• Makeup

    My Makeup Audit: February 2021

    This months arsenal was actually picked out a few months in advance, when I was beginning to get a bit bored with only choosing Meow shadows. I chose January and February in one go and after that I decided on March and April the same way.

    February’s arsenal consisted of four fixed palettes and two quads assembled with single shadows. A lot of colour and shimmer with a solid base of matte neutrals by Urban Decay, Chanel, Illamasqua and MAC.

    The Afterdark palette by Urban Decay

    The Afterdark palette by Urban Decay was limited edition in 2017 and I was pleasantly surprised when I found it available in Sweden despite hearing rumours that it would not be sold here. So I bought it. The overall colour scheme is very appealing but it was a very long time since I last reached for it.

    The Moondust palette by Urban Decay

    The Moondust palette, also by Urban Decay, was bought in autumn 2016. I used it for a while and then it was overshadowed by newer items. I have not worn this for many years now.

    The Demise palette by Illamasqua

    I purchased this quad, the Demise palette by Illamasqua, as part of a bundle in 2018. I was purchasing a number of other products and this bundle consisted of a dark burgundy lipstick (that I never wore and then it expired), this quad (that I’ve never used) and a full size Gel Sculpt in the shade Silhouette. The Gel Sculpt is now my favourite contour and I’m very pleased that this bundle offer made me try it. But….all in all I feel like I might have been a shitty purchase.

    The Candeur et Expérience palette by Chanel

    This Chanel palette was part of a stunning collection in 2016 fronted by the equally stunning Kristen Stewart. I fell in love with the entire collection and received large parts of it as a gift from my husband. It consists of four warm satin mattes, three brown shades and a red.

    Top Row L-R: Strike While Haute, Farasha

    Bottom Row L-R: Indian Ink, Vibrant Grape

    To add a bit of colourful mattes into the mix I opted for four MAC singles in coral red, pumpkin orange and two shades of violet. These shadows are of varying age and the newest is probably from around 2014. Most of my MAC shades are quite old at this point.

    Top Row L-R: Brains & Brawn, Concrete

    Bottom Row L-R: Outré, Coquette

    Then finally we have another quad of mattes to fill in the colour gaps in the arsenal, some more neutrals including somewhat cooler crease shades. These are also all older MAC shades.

    Let’s move on to swatches and my feelings on these products after a month of use.

    All of these MAC mattes performed well for me even though I did not wear them as much as I initially thought I would (the warmer neutral shades in the Chanel quad was my primary source of matte crease shades during February). But I wore all of these shades one or twice and liked what I saw. A very pleasant experiment was on February 21st when I used Farasha and Strike While haute on top of a paler glossy lipstick (Luxurist by H&M) and made an amazing fruity lip colour (see look further down in this post). I will definitely use that technique again to customise a lip colour.

    The Candeur et Expérience palette by Chanel

    I have so many fond memories surrounding this palette and the collection it was part of. An entire collection seldom catch my heart but this one did. The shadows were warmer than I was used to and that warm red was intriguing. Many of my favourite lipsticks were purchased in relation to this collection as well. The shadows in the quad perform well and even though they are not as unique shades in my arsenal anymore I still want to keep it and keep on wearing it just for the nostalgia.

    The Demise palette by Illamasqua

    I only used this palette once, if we do not count that the black shade did liner duty quite a few times. It became apparent that I have no use for this quad. The cream shade is pretty but it creases on my oily lids and the burgundy is not up up to par quality-wise. The white gold is beautiful, but so is Alter from the Afterdark palette and I have limited use for numerous shades like that. I will let this one go in its entirety.

    The Afterdark palette by Urban Decay

    I really like the shade selection in the Afterdark palette (Urban Decay) but several shades perform badly. I do not think they have aged well because I can not remember Backfire and Paralyzed being so bland. The shade that stood out in a positive was Lounge. I tried to find a dupe in my collection but could not so after much consideration I decided to depot that shade and keep it. In doing so I also opened the possibility to keep some more shades. I decided on Supersonic, Sinful and Alter. Vibrant and very useful shades with a good formula. All of the others were poor performers except Scene, but I have no use for another pale gold pink.

    The Moondust palette by Urban Decay

    I fell in love with the Moondust palette this month. The texture of the shadows is just amazing and my preferred method of application is tapped on with a finger on their own or on top of another shadow as a sparkly transforming shade. I can happily wear all of shades in the palette and I am so glad that I have rediscovered this gem.

    So that was the rundown of the products in April’s audit. Let’s have a look at some of the looks I created with said products. 

    February 3

    Eyes: All four shades from the Chanel quad, Scene, Sinful and the bronze pink from the Illamasqua quad

    Cheeks: Bronze and Glow from the Filmstar Bronze & Glow palette (Charlotte Tilbury)

    Lips: Sultry (Revlon)

    February 6

    Eyes: Element, Lightyear, Vega, Galaxy, Brains & Brawn, black by Illamasqua, black cream base by H&M

    Cheeks: Stereo Rose (MAC)

    Lips: Muse lip pencil and Velvet Blush (Lisa Eldridge)

    February 14

    Eyes: All four shades in the Illamasqua quad, Outre

    Cheeks: Pomegranate (blush, Sleek), Silouhette (gel sculpt, Illamasqua), Phantoma (highlighter, Meow Cosmetics)

    Lips: Velvet Decade (Lisa Eldridge)

    February 19

    Eyes: Lounge, top two shades from the Chanel Quad and the black by Illamasqua

    Cheeks: Supernova (MAC)

    Lips: Beet lip liner, Burning Love lipstick (MAC)

    Februari 21

    Eyes: Strike While Haute, Farasha, black by Illamasqua

    Cheeks: Spring Flock (MAC)

    Lips: Luxurist (H&M) topped with Strike While Haute and Farasha eyeshadows

    In this audit I let go of two fixed palettes and a total of 10 individual shades. I’ve also rediscovered a great palette (Moondust), which makes me very pleased. Another focus this month, besides evaluating the eye arsenal, was my effort to wear as many of my cheek and lip products as possible. I actually managed to wear a whopping 19 blushes, 6 contour shades, 14 highlighters, 18 lipsticks, 1 gloss and 3 lip pencils. A damn good job!

    I’ve been thinking a lot about my audit project lately. I still think it’s a valuable way to evaluate my large and ageing collection of makeup by wearing things for a month to solidify my opinions on them. The monthly arsenal also gives me a creative push by having only a fixed set of tools to work with. But as I was picking out shades for May the other day I realised just how many shadows I have to go through still and if I keep doing the monthly arsenal the way that I have I will be doing this for way longer than I want to. I am a super keen to move forward to round 2 of the audit, where I compare similar items, but I really want to wear stuff on my eyes before I discard or keep them. A bit of a dilemma.

    Another thing I’ve noticed is that I’m running low on mattes. It says a lot that I’ve been able to do this for a year and a half and I’m only now running out of certain basic mattes to form a comprehensive monthly arsenal. I’m not completely settled on how I want to proceed, but I think I will have to switch up my approach in the near future.

    Thanks for reading!

  • Makeup

    My current cheek arsenal

    At the beginning of my audit project in 2019 I decided to go through all of my makeup items by using a monthly arsenal, a selection of products for eyes and cheeks that would be used for a month and then evaluated on their individual merits. Some products never made it into an arsenal (and were discarded prematurely) due to being expired and the like, but anything that was viable for use was to be audited using this method. This part of the audit was called “Round 1”.

    After the completion of Round 1, my plan is to look at all the items and look at my collection as a whole, see how many repeat shades I have and compare them to each other. That would be “Round 2”. The main goal with my audit is not to discard things in order to have an overall smaller collection but rather to weed out the duds, the old and expired and the things I no longer love and use. I am not a makeup minimalist by any means, but I want to be more aware of what I own and only keep the really good stuff.

    The first category to be completely audited in Round 1 was lipsticks (link to part one and part two) and the next category to be completed was colour cheek products (powder blushes, cream blushes and cream pigments) and light and shade cheek products (cream and powder contour shades, highlighters and and warming shaders), the focus of today’s blog post.

    I began the audit with 67 colour cheek products, 9 cheek shaders and 22 highlighters in October 2019, a total of 98 cheek products. Now that I have completed Round 1 I’m down to a total of 59 cheek products, all of which we are going to go through right now. I’m not going into details of each individual product (I covered that in my monthly audit reports) but my aim is to catalog my cheek arsenal and my thoughts on it as a whole.

    Colour

    My current blush situation

    Let’s start with my colour cheek products, aka blush. I’ve always enjoyed wearing blush and like having a lot of variety to choose from. At the start of the audit I had 67 individual shades and now I’m down to 38 of varying finishes. All of my cream blushes and cream pigments were discarded due to being old so all that is left in this category are powder blushes. Since I do prefer a powder anyway I have no need to replace anything in a cream formula.

    Clockwise from the top left: Pink Cult, At Dusk, Mocha, Breath of Plum, Sur by MAC

    Clockwise from the top: Supernova, Fever, Apple Red, Oh My!, A Little Lusty by MAC

    Top Row L-R: The Perfect Cheek, Legendary by MAC

    Bottom Row L-R: Spring Flock, Immortal Flower by MAC

    Clockwise from the top: Melba, Autoerotique, Baby Don’t Go, Buff, Stereo Rose by MAC

    Top Row L-R: Dandelion by Benefit, Rapture by Urban Decay

    Bottom Row: Havtorn by Idun Minerals

    Clockwise from the top: Kendra, Regal Mauve, Coralia, Habana by Nabla

    Clockwise from the top left: East by Makeupstore, Pinky Peach, Nude Blossom, Dusty Rose by Isadora

    Top Row L-R: Pomegranate, “Flame” Blush By 3 (Furnace, Bon Fire, Molten) by Sleek Makeup

    Bottom Row L-R: “Sugar” Blush By 3 (Demerara, Muscovado, Turbinado), Flushed by Sleek Makeup

    I tried to group my blushes into colour families and above we have swatches of the cooler rose-mauve family. No actual dupes in this lot and a nice variety of sheer and pigmented, shimmery and matte shades.

    Then we have the warmer family – neutral browns, peachy browns and some rosy browns. Subtle differences in tone and finish make them all useful but I doubt I have practical use for all of these in the long run. A couple might be redundant but for now I see no point in making any decisions. I want to get to know each shade a bit better first. One thing to note is that I have swatched the Bronze part of Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow as a blush, since that is how I tend to use it. But I count it and store it like one of my shaders.

    Above we have my more fruity shades and this is a nice and neat collection. These shades get a lot of wear time during spring/summer with the exception of Autoerotique, that one gets worn all year around. Love that blush. Such a shame that it was limited edition.

    And the last colour category is the intensely pigmented and colourful bunch. I’m very interested to observe this lot and see how much use I can actually get out of them. A bright blush is not my most used category and having so many is a bit much. But as with all the other blushes I am not in any rush to declutter anything at this point. I will wear them and evaluate them over time.

    My general feeling about my blushes is that I have a lovely and rich selection of shades, but many of them are quite old. Nothing that will stop me from using any of them, but I suspect some might show signs of expiration in the coming year. I lack nothing, but if a blush comes along that truly excites me I might buy one (or several).

    My current blush storage in all its glory

    I’ve recently moved all of my blushes to a single acrylic container that I’m keeping visible on the desk where I do my makeup. Cooler shades are in the front row. The middle row are warmer shades and in the back we have the brighter and darker shades. Having all of my options visible and accessible like that has really made a difference.

    Light and Shade

    All of my powder shade and highlighting products

    Moving on to my shade and light cheek products, categories I enjoy wearing but don’t need a large collection of. I was on the hunt for the perfect contour shade for my skin tone for a while and that resulted in the above shader selection. But then I found the Gel Sculpt by Illamasqua and the hunt was over. I still enjoy to use a powder product for a cool contour or a warmer shading of the face, so I have use for the shades above for now. I had 9 shader products before my audit and now I have 5. It is technically 6 shades, but as mentioned I do not really count the Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze as a shader on me but rather a blush. But in theory it can do both.

    Highlighters are fun but not my vice by any means. I started with 22 and we are now at 15.

    Gel Sculpt in “Silhouette” by Illamasqua

    The Gel Sculpt shading stick by Illamasqua is my one and only non-powder cheek product left and it is such a favourite that it was not included in my audit at all. It’s a staple product and when I run out or it expires, whatever comes first, I would like to repurchase.

