Tag Archives: primer

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!

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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.

 

Battle of the Beauty Boxes! Allure vs. Sephora

The June beauty box from Allure and the Sephora Play! box arrived within days of each other, so I thought, rather than just review them, why not compare them?

Who will win the month?
Who will win the month?

What Allure sent me:

What Sephora sent me:

First comparison is dead even: both boxes sent six items. One might argue that the Allure box has a lesser value because it includes a drugstore bronzer and a one-use sheet mask. ¬†However, Sephora’s fragrance sample is unfortunately the same simple vial you would get for free if you requested a sample in-store, and the mascara sample is even smaller than the travel version of the same mascara they sell in store, which goes for a nearly drugstore level price.

In variety of items, I would have to say the boxes are pretty close there as well. Even though Allure sent two products from the same skincare line, they have different purposes; and the remaining items are varied enough to keep the box interesting. Sephora also did well on variety, sending three different makeup related products, a skin care product, a hair care product and a fragrance.

Lets take a closer look at the products:

Kardashian Cabana Bronzer
Kardashian Cabana Bronzer-as you can see, there’s a nice hint of shimmer!

This bronzer from the Allure box is a standard powder bronzer. The powder is silky and goes on smoothly, and the three stripes of color in the compact allow for a lot of control – you can adjust how light or dark it goes on by controlling which colors you put your brush into.

PhotoGrid_1467337567311

Here we have the serum bronzer from the Sephora box. As you can see this is a lightweight liquid that you blend into the skin. I included several shots because I realized you can control how dark this appears as well, it starts out dark, and the more you blend it, the lighter it gets. I also noted that, given how thin the product is, you could probably use this to deepen a liquid foundation, to compensate for a change of skin tone due to sun exposure. This product is extremely lightweight and had the barest hint of a sheen to it, definitely not as much shimmer as the powder bronzer.

Both boxes also included a hair product. Here I initially gave the advantage to Sephora, because they had provided me with a sample size (indeed, handy purse size of 1oz) of a product I already use often. This is a simple cream product that you apply when hair is still damp, and it helps the hair to air dry into a smoother state, more like what you normally need a blow dryer to achieve (at least with my fine hair!).  As you can imagine, this stuff is very welcome to receive as the warm weather comes in, because I am not using my heat styling tools much at all.

Don't Blow it by Bumble & Bumble
Don’t Blow it by Bumble & Bumble

However, the Allure product is not to be dismissed. First of all, this shampoo smells EXCELLENT, and I say that as someone that doesn’t even like mangoes! I’d point out that its not just scent, this shampoo is made with actual mango butter as one of the moisturizers. ¬†The other point is simply quantity. I can say without a doubt, this is the largest shampoo sample I have ever gotten, at 3.36oz! As someone with long hair, I appreciate a shampoo sample that can last beyond 2 hair washings.

I CAN have the mango! (if you get that reference, bless you.)
I CAN have the mango! (if you get that reference, thank¬†you.) ūüėČ

Lets look at the rest of the Sephora items. The Sephora box provided a perfume sample. While I did point out this is the sort of sample you can get for free in store, this happens to be a particularly lovely fragrance, so I don’t mind as much. The notes of the cologne are:¬†Italian Bergamot, Grapefruit Leaves, Green Pear, Apple, Ivory Gardenia, Crushed Violet Petals, Jasmine, Tuberose, Blue Iris, Blonde Wood, and White Musk.

Tocca's packaging is very pretty, even for samples.
Tocca’s packaging is very pretty, even for samples.

Next in the Sephora box, Benefit’s They’re Real!¬†mascara. While this is a small sample, I would point out that this is a high end mascara, and an extremely popular one. With good reason! I have used it myself, and this mascara provides excellent length with minimal clumping issues. While I have experienced a bit of smudging with this mascara, my eyes are particularly hard on non-waterproof mascaras, and most people I’ve heard from about this mascara¬†do not experience that issue.

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This brush is great at picking out every lash!

