Makeup Geek Eyeshadow Review

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.

makeup geek shipping
(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!

makeup geek eyeshadow packaging

Here are the individual shadow pans themselves and the website’s shade descriptions:

Flame Thrower ($9.99) “True brightened warm copper with a foiled finish.”
makeup geek flame thrower foiled eyeshadow

Starry Eyed ($9.99) “Light champagne beige with slight pink undertones and a foiled finish. Pinky-beige champagne.”
makeup geek starry eyed foiled eyeshadow

Cosmopolitan ($5.99) “Rose Gold with gold flecks and a shimmery finish.”
makeup geek cosmopolitan foiled eyeshadow
(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.”
makeup geek hipster eyeshadow

Bitten ($5.99) “Matte deep maroon red”
makeup geek bitten eyeshadow

Swatch time!
L-R: Starry Eyed, Flame Thrower, Cosmopolitan, Hipster, Bitten.
makeup geek eyeshadow swatches starry eyed flame thrower cosmopolitan hipster bitten

Initial reaction:

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.

Swatched with no primer on top and a strip of primer on the bottom:
MUG swatches bitten starry eyed hipster cosmopolitan flame thrower over primer

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).makeup geek starry eyed and flamethrower foiled eyeshadow look makeup geek starry eyed and flame thrower foiled eyeshadow

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.

makeup geek bitten eyeshadow (2)
Dat pigmentation tho.

makeup geek venus palette dupe
I think I’ve told you guys before that I LOVE red tinged eyeshadow.

grunge inspired 90s makeup
Comin’ at you straight up out the ’90s.

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!


Nylon 16th Anniversary It Girl Palette Review

Memebox sent me the Nylon x Memebox XO #ItGirlPalette ($29) to review. This palette was created by Nylon Magazine in honor of their 16th anniversary and it’s definitely party girl oriented. It’s very sleek and minimal, and much like the Soothing Sista palette, it was smaller than I expected, but it makes the most of its diminutive size. It includes a decent sized blush and highlighter, six eyeshadows, a pretty big mirror and a double-sided brush/spongetip applicator with a surprisingly soft brush.

nylon x xo memebox packaging nylon x xo memebox palette size nylon xo memebox sweet 16 palette

The shade names are kind of hilarious. Each one is based off a different celebrity scene queen, and all of the colors make sense for their namesake personality, especially the matte white “LiLo” shadow (see what they did there?).

Shade names, L-R:
The Moment highlighter, LiLo, Mary-Kate, Mischa, Sweet 16 blush, Lana, Paris, Nicole.
nylon xo memebox face palette shades

There is also a really intense hot pink blush and a really sparkly highlighter. I was pretty scared of both of them (although they actually worked out just fine with a light touch).

I was a little disapointed with the initial swatches. These are not swatched over primer, but the color payoff was ok but kind of dull for most of them.
nylon xo memebox sweet 16 swatches

Luckily, they fared a lot better once I applied them to my eyes over primer! I had a lot of fun playing with these shades and they work well separately or together. I have prepared two looks for you using all of the shades.

First we have the “good girl” look in gold. I used the Lana and Mary-Kate shades on the lid, Nicole in the crease and Lilo on browbones. I also used a small amount of the blush and highlighter on my cheeks and was pleased with how wearable they actually were.
nylon xo memebox face palette gold look golden bronze eyeshadow look

Next is the “bad girl” look in red. I have Paris on the lid, Mischa blended heavily from the outer corner and lower lashline, The Moment highlighter in the inner corner, Sweet 16 blush blended into the crease for a halo effect and LiLo on the browbone.
nylon xo memebox sweet 16 eyeshadow look red and pink eyeshadow red fuschia eye makeup look

All in all, I was very pleased with the palette and since it is so tiny, I think it would be great for travel or for stashing at your desk. When packed with an eye primer, mascara and a blush brush, this kit has everything else you need for a weekend trip!

Lipstick Queen Butterfly Ball and Jean Queen Swatches

If you’ve been with me for a while, you may remember that I’m a pretty big fan of Lipstick Queen’s products. They’re so creamy and lovely and the packaging feels luxe and high quality. They feel more like lip balms than lipstick. I’ve only ever worn the sheer products from the line, so I can’t comment on the more opaque lipsticks, but I strongly advocate these translucent versions. I just got two new lippies from them in the Ulta exclusive “Sheer Days and Shimmer Nights” set ($30), and I’d like to share them with you.

