the finish doesn’t look powdery and still remains skin-like even when it’s fully dry. I like this so much! $36 is pricey, but I had a 15% off coupon and Rose Inc still periodically offers deals. Even if I paid full price, I think I would have felt this was still worth buying, so I do recommend it.

Rose Inc Skin Enhance Luminous Tinted Serum Foundation in 110

I made a spur of the moment decision to purchase the foundation for 25% off during the Friends and Family sale. I also added a free sample card of concealers to my order, which is how I was able to swatch and demonstrate what LX140, my closest match, looks like on me. I’m glad I was able to test it out because it’s thicker and tackier than I want in a concealer and the neutral shade looks off in the areas of my discoloration where I usually try to cover up. So, it would have been a bad purchase for me, despite the fact that I can build it up to full coverage, which is what I want most in a concealer. LX140 is described as a neutral, and as seen in the swatch next to my go-to KVD concealer in the swatches above, it’s the right depth, but I do need golden warmth for it to match the undertone of the rest of my face. LX130, which would be too light for my style, is a warm golden shade, but the next shade up with that undertone is LX170 which is definitely too dark for me. Also, it creases on me like crazy if I don’t set it with powder. Even still, the lines under my eyes get emphasized more than I’m comfortable with after about an hour or two of wear. So, the concealer really isn’t for me.

The serum foundation is a product that solidified for me that Rose Inc was a brand I should take seriously. I almost always avoid low coverage products because they are either the wrong depth or the wrong undertone, enough to look terrible on me despite the fact that lower coverage products are supposed to accommodate several different shades per color option. I also don’t like them because they don’t do enough to cover my hyperpigmentation, and I prefer buying a medium to full coverage foundation that I can choose to wear sparingly to easily achieve the same effect, whereas it’s harder to build up something sheer. So, what possessed me to spend the $40 discounted price on something I normally hate? My positive experiences with other Rose Inc products was a contributing factor, in addition to the hype of people raving about it and saying it’s a dupe to the $65 Chanel Les Beiges Water-Fresh Complexion Touch. Angelica Nyqvist might be the most responsible with her description of it as, “Your skin looks luminous and fresh like you just applied skincare and for some reason your skincare made you look flawless.”

Like the Chanel, it works best if it’s squirted out on the back of the hand or onto a mixing palette and “crush” the pigment into the rest of the serum to mix the two together. I’ve been using my Sonia G Fusion brushes with this to work the product into my skin by using one pump at a time for a total of 2-3 pumps for my entire face. The foundation feels cooling when I initially apply it and it feels as hydrating as it looks. I have worn it without primer and loved the results. I’ve also worn it with the Benefit Porefessional Lite primer and my sunscreen and those three products played well together. I was concerned that too many moisturizing products on my face might cause an issue with transfer or looking too dewy, but it still dried down. In the Capri bronzer section where I’m wearing the headband, there are visible sweat beads on my forehead because the air-conditioner broke that day and it was 85 F degrees in the house while I was taking photos. In that picture, plus the last three blush demonstration photos, I was not wearing any powder on my face. In the photo below, I barely set my forehead, but it’s a more accurate representation of what this foundation looks like in normal circumstances when I’m not boiling. Even while sweaty though, I was impressed with how long wearing it is and that there was low transfer. I have dry skin, so that could be a factor for how well the foundation holds up.

No-makeup makeup look using the Rose Inc Tinted Serum Foundation in 110, a sample of the Softlight Luminous Hydrating Concealer in LX140 under my eyes and on the discoloration on either side of my chin, Anemone and Dahlia blushes mixed on the cheeks, and the Solar Infusion Moisturizing Cream Bronzer in Capri. I applied the barest layer of powder to my forehead area.

It really does look like I’m just having the best skincare day. It’s as if my hyperpigmentation faded, or I got a facial and graduated to drinking eight glasses of spa water a day. Sometimes, when I don’t feel like putting on a full face, I’ve worn this foundation without even concealer, just to look slightly more put together while on video chat with my boyfriend. I’m so impressed with this and while I’ve rediscovered my love of no-makeup makeup looks, I will definitely be using this a lot in my down time. For blog purposes, however, I prefer to use my other foundations in order to not distract from the products I’m showing off if my discoloration is peeking through. I’m also working on using up my tube of Estee Lauder’s Futurist Hydra Foundation. In fact, I recently tried using 2 pumps of the Rose Inc Foundation as a primer underneath one pump of the EL Futurist Hydra for extra coverage. I immediately set it with powder since it was a hot day and I looked instantly too dewy for my liking, but that combination plus the powder was pretty!

Part of the Rose Inc identity is “Clean” beauty, and that’s a topic that isn’t important to me. I don’t mind if they want to advertise being clean as long as the formula is stable, effective, and won’t expire on me too quickly. They also care about sustainability with their packaging and like to include skincare positive ingredients. Those last two are a nice bonus for me, so I thought it was something I should mention.

