Melt Cosmetics She’s in Parties Palette and the Short Lived Mystery Boxes

I got to this review much later than expected, but I promised The Olive Unicorn Beauty I would make more of an effort to bump it up on the list. I think this is good timing considering Melt has recently launched 4 new mini palettes as part of their upcoming Bad Side Zodiac Collection and I know others share my hesitation to purchase Melt’s eyeshadow palettes given their history. Perhaps my review today can help tip the interest in either direction for someone curious about that upcoming release.

This post will mainly focus on reviewing Melt’s She’s in Parties Palette, but I did not purchase it through traditional means. This palette was part of Melt’s Black Friday Mini Mystery Bundle that was released November 2021. There was a large box for $75 and the smaller one I bought was $25 (plus $10 shipping). I watched Amy Loves Makeup post a video ASAP and considering all the boxes were supposed to be the same (and were still in stock at the time), I figured it was totally worth finally being able to try out my first Melt palette and the Sexfoil liquid highlighter formula for less money than the eyeshadow palette alone would cost.

The photo above from panningcorner on IG shows the mystery items from the $25 box, although I don’t recall getting the pencils, single eyeshadow, nor sample in mine. The liquid lipstick I believe I gave away. So, what I ended up keeping was the palette, mascara, and liquid highlighter which I will briefly review the other two in this post as well.

Regarding the mystery boxes, the brand continued to put them out in December 2021, January, and February of this year, but I believe the February box (or perhaps one more in March) was the last one. I loved that they were doing these and it wasn’t just older palettes that were a possibility to receive. The newer Brunet palette was an option for one of them, and I think the Mary Jane as well. I’m hoping that this Black Friday, they bring the Mystery Boxes back or offer a fantastic deal, even potentially coinciding with the severely discounted Amor y Mariposas Collection that was a newer and quicker reviewed purchase of mine.

Melt Cosmetics She’s in Parties Palette

I started working on this post in Spring, but other eye-catching makeup took priority. One benefit to this delay is that I’ve had the She’s In Parties Palette open and exposed to the elements for over six months, which is typically the benchmark for when any formula issues start to crop up (if at all) with Melt’s palettes. I am happy to report that my palette hasn’t had any changes to it and is still nice and usable, as well as my Amor y Mariposas palette. What a relief!

So based on my experience with both of those palettes, I fully understand why people rave about Melt’s mattes. They really are great. The Amor y Mariposas palette had pressed pigment mattes which required a bit more effort, but the three mattes in this palette are stellar! They’re buildable, blendable, and very pigmented! Total Immortal is a great shade to blend out a shadow in the crease, though it’s a bit light to be alone in the crease without a deepening shade, for my taste. It also had a little trouble sticking to my eyelid, but I can get there in the end and I usually put shimmers on my lids anyway. Last Caress is a medium-dark mauve but it goes on the eyes way darker than I expected from how it looks in the pan! I wanted that as my crease shade for most looks, but it’s so dark that it makes every eye look I created appear as though I was using Meanstreak in the crease instead, even when I hadn’t. So, without a true medium shadow in this palette, nearly every look I create turns out dark and dramatic, even when I purposely intend to create something on the lighter and brighter side. This palette is very much for dark vampy looks! And yes, Meanstreak is a nice deep burgundy, though the texture is a bit drier and rougher than the other mattes which are soft to the touch. However, it still performed just as well.

I usually describe what I did for my eye looks, but I created these so long ago, I can’t recall for certain.

I was very much looking forward to trying Melt’s shimmers, but Strange Love is the only shade that has a lot of sparkle to it and it’s not the kind of shadow I typically use all over the lid. It’s the kind I’d use mostly in the center of the eye and/or the inner corner. Skeleton Kiss also has a nice amount of shimmer to it, but because the white base color is kind of transparent, it’s more of a topper kind of shade and just looks sparkly pink. It’s another one I would use in the exact same way as Strange Love. The remaining pigmented colorful shimmers in the palettes are more like satin shadows. They are smooth, with very refined and small size shimmer particles. They are also on the thin side but fully opaque and not powdery. They also don’t crease on me. I can use She’s In Parties, the deep red, and Sleepwalk, the dark plum, in the crease in place of mattes, but I prefer to stick to my safe zone and use them as lid shades even though that also guarantees my looks remain on the darker dramatic side. As for Lost Control, there are shimmer flecks in the shade, but it’s so subtle that I’m left with a mostly matte looking shadow. This is something I don’t mind, although I would have preferred if it was either entirely matte so I won’t have a random few twinkling specks in the outer corner, or if it was a full on shimmer that could add some bling to the looks.

Overall the quality is great, the shades are pretty, and there’s something sophisticated about this palette and color story. I think it’s quite textured-lids-friendly as well. I can use any primer with it, and it performs well. So, while I personally prefer sparkle and drama to my shimmers and would have liked a true medium tone matte shade, I do recommend this palette.

Melt Cosmetics SexFoil Digital Liquid Highlight in Fetish

Melt’s imagery for this product is so attractive that I haven’t stopped wanting to try more, even though liquid highlighters are my least used form of highlighters. I’ve established in every review of this kind that I never use them enough to be worth purchasing. Unlike the Auric Glow Lust, Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter, and other liquid shimmer products that can be mixed with foundation to impart a glow or to be used in other creative ways, the SexFoil is more metallic and best suited for highlighting in the traditional manner. I’m able to pack it on to look extremely intense or, as is my preference, use it sparingly and blend it out so that it’s a little more on the subtle side. I was surprised that I ended up loving Fetish despite it being one of the two lightest shades in the line and a pink to boot! It looks stunning when coupled with a pink blush. I also like that it fully dries down, so I don’t have to deal with any stickiness or transfer other than perhaps a few shimmer particles.

