Swatches

NARS Duo in Kauai Review + Swatches + Dupes

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Color:
NARS describes the colors as “gold lame” and “iridescent smoky orchid.” That description is spot on: the left shade is a rich, warm metallic gold, and the right shade is a cool, shimmery grey-based plum. Neither of these shades is the most unique. Urban Decay Maui Wowie is slightly yellower, but similar to the gold. As for the purple, Urban Decay Gravity is similar. However, the gold is lushly pigmented, with the metallic effect coming through. The purple is semi opaque, but even with primer, it needs to be built up a bit. (3.5/5)

Wear:
When it comes to wear, the gold was excellent, lasting a full 8 hours looking flawless. The purple didn’t do as well: it only made it 5 hours before it looked faded (even with primer). (4/5)

Formula:
The gold applies soft, smooth and opaque, even without primer, and has great textural intensity (the foiled effect, naturally, looks enhanced over a base). However, it was a pain with fallout, the kind of shadow where you’d want to apply your face makeup afterwards to avoid looking glittery on the cheeks. The purple also went on smoothly and blended easily, and didn’t suffer from fallout. But, the pigment wasn’t as intense as I’d have liked, and needed to be built up. (3.5/5)

Packaging:
The duo comes in traditional NARS rubberized packaging with a great full-size mirror included. The rubber texture is great for absorbing impact from a fall or during travel. Also, the compact is sleek and thin, and stays secure when shut, making it easy to store. It also has that nice feel you expect from more expensive products. The two pans of shadow have a nice distance between them, and they don’t kick up much product to begin with, so there isn’t much worry of powder crossover. However, this kind of rubber packaging is prone to showing fingerprints. (4.5/5)

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Price:
A NARS duo is $35 USD, and contains 0.14 oz of product. That’s $250 an ounce. (Comparatively, one MAC shadow is $15 for 0.05 oz, which is $300 per ounce.) This is another great example of spending a little more to get more (in this case, 2 shades instead of one, with 0.9 oz more product), and having it add up to less money in the long run.

In terms of quality, it’s not the best, but it doesn’t do so poorly that I’d say it isn’t worth the money. The gold is fabulous and the fallout can be contained. The purple could’ve been improved a bit more. But the shades work so well together and look fabulous enough that I’d say $35 isn’t an outrageous cost, especially if you don’t already have something similar. (4/5)

Wow Factor:
If it isn’t clear by now, the gold definitely grabbed my attention in a positive way. The metallic, high shine finish is lovely and sets it apart from the other golds I own. The purple has been done before, but I like the rich smokiness and how it pairs well with the brighter gold. Yellow and purple are complimentary colors, so it’s not the most unique combination, but I like the way Kauai turned out. (3.5/5)

Overall:
Kauai is a rich, plush looking duo that draws the eye. It looks lovely in the pan and on the lid. However, there were some technical issues (fallout and lack of vibrancy) that disappointed me. My makeup collection is not super large, but still I was able to find dupes for both shades. If you like the shades and don’t mind working with their respective difficulties, go for it. However, there are cheaper options available if you like the effect and not the price tag. (3.8) C+

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Useful Information:
-This product was purchased by me.
-NARS is cruelty free, but their parent company, Shiseido, is not.

Availability:
-narscosmetics.com
-Sephora
-Nordstrom
-ASOS
-Barney’s
-Macy

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Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick in Backstage Bambi Review + Swatches + Dupes

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I had been very eager to try Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipsticks since their inception. So when I got the chance, I picked up three (and since holiday collections came out, I’ve scored a bit more!). The first one up for review today is Backstage Bambi, a “matte vivid hot pink.”

