Natasha Denona Love Palette Review

This is the second of only three items I purchased in the last Sephora VIB sale, the Natasha Denona Glam Face Palette being the first. I always thought the Love Palette was beautiful because reddish purple is my favorite color. This color story is a pink, red, and purple lover’s dream! However, the colors that are most pleasing to my eye are not the colors I actually wear the most on my eyes. I talked myself out of getting it for a long time, but at the reduced price of $27, I could not hold back any longer.

I knew Commitment was a cream to powder formula, but I was pleasantly surprised to see Dream was as well! Dream is one of the less common purples in my collection, so I am extremely happy to have it, although it’s a bit sheer and takes a bit of time to get it to look opaque on the eyes. Both are smooth, blend beautifully, and work perfectly well with the traditional matte and shimmer eyeshadows in the palette. I’m being a little picky, but these cream to powders are both purple. I wish Natasha added one more shadow in that formula in a red or pink shade. Then I would be especially excited because I enjoy this formula on its own and also as a base.

I very much enjoy the shimmers. Lifetime and Transparent look quite similar, although Lifetime in my palette looks much lighter than I’ve seen in some other people’s palettes. After being restocked several times, this limited edition product is finally being discontinued, so perhaps mine looks different because it’s newer and the shade from my batch was tweaked? That’s my best guess anyway. Lifetime feels like a traditional shimmer, whereas Transparent has a little more slip to it. This causes it to go on smoother, but lately I’ve found that more slip doesn’t mean better performing for my lined/creased/semi-oily lids. So between the two, I prefer Lifetime and in terms of shade, I’d have been over the moon about Transparent if it had a little more peach or pink to it, like a strong gold-pink duochrome.

Passion and Blind are nice and opaque. Pure Love is a gorgeous pink-purple duochrome. Giving is another pretty peachy-pink duochrome shade, but it doesn’t make much impact unless I apply it with a damp brush.

The mattes are fantastic and pigmented, but Heart, Heartbeat, and Soul end up looking very similar on the eyes. They are a lot darker than I expected and are better suited on me as deepening up shades. I can’t believe I’m saying this because I’m almost always wishing for more dark shades in palettes, but I really wanted Soul and Heartbeat to be more mid-toned so I could use them as crease shades without making the overall eye looks end up being so dark, and so red. I hoped for a more Terracotta tone to Heartbeat and a bit more pink/coral in a medium tone for Soul.

Even the shade Intense is slightly darker than I expected, but it’s my favorite matte shade in the palette! And because this palette doesn’t have a lot of light options, I can actually appreciate the addition of First and Valentine. First took me by surprise when I discovered it was so pigmented, it could even cover up the darker shades, but it doesn’t stick very well on top of other shadows, so it has a tendency to blend away unless I start with that shade initially. I almost made a joke about having to use First first. Hehe.
Valentine is a little more sheer than the rest of the mattes. It would be perfect for me if it was a little less cool-toned, but that’s me being picky again.

Even though I’m not sure how much use I will get out of the Love Palette, I always have the option to mix and match this with my Metropolis and Bronze palettes that share the same pan size. A few shades in here don’t perform as well, but those who like Natasha Denona’s eyeshadow formula will most likely enjoy this palette like I did.

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


Natasha Denona Glam Face & Eye Palette – Dark

The annual Sephora VIB sale ended last week and this was one of only three items I purchased. The Glam Face Palette appealed to the resurgence of my interest in neutral eyeshadows, my strong love of blush, and my attraction to highlighters. I did not enjoy Natasha Denona’s original blush duos that were part of her brand launch, but I’m a big fan of the Bloom Blush & Glow Palette, so I had high hopes.

I could see from videos that the back of the face palette did not have designated holes the brand sometimes includes for ease of popping shades in and out, but I hoped that with a magnet I could still pull the shadows out and be able to interchange them with any ND mid-size pans I wanted, since they’re the same size. Unfortunately for me, these pans are glued down to the palette, and since it’s metal glued to plastic as opposed to metal glued to cardboard, the pans would not pry loose no matter how much pressure I applied with my box cutter (which I use to depot shadows sometimes). I own a Z Potter, which theoretically is supposed to allow me to depot eyeshadows without destroying the palette, but the settings needed to melt glue in thick packaging has caused me, in the past, to accidentally melt and warp the packaging of things I wanted to reuse. So, I don’t want to take the chance of using it on this palette. In my eyes, this is the prettiest Natasha Denona packaging she’s ever made with such a sleek smooth mirrored bronze surface and those rounded edges. It looks and feels luxurious. Even though being able to customize the eyeshadow shades would be a game-changer, the price of the palette prohibits me from wanting to make further depotting attempts.

