• Makeup

    My Makeup Audit: July 2021

    July was the month when I had my summer vacation and spent my days doing a mix of things, trying to slow down my brain after yet another hectic Spring. We had no major plans beforehand and ended up with a nix mix of activities and relaxed days. It was nice with a change of pace. I also wore makeup a bit less often than usual, mostly in the evenings, and I was a bit crappy at taking decent pictures when I did wear something. Despite the less frequent use of makeup I did manage to wear all of the items in my monthly arsenal and ended up with a clear opinion on what I wanted to let go. Here is how the month went down..

    For July I had a total of 33 individual eye shadows to choose from including MAC, Emme Cosmetics, Inglot, Makeup Geek, Meow Cosmetics, Urban Decay, KvD, Illamasqua, Sleek Makeup and Sephora Collection. A smaller arsenal with an erratic colour scheme.

    Top Row L-R: Brulé – Cozy Grey – Friend Zone – 331 – 299

    Bottom Row L-R: Relish – Daemon – Walking Heartbeats

    Eight pressed mattes were all I could put in this months arsenal since I’m running low on mattes to audit (as mentioned in previous posts) and for me this lineup is not ideal. It’s not a great variety and the only up side to this is that it will force me to be even more creative and make do with what I have. In the palette we can find three MAC shadows, where two are depotted from two different fixed 15-pan palettes (Brulé, Cosy Grey) and one is still in its original pot. That is Walking Heartbeats – a shadow from the In Monochrome collection that was released in early 2019.

    We also have two Inglot shades (331, 299) of varying age. The green is most likely from my massive New York Inglot purchase in 2013 and the brown was bought online in 2016 when Inglot became available in Sweden. The Makeup Geek shadow (Friend Zone) is also a purchase from 2016. The darker red by Urban Decay (Relish) is from 2017. The newest shadow is by Illamasqua (Daemon) and that was a shadow I lusted over for a long time before finally buying it in 2018. So a lot of red and not that many neutrals to choose from. But the above were not the only mattes shadows this month, I did have some matte pigments too..

    Top Row L-R: Pure White – True Chartreuse – Sunfest

    Middle Row L-R: Magenta Madness – Neo-Orange – Zing

    Bottom Row L-R: Full Force Violet

    But matte pigments does not usually serve the same purpose as pressed matte shadows. I for one do not use them the same way. I would use them to mix with a medium to create a cream or liquid shadow or mix with a lip product to create an intenser and/or unique lip shade. An interesting thing this far into the audit is the fact that I have prioritised auditing my fixed palettes and singles over pigments. I’ve for sure sprinkled arsenals with my Meow shadows, that are loose shadows for sure but mainly shimmers, but I did forget my other pigments/loose shadows for a long time. I had them stashed in a separate drawer that I forgot about when putting my arsenals together. That is one reason why this arsenal is so matte pigment heavy, not because it is a great idea but because I had to since I wanted to finalize my audit of mattes. We have seven intense pigments this month, two from Sleek Makeup (Zing, Sunfest) and five from MAC (Pure White, True Chartreuse, Magenta Madness, Neo-Orange, Full Force Violet). The Sleek pigments are from 2013 and the MAC ones are most likely from around the same year.

    Top Row L-R: Sweet Heat – Era – Patina – Shale – Be a Superstar

    Bottom Row L-R: 17 – 418 – Sweet Lollipop – Stigmata – Up the Hill – Untamed

    Moving on to the pressed shimmers and metallics. The oldest stuff is by MAC (Era, Shale, Patina) and out of those Shale is the oldest I think. The other two are probably from 2012-2013 but I am quite sure that Shale is way older than that. We also have an In Extra Dimension shadow by MAC (Sweet Heat) in the original pot, since I never depot that formula, and it is likely from 2014. The Inglot ones (17, 418) are from 2013 and the one by Makeup Geek (Untamed) was a gift in 2016. The KvD shadow (Stigmata) is depotted from the Saint & Sinner palette from 2017. Then we have two Sephora Collection shadows (Be a Superstar, Sweet Lollipop) that are a bit newer, from 2018, and the Emme shadow (Up the Hill) is from around the same time.

    Top Row L-R: Peaceful Wings – Hot Wax – Bali Palace

    Bottom Row L-R: Extraterrestrial – Lascivious – Bast – Torch

    And finally we have seven shadows from Meow Cosmetics, all from around 2013. Some brights, some more neutral and two shades that can be used as inner corner highlights (Peaceful Wings, Hot Wax). Not that many lighter shades in this arsenal so it was welcome to have something in that capacity.

    That was all the shadows in my monthly arsenal for July. Let’s move on to swatches of each shade and a walkthrough of my opinions after a month of wearing them all.

    I must admit that it was a bit boring to only have these four more neutral matte shadows for an entire month. I’m used to have a lot more option and this was a stretch. But fortunately Brulé (MAC), Cozy Grey (MAC), Friend Zone (MUG) and 299 (Inglot) all worked beautifully and stood up to the task as core mattes. Cozy Grey was the one that got worn the most because it is a great crease and transition shade on me. I am gladly keeping all four of these. I must also add that since I did not have a dark brown or black matte, I did use my Eye Brow Cake in “Gaze” from Illamasqua to fill the purpose of liner and deepening shade when needed.

    Then we have the bright green, 331 (Inglot). Not the type of green I wear a lot but it worked very well so I am keeping it for now. The three reds were only used once each and both Relish (UD) and Daemon (Illamasqua) are still as wonderful to use as I remember them being. Walking Heartbeats (MAC) on the other hand is not. It was thin and patchy on the eye and I just could not care less about it. So that one can go, the other two reds can stay.

    Then we have the more intense matte pigments. Let’s start with the ones from MAC. Out of the really bright ones, I enjoyed wearing Neo-Orange and Magenta Madness but I must admit they were a bit of an effort to work with. However I feel that their neon quality makes them stand out a lot and I have few other shadows like them. The final verdict is that they are staying. Full Force Violet on the other hand was so patchy and messy that I had to wipe the look I did (or tried to do) off. Not keeping that one. True Chartreuse was lovely to use and Pure White was just fine. A white shade like this is hard to get a nice layer of but I see its potential as a mixer for other shades or as a mixer to create a liquid liner or another white effect. So it can stay for now.

    Out of the two Sleek pigments Sunfest did just not look good. The colour was fine but the formula made it hard to apply nicely. Zing on the other hand worked fine and the shade is more of a burnt bright and I really like that. So one can stay and one can go.

    The old MAC shades were ruled out from just one use. Era, Patina and Shale all used to be favourite shades and they are just not great anymore. Most likely due to age because they do not perform at all as I remember and the colour payoff was dismal. They will go into the bin. Sweet Heat (also MAC) is a great beige that is pale enough to be a very discreet eye look on me but dark enough to give some dimension to my lid. It still performs just fine formula-wise so I’m gladly keeping it.

    The two green shimmers by Inglot, 17 and 418, are so old that I really just should throw them away. But I won’t, because they are beautiful. 17 looks great layered on top of darker shades like 418 and I can just not let them go just yet. Be a Superstar and Sweet Lollipop (Sephora Collection) are also very shifty and great for layering on top of something darker. Sweet Lollipop is riddled with pink glitter and the above swatch picture does not do it justice. Be a Superstar is pink on a purple base with tiny silver glitter running through it. Both are so much nicer on the eye than they look in the pan.