Victoria Beckham Beauty

Victoria Beckham Beauty Cheeky Posh: Cream Blush Stick in Miniskirt

I really like the shade of this blush, but this purchase was also made for the gorgeous, weighty tortoiseshell packaging. Miniskirt is incredibly similar to Fenty Beauty’s Rose Latte, which is why I kept talking myself out of getting this since I already own several similar shades, but when I saw it available on Mercari for a great price and having only been swatched once, I bought it.

The best way to use this is to swipe the stick directly onto the cheeks and blend it out with the fingers. This formula looks pigmented, but when I start to work it into my cheeks it blends away to nothing and I have to use a ridiculous amount of product to build it back up when I use any other method. It blends away with a sponge if I try it on my cheeks. Getting the blush off the back of my hand and onto my face loses half the product. Trying to swipe it directly onto the sponge or the bristles of the brush also keeps half the product from going onto my cheeks. Sometimes swiping a cream stick product directly on the skin can remove the product underneath, but this one doesn’t do that, which is why using it that way ended up being the best application method for me.

This blush transfers, but it’s minimized if I set it with powder. I like this and will continue to use it, but the luxury packaging and experience is the biggest selling point. Prior to owning this, I really wanted the shade Rollerskate as well, but I’m content to just having one now. However, it did re-spark my interest in the brand’s Matte Bronzing Brick.

Victoria Beckham has cultivated her image for so long as a fashion, style, and classy icon that it seems perfectly natural that her brand took on that same image and became associated with quality and luxury. I was definitely sold on the packaging, but I was still skeptical on the quality front. I’m happy to know that at least this product is good, even though I prefer blushes with more pigmentation. It’s just a matter of whether that quality is worth the price, which I don’t think it is without also factoring in that luxury packaging.

Haus Labs (via Amazon and Sephora)

I was glad to hear that Haus Labs was rebranding through Sephora because I haven’t had the best experience with them while they were Amazon exclusives. I felt that the quality of the products that I reviewed here was nothing special, which was a let down considering the brand’s prices are on the high side of mid-tier. I have since learned that the final Amazon collection, Italian Glam/Casa Gaga, has better quality makeup and packaging than the previous ones. However, Haus Labs raised the prices to account for that improvement and Amazon’s handling of these items is atrocious. The highlighter was off the mesh when I opened the compact. The only surprising part was that it broke off in one solid piece considering the unicarton was dented inside the unpadded poly mailer it came in that’s supposed to be used to ship clothes, not a breakable item. Either the delivery driver dropped it or it was mishandled in the warehouse. It’s at least a good thing that all Haus Labs products come in a thin protective bubble pouch no matter if they end up being shipped in a cardboard box, bubble mailer, or poly mailer.

Weeks later, when I ordered the Spritz blush, they sent me one that someone else had returned to Amazon and already used! The sticker around the unicarton that has to be torn in order to lift the flap was already ripped open. There was a layer of product around the gold rim and the imprint was slightly worn down where it says “Gaga” on the blush compared to “Casa.” Even though I’ve purchased pre-owned makeup before, I think anyone would be displeased if they paid for a new item and received a used one instead. The upside to the mistakes is that they accidentally included the Bellini blush in my box (yes, the products smaller than the highlighter even came in a box). I would never have ordered Bellini because I didn’t think it would show up on me, but it does and it’s pretty.

The left photo shows the thin protective bubble pouch, along with the poly mailer bag they chose to deliver the highlighter in, rather than using a box, or at least a fully padded bubble mailer. The right photo shows the sticker that covers the unicarton flap and easily indicates whether or not the product has been opened. Perhaps these kind of mistakes are the result of Amazon overworking and underpaying their employees.

So, for anyone still ordering Haus Labs products through Amazon, be prepared for the possibility of there being issues. These items are eligible for being returned for a refund, but I hate returning things, and I felt bad already for having returned the newly relaunched highlighter to Sephora. I’ll discuss more on that later.

Haus Labs Casa Gaga Tutti Gel-Powder Blushes in Amarone, Spritz, and Bellini

I have three of the four blushes in the line. These are a baked gel-powder formula made in Italy. They are rich in color, but very thin, so they still need to be built up a bit on my cheeks. I also need to dip back in the compact repeatedly because the blush is not easy to pick up with a brush unless it’s made of sturdy bristles. I’ve used this with my Chikuhdo FO-2, which is dense with a wide surface area that allows me to get more product onto my face than a traditionally shaped blush brush. I also have used the Smashbox Precise Blush Brush because the medium-heavy packed synthetic bristles can easily get through that compressed layer. I certainly have had no success using my grey squirrel brushes with them, and am only successful with Saikoho if the brush is medium density and up. Sokoho and Sokoho-mix brushes work decently depending on how tightly it is bundled. So, I recommend using dense brushes in either synthetic or a durable type of natural bristles.