The plastic flap covers the blush and highlighter, so it’s natural to assume both are cream products, but it’s just the blush that has a creamy texture. The highlighter is a pressed powder in a formula that’s new to Natasha Denona’s brand, “that uses Japanese technology to deliver an extreme glow.” The way it looks in the pan with that texture instantly reminded me of the highlighter from Beauty Bakerie’s Brownie Bar.

The Glam Face Palette comes in a Light and Dark version, but choosing between them isn’t as straightforward as using only the Light palette if you have light skin and the Dark palette if you have dark skin. Those with light to medium skin could easily pull off wearing either palette because the face products in both are essentially in the medium zone. Ignoring what the shades look like in the palette, the Light version contains a light champagne highlighter with a blush that spans from light pink up to medium pink. The Dark version contains a medium champagne highlighter with a medium pink blush that can be realistically built up to medium-dark pink. I would describe the color itself as dark coral, which is akin to medium red in terms of depth, but just with a slightly different undertone. In fact, neither cheek shade in the Dark palette is actually in the dark range, which is why choosing which palette works best for those with light to medium skin could come down to the eyeshadows and whether someone prefers lighter or deeper toned eye looks. The highlighter doesn’t have a strong base color and the shimmer particles are so bright and reflective that it looks even lighter on the skin than it does in the pan. It may still leave a cast, but not as much as it would if it had a more opaque base. The blush is a buildable formula that blends out quite sheer depending on the application tool used, but even if I get the most concentrated amount of blush onto my cheek, it doesn’t look as dark as it does in the pan. That’s what also adds to the wiggle room as to which palette works best for someone. In Natasha’s own words, the Light palette is best for those with “light to medium” skin tones and the Dark palette is best for those with “medium or tan to deep skin…but both palettes wear beautifully on all skin tones.” However, I think someone with deep to rich skin tone might want to check what the palettes look like in-store because even the Dark palette doesn’t run all that dark in my opinion. The blush swatch in the photo above was done with two swipes with my finger, which kind of says it all. I also compared it to the blush from the Bloom Cheek palette further down and that took just one swipe of the blush from that palette. That one is what I consider to be an actual dark blush.

The Bloom Cheek Palette and Hourglass Ambient Edit Universe Unlocked Palette compared to the Face Glam Palette.

While I’m comparing palettes, I should add that the cream blush from the Bloom Cheek palette is a traditional cream formula, though it sets quickly and I definitely need to use it with the cream base to tone down the color. The cream blush from the Glam Face palette is cream to powder and doesn’t feel like anything on the skin until about the third layer, which is the minimum I need to get it to show as pigmented as I want. Using the Sonia G Classic Base, I’m not satisfied with the look of the blush until I’ve applied at least three layers, but it doesn’t get much deeper than that with even a fourth or fifth attempt using that brush. If I use my fingers, I get a lot more color payoff, but because the surface of my finger is so much smaller, I still need to apply three times to cover one cheek. So, I may as well use my brush which gives the smoother blend. When I try this with a denser flat top brush like the rephr 17, I’m able to build up the color to my satisfaction in 2 dips instead, but it’s definitely still not dark. With that brush I can achieve medium-dark level with about 4 layers. A sheer layer of this blush will set to the skin and be dry to the touch, but the more layers are added, the creamier it remains. In the amount I wear, it is not sticky but it’s also not transfer-proof.

With a sponge, I’m able to get the brightest color and most color payoff with the least amount of product, but as I continued to blend, it always moves the foundation and concealer I have in my cheek area on the left side of my face that’s covering up hyperpigmentation. So, my preferred method is using a dense brush. Another nice thing about the blush is that it lasts all day.

This buildable blush takes some effort to use, but I don’t mind because the result is so pretty! It’s the kind of shade I love where I get a natural flush without it being too bright, too dark, too light, too warm, or too cool. The color is perfection. The formula is almost perfect. There are random specks of shimmer in the blush, which I’m guessing is there intentionally to aid in the shine. I think I would have preferred if this had a sheen without the flecks, but at least the particles are on the smaller side and the area looks no more shimmery than I usually have on my cheeks anyway from shimmer eyeshadow fallout.

That ties in with another major thing to know about this palette. The top of the blush has a textured film over it which will make it a struggle to get any product onto the brush bristles. I recommend wiping off the top layer first before use. I think this is something that could affect many customers’ first impressions if this isn’t done.

There’s no kickup when using the highlighter, which is nice. I can get Star Glow to look quite subtle using the Wayne Goss #15 Fan Brush and Smashbox Precise Highlighting Brush. With those brushes, I can dip into the pan multiple times to control how much I put on. However, when I use the Koyudo La Fuga del Gato highlighting brush, I gently tap my brush into the highlighter one time, yet that amount always lays an intense amount on my cheeks. Brushes make a big difference in look and performance with this highlighter! Star Glow is high shine. Even though the particles are very fine, it’s so reflective that it still gives me a sparkle effect. Sometimes I like it and sometimes it’s too much for me.

