Cream and liquid highlighters for every occasion

Posted on April 27, 2018 under Reviews

I only have powder blushes in my collection; after dabbling in various cream and liquid formulas, I have finally come to the conclusion that they just aren’t for me. But I’m the complete opposite when it comes to highlighter – I vastly prefer cream and liquid formulas, as a general rule. I tend to enjoy a more subtle highlight, and creams reign supreme at creating a natural effect on the skin. But even when I’m looking for something a little more out-of-this-world, I find creams and liquids just sit on my skin more seamlessly. Today I’m going to share with you a variety of cream and liquid highlighters that cover the spectrum from “barely-there” to “very blingy”.

For once the dreary Scottish weather (and endless winter!) came in handy as I find underexposed pictures better show off how highlighter looks on the skin. That said, it’s true that when blended out the similarities between highlighters tend to flatten, even moreso when photographed (at least by the amateur known as Clementine). The comparison swatches at the end of the post will hopefully elucidate the differences between these products, but at the end of the day they are all shiny things you rub on your face. You really only need so many.

Glossier Haloscope in Quartz

$22 USD/$27 CAD for 0.19oz ($115.79 USD/$142.11 CAD per oz)

This is the highlighter for the person who wants a little glow without looking like they’re wearing anything. It gives the most beautiful radiance without appearing to actually be there at all. It has a very emollient, slightly sticky texture which never totally goes away, so if you have combination to oily skin this may not be the product for you. However, on my dry skin it blends in beautifully with my fingers and looks so fresh. It gives an almost glazed appearance to the skin, which sounds weird but is really excellent. I pretty much always roll my eyes at Glossier products – their marketing doesn’t resonate with me at all and most of what they do can be easily duped – but I can’t deny that this is my most-used highlighter. You win this round, Glossier.

Revlon PhotoReady InstaFix Highlighter Stick in Pink Light

$13.99 USD/$21.99 CAD for 0.31oz ($45.13 USD/$70.94 CAD per oz)

First I would like to point out that if you stroll into a Canadian drugstore, this Revlon highlighter will cost a mere $5 less than a similar product from Glossier. I mean… drugstore prices are absurd. $22 for a highlighter from Revlon? Seriously? Begrudgingly I must admit that this is a very beautiful highlighter. If you want, you can get this product in a standard champagne-y highlighter tone and I’m sure it would be lovely. Personally, I live for Pink Light – I find this tone of highlighter really flattering on me! This is one that you definitely want to apply with your fingers rather than swiping it directly onto your face, since the texture is a bit dry. However, that means it’ll last a lot longer than something as dewy as the Haloscope, and won’t leave you with that lingering stickiness on your cheekbones. You can blend out a thin layer of this product for a more subtle look or build it up if you want an intense highlight – just keep in mind that it is unmistakably on the metallic side.

Vichy Teint Idéal Highlighter

$27 CAD for 0.24 fl oz ($112.50 per fl oz)

This is the most glorious wet look highlighter that has ever existed. It has a very thin and sheer formula, though it can be built up. It has a distinctly white base, so it’s probably not suitable for all skintones – though it’s sheer enough that I think it’d be decently forgiving on light to medium skin. What do I know, though, I’m very white. Anyway, one layer of this highlighter is pretty subtle, but two layers gives you that super intense pearly wet look. This is a very reflective highlighter, so it’s not like it’s exactly a natural look, but it’s not blingy, either. There’s no visible glitter chunks and it melts into the skin really nicely. Basically, it’s beautiful, and I love it.

Topshop Glow Highlighter in Polished

£10/$17.91 CAD for 0.14oz (£71.43/$127.93 CAD per oz)

Have you ever wanted to look like you rubbed the visual essence of opals all over your cheekbones? Well, Topshop can hook you up with this insane highlighter that shifts between white and pearlescent pink. It is so beautiful. It’s also pretty intense, but I don’t find it emphasizes texture. It just blends into my skin and makes me look like I’m from another world. I cannot say enough good things about this highlighter, because it is so special and impactful and brilliant. I fell in love with it when I bought it over three years ago and that love remains at a fever pitch to this day.

Makeup Revolution Liquid Highlighter in Starlight

£6/$10.75CAD for .4 fl oz (£15/$26.88 CAD per fl oz)

This is not a highlighter for the faint of heart. No, this is a super metallic highlighter that you could probably see from outer space. So if you don’t want aliens to see you then you should definitely not buy this. But if you do want to make friendly contact with them, well, I’m not saying that highlighter is a substitute for, like, NASA, I’m just saying that this highlighter is visible from anywhere in the universe. It’s not often a look that I go for, but sometimes you go out with friends or just really feel like a pick-me-up in the form of really intense highlighter. This one probably wouldn’t be the best if you have a lot of texture on your cheekbones, though. I also find that it by far blends best with the fingertips; you’d think a liquid highlighter would do well with a damp sponge, but no, that is not the case here. If you want to blend out the harsh edges, you are going to need to use your fingers. That’s not a problem for me because I am a huge advocate of using my fingers for as many makeup application steps as possible. Maybe you’re different. I’m just letting you know.