I would have loved to take additional photos showing various intensity levels but this is the only picture I have wearing the product and as I’ve noted on the Home Page of my blog, I’ve had spine surgery again and am in a long recovery process which makes taking blog photos a lot more difficult and will continue to be an issue the rest of this year. So, I just had to work with the photos I took prior to my surgery.

This product makes me wish I could get more on board with liquid highlighters because I like this formula and I still wish I could get more, although I believe having a full ounce of this is excessive. I can’t even finish a foundation of the same size in time before it expires. Having this much product would be wasteful even if I did use it on a regular basis. “Minis” would have been more practical. In addition, the full price of $39 is more than I’m willing to pay, no matter how much I like it. I’d be all in at $25 and $30 would still be pushing it. But that’s just my opinion.

*UPDATE October 13, 2022 – It occurred to me that the majority of the time I’ve been using this product was on top of cream blushes, many of which are of a stiffer and opaque formula, so I did not notice it removing any product underneath. However, I recently had an issue of it removing product when applied over a powder blush and a bit in the area of my KVD Good Apple Concealer. This did not happen the time before when I used the exact same products. The only difference this time was that I also applied foundation in that area and a bit under my eyes in my dark circle zone whereas I usually reserve that spot for laying concealer down first and then having foundation on the edges. Meaning, I usually apply concealer first and add foundation after wherever it’s needed, rather than the more traditional process of putting foundation everywhere and spot concealing after. The EL Futurist Hydra Foundation is dewy and more emollient rather than being stiff and doesn’t completely dry down on its own, so perhaps that was the culprit for why I suddenly had a problem with it, but I wanted to at least include this information to be careful what products one is using with the SexFoils.

Also, I am obsessed with the shades of SexFoils and the metallic look, but it is a little more difficult to work with because of the amount of product that gets dispensed out. I am usually good about squeezing out the tiniest amount, but while I still have a little trouble with the fingertips of my dominant hand (lingering post-surgery complication with my right arm that I’m sure will be fully healed in a few more weeks), it occurred to me that others may be squeezing out too much as well. So, my thoughts on this product is that I still like it, but it’s not as user friendly when I started looking at it even more critically. And in terms of formula, (based on samples I’ve tried) the Rare Beauty Positive Light Liquid Luminizer Highlights are metallic but can also be intensified or sheered out, fully dry down, are easier to control, are a more reasonable product size, and are significantly less expensive. So, as much as I’m still drawn to these from Melt, I recommend looking into the Rare Beauty ones as a potentially better version of the SexFoils.

Lastly for this update, I did end up purchasing (via Mercari) the shade Gold Ore and can share some additional photos today, but please excuse the skin tone differences between my old picture and this one. Although it was a seven month difference, I’m also pretty sure I was testing out a foundation that was a little dark for me at that time of the older photo. As for the new one, it was a cloudy day so I relied a lot on my indoor lighting, which meant the photos I took were washed out, despite me choosing the darkest of the bunch.

Since Gold Ore is so close to my skin tone, it is quite subtle, even when built up. It’s mostly just shimmer particles that are apparent and the base color is barely lighter than my skin, so the highlighting effect is low. For this reason, it’s unfortunately not my favorite. I think the shade Peaches and Cream might have shown up better because of the undertone being different and standing out, but I normally try to match my tone with highlighters and I don’t usually go for colorful ones, so I chose Gold Ore instead. Considering the newly recognized learning curve to the SexFoils, I won’t be buying another one to try out. The only liquid highlighter I will purchase again is from Rare Beauty.

*UPDATE October 18th, 2022 – It’s highly unusual for me to need to update a post so many times, but I made one final attempt to get more accurate photos of these worn on my cheeks. A better photo representation is below. I wore a different foundation this time and still had issues with my concealer coming off when the SexFoils were applied in that zone and required that I reapply a thicker layer to cover it up. My dark circles are particularly intense right now and in a wider area than usual, so I’m thinking this is just a temporary problem and when I get back on a normal sleeping routine and no longer anemic (another post-surgery complication), the dark circles will shrink back to their normal range and I won’t need to apply concealer that low onto my cheek area and therefore also not interacting with the Melt SexFoils. My foundation coming off wouldn’t be as big of a problem for me if it didn’t show nearly black underneath it because of my current dark circle problem.

Melt Cosmetics Supernatural Lash Mascara

I’ve only used this mascara a handful of times (it has only been open for a month), but I haven’t had any issues with it in terms of smudging or flaking or excessive clumping, though it wants to start clumping at two layers. It’s a wet formula. I like the depth of black color. I like the length it provides, although it’s tough to fan out my lashes in a way that I prefer. This formula has the tendency to want to make my lashes go straight and not really curl or curve. I don’t use mascara curlers because mascaras I like have that effect without it. This one, not as much. The length is right, but I prefer to have a little more volume along with it. I also don’t like using this mascara for my lower lashes because I always smudge it there due to the applicator’s size and shape, and have to clean it up with some concealer afterwards.

