Monday, December 31, 2018

Favorite Makeup Products of 2018

So, it's the end of the year, and everyone is making their lists of the best and worst makeup of 2018. The older I get and the less involved with the "influencer" side of the beauty industry I become, these lists matter less and less to me. That also might be because we are so inundated with new releases that it's hard to hold onto a few select products as "the best." And even if they do make that cut, where will they be six months or a year from now?

I didn't try a ton of new makeup this year. I did buy some things and I was gifted a few things, but I was generally less concerned with buying.

Because of this, it didn't make much sense to me to create my own "best of 2018" list, since I didn't buy many new releases and mainly just used and loved what I already had. And then it struck me—that's the entire point of this blog. To encourage mindful shopping and using what you already own.

So I decided to write a post on my favorite makeup items of 2018—most of which I acquired before 2018.


Foundation: Fenty Pro Filt'r 

I talked in depth about this foundation in a recent post, but this is a really fantastic foundation. It gives my skin a light, skin-like finish and provides a lot of coverage while also not looking like a mask. I love the shade range, and it is a brand that I feel good supporting. 

Primer: Australian Gold Tinted Sunscreen

I've used this sunscreen as a primer for a while, and despite trying several different primers this year, it still came out on top for me. My previous favorite foundation (It Cosmetics CC+) had SPF 50 within it, so it is even more important to me now to have SPF in my primer. I've raved about this sunscreen before, and I will continue to do so. It's non-greasy and yet really holds onto foundation well. I love it. 

Multi-purpose spray: MAC Fix+

I have used MAC Fix+ for many years, but I used it more this year than any other. And that's because I finally started wetting eyeshadows. This was never something I was all that interested in, mainly because I didn't feel I should have to wet an eyeshadow in order for it to work. And I still agree with that (I'm looking at you, Makeup Revolution The Emily Edit). However, some shadows still perform dry but pack a little more punch when wet, and those are the ones for which I don't mind putting in the additional effort. To wet shadows, I'll only use Fix+. This product was also heavily used when I was finishing my Soap & Glory One Heck of a Blot powder and my face looked like it was caked in product. Fix+ took down the powder look and made my skin appear a bit more natural. 

Bronzer: Hourglass Luminous Bronze Light

It's not surprising that my favorite bronzer is from Hourglass, since all of my favorite powder face products are from Hourglass. I didn't use bronzer for years (I didn't understand the point of it, to be honest), and I still only use a small amount, but I have come to really love the warmth it gives my face. With that said, I'm unsure how anyone ever finishes a bronzer. I have had this product for a long time, and I use it almost daily, and I have only made a small dent in it. 

Setting powder: Hourglass Veil Translucent Setting Powder

This is a relatively new product to me, so it might be a little unfair to call it a favorite already, but I don't care. It is. I purchased this powder to replace my One Heck of a Blot powder when it was finished, and I absolutely love it. It makes my skin look airbrushed. That shouldn't be surprising—so many Hourglass products do that. I feel like you might not notice a huge difference with this powder (and other Hourglass products) until you stop using it. That happened to me with the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder, and I just couldn't understand why my face looked so dull when I didn't use it. I feel the same about this. 

Finishing powder: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light

I've talked about this product so much at this point, so all I will say here is that I can't really see anything ever topping this powder for me. I plan on using it as long as Hourglass makes it. 


I have a sizable blush collection (though it probably appears small when compared to a large number of beauty content creators), and these four are the ones that stood out to me this year as the best. 

Marc Jacobs Lines and Last Night

Lines and Last Night is a perfect peach/orange blush for my skin tone, and it lasts all day without fading. I have two other Marc Jacobs blushes in this formula, but neither are quite as special (on me) as this one.

NARS Exhibit A

I've talked about this blush several times before, but this is my all-time favorite and the blush I wear the most.

MAC Gingerly 

This blush is such a great color, but unfortunately, the staying power isn't the greatest on me. I really like to pair Gingerly with a yellow-gold highlighter and warm nude (on me) lipstick. It also looks great with green or mustard eyeshadow!

Hourglass Mood Exposure

Next to Exhibit A, this is my favorite blush. Whenever I can't quite figure out what blush to wear, I go for this one. When I'm traveling, this is usually the only blush I take. I think what everyone else loves about Tarte Exposed is what I love about Mood Exposure.


