I Said I Wouldn’t Buy These, But I did!

I admittedly have an excessive makeup collection for a single person. Though it may not seem like it considering all the newly released makeup I purchased in 2021, I actually made a bigger effort to talk myself out of getting makeup in categories I already had favorites of and didn’t need. Each product reviewed today were things I thought I successfully anti-hauled, but all it took was a sale for me to change my mind!

These purchases were all made in 2021, so my beauty resolutions for 2022 are still intact and going strong! If anything, this post is an example of why I had to come up with a better plan for this year.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Cream Bronzer in Hazelnut

This purchase I attribute to Angelica Nyqvist’s many videos talking about how fantastic this product is, including her end of 2021 favorites. I wish I could say I had the same experience, but I just find it to be okay at best. This cream is easy to blend out, to the point that I have to build it back up, but if I overblend while building it up, it starts to look patchy because it’s setting in spots at different times. On the opposite side of the issue, I try not to apply too much at once because the shade is a bit deep for me. The shade jump between Hazelnut and the next lighter shade, Caramel, is huge. Hazelnut was my only color option. So, perhaps if I had a better match that didn’t put me at risk of overblending, I might like it better. As it stands, I prefer the Danessa Myricks, Kaja, and Sol Body/Colourpop cream bronzer formulas above the one from ABH because those three all blend quickly and easily into a skin-like finish. They’re also just as deep, or in some cases deeper, than the ABH without the blending and building troubles.

I’ve used this about ten times, so it’s possible I could find another brush that works better with this bronzer other than the Sonia G Mini Base and Scott Barnes #65 Flawless Face Brush, but between using a sponge, brush, or finger, the end result looks similar for all of them. I’m cutting my losses and rather than figure out how to make this one work better, I can just use my no-fuss cream bronzers that I like instead.

Pat Mcgrath Labs Skin Fetish: Sublime Skin Highlighter in Lunar Nude

I couldn’t resist the gold packaging with that embossing, but I’m at least glad I waited for a sale. I told myself over and over that Lunar Nude would look too light for my skin tone, so I shouldn’t get it. I was half right. The shimmery reflective particles are light gold, but the base color is a copper color. It even looks copper or gold depending on the lighting of the room and the angle. The base tone helps it look a little more wearable on me, but it’s still lighter than I’d prefer in a highlighter.

I can see the shimmer particles on my face, which is also not my preference, but I also realized that certain brushes of mine pick up more of the sparkle than others. On the website, there was a note to pair this with the highlighting balm duo. When I used the balm and then applied Lunar Nude on top, it definitely helped to make the product melt into the skin and look super smooth and achieve that “wet look” that I enjoy. However, it really cranks up the intensity level and the fact that the highlighter is too light for me becomes way more obvious. Since I figured out how to use it to my preferences, I like the formula but not the actual shade. Ultimately though, I don’t think this is worth buying at full price except for collectors and luxury product lovers. For anyone looking for the best highlighter on the market for the best price, this isn’t it. Much better and more affordable options are out there. It’s “pretty good” at best. I personally prefer Pat Mcgrath’s Divine Rose highlighter. That one is listed as a “futuristic gel-powder formula” in the “Skin Fetish: Ultra Glow” line whereas Lunar Nude is a “luxe gel-powder formula” in the “Skin Fetish: Sublime Skin” line. It’s possible they are the same formula, but Lunar Nude leaves more sparkle on the skin, which is the biggest difference other than the color.

Pat Mcgrath Labs Highlighter Comparisons

Different lighting to reveal the color shift of the trio.

Of course, since making this purchase, Pat Mcgrath has released similar highlighters to Lunar Nude’s formula in the Bridgerton collection. I don’t believe either of those new colors would look nice on me. If PML releases a shade variation I like in this same formula with the same special packaging and same or similar embossing, I would most likely sell Lunar Nude and buy that one. As it stands, this one isn’t getting much use in my collection but I still don’t want to part with it without a superior replacement.

Smashbox Loves Becca Under Eye Brightener in Dark

Although Becca Cosmetics is no more, a few best selling products were resurrected through Smashbox. This decision is presumed to be made by their parent company Estee Lauder.

There were originally just two shades: light-medium (now called Fair/Light) and medium-deep. The Smashbox x Becca version has two more in the mix: Medium and Dark. It’s my understanding though, based on a YouTube video by All Beauty by Sarah, that the original medium-deep color is actually close in depth to the current Medium shade with the main difference being that the original had a stronger pink tone to it. The third darkest shade now is called Medium/Dark and is much darker than the original medium-deep. The final shade, and the one I picked up, is Dark. Based on the description and the shade in the pot, I expected Dark to be too dark for me. Technically, as this is supposed to brighten my under-eyes, I should have gotten Medium/Dark. However, I prefer for my under eyes to match the rest of my face rather than being brighter, so Dark works perfectly for that. It’s the best matching color-corrector type of product I have ever used because it has a slight orange tone to hide my dark circles, but there’s also enough brown to make it look natural. I try to avoid showing my skin discoloration as much as possible, but in this instance I felt it was necessary to show a demonstration photo below.

Cream products almost always move in my under-eye area, but what makes this one a little different is the very sticky texture. This product has gripping power similar to the Milk Hydro Grip Eye Primer, but stronger than that one. This makes it ideal for applying a concealer on top, even though based on the color match, I don’t find that to even be necessary. However, it will not set on its own, so I either have to apply a concealer that sets down like the Tarte Shape Tape or apply a setting powder to my under eyes (or both). If I apply the Smashbox x Becca corrector by itself, it will settle badly into creases. So, I need at least something on top to keep it from creasing and to continue looking smooth.

