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

Drugstore Makeup Worth The Hype?

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

Milani Cheek Kiss Cream Blush in Nude Kiss

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Covergirl TruBlend So Flushed High Pigment Blush in Sweet Seduction

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

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

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

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

Essence The Blush in Believing

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

Essence Pure Nude Highlighter Palette

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

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

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

Maybelline Master Chrome in Molten Topaz and Molten Peach

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

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

Revlon Skinlights Prismatic Highlighter in Gilded Dawn

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

The Results With My Best Brush

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Lili

Reviewing New (to me) Products at Sephora

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

Danessa Myricks Beauty Power Cream Bronzer in Deep

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LYS Aim High Pressed Highlighter Powder in Fearless

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

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

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

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

Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Eyeshadow and Concealer Primer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Lili

Glowing Skin ft Auric, Becca, and Charlotte Tilbury

I’m not sure what to classify these products as: liquid highlighters, dewy skin tints, illuminators? These multipurpose glow products can be used in whichever way someone wants, but today I will be sharing my thoughts on how they compare to each other and the ways I prefer to use them. In honor of Becca closing its doors on September 30th at 1 PM EST, I wanted to make sure I post this beforehand in case anyone is interested in the Light Shifter Dewing Tint and is considering making a last minute purchase.

UPDATE: September 17th, 2021

It appears Estee Lauder is saving Becca’s best formulas by pairing it with their other brand, Smashbox. I thought I would update this post with that information. Now, onto the review!

Auric Glow Lust Radiant Luminizer in Citrine

Auric is a brand created by beauty influencer Samantha Ravndahl. I’ve watched a couple of her videos, but my interest in the Glow Lust was purely from the angle of wanting to see if it’s comparable to Charlotte Tilbury’s Hollywood Flawless Filter. This costs $45 plus shipping for 35ml whereas Charlotte Tilbury’s is $44 for 30 ml (and likely free shipping from Sephora if you’re in the US). Auric has seven shades available. Charlotte Tilbury had seven shades initially, but released an additional five shades just weeks before Auric’s launch.

This product can be added to skincare, mixed with foundation, used under foundation like a radiant primer, or applied to specific areas for extra glow. It was created to be sheer enough that a wide range of people could use one or more shades. This also means it will not offer much coverage on its own as a foundation, so I regard it as a mixing liquid or liquid highlighter.

I prefer to use this with a brush. I take a tiny amount and slowly build it up. The highlight lasts easily through a full wear test. The times I’ve tried it with a sponge, it moved my concealer a bit (Tarte Shape Tape). Also, despite using a lot more product with the sponge, the Glow Lust either gets absorbed into the sponge or melts too much into my skin because the end result is less reflective/shiny than when I use a brush. The fingers can blend the product in nicely, but I don’t like how it feels to the touch, so this is not a method I’d use again.

Citrine leans heavy on the yellow undertone and, on its own, it’s a bit too light for me to use as anything but a highlighter. Perhaps the shade Goldstone could have worked for me as a base product, but the texture feels thick on my skin, even when I use the Glow Lust sparingly. For this reason, it’s my least favorite of the three formulas I’ve tried. The effect is pretty, but I cannot stand how it feels when I wear it. I should note that I’ve also tried mixing it with foundation to make a better color match and give me a more subtle glow. The combination allows me to wear it all over my face for as long as I want without it feeling heavy. However, by the end of the night, my face looks greasy. It’s more glow than I want, so I would only continue to use this on my cheekbones. This makes me very glad I purchased this for significantly less than retail from a Mercari seller. I have a personal rule against buying liquid products from third party sellers, but I made an exception because this product was newly launched and had a pump top (so I could confirm it wasn’t old and hadn’t been exposed to the elements). Considering my feelings about it, I would have been very unhappy if I purchased this at full price.

I don’t like the thick consistency of the Glow Lust and I don’t like the fact that this doesn’t dry down (at least not with the Dior Backstage Face and Body Powder No-Powder nor when I mixed it with the Nars Soft Matte Foundation). These are personal preference issues and not about it being a bad product. It does what it’s intended to do, so I understand why it’s so hyped up. Regarding whether it’s worth the price or not, I honestly cannot say because Auric aims for this to be seen as a luxury product and the brand delivers on that. It isn’t worth it to me, but that’s because I know I will never use up a full size liquid highlighter enough for any of them on the market to be worth it.

