Category Archives: Illamasqua

Sephora’s Illamasqua Mystery Box – Video, Review, and Swatches

Illamasqua mystery box!

Illamasqua mystery box!

A little while ago, I noticed that had a new Illamasqua set, called the Alter Ego Mystery Selection.  It’s $60, and contains 10 Illamasqua products – a fantastic deal. The catch is that eight of the products are a mystery (all boxes include Jo’mina nail polish and Fable lipstick).  Since I’m open to a variety of colors and I love Illamasqua, I ordered it.

I decided to do an unboxing video so you could see my first reactions to each of the products:

I know it’s hard to hear the shade names in the video! I received:

Jo’mina nail polish
Fable lipstick
Drench lipstick
Brazen cream blush
Crumble cream eyeshadow
Stoic liquid metal
Severe medium pencil (I thought this was brown, but it’s actually burgundy)
Adamant medium pencil
Tantrum sheer lipgloss
Mistress intense lipgloss

And, here are photos and swatches of all of the items. I’m currently testing out Sally Hansen insta-gel nail strips (you can see them in the video – I’m wearing Amazing Lace), so I haven’t swatched Jo’mina yet.

Illamasqua Alter Ego Mystery box contents

Illamasqua Alter Ego Mystery box contents

Adamant pencil; Severe pencil; Brazen cream blush, Crumble cream eyeshadow, Stoic liquid mental Drench lipstick, Fable lipstick, Tantrum lip gloss, Mistress lip gloss

Adamant pencil; Severe pencil; Brazen cream blush, Crumble cream eyeshadow, Stoic liquid metal,
Drench lipstick, Fable lipstick, Tantrum lip gloss, Mistress lip gloss

I’m really happy with my items – especially Brazen cream blush.  However a lot of people haven’t liked their items – has several negative reviews (scroll down to the bottom and sort them from low to high ratings) from people who either were not happy with the colors they received, or thought the items seemed old.

I checked, and it looks like both of my medium pencils have been discontinued, as well as the entire line of cream eyeshadows.  Brazen blush, Stoic liquid metal, both lipsticks and both lip glosses are still available.  Nothing I received seems off – it all looks and smells fine.  So, I personally don’t mind the older stock – but if it matters to you, I’d skip this box.

I’ll be reviewing each of the items (hopefully!) individually later, after I’ve had more of a chance to play with them and test them out.

Is a mystery box something you’re interested in, or would you rather pick exactly what you want?

UPDATE: After playing with the items more, I gradually became more and more disappointed. I love the colors of everything I received, and I love Illamasqua as a brand, but I felt like the quality of these items was not up to par.  Adamant pencil was so hard that I couldn’t get it to show up on my eye; the cream eyeshadow and liquid metal both creased.  I’m not sure if liquid metals are intended for the eye or other areas of the face/ body, but since mine was teal, the eye area was the only place I tried it. Fable lipstick was also unacceptably dry – though Drench, as well as the other Illamasqua lipsticks I own, are fine.

So, I ended up returning the box; I don’t have $60 to spend on sub-par products. When I bought the box, I promised myself I wouldn’t return because I didn’t like the shades – that seems to go against the idea of a mystery box. I knew I would return if the products were rancid / too old. They didn’t seem to old, but since they were nowhere near the quality I expect from Illamasqua, I didn’t feel bad returning, and I explained to the Sephora SA exactly why the box didn’t work for me. 


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My Favorite Face Makeup Brushes

Favorite Face Brushes

Continuing on with my brushes series, here are my favorite face makeup brushes.  If you missed it, I posted about my favorite eye makeup brushes here.  These are definitely a work in progress; I have a couple brushes that I’d like to upgrade – but here are my favorites at the moment, organized by category.

Foundation: Sigma F80

I’ve written before about the Sigma F80 – it’s by far my favorite foundation brush! It gives a flawless application, and is the only foundation brush I ever use (though I do sometimes use a beautyblender or my fingers).  Highly recommended!

Powder: Ecotools Bronzer brush, ELF Complexion brush

I love the ecotools bronzing brush – it’s $10, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop using it.  I use it to buff in either power foundation (usually Pur Minerals) or setting powder.  If I want a light veil of powder instead, or to brush away excess powder I use the ELF Complexion brush. I’m happy with the ELF brush for now – it’s soft and well made – but I will eventually upgrade to a natural hair brush that is even softer.  Lately – since taking these pictures – I’ve also been using the Hakuhodo J110 for setting powder.  The smaller size is working really well for me.

Blush: Hakuhodo K020, Hakuhodo J110, MAC 188

These are the three brushes that I was using exclusively for blush at the time I took these photos. As I mentioned above, I’m currently using the Hakuhodo J110 for powder, and loving it for that purpose!

Before I got the Hakuhodo K020, I used the MAC 188 for my most pigmented blush. Lately, I’ve been using the K020 for my medium to very pigmented blush, and the 188 has been getting less use; however, it’s still a great brush for pigmented blush, so I wanted to include it in this round-up.

