A night with L’Oreal in NYC

Hi friends!

Something a bit different for today. I had the pleasure of attending an event this past Wednesday night featuring a talk with Jean-Paul Agon, the CEO & Chairman of the L’Oreal Group. If you’re brand new to the beauty scene, L’Oreal is a huge global beauty & fashion empire that owns countless other brands you’re probably very familiar with including Urban Decay, Giorgio Armani, Maybelline, Clarisonic, Essie, Redken, Garnier & Pureology just to name a small fraction.

I bought my ticket for this event back in late summer since I was so intrigued by the theme of the discussion, “Beauty for the New World.” I’m always interested in what industry professionals have to say about the future of beauty. And from the head of L’Oreal no less, so I knew I had to go.

The talk was hosted by the CEW (Cosmetic Executive Women) Organization at The Harmonie Club in NYC. This place was swanky, let me tell you! Right by Central Park on the Upper East Side, I’m sure you get the picture now 😉. It was a 2 1/2 hour event. The first hour was cocktails & hor d’oeuvres (food & service were great but I felt a little awkward since I went to this event solo and didn’t really know anyone), and then the talk and q&a with Jean-Paul filled out the rest of the time slot.

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View from my seat before the talk started.
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It was quite a crowded event.

The first thing I noticed when I sat down in the event space was the massive swag bag on each seat! I felt like I hit the jackpot (even though I kinda paid for it with my ticket price, but moving on)! There was cool stuff from a few L’Oreal brands like IT Cosmetics, Lancome & Kiehl’s. Take a look below.

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A Lancome mini set with the Monsieur Big Mascara & Cils Booster XL Primer. I’ve used the Monsieur Big Mascara before and wasn’t particularly wowed. But I’ll give it another try with the Cils Booster underneath.
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This is a hero moisturizer for a lot of people but I’ve never tried it so I’m excited to start using it going into winter.
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The IT Cosmetics Naturally Pretty Palette. A soft, neutral lovers dream. All shades are matte except for the ‘Transforming’ pearlized shade in the bottom right corner.
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IT Cosmetics brush kit with travel pouch. It came wrapped up like a gift. I started using some of these right away, and wow are they soft & beautiful!
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Lancome gift set box
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La Nuit Tresor Scented Body Lotion, Fragrance & Shower Gel. Not sure I will use any of this so I might save it for a giveaway in the future.

Jean-Paul has been with L’Oreal for 40 years so his perspective on the beauty industry and how it’s changed was very interesting. From the ‘70’s until about 2010 he claimed the way L’Oreal did business didn’t really change much. But then the digital revolution happened and nothing was ever the same. He views the onslaught of technology not as a threat to the beauty business but as an exciting opportunity. For example, the consumer is now at the heart of all products & decisions that are made at L’Oreal, whereas prior to the digital revolution it was products & services that were at the center of decision-making. Throughout his talk he was emphatic on the point that big companies must be ready for change and should try to anticipate it as much as possible. When asked what he hopes his legacy at L’Oreal will be, he said he wanted to be remembered as someone who readied the company for the future as much as possible.

There were some other interesting tidbits I took from the talk. Back in 2001 when Jean-Paul last spoke at a CEW event, an audience member called him out on the fact that L’Oreal was still a “boys club” and had little to no females in high positions of authority. Seventeen years later, things have evolved and now L’Oreal is lauded in the industry for gender equality and pay parity. And when they bought Kiehl’s in 2000 it was a humble $20 million business; news flash it’s now valued at over $1 billion!

What do you think of L’Oreal? Do you like or dislike their products? I’d love to know!

xo, Erica

PIN IT!

Come with me to a special event with the CEO of L’Oreal

 

 

New brand alert! Ohii Beauty launches today*

Exciting news! Ohii Beauty, the new makeup line from lifestyle retailer Urban Outfitters (UO), has launched today both online and in UO stores in North America*! (It will be available in Europe by October, according to the brand.) If you follow beauty news closely, articles announcing the line and teasing the products started popping up in places like Cosmopolitan and Refinery29 in late August. (Ohii’s Instagram account debuted a mere two or so weeks ago.) UO is no stranger to beauty. It’s carried makeup and skincare products from brands like Benefit, bh Cosmetics, Truly Organic and Embryolisse for years now, but this is their first in-house beauty brand.

