EDIT: the hinges on the quad cases are poorly made and break easily. I've had 3 break on me in under 6 months with daily use. The plastic is heavy and the mirror topheavy, which is what causes the delicate hinge breakage. They will still seal properly with broken hinges, but that's beside the point: it's a quality failure which is unacceptable for the price point. Very sad, I wanted to love these but I can't recommend them, even with the fabulous designs.. :-( Artdeco's eyeshadow, blush and lip products ar designed to be modular and replacable for full customization; their Beauty Boxes were designed to hold the products. They come in five different sizes: duo (2 eyeshadows), trio (3 eyeshadows or 1 blush), quattro (4 eyeshadows), quadrat (6 eyeshadows or 3 shadows and 1 blush), and magnum (12 eyeshadows or any mathematically feasible combination of blush and shadow, and on some models, also 1 liptick). The boxes are actually quite small and relatively pricey, so if you're looking for a Z-Palette replacement for a large quantity of depots, especially round shadows, this is not it. That being said, the quality of the boxes are fantastic: hardened plastic and metal, a mirror on the inside, and seasonal limited edition designs on all of the box sizes that are usually gorgeous and holographic. They're very sturdy, so perfect for travel, although you do have to buy the appropriate applicators separately. most importantly, they are magnetized, so it's very easy to swap in whatever magnetized pans you may have to make a custom palette that you can change at any time. I can see how it would be fun to take these and try to manually dupe a much more expensive Chanel quad, for example. Personally I have one quattro box which I use to hold my custom eyebrow kit (1 Catrice shadow, 1 Too Faced shadow, and the SK powder eyeliner kit, all depotted). I can't recommend these boxes enough; for travel or selective Artdeco shades / most loved depots, these are beautiful, high quality, sturdy and more than worth the money paid for them. It's not for mass depotting but if you have a handful of extremely well loved singles, this is a great way to make them looked polished, couture and mobile, rather than like a DIY project. And, of course, reusable so you'll never get bored of the colors inside ;-)
Eyeliner -Sephora - Sephora Liner Electro Glitter Eye Pencil
Enkida 2/3/2013 10:04:00 AM
I own three of these, the chcolate, copper and black-with-silver-glitter colors. I purchased them at the sale price of $3 each, which is factored into the rating. I usually require my makeup to last anywhere between 6-12 hours; sadly, these pencils are not long lasting enough for that; around the 4th or 5th hour they begin to smudge and transfer under my eyes, even with primer underneath. The black one especially sheds glitter particles. The colors are lovely, especially the copper and chocolate pencils, but I still find I need to quickly pass them through a flame to make the kohl soft enough to spread easily on my semi wrinkled eyelids. They also don't sharpen well on my standard sized essence sharpener (which is a dupe of many popular ones including Urban Decay's grindhouse); I actually needed to specifically hunt for a sharpener to fit the exact size of the pencil in order to have a usable pencil. For the price they were okay, but there are so many similarly priced alternatives here (essence, Catrice) that are just as nice, cheap, colorful, and don't require sharpening, as well as having softer kohl, that I wouldn't repurchase.
As of February 2013 Catrice has discontinued this product. It is being replaced by their "Absolute Moisture" tinted moisturizer and their "BB Cream" foundation. NC25 dry skin at the moment, I purchased shade 020 Honey Beige for little less than 7€. The price is OK for a drugstore foundation - I refrain from putting "dirt cheap" in my rating because you can access relatively OK quality foundation here for 3-4€, you just give up on the glass packaging for that price. The bottle, while made of an inspiring heavy frosted glass, still has a cheap plastic pump cap. The pump itself works fine, but on my first attempt to pull the cap off the entire head came off the bottle instead of just the cap, so minus points for that. The texture of the foundation is very, very thick and mousse-like, almost unpleasantly so. Despite that, it still melts into the skin relatively well and does not feel overly heavy, drying or sticky at all. It does make application with fingers the best choice for the texture, although I still had to buff with a brush at the end to achieve a nice finish; that's a little too much work for me in the mornings when I'm in a rush. Compared to their horrible Absolute Moisture TM, which is sadly the replacement for this, Infinite Matt is much better: it didn't oxidize, had medium to full coverage and didn't settle into my pores. The color was a little off for my warmer undertones; it had a hint of a pinkish rather than yellowish undertone and was a smidge too light; on the good side, it never "oxidized down" into a better match for me. The finish was not a straight matte but rather a dull satin, which still looked fairly natural. Extremely close up I could see I was wearing foundation, although I'm not entirely sure this wasn't merely because the color match was not 100% perfect. I didn't notice any transferring once I had powdered this down very lightly with a setting powder (EL Luminosity). The scent is artificially floral but not cloyingly so, and faded almost completely after a while. It may still irritate those with sensitive noses, however. Altogether a good drugstore foundation for the price, which makes it sad that Catrice decided to discontinue it. However, it can't hold a candle to HE foundations - Catrice still lacks the comprehensive shade range, the texture is very heavy and difficult to spread, the finish is not as flawless as it could be, and while the feel is not heavy on the face you can still tell it's "there." If you have the money, splurging on HE is still not a bad idea: Lancome Teint Miracle/Idol Ultra 24Hr or Diorskin Nude for example have a much lighter feeling, better texture and nearly undetectable finish than this. Idol Ultra probably comes closest to the "dull satin" finish this has.
