Tag Archives: eye shadow

December 2016 Subscription Box Showdown

Happy New Year everyone! ¬†With a new year, I’m hoping to do a lot more posting, so lets get right back into the goods!

Even though it is already January, and new boxes are making their way to our homes, I though I would take some time and see which box ended the year with the biggest bang. Subscription Box Showdown Time- Sephora Play vs Ipsy Vs Allure Beauty Box!

Boxes...assemble? :)
Boxes…assemble? ūüôā

First box: Ipsy! 

While it is technically a bag not a box, Ipsy was one of the first, and for $10/month, they seldom disappoint Рand the bag is part of the subscription, every month we get a cute new design. This month’s is intended for party time, and to my surprise? Its fuzzy!  And whats inside?

And the bag is FUZZY!
Its so FUZZY!! ūüėÄ
  • Ouai Wave spray – I actually have a bottle of this in my bathroom right now! I received it from another subscription box a few months back. It has a lovely smell and when spritzed on damp hair, I find it does help encourage more waviness in my ¬†hair, especially if i let it dry in a bun or braid. So even though this isn‚Äôt new for me, I‚Äôm definitely happy to get another bottle.
  • Nyx prismatic shadow in Punk Heart – I am no stranger to Nyx cosmetics, but I had not yet tried the prismatic line, and after this quick swatch I‚Äôm delighted to have it! This shadow is a rich amethyst with a gorgeous sheen, and the powder is a soft, smooth texture that was easy to swatch and I‚Äôm sure will be easy to apply and blend.
Nyx shadows have a cute bow detail on the package.
Nyx shadows have a cute bow detail on the package.
  • Ciate London Liquid Velvet Matte Lipstick in Pin Up – While I‚Äôve heard of Ciate London, this product is totally new to me in all but reputation. I‚Äôve heard excellent things about this company‚Äôs matte lipstick, and this is a generous sample in a pretty warm berry shade that I‚Äôm looking forward to trying out.
dries down to a matte finish more quickly on the lips
Swatchy!
  • Jersey Shore Cosmetics Peppermint Moisture Rich Hydrating Balm – I think I‚Äôve gotten a hand cream or possibly another balm from this company in the past, but clearly not that memorable. Still, I like mint lip balms, and especially in winter its nice to have some extra on hand.
  • tarte cosmetics deluxe maracuja oil – i‚Äôve heard loads about tarte‚Äôs oil, mostly about how versatile it is – face, skin, nails, hair etc can apparently all benefit – but what i was pleased with when I opened this up is that its nearly scent-free and absorbs quickly, but not so quickly that you can‚Äôt spread it out evenly. I use a serum or face oil as a part of my skin care routine, so I may try subbing this in to see how it compares.

All in all, this was a pretty good box. While I did get some familiar items, everything here is good colors, good quality, and products with strong reputations. Good variety of items too, hair & skin care as well as cosmetics; December was definitely a good month for Ipsy.

 

Next up: The Allure Beauty Box. This one comes in an actual box, every month you get the same bright red box, but they are very well constructed and could be useful for storage, or as gift boxes. One thing unique to this box is the ‚Äúmini-magazine‚ÄĚ, which is simply a booklet with an entry for each item in the box. I really like this because they often provide advice on how to best use the product, and they give thorough explanations of what each item is. While it’s always a simple task to look things up online, I rather enjoy the experience of sitting down with a new Allure box and opening each product and reading about them without having to hunt down information on the products one by one. ¬†So what did I get?

allure

  • Coastal Salt & Soul Heavenly Hand cream in Mediterranean Citrus – they are not kidding about the citrus! When I opened the seal on this lotion, a wonderful bright citrus scent hit me instantly. I am always in need of hand cream in the winter, and a bright cheerful scent like this is ideal for the dreary winter days ahead.
  • European Wax Center Oh My Brow brow highlighter – This product is new to me and honestly already quite nifty. Its a chubby pencil highlight that goes on very easily, it has a smooth even texture, and a flattering champagne sheen. Whats especially nice about this is that on the other end of the pencil, there is a smudger tip! Hidden under a smaller cap is a soft black sponge tip that makes quick work of blending. I love that kind of convenience in a product, makes it ideal for on-the-go!
This has a nice soft glow without being too obvious or glittery
This has a nice soft glow without being too obvious or glittery
  • Tula Advanced Neck Cream – Honestly this item surprised me, it never occurred to me to have a separate cream just for your neck, I usually just use my face moisturizer on it. But what the heck, its fun to try new stuff.
  • Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre –¬† I thought this was just a moisturizer, but apparently you can use it as a cleanser or shave cream, so I may save this for travel!
  • Beautyblender Liquid Blendercleanser – As a long time beauty blender user, i’m delighted to have a good sized sample of this to try out. I have a small solid version of their cleanser I got in a beauty blender multipack, and it works very well, so i’m curious to see how it compares to the liquid
  • Skinceuticals Blemish & Age Defense serum – This I am definitely excited to try, its a skin oil that helps with breakouts AND signs of aging. I have a serum right now that is supposed to work on various skin problems like breakouts, but it does not address aging, so it will be cool to compare to this one.

This month’s Allure box is full of things that are new to me! The cleanser is the only thing I was previously familiar with, so its great to learn about some new stuff I might not have found otherwise.

Last and certainly not least, its the Sephora Play! Box.