Just a disclaimer, I have limited information on these products. I do know the entire product line is cruelty-free and vegan. There wasn’t much copy available online, and the Ohii website was pretty bare leading up to the launch. Everything I have has been gathered from either Ohii or UO’s respective Instagram accounts. They pre-launched the entire line at a pop-up store in NYC this past weekend, but I sadly couldn’t make it there.

*All the products are available for sale on UO’s site, click here.

So in this post I will simply be running you through the product list, and letting you know what I’m most interested in picking up. To be clear I have not tried anything from this line yet. I got my inspiration for this post idea from Mimi over at Blushy Darling, who comments on new or upcoming launches every week on her blog.

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Image source: Ohii Instagram

Let’s get to the products now! They are launching 13 makeup and skincare products (one bodycare), all under $25.00 each. 

SKINCARE/MAKEUP

Wake Up Pen available in 2 shades (Pearl & Peach), $18.00 each

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Image source: Ohii Instagram story

This product is stumping me. I can’t make out exactly what it is. From the above description it seems like it would be some kind of skincare/makeup hybrid, so I’m putting it in a category of its own. It’s an undereye treatment that color corrects but when it’s swatched, it looks quite shimmery. Hmmm, see what I mean? I can’t imagine putting something shimmery under my eyes, but I am definitely intrigued by it so this is a maybe.

SKINCARE

Big Reveal Mask available in 2 types (Brighten & Detox), $16.00 each

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Image source: Revelist

I’m trying to get more into masks these days, but preferably sheet masks since I have a few floating around the house. The Ohii ones are specifically peel-off masks. I tend to have a really simple skincare routine so I don’t have oodles of new products rotating in and out of my daily menu. I’m personally more interested in moisturizers and serums. I’ll pass on this one.

2-in-1 Clay Cream Cleanser Wash, $14.00

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Image source: Revelist

See my note directly above. I’ll pass on this one too.

Daydream Hand Cream available in 3 scents (Almond, Citrus Tea, Rose), $10.00 each

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Image source: Urban Outfitters Instagram

I’m definitely interested in this hand cream, especially now going into the cooler months. I usually just pick up either Vaseline or Gold Bond hand creams from the drugstore. I keep one in my handbag for on-the-go application and another on my night table for bedtime application. I really like the price point on this; I just don’t see the rationale behind expensively priced hand creams. This is a want from me, preferably in the Almond scent.

BODYCARE

Pure Stick Deodorant available in 2 scents (Rose, Citrus Tea), $12.00 each

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This may be shocking to some of you but I actually don’t use deodorant and never have. Luckily I’ve hardly ever been told that I smell, and I live with some pretty honest people who would inform me if I did. I also don’t have a problem with excessive sweating, so I guess I just never got in the habit of using deodorants. I’m more into using perfumes and fragrances to impart a fresh scent before I leave the house. So this is a pass from me.

MAKEUP

Soft Glow Highlighter available in 2 shades (Cosmic Jasper, Gold Charge), $18.00 each

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Soft Glow Highlighter in Cosmic Jasper. Image source: Revelist

I’m not sure if this is a cream, powder, or some kind of hybrid texture. With highlighters it’s all about the texture for me. If it’s powder, I’m not into it and it would be a pass, but if it’s cream I’d be a bit more interested. With my complexion I’d definitely go for Cosmic Jasper since I usually favor icy to pink-colored highlighters. (Gold Charge is a much deeper option for darker complexions.) I rarely buy single highlighter pans so this is one I’d like to swatch or feel in-store before making my final decision. This is a maybe from me.

