FLOWER Beauty Light Illusion Liquid Foundation

Flower Illusion

I wanted this to be my HG so very badly. What beautiful packaging! What rave reviews it got from reddit and my favorite MUA Youtuber, thataylaa! Breathable! Dewy! Contains SPF! It all starts off okay, but around hour four, it fails to live up to my unreasonable expectations.

Let me preface this by saying this is day four of trying. I’ve tried all different combos of application. Hands, brush, blender (blender was best, BTW). Primers. Finishing powder, no finishing powder. Setting spray, no setting spray. No matter what you do, this foundation, in the beginning, is beautiful. Once it has time to set, it looks incredibly light and fresh. As I mentioned before, breathable and dewy (though not necessarily glowy). The color, for me, was pretty good – perhaps a tad dark with the slightest bit of oxidation after a few more minutes, but nothing that couldn’t be blended out. Other makeup goes over it just fine.

Then hour four hits. You walk into the bathroom and there it is. The makeup clinging onto every. Single. Dry patch. This makeup made me ACUTELY AWARE of all the hot spots of my dryness, by clinging to the edges and creating a perfect jagged border around them. Even where there was once normal, non-dry skin, it seemed as though the foundation had matted down and created dry edges around that, as well. I know this is all very colorful imagery that I’m using, but it’s just the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen a makeup do. I’ve seen clinging to dry spots, but not like this. It didn’t matter what product I used in the morning either — each day with this foundation always ended the same!

Weirdly, from really far away, it looked like I still had coverage. Granted, the dewiness was completely gone, and the coverage was entirely matte. But if anyone got up close, they’d be in for a shock. I looked like a crocodile.

This makeup was REALLY hard to wash off — I suspect this is due to the dry-spot cling-age, not necessarily because of the advertised “all day stay”. Unless that’s what they meant. “It’ll stay on all the dry spots!”

For $13, I’m not really digging this. I do wonder if it would work better for oilier girls than myself (although weirdly, I consider myself pretty oily still — combination skin, in fact, but this foundation is making me question everything…) I’d grab for Rimmel Breathable over this in a heartbeat — it’s basically the same foundation, for half the price, and doesn’t hold onto all the dry spots for dear life. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! ~A

Perceived efficacy: 3/5

Longevity: 1.5/5

How much I actually like this product: 2.8/5 (darn you, pretty packaging!)

Recommended for sensitive skin: No

Mario Badescu Facial Spray – Aloe, Herbs, Rosewater

Mario Badescu Facial Spray Rose

I looove this stuff. I’m not sure why. It’s another case of “is it doing anything?”. I don’t know if it is, but it sure makes my face feel better.

I spritz this stuff on after I get out of the shower, or after I wash off my makeup — so, I use it both morning and night. It smells GREAT — like roses, of course, as the label would imply. This isn’t something that I would use in place of a moisturizer, although the aloe certainly does provide some moisturizing aspect, but it does give the skin a little boost prior to putting the next layer on.

The website says something about “dewy radiance” and “boosts … glow”. I mean, of course, you basically just spritzed yourself with water, so of course you’re going to have a glow for a minute or two. But once it absorbs, it doesn’t quite stick around. Sure does feel pretty soothing, though.

I can’t really tell if there’s been any long-term benefit from using it, and unfortunately that rose water smell kind of, wears off after a few minutes. But for a quick boost and the “first layer” after washing your face, this is great, especially at the price point of $5. And since the ingredient list is pretty minimalistic, it has no adverse effect on my skin — no breakouts! I just picked up the cucumber and green tea spray the other day at Ulta, so I’ll see how that one stacks up compared to this.  ~A

Grab this refreshing pick-me-up here: https://amzn.to/2RhFxtV

Perceived efficacy: 4/5

Longevity: n/a (I don’t know if longevity is what this product is going for, really… I mean, it’s basically fancy water)

How much I actually like this product: 4.8/5 (if only that wonderful smell just lasted a liiiiittle longer!)

Recommended for sensitive skin: Yes

Wet n Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow Trio

Wet n Wild Eyeshadow

Eyeshadow has never really been my thing, but once in awhile, I decide that I want to dip my toes back into the eyeshadow arena. The idea is, if I go for one of these little Wet n Wild cheapie eyeshadows, then I can figure out my color and then move onto a higher-end product. I should have learned my lesson after almost a decade of doing this, that Wet n Wild eyeshadows unfortunately still fall into that category of “makeup you would buy for your twelve year old”, and ultimately turn me away from the idea of eyeshadow.