Contour & Blush brushes: Sonia Kashuk Medium Angled Multipurpose brush, MUFE 24S

I use both of these brushes for both blush and contouring.  I use the Sonia Kashuk brush for my less pigmented blushes, and occasionally use it to contour, while I use the MUFE 24S to contour most days, and occasionally use it for my less pigmented brushes.  I love the shape of both of these, but I’m considering upgrading both.  The Sonia Kashuk has been a great brush for a year or so, but it’s starting to shed; the MUFE brush is scratchier and a little less dense than ideal.

Highlighting: ELF Mineral Blending Eye Brush, Illamasqua Blending Brush 2

I use two different eye brushes for highlighting.  The ELF Mineral Blending Eye Brush is soft, well made, and perfect for highlighting down the bridge of my nose and my cupid’s bow.  The Illamasqua Blending Brush 2 is FAR too large for me to use for my eyes, but is fantastic to use to highlight my cheekbones.  Both of these are perfect for their purposes!

And, that is a lot of brushes! Do you use any of my favorites?


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Illamasqua Encounter Lipstick Review, Swatches, Photos

Illamasqua sale purchases – Encounter lipstick, Whack, Spartan, Boosh nail polish, Blending brush two recently had a huge sale, and I placed an order for several items, including Encounter lipstick.   I also bought a brush and three nail polishes, which I may review later.

Encounter lipstick was on sale for £5 GBP, around $8.  The sale appears to be over, and it’s now selling for £15.50 on Illamasqua’s website (around $24). Illamasqua lipsticks are available for $22 at Sephora, but they don’t carry the full line, and I don’t see Encounter.

I have mixed feelings about Illamasqua’s packaing. Aesthetically, I adore it – it’s my favorite packaging out there.  I love the shapes, I love the glossy blackness of it. But, it’s a bit bulkier than it needs to be, which irritates me.

Illamasqua Encounter

On Illamasqua’s website, Encounter is described as a classic brick red.  On me, I found that Encounter leaned ever so slightly orange; this is fantastic, because most true reds tend to pull a bit pink on me. The orange base means that Encounter reads as a true bright red on me.

The texture of the lipstick is quite dry; much dryer than the other Illamasqua lipstick I own, Kontrol (reviewed in the early days of this blog, here).  I don’t really mind dry mattes – I find that dry lipsticks last well and transfer less, which are qualities I appreciate.  But, if you prefer moisturizing lipsticks, skip this one.

I had trouble capturing the true color of the lipstick in the swatches; I’ve included an individual swatch, but the picture looks more pink and less orange than the lipstick actually is.

Illamasqua Encounter

This lip swatch is a bit more accurate, keeping in mind that my lips make all lipsticks appear more pink-toned than they actually are:

Illamasqua Encounter, applied

And these comparison swatches are by far the most accurate:

Red lipstick comparison:
Wet n Wild Megalast – Stoplight Red, Illamasqua Encounter, NYC Sheer Red, NARS Velvet Matte Cruella

In comparison, Wet n Wild MegaLast in Stoplight Red, which usually seems a true red, balanced red, looks quite pink.  Illamasqua Encounter looks the most red on me, but might look more orange-toned on others.  NYC (the only non-matte of the bunch) is much cooler and darker, and NARS Cruella, my go-to red, is darkest and coolest of all.

I’ve been looking for a good bright red; when I want to wear red lips, I always default to NARS Cruella, which (while absolutely fantastic) is definitely a deeper red. I think Encounter is going to become my default bright red, though of course only time will tell!


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FOTD: Illamasqua Neutral Palette and NARS Cruella

Lots of pictures for you today! Here’s a FOTD / EOTD from my vacation – the eye look was done with the Illamasqua Neutral Palette, which I am continuing to love, and my lips are NARS Velvet Matte lip pencil in Cruella, a long time favorite. Please forgive my eyebrows, which need grooming!

And, on a non-makeup note, here is the view from the balcony of our room on vacation (we were in Temecula, which is the Southern California wine country)

And one last photo – my engagement ring! I had it custom made, and we picked it up on Wednesday. I absolutely love it, it’s just perfect for me.


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FOTD: Illamasqua Neutral Palette and La Femme Peach Blush

Hi all – just a quick FOTD; I’m still quite buried in final exams.  I apologize for the messy background – usually I take my FOTD shots against a white wall, but these were just quick snapshots right before I went out.

Products used:

MUFE HD Foundation
Guerlain Meteorites Compact Powder (review)
La Femme blush in Peach (review coming soon!)
MAC Sculpting powder in Sculpt (review)

Anastasia Brow Powder Duo in Brunette (review)

Illamasqua Neutral Palette (review)
Hourglass Film Noir Full Spectrum Mascara (review)

No lip products!


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