Makeup I Traveled with and Purchased in Germany

I love “What’s in My Travel Makeup Bag?” type of posts for only one reason: wanting to see which products someone couldn’t be without. The products I took with me traveling were chosen for so many other reasons besides that one, so I reconsidered making this post. However, I thought about how I was able to pack the least amount of products for the longest trip I’ve been on and realized this could be useful to those wanting ideas of what to take with them and things to consider for extended stays. I will also discuss what I learned about shopping for makeup in Germany and I’ll review the items I purchased while there.

Anything Will Do

When it comes to lips, brows, and face primers, I find that pretty much any products in those categories will get the job done. They all work well, but I could have replaced them with any others in my collection. I chose the 15ml travel size of the Good Molecules Silicone-Free Priming Moisturizer because it can double as a primer and moisturizer, which saves space with its compact form and from having to bring a second item. The ELF Instant Lift Brow Pencil could have been swapped out for my Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz or the Benefit Precisely My Brow pencil, but the $3 price made it ideal so that if I misplaced it, it wouldn’t be much of a financial loss. The Tower28 Gloss was chosen because I am on an unofficial project pan and want to see if I can use it up within a year. Otherwise, I would have taken the Fenty Gloss Bomb or my other mini glosses with me instead. I did a lip declutter earlier this year, so any lip pencil in my current collection could have replaced the Mented Nude La La Lip Pencil, but I chose it because it’s the one I’ve used the least, is a shade I could use all over the lip and not just as a liner, plus it doesn’t require a sharpener.

Backups/Replaceable Items

Choosing the Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner was an easy decision because it was my holy grail eyeliner for a long time, it will last through different changes in weather, and I have multiples of them in my collection because I always get them at half price during Ulta’s 21 Days of Beauty sales or during the holidays. I knew I would be going back to Germany this year, so I didn’t want to bring a used eyeliner and have to worry that when I went back it would be dried up or run out on me. I also recently became reacquainted with my old holy grail lip balm, the Nuxe Reve de Miel, and went overboard buying three jars in total when they only have a 6 month shelf life once opened. So, I figured I could keep a spare in Germany as well. As for the brown mini lipgloss tube in the initial post photo at the top, I decided that I could use one of the empty tubes I had from my days of making custom products to store foundation in there. The tiny gift with purchase sample I had of the Nars Soft Matte Complete Foundation lasted me six months, so I knew the amount I squeezed in there would last through multiple trips. If you have a foundation in a glass bottle, it’s a great idea to store some in a small squeeze tube that helps limit the exposure of the foundation to air, has a small enough hole so that you won’t squeeze too much product out at once, and is of course more compact and won’t break during travel.

Speaking of broken things, I contemplated what to do with my repressed pan of Huda GloWish Soft Radiance Bronzing Powder in the shade 04 Tan since I was sent a replacement item. Although I got too dark on the trip to be able to use it, I figured I could keep the spare in Germany. Lastly, I only have one MAC Studio Fix Soft Matte Foundation Stick, but this item is replaceable in the sense that my holy grail eyeshadow primer is the MAC Paint Pot. This performs similarly to the Paint Pot but works better specifically with the Hindash Beautopsy palette I planned to bring with me. Also unlike the Paint Pot, it’s not in a breakable glass pot. Plus, I could use it as concealer in a pinch, though it isn’t dark enough for me to use as actual foundation. But if someone else traveling wanted to really pack minimally, the Foundation Stick could be used for all of those tasks.

Must Haves

If I wasn’t the type that loves having a variety to choose from, even on trips, I could have skipped bringing an eyeliner, brow pencil, blushes, and bronzers entirely because I took the Hindash Beautopsy Palette with me. I did skip bringing a contour and setting powder because I had this available. I use Beautopsy for so much more than eyeshadows and I’ve been raving about this palette for good reason. It could be a bit nerve wracking to take such an expensive product, but the packaging is intended for makeup artists, which means it should be durable enough to travel with anywhere. This is a must have for minimalists, but I took this because it’s such a staple in my makeup routine now that I didn’t want to be without it. Especially considering the fact that I got a little darker on the trip, my ability to customize the depth of shades came in handy and I used it more than all the bronzers I had with me. The only area which the Beautopsy palette lacks is having no shimmer options. I knew I would miss having shimmer shadows, so I used a custom magnetic palette to store my Devinah Cosmetics Eyeshadows. When selecting the colors, I wanted shades that would pair well with each other, could be used in subtle daytime looks or dramatic nighttime looks, as well as giving me neutral and colorful options. Of course it was tempting to want to bring my absolute favorite Clionadh shadows, but Devinah makes extremely similar quality of products with the added bonus of being made in the US with quicker restocks. This means that if for some reason my shadows broke irreparably (like the particles got mixed with each other and could not be separated), I’d probably have a replacement in weeks up to 2 months, as opposed to 1-6 months or more. Devinah shadows are also slightly lower cost per shadow with cheaper shipping for me. This choice was a combination of wanting my favorite eyeshadow quality while factoring the travel element. Of course, when using special shadows, the Nyx Glitter Primer is essential for keeping them in place and helping the shades pop. I always have replacement tubes (which is a good thing because my tubes keep busting at the top) so I brought this along as a necessity that happens to be inexpensive and replaceable.
What is definitely not inexpensive is the Dior Backstage Face & Body Powder-No Powder, but I absolutely had to bring it with me. I discovered that this powder is so fantastic for smoothing out the skin and blurring imperfections, which was crucial to have for this trip. The lighting at my boyfriend’s place was extremely tricky to see what I was doing while applying makeup. The lighting was either dim or yellow, which showed things differently than the LED lights in the main room’s 9-foot high ceiling, also different than the highly fluctuating natural light peeking out from grey and dark clouds most of the time I was there. Depending on the light, I could look like I had no bronzer or too deep of bronzer, no blush or looking like a flat out clown. When on a trip, you’re often in a time crunch, and I couldn’t keep waiting for the natural light to be sunny enough to complete my makeup. Having the Dior powder gave me confidence that the end result looked nice and fixed anything that needed fixing, even if the resulting look was more subtle than intended.

