Disappointing products

Posted on November 10, 2016 under Reviews

Before I start this post, I want to speak about something serious: what happened on Tuesday. I am an American citizen. In terms of national identity, I am Canadian first and foremost. I was born here and have lived here all my life (minus the seven months I was studying abroad). But I have family in the US. A lot of that family is in a red state where the rights of women, people of colour, the LGBTQ community, and many others are especially precarious. I am devastated and outraged by what has happened. I am ashamed to be a citizen of a country that would elect a racist misogynistic sexual predator with no experience and his violently homophobic and misogynistic running mate over a woman who is undeniably qualified for the highest office in the country. I have never particularly identified with my American citizenship, but I feel completely alienated from it today.

I’ve set up monthly donations to Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky (Indiana is VP-elect Mike Pence’s home state; Kentucky is my dad’s) and amfAR (Mike Pence wants to cut federal HIV/AIDS research funding and due to his regressive policies is responsible for an AIDS outbreak in Indiana). I strongly urge you to do the same if you can. We may feel despair, but we need to mobilize that to make change, to support the organizations that are sure to come under attack in the coming years. Jezebel has a great list of organizations which are worth your support. Those of us living outside of the US who are horrified by the result can make a difference with our money, standing in solidarity with immigrants, women, people of colour, LGBTQ people, disabled people, and everyone else whose safety may be compromised by this presidency.

Thanks for listening. Now onto the lighthearted beauty-related content you’re here for…

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Though I’m generally a careful shopper who researches things before buying, I do occasionally end up with products that I find disappointing for whatever reason. I don’t have many still in my collection as I purge products relatively frequently, but here’s a roundup of the stuff that just makes me go “meh”.

Face Products

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Obviously, I found Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation underwhelming for my skin type. I do think this foundation would be a lovely option for someone with combo to oily skin, as I can’t deny its lasting power. It also looked quite nice on the parts of my face that aren’t so dry. But I can’t forgive something that makes my forehead look cakey! This is especially disappointing because the lightest colour in this line was probably the best foundation match I’ve ever found. It seems that a cool yellow really works for me. But a good colour match is not reason enough to keep it around.

I got a sample of Burberry Fresh Glow Luminous Fluid Base as a 100-point perk from Sephora, and I will definitely not be buying the full size. I don’t find it particularly shows through my foundation to make it any more luminous, and used alone as a liquid highlighter it’s pretty “meh” too. It might look nice mixed into foundation, but let’s be real, I’m too lazy to ever do that.

I know I just named H&M Pure Radiance Powder Blusher in Cherry one of my favourite fall blushes, so you’re probably sitting here going, “Clementine, you are full of shit.” It still is one of my favourite fall blushes – I love the colour so much and it doesn’t compare to anything in my collection. But I can’t help but find the formula stiff and patchy. I think this is especially exacerbated because I have no choice but to apply it with a stipple brush on my fair skin as it’s too pigmented to apply with a denser brush. This means that my face basically has little dots of magenta all over it, which I then have to blend together with another brush. It’s a lot of work! And I do like the end result. Plus, I love using this blush as eyeshadow – it’s the poor man’s ABH Modern Renaissance palette. I suspect those with (much) deeper skintones wouldn’t have quite such an issue with this blush. But it’s a lot of work for me! Worth the work? Probably, because it’s a really damn nice colour. But a lot of work nonetheless.

Lip Products

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Back when Joe Fresh makeup was only sold in Joe Fresh stores and Loblaws, I loved the line. It was cheap as dirt and I seriously never bought a bad product. I especially loved their matte lipsticks and their nail polish. (The lipsticks went for $6 and the nail polishes were $4, or 3 for $10.) Now that Joe Fresh has expanded into Shoppers and revamped their line, they’ve jacked up their prices. Back in March, I picked up the Matte Lipstick in Scarlet, which is a deep, purple-leaning berry, because I love my OG Matte Lipstick in Raspberry (despite its shitty packaging). The new Joe Fresh lipsticks have way more solid and high-quality packaging, but the actual product isn’t as good – or maybe it’s just this colour. I find it slightly patchy (though not unbearably so like a similar colour, Revlon Black Cherry, which is just a hard no for me). It’s also not as smooth, creamy, and comfortable as Raspberry. I’m not kidding when I say that my $6 grocery store brand lipstick is one of my absolute favourite matte formulas. This new version, though? It’s okay, but it’s a huge disappointment compared to the original formula.

