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

MAC Tempting Fate Collection

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

MAC Tempting Fate Lipstick in Tarnished Reputation

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

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

MAC Tempting Fate Strobe Face Glaze in Punk in Spice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MAC Tempting Fate Feast Your Eyes Eyeshadow Palette

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Lili

Indie Brand Spotlight: Oden’s Eye Review

As a lover of mythology, and of course makeup, I’ve been drawn to this company from the moment I heard about it. When the Swedish brand first established themselves, they stated, “Oden’s Eye is inspired by ancient Nordic mythology, and our products and collections will also be built around this theme.” Their initial collections were very light and whimsical with eyeshadow palettes that reflected a too-light color story for my taste. I was so happy to see the release of the Norn’s Collection in their most beautiful palette artwork to date and color stories that have a better range of light, medium, and deep tones. I decided this was the time to place my first order. And second. And third. Then they released Mystery Boxes. I intended for this post to come out in March, but each new order required that I push this back to do further testing, reviewing, and rewriting. Now, it’s finally complete!

Before I get to the few products I bought out of the Norn’s Collection, I will start with their older products in my possession.

Oden’s Eye Blushes

Alva Flower Blushers in Sweet Tulip, Water Lily, and Little Jasmine

Oden’s Eye currently has three shimmer shades in the Alva Flower Blusher series. Most of the visible glitter specks is on that top layer and they disappears after a few uses. What remains is more of a satin finish with a natural looking sheen. However, the more I try to build up the color, the more radiant and reflective it becomes from the actual shimmer building up on my cheek. So for me, it’s best to stop at a medium amount of blush as building to the maximum payoff results in it looking lighter than before! For example, the shimmer in Sweet Tulip is a bit silvery and looks icier when I’ve packed it on.

I purchased Sweet Tulip first because it’s the deepest blush out of the original six and I wasn’t certain if that shade would even be dark enough to show on my cheeks. Sweet Peach is the darkest of the mattes, but I couldn’t tell if it was more on the mauve or cool toned side. If a shade is a little too light for me, I can sometimes pull it off if it’s mauve, but the cooler it is the less I like it. It was hard to tell the difference between the shades on their website versus Instagram.

Have I mentioned I have a very bad habit of doing 1-3 am shopping? The majority of my excessive spending happens during that time while I think I’m still capable of making rational spending decisions. Then, after I fall back asleep and wake up later, I realize that it wasn’t the smartest thing to do. This is how I ended up making a third order and then a fourth when they released Easter mystery boxes with free shipping. I purchased the 25 Euro box and was still able to use a discount code on top of that, but more on the mystery boxes later.

I love these blushes so much! In the Sweet Tulip photo on the left, I do have the tiniest amount of highlighter on my cheekbone, but I could have almost skipped it because I love the gentle glowy sheen that the shimmer in this blush provides. It’s long lasting, pigmented, and the tone is quite flattering! The blending is so quick that I can finish applying color to both cheeks in under a minute! I see the potential for this to be in my top favorite blush formulas. The Little Jasmine shade shocked me that it still showed on my skin tone despite how much brown there is to that shade. It’s my second favorite of the four, and maybe even tied with Sweet Tulip. Little Jasmine is the warmest one I bought and the shimmer shows more golden when built up. Water Lily is darker, yet it took a ridiculous amount of building up to make it visible on my skin. I don’t think it is an issue of the color match or hard pan. I can see the powder getting picked up on the different brushes I’ve tried. I believe there’s just less pigment in the formula of this specific shade. The blushes are good for 36 months after opening, but my Water Lily package was the only one with an actual expiration date printed on it (November 21st 2022). Because I have 18 months instead of 36, I wonder if the Water Lily shade is already performing differently. Regardless of the reason, I appreciate that there’s an actual date on that one so I know not to keep it around as long as the others.

