Makeup I Traveled with and Purchased in Germany

I love “What’s in My Travel Makeup Bag?” type of posts for only one reason: wanting to see which products someone couldn’t be without. The products I took with me traveling were chosen for so many other reasons besides that one, so I reconsidered making this post. However, I thought about how I was able to pack the least amount of products for the longest trip I’ve been on and realized this could be useful to those wanting ideas of what to take with them and things to consider for extended stays. I will also discuss what I learned about shopping for makeup in Germany and I’ll review the items I purchased while there.

Anything Will Do

When it comes to lips, brows, and face primers, I find that pretty much any products in those categories will get the job done. They all work well, but I could have replaced them with any others in my collection. I chose the 15ml travel size of the Good Molecules Silicone-Free Priming Moisturizer because it can double as a primer and moisturizer, which saves space with its compact form and from having to bring a second item. The ELF Instant Lift Brow Pencil could have been swapped out for my Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz or the Benefit Precisely My Brow pencil, but the $3 price made it ideal so that if I misplaced it, it wouldn’t be much of a financial loss. The Tower28 Gloss was chosen because I am on an unofficial project pan and want to see if I can use it up within a year. Otherwise, I would have taken the Fenty Gloss Bomb or my other mini glosses with me instead. I did a lip declutter earlier this year, so any lip pencil in my current collection could have replaced the Mented Nude La La Lip Pencil, but I chose it because it’s the one I’ve used the least, is a shade I could use all over the lip and not just as a liner, plus it doesn’t require a sharpener.

Backups/Replaceable Items

Choosing the Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner was an easy decision because it was my holy grail eyeliner for a long time, it will last through different changes in weather, and I have multiples of them in my collection because I always get them at half price during Ulta’s 21 Days of Beauty sales or during the holidays. I knew I would be going back to Germany this year, so I didn’t want to bring a used eyeliner and have to worry that when I went back it would be dried up or run out on me. I also recently became reacquainted with my old holy grail lip balm, the Nuxe Reve de Miel, and went overboard buying three jars in total when they only have a 6 month shelf life once opened. So, I figured I could keep a spare in Germany as well. As for the brown mini lipgloss tube in the initial post photo at the top, I decided that I could use one of the empty tubes I had from my days of making custom products to store foundation in there. The tiny gift with purchase sample I had of the Nars Soft Matte Complete Foundation lasted me six months, so I knew the amount I squeezed in there would last through multiple trips. If you have a foundation in a glass bottle, it’s a great idea to store some in a small squeeze tube that helps limit the exposure of the foundation to air, has a small enough hole so that you won’t squeeze too much product out at once, and is of course more compact and won’t break during travel.

Speaking of broken things, I contemplated what to do with my repressed pan of Huda GloWish Soft Radiance Bronzing Powder in the shade 04 Tan since I was sent a replacement item. Although I got too dark on the trip to be able to use it, I figured I could keep the spare in Germany. Lastly, I only have one MAC Studio Fix Soft Matte Foundation Stick, but this item is replaceable in the sense that my holy grail eyeshadow primer is the MAC Paint Pot. This performs similarly to the Paint Pot but works better specifically with the Hindash Beautopsy palette I planned to bring with me. Also unlike the Paint Pot, it’s not in a breakable glass pot. Plus, I could use it as concealer in a pinch, though it isn’t dark enough for me to use as actual foundation. But if someone else traveling wanted to really pack minimally, the Foundation Stick could be used for all of those tasks.

Must Haves

If I wasn’t the type that loves having a variety to choose from, even on trips, I could have skipped bringing an eyeliner, brow pencil, blushes, and bronzers entirely because I took the Hindash Beautopsy Palette with me. I did skip bringing a contour and setting powder because I had this available. I use Beautopsy for so much more than eyeshadows and I’ve been raving about this palette for good reason. It could be a bit nerve wracking to take such an expensive product, but the packaging is intended for makeup artists, which means it should be durable enough to travel with anywhere. This is a must have for minimalists, but I took this because it’s such a staple in my makeup routine now that I didn’t want to be without it. Especially considering the fact that I got a little darker on the trip, my ability to customize the depth of shades came in handy and I used it more than all the bronzers I had with me. The only area which the Beautopsy palette lacks is having no shimmer options. I knew I would miss having shimmer shadows, so I used a custom magnetic palette to store my Devinah Cosmetics Eyeshadows. When selecting the colors, I wanted shades that would pair well with each other, could be used in subtle daytime looks or dramatic nighttime looks, as well as giving me neutral and colorful options. Of course it was tempting to want to bring my absolute favorite Clionadh shadows, but Devinah makes extremely similar quality of products with the added bonus of being made in the US with quicker restocks. This means that if for some reason my shadows broke irreparably (like the particles got mixed with each other and could not be separated), I’d probably have a replacement in weeks up to 2 months, as opposed to 1-6 months or more. Devinah shadows are also slightly lower cost per shadow with cheaper shipping for me. This choice was a combination of wanting my favorite eyeshadow quality while factoring the travel element. Of course, when using special shadows, the Nyx Glitter Primer is essential for keeping them in place and helping the shades pop. I always have replacement tubes (which is a good thing because my tubes keep busting at the top) so I brought this along as a necessity that happens to be inexpensive and replaceable.
What is definitely not inexpensive is the Dior Backstage Face & Body Powder-No Powder, but I absolutely had to bring it with me. I discovered that this powder is so fantastic for smoothing out the skin and blurring imperfections, which was crucial to have for this trip. The lighting at my boyfriend’s place was extremely tricky to see what I was doing while applying makeup. The lighting was either dim or yellow, which showed things differently than the LED lights in the main room’s 9-foot high ceiling, also different than the highly fluctuating natural light peeking out from grey and dark clouds most of the time I was there. Depending on the light, I could look like I had no bronzer or too deep of bronzer, no blush or looking like a flat out clown. When on a trip, you’re often in a time crunch, and I couldn’t keep waiting for the natural light to be sunny enough to complete my makeup. Having the Dior powder gave me confidence that the end result looked nice and fixed anything that needed fixing, even if the resulting look was more subtle than intended.

