Swatches of Previously Reviewed Makeup in New Shades

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LYS Beauty Higher Standard 3-Piece Cream Blush Set

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

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

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

Chantecaille Perfect Blur Finishing Powder in Med/Dark

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

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

Tarte Amazonian Clay Blushes in Blissful and Natural Beauty

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

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

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

Pat Mcgrath Skin Fetish: Divine Glow Highlighter in Venus Nectar

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

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

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

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

Rose INC Cream Blush Refillable Cheek & Lip in Wisteria

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

Rose Inc Skin Enhance Luminous Tinted Serum in 100

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

Rose Inc Solar Radiance Hydrating Cream Highlighter in Prismatic and Lustrous

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

Nars Blush in Dolce Vita

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

Vieve Sunset Blush in Piazza

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

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

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

-Lili

Six New Luxury Palettes from Guerlain, Pat Mcgrath, Dior, and Bobbi Brown

I typically buy makeup that is in the mid to high-end range, as well as from small indie brands. Purchasing this many luxury eye shadow palettes (and so neutral-heavy no less) is very unusual for me. I can’t explain why the sudden interest, but here we are!

Pat Mcgrath Labs Celestial Nirvana Eye Shadow Palette in Bronze Bliss

The quint picture above shows how La Vie En Noir and Lunar Luxury will look on the eyes. The quint photo below shows how the shadows actually look in the pans.

I was intrigued when I read these were new formulas for the brand, and that was confirmed as soon as I saw and felt the eye shadows for the first time. La Vie En Noir, the only matte, is not creamy like Natasha Denona’s Cream Powder shadows, but it still has a creamier texture than Pat Mcgrath’s traditional mattes. The shadow is easy to pick up with a brush and finger, easy to smudge, and almost too easy to blend out. When blended, I can see the blue tinge in the shade. Some people will like that this isn’t a pure black shadow, but this feature will prevent me from being able to use this palette solo in the future. Although I technically don’t need a transition or crease shade, I prefer having a shadow there to add definition and block off the roundest portion of my eyes and get the defined almond shape I’m nearly always trying to achieve. I don’t mind using blue for that purpose with cool toned shades, but I’m not the biggest fan of using it with the palette’s two bronzes. If I want the deep black appearance La Vie En Noir can provide, the shadow has to be drawn on or nearly unblended, giving it more of a graphic lined look. If I’m not interested in something that harsh, I have to either accept that it’s going to look blue-black or I’ll need to reach for a supplemental palette.

The first three looks above, using the Bronze Bliss palette exclusively, demonstrate the various blended states of La Vie En Noir in the crease. The fourth look involving mattes outside of this palette where I can just use the blue-black exclusively in the outer corner, shows how it’s a lot less blue looking on the eyes when I use it as just an outer corner deepening shade, the way I prefer to use my darkest shadows. The photo demonstration below shows the process of that transformation.

It’s so tricky using this shade when very few strokes of buffing mean the difference between the shadow looking blended versus it looking faded to a borderline patchy level (and/or too blue).

Color aside, I’d be interested in trying out more mattes like this from the brand in this formula. The unbelievable spreading ability comes from that creamy element, but it’s not actually emollient where it will move on the eye or crease with normal eye movements. It’s only when I touch the shadow with my brush or finger that it comes off. It’s still a powder formula and fully dry to the touch on my eyes.

As for the shimmer formulas, these are definitely different from any other Pat Mcgrath shimmers I’ve experienced. Lunar Luxury is the wettest of them all, and feels the most like a cream shadow. It’s an intense silver, spreads far, and a lot of product gets picked up in one tap. So, I recommend starting with that one dip into the pan and slowly building up to the desired amount to avoid a thick application on the lids. Bronzed Mink and Bronze Illusion aren’t quite as wet, which makes them easier to apply since I don’t have to worry about them looking chunky on the eyes. They contain a nice amount of sparkle, but these can still be sprayed on the brush to really bring out that foiled nature (though a foiled texture comes with it). Nude Moon has the same consistency as the bronze shades, but it’s less metallic and closer to a traditional shimmer. It applies smoothly with my finger, but a lot of product still gets picked up onto my brush and I always have to apply one swipe to my eyes, wipe off my brush completely, and then spread what’s on my eyes with that clean brush so that it doesn’t add more product and can be smoothed out and not look so heavy. Although the shimmers don’t feel wet once they’re on my skin, they will transfer when touched and always transfer to my crease area in the places where my eyes are partly hooded. This is another reason I don’t like using La Vie En Noir as my crease shade, because the shimmers transfer onto it in a very obvious way. It makes it look like my shadows are creasing even though they aren’t. When I’m using mattes from other palettes with these shimmers, I don’t mind that they transfer higher.

Visually, the shimmers are stunning. Every formula in this palettes is interesting to work with and I like that there are warm and cool toned options for eye looks. This is very much a glam oriented palette and there’s certainly a place for that in my collection. Although it’s not a perfect solo palette for me, I think it’s a great product and I would love to buy more variations in the future (other than Nude Allure).

