MAC Black Panther, Holiday ’22, and More

We’ve got ourselves another MAC Cosmetics post! These are the products from MAC that I purchased during the final few months of 2022. I’ll begin with the two item types I haven’t purchased or reviewed from MAC before, but the blushes and highlighters are formulas I’m very familiar with and will probably not have much new to add. For those interested in my previous MAC posts, the list with links can be found on this index page here.

Additional MAC Items

MAC Glow Play Lip Balm in Floral Coral

This is one of a few items I redeemed as a free birthday gift from MAC’s Reward Program. It’s a sheer product in a soft formula. The top layer of the bullet instantly melts when it touches my lips. If I apply the amount of balm to my lips based on how it feels, I get almost no color. I can build it up to show a pink tinge, but the amount I need to apply for that leaves my lips feeling excessively wet in a way that isn’t quite greasy or oily, but it’s a similar enough sensation that is uncomfortable for me. After I wear it for a short time, it gives me the feeling of dripping around the edges and a strong urge to wipe it off.

For this reason, I haven’t been using this beyond the handful of times I wore it to test it out. And even though it feels moisturizing, my lips aren’t actually being conditioned. The moisture lasts a few hours before I feel like I need to reapply, even if there’s still some balm left on my lips.
If I want to wear a slightly colorful balm for a short time, like in photos, this is fine. If I want a balm that’s actually lip conditioning and having color isn’t a necessity, I’d reach for plenty of other balms instead. So, I don’t really recommend this. According to a sneak peek I saw on IG, MAC might be releasing a Valentine collection of new and/or existing shades of Glow Play Lip Balms and other lipsticks. I won’t be purchasing them.

MAC Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15 Foundation in NC47

This was a Black Friday purchase when MAC had 40% off complexion. The pump for this foundation is sold separately, and unfortunately was full price. I wish the package with the pump came with an extra cap that could fit over the foundation instead of the little dispenser cover piece because I always lose tiny parts to makeup and skincare (like the little spoons to scoop out products in jars).

With “fluid” in the name, I expected this foundation to be watery like the Uoma Beauty Say What Foundation or Kosas Tinted Face Oil, but it’s more viscous than those while still managing to feel lightweight on the skin. MAC describes it as being a, “buildable, medium to full coverage [foundation] in a natural matte finish.” While I agree with the buildable claim, the amount I would normally pump out and blend in with my Blendiful gives me light coverage, and I have to use quite a bit more product in order to get a solid medium. I can technically build it up to nearly full, but I have to focus on targeting my areas of discoloration specifically, and at that point it can look a little mask-like since it’s not my absolute perfect shade. So, I keep it at a nice medium and use concealer in the areas I need more coverage.

Additional photos of me wearing this foundation, under a different lighting situation (using my ring light), is in the highlighter section.

When I wore it the first time, I thought it was a pretty good color match, but upon subsequent usage and building it up to medium-full coverage, I realized it’s about a half a shade off in depth and it’s my correct undertone family but not perfect. The fact that I can wear it at all is quite surprising because I remember a time when I tried a sample of NC47 and it was too light for me, but the next shade NC50 was way too dark. I figured the hypothetical NC48 shade (if it existed) would be my perfect shade, but apparently NC47 can work for me in winter. Since I plan on wearing this at medium coverage level, it’s good enough of a match for me to keep it in rotation.

I do like the natural-matte finish of the foundation. It’s supposed to be sweat and humidity resistant, but I challenge that as well, since I managed to look sweaty on a day that was only 75 degrees Fahrenheit outside (and even colder in the house) when all I was doing was taking blog photos and rearranging my makeup drawers in the span of under two hours. It makes me wonder how this will look on me in the summertime when it’s between 85-98 degrees.
After I noticed how it was looking, I powdered my face (I initially skipped that step) and that helped to take away the extra shine. The other days I wore it were not hot days and I wasn’t doing anything that would make me produce sweat, so my face remained looking matte even without powder. So, I’m not sure what to make of those results. I will say that I love the fact that this sets on me to the point of being dry to the touch without a trace of wetness/creaminess and no transfer on my fingers that I can see. I love my natural and dewy foundations, but those usually come at the price of various levels of being transferable. I’ve had to train myself to just not touch my face and to be careful when switching outfits and hugging people. It’s actually a relief to have a foundation with some coverage again that I don’t have to be so careful with. I just wish they had my full on perfect shade in depth and undertone.

This is a pretty nice foundation. I like it, but I still prefer my Rose Inc and Estee Lauder Futurist Hydra. I can also think of past Nars Foundations and the original Makeup Up For Ever HD and Ultra HD that I preferred as well when I owned them. I haven’t been using this very long, and normally I don’t review a foundation until I’ve worn it at least 10 times, so there’s still room for my opinion to change. If that happens, I will try to remember to update this post.

My Latest MAC Highlighters

I make it a point now to try and make my MAC purchases via Selfridges because of the price difference being in favor of USD, or from MAC’s website when they have a sale of 30% off or higher. However, it was only the MAC Indulgent Glow Face Kits that came to Selfridges, so I had to purchase the others elsewhere. Of course, I could have waited until a potential sale for the collaboration items, but I didn’t want to take the chance of them selling out, so I purchased the Black Panther Royal Challenge and Whitney Houston ones at launch. I did at least get 20% off on Black Panther’s Royal Vibrancy when I bought that one from Ulta. At the time I’m posting this, the Black Panther Collection is on a deeper discount on MAC’s website, along with last year’s holiday items.

For those who may be curious, in all four highlighter photos I’m wearing the MAC foundation in NC47, The Anastasia Beverly Hills Cream Bronzer in Terracotta (newest shade addition to the line that came out after my review), and the Pat Mcgrath Divine Rose III blush.

MAC Indulgent Glow Face Kit/Set in Sparkling Wine

These kits came in two versions: Sparkling Wine and Rosé. I was impressed by the presentation of the box in a beautiful creamy light pink color and with a raised pattern on the surface.

The bag the items come in is quite cute. I haven’t found a purpose for it yet, but it’s a nice “free” addition considering MAC Extra Dimension Highlighters have risen in price to $40 (or $44 for collaboration versions). This set being $44 normally, means the bag and brush that come with it are essentially free. I paid $35 for it from Selfridges, so the deal was even better.

I didn’t have high expectations for this brush, but it actually surprised me!
The more deeply shaped and intricate the embossed pans are from MAC, the harder it will have been pressed. That makes the top layer a bit tougher to pick up product from when using softer bristle brushes. This one feels soft, but the strands themselves are strong enough to really dig into the highlighter while still dispersing the product softly across the skin. Rather than following the direction of the brush, I swirled it roughly in the pan in a circular motion to get the most product pickup with the least effort.
I’ve used this brush enough times that it softened the surface of Sparkling Wine, so I can now pick up the product with my natural hair brushes. Prior to that top layer being broken into, it was extremely difficult.

I’ve also used this brush to apply blush and bronzer in a sweeping motion and it’s pretty good with those as well!

The highlighter embossing encapsulates the “Bubbles and Bows” theme MAC chose for holiday 2022.
MAC Highlighters tend to be smooth to the touch, but even when I rub my finger across the smoother part of the bow, it feels slightly rough and dry. However, it has such a healthy glowy sheen with a few twinkling sparkles that are just enough for me to feel like this is a festive highlighter I would want to wear to a holiday event, and not enough to be considered glittery. This contains medium size sparkles instead of large ones, which is probably why I actually find them to be quite pretty and wearable.

Ever since Fenty’s Trophy Wife highlighter came into being, I have feared pigmented deep yellow highlighters because of how terrible they look on me. So, I was afraid this one might be too yellow because of the way it looks in the pan, but then my fear switched to worrying it might be too light after seeing the swatch. However, on the face, it looks so pretty to me! Sparkling Wine has a semi-transparent base with just a hint of a yellow tinge to it. The color that peeks through blends with the undertone of my skin while not being pigmented enough to cause a stripe with the low amount of product I apply to my face. It also balances out the pearly looking particles within the highlighter. It looks lighter than Royal Challenge in swatches because the color of the inside of my arm is lighter than my face, but on my cheeks, the fact that Royal Challenge has a more pigmented and lighter base color gives it the lighter appearance, whereas Sparkling Wine’s slightly tinted base allows my darker cheekbone color to show underneath which makes it look darker than Royal Challenge overall. I really like this! As the embossing starts to wear down, I know I’m going to struggle with that part of me that doesn’t want to ruin it versus the side that wants to make sure I get good use out of the products I own. However, this embossing is lingering quite well so far, so I guess I have a ways to go before I need to start worrying!

MAC x Whitney Houston Extra Diminision Skinfinish in Just Whitney

This is another highlighter that was hard-pressed in a way that just affected the very topmost layer and is now getting easier to use as the print is fading. And, once again, I’m reaching the point where I want to keep it intact, but want to be able to wear it. This is slightly smoother and less drying feeling than Sparkling Wine. It’s certainly closer to the kind of deep golden highlighter shades I tend to prefer to wear. Just like all my other highlighters from the brand, this lasts all day and remains shiny without losing its reflectivity as the day goes on. It’s a solid product, but because it’s the most common type of color in my collection, I instinctively compare it to everything else I own, and then it doesn’t seem quite worth the $44 price tag. If the highlighter was in standard packaging, I believe it should be within the $28-$35 range. Because of the collaboration with such a powerhouse of an icon (or at least Whitney’s Estate on her behalf), the pretty limited edition packaging, and the highlighter embossing, the special factor is there. So, I don’t mind it being the price I paid, but I’m just not sure this particular color being added to my collection would be worth it otherwise. For anyone else though, I would recommend it with the acknowledgement that it could be considered a bit overpriced.

MAC x Black Panther Extra Dimension Skinfinishes in Royal Challenge and Royal Vibrancy

I still haven’t watched the Black Panther sequel, but I loved the first one, so I felt an inward obligation to purchase at least one thing from the collection. I tried to purchase the Black Panther Cosmetic Bag, but that was an utter mess. Even though I purchased it at 2am EST (I assume it launched at midnight), my order ended up canceled due to being “sold out,” but they didn’t cancel it until three weeks later after it was sold out at other retailers too. The most irritating part is that I called them about nine days in to ask them about the fact that they priced it at $35 whereas everywhere else had it for $25 and then they later changed the price to $25, but I hadn’t been reimbursed. That call, had the bags truly been out of stock, would have been the prime moment for them to let me know there weren’t any left and to cancel my order so I could have time to buy it somewhere else. However, they didn’t do that, so I don’t believe their statement to me about the bag being out of stock since the launch day, yet it somehow took weeks until it read “sold out” on the website.

Anyway, these two shades are gorgeous, but a better combination for me is to have Royal Challenge on the bottom and a little bit of Royal Vibrancy added on top. That way, I can get some of that darker shimmer without the dark cast when I turn my head at certain angles. In photos, Royal Vibrancy looks perfect for me, but I’ve been unsuccessful in capturing the dark cast I’m referring to from it being a little too deep bronze-red for me.

The texture feels soft and smooth. It’s softer than the others, but it’s also not as hard pressed because the embossing isn’t as detailed/intricate. Also, it’s lasting me quite a while. I forgot to take a photo of Royal Vibrancy prior to being used (or at least I lost the photos of it if I took them) so the picture I included above shows it after about eight uses and it looks nearly untouched! Granted, I was swiping highlighter across the entire pan and not just zeroing in on one specific spot in order to keep it looking even.

At the same time that I purchased these two, I also bought the Tom Ford Shade Illuminate Highlighting Duo in Tanlight that reminded me of a combination of those shades. However, in swatching them together, I see that the tones are slightly different. The lighter shade in Tanlight is more flattering on me than Royal Challenge and the deeper shade is not as dark, and therefore works on its own for me better than Royal Vibrancy. Most of the time I just mix the two Tanlight shades together for a highlighter shade I love a lot and it’s in an even smoother finish than the ones from MAC. Considering I paid around the same price for Tanlight (it was slightly discounted at Nordstrom) as the two MAC highlighters combined, it’s funny that the Tom Ford one was the better purchase for me. However, I also bought these as Black Panther/Wakanda Forever merchandise, so I don’t regret it.

While I could have waited for these highlighters to go on a deeper discount, I like the franchise and didn’t want to chance missing out. So, for me, these were worth having. I think I will stop using Royal Vibrancy though, in order to keep one looking pristine, and just start using Royal Challenge mixed with a different darker highlighter, such as the R.E.M. Interstellar Highlight in Miss Mars.

My Latest MAC Blushes

I currently have 35 MAC blushes in my collection (this number fluctuates as I get rid of some and purchase others) which is by far the most blushes I own from a single brand. Despite having so many, I can’t help but remain interested in them because MAC makes some of my favorite finishes, plus they’re pigmented, and are very long wearing. These four I’m discussing today are the remaining few that hadn’t been reviewed yet on this blog.