I firmly believe that a highlighter is a highlighter is a highlighter. I picked my three favorites from the year and the three I've worn the most, but honestly, while there are differences between them, I think they all look pretty similar on the skin—like almost every highlighter. 

Becca Vanilla Quartz

For years, Becca Moonstone was my top favorite, and it probably still is, but I wore Vanilla Quartz the most in 2018. I like that it has a yellow/peach base instead of a champagne base, which sets it slightly apart from Moonstone. Becca highlighters will likely always be my favorite, and Vanilla Quartz is a stunner. 

Physician's Formula Butter Highlighter in Pearl

I've recently talked about Pearl, but I have to say that I'll never understand why people seemed to have skipped over this highlighter. This is the only highlighter from the Butter line that I personally felt was unique, but performs at a level that is far above its price range. I would think people would rave about the Butter line, but unless I'm missing something, I haven't heard anything. 

Anastasia Beverly Hills X Amrezy Highlighter

This highlighter was given to me as a gift at a time when I really wasn't wearing much makeup or focused on anything other than recovering from 5 years of unhappiness and environmental depression as a result of living in New York City. So, it took me quite a while to use it. But since then, I have worn it a lot, and it has become a favorite.

Honestly, I wouldn't have purchased this highlighter myself, and I debated even including it in this list. And the reason for that is because Amrezy is not a person who I personally feel comfortable supporting. I understand that she and Norvina of ABH are friends, but I don't think she's a good candidate as a brand ambassador.

The highlighter is really pretty, and I was surprised by how much I liked the strong yellow-gold color. I pair this highlighter with MAC Gingerly, and I think the two make a really nice combination.


The irony here, of course, is that my two favorite eyeshadow palettes that released in 2018 (or at least were new to me) are pretty far apart in terms of price. I purchased NYX Grind for $12 (when it was on sale), and the Pat McGrath Decadence palette was a hefty $125. 

NYX Grind

I've heard next to no one talk about this palette, and I really don't understand why. I think it's really fantastic and one of the best color stories to come out in a while. It performs at a level that is much higher than its price range, and I don't have to work to make the shadows perform. They are just high quality. It's always a treat to use this palette. 

Pat McGrath Mothership IV — Decadence 

I bought this palette as a "Congrats, you survived New York" gift to myself. Decadence is the nicest makeup item I have ever owned. (I was then gifted another Pat McGrath palette—one of the smaller ones—and I was not impressed with that.) I have no concept why Decadence was the only limited edition Mothership palette. That makes no sense to me because I feel like it's the best one. And I think it's really disappointing that people can't buy it anymore. 

I had a slightly hard time tracking it down (it was sold out online and I had to put this one on hold at a Sephora near me and then race to buy it), but I never made the connection that it was limited edition (and not a false scarcity tactic). I remember the Sephora employee gasping when I gave my name and said what I was picking up. And I remember thinking that was weird. 

This is a beautiful palette, and these are the highest quality eyeshadows I have ever used. That's especially why I was disappointed in the smaller PM palette as it doesn't seem that the quality is consistent across the board. Decadence is the perfect name for this palette. I only wish it was still available for people to purchase. 


BH Cosmetics Zodiac 

Up front, I need to give a disclaimer. As I detailed in my last post, I'm not sure that I will ever buy from BH Cosmetics again because I have recently had the worst customer service experience to date after purchasing from them. Long story short: They took 28 days to ship a product to me, lied to me, ignored me, and then blamed the USPS for their errors. I was incredibly disappointed by how I was treated, and when I went onto their social media, the comments were littered with people like me who were being ignored and were frustrated. Customer service is a big deal to me (and most consumers), so, at present, this is not a company that I can or do recommend purchasing from. 

With that said, the Zodiac palette is my favorite palette in my collection. And I'm including it in this post because if you already own this palette, I wanted to maybe remind you of how great it is and encourage you to get more use out of it. Zodiac is a fantastic palette, and it performs better than a lot of high-end palettes that I've tried. It is beyond disappointing that BH Cosmetics handled their customer service so unprofessionally because I really do love a lot of their products. 


If you've read my blog for any period of time, you'll know that I love single eyeshadows. Reflecting upon which are my favorite of the year, I found that there was a nice mix of new and old shadows. They are:

Marc Jacobs Copperazzi
Fyrinnae Rapunzel Had Extensions
Fyrinnae Serendipity 
Urban Decay Space Cowboy
Marc Jacobs The Big O!
Hourglass Foil
Fyrinnae It Beautifies! 