Amarone applied in 3-4 layers with the Sonia G Cheek Pro.

Spritz applied in three layers with the Hakuhodo x Hello Kitty Slide Face Brush L Round & Flat.

Bellini applied in five layers with the Smashbox Precise Blush Brush.

These blushes have a satin finish and a long wear time with or without foundation. I don’t usually have an issue though with powder blushes fading on me before I’m ready to remove my makeup. As for the shades, I like the tone of red in Amarone and the peachy brown of Bellini the most. Spritz, which I was initially attracted to the most, is quite bright on the skin if built up too much. It’s actually very close in color to Pat Mcgrath’s Electric Bloom.

These blushes are intended to be used on the lips as well, but it looks horrendous if you have any spots that need exfoliating. The fact that it’s a powder doesn’t help dry lips look any better. What I tried to do for the pictures below is to apply balm to my lips, pat the blush on the lips with my finger, wipe my finger on a towel, and then pat more blush on until I get the desired amount of color. I only attempted this for blog testing purposes and will not be bothering to use the Casa Gaga blushes in this way. It doesn’t have lasting power and was completely gone after a meal. Amarone is kind of pretty, but Bellini just reminded me of how the Rose Inc Foxglove blush looked on my lips. I did not try out Spritz because I will never put a stranger’s used product on my lips, no matter how much I spray it down with alcohol. That’s where I draw the line.

I like the blushes a lot, but because I’m so satisfied with these, I don’t think I’d be interested in buying the ones that are bound to be released in the future via Sephora.

Haus Labs By Lady Gaga Bio-Radiant Gel-Powder Highlighter in Fire Opal

This highlighter is the only product I bought from the brand’s relaunch collection at Sephora. Considering all the previous Haus Labs products I purchased were between 50-70% off, I can’t help but be a little turned off by their pricing. I understand that their high price could actually be worth it now, due to shelving space at Sephora, the “Clean Beauty” formulas (which is an aspect I honestly care nothing about), and the upgraded packaging. The latter is the one that I can get behind the most, but with a price point that is competing with the likes of Natasha Denona, Charlotte Tilbury, Hourglass, etc. my expectations were high.

Gel-powder formulas are my favorite and I absolutely loved the new Haus Labs packaging in its shiny shifting opalescent color. I also thought the tone of orange was stunning and out of all the swatches on the website, I thought that the Fire Opal shade was prettiest on every skin tone. So, I expected this shade to be a slam dunk, but it’s sparkly! Broken record here, but I hate sparkly highlighters. It has the wet effect look at certain angles that I love, but what’s the point of a highlighter looking like natural gleaming skin if it’s going to be paired with very obvious glittery looking particles? It also just looks yellow on me, like Fenty’s Trophy Wife, instead of golden orange. I barely get any base color and had to use my hog bristle brush to dig deeper into the powder to get a bit of that fiery coral orange, but it wasn’t strong enough to overpower the yellow shimmer. I even attempted to mix it with PML’s Electric Bloom to mimic the base color of Fire Opal, but it wasn’t successful.

I decided to return this because of how expensive it is for something I’d never use again, and I already own the very similar looking (on the skin) Clionadh Tropico highlighter. In addition, I was on a losing streak of every new product being wrong for me in some way. I couldn’t keep absorbing the cost, so Fire Opal not working out for me was the last straw.

I attempted two wear tests for the sake of the review, and both times I had issues with the highlighter staying on my face for longer than six hours. So, this product was a complete fail for me.

Haus Labs Casa Gaga Tutti Gel-Powder Highlighter in Luce Del Sol

After the disaster that was the newest range of highlighters from the brand at Sephora, I grew curious as to whether the one from Amazon would be better for me. I had originally heard rave reviews about Luce del Sol and couldn’t remember hearing anyone say it was glittery, but the price always stopped me from getting it. Once the price was dropped, my interest returned. I had tried and enjoyed the blushes by then and considering they shared the same formula, I was willing to give it a shot.

I certainly like this highlighter more than Fire Opal! It’s slightly lighter than I go for, but I just have to make sure I blend it in properly. It has that wet look when it hits the light that I like. It still has a slight sparkle to it, and emphasizes texture a little bit, but nowhere near as much as the other formula! Depending on the brush I use, this can sometimes look like the shimmer is spaced out too far apart for my liking, but then I just spray my face and apply another light layer of highlighter on top to meld it into my skin. Essentially, the dewier my skin is, the more I like it on me. The shine dulls a tiny bit towards the end of the night, but it’s still very present all day. I like it, but the listed price is still too high. Around $30 is more reasonable.

The blushes have a list price of $32 each at 3.5 grams and the highlighter is $42 for 12 grams of product.