Becca Light Shifter Dewing Tint in 4.5 Cloud Nine and 5.5 Borealis

I seem pretty silly having bought two full-size glow products after I just said a single one wouldn’t even be worth it. However, I purchased these as radiant tinted moisturizers the way Angelica Nyqvist and Not Fit For Print Beauty on YouTube wore theirs. Plus, I got them both at half price. Beautylish was the first retailer to discount this product to $15 during their Spring sale in March. That’s when I bought Cloud Nine and realize it was way too light for me to use all over my face. Then a few months later I bought Borealis from Sephora. That shade was way too dark for me, but I figured I could mix them both. As a tinted moisturizer, the Dewing Tint provides more coverage than the Auric Glow Lust, but it’s still supposed to work for those a few shades away from each color option. However, the gap between 4.5 and 5.5 is huge and the swatches at the end of the post make it clear why I couldn’t use either one alone. Also, I’m not very good at mixing my perfect shade. It took many attempts to find the right ratio. This isn’t an issue when I use them for highlighting purposes, but it’s significantly noticeable when it’s in place of foundation.

Fragrance isn’t on the ingredient list, but I swear there’s a faint chocolate smell. Perhaps my nose is mistaking that for Shea butter, which is the twelfth ingredient. The liquid consistency is lighter than the Auric, but it’s also stickier. When I’m wearing this product, I’m hyper aware of the fact that it doesn’t dry down and when I’ve used it as foundation, I had the urge throughout the whole day to wipe it off my face, the way one gets the urge to wipe away a crumb of food or a loose strand of hair. I could barely tolerate doing an 8-hour wear test. I know this type of sensation doesn’t happen to everyone because it’s the same reason so many people love the Tower 28 Cream Blushes but I hated the texture enough to return that blush. Also, all the beauty YouTubers I’ve seen who say this dries down ended up using quite a bit of powder with the Dewing Tint, certainly more powder than I use, and I didn’t powder at all during the wear test. The feeling of the product aside, I don’t want this level of glow all over my face.

Luckily, this product plays well with my Nars Soft Matte Foundation. Mixing the foundation and both of these shades together gives me a glow that I don’t mind putting all over, and it also dries down without needing to set it with powder. It’s more lightweight on the skin when used this way, and I add the tiniest extra amount of the Dewing Tint onto my cheekbones to make that spot stand out from the rest of the dew.

This product gives me a wet type of glow as opposed to the pearl/shimmer effect the others have. As a highlighter, it doesn’t disturb any products underneath. The fingers, brushes, and sponges all apply the product well, though I was surprised that the prettiest result was with a sponge. However, the result with the sponge wasn’t significant enough that I would switch out of using brushes.

There are eight shade options in total, so if you can find your match, this is a more affordable glow liquid option. I don’t think this is my kind of product, yet I’m not ready to declutter it because I do love the look of it as a highlighter and I can make this fit my needs even more if I continue to use it mixed with foundation.

Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter in 6.5

This is my favorite formula of the three. It’s the most lightweight on my skin, it dries down the most, it’s just as long lasting through a wear test as the others, and it doesn’t disturb products underneath when using the fingers or a brush. Using a sponge requires a little more product and can move my base products if I’m not careful. The end result between using a sponge and a brush look the same, so a brush is my preference.
Shade 6.5 is the closest to my skintone if I want to use it as a foundation, and the fact that it’s slightly darker than my skintone aids in giving the appearance of more coverage. For highlighting purposes, shade 6 would presumably be more flattering, but they don’t make minis of shade 6 yet. As much as I like this product and don’t have liquid consistency issues with it, my comment about never going through a product like this stands. I purchased this mini from Sephora on December 2020 and I have plenty of it left. A full-size would still go to waste, so I’m really happy I have this smaller option and easily recommend the mini.

I once tried to use this all over my face as a foundation, but I removed it shortly afterwards. The Becca Dewing Tint is shinier, but its wet effect looks more natural than the way the Hollywood Flawless Filter shimmers and reflects on areas other than traditional highlighter spots.

I have only tried actually mixing it with my Nars Foundation once, and the result wasn’t as shiny, so I didn’t mind having it all over my face that way. But when it comes to using a combination of a glow product in with foundation, I think the Becca Dewing Tint gives the prettiest results. So, I prefer to utilize the Hollywood Flawless Filter as a highlighter and as a wet base to intensify any powder highlighter that’s applied on top of it. And because I’ll likely only continue to use these three products for highlighting purposes, the Hollywood Flawless Filter is still my preference.