    Finally we have the the Meow shades. I did not use a primer for the pictures above and the result is bland and flat swatches. These are stunning and complex shimmers in reality and I always wear them with a tacky primer underneath. Out of these seven I loved all of them except Peaceful Wings. It is a pretty cool white pearl but it is not special enough to keep. Hot Wax is a creamy yellow shimmer and it works very well like a neutral yet interesting inner corner highlight. Bali Palace is a pale yellow with a delicate pink shift, a very pretty shade. Torch is a great fruity orange and very flattering on me. Bast is this an almost plummy brown and I enjoyed wearing it more than I had expected. Lascivious is a gorgeous yellow green, with intense gold shimmer, and Extraterrestrial is a very intense bright blue. Both beautiful in their own way and effectual on the eye.

    And those were all of the shades in my July arsenal. Let’s have a look at some of the looks I wore during the month and the products I used to create them. It was an ok month makeup-wise but as mentioned I did go quite a lot of days without makeup.

    July 1

    Eyes: Sunfest – Bali Palace – Era – Gaze (Illamasqua)

    Cheeks: Buff (blush, MAC) – Taupe (contour, MAC) – Play it Proper (highlight, MAC)

    Lips: Velvet Fawn (Lisa Eldridge)

    July 4

    Eyes: 17 – Cozy Grey – 331 – Hot Wax – Gaze (Illamasqua)

    Cheeks: Pink Cult (blush, MAC) – Silhouette (contour, Illamasqua) – Deity (highlight, Illamasqua)

    Lips: Nougatine (H&M Beauty)

    July 6

    Eyes: Neo-Orange – Cosy Grey – Gaze (Illamasqua) – The New Noir (cream shadow as base, H&M Beauty)

    Cheeks: Rapture (blush, Urban Decay)

    Lips: Muse gloss (Lisa Eldridge)

    July 10

    Eyes: Bali Palace – True Chartreuse – Gaze (Illamasqua)

    Cheeks: Spring Flock (blush, MAC) – Taupe (contour, MAC) – Glow from the Filmstar Bronze & Glow palette (highlight, Charlotte Tilbury)

    Lips: Love of My Life (Lisa Eldridge) mixed with Mull It Over (MAC)

    July 16

    Eyes: Magenta Madness – Neo-Orange – Torch – Stigmata – Up The Hill – Sweet Lollipop – Gaze (Illamasqua)

    Cheeks: Sculpt (blush/contour, MAC) – Lightscapades (highlight, MAC)

    Lips: Painterly (Lisa Eldridge)

    July 24

    Eyes: Stigmata – Walking Heartbeats – Cosy Grey – Brulé – Sweet Lollipop – Peaceful Wings – Gaze (Illamasqua)

    Cheeks: Sur (blush, MAC)

    Lips: Pink Opal (LH Cosmetics)

    July 27

    Eyes: Extraterrestrial – Cosy Grey – Brulé – Hi-Def Cyan (water line, MAC)

    Cheeks: Habana (blush, Nabla), Glow from the Filmstar Bronze & Glow palette (highlight, Charlotte Tilbury)

    Lips: Kitten Mischief (Lisa Eldridge)

    This month ended with the culling of seven shadows, a small but steady number. I look forward to getting through all of my matte shades, I only have one month left, and then I can start Round 2 for those. I’m looking forward to that a lot.

    Parallel to the eyeshadow audit I’m still focusing on wearing as many different cheek and lip product as possible during the course of a month, wearing an item once and putting it away to force me to choose something else the next time. An effective method right now. In July I wore 18 blushes, 5 contour shades, 6 highlighters, 18 lipsticks and 1 gloss. I’m definitely getting closer to making further decision on cheek products to let go of.

    Thanks for reading!

  • Makeup

    My Makeup Audit: June 2021

    For June I had a total of 37 individual eye shadows to choose from including MAC, Nabla, Lethal Cosmetics, Makeup Geek, Meow Cosmetics and Sephora Collection. I’m running low on mattes to audit and I’m starting to scrape the bottom of the barrel so to speak.

    Top Row L-R: Hajar Karim – Marsh – Well Behaved – Charcoal Brown – Fabulous Fit

    Middle Row L-R: Lime – Club – Red Brick – Brulé – All Woman

    Bottom Row L-R: Sour Lemon – Goldenrod – Gameela – Red Alert – Deep Cravings

    The big palette consisted of only MAC shadows of varying age. The newest is from 2015 (Well Behaved) and the rest are 2014 or older. 12 mattes or near mattes and three shimmers. A nice variety of colour and a small but ok variety of neutrals. I did not have a really dark matte, but the almost black shimmer Deep Cravings sufficed to do liner duty on most days. On some days I did use my Eye Brow Cake in “Gaze” from Illamasqua for that purpose as well.

    Top Row L-R: Euphoria – Equinox – Glitter Dress – Hey

    Middle Row L-R: Pixie Dust – Flame Thrower – Deception

    Bottom Row L-R: Grandstand – Casino

    The newest shades in this smaller palette are the two Lethal Cosmetics shades (Euphoria and Equinox) from 2019. The oldest are by Makeup Geek (Pixie Dust, Flame Thrower, Grandstand, Casino) from 2013-2016 and in between we have the two depotted ones from two different fixed MAC 15-pan palettes (Hey, Deception) that I got for my birthday one year and a single from the Sephora Collection (Glitter Dress) that I managed to date to 2018.

    Top Row L-R: Mystic – Selfish – Alchemy

    Bottom Row L-R: Danae – Nereide – Juno Moon

    I purchased many Nabla shadows back in the day and I think these are from around 2016-2017. As mentioned in previous posts I tend to reach more for my Nabla mattes rather than my shimmers and its been a while since I wore these.

    Clockwise from top left: Modern Pewter – Radiation – Cat Days of Summer – Silken Robes – Oddity – Cirque du Meow – Tattooed Lady

    I tried to look up how old this Extra Dimension shadow by MAC (Modern Pewter) is and my best bet is that it is from the 2012 collection Reel Sexy. The product has come loose from the pan but somehow I have still kept it since I remember loving it many years ago. It used to be one of my favourites. The rest are Meow Cosmetics shadows and they are from around 2013.

    Let’s move on to swatches of each shade and a summary of opinions after wearing them in some capacity over the course of a month.

    Starting with my MAC palette. Hajar Karim is just not my type of green. I wore it once and quickly decided it is not for me. A poor purchase to be honest, since I think I bought it due to the (then) unique shade and then never wore it. Lime is an interesting mid green that reminds me of avocado. It is quite powdery but nothing that stopped it from performing well on the eyes on the two occasions I wore it. Sour Lemon is interesting. The shadow leans a lot more yellow on me when applied than it looks in the pan. At first it bothered me but then I enjoyed the shade more and more. I will keep both Lime and Sour Lemon for now.

    I barely had time to use Goldenrod but I am quite confident that I want to keep it. It is a deep pollen shade and I know I wear a lot of yellow so i do not mind having a plethora of choice. Marsh was a great crease shade this month, when I got bored with my neutral options. I loved pairing it with a cooler lid shade. Club can also stay. I only wore it once but I do think it is a pretty shade and I need it to go through Round 2.

    Well Behaved and Red Brick both work very well. Gameela on the other hand was very poorly pigmented and that makes it less useful than a more pigmented counterpart. I know I have at least two dupes of mattes in this colour that have passed through the audit already so I can easily let this one go. Red Alert is a rusty red with a pinky sheen, a feature that surprised me. I only wore it once but liked enough to warrant keeping it.

