Review: Morphe Jaclyn Hill Dark Magic Palette

Hi friends!

I’m very excited to bring you a review today on the Morphe Jaclyn Hill Dark Magic Palette, which is available at Ulta now. This is one part of the larger Vault palette release (which I believe was either 4 or 6 palettes) that debuted last year. The release got completely shrouded in controversy pretty quickly both online and on social media, with reports of chalky, poor-performing shadows and tons of customer returns.

Needless to say, I was very intrigued to try one of them out for myself when I passed the Morphe counter at my local Ulta recently. And the Dark Magic Palette, with its smokey greens, blues & pewters, really spoke to me.

Now, I don’t care a fig for Jaclyn Hill personally. I don’t watch her videos nor do I follow her on social media, so her celebrity in no way factored into my decision to buy this palette. I just wanted to see what all the hype and controversy was about. So now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get to the review!

Shop the Dark Magic Palette at Ulta here.

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

Show your dark side with the 10 creamiest, sultriest eyeshadows to burst onto the midnight scene. Jaclyn Hill is giving you the code to a killer vault where she’s stashed some of her top-secret shades with this badass Morphe x Jaclyn Hill Dark Magic Eyeshadow Palette. JACpot!

Ulta.com

SHADES / SWATCHES

Poof (matte cream)
Power Cut (metallic silver)
Shhh (matte dusty taupe)
Trickery (sparkling emerald)
Diversion (shimmering gunmetal)
Potion (matte avocado green)
Busted (matte ocean blue)
Inside Job (matte dark jade)
Mojo (matte smoked hickory)
Temptress (glinting pitch black)

Ulta.com
Swatches of first row of Morphe Jaclyn Hill Dark Magic Palette
From top to bottom: Poof, Power Cut, Shhh, Trickery, & Diversion
Swatches of second row of Morphe Jaclyn Hill Dark Magic Palette
From top to bottom: Potion, Busted, Inside Job, Mojo, & Temptress.

My THOUGHTS ON PACKAGING

Nothing special here, to be honest, but nothing too offensively cheap either. But I will say it’s quite small, sleek & lightweight, so perfect for travel if that means anything to you.

RATING: 4 / 5 ⭐️

MY THOUGHTS ON APPLICATION

While testing this palette for review, I dipped into every single shadow to use on my eyes in some capacity. And I have to say, nearly all of them applied & blended very well. The only shade I had a little bit of trouble with was the matte army green called Potion. It got a little patchy on my lid when using a fluffy brush, so I had to go back in and pack some color on with my finger. Other than that, I virtually had no issues.

RATING: 4.5 / 5 ⭐️

Read this: Review: Juvia’s Place Eyeshadow Palettes

MY THOUGHTS ON COLOR RANGE

Interior of the Morphe Jaclyn Hill Dark Magic Vault Palette

(Quick disclaimer: It was really hard to get all the color tones to show up in this photo. I realize it all just looks dark, but I can assure you the bottom row is not just a row of black shadows!)

There’s no way around it, this is a smokey, sultry color story. Most of your looks are probably going to end up dark. But you kinda should know that going into it considering the name is Dark Magic. I love how this palette favors more matte textures over shimmer & metallics. But that being said, I would have loved one more mid-tone transition shade in the first row. Shhh applies darker than you would think, and Poof is too light to be a transition.

If you’re interested to know, my favorite colors in the palette are Diversion (the shimmering pewtery color), Potion (the matte army green), and Busted (the matte blue).

RATING: 4 / 5 ⭐️

MY THOUGHTS ON PIGMENTATION

Pigmentation is awesome in this palette! All the shades, even Poof, show up pretty true to color without very little effort. The only thing I will say is that Trickery, the shimmery dark green, loses it’s punchiness as you sheer it out. So after blending, it kinda just looks like a grey or charcoal color, not a green.

RATING: 4.5 / 5 ⭐️

MY THOUGHTS ON LONGEVITY

I didn’t notice any fading on any of the colors throughout the day. One exception is, again, Potion. The color didn’t fade, but it did slightly crease on me within just a few hours of wearing it. (For reference, I always wear a eye primer before laying down powder shadows.) But truthfully I love that color so much that I’m willing to forgive it!

RATING: 4 / 5 ⭐️

MY THOUGHTS ON PRICE

This palette is just $15.00 for 10 shadows. I think that’s a very fair price for the quality you’re getting here. Just think of it as a slightly more expensive drugstore palette.