First is Lipstick Queen Jean Queen Lipstick ($20). This is supposed to pair well with denim, which is odd since denim is supposed to go with everything as it is. Maybe they were going for a laid back, “I put effort into how I look, but didn’t overdo it” type of casual polish that you get from wearing a great pair of jeans.

lipstick queen jean queen sheer lipstick queen jean queen

So like all Lipstick Queen products, this feels amazing on. I have four of their lipsticks and all of them feel more “buttery” than even the nicest lip butter. It’s a balm and lipstick in one, which is great. This is a coral-pink sort of shade that should flatter everyone. It looks neutral in the tube but I think it leans slightly cool on me. It has sheer to medium opacity, and has a higher gloss finish than the other lipsticks in this post. In fact, Lipstick Queen also makes a matching Jean Queen gloss, but I don’t know why you’d need that when this is so shiny like a gloss, yet feels lightweight and non-sticky. The wear time isn’t great, but it does wear off evenly so you don’t end up with an unfortunate ombre mouth. I would definitely recommend this lipstick, especially if you can get it in a set, since I love bundling products and saving money.

lipstick queen jean queen sheer lipstick lipstick queen jean queen swatch

Next is Lipstick Queen Butterfly Ball Shimmer Treatment Lipstick in Moment ($24). This was not what I expected. I have another Butterfly Ball lipstick (more on that in a sec), and they’re kind of magical in that they’re covered in turquoise micro glitter that blends in almost imperceptibly when applied. The greenish tinge is slightly noticeable when it catches the light, but regardless of how weird that sounds, it gives more of an ethereal effect in real life. This isn’t for everyone, but it makes me feel like a fairy every time I apply it.

lipstick queen butterfly ball lipstick moment lipstick queen butterfly ball shimmer treatment lipstick in moment

This shade looks like a very dark berry in the tube, but is so sheer that it turns into more of a vibrant cherry red when applied. I was kind of taken aback by the difference, but it’s still pretty. It feels rather chic to me, like the sort of product that wears well on its own and somehow makes you look really pulled-together without any other makeup. It isn’t buildable, so the color stays the same and any layering just adds to the glossiness and the teal shift. The jury’s still out on this one. I think I like it? I like the idea of it, it feels great and I do think it looks good, it just wasn’t what I expected, so cognitive dissonance is making this hard to accept for me. This isn’t about me, though. This is about you and what you would like to put on your face. So check out the swatches and decide for yourself!

One layer:
lipstick queen butterfly ball lipstick moment swatch

Layered as much as it can go:lipstick queen butterfly ball lipstick swatch in moment sheer red lips

Just for comparison’s sake, I thought I’d also show you my other Butterfly Ball Lipstick in Smitten, from the Lipstick Queen Look of Love set ($48). I wear this a lot, although it may look much paler on many people than the vibrant pink-nude you see below. Word to the wise.

lipstick queen butterfly ball lipstick smitten lipstick queen butterfly ball lipstick smitten swatch

And here are all three swatched on my arm. These are so emollient that it was actually hard to get any of them to swatch well. These are clearly formulated for lips, not arms. It’s also surprising how similar these all look here considering how different they are in the tube! You can definitely see here how glossy and creamy Jean Queen is.

lipstick queen butterfly ball jean queen swatches

L-R: Moment, Smitten, Jean Queen.

