Posted on February 13, 2018 under Reviews
Since the last time I lived in the UK, everyone’s favourite ultra-cheap fast fashion retailer Primark has brought out a full makeup range. Previously they carried only tertiary beauty products such as nail files and makeup wipes, but now they have everything from heat tools to nail polish to makeup proper. I know from experience that some Primarks are considerably better than others, so I’m not sure if all of them have the full range – but the one on Argyle Street here in Glasgow has substantial floor space devoted to this section.
At some point I wasn’t going to be able to resist testing out dirt cheap makeup, but I tried really hard not to just buy for the sake of buying. I avoided lipstick entirely, for instance, because I already have too many lipsticks as it is. I’m not saying that I needed everything I bought, but did buy things that I thought I would actually use.
PS… Pro Blending Brush (£2)
This is another one of those knockoff Artis brushes that every brand is bringing out. I probably wouldn’t have bothered, but it was marked down from £5.50 to £2, which I thought was a reasonable price. I really enjoy the other Artis knockoff I have, so this seemed like a pretty sure bet. This one is a lot bigger than my Magic Collection Oval XL brush, which itself has more surface area that your standard foundation brush:
It’s also softer, but less dense. I prefer a pretty dense brush for foundation because I find otherwise the bristles are too floppy to blend efficiently, but this one does a great job. As you would imagine, the size is both an asset and a liability: it blends foundation incredibly quickly, but it’s not great for reaching the nooks and crannies of my face. It works well with more watery foundations as well as thicker formulations. Since I got it in early December, I’ve used it almost every time I put foundation on, so I think it’s safe to say that I’m cool with where my £2 went.
I find that incredibly dense brushes of this nature are hard to clean thoroughly – no matter how many times I go over them and how thoroughly I work shampoo into the bristles, it’s hard to get out all the foundation that’s wormed its way in. That’s the major downside to this entire genre of brushes – but maybe I’m just doing it wrong.
PS… CustomEyes Eyeshadow in Cranberry (£0.60)
Say hi to that random hair that I didn’t notice until I was editing these pictures.
I liked the idea of cheap, no frills shadow pans that you can pop into an empty palette, and this wine shade was very pretty and seasonally appropriate. For some reason there is no indication of the shade name on the outer packaging of this eyeshadow – it’s only there on the back of the pan itself. This eyeshadow is 0.05oz, which at the current conversion rate makes it $21 CAD per oz, as compared to ColourPop ($4 USD for 0.053oz – $95.09 CAD per oz), MAC ($8 CAD for 0.05oz – $160 CAD per oz), and Makeup Geek ($10 USD for 0.064oz – $156.25 per oz).
When I first applied this shadow with a flat brush, I was pretty disappointed – it appeared almost matte, and the colour was quite dull. However, applied with a finger it came to life. I
often pretty much always apply shimmery shades with my fingers anyway, so I don’t mind this at all. I find this shade smooth and blendable as well. I can’t speak for the other colours, but this one is definitely worth £0.60.
These swatches will show you how much better this shadow performs when applied with a finger:
L-R: One pass with a brush, built up with a brush, finger swatch
And here’s how it looks on my eyes, using ColourPop Stay Golden in the crease and lower lashline:
PS… Lip Scrub (£3)
When the weather started cooling down in late November, I began to really wish I had a lip scrub, so I was glad to happen upon this. My lips have been especially crusty this winter! I’ve been sporadically mixing my own scrubs out of olive oil and brown sugar, but it’s just more convenient to have a premade one. As lip scrubs go, this one does the job just fine. I feel like loose lip scrubs are pretty much all the same, so I got exactly what I expected out of this. I have to say I do prefer the convenience of the ELF lip scrub, which is packed firm in a lipstick tube. This one tastes really good, though.
Golden Rose Ice Chic Nail Colour in 44 (£2)
I wasn’t actually going to buy any nail polish, but then I saw this muted magenta and decided to take a chance on it. In the bottle, it looked how I wanted Essie Bahama Mama to be on my nails. It requires two coats for opacity (it’s super streaky with just one coat) and ends up a deep purple, definitely not a magenta.
With my Sally Hansen Miracle Gel tip coat, I got well over a week with minimal chipping. Here’s how it looked on day ten:
It appears truer to colour here thanks to the sunlight – but in most lighting it was much darker.
One of the brush hairs wasn’t trimmed properly, which causes it to deposit colour where I don’t want any. This is the type of bizarre defect I would expect from Primark nail polish. Otherwise I think this is a fine product. I’d buy more if they had any colours that interested me.
A bit out of focus, but hopefully you can see that annoying little brush hair.
