Kevyn Aucoin The Sculpting Powder in Medium
I thought this would be the be all and end all of contouring powders. The price put me off, but after encountering many a rave and seeing The Sculpting Powder work its magic on people's faces, I bit the bullet. This doesn't look right on me. I think it suits pink-toned, pale complexions only. If you're more yellow and light-to-medium, it pulls very cool brownish grey (read: muddy). I've tried every brush under the sun, I've tried a light application, heavier application, different placement. It's not flattering or believable. It either is too subtle and therefore useless, or makes me look like I have a dirty stripe where I wish my cheekbone was. Swatches here.
MAC Eye Kohl in Powersurge
MAC Eye Kohl in Powersurge
There's nothing hugely offensive about this pencil eyeliner, except it's so unremarkable and overpriced for the quality. I was willing to pay a premium for the colour, but once I actually tried it on my lower lash line, I realised it wasn't anything special. A medium khaki-ish (greeny) gold. I have plenty of similar coloured eyeshadows which I could apply with a pencil brush to my lower lash line if I wanted identical effect. Pigmentation is not woeful, but could be better. The metallic quality is relatively subdued and not particularly intense or lustrous. The main problem is the texture. It's fairly hard, doesn't glide on and isn't that creamy. Lasting power is also extremely ordinary. There are SO many cheaper eyeliners that are superior in every respect (e.g. Savvy by DB Soft Glide Eyeliner, Kiko Glamorous Eye Pencil, Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal) that nothing can justify the $32 price tag for the MAC. I wish I'd bought another 217 Blending Brush instead.
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light
I weep a little thinking about the $62 I bid farewell to when I bought this powder. I was expecting this to be a skin-perfecting finishing powder, but it's so BROWN and PINK and DARK that it's virtually unusable. It's not even something I can use to "warm up" or darken my skin if my foundation's too light, since it doesn't match my natural skin colour anyway. It's far too pink-toned. It also doesn't impart any brightening luminosity to my face except the subtlest whitish pearl. I more or less never reach for Dim Light since I have other powders that do the job I wanted it to (Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Powder, Guerlain Météorites Compact Light-Revealing Powder). I should've bought Diffused Light instead. Original review here.
Estée Lauder Sumptuous Extreme Lash Multiplying Volume Mascara
Granted, this was a magazine freebie, but I was super excited to try out a high end mascara since I don't tend to buy them. Sadly, this was a complete flop. This mascara did absolutely nothing for my lashes. No curl, no lift, no volume, no separation, no lengthening. All the times I've applied it, I've either hated it, or abandoned it mid-way to grab something that actually works.
l-r (top to bottom row): Caught in the Act Courtney, Feisty Felicia, Insane Jane, Bossy Bobbi, Makeout Mary, Just This Once Jamie, Mischievous Marissa, Tempting Tara, Devilish Danielle
theBalm Shady Lady Vol. 2
I truly dislike this palette. The first two darker shades with glitter (Caught in the Act Courtney and Feisty Felicia) are dry, patchy, poorly pigmented and have huge amounts of fall out. Some of the other shades (Mischievous Marissa, Tempting Tara, Devilish Danielle) are really powdery even if they have strong colour payoff. But the main problem with Shady Lady Vol. 2 is none of the colours are flattering on me. None. This isn't a palette I want to reach for. It's not a palette that houses colours I'm excited to use. Since it came into my possession, I don't think I've ever used it, except maybe the darker shades to deepen an eye look. Also, the shade names are gross (Makeout Mary? Just This Once Jamie??).
l-r (top to bottom row): In the Buff, Birthday Suit, Pink Cheeks, Pillow Talk, Like a Virgin, Satin Sheets, Unmentionables, Lap Dance, Stiletto
Too Faced Naked Eye Palette
I possibly dislike this palette more than Shady Lady Vol. 2, which is saying a lot. At least the eyeshadows in Shady Lady Vol. 2 are visible on my lids. Almost half of the shadows in Naked Eye are invisible, including all 3 of the larger pans. In the Buff, Birthday Suit, Pink Cheeks and Pillow Talk are rubbish. Maybe if you're very fair, they'll have some kind of effect, but on my light-to-medium (NC 20 to 25) skin, they're useless. (Looks like I'm not the only one that feels that way.) I bought Naked Eye early on in my "makeup journey", back when I didn't realise cool-toned eyeshadows and I don't mix. Lap Dance and Unmentionables swatch nicely, but are so dirty/ashy/muddy on my lids and drain my complexion. Satin Sheets is admittedly very pretty and super pigmented, but I wish it were more of a gold-pink rather than a bright white gold on me. Like a Virgin is the only shade I use in this whole palette, and even then, it's a cool-toned grey that isn't as flattering as a warmer brown shade with yellow or orange tones. Given I love both my other Too Faced (Chocolate Bar) palettes, Naked Eye seems especially a waste.