Posted on May 26, 2016 under Reviews
If you’re at all plugged into the “pale person” side of beauty blogging, you will have heard that NYX Blush in Taupe is a must-have for contouring on fair skin. I’ve wanted to try it since I got into makeup about three years ago, but NYX has been historically pretty hard for Canadians to get their hands on. NYX finally arrived in Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix in the new year, which made grabbing this supposed holy grail product a lot less of a hassle. (Previously I’d asked my mom to grab it for me while she was in New York, but she couldn’t track it down. She did get me the Jumbo Pencil in Milk, though, another 2013 beauty blogging favourite.)
Now, NYX has since reformulated their blushes: they are now the HD blushes, and various bloggers and vloggers have deconstructed the differences. (And, yes, they are different.) This is not about that, because all I have is the new version, the HD Blush in Taupe. It was my first NYX purchase at Pharmaprix, because I was really excited about trying it and because my beloved Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Hollow was looking a little worse for the wear. (My only other NYX purchases were from Rexall back in summer 2013, both lip products and both long destashed. Since then I’ve also gained one of the Liquid Suedes, which I’m not entirely sold on. NYX is not batting 1000 for me here, let’s just put it that way.)
I used the HD Blush in Taupe for about a month straight, but ultimately I have gone back to Hollow. Basically, I find it to be darker and a bit too pigmented. Intensely pigmented cheek products are not usually my favourite thing – especially when it comes to a contour product. I’m not into Instagram contouring at all and just like to add a bit light definition under my cheekbones, which means I want a product that is easy to build and blend. And that’s Taupe’s other downside: I don’t think that it’s super blendable. More often than not when I used it, I came away feeling that it was a bit too heavy and slightly muddy.
NYX HD Blush in Taupe compared to Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Hollow. This is with one swirl of my finger in the pan. You can see that Taupe is much more pigmented, as well as pinker and darker, whereas Hollow is lighter and slightly yellow-toned.
I don’t think that NYX HD Blush in Taupe is an unusable product by any means. I just think it would work better on someone marginally darker than me, and probably someone who likes a stronger contour than me.
By comparison, here it is (fully blended out) on the left with my favourite contour, Illamasqua Hollow, on the right.
Yes, I know that looks harsh. I promise I didn’t do it on purpose. I lightly tapped my brush in the product and spent a considerable amount of time trying to blend Taupe out. A strong contour in this colour would be better suited to someone darker than me; regardless, I’m not really into that look on myself, anyway. Though Hollow is quite a bit pricier and basically inaccessible for the Canadian market (I had to get mine when I was in Scotland), it really does it for me and I think it’s much better-suited to truly fair skintones.
I wish I’d been able to get my hands on the old Taupe back when it existed – it seems that pale people get along with it slightly better than with the HD Blush in Taupe, and looking at side-by-side comparisons of the two the colour does look more suited to my skin. But such is life; at the very least, this purchase taught me that I really do love Illamasqua Hollow and that I don’t need to experiment with other contours. (I’ll just need to replace Hollow at some point, because it is a cream, and, um, you can see that picture.)
About a month ago, I created a pile of items to try out and decide on one way or the other before I packed up and moved back to Toronto post-degree. Well, here’s the verdict on those items, plus some other random bits I’m getting rid of. (I’m moving at the end of this week, but I’m still not quite done my degree yet…)
I’m getting rid of the Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner Brights in Cobalt, Mint, and Periwinkle, because they’re just bad products. I’ve tried to make them work for so long, and I can’t! They’re old now, anyway.
I’m keeping Benefit Gimme Brow because despite its relatively rare use, it is extraordinarily handy on the occasions when I need it. I’ll be back at work soon and this is one of my go-to products when I have to open the store and sleep in as late as possible, leaving myself with about 20 minutes to do a full face of makeup. I’m also keeping Maybelline Colour Tattoo in Inked in Pink for similar reasons, and because it’s a great base for rose gold eye makeup.
I’m keeping L’Oreal Infallible Lipstick in Violet Parfait because I discovered that I actually really like it. Everything else is going.
I felt very “meh” about Marcelle Rouge Xpression in Cleopatra on me, despite it being a colour that’s usually up my alley. Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in Icon is nothing special, and my little sample is nearly gone anyway. My OCC Lip Tar in Strumpet has separated, and though I like the colour a lot I found that it feathered and was generally a hassle to work with. Finally, I’m getting rid of Topshop lipstick in Depth; I don’t like the formula, and now that I have Stila Chianti (featured on my face in my ColourPop haul), I don’t need it.
I’m keeping Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Hollow despite how beat up it looks. It hasn’t gone off and it’s just the best contour ever. NYX Blush in Taupe is NOTHING compared to this baby.
Like I said in my initial post, Lancôme Blush In Love in Pêche Joue-Joue is a gorgeous colour and there’s nothing wrong with the product at all. I just have other go-to peach blushes, and I don’t need that many. I also returned Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Pearl, so now I have more than $50 in store credit to spend as I wish.