Color:
As you all know, I live for pink lipsticks. Backstage Bambi is a bright, midtone pink, just like the brand describes. The color payoff is true to the tube as well. It’s a gorgeous shade, but it doesn’t get any originality points–many have compared it MAC’s Candy Yum Yum, and I found it similar to MAC’s Girl About Town, only matte (GAT is Amplified Creme). 4.5/5

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Wear:
This made it to the 5-hour mark, which is my goal for a lipstick, looking flawless. Backstage Bambi had some extra staying power, though. At 6 hours it looked a bit sheerer and felt more stain-like. Despite this, at the 8-hour mark (and after a meal), this lippie still looked fantastic: bold pigment and even wear. It should be mentioned that this promised 10 hours of wear, but that’s a little ridiculous to me. Having said that, it cut it close! 5/5

Formula:
This lipstick is matte, so it tugged at the lips ever so slightly (but still went on easily, just less creamy). It applied, and wore, opaque and evenly. It had that powdery texture on the mouth that most mattes have (that I don’t dislike) and a wonderful scent that I thought was vanilla, but is technically creme brulee. It lasted well and was comfortable all throughout the wear time. It didn’t dry my lips out, to boot. 5/5

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Packaging:
I’m in love with the packaging on this line! It’s so perfect for Kat Von D–studded, shiny black plastic tubes. They’re edgy and cool looking, without the plastic feeling cheap, which is nice from a brand at this price point. You’ll love taking these with you to reapply in public! The circumference is a bit large, though, so while they’re not cumbersome, they may not be a breeze to store (I lay them on their sides in a drawer). The sticker on the bottom identifying the color name is shaded to match the product, though, so I imagine this could help with organization. 4.5/5

Price:
Each Studded Kiss lipstick is $21 USD for 0.10 oz of product. This isn’t the cheapest on the market (MAC is $5 less for the same product weight), nor is the shade so unique it justifies picking this specific pink, at this price, over all others. However the quality, pigment, and staying power is all there with Backstage Bambi, warranting a high “bang for your buck” score. As always, I leave whether or not expensive products are truly “worth it” to the individual. 4.5/5

Wow Factor:
Again, not the most special shade under the sun. But for a matte? It’s very impressive–easy (enough) application, long wear (post meal), vivid pigment, even fading. Those make for a good lipstick to me! What’s truly remarkable is that Backstage Bambi doesn’t dry the lips out–every matte lipstick lover needs that! 4/5

Overall:
Backstage Bambi is a great lipstick. It delivers on it’s promise of bold pigment and “luxe comfort.” While it didn’t reach the promised 10 hour mark, it made it to 8 looking fantastic. If you’re interested in this lipstick, I wholeheartedly recommend it. 4.6 (A-)

Availability:
-Sephora, Exclusively

Useful Information:
-This product was purchased by me.
-Kat Von D’s makeup line is cruelty free, yet follows the “where mandated by law” animal testing policy.
-This lipstick is made without parabens, sulfates, and phthalates.
-This lipstick also contains vitamins A, C, and E to keep lips moisturized.

Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer in Medium/Deep Review + Swatches

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I was so excited to receive Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer in Medium Deep as a 100-point perk from my last Sephora haul. I’ve heard so many great things about it, and have been in desperate need of a bronzer for a long time.

Color:
This bronzer is a soft sepia matte, much lighter than the color of actual milk chocolate. I was a bit concerned that Medium/Deep would be too dark for my fair skin, but it was surprisingly natural looking and subtle (it can look a bit muddy if you go too heavy handed with it, though, so paler ladies be careful). I think it’s dark/buildable enough to work on a decent range of skin tones, although I’m not convinced it will show up well on dark skin. (4.5/5)

Wear:
I enjoyed a good wear time with this bronzer. It looked perfect until the 6-hour mark, when it began to look a little faded. It was still there, though, and stayed this way for the two more hours I continued testing. (4/5)

Formula:
I’m really pleased with the formula of this bronzer. It applies smoothly and blends easily, and as mentioned, can be built up somewhat. The texture is really soft and smooth and it doesn’t look fake or cakey on the skin. It also has that famous, delicious chocolate scent. (5/5)

Packaging:
Mine is a sample, so the packaging is a little different. For my version of the product, its a cardboard compact that fits snugly over the plastic pan when you close it. It’s surprisingly sturdy and functional (it’s sealed shut and isn’t gonna pop open), if not immune to some wear and tear around the cardboard edges. The full-size compact looks just as secure and more durable. (5/5)

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Price:
As mentioned, I scored this sample for free from Sephora as a 100-point perk. The full size is $30 for 0.35 oz of product. That’s $85.71 per ounce (Benefit’s Hoola bronzer is $28 for 0.28, or $100 per ounce, making Chocolate Soleil more cost-effective–more product for less money in the long run). I also think the quality of this bronzer is definitely worth the money–from my experience with it, there’s nothing not to love about it. The texture, finish, staying power are all there. (5/5)

