Jeffree Star’s ‘Beauty Killer’ Palette

Though it sold out in a flash, Jeffree Star’s debut eyeshadow palette has divided opinion. It’s too bold for some, too ‘safe’ for others. But for me, the palette is undeniably the embodiment of its maker, a true chameleon.

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Packaging

What first struck me was the size of the palette. It’s huge! That being said, it is very thin, so it still won’t take up too much room in your suitcase/zuca. Apart from its size, though, the outside of the palette is perhaps a little…underwhelming? It’s a lovely shade of pink, yes, but the logo seems a little off-centre given its outrageous font (just look at that ‘B’).

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What’s lacking on the outside is more than made up for on the inside. I don’t usually gasp when I open palettes – maybe the odd ‘oooo…’ – but I was shocked by how stunning this is. Everything is oversized; there’s a huge mirror, big enough to actually look in when using the shadows and, speaking of shadows, they’re massive too. Apart from their size, each shade is beautifully embossed with the Jeffree Star logo for that extra slice of glam. It’s almost too pretty to touch. Almost..

Shades

Star Power – Neon Pink (matte)

Princess – Pink Pearl (metallic)

Violence – Cranberry (metallic)

Rich Bitch – Gold (glitter)

Courtney – Peach Beige (matte)

Expensive – Teal (metallic)

Confession – Brick Red (metallic)

Vanity – Deep Brown (matte)

China White – Cream (matte)

Black Rainbow – Black (multi-coloured glitter)

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The descriptions above are of the colours as they swatch, not necessarily how they look in the pan. Both ‘Violence’ and ‘Vanity’ look very, very different in the pan; ‘Violence’ looks metallic violet, but swatches with a strong red undertone; ‘Vanity’ looks like a really unusual warm grey, but swatches a cool dark brown. I have to confess, I was a little disheartened when I swatched these two, but they do help to balance the other bold colours. They help make the palette more versatile. You can quite easily use only this palette to create a multitude of different looks because of the great mixture of neutral/bold, matte/metallic.

Just before releasing his palette to the public, Jeffree Star previewed it on his Youtube channel (screen-shotted below from makeup tutorials.com). As is shown here, the colours were chosen with the intention that they be split into four quads.

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This method of selecting four complimentary colours makes the palette particularly easy to use for beginners or those wanting to dabble in a bit of extra colour. Each quad is extremely wearable with Jeffree Star’s signature edge, be it a pop of gold glitter or neon pink. Yes, the combination of metallic teal and Barbie pink may be too OTT for some, but without these bold shades the palette would be a little flat. It certainly wouldn’t be Jeffree Star.

Pigment + Texture

To cut a long story short, the pigment is AMAZING. The matte shadows are slightly chalkier than the metallic, but that’s to be expected. The texture is much like Sugarpill shadows, and they pack the same punch and blend like a dream. The only exception is ‘Rich Bitch,’ which is more like a pressed pigment/glitter than an eyeshadow. It kicks up quite a lot of fall out, but can be lightly pressed onto the eye for a glitter effect or blended out for a more even coat of colour.

My swatches were taken without primer and the coverage of (almost) every shadow is brilliant. The metallics glide on without patchiness and the mattes, though they require a little bit more patience, are equally opaque. I was hugely impressed with ‘Black Rainbow;’ it can be hard to find a good black shadow, there’s plenty of ‘charcoals’ on the market, but this is a true, deep black.

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Overall, I love this palette! The colour choice it offers is unlike any other palette I own. It’s the perfect balance of sensible and bold, for the office or for a night out on the town. It’s a great introduction to brights for beginners and challenges the experienced makeup junkie with some new colour combinations.

Will you be trying ‘Beauty Killer?’ Check it out here.

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Colourpop Super Shock Shadow in ‘Bae’

Here’s a snap of my first ever Colourpop eyeshadow, ‘Bae,’ a ‘rich eggplant purple with an emerald and turquoise glittery duo chrome metallic finish.’

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But, first thing’s first, what is it?

Formula 

According to Colourpop, a Super Shock Shadow a ‘long-wearing crème powder formula’ with an ‘elastic texture.’ And well… they’re right. But is it a cream or a powder? Weirdly, it falls somewhere in-between. At first touch in the pan, the product has a mousse-like consistency, velvet-soft and almost bouncy under pressure. As soon as it gathers on the finger or brush, however, it sets to a super-fine powder.

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Once it sets, too, the powder is there to stay. I was able to wear this sans primer for around 8 hours without seeing any creasing. This is great news for both oily and dry skin alike: the super lightweight formula and silky finish is less likely to cake or go crusty throughout the day.

It is also compatible with other shadows; typically, it’s recommended that you don’t apply cream shadows over powders, unless you want a gunky, flaky mess. But as this sets to a powdery finish, it can be layered and blended with other powder shadows without any fuss. Win!

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Application

Being half cream/half powder, Colourpop shadows can be a little confusing: how on earth do I get it on my eyelid? As with any shadow, you can use your finger or a synthetic brush, but each with different results.