So, I have an answer to using this product to hide my dark circles and keep it looking as smooth as possible considering I have heavy lines under my eyes. This product would be perfect if it wasn’t for the transfer issue. No matter what products I apply on top of the corrector, it will lift off my under eyes if I accidentally touch it or if I try to wipe away shimmer eyeshadow fallout. So, despite being the perfect color match for me, this isn’t a holy grail product. I use it on days when I’m not planning to go anywhere and am just putting on makeup for Instagram and Blog photos. I am at least glad I’m still getting use out of it. This would work wonders for people who don’t touch their face or rub their eyes as much as I do, so I still recommend it, but I would be wary about potential issues. Also, I would use a dedicated brush specifically with this product because it’s a bit of a pain to use with my favorite concealer brushes the way it coats the hairs in its sticky texture.

Flower Beauty Jungle Lights Palette

The release of Flower Beauty’s Desert Lights palette didn’t take away the major hype surrounding the original Jungle Lights palette. That’s what ultimately caused me to finally want to try it out. I’ve also always been curious how it stacked up to the MAC Tempting Fate palette a lot of people were comparing it to.

In the photo above, in the “Flash Off” set of swatches, I put a yellow divider line to help show the differences between the Flower Beauty swatches on the left half and the MAC swatches on the right half. In the “Flash On” set of swatches, I did not put a divider in order to keep it from impeding on seeing how similar the two sets look next to each other in every shade except Amazon (which had no equivalent) and Jaguar.

The Flower Beauty Jungle Lights formula is as creamy as everyone says, except Paradise and Jaguar have less slip and feel a tad more gritty. I also like the sparkle and shine level of these shimmers, which clearly surpass that of the MAC Feast Your Eyes Palette from the Tempting Fate Collection.

They’re as nice as people say, and I appreciate the fact that they last fairly well on my eyes as long as I pack on enough color with my finger (which is the recommended application method) and am content with the colors fading a bit to a duller color by the end of the day.

I think it’s worth looking into, especially at the price point. $17.99 is great already, but between a sale and coupon codes at Ulta, I got this one for $8.68. I still would have thought it was worth it at full price.

One of the most fascinating aspects of this palette was when I came across a reddit post showing 47 different shade combinations that could be made using this palette depending on which shade was on the bottom layer and which one was on top. Of course, the differences aren’t as obvious on my skin tone, but there were enough combinations to leave me thoroughly impressed. I took photos of some of the most obvious color changes with comparisons to the individual shades on their own to make it easier to see the differences.

And then the photo below shows all the individual shades plus my favorite five new shade combinations.

Unfortunately, some of these shade mixtures don’t show as well on my eyes as they did in arm swatches. However, it’s still fun to play around with the combinations. It makes for a more versatile palette.

I wish there were some mattes included, but I could perhaps continue to get use out of this if I remember to pull it out in conjunction with some of my all or nearly all matte palettes.

Sigma Beauty Berry Glow Cheek Duo

I really thought this duo looked nice on my skin in person, but in photos, the blush looks very ashy. The fact that it’s cool toned does look a little off to my own eyes though. I’m torn.

I bought the duo for about 40% off during a Black Friday sale and thought it was an extra great price considering it came with a brush as well. The brush will be reviewed in an upcoming synthetic bristle brush post. Considering the ashy look of the blush on camera, I’m not sure if I’ll continue to use it. I guess as long as it still looks nice in person, and I could potentially mix it with a warmer blush, I still somewhat like it. However, considering I also had mixed feelings about the Cor-de-Rosa blush palette, I think this will be the last blush purchase I get from them. I do like the highlighter, as it’s quite smooth with a small shimmer particle size and it doesn’t look stark even though it’s such a pale highlighting shade. It comes off a little more champagne-gold in person even though it looks almost platinum on camera. I’m almost tempted to investigate Sigma’s Glowkissed Highlight Palette from last year, but I have a full highlighter palette already from Danessa Myricks that I just bought during Black Friday too. I certainly don’t need another.

Those who are fans of the Sigma blush and highlighter formula already will likely enjoy the quality of this duo as well. I will continue to give it a few more tries to solidify my own feelings on it, but it’s just “nice” in terms of quality in my opinion. It doesn’t quite reach the “great” territory.

That’s everything! Out of the five items, I wish I could have successfully anti-hauled the ABH Cream Bronzer, Sigma Duo, and this particular shade of PML highlighter, but I really expected to love them and wouldn’t have known otherwise without having bought them first to try out. I will certainly try harder to stick to my anti-hauls in the future.
Thank you for reading!

-Lili

Blushes So Good I Needed Another…part 2

This is an update to my post from September 2020 where I’ll be showing my newest shades of blushes I’ve already reviewed before and loved so much that I wasn’t content with having just one shade. I needed more!

KVD Everlasting Blush in Peony and Foxglove

I already talked about how much I liked the shades Poppy and Snapdragon in Part 1 to this post, so I surprised myself that I actually bought two more. I always suspected Foxglove could work for me and Peony looked borderline like I might be able to pull it off during winter or early spring when I’m usually at my lightest. I was shocked that they ended up looking as nice as they do! Those two shades were clearly not intended for someone with dark skin but they have enough pigmentation to make it show and not look ashy!

Peony is cool toned, but this kind of pink still somehow looks nice on me. After about 3-4 layers, it doesn’t show any stronger on my skin tone, but I like how it looks with even just 2-3 layers. Foxglove doesn’t show as strongly in the photo above, but that’s because it’s a more toned down dusty rose type of pink and I prefer not to build it up beyond two layers. While I would say I consider a very pigmented blush to show on me in 1-2 layers, the fact that these are so pale in the pans and swatches, but still show this much on me speaks volumes.

Of the four blushes, I think Foxglove is my new favorite.

