Blushes So Good I Needed Another…part 2

This is an update to my post from September 2020 where I’ll be showing my newest shades of blushes I’ve already reviewed before and loved so much that I wasn’t content with having just one shade. I needed more!

KVD Everlasting Blush in Peony and Foxglove

I already talked about how much I liked the shades Poppy and Snapdragon in Part 1 to this post, so I surprised myself that I actually bought two more. I always suspected Foxglove could work for me and Peony looked borderline like I might be able to pull it off during winter or early spring when I’m usually at my lightest. I was shocked that they ended up looking as nice as they do! Those two shades were clearly not intended for someone with dark skin but they have enough pigmentation to make it show and not look ashy!

Peony is cool toned, but this kind of pink still somehow looks nice on me. After about 3-4 layers, it doesn’t show any stronger on my skin tone, but I like how it looks with even just 2-3 layers. Foxglove doesn’t show as strongly in the photo above, but that’s because it’s a more toned down dusty rose type of pink and I prefer not to build it up beyond two layers. While I would say I consider a very pigmented blush to show on me in 1-2 layers, the fact that these are so pale in the pans and swatches, but still show this much on me speaks volumes.

Of the four blushes, I think Foxglove is my new favorite.

Pat Mcgrath Labs Skin Fetish: Divine Powder Blush in Electric Bloom

I purchased this perhaps a month after the initial blush launch. I wanted so many shades from the collection that I told myself I was only allowed to have one more, so I went ahead and made it this vibrant coral shade. It’s the kind of color that is debatable whether I can pull it off or not, but always calls to me. If I had just waited a little longer, I would have seen that it was listed as a dupe for Colourpop’s Aloha Honey blush shade on Temptalia’s blog and therefore I didn’t need the almost identical blush color. To be fair, I haven’t used the Colourpop blush enough to say how it compares in terms of quality because I always reach for Electric Bloom over Aloha Honey.

Paradise Venus is still my favorite shade of the three I have from Pat Mcgrath.

LYS Beauty High Standard Clean Cream Blush in Inspire

I hope anyone who reads my blog regularly isn’t tired of me going on about how much I love this cream blush formula, but I feel it deserves to be gushed over. I always had plans to eventually get this beautiful coral-orange shade, but I wanted to wait until I made more progress in my overall cream blush collection. However, I had some store credit built up via the Ambassador program with the brand, so I decided to go ahead and cross that off my wish list! Half of this blush was paid for via credit and the other half was paid for out of my own pocket. For full details about my affiliation with LYS, please see my About Me page and scroll to the near bottom.

Inspire performs just as well as the others. I cannot decide which of the three is my favorite because I keep changing my mind every time I use a different shade!

Wayne Goss The Weightless Veil Blush Palette in Bright Poppy (Sunny and Golden Glow)

Unlike the other blushes I’ve listed, which are among my top favorites, I decided to try Bright Poppy because the colors are better suited for me than Vivid Azalea and I wanted an answer as to whether the blush shade would be insanely pigmented in this duo too. Sunny is not quite at the unbelievable pigment level of Shocking, but if I tap once into the blush with my Smashbox Buildable Cheek Brush, it’s enough to thoroughly cover my cheek. An additional half layer is the maximum amount I would want to use. Otherwise, my option would be to tone it back down using a finishing powder on top.

Sunny is pretty on the cheeks. Golden Glow is a nice highlighter formula that is very complimentary to my skin tone. I prefer to apply my blush and highlighter separately, but Wayne suggests that anyone who likes shimmery blush formulas could apply the highlighter to the entire cheek and then blend the blush on top of it. This technique worked for me with Vivid Azalea because the combination of the two shades turned the blush into a lighter color. I tried this with Bright Poppy and did not like it at all because the shimmer color and blush color don’t match. This means the particles in the highlighter stand out a lot more and I don’t like how contrasting it is. Whether I applied the highlighter to the bottom or the highlighter on top, the end result was the same.

Colourpop Super Shock Cheek in Matte, Satin, and Pearlized finishes.

Colourpop’s Super Shock Cheek line includes both blushes and highlighters, so I decided as a bonus to review all the ones I own here since I’m a huge fan of them. They have the benefit of looking and applying to the skin like creams, but without feeling heavy, sticky, or greasy on the skin like some cream blushes on the market can do.

In the Matte finish we have Over Dramatic, a “mid-tone pinky nude,” and Swift, a “rich deep warm brown” shade. Both are very close in color and practically look the same on my cheeks. Calling Swift a deep and rich shade is quite the exaggeration on Colourpop’s part. I have to build them up a lot in order for them to show in photos, but I bought these specific colors so I could have some brown leaning blushes, which aren’t as prevalent in my collection. Swift is from the Make It Black Collection when the brand partnered with Pull Up For Change. It’s a bit stiffer in consistency than Over Dramatic and because Swift is more of an orange-brown than pink-brown, it blends in with my skin a lot more. It’s on the borderline of blending in too much, considering it’s such a nude shade for me already. For that reason, I do prefer Over Dramatic because of my personal preferences.

I just have one Satin finish Super Shock Cheek and it’s in the shade Georgette which is described as a “bright apricot with a warm sheen.”

Georgette has the right amount of brightness that isn’t obnoxious. Also, I’ve always struggled to find orange tones of blush that look flattering on my skin tone. I tend to like the ones that lean more red or pink. This apricot shade is more on the yellow side, but I like it. So now, I think it’s just true oranges at the 50/50 split between yellow and red that I don’t enjoy as much. My quest to figure it out continues!

I have five shades in the Pearlized finish, starting with the two that came in the 2020 Lunar New Year set called the Lucky You Super Shock Cheek Duo.

I kept these unused for so long because of the pretty pattern in the Super Shocks. When I finally used them, I was a little disappointed that Drop of a Hat was too sheer to work as a blush for me. It’s better if I consider it a pink highlighter or blush topper. Goody Two Shu is pretty but a little sparkly, so I decided it wasn’t worth continuing to ruin the embossing. I just keep these as collector items now.

Voile is another Super Shock I stopped using. I kept trying to use it because the shade reminded me of Benefit’s Kiss of Rose and Charlotte Tilbury’s Walk of No Shame, which are both shimmery blushes I find to be beautiful. However, the shimmer level of Voile in person and the way the “copper sheen” sparkles on my cheeks is too much for me. It’s far more sparkly in person than it appears in the photo. I’ve realized that I prefer Colourpop’s matte and satin finishes for the blush shades. The only pearlized blush I enjoy is Cheerio and that’s because it seems to be a pearl-satin hybrid! Cheerio is a repromoted shade, which I bought from the Wine & Only Collection. The back label on my blush has “Pearlized” printed on it, but on Colourpop’s website it’s listed as a satin and it doesn’t have as many sparkles as the others in that formula. Or, perhaps I can’t see them if most of the sparkles match the color of the blush. What I see are some silver flecks.

I have to use a very small amount of Cheerio because it’s a deep shade. It’s easy to overapply and my specific blush arrived partly shriveled (which I pressed back into the pan). So, it’s a little drier than it should be and not as easy to spread evenly on my cheeks, but I can still make it work. Colourpop did send me a replacement, but I realized I preferred the cream blush from Natasha Denona’s Bloom Cheek palette a lot more, and that color is similar to this one, so I gave the replacement to my sister.

Lastly, we have my absolute favorite Colourpop Super Shock Cheek. It’s a “peachy gold” shade that I use for highlighting called Parasol.

It looks extra sparkly in the photo above because I used it over the Georgette blush which also has a sheen, but this highlighter is very smooth and wet looking. It blends into my skin very well and is the kind of tone I like for highlighting. I’ve used it quite a bit, even though it doesn’t look like it in the photo from the top down angle, but it actually has a dip in the center.

This concludes the post! I tried to keep it short since all of these (minus Colourpop) have been reviewed on this blog before.