This may seem a bit extra, but I took two mascara tubes with me. Rather than just relying solely on a mini size for the trip, I needed a mascara like the Essence Volume Stylist 18 hr Lash Extension Mascara that would give me a false lash effect because there was no way I was going to bring falsies traveling. This is a very affordable mascara, so I could leave it in Germany and it will still hopefully be good when I get back. With a mini, I had no idea how many uses I could get out of it (considering I was there for three weeks), but it’s a good option to consider for those packing lightly. I happened to have a sample of the Benefit Bad Gal Bang mascara and I brought it with me because I remembered liking the original Bad Gal Lash mascara and hoped it would be good. The Bang version is even better! I love that it darkens and lengthens my lashes easily and without leaving any clumps. The brush also makes it so the lashes are separated and fanned out like a doll. I can also build up a little volume. It’s not as dramatic as the Essence mascara, but it’s enough to look like I’m naturally blessed with long lashes.

I have to name the Nabla Skin Glazing Highlighter in Amnesia as an honorable mention for a “must have” product on a trip, even though I didn’t bring it this time. I have taken that highlighter on all other trips since I first purchased it. It’s on the lighter side for me, but it still works beautifully on my skin tone to give me a subtle highlight or an intense one. It also matches both warm and cool toned makeup looks. The only reason I left it behind was because I ordered the Hatice Schmidt Labs highlighter in the Medium shade, which looked like a very close dupe and I did not want to have two nearly identical products on the trip, especially as I already had a usable highlighter in the Kaja Bento box I brought with me. Now that I have two similar products, I will likely bring the HSL on trips from now on because it’s slightly darker, slightly warmer, and with a slightly more transparent base which makes it that much more suited to my skin tone. It also has a mirror, which was helpful in the moments I was running around trying to see how my makeup was looking in alternate light sources. If I was more concerned about the weight of the products or the price of the products, the Nabla Skin Glazing would be a better choice. However, if something happens to my HSL product, I wouldn’t feel as upset knowing that I have the Nabla as my backup.

Made To Be On-The-Go

I could have put several of the products mentioned above in this category, but the ones I’m discussing here don’t really fit in any other category. For example, the Tarte Shape Tape Concealer is my holy grail concealer, so I purchased the travel size for the trip. It was ideal for it’s compact size (though at one tenth of the size of the larger one, it’s certainly not cost effective) and the assumption it would last me two trips. However, I suspect that the formula in the mini is not as full coverage as the full size tube. I had to use a lot more product to get the coverage I needed. Perhaps this is another situation of the lighting being an issue. I also brought a mini of a lighter shade in order to mix my perfect color, like usual, but there was no need to this time as Deep didn’t look as dark as the full size either. That’s why this is in the “made to be on-the-go” section instead of “must haves.” I have also mentioned that I like mixing the Shape Tape with Pat Mcgrath’s concealer, but that one is in a glass tube which I did not want to bring with me. In the future, I’ll just carry my regular full size Shape Tape on trips, especially since I also get them for half off during Ulta’s 21 Days of Beauty. In a past review of the Kaja Play Bento Sculpting Trio, I mentioned that this product was ideal for traveling, so I felt obligated to bring it. Honestly, the fact that I have the Beautopsy palette though makes it pretty redundant as I can make a bronzer out of that palette and create a similar blush shade. I love the cream bronzer, but I don’t trust wearing a cream product while on a trip for fear of transfer onto clothing or sweat. The highlighter is nice, but I will always want a more intense option too. I took this traveling with me because I wanted to test the durability, as well as having those other options, but I only used it once during the three weeks (besides keeping it in my small purse as a mirror). However, if someone doesn’t have a face palette or wants something more affordable, lightweight, compact, and travel friendly, this is still a good option.