    Brulé is another old trusty everyday shade. I wore it on eleven days this month as a last hurrah and now it is time to let it go. It’s old and I’m sure I have another matte pale shade like it that can fill its shoes just fine. Charcoal Brown was the only brown matte shade this month and it was used repeatedly. It is a cool brown with an almost green tinge. A versatile shade all in all. Deep Cravings was used very little but this black with a slight sheen was easy to blend and gave an easy soot when I used it. I wish I had used it more to see what it really can do but that will have to be a thing for the future. Finally we have two greys, All Woman and Fabulous Fit. Both suck. Bad payoff and non-flattering shades one me. So out of theses nine, four will go (Gameela, Brulé, All Woman and Fabulous Fit) and the rest can happily stay.

    Moving on to my other palette, the all shimmery one. I did not manage to wear all of these. Equinox (Lethal) and Pixie Dust (MUG) were never worn but I can safely say that they can stay for now. In fact I have decided to keep all of these. Euphoria (Lethal) along with Equinox are newer shades and I enjoy them both. Flame Thrower and Grandstand (MUG) are both in the lovely Foiled formula and they are still gorgeous. Hey (MAC) was my main inner corner highlight this month, due to a lack of options, and I must say I really love it as that. It adds a creamy brightness that looked lovely with almost every look. I’m glad I got to know it so well, a thing that would never have had happened outside of this audit.

    Then we have three shades that I am a bit torn about but have decided to keep anyway. Glitter Dress (Sephora) is a murky slightly green taupe. The shade is lovely but I generally dislike shadows with a lot of visible glitter particles in them. Glitter Dress is full of silver particles. But I did enjoy wearing it enough for it to stay. Deception (MAC) is a bit crumbly in the pan and it is also starting to form a hard-pan in the middle. But the shade is lovely, a light taupe and mauve mix with a golden sheen. Finally we have Casino (MUG), a shadow that looks really flat and boring in the pan but lovely on the eyes. It is a muted warm gold and I know I have many of those. But to be fair I loved wearing it so it should stay for Round 2 and face off with all my other gold shades.

    Then we have the smaller palette filled with only Nabla shadows. Out of these I’m keeping three and letting three go, something I could not have foretold going into this month’s audit. If I look at the swatches I love them all, but when worn the flaws in the formula shows itself. Mystic, Danae and Nereide simply does not look good on the eye. Mystic just turns into nothing on the eye which is sad because I love the colour in the arm swatch. Danae and Nereide are both gritty in texture with large glitter particles throughout. Hard to work with and I just do not enjoy how they look on the eye.

    The sole shade that was gritty but made it work was Selfish. When blended the initial grit dissipates and it turns smooth. A mix of hot pink and silver glitter on a somewhat translucent green base makes this one unique shadow. Then we have Alchemy, a rosy base with a strong blue shift. I love this type of shade a lot and it works well on the eye. Finally we have Juno Moon, a dark and almost blackened plum. I loved wearing this a lot more than anticipated, so it was a pleasant positive surprise.

    Moving on to the single pots and jars. Modern Pewter (MAC) is a very old light olive shade that I used to love. Wearing it now just make it very clear that its time in my life has passed. It is nothing special anymore and I have no feelings left for the shade. It feels great to let this one go since it sums up the purpose with this audit so well. I needed to do this in order to be able to let the hard ones go.

    Another old love that will have the same fate is Radiation (Alien Abduction collection by Meow). I remember this shade as a radiant spooky light yellow green with a visible sickly green shift. Something must have happened with the pigment, because now it just looks like a flat pale yellow. I’m a bit sad to be honest and I wore it on several days just to make sure I felt what I felt. But I need to let it go, since I do not enjoy wearing it anymore.

    Shades that were sub-par on the eye besides Radiation was Oddity and Tattooed (Carnival collection by Meow), neither just not adding anything extra when worn. The rest of the Meow shades, Cat Days of Summer (Joys of Summer collection), Cirque de Meow (Carnival collection) and Silken Robes (Times Square collection) were all beautiful on the eye and I will keep those three.

    Looking back at pictures from June I feel like I had some good makeup days and a lot of in-betweens. Many shadows turned to be meh on the eyes and I was unhappy with how quite a few looks turned out. My happy focus during the month has been to keep exploring my lipsticks and that made the process more fun than if I only had eyes to evaluate. Below are a few of the looks I enjoyed wearing in June.

    June 19

    Eyes: Alchemy – Well Behaved – Juno Moon – Brulé – Gaze

    Cheeks: Habana (Sleek Makeup), OMG (highlight, Illamasqua), Next To Skin (contour, MAC)

    Lips: Spirited Away (Lisa Eldridge)

    June 20

    Eyes: Nereide – Marsh – Hey

    Cheeks: Mocha (blush, MAC), Play It Proper (highlight, MAC), Silhouette (contour, Illamasqua)

    Lips: Rose Official (Lisa Eldridge)

    June 23

    Eyes: Juno Moon – Charcoal Brow – Brulé – Hey

    Cheeks: Oh My! (MAC)

    Lips: Striking (Revlon)

    June 26

    Eyes: Cat Days of Summer – Radiation – Caffeine primer (UD)

    Cheeks: Flushed (blush, Sleek Makeup), Radiation (highlight, Meow)

    Lips: Sultry (Revlon)

    June 27

    Eyes: Club – Goldenrod – Deep Cravings – Charcoal Brown – Brulé

    Cheeks: At Dusk (blush, MAC), OMG (highlight, Illamasqua), Gotham (contour, Nabla)

    Lips: Velvet Blush (Lisa Eldridge)

    A total of twelve shadows are out after June’s audit. A very good number and larger than anticipated. Letting go of those Nabla shadows was a bit of a surprise and I am happy that I managed to let go of some old favourites (Modern Pewter and Radiation) despite sentimental feelings towards them.

    Besides the eye shadow audit I managed to wear 17 blushes, 4 contour shades, 8 highlighters, 19 lipsticks and 2 glosses. That is fewer products than last month and one reason for that is I had more bare faced days combined with accidental repeat wear of some of my blushes and intentional repeat wear of my new Lisa Eldridge lipsticks.

    Thanks for reading!

  • Makeup

    My Makeup Audit: May 2021

    A total of 35 shadows, all singles, made May’s monthly arsenal on the smaller side. Brands included were MAC, Meow Cosmetics, Urban Decay, H&M Beauty, Inglot, Makeup Geek, Nabla, Neve, Emme Cosmetics, and KvD. A bonus with this smaller arsenal was that i completed the audit fairly early in the month and it left me some space to wear some of my newly aquired shadows.

    Top Row L-R: 288 – 363 – Saddle – Wedge – Petalescent – Free To Be

    Second Row L-R: Epic – Exodus – Revelation -Orange- Passionate

    Third Row L-R: Take Two – Aztec Gold – Rosary

    Bottom Row L-R: Muffin – Cosmopolitan – 28 – Clementine

    I filled an empty palette with singles and this is where all the mattes or near-mattes were kept. Most of the core mattes were older MAC shadows (Saddle, Wedge, Petalescent, Free to Be, Passionate, Orange) but I also had some by Inglot (288, 363) and some near-mattes by Neve (Muffin) and KvD (Revelation, Exodus) to make it an acceptable matte lineup. I did not have a dark shade to use as eyeliner so I used my Eye Brow Cake in “Gaze” from Illamasqua for that purpose. It is a nice firm cool dark brown.

