A tour of my beauty mini’s

Over the past month or so I seem to have accumulated a nice little collection of beauty mini’s from various Sephora trips (I need to stay away now for quite a while, pray for me), and from my Birchbox subscription. I think mini’s are genius. They are such a good way to sample various products and brands; they’re less expensive and take up way less room in your collection than regular-sized products would. Most of the time now when I go into Sephora I go straight to the mini section near the registers. You can shop nearly every category in mini-size there from makeup, to skincare, haircare, bodycare and fragrance. And if you subscribe to any beauty box service, you’ll know that every month you get a curated collection of mini beauty products based on your preferences. I used to get Glossybox back in the day but switched over to Birchbox a few years back.

I thought I’d take you on a little tour of my current mini beauty collection since I’m really enjoying several items at the moment. This post is somewhere between a haul and a review. I’ve used and loved some of these products, while I still need to try others; others are just meh so far. Let’s get into it.

BIRCHBOX MINI’S 

Lise Watier Hydraforce BB Cream – Shop here 

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Swatch of the Lise Watier Hydraforce BB Cream in Light/Medium
  • Mini = 0.23 fl. oz; full size = 1.18 fl. oz. for $40.00

I received this last month and have used it a few times since. I love a good BB cream since I’m a light-coverage girl. I’m always willing to try a new one. This is definitely super light in terms of texture (it’s almost runny) and coverage, but honestly it’s just OK in my opinion. It’s got a subtle yet lovely scent, but I don’t find it offers much moisture, glowiness or anything particularly special to my skin. I was sent the darkest shade (Light/Medium) which isn’t very dark at all as you can see from the swatch photo above. Take a quick look at the Birchbox website and you’ll see it only comes in 3 shades. So if you have a deeper skin tone this will probably look ashy on you. I’ll continue to use this so as not to waste it, but I wouldn’t purchase the full size.

Peek Beauty Metalimatte Naturally Quick Drying Blush in Aboo – Shop here

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Swatch of Peek Beauty Blush in Aboo
  • Mini = 0.05 oz.; full size = 0.24 oz. (?) for $22.00

Got this a few months ago and have used it on and off ever since. You know I love a good cream blush and the cute sliding-tin packaging on this one got me from the start. I love how Birchbox really reps small indie brands like this. Peek is all about semi-sheer, weightless textures and this blush definitely embodies that makeup philosophy. The product is very creamy and layers on the skin quite nicely. The color is super natural (like a light peachy-pink) so if you want to see decent payoff you have to build it up a bit. However you get a nice glow from the peachy-golden pearl. While the website says this color is out of stock, it appears you can still order it. It’s also not clear to me from looking at the site just how big or how much product you get in the full size. I sincerely hope that what I consider the “mini” is not the actual full-size! But I did find a review of a few other Peek products on rougebeka.com that said most products in the line had 0.24 oz. I do like this product and will continue to use it, but probably wouldn’t purchase the full size; there’s other cream blushes I love more.

Winky Lux Disco Kitten Gloss in Groovy – Shop here

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Swatch of Disco Kitten Gloss in Groovy
  • Mini = 0.05 oz.; full size = can’t find product weight but retails for $14.00

This came in August’s Birchbox and I immediately became obsessed with it for obvious reasons. Look at that sparkle and the weird green color! I hopped onto my IG (@weareglamerus) and did a quick little video showing the product, so please head over there if you want to see it, or scroll up this page to my IG roll. I’ve never tried anything from Winky Lux before but I remember seeing all those photos of the clear lipsticks with the mini flowers in them. This gloss is one of those self-adjusting products that changes color depending your body’s chemistry, so don’t worry the bright green color goes away! On me this turns into a bright, cool-tone pink. It’s got a ton of shine with hardly any stickiness or grittiness from the glitter. It also has decent staying power on the lips, but just know that as the gloss wears down the glitter gets more and more noticeable. I think this is a fun product and the gloss is super comfy, but the pink is a little bright for me so I’m not sure if I’d purchase the full size.

Smashbox Photo Finish Radiance Primer – Shop here

  • Mini = 0.25 fl. oz.; full size = 1 fl. oz. for $39.00

I’ve been milking this little guy for months now. I’m not one for face primers because I never felt I needed one, but when I saw the words “radiance” and “hyaluronic acid” I became intrigued. Smashbox describes this as a primer/highlighter hybrid and I completely agree. It’s got a slight golden, almost reddish tint when you first squirt it out of the tube but don’t be alarmed, it does dull down when applied to the skin. What you’re left with is a subtle golden sheen to your skin. I usually apply a tiny amount to my T-zone before my base and then sometimes I even tap a small amount over the high points of my face for a little extra sheen. I like it a lot, and it does seem to lengthen the hold of my base. I was a bad blogger and completely forgot to swatch/photograph this, so I apologize but I’m sure you can find swatches elsewhere online. I would purchase this in the full size.

SEPHORA MINI’S

Belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb – Shop here

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  • Mini = 25 mL for $22.00; full size = 50 mL for $38.00

Before using this I hadn’t had an amazing skincare discovery since I first tried the Clinique Moisture Surge line years ago. I didn’t purchase the Aqua Bomb per se. I used my Sephora rewards points at the checkout, but you can buy either the standard or the mini size on Sephora’s website. Wow, I totally loved this! It has this lovely gel-cream texture, which is quite similar to the Clinique Moisture Surge actually. It sinks quickly into the skin, leaves almost no tack but gives this wonderful hydrated, almost plump feeling to the skin. Plus it has this subtle fresh smell that I think is delicious. I finished the whole thing and promptly got a mini of The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb on my next trip to Sephora (again with my rewards points). While I love the Moisturizing Bomb too, I think my heart belongs to the Aqua Bomb; I prefer the texture more. Would absolutely buy it in the full size!