As much as I like the blushes and don’t mind having small ones because I’ll never use up a typical full size blush, the price still needs to be adjusted if there’s that little product. $25 would still be pricey to me, but more reasonable for what the customer gets. To be fair, it’s about the equivalent ppg to the Huda Beauty GloWish blushes.

I’m happy that I didn’t pay full price for the Haus Labs at Amazon products. The Casa Gaga ones specifically helped improve my perception of the brand, but I cannot ignore the quality of their older launches. After my experience with the highlighter from the rebrand, I’ve lost interest in trying anything else from them.

BH Cosmetics

Iggy Azalea x BH Cosmetics Sponge

This purchase was discounted to $3 and I bought it purely to meet a free shipping minimum on BH Cosmetics’ website. This was before the announcement that the brand was filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy and that Revolution Beauty would be acquiring the brand. I like a few of Iggy Azaela’s songs but that wasn’t enough to make me interested in anything from this 90’s throwback collection (and apparently a ton of people felt the same way). This launch was a flop, but I can attest to the sponge actually being a great purchase. It’s super soft and works just as well as the original Beautyblender for a fraction of the cost. It’s also an incredible deal that this sponge also comes with a case, considering most cases cost more than what I paid for this duo. I’m glad that it has the flat side and pointy side like the Real Techniques Sponges (but less firm). The only downside is that I have a harder than usual time keeping this free of makeup stains, but considering the swirl pattern on this sponge, it looks naturally splotchy anyway.

Doja Cat x BH Cosmetics Flora Blush Trio in Rose

I believe this collection did slightly better than the Iggy Azealea one, and it had a round 2 release, although I’m not sure if that was already agreed upon contractually or if the first did well enough to create round 2 afterwards. I personally suspect it was in the contract. In any case, there were three blush trios in the launch. I bought two, but gave one away. I chose to keep this palette because of that reddish-brown blush with the golden shimmer, which is the type of color I love. The formula is extremely thin though on these blushes, so I have to build up this shade using a dense flat top brush or one of my goat hair workhorse brushes like the Sonia G Cheek Pro. It’s quite pretty though, despite being immensely subtle on me. The darker of the two pink blushes isn’t my favorite tone, but it at least shows on my skin and is slightly more opaque, though it still requires building. As for the lightest blush in the trio, I didn’t bother taking a photo wearing it considering it’s practically white in my arm swatch and definitely only suited for pale to light skin tones. It does have some shimmer to it, but it does not work as a highlighter for me. Overall, I’m not very impressed with the quality of these blushes. I have better from within BH’s own brand, not that they were ever my favorite to begin with, so I can’t recommend these, no matter how low the price is.

I thought that this post would help me decide whether I should be more open minded to makeup associated with celebrities, but even though I had a good experience with some of these, I can think of so many celebrity lines I happily skipped. If anything, I think I did a good job of picking and choosing which ones to try, which is more of a reflection on knowing my own tastes and less about the celebrity brands. So, in the end, not much changed my viewpoint except that I have a slightly higher opinion of Rare Beauty and Victoria Beckham Beauty. The biggest change was my opinion of Rose Inc earning my respect and successfully making me want to try a few more items from the brand if they expand their shade range of current and future products. If even one product I tried after the blush was a dud, I would have lost interest again in Rose Inc, so it’s only because they put so much thought and innovation into their products that I now see the brand in such a great light. I cannot say that this is the norm for celebrity involved makeup.

That’s everything for this post, but after I finished my final draft I came across a video on YouTube by Mina Le who discussed this topic of the over saturation of celebrity brands. I’m always getting recommended videos by Mina, but this is the first one I’ve watched. I find the sections on the environmental impact, power of celebrity, and downfall sections to be particularly interesting.

-Lili

Suqqu Autumn/Winter 2022 Collection Review

In my previous and fairly recent Suqqu post, I praised the brand for taking some risks with adding more colorful options as well as deeper toned ones. They finally released quads that are my type of color stories, although I typically purchase formulas with stronger pigmentation and sparkle. I also was thrilled to see one of their ombre blushes in a tone that would easily work for me. For that reason, I couldn’t be any more selective when narrowing down what to buy.

I placed the Suqqu order when it launched from Selfridges, and the package arrived on July 25th. I normally test out products for much longer, but considering several items are limited edition, I wanted to make sure I posted this review while most products are still available. At this time, a few lipsticks and two of the three eyeliner shades have sold out.

Suqqu Signature Color Eyes Palettes in 09 Kaorikaze and 117 Akiurei

As usual, my swatches are done with a finger on bare skin. This time, however, I built up 1-3 swipes of each eyeshadow. The left photo was taken without flash and the right photo has flash on.