    For shimmers we have Makeup Geek (Epic, Take Two, Cosmopolitan), depotted KvD (Rosary), Nabla (Clementine), Emme (Aztec Gold) and a lone highlighter shade from Inglot (28). I cannot be bothered to speculate as to how old these items are but I know that Petalescent is ancient.

    Clockwise from the bottom: Divine Blue – Lorelei – Smoky Mauve – A Natural Flirt – Round Midnight

    Then we have five of the In Extra Dimension shadows by MAC. I used to love the formula and the light A Natural Flirt was my daily eye for a long time (when I apparently loved a less elaborate look). The large one, Smoky Mauve, is the oldest since they later stopped making that size and reverted to the smaller pan. Lorelei is from the 2015 collection Alluring Aquatic and the others are 2012 or older. I rarely reach for these but I have very warm feeling towards them and know I need this audit to be able to let any of them go.

    Clockwise from the bottom: Holly Folly – Solstice – Diamond Dust – Deeply Mauved – In the Red

    This lot are “newer”, maybe 2016-2018. I know that Holly Folly was part of the In Monochrome collection by MAC that was released in early 2019. I have a few shadows and blushes from that collection and these are the few MAC shadows that have not been depotted (yet). Solstice by Urban Decay is a favourite but it get lost in the masses. The three H&M shadows are random purchases that do not get the love they deserve since they are in compacts. The baked shadow, Deeply Mauved, cannot be depotted but the others two could. I would get more use out of them if they were part of my single pans.

    Clockwise from the bottom: Xenophobe – Sorrow – Tome Foretold – Skee-Ball – Claddagh – Kiss Me I’m… – Rules

    Seven loose shadows by Meow Cosmetics finalised the arsenal. As with most of my Meow shades, these are from around 2013.

    Let’s move on to swatches and my opinions on each shade after a month of wearing them.

    Let’s start off with the mattes from the large palette. Two green shades, 288 (Inglot) and Exodus (KvD), were interesting players that added a bit of much needed colour and brightness too many looks. Both perform very well and 288 is unlike any other green I have. It is such a luscious colour. Both are staying.

    Orange and Passionate (both by MAC) added some more bright colour and I got along very well with these for a popping crease. I think I have quite a few bright matte pinks and possibly oranges as well but both of these can stay based solely on performance. For a more subdued pop of pink we have Free to Be and Petalescent (also both by MAC). I love a pink matte for a an all pink crease or as a pink diffuser of another crease shade. However great I think Petalescent is, it is time to let it go. It still performs nicely but it is so very old. The shadow has been used so much over the years and this month I noticed that it is starting to smell slightly off. A pale pink like this is a lovely thing to have but I have a similar Inglot shade that I can use in its stead. Free to Be is in better shape and can happily stay.

    Then we have the more earthy mattes. 363 (Inglot) worked very well as a more cool toned crease and I think it did a great job. It can stay for now. Saddle (MAC) is the more warm counterpart and it performs nicely as well. I even used it on the lips one day, mixed with a creamy lipstick to create a nice fudge shade. I will keep this one too. Wedge (MAC) is one of my most used matte shades. It is the perfect transition crease shade for me and it has been worn oh so much over the years. This shadow has perfect pigmentation, not too much, for this type of shade and it blends effortlessly and is easy to build if needed. My instinct is to keep it, but after this month I think it has served its purpose in my life. The shadow forms hard-pan over and over again when using it and I know I have many other matte neutral shades that can take its place. And finally we have Revelation (KvD), a shade that did not live up to its name. The shadow has small glitter particles running through it and it did not look good on the eyes. The shadow was not very pigmented and it was hard to blend, so it is an easy pass for me.

    On to the more shimmery shadows in the palette. Starting with Epic (MUG), a rather unique shade that performed beautifully. I cannot believe I have not used this one more over the years, a real shame. Epic is in the Foiled formula, the same as Take Two (MUG) which is a little more subdued shade of green. But this shadow still performs great and this olive shimmer is a shade of green I find very wearable.

    Aztec Gold (Emme) is a pretty intense molten gold that looks very vibrant on top of a creamy base. A real stunner that I am keeping should wear a lot more often. 28 (Inglot) is definitely on the older side but the blue shift is so stunning. I ended up wearing this shade as an inner corner highlight over and over again this month. It can stay for now, I want to see if I have anything else that fills a similar purpose.

    Rosary (KvD) is a darker raspberry pink and this was a great surprise for me, it looked so good on the eye. I had anticipated this to be a dud, but it ended up a solid keeper. Clementine (Nabla) was used quite a bit, both as a lid shade and an inner corner. I do really enjoy the shade but I was unsure for a while if it was special enough to keep. It has a certain brightness that i enjoy and the final verdict is that it can stay for now.

    Cosmopolitan (MUG) is one of those not so unique rosy gold shades that I feel like I have a plethora of from different brands. I do not know if that feeling is correct anymore, because of the audit, but I have decided to keep it until round 2 at least. The shadow performs beautifully still and I enjoy to wear a shade like this. And then we have the dud of the lot. Muffin (Neve) is a very useful shade in theory but it was difficult to work with somehow (I tried my best on four occasions) so it can safely go.

    Moving on to the Extra Dimension shadows by MAC. Smoky Mauve is a rosy mauve with a silvery sheen. I really liked wearing it and I do not have many shades like this. It is such an old shadow but it smells fine and performs nicely so I’m going to hang on to it.

    A Natural Flirt was as mentioned a firm favourite back in the day and I even had a back up of it at one time, since I had used so much up and it used to be limited edition. I gave the back up to my sister eventually when the shade became permanent. Having a back up of this shade was a somewhat logical thing then since I used to wear this type of shade all over the lid on the daily. During May I wore it mainly as an inner corner highlight (it’s just ok as that) and then extended its use to cheek highlighter as well. On the cheeks it looks great, but I have no need to keep this as a cheek product. It had its last hurrah this month and it has served me well all in all, but it can go.

    Round Midnight and Devine Blue on the other hand had not aged as well as the other Extra Dimension shades. They performed very poorly with almost no pigmentation or impact on the eye. Lorelei however is a stunning neutral shadow and came through as a winner. A quite basic beige shimmer that is just dark enough to add a slight dimension to my lid. I enjoyed wearing this more than anticipated.

    Diamond Dust (H&M) is a tricky shade. The formula is gritty and I found it not very suitable as an inner corner highlight. It is more of a lid topper and preferably on top of a darker shade or a really creamy base. I am not sure how useful it is but it is a very special shade and I am not ready to let it go just now. It will have to be depotted if it shall stay in my arsenal after round 2, I really want to minimize single pots like this.

    I was quite surprised that I did not enjoy Deeply Mauved (H&M). It is a lovely taupe, and I love a good taupe, but it does not show up on the eye. When swatched on the hand it looks creamy and pigmented but that does not translate to the eye application sadly. So it must go.

    In the Red (H&M) is a bright warm red “almost matte”. It has very fine golden sheen that runs trough it but it is not visible on the lid. It blended well I since I love a red shadow, it can definitely stay and will be depotted.

    Holly Folly (MAC) is a very gritty metallic shadow, in the Frost formula which is a famously difficult formula to use. It’s a fiery warm red metallic, very intense in pigmentation, and it performed nicely over a creamy base. There is some fallout to be expected when applying this shadow, but it’s fairly easy to eliminate. This one will be depotted as well.

