Today’s post certainly includes swatches, but I’ve worn most of the products between 1-3 times. So, I thought it might be nice to add my initial impressions along with it, considering I did not bringing any of these on the trip with me and this could be as close as I get to reviewing them. However, if my initial impressions are vastly off or if I discover additional useful information about the items, I’ll update this post (anytime from June ’23 and onward).
MAC Underground Limited Edition of 1000, MAC New Year Shine Extra Dimension Skinfinish in Beaming Blush, and MAC x Richard Quinn Powder Blush Duo in Sunset Boulevard (Bronze and Coral)
Starting with multi-colored (at least in the pan) highlighter, I actually purchased Precious on February 18, 2023 even though the initial release was in Summer of 2020. I remember how much I regretted not stalking the website, missing out on that launch, and not even being able to buy it from resellers because they were putting it for sale at $100 or more! So, when I recently saw it available on MAC’s US website, I thought it must be a mistake considering they only made 1000 and they sold out extremely quickly. Then, I thought maybe they did a limited re-release. However, mine actually had the number 690 written on the box, which leads me to believe MAC may have misplaced some of that initial inventory from three years ago. I was surprised to see that this order was shipped from Canada (even though I ordered from the US site), which I don’t believe is a usual occurrence with my orders and further leads me in the direction of suspecting this was a misplaced item recently found and put back up for sale. The link I included above had broken (not visible) photos too, which is also why I expected it to be mistakenly made live on the website and thought my order would be cancelled. So, I was quite surprised when it went through and I got it!
It was listed as “low stock” for about ten days before it sold out again. I apologize for not posting about it on my blog or Instagram sooner! I hadn’t expected it to be available for that long.
The swatches above are the only ones I took of it. Since it’s definitely not a wearable color for me, I plan on not touching it again and just keeping it for collector purposes just like I wanted to back then! Also, I wonder if MAC will ever make something like this again. It’s so visually stunning and from every angle!
Next on the list to discuss is this year’s Lunar New Year release. Both highlighters in the New Year Shine packaging are previously released shades. Show Gold looked gold but had a stronger pink hue on the skin. The one I purchased, Beaming Blush, looks pink while appearing much more gold on my skin. I was drawn to the embossing, the colors, and packaging from the beginning, but they looked so frosty and light in photos that I didn’t think I’d be able to pull it off until I watched B Rich Beauty on YouTube show the collection and compare them. This one does indeed work for me!
The photos I took are all of Beaming Blush at various angles and light situations to show how it goes from pink to gold.
I do happen to have one photo wearing Beaming Blush, but I was wearing the Rituel de Fille Thorn Oil as primer and wearing a mix of two different Armani Color Melting Balms for blush, which means the highlighter looked extra smooth and merged even more with my skin because of these wet ingredients. Beaming Blush isn’t a glittery highlighter by any means and does still work for my skin tone, but it is a little more stark if I’m not wearing my winter foundation, a pink blush, and my skin is drier. The actual formula though is no different from MAC’s other Extra Dimension highlighters, which is a good thing since it’s one of the products MAC nails.
Then, we have the MAC x Richard Quinn Collection with the gorgeous floral print fabric outer packaging. It has a very nice tactile feel to it. I purchased my duo from Selfridges, but it’s now available in the US.
As a packaging lover, I knew I had to get at least something from the Collection, but the makeup isn’t very dark-skin friendly between the pastel eyeshadows and light silvery-beige highlighter, but I thought I had a decent chance of the blush duo working for me.
I was right about the “bronze” portion, which isn’t actually named Bronze, but described as that color. It’s quite close to MAC’s Coppertone blush, which is one that only shows when I’m at my lightest. It’s brown with a slight bit of rosiness to it. It’s just like any other MAC powder blush I’ve used before. Long-lasting, buildable, and blendable. I have to build it up for the color to show, but it works for me right now. As for the pink portion, the “coral,” looks ashy on me. It’s much too light, especially with the cooler tone to it. In terms of depth, it’s on par with Melba, but Melba is peachier, which is why I can rock that one when I’m at my lightest. Unsurprisingly, I don’t have many other shade dupes for Coral.
Colourpop x Snow WhiteMagic Mirror, Super Shock Blush in Fair Enough, Lip Scrub in Just One Bite, and Colourpop x High School MusicalPowder Blush in Playoffs
I didn’t need a new mirror, but I have a difficult time resisting unusual shaped ones, like the Colourpop x Hocus Pocus one in the shape of a cat head. This is another collector item purchase.
The Just One Bite lip scrub has very fine sugar granules and smells like apples, but thankfully it’s not an overpowering smell. As nice as it is for there to be small crystals, lip scrubs barely work for me because they just aren’t strong enough no matter how much I rub them across my lips. I still wanted this anyway because I’ve been in the mood for DIY projects and know that I could always clean out this cute apple container and replace it with a lip balm that works better for me, or travel size skincare, etc. I’ve done this kind of repurposing with Tony Moly products, including their Red Apple Hand Cream container that’s much larger than the lip scrub one from Colourpop.