MAC Glow Play Blushes in Just Peachy and Groovy

That’s Peachy was the other free birthday item I chose. Based on how it looks, I thought there was no way it would show up on my skin. However, I felt the same way about Peaches ‘N’ Dreams, which ended up working on me too, so I tried it on a whim and was floored! Granted, I have to build it up a ton to get a flush of peach, but it still works and I think it’s beautiful!

Groovy looks like a deep coral-orange on me, and thankfully not a pure orange. As much as I love Heat Index, which was previously my favorite shade, Groovy dethroned it after just once use. I avoided getting this color for a long time because Nikki and a few others mentioned the formula difference in Groovy compared to the other Glow Play Blushes. It’s been a few years now since the Glow Plays launched (January 2020), so I think the original disappointing batch of Groovy are no longer being sold. Or at the very least, I was lucky and got one with the same texture as the others. I was more willing to chance it because I waited for a 40% off sale on blushes.

The Glow Play line remains one of my favorites from MAC and in general because they have the softness and sheen of a cream/putty with the benefit of drying down. They’re buildable and blend right into the skin. It’s a really gorgeous product that I highly recommend trying for those who haven’t.

Because there are such subtle differences among the shades I own, I figured it would be helpful to show the ones I own all together and in swatches.

And for those who like limited edition packaging, MAC currently has the shades Heat Index and So Natural in their Lunar New Year 2023 packaging for their “New Year Shine” collection.

MAC Mineralize Blush in Hey, Coral, Hey…

I included a picture of how the blush looks on my finger, plus a swatch that isn’t fully blended, to demonstrate my issue with this particular Mineralize Blush. The deep reddish-coral pigment is gorgeous and is a tone that looks pretty and suitable for me when I pick it up, but it’s got a light base powder that when blended lightens the shade overall and turns it ashy on my skin. This is even evident looking at the surface of the blush itself between the darker and lighter patches. It’s not super ashy, but just enough on the cusp to make me not want to wear it.

I’ve had issues with most of the Mineralize Blush shades I’ve tried in the past (and said it looked too matte and dry and lighter on my skin than it looks in the compact), and now I’m starting to wonder if the base color in this particular line of blushes from MAC is the reason most don’t work for me. Love Thing and Flirting with Danger are currently the only two that I’ve liked and don’t look ashy on me because the pigment is deeper than I’d normally wear, but is more toned down and lighter when blended on my actual cheeks. It’s unfortunate that it took me buying six of them to finally realize why some shades of Mineralize Blushes work for me, yet others don’t. But, I’m happy that now I know that if MAC creates more colors in this formula, it’ll be safe for me to get them as long as they are the deepest ones (and deeper colors than I normally go for). Any of the colors that look medium-dark or lighter in the compacts just won’t work for my skin tone.

Hey, Coral, Hey… isn’t staying in my collection, but I still recommend the Mineralize Blush line overall, as long as it’s well established to be careful selecting the right colors if you have a dark/deep skin tone. The two shades that work for me are in my top favorites, not just among MAC blushes but among my blush collection as a whole.

MAC x Stranger Things Powder Blush in He Likes It Cold

This color makes me think of MAC’s Flirting with Danger and Frankly Scarlet blush shades. I’ve tried several times to capture the variations in undertone, but they barely show a difference on my skin tone. I retook the photos again, but had to do brush swatches because my older powder blushes from MAC really don’t like to be finger swatched anymore. Nikki, who I’ve mentioned several times here, did a clear comparison of those three shades that can be found here on her blog for those interested, as well as a ton of other MAC content and more. Essentially, the undertone of those shades are going to make a bigger difference if you’re lighter than me (and then perhaps on the other end of the spectrum, if you’re much deeper).

I tried my hardest to skip buying this blush because I had similar enough shades to it, but I think I ended up paying $15 for it when it went on sale, so I couldn’t resist. This release celebrates Stranger Things Season 4, but I only watched seasons 1-3, so I don’t understand the “He Likes it Cold” reference (but it sounds creepy). It’s a pretty color, applies smoothly (even smoother than MAC’s older matte powder formula), and performs as fantastically as I expect from a MAC blush, so I’m happy I bought it. I just caution using a light hand with this particular shade.

That’s everything for today! I’m on another year long low-buy, so I would love to say it will be a long time before I do another MAC post, but that feels unrealistic as it’s one of the brands I purchase from the most. It can be expected that additional new releases from MAC will be reviewed here at some point, if not at launch, then perhaps after a big sale.

Thank you for reading!

-Lili

Disclaimer: Other than free birthday gift items everyone who joins MAC’s free reward program is entitled to (I can’t recall if you need to be a certain tier for it though), I purchased all the other items with my own money. I am not affiliated with the brand. There are no affiliate links in this specific post.

Reviewing Coloured Raine After a Two Year Break

From 2018 until 2020, Coloured Raine used to be my number one favorite brand for non-multichrome eyeshadows. What made me take a long break from buying their palettes was them discontinuing their eyeshadows to go full vegan.
I’ve had issues with some vegan formulas blending away to nothing, or being too hard to blend, and being patchy. Some of the ones that did perform decently didn’t have an acceptable preservation method (tying in with the “clean beauty” anti-parabens movement), so I’d get hardly a year before the performance of the shadows changed and/or went bad.
So, I was already skeptical about whether or not Coloured Raine’s new vegan formula could measure up to their old one. When they released their Juicy Boost Collection in August 2020, the reviews I watched with the demos were terrible! That was enough for me to want to steer clear of their eyeshadows until their 2022 Memorial Day sale in May. I figured that should be enough time for the brand to fix whatever formula issues they had, so I decided to give them another chance.

The formulas, textures, and how the makeup performs turned out to be different depending on the collection. In today’s post, I’ll be sharing my observations and experiences with these products. Just keep reading to find out which items I loved and which ones I should have avoided!

Coloured Raine Cream Blushes in Spicy (Original), Stiletto Rose and Copper Rose (Botanical Collection)

The first thing to know about these blushes is that despite them all sharing the description of “cream blush,” the original four that launched, which includes Spicy, are completely different from the two blushes from the Botanical Collection. The ingredient lists are different, along with the textures and pigmentation. The container of the originals are larger than the Botanical Blushes too!

Spicy has a waxy consistency that’s so tacky it lifts up when touched. It’s thicker and more opaque. Picking up a little is still too much, so I put it on the back of my hand and warm up a small section first before applying it to my cheeks with that finger in tapping motions and then a final light sweep of the finger across the cheeks to ensure it’s fully smoothe. A little product comes off underneath, but it’s so pigmented that it will cover up the missing spot anyway. A brush will pick up way too much, but it’s still possible to use by putting it on the back of the hand or a makeup palette first (or even tapping the excess off on a towel) to get a lighter even layer across the bristles before applying it to the cheeks. I still prefer fingers because I have more control that way and can also warm up the product.

The Botanical Blushes have a higher concentration of slip agents (various silicones) that feel a little more gel-like, but still like a softer wax once the heat of a finger melts that top layer. I keep my finger on top of a spot for several seconds before I start to rub to pick up the blush onto my finger and tap it onto the cheeks. It looks like it will be just as pigmented as the original line of blushes, but when blended, it sheers out a fair amount. So, it takes a few light layers to build up to my satisfaction. This product also lifts what’s underneath, but it still looks fine to me as a veil of color. In the spots with discoloration that lifts, I put concealer back on top of the discolored spot and pack a little more blush on top, and those additional layers help it to stay.
I can use a brush with these, but it doesn’t pick up as much product without warmth.

These blushes remain creamy on the face. If I’m wearing something like the Rose Inc Luminous Foundation Serum, that wetter products tend to set well on top of, and apply the Botanical blushes in a thin layer with a brush, it can mostly set down. However, for the amount of pigmentation I want that isn’t just a flush, it’s going to remain creamy feeling on the skin unless I set it with powder. Spicy will absolutely not set on its own, plus easily transfers, so I only wear it powder-set. Setting all three of them with powder only temporarily makes them feel dry but at least does take down the creaminess enough that it won’t feel sticky or tacky. Powder-setting also makes the Botanical Blushes more transfer-resistant, but when it comes to Spicy it will definitely still transfer when touched, just a little less. Setting with powder has the final benefit of toning down the intensity level of Spicy, and even Stiletto Rose if I go overboard with that color.

These blushes will last all day, even without powder, as long as they aren’t touched. However, it’s just my preference to set them with powder, especially with a powder blush on top to add some nuance to the shades.

The photos above demonstrate the blushes with different foundations and at different times of the year. The middle three with the dark blue shirt were under the lighting conditions of my ring light. The others were with indoor lighting and some natural light coming in from behind the window blinds.

Had I completed this review three months ago, I’d have said, “These blushes require a little more effort, but are nice enough that I may still reach for them from time to time.” However, I’ve been going through my cream and liquid blush collection a lot more lately, and in comparison, these rank so low on the list. They still aren’t bad products, but I have so many options that don’t pick up product underneath, don’t require warmth or having to baby the formula, or do any other extra steps. Plus, my other blushes are in far more interesting colors. I’ve realized that I don’t like standard crayola type of blush colors like a pure orange, pure red, or pure pink. I love reddish browns, terracottas, pinky-orange corals, pinkish-browns, etc. Those type of colors look more natural on me. I expected Spicy to be a reddish orange with some brown, but it’s actually a slightly yellow leaning orange that may as well just be “orange.” Copper Rose sounded like it would be a fun copper-pink, but most of its warmth just comes from being picked up and mixed with my foundation and concealer while being blended on my cheeks. It’s not a very unique pink by itself. Stiletto Rose is a very common rosy red, although it’s the prettiest to me of them all.
I always wore a combination of Stiletto Rose and Copper Rose (on the apples) together anyway, which is why I initially had a better impression of those blushes. However, if I view these as individual products, they’re not something I want in my collection anymore.

Coloured Raine Lip Liners in Pine (Secret Garden), The Bee’s Knees (Queen Bee), and Decadent (Botanical)

It was very difficult to tell the differences among the selection of lip liner shades on the website. I now realize it’s because the ones I wanted are so incredibly similar! Pine was the first one from Coloured Raine I tried and later bought a backup of because it’s the first shade I ever found that I can actually cover my full lip-line with and have it look normal. I have a very thick and pronounced lip line (Vermilion border) that is way lighter than my lips and surrounding mouth color. So, when I have used lip liners on my actual lip line (and not just the edge between the lip and lip line), it always emphasized that thickness and looked like I attempted to overline my lips because it sticks out, even when it’s still within the lines. The color is described as a “spiced brown” and I consider it like a caramel-pink-brown.

The Bee’s Knees is described as a “brick” color, but it looks more like a neutral brown to me on my arm. In fact, I looked at the website photos again comparing the other shade in the Queen Bee collection and The Buzz is supposed to be the neutral brown. I almost wondered if some got swapped in the manufacturing process because my lip pencil stick doesn’t have any red in it that I can see, like the ones below, and instead looks like the brown ones near it. However, on my actual lips I think I see some red tones after building up the color? Like maybe a splash? If so, it’s certainly not as red as I expected and less red than I’d expect from a brick color. When built up, it’s also darker than Pine. It’s pretty regardless.

The third and final lip liner shade is the darkest of the three and also the creamiest, which I find interesting since it’s the one that launched first. I’m guessing the brand decided to switch formulas after this collection, which is a very plausible theory based on a comparison of the ingredient lists. The other two glide across the lips nicely and aren’t too soft or too stiff, but I do prefer the feel of Decadent. This color is described as, “neutral brown with slightly cool undertones” and I can see that in the squiggle swatch. Also, the lip liners from the Botanical collection came with sharpeners at the bottom. The newer lip liners do not. Perhaps the brand didn’t feel it was necessary because of the formula differences.

I haven’t noticed any issues or differences with the longevity among them all. They suit my needs and because they’re all so similar in color, they all work for me and give me that ability to line my lips in a way that others I’ve tried haven’t. It’s very specific to me, but it’s a huge deal. In general, objectively, I still believe these are a nice comfortable long lasting product.

Coloured Raine Paint Base Eyeshadow Base in Wheat

I first tried this primer underneath the eyeshadows from the Coloured Raine Botanical Palette and was disappointed to see the shadows creased. After all, the eyeshadow primer is expected to work the best with the brand’s own eyeshadows, so that wasn’t a good sign for anything else I planned to use with it.
However, in using it with my well behaved and favorite eyeshadows, and then as an alternative primer for eyeshadows I was testing that didn’t perform as well with my MAC Paint Pot, I realized it actually wasn’t the fault of the Paint Base! I’ll get back to the Botanical Palette in the next section, but basically every palette I tried with the Paint Base performed better or at least equal to my other primers! It quickly became one of the primers I keep in rotation along with the Gerard Cosmetics Clean Canvas and MAC Paint Pot. In fact, I bought a backup of it during the brand’s Black Friday sale.

I really like the ABH eye primer, but it is quite drying. That one helps to combat the oils that produce on my eyelids, but that’s sometimes to the detriment of buildable type of eyeshadows being able to stick properly. This Coloured Raine primer is similar to the ABH primer, but is less drying, which makes it the better of both worlds between combating the oils but still ensuring the eyeshadows can adhere properly. It’s fantastic! Because I bought the shade Wheat, it matches the color of my eyelids better and isn’t so stark against my skin, but still helps the shadows to pop. As with most primers, a little goes a long way (though not as long as the ABH and Gerard Cosmetics ones which are even more pigmented and thicker in consistency). Wheat still provides a good amount of coverage over the discoloration on my eyelids.