In my photo at the top of the post, I have a mini bottle of the Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water, but it’s actually filled with Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water. They make a mini version, but I didn’t want to buy one when I could just reuse a smaller thinner bottle in my possession by transferring it in from one of my many larger size bottles. I also have mini versions of the Original Makeup Eraser Cloth, but I brought a full size one with me on the trip. I also filled an empty package of SkinFood Rice Cleansing Wipes with some from a larger package. That way I could use a makeup wipe on a heavier makeup day that I was too tired to double-cleanse and also not carry a whole heavy package which has 80 wipes in there.

Lastly for this section is sunscreen. It’s not makeup, but it’s essential. I brought what I thought was a mini size of the Round Lab Birch Juice Moisturizing Sun Cream which came in the box with the full size sunscreen I bought. It turned out that the mini was the non-SPF version and I didn’t figure it out until I was back in the US. Since I was testing it out for the first time, I also brought my usual Neutrogena Ultra Sheer 70 SPF Liquid Sunscreen too. The Ultra Sheer is small enough that it doesn’t take up much room in my carry-on bag and is airport compliant at 40 mL out of 100 mL. I have since used the actual SPF version of the Round Lab and I like that it doesn’t leave a cast. It makes my skin look a little dull on the darker spots of my face with hyperpigmentation, but it’s barely noticeable on my bare face and it’s definitely not an issue under makeup. The Round Lab is twice the price at only 10 ml more, so I would have continued to purchase the one from Neutrogena if it sadly hadn’t just been discontinued a few months ago. I had been using it for seven years and was quite sad to learn it was gone before I could purchase one final backup. Since I haven’t even tested the Round Lab during a true Florida summer, I’m not ready to recommend it yet. When it comes to something as important as sunscreen, I wouldn’t feel comfortable recommending it unless I’d tested it through at least two summers.

The Ultra Sheer Liquid Sunscreen in the Sensitive version is not the same since it’s a mineral sunscreen which relies heavily on titanium dioxide, which is the main culprit that leaves a cast on dark skin. The Dry-Touch version of Ultra Sheer is definitely not the same (leaves a white cast on me), as well as other sunscreens from Neutrogena. I picked up several trial packets and sunscreen minis recently, so I will be checking to see if I can find anything that’s as lightweight and doesn’t leave a cast while also thoroughly protecting me from the sun. So far, the Round Lab is the best I currently own.

Additional Tips

When I was deciding what to pack, the first thing I did was write a list of all the makeup categories I could think of and filled out which products I would want to bring most. Then, in order to condense the list, I went back over my answers and thought about what things I owned that could accomplish more than one task to reduce the number of products I had to bring. I thought about which things I owned or could buy in mini sizes to save space and decrease the weight of what I’d have to carry. I kept in mind which items were easily breakable, replaceable, and what I would miss too much if I didn’t have it. I also debated about what items I could just skip bringing entirely and buy while abroad. One thing I forgot to consider was that even though I was leaving a lot of makeup behind in Germany, all the new products I purchased weighed so much more than what I initially took with me, so my makeup bag was heavier coming back. I could have skipped bringing the Kaja Bento as a backup if I thought about the fact that I was going to buy a highlighter and three blushes.
I also made the decision to skip bringing cream products. Although I knew it wasn’t likely to be hot in Germany, I was required to walk a lot more and figured I would probably work up a sweat. I intended to do a lot of hugging as well, so I didn’t want to risk taking anything that could transfer or sweat off. It was also windy at times and I wore my hair down a bit more than usual. Balmy products on the skin that don’t dry down would have been a bad idea. Thinking about how the makeup items will be affected by the weather and the activities on the trip is something to consider. Nothing I brought with me needed a setting spray and none of them (besides my eyeliner) were waterproof, but that might be necessary for someone else to pack.

Here is a sample list of the categories of makeup to think about when packing:

  • Face Primer –
  • Eye shadow Primer –
  • Foundation –
  • Concealer –
  • Color Corrector –
  • Eye shadows –
  • Brow Product –
  • Eyeliner –
  • Mascara –
  • False Lashes and Lash Glue –
  • Setting Powder and/or Finishing Powder –
  • Setting Spray (keep TSA requirements in mind) –
  • Blush –
  • Bronzer –
  • Contour –
  • Highlighter –
  • Lip Balm/Gloss/Stick/Liner/Stain/Plumper –

One other thing I wanted to mention is that I was paranoid about the possibility of having lost luggage, so I packed some of my makeup products separately. The more fragile items, such as eyeshadows and pressed powders, I kept in my carry-on. My eyeliner, the full size mascara, the lighter concealer, etc were kept in my suitcase.

