Deck of Scarlet Palette 02 and 03 Review

I recently subscribed to Deck of Scarlet, a company that creates a palette for its members every other month which is supposed to be a full look in a package. Each palette has three eyeshadows, two cheek colors and two lip colors all in one mirrored palette. They typically include one or two liners as well. I love the concept, but how does it perform? Is it worth $30?

My first palette was the Edition 02, which was available for May-June 2017. I was a late subscriber, so my palette came in late June as part of a second batch. It looked pretty, but the quality wasn’t there. I know they had a large increase in subscribers, so I’m not sure if it was a rushed second batch or what, but there were serious texture problems.

Deck of Scarlet Palette 02

Deck of Scarlet Palette 02 Swatches

The lip crayon was kind of greasy and smudgy, and the lipsticks were very thick and sticky textured. The blush wasn’t bad, but the highlighter was AWFUL. It felt gritty and chunky and there was surprisingly little pigment when applied.

Then there were the eyeshadows. The vibrant purple pigment was actually really good, but the peach color was dusty and under pigmented and the mauve was pretty hard to blend and work with. I did create the following look with it, but it took a lot of effort and priming and reapplication.

Deck of Scarlet Palette 02 Review

I’ll admit, the purple shadow was great. Everything else was pretty weak, though. Just try to find the mauve shadow in my crease. You won’t, because I worked it into oblivion when I tried to blend out its harshness. ūüė¶

Even so, I was willing to give them a second chance. My Edition 03 palette arrived yesterday for July/August 2017 any fortunately it’s a big improvement. This time the package included a liquid liner pen with a brush tip, along with the standard palette.

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The liner was excellent. Very precise, didn’t dry out during application and extremely dark and long lasting. I also love brush tip applicators, so that’s a bonus. The blush is good and the highlighter is very, VERY good. It’s soooo creamy and finely milled, the exact opposite of last month’s highlighter.

One of the lipsticks was the same kind of thick, tacky mess as last month, but the pink shade is an incredible matte stain, similar to the ColourPop blotted lips, or Glossier Generation G. It’s really great and I absolutely love it. Finally, two of the eyeshadows are good- the peach shade is dusty but pigmented and the matte greenish brown color was smooth and unique – ¬†but the sparkly pink is a little garish and has a sheer, crumbly texture.

I did another look using the latest palette, although I did go a little crazy with the liner because I was FEELING IT.

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All in all, there were a few misses this month, but overall a worthwhile kit. I’m excited to see how this company continues to grow and improve!

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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!

Milani Cosmetics Review

I’ve read a lot of good things about Milani and I already love their Liquid Eye Pencils ($6.99) as mentioned here, so I decided to pick up a few things on a recent Walgreens trip. Here’s what I got:

Milani Brilliant Shine Lip Gloss in Luminous ($5.99).

milani brilliant shine lipgloss luminousmilani brilliant shine lipgloss doefoot applicator milani lip gloss luminous swatchmilani brilliant shine lipgloss luminous swatch

This was sheerer than I expected based on the packaging, but it might just be that it’s too close to my natural lip color. It felt just a little thick, but not sticky, and it actually left a nice, balmy feel when it wore off. The balminess lasted a few hours, so I consider it pretty hydrating. It also made my lips feel very smooth, which I liked (you can see in the picture above how the lip lines are almost invisible). From what I’ve seen online the other colors are more pigmented, and this is the only color with any glitter that I saw at the store, although that may just have been what was in stock. This is a great low-price lip gloss, although it would be too thick for those who prefer the feel of a lipstick.

Milani Illuminating Face Powder in Hermosa Rose 02 ($8.99).

Milani Illuminating Face Powder Hermosa Rose 02 packaging Milani Illuminating Face Powder Hermosa Rose 02 swatchMilani Illuminating Face Powder Hermosa Rose swatch

 

This was super pretty and subtle, very even and VERY sheer. I love how subtle it is and how evenly it applied, but it’s a tricky shade. It’s a very light color even on me, so I think this would only work as a blush/contour on very fair skinned girls, or as a highlighter on darker skinned girls. I don’t know that this would do anything for a medium skintone. The swatch on my face is after layering it up a bit more than I normally would just to see how it builds, but I was happy with how natural it looked when I used a little less. It’s a great formula if you can make it work for your complexion.

Milani Total Lash Cover Mascara in Black 105 ($4.49)

milani total lash mascara packaging milani total lash mascara hybrid brushmilani total lash mascara before and aftermilani total lash mascara review

This product has been around for a couple years, but its crazy bristles and low price drew me in. The color is good and the results were great! A lot of bloggers have complained about the brush size. I can see that, but it worked well enough for me and I really liked the comb that helped to de-clump the lashes. This isn’t waterproof, but so far this hasn’t smudged under my eyes. Mascara formulas are always best on the first day, though, so I’ll keep using this and see if it continues being good. So far I feel pretty good about it for a five dollar mascara.

