Beauty Product Reviews
Bright at a nice price.
How do more people not know about these? They're incredible.
These are some of the most silky smooth, pigmented powdered shadows you will find. The colors are amazing. They last all day without fading. They are a cinch to apply, mix and blend. THEY ARE ONLY $6.
If you're into colors--and lots of them--then you really should give these a try. Not a single one of the 20 colors I own is a letdown. Each one applies true to color, and because they're loose powders, it's a cinch to mix them into lip colors, nail polishes, hair gels or with mixing medium or eyedrops to create eyeliners and paints.
The only thing I'd say is that they don't really do neutrals. But honestly, they don't need to. As long as they keep making 'Big Bird' 'Purple Rain' and 'Flamingo' I will love them forever. ...and did I mention that they're $6? Because they are. And that should be all the convincing you need to try one. Might I recommend 'Soylent Green'?
Gloss = Creasing
I have this in 'Talk to Me'
I'll start by saying this is a chubby pencil, the product is extremely smooth and also pigmented, the color is dimensional and interesting. It does have a wet look and adds gloss.
This product is a cream pencil and does not set. If you wear it, even if you put it over a primer, it will crease. Blending severely reduces the wet effect, as does setting it with any powder.
It can be used like a NYX jumbo pencil--blended and set with powder--but then you don't get the finish.
I'm giving it three stars because I blend it and set with powder and the pigmentation and color is there, but since it can't be used as I believe it was intended, I can't actually recommend it to anyone.
Better Alternatives Exist.
I got this brush set over a year ago, and used it as it is intended--as an on the go, travel brush kit. I was never impressed with the quality of the brushes--they aren't super-soft and shed a lot--but it was convenient. Mostly it was handy that everything went into the zippered case. I threw it out about a month ago and replaced it with the travel set from Real Techniques, which are 24865%* better.
*percentage of betterness calculated by rubbing both sets of brushes on my face to determine softness, then washing the brushes and counting how many hairs fell out of each.
Excellent cream colors.
I have these in #2, #21, #3, #18 and #22, and I'll touch on each one in this review.
These are very pigmented cream shadows, similar to MAC paint pots, but even more long-wearing. They apply smoothly, and the color on your lids will match the color in the pot in 2-3 layers, depending on the color. The colors I have are safe for the eyes and face, but there are colors in this range meant only for lips and face. The sephora website has details on which shades are approved for which areas.
They are easy to blend out, and set after 30 seconds or so. Working quickly is necessary, but in return you get a very long wear time. I've had mine for about 6 months and use them frequently. I have not had them dry out at all like another reviewer, but since this is a cream product and a water-based one, it will dry out more quickly than a non water-based cream. The packaging is airtight, and does not contribute to the product drying out.
These can be used as a base or as a shadow. If you have non-oily lids and aren't prone to creasing, you may be able to use these instead of a primer. If you have oily lids or your shadow creases on you, I'd recommend using a primer first, then layering these over the top. I do find them pretty near waterproof; I've been wearing #2 this week in 95degree heat and haven't had any meltdowns.
#18 is a sheer pink-lavender, and is a good example of how these can be used as a base to enhance an eye look. I like to use it as a base when I'm doing any kind of purple or light-neutral eye. It lets just the smallest amount of lavender shine through, which I love in summer.
#3 is a good example of how the colors are buildable. A thin application of #3 (silver) blended well gives a soft, sheer, shimmery sheen of silver (Alliteration FTW!) If you build the color up, you can get a nearly opaque, metallic bright silver color. Some days I want to shine, some days I want to channel the tin man, so the fact that one product works for both makes me profoundly happy.
#2 (steel) has proven to me how long-wearing they are. I've been applying two thin layers of this all week in an incredible heat wave, and have had no melting, no creasing, no flaking and no fading.
#21 is a vibrant turquoise and is a great example of how pigmented these are. In addition to using it on the lids, it's great brushed into the brows and set with shadows to rock the bright brow trend. It holds onto any shadow you place over it very well, but has enough color of it's own to work without help from other e/s.
#22 is an emerald green color. It's also very pigmented. (I like to put a little of it on a pencil brush and use it to cut my crease. It also doubles for me as a liner, when I apply it with an angled brush.)
I really do love this product. The $22 pricetag isn't abnormal for similar products like MAC paintpots, Stila Smudgepots and Tarte emphasEYES.
Wetter is Better.
This brush is fully and obviously synthetic. The bristles are smooth and have very little 'grab' so this brush is not great for powder products.