Are there any blushes you have been loving at the moment? The blush and highlighter categories are the reason I haven’t been able to post Best of 2020 and Best of 2021 posts. I was constantly trying new products, loving the majority of them, and not able to use what I consider my favorites consistently enough to rank some over others. This year, I’m committed to getting a lot more use out of my older products. There are still plenty I haven’t even reviewed yet! I hope you’ll return to see the progress on that! Thank you for reading!

-Lili

Makeup Geek Review

In under a month it will be two years since Marlena Stell rebranded Makeup Geek and two years since I started purchasing their products. I have some experience with the original shimmer eyeshadow formula, thanks to a sale they were having of their older products, but I cannot compare the original mattes to the ones now. For some reason, I use these shadows once and then go 3-4 months before I use them again. The cycle of use and disuse continued until September 2021 when I committed to thoroughly testing them once and for all.

About half of the square pan eyeshadows were purchased within a few months of the rebrand. The remainder were purchased during new launches like the Soft Focus Colors Collection and Fall Scenes Collection. The face products were purchased at different points in 2021, but I consider them fairly new, especially the bronzer since the shade I purchased was just released in September.

Makeup Geek Individual Shadows (old and new)

All swatches above Caitlyn Rose are from the older collection. The shades with an asterisk in front means it came from the All The Glitters Palette, which I depotted. The “Blue My Mind” color is stated as the name on the palette, but the actual name printed on the bottom of the pan (which I saw when depotting) is “Surf’s You Right.” I don’t know if this was a simple name change at the last minute or if it’s an example of quality control issues Makeup Geek may have had in the past.

I haven’t worn all the older shadows, but I’m very impressed with the ones from the All That Glitters Palette. The exceptions are Venom and Hype which are satin shades and they don’t feel as nice as they did when I first bought them, so I think it’s actually time to toss them. Same goes for Plot Twist and Caitlyn Rose which are beautiful but crumbly now.

I have to also mention the pigment in Blue My Mind is insane! The formula feels wet like a cream to powder shadow, but I have no idea if it’s supposed to be like that. It’s so opaque, sparkly, and intense, but the texture makes me a little concerned as to whether it’s time to throw that out as well. I purchased all the older circle pan shadows in March 2020, so it’s not unrealistic for them to be going bad by now.

I don’t have many of Makeup Geek’s current foils, but I actually prefer the sparkle and shine level of the original foils over the new ones. I even like the older formula better because I have creasing issues with Mystical and especially Medieval. Medieval isn’t as smooth as Mystical either. Illuminaughty, Grandstand, and Epic don’t crease as much. I really like those shades. The foils are described on the website as being a cream and powder hybrid. Perhaps the cream element is what gives it the tendency to crease. While I’ve always had some deep lines around my eyes which is natural to crease a little, Mystical and Medieval move so much to the point of leaving blank spots. It’s quite disappointing since they were the two shades in the rebrand I was most excited to buy. One issue all the new foils have though is that the shimmer dulls after a few hours. This isn’t completely unusual for me, but when they aren’t super sparkly to begin with, they basically look like satins by the end of the day.

Regarding the mattes, the only eye base I’ve tried that works well with them is the MAC Paint Pot. In the photo below, the top half shows where the mattes patch off the lid after being worn for less than an hour. The bottom half shows how the shadows looks after the same length of time when redone over MAC Paint Pot. It’s not perfect, but it’s much better. I don’t remember which shades I used here because the eye photos were taken at least six months ago.

Most of the mattes don’t have pigmentation issues. A few that I own are a thinner more powdery formula than others (like Chickadee and Peach For the Stars), which do fade me on quickly. Even those that fade will still leave a hint of color all day if I use the Paint Pot as a base. I learned though that the absolute best results are just like the face powders and look better if the eye has been set with a powder layer first. These are definitely not creamy mattes, so my eyes can look extra dry and ashy with some of these lighter shades. I think the dryness is what I initially couldn’t pinpoint as to why I was underwhelmed by MUG shadows.

These are some of the looks I’ve done prior to reviewing. I don’t remember which ones I used. I had a few additional shadows that didn’t make this review because I didn’t like them or they were too similar to other shades I purchased. I sold Daydreamer, Wine and Dine, Creme Brulee, Current Obsession, and Latte as Usual.

The best of the Makeup Geek mattes blend nicely and easily and show up opaque the way I like. The downside is that whatever shade it looks initially will turn into a darker variant of brown after a few hours. Had Me At Yellow turns into a mustard yellow-brown. Back To The Fuchsia turns purple-brown. Curfew turns dark brown almost black. I don’t mind these changes as much considering the brown-blends still look pretty and they mostly last all day.

Courageous, Unleashed, and Invincible are part of the Power Pigments formula which are supposed to be the most saturated and most pigmented mattes Makeup Geek have. They give more opaque results right away compared to the other mattes, they are more vibrantly colored, and they have a drier rougher texture. The last one is to be expected when using actual pigments over micas and dyes. The Power Pigments used to be more expensive than the regular mattes at $7.99, but were lowered to $5.50. I think this was a good decision because I don’t believe they are that much more special than the regular mattes considering most of them can be built up to the same level of opacity.

Contour in Scandal (discontinued)

Makeup Geek does not currently have contour products available for purchase, but I got it during a sale shortly after the rebrand. This is a great contour color for me, however, this product doesn’t blend very well. Wherever the powder first touches my skin is where it will stay. Every time I use it, I have to apply a finishing powder to blend out the edges or foundation to sharpen where it got too spread out from me trying to blend it. It still looks heavy even when applied with my softest most loosely packed brushes. This product was probably created at the height of contouring when it was popular to be ultra pigmented, sharp, and intense. If Makeup Geek brings the contours back, I hope there’s a formula change to produce a more natural or airbrushed look. I can make it work, but I likely won’t use it again. The sale price was under $2, so I can’t complain too much.

Bronzer in Chestnut

The color in the pan looks great for me. Unfortunately, this shade looks almost identical to the contour when I actually apply it to my skin. It has a golden sheen with fine gold specks throughout, which gives it the appearance of warmth, but the actual base color is deeper and neutral toned at best. When I apply this, most of the gold is brushed off the skin and what I’m left with creates a shadow and very little warmth. The swatch photo in the blush section shows how similar Chestnut and Scandal look when blended.

The bronzer blends easier than the contour, but the only way it looks nice is if I’ve set my face with a layer of powder first before I blend the bronzer on top. Powdering first gives a softer nicely blended look that I want. However, since 2020, I pretty much stopped using setting powders except under my eyes. If I use a powder at all, it’s a finishing powder which is the last step in my makeup routine. Because it’s not my usual style to set my foundation before I apply the rest of my face products, I don’t see myself reaching for this over the other bronzers I own. However, if I was willing to switch up my style, I know I could get a really beautiful end result. I did end up purchasing the shade Burnished during Black Friday, which is much more cool toned of a shade and just barely deep enough to show on my bare face. I have not yet had the chance to try Burnished over foundation.

Blush in Chivalry

Chivalry is a pretty terracotta brown shade. It performs better than the bronzer on unpowdered skin, but I’m still not completely impressed with the finished look unless it has that powder layer underneath it. Then it looks quite beautiful and almost airbrushed. This technique reduces the amount of pigment I get on the cheeks at once, but it also prevents me from getting darker patches where my brush first touches my skin. In the photo below, the left set of swatches were done with my finger and the right set were blended with a brush to demonstrate the blend without powder (though the sticking issue would have been more prominent if the swatches were applied on top of foundation).

Because powdering isn’t an absolute necessity with the blush and I can still get it to look nice if I take my time blending and use fluffy airy brushes, I could see myself continuing to use this beyond testing purposes. It has good staying power and can be applied lightly for a subtle flush (if powdered first), medium intensity on unset foundation, or built up to a fairly deep shade.

I purchased Covet during the Black Friday sale and I like it even more than Chivalry because medium pinks tend to be my favorite.

Also, unlike the bronzer and contour, the blush leaves a bit of kickup in the pan.