All in all, my Milani experience was really good! I’ll definitely keep buying from them. Here’s a full look using all three products (as well as my¬†Tarte Amazonian Clay Waterproof Brow Mousse¬†in Medium Brown ($28) that I reviewed¬†a while ago and¬†Too Faced Natural Eye Neutral Eye Shadow Collection¬†($36)).

milani cosmetics review milani cosmetics product reviews

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light Review and Swatches

I have a weird review of the cult-classic Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light ($45). I like it, I think it’s a good product for most people, and I think it’s not for me. Here’s why:

I bought this on a random trip to Sephora where I was determined to use my VIB 15% off promo on¬†something. I’ve checked out this product range before, but this time was for real. I swatched all of the lighter shades and liked Dim Light the best because it’s the most subtle. The others have teeny, tiny microglitter, but this shade had a totally glitter-free, luminous shimmer that I loved. I bought it, and then found out as soon as I got home that Hourglass was re-releasing the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette¬†($58) with three total shades. I probably would have preferred that, but I decided to stick with the full sized Dim Light.

hourglass ambient lighting powder packaging design hourglass ambient lighting powder dim light

As you can see above and below, it looks a little different depending on the light.

hourglass ambient lighting powder in dim light

The shade seemed ok under the harsh lights at Sephora, but when I applied it at home, something seemed off. I had read about how this worked as an all over setting powder, so I slathered as much as I could on my mug. Before I knew it, my face was a little too dark, super pink, and awkwardly mismatched with my neck. I had just tried a new foundation routine, so I was convinced it was the mix of foundation products. It couldn’t be the Hourglass powder, could it?

Unfortunately, it was. Since I am weirdly colored, this highlighting powder was too dark for me. And even though it’s pretty neutral, on my skin it skews pink. Here it is swatched on my arm (heavy on the right, blended out on the left):

hourglass ambient lighting powder dim light swatch

I can really only use this as a blush, and I have enough blush, plus $45 is a lot for me right now. Based on what I’ve seen online, maybe Diffused light would have been a better all over Ambient Lighting shade for me? Ethereal Light is also very pale, but might be too pink-y based¬†for me. Incandescent light from the re-released palette is probably my best bet, but I don’t know if I want to shell out $60 for what I’d essentially use as a very subtle, shimmery contour palette. I might swatch it when the palette shows up in stores and see. In the meantime, I’m returning Dim Light.

 

So what’s my overall impression?¬†I think this is really great product… for the right skintone. The shimmer is so great, and the finish looks very natural on cheeks. It just works best on medium skin tones (darker skinned ladies have complained about it being too light for all over use). Yes, Hourglass makes other shades that would probably match different tones better, but they all have the microglitter. Super subtle microglitter, but glitter nevertheless. Microglitter is fine, but the reason I was willing to shell out $45 was for the non-glittery finish that would look completely natural, which is only on the Dim Light shade. So keep that in mind, depending on your skin tone and what finish you like.

 

That said, I do have a cheap alternative for ghostly girls (and sometimes boys) like me. Meow Cosmetics Crystalline Cat Glow Powder ($12.95) is a loose powder with the same non-glitter shimmer and natural finish, but it is white, so this is definitely more useful for pale people. Swatched heavy on the right, blended out on the left:

meow cosmetics crystalline cat finishing powder swatches

If you’re super pale, it works great as a glow-y setting powder. It’s very, very finely-milled and it looks great on. I use it all the time (so who knows why I even went for the Hourglass powder at all). If you’re darker toned it would only work as a highlighter, but Meow¬†also makes some different shades of tinted glow powders. The online shades don’t translate super well and are also fairly pigmented, so I would recommend stocking up on samples before buying full sized. The tinted¬†samples I tried ended up being better as luminous blushes and not the subtle all-over flush I expected. You can see it in action here¬†in my previous Meow review, where I wore¬†Crystalline Cat¬†Glow Powder in Quartz ($9.95) as a blush.

And here’s what I did with my face today. Obviously I didn’t do anything with my eyes or lips, but I’m wearing¬†Purrrfect Puss Mineral Powder Foundation¬†in Frisky Chartreux¬†($23.45),¬†Meow Cosmetics¬†Crystalline Cat Glow Powder¬†($12.95) all over as a setting powder, and¬†¬†Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light¬†($45) as a blush.

meow cosmetics crystalline cat finishing powder hourglass ambient lighting powder in dim light swatch