Guerlain Ombres G Eyeshadow Quad in 940 Royal Jungle

Guerlain had some colorful options in their new Ombres G line of eyeshadows, but I actually wanted a “basic” quad that I would be able to create looks from without needing to think too hard about coordinating the right colors together. I never heard that much praise regarding Guerlain’s eye shadows in the past, so I thought neutrals would be the safest bet since those shadows are easier to get right. This palette isn’t cheap at $85 USD at most retailers, but I got it for $62 via Selfridges. The conversion rate between USD and GBP has been in the favor of USD for a while now, so I’ve been utilizing my Selfridges Global Shipping to my best advantage.

I think I threw out the box*, but the shades are 1-4 in a clockwise motion on Guerlain’s website. It’s very confusing seeing the top right shade as an orange that’s darker than the shadow below it when in reality, the top right corner shadow is the lightest of them all.

*Update: I found the box. The numbers written on it are the same as depicted on the website.

Photo from Guerlain’s site HERE.

Shades 1-3 have the same texture, which is similar to Tom Ford’s wet/dry formula, but drier. The Guerlain shadows are soft, but the shimmers add a little grit. #1 is a gorgeous chocolate brown metallic with a dark base plus red and bronze shimmer reflects. This is my favorite shade in the palette and the type of shadow I love to wear either all over the lid or as a smoky outer lid shade. #2 is a warm toned pale gold with a transparent base heavily packed with purple, pink, and gold micro shimmer. It is such a stunning topper type of shadow that my photos just can’t do justice in showing. It looks nothing like the deep golden orange depicted in the promo pictures, not just on my skin but in the compact as well. Because of that sheer base, it only works for me as a highlighting type of shade and wherever I want to amp up the sparkle level. Applying it damp is the way to go for more of an effect, but glitter glue is needed to make it look opaque and like an actual shadow, not just a topper. #3 is an orange-gold metallic. It’s very smooth and opaque, but it looks soft on the lids unless it’s applied damp or over glitter glue. Using these damp and dipping the wet brush back into the shadows will start to effect the way it looks in the compact in terms of creating an unflattering texture. I just wanted to mention that for people like me who actively try to keep their shadows looking new and don’t dip their brushes in the same spots over and over to try and “pan it.”

The wear time for these shadows is pretty good. They can look slightly worn at the end of the day, but it’s not that bad. Plus, I have a bit of trouble keeping the pale topper/shimmer lasting in my inner corner unless I apply glitter glue there. Essentially the shadows in that spot are susceptible to the frequent rubbing of my eyes in that spot.

In the third eye look, I had to use leftover concealer on my brush and sweep the edges of eyeshadow #4 to save time on blending.

#4 appears to be a baked eye shadow like the others, but it feels creamier to the touch. It’s like Guerlain’s version of a cream to powder formula. It looks nearly black in the quad, but it’s a dark espresso brown that applies in a sheer layer and takes quite the effort to get enough product onto the brush and fingers. Using my finger was the easiest application method, but it wasn’t the best experience. It darkens up the outer corners of my eyes, but it can take on a sooty appearance because of the lack of control since depositing the color off my finger and onto my eyes requires a bit of tugging. I think the formula of this fourth shadow is intended for makeup lovers that prefer to slowly build up their darker shades. That isn’t me, and though I had some critiques about the darkest shadow from the Pat Mcgrath Bronze Bliss palette, even that tricky one was easier to use than this because of it’s spreadability. This one smokes out, but at the cost of requiring friction. While using various brushes, I had the best results with dense brushes with sturdy bristles. This meant my dense synthetic or weasel/sable/kolinsky brushes in pencil, liner, and packing shapes. Wetting the brush minimally increases the opacity and still takes many passes to build up to the level that satisfies me. However, I still cannot make it intense. The problem isn’t about that first layer of color, which isn’t so bad to lay down, but after that first layer it’s tedious to build up to the depth I want. Every look with it is on the softer side. There’s a time and place for that kind of thing, so it’s not the end of the world, but it’s a bit of a letdown of a shadow. That first initial thin layer might be enough product for someone with a lighter skin tone, but I only get a sooty appearance if I don’t manage to pack more on with those brushes I mentioned. Then again, Theresa is Dead on YouTube still had a problem with #4. I couldn’t find her original first impressions video but I linked another one where she discussed it.
Lastly, the shimmers all work fine with any primer I use, but #4 is harder to work with on one of my holy grail primers (MAC Paint Pot), perhaps due to the semi emollient nature of both.

For this pricey quad, I got two great shades, an okay/nice shade, and a troublesome shadow. If I paid full price, I think I would have had regrets considering all the fantastic other neutral and less expensive palettes out there. Weirdly enough, I’m still happy with this purchase despite it not being perfect. However, Guerlain would have to create the absolute perfect color story in order for me to want to purchase anymore from them. I like the packaging and some shadows are a hit, but it’s too expensive to have such limited options of four shadows with one being guaranteed to be hard to work with. Pat Mcgrath’s velvet matte, Nathasha Denona’s cream powder, and Tom Ford’s wet/dry formulas are all better than shade #4 from Guerlain.

