Indie beauty haul from IBE NY 2018

Welcome to the final post in my IBE (Indie Beauty Expo) 2-part blog series. The first post was an introduction to the Expo, and now I give you a peek into my tote bag to see the products I picked up while I was there. I also wanted to talk a bit about the respective brands and about the owners themselves, since I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking to a few of them. Just a note, I have not yet started using any these products with the exception of the Clove + Hallow Lip Glaze, so this post is more of a traditional haul. And lastly as I touched on in my last post, most of the indies present at the Expo were all-natural & organic-cerified brands. As I go through my list I will make a note of those that do not meet these criteria so you’re aware.

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Indie products from Clove + Hallow, Kokie, Karma Organic Spa, & Ethique

KARMA HUES NAIL POLISH FROM KARMA ORGANICS SPA – Shop here

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Karma Hues Nail Polish in Hot Cakes (it says ‘No Toluene, No Formaldehyde, and No DBP” on the front of the bottle).
  • Cruelty-free
  • Vegan
  • Soy-based
  • Non-toxic
  • 7-free natural & organic (free of TPHP, toluene, formaldehyde, DBP (phthalate), camphor, formaldehyde resin, xylene, & parabens)
  • Made in the U.S.A.
  • $9.99/bottle

This was the first booth I was attracted to mainly because they had rows and rows of beautifully colored nail polishes surrounding the whole stand. I wasn’t even in the market for nail polish but there I was picking up every other bottle and saying yes, please show me how this looks on the nails to one of the associates working the booth. I love neutrals against my pale skin tone so I settled on Planet Earth, a muted olive green, for me and Hot Cakes (pictured above), a pale, cool-toned pink, for my mom. Normally each bottle retails for $9.99, but they were offering a 3-for-$20 booth special so I also got a gel top coat. I also walked away with samples of their nail polish remover that’s formulated with soybean oil & lavender. I believe there’s two other types of removers on their site as well.

Karma Hues Nail Polish originates from Karma Organics Spa, which has 2 locations in New Jersey (Ridgewood & Englewood). You can book in to have manicures, pedicures, waxings, facials and massages. Along with selling over 100 different colors/finishes of Karma Hues, they also retail essential oils, and a few skincare items. But it’s clear that Karma Hues is their main offering based on how vast the line is. Owner Nausil Zaheer and his wife were present at the booth, and they both couldn’t have been nicer. They thanked me profusely after my purchase, which left me with a good feeling.

LUMENE SKINCARE – Main site

Shop here at Target

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  • Clean formulas
  • Sustainable natural ingredient sourcing
  • No animal testing
  • Vegan
  • Skincare products contain between 80%-99% natural ingredients

I’d only just recently heard about the Finnish brand Lumene through Inthefrow on YouTube when I spotted their stand at the Expo. I believe they are more well known for their skincare products, but they also offer a pretty extensive makeup collection consisting of everything from tinted skin serums, to eye primers, to lip glosses and mascaras, to liquid blushes and highlighters. The makeup is ‘skincare-infused’ as I was told by an associate at the stand. The liquid blushes and highlighters are what initially drew me in to the stand. The packaging was beautiful and luxe but still very understated, and this applies across the brand.

If you take one look at their website you’ll notice that Arctic spring water is the key ingredient in nearly all of their products; they claim that the water used comes from the natural springs in Lapland, the northermost, subarctic region of Finland. The Finnish or Nordic heritage of the brand plays a huge part in their story. How they formulate and source their products is all dictated by the natural landscape and resources of Finland.

I would have at least bought the liquid blush on the spot after I tried it on my hand (it felt beautiful on my skin), but it turns out they weren’t retailing at the Expo; they were just handing out samples. This was disappointing because I felt they lost out not only on my sale, but that of others. Instead the associate handed me a bunch of skincare samples, which I am keen to try. Lumene is stocked in the U.S. in Target stores and online, and in CVS stores and online. Their prices are quite affordable which is awesome. Additionally, Feelunique.com will also ship into the U.S.