Douglas and Got2B Makeup

When I was shopping for makeup in Münster, I expected to discover plenty of German founded cosmetic brands that I hadn’t seen before. Perhaps this exists online, but when it comes to makeup at retail shops, the brands under the umbrella of major parent companies like L’Oréal, Estée Lauder, and LVMH dominate worldwide. It’s one thing to always hear that and quite another to actually see it for myself.
When I stopped in the Douglas shop, ARTDECO Beauty and ANNAYAKE (as well as the actual Douglas brand of makeup) were the only ones I hadn’t seen in the US. It was the same for drugstores, that only the actual store’s brand of makeup (such as dm of dm-drogerie markt) is unavailable in the US.

Of those unfamiliar brands, my purchasing options were limited to universal products like eyeliners and mascaras, as the complexion ones weren’t deep enough for me. I did snag a blush from Got2B. I was familiar with the brand’s hair products, but I had no clue until that moment that they made makeup as well! I tried to find out when they launched the cosmetics, and I believe it was in July 2021, so just a month before I got there, but I don’t know for certain. The ARTDECO products didn’t appeal to me, so I decided to try the Douglas brand of makeup as well, which is of similar quality to the Sephora Collection brand of makeup.

Douglas Cosmetics Caramel Nudes Eyeshadow Palette mini

The full size Caramel Nudes palette reminds me of the Anastasia Beverly Hills Soft Glam palette. I didn’t see it available in-store, but the mini was there, which I thought was perfect to try out the quality of Douglas shadows without making a big price commitment. The eyeshadows swatched evenly on my arm and clearly looks pigmented on those with a lighter skin tone. I find the shadows to be on the thin side and I found myself craving a little more impact from the shimmers. The mattes blended nicely and were opaque with a satisfactory amount of pigmentation. I was also glad that the cream shade did not look ashy like some lighter shades can appear on darker skin. This palette lacks a color that can add depth for me if used on its own. This is more of a one and done type of palette. I did not use the tiny dual ended brush it came with, which is a miniature version of the brush that’s in the full-size palette. Overall, the quality is decent and I could see myself actually using this palette every so often if I’m in the mood for a soft look.

Douglas Cheek Me Up Cream-Like Powder Blushes in 02 Rosa Carolina and 07 Hollyhocks

I chose these blushes with the help of the staff at Douglas. They were very friendly and polite. Even though my boyfriend was there to translate, they didn’t solely rely on him for help and tried to speak as much English to me as possible. I also appreciated the fact that they didn’t try to sell me anything that clearly would not work for my skin tone, just to make a sale, as has happened to me in the past at other retail shops in the US. They were upfront about which lines they carried that had options for my skin tone. The two shades they picked for me were the ones I would have chosen for myself, and as a bonus they were heavily discounted, so even though they were similar shades, I decided to just get them both.

I used Hollyhocks quite a bit on the trip and figured it would be my preferred shade because I like brownish-pink type of blushes that look more natural on my cheeks. However, I still like the bright flush Rosa Carolina gives to my cheeks and how just two dips with my brush gives me easy color payoff. As I started to get darker, I began to favor Rosa Carolina more because it was easier to see on my skin, though they both show well on me and are easy to blend. They’re decent blushes that get the job done, and at 4 euros each, they’re some of the least expensive blushes I own. I have so many wonderful blushes though, that as nice as they are, they’d still rank in the lower middle of my collection.

Shoutout to my boyfriend for being my light arm model! Not that he volunteered. I swatched shades on him while he played World of Warcraft, haha.

Got2b Cheeky Bloom Blush Powder in Pink Velvet

The inner pink circle is a slightly shimmery pale pink that I can use as a highlighter/blush topper. The outer bright pink ring of blush is what I try to pick up with my brush to use all over the cheeks. I like how soft the powder is and that there isn’t much kickup in the pan, but it still feels and smells powdery when I apply it to my cheeks. It’s definitely lower quality than I’m used to, which is a shame since it was 8 euros, but it’s not terrible. And because it has slightly more sheen than the matte Douglas blushes, it’s more flattering on my dry skin. It still looks nice on my cheeks, lasts as long as I need it to, is as lightweight as it’s described on the packaging, and contains nourishing ingredients like Macadamia Oil and Vitamin E, though I don’t know in what amounts. I’m still intrigued by other products from the brand, but for now my curiosity is quenched.

That’s all for today! I appreciate so much anyone who has taken the time to stop by and read my posts. Thank you. I hope this has been helpful!

Also, I wrote nearly all of this post months ago, but I kept pushing the publish date back because of new exciting makeup I wanted to review as soon as possible. I’m actually going back to Germany in a few days and won’t return to the US until the end of January, but I’m not sure if I will even be back home until sometime in February. For now, I am still on track to continue with regularly scheduled weekly posts, but if at any point this changes, the next eventual post will be on a Monday.

– Lili

Bronzer Bonanza: The Rest of My Bronzer Collection

I’m Lili, and it has been two weeks since my last bronzer purchase.
This initially started as a declutter post, but I realized there wouldn’t be any point to that since I’m essentially keeping them all. Even the Kiko Milano Dolce Diva Bronzer in Cocoa and the Too Faced Chocolate Gold Bronzer, which are too light to bronze my face, I’m keeping as highlighters. At least for now.