Pat Mcgrath Labs Skin Fetish: Divine Powder Blush in Electric Bloom

I purchased this perhaps a month after the initial blush launch. I wanted so many shades from the collection that I told myself I was only allowed to have one more, so I went ahead and made it this vibrant coral shade. It’s the kind of color that is debatable whether I can pull it off or not, but always calls to me. If I had just waited a little longer, I would have seen that it was listed as a dupe for Colourpop’s Aloha Honey blush shade on Temptalia’s blog and therefore I didn’t need the almost identical blush color. To be fair, I haven’t used the Colourpop blush enough to say how it compares in terms of quality because I always reach for Electric Bloom over Aloha Honey.

Paradise Venus is still my favorite shade of the three I have from Pat Mcgrath.

LYS Beauty High Standard Clean Cream Blush in Inspire

I hope anyone who reads my blog regularly isn’t tired of me going on about how much I love this cream blush formula, but I feel it deserves to be gushed over. I always had plans to eventually get this beautiful coral-orange shade, but I wanted to wait until I made more progress in my overall cream blush collection. However, I had some store credit built up via the Ambassador program with the brand, so I decided to go ahead and cross that off my wish list! Half of this blush was paid for via credit and the other half was paid for out of my own pocket. For full details about my affiliation with LYS, please see my About Me page and scroll to the near bottom.

Inspire performs just as well as the others. I cannot decide which of the three is my favorite because I keep changing my mind every time I use a different shade!

Wayne Goss The Weightless Veil Blush Palette in Bright Poppy (Sunny and Golden Glow)

Unlike the other blushes I’ve listed, which are among my top favorites, I decided to try Bright Poppy because the colors are better suited for me than Vivid Azalea and I wanted an answer as to whether the blush shade would be insanely pigmented in this duo too. Sunny is not quite at the unbelievable pigment level of Shocking, but if I tap once into the blush with my Smashbox Buildable Cheek Brush, it’s enough to thoroughly cover my cheek. An additional half layer is the maximum amount I would want to use. Otherwise, my option would be to tone it back down using a finishing powder on top.

Sunny is pretty on the cheeks. Golden Glow is a nice highlighter formula that is very complimentary to my skin tone. I prefer to apply my blush and highlighter separately, but Wayne suggests that anyone who likes shimmery blush formulas could apply the highlighter to the entire cheek and then blend the blush on top of it. This technique worked for me with Vivid Azalea because the combination of the two shades turned the blush into a lighter color. I tried this with Bright Poppy and did not like it at all because the shimmer color and blush color don’t match. This means the particles in the highlighter stand out a lot more and I don’t like how contrasting it is. Whether I applied the highlighter to the bottom or the highlighter on top, the end result was the same.

Colourpop Super Shock Cheek in Matte, Satin, and Pearlized finishes.

Colourpop’s Super Shock Cheek line includes both blushes and highlighters, so I decided as a bonus to review all the ones I own here since I’m a huge fan of them. They have the benefit of looking and applying to the skin like creams, but without feeling heavy, sticky, or greasy on the skin like some cream blushes on the market can do.

In the Matte finish we have Over Dramatic, a “mid-tone pinky nude,” and Swift, a “rich deep warm brown” shade. Both are very close in color and practically look the same on my cheeks. Calling Swift a deep and rich shade is quite the exaggeration on Colourpop’s part. I have to build them up a lot in order for them to show in photos, but I bought these specific colors so I could have some brown leaning blushes, which aren’t as prevalent in my collection. Swift is from the Make It Black Collection when the brand partnered with Pull Up For Change. It’s a bit stiffer in consistency than Over Dramatic and because Swift is more of an orange-brown than pink-brown, it blends in with my skin a lot more. It’s on the borderline of blending in too much, considering it’s such a nude shade for me already. For that reason, I do prefer Over Dramatic because of my personal preferences.

I just have one Satin finish Super Shock Cheek and it’s in the shade Georgette which is described as a “bright apricot with a warm sheen.”

Georgette has the right amount of brightness that isn’t obnoxious. Also, I’ve always struggled to find orange tones of blush that look flattering on my skin tone. I tend to like the ones that lean more red or pink. This apricot shade is more on the yellow side, but I like it. So now, I think it’s just true oranges at the 50/50 split between yellow and red that I don’t enjoy as much. My quest to figure it out continues!

I have five shades in the Pearlized finish, starting with the two that came in the 2020 Lunar New Year set called the Lucky You Super Shock Cheek Duo.

I kept these unused for so long because of the pretty pattern in the Super Shocks. When I finally used them, I was a little disappointed that Drop of a Hat was too sheer to work as a blush for me. It’s better if I consider it a pink highlighter or blush topper. Goody Two Shu is pretty but a little sparkly, so I decided it wasn’t worth continuing to ruin the embossing. I just keep these as collector items now.

Voile is another Super Shock I stopped using. I kept trying to use it because the shade reminded me of Benefit’s Kiss of Rose and Charlotte Tilbury’s Walk of No Shame, which are both shimmery blushes I find to be beautiful. However, the shimmer level of Voile in person and the way the “copper sheen” sparkles on my cheeks is too much for me. It’s far more sparkly in person than it appears in the photo. I’ve realized that I prefer Colourpop’s matte and satin finishes for the blush shades. The only pearlized blush I enjoy is Cheerio and that’s because it seems to be a pearl-satin hybrid! Cheerio is a repromoted shade, which I bought from the Wine & Only Collection. The back label on my blush has “Pearlized” printed on it, but on Colourpop’s website it’s listed as a satin and it doesn’t have as many sparkles as the others in that formula. Or, perhaps I can’t see them if most of the sparkles match the color of the blush. What I see are some silver flecks.

I have to use a very small amount of Cheerio because it’s a deep shade. It’s easy to overapply and my specific blush arrived partly shriveled (which I pressed back into the pan). So, it’s a little drier than it should be and not as easy to spread evenly on my cheeks, but I can still make it work. Colourpop did send me a replacement, but I realized I preferred the cream blush from Natasha Denona’s Bloom Cheek palette a lot more, and that color is similar to this one, so I gave the replacement to my sister.