Dior Écrin Couture Iconic Eye Makeup

I recently fell down the rabbit hole into the world of Dior Beauty and its devoted following, and there was so much to learn! I hadn’t paid attention to the fact that Dior has special sets with special holiday packaging that changes every year. This year’s stunning floral and constellation design is by Pietro Ruffo. In addition to the box for the Écrin Couture palette, I also got a gift bag with the same design when I made this purchase via Dior’s website.

This (and technically the Dior Backstage Palette I’ll discuss after) is the only eyeshadow palette from Dior that I own. I always wondered what the quality was like of the brand’s traditionally packaged quints, but since this five pan palette is a special holiday release, I’m not sure if this quality is the same, better, or worse. I still plan on finding out one day, if Dior ever creates my dream color story. After using this palette, I’m even more interested in purchasing Dior’s eyeshadows if/when another color selection of theirs grabs my attention.

I’ve been interested in neutrals lately, but in using this palette, I very quickly realized that this is too basic of a color selection even for me. The shimmers are not as sparkly or reflective as I prefer for lid shades, though I appreciate how finely sized the shimmer particles are. In fact, the Iridescent Gold in particular has so fine a golden sheen that I can and have actually used it as a face highlighter. It’s very texture-friendly and despite being light for me as a face highlighter, it can still work if I’m on a trip or some other situation where I don’t have my usual variety of highlighters with me. I definitely can’t use Rosy Beige on my cheeks, not just because it’s too pale for me, but also because the texture of the particles are more visible in that shade.

The lightest color option is quite icy in contrast, but even the gold when used on my actual eyelids looks like a very pale yellow, so both are best as eye highlighting shades. If the shimmers were more intense, how pale they are would still limit how I’d want to use them in my eye looks anyway. Also, the shimmers are so thin that applying them damp or with glitter primer doesn’t intensify them enough for me; helping them along just makes them usable.

I’ve been enjoying the mattes more. It’s hard for me to see them as special, but objectively they are special in the sense that they don’t give me any problems to use them at all. They’re smooth, soft, and blend well into each other. I can build up the intensity of the Bold Brown to the level that’s deep enough for my needs. That shade and the Brick Red one are nicely pigmented and show up right away. The lighter Brown is only a few shades darker than the color around my eyes, so it’s a good transition shadow.

There really isn’t much to say. I’m not excited by these eyeshadows and they’re not very inspiring, but I can still see the value in having wearable everyday colors in a dependable easy to use formula. This palette is useful for transitioning between daytime and nighttime looks. It’s great to have as a supplemental palette to form a basic eye and pair it with another palette or single shadow for a lid shade with some added spice. This is the kind of palette that could be enticing to someone who wanted the Hindash Beautopsy palette, but with a focus on quality best suited for the eyes rather than a focus on the whole face (plus Écrin having the added bonus of shimmers). To clarify, the shadow formulas within Beautopsy and this one are completely different, but they have similar colors and both are fantastic quality in their own ways with differing strengths.

I don’t know if this palette was worth me getting, but I do really like the velour box packaging that I intend to repurpose for jewelry or something else long after the shadows expire. So, the keepsake element could be appealing for some people beyond just the makeup. In addition, the whole experience of unwrapping such extravagant packaging could make this a special gift for someone who owns very few eyeshadow palettes, neutral lovers, color-shadow-phobes, or those who just love luxury makeup.

One final random note I wanted to add is that the starry box was too cute to get rid of, but taking this palette in and out of the box was a pain, so I decided to use the dust bag that the perfume samples arrived in as a dust bag for the palette instead.

Dior BACKSTAGE Eyeshadow Palette in 008 Khaki Neutrals

Now, this is my kind of palette! It’s filled with so many varieties of greens in the kind of tones that I love, in addition to golds and a gorgeous brown. I’ve seen some comments around social media despising the addition of a primer in here, but because I don’t own multiple backstage palettes, this isn’t redundant or wasted space for me. The primer works well with the shadows, but my only gripe with it is the fact that it doesn’t have enough coverage to give me a blank canvas around my eyes. When used in the proper amount (and not as thick as a swatch) it’s quite sheer and all the discoloration on my lids and crease area show through. That’s fine if I’m using highly pigmented shadows, but these soft tones of shadows don’t do the best at covering them up. So, I prefer to use my own primers with this palette, but I solely used the primer included for the first two eyeshadow demo photos. In the bottom two, I used the Coloured Raine primer in the color Wheat.