Alva Fruit Blusher in Sweet Peach

There are three matte blushes in the Alva Fruit Blusher line but I purchased only one of them. The Sweet Peach shade looks much more mauve than peach on me. I was pleased to see it show up, but it looks a little ashy. I think this shade is a bit too light for my skin tone. This is the darkest of the Fruit Blushes, so the other two shades in the matte formula would not work for me either. I can at least say the matte formula is nice and if the brand releases dark colors, I would be interested in trying them.

Small Mystery Box

Oden’s Eye released a small (25 euro) and large (55 euro) mystery box in celebration of Easter and the company’s anniversary. Affiliate/Influencer codes worked on the deal, so I was able to get my small box for 22.50 euros with free shipping. The Norn’s collection was excluded, but nearly everything else was a possibility. I anticipated I would get a palette, lip product, and brush. I only hoped the shades would work for me and that I would not get a product I already own, so I was happy that all expectations were met. The brush that came with my order will be discussed in the brush section.

Solmåne Highlighter Palette

Ljus (light in Swedish) is a pale gold and has the smooth shimmer formula I like, but it’s too icy looking on me. Stjärna (star) is a beautiful iridescent shade that looks white in the pan but is blue with a tinge of purple. These two would make beautiful inner corner eyeshadow highlight shades. Sol (sun) and Måne (moon) remind me of the Kaleidos Space Age Highlighters, but with sparser glitter particles, which is not a feature I like in highlighters. I could use them as eyeshadow toppers, but I don’t know if this palette will survive an end of the year declutter. I’m still happy I received it because my curiosity about the formula would have led me to buy it eventually anyway.

Alva Matte Lip Stain in Ripe Papaya

The first thing I noticed about this lip stain was the strong but pleasant fruit candy smell. Then I realized the formula was not the typical watery texture of a stain that I was used to. The consistency is more similar to a liquid lipstick. I can get nearly opaque results with one layer, but I need a little more to cover the dark patches on my lips. One time I made the mistake of applying too many coats, which turned the smell from nice and fruity to an unpleasant cherry cough syrup smell. On the bright side, I discovered it layers up well. It’s definitely matte and makes my lips look and feel uncomfortably dry. I cannot wear this by itself, but it looks amazing under a thick shiny gloss. In matte form, it’s transfer-proof but comes off with an oil based remover or just some oil. If it’s under a gloss, it will last on the lips if left alone, but it’s easy to transfer at that point. Considering how much I loved the color but needed a more hydrating formula, I wonder if I would prefer Oden Eye’s Cream Lip Stain formula. One day, I will find out!

Oden’s Eye Brushes

Double-Ended Highlighter Brush

This brush is made of synthetic bristles. The fluffier end is very floppy and loosely packed, but it makes a fairly nice blush brush. The stiffer and tighter packed end is slightly angled. I can use it on its widest side to brush the highlighter in small sections of my cheekbone. With this one, the bristles can rub harshly when I do that. A smooth and soft application occurs when I turn the brush to the side and use one long sweep with the tips of the bristles to spread highlighter across my cheekbones. I don’t foresee myself continuing to use the stiff side, but I will probably use the soft side for blush every now and then.

Eyeshadow Blending Brush

This brush was a surprise addition to one of my earlier orders. I’m not sure if there was a deal going on at the time, if it was a mistake or intentionally gifted for free, but I appreciate having it all the same. The bristles are synthetic and balance softness with medium-packed tightness so that I can get a decent blend with this brush in a light to medium application. The bristles are too long to get a really intense blend. It also becomes looser packed with continued use.

Norn’s Series

Norn’s Eyeshadow Palette

This palette’s eyeshadows are a wild mixture of different textures, finishes, and levels of opacity. Swatching each shade was like unraveling a mystery; I got quite a few surprises! I instinctively switched between using my brushes of various shapes and fibers and density versus my fingers, when to use a glitter glue, when to spray it, etc. to create the looks I wanted. Although it was fun and not too time consuming to discover the ins and outs of this palette, this is technically not beginner-friendly. The very fact of having a palette with so many different textures lends to the challenge. I think it would be easy for anyone to create a pretty look because the mattes are pigmented while still being super blendable and the shimmers make an impact (by mainstream standards) without extra effort. In that sense it’s beginner-friendly, but maximizing the full potential of this palette takes intermediate level and above. There were certainly times I had to restart an eye look or do swatches on my arm to test how some of the shades paired with each other, since the effects were sometimes unexpected.