This may seem a bit extra, but I took two mascara tubes with me. Rather than just relying solely on a mini size for the trip, I needed a mascara like the Essence Volume Stylist 18 hr Lash Extension Mascara that would give me a false lash effect because there was no way I was going to bring falsies traveling. This is a very affordable mascara, so I could leave it in Germany and it will still hopefully be good when I get back. With a mini, I had no idea how many uses I could get out of it (considering I was there for three weeks), but it’s a good option to consider for those packing lightly. I happened to have a sample of the Benefit Bad Gal Bang mascara and I brought it with me because I remembered liking the original Bad Gal Lash mascara and hoped it would be good. The Bang version is even better! I love that it darkens and lengthens my lashes easily and without leaving any clumps. The brush also makes it so the lashes are separated and fanned out like a doll. I can also build up a little volume. It’s not as dramatic as the Essence mascara, but it’s enough to look like I’m naturally blessed with long lashes.

I have to name the Nabla Skin Glazing Highlighter in Amnesia as an honorable mention for a “must have” product on a trip, even though I didn’t bring it this time. I have taken that highlighter on all other trips since I first purchased it. It’s on the lighter side for me, but it still works beautifully on my skin tone to give me a subtle highlight or an intense one. It also matches both warm and cool toned makeup looks. The only reason I left it behind was because I ordered the Hatice Schmidt Labs highlighter in the Medium shade, which looked like a very close dupe and I did not want to have two nearly identical products on the trip, especially as I already had a usable highlighter in the Kaja Bento box I brought with me. Now that I have two similar products, I will likely bring the HSL on trips from now on because it’s slightly darker, slightly warmer, and with a slightly more transparent base which makes it that much more suited to my skin tone. It also has a mirror, which was helpful in the moments I was running around trying to see how my makeup was looking in alternate light sources. If I was more concerned about the weight of the products or the price of the products, the Nabla Skin Glazing would be a better choice. However, if something happens to my HSL product, I wouldn’t feel as upset knowing that I have the Nabla as my backup.

Made To Be On-The-Go

I could have put several of the products mentioned above in this category, but the ones I’m discussing here don’t really fit in any other category. For example, the Tarte Shape Tape Concealer is my holy grail concealer, so I purchased the travel size for the trip. It was ideal for it’s compact size (though at one tenth of the size of the larger one, it’s certainly not cost effective) and the assumption it would last me two trips. However, I suspect that the formula in the mini is not as full coverage as the full size tube. I had to use a lot more product to get the coverage I needed. Perhaps this is another situation of the lighting being an issue. I also brought a mini of a lighter shade in order to mix my perfect color, like usual, but there was no need to this time as Deep didn’t look as dark as the full size either. That’s why this is in the “made to be on-the-go” section instead of “must haves.” I have also mentioned that I like mixing the Shape Tape with Pat Mcgrath’s concealer, but that one is in a glass tube which I did not want to bring with me. In the future, I’ll just carry my regular full size Shape Tape on trips, especially since I also get them for half off during Ulta’s 21 Days of Beauty. In a past review of the Kaja Play Bento Sculpting Trio, I mentioned that this product was ideal for traveling, so I felt obligated to bring it. Honestly, the fact that I have the Beautopsy palette though makes it pretty redundant as I can make a bronzer out of that palette and create a similar blush shade. I love the cream bronzer, but I don’t trust wearing a cream product while on a trip for fear of transfer onto clothing or sweat. The highlighter is nice, but I will always want a more intense option too. I took this traveling with me because I wanted to test the durability, as well as having those other options, but I only used it once during the three weeks (besides keeping it in my small purse as a mirror). However, if someone doesn’t have a face palette or wants something more affordable, lightweight, compact, and travel friendly, this is still a good option.

