Category Archives: UK and European brands

Black Eyeliner Swatches, Comparisons, Wear Test

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Black Eyeliner Comparison

eyeliner overload!

I’ve done black eyeliner swatches before, and even did a post with a wear test way back when my blog was new, but I have different eyeliners now and I wanted to see how they compared.

Instead of trying to keep track of which swatch was which, I wrote an abbreviation for the brand on my arm. The follow table has the abbreviation, name of the eyeliner, and type of eyeliner. Continue reading

Rimmel Scandal Eyes Shadow Stick Review & Swatches

rimmel scandaleyes shadow sticks

A few days ago, I reviewed the Rimmel Scandal Eyes eyeliners. I love them so much that I decided to try another product from the Scandal Eyes line – the shadow sticks. Like most shadow sticks, you’re supposed to be able to use these multiple ways – as eyeliner, as eyeshadow base, or eyeshadown (worn alone).  There are nine shades available (or at least there are nine shades on the Ulta website – which may not have all of them) and I purchased two, Bulletproof Beige and Bad Girl Bronze.

rimmel scandaleyes bulletproof beige bad girl bronze swatches

Bulletproof Beige // Bad Girl Bronze

Above, I’ve swatched each shadow stick two ways. On the left, I have a heavy swatch, and on the right is a blended out swatch.  If you use the shadow stick as eyeliner you’ll get something more like the heavy swatch – if you use it as an eyeshadow base or an eyeshadow, you’ll get something more like the blended swatch. Unfortunately, even if you use multiple layers, it doesn’t seem possible to build up the color to the opaque swatch level when you’re using it as an eyeshadow.

Edit: I like these enough that I went back and bought a third, Paranoid Purple.  Here’s a quick swatch.

rimmel scandaleyes shadow stick paranoid purple swatch

Rimmel Scandal Eyes Paranoid Purple

In terms of texture, these are very soft and creamy.  I have some of the Urban Decay 24/7 Shadow Pencils, and the Rimmel pencils are noticeably more creamy – the UD ones are much drier and more difficult to blend.  I actually rarely use the UD ones because I have difficulty blending them – I much prefer the Rimmel texture!

I’m sure these will be compared to the Milani Shadow Eyez as well, but I haven’t tried those.  From looking at reviews, it appears that the Milani shadow sticks may be more opaque. I’m not sure how the texture compares. I may need to buy one to compare myself! If you’ve tried the Milani ones, how would you describe the texture?

I’m sure everyone’s main question is how the Shadow Sticks last and whether they crease, and I’m happy to report that they last all day on me (10+ hours) with no creasing at all.  Do note that I have slightly dry skin, so I can’t test how these would fare on someone with oilier skin.

Overall, I really like these – they’re creamy, blendable, and last all day.  They’re good for a sheer wash of color and shimmer or as a base.  The major downside is that you can’t build them up be opaque.

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MUA Makeup Academy 3 in 1 Contour Pen Swatches & Review

MUA 3-in-one Contour Pen -- Black, Smoked Plum, Sea Blue

MUA 3-in-one Contour Pen — Black, Smoked Plum, Sea Blue

My final MUA post of the day is a review of the £1.50 3 in 1 Contour Pen – which actually seems to be a pencil liner, though the texture is a bit unusual, and it took me a minute to figure it out! The texture is more like a pen, but given the nib twists out (& back in again) and is a couple inches long, it is actually some type of pencil.  I would guess that it’s named the 3-in-1 Pen because the angle of the nib allows you to make make thin lines, thick lines, and well – I’m not really sure what the third way to use it is!

3-in-1 Contour Pen: Black, Smoked Purple, Sea Blue

3-in-1 Contour Pen: Black, Smoked Purple, Sea Blue

The Sea Blue and Black shade have good pigmentation, but the Smoked Purple shade has very poor pigmentation. Below, I’ve used the different sides of the nib to make a thin line & a thick line – each line is one swipe of the pencil.  Then, the rectangular swatch is built up with several passes of the pencil, to see how pigmented it can become – it makes a big difference for the purple shade!

MUA 3-in-1 Contour Pen; Sea Blue, Smoked Purple, Black swatches

MUA 3-in-1 Contour Pen; Sea Blue, Smoked Purple, Black

These are very smudgeable, which can be either a good thing or a bad thing depending on your preference. Some liners smudge until they set, but these liners never set – they remain smudgeable forever. After I photographed my swatches, several minutes after application, I ran my finger across the swatches firmly, with this result:

Smudged MUA Contour liners

Smudged MUA Contour liners

Not surprisingly (give the smudging), these do not last well. I have normal to dry skin, so most eyeliners last well on me – some last until removal, but almost all liners last at least 8 hours, more or less. These Contour liners were very faded by the 4-5 hours mark.

Given the poor pigmentation of the purple shade, given the fading, and given the way these smear, I do not recommend these liners.  There are plenty of other budget liners that are far superior for only a couple dollars (or pounds) more!