PS… My Perfect Colour Liquid Concealer in Nude Beige (£2)
I actually needed a new undereye concealer, so when I saw this I thought it was a worthy risk. My Primark doesn’t provide testers for this particular product, but luckily a herd of bipedal mammals had helpfully created their own. Unluckily, I had to dig pretty hard to find an unspoiled one. I have never been Nude Beige in anything in my life, but it turns out this works really well colour-wise under my eyes. It’s a hair darker than my actual skin, but the tone helps conceal undereye circles. I wouldn’t buy this exact shade again, but I can make it work.
This is a light-medium coverage with a creamy, blendable texture and a natural finish. It does crease a bit under the eyes if not set with powder, but most concealers do. I’m shocked that I like this as much as I do, to be honest, but it works better under my eyes than NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer and Maybelline Age Rewind. (To be fair, I really never got on with RCC – I’m sure most people would feel differently.)
No concealer on the left, concealer on the right
PS… Get Lippy Glitter Collection in Heaven Sent (£3)
Yes. I bought a glitter lip kit. This is ridiculous and arguably skirts the line of “things I will actually use”. But for £3… come on. How could I not? The kit comes with a lip liner, a “lip vinyl” (a very sticky, opaque gloss), and a pot of chunky glitter. I want to say they had a gold kit as well, but I went for this light, cool pink for some unknown reason.
Spoiler alert: I hate this! First of all, it’s a bad colour on me, but that doesn’t have to be a dealbreaker. I mean, it’s a glitter lip kit, I’m obviously wearing it to make a statement, and the statement doesn’t have to be “looking pretty”. I bought it basically thinking I could wear it to drag shows and the random nights out I have with my friends where we put on wild makeup for the purposes of sitting in a private karaoke room and screaming “Not Ready To Make Nice” by the Dixie Chicks until we’re hoarse. However, the other problem is that this glitter is so large that it actually hurts to wear. I’ve never worn regular-sized cosmetic glitter on my lips, but I imagine that it feels like sand. Which is probably not comfortable but also probably not painful. This stuff though… it was like having five hundred tiny pieces of glass digging into my lips. So after I documented it, I promptly removed it (which was a hassle, because that shit really does stick) and put on a sensible pink Matte Shaker* instead.
I also promptly removed the lashes and replaced them with a half strip.
There’s really not much glitter in the pot so if you were to buy this and use it semi-regularly you could conceivably use it up and be left with a lip liner and lip gloss. However, I don’t see that actually happening because it is so damn uncomfortable to wear. Also, the lip vinyl feels very thick and uncomfortable. The lip liner’s pretty nice, but it’s not a colour I’ll ever wear. So, 0/3 here. Oh well. It was £3, you know?
And that is that! We had one obvious dud in the bunch, but I actually use all of the other stuff. Not bad for a haul costing a monumental £10.60. If you’re in the UK (or visiting!) I would definitely recommend popping into your local Primark to check out the makeup section – it’s surprisingly good!
Posted on December 31, 2017 under Lists
Here is my last checkin of 2017! This was year zero of tracking my spending, which meant that I didn’t know what to expect. I’ll crunch the final numbers and at the end of this post I’ll reflect a little on what I learned during this year of tracking.
And a few notes before we get started…
- I’ve listed all prices in either CAD or the currency they were purchased in and a conversion into CAD that was accurate at the time of purchase.
- I list products that were ordered online on the date that I received the package.
- In order to consistently track my spending, I’m listing all totals in CAD. Since I have shopped in both Canada and the UK this year, conversion is necessary so that I can see how much I’ve spent in total. Prices in CAD make more intuitive sense to me than GBP (unsurprisingly), and I’ve purchased a lot more in Canada than in the UK this year anyway.
- Not everything is pictured – I’m in Canada right now and some of this stuff is in the UK.
With those points out of the way, let’s get into it!
Products purchased between October 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017
- 10/13: Barry M Glitter Rush Body Glitter – Aquamarine – £4.49 ($7.47 CAD). I bought this because I was going to a drag show and I just felt like I needed blue glitter in my life. A total frivolity, of course, but not one that I regret.
- 10/13: Ardell Wispies Lashes – £5.49 ($9.13 CAD). I have never been a false lash enthusiast, but in undergrad my outrageous going out looks (think black lipstick, purple blush up to my temples) were never complete without a set of big falsies. Now that I’m a student again, clearly it is necessary to have a set of lashes on hand.
- 10/13: MUA Kohl Liner – Black – £1 ($1.66 CAD). To use with black lipstick.
- 10/20: Barry M Glitter Fixer Gel – £4.99 ($8.35 CAD). I realized that I couldn’t use my teal glitter without some sort of fixative. This is the only one I could find in-store, but I like it!