    Top Row: Filmstar Bronze & Glow in “Light to Medium” by Charlotte Tilbury

    Bottom Row L-R: Gotham, Obsexed by Nabla

    Top Row L-R: Next to Skin, Taupe by MAC

    Bottom Row: Sculpt by MAC

    L-R: OMG, Deity by Illamasqua

    Top Row L-R: H&M Holo palette, Fireball by Urban Decay

    Bottom Row L-R: Phantoma, Chameleon by Meow Cosmetics, Original by Phee’s Makeup Tips

    Clockwise from the top: Play it Proper, Perfect Topping, Lightscapades, Here Comes Joy by MAC

    My cooler highlighters

    My warmer highlighters

    I enjoy wearing all of these but I find that the trio from H&M is a bit too glittery for my liking. However, the green and the blue shade are so unique in my arsenal that I want to hang on to it a while longer. All three shades double as eyeshadows as well so I feel ok keeping them. I do have more highlighters than I “need” and I might let a few go in the coming months, but before that I want to wear them a lot more.

    My powder shaders

    Gel Sculpt in “Silhouette” by Illamasqua

    I can see me only needing three shaders in the future, the Gel Sculpt and two powders – one cooler shade and one warmer. But since all products are useful and I’m not overwhelmed by the quantity I will use them until they go off or start performing badly.

    As with the blushes I’ve been keeping the shaders and highlighters visible on my desk. The visible placement works wonders.

    Shaders

    Highlighters

    I’ve been wearing all of my cheek products over the past two months and I’m quite content with what I have. I do not feel that I lack any option and I suppose that is the reason why I’m very rarely attracted to new cheek shades that are released. I look forward to getting more and more use out of these products in the coming months. In six months or so I might be ready to conclude a Round 2 and see if I want to edit out anything else or keep them all. Only time will tell.

    Thanks for reading!

  • Makeup

    My Makeup Audit: January 2021

    Having gone through all of my powder cheek products such as blushers, highlighters and contour shades in previous audits, for January I only had eyeshadows in my monthly arsenal. So when doing my makeup I had my entire cheek arsenal at my disposal.

    After a few months with large monthly arsenals full of individual shadows I wanted something “lighter” to audit and chose two fixed palettes that offered a large variety of colours. A massive palette by NYX consisting of 40 shadows of varying finish and a smaller 12 shadow palette from H&M with mainly shimmers/glitters. Together these two palettes offered a plethora of choice with a total of 52 shades with a great variety of mattes, metallics and other textures. My choice to use only these two palettes did limit my possibilities to let things go this month but on the other hand it did provide the opportunity to really get to know two palettes in my arsenal and that is a very good thing.

    The Swear By It palette by NYX

    The Swear By It palette by NYX is my first and only eye shadow product from the brand. I purchased it in the spring of 2019 after seeing some rave reviews online and finding the colour selection very appealing. The murky mattes (especially 6, 11, 19, 24, 27, 29, 37) combined with some appetising shimmers (such as 12, 21, 28, 32) were the main draw and I felt it would be a nice addition to my arsenal. After starting my audit project in the autumn of the same year I did not touched this palette so it felt really good to give a proper run this past month.

    Top Row L-R: A, B, C, D

    Middle Row L-R: E, F, G, H

    Bottom row L-R: I, J, K, L

    The Special FX Eye Colour palette by H&M was a limited edition piece that I purchased in the summer of 2018. It is full of flakie and duochrome goodness. A true little gem of a palette. Since the shades have no names I gave them letters as identifiers just to make it a bit easier when reporting my thoughts on each shade.

    Let’s move on the swatches and my thoughts on each shade after using them during the course of January.

    Swear By It

    First row in the Swear By It palette by NYX

    The first row consists of pale and dusty pastels, six mates and two shimmers. 1 is one of those amazingly useful crease shades for me that gets used a lot. I use it as an only crease shade or to blend out other darker shades, such as blues. 2 is a pretty light golden beige that serves as an inner corner highlight on me. It’s one of the few shades in this palette that served that purpose for me. 3 is a warm peachy brown and an overall basic but useful shade. 4 is a pastel peach shade that I found a bit dusty but I think it looked very nice used all over the lid. 5 is a tad to yellow to be a proper brow bone shade or edge diffuser on me, and not dark enough to be a proper crease shade. But I did get some use out of it as a crease diffuser in the inner part of my crease where it also added a tiny bit of depth in the diffusion that I enjoyed. 7 on the lid looks mainly like a light gold albeit a slightly green tinged gold. It works ok as an inner corner highlight as well. 8 is a bit too pale and nothing to be a useful shade on me. One of the proper duds for me.

    Second row in the Swear By It palette by NYX

    The second row consists of three mattes and five shimmers. 9 is a very stunning muted rusty pink shimmer with a brown base that paired well with 10 for an easy but not boring neutral eye look. I had never worn 11 before this month and I’m so glad I have now discovered it. It’s unlike any of my other yellow shades and very inspiring. A sort of dirty bright. I only managed to use 12 once and 13 was not used at all, but since they are easily some of the most previously used shades in this palette I think nothing of it. Yellow is a colour I wear a lot and this bright yellow is no different. 12 is a stunning dusty pale rose gold and one of my favourite shades before this month. 14 is a nice olive green shimmer, pretty but not too exciting. I do not gravitate towards aqua shades like 15 and I’m not surprised that I never wore it. But I envision that this shade has potential as a topper in the future. 16 is a nice medium gunmetal. Not very exciting but useful.

    Third row in the Swear By It palette by NYX

    The third row is full of bright yet somewhat muted colours, six mattes or near mattes and two shimmers. 17 is a pretty muted rose that was worn once paired with another more intense shadow from the H&M palette. 18 was a lovely surprise. A stunning slightly muted dark pink and I shade I found was easier to use than anticipated. Easy to blend and build up. 19 and 20 are amazing shades for me to use all over the lid or as a pop of tangerine in the crease. 21 is a beautiful fiery gold shade and very useful for me. 22 was not the easies to blend but the shade is very interesting. It’s not a matte but rather a satin. I did not use 23 and I’m not sure I ever want to. I rather just let it sit there untouched. That type of blue is just not my jam. 24 was a real positive surprise as well. The perfect blue shade on me! I have issues with wearing blue since I often feel it does not go well with my complexion. But as with all colours it is all about finding the perfect shade for me, not that I cannot wear the colour at all. This dusty greyed blue is one of the prettiest blues I’ve worn.

    Fourth row in the Swear By It palette by NYX

    The fourth row is a bit more neutral. 25 is yet another great crease shade for me. A tad darker and cooler than 1 but both have similar purpose, this one just add more depth. 26 is a pink shimmer with a mauve base, a pretty muted shade that is not done justice in the picture above. 27 is a lovely rosy brown and a fairly unique shade in my arsenal. 28 is a stunning rosy copper and 29 is a dirty tangerine. All beautiful on the eyes. 30 was another surprise. A dark murky green that was lovely to use and added depth and colour to a more smokey look. 31 was never worn but this is one of the blue shades that I actually could see myself liking layered on top of other shadows. 32 is another previous favourite so I’m not too worried that I hardly wore it this month. A beautiful blue duochrome with a ruddy base.

    Fifth row in the Swear By It palette by NYX

    The final and fifth row consists of primarily darker shades. Only two out of eight are shimmers. 33 is a cool dark purple and 34 is a magnificent cool dark red. 34 especially had beautiful pigmentation and was easy to blend. 35 is a great dark cool brown and despite looking a bit boring in the pan it was beautiful on the eyes. This shade is also great as a base to layer other shifting products over. I can see the green/blue shimmers looking amazing on top of the brown base. 36 was one of my most worn shades of the month as it functioned primarily as a deepening shade for warmer looks as well as a liner. 37 is yet again another muted bright matte – the reason why I love this palette. Such variety in interesting matte shades that are easy to work with. 39 was surprisingly easy to use despite being such a dark shade and I had fun using it. It is a tad redundant to have both 38 and 40 in the same palette, but I did get use out of both.

    I have really gotten to know this palette in January and my feelings for it have increased. The Swear By It palette has got a great shade selection for me and it provides endless options. I can use most shades, even several of the blue shades, and the shade variety nicely complements the rest of my makeup collection. The murky mattes and pretty shimmers combine so well and even after using it a whole month, there are still oh so many combinations that I have yet to try. The only negative I can think of with this palette is the cheap and boring packaging. But the insides are a whole lot of fun.

    Special FX

    The Special FX Eye Colour Palette by H&M – Part 1

    The Special FX palette was a perfect companion to the Nyx palette. A is a stunning bright fuchsia with blue and pink glitter particles. I applied this with a finger on top of other pink shades and the look was stunning. B is a lovely molten gold and one I actually did not use this month. I already know it is an easy shade for me to wear so I did not focus on it. C did inner corner duty and did it well, I love a duochrome for that purpose. D was used as a liner but otherwise this shade is a bit of a dud for me. I suppose it has a function in the palette to accompany the other shades but I still need to bring in other mattes for a complete look so I would just prefer if this was another shimmer instead of a matte with glitter. E is a bit tricky to use. The glitter is a bit chunky and I found that the best application method is to pat it on and blend with a finger after I had applied my matte shadows. F was never worn, but not because I’m not attracted to it but rather that I had so many other shades to try and was spoiled with choice.

    The Special FX Eye Colour Palette by H&M – Part 2

    H is a very shiny silver that reminds me of mercury, it was lovely to use both as a lid shade and as an inner corner shade. J is another blue shade I really enjoy. I paired it with a dark matte red and it looked so good. G, I and K were perfect as inner corner highlights but K was a bit of a weaker performer than the other two. The formula was chunkier and drier. Nothing that will stop me from using it in the future though. L looks boring in the pan but the purple shimmer particles really pop on the eye.

    To evaluate the palette as a whole I think it’s a fun and valuable component in my arsenal. The shadows are very beautiful and many of them are unlike anything else I have.

    So that was the rundown of the palettes in January’s audit. Let’s move on to some of the looks I created with said products. 

    January 2

    Eyes: 2, 8, 39

    Cheeks: Sur and Next to Skin (MAC), Filmstar Bronze and Glow highlighter (Charlotte Tilbury)

    Lips: Velvet Muse (Lisa Eldridge)

    January 4

    Eyes: 4, C, 36

    Cheeks: Breath of Plum, Next to Skin and Perfect Topping (all by MAC)

    Lips: Blush gloss (Lisa Eldridge)

    January 9

    Eyes: 7, 19, 27, 35, 40, H

    Cheeks: Dusty Rose and Nude Blossom (Isadora), Perfect Topping (MAC)

    Lips: Velvet Midnight (Lisa Eldridge)

    January 11

    Eyes: 16, 22, 25, 30, H

    Cheeks: Dandelion (Benefit), Lightscapade (MAC)

    Lips: Nougatine (H&M)

    January 13

    Eyes: 4, 26, 27, 29, 36, C

    Cheeks: Breath of Plum and Next to Skin (MAC), OMG (Illamasqua)

    Lips: Skyscraper Rose (Lisa Eldridge)

    January 15

    Eyes: 2, 25, 33, 34

    Cheeks: Turbinado (Sleek), Here Comes Joy (MAC)

    Lips: Blush lip gloss (Lisa Eldridge)

    January 17

    Eyes: 11, 38, G

    Cheeks: Muscavado (Sleek), Taupe and Perfect Topping (MAC)

    Lips: Cream Lip Stain “17” (Sephora)

    January 18

    Eyes: 1, 7, 9, 10, 36

    Cheeks: Mocha and Sculpt (MAC), Phee’s original loose highlighter

    Lips: Noir Moderne (Chanel)

    January 19

    Eyes: 28, 29, 36, 37, G

    Cheeks: Sur (MAC), purple shade in LE-trio (H&M)

    Lips: Velvet Muse and Blush lip gloss (Lisa Eldridge)

    January 22

    Eyes: 14, 22, 30, K

    Cheeks: Kendra and Obsexed (Nabla)

    Lips: Burning Love (MAC)

    January 25

    Eyes: 34, 40, I, J

    Cheeks: Demerara (Sleek), Gotham (Nabla), Filmstar Bronze and Glow highlighter (Charlotte Tilbury)

    Lips: Velvet Fawn (Lisa Eldridge) and When in Rome (H&M)

    January 29

    Eyes: 1, 12, 29, 35, 36, 38

    Cheeks: Bon Fire (Sleek)

    Lips: Muse lipliner and Velvet Muse (Lisa Eldridge)

    January 30

    Eyes: 18, 25, 32, 34, 39, D, L

    Cheeks: At Dusk, Next to Skin and Lightscapade (MAC)

    Lips: no notes

    This month has not resulted in me letting any products go since both palettes are terrific. But it has solidified these two palettes’ worth to me as part of my possessions and introduced me to the possibilities these shadows give me in terms of creating looks. Both contain a multitude of shades that are unique to my arsenal and I am very happy to have them at hand. I am now better acquainted with most of the shades and a memory of what they can do. There are a few shades in each palette that are not great, but most of them are great.