ELIXIR ORGANIC FACIAL OIL FROM HONEY BELLE – Shop here 

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Image source: honeybelleshop.com
  • $15.00 for mini (15 ml), or $34.00 for standard (56 ml)
  • Clean, natural, organic products made in small batches in micro-factory in CA
  • Their mission: “GENERATE HEALTH AND SELF-CONFIDENCE IN INDIVIDUALS BY PRODUCING CLEAN, GREEN, AND HIGHLY-EFFECTIVE PRODUCTS. WE BELIEVE IN COMPASSION, AND MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN THE COMMUNITY.”
  • Fun fact: Honey Belle’s loofah soaps are now stocked in Ulta to rave reviews.

I was drawn into Honey Belle’s stand by the cool and sleek-looking packaging of their skincare products. Additionally I noticed an entire row of facial rollers used from different stones. Everyone seems to talk about this tool now and I was curious to hear the pitch on it. I ended up speaking with Calvin Hang, who is one-half of the team behind the brand. He was quite easy to speak with and held a lot of authority on the product line. I’ve been in the market for a good facial oil for a while now, so he sold me on the Elixir Facial Oil which I purchased in the mini size (15ml). (They were offering a 30% discount at the booth (I believe), so I only paid a little over $15.00 which included the shipping charge from CA.) It’s made with organic hempseed and grapefruit oils and it’s supposed to improve elasticity, hydrate, and enhance luster for all skin types. They only had limited quantities of each product at the booth, so they have to ship my order. Fingers crossed this won’t take too long.

Honey Belle was started by two young 20-something entrepreneurs, Iris Cherng and Calvin Hang, who saw a hole in the natural/organic skincare industry. They wanted to offer lush, organic skincare that was also affordable. The inspiration and formulation behind each product stems from a certain skin issue like eczema or psoriasis, for instance. Cherng, who developed psoriasis herself, comes from a family of holistic doctors so she has a real basis of knowledge surrounding natural products.

LIP GLAZE IN ANGELIC FROM CLOVE + HALLOW – Shop here 

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  • $15.00 (I paid $12.00 at the booth)
  • Cruelty-free
  • Vegan
  • Made in the U.S.A.
  • Not 100% natural or organic
  • The Clean15™ Guarantee: No cheap toxic fillers or unnecessary fluff. Just the good stuff, delivered in 15 or fewer ingredients per base formula.
  • Formulated without parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrance or flavor, gluten, mineral or petroleum oil, talc, Bismuth Oxychloride, Phenoxyethanol.

Again, I was drawn into the Clove + Hallow booth by the sleek and modern-looking packaging of the products. This is primarily a cosmetics line because the founder, Sarah Biggers, is a professional makeup artist. It’s quite a small edited line of complexion, lips, and makeup removers/cleansers but you can really tell how much thought and care has been put into them. I initially swatched the concealer but I really don’t need another coverage product in my life right now, so I shifted over to the lip products. There were lipsticks, liquid lips, and lip glosses (called Lip Glaze); they all looked beautiful and the textures very nourishing. I feel like I’m getting more curious about glosses ever since trying on that Winky Lux gloss from my mini’s collection, so I swatched a few of the Lip Glazes, but ultimately settled on Angelic, a beautiful and extremely wearable medium pink. I wore this last week and it was very comfortable, shiny and lasted a surprisingly long time for a gloss. And it wasn’t sticky, hallelujah! They are formulated with olive oil, jojoba oil & shea butter.

Sarah story behind founding the brand is quite powerful. She suffered a debilitating illness years ago and as a result turned to holistic medicines and treatments to cure herself. This turned into a lifestyle mantra of removing toxic and potentially harmful substances, so as a makeup artist she craved clean yet affordable cosmetics. When she couldn’t find them, she decided to create them. You can read more about her story here. I met and spoke to Sarah for a bit at the booth. She was kind and couldn’t have been more helpful, and the same goes for the rest of the staff with her. They probably had the best customer service of all the booths I went to.

BROW SCULPT DEFINING BROW POWDER & VOLUME FROM KOKIE – Shop here 

LENGTH MASCARA FROM KOKIE – Shop here

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Brow Sculpt Defining Brow Powder in Blonde
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Volume & Length Mascara
  • $7.00/per product
  • Cruelty-free
  • Not natural or organic
  • Available in Rite Aid and Walmart
  • Fun fact: the name of the brand derives from the Korean word for elephant, that’s why there’s a little elephant in the logo.

