MUA Eyeshadow Palette in Heaven and Earth
I forget just how good this palette is since on a day-to-day basis, I reach more for my higher end neutral eyeshadow palettes. But this palette is basically everything you'd need in terms of satin/shimmery neutral shadows, at an incredibly affordable price point. There's an abundance of choice in terms of mid-tone, all-over lid shades, with some beautiful highlighting colours (the pinky pearlescent one, fourth from the left in the top row, is a stunner — and could easily double as a face highlight), and deeper, richer shades to darken and add dimension. The overall colour selection is warm, with a mix of luscious chocolate browns, complex taupes, golds, coppers and bronzes. Pigmentation is on point and most of the shades have minimal fall out. Full review with swatches here.
l-r: Cocoa Chili, Rum Raisin, Bon Bon, Caramel
l-r: Peanut Butter, Butter Pecan, Pink Sugar, Nougat
Too Faced Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar Palette
It took me a while to warm up to this palette (this mostly negative tweet back in February sums up my initial thoughts), but now I'm completely won over by it. I like it just as much as the original Chocolate Bar Palette, if not more. I've been favouring very warm eyeshadow looks recently and the Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar has been perfect. I have so many favourite shades that I'd be listing most of the colours in the palette: Peanut Butter, Cocoa Chili, Rum Raisin, Bon Bon, Caramel, Nougat. The shimmery highlight shade Butter Pecan is an absolutely gorgeous face highlight (thanks to emilynoel83 for the tip) and Pink Sugar, the multifaceted sparkly glitter top coat, glimmers so beautifully when it's placed in the inner third of the eye. All the colours seem to work harmoniously despite so much choice in the shade selection, from light to dark, shimmers, mattes and glitters. My only gripe is the darker shades like Hot Fudge, Frosting and Cocoa Chili do have a lot of fall out because of the soft texture of the shadows, so be mindful to tap off any excess from the brush before applying them. Swatches of each of the shades here.
IT Cosmetics Live Beauty Fully Complexion Powder Brush #225 + Guerlain Météorites Compact Light-Revealing Powder in Medium (03)
The Complexion Powder Brush was another item I asked my friend to buy me when she was in the States, since I figured if she was going to Ulta to pick up the Real Techniques Bold Metals Collection Flat Contour Brush, she might as well buy this one in the same trip. I have to seize my chance to grab as many Ulta exclusives as possible after all. If it wasn't for Tiffany, I wouldn't even have known of the existence of this brush. At first, I wasn't 100% convinced whether it was worth $36 USD (about $50 with tax), especially with its apparent similarity to the Real Techniques Blush Brush which is a quarter of the price at $8.99 USD. At $50, I expect a lot from a brush. Thankfully, after using it for a couple of weeks weeks, it's become one of my favourite brushes — certainly my preferred powder brush. It's ultra, ultra soft, but still fairly dense in terms of bristles, so it distributes product evenly but finely. The tapered shape is perfect to get around the curves of the face, but it's still large enough so product isn't concentrated on any particular area. I've been pairing it with the Guerlain Météorites Compact Light-Revealing Powder to set my foundation in the mornings and add that extra bit of glow to my makeup. The Guerlain powder gives the skin a subtle, largely undetectable boost of ethereal luminosity which surprisingly lasts almost all day.
Girlz Only Haircare Dry Shampoo XXL Volume-Plus
I bought this on the recommendation of a friend who swears by it. At $2.50 (2 for $5 at Target), it was worth testing out. Now I'm definitely looking to restock. Considering it's 3-4 times cheaper than the two other dry shampoos I use, Batiste and Klorane, this is a gem of a find. Firstly, I like that I can spray it liberally but it doesn't weigh down my hair or make it feel like there's a tonne of product in it. It doesn't come out like a fire extinguisher the way my Batiste and Klorane do, rather, the spray seems finer and the product less detectable (it won't leave your hair looking like you just poured talcum powder all over it). It requires a bit of building up in that I usually spray down the middle, then part my hair to each side and spray, then spray a section at the back of my hair, then one or two spritzes closer to my hairline. I feel like I use a lot more product than with my Klorane or Batiste, but unlike those two brands, the can doesn't feel a quarter emptied after each use. In fact, I've used it twice a week for several weeks now, and it still feels about half full. Each use prevents me from having to wash my hair for another 1-2 days, keeps oiliness to acceptable standards and injects some fresh volume into greasy, limp locks. It's powerfully scented with some nondescript fruity sweet fragrance, but it fades quickly and isn't offensive-smelling.
Max Factor Xperience Volumising Mascara
This was a freebie in some beauty goody bag that I've been saving for a while now, and I finally cracked it open this month. I'm pretty sure this is the exact same as the Masterpiece Max mascara, one of my all-time favourites. Max Factor mascaras are seriously underrated. What I like most about it is that it manages to really catch onto every lash and coat it, while maintaining separation and avoiding clumping. It's a very defining mascara, while still ticking all the boxes in terms of darkening, lengthening and voluminising. A solid all-rounder. It's also brilliant for the lower lashes and doesn't smudge or flake off during the day.
Maybelline Rose Redefined
Maybelline Color Sensational Color Elixir in Rose Redefined (090)
I previously dismissed this shade as disappointingly ho-hum, but this past month, I've really enjoyed popping this in the makeup bag and applying it during the day. It's actually quite a pretty, face-brightening, medium warm pink that's so easy to throw on. A very accessible, non-intimidating, everyday colour that I imagine would be flattering on most skin tones. You can wear it relatively sheer for just a wash of glossy pink, or built up for a stronger lacquered lip. The texture is ultra cushiony and comfortable on the lips. It's plush and moisturising without being sticky or gloopy in any way. Plus, it has a subtly sweet caramel/vanilla scent.