Lastly, we have my absolute favorite Colourpop Super Shock Cheek. It’s a “peachy gold” shade that I use for highlighting called Parasol.

It looks extra sparkly in the photo above because I used it over the Georgette blush which also has a sheen, but this highlighter is very smooth and wet looking. It blends into my skin very well and is the kind of tone I like for highlighting. I’ve used it quite a bit, even though it doesn’t look like it in the photo from the top down angle, but it actually has a dip in the center.

This concludes the post! I tried to keep it short since all of these (minus Colourpop) have been reviewed on this blog before.

Are there any blushes you have been loving at the moment? The blush and highlighter categories are the reason I haven’t been able to post Best of 2020 and Best of 2021 posts. I was constantly trying new products, loving the majority of them, and not able to use what I consider my favorites consistently enough to rank some over others. This year, I’m committed to getting a lot more use out of my older products. There are still plenty I haven’t even reviewed yet! I hope you’ll return to see the progress on that! Thank you for reading!

-Lili

After the Hype: Are These Palettes Still Worth Buying?

Today I’ll be discussing palettes that I purchased, but I felt uninspired to review after the hype went down. I’m going to discover whether these purchases were still worth me buying or if I should have skipped them.

Pat Mcgrath Celestial Divinity Luxe Quad in Interstellar Icon

I essentially traded my Nocturnal Nirvana Blitz Astral Quad for this one instead. I already own Blue Blood in the Eye Ecstasy: Subversive mini palette, but I don’t mind having a repeat shade since that one is so small. I couldn’t get the stunning blue-purple duochrome Hypnotique or the sparkly bronze-taupe Divine Dahlia out of my mind, so I knew at some point I would add this to my collection. I like palettes with at least 6 shades, so having only four options feels limiting, especially as there are no mattes: just three shimmers and a satin. However, I don’t take PML eyeshadows on trips, so as long as I’m only using them at home I can utilize mattes from other palettes. I also don’t mind using the burgundy Blue Blood shadow in the crease or outer corner the way I typically would use a dark matte shade. Golden Polaris is a nice highlighting color for the inner corner, under the brow, and center of the lid. While these are all pretty on the eye, I’ve always found that glitter primer under the shimmer shades is needed to show their true beauty.

Despite feeling limited in shade options, I understand why this palette sold better than the other quads and I’m happy to have this.

BH Cosmetics Sweet Shoppe Pistachio Palette

I didn’t purchase this during the initial launch, but I was able to get it during the restock. At the time, I had a negative experience with their customer service and wasn’t planning on buying from them again, for multiple reasons, but my love of green shadows wore me down. Everyone talked about how this is the best quality BH cosmetics has done, but I don’t see it. To me, it’s on par with the other shadows from them in my collection like the Zodiac palettes. It’s great quality considering the price, but it’s not more special than anything else from the brand, nor does it top Juvia’s Place, Sydney Grace, Pat Mcgrath, Natasha Denona, Kaleidos, etc. It might be better than most of Colourpop’s shadows, but not even all of them. It’s good, I just don’t know why it got the insane attention that it did. The mattes are pretty tones and not necessarily hard to blend, but they took a little work. I had no issues with the shimmers though. When I think about all the gorgeous green shadows I own from Sydney Grace and Coloured Raine, I think I could have skipped this.

Makeup by Mario Master Metallics Eyeshadow Palette

I heard nothing but crickets just one month after the brand’s launch. I’m used to specific product hype dying down, but I literally forgot this brand existed until the recent Soft Pop/Sculpt collection release of bronzers and blushes. In any case, I had absolutely no idea what looks I could create with this palette, but I wanted it anyway. Because they are all shimmery shades, I knew this would be a supplemental palette. However, I struggle to think of anything but basic shade combinations involving neutral mattes or one single matte shade to pair with one of these on the lid.

I have more examples of the Makeup by Mario shadows in use in the Sugarpill section.

That Metallic #6 olive-gold-green shade is my weakness!

These shadows look more impactful, smoother, and more metallic when applied wet. Using a finger isn’t even enough for my taste; I need to use these with a spray. The brand has a palette specifically for use with a mixing medium (Master Metals), so I wondered if that was the case for this palette as well. Though I technically don’t have the same product, the slight extra intensity that the Mehron mixing medium provides isn’t enough for me to suggest anyone has to buy it for use with the Master Metallics. I think any spray will be good enough.

This is a nice palette of lid shades, but the fact that I have so many gorgeous single shimmer eyeshadows means I could have skipped getting this.

Sugarpill Fun Size Palette

This palette took many months (maybe even a year) to restock, but I eventually got my hands on it. I went in depth showing the different swatches above because I find that the primer you use with these will seriously impact how well this palette performs. Besides pastels and white bases being a great match, the actual Gerard Cosmetics formula helps these to stick better to the eye. I think these shades are very interesting and they are the best I have in my collection when it comes to super vibrant mattes in pastel-like colors. I like these even more than the Terra Moons neons, but between the Neons and Fun Size, I definitely don’t feel the need to buy anymore pastel or neon eyeshadows after this. This palette was definitely worth the hype.

Glamlite Cake Palette

This comes in very bulky, but very cute packaging, which I have kept despite how much valuable space it takes up on my eyeshadow palette holder. Because Glamlite isn’t sold at retailers, it has only been hyped up among the Indie Brand Youtubers and other makeup enthusiasts who buy from small independent brands. But among that circle, this was definitely spoken about consistently until the release of the Ice Cream Dream palette. Then this one took a backseat.

