Kaleidos’ Latest Three Releases

The absolute newest release from Kaleidos is the Sound of Winter Lip Clay Collection. I purchased a custom bundle so I could buy the Willow Wisp Tin with Golden Rosin from that set, Pink Himalayan and Tundra from the Polar Placid Vault, and Terra from the original Sand Castle Vault. I nearly forgot that I purchased Mahogany from the Flora Noir Vault as well in one of the November or December orders, so I will include demonstration photos of that too.
The release prior to that was of the Symphony Contour Trios. I purchased the option in Dark. There are five of them in total with one version darker than mine and three that are lighter. I’m impressed with these offerings considering how their first contour palettes weren’t very inclusive and only came in two options.
Then, the third newest release was their line of Epiphany Glow Melt-On Eyeliners. I purchased the one called Night of Creation.

I bought the face trio and multichrome eyeliner during Black Friday, but I didn’t receive it until late December. The newest Lip Clays were available for purchase mid December and did not arrive until early January, so I have spent less time with these Lip Clays, but they’re no different than the ones I’ve used throughout 2022.

Photos I take in this spot tend to wash out my skin, but I’m not posting these face-foward pictures for color accuracy. I just wanted to show examples of the Lip Clays on the face without being zoomed in so closely. Also, I frequently wear two different eyeshadow looks on testing days, so please excuse that.

I now own twelve Lip Clays. My opinions of them haven’t changed, and those who wish to see my reviews of the rest can find them here and here. I’m still impressed with how long wearing yet comfortable it is on the lips. It’s transfer resistant, as long as oil from food hasn’t broken it down, and it’s easy to touch up. I love the plush velvety texture, although it’s not as completely unique as I thought. I recently learned that Colourpop’s line of Lux Velvet Liquid Lipsticks are similar enough that I would recommend those as an alternative if Colourpop happens to be more accessible to someone than Kaleidos. The lip products have similar price points, though Colourpop tends to have deeper and more frequent discounts. Kaleidos makes unique shade options though for the more daring and color-loving makeup wearers.

The only new development about the Lip Clays I’ve experienced is that Wild Apple separated a bit. Unlike all the other Lip Clays that maintained their mousse-like texture, my version of Wild Apple was giving me fully liquid swatches until I stirred it in the tube and it mixed back with the rest of the lingering thick creamy product inside that I’m used to seeing. It’s even visible in the swatch photo above with all except Wild Apple having mostly dried down in spite of me waiting a few minutes for it to dry. Wild Apple was part of my oldest custom set that I purchased a little over a year ago. The other three Lip Clays that came with it haven’t changed. The smell is slightly more chemical-like, so it might be starting to turn early considering the 18 month period after opening date.

I’ve been using the Symphony Contour Trio quite a lot since it arrived. The powders feel super soft to the touch and remind me of the Hourglass Ambient Lighting and Laura Mercier Candleglow Perfecting powders, put more heavily pigmented. The fill shade is supposed to be the illuminator that, “delivers soft, from-within radiance with buttery smooth powder that expertly blurs skin textures and naturally brightens targeted areas.” I’m a bit confused that this is considered a glow product when I am unable to see any shimmer or sheen to the powder whatsoever. The only glow I get is from my foundation. The powder imparts a natural finish at best, which is why I feel so comfortable using it to set my under eyes. Kaleidos also sells the “fill” compacts separately and I was considering getting a lighter shade since this just sets things in place and doesn’t deliver on the brightening effect (possibly due to the color depth), but I’m not sure if the Tan version would be too light for me. Had this product been less of a setting powder and more of a finishing one with shimmer or a sheen like the Guerlain meteorites, I’d have been willing to give another shade a try. But I only need it for setting and am perfectly happy to have this one for that purpose. That also being said, kudos to Kaleidos for the fact that all my comparisons to this product are high end brands because that’s the quality level of this product and for a really great price!

The packaging is surprisingly weighty metal while also being sleek and easy to hold in the hand. I’m quite impressed with the design!

When it comes to using the sculpting contour shade or the chisel brontour color, I get near airbrushed results when my base makeup is matte. When it’s on my typical slightly dewy or natural finish foundations, it can require a little more effort on my part because it may stick a tiny bit where I first lay the product down. Because the sculpt shade is a bit deep for me and I already have to use a controlled hand to have it blend into my skin, I have to be especially careful to apply a little at a time and with a brush that will disperse the product lightly while also aiding in the blend. With the chisel shade, I don’t have to worry about being as precise with it because the color match suits me better. In fact, when I use this trio, I often reach for the fill shade and chisel shade and skip trying to contour. The sculpt shade is cool-toned and deep, so it does have a sculpting effect, but I prefer to have a little more grey so I can actually create a faint shadow. So, if I’m in the mood to contour, I still reach for my Hindash Beautopsy palette instead.

Although not completely perfect, I like this a lot and foresee myself continuing to get use out it!

My review of this liner is a first and second impression, so please keep that in mind. I will update this post in the future if I discover anything that differs from what I experienced initially.

I love multichromes, so it’s only natural that I find multichrome eyeliners super appealing. However, I know how to turn eyeshadows into liners, so I’ve tried for the longest time to prevent myself from buying them for the convenience/ease of not having to scrape some off and mixing it with a liquid product (like MAC Fix+, isododecane from TKB Trading, Inglot Duraline, or Mehron Mixing Liquid) and applying carefully with a brush and then having to clean off the tools, etc.
So, I ultimately skipped getting the $28 Natasha Denona Chromium Liquid Eyeshadows, the $26 Danessa Myricks Twin Flames, and JD Glow MultiChrome Gel Liners for $18.50. It was also easier to pass since those are liquid products. I was a lot more tempted when I heard Sugar Drizzle had multichrome eyeliner crayons, but I don’t think they are sold individually and I’m always wary about purchasing from small indie brands for the first time. So, when I was already making that Black Friday order from Kaleidos, the $12.80 (regularly $16) was too good to pass up on. Around the same time, I got the Danessa Myricks Beauty Infinite Chrome Pencil in my Mystery Trendmood Box, so it’s only natural to want to compare them.

I chose Night of Creation because its the type that no matter what lighting situation it’s in, the angle, or whether it shows a visible shift or not, I would love it and use it in the same way. Kaleidos describes the colors as, “Ultramarine, Violet, and Dark Plum,” and I often use deep and vibrant blues and purples on my lower lash line as a pop of color to a neutral look or as a secondary color to an otherwise monochromatic eye. The other liner color options, for example Limelight, goes on the spectrum of blue, blue-green, green, and yellow-green in a look that I might not want any yellow because the warmth could clash with an otherwise cool tone look, for example. Of course the benefit to having a multichrome is to have a shift, but not if the shifting color might look off next to the tones of other eyeshadows I would be wearing. Night of Creation has all cool tone bold colors, which means it’s most likely to all look good or not at all. That makes it simpler to know when I want to incorporate it in a look or not.

Night of Creation applies so easily to my hand, but on my eyelids with my lines and texture, I had to go over the same spot for a full minute in order to get the opacity level shown all over my eyelid in the photo above, and at least ten times to just my upper lash line. This isn’t due to a lack of creaminess. The product is soft, but it’s as if I get a coating of the black base and have to keep rubbing over and over until the sparkle part with the actual pigment comes off. For this reason, I haven’t thought to use this in my waterline and don’t plan on it either. The product tip is very thick and not easy to apply precisely. I’m someone who loves doing a wing and had to switch holding the pencil from 180 to a 90 degree angle to try and get a thinner line using its side. I still had to sharpen up the edges with concealer in the examples above. Also, I can still see patches in the full lid example, so I don’t plan on using this pencil for that in the future and will stick to keeping it on the lower and/or upper lash line.

One advantage the Danessa Myricks pencil has over the one from Kaleidos is how thin it is, which makes it so much easier for me to use precisely. I know a big complaint from customers about it is how little product one gets in the Chrome Micropencils, but as someone who normally takes six months to use up a black eyeliner, even if it was in almost every eye look for those six months, a product like this one that I’m going to use a lot less frequently should last me ages. Kaleidos has 0.20 grams compared to Danessa’s 0.15 grams, so I’m fine with that difference. Some brands give a ton of product, but among the micro pencil category, the Hourglass 1.5MM Mechanical Gel Eye Liner is 0.06 grams and the Shiseido MicroLiner Ink Eyeliner is 0.08 grams, so those have even less for around the same price and they’re not multichromes.

They’re both beautiful on the eyes. Because they’re very different colors, I don’t think it would be fair of me to compare shifting ability and shine between them (dark vs light color and contrasting shifts vs similar color depths in shifts), but Tina compared several in her video here. She actually owns Charoite, which is most comparable to Night of Creation.

These are also both waterproof. I do not recommend trying this on without a waterproof makeup remover or an oil of some kind to help break it down because these are truly waterproof, especially the one from Kaleidos. Most of the time when a product is waterproof I can still remove it from my skin with Bioderma, but neither of these budged at all when I made multiple passes over my swatches with Bioderma and my Makeup Eraser cloth. I then used regular hand soap and water, which only the tiniest bit of the Danessa Myricks came off at. I then used Dr. Bronner’s Pure-Castile Liquid Soap that contains oil in it and that removed about half of the Kaleidos and most of the Danessa Myricks. Ultimately, I still pulled out my Sephora Waterproof Eye Makeup Remover which did the trick but was still not a breeze to do like I expected. So these are no joke!
When I was using the Kaleidos liner on my actual lids, a piece of it broke off (during the attempt to cover the whole lid when I was rubbing the eye repeatedly and forcefully) and fell somewhere on my laminate wood floor. I couldn’t see where it was, so I assumed it rolled under the bed and I planned to deal with it later. What I did not realize was that it didn’t roll under the bed. I accidentally stepped on it when I got up, and since I was wearing socks I didn’t feel a thing. I started walking to my door and then realized I had a trail of probably fifteen spots of deep shimmery purple smudges into the laminate. I grabbed a paper towel and some water to start wiping it up, and when it wouldn’t budge I remembered in horror that it’s waterproof.

So, I had to use oil to remove the trail of liner smudges from across the floor, and then use soap and water to get the oil residue off the floor, and then dry it all up again so I wouldn’t accidentally slip and give myself a whole new set of problems.

The moral of the story is not to underestimate the waterproof power of these liners! Haha.

As for longevity on the eyes, they both live up to the claims of being smudgeproof, but because I get oily lids and I tend to rub my eyes, these had some spots that wore off by the end of the day. My upper lash line was fine, but the inner portion of both my lower lash lines had missing product. The Kaleidos held up better though than the Danessa Myricks one did. Those that get oily lids, but don’t rub their eyes, plus those that don’t have an oily-lid problem should have no trouble with longevity. And I should also mention that even though I have oily lids, removing the leftover liner was not an easy task.

UPDATE FEBRUARY 28, 2023: I ended up buying two additional Danessa Myricks liners and thought I should add swatches of them here since I will be unlikely to re-review them again.

Well, that’s everything I could think to mention! I hope you have a great week and thank you for checking out this post today!


Swatches of Previously Reviewed Makeup in New Shades

With today being Black Friday and holiday sales approaching, now is the time it’d be the most useful for me to get as many reviews out as possible. I’m constantly testing new products, but it takes ages for me to get closeups, swatches, demos, and the written portion of posts completed to my level of satisfaction. I’m allergic to posting first impressions, but I think it may be helpful to share photos of the new makeup I purchased that are just new shades of things I’ve already reviewed for this blog. The formulas of everything should be the same, and therefore the performances should be no different, with the exception of the first item I’m showcasing below.

Fenty Beauty Double Cheek’d Up: Freestyle Cream Blush Duo

The compact color is stunning! I bought this partly for the packaging, along with liking Fenty’s permanent cream blush formula that I reviewed here. Since “Freestyle” is still in the name of the duo, I expected the formula to be the same, but it’s a little more emollient and slightly less pigmented. Because Peony Droppa is on the lighter side, it takes an extra few layers to build it up on me, but Mali’booze just needs one additional layer to build up to the level of opacity I get from the original shades. I was pleasantly surprised that Peony Droppa showed up on me and actually looked nice despite being cool-toned (warmer blushes look better with my undertone). I’ve only used this duo twice so far and I prefer how they look when I use the darker blush all over my cheek and keep the lighter one on just the apples. Trying to wear them mixed was a little tricky trying to find the tonal balance I liked, so I think I’ll stick to either using Mali’booze alone or applying both in those specific zones on the cheeks.