There are four mattes in this palette. Dazed is a cool grey. I was impressed with the level of pigmentation and how a shade like this didn’t look patchy or ashy on me. I think it’s because there is a little green to the tone of that shade which goes well on my warm yellow-toned skin. Mist is a cool light purple. This is another shade that would usually appear a little ashy or patchy on me, but I have zero issues with this one! Pragmatism is a medium brown that deepens up the more it is applied. I prefer to use it in the crease to create depth there, but it’s not quite enough for my tastes to deepen the outer corner. Outsider is a gorgeous peacock blue or ocean blue or medium blue leaning teal. I’m not sure what the best name for this shade is, but I don’t think the description from Oden’s Eye as a, “retro green” is that much better.
Sometimes mattes swatch beautifully, but don’t perform as well on the eyes. I’m happy to report that these mattes do both!

Pink Chameleon is a multichrome! The brand only describes this as having a pink, yellow, and green shift, but I swear it also looks a bit more orange or red or peachy depending on the light and angle. On my finger, this multichrome had clear and obvious shifts. On my eye, this color looked very different depending on which shades I put it next to or on top of. For instance, sometimes it would only pull peachy-pink or yellow-gold, or yellow-pink. In rare occasions I could see pink-green. The green element being the least visible on my skin and especially on camera. I had to do a lot of experimenting with Pink Chameleon to figure out which combos would give me the effect I wanted.

There’s another shade called Green Chameleon in this palette. The website has this listed as an, “Olive green chameleon eyeshadow, multichrome shift,” without describing what what the other colors are. Honestly, I don’t see any shift. The texture of Pink Chameleon is that slick recognizable multichrome texture like Clionadh’s Jewelled formula, Devinah’s Aurorae Flares, the shade called Fake from the Juvia’s Place Wahala 2 palette, etc. Green Chameleon feels like the other four diamond shimmers in the bottom row of the Norn’s palette. The two best ways I’ve been able to detect multichromes is to swatch them on the palm of my hand and rotate my hand around, or to apply them to my fingers and hold them vertically and raise my fingers up and down so that it moves closer then further from the light. All I can see is it going from an olive green to a slightly lighter olive green or a greenish yellow. Its not a difference anyone will notice if you put this on your eyes. It’s still a pretty shade, but I don’t count it as a multichrome or duochrome.

There are two easily recognizable satin shades in this palette, or as Oden’s eye says, “metallic eyeshadows that look like satin.” Metallic shades are different from my perspective, so I’ll just refer to them as satins. One is Realism, a gorgeous medium-dark brown. Realism has visible copper reflects, but I prefer to have more of a contrast in my eyeshadow looks. I don’t mind doing a neutral eye from time to time, but if I’m going neutral I want a bit more sparkle. So, what I love to do is combine this shade with pretty much any of the more sparkly shades in this palette. There are so many options to choose from that are so pretty. The outcomes are different enough that I wanted to demonstrate several of them.

The other satin is a “red velvet” shade called Passion. Although pretty, I don’t think this particular tone of red goes that well with any of the other colorful shades. Even though reds and purples or reds and oranges are usually a match made in heaven, I find that this shade clashes with anything other than the neutrals or surprisingly the Pink Chameleon shadow.

Amber Palace looks marbled in the pan and I’m happy to report that it’s not an over-spray and the pattern doesn’t disappear once you’ve used it a few times. This “sparkling diamond shimmer shadow” is a mixture of gold and silver that runs throughout the entire pan. I consider this a topper shadow because the amber orange-brown base matches my skin tone so much that I just see the sparkle. It doesn’t look like there’s a base at all until I swatch it on my palm.