I bought YSL Rouge Pur Couture #57 with Optimum points. It was on impulse; sometimes I have things I’m planning to get with my points, and sometimes I just wing it. I actually really like how this lipstick looks – it’s a warm hot pink with an almost blue shift (which does not photograph well). It’s really pretty and interesting. It wears okay, too. I’ve heard a lot of mixed things about the actual Rouge Pur Couture formula and I come down somewhere in the middle. It’s nothing mindblowing, but it’s adequate. What stops me from wearing this lipstick frequently is the scent. I don’t really get why luxury products are so strongly scented in the first place, but a floral, perfume-y scent in a lipstick really gets my goat. When I put this lipstick on I feel like I’m spraying perfume directly into my mouth, and not even a perfume that I like. Bad scents on lipsticks have proven to be a dealbreaker for me in the past; I got rid of a CoverGirl lipstick back in the day because I couldn’t stand how it smelled, and I had to give a Milani lipstick away after only a few uses because that artifical watermelon scent was nasty. Only time will tell if I can handle this lipstick in the long run.

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Swatches of Joe Fresh Matte Lipstick in Scarlet and YSL Rouge Pur Couture #57.

Eye Products

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I’m a huge fan of the original Lancôme Hypnôse mascara, so I’m really disappointed that I don’t find the Hypnôse Star to be anything special. It’s prone to clumping (which the original Hypnôse was not, something I loved about it) and it doesn’t give me the long, separated look I prefer in a mascara. It’s certainly more of a volumizing product, but even if that were my goal this wouldn’t be my favourite option at all. Save your $33 and go to the drugstore, people!

I have nothing bad to say about the formula of the YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils Mascara in Bleu Majorelle. It does great things for my lashes: it makes them almost impossibly long and adds volume as well. It really does it all. But the vibrant blue on the wand does not show up nearly as well on my lashes. They are fairly dark to begin with, so that’s probably why, but it’s disappointing even if it’s my own eyelashes’ fault. And considering this mascara goes for $37 (another Optimum points purchase, of course), the idea of buying a white primer to make it more vibrant is a bit of a bummer.

Most of the products featured in this post were either impulse buys or gifts/samples, which tells me something pretty obvious: that I should thoroughly do my research before allowing something new into my collection!

Makeup inventory 2015 + another round of decluttering

Posted on November 22, 2015 under Declutter

As many of you know, I’ve been on a decluttering kick over the past year and a half. It’s been kicked back into high gear again due to recent developments. I’m really trying to cut my possessions down into a manageable amount that can, in theory, be easily transported if I were to, say, move halfway across the world again. (NOTHING OFFICIAL!!!!! But it’s in the works…)

So, here’s my last round of decluttering for 2015, as well as a makeup inventory for the year.

Face products

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Bourjois Little Pot Blush in Rose Amber is a beautiful colour and comes in adorable limited edition packaging from 2013, but it’s developed a hard layer that makes it impossible to get to the colour. I could scrape it off, but frankly that’s too much work for me when I have other blushes I can be using without hassle! It makes me sad to get rid of it because I specifically asked Aisling to send it to me for Christmas two years ago when she was first in the UK and I was excited at the prospect of trying some brands I can’t get here – but the fact is that it’s become too difficult to use.

Lip products

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I just don’t like glosses, and although the L’Oreal Extraordinnaire glosses in Plum Adagio and Molto Mauve are lovely, I never use them. I do love and use my Lancôme Fever Gloss in 100 Degrees, it’s started to smell really off. :(

Getting rid of two liquid lipsticks here: Joe Fresh Long Wear Liquid Lipstick in Rouge because I cannot stand warm reds on myself, and Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Fiery because it bleeds out of my lip lines something fierce. I’m pretty bummed about that one since it was pricey and I like the three other colours I have in the Stay All Day range, but I suppose these things happen.

Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Darling (discontinued) is very pale and washes me out. NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Rigukien is a beautiful colour, but I have similar colours and the staying power is abysmal. Got CoverGirl Outlast lipstick in Red Rogue from work, but I’m not in the market for any new reds, so I’m setting it free. (It hasn’t been worn, so one of my friends can give it the love I cannot.) No7 Precision Lips Pencil in Fire is a bit dry and I like my Rimmel Red Diva lip liner better.

Eye products

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Three single eyeshadows that are lovely but that I never reach for: L’Oreal Color Infallible Eyeshadow in Flashback Silver, Annabelle eyeshadow in Violish, Maybelline Color Tattoo in Pomegranate Punk. I’m kind of bummed about these because they’re all gorgeous colours and nice formulas, but I can’t have stuff I don’t use lying around! Getting rid of the Eyelure lash glue (not pictured – it escaped from me in the bottom of my declutter bag!) because I think it sucks. The Maybelline Eyestudio Gel Liner in Blackest Black never worked out for me; it transferred like crazy!

In terms of pencil liners, I can’t remember the last time I used either Annabelle Metallic Kohl Eyliner in Curacao or Sephora Flashy Liner in Flashy Brown. Out they go.

Eyeshadow sticks: the Stila Smudge Crayons in Antique and Kitten are lovely colours and I used to get a lot of use out of them, but they’ve dried out quite a bit and I have a newer Lise Watier shadow stick in a similar colour. I’ve never used the Kiko Eyetech Look Eyeshadow in 114 and probably never will.