The compact is much bigger than the standard cream blushes and each half of the duo is 3g, meaning each shade in the duo has the same amount of product as the full size single cream blushes. The cream duo compact has the same dimensions as the full size bronzers, highlighter duos, etc. I get two products in one for $34 instead of $44 if they were sold separately, however, I still prefer Strawberry Drip to both of these shades because I get the bright popping color without it clashing with my skin tone. So, in my case, I’d still be better off buying a single blush. I got the duo at a discount via Ulta, and my single blushes from Fenty are two and a half years old by now, so this is a good time to have a replacement.

I was planning to make a dedicated Fenty update post, so I have photos already wearing this one, but I thought it would be best to just include them here.

Fenty Beauty Sun Stalk’R Face + Eye Bronzer & Highlighter Palette

I bought this one from Mercari. I have reviewed the Mocha Mami shade of Sun Stalk’r Instant Warmth Bronzer as an update to one of my bronzer posts here. I barely used it because the shade was more red than I liked, particularly for a matte formula. I suspected one of the other colors could work, or that I could mix the deepest two in this palette together as a better match. It turns out I was correct, as Coco Naughty works on me, or I can mix that one with Thick Mint for extra intensity. I was so concerned with knowing my correct shade that I failed to consider the fact that the formula is good but not great. There wasn’t a need to try and find a better color if I was still going to reach for my Huda Beauty Glowish Bronzer, Charlotte Tilbury, Kosas, and Nars bronzers first.

I find it interesting how much the color Private Island blended into my arm. At some point I’m going to test if that shade can be used as an all over setting powder or to set my under eyes. If so, that would be a nice way to make this palette even more useful.

The Phat Glass highlighter was a little broken, but I pressed it back. Also, that shade is way too light for me, so I don’t wear it alone anyway. The Gold Card color is very beautiful and suits me really well. I can wear it alone or mix it with Phat Glass for a little extra brightness. I’ve also used it on the cheekbones and then added Phat Glass to a tiny portion of the highest point to really emphasize the structured look I want in that area. It’s nice to finally have a Fenty highlighter that matches my preferences in terms of the smaller shimmer particle size. All others I tried from Fenty had some aspect that’s usually a negative, such as being in stick form in the MatchStix, an unnatural color as a Killawatt, or ultra glittery like the Diamond bombs. Even the Chocolate Swiller Fenty Toast’d Swirl Bronze Shimmer Powder with its smooth texture has some larger particle size shimmer specks that makes it something I only want to use periodically.

LYS Beauty Higher Standard 3-Piece Cream Blush Set

Grateful looks so much like Confident in the pan, but when swatched, it looks more like Self Love instead. This mini trio is $20, making it a really great option for trying out additional shades from the brand. The retail price of the single blushes is $16 and each individual “mini” has about 2/3 the product of the full size. The packaging isn’t as lux with the clear lid, but that also makes it easier to figure out which shade I’m grabbing. I only tried these out once so far, and don’t have pictures of each blush included, but that one time using it was enough to know the formula of the minis is the same. It’s one of my absolute favorite cream blush formulas, if not the top favorite, and I’ve felt like this long before I joined the LYS ambassador program. I’m technically still one, but I haven’t done anything for the brand in nearly a year. More about that is detailed here. As for my first review of this cream blush formula, that can be found here. All three included in this set show up on me.

Huda Beauty GloWish Cheeky Vegan Soft Glow Powder Blush in Sassy Saffron

This is another one of those situations where I was so enamored with the look of the new shades that I forgot how I actually felt about the formula being “not particularly special,” mentioned here. I thought this was colorful enough to work on my skin tone, especially with how much richer it looked online, but it was very ashy the first time I tried it. I will have to try it again focusing on the deeper swirl to see if that helps, but I have my doubts. I bought this during Sephora’s previous VIB sale, but Huda’s official website has an even better deal going on.

Chantecaille Perfect Blur Finishing Powder in Med/Dark

In my powder declutter post discussing the original shade here, I mentioned that I wasn’t getting the same amazing results that had been hyped up in all the reviews I’d seen, so perhaps a darker shade would work better on me. I planned to sell the original and get a darker version. The first iteration of the Med/Dark shade was from Chantecaille’s Flower Power line, but I hated that packaging and that wasn’t nice enough to make up for me having to sell that gorgeous hummingbird packaging. I contacted Chantecaille during that time, and they told me they wouldn’t bring the new shade in that hummingbird packaging, but it would at least come in the larger size of their “pebble” compacts, like their philanthropy blushes. After that, the Dior Powder-No-Powder was released and I got so much more blurring from that than I ever did with the original shade and at half the price, so I decided to just give up on this powder. Then, as luck should have it, Space NK had it deeply discounted during their sale in June this year. With shipping included, I only paid $33 for it!

The Med/Dark shade is much better suited to me. It looked invisible on my inner arm, so there was no point trying to post a swatch of it here. Even with the photo uploaded to my computer, I had a guess as to where it was based on my skin looking slightly more matte, but I wasn’t confident enough to mark it. Getting that new shade did work out better for me than the original. I could see a little bit of blurring, but it was nowhere near as good on me as the Dior Powder-No-Powder. So, I still recommend that one over this (though the Dior one has a sheen and this powder does not). I’m just glad I didn’t spend a fortune on it to figure that out!

Tarte Amazonian Clay Blushes in Blissful and Natural Beauty

The Tarte blushes I owned were minis reviewed here. I really enjoyed them, so when Ulta had the full-size blushes on sale in September for $14 each, I couldn’t resist and bought several more. Since Exposed worked for me, I thought Seduce would be even better, but it doesn’t show on me at all. That one is out of my collection, so I couldn’t include it here. The tartelette blush in bloom Amazonian clay cheek palette didn’t work for me either, excluding the darkest shade, but it was too cool toned looking on me so that’s not in my collection anymore either. I’m glad Blissful and Natural Beauty worked out! Tarte’s Amazonian Clay Blushes have the issue of looking light in the pan but sometimes they work for me and sometimes they don’t, so I never know until I actually try them out.

One/Size Cheek Clapper 3D Blush Trio Palette in Phat Ass

I loved the Freaky Peach shade, reviewed here, and was always drawn to Phat Ass, but with how similar the cream and powder versions looked, I didn’t think it would be worth it to buy another trio from One/Size. However, I saw a good deal on Mercari and bought this. Unfortunately, the shimmer exploded in the package, so it took quite a while for me to repress it (not my best work) and clean off the cream which it had also gotten into despite the plastic flap. Unlike Freaky Peach where the shimmer blush was light enough for me to use as a highlighter, the BBL shade in this one is a bit too deep and pigmented in the base color for that. I can use this as an actual shimmer blush or blush topper though, the way it was intended. It’s the kind of shade that’s along the lines of a Nars Orgasm X, but I like this one better!

Pat Mcgrath Skin Fetish: Divine Glow Highlighter in Venus Nectar

Venus Nectar was another broken item I had to repair (dry pressing wasn’t an option with how broken it was). It’s on the pink side, but I love this formula from Pat Mcgrath. It’s a shame that I still can’t get the exact golden tone in this formula that I’m looking for with Bronze Mirage, reviewed here, being a bit deep for me. PML’s Ultra Glow Highlighter in the pink packaging still hasn’t been topped for me. Swatches of Venus Nectar and Bronze Mirage will be in the next section of PML highlighters lower down.

Pat Mcgrath x Bridgerton Skin Fetish: Sublime Skin Highlighter in Incandescent Gold 002

Don’t ask me why I bought a Bridgerton highlighter. I’m citing temporary insanity. I know I hate deep yellow highlighters (being scarred from Fenty’s Trophy Wife), so I opted for the other one instead because I heard it’s still gold but with a sheer base that’s technically supposed to work on the majority of skintones. The glitter level is my main issue with it, but I forgot that the highlighters in this particular formula, similar to my Lunar Nude highlighter (reviewed here), share this excessive sparkle feature. I only have this photo to show of it on my bare face. As much as I’d prefer not to show something like this, it’s all I’ve got at the moment.

As the swatches above show, the sparkle level and shimmer particle sizes are very different. I prefer the Divine Glow over the Sublime Skin, and I need to remember that in the future!

Rose INC Cream Blush Refillable Cheek & Lip in Wisteria

I’m sensing a pattern here. The pattern of trying to find the ultimate blush shade from every brand, despite how I feel about the formula. The Rose Inc blushes don’t dry down, as mentioned in my review here, so I have to be in a particular mood to wear them. I don’t know if I got confused while comparing the different shades on the Rose Inc website, but I could have sworn Wisteria looked darker in photos I saw. This shade does not work on me at all. It shows up, but is extremely ashy. I didn’t know it was going to be significantly lighter than Foxglove, which is already just a flush of color on my cheeks. In any case, I vow to myself that I will not buy another Rose Inc Cream Blush. Now, if they start making powder blushes, that will be another story.

Rose Inc Skin Enhance Luminous Tinted Serum in 100

In one of my Rose Inc orders, I got samples of additional foundation shades. Because of that, I was able to see that despite how much I loved the shade 110 (in that same review linked in the blush section), shade 100 is the better undertone match for me. So, I utilized Rose Inc’s fantastic Pre-Black Friday sale to get my better shade! I have to add though that I was shocked 100 is my shade considering the model photos on the website. Based on the model, 100 shouldn’t be for me at all. But it is!

Rose Inc Solar Radiance Hydrating Cream Highlighter in Prismatic and Lustrous

This is a bonus mention because I hadn’t shown these on the blog until now, and I don’t intend on including it in any other posts this year. I bought the two refills of the Rose Inc Cream highlighters because I wasn’t sure if this formula would be closer to the blushes or the bronzers. These fall somewhere in the middle. They don’t fully dry down like the bronzers, but they aren’t as emollient feeling on the skin as the blushes, but that may also be due to me needing less product to get the impact I want. Prismatic is too light for me and I don’t intend to keep it in my collection. Lustrous is the perfect shade for me though. I wasn’t sure if I should get it because it looks dark online and bronzes tend to be too deep on me, but this is a lot lighter in person and more golden leaning. I’ve only worn them a few times, but I still don’t know how I feel about this product. As of now, they don’t get a recommendation from me despite the color and wet look that I like. Towards the end of the night I notice more texture and I’m not sure if the product slightly picking up is user error yet or a formula issue.

Nars Blush in Dolce Vita

I saw a review somewhere that this blush would work on deeper skin, despite how light it appeared in other photos I had seen. It was so pretty that even though Nars blushes (reviewed here) don’t quite measure up to MAC blushes that I have no shortage of, I still wanted it. Sometimes when I see a Nars blush shade I don’t own, I think I should hold off on buying it because chances are high that it will end up in a palette with some other repromoted shades. But Ulta had another deal, so I went with it and have no regrets! I like it quite a lot!

Vieve Sunset Blush in Piazza

In my March purchases post, here, I said the blush formula was great quality and that I wanted the Piazza shade, but it was supposed to be too similar to others I already own in my collection. SpaceNK’s pre-Black Friday sale made me change my mind and I bought this, plus the bronzer I had been curious about since its launch. It takes a while to arrive from GB, so it only arrived a few days ago. I haven’t actually worn this shade yet or the bronzer on my face, but they all look like they’ll work for me. And I have no reason to think Piazza will not be great since I’ve enjoyed Sorbet so much.

Whew! That’s everything for today! I did way more talking than I expected, though this isn’t a typical Swatchfest.

I hope everyone had a great day yesterday and that this post will be helpful for all the sales going on! I tried to get this post out in a rush, so if there are typos or errors I missed, please excuse them! Thank you for reading!


March Purchases Reviewed: Dior, Colourpop, Vieve, Etc.

This experiment examining my monthly purchases has been fascinating for me to see all grouped together. January was indie and high end. February was indie and drugstore. March has shaped up to be a little of everything! There’s no consistent pattern and that makes me wonder how the rest of the year will be. Will I purchase more things or less things? Will I have an entire month of products solidly within one price range? Is it possible for me to go an entire month without buying a single thing? We will see!