- 11/03: John Frieda Sheer Blonde Tone Correcting Shampoo – £3.95 ($6.61 CAD). A gal can’t live without her purple shampoo! It’s rare that cosmetics are less expensive in the UK than in Canada, but full price on this stuff in Canada is $13.99. Definitely a bargain!
- 11/20: Collection Lasting Gel Nail Colour in Blackjack 2 – £3.19 ($5.45 CAD). I needed new black nail polish so I went with the cheapest one I could find, of course.
- 11/20: Vaseline Lip Therapy in Aloe Vera and Original – £1 each – £2 total ($3.42 CAD). I ran out of lip balm. These are normally £2.09 each but Superdrug had a 2 for £2 offer which I thought I might as well take advantage of.
- 11/20: Supderdrug Cleansing Facial Wipes – £1.29 ($2.20 CAD). Bought for my trip to Prague, since I knew it would be easier than properly washing my face.
- 11/25: John Frieda Sheer Blonde Go Blonder Lightening Shampoo (mini) – £2 ($3.42 CAD). I was delighted to find a mini of my usual shampoo at the Edinburgh airport Superdrug, since I’ve never seen John Frieda minis in Canada. I’ll definitely use this up travelling.
- 12/05: PS… Pro Blending Brush – £2 ($3.42 CAD). PS… is Primark’s house makeup brand, and you will be seeing a review of some of these products in the future!
- 12/05: PS… CustomEyes Eyeshadow in Cranberry – £0.60 ($1.03 CAD).
- 12/05: PS… Lip Scrub – £3 ($5.14 CAD).
- 12/05: PS… My Perfect Colour Liquid Concealer in Nude Beige – £2 ($3.42 CAD). Replacement.
- 12/05: PS… Get Lippy Glitter Collection in Heaven Sent – £3 ($5.14 CAD).
- 12/05: Golden Rose Ice Chic Nail Colour in 44 – £2 ($3.42 CAD).
- 12/11: The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid x2 – $6.80 each – $13.60 total. Replacement.
- 12/13: The Body Shop Coconut Body Butter x2 – $20. The Body Shop was doing buy 3 get 3 so my mom and I pooled our products. The total was $62, split 2 ways, making each Body Butter $10 and the next product $11.
- 12/13: The Body Shop Pink Grapefruit Exfoliating Body Scrub – $11. See above for notes on price!
- 12/13: The Ordinary Squalane – $7.90. Replacement.
- 12/15: NYX White Liquid Liner – $9. Replacement for my Stila white eyeliner.
- 12/15: NYX Epic Ink Eyeliner Pen – $12. Backup – I want to see if this is good enough to replace my $29 Stila liner and bought it in Canada because I knew it would be cheaper and easier to access. I probably won’t be done with my current Stila liner for awhile, but once I go back to the UK I’ll be there until September so it makes sense to stock up now while I can.
- 12/28: ELF Crease Brush x3 – $3 USD/$3.77 CAD each – $9 USD/$11.32 CAD total. ELF was doing free shipping with no minimum, so I jumped on the chance to grab more of this amazing and inexpensive crease brush. It can be hard to hit ELF’s free shipping minimum without just buying a bunch of crap I don’t want, so I was really glad to flesh out my brush collection without having to pay for shipping.
Total value (CAD): $182.78
Total spent (CAD): $154.10
Year-to-date value (CAD): $1540.53
Year-to-date spent (CAD): $899.55
Products received at no cost between October 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017
As I mentioned previously, I recently took a lot of Aisling‘s makeup castoffs off her hands. I took some of these items knowing that a friend or my mom would enjoy them. I ended up passing a lot of stuff on, so this list only includes what ultimately made it into my collection on a full-time basis.
- 10/31: The Body Shop Sparkler All Over Shimmer – £14 ($23.42 CAD). Gift.
- 10/31: Lancôme Bi-Facil Eye Makeup Remover (~50% full) – $39 full price, $19.50 value. Gift.
- 10/31: Benefit That Gal Brightening Face Primer – Deluxe Sample – $40 full size, $27.45 sample value. Gift. Also, can we note that the full size of this product is 10mL and the deluxe sample is 7.5?!
- 10/31: Rimmel Fix and Perfect Primer – $8.99. Gift.
- 10/31: The Ordinary Coverage Foundation – 1.1N – $6.70. Gift.
- 10/31: Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation – 0.5 – $49. Gift.
- 10/31: The Body Shop Shade Adjusting Drops – $22. Gift.