In my photo at the top of the post, I have a mini bottle of the Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water, but it’s actually filled with Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Water. They make a mini version, but I didn’t want to buy one when I could just reuse a smaller thinner bottle in my possession by transferring it in from one of my many larger size bottles. I also have mini versions of the Original Makeup Eraser Cloth, but I brought a full size one with me on the trip. I also filled an empty package of SkinFood Rice Cleansing Wipes with some from a larger package. That way I could use a makeup wipe on a heavier makeup day that I was too tired to double-cleanse and also not carry a whole heavy package which has 80 wipes in there.

Lastly for this section is sunscreen. It’s not makeup, but it’s essential. I brought what I thought was a mini size of the Round Lab Birch Juice Moisturizing Sun Cream which came in the box with the full size sunscreen I bought. It turned out that the mini was the non-SPF version and I didn’t figure it out until I was back in the US. Since I was testing it out for the first time, I also brought my usual Neutrogena Ultra Sheer 70 SPF Liquid Sunscreen too. The Ultra Sheer is small enough that it doesn’t take up much room in my carry-on bag and is airport compliant at 40 mL out of 100 mL. I have since used the actual SPF version of the Round Lab and I like that it doesn’t leave a cast. It makes my skin look a little dull on the darker spots of my face with hyperpigmentation, but it’s barely noticeable on my bare face and it’s definitely not an issue under makeup. The Round Lab is twice the price at only 10 ml more, so I would have continued to purchase the one from Neutrogena if it sadly hadn’t just been discontinued a few months ago. I had been using it for seven years and was quite sad to learn it was gone before I could purchase one final backup. Since I haven’t even tested the Round Lab during a true Florida summer, I’m not ready to recommend it yet. When it comes to something as important as sunscreen, I wouldn’t feel comfortable recommending it unless I’d tested it through at least two summers.

The Ultra Sheer Liquid Sunscreen in the Sensitive version is not the same since it’s a mineral sunscreen which relies heavily on titanium dioxide, which is the main culprit that leaves a cast on dark skin. The Dry-Touch version of Ultra Sheer is definitely not the same (leaves a white cast on me), as well as other sunscreens from Neutrogena. I picked up several trial packets and sunscreen minis recently, so I will be checking to see if I can find anything that’s as lightweight and doesn’t leave a cast while also thoroughly protecting me from the sun. So far, the Round Lab is the best I currently own.

Additional Tips

When I was deciding what to pack, the first thing I did was write a list of all the makeup categories I could think of and filled out which products I would want to bring most. Then, in order to condense the list, I went back over my answers and thought about what things I owned that could accomplish more than one task to reduce the number of products I had to bring. I thought about which things I owned or could buy in mini sizes to save space and decrease the weight of what I’d have to carry. I kept in mind which items were easily breakable, replaceable, and what I would miss too much if I didn’t have it. I also debated about what items I could just skip bringing entirely and buy while abroad. One thing I forgot to consider was that even though I was leaving a lot of makeup behind in Germany, all the new products I purchased weighed so much more than what I initially took with me, so my makeup bag was heavier coming back. I could have skipped bringing the Kaja Bento as a backup if I thought about the fact that I was going to buy a highlighter and three blushes.
I also made the decision to skip bringing cream products. Although I knew it wasn’t likely to be hot in Germany, I was required to walk a lot more and figured I would probably work up a sweat. I intended to do a lot of hugging as well, so I didn’t want to risk taking anything that could transfer or sweat off. It was also windy at times and I wore my hair down a bit more than usual. Balmy products on the skin that don’t dry down would have been a bad idea. Thinking about how the makeup items will be affected by the weather and the activities on the trip is something to consider. Nothing I brought with me needed a setting spray and none of them (besides my eyeliner) were waterproof, but that might be necessary for someone else to pack.

Here is a sample list of the categories of makeup to think about when packing:

  • Face Primer –
  • Eye shadow Primer –
  • Foundation –
  • Concealer –
  • Color Corrector –
  • Eye shadows –
  • Brow Product –
  • Eyeliner –
  • Mascara –
  • False Lashes and Lash Glue –
  • Setting Powder and/or Finishing Powder –
  • Setting Spray (keep TSA requirements in mind) –
  • Blush –
  • Bronzer –
  • Contour –
  • Highlighter –
  • Lip Balm/Gloss/Stick/Liner/Stain/Plumper –

One other thing I wanted to mention is that I was paranoid about the possibility of having lost luggage, so I packed some of my makeup products separately. The more fragile items, such as eyeshadows and pressed powders, I kept in my carry-on. My eyeliner, the full size mascara, the lighter concealer, etc were kept in my suitcase.

