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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Anastasia Beverly Hills ‘Sun Dipped’ Glow Kit

My obsession with illuminators knows no bounds and the ABH Glow Kits are by far the highlight of my collection. The newest addition? The ‘Sun Dipped’ Glow Kit, released just last month.

Following the model of the two previous palettes, ‘Sun Dipped’ contains four large pans of metallic powder, but the shades inside are entirely different to those of its predecessors. While ‘Gleam’ was largely cool toned, and ‘That Glow,’ warm, ‘Sun Dipped’ is a perfect combination of the two.

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Claudia Soare, known as Norvina on IG (@norvina1), says that the kit is ‘reminiscent of summer. It represents the sun in various stages of the day, various places in the world, and items that reminds us of summer.’ And it’s true, including shades evocative of both pearly moonbeams and the dazzle of bright midday sun.

Shades:

-Bronzed: ‘amber with a penny metal finish’

-Summer: ‘luminous sand with a white gold finish’

-Tourmaline: ‘warm taupe with a rose gold finish’

-Moonstone: ‘radiant quartz with a pearl finish’

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Colour Range:

The combination of pearls, taupes and golds in this palette make it even more universal than the previous two. Though ‘Moonstone’ and ‘Summer’ are very alike, they do appeal to different tastes, the first having only a slightly cooler cast than the second. Fans of ABH Illuminators – now extremely hard to get hold of – will find that ‘Moonstone’ is very (very!) similar to ‘Starlight,’ a favourite for those with fair skin, and that ‘So Hollywood’ is reborn in the shade, ‘Summer.’

‘Bronzed’ is a touch too dark for my skin tone, but it can be layered over bronzer for an ultra sun-kissed vibe. And, for a sucker for warm tones like myself, it makes a stunning eyeshadow, especially with a chocolate brown smoky eye.

I can just about get away with ‘Tourmaline’ on my fair skin, which is lucky because it must be my favourite shade ever. It’s such an unusual combination of cool and warm tones, much like the ‘Riveria’ Illuminator, a rose gold. Depending on your skin tone, it will swatch as either a gorgeous taupe or a gilded pink. Either way, it’s beautiful!

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You can also mix shades to create your own custom highlight; my favourite combination is ‘Moonstone’ and ‘Tourmaline,’ which together create a lovely pink champagne colour. Once I’ve applied a bit of fake tan and some extra bronzer, however, the mix of ‘Summer’ and ‘Bronzed’ will help bring the perfect glow to my holiday snaps! The possibilities, though not quite endless, are many: just dip your brush back and forth between the shades to combine the powders and voilà!

Texture & Staying Powder:

As with the other kits, the powders aren’t exactly creamy, but are rather very finely milled. Though this causes a fair amount of fall-out, they are extremely lightweight and are less likely to cake when layered over cream based foundations or concealers. It takes a few swirls of the finger or brush to really gather up the pigment, but dampening your brush – ideally using a mixing medium like MAC Fix+ rather than water – can really help achieve maximum shine.

Unable to decide between ‘Gleam’ and ‘That Glow’? Then the ‘Sun Dipped’ Glow Kit is ideal for you and makes for the ultimate makeup companion this summer. Will you be taking the plunge? Coming soon to Roses Beauty Store!

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.

Anastasia Beverly Hills ‘That Glow’ Glow Kit

If 2015 was the year of contouring, 2016 is the year of highlighting. Both Jeffree Star and Nikkie Tutorials have recently taken to Youtube to post full-face looks using only highlighting powders and central to their routines are the ABH Glow Kits.

Released at the end of 2015 to honour Anastasia Soare’s birthday, the palettes continue the success of the brand’s Illuminators, which took the beauty world by storm. And what could be better than one highlighter? Well, four.

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The ‘That Glow’ Kit is the warmer of the two palettes currently available (though we await the release of the ‘Sun Dipped’ version this summer): while the ‘Gleam’ Kit offers rosy, pearl tones, ‘That Glow’ is all about a golden bronze shine. As a pale girl myself, I must confess that I snapped up ‘Gleam’ in an instant, ‘That Glow’ just looked too bronzy, my milk bottle skin wouldn’t do it justice. But, I was wrong. In fact, in my opinion, the ‘That Glow’ Kit is the slightly more versatile palette of the two, even for someone as fair as me.

 

Packaging:

In contrast to the weighty, decorative, luxurious, packaging on the market – the Urban Decay Gwen Stefani Blush Palette, for example – the Glow Kits cardboard casings may be a little underwhelming. That being said, they are very resilient to wear and tear, mostly because they are so slim and lightweight. They can be slipped into a suitcase, handbag or Zuca without taking up much room at all. The pans can also be removed and added to a custom magnetic palette if preferred.