Below, the swatch on the left is applied with my finger and, on the right, with a brush. Applying with your finger reduces fall out and allows for a more consistent, though not very precise, application. A brush, on the other hand, increases the likelihood of fall out and patchiness, but does allow you to be more precise.

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In my opinion, the best method involves a combination of both finger and brush: apply with fingers for the most part, where most pigment is needed, and then blend out with brushes.

As you can see from the photo above, sweeping your finger across the pan doesn’t gather enough pigment to really do justice to the eyeshadow. I’ve found that the best method is to scoop the product. Though this does risk messing up the shadow’s pretty patterned surface, the difference in colour pay-off is HUGE.

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An easy to use, if unusual, formula in equally unique shades, Colourpop shadows are a must-try for any makeup fan who wants to shake up their collection with some new pops of colour. Which will you be buying? Check them out here.

Review: Lime Crime’s Venus 2 Palette

Two weeks ago, Limecrime.com offered the original Venus palette (review here) for only $19. That’s just over £12…

Only two days later, it was clear why. “The bish is back.” If Venus 1 was a Margarita – always good, if ‘safe’ – Venus 2 is a fiery Meat Feast with extra jalapeños.

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The palette offers a twist on the original, it’s packaging a deeper, darker style that acknowledges many current trends – metallic, marble, russet hues and early 90s grunge. On the whole, I’m a fan of its compact size with magnetised lid and large mirror, just be careful to wrap it securely when transporting it (my Venus 1 is now in three separate pieces after an unfortunate collision with my bedroom floor).

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So, here are the shades:

Pigeon: a deep brown with a prominent blue/green shift. Dupe: MAC’s ‘Club’/ ‘Blue-Brown’ Pigment. 

Filter: luminous cornflower blue. Dupe: similar colours include ABH’s ‘Unicorn’ (not so luminous and slightly darker). 

Marsh: mid-tone grey-green.

Mustard: that guilty-pleasure shade, think 70s corduroy. Dupe: MAC’s ‘Uninterrupted’ (in-between mustard and a warm brown).

Fly: ivory with iridescent green shift.

Jam: gorgeous pumpkin, burnt orange. Dupe: Sugarpill’s ‘Flamepoint,’ Illamasqua’s ‘Apex.’ 

Mud: deep burgundy-brown. Dupe: MAC’s ‘Sketch.’ 

Boot: matte black with flecks of blue, green and purple glitter.

As with the original Venus palette, the shadows deliver pigmentation, opacity and staying power, even without using a primer. Only ‘Boot’ requires a little bit more work in order to achieve a consistent colour.

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For the equivalent of just £21 (before shipping), Venus 2 is the perfect way to mix up your makeup with punchy accents and duo-chrome shine for just over half the price of a conventional palette. Find it now at limecrime.com.

Molly x

 

 

*This is not a sponsored post – I was not asked to review this palette.

**I completely understand that Limecrime is a divisive company and I respect that many of you no longer support the brand. I want to make clear that my opinion is based on my own personal experience and I know that this won’t be shared by everyone. I hope that I do not invite criticism for continuing to use their products; for me, the brand offers some of the most unique and versatile makeup on the market, which is – in my experience – of high quality and a good price. Though I have received this palette as part of a care package, I have continued, and will continue, to purchase from the company’s website with my own money.

I am in the process of finding dupes for the shades in this palette for those of you who are interested in recreating any looks I post on my Instagram.

Again, thank you for your support and I hope you respect my position on this.

Review: Urban Decay’s 24/7 Eye Pencils Set, ‘Cosmic’

Whether we like it or not, Christmas is already underway. Though I’ll be sick of hearing soppy Christmas music and queuing EVERYWHERE by mid-December, I won’t be sick of exclusive crimbo gift sets.

I am, unashamedly, a sucker – read: fool – for a ‘deal,’ so when I wandered past this cute set of Urban Decay 24/7 Eye Pencils, I had to have them. After all, an individual liner is £14, while this set of five ‘travel size’ pencils (just over half the size of the standard liner) was only £25. Bargain!

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The brand has released two of these limited edition sets; I chose ‘Cosmic,’ the neutral collection, featuring coppers and browns, but those who like a pop of colour might prefer the ‘Delirious’ set with a jewel-toned purple, green and blue.

The ‘Cosmic’ collection includes:

Cosmic: a metallic silver-white (new shade)

Trick: a metallic copper (new shade)

– Supply: a metallic warm brown (new shade)

Stag: a deep brown satin (‘fan favourite’)

Zero: a true matte black (bestseller)

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The colour variation is brilliant for such a small set; there are shades appropriate for day and night in a great selection of finishes. I absolutely love UD’s metallic eyeshadows for their punchy colour and shine, and these pencils are no different. For UD, metallic really means metallic. Whereas some products deliver on sparkle, but compromise on colour, UD’s pencils offer both in abundance.