The amount of blush in the photo above is the most I can get if I’m not using a very dense brush. I would have to really go out of my way to successfully overapply the blush. The amount of highlighter in the rightmost photo was created with two passes from an brush that doesn’t pick up much product and one pass with a brush that picks up a lot. I would not want to build it up any further or it would start to look ill-suited for me.

As for the eyeshadows, I first tried following the guide based on their names. Because Transition and Crease are so close in depth with Transition being orange-brown and Crease being the slightest bit darker but red-brown, it was hard to see the distinction between them on my eyes, especially after adding Smoke. They just blended together without much of a gradient effect. I’m used to using transition and crease shades that are a little further apart in depth, so it took several tries to get used to having to be so careful where I place the shadows and how I blend where my eyes are partially hooded.

So far, I’ve used the shadows with the Gerard Cosmetics Clean Canvas, MAC Paint Pot, and Urban Decay Primer Potion. Although Cocoa and Layin’ Low aren’t darker than my natural eyelid color, I found that Transition shows the best when I use the clear-ish primer from Urban Decay. The shade Crease blends well on all of them. Smoke is a great deepening up shade, but I have to be careful to remember to give Paint Pot some time to dry down before applying the eyeshadows, or else the shades I lay down will darken up and be more difficult to blend. I don’t have to set Paint Pot with powder before using it with the eyeshadows in this palette, but it allows me to get started quicker. Another thing I observed is that I need to be careful in which direction I blow away the powder kickup. Sometimes the leftover matte eyeshadow dust goes into the pans of other shades and then when I dip my brush in there, I get a mix of another matte color.

The shimmers aren’t very intense unless they’re applied with a damp brush. Using my finger somewhat works for Inner Corner, but the shimmer from Outer Corner doesn’t stand out much without being foiled. Even if applied wet, I was still expecting something more sparkly like the shadows in the Lorac Noir palette. In order to create that effect, I have to pop Inner Corner on the center of the eyelid.

For my eye shape and considering the eyeshadow colors available, I will probably end up using Transition or Crease, but not both of them in the same look. I foresee myself using the mattes to create structure and then pulling a lid shade from another palette to complete the look, so some of the blend work will probably be covered up by my lid shade and the hooded skin anyway.

The eyeshadows are beautiful. From the lens of a neutral wearer or someone who loves wearing the same go-to eye look on a daily basis, I can see how this palette would be a beloved staple in their collection. I am absolutely crazy about the blush. The highlighter is nice, though not my favorite formula. Overall, this palette was completely worth the price at 20% off. It’s aesthetically pleasing on the outside and inside, and every single pan of product in this palette is usable for me. Even if it’s not my favorite, I can still use it all. I love it and I have no regrets purchasing it, but it doesn’t top the Hindash Beautopsy Palette in terms of the color variety I can get, the multiple types of uses, and being travel friendly. I can do my brows, eyeliner, blush, bronzer, contouring, setting powder, and eyeshadow with that one. Even though the Glam Face Palette has shimmers, I know I would still get bored of just having those two shades and would need a supplemental eyeshadow palette to use with it, just like I need with Beautopsy. The only thing Natasha’s palette has Hindash’s palette beat on is that it includes a highlighter, but since that doesn’t crack my top favorites list, I would want to bring a different highlighter if I took it traveling anyway. This wasn’t the most practical purchase for me, but I wanted it regardless. It brings me joy! In any case, this is going to be a more all-encompassing palette for a lot of other people, so if you were thinking about getting this one, I do recommend it.

That’s all for today! My next post will be after Thanksgiving, so for those who celebrate it, I wish you a happy time and I appreciate you stopping by my blog!


Natasha Denona Collection Review

I forgot to include my Natasha Denona cheek products in my initial photo, but this post will cover everything I own from the brand!

Bloom Blush and Glow Palette

I use the Glow Cream Base as a subtle wet looking highlighter. I also mix it with the dark red Cream Blush to create a medium pink shade, since I don’t like the tone of the blush on its own. Because of the texture and how quickly it sets/stops being as blendable on the skin, I apply a layer of the Cream Base first to my cheek, then I add one tap of the blush on top and swirl it around with my finger until the adequate amount is laid down. I wipe the excess blush off my finger before continuing to blend until I’m satisfied with the look. I’ve tried the Glow Extreme several times but the sparkle level is too glittery for my taste. On the flip side, the Duo Glow is stunning! I imagine this could be a blush on some people but it is a stunning duochromatic highlighter. Being able to utilize so much of a face palette is uncommon for me, so I’m very happy I bought this. Also, I’ve had this for ten months and the creams haven’t dried out. This palette is meant to last 18 months, so that’s also a pleasant surprise!