Makeup Geek Empty Magnetic Mega Palettes

It’s quite unfortunate that Makeup Geek Cosmetics is no more. I didn’t add this to my Beauty Resolutions post, but I’m unofficially on an empty magnetic palette no-buy, and have been for years. I have so many unused small ones (25-30 pan ones), or what I refer to as small compared to the Coloured Raine 96 pan palettes. They don’t resell well either, so I try to avoid getting them, but these plastic Mega Vault Palettes from Makeup Geek are such a better and sturdier quality than even Z-palettes (which are already better than other more affordable cardboard packaging alternatives). For this reason, I bought two additional ones at 40% off on Makeup Geek’s website. I suspected prices would be further reduced in April, but I didn’t want to take the chance of these selling out. It’s a good thing I did because they were out of stock within a few weeks.

Wayne Goss The Luxury Eye Palette in Imperial Topaz

Between the Beautylish Lucky Bags and Wayne Goss Lucky Bags, I knew there would be plenty of untouched or only swatched palettes available on Mercari. I’ve wanted to try Wayne Goss’ eye shadows since the beginning, but I couldn’t bring myself to pay full price for six neutral shadows. So, for almost half off, I was finally able to see if playing the long game was worth it.

I didn’t have faith that these shadows would be worth full price, and it’s still not unless at least 4 of the 6 colors are someone’s style, but this really is a high quality formula! Well, the black shade is an exception but the rest are fantastic. Shades #1, #2, and #4 are satins, #6 is a topper type of glittery shimmer, shade #5 is a texturally soft matte, #3 is a very dry and stiff matte. What makes the difference between the mattes is the lack of stearates (which can account for the softness of the texture) and zea mays (oil absorbing but silky feel) missing from the black shadow that were included in the medium matte brown.

The satin shades can be used in the crease in place of a matte, but I have to be careful using #1 anywhere beyond highlighting spots because it’s so light and #2 is practically my skin tone, so it doesn’t show very much beyond adding a sheen to the area. I also wish #5 was a little deeper. I thought I would be able to mix #5 and #3, but #3 is so stiff that it doesn’t mix well with others. It reminds me of the black shade in the Hindash Beautopsy palette in the sense that it looks like it’s going to give a lot of pigment when it first touches the skin, but it’s a buildable formula that requires multiple layers to get something dark and dramatic. I appreciate that this type of shadow is perfect for smokey eye looks, but I’m able to get that effect from Hindash’s palette twice as fast and I consider that a little slow to use!

These shadows have fantastic longevity with very minimal creasing. I was impressed to discover #1 can cling to my inner corner when a lot of other shadows don’t by the end of the day from all the times my eyes get watery or I rub them. #6 also impressed me because I don’t get glitter specks on my cheeks either throughout the day. The glitter is spaced out when applied to the eye, but I can make it look less like a topper if I apply it wet.

Imperial Topaz is supposed to be that go-to palette for everyday quick and easy looks. However, they aren’t the perfect tones and depths for me, the scattered glitter effect from the nicknamed “celestial” shade isn’t my preference, soft satins are generally not my preference anymore either, and the black shadow takes effort to use. So, it’s not possible for this to be an effortless essential palette for me. I can still make nice looks with it, but it wouldn’t be worth me paying $55 for it, and I say that as someone who is willing to spend more than that on a palette if it’s nearly perfect for me. In my opinion, this palette should be $45.

As for those who love satins, celestial shades, creating soft looks and/or glam looks, is of a different skin tone in which #2 could work as a transition shade and #5 could add dimension, I can completely see how this would be an ideal neutral palette for someone. The perfect palette even. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case for me, but I am still going to continue to stalk Wayne Goss launches in the hopes that one day he’ll release my ideal eyeshadow palette! The Tourmaline palette almost got me, but not quite!
This palette takes the third spot in my 24 max goal.

I realize I’ve forgotten to mention something that will only be important to some people, but I will include this note now. Whenever I purchase the first product from someone who is a celebrity, influencer, or public figure, I always disclose my thoughts on them for those who may be worried about whether my review is clouded by personal feelings positively or negatively. When it comes to Wayne Goss, even though I am subscribed to him on YouTube, I only watch 5% of his videos, so I sometimes forget he is technically an influencer. I’ve always put him in the box of Makeup Artist/Industry Professional, which most people typically don’t have parasocial ties to, and therefore wouldn’t need disclosing. So, for full disclosure now, I used to be a big fan of his and that is what got me to first start buying his brushes in 2015. His products were the reason I placed my first Beautylish order. At some point I lost interest in his videos because the reviews are always glowing since he almost never reviews products he doesn’t like, so at that point I stopped thinking of him as an influencer and instead as a brand owner and professional. Certainly, by this point, my opinion of him is neutral.

Dior Forever Couture Luminizer in Golden Glow 04

Well, I said I would eventually get a Dior highlighter in my Beauty Resolutions and here it is! All the luxury beauty channels I watch say that Dior makes the best highlighters, so I’ve wanted this since it launched. I was planning to buy it during any retailer’s 20% off sale, but I happened to find an untouched one on Mercari at a significant discount, so I snapped it up! I just did not want to pay full price for a formula I’ve never tried before and that I honestly didn’t think would live up to the hype.

I didn’t think of the implications when Angela van Rose mentioned that the base color doesn’t show very much in this highlighter. There wouldn’t have been an issue for me if the color in the pan was the tone of the shimmer, but since the base is almost transparent on the skin, I’m left with the actual color of the shimmer which is a bit too light for me. I love how the highlighter melts into the skin. I love how fine the shimmer particles are and how it gives a glassy wet-skin glow to my face. However, I can only get away with wearing it if I take my time to really blend it onto my cheekbones and even then, I’m not sure how successfully I pull it off. The best results I can get (pictured above) is with the Smashbox Precise Highlighting Brush which somehow picks up more of the powder and deposits less of the shimmer onto my cheekbones. If I want to continue using this, I could try to pair it with one of my darker highlighters.

In terms of longevity, this lasts all day without the shine dulling down. It’s absolutely beautiful. I just wish it was a little darker. There are six different colors in the range, but I’m not convinced 05 Rosewood would be any better on me and 06 Coral Glow is supposed to be similar to Pat Mcgrath’s Divine Rose, which I already own. So, I don’t plan on purchasing another one. As for the full retail price, I would say it’s not quite worth $48, but I bought PML’s Lunar Nude at the reduced price of $45, and this highlighter is better than that one. So, if Dior did release a similar formula of highlighter with a gold shade that would work better for me (something like Becca’s Topaz), there’s a good chance I would buy it and possibly at full price.

Also, I didn’t realize this had a scent until I was watching other videos to compare the different shades and someone mentioned it. I checked and can confirm mine does have it too, but I had to put it right up to my nose to detect it. It’s the same fragrance as my Dior Powder No Powder, so I guess it’s the brand’s signature scent for powder products.

Colourpop Super Shock Blushes in Chamomile and Sounds Grape

These purchases, combined with last month’s heart shaped blush, put a big dent in my goal of ending the year with under 15 blushes. Plus, Colourpop is not even on my blush exceptions list! The review for the Super Shock formula of blushes (with some highlighters snuck in) can be found here.

Chamomile is as pretty of a color in person as it looks online, but Sounds Grape is so much darker than I expected!

If I use a heavy amount, it looks similar to the shade Cheerio, so I have to be careful with this one and apply lightly. If I only use a little bit, the look I get is exactly as I hoped and is beautiful. I have no regrets buying these two blushes!

Colourpop Super Shock Highlighters in Flute Punch and Got Glow

Flute Punch was part of my official Colourpop order in March. I bought it so I could have a lighter version of Champagne BB that I enjoyed in February. Both were from the Feelin’ Bubbly Collection, but for some reason, I got Flute Punch in the basic permanent Super Shock packaging and not the special edition one. Colourpop Super Shock Cheeks in the highlighter formula weren’t on my exceptions list because as much as I love them, I wanted to not purchase anymore so I could use up what I have. I caved when I bought these and that was very naughty of me. As for Got Glow, the Colourpop x Avatar the Last Airbender collab, I purchased it from Ulta. I thought the color was beautiful and I wanted to try the tie-dye formula. When the Avatar Collection was released a week after my order, I regretted not waiting for something else I wanted, as this could have been the last item in my official Colourpop order instead of needing a “filler” item. The fact that it was available at Ulta, so I could add it to my order without needing to pay for shipping or meeting the price minimum was why I happily broke my rules and bought it.

The line on my cheek near my ear in the Flute Punch photo is from wearing a mask, not the cheek products.

Colourpop Pretty Fresh Face Powder in Dark 18

Because I had a 25% off coupon that would mean the difference between saving a few bucks after having to pay for shipping or spending a few extra dollars after hitting the free shipping minimum, I decided to add this as a “filler” for my order. The only other items that interested me at the time was a hair accessory or additional blushes and highlighters, which I did not want to add to my yearly tally. So, even though I’m on a definite powder no-buy, I decided to try this one as my first complexion product from Colourpop.

According to the website, this powder can be used on its own as a foundation or as a setting powder. I accidentally chose a shade slightly lighter than my skintone, but when I used this with my natural hair brushes, I get such a thin layer of product that it just blends in and may as well be translucent. As to be expected, I get a lot more coverage if I use the extremely thin powder puff that came with it. The slightly off shade still isn’t noticeable with the puff anywhere except the areas of my face where I have darker discoloration. So, this is only a problem if I’m trying to wear this product on a bare face. There are no issues when I’ve used concealer over my hyperpigmentation and then applied the powder afterwards. After looking at a few videos and seeing shades 19 and 20, I don’t believe there is a shade in the line that would suit me for foundation purposes. So, I will not be trying to get an additional shade.

I like the softness of the powder’s texture, how it helps to even out my skin tone, and it sets my makeup in place. It even works as a setting powder for my under eyes and adds a little extra coverage and brightening if I apply it towards the end of the day if my concealer is starting to fade. I’m pretty happy with this product! The result I get with this is like a less expensive version of MAC’s Mineralize Skinfinish Natural.

Tarte Shape Tape (Original) in Deep Golden

In my Beauty Resolutions, I mentioned that this was one of the rare times I would allow myself to have a backup product. I got it for 50% off during Ulta’s 21 Days of Beauty. I’ve discussed this concealer in so many different posts on this blog. The only thing special about this one is that it’s yet another shade in the same Deep 53 range, but in a different undertone that looks like it will be better for me than Deep. As I’m trying to use up my other concealers, I don’t plan on opening this one anytime soon in order to keep it fresh until I’m ready for it.

Also, I just wanted to show Tarte’s packaging change between the purple box to a clear plastic one.

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Intense Black

This was another Ulta 21 Days of Beauty purchase. It’s a backup item, but I mentioned this was a possible purchase in my Beauty Resolutions and Hyped Drugstore Products posts. This is a long time holy grail eyeliner, so I’ve discussed it plenty of times on my blog.

Covergirl TruBlend So Flushed High Pigment Bronzer in Ebony

Since I got free shipping from buying a Beauty Steal (Shape Tape), and I had some funds left on my gift card, I added this to my order. In my post about Drugstore Items Worth The Hype, I discussed how much I enjoyed the Sweet Seductions blush from this range and wanted to try the bronzer. This is still a breach of my beauty resolutions because Covergirl is not on my list of no-buy exceptions, but I have no regrets because this is such a great bronzer! The way that it is similar to the blush is that it’s very blendable, but rather than shimmery, it adds a pretty sheen to the skin.

If I use a dense brush, I don’t have to build it up as much. The Ebony shade is perfect for my skintone as a true bronzer, rather than all the brontours I’ve been using lately. It’s only a few shades darker, so I don’t get a ton of sculpting with it unless I really build it up, but it matches my undertone so well in providing a very natural looking warmth. I highly recommend it and can easily say it’s my favorite bronzer available at the drugstore as it truly rivals some high end formulas.

The partial indent on my cheek is from wearing a mask.

Olivia Palermo Beauty Eyeshadow Palette in Regalia

Mercari to the rescue again! When Olivia Palermo Beauty launched, I wanted a palette solely for the packaging, which I heard was luxurious and weighty. However, I had enough sense not to spend $58 for color story I hated. The Soirée and O’Naturel palettes were all that was available until February 24th when Regalia was released. I was about to order this from the website with the 15% off coupon for signing up for emails, but the shipping price deterred me. There is a free shipping minimum of $60, but a palette plus the cheapest item in the shop (a $29 lip balm) makes that free shipping minimum really $74 after the coupon. So, I decided to play the long game. What a stroke of luck that I found a seller three weeks after the launch willing to part with one of her unused palettes and for just $28! And in the terms of my eyeshadow palette low-buy, this purchase takes the fourth spot in my 24 max goal.

