A tour of my beauty mini’s

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

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

BIRCHBOX MINI’S 

Lise Watier Hydraforce BB Cream – Shop here 

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

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

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

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

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

Winky Lux Disco Kitten Gloss in Groovy – Shop here

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

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

Smashbox Photo Finish Radiance Primer – Shop here

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

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

SEPHORA MINI’S

Belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb – Shop here

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

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

Milk Makeup Holographic Stick in Supernova – Shop here 

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

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

Natasha Denona Mini Lila Eyeshadow Palette – Shop here

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

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

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

xo, Erica

 

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Ulta haul featuring Urban Decay & Flower Beauty

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

URBAN DECAY BORN TO RUN EYESHADOW PALETTE – Shop here 

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Outer packaging
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Front of palette

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

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

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

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

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

FLOWER BEAUTY LASH WARRIOR MASCARA – Shop here 

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

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

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

Xo, Erica

Snatch or skip? L’Oreal mascaras

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

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

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

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

WHAT TO SNATCH!

*L’Oréal Voluminous X Fiber Mascara with Black Primer

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Image Source: Walgreens

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

*L’Oreal Voluminous Butterfly Sculpt Mascara

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Image source: L’Oreal Paris

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

WHAT TO SKIP!

L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara

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Image source: eBay

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

L’Oreal Telescopic Carbon Black Mascara

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Image Source: Look Fantastic

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

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

xo, Erica

My favorite luxe beauty products

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

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

FOUNDATION

Dior AirflashShop here

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Image Source: Feelunique.com

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

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

CONCEALER

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

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

*First runner-up: Tarte Shape Tape Concealer

POWDER

*Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette

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

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

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

EYE PRIMER

MAC Pro-Longwear Paint Pots – Shop here 

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

EYESHADOW (POWDER) 

MAC Sumptuous Olive – Shop here

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

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

EYESHADOW (CREAM) 

Bobbi Brown Long Wear Cream Shadow Sticks – Shop here 

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Bobbi Brown Shadow Stick in Taupe

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

EYELINER

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eyeliners – Shop here 

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

MASCARA 

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

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

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Image Source: Cult Beauty

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

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

BLUSH

YSL Baby Doll Kiss & Blush – Shop here 

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

*First runner-up: Stila Convertible Color

HIGHLIGHTER

*BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector – Opal

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

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

LIPSTICK

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick – Shop here 

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Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Pillow Talk

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

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

xo, Erica

Imitation or rip off? The case of Revolution Beauty

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Xo, Erica

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

 

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