Super quick update! Since I’ve had a tough time sitting down and putting together actual blog posts over the last year, I’ve created an Instagram for this page where I’ll be posting more frequent content. If you’d like to follow me there, my ig username is @lexis_look. I hope to see you there!
Hi friends! I’m behind, as usual. I have so many fun products that have been in regular rotation lately and I feel bad for not reviewing them sooner.
First up is my current favorite, the Anastasia Beverly Hills Self Made Palette ($35). This has sort of been my ride-or-die palette lately. I’m really sad that this is limited edition (it’s already sold out at Sephora) because I think this one is an incredible value. The shades are really diverse but they work together well, the shadows are great quality and it’s only $35 (compared to an Urban Decay Naked palette that will run more than $50). These shadow s are on the soft, powdery side, but they still apply really well and still maintain excellent pigmentation. The included brush is decent, and the pallete itself feels sturdy, plus it has a mirror. Almost every shade is great, although the eponymous Self-Made shade is ironically sort of mediocre. Pink Champagne, Sherbert and Blush are my current favorites, but all of the shades are nice and lend themselves to interesting combinations.
One weird thing I noticed is that the expiration date for these shadows is only 6 months (that’s what the open jar icon in the image below stands for). maybe it’s because these are particularly soft? I’m not sure, but most pressed shadow lasts at least a year, so I can’t believe this has such a short shelf life. I’ll probably keep using it past that date because it really seems unreasonable.
But seriously, check out these swatches. How much fun is this pallete?
And here they are in practice. This is a sampling of the looks I’ve put together over the past month with this palette. I’m getting my money’s worth for sure!
I’m really excited about today’s review! This post has been in the draft stage for far too long, but I want to finally put in my two cents about Morphe Cosmetics. I had been stalking Morphe Brushes’ site for a while a couple months ago since they get rave reviews from beauty bloggers, but I kept stalling because I don’t need any more eyeshadow. While that is still true, I eventually caved because the eyeshadow palettes are only $20, so I somehow justified it to myself.
So first of all, these palettes look suspiciously similar to the kind of palettes you can get from sites like bh cosmetics, crown brush and coastal scents, among others. While all of those companies have branched out into creating more of their own unique products, their original focus used to be importing those Chinese 120 color palettes that were once only available through eBay. I’ve reviewed the 120 palettes before and I really like them, but they’re generally best for extremely bright looks. The reason being that while those eyeshadows are typically pretty vibrant, they also have a somewhat dusty, chalky texture. I love them because they have a great range of pigmented brights and they’re very affordable which is good since I don’t use colors like that often, but they don’t feel as good to work with. For neutral colors that I use a lot, I prefer to go with higher end shadows that are nicer to work with and easier to blend.
These palettes are NOT the same as the eBay palettes. They are made in America and the eyeshadows are (mostly) smoother and better quality. This is also a female-owned small business, so I feel good supporting them. I ended up with the 35W palette for $19.99. Weirdly, it has the exact same shades as the 35N palette, except that pallette is all matte while this had some shimmers mixed in. I actually wish I had waited to buy this because they just released some new 35 pan palettes that look amazing (the 35P plum palette, 35K smoky neutral palette and 35O orange-toned palette), but whatever. For $20 I can always buy another. Let’s talk about the one I have for now.
Let’s start with pictures of the palette itself!
The second image in artificial light looks closer to what the shades look like in real life, but I thought it was helpful to show both pictures to give a better idea of which shades have shimmer and which don’t.
I also swatched every single shade, so here they are, shown in the same order they appear in the palette. Each swatch is done over a strip of primer, so you can see how each one performs with and without it.
Based on my swatches, I made this chart indicating the best and worst performers. The shadows with the stars are really nice, smooth, buttery, and high-end feeling. The ones without any marks are decent, like higher quality drugstore shadows (think NYX or L’Oreal) and the X’s are for weak shadows that work like low quality cheap shadows.
Only 4 real duds here. That’s not bad for the money I spent, right? I have had had a little trouble blending some of the shades, but overall I found the palette versatile and good to work with. The only problem I had was keeping track of which shadows I preferred working with over others. The really good ones are so smooth to work with, but sometimes I’d accidentally grab a muddier one and end up having to start my eye look over.
Here are a couple of looks to give you an idea of how they work in practice.
Hi friends! I’ve been so busy but I have so many things I still want to share with you! Today I’m trying something different, I’m doing an out-of-pocket review from my desk since I’m never at my home computer anymore. The lighting here is so unflattering, but I really wanted to tell you guys about this lipstick regardless of how sallow I may look.
Other than nearly-lethal servings of coffee, my primary work stress reliever is to go makeup shopping during lunch (how surprising) and my biggest vice is collecting drugstore lipsticks. My desk seriously has SO MANY hiding in it right now. This was getting expensive quickly, so I was really pleased to find Jordana’s Modern Matte Lipsticks. These are not fully matte, they have more of a satin finish, but the color is really intense, they’re comfortable to wear and they’re only $2.49. I also love how they look very light-textured, like a stain, instead of thick and heavy on the lips. There’s no real need to layer these, but if you do they stay very thin and comfortable. The color is bold no matter what!