RATING: 5 / 5 ⭐️

Read this: Review: Urban Decay Born to Run Eyeshadow Palette

FINAL THOUGHTS

Pushing last year’s controversies aside, I really had a great time experimenting with this palette. I found it quite easy to put different looks together, and overall the shadows were very user-friendly. I guess whatever issues Morphe had on the production side have been solved at this point. Not sure. I did notice that Morphe is no longer selling the Vault palettes on their site. So if you’re in the U.S. and are interested in this palette, you’ll have to go to Ulta.

THE LOOKS*

*These are not the only looks I’ve created with this palette.

I used Power Cut all over the top lid, into and above the crease. Then I blended Trickery on the outer corner and slightly into my crease; I also took that shade along my lower lash line and really smudged it out. Lastly, I smudged just a bit of Mojo along my top lash line, but just at the outer corner.

I used Poof all over my top lid, and then blended a mixture of Shhh & Potion very lightly into my crease. I then smudged Mojo along both my top & bottom lash lines, at the outer corners.

I applied Diversion all over my top lid, into & above my crease. I also blended it all along my lower lash line too. I then smudged Temptress along my top & bottom lash lines (in the outer corners).

I applied Potion all over my top lid, into & above my crease. I then smudged Shhh along my lower lash line.

Have you tried any of the Morphe Jaclyn Hill Vault palettes? If so, what did you think? I’d love to know!

Xo, Erica

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Check out my in-depth review of one of the infamous Morphe Jaclyn Hill Vault Palettes: the Dark Magic Palette!
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The drugstore brow gel you need in your life!

Hi friends!

So I discovered this awesome drugstore brow gel from Ardell that’s been rocking my world recently. So of course I have to tell you guys about it, cause you all need this stat! (Just kidding, but you know what I mean. I hope.) It’s the Brow Confidential Brow Duo, and just as the name would imply, this is a dual product: one end has a powder, the other end has a clear brow gel. To be completely honest, I could ditch the powder side but the gel…the gel, people. Well, it’s the best.

I picked this up from one of my favorite spots to shop for makeup lately, Sally Beauty. They’ve been killing it with their beauty offerings recently! First it was the COL-LAB eye palettes, now it’s this Ardell brow gel. To boot, Ardell is very modestly priced and this gel was no exception: only $8.99.

Read this: My Sally Beauty haul featuring COL-LAB!

Flatlay with Brow Confidential Brow Duo in Medium Brown

THE GEL

So you probably want to know by now, why I think this is the best brow gel I’ve ever tried. It’s very simple: it holds my brow hairs in place 100%. Ain’t nothing getting these guys down until you want to remove your makeup. All the other drugstore brow gels I’ve ever used only do a half-assed job in the hold department.

The brush is extremely thin and has just the right amount of product on it. No clumps or anything. The gel is clear as the whole idea is to use the powder first to bulk up your brows, and then comb the gel through to hold them in place.

Since I really don’t use the powder much (I’ll get into that in a sec), I like to brush my brow hairs straight up with this gel to make them appear bigger. And I let them dry completely without running a clean spoolie through them. Once they’re dry, you’re good to go and you won’t get any white crispies throughout the day. Added bonus!

Gel brush on the Brow Confidential Brow Duo from Ardell
Look at how thin that brush is! P.S. my gel has turned a bit brown since I often layer this over other tinted brow products.

THE POWDER

Full disclosure: I’ve only used the powder end of this product once, maybe twice. There are two reasons that it’s not my favorite. Firstly, I choose the wrong color (which is really my fault). Medium Brown is unfortunately much darker than I thought it was going to be. I’m not used to seeing myself with dark brows, so I looked a bit angry when I had this on (in my opinion).

Ardell only offers 4 color choices, so I should have gone with Taupe, the lightest color in the range, but hindsight is always 20/20. The darker shades must be really dark if Medium Brown was dark, so just be forewarned.

The second reason I haven’t gotten on with the powder is it just gets everywhere. When you unscrew the nib and take it out of tube, powder flies everywhere. And there’s a decent amount of fall-out on your face after you apply it to your brows. And keep in mind I do my brows as the very last step in my routine, so the powder falls down onto my base. Very annoying.

Powder nib of the Brow Confidential Brow Duo from Ardell in Medium Brown
The powder nib. It carries too much product in my opinion and gets everywhere.