    Thanks for reading!

  • Makeup,  Skincare

    The Used Up 2020:2

    The time has come to to go through all of the makeup and skincare items that were used up by me during the second half of 2020, July-December, and to summarise the year. A total of 25 items and many of them old favourites and repeat purchases.

    For reference I am 39 years old with a dehydrated combination skin. I get the occasional breakout and can get quite shiny during the day. My skin rarely reacts badly to products and I have no allergies.

    Cleansers

    The Almond Soothing Cleansing Lotion by Weleda (75 ml, 149 SEK) was originally purchased as a mild option to use to cleanse my daughters face when needed. But we rarely used it and I felt that we were running the risk of it going bad before we used it up, so I started using it myself. It is a rich cleansing lotion and I loved the consistency. Easy to spread all over the face and I did not need much for a full cleanse. But despite that fact the tube is way too small to last me a longer period of time. The almond smell is not a favourite either but it was not a defining issue for me. I can see me buying this again for my kid but not for myself.

    The Moisturising Cleansing Cream by Lumene (150 ml, 99 SEK) is their option for dry skin and this was my first time trying this specific cleanser. It is a thicker cream, lovely to the touch, with a creamy and fresh yet mild scent that did a fine job as my only cleanser in the morning or as a second cleanser in the evening. The cream was quite thick and albeit that in-itself is not a problem I did find that it was not as easy to spread all over the face as I would like. I had to use more product than I prefer each time and the tube was used up fairly quickly. The low price point is of course appealing and compensates a bit. This was my first time using this specific cleanser from Lumene and I might repurchase sometime in the future, but until then my search for a new favourite cleanser continues.

    We have one bottle of Bioderma Sensibio Make-up removing micelle solution (250 ml, around 100 SEK), still a nice product to have for a quick cleansing solution or when I have stubborn makeup that need an extra round of cleansing before dissolving completely. I use this product more rarely these days but I rely on always having a bottle at hand.

    The Green Clean Makeup Meltaway Cleansing Balm by Farmacy (90 ml, around 400 SEK) is an established favourite and I shared my thoughts on it in this post from 2019. Apparently it is sold in an 100 ml jar nowadays and I would definitely buy this again. It is a dream to use and smells divine, but I still wish it would last me a little bit longer for that price tag.

    The Nordic-C Pure Glow Cleansing Balm by Lumene (125 ml, 179 SEK) was a new product for me and it was merely ok. I prefer to be able to use my cleansing balms around the eyes since I use them only as a first cleanser when wearing makeup and this balm is not suitable around the eyes (it also says so on the tube). This limits the product’s use for me so I will not be repurchasing.

    Toner & mists

    I usually mist my face after cleansing before I apply serums etc, both in the morning and evening. I must say I do enjoy the Nordic-C Glow Refresh Hydrating Mist (50 ml, 99 – 129 SEK) and the Nordic Hydra Facial Mist (50 ml, 99 SEK) from Lumene. They have a fresh smell and there has never been an issue with the mister function, a big plus in my book. This smaller bottle size is convenient when travelling, but Lumene also do both mists in a 100 ml bottle. These mists do the job and I have repurchased the Nordic Hydra one. But when that is finished I think I will switch to the Hydrating Accelerator from Josh Rosebrook again. I want to give it another go in the larger bottle.

    Essence & serums

    There seems to be a theme – two tubes of the Rose Caviar Essence by Pixi (45 ml, 399 SEK) emptied in six months yet again. I continue to use this product twice daily to layer hydration and this year I have used up a total of four tubes of this essence. I still make a point to only purchase it when I have a discount to lower the cost a bit, since I am not really interested in letting this baby go. I love the packaging, the texture, the scent and the effect. So I deem it worthwhile for now.

    Another recurring star is the Nordic-C Glow Boost Essence by Lumene (30 ml, 289 SEK). Nothing has changed with this one either, I go through these quite quickly and try to buy and even stock up when there is a discount. I have used up only two bottles this year but I think the truth could be closer to three bottles a year. As with the Rose Caviar Essence, I like everything about this product except the price. Despite that I have no intention to stop using it.

    Then we have more of a treatment serum – Salicylic Acid 2% Solution by the Ordinary (30 ml, 69 SEK I think but it is not currently available) is an BHA exfoliating product aimed at breakout prone skin and that is not really me. I have sporadic spots and the occasional large inflamed one but it’s not really a problem. I used this serum in the evenings on days when I had some break-outs, but I can not really attest to how effective this serum is since I ended up being a very infrequent user. I also think I prefer using a thicker spot treatment to heal an angry on one occasion so this will most likely not be a repurchase.

    Moisturisers & oils

    It took me a while to use up this tube of Natural Moisturizing  Factors + HA by The Ordinary (30 ml, 69 SEK) because I use it quite infrequently. For example I might wear it as a surface hydration layer it I use an SPF without any skincare benefits and want something layered under it. I might wear it as a last moisturising step when other finishing products do not seem appropriate (because they are too heavy or contain SPF for example), usually in the daytime. This is the third tube I have used up and I have another tube in line to take this one’s place. But I will most likely wait until spring before I feel the need to open and start using it.

    The Age Repair Eye Cream by Grown Alchemist (15 ml, 620 SEK) is another recurring product and albeit being expensive it lasts at least six months, maybe more. The pump makes it really easy to dispense the tiny amount needed for both eyes and it wears beautifully under makeup. It makes my eye area feel hydrated but never greasy. I have another bottle in use right now and as per usual I only purchase this when I have a 20% discount code to get the cost down a bit.

    I wanted to try the Nordic Hydra Day Fluid SPF 30 UVB/UVA PA+++ (50 ml, 219 SEK) by Lumene when it was first launched but only got down to business this past year. And I am so glad I finally tried it. I have combination skin and even as I get more dehydrated with age, I still have an issue with makeup melting off my face. So in the sunnier part of the year I have an issue with sunscreen under makeup, since it tends to make the melting issue worse. This day cream worked well for me in the daytime on most days since I spend so little time outside when the sun shines its brightest. Makeup layered beautiful over it and I felt that it did not leave a greasy film or a white cast or anything I normally expect from a sunscreen. The texture more creamy than fluid, the smell was fresh and I appreciated that is was in a tube. I will definitely purchase this again in the coming months when the sun makes a proper appearance again.

    The Overnight Retinol Oil by Pixi (30 ml, 399 SEK) is another new acquaintance. I have not used many retinol products so I cannot compare at all but as a night time treat is was very nice. The oil easily sinks into the skin and some nights I felt the need to add a cream on top and some nights I used it as my last or only layer. It leaves my skin feeling nice and healthy and I have had no adverse reactions. This oil smells amazing, like a sour candy, but it did begin to turn rancid when I was beginning to near the end of the bottle. So the 6 month shelf-life indicated on the bottle is about right. I used this product a few nights a week and when this bottle was empty I did purchase another one, currently in use.

    I’ve used the Hydration Rescue 24H Replenishing Balm by Lumene before and this time I bough the Hydration Recharge Overnight Cream (50 ml, 209 SEK) by the same brand and the same series, Nordic Hydra. A lovely cream for my hydrated combination skin. Perfect in the evening as a last step, over serums or over an oil. I have repurchased another one of these and use it daily,

    Masks

    The Active Enzyme Exfoliator by Josh Rosebrook (45 ml, full price unknown but I purchased it at a sale for 499 SEK) is a dark brown mask with particles that is massaged onto skin and then left for 10 minutes up to one hour. The smell makes me think of liquorice and I found that the application easily got messy. I must admit when purchasing this I did not realize that it had a mechanical exfoliation element to it. I normally prefer my exfoliants to be fully chemical so I have been a sporadic user of this product. Sad but true. It was a splurge purchase with money I received for my birthday and it did fill the purpose of a luxury treat. I’m glad I tried the product but I’m not going to purchase it again.

    Base makeup

    The Nabla Close-Up Smoothing Pressed Powder (11,5 g, € 22) has been getting rave reviews online and I was so keen to try it that I almost deemed it as a favourite beforehand. And I understand why a lot of people enjoy this powder but it’s not the one for me. I do enjoy the sleek rose gold compact, it is very beautiful and has a lovely sized mirror. I like Nabla as a brand and the price-point is nice. The gist for me is the finish this powder gives my skin. After using it for a while I started noticing that it ever so slightly changed the shade of my foundation after application. It made my skin look slightly darker and “flat” in a strange way. I have never experienced anything like it with a powder. The shade of the powder is not the issue but rather the appearance the finish gave, not my fave. I really wish I liked it more but this is sadly not the new favourite as I was hoping for.

    The Lumene Blur Foundation (30 ml, 199 SEK) in “00 Ultra Light” is way too pink for me to be a perfect match. I have previously used up the shade “0 Light Ivory” and repurchased and I love the formulation in general. But Lumene has changed the shades for this product (and the artwork) many times over these past years. Every time I repurchase there seems to be a new version of the same shade. I’m currently using a way too pink version of Light Ivory and it will soon be finished, so I recently purchased both shades again. The shades seems to be altered again so we shall see if they match me better this time around or if they are a bit off still.

    The Hydra Veil by Illamasqua (mini sample, gift with purchase) is a lovely hydrating primer, the type of primer I think really improves the application of foundation on my skin. This was my last sample size and I do not think I will repurchase since I still prefer my primers to be in a tube or something similar.

    The Viva La Diva conclealer in “2 Naked” (3 ml, 89 SEK) was an attempt to find a replacement for my old favourite, the Lasting Perfection Ultimate Wear Concealer in “Fair 1” by Collection, that I sadly cannot get a hold of in Sweden. I’ve tried the shade “1 Pure Light” as well but neither work for me. They turn up way too pink and a tad too dark. I also did not get along with the scent of this concealer. A no-go for me.

    The Hello Fab Bendy Avocado Concealer by First Aid Beauty (4,8 g, 240 SEK) was a better colour match and it is a nice and creamy concealer. However it started to go off quite quickly and before I could really finish it. I persisted despite the smell for a while and there was very little left in the tube when I gave up, but I consider it “done”. In all fairness I did have several concealers in use at the same time and might have had it open for longer than recommended, I do not really know or care. I do not see this product as one that go bad quickly and I might even repurchase in the future, but for now I’m trying other brands.

    Mascara & brows

    Two more empty Lash Power mascara in Black Onyx (6 ml, 245 SEK) by Clinique is standard for me. It’s been my go-to for a while now. It’s the one mascara that I’ve found that smudges the least and I really love the small brush applicator. But as I mentioned in my last empties post I feel like it has become more prone to smudging in recent years and I’m not sure if it has changed formulation or if there is another explanation. However this fact has led me to start the hunt for a replacement go-to mascara, a quest I’m not too keen to embark on. Mascara for me is a boring basic product that should work well but I do not want to spend any effort on it. One reason for that is the fact that tubing mascaras are the only ones that work on my lashes and tubing mascaras are generally very basic and unexciting. So here I am, looking to replace Lash Power but knowing it is a tough role to fill since I want something that does not smudge, has a lovely small brush AND I wish the price was less than the Clinique one. Tough indeed! We shall see how it goes but you can expect to see some new mascaras in coming instalments of The Used Up.

    Then finally, we have a sad story. I had just deemed this brow gel my favourite budget find and then it was discontinued! As mentioned in my last empties post, the Brow Perfector in “Espresso” by H&M (4 ml, approximately 80 SEK) is no longer available. It was a lovely affordable brow gel with an ok hold, a nice cool dark brown colour and a small brush. Generally a great product for me. As with mascara, I just want something nice and basic. Does not have to be all that but I just want something I can rely on. So as well as having to spend time and effort to find a new mascara I also have to try and find a new brow gel. Sad times for me (not really!). It’s just so boring to try new brow products and I’m really not looking forward to it.

    2020 empties wrap-up

    Now it’s time for my favourite part, the yearly statistics. This year we can compare the numbers with 2019 so I am including the numbers from last year in brackets.

