My blog is a little safe, fluffy haven for fellow makeup addicts, a place where we can wax lyrical about the latest lipstick launch or share experiences of products and services. I'm in no way holding myself out as a professional beauty peep - I have no professional beauty qualifications but I have been addicted to beauty and cosmetics for years now
It's my favourite time of the year again - Christmas! I've pulled together a few gift guides for beauty nuts - these are just few of the things on my Christmas wishlist. This here post is my stocking filler beauty gifts picks, but I'm also pulling together a luxury beauty gift guide and a round up of my favourite advent calendars of the season also. I love Christmas beauty gifting - new limited edition packaging I know these lists are subjective - because I would not mind waking up to any of these lovely presents on Christmas day - but these are just some of this year's offerings that have called out to me. Also - when I refer to these as stocking fillers, I am quite aware that your usual stocking filler would not set you back more than €30, so I mean smaller, less expensive beauty gifts than what is included in my luxury beauty gift guide.
This Works Sleep Tight Set
Is there a greater gift you can give to someone who has trouble sleeping than the gift of sleep? I think not. I'm a long time fan of the This Works Deep Pillow Spray and this set contains a miniature of that, a miniature of the Stress Check rollerball and a miniature of the Sleep Plus + pillow spray. I am going to buy a couple of these for some folks I know who struggle to fall asleep at nighttime. €17 from Boots.
MAC Mini Lipstick Kit
Three mini MAC lipsticks in a little sequin bag - what's not to love. There is a warm, cool and pink variety of these so you're sure to find something to suit your designated gift recipient. €30 from Brown Thomas.
Huda Beauty Obsessions Palettes
These palettes are something special (I should know, I ordered two!) and they are perfect for makeup lovers looking to dip their toes into the world of Huda Beauty, which has only just been made easily available to us here in Ireland. From my experience of using these so far - yes they are small (think palm of your hand) but the actual shadows themselves are about the same size as the shadows in the Rose Gold or Desert Dusk palettes. £25 from Cult Beauty / €28 from Brown Thomas.
Meet Matt(e) Hughes Mini Lip Kit
I've long time loved the Meet Matt(e) Hughes liquid lipsticks - they are so longwearing and comfortable on the lips that I find them perfect for long days in the office or nights out. This is the newest incarnation of these lipstick sets - volume 3 - and you get 6 mini liquid lipsticks in an assortment of colours to try out. What I love about this kit in particular is that is has a little bit of everything - nude, pink, red and berry tones - a perfect little travel set or introduction to the brand. €29 from Cloud 10 Beauty. Liz Earle The Winter Revival
Every Christmas, Liz Earle bring out a limited edition version of their Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser and this year they have re-released the Sweet Orange and Mint version. I picked this up two years ago and was obsessed with it - not only was it as gentle and effective as the regular Cleanse and Polish, it smells incredible. €27.30 from Feelunique.
The Body Shop Mask Sampler Set
This set contains nine sachets of different masks from the Body Shop line up (Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask, British Rose Fresh Plumping Mask and Japanese Matcha Tea Pollution Clearing Mask) as well as an adorable bunny headband and will set you back €15 in The Body Shop. Everybody I know loves a bit of masking so I'm sure this would make a very welcome gift in anybody's Christmas stocking. Sleek Matte Me Must Haves
Sleek is one of my favourite budget beauty brands and this set which contains four mini Matte Me liquid lipsticks is just €8 from Boots and contains four of my favourite shades of the Matte Me Liquid Lipsticks - Birthday Suit, Rioja Red, Velvet Slipper and Old Hollywood. This is a lovely kit for a makeup lover - I've already picked one up for my sister!
Stila Written in the Stars Liquid Eyeshadow Set
The Stila Glitter & Glow Liquid Eyeshadows took the world by storm earlier this year when they were released so it was a no brainer that Stila would release some sort of Christmas set this year. This contains the shades Kitten Karma (my personal fave), Smoky Storm and Diamond Dust. Perfect for the festive season I'm sure you will agree and only €27.95 for the set from Cloud 10 Beauty. Pixi Best of Bright Kit
Pixi Skincare is one of the hottest brands on the skincare market now and people have been losing their lives over the Pixi Glow Tonic in particular. This set contains a mask, cleanser and miniature bottle of the toner so it's a perfect introduction to the brand. £20 from Cult Beauty.
Frankie Chatome Brush
This brush comes in two varieties - hard bristles and soft bristles - I picked up one of each from Pelo Hair Design in Newbridge the last time I got my hair done. Between the two, I much prefer the soft bristle brush as it just glides through my hair after a shower - I don't have extensions in but I do have long, tangly hair and this hairbrush is a pleasure to use and would make a great gift. The soft brush is ideally suited to hair extensions and the hard brush is suited to blowdrying. At €18 a piece from Pelo Hairdressing, they won't break the bank.
I could spend days talking about all the lovely beauty gifts on the market this year but I don't have the time and I'm sure you don't have the time to read it - this summary of my fave picks will have to do instead. Do any of these picks appeal to you? What are you hoping Santa will leave in your stocking for you this year?
It's my favourite time of the year again - Christmas! I've pulled together a few gift guides for beauty nuts - these are just few of the things on my Christmas wishlist. This here post is my advent calendar picks (yes, they are such a thing now that they merit a post all of their own), but I'm also pulling together a stocking filler gift guide and a round up of my favourite luxury beauty gifts this year also. I love Christmas beauty gifting - new limited edition packaging, a chance to try products you might not have ordinarily picked out for yourself and the potential to find new favourites. I know these lists are subjective - because I would not mind receiving any of these advent calendars - but these are just some of this year's offerings that have called out to me. NYX Kiss and Tell Advent Calendar
The lip product fanatics amongst us would only be delighted to get this advent calendar this year - it's jam packed with an assortment of NYX mini lip products including matte lipsticks, butter lipglosses and lipsticks and some of the lip lingerie line. €60 from Feelunique / €65 from Arnotts - one for every day of advent!
Look Fantastic Calendar
This advent calendar from Look Fantastic has gotten more hype than any other advent calendar this year I think - so many people have said to me that this is the only one they are getting this festive season. I guess the reason why is not only the very fancy, reusable packaging (with a built in mirror) but the array of products - 9 full sized, 16 deluxe samples and a worth value of £300. I won't give away what is in the box exactly for those of you who got this and want to be surprised but it contains a nice mix of haircare, skincare and beauty products. €98 from the LookFantastic website.
L'Occitane Advent Calendar
Of all the advent calendars on the market this year, this l'Occitane one might be up there at the very top of my wishlist. I'm not hugely familiar with L'Occitane, I've tried a few products over the years, but I think this calendar which contains 24 bodycare treats would be a perfect dive into the brand. Also, at €59 I think it's pretty good value. Available from L'Occitane directly or Debenhams website.
M&S Beauty Advent Calendar
This advent calendar is outrageously popular every year and I can see why! This contains 25 treats, some full size, some samples, spanning across skincare, bodycare, makeup and haircare. Brands include Stila, Nuxe, Emma Hardie, Ren, Alpha H. This calendar has a worth value of €339 and costs just €40 when you spend €40 on womenswear. Good value indeed but I can't help but think the design and packaging of this one could be a bit less cumbersome and more environmentally friendly.