Wow Factor:
This is my first experience with a bronzer, but it definitely left a good impression. I loved the matte finish for contouring my face. That finish really helped the shadows look more believable. It also feels and smells so good, and you get a lot of product, even for a sample. When it comes to what a good bronzer should be, Chocolate Soleil knocks it out of the park. (5/5)

Overall:
I loved it! I definitely see why everyone in the beauty community is raving about this product. You can count me in amongst the believers: Chocolate Soleil really is a fantastic bronzer. If you’re looking to shape the face or get a glow, this product certainly has you covered. I completely recommend it. (4.75) A

Availability:
-Sephora
-Ulta
-Toofaced.com

Useful Information:
-I got this product for free by redeeming 100 Points at Sephora
-Too Faced is cruelty free, and Chocolate Soleil is vegan.

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Lancome Definicils High Definition Mascara Review + Swatches

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I’ve always been a fan of Lancome’s mascaras (Hypnose was one of the first mascaras I fell in love with). However, my wallet doesn’t love the price tag, so I don’t indulge in them as often as I’d like. So when I racked up enough points on my most recent Sephora haul to claim Definicils as a freebie, I knew I couldn’t pass it up.

Claims:
The product description on Sephora’s site says that Definicils gives “lavishly long, perfectly defined lashes” that are “the ultimate in shaping and separation” with “superb definition.” I have to say, every single one of these promises was true. It applied smooth and dark. It went on easily, made my lashes look so long, and gave them great definition–they were spaced out like false lashes. I was impressed from the first use! (5/5)

Wear:
I’m pleased to say Definicils made it through the whole day (8 hours) looking perfect. The product looked fresh and my lashed were still long and nicely curled at the end of the day. (I curled them with a lash curler first.) (5/5)

Formula:
This is a drier mascara that doesn’t clump and applies, and lasts, flawlessly. It doesn’t say anything about being waterproof, but after a bad day and some tears, I still had perfect lashes. The definition, length, and curl didn’t quit, and the product never made my lashes feel crunchy or heavy. I had no experience with it flaking, running, or smudging. (5/5)

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Packaging:
The wand has evenly spaced bristles and it’s all one length, not tapered at the end. Still, the end is small enough to get into the inner corner easily. The wand wasn’t too large or thick, and worked well. The product is in a sleek black plastic tube with thin gold detailing and lettering on the cap. It looks chic and minimal, an approach many higher end brands have. (5/5)

Price:
I have a sample size of this that contains 0.07 oz of product. The full, 0.23 oz product  costs $27.50 USD. That’s $119.56 per ounce (so still pretty expensive). However, this category looks beyond the number at product worth, i.e, bang for your buck. Is it an expensive mascara? Yes. Is it the kind of quality that warrants an expensive price tag? Yes. (5/5)

Wow Factor:
Definicils is all about wow factor! Everything about this mascara is impressive, from the length to the definition to the staying power. It did exactly what it said it would, and I loved it. (5/5)

Overall:
I love, love, love this mascara! Lancome always knocks it out of the park in the lash department, and Definicils wasn’t a let down. I would definitely purchase a full-size version of this product and I recommend it to every single woman out there who’s looking for flawless, dark, defined, dramatic lashes. Totally worth it. 5 (A+)

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Availability:
-Sephora
-Ulta
-Nordstrom
-Macy’s

Useful Information:
-I received this product free with Sephora’s VIB points system.
-This mascara comes in four wearable shades.
-Lancome and it’s parent company, L’Oreal, both test on animals.

Wet ‘n’ Wild Limited Edition Summer 2014 Eyeshadow Trio in Lost My Wristband Review + Swatches

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This is the last of three trios I have from Wet ‘n’ Wild’s 2014 summer collection, which was inspired by the scene at music festivals. I have to say, I had such I high hopes for these, especially Lost My Wristband, but sadly, none of them performed quite as well as I wished.