So the moral of this story is, I really, really, really like one-half of this brow duo. I’ve finally found the product that gives me that brushed-up editorial brow-kinda look. Going forward, I will look into purchasing just a brow gel from them and not the duo, since I’m not using this product to its fullest potential. But you may be able to use the powder more than me. (I’m going to try it a few more times to see if I can fall in love with it or not.)

You can shop this product and others at Sally Beauty here.

Have you ever tried the Brow Confidential Brow Duo? What are your favorite brow products? I’d love to know!

Xo, Erica

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I recently discovered this drugstore brow gel from Ardell Beauty...and I think I finally found thee one! Read this post for more info!

I customized my own CoverGirl lipstick!

Hi friends!

This post is just a bit of fun. Yes, I am talking about CoverGirl again today, but, but! I just went back to the NYC store with a friend (I warned you I would), and I totally missed this very exciting opportunity the first time I went in December: to customize my own CoverGirl lipstick packaging!

Read this: I went to the new CoverGirl flagship store in NYC!

So I was on the upstairs floor, and was casually speaking with a salesperson about the Exhibitionist Lipstick range. I was swatching away, deciding which color & finish to get (there are 3 finishes, by the way, Cream, Demi-Matte & Metallic). Then she says to me, you know you can customize your packaging for any of the Exhibitionist lipsticks for an extra $6.00. Immediately, I was sold! She led me back to a computer where you pick your shade of choice, and then design one side of the lipstick case with stickers & decals. I was like a kid in a candy store, lemme tell you!

MY CUSTOMIZED PACKAGING

My customized CoverGirl lipstick packaging
My personalized packaging, including decals of a pretzel, a heart, xo’s, my name, eye lashes & ‘New York.’

Of course I had to pick the most juvenile packaging design, but what the hell?! I was having fun! I really wanted to include so many more decals but as you can see, the space I was working with was quite small. I had to include my name, just because, and I chose a few other decals that were fun & colorful. I didn’t really have a strategy here or an overarching message behind the images I chose. It just wasn’t that deep 😉.

As I said earlier, the customization was an extra $6.00; the total cost for my lipstick was then $13.99 before tax. Not too bad, in my opinion.

So once you’re done customizing your CoverGirl lipstick, you proceed to the cashier to pay and submit your order. They tell you the lipstick will be ready in about 15 minutes, but for some reason mine took longer. My friend and I actually left the store and were walking around outside, waiting to get the email that my order was ready. After almost 45 minutes with no email, we went back and my lipstick was there waiting. Not sure why they didn’t notify me as stated, so I suggest putting your order in before you finish shopping (as weird as that sounds).

MY COLOR CHOICE

I believe this is my first (traditional) CoverGirl lipstick purchase. I did own a shade or two from the Outlast All-Day Lip Color range years ago, which was my first liquid lipstick ever. (They are not kidding around with that formula! It. Stays. On. All. Day.) After swatching a few shades from the Exhibitionist range, I ultimately decided on Sultry Sienna, a mid-tone rosy pink shade with a little brown.

Sultry Sienna Exhibitionist Lipstick from CoverGirl
I had to turn the flash on on my camera due to low light, so the color of the lipstick looks a bit darker than it is IRL.

It’s a beautiful cream finish lipstick that’s super hydrating and comfy to wear. Do I have shades like this in my collection already? Um, you bet (see: Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk; see: Flower Beauty Honey Nude; see: MAC Twig), but I can’t help myself! This is the kind of shade I wear all the time so I naturally gravitate to it; it’s truly a MLBB (my lips but better) kinda shade.

Read this: A drugstore dupe for Charlotte Tilbury’s Pillow Talk Lipstick?

CoverGirl Exhibitionist Lipstick in Sultry Sienna applied to the lips
Sultry Sienna Exhibitionist Lipstick applied on lips, in natural light. The rest of my face is bare (as if you couldn’t tell already!).

I believe this service is only available at the NYC store. I looked to see if you could do this online, but it doesn’t appear you can. So if you’re in the area or are visiting the city, this is such a fun thing to do either for yourself or as a present for someone else.

How would you personalize your own lipstick case if you could? I’d love to know!

Xo, Erica

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This was so much fun! Check out the customized packaging I designed for my latest CoverGirl lipstick purchase! Only available at the NYC flagship store.

Review: CoverGirl Clean Liquid Foundation

Hi friends!