Sparkling Smoky Eyes with Stila Jewel Eyeshadow

I’ve mentioned before that I sometimes get fixated on a certain look. Right now, I’m into shimmery, dewy looking eyes. I’m into this as a neutral/retro eye (more on that soon), but this post is about the most dramatic version, perfect for a night out.

sparkly black smoky eye stila jewel eye shadow

To pull this off, I used Stila Jewel Eye Shadow ($20) in Black Diamond on most of the lid. This shadow is PACKED with beautiful micro-glitter that is so shimmery it almost looks wet. It’s very similar to Urban Decay’s Moondust shadows, but it’s a bit more opaque. Really pretty if you love dramatic glitter or metallic looks.
stila jewel eye shadow black diamond

I also patted a few Urban Decay Naked 3 ($52) shades around for accents: I brushed Nooner along the crease for a soft halo, plus I pushed Buzz into the inner corner and blended halfway up the lid to slightly soften the look. I finalized the eye with Stila MAJOR Major Lash Mascara ($22).
sparkly smoky eye with stila black diamond eyeshadow

I’m also wearing a natural, peachy-nude matte lipstick that I love, Buxom Full-On Lip Stick ($19) in Amsterdam.

dramatic glitter smoky eye with stila jewel eye shadow

Dark rose eyeshadow from the Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette

It’s Naked time again! Today I used my Urban Decay Naked 3 Eyeshadow Palette ($52) for a deeper rose look by sweeping the shimmery, dark pink-mauve Buzz all over the lid, then diffusing the edges with Limit, which is essentially the same shade in a matte finish. Strange is on the browbone, Dust is in the inner corners and blended into the lid and I’m wearing Darkside as a liner.

urban decay naked 3 palette deep dark rose gold eyes pink eye shadow  cat eye urban decay naked 3 palette buzz trick darksideurban decay naked 3 palette buzz trick darksideurban decay naked 3 palette deep dark rose gold eyeshadow

I’m also wearing Stila MAJOR Major Lash Mascara ($22), which I really like (lots of thickness and no smudging), plus  Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey ($15) with POP Beauty Aqua Lacquer in Flowering Fuchsia ($14) layered over.

Stay tuned for more Naked (3) looks!

Pinky taupe eyes with the Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette

My Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette ($52) arrived today! Yaaaaay! I’ll spare you a full review since everyone ever has reviewed it already, but I do love it. The variety in tone and finish of the eyeshadow is great and I’m really looking forward to playing with the shades.

urban decay naked 3 palette packaging case light colors ud naked 3 palette rose gold neutral eyeshadowdark colours ud naked 3 palette rose gold neutral eyeshadows

Today I used Trick and Nooner to make a bronzey, rose toned taupe eye. I lined my eyes with Blackheart and used Dust in the inner corner. Fun!

dark colours ud naked 3 palette nooner trick eyeshadow swatch dark colours ud naked 3 palette rose gold neutral eyesurban decay naked 3 palette bronze taupe eyeshadow

Holiday Haul Part III: Meow Cosmetics Review

Final hauliday post – Meow Cosmetics.

I’m easing my way into wearing foundation, so I recently started using Bare Minerals again (or Bare Escentuals, whatever they’re called). I used to really like it, but now that I’m using it again… I hate it. It cakes on and it settles in my pores and fine lines, making them look much worse than they are, plus the finish gets kind of waxy and shiny if I apply too much. Primer and finishing powder only does so much to help the problem. I don’t know if the formula has changed or if it’s just my skin, but I really don’t like it anymore. So I’ve been shopping around for a Holy Grail foundation. I tried the Silk Naturals HD Cream Foundation in my last post and it was ok, but no HG. I’ve also heard great things about Silk Naturals’ mix-your-own powder foundation, but that seemed like a hassle. Then I found Meow Cosmetics.

Meow’s foundation line is overwhelming, to say the least. They have *86* shades across 14 different undertone groups. The website could really use a re-design and the names are kind of confusing since there’s a cat theme to the line, but stay with me. This is a good product and shade-wise, there should be something for everyone here.  The shades range from almost pure white to very dark, although not all undertones are available in the deepest tones. There are also three formulas- a regular, a sensitive skin regular and a full coverage depending on what skin type you have. I’m cool-toned pale olive with some peach (I think), so I snapped up samples in everything that looked even kind of close. Samples are $1 each, but full sized prices vary. See note below the swatch for full pricing info.

When I got them I was surprised by how light they are. I usually wear the lightest or second lightest foundation in any range (the palest ones are usually too pink for me), but even the next-to-lightest depth of my favorite shade looked almost white in the bag. I guess I’m not as pale as I thought, and they really aren’t kidding that some of these undertones run light. The “breed” that I liked the most was Purrrfect Puss Mineral Powder Foundation in Chartreux, which has both peach and yellow undertones. While the depth I chose was slightly too pale, I made it work and WOW, I’m glad I did.