Color:
Of the three I picked up, this one was exciting because of the vibrant looking pastels. However, when I swatched them, they’re all so sheer. What looks like a bright grass green, sunshine yellow, and strawberry ice cream in the pan are actually sheer powders. The green had the most pigment, and could be built up a little, but only to semi-opacity. The yellow was practically invisible even with primer, and the pink, which was meant to be a sheer highlight to begin with, didn’t have a ton of opacity. On top of it, none of these colors are sensationally rare, so I’m sure better quality, more opaque dupes are out there. (2/5)

Wear:
Not only was this trio weak in pigment, the wear time wasn’t phenomenal either. Even with primer, the shadows just didn’t hold up. The pink was faded after only 3 hours, the yellow was gone completely at 4 hours, and the green was a little faded at the 7 hour mark. (2.5/5)

Formula:
All three shadows have a pretty soft feel to the touch, but that translates to some notable powder kickup when a brush is used. I didn’t have any issues with fallout, though. The poor pigment and weak longevity really take this score down, though. (3/5)

Packaging:
The packaging is pretty standard for WnW trios: a rectangular plastic compact with a clear lid, unnamed shades, and ingredients/directions on the back. I like that these limited edition versions have white packaging instead of the usual black compact, though. Details like that always make a limited release feel more special to me. The packaging is lightweight and small/thin, so it’s easy to store, but I have trouble with these staying closed occasionally–don’t count on it making it through a trip without some wear and tear. (4/5)

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Price:
Like all WnW products, this trio was very affordable at $2.99 USD. But this part of the score always weighs the quality you get as well–the “bang for your buck.” Sure, it’s inexpensive, but the quality is just not there. You can find these shades anywhere else for better quality at a similar price, even from within WnW’s own line. (2/5)

Wow Factor:
Like the other items I tried from the summer collection, Lost My Wristband definitely left an impression, but in a negative way. The pigment and staying power were just so disappointing. (2/5)

Overall:
The colors look so lovely in the pan, and they’re not horrible. But they definitely need primer to be workable. I don’t see these working well on many skintones (the pastel hues + chalkiness), or for many functions (definitely not a work palette). But a girl who wants something softer for spring/summer or wants to experiment with color without going too bold could find a way to work it into a look. But by and large, it’s not for me, and don’t recommend it to those who love bold, rich colors. 2.6 (D+)

Availability:
-Drugstores

Useful Information:
-This product was purchased by me.
-Wet ‘n’ Wild and it’s parent company are completely cruelty-free and mostly vegan.
-All three shades in Lost My Wristband are matte, so there’s no texture diversity.
-This palette is limited edition, so get it while you can!

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Wet ‘n’ Wild MegaLast Lip Color in Think Pink Review + Swatches

I had never tried a Wet ‘n’ Wild lipstick before, but I had heard good things about them. When I saw a cute shade of pink, Think Pink, being promoted at my local drugstore, I knew I had to buy it. Not only can I not say no to a new pink lippie, a portion of the sales from this particular shade would go to the American Cancer Society. 
Color:

Think Pink is a warm, bright pink with a fairly glossy finish. It wasn’t quite as dupeable as I expected–a lot of shades I thought were similar were too orange in comparison–but Revlon Lip Butter in Sweet Tart was the closest I have, although it’s lighter, cooler, and more shimmery than Think Pink. (4/5)



Wear:
This lipstick went on fully opaque and stayed that way for a full 5 hours, even after a meal. Even the glossiness persists more than I expected–after an hour, the shine had worn down a little, but it didn’t turn semi-matte until the fourth hour. (5/5)

Formula:
This has a very faint chemical scent, but it’s very minor and not noticeable on the lips. It applies creamy and smooth, very pigmented. It doesn’t tug on the lips when you put it on, and remains comfortable to wear. It has great staying power for such a creamy formula. (5/5)

Packaging:
Unfortunately, the packaging looks and feels cheap. It’s all lightweight plastic with a clear cap. I noticed that the cap on mine feels looks, like you can shake it around a little. I imagine it might crack easily if dropped or during travel. Also, the twist-up product doesn’t twist down into the tube all the way (it’s designed to stick out a little) but it ended up smearing the inside of the cap. (2.5/5)


Price:

This line of lipsticks sells for $1.99, but I was able to get it for even less on sale. Each tube contains 0.11 oz of product, which is marginally more than average. Since the face value of these is inexpensive, the price per ounce is effectively cheap ($18.09 per ounce). I love when drugstore products like this prove that quality doesn’t have to come with an unpleasant price tag. (5/5)