    To summarise 2020 I managed to finish up 11 cleansers (8), 1 toner (0), 3 face mists (5), 8 essences/serums (11), 2 eye creams (1), 5 face creams (4) where one contained SPF, 1 oil (0), 1 mask (2), 3 face primers but two were minis (2), 1 eye primer (1), 2 powders (3), 4 concealers (1), 2 foundations (3), 4 mascaras (2), 4 brow gels (1), one lipstick, one lip primer and one cream eye shadow. 55 products in total for skincare and makeup compared to 49 in 2019. The categories are not exactly the same between the two years, for example one category I had last year that was missing this year was primers with SPF (3 in 2019) due to having the Lumene Day Fluid and other SPF’s.

    The above numbers are things that I consider to be skincare or makeup but it’s worth noting that I am excluding sunscreens for the face from this summary. Of course I use other sunscreens but unless it is a face cream with SPF and skincare benefits I’m not going to include them in the Used Up posts. The main reasoning for that is that I share my sunscreens with my family and I cannot be bothered to keep track of that in any way shape or form. Also, I have previously included the soap I’m using to clean my brushes with but I’m not going to do that anymore. It’s not something I’m interested in tracking.

    The value of the products used up this year (if purchased at full price) is around 13 500 SEK, and that is basically the same amount as last year. Of course all of these items were not purchased in one year and some were gifts from friends/family and many were bought with a discount. The point is not to conclude how much I have spent but rather to highlight the “worth” of the products I actually use up in one year. The average per item is still around 260 SEK so the average on consumables is unchanged at approximately 1100 SEK per month.

    I will continue to do these bi-annual instalments of the Used Up so that I can keep track on how many products I go trough, how long they last me and my opinions on them. I find it to be a fantastic way to chronicle what I use and spend my money on. I will keep on focusing on skincare for the face and makeup and exclude other SPF’s and products for body, hair and nails.

    Thanks for reading!

  • Makeup

    My Makeup Audit: December 2020

    This December I participated in the tag #redlipsdecember created by @luvanloud on Instagram as I have done for a few years now. The main goal is to wear a red lip on every day of December and I tweaked my ambition slightly so that I at least wore red lips on every day that I wore makeup, which was not everyday by any means. Last year I chose neutral eyeshadows to audit in December to make my job easier when creating looks to go with a red lip. This year I unintentionally chose a different approach. Since I have been going through my seasonally appropriate loose shadow collections by Meow Cosmetics for a few months I had in advance picked what to use for December as well, not even thinking about #redlipsdecember. But I did feel up for the challenge and it turned out to be a fun month creativity-wise.

    Besides shadows from several Meow Cosmetics collections (Santa Baby, Ghosts of Xmas Past, 4 Horsemen, End of Days, Xmas Trees, Holiday Wishes, Reindeer), I chose loose pigments by MAC and Bare Minerals, single shadows by Illamasqua, Urban Decay and & Other Stories. In addition I picked one fixed palette by Linda Hallberg and one magnetic palette with singles from brands such as Lethal Cosmetics, Nabla, KvD, Makeup Geek and Neve Cosmetics. A whopping 50 shades for the eyes. Cheeks was not a big category this month since I am currently down to my last two highlighters to audit, both by Phee’s Makeup Tips. This means I can start with round 2 for blush, contour and highlighters in 2021. Not sure exactly how to proceed with that yet, but it should be fun.

    Part One – Eyes

    Top Row L-R: Quadrifoglio, Hipster, Radikal, Chiaroscuro

    Middle Row L-R: Brownie Points, Lotus, Devil, Petra

    Bottom Row L-R: Frantic, Cascade, Imago, Delirium, Martyr

    Every month need some core shades such as mattes and neutral shades. Some of them were assembled in this magnetic palette. One depotted Neve shadow (Quadrifoglio), two by Makeup Geek (Hipster, Brownie Points), four by Nabla (Radikal, Chiaroscuro, Lotus, Petra), two depotted by KvD (Martyr, Devil) and four from Lethal Cosmetics (Frantic, Cascade, Imago and Delirium). Some colour and some basic neutrals – a good mix.

    Top Row L-R: Heroine, Cubica mauve

    Bottom Row L-R: Velvet Nude, Smokeout

    To complete the core lineup I added some single shadows to cover the holes left by the other palette. Two crease shades, one by Illamasqua (Heroine) and one by & Other Stories (Cubica Mauve), one beige shade by Bare Minerals (Velvet Nude) to use as a diffuser and a satin black by Urban Decay (Smokeout) to use as liner and to darken any eye look.

    Metallic Mysteries II by Linda Hallberg

    This Linda Hallberg palette is full of typical Christmas shades so I thought it would be appropriate to use it this month. I got this as a gift when it was released two years ago. I’ve worn it a few times but not enough to feel like I’ve had a proper relationship with it, if you know what I mean. A good audit contestant.

    Top Row L-R: Basic Red, Kitchmas, Pink Pearl

    Bottom Row L-R: Delicate Drift, Stylishly Merry

    Some MAC items of varying age were also included due to being very seasonally appropriate. Kitchmas is one of my oldest pigments and it might even have been from when I lived in Brighton in 2000-2001. I’m a little unsure of the exact year but lets just say it is extremely old. Basic Red and Pink Pearl are from between 2012-2014 I think. The two shadows in compacts are newer from the Snow Ball collection from 2017. The are both shifting pink bronzes, a type of shade I am extra drawn to.

    Top Row L-R: Duplex, Winter Coat, Grinch

    Bottom Row L-R: Ornament, Fa-la-la

    Moving on to the Meow Cosmetics collections. Here we have the Santa Baby (Duplex) and Ghosts of Xmas Past (Winter Coat, Grinch, Ornament, Fa-la-la) collections.

    Top Row L-R: , Cedar, Spruce, Noble

    Bottom Row L-R: Love, Serenity, Peace On Earth

    Then we have the collections Xmas Trees (Cedar, Spruce, Noble) and Holiday Wishes (Love, Serenity, Peace On Earth) also from Meow Cosmetics.

    Top Row L-R: Death, Famine, Violence, Pestilence

    Bottom Row L-R: Dancer, Comet, Donner

    Then we have the 4 Horsemen (Death, Famine, Violence, Pestilence) and Reindeer (Dancer, Comet, Donner) collections by Meow Cosmetics.

    Top Row L-R: Doomsday, Hysteria, End Game

    Bottom Row L-R: Oblivion, Hopeless, Prophecy

    And finally we have the End of Days collection from Meow Cosmetics (all of the shadows above). Dark and murky yet colourful goodness.

    That was all of the eye products in Decembers arsenal, a hefty number of products. Let’s move on to swatches and a walkthrough of how I felt about each shadow during the course of the month, starting with the magnetic palette with matte singles.

    All shades side by side, se names in the next two pictures

    Quadrifoglio (Neve Cosmetics) is a shade I depotted from their Scurissimi palette but this shade can be purchased as a single as well. This shadow was fairly easy to use and kept its colour when blended. Even though it might be a shade I wear seldom I want to keep it to se if I can use it more often. Hipster (MUG) has turned a bit dusty over the years and that is one of the reasons I will not be keeping it. The colour was nice to wear but it simply does not have enough impact to be kept when I know I have other similar shades from other brands. Radikal and Lotus (both by Nabla) are beautiful colourful mattes that I want to wear more often in the future. I enjoyed wearing both and they were lovely to work with. Chiaroscuro (Nabla) was mainly used as a liner so I can not say too much on its merits as a smoky shade. The cool tone makes it very versatile for me and I would like to keep using it. The same goes for Brownie Points (MUG). It’s an interesting dusty purple brown that pairs well with other shades.

    All of the above shades will be kept. The ruddy pinks from Lethal Cosmetics are amazing to work with – Frantic, Cascade and the lovely Imago. The blend so well and keep their colour. Delirium (Lethal) is a nice shade as well, even though it is not as fun as the other Lethal shades included this month. But it is oh so useful! The Lethal shades are some of my newest eyeshadows (purchased in the Spring 2019) and I did not expect to get rid of any in this audit, but it was lovely to play with them some more. Petra is another Nabla shade and I do enjoy this one a lot. A ruddy brown that I think is rather unique in my total arsenal. Lastly we have two depotted KvD shades from the Sinner & Saint palette, Devil and Martyr. I used them mainly in the crease to add a bit of colour and warmth. They are both pretty and worked well. Both are the type of shade that I probably have ten times over but I will keep them for now.

    Heroine (Illamasqua) is a very useful crease shade for me and I really love the brand’s packaging. It is very impractical for me to have such a basic shade in a single compact but I will think about that later. For now I will keep it. Cubica Mauve (& Other Stories) is a shade that my love for has lessened. I have similar shades that I enjoy more so this is a single I’m ready to let go of. Velvet Nude (Bare Minerals) is a beige shade that is a smidge darker than my skin colour when applied to the face. I did use it as a diffuser around the edges of an eye look during this month, but i have no need to keep it in my arsenal. I have similar shades in pans that I prefer using for that specific purpose. Smokeout by Urban Decay is a lovely satin black that I reached for quite a lot. I used it as liner and to darken up the outer corner of my eye. I might depot this in the future but UD singles packaging is so pretty that I am a bit reluctant to disturb it. Out of these four I’m keeping Heroine and Smokeout and letting the other two go.

    Metallic Mysteries II by Linda Hallberg

    Since this was a gift that I had wished for I feel a bit sentimental towards the Metallic Mysteries II palette but one thing this month has taught me is that I have little feelings towards it other than that. The shades are fine but they are simply not special enough for me to keep this separate little quad. If I could have depotted them I might have considered it but as it is now I am letting the whole thing go.

    The image above is just so delicious to me. The shades go so well together. Let’s start with Basic Red (MAC). I used to fantasise about owning this PRO pigment back in the day when that assortment was hard to get a hold of in Sweden. I lusted after it and when I finally bought it many years later, did I ever use it? NO. The swatch above is beautiful but when I used it on the eyes it quickly became such a mess that I had to remove the whole thing. I love red eyeshadow passionately but a matte loose pigment is clearly not for me. The fallout was spreading pigmented stains of red/pink on my cheeks, making the pigment a nightmare to work with. I am glad to let it go. Kitchmas (MAC) on the other hand is a sparkly light silvery pink pigment that I still love. I have very sentimental feelings towards this pigment, since it was purchased at a significant time in my makeup loving life, and the fact that it still is lovely on the eyes make me want to keep it a little longer. Maybe not my most level-headed choice in this audit but I’m clearly not ready to just let it go. Pink Pearl is a beautiful pink shade with a blue shift and i enjoyed wearing it a lot. Keeper. Delicate Drift and Stylishly Merry are stunning shadows. I really enjoy the In Extra Dimension formula from MAC and these are no exception. I need to wear these a lot more often.

    Santa Baby and Ghosts of Xmas Past collections by Meow Cosmetics

    Duplex is a pretty colour on the eyes but it’s not special enough to keep. If it was a pressed shadow I might reach for it, but in loose form I’m sure it will never be used. Winter Coat is also out due to being a flat and boring shade on the eye. Grinch on the other hand is a magnificent green that I’m very excited to wear again. Ornament and Fa-la-la are both very happy and bright shades. They will go on to round 2 as well. So two out of five are out.

    Xmas Trees and Holiday Wishes collections by Meow Cosmetics

    Next we have three green shades. Cedar is a very pretty inner corner shade and Spruce and Noble are beautiful on the lid. I am very fond of green eyeshadow in general so all three can stay for now. Love, Serenity and Peace On Earth were all used as inner corner highlights and there is just something about them that I love. They are all staying as well.

    4 Horsemen and Reindeer collections by Meow Cosmetics

    Violence and Pestilence are beautiful dark but still colourful lid shades. Famine has a lovely delicate blue sheen not visible in the swatch above. I enjoy all three a lot. Death was the least exciting shade of the bunch, but still nice enough to keep in order to keep the 4 Horsemen collection intact. Moving on to the three reindeer shades, Comet was the only letdown. Somehow it had a weird blue base that came through when blending, a fact I had not noticed before (and I’m quite sure I have used it before this month). That feature made the decision easy since I know that it will keep me from using it in the future. Donner and Dancer are stunning though. Donner is a beautiful inner corner shade and Dancer is stunning all over the lid.

    End of Days collection by Meow Cosmetics

    I’m very fond of the End of Days collection primarily because of the shades Hysteria and Prophecy that I have use quite a lot over the years. Prophecy is a stunning white gold that is lovely in the inner corner and also as a cheek highlight. Hysteria is a potent molten gold that makes my heart sing. Then we have End Game, a very interesting muted green yellow. A very fun shade. Doomsday is also a hit, a strong popping purple. Oblivion is nice as well. A more muted dark red that I enjoyed pairing with darker pinks with great effect (see look from December 26). The dud of the lot was Hopeless. It has a blue base that makes it difficult to blend and the end result was not a shade that looked very appealing on me.