    Oh Solstice (UD), you are so pretty! This Moondust shadow is just too pretty not to keep. The rosy base colour is quite transparent so I prefer to tap this on top of a medium to darker creamy base for full effect. I only wore it once but as I am very fond of I know I still want it in my life.

    Then finally we have the loose shadows by Meow Cosmetics. Skee-Ball (Joys of Summer collection) is a stunning cool green that shifts in a light gold. Very pretty on the eye. Claddagh (St Patty’s Day collection) is a nice punchy chartreuse shimmer. I really liked wearing both colours and they can stay for now.

    Kiss Me I’m… (St Patty’s Day collection) is a stunning swampy green matte. However stunning the colour is I know I would much rather use this if it was a pressed shadow. Matte loose shadows can work for me, but I do not enjoy using such a bright colourful shade in a loose format. So I will get rid of this.

    Rules (Fifty Shades of Meow collection) is a dirty gold and I enjoy it. Maybe not the most unique shade but it can stay for round 2. Xenophobe (Alien Abduction collection) on the other hand is unique, it has a clear base with silver and pink reflects. I wore this as an inner corner shade a lot and I’m gladly keeping it.

    Sorrow (Pandora’s Box collection) is dark teal that looks amazing on the eye. It has a grey base with a very strong teal shift and it’s very reflective. Stunning colour that is another keeper for sure. Time Foretold (Midnight Clear collection) is a very light blue with a shimmer shift that goes from gold to pink. A very delicate shade and I was surprised that I liked it on the eyes as much as I did. It suited my colouring and it was easy to use. Another keeper.

    And that was all of the shades in my May audit. Let’s round this month off with some of the looks I wore and the products used to create them. It was a fun month makeup-wise and looking back at my looks I’m very pleased with the variety I created on my face.

    May 1

    Eyes: 288 – Exodus – Revelation – 28 – Gaze (Illamasqua)

    Cheeks: Flushed (blush, Sleek Makeup), Silhouette (contour, Illamasqua), Perfect Topping (highlight, MAC)

    Lips: Cream lip stain in “27” (Sephora) and Burgundy lip liner (MAC)

    May 5

    Eyes: Smoky Mauve – Wedge – Muffin – A Natural Flirt

    Cheeks: Mocha (blush, MAC), Silhouette (contour, Illamasqua), A Natural Flirt (highlight, MAC)

    Lips: Devoted to Chili (MAC)

    May 8

    Eyes: Aztec Gold – Take Two – Petalescent – Orange – Xenophobe – Gaze (Illamasqua)

    Cheeks: Pink Cult (blush, MAC), Silhouette (contour, Illamasqua), OMG (highlight, Illamasqua)

    Lips: Nougatine (H&M)

    May 9

    Eyes: Rosary – Exodus – Clementine – Passionate – Gaze (Illamasqua), Fireball (liquid liner, UD)

    Cheeks: Bon Fire (blush, Sleek Makeup), Lightscapades (highlight, MAC)

    Lips: Velvet Decade and Muse lip liner (both by Lisa Eldridge)

    May 11

    Eyes: Time Foretold – 363 – 28

    Cheeks: Rapture (blush, Urban Decay)

    Lips: Muse gloss (Lisa Eldridge)

    May 12

    Eyes: Clementine – Free to Be – Orange – Gaze (Illamasqua)

    Cheeks: Furnace (blush, Sleek Makeup), Taupe (contour, MAC), Here Comes Joy (highlight, MAC)

    Lips: Saddle (shadow, MAC) tapped over and Dolce Vita (Nars)

    May 15

    Eyes: Epic – Wedge – 28 – Diamond Dust – Gaze (Illamasqua)

    Cheeks: Sur (blush, MAC), Silhouette (contour, Illamasqua), OMG (highlight, Illamasqua)

    Lips: Velvet Muse (Lisa Eldridge)

    May 18

    Eyes: Claddagh – Exodus – A Natural Flirt

    Cheeks: Stereo Rose (blush, MAC), Sculpt (contour, MAC)

    Lips: Cream lip stain in “17” (Sephora)

    To summarize a total of nine shadows are out after this month’s audit. Nothing revolutionary. I somehow wish I could find more duds, but I think the more major culling will come in Round 2. I already know some shadows I have kept earlier that I doubt I will keep with the mindset I have now this far in into the audit.

    And as with the previous months I’m still focusing on wearing as many different cheek and lip product as possible, besides the eye shadow audit. In May I managed to wear 25 blushes, 5 contour shades, 9 highlighters, 28 lipsticks, 2 glosses and 3 lip pencils. I think it is some kind of record. I know I have bits that I can let go of in those categories in the near future. The feeling of truly using all the items I own over and over again is very satisfying. Keeping track of what I wear is very helpful and recently I have started to put a way lipsticks and blushes worn to make it even easier to choose something new and not repeat wear the “easy shades”.

    Thanks for reading!

  • Makeup

    Terra Moons purchase part one – swatches

    Since I live in Sweden, buying from indie brands from for example the States can become an expensive venture due to customs/import taxes. So I rarely do it. Terra Moons is one of those brands that had piqued my interest for a while and I had curated a wish list of shadows for over a year. Not that I actually thought I would buy some, but I enjoyed making the list and checking from time to time if my interest had faltered. And it never did. So when my birthday/Christmas came around I did wish for them and my husband obliged. We completed the order together when there was an offer and, since the items were pre-order as well, I had to wait a few months to get them. In this case I did pay for tracked shipping since I wanted some sort of control over my parcel. When my package arrived to Sweden I did have to pay an import fee but they soon arrived safe and sound at my house in the end of February. I have nothing negative to say about my shopping experience or the shipping.

    I ended up choosing twelve single pans and one loose shadow. My order consisted of eight iridescent chameleons, one cosmic chameleon, three pressed and one loose duochrome.

    Iridescent Chameleons

    The iridescent chameleons are sold for 17 USD. Shifting shades like this is one of my favourite type of shadow to wear. I mainly use them as inner corner highlights, and when they have a transparent base I love to layer them on top of other shadows, mattes or metallics, to transform the base shade. The iridescent chameleons were the main pull to purchase from Terra Moons in the first place and I think I have nothing like these in my arsenal already. They might be similar to some shades I own but these are definitely amped up versions and they are very unique.

    Top Row L-R: Timeshift, Eon, Light Year, Space Baby

    Bottom Row L-R: Zero Gravity, Red Giant, Solar Flare, Astral

    Timeshift is quite opaque, not as much as Light Year, but more than the others. It has a light mauve base and it shifts from peachy gold to gold to green/teal. The greener shift is not visible in these pictures sadly. The texture of the shadow is very smooth.

    Eon has a transparent base that shifts from a peach to gold to green. The shift is similar to Timeshift’s but since the base and opacity is different they are distinctly different shades.

    Light Year is a very special shade and the pictures speak for themselves. It is super smooth and the result is very opaque. It will be interesting to see how I will use this shadow, if it can be layered on top of other shadows without taking over or if it does not play well with others. It looks amazing swatched but in reality it has to look amazing on the eye. That is the place where eye shadows go.

    Space Baby goes from green/teal to purple to blue. It is smooth in texture and the base is nearly transparent.

    Zero Gravity is a little chunkier with a whiter base that reminds me of X-ray (mentioned further down in this post). It shifts from purple to pink.

    Red Giant is super smooth with a blue grey base and a pink to peach/orange shift. A truly unique shadow. I’ve seen others wear this in the inner corner but I’m a bit hesitant on how the base colour will look there on me. If it will look like a shadow in certain lights it will defeat the purpose of using it to highlight that area. We shall see.