Swatch Comparisons

Overall, the Glow Lust has a pearl-like type of highlighted shine, the Dewing Tint gives the wettest type of radiance, and the Hollywood Flawless Filter is somewhat in-between. I like Charlotte’s consistency the most, Auric’s packaging the most, and Becca’s price the most.

They’re beautiful products, but I won’t purchase anymore like this in the future. Powder highlighters are better suited for me because they’re easier to use and cost far less than what I spent on the three I reviewed today.

Becca Ignite Liquified Light Highlighters

I had a sample of three different liquid highlighters from Becca and figured this would be the perfect place to feature them. There are five shades in the line and the two not featured here today are Acceptance (pink) and Gratitude (dark copper-pink).

These highlighters remind me a lot of the consistency of the Dewing Tints, except that they feel oilier to the touch, like a typical shimmer body oil. These have a strong but pleasant smell (fragrance is on the ingredient list). The Ignite highlighters have a metallic shine rather than the glow of the Dewing Tints, and actually show visible shimmer particles on the skin, rather than a wet sheen. They “set” in the sense that touching one’s face wouldn’t completely remove the product. However, it doesn’t dry on its own. I did a nine hour wear test and it wasn’t until around eight hours that it felt a little drier in the areas that the highlighter was on top of concealer where I covered some discoloration.

When used sparingly on the tops of the cheekbones, the varying shade depths of the highlighters aren’t that dissimilar. Even regarding the tones, while I could see slight differences between them, I was able to pull off wearing the lightest shade, which is a light champagne. It didn’t look stark like I expected. Creativity is slightly more golden-tone version of Passion. The deep bronze tone of Strength blends with my skin, so it’s not as intense as the rest, but the shimmer particles still give a bold highlighted effect. Strength and Creativity together gave the prettiest results, in my eyes, but the oily residue guarantees I wouldn’t purchase them. The results are beautiful, but I prefer powder highlighters.

That’s all I’ve got! Thank you for reading!

– Lili

My Foundation Collection and Declutter

I don’t always post about it, but every December I compile a list of my favorite beauty products of the year. I had a first draft completed for, “Products I loved in 2020,” but I decided to scrap that idea. Although I tested more makeup in 2020 than ever before, calling something a favorite has more impact when it’s compared to the twenty or more other products I had at my disposal, as opposed to just a handful.

‘Shopping my Stash’ has become increasingly important to me. I believe I will purchase fewer things if I am more familiar with the products I already have. I also want to feel the satisfaction of using up a product until it is empty. At the same time, there’s no need to keep the products I know I won’t use due to an incorrect shade match, being too heavily fragranced, not meshing with my skin type, etc. So, I will be disciplining the inner makeup hoarder in me and condensing my collection as well!

I also decided that in the swatch portion, I’ll include some foundation sample cards in case anyone is curious about additional shade matches from other brands!

Nars Sheer Glow in Macao – Nars Sheer Glow unseated the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD, which was my favorite foundation for 3-4 years. I love this product and whenever I wore foundation in 2020, at least 80% of the time, I was using Sheer Glow. I use the tiniest amount for light coverage and utilize concealer to cover the areas where my hyperpigmentation shows through. When I use a normal amount, which gives me medium-buildable coverage, I tend to skip concealer everywhere except under my eyes. I love the natural finish it leaves on my skin and it works amazingly with any tool I use, whether I use my fingers, a brush, sponge, or Blendiful. It lasts all day until I’m ready to remove it. My only complaint is about the packaging. This comes in a screw cap jar, which from experience, the exposure to air from frequently opening and closing the bottle will start to cause the foundation to get darker well before the expiration date or open canister number. So, I bought the pump that’s made specifically for this foundation in order to keep it as airtight as possible. However, when you put the pump cap on, the original bottle cap no longer fits. So you have to keep it as shown in the photo without a cap. Considering the $47 price tag and $6 pump, it’s a bit ridiculous that Nars doesn’t provide a pump cap with it, so I can store it like a normal foundation. Expensive items shouldn’t be poorly packaged.

It has been about 13 months since I bought this, and I have felt that the color is a little darker than before, so I may be getting rid of this foundation soon. However, I’m not fully ready to part with it, even though the PAO date has passed.