I perhaps would have preferred another metallic rather than ‘Stag,’ as I feel it’s there to bulk out the set rather than having much of a purpose. It looks a little flat when compared to the others. Maybe a bright gold, or even a ruby, would have worked better?

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Like all of the 24/7 liners, the set boasts a creamy, waterproof formula. I usually have a bit of an issue with brands using ‘waterproof’ because, often enough, this doesn’t extend to the waterline. But I can safely say that these guys stick around… and I really mean it, once they’re applied, they’re not going anywhere. They can therefore be used anywhere on the eye (or face – the world’s your oyster) just by themselves or as a base for shadows and glitter.

Overall, this is a gorgeous, versatile set and an absolute steal at just £25. With its funky presentation box, it’s an ideal present, but makes an even better gift for yourself 😉

Molly x

Review: Spectrum Collections Brushes

It’s no secret that the key to beautiful makeup is 40% what you apply and 60% what you apply it with. But, that being said, my brush collection has been somewhat reserved for far too long. One brush for my lids, one for my crease, one for vigorously rubbing away mistakes. The magic of domes, tulips, angles and kabukis had evaded me; I was stuck with your bog-standard ‘shader.’

So when Spectrum Collections asked if I would like to give their brushes a whirl, I jumped at the chance to get creative. Their website was a treasure trove in purple, pink and cyan; there were brushes for precision, blending, buffing, smudging, they were tall, tapered, stubby, fluffy. I was sold. Only days later, a package arrived (in a hot pink metallic jiffy bag, no less) and inside the brand’s best-selling 8 piece Eye Set with a handwritten note.

Not only do these brushes look beautiful, they feel great in the hand and on the skin. The handles are chunky, the bristles soft but densely packed. Vegan and cruelty-free, all Spectrum Collection brushes are made with synthetic hair, which is not only a compassionate choice, but one that carries huge benefits for the user. I personally prefer synthetic brushes as they work equally well with creams as they do with powders. Products cling to the synthetic fibres more readily than they do to animal hairs, amongst which powders get a little lost and creams cause all sorts of tangles.

Another bonus is that synthetic brushes are a gazillion times easier to clean. Animal hair is verrrry porous so bacteria and dirt are more easily absorbed into the hair shaft (a particular problem if you regularly foil your eyeshadows by wetting your brush). Rubbing these germ-packed bristles all over your face can only lead to one thing… angry, angry spots. And with the hair shaft damaged, hairs are more likely to fall out, scattering in an itchy mess all over your beautifully blended eyeball *sigh*. In between more thorough washes, I just scoot over these beauties with a make-up wipe and they’re as good as new; there’s no staining, even after using black, navy or intensely pigmented shades of cerise (it’s happened before…), and the bristles don’t lose their shape or softness.

So now to the brushes themselves!

Tall-Tapered Blender

With a fluffy, loose teimagexture, this brush is ideal for blending out harsh lines to create a seamless look. It’s long, narrow shape means it snuggles into the crease perfectly to add shaded definition. A must-have for smoky eyes.

Small Angled Shader

The fibres on this brimageush are tightly packed meaning it’s great at scooping up product, while its angled edge allows it to nestle into the contours of the eye. Ideal for adding a focused pop of colour to the inner or outer corner.

Large Fluffy Shader

It’s big and it’s fluffimagey. Great for covering the entire lid, this brush can be used to apply cream-based primer and bases or a sweep of colour with no effort at all. The starting point of any look.

 

Medium Fluffy Shader

The little sister. It’s slightly smaller shape makes this brush even more versatile, whether applying product all over the lid or into the crease.

Stubby Shader

The densest of thimagee set, this brush is perfect for building up colour and depth as its tightly packed fibres really grab hold of product, allowing you to go bold or dark and moody to your heart’s content.

Fluffy Pencil

The narrow, tapereimaged, dense tip allows for focused application, particularly under the eye or in the inner corner. This brush is particularly useful for cut-creases as its shape and size makes it easy to blend out colour while staying inside the lines. The all-rounder.

Short Smudge

A shorter versioimagen of the stubby shader, this brush is ideal for blending out kohl or gel liners for that super intense, grungy smoky eye. My (unexpected) favourite.

 

Small Domed Contour

A rounded fluffy brush timagehat is not only suited to carving out the contours of the eyes, but can also be used to add definition to the nose, to buff out concealer and add highlight. The multi-tasker.

 

This set is the ultimate collection for those wanting to expand their eye-makeup repertoire as there’s everything you’ll need for playing with eyeshadows, from cut-creases to blown-out smoky eyes. I recently expanded my collection of Spectrum brushes, adding a small fan brush (all about that highlight life…) and a flat definer eye brush which is the brush for creating sharp straight lines and reaching that annoying bit of skin underneath your lower lashes. Along with these I received a stunning buffer brush from the brand’s new Atlantis collection – just look at the colours!!!

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This certainly won’t be my last brush with Spectrum Collections.