Wow Factor:
I was highly impressed by the pigment, smooth application, and staying power of this lipstick. It’s always great when a brand gives back as well. It’s not the most unique and the packaging is underwhelming, though. (4/5)

Overall:
This is one of those drugstore gems. It’s different than most things in my collection of pink lippies since it leans much warmer and is darker toned while still being quite girly. It applies like a dream and lasts extra long. All that for the price can’t be beat! (The flimsy packaging is what brought the score down.) 4.25 (B)

Availabilty:
-Drugstores
Useful Information:
-This product was purchased by me.
-Wet ‘n’ Wild is completely cruelty free and mostly vegan.

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Wet ‘n’ Wild Eyeshadow Trio in No Scalpers Allowed Review + Swatches

I was so excited to pick up some limited edition trios from Wet ‘n’ Wild’s Summer Collection last month. The theme of the collection is summer music festivals, which I thought was such a cool idea. The first that I tried is No Scalpers Allowed, which goes right along with that bohemian feel that’s common at music festivals.
Color:
The eyelid shade is a soft, shimmery blue-based violet. The crease is a mid-tone matte lilac, and the brow shade is a matte shell nude. While these are lovely to look at swatched, their performance on the lid isn’t a stellar. The eyelid shade has the most pigmentation, but without primer, it can only be built up to medium opacity and even then it fades within minutes. I was able to achieve full opacity and true to pan color with primer. The crease shade is more of a pinky lilac on the eye, and can never quite achieve full opacity. The brow shade performed the best as it was opaque and smooth both with and without primer.
While the eyelid shade was the most unique, it still doesn’t seem remarkably uncommon. I have dupes for the other two shades in my collection, so this trio isn’t winning a lot of points on shade originality. The crease shade is much lighter than the lefthand definer shade in Wet ‘n’ Wild’s I Heart Matte and the brow shade is lighter and cooler than the righthand brow shade in the same palette. The brow shade is sheerer, less stark and warmer than Urban Decay Righteous, and cooler and sheerer than Urban Decay Skimp (3/5)


Wear:
This trio looked really washed out after just an hour without primer. With primer, the shadows made it to the 8 hour mark just fine. The crease shade stayed in tact, but it didn’t look nearly as poppy on the eye as it does when swatched. (4.5/5)

Formula:
This trio is pretty inconsistent. The brow shade has a soft, smooth texture and full opacity, whereas the eyelid shade is semi-opaque and a bit dry at best, and the crease shade is pretty fussy, lacking pigment, kicks up a good amount of product when touched with a brush, and doesn’t stand out on the eye. I needed to go back for more color when applying the lid and crease shades to get the most out of the pigment. However they all blended well and I didn’t have any problems with fallout. (3/5)


Packaging:
The packaging is pretty standard for WnW: thin enough rectangular compact with a clear lid. It doesn’t feel bulky or cheap, and I like that the packaging is white for the limited edition release instead of the standard black. However there’s a lot of stickers on the compact, and that makes it hard to open initially. A sponge tipped applicator and small brush are included. The brush felt softer than I imagined, and while it won’t replace my Sonia Kashuk brushes, it would get the job done in a pinch if you were, say, travelling and lost all your brushes en route. It’s small and thin enough to store easily, and while I don’t think think it’ll survive a lot of fall damage, it’s not the worst pick for travel. The lids on WnW compacts don’t always stay closed though, and with how powdery these can be, I’m not sure this is the first thing I’d reach for to put in a travel makeup bag. (4/5)

Price:
I picked this trio up at Walgreen’s for about $2.99, which is a steal no matter how you look at it: It’s about a dollar a shade, or $24.92 per ounce (and there’s 0.12 oz in the trio). So sure it’s a bargain, but getting your money’s worth is just as important as the amount spent. I don’t think the quality is good enough to where I’m thrilled it’s so affordable, but it’s not bad enough that I think the price tag is unreasonable either. (3/5)

Wow Factor:
This trio definitely fits the girly bohemian vibe common at music festivals, and I thought the pops of color with the neutral brow would be interesting. However, the execution was poorer than I’d hoped. The color payoff was just so disappointing, and the feel of the shadows was inconsistent, leaving me less than impressed. (2/5)

Overall:
It’s a pretty, affordable trio, but the weak pigment is a deal breaker for me. Plus, the colors wash away in an hour without primer, which makes me wonder how well they’ll realistically be able to hold up to the heat at the outdoor concerts that inspired them, even with a base. The colors aren’t so rare that it warrants hunting these down. I recommend opting for better performing dupes. 3.25 (C-)

Availability:
-Drugstores
Useful Information:
-Wet ‘n’ Wild is completely cruelty-free and mostly vegan.
-This product was purchased by me.
-This collection is limited edition and won’t be around much longer.