I have talked about all of these shadows in previous posts, so I will just say that these are the singles in my collection that really stand out, either because of color, texture, or finish. 


This might be cheating, but I wanted to give a mention to my giant palette (from Coloured Raine) of single shadows that I either purchased individually or depotted from palettes. This giant collection of singles helps me dupe so many new releases, and my desire to own new things gets immediately curbed. Largely, I don't think singles get enough love, but they are the best tool I have to resist buying something unnecessary. Singles will forever be one of my favorite products. 


If I'm honest, I haven't always been a huge lip product person. That's largely because:
  • I drink coffee all day and hate getting lipstick all over my nice mugs
  • I typically only apply lipstick in the morning 
  • I very rarely reapply my lipstick throughout the day

But, even though I might not wear it as much as I would like, I still apply some kind of lip product most days, and these are my favorites.

NARS Barbara

The NARS Audacious lipstick formula is one of my all-time favorites, and Barbara is my go-to warm nude (on me) that I pair with bold eyes, MAC Gingerly, and the ABH highlighter. 


I think this is a perfect lip color for me and my skin tone, and it feels like the lipstick version of Hourglass Mood Exposure. 

Estée Lauder Shock & Awe

This has been in a monthly favorites post before, and I continue to love it. On me, it's not as bright as it looks in the tube, and I find it to be a really wearable and pretty pink. 

Pat McGrath Antidote

I bought this lipstick at the same time that I bought the Decadence palette, and I absolutely love it. I don't have anything even similar in color, and I love wearing it with a matte mustard eye look. 

Tom Ford Fetishist 

I wrote about this lipstick in a recent post, and I will say that despite the staggering price tag, it's a great lipstick. Its staying powder is like none other in my collection (including liquid lipsticks!). The color is deep and romantic, and it feels every bit as luxurious as you would expect from Tom Ford (and its price!).

Sunday, December 30, 2018

My Worst Customer Service Experience: BH Cosmetics

This is a different post for me, but it's one that I feel is really important. The topic is customer service, and this post will detail the worst customer service experience I have undergone thus far and why I no longer feel comfortable recommending people purchase from BH Cosmetics.

If you've read my blog for the past year, you will know that I love the BH Cosmetics Zodiac palette. It was probably the biggest beauty surprise of the year for me to see such high quality shadows at a manageable price. I have enthusiastically recommended this palette to readers as well as people in my everyday life. When the Makeup Revolution The Emily Edit: The Wants palette came out and I was very disappointed in its poor quality, people would quip: "What do you expect from a $20 palette?" And to that, I would say, "I expect the BH Cosmetics Zodiac!"

So when BH Cosmetics announced that they were releasing a second iteration of the Zodiac palette (called Love Signs), I was curious. I feel like BH Cosmetics is a "hit or miss" brand, and I wanted to know if the quality of Zodiac was a fluke or not. After considering it for a few days, I decided to purchase the palette while BH was running several sales and promotions.

I purchased the palette on November 22, 2018, which was Thanksgiving Day in the US and part of Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales. My package was not shipped to me until December 21—which was 29 days after I purchased it. BH Cosmetics packages are shipped from North Hollywood, California, and I live in a large city in California.

At the time of my purchase, the BH website listed shipping times as:

"Most orders are shipped out within 1 - 2 business days, with many orders shipping out the same day. During high volume periods like the holidays and new product launches, there may be a delay up to 4 business days to process your order."

I quoted this exact language to BH, and they have since changed this portion of their website to say:

This language was 100% changed because of the overwhelming messages they received on all of their social media platforms from frustrated customers like myself who never received their packages. I also reiterate that I live in a large city in California, not a "remote area."

I first contacted BH about the status of my order on November 30, which was 8 days after I had placed my order. I knew that the Black Friday sales likely slowed everything down, but according to the previous language on the website, it would take "up to four business days" to process the order. And that time had passed.

I did not receive a response until December 4, at which point it had been 12 days since I placed my order, and it had not yet been shipped. BH asked me to wait an additional 2–3 business days to receive a tracking number.

So, I waited. And it never came.

Three days later (December 7), I contacted them again and asked about the status.

They never responded to me.

Finally, on December 19, which was 27 days after I placed my order, I contacted BH again to say that if I did not receive a tracking number, I was going to call my bank and dispute the charge as fraud.