 

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So, the shades themselves:

-Sunburst: ‘a bright luminous gold with a metallic finish’

-Bubbly: ‘a champagne rose with a pearlescent finish’

-Dripping in Gold: ‘a lavish gold with a vivid reflective finish’

-Golden Bronze: ‘a sultry, warm bronze with a gold-flecked finish’

 

Colour Range:

There really is a shade for everyone, and for every possible use on the face, eyes and body. Though ‘Sunburst’ looks very yellow in the pan, on the skin it is less a ‘luminous’ gold than a true champagne that, if not used as a highlight, can be mixed with face powder for that all-over luminosity. ‘Bubbly’ and ‘Dripping in Gold’ are very, very similar in colour, but their respective pink and peach undertones means that they can be layered over top of blush for the ultimate mineralised finish. Lastly, ‘Golden Bronze’ <3. This shade is just too warm for me to use as a highlight, but makes for the most beautiful eyeshadow when paired with neutrals or jewel toned emeralds and navies.

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Texture & Staying Powder:

The powders aren’t exactly soft and buttery, but are rather very finely milled. This means, though there is a fair amount of fall-out, they are extremely lightweight on the skin and are less likely to cake when layered on top of foundation, concealers or other cream-based products. Their intensity is somewhere between Becca and The Balm (swatched below); it takes a few swirls of the brush/fingers to really gather up the pigment. That being said, the powders are buildable and can also be applied with a damp brush – ideally, using a mixing medium like MAC Fix+ rather than water – to maximise their shine.

With summer just around the corner, the ‘That Glow’ Kit is the perfect addition to any makeup arsenal; it is truly a ‘kit,’ not just a highlighter palette, but an eyeshadow/blush/body bronzer set rolled into one.

 

Will you be getting your glow on? Check it out That Glow Kit.

 

*this link will take you to Roses Beauty Store, an online UK makeup stockist. In return for some of the newest releases, I’ll be blogging for them regularly.

 

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: Shien Cosmetics’ Silk Matte Lipsticks

Not so long ago, a parcel arrived, here, in the middle of England, all the way from New York. A small black shipper filled with reams of black paper and three black boxes labelled ‘Shien.’ Inside, three glossy black bullets housed the brand’s debuting Silk Matte lipsticks.

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For founder, Shien Lee, lipstick is about femininity and empowerment; her philosophy pays tribute to its transformative power, as fitting in the office as it is on stage. “When a woman wears my lipstick, I want her to feel like she shines.” It is little wonder, then, that of 8 shades available, 5 are red – the colour that typifies universal beauty, from 50’s glam to 00’s vamps.

Following Shien’s generous offer to choose my favourites, I chose two reds: ‘Cobra Lily,’ a rich burgundy, and ‘Red Lantern,’ a bold tomato-red. For my third choice, I wanted to try a different colour altogether, so of the nude, pink and gold shades remaining, I picked ‘Gold Viper.’ This colour is unlike any other lipstick I own; in low light, it is a deep copper and, in sunlight, a beautifully unusual rose-gold.

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These swatches were applied straight from the bullet… without a base… or lip-liner.

Seriously.

I couldn’t believe it either.

Thanks to Shien’s innovative ‘Silk Matte’ formula, the lipsticks have all the creaminess and shine of a satin with the staying power of a matte. It’s a feat of real-life wizardry.

Though dubbed ‘ultra-matte,’ they apply more like a super-pigmented balm. Made with moisturising white camellia oil, the product glides onto the skin without feeling sticky or greasy and leaves a lovely sheen – somewhere between Vaseline and a conventional lipstick. I’m sure I’m not alone in avoiding glosses and the like due to their irritating gooiness, while matte lipsticks can feel a little dry and flaky; these lipsticks offer the perfect compromise. Once applied, the product seems to ‘set’ in place without losing its ‘silk,’ satin finish so there is little transfer when eating or drinking (or smooching…).

Of course, these lipsticks aren’t straightforwardly matte so they won’t last as long as MAC or Illamasqua matte formulations (or the seemingly impenetrable LA Splash Liquid Lipsticks), but I think a little wear around the inside of the lip is a prize worth paying for their luscious look and feel. It’s also very easy to extend their staying power: just blot and dust with a little translucent powder.

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I am a huge fan of these lipsticks as they add some sophistication to my makeup arsenal. My favourites would be both ‘Red Lantern’ and ‘Cobra Lily’ as I find they have a more buttery texture, stronger colour and more silky finish (pictured above-gah! so beautiful!) than ‘Gold Viper.’ The latter takes a few more coats to get the coverage just right and is more ‘matte’ in both its look and feel. Still, it is a beautiful shade.