I'm disappointed in this brush's quality after having been so throughly impressed by essence's blush and angled gel liner brushes. While still unbelievably cheap, this brush is definitely more of a "you get what you paid for" deal. It shed unbelievably after the first washing, and still occassionally loses a hair here and there even after 6 months of use - while applying shadows, not just while washing, mind you! The brush also bled purple dye from its bristles repeatedly after several washings. At the 6 month mark with more than weekly washings, that has slowed down at least. The texture of the bristles are also, I find, a bit scratchy compared to other similar brushes at this price. Compared to the smokey eyed brush which was similarly unimpressive, this one can't even keep its shape! Ecotools' flat paddle eyeshadow brush is a much better investment for the same type of brush at practically the same price, so I'd save my money here if you have other options.
EDIT: After half a year of 1x a week washing and daily spot cleaning, this brush has started to shed uncontrollably. Not worth the money spent; get CVS' Essence of Beauty crease set instead. >> I'm disappointed in this brush's quality after having been so throughly impressed by essence's blush and angled gel liner brushes. While still unbelievably cheap, this brush is definitely more of a "you get what you paid for" deal. It shed unbelievably after the first washing, and still occassionally loses a hair here and there even after 6 months of use - while applying shadows, not just while washing, mind you! The brush also bled purple dye from its bristles repeatedly after several washings. At the 6 month mark with more than weekly washings, that has slowed down at least. The texture of the bristles are also, I find, a bit scratchy compared to other similar brushes at this price. On the good side of things, despite multiple washings the brush head has kept its shape faithfully. It is a dirt cheap brush. But the quality reflects that. CVS' "essence of beauty" crease brush duo is a much better investment for the same type of brush at practically the same price, so I'd save my money here if you have other options.
A great blush brush for the price point. While the hot pink and black handle color is a matter of taste, the design of the brush itself is solid: the handle is just the right length, neither too long nor too short, and the bristles are the perfect mix of softness and density to pick up pigment and apply blush wonderfully. It's a synthetic brush, which means after washing with water and baby shampoo, it dries within 24 hours - efficient and practical. It has never shed, bled color or lost its shape despite my multiple weekly washings over the course of 6 months, and it's still going strong. I'm impressed enough to pick up another for bronzing, in fact. It certainly beats the mess that is ELF Studio's version of an angled bronzing brush on all fronts. Highly recommended if you like using angled blush brushes!
I own two of these brushes. They are inexpensive, they get the job done, the bristles are stiff, yet soft and the brush has retained its "sharp" edge and shape despite multiple washings. It has never shed and only bled color after the initial first washing. For the price point, an unbeatable angled liner. Comparable in quality to my Sephora professional angled liner. My only critique is the long, thin handle; I prefer mid length handles, especially when they are so thin.