ONLY THEN did BH respond to me, and they claimed that my package was "lost or stolen in transit."

My order—to this day—still says that it is "processing" (photo below). That order was never shipped, and they had not sent me a tracking number. So there was no way for it to be "lost or stolen in transit." The fact that they blatantly lied to me made the situation that much worse and made me feel like this is a company that I can no longer support.

The following day, BH processed my order (picture below), and they sent me a tracking number (so I know my original order was never shipped because they didn't send any tracking information). On December 21, they shipped the package to me (picture below). It was delivered the following day since I live in California, and BH is based in California.

I have detailed the entire experience below, complete with screenshots of all conversations I had with BH Cosmetics.

I feel confident to say that had I not told BH that I was going to claim fraud on my purchase, they never would have sent my product to me. I also feel confident that had I not consistently emailed them, they would not have rectified the problem on their own.

All BH social media comments during the past month were littered with complaints from people who had never received their orders and were lied to by customer service. BH has since deleted these comments.

BH never apologized to me more than a standard greeting, and they did not offer anything in the way of coupons or anything else to try and make up for their poor service or retain me as a customer.

I have never been treated so poorly and unprofessionally by a retailer. I have never been so blatantly lied to.

As a consumer, I was beyond frustrated. But as a person with a blog and a semblance of a voice in this area, I have to say that I can no longer recommend purchasing from BH Cosmetics. This was the first time I had ever purchased from BH during a sale, and every other time I purchased from them, I had a great experience. But this experience was so bad and so unprofessional that I would feel irresponsible recommending the brand to others.

It is understandable to be swamped with Black Friday sales. However, a brand (especially one that has been established for several years) should prepare for the high volume. Ignoring customers, lying to them, and falsely accusing postal services of losing or stealing a package that they know was never sent is pretty appalling and egregious customer service.

For screenshots and text of all conversations I had with BH Cosmetics, continue reading below.

* * *

I placed the order on November 22, 2018:

(The above screenshot was taken today, December 30, 2018. As you can see, my order has never progressed from the "Processing" phase.)

On November 30, my order had not been shipped, so I wrote to customer service (through the website portal) and below is my message. Note: You can click on the image to view the message in higher quality.

"I placed an order 8 days ago on November 22, and my order still has not been shipped. Based on this website info:
'Most orders are shipped out within 1 - 2 business days, with many orders shipping out the same day. During high volume periods like the holidays and new product launches, there may be a delay up to 4 business days to process your order.'
My package should have been shipped to me yesterday at the latest, but it still has not. Can you please let me know the status of my order? This is a very long time to wait before the order has even been processed and shipped." 

BH Cosmetics replied on December 4 (4 days later):

"Thank you for your inquiry. We have recently experienced a high volume of orders, and we apologize for the delay. We are committed to getting your shipment out as soon as possible. Please allow 2-3 business days to receive a tracking number via email. Please note you also have an option to cancel the order. Please let us know your preference.
We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you and sincerely appreciate your patience. If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to reply to this email."

I responded on the same day (December 4):

"I would like to receive the product that I paid for. However, given that your website says to allow UP TO 4 business days for an order to be processed during holidays and new product launches—and mine has been processing for 7 business days at this point and you're telling me to wait an additional 2–3 business days, bringing that to at least 10 business days—at the very least you need to update the information on your website. It is not only misleading, it is downright incorrect." 

They responded on the same day (December 4):

"Thank you for your email. We sincerely appreciate you taking the time to share your feedback with us. Every BH Customer's opinion matters to us.
And once again...thanks!
If you have any questions, please feel free to reply to this email."

On December 7, which was three days later—and is when BH said the product would be shipped to me—it still had not been shipped. So, I sent another message:

"I was told (in this conversation) to wait an additional 2–3 business days for my purchase to be shipped. It has since been 4 business days, and I have not received a shipping notification. Can you please tell me when my item (which was purchased 10 business days ago) will be shipped?"

I received no response. So, I waited. No shipment and no response. 

Finally, on December 19, which was 27 days after I ordered this palette, I wrote to BH again and said that if I did not receive a shipping notification, I would have to contact my bank and dispute the charge as fraud:

"I still have not received my package or a shipping notification and I have not heard back from customer service despite multiple messages. I purchased this product 27 days ago and it is shipping to [redacted] CA, which is local to BH. The fact that my product has not been shipped is unacceptable. The fact that customer service will not respond to me is appalling. Please contact me immediately and let me know when my product will ship. Otherwise, I will be forced to contact my bank and dispute the charge as fraud since I never received my product." 

