Category Archives: *Swatches & Comparisons

Milani Brow & Eye Highlighter Review, Swatches, Comparisons

Purchased – Affiliate Links

Milani Brow Eye Highlighter 1

Earlier this year, Milani released three Brow & Eye highlighters, which have a variety of uses. Milani describes the shade I bought, 01 Matte Beige / High Glow as following:

Both sides can be used underneath the brow bone as a highlighter. Matte Beige can be used as an eyeshadow or eyeshadow base. High Glow can be used in the inner corners of the eyes to brighten.

I purchased this pencil primarily for the matte end, which appeared to be (and is!) a more yellow shade than the other nude pencils I own, which suits my skin color very well. First, here are both ends of the Milani pencil:

Milani Eye Brow Highlighter

And here’s a comparison of the nude/beige liners and chubby pencils I own:

Nude Beige Liner Comparison Swatches

The MAC & NYX are very similar in color – and a bit too dark for me. The Rimmel is a little darker still.  The Jordana and Milani shadow pencils are similar in color – too pink for me – but note that they’re not dupes; they have very different textures. The Milani brow highlighter is definitely the best color for me – just a bit lighter than my skintone. It’s a great color to use as a browbone or inner eye corner highlighter; I’ve also used it as a reverse lipliner (blended well!) and on the inner rim of my eye (no irritation, but it doesn’t last very well there).

Overall, I’m pleased with the purchase – it’s a great color, but I do wish it lasted better on my waterline!

*I purchased the product(s) featured in this post. This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

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Clear Lip Liner & Lip Primer Comparison

Purchases & Press Sample – Affiliate Links
clear lip liner - lip primer

Lip Primer & Clear Lip Liner

Milani and OCC each recently released clear lip liners (or should I call them lip pencils? I never know which to write). I purchased the Milani to try it out, then received the OCC as a press sample. So, I thought I’d do a comparison of those two items plus all the other clear lip liners & lip primers I own. This post is a comparison of the following six items:

– NYX Lip Primer – $6.99 at Ulta
– OCC Anti-Feathered Clear Lip Pencil – $16 at Sephora
– Sally Hansen Plumping Lip Primer (in jar) – around $6; I’ve only seen it at CVS
– Maybelline Clear Lip Pencil – $4.95 at drugstore.com
– E.L.F. Lip Lock Pencil – $3 at eyeslipsface.com
– Milani Clear Anti-Feathering Lip Liner – $4.49 at Milanicosmetics.com

I expect a lip primer / clear lip liner to do two things – prevent feathering & extend the weartime of my lipstick.  All six of the items I tried prevented feathering (as tested on my hand, because lipstick rarely feathers on my lips).  However, in terms of extending the wear of my lipstick, there’s a clear winner, a clear loser, and four items in the middle.

Best for extending weartine: Milani

Milani clear lip liner

The Milani Anti-Feathering lip liner has a soft texture.  It creates a sort of “grippy” surface on the lips for your lipstick or gloss to adhere to.  Although it’s marketed mostly as preventing feathering, it actually did the best job of extending the weartime of my lip products. Do note that if you use too much pressure or sharpen it to too fine of a point, the tip will break off.

I’ve seen the Milani liner at CVS stores and Walgreens stores for around $6, and it’s available on the Milani website for under $5. Recommended!

Worst for extending weartime: ELF

ELF lip lock pencil

The E.L.F. lip lock pencil is only $3, but I still don’t think it’s worth it – it does nothing to extend the wear time of my lip products. On the positive side, it does prevent feathering and I like the packaging – it’s much easier to cover my lips with this size pencil than a slim pencil, plus it doesn’t need to be sharpened.

When I posted about this previously, a couple people commented that this product is meant to prevent feathering (which it does), rather than extend wear. I think the description on ELF’s website implies that it does both; but the intent really doesn’t matter. In the end, if you’re looking for a cheap anti-feathering pencil this is great; if you want something that extends wear, it’s not.

Average: OCC, Maybelline, NYX, Sally Hansen

clear lip liner - lip primer-2

I found the Maybelline & OCC pencils (the nearest two in the photo above) to be extremely similar – both are slightly hard, waxy pencils. Both prevent feathering and help lipstick last longer, but both are a bit difficult to use due to the thinness & texture of the pencil.

The NYX lip primer (farthest away in above photo) is a chubby pencil, so it’s easy to use. It looks light pink in the photo, but applies almost-clear; I can’t see it swatched on my skin, and it mutes the natural color of my lips just a little. This is a solid choice, just not my favorite.

sally hansen plumping lip primer

The Sally Hansen plumping lip primer (review) might actually be my favorite of all of these products.  The Milani does do a little bit of a better job at gripping the lip product, but the Sally Hansen makes up for it in being easy to apply.  You can see that it’s in a jar in the first photo in this post, and that’s because it broke off a while back – not ideal, but it’s still easier to use than a skinny pencil. Do note that the “plumping” aspect shows up as a minty tingle, so this is not a good choice for those with sensitive lips.