Regarding Dior’s descriptions of the different finishes of these shades, it’s a bit confusing. Primer being an eye shadow primer and Top Coat having a sheer base but being the most sparkly and reflective of them all are straightforward descriptions. Golden Tan and Warm Gold are satins and just look like they have a sheen in their pans, but that sheen is quite reflective and gives them more of the look of being soft shimmers. However, I can accept their definitions of them as satins. Warm Brown is the final satin listed, but unlike the other two, this shade doesn’t have a strong sheen to it. It’s almost matte.
Pure Gold is a glitter and very similar in color to Golden Tan, except that Golden Tan is actually more reflective than Pure Gold, is more opaque, and ironically looks more golden because of the stronger sheen. Pure Gold’s base color is golden, but because the base is so sheer and the glitter is like a champagne, the shimmer overpowers it. So at certain angles, Pure Gold can look more champagne or more gold depending on the light. The very obvious glitter particles are why I accept this definition as a glitter. However, Khaki and Pine Green are the other two glitters listed in this palette. Pine Green does have dark green shimmer in it, but there’s so little visible sparkle that it may as well be matte. Even more matte than Pine Green is Khaki, which I can only see the gold sparkles in the pan. The sparkles just give a barely visible golden sheen and looks no more reflective than Warm Brown. I think of all the shade descriptions, Khaki should be considered a satin.
There’s only one metallic listed, and that’s Emerald, which does have a metallic reflect to it. However, Emerald has a golden sheen and so much visible gold shimmer that it takes away the smooth nearly foiled nature I expect when I think of metals and it looks like it should be considered a glitter shadow.

So, despite what Dior lists, I consider Top Coat to be a glitter, Golden Tan, Warm Gold, Emerald and Pure Gold to be shimmers, and Khaki, Warm Brown and Pine Green to be satins. That’s why I use that bottom row of the palette in place of mattes in the crease because the shimmer in the pans have such little effect on the eyes.

I love the color scheme, but the one aspect that doesn’t make sense to me is the fact that Top Coat is such a cool toned icy sparkle shadow when it clashes with all the gold shimmer and golden sheen that’s in the majority of these shadows. It doesn’t look right when I try to use it as an inner corner highlight shade either, so I doubt I will use it again once this review is posted. Also, Pine Green is seriously pigmented and a little more powdery to the touch than the rest, so I recommend using a precise brush with that shade, though it does still blend easily.

These shadows don’t swatch the best, but they blend well on the eyes and have a soft, pretty, smoothing, and sophisticated look to them. They’re more pigmented than I expected and I like the satins and glitters in this palette more than the shimmers in Dior Écrin Couture. If I want a little more drama, applying these damp gives me even more of what I want. Overall, I’ve really been enjoying this palette and the fact that it’s so compact in size makes it the kind of palette I can see myself packing as an extra travel palette. I can use them with any primer. I have no issues with creasing or longevity either.

Although I didn’t purchase this from Selfridges, I noticed it is cheaper there at the current price of $41 instead of $49.

Bobbi Brown Jadestone Eye Shadow Palette

I bought this palette for 25% off during a “play to win a discount” event that brands sometimes do. I got free shipping as well for being part of Bobbi Brown’s reward program. Bronze Forest arrived broken, but I just pressed it back.

This palette is fantastic! I like it even more than the Dior Backstage Khaki Neutrals because I prioritize shimmers over satins and the shimmers in this palette are much more impactful, plus this has true mattes in it. This formula reminds me quite a lot of Lorac’s revamped PRO formula (Fairytale Forest in particular) with such buttery mattes and soft yet shiny shimmers. The shimmer particles are small in size, but nice and reflective. I also don’t have any issues with creasing or fading.

The mattes are buildable and blendable, but despite how pigmented Cream looks, it blended away and wouldn’t stick where I put it. So it left me with an ashy cast unless I mixed it with another shadow (like Champagne Quartz for my inner corner). As a brow highlighting shade, leaving a brightened cast wasn’t as much of an issue because it was so stark against my skin tone anyway. So, overall, I prefer to just avoid using that shade entirely and to use Buff instead as the matte highlighting eye shade.

Rich Caramel is essentially my skin tone and I love having a shade like that in here so I can make my eye area look natural again after using certain primers. For that reason, it’s among my favorite shades in the palette along with Bronze Forest and Jadestone. Electric City surprised me with how much brighter of a yellow tone in the gold that it has. Blonde also surprised me with how much darker of a taupe it looks when applied to my lids. It’s not dark enough to be a deepening shade on me, but it works as a transition shadow in the crease.

I forgot to mention that it’s not just Cream in the inner corner of the last demo photo, but a mixture of a bit of Champagne Quartz as well to make the shadow look purposefully added and not so ashy.

The brand calls all these shimmers metallic, but it’s only when they’re applied damp that I can see what they mean about that. For the price I paid, this was an absolute win. With Black Friday sales approaching, I recommend getting this palette for a deal if possible, for those who find these greens and neutrals appealing. The full price is a lot when I compare it to Lorac’s PRO prices and quality, but since I’m getting fantastic quality either way, I’m very happy to own this one. I have no regrets!

Bobbi Brown Luxe Eye & Cheek Palette in Copper Glow

This is the final palette in this review, but I purchased it even before Jadestone. I didn’t get as great of a deal at 15% off my first purchase from the brand’s website, but it still helped to soften the blow of that price tag. For the same price as Jadestone but with fewer individual products inside, I guess the dazzling outer packaging was a big factor into the cost. It admittedly reminds me of Smashbox’s Hoodwitch Collection highlighter, in particular, because they have the exact same feeling plastic around them and the raised plastic light refracting top. Both brands are under the Estee Lauder umbrella, so it’s possible the packaging was made by the same place. The main difference is the shapes of the textured top and the Bobbi Brown one being extremely holographic.

