Let’s quickly run through this. Even I have limits when it comes to discussing eyeliner.
A staple in my eyeliner life since forever (aka 2013), I think I will always have Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Intense Black on hand. This eyeliner has never done me dirty in four years, which is why I have a backup. (I keep expecting this one to run out because I bought it in June 2016, but somehow it has managed to surpass its usual lifespan of 10 months.) I also have the same product in Snow and Indigo.
I’ve come to realize that almost every NYX product I’ve tried has disappointed me and thus ended up being destashed, but the Vivid Brights Eyeliner in Sapphire is legit. I rarely find a liquid liner formula that my eyelids don’t swallow, and this is one of them. Plus, well, cobalt blue is my colour.
Finally, a third liquid liner formula that actually works for me: Lancôme Grandiôse Eyeliner in Cerulean and Fuchsia*. Sadly these two beautiful colours were limited edition in the winter, but I love them. They’re so much fun and wear beautifully. I wish Lancôme would come out with more fun colours in this line and make them permanent, because the formula of this liner is bomb.
L-R: Stila Intense Black, Stila Snow, Stila Indigo, NYX Sapphire, Lancôme Cerulean, Lancôme Fuchsia
I use black pencils exclusively to tightline. Clarins Waterproof Eye Pencil in Noir is okay, but not the most transfer-proof. I got this as a gift from a friend and I’d never pay $27 for it! The Marc Jacobs Highliner in Blacquer (last year’s Sephora birthday gift) lasts a lot better, though it’s also overpriced.
In terms of browns, I have two of these Stila Smudge Sticks, in Damsel (a matte dark brown) and Lionfish (a lighter, warmer brown with some shimmer). These Smudge Sticks seem to multiply of their own accord; I’ve never actually bought one, but somehow have four (and that’s after decluttering at least two). Two more: Halfmoon and Purple Tang, a matte grey and a sparkly purple, respectively.
Clinique Quickliner for Eyes Intense in Black Honey is a really nice warm brown that complements warmer eye looks very well. I probably don’t need it since I already have two brown liners, but I like it.
NYX Wonder Pencil in Light is a classic nude to pop in the waterline to brighten tired eyes. I like it! I’m usually a twist-up pencil kind of gal because I’m lazy, but it’s a soft, creamy pencil that sets nicely. I love that they make this in different shades of nude, too.
Finally, two blues: Lise Watier Waterproof Eyeliner in Marin, a navy, and Annabelle Kohl Eyeliner in Lapis, a beautiful cobalt. Lise Watier and Annabelle are both Canadian brands owned by another Canadian brand, Marcelle, and of the two I vastly prefer Lise Watier. The Annabelle eye pencils come in a really great array of colours, but they’re drier and stiffer. The Lise Watier liners are creamy to apply but budgeproof once they set. Of course, they’re also about twice as expensive.
L-R: Clarins Noir, Marc Jacobs Blacquer, Stila Damsel, Stila Lionfish, Stila Halfmoon, Stila Purple Tang, Clinique Black Honey, NYX Light, Lise Watier Marin, Annabelle Lapis
I don’t know why I decided to put these in this post instead of with the single eyeshadows, but what’s done is done. These live in the same cup as all my liners, so that’s probably why.
If you were involved in the Reddit makeup world in 2013, then you probably either bought a NYX Jumbo Pencil in Milk or coveted this product mightily. This was back in the days of savagery when NYX was not available in Canada, so I had to get my mom to pick these pencils up in New York for me. This product does not work as an eyeshadow base for me whatsoever: it creases terribly, even over a primer. I also don’t like it in the waterline because it’s too stark. I used up quite a bit of one pencil on Halloween 2015 when I used it as makeshift face paint on three people. The other one is untouched.
Lise Watier 24 Hours Glam Cream Eyeshadow in Satin Glam is a beautiful, shimmery champagne shadow stick. I’m not big on eyeshadow sticks, but this has a great formula. I mostly use it in my inner corner for an intense highlight.
L-R: NYX Milk, Lise Watier Satin Glam
I also have a gel eyeliner by Essence which I neglected to photograph but which you can see in action here.
There we go – I breezed through that batch of products pretty quickly, huh?
I did my eyeshadow palettes big and small a few months back, so now it’s time to wrap up the eyeshadow inventory.
