Catrice California in a Box

I wouldn’t call myself a connoisseur of makeup palettes — I’m more of a “single color eyeshadow dish” kind of person. I know exactly what colors I want and need for my blush, bronzer, and eyeshadow and I am scared to deviate from that (although, I was obsessed with orange eyeshadow for awhile, and I kind of enjoyed it). But this palette really stood out to me while I was standing in Ulta — I realized I actually liked every color in it, and would probably actually use them!

Here’s a quick rundown of my take on what’s in the box:

Pearly and dark blush: The darker colored blush surprisingly paints far lighter than I would expect it to. For some reason I anticipated a more mauve-y undertone, but I’d describe it more as deep pink. This has a fantastic pigment and would look beautiful on someone with a medium or darker skintone. Now, for me personally, the dark blush was a little bit heavy for my complexion, so this is where the pearly blush came into play for me. The peachy tones make for a very subtle color on my cheeks, with just a tiny bit of “pop” of pearl highlighter that slightly illuminates the look. Almost undetectable, otherwise — just the way I like it! (but it probably won’t be for you if you’re looking for a bolder look)

Light and dark bronzer: The bronzer is my only gripe about this product. It dark bronzer really skews orange, and I could only see this getting worse as time passes and more oxidizing occurs. The light bronzer is a lesser offender of turning orange, but it’s so light. I think it would be imperceptible on anyone, except possibly someone with an alabaster skin tone.

Highlighter: this is definitely not the most extreme of highlighters, which might be for the best since I’ve noticed the bright highlighter trend sort of winding down on Instagram. It’s very subtle; you might want to add a second layer if you really want it to stand out. The nude coloration of this highlighter makes it look far more natural looking than a pure white highlighter.

Overall one of my biggest issues with this palette is that the colors aren’t very malleable, and they’re unforgiving of user error. Usually if I’m a bit heavy-handed with blush, I can correct it without too many issues just by blending it in more with the brush. That’s a difficult ask with this product, though, so I recommend using a very fluffy brush for the bronzers and blushes.

I didn’t have any issues with the products losing efficacy over time, although perhaps the highlighter may have lost it’s shine after hour 4 since it’s already very subtle to begin with. Also, the bronzer made me want to wash my entire face after hour two when I realized that the orange was only getting worse. But I didn’t, and the bronzer sadly still persisted until past the eight hour mark.

For $12, this is not a bad product if you’re looking for something subtle! Despite the vacation vibes that the marketing of this product gives off, this palette is actually quite suitable for work — you’ll get the faintly sunkissed glow without looking overdone. Just make sure you go in with a very light hand! ~A

Perceived efficacy: 3.5/5

Longevity: 3.5/5

How much I actually like this product: 3.75/5

Recommended for sensitive skin: Yes

My Current Routine

For the sake of documenting a moment in time, and perhaps to reflect in five years to ask myself “why on Earth did I use that?”, I wanted to list some of my current skincare favorites. I recently went on a short trip, which is always great for forcing yourself to decide on which products are truly must-haves (and also useful in those moments where you think to yourself, “why did I forget to pack that?!).

Now, of course, I don’t use all of these every single day, but everything listed is in heavy rotation. All of these products have been in my routines for a minimum of five months — some have been in my routine for over six years. I can say that all of these have maintained or improved my sensitive, acne-prone skin. Everyone’s reactions are different, but if I had to recommend products to someone with skin issues, these would all be included in that list.

AM Routine

  • COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser
  • Mario Badescu Rosewater Spray
  • Melano CC Gel (although I’m not 100% sold on this one yet…)
  • Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel
  • Rohto Skin Aqua Super Moisture Milk SPF50

PM Routine

  • COSRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser (I obviously love this)
  • Mario Badescu Rosewater Spray (same with this, I would spritz this every hour on the hour if I could)
  • Thayer’s Witch Hazel Toner

PM Exfoliant Options:

  • Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA
  • The Ordinary 5% Lactic Acid
  • Epiduo
  • Derma-E Anti Wrinkle Eye Cream

PM Moisturizer Options

  • Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel
  • Cerave PM

PM Heavy Moisturizers — “Last Step”:

  • Bio-Oil
  • CosRX Honey Ceramide Cream
  • HadaLabo Gokujun Hyaluronic Solution

Makeup

  • IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC+ Illumination – Medium
  • Maybelline Stick Corrector Concealer (under eyes, and on/around eyelids with careful blending)
  • NYX Tinted Brow Mascara in Brown
  • L’oreal Lash Paradise
  • Physicians Formula Eye Booster Pencil Eyeliner
  • Physicians Formula Mineral Glow Pearls in Bronze (used as bronzer)
  • Maybelline Master Chrome Metallic Highlighter in Molten Rose Gold

J. Cat Beauty You Glow Girl Baked Highlighter

Another “cute packaging, mediocre product” review. I think I fell in love with the rose stamp that’s imprinted on the powder, primarily! But don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad highlighter.