The photo on the left shows no mascara. It looks like I have hardly any upper lashes, but my concealer and eye primers usually get a little on my eyelashes and make them harder to see because it’s blending in with the primer color. In addition, my lashes naturally stick outward except at the very tips, so it’s hard to see how long they are without mascara to lift them upwards. The right photo shows what my lashes look like with two coats of the Supernatural mascara.

The first coat of this mascara gives me length. The second coat gives me no additional length, but adds slightly more volume. My favorite mascaras are the kind that I can build up in one go before it dries. This one starts to dry on my lashes before I’m satisfied with the volume level, hence needing to do an actual second coat. This isn’t a deal-breaker for me. I wouldn’t mind doing two coats of a mascara if the end result was fantastic. The end result of this one is okay enough for me to be willing to keep using it until it’s finished, but not enough to want to purchase again, even at a lower price, when my favorites take less effort and give me more of what I’m looking for on my eyes.

I continue to be intrigued by Melt Cosmetics. I like the brand and always want to try more products, though the full retail price usually pumps the brakes on me buying all the makeup from them that I want to, like their newest bronzer launch. For those wondering, I did end up ordering the Air palette from the Zodiac Collection and am waiting to see what other products are part of that lineup.

That concludes this week’s post! Thank you for reading!

*Note: Also, stay safe my fellow Floridians with Hurricane Ian approaching!

-Lili

Melt Cosmetics Amor y Mariposas Review

Starting on the birthday anniversary of Melt Cosmetics, the brand put this collection on sale for 60% off. With the Amor y Mariposas Palette Set bundle deal, I technically got 70% off if we factor in the full retail price of the items individually. The brand also temporarily offered free shipping with no minimum spending amount. I decided not to go overboard and just purchased the items I’d been wanting most out of the collection since its release for the holidays last year: the pressed pigment palette, blush palette, and two gel liners. I initially just purchased one liner, but at the last minute (after loving the deep greenish blue one) I decided to grab the gold as well. The notice for the free shipping minimum returned to $75, but for some reason, I was still able to select free shipping at check out.

Amor y Mariposas Palette

Before I slipped back into my neutral phase, this was absolutely my kind of color story for eyeshadows! Purple and green eyeshadows are my top favorite colors, but I didn’t purchase this when it was first released because of the $70 price and Melt’s reputation of inconsistency with their shadows. Either the palettes are fantastic or terrible, and sometimes even the good ones end up having a formula issue of mold growing in the pans or the shimmers having a strange chemical reaction and begin expanding and puffing out of the pans after 2-6 months. I haven’t seen anyone saying that about this palette, so this appears to be Melt’s “good” formula not only in reactions not happening, but also in the performance I have noticed from using it for the past month. I only have one other palette from the brand that I can compare it to, which is the She’s In Parties palette that I got from one of Melt’s Mystery Boxes last year which I still need to review sometime. That palette has more of a shimmery satin formula, along with what felt like traditional mattes. Most of the mattes in this palette are pressed pigments, so they are way more pigmented and slightly less smooth. The shimmers in this are larger and a thicker formula.

These first two rows are my favorite in the palette. The greens are perfection. The golds are complimentary. My only complaint is having such similar shades in Te Adoro and Señales, which the latter is the same color as my MAC Paint Pot, so it doesn’t look like anything on my eyes. Te Adoro barely shows on me, but I use it if I need to blend out an edge or put something under the brow bone. Having two isn’t useful for me, but the tonal differences may benefit those with lighter skin who can pair Te Adoro with the shadows in the red family and Señales with the ones in the yellow family.

From photos online, I thought Cielito Lindo was going to be a light green, but it’s actually more of a shimmery sky blue. Although Cielito Lindo translates to something along the lines of “sweetie” or “cutie baby,” the word “ciel” has roots in French and Spanish relating to the sky, so I’m not sure if that’s supposed to be a pun on the name to the color of the shadow.

Yellow shadows can also be tricky getting to show on me, but I’ve been so impressed with Mensaje. Mesquite is the only shimmer that’s a bit flaky, whereas the rest are on the thicker side.

Maria, Nueva Vida, Nube, and Almohada are the ones that take more time to blend. They want to stick a little where they are placed, but unlike other pigment-heavy eyeshadows that do this, I can still get them to look how I want with the right brushes and some time. But really, I’m not the biggest fan of red eyeshadows so I wouldn’t use those much. Also, dark purple mattes I typically reserve for the outer corner and/or lower lash line, so it’s not going to be as much of an issue as it would for being a transition, crease, or lid shade.

Abuelita looks like a coral orange or perhaps salmon color in the pan, but it deepens up more than I want on my eyes. It’s still a pretty color.

Overall, I really like this palette and I’m happy to have it in my collection! The pretty packaging and imprints in the pans are an added bonus to its beauty! I can use these shadows with any of my primers and I get very minimal creasing.

Monarca Blush Palette

I’m a blush fanatic, but I assumed I would only be able to use two of the shades in this palette, which is what stopped me from buying it when it launched. However, I can happily say I have use for 5 of the 6! The one I can’t use at all is Milagritos, which just looks ashy on my face. Vida is such a beautiful rose gold that I use as highlighter. I normally don’t like pink highlighters, but I discovered Melt is the exception when I used the Afterglow Sex Foil that was in my Mystery Box. Feliz is the other shimmery blush that I use as highlighter. It has a peachy-orange tone and golden shift.