Cover Girl Clean Fresh Skin Milk Foundation in 600 and 620 – I can talk at length about this foundation because I started working on a post for it when it was released in December of 2019. It gave me so much trouble that I ended up abandoning the project. First, was the issue of the shade match; which 600 looked much darker in the original promo photos. 620 is still a bit light for me but it’s workable as this foundation is intended to give sheer to light coverage. It leaves a veil over the skin, like a tinted moisturizer, and it feels like a moisturizer in texture as well.

In the beginning it doesn’t feel greasy at all. It leaves a nice dewy finish at the start. I have normal-dry skin, leaning more on the dry side. The fact that within 2 to 5 hours this foundation turns me into a oily mess is shocking. I found that whatever primer I paired it with effected how quickly it took before my face would freak out and start producing oils at a rate I’d never seen before. I tested this foundation about seven different times and the end consensus was that I don’t recommend using any primer with it, and to set it heavily with powder after applying. Perhaps a mattifying primer would work. I can’t test that theory out since I have dry skin, so I don’t own any mattifying or oil controlling primers. The best result I had was mixing 600 with my Lancome Teint Idole Foundation (which was too dark and very matte) in a ratio of 75% Covergirl and 25% Lancome, in order to have enough pigment to lighten the Lancome shade. However, I still couldn’t get a decent look past 5 hours. There’s something in the Cover Girl foundation that causes my skin to produce an alarming amount of oils. Even still, it’s not worth the hassle for the low coverage this product provides.

I would say perhaps this foundation would work better for someone else, but as time went on more YouTubers started trying it out and two of the ladies I watch had strong allergic reactions to this foundation. In addition, I think this has a bit of a bread-like smell combined with milk or lite cream. However, I’ve seen some reviews where other people found the smell to be repulsive. So, I don’t even recommend giving it a try. I kept the bottles in case I ever did want to make a post about them, but now that I have the photos I need, they are in the garbage.

Shiseido Synchro Skin Self-Refreshing Foundation SPF30 in 440 Amber – I purchased this shade based on my Sephora Color IQ number, the complexion product matching system. Based on the initial color that comes out of the bottle, it looks like a good match. However, once it settles into my skin I can see a grey cast. I initially thought it was because the product was too light for me, but I believe it’s due to the addition of sunscreen in this.

The product claims sounded amazing and the beauty gurus were raving about this when it was first released. When I used it myself, I was impressed with how it wore around my smile lines. I have one specific crease that a lot of foundations settle into. However, this foundation really did keep that area looking smooth and covered up better than any other I’ve tried. With all that being said, I still hardly use this foundation purely because the grey tinge makes my skin look so dull and lifeless. Instead, I use a different foundation everywhere on my face but I will occasionally blend in the Shiseido foundation just onto my smile line. Since it’s such a tiny area, there isn’t much of a color differentiation. My bottle is going to expire in March 2021, so I will hold onto it until that date. SPF in makeup is notoriously an issue for those with darker skin tones, so if you have a lighter complexion where it wouldn’t be as much of an issue, I would recommend this one.

Laura Geller Filter First Foundation in Pecan – I bought this foundation when it was 90% off (only $3.80) at Ulta because they were dropping the brand from their stores. The shade match is a little more golden-orange than I liked, so I only wore it once. Based on that first impression, I believe it could be a decent foundation if I had a closer shade match, but there weren’t many other shades available for purchase. This foundation’s time has run out though, and I’ve disposed of it.

Clinique Even Better Makeup SPF 15 in WN 124 Sienna – As one of my Diamond Rewards from Ulta, I was able to redeem a free Clinique foundation. I was color-matched by a store associate, but Sienna is still a bit too light and not golden enough. Out of the 56 shades in the line, there are only 3 darker than my shade. The next one up was too dark, so I went with Sienna and figured it might work better in the winter months, which unfortunately it does not. I’ve had it for nearly a year, so I’m getting rid of it.

Tarte Face Tape in 53S Deep Sand 54G Deep Golden – I had help from an Ulta associate getting shade-matched to Deep Sand, which tends to be my closest match in Tarte’s foundations. I really loved the finish and coverage. I still felt like the tone was slightly off, but there wasn’t anything better suited for me in the range. So, I wore this a few times and went back to my other foundations.