What do you guys think of these beauties? Find them at www.spectrumcollections.com

Hope you like!

Molly x

Review: Anastasia Beverly Hills Artist Palette

In short, my review of ABH’s Contour Kit went something like this: they’re magical, immoveable, wonderful powders in the completely wrong colour. Pale girl problems. So as I saw the Artist Palette, a stunning collection of neutrals and brights, I knew the quality would be top-notch, and now the colours were perfect – I had to have it.

When the package first arrived, being totally honest, I was a little liiiiiitle bit disheartened by the size of the pans. But that’s just me being greedy. Converted from US dollars, this palette costs under half of those produced by Urban Decay and Too Faced, neither of which offer particularly generous amounts of each colour. So for the price (and the quality you get for that price) you can’t moan at this being on the ‘petite’ size.

In my last review I had a little moan about the look and feel of the Contour Kit, but the Artist Palette is different. Well… not by much; it has the same stiffened board casing and magnetised closure, but there’s something sturdier about it. (I even performed the ultimate test of dropping this in the bathtub on holiday to find that no water or bubble bath had found its way inside. Surely the acid test of any magnetised clasp?) In my opinion, the casing is finished to a standard that’s better suited to the eyeshadows it contains, there’s no rough edges, no dents , tears or scuffs. And while the Contour Kit went for the ultra-sophisticated all-black colour scheme, the Artist Palette is decorated with flashes of bright colour as a hint to what’s inside.

Open up the lid and you’ll find 12 beautiful shades ranging from a dusty mauve-pink to a bright, warm yellow. Ordering this palette online, it’s difficult to see the shades clearly; yes, there’s a blue, a green, an orange and a pink, but they’re more complex and dimensional than that.

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Here’s my breakdown of the colours (adapted from ABH’s own descriptions):

-Dusty Rose: think LimeCrime’s ‘Cashmere’ in an eyeshadow, the perfect “griege” with a hint of mauve.

-Aubergine: described as “velvet eggplant,” a deep purple-black.

-Anaconda: the description “shimmery green” does NO justice to this colour and I’m not even a fan of green eyeshadows. This is a true emerald green with a fine gold shift.

-Punch Fuschia: think of a bold, punchy fuschia colour… You got it.

-Buttery: the colour of a good vanilla icecream.

-Blue Velvet: a rich navy. And by ‘rich’ I mean that it’s actually a deep shade of blue, not like some ‘navy’ shadows that turn out as a nondescript dark smudge (I’ve been let down before…).

-Charcoal: described as ‘matte black,’ but I’d argue it’s somewhere between black and deep grey as the name suggests.

-Unicorn: hands down my favourite eyeshadow in the palette and, quite possibly, ever. A heaven-sent periwinkle. Gah, I love it.

-Phresh: a bold canary yellow, another unexpected favourite of mine.

-Baby, I’m a Star: a soft, mid brown with gold shimmer. The ‘meh’ colour IMO (every palette has one).

-Orange You Fancy: the loud, glitzy sister of Orange Soda, a brightened orange shadow with gold sparkle.

-Beigely: A frosted beige much like MAC’s Satin Taupe, but a smidgen warmer.

These swatches were taken with no primer or base, just a dip of the finger and you can see that the colour pay-off is amazing, particularly for the brights.

If I could make some tweaks to these colours to suit my personal taste I would make “Buttery” into a champagne or pearl highlighter shade like MAC’s “Phloof” (the ultimate…). I like my brow highlight to have a subtle satin finish, but “Buttery” is both too cream to show up on my skin and too matte to truly ‘highlight’ anything. As it is, however, “Buttery” is really handy for blending novices as it can be used to buff away harsh lines without depositing any extra colour = magic! On the other hand, I would take the shimmer out of “Baby, I’m a Star.” A matte mid-tone brown like this would be so useful for adding definition to the eye when using light, bright colours and softening harsh lines when using darker colours. Adding the substantial gold sparkle to this shadow makes it quite difficult to use unless it covers the lid in a rather conventional smoky eye. Beyond this, the colour is neither here nor there. With “Beigley” having a similar shimmer, I think ABH could afford to make one of the two super-neutral shades into a matte.

Texture-wise, these shadows remind me a lot of those by Illamasqua or Sigma: they aren’t particularly ‘creamy’ in the pan like those by MAC or Urban Decay, but have a super-fine powder formula. This can be deceiving as it might feel as though the brush isn’t collecting much product or that you’re not applying enough product to the skin, but with only a light sweep of the brush, the colour pay-off is bold and opaque.

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This not only extends the life of the palette (as you need to use very little product), but also helps with the longevity of the shadows on the skin. Creamier formulas can sometimes sit a little heavy on the eyes and can be a real nuisance for those with oily skin types due to sliding and creasing. These light-weight powders are therefore great for adding colour without ‘gunk’ and, with a spot of primer, hold up for 8 hours with very little signs of movement (having tested Beigely and Dusty Rose on my mom, who has oily skin). For dry-combination skin like mine, the ‘powder-y’ nature of these shadows can accentuate any flakiness or fine lines around the eye, so be sure to moisturise thoroughly before use. That being said, these powders could hold up alllllllll day; I actually fell to sleep in the look pictured on the left (whoops!) and woke up to find the lovely periwinkle hue still there.