Flor is a bit of a curve ball because it gives me a bright flushed look to my face in the beginning, but it deepens up to a less vibrant medium pink on my cheeks. I’ve only ever worn this on top of a dewy foundation so I’m not sure if it’s the moisture level of my foundation with this particular blush that’s doing it. It’s possible that the color wouldn’t change on a matte foundation or if I powder set my cheeks first before applying the blush. I still like it though.

Sonrisa was an absolute delight and surprise! Prior to owning Orange Sunny from Oden’s Eye, I didn’t have a blush in quite this tone in my collection. Melt describes it as a “soft burnt orange” which I think that “soft” aspect is due to a bit of yellow in it, but the one from Oden’s Eye leans even further on the side of yellow-orange. Because of the subtle difference, plus it having a slight sheen, I still feel like Sonrisa is a unique shade and I’m happy I get to experience it in this palette. According to Melt, Sonrisa can also double as a bronzer.

The final blush is Conmigo, a rusty red-orange, that can be built up to a very rich color on the cheeks. I prefer to use a light hand, but if I do, it looks similar to Sonrisa. So, to help make the distinction between the two clearer, I built it up a bit in my photo further below.

They’re all so easy to use and blend and the tones are so different from the typical blush palettes produced. I love this one and I completely recommend it if it’s still available!

Melt Gel Liners in Colibri and Estrella

These gel liners are incredible! Now I understand the hype! They spread so easily and smoothly without being difficult to control, like spreading beyond where I touch the color to my skin with the brush. When they dry down, they are basically budge-proof. The only area I have trouble with it is in my waterline, but it still holds on better than every other liner I’ve tried for that spot. After a nine hour wear test, Colibri was only gone from the inner and outer corner of my eyes where I get the most watery (outer corner when laying down and inner corner from my sensitive tear duct). It was perfectly in place solely in the center of my lower lash line, which still impressed me.

Because Estrella was a last minute addition, I don’t have as many photos to show of it. So, Colibri is what I used in some demonstration photos below for the different areas I’ve tried this liner out on.

Yet again, I am just so impressed with the things I purchased from the Amor y Mariposas collection. At the time that I’m writing this, it’s still available at a heavy discount on Melt’s website as I assume they are trying to get rid of their final stock in time for their next holiday drop (which may be announced around October-November if the trend continues).

I have to admit, I still cannot fully let go of my fear of Melt eyeshadows having weird things happen to them, as demonstrated in the video by Karen Harris with Melt’s newest release, so I still don’t intend to purchase Melt eyeshadows as soon as they launch. However, my love of this collection has definitely increased my interest in the brand overall.

Thanks for reading! Happy 4th of July to all who celebrate it. And speaking of Independence Day…Melt’s 30% off sale ends today, though it does not include the products from this specific collection. However, it might be a nice time to purchase for those who want both the Amor y Mariposas items, plus other collections from Melt’s site in one purchase.

-Lili

*DISCLAIMER: All products in this post were purchased by me with my own money. Links in bold blue font (Example) are standard links. Links in bold black font with a light blue background (Example) are affiliate links. There are no affiliate links contained in this specific post.

LYS Beauty and Melt Cosmetics

One item I’m discussing today is a bronzer, but the rest are cream blushes. Cream, liquid, and balm blushes have become extremely popular this year and while I have held off on getting some (and even returned one from Tower 28), these were too tempting to resist.

Lys Beauty

This is the first Black-Owned “Clean” beauty brand at Sephora. I watched a fantastic interview with the brand owner where she describes the type of products she wanted to make, why she chose certain ingredients, and the overall uplifting message behind the brand: Love YourSelf. Clean Beauty products tend to be on the expensive side, so it’s amazing to see how relatively affordable the products are.

Lys Beauty No Limits Matte Bronzer in Strength $18

Niacinamide is a popular skincare ingredient, but this is the first time I’ve ever seen it in a makeup product. The brand uses it in the primer, bronzer, and setting powder. Every product within the LYS line has some skin benefiting ingredients added to them.

Strength is the 4th darkest shade. I ran into the issue of this particular color looking very subtle on me, yet the Worthy shade appears as though it would be far too deep, so I settled for this one. I also chose to show what the pan looks like with and without flash because the flash-off photo is more accurate to how it looks in person, but the flash-on photo better demonstrates the depth of color when actually applied to the skin.

I like that it’s a neutral tone. Product picks up easily on my brushes, but I have to spend a lot of time getting it to show. When it does, it can be uneven at times. It’s not patchy in the sense that there are gaps with no color, but in order to get a solid section, some spots are deeper that others and sometimes looks unblended despite how long I spent on that area. I’ve used multiple brushes and techniques, but it’s still a time consuming process to get it to look nice on me. For this reason, I think the bronzer is okay but I wouldn’t recommend anyone rush out to buy it.

The blushes, however, I highly recommend! There’s a reason they’ve been going in and out of stock on Sephora’s website for nearly two months! The formula is incredible!

Lys Beauty Higher Standard Satin Matte Cream Blush in Self Love and Confidence $16

I’ve tried so many cream formulas lately and this easily surpasses them all. They’re easy to use, smooth, blendable, natural looking, pigmented but not overly pigmented. One could still build up the color or sheer it down. They’re long lasting on me. They dry down so I’m not left with a sticky, greasy, or creamy feeling when I touch my cheek. I don’t have to warm them up first to use them. They’re my perfect cream blush formula!