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L.A. Colors 5 Color Metallic Eyeshadow Palette in Wildflowers Review + Swatches

LA Colors is a brand I haven’t really tried before, but it seems like lately they’ve been having a surge of popularity on Youtube. A couple years ago, my mother gifted me this palette, so I dug it up a couple months ago and decided to test it out. My mother is not one to spend more than a bargain on cosmetics, so I was not expecting superior quality from this palette. Unfortunately, my prediction was spot on.
Color:
Wildflowers comes with five unnamed shades. From left to right, the palette includes a light yellow gold, a darker, richer tan gold, a hot pink (looks orange on camera, but in life, it’s unmistakably pink), a raspberry wine, and a pinky violet. All of these shades lean warm. 
Shade 1 is semi sheer and makes for a great highlight shade on the brow. Urban Decay Maui Wowie is lighter, more opaque, and more shimmery. Shiro Perfect World is darker, warmer, and more shimmery.
Shade 2 was a little hard to detect on my fair skin, but went on pretty opaque and the intensity could be built up a little.
Shade 3 looks opaque and extra frosty when used with a primer. However, it has a major fallout problem whether or not a primer is used, and has zero staying power. By the time I finished applying my makeup, this had looked faded and the metallic sheen wore off, even with a good base. 
Shade 4 went on pretty opaque. Despite it’s dry feel when swatched, it didn’t have a patchy application. It’s not 100% opaque though, even with a base. With primer, the pinky tones come out more as well.

Shade 5 is a grape violet when swatched, but doesn’t look any different than shade 4 on the lid, even with a base.

Unfortunately the pigmentation and uniqueness in these shades are really lacking. Even in the pan, the two golds aren’t that different from each other, and on the eye, it’s almost impossible to tell the purples apart. The pink and purples create a really unflattering look, reminiscent of an eye infection, that I can only see working for an ’80s themed party or cosplay. (2/5)

Wear:
I wish I could say these shadows wore better than they looked, but that would be a lie. Shade 5 was completely gone in an hour (with and without a base), the wine shade was gone by hour 2 and the pink shade was just a tinge over primer at this point. The two gold shades were holding on at 3 hours, but by the 4-hour mark I had bare lids (Shade 4 stained a bit when a base wasn’t used). This is some of the least impressive wear I’ve seen from eyeshadows, and this was with primer. (2/5)

Formula:
While the palette touts all these as metallic, the feel of the shadows is pretty inconsistent. The two shades on the right feel dry, the two on the left are pretty soft and smooth feeling, and the pink’s feel is in the middle. All of these are powdery and most kick up a lot of product when touched with a brush. (2/5)

Packaging:
LA Colors is often stocked at dollar stores, and the packaging reflects that. It’s a simple plastic compact with a clear lid. It feels really lightweight and has that cheap feel. The lid snaps shut, but these kinds of lids can require a little force to open (increasing the risk of breakage, or damage to one’s manicure). But it’s functional, there’s no wasted space in the compact, and it get’s the job done. I wouldn’t rely on it to not get damaged in a fall or during travel, though. (3/5)


Price:
As I said, LA Colors often goes for just a dollar. Yes, that’s a steal, but when I factor this part of a product’s score, I always consider if the buyer is getting her money’s worth. With Wildflowers, I don’t think the quality is there to warrant a purchase, even for a buck. The product weight isn’t listed on the packaging, so I can’t be sure of the price per ounce. (3/5)

Wow Factor:
There is some wow factor, in a negative way. The lack of pigment, uneven texture, and weak staying power are all pretty remarkable. It left a strong impression that kind of puts me off from trying other palettes in this range. (1/5)