Douglas and Got2B Makeup

When I was shopping for makeup in Münster, I expected to discover plenty of German founded cosmetic brands that I hadn’t seen before. Perhaps this exists online, but when it comes to makeup at retail shops, the brands under the umbrella of major parent companies like L’Oréal, Estée Lauder, and LVMH dominate worldwide. It’s one thing to always hear that and quite another to actually see it for myself.
When I stopped in the Douglas shop, ARTDECO Beauty and ANNAYAKE (as well as the actual Douglas brand of makeup) were the only ones I hadn’t seen in the US. It was the same for drugstores, that only the actual store’s brand of makeup (such as dm of dm-drogerie markt) is unavailable in the US.

Of those unfamiliar brands, my purchasing options were limited to universal products like eyeliners and mascaras, as the complexion ones weren’t deep enough for me. I did snag a blush from Got2B. I was familiar with the brand’s hair products, but I had no clue until that moment that they made makeup as well! I tried to find out when they launched the cosmetics, and I believe it was in July 2021, so just a month before I got there, but I don’t know for certain. The ARTDECO products didn’t appeal to me, so I decided to try the Douglas brand of makeup as well, which is of similar quality to the Sephora Collection brand of makeup.

Douglas Cosmetics Caramel Nudes Eyeshadow Palette mini

The full size Caramel Nudes palette reminds me of the Anastasia Beverly Hills Soft Glam palette. I didn’t see it available in-store, but the mini was there, which I thought was perfect to try out the quality of Douglas shadows without making a big price commitment. The eyeshadows swatched evenly on my arm and clearly looks pigmented on those with a lighter skin tone. I find the shadows to be on the thin side and I found myself craving a little more impact from the shimmers. The mattes blended nicely and were opaque with a satisfactory amount of pigmentation. I was also glad that the cream shade did not look ashy like some lighter shades can appear on darker skin. This palette lacks a color that can add depth for me if used on its own. This is more of a one and done type of palette. I did not use the tiny dual ended brush it came with, which is a miniature version of the brush that’s in the full-size palette. Overall, the quality is decent and I could see myself actually using this palette every so often if I’m in the mood for a soft look.

Douglas Cheek Me Up Cream-Like Powder Blushes in 02 Rosa Carolina and 07 Hollyhocks

I chose these blushes with the help of the staff at Douglas. They were very friendly and polite. Even though my boyfriend was there to translate, they didn’t solely rely on him for help and tried to speak as much English to me as possible. I also appreciated the fact that they didn’t try to sell me anything that clearly would not work for my skin tone, just to make a sale, as has happened to me in the past at other retail shops in the US. They were upfront about which lines they carried that had options for my skin tone. The two shades they picked for me were the ones I would have chosen for myself, and as a bonus they were heavily discounted, so even though they were similar shades, I decided to just get them both.

I used Hollyhocks quite a bit on the trip and figured it would be my preferred shade because I like brownish-pink type of blushes that look more natural on my cheeks. However, I still like the bright flush Rosa Carolina gives to my cheeks and how just two dips with my brush gives me easy color payoff. As I started to get darker, I began to favor Rosa Carolina more because it was easier to see on my skin, though they both show well on me and are easy to blend. They’re decent blushes that get the job done, and at 4 euros each, they’re some of the least expensive blushes I own. I have so many wonderful blushes though, that as nice as they are, they’d still rank in the lower middle of my collection.

Shoutout to my boyfriend for being my light arm model! Not that he volunteered. I swatched shades on him while he played World of Warcraft, haha.

Got2b Cheeky Bloom Blush Powder in Pink Velvet

The inner pink circle is a slightly shimmery pale pink that I can use as a highlighter/blush topper. The outer bright pink ring of blush is what I try to pick up with my brush to use all over the cheeks. I like how soft the powder is and that there isn’t much kickup in the pan, but it still feels and smells powdery when I apply it to my cheeks. It’s definitely lower quality than I’m used to, which is a shame since it was 8 euros, but it’s not terrible. And because it has slightly more sheen than the matte Douglas blushes, it’s more flattering on my dry skin. It still looks nice on my cheeks, lasts as long as I need it to, is as lightweight as it’s described on the packaging, and contains nourishing ingredients like Macadamia Oil and Vitamin E, though I don’t know in what amounts. I’m still intrigued by other products from the brand, but for now my curiosity is quenched.

That’s all for today! I appreciate so much anyone who has taken the time to stop by and read my posts. Thank you. I hope this has been helpful!

Also, I wrote nearly all of this post months ago, but I kept pushing the publish date back because of new exciting makeup I wanted to review as soon as possible. I’m actually going back to Germany in a few days and won’t return to the US until the end of January, but I’m not sure if I will even be back home until sometime in February. For now, I am still on track to continue with regularly scheduled weekly posts, but if at any point this changes, the next eventual post will be on a Monday.