The following day (December 20), I received a response from BH, claiming that my package— for which I never received shipment or tracking information—was likely "lost or stolen in transit":

"Thank you for your email. It appears that your package may have been lost or stolen in transit. Fortunately, we do insure all of our packages. Please let us know if you would like to have your order reshipped or refunded.
If you would like a reshipment, please verify your shipping address. Simply reply to this email."

I responded the same day (December 20):

"Yes, I want my package that I paid for 28 days ago. It was not lost or stolen in transit because it was never shipped to me. On my order, it still says "processing." Please do not blame the USPS for BH Cosmetics' problems.
My shipping address should be in my order, and the order number is referenced in this email chain. I purchased the new Zodiac Love Signs palette. My address is:
If I do not receive a shipping notification with tracking in two days, I will call my bank and claim fraud on this order." 

BH responded the same day (December 20):

"Thank you for contacting us. Per your request we will be reshipping your order. We appreciate your patience.
You should receive a new tracking number within 2 business days
If you have any further questions or concerns, feel free to reply to this email."

The package was then processed the same day (December 20), and on my receipt, it said that was the day my order was placed, not November 22:

My package was shipped the following day (December 21):

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Recent Favorites: Elegant Makeup

I haven't been posting any "Recent Looks" posts lately, and that's largely because I've been favoring a much more simple makeup aesthetic. I doubt it's very interesting to read a post where the same two or three looks are done, and it has honestly been really nice to just focus on a look I really enjoy and let it be easy. 

With the recent Sephora sales and promotions, I did buy a few new makeup items—mainly single eyeshadows—and they have quickly become some of my favorite products that I've come across in years. And what's interesting is that I personally haven't heard any influencers talk about them. I heard about the eyeshadows from a real-life friend who loves makeup just as much as I do. It has been really refreshing to have a friend recommend a product that they've been loving and then buy the product and have the same reaction. It's what YouTube used to be, when I really loved the content and the community. Now, it's PR packages and hidden sponsorships and contracts, and the only brands that get mentioned are the ones that pay and play the game. 

My recent favorites aren't really talked about, except for the Fenty foundation. And when I gathered all the products to take a picture, I noticed that they all look elegant. This is sophisticated makeup meant for adult women. This is not unicorns and mermaids and alien heads marketed toward children. 

Here are the products that I have been loving:

Fenty Pro Filt'r Foundation

If you read my last post, you'll know that I have been looking to replace my all-time favorite foundation, It Cosmetics CC+ cream. I have loved that foundation for years, but the shade range is unacceptable and so heavily favors light skin, and it's not a product or a brand that I feel comfortable supporting. If you've read my blog for a while, you will know that inclusivity is very important to me, and that factors heavily into my purchasing decisions. I can no longer be ignorant about the people who are excluded by the makeup industry and continue to support products that will only work for me as someone with light to medium skin. 

I honestly didn't think I would find a foundation that could replace the CC+ cream. I have hated nearly all of the foundations I have ever used, and none of them ever gave me the skin-like finish of the CC+ cream. I recently finished all three of my foundations in a project pan, so I decided to buy the Fenty Pro Filt'r foundation. Fenty was honestly one of only a few brands that had an extensive shade range that I felt comfortable supporting. The other brands I considered—MAC, Make Up For Ever, and L'Oreal—all have not worked for me in the past. MAC foundations clog and irritate my skin, Make Up For Ever foundations look too dry and matte on me, and L'Oreal foundations have caused my skin to break out. So, Fenty it was. 

Honestly, I absolutely love this foundation, even more than the CC+ cream. It came as a complete shock to me—even though the product has fantastic reviews—because nothing has ever come close to the CC+ cream. I immediately told my aforementioned friend about it, she purchased it, and loves it too. She was looking for something to replace the old formula of the Estée Lauder Double Wear Light, and she said the Fenty was a great alternative. 

I couldn't be happier that I found a foundation that I like even more than my all-time favorite, and the fact that it is from an inclusive brand makes it that much more thrilling.

NARS Exhibit A

In an era where we are always looking on the horizon for the next new thing to come out and dazzle us for a few moments until we're bored, I think it's nice to reflect upon those staples in your collection that will never be knocked off their throne. And for me, that's Exhibit A.