- 10/31: Tanya Burr Everyday Flutter Lashes – £5.29 ($8.85 CAD). Gift. I had a pair of these which I wore into the ground, so I’ll definitely use them.
- 10/31: Fleur de Force by Eyelure Lashes in Fleur Loves – £5.45 ($9.12 CAD). Gift.
- 10/31: Sleek Highlighter Palette – Midas Touch – £9.99 ($16.71 CAD). Gift.
- 10/31: Kiko Radiant Touch Creamy Stick Highlighter – 100 – £10.90 ($18.23 CAD). Gift.
- 10/31: Topshop Glow Highlighter – Polished – £9 ($15.06 CAD). Gift. I have and love this highlighter, so a backup is always welcome.
- 10/31: Makeup Revolution Liquid Highlighter – Liquid Starlight – £6 ($10.04 CAD). Gift.
- 10/31: Seventeen Instant Glow Shimmer Brick – Pink Bronze – £4.99 ($8.35 CAD). Gift.
- 10/31: Lancôme Hypnôse Drama Mascara – Sample – $34.50 full size ($11.50 value). Gift.
- 10/31: Sleek Eyeshadow Palette – Original, Vintage Romance, Garden of Eden – £8.99 ($15.04 CAD) each = £26.97 ($45.11 CAD). Gift.
- 10/31: Bella Pierre Shimmer Powder – Snowflake – $19. Gift.
- 10/31: Revlon Photoready Eye Art – Burnished Bling, Prism Peach, and Topaz Twinkle – $11.49 each = $34.47. Gift.
- 10/31: Lancôme Kohl In Love – Jade Crush – $26. Gift.
- 10/31: Maybelline Colorblur Lipstick – Partner in Crimson – $11.99. Gift.
- 10/31: Maybelline Color Drama Lipstick – Keep It Classy – £4.99 ($8.35 CAD). Gift.
- 10/31: Kiko Face Brush – 104 – £1.70 ($2.84 CAD). Gift. I feel like this kabuki brush has to be worth more, but this is the price I found when I looked it up online.
- 12/08: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder – Luminous Light – $55. My mom bought this for herself but found it a bit too shimmery for her liking and passed it on to me.
- 12/13: The Ordinary EUK 134 0.1% – $8.80. I was in the Deciem store with my mom and she kindly picked up the tab for this one.
- 12/21: Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar Solution – $6.95. I needed a mini Bioderma to bring with me to Quebec for Christmas, and my former boss let me have one of the GWPs she had floating around. Apparently the perks of working in cosmetics don’t end when you stop working in cosmetics…
- 12/25: Urban Decay Naked 2 Basics – $36. Christmas gift from my mom!
Total value: $526.14
Year-to-date value: $2274.53
So, in order to visualize all this data I made some Excel graphs.
Money spent vs. total value:
This one shows how much of my own money I spent:
And this one shows the breakdown of all the products that made it into my collection:
(By the way, the “Etc” category is my MUFE magnetic palette that I bought back in the summer.)
I’ll have an inventory update post coming soon so I won’t go into that – I just want to talk about the actual spending. This was my first year tracking my spending, so it was a blank slate for me. I am happy that the total was under $1000, though I didn’t factor in taxes here so with taxes it’ll be just about $1000. Less than half of my total of $899.55 ($449.91) was spent on makeup, which surprises me – I thought my percentage of (relatively) frivolous purchases would be higher. As I suspected, I don’t overspend on haircare, skincare, or nails – I tend to buy the first two categories on a replacement-only, as-needed basis, and while I do occasionally impulse buy nail polish I have reduced that habit significantly.
What really surprises me is the total value of the products that came into my life in 2017. I spent only about $900 of my own money (“only” – that’s still too high, really), but the total value was $3815.06. Obviously, I saved a lot by using my employee discount and because I got a lot of gratis in the first 9 months of the year, when I was still working in cosmetics. And it’s safe to say that the only reason I acquired a lot of this stuff was because it was gratis. I will receive much less free stuff in 2018!
Now that I know how much I actually spend on beauty products, it’s easier for me to set a specific budget for myself. I’m not going to worry too much about most of the categories because, like I said, I don’t feel I’m overspending in most of them. However, I’d like to cut back on the makeup and brushes for sure. I would love to reduce my spending in those categories by 30%, which gives me a budget of $392.27 (combined), down from their combined total of $560.39. Let’s just call that $400…
In 2018 I don’t think I’ll do these posts anymore – it was nice to try them for a year, but ultimately I don’t think they’re that helpful. I will track my purchases throughout the year and post an update at the end of 2018, but I’m going to abandon the quarterly updates.
And that’s it for today! Happy 2018, everyone!