My faith in Anastasia Beverly Hills is restored!

What do you think of the Artist Palette?

Hope you like!

Molly x

My Custom MAC Eyeshadow Palette: Part 1

I was a few steps away from the checkout, MAC’s Warm Neutrals Palette in hand, when I thought… I actually won’t use around half of these colours. It doesn’t include any of the shadows I’ve been lusting after for a while now and, in my opinion, there are a few too many yellow-y honey shades and no “curve-ball” colours that would really mix up my every day looks. For £65, it’s a pretty steep investment in something I wouldn’t use all that much. 

So I put it back and decided to build my own custom pro palette.

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MAC eyeshadows aren’t cheap by any means (individual pans cost £10) so building your own 12 piece palette will cost just under double the price of the pre-made ones. But if being able to pick out your own shades means that you’re more likely to use them at every opportunity, the extra expense is surely worth it. 

The range of colours and finishes offered by MAC is quite overwhelming when you’re trying to choose just twelve. Whenever I visit my local store, I go into a heady daze where everything and anything is beautiful, wonderful… and affordable (eesh), which doesn’t make for easy decision making. 

But I’m going to (try and) be sensible. I’ve decided to choose 4 matte transition shades, 4 warm neutrals (frosts/shimmers) and 4 more unique, out-there colours to mix up my go-to looks. Here are my first 6 beauties:

 Mattes:

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L-R: Wedge, Quarry, Handwritten

Wedge: This is one of MAC’s most popular transition shades, a lovely warm beige. Given that I’m a sucker for warm colours, I was surprised to find that I don’t actually own a matte in this colour, so it was an obvious choice to help blend other shadows. Its neutral hue and matte finish provide a “no make-up, make-up” look which is perfect for Spring and helps to add definition to the eye with subtle depth. 

Quarry: A lesser known shade, Quarry is a unique grey-beige matte with a cool mauve undertone. In comparison to Wedge, Quarry is great for blending out cooler shades of grey, pastels and silver. Again, a great staple for lighter Spring-time looks when you want to tone down that dark smoked out eye.  

 11081649_10152673001251128_1376393010_n Handwritten: Okay, so I know I’ve just said that I’d look to tone down a smoky eye for Spring, but there are some days when nothing else will do. If in doubt, smoke it out, right?! 

Black smokes can look a little heavy on my face, particularly if my eyes are tired and a little puffy, so I usually rely on chocolate browns or deep burgundies as my go-to smoke shades. Handwritten is ideal for this, either placed across the lid or blended into the crease. 

Warm Neutrals:

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L-R: Satin Taupe, Sable

Satin Taupe: My first “proper” eyeshadow was Bare Minerals’ Loose Shadow in the colour ‘Celestine,’ a beautiful mid-tone taupe with a gold shimmer. I must have worn it almost every single day whilst I was at university, no matter what the occasion. Since leaving (and having an income!), my makeup collection has grown and Celestine has gotten lost – or ‘over-shadowed’ (BADDUM…) – by my other palettes. When I swatched Satin Taupe, it instantly reminded me of Celestine (if not as shimmery) and I knew I had to have it. 

Maybe it’s just me, but I often work on creating multi-tonal smokes in my crease and underneath my eyes, but can sometimes be left stumped as to what to use on my lid. I need a neutral colour with enough oomph to stand up to dark smokes and enough interest to work well be itself. Satin Taupe is the answer!   

11081663_10152672999761128_1406915266_n Sable: This was the first shadow I was drawn to when scanning the shelves at MAC. Sable is a warm, earth coloured red – the marsala shade – with a delicate gold shimmer that is not at all ‘glittery,’ but rather has a gorgeous pearlescent finish. I tend to use this in a similar way to Handwritten to mix up my usual smoky eye looks. Though classed as a ‘shimmer,’ Sable’s shine is subtle enough to be smoked out in the crease without causing your eyes to glimmer like beacons – an absolutely beautiful shade perfect for switching up classic looks for those summer-time date nights!

  

Curve-balls:

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Vex: This is a strange colour, but strange in a really really good way. It doesn’t look much of a “curve-ball,” but it’s duo-chrome finish is so difficult to capture on camera. While it looks like an ordinary silver grey shadow in some lights, in others it shines like a pearl with pink, purple and green hues. The best way to draw out the multi-dimensional colour of this shadow is to foil it with MAC’s Fix+ or another mixing medium. I’ll definitely be making the most of this shade this Spring as it makes for a gorgeous compliment to pastels and smokes alike, it’s great for adding a quirky edge to simple looks.