It’s interesting that the brand touts the squalane and sodium hyaluronate because I would have expected that to not go well with oily prone lids and would produce too much moisture for me, but it works somehow! The Paint Base sets on my lids to a natural finish. Perhaps those ingredients are what keeps it from being as drying as the ABH one.

When I’m working with an eyeshadow formula that’s not very creamy with a rougher texture, this primer can take a little longer to blend the shadows on it, but it’s a minor difference in time. That’s the extent of the negatives I’ve found in using this primer throughout the year, which made it an almost entirely positive experience.

Coloured Raine Botanical Eyeshadow Palette

I mentioned in the Eye Base review section that despite it being from the same brand, the Coloured Raine eye primer and this palette worked fine, except that it could not keep the shimmers from retreating from the deep line I have on my lid/crease. I have since used this palette with all my tried and true primers, and none of them stop this from happening. The best results I get though is if I set the primer with powder first. Then I’m much less prone to movement and creasing, but it’s not foolproof.

Cream Gerbera barely shows despite packing it on. I don’t mind, as I’d prefer a shade that light to be subtle rather than stark. Iberis and Leonidas have a decent amount of pigment and all three are decently blendable, but that’s a little bit of a letdown in itself because I remember how rich in color and buttery feeling Coloured Raine’s mattes used to be before they got rid of their single shadows. These are fine but not particularly special. The same goes for the shimmers. They are pretty and shimmery enough for my taste, but the formula is so much thinner, less smooth, way less impactful, less pigmented, and not vibrant like their single shadows once were. I mean, Coloured Raine shimmers used to be S-tier. Being “just fine” is going to be hugely disappointing by comparison. The quality of this palette reminds me of Colourpop, which is mostly good, but it’s not even like the best of Colourpop’s formulas.

These types of colors and this overall color story is a lot softer compared to what the brand used to release. I commend them going outside of their comfort zones. However, it isn’t just the color selection and lack of color saturation that makes it slightly underwhelming for me. There are so many brands that make satin shadows and have palettes with soft colors that still somehow look elegant and beautiful on the eyes. The literal texture of the eyeshadows themselves are so soft and buildable. These shadows don’t have those same qualities. They aren’t made the same way.

I also thought it was quite strange that the colors I expected based on how they looked in the pan did not look the same on my skin. Iberis was much more red than plum. Leonidas was a truer orange instead of terracotta. Rose Gold also had a stronger red tone, like a burgundy, when I was expecting a shimmering plum. The colors are still pretty, but when other eyeshadows like from Oden’s Eye and Sydney Grace give me a visceral excited reaction to using their palettes, I don’t see why I would want to reach for this one that doesn’t spark joy. It’s a new year. Being a decent, nice, workable palette isn’t enough. On the bright side, this isn’t one of Coloured Raine’s newest palettes and I believe they’ve continued to work on their formulas since the next palette is one that I actually will be keeping in my collection.

I forgot to mention in the last look that a tiny spot of Primavera is in the center of the lower lash line too.

Coloured Raine Queen Bee Palette

Unlike the Botanical Eyeshadow Palette, this one does not have “Eyeshadow” in the name, which is because it contains pressed pigments. Considering my experience with the previous palette, I was so nervous that the bump up in intensity with the mattes would mean the shadows would perform worse, but that’s not the case. Honeycomb is actually very soft and smooth feeling. I absolutely love this color of orange. Beehave and Pollen in Love are a little rougher to the touch, but they pack on the lids well and blend fairly well. I’ve had a little trouble building Bee-Witched on the other shadows at times, but it just takes a little more effort to get the definition I want without overdoing it or having it look unblended. It’s definitely not my favorite black matte, but it’s workable.
Using Honeycomb and Beehave together in the same eye look can be a bit tricky because I get a lot more pigment from Beehave right off the bat and it can easily overshadow/overpower Honeycomb, so I have to be careful with its placement.

The two shimmers look like they would have the same texture, but they’re definitely not the same formula. Unbeelievable is a chunkier and flakier shimmer that gives me a lot of fallout. It’s a foil shadow, but even applying it damp doesn’t give me the smoothness I want. I don’t enjoy that shadow at all and won’t be using it again when I open this palette. It’s a shame because the color is so pretty.
On the other hand, Mind Your Beesness is an almost glowing green-gold duochrome with more slip to it so that it glides easier across the lids. Because the binding solution is better, I get less fallout with this one. Honeycomb, Mind Your Beesness, and Pollen in Love are the colors that make this palette memorable and make me excited whenever I use it. This is the one that gives me hope for even better palettes in Coloured Raine’s future.

Black liner was also added to the upper lash line of the last look.

The eyeshadow primer and lip liners are absolute wins for Coloured Raine. The blushes aren’t the best and I have mixed views on the palettes. Considering what I paid, it was worth it to me to give them a chance and figure out how I feel about what the brand produced in 2022. At this point in time, I have hope for them in 2023 and I am truly rooting for them. However, the competition among indie and mainstream brands alike is the toughest it’s ever been. I recognize that they’ve lowered their price point, but I’d rather spend more for better quality. For me to continue purchasing from them, their products have to be truly special or incredibly appealing to my tastes. I look forward to seeing what they’ll release this year and I hope others will still give them a try. I heard positive reviews about their Rebellious Nudes palette, so I feel they’re on the right track. Here’s hoping!

Thank you for reading and Happy New Year!

-Lili

Lisa Eldridge Eyeshadow Palettes and Lippies

Today’s post will be a long one. There are tons of other reviews about this new holiday launch, but I believe I can add a little more to the conversation with all the comparisons of colors, textures, sizes, pricing, and more that I’m including. There are a few additional items that I wanted to purchase from the brand, but they’re out of stock and will not be available again until 2023. I’ve heard that the brand also intends to expand on the eyeshadow range (along with making the eyeshadow system fully customizable with some form of empty palette option), so there will be a Part 2 at some point next year.

Whenever I review an Influencer/MUA/Celebrity owned brand on this blog for the first time, I include a disclaimer for those concerned about possible biases. So, first, I will say that I’ve been a subscriber of Lisa’s YouTube channel for eight or nine years. I’m not a very consistent watcher, but I’ve had a long time respect for her makeup knowledge, skills, and I own her Face Paint book. Her love of Suqqu, Hakuhodo, and other natural hair brushes is part of the reason (along with Wayne Goss, Tati, etc) that I was motivated to try Japanese brushes for the first time. I’m not following Lisa Eldridge on other social media platforms. I’ve had no personal interaction with her. When it comes to the cosmetics brand, I have only begun purchasing things as of a month ago despite it being around for about four years. So, while I do respect her and like her, I feel I’m still detached enough to review these products objectively. However, the Lisa Eldridge brand is a luxury one and whether I believe the items from a luxury brand are worth the money or not is a lot more subjective due to the nature of things like packaging, special ingredients/formulas, ordering experience, and other extras factoring into the cost. In other words, the value placed on packaging (for example) and its usefulness vs its worth in beauty is going to differ from person to person.

Lisa Eldridge Eyeshadow Formulas

When it comes to these shadows, the colors are secondary to the finish, which is the best indication for whether or not they’re worth buying. There are a few outliers, but the formulas are overall consistent. So, I recommend deciding on the finish and then choosing the shades within those categories that are the most appealing. The single shadows I chose to buy are a hint to my personal preferences: the Velvets and Seamless Mattes.

*The numbers next to the finishes indicate how many I own out of the total of each type available.

Velvets (7 of 9) – I can’t think of any other brand’s eyeshadows that feel like this. The closest comparison is Natasha Denona’s Cream Powder formula, but smoother (or as the name suggests, more velvety). These give an even but thin layer of color. A soft look is fast to achieve. If I want the shadows built up to the full color displayed in the pans, that takes a little extra time and sometimes needing to reapply one shade over the other. However, this is worth it to me because of how perfectly they blend into each other and blend on the eyes. The darker shades are great for adding a smoky effect and definition, but the overall look will still mostly be soft, even with the more vibrant shades, like Victorian Trim.

I alternate between using my fingers and brushes with these eyeshadows, and using a finger sometimes causes too much product to bunch up and gives the surface of the pan a mottled looking texture, but it doesn’t seem to be effecting my ability to use them.

Seamless Mattes (2 of 6) – These feel even closer to the Natasha Denona Cream Powder shadows, but ND’s older formula that’s creamy on the surface but isn’t as wet as her newer ones. This means that the Seamless Mattes are similar to the Velvets, but with more color payoff. Ironically, the Velvets have a more matte looking texture than the Seamless Mattes, which have a little bit of a sheen to them. Although I use certain Velvets to create depth, I think the Seamless Mattes are better suited to that task because of the increased pigmentation and that sheen which looks better when applied on top of the shimmers/metallics I use on the lids.

I also alternate between using a brush and my fingers. I prefer to use a brush for precision and quicker concentrated packing of the shadows. With repeated use of my fingers, the surfaces look like they are forming hard-pan, but they haven’t actually solidified, so I don’t think they will. My older Cream Powder ones are like that too and haven’t become hard-panned either.

Luminous (1 of 3) – Mercurial is the only Luminous finish shadow I have, but it’s a duochrome. I don’t know if the others are as sparkly as this one, but the website description about giving either a light wash or intense top coat effect is accurate. This finish is way more impressive as a topper than the actual Top Coat shadows and is a bit grittier (just in comparison to the insanely smooth texture of some of the other shadows). It’s also easier to build up the opacity than the shade Grotto, which is supposed to be “full on [and] glittery.” I usually prefer to apply shimmers with my fingers, but I get a little fallout with Mercurial, so I tend to start with a brush and then pack on an extra layer with my fingers. Sometimes, I’ll just use it on top of Glitter Glue/Primer.

Metallic (2 of 2) – The Metallic category, at launch, didn’t have the Satin/Metallic subcategory, but I’m glad the brand updated that distinction on the website because I immediately noticed a difference the first time I tried Grotto and Madrigal versus Swansong and Mage within my Sorcery palette. Grotto and Madrigal have a visibly sparkly texture and are more reflective. Madrigal is the most special of the Metallics and Satin/Metallics, but that’s because of the tone of it and being more impactful and shiny on the eyes than the Satin/Metallics. It’s good, but I can name tons of shadows that can do the same or better at a better price. Plus, the glimmer effect dims a little as the day goes on. I’m glad it doesn’t dim down completely or fade off the eyes, but for $16 each, I expect more. Grotto is a shadow I really despised in the beginning. It’s much thinner than Madrigal and I have to apply more layers to get it to show the color and not just the sparkle. The website says, “Both metallics can be applied with fingers for full opacity, or as a wash with a brush,” and Grotto is much more prone to being a wash. I hated that quality at first because it was getting lost in my eye looks and blending too much into the other shades, but I’ve grown to appreciate it slightly more with time. The main reason being that it makes it easier to transition between other shades and also can add a greenish tinge to shadows for an interesting twist. I don’t like that this one fades, but it stays pretty for a while. I would still prefer to use many other greens in my collection over Grotto, so that one isn’t worth it. Madrigal, may be an exception. I still haven’t decided.

Satin/Metallic (4 of 7) – What makes the Satin/Metallics different is the smaller glitter particle size and smoother (satin) texture. These have much lower reflect than the shimmers and metallic shadows I’m used to, though they are a little more sparkly than satins from most other brands. The shimmering quality isn’t intense enough for my liking at all. What they have going for them are the pretty shade offerings and the opacity level. They aren’t “chunky” but a little goes a long way in spreading across the lids, but trying to build it up won’t make it any more intense. As flattering as the tones are, they’re not worth the single shadow price to me.

Top Coat (1 of 2) – This one I genuinely hate, and I don’t use the word “hate” lightly. It’s so difficult to pick up the product. Then, it hardly adds anything to the look after packing it on the lids, no matter how many times I try to build up the layers or even if I apply it wet or with a glitter primer. To be fair, in the website description and in Lisa’s launch video, it’s made very clear that the Top Coats are intended to be subtle. However, a good top coat eyeshadow for me is one that is the opposite and is the most glittery and sparkly type of finish of them all. I didn’t even wait for this review to be posted before I replaced it with Cherubim in my Myth palette. I will never buy one as a single from the brand.

Illusionism also keeps giving the appearance of being about to hard-pan, but since I’ve had trouble packing on the shadow from the beginning, I can’t tell if it actually is starting to or not.

Lustre (0 of 1) – This one I don’t own, so I cannot say what it’s like. I would have purchased Taffeta Fan to try out if the refill option hadn’t sold out. According to the website, “The densely packed, smooth and extra small pearls gives this texture a soft lustrous, pearly finish.” Since the “soft” shadows or shadows with the option to be applied softly haven’t been entirely worth it to me to purchase, I may have lucked out in not being able to buy it, as it sounds like it won’t be my preference.