Also, please excuse the fact that I really did not want to do a full face of makeup this week, particularly eye makeup. Or do anything with my hair. In a lot of these photos I just have on the bronzers with concealer and foundation. I try to get blog posts scheduled far in advance so that when I inevitably go through a short 4-7 day period of not wanting to wear makeup, I can skip taking photos. Unfortunately, I ran out of completed posts and I couldn’t afford to wait for it to pass, so I compromised by doing partial makeup looks.

Huda Beauty GloWish Soft Radiance Bronzing Powder in 05 Rich and 04 Tan

I’m in the Deep-Tan category of Huda’s foundations, but I was hesitant to purchase the 04 Deep Tan bronzer shade. I couldn’t tell if the combination would suit me because the darker swirl looked dark enough, but the lighter swirl appeared so light in the promo photos. I didn’t want to end up with another bronzer in my collection that needed to be built up like crazy in order to be seen, so I purchased 05 Rich.

05 Rich isn’t perfect for me, as I can see it’s a bit deep when I get too much of the darker shade on my brush. I have to be mindful of where I swirl it in the pan to get an equal amount of both shades, but my goodness, it’s worth the minor inconvenience! The finish of this powder is so skin-like and gives a beautiful sheen. It reminds me of the same finish the Nabla Skin Bronzing formula gives, but without so much effort getting product off the hard pressed bronzer and without having to build up it up to be seen. This bronzer is definitely pigmented and it gives a natural satin look to the skin even though it looks matte in the pan (likely due to being being a mica-based formula). If the two shades are applied evenly, it looks neutral but leaning red.

The texture is completely unique to anything else I have in terms of the level of creaminess it feels to the touch without actually being wet nor a cream-to-powder formula. It actually reminds me of the way a block of pottery clay feels, and I don’t mean a sticky wet consistency; I mean smoothness when you glide your finger down it.

This bronzer lasts a full eight hours on bare skin and foundation equally.

This is a little on the pricier end of my collection for a single bronzer, but considering it gives Kosas a run for its money and that bronzer retails for $34, I’m okay with this price. Also, because I’m such a fan of this formula, I took the risk and ordered 04 Deep Tan right after I finished the first draft of this post. It arrived on Saturday but unfortunately, came shattered.

Trying to get some product onto my brush out of the broken pieces led to very inconsistent mixtures of color, so I crushed it up even more before re-pressing it (no extra liquid needed). Sephora is sending me a replacement, but in the meantime, this is the best I could do at the last minute*.

04 Deep Tan seems to be my correct shade. It only takes a few dips in the pan to get the amount of bronze that’s slightly darker than my face and looks extremely natural (making it still easier to use than the Nabla Bronzer). When I say 04 is slightly darker, I mean it truly is subtle.
I’ve tested mixing 04 and 05 together, and I had to still be careful about how much of the darker swirl in 05 I pick up with my brush.

In the last minute photos above, I’m wearing a lot of new products including a sample of Make Up For Ever’s Watertone Skin-Perfecting Tint Foundation in Y445, Flower Beauty Blush Bomb Color Drops in Melon, Laura Mercier Roseglow Highlighting Powder, and the Sydney Grace x Temptalia Radiant Reflection (Deep) Palette. I was originally wearing the Danessa Myricks Contour Balm as I just wanted to try some new things in my collection and had no intention of taking photos that day, but when GloWish Deep Tan arrived, I removed it to try that shade out instead.

*UPDATE July 16th, 2021: Here are the additional photos I took after my replacement bronzer arrived.

Jaclyn Cosmetics Bronze & Blushing Duo in Be Rouge / Espresso Shot

I’m one of the lucky people that happened to only purchase the “good” Jaclyn releases that had no scandals attached to them. Because I haven’t been burned by the brand yet, I made the decision to cautiously try the products via Ulta. I’m not a Jaclyn hater, but I feel justified in being wary about Jaclyn Cosmetics considering the ridiculous number of things that have gone wrong with her collabs in the past. I don’t trust Morphe as a brand and Jaclyn Cosmetics is owned by Forma Brands (formerly Morphe Holdings), so that doesn’t fill me with confidence either.

I watched a ridiculous amount of videos to help me decide between the two darkest shade options and ultimately I picked this duo because the bronzer is listed as neutral, whereas the other option is very red. I generally avoid berry blushes, but Be Rouge passes for a dark pink if I use a light hand. So, I picked this one and while I do think this was the best choice out of the two, I was surprised to see that Espresso Shot wasn’t as dark as I’d expect for the deepest shade in the line, plus it’s more red toned than neutral. However, this range is more inclusive than the Patrick Ta and Wayne Goss duo launches, so I give the brand credit for that. Also, the formula really impressed me. When I applied both products over foundation, I was able to get a well blended look very quickly and with minimal fading after 9 hours. The result of the blush was similar to, but not better than, the Makeup by Mario Soft Pop Powder blushes. On bare skin, the powders cling to the moisturized areas and take longer to blend. I would recommend this duo for use over foundation only. I also only recommend this if the bronzer and blush are colors and tones you will like. The blend is flattering, but it’s definitely not worth $36 to only like one shade, and it’s still not worth it to somewhat like each.