There are four quads in the collection and I purchased the two most colorful options. Akiurei is the only one listed as limited edition. This is my first time experiencing Suqqu eyeshadows and I am so impressed by how easy the mattes are to use! No matter what brush I used or which primer, I was able to get the soft blended look I wanted. However, if I had to choose a preference on which primer to use, it would be the MAC Paint Pot because its texture aids the ability to spread the shadows across the eyes. It is hard to tell how pigmented the mattes are based on color #4 being so close to my skin tone from the Akiurei palette, but it’s more apparent with the deep green matte from Kaorikaze that the mattes have a decent amount of pigment and opacity to them.

When it comes to the shimmers, that’s where the struggle occurred. I fully expected them to be soft and for the sparkle to not be very reflective, but I was unprepared for the trouble getting the shadows to stick to my eyes. It’s especially strange since my eyelids tend to be oily, so I don’t usually get that problem. Shadow #1 from Kaorikaze was the most difficult of the bunch and would not stick to my eyes, even if I wet my brush, unless I used Nyx Glitter Primer. Shadow #1 from Akiurei had better sticking power on the center of the lid, but still needed the Nyx product for the inner corners. With the majority of shimmer shadows in my collection, using my finger to apply a shadow or using a damp brush is enough to make a lid shade pop. However, the Nyx Glitter Primer was the only thing that successfully intensified the looks of these shadows and increased the longevity on my eyes.

Going back to the topic of wetting my brush, when I tried to build up shade #2 in the Akiurei quad and dipped back into the pan to add layers and intensify the look I was creating, it left a dark splotch in the pan that made me concerned about ruining that satin duochrome and turning the shadow muddy. I was already having issues with the brown being so dominant and the subtle green flecks only appearing at the perfect angle in the light. So, I scraped off the top layer to salvage it. This also occurred with the sparkling duochrome lilac pink shade from the other quad, so I decided to just never use Suqqu eye shadows wet again.

In order to draw more attention to the duochromatic nature of Akiurei #2, I like putting the sparkly pink shimmer in the center of the lid because that catches the eye first, and then I notice the green flip right next to it.

Shadows #2 and #3 from Kaorikaze are the most pigmented of the shimmers. They are coincidentally the only ones I don’t feel forced to use with Nyx Glitter Primer. As I mentioned before, I do like intense eyeshadows, but I was fully prepared for these to be almost like a wash of color. Technically the pigment level is satisfactory to me, but the inability for most of them to stick to my lids is how they end up blending away and appearing far more subtle than I prefer. So, using them with the tacky primer is how I feel they should normally look. This is especially the case with Shade #3 from Akiurei that has less of a sticking issue than some of the others, but it has a problem with the pretty sage green dulling down tremendously and losing all shine very quickly unless it has help from the primer.

There are a few additional points I have left to make regarding the quads. One is that the applicators and brushes included in the compact actually work well. I usually get rid of them, but decided to try these for the sake of the review and was quite surprised to see how useful they were for getting in the inner corners, building up color precisely, and blending. I’m actually planning to keep them in case I travel with one of the Suqqu palettes. Second, is the fact that these compacts are sturdier than the single blushes and feel more like Suqqu’s 6 pan blush/highlighter compacts. It’s still lightweight, but about twice the thickness of the individual blush compacts.
The third thing I discovered is that there are holes in the back of the quad that make it easy to pop out the eyeshadow pans. I did not test out whether the pans are magnetic or if they are capable of sticking to the palette on their own. What I can say, is that they come glued down, but every pan was wobbling when I rubbed my finger in them to do swatches. The glue in both of my quads were like a super sticky version of Vaseline. I wish I knew what this type of glue is called and whether it’s supposed to be so easy to remove and feel so creamy. When I took them out, they were not straight off the truck and hadn’t been anywhere near sunlight. It was probably two days after being delivered. While it’s true that we’re in the thick of Florida’s Summer heat, I doubt my bedroom is hot enough to melt solidified glue. So, I can only assume this is a special kind.

This feature made it easy for me to be able to swap the matte shades between the quads. The moment I saw them, I thought to myself that it was such a shame that the green matte wasn’t with the green leaning quad that I needed more depth from, and that the brown wasn’t with the colorful quad to be able to help ground it. I can see the reasons why they were chosen for each quad, but I preferred to have them swapped, and I am much happier with how I’ve rearranged them now!

Eye looks using the rearranged mattes over MAC Paint Pot and Nyx Glitter Primer on the lids for both.

Swapping the mattes now gives me the complete Granny Smith Apple Orchard color story I wanted and the Changing Leaves Full Autumnal quad I was going for. The brown paired with the leafy shades makes the most sense to me because, where I live, if our leaves ever change colors it goes from green to brown. We don’t get the gorgeous yellows, reds, and oranges.