When I got my hands on this palette, I was surprised to see the reds look so orange on me and the matte brown, Hazel, gives me such little depth. It’s more of a rose-brown than the rich dark brown I expected and still feel this palette needs. Between Noho Glow and City Dawn, the former is a deeper orange with a hint of red while the latter is a medium toned warm orange. Despite me not minding the unexpected color, what throws me off is how similarly they look on my eyes, which makes them feel redundant in the palette despite them being two different finishes.

The stars of the show for me are the brownish-bronze shade called Sunset and the sparkly gold called Plated for the glittery impact it adds to eye looks.

Overheated is a little more interesting for an inner corner shade because it’s a pale gold that can go well with warm or cool looks, plus it has festive micro-fine green and red glitter that I only noticed upon close inspection within the palette. It just looks pale gold on the eyes though.

Just like with the Guerlain Quad, the makeup in this Luxe palette are baked shadows in a wet/dry formula. The shimmer and metallics are easy to pick up; they’re fine enough to use dry and to intensify when wet. The same goes for the red-orange matte, but Hazel is definitely less impactful when used dry. It doesn’t have the “deeply saturated shade intensity and clarity for dramatic payoff,” that is described on Bobbi Brown’s website. Using the non-mattes wet is easy, but with the matte shades I need to use only a tiny amount of liquid and spread it across the lid and/or crease in solid swipes or else it will dry strangely by literally looking like a discolored patch from thinning out the pigment and basically turning it into a watercolor shadow. Dampening Hazel doesn’t make it darker, but it does save time on needing to build it up in opacity and evenness.

As for the Copper Glow highlighter, it’s so smooth looking in the compact and gives me that wet look to my cheeks that I love. However, unlike the Bobbi Brown Highlighting powder I own with a similar texture, this one has additional larger size sparkles too. I’m a broken record about how I only want small particle sizes in my highlighters, but this is a bit of an exception. It’s not overly sparkly and there’s just enough twinkle to be the kind of highlighter I’d want to wear for festive occasions and even just for photos because it looks really nice on camera. In fact, in pictures it just catches the light and doesn’t show the dark cast that’s visible in person from the tone being a little too bronze-red for me. I can make it work in person if I pair it with the right blush.

Also, there is an Incandescent Glow version of this palette, which I do not own. However, I’ve heard the highlighter in that palette is extra glittery. Unlike Copper Glow, Incandescent Glow is a duochromatic highlighter, so perhaps the particles that make it a shifty pink to gold is responsible for it being sparkly, and perhaps even more sparkly than Copper Glow.

The brush I use makes a huge difference in the amount of product that gets picked up and the sparkle level. In the demonstration photos above, I used the Chikuhodo ZE-5 (silver fox hair) as a highlighting brush and it applied the amount I would normally want for a nice subtle, but not too subtle amount of product. In the photo on the right, I redid my eye makeup and cheek products (so the highlighter application isn’t two layers, just one) and I used my usual Bisyodo CH-HC (goat) which picked up and dispersed significantly more product. So, the tool will really make a difference in the intensity level. I haven’t applied this highlighter to damp skin, beyond the dewy level of my typical foundations, but I imagine this highlighter can get even more impactful.

I don’t give a grading scale because makeup is so subjective and my color preferences can even overshadow quality sometimes, but I will try to summarize how these rank compared to each other. In order of my most favorite to least favorite, it would be:

  • Bobbi Brown Jadestone
  • Dior Backstage Khaki Neutrals
  • Pat Mcgrath Bronze Bliss
  • Dior Écrin Couture
  • Guerlain Royal Jungle
  • Bobbi Brown Copper Glow.

The highest quality, easiest to use, and most well rounded palette is technically the Dior Écrin Couture, even though it’s not in the #1 spot. In terms of quality, the Bobbi Brown Jadestone should be in second place, but I love the color story in this palette the most so it’s my favorite. The Dior Backstage Khaki Neutrals comes next and is a great balance of quality, pigmentation, and color story, though it’s not a perfect palette with me not being thrilled to have the Top Coat shade and the Pine Green being a bit more powdery than the rest. I still ranked the Pat Mcgrath palette over the Dior Écrin Couture despite the tricky to use blue-black shadow and the transferring shimmers because of my love of the shimmer intensity on the lids, the tones of the bronzes, and the texture to the touch. Those two are the most polarizing to compare with one giving a very effortless, soft, and sophisticated glam look whereas the other bestows an intense, attention-grabbing, over-the-top glam look. The Guerlain palette ranked below the Pat Mcgrath palette because the issues with that deep brown shade is actually troublesome, not just tricky. Guerlain’s other shadows don’t have the transfer issues and are pretty hues too, but the amped up intensity from PML’s shadows is more important to me. Then, the last one on the list is Bobbi Brown Copper Glow because of the hassle with Hazel, the lack of variety with the color story despite having more shades to choose from than the Guerlain quad, and the shimmer/metallic intensity level.