– Lili

Products I Changed My Mind About (for better or worse)!

If I have a strong negative or positive opinion about something, you can expect that to stay the same. This post will mainly center around the items I had mixed or indifferent feelings about in my reviews, but I’m now definitively on one side.

Dior Backstage Face and Body Powder No Powder

I remember saying that for my personal needs, I wasn’t certain if this powder was worth $40. I initially didn’t notice that much of a blurring effect because if I take my time blending and concealing all my problem areas, the powder doesn’t make much of a difference except adding a flattering sheen. However, it’s when I’ve been in a rush to put on makeup that I have noticed a dramatic difference! The blurring effect is so much more noticeable from blending out harsher lines of bronzer or contour, toning down a blush, adding some life to a look that’s too flat or dry looking. This has saved me so many times from having to restart a makeup look. I’ve grown to love this powder so much and wholeheartedly recommend it now because I think everyone has those moments when we just don’t have time to make things as smooth as possible, which this powder helps with, assuming it works with your skin type.

All foundations eventually settle into the smile line on the right side of my mouth. This powder fills and smooths it over so that you can’t even see it! After several hours it starts to be visible again, but the fact that it can make this dramatic of a difference at all is amazing to me!

The left side of the photo shows my mouth area after six hours of wearing the Becca Dewing Skin Tint as foundation. It had not been set with powder all day. The right half of the photo shows what the area looked like after I applied the Dior Powder-No-Powder to that spot. It completely freshened up the area.

Rituel de Fille

I was already at a disadvantage with this brand because of my sensitivity to lanolin (which so many of their products contain). When I discovered mold growing around the outer rim of one of the Nectar Balms, I decided that I am no longer interested in any products from this brand that are not powder based. That eliminates practically everything they sell. That Nectar Balm was only 8 months old and I only used it a few times. Then 6 of those 8 months it remained clasped shut and inside a resealable pouch. So, I do not trust how the brand preserves ingredients (it’s supposed to last 12 months after opening), on top of the lanolin issue and the waxiness of other products and certain items being overpriced.

Kaleidos Space Age Highlighters

These were on the cusp of me liking them, as having visible glitter particles is not my preference, but they weren’t so sparse for me to stop using them altogether. However, I’ve embraced my highlighter preference as there are so many reflective illuminating smooth products that suit me, so I decluttered all three of them. If the glitter/shimmer in a highlighter isn’t fine enough, I will just not continue to use them. I have decluttered other highlighters that don’t fit my style such as Fenty’s Trophy Wife Killawatt Highlighter and the Oden’s Eye Solmane Palette.

Tarte Shape Tape Ultra Creamy Concealer

Other than this Instagram post, I haven’t shared my finalized thoughts about this concealer until now. Unfortunately, I really do not like it. I decluttered both from my collection. My love of the original Shape Tape runs pretty deep because I practically need Spackle to cover my dark under eye circles. The main downside to Shape Tape is that it can look dry, so the Ultra Creamy version seemed like the perfect remedy. The finish is nice, but it provides way less coverage than the original, creases significantly, and is not long-lasting. The only thing I find similar about them is the packaging. Even the original 53N Deep and Ultra Creamy 53N Deep have different undertones despite them both being labeled neutral. The original leans golden, which I like, but the ultra creamy leans pink.

Mixing the new and original concealers together improves the performance, but the combo is still worse than if I used the original on its own. Even in reviews I watched where people said they liked it, to me, their under eyes did not look as nice as usual. So, I definitely don’t recommend it.

Final Thoughts

It would have been nice to end this post with a list of five products in total, as five is a nice number, but I could only think of these four. There still a few things I haven’t made up my mind about, such as Makeup Geek eyeshadows (which I will officially review at some point this year), and Viseart shadows after being unimpressed by the Dark Mattes Edit Palette in my last Viseart purchase, but I need a bit more time with them in order to decide.

As a sort of honorable mention, I can say that the ELF Instant Lift Brow Pencil has reclaimed the top spot as my favorite brow product over the ELF Ultra Precise Brow Pencil. I liked how thin and easy it was to draw those realistic brow hairs, but I still missed the Instant Lift after I used it up. Then one day, when I went to use the Ultra Precise, I don’t know if it dried out but the whole product just slid right out. It was unusable at that point. I don’t know if it was just a fluke or if that tends to happen with the Ultra precise, but since I loved the Instant Lift anyway (and it’s cheaper and I know I can use up the entire pencil without issue), I decided the Instant Lift deserves the crown and I’m now on brow pencil #2.

That is all for today!

I have one review scheduled for next week, but my consistent return to Monday postings will not begin until September 13th. I hope you all are doing well!

Thank you for reading!