I’ve had the most success using these shadows with the Gerard Cosmetics Clean Canvas and Coloured Raine Eye Base. MAC Paint Pot and the Makeup by Mario Eye Prep had a tiny bit of creasing, but nothing that obvious. They worked better when set with powder though. So, I recommend using a primer that fully sets but isn’t too drying either. This prevents creasing and aids in longevity. In addition, wetting the non-mattes helps to bring out the shine in the eyeshadows, but it’s a temporary fix. After a while, it goes back to looking however intense it was prior to being dampened.

Also, I have been enjoying using the Velvets and Seamless Mattes with eyeshadows from other brands too. They layer well and the Velvets work like paint in being able to make shadows a little more pink, purple, etc when added on top.

Sorcery Eyeshadow Palette

Just looking at the pans, the textural differences between the Seamless Matte, Luminous Duo, the two Metallics, and two Satin/Metallics are evident. The Luminous is most sparkly of all and the Metallics have larger particles than the Satin/Metallics.

Sorcery was the first palette to sell out, which is unsurprising to me because it contains the brand’s only duochrome and this has been the year of the green eyeshadow palettes. All of these shades appeal to me (although I’m still in an anti-blue phase but I can still even appreciate the beauty in the vibrancy of Swansong).

I understand that the inspiration for this palette was a peacock tail, and so the blue was necessary. The fact that Troubadour is a very blue leaning green helps to tie Swansong to this palette, but that makes both deepening shades in here blue. I found myself wishing I had either a dark brown to tie in with the greens and gold, or wishing for a true deep green. That’s why I ended up purchasing Deep Ochre and Fired Earth in the event that I wish to remove Swansong entirely.

As a standalone palette though, Sorcery is fantastic and the one I recommend the most. Having such a special shade like Mercurial, plus a unique tone of gold in Madrigal, getting an uncommon (at least in my collection) color like Mage, and one of my favorite formulas in Troubadour makes this especially desirable out of the premade palette options from the brand.

The first four eye looks were using the Sorcery palette alone. I felt that Swansong was quite overpowering in making the blue the focus point when the other shades were the ones I wanted to stand out. So, in the future, if I use Swansong, it will be as a slight pop of color on the outer corner or lower lash line.

Since I purchased the brown shades, I wanted to show how I would likely use them with Sorcery. I then wanted Madrigal to look a little more green, so I added Grotto to one of the looks for a subtle tinge difference. Also, I didn’t feel that I showed off Mercurial enough, so I made sure to include an eye look using it by itself and then as a topper with other shades.

Myth Eyeshadow Palette

I bought Myth later in a separate order. Once I tried the Seamless Matte from Sorcery and heard other people saying the Velvets were like it, but even creamier, I knew I had to buy this palette. Doing it this way was the easiest (and most cost effective) option to get the majority of the Velvet Mattes from the brand. Natasha Denona’s Cream Powder shadows are one of my top favorite formulas, which I’m often tempted to buy whole palettes just to get. So, even though I have shades like Victorian Trim, Violet Stone, and Nocturama a hundred times over in my collection, it was worth getting Myth to have those shades in the Velvet finish. I didn’t own Natasha Denona’s My Dream Palette at the time though, so I didn’t realize I’d be getting two shades similar to Victorian Trim, but more on that in the comparison section later.

Mauve Decade is a shadow I barely have in my collection. The only shade I can think of that’s comparable to it is Naaru from the Kaleidos x Angelic Nyqvist Club Nebula palette. Anything else that looks remotely similar has too much white base in it, turning it pastel, and then it ends up looking ashy and unflattering on my eyes. So, Mauve Decade is extra special and unsurprisingly one of the first single refill shadows to sell out.

I don’t have a lot of shades like Faded Amethyst either, but that’s because I’m not usually interested in that color. I can admit that it looks pretty with the others in this palette though, so I don’t mind having it. Illusionism is the only shadow I knew I wouldn’t want ahead of time, but it was coming with the others anyway. I could see in the launch video that it just wouldn’t give me the oomph I wanted. Even if someone wants a sheer and subtle topper, I can’t see how it’s worth the refill price with the myriad of other indie brands that make phenomenal topper shadows that can be applied sheer or more impactful if built up. Toppers with duochromatic features. I will give Illusionism praise though for not leaving me with much fallout. Perhaps that is enough to make someone desire the Top Coat formula from the brand, but the trouble I had picking up the product to get it on my eyes is a bigger deal to me.

The look above was inspired by the one Lisa did in her launch video. I tried to create some variety in the examples below, but I would realistically do the same one above every time I open this palette (minus Illusionism and just applying Faded Amethyst wet for more impact). I’m obsessed with the combination! I would have never thought to do a magenta pop of color in that spot had it not been for that video. Lisa’s look in the launch video pretty much sold me on the palette.

Since the Muse palette leans pink, the shades from there pair very well with the ones from Myth. So, I wanted to include an example of that in the final eye look above. Also, I wasn’t sure which section I should put this message in, but I wanted to warn about the reddish purple type of shades in this palette. I get teary eyes often and when I’ve worn the shades Vintage Mulberry and Victorian Trim, and had to wipe the corners of my eyes, the tears were pink. It happens every time my eyes decide to be watery. Those two shades basically run on me like non-waterproof mascara can. They haven’t hurt my eyes, but I just wanted to forewarn those in rainy climates or who have watery eyes like me that it could happen. I’ve continued to wear those two shades in my outer corner for depth, but I no longer put them on my lower lash line.
Because my eye shape makes me prone to easily getting mascara and shimmer particles in my eyes while taking off my makeup, I’m not quite as concerned when the pink from Victorian Trim gets in my eyes as well, but I felt it was important to mention that the color is easily transferred to the liquid when wet.

Eyeshadow Palette Refills:

Cherubim and Vintage Mulberry (Muse) plus Deep Ochre, Fired Earth, and Bronzite (Cinnabar)

I didn’t buy these shades all in one order. I started with Cherubim first because I was in love with that color. Most pinks look lighter on my skin, and finding a light-medium pink that will show up looking like a soft pink and not ashy isn’t that easy for me to find. I also knew this was the shade I wanted to replace Illusionism with in the Myth palette. Then, because I wanted a shade to add depth without looking so dark and plum like Nocturama, I bought Vintage Mulberry. Vintage Mulberry ended up not looking as dark on my eyes as I expected, so it’s darker but not enough to add as much structure as I wanted. Considering it’s a Velvet, I’m still glad I got it. Then, I couldn’t decide which brown I wanted to use with the Sorcery palette that wasn’t cool-toned, so I added both Deep Ochre and Fired Earth to another order.
By the time I bought Bronzite, I already knew the Satin/Metallic finish wasn’t my favorite, but I wanted to give it one more chance and also I wanted a neutral shimmer option. I didn’t realize it would be so orange in person and also so intense! That was a surprise, but still a nice one.

The singles came in their own individual boxes. There are no magnets or plastic used. I just peeled off the sticker keeping the flap securely closed, lifted the flap, and flipped the eyeshadow pan out into my palm. Most of them I had to clean off excess shadow powder around the edges and bottoms of the pans. They are not labeled, so I added my own handwritten sticker labels to them. Some pans are fully flat whereas others have bumps on the bottom. I’m not sure why they aren’t all the same. I can’t help but wonder if the bumped ones were intended for the palettes in the early stages of developing the eyeshadows, but then they decided to offer refills individually and just made all the rest smooth? Or maybe the bumped ones come from a different lab? Perhaps stock of one type of pans were purchased first and the others were found at a better price and purchased after? I’m throwing out complete guesses in the dark. It’s a curious thing that really doesn’t matter at the end of the day. They both stick just fine to magnetic palettes, so that’s what counts.

For the eye looks using my refills, I felt it necessary to show the step by step process because the shade and depth differences are so subtle and I felt it would be too difficult to tell which shades had the most dominance over the look if I only showed the end results.

Shade Comparisons to Natasha Denona’s Cream Powder Eyeshadows

To make things a little easier in this section, I color coded the shade names.

Yellow = Lisa Eldridge
Green = Natasha Denona Metropolis Palette
Purple = Natasha Denona My Dream Palette
Red = Natasha Denona Love Palette
Orange = Natasha Denona Bronze Palette

Troubadour, the “deep inky teal,” looks exactly like Symbol in the pan, but it’s much closer to looking like Enigma because it’s closer to blue than green. I would love for Lisa Eldridge to come out with a green like Royal. Actually, I’d love a dupe for Lethal and Troop too.

I didn’t realize the Cream Powders from the My Dream Palette were so similar looking. Instinct is the closer dupe for Victorian Trim, but it’s more pigmented. Had I realized this ahead of time, I might have reconsidered buying the My Dream Palette since I already owned Myth. At the same time, I can see that an argument could be made in favor of the Natasha Palette at $69 (around $58 with the 20% off discount at Sephora plus tax) for 15 shadows versus the Myth Palette at $68 for 6 shadows. I can’t say which one I prefer because I’ve yet to use the My Dream Palette other than swatching Instinct and Edgy.

The shades from Metropolis are the oldest of the Cream Powders I have in this pan size. They are starting to not swatch as well, but they are a month shy of being two years old, so they aren’t that bad in terms of age. However, I have been wishing for a replacement and I’m thrilled to be able to get them from Lisa Eldridge as an alternative.

Having Chrism is why I didn’t buy Raw Sienna or Tea Room, since I thought those two might be too light for my liking and Chrism is right on that border and can be used in place of those two in the eye looks I wanted to create.
Deep Ochre and Antique are quite similar but, again, it’s from my Metropolis Palette that is getting up there in age. So, I don’t regret buying Deep Ochre. Fired Earth is a great choice since I didn’t have a dark neutral brown in this type of formula.

The Cream Powder shadows and the ones from Lisa blend and build perfectly together. So, I’m feeling a lot more with satisfied with the amount I have and feel like I can even skip buying Natasha’s Palettes (especially in light of the many controversies the ND brand has had even just this year alone). I’m more content with waiting for Lisa to release even more shadows with these finishes.

After comparing all these swatches, I see that I’d love to have some yellows, an orange, and more green tones as Velvets or Seamless Mattes from Lisa Eldridge. These are the ones where I feel the refill price is worth it for me. I also see the potential usefulness of having Lamp Black and Smoke & Mirrors, the only two shades from the Vega Palette that caught my interest. Perhaps those will end up being reviewed in Part 2 next year, if I get them during a restock.

Eyeshadow Pan Size and Palette Size Comparisons

I was extremely interested in the idea of being able to use the gorgeous eyeshadow palette container for traveling with Lisa’s shadows, plus shadows from other brands, but the wells are too short to fit my Clionadh shadows and even my medium sized Viseart pans. The Natasha Denona midi pan sizes can fit though, so there’s one saving grace. All the other square pan single shadows in my collection are far too large to bother trying to fit them in. Technically, I could put the small size Viseart pans in here, but that would feel like wasted space.

The “Extra Large” size of Make Up For Ever Artist Color Refillable Makeup Palette from Sephora (only 4 inches wide), not to be confused with the Refillable Pro Makeup Palette which is much larger and from MUFE’s website, is slightly bigger than the Lisa Eldridge palettes. For the sake of storing the two Lisa palettes and refills together, the Extra Large MUFE palette came in handy. I don’t know if Lisa Eldridge will make the empty palettes themselves be available for purchase, or if customers will have to buy six refills in order to get the palette with it. If I end up not being able to buy the empty palette alone, the MUFE one will have to suffice.

The comparisons of Lisa’s eyeshadow price per gram to Pat Mcgrath, Charlotte Tilbury, Natasha Denona, etc have been done by others. There’s no denying her shadows are extremely expensive. The palette I feel compelled to discuss instead is the Olivia Palermo Eyeshadow Palette in Regalia, since the Olivia Palermo brand is also in the luxury sphere, has similar sized palettes with six shadows, and is at a near enough price point (on the surface).

Regalia is $58 for 7 total grams of product at around $8.29 per gram. Sorcery is $68 for 5.7 total grams of product at approximately $11.93 per gram. I’d like to note that the industry standard is at least 1 gram per shadow and Lisa’s are slightly under that at 0.95 grams. So, this math just doubles down on what we already know about not getting one’s money’s worth in terms of the amount of product contained within these palettes. The customer’s view on the formulas, shades, likeliness to use up the eyeshadows, and more are the determining factors in the “worth” of them for the price. Honestly, I don’t mind having eyeshadows with less product because my collection is too large to ever hit pan on them anyway.

Then, regarding the packaging itself, they are both beautiful luxurious looking gold palettes. Lisa’s are aluminum or some other kind of lightweight metal. The shadows are interchangeable and that’s a bonus factor in being able to use them for travel and take up less space and weight in a travel bag or purse. Olivia’s is weighty like a brick! It’s some form of very heavy metal. Two of Lisa’s palettes are literally still lighter on the scale than a single one of Olivia’s palettes. In fact, it would take three of Lisa’s to surpass the weight of Regalia alone. However, this is kind of like a display piece. It wasn’t intended for travel or being on-the-go. Whether someone wants a custom designed weighty luxurious product to keep on the vanity or a bespoke unique and functional product is up to the customer to decide which factor is most appealing. I personally love the weightiness of Olivia’s palette because it screams luxury, but I can’t deny that Lisa found a way to make hers elegant while being a lot more practical.

