Review: ColourPop Blending Brush and Blush Brush

Posted on October 21, 2017 under Reviews

I’m a sucker for fancy makeup, but when it comes to brushes what I want is cheap. I have a few pricier staples, but if you look at the brushes I use most frequently it’s pretty evident that I’m a budget-conscious gal first and foremost.

I keep going on and off ColourPop, and they totally reeled me in with the release of a synthetic brush collection back in the summer. I made my purchase only having seen one review from a YouTuber who works closely with the brand, so it was a bit of a crapshoot. Of course, this is the way it always is with ColourPop: I say, “It’s cheap, so who cares?” That’s the attitude their business model is banking on. It doesn’t always work on me, but they got me this time.

I didn’t want to commit to too many brushes if the quality wasn’t there, so I went with the two I thought I’d use the most: the blending brush (because who amongst us doesn’t need an infinite amount of blending brushes so as to postpone washing theirs?) and the blush brush (because I’d been idly wanting another blush brush for awhile).

Blending Brush

This brush is just a bit too stiff to be the most effective blending brush, in my opinion. It’s just not fluffy enough to effortlessly blend away harsh edges. I know I’ve talked about my MAC 217 as my gold standard blending brush, but one that I use almost every day is the ELF Crease Brush, which costs a grand total of $3 USD. That’s a damn good brush for applying diffused crease shades and buffing out edges, not just for the price but in absolute terms. So if you want a good blending brush, pick up 2 of the ELF ones for the cost of one ColourPop Blending Brush.

That said, this isn’t a bad brush. It can blend, just not as well as other brushes. I use it pretty regularly, just not as a traditional crease blending brush. I pretty much do the same thing with my eyeshadow every single day with different colours, and I can work this into my routine. Usually I start by buffing a light-to-medium transition shade in my socket, diffusing it quite a bit. I’ll often deepen up the socket by applying a darker colour more precisely, which the ColourPop Blending Brush is good for, because it does have some give and won’t pack on colour like a flat shader brush. I find that the perfect middle ground for it is in this type of application – it’s neither super precise nor terribly diffuse. Because it doesn’t pack on full-throttle pigment, it’s good for adding some definition without overdoing it.

I would say this brush is generally a flop at being a blending brush, but it’s perfectly serviceable in general. That said, I could happily live without it, so while it’s fine I’m not enthused about it.

L-R: ColourPop Blending Brush, ELF Crease Brush, Real Techniques Base Shadow Brush, MAC 217, bdellium tools 766

First of all, no I absolutely did not wash my brushes before taking these pictures. Second of all, here you can see that the ColourPop Blending Brush has a similar shape to the MAC 217 and bdellium tools 766, but it’s packed more densely and the bristles are stiffer so it doesn’t blend as effortlessly. It’s not as dense and stiff as the RT Base Shadow Brush, but clearly not as fluffy and malleable as the ELF Crease Brush. Third of all, my bdellium tools 766 has not held up very well, as you can see…

Blush Brush

Now this is the kind of thing that keeps me coming back to ColourPop! I tend to favour larger, stiffer blush brushes. Compared to my go-tos, the Real Techniques Cheek Brush and the Real Techniques Multitask Brush, this one is smaller, flatter, and less stiff. And I love it! Sometimes it’s nice to take a bigger brush and do one cheek super quickly, but I have really been enjoying the precision that this smaller brush offers. This brush picks up the perfect amount of pigment and blends it as it goes, and since I got it (uh, in early August, because why review things in a timely fashion?) I’ve been using it above all other blush brushes. Totally a winner in my books, and worth the very reasonable $9 USD.

L-R: ColourPop Blush Brush, ELF Blush Brush, bdellium tools 964, Real Techniques Cheek Brush, Real Techniques Multitask Brush

The ColourPop Blush Brush is a lot smaller than both RT brushes and the bdellium tools brush. The RT brushes are a lot denser, while the bdellium tools brush has about the same amount of give. This brush appears most similar to the ELF Blush Brush, but that brush is pretty flat and floppy, which makes it harder to work with.

I don’t think these brushes look especially cheap or fancy; they’re just standard, fairly boring brushes. The ColourPop logo is embossed into the handles, and so far the lettering hasn’t worn away at all. This should be a given instead of something I actively celebrate, but I have to work within the confines of reality and reality says that ColourPop’s lettering is fleeting. The brushes seem sturdy; they’ve held up to washing and the ferrules don’t wiggle. My major complaint here is that the names of the brushes are not on the handles, which truly is egregiously annoying. Will ColourPop ever come through with perfect packaging?