I don’t know if ColourPop eyeshadows really are cream or not, but they dry up in like thirty-five seconds so I’m going to go with yes. Anyway, I have five colours: Paradox, a deep burgundy; Animal, a neon orange; Stereo, a dark purple with gold and pink glitter; Boy Band, a metallic copper; and Beverly, a dark berry.
Of these, I get the most use out of Boy Band (a one and done shade that I can smear all over my eyelid when I’m in a rush) and Paradox, which looks badass. Animal looks hideous on me, but I still have fun with it. Stereo looks totally different in the pan than it does on the ColourPop website and I never use it, and Beverly is dry as a bone now.
Here’s Animal on its own:
And here it is with Realgar from the Modern Renaissance palette blended above it and Buxom Covert Affair on the lips:
And iPhone selfies of how I wore it to see Laura Marling in May, with NYX Sapphire eyeliner and NARS Brigitte on the lips:
Paradox looks great on its own, and I have discovered that when you layer a blue-brown duochrome shade on top of it you get the most amazing look. Sadly I have no photographic evidence that I have ever worn Paradox, alone or otherwise, but one day I will try to get some and update this post.
Moving past ColourPop! I currently only have three Maybelline Color Tattoos (except for Tough As Taupe, which I use on my brows exclusively): Pink Gold (UK version of Inked in Pink), Electric Blue (… which is navy, not electric blue), and Tenacious Teal (featured in my “Life On Mars?” look). Inked in Pink is the only one that’s still available in Canada. I rarely reach for these anymore, although I loved them enough back in the day to have fifteen at one point. Powder eyeshadow wears better on me than any cream as long as I use a base, so that’s what I reach for.
Finally, I have one of the glorious new-ish Stila Magnificent Metals Glitter & Glow Liquid Eyeshadow in Rose Gold Retro, which is PERFECT. It’s so shiny and metallic and beautiful, and it never creases.
Here are some swatches for your viewing pleasure!
L-R: Stila Rose Gold Retro, ColourPop Animal, ColourPop Boy Band, ColourPop Paradox, ColourPop Stereo, ColourPop Beverly, Maybelline Pink Gold, Maybelline Electric Blue, Maybelline Tenacious Teal.
Lancôme single shadows are nice, but probably not $24 nice. Luckily, I paid for neither. Vue, a neutral rose gold, has sentimental value for me, as it’s the first eyeshadow I ever used. My mom may have given this to me or I may have stolen it from her makeup bag, but either way I have very fond memories of applying it all over my eyelid with a Q-tip when I was seventeen and the youngest person working at Urban Outfitters and wanting to look fancy and put-together. I don’t use it very often now, but it’s just one of those products that I can’t part with.
Infinitely Indigo is a shade which Aisling sent me in a big box of goodies when she was moving to England and I was first getting into makeup. Aisling is definitely a neutral kind of gal, and I believe she picked this up in Vegas, which is exactly where you would decide to buy blue eyeshadow. This product has stuck with me through approximately six moves because I like owning expensive shit. Its place in the future of my collection is unclear.
I don’t know how I can say that $24 for a single eyeshadow is overpriced but then rave about ones that cost $36, but here I am. I just really like the NARS Dual Intensity shadows, though of course I buy them at Murale, with Optimum Points. These shadows give an utterly glorious metallic sheen even when used dry. Callisto is the first one I acquired and definitely my favourite of the two: it’s the most stunning silvery pink. (It looks amazing applied all over the led with Buon Fresco from ABH in the crease!) Desdemona is a rich burgundy purple. I’ve found that these work the best patted onto the lid with a finger; the pigment doesn’t seem to stick very well to a brush.
L-R: Lancôme Vue, Lancôme Infinitely Indigo, NARS Callisto, NARS Desdemona
And that is it for my single eyeshadow collection! Next up will be eyeliner, and to finish out the series we’ll do lips. (That will be an undertaking – I haven’t photographed it yet!)
Onwards with the inventory series! Today I’m doing highlighter, bronzer, and contour products all in one, since I don’t have enough of the latter two categories to warrant their own posts. As always, I’ve linked to full reviews where they exist.
Whoever led me to believe that the ELF Illuminating Palettes were good should be JAILED, because they are TERRIBLE. I am so heated about this that I am in caps lock mode. You’ll be able to see better in the swatches below, but they have basically no payoff at all and are powdery and dry-looking. I’m on board with a subtle highlight, but these are just bad.
Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Moonstone was my first highlighter purchase, and it’s one of my favourites. It’s the perfect light champagne shade for my fair skin, and though it packs a punch it’s not glittery or chunky. I don’t always want a highlight this in-your-face, but it’s beautiful for those moments. The SSP in Opal is most talked-about, but if you’re on the fairer side check out Moonstone – it gives pretty much the same effect but is more suited for fair to light skintones.
I really enjoy the peachy-pink glow of my Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder in Iridescent. However, all in all I think this is a pretty standard highlighter, and I was expecting more of Hourglass. As the world’s biggest Ambient Lighting Blush fan, I yearned for them to do a proper highlighter for ages, so of course I was first in line to buy one when they launched. I do think this is a nice powder – finely-milled, soft, and glowy without being glittery – but I was kind of expecting them to revolutionize the highlighting game. I enjoy the one I have but I won’t buy another.
The first four swatches are the ELF highlighters, but you can’t even see the first three because THEY ARE SO BAD. After those we have Becca Moonstone and Hourglass Iridescent.
I much prefer powder over cream when it comes to blush, but with highlighter it’s the opposite. It’s partially the ease of swiping on a cream product and partially the finish creams tend to give. Powder highlighters are usually more intense, whereas creams are slightly toned-down and melt into the skin better.
The Topshop Glow Highlighter in Polished is probably my favourite highlighter ever: it gives an intense, pearly glow that is downright otherworldly. It’s a statement highlight, but I love it. I own nothing else remotely like this.
Glossier Haloscope in Quartz was my first exposure to stick highlighter, and it could not have been a better one. This is an incredibly emollient formula which looks almost glazed on the skin. It can be applied directly from the stick and blended in with the fingers with minimal effort. It’s super pretty and just how I like my highlight to look: present but not over-the-top.
I wasn’t expecting much from the new-ish Revlon PhotoReady InstaFix Highlighter Stick in Pink Light, but I do like it. It has a dryer texture than the Glossier Haloscope by far, so I like to apply it by rubbing my finger in the product and then tapping it onto my face. It also doesn’t blend as easily, but it doesn’t require excessive elbow grease by any means. It gives a very nice, borderline metallic pink highlight. They do make one in a champagne shade as well, but champagne highlighters are a dime a dozen and I do find something more pink-based quite flattering on my skintone. My only major complaint about this product is that it costs $23 in Canadian drugstores. Like… what? DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT THE DRUGSTORE IS, REVLON????
Finally, the newest addition to my highlighter collection, Vichy Teint Idéal Highlighter. This is a liquid product which is applied via rollerball. It’s a very thin, sheer, almost white-based formula which doesn’t add much colour to the face but which gives a glorious wet look. I got this at a Vichy brand training and wasn’t expecting to enjoy it, but it’s quickly becoming one of my favourites. It’s easy to apply straight from the tube, blends in easily with the fingers, and looks stunning on the skin. I’d definitely recommend this one if you want a wet-look highlighter!
L-R: Topshop Polished, Glossier Quartz, Revlon Pink Light, Vichy Teint Idéal.
Bronzer & Contour
I only ever have one bronzer at a time because it’s not a product type which I use heavily. Currently I have the Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer in Light Bronzer, which is a good option for fair skin. I find this slightly warmer than the lightest shade of The Body Shop Honey Bronzer, for reference, but it still works fine on my skin. I’m not a bronzer connoisseur so I don’t have much to compare it to, but it’s nice. I don’t know that it’s necessarily worthy of the raves it got on YouTube when it first launched, because it doesn’t seem like anything special to me, but what do I know about bronzer? Not much! Oh, I also really dislike the strong artificial coconut scent, but that seems to be one of its drawing points for many people.
I love love love my Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder in Light for contour. It’s not too ashy but not warm by any means, and the depth and shade work very well on my colouring. This is a pricey little guy, but so far I have no regrets about this purchase.
L-R: Physician’s Formula, Kevyn Aucoin
Obviously, I’m very happy with the state of my bronzer and contour stash – I have one product to fulfill each of those functions, which is exactly what I need. I think my highlighter collection is a tiny bit excessive for someone who isn’t a highlighter fanatic, but it’s under control. I don’t see myself acquiring more products in any of these categories, at least not for quite some time.