Because I bought this in-store and can’t see past January 2020 in my account records, I’m not sure when I purchased this. I remember at some point the color seemed even more different than I remembered, which led me to purchase the travel size version online in Deep Golden in January 2020. I realized this shade was a bit too golden and didn’t look better on me than Deep Sand, so I never used it more than once.

I know there are a lot of people who don’t throw foundations away immediately after the PAO date. They continue to use them until it starts to be too long (going on two years), change in smell/consistency/performance, or until the bottle is used up. I try to be good about disposing of my liquid products, but sometimes I hold onto them for longer too. I bring this up because my older Face Tape foundation developed an extremely sticky consistency. I was a bit repulsed by that, so I checked the bottle and realized it only has a 6-month period-after-opening. That’s pretty shocking considering the price point and the amount of product you get. Foundations are usually good for at least one year.
My newer one is 11 months old and hasn’t changed its texture, but I’ve thrown it out as well. Purely based on the PAO issue, I don’t recommend this foundation.

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD in Y505 – I finally let this one go. I’ve been a fan of the original MUFE HD when my shade was originally 177 Cognac. When the Ultra HD version came out, I went through 2 other bottles of that. I loved the coverage and how beautiful my skin looked on camera. It had a nice natural/soft matte finish. If powdered, it was fairly transfer-resistant. My shade was a little more neutral than yellow/warm, but it still looked great on me. It was the shade I always referenced as my perfect skin tone before using Macao from Nars. For some reason, Y505 was discontinued, and that is what led me on the hunt to find a different “holy grail” foundation. When my color was discontinued, MUFE introduced Y508. I’m not sure if it was supposed to replace mine or how similar it is to what I used. What I do know is that Y505 in some of MUFE’s other foundations are slightly different across the board. I may try to investigate this further, but for now, I’m happy with Nars foundations.

Nyx Born to Glow Naturally Radiant Foundation in Nutmeg – This gives me a grey cast because the one I bought was too light for me. I didn’t try to buy another shade because Nars Sheer Glow feels lighter on the skin than this, while simultaneously giving more coverage, so I prefer that. This foundation also does not dry down as much as I’d like. This one definitely isn’t bad. It’s just a preference thing. January marks 12 months of having this foundation, so I removed it from my collection.

Beautyblender Bounce Liquid Whip Longwear Foundation in 4.10 and 4.35 – In June, using the same Sephora Color IQ, I ordered shade 4.10 even though it said “cool olive” and I’m always “warm golden” or “warm yellow.” I thought perhaps the matching system was intended to be like MAC with NC being my shade range instead of NW. I was wrong.

In November 2020, the foundation went on sale and since I did enjoy how the foundation looked on my skin, I decided to get a darker color to mix with. Without being able to see or test it in-store, or decipher in photos online, I didn’t want to try to and guess at a shade that was still too light for me and be unable to use yet another one. In the photo below, I was able to compare them to shade 4.30 thanks to a foundation sample card that I got with one of my online orders. It’s not too far off from my skin tone, just a touch too dark. As I already have two bottles though, I’m not going to buy a third.

If someone is able to find their match, I do recommend this foundation, although I think they may be discontinuing it considering the severe price drop. The formula is a bit thick, but I think that makes it perfect for using with the Beautyblender, since the damp sponge will give it a slightly thinner consistency. I’m keeping both.

L’Oreal Infallible Fresh Wear Foundation in Hazelnut and Copper – I bought this based on Tati’s rave review. I did really enjoy the beautiful dewy finish. I wasn’t satisfied by the shade matches, as I felt like they oxidized towards the end of the day. I also felt like they didn’t dry down as much as I liked. Also, this foundation smells a bit like perfume. I kept using them initially but eventually I grew tired of how long it took before I could no longer smell it on my face. Ironically the newer bottle I bought, Copper, expired a few months ago. The first bottle, Hazelnut, expires soon. I went ahead and got rid of both.