Glass Powder, $20.00

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Image source: Revelist

There’s only one face powder in this range so I assume it must be a translucent setting powder. I’m not huge on setting my makeup since I have dry skin. With that being said, I am pretty loyal to the Rimmel Stay Matte Powder for setting my concealer which is much cheaper than this. I’m going to pass here.

Magic Hair Wand, $12.00

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Image source: Revelist

Ohii claims this is a multi-use product for both hair and brows. For instance, you can tame “flyaways” by simply brushing it through your hair when it’s in an updo or use it to groom your brows and hold them in place. Quite simply though, it’s a clear brow gel; I’m not so sure about the whole brushing “flyaways” part. I much prefer colored brow mascaras over clear gels, so until Ohii brings those to their product line I’m not interested. Pass.

Eyeshadow Palettes available in 2 colorways (Treasure, Magic Hour), $24.00 each

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Eyeshadow Palette in Treasure. Image source: Revelist
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Eyeshadow Palette in Magic Hour. Image source: Revelist.

As you can see, these shadow palettes have 10 pans each and offer one more colorful option (Treasure) and one more muted option (Magic Hour). From photos I’ve seen, it looks like Treasure has about 4 mattes with 6 shimmers, and Magic Hour looks entirely shimmery. Who isn’t excited by a new shadow palette? But my collection is just so chock-a-block with palettes that I love at the moment that I can’t justify yet another purchase right now. So sadly this is a pass for me right now, but I would in the future like to try the Magic Hour Palette.

Skinny Mascara available in one color, $16.00

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Image source: Revelist

If a mascara comes in one color, I assume it’s gotta be black right? The wand on this mascara is quite skinny as the name would lead you to believe (you can get a closer look in the banner image to this post), which makes me think it must be great for lengthening and separating. Because I have an obsession with trying new mascaras, this is definitely a want. The price is pretty fair as well.

True Matte Lip available in 6 shades (Supreme, Self, Star, Hero, Icon, Ego), $16.00 each

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Image source: Revelist

Since this is a liquid lipstick with the name ‘True Matte’, I assume it’s a long-wear formula that dries completely down. I don’t know the claim on the amount of wear obviously, but Ohii featured a customer’s IG story on their page wherein she said that she had been wearing one of the True Mattes for hours without much wear down. Take that for what you will. I feel most beauty lovers know by now if they’re still into matte liquid lipsticks or not. Personally I feel like my penchant for them is on the wane, so I’ll probably pass on this one. I’m much more into traditional lipsticks these days.

Gummy Gloss available in 3 shades (Golden Charge, Rose Quartz, Opaline Dream), $16.00 each

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Gummy Gloss in Golden Charge. Image source: Revelist

Although I am starting to get back into glosses very, very slowly, when I saw these swatched on Ohii’s IG story they looked a little too glittery for my liking. A pass from me.

Lip Jelly available in 3 flavors (Mint Scents, Agave, Rose), $18.00 each

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Image source: Ohii Instagram
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Image source: Urban Outfitters Instagram story

If you read my beauty anti-wishlist blog post, you’ll know my fear of lip balms, lip mositurizers and lip masks after my fiasco with Bite Beauty’s Agave Lip Mask. It might be an irrational fear from a third-party perspective, but it’s very, very rational in my mind! And one of them is called Agave…I don’t think so. Pass from me. Plus $18.00 for such a little guy? Seems excessive.

What do you think about this launch? Will you be purchasing anything? I’d love to know!

xo, Erica

Makeup that makes me nostalgic

I’m not big on nostalgia. It’s not that I don’t enjoy reminiscing from time to time about great experiences or moments that I’ve had with friends and family. But I generally try to keep looking ahead rather than backwards. While this sentiment refers to a broader life philosophy, let me take this back down to makeup. I found myself watching an old Pixiwoo video a few days ago when all of a sudden I was struck by a feeling of honest-to-goodness nostalgia. Sam whipped out Gilt by Association eyeshadow by MAC, which I believe is now discontinued, and a piece of my makeup past flashed in front of me. It was one of the very first eyeshadows I used in high school, and I couldn’t remember the last time I even thought about it.