What do you think of Shien’s ‘Silk Matte’ lipsticks? See them here: www.shiencosmetics.com

Hope you like!

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: Illamasqua’s Gel Sculpt

Illamasqua’s Gel Sculpt was heralded as the new thing in contouring. It would usher in a new era of defining the face, they said. But, for what it’s worth, I’m unconvinced.

I remember the social media posts leading up to its launch: monochrome, abstract, mysterious. The hype surrounding the unveiling was huge and I was completely sucked in. I had my phone on my desk at work, continually checking my emails until it dropped into my inbox: ‘Available now.’ But then the delivery arrived and compared to the enormity of its billing, the box was teeny tiny. 

It’s so good that you won’t need to use a lot…It’ll last forever, I told myself.

And yes it probably will, because – two months later – I’ve only used it once.

Take off the cap and you’ll find a cylinder of solid gel (it reminds me of roll-on deodorant) with a fresh floral smell. Weird, but I can handle weird. Scoot the gel across your hand and it gets weirder. What, in the bullet, looks like the perfectly cool, deep IMG_4456taupe transfers to the skin as a pale coffee hued smudge. Gel Sculpt is really a glorified cheek tint and a strange one at that.

In their quest to create the first ‘natural’ looking contouring product, Illamasqua have skimped on the colour-punch that typifies their brand. Silhouette, so far, is the only shade intended to ‘sculpt’ the face so I understand that they needed to produce a shade that would suit every skin tone, but the truth is there isn’t a universal colour that will please everyone and, even if there was, I don’t imagine it would be as warm toned as this. I guess the name ‘Silhouette’ implies its intention to mimic natural looking shadows, but I can’t help but think it should be called ‘Obvious.’

The picture on the left was taken after just one stroke on my hand, immediately after application. As you can see, the colour is wish-washy, the coverage sheer and the finish oddly glossy. When I first used this on my face, I quickly applied more coats, presuming the colour would deepen as desired, but the sepia only became more opaque… in patches. With a slight hesitation, I took up my make-up sponge to dab off the excess and start again, but by that time the gloss had turned to matte, the gel had dried and my contour was fit to survive pollution on a nuclear scale.

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L-R: One stroke; Two strokes; A desperate amount of strokes.

A waterproof contouring product that won’t fade or rub away throughout the day? Amazing!

If you actually like it…

I just can’t seem to get my head around this product. I’ve tried applying it straight from the bullet onto my cheeks, but it dries too quickly leaving an unyielding streak of bronze that refuses to blend. I’ve also tried Illamasqua’s recommended method of application: the gel is applied to the fleshy part of your palm beneath your thumb on one hand; then bounce your palms together to distribute the product over both hands; finally, with your thumbs parallel to your ears, dab the product onto your cheeks, cradling your cheekbones.

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What I mean by “the fleshy part of your palm beneath your thumb.”

This method is great for creating a subtle hue around the face… if you’re careful. But as there’s little to no precision involved, it’s quite difficult to stop the product from straying into your hairline or down onto your jaw (and there’s no hope of neatening it up afterwards). I tried this method just before writing this post and had to apply more foundation underneath to try and sculpt some sort of shape from the brown splodge, which I eventually completely covered in NYX’s Taupe blush. Fail.

Perhaps, in a different shade, I’d appreciate Gel Sculpt a little more. The formula is innovative, but fraught with practical issues like ‘how on earth do I apply this?’ If the gel wasn’t to set as quickly as it does, it would be a whole different story, but for now it will sit gathering dust on my dresser.

What do you think of Illamasqua’s Gel Sculpt?

Hope you like!

Molly x

Laura Mercier’s Priming Duo: Foundation Primer + Eyebright

Primers have become an increasingly important part of my daily routine as I’ve gotten older. In my early teens, I had woefully dry skin, particularly around my nose, and found no way to remedy it other than to pull away the loose flakes (GROSS). In my late teens, I seemed to miraculously develop a T-zone and experienced ‘angry spots’ and open pores for the first time along with my already crispy nose (DOUBLE GROSS). Now, in my early twenties, my skin has plateaued at a manageable, if sometimes frustrating, combination of greasy and flaky (triple gross?). So along with my usual concoction of moisturising products, primers are a staple of my make-up kit.

Laura Mercier’s Foundation Primer, £29

Before now, my first and only primer had been Revlon’s Photoready which, despite having used it religiously for three years, wasn’t always up to scratch. Though it keeps my makeup in place for around 4 hours without noticeable creasing, its chalky paste-like texture does little for my already dry skin. It not only makes my rough patches more pronounced but can make my whole face feel tight and uncomfortable. So having scoured the internet for an alternative, there was one primer that seemed to stand out from the crowd – Laura Mercier’s Foundation Primer.