The finish is so smooth. It seems impossible to over apply, it feels great and it diffuses the same imperfections that the Bare Minerals foundation amplified. I tried wearing both foundations, one on each side of my face and the difference is obvious. Look at the comparisons below:

meow cosmetics purrfect puss mineral powder foundation sleek chartreux meow cosmetics purrfect puss mineral powder foundation sleek chartreux review vs bare minerals
I think the difference is staggering. Meow is a much better value, to boot! Depending on the formula you choose, the large Meow jars cost $23.45-$28.95 and contains 22-30g net weight of product. The smaller size is $12.75-$16.75 and contains 6-8g. The standard size bare Minerals foundation jar contains 8.5 g of product for $27. So you can get the “small” size of Meow Cosmetics standard coverage foundation and get almost as much product as in a regular Bare jar for less than half the price.

But really, look at how smooth it is when not in an extreme closeup! I was really astonished at some of the pictures I took, the skin looked so airbrushed. LOVE.
meow cosmetics purrfect puss mineral powder foundation sleek chartreux review tarte glamazon lipstick inspire

Now I have to decide if buying a full size jar of this magic qualifies as a replacement purchase during my NO BUY period, or if I have to use up my stupid Bare Minerals before I can buy it.

Anyway, I got a few more things as well. I got samples of their tinted shimmer powders, Crystalline Cat in Quartz, Topaz, Opal and Moonstone ($9.95 10g-$13.95 20g). These are too colorful to use as a finishing powder on my skin, but they make really great blushes. Very sheer and diaphanous.

Then there are my Indelible Gel Eyeliners in blackout and black cherry ($14.25). These are really nice, standard gel liners. They’re creamy and opaque, but they’re very small (the same size jar as a standard mineral eyeshadow), so for the price I think I could do better. I don’t regret getting the black cherry, though. It’s a beautiful black color with ruby microglitter. it changes from brownish-black to dark red depending on the light and I really love it.

meow cosmetics indelible gel eyeliner black cherry

And the last part of this order was a full size ModernEyes eyeshadow in Gone With The Kitty ($7). Based on the swatch, I thought it would have more of a rosy undertone, but it’s actually a pale, golden orange. It’s very pretty, but not quite as interesting as the Silk Naturals shadows (that are also less expensive). I just wasn’t as excited about Meow’s shadow selection for some reason, even though they do have a lot of pretty colors. I think it’s because they focus more on bold, opaque shades, so their softer shimmery shades are all kind of one-note and all appear to have the same gold highlight. Since I like using pressed shadows for my dark colors and loose shadows for sheer washes, they didn’t really have the complicated, nuanced colors I was looking for in a mineral eyeshadow. It’s more of a personal preference. I have more shadow samples from them on the way, so I’ll update later. Quality is great, though!

meow cosmetics gone with the kitty black cherry cat eye gel liner  meow cosmetics indeliable gel eyeliner black cherry swatch cat eye liner

For the full face look, I’m wearing the ModernEyes eyeshadow in Gone With The Kitty ($7), Black Cherry  Indelible Gel Eyeliner ($14.25), Crystalline Cat Glow Powder in Quartz ($9.95) as a blush, Meow  Purrrfect Puss Mineral Powder Foundation in Sleek Chartreux ($23.45) and Tarte Glamazon Pure Performance 12-Hour Lipstick in Inspired ($26)
meow cosmetics review indeliable gel eyeliner black cherry cat eye

And then I placed a second, Cyber Monday order that hasn’t arrived yet. This is the list, to be swatched later:

Full Sized Primp & Preen: Top Cat Finishing Powder ($16.25)
Eyeshadow samples from the Santa Baby collection in Platinum Mine, Duplex and Kisses ($8).
Sample of Untinted Crystalline Cat Glow Powder ($12.95).
Camo-Cats Concealer samples in Green, Yellow, Sleek Chartreux, Inquisitive Chartreux, Yellow Undereye, Lavender Undereye, and Sleek Chartreux Undereye ($10.25-$16.25)

I wish they were here now!