The Body Shop 24 Days of Beauty Advent Calendar
The Body Shop can always be relied upon every year to deliver a decent advent calendar and this year, they've brought us three! This one is the 24 Days of Beauty calendar or the most budget friendly of all the offerings - I haven't been able to find this on the Irish Body Shop website but it's £45 on the UK website (which means it will probably be €70 here given the usual exchange rate The Body Shop applies). Edit I have since found it on the Body Shop Ireland website and it was in fact €70 - not impressed TBS Clarins Advent Calendar
Clarins is another of those brands that I feel like I do not pay enough attention to (though in my defence it's hard to give equal attention to all the brands!) but this advent calendar containing 24 products seems like a brilliant introduction, especially as it contains full sizes of Beauty Flash Balm, Mascara Supra Volume and Instant Light Lip Comfort Oil, along with travel sizes of many of their other most popular products. I think this would be especially popular with mothers, aunties and grandmothers this advent season. Also, at €120 from Brown Thomas, I think it's a pretty good deal for what you get. Charlotte Tilbury Naughty & Nice Advent Calendar
Now y'all know I'm going to qualify this by saying that I think practically all Charlotte Tilbury products are completely overpriced and overhyped (all style and no substance) and I don't think this box will be much different - however, if you handed this to a die hard Charlotte Tilbury fan, they would probably snap the hands off you! At €185 it's pretty pricey, especially considering it contains just 12 products, four of which are full size (Colour Chameleon pencil, Eyes to Mesmerise Cream Eyeshadow, Lustre Lip Gloss and Matte Revolution lipstick). Most of the sample sizes are skincare which I think is a little bit of a cop out unless you love Charlotte Tilbury skincare. I personally don't have much time for beauty brand skincare offerings so I would have hoped to see a little more makeup in this for the €185 this will set you back in Brown Thomas. Lancome 24 Days in a Parisian Wonderland
This is another contender in the beauty advent calendar stakes this year. It's €130 from the Boots website and contains 24 treats include makeup, skincare and fragrance from the L'Oreal Luxe brands we all know and love including YSL, Viktor & Rolf, Lancome and Ralph Lauren. Again, there is a lot of Lancome skincare included in this one. Rituals The Ritual of Advent Calendar
I love Rituals as a brand and I was delighted to see that they have brought out an advent calendar this year containing sample sizes of their candles, bath and shower gels, shampoos, serums, shower oils. If you know someone who loves luxurious baths and showers, this is the advent calendar for them. €71 from Debenhams. ASOS Beauty Advent Calendar 2017
Not surprisingly Asos have jumped on the beauty advent calendar bandwagon and this year they have brought us 25 treats of "beauty goodness" with brands including The Ordinary, Caudalie, Korres, Nip and Fab, Ren, Rodial, NYX, Pureology, Smashbox and more. The 25th present is a 20% discount code so if you find yourself in the mood for some shopping after your turkey and ham, hit this one up. £55 from ASOS. The Estée Lauder Companies Advent Calendar 2017
This, in my mind, is the creme de la creme of advent calendars this year. I'm not sure if this one is even available to purchase anymore as I haven't been able to find any online - it's been out a few weeks now so is probably almost guaranteed to be sold out. This one contains 25 treats from across the Estee Lauder brands including MAC, Smashbox, Estee Lauder, Clinique, Bumble and Bumble, Origins, Bobbi Brown, Aveda, Glamglow and Michael Kors. It has a mixture of skincare, haircare, fragrance and cosmetics, a worth value of £200 and costs (if you can still get your hands on it) £125. Lush 12 Days of Christmas
Lush are bringing a 12 piece advent calendar to us this year - containing 12 limited edition festive holiday treats including Golden Wonder, Never Mind the Ballistics and Christmas Sweater bath bombs, Snow Fairy, Bubbly and Twilight Shower Gels, and other soaps and bath time treats. Folks really love to bathe around the Christmas period so this is definitely worth picking up for the Lush fanatic in your life. £67.50 from Lush UK website.
I know there are loads more of calendars available this year (is it me or does it seem like every single brand jumped onto the advent calendar bandwagon this year?) but these are the ones that stuck out to me. I've only a few weeks to decide which one to pick up so I can enjoy some advent self gifting! Which one of these stuck out to you and would you be tempted to purchase any of them?
It's my favourite time of the year again - Christmas! I've pulled together a few gift guides for beauty nuts - these are just few of the things on my Christmas wishlist. This here post is my luxury beauty gifts picks, but I'm also pulling together a stocking filler gift guide and a round up of my favourite beauty advent calendars this year also. I love Christmas beauty gifting - new limited edition packaging, a chance to try products you might not have ordinarily picked out for yourself and the potential to find new favourites. I know these lists are subjective - because I would not mind waking up to any of these lovely presents on Christmas day - but these are just some of this year's offerings that have called out to me.
Charlotte Tilbury Instant Eye Palette
Long time readers of this here blog will know that I am not Charlotte's no 1 fan, and I certainly don't think her eyeshadow palettes are anything to rave home about, but I can't deny that the Instant Eye palette, with it's four trios of colour combinations, looks rather lovely. Like all Charlotte Tilbury products, it's steep and, dare I say it, overpriced at €75, but it would make a lovely Christmas gift. Available directly from the Charlotte Tilbury website or Brown Thomas.
MAC Snowball Mini Lipstick Kit
This is potentially at the top of my Christmas wishlist this year and it's probably the only thing from the MAC Snowball Christmas collection that jumped out at me this year. 12 mini lipsticks - all with colour co-ordinated packaging - in 12 shades including some of their most iconic shades like Velvet Teddy, Whirl, Stone, Rebel, Flat Out Fabulous, Diva and Ruby Woo. This is the perfect kit for MAC lovers or lipstick lovers and at €95, I don't think it's bad value at all. It's currently sold out on the Brown Thomas website but is available from LookFantastic.
Laura Mercier Ambre Vanille Kit
Laura Mercier's Ambre Vanille scent is the stuff that dreams are made of in my mind - I'm obsessed with the stuff and I don't know how many pots of the body cream that I have gone through and how many times I've been asked what perfume I'm wearing and I'm not actually wearing any perfume at all but body cream. This set is incredibly luxe and contains the whole Ambre Vanille family. £55 from Space NK or €72 from Brown Thomas.
Viktor&Rolf Flowerbomb Candle
Flowerbomb is one of my favourite perfumes - I'm not mad into floral scents but there is something about Flowerbomb that is just iconic. I'm also a candle nut so the opportunity to get one of my favourite perfumes in candle format would be very welcome indeed. There is also a version available in the other infamous Viktor & Rolf scent, Bonbon. €45 from Debenhams.
Let's call a spade a spade, I would never ever voluntarily part with €400 of my hard earned money for a mere hairdryer, even if it does boast Dyson technology. I've heard so many good things about this hairdryer but I just can't but feel that after spending €400 on a hairdryer that you would be absolutely convinced no matter what that your hair looks better. That said, I've recently bought a cordless Dyson hoover and you wouldn't believe how much I have been enjoying it. Whilst I wouldn't buy one, I wouldn't be put out to see one under the Christmas tree. €399 from Boots.
I'm a huge fan of Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector highlighters and I've amassed quite a few over the years, and one of the Becca Christmas offerings this year is a neat little palette containing seven shades of Shimmering Skin Perfector, including the already famous Pearl, Moonstone, Opal and Rose Quartz. As an eyeshadow palette on it's own, it's lacking a few matte shades for me as I like the mixture, but I do think this would be a deadly palette to give as a gift because it would be so useful for travelling as the shadows could double as highlighters. £40 from Cult Beauty.
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Edit Volume 3
I love Hourglass, and much and all as I love Hourglass, the last few limited edition palettes haven't really appealed to me. I'm not sure whether it is the rose gold packaging on this one or the fact that all of the colours look dreamy, but this has piqued my interest in Hourglass again and I love the rose gold compact. £69 from Space NK.
Nima Brush - the Naughty or Nice Gift Set
This brush set is one of the best starter level brush sets on the market this year and would make a perfect gift for someone looking to either start or build their brush collection. It has all you need to apply your full face of makeup from perfecting your foundation to doing some detailed eye work, along with a Nima Mitt, Nima Egg and Nima nets all for €105 - check out the Nima Brush website. Inglot Holographic Rose Gold Mini Case
I'm not a pro MUA but I love makeup storage and the minute I first clapped my eyes on this holograph, rose gold loveliness, it gave me so much joy. €65 from the Inglot Ireland website. Nars Les Amoureux Mini Audacious Lipstick Coffret
I've said it before and I will say it again - the Nars Audacious lipsticks are my all time favourite lipsticks ever - other lipsticks come close but nothing has captured my heart like these bad boys. This lovely little set is available from Brown Thomas and contains two limited edition shades and two shades from the permanent line, all in miniature sizes, for €49.
Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick Set
The Stila Stay All Day liquid lipsticks are amongst my all time favourite liquid lipsticks for longevity without drying the bejaysus out of your lips, so I would be only delighted to receive this set for Christmas. This set contains three of my favourite shades - Patina, Perla and Aria - as well as some exclusive shades. They are not full sizes but the whole set is just €49.95 from Cloud 10 Beauty.
I could spend days talking about all the lovely beauty gifts on the market this year but I don't have the time and I'm sure you don't have the time to read it - this summary of my fave picks will have to do instead. Do any of these picks appeal to you? What are you hoping Santa will drop under the Christmas tree for you this year?
It's hard to remember a time before eBay - you would wonder how people sourced things before eBay and the interwebs were invented! The best thing about eBay is that, at any given time, there are billions of products listed for sale. We all know that when you buy from eBay, you never know whether you are on to the bargain of the century or whether you have wasted your hard cash on cheap Chinese mass manufactured tatt - that's half the fun. I love browsing eBay and I thought I would share some makeup storage ideas with y'all for your viewing pleasure. PSA: I have not bought any of these items myself so cannot attest as to whether they would be treasure or trash or vouch for any of the sellers.
1. Rotating Makeup Storage - I personally wouldn't opt for this in my makeup room because I like most of my makeup storage to be off the surfaces and tucked away neatly but if you like to have your daily essentials to hand, this rotating unit would be a brilliant and inexpensive way of displaying them.
2. Empty Magnetic Palette - I have so much makeup now that I would do anything to consolidate my collection a bit and the easiest way I have found to do that is by depotting products like eyeshadows and blushes into empty magnetic palettes. These are handy for your products that you can buy in pans too - think Inglot freedom system, single MAC eyeshadows, Makeup Geek, Colored Rain, Colour Pop - the possibilities are endless.
3. Nail Polish Display Unit - I'd never fit my nail polish collection into one of these bad boys but what I would use this for would be foundation/primer rotations - foundations tend to get lost at the back of my drawer so I feel like if I could display them neatly, I'd be more inclined to switch it up.
4. False Eyelash Case - hands up if you like to recycle your false eyelashes but end up damaging or losing them between uses? For less than 2 euro including delivery, you could keep three pairs on the go at the same time.