I had heard of Kokie through Tati (Glamlife Guru) on YouTube, but since I don’t have a Rite Aid or Walmart near me I never got the chance to try anything. I had to make 2 laps around the pier in order to play with Kokie’s products; they were swamped with people when I first passed by. They didn’t have a booth, they had a glorified end-cap full of products. The associate told me that everything was 50%, which is all I needed to hear!

I found myself in front of the brow section when I spotted the Brow Sculpt Defining Brow Powder. I’ve exclusively been a brow mascara girl for ages now, but that didn’t stop me from snatching this. It’s one of those products that has a thin wand or nib full of powder that you drag across your brows to fill in gaps. I’ve seen very mixed reviews on products like this, so we’ll see how this goes. I did swatch it while I was there; the powder is matte and seemed to be quite long-lasting on my hand. There’s 4 colors available and I picked up Blonde. I also grabbed their Volume & Length Mascara which the associate said was one of their best-selling items. I’m always looking for volume and length from my mascaras and the look of the wand is very promising here.

PINKALICIOUS SOLID SHAMPOO FROM ETHIQUE Shop here 

WONDERBAR SOLID CONDITIONER FROM ETHIQUE – Shop here 

ethiquesolidshampooconditioner

  • Not sure if they are 100% organic
  • Plastic free
  • Vegan
  • Cruelty free
  • Sustainable
  • Palm oil free

Full disclosure: I stopped by Ethique’s booth towards the end of my Expo visit purely because they had commented on one of my IG photos earlier in the day. They were situated right by the front of the event space, and I noticed very quickly that all their products were bars. Nothing in bottles or squeeze tubes. That’s because the company was founded around the principle of zero-waste and ridding the (beauty) world of unnecessary plastic waste. It was started in 2012 by young female biochemist Brienne West, a native of New Zealand, who formulated the hair, face and body products out of her lab by removing water from her favorite bath and body products. You can read more about her story here. The company estimates they have now eliminated over 400k plastic bottles from ending up in landfills by making solid products. They hope to reach 1 million plastic bottles in the next few years.

Instead of full-size bars the booth was well-stocked with smaller sample sizes. I picked up Pinkalicious, a solid shampoo bar best for normal hair, and Wonderbar, a solid conditioner best for normal-oily hair. Unfortunately the samples didn’t have much detail on the front as to what products were best for what hair type. Now I wish that I had picked up The Guardian instead of Wonderbar, as it’s formulated specifically for dry/frizzy hair like mine. The bars are formulated with coconut oil and shea butter and are equivalent of 3 to 5 bottles of their liquid counterparts. I was told by an associate at the booth that these bars typically last for months.

What do you think of this haul? Would you have picked up any of these items too? I’d love to know!

xo, Erica

 

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The future is cool & clean: Indie Beauty Expo NY 2018

If you don’t follow me on IG, first off you should (my handle is @weareglamerus), and secondly you wouldn’t know that I’ve been barking my head off for the past few days about attending Indie Beauty Expo (IBE). If you’ve never heard of IBE before, it provides a major platform to smaller, independent beauty brands from around the world to connect with buyers, press and consumers mainly through their large-scale expos. The expos (or conventions) travel around the U.S. and Europe, but luckily for me it was in NYC this past week. I believe the next expo will be in London this October, so I’ll link the website here if you’re interested in looking up the exact info.

Below you’ll find IBE’s mission statement taken directly from their website.

IBE’s mission is to provide a platform to recognize, showcase and celebrate independent beauty brands and to support the growth and success of the entrepreneurs behind them

I’m going to talk about the Expo in 2 parts here on the blog. In this first post I’ll give a general overview of IBE, share a few photos and some takeaways. In my next post I’ll talk more in depth about the products I picked up while I was there and the brands I interacted with. So consider this an introduction of sorts.