Highlighter in Midnight Sun (discontinued)

This highlighter color is discontinued, but I very happy I could get it because I think it’s a flattering shade on me. It’s quite funny that I like it so much considering this is listed as being best suited for fair skin tones. It does look pale in swatches, but as the cheek photo shows, a highlighter for someone lighter than me should look way more bright and stark. Then again, this isn’t a blinding type of formula. A shade actually geared toward my skin tone would probably not stand out on my cheekbone as much as this color does, which is just the right amount for my taste. Of all the face products, I like the highlighter formula the most.

Full Spectrum Eye Liner Pencil in Plumeria

This is another last minute Black Friday addition to this post. It did not arrive early enough before my trip for me to thoroughly test it. I watched how Marlena used this pencil and was drawn not only to the color, but the fact that it could be smudged out as a shadow color or base and is supposed to be almost water resistant. That element worked well on my arm. After giving it some time to dry, it couldn’t be moved by rubbing it with my finger. Even after wetting it, it didn’t smudge, smear, or run. However, for some reason this pencil did not last on my eyes for even an hour. I do have oily lids, so perhaps this is the reason. I tried it one time on bare eyelids with no primer or other eyeshadows. I put it all over the lid, blended out on my eye like a cream shadow. In an hour, about a third was gone. When I checked a few hours later, there wasn’t any of it left. Since it worked on my arm, I’m guessing this is a “me” problem and anyone who does not have oily eyelids will be able to use this pencil. In the future, after testing it thoroughly, I will update this post if I found a way to keep it on my eyes.

Customizable Compacts

I couldn’t end this review without discussing some of the things I noticed about the compacts offered by Makeup Geek. Whether you get the clear or gunmetal lid of the mini palettes, they both have a magnet of standard thickness and rounded edges. The square pan face powder singles fit perfectly inside them. On the other hand, the “Travel Vault Palette” with the gunmetal lid that anyone who makes a custom 9-pan palette will get, has the kind of magnet I get from the craft store in thin sheets with the peel off sticker on the back. As can be seen in the photo above, mine was not cut properly to the size of my palette. It arrived with the edges lifted up and when I press to stick them back down, they still don’t lay perfectly flat and are curved. When I watched reviews during the rebrand, I saw plenty of other people had warped magnetic bottoms like mine. The actual palette packaging is well constructed, sturdy, and beautiful. The mirror in the lid is a nice quality and a great size. However, I believe Makeup Geek cut corners (literally and figuratively) with the magnets. At one point I had four of these palettes and three out of four were not cut, laid, and stuck properly. When you have expensive eyeshadows, the last thing you want is to have to worry about the whole sheet lifting off and your shadows breaking. I have two of the travel palettes left and I took the better glued one on a trip with me and had no issues. However, I cannot say what would happen if someone keeps their shadows in there at all times.

The main reason I don’t keep my Makeup Geek pans in there is because of all the wasted space. I can understand the older circle pans not fitting better into the palettes considering their shape, but I expected the rebranded new shadows in their mostly square shape should be made to fit the palettes. They still only fit 9 shadows. I understand wanting enough space to be able to easily take the shadows in and out, but it doesn’t look good in my eyes. It looks like I took another brand’s shadows and tried to put them in Makeup Geek’s palette because they’re so ill-fitting. It bothers me when a pre-made palette is larger than it needs to be, but having dividers between the shades indicates it was intended to be that way. Custom palettes without those dividers look untidy on the part of the one who made the palette. Me.

In addition to the eyeshadows not fitting well, there is only room for one face product; if you put one face product, you can only add a maximum of 5 eyeshadows that are still widely spread out. One of the things I love about making custom palettes is having things line up and looking orderly. If it can’t be orderly, I enjoy at least filling up as much space as possible, so it’s a pet peeve of mine that they are this way. The only brand’s shadows that fit nicely in the Makeup Geek palettes are the mini circle shadow pans from Colourpop such as the pans from the Blue Moon, Lilac You A Lot, Star Wars The Mandalorian The Child palette, etc.

There is one other palette type for sale called the Mega Vault Palette. It’s the Matrix Shadow Palette that holds 28 shadows, and those at least fit nicely on all sides with a reasonable amount of extra space. When comparing the 9 pan palettes (whether old version or travel vault version) to the Mega Vault, it’s clear to see a palette of that size should have been made to hold 16, not 9. Marlena has expressed her struggles keeping her brand afloat, so I can see the desire to reuse packaging or try to drum up buzz by announcing a rebrand. I just wish the shadows-to-palette aspect was better planned out for the 9 pan palettes. Then again, perhaps this is why the custom palettes are so deeply discounted.
In case anyone is wondering, I kept my Makeup Geek shadows in a custom magnetic Juvia’s Place palette, which I don’t believe is available for sale anymore. I kept them there until I bought the Mega Vault.

Whenever I review a brand from an Influencer, I disclose whether there are any personal feelings involved. I started following Marlena on YouTube shortly before her rebrand and although I only watch a quarter of her videos, I do like her as a person and I’ve improved my eyeshadow skills because of her live demonstration videos. At the same time, I was also very unhappy with the situation between her and Tina (The Fancy Face) which played out after I already made my initial purchase from the brand. Because of that incident, I did not want to review the products on my blog. However, this was two years ago and my opinion of Marlena returned to a neutral state. I wish her and her brand success. Even though the products aren’t a perfect match for my skin type or my application style, I’m still interested in seeing what else they create in the future and am likely to continue purchasing from them.

That’s all for today! I’m grateful you’ve taken the time to read my review and I hope the information was useful.

-Lili

Natasha Denona Glam Face & Eye Palette – Dark

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Lili

MAC x Rosalia Aute Cuture and MAC Collection Update

After the slightly disappointing Tempting Fate release, I wasn’t sure if I should get anything from the MAC x Rosalia Aute Cuture Collection. However, the gorgeous face palette just named “EXTRA DIMENSION SKINFINISH X 4: R PICKS” was calling to me. I love the Extra Dimension formulas and MAC tends to nail their staple products and long standing formulas, so it was a little lower of a risk to purchase it.
Today, I’m reviewing the quad from the collection, showing how the shades look on me, and giving some comparison swatches. I’m also going to review other MAC products I’ve purchased but haven’t featured here until now.

I should also mention that three products I’m reviewing today are collaborations, but I have very limited knowledge of the artists and designer MAC chose to work with, so I’m focused on the products and not the celebrities.

MAC x Rosalia Extra Dimension Skinfinish x 4: R Picks (Limited Edition)

My very first thought when I saw this palette was how much it reminded me of the Dior Backstage face palettes that also come in four shades and have a very similar embossing in the pans. Dior’s is $45 for 10 grams ($4.50 per gram) and MAC’s is $60 for 16 grams ($3.75 per gram). A higher than usual price is to be expected with collaborations, and MAC’s palette still has a better price per gram, but I wasn’t planning to get it without a discount. Ulta released a $15 off a $50 purchase coupon, so that’s how I ended up with this product and I’m so happy I did!

For those interested in details about the packaging, this palette is made of cardboard but there is a thin plastic layer around the edges of the pans and mirror. This makes it look more sleek, glossy, and gives the illusion of being made out of a solid sturdy plastic on the inside, even though it is not. I don’t mind the cardboard, so I think adding the thin plastic covering was a clever move to elevate the packaging in a cost effective way. I also like the texture of the raised “R” pattern I can feel on the outer print of the palette.

I was thrilled to see the peachy pink blush tone shade, Guindilla, is wearable on my skin despite being such a light color. I have to build it up in order to get it to show, but it still works without becoming too glowy because this shade has less shimmer in it than the other three and it has more of a satin texture to the powder than the others. It’s also less shimmery than the line of Extra Dimension Blushes. I’m very glad it doesn’t have a harsh metallic reflect that some blush-highlighter hybrids possess, such as the Coloured Raine Glowlighters. I can wear this as a blush, but it also makes a nice blush topper. I’ve only tried it once as a standalone highlighter. It works but the shine is subtle and has to be built up.

