Eye Makeup Remover -Marcelle - Oil-Free Eye Make-up Remover Lotion
Jilliterate 11/1/2011 4:49:00 AM
This make-up remover makes me feel a lot of things. First, it makes me feel happy, because it does a decent job of removing some of those tougher eye products -- waterproof mascara, gel liner, etc. Then it makes me feel "OH GOD IT BURNS WHY DOES IT BURN." Seriously, this stuff stings like a mother. I keep using it because it swabs easily onto a q-tip and gets rid of my raccoon eyes. But I won't be repurchasing it, because I don't like feeling like the victim of a mustard gas attack every night when I remove my makeup. As a side-note, Marcelle has a similar product available: "Gentle Make-Up Remover For Sensitive Eyes." Which I read as, "Oh, this one is for the little wussies who couldn't withstand our super-effective mixture of sulphur and chill peppers. Babies."
This mascara is definitely a mixed bag. It's applicator took some getting used to -- instead of soft bristles, it has short spikes. They can be kind of rough on the lashline, but it makes it easy to be sure you've deposited the mascara right on the lashline. For me, the best thing this mascara does is CURL my lashes. I normally don't use an eyelash curler, but this mascara really made it look like I had. I love the effect. It also gives decent length and volume, but you have to be very careful in applying, because that volume can vary from "somewhat clumpy" to "extremely clumpy," and it sticks together so that it's pretty much impossible to comb your eyelashes out. Because of this, I won't be repurchasing this mascara. The curl is wonderful, but for $30 CAD, I shouldn't have to struggle to avoid getting major clumps. At this cost, there are better mascaras out there that give me the volume I want without the clumpiness.
Bubbles, bubbles, bubbles. No matter how long I let my polish dry underneath, this stuff forms bubbles. No thank you -- I'd rather have my polish chip than have it look like a crocodile's butt, which is does now because of this topcoat. I don't see myself using this topcoat even out of desperation, so I highly recommend avoiding it!
Highlighters -GOSH - Precious Powder Pearls - Magic
Jilliterate 7/22/2011 2:30:00 AM
I picked these up, hoping for a cheap dupe of Guerlain's Meteorites. Cost-wise, they're certainly cheaper -- Shoppers Drug Marts in Canada sell a 25 gram container for $22, which works out to be .88/gram. Initially, "Magic" looks like it can serve as a decent stand-in for the Meteorites. The packaging isn't as glamorous as Guerlain's, but it serves its purpose -- a clear plastic tub with a matte black cap. Showing some excellent foresight, GOSH includes a thick sponge layer that is stored on top of the powder balls to keep them from rolling around and breaking apart. There are five different colours of powder balls -- tan, white, silver, cream, and yellow. When combined, they combine a light, neutral sheen. A light, neutral sheen with a crapton of glitter in it. These things are literal glitterbombs. Every single one of the colours contains noticeable pieces of glitter. It's so obvious, it can't even work as a subtle highlighter -- I look too much like a three-year old who's gotten into the craft box. I can't comment much on the wear-time, since I'm planning on returning this product for a refund. The colour is pretty, and if you like glitter, then this might be perfect for you. Sadly, the glitter fallout is so heavy that it just doesn't work for me.
There are so many things I love about this blush. I love the colour, which I initially thought would look clownish, and is instead the most natural blush I have ever worn. I love the oh-so-faint hint of gold in it. I love that it "plays well with bronzers," as some Benefit advertising claimed. Coralista + Hoola = BFF. There are a few things I'm not crazy about: I find the packaging a bit unnecessary, and I would prefer it to be odourless. It's also a bit sheer, but the positive in that is that it gives you some control over buildability. Sadly, there is one thing I can't ignore about this blush: the wear time. I find it has a shockingly short wear time. I'm lucky if I can make it two or three hours without reapplying it. And at the cost of this blush, that's unforgivable. I've got dirt-cheap drugstore blushes that last for eons. There's no reason for Benefit to be failing on that. I love this colour with a passion, and it always disappoints me that it doesn't quite deliver. Unless the formula improves, I won't be purchasing it again.