There are six shades in total. One lighter, two brighter, and one deeper than the shades I own. Because these are mid-toned, I can use a very heavy hand with them and not worry about overapplying and looking crazy. On the left sides of the photos are my preferred level of product for in-person blush. The right side shows what it looks like built up to near maximum opacity to make it easier to see on camera.

There’s a slight difference between Self Love and Confidence when on the skin, though they look nearly identical with a light application. Confident has a warmer undertone and is a touch lighter than Self Love, which is more on the rosey mauve side. Self Love leans a little cool, but not so cool as to look unflattering on me.

I’ve only heard good things from others who have purchased these blushes. The one concern I’ve seen from those who haven’t seen them in person is whether a brush would fit in the compact because of the triangular shape (which I love). LYS accounts for the shape by making it bigger than the average blush. Below are photos to compare the sizes. I could fit the entire Fenty blush in the center. It’s bigger than the cream blush portions in the ND Bloom palette and Patrick Ta duo. For anyone concerned about using up the last bits of product, which honestly that would take a very long time get to, a cosmetic spatula would be helpful in scraping out what is in the corners and spreading it into the center of the pan. It’s not just that the LYS pans are wider. They contain 6.5 g of product for $16 compared to 4.5 gram for $22 from Melt, 4.5g for $20 from Tower 28, and 3 grams for $20 from Fenty. Even the Rare Beauty Stay Vulnerable Cream Blush is 5g for $21.

With the LYS blush, I’ve tried this using my fingers, a brush, and a sponge. They’re all nice methods, but my favorite is using a brush, and particularly the Sonia G Mini Base brush from the Keyaki set. I can spread the color on my cheeks, but I like stippling it on the most.

Melt Cosmetics

Melt is most known for their eyeshadow stacks and palettes, but I only own blushes from them, if you count the Digital Dust Duo Blushes as actual blushes and not highlighters.

Melt Cream Blushlight in Daydreamer and Polished

The cream version of Blushlights comes in eight shades, though only six are available at Sephora. Sephora doesn’t carry Daydreamer or Cali Dream. There’s also a powder version of Blushlights but only Lynx and Sundown exist in both formulas. Cali Dream and Honey Thief are also available in powder versions but in the matte blush formula. Daydreamer is a, “rich cinnamon with pink pearl.” It’s the darkest shade in the collection and the others aren’t as easy to see on those with dark to deep skintones, so I was surprised to see it not available at Sephora, despite having arm swatch photos on the website with all eight shades together. I thought perhaps Melt didn’t create enough to give a stock of them to Sephora or that Melt intended for that shade to be a website exclusive. However, when I was scrolling through Melt’s Instagram, I saw a comment where they said Sephora “is taking” certain shades. This reveals that Sephora intentionally chose not to take the deepest shade, which would have made this range a little more inclusive. At least it would be more inclusive as blushes. Melt encourages those with medium to deep skintones to use the shimmer shades as highlighters.

I saw several people inquiring as to why Daydreamer wouldn’t be coming to Sephora (even though the full range is at Camera Ready Cosmetics) and requesting swatches on deeper skin tones.

The only explanation I can think of is that perhaps Sephora didn’t want it because they have a few colors like it available already. It’s close to Fenty’s Rose Latte, which makes it also similar to Tower 28’s Power Hour based on a video I watched comparing Tower 28 and Fenty blushes, both of which Sephora has. Among my collection, it’s also similar to Glossier’s Cloud Paint in Storm. What makes Daydreamer stand out is the fact that it’s darker and it has those specks of shimmer.

In addition to Daydreamer, I also bought Polished, a shade that’s “grapefruit…with a warm golden pearl.” I can get the color to show in person if I stipple on a heavy application of the blush. However, I prefer to wear both colors together with Daydreamer more towards the back and Polished towards the front on the apples of the cheeks. I have tried mixing the two shades together equally, but Daydreamer is such a darker color that it doesn’t look any differently.

For me to get as close to what Polished looks like, but with enough pigment to show up more easily, I have to use a mixing ratio of 3 parts Polished to 1 part Daydreamer. However, mixing is more time consuming (and messier) than applying to separate areas, so I just prefer to do that.

These blushes have a very noticeable vanilla-like scent, but the smell doesn’t linger for too long on the cheeks. I like the product’s creamy texture and the way it looks on the skin. At some angles, I like the glowing effect this blush has, but it’s at the cost of having very spread out random glitter particles, which I’ve mentioned ad nauseam is not a preference of mine. For those who don’t like shimmer, Honey Thief, Sandy Cheeks, and Cali Dream are the three shades without it.

This formula doesn’t dry down. If it doesn’t get set with a powder, it will remain emollient to the touch. When I have set this with powder, it felt dry for a short time and then eventually the cream and natural oils broke through that layer and felt creamy again. The only success I’ve had for setting it was to apply a little powder blush on top and then set it with translucent powder as well. This does, however, defeat the purpose of having that particular shade of blush and it essentially functions as a cream base in this way. I don’t mind using these blushes unset for photos, but I wouldn’t try to wear one in public where it could transfer onto my hand or mask.

The Blushlights are described as being intended for eyes, cheeks, and lips, but on the card that came with my order it specifically lists only Lynx, Sundown, and Sandy Cheeks as being usable around the eyes. On the back of my actual blush box it just says, “apply on face as desired,” but on Melt’s website in the “about” tab you can click on each individual cream Blushlight to see which ones they say to use on cheeks and lips versus the ones that have all three areas listed.