Milk Makeup Holographic Stick in Supernova – Shop here 

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Swatch of Milk Makeup Holographic Stick in Supernova
  • Mini = 0.25 oz. for $14.00; full size = 1 oz. for $28.00

I’ve been wanting to try more products from Milk Makeup forever, since I love the whole vibe of easy-to-use, no-fuss stick makeup. I recently bought my mom the Matte Bronzer in Baked and she absolutely loves it. I’ve tried one of their Eye Pigments but that was it before I got this. I jumped when I saw this little Holographic Stick since I love a cool-tone highlight. It comes in two other shades, but they definitely wouldn’t match my skin tone. The texture on this is almost balmy. It goes on quite smooth, blends very nicely and even layers over powder without much issue. It gives a subtle sheen of a duo-chrome purple/blue, so if you’re into intense sparkle then keep moving. I’ve used and applied this in a number of ways. I’ve layered it both under my base and on top of on the high points of my face; I’ve applied it both straight onto the skin from the stick and from my fingers. I wouldn’t say it’s got the best payoff, but I’m not one for intense highlighters. I’d say I like it a lot, but I don’t necessarily love it. I’d repurchase in the mini size, not the full size.

Natasha Denona Mini Lila Eyeshadow Palette – Shop here

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Swatches from top to bottom: Poison Berry (fuchsia matte), Blue Dahlia (purple with blue duo-chrome sparkle), Raisin (burgundy matte), Linen (champagne metallic), Flint (sandy matte).
  • Mini = 0.8 g for $25.00; full size = $129.00 for 15 shadows

I’ve been dying to try Natasha Denona shadows since the line initially launched, but I’ve always been deterred by the huge palette sizes and the huge price tags. So when I spotted this new Mini Lila Eyeshadow Palette at Sephora, I snatched it up immediately. Supposedly this is an “extension” of the larger Lila Palette with five brand-new shades not included in the 15-pan palette. I have not tried this yet on my eyes since I’m currently testing the Urban Decay Born to Run Palette, but the swatches on this were a-maz-ing. Soft, smooth, no tugging or skipping and with no eye primer underneath. The mattes actually seemed softer and even more pigmented than the shimmers, which blows my mind. I cannot wait to try this out after my other testing is done so I’ll report back. I have high hopes!

Have you tried any interesting beauty mini’s lately? I’d love to know!

xo, Erica

 

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Fenty made me do it: Inclusivity in the beauty world

By this point so much has been said and written about how Fenty Beauty changed the makeup game in 2017. And with good reason. The launch of their Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation in 40 shades is now widely considered a hallmark moment in beauty. It sent an unequivocal message to the larger community of brands, corporations, and advertisers that coverage products should be formulated, produced, and distributed equally for all skin tones. To highlight this point further, Fenty produced an equal 10 shades per skin tone category (light, medium, tan, deep) for the grand total of 40 shades. The bottom line: no one (or nearly no one) felt left behind this time.

While the concept of 40 foundation shades wasn’t invented by Rihanna or Fenty (heritage and pro brands like Estee Lauder and Make Up For Ever, respectively, have historically produced extensive foundation lines with upwards of 35 to 40 shades), they were the first to successfully market or call out said concept. The Pro Filt’r launch awakened and revived the dialogue between brands and frustrated consumers who felt systematically excluded from certain segments of the beauty industry.

It’s a conversation that’s now clearly here to stay.

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All shades in the Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Longwear Foundation range (Image source: allure.com)

The issue of companies not producing enough shades for either the very lightest skin tones, or in most cases the darkest skin tones, isn’t confined to just a few brands nor is it confined to just one segment of the makeup industry. Truthfully it’s been an issue across the board from luxury/high-end, to more middle-market brands, and in the drugstore. Drugstore brands have been particularly notorious for this in the past. Historically they’ve crammed most of their foundation & concealer shades into narrow buckets, and produced ranges of perhaps 10-15 shades that have left a lot of the makeup-wearing population out in the dark. (Off the top of my head Wet n’ Wild Photo Focus Concealer comes to mind. Really poor selection of shades.)

But the tide is certainly shifting since the Fenty launch. More consumers, more influencers, and more thought-leaders in the beauty community are speaking up and demanding more of companies and brands not only in regards to product ranges but also in regards to marketing imagery. They want to know that brands are formulating products not for just for those with light to medium skin tones. They want to see more people with medium to darker to deepest skin tones in beauty ads and campaigns. Quite simply, they want to be represented; they want to be included.

While 2018 started off on the wrong foot with the Tarte Shape Tape Foundation fiasco, I feel that this has been the year of inclusive foundation launches as both high-end and drugstore brands work to either mimic Fenty’s approach or best it. Below I’ve compiled just a few of the stand-out foundation launches that we’ve seen so far in 2018. These launches offer a broader range of shades that are more equally distributed from fair to deep skin tones.

Just a few things to note. Firstly, this is not an exhaustive list (plus the year isn’t over anyway). Secondly, this is not meant to be a traditional review of these foundations, especially since I’ve never tried any of them personally. This is just a commentary on how the heightened conversation around inclusivity in makeup has influenced recent product launches.