Makeup Brushes -Sephora - Sephora Collection I.T. Cream Blush Brush
Enkida 12/29/2012 3:13:00 PM
I bought this brush at the sale price of $11 (U.S.) I find this to be an excellent cream blush brush, primarily for one reason: it's not too big or dense and made of synthetic takelon. That means, simply put, I can wash it with water and baby shampoo in the evening, and it will be dry and ready to use the next morning. There are certainly better brushes out there for the application and blending of cream blushes; the Sonia Kashuk flat top comes to mind instantly. But this is the only brush I've found so far that can keep up with my busy schedule - I don't want a collection of multiples of the same brush just because I don't have time to wait for my cream blush brush to dry properly before its next use. This is more important for me because I switch blush colors nearly daily, and if I don't constantly wash my brush my various blush colors will turn into a muddy mush. To its own credit, the brush applies my (Max Factor) cream blush reasonably well, and after a few uses I got used to it enough to be comfortable with blending as well. It's definitely not for first time cream blush users, though: the brush head is relatively small and precise so you have to know exactly where you want to put your blush on your face. If you're a regular cream blush user, however, and you like to switch up colors (and are a stickler for really clean brushes) like myself, this brush is an invaluable time saver. The SK flat top may be my HG for cream blush application and blending, but Sephora's brush is the one I will always reach for first on a busy weekday morning. The sale price makes it worth it; I wouldn't buy this for the full price of $36.
I own this in two colors: natural rosewood and chocolate temptation. This lipstick has been discontinued in the US, but continues to be sold in Europe and I believe in India as well. The price in Germany is under 5€, making it one of the more affordable/cheap drugstore lipstick choices here. The red plastic packaging reflects that; while at a glance it looks nice, in actuality it is very light, flimsy and cheap, making me wary of carrying this lipstick in a purse without some kind of outer casing around it. Texture wise this lipstick is a dream - smooth, creamy and most definitely moisturizing. How well creamy translates into feathering seems to depend on the color; I find "natural rosewood" to be very sheer and runny on me, prone to smearing outside of my lip line even with a liner. On the other hand "chocolate temptation" is fairly opaque and doesn't budge much, even with a bit of gloss over it. The texture of both lipsticks are rich enough to not require any lip balm underneath; wearing some may in fact cause more smearing than usual. As stated above, opacity and color return seems to vary from shade to shade. Both of my colors are neutral, brownish MLBB colors for medium to darker toned people with pigmented lips. I am happy with "chocolate tempation" which is an opaque brown with beautiful red undertones; "natural rosewood" would be a wonderful mauvish brown if it was just a little less sheer. Neither of the colors actually stain the lips; they just seem to sit on the surface, resulting in a very short wear time if you have a tendency to smack your lips or drink or eat something after application. Constant reapplication nearly every hour is a must; on the plus side, doing this will keep your lips soft and supple because of all the moisturizing properties of the lipstick. There is no noticable flavor to the lipstick and a very light, artificial, difficult to define scent that fades very quickly after application. Beats L'Oreal's scented lipsticks hands down. One last con: most reviews say this lipstick tends to mould quickly (within a year of purchase) in humid climates. If you're not going to reach for this lipstick regularly, it may be better to save your money, unless you store it in the fridge. Altogether a mediocre lipstick, good texture and color range for the price, but not long lasting or sturdy enough to make a really good impression. For this price range I prefer Catrice lipsticks.
I own this lipstick in three shades: Burnt Caramel, Sunbronzed, and Chili. This is my all time favourite drugstore lipstick. It runs expensive (at least in Germany) for a drugstore brand, somewhat comparable to L'Oreal - I believe I purchased mine for roughly 8-9 €/tube on sale. That being said, they are completely worth the money comparative to other D/S brands. The scent is not offensive (unlike L'Oreal), the formula is very moisturizing, great for more mature lips, and yet does not feather or run (unlike L'Oreal's mature line Colour Riche lipsticks), and yet the pigmentation is so good that it lasts all day. It stains the lips without drying them out, so even if the lipstick itself starts to wear off, you still end up with a nice color on your lips - just without the finish. The packaging is sturdy and pleasant to look at, not overly cheap nor flimsy (again, in contrast to similarly priced L'Oreal). My one critique for this line would be the extremely limited shade selection - they do have a small range of colours to choose from, but the ones marketed as Color Elixir - the moisturizing variety - have an extremely limited shade range. Burnt Caramel is a surprisingly wearable rosewood color that is MLBB on my darker skin. It has a smooth, satiny but not matte finish that can be shined up a bit with lip gloss. It's classed as a "brown" by Max Factor. Sunbronzed is a bit more shimmery than Burnt Caramel but still a very satiny finish. It actually runs a more warm purple mauve on my skin, although from the color on the bottom of the tube one would think it's a red shade. It's classed as a "brown" by Max Factor. Chili is a very warm toned deep red that looks great on medium to darker skintones. It might be a bit more shockingly red and dark on those with paler skintones, however. I don't find myself reaching for it as often as the other two because it is a more dramatic shade, but it's still wearable in the daytime with the right styling and makeup. It's classed as a "red" by Max Factor. I will most definitely buy Burnt Caramel once again when I run out of it, and I will run out of it - it's my favourite lip colour and formula in my entire collection, and wearable with nearly everything in every season. I would probably buy Sunbronzed again if I ever ran out, too. I highly recommend this line to those with drier lips but looking for a long lasting lipstick; however, ONLY if you can find a suitable colour for your skintone within their extremely limited range. Unbeatable performance for the price!
