Eye Primer -Too Faced - Shadow Insurance, Anti-Crease Eye Shadow Primer
Labloah 10/22/2012 10:27:00 AM
Love it! Shadow stays put all day, whether it's cream shadow or powder, no creasing, no smudging, no loss of colour. It's a light cream base which applies virtually colourless (it does have a slight tint to it) so doesn't colour the eye area once blended out. Applies smoothly and evenly. I use it under my eyes also, and under eye concealer and any foundation around that area is still holding on long after my foundation begins to quit. The squeeze tube makes it easy to use, and I only need to use the tinniest of amounts to get good results. On occasion when I'm near to running out and want to spread it a little further, I mix it about half and half with a cheaper primer, like ELF or Jordana, and still get great results.
This is specifically for the Balmbini palette volume 2. This a palette with so much potential- it has some amazing qualities, but it also has some very noticeable flaws. On the one hand, the product quality, pigmentation, packaging and design is just amazing. On the other hand, it's the colour choices that let it down. Same as the Balmbini vol 1, the palette lid has the double flapped design, one side covers the powders, the other the cream products, so there's no issue with powdery residue or possible breakages ruining the cream products, and a strong magnet holds each side in place, so they're not going to fall open unexpectedly. It also comes with a cardboard sleeve to go over the palette, which is added protection for a palette that's obviously designed for portability. It's a sturdy number I'm always confident to throw into my overflowing handbag. The back of the palette and the sleeve has a suggested look for the products, a full ingredients list, and the whole thing is decorated in a collage of the labels of some of The Balms most popular products. The top half of the palette opens the reveal a generous sized mirror, under which is a large rectangle of a shimmery pearl highlighter/shadow called Promiscuous Pearl. I'd say it is much more suited to highlighting the eye area than using as a general luminizer, as it has a reasonably opaque base pigment for a highlighter (though used sparingly, you could get away with it to highlight the face, it really depends on how subtle or shimmery you like your highlighters). Next to that is another large rectangle of a deep, intense matte black shadow/liner, called Jinxy Jasmine. This is the first of those flaws I mentioned. The product itself is great, It's a nice matte black with the merest suggestion of light shimmer underneath, with intense pigment and smooth, blendable texture. In the pan, it looks like the deepest most intense black you'll ever meet, though when it's on the skin, it is a little more subtle, like a lighter charcoal colour, but it does give you buildable coverage, so you can go from a charcoal sweep, to a heavier full coverage black by applying more coats as needed. Also, if you wanted super intense black for liner or such, using wet will give you a very similar colour to what you see in the pan, spectacularly black and completely full coverage. But honestly, there's just so much of it. It's quite disproportionate to the rest of the palette. I think another shadow, or maybe a powder blush or bronzer may have taken that place a little better. I seldom use black liner, and never really use black shadow, so that spot is basically going unused. Under those are three powder shadows, Manic Mabel, a shimmery coolish copper with slight pink undertones, Open to Offers Olwen, shimmery teal green on the light to mid side, and Lavish Latoya, a blue leaning shimmery mid tone purple (not quite as shimmery as the other two). The shadow quality is great, but the colour combination is on the unusual side. I'm sure there's people who could rock the combination quite well, and it is nice to see palettes that set out from the usual, but it just doesn't seem as versatile as it could be, and to me, it's an odd combination. The purple and green don't seem to have the right contrast, it is close though, but something just looks off to me, and they do sort of look a bit muddy blended together. I do find myself reaching for the antique copper of Manic Mabel more than the others, but that's usually in combination with products outside this palette. The bottom flap opens to reveal the cream products. I really like the consideration they've taken to keep these cream products separate from the rest of the palette. First cream colour is Strawberry, a bright pink and coral lip and cheek cream. It's a very bright colour on cheeks, so a little goes a very long way. It's a smooth, weightless texture, but a little hard to get the colour coverage just right if you only want to use a a very small amount. It's got that silicone smoothness to it, and it applies reasonably matte, but not powdery, and applies similarly to lips as well, though you can get away with a heavier application when using on the lips. The second cream product is Nude lip gloss. Unlike most lip glosses I find in palettes, this isn't a goopy, sticky, tacky solid gloss, the texture is more like a creme finish lipstick, not high sheen at all. It has a nice level of pigment too, and an opaque finish. It's a nice light nude/neutral with pink undertones, not overly brown, not overly pale. Though the best thing I find with the two lip colours is you can adjust the colour you want by using varying amounts of each cream. For a bright coral pink, the Strawberry can be worn alone, but to tone it down some, add a little Nude. Or to jazz up the neutral Nude to make it slightly more of a muted pale pink, add a smidge of Strawberry. You can play with the quantities of each to get different but very wearable colours, while still maintaining a soft cream texture. I got this as a GWP, and I don't think I'd buy this one, though I will give definitely give consideration to the vol 1. This still gets a high mark for quality, both in product and packaging, plus the versatility of the lip colours, but loses a little for the odd choices of colour and quantities of product.