Bee Shot is very pigmented. I used a medium amount and it showed this intensely on camera. I would use less on a normal makeup day.

Juvia’s Place Bronzed Duo in Dark

These bronzers look more different in their pans than they do on the face. They also look neutral until they’re actually applied to the skin. The lighter shade in the duo leans golden-orange and the darker bronzer has a stronger orange tinge. I think the lighter one is best suited for me, but it still looks nice when I mix both together. I just wouldn’t use the darker one by itself.

These bronzers are nicely pigmented, smooth, and last beyond eight hours. However, I should note that twice when I used this duo (the light shade alone and then again when both shades were mixed), it completely disappeared off the left side of my forehead. I hadn’t done anything strenuous and I wasn’t out in the heat. It was still going strong on my cheeks, so I think I might have rubbed it off by resting my forehead on my hand while watching a show.
Furthermore, when I swatched both shades on my arm, the lightest shade basically blended away if I kept rubbing at it. The darker shade only rubbed off a little. I found this to be so strange considering there is only one ingredient list printed on the box, so they should basically have the same formula. I don’t know why one shade rubs away and the other doesn’t, but that’s something to consider when deciding if this duo is worth buying. It will certainly last on the skin of someone who doesn’t touch their face a lot. Also, I have no way of knowing if it’s only an issue with the Dark duo or if the other Juvia’s Place Bronzer duos perform like this as well.

When I first bought this, I was very curious to see how it stacked up to the Coloured Raine bronzers. The Juvia’s Place bronzers feel slightly softer to the touch and are pigmented yet buildable (and perhaps too blendable)! The Coloured Raine bronzers are more pigmented and I think Cinna-Bae is the best shade for me out of the four. Also, besides the differences in tone, I think the Coloured Raine bronzers look a little nicer on the skin. Juvia’s Place gives a better deal at $18 for the duo versus $16 for an individual bronzer, but at least I don’t have to worry about Cinna-Bae coming off until I’m ready to remove my makeup.

Kaja Play Bento Cream Bronzer, Powder Blush and Highlighter Sculpting Trio in Mochamallow

This is my first ever Kaja purchase and I couldn’t be happier. I still haven’t gotten over how cute and compact it is. I think all three shades are flattering on me. I bought it during the VIB sale, so it was only $20 and well worth it. The highlighter is reflective from the shimmer but because it’s a somewhat dark gold and close to my skin tone, it’s not intense. It’s a nice middle ground. As the day goes on and the shine diminishes a bit, it looks darker, but still does it’s job as a highlighter. The blush is a pretty shade of dark pink that gives good color payoff. It’s not as smooth as some of my higher end blushes, but I still like it. It fades after about five hours on bare skin, but it doesn’t start to fade until after 8 hours when applied over foundation. The bronzer gives me a realistic looking sculpt. It performs a bit better than the Patrick Ta and gives me no issues for a full eight hours.

Regarding the application process, I prefer to use these with brushes. When I use a damp sponge with the bronzer, it can lift the foundation if I’m not careful. I also tried using the sponge with the highlighter and it gives a gorgeous dewy glow effect. I can’t apply it as precisely with a sponge, but the way it melts into skin makes precision not as necessary.

In the photos, I used a normal amount of everything, but these can all be built up even more. I also applied the three products with brushes only.

The Kaja Play Bento Sculpting Trios come in two lighter varieties as well.

Mented Cosmetics Bronzer in Yacht Life and Vacay

I have reviewed the Mented Cosmetics Bronzer in Vacay before, but I recently picked up Yacht Life on sale. Vacay didn’t have any shimmer, so I was shocked to see the gold colored particles throughout the Yacht Life Bronzer. However, I think most of the shimmer floats away when I apply the product to my skin because I can’t see it on my face when I wear it. It has the same smoothness that impressed me about Vacay, but as a darker shade, this one has a much easier time showing up. It’s also on the orange-red side, but it’s as nice and smooth as I expected.

One of the biggest reasons I held off on buying Yacht Life was that I thought it looked quite close to Fenty’s Mocha Mami. I can confirm that they do look extremely similar, though I like Mented’s formula better. It’s just so silky and easier to blend.