The one I thought I would get the least use out of is Rosa Peach, the “tan gold” shade. It’s a bit light for my skin tone, but it doesn’t look as off if I apply it closer to where my blush starts on my cheekbone. I really don’t like Rosa Peach on my bare skin or non-blush areas because the blush is what keeps it somewhat matching in tone. I use a small amount and try to really blend it in to make it work.

The shade I figured would best suit me, and it does, is Miel de Azhar. It’s not as dark as it appears in the pan. A small amount of Maca or Rosa Peach will pop on my face, but with this bronze color, I can keep it looking subtle with a light layer or build it up to medium intensity. I can only guess that perhaps a shade like this could be used to bronze someone with a lighter skin tone, but the shimmer level might be too much for some people for bronzing purposes.

The yellow coloring of Maca works better with my undertone, but it’s still a bit light for me. So, I use it sparingly and blend it in. My preference though is to apply Miel de Azhar to my face and then use Maca for strategic highlighting where I want even more brightness.

My shirt color (in conjunction with lighting) can sometimes throw off what my skin tone appears like on camera, so I made sure to post additional photos wearing the shades from this palette. Black clothing tends to have the best results, but I don’t like wearing the same thing all the time. Between the face photos and swatches, I hope these are still helpful.

MAC x Teyana Taylor Mineralize Skinfinish in House of Petunia (Limited Edition/Discontinued)

I missed this when it initially launched, so I was surprised when MAC restocked it earlier this year and it coincided with either a big sale or it was in the “goodbyes” sale section. I can’t remember. It’s a light warm gold in the Mineralize Skinfinish formula with a pearly sheen and larger visible shimmer particles randomly throughout. Sometimes it looks nice on me but sometimes my brush picks up too much pearl and/or glitter particles and then I don’t like the effect. So with each use I never know if I will like how it looks on me or not. For that reason, I don’t wear it as much as I originally hoped. I try to use a little and keep it sheer but it can be intensified with a heavier application and especially if applied on a damp face (like with MAC Fix + sprayed first).

MAC x Harris Reed Embrace Your Duality Palette (Limited Edition)

It really looks like it says “Harry” on the cover of the compact, but it is indeed “Harris.” One of my best friends purchased the eyeshadow palette and wasn’t thrilled with the quality, so I didn’t get anything from this collection at first, even though I really wanted the packaging. When this was in the “Goodbyes” section (where MAC has products discounted before being discontinued) for $10, I thought I might as well get it and see if I had better luck with the colour bases than my friend had with the shadows.

These bases can be used on the eyelids, cheeks, and body. On the eyes, these crease on me within minutes, so it’s a no-go. With the Tempting Fate collection, I found that adding a layer of powder over the creamy Leather Lustre shades helped with creasing, so I’ve tried that with these bases as well. It helps for about an hour, so that’s not long enough for me to want to use it again unless it’s strictly on the lid and away from the crease of my eyes and where it’s partially hooded.

The pink shade, Over Ambitious, feels like a cream blush and applies beautifully to the skin. It’s not completely transfer proof, but once it sets it will mostly stay in place and hair won’t stick to the face. I attempted to do a blush-draping look with it and really liked how it turned out! The glittery yellow gold shade, called Be Your Own Light, is greasier in consistency with a gritty texture. It looks pretty from afar but it’s way too sparkly for my liking up close.

I’m not interested in putting makeup on my body, so I haven’t tried these anywhere other than my face. This product is no longer on the US website, but the last time I checked, I saw it was still available on MAC’s Canadian website. Perhaps it’s also still for sale in other parts of the world. Although I don’t like these on the eyes or the yellow shade as highlighter, I love the pink shade as blush, so I do recommend it at the discounted price for anyone who may come across it.

MAC Glow Play Blush in Heat Index

This was one of two blushes in the Glow Play line that I debated getting, but ultimately, the blog post from Nikki is what helped me decide to go with the Heat Index shade instead. When I became interested in MAC products again, her blog was especially helpful, so I recommend any MAC lovers to check it out!
I am such a fan of this Glow Play formula and wish MAC would extend the shade range. They do have quite a few already, but most are on the light side or are tones I don’t wear. The texture of this blush is most similar to the Stila Heaven’s Hue highlighters. It’s a buildable formula that works well with my Sonia G Mini Base brush. I’ve also successfully used it with my fingers, but I have not tried it with a sponge. MAC frequently has deals going on and the most recent one of 30% off just ended a week ago. With so many brands now with so many good cream formulas at affordable prices, I can’t say I recommend getting this at full price, but it’s absolutely worth it for 30% or more.

MAC Mineralize Blush in Flirting with Danger

The last time I reviewed the Mineralize Blush line, I wasn’t a fan of how dry the shades looked on my skin. I decluttered all of them except Love Thing and was determined to keep away from this formula of blush. However, when I saw Flirting With Danger in person at the MAC store, I couldn’t get it out of my mind and ended up purchasing it during one of the sales. I love this blush so much! It’s the perfect mix of red and orange but in a wearable natural tone, as opposed to something hot and poppy like Electric Bloom from Pat Mcgrath. I like vibrant blushes sometimes, but I also appreciate a version that’s a bit more toned down like this one. I will probably still avoid getting anymore Mineralize Blushes in the future, but I’m happy to have this one and Love Thing.

Also, this shade is quite pigmented, so I use a small amount and love the sheered out look on my cheeks. I’m not restricted to using a light fluffy brush. I can use a dense one with it as well, as long as I just use one tap and really work it into my skin.

MAC Extra Dimension Blush in Under My Plum (Limited Edition from the Black Cherry Collection/Discontinued)

For some reason I thought I already reviewed this on my blog! I posted about it on Instagram ages ago and I took all the product photos and even had comparison photos ready, but I don’t know what happened. In any case, Under My Plum performs just like all the other Extra Dimension blushes, but I think it’s a little less shimmery (or at least the shimmer in it is darker and less noticeable). It’s distinctly different in color to the other shades I own, but on the cheek it really isn’t that much different than Faux Sure or Sweets For My Sweet. It’s even listed as a dupe on Temptalia’s blog for the shade Wrapped Candy in this same formula.

This isn’t available for purchase anymore. If you skipped it, but you own any of the other shades I mentioned, I don’t think you’re missing out. I used it a few times and then went right back to wearing Faux Sure, my favorite in that line.
If it’s the packaging you feel you missed out on, MAC will apparently be bringing a similar shiny pink compact back in 2022. I’ll link my source. Petallic Metallic is not a new shade, but I don’t believe they’ve done this exact packaging before. I’m also not sure if they’re only doing Extra Dimension Skinfinishes for Spring or if they will have blushes in the collection as well.

Photo credit: to Angelnaked_1 on Instagram. That user’s original account (Angelnaked1) was reported so many times by brands that Instagram removed it. The person returned now as Angelnaked_1.

MAC Pro Refill Blush in Dollymix and Swiss Chocolate (Discontinued)

Earlier this year, MAC really whittled down their permanent blush collection. Before that happened, I was able to get Swiss Chocolate, which I realized I could possibly use it as either a bronzer or contour. In person, I saw it was too warm for contouring, but it’s dark enough that it still sculpts a little. So, I use that shade sometimes as a brontour, but not a blush. It was part of the Powder formula and is unfortunately discontinued.

I also bought Dollymix, in the Sheertone Shimmer blush formula, which is still available at MAC. It’s like a less pigmented and shimmer version of the shade Fleur Power. It’s pretty, but I’m not likely to reach for it over my go-to MAC favorites.

That concludes the review! For anyone wondering what my total MAC blush collection is looking like now, I’ve sold or given away 7 but I still have 29! I have to admit, it’s pretty insane, but that’s how much I love their blushes!

I know there are a few more collections that will release this year from MAC (like the upcoming MAC x Lisa in early December), but I don’t think I’ll purchase anything else from them until 2022.