Overall, I’d recommend the Milani, the Sally Hansen (as long as you don’t have sensitive lips), and the NYX.  The ELF lip lock is also a good choice if you only care about preventing feathering, not about weartime.  And I’d skip the Maybelline and OCC – they work, but the others are all easier to use.

Do you use any type of lip primer? I’d love to hear what works for you!

*I recieved the OCC pencil courtesy of the brand and The Makeup Show. I purchased all other products featured in this post. This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

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Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge vs. the BeautyBlender

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beauty blender vs real techniques sponge

Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge // beautyblender (both dry). They’re both clean, but stained.

I have been a big fan of the beautyblender for a couple years now.  I don’t use it every day – fingers are just faster and easier – but I always pull it out when I want the best finish possible, especially with thicker foundations. The one big downside of the Beauty Blender is the price – $20 for just one sponge! You can also buy two for $29, that’s still quite pricey for sponge. So, I was intrigued to hear that the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion sponge is as good as the beautyblender – it’s $6, and frequently on sale. In fact, just for today (Thursday), all Real Technique brushes & tools are 25% off at Ulta.com – which makes the Real Techniques sponge a real bargain at $4.50.

So, how do they compare?

Obviously, they’re shaped differently – both are egg-like with a pointed end and a rounded egg, but the RT sponge has a flat section as well. I don’t find that this makes any practical difference – I don’t generally use the flat section, but it doesn’t detract from the sponge either.

beauty blender vs real techniques sponge-2

Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge // Beautyblender (both damp)

Both are smallish and relatively dense when dry, and just about double in size when damp. The texture is a bit different when they’re damp – the Real Techniques sponge is denser than the beautyblender. You can see the texture difference in the macro shots below.

Real Techniques sponge vs Beautyblender - macro

Texture differences – RT on the left, BB on the right.

However, practically speaking, I don’t notice any difference when I use the sponges. Both are much softer and “bouncier” than your standard latex wedge sponge. Both soak up a little foundation, but not too much, and both give a flawless, streak-free finish. Given the price difference, I know which one I’ll be repurchasing!

Have you tried either or both of these sponges, or any of the other supposed beautyblender dupes? I’d love to hear what you think of the various sponges available!

*I purchased the product(s) featured in this post. This post contains one or more affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

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Concealer Swatch-A-Thon

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I was suprised to realize that I own 15 concealers and three concealer palettes (the two L’oreal True Match concealer crayons – [review // $8.99 at Ulta] are not pictured below because they live in my desk at work; swatches are in my original review). Here’s a roundup – I’ll start with a description of each concealer, organized by type, with all swatches at the bottom.

Concealer Comparison

The lightweight, light-reflecting concealers:
Clinique Airbrush // Maybelline Lumi // Physician’s Formula Spotless // Rimmel Match Perfection

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Sally Girl Mini Nail Polish New Shades Swatches & Review

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sally girl polish swatches-2

Brainy // Twinkle // Luv It // It’s So Me // Baby Doll

A while back, Sally Beauty released several new additions to the 99 cent Sally Girl polish line (the website has was recently updated by the way – much better swatches now!). If you aren’t familiar with these polishes, they’re small, but generally have good formulas.  I have a handful of them that I really like, and I bought five of the newer shades. Sometimes the bottles have the names printed on them, but sometimes they only have the item number, so I’ve included the item number for reference.  If you have a polish without a name, you can check on the Sally Beauty website (same link as above) – the website lists both name and number.

Sally Girl Brainy Twinkle Luv It It's So Me Genie Swatches

Brainy 812035 // Twinkle 812097 // Luv It 812049 // It’s So Me 812121 //  Genie 812015

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Revlon Bare Light Skinlights Review, Swatches, Comparison

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Revlon Skinlights Review

Revlon recently re-released their discontinued popular liquid highlighter / illuminator from the early 2000s, Skinlights, as part of the Photoready line.  There are four shades available – Bare Light (golden), Pink Light (pale pink; there was a tester of this one in the display), Peach Light, and Bronze Light.

The Photoready Skinlights are a thin, easily blendable liquid. The packaging is works fairly well – a squeeze tube means it’s easy to dispense just a little. I recommend putting a drop on the back of your hand and working from there.

It’s a bit difficult to photograph highlighters; hopefully these photos will give you an idea of the texture and type of shimmer.   Continue reading