Alright, sue me, I just wanted to use Nicki's verse from Monster to talk about how much I love Monster Super Shock Cheek Highlighter from Colourpop.
IT'S SO PRETTY. It's the perfect highlighter. It's the most beautiful highlighter I've ever owned.
It's got a pearly opalescent GLOW, and when you view it from an angle it's not frosty or dirty-looking like some highlighters can be when the light isn't hitting it.
It's also not massively sparkly, so it's easy to wear. I seriously cannot stress enough how much I love this highlighter. It's just a pink sheen from certain angles, not sparkly or frosty at all, and it's sheer so from any other angles it doesn't look weird. It doesn't look bad from any angles. It's just amazing and that's it.
The texture is a little funky because it's a very thin cream, so it's kind of hard to apply with a brush like you would with powder highlighters. My favorite way to apply this is to gently tap my finger into it, then sweep it onto my cheekbone and blend with a fluffy brush. I personally like to apply a whole lot and look like a fairy princess, but I assure you, you can get a subtle application this way.
It's also nearly impossible to photograph on my face, which is a bummer, because it's absolutely incredible in person.
Buuuuuut here's the best snapshot I got. All Colourpop color cosmetics: Daddy pressed pigment and I Heart This shadow on eyes, Monster to highlight and Aphrodisiac as light blush/contour, Tootsi lip pencil, Westie lippie and Donut ultra matte for a lil ombre lip.
TIP: Damn, Colourpop is really nailing it. Opalescent highlighters are my favorite thing lately, this is the first really strong one I've seen so I really hope more come out. Duochrome white and blue/purple shadows are also cool for this but I prefer Monster's pink sheen to the purply tones found in eyeshadows.
I picked up a few Sally Girl "Magic Eyeshadows" a while back, at a charming 99¢ each. They had some cute colors and they looked like duochromes but I didn't get my hopes up. Last night while experimenting with eye looks for a wedding I'm going to this weekend, I pulled one out and WOW did it surprise me.
I got a white with blue/purple shift, a lavender with gold shift, a brown with green shift and a coral/orange with cool toned pink shift. On bare skin they're lovely, over primer they glow.
Seriously, this is Urban Decay quality duochrome. It's super visible even on the eye-- I love using the white in the inner corner for a surprise of sheer purple shimmer, it looks ethereal and alien but gentle. The lavender, when swatched, is more gold than purple but you can still see both. The only shade that gave me trouble was the brown, but the green shift stood out much better over primer. The coral is insane, I don't know if I've ever seen a shadow quite like that. I haven't figured out how I'm going to use it but I'm in love.
All the shadows have lovely textures, not too dry and stiff or soft and crumbly, and the price tag really gives you no excuse not to try these. I bet when used wet the shift would be even stronger.
In line with my beliefs since the very first makeup purchase ever, I believe in the power of concealer and that it should be used for most corrections, not foundation. Why cover up your nice-looking skin and semi-cover your society-says-not-as-nice-looking skin* when you could let it breathe and let your nice looking skin shine through and only cover the spots that society says really need the covering?
I've here made a disgusting collage of me using these concealers. I have spared you the before images. The Hourglass, MAC and L'Oréal are all good for spot concealing, and the Hard Candy is good for that and for using over a larger area- I applied it all over my cheek there. I've used the Maybelline and Bobbi Brown under my eyes, as they work best there-- both in the sense that they perform better under my eyes than on my face, and that they perform better under my eyes than my other concealers.
Ohhhh my god this post has been a long time coming. I think I've finally found some concealer brushes really REALLY worth the money.
EcoTools Correcting Concealer brush ($5)- really excellent for spot concealing and blending. It's on the smallish side, so it's perfect for covering hyperpigmentation and acne. There are short thick hairs and long thin hairs, and the long hairs are great for blending, while the short ones give it a stiffness that you need to apply the concealer. Nouveau Cheap has a great review of this.
Real Techniques Detailer brush (part of a set, $18)- If I have a little more time, I looooooove using this to apply concealer before blending it. Normally I just swipe on, blend a little and go, but this brush is PERFECT for getting really really good coverage over the little tiny spots. After this, I'll use a fluffier brush to blend everything out, like...
Sephora Pro Airbrush #57 Concealer brush ($24, ouch)- PERFECT!!! I love this for both blemish and under-eye concealer. Normally I don't actually use under-eye concealer, but this brush does a super good job of airbrushing it around so it doesn't crease (which is WHY I don't usually bother with it). It's also excellent for blending out full-coverage concealers, like MAC Studio Finish or Hourglass Hidden Corrective concealer. Love love love this, would purchase a thousand more but it's expensive. Also, honestly, a little bit large for use on blemishes, but it works for me because I usually spot-conceal some places and then do a whole smear around a certain area, which this brush is awesome for. It's the most expensive brush in this post, so it's up to individual preference about whether to get it, but the quality is definitely there. This is the most expensive single brush I own and it's damn worth it.