5. Rotating Lipstick Storage Unit - because sometimes lipsticks are just too pretty to be stored away in drawers. Think about how good your Chanel, YSL, Charlotte Tilbury etc. lipsticks would look if they were on display!
6. Eyeliner/Lipliner/Makeup Brush Storage - I've a couple of these on the go at my vanity table - they are the handiest storage devices ever for eyeliners, lipliners, small makeup brushes etc.
7. Eyeshadow Palette Storage - I also have one of these because I kept using the same eyeshadow palettes over and over again. About once a fortnight I switch up the palettes I use by rotating what I have currently on the go with what is in my drawers. These are especially handy for smaller palettes.
8. Beauty Blender Holder - you probably glanced at this picture and thought I was crazy for including an egg cup - it's not an egg cup but a little storage cup for dirty beauty blenders! I've ordered one of these - what a genius idea. I love the idea of being able to keep your beauty sponges neatly stored when not in use.
9. Acrylic Blush Storage - I make my own drawer dividers for my Ikea Alex makeup drawers but if you're not a fan of DIY or prefer something acrylic, these little acrylic dividers might be the perfect choice for you.
10. Transparent Makeup Bags - whether you are a pro makeup artist or just trying to keep your collection neat and tidy, these transparent makeup bags are absolute gifts, especially for travelling. I love these for keeping things like false eyelashes and nail tools organised. These would be perfect for a makeup artist's kit also.
11. Closable Lipstick Storage - If you're afraid of your dearest lipsticks getting dusty, this closable lipstick storage chest might be the solution for you.
12. Ikea-esque makeup brush holder - I keep the vast majority of my makeup brushes in the Ikea plant pots so it would have been remiss of me to talk about makeup storage solutions without finding an eBay alternative and these are only €2ish a piece including delivery!
So there you have it - let me know if you like this format of post i.e. eBay inspiration posts and I can definitely dream up some more!
In my opinion, Benefit Cosmetics is one of the brands that creates hype like no other and I have never really bought into the Benefit gimmicks. So many of the latest Benefit releases have not only not appealed to me in the slightest but also turned me completely off the brand for a little while (those ridiculous lipsticks and eyeshadows earlier this year were a real low point IMO). It would take a special release for Benefit to redeem themselves in my eyes after those products and a special release came in the form of new base products during the summer and I'm all about that base. I wasn't originally going to post about these because I feel like Benefit and these products in particular have gotten plenty of online coverage over the last few months, but I have literally used at least one of these products every single day for the last few months.
I've long time loved the Hoola Bronzer (though I cannot say I am a huge fan of the box packaging) so I was delighted to hear that there was a lighter version incoming called Hoola Lite. The Benefit Dandelion blush is one of my favourites so I was also chuffed to hear that they were releasing a Dandelion inspired highlighter. I was on the fence about the Hoola Quickie Contour Stick as I hated the 'Dew the Hoola' Hoola cream bronzer that was released last year - it shows up way too orange on my skin for my liking and is certainly not as cool as its powder cousin. This had the makings of a very lucrative launch indeed so I tested out all the products in Sephora in May, liked what I saw and I then swiftly ordered all the products as soon as they were released here because I wanted to try and use them myself before the hype took hold. (As an aside - I bought them from the Look Fantastic website and had them delivered to Parcel Motel - I had a discount code that was sent to email subscribers and ended up saving 30%+ plus on Boots prices.)
I first got to give Hoola Lite a whirl in a special limited edition palette called Cheek Parade long before it was individually released and I enjoyed it so much that I knew I was going to get the full size version for easier travel and top ups. I didn't want it so much for contouring but for gently warming up my face when I want a more natural bronze look. I'm not the fairest of the fair (MAC NW20 for reference) but I am particular when it comes to my bronzers and so many bronzers flash either too orange or too dark for me so I've taken a penchant for building up lighter bronzers to achieve the desired level of bronze. As you will see from the swatches below, this is a good few shades lighter than the original Hoola. I use a fluffy blush to apply this around the perimeters of my face to make myself look a little more subtle-y sunkissed. If you are not fair/light in skin tone, you might want to skip on this.
HOOLA QUICKIE CONTOUR STICK
I've used the original Hoola bronzer for years - it probably comes second only to my beloved NARS Laguna bronzer and it that perfect shade of brown for contouring against my skin shade- so I was very pleased altogether to hear that Benefit were releasing a Hoola contour stick. I'm more of a powder advocate than a cream product fan but it the summer months, I find myself reaching for the creams more and more to achieve a more natural, glowy look. I already mentioned that I really didn't like the Dew the Hoola liquid bronzer that was released last summer - it was way way too orange on my skin tone for me to pull off - so I had initial reservations about trying this product and wanted to try it in person before committing to purchase. As soon as I clapped eyes on it in Sephora back in May, I knew we would get on famously, and I've been using it so much since, even in the last few weeks where the autumn has finally taken hold. The texture of this is perfect - it applies like a dream, blends so easily and sets down and does not budge once applied. When applying this, I usually apply it straight from the bullet on my forehead, around my hairline and under my cheekbones - I don't put any on my jawline but I would buff any excess product on my brush there instead. It doesn't disturb the foundation underneath and looks completely natural on the skin. You get 8.5g of product in the stick which should last a while as you don't need to use a whole lot of it.
I was sure that this highlighter was going to be pink chunky glitter but to my great surprise, it's a very shiny and not very glittery highlighter that doesn't flash pink on my skin tone at all. This highlighter is possibly the most flattering wet look, sheeny and not glittery highlighting product that I own. Lord knows I love me some highlight and I don't think I have anything else quite like this one already. It doesn't really matter how much you apply - I don't think you can apply too much of this to be honest so I have been applying it liberally. It comes in the same box packaging as the other bronzers and blushes which I am not terribly keen on (I would prefer a simple compact instead of chunky box faff). I apply this with my Zoeva Luxe Highlight brush #105 along my cheeks and down the bridge of my nose and it leaves a gorgeous lit from within glow on the skin with absolutely no traces of glitter. Even though the powder looks pink in the pan, it doesn't apply pink to the face in my opinion - so I don't think you would get away with using this as a blush substitute if you wanted some cheek colour. Speaking of blush, when you pair this highlighter with Dandelion, that's when the real magic happens. I just feel like this highlighter is health in a box - on the most miserable grey days, it makes me feel like I've been sitting out in the sun for hours. If you love a full on metallic glow that can be seen from the International Space Station, this is not the product for you - if you are looking for a more natural, glowy highlight, I honestly believe you would be hard pressed to find a better alternative. This is pretty much the only highlight product I have been using for the last few months. I think this highlight would look great on lots of different skintones - obviously the fair skinned folk like myself but also medium/darker skin tones because the product is not ashy and quite buildable. I've used this so much that I have made a sizeable dent in it and I think I am only a few more uses away from hitting pan.
If you're looking to purchase these products yourself, have a look at the Look Fantastic website or you can also pick them up from Boots, Debenhams, House of Fraser, Harvey Nichol, Cloud 10 Beauty or in one of the many pharmacies that stock Benefit products. Hoola Lite and Dandelion Twinkle retails for €34 whilst the Hoola Quickie Contour Stick will set you back €30.
Have you tried any of the new Benefit products yet?
I have never bought into the Charlotte Tilbury hype as I have found most of her products to be middle of the road but the one thing that I really think Charlotte does well is lip products. Her Lip Cheats are perfection (I've gone through several Pillow Talk lip liners by now), her KISSING lipsticks are amongst the smoothiest and creamiest lip products I have ever tried and her Matte Revolution lipsticks are some of my fave lipsticks ever. Charlotte knows lips. When I spied that Charlotte had a new collection of liquid lipsticks coming out, I was on it like a car bonnet, and I ordered three different colours from Selfridges the day they were released and have been trying them out since.
There are 10 shades of the new Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Lips altogether - ranging from a pale nude to a vampy red. The collection is predominantly a suite of warm nude shades with a cool pink and shimmery coral thrown in for good measure. As the name would suggest, all of the shades are Hollywood inspired (with names like 'Best Actress', 'Screen Siren' and 'Rising Star' to match). Charlotte even named a nude after herself and 'Charlotte Darling' is her signature shade in the collection. The full suite of shades are available from Charlotte Tilbury website, Brown Thomas and BT2, and the Selfridges website. I paid €27.50 a piece from the Selfridges website and they are available for €32 from Brown Thomas or from the Charlotte Tilbury website directly.
The Hollywood Lips come in standard enough but Tilbury fancy gold tubes, and what Charlotte herself says sets these liquid lipsticks apart from all others is the specially designed 'Lip Hug' applicator - I kid you not. This lip hugging applicator allegedly has a wide part to cover the lower lip, mimicking the natural shape, and the thinner part precisely defining the upper lip. That's an awful lot of promise from one small, inconspicuous looking doe foot applicator.
I was very conservative and only purchased three shades - 'Dolly Bird', 'Show Girl' and 'Too Bad I'm Bad'.
Dolly Bird is the only cool toned pink shade in the collection. This is my favourite of the three shades that I picked because I'm all about the cool toned pinks. I think this is quite a wearable pink for a bright pink and it looks well against my pale cool toned skin.