BEAUTY BAKERIE CAKE MIX DEMI-MATTE FOUNDATION – Shop here

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Image Source: Hiplatina.com
  • 30 shades total ranging from fair to deep

Like Fenty, Beauty Bakerie brought out an equal amount shades across skin tone categories for their widely celebrated Cake Mix Foundation launch back in April (their magic number is 5). While they launched a lesser amount of shades total than Fenty did, they spread their line across a slightly broader category range; meaning 5 fair, 5 light, 5 medium, 5 tan, 5 dark, and 5 deep shades. As a black-owned indie brand that’s gaining massive traction on social media, Beauty Bakerie took it one step further and reversed the standard convention of listing shades from lightest to darkest; their range is listed darkest to lightest. It’s subtle, but it’s brimming with meaning and significance at the same time.

NARS NATURAL RADIANT LONGWEAR FOUNDATION – Shop here

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Image Source: narscosmetics.com
  • 33 shades total ranging from fair to deep

While this launch from NARS may not have the most equal distribution across skin tones, it’s much more wide-ranging in comparison to some of their earlier launches like the Sheer Glow Foundation (20 shades) and the Luminous Weightless Foundation (also 20 shades), with more undertones represented as well.

DIOR BACKSTAGE FACE AND BODY FOUNDATIONShop here 

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Image Source: magi-mania.de
  • 40 shades total ranging from fair to deepest

This is Dior’s most recent foundation launch inspired by makeup artist secrets and backstage beauty, that includes what they call “16 intensities” and 6 undertones within a total of 40 shades (the magic number now). Looking at the visual above, it’s undoubtedly an impressive range. And if you take a quick peek at the other Dior complexion products currently on the market, the Backstage Face and Body is much more expansive in comparison. Diorskin Forever stands at 24 shades with significantly less variety in dark/deep skin tones.

COVER FX POWER PLAY FOUNDATION – Shop here

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Image Source: beautyalmanac.com
  • 40 shades total ranging from fair to deepest

Of all the visuals included in this post, this one holds the most weight to me. Look at that color range! Truly impressive. And Cover FX really wants you to know that too. If you scroll through their Instagram feed and take a look at the marketing on this product, the messaging is all to do with the vastness of the shade and undertone range (“ your perfect match awaits”) (“foundation for all”).

COVERGIRL TRUBLEND MATTE MADE FOUNDATION – Shop here

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Image Source: thebeautyinfluencers.com
  • 40 shades total ranging from porcelain to deep

CoverGirl made news this year with one of the largest drugstore foundation offerings after Maybelline’s expansion of the Fit Me range in 2017. The TruBlend Matte Made Foundation comes in at the magical 40 shade-number, making it broader than even L’Oreal’s True Match range. At less than $10 a bottle for both TruBlend and Fit Me, it’s reassuring to consumers of all skin tones that the more affordable brands are taking the issue of shade range seriously.

COLOURPOP NO FILTER NATURAL MATTE FOUNDATION – Shop here 

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Image Source: allure.com
  • 42 shades total ranging from fair to deep-dark

Finally, ColourPop. With the largest offering of this entire list, the new No Filter Natural Matte Foundation comes in at a bulky 42 shades which are distributed equally amongst 6 skin tone categories, ranging from fair to deep-dark. This is another visual that has both great aesthetic and emotional impact when you stop to think just how many options ColourPop is offering to its customers at an extremely affordable price ($12/bottle). If any brand could best Fenty’s range, it would be ColourPop; a brand that has immense community, marketing and financial power within the industry and an extremely quick turn-around to market.

What is your opinion on inclusiveness in beauty? Do you think it’s at a good place now or do we have some distance to go still? Would love to hear your thoughts and opinions.

xo, Erica

Review: Wet n’ Wild Comfort Zone Eyeshadow Palette

You may recall that I hauled the new and improved Wet n’ Wild Comfort Zone Eyeshadow Palette a few weeks ago in this post. I spoke a bit about the backstory on the palette and my first impressions of a couple of the shadows in that post. I have since put the rest of the colors to the test so I’m here to present you with a more informed review of this product. I know that this isn’t a new launch by any means, but hopefully this will be helpful to those of you looking to buy an affordable drugstore palette, or to those that have never tried Wet n’ Wild shadows before. So let’s get into it!

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

10 eyeshadow shades for $4.99 (0.35 oz)

Cruelty-free & Vegan

Powerfully pigmented, buttery-soft, glides on like a dream. That’s what we dreamed up with our reformulated Color Icon eyeshadows. Our reformulated Color Icon hues come in a mix of coveted colors, from shimmery daytime hues to sultry shades for cocktail hours—including new matte transitional shades for impeccable blending.

Source: Wet n’ Wild official website

HOW I APPLY MY EYESHADOW

I’ve written extensively on how to apply eyeshadow in an earlier post, which includes tips and photos/information on the brushes I typically use. I always use a tacky eye primer (my favorite is MAC Paint Pot in either Painterly or Camel Coat) as a base first so the powders have something to grab onto. I recommend using a primer especially if you have oily eyelids, or if you don’t want your shadows to crease or fade throughout the day. I typically use generous, fluffy brushes (e.g. MAC 217) to apply my shadows since I prefer blown-out and softly defined looks on me. Smaller, detailed brushes (e.g. MAC 219) are specifically for upper/lower lash definition only. I usually don’t switch brushes when I use different finishes, like matte or shimmer, as others might.