It got me thinking, how many other products did I regularly use when I first started wearing makeup that I’ve since forgotten about? How many are actually still on the market now? How many do I still use today? I racked my brain and came up with a nice list of products (sorted by brand) that I’d love to share with you. And in true nostalgic form, each product reminds me of a specific period in my life. I know I missed ‘Throwback Thursday’ with this post but I hope you’ll indulge me anyway.

COVERGIRL

LashBlast Volume Mascara – Shop here

CoverGirl Lashblash Mascara
Image Source: eBay.com

Of course we all know this one is still on the market, but I feel this is definitely a product that has been overshadowed over the years by a million new launches. This was either one of or the first mascaras I used, I can’t remember exactly. I used it in high school for quite a long time and generally enjoyed it. However I stopped using it after my mom told me it was snapping off her eyelashes (!). Yup, you read that right. She had noticed her lashes were getting shorter since using this mascara. It got me so freaked out, I threw mine out and never went back.

Intense ShadowBlast Eyeshadows (discontinued)

CoverGirl Intense Shadow Blast
Image source: popsugar.com.au

I loved these way back when. At one time I had all the colors from the line, which were the three pictured above plus a light olive green shade. They were cream shadows in a tube with a doe-foot applicator; easy to apply, blended perfectly and locked into place all day. I particularly loved the brown shade (of course) which I think was called Brown Bling. It was a true taupe shade, very cool-toned, which made it very work-appropriate. This was a staple in both my work makeup menu and also in my travel makeup bag in the mid to late 2000’s. I remember specifically taking this on so many work trips since it was so easy to apply. But unfortunately CoverGirl discontinued this line a while back and have yet to replace it.

JEMMA KIDD MAKEUP (DISCONTINUED LINE) 

Jemma Kidd Eyeshadows

Jemma Kidd Eyeshadow Palette
Image source: poshmark.com

Remember Jemma Kidd makeup?? This was definitely early in my makeup-wearing days when I only really shopped at either MAC, the drugstore or Target. This was a UK brand that was carried at Target in the U.S. before the entire line was discontinued. I know a lot of UK bloggers and YouTubers were obsessed with her complexion products like foundations and highlighters, but I never really wore face makeup until about six or seven years ago. I had the eye/lip palette pictured above (probably right after college), and I was obsessed with the dark, sparkling blue shade on the lower right-hand side of the top quad. I look at this now and I’m not sure what I was thinking with that shade, but I used to dig my finger in and lightly pat it across my lids. I almost hit pan on that shade too.

MAC

Pro Longwear Lip Pencils – Shop here 

MAC Pro Longwear Lip Pencils
Image source: eBay.co.uk

MAC was the first higher-end makeup brand I ever used because my mom was a big fan of their products. (Spoiler alert: there’s a lot of MAC on this list.) I’ve honestly never been the biggest lipstick/lip liner person. I alternate between really loving lip products and wearing them everyday to hating the feel of any product being on my lips. But when I was first experimenting with lip color after college, of course I went to MAC first. If I was going to wear anything on my lips, I thought, it was going to have to last so I bypassed lipstick at the time and went straight to lip pencils. I still think the Pro Longwear Lip Pencils are a great formula, if not a bit stiff, but I don’t have any in my collection right now. I used to have Staunchly Stylish (a browny nude), In Anticipation (a mid-tone pink), and More to Love (a deep but bright fuschia). Most of the time I would apply these all over my lips as a lipstick.

Prep & Prime Eye BaseShop here for the newer version

MAC Prep + Prime Eye Base
Image source: beautybulletin.com

The Prep & Prime Eye Base (in the compact version) was very first eye primer I ever used. I remember specfically my mother gave it to me and said you should always prime your eyes before using powder shadows to get the best effect. So I do what I’m told and I still prime to this day. I’m not sure if this version exists anymore in the Prep & Prime line, but I’ve linked above to the 24-hr Extend Eye Base in the squeeze tube.