Primer/ Corrector -Catrice - Prime and Fine Smoothing Refiner
Enkida 10/22/2012 6:01:00 PM
This is basically a pot of silicone with a slight pink tint to it, that turns transparent once on the face. It smooths out pores and lines just as well - or poorly - as most other "pot of silicon" primers (think L'Oreal) for a generally much cheaper price than competitors. If you want to try an opaque cream silicon primer as a switch to the usual tubes of clear gel silicon primers, this is definitely one to go for. That being said, its stated purpose is to smooth fine lines; for me that reads "marketed for older women." Older women tend to have drier skin, and this primer is very drying on the skin. I have to moisturize well underneath it to feel comfortable. Altogether it just seems like a useless product, whereas an Asian high PPD sunscreen would have the same "priming" effect, provide sun protection, and be more moisturizing by comparison. If you are sensitive to silicones, stay away from this one for sure; if you have dry skin, consider skipping primers completely, and think twice about this one if you don't want to. If you have oily skin and/or are a younger woman, I highly recommend investing in a good Asian sunscreen instead of a silicone based primer, as they provide the same results with more benefits. In fact, the only people I would recommend this product to are those on a tight budget who absolutely feel they require a primer to have makeup last longer, and are not sensitive to silicon. If you do use it, make sure you take it off completely at the end of the day, as silicon can clog your pores nastily if you leave it on for too long (hence the "pore smoothing" effect, you actually are filling them with temporary "face spackle"). Of course this particular critique is not unique to Catrice's primer alone.
True to all Absolute Color Eyeshadow Monos: I chose "yes" to the buy again option even though, to be honest, the pots of eyeshadow provided are big enough to last me a lifetime, at least the way I use them. The current size is 2g; older shadows used to contain 2.5g. The packaging is a bit of a copy of Shu Uemura shadows; practically, this means if you have longish fingernails you will have a hell of a time opening and closing these annoying little things. Fortunately enough, they are very easy to depot if you use a heat method - something which I highly recommend to do if you collect more than one or two of their colors. Sometimes the color return on a shadow will seem to be poor; very often with Catrice this goes away if you give the top of the shadow a light scraping with a disposable mascara wand or similar to remove the overspray. Most of the shadows, like their nailpolishes, come with tongue-in-cheek names that relate to modern pop culture and are enjoyable to giggle at; also like their nailpolishes, many of the shadow colors are pretty good dupes of higher end brands. Specific to Bring Me Frosted Cake: I find this to be one of their more chalky, powdery shadows - not in the pleasant sense - and rather sheer compared to their other monos. On my darker skin, it's a nice, satiny overall base I can use to make other colors show up more vividly, though the shadow itself still requires its OWN base as well - if you had something like a paint pot, color tattoo or jumbo pencil in a similar shade I imagine you could save yourself a step here. That being said, I'm not disappointed with the purchase, because it was so cheap. It's not a true matte, though the shimmer in it is not nearly enough for me to call it "shimmer" at all. A reviewer compared it to WnW's Brulee; I would say it's much paler with pinkish undertones, whereas Brulee is more of a true matte beige. I would actually call it more of a "satiny warm vanilla- white" I guess. I would probably not buy it again if I ever ran out, simply because I like my (mostly) matte shadows to have butter smooth textures and rich pigmentation and am very particular about them. This is by no means a bad shadow to pick up and test if you happen to be in a European drugstore, but not something I would make the effort to collect from overseas.