That text has stayed put for more than 45 seconds!

Anyway, my verdict here is that the Blush Brush is great and Blending Brush is fine but nothing special. Quality-wise I’d be comfortable purchasing more ColourPop brushes if I thought I’d actually use them. One win and one not-fail is pretty good for fifteen bucks, in any event.

By the way, yesterday was apparently my blog’s third birthday. We’ve come full circle: I started it in my Glasgow dorm room, continued it through my last year of university in Montreal and a gap year in Toronto, and now I’m sitting in graduate student housing in Glasgow writing this post.

Review: It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream in Fair*

Posted on September 21, 2017 under Reviews

IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream in Fair

The product featured in this post was provided to me by the company at no cost. I was not compensated monetarily for this post and my opinion is completely honest, as always.

I have been interested in the IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream* for years now due to its much-loved status in the YouTube community. This is a product that is not only apparently universally-adored but that has longevity. It’s not a flash-in-the-pan trend; it’s a staple in YouTubers’ foundation drawer. When IT Cosmetics finally came to Sephora Canada in early August, I made a mental note to look into it when I ran through a bit of my current foundation stash. And then IT sent me a tube to try, which I think means this was meant to be.

Before I delve into the review, I’ll remind you that I have normal-to-dry skin. Currently I’m on the drier side as the weather transitions, and I live in a wet, temperate climate that’s heading into fall. I have relatively clear skin but deal with regular hormonal breakouts on my chin and persistent hyperpigmentation after active breakouts heal. I prefer light-to-medium buildable foundations with a natural finish.

Shade Range

The shade range of this product is pretty abysmal, which is such a bummer. Canada has a lot of multicultural cities (my hometown of Toronto was recently named the most diverse city in the world!), so seeing a brand with only seven shades and no apparent plans for expansion enter our market is disappointing. (It looks like they added the shade Deep pretty recently, but there are still plenty of darker-skinned people who will be completely shut out of this range.) Small shade ranges are looking particularly bad these days now that Rihanna’s brand Fenty Beauty has released 40 shades of foundation. Though it’s unfortunate that diversity tends only to gain traction when it’s clear that it’s profitable, that’s a reality of capitalism and I’m hopeful that the massive success of the darker shades in the Fenty Beauty range will inspire brands like IT Cosmetics to get on board with diversity.

I was sent the shade Fair for review, and my PR package actually stated that if the colour match was wrong I could request a different one, which I thought was nice. Luckily, Fair is a pretty bang-on match for me. I’m fair with neutral-leaning-yellow undertones, which is exactly how I’d describe this shade. (Generally these colours appear to run more on the neutral-to-yellow side.)

IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream in Fair swatches

Out of all of these shades I’d say the Ordinary 1.1N is my current best match, though MUFE Ultra HD in Y215 is the best I’ve found yet. (I completely used up my bottle so couldn’t use it for comparison swatches.) In swatches, the IT CC in Fair looks like it will be significantly too dark for me, but as you’ll see the shade works fine. If you’re lighter than around NC13 in MAC shades this will probably be a hair dark. I like that the IT CC Cream is neutral with slight yellow tones, which seems to suit me best. Though it’s certainly not pink-toned, in comparison with NARS Siberia it’s far less yellow.


IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream in Fair

Dude, I love this packaging. I wish every liquid foundation were packaged like this. First, there’s a pump, which is obviously the #1 thing we all look for in a foundation. Second, it’s in a squeezy tube! This means that a) you can squeeze out the last bit of product when the pump stops dispensing anything, and b) it’s super travel-friendly because there is no worry about breakage as with glass bottles. My only (small) gripe is that the silver does wear off – you can see in my photos that my tube looks pretty beat up even though I haven’t even had it for two months. It got a bit dinged up in my move, but it’s still totally functional. I don’t think this is the most aesthetically beautiful packaging, but from a usability standpoint it’s incredibly well-designed.

IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream in Fair

The wondrous pump!

This foundation contains an unusual 1.08 fl oz/32 mL of product, as opposed to the industry-standard 1 fl oz/30 mL. Oh well, I’m not going to complain about more product than is standard. At least it’s not a $65 foundation containing a mere 0.84 fl oz/25 mL of product.