    Part Two – Cheeks

    L-R: Cryptic, Lasaia

    My last two highlighters are two cool shades by Phee’s Makeup Tips (Cryptic, Lasaia). Since I had no blushes left to audit I picked a selection of previously audited items to complete the cheek arsenal, see my choices below. This is also the last month I will be doing a cheek arsenal since I will have audited all of my blushes, highlighters and contour shades when December is over. In January I will start using all of my cheek products again and evaluate the entirety of my cheek collection simultaneously. Maybe I will let some go, or I will be content with keeping them all. We shall see.

    Top Row L-R: Legendary (MAC), Pink Cult (MAC)

    Bottom Row L-R: Baby Don’t Go (MAC), Flushed (Sleek Makeup), Rapture (Urban Decay)

    I wore each shade only once this month and that was enough to determine that these are not for me. These were too stark for me, I just know I will not reach for them. So both are out.

    That was it, the complete rundown of all the products I audited during December. Let’s move on to some of the looks I wore during the month, created with this arsenal. And all of my red lip products! Let’s not forget them.

    December 4

    Eyes: Pink Pearl, Cascade, Delicate Drift, Chiaroscuro

    Cheeks: Baby Don’t Go

    Lips: Velvet Dragon (Lisa Eldridge) and lip pencil in Brick (MAC)

    December 5

    Eyes: Arcturus, Frantic, Imago, Smokeout

    Cheeks: Lotus, Rapture, Prophecy

    Lips: Rouge Vie (Chanel)

    December 8

    Eyes: Ornament, Delirium, Love

    Cheeks: Flushed

    Lips: Rouge Vie (Chanel) and lip pencil in Redd (MAC)

    December 9

    Eyes: Stylishly Merry, Peace On Earth, Draco, Quadrifoglio

    Cheeks: Baby Don’t Go

    Lips: Velvet Ribbon (Lisa Eldridge) and lip pencil in Cherry (MAC)

    December 11

    Eyes: Famine, Donner, Brownie Points, Smokeout

    Cheeks: Rapture, Cryptic

    Lips: Devoted to Chili (MAC)

    December 13

    Eyes: Pestilence, Cedar, Imago, Delicate Drift, Chiaroscuro, Smokeout

    Cheeks: Pink Cult

    Lips: Velvet Jazz (Lisa Eldridge)

    December 19

    Eyes: Draco, Lotus, Collision, Chiaroscuro

    Cheeks: Legendary, Prophecy

    Lips: Devoted to Chili (MAC)

    December 20

    Eyes: Hysteria, Donner, Martyr

    Cheeks: Pink Cult

    Lips: Velvet Ribbon (Lisa Eldridge) and lip pencil in Cherry (MAC)

    December 21

    Eyes: Collision, Epsilon, Chiaroscuro

    Cheeks: Legendary

    Lips: Velvet Dragon (Lisa Eldridge)

    December 22

    Eyes: Fa-la-la, Doomsday, Prophecy, Hipster, Brownie Points

    Cheeks: Pink Cult, Prophecy

    Lips: Rouge Feu (Chanel)

    December 25

    Eyes: Kitchmas, Chiaroscuro

    Cheeks: Pink Cult

    Lips: Striking (Revlon)

    December 26

    Eyes: Violence, Oblivion, Lotus, Frantic, Cascade, Chiaroscuro,

    Cheeks: Baby Don’t Go

    Lips: Fiery (Revlon)

    December 29

    Eyes: Noble, Devil, Petra, Chiaroscuro

    Cheeks: Flushed

    Lips: Velvet Dragon (Lisa Eldridge) and lip pencil in Brick (MAC)

    All in all I let 11 items go, a total of 14 individual shades. I also felt like I had a very inspired makeup month and it was a fun challenge to do colourful eye looks to go with the red lipsticks. I had 9 lipsticks/crayons and three lip liners to play with and I used them all 2-3 times during the course of the month. It was very satisfying to utilise my red lip products to a maximum and get to know each shade’s potential a little bit more.

    Moving on to January I’m not going to continue with choosing Meow Cosmetics collections as such a big part of my monthly arsenal. It was fun to do it for the three months that I did, so that I could use the Halloween and Christmas collections at the “appropriate time”, but now I want to choose differently. I might include one whole Meow collection in future monthly arsenal, but I look forward to choosing a bit more freely from other brands as well in the coming months.

    Thanks for reading!

  • Makeup

    My Makeup Audit: November 2020

    For November I continued with my plan to use seasonally themed collections from my vast Meow Cosmetics arsenal. This month I chose shadows from the collections Something Wicked, X and Asylum. All four had been released as part of Meow’s Halloween lineup.

    Two palettes with singles from MAC, Neve, Nabla, MUG and Inglot were picked to accompany the loose pigments from Meow, a total of 33 shades for eyes. For cheeks I only had two products to audit this month, one blush from MAC and one loose highlighter from Phee’s Makeup Tips.

    Part One – Eyes

    Top Row L-R: Cinnamon, Kids, Poetry, Coconut Milk

    Middle Row L-R: Verve, Leon, Chérie Shape, Circle

    Bottom row L-R: Paprika, Camelot, Caramel, Fossil

    This months core palette was this compilation of mattes by Nabla. I’m a big fan of their single shadows and their mattes are generally amazing.

    Top Row L-R: Red Carpet, Cheer Me On, 45

    Bottom Row L-R: Blacklight, Shimma Shimma, I’m Peachless

    To accompany the Nabla mattes I added two more shades by Neve Cosmetics (Red Carpet) and MAC (Cheer Me On) in a smaller palette and also four inner corner highlights by Inglot (45) and Makeup Geek (Blacklight, Shimma Shimma, I’m Peachless). These two palettes would have to do the work the Meow Cosmetics pigments could not.

    Top Row L-R: Valley of the Dead, Tormented, Folie A Deux

    Bottom row L-R: Wicked, Nightmare, Wretched Soul

    The Something Wicked collection by Meow Cosmetics is compiled of murky golds and greens. Very appealing. I know I have hardly ever worn these shades.

    Top Row L-R: Mothman, Wampus Cat

    Bottom row L-R: Snipe, Boogie Man

    The X collection by Meow is so beautiful and I have worn this quite a lot in previous years. Especially the shades Mothman and Wampus Cat.

    Top Row L-R: Sedative, Padded Cell, Electric Shock

    Bottom Row L-R: Lobotomy, Basket Case

    And finally we have some brighter shades from the Asylum Collection, also by Meow Cosmetics. These have hardly ever been worn.

    Let’s go through each shade and see how they fared in the audit.

    The Nabla shades were generally lovely to use and fulfilled their purpose during the month. Most worn were Camelot (liner, deepening shade), Coconut Milk (diffuser for edges) and Circle (crease). Leon was a fun crease and slight deepening shade that worked well in many looks. Cinnamon, Kids, Paprika and Caramel are lovely shades too but I guess I looked for cooler matte shades more often to accompany the loose Meow shades. Verve and Poetry were used only once each but they perform very well and the colours are quite rare in my overall collection. All of these are keepers for me. Chérie Shape was not worn at all but I see no point in letting it go. The quality is good, the shadow is fairly new and the colour is unique in my arsenal so it can stay for now. The one let down of the bunch was Fossil, the one shade I should have used a lot due to its versatile colour. But I found that it did not look good on me, weirdly enough, and this type of shade usually does. I wore it twice and came to the same conclusion both times. So Fossil is out.

    Red Carpet (Neve) was worn only once but looked great and kept its colour nicely on the lid. I’m always glad to have an array of reds and this deep blood shade is a standout. Cheer Me On (MAC) looks terrible in the swatch but buffed out in the crease it did its job well and added a touch of bright orange. I know I have many oranges but this shade might be special enough and I would like to compare it to others before even thinking about letting it go, so it can stay until round 2. The four shimmers in this palette were used primarily as inner corner highlights and two are standouts. I’m Peachless and Blacklight (both old MUG) are such amazing duochrome shadows. I’m not suprised, I’m Peachless has been one of my favourite and most used shadows for many years now but I’m glad I have rediscovered Blacklight a bit. It’s perfect for layering over darker shadows for that stunning pinky-blue shift. Shimma Shimma (MUG) was pretty but it’s too basic and I have no need for it. 45 (Inglot) is an intense yellow gold highlighter shade and it’s very old. Had it been a more unique shade I would have considered keeping it, but it’s simply not special enough.

    Something Wicked collection by Meow Cosmetics

    Tormented and Folie a Deux are lovely dark and murky shimmers. They are similar but Tormented is lighter. I loved using them together as well as separate. Valley of the Dead, Wretched Soul and Wicked were very pretty as well. The only shade I do not feel keen to keep is Nightmare. I just know it is a shade I would never reach for.

    X collection by Meow Cosmetics

    After a bit of debating, I’m keeping all four of these. Mothman is a beautiful duochrome that I adore using, Wampus Cat is a rich green gold and Boogie Man a luscious pale green. Snipe was the one I was on the fence about initially but after using it a second time it won me over. It has a lovely pink shift that I enjoyed wearing.

    Asylum collection by Meow Cosmetics

    The final shadows this month were some bright and colourful shades from the Asylum collection. Out of these Lobotomy is a clear favourite. A stunning shimmering bright strawberry shade. Electric Shock is a lot of fun and Basket Case, albeit being a tad finicky to use, is such a unique shade of purple. Padded Cell is a bit too pale to be functional for me and Sedative is pretty but not special enough. So those two will be let go.

    Part Two – Cheeks

    L-R: Magenta, Brimstone

    I am down to some of my final cheek products. Magenta by MAC is the last blush to be audited. Brimstone by Phee’s Makeup Tips is one of only three highlighters left.

    Top Row L-R: Taupe, Sur, Play It Proper

    Bottom Row L-R: At Dusk, Stereo Rose

    To have some variety on the cheek front I decided to add in a selection of shades by MAC that I had previously gone through the audit victorious. Three blushes (Stereo Rose, At Dusk and Sur), one highlight (Play It Proper) and one contour (Taupe).

    Magenta (MAC) was worn only a total of four times throughout the month. Such a deep pink is not an everyday shade for me. Even though I enjoy wearing it I have already kept similar blush shades that I know I do not need to keep another one. Brimstone (Phee’s) was only used twice and that was enough for me to know that I have no use for it. It’s just not the effect I’m after in a highlighter, this visible green silver sheen. So both cheek products are out.

    Let’s move on to some of the looks I wore during the month…

    November 5

    Eyes: Wampus Cat, Leon, Padded Cell, Camelot

    Cheeks: Sur, Play It Proper

    Lips: Velvet Muse lipstick and lip pencil (Lisa Eldridge)

    November 7

    Eyes: Sedative, I’m Peachless, Red Carpet

    Cheeks: At Dusk

    Lips: Don’t remember

    November 9

    Eyes: Cheer Me On, I’m Peachless, Lobotomy,

    Cheeks: Sur, Brimstone

    Lips: Velvet Muse mixed with Velvet Blush (Lisa Eldridge)

    November 10

    Eyes: Boogie Man, Folie a Deux, 45, Leon, Camelot

    Cheeks: Magenta, Brimstone

    Lips: Muse gloss (Lisa Eldridge)

    November 17

    Eyes: Kids, Padded Cell, Coconut Milk

    Cheeks: Sur, Play It Proper

    Lips: Rouge Feu (Chanel)

    November 18

    Eyes: Shimma Shimma, Padded Cell, Kids, Coconut Milk, Leon

    Cheeks: Magenta

    Lips: Velvet Muse (Lisa Eldridge)

    November 21

    Eyes: Electric Shock, 45, Verve

    Cheeks: no notes

    Lips: Velvet Decade (Lisa Eldridge)

    November 25

    Eyes: Wicked, I’m Peachless, Circle,

    Cheeks: Taupe

    Lips: Velvet Muse mixed with Velvet Blush (Lisa Eldridge)

    November 27

    Eyes: Blacklight, Tormented, Folie a Deux, Cinnamon

    Cheeks: Velvet Dragon lipstick by Lisa Eldridge

    Lips: Velvet Dragon (Lisa Eldridge)

    As you probably can tell November was the month when my order from Lisa Eldridge arrived. I purchased quite a few shades both from her new and old lineup. Other than being excited for the new lip shades at my disposal I had a pretty uninspired makeup month. The audit itself went just fine but I spent so much energy at work that I had little time to be creative and play around with shades. Autumn has been like that I notice, I said the same thing in last months roundup. Being able to work from home during this pandemic has been a privilege but I’m beginning to notice that it takes its toll as well. Meeting after meeting, with little time for natural breaks and room to “breathe”.