True to all Absolute Color Eyeshadow Monos: I chose "yes" to the buy again option even though, to be honest, the pots of eyeshadow provided are big enough to last me a lifetime, at least the way I use them. The current size is 2g; older shadows used to contain 2.5g. The packaging is a bit of a copy of Shu Uemura shadows; practically, this means if you have longish fingernails you will have a hell of a time opening and closing these annoying little things. Fortunately enough, they are very easy to depot if you use a heat method - something which I highly recommend to do if you collect more than one or two of their colors. Sometimes the color return on a shadow will seem to be poor; very often with Catrice this goes away if you give the top of the shadow a light scraping with a disposable mascara wand or similar to remove the overspray. Most of the shadows, like their nailpolishes, come with tongue-in-cheek names that relate to modern pop culture and are enjoyable to giggle at; also like their nailpolishes, many of the shadow colors are pretty good dupes of higher end brands. Specific to Heidi Plum: this is one of their monos that comes with better pigmentation, making it a good investment for the price if you're looking for a deep, shimmery pink-and-gold laced purple. It's important to note that they have 2 versions of Heidi Plum; the older ones were matte, or so I hear. The new version is a nice dark color that doesn't look flat due to the subtle multicolor shimmer, and a very good buy if you like purple eyeshadows with depth. For the drugstore price you can get it in Europe, it's a steal - whether you love purples or just want to experiment with one. Highly recommended!
First of all, my skin tone is a "30" in Dior Hydarating Nude Foundation; that's a medium tan with warm yellow undertones. I find like many other reviewers that this powder does tend to make my skin appear lighter than it really is, though apparently not as dramatically as paler reviewers here. That did not bother me overly much, as I had been using a foundation with this that I purchased while more tanned, and I found it evened out the too dark foundation tone nicely. Still, if you are looking for a "translucent" powder, this is not it. The formulation is chalky, and the packaging is crap. You really need your own soft kabuki or powder brush to put this on properly, the packaged brush is completely worthless. I had been misusing this as a setting powder, and it worked just fine in that regard, but in reality this is a finishing powder - like a cheap version of Guerlein Meteorites, or a comparison to Physician's Formula Pearls of Perfection, etc. It is not a foundation powder, not a setting powder, and not an oil absorbing powder. It's supposed to give you an illuminated look, otherwise known as "dewy" on the youthful, or "youthful" on the older. ;-) In all of these cases it is really important to have a good powder brush to apply properly, and to use a very light touch when putting it on as a last step powder over all your other "stuff." A lot of people complain about the sparkles; I really didn't notice a sparkle overkill going on, though it is definitely not a matte powder (and doesn't advertise itself as such). My one complaint about the shimmer - and I would call it shimmer rather than glitter or sparkle - is that the particles that are there could have been more finely milled. But I don't find the highlighting effect excessive at all, compared to the powder's much more obvious shortcomings: non transparency and chalky texture. I think if you find the sparkle in this product overwhelming, you may be putting it on too thickly. These days for a transparent setting powder I have moved on to better things, but I would still keep this around for when I start losing my summer tan and don't want to switch up foundations. Not worth repurchasing, though - at this drugstore price, I would expect a better texture and packaging.
Moisturizers -The Body Shop - Vitamin E Intense Moisture Cream
Enkida 9/16/2012 5:07:00 PM
I bought a tub of this for a night moisturizing creme for my dry skin after finishing my bottle of CeraVe PM lotion, which is not available for purchase where I live. I was really just looking for a replacement to CeraVe that would not require online ordering. In terms of moisturizing provided, this certainly does not provide as much relief. It is a thick, rich, non-greasy creme which is a pleasure, texture-wise, to spread on my face; the feeling of being "moisturized" usually fades well within the two to three hours before I go to bed, however. It doesn't irritate, and it provides a smooth-feeling, non greasy, non tacky finish. It doesn't, however, make my skin feel as hydrated as my previous creme, and the fragrance, while not offensive, IS pretty strong. I prefer unscented cremes when possible. One thing I noticed is that by the end of the week, before I've completed my once-a-week exfoliating scrub day, this moisturizer makes my skin peel and roll off if I rub my face. I'm not sure whether to consider that a good or a bad thing; obviously, it's shucking off a layer of dry skin cells and it doesn't hurt one bit. On the other hand, it's really unpleasant to rub at my temples and come off with tiny rolls of dead, grey skin. I wouldn't purchase this again because the price versus the disadvantages - perfume, jar format, not as moisturizing as my previous creme, the end of the week peeling - make it not worth the bother. I don't find it to be a bad creme, however, and have had no noticable skin problems from using it every night.