Show Girl is described as a natural rose berry but I have to say, the colour appears darker on my lips than the official promo shots on the Charlotte Tilbury website. I don't really mind because I love the shade - it absolutely screams autumn to me and I'm feeling increasingly more autumnal as the cooler temperatures are creeping in.
Too Bad I'm Bad is described as an alluring warm rosy pink which is pretty bang on. This is probably the least offensive warm pink shade going and I'm sure this will appeal to the masses. For whatever reason, I have oft suffered from "bumhole" lips when I use this colour in particular.
So - after trying out a few different shades over the course of a week - I have a few thoughts. I do find the Hollywood Lips apply well - in spite of the "innovative wand" (and I will get to that later) because it is a nice thick creamy formula - it feels comfortable on the lips - no stickiness or tackiness and no strong scent. They do not set completely on the lips so you will still get a little transfer if you I have the driest lips going and even though I love liquid lipsticks, they sometimes go flaky on me if I haven't given my lips a good scrub and moisturising, but I was genuinely impressed with how the Hollywood Lips did not dry out my lips. If you have as much as a flake of dryness on your lips, you definitely need to tend to that before you even think of applying this to your lips. All of the Hollywood Lips had a soft matte finish and none of the colours I picked sank into my fine little lip lines.
In terms of lasting power, I found that these lasted pretty well but no longer than her Matte Revolution lipsticks. When reapplying, it was not strictly necessary to remove all of the lipstick and reapply a fresh layer, but it definitely looked better this way - albeit quite impractical for reapplying when you are out and about. Because the formula is a bit thicker than your average liquid lipstick formula, you can't really get away with just swiping some on on the fly.
On the amazing innovative wand - this is a ridiculous concept quite frankly. It does nothing to help application, in fact it hinders an easy application. In my experience, the curve on the applicator (which is meant to swiftly cover your bottom lip) just picks up and gathers loads of product - it sits on the applicator like cement on a shovel waiting to be thrown somewhere. I get what team Tilbury were trying to do but, just, no - in fact, it's a little bit annoying because it means you should take greater care when applying so you don't get product all over your face which kind of defeats the purpose of this super-innovative wand. If it ain't broke...
Conclusion - these are grand lip products but nothing really special. I will for sure happily continue to use these but I wouldn't repurchase any of them because they are not that dear to me, and I very much doubt I'll be enticed by any more of the shades. In summary - another overpriced, middle of the road Charlotte Tilbury product.
The launch of Rihanna's Fenty Beauty line of cosmetics has gotten many heads in a spin since inception and it's recent release on both sides of the Atlantic has seen an absolute plethora of reviews and first impressions and worth the hypes go online. I'm not a huge Rihanna fangirl but I am a huge makeup fangirl so I duly headed over to Harvey Nichols in Dundrum on the launch weekend to test out the products for myself and of course I purchased a few bits and pieces to try out. I have been trying them out for the last month and I am finally reporting back today on how I found the products and what I think of the makeup in general.
Firstly - the things I like and don't like about Fenty Beauty as a brand before we begin. Rihanna and her team decided to come out with not four or five but FORTY different shades of foundation as part of their standing range. Apparently Rihanna wanted the brand to be ridiculously inclusive for all women - from the palest snowflakes to the darkest chocolate girls - which is incredibly commendable. It's so frustrating that some foundations in certain brands are limited to 5/6 measly shades - a 40 shade offering is by any standards impressive. Secondly, whilst there are a huge array of foundations available, there is not much of anything else - a primer, a (single, universal) lip gloss, some Match SkinSticks which are cream stick concealers, blushes, highlights and contours in little bullets, some highlighting/blush duos and blotting powders and papers. It's quite clear that the initial Fenty Beauty offering is all about the base and achieving that glow - there is very little in the line of colour cosmetics to play with. The stand in Harvey Nichols Dundrum is huge, and the girls on counter were very lovely and very enthusiastic about their product, but there wasn't much on the stand because there is not a huge product line-up. Again, this brand has just started out so I think that's ok and the girls on counter did tell me that new arrivals for eyes and lips were imminent so we won't have too long to wait. The packaging and aesthetic of the brand were quite pleasing - very Bajan beachy with simplistic beige/white packaging and all the powder compacts / Match Sticks / lip gloss come in hexagonal packaging. I don't think the packaging is particularly special or luxe though - it reminds me of the H&M makeup range.
I picked up the primer, foundation (obvs), lip gloss (say what?) and a contour/highlight/concealer trio on my first trip. The price point of the products is at the lower end of the high-end spectrum - quite similar to MAC prices - I don't know why but I was expecting it to be pricier and I was expecting Irish gals to get stung by the usual poor exchange rates but that was not the case - hooray! I've really put these products through their paces - I even brought them to Madrid with me on a recent trip - so I feel like I have tested them out under a variety of conditions. I had immediate feels about these products - some good and some bad - and instead of rushing to get a post up in the first week following the launch, I decided to take a longer view to give a more informed review.
The first product I want to talk about is the Fenty Beauty Pro Filtr Instant Retouch Primer. I'm not a great lover of many primers to be honest - I hate the feeling of most silicone primers on my skin and as I have quite dehydrated skin, I usually opt for hydrating or glowy bases. This primer appealed to me from first swatch because it's not even remotely siliconey - in fact, it feels rather lovely. It promises a smooth, pore-diffusing finish and extended make up wear. The sales assistant in Harvey Nichols recommended using these only on the T-zone area if you have drier skin like I do but she said this would be a blessing for oilier skinned gals. I would only ever apply primers to the centre of my forehead, down my nose and on my chin anyway. The primer applies nice, blends smoothly but I can't say my pores look instantly diffused - I think they look more diffused but that could be wishful thinking. I've tried this primer with other foundations when I was travelling and my foundation lasted well, even in the 30 degree Madrid sunshine. I definitely like and rate this primer but I don't know if it has changed my life so much that I will rush out to repurchase it - as far as primers go, I really like using it.
The next product I have to talk about is the Fenty Beauty Pro Filtr Soft Matte Luminous Foundation - yes, the foundation of which there are 40 shades. I'm not going to dispute what other people have said or their experiences but I will tell you what I think. Everybody is talking about this foundation. I got the shade 170 - I've heard about 5 different people say you need to go in to be shade matched but I matched myself to 170 online before I ever went in store (on the basis I have a light complexion and cool undertones) and it's a good shade match for me but I have noticed after a couple of hours wear it oxidises majorly. It's uncanny how it is such a perfect match when applied but after a couple of hours, I honestly look jaundiced. It promises a medium to full coverage, longwearing and light as air and to be fair, the coverage is excellent, it is pretty longwearing as foundations go, but I don't find it to be light as air. It's not like cement on my face but I wouldn't say I cannot feel it either. This foundation is super matte - not the luminous matte I was expecting. It's matter than my normal foundation choice because I don't often go for a matte look. It's so matte that it's quite thick and I find you have to work with it very quickly to get it blended out nicely on your face before it sets. I've used multiple tools for applying these but my favourite method is buff it all over the face with the Zoeva Flat Top Buffer and bounce a damp beauty blender over the top to set everything in place.
I personally don't really love the finish on me but I have been asked 10 times by women I work with / friends on what foundation I am wearing when I have had this on and several of them have actually told me they bought it on the basis of seeing it on me. I can't tell you how much that surprises me because I don't love it on me - because it is so matte and so dry, I find it quite aging on my skin and not the most comfortable foundation ever. The finish, whilst I don't find it to be the luminous matte that some other people have experienced, is pretty flawless by any standards and lasts incredibly well especially on the T-zone. Like I mentioned earlier, I brought this foundation to Madrid with me and I was shocked at how well it lasted - I didn't powder it and I wasn't shining by the end of the day. I have mixed feels about this foundation - I like how it performs and that's why I continue to use it, but I don't like how it feels on my skin or the finish of it before I put on all of my other makeup - the real killer for me is how badly it oxidises on me, I end up bringing it right down my neck and that's a little more effort than I like to undergo with my foundation application. At €33, it's pretty reasonable for a high end foundation and you get 32 ml of product which is a few more applications per bottle than your average foundation. I like the simplistic packaging of the foundation and the fact it comes with a pump. I won't repurchase it when I finish the bottle because of the oxidisation issues. I've seen this compared to the Catrice HD Liquid Foundation also but in my opinion, I don't think they are comparable.
The next product I picked up was the Match Stix Trio in Light 100 which contains a concealer in the shade 'Linen', a cream contour in the shade 'Amber' and a cream highlight in the shade 'Starstruck'. There are a few trios available in the Fenty Beauty collection, they all comprise of a concealer, contour and highlight shade - I went for the fairest set because I was eager to try the products. I think the set was about €52 which wasn't too shabby at all considering one of the items alone is around the €24 mark.