These eyeshadow compacts from Suqqu are thankfully not at the Tom Ford or Guerlain price point, but the converted price is similar to Charlotte Tilbury quads, which are still expensive in my eyes. For that reason, I can’t fully recommend these because they are only really working for me while I’m in my current “subtle-isn’t-so-bad” phase. Needing to use these with two primers to suit me better and the inconsistent longevity issues are fairly big cons. The soft, fine, eyeshadow texture that will be especially flattering for those with lined/mature eyes is quite the pro in Suqqu’s favor though. All I can say is that finding fixes (for the most-part) to get what I wanted from these quads is why I am happy to have them, but I don’t foresee myself purchasing anymore in the future. I wanted to experience what Suqqu shadows were like, and now I have.

Suqqu Pure Color Blush in 132 Momijigari

I don’t believe every Pure Color Blush has a satin-matte side paired with the shimmer on the right side of the compact, but mine turned out to be that way. I am so enthralled by the tone of red of this blush. The overall appearance gives me Pink Lady/Gala Apple vibes that puts me in the Fall spirit, which isn’t easy to do for this Floridian.

I love the red side, and I had assumed the shimmery portion that can be used as highlighter would match the yellow of my skin tone and be a great pairing. However, the yellow color is lighter than it appears in the pan and has a whitish base to it, which makes it look super contrasting on my skin. I cannot use it alone. Instead, I mix some of the yellow with the red edge that connects the two shades and it essentially turns into a pink. When that mix is applied over the blush, it creates a subtle gradient where the pink meets the red blush. And because the combination removes most of the ashy tone from the yellow, it allows the highlighting effect to come from the sparkle and not the stark base. Granted, the shimmer itself is still white/silver, so it’s not as flattering on me as a yellow gold tone would be. However, I think I can pull it off when using this technique. It’s not too crazy and I’m happy that it’s at least wearable. I have the option to use it if I want.

As it stands, Suqqu’s blushes continue to be my favorite products from the brand and I absolutely recommend them! The Pure Color Blushes and Melting Powder Blushes are soft, easy to use, blend effortlessly into the skin, and are decently pigmented at the start but can be built up several notches more. They’re also long lasting on my skin and don’t look powdery or dry. There are still great quality blushes on the market for a lower price. These aren’t infinitely better than my other favorites, but they are among my top favorites and it’s at least nice to know that a luxury product isn’t just desirable for the packaging and that it has a great formula to go along with it.

Some interesting last minute things I want to add is that the Pure Color Blush came in this plastic piece inside the unicarton, which I believe is intended to keep it secure during the shipping process. The Melting Powder Blushes didn’t have that.

Also, the components are the same size and weight, but the Melting blushes have a magnetic closure and the Pure Color blushes come with a click to open button that snaps back into place when closed.

That’s all for today! I was in a rush to post this at my regularly scheduled time, so I hope I included all the important information I intended to share. If I think of anything else, I will update this post.

Thank you for reading!

-Lili

Testing Out More From Tarte Cosmetics

The Shape Tape Concealer has been the only makeup product from Tarte that I have loved and recommended, but it’s not the only Tarte Product in my collection. For example, I had the Tarte Tarteist PRO Remix Amazonian Clay Palette for well over a year as a gift from a friend, yet I hadn’t even swatched it since getting it even though I’ve always been curious about Tarte’s eyeshadow formula. So, today, I’ll be reviewing several products I acquired last year from Tarte that I haven’t spoken about or even used until now. The Amazonian Best of Cheek Set from last year’s holiday release was supposed to be on this list, but I reviewed that in May, so the Amazonian Clay Blushes finally join Shape Tape as another recommended favorite.

Tarte Tarteist PRO Remix Amazonian Clay Palette

I noticed a chocolate scent as soon as I opened the palette, which surprised me because I wasn’t aware that it’s a common feature of Tarte eyeshadows. It’s apparently supposed to be a vanilla smell, but it smells exactly like Too Faced Chocolate Bar palettes to me.

Another thing that shocked me is the quality of these eyeshadows! I know Tarte has a very dedicated fan base (how else would they be able to sell the same palette slightly tweaked over and over again), but I thought they just loved the neutral aspect. I didn’t realize the shadows were genuinely good! The shimmers don’t have that high intense sparkle to them that I’ve come to enjoy, but they are still shimmery enough, pigmented, smooth, and easy to apply. The mattes are soft and two are blendable. I wish I had more of them in this palette because there are only three: Mixed Media which I can only use to brighten the look or blend out edges, Wall Art which barely shows on my skin and also only works to soften the edges of shades, and Ink which is a stubborn to blend black shadow that requires using the tiniest amount, blending, then slowly continue to build and blend. Working with Ink is too tedious for me. So, I sorely miss having some mattes to use in my crease that will actually show.