MACVex  So, that’s half of my collection already sorted! Ideas for my next 6 shades include ‘Cranberry,’ ‘Pink Freeze,’ ‘Mythology,’ ‘Plum Dressing,’ ‘Crystal’ and ‘Trap’ with possible curve-balls being ‘Plumage,’ ‘Sumptuous Olive,’ ‘Jest’ and ‘Lucky Green.’ 

What are your favourite MAC shades? Would you consider making your own custom palette?

Hope you like! 

Molly x

Review: Illamasqua’s Embellish Eye Trio

I was sceptical as to whether the huge reduction on this set was because it wasn’t very popular. Was it the case that Illamasqua needed to shift an old bulk order that wouldn’t sell? Surely not… The gel liner? Unpopular??? I can’t speak for the brow gel as before now I’ve stuck to relatively cheap pencils to lightly shade in my eyebrows. But to think that ‘Embellish’ isn’t popular either astounds me. I already own the Vintage Metallix in ‘Courtier’ – a light beige-pink with a soft gold shimmer – and ‘Embellish,’ a medium brown with the same hint of gold, was next on my list.

On reflection, maybe it was just too expensive. The thought of buying this trio at the original price of £49.00 made me sweat a little, so when it was first reduced to £25.00, I added it to my basket. But with reluctance – it was still just that bit too expensive to be a sale bargain (though I then spent £26 on four new eye shadows without a second’s thought *facepalm*). Finally, after a long day at work, I received the email. ‘FINAL REDUCTIONS.’ And there it was. £14.70.

FOURTEEN POUNDS.

Whaaat.

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Bish, bash, bosh (and after a slight skirmish with PayPal), it was mine.

As a quick aside… Illamasqua’s delivery system is second to none, so if you can’t find something in store, don’t hesitate to order it online. I always opt for their free delivery, quoted as 3 – 5 working days, but have received my items within just two days of ordering. You even get a text with the name of your delivery driver and a verrrrry exact ETA (my last one was 11:42 to 12:42).

So these three gems arrived in their swishy presentation box and I was quick to dig in.

Brow Gel in ‘Strike,’ (single pot, £18.50)

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As I said earlier, though I envy those brows ‘on fleek,’ I don’t think a heavily sculpted eyebrow would suit my face and I can’t afford too dark a shade with my complexion and hair colour. When I googled Strike it seemed an ‘okay’ colour – maybe I’d get away with it – but I had a feeling that it would end up getting dusty at the back of my make-up table. But, two weeks in and I’ve used it every day.

‘Strike’ is a medium brown with a cool undertone so it suits my naturally ashy hair perfectly. I’d particularly recommend it for those with bleached or coloured hair like mine – pastels or brights – as it is a ‘safe’ colour, not too dark, not too light, not too blonde, not too brown. ‘Safe’ seems like an awful word, but I mean it in the best way: as much as I’d like to walk around with lilac eyebrows, I haven’t got the guts to bleach and tone them, so for now I need a neutral colour that doesn’t look to obvious.

In terms of application, I use my Sigma E65 Small Angle Brush to apply the gel. It has quite a loose consistency so the smallest dot of product will easily cover one brow. Once it dries, though, it won’t budge. Naturally, some of the gel can stick to your eyebrow hairs so I like to run over them with a spoodle just to remove any excess product.

I would recommend this for those, like me, who are looking to ‘tweak’ their natural brows, either by filling in gaps or neatening edges as the gel, by nature, is well pigmented, but has a semi-satin finish. If you are looking to re-sculpt your brows, then I think a product with a thicker consistency, higher colour pay-off and a matte finish would be better suited – like Illamasqua’s Brow Cakes, which have a powder/paste-like texture and come in a range of colours (‘Strike’ is the only brow gel available at the moment).

Precision Gel Liner in ‘Infinity,’ (single pot, £18.50)

I bloody love this stuff. Compared to the epic fail that was Urban Decay’s Gel Liner, Illamasqua’s version is what dreams are made of.

The key to a good gel liner is its consistency; you need it to be loose enough to apply it in as few strokes as possible to achieve a sharp, fluid line. This liner has a very similar texture to the brow gel in that it applies thinly, but with great, consistent pigmentation. And unlike a liquid liner, the product won’t crack or flake on the eye. I tend to apply my liner in layers, starting with a skinny flick and adding an extra layer until I have the thickness I want; doing this with a liquid liner can lead to cracking as the product begins to dry. And once it’s cracked, with the slightest touch or puff of wind, it begins to flake away.

A gel liner, by comparison, dries with some degree of ‘flexibility’ meaning there’s no risk of unwanted negative space. I’d very highly recommend this for anyone who’s go-to look involves eyeliner, but to get the most out of this product, make sure you buy a suitable brush to apply it with!

Vintage Metallix in ‘Embellish,’ (single pot, £16.50)

The Vintage Metallix are a collection of three gel-like eyeshadows and are amongst the newest products produced by Illamasqua. Each one – Courtier, Embellish and Bibelot – have a muted, ‘vintage’ colouring with a delicate gold shift.