Weight depicted on the scale above is in ounces, not grams.

For the price point, Olivia’s palette is what I expected from Lisa, but I think I’m happier with how Lisa’s actually ended up being. I still don’t think it would have been worth the price without the Velvets and Seamless Mattes though.

Palettes Rearranged

Of course, now that I have the extra shadows, I played around with the different color story possibilities. Below are my favorites.

The first palette of the bunch is what my Myth palette currently looks like. For now, I left Sorcery as is. However, I am the most likely to change it to the last arrangement out of my examples above.

Lisa Eldridge Lip Products

I have to post the disclaimer that I am NOT a lipstick person. I buy them and most of the time end up not wearing them. I’m a gloss person through and through, but it’s really difficult for me to want to shell out anything above $20 for a gloss and I usually wait for a sale that I can buy a higher end gloss below my $20 preference. However, for the sake of science and my interest in the way the Gloss Embrace formula was described as being nourishing for the lips, I bought one. As for lipsticks, anything over $25 is…well it just doesn’t happen! Prior to my purchase of the True Velvet Lip Colour, the most expensive lipsticks I ever bought were from Bite Beauty for I think $26. I never expected to be so drawn in by the rave reviews, massive hype, and my growing curiosity in the brand that I would spend $36 on one from Lisa before even trying the other luxury lipstick brands I’ve had for ages on my beauty bucket list. But here we are!

True Velvet Lip Colour in Velvet Affair and Gloss Embrace Lip Gloss in Blush

I love the gold on both the lipstick and lip gloss. 10 out of 10 for packaging. I especially like the magnetic closure of the lipstick cap which adds to the weightiness of the product (but isn’t too heavy to make it inconvenient to take on-the-go). I also like the embossing around the bullet in the attempt to make it look like actual velvet.

Despite how dark the bullet of Velvet Affair looks, it’s too light for my comfort level to wear by itself. I saw the wonderful array of model photos on the website and purposely intended to get a near-nude lipstick shade. It just ended up being the kind of color that I only like when paired with a darker lip liner.
I heard the lipsticks can be used on the cheeks for blush, and when I really pack the color on, I think it does work nicely for that purpose. I’ve only tried it twice and didn’t do a full wear test, so I’m not sure if there are any issues with transferring or fading when using the lipstick on the cheeks. However, I liked it for the short times I wore it that way. On my lips, I also have only worn it so far for a short time and haven’t done a full day’s wear test. I intend to update this post with my thoughts once I do.* At this moment in time, I see why people like it because of how comfortable it is to wear a lipstick this matte. I may one day try another color if it’s the perfect shade that I can wear without lip liner, but as a non-lipstick person, I don’t think it’ll be worth it for me to have more than one of these Velvet lipsticks. The times I’ve actually loved lipsticks have been with more satin type of formulas and sheer buildable ones. So, perhaps the Lucents will capture my heart even though they are less hyped up.

*UPDATE Dec 26th, 2022: It remains comfortable feeling all day, and surprisingly there’s a lot left on the lips after a meal. Despite it not feeling drying, it does still dry my lips. I still like it, but this isn’t the product that will somehow turn me into a lipstick lover, unfortunately!

The lip gloss is really nice! I love how long I can feel the sealed hydration effect on my lips, even after the top layer of the gloss is gone. I have only worn it a few times, but I do like it. I wish I had more colors, but that price tag is deterring me. I haven’t yet decided for myself whether the gloss was worth it. I would say yes if it was the only one in my collection, but considering the others I own and love like from Fenty and Pat Mcgrath, perhaps it’s not.

In addition to photos of lip swatches up close, I like to also show a pulled back photo to show how well or not the lip products compliment my complexion. In these photos, I’m wearing the Hourglass Ambient Soft Glow Foundation, Lisa Eldridge eyeshadows on both eyes, Velvet Affair lipstick on the lips and cheeks, my mix of lip liners around my lips. I also have on the Melt Cosmetics Ultra-Matte Bronzer and the MAC x Whitney Houston highlighter.

I have the Luxuriously Lucent Lip Colour in Meet Me in Berlin on my wishlist for the same reason as the Liquid Lurex Eyeshadow in Liza…because of my difficulty with resisting products that I have a personal connection to. In the case of the lippie, it’s because of my boyfriend in Germany. In the case of the liquid eyeshadow, it’s because it’s my sister’s name (though pronounced differently). Truth be told, I’m not a single eyeshadow (unless depotted) or liquid shadow type of gal, but if I were, it would be Titania and Zora that would be more my speed. So, it’s very likely that a review of the Liquid Lurex, Luxuriously Lucent Lip Colour, and additional Eye Shadows from a future launch can be expected in Part 2 in 2023.

Velvet Makeup Pouches

These can normally be purchased for $25 each in various colors. However, there is currently a deal that a free bag will come with every purchase of three or more items. The Pompadour color was available with the eyeshadow launch. At some point they ran out and I saw the blue one there for a short time, the cherry red one for a short time, the Emerald which I made a purchase to get, and then the Pompadour shade returned. There was one point where no bags were in stock at all and therefore no gift with purchase option with it.

I didn’t think these were that special until I actually got the first one in my hands. I love the luxurious texture of the bag, the pretty logo, the variety of colors, and the zipper. I actually keep my Lisa Eldridge products together in one because of how well they fit in it. I can see why these are collectable to some people and if a purple variation was released, I would likely be willing to buy it outright!
For Oden Eye’s Saga of Freja collection, they had an exclusive sage green velvet makeup bag for those who bought the entire bundle and I just couldn’t do that when I didn’t want the majority of the collection. So, I’ve had the dreaded feeling of having missed out. In a way, the Emerald bag from Lisa Eldridge has finally filled that void even though they are different sizes and shapes entirely.

Ordering Experience

Apparently, the brand has a distributor in the US and worked out some kind of deal to keep the shipping free for US customers. That has been one of the reasons it’s been so much easier for me to talk myself into making the additional purchases (when I told myself I’d only buy the Sorcery palette and nothing else).

Ordering from the website was hassle free. The shipping is fairly quick and so far has taken anywhere from 3-7 days to arrive. It only tends to be longer if I made a purchase just before the weekend.

The items are well packed and instead of generic cardboard boxes, they are white with the brand’s logo on the inside. I haven’t had any order mixups and everything has arrived intact. For that reason, I’ve had no need to interact with customer service, but I’ve heard they’re great.

The only thing I wish was that I could actually create a customer account so I could see my order history in one place and keep a wishlist on the website. However, it might be for the best not to have that kind of thing stored.

So, overall, my ordering experience has been great with this brand. The prices are a bit hard to swallow, but my interest in Lisa Eldridge makeup has increased a lot and I look forward to seeing more.

That’s everything I’ve got! Thank you for reading! Also, if I messed up the shade names, please excuse that. I have been calling several shade names the wrong thing for three weeks and only in this past week I realized my mistake and had to fix all the errors I could spot.

-Lili

MOB Beauty Custom Face Palette Review

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

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

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

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

Custom Palette Packaging and Components

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

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

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

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

Additional photo of an empty versus filled palette.

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

Important Tip About Choosing A Shade

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

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

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

Cream Clay Formula

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

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

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

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

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

Powder Formula

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

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

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

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

Highlighter

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

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

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

Eyeshadows

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

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

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

Main Product Swatches

Free Mini Samples

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

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

Final Thoughts

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

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

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

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

Thank you for reading.

-Lili

10 Things I Purchased Purely For The Packaging

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

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

Nostalgia Purchases

Glamlite Concha Highlighter

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

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

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

Sola Look Charmed Palette

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

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

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

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

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

The Cuteness Factor

The Creme Shop Hello Kitty Macaron Lip Balm

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

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

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

Too Faced Glowver Puppy Love Highlighter

2020 (above) vs 2022 (below)

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

Looks Luxurious

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

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

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

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

Pat Mcgrath Lunar Nude Sublime Skin Highlighter

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

Bésame Cosmetics 1959 Sleeping Beauty Eyeshadow Palette

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

Fulfilled the FOMO

I Heart Revolution Teddy Bear Eyeshadow Palette Honey

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

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

That’s all for today!

-Lili

One Size, Terra Moons, and Other April Purchases Reviewed

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

SEPHORA COLLECTION Microsmooth Multi-Tasking Baked Face Palette in Captivate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Patrick Ta Major Sculpt Contour Brush

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Farmacy 10% Waterless Vitamin C Serum

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dior Backstage Glow Face Palette in 002 Glitz

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

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

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

Florasis Floral Engraving Odey Makeup Palette (The Encounter)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Face Serum SPF 60+

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Lili

New Pat Mcgrath Blush Duos, Bridgerton 2, and More Review

I was set to finally post my PML x Bridgerton 2 review when it was announced that Pat Mcgrath would be releasing blush duos and expanding her range of highlighters. So, I decided to combine both sets of reviews in this post today!

Pat Mcgrath Skin Fetish Divine Blush Duos in Divine Rose II, Cosmic Coral, and Paradise Glow

Pat Mcgrath Labs is one of my favorite brands, and medium tone blushes are my preference, so I could not resist getting the three medium duo offerings. Because these are so expensive, I tried to justify my purchases by saying I’m getting three shades in each singular compact: the roses alone, the sun rays solo, and the two mixed together. However, by picking all the medium color options, I’m getting very similar looks. The swatches below show that both halves of Divine Rose II are only differentiated by the lighter pink rays and the cool-toned more vibrant pink roses, that the Cosmic Coral and Divine Rose II roses look similar with Cosmic Coral being slightly brighter, and that the Paradise Glow roses side is identical to the Paradise Venus individual blush. In fact, it was only when I saw a screenshot in a Facebook Group of Pat Mcgrath’s comment on Instagram that I learned Paradise Glow is supposed to be a combination of Desert Orchid and Paradise Venus. However, based on a few videos I’ve seen online, it appears the rays side of Paradise Glow has a little bit of a brick tone added to it. This will probably not be a detectable difference on those with dark skin tones, but perhaps it would be distinct enough on those who are lighter. I do not have Desert Orchid to be able to compare them myself.

The swatch photo above shows the similarities among the individual and half blushes. The photo below includes swatches of the duos mixed compared to their halves. Because the rays side is hard pressed and the roses side is softer and more pigmented, if I try to combine them together equally, the shade from the roses will always dominate and not give the appearance of a true mixture. I have found that in order to produce a new color, I have to use a ratio of 2 swipes of the rays to every 1 swipe of the roses. With this method, I can see that Paradise Glow mixed is a shimmery version of the rays side of Cosmic Coral. In my swatch photo, the Paradise Glow mixture is slightly darker than Cosmic Coral’s rays, but if I use less of the roses of Paradise Glow, they’re practically the same. It also cannot be ignored that Cosmic Coral rays and Paradise Glow rays look similar in tone (though not depth) to begin with.

The screenshot above is how the Pat Mcgrath brand describes these shades and their mixtures.

I admittedly hated Divine Rose II in the beginning. I did not like how each individual shade looked on me unless I had a pink eye look on because it then tied the look together in a cohesive blush draping type of way. However, when I combine both halves together in a light application, I think the mixture is beautiful! Essentially, I get the benefit of the sheen from the roses while the warmer toned rays temper the coolness of the roses, giving me the kind of color I would actually wear.

The rays of Cosmic Coral barely show on my face at all, whereas the roses portion is too punchy for my taste. So, I use the rays portion to tone down the roses and that’s what creates a look that I feel is very pretty. But once again, I only enjoy using this duo when the shades are mixed together. Both halves of this are demi-matte, and do look that way normally, but it was particularly hot on the day I took the photo, so that glisten on my skin is the combination of my dewy foundation and sweat. I had not yet set my face with powder.

Paradise Glow is the star of the show, but it’s no surprise considering how much I love the color of Paradise Venus! In my review of the individual blushes, I mentioned that I enjoy combining Nude Venus and Paradise Venus, but I often wondered if Desert Orchid would have been a better mixture. So, I am thrilled to have Paradise Glow even if I have conflicting feelings about buying something I essentially already have. Mixing both sides creates a look on the cheeks similar to Faux Sure from MAC, Kiss of Rose from Bare Minerals, and Walk of No Shame by Charlotte Tilbury. This is now my new favorite blush from Pat Mcgrath!