I definitely love my top three of the six. Because of the packaging of the Dior Écrin Couture and my enjoyment of the non-mattes in the Guerlain quad, those are still going to stay in my collection. The only one that I’m unsure if I will keep for very long is the Bobbi Brown Copper Glow palette. It’s a decent product, but since I’m just one person that can only get a small percentage of use across my whole collection, being just “decent” means it’ll be on the chopping block during my next declutter.

That’s everything for today! Hopefully having six reviews in one post will make up for missing last Monday’s post. For those visiting my blog for the first time, be sure to click the follow button if you want to be notified of all future posts! My recovery is going really well, but as predicted, it’s going to be difficult for me to post on a consistent schedule for the rest of this year.

Thank you for reading!

-Lili

DISCLAIMER: I haven’t posted one of these in a while, so just as a reminder, all products in this post were purchased by me. My opinions are my own and all links in this particular post are regular non-affiliated links. Any connections I have to brands and companies are detailed in the “About Me” section of my blog. Anything affiliated or sponsored in this blog and future posts will be clearly marked.

New Pat Mcgrath Blush Duos, Bridgerton 2, and More Review

I was set to finally post my PML x Bridgerton 2 review when it was announced that Pat Mcgrath would be releasing blush duos and expanding her range of highlighters. So, I decided to combine both sets of reviews in this post today!

Pat Mcgrath Skin Fetish Divine Blush Duos in Divine Rose II, Cosmic Coral, and Paradise Glow

Pat Mcgrath Labs is one of my favorite brands, and medium tone blushes are my preference, so I could not resist getting the three medium duo offerings. Because these are so expensive, I tried to justify my purchases by saying I’m getting three shades in each singular compact: the roses alone, the sun rays solo, and the two mixed together. However, by picking all the medium color options, I’m getting very similar looks. The swatches below show that both halves of Divine Rose II are only differentiated by the lighter pink rays and the cool-toned more vibrant pink roses, that the Cosmic Coral and Divine Rose II roses look similar with Cosmic Coral being slightly brighter, and that the Paradise Glow roses side is identical to the Paradise Venus individual blush. In fact, it was only when I saw a screenshot in a Facebook Group of Pat Mcgrath’s comment on Instagram that I learned Paradise Glow is supposed to be a combination of Desert Orchid and Paradise Venus. However, based on a few videos I’ve seen online, it appears the rays side of Paradise Glow has a little bit of a brick tone added to it. This will probably not be a detectable difference on those with dark skin tones, but perhaps it would be distinct enough on those who are lighter. I do not have Desert Orchid to be able to compare them myself.

The swatch photo above shows the similarities among the individual and half blushes. The photo below includes swatches of the duos mixed compared to their halves. Because the rays side is hard pressed and the roses side is softer and more pigmented, if I try to combine them together equally, the shade from the roses will always dominate and not give the appearance of a true mixture. I have found that in order to produce a new color, I have to use a ratio of 2 swipes of the rays to every 1 swipe of the roses. With this method, I can see that Paradise Glow mixed is a shimmery version of the rays side of Cosmic Coral. In my swatch photo, the Paradise Glow mixture is slightly darker than Cosmic Coral’s rays, but if I use less of the roses of Paradise Glow, they’re practically the same. It also cannot be ignored that Cosmic Coral rays and Paradise Glow rays look similar in tone (though not depth) to begin with.

The screenshot above is how the Pat Mcgrath brand describes these shades and their mixtures.

I admittedly hated Divine Rose II in the beginning. I did not like how each individual shade looked on me unless I had a pink eye look on because it then tied the look together in a cohesive blush draping type of way. However, when I combine both halves together in a light application, I think the mixture is beautiful! Essentially, I get the benefit of the sheen from the roses while the warmer toned rays temper the coolness of the roses, giving me the kind of color I would actually wear.

The rays of Cosmic Coral barely show on my face at all, whereas the roses portion is too punchy for my taste. So, I use the rays portion to tone down the roses and that’s what creates a look that I feel is very pretty. But once again, I only enjoy using this duo when the shades are mixed together. Both halves of this are demi-matte, and do look that way normally, but it was particularly hot on the day I took the photo, so that glisten on my skin is the combination of my dewy foundation and sweat. I had not yet set my face with powder.

Paradise Glow is the star of the show, but it’s no surprise considering how much I love the color of Paradise Venus! In my review of the individual blushes, I mentioned that I enjoy combining Nude Venus and Paradise Venus, but I often wondered if Desert Orchid would have been a better mixture. So, I am thrilled to have Paradise Glow even if I have conflicting feelings about buying something I essentially already have. Mixing both sides creates a look on the cheeks similar to Faux Sure from MAC, Kiss of Rose from Bare Minerals, and Walk of No Shame by Charlotte Tilbury. This is now my new favorite blush from Pat Mcgrath!