Patrick Ta Major Sculpt Creme Contour & Powder Bronzer Duo in She’s Chiseled

I am so conflicted over this duo. What I do like about it is the end result from combining the bronzer and contour together. The contour alone is a nice consistency and blends very well, but it sheers out a lot no matter if I use a damp sponge or brush. It’s the darkest duo Patrick Ta offers, and in swatches it looks nearly as dark as Kaja’s Mochamallow, but the Kaja cream has more pigment. The best that I’m able to build up the Patrick Ta contour, while keeping it looking blended, still isn’t rich enough in color to live up to the name of making me look ‘chiseled’. It also makes my skin look dull until I add the bronzer on top, which gives my face some life again. Unfortunately, adding the bronzer back loses a lot of the shadow effect, especially as the day goes on because I don’t find the contour to be very long lasting, but I still prefer the combination. The powder bronzer on its own is quite sheer and barely shows on me. I get that softer makeup looks are more on trend now, but I don’t think anyone darker than me will enjoy this duo. Also, the texture is also not very smooth at all. I bought it during the VIB sale and I could swear the powder felt smoother at the time, but now it’s a bit rough. Even the powder from my much older Patrick Ta Cream and Powder Blush duo feels softer and smoother.

Speaking of Patrick Ta’s blush duo, I only find that the bronzer and contour duo is exceptional when combined with it. I built things up in the photo above, but in person when I’m using the amount I normally would, the blend between both cream products and both powder products together is seamless and so beautiful. That’s when it really becomes impressive, and that’s also what has me feeling torn. I know they all work well together, but I don’t think anyone should have to spend a combined $72 to get both duos to make a great look. At this point, I don’t regret buying the contour/bronzer duo because I already had the blush duo in my possession and now I can continue using them both together. However, I really don’t recommend The Major Sculpt Creme Contour & Powder Bronzer Duos unless the shades happen to perfectly match you so the lack of lingering pigmentation isn’t a factor. I also don’t think the quality is there for $38.

SOL Face & Body Bronzing Balm in Deep

This is easily the most emollient of the cream bronzers I have. I bought it because The Fancy Face mentioned this formula is the closest dupe she’s found for the Chanel Bronzing Cream, and in a far better shade range. Though it has a lot of glide, making blending super easy, I still prefer the Kaja Hot Chocolate shade because Deep looks either beautiful and golden when I use a small amount or it turns a bit olive-grey toned if I use too much. It doesn’t look olive in the heaviest swatch above, but it turns that way on my face, which is darker than the inside of my arm where I swatch products. I think golden, neutral, orange, and red bronzers all look better on me than olive. So, I’m really not a fan of how this looks unless I keep it nice and sheer. Also, when I use my neutral color Dior Powder no Powder, it gives the bronzer a cooler toned tinge that looks more like a contour.

I know some people really love the smell of the fragrance in this product, but I wish it wasn’t there. The artificial-coconut-meets-tanning-oil scent reminds me of the Kiko Milano Unexpected Paradise Blush. It even makes me sneeze sometimes, though the smell thankfully doesn’t linger too long on the skin depending on how much I use.

In addition to the fantastic blending power this product has, it also comes with a drawback. It moves around so easily that I lose control of far it spreads and suddenly it’s covering half my cheek or is dangerously close to my jawline and/or my mouth. The Sonia G mini base is actually still too big unless I’m extremely careful about how I apply it. A sponge is even harder to apply precisely with, so I recommend using a very small brush or a flat thin contour brush that’s shaped like the Nars Ita.

One of my favorite aspects of this bronzer is that it completely dries on its own without having to be set with powder (up to 3 layers but the third takes about 45 minutes). I like the look of cream products, but I don’t like when they transfer or remain creamy or tacky feeling on the skin, so I’m happy I don’t need to worry about that. This also lends to it being a very long lasting bronzer, especially for a cream product.

That all being said, the undertone aspect is hard for me to overlook. I did consider getting another shade to see if I would like the tone better, but $15 is a little high for a Colourpop brand regardless of the whopping 30 grams in the jar. It’s certainly cheaper than Chanel, but I don’t use cream bronzers enough to really justify investing another $15* into something that isn’t going to last me as long as a powder. And considering I already like the Kaja cream so much, I’m challenging myself to use that up first. I think if I find a brush I really like for this task, I might continue to use it, but that’s a big if. For anyone else who has the right tools, doesn’t mind fragrance, and likes the undertone of either this shade or the others available, it’s worth checking out.

*As of today, Colourpop is still having a 30% off sale which would bring this bronzer down to $10. At that price, I thought it was worth testing out a second shade (Dark which is lighter and looked more golden toned). However, Colourpop orders take about three weeks to get to me, so I won’t be able to update this post for a very long time regarding how it worked for me. Plus, focusing on the Kaja is still my priority.

Beauty Bakerie Brownie Bar

Technically, according to Beauty Bakerie, the orange shade that I call a blush is supposed to be a bronzer and the darkest shade that I use as a bronzer is supposed to be a contour. For the purposes of this review, when I refer to the bronzer in this palette, I mean the darkest shade. I’m fine with an orange leaning bronzer, but that is a bit extreme! I will only use the orange shade as a blush, even though it looks subtle on the cheek because it blends in a lot with my skin tone. I always have a difficult time finding an orange blush I like, but this is one of them. I just keep forgetting I have it in my collection! On bare skin, none of the three shades last very long. Over foundation, the bronzer has fantastic staying power for 10 hours. The highlighter shine dulls down by the 8 hour point but is still visible. The blush fades a bit but is still there too.