I’m also getting rid of the following, which were not a part of this little project:
I totally put The Body Shop Smokey Plum palette into these pictures, but after looking at reviews I remembered how much I love this so THE PICTURES LIE. However, I am getting rid of this Lancôme GWP quad because I don’t use these colours and I don’t think they’re very good quality anyway! I’m also tossing Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick in Shadow (sample); this was a 100-point perk and I wanted to love it because it’s the perfect cool taupe. Sadly, it creased to hell on my eyelids, even with primer. I tried using it to contour, but it’s just a bit too grey for that. The cashier at Sephora told me that it makes a good lipstick, but I tried it and just didn’t see myself actually wearing it regularly. So, of it goes to someone whose eyelids aren’t eyeshadow-consuming demons.
Although Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet in Nude-ist is a really nice colour with a decent formula, it smells a bit off. I liked this, but I wouldn’t repurchase because I have similar colours and, I mean, ENOUGH WITH THE LIQUID LIPSTICKS.
Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss Matte 107 is practically a beauty blogging cliché. It’s a nice colour and formula, don’t get me wrong – I just have too many berry red colours to justify keeping it around. This colour has sentimental value for me because it’s the lipstick I bought on the day that I went to hand my résumé to my now-boss – I picked it in a panic because I thought I should buy something rather than just ask her to hire me. But that is not a good reason to keep it! (Early May will be two years at that job!)
I’ve kept Lipstick Queen lipstick in Electric Slide around through two separate holiday seasons thinking it would be perfect for a Christmas party. But who am I kidding? I’ll choose matte red lips over garishly sparkly red lips any day.
I really do think that Arbonne Smoothed Over Lipstick in Aster* and Glossed Over Gloss in Hyacinth* are objectively good (though overpriced) products for what they are. I’m just not a person who goes for sheer lipstick or lipgloss of any kind. I know a friend will enjoy the hell out of these, though.
Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Ultra Lipstick in Cassis is just not my thing. It’s a frosty brownish-plum and that’s not what I’m about.
Rimmel Provocalips Kiss Proof Lip Colour in Play With Fire is just okay. I prefer the L’Oreal version of this product, mainly because this one bleeds out of my lip lines. Otherwise it does have excellent staying power, but I have other reds that don’t bleed.
The Beautypedia calls Pür Minerals 4-in-1 Pressed Mineral Makeup in Porcelain the “cornerstone” of Pür Minerals, and I’d agree. I sell these powders all the time at work. I liked this pretty well when I first got it even though it’s about half a shade darker than my skin, but it developed a film that I had to constantly scrape off. Plus, it could be a bit too powdery on my dry skin. Ultimately, I realized that if I don’t wear liquid foundation I just put concealer where I need it and don’t bother with a light coverage powder foundation. This product is pretty old and crusty, so I’ll toss it instead of passing it on to someone else.
I swatched Stila Perfecting Concealer in A a million times and could have sworn that it was light enough for me, but when I actually used it on my face it was another story – too dark and orange. I’m a bit sad that I barely even used this $30+ concealer, but I did buy it with Optimum points so it’s not like I wasted any actual money on it. It’s a great coverage concealer, so I’m sure one of my slightly less fair friends will enjoy it.
Body and Skin
I have nothing to say about any of these products because I haven’t used them. I just have an overflow of products thanks to my job. For the record, they are La Roche-Posay Lipikar Soothing Protecting Shower Gel*, Vichy Idélia Life Serum, Vichy Idélia Eyes, and Lise Watier Age Prevention Supreme Mattifying Creme-Gel. I have no idea why I receive so many anti-aging products…
I also gave away a Topshop Lipstick in Brighton Rock and Bourjois Java Rice Powder to my friend Hayley in February. I do not get on with the Topshop formula, even though Brighton Rock is a really pretty vibrant pink (and named after one of my favourite places in the UK). I never quite understood how to use the Java Rice Powder – it’s too sparkly to be a setting powder but not really noticeable as a highlight, at least on me.
And that, my friends, is a total of 24 products moved out of my collection. Not bad!
So, I’ll be finished my degree a month from today, and a few days after that I’ll be going back to Toronto for the summer. I am already stressed about packing everything into a suitcase and moving to another city via Megabus, which has put me in the mood for a serious round of decluttering. I’ve had a bunch of makeup products that I’m on the fence about and have been meaning to try and decide on for awhile now – and now I have a deadline. Transporting things back with me just to get rid of them there is illogical, so I’ve made a pile of products to try in the next month and decide on one way or the other.
I used to use the Maybelline Colour Tattoo in Inked in Pink at least 3 times a week, but I haven’t touched it in months. Maybe even a year! I rarely use cream shadows anymore. I do really like the colour of this one on my eyes, and it works really well as a base for shadows from the Naked 3 palette, but I’m just not sure if it’s worth keeping this (rather clunkily-packaged) product around.
I don’t know if there’s really anything left of my Benefit Gimme Brow, and regardless I pretty much never use it. I used the bulk of it up last year when I was travelling a lot, because when sitting on a hostel bed with terrible lighting I wanted to quickly whip a few products on my face and be done with it. If there’s nothing left in it, that will make my decision for me – but if it’s still usable, I have to weigh whether I’ll use it enough to justify keeping it.