Blush Duo

I bought this from a Boxycharm subscriber. The main blush shade is called Golden Coral and is described as a, “champagne peach shimmer and warm pink with slight champagne sheen.” This is not to be confused with the Duo Glow shade in the Bloom palette which is a combination of a, “vibrant coral with golden champagne.” The TouTou shade is meant to blend out the edges. On my skin tone, it’s too stark and just makes the edges look ashy. When I look forward, Golden Coral is a bit too bubblegum pink, and when I turn my face to the light it looks like I applied highlighter all over my cheek instead of a glowy blush. I think if I had a different shade, I would still not be a fan of the way it looks on my skin or its satin texture. MAC and Nabla are the two brands I trust to make a shimmer blush I will like. I haven’t had quite as much luck with shimmer blushes from other brands.

I think I will be decluttering this one from my collection since I doubt I will use it again. It looks pretty in the photo, but in person there’s just something about this color that I don’t care for. Despite the warmth from the gold shimmer, the base color of the blush itself is too cool toned for my liking.

The Mini Lila Palette

I purchased this palette when it was on sale and being discontinued about two and a half years ago. I haven’t noticed any changes in the quality because these shades were always very pigmented, but not the easiest to blend. Although Poison Berry (the dark red-toned purple) and Raisin (warm reddish-brown purple) are pretty colors, they look nearly interchangeable on the eye and I have plenty of shades like them. I wanted this palette for the Blue Dahlia shade, which was more unique in my collection when I originally bought it, but I have many duochrome blue-purples in my collection now, such as Nocturnal from Clionadh and Fierce from Sydney Grace. Linen is pretty, but I typically only use that kind of shade to highlight the inner corner of the eye and under the brow arch. Flint is only good for highlighting under my brow (though it barely shows) and blending out the edges of Poison Berry and Raisin.

I’ve tried to use this many times and to love it, but I think it’s best if I declutter it to allow other palettes I’m more excited by to get my attention.

My Revised Lila Palette

The Lila palette is an older one from Natasha Denona’s brand, but I purchased mine from Beautylish in November 2019. Some of these shades from the original palette are so beautiful, but I felt it wasn’t purple enough, which is why I rearranged this palette using six additional purples from the 28 Purple-Blue palette: Calypso Blue, Nina’s Orchid, Aubergine, Electric Violet, Smoky Plum, and Maroon. I am much happier with the results! The colors are mainly midtones and darker shades, so I don’t have anything to give a true pop of brightness in this one, but I tend to just use whatever highlighter I have for inner corner and brow arch highlights anyway.

As a purple lover, if I didn’t have the ability to add more purples to this palette, I honestly think I would have been more disappointed with this purchase and felt it wasn’t worth buying, even though I got it during one Beautylish’s infrequent sales. I still don’t use this palette as much as I should, but it’s aesthetically pleasing to me and I get joy from knowing it’s there in my collection.

The Mini Gold Palette

I purchased this shortly after it was released, which is rare for me to buy anything at full price. However, the color story was calling to me so strongly that I didn’t have the self control to wait for a sale. Lodge hardly shows on my eyes, but I love all the other shades! Dark Sepia is a much needed deepening up shade, even though I typically reserve that task for mattes. I found that it looks great in the outer corner but I can also use it in the crease with Bia on top to give that grungy olive green depth that I need if I want it to look like more than just a soft wash of green. I originally didn’t like the flaky texture of D’OR, but now that I’ve worked with many different glittery shadows for the past year, my experience makes using this shade much easier now. I thought the green would be my favorite shade, but D’or really elevates the eye looks I create with this palette. Antheia is a beautiful duochrome olive-brown with gold and green shimmer. That shadow’s tone doesn’t pop as much on my eyelid as I think it would on someone else, but it’s still pretty and I prefer how it looks as an inner corner highlight.

If I ranked my Natasha Denona palettes in their non-revised forms, this would be tied with the Bronze palette for second place. It’s also a favorite palette in my eyeshadow collection overall.

My Revised Gold Palette

This is another palette that is older, but I purchased it late in 2019. Although I liked the blue shades, I wanted to have all my blues in the 28 Purple-Blue Palette instead. I kept 8 of the original shades and added 4 from Lila (Magnolia, Layla, Helio, Cyclone) and 3 from the Purple-Blue (Rosewood, Golden Rose, and Oxide). This palette holds one of the most amazing nearly-glowing greenish gold shades called Lime Chrome. It’s possibly my favorite eyeshadow color from Natasha Denona! It’s hard to justify the price when I got this palette for a few specific shades, but I can at least attest to the shimmer quality being amazing! The mattes weren’t very well suited for me.