I booked my General Admission ticket in early July for $39.00, which included a tote bag and discounts on products sold at the Expo. Conversely I could have booked a VIP Admission ticket for $195.00, which included everything from the General Admission ticket plus tons of samples ready for me in my tote bag. (And those bags looked bulky! So now of course I regret being cheap, but oh well.) I believe ticket prices change depending on the location of the expo and various other factors, so don’t take my quotes above as categorical.

ibephoto2

IBENY was held at Pier 36 in the Lower East Side right on the East River. It was a 2-day event that was open to the public on the first night for about 4 hours (‘Shop Indie’), and to trade professionals, buyers and press on the second day (‘Trade Indie’). Over 200 skincare, cosmetics, haircare, bodycare, wellness and personal hygiene brands were in attendance; you can check the full exhibitor list here. Most of these brands I had never heard of before, and this was exactly why I wanted to attend the event. I dedicated an entire post not too long ago as to why I think indie beauty is important, which I’ll link to here. I’m really proud of that post so please go check it out.

There was no line to get into the event space thankfully so check-in was a breeze. I was handed my black, branded tote, a map of the space and sent on my way. I felt the space was quite easy to navigate as I was making laps around each and every aisle and crevice of the pier. There was definitely more skincare brands there than anything else, I’d say. I noticed quite soon upon entering that most of the cosmetics brands like Ellis Faas and Kokie, for instance, got very easily swamped with passers-by, so I had to make several laps before I could come back to play with the products. But there was considerably less cosmetics at this particular expo so that’s probably why.

ibephoto1

The biggest takeaway for me was that independent beauty is really at the forefront of the clean/green/natural (whatever you want to call it) movement. Walking around the pier, the buzzwords I saw and heard were “organic,” “natural,” “vegan,” “plant-based,” and “cruelty-free.” As more and more consumers become concerned not only with what they put in their bodies, but also what they put on their bodies, indie beauty will continue to flourish more and more. I think this really has to do with the level of transparency that indie brands have with their customers. A lot of these brands hand-create their products in small batches, so they know exactly what’s in them and how to market them effectively. And many of the brand founders created these product lines to initially solve skin or health issues of their own or that of a family member. There were a lot of very interesting stories behind the brands, which I’ll get into more in my next post.

I took a short video clip of inside the event space which you can check out over on my IG (again, the handle is @weareglamerus, or scroll up to my IG roll on this page).

Has anyone attended IBE in the past? Do you have any indie beauty products that you’d recommend? I’d love to know!

xo, Erica

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snatch or skip? Drugstore eye palettes

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.

Time for another edition of ‘Snatch or Skip’! I spoke about some of the best and the not-so-great mascaras from L’Oreal a few posts ago, which you can read here. This time I’m delving into drugstore eyeshadow palettes.

Drugstore shadows have come such a long way in terms of quality. When my mom was discovering makeup in the 70’s the quality of lower-cost brands, like say Wet n’ Wild, were absolute crap. Affordable makeup was almost laughable for a long time. Even when I was in high school I feel it was nowhere near as good as it is now. Can we say drugstore makeup is at its peak now? I don’t know, but it does seem like most of the palettes coming out of CVS, Walgreens, Target, Rite Aid and other low-cost retailers around the world are pretty darn awesome. And the bar just keeps getting higher and higher. So here are my most favorite palettes in terms of quality and price, and a few that I think are either overpriced or just poor quality.

(One note I’d like to make here first in an effort not to sound like a broken record. All palettes mentioned here with exception of the e.l.f. Mad for Mattes are very powdery. Make sure to tap the excess pigment off your brush very well before applying to your eye.)

WHAT TO SNATCH!

*Milani Everyday Eyes Palette in Bare Necessities

$10.79 @ CVS.com;

$11.00 @ milanicosmetics.com

milanieverydayeyespalette

milaniswatches

This one is so lovely. The pigmentation, blendability, longevity, everything is nearly perfect. These Milani palettes come in 8 different colorways but I only have Bare Necessities. This one definitely leans warmer but they do have more neutral, cooler and even more colorful versions in the line; I’ve heard they’re all awesome.

