Review: Flower Beauty Lash Warrior Mascara

So you may remember that I hauled the Lash Warrior Mascara from Flower Beauty in the same post as the Urban Decay Born to Run Palette back in the summer. Since Flower became available at Ulta I’d been keen to try more products from the line, so I settled on Lash Warrior since it was a fairly new launch for them. As you can probably tell from the name, the marketing around this product is all about being a fighter, a warrior and looking as fierce as possible. The message is, if you use this mascara you will have a warrior’s confidence thanks to your fierce lashes. Pure fluff but that’s marketing for you 😉. Check out the promo video with Drew Barrymore here to get a better sense of what I’m talking about, or one of the IG visuals below.

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Image source: Flower Beauty IG

This mascara gets 4.5/5 stars on Ulta so it definitely has a following. I read a review on Makeupalley that said this is a dupe for the Benefit They’re Real Mascara. It’s been a long while since I used that mascara so I cannot directly comment on that, but take it for what you will. I’ve been using Lash Warrior fairly steadily for over a month (in Fiercest Black which is now currently out of stock on Ulta.com) so I’d love to bring my review to you guys now. My first ever solo mascara review, here we go!

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

  • $11.00 Flower | $9.99 Ulta | $8.98 Walmart
  • Comes in 3 shades (Fierce Brown, Fierce Black, Fiercest Black)
  • Cruelty-free formula

Now lashes go fierce with +150% full blown volume and extreme length for your mightiest lash look yet!

Our exclusive Spiked Warrior brush catches every lash and coats them from root to tip for super charged, dramatic volume. 360 degree spiked bristles combat clumps on every angle for unimaginable definition. The result is fiercely volumized lashes with statement making length & definition.

Source: Flowerbeauty.com

PRODUCT BENEFITS/CLAIMS

  • +150%* fierce, full blown volume
  • 100%* saw dramatic thickness
  • +88%* extreme length

*in a clinical test

Source: Flowerbeauty.com

MY LASH PREFERENCES

I’m a mascara freak; it’s my desert island product. If I could literally take one product with me anywhere, it would have to be mascara. I like my lashes to be dramatically defined, long and volumized. “Naturally defined” means nothing to me. I could spend minutes just piling coat after coat of mascara on my lashes if I have the time. And my mascaras have to be very black. I do use colored mascaras occasionally, but 99% of the time I use richly black formulas. I just feel like my eyes need that definition.

MY THOUGHTS ON…

Flower Beauty Lash Warrior Mascara

Packaging: For what it’s worth I really like the packaging of this mascara. It’s quite lightweight and sleek-looking, but I love the dark hunter-green body fading into the gold handle. Just very striking-looking. The only slight drawback I’d mention is the component seems to scratch quite easily; some scratches I noticed as soon as I took it out of its plastic outer packaging in fact. It’s not a big deal at all to me (I’m more concerned with what’s going on inside) but perhaps that would annoy some of you. So keep this in mind if you plan on throwing this in and out of your handbag.

Rating: 5/5 ⭐️

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Application & wand: I could tell right away that this mascara was going to be easy to use. It just grips onto your lashes right away and combs through them perfectly with almost no clumpiness. Some mascara formulas are just clump-city and after a few coats it looks like you have only 3 or 4 lashes; not cute. That’s not the case here, it’s very user-friendly. The formula doesn’t get everywhere during application and it doesn’t dry too quickly so you’re able to build up coats quite nicely.

The wand here is plastic with spiky bristles and it curves upwards from the root to the tip (both the wand and the length of the bristles curve upwards). I’m assuming this is why it grips onto the lashes so well. I’m not sure about the “360 degree” spiked bristles that Flower is talking about though; there are no bristles on the very tip (like with They’re Real), just on 4 sides.

Rating: 5/5 ⭐️

Volume & thickness: Because this formula is easily buildable, you can get a decent amount of volume with it if you have the patience to stand there and layer and layer. It doesn’t instantly volumize in the least on me, I have to work more to get that drama. So I wouldn’t say this gives the best or the most volume or thickness of any mascara I’ve used before. My beloved Stila Huge Lash is instantly more dramatic and thickening than this one. I’d say this gives above average volume/thickness (certainly not “150% fierce, full-blown volume” though – not really sure what that means anyway.)

Rating: 3.5/5 ⭐️

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Length: Without a doubt this formula is wonderful for lengthening. I particularly like to build up the length in the middle of my eye right above my iris to give my eyes a wider appearance. It doesn’t take as much work to build up length as it does for the volume, so that I appreciated. Again, I think this comes down to the construction of the wand, the bristles, and that upwards curve that makes combing through the lashes so simple and easy.