I never reach for the Too Faced Matte Eye palette, and I have too many other shadows to keep something that gets no use.

Tools

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Up until now my discerning eye has not passed over my brushes when decluttering, but I’m getting rid of four. From Real Techniques, the Brow Brush (way too thick for brows or eyeliner; I never touch it) and the Foundation Brush (weird shape that doesn’t work with any product I use). From ELF, the Powder Brush (has literally been gathering dust for years), and the Mini Blending Brush (not a blending brush at all, WTF ELF; never use it).

Miscellaneous products

I received LUSH Comforter Hand and Body Lotion at a LUSH event, which was very nice! Sadly, I can’t stand the scent – and I have body moisturizers that I love and that smell nice to me. I’m sure one of my friends will love it, though.

Makeup inventory under the cut, for those interested.

Read all »

Products with bad packaging

Posted on June 18, 2015 under Lists

I’ll admit it: I’m a packaging snob. I have all the makeup basics covered, which means that to introduce a new product into my collection I need to be wowed – and packaging is definitely something that I take into consideration. For me, makeup isn’t just something I put on my face. It’s something I experience, and if it looks pretty my experience is even better. Just today I bought a YSL Rouge Volupté lipstick, which I have wanted for the better part of a year pretty much solely based on the packaging. It makes me feel so fancy! (And it’s my birthday tomorrow, so I can do what I want.) But packaging isn’t just about beauty, either: it needs to be functional.

So, today I bring you some of my least favourite packaging, both aesthetically and functionally. Let’s begin!

Rimmel Stay Matte Powder

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Rimmel Stay Matte Powder packaging, how do I hate thee? Well, let me not count the ways, because we’ll be here all damn day. I hate that you’re not a compact. I hate that your lid has no fastening mechanism, meaning I cannot in good faith toss you into my makeup bag and expect you to stay intact. I hate that you have no mirror. I hate how goddamn cheap you are. But what’s inside of you? Well, there’s a reason this powder is a $5 staple in makeup bags all over the world. But you suck, packaging. You truly do.

Joe Fresh Matte Lipstick

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I genuinely love the formula (and colour) of this $6 lipstick, but the packaging betrays its price point. Not only does it look cheap (white and clear plastic are dead giveaways), it’s flimsy as hell. I’ve never had lipstick packaging break in the way this one did – that middle piece in the picture is part of the tube! Add into the mix the tendency to get really dirty really quickly and you’ve got a recipe for unambiguously terrible packaging.

Wet N Wild Eyeshadow

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By now we all know that Wet N Wild eyeshadow is some serious drugstore sorcery. There are, like, two powder eyeshadow formulas I will pull off the drugstore shelves and buy, and this is one. But the packaging is just so cheap. It’s entirely plastic, and no effort whatsoever has been made to make it look even a bit pretty. At ridiculously low prices I know I can’t complain, but I just wish the packaging would reflect the quality of the shadows. Think of how many people might overlook these amazing, insanely inexpensive eyeshadows just because the packaging makes them look like crap!

Benefit Boxed Powders

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Don’t get me wrong – the packaging on these blushes is very aesthetically pleasing. Like most Benefit products, their boxed blushes are adorable. However, from a practical standpoint this packaging is hell. It’s, like, at least an inch thicker than it needs to be, making the products hard to store and even harder to pack for travel. Benefit Hervana would be my go-to neutral travel blush if it weren’t for the goddamn packaging! They’re also very annoying to store, since they take up so much room. Seriously – look at all that unused space! And I’ll always sideye cardboard packaging when I’m paying $35+ for a product.

Milani Baked Blushes

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Ugh, talk about bulky! This compact is ostensibly so large because it contains a brush and a mirror, but I don’t think most people use the dinky brushes that come with blushes. I certainly don’t, as evidenced by the fact that it’s still in its wrapper. And I fail to see why the mirror can’t just be in the lid, instead of in a special panel underneath the product. There is nothing sexier than a slim, sleek blush compact, and THIS IS NOT THAT.

Every Physician’s Formula product ever

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I know, I know. A lot of people think their packaging is cute. I think it’s gaudy and unnecessary. This Happy Boosting Powder that I have is actually rather inoffensive compared to some of their packaging, but it’s still unnecessarily large. Like the Milani Baked Blushes, it has a panel with a mirror and brush, both of which go completely unused. I find a lot of PF packaging to be similarly large: their mascara is almost offensive to me, for example.

I know it’s what’s on the inside that counts and that I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. But I think my days of buying crappily packaged products are, for the most part, over. I like beautiful things, and I like things that aren’t a pain in the ass to use and store. Maybe that makes me high maintenance and shallow, but at least I’ll have a lot of pretty pretty things!