Sephora’s Play! box is relatively new to the scene, but it is already popular thanks to their name recognition. The subscription is $10/month, and arrives in a black & white striped box; inside of which there is a cloth, drawstring pouch (each month with a new design) holding all your samples:

sephora-play

  • Sephora Cream Lip Stain in Always Red – A long wearing, matte finish lip color, Sephora recently released a “vault” of 40 colors of this product, so I’m not surprised to receive this. ¬†Its lightweight, and its a nice¬†color that would probably work on most people.
Swatch: this is a nice bright red
Swatch: this is a nice bright red
The brush - you can see how its somewhat flat but curves at the end
The brush!
  • Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo – I don’t know much about Drybar’s products, but I love getting trial size dry shampoos. This one seems to have a strong smell, but I’ll still try it out.

This month’s Sephora box is exciting! The majority of the stuff in here I may have heard of, but its almost entirely composed of things I wanted to try, which is awesome.

All in all, December was a good month subscription-wise. Since I didn’t really feel like any of the items I received were failures this month, choosing a favorite simply comes down to which box I am the most happy about, and I think this month that would have to be Sephora Play!¬† Even though I do not particularly care for the perfume from that box, everything else I received was either something I knew of and wanted to try or something that I am now looking forward to trying.

Do you disagree with my ruling? Do you have a favorite subscription box I’ve never mentioned? Tell me about it in the comments!

Subscription showdown tally: Sephora: 1, Ipsy 1, Allure 0*

* Allure has been my favorite before, but that was prior to my 3 box showdown format, so I did not include it in this tally.

 

Disclaimer: I pay for these subscriptions with my own money.

Subscription Box Showdown! Ipsy vs Allure Beauty Box vs Sephora Play!

This month, I thought it would be fun to compare all three of the subscriptions I got, head to head (to head?) and declare a best of the month.  Lets just dive in and have a look!

To start off, here’s Ipsy:

Dig that shiny bag! :)
Dig that shiny bag! ūüôā

This month I received:

theBalm Cosmetics Meet Matt(e) Trimony eyeshadow in Matt Kumar Рa small version of one of the eyeshadows from this palette, this is a generous sample and I know from experience, a good quality shadow. I own a handful of the Balm products, and they never disappoint.

bareminerals Gen Nude Matte Liquid Lipcolor in Swag Рthis is a liquid lipstick that dries down to a matte finish for that long wearing style that has been very popular lately.

Sedona Lace Synthetic Blender, EB13¬†–¬†I’ve only heard of the Sedona Lace brand from some makeup artists online, so its neat to get one to try out. The brush feels solidly constructed and the bristles are soft but not too flimsy or sparse, overall the quality seems very good.

Not Soap, Radio When life gives you one too many lemons (and you’ve misplaced your happy place) joy inducing hand/body lotion¬†– and yes, that is the actual name of the product! I love getting hand cream in these boxes! The sample sizes are always great to throw in my bag, and this one has an especially nice texture, absorbing very quickly, and it has a great lemon scent to it, so that was a big favorite for me this month.

Bellapierre Cosmetics Banana Setting Powder¬†– ¬†I’ve gotten products from Bellapierre from Ipsy before. One was a loose powder blush that I quite like, so I am looking forward to trying out their setting powder, its quite soft and blended very smoothly when I swatched it. (see the swatch below with other swatches from this bag.)

I’m a big fan of the Balm, and do not have this palette, so getting a color from it was pretty cool. Its a nice, warm shade:

Nice smooth texture and blends easily!
Nice smooth texture and blends easily!

I’m only loosely familiar with bareminerals, but everything I’ve tried from them has been very nice quality. This liquid lipstick seems to be no exception. It has no noticeable¬†scent, and the color is a soft,¬†neutral pink I am sure to get plenty of wear from:

A decent sized sample, and very nice packaging!
A decent sized sample, and very nice packaging!

And of course, the setting powder:

Banana powder!
Banana powder! (named for its yellowish tint- does not contain banana!)

This month from Ipsy I also redeemed points for a bonus – a very nice one too!

Yay Bonus!
Yay Bonus!

With the Ipsy subscription you have the opportunity to earn points by answering short surveys about each item you get. The points are not the only benefit, your selections each month are also affected by your survey responses, so if you like a brand (like I mentioned Bellapierre), its likely they’ll send you other samples from it, or send you similar products to ones you like. ¬†You can also earn points from sharing your bag on social media, or referring friends to sign up. (I get most of my points from the review surveys.) I was lucky enough to have enough points saved up¬†when they announced they were offering the TooFaced Born this Way concealer as a bonus for July, before it was even available for sale.

IMG_20160730_173857

I guessed at my color – its always hard to tell online isn’t it? – and it looks like i guessed well.(Obviously it doesn’t match my hand, but it matched my face very well) This concealer is very pigmented but super thin and lightweight, and I haven’t noticed any creasing so far. As you can see it came in a glass tube with a doe-foot applicator. A full-sized, high-end concealer is pretty sweet bonus item in my book.

Overall the Ipsy selection this month was pretty fun. It was a mix of brands I was familiar with and brands that I’m not as familiar with, and none of the items were a repeat. ¬†The bag was also a mix of useful and fun items, which I always like.

Next up, Sephora Play!

IMG_20160730_173952
Loving that popsicle totebag – so cute!

This month included:

beautyblender Рblotterazi: This is a flat sponge designed to replace blotting papers. I actually already own the full size of this, which is a compact with mirror and two sponges, so its nice to have an extra sponge for my compact! This is a cool sample to send out, because it is exactly what you get in the full size product, simply without the compact and the backup sponge, so you can really get an idea of whether this product is for you.