Rating: 5/5 ⭐️

Longevity: I have no problem at all with smudging or flakiness here, however you should know that I don’t apply this formula to my lower lashes. I only ever use the Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara for that purpose. To be truthful though I hardly ever have problems with smudgy mascara on my eyes even though they are hooded. I think it’s because my skin is just so bone dry most of the time! Right now there’s no waterproof formula available in the Lash Warrior range, so if you only wear waterproof you probably won’t be satisfied with this. But on me this formula is very long-wearing.

Rating: 5/5 ⭐️

Price: Depending on where you buy this mascara, you can get a price as low as $9.00 at Walmart or as high as $11 directly from Flower. Either way it’s very affordable, so I take no issues with the price. Yes of course you can get cheaper from say Wet n’ Wild or Maybelline, but for the quality I think the price here is very fair.

Rating: 5/5 ⭐️

FINAL THOUGHTS

While not every claim on the front packaging turned out to be true for me, I do think the Lash Warrior Mascara from Flower Beauty is a good quality purchase if you’re in the market for a new mascara. It lenghens beautifully, is buildable and can achieve decent volume and thickness if you don’t mind working for it a bit. While I’ll continue to use it happily until the formula dries out, I probably won’t repurchase it (at least not right away) since, a) it hasn’t become a holy grail item like the Stila Huge Lash or the L’Oreal Voluminous Butterfly Sculpt, and b) I’m addicted to trying new mascaras all the time to find the absolute best 😊.

Have you tried the Lash Warrior Mascara or do you want to? What’s your holy grail mascara? I’d love to know!

Xo, Erica

Check out my review of Lash Warrior, an affordable mascara from Flower Beauty!

 

Joah Beauty has launched at CVS Pharmacy!

Joah Beauty, the new makeup line from Kiss Products, Inc, has launched exclusively at CVS Pharmacy in the U.S. You may know Kiss from their extensive nail offerings including nail care products, nail art & jewelry, and at-home salon-style treatments. (Not to mention fake lashes, cosmetics and haircare.) Well, they’ve partnered with CVS to bring the high-grade formulations typically associated with K-beauty skincare to color cosmetics with Joah Beauty. Hence, the tagline “K-beauty inspired.” Joah (which in Korean translates to “I like it” apparently) is not completely brand-spanking new; it became available on CVS.com by mid-summer, I believe, and is now in the process of being rolled out to over 4,000 CVS locations around the country.

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Joah Beauty endcap at one of my local CVS’s

CVS is no stranger to the K-beauty trend in America. They stock brands like Holika Holika, Peripera (another new offering), and Peach Slices, just to name a few. Target has definitely up’d their K-beauty game as well. The skincare aisle in my local CVS became flooded particularly with Korean sheet masks just a few years ago. They seem to be adding more & more K-beauty products all the time now.

Joah Beauty offers affordable products across the following categories: eyes, lips, face, brows & brushes. The whole line ranges in price from around $3.00 to $16.00. Their vibe is fun, carefree and very feminine (leaning heavily towards girly). True to the whole K-beauty vibe, their packaging and naming system is super cute and colorful. When I started picking up some of the products, I noticed that the packaging itself is not overly weighty at all. Everything is quite lightweight and to be honest a little bit cheap-feeling. (But this stuff isn’t very expensive so there you go.)

This is a very big launch so instead of taking you through each and every item like I did last week with Ohii Beauty, I’ll take you briefly through each product category and give you some commentary. I haven’t tried the majoritiy of this line yet so I cannot speak to overall quality, but I did recently purchase the Large Powder Brush and one of the matte gel lipsticks called I’m Your Jelly Bae in the shade Honey.

EYESShop here

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I’m So Fly Felt Tip Liquid Eyeliner available in 2 shades for $7.99. Image source: Joah Beauty Instagram.

In this category there are:

  • 2 eyeshadow palettes (average price $9.99)
  • 6 eyeliners (average price $7.99)
  • 4 mascaras  (average price $7.99)

As you can probably tell, the broadest offering in this category by far is eyeliner. They’ve got everything from brush-tip to ink pens to gels to jumbo liquid pens. Whatever your eyeliner preference is, I’m sure they’ve got you covered! Both eyeshadow palettes have 6-pans each and come in very natural, wearable color schemes (Bare & Unveiled). At $9.99 though they’re by no means the cheapest option at the drugstore so hopefully the quality is great.