When it comes to doing eye looks, my version of the Gold palette is better for simpler eye looks if used alone or as a companion palette. If I wore Brass one day and Oro the next, I doubt anyone would notice I was wearing a more yellow-toned gold shade that day. Or if I wore Brass one day and Alchemist the next, I don’t think anyone would wonder if the eyeshadow suddenly became less glittery than the previous day. So, really, the differences in gold shades is for the wearer’s knowledge and benefit. Although I don’t mind repetitive golds, there were quite a few light shades that were going to look pretty much the same on my eyes, so that’s why I removed most of those.

For the eye looks, I added Python, Sparks, and Aria back, although I had to use the very pale Anastasia Beverly Hills primer in order for Aria to show at all on my eyes. The last two eye looks were created using the pink shades in my revised palette, which were not part of the original Gold palette, but I included them in this section anyway.

My Revised 28 Purple-Blue Palette

This is the oldest ND palette in my collection, as I received it from my 2018 Lucky Bag. These have under performed for a while now, but I am not ready to put them on the shelf of retired makeup products kept purely for collector purposes. Although this palette has been rearranged, the majority of the shadows are still here. I mainly removed the purple shades to spruce up the Lila palette. This one currently holds all the colors I like the least or would seldom use in my ND collection, which are mainly cool tone shades. Some of the yellows and golds are beautiful, but I wanted to minimize the amount of similarly toned shadows in the other palettes, which is how those ended up here. 19 are from the original palette, 2 are from Lila (Juneau and Per Se), and 7 are from Gold (Cava, Sandstone, Sparks,Aria, Teak, Aurora, Python).

The Metropolis Palette

I love the greens and blues, plus I enjoy enjoy orange shades, so this palette has a lot to offer me. On a lighter skin tone, the subtle nuances and differences in texture and undertone is enough to keep this palette from being repetitive, but I acknowledge a lot of these colors look similar on me. My favorite shimmer from Metropolis is Orium, a duochromatic “coral with light greenish reflects,” which goes well with everything in this palette. That being said, I still haven’t used Metropolis as much as I wanted. I know the shades are arranged in a way that can be complimentary if used in adjacent quads or by rows and columns, but I am unused to these color combinations, so I tend to not know what to do and I reach for something else instead. I was happy to discover that the pans in Metropolis are the same size as the medium 15-pan $65 palettes, so I decided to swap some of my least use shades and replace them with Suntan, Magma, High Degree, Alloy, Gloaming, and Bliss from the Bronze palette. Then I organized them in a way that makes it easier for me to visualize how to pair the colors together on my eyes!

Metropolis launched in September 2019, but I’ve only had this palette for 13 months. I can happily say that the cream shadows have not dried out, although Symbol did feel less creamy than Enigma from the very start. They’re all still blendable and such a pleasure to use. This palette is labelled to be good for 2 years after opening, which is fantastic.

I already reviewed this palette, mini Lila, and mini Gold in my 2020 Eyeshadow Tag post, which included eyeshadow looks, so I wanted to expand on that by creating new looks using different shades for this one.

This is my favorite Natasha Denona palette and a favorite in my collection overall!

The Bronze Palette

This is the newest addition to my collection. I kept telling myself I didn’t need this and that the color story is repetitive, but I caved and bought it. When I looked at this next to Metropolis and saw all the neutral browns and oranges, I was reminded even more how much I didn’t need this palette. It’s so pretty though! Bliss is an amazing dark pink shadow with gold and green sparkle. Deep Dive has the cream to powder formula that’s present in the Metropolis palette which works well to smoke out any look or add a unique twist to any shadow that’s patted on top of it. Gloaming is a stunning, “burnt umber with a light bronze reflect.” Magma is the perfect crease shade for all these bronze and orange tones. The shadow quality is fantastic. They are all pigmented, even if most of the lighter mattes are the same depth as my natural lid shade and they just blend into my skin and become hard to see. The other shadows more than make up for it. Even Rhodium, my least favorite shade because it doesn’t have enough sparkle to stand out on my eye, looks amazing when paired with the more sparkly shades in this palette. What helps differentiate this palette from Metropolis is the fact that the similar orange shades lean more on the pink and brown side of bronze. The oranges in Metropolis lean more yellow and gold. Although I removed the most fun six shades and put them in Metropolis, I’m happy to say that what I have leftover in my revised Bronze palette still looks pretty and I can see myself reaching for it to use True Copper, True Bronze, Sundown, Deep Dive, and possibly even Rhodium again.