SHADES & SWATCHES

A closer look at the full palette: 8 shimmer shades, plus 2 matte shades labeled TRANSITION. None of the shades have particular names, so the row starting with the light cream shimmery shade is ‘Shimmer row 1’ for the sake of this post, and the row starting with the green shimmery shade is ‘Shimmer row 2.’ Check the photo captions for shade descriptions.

*I photographed one of the looks I did using this palette, which is up on my IG now (@weareglamerus). If you’d like to see it please head over there and show it some love. (My IG roll is also on my blog on the right sidebar.)

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Shimmer row 1 top to bottom: light cream shimmer, light sandy-taupe shimmer, light to mid-tone peachy gold shimmer, black with golden shimmer.
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Shimmer row 2 top to bottom: light to mid-tone grassy-green shimmer, mid-tone golden bronze, mid-tone to dark warm brown with green-blue shimmer (duo-chrome), black with green shimmer.
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Matte Transition shades from top to bottom: mid-tone orange, mid-tone to dark warm reddish brown (wine).

MY THOUGHTS ON…

Shade range: As you can probably tell, this palette definitely leans warm although the pops of green cool it down a bit. I think each shade brings something interesting and unique to the palette. There aren’t too many shades that look similar to one another once applied to the eye, although that being said I could do without one of the two black-based shimmer shades. In its place perhaps Wet n’ Wild could have included a dark matte brown or just an entirely matte black for a slightly more well-rounded shade range.

My favorite shades are probably both matte transition colors, plus the grassy-green shimmer, the duo-chrome green-blue and the mid-tone golden bronze. They have the most impact.

Rating: 4/5 ⭐️

Packaging: This might be a bit unfair, but as we all know extremely affordable brands such as Wet n’ Wild are usually not known for their quality packaging. In plain terms, the packaging here is cheap. The plastic can easily be dented or shattered if dropped. But I wouldn’t feel this review were complete without some discussion on the matter. However, I very much appreciate Wet n’ Wild’s attention to detail when it comes to safety packaging. The palette is taped shut on three sides and my goodness, that tape is hard to peel off (you can probably see the residue it left behind on the cover photo to this blog). But I think in the drugstore this is particularly important since there are virtually no testers available to us. So you never know if the product you pick up has been opened, touched or swatched by someone else unless you see broken safety packaging.

Rating: 3/5 ⭐️ (kudos to that ironclad safety packaging)

Application: Overall I’m very impressed with the application on all these shades. For the most part they applied quite smoothly across the eye without much tugging or fussiness. I had a little trouble though with the warm reddish-brown (wine) matte transition shade when I went to put it all over my eyelid, as I wrote about back in my haul post. It got a little patchy when applied with a fluffy brush, but I rectified that by patting the color over top with my finger. Nothing horrible but just something to take note of. I did not notice any patchiness with the orange matte transition shade nor any of the shimmers.

Another thing to note is the softness of these shadows. While they feel extremely smooth to the touch, they also fall apart very easily when you swirl your brush in to pick up color. You must, must tap your brush out a few times before applying to your eyes. Most likely you’ll get some degree of fall-out on your cheeks after using these shadows. Therefore I recommend doing your eyes first before doing your base if you’re going to use this palette.

Rating: 4/5 ⭐️

Pigmentation: The pigmentation is awesome on all these shadows. If I’m being super picky, the lightest cream shimmer shade can be a bit flakey but that really doesn’t bother me much; I’ve only used it as an inner-corner highlight anyway. For such an affordable price though, I was especially impressed with the brightness and punchiness of the matte transition shades. If you look at the swatch photo above, you’ll see what I mean. It can be really difficult to get well-pigmented matte shadows at a drugstore price, so Wet n’ Wild really killed it here. Overall, I’m thoroughly impressed.

Rating: 5/5 ⭐️

Longevity: I think the longevity of these shadows is quite good generally with one exception. I’ve worn every color now in a variety of looks and I noticed two instances of fading. In both instances I had layered one shimmer color over another. I layered the grassy-green shimmer over the peachy gold shimmer on the ball of my eye for a quasi-halo effect; by later that day the green color had all but disappeared. In a separate look, I layered the warm bronze over the grassy-green color on the outer corner of my eye but it also eventually disappeared. Contrarily, I noticed hardly any fading at all on any shadow, matte or shimmer, when simply applied over a primer. Perhaps if you wet your brush when layering the shadows it will make difference, but I never do that extra step.

Rating: 4/5 ⭐️

Price: I’ll keep this short and snappy. This palette is only $4.99 for 10 shadows; $4.99 for 10 quality shadows. How can you beat that? Wet n’ Wild is probably one of if not the most affordable drugstore brand out there (at least here in the U.S.). The pigmentation and quality of the beautiful duo-chrome green-blue shade in this palette, for instance, rivals one of my favorite, more high-end duo-chrome shadows that’s $21.00 for a single (Peacock from Ardency Inn). I think this palette is an absolute steal.

Rating: 5/5 ⭐️

FINAL THOUGHTS

I would absolutely recommend this product to anyone, either if you are looking for a great drugstore palette or just looking for a great palette in general. Despite some minor issues with application and fading, I would still go as far as to say that this palette rivals some of my higher-end purchases. And historically I’ve had more pronounced issues with some high-end makeup than I’ve ever had with Wet n’ Wild. Just goes to show that you can absolutely get quality makeup at affordable prices.