    To conclude this audit I started with 33 shades for eyes and out of those I will let go of six. Both cheek items will go as well so that is a total of eight items.

    Thanks for reading!

  • Makeup

    My Makeup Audit: October 2020

    During 2013 I was infatuated with the indie brand Meow Cosmetics. They did and still do loose mineral eyeshadows in beautiful and fun collections. No new collections have been created for quite some time as far as I can see, but most of the older (and stunning) collections are still available.

    For a while I was collecting their shadows and I have oh so many. Meow used to open up their Halloween shop in the Autumn and made some special collections available for a limited time only. The same collections would appear every year and sometimes new shades were added. The same approach was applied for Christmas, Summer and Friday the 13th. I bought the Halloween shades for a few years before I had snagged what I wanted. Very satisfying.

    To honor my vast Meow stash I have decided, starting in October, to base my monthly eye arsenal heavily on season appropriate Meow collections. I will keep this approach for a few months at least, until I get bored I presume. For October I’ve picked all the shadows I own, and have yet to audit, from the Zombie Apocalypse, Dance of Death, Scary Ghost Stories and Halloween Zombies collections. A total of 21 shades.

    The October arsenal

    To accompany these loose shimmer/metallic shadows I picked some mattes in the form of mixed singles and a fixed palette by Sleek Makeup, ending up with a total tally of 45 shades. Other brands included are Nabla, MAC, Makeup Geek, Illamasqua and Inglot. To accompany the eye team we have five cheek products – four blushes and one highlighter. But more on cheeks later, lets start with the eyes.

    Part One – Eyes

    Top Row L-R: Uninterrupted, Confection, Tuscan Sun, Blackberry, Brun

    Middle Row L-R: Feint, Black Tied, Early Bird, Morocco, Wild Side

    Bottom Row L-R: 304, 370

    This palette includes mainly matte shades of varying age from MAC (Uninterrupted, Blackberry, Brun, Black Tied), Makeup Geek (Confection, Tuscan Sun, Early Bird, Morocco), Nabla (Wild Side), Illamasqua (Feint) and Inglot (304, 370).

    Force of Nature palette

    This Sleek palette was released 2015-2016 and is an all matte palette. Just looking at it I am drawn to the colour scheme but I have used it very infrequently over the years.

    Top Row L-R: Brains Over Beauty, Living Dead, Post Mortem

    Bottom Row L-R: Tetrodotoxin, Datura, Sepulchre, Infection

    For loose shadows we can start off with seven shades from the Zombie Apocalypse collection by Meow Cosmetics. Muted shimmer shades with lovely names like Infection and Post Mortem.

    Top Row L-R: Present, Past

    Bottom Row L-R: Eerie, Necromancer, Cadaver, Spellbinding

    Next up we have four shades from the Dance of Death collection by Meow Cosmetics and two from the Scary Ghost Stories collection (Past, Present). Past, Present and Eerie are the ones I’ve used the most previously.

    Top Row L-R: Full Moon, Skelecat, Witch’s Brew, Spider Web

    Bottom Row L-R: Jack O Lantern, Ghoul, Omen, Banshee

    Finally we have eight shades from the Halloween Zombies collection by Meow Cosmetics. A bit more bright and colourful shades compared to the other collections.

    Let’s move on to swatches of each shade and a rundown of how they fared in the audit starting with the matte singles palette.

    These mattes were workhorse shades in varying degrees over the course of the month. Black Tied (MAC) and Wild Side (Nabla) were used the most followed by Uninterrupted (MAC) and Confection (MUG). All four performed well and will be kept. Blackberry and Brun (both by MAC) also work well and are useful albeit maybe not very exciting. Tuscan Sun, Morocco and Early Bird (all by MUG) were fun matte additions due to their more colourful nature. Another beautiful and rather unique shade for me is Feint, a depotted shade from a face palette by Illamasqua that I had to get rid of due to cream products that had gone off. 304 by Inglot was only used once but worked nicely and will be kept for now. The one shade that did not strike my fancy was surprisingly enough the bright yellow shade 370 (Inglot). This specific shade of yellow did not look good on me. I would describe is as a garish light banana shade. I love using yellow and enjoy most yellow shades that I come across but this was simply not for me. So it will leave my collection.

    Force of Nature palette – Sleek Makeup

    The Force of Nature palette (Sleek Makeup) was a bit of a surprise for me. I really thought I would enjoy using the purple shades but they just did not entice me when wearing them. The more neutral shades were ok but they are not worth keeping on their own. So this palette will be let go in its entirety.

    Zombie Apocalypse collection – Meow Cosmetics

    One thing to note is that these shadows are generally hard to get nice swatches of. If swatched without a wet base of some kind they look lackluster and if used with a primer they tend to come out patchy. But used on the eyes with a primer they usually work well and fulfill their potential. Out of the seven shades from the Zombie Apocalypse collection by Meow Cosmetics I have decided to keep Brains Over Beauty, Tetrodotoxin, Post Mortem, Sepulchre and Infection. Not all of them might not survive a round 2 of this audit, but they tickle my fancy enough to be kept for now. Living Dead is a pretty gunmetal shade but not special enough to warrant med to keep it as a single shadow. Silver shades is something I wear quite infrequently and I see no point in having too many options on hand. Datura was used on the lid and as an inner corner highlight. It is very pale green but it is so light in its effect that I see no point in keeping it.

    Scary Ghost Stories and Dance of Death collections – Meow Cosmetics

    Present and Past from the Scary Ghost Stories collection are very pretty in different ways. Present is a delicate shade with a soft shift that I like to wear as a topper or an inner corner shade. Past is a potent lid shade. Moving on to the Dance of Death collection, Eerie is a stunning purple with a blue sparkle throughout. Very unique. Cadaver is a beautiful green gold and Spellbinding is an intense white with a slight pink shift and pink sparkle. I used this one as a cheek highlighter as well. Those three are keepers. The only let down of the bunch was Necromancer. It has a black base that unfortunately made it difficult to blend and not fun to work with.

    Halloween Zombies collection – Meow Cosmetics

    Last of the eye products are from the Halloween Zombies collection by Meow Cosmetics. Full Moon is a very intense white gold and very pretty. Skelecat however is a bit too slight in its effect. In the jar it has a lovely green tinge but on the eye that was sadly not visible. I used it primarily as an inner corner highlight and it was just not potent enough for me for that purpose. Witch’s Brew, Spider Web and Jack O Lantern are all fun pops of brighter colour and Ghoul is a dirty neutral that was anything but boring to wear. Omen and Banshee are maybe less wearable for me, but unique and beautiful enough to keep. So out of this lot the only one I’m not keeping is Skelecat.

    Part Two – Cheeks

    Top Row L-R: Autoerotique, Melba, Fever

    Bottom Row L-R: Here Comes Joy, Regal Mauve

    When it comes to cheek products I have managed to near the end of my collection. I only own three more blushes and two of those are quite deeply pigmented so I saved one shade for November. To have a little more variety I chose to add two more shades, shades that have already been through round 1 of the audit in previous months (Autoerotique and Melba by MAC). I know I own some loose highlighters that I could have included this month but forgot about them, so instead I did a repeat of a pressed one from MAC (Here Comes Joy). In total four blushes and one highlight were picked for this arsenal but Regal Mauve by Nabla and Fever by MAC are the only ones being audited.

    Top Row L-R: Autoerotique, Melba, Fever

    Bottom row L-R: Here Comes Joy, Regal Mauve

    Fever (MAC) is one of those deeply pigmented and bright shades that I rarely reach for on a daily basis, and that is a shame. It’s a bit tricky to use but I find that if I only pat off the blush in the palm of my hand before applying I can control the intensity a lot more easily. Fever is a very pretty shade and it deserves to be kept for round 2. Regal Mauve (Nabla) is another cool toned shade and I enjoy it a lot. It’s very versatile and easy to use. So both cheek shades are being kept for the time being.

    Moving on to some of the looks I wore during the month…

    October 2

    Eyes: Spider Web, Skelecat, Uninterrupted on top of Primer Potion in Caffeine (Urban Decay)

    Cheeks: Fever

    Lips: Noir Moderne (Chanel)

    October 5

    Eyes: Dawn, Moonbeam, Twilight, Lightning, Sandstorm, Skelecat, Brains over Beauty

    Cheeks: Regal Mauve

    Lips: A mix of Noir Moderne (Chanel) and Dolce Vita (Nars)

    October 12

    Eyes: Tetrodotoxin, Skelecat, Wild Side

    Cheeks: Fever, Here Comes Joy

    Lips: A mix of Mull it Over (MAC) and Devoted to Chili (MAC)

    October 13

    Eyes: Banshee, Ghoul, Datura over Cream Fusion Eye Colour in The New Noir (H&M)

    Cheeks: I have no notes on this

    Lips: nothing

    October 14

    Eyes: Wild Side

    Cheeks: Fever, Spellbinding

    Lips: Burning Love (MAC)

    October 15

    Eyes: Spider Web, Tuscan Sun, Full Moon

    Cheeks: Autoerotique

    Lips: Velvet Ribbon (Lisa Eldridge)

    October 17

    Eyes: Cadaver, Uninterrupted, Black Tied

    Cheeks: Autoerotique, Here Comes Joy

    Lips: Burning Love (MAC) and Nougatine (H&M)

    October 20

    Eyes: Omen, Necromancer, Morocco, Spellbinding

    Cheeks: Regal Mauve, Spellbindning

    Lips: Rouge Audace (Chanel)

    October 21

    Eyes: Witch’s Brew, Datura, Early Bird, Black Tied

    Cheeks: Regal Mauve

    Lips: Love of My Life (Lisa Eldridge)

    To conclude this month a total of seven items were let go consisting of 16 unique eye shadow shades. This month was not a very creative makeup month for me and I was quite uninspired most days. I think it was due to having a very hectic month at work. I went without makeup a lot and when I did do my makeup I often had little time to play. But doing this project is still a lot of fun and I always look forward to the next monthly arsenal.

    Thanks for reading!

  • Makeup

    A Makeup Audit Tale: lip products part 2

    In the first part of my lipstick audit I let go of a total of 27 products. Most of them had expired but a some were let go because they did not tickle my fancy anymore. Part 2 took place only a few weeks later in the end of October 2019, a lot sooner than I had initially anticipated. Somehow the audit mentality took over and I started evaluating the products I wore and owned with new eyes.

    None of these shades had gone off at the time but they were older, many of them as much as 5-6 years old. I bit too much age for a lipstick. Let’s have a look at the discards…

    Revlon – Candy Apple

    Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter in Candy Apple (035) was nice but I did not gravitate towards the glossy finish anymore. It always felt like I had too much texture on my lips.

    Revlon – Romantic

    Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Romantic (045) is a similar situation as with Candy Apple. I’ve worn it a lot over the years but I was simply not attracted to the formula anymore.

    Revlon – Crush

    Another Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain, this time in Crush (005). Another one I never reached for anymore.

    Revlon – Rasberry Pie

    Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter in Rasberry Pie (010) is a shade I would have preferred to be matte.

    MAC – Red Balloon

    This Amplified lipstick in Red Balloon was from the 2014 Playland Collection by MAC. Pretty shade but I rarely reached for it. Not sure why.

    MAC – Heavenly Hybrid

    MAC Lustre lipstick in Heavenly Hybrid was part of the Fantasy of Flowers collection in 2014. Pretty shade but I never reached for it.

    MAC – Après Chic

    MAC Cremesheen lipstick in Après Chic is one of those shades I wish I could replace. Not sure I have the right to complain though, because I never did use it as much as it deserved to be used. I simply had too many lipsticks and it got lost in the masses. But this was an amazing shade on me and I wish I still had it. But it was from 2012, so…

    MAC – Eden Rouge

    Eden Rouge is in the Mattene formula (MAC) and this specific shade has been worn a LOT. Bought in 2012 and served as my go-to red for many years. Looking at it now I feel it is a bit too shiny for my liking but the shade is lovely.

    MAC – Charmed I’m Sure

    Charmed I’m Sure is in the Matte formula by MAC, from the 2012 Marilyn Monroe collection. A stunning pink red that should have been used more than I did.

    MAC – Love Goddess

    From the same Marilyn Monroe collection we have Love Goddess, a satin lipstick. This hot pink is very flattering but a tad too glossy for my current liking.

    MAC – All Out Gorgeous

    Sorry for the blurry photo, but it will have to do. All Out Gorgeous is in the Mineralize Rich formula and it’s also too shiny for me. Another shade I would much prefer as a matte.