Uoma Beauty Say What Foundation in Brown Sugar T1W – I absolutely love how lightweight this is and the gorgeous finish it leaves on my face! Despite being thin, it can be built up to full coverage. It feels so hydrating to my dry skin! The brand calls the finish a “vibrant matte” but on me, it still has a glow. Although the Brown Sugar and Bronze Venus categories cite oily/combo skin as the most common skin type, which would lead me to believe this formula wouldn’t be as nice on someone like me, it still somehow feels like there are oils in it even though it’s a water-based product. If I’m able to find a less orange shade match that better suits me, this could potentially become my new favorite foundation! It’s my understanding that the Brown Sugar shades tend to have a lot of orange in them in order to correct hyperpigmentation, which is a common issue for those within this skin tone range. This makes me wonder if getting the neutral T1N might still be too orange, or if that shade might be too dark for me. I’m within the Bronze Venus range for the contour and highlighting stick, but the Bronze Venus T3W and T3N looked like it might be too light for me based on photos. I’m waiting for a sale before I try to pick up a second bottle, which will likely be Bronze Venus T3N. My local Ulta doesn’t carry this brand in-store, so I will have to guess blindly. Shade matching in-store doesn’t always work for me anyway.

Because this foundation is the runniest one I have (even thinner and more watery than Dermablend drops), I dispense it directly onto my face before strategically dotting it in other areas with my finger. Then I either use my fingers or a brush to blend it in. The Blendiful soaks up too much foundation if you apply it directly onto its surface before putting it on the face. However, if the foundation is applied to your face already, the Blendiful works well to smooth it out. I do not recommend using a damp sponge, for fear of further diluting the product, unless you plan to use extra pumps of foundation with it.

*NOTE: At the time of posting, this is currently 40% off at Ulta! I ordered Bronze Venus T3N. Wish me luck!

Dermablend Flawless Creator Lightweight Foundation in 70W – This foundation has the closest consistency to the Uoma Beauty one, however, it doesn’t give the same finish and doesn’t have quite the same texture. It also looks light in the swatches above but when it fully dries, the color darkens to a very close skin tone match for me. Although I can use this all over my face, my favorite use for this is as a lightweight but full coverage concealer with a natural/semi-matte finish. I got the idea from Marlena Stell, Makeup Geek founder, who frequently uses this foundation as a concealer in her live makeup videos on Youtube. Once I bought the Pat Mcgrath concealers, I stopped using this for a few months, but now I’m using it again to cover my dark circles and hyperpigmentation. A little goes a very long way and if the tiniest amount isn’t used, it can look almost mask-like. They weren’t kidding about this being full coverage, which is why I prefer to use this as a spot concealer. 1-4 drops can be mixed with moisturizers, serums, sunscreen, etc to create a sheerer complexion product but I haven’t done that yet. I like the formula as is.

I think it may be time for me to toss my bottle of 70W, due to some perceived changes, but I’m not ready to let it go yet. Ulta had this for 50% off a week ago, but they don’t carry 70W. I still bought 72N hoping it could work for me, and it does as an under eye concealer, but being slightly darker and slightly more orange is enough to be mismatched for the rest of my face unless I use one of my light yellow setting powders (such as the Laura Mercier Honey shade) to balance it out. However, it looks too drying if I set it with powder. Unlike other complexion products I own which aren’t intended to be mixed, the Dermablend drops are a multi-use product. I’ve only had 72N for a few days, so I will experiment with it some more to find out the best way to utilize this shade in the future.

Milani Conceal + Perfect 2 in 1 Foundation and Concealer in Amber – Because the shade match was off, I honestly didn’t give this product enough of a chance to be able to review it. I’ve had it for 16 months, so it needs to be tossed out.

Lancome Teint Idole Ultra Wear 24H Long Wear Foundation in 500 Suede W – This is the oldest foundation I have in my collection and it survived multiple declutters because I kept saying to myself I was keeping it to mix with any foundations that were too light. How often did I actually do that? Less than a handful of times! I’m absolutely getting rid of it, though it’s such a shame that I didn’t use it enough. It was part of my 2000 point redemption order via Ulta, and I heard doing exchanges on items purchased with points is a hassle, so I didn’t try to get a different shade. It was supposed to match me based on my Sephora Color IQ, but I only have a 50% success rate with Sephora’s recommendations. Based on my limited experience with this, I can say that I like how full or near to full coverage it was. However, it didn’t impress me enough to repurchase when I had MUFE and Nars foundations in my possession.

Kosas Tinted Face Oil in Tone 7.5 – I mentioned in the Uoma Beauty section that the Say What foundation felt as though it had some oils in it. This foundation is actually oil based and feels very similar to that one. The finish is nice and because it gives light coverage, the imperfect shade match is more forgiving. I believe Tone 8 is my actual shade. I’ve enjoyed this sample so much that I’ve been tempted to purchase the full size ever since. However, I’ve held back because I prefer the Uoma formula a little more. Considering the similar price points and how they look on my skin, I would rather get a buildable foundation that I can have at full pigmentation or sheer out, as opposed to one that only provides low coverage.

