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I like a good theme–neutrals, or colors, or earthy tones–that has several different combinations that can be used or one just really outstanding one (but then it has to be a trio/quad set-up). I’m not picky about needing a brow bone shade or a black eyeshadow myself, so I don’t need those in my palette. I like a few finishes but prefer satin to frost!

— Christine

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Tarte Metallics Shadows (Summer 2017) (Part 1)

01/06

Tarte Downtown Metallic Shadow

Tarte Downtown Metallic Shadow

Tarte Downtown Metallic Shadow

Tarte Downtown Metallic Shadow

Tarte Downtown Metallic Shadow

Tarte Downtown Metallic Shadow

Downtown

Tarte Downtown Metallic Shadow ($14.00 for 0.07 oz.) is muted, dark brown base with lighter silvery teal flecks of sparkle and shimmer. The texture was looser in the pan and almost felt dry, though it did not sheer out like you might think a drier eyeshadow would. It did have more fallout than other shades during application, as some of the sparkles just did not bind well with the base color. It had great color payoff, though, and lasted for seven hours on me.

The Metallic Shadow formula is supposed to have “smooth payoff” that have “lasting vibrancy with no fallout” and are “ultra-pigmented.” They are also designed to be removable, so you can easily put them into an empty palette. The original set of shades were released in plastic compacts, but the most recent release featured them in cardboard compacts. The formula is typically very pigmented, smooth, and blendable with good wear (around eight hours). They work well and are easy to work with, and I’m glad to see that they brand has continued to expand their color selection in this formula.

Tarte Metallic Shadow Downtown
Downtown
Downtown
8.5
Product
10
Pigmentation
7.5
Texture
7.5
Longevity
4.5
Application
84%
Total

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Tell us what you love and hate about...

Liquid Highlighters

I love mixing them in with base products, like primer, moisturizer, or foundation, for a more luminous finish to my base. I don’t usually wear them alone, even though they often work that way, as they can be too subtle for my taste. If they pack more punch on top of products, then I’ll definitely wear them alone, too! I do prefer the kind that dry down for the most part and don’t remain tacky or movable throughout the day.

— Christine

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Smashbox Space Case, Petal Metal, Haterade, Moscow Muled Be Legendary Liquid Lip

01/08

Smashbox Space Case Be Legendary Liquid Lip

Smashbox Space Case Be Legendary Liquid Lip

Smashbox Space Case Be Legendary Liquid Lip

Smashbox Space Case Be Legendary Liquid Lip

Smashbox Space Case Be Legendary Liquid Lip

Smashbox Space Case Be Legendary Liquid Lip

Smashbox Space Case Be Legendary Liquid Lip

Smashbox Space Case Be Legendary Liquid Lip

Space Case

Smashbox Space Case Be Legendary Liquid Lip ($24.00 for 0.27 fl. oz.) is a medium-dark gray with cool undertones and a very fine, gray pearl. It had good color payoff, but this shade was harder to apply evenly; I had some issues getting the edges to look even and there was some serious settling in my deeper lip lines. The texture was moderately tacky, not as spreadable as others in the line, and light-medium in weight. The natural lip color came through slightly, which had an impact on the overall tone of the end result, I think. On me, the product wore well for five hours and was lightly hydrating.

The formula is supposed to have “the full coverage a lipstick” with “the high shine of a gloss” in “a single coat” and is available in two finishes (metallic and vinyl). To me, it felt more like a gloss than a lipstick overall, as it had the plushness and glossiness I’d associate with a gloss. The coverage was typically mostly opaque to fully opaque across the range, and they went on fairly evenly and smoothly. I noticed that a lot of shades emphasized the lines on my lips up-close, but I couldn’t tell just looking in a regular mirror, as there was such a strong shine. The wear ranged from five to seven hours, which I suspect is partially due to the slightly thicker, moderately tacky texture.

Smashbox Be Legendary Liquid Lip Space Case
7
Product
9
Pigmentation
7
Texture
9
Longevity
4
Application
80%
Total

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Urban Decay Copycat & Bruja Vice Special Effects Lip Topcoats

01/10

Urban Decay Copycat Vice Special Effects Lip Topcoat

Urban Decay Copycat Vice Special Effects Lip Topcoat

Urban Decay Copycat Vice Special Effects Lip Topcoat

Urban Decay Copycat Vice Special Effects Lip Topcoat

Urban Decay Copycat Vice Special Effects Lip Topcoat

Urban Decay Copycat Vice Special Effects Lip Topcoat

Urban Decay Copycat Vice Special Effects Lip Topcoat

Urban Decay Copycat Topcoat over Violate Vice Lipstick

Urban Decay Copycat Topcoat over Violate Vice Lipstick

Urban Decay Copycat Topcoat over Violate Vice Lipstick

Copycat

Urban Decay Copycat Vice Special Effects Lip Topcoat ($18.00 for 0.16 fl. oz.) is medium-dark, reddish copper with warm undertones and flecks of multi-colored glitter. It had a slightly metallic finish that was visible when applied alone, and the glitter was actally less visible than I expected. It had semi-sheer coverage that applied unevenly to the lips, and after it dried down, it did make lips look slightly drier. It lasted for four hours on its own. When I layered it over a creamier Vice Lipstick, it had a tendency to separate the underlying lipstick, so it seemed to take more trial and error to find the right layering combinations.

The brand describes the formula as a “shade-shifting topcoat” that can be used over their “cream, metallized, and matte shades” of Vice Lipstick or any of the Vice Liquid Lipsticks, but–wait for it–“or wear these shades alone.” They’re supposed to be a “comfortable, gel-cream formula that dries down quickly and provides long-lasting wear that never feels sticky” while also creating a “water-resistant barrier that seals in the color underneath.” The brand also warns that your lips might “feel tingly just after applying.”

As a topcoat, I think they perform the best; it can be hit or miss depending on the underlying shade, and some topcoats are more versatile than others (sheerer ones tended to work well with anything, more opaque ones could be hard to apply). I did not feel like they truly locked the underlying lipstick in, as they transferred and still lasted about as long as the lipstick did on its own. I also felt that it was lightly tacky, and it varied, but a few shades would lift color in places. The tingling effect was least pronounced when layered. In general, layering over very light shades was often where they missed and any unevenness became much more visible.

On their own, they often struggled to go on evenly. The application over bare lips was similar to trying to apply some of the darker topcoats over very light or dissimilar colors, which just made any application shortcomings highly visible (compared to say, blue shimmer over a blue lipstick). They had a very strong, lingering tingle where my lips felt like they do after being numbed (like from the dentist)–almost too big, swollen, and a mixture of tingling, cooling, burning. This effect lasted between two to three minutes before subsiding. I wouldn’t say it’s water-resistant, as it seemed to transfer after drinking water, but if I did not drink anything, it was fairly transfer-proof. The wear has been between two and four hours and drying.

The packaging on these doesn’t make sense to me; they have a very thin, brush-type applicator that is terrible for spreading product across the lips, but the formula was often sheerer so getting crisp lines with the included applicator seemed like an exercise in futility. I think a squeeze-tube or more typical doe-foot applicator would have worked here, but I like the idea of a squeeze tube, which would “force” one to use a separate applicator would make more sense, as using it directly on top of another lipstick would result in lipstick transfer to the wand and back into the tube.

Urban Decay Vice Special Effects Lip Topcoat Copycat
Copycat
Copycat
6
Product
8.5
Pigmentation
7.5
Texture
8.5
Longevity
3
Application
74%
Total

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C+

Bruja

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