All this being said, I absolutely did not get a three-in-one that I thought I would from these duos since I don’t like wearing each half individually (with Paradise Glow roses as an exception, but we already established it’s the same as Paradise Venus which I already have).
With this thought in mind, I don’t think the duos are worth buying for those who already own most of the permanent line. Others have compared Divine Rose II to Cherish, Venusian Sunrise to Fleurtatious, and Aphrodite Amour to Nude Venus. The most unique shade in the limited edition collection is Night Bloom (which some have said gives Lovestruck vibes if mixed extremely lightly), so perhaps that one might be worth collectors buying. Paradise Glow was absolutely worth it for me, but I don’t intend to keep Paradise Venus in my collection for that reason. I could have lived without Divine Rose II and Cosmic Coral, but I do like them enough to keep them. And for those curious, I compared the two lightest PML Blushing Delights blushes to the roses of the duos and Budding Romance is a darker pink with a stronger sheen than either of the two pink blushes.

Swatching them together reminded me that, quite honestly, I prefer the new baked blushes from Pat Mcgrath over the demi-matte formula. I like the shimmer/pearl formula about equal to the baked ones though.

In terms of longevity and performance, the duo blushes are the same as the permanent blushes. They start to fade if applied on bare skin as the day goes on, but they are long lasting if wearing foundation underneath it.

Pat Mcgrath Skin Fetish Divine Glow Highlighter in Bronze Mirage

I feel very fortunate that when my highlighter popped out during the shipping process, it stayed mostly contained in the pan. A gentle push to the left and a firm press with my fingers everywhere was enough to get it to stay in the compact again without breaking into pieces. I’m not confident that I pressed it well enough to keep it together forever, since the edges look a bit questionable, but I’m using it like this for now. If it falls out in the future or fully breaks, I will try to repress it with isopropyl alcohol and hope it doesn’t change the performance or texture. Pat Mcgrath has great customer service when it comes to broken items, so if anyone receives minor damage like mine or worse, I recommend contacting them.
Also, I have to give the brand an applaud for shipping out orders in a reasonable amount of time after the launch, unlike their previous collections for the past several years that typically take weeks.

Bronze Mirage does not look deep in the pan, but the color of the shimmer is what shows on the skin, and this shimmer is a darker bronze than I expected. To put it in perspective, I have swatches above showing that “Bronze” from Pat’s highlighter duo is more of a medium-dark golden color and Bronze Nectar 003 from the baked highlighter trio is a light-medium gold. I thought Bronze Mirage would be in that gold vein, but this is actually the first true bronze color the brand has released, to my knowledge. Pat Mcgrath doesn’t have many dark powder highlighters (Bronze is a cream formula), which is why I wanted this one. I figured it would be great to mix with my lighter highlighters, so depth wouldn’t be a problem. I did not take the tone into account, and for that reason, this highlighter isn’t as great of a match on me as I hoped. However, it’s still super beautiful and I can pull it off with a bronze eye look to match and heavy bronzer on the perimeter of my face. If everything else on my face is bronze, then it works.

I love the wet look aspect to this. It’s very shimmery, but not glittery, and the reflect is intense. It lasts on my cheeks all day with perhaps only a small dulling down of the reflective brightness towards the end of the night. I like this formula, but it still doesn’t beat out that gel-powder Ultra Glow Highlighter (Divine Rose Highlighter) in terms of smoothness. I have enough highlighters from this brand, but if PML releases more shades in that formula (preferably a deeper gold), I cannot be held responsible for my actions.

Pat Mcgrath Love & Lust Gloss Duo

This adorable duo gloss set was a free gift with purchase for spending over $90. The shades are Flesh Fantasy (left) and Flesh 6 (right). I hadn’t looked at the shade names written on the back prior to using them. When I applied Flesh 6 to my lips, I immediately realized what shade it was since it’s one of the few PML lip gloss shades I own. I now have three minis of Flesh 6! I won’t be needing a full size of that color anytime soon.

The glosses are the same great formula as I’m used to, but just in a cute but cumbersome packaging with the twist off gold portion of the heart as the top and the tiny applicator that takes some strength to pull out of the even smaller stopper. My nails aren’t at their longest right now, yet I still have some trouble getting the applicator out, so those like me with large fingers and/or very long nails might find this packaging extra bothersome. I’m still very happy to have this set as the cute packaging makes me smile whenever I use it. The glosses are thick, but that helps to keep them lasting longer on the lips.

As a side note, I purchased the shade Secret Lover expecting it to be a different color based on the photos I saw and I was unable to find a look that this shade would pair nicely with. However, I think it looks great with the Divine Rose II Duo Blush, so I’m glad about that!

Divine Rose II Blush mixed together is on the left (the right is Orange Sunny from Oden’s Eye) and Secret Lover is on the lips.

Pat Mcgrath Labs Divine Skin: Rose 001 The Essence (Sample)

This is a sample, so my perspective on this is basically as a fifth impression. When this product is shaken up, it looks and feels extremely similar to the Laneige Cream Skin Toner & Moisturizer/Refiner despite them both having very different ingredients. They both have a milky look to them and make my skin feel softer and quite moisturized even though I apply so little of the product to my skin. The PML Essence contains more oil, which gives it slightly more of an edge in moisturizing the skin and without feeling greasy. The PML also has an obvious, though pleasant, rose and jasmine scent. The biggest difference of all is the $86 price versus $33. I am enjoying this sample and I’m glad the brand added it to my order, but I would never purchase the full size unless it was closer in price to the one from Laneige.

Pat Mcgrath x Bridgerton 2 (Partial) Collection Review

Completed June 6, 2022

We all know by this point that Pat Mcgrath’s products go on sale for a significant discount eventually, so I really tried hard to resist this collection. I haven’t watched Bridgerton, so I don’t have any attachment to the show, but I do like the aesthetic. I didn’t want to buy this at launch not only because I hoped to get it later for a reduced price, but also because even promo photos showed that the packaging looked like a thin decorative paperboard gift, storage, or hat box. Considering the quality of Pat Mcgrath’s usual packaging, this is the sort of thing most customers would expect to open to find the real palette housed inside it.

Some examples from Hobby Lobby and Amazon of what I mean.

In addition to the packaging quality being less than expected, the blushes and highlighter inside don’t line up perfectly with the cutout holes, so the visible gaps downgrade the overall presentation. For those reasons, I didn’t want to pay full price. Since Pat Mcgrath single blushes are so expensive, but we get four newly formulated products in this palette (however smaller they are in size), I ultimately decided to buy it anyway. As for the lipstick, I fell in love with the shade when I saw those who got early PR wearing it. The little bow is cute, but for once, packaging wasn’t a selling point for me with the lipstick. It was a bonus.

I should mention that if this kind of packaging is what was needed for PML to keep the cost from being $100, then I’m fine with it. It’s still cute and I don’t mind the quality, but I do wish it was half the height. Sure, there’s wasted space in length and width, but the unnecessary height of the product keeps me from being able to store it easier. It doesn’t take much for the lid to lift off, so I have to lay this flat to avoid any accidents, so I’m not sure why it needed to be so tall since it’s not housing anything below it like the similarly shaped packaging for the body shimmer powder.

PAT McGRATH LABS x Bridgerton 2 Blushing Delights Blush + Highlighter Palette

I bought this for Aphrodisia. I absolutely love this color for blush! The shimmery blush shade in the Sephora Microsmooth Multi-Tasking Baked Face Palette from the Captivate version gives a similar look as Aphrodisia, but the one from PML is silkier to the touch and thinner in texture, yet more pigmented. I tested them on each cheek and could see I got more opacity from Aphrodisia when I used the same amount of layers on the cheeks. Aphrodisia surprisingly has a slightly pinker base that I only see when swatched next to the one from Sephora. I actually expected the opposite when I see them next to each other in their compacts.

Champagne Venus is quite the attention grabber without even using it because of the heart shape and multi-colored swirl pattern running through the highlighter. It’s a bit on the light side for me, but if I take that extra time to blend it into my foundation, I can somewhat pull it off. I think it looks fairly smooth in the photo below, but if you don’t like highlighters with noticeable sparkle specks, this product is going to go mostly unused in your collection like it has in mine.

The final two blushes instantly reminded me of the ones from the Hourglass Universe Unlocked palette, which is partly why I held off purchasing the Blushing Delights Palette. Between the pinks, I prefer the one from PML over Hourglass because it’s a little darker. Between the berries, I prefer the one from Hourglass over PML, but that’s because it’s not as deep and intense.

Budding Romance is quite pretty on its own, but I like to wear it together with either Aphrodisia or Berry Brilliance. I definitely don’t wear Berry Brilliance by itself because even with a light hand, it’s a bit deeper than I like in my blushes, so I always use that one with Budding Romance on the apples of the cheek so I can have a brighter pop.

I have no longevity or performance issues with these blushes, so I don’t regret buying this at full price. Well, technically I got the standard 10% off from ordering from Pat’s website.

PAT McGRATH LABS x Bridgerton 2 SatinAllure Lipstick in Négligée

Even when I know I can’t look at just anyone’s lips and assume the product is going to look the same way on me as it does for them, I still had hope that this shade would be one that I could love. Although I don’t care for how it looks on my lips by itself, I can pull off this color with a lip liner.

Négligée on the lips with Juvia’s Place Brownie Lip Liner.

This is my first ever Pat Mcgrath lipstick. The formula for the SatinAllures is very comfortable to wear, has a nice shine to it, and isn’t the most opaque, but it can be built up after several layers. It isn’t very long wearing, but that’s to be expected with a lipstick that doesn’t dry down. I’m happy with this product, but I will say it does nothing to hide any dry patches and peeled spots, so I only wear it when my lips are in mostly good condition already.

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

-Lili

*DISCLAIMER: All products in this post were purchased by me with my own money. There are no affiliate links in this post, only standard links.

Kaleidos Smokey Nostalgia Blush and Lip Clays

From the Smokey Nostalgia collection, I purchased two of the four new lip clays and one of the five new blushes. There’s one more lip clay I purchased, which will be discussed later.

As an absolute blush fanatic, I was the most excited to try a blush from Kaleidos. The brand’s first attempt at blushes was a very non-inclusive release of two blush duos, so I was happy to see at least one deep skin friendly option this time. I will say that the Sanguine blush I purchased is not quite as deep as it appears on the website. This is why I’m not certain if the other shades are even lighter in person as well.

This shade is also difficult to capture accurately. It looks like a straightforward dark red in the pan, but I’d say it actually goes on the skin more like a deep rose shade. I was instantly reminded of MAC’s blush called Frankly Scarlet because of that reddish pink element.

The two blushes don’t look similar in the pan, but on my cheeks I can see that Sanguine is a bit more natural and red whereas Frankly Scarlet is a little more vibrant. I’m shocked to say this, but Sanguine is actually a tiny bit better! It isn’t often that I prefer another brand’s blush over MAC’s formula. The texture of the blush feels extremely soft, like velvet, and it’s both buildable and easy to blend. I honestly did not expect such good quality. Sanguine is pigmented, but I can make it as sheer or as intense as I want. I’ve done up to a nine hour wear test twice and it lasts on my cheek that whole time without fading if I apply a normal amount of blush. If I wear a light sheer layer, I can expect noticeable fading to start at 6-7 hours, but it was still clearly there by hour 9.
If I wasn’t confident that the other shades won’t work for me, I’d probably have placed another order to buy more. If additional shades are released in the future though, I could be tempted to get them.

One thing I can’t explain is that I swear there’s a faint rose-like scent, but fragrance isn’t listed on the packaging.

The quality of the Cloud Lab Lip Clays in this collection are the same as I’ve experienced in the past. I really wanted the Smokey Nostalgia tin, plus at least three lip products, so I opted for the Custom Lip Bundle and reserved the fourth lippie as a gift for a friend. A small part of me wishes I actually used that fourth spot for the Mahogany shade instead of Cognac because that’s one that I originally wanted as a mixing shade to deepen looks or make some less colorful.

Mixing these together isn’t as seamless as I expected. I kept seeing Kaleidos ads on YouTube mixing one of the pink-red shades (I think Cactus Flower) with Agave to create a gorgeous purple lip. They did something else with Mahogany, so I expected them to essentially mix like paint, but my attempts haven’t yielded results as dramatic as that. Also, some influencer videos showed Cognac as being a lot closer to brown than it is, so I figured (possibly incorrectly) that Cognac would be better than Mahogany for what I needed.

Despite so many options, and similarly toned ones at that, I still haven’t found my perfect shade in this formula, nor been able to find the best combo for myself either. I will continue to keep my eye out though because it’s the only liquid lipstick I’ve liked in a really long time. The unbelievable lasting power and water resistance without feeling like my lips are drying out are worth that effort to find.

Lastly, I just wanted to add that I’m shocked that Bare isn’t as pale as I expected. If it was the tiniest bit darker, it would have been perfect to wear on its own.

That’s all for today!

-Lili

Sara Happ Lip Products and My Balm Collection

Lip balms were excluded in my 2021 lip product declutter post, so today is the day I’m finally sharing what is in my collection. The photo above represents all the individual ones I have*, but not the duplicate backup products I also have. I’m very basic when it comes to the lips, and although I buy quite a few lip products, balms and glosses make up 70% of what I use. In fact, the percent of time I’m bare lipped (approx. 20% of the time) is higher than the amount of times I will actually pull out a lipstick or lip liner.