Here are some comparison swatches:

L-R: Glossier Haloscope in Quartz, Revlon PhotoReady InstaFix Highlighter Stick in Pink Light, Vichy Teint Idéal Highlighter, Topshop Glow Highlighter in Polished, Makeup Revolution Liquid Highlighter in Starlight

And an underexposed shot so you can really see how these babies shine:

I’m telling you Polished and Starlight are high-impact.

And a gif, because movement really helps show a highlighter’s potential:

And I think three swatch photos probably suffice…

I’m still not the biggest highlighter person; it’s a step that I can easily sacrifice if I’m in a rush. But this cream and liquid highlighter wardrobe gives me every option I need, from “I don’t want you to know I’m actually wearing highlighter” to “I’m going to be in the presence of drag queens and my cheekbones need to catch their attention”.

Quarter 4 Beauty Product Consumption Accountability Checkin

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

Eye makeup
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 10/13: MUA Kohl Liner – Black – £1 ($1.66 CAD). To use with black lipstick.
  4. 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!
  5. 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!
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Face products
  10. 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.
  11. 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. 12/05: PS… CustomEyes Eyeshadow in Cranberry – £0.60 ($1.03 CAD).
  13. 12/05: PS… Lip Scrub – £3 ($5.14 CAD).
  14. 12/05: PS… My Perfect Colour Liquid Concealer in Nude Beige – £2 ($3.42 CAD). Replacement.
  15. 12/05: PS… Get Lippy Glitter Collection in Heaven Sent – £3 ($5.14 CAD).
  16. 12/05: Golden Rose Ice Chic Nail Colour in 44 – £2 ($3.42 CAD).
  17. 12/11: The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid x2 – $6.80 each – $13.60 total. Replacement.
  18. 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.
  19. 12/13: The Body Shop Pink Grapefruit Exfoliating Body Scrub – $11. See above for notes on price!
  20. 12/13: The Ordinary Squalane – $7.90. Replacement.
  21. 12/15: NYX White Liquid Liner – $9. Replacement for my Stila white eyeliner.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.

Skincare products
  1. 10/31: The Body Shop Sparkler All Over Shimmer – £14 ($23.42 CAD). Gift.
  2. 10/31: Lancôme Bi-Facil Eye Makeup Remover (~50% full) – $39 full price, $19.50 value. Gift.
  3. 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?!
  4. 10/31: Rimmel Fix and Perfect Primer – $8.99. Gift.
  5. 10/31: The Ordinary Coverage Foundation – 1.1N – $6.70. Gift.
  6. 10/31: Urban Decay All Nighter Foundation – 0.5 – $49. Gift.
  7. 10/31: The Body Shop Shade Adjusting Drops – $22. Gift.
  8. 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.
  9. 10/31: Fleur de Force by Eyelure Lashes in Fleur Loves – £5.45 ($9.12 CAD). Gift.
  10. 10/31: Sleek Highlighter Palette – Midas Touch – £9.99 ($16.71 CAD). Gift.
  11. 10/31: Kiko Radiant Touch Creamy Stick Highlighter – 100 – £10.90 ($18.23 CAD). Gift.
  12. 10/31: Topshop Glow Highlighter – Polished – £9 ($15.06 CAD). Gift. I have and love this highlighter, so a backup is always welcome.
  13. 10/31: Makeup Revolution Liquid Highlighter – Liquid Starlight – £6 ($10.04 CAD). Gift.
  14. 10/31: Seventeen Instant Glow Shimmer Brick – Pink Bronze – £4.99 ($8.35 CAD). Gift.
  15. 10/31: Lancôme Hypnôse Drama Mascara – Sample – $34.50 full size ($11.50 value). Gift.
  16. 10/31: Sleek Eyeshadow Palette – Original, Vintage Romance, Garden of Eden – £8.99 ($15.04 CAD) each = £26.97 ($45.11 CAD). Gift.
  17. Sleek palettes
  18. 10/31: Bella Pierre Shimmer Powder – Snowflake – $19. Gift.
  19. 10/31: Revlon Photoready Eye Art – Burnished Bling, Prism Peach, and Topaz Twinkle – $11.49 each = $34.47. Gift.
  20. 10/31: Lancôme Kohl In Love – Jade Crush – $26. Gift.
  21. 10/31: Maybelline Colorblur Lipstick – Partner in Crimson – $11.99. Gift.
  22. 10/31: Maybelline Color Drama Lipstick – Keep It Classy – £4.99 ($8.35 CAD). Gift.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. 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…
  27. 12/25: Urban Decay Naked 2 Basics – $36. Christmas gift from my mom!

Total value: $526.14
Year-to-date value: $2274.53

Miscellaneous products

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!

Inventory: Highlighters, Bronzers, and Contour Products

Posted on July 19, 2017 under Inventory

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.

Powder Highlighter

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.

Cream/Liquid Highlighters

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.