Here we are again, Coralistas. It's time to take a terrifying glimpse into the rabbit hole that is my makeup collection.
To catch you up to speed, I test drive 5 products from my extensive makeup collection to decide what's working and what's not. If I like it, it stays. If I'm a bit meh about it, it stays. If I hate it, I feel really guilty about throwing it out and put it to the side even though I will definitely never use it again. Such is the the life of a cosmetics hoarder.
But enough about my problems, let's focus on what matters: shiny things. So without further ado, let's get to it:
Sometimes I feel like I wander around Sephora hoping and praying that someone has invented a new type of cosmetic so I can have the excuse to go, "Well, I certainly don't have an illuminating primer. Clearly this is a thing I need, unlike another blush."
Such is the case with this Lancome Face Sculpting and Illuminating All-In-One Contour, Blush and Highlighter in "Rose Flush." As I've never had a face sculpting and illuminating all-in-one contour, blush and highlighter in any shade, I felt that surely this was the answer to the question I hadn't asked.
First, I'm very very pale. So contouring should just be a blanket no-no for me. I know this. Lord do I know this. But I still yearn in my heart for a bronzer that doesn't make it look like I've just smudged dirt on my face. What I have no necessarily yearned for is an all-in-one compact that looks like Neopolitan ice cream across my icy-white skin (as seen here):
But here we are.
In truth, this was a pretty good compact, albeit one I didn't need. I'd take a small contouring brush and outline my cheekbone. Then I'd apply the blush with a nice big fluffy brush along the cheekbone and in the apples of my cheeks. And then I'd take the small contouring brush, making sure to tap off the bronzer, and then would illuminate the top of my cheekbone.
Ironically, the highlighter and the bronzer looked great. I managed to carve out what looked reasonably like a cheekbone without it looking as though I'd literally painted it on. But the blush, weirdly, looks almost too red on my cheeks. In the pan, it's the most subtle and soft shade of pink, and yet I consistently looked like I had a rash when I put it on my face. I've had great success with Lancome blushes in the past, so I'm not sure what went wrong here, but it's a bit sad that I wouldn't be able to use the biggest portion of the compact in future.
All in all, I'd give this a C+ because the bronzer and highlighter do work very well, but I am still disappointed about the blush.
Next is the Bourjois Max Holidays Mascara in "Black." This came in a two-pack with a blue mascara at Christmas and so each tube wound up being roughly the cost of a normal $10 drug store mascara, so I bought it on a whim. The one trouble with Bourjois, as I've mentioned in other reviews (I think) is that while it's priced as "luxury" in Canada, it's just a regular drug store brand in the UK. So you're likely not getting any really great payoff from it compared to how much you're spending unless you get it on a particularly good deal (or fly for 9 hours to go pick one up).
With that said, this is another serviceable mascara. I didn't find that it transformed my lashes, but I was pleased that there was basically no flaking over time. It didn't give me huge volume, but it gave nice coverage without any embarrassing signs of "wear." For that reason, I give it a solid B.
This is Benefit's Boi-ing concealer in shades "01 and 02." It came in a "light skin" collection from Bourjois at Sephora, but I've pulled most of the individual bits apart to use separately. For this concealer, I liked that it came in two shades because I usually need something a bit darker in Summer, and it can be a pain to switch between products constantly.
With that said, the packaging is obviously a bit flimsy and very easy to smudge (as the gross photo above can attest). It also, sadly, despite being from the "light" collection is still slightly too dark for my dead-of-winter skin (see below):
But at this point, I've learned how to blend well and make do.
In any event, I found that this concealer was fine, although it seemed very dry when applying and did have an unfortunate tendency for creasing overtime, especially when placed as an under-eye concealer. I think this is a fantastic concealer for spots or discoloration, but since most of what I need is for under-eyes, it wasn't the perfect fit for me. I'd give it a B- because it is a good concealer, but the color-match wasn't great (they don't go lighter, sadly) and the creasing and dryness was disappointing.
The Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion definitely falls under the category of "Things I Bought Because I Didn't Have One Yet." I don't have oily skin. I don't find that I have troubles with eye shadow creasing. I don't need an eye shadow primer.
When I use it, I can't tell an enormous difference between the color payoff with or without, and frankly it made no difference in terms of my wear time. I feel I shouldn't give this a rating at all because I am in no way the target audience for this product and I can't fairly give it a bad or good review as a result. Sorry about this one, folks.
Last and definitely not least is the The Balm Nude 'Tude Palette. This is yet another attempt to ride off of Urban Decay's Naked Palette comet. As many other people have said, the color payoff for this palette is fantastic. My trouble is more the colors — Snobby is a little too yellow, Sultry is a little too warm a brown, Sexy is a little too straight-up red, Stubborn's a little too pink, Sassy's a little too white. In other words, what Urban Decay got very right with its Naked palettes — namely that they were true neutrals — The Balm has gotten wrong by making the colors too stark and harsh. With this palette, I really only used four shades: Stand-Offish for a base, a combination of Selfish and Silly for the crease and the Sleek for my eye-liner. You can see the swatches here:
Again, the color payoff is gorgeous. And for three of those four shades, they are beautiful neutrals — but you can see how Sultry is just a touch too warm compared with the soft neutrality of the first two, or the cold straight-forwardness of the last one.
All in all, I like Nude 'Tude, I just wish that the colors were a little easier to use and didn't require that I blend around to make a "better" shade. I think that given the fact that the prices aren't too different, however, if you are looking for something like the Naked palette, just get the Naked palette.
Nude 'Tude gets about a B from me, because I do love the shades I love, but I can't see myself using each of these colors the bone.
So that's it for another episode. Let me know what your progress is with your own Spring clean, or if I've completely missed the boat on any of these products and you'd like to yell at me about it.