There are five other diamond shimmers listed in this palette. In fact, all the sparkly-glittery shadows in this palette are referred to as diamond shimmers. The first is Optimism, which looks similar in swatches to Amber Palace except the base color is purple. It’s another shade I consider a topper because the base is so sheer. I prefer to use this shade with cooler toned looks and Amber Palace for warmer ones. Next is Hallucination, a blue-green shade that’s like a medium toned turquoise with pink and purple shimmer. The texture of this shade is wetter than the others and doesn’t feel as well bound to the sparkles as the others. It feels like it was intended to be a shimmer version of a cream to powder formula. It leaves a residue behind on the finger, the way cream products do, and takes a bit of smoothing to give it less of a chunky appearance. The color is beautiful but I’m not a fan of this particular formula. It reminds me of the texture my homemade eyeshadows feel like when I use slightly too much liquid binder. Self is a stunning purple with teal, silver, and perhaps green sparkles. It’s very much my kind of eyeshadow shade. Glamour is an orange and gold shadow that reminds me of the pressed glitter shade I wanted from the Juvia’s Place Nubian Glow palette (but depotted and thew away). I’m so glad to have this version as a regular non-pressed-glitter shadow! The eyeshadow palettes from Oden’s Eye’s previous collections had some pressed glitters in them but there are none in the Norn’s Collection.
Lasly, Charming is like a blue-purple duochrome with teal, purple, and pink shimmer.

Then there are two other textures that stand out. Obsessed, the “violet with pink and purple diamond shimmers,” feels is like a cream to powder shadow. It feels wetter than the two satin shades in this palette, but not as full on creamy as the cream shadow shades Natasha Denona has in the Metropolis palette. Obsessed takes several dips with a brush to get an opaque layer on the eye. It’s slightly easier with a finger, but the product sticks a bit more to the finger than the eye, so it tugs on my skin more than I’d like. Colourful Black felt like Obsessed in the beginning, but after a week it felt a lot more dry, like a typical shimmer eyeshadow. This goes on the skin very easily with a brush, so there’s no need to use a finger to apply it. It’s very pigmented straight out of the gate, but it can be blended to appear in a lighter and sheerer layer. According to Oden’s Eye, this shade, “…contains all colors of shimmers. Different usage will create different effects.” It makes for an excellent deepening shade, liner, and base. Although I can see the sparkles in the pan, the effect is satin-like with more sheen than a matte but without seeing the glitter particles. Usually all I require for black shadows is for them to be dark enough and blendable. This is one of the few times I can say I actually like the shade for its color and not just about its depth.

In Look #8 I forgot to mention that Colourful Black was also applied all over the lid before Charming was added on top. This is what caused the stronger blue tone to the shade.

URD Mini Eyeshadow Palette

This palette is gorgeous but all the minis, in my opinion, are overpriced compared to the larger palette prices. You get 6 shades for $21 versus 16 for $36. $3.50 per shadow compared to $2.25 per shadow. For that reason, I had to decide between the Urd palette and Skuld palette. As much as my eyes were drawn to the colorful nature of the all shimmer Skuld palette, I knew I could get a complete look with Urd and that green was irresistible!

This has the same great shadow quality as the Norn’s palette and it was so easy to create a look. I used the same shades for both of the eyes, but the change in technique and color placement made them look surprisingly more different than I expected! The Luxury shade on the lid is gorgeous! It’s mostly green with yellow gold reflects of diamond shimmer. Luxury has a black base which I noticed darkened the crease shade on the eye that I used the MAC Foundation Stick as a primer (look #2). In Look #1, I used a MAC Paint Pot and this did not happen. I also used the Nyx Glitter Primer on both lids.

Memory is definitely a bright “light gray-green matte” but just as it was the case with the shade Dazed, it’s somehow not too stark for me. That green tinge works! Oden’s Eye describes Nostalgia as a “matte grey olive green,” and those grey tones come out on the eye to create more of a khaki green tone. I wish it was a little less grey, but it goes well with the other shades in the palette.