The first time I tried out this palette, I tested it with the MAC Paint Pot on one eye and no primer on the other. The texture of the eyeshadows felt different from what I’m used to, which is why I wanted to test them without a base to make sure it didn’t negatively impact the shadows. My findings was that the matte shade deepened up quite a bit on the primed side, even though the Paint Pot had enough time to set. I used Smoky Quartz in both creases and the shade was not easy to blend on either eye. The performance of the shimmers were much better. I did not wet my brush or use glitter primer, yet I didn’t see any glitter fallout at the end of the day, only the particles that fell from the initial application. This was shocking considering how packed with sparkle Diamond Dust is! Diamond Dust was even applied on the eye without the primer! As for the primed side, Antique Diamante is borderline a glitter-shimmer shade and that didn’t have fallout either.

Rose Gold is labeled a satin, and I agree with that. Malachite, Antique Diamante, Amethyst, and Diamond Dust are all called shimmers, but Malachite and Amethyst are much more satin-like in comparison to Antique Diamante and Diamond Dust. The four shimmers also have a black base to them. I could see the darkness in the smudges they left on my fingers after swatching them. This helps those shimmers to pop and increases the opaque look to them. I don’t need to load on the shadows to make an impact.

I find it interesting how soft the satin and shimmers feel (minus Diamond Dust), how pigmented they are, and how smoothly they apply. A lot of other formulas have slip ingredients like dimethicone in a higher concentration in order to achieve that spreadability and creamy feel, but because this one doesn’t rely as heavily on dimethicone, it barely creased on me. The fallout-free and crease-free aspects alone might make this palette worth full price for some people. That isn’t the case for me, but as someone with a lot of lines on my eyes and oily lids, it’s an aspect that is gaining importance to me as I get older.

“Glittering gems and precious metals,” are the inspiration for the Regalia palette. For my personal preferences, I would have liked a matte black to emphasize the sultry smoky side of the shimmer shades and give me the level of depth I enjoy most, but I appreciate the fact that having the warm brown gives me something to pair with Rose Gold for a daytime option, and so I don’t feel restricted to just use that shade exclusively for highlighting the eyes. Technically, the shimmers are dramatic enough to wear on their own, so having a color like Smoky Quartz offers more variety to the looks and is probably less intimidating for some people than a matte black would be. I just wish it was a more blendable shadow.

I am of course thrilled with my purchase at the reduced price, but I’m not sure how I would have felt if I paid full price for it. In addition to the creasing and fallout being non-factors, and the tones of the shadows looking flattering on my eyes, this has phenomenal packaging that literally weighs half a pound! The outer shell is metal, which makes up for most of the weight. The inner portion surrounding the pans and mirror feel like plastic, but I’m not certain about that. The total weight of the actual shadows is 7g/2.5oz, which means the packaging alone is over 5.45 ounces. I can see how this palette would be a nice luxury purchase for someone and the experience certainly raises its value. However, for those who don’t care about packaging and just want something nice for a lower price point, the Lorac Pro Fairytale Forest palette isn’t a dupe, but it gives a similar vibe for $39.

Lastly, I remember reading Trendmood1’s post on Instagram for people commenting to be nice when she posted about the brand’s launch. This was during the time of back to back announcements of celebrity beauty brand launches, which people were voicing their displeasure over. I hadn’t heard of Olivia Palermo until that post, so my interest in the brand is purely for the products and not the person.

Vieve Sunset Blush in Sorbet

I’ll get this disclosure out of the way now, since this is my first Vieve Product. I am familiar with the name Jamie Genevieve because of other Influencers, but I don’t know anything about her. I wanted to try this brand because Brit Clarke consistently raves about the products and discusses every new launch. Plus, in one of the focus groups I’m part of, I learned that another beauty retailer is interested in knowing people’s thoughts on the brand, which increased my curiosity as to whether the products live up to the hype since they may eventually become easier for me to obtain in the US. So, my interest is in Vieve, not the owner.

I said in my Beauty Resolutions that I would avoid buying products from brands that are new to me, but the discount on someone’s unused backup blush was too good to miss out on. Being able to determine how good the highly praised blushes are would help me decide whether I should look into the bronzer duos since I’ve had my eye on those but wasn’t sure if I should splurge on the duos from Victoria Beckham Beauty instead. A lot was riding on this!

Once again, the partial indent in my cheek is from wearing a mask. It’s not the makeup.

Sorbet is exactly how I wanted Nars Orgasm X to look on me. Although it’s described on some websites as being a peachy shade, I view this as medium to medium-dark coral shade with super fine gold shimmer that gives a satin appearance when looking straightforward, but gives a golden glow when it catches the light. I believe this shade could work for those several shades darker than me in the “deep” category. It’s firmly pressed in the pan to help minimize kickup and also make it easy for those with lighter skin tones to be able to wear a bold color like this without overdoing it. That said, it doesn’t take much effort to build it up on my cheeks. So, it’s pigmented but buildable. I once made the mistake of rubbing my squirrel hair brush roughly back and forth thinking it wouldn’t pick up that much, but as soon as I put the brush to my face, I immediately got more pigment than I bargained for on my cheeks and had to tone it down with foundation. I prefer to slowly build up three layers for the perfect amount for me.
It lasts on my cheeks all day without fading. Overall, I think it’s a great quality blush and I would be tempted to purchase the other shade that caught my eye, Piazza, but that is supposed to be similar to Mented’s Clay Too Much and Fenty’s Rose Latte, so I will just stick to this one.

Regarding the full price of $32, I think that’s actually fair considering the performance. I also like the effort to make the packaging look luxurious if you don’t stare at it too long. For instance, the black leather with the gold logo/name plate is reminiscent of a designer handbag, but the product is lightweight in the hand and faux/vegan leather wrapped around cardboard and a shiny thin plastic covering on the inside. And what looks to be a metal tag is plastic. It’s pretty, but I can’t help but compare it to Pat Mcgrath’s blushes which perform the same, plus have that pretty rose embossing, as well as the sleek weighty plastic compact. PML’s blushes are $38 but they’re always on sale and the minimum sale discount would make it the same place as the Vieve blushes, so if they had similar shades I would buy the one from PML instead, unless I was going on a trip. Then the Vieve blush would have the advantage. Vieve also has the PETA bunny on the packaging, which the cruelty-free, vegan, gluten-free, paraben-free, and fragrance-free aspect is important to a lot of people. PML doesn’t advertise having all vegan formulas, but I did not see carmine, fragrance, or parabens in the blushes and they say they do not test on animals. Although I’d prefer to purchase PML blushes, I do recommend the Vieve ones and I’m thrilled to have this Sorbet color.

Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer in Glass Slipper

In March, Fenty had their annual Friends and Family sale at 30% off for customers with an account or 25% off for everyone else. This is always the time I get the previous year’s Gloss Bomb holiday set since they tend to always be available beyond Christmas. My two complaints about the Gloss Bombs are that I wish they had more pigment and less visible shimmer. The 2021 Glossy Posse: Fantasy 4Sum Mini Gloss Bomb Collection contained a Cream Color Drip, which is a formula I hate, and even more glittery versions of the gloss bombs. So, I opted out and decided to get Glass Slipper, which is a clear gloss with no shimmer since the original gloss bombs barely change the color of my lips anyway. Although I’m supposed to be on a lip product no-buy, there is an allowance for replacement lippies and things I had to delay purchasing from the previous year (though technically I replaced the replacement option). I have old gloss bombs I need to toss out, so this purchase is allowed, but it’s still subject to my 5 lip product maximum for 2022. This makes number 4. My review of the Gloss Bombs and Cream Color Drip can be found here.

Hindash Monochromance Gradient Palette – I did a dedicated review to this product here. I decided in my Beauty Resolutions that if Hindash released another gradient palette, I wouldn’t count it as part of my eyeshadow tally since I tend to use these more on the face than on my eyes.

Sonia G Cheek Pro – When I bought the Hindash Palette, it was during the Beautylish Gift Card Event where you can get a $20 credit on your account for every $100 spent. This purchase, although it shouldn’t be allowed under the section about not buying repeat products, got me to the $100 threshold. My review for this brush can be found here, though I’ve discussed it multiple times throughout my blog.

KVD Good Apple Lightweight Full-Coverage Concealer in Tan 173

I’m not supposed to be buying backup products, but here I am again! This is a different shade than I reviewed here previously, but it was on sale for 30% off and I used up so much so quickly that it wasn’t unreasonable to have a replacement in this specific instance. Concealers are one of the few makeup products I go through regularly. It takes me 6-8 months to use up a 0.33 oz tube of Tarte Shape Tape, so the same is probably true of the Good Apple since it has the same amount of product and nearly the same coverage. In fact, comparing the weight of my new bottle to my current one, I used up about a third of the product within two months.

KVD Vegan Beauty ModCon Liquid-Gel Contour in Tan-Deep

I didn’t think this kind of product would work for me until I had such nice results from the Glossier Solar Paint bronzer. Then I started hearing more and more people speak highly about this product, so I was curious about it. This was part of the 30% off sale, so I figured I’d give it a try, even though I’m on a contour No-Buy with only Charlotte Tilbury and Pat Mcgrath as exceptions.

Also, I should address the fact that the labeling and everything says Tan Neutral 30, but names in promo images and on websites refers to this as Tan-Deep. They are the same product.

There is a learning curve to this product, which I wanted to show in my swatch photo how I still didn’t manage to get a smooth opaque blended swatch in the first attempt. Essentially, the issue is that this product doesn’t layer well and dries quickly. To get a pretty result, I have to work in one section at a time (one cheek, the other cheek, then the forehead) and make sure I apply enough product to the area. If I apply the right amount, it just takes about 5-10 stamps or swipes to blend it in seamlessly, depending on the brush. If I overapply the product, and therefore have to spend more time blending, spots will start setting while I’m continuing to manipulate the product and that causes it to become patchy. If I underapply the contour, and therefore have to add an additional layer, spots where there is more product from the first layer will be darker and dry unevenly like some liquid lipsticks do that don’t layer well. The KVD contour essentially has to be smoothed out fully and allowed to dry undisturbed in order to look great. When I nail it…I nail it! It looks amazing and is so quick! But when I mess up, I have to literally remove all my makeup in that spot and reapply my primer, foundation, and then try again. I thought I could get better at it over time, but I find myself just not wanting to reach for it and risk the hassle.

I have tried it with a sponge, which is not my usual go-to method. Because of that gel consistency, a damp sponge really lessens the pigmentation and I had to build up multiple layers. Even though I could add layers without the patchy issue, I lost that ability to be precise, so I ended up spending just as much time fixing it. The other issue is that the contour looks more like it’s sitting on top of my skin after using the sponge, wheres the brushes I’ve used let me really press it in, though I have to admit that I can get an even more skin-like finish with my cream contours and bronzers. I’ve used this KVD contour on top of both matte and dewy foundations and I still get random results that are either stellar or needs to be redone, so it may just be an incompatibility thing with my skin since I didn’t get on with the Colourpop Cheek Dew Serum blushes which were a gel formula too. Then again, a ton of people had a bad time with the original release of those serum blushes.

Some positives about this product is that I don’t have longevity issues with it and the color match is great for me. The neutral aspect gives it a slightly cool tone without looking unnatural against the warm undertone of my skin. The great experiences I have with the contour rank so high that I personally still like the product even though I admittedly seldom use it.

Huda Beauty Mini Glow Obsessions Highlighter Face Palette in Rich

I wanted this last year, but the outer packaging was so off-putting that I couldn’t bring myself to get it. I hoped seeing it in person would change my mind. Spoiler alert: it was even worse, especially after seeing how it looked on my camera from the very first shot I took head on. It’s like one of those internet cursed images!

All three quads went on sale at Sephora for $14 and technically this is a face palette, which is allowed for this brand according to my low-buy rules, so I went for it! I no longer have Rouge status, but with the FREESHIP code I was able to get free shipping, claim some point perks, have some samples, and pay for it with a gift card I redeemed from Swagbucks.