This is not a new product to me, but it has been my go-to blush for the past month. Every time I wear it, I always wonder why I own any other blush. This is my number-one—the blush that most flatters my skin. Exhibit A has been a part of my life for many years, and after my original blush got to be too old, I purchased this one. I only use a tiny amount because of how pigmented it is, so I find it impossible to think I will ever even hit the pan of it. But I use it, and I love it. And I don't think anything will ever replace it. 

Marc Jacobs Omega Shadows in Perfect-O! and The Big O!

Up front, I need to say that these shadows have really dumb and cringey names. But, if you can get past that, they are utterly gorgeous. The pans are huge—about the size of shadows in Juvia's Place palettes—and they are a "gel powder" formula. I love the texture and payoff of these shadows, but the colors themselves are not unique whatsoever. They come in matte, satin, and shimmer finishes, and I have one matte (The Big O!) and one satin (Perfect-O!), which performs like a matte. I use these as everyday, workhorse shadows, and I like having them as singles in individual packaging. I wear The Big O! almost every day in my crease, and Perfect-O! on the brow bone:

Fyrinnae Serendipity (over Pixie Epoxy) on the lid.

As of now, this line of shadows doesn't have many colors, but I think the range is nice, especially for being so limited. I'll be interested to see if they make other colors in the future, but for now, these were the only two that I felt warranted buying since they are everyday staples in my collection. I wouldn't use the other colors every day, and I already own several dupes of all of them, so I don't see myself buying any more unless the range expands. 

Hourglass Scattered Light Eyeshadows in Smoke, Reflect, and Foil 

When I mentioned to my friend that I was really interested in sheer washes of sparkle and shine, she told me I should try the Hourglass Scattered Light eyeshadows. I bought three colors—a taupe, champagne, and gold—but truthfully, the taupe (Smoke) and champagne (Reflect) look very similar. Reflect also looks almost identical to another shadow in the line, Aura, which is supposed to be pink. So, unfortunately, these shadows don't have a ton of individuality. 

If you're looking for intense pigment, these are not for you. If you hate sheerness, these are not for you. If you hate the idea of a "shadow topper," these are not for you. However, if you like intense shine, these are really pretty and worth considering. 




As you can see, Smoke and Reflect are very similar. There is a slight difference between the two, but I wouldn't say that it's strong enough to warrant buying both colors. But these are very beautiful shadows, and although the colors are not exactly unique, the payoff is unlike anything else in my collection, and I have been loving them with a bold lip. 

Marc Jacobs See-quins Eyeshadow in Copperazzi

Because I loved the Hourglass Scattered Lights so much, my friend recommended I look at the Marc Jacobs See-quin shadows, which she said are supposed to be like the Scattered Lights. I wouldn't say the two are very similar, to be honest. Yes, they both have almost a gel-like consistency and work best applied with a synthetic brush, but the Marc Jacobs shadows are full of multi-dimensional glitter whereas the Hourglass have intense shine. 

As you can see, like the Hourglass shadows, there is a ton of reflect and shine to Copperazzi, but it also has a lot of glitter, which the Hourglass shadows don't have. In photos, this shadow honestly doesn't look that impressive, but in person, especially in the light, this is one of the most brilliant, multi-faceted eyeshadows I have ever seen. It also has quite a bit more pigment than the Hourglass ones, so, between the two, I would say the Marc Jacobs shadows pack more of a punch. 

Tom Ford Fetishist

I went through a period for the last several months were I didn't want to wear any lipstick at all. If I wore something, it was usually a tinted lip balm. That's likely because I had been wearing really intense, colorful eyeshadow, and I liked a light lip to balance things out. Now that I have been wearing lighter eye makeup, I have been really liking my lipstick to bring the drama, and Fetishist has been my go-to. This is the only Tom Ford lipstick I have ever purchased, and I can say that this lipstick stays on longer than any other lip product I have ever used, including liquid lipsticks. When I purchased this color (online), I thought it was going to be brighter and more berry, but it is actually quite deep, almost like oxblood. It put me off for a while, but the color was pretty, so I chose to not return it. Since then, I have come to really appreciate this color, especially paired with a light eyeshadow and NARS Exhibit A blush. 