Gloden Year & Time are the split pan shadows. I believe ‘gloden’ was a printing error because the website description says, “Golden year: Silver metallic color, the golden year is just a silver memory in the past” and “Time: Colorful shift of multiple colors against a semi-transparent base.” Golden Year is much smoother and the shimmer particles are much closer together than the shade Time. Time is a chunky flaky topper formula that I can clearly see as gold toned in person, but my camera only picks up a silvery hue.

Lastly, Past is a dark coffee brown matte. It’s a perfect addition to add a bit of smokiness to the look. This color story was well thought out and even though I think $15 would have been a fairer price (more than the $2.25 but less than $3.50 per shadow), I’m happy I bought this.

Norn’s Silk Scarf in Pink and Purple

There were pink, purple, and blue versions of this scarf available and Oden’s Eye was adding one for free to any Norn’s Collection order above 50 euros. At the time I bought them, they were on sale for 50% off.

I just purchased these because of the design. The print is so pretty to me and I wanted another item that had it, even though I have zero use for scarves and I never wear them.

Also, I could have sworn there was nothing written about the scarf being “artificial silk” until I made my last order because I remember being surprised at the low cost and wondered why silk would be used by a cruelty-free brand, but perhaps I just missed it.

Additional Information

All of the powder products have a slight powdery talc-like smell. In 2014, I owned a Coastal Scents palette that smelled incredibly chalky. Nothing I’ve purchased since then has ever been that bad, but I try to keep track of that kind of thing and share that information with others.

When ordering from the website, the default prices are listed in euros, but they have a tab at the top where you can change the currency. Although Oden’s Eye is based in Sweden, their products are made and shipped from China. My favorite independently owned brands to support are the ones who make their own formulas like Lethal Cosmetics, Terra Moons, Devinah, Clionadh, (or on the larger side Ofra and Colourpop), etc. For some reason, I was under the impression that these were created-in house, so I was a little disappointed. However, I know this is the norm. Juvia’s Place and Kaleidos palettes are made in China. Even indie brands whose products are formulated in the US don’t necessarily make them themselves. A separate cosmetics lab is usually responsible. With this thought in mind, it bothers me a little less. It’s also pretty neat that some products in their line are still handmade, like the Amber Palace shade within the Norn’s palette and the Norn’s Mesmerizer Highlighters. Oden’s Eye posted a fascinating video showing the Highlighter process on Instagram that can be viewed here.

I’m not sure what the shipping fees are for other countries, but I paid six euros (a bit over $7 USD) the first two times I ordered. They do offer free shipping over 50 euros. My initial order shipped within 24 hours but took exactly 3 weeks to arrive. Oden’s Eye emailed that my package would be delayed due to Chinese Lunar New Year and then there was a delay at customs. They ship through DHL and transfer to USPS and state that 7-14 business days is typical. My second order took 17 days (14 business days). The transition between DHL to USPS is where it was held up quite a bit. The third order only took 8 days of the 8-12 business days if you choose the upgraded USPS first class option for eight euros. Two extra euros for the package to arrive 2 weeks before regular mail is quite a good deal. The Mystery Box took 13 days.

I appreciate that for a small brand, they still make an effort to try and feature a variety of skin tones in their promotional photos and their Instagram. Of course I wish there were more swatches on deeper skin and in a variety of lighting settings, as well as clear pictures of what the products look like on the face, but they put in more effort than some other brands I’ve seen. The Fancy Face has received PR from them, so I recommend viewing her channel for extra swatches with her take on this collection. At the time I started working on this post, she was the only WOC on Youtube with a review of Oden’s Eye beyond reviewing a single palette, and her video was made after I had already placed all three orders. In fact, at the time I started my first draft of this post, she just had this video available with sneak peeks of the review to come. I wish I had this video as a resource before placing my order, but I’m still happy with the items I chose. Sometimes I get lucky and my guesses work out. Tina is close to my skin tone, but a little lighter than me. There’s one other youtube channel I found by someone a little darker than me with several more Oden’s eye products, which can be found here. For anyone wanting to see swatches on a tan skin tone can click here, and for pale to medium skin tones there are a plethora of options to choose from on Youtube like from Amy Loves Makeup, Morgan Turner, and Angelica Nyqvist.