The penultimate product from the Sephora box is a a facial sunscreen, the tarte Tarteguard. I have heard a lot of people rave about this product, so I am curious to see how it matches up to my go-to facial sunscreen – perhaps a drugstore vs. high end comparison will be coming soon. ¬†In tarte’s own words, “Tarteguard is tarte‚Äôs first sunscreen lotion to deliver the powerful protection of a non-chemical SPF 30 sunscreen, but that feels like a luxurious moisturizer that can be applied in the morning or before sun exposure. Ultra-lightweight and breathable with a signature fresh, ocean‚Äôs lily scent that feels like a day at the spa”.

Regardless of anything else, the packaging is a great color!
Regardless of anything else, the packaging is a great color!

Finally from Sephora, we have the Becca backlighting primer. Becca is a brand that’s quickly become famous for having high quality products, in particular their highlighting products. So I am looking forward to trying their take on an illuminating primer. In their own words, “Backlighting acts as an instant filter, creating a diffused, soft-focused radiance that allows your complexion to catch light for a glowing look. Infused with Becca‚Äôs proprietary blend of crushed pearls, this primer achieves a lit-from-within, healthy-looking effect. ”¬†While I think you can quite clearly see sheen on my hand in this picture, I do not think it adequately captures the serious punch of shimmer that it gave off in person!

Shine on you crazy diamond!
Shine on you crazy diamond!

The Allure box still has a few things to share as well. There’s the Pur-lisse Blue Lotus moisturizer and eye cream. According to their website, “Blue Lotus extract is a powerhouse antioxidant with anti-inflammatory benefits known to combat against free radical damage.” Of course, the claims sound good, but I won’t know until I try it out.¬†I kind of like getting complementary products like this, and the samples are generous enough to give the products a good trial run, so you can see if they benefit your skin or not.IMG_20160622_235415859 IMG_20160622_235429356

Next in the beauty box, a sheet mask by Leaders 7. Honestly, their website explains it best: “This natural coconut gel mask with orange extract brightens the skin and improves skin texture by cleansing and tightening the pores.¬†Orange extract is abundant in Vitamin C which boosts collagen and brightens skin, while AHA improves texture by exfoliating.” Sounds pretty good doesn’t it?¬†While I have tried a number of sheet masks, and still have a handful in my collection to use, this one stands out to me because it indicates one of the longest wait times I’ve seen: 30-40 minutes. I do not know if this is a good or a bad thing, but i am certainly curious if this proves more effective than a mask that directs you to leave it on for 10 minutes.

I also suspect this will smell great, like oranges!
I also suspect this will smell great, like oranges!

And finally, from the Allure box, the most colorful item out of this whole post. a polish from Julep. While I initally considered this a standard item to be included (meaning, just a nail polish), when I looked it up, I was surprised at the description: “Breakthrough Oxygen Technology powers this fast-drying, long-lasting nail polish to get nails healthy and more beautiful at the same time. Our proprietary 5-free, vegan-friendly formula also includes strengthening Hexanal and antioxidant green coffee extract.”¬†Pretty big claims for a little bottle of polish. I am looking forward to testing this out, and the bright, pretty metallic purple color definitely is part of that!

"Orchid Irridescent Chrome" apparently - I just say its pretty!
“Orchid Irridescent Chrome” apparently – I just say its pretty!

And now, as in every battle, a winner must be declared. These are both pretty great boxes, and initially I had some trouble trying to determine who would be the June winner here. In considering the pros and cons of each, I asked myself why I signed up for these subscriptions in the first place. The main reason I like getting these boxes is I love trying out new products; whether its a new type of product altogether or simply a brand I haven’t used before.

And when I look at it from that perspective, the June winner of this Battle of the Boxes is: The Allure Beauty Box. 

While they are both excellent boxes, this month Allure simply delivered more unique things I haven’t seen or tried before. ¬†While I do like the items I received from Sephora, I was already quite familiar with 3 out of the 6 items sent.

I hope you enjoyed this breakdown, and if you disagree with my winner, please tell me why in the comments below, I’d love to hear your perspective!

Disclaimer: I pay for these subscriptions 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!

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.

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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!