I love Super Shock face products from Colourpop, and with this adorable packaging and this shade, I had to grab this one even though I knew it would be shimmery and I’m a little less interested in that type from Colourpop unless it’s a highlighter. As I suspected, the shimmer particles in this one are borderline to my comfort level. The specks are medium sized but a reflective gold that’s absolutely beautiful, but not the most natural looking on the cheeks. I absolutely love the color of this one and can see myself continuing to wear it on occasions that I don’t mind pronounced shimmer and am not going for a subtle look. A product like this is going to be the star of a makeup look because of how much it stands out.
As for the High School Musical blush, I bought it because of how much Angelica Nyqvist was raving about it. It’s true that this is my type of color and it does have a very soft feel to the blush. For some reason though, I wasn’t as impressed when I put it on my cheeks, and that has nothing to do with the formula. I think I just prefer to have a satin or shimmer finish when I wear blushes of this color. So, all I could think about while wearing it was that I prefer the Bare Minerals Blonzer in Kiss of Rose, Hourglass At Night, or even all my pink/red MAC blush shades despite how much more expensive those are compared to this one from Colourpop. I’m also wearing matte blushes less often lately, so this could be something I end up likely a lot more in the future. Also, I wore it while testing out some less glowy foundations, so it’s possible I could like it more if it was on top of something glowier, so I could feel like I wasn’t looking so dry. Playoffs is one of the few items I could see myself changing my mind about for the better. For now, though, it’s just okay.
about-face Cheek Freak Blush Balms in Cowgirl and Smash
I bought these during Black Friday last year, but didn’t get around to trying it for the first time until recently. By then, I had completely forgotten these are supposed to be “balms” and intentionally sheer. They still build up to a nice amount of pigment. It feels oily as it instantly melts from the touch of my finger, but as I dab and smooth it onto my cheeks, it takes on a velvety finish and feels a little more silicone-like. It reminds me of the way the One/Size Cheek Clapper in the cream feels after it’s applied to the cheeks. I love that it fully dries down. I like the shade Smash the most. Cowgirl is more orange and less terracotta than I wanted. These look darker in promo photos and in the compact than they will appear on the skin. I’ve used these with a brush and fingers, though I prefer using my finger. I have not tried them with a sponge.
I’ve worn them on bare skin and over foundation, but prefer them over foundation because it gives a blurred and diffused look with the veil of color it leaves on the cheeks. On my bare skin, the vibrancy of color with how sheer they are was an unnatural combination to me, but I have a lot of discoloration, which may have contributed to why I felt that way.
Regarding the longevity, my longest wear test has been eight hours and there was noticeable fading, but I still had enough color by the end of the night to be satisfied. It just faded to looking like a subtle flush, but it might still look vibrant on someone with a lighter skin tone than me. My first impression of this line of blushes is overall a good one. It’s only the color variety that keeps it from being a blush that I’m obsessed with. The line has shades that are a bit too on-the-nose for me. I prefer the nuance of a pink-brown, orange-pink, brown-red, etc. I think I like Smash the most because it’s actually a rosy red and that makes it a little more interesting than a basic red. I know it’s a bit strange to want something different when the brand simultaneously goes so far as including various purples and berries in the line that are definitely more unique types of colors to the market. So, I acknowledge that the brand does have “normal” and out there type of blushes, but I would love to see an expansion of the line to include something between the two. The fact that I instantly went on the website to try and see if they had other shades that I would prefer (they currently do not), is a testament to it being a very interesting product. I really like the formula and just need the perfect color for it to be a favorite.
Rare Beauty Positive Light: Silky Touch Highlighter and Liquid Luminizer Highlight in Flaunt
I’ve shown the liquid highlighter before when I tried it as a sample in this post, and I specifically said I wouldn’t buy a full-size (only a mini), but I did it anyway!
I didn’t like the powder version at first because it was so intense and sparkly. What I did not know is that it can actually look smooth depending on the lighting situation. Robert Welsh posted a YouTube short explaining it and demonstrating how the highlighter looked in yellow light versus white light. Sure enough, I loved how it looked under warmer light. My ceiling fan I take pictures near has two daylight lights and a warm one, so depending on the spot I took swatches, it looked smoother or more intense. So, I like that this highlighter can be flattering, but the problem is that we cannot control what kind of lights will be around when we’re out and about. So, I don’t want to be paranoid about having a glittery cheek when I’m in public and caught in literally a bad light. So, it’s very possible I will end up decluttering this.
Rose Inc Refills: Cream Blush Refillable Cheek & Lip Color in Ophelia and Hibiscus and Satin Eyeshadow in Satin Cocoa
In that same post that I linked in the Rare Beauty section, I reviewed and demonstrated four different Rose Inc blush shades. I also showed the shade Wisteria here, and in my depotting post, I mentioned that saving the samples was keeping me from being tempted to buy more shades when I know that I don’t like the dewy feeling from them never drying down, which keeps the blushes from being a favorite even though I love the actual look of them.
However, Rose Inc temporarily added full-size blush refills to the free samples with order sidebar. They offer free shipping (at least to the US) with no price minimum and allow up to 2 free samples with orders. So, essentially, I bought the eyeshadow and got the two blushes for free! Plus, I was able to use a promo code to make the price even lower. There was no way I could pass that up! Especially since I have been curious to see what the eyeshadows would be like. I haven’t worn these particular blush shades on my cheeks yet, but since I’m familiar with the formula already, I think it’s safe to wager they aren’t any different from the ones I’ve reviewed on this blog before.