Lastly, about the palettes, the eyeshadow pans are smaller than the standard 26mm. There is slightly more than 1 gram of product per pan, which is what I always like to see. I do wish the pans were slightly larger because most of these shades apply better with a finger and I have limited space to rub and pick up the shadow on the pads of my fingers.

That’s all for today! I hope this was helpful if you were considering placing an order with Oden’s Eye. If you do, don’t forget to use an affiliate code for an additional 10% off! FANCYFACE, MORGANTURNER, AMYLOVES, and ANGESCHKA are a few of them.

-Lili

Danessa Myricks Beauty, Mented Cosmetics, and Coloured Raine Mini Reviews

Danessa Myricks Beauty and Mented Cosmetics are brands I’ve been curious about over the past year and I decided to try a few things from each of them! This is also the first time in a long while since I’ve purchased something other than eyeshadows from Coloured Raine!

Danessa Myricks Balm Contour in Deep 1

Danessa Myricks is a makeup artist and her products are intended for use in a professional setting. By that I mean there is a learning curve to these products. They aren’t beginner friendly. I absolutely did not like this product until the sixth or seventh time I used it. The issue is that I just needed to find the right tool; in my case it was the Sonia G Mini Base brush from the Keyaki Set. I didn’t like the results when I used my fingers, a dense contour brush, a dense concealer brush, a Beautyblender, and the Tati Blendiful. A heavier application gives a more intense sculpted look, but I prefer the controlled yet natural looking blend which a medium density brush can provide.

When it comes to this shade match, I was surprised how orange it was considering most contour products are cool toned to create a shadow. If I want to use a warm color to contour with, I prefer to have one that is more shades darker than my skin tone. However, if I exchanged or purchased Deep 2 instead, then I believe it would be too similar to cream contours I already have in my collection. So, I’m glad I chose Deep 1, but I wish it wasn’t as warm so I could use it on all areas of my face. I don’t mind using warm contours on my forehead and cheek bones but I hate them on my jaw and nose.

I also tried the underpainting technique (applying a heavy layer of dimension creating products to the skin first and applying a light layer of foundation on top to shape the face in a less detectable way) but I think I need a darker shade if I want to continue using it in that way. Deep 1 is a touch too subtle on me with underpainting, but perhaps I just need more practice.

Danessa Myricks Dew Wet Balm in Clear

There are four other shades of these balms, but they contain shimmer. Based on website photos, I was concerned the shimmer/glitter particles might be too large for my liking, so I thought getting the clear one would be a safer bet. This reminds me of a stickier version of the clear balm in Pat Mcgrath’s Highlighter + Balm Duo. With my hair down, loose strands have stuck to my face while wearing this. Although this product is intended to be worn alone or with makeup, it looks too much like I have Vaseline or lip gloss on my cheekbones if I’m bare faced, so I prefer to use it with makeup.

This product, like many highlighting balms, disturbs my makeup underneath. Thankfully, the shine is still visible under foundation. I figured out that I like this product when I’ve applied it to my cheekbones, then I take whatever foundation is left on my brush or sponge and apply it over the top of the Dew Balm. It still gives me shine without the Vaseline look or sticky texture. I can leave it like that or use the Dew Balm as a wet base to apply a highlighter on top of it for a very intense shine. I have an example of what it looks like as a base for a powder highlighter in the Mented Bronzer section.

Mented Cosmetics Bronzer in Vacay

Mented has four shades of bronzer. I suspected Vacay, intended for medium/tan skin tones, would be only a shade or two darker than me while Yacht Life, intended for deep skin tones, would be darker than I wanted and too similar to Fenty’s Mocha Mami, which I already own. Vacay turned out to be as light as I thought. If I really pack it on, it does work as a subtle bronzer. The undertone of the powder is a bit on the pinkish terracotta side, so in many photos featured here today, I’m actually wearing it as a blush. I believe Vacay is actually lighter than Mented’s Clay Too Much blush.