    Solar Flare has a very slight gray base and it shifts from peach to gold to green. Smooth in texture.

    Astral has got a similar vibe as Red Giant and a similar blue grey base, but it is not as prominent. The shift is peach/orange to gold to green. This one is also super smooth in texture.

    Cosmic Chameleons

    I purchased only one of the Cosmic Chameleons – Radiation. However, this is not my favourite type of green but the shift and (to be honest) the name made me keen to try it anyway. It did stain my arm when swatching but hopefully it will not be an issue on the eye.

    Duochromes

    L-R: Martian, Interstellar, X-Ray

    Martian has a ruddy base and shifts from molten gold to green (the green shift can not be seen in the above picture, you just have to take my word for it).

    Interstellar has a dark pink brown base and shifts from blue to pink.

    X-Ray has a white, almost transparent (on me), base and a more chunky texture. The shimmer particles are more visible and it shifts from blue to pink. In the picture you can se a green base colour but that is just a stain from a previous swatch.

    I also managed to purchase a loose shadow and this one is no longer available on the Terra Moons website so I suppose it is discontinued. The stunning Firefly is definitely a shadow (and name) I am deeply attracted to. Above you can se it swatched without (left) and with primer (right). I almost always wear an eye primer or another creamy base under eye shadows anyway but under a loose shadow it really transforms the shadow to its full potential. So beautiful!

    I’ve had these for a couple of months now and I’ve worn some of them a few times in-between my commitment to my monthly arsenal. I will wear these for a while longer, long enough to form a proper opinion, and report back on how I get along with them and if I consider them a good purchase.

    Thanks for reading!

  • Makeup

    My Makeup Audit: April 2021

    April’s arsenal consisted of two pre-made palettes, two singles in individual packaging and a larger palette containing single pans. Brands included are Urban Decay, Illamasqua, Nabla, Makeup Geek, Emme Cosmetics, MAC and Lethal Cosmetics. A total of 42 individual colours to utilise with a nice balance of mattes and shimmers, neutrals and colours, brights and muted shades.

    Kaleidoscope Dream palette – Urban Decay x Kristen Leanne

    The Kaleidoscope Dream palette by Urban Decay x Kristen Leanne was purchased in 2018 and has been used quite a bit since then. I was a bit infatuated with it at the time and I’m still attracted to many of the colours. I have no relation to Kristen Leanne, so it was solely the colours that made me buy it in the first place.

    1st Row L-R: Embrace Me – Helios – Remission – Habitat – Relapse – Unearthed – Calcination

    2nd Row L-R: Dark Brew – Spirit – Defiance – Gingersnap – Fortune Teller – Mesmerized – Glasswork

    3rd Row L-R: Tiki Hut – Absinthe – Tribeca – Chemical Bond – Karma

    4th Row L-R: Vanilla Bean – Drama Queen – Apricot – Mai Tai – Lemon Tart – Aurum

    The singles palette was a mixture of older and newer shadows. The Lethal shades (all of the square pans) are from 2019 and they are the most recent of the lot. Makeup Geek is heavily represented (Fortune Teller, Mesmerized, Tiki Hut, Karma, Vanilla Bean, Drama Queen, Mai Tai) as well as a sprinkle of Nabla (Glasswork, Absinthe, Tribeca, Chemical Bond, Aurum). Then we have some MAC (Embrace Me, Dark Brew, Gingersnap, Lemon Tart) and one by Emme Cosmetics (Apricot).

    The Fundamental Palette – Illamasqua

    The Fundamental palette by Illamasqua was picked up back in 2013 and I have almost never used it. A few times at the most. It consists of two matte shades (Hype and Inception) and two creams (Surge and Bedaub).

    Apex and Fledgling – Illamasqua

    And lastly we have to single powder shadows by Illamasqua (Apex and Fledgling) that I think are from around 2013 as well. These have been use a bit but I rarely pick them up anymore.

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

    Kaleidoscope Dream palette – Urban Decay x Kristen Leanne

    The Kaleidoscope Dream palette by Urban Decay in collaboration with Kristen Leanne was interesting to audit. I decided quite early on in the month that I have no need to keep this palette intact and that I would prefer to depot the shades I still love. Let’s start with the keepers. Spitfire is a duochrome pink with a blue shift. Very pretty and useful. Stay Gold is a green leaning gold that is very flattering and easy to use. Tajin is another type of shade that I get a lot of use out of and it looks amazing combined with Spitfire. Leo is so stunning, a light sea foam green duochrome. Brixton is not very special but since the shade shares a pan with Leo it stays as well. Lime Time looks a bit dull in the pan but on the eyes it is a very bright and fun shade. Dye was a bit of a surprise as well. I thought to formula would be dry and hard to work with but it was the opposite on the eyes. A very rich and beautiful shade. And then finally Corona, oh Corona. Such an unpleasant name and such a lovely shade. It’s a rosy gold but the cool plum base makes it unlike anything else I have.

    Then there are the rest of them, the ones that did not make the cut. 13th Floor seemed to be a great deep black, but it after a little wear time it fell under my eyes and left black smudges no matter how careful I was with my application. TRM is a very pretty blue in theory but very difficult to work with. The blending was a mess, as blues usually are, and it just looked like shit. I have a difficult relationship with blue eye shadow and this was not an exception. I did not even bother to wear LCW to be honest. Not a shade I’m attracted to at all and since I had already made up my mind to depot I sort of just skipped over it.

    Let’s move on to the large palette of single pans. And starting with the mattes, all ten of them will be kept for now. Embrace Me (MAC) is a stunning matte hot pink, pigmented and easy to blend. Helios (Lethal) is such a lovely muted light yellow and it works well as an inner corner shade as well. Remission (Lethal) is a firm favourite and a I love using this as a way to lean a crease in the pink direction but the end look is still very muted. It blends well with so many colours. Habitat and Relapse (Lethal) are interesting shades and I do not think I have anything else like them. That is true for many of my Lethal purchases, they create such unique shades of eye shadow.

    Unearthed and Calcination (Lethal) are two shades that I should love in theory, but on the eye I just feel that they are ok, nothing more. Not my favourite neutral matte formula these two. But since they are newer I want to keep on using them. Due to being the only mid neutral crease shades this month, I got some good use out of them.

    Dark Brew (MAC) was cooler in tone on the eye than it looks in the pan and I found it to very versatile and easy to blend. It was used quite a lot of the course of the month since it was the second darkest matte shadow in the arsenal, and since 13th Floor had a lot of fall out, I opted for Dark Brew whenever I wanted some depth. Tiki Hut (MUG) is a great dark mustard and the formula works very well. And finally we have Vanilla Bean (MUG) a beige that is so close to my skin tone that you can barely see the swatch. I used this to soften or clean up edges and to add something powder yet invisible to my brow bone. A good tool to have.

    Spirit (Lethal) is a great bright purple metallic and a keeper. Since it is a newer shadow I only had to wear it once to verify its status. The same for Defiance (Lethal), a vibrant and fiery pinky copper. Gingersnap (MAC) however was a disappointment. It’s a pretty pinky copper, that looks great swatched, but the formula was just not working on the eye. It mainly looked flat and nothing, there was no way to build up the intensity. So Gingersnap will go.