Application and Finish

The Your Skin But Better CC Cream* is quite thick: a pump stands in a straight peak rather than spreading out as a thin liquid. Thicker foundations like this don’t always work on my skin, but this applies like a dream with every method I’ve tested and doesn’t feel or look thick. I’ve used my fingers, a damp sponge, and three different foundation brushes – two dense (my Magic Collection Oval brush and the Real Techniques Buffing Brush) as well as the Real Techniques Stipple Brush. I get an easy application and a beautiful finish every time. I absolutely delight in finding foundations that apply quickly and easily with my fingers, because when I’m lazy/in a rush that’s how I apply my foundation. I don’t mind making a little extra effort for a gorgeous finish, but obviously it’s a huge bonus when I know the product is going to work no matter what I do. That’s one of the reasons I love MUFE Ultra HD so damn much.

This foundation has a pretty natural finish, leaning towards dewy. Despite being on the drier side, I don’t love a super dewy foundation and prefer something between satin and dewy. I really like the finish of this product on my skin but wouldn’t want it to be much dewier.

A lot of people on YouTube seem to consider the Your Skin But Better CC Cream* full coverage; I would say it’s a solid medium. Maybe it’s just that it’s high coverage for a CC cream? I’m not one who expects massive coverage out of my base products and even I wouldn’t consider this full. I can build it up where I need it and it doesn’t look heavy or emphasize texture. Recently my nose has started to get super dry, which always signals an impending change in season, and this foundation applies very smoothly over that area, which is always the true test.

One pump of foundation is more than enough for this one – it allows me to do two thinner layers all over my face.

And of course, what we’re all waiting for – the before and after:

IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream in Fair

No makeup

IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream in Fair

Wearing only IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream in Fair*

And the left-side-of-my-chin test, because that’s my problem area:

No makeup

Wearing only IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream in Fair*

You can see that I actually wasn’t dealing with an active breakout here, just a bit of hyperpigmentation from old breakouts. The Your Skin But Better CC Cream* doesn’t completely cover those areas, but it really evens out the skin and looks natural and healthy.

IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream in Fair

Wearing only It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream in Fair*

I think this picture really shows the finish. It’s natural, glowy, and skin-like.


For a product that borders on dewy, this wears really well on my skin. My nose is pretty much a lost cause – though it’s dry right now, it’s also the only part of my face that produces oil, making it the worst of both worlds. My foundation always wears off there first. But on the rest of my skin, it looks really great throughout a full 10 hours of wear. It doesn’t break down or look heavy throughout the day. Do keep in mind that my skin is normal to dry, so base products don’t wear as quickly on me as they might on someone with a combo or oily skin type.

It can be difficult for me to get pictures showing 8+ hours of wear time since natural light quality isn’t very good past about 4pm at the moment, but here are some pictures I took last month after 8 hours, which included vigourous sweating. (These were taken after I did my driving test on a super hot day in a car with no AC and then walked 15 minutes home from the subway station – I put it through a fair amount.)

IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream in Fair

Full face situation. Overall good, but let’s zoom in and be picky.

It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream in Fair

As I said, on my nose it pretty much wore off completely, which is fine because that always happens. There’s also a bit of bunching of product at the top of my nose and between my brows, but that’s because I was wearing my glasses all day and that’s just the way life works. On days when I wear contacts I don’t experience that.

IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream in Fair

There’s a bit of bunching around my nose, but otherwise it looks pretty much impeccable across my cheeks. Yay!

Other Things to Note

The Your Skin But Better CC Cream* has an SPF of 50+, which is really high for a base product. Personally I still wear SPF underneath it because I can almost guarantee that to actually get SPF 50 out of this you’d have to apply way more than you’d ever want to. As with most if not all base products with SPF, this is a physical sunblock – containing titanium dioxide and zinc – meaning that it will cause a white cast when it comes to flash photography. It also may look ashy on darker skintones due to the physical SPF, though I can’t speak from personal experience there. Honestly, I could do without the SPF in this one; because I don’t think I’m really getting SPF 50 coverage I use a sunscreen underneath it so it makes it redundant, and it’s not super versatile because I wouldn’t wear it to any event where there might be flash photography. I guess SPF in base products is good for those who won’t wear a separate SPF, but I find it kind of annoying personally. It’s a shame because otherwise this foundation has a beautiful finish and photographs really well in natural lighting conditions.