I am absolutely loving this colour. I picked it up on a whim, and was not prepared for how beautiful it is. It's a very rich orange colour with a golden shimmer to it. If orange is ever "classy" and not "clowny," I think this is it. It's a fairly bold colour, so be prepared to put your face through the typical preparations required to take on an orange lip. I'm fairly pale (Around NC15), and if I was going to be brutally honest, this colour might be a little too much with my complexion, but I love it so much that I determinedly keep on wearing it, clownface-be-damned. This lipstick has a bit of a scent to it, kind of an orange creamsicle smell. It's light, but also feels very fake, and I'd really rather it wasn't present. The formula is not quite as smooth as I'd like it -- it feels a bit drying, and drags on my lips a bit during application, and I typically exfoliate and moisturize before applying lipstick. On the positive side, it has a good wear time. The colour stays strong, although it's not particularly food resistant (Testing has shown that it will wear off quickly if one consumes a monstrous roast turkey sandwich). Like all of Milani's lipsticks, this lipstick is an odd shape -- instead of being round, the stick is a multi-faceted, hexagonal shape, with a much narrower angled side for application than usual. Quirky, but doesn't affect application any. The rectangular packaging is more typical, but nice: a mature-looking brushed gold. The packaging has also survived the "Purse Test" (In which I throw the lipstick in my massive, cluttered purse, and the cap doesn't pop off). Summary: Although not the best formula out there, this unique shade is fabulous. It's normally priced at $5.00 (CAD$), and I got it on sale for $2.50. Well worth the cost, I'll be picking this shade up again when I run out.
My brush looks nothing like the ones featured in the pictures here. Instead, it sounds like mine is a lot like the one the review before mine describes. The bristles, although dense, aren't fluffy. Instead, they're cut on an angle, curving inward to form a point. Because of the lack of a broad edge, I find this brush doesn't really pick up very much product. I tested this brush against the terrible brandless blush brush that I got as a gift from my mother, and the Ecotools brush didn't even work as well as the brandless brush. This is particularly damning, since I'm pretty sure the the brandless brush fell off the back of a truck and is made from carpet fibers. It sounds like a lot of other people have had a great experience with this blush brush, and judging by the other pictures, I'm thinking mine might have been an anomaly. Personally, I wouldn't purchase it again, but if you're going to, I suggest inspecting the shape of the bristles closely.
It's spring of 2011, pastel colours are supposed to be the new trend, and Annabelle's Spring Collection reflects this. RÍverie is a limited edition shade from this collection, and definitely the winner of the lot. It's a brilliant true blue colour, and it's incredibly pigmented. I tried applying it wet, but honestly, I don't think it's necessary -- this colour is amazing applied dry. The Annabelle monoshadows usually have a lot of variation in quality; my pan of RÍverie definitely represents some of Annabelle's best product. It's buttery-soft, applies smoothly, and blends well. I've bought MAC shadows that aren't as nice as this one. This shade is pressed in a 26mm pan, so it fits in the Annabelle Custom Quad or the MAC Pro Pan (But it doesn't have a magnet on the back). The pan is adequate, but it comes packaged in a plastic clamshell that isn't pressed tightly, and the bag is only closed with a sticker. This setup is hardly airtight, and I think some of the Mono Eyeshadows get dried out in stores if they're on the shelves too long. I got this shadow for $1 (Only sale for $2, and a $1-off coupon), but honestly, I would have paid full price for it. Annabelle shadows normally retail for between $3 and $5, and go on sale frequently. This colour is also suspiciously similar to the medium-blue colour in Marcelle's Lagoona palette from their Paradisia Spring 2011 collection; considering both Annabelle and Marcelle are owned by the same parent company, I don't think this is a coincidence. Long story short: if you already own the Lagoona palette, I don't think you need to repurchase the colour in RÍverie.