LIPSShop here

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Mirror Mirror Lip Gloss available in 6 shades for $4.99. Image source: Joah Beauty Instagram.
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Wat-a-matte Matte Liquid Lipstick available in 10 shades for $6.99. Image source: Joah Beauty Instagram.
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I’m Your Jelly Bae Matte Gel Lipstick available in 10 shades for $5.99. Image source: Joah Beauty Instagram.
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I’m Your Jelly Bae Matte Gel Lipstick in Honey

I feel like Joah’s lip category is quite broad as well. There are 8 total offerings with an average price of $5.00-$6.00 in a variety of different finishes and textures including:

  • Lip gloss (6 shades)
  • Matte liquid lipstick (10 shades)
  • Matte gel lipstick (10 shades)
  • Satin liquid lipstick (10 shades)
  • Lip stain (6 shades)
  • Lip liner (6 shades)
  • Tinted lip balm (4 shades)
  • Matte velvet lipstick (10 shades)

I do feel like there’s something for everyone here, and their shade ranges are quite nice too. As mentioned earlier, I picked up one of the I’m Your Jelly Bae lipsticks because the name just intrigued me so much. What’s a matte gel lipstick?? I’ll give you my first impression super quick.

When I applied it the formula went on smoothly and immediately felt like nothing on my lips. It turns from a creamy consistency to a velvety, almost powdery finish quite quickly. I don’t know, I like the weightlessness for sure but it seemed quite dry to me. I ended up putting my more moisturizing Revlon HD Gel Lipcolor over top for some give. I may use the Jelly Bae as a long-wearing base for a more hydrating product going forward (especially going into the colder months), but this definitely isn’t my ideal formulation. (Oh, Honey is great color if you love beige nudes.)

FACE – Shop here

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Truly Yours Natural Finish Foundation Drop available in 8 shades for $8.99. Image source: Joah Beauty Instagram.
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Truly Yours BB Radiant Beauty Balm available in 4 shades for $8.99. Image source: Joah Beauty Instagram.
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Selfie Ready Setting Powder available in Translucent & 2 other shades for $8.99. Image source: Joah Beauty Instagram.
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Be My Everything Cream Contour Kit with 8 skintone shades plus 3 color correctors for $15.99. Image source: Joah Beauty Instagram.

This is by far the meatiest category in Joah’s range: 21 products in total consisting primarily of cosmetics and a few skincare items.

There are:

  • 2 foundations (liquid, cushion)
  • 1 BB cream
  • 2 concealers
  • 4 primers
  • 1 blush/bronzer palette
  • 1 highlighting palette
  • 1 powder contour palette
  • 1 cream contour palette
  • Setting powder (3 shades)
  • 2 setting sprays
  • 3 peel-off face masks
  • 2 makeup removing products

Right off the bat after perusing the endcap, I noticed that the coverage products offered only a very narrow shade selection. The Truly Yours Natural Finish Foundation Drop only comes in 8 shades, while the Angel Cake Cushion Foundation comes in a puny 3 shades. And there are only 11 shades between the two concealers. So I’d say there’s a fat chance you’d find your perfect match from this range, especially since there are no testers available. A bit disappointing for a new launch to say the least; hopefully the range will be expanded in the future. However there are many other face products to shop from.

BROWSShop here

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Brow Down to Me Precision Brow Pencil available in 6 shades for $8.99. Image source: Joah Beauty Instagram.

This is a much narrower category for Joah with just 5 products total and an average price of $8.00. They are all brow pencils (one also has a brow mascara built into it), with the exception of one clear brow gel. No pomades, powders or mousses available (yet). I’d predict this category may expand in the future to include colored brow mascaras or brow kits perhaps.

BRUSHESShop here

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Large Powder Brush for $5.99

Last category here, and again this is a narrow one with just 5 offerings and an average price of $6.00. I also predict this category will expand eventually simply because it’s so small and there’s so far you can go with brushes.

There are:

  • 1 brow brush
  • 1 eye brush
  • 3 face brushes (foundation, powder, fan)

As mentioned earlier, I picked up the Large Powder Brush. When I took it out of its plastic packaging I noted the softness of the bristles and the weightlessness of the handle. It didn’t appear to shed at all but I really won’t be able to tell until I start using and washing it. I have a preference for drugstore brushes so I’m excited to start using this for my powder blushes and bronzer. Fingers crossed it’s good quality!

What do you think of this new brand? Will you be picking anything up? I’d love to know!

Xo, Erica

Joah Beauty has launched at CVS Pharmacy! Find out about the new and affordable K-beauty inspired cosmetics line.