MUA Shade 1, 8 Lipstick Swatch & Quick Review

MUA Lipstick; Shade 1, Shade 8

MUA Lipstick; Shade 1, Shade 8

Continuing on with the MUA quick reviews, I have the £1 lipsticks in Shade 1, a saturated bold red, and Shade 8, a brighter red with gold flecks. These are smooth and pigmented lipsticks, and although I haven’t had a chance to test them for wear myself, I’ve heard good things about them! I have heard that they’re slightly drying though – which isn’t something that usually bothers me, as I’d prefer a long-wearing slightly drying lipstick over a short-wearing moisturizing one.  All of the following swatches are in natural light.

MUA Shade 1 // MUA Shade 8 swatch

MUA Shade 1 // MUA Shade 8

MUA Shade 1 lip swatch

MUA Shade 1

MUA Shade 8 lip swatch

MUA Shade 8

Shade 1 is definitely my favorite of these two – I love the intensity of the red! Many reds pull pink on me, but this doesn’t at all.  I’m not generally a fan of frosty or shimmery lipsticks, so I was pretty skeptical about Shade 8 – but it actually has small flecks of glitter, which I prefer to shimmer.  The red is much less saturated, so it’s not a personal favorite, but it’s more easily wearable for those who shy away from bolder reds.
Overall, these are great lipsticks at an affordable price, and I can definitely understand why they are so popular in the UK! I wouldn’t hesitate to buy more shades.

MUA Shade 9, 13 Pearl Eyeshadow Swatches & Quick Review

MUA Makeup Academy eyeshadows -- 13 Pearl, 9 Pearl

MUA Makeup Academy eyeshadows — 13 Pearl, 9 Pearl

I purchased some products from MUA (Makeup Academy, a UK drugstore brand) mid-November, received them mid-December, and still haven’t posted about them! In order to get moving, I’m going to post some swatches today, along with quick reviews and initial impressions.

First, eyeshadows! I purchased two pearl eyeshadows – 13 Pearl is a blackened purple, and 9 Pearl is a iridescent purple.  I guess I was feeling the purple that day! Each eyeshadow is generously sized at 2g (a MAC eyeshadow is 1.5g), and only £1 (around $1.60; cheaper than Wet n Wild!).

As always, these swatches are done with a sponge tip applicator on clean, dry skin without primer.  Shade 13, the blackened one, took several swipes to build up to the level of pigmentation you see, and Shade 9 took about 2-3 swipes.  The third swatch is both layered, just because I thought it would be pretty!

MUA eyeshadow - Shade 9, Shade 13 swatches

MUA eyeshadow – Shade 9, Shade 13, both layered – natural light

MUA eyeshadow - Shade 9, Shade 13 swatches

MUA eyeshadow – Shade 9, Shade 13, both layered – flash

I think both shades are lovely on their own, especially 13, and even better together! I’m really pleased with the pigmentation level. Although it does need to be built up if they’re not used over primer, it is buildable without chalkiness or fallout, and of course the eyeshadows perform better over primer.   I judge these eyeshadows as fantastic for the price, and definitely would recommend them!

Later today I’ll have quick reviews of some other MUA products!

MUA Yummy Cream Blush Perfection Review & Swatches

MUA Blush Perfection cream blusher - Yummy

MUA Blush Perfection cream blusher – Yummy

Quite a while back – more than a month ago – MUA a UK drugstore brand, had a promotion with free worldwide shipping. I placed a small order – well, I bought a lot, but it was inexpensive! – and one of the items I bought was the cream blush in the shade Yummy, which sells for £2.

If you aren’t familiar with it, MUA (which stands for Make Up Academy) is known for good quality and cheap prices – it is sort of the UK version of Wet n Wild.   Here’s my entire haul – many more reviews will be coming in the next weeks!

background weirdness is because it didn’t actually fit in my lightbox

The cream blush, Yummy, is packaged in a lightweight plastic compact. It’s not elegant, but it gets the job done. As I’ve said many times, at this price point, functional is all I ask for – and this is functional, so it works for me.

MUA Yummy blush swatch

heavy / blended

I would describe the color of Yummy as a soft rosy neutral.  It is very pink in the heavier swatch, and thus would probably look pinker on fair complexions; however, blended out (and on my face), it loses some pinkness and turns in to a very neutral shade – a great everyday pick.  Somehow, it reminds me of MAC Blushbaby (my favorite neutral blush) – but in comparison, Blushbaby has more brown, and Yummy has more pink.

Texturewise, Yummy is very creamy and emollient with a dewy finish.  I would recommend it for drier skins only – I can imagine it sliding off oilier skins and not working at all.  I don’t always set my makeup with powder in the winter, but I felt like this blush needed to be set with powder.  Wear time was typical for a cream blush for me; 3-5 hours depending on how heavily I applied it.

Overall, I would definitely recommend the MUA cream blushes as affordable options for those with normal to dry skin, and I would recommend the shade Yummy as a great neutral blush for light to medium skintones.  This is my first MUA product, and it’s a hit!