My Concealer Collection and Declutter

This is the next installment of my Declutter Series! Concealers are the only category of products that never go ages without being tried, so everything I’m discussing here (besides the concealer sample card swatches) have been tried at least once before. It’s also easier to tell whether I like one or not because my needs are very specific. For me to like a concealer it has to be pigmented enough to cover my intensely dark undereye circles (like nearly black under eyes) and have minimal settling into my fine lines. I might hold onto multiple foundations if I’m in the mood for one that is dewy or matte, sheer or full coverage, etc. With concealers, they either meet the requirements I need or they don’t, so there isn’t any reason for me to hold onto as many as I currently have.

As I noted in my Foundation Declutter post, I use the Dermablend Flawless Cover Drops as concealer, and it is currently tied with the Pat Mcgrath Concealer as my favorite product to cover my dark undereye circles. I have hyperpigmentation and scarring on my face, but I’m not nearly as self conscious about those areas as I am with my under eyes. For that reason, my favorite concealers will always be full coverage ones. Since I discussed the Dermablend product in my foundation post, I will be excluding it in this one.

MAC Pro Palette Studio Finish Skin Corrector x 6

Although I hardly use color correcters, I got an incredible deal on this palette and thought that not only could I get the Ochre and Pure Orange shades I used to have in the liquid form, I could also use the Orange color as concealer on its own because it’s deep enough to pass for brown. I also figured Deep Brown would make interesting eyeshadow base, particularly with multichromes. I didn’t take into account the fact that cream complexion products are extremely finicky on my skin. There isn’t a single cream foundation stick I’ve tried that I’ve liked. I also have a high rate of failure with cream concealers for under my eyes. I lucked out with this product that I can get a decent 5-6 hours out of the shade Orange if I set it. However, I like this better when paired with another concealer and actually used on top of it instead of underneath it.

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser and Dark Spot Corrector in Tan and Caramel

I was surprised to see that Tan is actually darker than Caramel, and is a decent shade match for me. It has been a long time since I bought these and despite severely disliking them, I kept them in the hopes that I could find a way to make them work. I did not succeed at that. The biggest issue, beyond settling into my lines, is that there just isn’t enough coverage. I find it ironic that this is specifically a “dark spot” corrector and supposed to help with aging eyes, yet mine looked pretty terrible using this. I was even more disappointed because this is one of the most hyped concealers in the Beauty community. I waited years for Maybelline to finally expand their shade range so that I could see for myself what made them magical. Instead, it was a complete waste of money. I think the powdery/velvety finish is interesting and I can see why others with less problematic undereyes could like this. I should have gotten rid of them when I knew I wouldn’t use them anymore, but now that they’re very old I definitely have to toss them out.

Pat Mcgrath Skin Fetish Sublime Perfection Concealer in MD22 and MD24

PMG’s Concealer in shade MD24 is a great match for my under eyes. When I used it in other areas of my face, I noticed it turned into more of an olive color. I love the high pigmentation and natural looking finish so much that I bought MD22 in the hopes that this would work better for me in all areas. I like that it’s light enough to brighten my under eyes, and it does remain neutral in other parts of my face. Because it is a little lighter than my skin tone, I still prefer to use other concealers elsewhere on my face and keep this one exclusively under my eyes.

I’ve only recently begun to experiment with mixing the Pat Mcgrath Concealer (MD24) and Tarte’s Shape Tape (Tan Deep Sand). The results are that I get a better shade match that neither alone can provide. The combo dries down to a semi-matte finish that gives me the lasting power of Shape Tape without the dryness and without needing to powder it. This might become my new favorite mixture, but I need to continue to test it out. Plus, I have to admit that it’s a bit excessive. I’m not sure I can recommend others spend $57 (if full price) to follow my example.

If I’m using the Pat Mcgrath concealer by itself, it sets on its own quickly, but it will fade within four hours. With a powder, it lasts until the end of the day, but not all powders will work. I’ve only seen good results with powders that contain cornstarch as a main ingredient, such as the Pat Mcgrath Under Eye Setting Powder, Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Setting Powder, and Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder. When I tried this with the Chantecaille Perfect Blur Finishing Powder, Fenty PRO FILT’R Instant Retouch Setting Powder, and Nars Light Reflecting Pressed Setting Powder, the concealer faded quickly. I had this post ready to go when I decided at the last minute to buy the PMG Under Eye setting powder, so I don’t have a lot of experience with it, but I wanted to note that if I add extra moisture to my under eye (like an eye cream) I like the way it looks better than if I just apply concealer and powder with no skincare underneath. However, using extra moisture leads my concealer to break down in 6-7 hours whereas I’ve worn it “drier” for up to 9 hours and it was still going strong.
Essentially, when I use this concealer under the perfect conditions, it looks amazing, but getting it that way is a bit of a challenge. Skin discoloration is the prime source of insecurity I have when it comes to my face, so I’m willing to take my time with the concealer step in my routine. The end result is worth the trouble to me, for now, but it’s possible I might get tired of the inconsistent results and just stick to the Dermablend Drops and/or Shape Tape. But when it’s good, it’s so good!