Have you tried the Wet n’ Wild Comfort Zone Palette? If so, what did you think? I’d love to know!

xo, Erica

 

Ulta haul featuring Urban Decay & Flower Beauty

So I recently found myself in Ulta a few days ago as you do. I was primarily there for the Urban Decay Born to Run Palette. The last time I had gone looking for it at Ulta I was told it was sold out. This was quite soon after the palette launched, so I wasn’t surprised. My spirits were crushed, but I wasn’t surprised. No, I kid you. Like with any other Urban Decay palette launch, I usually wait a bit until the initial craze subsides so units can be restocked. Lo and behold this week my Ulta had several in stock. But of course while I’m there I couldn’t resist perusing the aisles to see if anything else jumped out at me. I was very restrained and grabbed just a few other items, so let’s get into it now.

URBAN DECAY BORN TO RUN EYESHADOW PALETTE – Shop here 

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Outer packaging
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Front of palette

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Wow, this one is really beautiful. From the packaging design, to the sturdiness of the component, to the varied color range, it’s a stunner. As you can see the majority of the shades lean warm, as almost every new palette does these days, but there are a few cooler tones in there towards the right side of the palette. I really appreciate that because you can get a variety of looks that shouldn’t end up looking all the same once applied to the eye. You get a whopping 21 shades, plus a full-size mirror, for $49.00.

I haven’t swatched or even touched all the colors yet, but I couldn’t resist trying a few of them out on my eye just yesterday. I used Weekender (matte) on my lid as a base and packed Smog on top (shimmer); then put a mixture of Still Shot & Riff (both mattes) in my crease and then I smudged Big Sky (shimmer) along my lower lash line. I loved the finished look. My first impression of the application: the mattes blended out very well. The shimmers need something slightly tacky to stick to, like a primer, otherwise they need more building up. I had to go in with my finger with Smog to really pack it on my lid.

I feel this one is begging for an in-depth review but I really need to experiment with all the shades and do some swatches. More TK.

URBAN DECAY 24/7 GLIDE ON EYE PENCIL IN ALKALINE – Shop here 

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You know of my deep love for 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencils already, so I couldn’t resist adding another to my collection. I swatched a bunch in store and ultimately decided on Alkaline, a deep plum. Urban Decay describes it as ‘deep wine’ but you could also call it a berry as well. Supposedly this was part of the Naked Heat Collection along with the palette and Torch, another 24/7 Pencil (which I also have). Ulta has this listed as Limited Edition on their site, but I’m not so sure about that. If anyone has any info, pop it in the comments. Regardless, I’ve never had a liner in this color before so I was immediately drawn to it. It could be particularly lovely going into fall with all the plums, reds, and other rich colors associated with the season. I’m very eager to start using it.

FLOWER BEAUTY LASH WARRIOR MASCARA – Shop here 

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Like I needed another mascara in my life, but in my defense my Essence Volume Stylist Curl & Hold is getting towards the end of its lifespan so I wanted to have another new one on deck. I had seen some of the marketing on Flower’s IG about the Lash Warrior so when I passed by their kiosk I grabbed it. I love the dark, hunter-green packaging that fades into the gold on the lid. No doubt, this mascara makes some bold claims. From the outer packaging you can see that this promises everything from volume, to thickness, to length. I find it’s really difficult for one mascara to do everything perfectly, so I’m definitely intrigued to start testing those claims out. The brush has tiny plastic bristles that slope upwards from the base to the tip. Normally I don’t go for plastic bristles, but I’m always willing to be surprised!

Can I just say as an aside that I’m so happy the Flower Beauty is now carried in Ulta. The line has become a lot more accessible, which is awesome. I don’t have a Walmart around me, and I don’t do a whole lot of makeup shopping online so I never tried anything out until recently. I’ve also noticed that Drew Barrymore has made a greater push on social media recently so I think there’s a lot more buzz about the brand now than there ever was before.

Have you tried any of these products out yet? If so, what do you think? I’d love to know!

Xo, Erica

Snatch or skip? L’Oreal mascaras

This post contains affiliate links (denoted with an asterisk), which means I earn a small commission if/when you click through to purchase. Regardless, these are my honest opinions. I do not recommend products I do not love or use myself.

Just this week I realized I hadn’t written a dedicated mascara post since I started my blog back in May, so let me remedy that right at this moment. I’m a firm believer that you don’t need to spend much money to get a good mascara; you can absolutely get it done on a drugstore budget. There are so many great options available now when you walk into CVS, Walgreens, Walmart or any other lower-cost retailer.

However for every good or great mascara, you’ll find another not-so-great one right next to it. It’s all about sussing out what your mascara preferences are and letting them guide your purchases. For example, my mascara preferences include decent volume, length & a lot of darkness (i.e. how black the product is). I want a “false-lash effect” without false lashes, if that exists. What one person is looking for in a product, another person might avoid, so please keep in mind that lists like this are all subjective. If you love something I don’t, well that’s great cause variety is the spice of life!

This post will focus quite specifically on L’Oreal mascaras, as the title indicates. To keep this short and snappy (hopefully), I’ve narrowed this to only four products: two that I would recommend to snatch, and two that I would say to skip. So let’s get into it. (This might be the start of a little series here on the blog. I’m brainstorming other products and lists atm.)

WHAT TO SNATCH!