This formula is so smooth and reminds me of the Airbrush Bronzer from Charlotte Tilbury, but at a fraction of the cost. I am extremely tempted to buy Yacht Life and assuage my curiosity as to whether I would like it better than Vacay (and to find out how similar it really is to Mocha Mami), but I have to remind myself that I have enough bronzers as it is. It has been difficult to talk myself out of it and I’ve had it in my cart via Ulta about to check out at least three times by now. If I didn’t already have the Charlotte Tilbury bronzer, which is still the smoothest one I own, I would have absolutely purchased the other shade from Mented.

Mented Cosmetics Lip Liner in La La

I forgot my lip product no-buy when I purchased this, but I’m secretly happy to have it. I like that it’s retractable and I was able to get this for $9. It’s the kind of shade I love using all over my lips. It isn’t too drying and doesn’t look as bad as it could over my non-exfoliated lips, which is nice. It stays in place. The Tower 28 lip gloss contains oils, so I was surprised to see how well it lasted with that gloss on top, as long as I didn’t eat or drink anything.

Propa Beauty lipsticks impressed me with their brown-skin friendly versions of lighter shades with wearable pinks and oranges. Mented’s range impressed me with their nude lip shades. If I wasn’t on a lip product no-buy, I would be looking further into Nude La La, Dope Taupe, Foxy Brown, and Mented #5. I watched a Q & A session with one of the brand owners and she was explaining how Mented wanted to create nudes that weren’t just brown. Shades that matched, for instance, the darker pigmented brownish purple of my natural top lip. I always tried to get shades to match the pink in my bottom lip, but after seeing that interview, I became so intrigued by the idea of matching the brownish purple part instead. I intend to do my best in sticking with my no-buy and will perhaps try another Mented lip product in the beginning of 2022.

Coloured Raine Bronzers in Cinna-Bae and Naughty Spice

These bronzers look very similar on the skin, but Cinna-Bae is on the warm side and Naughty Spice is more neutral.

Between the two, Cinna-Bae is absolutely better suited for me. It’s the right tone and depth. Coloured Raine did a fantastic job with their product photos to help me decide that this was the best shade for me. I still purchased Naughty Spice in case I was wrong. I also wasn’t sure how pigmented they’d be, so I thought having a darker version as well couldn’t hurt. I am able to build up Naughty Spice and use it as a Bronzing-Contour. In the photo above, I applied somewhere between a light to medium amount of Naughty Spice. I used a medium amount of Cinna-Bae. It’s nice to know I can still use both though. Also, these are labeled as bronzers but on Coloured Raine’s Instagram they say these can be used as setting powders and contours as well.

The bronzers are smooth and blend well, so it’s tempting to get additional shades to try the other uses, but I refrained. I would say this formula reminds me of Fenty’s Sun Stalk’r Instant Warmth Bronzers. It doesn’t beat out my top 3, but I think it’s still very good quality.

Coloured Raine Focal Point GlowLighters in Bourgeois and Just Peachy

In my Kiko Milano review, I mentioned that there are only a few brands I trust to make a shimmery blush that I like, and unfortunately Coloured Raine is not one of them. On the individual product pages it says the Focal Point Glowlighters can be used as blush, so I thought these would be like the Nabla Skin Glazing formula that are highlighters but also come in blush tones like Adults Only and Lola that make them suitable for blush too. At the very least, I thought they might be similar to MAC’s Extra Dimension Blushes which are very shimmery but still flattering. I was wrong.