I thought the Matte Skinstick Concealer in Linen would look desperate under my eye and even though the lovely girl at the counter tried it on me and it looked fine, I have never once applied it on myself without it looking like scrambled eggs and I have tried so many ways of applying it now that I have just given up on it. The texture of the concealer is quite dry and hard and when you blend it out it feels quite powdery and thick. For a thick feeling product, it didn't cover my dark circles the way I hoped it would, and certainly the coverage doesn't even come near the coverage that the foundation offers. The shade was a good match - kind of peachy toned on me which should work amazingly on the undereyes - and I didn't notice it oxidising over the course of the day. The Matte Skinstick Contour Stick in Amber looked so promising because it seemed like quite a nice cool brown shade but my bugbear with this is that because the product is so dry, it tends to pull whatever else you have on your face with it when you apply it. During the course of blending, I've found it kind of blends away to nothingness. The product is so dry that you have to work quickly with it to get it blended out before it sets - I've used different brushes, beauty blenders, setting sprays etc. to give it a fair chance - but nothing I do has made this apply or blend any nicer. Both of the Matte Skinsticks applied incredibly matte - I thought because of the matte foundation that there might be a little bit of life or moisture in the colour products but this was not the case in my experience.
Finally, the Shimmer Skinstick in Starstruck looked like a lovely highlight when I swatched it in store but again, it feels quite dry on the face when you apply it, you have to work with it quickly before it sets and I feel like when this is blended out on the areas you want to highlight that it just looks like glitter particles moreso than the usual sheen or glow that I would prefer. Even though this product is not matte like the concealer and counter, it's quite dry in the bullet, not at all creamy as you might expect a highlighter stick to be. I've never enjoyed wearing this because I just don't like a glittery highlight. All of the Skinstick products for me were complete fails - in my eyes, they have practically zero redeeming qualities - and my advice to you quite frankly would be to save your money.
The last Fenty Beauty product I picked out was the Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer which is the only lip product in the Fenty Beauty lineup so far and it is a glittery lip gloss which just comes in one universal shade. I am not a gloss girl but I was intrigued about a universal lip gloss for all skin tones so I did purchase it - if nothing else, I thought it was gas that Rihanna opted to release a foundation for every shade of skin under the sun but just the one shade of the single lip product. I'm not mad into glosses as I said, but as far as glosses go, this is quite nice. It's not sticky on the lips, the doe-foot applicator is huge so a quick swipe and you're good to go and the little glitter particles are very fine so it doesn't like too childish. It doesn't last very long on the lips - an hour or two before reapplying for me - but I genuinely think it made my lips look bigger and juicier (particularly when paired with my HG lipliner Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk. I'm not going to pretend like this is a miracle lip product because I genuinely don't think that it is, it's a nice lip gloss and that's about the extent of it. If you're interested in owning it, it can be yours for €17.
So there is my Fenty Beauty overview - as you can tell, there were many feels on my part, and not all of them were good feels. I wasn't really wowed by any of the products that I tried and I wouldn't fall over myself to pick up any other products any time soon. It wasn't so awful that I am blacklisting the brand but I am definitely guilty of falling for the hype on this occasion. If you haven't picked anything from Fenty Beauty yet, don't let the FOMO get you down. If you're thinking about the foundation, make sure to get a sample to take home with you so you can check to see if / how badly it oxidises on your skin. Don't say I never warned you!
I think I was a bit late to the Note Cosmetics party (partly because I still to this day have not come across an actual physical Note Cosmetics display in a pharmacy - shame on me) but after trying out some products that were kindly sent to me by the Note Cosmetics PR team, I was bitten by the bug and I had to try more. I've heard glowing reports from many of my fellow beauty nuts on the various foundations in particular so that had to be my first foray into the brand. Long time readers of this here blog will know that I am a foundation fanatic - I have favourites but I am always searching for the next best foundation, it's the most important makeup step in my opinion and I will judge whole brands on their foundation offerings. Full disclosure first - I received one foundation as a PR sample and purchased the other four foundations myself from Cara Pharmacy.
On the brand, a little bit of investigative work informs me that this brand is the brainchild of former NYX Cosmetics and Cargo Cosmetics executives (and y'all know I was a big NYX fangirl back in the day). The brand pride themselves on infusing their products with botanicals and all of the products are manufactured in Europe. The packaging and finish of the products is more luxe than your average drugstore brand and they promise professional quality cosmetics yet the prices are still very reasonable across the board.
I don't know how to review five foundations in one post but when I asked on Instagram if there would be any appetite on a comparison post, y'all were hungry - so we will give it a try. I loved some of the foundations and was happy enough with others but (miraculously) I didn't dislike any of the foundations I tried and I am ridiculously picky and unforgiving when it comes to foundation testing. For reference, I have been using these foundations for weeks but I tested them out/photographed over five consecutive days. I did not use any concealers, primers or setting powders with them so the coverage and finish you see in the pictures is the actual raw unfiltered finish of the product taken in natural daylight. I used the exact same brush to apply all of the foundations (obvs washing it in between uses) and my brush of choice was the Zoeva Buffer brush #104.
All of the Note Cosmetics foundations are very affordable (between the €10-14 mark, however the shade range is not great in some (I will elaborate below). Whilst some of the shades were at least 2 shades too dark for me, I have to say I did not encounter any oxidation with any of the foundations. There is also a newer foundation out called Sun Glow which I have not yet tried - this is one I would like to test before forking out just because some of the others ran so dark on me. All of the foundations contain SPF 15 which is always greatly appreciated and each foundation comes with 35ml of product instead of the standard 30ml so you get another few applications for your dolla. On to the goods!
Note Cosmetics Mineral Foundation*
This is the foundation that was sent to me by the Note Cosmetics PR team and they sent me the lightest shade of the three shades available, 401. This foundation retails for €12.95, has SPF 15 built in and is paraben free. This was the first Note Cosmetics foundation that I tried and the one that made me catch the bug. I have to self tan when I use this foundation as it is too dark to even blend down my neck - for reference, I take a MAC NW20 so I'm not the fairest of the fair but this is still far too dark for my natural skin shade. Literally, the only complaint that I have about this foundation is that I wish it came in a lighter shade. The coverage is amazing - definitely medium to full - and it lasts beautifully (even in this muggy summer weather) - in my experience, it looks the same in the evening as it did when it was first applied in the morning. I don't have oily skin but I have noticed in the summer months a lot of my foundations tend to evaporate off my face over the course of wear but this one lasts brilliantly even without powder and doesn't disappear from or gather up around my nose. The foundation is full of vitamins, calcium and zinc to both care for your skin and give your skin a nice glow. In terms of finish, it's quite a satin finish with a gentle sheen under the light as opposed to a shiny, glowy finish. There is also a concealer in this range which I will absolutely have to try out.
Note Cosmetics BB Cream
The BB Cream is definitely one of my favourite Note Cosmetics foundation offerings, I've been using this so much over the last 2+ months that I am nearly finished the tube. This foundation costs €11.95, comes in three shades and is labelled an 'Advanced Skin Corrector'. I don't know about you but I'm all about the BB cream life in the summer months - when you don't want too much coverage but would like an even canvas for the rest of your makeup - so I was more than happy to try this out. I went for the lightest shade 01 but it was still too dark for my natural skin tone so I have to wear this when I have self tanned. Again, like the Mineral Foundation, that is the only complaint that I have about this product - I really rate it other than that. It applies beautifully, you would not even feel it sitting on your skin, it lasts incredibly well and the finish is luminous enough without being too shiny and very unifying if you have any patches of pigmentation or redness (you can clearly see in the photo how the BB Cream concealed some old blemish marks around my jawline and chin area - this was just the BB Cream - no other concealers or products necessary. It lasted incredibly well without gathering around my nose or fading off in spots and I didn't feel like I had to powder it over the course of wear either (but remember I don't have oily skin so I can get away without powder).
Note Cosmetics Luminizing Moisturising Foundation
The Note Cosmetics Luminous Moisture Foundation is another absolute gift of a product - this beaut has probably cemented it's place in my top 5 high street/pharmacy/drugstore foundations already. I purchased the palest shade 01 Beige and, thankfully, unlike the Mineral Foundation and BB Cream, I can get away with the palest shade in this one without having to self tan because it is that bit lighter (in fact, it was probably too light for me on this occasion as you can see from the picture above but it's easier to warm up a foundation than it is to cool one down!). This foundation costs €9.95 so it is the cheapest of all the Note Cosmetics foundations that I tried and comes in 6 shades so you have a far better chance of finding a shade to suit you. The finish of this is super luminous and radiant without being shiny and greasy looking, and it sits on the skin beautifully - you would not even feel like you have foundation on. It is medium to full in coverage - it was enough to cover the marks on my chin and jawline and my freckles without any other concealer. I love this and will undoubtedly repurchase.
Note Cosmetics Detox and Protect Foundation
I was curious to try this foundation as I would love to know how a foundation can detox and protect your skin. This foundation was €13.95 and comes in a sleek plastic bottle (very reminiscent of the Inglot HD Foundation) with a built in pump. I purchased the lightest shade 01 Beige which is light enough to wear without fake tan but I noticed that shade 01 in this foundation was quite a bit more yellow toned than the other foundations - not yellow enough to make me look like a Simpson though. There are 6 shades available in this range. This foundation is supposed to act as a shield against free radicals and whilst I cannot put my hand on my heart and say that no such free radicals were able to penetrate through this foundation, I can put my hand on my heart and say this is a brilliant foundation that wore beautifully over the course of a day - so much so that I was asked by three different people in one day about what foundation I was wearing. This foundation just looks like skin - you cannot feel it on your skin and it just blends in like a dream. I felt like when I had this one blended to my satisfaction that it set - not like cement obvs - but it just felt like it wouldn't budge and budge it does not. The finish is quite matte and it feels quite silky on the skin.