*L’Oréal Voluminous X Fiber Mascara with Black Primer

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Image Source: Walgreens

I spoke about my love for this back in my first blog post in May, but I picked this up pretty soon after it first launched. It was garnering good reviews on social media so when I saw the display in Ulta, I grabbed it. At first it seemed too high maintenance to me because of the whole 2-step process. The first end is a lash primer; the second end is a fiber-rich mascara. I never use lash primers normally. They just seem too fussy. But I have to say this formula really wowed me, so much so I was willing to go through both steps. The first end puts a light coating on the lashes and really separates and lengthens. The second end gives a ton of volume as it deposits the fibers over top. I didn’t find it too clumpy either. My tube got old so I had to toss it, but I would happily repurchase this.

*L’Oreal Voluminous Butterfly Sculpt Mascara

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Image source: L’Oreal Paris

This one is so, so, so good in my opinion. I’ve gone through about two tubes and I would definitely repurchase again. It gives me extremely black, separated lashes with tons of length. It makes me look like I have more lashes than I do. I think it all comes back to the wand. It’s a strange one but genius. It’s long and tapers towards the front, which you may think would be awkward to work with but actually it catches all those hard to reach corner lashes. It also has plastic bristles that only cover one side of the wand, which normally I hate but it somehow works here. I wouldn’t say it gives the best volume I’ve ever seen but the length and the fluffiness of the lashes after using this is just awesome.

WHAT TO SKIP!

L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara

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Image source: eBay

Wow, I know, controversial. It seems like everyone and their mothers and grandmothers go ga-ga for this formula, but I just can’t fully get behind it. I bought this early in its hype when every beauty influencer was saying this was the best drugstore mascara on the market. The brush is very reminiscent of Too Faced’s Better Than Sex Mascara, which I very much enjoyed, so I was eager to try it. At first I remember liking it and even recommending it to my friends, but somewhere around the 1-month mark I just realized it was a mediocre mascara. It’s definitely not horrible by any means, but just nothing memorable to me. It was very black which I loved, but after a while I found the formula to be too thick to the point where my lashes would clump together too much for my liking. It didn’t give me much in the way of length either. It was just meh.

L’Oreal Telescopic Carbon Black Mascara

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Image Source: Look Fantastic

I have not tried the regular L’Oreal Telescopic in the light gold tube, but I was none too impressed by the Carbon Black version. I was hoping it might be similar to the IT Cosmetics Tightline 3-in-1 Black Primer/Eyeliner/Mascara that I loved from years back, but unfortunately it wasn’t. It’s primarily a lengthening mascara with a long wand and plastic bristles. It definitely lengthened but it didn’t separate my lashes like I would have hoped. In some places the formula made my lashes stick together so much that it looked like I had bald patches. Needless to say, I wouldn’t repurchase.

What are your favorite and/or non-favorite mascaras from L’Oreal? I’d love to know!

xo, Erica

My favorite luxe beauty products

This post contains affiliate links (denoted with an asterisk), which means I earn a small commission if/when you click through to purchase. Regardless, these are my honest opinions. I do not recommend products I do not love or use myself.

Even though I live for a good drugstore beauty find, I still have plenty of more luxury beauty products that I frequently indulge in. I love having a mix of high and low-cost items in my stash; it gives you a well-rounded understanding of all the beauty world has to offer. I’ve spoken about plenty of more affordable products here on the blog, so I wanted to take this opportunity to devote an entire post to my luxury beauty faves and tell you why I love them so much. To challenge myself, I picked one item from each category. But of course I slightly cheated here and there, so in some instances I’ve included a runner-up. Without further delay, here we go.

FOUNDATION

Dior AirflashShop here

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Image Source: Feelunique.com

I’ve actually never talked about this product on the blog before, but this is probably the most beautiful foundation I’ve ever used, hands down. Beautiful in terms of both the finish and the texture. What you see pictured above is actually an aerosol can so the product sprays out in the most fine texture you can imagine; this is essentially airbrushed makeup. I preferred to spray it directly onto a damp sponge and then blend it in all over my face. When I first bought this I tried spraying it directly onto my face from the can but that resulted in a horrible mess. The combination of the fine-textured foundation and the damp sponge was total magic; my skin looked glowy, fresh and almost plumper when I applied this. I don’t have this in my collection at the moment since my previous bottle got old and I sadly had to toss it. Even though this is insanely expensive, I would still repurchase it. It’s that good.

*First runner-up: Bobbi Brown SPF 25 Tinted Moisturizing Balm

CONCEALER

Too Faced Born This Way Super Coverage Multi-Use Sculpting Concealer – Shop here

I did an entire review on this product which was packed with detailed information so please check that out for photos & swatches. Even though I didn’t find the most ideal shade match for me, I still love this concealer. The application, the coverage level, the longevity, the finish, everything is lovely. I’ve used this as both an undereye concealer and also as a spot corrector all over my face when I don’t want to wear any other base. I’ve never noticed any cakiness or significant cracking (I don’t always set it with a powder either). Great stuff.

*First runner-up: Tarte Shape Tape Concealer

POWDER

*Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette

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You see how much I’ve used of this powder? I have never, repeat never, used a product up or seen as much pan as I have with this palette. I love it that much. Hourglass just knows what they are doing with powders. Typically I take a duo-fiber kabuki brush and swirl it around all three colors/finishes, and then lightly dust it all over my face. It doesn’t look like traditional powder in the slightest; it gives you this beautiful soft-focus finish to your skin with the tiniest bit of sheen. It never looks cakey or dry on me. My mother refers to it as a “veil” and I think she’s onto something.