Rose Inc currently has two eyeshadow formulas in two finishes, a satin and shimmer. I somehow mixed up the fact that the satin is a cream product and the shimmer is the pressed one. The green one I was most interested in was sold out, so I opted for Satin Cocoa as one can never go wrong with a pretty gold or bronze…or so I thought.
I have only tried these on bare lids and with the Danessa Myricks Blurring Balm because I know with my oily lids, I figured the cream would need some oil absorbing properties to last on my eyes, but that was a bad idea. I had instant creasing before I could even finish applying it on the other eye! The creasing got worse and within a few hours most of the eyeshadow was just gone from my eyes.
Unless a cream shadow dries down completely or I use one with thick mattes that I can essentially use as a barrier between my oils and the cream, ceasing is inevitable. However, to have it completely gone off my eyes by the four hour mark is a little less common. I’m not ready to completely write this off yet, as I have other primers and techniques I could try, but this is just a first impression.
Bobbi Brown x Tokidoki Mini Highlighting Powder in Pink Glow and Headband and Bobbi Brown Brightening Blush in Blushed Burgundy
There was a sale on the Toki Doki items on Bobbi Brown’s website last December, and any order of an item from the collection came with a free headband, so that was enough to steer me towards getting the mini highlighter (as one of the lower priced items available) even though I knew Pink Glow would be too light for me. This is yet another product I purchased for collector purposes. I’ve used Bobbi Brown’s highlighters before in this same formula, just different shades, and it’s quite pretty and very shimmery without being that glittery/sparkly level I don’t prefer. I think it’s a nice product, but I always end up feeling like MAC does it better for a lower price as well, even though formulas are probably shared under the Estee Lauder umbrella.
As for the Brightening Blush, I bought that from Selfridges in order to get it for a slightly lower price. There are two different shimmery strips, which is nice for those who want something champagne and lighter or gold and deeper, though I can only isolate each color if I use a fan brush. With the main blush, which I believe is a satin-matte, it’s a little trickier to get just that color onto my blush brushes and avoid the shimmer. However, I personally find it prettier when I use them separately and keep the burgundy shade on my cheeks and put the gold shimmer on my cheekbones, versus swirling all of them together for a glowy cheek look. I’m not sure if it’s the champagne strip specifically that throws it off, but the shimmer just doesn’t look as refined to me when on top of the blush. However, it looked nice and smooth when just kept in the typical highlighting areas.
Oh! And I updated the Kaleidos post in the eyeliner section to show swatches of the additional Danessa Myricks multichrome liners that I bought.
That’s all I have for today! As I mentioned in last week’s post and on the Homepage, I’m spending two months in Germany and there’s a high chance posts will not be on the regular Monday schedule during this time. Thank you for reading!
I have no issues with influencer and makeup artist brands, but something about celebrity brands tend to be a turn off for me. With a makeup artist, the passion for makeup is obvious because they made it their career. With beauty influencers, they tend to have enough content on social media for people to be able to tell what their skill level/expertise is when it comes to beauty, as well as being able to see a pattern in their makeup preferences and whether or not it will align with the viewers. Regarding celebrities, I seldom know anything about why they decided to get into the makeup industry until they actually have their own collaborations or start their own brands. The situation with Iggy Azalea and Doja Cat who did hardly anything to promote their collabs with BH Cosmetics, despite Doja Cat at least being known for enjoying makeup, demonstrates how much of a cash grab celebrity involved makeup products can be. This doesn’t mean those brands will forever have mediocre products attributed to their names, like the case of Haus Labs with their terrible run on Amazon, but seemingly successful rebrand at Sephora. So, today I am analyzing a few products I got in 2021 and the first half of 2022 to see if my opinion on celebrity makeup brands and collabs will remain the same by the end of this review.
Rare Beauty Magnetic Spirit Eyeshadow Palette
I got this palette as a present from one of my friends. I was always drawn to the color story and had this on my list of things to eventually get, but after buying the MAC Tempting Fate Palette and Flower Beauty Jungle Lights palette, I felt those had too similar of shades for me to purchase this one. So, I skipped getting it, but I’m happy to have it now.
Because this and Jungle Lights are especially similar, I would recommend looking at that post for additional eye looks.
I really wish there were some mattes in this palette, but because the four center shades are satins, those can be used as mattes. The pink base in Ablaze doesn’t show as well on my skin tone, so I essentially use it as a topper shadow. The satins don’t crease, but Ablaze and Passion sometimes settle in the lines of my eyes. I personally prefer more sparkle in my lid shades, so as much as I like this palette and the colors within it, I actually recommend to those who have a similar eyeshadow style as me to get the Flower Beauty Jungle Lights Palette instead. Jungle Lights has less impressive packaging, but the tones in it are more flattering, give more pigment and sparkle intensity, and blend easier so that I can even custom mix shades. The formula of the Rare Beauty eye shadows are more traditional, so it’s not as versatile as the palette from Flower Beauty. It’s ironic that I recommend replacing one celeb item with another as Flower Beauty is also a celebrity brand, but founded by Drew Barrymore. Since Jungle Lights came out first, and several years ago, I wonder if Selena’s creative team was aware of that color story and chose to ignore the fact that they were creating something similar.