First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser: ¬†I have used some really fantastic moisturizers from this brand so I’m happy to get one of their cleansers. This has a nice creamy feel to it, and the scent reminds me of ivory soap.¬†A travel size of a mild cleanser good for all skin types.

Ouai Wave Spray: a texture mist for hair, for those low-maintenance, soft wavy looks often referred to as “beachy waves”. I love doing this sort of easy-going hair style, so I am looking forward to testing this one out. This has a light, clean scent to it; many sprays of this style tend to have beachy scents like coconut, this one feels a little more versatile to me.

Smashbox Photofinish Primer: a foundation primer, and ¬†its one I’ve gotten samples of a number of times before, it is very welcome, as it is a fantastic primer! It smooths the skin texture and helps your foundation last.

Nest Fragrances in Citrine: Every Play box includes a fragrance sample. This one claims that it layers fresh lotus flower, freesia, bright citrus with a base of “precious” woods. This is a clean,¬†bright floral scent without being overly cloying. I don’t usually like floral perfumes but this one I could actually see myself wearing. The vial has a sprayer on top, which I also really appreciate.

Benefit Cosmetics Dew the Hoola soft matte liquid bronzer: This is a light cream that gives a soft bronze tone to the skin without any shimmer or sheen. ¬†I’ve never done much with bronzers, so I’m pleased to get a sample to play with and¬†try the look.

The only¬†product with color to it in this box, so here’s a quick swatch:

Some blended in and some straight out of the tube.
Some blended in and some straight out of the tube.

This is a pretty nice selection of products, and in my opinion, seasonally appropriate. The cosmetic related items are all things I would use in warmer weather, the blotter, the primer and the bronzer. The hair product is designed for giving your hair that “beach day” look, ideal for weather where its too hot to heat-style. The fragrance is bright, clean and not too heavy,¬†definitely a good choice for summer. And the skin product, a gentle face wash in a convenient size, is perfect for a season when you might not only need something gentle for your face, but something portable!

And finally, Allure Beauty Box!

Lots to see here!
Lots to see here!

This month’s items:

Smashbox Photofinish Primer: No, I didn’t accidentally type it twice, I actually got this sample in two of my subscriptions this month! As I said above, this is a wonderful product, and I know I’m definitely not the first or last person on the internet to talk about liking this primer. Since I became a fan of this primer through a sample, I am never surprised to see it pop up, and never disappointed with it either.

Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Color Balm in Super Strawberry: I have tried this line of lip crayons before, but I’ve never had this shade. These are very moisturizing, sheer lip color with no noticeable¬†fragrance or taste, but very comfortable to wear.

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II¬†: a nighttime skin serum that claims to reduce signs of aging. I like using serums, especially in summer, since they absorb quickly and you can layer them with other products more easily. This¬†serum¬†is no exception. It has a very light consistency and absorbs very fast; there is a subtle scent when you first apply but it seems to fade quickly as the product sinks in.¬† I’ve received some other items from this line before, so I’m curious to try this one out.

GlamGlow SuperMud Clearing Treatment: a facial mask for oily or combination skin that claims¬†to clear up skin imperfections. I have been hearing about how amazing the products from this brand are for ages now, but their high prices have kept me away. I was legitimately excited to receive this, and ¬†can’t wait to use it!

La Mer The Moisturizing Soft Cream:  This is a luxury skin cream, which claims to provide intense moisturization and restore radiance to the skin.  The sample is small, but given its high prices ($170 for one ounce!); that is not too surprising. The cream is rich but spreads easily and absorbs nice and quick. I think I will be able to get a decent couple of uses from it, and I can come back to you guys with a full review and let you all know if I think this cream is worth the hype (and price)!

In my hand for scale, look at the tiny cute jar!
In my hand for scale, look at the tiny cute jar!
A quick peek at this mask also revealed that it smells great, like tea!
A quick peek at this mask treatment also revealed that it smells great, like tea!
A lovely sheer berry color, perfect for summertime
A lovely sheer berry color, perfect for summertime

Not going to lie, Allure’s box impressed me this month. All the products are things I’m happy to receive, and frankly, fancier than I expect from these subscriptions, which is pretty cool. This box is pretty heavy on skin care, so the variety is not as exciting as the other boxes, but despite that I was still very pleased with¬†this month’s selections. When I reviewed the mini magazine however, my opinion of the box this month dropped. It turns out there was another item available this month, but it had to be redeemed in person at a Nordstrom’s. There is no Nordstrom’s convenient to my home, so I was never able to pick it up. For me, one of the major benefits¬†of these subscriptions is to arrive home from work and have a happy little parcel of new things to try waiting for me. Discovering I missed out on an item because I wasn’t prepared to go on a road trip to track it down is rather disappointing.

Deciding on a winner this month actually took me quite a while, but when I really thought about it, I realized that this month’s winner is definitely Ipsy! ¬†This month’s bag was full of interesting and fun products I was excited to try when I opened it up, and that excitement definitely put this subscription above the other two boxes. ¬†The Sephora Play! had some great products this month, and definitely kept my interest, but just didn’t have the same “wow” factor as Ipsy. Allure nearly had it, as I’m definitely looking forward to trying those samples; but my disappointment in the in-store item I missed out on really drove my opinion of the box down for the month.

All in all, I still enjoy all three subscriptions, but right now, Ipsy, I am totally playing favorites for you!

Do you disagree with my ruling? Do you have a favorite subscription box I’ve never mentioned? Tell me about it in the comments!

Disclaimer: I pay for these subscriptions with my own money.

 

June Ipsy Bag!

This month’s bag had some serious winners!