Well, it’s review time. Back in December you may remember that I visited the CoverGirl flagship store in NYC, and snagged a few products for free (read the full story by clicking the first link below); I’m very lucky that the Clean Liquid Foundation was one of them. I’ve been testing this formula out since then so I’m ready to present you with my thoughts & opinions now! So let’s get into it.

(Just FYI, this is not about the matte/oil-free or the sensitive skin versions.)

Read this: I went to the new CoverGirl flagship store in NYC!

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

Let your natural beauty shine through with COVERGIRL Clean Liquid Makeup! Clean Makeup’s water-based foundation noncomedogenic formula lets your skin breathe, goes on easily, and blends perfectly, so the world doesn’t see makeup, just the look of great skin. COVERGIRL Clean Liquid Makeup is also available in Sensitive Skin and Oil Control formulas. 

CoverGirl website

PRODUCT BENEFITS

Water based foundation. Goes on easily and blends perfectly. Available in matte and sensitive formulas.

CoverGirl website

HOW I Apply THIS PRODUCT

I like to dab medium-sized dots of this on the areas I want coverage (generally around the T-zone), and then blend in circular motions with my fingers. I like my base products to appear and feel as skin-like as possible. I have not tried applying this with a brush. I do not set this foundation with powder (it’s winter and I already have dry skin, so that ain’t happenin’!).

MY THOUGHTS ON PACKAGING

Packaging of CoverGirl Clean Liquid Foundation

The glass bottle is small & dainty with no pump. Definite pro’s & con’s here. I like the fact that it’s small but still holds 30 mL; the Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue holds just 5 mL more but is much bigger, for example. It’s also easy to store on your vanity at this size. However, it’s glass so you can’t really travel with it or toss it in your handbag if you wanted to. And no pump = more mess. I will always prefer a pump to control the amount of product.

Rating: 3.5 / 5 ⭐️

Read this: Review: Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue

MY THOUGHTS ON APPLICATION

This is marketed for normal skin types, but this formula applies & blends pretty effortlessly over my dry skin. The consistency is quite thin but that’s not surprising considering it’s a “water-based foundation.” I will tell you that I’ve applied this both over a moisturizing primer and over bare skin; I prefer over a primer but you can certainly apply over bare skin without much tugging or patching off. Ah, and before I forget, this foundation does have a scent that dissipates after application. I personally don’t mind it, but if you are sensitive please be aware.

Rating: 5 / 5 ⭐️

MY THOUGHTS ON COVERAGE

Overall, I’d categorize this as a light coverage product, which is A-OK with me. You can build it up ever so slightly in places where you want more coverage, but do not buy it thinking it will give you a flawless complexion. It definitely won’t.

Rating: 5 / 5 ⭐️

MY THOUGHTS ON FINISH

This has a very natural finish for sure. It’s definitely not matte, definitely not dewy; it’s completely somewhere in the middle. It just looks like skin, but slightly more perfected. As someone who doesn’t like wearing heavy coverage products, this is awesome!

Rating: 5 / 5 ⭐️

MY THOUGHTS ON SHADE SELECTION

Swatch of CoverGirl Clean Liquid Foundation in the shade Ivory in direct sunlight

I only see 11 shades listed on CoverGirl’s website for this foundation; not that great. Weirdly, the shade I have is 105 Ivory but that’s not even listed online. I see 110 Classic Ivory; is it the same? No idea, so not sure what’s going on there.

Rating: 2 / 5 ⭐️

MY THOUGHTS ON LONGEVITY

This foundation definitely sticks around quite a while on my skin. Usually I wear my makeup anywhere from 8 – 11 hours depending on the day, and when I go to finally remove my makeup I still see the effects of this product on my skin. However, please keep in mind that I have not worn this foundation in heat or humidity yet, so I don’t know how this would stand up in that environment.

Rating: 5 / 5 ⭐️

MY THOUGHTS ON PRICE

You can see some of the prices listed above from different retailers. It’s CoverGirl, you know the drill, it’s very affordable stuff. For me, someone who likes a lighter coverage, I think this product is totally worth the price tag(s). If you need or want fuller coverage, as cheap as this is, it would be a waste of money for you. So make sure you know what you want before you buy.

Rating: 5 / 5 ⭐️

Swatch of CoverGirl Clean Liquid Foundation blended out (in shade Ivory)

FINAL THOUGHTS

Despite the fumbles with packaging and shade range, I do think this is a lovely foundation if you’re looking for something lightweight and natural-looking. It’s very affordable and does exactly what it says on the tin, so to speak. I will gladly continue to use it!