I first bought Courtier, a lovely pink-beige, under the impression that it would act much like MAC’s Paint Pot (mine had turned horribly dry and thick at the time – I’ve rescued it since!). The Metallix can work this way, pigments cling to them particularly well and powder shadows can be easily blended into them, but their intended use is as cream eyeshadows. Once the cream has had time to set, it won’t be going anywhere; the Metallix’s staying power is amazing with and without primer so they’re a good choice for most skin types.

Embellish is, I think , the secret weapon to a smoky eye. If you’re not too confident working with darker shades, I’d definitely recommend this. Its rich chocolate colour is just dark enough to make an impact, but not so dark that it seems to close the eye up, as some deep/black shadows can if not applied just right. The hint of gold lends itself to both day and night looks and can either be exaggerated by adding a gold pigment or muted with darker shadows and lots of liner. With just a dip of the finger and a swipe of the lid, you’re done! There’s no need to fret about placement or blending due to its loose, buttery texture. It really is fool proof!

This set was most definitely a bargain at just £14.70. I’d even stretch to £25.00 (£49.00 still sounds like a lot of money…)! I would wholly recommend each of these products – whether bought separately or in this set – each have their own way of speeding up the getting-ready process.

Would you consider the Embellish Eye Trio?

Hope you like!

Molly x

Review: Urban Decay’s Perversion Mascara and Cream Eyeliner

This post is one of two halves, one glowing review and one not-so-glowing, and not in the order I expected.

Anyone who follows me on Instagram will know that I can’t be without my eyeliner, whereas I usually skimp on mascara and opt for falsies. So it was a huge surprise to me that out of Urban Decay’s ‘Perversion’ range, I would love the mascara and really really really (really) dislike the gel liner. I’m not one for hating on a product, but I feel like I need to share my disappointment in the hope that I bought a ‘dud’ and that someone will point out that I’m completely mistaken.

I guess it’s better to get the negative out of the way first…

Super-Saturated Ultra-Intense Waterproof Cream Eyeliner in ‘Perversion,’ £16.00

Regardless of what I’m about to write, I remain a huge fan of UD’s eye products, particularly their Naked and Vice palettes with their signature pigmented, creamy finish. I therefore can’t understand why I haven’t taken to the Perversion Gel Liner; it seems, to me, to be a bit of a blip for an otherwise great, reliable brand.

I bought this as soon as I saw the glint of glass at the bottom of my Illamasqua liner pot; thinking I’d switch things up (despite my love of Illamasqua’s Precision Gel), I chose UD for its claims to be “super-saturated.” But I was a little suspicious when I first opened the jar and tried to swatch the mixture on my hand. I applied a little pressure, but nothing. My finger was as pale as ever. Maybe a film or crust had settled on top, I thought. So I picked up my eyeliner brush and scratched away at the surface. And I did really did have to scratch… (you can see from this picture below how the mixture isn’t exactly ‘creamy’)

Though I had more success in picking up some colour this way, I was really disappointed with the pigmentation and texture. As you can tell from the pictures, it is not at all ‘saturated,’ but looks more like yesterday’s liner after a few too many vodkas and a lonnnnnng sleep. To achieve the standard opaque finish would take a lot of coats and even then I don’t think it would be possible to achieve a clean, precise line – the mixture is just too thick and solid to work with. I even tried to scoop some out and ‘whip’ it to a smoother consistency, but the product dries almost immediately and begins to crumble, covering my cheeks in flecks of black powder 😥

Has anyone else experienced this? I’ve considered adding a little Fix+ or mixing medium to loosen it up, but I’m afraid this will weaken the colour, making it ‘wishy-washy’ (for want of a better term). Have I just been unlucky with one of a bad batch?

Perversion Mascara, £17.00

I did hesitate before buying the Perversion mascara, but then it began to follow me everywhere… It seemed to crop up in every magazine I read and all over my Facebook page advertised as the best mascara around.

Before now I thought that my eyelashes were beyond help. A couple of years ago I got into the habit of repeatedly curling them after I’d applied my mascara. One day at uni (while I was trying to look my best for a date… bloody typical), a whole bunch from the inner corner of my left eye fell out. And therein began my reliance on false eyelashes. Though my lashes have grown back, they are incredibly weak and poker straight so it’s rare that I find a mascara that doesn’t weigh them down with lumps of product.

Just one coat (!)

Just one coat (!)

But, UD’s Perversion is very different. As it’s so pigmented, one stroke is all you need to blacken your lashes. Unlike its eyeliner counterpart, this mascara really is super-saturated. It also holds well throughout the day; my drugstore mascaras – I mainly use Rimmel – begins to flake after around 4 hours, but Perversion stays fresh for the whole working day.

If UD were to make this mascara even better, I would suggest a double–ended wand. While the current wand is perfect for preventing clumps, it is big and cumbersome, particularly when trying to apply mascara to the lower lashes.