Some new discoveries and even an old favorite!
Some new discoveries and even an old favorite!

To start off, the item I was most excited about, this eyeshadow from Urban Decay, in the shade Lounge. This is a duo-chrome style shadow that is¬†reddish-brown topped with teal-green shimmer. ¬†The shimmer and shift of this shadow is absolutely gorgeous, but it is incredibly hard to capture with a standard phone’s camera. So, like in my last post, I got some much needed help from Stats Kravetz Photography. All the photos of this eyeshadow are by Stas Kravetz Photography.

reflective green copy

these are both the same eyeshadow!
these are both the same eyeshadow!

Urban Decay really does some great eye-shadows, so I’m quite happy to receive this little beauty.As you can see, depending on the light and the angle you look at it from, this shadow’s appearance can totally change. And just to help show that these colors do exist together,here’s a swatch:

reflective 2 copy
So pretty!

Next up, is the cutest little bottle of nail polish. Formula X nail polish in the shade Wing woman to be exact:

Tiny polish bottle!
Tiny polish bottle!

I know some people would not be happy to get a mini polish, but as someone that does not wear a lot of nail polish, I’m sort of hoping this is one I might actually use up before it goes bad. I’m glad its such a fun bright color, perfect for summer!

Next, we have this nice little blush/bronzer/highlighter compact from Crown Brush. This is a sample size, and the standard product is slightly different in appearance. 

definitely sample sized, but plenty of product to use!
definitely sample sized, but plenty of product to use!

They do make of point of explaining how you can use the three shades separately,but in a compact this small I think its a bit easier to just swirl them together, and that produces a very pretty shade that works very well for summer.

The three combine to make a very pretty, soft, shimmery color
The three combine to make a very pretty, soft, shimmery color

Then we have this little compact of cream lip color from Liptini, in the color Pinktini. (Maybe over using that naming convention a wee bit?) This is a satin-finish lip color, in a nice neutral mauve-y pink. According to their site, it can be used on the cheeks as well, and the color would definitely work well for both.

a great every day color!
a great every day color!

The final item is another one I was happy to get, but not because I wanted to try it, but because I was happy to have more of it! This is Marc Anthony Dream Waves Beach Spray.

This stuff smells AMAZING
This stuff smells AMAZING

This product is also great for summer because you can spray it into your hair after a shower, and it helps the hair air dry in good condition, and encourages any natural curl your hair has (my hair is a bit wavy, so this works out very well for me).

Overall I am quite happy with this month. While nothing was full sized, the samples are all quite ample, and good quality products. Nice one Ipsy. ūüôā

If you enjoy my ipsy posts and think you’d like it too, you can sign up here – I will get some bonus points if you do! (This is a standard customer feature, I have no special arrangement with them.)

DIsclaimer: I purchased this subscription myself.

 

Whats in my May Ipsy bag?

Destination: MY FACE (my jokes need work)
Destination: MY FACE (my jokes need work)

This month’s ipsy doesn’t have the most colorful items, but its still a solid selection, one made even better by the fun and unique bag we got this month. Not only is the pattern great, but the envelope style opening is unique (especially among ipsy bags, most have a top zipper) and a fun way to change things up.

What did I get this month?

First up, the Organic Pharmacy antioxidant lip balm. This is a basic, clear lip balm with a thin texture. Its packaging is a familiar plastic tube with angle tip applicator. Its fine, and its handy to have, but not ground-breaking. I will probably throw it in one of my bags for use on the go.

Nice, but likely forgettable
Nice, but likely forgettable

Next, the Bella Pierre lipliner. I feel like lip liner is something incredibly useful that I am always forgetting to add to my collection, so I like receiving neutral ones in these subscriptions (Sephora Play! helped me out with this¬†too!) This is a nice neutral pinky-brown, and goes on very creamy and smooth.¬†Unlike the sephora sample (from tarte), this is a full-size pencil, which is nice, because I don’t have to wonder if I will run out of product mid-application.

A nice simple lip pencil, the gel texture is very nice.
Its a nice pencil, no drag at all when applying.

I feel like hair oil can be a sort of polarizing product. Some people can’t live without it, some people won’t touch it! I haven’t really formed an opinion about the stuff myself, so I’m glad to have a small sample of this oil from Eva NYC to try out and play with. The oil has a very light, clean, almost powdery scent.

Will I like it? The SUSPENSE!
Will I like it? The SUSPENSE!

I was actually excited to get this next item, because its something I’m familiar with. I have gotten a single of these shadows before, and I’m happy to say the texture of these is just like the single I have. The Pacifica Natural Mineral eye shadow trio is not only a good sized sample, but its also a good trio! I plan on wearing these soon, these shadows have a lovely, creamy, rich texture, and a beautiful sheen.

2016-05-25-22-19-29
So pretty!

Final product, we have a Smashbox mascara. I have never tried the X-rated one before, so I will give it a try. In addition to having very wispy bristles, as you will see below, the brush is also triangular (so there are three sets of bristles positioned around the wand), which is interesting.  I am curious, but many mascaras that are not waterproof smudge on me, so I tend to be skeptical of new mascaras.

Do you have what it takes, little mascara?
Do you have what it takes, little mascara?

But WAIT. That is not all i received this month! One thing that is cool about Ipsy is that you can give them feedback on each item you receive, and for doing so you accumulate points. The points section of the site has a selection of rewards that is constantly being updated, so I decided to get myself a bonus, the Folium Medica Healing Oil

Who doesn't like a bonus?
Who doesn’t like a bonus?