I left Bronze as a workable and still cohesive palette, unlike my revised 28 pan Blue-Purple one filled with shades I wouldn’t miss. Although I wanted to put Deep Dive in my Metropolis palette, I needed to keep it here as my main deepening up shade.


When it comes to specific categories like inner corner shades, browns, golds, bronzes, and blues, Natasha Denona’s shades are without question very similar. At the same time, I thought a lot of shades were more similar than they ended up being. For example, in my mind I thought Bia and Lethal were similar because they’re both light greens. However, Bia is on the grassy pastel side and Lethal is a more grungy yellow-green. I also thought about the fact that Golden Rose is a duochrome pink shadow with gold shimmer, and the same can be said of Bliss. In swatching them, I realized Bliss is more of a coral than a true pink. So, Natasha Denona’s use of different undertones and levels of glitter really helps shades that would ordinarily be similar look quite different when swatched.

That’s everything! I’ve been wanting to do a post like this for a long time, so I’m happy it’s complete now. Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog!


XL Beautylish Lucky Bag 2018 Comprehensive Review

What is it?

This is the annual New Year mystery boxes modeled after the fukubukuro tradition from the online retailer Beautylish. The purchasing options have changed since my previous post on this topic. In 2017, they introduced the XL bags which are $165 (shipping included) for $350+ of products. The price of the regular bags are the same $82 (including shipping) for $150+ of products, however they’ve added two complexion choices: Fair-Medium and Dark-Deep. Customers have been asking for this change for years since products like bronzers, contour powders, blushes, and even lipstick shades can be unflattering depending on the skin tone. Beautylish does not put foundations or concealers in the bags, so if properly executed it could increase the likelihood of getting usable products.

How do you get one?

The 2018 Lucky Bags are no longer available but the 2019 notification list can be found here.

On December 23rd, Beautylish sent an email explaining that customers who spent $1,000+ in 2017 would get priority access on December 26th 9am PST. Everyone else who signed up for early access would get the sale page link on that same day at 11am PST and everyone else could order at 3pm PST.

What actually happened was that early access began at 10:00 am instead of 11:00 am. I clicked my email link at 10:04 and saw that no XL bags were available, so I think those bags sold out during the priority access time slot.

I remembered that in my earliest experiences with Beautylish I had a beauty rep, so I decided to reach out to them and was informed that the XL bags would be restocked in limited quantities at the original early access start time (11 PST). The restock sold out just as quickly, so huge thanks to the Beautylish customer service team! I would not have been able to get the XL bag otherwise.

Regular bags were delivered to those closest to Beautylish (San Francisco) on January 11th so there were already posts popping up on IG, Twitter, and Youtube but none of the XL bags shipped until the next day. My package was delayed due to weather conditions and arrived January 19th.

What did you get?

Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Mask  – $12, if priced individually.

I’ve looked at hundreds of photos of unboxed lucky bags via #luckybag2018 and #beautylishluckybag2018 on Instagram and 90% of the regular and XL bags I saw contained 1 of 2 possible Sulwhasoo masks.

Wayne Goss #19 Precision Blending Brush – $23.

This brush has been on my wishlist for months! Funny thing is that now that I have it, I realized I’ve had an identical brush all along: the Hakuhodo J146.

With this in mind, I’m still very happy to have what is essentially a backup of my Hakuhodo brush. I’ve been wanting to get additional smaller sized eye brushes so this is perfect.

Oribe Travel Essentials Collection– $98 ($124 if each item was purchased individually).

This set contains the travel size Gold Lust Dry Shampoo, travel sized Gold Lust Shampoo and Conditioner, the Rollerball Perfume, and the full size Balmessence Lip Treatment. The balm was another thing I wanted to try but not for full price, especially since I’ve learned how to make them myself. In fact, the texture is very similar to the first one I ever made. Mine contains yellow beeswax so it’s the slightly yellow one on the left and the Oribe balm is on the right.

I’ve had the chance to test the balm over the past 24 hours and I can say it has a hard wax-like texture that takes a little warming up with the finger to become usable. It feels like a lightweight and less greasy version of Vaseline. It doesn’t have much of a smell, which is fine by me. It creates a thin moisturizing barrier that I can feel when I touch my lips but I wouldn’t call it tacky/sticky. It helped soothe my dry lips but it has an average wear time. I wouldn’t spend $35 on it when my less expensive jar of Nuxe Reve de Miel works better. I intend to try the shampoo and conditioner at a later date and I’ll give the dry shampoo and perfume to a friend. For anyone who wants to try a set like this but not spend $100, just know that there’s an Oribe Gold Lust Set from Birchbox that’s $55 and contains the same size shampoo, conditioner, and lip balm. It doesn’t have the perfume or dry shampoo but it does have the Gold Lust Transformative Masque instead. *The links in this blog post are not affiliate links and not sponsored.