Nars Soft Matte Complete Foundation in Macao – Considering my skin type, I’m so surprised how much I love this foundation! I like how smooth this looks on my skin and the consistency is watery (but not as thin as Kosas or Uoma), yet it provides full coverage. It appears lighter and more neutral than the Macao version in Sheer Glow, but I still like how it looks on my skin (and especially in photos). It also sets without needing powder. It isn’t completely transfer-proof but if I press a napkin to my skin, it is minimal. It settles into my deeper smile line, so this may not be a great foundation for someone with mature skin. I still like it though and it is so smooth everywhere else. This foundation is the reason I have no plans to repurchase Sheer Glow. If I buy another one, it will likely be this. I’m still going back and forth on it.

Pat Mcgrath Sublime Perfection Foundation – I only had this foundation in the form of a sample card, so I can only say from my single sample use that it looks pretty on the skin and is on the light to medium side. I think I would like this foundation, but not for full retail price. Even 30% off would be too steep for me, so I don’t think I’ll ever be adding this one to my collection.

Fenty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation in 420 – I still don’t know my correct Fenty shade. I’m supposed to be 420 based on the color IQ, but 420 pulls a little darker and noticeably orange on me. When the foundation initially launched, I went to Sephora to get samples of 390, 410, and 420. I could not tell a difference between 410 and 420. 390 looked like a better shade, even though it looked a little on the pink side to me (despite the description). I didn’t investigate further because I did not like how this foundation looked on my skin. It looked very drying and showed texture and lines I didn’t know I had. When the hydrating version launched, I went to my local JCP-Sephora and tried those same three shades again. In the hydrating formula, 390 was lighter than the matte version, but once again, I couldn’t tell a difference between 410 and 420. I didn’t investigate further this time because I still didn’t like how the foundation sat on my skin. Despite being a “hydrating” formula, it was still too drying on me and looked like it was just sitting on my skin. Now that there’s a powder version, I am tempted by it. However, my local Sephora isn’t getting them and I will not blindly buy a powder foundation when they are notoriously tricky to shade match as they often don’t match the color in the pan. I have a hard enough time purchasing the right shade of liquid online, let alone a pressed powder foundation. Plus, I imagine it would be even more drying on my face, so I will skip it. Fenty Foundations just aren’t suitable for me.

Make Up For Ever Matte Velvet Skin in Y505 – This shade looked even lighter and more neutral in the swatch than the Nars Soft Matte foundation. However, when it has time to sink into the skin, it becomes a little warmer and matches my skin tone very well. It’s a bit on the thicker side in terms of consistency, so it doesn’t blend as easily or smoothly across my face, and powder products don’t blend as easily on top of the foundation, but once it’s blended it looks great. The coverage provided is medium-buildable to full. I prefer the Nars Soft Matte a little more than this one. I will give it credit for not settling as deeply into my smile lines. That factor is what keeps me waffling a bit about how I feel, but the blending issue is why I will ultimately not purchase a full-size of this product.

YSL All Hours Foundation in Warm Mocha and Warm Hazelnut – YSL has an option on their website to try 2 deluxe sample sizes of their foundation for $10. One was too light and one was a touch too dark. There are no shades between BD70 and BD75, so I never bought the full size and didn’t want to mix. I can’t find a date for when I purchased these, but I’m certain they are too old. I remember that when I initially tried them (mixing the two shades to get a wearable color), I liked the formula. However, it’s not worth $54 and I wasn’t even excited enough to continue using the samples.

Now we’ve reached the section that are purely foundation sample card swatches. The only points I can make about these is that the Too Faced Dew You Fresh Glow Foundation has fragrance in it. None of those ABH foundations match me, and I was surprised by how dark the Estee Lauder 6W1 Sandalwood shade looked on my arm. A few years ago I used to wear that shade in the Double Wear formula.

REVISED FOUNDATION COLLECTION

This is what I’m left with at the beginning of 2021! I don’t have swatches of the MAC foundation stick because I don’t want to open it yet. I bought it to test as an eye primer because the ingredients are so similar to the Makeup by Mario Eye Prep and Set in Deep (and I’m darker than NC45 right now).