From the website, this oil is supposed to

  • Helps diminish blemishes and scaring
  • Reduces hyper-pigmentation and sebum production
  • Repairs damaged skin cells, anti-inflammatory

These are all things that appealed to me, since I do still have to deal with breakouts. (Adult acne sucks, its true.) ¬†So i’m hopeful trying this as well. Its a fairly large bottle for a free bonus,5 ounces, so I definitely feel like I got a good value. It has a fairly strong scent, an herbal, almost medicinal smell, but it seems to fade fairly quickly.

All in all, this may not be the most exciting bag I’ve ever gotten, but its definitely a good haul, I feel I’ve gotten a good value and some interesting new stuff to try, which is all I ever really want out of a subscription sample box.

Like the sound of Ipsy? If you are interested in signing up, this is my referral link. I get points for anyone that signs up using it, which I could redeem for more bonus items! You can just go to ipsy.com if you would prefer not to use my link.

Disclosure: I pay for my ipsy subscription myself.

Wonder Woman Makeup!

I was honestly too excited about this collection to think of a clever title. This collection, from what I’ve been able to gather, is a Walgreens exclusive, but also available via drugstore.com (Thank goodness!) I first heard about it when this flyer hit the internet, and I immediately started watching out for it. None of the Walgreens around me seemed to receive the collection (aside from a few pieces, more on that later), so once I heard it had hit drugstore.com, I placed an order.

WOOO! (me when i opened the shipment)
WOOO! -me when i opened the shipment

If you compare this to the flyer, ¬†I was not able to get everything. I have not be able to find the lip balm tins anywhere, which was disappointing. I saw the brush kit at a¬†store, but frankly, it looked fairly cheap and the brushes didn’t seem very useful or unique so I passed on it. I haven’t seen the bronzer & brush set for sale anywhere, so that was not an option either. ¬†But lets focus on what I DID get!

Liquid liners!
Liquid liners!

As you can see, they are pretty standard liquid liners with a fine brush applicator. The bottles feel like hard plastic, and the caps are bright red with the logo in gold foil, pretty!

The names are on the bottoms, Warrior Black, Golden Lasso and Superhero
The names are on the bottoms, Warrior Black, Golden Lasso and Superhero

I found these liners to be inconsistent. If you are looking for a deep, glossy black liner that’s fully opaque in one pass, you WILL be happy with Warrior Black, but if you want that result from the other two, you will be disappointed. ¬†Golden Lasso is gold glitter in a clear base, so like any other glitter liner, requires several passes to even begin to show up as a solid line. ¬†Superhero was a bit of a let down. It is a satin finish bright blue, and was rather watery on one pass, I had to go over it several times for it to finally resemble the color in the tube, and while it looks pretty opaque in the photo, it did not look quite as rich in person.

the black is one pass, the blue and the gold were each 3-4passes with the brush
the black is one pass, the blue and the gold were each 3-4 passes with the applicator

Next up I have the solo eye palette (Paradise Eye-land). This is a small red plastic case with mirror (the Wonder Woman design is a plastic overlay that feels removable), and contains 8 eyeshadows.

Colors are Olympia, Wisdom, Strength, Heroic Beauty, Spitfire, Spirit of Truth, Victorious and Freedom Fighter
Colors are Olympia, Wisdom, Strength, Heroic Beauty, Spitfire, Spirit of Truth, Victorious and Freedom Fighter

As you can see, the palette is very sleek, not much excess packaging at all. I found the eyeshadows in this set to be very creamy and smooth, the texture is lovely. I was actually surprised at how wearable I found the shades, since Wonder Woman tends to be associated with fairly bold colors.  Despite that, this is a pretty, neutral palette.

Swatchy!
Swatchy!

I would point out that the first few shades there do look sheer, but its actually just that they are pale, they were just as smooth to use as the other colors.  That shiny blue (Spirit of Truth!) is clearly the standout of the palette, and I plan to feature it in a look soon.

Next up, the lipgloss set. I almost didn’t buy these, as I don’t wear a ton of lip gloss, but I am SO glad I did. These really surprised me! This comes as a set of three squeezy tubes with an angled tip applicator; with red caps and gold foil logo and star accents. They also have a hard-to-pin-down scent, somewhere between cake and candy, but I find it very pleasant, and not too strong. ¬†As you will see below, these actually have a good amount of pigment to them! The sheerest of the set is the darkest one, which actually works out well, as it makes it a very flattering and wearable color. They are also very smooth feeling on the lips, and not at all sticky, which is nice.

Colors are Athena's Kiss, Mighty Aphrodite and Wonder Woman
Colors are Athena’s Kiss,Mighty Aphrodite and Wonder Woman (order of the swatches)

Of course, the collection had to include a red lipstick. Unlike the glosses, I noticed no discernible scent from it, and the finish seemed fairly matte, and very nicely opaque in just one pass. The packaging is very lightweight, but the red plastic case features a very nice illustration of Wonder Woman, making this an awesome piece of the collection.

The color is Heroine- take that Mac! ;)
The color is Heroine- take that Mac! ūüėČ

Finally, the biggest piece of the collection, and frankly my favorite, the Beauty Book.