Overall, Rare Beauty is an exception to my viewpoint on celebrity makeup. I have enjoyed the liquid blushes in the past and have heard wonderful things about the other products in the line. I have no opinions about Selena Gomez personally, so that was never a selling point for me, and yet the brand’s marketing and product quality have left me with a very positive impression. Rare Beauty and Fenty Beauty have done things right and have set the bar for other celebrity brands.
Since I mentioned Flower Beauty already, I should probably explain that I like movies Drew Barrymore has been in, but that has never made me interested in her brand. The only products I own from the brand is the Jungle Lights palette, because it has been so hyped up, along with Blush Bomb Color Drops (aka the Glossier Cloud Paint dupes). I also bought one other item a long time ago, which I think was a powder blush. Whatever it was, I just remember that the powder quality was chalky and the shade was unflattering on my skin, so I returned it.
Rare Beauty Positive Light Liquid Luminizer Highlighters (Samples) in Transcend and Flaunt
As beautiful as liquid highlighters are, I rarely reach for them, which is why these were never on my list to try unless they got released in mini sets like Rare Beauty has done for the blushes and lip products in the past. I’m happy that I was able to try them because these have been hyped up a lot. What I really like about the formula is that these blend in nicely with my Smashbox Precise Highlighting Brush. I have time to blend it in before it dries fully. It captures that wet gleaming skin look that I love. It’s a bit more metallic than I usually go for, but it’s stunning to look at and I do occasionally like a blingy highlight.
I probably would not have chosen these two shades for myself, but they turned out to be great! Transcend is a rose gold shade, and I usually don’t like the look of pink toned highlighters on me, so I built up my blush in order to hopefully get the highlight to look more natural on me. I think that tactic worked! When it came time to try on Flaunt, I toned down the blush to the level I would normally wear it so I could see the true color of how this “bronze gold” shade would look on me. I think it also looks nice, though it would have been perfect if it was slightly darker. Also, I have to acknowledge that Flaunt doesn’t look quite as smooth because I applied too much and continued to try and blend it out after it had already started to dry. So it looks a little messier than when I tried on Transcend, but that’s user error and not a flaw of the highlighter.
As curious as I am to explore more of the highlighter shades, I’m sticking to my original resolve that I should not purchase makeup I’m not going to use up unless it’s for sale as a mini. It’s nice though!
For those interested in the blushes, I reviewed Joy and Love here.
Rose Inc BlushDivine Cream Blush (Refill plus Samples) in Foxglove, Anemone, Azalea, and Dahlia
I initially wanted this as soon as it launched, but I saw reviews that this formula was a bit sticky, which is a feature of cream blushes I usually can’t stand. However, on Black Friday when Rose Inc had all products discounted on top of a $10 off promo code and free shipping, there was no way I could pass it up.
Had I known that I would actually like the formula and that this Foxglove shade would actually work on my skin tone, I would have purchased the version of it that came in an actual compact. I have empty magnetic palettes I could put it in, but for now, I’m content with the plastic clamshell and box to limit air exposure for the cream.
The other reviews I’ve seen were right about this having a sticky texture, but that issue is resolved with a little powder on top of it. In the powder set photo above, I used one that was too dark and covered up too much of the blush, but normally this does the trick. The only unfortunate aspect is that setting with powder loses the flattering dewy sheen that this blush naturally provides, so I would probably continue to wear it without being set for photos, but if I planned to be in public and concerned about accidentally touching my face, I would then set it with powder. It lasts all day and while I wouldn’t personally recommend it at full price considering the myriad of lower priced cream options, I do think this is nice and worth checking out on sale.
I should also note that between using a brush, sponge, and fingers, my preferred method is to use my fingers because I have a lot of control that way. Using a slightly damp sponge is also a great option for packing on the color and blending seamlessly. I don’t recommend using a brush though because that sticky texture coats the bristles and causes them to bunch up, which impedes on being able to get a nice blend on the skin.
This product can also be used on the lips, but I don’t like how it looks or feels on mine, so I use it exclusively on my cheeks. Foxglove is described as a warm terracotta, but it looks coral on my cheeks.
Since I’ve continued to be curious about the blushes, but they aren’t worth full price for me, I’m very happy to have this sample card to try. I’m particularly happy that I’ve been able to satisfy my curiosity about whether Anemone was the type of coral I could pull off or if it would be too light for me. It is indeed too light for me as I have to build it up to an unreasonable amount for it to show. I’m glad I chose Foxglove over Anemone when I was deciding which shade to get. I didn’t expect to like Azalea because it looked like a deep almost magenta pink and is described as a berry, but when used sparingly, Azalea just takes on a nice medium pink tone. It doesn’t look like the type of shade I identify as a berry color. As for Dahlia, which is described as a deep berry, it looks more like a deep red on my skin. If I use the same amount of Dahlia as I do of Azalea, it’s hard to tell a difference on camera, so I had to build up the color way past the amount I would normally use for the Dahlia photo below. I don’t like how Dahlia looks when built up, but I can attest to it being quite pretty when applied in a light layer.
Photo taken from Sephora’s website.
I find it fascinating that in the professional swatch photo, the biggest variation for how the shades look on the skin are on the deeper and paler arms. The swatches look so similar on the tan arm. I believe the descriptions of the colors are represented most accurately on the darkest arm, so anyone lighter than that model should be prepared for the blushes to look a little different. Since I fall somewhere between the dark and medium/tan toned arm, I guess it makes sense that the blushes don’t quite match their descriptions on me. I ended up scraping out both sample cards of the blushes and putting the shades in small jars in order to continue using them!
