As you may recall, the lovely Jess has allowed me a guest spot on her blog, Fifty Shades of Coral. This is my second entry:

It's been two weeks since the last installment of my public spring cleaning and I have 5 new products that I used religiously during that period to either shun or recommend.

Without further ado, let's just jump in:

The Balm Cosmetics' blush in "Frat Boy" has been something of a guru favorite for a while now, but as I said in the last round, I don't love that cardboard packaging that the Balm puts most of its powder products in. Combined with the magnetic close, the cardboard just feels flimsy and likely to break, so I'm often a trepidatious of putting this in my travel makeup bag, lest I unzip to discover a flurry of crushed blush. But for at least the last two weeks, Frat Boy survived the daily journeys to work and back.

Regarding the blush itself, the formula is fantastic. While The Balm isn't cheap (the company's online store sells it for $21.00), it's a relative bargain given that it reminds me of the quality and wear of higher-end blushes like Lancome's Blush Subtil. A very small tap of my blush brush was enough to get a subtle sweep of color across the apples of my cheeks and along the cheekbones.


I will caution, however, that when going for a "flushed" look, Frat Boy was not my friend. The color is a warm peachy pink that had a tendency to look slightly orange if I over-applied. As mentioned in the previous post, I have extremely pale pink skin, so if you do have a warmer or yellower undertone, this might work for you as a more "full on" blush.

In any event, I did like Frat Boy a lot — the formula is great, the wear is great and it works as a light, natural blush. Because the color wasn't 100% right for me, I've taken a couple of points off, but otherwise I feel that an 8/10 is a fair score for this product.

Next is Anna Sui's Rouge Jar in 001, probably my favorite product of the bunch. A few years ago, mood-changing glosses that adapt to your body heat were something of a fad. They were cool, but the main problem was that you always ran the risk of going from a nice pale pink when first applied to suddenly discovering your lips were a lurid fuchsia a few minutes later. Sure, that was part of the thrill of the product, but surely the main point should still be to, you know, look good. That's where the Rouge Jar is different — the 001 clear shade goes on and immediately turns into the color that it'll remain: a very nice hint of pink that acts as little more than a "natural" color enhancement to your lips. And, like with all Anna Sui products, the packaging is adorable.

The texture is somewhere between a balm and a gloss — it's not at all sticky, but it feels a little more slippery and looks a little more shiny than your average balm. The one and only thing I can see being a major turn-off is the smell. It's that pure Turkish Delight rose scent that might remind you of grandma's bathroom. I find that while it is very strong in the pot, the smell is noticeably reduced on your lips and goes away almost entirely within about 10-15 minutes. It doesn't bother me, but I'd probably prefer something fruity to something floral.


As a result, I feel bad for knocking off a point, but the smell is a little bit of a detraction, so this otherwise great product gets a 9/10.

Another Anna Sui product, this time the Eyebrow Color Compact in 02. This is without a doubt the most-loved product in my bag right now as it is the first piece of eyebrow makeup I've ever owned. I have naturally full brows with a good shape, but I started to notice a couple of bare patches here or there that could use some touching up. Despite the fact that I've dyed my hair red for over a decade, I'm a natural brunette with golden undertones, so I felt for the sake of keeping things natural, I'd get the blonde shade:

This is perhaps the main advantage of Anna Sui's brow product over a lot of the competition: you can control the color to make sure it's a perfect match. I use a slanted brow brush to lightly comb in the color on the right until I have the definition and coverage I want. Then I go back in and mix the three colors on the left and pat them on top of the brow until it looks light and natural.

I wouldn't necessarily call this product fully "natural," as people will be able to tell you have it on, but if you do have any issues with empty patches or lack of definition but you're not 100% sure of which color you need, this is a great product to start out with.

Admittedly, the fact that I haven't tried other brow products means that I can't be sure that this is the best product out there, but I do love the way it looks and the coverage and the wear and the ease of application. So for all of that, it gets a 10/10.

Next is another internet "hero" product, Tarte's Amazonian Clay Airbrush Foundation in "Fair Honey." I whined last time about how hard it is to find a good color match for my ghost-white skin, and the word "honey" didn't exactly comfort me when picking up this shade. So I was somewhat surprised that it worked as well as it did. The color may not have been an exact match, but somehow this foundation seems to melt into your skin and make it look like you're wearing nothing at all, even though your red spots and dark circles have vanished.

The packaging on this is smart — a mesh screen that's kept in place by a plastic stopper within the lid, and room on the side to swirl your brush and knock off excess powder. The one thing I didn't have was the right brush — they were all sold out of the "Airbuki," so I got the retractable Kabuki from Too Faced instead, as the saleswoman explained that it would give me more control over the coverage. But since this isn't a review of the brush, I will say that the application of the powder was extremely easy. The one drawback is that it's hard to tell if you've applied too little or too much as it often doesn't seem like it's doing anything at all until you stand back and look at the finished product.


Many people have said that this product seems "creamy" or "moisturizing," and that might be the one claim I take issue with. This is, at the end of the day, a powder. Any dry spots will be somewhat highlighted by it. While I didn't have "powder face," it definitely didn't give me the same dewy finish as a liquid foundation. So if you have very dry skin and were tempted by the claims of moisturization and creaminess, I'd probably still give this a miss.

But for my skin's purposes, I liked this foundation a lot — I think it gets near the hype even if it doesn't complete deserve it, and other than the slight issues with dryness, I'd give this a 9/10.

Last, and maybe least, is the Shu Uemura 6 Princess "Heart-full Pink Parallel" palette by Takashi Murakami. This was a limited edition palette for the 2013 holiday season with a Good vs. Evil theme in which every woman is made of both "pink and black," and the two sides war against one-another while also complimenting each other. In other words, one was a pretty day collection and the other was good for night. I got the day.

First, the good news. The formula of Shu Uemura's eyeshadows is incomparable. They are so soft and so beautiful and so easy to blend and so just-right shimmery and so just-right matte. You feel immediately illuminated when you put on these shadows, and even the orange one has the ability to look both pretty and subtle.


But the bad news is that my beloved golden orange shade is already cracked and I'm currently using a piece of scotch tape to hold it in place, which isn't ideal. If it does eventually crumble, I'm worried it'll spoil all of the other shadows as well, which would basically make this very very expensive palette useless. My second complaint is that the blush, in the lower right corner, is so small that it's too easy for my blush brush to hit against one of the other eye shadows and accidentally add a streak of orange or cranberry to my face. As I result, I can't use the blush, which is a waste.

So for the outrageous price ($91 in Canada), and the fact that it's already broken and I can't use one of the products, I have to give this otherwise beautiful and beloved palette a 6/10.

So that's it for this fortnight. Still nothing thrown away, but at least one product will be pushed to the back of the collection for now until I can figure out how to salvage it.


Are you doing a spring cleaning of your own makeup collection? Have you tried any of the products above and wildly disagree with me?