The left photo shows all three together. I took this picture last December when I first got the trio. The right photo shows the darkest powder alone on the cheek, but all three are on my eyes.

The highlighter is super reflective and the glitter particles are very visible on my cheek, just a bit over the line of being too much for my taste. However, I will continue using it on the eyes because my goodness it’s so pretty! My camera doesn’t even do it justice. I may even transfer this face palette to my eyeshadow collection because all three lasted so well on my eyes without me using a primer of any kind. The dark brown didn’t blend as well on top of the orange, but I think a primer would fix that.

The swatches below are showing the four darkest bronzers in my collection. Despite this one being the darkest of them all, it’s a soft thin buildable powder, so it’s hard to over do it. It’s very pigmented in swatches, but it doesn’t go on the face as intensely. Even though Beauty Bakerie calls this a contour, it’s neutral rather than cool, which also helps to look natural on me. They also have a Neapolitan Bar, which they say are universal shades, but in my opinion they suit light to tan skin tones. The Neapolitan Bar actually was intended to have a bronzer, highlighter, and blush.

I would say the quality of the Brownie Bar is on par with the Makeup Revolution Bronzers. They’re surprisingly nice, but they’re not on the same level as some of the other products I’ve reviewed today. Also, $18 for a face palette with three options seems like a really good deal, but you’re getting very little product at a net combined weight of 3.8 grams (estimated 1.26 grams for each pan). To put that in perspective, the tiny $3 ELF Bite Size Face Duos contain a net weight of 4.6 grams. The $18 Juvia’s Place Bronzer Duo contains 32 grams! Will I still ever hit pan on the trio? Probably not. For others who actually use up their makeup, the Bar products from Beauty Bakerie aren’t the cost savings they seem in terms of weight. However, it is a savings in terms of variety, provided someone likes a glittery highlighter and the two other shades.

Comparisons Grouped Together

The bronzers are only applied to one half of my face (your left, my right) so the impact the bronzers make is easier to see. The Sol Body one actually blended too much to be picked up by the camera, so I added another less blended layer so it would be visible.

Update on Other Bronzers

Bronzers Previously Reviewed (and the remainder of my current collection): Makeup Revolution Glow Splendour in Medium, I Heart Revolution Tasty Coffee Bronzer in Mocha, LYS Beauty No Limits Matte Bronzer in Strength, Benefit Hoola Bronzer in Toasted, Nabla Skin Bronzing in Profile, Coloured Raine Bronzers in Cinna-Bae and Naughty Spice, Kosas the Sun Show Bronzer in Deep, Danessa Myricks Balm Contour in Deep 1 (technically a contour but it’s warm like a bronzer and more of a bronzer/contour hybrid), Fenty Sun Stalk’r Instant Warmth Bronzer in Mocha Mami, and the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Matte Bronzer in Deep.

As I mentioned before, I still own all the previously reviewed Bronzers. My feelings on them have not changed, though my Hoola Toasted has some hard pan from continually swatching it for comparison purposes and it keeps crumbling with each use because of the crack in the pan I haven’t fixed. It has a 12M POA, and it’s nearly two years old, so I will either re-press it or declutter it. Of the other bronzers listed, I have only continued to use the Nabla, Coloured Raine, Kosas, Charlotte Tilbury, and more recently the Danessa Myricks Contour Balm. My absolute favorites have been the Kosas and Charlotte Tilbury, but I think Huda’s GloWish has overtaken CT for the second place spot! It might still be too soon to say for sure, but we shall see!

When I mentioned that it has been two weeks since my last bronzer purchase, I am referring to the Haus Labs Bronzer duo I purchased during the Amazon Prime Day deals when everything from Lady Gaga’s brand was 60% off. I have plans for an Amazon Makeup post in the future, so I’m reserving that review for another time. Reviewing eight bronzers at once was challenging enough.

That’s everything I have for today!

Actually, that’s everything I have for the next few weeks.
I want to keep the momentum going that I started by consistently posting every Monday since August 2020. However, I have some health/personal issues that I need to sort out which cannot be pushed back any longer. I will also be in Germany for almost the entire month of August. During that trip, I will be bringing very little makeup and will not be doing wear tests, which are required for a lot of the unfinished drafts I want to complete. So, I anticipate that it will take me a while to get back on a consistent posting schedule. My goal is September 13th!

In an effort to not be completely absent for two months, I intend to mix things up with a few article style posts, which are scheduled to publish while I am on my trip. There’s so much I want to write about and review, but my ideas are all very time consuming and I don’t want to rush through them. Hopefully, they’ll be worth the wait to you!

Much love,

p.s. I may photograph some new purchases on my Instagram for those who are curious about what I’m buying, even without official reviews. I might also post a few travel photos during August. The website allows you to see the page without an IG account (just won’t let you click to see more or scroll through very far).