The cover flips open to show two different look suggestions
The cover flips open to show two different look suggestions

This really is my favorite piece of the collection. It contains 9 eyeshadows, one blush/bronzer, one liquid eyeliner, one tube of eyeshadow primer, a small lipstick and a sponge eyeshadow applicator. ¬†I’ll start by answering the first two questions I had: ¬†Is that the same lipstick, and is that eyeliner from the other set? ¬†The lipstick¬†is not the same color. The one is this set is called Amazonian Red and its definitely a different shade of red from the standalone lipstick. The standalone is more of a berry red and matte, while the one from the set is a deeper, more true-red color, and has a more satin finish:

Top color is Heroine, bottom color is Amazonian Red
Top color is Heroine, bottom color is Amazonian Red

As for the liner, it is the same. It is also called Warrior Black, and the formula feels exactly the same. Though the packaging is different(and smaller), it is the same sort of fine brush applicator.

Dig that cute eyeliner bottle!
Dig that cute eyeliner bottle!

The set also includes an eyeshadow primer. While the packaging only references Walgreens as the distributor, some of my reading about the collection revealed that the company Markwins was involved in the production. They are responsible for Wet & Wild and Black Radiance, among other drugstore brands. I mention this now, because they are responsible for my BFF eye primer, the Wet & Wild Fergie Take On The Day primer (this is no longer available, but I believe their new Photofocus one is the same formula-I’ll be testing that soon). ¬†Having only given this a quick look (and test on my arm) I suspect this might also be the same formula. It looks and feels the same so far, but I haven’t tested the durability yet.

The tube is all red with gold foil logo and says "Bulletproof"
The tube is all red with gold foil logo and says “Bulletproof”

That leaves the ten powder products: one blush/bronzer and nine eyeshadows. The blush is Grace and Power, the eye-shadows are Golden Age, Legendary Pink, Modern Age, Golden Tiara, Amazon Princess, Marine Ultra, Secret Identity, Emancipation and Valiant.¬†Happily, I found that these shadows have the same texture as the Paradise Eye-land palette, smooth and almost creamy feeling. But even better, none of the colors are the same, so you aren’t doubling up any colors if you get both items. The bronzer/blush has a slighty firmer texture, but it was still smooth and easy to work with.

I love the color names.
I love the color names.

And I was quite happy with the color payoff on them. Just like in the other palette, the lightest shades are a bit weak, but those deeper colors are just fabulous.

SHINY!!
SHINY!!

The sheen on Golden Tiara and Amazon Princess was even prettier in person. ¬†Honestly these are great shadows and i’m excited to try them out, maybe I’ll test out the looks in the foldout cover too.

Overall, I’m happy with the collection. I think the packaging is gorgeous and really fun, and the products are ones I think I will happily use repeatedly. One of the most amazing parts of the collection is its affordability. The most expensive item here, the Beauty Book, only cost $11.99, and I thought the pricing on everything was more than reasonable. In fact, the lipstick, at $2.99, almost feels like a steal!

I’m glad to see a collection like this come out, I like the recognition that girls like being heroes too! I did notice something on the spine of the Beauty Book while putting this post together, and I have to wonder, does Walgreens have more up their sleeve? I for one would be quite excited!

 

V.1? like, Volume 1? MORE SUPERHERO KITS YES PLEASE!
V.1? like, Volume 1????

Could it be? Well, in my opinion: MORE SUPERHERO COLLECTIONS YES PLEASE!

Quick-Fix Makeup!

One of the things I find most satisfying about makeup is the ability to¬†do quick fixes, or shorten routines to roll with an expected change. ¬†So lets discuss a few scenarios I’ve put together for these times that require quick action!

Scenario #1- The last minute Dash-To-Somewhere

I’m very good at causing this one. Waking up late, but still needing to look polished for work, or any other appointment is never a great place to start your day. Some people are comfortable applying their makeup on the subway or in the car (hopefully not while driving!), but I have never been one of these people. To get myself together quick I generally reach for:

Tinted moisturizer (or a BB/CC cream), corrector, cream eye-shadow in a stick or a pot, Mascara, a neutral or sheer lip color.  This is my list because of what I consider to be my key factors in feeling pulled together: evened skin tone, definition for the eyes as well as coverage for under eye circles and a little extra color on the lip. Your go-to look will vary based on what you consider key to your own look.

Scenario #2 The Quick Change

When plans come up for after work, I find it very infrequent that I have time to go home and change. (as most NYC folks do, I would imagine.) ¬†So when I have to go straight from work to evening, changing up your look can be ¬†simple if you prepare. My preference for this is adding a dark brown, purple or black eyeliner (depending on what I’m already wearing on my eyes) on the top and bottom lash lines, and selecting a brighter, bolder or darker lip color to replace my office-friendly selection.

Scenario #3 Makeup Gone Wrong

Something I always hate is checking my face while I’m out and finding some of my makeup is not the way I left it. ¬†The most well known touch-up is probably a shine on the forehead or elsewhere on the face, and is easily corrected with either blotting papers or a powder compact, and needs little explanation. But unfortunately, other things can go wrong. When mascara flakes, I usually clean it up with a pursed-sized (or travel-sized) powder brush- you always want to be gentle when clearing¬†flakes away, because pressing down to wipe at them can cause them not only to stick, but will possibly make them smear and become far harder to remove.

PhotoGrid_1457637591212
Left: flakes on my face. Middle: deploying brush! Right: Eye area restored to pristine conditions. Yay!

If you have smudged mascara or eyeliner, a makeup-remover pen or swab can be a great option, because it allows you to apply remover in a more controlled & targeted way. I have this pen from e.l.f., and here is an example of the swabs. I like to tap the pen tip over the smudged area, and then blot away the mess with a tissue. This allows you to take away the mess without removing much other makeup. I like to finish by applying a little pressed powder to the area, which not only compensates for any lost coverage, but can help prevent further smudging.