I love that this gives a very, very natural look, just evens out your skin tone and complexion to give a "your skin but better" finish. Unfortunately it isn't very full coverage, so I really only wear it on days I'm wanting light coverage or won't be wearing makeup for long. I do sometimes layer it under MAC Studio Fix Powder for a fuller finish. It is a shame they let go of their Intensive base, as that was my go to before they replaced it with this. This has its benefits as a natural finish product, but the Intensive had a lot better coverage, and they just do not compare. As a result, I only use this occasionally, whereas the Intensive base I used quite often. The colour options for this range are limited too, I use Fairly Light in the summer, and Sunkissed Fair in the winter, and the latter is not available in the IT base, so winter I have to switch back to a different formula for winter. Everyday Minerals has also stopped shipping to Australia from their site, and only offers their products to Australians through reseller sites, which of course means a mark up in price to what we formerly paid, plus we cannot take advantage of the sales, promos, customisable kits and the like that are offered on the EM site (and the layout of the other sites are awful, making it hard to view and search products and shades, as well as certain products being unavailable). It's a shame as I really do like this new formula for a light, natural, glowing (but not shimmery) look, but it's just becoming harder to buy, and not as versatile as they used to be, so I tend to reach for other products.
Palettes -Too Faced - Glamour to Go - Fairy Edition
Labloah 9/14/2012 3:14:00 PM
This was a huge disappointment. I was really excited for this palette initially, as I'm always on the look out for a good multi-purpose palette that is reasonably small (so as not to clutter an already full makeup bag) compact and portable, something I can use to do my eye makeup on my morning commute, and for touch ups throughout the day. On paper, this ticked all the boxes, and seemed like it had a nice selection of shades. The packaging is nifty, has sturdy construction, and is very cute looking. The top opens upwards for the shadows and a good sized mirror considering the size of the compact, and the bottom slides forward for blush, bronzer and gloss. It's the product quality that lets this palette down. The eye shadows are poorly pigmented, especially in the paler shades, the very glittery ones are gritty and caused eye irritation when I wore them, plus the glittery shades have MASSIVE fallout. The matte brown and shimmery grey shades were just ok, but still nothing to write home about. The blush and bronzer was chalky, powdery and applied ridiculously patchy and had an awful caked on appearance . Probably some of the worst blushers I've ever used. I'm not much of a lip gloss person, so I didn't end up wearing it all that much, but the powdery, chalky residue from the blush and bronzer would cake up over the top of the gloss, and I would have to repeatedly scrape the top of it out. I've had great results with other Too Faced products, love the Lip of Luxury and La Creme lipsticks, get great pigmentation from the eyeshadow singles, so it was a bit weird and quite unexpected that this palette was so very awful.
Lipstick -Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics - Lip Tar
Labloah 9/10/2012 7:52:00 AM
Lip tars have their definite pros and cons in my book. The things I do like about them are the high level of pigmentation, the small amount that is required for use, the customisable nature of the product to mix and match your own perfect shades (I think this is the biggest draw for me), and the longevity of wear on the lip. You do need to be careful in how much you apply, otherwise you will get feathering and slip, and a lip brush is a must, you're just not going to get a clean edge otherwise. Unfortunately I tend not to reach for these when I'm in a hurry as I do have to take care in application and cannot swipe it on quickly like a regular lipstick. They recently updated the packaging, getting rid of the old doe foot slanted tip, and switching to a thin tapered tip that discourages application directly from the tube. I've not actually bought any of the updated packaged ones yet, but I can say I'm happy to see the change made. As the product is essentially a thin oily liquid, if there's any remaining around the slanted tip, it easily seeps into the threading on the cap, and can make a big mess when opening and closing, and is near impossible to get out. The thin viscosity of the oil makes it prone to leaking if you get any around the threading (on the tubes, or in any containers you may mix your own colours in) as it creates a kind of wick effect, so take care when storing these that they are closed well, that no product is around the threading. Because of the potential for leaks or mess, I never carry these with me, they always live at home. With a lot of the colours, I find they aren't quite flattering going on as is, I get a lot better colour results by mixing my own shades. This is fun, but can be a pain, as you either have to make it ahead of time and find empty pots to store (and record what you put in should you want to recreate it), or to mix it then and there on your hand, which is messy, and may be hard to duplicate. You'll find you get a standard opaque finish with these, they go on slightly shiny, but as the oils seep into your lips, they do begin to feel a little drier from the pigment left behind, and I usually find I want to apply some lip balm as they get drier (which unfortunately decreases the longevity). I have tried adding mineral shimmers and interference to these to alter the finish, but the opaqueness of the lip tar tends to swallow it up, and I haven't got anything beyond a very slight frost when adding it to straight lip tar. I have however achieved better results when adding a small amount of lip tar to a clear gloss then adding the shimmer, as it brings the opaqueness down enough to let the shimmery particles show through. There's some great colours available, some wearable as is, some far out ones that you think you'd never use in a million years on their own, but make great additions to a custom colour. Overall it's a nifty product, with great potential, but the some of the things that make it truly unique and adaptable are also the very things that cause its problems. They're worth trying though, and having a few around for custom colours.