All this being said, I absolutely did not get a three-in-one that I thought I would from these duos since I don’t like wearing each half individually (with Paradise Glow roses as an exception, but we already established it’s the same as Paradise Venus which I already have).
With this thought in mind, I don’t think the duos are worth buying for those who already own most of the permanent line. Others have compared Divine Rose II to Cherish, Venusian Sunrise to Fleurtatious, and Aphrodite Amour to Nude Venus. The most unique shade in the limited edition collection is Night Bloom (which some have said gives Lovestruck vibes if mixed extremely lightly), so perhaps that one might be worth collectors buying. Paradise Glow was absolutely worth it for me, but I don’t intend to keep Paradise Venus in my collection for that reason. I could have lived without Divine Rose II and Cosmic Coral, but I do like them enough to keep them. And for those curious, I compared the two lightest PML Blushing Delights blushes to the roses of the duos and Budding Romance is a darker pink with a stronger sheen than either of the two pink blushes.

Swatching them together reminded me that, quite honestly, I prefer the new baked blushes from Pat Mcgrath over the demi-matte formula. I like the shimmer/pearl formula about equal to the baked ones though.

In terms of longevity and performance, the duo blushes are the same as the permanent blushes. They start to fade if applied on bare skin as the day goes on, but they are long lasting if wearing foundation underneath it.

Pat Mcgrath Skin Fetish Divine Glow Highlighter in Bronze Mirage

I feel very fortunate that when my highlighter popped out during the shipping process, it stayed mostly contained in the pan. A gentle push to the left and a firm press with my fingers everywhere was enough to get it to stay in the compact again without breaking into pieces. I’m not confident that I pressed it well enough to keep it together forever, since the edges look a bit questionable, but I’m using it like this for now. If it falls out in the future or fully breaks, I will try to repress it with isopropyl alcohol and hope it doesn’t change the performance or texture. Pat Mcgrath has great customer service when it comes to broken items, so if anyone receives minor damage like mine or worse, I recommend contacting them.
Also, I have to give the brand an applaud for shipping out orders in a reasonable amount of time after the launch, unlike their previous collections for the past several years that typically take weeks.

Bronze Mirage does not look deep in the pan, but the color of the shimmer is what shows on the skin, and this shimmer is a darker bronze than I expected. To put it in perspective, I have swatches above showing that “Bronze” from Pat’s highlighter duo is more of a medium-dark golden color and Bronze Nectar 003 from the baked highlighter trio is a light-medium gold. I thought Bronze Mirage would be in that gold vein, but this is actually the first true bronze color the brand has released, to my knowledge. Pat Mcgrath doesn’t have many dark powder highlighters (Bronze is a cream formula), which is why I wanted this one. I figured it would be great to mix with my lighter highlighters, so depth wouldn’t be a problem. I did not take the tone into account, and for that reason, this highlighter isn’t as great of a match on me as I hoped. However, it’s still super beautiful and I can pull it off with a bronze eye look to match and heavy bronzer on the perimeter of my face. If everything else on my face is bronze, then it works.

I love the wet look aspect to this. It’s very shimmery, but not glittery, and the reflect is intense. It lasts on my cheeks all day with perhaps only a small dulling down of the reflective brightness towards the end of the night. I like this formula, but it still doesn’t beat out that gel-powder Ultra Glow Highlighter (Divine Rose Highlighter) in terms of smoothness. I have enough highlighters from this brand, but if PML releases more shades in that formula (preferably a deeper gold), I cannot be held responsible for my actions.

Pat Mcgrath Love & Lust Gloss Duo

This adorable duo gloss set was a free gift with purchase for spending over $90. The shades are Flesh Fantasy (left) and Flesh 6 (right). I hadn’t looked at the shade names written on the back prior to using them. When I applied Flesh 6 to my lips, I immediately realized what shade it was since it’s one of the few PML lip gloss shades I own. I now have three minis of Flesh 6! I won’t be needing a full size of that color anytime soon.

The glosses are the same great formula as I’m used to, but just in a cute but cumbersome packaging with the twist off gold portion of the heart as the top and the tiny applicator that takes some strength to pull out of the even smaller stopper. My nails aren’t at their longest right now, yet I still have some trouble getting the applicator out, so those like me with large fingers and/or very long nails might find this packaging extra bothersome. I’m still very happy to have this set as the cute packaging makes me smile whenever I use it. The glosses are thick, but that helps to keep them lasting longer on the lips.

As a side note, I purchased the shade Secret Lover expecting it to be a different color based on the photos I saw and I was unable to find a look that this shade would pair nicely with. However, I think it looks great with the Divine Rose II Duo Blush, so I’m glad about that!

Divine Rose II Blush mixed together is on the left (the right is Orange Sunny from Oden’s Eye) and Secret Lover is on the lips.