Another “gone wrong” scenario I’ve dealt with¬†comes from long wearing lipsticks, like stains and liquid-to-mattes. Lip color that sets can be great, but if only some of it comes off, and its hard to remove, it can be tricky to touch up. A good way to deal with this is to keep a very moisturizing lip balm on hand, like this favorite of mine. ¬†What I ¬†will do is pat a heavy layer of balm onto my lips, and let it sit for several minutes, then I can usually wipe off nearly all the color with a tissue or napkin, and reapply the product. I like this method because it moisturizes your lips in the process, which will help the color application look its best.

I have found that whatever the given situation, it is important to:

  1. Not panic. If you stop and take a breath before acting, you’re less likely to scramble and make a bad choice.
  2. Remember not to take things too seriously. Is it frustrating if your makeup smudges or your fake lashes fall off? Of course it is, but its not the end of the world. Makeup is supposed to be for fun and expression, and I try not to sweat it if things don’t go as I planned. Sometimes you just have to remove what isn’t working and move on.

Do you have a quick fix I haven’t thought of, or are you in need of a fix for a problem I haven’t mentioned? Comment and let me know!

Ask Me: Dark Shadows?!

An old friend, Suzanne, came to me with some eyeshadow woes:

I have always had a hard time blending eye shadow and coming out with a result that draws attention to my eye without looking too unnatural. It seems that every direction I go in leads to its own problem. Liquid shadows crease. Pressed shadow colors seems to smudge together and never seem to be distinct enough. Loose shadows seem to require more brush technique than I seem to possess. Do you have any advice for me on blending different shadows?

Now, there’s quite a lot to respond to here! Lets break it down.¬†

The first thing I want to cover is shadows that crease, and shadows that appear indistinct. The answer for both of these things is, in my experience, base and/or primer!

If your pressed shadows are getting muddy and not showing up well, you may benefit from using an eyebase or primer. Finding the right one can be a bit of a guessing game, as it can depend on your skin type. The purpose of the base is to even out the eyelid, smoothing the surface and evening out the color as well, so nothing stands in the way of your shadows. ¬†So if your powder shadows are coming off ‚Äúindistinct‚ÄĚ, a good base can usually fix that for you. If a boost for your color shadow‚Äôs appearance (often called ‚Äúpayoff‚ÄĚ in makeup circles) is what you‚Äôre after, there‚Äôs a number of options available, and some are very affordable!

 

A few drugstore bases: Milani Shadow Eyes in Almond Cream, and Maybelline Color Tattoo in Nude Pink and Matte Brown
A few drugstore bases I like.

You may have noticed each of those are different colors, because a base can complement the shadow you’re using rather than skin tone, so these are a few bases that I like when I want to punch up the color of a shadow. ¬†This is simply what I have in my collection, there are tons available!

 However, if, like me, you happen to have oily eyelids, a primer acts like a base, but ALSO serves to extend the life of your eye makeup,and prevent breakdown of the products.(Yes, I realize that many bases can do this as well, but in my experience bases provide far less staying power than primers, so forgive me.) Before I found the right primer, my eye-shadows usually didn’t make it through lunch, but now, my eye makeup generally looks the same as it did in the morning when it’s time to take it off at night. For someone like me that suffers the dreaded CREASE, you need more than a simple cream base, you need something designed to keep that shadow in place. A fully fledged Primer can help keep things in check.

Behold my primers!
Behold my primers!

As you can see, my collection of primers is a bit more extensive. I have tried MANY in my attempts to keep my eye looks locked in. My favorite in this photo is the skinny black tube in the middle, the Wet N Wild Fergie Collection Take the Day eye primer. This is my absolute favorite, and has outlasted everything else in this picture. ¬†(To be fair, the Urban Decay primer potion put up one hell of a fight.) ¬†And again, there are PLENTY more out there, but these are the ones I’ve collected over time.

I find with a good primer or base, most shadows will apply far truer to the color they appear to be in their packaging, and also will stay put better, even a liquid shadow – as long as you let it dry before moving the lid around! I have been known to layer a color base over my primer when I want the color on my lid to really pop. That can be very effective, as long as you give each layer time to set (just a matter of seconds normally) so that you’re layering and not mixing them together.

One thing Suzanne noted when I asked her some follow up questions was that she often used the applicators that came with powder shadows in application. While I’m not one to speak ill of these little sponge tips, I find they are only good for placing shadow onto the lid, and when its time to blend, they tend to do more harm than good. 

A set of makeup brushes can really simplify your makeup application more than you might expect. ¬†And it doesn’t have to break the bank. There are lovely brushes available for less than you might think. Some of my absolute FAVORITE brushes are from E.L.F. and most of their brushes are around $3, and they often have sales or gifts with purchase!

For simple looks, you only need a few brushes. ¬†A small flat shadow brush to place shadow on the lid (and again, you could use sponge applicators for this if you prefer). ¬†I would also note that a flat shadow brush is generally a good way to apply a loose shadow, as it is easier to control not only how much pigment you pick up, but where exactly it gets placed. A small dome brush, sometimes called an eye contour brush, to blend shadow into the crease (where the eyelid folds) and at the outside edge of the lid area. If you want further definition, you definitely want to define your lash line. You can get a smaller tipped ‘pencil” brush, which you can use at the upper and lower lash line, for blending out eyeliner or using a dark eye shadow as liner. ¬†One more brush i might recommend is a larger, fluffy shadow brush, which you can use to blend your shadow for a softer look after application. By using an additional, softer brush with no product on it, you will be able to smooth the edges of your shadow without muddying the colors or accidentally over-applying any color.