Thank you for reading! This is actually my 100th post! Even though I’ve had this blog since 2015, the bulk of my posts have been from 2020 and onward. That’s why it took so long to reach this milestone, but we’re here!
Have a great week and I hope you’ll come back again next Monday!

-Lili

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Volume III and Universe Unlocked Palettes Plus More

For today’s post, I swatched and demonstrated how two of the three newest products from Hourglass performed for me. I also included plenty of comparisons between all the Hourglass products in my collection to spot any similarities and show nuances of differences.
After finishing the review portion, I ask you to please take a trip with me through my history with the brand because it will give more insight as to why I’ve been attached to them, how Hourglass lost some of its luster in my eyes, and what I hope for them going forward.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette Volume 3

The swatches are a bit difficult to see, but the left set were taken with flash off and the right set shows the tones of the powders with flash on.

Eternal Light is a golden brown finishing powder that matches my face perfectly! It’s a stunning beautiful color. It gives a luminous sheen but also has a few flecks of gold glitter throughout. I wish those larger gold particles were not there, but I’m willing to overlook it because of how nice the sheen is and the overall effect on my face. If I want to avoid having glitter specks in random places, sometimes I don’t set my entire face with this powder and just apply it in the areas of my face I would normally highlight. I have especially enjoyed using this powder with the Wayne Goss 00 Powder brush.

Transcendent Light is a warm dark brown finishing powder that leans a bit red. The tone isn’t suitable as a finishing powder for me. However, it works as a very subtle bronzer that sculpts a little if I build it up with a dense packing type of brush like the Rephr 17. Unlike Eternal Light, I do not see any visible glitter in this powder.

Prismatic Strobe Light is a dark golden-copper highlighter. I typically prefer using medium-golden and warm champagne highlighters, but I can still pull this one off. It’s quite beautiful on the skin with fine shimmer that isn’t too glittery and goes on the skin smoothly. For my usual preferences though, I would likely mix this with a lighter highlighter to add extra brightness.
*This highlighter contains Zea Mays (cornstarch). Just noting for those who may be allergic.

These are the deepest highlighters I own (excluding Solar Strobe Light) out of the most popular brands I have.

Overall, the formula of these powders is the high quality Hourglass is known to have. They’re smooth and blurring even on my dry skin. They look great in person and on camera. According to Hourglass, this particular palette is “ideal for medium-deep to deep skin tones.” I agree that those with medium deep skin will benefit the most from these shades because they have a choice of using either the golden or red finishing powder as a bronzer. They won’t work as bronzers for someone with a deep skin tone and the undertones of the finishing powders are so different that I’m not certain that someone with a deep skin tone would equally enjoy using both of them to finish the face. The highlighter is a little more geared toward the deeper side, but it can work for medium-deep to deep.

This palette is only available through Hourglass directly and has sold out, been restocked, and sold out again. It’s my belief that limited quantities were made, which is supported by this comment on their Instagram page. It’s nice to know this will eventually come to retailers in 2022, and since it’s in the permanent packaging, I assume this will be a permanent item and not just an extension of a holiday release.

Even though I used a “10% off your first purchase” code on the Hourglass website a year and a half ago, I was somehow able to use another one to get this palette. I would have happily paid full price for this anyway.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Universe Unlocked Palette

To my knowledge, the Universe and Universe Unlocked palettes this year mark the return of Hourglass’ five powder face palettes since 2016. That one also had a marble print on the packaging, but it was made out of hard plastic whereas Hourglass switched to tin this year.

Radiant Light is a light golden-beige finishing powder from their permanent line. I always assumed it was too light for me, but this shade isn’t visible on my skin. It doesn’t lighten my foundation or anything, which is great, but I don’t notice any difference at all when I wear this besides mattifying the skin. I can’t see a sheen either. It does nothing for me besides depositing the occasional visible glitter particles like Eternal Light. I’m glad it at least doesn’t make anything worse, but I prefer to use other finishing powders that accomplish something I need like blurring, smoothing, or adding a healthy glow.

Rose Heat is the deepest powder blush Hourglass has ever created thus far. It’s a dark pink berry shade that is a vibrant color that keeps it from looking too dark on someone with a tan to medium and possibly light skin tone, but also not too light for someone with dark, deep, and possibly rich skin tone to be unable to wear. It is extremely pigmented and I’m able to use it gently with my usual blush brushes, but I have been loving to pair it with the Smashbox Buildable Cheek Brush I purchased recently. I’ve made it no secret that berry tones are not a preference of mine, but having a shade like this adds to how usable this palette is for me, and I like it more if I mix or pair it with Coral Flush.

Radiant Bronze Light is a medium warm-toned bronzer that is the current darkest shade in the permanent bronzer line. While this “miscelare technique” can cause some people to get more or less of the darker marbled color, overall there seems to be a consensus that the bronzer in Universe Unlocked is lighter than the bronzer in Universe. This is an odd choice considering all the other shades in Universe Unlocked are darker than the powders in Universe, so logically shouldn’t the darker bronzer be in Universe Unlocked too? At the end of the day, this choice doesn’t matter for anyone darker than tan because neither will be usable as bronzers. As I mentioned before, Radiant Bronze Light is the darkest shade in the permanent line, so the only hope people of color had for a product to bronze the skin was if Hourglass released a brand new shade. Golden Bronze Light from the Mini Sculpture Unlocked and Ghost Palette is the tiniest bit darker than Radiant Bronze Light and I use Golden Bronze Light as a subtle highlighter on my skin tone, so that says it all in terms of depth. I’ve tried using this on top of cream bronzers and contours to see if I could somehow utilize that warmth and sheen, but that didn’t work. I also find it interesting that although the Radiant Light finishing powder is a lighter shade than Radiant Bronze Light, Radiant Light blends into my skin with no cast, but Radiant Bronze Light leaves a grey cast over areas that I have hyperpigmentation showing. So, I can’t use it as a glowy face powder and it only works as a subtle highlighter on me that provides a little glow but low reflectivity. I figured this would be the case ahead of time before I made my purchase, so it wasn’t a factor as to why I wanted this palette.

Coral Flush is described as a bright peony and although pigmented, I need several layers with at least a medium-dense packed brush to build it up to the point I like. I can wear Coral Flush on its own, but I prefer to add a little of Rose Heat to give it a tad more depth and turn it from being, “Kind of cute,” to “Nice! I like it!” This shade is more geared for light to medium-deep skin tones. I think someone a few shades darker than me could still pull it off, but not that much darker if using Coral Flush on its own.

Solar Strobe Light is a golden leaning metallic champagne. Somewhere between this shade and Prismatic Strobe Light is where my perfect shade exists, but I’m certainly happier with those two than any other Hourglass Strobe Light product that’s been released by them. In addition to liking the color, I’m happy this isn’t the Metallic Strobe formula because the type of ingredients used to make those so bright are not flattering on deep skin. This shade is best suited for perhaps medium up to my skin tone, but I still don’t think it’ll be as flattering past my shade.
*Unlike the Metallic Strobe formula, the Non-metallic Strobe highlighters contain Zea Mays.

Overall, those with medium to tan (but not dark tan) skin will get the most out of this palette, followed by those with light and dark tan to medium-dark skin. Anyone else could still use perhaps 1-2 shades, but I’m not certain it would be worth getting at that point.
Universe Unlocked mostly works for me, but “working” doesn’t mean it’s as flattering as it could be. I don’t feel that it enhances my makeup the way the Volume III trio did. Even the best blush look I can create with a mix of Coral Flush and Rose Heat doesn’t surpass the way the At Night blush looks on me. So, while this palette is technically still worth the 20% discounted price I paid with a coupon via Ulta, I’m conflicted as to whether it was worth getting for the actual results and how much I will realistically continue using it.

With the exception of the Surreal Light palette, all the powder products I purchased from Hourglass are basically the ones supposed to be usable by me from 2016 until now. I’ll let the swatches speak for themselves as to whether that’s the case or not. And since I believe the finishing powders from Volume III can still work as bronzers, I included them in the bronzer swatch section even though they technically should not be included there.