Note Cosmetics Mattifying Foundation
Lastly but not leastly, the Mattifying Extreme Wear Foundation is a foundation that I probably wouldn't have gravitated towards off my own bat because I'm not really an extreme matte kind of girl. I really wanted to try all of the Note Cosmetics foundations though so I purchased this one also and at €13.95 it hardly broke the bank. For a "mattifying extreme" foundation, this applied effortlessly with a flat top kabuki and didn't look powdery or chalky like I suspected it might. Again, like the Detox & Protect Foundation, this set quite quickly after applying which means you have to work quickly to blend like a boss before it sets down. A little bit of this product goes a long way and it is most definitely a full coverage foundation. If you have oily skin and are in the market for a new comfortable matte foundation that will last a full day on your face, I think you would love this one. It contains cedar wood oil and spiraea extract to balance the level of sebium in your skin which will not only help to keep the oil at bay but will also work to prevent breakouts. This lasted 16 hours on me with no primer, no powder and no setting spray and I'm sure any of these things would improve longevity for my oilier friends. I feel guilty for dismissing this at the beginning because whenever I've needed a foundation to last a really long time because of a long work day or extreme heat, this is the one I have turned to. It's one of the most comfortable, least cakey matte foundations I have ever tried. It comes in 6 different shades, I got the lightest shade of the bunch (01 Beige) and it also comes with a built in pump.
The Bottom Line
If you cannot tell from all you have read already, I am seriously impressed with every single one of the Note Cosmetics foundations that I have tried to date - like I am genuinely surprised at how impressed I honestly was, I can't lie to myself and I wouldn't lie to you. I've said I completely admit judging brands by their foundation offerings because I'm all about that base and, if I am to judge Note Cosmetics on the back of their foundations, I think they have much to offer and I look forward to trying more out of their products. My only gripe is that I wish the Mineral Foundation and BB Cream came in lighter shades - I won't be self tanning as much in the winter which means I will have to retire these soon and I don't want to have to retire them (first world problem I know). I will put my hat on the line and unequivocally state that these foundations collectively perform a heck of a lot better than many of my high end / luxe foundations and, maybe I should be bitter about that, but I'm not because I am just happy to have found these. If you are interested in purchasing these yourself, the list of stockists is available from the Note Cosmetics Ireland Facebook page and the full range is available online from Cara Pharmacy, Sam McCauley, CH Chemists Tralee and Meaghers Pharmacy to name a few that I am aware of.
Have you tried any Note Cosmetics foundations and, if so, what did you think? I would also be very grateful for any Note Cosmetics product suggestions or recommendations in the comments below.
When I first saw a picture of the Anastasia Beverly Hills Subculture palette, I was completely underwhelmed. ABH Modern Renaissance palette was one of my favourite makeup releases of 2016 and I have loads of the individual ABH eyeshadows that I absolutely cherish, but the colour selection in Subculture left me feeling a bit meh - a few teals, a mustard - I just wasn't gone on the colour lineup because it wasn't my beef. I didn't think I was going to purchase it but I couldn't stop myself from picking one up on the day that it was released because I just had such brilliant experiences with the other ABH shadows that I had tried that I thought that this might be the palette to make me come out of my brown eyeshadow comfort zone. On the back of the palette itself, it describes Subculture as "an essential eye shadow collection with fourteen shades featuring grungy mattes and bold metallics with an underground edge." Whilst I am not even remotely grungy, this palette screams Autumn to me and of course I feel like I can justify the purchase because not only do I love Autumn, I don't have a collection of colours like this in any of my other palettes. I ordered directly from Anastasia Beverly Hills UK website, it arrived in a few days and of course I did not have to pay any customs. The palette is now available on Cult Beauty and Beauty Bay if you are interested in purchasing it by the time you have finished reading this post.
I know that there has been controversy around this palette since it was released (my Youtube and Instagram feeds are full of ABH Subculture bashing or "honest" reviews) but I have not watched or read or followed up on this because I want to take the palette as I find it and not have my opinion swayed by others before I got a chance to give this palette a good try for myself. I've often been disappointed with products that other folks have raved about and vice versa - different folks, different strokes c'est la vie. It's very easy to come online and jump on a slating bandwagon, even where that criticism is totally deserved, but I wanted to provide a comprehensive review based on my own experience. Makeup is all subjective. I'm not going to lie - I forked out €50 for this so I wanted to like it.
The Basics : The packaging is pretty much identical to the Modern Renaissance palette expect there is a flocked dark teal velvet cover on the Subculture palette, they are the same size and both have a decent mirror. I am fully bracing myself for the fact that it will probably get filthy in time from use. Like the Modern Renaissance, the palette comes with a brush and I'm usually not a fan of brushes that come with eyeshadow palettes but this one is actually not bad (probably still won't use it though...). You get 14 colours in the palette - 11 mattes, 1 duochrome, 1 metallic and 1 duochrome metallic shades - in a variety of hues from warm, cool and neutral tones. It is an interesting combination of colours for sure - possibly not the most cohesive selection and not the kind of colours that I would reach for everyday but I don't reach for the same things every day anyway.
The Swatches : As you can see from the swatches below, the pigmentation is strong. Most of the matte shades have incredible pigmentation, but they are very soft, very powdery and leave a lot of fallout. One single finger swatch packs a mighty punch - that rich pigment also translates to the lids if you use the tiniest amount of product, a very light hand and pat it on very gently. In my opinion, the ABH Modern Renaissance palette leaves more fallout and kickback than the standard individual ABH eyeshadows that you can buy directly from ABH website or Sephora, but the fallout and kickback from Subculture can be something else altogether in comparison if you don't take care with these shadows. I spend an extra few minutes applying these colours and blending slowly and carefully and to be honest, I don't really feel too aggrieved by that.
Firstly, the low down on each of the shadows. I definitely have favourites and shades that I have been disappointed with for one reason or another, there is a difference not only between the matte and the shimmer shades but also between the shimmer shades themselves so it's not a completely consistent palette. Most of the matte shades needed two very light layers as the first layer applied quite patchily - again, I can't stress enough that light softly-softly is the way to go with this palette. The powders themselves are not packed tightly enough into the pans, so even if you didn't want to pick up loads of product, you cannot help it, and all that is needed is literally just to tap your brush into the product, to hover it over the pan even. The plus side is that once these shadows are applied to your spec, they last incredibly well, upwards of 10 hours over the MAC Paint Pot in Painterly, with no unforgiving creasing.
Cube is the only duochrome shade and this appeared to be the most poorly pigmented. In the pan this looks white with a pink/lilac pearl so you might expect it to swatch like that also but all I've ever been able to get from this shadow is a slight pink sheen. Very disappointing and a complete waste of precious palette space. Dawn is a gorgeous muted peach similar to one of my favourite Makeup Geek eyeshadows called Peach Smoothie. This colour is a brilliant transition shade because it just barely shows up on my crease when it is blended out. This blended out evenly. Destiny is a dark matte khaki green brown shade that I probably would never ever pick up individually. It is very soft and smooth and pigmented and applied pretty well to the lid when packed on but looked a little messy once you started blending. Adorn is one of my favourite looking shades in the palette, a rich metallic copper. This feels like cream eyeshadow but is a powder. It doesn't apply like a cream however unfortunately - I have to use either a small synthetic brush or my finger tip to place this on my eyelid and I feel like it applies like a ton of coppery glitter with no base shade binding it together. All Star is a matte plum shade which looks incredible in the pan and incredible swatched but it applies patchily to the lids if you try to use a flat brush like the Blank Canvas E24 and when you try to blend it out, it just blends to nothingness. I was disappointed by the performance of this shadow because I adore burgundy shadow shades. Mercury is one of the cooler shades in the palette and is a lovely cool taupe brown but I feel like this eyeshadow is actually too pigmented to be used as a crease colour or blended out. Axis is a deep teal shade and possibly the shade my eye is always drawn to first when I look at the palette. I've found this shade difficult to work with because it is unbelievably pigmented - like crazily so - and I'm not a mad one for blue or green eyeshadows so it's a bit intimidating. You literally need to just hover your brush over this to pick up enough product to cover your entire face (I'm only kind of kidding). It is a very difficult shade to work with - it is just too pigmented. Also, I used this with a brush on my lids before taking a finger swatch for a blog photo and I realised that the texture of this powder seems drier and grainier than any of the other matte shades in the palette.
