l-r: KIKO 06, Maybelline Bad to the Bronze, L'Oréal Bronzed Taupe
One thing I was very keen to check out in person were the Long Lasting Stick Eyeshadows that Amelia from Liana Beauty featured in her July Favourites video. Seeing them in action basically had me sold there and then, but once I had swatched the two shades she demonstrated on her lid side by side, I found that 06 was much better in texture and pigmentation than 04, the dark brown shade (which was surprisingly quite patchy and overly glittery). These stick eyeshadows are merely an evolution in the already time/effort-saving innovation of cream eyeshadow. Forget brushes and fallout and blending. You need only remove the cap, twist the base up a little bit, and draw the colour on. I blend the edges softly with my pinky, but pretty much that's it. It's brilliant for mornings when I can't be bothered with much else, i.e. most. The colour is very similar to Maybelline Color Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze, but perhaps a tinge more olive gold on the lid compared with Bad to the Bronze which is lighter and more of a frosty brown. I don't find the wear time as impressive as the Maybelline Color Tattoos as by the end of the day I experience a little fading around the edges, but overall it still holds up for at least 8-9 hours.
l-r: KIKO 401, Rimmel Bronze, Australis Bombastic Bronze
I kind of wish they made an eyeshadow stick in the colour of the Glamorous Eye Pencil in 401 that I bought. The moment I swatched it, I knew I had to get it, not least because it was only €4.20 (or $6). The pencil isn't the most emollient, 'glide-on' smooth that I've ever encountered, but it comes close enough. It's gorgeously pigmented with a rich metallic lustre, but thankfully the colour isn't just a carbon copy of the other bronze pencils I have. It's noticeably lighter and more copper (orange) than the darker browns of Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal eyeliner in Bronze or Australis 10 Hour Waterproof Eye Pencil in Bombastic Bronze. I've been enjoying using this on my lower lash line without worrying about whether the colour might be too dark for the daytime. It still provides definition but in a way that's not at all harsh or obvious. No more softening and toning down my eyeliner if I've accidentally put too much or drawn too thick of a line. The Glamorous Eye Pencil just works effortlessly.
Overall, I'm pleased with what I picked out, though from my experience in the store, KIKO products are a bit hit and miss when it comes to quality and performance (for one, some shades of the cheaper powder/baked eyeshadows were seriously underwhelming, and I wasn't too thrilled with their blush selection). Also, after a certain point, a few items start to get quite pricey for a relatively inexpensive brand (a bronzer was €14.90 or $22, an eyeshadow palette €16.90 or $25 — Essence this ain't). It's really a matter of trying out everything for yourself and selecting what seems promising. I'm not sure if KIKO has any plans to open stores beyond Europe, but I had fun venturing into one for the first time and getting a small taste of the brand.