Polished shows a bit on the lips, but I can see all my discolored spots through it. I think Daydreamer looks nicer on me. My upper lip is darker than my bottom lip and is very hard to cover, which demonstrates the lack of opacity and pigmentation. My main issue is that I don’t enjoy the slippery feeling on my lips and I can smell the vanilla much stronger when it’s under my nostrils as opposed to the sides of my face. Also, although the texture the creamy, my lips feel even drier than before I put them on (and yes my lips are in a poor state in this photo). Sorry! I know it’s not the cutest thing to look at.

The “Both” photo has Daydreamer on the lips with Polished in the center.

I have also used these blushes with a brush, fingers, and a sponge. I don’t have a preferred method of application between a brush and my fingers, but I dislike the look with a sponge. It starts off depositing a lot of color, but by the time I finish blending it evenly, it becomes sheer to the point of looking like a tint. If the undertone of a blush doesn’t suit my skin tone, it makes a tint (where you can see my skin through the blush) that much more unflattering in my eyes. My goal for blush is to look naturally flushed and while a tint can sometimes do that, the wet sponge makes the shimmery sheen turn more metallic looking, which is a dead giveaway.

That’s everything I could think of to mention! Thank you for reading!

-Lili

*UPDATE and DISCLOSURE: On September 18th, 2021 I joined the LYS Beauty “Confidence Crew.” At the time this review was posted on April 5th 2021, I was not affiliated with the brand in any way and all products were purchased by me. This means there were also no affiliate links in the initial blog post. Other than adding this update, I have not altered my review above in any way and it remains my true and honest opinion of the products.

I do have an affiliate link now if you would like to shop the LYS Beauty website here
By clicking that link, I am eligible for a small commission from your purchase. I also have an affiliated discount code LYSUNBOXLILI for 20% off an order, but it is only good until October 18th, 2021. I’m not sure how long I will be part of the program but I thought it was important to post here as well and not just the new posts going forward.

-Lili

Blushes So Good I Needed Another

2020 has been the year of blushes for me. I’m not sure why, but my blush obsession has surpassed even my eyeshadow obsession! That being said, I always buy one blush to start with from a brand, even if they have multiple colors I want. If I end up loving the formula, I still tend to stick with that single shade (or buy a better-suited shade to use instead). However, these are the exceptions to that rule; the blushes I loved so much that I felt compelled to buy another!

I will be excluding MAC, NYX, and Rituel de Fille from this list, as I’ve discussed them in posts before and we know I didn’t stop at just two with those brands!

HOURGLASS AMBIENT LIGHTING BLUSHES

Swatches in different lighting

These are the blushes that inspired this post! Hourglass is notorious for having a stunning powder formula but making shades suited primarily for pale to medium skin tones. Diffused Heat was the first one I bought. It takes a lot of building up to show on my cheeks but despite how many layers I have to add, it still doesn’t look powdery! The poppy color gives a healthy youthful flush that I love. It imparts a subtle glow without looking shimmery or glittery due to the finely milled powder Hourglass is famous for.

A heavy application of Diffused Heat on the cheeks

Since their initial blush launch in 2014, medium tone pinks have been the darkest shades Hourglass has been willing to make. Besides being uninclusive in their powder range, the other issue with making multiple medium tone blushes is that they end up looking too similar on the cheeks. Below is an example of their six darkest blushes using Temptalia’s swatch comparison feature. It should be noted that Vibrant Flush and Mood Flush are only available in limited edition quads/palettes with other products too light for my skin tone. So, to even have access to these blushes, I would’ve had to pay $60-$80. Vivid Flush was the limited edition 2019 Lunar New Year shade that was sold individually but is no longer available.

Photo Credit: Temptalia

After buying my first Hourglass blush, I only had to wait six months for a shade different enough from Diffused Heat to be worth purchasing.
At Night is described as a brick red. The dark maroon marbling gives the impression that it will be a deep shade, but when mixed with the lighter base powder, it turns it into a warm medium to medium-dark pink. I love this shade, perhaps even more than Diffused Heat because I don’t have to work as hard to get the color to show.

A heavy application of At Night on the cheeks
At Night Again

To see how the original Hourglass blushes look on someone with a complexion closer to mine, I recommend this video by The Fancy Face.

10/11/2020 Update: I purchased Radiant Magenta thinking that if Diffused Heat worked on me then this shade would as well. I was mistaken. Despite the gold shimmer, this shade appears too cool-toned on my cheeks and is too light for me. I don’t like the way it looks, so that was unfortunately a bad purchase. At least I got it at a reduced price.

This brand has a decent range of complexion products, so it’s very strange to me that for the past six years I’ve seen customers implore Hourglass to make deeper blushes, bronzers, face powders, and highlighters. The demand is so high, yet Hourglass ignores it. After the release of At Night, I was hopeful that the brand would finally fulfill the barrage of requests for a light version and dark version of their holiday face palettes this year. Instead, they repromoted old products and paired them with “new” powders that look like the old ones, just half a shade darker. I give most brands who promised to be more inclusive in the future some leeway because of COVID-19. However, Hourglass has had over five years to make it happen. It’s disappointing because I like the brand. I like their products. I wish more people were able to use them.