Some examples!

My current favorite brush for placing shadow is the Sonia Kashuk small shadow brush Рno.106. You can usually find this one at Target.

IMG_20160209_232119566

For blending in the crease, I don’t have a favorite so I grabbed a few that I like to show you, here on the right I have the e.l.f. Blending Eye Brush¬†(and note: this brush is only $1!)and on the left is the contouring brush from the Soho Disney Belle Enchanted Eyes brush set¬† ¬†(This set is now fairly hard to find, but I assure you, the brush shape is easy to get.)

Fun Fact: the metal part of the brush is called the ferrule!
Fun Fact: the metal part of the brush is called the ferrule!

Next up, I have pencil brushes. On the left is actually a two-sided brush, the Crown no.C476 Crease/Shadow Brush, and the other is simply a small brush that was part of a set my sister gave me for my birthday many years ago, which I cannot link to.

One fancy, one nameless. Both effective!
One fancy, one nameless. Both effective!

And finally, some excellent fluffy blending brushes. The one on the left is the other end of the  Crown no.C476 Crease/Shadow Brush (which is currently only $7) , and the one on the right is part of the Soho Disney Belle Enchanted Eyes brush set

Shiny!
I hope you all appreciate I’m doing my own hand modeling. ūüėČ

I joke, but the reason I opted to hold some of the ¬†brushes was so you could have some idea of the scale of the brushes. Because I’m not trying to sell you these particular brushes. I bought all of these myself or received them as gifts, there are no endorsements here. I just wanted to provide a clear idea of some useful tools for the job.

Well, I think we’ve covered a lot of ground here, but there’s so many places to continue on from this point. I think loose shadows, or pigments could easily be their own post, and I have quite a lot to say about one-shadow and two-shadow looks that are quick,easy and give the eye definition. Not to mention a discussion of complementary colors to use based on eye color. ¬†I would love to know what you might like to learn about next! Please leave a comment or ¬†tweet me at @askaboutmakeup!

Any questions? Ask me!

Does that really work?

Anyone who carries their makeup around on a regular basis is likely to be familiar with the terrible realization that your favorite eye shadow, face powder, or other powder favorite has exploded. ¬† I experienced this cocktail of emotions (ranging from annoyance to absolute gut-wrenching devastation) when I managed to drop and shatter an eye shadow single I am quite fond of. (The item in question is a¬†Wet n Wild Color Icon eye shadow single in Kitten¬†‚Äď I would have linked to it on their site, but this color is no longer available!) ¬†This misfortune seemed like a great opportunity to test out the idea I’ve seen around the web that you can reconstitute a broken powder with a little alcohol and some patience.

I always love reading lists/articles full of helpful tips and things that supposedly¬†provide quick fixes for problems that you might never have thought you’d experience. However, we all know that some of these are simply not truly quick, or truly helpful.¬† So I decided that since my whole goal in being here is to be helpful, that I should test tips and tricks, and let you all know how it goes.

Step 1: Assemble your materials.

I much prefer assembling all my tools/ingredients before I start a project. Generally you’ll be grateful if you did! Thankfully for this one, its not all that much:

the TOOLS!
Rubbing alcohol, toothpick, and several tissues.

I wound up pulling in another tool, but we’ll get to that. I would also note that there is a clear plastic cover on my table cloth which is VERY easy to clean, so if you do not have that, you might want to put down some paper towels or newspaper.

Step 2: Finish breaking it.

Might seem counter intuitive, but to properly rebuild the shadow, you need to make the powder as even as possible, since there were still some chunks of unbroken powder in the container, I used a toothpick to finish breaking it up:

shattered dreams...er, i mean eye shadow.
shattered dreams…er, i mean eye shadow.

Obviously, on something like a face powder you might want a larger tool, but for this small eye shadow, the toothpick was fine.

Step 3: Mixing

For this step, you add several drops of alcohol, depending on how much powder you have, until it mixes evenly. I used the cap of the bottle to make sure I didn’t accidentally drown my shadow. I think I wound up using about 3 drops total to fully wet the powder. I used the toothpick to mix it up, and when it was fully incorporated, I started trying to smooth it back down into the pan. ¬†At this point, I found the toothpick stopped being helpful, and I wound up grabbing a flat bottomed makeup brush to finish tamping down the product:

time to let your inner perfectionist shine-the smoother the better!
time to let your inner perfectionist shine-the smoother the better!

At this point, you see that it got kind of messy, but I was able to contain the mess without too much difficulty. Perhaps there is a better way to do this, but I never saw a particular tool recommended when I saw this tip online. Please leave a comment if you know an ideal tool for the job!

Step 4: The wait!

The next step is simply to allow the powder time to dry, which will likely vary depending on the size of the item being repaired. ¬†But once it dried….

Resurrected!
Resurrected!

As you can see, it looks¬†almost normal again! Of course, any design embossed in the powder will be long gone, but I was able to swatch it just like any other shadow, and apply it using an eyeshadow brush. ¬† I would note that the shadow is now softer than it was prior to repair, and more prone to kicking up excess when you dip your brush in, but I think that’s a small price to pay to get a favorite product restored.

In conclusion, is the repaired shadow as good as new? Honestly, no. Is it worth doing?  I would say yes, especially for an expensive or hard to replace favorite. It was restored to a usable state, for only a small amount of effort. The whole project probably took about 30 minutes including drying time.

Do you think this is worth the effort? Can you remember a shadow disaster you wish you’d known about this for? Leave a comment so we can trade methods, or at least commiserate the loss of our beloved powders!