This product has a pretty strong citrus scent. If you’ve smelled Bite Beauty lipsticks it’s quite similar to that. I don’t mind the scent and don’t find it lingers, but I’m against strong fragrance in makeup on principle. If you’re sensitive to scent maybe avoid this one.

Overall Thoughts

Despite its limited shade range, I think the It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream* is a really wonderful product that completely deserves its hype in the makeup community. It hits all the right notes for me: it’s easy to apply, looks beautiful on my skin, and wears impressively. Although the SPF50 and citrus fragrance are flaws, this is still a product that is extremely useful for my everyday life and that I will use up happily and even consider repurchasing.

The IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream retails for $49 CAD for 1.08 fl oz/32 mL of product, or $44.95 per fl oz/$1.53 per mL. Canadians can now purchase it at Sephora.

If you’re interested in picking a tube for yourself, IT Cosmetics kindly provided me with a 10% off code for use on Just enter ITGIRLCLEMENTINE at checkout by October 31. I don’t receive any commission on your purchase!

Review: ColourPop Blotted Lips in Candyfloss, On A Stick, and Sucker

Posted on August 24, 2017 under Reviews

ColourPop Blotted Lips

ColourPop got me again, dammit. Perhaps it’s time to admit that I’ll never be fully immune from their almighty hype machine. Their $50 free shipping minimum is dangerous, too – shipping to Canada is otherwise around ~$12, so I feel like I have to hit that $50 (USD) mark to make it worth it to order cheap things. Alison’s review and general love of ColourPop’s new-ish sheer matte lipsticks, the Blotted Lips, drove me to make an order. Of course, I couldn’t just order three Blotted Lips. I also had to order one of the Ultra Blotted Lips (to compare it to the Ultra Matte Lips and Ultra Satin Lips), three of the pressed eyeshadows, and a Lippie Stix. Yes.

I tried to be fairly intelligent when selecting which Blotted Lips shades to go for. I’ve fallen into the rut in the past of buying new lip formulas in whatever colour I’m most into at the moment (most likely fuchsia or magenta) and then having way too many similar colours. (Of course, I don’t have any sheer mattes, so some colour overlap is forgivable. Of course.) I ended up going with Candyfloss, an earthy terracotta, On A Stick, a bright coral, and Sucker, a bright peach.

Before Glossier released their Generation G lipsticks, I’d never even considered the possibility of a sheer matte. Sheer lipsticks always seemed to be glossy and hydrating, mattes full coverage. Though I obviously love a good bold lipstick more than most things in life, I can appreciate a sheer lipstick for lowkey days. However, I much prefer matte to shine finishes, so this type of product seemed like something I needed in my life.

Before we get into the review, here’s how all of the colours look on me (and some swatches):

ColourPop Blotted Lips in Candyfloss

ColourPop Blotted Lips in Candyfloss

ColourPop Blotted Lips in Candyfloss

Candyfloss is a terracotta. I actually thought that it would be a caramel brown, but I don’t think we can deny that this is definitely orange. (ColourPop describes it as a terracotta on their website, so I’m not sure what I was thinking…) Man, I never thought I would like this type of shade on myself, but my love for Buxom Covert Affair and Realgar from the Modern Renaissance palette have persuaded me otherwise.

ColourPop Blotted Lips in Candyfloss Swatches

L-R: One swipe of Candyfloss, Candyfloss built up to full opacity, Buxom Covert Affair, Buxom Hush Hush, Maybelline Touch of Spice

I made these swatches when I was still thinking Candyfloss would be brown, which is why I compared it to Hush Hush and Touch of Spice, which both have quite a bit of brown in them. However, upon swatching it was immediately obvious that this is an orange lipstick, which was only solidified when I actually wore it.

ColourPop Blotted Lips in On A Stick

ColourPop Blotted Lips in On A Stick

ColourPop Blotted Lips in On A Stick

On A Stick is a bright, warm coral. Because I needed to buy another one of those, of course. (Absurdly, I also ordered the Lippie Stix in Trixie, which is a near-perfect dupe for Rimmel Kate Moss 06, and I totally forgot about it and then bought Marc Jacobs So Sofia. So… I could have saved the 38 bucks, really, but I love So Sofia so I guess I’ll survive.)