The mattes are a nice balance of being very pigmented but still easy to blend. The majority are easy to use. I’ve only had issues with Pineapple and Ube needing a light base underneath to help the shadows be more vibrant on my eyes. Dulce de Leche also needs to be packed on heavily in order to stay. Other than needing a lighter base with some shades, these have worked well with the different primers I use. As for the shimmers, they remind me of slightly less sparkly versions of JD Glow shadows with a smoother texture and smaller shimmer particle size. Cinnamon and Guava are the standouts for me. Also, I think Banana is the only yellow shimmer I have that’s this bright without a grainy texture. The other shimmers are nice, just not unique shades.
The only complaint I have about the shimmers is that I still get a lot of fallout around my eyes even when using a glitter primer. Other than that, I don’t think this was a bad purchase!

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

-Lili

War of the Rose Blushes

I noticed how many of the newer blushes in my collection had ‘Rose’ in the name, and thought it would be cute to make a play on “War of the Roses” as the title of this post. It was intended to be a lighthearted review, but I admittedly went on a rant in the BareMinerals section. If you’re strictly interested on a discussion of the product and not about issues with the beauty industry as a whole, I suggest skipping that portion of this post.

BareMinerals Gen Nude Blonzer in Kiss of Rose

At least with Ofra’s Blushzer, they gave us a split pan of blush on one side and bronzer on the other, but the concept of the “Blonzer: blush and bronzer in one” is a gimmick to me, and similar to the way Becca tried to market their zero pigment foundation. These Blonzers are just blushes in a combination of bronze and rosy toned hues that add warmth to the blush areas of the face. Even Kiss of Copper, the most bronze-like of the three, still just looks like a warm blush shade. I would look ridiculous if I tried to use this on my forehead or jawline where I sometimes apply bronzer. In fact, BareMinerals recommends applying this in the “W” area of the face. I was familiar with the C and 3 patterns, but I hadn’t heard of this technique until I watched this video.

Photo taken from Sephora’s Website.

Issues with marketing aside, something about the imprint and shades of these Blonzers infatuated me. I made myself wait until the Sephora VIB sale in order to get Kiss of Rose, the darkest shade. There are only three in total and Kiss of Rose is right on the line of being barely deep enough to work on me. If it was the tiniest bit lighter, it wouldn’t show up on my skin. Although it’s no longer showing as a “Top Dupe” on Temptalia’s blog, I have to give credit for where I learned that the Kiss of Rose shade was extremely similar to Charlotte Tilbury’s Walk of No Shame blusher. Kiss of Rose is practically a slightly more shimmery version of it.

This fact almost stopped me from purchasing the blonzer because I want to avoid adding dupes to my collection. However, I never reach for Walk of No Shame because trying to use solely the dark ring of that blush (the highlighting center part lightens the blush too much when mixed in) was such a hassle. I thought that shade was beautiful, so the idea that I could have that without the ring is what caused me to buy it and I have no regrets! I am so happy with this purchase. I love the shine on my face from this blonzer. It looks so flattering, and although it doesn’t take the place of a bronzer for me, I’m happy to continue using it in the “W” formation.

Also, when I wear this, I tend to skip using highlighter. This blonzer lasts at least 8 hours on me, which is usually as long as I test makeup for. I recommend this, even at full price, but I hope BareMinerals expands the range. It’s silly to include “bronze” in the name and call this the equivalent of “deep” when it’s not. For two months, Sephora had Kiss of Rose listed as being suitable for deep skin tones, even though BareMinerals hadn’t specified that.
“Deep” from the Western/Euro-centric perspective is not the same as “Deep” on the spectrum of all human skin tone possibilities between the lightest and darkest. For example, on PUR Cosmetics’ chart of their 100 foundation shade range, I am most likely DG4 in the Dark category. I believe Kiss of Rose would appear ashy, icy, and more like a highlighter on someone in the actual Deep range, even starting at DPG1. This admittedly does irk me when the last shade in a paltry range is automatically called deep, just because it’s the darkest one they have. I wonder how many people bought Kiss of Rose thinking it would suit them because of Sephora’s misleading description, only to find out it’s too light for them. And how many of them are like me and kept it just because they hate returning things?

I’m sorry for the rant, but it gets very tiresome. Testing out beauty products is my passion and hobby of mine. I love it. When brands aren’t being inclusive, it limits what you can use for your hobby. If you take race and skin tones out of it and think about any other hobby, like painting, imagine if you went to a store and saw they were selling the most beautiful paints in all kinds of gorgeous finishes. You buy the paints and take it home but the paints won’t stick to your particular canvas. It’s repelled. It doesn’t show at all or the paints that do stick look dull and lifeless on your canvas. The store tells you, “Sorry, we only make paints for these specific types of canvas boards. Maybe one day we’ll make one for yours.” And you see all the beautiful artwork everyone else can create, but not you. Imagine flowers that won’t grow in your garden but will for your neighbors or pans that won’t heat the food you try to cook in it. I see the comment far too often on social media, “If they don’t make it for you, just don’t buy from them,” and that misses the point entirely. It ignores the pain of how frequently you’re limited in something you’re passionate about. How bad it feels when you see others have the world at their fingertips and you have to make do with less, and they don’t care that it isn’t equal. I wish more people had the compassion to understand this concept. We’re all part of the beauty community and when a new launch is hyped up, we want to be able to take part in that. It’s so disheartening when you then realize you can’t be part of it because they didn’t make a product you can use. Great for my wallet, but not great in feeling part of the community.
If I don’t have a perfect match, I feel comforted if someone deeper than me at least has an option. Kiss of Rose is beautiful and it works, but I can’t pretend it doesn’t bother me that I’m where it ends because this is actually a great product!
I think I’m especially bothered because at the time that I started working on the draft for this post, 6 out of my last 10 purchases wouldn’t work on anyone darker than me. There have also been several items I wanted to buy, but they weren’t even deep enough for me either. Is this not 2021? Anyway, I’m putting my objective hat back on!