The foam applicator they provide is more or less garbage, the foam tends to rip through even after light use, and the “brush” has bristles that are hard plastic, too painful to use — so use your own brushes!

I swiped some primer on just to get some staying power since I know, from past experience, that these eyeshadows tend to disappear after an hour after application. I have the exact palette as pictured above, and several others, and they all seem to suffer the same problem in terms of coloration — the mid-level colors, like magentas, blues, greens, are near impossible to get to show up. They have absolutely no staying power even after you’ve gone over it a few times, AND applied primer.

The darker colors, well, are more pigmented of course, but not by much — the longevity is still poor, and they colors are not very malleable (okay, that’s not a good word to use, but you get the point). Once you put it on, no amount of good skill, light-handedness, or times spent swiping it over, regardless of tool that you’re using, will get that powder to “move over” where you need it. It’s very smudge-y.

The one thing WnW does do a bit better with are the lighter colors. I have a few one-shade palettes in my drawer (that are way too old, now that I think about it, so I should probably throw them out…) that are beige/sand/off-white colored. The longevity on these is a bit longer, maybe four hours, but there honestly isn’t really much color differentiation once you get the product on your skin — ie: doesn’t really look on the palette how it will ultimately look on your skin, and all of the lighter colors sort of look the same.

The powder on these eyeshadows WILL fall off. If you’re a contact lens user, beware! More than any other eyeshadow product I’ve used, I have the biggest issue with powder fall with WnW.

In my opinion, Wet n Wild definitely does a few things really, really well, particularly over the past few years as they’ve attempted to become more competitive with their drugstore peers. Their highlighting powders really blow me away. But these $2-$3 eyeshadows still stay firmly in the arena of “kid’s first makeup”. Even then, I probably still wouldn’t recommend it, based on the powder-fall alone.  ~A

Perceived efficacy: 1/5

Longevity: 1/5

How much I actually like this product: 1/5

Rimmel Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation

Rimmel Stay Matte Foundation

This is going to sound really ridiculous, but I feel a little emotional, writing this post. This foundation right here got me through YEARS of mediocre to bad skin, and did a pretty good job even during the very worst of it. Strangely, this is not the best foundation that I’ve ever used in my entire life — but it served me well for so many years that I wanted to give it some credit for how good of coverage this has. I have at least six bottles of this in six different shades on standby in the my dresser drawer.

This is a mousse foundation that comes in a squeezable tube. When you squeeze it out, you’ll see the color come out with little “air pockets” — normal for a mousse. You would think that a little would go a long way with this, but it can be tough to spread, due to the thickness. Honestly I would put the initial layer on with my hands, and use a beauty blender only occasionally to smooth out some creases. This WILL OXIDIZE into a darker color. I’m sure it didn’t help that I used my hands to apply, but even with blender application, it will still oxidize anyway.

After the initial struggle to try to apply this stuff and make it appear smooth, you will find that the coverage is AMAZING — I’d say more full coverage than medium, in fact. I have covered up some spots that… well, should not have been able to be covered up. Redness, gone. Raised spots, gone (well not really, but it sort of looked like it). Also, this stuff played surprisingly pretty well with makeup — it needs a bit longer than most foundations to set on your face, but once it’s set, you’re good to splash blush and bronzer on to your heart’s content.

But the price to pay for coverage was large. This stuff is really messy, and also difficult to wash off. Even if your finger gets a microscopic distance away from your face, it WILL transfer to your skin. It WILL somehow magically transfer to your purse handles and your car steering wheel. Don’t even think about hugging people. “Oh but I can just use a setting spray/powder!” Wrong! Yes, use the setting spray, but don’t expect it to save you!

Here’s my next gripe: this foundation touts itself as oil-free, so I was excited as a crazy acne sufferer. After hour six, this foundation had completely broken down, but I don’t think it was just from my own face. I found this picture on reddit awhile back:

Oil test

there’s our friend circled in the middle. What IS that?? is that water or oil separation? In any case — this foundation breaks down pretty quickly and will create swamp-like conditions on your face.