Overall:
Everyone loves a steal, but there’s just too much room for improvement in this palette for me to feel comfortable recommending it. The color payoff is lacking and the colors don’t work well together, creating a harsh, unflattering look. Shade 1 is the only one that functions well enough to get some use (as a highlight). Skip it. (2.2) D-


Swatches:

























Availability:
-Dollar Stores
-Wal-Mart
-K-Mart
-Big Lots
-Rite Aid
Cherry Culture

Useful Information:
-This product was gifted to me by my mother, who purchased it herself.
-This brand and it’s parent company (Beauty 21) are cruelty free and included on PETA’s list of brands that don’t test on animals. medianet_width=’600′; medianet_height= ‘250’; medianet_crid=’228266391′;

MAC Eyeshadow in Star Violet Review + Swatches + Dupes

This is my own photo.

MAC Eyeshadows are easily my favorite on the market. Star Violet was the first one I picked up, but it wasn’t quite love at first swatch. I spent hours (yes) at the MAC counter looking for a bold, unique shade (not a “natural, nude makeup look” kind of girl), and finally settled on this baby after seeing it’s burgundy flash gold. Buuuuut, when I got home, I initially found it a dupe for Urban Decay’s Last Call. (They’re actually not that similar). So I didn’t use it for a while. However, like all MAC shadows I’ve tried, the quality is great and it’s actually a really lovely shade.
Color:

MAC describes this shade as a “pinky-brown plum.” This description isn’t bad. The warmth and sheen in this shadow is more golden than brown, which sounds dirtier than this shade is. Its more burgundy than plum, which brings to mind a cooler, purpler shade. Star Violet is distinctly not purple/plum/brown. I feel comfortable labeling this shade “rose gold.” Without a base, this shadow is a soft, warm rose gold. Over primer, the pinky rosiness is more pronounced, making it look true to pan. (4/5)


This is my own photo.
Wear:

SV went on opaquely with and without a base, and gave me no application issues, like fallout, patchiness, or creasing. It wore very well, lasting six hours before I had any issues (at that point, I had some sparkle fallout, both when a base was used and without a base). By the 8th hour, there was some minor fading. (4/5)


Formula:

Star Violet is in the veluxe pearl finish, which promises to be “vibrantly toned, velvety soft, shimmeringly metallic,” and “overlaid with high-shine pearl.” This was an apt description, and the shadow made good on all claims. This definitely has a reflective finish. The powder feels soft and smooth to the touch. There’s a little bit of powder kickup when a brush is used, but this isn’t much and doesn’t translate to powderiness on the lid. The product blends easily without sheering out. (4.5/5)


Packaging:

SV comes in standard MAC packaging–a metal pan in a small, circular black plastic case with a flip-top lid and clear window to see the shade inside. The brand is emblazoned across the clear window and the product name and texture is on the bottom. The packaging feels sturdy but light–nothing luxurious or shatter-proof if you were to accidentally drop it. While the size is small enough to travel with, the pan is large enough to use easily. This packaging is functional (easy to store/travel with/use) but also economical: I like that there’s no unnecessary plastic used, just enough to surround the product. (5/5)


This is my own photo.
Price:

MAC shadows are $15 USD each, and contain 0.05 oz of product ($300 per ounce). While the brand is slightly more affordable per ounce than comparatively priced brands, I realize that the cost is still out of a lot of consumers’ price range. As I often state, MAC makes good quality products, so if you love the shade, splurge. (5/5)


Wow Factor:

I was impressed by this shadow’s complexity, it’s deep pinkish base with gold duochrome. It really plays well in the light. It’s excellent quality, pigment rich, soft, applies like a dream and wears great. However, it’s not the most unique shade on the market, didn’t hit the ideal mark with wear time, and had a little bit of fallout. Great, but not perfect. (4/5)


Overall:

This is a great shadow that I’d recommend. I think Star Violet has versatility: the pinkiness playing up cool, fair skin, and the rich pigment and gold warmth would work well on deeper, warmer complexions. There’s enough product to last awhile, the texture, opacity, wear time, and application are all great. (4.4) B+


Availability:

MAC is available at department stores, and online at their website.