In this palette you have 2 mattes, 1 shimmer, 2 metallics and 1 light-shimmer (for lack of a better description). All of the shadows are top-notch in my opinion with the exception of the light-shimmer, which is the cream shade pictured on the right-hand side of the first photo & the bottom swatch of the second photo. This shade seems to be a totally different texture to the other shimmers & metallics, and can be a bit chunky and flakey. Other than that, this palette is a must-have!

e.l.f. Cosmetics Mad for Matte Palettes in Nude Mood & Summer Breeze

$10.00 @ elfcosmetics.com, target.com & ultabeauty.com

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Nude Mood
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Swatches of Nude Mood
elfmadformatte2
Summer Breeze
elfmadformatte2swatches
Swatches of Summer Breeze

It used to be difficult to find good quality matte shadows at a drugstore price level. Everything was shimmer, shimmer, shimmer. So when e.l.f. came out with the Mad for Matte line I knew those days were behind us. They immediately got rave reviews online and in social media, but for some reason I held off on trying them until earlier this year. I can’t imagine not having them in my collection now. Across the board from texture, application, and color payoff, these palettes get high marks. The application of these shadows is really the most impressive element. We all know how stubborn some matte shadows can be. But these don’t skip or become patchy or have too much fallout. And you get 10 quality shades for only $10.00. Bravo e.l.f.!

I first picked up Nude Mood, which is wonderful for everyday natural looks using either warmer or cooler tones. Although I wish they could have offered a few more contrasting shades towards the deeper end of the palette (some of those browns are very, very similar), I do think it’s a palette that anyone can use quite easily. I then got Summer Breeze because I was attracted to all those beautiful plums & rose tones. This is probably my favorite out of the two since I find each color to be quite unique.

*Wet n’ Wild Comfort Zone Palette

$4.99 @ ultabeauty.com & wetnwildbeaty.com

Wet n’ Wild Comfort Zone Palette

I just did a whole in-depth review on this palette which I’ll link to here, so I won’t stay on this too long. (If you’d like to see swatches from the palette please go to my earlier post.) But as the most affordable palette from this whole list, the quality really blows me away on both the mattes and the shimmers. Soft, smooth textures that apply easily with little hassle. Bright, bold colors that last on the eyes for hours and hours. When Wet n’ Wild delivers such solid product on such little coin, it makes it difficult to reconcile spending more money on more pricey drugstore palettes. My mom recently bought Rose in the Air, which gives everyone in the beauty community Anastasia Modern Renaissance vibes. She loves it, which means I’ll have to try it soon too 😉.

Sonia Kashuk Eye on Neutrals #2 Matte Palette 

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RIP Sonia Kashuk makeup, I really loved you. It looks like only her brushes, makeup bags and other accessories are now available at Target. If you’re looking for a “shop my stash” moment, crack this one out! I used to own several Sonia Kashuk eye palettes actually: the quads, the Eye On Neutrals #3 Shimmer Palette, and of course the Eye On Neutrals #2 Matte Palette. I loved each and every one of them dearly. The quality is totally there. The shades are smooth as all hell, apply perfectly and stay on the eye all day. And this goes for both the shimmers and mattes.

I really don’t remember how much I originally paid for this palette, but I do remember that Sonia Kashuk was on the higher-end of drugstore in terms of price. I still pull the #2 Matte Palette out quite frequently since I love it so much. Actually I used this palette on the day of my graduation from business school in May. If you do not already own this, go with the e.l.f. Mad for Matte in Nude Mood; the colors are quite similar.

WHAT TO SKIP!

L’Oreal La Palette Nude 1

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So this one is difficult. I actually love the colors and the tones. The mattes are quite lovely too, pigmented and easy to apply. But the shimmers are extremely lackluster and fade rather quickly. Keep in mind the shimmers to mattes ratio is 7:3. And the palette is $20.00 (!). Really L’Oreal? It’s completely overpriced for the quality you’re getting. The swatches don’t look half bad but you never know the full story until you apply to the eye. While I can get very pretty looks using this palette, I just can’t fully get behind it. No thanks.

Maybelline The Nudes Eye Shadow Palette & The Blushed Nudes Eye Shadow Palette

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Image source: Walmart
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Image source: Walmart

To be honest, I have yet to find any Maybelline eye palettes that I can get behind. (However, I haven’t tried any of their newer releases yet like those City Mini Palettes. Are those good? Feel free to send any recommendations my way cause I’m always looking to be enabled!) I don’t have these Nudes Palettes anymore in my collection since they were so inconsistent and generally poor quality. Out of 12 shades I found maybe 5 or 6 of them would actually be usable.

What are your favorite and least favorite drugstore eye palettes? I’d love to know!

Xo, Erica

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