Sigma Cor-de-Rosa Blush Palette

This is a very medium-tone selection of shades, so those with a lighter skin tone will have to be careful not to overapply, especially as the blushes are pigmented. Those deeper than MAC’s NC/NW 50 might not get much use out of these shades, other than Nearly Wild and perhaps Bronze Star.
I like that the matte blushes give good color payoff because I prefer to use my natural hair brushes on powder products, but if I use them on a sheer blush, it can take so long to build up, if at all. So, I’m glad I don’t have that issue.

Cor-de-Rosa is the namesake of the palette and also my favorite shade out of the six! I thought my favorite color would be Nearly Wild, but it’s a close second. The peachy-brown tones within Cor-de-Rosa is more of my preference over the deep rose of Nearly Wild. They’re both very pretty, but I like when there’s a little brown. Señorita is a tad light for me to use as a blush on its own, but it makes a stunning blush topper! I mentioned that Cor-de-Rosa was my favorite blush color, but when it comes to what actually looks the most beautiful on my skin, I think it’s Bronze Star. Bronze Star is just a hair darker than MAC’s Extra Dimension Blush in Hushed Tone, which is one of my favorite blush shades in general.

The matte blushes in this palette are decent, though they don’t feel as soft as I’d like. They’re a bit on the powdery side and look dry on my skin the way Clinique Cheek Pop blushes look on me. However, the shimmer formula is fantastic! This depends on the brush I use though, as can be seen in the differences between my two Bronze Star photos. Some of my brushes just pick up the shimmer and therefore don’t add much color to my cheeks. If I were to give them grades, the mattes would all get B- but the shimmers get A’s! Unless, of course, I pick the wrong blush brush. Then I’d rate the shimmers B- as well.

I expected Coral Dawn and Pashmina to be too light for me, and they are, but they weren’t as far off as I anticipated, especially if I take the time to really blend them into my skin. If they were a shade or two darker, I would have been able to use them too, but 4ish out of 6 is a better ratio than I’m used to having! I can still wear the lighter shades in the blush palette if I layer them on top of one of the deeper blushes.

This palette retails for $49 but I didn’t realize Sigma had sales and deals so frequently. I could have gotten this for $40 (shipping fee included) if I had waited just two weeks after the launch. Although I like this palette, I don’t know how often I’ll use it. Unlike eyeshadows where I never reach for singles and always prefer a palette, I typically grab singles when it comes to blushes. And although the quality is decent and the tones are nice, I literally have 1 and a half drawers of blushes, so I’m not sure if this is something I want to keep if it’s just going to take up room and won’t be used. It survived my recent blush declutter, but it may not last through another. I’ll just have to keep using this for the time being to see if my enjoyment of it dwindles or grows.

Winky Lux Cheeky Rose Cream Blush in Crown

How red this looks in the globe packaging is not how deep it looks on the skin. It’s a medium toned warm pink that closely resembles Fenty’s Strawberry Drip. Lys’ Self Love came first to mind, but Self Love leans more mauve and is more pigmented. Strawberry Drip is a touch lighter and less pigmented than Crown. Also, and this is likely due to the consistency needed to maintain the rose shape through multiple uses, the texture of this blush feels like a dry oil. It’s a cream product, but it doesn’t feel creamy or waxy or balmy to the touch. It feels oily and dry at the same time, though it does blend very well into the skin.

This blush is recommended to be applied with the fingers or a brush. I prefer using my fingers with wetter textures, so it makes sense that I prefer to use a brush instead. I’ve only used Crown a few times. If I wear it without powder on top, it eventually dries down on its own. However, it noticeably begins to fade around 5 hours, but will still cling on by my 8 hour testing minimum. If I set with powder, the powder diminishes the color, but the shade it becomes is the color it stays for the full 8 hours. So, to ensure it stays on, I pack on the blush to its maximum level of payoff before setting it with powder.

There are five shades in total on the Winky Lux website and four of those are available at Ulta. They are listed at $20, but I got mine on sale for $13. I’m glad I have a product that is more than just cute and can actually be used, but it’s middle of the road in terms of quality. I’m not excited by or disappointed when I use this. To anyone who wants this purely for looks, I’d say at least it isn’t bad. Otherwise, the LYS blushes and Glossier Cloud paints rank higher on my recommendation list.

Pat Mcgrath Labs Skin Fetish: Divine Powder Blush in Nude Venus and Paradise Venus

At the beginning of the post shows what the pans look like outside and inside. The inside photo is more accurate to the shade. The photo above was taken at night, so my lights made it look a bit lighter and slightly more cool toned. The photo below is a clearer version of an indoor photo and was taken in the daytime.

These blushes officially launched at Sephora on May 28th, and normally I take a few weeks of trying something before I review it, but I thought it would fit well with today’s theme due to the rose imprint. Designs in powders are my weakness, but surprisingly that aspect had zero effect on me! As I mentioned in my Hindash review, my blush collection feels complete. I wasn’t interested in this launch until I saw non-promotional images from real customers. The gorgeous tones looked much better in their pictures than the official Pat Mcgrath photos (with the insanely built up swatches). My favorite blush colors are medium toned warm pinks, warm pinkish brown, and reddish brown shades, so Paradise Venus was easily my first choice. I had some points and gift cards to use, so I allowed myself to choose one other shade. Desert Orchid looked so beautiful, but it was just a hint of color on Alicia (Kinkysweat), so I knew it would be too light for me. This was later confirmed when I watched Tina (TheFancyFace) try it on, and you could only see a hint of shimmer and nothing else. For shade reference, I am about 1-2 shades darker than her, depending on the time of year.
Electric Bloom was another shade that caught my eye as it looked so vibrant, almost neon, in the pan. However, the swatches and how it looks on the skin seemed a lot like the KVD Everlasting Blush in Poppy. I asked Tatianna (Tatianna Anesa) in her comment section how they compare, and she said they are very similar. Side note, did you know the KVD Blushes with the rose compacts are refillable? I saw that Sephora recently released the singles on their website. Then I checked the back of my compact and noticed the small hole near the top. I’m guessing that was the intent all along and goes with the brand’s initiative to create less waste. Nice job, Kara Veritas Decora! I still think their second attempt to make the K-V-D initials work is silly, but I give them kudos.
I almost never use Poppy or MAC’s Loudspeaker or News Flash, so I skipped getting Electric Bloom as I probably would not use it that much either.