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From L to R: Radiant Light, Incandescent Light, Dim Light.

I know the swatches are hard to see especially on my light skin tone, but there are three different colors and finishes in this palette. Radiant Light is a beautiful pearly cream shade, which you can buy individually as well. Incandescent Light is exclusive to this palette and has the most noticeable shimmer/sparkle to it. And Dim Light is the deepest shade of the three that has the most warmth; it’s a light peachy shade with very fine gold shimmer. You can buy this individually as well.

EYE PRIMER

MAC Pro-Longwear Paint Pots – Shop here 

I spoke about my love for MAC’s Paint Pots back in a much earlier post I did on my favorite cream shadows, which you can check out here. I also have swatches in that post as well that you can reference. But I’ve been using Paint Pots as eye primers for years. They are creamy and blend across the eye very easily. I use the lighter, skin-tone shades (for my complexion) like Painterly and Camel Coat. They have just the right amount of tackiness that powder shadows really cling to well. I wish MAC would bring them out in stick form for even easier application!

EYESHADOW (POWDER) 

MAC Sumptuous Olive – Shop here

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When I was making my list for this post, this shade was an absolute no-brainer for me. I’ve been using and enjoying this product for years and years. It applies on the eye like a dream and blends out perfectly with hardly any fallout. And the color! One of my absolute go-to’s. It’s a wonderful mix of gold and olive green, and it has just the right amount of shimmer. This is one of MAC’s Veluxe Pearl finishes. I usually just apply this all over my eyelid, into the crease and smudged along the lower lash line as well; nothing else on the eye apart from lots of black mascara. It’s the nicest daytime-appropriate smokey eye I can think of.

I swatched this alongside my favorite highlighter, which you’ll find below.

EYESHADOW (CREAM) 

Bobbi Brown Long Wear Cream Shadow Sticks – Shop here 

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Bobbi Brown Shadow Stick in Taupe

I also talked about this product in my favorite cream shadow post, so I won’t stay here long. But these are so easy to use, creamy and they stay on quite well. (You may get a little creasing at the end of the day, but nothing major. If you want to be extra safe, put a primer on underneath.) I just love shadow sticks though, and while you can absolutely find them on a budget in the drugstore, I have yet to find one as creamy as the Bobbi Brown version. They come in loads of colors and finishes, so there’s something for everyone. The two I have are both matte: Taupe and Nude Beach. Check out my earlier post linked above for swatches.

EYELINER

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eyeliners – Shop here 

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Three things I look for in an eyeliner: 1) goes on creamy; 2) gives me playtime to smudge; 3) sets for the day. The Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eyeliners tick all these boxes for me. Of course you can get really good eyeliners in the drugstore; I have a few of them myself. But there’s something about these I absolutely adore and always will. I have them in a variety of colors and finishes; they’re all awesome.

MASCARA 

*Stila HUGE Extreme Lash Mascara in Black (for upper lashes);

Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara (for bottom lashes) – Shop here 

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Image Source: Cult Beauty

I’m a little high maintenance with mascaras I know. I need two all the time: one for the top lashes and one for the bottom. I can’t deal with smudging mascara, which is what I experienced before I discovered the Clinique product. I wrote about both mascaras in much detail in my very first blog post, which you can read here. The Stila is perfect for those who want dramatic and volumized lashes that are very black; it’s not for those who go for natural mascara looks. The Clinique is specifically made for bottom lashes so the brush is tiny and the formula is perfection; no flaking or smudging in sight. Both are total winners in my book.

*First runner-up: Lancome’s Hypnose Drama Mascara

BLUSH

YSL Baby Doll Kiss & Blush – Shop here 

Blush is so important in my makeup routine because I’m so fair-skinned. I love nearly all colors of blush from brights to neutrals, but I tend to lean towards more warm tones like pinky-peaches and pinky-reds. I also heavily prefer the finish of creams over powders, so my go-to for years has been the YSL Kiss & Blush which is a dual lip and cheek product. I spoke about my favorite cream blushes in this post which included the YSL product plus swatches. The thing I like most about this product is the staying power. It goes on like a cream-gel hybrid, blends out quite easily (beware of some of the darker colors though) and stains the cheek. I don’t mean stain like you’ll never get it off, but it’s still there in some form at the end of the day. Blush is one of the first makeup products to fade on me so when I find one that actually lasts, it’s a keeper.

*First runner-up: Stila Convertible Color

HIGHLIGHTER

*BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector – Opal

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From L to R: Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal, MAC Sumptuous Olive eyeshadow.

I got three Shimmering Skin Perfectors in a set years ago called Spotlights, which included Pearl, Opal and Moonstone in the cream versions. I ditched Moonstone since it was too yellow for my skin tone and hung onto Pearl and Opal. I love the formula on these, but then again who doesn’t love Becca highlighters? They’re some of the best on the market. They’re creamy and blend seamlessly into the skin with the tap of your fingers. And the amount of shimmer is just perfection in my opinion; not overly shiny or obvious in the slightest. If you’re looking for a blingy highlighter, go with the powder version over the cream (or layer both together).

LIPSTICK

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick – Shop here 

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Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillow Talk

Although this is a fairly recent addition to my lipstick collection, it’s become my absolute favorite. I wrote about this in my makeup travel bag post, but I find the formula on these lipsticks second to none. Comfortable, easy to swipe across your lips, and with decent staying power. I feel this is more of a semi-matte finish because there’s a generous amount of give when you rub your lips together, although the color gives off no shine. I would happily repurchase again and again for a formula this good.