I know Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is a model and I liked her in the Transformers movies, but that wasn’t enough to make me interested in her line. What caught my attention was the blush because I am a blush addict. I’ve heard nothing but great things about the other products she launched with, so I planned to continue to try more if there was anything that matched my makeup preferences and came in the kind of packaging that appealed to me. This post would have gone up in June, but then I surprised myself by purchasing the cream bronzer which I liked so much that I bought yet another item from the brand during their Friends and Family sale!
Rose Inc Solar Infusion Moisturizing Cream Bronzer in Seychelles (Returned) and Capri
I purchased Seychelles based on photos making it look far warmer and deeper than it actually is. Considering I had been successful with choosing the second to last shade of the Charlotte Tilbury Cream bronzers and Nars Laguna Cream bronzers, I thought maybe the third time would be the charm for the one from Rose Inc. That turned out to be a mistake. It’s too light for me, combined with being such a cool-tone leaning neutral, that it looks grey on me! The same day that I purchased Seychelles, I saw the true color of the bronzer in this review and immediately realized that it was not going to work for me. I contacted Rose Inc to try and switch the shade in my order, but the customer service rep said it wasn’t possible to alter orders and that I could return it and get my correct shade instead. So, I did just that. The return process was easy and the two times I exchanged emails with customer service, I got responses back quickly and the reps were professional yet friendly. So, that’s another plus in my book for Rose Inc.
I never had Capri and Seychelles at the same time, so I don’t have photos of them next to each other, but I do have photos of them in comparison to those other cream bronzers I mentioned.
The photos of the Seychelles bronzer are worn on top of the Estee Lauder Hydra Futurist Foundation. The Capri bronzer demonstration photo on the left is on top of the Rose Inc Serum Foundation, and the one on the right is on top of the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Foundation (sample).
In three of the four different shade representations, Seychelles looked warm. It’s the main photo that shows how cool toned it is, but I thought maybe that was a difference in the lighting.
In any case, Capri was definitely the best color option for me. It has some reddish warmth to it that prevents it from looking like a contour. Although this is a good shade for me, it’s the darkest bronzer in their line, which I don’t think goes far enough on the spectrum. Charlotte and Nars have deeper options, and while Rose Inc is still “new,” I believe they should have an even darker option, especially since there are three shades darker than mine in the foundation, yet it’s doubtful Capri will work for those who wear those shades since I still have to build it up for it to work for me.
You can tell I really like a product when I’m extra passionate about the shade options because this is something I want everyone to be able to experience. The formula is very unique in that it looks emollient like a grease product in the container and doesn’t have the typical thick consistency of a cream, but it goes on the skin so smoothly like a medium coverage tint product. I expected a sticky feeling because of the consistency of the cream blush, but this bronzer actually dries down! It’s described as a cream to powder formula, but the finish doesn’t look powdery and still remains skin-like even when it’s fully dry. I like this so much! $36 is pricey, but I had a 15% off coupon and Rose Inc still periodically offers deals. Even if I paid full price, I think I would have felt this was still worth buying, so I do recommend it.
Rose Inc Skin Enhance Luminous Tinted SerumFoundation in 110
I made a spur of the moment decision to purchase the foundation for 25% off during the Friends and Family sale. I also added a free sample card of concealers to my order, which is how I was able to swatch and demonstrate what LX140, my closest match, looks like on me. I’m glad I was able to test it out because it’s thicker and tackier than I want in a concealer and the neutral shade looks off in the areas of my discoloration where I usually try to cover up. So, it would have been a bad purchase for me, despite the fact that I can build it up to full coverage, which is what I want most in a concealer. LX140 is described as a neutral, and as seen in the swatch next to my go-to KVD concealer in the swatches above, it’s the right depth, but I do need golden warmth for it to match the undertone of the rest of my face. LX130, which would be too light for my style, is a warm golden shade, but the next shade up with that undertone is LX170 which is definitely too dark for me. Also, it creases on me like crazy if I don’t set it with powder. Even still, the lines under my eyes get emphasized more than I’m comfortable with after about an hour or two of wear. So, the concealer really isn’t for me.
The serum foundation is a product that solidified for me that Rose Inc was a brand I should take seriously. I almost always avoid low coverage products because they are either the wrong depth or the wrong undertone, enough to look terrible on me despite the fact that lower coverage products are supposed to accommodate several different shades per color option. I also don’t like them because they don’t do enough to cover my hyperpigmentation, and I prefer buying a medium to full coverage foundation that I can choose to wear sparingly to easily achieve the same effect, whereas it’s harder to build up something sheer. So, what possessed me to spend the $40 discounted price on something I normally hate? My positive experiences with other Rose Inc products was a contributing factor, in addition to the hype of people raving about it and saying it’s a dupe to the $65 Chanel Les Beiges Water-Fresh Complexion Touch. Angelica Nyqvist might be the most responsible with her description of it as, “Your skin looks luminous and fresh like you just applied skincare and for some reason your skincare made you look flawless.”