I’m glad I was able to get this for a deal because when swatched, these are pretty much the same shade! I literally started laughing out loud as I was swatching them on my arm because highlighters have the issue already of looking too similar on the face despite the tone differences and this one has the added disadvantage of being all coppers. #1 is a light copper, #2 is a pinkish copper, #3 is copper, and #4 is bronze-copper. They’re pretty but they are all the same, which wouldn’t be as disappointing if I hadn’t really wanted more of a real blush shade out of #2. Then again, I don’t think I would have worn any of these as blush or bronzer because of the metallic shimmer being way too strong for anything but highlighting. I basically look at this as having paid $14 for a single large highlighter, which isn’t a bad price.

The formula is quite thick and a little chunky. It reminds me of an eyeshadow, and a bit like the Glowlighters from Coloured Raine. This kind of highlighter requires a brush that can pick up just enough product to spread evenly, but lightly on the high points of the face if you don’t want a blinding look.

I retook these photos to show how Rich #1 can look more seamless and blended in the skin with the right brush, and how Rich #2 and #4 look in daytime lighting as opposed to nighttime when I took those two last time. In the daytime, it’s easier to see the slight pink tinge to the #2 highlighter.

Other than the similarities in colors and the slightly chunky texture, I think this is a beautiful product and I’m thrilled I bought it for this price. I also did a little craft project to make the packaging a bit more palatable for me.

CDJapan Haul

CDJapan had a points-in-exchange-for-reviews event on Chikuhodo and Koyudo brushes purchased from their website (and not other retailers). I was able to accumulate enough points from reviews, my already existing points, my quarterly bonus points, plus use a coupon, to be able to make another order for a really great deal. Since testing multiple brushes usually takes me several months and I like to review a decent number all at once, my review for them will be coming in a future post.*

*DISCLAIMER: I started working on this post in March. All of the brushes shown and all comments above were made prior to me becoming a CDJapan Affiliate. This particular post does not contain any affiliate links.


Whew! That was a lot, but we’ve reached the end! This is the first month that I feel I did very poorly with my low buy, but I’m determined to do better next month.
Thank you for taking the time to read! If you like my content, be sure to click the follow button to be notified whenever I post, or you can bookmark this page and return for my weekly posts on Monday 11:30 am EST! If you’re new and would like to see my previous months, January is here and February is here.

– Lili

MAC Cosmetics Lunar Luck, Wild Cherry, and More

MAC Cosmetics is probably the most reviewed brand on my blog. They frequently release eye catching collections that manage to make me want even their repromoted shades, just to get the limited edition packaging. They often have sales, which plays on my deep love of getting a good deal. Their staple products are top notch and they’ve held onto their generally good reputation for decades. Unfortunately, MAC has made some questionable production decisions in the last few years to the point where I seriously considered taking a break from them. Today’s post is not about that, and is instead about sharing the newest additions to my MAC collection.

MAC Lunar Luck Eyeshadow x 9: Made My Fortune

This palette was a gift from one of my best friends, and for that reason I will cherish it. It’s one of those things I wanted for the packaging, but not the makeup inside, since I tend to not be the biggest fan of MAC’s eyeshadows. I can at least say the quality of this one is the best I’ve tried from them. The shimmers have pigmented bases, but are a bit tame in sparkle reflectivity, even when used wet. I appreciate that they were easy to apply smoothly to the lids and inner corner. The mattes were also more pigmented than I expected from MAC, and slightly easier to blend than the ones I’ve used in the past. Creating the two looks shown below was enjoyable enough that I may continue to use this palette from time to time, but not enough to make me want to purchase anymore MAC shadows. There isn’t a whole lot of versatility among the two light mattes that hardly show on me (Shell We Celebrate and Sunkissed Orange) and two shades that look nearly identical when used next to each other (Propitious Poppy and Plum What May). The shimmers (excluding Supreme Harmony) don’t look that far off from each other in the pan, but I was pleased to see they are distinctly different on the eyes. Wish Me Luck!, 15 Minutes of Flame, and Born to Rule (as a highlight shade only) are my favorite eyeshadows in the palette. I’ve really been into the brown shimmer eyelid look lately. I still feel $32 is a bit pricey for the quality, so for anyone wanting this palette, I hope you’ll be able to get it on sale!

MAC Glow Play Blush in No Shame!

I’m a big fan of MAC’s Glow Play blush formula, so I wasn’t satisfied with having just one from their collection. I got this for 50% off on Black Friday.
These blushes tend to look more vibrant and pigmented than they actually look on the skin, which can be tricky in trying to figure out which shades would work for me. No Shame! takes a lot of building up to get it to show on my cheeks, but the end result is pretty. It has that familiar putty-like texture that sets to a natural finish, just like the others.

At the time that I’m writing this, I cannot find this shade on the website any longer. I think it’s safe to assume it has been discontinued, and I believe the reason is because of the release of HD Cherry Tree.

MAC Wild Cherry Collection Glow Play Blush in HD Cherry Tree

HD Cherry Tree is like a deeper, slightly more berry version of No Shame!. Quite a few people managed to get their hands on this blush before the US launch, so I purchased mine from one of them (and for less than the retail price)! I was unlucky that as soon as I flipped it over to let the plastic protector naturally fall out, the entire blush popped out with it. However, since it’s a bouncy blush, I was able to squish it back in the compact. Good as new!

I’ve only purchased the Glow Play shades that I think would show up on me, and it’s a bit unfortunate that they look quite similar to each other.

My hope is for MAC to expand the range even further to fill in some gaps, like a medium-deep reddish brown, a terracotta, and a deep pink-mauve. Then again, I’m trying to buy fewer MAC products, so maybe it’s good that they don’t have those shade options!

The Wild Cherry collection is limited edition, but I wonder if MAC intends to make HD Cherry Tree a permanent shade in the future, but without the special packaging. There are two other Glow Play blushes in the Wild Cherry line, but I don’t plan on buying them. Between the Wild Cherry packaging and last year’s Black Cherry packaging, I prefer the look of this new one.

MAC x Lisa Blush in Melba

There isn’t much to say about this blush since I already reviewed it before, but I wanted it for the limited edition packaging since purple is my favorite color. I know Lisa is from the band BLACKPINK, but I don’t listen to their music, so the collab aspect didn’t entice nor deter me.
Melba only works for me when I’m at my lightest (typically winter), so I gave my original blush to my sister. This color is still so difficult to get it to show on camera*, but it is visible in person. After wanting to repurchase it for so many months, I decided to go ahead and do it when it was 40% off on Veteran’s Day. Around that time or soon after, I saw the sneak peeks of the MAC x L collection, but I had no idea they would repromote yet another product and that it would be Melba! It worked out in the end since I gifted my new and unused standard packaging version of Melba to the friend who gave me the Lunar New Year Tiger palette.

*Another photo showing Melba is in the Illuminate Face Palette section demonstrating how GoldieLush looks on the cheeks.

I’d like to add that my last purchases directly from MAC’s website was last November and December and both of them were listed as delivered according to the tracking history on my account page (I didn’t get shipping confirmation for either one), but they never arrived. I had to contact customer service for reshipment. Prior to that, my eyeshadow palette from the Tempting Fate collection was lost in the mail (after already being delayed for a week before getting shipped). I would typically view the carriers as responsible for undelivered mail, but the lack of shipping confirmation in two of those instances makes me wonder if the fulfillment center nearest to me is having issues and if it’s fixed by now.

MAC Pro Face Palette: Illuminate

I was eligible for a free birthday gift in November, which was supposed to be an eyeshadow quad. Only three out of four shades were in stock, and it wouldn’t let me add them to my cart without choosing a non-existent fourth available shade. I asked customer service what I should do in this instance, since you can only redeem the gift with a purchase and I only had a few days left before the offer expired. The solution was to send me this palette, which I jumped on since I don’t really like MAC eyeshadows anyway.

This palette consists of cream highlighters that have an almost waxy texture. It reminds me of both edge gel and the Danessa Myricks Dew Wet Balms. I didn’t have high hopes because products in that consistency tend to remove my foundation underneath it, and this one did too, but it’s easy to apply a little concealer back on top without interfering with the shine level. Unlike the Dew Balm, this gave a perfectly smooth wet sheen without looking greasy. It doesn’t dry completely, but it’s not dewy enough for my hair to cling to it either. I was very happy with the results! It also makes a great base to intensify powder highlighters that are applied on top of it, although I don’t usually go for the super highlighted look. Powder highlighters are my preference, so I don’t know how often I’ll actually use this, but it certainly made a nice birthday gift!

Please ignore the slightly lingering indent on my skin from wearing a mask. I took 3 of the 4 photos on the same day, which is why GoldieLush doesn’t have that mark.

They look nearly identical in photos, but the slight pink tinge in Starry Opal, the light silvery tone of Malted Milk, the traditional medium gold in GoldieLush, and the orange tint to Peach Plush are identifiable in person.

MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Dark Tan

I wanted to try this powder for so long, but trying to figure out which shade I should choose out of Dark, Dark Tan, Dark Golden, Dark Deep, and Dark Deepest (which didn’t look all that deep in all the photos and videos I scoured the internet to find) was quite frustrating. It’s helpful when brands list their products by order of either lightest to darkest or darkest to lightest, but these didn’t seem to follow that order all the way, which added to my confusion. The biggest difference between multiples of them seem to be the undertone, but MAC doesn’t have any descriptions of these shades. It would be great if the brand created a chart pairing MAC foundation shades with the suggested powder matches.

This powder tends to look lighter on camera, so it took ages for me to get an accurate photo. I can understand now why the same shade looks so different in the photos and videos I’ve seen others take too.

Based on the broken up powder photos from MAC’s website, I thought Dark Tan and Dark Deep were my two best options, but I questioned whether Dark Deep was slightly too dark and possibly a bit orange. Since powders can sometimes deepen on my skin when I wear a dewy foundation, I decided to ultimately get Dark Tan. Dark Tan is admittedly a tad light, but it still works for me. The bigger issue I have is that it looks a little dry on my skin because I grew unaccustomed to having such a matte look to my face, plus it being a bit light. I have only used this a few times, so I will continue to experiment some more using different brushes. It’s possible I applied too much or that it looks better with other complexion products. Because I was so iffy about whether I’d like this powder or be able to select the right shade, I decided to wait as long as it took for this product to finally be on sale for higher than 30%. It took years, but I was thrilled when MAC added this to the 50% off deal for Black Friday. So, that made satisfying my curiosity less of a financial hit!

This is everything new I’ve added to my collection from MAC so far. I do intend to get the Magnificent Moon Extra Dimension x 4 highlighter quad palette when it gets released. Of course, I shouldn’t because I’m on a highlighter no-buy, but this falls in line with one of the exceptions listed in my Beauty Resolutions post. I love moons. It’s one of the central aspects of my one and only tattoo, so that kind of imagery is significant for me. Other than that, I’m going to continue trying to slow down on the frequency of my MAC purchases so I can enjoy what I already have!

Thank you for reading!


Hourglass Ambient Lighting Volume III and Universe Unlocked Palettes Plus More

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

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette Volume 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Universe Unlocked Palette

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hourglass, A History

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Dior Backstage Face and Body Powder No Powder

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

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

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

Rituel de Fille

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

Kaleidos Space Age Highlighters

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

Tarte Shape Tape Ultra Creamy Concealer

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

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

Final Thoughts

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

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

That is all for today!

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

Thank you for reading!


Hindash Beautopsy Palette Review

The idea of having a product that I can customize my shade of powder, blush, bronzer, contour, eyeshadow, etc. all in one palette appeals to the wannabe minimalist in me. I call myself a wannabe because I enjoy having a large beauty collection while simultaneously being overwhelmed by the amount I possess. This is why I love the concept of face palettes, but it’s very uncommon for me to find one where the majority of the makeup in it suits my preferences and needs. I’m curious to see if I will continue to like this palette after prolonged use and continuously mixing shades, but so far I am impressed! There’s pretty much no kickup and if I get a lighter imprint on a deep shade, or vice versa, I can sweep it away with a brush and it’s good as new! Perhaps this is possible because I combine shades by tapping into each color I want; I don’t swirl in one and then swirl my brush into the other.