Hourglass, A History

I first became intrigued by the brand in 2015. Everything was out of my price range, but I purchased a mini of the Veil Mineral primer that was considered one of the best on the market at that time. It really lived up to the claims of being incredibly smoothing and minimizing the appearance of fine lines, but it left a visible white cast so strong that it made my foundation look lighter too. So, I ended up using it as an eyeshadow primer instead.
I believe 2015 was also the year Hourglass started to make the larger holiday face palettes. Their previous holiday releases were in trios, but from 2015 and onward, customers began to expect and look forward to those 5-6 powder palettes. Because it was the best bang for the buck, I hoped with each year that a palette suitable for me would become available and was willing to save up for it. By 2017, when Sephora put limited quantities of the previous year’s palette in the Rewards Bazaar, I snapped it up immediately despite knowing I probably couldn’t use any of them.

Ironically, that 2016 release Surreal Light Ambient Lighting Edit was possibly the lightest palette Hourglass made, so it definitely did not work for me. I got some use out of the powders through “Franken-Makeup” creations. For those who are not familiar with the term coined by Safiya Nygaard, it’s when someone plays Dr. Frankenstein and combines multiple products together in the hopes of making something better by capturing the best qualities of all of them, though one could end up with worse results. I scraped out some of the powders to use as fillers or to sheer out an over pigmented mixture in custom Franken blush, highlighter, and eyeshadow mixtures.
Despite everything in that palette looking like chalk on my skin and rendering it unusable for the intended purpose, I still cherished having it! In the earliest years of my makeup journey, I became obsessed with having a holy grail product in every category and I viewed Hourglass powders as the absolute best in existence (such was the level of hype it got). So even one that didn’t suit me was treasured because it brought me closer to being able to experience what everyone else could.

2015 – Ambient Lighting Edit Palette, 2016 – Surreal Light Ambient Lighting Edit Palette, 2017 – Ambient Lighting Edit Volume 3 Palette, 2018 Ambient Lighting Edit Volume 4 Palette and Unlocked Ambient Lighting Edit Palette, 2019 – Ghost Ambient Lighting Edit and Ghost Ambient Lighting Blush Quad, 2020 – Sculpture Ambient Lighting Edit Palette and Sculpture Ambient Lighting Edit Quad, 2021 – Ambient Lighting Edit Universe and Ambient Lighting Edit Universe Unlocked.

Year after year, I waited for Hourglass to release something where I could use more than just 1 or 2 powders out of the bunch. By 2019, I began to view the brand differently when they continued to re-release shades without even having covered the full color spectrum. That’s like if a brand started releasing monochromatic palettes for the holidays and came out with a purple one, a blue one, and then a green palette. The following year, rather than release an orange, yellow, or red they shift instead to making a purple-blue palette, and then a blue-green palette, and so on. Many customers began to wonder why a particular range of skin tones were being catered to while everyone else was ignored.
Fun facts: Dim Light and Diffused Light were repeated 5 times. Luminous Bronze Light, Iridescent Strobe Light, and Mood Exposure were repeated 2 times. All of the shades in the Sculpture Ambient Lighting Edit Quad were repeated shades from the previous year’s Ghost Ambient Lighting Edit Palette. There are also several shades in the full face palettes that were from the permanent line already. In addition, so many of the powders that are labelled as “new” look similar to what Hourglass has already produced.

In early 2020, I began to research and take a closer look at all the current and discontinued products that were available from Hourglass. I thought to myself, “Their liquid and cream range is inclusive, so surely there has to be something I think won’t work for my skintone but is actually darker than it looks.” After countless videos and swatch comparisons, the only one I could see was the Diffused Heat blush, provided I was very lucky and could get one that had a lot more of the pink shade than the lighter marbled shade. I was fortunate to find one like that, but it is still ashy if I’m not careful about which area of the blush I dip my brush.

Mid-June people really started to draw attention to Hourglass hardly featuring models of color, but this is because they didn’t have many products to showcase that would suit them. Instead of admitting they lacked a good range, Hourglass tried to show things that were supposedly used, but they could not have matched the models without “adjusting” the photos. This was the start of what led to Hourglass coming under fire later in the year.

In late 2020, Hourglass released the At Night shade of blush and I was ecstatic! I still need to focus on the darker marbled section for it to work, but I don’t have to struggle with it as much as other products. I was so optimistic that I took a chance on the 2020 re-release of the 2017 Ambient Metallic Strobe Lighting Palette, but the pearl powder made it looking quite icy on my face if I used too much. Because of At Night, I was still hopeful the actual holiday release for 2020 would finally work for me, but the larger palette did not. The Mini Sculpture Unlocked quad “worked” if I used the bronzer as a subtle highlighter, the blush if I built it up heavily, and if I was willing to have another icy highlighter. I always had to find ways to get my money’s worth out of the Hourglass products I bought and I ended that year sick of it. I’ve already discussed the scandal of the misleading advertising of the Ambient Lighting Volume 2 Palette in the Jasmine Tooks campaign in past posts. I do not appreciate their photos always being more saturated and deeper than the products actually are and using tricks to make products seem to work for more skin tones than they really do. For instance, with their recent line of Vanish Blush Sticks when demonstrating how the shades look on multiple skin tones, for the model with dark skin they put a very light concealer from the under eyes all the way down to her lips. The large triangle concealer technique is still popular with some people, but it’s not supposed to be applied all the way across the entire cheek to the ears. It’s quite apparent that the best way to get Sacred to show on Sydney Harper’s skin was on top of a very light base several shades too light for her. I nearly fell for it! Trickery like this is why my view on the brand took a deeply negative turn in 2020.

Sydney Harper wearing the shade Sacred on Hourglass’ Youtube page.

I personally think having two deep shades out of the six blushes is inclusive enough, so I don’t understand why this decision was made. I like medium toned blushes, but it’s always a hassle to figure out if a medium blush is on that cusp of being too light or actually working for me. How they showed Sacred in the video makes it look like it would work for skin even deeper than mine, which I’m not convinced is actually the case. If the shade doesn’t show up on the model or looks ashy, then I’d rather they just show that so I know not to spend my money on them rather than buy it, find out for myself it doesn’t work, and either absorb the cost or return it knowing it’s just going to be thrown away.

Since I never did review the Blush Stick, I’ll go ahead and say I think it’s nice but nothing special. The majority of the cream blushes I use from other brands are just as good (or better) for at least half the price. I use a light layer of Revel, but it can be built up more intensely and it’s the kind of shade that will work on a lot of skin tones. The other deep shade Hourglass makes is called Adore.

Regarding Hourglass’ tendency to misrepresent shades in their advertising, I think they did a better job of showing Volume III but it definitely needs improvement. I still caution against relying on Hourglass’ images alone for an idea of what the products look like.

The left side is a more accurate photo of Volume III, but both images are from the brand’s Instagram.

Now, in my seventh year of waiting for a dark powder palette, I can finally say I have Hourglass products that I can use (mostly) for their intended purposes! If I’m looking for an all-in-one palette, the most important thing to me is to have a usable blush, highlighter, and bronzer. I don’t believe I am alone in thinking that way. While Universe Unlocked offers the biggest variety to date of who can use the palette, only a limited group can use all three. It’s the bronzer specifically that limits things. Rather than Hourglass making a palette with 2-3 shades for some people and 2-3 shades that will work for someone else, I would have liked to see full palettes dedicated to the skin tone groups who still haven’t gotten a full face palette that will work. I am happy to have Volume III and am glad at the possibility that it’s permanent, but so many of us have been specifically wanting a full size Deep face palette. If they took all the shades from Volume III, Rose Heat from Universe Unlocked, and threw in At Night as the second blush (since they like doing repeat shades anyway) that could have been an amazing third holiday Ambient Lighting Edit palette. Indie brands like Sydney Grace and Adept Cosmetics release dark and light versions of the same eyeshadow palette and I think this would be fantastic for other companies to adopt regarding face palettes. Below are some examples of swaps that could have been made. Creating two versions of Universe Unlocked with even just a bronzer change would have made all the difference in the world.