*Note: Those who keep up with my blog, especially declutter or full collection posts, won’t be surprised to know I found additional balms after the review. I will briefly discuss those at the end of the post, since they will be decluttered anyway.

I have very dry, sensitive, easily chapped lips. The Sarah Happ lip products do the most to treat those issues, so I’ll be reviewing those first.

Sarah Happ Lip System

The Sara Happ Process starts with the Lip Scrub, but I often skip this step and use the lip mask overnight, wash it off, and apply a balm afterwards. In my opinion, there isn’t anything particularly special about this lip scrub besides having larger sugar granules. The finely granulated ones that most people prefer don’t have the exfoliating power to do anything much for my lips. However, I’m sure there are still companies who make larger sizes. If there aren’t, at the very least I’d be more inclined to make my own DIY lip scrub over paying for expensive ones anymore.
The flavor of the Sarah Happ lip scrub I still have is Red Velvet, which seems to have been discontinued. There are currently Grapefruit, Peach, Vanilla Bean, and Brown Sugar flavors as part of their permanent line.

The Sweet Clay Lip Mask is the restoring/repairing element. It’s the single most important lip treatment in my collection. It does have a clay-like texture, a little like a paste, so it doesn’t spread easily on the lips. It comes with a tiny plastic spatula to scoop out the product. A little goes a long way, so I’m careful to only grab a little. After scooping, I spread it on my lips with my finger, though the extra product will stick to the fingers and is not easy to wipe clean without smearing some more. It looks like I went to town on a jar of frosting, so I only put it on right before bed. If you sleep next to a partner, you’ll have to skip kissing for the night!

I should mention that the official instructions say to leave this on the lips for up to ten minutes before wiping with a tissue. I prefer to use either a cloth or Viva paper towel (because it’s super strong) to remove it, but I also clearly prefer leaving it overnight. I don’t get the same results if I just keep it on for ten or even twenty minutes. The reason I can skip using a lip scrub with my method is because the mask hydrates and softens the lips, but also gets stuck to every crevice of the dead skin. By the time I’m ready to remove it, the wiping pulls away every bit of dead skin without ripping or bleeding because it has already been softened by the ingredients in the mask formula.

So, by using this mask, I can not only skip exfoliating, but I also inject so much moisture to my lips that I can go 3-4 days with nothing else on my lips before it starts to dry out again. This is a tremendous improvement to my usual needs of having to wear a balm every 1-2 days to avoid chapping. Once I forget or I wear a drying lipstick or some other drying lip color product, it’s extremely difficult to get my lips back to a healthy place. In those moments, only the Nuxe Balm, Lip Slip, and Sweet Clay can fix it. Of the three, using the Clay Mask and then following it with one of the other two balms is the ultimate fixer.

It is crucial that at least for a few hours after removing the Clay Mask, one should follow up with a lip balm. Even if it’s not a Sara Happ balm, as nourishing as the clay mask is, the lips need an occlusive to lock in the moisture that the clay mask just put in. And since it does contain clay, there’s still a small aspect of it that is going to be drying. This can be avoided by just following up the clay mask with a balm.

Sara Happ also recommends using the clay mask 3 times a week, but I’m negligent with my lips so I use it once a month or as needed to fix bad lip days. The amount I use, in the photo below, is significantly less than what is shown in website photos, but I feel I don’t need so much at once.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m allergic/sensitive to lanolin. Wearing a product that contains it will cause my lips to completely chap up and split within fifteen minutes to an hour, which takes a week to heal. During those moments, Vaseline was my best friend as it was the only thing I had that was thick enough to stay in place for most of the day. My lips respond very well to petroleum and therefore mineral oil. I mention this because I haven’t had an allergic lip reaction in many years. I know the Nuxe Balm was a fine replacement, but I haven’t had an opportunity to try my Sara Happ Products in response to an allergic reaction, so I don’t know for sure how well they would work. I imagine it would be fine because The Lip Slip One Luxe Balm does have mineral oil high up. I think that’s why it works so amazingly for me to moisturize and hydrate my lips, in conjunction with other ingredients my lips like such as sweet almond oil, macadamia seed oil, beeswax, etc. One of the complaints I’ve seen online (I believe especially in the “clean” movement) is the fact that this balm is so expensive when it’s “mostly mineral oil,” but no other company makes this combination of ingredients. It just works! It’s also more pleasant on my lips than wearing straight petroleum or straight mineral oil, so I’m perfectly fine with paying a lot to get these results in a more enjoyable experience.

Mineral Oil alternatives like Hydrogenated Polyisobutene tend to be hit or miss as to how effectively they work for me depending on the other ingredients within the formulations.

Sara Happ does have a second lip balm option, or technically “overnight lip mask,” called The Dream Slip. I like that the Dream Slip doesn’t have shimmer particles that the Lip Slip has, but the Dream Slip isn’t as hydrating for me. There’s a higher ratio of jojoba oil and beeswax in the Dream Slip over the mineral oil in the Lip Slip. I also prefer the consistency of the Lip Slip over the Dream Slip. The Dream Slip is $6 more expensive, so I personally recommend just sticking with the Lip Slip unless jojoba oil is a star ingredient for you. Also, there is a Dream Slip No. 2 in a squeeze tube, but I’ve never tried it.

Step 1 shows my lip state beforehand. Step 2 shows my lips with the Red Velvet Scrub on. Step 3 shows the state of my lips post scrub with some chapped bits still there, particularly on the upper lip. Step 4 shows my lips with the sweet clay mask on. Step 5 shows the condition of my lips after leaving the mask on overnight and washing it off. Step 6 shows my lips with the Dream Slip on the lips.

So, that’s how I use my Sara Happ products! The most essential items for me are the Sweet Clay Mask and The Lip Slip, but technically the Lip Slip could be skipped for those who already have a favorite holy grail lip balm. I buy my Sara Happ products from Ulta, but they don’t have the newest addition to the line: The Lip Elixir lip treatment oil. As intriguing as it appears, I don’t feel it’s a necessary product for me so I won’t be buying it.

Other Lip Products

Nuxe Reve de Miel Ultra Nourishing Lip Balm – It brings me so much sadness to say the formula for this has changed. It was my holy grail lip balm for years, then disappeared off the US website for years, and I ordered so many backups since it returned. Out of the three jars I’ve opened so far, they’ve gone bad after only 4-6 months. There is a six month period after opening symbol on the jar, but the lip balms lasted me well over a year in the past. Nuxe didn’t mention anything about formula changes, but SkinStore listed the change. They increased the Shea butter, decreased the dimethicone and grapefruit peel oil, and removed Candelilla wax. I found an ingredient list online from 2018 which predates the backups I currently have. According to the list, Nuxe removed BHT, which is a preservative. When I searched the new ingredient list, I didn’t see anything on it that is supposed to be a preservative.

This could explain why my current backups aren’t lasting very long if Nuxe removed one of or possibly the only preservative. For me, the formula change makes this a tiny bit less effective than it used to be, but my biggest issue is the length of time these last once opened. Even if I could overlook all that, the texture of this new reformulated balm shown on the website looks so ridiculously grainy. Thankfully my backups don’t look like that, but I can no longer recommend this balm. I will continue to use up what I have and love them while they’re still good, but it’s such a shame because the way this locked in moisture on my lips was unrivaled.

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask (Minis) – I use these as on-the-go balms, rather than overnight lip treatments. They do a decent job at repairing the look of my lips, but it was always a temporary fix. They feel nice and moisturizing, but not hydrating. They don’t actually condition my lips long term. I keep them in my different purses in case I’m in a pinch, having forgotten to apply balm before leaving the house.

I’ve gotten three minis so far just from gift with purchases or birthday reward gifts from retailers, so I’ve never had to pay for one and I get a new one pretty much each year. I love the smell of them and it makes me tempted to buy one of their new scents/flavors when they release them, but they don’t perform well enough for me to go through with the purchase.

The Nuxe Balm (at least the jars I have in my possession) and Sara Happ Lip Slip are leaps and bounds better than this product, but it’s still the one I compare most with other formulas since the best of other brands tend to be almost as good as this, but not quite enough.

Kaleidos Apple Glaze Softening Lip Mask – I’ve already reviewed this product here, but the short version is that this creates a cooling sensation due to the mint/menthol content, leaves a slight red tint on the skin from the red dyes, and the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask is nearly comparable to this one. Perhaps it’s the menthol that keeps it from being as hydrating as the one from Laneige. The one from Kaleidos is $8 for 7.5 grams and Laneige is $22 for 20 grams, so technically they are comparable at around 90ish cents per gram.

Something I didn’t mention in my review before that I find humorous is that Kaleidos has a note on the website clarifying that this is cranberry flavored, yet they put apple in the name. It’s quite the choice to call something apple, but give it the flavor of a different fruit entirely!

Nars Afterglow Laguna Lip Balm (Mini) – This product was one of two balms from the Sephora Favorites “Give Me Some Shine” Lip Set that I bought at the end of 2021 and didn’t start testing until February this year. It adds a warm colored orange-brown tint to the lips and the sparkles in it are so fine that I can’t see the particles on my lips, but they add a pretty shine.

I had low expectations, so I was impressed that this keeps my lips moisturized for 4-6 hours if I don’t eat and if I apply a very thick layer. However, with a thick layer, I have gotten that inner white ring that sometimes happens with balms.
Like the Laneige, this is something I just wear on short notice or for the pretty effect it has from the tint and shimmer on the lips. It’s a little more hydrating than the Laneige but slightly less moisturizing. If I want something to actually repair and condition my lips, rather than a temporary fix, I reach for the Sara Happ instead. As much as I like this, I’m not certain if I’d spend $28 on the full size.

Huda Silk Balm Hydrating and Nourishing Lip Balm in Blush – This is the other balm from the set I mentioned in the Nars section above, and another product I had low expectations about, despite the hype it gets. I was very pleasantly surprised that this keeps my lips hydrated for a minimum of six hours and it can last longer without needing to be reapplied depending on the kind of food or drinks I have that day. It easily lasts on my lips when I wear it overnight. This contains Sodium Hyaluronate, which is supposed to aid in drawing in that hydration, but they go as far as to advertise this as being able to give fuller-looking lips. The shine alone could do that, so I don’t put too much stock in that statement.

This is supposed to be a universal blush pink shade, but it’s not opaque enough to give my lips any sort of tint to them. I really like how this feels, and this actually does surpass the Laneige in being able to both hydrate and keep in moisture. I have to build this one up, but that’s because such little product comes out of the tube in one go, so I have to dip back in several times to adequately coat my lips in this gloss style balm. I will continue to use this, and this product is the reason I haven’t felt the need to repurchase the Tower 28 Gloss I used up. At least not yet.

Colourpop x Mulan Lip Mask – This was part of the Fourth Ray Face Milk and Lip Mask Bundle. I really enjoyed it when I reviewed it before, but I stuck it in my skincare train case (mini case for skincare I’m trying to use up), but that case was abandoned and I forgot all about it. It’s about two years old and when I finally opened it up, I could see a clear blob where color had separated out of the lip mask. Most of the liquid was still yellow, but some sections were white as if in the process of separating too. I intend to clean out the inside and keep the container for DIY use.

Colourpop x Hello Kitty Snowkissed Lip Care Set – This set is part of the Fourth Ray Beauty sub brand of Colourpop and consists of the Peppermint Cookie Lippie Scrub and Lip Mask. This set is a little newer at just over a year. The texture of the lip mask is similar to the Mulan one. Both products used to have a delicious smell, but it has almost entirely faded by now. Because it took so long for me to try the lip scrub, I can’t say whether my experience with it was normal or not, but it was essentially like putting glue on my lips with bits of sand on it. It took 3 attempts to get all the stickiness off my face, two of which were using an oil based cleanser. I definitely would not use the scrub again. While the mask was enjoyable, I may as well stick to my top favorites and not purchase anymore lip masks from Colourpop. I am planning to save these containers for DIY purposes as well.

The Creme Shop x Hello Kitty Macaron Lip Balm in Mixed Berry and Rainbow Sherbert – I bought one of each and was gifted one as well. I purchased this purely for the packaging. They smell nice, but they do nothing for my lips.

Sun Bum Sunscreen Lip Balm SPF 30 in Watermelon – I bought this as a cheaper alternative to the Supergoop lip sunscreen balm at $3.99 vs $9.50. I typically don’t need spf for my lips except during the hottest of days in the Florida summer. And spring too, I guess. It has very little staying power on my lips and barely moisturizes. I keep the tube in my purse so I can wear it on outings, but it’s not something I’d reach for to improve the state of my lips. The smell is fantastic though.

The Forgotten Balms

I found this in a drawer. The Oribe lip treatment is quite old and I just kept it for the packaging. It didn’t do anything really for my lips the few times I used it. The Juvia’s Place Nubian Glow balms should be good still, but I wasn’t a fan of the smell of Guava. I considered keeping Mango, but since I know I’m not going to reach for it over my other lip products, I’m going to proactively declutter it too.