Roxy is a vivid matte apricot shade and one of my favourites in the palette, particularly against blue eyes. I love a little pop of coral crease and this colour is so bright and cheery. It applied and blended well. Electric is a gold that flashes green under the light and looks green when applied to the eyes. This looks interesting in the pan - you can make out the duochrome effect from the pan itself. On the lids, this looks like green glitter particles. It is drier and less cream like than Adorn and it is most definitely not the bold metallic shade which ABH promise on the back of the palette! Fudge is a medium warm red toned brown eyeshadow which should be right up my street but the massive pigment you pick up with this in the beginning just fades to mud on your eyes, it is difficult enough to work with. New Wave is a matte orange shadow that looks yellowy in the pan but applies like a true orange. This applied well and blended well. Untamed is a mid toned smokey green shade - I don't mind the shade in the pan but I am not at all enamoured by the way this looks on my eyelids with my skin tone - suffice to say, greens are not my thing. Also, like Axis, this is just too pigmented. Edge is a dark warm matte yellow eyeshadow and the most intimidating eyeshadow of the bunch in my opinion - I still have not incorporated this into an eyeshadow look but I live in hope that one day I will grab life by the cojones and embrace the yellow. I think it might be nice as a transition shade with a shadow like Makeup Geek Cocoa Bear. Rowdy is a deep matte purple-ish burgundy shade that looks gorgeous in the pan but applies and swatches patchily. I've tried to use this to line my upper lashline instead of eyeliner and it turned to fairy dust and disappeared.
Overall, this palette hasn't impressed me one hundredth as much as the Modern Renaissance palette but it's grand. Am I glad to have forked out €50 for it - not really, I don't have anything else like it in my collection and I look forward to trying to master this, but I wish it was just easier to use. It's not comparable to the ABH single eyeshadows or the Modern Renaissance palette but it's not completely unworkable either, it requires an alternative method of application to what I am used to and leaves an end result that I would not normally end up with. It might be unfair comparing it to Modern Renaissance but the Subculture palette was the eagerly anticipated follow up so I cannot help but compare the two. What I will say about Subculture - and this is really important if you are considering a purchase- I think this palette would work best for those of us who like to limit our eye looks to 2/3 colours, particularly complimentary colours that don't need a lot of blending. The more colours you use, the more work you are going to have to put in. I'm not one for mad eye looks really so I've gotten on ok-ish with this but when I have tried to use more than three colours in a look, it can look a little busy or muddy. I haven't been rushing out the door when I've applied this so I have had the time and patience to do what I need to do. I feel like this is the opposite of pretty much every other eyeshadow palette in the world in that usually you apply your eye colour, blend like a boss, apply some more to build it up to your desired intensity etc. This palette packs a mighty punch when you apply it first, it goes on super strong in the beginning and you have to work it down to the best of your ability. I don't think you necessarily have to be the most skilled makeup applicator in the world to use this palette but you do have to have patience and a vision.
The irony that the very reason I was not going to purchase this palette in the first place (the colour selection) became the thing I appreciate most about the palette is not lost on me. Even though it does take me longer to apply my eye makeup, I'm happy that it lasts a decent amount of time. I don't regret this purchase yet, I don't hate this palette but I don't certainly do not love it either - I'm in that middle place of meh. If ABH were to release another new palette in the morning, I will still probably be on it like a car bonnet. I understand that ABH were trying to bring us the most pigmented shadows ever but they went a step too far on that journey in my opinion in bringing us pigments so strong that some are borderline unworkable. Maybe Modern Renaissance was eyeshadow palette perfection that just cannot be replicated. I wouldn't really recommend purchasing this - not because I think it is all bad - but because I don't want to inflict that workload on anyone.
Have you tried Subculture yet or been dissuaded from trying it from all the negative press it has gotten?
I've been picking up a MAC eyeshadow here and there for years - I've repurchased many and I've retired many too as my eyeshadow tastes have developed. I wouldn't say MAC eyeshadows are the best eyeshadows in the world by any standard but there are definitely a fair handful of amazing, iconic shades in the MAC lineup. Up until quite recently, I think a single pan eyeshadow was €12 but Brown Thomas recently slashed the price of single pan eyeshadows to just €7, so I thought it timely that I swatch some shadows and show my beloved readers what I rate and what I hate in the MAC eyeshadow world so far. I think most of the colours are available in Ireland also - I've picked some up in the US, the UK etc. over the years. The vast vast majority of the shadows below are all some degree of neutrals but that's because I wear neutral eyeshadows 99% of the time and I've invested in what I know I will get the most use out of.
MAC eyeshadows come in several different finishes - matte, veluxe pearl, velvet, frost, satin, lustre - and I think they have around 110 individual shades in their permanent single eyeshadow line. The pigmentation and ease of use varies across the finishes - I'm a big fan of the veluxe pearl shadows and the velvets are my least favourites. Some of the lustre shadows can be very poorly pigmented also and, as you will see below, the mattes are either amazingly pigmented or poor and washy. For that reason, I've put the finish in the description of each of the shades below, as well as the official description of the colour from MAC (where I think their description was misleading, I will let you know).
It's taken me a few years to accumulate these shadows and I've gone through multiple pans of several colours over the years. I've got 1 x 30 pan palette (the double-sided one packed with neutrals), 2 x 15 palettes (warm tones and cool tones), 1 quad with four of my most used colours and four single shadows that I have yet to depot. My double sided MAC palette is probably my most used item in my makeup collection - in my line of work, I don't get the opportunity to experiment with colours very often and though this palette might look boring, it houses some of my most loved and most used shadows. Enough blather out of me - now on to the swatches!
Gesso is a matte finish shadow and is described as a vivid white and I couldn't agree with this description - it's a stark white, extremely brightening and the matte formula on this is dreamy.
Phloof is a frost shadow and is described as a frosted off-white - I would qualify this by saying it leans towards the pink/purple spectrum under a certain light. This is quite nice on the inner tear duct. It applies nicely.
Shroom is a satin shadow and is described as a soft beige with shimmer. I love this shadow so much I somehow ended up with two in my palette! I love wearing this on it's own with a simple colour in the crease like Cork blended out to oblivion for a simple, no-fuss eye look. Shroom was one of my first MAC eyeshadows and I will keep on repurchasing it.
Blanc Type is a matte creamy beige shadow, similar to Urban Decay Virgin. It's a good colour to apply before any other shadows as I find it brightens and neutralises any discolouration on my eyelids.
Dazzlelight is a veluxe pearl shadow (one of my favourite MAC eyeshadow finishes) neutral beige with shimmer. I don't find myself dipping my eyeshadow brush into this one very often because I would almost always pick Shroom over it.
Malt is a matte shadow described as a soft pinkish-beige - let me tell you, this is one seriously underrated eyeshadow in my opinion. I love this in the crease as a transition shade, it looks great on it's own or with any darker/bold shades. It's quite cool so it looks shadow-esque and very flattering. It also looks great on it's own on your eyelids blown out into the crease with some killer mascara.
Nylon is a frost finish shadow and is described as a pale gold with icy shimmer. I bought this with the intent of using it as a brow highlight but it's too gold for my skintone. I sometimes put this in the inner corners of my eyes or dab a little on my crease when I am doing a burgundy/cranberry eye look - I like the contract of the frosty gold against a burgundy shadow like Makeup Geek Bitten.
Retrospeck is a lustre shadow and the shade is (bizarrely) described as "beached blonde". This is a great one eyeshadow wonder which surprises nobody more than me because it is a lustre finish after all.
Era is a satin eyeshadow and is described as soft golden beige with shimmer - this is definitely more of a light brown than a beige shadow in my mind but it's a really nice shadow and easy to work with.
Omega is a matte shadow and described as a soft muted cool beige-taupe - I'm not sure if it's the coolness of this shadow or not but I love this in the crease. I know loads of fair haired folks use this in their brows also so if you've blonde eyebrows, this might be a good brow pick for you.
Wedge is a matte shadow and described as a soft muted warm beige taupe. What you see is what you get with this shadow.
Honesty is a lustre shadow and is described as a muted bronze - I would say this is more of an antique bronze because it is quite cool. I never find myself reaching for this shadow even though the pigmentation is remarkably decent for a lustre shadow.
Naked Lunch is a frost eyeshadow and described as a minimal pink with shimmer - I don't get pink vibes off this but it is one of my favourite MAC eyeshadows - so much so I have it in this palette and in a quad palette that I put together to bring with me when I'm on the go.
All that Glitters is a veluxe pearl shadow which means the formula is divine and this colour has been described as beige with gold pearl - beige just seems too ordinary a word to describe this. This is a shadow that goes with every other colour - pinks, purples, browns, blues, greens - if you don't already own this, I think you should consider rectifying that stat!
Vex is a frost shadow and described as a beige with pink-green pearl - in my eyes, this is more of a grey than a beige shadow, and I don't pink up on too much pink/green undertones to be honest. I very rarely use this shadow.
Tempting is a lustre shadow and is described on the MAC website as a sinfully rich cocoa - it's more of a rich caramel shade than rich cocoa in my opinion.
Cork is a satin shadow and described as a muted golden-brown. I love this not just because it's called after my homeland but because it's one of my most loved and most used crease colours. It's not too warm, not too cool, not too light and not too dark. It's a must have and I happen to have two.
Woodwinked is a veluxe pearl eyeshadow described as a warm antique cold and this is one of MAC's eyeshadows that has achieved legendary status already so there is not much more I can add really other than to say that this is an incredible colour irrespective of your eye colour, it looks expensive and rich and because it's a veluxe pearl. the finish is incredible. This should be the top of your MAC eyeshadow wishlist if it's not already.