Have you tried the Clean Liquid Foundation? If so, what are your thoughts? I’d love to know!

Xo, Erica

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In the market for a new drugstore foundation? Check out my review of CoverGirl’s Clean Liquid Foundation, a water-based, natural-finish complexion product.

The (95%) drugstore lip combo I’m crushing on

Hi friends!

I’ve been really loving a certain drugstore lip combo recently that I needed to tell you guys about! First off I should say, normally I’m not one to be too fussy with lipstick. Usually I pick one color and just swipe it on. I don’t tend to layer or blend colors into each other or anything like that.

That being said, a few months back I bought one of the Elf Matte Lip Colors in the shade Tea Rose, a very cool-toned greyish-mauve. Now, I hardly ever wear cool lip colors so it was a bit of a risk for me. (I have very pale, cool-toned skin so I tend to veer towards neutral or warmer nudes & pinks to pep up my complexion.) But it was just $3.00 from Harmon so I thought, why the heck not? I’ll figure out a way to wear it, and that’s how this particular lip combo was born.

Essentially what I create when I wear this combo is an ombre effect (i.e. lighter colors seamlessly fading into darker colors to create dimension). I’ll take you now through the steps & products first, and then show you swatches & the finished look!

STEP 1: APPLY RIMMEL EXAGGERATE AUTOMATIC LIP LINER IN ADDICTION TO THE OUTER CORNERS OF THE MOUTH, Line the lips & BLEND

Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner in Addiction

I’m not the biggest fan of lip liners in general as I only have a few in my collection, but this one from Rimmel is awesome! The formula is creamy, ever-so-slightly waxy, yet quite long-wearing. I’d say the color is halfway between pink & brown; very wearable & lovely for everyday. It’s this color that helps blend the cool-tones of the Elf lipstick in with my skin’s undertone; it acts essentially as a barrier.

Buy this product here.

Step 2: apply ELF MATTE LIP COLOR IN TEA ROSE To the cenTer of lips & blend in

Elf Matte Lip Color in Tea Rose

As I mentioned above, this is a very cool-toned, matte lipstick. It’s quite creamy upon first application and pretty long-wearing (although you will have to touch up after a big meal). It’s very easy to apply since the bullet is quite small and it’s a twist-up. (There’s actually a sharpener hidden in the very bottom!) The trick here is not letting this color get too close to the edges of my lips since it clashes with my skin’s undertone; that’s why I need the pinkier liner along the edges.

Buy this product here.

Step 3: Dab CLINIQUE CHUBBY STICK MOISTURIZING LIP BALM IN WOPPIN’ WATERMELON over the entire mOuth

Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Balm in Woppin’ Watermelon

So this is where it stops being 100% drugstore! I’ve spoken about my love for the Clinique Chubby Sticks on here before, but they really are some of the most moisturizing lip products I’ve ever used. In this case, I use it purely for hydration purposes and not necessarily for any added color. The combo of the Elf & Rimmel matte, long-wearing products can get drying after a few hours on the lips, so I just quickly dab the Clinique over the top and voila, problem solved! You could use of course any lip balm you’d like.

Buy this product here.

SWATCHES

Swatches of (L to R): Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Balm in Woppin Watermelon, Elf Matte Lip Color in Tea Rose, & Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner in Addiction

FINISHED LOOK

I really like the effect that these three products create together. My lips look defined, more dimensional & a bit more juicy. While on a daily basis, I usually just wear one shade or nothing at all on my lips, I like to do this routine occasionally when I have a bit more time to spare.

Wearing Elf Matte Lip Color in Tea Rose in the center of my lips, Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner in the outer corners, & Clinique Chubby Stick in Woppin Watermelon layered on top
My (almost) drugstore lip combo, after application in natural light.
Lip look featuring Rimmel Exaggerate Lip Liner in Addiction, Elf Matte Lip Color in Tea Rose, & Clinique Chubby Stick in Woppin Watermelon
Extreme close-up (sorry!) in natural light for more detail.

What lipstick or lip combo are you loving right now?

Catch up on some of my other lip posts!

Maybelline’s new Made For All Lipstick Collection

Video: Mini review of the new Glossier Generation G Lipsticks

Video: Winky Lux Disco Lip Gloss

Xo, Erica

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I’m currently loving this drugstore lip combination with bits from Rimmel, Elf & (a little) Clinique