The Homemade Balms

During those years that I was without the Nuxe balm, I attempted to recreate the formula and also create some tinted balms as well by mixing in some of my lipsticks. The tinted balms ended up being too waxy for my liking, but I kept the two best ones and only used them once. Although I had some empty jars from Michael’s craft store and empty lipstick tubes from TKB trading, I wanted to be more environmentally friendly by reusing the packaging that I liked from other brands (like the Tony Moly lip balm and discontinued lippie from Benefit Cosmetics).

Out of 10 jars, I ended up with only one balm that came close to Nuxe and only one other balm (pictured above) that felt nice enough on my lips to keep using. The one most similar to Nuxe lasted about a year before it turned. The one pictured above has to be at least four years old and I’m shocked that it still looks fine (although I wouldn’t use it now and it has since been tossed out).

I lost all my notes on the different measurements I attempted to use in my DIY experiments, so if I wanted to create my own, I’d have to essentially start from scratch again. The key ingredients I used though were:

Beeswax Pellets
Shea Butter
Sweet Almond Oil
Honey
Sunflower Seed Oil (was lower in the ingredients but I put it higher to replace the olive oil)
Dimethicone (350 because I had it on hand already, but ideally I would use 100 or 1.5
Fractionated Coconut Oil (Caprylic/Capric triglyceride)
Cap-2 for oil based products (Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Hexylene Glycol)
Golden Vitamin E (Tocopherols, Natural T-50 Vitamin E)
Allantoin

Some of these ingredients needed to be melted, like the beeswax. Some needed to be added after it had time to cool down a bit, like dimethicone, but couldn’t be added too late or it would solidify before I could get to it and essentially ruin the texture I was trying to achieve. I used different sizes of beaker jars (10 ml to 100 ml sizes), pipettes, measuring spoons, and my Z-palette brand of Z Potter as the heating apparatus. The last five ingredients on the list I already had because I used them in my DIY eyeshadow formulas. Honey is always around for cooking purposes and I sometimes used Shea Butter for skincare, so it was just about buying the beeswax and oils. If I wanted to start making my own lip balms again, though, I would need to repurchase everything. At this point in time with me trying to use up the current lip products in my collection, I don’t know when I would attempt to make my own again. However, I’m still keeping my favorite containers from other brands just in case.

Some of the other balms I’ve used in the past were Burt’s Bees (in Mango), ChapStick, EOS, Fresh (Sugar Hydrating Lip Balm in Caramel), First Aid Beauty, etc. None of the ones from the past would make the top five on my favorites list.

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

-Lili

I Broke My Lipstick Low-Buy: Kaleidos, Mented, and More

I didn’t break my 2021 lip product no-buy/low-buy all at once. It was a series of mostly single purchase decisions throughout the rest of the year after my major lippie declutter. In the case of Propa Beauty, I wanted to purchase some lipsticks as gifts during a big sale and figured I’d get a new shade for myself. Ulta had Mented Lipsticks available for 50% off and I had been curious about the Semi-Matte lipstick formula for ages. The shade m5 held my curiosity as a super unique shade, but I didn’t want to risk getting the lipstick form when I knew this would make a great pencil shade. I needed to reach a price minimum for free shipping when I ordered the Colourpop lip stain. In my review of Oden’s Eye’s Alva Lip Stain in the matte formula, I mentioned I planned to order the cream version with a future order from the brand, and that happened to be with the Legendary Diversa Collection.

I actually don’t regret my decisions because I like most of the products I purchased and I was able to avoid buying a lot more lip products that caught my eye. The time I started writing this was November 2021, and I anticipated one final lip purchase before 2022. Black Friday had the biggest deals yet, and it ended up being two final purchases (Sephora Favorites “Give Me Some Shine” Lip Set and a Full Size Pat Mcgrath Lip Gloss), which I’m sure I will feature in a future post. Anyway, onto the review!

Kaleidos Custom Lip Clay Bundle (Trophy Tin) and Apple Glaze Lip Mask

I wanted to try this lip clay formula for so long because it was extremely hyped up among the beauty YouTubers that purchase from Indie brands. One went so far as to call this the best and most comfortable liquid lipstick formula she’s ever tried. Four different lip clay collections were released in sets of 4 and they could not be purchased individually at first. As soon as Kaleidos gave the option to create custom bundles, I placed an order immediately, especially because I was obsessed with the deep red tin named Trophy.

The lip clays really are unlike anything else I’ve tried. It has a mousse-like texture and literally feels like suede on my lips. I don’t know how they created this! It doesn’t transfer as long as I don’t eat or drink. When I do, I’m able to touch up the areas with missing product without any lines or darker spots to differentiate between the first application from the second one. I will say though that they aren’t the easiest to spread evenly across the lips, so there ends up being some sheerer patches of skin that have to be smoothed over several times to become more opaque while also avoiding having an excess of product on the lips. This sheerness is more obvious the darker the lip shade you wear. So, I prefer Kaleidos’ nude shades more than the darker ones. They truly are incredibly comfortable and one of the few liquid lipsticks I actually want to wear because it’s transfer resistant without drying out my lips! I’m thinking of getting additional shades to mix and match with, but if I do, I will immediately go on another lip product no-buy so I can get more use out of my current collection.

I’m shocked that I prefer Dune over Sienna, but I think light dusty pink looks prettier on me than light orange-brown. This is why I’m considering experimenting with mixing the shades so they won’t look quite so light on me. None of these are really a shade I’m crazy about on their own, but the formula is so nice that I’m willing to use lip liners or other methods to make them work. Also, I don’t detect any fragrance in these.

The lip mask has a nice apple/fruit punch scent to it that reminds me of fruit roll ups, but it feels tingly like mint on the lips. I’m guessing the mint is meant to produce a cooling effect rather than a plumping one because my lips don’t appear to be bigger when I use it. The lip mask barely gives a noticeable tint on my pigmented lips unless I build up an extra thick layer, which I realistically wouldn’t want. Since I wear it for hydration purposes, having a stronger hue isn’t a necessity for me. It stays well on my lips overnight when I use it. It makes my lips softer, but it doesn’t keep them from peeling. So, it’s not to the same conditioning level as the Nuxe Reve de Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm or Sara Happ Lip Slip, but it’s almost on par with the Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask. The Apple Glaze Lip Mask ranks #4 among my balms.

Mented Lip Liner in m5

This is my second lip liner from Mented. I’ve already reviewed the Nude La La shade before and this one is no different in terms of how creamy, pigmented, and budge-proof (unless eating) it is. It’s a retractable pencil, which I prefer. The shade is a truly unique purple and brown tone that looks quite similar to the shade of my upper lip and dark pigmented spots on my lower lip. I usually try to wear lip colors that match the pink of my lips, but I was curious to see what it would look like if I matched the darker part. I think it looks super pretty when paired with the right eye look, but overall, I still prefer medium-pink lip shades.

Mented Semi-Matte Lipstick in Nude La La

I love this kind of warm pink shade and I’m partial to creamy lip products that mostly stay in place and aren’t so slippery on the lips that they move around. As I’ve mentioned before, I have two spots that are darker than the rest of my lower lip. If the formula of a lip product is too creamy, simply rubbing my lips together or talking can shift and uncover those spots I tried to conceal. I’m happy to know that the only time I have to worry about how this lipstick looks is if I’ve eaten something.

I’m very impressed with these two types of lip products from Mented. I can see myself buying more lip liners in the future. As much as I enjoy the lipstick, I prefer Propa Beauty’s formula a little bit more. They feel a tad more moisturizing and I like that they are shinier.
Lastly, this has a vanilla scent.

Juvia’s Place Bronzed Lip Liner in Brownie

This lip liner is long wearing, but it doesn’t fully dry down or become transfer-proof like some of the other lip liners in my collection. I don’t believe I’ve ever had a shade like brownie before, which is a deep vampy chocolate brown with a hint of burgundy-red. I can get a very smooth application. Although it’s quite a bit darker than I normally wear for lip liners, I can smudge the edges to create a softer look that isn’t in such high contract to the lipstick shades I pair with it. Also, I like the fact that it’s in a retractable pencil form.

Propa Beauty Luminous Satin Lipstick in Profits

This lipstick is exactly like the other Propa Beauty lipsticks I have reviewed in the past. It has a nice vanilla scent, it’s moisturizing, glossy, and is a flattering shade for my skin tone. Profits, Her Magic, and Victress are probably my top three favorite shades of the seven I own.

Colourpop Glossy Lip Stain in Clap If You Believe

This is quite the unique stain-gloss hybrid formula. It feels like a liquid lipstick when I put it on the lips, but it has a gel-like slipperiness that is typical of a lip stain. In a few minutes, it gets to the point that feels like it has set, but when I actually press my lips together, it feels quite sticky. The stain factor and stickiness helps with longevity. The stickiness also aids in the comfort level to keep the lips from feeling dried out. The glossy element certainly helps to keep the lips looking moisturized. The downside to the slippery aspect though is that it takes some time to get the stain to cover the pigment spots on my lip. I have to smooth it out evenly to the best of my ability, and then add additional product to cover the darker parts while keeping my mouth immobile until it has set.

The topmost layer comes off easily, but because of the stain feature, there is still a fair amount of color underneath. I can also easily reapply the lippie after eating and drinking without it looking strange. One thing I wasn’t expecting though is that the lip color looks quite light for the first hour or two, but as the day goes on, it darkens up to be as dark coral and bright as the Oden’s Eye Lady Camellias color! In fact, looking closely at the wand of Clap If You Believe, I can see that the product collected on the center of the applicator is warm pink-brown, but the fibers around it are darker pink. That’s the shade it becomes as the day goes on. This also contains flecks of shimmer/glitter; and be prepared for a chemical smell and taste. Thankfully, it isn’t strong enough to smell just from opening the tube. I had to actually put my nose near the tip to smell it.

There are some pros and cons to this product, but I think I will continue using it. However, I won’t be buying anymore in this formula. There are just other lip products I prefer.

Oden’s Eye Alva Creamy Lip Stain in Lady Camellias and Little Jasmine

I’m happy to know that my hunch that I would prefer the look of the Cream formula over the Matte one was correct. This still feels a little drying despite how glossy it looks on the lips, but it’s not as bad as Ripe Papaya which felt like it turned my lips into the Sahara Desert. Lady Camellias is a beautiful shade, though it’s still a little darker than what I envisioned. I really wanted Little Jasmine, but since it’s the lightest one, I didn’t want to risk getting one that may not work for me, so I went with Lady Camellias, but I probably should have taken the leap anyway*. This formula is shockingly long lasting considering it easily transfers. In my official wear test, I was able to actually get through eight hours with two meals before all of the glossy layer was gone. Since it’s a stain formula, I was still left with quite a bit of color on my lips. It’s a bit sticky, but not as sticky as the Colourpop Glossy Lip Stain. It also doesn’t have the gel-like consistency that the Colourpop Stain has. The downside to this one is that the pigmented spots on my lips did peek through midway through the day, but because this stain ends up being a dark fuchsia underneath it all, it’s not as noticeable. The final result for this product was that by the third meal at the twelve hour testing mark, the stain was mostly gone but my lips still felt balmy as if there was still a protective layer over the surface of my lips!

*I did take the leap on Black Friday and purchased Little Jasmine in the Cream formula, but it did not arrive in time before I went on my trip, so it’s a last minute addition to this post.

I was definitely right that I should have gotten Little Jasmine from the beginning because it’s exactly what I wanted, doesn’t leave a strange stain color behind, and it’s a nice medium tone. Based on this information, I’m forewarning those who don’t like dark lip shades that the colors in this line do seem to run dark, especially when built up. Little Jasmine is on the sheerer side and is glossier than Lady Camellias, so it did not have anywhere near the same staying power.

The best video I’ve seen showcasing the available shades are by Anna ZhuXuan on YouTube. Her video is the only one I’ve seen from her, but I loved how she included large arm swatches and showed what the lippies look like in a sheer layer versus a thick layer. I recommend those seriously considering getting these lippies to check it out!
Also, these are the most heavily scented of all the products discussed today. It’s a very sweet candy-like smell.

No Buy/Low Buy and Goals

Almost exactly one year ago, I posted about the Tower 28 Lip Gloss and how I hated it at first until I learned how best to use it. Oh boy, did I use it! In my May 2021 lip declutter post, I showed that I was halfway through the tube and from that point onward, I made a conscious effort to try and finish it before the year was up. I didn’t exclusively use only the Tower 28 gloss, but I made a valiant effort.

I completed this post prior to my trip, so the photo above shows my progress as of then. Below is what it actually looked like at the end of 2021, which was down to scraping the sides of the tube, so I consider myself as having successfully accomplished my goal of finishing a full size lip product!

The fact that it took a year for me to finish something I actually enjoyed is the reason I will try even harder to curb my lip product purchasing habits. Out of all the categories of makeup, this is the one area I should be more successful at keeping to a manageable amount. My goal for 2022 is to do a lip product no-buy for a full year, with the exception of allowing myself to replace items with ones that may have gone bad, plus getting those Lip Clays I already mentioned wanting, but these exceptions cannot result in more than 5 lippies for the year. Let’s hope I can stick to it!

Thank you for reading!

-Lili