I own two of the Coloured Raine x Power Blush and Highlighter Duos, and while I thought the highlighters were too glittery for my taste, I thought the matte blushes were decent. If Just Peachy and Bourgeois were a matte formula, I know I would enjoy them because the tones are so pretty, but in this formula they are unbelievably metallic! I’ve been struggling with my camera lately and with flash off, it could not begin to show just how metallic looking they are in person when the light hits them, nor the intensity of the shades. If I try to use the lightest amount of Just Peachy, my cheeks look slightly peach from straight on, but when I tilt my head and a little light hits my cheek, all I see is a blinding gold. As pretty as the color itself is, I don’t want a gold blush. If I apply enough product to get the peachy tone to show at all angles, then it looks like I tried to use a metallic eyeshadow for blush. It’s the same case with Bourgeois. The burgundy base color is overshadowed by the intense hot orange shimmer.

Both blushes without flash.

Bourgeois with Flash On.

As blushes or blush toppers, these are unwearable for me. It comes down to the reflectivity of the shimmer. The Focal Point Glowlighters also come in traditional highlighter shades of golds and bronzes. This formula is much better suited for highlighting purposes. For those who like highlighters at this level of intensity, getting one of their standard shades (pictured below from their website) would be my recommendation.

Coloured Raine Large Powder Brush

This brush is the biggest in my entire collection and also the heaviest. I think this brush is weighted because the ferrule is very heavy in a way that isn’t proportional to the heaviness of the ferrule of the Angled brush. I’ve only had one other makeup brush that was weighted in order to create a better balance for how the brush should be held and applied to the face, to intuitively allow the user to apply the right pressure with the brush. I’m not sure if the ferrule weight of the Large Powder brush was chosen for this reason, or if it was purely to allow this brush to be able to stand upright on a flat surface with ease.

As mentioned before, the flat bottom of the handles let these brushes stand upright. The handles are plastic. The bristles are synthetic. The coffee color gradient of the handles are as pretty in photos are they are in person. The fibers are soft, but as wide as the bristles are splayed, they are not densely packed. They are long and floppy and bend dramatically with light pressure from a single finger.

I don’t mind the floppiness from the Powder Brush because the volume of the brush combined with the placement where I grip the brush (towards the base of the ferrule) allows me to sweep a light dusting of powder all over my face quickly without the bristles bending enough to impede the application. It’s a pretty good brush considering the $13 price.

Coloured Raine Angled Blush Brush

This brush technically cost $5 instead of $10 because I purchased it in the $21 bundle price with one of the bronzers. I expected this brush to work well with the bronzers since they were grouped together, but I despise this brush. I admittedly don’t favor angled brushes, but some like the Chikuhodo FO-4 are exceptions. On top of that, these bristles are not dense enough. They don’t give me enough pressure to blend. The floppiness of the brush impedes my ability to use the product. I can still use this brush with a lightly pigmented blush that wouldn’t require much blending but I recommend skipping this one. A better alternative is the Real Techniques Sculpting Brush which goes for around $15 individually, but Target has a set of three brushes and a holder for $20. The set includes the Real Techniques setting brush which I own two of and have been using almost exclusively for years to set my under eye concealer with powder. And full disclosure, the Target link is not affiliated and I make zero money from sharing it.

Final Thoughts

I’ve been curious about other Danessa Myricks products, like the Twin Flames multichromes, Color Fixes, and Vision Flushes. All the reviews I’ve seen, combined with my own experience, leads me to believe I can create beautiful looks with DM’s makeup if I’m willing to invest time into learning how best to use them. I foresee myself continuing to explore more from the brand in the latter half of 2021.

As for Mented, I’m definitely excited to try more from them in the future, especially since they’ve been made available at Ulta. It was tough for me to skip out on the blushes, but I haven’t seen enough videos and photos online to be able to tell which shades, if any, are my style. If new shades get released, I’ll be all over them!

I’m always interested in the new things Coloured Raine comes out with. In a “Behind the Beauty” episode a while back, the owner hinted at a Queen of Hearts 2 palette coming out, so I am still looking forward to that and more from the brand.

That’s everything! Thank you so much for spending your time with me today! I already had that impromptu Saturday review, but I wanted to keep the Monday schedule consistent and still make this post available today.

-Lili