If you’re interested in purchasing this one, it’s important to know that the bottle is made of glass. This is not something I’d feel comfortable taking with me traveling. I’m afraid I might even break it at home! Also, the $32 price tag is a lot, but I waited for the brand to have a sale and got it for 30% off.

Tarte Shape Tape in Tan Sand, Tan-Deep Sand, Deep, and Deep Sand

As mentioned earlier, this got partially unseated as my favorite concealer after many consecutive years. When it comes to using PMG’s Sublime Concealer with a powder versus Shape Tape alone or with a powder, I like the results of PMG more. In any case, Tarte expanded their range to include Tan-Deep Sand, Deep Sand, and a few others. Knowing Tan Sand is super light and Deep can sometimes be darker than my skintone when I get less sun, I was hoping Tan-Deep Sand would be a nice middle ground shade. Unfortunately, there is barely a difference between them despite their jump in number from 42S to 47S. The reason I have a light color at all is because I needed it to mix with Deep. I guess I should be glad my new mixing shade is slightly less stark? As for Deep 53N and Deep Sand 53S, I expected them to be the same shade with different undertones. While I’m happy Deep Sand has more yellow in it, it’s also a little darker than the shade Deep, which I absolutely didn’t want. This only has a PAO of 6 months, so when it’s time to get rid of my Deep shade, I’ll have no choice but to mix my remaining Tan-Deep Sand and Deep-Sand concealers together if I want to continue using them. I kept Tan Sand past its date because I wanted to try and use it up, but I’ve thrown it out now.

One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard about this concealer is that it’s too drying or it looks scaly under the eyes. While it can do that if the under eyes aren’t prepped and hydrated properly, I realized that this concealer doesn’t need to be set with powder. Skipping setting it has definitely helped to make it look less dry.

Despite having new favorites, Tarte Shape Tape is like a comfy blanket. I don’t feel secure with my concealer collection without having it there as a backup. At least once a year, Ulta puts these on sale for half off, so that’s the time when I stock up. Tarte does that at least once a year as well on their own website. The travel size is also available for every shade, but the full size is 10 times the product for less than 3 times the price. The full size is way more cost effective.

Hynt Beauty Duet Perfecting Concealer in Dark and Deep

Ulta had a sweepstakes of sorts and I won these two concealers! The jar is made of frosted glass. Dark is an outstanding shade match and the product inside is super creamy, but that is why it doesn’t work for me. It doesn’t matter if I leave it alone or use powder, this concealer gathers alarmingly quickly in the lines under my eyes in a very unflattering way. Matte liquid concealers tend to set fast. The only cream concealers I’ve had success with are stiffer, less emollient ones, which is why the wonderful texture is what keeps me from using products like these. If you typically opt for cream concealers, you might like this one and it does have great coverage. Since I can’t use them, I’m not keeping them in my collection.

Nars Soft Matte Concealer in Amande

This concealer has a whopping 30 month period-after-opening! I admittedly have owned this for a bit longer than that. It’s one of the few cream concealers that stays put and doesn’t crease as badly. I prefer leaving it unset but if I do use powder, less is better. Amande is the best shade match I have in Nars concealers I’ve used in the past (though the formula of the famous Radiant Creamy Concealer was terrible on me). Even though I like this, throughout the years I kept reaching for Shape Tape instead, so this product was hardly used, which I think is why it’s still in such good condition. I’m not willing to get rid of it yet. I want to hold onto it for one more month so I can form a more solid opinion of this concealer. If I don’t, I have a feeling I’d repurchase it in order to find out, especially since I’m such a fan of the Soft Matte Foundation and I’m curious to see how the two work together.

Too Faced Peach Perfect Matte Instant Coverage Concealer in Nutmeg

I thought this product looked so beautiful under my eyes, but the scent they have in the Peach Perfect line is so overwhelming and headache-inducing that I couldn’t handle it. I tried to wear it twice, but hours later the smell remained. Each time I wore it, I ended up washing it off because I could not deal with the fragrance. It’s a shame because this is one of the few cream concealers that work for me and this had the potential to be in my top 3 favorite concealers. It’s being phased out of Sephora, so anyone who wants this can pick up some of the few remaining shades for 50% off. It’s creamy but somehow doesn’t move on my face. The finish is natural and it has the amount of pigmentation that I need. If Too Faced releases an unscented version in the future, I’d buy it. Unfortunately, I don’t foresee that happening.