Confession: I'm an geek. A coding, comics-reading, all-night-gaming-session uber-geek. As such, the only light my skin ever receives is from the glow of my computer monitors. I've got to be cautious with what I do with bronzers because anyone who knows me is aware that my skin hasn't seen natural sunlight in about six years. In comes Hoola to save the day! It deepens my skin tone without making it orange and fake-sparkly. I love how buildable this bronzer is, and the matte quality really lets it excel at pulling double-duty as a contour. I'm really torn on the packaging. Yes, it's a square box made of cardboard, which is both an impractical shape and an impractical material. But honestly -- I love it. I love the iconic look. I love the plummy colour, and the the little bamboos on the sides. I leave it out on my bathroom counter proudly, wishing I had a female friend who would come by and recognize it, and not a bunch of guys taking bathroom breaks on Halo nights. Final point: the price. It's definitely one of the pricier cosmetic items I've purchased, costing $33 (CAD$) at the local Shoppers Drug Marts. However, this thing is a whopping 11 grams, working out to $3/gram, not a terrible price (Shoppers charges $2.60/gram for the Physicians Formula Happy Booster products). Part of what you're buying here is a vast amount of product, about double the amount that the average bronzer contains. Personally, I'd prefer it if BeneFit would just cut the amount of product and the price in half, rather than forcing me to buy my bronzer in bulk, when I may never use it all. That was a rather long diatribe on price points, but in short: this is a great bronzer that you can justify buying with a bit of analysis on product quantities. So go! Pick some up! You too can fake the look of having tanned skin without ever leaving the basement!
Makeup Brushes -Unlisted Brand - spa resource - foundation brush
Jilliterate 4/17/2011 11:19:00 PM
After a bad experience with a foundation brush (Quo, I'm looking at you...), I switched to sponges for years, and only recently got back into applying my foundation with a brush. Luckily, this was nothing like my experience with the Quo brush. It's a fantastic brush, and Wal-Mart sells it for ridiculously cheap. The bristles are a bit shorter than a lot of other foundation brushes out there, which I prefer, since you don't get that flick-y motion. The end of the brush isn't densely tapered, and instead creates a slightly broad edge, which I like for blending the foundation out. What I like best might be that this brush cleans extremely well, and doesn't get clogged with old product. I got this brush for around $4 or $5, and it was unquestionably a steal. It's nice to be back to using only a small fraction of the foundation I used before. I definitely recommend this.
Makeup Brushes -Physicians Formula - Bamboo Wear - Bambuki Brush
Jilliterate 4/17/2011 10:56:00 PM
A local Wal-Mart has its Physicians Formula products on for 40% off, and since a lot of the merchandise looked like it had been ravaged by wolves, I figured I'd grab some stuff before the mobs tore it to pieces. Unfortunately, this resulted in my picking up the Bambuki on impulse, breaking my cardinal rule of checking the MUA reviews before purchase. Big mistake. This brush is coarser than I'd like a face brush to be, and I think it must have been molting, because every time I touched it to my face, it would leave a plethora of hairs. I don't usually return cosmetic products, but this sucker is going back -- I thought I was getting a deal, but I could take that $8 and put it towards a better EcoTools or SPAresource brush.
Eye Shadow -Annabelle - Mono Eyeshadow - Acid Reflex
Jilliterate 4/17/2011 8:53:00 PM
EDIT: After aquiring MAC's "Lucky Green," I learned that this is a very close dupe. Lucky Green is more monochromatic with a metallic sheen, while Acid Reflex is lightly peppered with tiny gold and green sparkles, but for $10 cheaper, it's a reasonable dupe. I guess I'm a little late to the party reviewing this, since this was a limited edition colour released with Annabelle's Fall 2010 collection, and was supposed to be removed from store shelves in February of 2011. However, if you're lucky like me, you live near a ghetto Shoppers Drug Mart that doesn't rotate its stock very frequently; I picked up this colour last month, and I've seen it still available in SDM. I've been lusting for a nice chartreuse colour lately, and this definitely satisfied the craving. Acid Reflex is a beautiful yellow-green colour. When applied dry, it has a slight gold shimmer; applying it wet deepens the green effect. It's nicely pigmented, has a smooth texture, and blends well. I think it could stand to be just a little more pigmented, but I foiled it and have been wearing it all day, and the colour is still going strong. This shade is pressed in a 26mm pan, so it fits in the Annabelle Custom Quad or the MAC Pro Pan (But it doesn't have a magnet on the back). The pan is adequate, but it comes packaged in a plastic clamshell that isn't pressed tightly, and the bag is only closed with a sticker. This setup is hardly airtight, and I think some of the Mono Eyeshadows get dried out in stores if they're on the shelves too long. I absolutely love this shadow. It's normally priced between $3 and $5, and frequently goes on sale, so the price is right! Hopefully Annabelle brings this colour back.