Real Techniques Domed Shadow brush (part of a set, $18) - Smaller than the Sephora one, and the brush isn't the same length and texture all around, this one gets finer towards the end of the brush head-- where the Sephora brush is an even, airbrush puff, this one is a sparser, gentler fluff. Good for liquid concealers especially since it has more movement. It's really awesome. Sadly, only available in a set (but a good set). Real Techniques does have a single shadow brush available and I bet it would also be good for concealer. Who needs to use brushes for their assigned purpose?
Real Techniques Concealer brush ($8)- this one has the FUNKIEST shape I have ever seen in a concealer brush. It's like an angled blush brush. Why. I don't know. But it is super nice for some of the same purposes as the Sephora brush- under-eye concealer and blending out larger areas. It doesn't have a precision tip for spot concealing, but I grabbed it anyway because I am absolutely stunned at how quickly the Real Techniques brushes dry. I mean, it's like magic. Two minutes and you can use it again. Oh! I also like this one for highlighting with concealer for a contoured effect.
Sephora Pantone Lip brush (part of a set, discontinued)- Also awesome like the RealTechniques detailer brush, this one is slightly larger and stiffer. It's from the Radiant Orchid ombré brush set, which is no longer available but I've heard it's popping up at Marshall's!
Also, you can see that I most recently used this for orange eyeshadow, not concealer.
Bonus: Flower Beauty shadow brush ($8)- for setting under-eye concealer. When I do use it, I find setting concealer under my eyes with a powder helps a TON. Having a separate brush for this is a little unnecessary, but it sure does the job. It's pretty similar to the Sephora brush but I haven't tried it for applying concealer, since it doesn't seem dense enough. It is very very luxuriously soft.
I recently spent a night looking up MAC dupes for shades that I owned and looking for colors I had nothing like. I came up with the following
Humid, Expensive Pink, Parfait Amour and Red Brick
I went to a counter and swatched all these, then went to Ulta and found dupes or near-dupes for them.
Here's the palette I made! I had a few issues depotting the NYX Hot Singles but they're still obviously usable and beautiful! I challenged myself to make a look with all four, since they're kind of crazy together. I didn't buy them to go with each other! I bought them cause they're unique in my collection and I love 'em. So here's how that went.
I used 'Expensive Pink' on the inner lid, and 'Parfait Amour' in the crease and outer lid/outer V, both with a fluffy brush. I blended out that purple a lot to get it super sheer. I used 'Humid' along the lash line and blended it up with a detailer brush so it didn't look like liner but a hazy halo of green. I used a bit of 'Humid' again on the outer lower lash line, some 'Expensive Pink' on the inner corner and packed 'Red Brick' on the middle of the lower lash line with my pinky finger. It's definitely a lot more wearable without the orange pop, but I kinda like it since it makes my eyes look so blue! But the sheerness of the purple and green are really working for me, as well as how the gold shimmer in the green and the pink blended with each other. I'm probably gonna wear that to class tomorrow!
Okay. I'll probably do without the orange.
My mom tried to give me a poster for my dorm with a man holding up his kilt to the beautiful Scottish Highlands and a wee heiland coo in the background, with EXPOSE YOURSELF TO SCOTLAND at the bottom, but I didn't take the bait. Yet. I might put it up in our bathroom.
If you haven't gotten to the tarte Exposed color collection yet... maybe you can find it on ebay??? I found mine a few months ago at Ulta after it had sold out online.
I don't have the lip gloss because I gave it to my mom, who a) wears lip gloss a lot more than me and b) loves loves loves this type of color. I'm beginning to understand it- I liked it on lips and now I see the appeal on cheeks, too. It's incredibly flattering, making you look alive but without obvious color. For me, it just brings forth the natural color of my skintone, not the color I naturally blush, even, but just an enhanced color of my skin.
The mini blush is kind of sheer, which I adore, especially for this kind of color. I can't tell if the cheek stain has a tiny bit of shimmer running through it, if it collected some shimmer from my face the first time I applied it, or if it just looks shimmery because it's a little shiny when first applied. Either way, gorgeous. These look especially good layered, and stay on foreeeeever. The cheek stain also smells lemony fresh, which I LOVE because when I put it on it makes my skin look so fresh and flushed! And lemony! I dunno, man, cheek stain sticks sound kind of gross in theory but somehow the lemony freshness helps to quiet the part of my brain yelling about that when I swipe this one.