 

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

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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
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Summer Breeze
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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 

$14.39 as a bundle with the #3 Shimmer Palette on overstock.com

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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. However I did a little snooping online and it appears Overstock has some inventory on this palette. I included the link above so if you’re interested, hop on it! Or 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 cannot get your hands on this guy, 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

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

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

Mini drugstore haul featuring Wet n’ Wild & NYX

I was in a Harmon’s Discount over the weekend stocking up on travel mini’s for my vacation and of course I had to peruse the makeup aisle while I was there. After all it would be unheard of if I didn’t. Harmon’s is always a great place to shop for affordable makeup; they have the best displays and they often get new makeup in ahead of CVS or Walgreens. They’ve recently expanded their roster of brands to include J.Cat Beauty (which seemed to come and go very quickly from Ulta), and Essence Cosmetics. And their nail polish offerings are second to none as well.

But onto what I actually bought this trip. I restrained myself and purchased just two items (pats herself on the back): the new and improved Comfort Zone Eyeshadow Palette from Wet n’ Wild, and the NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in the shade Abu Dhabi.

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WET N’ WILD COMFORT ZONE PALETTE – Shop here

Historically I’ve loved the quality of Wet n’ Wild shadows. They recently reformulated all of their Color Icon Palettes and upgraded the packaging to the sleek design you see above. I had the older version of Comfort Zone years ago and enjoyed it back then so I’d been curious for a while to give the new version a try. When you look at the pantheon of drugstore makeup brands, you still really can’t beat the price of Wet n’ Wild products. Ten shadows for just $4.99? And they’re usually great quality. L’Oreal’s new Paradise Enchanted Scented Eyeshadow Palette offers 12 shades but for a much pricier $14.99. Just some perspective.

Now I really don’t remember shade for shade what is different or the same from the older Comfort Zone Palette to the new version since I don’t have the older one anymore. But a slew of YouTubers have done detailed comparison videos so if you’re interested in that kind of information head on over there. I can say that the pans are a lot smaller in this newer version, but I’m unsure of how that affects the amount of product.

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Swatches of the new Comfort Zone Palette from Wet n’ Wild.

You get 2 matte shadows labeled ‘TRANSITION’ on opposite ends of the palette with 8 shimmers in the middle. None of the colors have particular names. Personally I love the mix of warm and cool tones here; the greens with the bronzes, burgundys and the warmer transition shades. Putting a warm color in your crease next to a cool shade on the lid is just so beautiful to me. The shadows all swatched quite nicely with the exception of some of the really light shades that needed serious building up. All of the colors were extremely soft to the touch as well.

I did use 2 shades from this palette on my eyes yesterday. I applied the wine-colored matte transition shade (6th shade down in the swatches) all over my eyelid and into my crease, and the light champagne shimmery color (3rd shade down in the swatches) smudged underneath my lower lash line and into the inner corner of my eye. The matte shade needed some building up on the eye to reach full opacity and I experienced a bit of patchiness as I was applying it. So I had to go in with my finger to pat the color over the patchy areas, which worked perfectly. I’m curious to try this shade over another primer or over another matte shadow to see if it applies better; it could be an easy fix.

Another thing I noticed was the intense kick-back I got when I swirled my brush into the shadows. They are seriously powdery, so you definitely have to tap your brush a few times before applying to the eye. But they have great pigment and the shadows lasted throughout the day with hardly any fading and just the smallest bit of creasing. I need to try more colors though before I form my final opinion.

NYX SOFT MATTE LIP CREAM IN ABU DHABI – Shop here

I love this formula. It’s a liquid lipstick for those that don’t like liquid lipstick, in that they’re easy to apply, comfortable to wear and they don’t feel heavy or sticky on the lips. They have an almost mousse-like or whipped texture that you have to build up a bit to get the full effect. I wouldn’t call this the most opaque liquid lipstick out there, so you definitely trade a bit of opacity for comfort.

I bought the shade Stockholm last year and absolutely loved it, so when I was passing the NYX stand at Harmon’s I found my eyes scanning for more colors in this formula. I really only wear either nudes or medium pinks these days, so I settled on Abu Dhabi which is a beautiful browny-beige nude.

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Swatch of Abu Dhabi from NYX.
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Side by side swatch of Stockholm (left) and Abu Dhabi (right). Stockholm is much pinker/peachier while Abu Dhabi is much browner.

The longevity on these is definitely not the greatest; you will have to touch up throughout the day, but I personally don’t mind that. You will get that rim around the inner part of your lips as you eat and drink, so I’d imagine wearing a darker shade would be challenging with this formula. But if you wear a shade that is not a million miles away from your natural lip color, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

The packaging is quite small and lightweight so these are absolutely perfect to throw in your handbag. Stockholm has been living in my bag for months, and now Abu Dhabi will join it.

Have you tried any of these products yet? If so, what are your thoughts? Have you hauled anything interesting from the drugstore recently? I’d love to know!

xo, Erica