Maybelline Super Stay Full Coverage Under-Eye Concealer in Tan

I bought this on a whim in-store. I knew the shade was too light but the only other shade available was too dark and I really wanted to try the formula (and also use a coupon with a spending minimum). I was pleased with the amount of coverage it provided. I heard it was supposed to be less drying than Tarte Shape Tape, but I did not find that to be the case. For this reason, I didn’t use it ever again. I’m fairly certain it’s old now, so I’m throwing it out.

Benefit Boi-ing Cakeless Concealer in No.9

I bought this because I wanted to test out the formula but didn’t want to commit to a full size and this was the darkest shade available as a mini. Even though it’s a liquid, this settled too much in my not-so-fine lines, so I did not test this further or try to get a better shade.

Amazing Cosmetics Amazing Concealer in Dark Caramel

When I mentioned before how all my concealers get tried as soon as I get them, this one is the exception. Every so often, I would get a sample of this concealer as a gift with purchase, so I knew I liked it. When Ulta put it on sale for 50% off, I bought it…three years ago. I hadn’t even removed the safety seal until the day I started working on this post.

The shelf life of unused makeup isn’t that long, so I’m surprising no one by saying this was expired when I finally opened it. The smell of crayons was extremely strong. On the bright side, I can at least say that I liked this concealer based on the samples I tried earlier in my makeup journey. It’s full coverage, which I need. Clearly, though, I didn’t like it enough to actually start using it once I had the tube in my possession. I wish I could remember why, but I’m not going to put this on my face or buy another one. If I get hold of a sample again, I will update this post with my findings.

It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eyes Concealer in 35.5 Rich W

I bought this after seeing PopLuxe’s rave review. He often cites this as one of his favorite concealers. The shade match was atrocious (I fully blame websites for making this appear darker online than in person). Even the name implies that this is going to be a dark shade. 35.5 Rich W is darker than my Shape Tape mixing shades, yet if I wore those under my eyes (which I have), they don’t look anywhere near as lifelessly grey as the one from It Cosmetics. I’ll give this some credit for being medium-full coverage, but It Cosmetics is notoriously terrible at making shades darker than medium. I’m glad I only bought the mini size and didn’t pay full price.
Aside from their brushes and mascaras, I haven’t had much luck with their other products. I think I’m going to take a long break from this brand.

Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place High Cover Concealer SPF 35 in 5N Deep

This is an extremely old and discontinued concealer that I kept around for shade comparison purposes (I haven’t used it on my face in many years). It’s the best shade match I’ve ever had, or at least in the top two, and it was a favorite for a long time. I found better products since then, which is why I never repurchased it. Since it’s so dried out that I could barely swatch it, I can’t even use it to compare the color, so it has a new home in the garbage.

Samples and First Impressions

Estee Lauder Double Wear Radiant Concealer in 5N Deep and 6N Extra Deep

The texture of this sample reminded me of how my discontinued Double Wear concealer used to feel, which is a bit strange considering this is in a liquid tube and I can’t imagine it’s supposed to be this thick. That’s the trouble with samples and full sizes sometimes; it’s possible they could be different due to the container. I tried the 5N Deep sample anyway, and it creased too much for my liking.

Rare Beauty Liquid Touch Brightening Concealer 450N

I actively watched this fade over and over in the area of my smile line. I applied more and set it, but it refused to stay over my smile line and still partially faded around my mouth. Ironically, the place that the majority of the time fades, under the eyes, is where it remained the best for a short time. Without powder, this lasted about two hours. This still only lasted about four hours on the powdered side before the fading was unflattering. Even if this lasted longer, I’m not crazy about the dewy finish, and I mean real dewiness not the natural finish or semi-matte kind. I don’t want my under eyes to shine because it brings attention to the sunken hollows of my under eyes, which isn’t so bad as long as the dark circle stays covered, but not great if the concealer starts to wear off as the day goes on.

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Light Capturing Self-Setting Concealer in 41 and 52

Shade 52 creased within minutes. When set, this still barely lasts an hour. It settles in lines and fades and just does not work for me. I was very disappointed considering how well MUFE products usually work for me, and this is supposed to be self-setting. It’s honestly one of the worst concealers I’ve tried, so even though this is just a first impression review, I can’t recommend it.

Too Faced Multi-Use Sculpting Concealer in Chai

I used this sample for swatches, but I’ve purchased the full size concealer before and in this same shade. This is a much loved product that did not work for me. It didn’t give me the coverage or finish I wanted. It settled in my lines. I swiftly returned it.

Final Thoughts

After the decluttering process, this is what I’m left with:

I’ve going on a low-buy and no-buy for a lot of product categories, but the concealer category isn’t one of them. I don’t mind continuing the search for the ultimate concealer that works for me and could potentially be even better than Dermablend Drops, Shape Tape, or Pat Mcgrath. I’m not in a rush to get anything new and I still don’t want a large concealer collection, but it makes sense for me to expand the area that combats my biggest insecurity.

Thank you for reading.