Pro Longwear Paint Pots – Shop here 

MAC Paint Pot in Camel Coat

I’ve talked about my big love for Paint Pots as primers umpteen times on this blog before, so I won’t bore you much longer. But after the Prep & Prime Eye Base, it was Paint Pots for me, and Paint Pots it will likely stay.

Eye Kohl Pencils – Shop here 

MAC Power Kohl Liners

These are real nostalgia products for me. Before I was into face makeup, I was into eye makeup…big time. My eyes were the first feature I really wanted to play up as a teenager and as a young adult. I remember lining my upper and lower lashes with black liner for the first time and thinking I was super cool. The MAC kohl liners weren’t the first liners I ever used, but they were the first liners I really loved. But this was back when I didn’t know much about makeup, so I’d line all over my eyes without setting it with powder, and by half-way through the day I was a panda. I really don’t use kohl liners anymore because of their smudginess, but I’ll always have a fondness for the MAC ones. I used to own Powersurge (a gold), Teddy (a bronze), Smolder (a charcoal-black), and Tarnish (a blackened-green that might be discontinued?).

Powder Eyeshadows in Gilt by Association, Patina, Club & Satin Taupe – Shop here (everything except Gilt by Association) 

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Gilt by Association by MAC

 

MAC Palette with Patina, Club, Satin Taupe highlighted
My MAC palette featuring Patina (P), Club (C), & Satin Taupe (S).
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Swatches from top to bottom: Patina, Club, Satin Taupe, Lola Lola (NARS).

Gilt by Association was a baked eyeshadow with a mineralize finish that had this beautiful marbled effect with gold, black and dark browns. I hardly used eye brushes early in my makeup-wearing days, so I used my fingers to gently tap the shadow all over my lids. It gave me a subtle, shimmering golden-brown effect that I loved at the time. Then I got heavily into MAC singles in the mid-2000’s and eventually created my own palette with my favorites, as pictured above. But I particularly loved, and still love to this day, Patina (a cool-toned golden-pearl shade), Club (a warm brown with green/blue shift), and Satin Taupe (a cool-toned purpley-brown satin shade). Classics.

MAYBELLINE

Dream Bouncy Blush – Shop here

Maybelline Dream Bouncy Blush
Image source: walmart.com

This was one of the first blushes I ever bought when I started wearing blush. I’m not sure exactly how old I was, but most likely I was in my early to mid-20’s. I didn’t want to invest in a high-end blush yet in case I didn’t like the effect, so I went to the drugstore instead. If memory serves, the only reasons I gravitated towards the Dream Bouncy Blushes were the fun colors they came in and the cool-looking texture. I had an apricot shade and a pink shade, but I remember thinking these were kinda crap after a while. But perhaps it was my fault. They have a powder-to-cream kind of formula, so I used my fingers to apply the color to my cheeks but I could barely get anything to show up (and I have fair skin). They hit the trash not too long after purchasing them, but whenever I see them in the drugstore I remember when I first discovered blush.

NARS

Lola Lola Single Eyeshadow (may be discontinued?)

NARS Lola Lola Eyeshadow

This one takes me all the way back to high school. I loved this warm, rusty brown shade just simply applied all over my lid (again, just using my fingers). I never applied shadow underneath my lower lash line when I was teenager; too dramatic. I might have hit pan on the first one I had, but I repurchased it a few years ago. Sadly I couldn’t find this shade on NARS’s website, so perhaps it’s since been discontinued.

REVLON

Lip Butters (discontinued)

Revlon Lip Butter
Image source: walgreens.com

I was heavy into the Lip Butters around 2013-2014. I loved this formula so much that I had three or four of these on the go at one time, and nearly all of them lived in my purse. I would never remember the exact names but I had a fuschia, a red, a nude and a peach at least. If you never owned a Lip Butter, they were basically colored lip balms. Nothing special necessarily, but they had some cling to them so the color lasted a little longer than you’d expect for such a moisturzing formula, which I loved. And they had decent color payoff for being just balms. Revlon discontinued them in the past few years and replaced them with the HD Gel Color line, which is equally as moisturizing.