Useful Information:

-MAC does not test on animals unless “where mandated by law.”
-MAC products are not vegan (and include ingredients like beeswax, carmine, and lanolin).
-MAC is a brand that gives back! Their Back 2 MAC program offers you a free lipstick if you return six empty product containers they can reuse for environmental friendliness. There’s also the MAC AIDS Fund, which donates 100% of the sale price of their Viva Glam products to improve the lives of those struggling with HIV/AIDS worldwide.

Dupes:
-L’Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow in Glistening Garnet
 (slightly lighter, less gold reflection, less expensive, closest dupe.)

Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Last Call (cooler, pinker, less gold, more expensive.)
Shiro Loose Eyeshadow in Heart Attack (Richer, bluer, cooler, no gold/duochrome, silver/blue glitter, cruelty free, vegan, less expensive. Best used wet. The powder looks like it could be a dupe for Star Violet, but actually isn’t. Don’t be fooled!)

This is my own photo.

What do you think of this shade? My makeup stash is pretty small for a beauty junkie, and I was able to pull out 3-4 dupes. Those with larger collections probably have more. Know a dupe I missed? Love the shade? Hate it? Let me know!

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ELF Studio Blush in Pink Passion Review + Swatches

This is my own photo.

Back when I was marathoning Annie Jaffrey’s Youtube videos, she mentioned loving ELF’s Studio Blush in Pink Passion. I’m embarrassed to admit how tiny my blush collection is, and I was craving a baby pink hue for my cheeks. So when I had some leftover cash from a Christmas gift card, I picked this up at my local Target. 
Color:

Some have compared Pink Passion to NARS’ Desire. (I’ve never tried a NARS blush–I know, I’m totally missing out–so I can’t vouch for that on experience). Pink Passion is a cool blue-toned bright pink. This is supposed to be sheer, but actually packs a pigmented punch. You don’t need an exceptionally light hand, but fair skinned ladies like myself should be careful with this, since it can look sunburnish if used too heavily. (4/5)


Wear:

This blush made it through a whole day looking freshly applied. I know it’s a skin sin, but I touch my face a lot, and even so, this didn’t rub off or look uneven/faded/patchy by the end of the day. (5/5)


Formula:

The powder feels a bit dry to the touch, but doesn’t kick up much powder when a brush is used or apply poorly on the face. The pigment is strong, but it blends so-so, so be careful with how much you use and where you place it–you may not be able to soften it as much as you’d like. (3.5/5)


Packaging:

For drugstore, the packaging is pretty impressive. It’s a sturdier plastic (not full-on rubberized) with a small mirror inside and a small see-through window. It feels more weighty than other drugstore compacts. I think they were going for the NARS vibe with the square black packaging, but it does look chic than more expensive than it actually is. I don’t think this kind of compact is shatter-proof if you drop it, though. Also, my blush came with a small plastic insert protecting the powder inside, which was ultimately throwaway, but I thought it was a nice touch. (4.5/5)

This is my own photo.

Price:
Something I really loved about this blush was the price. ELF doesn’t always hit it out of the park, but for $3 USD, I was willing to take a risk and try this product. Not only is the face value of this product cheaper than most drugstore and high end competitors, it’s price per ounce is clearly cheaper too. (ELF studio blushes are $17.85 per ounce, vs. $100 per ounce for MAC and $187.50 for NARS). Plus, this line of blushes is a little more weight (.168 oz vs. .16 oz) than it’s more expensive competitor. (5/5)


Wow Factor:

Ultimately, I wasn’t as enamored with this blush as I thought I would be. It’s a bit dry and difficult to blend once you place it down. But it’s affordable, a good size, and has great pigmentation. It’s definitely one of the brighter, more opaque blush formulas I’ve seen on the drugstore market. (3.5)


Overall:

I like this blush and would recommend it. I admittedly don’t reach for it very often, because once I tried the more opaque baby doll cheek I’d been longing for, I immediately wanted to go back to my sheerer blush (live and learn!) But for those who love pigmented, affordable blush, this will definitely deliver. (4.25) B


Availability:

ELF products are available at Target, K-Mart and via their website.

Useful Information:

-Try a soft, fluffy brush to sheer out the product, and gradually build up pigmentation from there.
-ELF products are cruelty free and not tested on animals. Most ELF products are vegan, except for a few containing beeswax.

This is my own photo.

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