I’m really not a fan of the Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner Brights line. The regular Stay All Day liners are holy grail status to me, but the Brights are different. These are also fairly old, so this is really just a matter of using the three of these for the next month and then most likely tossing them. I may keep Cobalt, because it’s the only one with any real colour payoff.
Back when I cut back on my fuchsia lipsticks, Marcelle Rouge Xpression in Cleopatra just barely made it through – and since then, August 2015, I’ve probably worn it twice. I really do love the colour, so I need to seriously evaluate it. And also STOP BUYING FUCHSIA LIPSTICK. Back in summer 2013 that was the only colour of lipstick I bought, and I’m still very drawn to it despite not lacking for it whatsoever.
The deep purple of Topshop lipstick in Depth is absolutely gorgeous, but the formula is tricky. I find that it goes on pretty patchy, and it’s not as long-lasting as I’d like for a lipstick that’s this intensely different from my natural lip colour. I don’t have any other colour like this, and I love the colour itself, so I’m hesitant to let it go. We’ll see how it goes – but next time in the UK I will bypass the regular Topshop lipsticks and go straight for the Matte Lip Bullets, which I have heard very good things about.
I know I don’t have a hope in hell of finishing OCC Lip Tar in Strumpet (which is actually more of a reddish berry; the image quality isn’t very good). The amount of product in the Lip Tar tubes is insane for how little you actually need to achieve full, opaque coverage on the lips, and they do go bad – my tube of Hoochie separated something fierce and became completely unusable. Strumpet is a beautiful colour, but the Lip Tars are such a pain in the ass to use that I reach for it very infrequently. But maybe if I make myself fall in love with the colour I’ll use it more often.
I’ve used this sample of the Hourglass Opaque Rouge Liquid Lipstick in Icon once, and I wasn’t terribly impressed. I’ll give it another shot and then toss it. There’s not much product in it, anyway; it’s really only good for a very few uses.
Embarrassingly, I bought the L’Oreal Infallible Lipstick in Violet Parfait in the summer and have worn it ONCE since then. I actually love the formula and enjoy the slightly grey-toned purple, and I think I would have used this a lot two years ago – but I have naturally been gravitating towards slightly more socially acceptable colours in the last year. I need to really evaluate the colour on my face and ask myself whether this will fit into the actual life that I am living.
The Lancôme Blush In Love in Pêche Joue-Joue (which is a bizarre phrase, translating to “peach cheek-cheek”) is no doubt a beautiful, easy-to-wear colour, but do I really need more warm peach blushes? It’s not a colour that I reach for terribly often, and definitely not in the colder months. And ever since I bought Hourglass Luminous Flush back in July, that’s been my go to peach blush 90% of the time. The only thing that sets Pêche Joue-Joue apart from the others is that it’s matte – but I’m not sure that that’s quite enough to justify keeping it around.
(In case anyone was wondering, I’ve photographed it with Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso, Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Luminous Flush, and Sleek Blush by 3 in Lace – though the middle shade, Guipure, is the one I use on a regular basis.)
Illamasqua Cream Pigment in Hollow was universally touted as The Contour Shade for pale people back in 2013, so one of the first things I did when I got to the UK in September 2014 was go to an Illamasqua counter and purchase it. You’re probably looking at this picture and screaming, “GET RID OF IT, IT IS DISGUSTING,” and, I mean, yes, it is, but it’s still usable. It looks crusty, but it’s perfectly creamy and shows no signs of having gone bad. NYX Taupe was the other contour that everyone said was made for the fair-skinned among us, so when NYX finally came to Pharmaprix/Shoppers Drug Mart I picked it up. I think the new formulation may be different from the old one – or maybe the YouTube hype machine lied to me. I don’t hate it, but it’s quite a bit darker than Illamasqua, and less blendable. I have to decide if it’s worth keeping Hollow or if it’s time to let it go now that it’s grimy as hell.
At this point, I don’t think NYX Taupe will be my always-and-forever contour product. I do love Hollow, but it has the downside of being a cream, so it spoils much more quickly than a powder. I think eventually I will either repurchase Hollow (when I’m back in the UK) or try out the Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder that everyone and their mom loves.
Ahh, Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Pearl. I truly should love this: the Becca highlighter formula is great, and a pure white highlighter is the ideal for someone who’s barely any darker than pure white. But for all the YouTube hype (I swear it was in everybody’s 2015 favourites), I just don’t love it. I mean, is it good? Sure. But it doesn’t do anything mindblowing for me, and, in fact, once actually on my cheeks I don’t find that its effect is radically different from Moonstone! I’ve been going back and forth on returning this to Sephora for quite some time, and now that I’m in the last 30 days of the return window I need to figure it out.
I’ll do a check-in post in about a month letting you know what I kept and what I got rid of. I’m anticipating a fairly high rate of decluttering here, but I’m also indecisive and prone to falling in love with long-forgotten products, so we’ll see!