Which makeup items make you feel nostalgic? I’d love to know!

Xo, Erica

 

Fenty made me do it: Inclusivity in the beauty world

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BEAUTY BAKERIE CAKE MIX DEMI-MATTE FOUNDATION – Shop here

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

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

NARS NATURAL RADIANT LONGWEAR FOUNDATION – Shop here

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

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

DIOR BACKSTAGE FACE AND BODY FOUNDATIONShop here 

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

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

COVER FX POWER PLAY FOUNDATION – Shop here

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

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

COVERGIRL TRUBLEND MATTE MADE FOUNDATION – Shop here

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

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

COLOURPOP NO FILTER NATURAL MATTE FOUNDATION – Shop here 

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

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

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

xo, Erica

Review: Wet n’ Wild Comfort Zone Eyeshadow Palette

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

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

10 eyeshadow shades for $4.99 (0.35 oz)

Cruelty-free & Vegan

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

Source: Wet n’ Wild official website

HOW I APPLY MY EYESHADOW

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

SHADES & SWATCHES

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

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

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

MY THOUGHTS ON…

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

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

Rating: 4/5 ⭐️

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

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

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

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

Rating: 4/5 ⭐️

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

Rating: 5/5 ⭐️

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

Rating: 4/5 ⭐️

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

Rating: 5/5 ⭐️

FINAL THOUGHTS

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

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

xo, Erica

 

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

What’s in my makeup travel bag for summer 2018?

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.

I’m off on a short vacation to the beach next week which means some travel makeup packing is in order. The weather has been very hot and humid in NY lately and next week looks to be no different. So I’ll need simple-to-apply cream products in small, lightweight packaging that will layer well and will keep (most of) their intensity through sticky weather. A tall order for any product I know, but it is possible to achieve. Travel sizes or mini’s are ideal of course.

So let’s launch now right into my chosen products.

(This is a post about travel makeup and not SPF, but of course I will be taking loads of SPF with me. I’m partial to Neutrogena as their formulas are great for those with sensitive skin like myself. I typically wear factor 50 or above all over my body and on my face.)

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EYE MAKEUP 

Beautaniq Beauty Glow Serum – Shop here 

I got this in a Birchbox recently and while it’s marketed as a highlighter, I find it’s way too sparkly for the face. But as a cream shadow it’s beautiful. It’s a water-based product that just glides on the eye and then locks in place. It’s got a lovely pink-champagne tint to it. I have not worn this yet for long hours in the heat so this trip will be a good test. I don’t usually wear heavy or dramatic on vacation so I’ll probably wear this alone during the day for a little shimmer on the eye.

Physician’s Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Brown Eyeliner from the Warm Nude Trio – Shop here

I’ve spoken about this eyeliner before in an earlier post, so I won’t stay here long but this is a great affordable dark & chocolatey brown liner that goes on smoothly, allows you a little playtime to smudge if you want, but then sets for long-wear. It comes in a trio with black and copper liners so you won’t be able to buy it alone. But all the colors are awesome. (I used the black liner to death so I had to toss it away not along ago, fyi.) I’ve travelled with this product several times in the past since it’s retractable and very user-friendly.

*Clinique High Impact Mascara, 01 Black .28 oz / 7 mL

I got this great travel size as a gift-with-purchase recently. But I’ve been through a few travel sizes of this mascara over the years, plus a full size. Clinique just does mascara really, really well. I love this. The formula is not too thick and coats the lashes very nicely without clumping. It’s got a traditional bristle brush, which is my absolute favorite; it distributes the product evenly throughout the lashes to give a very lengthened appearance.

Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara in Black – Shop here

Packing two mascaras is probably not every person’s idea of makeup downsizing, but this is non-negotiable for me. This mascara never flakes or smudges under my eyes like a lot of others do. And it’s tiny anyway so it doesn’t take up much room in my makeup bag. I’ve been using it for absolute years so it’s a real hero product of mine. I wrote about my love for it in my very first blog post.