I enjoyed this palette so much that I instantly wanted to buy more. However, I remembered that Tarte stepped out of their metaphorical box with this palette and have barely made anymore like it. The most colorful palette they’ve made since that time which almost had my interest is the Tartelette Juicy Amazonian Clay Palette, but Tarte caught me at a time when I’m still sick of pinks, despite how beautiful the shades look. When or if they make a palette that suits my tastes, I won’t hesitate to purchase it.

tarte SEA Breezy Cream Bronzer in Grace Bay and Sunset Beach

I purchased these from Tarte’s website during two different sales. There are three shades in total and they got very little hype, which surprises me because I think this is a solid cream bronzer formula. There’s nothing extraordinary about them, but they do get the job done. They last on me all day and are easy to blend if I use the right brush and don’t spread out the product too far. They’re not transfer-proof, but they set nicely with powder on top and aren’t sticky to the touch.

I typically apply a minute amount of Sunset Beach first, the darkest shade that did not make it to Sephora’s site, to chisel my face because it’s deep enough to have a major contouring effect on me. Then I apply Grace Bay on top to warm it up. Grace Bay is essentially a warmer version of my skintone, so it barely adds any depth. Between the two shades, I can bronze, contour, and brontour. As much as I like them, they take a backseat to the Danessa Myricks cream bronzer and the cream sculpting shade in the Kaja Play Bento trios, so it wasn’t the best decision ordering both even at the reduced price. I managed to get Sunset Beach for 50% off, and at that price I’d recommend these.

Tarte Blush Authority Amazonian Clay Cheek Wardrobe (Holiday 2020)

Rumor has it that Tarte’s holiday blushes aren’t good unless they are the Amazonian Clay formula. This was the main reason, aside from the shade options, that I avoided getting Tarte’s blush/highlighter/bronzer sets despite their great value for the price. This ongoing reputation probably contributed to Tarte’s inability to sell them all at the end of 2020, and even when I bought this in September of 2021 for 50% off, it didn’t sell out until sometime between May and June of 2022.

The shades in the gold compact seemed the least likely to work for me, so I decided to give that one to a friend and just try out the rose gold and purple compacts. Frosted Frappe is a beautiful pink-gold shade that I can only pull off if I use the tiniest amount. I didn’t expect to like it, but it’s a very interesting tone and surprisingly better than the highlighter in the 2021 Holiday Set. The only downside is that it’s not the most flattering on texture and I don’t consider myself as having that big of an issue with texture on my skin, so noticing it says a lot.

Photo showing many different Tarte products applied to my face.

I didn’t bother showing what Sweet Cheeks looks like on the skin because it doesn’t show on me at all. Sugar & Spice gives a faint flush if I build up the hell out of it. I do like it though.

Please ignore the mask indent on my cheek. This is the Sugar & Spice Blush built up heavily.

Into You doesn’t show on my cheeks. Yours Truly is a slightly darker duper for Nars Orgasm and I would use it as a highlighter if the shimmer was more finely milled. The metallic nature of it isn’t flattering on texture. Lastly, Playtime is my favorite of the bunch because it actually shows on me the most and isn’t as bright as I expected from the way it looks in the pan.

I have some longevity issues with these blushes and they are a bit dusty, so I don’t believe they are as good of quality as the Amazonian Clay ones. I might still reach for these every so often, but I did learn that I should probably not get Tarte’s basic blush formula again, nor their highlighters.

Tarte Merry Metals Brush Set

This set was a gift from my friend in 2020 that I only started to test out at the end of March because the bristle splay of those head shapes looked less functional than I like. I really hope she doesn’t see this post because I appreciate the gift, and the handles are all durable and high quality, but the brush heads are flawed.

I remember being so impressed with Tarte brushes up until 2017. They were all the right densities, soft but still with some resilience, and not scratchy. I never had issues with shedding. They actually gave natural hair brushes a run for their money. Where I started to see a decline was the Unicorn horn-handle set of brushes that had inconsistencies of the dye, spots I could see glue, and other minor flaws. However, even those brushes I thought were still pretty good and I still continued to recommend Tarte brushes as synthetic options. So, I was quite shocked with this new experience of bristles that feel barely above old school cheap synthetic fibers before advancements were made.

This brush blends decently, but the trade off is the scratchiness! I don’t consider myself as having sensitive skin around my eyes, but this is too much for me. While it’s true that I’ve gotten used to doing my eyeshadow with high grade goat hair brushes with uncut tips, I still use one or two synthetic eye brushes on a weekly basis and none of them feel like this on my skin. If I was younger, I’d probably use it anyway, but with the collection that I have, there’s no reason for me to subject myself to skin irritation unnecessarily.