The Power Pigment pencil is awesome. Really awesome. But I have an issue with it.
It's smaller than a mini LipSurgence. I checked. What the hell, tarte. It's really nice, though, but can you imagine spending $24 on something smaller than a mini?
It's pretty matte, because it's super pigmented (they don't call it a power pigment pencil for nothing) so there's texture galore. However, props to tarte because it doesn't feel matte at all, it feels incredibly smooth and creamy. And of course it has a pretty strong peppermint scent which I love. I guess to remedy this one should pair it with the lip gloss, which has a pretty strong cupcake scent to it. Mint cupcakes. Yum.
LipSurgence mini, 1.75 g. Full-size Power Pigment, 1 g. What???
I guess since the Power Pigment is more pigmented, the theory is you need less to achieve the same level of pigmentation. But seriously, what the hell is this. I can get 10.5 grams in six LipSurgences in the Kiss and Belle set (and two mini lip glosses) for $34, whereas $34 worth of Power Pigment would be 1.42 grams. WHAT???
TIP: tarte makes really awesome blink-and-you'll-miss-it sets, and this is definitely one of them. 3 full-size products for barely over the price of one of them? Hell yes. And these colors are so popular for a reason, which I've just discovered, but they may not work for everyone. Find your own pink-brown nude!
YES! Another mega-value set from tarte. I'm a little disappointed because it seems like they usually do sets with fewer products but make them full-sized, but I can't complain because these are actually awesome and their pocket-size makes them super easy to carry along everywhere. Plus, lots of finishes to try!
About the finishes: some of these are matte. Right. But Alluring is listed on the packaging, as you can see above, as matte, and it is not matte at all, so that's weird. Okay, tarte. More of your weirdness. I'll put up with it, though, because these two kits have given me a fantastic introduction to your product line.
Aw yeaaaah, lots of finishes. I love playing with different finishes. But let's get everything straight.
Eternal- listed as matte, is matte
Dreamy- not listed as matte, is matte
Kiss- lip gloss, glitterbomb
Alluring- listed as matte, is not matte
Innocent- not listed as matte, is not matte
Belle- lip gloss, super pigmented
Dainty- not listed as matte, is not matte
Fancy- is listed as matte, is matte
The matte colors are, for the most part, lovely. I found Eternal tugged at the lips a lot, but other than that they were all smooth and wonderful, very lightweight. The other lip tints look fairly similar but show up on the lips much brighter, somehow. And the lip glosses are lovely, of course, but oh my god does Kiss leave glitter everywhere. It's the first one I swatched and you can probably see the bits of glitter in all the other swatches because of it.
My favorite here is definitely Fancy, it's a great winter color, and Belle is lovely for a more casual winter option since it's kind of the same color. Below you can see the glitter carnage that Kiss leaves behind, and then Fancy topped with Chanel Savage Grace lip gloss. I don't know if I have ever seen two lip products so perfectly paired. Excuse the irritation around my lip lines, I haven't quite figured out how to swatch multiple lip colors, wipe each of them off, and re-swatch different ones without that happening.
TIP: Always wear lip balm under matte colors. These tarte ones don't feel matte but they look matte, and they are unforgiving.
Revlon Colorburst lip gloss in Sunbaked
Chanel Rouge Coco lipstick in Mademoiselle
Make Up For Ever sheer lipstick in N9 (in the Sephora birthday gift!)
Revlon Just Bitten Kissable balm stain in Honey
Comparing some colors similar to My Favorite Lipstick Ever!
The Revlon gloss I bought because of its similarity to NARS Dolce Vita, which I was interested in because of its similarity in color to Mademoiselle. It's a little darker and more brown, but looks great layered over Mademoiselle. The MUFE mini lipstick in this year's birthday gift from Sephora is awesome and super cute, and when I got it, I knew I had seen that color before! It's sheerer and balmier compared to Mademoiselle, but as a result easier to wear and apply without a mirror.
The Revlon balm stain is actually not as similar as I thought it was going to be, but you can see it's still in the same ballpark. It's a mauve take on the shade, but looks lovely nonetheless. Your results may very because this is a balm stain, so it does have a tendency to show up as one color and then fade to another when the 'balm' part is gone.
TIP: Don't waste money on potential (failed) dupes for Mademoiselle like I did before I finally bought it. Look up swatches of real dupes. Make your own blog posts about dupes for it. Make sure they aren't discontinued. Or just save your money on each dupe you almost-buy, and when you've saved enough money from resisting impulse buys, buy the real thing. The real MVP here I'd say is the MUFE, and if you're a Beauty Insider it's free so that's even better.