What this brush is great for is using products wet. If you wet the brush, then dip it into product, it works incredibly well to pick up just what you need and apply it smoothly. If you mix your product into a paste first, you can use the brush to paint on the product. This is the only brush I use to apply glitter, because when I wet the brush with glitter adhesive and dip it into glitter, when I press the glitter to my lids it all slides cleanly off of the brush, leaving very little fallout.
I also use this brush with Kryolan water-activated makeup, and some creams. It's not the greatest at applying cream shadows if you want them blended well, but if you're just placing a cream, it works well.
The price on these is decent, and since they're ULTA house brand, you can usually get them on sale.
Know your Tarte.
I really like this box, and have to disagree with what another reviewer said about the texture. I don't find them chalky at all. Tarte shadows tend to be on the sheer side, so it is true that if you are layering and layering trying to get an intense color, you will end up with waaay too much product on your lids--and we all know that too much product = yuck on your face. If you like sheer to medium-opacity in your shadows, you will probably like tarte shadows.
I agree that it's hard to pull out the trays, and the liners are particularly hard to remove. I like the bronzer and the highlight, and I like the glosses--they're more like semi-sheer lipsticks. What I will never, ever, ever understand is why they always put a powder product next to a sticky one. JUST TRY to keep powder out of the lipcolors. It makes everything look dirty and junky, fast. That's why this doesn't get 5 stars. If they had put the lipcolors in a separate tray, or given them any kind of lid, this would be a 5 star set.
The liners are okay, not the creamiest, but they wear all day. The box has a detachable necklace, which is fun. The value for 32 shadows is incredible, even if you never use anything else in the palette. I also have to mention that the color choices are great, lots and lots of neutrals with just enough wearable colors to be an extremely versatile set.
Perfect Everyday Color.
I'm a big fan of this blush. It's my every day color.
I picked it up because the finish is extremely natural: not matte, not quite satin. It has no shimmer or glitter or sheen or any sparkly stuff, which just looks weird on me under florescent lighting at work.
The product itself is very pigmented and smooth, and when applied, blends very well into the skin. It's not heavy at all, and is easy to build up the color you want.
I do not get any fading with this, and when I go home at the end of the day it's still where I put it that morning.
The range of colors is appealing, and I had a difficult time in the store figuring out which one I wanted, but Infatuation won--I'd describe it as a dusty rose with some peach tones. I'm contemplating going back for 'parfait' and 'natural'.
I only have the Golden Smoke color, so I don't know if the other colors in the range are similar or not.
I bought Golden Smoke because it's an interesting and unusual color. I'd describe it as a grey taupe with golden accents. It's a pearl finish, not a shimmer, which is another plus. The color can be on the sheer side; it's not as soft and pigmented as Urban Decay shadows, but over a primer it shows up very well.
It's very easy to blend and with a primer lasts a long time, I have not experienced any fallout or fading with this shadow.
I do think that compared to similarly-priced eyeshadows, it falls a little short, and if I found a dupe for the color in another brand, I would not repurchase. However, it is one of my most reached-for shadows because the color is beautiful.
Moisturizing and Lovely.
I am a lip balm junkie. Seriously, I've got a couple dozen chapsticks and balms stashed around my apartment. I don't reach for gloss, I reach for balm.
Burt's Bees was my go-to for the last decade, but since buying a single tube of Jack Black, Burt has been kicked off his throne.
Because this formula is in a tube, it applies thicker than balms in stick form. It has a really natural look, and isn't sticky. (When I first used it I kind of expected it to be a little tacky, but it's smoothy smooth smooth.) It sinks into lips and hydrates and heals them. My lips are in better condition than they've ever been.
I like that it has SPF 25, and the smell is very faint. It is truly flavorless as well.
It's pricier than other lip balms, but it outperforms everything else I've used, so I'll go back for more. I actually need to immediately, because I've been rolling mine like a toothpaste tube trying to get the last little bit out of the package.
Hits and misses.
I've owned many of these over the last 8 years. I always buy them for the convenient Hook-up packaging, hope that they changed the formula, then become sad when I realize they still kind of suck. I just threw away the last ones I bought and am finally ready to quit them. They're pretty tempting at the price point (are they still $6?) but ultimately do not perform as well as some other drugstore liners. (NYX)
'Cleo' is the one I have the biggest problem with, because it separates BIG TIME, and after a few uses, shaking ceases to mix the product well.
I haven't had an issue with the shimmer or metallic shades separating, but the formula on those isn't spectacular either. Basically if my eyes watered at all, the liner would dissolve completely. On lucky days when my eyes stayed dry, the wear would be patchy.
The Hook-up packaging is the star of the show, but the product inside stinks. There are other Mark products that come in hook-up form that are worthwhile, but I would skip the liner.