With summer on the way, though, I think it is worth investing in a decent mascara like this one to avoid the struggle of falsies on those sweaty, eye-squintingly sunny days.

How do your experiences with these products compare? Have they entered your ‘essentials’ list?

Hope you like!

Molly x

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My First Purchases From NARS: Audacious Lipstick and Eyeshadow

In my local Selfridges store, the Illamasqua counter is only metres away from the NARS counter, but it had never troubled me to go to ‘the other side’ until my last visit when I caught sight of the Audacious lipstick stand.

I’d seen numerous blogs raving about them, so I thought I’d pop over and have a cheeky swatch. And that was that. I fell down the rabbit hole into a beautifully luxurious NARS-y wonderland.

Well, almost. The three sample lipsticks that caught my eye were decidedly chewed and when I summoned up the courage to buy one without testing it, I was told there was none left in stock. Frustrated and geared up to buy something, I looked over the eyeshadows, found the one I fancied, and was told that, again, there was no stock.

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Eyeshadow in ‘Strada’ (£18.50) and Audacious Lipstick in ‘Anna’ (£24)

I looked e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e and eventually found them on ASOS’s site, two days later and here they are!
Packaging

As I opened the delivery box, the first thing I noticed was the size and weight of the products. The lipstick is the same shape as my Illamasqua ones, but bigger and heavier (!). It feels like a superior, quality, expensive product. The eyeshadow, too, sits in a smart, compact clam-shell style box with a cute little mirror on the inside. The only issue is its rubberised coating which shows mucky fingerprints like WOAH.

But the lipstick, in particular, is finished with little touches that makes it just that bit better than the other mid-range brands. The lid is magnetised – a handy little extra which means there’s no chance of it falling off in your handbag – and the actual lipstick is engraved with the NARS logo, which might add nothing to the product itself (especially when you’ve used so much that it begins to read ‘ARS’) – but it feels special all the same.

Colour

It was verrrrry difficult to decide what lip colour to go for; the line has 40 shades in total from the lightest nude to the deepest purple – there is a colour for every style and occasion. I’ve got a thing for dark reds/deep plums so was instantly drawn to Charlotte and Ingrid, but with Spring fast approaching, I thought it would be more worthwhile to invest in a light, versatile colour.

2015/01/img_0495.jpg After much deliberation (I even thought about blowing my wages on the whole collection at one point), I chose Anna. I’ve read quite a few descriptions on the internet where Anna is called a ‘smoky rose.’ I can see what they mean… kind of. To me, ‘smoky’ suggests dark, warm colours, like MAC’s Smoked Purple, but Anna is actually a medium, cool-toned, pink-mauve shade. It is the perfect pink; not pastel, not Barbie, but somewhere in between.

Unlike the lipstick, I didn’t choose Strada, Strada chose me ❤ It is an absolutely beautiful eyeshadow unlike anything I’ve seen before. Pastels are set to be big this Spring and many brands have released their own lilac shadows in various hues, think Illamasqua’s Creep. What is unusual, however, is Strada’s gold shift. I’ve never thought to pair lilac with gold, but assumed its cool tones would work better with an equally cool silver highlight, like Sugarpill’s Frostine. The fine gold shimmer that runs through this shadow is not only unique in itself, but also gives you more freedom to experiment with the rest of your makeup, creating new combinations of cool and warm colours.

2015/01/img_0502.jpg Application

The lipsticks in the Audacious range are dubbed as the ‘one-stroke’ wonders, so highly pigmented that there’s no need to swipe your lips more than once. I was sceptical as my lips can sometimes be a little dry meaning that one coat can look quite patchy. But it is actually true! With one coat, my lips were covered! The colour wasn’t as strong as I would have liked, but they really were covered. I tend not to apply more than two coats before I am happy with the intensity of colour and the even coverage. Anna has a lovely buttery texture that allows the colour to transfer easily to the lips, but its semi-matte finish means that – without going wild at the buffet – it can stay put for almost 4 hours before wearing away from the centre of the mouth.

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Strada, on the other hand, isn’t so pigmented. I think I’ve been spoiled by the colour-rich, crazy pigmented shades like those of Illamasqua and Lime Crime, but it certainly takes a lot more effort to bring out it’s gorgeous colour. This could well be because it is a shimmer rather than a matte shadow as shimmers are notorious for not having such a strong colour pay-off. In the picture shown below, I applied around three coats of the shadow with a soft blending brush. As it turns out, this shadow doesn’t respond well to foiling; wetting the mixture brings out the shimmer more so than the colour. To achieve the most true colour, I’d recommend using a white/extremely pale eyeshadow base instead. NYX’s Jumbo Eye Pencil in Milk (my hero) is perfect for this.

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The intense gold colour is Illamasqua’s Furore, see my earlier blog post on pure pigments.

These won’t be my last purchases from NARS. In my opinion, the tangible quality of the products makes that extra £5-£10 well worth it. I’m already trying to choose my next lipstick, Anita or Bette?

What are your favourite NARS products?

Hope you like!

Molly x