    MAC – Absolute Power

    Absolute Power is a matte shade from the 2013 Strength Collection by MAC. A beautiful muted red.

    MAC – Pure Heroine

    Pure Heroine was a collaboration between the singer Lorde and MAC in 2014. It’s a dramatic dark purple in the amplified formula. It was not a wise purchase for sure. It is one of those shades where I have very limited use of it and it tends to be forgotten altogether.

    After settling on these older lipsticks I decided to go through some of the less old lip items I never or hardly wear for one reason or another. Since I have no feelings for them whatsoever I went for simple arm swatches.

    The chosen ones were three lip liners by MAC (Embrace, Ablaze and Heroine) and six of the Sephora Cream Lip Stains I had inherited by a friend (21, 23, 24, 26, 25 and 18). So to conclude the second and final part of my lipstick audit a total of 13 lipsticks, three lip liners and six liquid lipsticks exited my life.

    I started the audit with 84 lip colour products in October 2019 and ended up with with a total collection of 34 items a month later. 13 lipsticks, five lip crayons, seven liquid lipsticks and nine lip pencils.

    Below you can see a note I made including paper swatches of what I ended up with after the audit. It gave me a nice overview of the shades compared to each other and how the total shade range looks.

    One of the largest categories remaining were what I called neutral shades including fleshy pinks and browns. This type of lipstick gets a lot of wear time so I do not mind having this many options.

    The reds were suddenly a small part of my collection and lacking I might add. I love red lipsticks and going into December (partaking in #redlipsdecember on Instagram) with only three red lipsticks and three red lip liners was interesting. But it was a fun experiment to only use this lot for a while to see how I fared. I knew I wanted to add some new red shades to my collection but I was not about to purchase anything new this early on in my auditing project.

    Rusty shades was a lovely little bunch that I looked forward to using a lot. They sort of compensated for the fact that I suddenly had so few true reds.

    Bright pinks, berries and plums were put in the same category even though they vary so vastly in shade and potential. I use berry and plum shades more often than bright pinks but I’m making an effort to choose those bright shades more often.

    Finally we have the category that I want to keep this small moving forward. The fun and a bit weird shades that I enjoy but only wear on certain occasions or with very specific looks. These three liquid lip shades are just that, fun. I enjoy them and see no point in discarding them until they go off, but I will refrain from buying any additions to this category until they do.

    So the products in the paper swatches are the shades I’ve worn since November 2019 up until May 2020 when I finally added some new shades. But that is a story for another day…

    Thank you for reading!

  • Makeup

    My Makeup Audit: September 2020

    I remember sitting on the floor close to my makeup storage and choosing what to wear for September. I had difficult time narrowing it down and I was quite inspired both to wear a ton of more murky shades for Autumn, but also to dig deep into my stash and audit some old treasures. I ended up with products from Anastasia Beverly Hills, Inglot, Neve Cosmetics, KvD, Makeup Geek, MAC, Meow Cosmetics, Urban Decay, Nabla and Sleek Makeup.

    The chosen eye arsenal consisted of five fixed palettes and six singles. I must admit a total of 74 eyeshadows was a bit much to take on in month. But I ran with the feeling when I had it. For cheeks I settled on a total of five products – one contour, two highlighters and two blushes. A bit more sensible but not due to my choosing. I have almost gone through all of my cheek products and I have not got much too choose from when kitting my next arsenal.

    Let’s start with going through the eye products as usual.

    I picked up the KvD Metal Mattes palette in store at Sephora in Gothenburg in 2016. I was so excited because the mattes shades were unlike anything I had at the time. But when I started using the palette the metallics were so boring that I soon stopped experimenting with it and therefore ended up using the mattes a lot less than I expected.

    The Supreme palette by Sleek Makeup has not been used much since being purchased in 2014 and feel that half of this palette does not even appeal to me. I am mainly attracted to the yellows and greens.

    Modern Renaissance – Anastasia Beverly Hills

    Another purchase from 2016. Viola aka Killer Colours made such a beautiful review of this palette that I was sold. Modern Renaissance was also my first ever purchase from Anastasia Beverly Hills. I still adore the general aesthetics of the design and colours included.

    The Electric palette by Urban Decay was one of my first bright palettes and I have fond memories in relation to some of these shades. I bought it in Edinburgh 2014 on a very special trip and I remember being so excited to own it. It has gotten some love over the years, and especially the shade Slowburn.

    Top row L-R: Pioggia Acida, Utopia, Fenice, Chimera, Twilight Bottom row L-R: Mela Stregata, Abracadabra, Polline, Veleno, Mezza Estate

    This Duochrome palette by Neve Cosmetics was also purchased in 2016 and was a natural progression in my love and search for duochrome shadows. It contains some solid favourites but I think depotting it would garner some more use of these shades.

    Top row L-R: Rapture, Relic, Faux Fur, 433

    Bottom row L-R: Creative Copper, 419

    On top of all those palettes I added a selection of singles from KvD (Rapture, Relic), Makeup Geek (Faux Fur), MAC (Creative Copper) and Inglot (433 and 419). Both the MAC and KvD shadows were depotted from fixed palettes.

    That was an introduction to all of the shades. Let’s see how they fared in the audit starting with the KvD palette.

    As mentioned I never held these metallics from the Metal Mattes palette in high regard. Using them this month just solidified that standpoint. I used Synergy, Volt, Twinkle and Tinsel and then I was so bored and stopped even considering these metallics as an option when doing my makeup.

    I quickly decided that I was never going to keep this palette intact so I started evaluating the shadows more on an individual basis and I did manage to use all of the matte shades except Linen and Velour. I learned that I have no warm and fuzzy feelings for any of these shades. The mattes are good, but not unique enough for me to depot the thing. My final verdict – I will let the entire palette go.

    The Supreme palette by Sleek however is going to get the honors of being depotted. The shades P-Funk, Al Green and Delfonic were amazing and are quite unique for me. I might keep Grand Master Flash or Commodores Cream as well. The rest will be let go since I could not even be bothered to use most them during the audit.

    Oh Modern Renaissance, how you entice me. I still love using this palette and enjoy most of the shades. Vermeer and Primavera are stunning inner corner highlighters and Golden Ochre, Buon Fresco, Raw Sienna, Burnt Orange and Warm Taupe are such versatile lid and crease shades. Love Letter, Red Ochre, Venetian Red and Realgar are lovely for a deeper pop of colour and Cyprus Umber is ok as a deepening shade. The bummer of the bunch is Antique Bronze. It simply does not perform well anymore and I dislike using it. Time has not treated it well because I do remember loving that shade when I first got the palette. I am definitely keeping this palette and used it extensively during the month.

    I’ve been so conflicted over the Electric palette. I still love using Slowburn and Thrash. Savage is ok but stained my lids badly and the formula was quite dusty. And I know I have another similar bright pink shade that is new and that I would prefer using. Revolt and Freak are not special enough and I have no intention of using Gonzo, Fringe or Chaos. Urban is pretty but not unique enough and Jilted was lovely but I’m sure I can live without it. My initial plan was to depot this palette and keep 3-4 shades. But would I wear them often enough to warrant the effort? UD palettes are a lot of work to depot and I learned that the hard way whilst depotting my Naked palettes. I’m sure I have something else to do the same job as Thrash and Slowburn, the two shades that makes this a tough decision. Let it go Sofia!

    The Duochrome palette by Neve Cosmetics on the other hand was super easy to dismantle. The foam tray around the shades was easy to lift and under that all of the shades were labelled singles on a magnetic mat. So easy to take out. If I had known that I would have tossed the packaging way sooner. This palette contains some real gems and my favourites are Fenice, Mela Stregata, Polline, Veleno and Mezza Estate. Pioggia Acida is nice enough to stay but the others are either lackluster or not my jam colour-wise.

    Rapture and Relic are from the Saint & Sinner palette by KvD that I decided to depot a while back. It had some interesting shades that I wanted to give a fair chance before letting them go. These two are lovely. Relic is an intense melted gold and Rapture is a reddy pink topper shade. Fun to use since I have them. Faux Fur (MUG) on the other hand was an epic fail. Dusty and very hard to work with. Not keeping that one. 433 and 419 are old, a bit smelly and not unique enough to keep. Creative Copper (MAC) was part of a larger fixed palette that I depotted and this was my first and last time using it. A poor performer for sure.

    That was all of the eyeshadows. Let’s move on to the much smaller assortment of cheek products in this month’s arsenal.

    Top row L-R: Next to Skin, Apple Red

    Bottom row L-R: Kendra, Chameleon, Superb

    As mentioned I have audited most of my cheek products already and therefore I have less to choose from. This month we have three MAC products , a contour (Next to Skin), a popping blush (Apple Red) and a highlighter (Superb). A Nabla blush (Kendra) and highlighter from Meow Cosmetics (Chameleon) rounded everything off. Having only two blushes was a bit restricting, if I can say so myself, but it made it a bit of a challenge too.

    As you can see in the swatch, Next to Skin (MAC) is very close to my skin tone. But it did its job as a cheek contour beautifully. Very lightly pigmented and easy to use on an everyday basis. Apple Red (MAC) looks scary in the pan but was a lot easier to use than one might expect. It was not as pigmented as many of its counterparts in my collection and that made it easier to apply. Kendra (Nabla) is a shade that makes me a bit confused. Sometimes it looks amazing but sometimes is emulates the natural redness of my skin a bit too much. It sort of picks up the redness in places where I have tried to neutralize it with my base products such as foundation and concealer. I love adding blush but I want the flush to be placed exactly where I want it. Anyway, I have no reason to get rid of Kendra right now but I will keep an eye out and see how our relationship evolves.

    Chameleon (Meow Cosmetics) is a loose pale white gold shade and it works well as a cheek highlighter as well as an inner corner eye shade. Superb (MAC) on the other hand does not really work as a cheek highlighter for me, it is simply too dark. I enjoy the formula but I have no reason to keep it.

    That completes the rundown of the products worn in September. Let’s have a look at a few of the looks I wore during the month. It was a really boring makeup month for me and I felt very uninspired. I did however manage to make notes on what I wore on my lip on most days.

    September 1

    Eyes: Volt, Silk, Fringe, Twinkle

    Cheeks: Apple Red, Superb

    Lips: Sultry by Revlon

    September 3

    Eyes: Golden Ochre, Burnt Orange, Primavera, Cyprus Umber

    Cheeks: Kendra, Next to Skin, Chameleon

    Lips: Goldstone mixed with Pink Opal by Linda Hallberg

    September 7

    Eyes: P-Funk, Delfonic, Commodores Cream

    Cheeks: Kendra

    Lips: When in Rome by H&M

    September 9

    Eyes: Creative Copper, Rapture, Mezza Estate, Suede, Oak

    Cheeks: Apple Red

    Lips: Rouge Audace by Chanel

    September 10

    Eyes: Antique Bronze, Buon Fresco, Burnt Orange, Chameleon

    Cheeks: Apple Red

    Lips: Mull it Over mixed with Devoted to Chili by MAC

    September 11

    Eyes: Mela Stregata, Twilight, Pioggia Acida, Feather, Moss, Stone

    Cheeks: Kendra

    Lips: When in Rome by H&M

    September 14

    Eyes: Utopia, Buon Fresco, Vermeer, Jet

    Cheeks: Kendra

    Lips: Goldstone mixed with Pink Opal by Linda Hallberg

    September 16

    Eyes: Mela Stregata, Raw Sienna, Vermeer

    Cheeks: Kendra

    September 19

    Eyes: Slowburn, Savage, Rapture, Relic

    Cheeks: Kendra

    September 21

    Eyes: Jilted, Fringe, Mezza Estate

    Cheeks: Kendra

    September 22

    Eyes: Polline, Buon Fresco, Thrash, Bronx Black

    Cheeks: Apple Red, Next to Skin

    September 25

    Eyes: Fenice, Raw Sienna, Mezza Estate

    Cheeks: Kendra, Next to Skin

    September 29

    Eyes: Pioggia Acida on top of Caffeine primer by Urban Decay, Vermeer

    Cheeks: Next to Skin

    Looking at these pictures make me feel like I had a better makeup month than it felt whilst it was happening. During it felt like most makeup looks ended up on the uninspired spectrum and I had quite a few days when I felt it looked crap. I thought I would end up with just a handful of pictures to post but here I am with quite a few.

    To conclude this month I decided to let two fixed palettes go and two will be depotted. All in all 45 eye shades will leave my collection and 26 will be kept. All cheek shades will go into round two except the one (Superb). Quite an effective month I must say.

    Thanks for reading!