Like the Chanel, it works best if it’s squirted out on the back of the hand or onto a mixing palette and “crush” the pigment into the rest of the serum to mix the two together. I’ve been using my Sonia G Fusion brushes with this to work the product into my skin by using one pump at a time for a total of 2-3 pumps for my entire face. The foundation feels cooling when I initially apply it and it feels as hydrating as it looks. I have worn it without primer and loved the results. I’ve also worn it with the Benefit Porefessional Lite primer and my sunscreen and those three products played well together. I was concerned that too many moisturizing products on my face might cause an issue with transfer or looking too dewy, but it still dried down. In the Capri bronzer section where I’m wearing the headband, there are visible sweat beads on my forehead because the air-conditioner broke that day and it was 85 F degrees in the house while I was taking photos. In that picture, plus the last three blush demonstration photos, I was not wearing any powder on my face. In the photo below, I barely set my forehead, but it’s a more accurate representation of what this foundation looks like in normal circumstances when I’m not boiling. Even while sweaty though, I was impressed with how long wearing it is and that there was low transfer. I have dry skin, so that could be a factor for how well the foundation holds up.
No-makeup makeup look using the Rose Inc Tinted Serum Foundation in 110, a sample of the Softlight Luminous Hydrating Concealer in LX140 under my eyes and on the discoloration on either side of my chin, Anemone and Dahlia blushes mixed on the cheeks, and the Solar Infusion Moisturizing Cream Bronzer in Capri. I applied the barest layer of powder to my forehead area.
It really does look like I’m just having the best skincare day. It’s as if my hyperpigmentation faded, or I got a facial and graduated to drinking eight glasses of spa water a day. Sometimes, when I don’t feel like putting on a full face, I’ve worn this foundation without even concealer, just to look slightly more put together while on video chat with my boyfriend. I’m so impressed with this and while I’ve rediscovered my love of no-makeup makeup looks, I will definitely be using this a lot in my down time. For blog purposes, however, I prefer to use my other foundations in order to not distract from the products I’m showing off if my discoloration is peeking through. I’m also working on using up my tube of Estee Lauder’s Futurist Hydra Foundation. In fact, I recently tried using 2 pumps of the Rose Inc Foundation as a primer underneath one pump of the EL Futurist Hydra for extra coverage. I immediately set it with powder since it was a hot day and I looked instantly too dewy for my liking, but that combination plus the powder was pretty!
Part of the Rose Inc identity is “Clean” beauty, and that’s a topic that isn’t important to me. I don’t mind if they want to advertise being clean as long as the formula is stable, effective, and won’t expire on me too quickly. They also care about sustainability with their packaging and like to include skincare positive ingredients. Those last two are a nice bonus for me, so I thought it was something I should mention.
Victoria Beckham Beauty
Victoria Beckham Beauty Cheeky Posh: Cream Blush Stick in Miniskirt
I really like the shade of this blush, but this purchase was also made for the gorgeous, weighty tortoiseshell packaging. Miniskirt is incredibly similar to Fenty Beauty’s Rose Latte, which is why I kept talking myself out of getting this since I already own several similar shades, but when I saw it available on Mercari for a great price and having only been swatched once, I bought it.
The best way to use this is to swipe the stick directly onto the cheeks and blend it out with the fingers. This formula looks pigmented, but when I start to work it into my cheeks it blends away to nothing and I have to use a ridiculous amount of product to build it back up when I use any other method. It blends away with a sponge if I try it on my cheeks. Getting the blush off the back of my hand and onto my face loses half the product. Trying to swipe it directly onto the sponge or the bristles of the brush also keeps half the product from going onto my cheeks. Sometimes swiping a cream stick product directly on the skin can remove the product underneath, but this one doesn’t do that, which is why using it that way ended up being the best application method for me.
This blush transfers, but it’s minimized if I set it with powder. I like this and will continue to use it, but the luxury packaging and experience is the biggest selling point. Prior to owning this, I really wanted the shade Rollerskate as well, but I’m content to just having one now. However, it did re-spark my interest in the brand’s Matte Bronzing Brick.
Victoria Beckham has cultivated her image for so long as a fashion, style, and classy icon that it seems perfectly natural that her brand took on that same image and became associated with quality and luxury. I was definitely sold on the packaging, but I was still skeptical on the quality front. I’m happy to know that at least this product is good, even though I prefer blushes with more pigmentation. It’s just a matter of whether that quality is worth the price, which I don’t think it is without also factoring in that luxury packaging.
Haus Labs (via Amazon and Sephora)
I was glad to hear that Haus Labs was rebranding through Sephora because I haven’t had the best experience with them while they were Amazon exclusives. I felt that the quality of the products that I reviewed here was nothing special, which was a let down considering the brand’s prices are on the high side of mid-tier. I have since learned that the final Amazon collection, Italian Glam/Casa Gaga, has better quality makeup and packaging than the previous ones. However, Haus Labs raised the prices to account for that improvement and Amazon’s handling of these items is atrocious. The highlighter was off the mesh when I opened the compact. The only surprising part was that it broke off in one solid piece considering the unicarton was dented inside the unpadded poly mailer it came in that’s supposed to be used to ship clothes, not a breakable item. Either the delivery driver dropped it or it was mishandled in the warehouse. It’s at least a good thing that all Haus Labs products come in a thin protective bubble pouch no matter if they end up being shipped in a cardboard box, bubble mailer, or poly mailer.