I know, I’m considerably late to the party, but its continued success since its first release in 1995 is hard to ignore. Winner of InStyle’s Best Beauty Buys Award last year, I figured its £29 price tag was a small price to pay for such an apparently amazing product. And who am I to argue with InStyle? Nobody.

But, as with anything, it has its quirks. Having used such a thick primer for years, the consistency was the first thing to strike me. It is a particularly loose, semi-set gel that turns to liquid as soon as it touches the skin. This carries the usual benefits: a little goes a very long way, there’s no risk of it caking and it feels instantly hydrating. Which are all good, but deceptive.

The formula is so thin that it feels as though it’s not actually doing much to your face, much like splashing it with water. Perhaps I’ve been kept in the dark for too long, but I’ve always associated primers with making my skin feel ‘buffed,’ that crazy smooth, lump and dimple-free, almost furry, feeling when all pores are filled and all wrinkles blurred. This meant, on first application, I assumed I hadn’t applied enough and coated my face in at least three days’ worth only to find my skin as un-‘buffed’ as ever…and a little sticky.

So the trick is to let it set before applying any products on top; if you’re too hasty, the formula has no time to create that desired ‘barrier’ over pores and fine lines and you’ll see no pay off. But give it a minute or so and this stuff makes for a lightweight, but seemingly impenetrable face fortress.

Unlike some, less expensive primers, this doesn’t zap all moisture from the skin in an attempt to prevent shine; instead it sets to a semi-matte, ‘second skin’ finish that allows for a flattering natural sheen. This is great news for those with dry/combination skin like mine, as it doesn’t feel tight or dehydrating and allows for what ‘glow’ you have to peak through. For those with oily skin, though, this formula may not be ‘heavy-duty’ enough to hold back shine for the whole day. On my oilier days (phases of the moon and all that…), I’ve noticed that, although my makeup doesn’t budge, I still need something to blot my T-zone. Those with oily skin types may therefore prefer to give the Oil-Free version of this primer a try as it is specifically geared towards controlling oil production and soothing blemish prone skin.

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The wonders of Laura Mercier’s Foundation Primer have been talked about for almost twenty years, and with good reason, but before you invest, it’s worth testing out the product at your local beauty counter to get a feel for its effective, if peculiar, formula.

Laura Mercier’s Eye Basics in Eyebright, £19

Laura Mercier’s Eye Basics are a small collection of tinted eye primers that work to prime, conceal and correct your eyelids. Seven of the Basics are neutral colours intended for particular skintones, but the eighth, Eyebright, is a striking baby blue. Even when Laura Mercier does colour, it’s in the most sophisticated of ways, with deep plums, navies and emerald greens so Eyebright stood out as something entirely different… I had to buy it.

The reviews of this product on various sites are awful with most complaining about the unusual colour, but I like it…I think. Due to a consistent lack of sleep (and a slight allergy to eyelash glue), my eyelids are always puffy in the morning. This, together with my already pale skin tone, makes for sallow, veiny and swollen skin that needs to be soothed and hidden, pronto. A sweep of Eyebright and my eyelids look instantly brighter and more even; the pale blue colour helps give life to pallid skin and neutralises redness, while anti-oxidants Vitamin A, C and E along with other anti-inflammatories reduce puffiness. Unlike the other colours in the range, Eyebright also has medicinal properties (apparently… LM doesn’t state exactly what these are) to heal and soothe broken skin. Which I don’t have…but when I do, it’ll be helpful.

Once blended, much of the colour fades to an almost sheer, white semi-matte finish which my fair skin can get away with wearing alone, but I’d  imagine that, on darker skin tones, this white wash across the eyes would look too stark. As a base for eyeshadows, though, Eyebright works with any skin tone and helps cling to pigment, making shadows look more opaque and pigmented.

Crease-resistant and waterproof, Eyebright is a good product to have in your beauty arsenal to give a much needed lift to tired eyes, used alone to colour correct and conceal or beneath eyeshadows to prime. That being said, this isn’t cheap. And does it do something that no other product can? Well, no, not really. A good concealer, corrector or eyeshadow base can do pretty much the same thing. For me, the real benefit of Eyebright is the colour; concealers and correctors can hide dark circles and redness, but are rarely pale enough to truly ‘brighten’ my skin. ‘Brightening’ concealers are often very yellow – in an attempt to cancel out blueish shadows. On certain skin tones, this just replaces one problem with another – tiredness with ‘jaundice.’ If you’ve been searching for something to avoid both of these issues, then maybe it’s worth giving Eyebright a go!

Would you consider Laura Mercier’s primers? What are your favourite priming products?

Hope you like!

Molly