Right now I have Matte Bare, a nice nude shade that works well for pale girls and Style, a fantastic blue-based red for anyone and everyone. Today I’m wearing Style:
This color looks pretty bright in the office lighting but can be a bit darker in lower light. The
shade actually reminds me of the MAC Marilyn Monroe lipstick I tried out a while ago, but the texture is much more comfortable! You can’t beat that. I will definitely be picking up more of these lipsticks.
The next day I wore the bare shade and thought I’d share that, too. It’s a very pretty pink-brown color that I am just loving. The finish is a little more satin-y than Style but is still mate-ish. Very comfortable to wear.
You guys already know that 90s beauty is EVERYTHING to me. It’s probably because I was coming of age in that era, so that was my first exposure to caring at all about makeup and it’s always going to have a special place in my heart. As a result I’ve been kind of obsessed with the colors in Lime Crime’s Venus palette ($48). The palette was like something I would have put together myself, but I was a little concerned about the widespread allegations of unprofessional behavior and quality control from the company, plus I only really cared about half the shades since I already have several of them. Instead, I ended up just getting dupes of the shades I didn’t have and making my own version of the palette. That’s what my Makeup Geek order from a while back was all about. 🙂
The warm peach and brown tones in the palette were nice, but the berry shades are the real standouts for me (hello Makeup Geek Bitten!). It’s a shame it’s so hard to find good berry shades; a lot of people worry they’ll look sickly in them but (at least in my opinion) they look gorgeously dramatically and flatter every eye color so beautifully. They make brown eyes look complex and mysterious, green eyes super vibrant and intense and blue eyes pale and ethereal. Whay aren’t more people wearing these colors?
I also ordered LA Splash’s Lip Couture liquid lipstick in Latte Confession ($14), which is supposed to be a dupe for LC’s Riot Velvetine Lipstick, but for $6 less. Matte liquid lipsticks are everywhere these days, and this is a good option. It does have a tendency to show every crack in your lips, so pre-moisturizing with a nice balm is a good idea (this can be said for all liquid lipsticks). This formula is really opaque, applies well, doesn’t separate into lines and lasts forever and ever. Seriously, my makeup remover wipes won’t take this stuff off at all, the only way I could get it off was to apply petroleum jelly over it and wipe off after 30 seconds. Beyond the formulation, I am just obsessed with this color. It’s an amazing dusty brown-red shade that looks unbelievable. Loooove.
Basically I’m wearing all of my favorite makeup colors in this look, so I kind of had to post too many pictures. Hope you like my budget conscious 90s homage!
CoverGirl sent me their latest mascara and liquid eyeliner to review, and of course I was into it given my love of cat eye looks. I live and die by eyeliner and mascara.
It might be hard to tell from these pictures, but that mascara tube is massive.
Both of these products have unique applicators, so they’re more than meets the eye. The eyeliner is a felt tip with a flat paddle shape, almost like a duck bill, and it’s supposed to transition easily from thin to thick lines. and the Mascara has a number of very short bristle that sort of flare out at the edges.
Let’s discuss the Intensify Me! Eyeliner ($8.99) first.
The paddle shape did work for me, but I had a bit of trouble getting really sharp, precise lines with the rounded tip. I would have much preferred a pointed tip. The formula was good, though. It felt just like using a sharpie marker and it had a nice, intense black color that went on very smoothly. I found that I had to work quickly because when I took too long on one area a lot of product came out and the line ended up a bit thicker (and more uneven) than I was expecting. I worked more quickly on the second eye and had no problems. It had an ergodynamic indented rubber finger grippy part on the barrel that I got oddly excited about and it also lasted all day without smudging.
Next we have CoverGirl’s Super Sizer Mascara ($7.49).
The idea here is that you swipe this into the roots of your lashes, then twirl the wand up the length of the lashes to distribute the product. I like the idea, although I did have a tough time getting it to distribute evenly and had some clumps to deal with, especially at the roots. At least clumps at the roots aren’t as bad as clumps at the ends. I did manage to get them mostly clear and ended up with nicely defined lashes.
I don’t know if it’s a 400% volume increase like the package says, but I think my lashes look sufficiently dramatic. What really impressed me was the way this did not smudge on me at all for the whole day. That’s all I really care about in a mascara at this point since most formulas give me raccoon eyes. Yay, CoverGirl! Smudge free for under $8.
I also have a pretty major beauty crush on their campaign star, Katy Perry, so I decided to base my look on the one she wears in the ad.
I felt really silly holding my face in this slack jawed pose, but whatever. Authenticity.
I see now that I went way too light on the crease color for my eyes, but who cares. That dual-toned teal and black eyeliner is the star of the show and we all know it.
I recently purchased a Z Palette (still en route) and realized that in addition to the crazy depotting experiments that will be going into the palette, it would be the perfect time to buy some single shadows from Makeup Geek to put in it. I’ve read rave reviews about MUG eyeshadows and I really love their creator, Marlena, so I was also excited to support the brand. Of course the MUG shadows showed up before the palette itself, but that’s ok. I can still share some thoughts with y’all while I wait for a place to actually store these things.