If I remove the three shades that need to be tossed at some point this year due to age, and the products I’m still holding onto as shade references as well as foundations used for other purposes, I would only be left with the Uoma Beauty Foundation, Beautyblender foundations, my Nars Sample, and MUFE sample! I can’t remember the last time I’ve had such few foundations at my disposal, but it’s a bit exciting to me! I only want to keep products that work for me and a reduced collection will allow me the satisfaction of finally being able to use up more products!

My goal is to end 2021 with no more than five full-size foundations in my possession (multiple shades of the same foundation formula just counts as one). We’ll see how well I stick to that!

Thank you for reading!

-Lili

Liquid and Cream Foundation: Make Up For Ever, Estée Lauder, and Bobbi Brown

liqswaI remember a time when my only requirement of a foundation was for it to be dark enough to wear. Now I have my choice of undertones, finishes, coverage, etc. I didn’t find my perfect foundation until a few years ago, but when you live in Florida, you’re bound to have more than one “perfect” shade.

Foundation is the key to creating a flawless face, but it can also spoil a look if the color is off. This is one of the reasons I sometimes skip foundation. You can guess the other reason…

foundThe foundations I chose to review today are all yellow undertone and natural finishes.

MAKE UP FOR EVER ULTRA HD Invisible Cover in Y505

mufes* $43 at Sephora

* Medium-to-Buildable coverage

Ultra HD is the reformulation of the original HD formula in 177 Cognac (pictured on the right). MUFE intended for it to be invisible, even under 4k lenses. There are a few minor changes to the packaging, such as the silver rim on the current bottle and the imprint on the top cap.

capsThe number system has also changed. bottomsMake Up For Ever posted the equivalent changes for all of the shades (a few were discontinued). Despite looking lighter in the bottle it’s darker than the original, once on the skin.f3The newer foundation is slightly thicker than the original. I noticed I still used more pumps than usual to cover my face. Both foundations lasted all day. What I love about the Ultra is that the Hyaluronic acid really works for me. My skin looks smoother and more dewy when I wear it, particularly along my cheeks and jaws. However, if you own the HD and are wondering if you should finish your current bottle before getting Ultra, I’d advise finishing your old one. The improvements aren’t dramatic enough to rush out and get, especially since this change is permanent.

I was surprised to see how many MUFE fans were unhappy with Ultra. In addition to my own observations, other reviewers have said it is cakey, oxidizes too much, and looks oily after several hours. I agree that it can look heavy but Make Up For Ever reps recommend using a tap and spread method with a flat foundation brush or sponge.

I was curious about how much the formula has really changed, so I analyzed the ingredients lists. 6 ingredients were removed, 15 were added, and 11 had their quantities altered as indicated by the order listed. proconmufeEither way, it is still my number one foundation.

Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup in 6W1 Sandalwood

est* $38 at Macy’s

* Medium-to-Buildable

I’m part of a beauty group on Facebook and one member said she was looking for a medium coverage foundation, and asked what everyone thought of Double Wear. fbgroupconvoThe former Lauder employee is correct that it is listed as medium to buildable, however, this product is the fullest coverage of anything I own. In fact, I use it as my under eye concealer because of how quickly it sets and the fact that it doesn’t budge easily. A dampened beautyblender will sheer any foundation, so for anyone who finds Double Wear too cakey, I recommend using a sponge. Otherwise, this will easily give full coverage to those who want it.

I also recommend using a moisturizer beforehand if you have dry skin, as the foundation has a tendency to cling to dry spots/emphasize uneven textures on the face.

Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick in Golden Almond

BBfoun

f2

* $44 at Bobbi Brown Cosmetics

Unlike DW, this is listed on Sephora’s website as a full coverage foundation but I consider it a medium to buildable coverage. It does transfer if not set well enough with powder, but my main reason for hardly wearing this foundation is that I used to find it a bit too orange. After getting darker this summer, it looks like this color may not be as off as I originally thought.

It’s creamy, blendable, and promises “…eight hours of water-, sweat-, and humidity-resistant wear.” I wish I could have sampled this from Sephora before I purchased, but it’s only available with them online, not in-store.

MUFE and ELDW are what I wear almost exclusively. I have a few powder foundations as well, but liquids will always be my favorite formula type.

❤ Lili