Skindinavia Makeup Finishing Spray – $29.

I haven’t tried this yet but I’m looking forward to comparing it to the Urban Decay All Nighter. Since Skindinavia produces both products, I’d love to see for myself if there’s a noticeable difference between the two.

Jouer Skinny Dip Lip Topper – St. Tropez $16.

This looks really pretty in the tube but I’m not going to swatch it. I’ll be giving it to a friend. I like shiny lips but not shimmer/glitter on myself.

Bioderma Cleanser – $6.90.

I’m keeping it in the bubble wrap because I’ll be giving it to a friend as well. I love bioderma, and they sent me the version that I can actually use, but I already have the full size.

Natasha Denona 28 Pan Eyeshadow Palette – Purple Blue $239.

This was the last item I pulled out of my box and I was ecstatic! I had an NP 5 Pan Palette in the past but I gave it up (which I regretted shortly after) because I barely used it. I’m so happy to have ND eyeshadows again! I’d forgotten how smooth the metallic shades were and the color selection of this palette is amazing! For the past few months I’ve been experimenting with different formulas/color combinations for making my own pressed eyeshadows. The purples and blues in this palette are exactly what I’ve been trying to create for myself because so few palettes have the colors I want!

Here’s an example of some of my works in progress for anyone curious.

The photo below depicts finger swatches without primer and in different lighting.

Creating my own eyeshadows has given me a bigger appreciation for the work that goes into a palette like this. Purples truly are a pain to get right, so seeing completed purples that work this well is #goals!

I’ll do a swatch post in a few months (I’m being realistic with my posting schedule, haha) and an updated review, but swatching these reminded me how much the metallics are above reproach but some of the pearls and mattes are problematic.

Final Thoughts

Maximum (individual pricing) Retail Value – $450

Actual Retail Value – $423.90

Actual Savings – $258.90

Practical Savings (price of items I like minus what I paid) –  $161

Even without the monetary aspect, I feel like my bag was a winner! I technically didn’t get anything that I already own. As far as I know, none of the items in my bag have been heavily discounted at other retailers, unlike the ABH, Becca, Kevyn Aucoin, By Terry products that were among the most common items in the boxes. I didn’t get anything complexion based, which was a fear of mine, and I also didn’t get products from controversial brands. That seems pretty lucky to me!

I did notice several changes between this year and past boxes. There were more skincare products this time. There were also more duplicates. About 10% of the boxes I saw didn’t come with an eyeshadow palette, which was quite shocking to see since so many of us expected that to be a guarantee. There were quite a number of items from last year that popped up again this year. Every XL bag last year had one of the ND 28 palettes so most customers were expecting a different large eyeshadow palette as the “big ticket item.”

With the deep-dark boxes, I was shocked to see so many Jeffree Star liquid lipsticks. Yes, it was in a flattering orange color and JS did apologize for his past racist remarks, but that doesn’t mean everyone has forgiven him and to have so many JS products in the deep-dark regular boxes was hugely disappointing to quite a few people. I was also surprised to see the By Terry Sun Designer Palettes and Charlotte Tilbury Face in a Look palettes which are advertised as being able to work for a wide range of skin tones but come now… how do you sculpt with a powder that’s lighter than your skin tone or smoke with a shade that is practically invisible?

Whether a bag is “good” or “bad” is subjective, but I saw a deep-dark bag that had a natasha denona body glow in medium. It’s the equivalent of giving someone with chronically dry lips a very drying ultra matte liquid lipstick. Anyone can literally put any makeup product on but it doesn’t mean it will look good.

I still think Beautylish’s lucky bags are by far the best mystery boxes on the US market (XL bags only ship to the US but regular bags are open internationally). However, I think I’ll continue the pattern of purchasing a bag every other year. 2020, here I come!

Thanks for reading.

– Lili

Natasha Denona and Viseart Palettes

Some of the biggest beauty gurus on youtube say that these two brands make the best eyeshadows they have ever used. Although I am an eyeshadow junkie, I needed to do some research first before I invested in these products. And they are certainly an investment because you get a ton of product in each pan, which is ideal for makeup artists, but would last the average consumer ages. They’re also not cheap. The 5 pan palette was the most I was willing to commit to from ND’s line of shadows.

Natasha Denona Palette 04

ndpaletteThe single, 5-shadow, 10-shadow, and 28-shadow pans are available at Beautylish. Although ND has many other products for sale, the eyeshadows are the top sellers.

nd2nd3nd4bnd6I used finger swatches without primer in the photos above. When using the fingers, these shadows are unparalleled in pigmentation. The tiniest touch (not even a full single swipe) produced those swatches above.

ndclaimsThese are basically pressed pigments which are soft in texture, apply smoothly, and contain ingredients which maintain the shadow’s moisture while on the skin.

ingredientsAlthough Natasha Denona stands behind the use of parabens in cosmetics, she removed all of them from her eyeshadows to assuage wary customers.