So, I realize that I’ve complained a lot about this foundation. There are a lot of issues with it and I don’t really think it’s the best option for day-to-day casual wear. It can definitely a big perpetrator of “cake face”, since it’s medium to full coverage. I’m also not really positive it was “good”, from a biological standpoint, to wear while I had such bad acne. But let the six tubes of this in my drawer be a testament to how much I loved it, for many many years. The coverage is awesome. The shade range is awesome, possibly one of the only foundations that’s been able to match my skin tone through every single season. The price point is phenomenal as well, from $5-7 a pop.  Thanks for getting me through it all, Rimmel! ~A

If coverage is your issue, I strongly recommend picking up a tube of Stay Matte here: https://amzn.to/2M10jZa

Perceived efficacy: 3.75/5

Longevity: 2.75/5

How much I actually like this product: 4/5

Ardell Brow Building Fiber Gel

Ardell Brow Gel

This product kind of makes me want to rewrite the review I did on Essence’s Brow Gel — Ardell’s Brow Building Gel is a much better option! I’ve been using this in Dark Brown.

Application is similar to the Essence Brow Gel (and other brow gels I’ve used before, but I think they were insignificant enough, color-wise, where I may have trashed them after a few times of use, so my basis of comparison is poor) — the applicator wand is pretty small, which is good for the tail end of my brows where there is basically no hair left. I haven’t had any issues with clumping in the actual eyebrow on application– perhaps a bit on the applicator itself, but that’s easy to scrape off.

I’ve gone halfway through this tube and have not had an issue with the color drying up or looking duller than when I first started. I wanted to mention that the dark brown color is honestly closer to black. If you’re looking for a step up from black, the medium brown has more actual “brown” tones in it (seems like an obvious statement when I type it out like that).

It does go on a little bit tacky, so don’t touch your face for a few minutes! It absolutely will smear. But once it’s on, it’s on. There’s no fiber-flaking throughout the day, in fact I’ve probably rubbed my eyes more times than I can count with this stuff on, and it stay put. The color is definitely lessened after eight hours, but it’s still there and very much noticeable. All in all, a pretty solid purchase for $5-6 bucks! ~A

Perceived efficacy: 5/5

Longevity: 4.5/5

How much I actually like this product: 4.25/5

Wet n Wild Color Icon Blush

Wet n Wild Color Icon

Alright, Wet n Wild… your winning streak is over. I own this blush in Rose Champagne, Mellow Wine and Apricot in the Middle. I do really love the color of each of these — Mellow Wine is probably a little to strong for my skin tone and eye color, but apricot in the middle and rose champagne are perfect for achieving a natural blush tone for me. They are SO subtle, and yet, make all the difference in my makeup for the day looking complete. Rose Champagne probably takes the cake for me in terms of color (and, it’s got a little sparkle to it, which I love!)

This does come with a brush, but it is very small, so you are better off using your own (larger!) blush brush. Application of this blush relatively eventless. The powder distributes evenly, and only “clumps” up if you’re a bit too heavy handed in one area. It’s easily correctable. Again, the ending result is a beautiful, consistent tone.

Unfortunately, this blush only holds up for about half of my day. The blush tones, while outstanding in coloration and consistency, are quite light to begin with. But if you have oily skin like myself, you’ll find this blush breaking down around hour three or four. The end result is an oily mess, and instead of the red hues pooling into one area, they seem to travel, um, downward, below the apples of your cheek where you originally applied it.

For $3-$5 a piece, it’s not a bad price point at all, but I suppose in this instance you get what you pay for. Ugh, I really wish they lasted longer, because the color payout is better than many higher-end blushes that I’ve tried! ~A

Perceived efficacy: 3.75/5

Longevity: 2.25/5

How much I actually like this product: 3.5/5

Essence Make Me Brow Gel Mascara

Essence Make Me

This will be a quickie review, since there’s not a whole lot to say about brow gel. I grabbed this at Ulta awhile ago when I saw it priced for $3. Considering that price, it’s been great — it was a staple in my makeup bag when the tube was new, and I think it would be ideal for travelling, due to the size.

The initial color on this is great — brown is actually brown, not black. Unfortunately once you get halfway down the tube, that color seems to fade and it’s much less intense than when the package was first opened. The staying power on this gel is pretty impressive throughout the day — it doesn’t flake off, and the color only starts to disappear around the 7-8 hour mark (which is usually when I stop caring, anyway).

I’ve NEVER had an issue with this product smearing, even immediately after application — this is a big one for me because my hair gets in my face a lot and I rub my eyes way more than I should. The wand is perfect size for my not-so-big natural eyebrows, which makes the application much simpler.

Make Me Brow Brow Gel is cheaper in Ulta than on Amazon, but if you need to take the Amazon route, click here: https://amzn.to/2VxQrdP

Perceived efficacy: 4/5

Longevity: 3.5/5

How much I actually like this product: 4/5