ColourPop Blotted Lips in On A Stick Swatches

L-R: One swipe of On A Stick, On A Stick built up, Marc Jacobs So Sofia, Charlotte Tilbury Electric Poppy, YSL #57

Though tonally similar to So Sofia, On A Stick is less vibrant, and, of course, less opaque. (It’s a slightly less intimidating way of wearing such an attention-grabbing colour.) It’s a little warmer than Electric Poppy and YSL #57, which both end up being a hair too pink for me to comfortably call coral. (They pull more coral on my arm, but my lips turn them pink.)

ColourPop Blotted Lips in Sucker

ColourPop Blotted Lips in Sucker

ColourPop Blotted Lips in Sucker

Sucker is a bright peach bordering on coral, though compared to On A Stick it’s obviously far more muted. Generally more neon peaches don’t suit me, but somehow Sucker works. I think this gives the popsicle stained look the best out of all three.

ColourPop Blotted Lips in Sucker Swatches

L-R: One swipe of Sucker, Sucker built up, NARS Brigitte

Brigitte is the only other peach I have in my collection, though in retrospect I could have swatched Sucker next to some corals as well. Ah, well – you can see that it is a lot brighter than Brigitte and that it makes the brown in Brigitte more obvious.

As you would imagine, the Blotted Lips go on pretty sheer but can be built up to a medium opacity. With a lot of layers they still give that popsicle effect on the lips, but they probably wouldn’t read as sheer from a distance, at least the more saturated colours. They wear about the way you’d expect any sheer lipstick to: they need to be touched up after a few hours, and definitely after eating or drinking. They layer on themselves well, with no patchiness or bunching up of product. They’re a tiny bit drying, but nothing major. I don’t feel any discomfort until about hour 4 or 5 of wear, and after 8-9 hours I do feel the need for some lip balm. However, unlike with a lot of liquid lipsticks I don’t feel like my lips have to be in especially good shape to wear them, nor does the drying effect linger after removal. I really like the way they look on my lips (though they’re certainly matte they don’t appear unflatteringly dry), and the formula is just what I expected. I don’t mind touching up my lipstick throughout the day, so a formula that doesn’t wear terribly long is fine by me as long as it doesn’t pretend to be longwearing.

Here’s Candyfloss after 8 hours of wear, which included two meals and a drink with no touching up:

ColourPop Blotted Lips in Candyfloss wear

It’s very faint, almost a peach, but it fades gracefully and I could walk around like this without feeling like I looked silly. In fact, I did, because I wore it to my driving test (which I passed, by the way) and had many other things on my mind besides my lipstick.

And here’s Sucker after about 5 hours. When I took these pictures I did have a meal (sushi, yum), but I reapplied and took this picture approximately 2 hours later. I did talk a lot and drink a bit in those two hours.

ColourPop Blotted Lips in Sucker wear

My only complaint has to do with the packaging. In general, I think the packaging is fine – though I tend to think white looks a little cheap, the matte finish makes the tubes cute. I like that the inside of the tube matches the colour of the bullet as well. Besides the fact that I’m sure the lettering will wear off, I’m most annoyed by how difficult it is to close the Blotted Lips tubes smoothly. They always stop just shy of closed, and need an extra little push to close fully. Not a dealbreaker, but not exactly ideal. I haven’t seen anyone else mention this, but all three of my tubes do it so I’m hesitant to call this an anomaly.

ColourPop Blotted Lips packaging

Now, it’s clear that ColourPop got some inspiration from Glossier: the tubes are strikingly similar, not to mention the relatively unusual concept. But ColourPop not only offered their products at a much lower price point (which is to be expected, of course), crucially, they ship worldwide. Though Glossier started shipping to Canada last month, the Blotted Lips came out before that and are still way more widely available than Glossier. I understand that international shipping is a complicated matter, but Glossier is really dropping the ball here to my eye, and ColourPop is totally capitalizing on that. What’s more, the Blotted Lips are good, so anyone who tries this formula because it’s the one they can get shipped to their country is unlikely to go, “Hey, let’s spend $14 more on something similar” if and when Glossier starts shipping internationally. At least, I know I won’t.

The ColourPop Blotted Lips retail for $5 USD ($6.26 CAD) for 1.0 grams of product, which puts them at an easy-to-calculate $5 USD/$6.26 CAD per gram. (That’s 0.035oz, or $142.86 USD/$178.86 CAD per oz.)