Pat Mcgrath Labs Divine Skin: Rose 001 The Essence (Sample)

This is a sample, so my perspective on this is basically as a fifth impression. When this product is shaken up, it looks and feels extremely similar to the Laneige Cream Skin Toner & Moisturizer/Refiner despite them both having very different ingredients. They both have a milky look to them and make my skin feel softer and quite moisturized even though I apply so little of the product to my skin. The PML Essence contains more oil, which gives it slightly more of an edge in moisturizing the skin and without feeling greasy. The PML also has an obvious, though pleasant, rose and jasmine scent. The biggest difference of all is the $86 price versus $33. I am enjoying this sample and I’m glad the brand added it to my order, but I would never purchase the full size unless it was closer in price to the one from Laneige.

Pat Mcgrath x Bridgerton 2 (Partial) Collection Review

Completed June 6, 2022

We all know by this point that Pat Mcgrath’s products go on sale for a significant discount eventually, so I really tried hard to resist this collection. I haven’t watched Bridgerton, so I don’t have any attachment to the show, but I do like the aesthetic. I didn’t want to buy this at launch not only because I hoped to get it later for a reduced price, but also because even promo photos showed that the packaging looked like a thin decorative paperboard gift, storage, or hat box. Considering the quality of Pat Mcgrath’s usual packaging, this is the sort of thing most customers would expect to open to find the real palette housed inside it.

Some examples from Hobby Lobby and Amazon of what I mean.

In addition to the packaging quality being less than expected, the blushes and highlighter inside don’t line up perfectly with the cutout holes, so the visible gaps downgrade the overall presentation. For those reasons, I didn’t want to pay full price. Since Pat Mcgrath single blushes are so expensive, but we get four newly formulated products in this palette (however smaller they are in size), I ultimately decided to buy it anyway. As for the lipstick, I fell in love with the shade when I saw those who got early PR wearing it. The little bow is cute, but for once, packaging wasn’t a selling point for me with the lipstick. It was a bonus.

I should mention that if this kind of packaging is what was needed for PML to keep the cost from being $100, then I’m fine with it. It’s still cute and I don’t mind the quality, but I do wish it was half the height. Sure, there’s wasted space in length and width, but the unnecessary height of the product keeps me from being able to store it easier. It doesn’t take much for the lid to lift off, so I have to lay this flat to avoid any accidents, so I’m not sure why it needed to be so tall since it’s not housing anything below it like the similarly shaped packaging for the body shimmer powder.

PAT McGRATH LABS x Bridgerton 2 Blushing Delights Blush + Highlighter Palette

I bought this for Aphrodisia. I absolutely love this color for blush! The shimmery blush shade in the Sephora Microsmooth Multi-Tasking Baked Face Palette from the Captivate version gives a similar look as Aphrodisia, but the one from PML is silkier to the touch and thinner in texture, yet more pigmented. I tested them on each cheek and could see I got more opacity from Aphrodisia when I used the same amount of layers on the cheeks. Aphrodisia surprisingly has a slightly pinker base that I only see when swatched next to the one from Sephora. I actually expected the opposite when I see them next to each other in their compacts.

Champagne Venus is quite the attention grabber without even using it because of the heart shape and multi-colored swirl pattern running through the highlighter. It’s a bit on the light side for me, but if I take that extra time to blend it into my foundation, I can somewhat pull it off. I think it looks fairly smooth in the photo below, but if you don’t like highlighters with noticeable sparkle specks, this product is going to go mostly unused in your collection like it has in mine.

The final two blushes instantly reminded me of the ones from the Hourglass Universe Unlocked palette, which is partly why I held off purchasing the Blushing Delights Palette. Between the pinks, I prefer the one from PML over Hourglass because it’s a little darker. Between the berries, I prefer the one from Hourglass over PML, but that’s because it’s not as deep and intense.

Budding Romance is quite pretty on its own, but I like to wear it together with either Aphrodisia or Berry Brilliance. I definitely don’t wear Berry Brilliance by itself because even with a light hand, it’s a bit deeper than I like in my blushes, so I always use that one with Budding Romance on the apples of the cheek so I can have a brighter pop.

I have no longevity or performance issues with these blushes, so I don’t regret buying this at full price. Well, technically I got the standard 10% off from ordering from Pat’s website.

PAT McGRATH LABS x Bridgerton 2 SatinAllure Lipstick in Négligée

Even when I know I can’t look at just anyone’s lips and assume the product is going to look the same way on me as it does for them, I still had hope that this shade would be one that I could love. Although I don’t care for how it looks on my lips by itself, I can pull off this color with a lip liner.

Négligée on the lips with Juvia’s Place Brownie Lip Liner.

This is my first ever Pat Mcgrath lipstick. The formula for the SatinAllures is very comfortable to wear, has a nice shine to it, and isn’t the most opaque, but it can be built up after several layers. It isn’t very long wearing, but that’s to be expected with a lipstick that doesn’t dry down. I’m happy with this product, but I will say it does nothing to hide any dry patches and peeled spots, so I only wear it when my lips are in mostly good condition already.

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

-Lili

*DISCLAIMER: All products in this post were purchased by me with my own money. There are no affiliate links in this post, only standard links.

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