I picked this up in the shade Bella Rose, which may have been my problem from the start. I think pink-pigmentation probably gets lost in my slightly pink-tinted cheeks. The shade range is pretty extensive, though — 9 shades in total.

It seemed really difficult to get the powder to “show up” on the brush, or on my fingers. I had to press down pretty hard, and had to go back into the pan to get to the point where I felt I was getting enough product. Even on the skin, I didn’t think this highlighter was particularly noticeable without stacking it. I don’t know if it’s problematic, per se — there’s certainly enough powder in the pan. But I don’t like dedicating a ton of time to highlighter application, so it’s annoying to have to go back in to re-apply.

As far as effect, I wouldn’t say this is a particularly strong highlighter, not the same way Maybelline’s Master Chrome or the Wet n Wild highlighters are. It’s great for a subtle effect — a shine you can see up close, but not from further away. Me, personally, I like highlighter to be obnoxiously visible and potentially blind people from several feet away, but I won’t take off points for my own bad taste 😉 What I will consider though is the very short longevity of this powder. I didn’t think any of the highlighter was visible after hour four.

So while I personally think this is a very mediocre product, it might be worth the $7 buy if you’re looking for a highlighter that’s much more subdued. ~A

Perceived efficacy: 3.5/5

Longevity: 2/5

How much I actually like this product: 2.5/5

Maybelline Master Chrome Metallic Highlighter

Maybelline Master Chrome

Happy New Year, everyone!

The packaging really drew me in, with this product: It just looked so cool and modern…

This comes in four different colored powders: molten gold, molten rose gold, molten peach, molten topaz. I picked up the first two. The coloration on the molten gold was fairly good — gold, as advertised, although it was relatively subtle. The molten rose gold … not so much color. It seemed more like a “bright”/white gold, and I couldn’t really see that there were any tinges of pink.

As I mentioned before, this is a pretty subtle highlighter initially, so you may have to try a couple heavy-handed brush swipes if you want to amp up the brightness. Once the level you want is achieved, it does look quite nice! The powder is pretty consistent throughout the entire package, so you won’t swipe your brush in “too much” glitter at any one point, which I’ve noticed to be a problem with a few products. This consistency gives way to a smooth application, and you shouldn’t need to blend too much of it out.

The longevity was great on this; I’m still glowy by the end of an 8-hour day! For an $8 price point and plenty of product in the dish, this is a good buy. My only gripe with it is the coloration, but I think that’s mostly personal. I don’t think (any) gold really looks good on my skin tone, and I also didn’t feel that the rose gold was pigmented enough. Still, this is a solid buy for anyone looking to add to their daily look, without blinding anyone!  ~A

Perceived efficacy: 4/5

Longevity: 5/5

How much I actually like this product: 4/5

Wet n Wild Megaglo Highlighting Powder

Wet N Wild Highlighting

When the highlighting game really started to pick up steam, I grabbed both this product in Precious Petals and the MegaGlo Makeup Stick. This won out against the MegaGlo stick as far as my personal preferences go, and really changed my perception of Wet n Wild as a brand. The 10+ hour longevity of shine on this product, and the simplicity of application to get a full look, are both a 5/5 for me. This is now a permanent fixture in my makeup bag. I haven’t seen any signs of powder fall from my face.

I use a smaller angled contour brush and swipe it a little bit under my eyes and occasionally under my eyebrows. Considering I use this almost daily, I still have about half of the powder left, and it’s been close to a year. For $5… not too bad! I’ll be sad if they ever discontinue it (although, the highlighting trend is bound to die off at some point… right?)

There are several shades of this product. My favorite is Precious Petals, I think that has the best glow. I’ve also used Blossom Glow, but I didn’t think the coloration looked as good on my skin. Finally, I’ve tried White Raven, which I think was a limited edition. I’m not sure what I had in my head when I bought it in terms of what I was going to do with it, because it was really… white. Duh! It still did the job as well as Precious Petals in terms of holding up, just wasn’t a color I ever should have bought in the first place.

Without being too “loud”, this powder highlighter makes a long-lasting statement, and I recommend every makeup fan to pick up this $5 buy. ~A

Perceived efficacy: 5/5

Longevity: 5/5

How much I actually like this product: 5/5