A palette like this can seem intimidating, and I was initially unsure if I would buy it for that reason. Some aspects were as tricky as I expected and some parts were easier than I thought, almost intuitive. For instance, using Beautopsy for blush is pretty straightforward. Boy, Wonder, Love, and Kills are four easy options for that. Overall, while I wouldn’t go as far as to say beginners wouldn’t like this, I think it would be most enjoyed and utilized by those with an intermediate skill level and above.

Brightening and Setting Powder

For setting under my eyes, I use the leftmost sides of Tan and Feel and rightmost side of Paint with my usual Real Techniques Setting Brush to create a pale yellow-brown. I was shocked when I realized it actually had a blurring effect and made my under-eyes look smoother! Certain concealers of mine don’t play well with powders, but so far the blurring has been a consistent feature to setting under my eyes with the light shades in the palette! The photo below shows what it did to my Tarte Shape Tape and Pat Mcgrath combo (which was not originally set with powder at all). The lines under my eyes are still there, but less pronounced.

If I want to brighten my under eyes, and not just match my skin tone, I can use pretty much any of the four lightest shades without them looking stark because they blend with the concealer. Additionally, there isn’t much difference between them when applied to my skin. On a lighter skin tone, they are distinct enough, but on me they’re all essentially white with the tiniest differences in tone. That being said, they somehow don’t look ashy on me like other pale shades tend to do, but I still try to use the combinations I think make the most sense based on their color descriptions: Lines as a pure white, Tan as a soft tan, Wet as a beige shade, and Paint as a pale yellow.

While I could probably set my whole face with a mixture of Feel and Paint, I wouldn’t want to use a small brush for that task, and I have dry skin anyway, so I don’t always set my full face.
Also, I can technically use this palette to brighten the high points of my face, but I love my shimmery highlighters and I would never be satisfied with using these matte powders to highlight anywhere other than the eye area. So, in a traveling situation, I would probably bring along a separate setting powder, plus my Kaja Play Bento Sculpting Trio for the subtle shimmer highlighter and to have extra variety. The Kaja Bento in Mochamallow was previously the only all-in-one face product I had where I loved and could use every color in it. Beautopsy now joins the ranks of the best suited face palettes in my collection.

Brow Powder and Eyeliner

I’ve spoken before about how any dark eyeshadow can be used as eyeliner and for filling in the brows, so it didn’t surprise me how well Fatum worked for that purpose. I used the darkest part of Fatum as the liner. If I want to wear just a liner and no eyeshadow, this isn’t black enough for my preference. However, when I’m trying to deepen up eyeshadow looks, Fatum is dark enough for that, and quite lovely. Hindash mentioned that you can use Fix+ to transform any of these powders into liners, but I haven’t tried that.
I like to use dark shades, but not black, to fill in my brows. The middle where Intra + Fatum meet is a shade that works for defining the eye, but was too warm of a brown for my liking. So, I switched to using the center of Fatum where it still has a little of the chocolate brown shade but is also dark enough to use in my brows. I messed up a little spot in the front and didn’t notice it in person, but of course the camera picked it up. I was a bit impatient, which is why my brow isn’t perfect, but it also brings up the point that brow pencils are so much faster for me. I know I wouldn’t use this again in my brows, purely for the time factor, but I’m glad I have the option.

For those who prefer a cool-toned dark brown or soft black for their brows, Fatum mixed with Real could probably do the trick. Real + Feel might look nice on blondes and maybe Feel and Love or Feel and Intra for those with red hair, but don’t quote me on that!


For blush, my favorite shades to use on their own are Wonder, which gives me a light but bright pink flush, and Love, which is a reddish-orange. Kills is a bit too deep for my preference to use alone, but I could always use it if I mix it with something lighter. Boy is a wearable peachy-pink for those with a lighter skin tone than mine. It shows on my skin, but I don’t think it’s as flattering on me as Wonder. If I want to give myself a peachy or coral look, I think of creating a different kind of orange with a little pink. So, I dip my brush mainly into Paint and Love with one extra tap of Wonder and buff it into my cheeks. If I want it a little less bright, I add some of the brown from Feel. I try not to mix more than two colors together because it tends not to look as nice on the skin, but this particular combo of 3-4 still works for me.
I’ve enjoyed using my Sonia G Cheek Pro and Wayne Goss The Artist Brush – Large to apply blush, as they aren’t too big for these pan sizes.

The head sizes of my brushes compared to the size of the pans. It’s not a coincidence that my smallest face brushes were all made in Japan.

There are so many combination possibilities! I experimented with some on my arm to give more examples. I put them on my bare arm, but the blend would look much nicer on the face with primer and foundation under them.

Contour and Bronzer

To contour my nose, I can use Feel on its own, but I prefer the look of Feel and Real together to create a proper shadow. I can use pretty much any small brush, but I’ve been liking the Scott Barnes Eye Winger #63 because the unique shape automatically creates a symmetrical line if I contour between the bridge of my nose and my brows. Most of the time I skip contouring my nose, but when I do, I like to keep it as subtle as possible and just add shadow where I need it. For instance, sometimes all I do is add contour powder on either side of the bridge of my nose, just in the middle where there’s no definition. In order to do that though, I definitely cannot use a warm/red toned contour powder, which is often what is available on the dark-deep end of contour shades. I need something cool yet not too dark, which has always been a challenge for me to find.

To contour the rest of my face, I tap my brush into the center where Feel and Real meet. I can use something with a flat top like the Chikuhodo Z-3, but I also prefer a brush with a tapered tip like the Wayne Goss Air Brush, Wayne Goss Artist Large, and Chikuhodo KZ-05.
For bronzer, I use the leftmost sides of Intra and Feel. Sometimes I use just Intra. I’ve tried different brushes, but the Chikuhodo FO-2 is my favorite to bronze with this palette. Since I only use the leftmost sides of the powders for bronzing, I dip the right half of my brush into the powders (without getting anything on the left side), I can apply with that half of the brush and blend out with the half that didn’t get any product on it.
It was a little funny to me when I discovered that the Beautopsy palette wasn’t created with bronzer as much in mind, since Hindash likes to use cream products for that purpose, yet I was able to find a bronzer combination that worked so well for me!

I’ve tested this palette over matte and dewy foundations. When I use them on matte foundations or bare skin, the blend of these powders on the face looks so good! On dewy products, it’s almost as if these don’t want to stick to the skin. It takes longer to blend and the end results looks okay, but not nearly as nice as it looks over a matte one.


I believe Beautopsy is foremost a palette for the eyes, and ironically, this is the one aspect that having only mattes as options isn’t entirely satisfactory to me. It has been quite a few years since I’ve created all matte eyeshadow looks on a regular basis. When doing an all matte look, there is no room to hide, nothing to cover up any mistakes or distract from poor blending the way shimmers can. It is a craft that looks so simple but requires immense skill to perfect. Plus, I just love putting a shimmer on my lids, so if I was on a trip, I would have to bring at least a small magnetic palette of shimmer eyeshadow singles with me.
As much as I admire sultry smoky eyes, I mainly prefer to do colorful eyeshadow looks, or at least to have a neutral crease with a bright color on my lids. This is another reason I would want a supplemental palette.
This also doesn’t give intense payoff right away, and this makes perfect sense for Hindash. As a makeup artist, he would want a product that builds up and blends well. When I say that this doesn’t fully line up to how I like to do my eye makeup, it’s not me saying the palette is bad. It’s just obviously suited for those with a different eyeshadow style than mine. In addition, the buildable nature that I don’t like as eyeshadows is what makes them so fantastic as face powders. Plus, the slow build issue I get is only when I try to use a regular eyeshadow primer underneath. If I use a complexion product as a base, I have no qualms with how long it takes, but more on that in a moment.
Regarding the texture of the shadows, these remind me a bit of Viseart. However, Viseart shadows give a little more pigment per brush stroke, but the Beautopsy powders feel a little silkier. Zea Mays is the second ingredient in the Beautopsy palette, and it does have that cornstarch feeling to the touch, which could account for the added silkiness over Viseart’s shadows.

Preferences aside, my biggest challenge was finding the right base for these powders as eyeshadows. I absolutely hated using the Gerard Cosmetics Clean Canvas. I had to keep making alterations because it wasn’t blending the way I wanted and it took so incredibly long to get it in a state that I thought was presentable. I had to start over again several times. I didn’t have much luck with my tried and true MAC Paint Pot either because it was as though the shadows didn’t want to build on the eye and at one point I switched to my finger to try and pack it on. Usually I only have to do that with shimmers. I got better results when using the Urban Decay primer potion, but surprisingly the best results I’ve had were when I used concealers and foundations as bases! I discovered this first when I used the Tarte Shape Tape and then again when I used the Pat Mcgrath concealer, although that one creased badly when I left it unset for too long. I’ve been using the MAC Foundation Stick as an eyeshadow primer, so I wasn’t as surprised to see that the shadows blended well over it. However, out of all the bases I tried, the best results I’ve had were with the Dermablend Flawless Creator Foundation Drops. Those drops are basically a foundation and concealer hybrid. So, if you have this palette and you’re struggling to use these over eye primers, I recommend using a complexion product as primer instead. This discovery changed my opinion of these as eyeshadows for the better and I’ve enjoyed using them so much more!

One issue I still haven’t resolved is that the shades in the top half of the palette disappear off my eye by the 5-6 hour point. It happened regardless of the base I used. The bottom half of greys, black, browns, and reds lasted 9-10 hours before I ended the wear test. Perhaps this is caused by a difference in how the lighter shades are formulated/the amount of pigment in them. That’s my best guess, although the shadows have the same ingredient list, excluding Love, which is listed separately.

I usually go into details about how I create a look and which shades I used in the eyeshadow portion of my reviews, but I mixed so many things that I lost track.

Looks 1 and 2 are both over the Gerard Cosmetics Clean Canvas.

This look is over the Pat Mcgrath Concealer. It was my attempt to recreate what I was trying to do in Look #1. The shimmer in the bottom half of the photo is Sun Scorched from Terra Moons Cosmetics.

The peach-pink-orange-red ombre look is over the MAC Foundation Stick. The look below it is over a MAC Paint Pot.

The grey look is over the Urban Decay primer potion. The shimmer on the lid in the bottom half of the photo is Helix Nebula from Terra Moons Cosmetics.

I used the Dermablend Flawless Creator Foundation Drops as the base. This shimmer on the lid is called Kamakura #10 from the Viseart Coy palette that I bought as a single shade. This green look was photographed many hours after I first applied it.

I have used eyeshadows as blushes and blushes as eyeshadows in the past. This palette is the first time I’ve ever preferred the secondary usage over the intended one. I was so surprised at how seamlessly these powders worked together as face products. These were not my first choice for eyeshadows until I found the right base, and now I very much like them too. They are of great quality and I foresee myself continuing to use the last 6 shades as the framework for my shimmer lid shadows.

Overall, the formula of these powders are truly special to be able to be as versatile as they are. In Hindash’s launch video, he said it took a couple of years to create this gradient palette. I tend to roll my eyes whenever influencers say that, but in this case I believe him. I can clearly see the labor of love that went into the Beautopsy Palette. I also say this from the perspective of someone who admittedly didn’t know who Hindash was until the release of this palette. I did a little research for the purpose of this review. I respect Hindash’s artistry and the way he and/or his team has been supporting smaller and larger creators equally, even liking my photo of his palette on Instagram. There still isn’t a parasocial relationship there, so I can say from a fully unbiased perspective that this is a great product and I do recommend it. It’s become for me more than just a cool and innovative release. For the past 6 weeks I’ve had it, I’ve used it for at least one purpose every single time I’ve put on my makeup, whether it was to add depth to an eyeshadow look, do a quick nose contour, to set a cream blush, etc. I store most of my makeup in drawers, but I’ve been keeping it in my train case which holds products I use the most often or am trying to pan, because I want the easy access.
Whether the cost is worth it though depends on how often one would utilize something like this for the eyes, face, or both. There are several times I’ve owned something of fantastic quality, but for whatever reason it remained unused. So, that is something that has to be factored into the decision to purchase. I’m glad it worked out for me.

Does this palette interest you? Let me know what you think!


A Little Luxury: My First Hermès Beauty and Dior Backstage Purchases

I’m as much addicted to getting a good deal as I am to collecting blushes, so when I was able to get Rose Feu (the only shade I wanted from the Rose Hermès line) just ten days after the product launched, and for significantly less money via Mercari, it felt like I had reached the pinnacle of my blush obsession. This is the first, and most likely last, time I will ever exceed my $40 maximum for a single blush. I also know I will likely never get a deal as good as this one on a luxury makeup product again.