Bésame Cosmetics Red Velvet

Since I've been loving Fetishist, I decided to pull out another dark lipstick favorite, Bésame's Red Velvet. I really love Bésame lipsticks because they have fantastic staying powder as long as you blot and apply two coats (note: the Tom Ford lipstick does not requite this to last all day). Red lipstick always feels intimidating to me because of the upkeep (and, yes, I still worry if I have gotten red all over my face throughout the day), but I really love the depth of this color. Like the name suggests, it is a deep red instead of a cherry-red, and like Fetishist, it looks fantastic with a light eye and NARS Exhibit A blush. 

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Project Pan Finale: Empty Products

A few months ago, I decided to embark on a project pan to use up or hit the pan of several makeup items. My goal was to finish 12 products before Christmas/the end of 2018. And as you will see below, I not only hit that goal, but I surpassed it! I used up/hit the pan of 19 makeup products!

In this post, I'll walk through all of the products I used up and discuss if I plan on repurchasing or not.

Soap and Glory One Heck of a Blot
Goal: Finish
Status: Will not repurchase

As you can see with this dirty pan, I accomplished my goal of finishing the setting powder. The powder developed hard pan, which made it difficult to use, so I needed to repress it to get rid of the hard pan and give myself an even pan again. This is what it looked like before repressing:

And after:

Once I repressed the powder, it was much less densely packed, which meant that I picked up more product with my brush. While I liked this product and I think it does a good job of keeping the face matte, with the loosened product, I found that it left a white cast on my face and make me look really powdery. This didn't happen until I repressed the product, which, again, was generally difficult to use before repressing. 

I don't like to keep more than one powder in my collection at a time, so I have replaced this product with the Hourglass Veil translucent powder. So far, I really like that one. 

Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel
Goal: Hit the pan
Status: Will continue to use, but will likely not repurchase

Back when I was living in New York and using makeup as a coping mechanism, I purchased the very expensive and not at all inclusive Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel cream bronzer, which is also known as the "universal bronze." This is not a universal bronze. This is the first and only cream bronzer I have ever used, and while I think it's a good product, I have to really blend it out or else it leaves my face with an orange/brown stripe. Obviously part of this could be my application or user error, but the shade just isn't right for me or what I would want. With that said, the product works, and I would like to use it up since there is nothing wrong with it and I spent quite a bit of money on it. 

Generally, I find that I prefer my powder bronzer (Hourglass Luminous Bronze Light), so while I intend to use up this product, I doubt I will repurchase. 

Tarte Exposed blush
Goal: Hit the pan
Status: Will continue to use, but will not repurchase 

This may be the only powder blush I have ever hit the pan of, and the only reason I have is likely because I have to use so much product just to get any color payoff. I do like the color of this blush, but Tarte is not a brand that I want to support. I'm tired of how non-inclusive the brand is, and until that changes, I don't want to purchase anything for them. I don't know if Exposed will stick around in my collection long enough for me to use up the entire thing, but if it does, I will not repurchase. 

Physician's Formula Butter Highlighter in Pearl
Goal: Hit the pan
Status: Will continue to use

I have a lot of highlighters in my collection, but this is one of my favorites. I'm not a huge fan of the twist packaging or the swirl design, but I really love the product. It has a duochrome finish, and I find that it lasts longer on my skin than many mid-range or high-end products. I don't hear a lot of people talk about this, but it's certainly a product that I love. This is only the second highlighter that I have ever hit the pan of, and the other is Becca Moonstone, which is my all-time favorite. 

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light
Goal: Hit the pan
Status: All-time favorite

After I finished my Dim Light powder last year, I immediately replaced it with this one. I love this product. I use it as an all over finishing powder, and I find that I just don't like my makeup without it. I will continue to repurchase and love this product. 

Physician's Formula The Healthy Foundation and Milani Conceal + Perfect
Goal: Finish
Status: Will not repurchase 

I am usually a huge proponent of "do not use a product that you hate just to finish it," but I made an exception for these two foundations. In an attempt to find a more inclusive foundation to support (we will get into this more in the next product), I purchased both of these foundations. On their own, I hated both of them. Mixed together, I hated them less. The worst offender of the two was The Healthy Foundation. This looked so dry on my skin, and I have combination skin. The coverage was very thin, and while I don't like full-coverage foundations, this one didn't even seen to be able to provide an even layer of coverage at all. The shade I purchased was also too light for my skin tone. Conceal + Perfect, on the other hand, was way too full coverage for me, and the shade I purchased was too dark. I was able to mix the two of them together for shade and coverage/texture, and while that was better than either on their own, it still wasn't great. 