The shadows are very long lasting on my lids. The photo below is after 8 hours of wear.

oxideeye3The video of the swatches going on and on, although true, is only practical for those who prefer to apply the eyeshadow with their fingers. Using the finger to apply it like a cream eyeshadow is actually the recommended method. If using a brush, Natasha Denona recommends one which is, “fluffy…thick and round, not flat brushes.”

roundfluffyI do not own her brushes, so I used natural and synthetic bristle brushes from various brands in the photos for this post. I also used the Too Faced Shadow Insurance in the primed swatches.

allbrushndPlease note that if used like any other eyeshadow, the color can be built up just as intense as the finger swatches. The brush demos were performed using one swirl of color, except Cool Plum. That shade required much more product to become visible at all on my skin. Here are some comparisons between my favorite and least favorite shades in the palette.

oxideallflashcplumallCool Plum perplexes me. It is so much stiffer, harder to work with, and less pigmented than the other shadows. Considering the effort required to work with it, I’d rather use a dark color from any other palette instead. I’m also confused by the fact that it looks matte in person but in the photos of the palette online, and the description of the individual pan on both the ND and Beautylish websites, it’s supposed to be a shiny pearl shade. I see sparkle in their pictures but zero in mine.

nd5From ND:

nd5panndcoolpFrom Beautylish:

ndbeautylishI spoke with a friend who bought this palette at the same time that I did and hers looked matte as well. Aside from that mystery, there are a few more things to know; when using multiple colors they don’t just blend. They mix and form a new shade, like paint. So if you want to keep each shade separate you have to apply and blend carefully. Cool Bronze was partially on the inner corner when I applied Aura on top and it created a yellow gold color.

shimeyeIf you have hooded eyelids you could run into the issue of color transferring from the lid to just above the crease. I have partially hooded eyes but this is the first time I’ve ever had this occur.

oxideeyeaThere may be as simple of a fix as using a different eyeshadow primer, but I would have to look into it. Although not necessary for some, ND recommends those with oily eyelids to still use a primer.

lastvislookOverall, the negatives aren’t enough for me to dislike this palette or ND’s eyeshadows in general. I think the shimmers are very nice and I can see why so many people have been raving about them. The way it looks in person is quite special and I’m willing to work on perfecting a technique in order to use the shadows exactly the way I want. Minus Cool Plum.

Viseart Eyeshadow Palette 4 Dark Mattes

darkmattesThis palette is also available at Beautylish but I purchased mine from Sephora.

The 01 Neutral Matte palette is what most people talk about but what makeup fanatic doesn’t already have at least one neutral palette after the Naked (and dupes) palette craze from 2014? There are seven of these 12-shadow palettes available and Viseart recently announced a new Rule of III collection of three half size (enfants) palettes coming soon to the makeup show LA.

For the rest of us, we can enjoy what is already available, like this Dark matte palette.

allvisI’ve never seen such a beautiful arrangement of colors from a premade palette. I absolutely love fall colors and I will still be rocking these shades all year long. I absolutely love the first two rows. The last one is patchier but I don’t wear blue or green that often anyway. And when you build up the color it won’t be much of an issue. They all feel the same texturally. Not buttery but not super stiff either. They feel like Lorac matte shades but most of these perform even better. Below are single brush swipes over primer.

top4vismiddle4visbottom4visAlthough the color and pigmentation is on the same level to me as Lorac mattes, the blendability of the Viseart mattes are insane. I’ve never seen mattes perform this way (minus the bottom row). Now, non-shimmers aren’t terribly exciting. Even if the colors pop, I always feel like something is missing without some shine on the lids.

rightvislooklornviseyeWhen I used an almost all Viseart eye look, I didn’t see what was so special about them at first. But then when I saw the pictures on camera it made complete sense. On camera they look ultra smooth/blended and just perfect. I’m certain a professional MUA can create even better looks with these eyeshadows than I can.

visinThese and Lorac Pro mattes share similarities but this palette is free of parabens, mineral oil, and other such ingredients. I have heard good things about Viseart shimmer shades as well but none of their colors grabbed my attention.

Final Thoughts on Viseart and Natasha denona Eyeshadows

In certain areas they do live up to the hype. I wouldn’t use either of these palettes alone and even together these two aren’t quite enough for me. Anyone looking for practical makeup for everyday use will likely find the difference in quality between these and other good palettes not quite enough to warrant the price. Those who take a lot of photos, make videos, or are MUAs may be more interested in testing and purchasing them. I do just enough for these to be relevant for me and to fit my needs.

❤ Lili