    Fortune Teller (MUG) is simply an amazing intense yellow gold. The formula is still creamy and the pigment adheres to the eye in a satisfying way. Mesmerized is also in the Foiled eyeshadow formula by MUG, the same as Fortune Teller, and it’s a very useful mauve. This shadow is also still creamy and looks great on the eye. The shade is not as unique as Fortune Teller but I’m keeping it for now. I love the foiled formula and it is a shame that many of the great shades, including this one, is not around anymore.

    Then we have the two Nabla shadows. Glasswork sadly does not work for me. The silver particles does not form the wet shine look on my lids, as the swatch might promise, just a silver glitter mess. If I apply the shadow with a finger on top of a wet primer on my hand it looks good, but the same approach on my eyelid, not so much. A shadow that does not perform well on the eye is worthless, so Glasswork is going. Finally we have Absinthe, a rosy base that shifts from dark pink, to blue to teal. It’s a subtle shift but I enjoy it. Absinthe may stay for now.

    Tribeca (Nabla) is a bit dusty and I had no high hopes for it but on the eye it performs very well. It is a cool leaning bronzy brown and it looks amazing with most other colours. Chemical Bond (Nabla) is nice enough and this is a prime example of a shade I have multitudes of and will have to edit more ruthlessly later on in the audit. Right now, this shadow works well and can stay. Karma and Mai Tai (MUG) are old favourites. I love Makeup Geek pressed duochromes and sadly they are not around anymore.

    Drama Queen (MUG) is simply difficult to work with. I have more use of a dark shade like this if it is a matte. As a shimmer it is not potent or special enough to have an effect on the lid and it is hard to blend towards the crease. I have no use for this. Apricot (Emme) is a peachy gold that flips rosy. The base is transparent. I wore this mainly as an inner corner highlight but is stunning on the lid as well. It does not look like much in the pan but packed over a tacky primer it really shines.

    Lemon Tart (MAC) is a very pale yellow beige and one I’m a bit surprised that I’m keeping. It was very pretty as a neutral yet not boring inner corner highlight. That subtle yellow tone made it look great on the eye. Aurum (Nabla) is one I had to think about for a whole. It’s a very pale green but the cool tone makes it look ethereal on my lid and I loved using it. It’s a type of green that pairs well with many other shades both tapped on the lid or as an inner corner shade.

    And the last lot are the Illamasqua shadows. The Fundamental palette consists of two powder shades, Hype (yellow) and Inception (purple), and two creams – Surge (quicksilver) and Bedaub (mint). I love the colour composition of this palette but I must admit that I have only used it a couple of times. I own a full size of Surge and that has limited the use of this palette further. Hype is a stunning yellow but I searched for a dupe in my total arsenal and found it in Chrome Yellow by MAC, a shade that has already come through my audit process. Hype is slightly less intense in colour even and that makes Chrome Yellow a better candidate to keep all in all. So the Fundamental palette will be leaving my collection in its entirety. In retrospect it was a pointless purchase since I have used it so little.

    Apex and Fledgling are both great bright shades and I enjoy using both. I’m trying to move away from singles in pots but I love the Illamasqua packaging so I might keep them as they are if they survive round 2 We shall see.

    April has not been a great makeup month for me. I’ve been a bit worn out by work and have felt less inclined to spend time having fun with makeup in the mornings and often skipping makeup altogether. A lot of looks have felt bland and uninspiring. I’ve also been in more meetings with external organisations and then I tend to be a bit more subdued and neutral with my makeup than I would have been otherwise. All of these pictures are taken in my day to day life with my iPhone, the same applies every month. I have a ring light and besides that I use whatever daylight that is available. Better settings and photo quality might be something for the future but right now this is what I can manage.

    April 1

    Eyes: Hype – Surge – Inception – Bedaub – 13th Floor

    Cheeks: Rapture (blush, UD) – Silhouette (contour, Illamasqua) – Phee’s original highlighter

    Lips: A mix of Velvet Muse and Velvet Fawn lined with Muse lip liner (Lisa Eldridge)

    April 16

    Eyes: Fortune Teller – Helios – Karma

    Cheeks: Stereo Rose (blush, MAC) – Gotham (contour, Nabla)

    Lips: A mix of Striking (Revlon) and Noir Moderne (Chanel)

    April 18

    Eyes: Dye – Spitfire – Apex – Remission – Drama Queen – Vanilla Bean

    Cheeks: Breath of Plum (blush, MAC) – Taupe (contour, MAC)

    Lips: Rouge Audace (Chanel)

    April 21

    Eyes: Chemical Bond – Unearthed – Lemon Tart

    Cheeks: Legendary (blush, MAC)

    Lips: Cream Lip Stain in “16” (Sephora)

    April 23

    Eyes: Stay Gold Caffeine primer (UD) – Lemon Tart

    Cheeks: Sur (blush, MAC)

    Lips: A mix of Cream Lips Stains in “17” and “103” (Sephora)

    A total of ten shades are leaving my collection at the end of this month’s audit. Small but steady number. At the end of each month I feel like I have gotten to know each shade a little better and I’m so glad when I can weed out another one that is not up to par. I always feel like I want to move on tho the next monthly arsenal about half way into the audit, but the win in using a limited arsenal is that I am forced to be creative when I get bored. New combinations appear out of that boredom. I get more creative with using the other tools I have, like lip products and blush.

    Besides evaluating the eye shadows I’m still focusing on wearing as many different cheek and lip product as possible. In April I managed to wear different 20 blushes, 4 contour shades, 9 highlighters, 23 lipsticks, 1 gloss and 3 lip pencils. I’m starting to form some opinions on some highlighters that can possibly go and that feels like true progress.

    Thanks for reading!

  • Makeup

    My Makeup Audit: March 2021

    My monthly arsenal in March was full of neutrals with pops of pinks, oranges and a variety of green. Two pre-made palettes by Sleek Makeup, two smaller compilations of singles (by Nabla, Lethal Cosmetics, Makeup Geek and KvD) and four loose shadows (Bare Minerals and Meow Cosmetics). Not the biggest lineup but a nice variety of options. A total of 45 individual shades.

    Top Row L-R: Narciso, Desire, Unrestricted

    Bottom Row L-R: Cleo, Mellow, Sugar

    In a smaller palette I kept six neutral shadows by Nabla, a brand that I have purchased a lot of singles from and most of these are from 2016. I enjoy them but I tend to reach for the mattes more than the shimmers.

    The Garden of Eden palette by Sleek Makeup

    I purchased this palette by Sleek Makeup when it was released in 2014. I love the shade selection and the rosy mauve shades have been worn a bit, but it was many many years since I last wore this.

    The Respect palette by Sleek Makeup

    Another Sleek palette is Respect and it appears to be from around 2013-2014 as well. This palette has been used very little but it looks promising.

    Top Row L-R: Release, Recluse, Enigma, Cycle

    Middle Row L-R: Spawn, Fahrenheit, Vertex, Echo

    Bottom Row L-R: Void, Ritzy, Vestment

    A few more mattes and a bit more colour in general was added with another selection of singles. The shades from Lethal Cosmetics are newer (2019) but Ritzy (Makeup Geek) and Vestment (depotted KvD) are older.

    Top Row L-R: Hallucination, Levitation

    Bottom Row L-R: Velvet Lavender, Skeptic

    Three loose shadows by Meow Cosmetics (Hallucination, Levitation, Skeptic) and one by Bare Minerals were included to add some lightness and brightness to the mix. All these are from around 2013 I think.

    Those were all the shades audited this month. Let’s move on to swatches and my thoughts on each shade after a month of use.