Weeks later, when I ordered the Spritz blush, they sent me one that someone else had returned to Amazon and already used! The sticker around the unicarton that has to be torn in order to lift the flap was already ripped open. There was a layer of product around the gold rim and the imprint was slightly worn down where it says “Gaga” on the blush compared to “Casa.” Even though I’ve purchased pre-owned makeup before, I think anyone would be displeased if they paid for a new item and received a used one instead. The upside to the mistakes is that they accidentally included the Bellini blush in my box (yes, the products smaller than the highlighter even came in a box). I would never have ordered Bellini because I didn’t think it would show up on me, but it does and it’s pretty.
The left photo shows the thin protective bubble pouch, along with the poly mailer bag they chose to deliver the highlighter in, rather than using a box, or at least a fully padded bubble mailer. The right photo shows the sticker that covers the unicarton flap and easily indicates whether or not the product has been opened.Perhaps these kind of mistakes are the result of Amazon overworking and underpaying their employees.
So, for anyone still ordering Haus Labs products through Amazon, be prepared for the possibility of there being issues. These items are eligible for being returned for a refund, but I hate returning things, and I felt bad already for having returned the newly relaunched highlighter to Sephora. I’ll discuss more on that later.
Haus Labs Casa Gaga Tutti Gel-Powder Blushes in Amarone, Spritz, and Bellini
I have three of the four blushes in the line. These are a baked gel-powder formula made in Italy. They are rich in color, but very thin, so they still need to be built up a bit on my cheeks. I also need to dip back in the compact repeatedly because the blush is not easy to pick up with a brush unless it’s made of sturdy bristles. I’ve used this with my Chikuhdo FO-2, which is dense with a wide surface area that allows me to get more product onto my face than a traditionally shaped blush brush. I also have used the Smashbox Precise Blush Brush because the medium-heavy packed synthetic bristles can easily get through that compressed layer. I certainly have had no success using my grey squirrel brushes with them, and am only successful with Saikoho if the brush is medium density and up. Sokoho and Sokoho-mix brushes work decently depending on how tightly it is bundled. So, I recommend using dense brushes in either synthetic or a durable type of natural bristles.
Amarone applied in 3-4 layers with the Sonia G Cheek Pro.
Spritz applied in three layerswith the Hakuhodo x Hello Kitty Slide Face Brush L Round & Flat.
Bellini applied in five layers with the Smashbox Precise Blush Brush.
These blushes have a satin finish and a long wear time with or without foundation. I don’t usually have an issue though with powder blushes fading on me before I’m ready to remove my makeup. As for the shades, I like the tone of red in Amarone and the peachy brown of Bellini the most. Spritz, which I was initially attracted to the most, is quite bright on the skin if built up too much. It’s actually very close in color to Pat Mcgrath’s Electric Bloom.
These blushes are intended to be used on the lips as well, but it looks horrendous if you have any spots that need exfoliating. The fact that it’s a powder doesn’t help dry lips look any better. What I tried to do for the pictures below is to apply balm to my lips, pat the blush on the lips with my finger, wipe my finger on a towel, and then pat more blush on until I get the desired amount of color. I only attempted this for blog testing purposes and will not be bothering to use the Casa Gaga blushes in this way. It doesn’t have lasting power and was completely gone after a meal. Amarone is kind of pretty, but Bellini just reminded me of how the Rose Inc Foxglove blush looked on my lips. I did not try out Spritz because I will never put a stranger’s used product on my lips, no matter how much I spray it down with alcohol. That’s where I draw the line.
I like the blushes a lot, but because I’m so satisfied with these, I don’t think I’d be interested in buying the ones that are bound to be released in the future via Sephora.
Haus Labs By Lady Gaga Bio-Radiant Gel-Powder Highlighter in Fire Opal
This highlighter is the only product I bought from the brand’s relaunch collection at Sephora. Considering all the previous Haus Labs products I purchased were between 50-70% off, I can’t help but be a little turned off by their pricing. I understand that their high price could actually be worth it now, due to shelving space at Sephora, the “Clean Beauty” formulas (which is an aspect I honestly care nothing about), and the upgraded packaging. The latter is the one that I can get behind the most, but with a price point that is competing with the likes of Natasha Denona, Charlotte Tilbury, Hourglass, etc. my expectations were high.
Gel-powder formulas are my favorite and I absolutely loved the new Haus Labs packaging in its shiny shifting opalescent color. I also thought the tone of orange was stunning and out of all the swatches on the website, I thought that the Fire Opal shade was prettiest on every skin tone. So, I expected this shade to be a slam dunk, but it’s sparkly! Broken record here, but I hate sparkly highlighters. It has the wet effect look at certain angles that I love, but what’s the point of a highlighter looking like natural gleaming skin if it’s going to be paired with very obvious glittery looking particles? It also just looks yellow on me, like Fenty’s Trophy Wife, instead of golden orange. I barely get any base color and had to use my hog bristle brush to dig deeper into the powder to get a bit of that fiery coral orange, but it wasn’t strong enough to overpower the yellow shimmer. I even attempted to mix it with PML’s Electric Bloom to mimic the base color of Fire Opal, but it wasn’t successful.