The third concept palette that I nicknamed “Universe Aligned” is what I proposed above if Hourglass took the three Volume III shades and At Night blush and put it in the Universe Unlocked packaging with Rose Heat.

I’ve heard endlessly, “If a brand doesn’t cater to you, go buy from those who do.” I’ll explain why this doesn’t work so easily for Hourglass: No one else makes powders like Hourglass. If I had an alternative, I would have given up on them ages ago. The silkiness of the powders, the blend, the effect on the skin, etc has not been successfully replicated by anyone else. This is why we “target,” as Hourglass apologists say, the brand specifically more than other non-inclusive ones, because they are the only ones who can do this task. When the Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer was considered top notch, we wanted an extension to those. When Benefit only had Hoola available, we wanted that as well. I have no problem taking my money elsewhere as long as there isn’t something considered the best of the best that they make. In which case, then there isn’t an alternative. If we want the best, that brand is the only one who can create it for us. This is why so many of us keep hoping to have something that we can use too. We want to have that same experience everyone else that Hourglass caters to gets to experience. Hourglass is inclusive except when it comes to the powder products, but powder is all I really want from them. I like makeup from Asian brands, but I accept that I’m not likely to get a base product deep enough for me because the demand isn’t high enough. When it comes to Hourglass, there is a market and a demand, so it would be financially beneficial to meet those demands. This makes it so obvious they were content in leaving a vacancy in their line while their pockets were still being filled. It was not until enough of us joined in a united front (those who could and could not wear what was available) to make our voices heard, especially those who boycotted them and the Influencers who publicly denounced and cut ties with Hourglass, and news outlets who got us to the point where Hourglass has started to give deeper options. I believe the creation of Volume III was to repair their image after the deceitful misleading advertising of Volume II. This is why I question whether Hourglass is going to continue giving deeper options in the future, or if they feel they’ve done enough now and that this is where inclusiveness ends for them. In 2022, if there is no extension of the permanent bronzers or there’s no Ambient Lighting Edit Face Palette suited for at least tan to deep skin tones, if not deeper, then it will be a clear indication once and for all that they won’t begrudgingly create anything like the Volume III again. Essentially what they do in 2022 will determine whether I continue buying from them or not. Eight years will be plenty of time and they’ve had plenty of chances to prove they aren’t focused on a particular demographic. Hourglass prioritizes being cruelty free, sustainable (with their new overpriced custom eyeshadow system), and finding vegan alternatives (with their patent-pending replacement for carmine). They dedicated so much time and research to these projects in order to be a brand that goes above and beyond others by showing their concern for the planet. It boggles my mind that they don’t care about their reputation when it comes to being exclusionary regarding their customers.

I think I’ve finally said everything I’ve wanted to say about Hourglass in this post. I really do hope they become a brand I can be proud of to say I purchase from in the future. As it stands, I’m almost embarrassed to share how long I’ve been pining for their products and how many of them I bought despite feeling as though they really don’t want to make products for those with dark skin.
That’s all for this week. If you’re still here after reading that full post and you understand my perspective, you’re at MVP status! Thank you for your time and if you’re considering getting these products now or in the future, I hope this has been helpful.

-Lili

Amazon Makeup: Haus Labs and Zeesea Cosmetics

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

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

Haus Labs

Haus Laboratories Heat Spell Bronzer Highlighter Duo in Volcanic & Lava

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Zeesea Cosmetics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ZEESEA Tipsy Kitty Eyeshadow Quad in #03 Fruit Punch

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

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

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

-Lili

MAC Tempting Fate Collection

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

MAC Tempting Fate Lipstick in Tarnished Reputation

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

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

MAC Tempting Fate Strobe Face Glaze in Punk in Spice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MAC Tempting Fate Feast Your Eyes Eyeshadow Palette

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Lili

Hatice Schmidt Labs Highlighter and Bronzer Review

I’ve mentioned in a few posts that I tend to make impulse purchases in the early morning hours, especially when something flares up. This time it was TMJ that kept me awake at 5 am when I decided to place this order. I was less than two weeks away from flying to Germany when I came across an Instagram post, the second one I’d seen, showing the absolutely stunning highlighters and bronzers from Hatice’s brand. I admittedly don’t know much about Hatice, as her videos are in German and even with German closed captioning, my translation abilities aren’t good enough to follow very much of what’s being said. She’s the beauty influencer behind the Becca Berlin Girl collab several years ago, but I know very little else about her. Still, her extremely inclusive range caught my attention and I thought to myself, “Why not order and have it there when you arrive? It will be two less items you have to carry with you!”

So I did. Shipping within Germany is free, whereas shipping to the US is $16 (before the PayPal conversion fee). I watched Hatice’s launch video to help decide which shades to pick and I felt confident about my choices until Angelica Nyqvist posted her video five hours after I ordered and I saw how much lighter Medium looked than I thought. I didn’t want to get the Deep shade because the tone of it isn’t my preference in highlighters. It looked similar to the Lucent Jungle shade from Nabla’s Skin Glazing line, which I decluttered this year, so I didn’t want to take that chance and there was no option in between Medium and Deep.

The products arrived in two days and my boyfriend was able to show me what they looked like from his camera. The official website has several beautiful photos of the product on models of varying skin tones, including arm swatches, but it’s still difficult to guess how it would actually appear in person when you’re not used to that brand’s lighting and editing. At the time of my purchase, there were no tan and darker YouTubers showcasing the products.

The highlighter comes in a white durable compact with a mirror inside. The bronzer comes in an identical compact but in black.

I ended up buying the Deep shade of Bronzer as well. This also took two business days to arrive.

The swatches on my arm were swiped twice, but gently each time with a finger. The swatches on the light arm were swiped once with a finger.

I find it fascinating that the Tan bronzer looks so warm on lighter skin tones, but on my skin it’s more of a neutral shade. When I was taking product photos, I could see that without flash, the bronzers looked much cooler toned in their pans than with flash on. I’ve included multiple photos throughout this post which demonstrates the differences I observed.

BRONZER in Tan and Deep

On the website, these are described as being silky, creamy, ultra blendable, and lightweight with a radiant finish. I could see in photos that the sheen on the product did indeed look like a combination of the Kosas The Sun Show Bronzer and the Nabla Skin Bronzing, which are my favorite bronzer finishes, so I had very high hopes. In Morbus Black’s video, she also compared the finish of Hatice’s bronzer to Nabla’s, though she made the point that Nabla’s bronzer is a little smaller for 22 euros versus 34 euros. For us in the US, we can usually get the Nabla Skin Glazing and Skin Bronzing products for 50% off during Ulta’s 21 Days of Beauty, so it’s an even larger price difference for similar quality.

Besides the price, the main differences between the two brands of bronzers is that the HSL is an even softer powder and is not hard pressed in the pan like Nabla’s, which means it’s much easier to use and layer. HSL’s Tan is a little lighter and not as warm as Nabla’s Profile shade, but Profile is the current darkest in Nabla’s range. HSL goes many steps forward with their shade Deep.

I bought a Korean sunscreen that came with what I thought was a mini version, but the mini did not contain SPF. I didn’t realize this when I took the mini on the trip with me, so I got darker as the trip went on. Tan became too subtle to bronze me enough to show much on camera, so I thought I would give Deep a try, even though it looked like it might be more of a contour for my skin tone. Deep looks like a delicious bar of dark chocolate and is indeed too dark for me to use in a normal application method. In my previous bronzer post, I mentioned that the Beauty Bakerie Brownie Bar contains the darkest bronzer/contour in my collection, but this Deep shade is even richer.

For the time being until my “tan” fades, I can apply a light layer of Deep with a small precise brush and go over it in a larger area with the Tan shade.

In the photos above, I chose to show a heavy application of Tan because it would not be seen on camera otherwise. I chose to use a light application of Deep to show it in the most wearable state on me and how I can make it work despite being too dark for me in a normal amount.