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From L to R: Clinique High Impact Mascara (travel size), Beautaniq Glow Serum, Physician’s Formula Eyeliner, Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara (full size).
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From L to R: Physician’s Formula Brown Eyeliner, Beautaniq Glow Serum. The silver sheen in the Glow Serum really picks up in natural light but the pink tint is clearly visible in artificial light.

COMPLEXION MAKEUP

MAC Strobe Cream in Pinklite – Shop here

Yet another tried, tested and loved product for me. I used to only apply this under more drying bases like the Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation, as written about in detail here. But now I use it most days as a first step in my face routine. It’s primarily a moisturizer but it has some fine pink pearl that gives a little luminescence to the skin. I definitely wouldn’t say it’s anywhere near a highlighter; it’s extremely subtle. I’ll be taking the mini size with me, as pictured below.

NARS Creamy Concealer in Chantilly – Shop here

I mentioned this product briefly in my review of the Too Faced Multi-Use Sculpting Concealer, but I picked it up around the same time as the Too Faced and I really like it. It sets nicely without creasing on me, so I won’t have to take a powder. I wouldn’t say it’s overly dry either but keep in mind I only apply as little as I can get away with. The shade I have is the lightest in the whole range so it really helps brighten under my eyes as well. Plus the packaging is lightweight and slim; a win for travel. This is the only coverage product I’ll be taking.

Kiko Cosmetics Velvet Touch Creamy Stick Blush in 02 Golden Peach – Shop here

I’ve spoken about Kiko here and there on the blog, but I discovered the brand in Italy years ago when I used to go there for business. They make great quality products at fairly affordable prices, but in the U.S. they are only available to purchase online. I picked up a few bits to try a while back including this cream stick blush, which is indeed super creamy and easy-peasy to apply with fingers. This particular color has a good deal of peachy shimmer, so it can both blush and highlight my face depending on the placement. It’s got a light texture and natural finish, minus the shimmer. I feel like it doesn’t get enough love from me, so I’m taking it along.

BROWS

*L’Oréal Paris Brow Stylist Brow Plumper, Light to Medium, 0.27 fl. oz. (Packaging May Vary)

I’ve talked about this in detail in an earlier post. This is my most favorite, top-shelf brow product. I exclusively use brow mascaras now; I haven’t touched a brow pencil in I-don’t-know-how-long. To me this is easy, no-fuss makeup at its best. The brush has just the right amount of product on it, so you’re rarely left with the odd clump that you have to frantically brush out.

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From L to R: L’Oreal Brow Stylist Plumper, NARS Creamy Concealer, Kiko Velvet Touch Blush, MAC Strobe Cream.

LIPS

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillow Talk – Shop here

This is a fairly recent addition to my rather small lipstick collection, but it instantly has become my go-to shade and texture. This is a iconic shade in the Matte Revolution range, which I can best describe as a soft, medium pink with warm undertones. The unique square-shaped bullet makes application easy and quick. The formula is buildable and offers just the right amount of hydration. It doesn’t become the least bit dry over time either. I wouldn’t call this 100% matte though; perhaps more a semi-matte finish as there is some give when you rub your lips together. It’s just so gorgeous in every way.

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Swatch of Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Lipstick

Are you taking any interesting vacations before the summer is over? What are your makeup travel essentials? I’d love to know!

xo, Erica

Why indie beauty is important; plus brands I want to try

I’m not sure if anyone else has the same experience but between shopping for makeup at either the drugstore or huge retailers like Sephora or Ulta, I unfortunately don’t get much exposure to more independent or smaller beauty brands. By independent I’m referring to brands that are not owned by the big giants like L’Oreal, Estée Lauder, Shiseido, Coty, LVMH or Unilever, for example. While these corporations may be the biggest players in terms of distribution, product offerings, revenue & brand awareness, they are definitely not alone in the field anymore. In actuality the world of beauty is a highly dynamic and ever-evolving one that has widened tremendously thanks to the rise in e-commerce businesses, social media saturation & community-building, and the changing values of its consumer base.

Continue reading “Why indie beauty is important; plus brands I want to try”