This is the best brush in the set, and it’s just okay. It’s bundled to medium density, which makes it the thickest and second most dense one out of the set. This characteristic compensates for the fact that these bristles don’t pick up powder that well, so I can at least get a medium amount of product onto my face per dip into the pan. I can get a little more buffing action out of this brush than the others. The tighter bundle also keeps the brush from splaying as much as the others, so I can have a bit more control and precision for blush, bronzer, and all-over powdering of the face. It feels softer than the others purely because I don’t have to use as much pressure to blend, which means I can hold the brush further back when I use it, which also means there isn’t enough pressure for the bristles to scratch my face. With more pressure, this brush still feels soft at first, but by the time I’m finished buffing, it feels like I just dry-brushed/physically exfoliated my face. Even though this is the most useful of the five, I’d reach for my Real Techniques brushes over this one every time.

Despite the pinched ferrule, this brush is way too loosely packed to be used for anything but a super blendable bronzer or face powder. The bristles being so long, combined with the loose bundling, makes it too floppy and flimsy that I can’t even properly clean the tips onto my microfiber towel between uses. I can only effectively clean off the very tips and not slightly higher, which causes color to be re-deposited onto my face since the wide splay causes so much of the fibers past the tips to be exposed to my face. I tend to use brushes for multiple purposes, so this is a nightmare to try and switch between using it for bronzer then blush without muddying up the cheek and then switching to face powder without getting the pink blush remnants all over the face. In order to try and get a better clean, I’ve tried grabbing the base of the bristles myself and squeezing them together to get the bristles to stand upright without flopping around while I rubbed them on the cloth. This still didn’t feel satisfactory, so I held the brush and put the cloth over the tips and tried to gently squeeze and rub the ends with the cloth like I would if I was getting excess water out of the bristles of a freshly washed brush, but when I did that, it felt like I almost yanked the whole thing out of the ferrule. It’s just an absolutely poorly bundled and constructed brush head.

The state of the Large Powder Brush after two uses.

The reason I don’t recommend this with blush is because of the huge splay and inability to blend properly, so if I were to keep using this brush I would make a decision on whether to use it exclusively for bronzer or exclusively for powder so that I wouldn’t be mixing shades and need to clean off the color in-between uses.

With only light pressure, the splay becomes too wide for me to enjoy this with blush.

The one thing this brush has going for it is the fact that it’s impossible to be scratchy when using because applying pressure makes the bristles practically go flat, so I have no choice but to hold the brush further back on the handle in order to use it. For this reason, I find the best use for this brush would be all over face powder where blending isn’t needed as much and low product pick up is generally a good thing. This brush is recommended by Tarte to be used with loose powder anyway.
I think no one would be shocked to learn I have no intention of using this brush again.

We’re back to another scratchy brush. I guess it’s fitting since it’s basically just a larger version of the blending brush.

I like to apply highlighter as lightly as possible, so at least in this instance, I can use it in a way that keeps things soft. Because this doesn’t pick up much product, and I wouldn’t want to do much blending with it, it’s best with lightly pressed and more powdery highlighters. With thicker formulas or ones harder to pick up, I don’t feel like I get an even coating on my brush which makes for inconsistent application sometimes. The imprecision is a big issue for me since it makes the fact that I have highlighter on even more obvious and goes against the more natural look I try to create, so I will also not be using this brush again.

This is the only truly dense brush in the set and comically one of the most dense shader brushes I have in my collection, next to my other Tarte flat shader brush from the Make Believe In Yourself Magic Wands Brush Set (unicorn handles). It’s also not a bad brush. It picks up a decent amount of product that I’m able to not only pack on shadows with, but also line my eyes and add definition to the crease. If I clean off the brush and turn it on it’s side, I can also use windshield wiper motions to blend with it as well. It’s minimally scratchy (or at least the area I use this brush on isn’t as sensitive) so this is actually a brush I could see myself continuing to use. The only reason I likely won’t is because I still have my natural hair brushes I prefer. This brush would be perfect for spreading on cream shadows and on top of eyes that were prepped with glitter primer that I shouldn’t use with my natural hair brushes. The density makes it great for spreading on an even amount of eye shadow, but that density does prohibit building them up in a thicker layer.

This brush set is no longer for sale, but I went into this much detail because I want to express caution when it comes to Tarte brushes. They apparently are not all the same good quality that they used to be, so one has to be careful when choosing which to purchase.

Despite a few letdowns (mainly the brushes), I think my overall opinion of Tarte has risen. Most of the products are decent quality or better, so this is one of those brands I’ll keep my eye on, but only if the products are on sale. Speaking of sales, I believe Tarte’s Friends and Family sale is still going on at the time that I’m posting this. Shipping is free and code FAM30 will give a 30% off discount. I believe the code even applies to new releases and stacks on top of items already on sale.

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

-Lili

Melt Cosmetics Amor y Mariposas Review

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

Amor y Mariposas Palette

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monarca Blush Palette

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

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

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

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

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

Melt Gel Liners in Colibri and Estrella

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

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

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

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

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

-Lili

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