*UPDATE June 24th, 2021 – I bought Electric Bloom and the closest shades I have to it are Fenty’s Strawberry Drip and MAC’s Heat Index, but they aren’t super close.

I’m not the biggest fan of berry blushes, but Lovestruck appeared to be more of a raspberry pink than a deep berry, so perhaps during a good sale I might get it. While I was trying to figure out the best shade for me, I noticed Sephora secretly made Nude Venus available early for about 12 hours. Again, based on how it looked on Alicia, I thought perhaps it might be just rich enough and pigmented enough to show on me.

Luckily, that turned out to be the case! At about three layers, Nude Venus shows up well enough to appear on camera. It’s faint but still visible.
I’m not the biggest fan of how these blushes look on my bare skin. They have a harder time lasting on my cheek, as though the blush needs something to grip onto besides moisturizer. Nude Venus specifically pulls a little ashy over the areas of my face with dark discoloration, so I have to at least cover those areas with concealer if I want to wear this shade without foundation on minimal makeup days.

However, over foundation it goes on smoothly and is a more noticeable flush of color. Pat Mcgrath mentioned that these blushes look beautiful with a deeper shade towards the back and a lighter or brighter color in the front. I do enjoy pairing this with Paradise Venus. I almost bought Desert Orchid to combine with that one instead, but I think both Venus shades are perfect together. In the photos that I’m wearing yellow, I have the Bobbi Brown Face Base Priming Moisturizer as my primer and the Nars Soft Matte foundation. In the photos that I’m wearing black with pink polka dots, I have the same foundation with the Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Primer. I’m not wearing any bronzer or contour products, as I didn’t want those products to be mistaken for Paradise Venus.

Nude Venus is described as peachy-pink with golden pearl. Sometimes shimmer can improve the look of a blush, but I don’t feel like the pearl in this shade adds enough glow to make it any more special than the satin finish of Paradise Venus. If Nude Venus was demi-matte, I think it would have looked just as pretty. I mention this because I felt compelled to have one shimmer and one demi-matte blush from the collection, and while the shimmer formula is of course more glowy than the demi-matte sheen provides, it’s still far more subtle than other shimmer blushes I own. The shimmer doesn’t count against it though. It’s beautiful shade with a flattering finish.

Regarding Paradise Venus, I can get the level of pigment I want from just one dip in the pan. I still have an issue of fading when it comes to bare skin (only the lightest layer will cling on), but as I mentioned before, the lasting power is phenomenal over foundation. I usually apply the blushes first before setting with powder. Powdering afterwards can tone down the blush, so I apply the lightest layer, if any at all. For the sake of the review, I also tested these over a powder set base. I find that I need to use more blush that way, but the end result is still nice.
So far, I have only applied the blushes using the Sonia G Cheek Pro, which I noticed picks up more of the shimmer in Nude Venus, and the Bisyodo B-C-01 Highlight / Cheek Brush. They’re both goat hair and I always do layers of just one tap. I don’t swirl my brushes in the pan, as these are soft powders and prone to a lot of kickup if you don’t do a gentle tap. Here are some tips from Mother herself regarding the application process!

I can’t emphasize enough that these are highly pigmented (but not over pigmented like the Shocking shade from Wayne Goss’ Vivid Azalea duo), and while that is fantastic news for me because it means I can wear a shade like Nude Venus, those with a lighter skin tone will need to be especially careful when applying the deeper half of the range. Using a setting powder or the leftover foundation on your brush or sponge can help with overapplying.

One of the things I wanted to know most before purchasing was if there were any shade dupes. According to my YouTube history, I literally watched 53 videos involving these blushes and yet I’ve seen very few comparisons. From my own collection, I was unsuccessful at finding a dupe for Nude Venus. The closest is Lunar Beauty’s Stargaze, though it is a matte blush. Lunar Beauty’s Soleil looks somewhat close as well, but in person it has a very strong golden shimmer that gives a different effect than Nude Venus on the skin. As for Paradise Venus, I found that MAC’s Burnt Pepper is the most similar color to it that I own.

I’m happy to have the Pat Mcgrath blushes, but I wonder if some of the hype is driving my excitement for them. Although I don’t think anyone would be disappointed by these blushes, there isn’t a pressing need to rush out and get them like I did. If I didn’t have the points and gift cards, I would have waited for a sale because I already have blushes of comparable quality in my collection. I appreciate that for a high end brand, these are still a few dollars less than Hourglass, Charlotte Tilbury, and Natasha Denona charge for their blushes. I certainly prefer this soft smooth formula over Natasha’s and I prefer the pigment in these over Charlotte’s. If you’re on a low-buy and wondering if it’s worth getting, I’m here to say they aren’t reinventing the wheel. They’re wonderful and top tier, but not so amazing that you’re missing out by not getting them, provided you already have blushes you love. If you don’t mind splurging on something nice, these are a great option to consider.
In addition, the average blush is between 4-6 grams. These blushes are 9 grams and because they’re so pigmented, they would take even longer to use up. That is yet another difference between the Divine Blushes and other high end and luxury ones on the market.

Who Won The Rose Blush War?

Out of all the products reviewed today, the BareMinerals Blonzer is my favorite and the one I have continued to use the most. I was still occasionally reaching for Nearly Wild and Pashmina from Sigma, but that came to a halt once my blushes from PML (I’m going to get out of the habit of writing PMG) arrived.