Coquette is a satin shadow and described as a muted greyish-taupe shade. It's a useful mix of mid-tone grey and brown and goes with a multitude of other colours.
Sumptuous Olive is another veluxe pearl shadow so it's bound to be a good'un and this shade is described as a khaki with pearl. I very rarely use this shadow as it's a little greener than what I am used to and that intimidates me a smidge but this is a favourite for many, particularly green-eyed gals.
Patina is a frost shadow and another one of my favourites, described as a taupe brown with golden pearl. I've never come across another shadow like this. I love this all over the lids on it's own.
Sable is a frost shadow described as a gold plum with bronze pearl - as you can see from the swatch above, it's gorgeous
Mulch is a velvet shadow described as red-brown with bronze pearl - I feel like the pearl is more obvious in the pan than it is swatched but this is still a lovely shadow.
Satin Taupe is a frost shadow and one of MAC's most famous shadows in my opinion. It is described as a taupe with silver shimmer but I feel like that's too simple a description for a colour so rich - sometimes it looks purple to me, sometimes brown. It's a great shadow to have in your collection because it just does so much.
Twinks is a veluxe pearl eyeshadow described as a deep plum with pearl - I think it's more of a deep plummy brown than a deep plum but that might just be splitting hairs.
Concrete is a satin shadow and described as a muted taupe brown - I rarely use it granted as I feel like it just looks dirty on my skin.
Brun is a satin shadow and described as a muted blackish-brown - this shadow is so muted, it might as well not exist. I find it hard to build up on the eyes, hard to get a decent swatch for this post, I don't think I even try to use this anymore.
Mystery is a matte shadow and described as a cool brown and that's pretty accurate, a cool dark brown. This is a great dark option for a brown smoky eye and can be used with pretty much any other colour to smoke it out.
Smut is a velvet shadow and described as a muted black with red shimmer - again, I'm going to say this shadow is so muted, there is no point owning it and I definitely would not recommend
Soft Brown is a matte shadow and described as a soft golden peachy brown which is the perfect description. This colour is a dream to work with, easy to apply, easy to blend.
Amber Lights is a frost shadow and described as a peachy brown with shimmer - it's not vivid enough to be a coral but by no means boring enough to be a brown. I love this shade and I feel like it doesn't fully get the love it deserves.
Texture is a velvet shadow and again, is described as a peachy-brown with shimmer. It's lighter in tone than Soft Brown and reminds me a lot of the MAC ProLongwear eyeshadow in Uninterrupted which has now sadly/inexplicably been discontinued.
Saddle is a matte shade and described as a golden orange brown - this eyeshadow makes blue eyes sing, it's so incredibly flattering against blue eyes.
Brown Script is a matte shadow and described as warm chestnut brown - I find this eyeshadow is a great alternative to when I want a really warm eye without using a burgundy or pink eyeshadow.
Coppering is a veluxe pearl shadow and a super vibrant orange copper shade. I love it in my palette but barely use it because I am so intimidated by the brightness of it but this exercise has made me mentally note that I need to try to incorporate this eyeshadow.
Espresso is a matte shadow and described as a muted golden brown but I don't find it to be too golden - it's a neutral brown in my mind - not too warm and not too cool.
Charcoal Brown is a matte shadow and described as a muted taupe brown - this is another one of my favourite crease colours.
Bronze is a frost shade described as a gold brown with gold-bronze shimmer - I admit that I was a little disappointed with this colour when I first purchased it as it's not the most pigmented and I don't reach for it very often.
Swiss Chocolate is a matte shadow described as a muted reddish brown and is a gorgeous crease colour. It reminds me of Makeup Geek Cocoa Bear.
Antiqued is a veluxe pearl shade and described as an ash brown with bronze - I don't think there is anything ashy about this shade but it is a beautiful shade.
Star Violet is a veluxe pearl shade and described as a pinky-brown plum - I would add a bit of purple to the mix on that. This colour is a testament to what MAC do best - so many undercurrents and tones and colour combinations emanating from one single shadow.
Brown Down is a veluxe shadow and described as a teddy bear brown - it's light enough to blend out well for your crease but dark enough to pack on to the outer corners of your eyes.
Embark is a matte shadow and described as an intense reddish brown but my eye doesn't see much reddish in this. It's a very deep brown, very pigmented
Deep Damson is a matte shade (though you wouldn't think it to work with it because it's hard and difficult to pick up) and is described as a deep burgundy. It's a pity this eyeshadow is so poor because the colour in the pan looks so promising.
Copperplate is a matte shadow and described as a cool taupe. It looks particularly gorgeous with purple and mauvey toned eyeshadows. Quarry is a matte and is described as a soft muted plum brown shadow. This is one of my top 5 MAC eyeshadows without a shadow of a doubt. I love a cool mauvey eye and this colour is exquisite. Haux is a satin shadow and not one I hear a lot about at that but it is described as a soft muted rosy brown. It reminds me of my favourite Makeup Geek eyeshadow Cupcake and I love putting this in my crease. Shale is another satin shadow and is described as a mauve plum with shimmer. I don't notice much shimmer when I use this colour and it barely gets a look in to be honest because I'm just too fond of Quarry and Haux. Trax is a velvet shadow and described as a burgundy plum with shimmer - a description which is too kind because this colour honestly doesn't look like much of anything - it swatches terribly and is so difficult to work with. Blackberry is a matte shade and is described as a muted burgundy-plum brown - it swatches and applies darker than it looks in the pan but it goes so nicely with Quarry. Fig 1 is a matte shadow and is described as a cool plum shade - I have really not heard anything about this shadow anywhere but I liked the look of it so I picked it up and I'm so glad I did because it really is something special, even for me who is stuck in a neutral eyeshadow comfort zone rut. Sketch is a velvet shadow (which, if you haven't copped by now, means it should be crap) and is described as a burgundy with red shimmer. I get more purple vibes than I do burgundy vibes when I use this shadow but again, I love pairing it with Quarry or Haux. Beauty Marked is a velvet and is described as a black with red sparkle - as you can see it looks very sparkly in the pan but when swatched, it's blacker than the matte black MAC eyeshadow (we'll get to that). It's a lot darker than I expected so I don't use it very often. Shadowy Lady is another example of a very poor matte shadow and is described as a blackened plum. I've just given up on this - it's far too hard to work with because the brush just does not pick up product. Silver Ring is a veluxe pearl eyeshadow described as a grey with silver sheen. I don't often do silver smoky eyes anymore if I did, this would be my go-to silver eyeshadow. The pigment and wear of this is incredible, I just need more excuses to use it. Scene is a satin finish eyeshadow described as a muted blue grey - this is a great colour for a cooler subtle smoky eye as it's not too dark. Print is a satin finish shadow and described as a muted grey with shimmer - there isn't too much shimmer to it in my mind but I'm pretty fond of grey eyeshadows and this one is right up there. If you're looking for an alternative to black, definitely consider this one. Knight Divine is a veluxe pearl shadow and described as black with silver pearl. This eyeshadow, in my humble opinion, is seriously underrated. It's a gorgeous, packed with pigment silver over a dark base and looks great in the centre of the lid over a grey smoky eye. Carbon is supposedly a matte finish shadow and is described as intense black but as you can see from the swatch about, it's absolutely rubbish. There are way better matte black eyeshadows out there so this is one I would definitely recommend skipping.
Lastly but by no means leastly, the remainder of my MAC standard single eyeshadow collection comprise of 4 single shadows and a 4 pan palette with some of my absolute faves. I don't propose talking about the latter as I have already given my two cents on those shades but I will quickly run through the single shades in my collection. Vanilla is a velvet finish shadow and described as a peachy-ivory with reflects. This shadow, like most of the velvet shadows, is very poorly pigmented and barely shows up at all on my lids. Electra is a frost shadow and is simply described as a silver. This was one of my very first MAC shadows and I've gone through a few pans in the last 10 years. I have cool colouring and blue eyes so I like silvers and greys and this one is just the right shade for me. Club is a satin shadow and is described as a red brown with green pearl but it really swatches more like a brown. I was hoping this would be a duochrome shade but, even though it looks green/red in the pan, it swatches as a warm brown, and so I'm a little disappointed by it. It's grand but I've never felt inclined to depot it and put it into a palette and I just don't find myself reaching for it. Handwritten is a matte shadow and described as a neutral brown shade. I can't remember why I bought this and admittedly I very rarely reach for it but it's a decently pigmented, rich reddish brown shade and I will definitely try to incorporate it into some eye makeup going forward.
So there you have it - my single MAC eyeshadow collection in it's entirely. This was a long post and if you've stuck with me to the end, you deserve a medal. As I mentioned in the beginning, I know my MAC eyeshadow collection is very neutral heavy but thats's just because neutrals have a special place in my heart and I don't veer away from them very often. I hope this post was useful for those of you looking to avail of the price slash on single MAC eyeshadows - I know I'll be picking up a few more before long! On that note, if you have any colour recommendations, let me know! As a matter of interest, what's your favourite MAC eyeshadow shade?
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