(It’s here! Yay!)
First of all, the shipping was (clearly) fast. I placed my order Wednesday night and it showed up on Friday. This might be the quickest I’ve ever received anything other than from Amazon, which is pretty amazing considering Makeup Geek is a small business and Amazon is a huge mega-corporation. You do pay for your shipping with MUG, however it was only $1.99 to ship my 5 eyeshadows, so I don’t feel bad about it at all. The box was extremely well packed to ensure nothing broke in transit, which I appreciate.
OK, so eyeshadows. I got one matte shade, one with light shimmer, one full shimmer, and two of the foiled shadows. In other words, I got the sampler platter of finishes.
As I alluded to with the Z palette comment, the shadows come in pans without any outer casing. This is very efficient and saves a lot of space, which I love, but also means that the shadows are floating around loose and unprotected until my palette gets in. As soon as I get my Z Palette (an empty magnetic palette where you can mix and match all of your favorite makeup to create your own ultimate makeup collection) I’ll show you how they fit. The shadows arrive to you in cute little art deco-inspired envelopes (gold accents for the foiled shadows and white for the regular line). The foiled shadows are $9.99 each and the regular line are $5.99 each. All totaled, this mini-haul cost me $39.94 for 5 shadows plus shipping and the shadows promise to be high-end quality. So far so good!
Here are the individual shadow pans themselves and the website’s shade descriptions:
Starry Eyed ($9.99) “Light champagne beige with slight pink undertones and a foiled finish. Pinky-beige champagne.”
Cosmopolitan ($5.99) “Rose Gold with gold flecks and a shimmery finish.”
(FYI the ding in this shadow is my own fault- I scratched it when I was opening the pouch it came in. These shadows all arrived in perfect condition.)
Hipster ($5.99) “Dark sand and light taupe tan with slight shimmer.”
Bitten ($5.99) “Matte deep maroon red”
So I’ve heard rave reviews about the foiled shadows. I agree that they are very nice, but I think they have been overhyped a bit. In my opinion they aren’t some magical pixie dust the world has never seen the way some people have described, but they are still high quality, very pigmented metallic eyeshadows. I would compare them to the look of a loose powder pigment, but in an easier to use pressed format. I thought Flame Thrower was more intensely metallic than Starry Eyed, and Flame Thrower did have a slightly more slippy, silky feel than a traditional eye shadow where Starry Eyed’s texture was a little more commonplace. Starry Eyed wasn’t that different from most other champagne metallic shadows for me (very similar to Stila’s famous Kitten shadow). Again, that doesn’t mean they’re bad (at all!). I do think they are comparable in both color and quality to shadows that cost a lot more (Starry Eyed is similar to Stila Kitten, and Flame Thrower makes me think of MAC’s Amber Lights- both of which used to be fixtures in my makeup kit).
As for the other OG shades, Cosmopolitan and Hipster both blew me away with their initial swatches, but Bitten seemed a little under-pigmented and streaky. Part of the reason for that is that these are finger swatches. Ironically, finger swatches often look better than what you can produce with a brush (your finger’s surface picks up more concentrated color than a brush because a brush is meant to diffuse the harsh lines a bit), but I found that Bitten picked up far better with a brush and looked amazing when applied! I’m really glad, because that was the shade I was most exited about.
I tried swatching again this morning over primer to see what would happen and the difference was startling. You can see how Bitten wasn’t doing so well on its own, but comes to life over the primer. The other regular shadows benefited slightly from the primer and the foiled ones looked the same either way. This is all fine by me because I always use a primer anyway.
Enough about swatches, let’s see these bad boys in action.
I’m really sorry for how tired my eyes look in the first set of pictures. I look so tired because I was really, really tired. I took this set last night and it was way past my bedtime. I was just that excited about these shadows that I HAD to play with them before I could sleep. In these, I’m wearing a wash of Starry Eyed on the inner 2/3 of my lid with Flame Thrower blended from the outer third. Since it was late I just slapped this one with my fingers without primer or anything, but I still thought they blended really nicely (and as mentioned above, the foiled shadows do very well without primer).
Ok, here’s today’s look where I was actually awake. I did kind of a grungey, ’90s inspired mostly matte eye without much else going on.
I’m wearing Bitten all over the lid with Hipster just barely blended into the crease as a transition shade and Starry Eyed in the inner corners again.
I failed to include a look with Cosmopolitan, but that will be coming in a post soon, so I’ll be sure to link when I put it up (update: here it is!).
As for my final thoughts, I want to confirm the hype (for the most part, since I mentioned earlier that some people have gone a little overboard). These eyeshadows were all great to work with, blended super well and had great pigmentation. MUG provides a variety of finish levels as well as really well thought out colors. They are all a great value, but in my opinion the regular old non-foiled shadows are actually the winner. They are phenomenal to work with (even though some require primer), they are pigmented, and they are only six bucks. All of the shadows are high end quality, but the regular line will give you the most bang for your buck. I’m definitely going to be placing a second order in the near future. Thanks for creating such an awesome product line, Marlena!