FENTY CHEEKS OUT FREESTYLE CREAM BLUSHES

The left column shows how they look in natural lighting.

My Fenty blushes are like deeper cream versions of my Hourglass blushes! I bought Strawberry Drip during the initial product launch and loved it, then immediately purchased two additional blushes. I don’t like to return things, but Daiquiri Dip was too bold of a red shade. I’ve kept plenty of items I don’t care for, but if there’s something I know I will literally never use again, that’s when I will make a return. Thankfully, I loved Rosé Latte and kept that as my second shade. There are several more colors that appeal to me from the line, but cream products don’t last as long, so I stopped at these two.

Strawberry Drip is described as a “soft coral pink” but is a bright intimidating looking shade to me, so I was surprised how much I liked this one!

Rosé Latte is described as a “soft bronzed nude,” which doesn’t look very special in the pan. On the skin, you can see the subtle red tone that gives this shade it’s oomph.

Because the formula isn’t as pigmented, but still buildable, a wider range of people can use these shades. Though they can be built up, I prefer to wear them on natural makeup days. These mostly set, and although they aren’t transfer-proof, I can still rub my finger over my cheek without it turning patchy. It also doesn’t disturb my foundation using the two methods I have tried: scooping out some product onto the back of my hand and warming it up with my finger before applying with my fingers or a sponge.

This was taken earlier in the year. I’m wearing Rose Latte towards the back of the cheek and Strawberry Drip on the apples of the cheek towards the front. This is my preferred combo.

KVD VEGAN BEAUTY EVERLASTING BLUSH

My goodness, I haven’t discussed any KVD products since the Mi Vida Loca Remix Palette from 2015! Controversies aside, I wasn’t interested in anything from “Kindness Vegan Discovery (Doing Good) Vegan Beauty” until the blush release in January 2020.
I have to address the name change. Did they really need to put Vegan in there twice?

This is an actual banner used in the past by KVD Vegan Beauty. I just added the Meme-ish caption.

I bought Snapdragon at full price shortly after the product launch. At this time, everything else from KVD was going on sale, but I couldn’t resist that rose packaging. I intended to get another blush when I thought it would inevitably go on sale too, but as of September 21st, it still hasn’t. Excluding the new eye primer that was released a month or so ago, the blush is the one item that hasn’t gone on sale yet. What I also find interesting is that these blushes are the only items in the brand that isn’t available at Ulta. Even the new primer is available there.

*DEC 26th, 2020 UPDATE: The blushes are finally available at Ulta!

*MARCH 2021 UPDATE: KVD now stands for Kara Veritas Decors (latin for Value, Truth, and Beauty) in the latest “brand reinvention.” They are to be known as KVD Tattoo Inspired Vegan Beauty.

As you may know, LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy) is the parent brand of the beauty retailer Sephora. They also own Kendo Holdings, which owns KVD Vegan Beauty. It makes sense that KVD products would be exclusively sold at Sephora and their own website. Ulta Beauty, Sephora’s competitor, now carries KVD products. This is highly unusual. The only other LMVH brand allowed to be sold at Ulta, to my knowledge, is Benefit Cosmetics. Many speculate that this addition to Ulta is because KVD is struggling with their sales and they hope working with Ulta will change that. Because of Sephora’s marketing structure and trying to maintain a high pricepoint as to not devalue their products, things only go up to a certain percentage on sale before they offload everything else to TJMaxx (where makeup goes to die). Because Ulta carries drugstore items, as well as prestige, they can offer products at prices Sephora is unwilling to sell for. So, to have the blushes kept from Ulta leads me to believe that it’s the top-selling KVD item and probably the only real money maker the brand currently has. They’ve revealed a new holiday palette that I think is beautiful, so perhaps they can turn things around. Anyway, back to the blushes.

KVD was always known for making a statement, so I expected these blushes to be pigmented, but dang! I have to use a light hand with Snapdragon, but especially with Poppy. Poppy creates a lot of kick-up in the pan. The Everlasting Blush formula is very smooth and of good quality. It just comes down to deciding which shade one prefers.

I included comparisons to Lolita because it is so similar to Snapdragon. Lolita eyeshadow/blush was released in 2017. I bought it back then, returned it when I discovered a long hair/fiber embedded in the powder, and then didn’t repurchase it until 2020. The difference between Lolita and Snapdragon is that Snapdragon is slightly darker and redder. Snapdragon is also a smoother powder. Even though I bought this is 2020, Sephora has had issues in the past of keeping products in the sale section for much longer than they should. I remember when Sephora added some KVD eyeshadow trios I hadn’t seen before. The pigmentation was awful, so I did my research and found out that not only were the trios supposed to be discontinued, they were originally released 4 years prior. I have no way of knowing if the Lolita shade I have is from a new batch or the first restock after it became permanent. KVD’s vegan eyeshadow formula tends to worsen in performance quicker than other brands of eyeshadows I have, and since Lolita is technically also considered an eyeshadow, it’s possible that it doesn’t feel as soft in comparison or as easy to blend because of its potential age. However, my hypothesis is just that the Everlasting blushes have a better formula.