In terms of formula, all the product claims are correct. The powder is super soft, applies smoothly to the skin, has a nice sheen, and is easy to blend. It’s right up there with my top 5 favorite bronzers, though considering I have less expensive options, I can’t say it’s worth getting over the others. This is the second most expensive single bronzer I own, after the Charlotte Tilbury one. At this moment in time, I don’t mind having bought one because I will always associate this product with the memories of my trip. I will eventually declutter the Deep shade, but I’m definitely keeping Tan.

HIGHLIGHTER in Medium

Despite my resolve to no longer purchase highlighters, this one looked like it would give the glass-skin effect, which is my favorite type of highlighter shine. That’s why I lost the will to skip it. It’s described as being long-lasting and able to be worn as subtle or as intensely as someone wants. As quoted from the website, “The special formulation with the luminous finish of a liquid highlighter and the lightness of a powder sculpts, shapes and defines your skin.”

I do love this highlighter. It slightly edges above the Nabla Skin Glazing in Amnesia, which was my holy grail highlighter. I consider them both to be champagne shades, but Medium’s base color is a touch warmer than Amnesia, which makes it better suited to my skin tone. Medium’s shimmer particles are also slightly finer and more reflective. I don’t believe those minimal differences makes the Hatice highlighter hugely better than the one from Nabla, but since I have no other dupes for the Skin Glazing, I’m happy to have it. It was a better purchase than me getting two of the bronzers.

This is a beautiful formula and fans of Hatice Schmidt will likely be very happy with what they have, as well as those who enjoy luxury. The designs in the powder and sleek packaging exude a slightly edgy but high end feel to the products. The only aspect I question is the description as being changeable from subtle to intense. Unless I’m in a spot where the light will hit my face directly, it does not look as variable as that on my skin tone. Whether I use a lot or a little and dry or damp, I find it to be the same middle ground intensity because of the base blending so much in my skin (as if semi-transparent), which is one of the best features of the product. This helps make the highlighter look like a more natural glow, but without a lighter base color, the intensity is dependent on how much it reflects, which means it’s dependent on the lighting someone is in.

The damp brush makes it look a bit stark on my skin, so I prefer keeping it dry and recommend those who want more shine (regardless of the lighting) to layer the highlighter on top of a liquid illuminator. I love the way this highlighter looks on me when I apply a normal amount, so I’m happy with the formula as is and wouldn’t change a thing. On a rare occasion I like to be beaming, but otherwise the way it is now (subtle to nicely highlighted) is perfect for me. The shade looks a tiny bit icier now that I’ve gotten a “tan” but it will match better again when it fades.

The photos in the black shirt were taken during the trip. LED lights were far above with a small amount of outdoor light shining through a window onto my face. I am wearing the Tan bronzer built up heavily and the highlighter on the high points of my forehead, above the brow, in the brow arch, on the center of the eyelid, lightly on the nose, and on the tops of my cheekbones.

HSL has a few other products available, but the ones discussed today are the only products that grabbed my interest. This is a brand I will continue to be curious about, though I may not purchase anything else purely due to the price point. That isn’t to say it’s over-priced as there may be an upcharge due to custom formulas, being made in Italy, the packaging, the embossing in the powder, ingredients, etc. This quality is top notch, but at this point in my journey with makeup, I can always find something similar for a little less. However, I’m glad that I was able to support a company that chose to have an inclusive range.

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

Products I Changed My Mind About (for better or worse)!

If I have a strong negative or positive opinion about something, you can expect that to stay the same. This post will mainly center around the items I had mixed or indifferent feelings about in my reviews, but I’m now definitively on one side.

Dior Backstage Face and Body Powder No Powder

I remember saying that for my personal needs, I wasn’t certain if this powder was worth $40. I initially didn’t notice that much of a blurring effect because if I take my time blending and concealing all my problem areas, the powder doesn’t make much of a difference except adding a flattering sheen. However, it’s when I’ve been in a rush to put on makeup that I have noticed a dramatic difference! The blurring effect is so much more noticeable from blending out harsher lines of bronzer or contour, toning down a blush, adding some life to a look that’s too flat or dry looking. This has saved me so many times from having to restart a makeup look. I’ve grown to love this powder so much and wholeheartedly recommend it now because I think everyone has those moments when we just don’t have time to make things as smooth as possible, which this powder helps with, assuming it works with your skin type.

All foundations eventually settle into the smile line on the right side of my mouth. This powder fills and smooths it over so that you can’t even see it! After several hours it starts to be visible again, but the fact that it can make this dramatic of a difference at all is amazing to me!

The left side of the photo shows my mouth area after six hours of wearing the Becca Dewing Skin Tint as foundation. It had not been set with powder all day. The right half of the photo shows what the area looked like after I applied the Dior Powder-No-Powder to that spot. It completely freshened up the area.

Rituel de Fille

I was already at a disadvantage with this brand because of my sensitivity to lanolin (which so many of their products contain). When I discovered mold growing around the outer rim of one of the Nectar Balms, I decided that I am no longer interested in any products from this brand that are not powder based. That eliminates practically everything they sell. That Nectar Balm was only 8 months old and I only used it a few times. Then 6 of those 8 months it remained clasped shut and inside a resealable pouch. So, I do not trust how the brand preserves ingredients (it’s supposed to last 12 months after opening), on top of the lanolin issue and the waxiness of other products and certain items being overpriced.

Kaleidos Space Age Highlighters

These were on the cusp of me liking them, as having visible glitter particles is not my preference, but they weren’t so sparse for me to stop using them altogether. However, I’ve embraced my highlighter preference as there are so many reflective illuminating smooth products that suit me, so I decluttered all three of them. If the glitter/shimmer in a highlighter isn’t fine enough, I will just not continue to use them. I have decluttered other highlighters that don’t fit my style such as Fenty’s Trophy Wife Killawatt Highlighter and the Oden’s Eye Solmane Palette.

Tarte Shape Tape Ultra Creamy Concealer

Other than this Instagram post, I haven’t shared my finalized thoughts about this concealer until now. Unfortunately, I really do not like it. I decluttered both from my collection. My love of the original Shape Tape runs pretty deep because I practically need Spackle to cover my dark under eye circles. The main downside to Shape Tape is that it can look dry, so the Ultra Creamy version seemed like the perfect remedy. The finish is nice, but it provides way less coverage than the original, creases significantly, and is not long-lasting. The only thing I find similar about them is the packaging. Even the original 53N Deep and Ultra Creamy 53N Deep have different undertones despite them both being labeled neutral. The original leans golden, which I like, but the ultra creamy leans pink.

Mixing the new and original concealers together improves the performance, but the combo is still worse than if I used the original on its own. Even in reviews I watched where people said they liked it, to me, their under eyes did not look as nice as usual. So, I definitely don’t recommend it.

Final Thoughts

It would have been nice to end this post with a list of five products in total, as five is a nice number, but I could only think of these four. There still a few things I haven’t made up my mind about, such as Makeup Geek eyeshadows (which I will officially review at some point this year), and Viseart shadows after being unimpressed by the Dark Mattes Edit Palette in my last Viseart purchase, but I need a bit more time with them in order to decide.

As a sort of honorable mention, I can say that the ELF Instant Lift Brow Pencil has reclaimed the top spot as my favorite brow product over the ELF Ultra Precise Brow Pencil. I liked how thin and easy it was to draw those realistic brow hairs, but I still missed the Instant Lift after I used it up. Then one day, when I went to use the Ultra Precise, I don’t know if it dried out but the whole product just slid right out. It was unusable at that point. I don’t know if it was just a fluke or if that tends to happen with the Ultra precise, but since I loved the Instant Lift anyway (and it’s cheaper and I know I can use up the entire pencil without issue), I decided the Instant Lift deserves the crown and I’m now on brow pencil #2.

That is all for today!

I have one review scheduled for next week, but my consistent return to Monday postings will not begin until September 13th. I hope you all are doing well!

Thank you for reading!

-Lili