  • Makeup,  Skincare

    The Used Up 2020:1

    Time to go through all of the makeup and skincare items that were used up by me during the first half of 2020, January-June. A whopping total of 30 items, whereas half of them are makeup items. I’ve been making a conscious effort to use up basic makeup items before buying a replacement and I must say it is very satisfying to see them actually empty.

    For reference I am 38 years old with a combination skin that is dehydrated. I get the occasional breakout and can get quite shiny during the day. My skin rarely reacts badly to products and I have no allergies.

    Cleansers

    I managed to use up a total of six cleansing products during this period. The Rose Cream Cleanser by Pixi (135 ml, 279 SEK) has been a favourite for a while as my first cleanse in the morning and second cleanse in the evening. It has been a continuous repeat repurchase for me and even though I still love it I have not bought another one since finishing my last tube. I’m trying to find a cheaper option since I go through them a bit too quickly for my liking.

    I’ve always been interested to try the Renaissance Cleanser by Oskia (100 ml, 410 SEK) since it’s been held in high regard by many content creators in the beauty realm. So I finally bit the bullet. It’s a more pricey item but I did enjoy using it a lot. It had a lovely formula and my skin felt nice after using it. But the product did not last as long as I wanted it to do to justify the price. I might repurchase in the future but it will probably not be a recurring product in my cabinet.

    Then we have my usual micellar water – Sensibio H20 by Bioderma (500 ml, 179 SEK) – in a larger bottle this time. I still use this very infrequently but I like to always have a bottle at hand.

    The Squalane Cleanser by the Ordinary (50 ml, 99 SEK) was an attempt to replace the Pixi cleanser. I enjoyed this product well enough but it ran out really quickly. It’s cheaper by the ml but I felt I needed more product to cleanse the whole face than with the Rose Cream Cleanser.

    The purchase of the Gentle Cleansing Melt by Evolve (120 ml, 299 SEK) was an attempt to find an option for my favourite cleansing balm, the Green Clean Cleansing Balm by Farmacy (you can read my thoughts on it here). I’m trying to find an option that lasts longer and has a lower cost per use. No luck with the Evolve one sadly. It had a honey-like texture and was not as easy to spread over the face as the balms I’ve tried before. Also it was not as efficient in removing my eye makeup as I would like and the jar was used up rather quickly. It is not a bad cleanser by any means, but is not what I want or need. I would not repurchase.

    Toner & mists

    I’ve written about how I’ve been using the Glow Tonic by Pixi (250 ml, 299 SEK) as staple almost on automatic due to it being marketed so well. I have nothing bad to say about the product but I felt it was time to try something new. So after finishing this bottle I did purchase a glycolic acid toner from The Ordinary instead.

    The Hydrating Accelerator by Josh Rosebrook (60 ml, 289 SEK) has also been fronted as an amazing product in the beauty community for a while. So naturally I was intrigued. I put the product on my wish list for Christmas and my wish was heard by my husband. I do like the product, it smells nice and felt hydrating. The mister was lovely as well. But I did feel like I went trough the bottle way too quickly compared to the cost. The bottle is quite small so naturally it is used up more quickly, but the price for that small bottle is the deal breaker. However, when looking at the Alice & White website (where I purchase Josh Rosebrook products) whilst writing this post I notice that they do not carry the 60 ml bottle anymore. There is a 120 ml bottle though and it is priced at 399 SEK. That is better value for money and since this is a more luxury brand with an focus on ethically sourced ingredients and sustainable packaging I think the price is warranted. But what I’m not sure of is if I need it in my routine. Right now I’m using a mist from Lumene that I like and I’m unsure if I will buy the Hydrating Accelerator again. We shall see..

    Essence & serums

    I am not surprised to see two Rose Caviar Essence by Pixi (45 ml, 399 SEK) in this post but since I use this product twice daily as a hydrating layer. But this is specifically one of those products I’m keeping my eye on to see how many I use in a year. At least four I suspect but it could be more. We shall see when the year is over and THE TRUTH WILL BE REVEALED!. Since I replace this so frequently I try to buy at at discount but I’m unsure if it is worth it all in all. Maybe.

    Another staple is the Nordic-C Glow Boost Essence by Lumene (30 ml, 289 SEK). The situation is the same with this one, I go through these quite quickly and try to buy and even stock up when there is a discount. I still enjoy it immensely and use it every morning under the Rose Caviar Essence.

    The Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion by The Ordinary (30 ml, 129 SEK) was my first attempt at adding a vitamin A product to my skincare routine. This specific formula did not wow me in any way and I was a very inconsistent user due to not enjoying the consistency too much. So I can’t speak on its actual function due to that. I will most likely try other vitamin A products moving forward and who knows, I might try this again in the future.

    Moisturizers

    The 24K Eye Elixir by Pixi (9,3 ml, 349 SEK) was an attempt to replace my favourite (and pricey) eye cream from Grown Alchemist. It was fun to try something new but it is in no way a replacement. The formula is completely different, the Pixi one being a serum in a roller dispenser and the GA one is a light cream in a pump bottle. 24K Eye Elexir feels cooling as I roll it under my eyes and leaves the area feeling hydrated. But the product does not give me the moisturized and comforted feeling that I enjoy. It might be more suited to someone who gets puffy under-eyes and can get more benefits from this formulation and applicator.

    Vital Balm Cream by Josh Rosebrook (45 ml, 889 SEK) made its first appearance in my life in the winter of 2018 when my skin acutely needed something heavier to survive the harsh weather. The cream saved me and was a joy to use. So the following year, last winter, I made the decision to repurchase again but I did so a bit prematurely. The weather never got to the same harsh point and I think my skin could have managed with something less “powerful”. I do enjoy this cream and it can last quite a while if one is mindful when using it, but it is so very expensive. Again, I think the Josh Rosebrook products warrants the price set but I do not think my skin needed all that expensive goodness this time around. The coming winter months might require a heaver cream again, but this year I think I will try another brand and see how I fare.

    Another recurring product, one that I took a break from and then went back to, is the Hydration Rescue 24H Replenishing Balm by Lumene (50 ml, varying between 149-199 SEK). I stopped enjoying it suddenly and suspected they had reformulated it. After using other products for a while I purchased it yet again and somehow went on to enjoy using this cream once more. I use it as my nighttime last layer and I love the consistency, the smell and how it makes my skin feel. A good basic light yet moisturizing cream that is just enough for me. The price is great and a jar lasts quite a while.

    Base makeup

    Two face primers were used up and I have not repurchased any substitutes. Not due to me not liking them, but rather me wanting to use up all the primers that I own and evaluate what functions I actually want to have in my stash at all. This tube of Makeup Forever Step 1 Redness Correcting Primer (30 ml, 420 SEK) is not the first I’ve used up but rather my second or even third. I love this hydrating and colour correcting primer. I have quite a lot of redness in my face that I like to subdue so a green corrector definitely fills a purpose in my daily routine and it feels good to know that this one works well for me. I might purchase again in the future but I wish to explore some cheaper options first.

    The Hydra Veil by Illamasqua (mini sample, gift with purchase) is a lovely primer. I have bought this in a full size previously and it’s a nice hydrating product. Adding something hydrating right before applying my foundation really improves the end result for me. But I must admit I prefer a tube to a jar.

    The Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation in “Y215” by Make Up Forever (30 ml, 475 SEK) used to be my favourite “skin like” foundation until I repurchased it and the colour was reformulated. It was suddenly a lot more pink than yellow and did not suit me anymore. I need a neutral shade or one that leans yellow to combat my redness and this sadly does not do the job anymore. I do like the formula still, it really looks amazing on the skin.

    Loose Mineral Foundation in “Suede” by Cailyn (425 SEK) is another old staple. This is my second jar and the colour is lovely on me. However I do not really use loose mineral foundation on a regular basis anymore so I will not repurchase anytime soon.

    The Viva La Diva conclealer in “1 Pure Light” (3 ml, 89 SEK) was an attempt to find a replacement for the other empty concealer in this post, the Lasting Perfection Ultimate Wear Concealer in “Fair 1” by Collection (price and amount unknown) that I used to buy in bulk when in London. Both are very cheap concealers and sadly I prefer the one I can not get a hold of anymore. The Viva La Diva is not my favourite. It has a smell that puts me off and the colour is not a good match for me, too dark and pink. The one from Collection is a great shade that really does the job of brightening my under eyes and adds extra coverage wherever needed. A creamy product where a little goes a long way.

    Mascara & brows

    Yet another empty staple product is my go-to mascara – Lash Power mascara in Black Onyx (6 ml, 235 SEK) by Clinique. It’s the one I’ve found that smudges the least and it has a lovely small brush. This past year I feel that is has started to smudge more but I do not know if it is an illusion or if they have done something to the formula. I’ve also tried the Flutter-to-Full version of Lash Power (9 ml, 280 SEK) and it does nothing for me. I have very straight and long lashes. There is no point in any fancy mascara effects. Nothing lasts on my lashes anyway.

    The Brow Perfector in “Espresso” by H&M (4 ml, approximately 80 SEK) is a quite new favourite that I have repurchased and use daily. However, just last week I learned that it has been discontinued. It really makes me sad because it was a lovely affordable option with an ok hold, a nice cool dark brown colour and a small brush. A great product all in all. I’m a bit bummed that I will not be able to buy another one when I run out of the one in use.

    The Sigma Tint + Tame Brow Gel in “Dark” (about 150 SEK) was another attempt at finding the perfect tinted brow gel and sadly not a product for me. Bulky packaging and the product itself was too watery. It smeared everywhere way too easily.

    Finally we have the Blueberry Eyebrow Fixing Gel in “Transparent” by Lumene (5 ml, price unknown) that I purchased at a sale and that has since been discontinued. The brand has a similar product but I do not know if it’s the same formula in new packaging or a new formula altogether. It was an ok product, nothing amazing. I am keen to try another brow gel from Lumene if they have a coloured option that would suit me.

    Miscellaneous makeup

    Kiko makes some great eye shadow sticks. This is my second shade that I have used up, the Long Lasting Stick 8 Hour No-Transfer Eyeshadow in “05 Rosy Brown” (1,6 g, 69 SEK). My favourite shade of the two was not this one but “38 Golden Taupe”, a similar but slightly different shade. That gem was used up two years ago. But both shades were great all over the lid and up in the crease, no primer needed, and serving as a base that was perfect to tap a shimmering shadow on top of. Creamy enough to be easy to blend but set down well enough to not crease extensively. And that is a great feat since I have very, very oily eyelids. I really want to repurchase “38” in the future, I miss having this type of product at hand.

    Eyeshadow Primer Potion “Anti-Aging” by Urban Decay (10 ml, 270 SEK) is ok but I do not think it’s my perfect one. As mentioned, I have seriously oily eyelids and most things crease on me at some point. This is my second tube I’ve used up and I have since tried another brand (Spoiler – it sucks!). I might purchase the UD one again in the future because I did enjoy how easy it it was to blend shadows over it, before it was completely set and therefore really popping the pigment.

    Most of my lip liners are by MAC and they really benefit from being used together with this lip primer, the Prep + Prime Lip by MAC (14 g, 185 SEK). It gives a smooth and hydrated base that I’ve also found beneficial when using a matte lipstick for a lighter application. The primer has a more balmy finish and I do prefer that over using a more glossy product. I have actually repurchased this since running out, but I did wait a while to be sure that I really missed having a lip primer at all. And I did.

    The last item of this post is actually a lipstick – the Fantastick lipstick by Linda Hallberg (26 g, 199 SEK) in “Goldstone”. Not every day one finishes a lipstick! This is an easy to throw on shade of warm pink that doubles as a cream blush. The formula is glossy in finish, a bit balmy in texture with lots of pigment. I did repurchase this specific shade and use it almost every week, but I do wish the shade was a bit more rosy, a bit more brown. A bit more like my lips but intensified. Not sure I will repurchase again.

    Wow, that was a lot of products. I’m really enjoying summarizing my consumption in this way. Highlighting what items I really use, what I actually like and why. Skincare items are naturally what I go trough most often and I love keeping track. For me, skincare is more a means to an end, unlike makeup that is a life-long passion. My skin is my canvas, the base for my makeup, so naturally I want to take good care of it. And I cant deny that I enjoy using nice skincare and trying new products, but it is not one of my interests so to speak. So spending just enough on skincare is a goal. Just enough luxury, with a little newness and pretty packaging from time to time, combined with a focus on establishing a core of values adapted to my skincare needs and preferences.

    I look forward to summarize the yearly stats after the New Year, but until then..

    Thank you for reading!