This special circumstance of obtaining a product that would normally be out of my reach has made new blush launches less exciting to me. For once, I finally feel like my collection is complete. That being said, I still have a plethora of blushes from my collection (and newer ones I purchased just before this one) that I have not reviewed yet on my blog, so the blush content will continue along with eyeshadows, face palettes, and other makeup I love.

Hermès Rose Hermès Silky Blush Powder in Rose Feu

The powder is soft to the touch and there is very little kickup when I dip my brush into the compact. The amount of blush I pick up with one tap of my brush is all I need per cheek. This blush gives good color payoff without sacrificing how well it blends into the skin, but I cannot confirm if all the other shades within the line are as pigmented.

I have quite an unreasonable amount of blushes, so I was surprised how difficult it was to find a color dupe for Rose Feu. It is described on the Hermès website as a, “purple hibiscus, fiery, intense, illuminated with a hint of carmine.” I see a slight plum tinge when I look directly at the pan, but it is a rosy terracotta hue on my skin. Perhaps the fiery claim comes from that.
I’m glad it’s somewhat unique to my collection because that makes it more special. However, when it comes to the formula and performance, Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes and many of the blushes from MAC are just as good as this one. Rose Feu matches, but doesn’t surpass, the quality of my absolute favorites despite the vast price differences.

Rose Feu on the cheeks and in the crease of the eye.

How it looks on bare skin differs from when it’s applied over foundation. While dry, it takes on the rosy-terracotta I mentioned. The closest match I found was MAC’s Pinch Me, which is slightly more coral than Rose Feu. The Nearly Wild blush from the new Sigma Cor-de-Rosa Blush palette is close as well, but slightly too pink. Another somewhat similar shade, but in a shimmer formula, is Water Lily from Oden’s Eye.

Swatches over bare skin with flash off (left) and flash on (right).

As demonstrated in the photo below of the swatches over foundation, the most similar shades I have are CoverFX’s Spiced Cinnamon and MAC’s Burnt Pepper, depending on the light. The more Rose Feu is built up over foundation and blended in, the more red it becomes.

Swatches on top of foundation with flash off (left) and flash on (right).

I think this blush is beautiful and performs well, but you’re paying for the name and aesthetic on this one. I can’t even include the feel of the compact in what you’re paying for, only the design of it because a common complaint among luxury lovers is that the compact is plastic instead of metal, or at least that the component isn’t comparatively as weighty as the Hermès lipsticks. I’m so used to plastic packaging from brands whose blushes I love, such as Nabla, MAC, Lys, and Hourglass, that it felt on par with what I’m used to having. Patrick Ta’s packaging is probably the only blush compact I have that feels more expensive than the one from Hermès. It feels light for a luxury product, but certainly not cheap. I do admit, I would have been very unhappy if I paid full price (plus tax) for this blush because at that price point I expect Pat Mcgrath level of packaging.
As much as I like this blush, I recommend skipping it for those who want it purely for the quality. There are so many brands that charge less money for the same great performance.

According to this Youtuber, the refill pans that Hermès is selling for $48 will not stick in an empty magnetic palette. Naturally, one would think that a great way to have the blush, but save money by not purchasing the packaging, would be to get a refill and pop it in a magnetic palette. A magnetic sticker that can be attached on the back of the pan would be required to get it to work for that purpose.

Dior Backstage Face and Body Powder No-Powder in 4N and 5N

The photo on the left was taken with my camera and shows the more neutral tones to these shades. The photo on the right was taken with my cell phone. The photo below, taken using my camera with flash on, is the most accurate depiction of what the powders look like.

I mentioned my luck with the Hermès blush. Ironically, I had a chance to save money on the Dior Backstage Powder, but I purchased the wrong shade during the Sephora VIB sale and the one I needed wasn’t restocked before the sale ended. I was impatient to get the right color, so I purchased it at full price from the Dior website.

In the initial reviews I saw for this product, the recommendation was to get a shade lighter than your Dior foundation match. This made sense because Dior described this as being a product intended to “warm the complexion,” in addition to setting makeup. To have that “sun-kissed effect” they advertised, the shades would need to run slightly darker. In my particular case, I should not have gone lighter. 4N was nice and did give the promised “luminous matte finish” without looking glittery, or even that shimmery. However, it was a touch too light to use all over my face. It worked great as an under-eye brightener, but I didn’t want a $40 powder I could only use under my eyes. I returned that shade to Sephora and purchased 5N directly from Dior’s website. I was impressed by the presentation when it arrived. The gift bag is cute and I like that Dior gives free samples and offers free shipping.

In terms of what the powder can do, it does set the face without looking powdery. I can pack on multiple layers and it doesn’t ever looked textured, cakey, or dry. I also really like the sheen it leaves on my skin. However, because it still contains micro shimmer, it doesn’t remove shine from the face. It may mattify the oils a little, but areas will still have a sheen, so I’m not sure how much those with oily skin will like this powder. It also doesn’t blur* or extend the wear of my makeup. I don’t consider it a must-have product, but I liked the way it made my skin look, which is why I still wanted to have it in my collection.

*May 18th, 2021 UPDATE: I cannot see a blurring effect when I apply this powder over foundation, which attests to the quality of the foundations I use most often. However, when I applied the Dior powder over my skin on a minimal makeup day when I skipped using foundation, I was able to see the blurring properties. So, I have to amend my statement and say that it does blur, but the results range from minimal to very noticeable depending on what other products are paired with it.

I’ve also seen the recommendations to get a deeper shade to use as an actual bronzer. I’m intrigued by that idea, but considering my difficulty getting a shade for my face, I fear I would have trouble figuring out how dark of a powder I would need to get a product like this to show. Plus, I suspect the outcome would be similar to the effect and performance of my Nabla Skin Bronzing powder in Profile. In fact, my first thought when I tried the Dior powder all over my face was that it’s exactly how I imagine a Nabla Skin Glazing Setting Powder would be like.

This also brings me to the point where I have to give Dior praise for these powders running so deep. It’s not a common thing to see. I just wish they offered more than neutral powders and included some warmer options as well. That being said, in the product photos, some shades look a bit red toned. 5N would have been perfect if it was a little more golden, but I’m happy with the shade match. It’s close enough to my skin tone that you can’t see a difference in photos between when I’m using it and when I don’t have it on. I’m wearing it in the Hermès cheek swatch photo, but the luminous look to my skin is from the Uoma Beauty Foundation, Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter, and a Jaclyn Hill highlighter. Although this powder doesn’t break the bank as much as the Hermès blush, I don’t know if I fully recommend it either. It all depends on whether it’s worth $40 to have a nice sheen that will never look powdery, with minimal additional benefits.

Lastly, I try to remember to mention whenever products have fragrance in them. The blush has a floral perfume-like scent and the powder has a soapy perfume-like scent. I can smell them when I first apply them, but it doesn’t linger on the skin.

That’s all for today! Much love!

My Powder and Setting Spray Collection and Declutter

I tried my best to keep my powder and spray collection to a minimum after 2018 because I know I never run through these categories of products and, to my knowledge, setting powders are one of the cheapest (if not the cheapest) makeup products to produce. The huge markup makes me reluctant to spend a lot on them. Some powders are more finely milled than others or I need one that won’t leave a cast on my skin or in photos, or one that isn’t too drying, so this is where the slight nuances in formulas can get me to spend more or keep trying to find one that I love enough to call a holy grail product.

All Over/Setting/Finishing Powders

Some powders I’ve used in the past have been the Make Up For Ever HD Setting Powder, MAC Translucent Setting Powder, Ben Nye Banana Powder, Besame French Vanilla Brightening Powder, etc. There haven’t been any setting powders (other than getting a better shade) I liked enough to repurchase. I don’t set my entire face with powder anymore (unless I need to wear foundation for an extended period of time), so I’ve been trying my hardest to just use what I have.

NARS Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder in Sunstone

This powder was my favorite of 2019. I was so happy to finally have a version (previously owned the loose version in their translucent white shade) that didn’t leave a cast on the skin or give Flashback. At the time I bought it, they didn’t have the loose version yet at Ulta. Sometimes I wish I waited to get the loose form in order to avoid the hardpressed-looking spot/film that appears onto the surface shortly after the initial use. At the same time, I didn’t want to deal with powder floating everywhere for once, as can happen with loose powders depending on the sieve.

The Sunstone shade is a great match for my skin tone in both depth and warmth. It never occurred to me, until I read Nikki’s post, that this powder can look noticeably orange on different skin tones, so I thought it was important to mention. I’ve linked her blog for anyone who wishes to see this powder swatched on her. I recommend taking a look as she posts great content!

I could have built up the color in my swatches but I wanted to show the kind of coverage one or two swipes with my finger can give. In most cases, that amount is enough to show visibly on my arm. In the case of the Sunstone shade, it’s such a close match to me that it’s harder to see. As for the original shade, I don’t have it blended in the swatch but when I used a light layer on my face, it remained translucent and also photographed well.

I’ve been holding onto the original (I stopped using it years ago) but I will toss it now, as it is quite old. I’ve only had Sunstone for a year and a half, so I’m keeping it. Plus, I still really enjoy it!

Beauty Bakerie Face Flour Baking Powder in Yellow (Cassava)

Beauty Bakerie has a lot more colors available now than when I purchased this. I prefer yellow, peach, orange, and brown powders over white or pink. In this case, there isn’t a strong enough yellow base, so it still comes off as practically white on my skin tone. I really wanted to love this powder because it was hyped up and I like supporting not only small brands but especially black-owned ones. I gave it several tries but this is just too drying for my under eyes, the place I need powder the most. So, it’s leaving my collection.

MAC Sunny Side Mineralize Skinfinish (Discontinued)

This is one of those products that I probably should not still be using, due to its age, but I like it and I’m unwilling to let it go just yet. For color correcting my under eyes, I tend to use just the three lightest colors to give myself a brightening effect. If my concealer is a bit too bright and I want to tone it down a bit, then I use either all four shades or just the darker powder on its own. Since this has been discontinued for a long time, I won’t spend anymore time describing it. However, if the other Mineralize Skinfinish powders work like this one, perhaps I should explore the line at some point in the future.

Chantecaille Perfect Blur Finishing Powder

I bought this at 30% off during the anniversary/birthday sale and it’s still the most expensive powder I own. While this does have a slight blurring effect, the overall finish isn’t anything spectacular. It doesn’t give my skin a more natural finish or a glow nor brightness. This one just mattifies me. It doesn’t give me anything else to warrant even the discounted price. I will give some additional credit that despite being pale in swatches, this does not leave a cast on my skin (though if I use too much it can lighten it). While I can make use of the blurring on days when my foundation and concealer are on the sheerer side, if I just conceal my imperfections then I don’t need to worry about blurring. Perhaps there are additional benefits I cannot see on my particular skin tone. There are rumors that Chantecaille is working on a darker version of this powder, which is admittedly intriguing to me. I want to see the full magic everyone gets so enthralled by when it comes to this powder! If a significantly deeper shade becomes available, I might sell this one on Mercari and use that money to go towards the newer one.

There is of course the charitable aspect. The Chantecaille family/brand are strong supporters of animal welfare and humanitarian work. A certain portion of the sale of this powder was donated to support “land conservation and women’s empowerment in the Amazon.”

Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Brightening Moisture Powder

I could have put this powder in the future highlighter declutter post because I use it for that purpose. The reason I did not is because my other luminous face powders have fine, yet more visible shimmer in them, such as the Guerlain Meteorites and Hourglass Finishing Powders. The shimmer in this is almost imperceptible but still gives a brightening effect.
I wish they created a deeper version and I was a little disappointed to learn that rather than make a darker shade, they recently created a pink version instead. With this one, I have to either use a very light application or blend it in very well if I want to avoid the white cast it leaves on my skin tone. Using a normal amount doesn’t just brighten, it completely lightens the look of my skin. Even though I can only use it as a highlighter/brightener, I’m unwilling to declutter this one.

Becca Under Eye Brightening Setting Powder Deluxe Sample

I don’t like this. I’ve only tried it once but it was so drying and not translucent on me. This will be given away.