BareMinerals won the spoils of war, Pat Mcgrath Labs still profited, Sigma survived the battle, and Winky Lux retreated to return another day.

The final thing I wanted to mention is that this post reminds me a lot of why I started making videos and blogging in the first place. In 2014-2017, I had the hardest time finding photos and videos of people with my skin tone trying out products. My nearest standalone Sephora is 50 miles away, my nearest Ulta is in the next town over and both Ulta and my Sephora-JCP don’t carry the products in store that I want to buy. I rely on seeing the product on others to judge if a shade will work for me when I order online, and I wanted to be a resource for others in cases like these where there are barely any options to view.
The only person in the tan and deeper category I’ve seen try the BareMinerals Blonzer is Karen Harris and other than the haul video, I can’t remember which video she actually tried it in, so I can’t link it. For the Winky Lux blushes there are small sections between two of Tina’s videos here and here and from Peachy D, but those are the only ones. For the Sigma palette, it’s once again just Karen. There’s no shortage of Pat Mcgrath videos, but everything else I reviewed is quite limited on the tan and deeper spectrum, so this is extra motivation to keep posting and fill a void.

That’s all for today! I hope you’ll return again next week. Thank you for reading!

-Lili

Pat Mcgrath Highlighters and Mascaras

I posted several reviews of Pat Mcgrath’s eyeshadows, but today I wanted to showcase some of the other makeup items I own from the brand.

Pat Mcgrath Skin Fetish: Sublime Skin Highlighting Trio

I’ve had this trio for about a year, but I forgot to include it in my last PMG brand review. It’s not something I use very often because it includes two iridescent highlighters, which I do not wear outside of the home. Even though it’s not my style, I’m still happy to have it in the event that I want to add a surprise twist to my makeup look.

Iridescent Pink 003 has a strong red shift on my cheek, which looks surprisingly beautiful. I’ve found that when I mix that shade with Bronze Nectar 003, it turns into a peachier shade, which is even more wearable and looks great on my cheekbones.

Bronze Nectar on its own is is a traditional highlighter shade, but that doesn’t make it boring. It’s still a very pretty color. I thought I would like Fine Gold 003 more than Iridescent Pink, but the strong yellow shift doesn’t look as great on my skin as I had hoped. It’s still fairly nice, but just my least favorite of the three.

Pat Mcgrath Skin Fetish: Highlighter + Balm Duo

During PMG’s winter sale, I was able to get this for $29 on Black Friday (with an added promo code). The packaging is beautiful, but please note that if you buy this, it’s possible the highlighter portion may come broken/detached from the base and stuck into the cap.

I’ve had dual ended products before, so I knew to be careful not to twist when opening. This is a product/shipping defect and not user error. When I wrote to PMG about it, they sent me a replacement with the comment that, “Just keep in mind this can happen again, as sometimes with the temperature change this will occur.”
I was still hoping to get one intact, but the replacement duo arrived exactly the same way where it was stuck in the cap. On the bright side, I was able to get both out in a solid piece by gently moving one with the tips of my fingers, and the other by smacking the flat side of the cap. Since I doubt I will use up even one of these, I gave the other to my sister. Pushing it back into the base has held well so far.

There are three shades available. The one I have is just called Bronze and it’s a slightly darker color than the Bronze Nectar shade from the highlighting trio. I like that the shimmer is also smoother because when it comes to highlighters, the finer the particles the better!

Although the Balm side can be worn on its own to give a dewy look, I prefer to use it on bare skin because it can remove foundation or concealer underneath it. Perhaps it only removes matte foundations because I don’t recall it removing my Nars Sheer Glow, but it has with the Nars Soft Matte Foundation and MUFE Matte Velvet Skin. For this reason, if I’m going to use the Balm over foundation, I either use the Bronze side on top of that or a different powder highlighter as an intensifier.

Both the Balm and Shimmer sides require a little heating up in order to glide better across the skin. A second or two of rubbing with the finger is enough for the balm, but the Bronze stick requires more warmth. So, I either rub for 5-10 seconds before applying the stick directly to my cheek or I apply some to the back of my hand and try to warm it up there before applying it to my cheek with my finger.

Pat Mcgrath FetishEyes Mascara Mini

I only opened this mascara a month ago, but I think I had it sitting unused in my drawer for too long. It has a noticeable scent that I cannot tell if it’s perfume or has gone bad. The formula is also on the drier side, but I don’t know if that’s also an age issue. In good faith, I cannot say that my experience with this mascara is accurate to what is normally in a good tube. Two coats of this gives decent length but I think anyone can find better for cheaper. I do like the applicator and how it keeps lashes nice and separated.

Pat Mcgrath Dark Star Mascara Mini

I also opened this mascara a month ago, but I purchased it four months ago, so this analysis should be accurate. It smells like a mascara should. The formula is a bit wet. Two coats gives the same length as the FetishEyes mascara with additional volume, but two coats is where it tends to clump up. I don’t know if this is due to the difference in formula or because the applicator is an hourglass shape instead. I usually have great luck with hourglass mascara wands. Even if this was clump-free, it didn’t impress me enough to think the full size is worth buying without a deep discount.

Mask Majorness 001

I have better protection masks, but when I saw this on the PMG website, I had to buy it! It’s a 50/50 cotton polyester blend mask with that pretty Divine Rose pattern and adjustable ear loops. It pokes out strangely at the sides when I wear it alone, and it doesn’t look any worse when I wear it on top of a disposable mask.

Pat Mcgrath is one of those brands that I’m always interested in, but the prices keep me from trying everything I want. I could bet money that by the time this post is up and ready to go, there will be something else I want from the brand.

That’s all for this week! Thank you for taking the time to read!

Also, on a personal note, I completed the doses of the COVID-19 Vaccine last month. I hope everyone remains safe during this still very dangerous time in our lives. Much love!

-Lili