    Starting with the Nabla shadows, Narciso is a rosy milk chocolate brown and I used this primarily in the crease. A good work horse this month. Unrestricted is a ruddy plummy brown with gold sparkles. A very pretty all over the lid shade – easy to work with and I have nothing bad to say about it. I’m glad I rediscovered this shade. Desire is also a pretty all over the lid shade. Cleo is a basic antique gold and Sugar is a pretty soft light champagne pink. Neither is very special, but I enjoy wearing them and I generally like Nabla so they can come along to round 2. Mellow is a vey interesting dirty sand and I think it is quite special used all over the lid. So I’m keeping all six of the Nabla shadows.

    The Garden of Eden palette by Sleek Makeup

    I am so attracted to the shade composition in the Garden of Eden palette (Sleek) – the mauves, lilacs and greens. But after wearing it quite a lot this month I was conflicted. The mattes with glitter, Forbidden and Entwined, are not working very well. Adam’s Apple (pale green) is poorly pigmented and does not turn up on the eye as I would like. The darker mattes, Flora (brown)and Tree of Life (green) work well enough. The standout shade for me is Paradise on Earth, a gorgeous rosy lilac that I really enjoy on the eye. I tried to find another similar shade in my collection but lucked out with the pressed shadows. Initially I was going to depot and keep some shades but after some (a lot) consideration I just decided to let it go.

    The Respect palette by Sleek Makeup

    I used the Respect palette (Sleek) on two days this month and decided pretty quickly that I have no love for it. There mattes are underwhelming and the shimmers are not special enough to warrant keeping this. The black was used a lot but only because it was my only available dark shade so it did liner duty.

    Looking at the last singles palette I feel wow, this array of swatches are really inspiring. Going in to this monthly arsenal I knew that I would keep most of these. I love the matte formula by Lethal Cosmetics and they are all quite new compared to most of my other shadows. Release is a muted purple and Recluse a murky medium green, both unique shades in my arsenal. Cycle is great as a bright crease or as a standalone all over the lid shade. I used Spawn and Fahrenheit as deepening shades for crease and outer corner. Subtle colours that can lean a look in a more brick or pink direction. Void is more of a pastel green and maybe not as useful for me as the other mattes. But I have noticed that I really appreciate having these lighter and brighter colours as accents, usually in the inner eye area, inner corner and above that area up to the brow. There are three shimmers by Lethal here and I really like all three. Enigma and Echo are my favourites but I really appreciate the bright pop of green that Vertex gives. So I am absolutely not giving up any of the Lethal shades. Ritzy by Makeup Geek is gorgeous and it is still lovely despite its age. The only one I’m letting go is Vestment by KvD. It is a very pretty shade but I found it to last poorly on the eye. It creased more than other shades and felt faded after half a day. Other shades do not behave in the same way on my eyes so I do not feel inclined to keep this shadow.

    And finally we have the four loose singles. My main issue with Velvet Lavender (Bare Minerals) is the loose format. The shade itself is very nice and used as an inner corner matte highlight it adds brightness and a little something something to for example a more neutral lid look. However I think I will overlook it due to it being a loose shadow so I will let this one go.

    Hallucination and Levitation (Meow Cosmetics) are both pretty inner corner highlights but out of the two Hallucination is my favourite. Levitation is not special enough to keep in a loose format.

    Sceptic (Meow Cosmetics) is an interesting shade. A pastel purple with pink shimmer. But unfortunately it is not an easy shade to use and the pastel base easily gets a bit patchy when applied. Since it is part of the well loved (by me) Friday the 13th collection by Meow I wanted to keep it despite it being a bit finicky, but after some afterthought I will let this one go as well. That was all of the shades in this month’s arsenal.

    So that was the rundown of the products in March’s audit. Below are some of the looks I created with said products. 

    March 5

    Eyes: Gates of Eden, Eve’s Kiss, Paradise on Earth, Python, Forbidden, Entwined, Count Basi Beige, Roberta Black, Hallucination

    Cheeks: Molten (Sleek)

    Lips: Striking (Revlon)

    March 8

    Eyes: Unrestricted, Narciso, Velvet Lavender

    Cheeks: Dandelion (Benefit, blush), Taupe (MAC, contour), Perfect Topping (MAC, highlight)

    Lips: Cream Lip Stain in “01” (Sephora) and lip pencil in Redd (MAC)

    March 11

    Eyes: Gates of Eden, FLora, Narciso, Desire

    Cheeks: Havtorn (Idun Minerals)

    Lips: A mix of Goldstone and Pink Opal (Linda Hallberg)

    March 17

    Eyes: Eve’s Kiss, Desire, Cleo

    Cheeks: The Perfect Cheek (MAC, blush), Next to Skin (MAC, contour), Glow from Filmstar Bronze and Glow (Charlotte Tilbury, highlight)

    Lips: Sultry (Revlon)

    March 19

    Eyes: Fahrenheit, Vestment, Echo, Velvet Lavender

    Cheeks: Demerera (Sleek, blush), Sculpt (MAC, countour), Obsexed (Nabla, highlight)

    Lips: Mix of Burning Love and Mull it Over (MAC)

    March 23

    Eyes: Cycle, Spawn, Cleo, Sugar

    Cheeks: At Dusk (MAC, blush), Silhouette (Illamasqua, contour), Deity (Illamasqua, highlight)

    Lips: Dolce Vita (Nars)

    March 25

    Eyes: Cycle, Spawn, Fahrenheit, Ritzy, Roberta Black

    Cheeks: Pinky Peach (Isadora, blush), Sculpt (MAC, contour), Phantoma (Meow Cosmetics, highlight)

    Lips: A mix of Luxurist (H&M), Rouge Feu (Chanel) and L’éxuberante (Chanel) lined with Pillow Talk lip liner (Charlotte Tilbury)

    March 29

    Eyes: Enigma, Fahrenheit, Echo, Sugar

    Cheeks: Sur (MAC, blush), Next to Skin (MAC, contour), Lightscapades (MAC, highlighter)

    Lips: Goldstone (Linda Hallberg)

    So two fixed palettes and four single shadows are leaving my collection. A total of 28 individual shadows. I’m very glad that I came to the conclusion to let the Sleek palettes go. In this part of my audit process, after a year and a half, I’m realising that most of the Sleek palettes are probably not worth keeping. I know I’ve kept some in the previous months of this audit but the further in I get, the more I feel that I will let most of them go. They had a place in my life many years ago but that time is over. I feel nothing for them at this point.

    Beside auditing my eyeshadows, my quest to maximise my usage of my cheek and lip arsenal continues. This month I managed to wear 23 blushes, 5 contour shades, 12 highlighters, 22 lipsticks, 1 gloss and 5 lip liners. I’m starting to form some thoughts on some items that might be let go in the coming months.

    I mentioned in last month’s roundup that I’m getting a bit fed up with the first part of the audit and that I’m keen to move on to round 2. But I also firmly believe that a completion of round 1 of this project will make an impact on my decision-making in the audit, and help me let things go, and in the long run as well. It will aid me in deciding on how I want my makeup arsenal to look in the future and to make smart purchases on the occasions that I find something I like. So in order to get a better picture of the remainder of the audit project, a few weeks back I went through all of the remaining items and divided them into future monthly arsenals. Mattes will only last for a few more months and then I can move on with Round 2 of mattes. But in total I have material to continue this audit until February 2022. That is how much stuff I have accumulated over the years. Something to think about.

    Thank you for reading!

  • 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!