What are your favorite luxury beauty products? Tell me in the comments, I’d love to know!

xo, Erica

Imitation or rip off? The case of Revolution Beauty

If you’re a makeup lover, you live for a great dupe. (If you’re a makeup newbie, ‘dupe’ is short for duplicate. When you apply that to makeup you’re talking about products that are either very similar or near identical both in color and texture.) It’s very challenging these days to have a truly original idea in makeup whether it comes to unique packaging, formulas, or color schemes. In a sense, we’ve seen a variation of everything before. And the drugstore has historically been a goldmine for dupes to many high-demand and expensive products. Take for example, the similarities between the Cover FX Custom Cover Drops and NYX’s Total Control Drop Foundation; both boast the ability to customize your foundation coverage with a thin, watery formula that’s delivered through a glass stopper. So if you had the option to buy a similar foundation for $14 (NYX) or $44 (Cover FX), chances are you’d go with the lower-priced item.

Many in the beauty community make the case that the drugstore or other lower-cost retailers help democratize the experience that higher-end makeup products provide. If you love the color and ornate packaging of a Tom Ford lipstick but don’t have the budget to buy one, L’Oreal or Maybelline can provide you with a similar experience if you buy one of their lipsticks. I personally see nothing wrong with this way of thinking, nor do I see a problem with L’Oreal or Maybelline creating more affordable lipsticks that may by happenstance be similar to higher-end ones. But things get a little more contentious when you study what UK drugstore brand Revolution Beauty (formerly known as Makeup Revolution) has done throughout its past.

As someone who lives in the U.S., Revolution seemed to come bounding onto the beauty scene very suddenly a few years back. At first they occupied a small end-cap in Ulta, and now they take up nearly half an aisle; their popularity has exploded. They are generally well-received by social media influencers and consumers who praise their low price points and gobble up their seemingly endless makeup releases.  So where is the problem exactly? If you peruse Revolution’s site, amongst their vast offerings you’ll find several products that go well beyond the imitation or ‘duplication’ of well-known higher-priced items; these products could easily be considered rip off’s of said higher-priced items.

In 2017, Twitter shouted Revolution out for copying the iconic rose-gold, fluted packaging associated with the Charlotte Tilbury brand for their Renaissance Lipsticks Luxe launch. Quite famously in the same year, Kat Von D tried publicly shaming them via Instagram for blatantly copying her best-selling Shade & Light Eye Contour Palette. While the packaging on the Revolution Ultra Eye Contour Light and Shade is different and much cheaper than the Shade & Light, everything else from the color selection to the sequencing of colors are nearly identical between the palettes (I’m sure the formula isn’t identical though). Revolution’s response was matter-of-fact and unapologetic: they are in the business of making dupes so that makeup can be accessible to all.

It doesn’t stop there. Revolution has essentially copied other popular products from Too Faced, Ben Nye, Kylie Cosmetics & KKW Beauty as well.  Here are just a few visuals for comparison.

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Original Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette – $49.00 (Source: Ulta)
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Revolution version: I Heart Revolution I ❤️ Chocolate Palette – $15.00 (Source: makeupmusthaves.nl)
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Original Too Faced Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar Palette – $49.00 (Source: Mecca AUS)
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Revolution version: I Heart Revolution I ❤️ Chocolate Salted Caramel Palette – $15.00 (Source: makeupmusthaves.nl)
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Original Shade & Light Eye Contour Palette from Kat Von D Beauty – $48.00 (Source: Pop Sugar AU)
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Revolution version: Ultra Eye Contour Light & Shade – $15.00 (Source: Pop Sugar AU)
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Original KKW Beauty Creme Contour & Highlight Set (with brush) – $48.00 (Source: Pinterest)
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Revolution version: Creme Contour & Highlight Set (with brush) – $20.00 (Source: Revolution Beauty)

 

From comparing the packaging and the overall execution of the Revolution products in all the cases above, you can see that they’re similar enough to be identified as a lower-priced ‘dupe’ for those very popular higher-priced makeup items, but also different enough not to put themselves under the threat of copyright infringement. Revolution has figured out a way to successfully skirt this fine line so they can quickly capture the popularity of other makeup brands. Customers don’t have to wait for makeup artists or social media influencers to tell them that these Revolution products are ‘dupes’ for luxury items; they can make that association much quicker for themselves if the packaging and layout look similar enough or nearly identical.

I haven’t tried any of the Revolution products pictured above. I know most people talk about their great quality, but I would rather put my money towards other drugstore items or even other Revolution items that didn’t so blatantly appropriate others’ successes. I don’t hate Revolution Beauty. I happily use their Conceal and Define Concealer regularly, which everyone says is a dupe for Shape Tape but I don’t personally agree on that. I just find some of their business practices troublesome.

I do think makeup should be accessible to all incomes. I do think drugstore brands should be able to recreate luxurious experiences at more affordable costs. But that doesn’t mean drugstore brands can’t be innovative, and it doesn’t mean drugstore brands should take what Too Faced, Kat Von D, or KKW Beauty is producing, change the packaging ever so slightly, and call it their own.

I really would love to hear your opinion on Revolution Beauty. Do you think what they do is wrong in these instances, or just another example of lower-cost duplication?

Xo, Erica