It's worth noting that the cap on The Healthy Foundation continually broke and splintered off as I worked through the bottle, which made this miserable to use. I can see both of these products working for people with skin types that are different from mine, but I will not repurchase. 

It Cosmetics CC+ Cream
Goal: Finish
Status: Will not repurchase until the shade range improves 

If you've been a longtime reader of my blog, you'll know that this is my all-time favorite foundation. Truthfully, I would be very happy to just use this foundation and not even try another one. But, this foundation shade range is unacceptable, and I cannot support it. Until recently, there were only four shades in this range, and none of them were dark enough for deep skin tones. The range has expanded to 12 shades, but seven of those are meant for light skin, three for medium skin, one for dark, and one for deep. So, even though the range is slightly better, it still skews too heavily toward light skin, and it is not something that I am comfortable supporting. 

To replace this, I have recently purchased the Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r foundation, and I absolutely love it. 

Elf Mineral Face Primer
Goal: Finish
Status: May repurchase one day, but not now 

I used up a few primers during this project, and I think this one is good value for the money. I liked it just as much as the Make Up For Ever mattifying one, and think it gives generally similar results to the Hourglass Mineral Veil. I didn't love it, however, and I have found other primers that I like more.

Samples: Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Instant Retouch Primer, Becca Backlight Primer, Becca Blurring Primer
Goal: Finish
Status: May repurchase Becca Backlight Primer

I had three primer samples, so I used them all up in this project. 

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt'r Instant Retouch Primer: I hated this primer. It was impossible to pump (but that may just be the sample), the smell was off-putting, and the texture was very waxy and thick. It clung to the foundation and my Beauty Blender—making it impossible to wash—and I did not like the results on my face. 

Becca Blurring Primer: I also hated this primer. I left behind a powdery residue on my fingers and face after application, and I found that it didn't work well with my foundation. 

Becca Backlight Primer: I've purchased this before and didn't care for it or notice any difference with it, but it looked absolutely gorgeous with the Fenty foundation. I am currently using the Australian Gold mineral tinted sunscreen as a primer, and I love that, but I can see myself buying the Becca Backlight again soon. 

NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base
Goal: Finish
Status: Have already repurchased 

This is my all-time favorite eye primer, and one that I will continue to repurchase. I have finished several bottles of this primer, and I will continue to repurchase it. 

L'Oreal Lash Paradise Base
Goal: Finish
Status: Have already repurchased

I haven't tried too many mascara primers, but I loved this one. I use it with Benefit Bad Gal Bang mascara, and I love the effects of it. I finished up this entire bottle (even before the two month expiration date) and immediately repurchased another. I love how it makes my lashes look. 

Sample: Benefit Bad Gal Bang 
Goal: Finish
Status: Have already repurchased 

I received a sample of this mascara, and, in an unusual act for me, I used up the entire thing. I have long loved many Benefit mascaras (They're Real and Roller Lash have been favorites of mine), but I always find that I get tired of paying the high price, and then I'll buy a drugstore one for a while. That tradition may continue, but I really love the combination of this mascara and the L'Oreal Lash Paradise primer. 

Physician's Formula Eye Booster
Goal: Finish
Status: Have already repurchased 

This is another boring one to write about as this has been my all-time favorite eyeliner for years, and it continues to be. I have used up many of these eyeliners, and I always immediately repurchase another. 

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Definer 
Goal: Finish
Status: Undecided 

I find that I'm always torn on brow pencils. On the one hand, I really like the smaller brow pencils (like ABH Brow Wiz), but on the other, I hate how quickly I use those up. The ABH Brow Definer certainly lasts longer, but I like the precision that smaller pencils provide. This is the second Brow Definer that I have used up, and likely won't be the last, but I do like smaller pencils better.

NYX Micro Brow Pencil
Goal: Finish
Status: Will continue to use

A while ago, I was gifted several of these NYX brow pencils, so this is what I will be using until I finish all of them. I love this pencil and have purchased it before, and this is the size of pencil that I prefer to the ABH Brow Definer. The negative with this pencil and others like it is that there is so little product, and I go through it very quickly. Even during the time I started this project, I was able to use up two of these pencils (that were brand new) in a shorter amount of time than I used up the ABH Brow Definer that was more than half-finished. But, I'm happy to have a nice supply of them, and I will continue to use.