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Instant Retouch Setting Powder Deluxe Sample in Honey

When this powder was first released, I had a hard time deciding between Honey and Hazelnut. I even went in-store, but still couldn’t decide. I was able to get this sample as a free gift with purchase. The actual powder looks darker than some of my other yellow toned powders, but it looks very light in the swatch. I’m glad I didn’t buy this because it doesn’t do anything for me. It doesn’t make anything look worse but it doesn’t increase the longevity of my makeup or keep my concealers from creasing. Whenever I’ve used this powder, I always felt the need to add more product before setting it with something else. Fenty Foundations don’t pair well with my skin, so it doesn’t surprise me that the powder doesn’t work for me either. From my observation, those with combo or oily skin tend to really love Fenty complexion products (which are always too dry for me). I’ll be giving this away.

Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder Deluxe Sample in Translucent and Honey

I received Translucent and Honey as free gift with purchase samples. I’ve had several samples of the Translucent shade over the years, so I decided not to open this one and I will be finding a new home for it. I can say that the shade did look nice under my eyes but I had the issue of flashback with it, so I never bought the full size until the shade Medium Deep was released. At the time, Medium Deep was a bit too dark for me but it’s a great color match now. However, I’ve had that shade for a few years now and I moved it out of my collection rather than completely getting rid of it. When I got the Honey shade, I was worried it would be too light, but I like how it looks. Both Honey and Medium Deep don’t give me issues with a cast or Flashback. Even though the powders are distinctly different shades, I can’t tell which is which when I use them on my face. I will continue to use the Honey shade, but I will not be purchasing the full size, purely because I like the Charlotte Tilbury powder better.

Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Filter Setting Powder Deluxe Sample in 03 Dark (now called 03 Tan)

When I received this sample from Sephora, I was a bit shocked to see that a powder this light was called “Dark.” I didn’t have any hope for it, but it has become my new favorite setting powder in my collection! It’s smooth. It has minimal kick up. It works nicely with all my concealers. I love the fact that Charlotte sells this in a mini size because it’s debatable whether I could even finish a small one before the 30 month period-after-opening date, considering how little I use. When I run out of this one and the Laura Mercier sample, I may purchase the mini in the slightly warmer version called “04 Deep.” When deep was released, “03 Dark” was renamed “03 Tan.” Miss Sydz on Youtube has a video showing them both together and how similar they look.

Below is a picture showing what the powders look like over a layer of concealer. The Charlotte Tilbury and Chantecaille were truest to color. The rest look similar except the Koh Gen Do, which dramatically lightened it.

Pat Mcgrath Labs Sublime Perfection Blurring Under-Eye Setting Powder in Deep

I completed my declutter and had this scheduled and ready to post, but when Pat Mcgrath had a Valentine’s Day sale I decided to purchase this powder. That’s why it’s not included in my original photo. Because it’s so new, I admittedly don’t have much experience with it.
It’s an ultra fine powder that is silkier than the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Filter. Here is how PMG compares in color to CT:

Charlotte Tilbury’s 03 Dark aka 03 Tan is slightly warmer than Pat Mcgrath’s Deep, despite how they look in their compacts. Although I purchased this specifically to use with the brand’s concealer, this has worked fantastically to set my other concealers as well, and not just for setting my under eyes. The only downside is that it can emphasize fine lines a little bit and it can look a little dry. This powder may be perfect on someone with a different skin type, but as someone with dry skin, I have to find a balance with the amount of skin prep and moisture I use if I want to apply this powder on top. Also, I have to use this with my same skin tone concealers and not with my lightening/brightening concealers because the powder has a brightening effect and with my lighter concealers it’s overkill. I’m very surprised PMG chose to call this one their “deep” shade and to have this be the darkest one available. This powder isn’t going to be deep enough for everyone.

This is the updated collection summary:

Setting/Finishing Sprays

When it comes to setting sprays, I use them even less than powders. I usually don’t wear makeup long enough in the day for me to need something to lock it in place or prolong the wear time. Since I powder less, I have less use for MAC Fix+ or the Morphe Continuous Setting Mist (not featured or reviewed here today) as a product to add life back to the face after using powder. My spray finishers are being utilized mainly to just dampen my eyeshadow brushes. The reason I have even this many sprays left in my collection is because of the various scents. Even though I try my best to avoid fragrances in skincare and makeup, when it comes to setting sprays it’s something that I’m drawn to and I don’t know why! It’s a bit of an impulse which I can sometimes resist until it’s in a product I enjoy like Fix+ and All Nighter.

Skindinavia Makeup Finishing Spray

I’ve had this in the back of my drawer since my 2018 Lucky Bag, but I only used it a few times in that amount of time. Skindinavia, “in an exclusive partnership” made Urban Decay’s setting sprays, so one could save $4 getting a bottle of this and feel confident that if you like the Urban Decay sprays, you’d likely enjoy this. I am a fan, but I have such little use for setting sprays that it doesn’t make sense for me to ever purchase a full-size bottle. I’ve kept it this long simply because I forgot about it, but I’m throwing this out.

Urban Decay Honey Scented All Nighter Spray

I love honey as a food, a theme, and a scent. However, I bought this at the end of 2019 and hadn’t even opened it until this February! I’ve used travel sizes of the All Nighter in the past, so I knew I’d like this for extending the wear of my makeup. I just haven’t had a need for it in the little over a year that I’ve owned it. It think it’s still okay to use, considering it’s been shelved this whole time, but it has a 6 month period-after-opening, so I will be throwing out whatever I don’t use before the year is over. Also, this smells vaguely of honey. I would have assumed it was a generic fragrance, and not intended to actually smell like something, if they hadn’t specifically labeled this as “Honey Scented.”

MAC Fix+ in Pineapple, Cucumber, and Coconut

A few holidays ago I bought several Fix+ sets that had mini trios of Coconut, Rose, and Lavender scented sprays. The Coconut mini (bottle with the mostly clearer liquid) is my last one. I love these tiny bottles because they have a fine nozzle and I’ve been able to reuse them with other facial mists that don’t have a good sprayer. The Cucumber one smells alright, but I prefer to reserve that one to spray my eyeshadow brushes. The Coconut and Pineapple smell fantastic, so I use those for my face to give myself a dewier appearance from the glycerin inside it. This is good for 24 months, and I’ve had mine for 18 months, so these will also be gone before the year is over. I intend to replace it when I run out.

Gerard Cosmetics Slay All Day Setting Spray in Dreamsicle

This spray smells amazing! In the 17 months that I’ve had this, I’ve never actually used it to set my makeup until I began working on this post. I used to use this like a facial spray and mood booster, even though that’s not what this is. This is a full on setting spray with alcohol as the second ingredient. I really shouldn’t use it like skincare, especially considering my stance on trying to minimize the number of fragrance products I use, but I have a childhood attachment to concept of creamsicles and dreamsicles. I purchased this bottle as soon as it was on sale. I thought it was strange that it didn’t come with a spray nozzle, but I didn’t mind because I had empty mini MAC Fix+ bottles I could use as the sprayer and they work wonderfully for that purpose. There is no PAO symbol or expiration date on my bottle, so I’m not certain how long this is supposed to be good for, but based on other sprays on the market I can only assume it’s at least 24 months. After I declutter this bottle, I will not be repurchasing this purely because of the added fragrance. The Fix+ scents aren’t very strong, but I imagine the fact that this is so much stronger than Fix+ has to mean there’s more fragrance in it, and that increases the risk of skin sensitization.

As an actual setting spray, this has a form of glycol in the ingredients which would explain why my face looked so dewy after loading this on. I have a blush which fades quickly on its own, so I wore that one during my 8+ hour wear test and it kept the blush on my face all day! The areas of my face where I used the Pat Mcgrath concealer didn’t fare as well, but that concealer is very finicky on me regardless.

My goal for this year is to end it with only Fix+ and perhaps one small bottle of a traditional setting spray.

That’s all for now! Thank you for taking a look. I hope you visit my blog again!


Hourglass vs Guerlain Powders

Hourglass and Guerlain are the two most hyped brands I’ve seen when it comes to all over face powders that give a blur and sheen but aren’t shimmery enough to be considered highlighters. So, when I saw both brands release actual highlighters and noticed how similar they were, I had to buy them.

Hourglass Metallic Strobe Lighting Palette

This palette has a net weight of 9 grams for $64. It was originally released for the holidays in 2017, but they brought it back for a limited time in 2020. I purchased this in May, but as of August, it’s still available on multiple retailers’ websites.

The Hourglass powders have a sheer base to them, which is why they appear sheerer in swatches than the ones from Guerlain. However, the Hourglass powders are much more reflective, as can be seen when applied to my cheeks. So, they end up making a bigger impact with my usual application method. They are meant to be used wet for more intensity (with a spray or primer) or dry. When I apply them dry, they’re at my maximum shimmer comfort level (unless I use a light hand and blend them very well), so I don’t use them wet. The Guerlain ones can also be applied wet too, but the difference is minimal compared to the jump in intensity when the Hourglass powders are used wet.

Guerlain Pearl Dusting Palette

Also known as the Meteorites 3-in-1 Highlighting and Illuminating Pressed Powder Palette, this has a net weight of 8.5 grams for $65. So, it’s slightly more expensive for a bit less product. The compact is huge with a lot of wasted space, though the packaging feels luxurious. Both palettes have mirror-finish plastic packaging, but despite the Guerlain one having less makeup inside, it’s a bit heavier. I suspect the actual mirror inside the Guerlain compact is heavier than the one in the Hourglass and accounts for the difference in weight.

The visible sheen on the surface of Hourglass and Guerlain’s trio powders are unlike any other highlighters I own. This is probably due to the addition of pearl powder which both brands cite as the main contributor to the beauty of these highlighters. Even though a sheer base, in theory, seems like the Hourglass powders would look better on my skin, the micro pearl particles are whitish, which doesn’t look as complimentary to someone like me with a yellow undertone and dark skin. The base pigment in the Guerlain highlighters help match me better, with the exception of the pink one.

All Guerlain Meteorites have a lovely violet scent that I enjoy experiencing whenever I open the containers. I have a keen sense of smell, so perhaps I’m more sensitive to fragrances than most people, but the violet scent in this trio is way more intense than the regular meteorites. It’s on the cusp of headache-inducing. It takes a few hours before I can no longer smell it on my face, which is not something I ever experienced with the regular meteorite pearls. I bought this a month and a half ago, and even let it air out for a few hours, but the scent is still as present as the day I bought it. I can tolerate it enough to keep using it, but if you’re sensitive to smells I would caution against buying this.


The Hourglass powders don’t have as much color to them, are smoother to the touch, easier to blend, are buildable and highly reflective. The Guerlain powders are more pigmented, stick where they apply, and have an impactful sheen without being blinding.

I’ve always favored Guerlain Meteorites over the Hourglass Ambient Powders, but when it comes to their highlighters it’s not as simple to decide between them.

Neither of the pink shades from Guerlain and Hourglass are flattering on me. They’re too stark on my skintone and look more white on my skin than the actual white pan powders.

The other two Guerlain powders are probably the most flattering on me and more of my style, though I have to tolerate the smell to wear them. I still think the other two Hourglass powders are beautiful. Lucent Strobe makes the most wearable-impact of them all, as it’s intense but not as icy.

The best uses of the Guerlain Trio I’ve found is using Gold alone, Amber alone, or mixing the Gold and Amber shades together. It tones down the yellow base in Gold while amping up the intensity that Amber doesn’t have on its own.

The best use of the Hourglass Trio I’ve found is to use Pure Strobe as an inner corner of the eye highlight and Lucent Strobe as a spotlight/pinpoint highlighter. I basically use a regular highlighter along my cheeks and at the very highest point of my cheekbone add Lucent Strobe to make that spot stand out even more. All that these Metallic Strobe powders really need is to be mixed with something deeper, and then the outcome is much more to my liking. In the photo below, I used Nabla’s Amnesia highlighter, which is not an example of a deeper highlighter, but of one that’s on the more subtle side that was amped up by Lucent Strobe.

The shades in the Guerlain Pearl Palette better compliment my skin tone than the Hourglass Metallic Strobe Palette. Both brands advertise these products as “universal” highlighters, but I don’t believe this to be the case. They can be used on a wide range of skin tones, but none were catered to me, not even the Guerlain trio. I still really enjoy them anyway and don’t regret my purchases.