Hard Candy is easily becoming one of my favourite drug store brands (Or Wal-mart brand...). I went hunting for this concealer after reading the great reviews here, and although I had to hit up three different Wal-Marts to find it, it was worth it. When Hard Candy describes something as a "heavy duty" concealer, they aren't kidding. This is a very thick concealer that really does cover up all your blemishes. It's a thick, very opaque liquid, with a somewhat oily feel to it (A lot like Cover FX's Conceal FX). A little goes a long way -- I usually squeeze the tiniest amount possible out of the tube, and can cover up quite a few of my (many) blemishes with just that. Luckily, the tube is very conducive towards this, having a very fine, narrow opening. This product is not without its problems. As many people have noted, there's a very limited number of colour choices (only three). I also find this concealer kind of resistant to blending. Using Hard Candy primer, it blends a little bit better, but I think a product should be able to stand on its own. Nonetheless, this is a great concealer, and the cost ($8 Canadian) is just the icing on the cake.
I have several of Joe Fresh's matte lipsticks and love them. "Nude," however, is the exception to the rule. I was on the hunt for a nude lipstick and picked this up on sale. I wasn't sure what to expect, since all the testers in the store were broken. The colour is shockingly bad -- I was expecting a soft brown or peachy colour, and instead got an incredibly opaque flat camel colour. I never thought lip colour could really wash you out, but this stuff definitely did -- it made me look like a zombie! This shade is incredibly drying -- moreso than your average matte lipstick. However, this could have been because of the extremely pale colour -- it exaggerated every dry crack in my lips. The packaging is fairly blah: a plain white tube that looks like a pill bottle. I wouldn't mind this so much, since I don't expect anything amazing for $6, but the cap of the lipstick kept popping off in my purse. I was going to give this lipstick a 3 with the disclaimer that maybe it just didn't suit my pale, warm skin (Approximately NC15), and it might look good on cooler tones. However, when I was getting ready to photograph the lipstick, I took off the cap and the lipstick fell out of the tube and onto the floor (I had opened it four times before, maximum)! The product not being secure in its packaging bumped it down to a 1. If you're looking for a cheap nude, trying some of Joe Fresh's cream lipsticks. Both Coral and Cinnamon, despite their names, are fairly nude looking.
Nocturnelle is a lovely plummy colour with a sheen to it that faintly suggests blue. I'm fairly pale, with neutral-to-warm toned skin (Close to NC15, by my guesstimate), and this colour looks great on me. As many people have noted, this colour really rocks a purple smokey eye. The pigmentation for this colour is disappointing, particularly since I paid $13 ($CAD) for it. With some work, I can build it up to a respectable colour, but it just doesn't compare to the amazing one-swipe pigmentation of some of the other MAC shades. The quality of the shadow in the pan was extremely poor. It's dry, hard-packed, and has some odd bumps in it. I'm not sure if this is a constant problem for Nocturnelle, or something odd happened to mine, but it's definitely a turn-off. I waffled on whether to give this a 2 or a 3 -- there's a lot of problems with this shadow that I paid a lot for, but in the end, I do have a fairly nice colour. I think giving this shadow a 3 is being generous.