I decided to return this because of how expensive it is for something I’d never use again, and I already own the very similar looking (on the skin) Clionadh Tropico highlighter. In addition, I was on a losing streak of every new product being wrong for me in some way. I couldn’t keep absorbing the cost, so Fire Opal not working out for me was the last straw.
I attempted two wear tests for the sake of the review, and both times I had issues with the highlighter staying on my face for longer than six hours. So, this product was a complete fail for me.
Haus Labs Casa Gaga Tutti Gel-Powder Highlighter in Luce Del Sol
After the disaster that was the newest range of highlighters from the brand at Sephora, I grew curious as to whether the one from Amazon would be better for me. I had originally heard rave reviews about Luce del Sol and couldn’t remember hearing anyone say it was glittery, but the price always stopped me from getting it. Once the price was dropped, my interest returned. I had tried and enjoyed the blushes by then and considering they shared the same formula, I was willing to give it a shot.
I certainly like this highlighter more than Fire Opal! It’s slightly lighter than I go for, but I just have to make sure I blend it in properly. It has that wet look when it hits the light that I like. It still has a slight sparkle to it, and emphasizes texture a little bit, but nowhere near as much as the other formula! Depending on the brush I use, this can sometimes look like the shimmer is spaced out too far apart for my liking, but then I just spray my face and apply another light layer of highlighter on top to meld it into my skin. Essentially, the dewier my skin is, the more I like it on me. The shine dulls a tiny bit towards the end of the night, but it’s still very present all day. I like it, but the listed price is still too high. Around $30 is more reasonable.
The blushes have a list price of $32 each at 3.5 grams and the highlighter is $42 for 12 grams of product.
As much as I like the blushes and don’t mind having small ones because I’ll never use up a typical full size blush, the price still needs to be adjusted if there’s that little product. $25 would still be pricey to me, but more reasonable for what the customer gets. To be fair, it’s about the equivalent ppg to the Huda Beauty GloWish blushes.
I’m happy that I didn’t pay full price for the Haus Labs at Amazon products. The Casa Gaga ones specifically helped improve my perception of the brand, but I cannot ignore the quality of their older launches. After my experience with the highlighter from the rebrand, I’ve lost interest in trying anything else from them.
Iggy Azalea x BH Cosmetics Sponge
This purchase was discounted to $3 and I bought it purely to meet a free shipping minimum on BH Cosmetics’ website. This was before the announcement that the brand was filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy and that Revolution Beauty would be acquiring the brand. I like a few of Iggy Azaela’s songs but that wasn’t enough to make me interested in anything from this 90’s throwback collection (and apparently a ton of people felt the same way). This launch was a flop, but I can attest to the sponge actually being a great purchase. It’s super soft and works just as well as the original Beautyblender for a fraction of the cost. It’s also an incredible deal that this sponge also comes with a case, considering most cases cost more than what I paid for this duo. I’m glad that it has the flat side and pointy side like the Real Techniques Sponges (but less firm). The only downside is that I have a harder than usual time keeping this free of makeup stains, but considering the swirl pattern on this sponge, it looks naturally splotchy anyway.
Doja Cat x BH Cosmetics Flora Blush Trio in Rose
I believe this collection did slightly better than the Iggy Azealea one, and it had a round 2 release, although I’m not sure if that was already agreed upon contractually or if the first did well enough to create round 2 afterwards. I personally suspect it was in the contract. In any case, there were three blush trios in the launch. I bought two, but gave one away. I chose to keep this palette because of that reddish-brown blush with the golden shimmer, which is the type of color I love. The formula is extremely thin though on these blushes, so I have to build up this shade using a dense flat top brush or one of my goat hair workhorse brushes like the Sonia G Cheek Pro. It’s quite pretty though, despite being immensely subtle on me. The darker of the two pink blushes isn’t my favorite tone, but it at least shows on my skin and is slightly more opaque, though it still requires building. As for the lightest blush in the trio, I didn’t bother taking a photo wearing it considering it’s practically white in my arm swatch and definitely only suited for pale to light skin tones. It does have some shimmer to it, but it does not work as a highlighter for me. Overall, I’m not very impressed with the quality of these blushes. I have better from within BH’s own brand, not that they were ever my favorite to begin with, so I can’t recommend these, no matter how low the price is.
I thought that this post would help me decide whether I should be more open minded to makeup associated with celebrities, but even though I had a good experience with some of these, I can think of so many celebrity lines I happily skipped. If anything, I think I did a good job of picking and choosing which ones to try, which is more of a reflection on knowing my own tastes and less about the celebrity brands. So, in the end, not much changed my viewpoint except that I have a slightly higher opinion of Rare Beauty and Victoria Beckham Beauty. The biggest change was my opinion of Rose Inc earning my respect and successfully making me want to try a few more items from the brand if they expand their shade range of current and future products. If even one product I tried after the blush was a dud, I would have lost interest again in Rose Inc, so it’s only because they put so much thought and innovation into their products that I now see the brand in such a great light. I cannot say that this is the norm for celebrity involved makeup.
That’s everything for this post, but after I finished my final draft I came across a video on YouTube by Mina Le who discussed this topic of the over saturation of celebrity brands. I’m always getting recommended videos by Mina, but this is the first one I’ve watched. I find the sections on the environmental impact, power of celebrity, and downfall sections to be particularly interesting.