MELT DIGITAL DUST DUO BLUSHES

Melt Cosmetics recently released their Royal Blush collection. There are three duos in total. I started with buying Queen Bee with the intent of using both shades strictly as highlighters. MAC taught me how to love brown blushes, but the left side called Queen is a warm bronze that doesn’t have enough depth or richness of brown I’d consider flattering as a blush. It’s perfect as a highlighter though. The same can be said of the lighter honey gold shade on the right side called Bee. It reminds me of the Topaz shade from Becca Cosmetics, and although yellow-toned blushes are very popular this year, I don’t like the way it looks on me as a blush alone. I prefer it as a highlighter or blush topper.

After seeing some swatches online, I thought Buzz Kill might still work for me despite looking light in the pan. Though it does look darker and more pigmented in swatches, on my cheeks I get much more of the golden shimmer than the pink pigment, making this not really a blush for me either. Here are swatch comparisons to other light pink blushes with gold shimmer I have in my collection.

Different lighting and over Nars Sheer Glow Foundation in Macao.


The Kill side has bigger glitter specks than any of the three other shades and would only work as a highlighter for me. I wouldn’t even try to use it as a blush topper.

The shade I didn’t buy is called Raw Honey. The Raw side is a mauve bronze. The Honey side is a pink beige. I didn’t think those would work as blush or highlights for me, so I skipped it.

The first digital dust formula I heard about from Melt were highlighters, and these all have that highlighter quality to them. I wonder if Melt marketed these as blushes because the “Glass Skin” trend made products that use glitter/shimmer for shine instead of creating a wet sheen, traditional highlighters, and blinding highlighters drop in popularity. However, blushes have remained popular, if not risen in popularity. I don’t think this is an instance of trying to release unconventional blush shades to be different. Although I can see this being trendy on Instagram, and the packaging/imprint/design is aesthetically pleasing, I don’t know how many people would consider these staple blushes in their collection. I do like the Queen Bee duo, though, as highlighters and eyeshadows. I will continue to use it. Buzz Kill is an example of loving a blush so much I had to get another…but the other didn’t work for me.

COVER FX MONOCHROMATIC BLUSH DUOS

These blushes were initially released in April 2019, but I didn’t buy my first one until that August during Ulta’s 21 Days of Beauty sale when it was half off. I bought Spiced Cinnamon and loved it, but didn’t get Warm Honey until this year’s 21 days of beauty at half price again.

I can see why these duos were so hyped last year! The mattes aren’t quite as smooth as KVD’s everlasting blushes, but they are less powdery and very pigmented! The shimmers in the duo remind me of a less glittery version of Melt’s Digital Dust blush formula.
For Spiced Cinnamon, I typically use the matte side alone or mix the two halves together. As I mentioned before, it is very pigmented and just two swirls of my brush in the powder are enough for me.

For Warm Honey, although the matte half is pigmented, the shade is closer to my skin tone so it takes a few more layers of building up to get it to show on me. It’s great for days when I want a more neutral looking flush of color. The shimmer side doesn’t have enough pigmentation for me to use on its own and I don’t like the way it looks as a highlighter.

I love the mattes from both duos. The shimmer sides, although nice quality, are not in my preferred shades. The mattes are comparable to MAC, but MAC blushes range from $25-$30. If you like both shades in Cover FX’s duos, then the $39 price is more reasonable since you’re getting two products in one. If you only like one side, I recommend waiting for a sale. I should note that I’m unsure if these duos are being discontinued. Sephora had them on sale for $19 before removing them from their site. It’s possible the brand as a whole is being removed from Sephora (since all Cover FX items have been on sale there for a while) and that these blushes will continue being available at Ulta.

NABLA SKIN GLAZING AND SKIN BRONZING

I mentioned in my 2019 favorites how much I loved the Nabla Skin Glazing Highlighters. I bought Amnesia and followed that up with Lucent Jungle, which is a bit too dark for me, but I kept it anyway. In 2020, Nabla released two blushes which were still given the same Skin Glazing name and packaging. The shades Adults Only and Truth were part of their original launch, but the blushes released this year are called Lola and Independence. I purchased Lola, which Nabla refers to as a “watermelon with amber and peachy reflects” shade of blush. It looked and sounded so beautiful that I had to get it. It’s on the lighter side of blushes, but it still works for me. I really like the way it looks and am happy I bought it. As with the other Nabla products in this formula, these are harder pressed than regular powders. If you like using natural brushes like I do, then I suggest a goat hair brush, although my squirrel-goat mix HS-2 Hana Sakura Blush Brush does the job well. I’m not sure if this will cause some long term damage to the bristles though, so just be careful!

My curiosity got the better of me, and even though I don’t need more bronzers, I picked up the darkest shade called Profile. The packaging on the Skin Bronzing is a slightly different color to distinguish from the two product types. The product swatches of Profile looked so dark that I contemplated getting the lighter shade called Revenge. However, in-person, Profile was nowhere near as dark as I expected. It works for me but I’m not sure how well it would work on someone even a few shades darker. Since this is a blush post, I’m saving a more in-depth review of the bronzer for the bronzer post I have scheduled next week.

Picture using Nabla’s Profile Bronzer, Lola Blush, and Amnesia Highlighter.

This concludes the post! I was debating adding the monochromatic Patrick Ta blush and the Headliner Blush to this review, but they didn’t fit the theme. Although I have two Patrick Ta blushes, I only stuck to one shade from each formula. So, I may save those for the future in a dedicated post or another themed post. I’ve been so inspired this Summer and Fall that I have plenty of reviews planned. It’s just a matter of having the time for this hobby of mine!

Thank you for reading!

-Lili