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Illamasqua Morale Blush

Illamasqua Morale Powder Blush
Illamasqua Morale Powder Blush

Illamasqua Morale Powder Blush ($27.00 for 0.14 oz.) is described as a “shimmering magenta pink.” It’s a cool-toned, medium pink with a frosted finish. NARS Gaiety is more matte. MAC Peony Petal is darker, less frosted. MAC I’m the One is darker, less frosted. See comparison swatches here.

The texture of Morale is very soft but, as a result, somewhat powdery.  Luckily, the powderiness did not translate on the skin as dry-looking or chalky.  The high frost content of the finish did emphasize the texture of the skin and pores.  Morale blends out beautifully on the skin and can be worn as a subtle pink or layered for a more intense look, as it is incredibly pigmented but still buildable and blendable, so a sheerer application is possible.  There was minor fading after eight hours of wear.

Illamasqua Powder Blusher Morale
Morale
Morale
9
Product
10
Pigmentation
8.5
Texture
8.5
Longevity
4.5
Application
90%
Total

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Sephora Surfin’ USA and Midnight Swim Colorful Eyeshadow

Sephora Surfin' USA (14) Colorful Eyeshadow
Sephora Surfin’ USA (14) Colorful Eyeshadow

Sephora Surfin’ USA (14) Colorful Eyeshadow ($13.00 for 0.07 oz.) is described as an “azure blue shimmer.” It’s a bright, medium blue with a hint of yellow that gives it an aqua/teal leaning (but it’s more blue than it is teal). It has a pearly sheen. Shades like Inglot #322, Inglot #371, MAC Electric Eel, and NARS Mad, Mad World #1 are all a bit bluer and matte, so the finish makes them rather different in practice. Make Up For Ever #118 is lighter. Make Up For Ever #83 is slightly greener-tinted and has a golden shimmer. MAC Parrot is darker. Sugarpill Afterparty is bluer, darker. Urban Decay Peace is lighter. Urban Decay Clash is also bluer (and a cream product). NARS South Pacific #1 is lighter. See comparison swatches here.

Applied damp, Surfin’ USA had good color payoff and went on smoothly but wasn’t quite as vibrant as when applied damp; then, it became even smoother, bolder, and fully pigmented. The texture is soft, buttery, and blendable on the lid. I had no trouble with it wearing all day long without fading or creasing (no primer) either. It’s definitely one of the best shades I’ve come across in Sephora’s Colorful range. This shade did lightly stain my skin after wearing it all day long.

Sephora Midnight Swim (16) Colorful Eyeshadow ($13.00 for 0.07 oz.) is described as a “petrol blue shimmer.” It’s a smoky, bluish-teal with a frosted finish. Urban Decay Junkie is a couple of shades lighter. Urban Decay Hijack is grayer, lighter. MAC Prussian is matte and bluer. MAC Rain Drop is lighter. Sugarpill Magpie is more frosted, so it appears slightly lighter, but it is the closest shade to Midnight Swim. See comparison swatches here.

The color payoff was the same whether applied dry or damp, but the finish changed from satiny to pearly–it’s more shimmery and reflective when applied damp. Both applications resulted in smooth, even color, and it was easy to blend out on the lid. Midnight Swim had a lovely soft, silky-smooth texture that made it easy to work with and yielded fantastic pigmentation. It lasted ten hours without creasing or fading when I tested it (no primer).

Sephora Colorful Eyeshadow Surfin' USA (14)
9.5
Product
9.5
Pigmentation
9.5
Texture
9.5
Longevity
5
Application
96%
Total
Sephora Colorful Eyeshadow Midnight Swim (16)
9.5
Product
10
Pigmentation
9.5
Texture
10
Longevity
5
Application
98%
Total

shu uemura Fresh Pore Clarifying Gentle Cleansing Oil Review & Photos

shu uemura Fresh Pore Clarifying Gentle Cleansing Oil
shu uemura Fresh Pore Clarifying Gentle Cleansing Oil

shu uemura Fresh Pore Clarifying Gentle Cleansing Oil ($67.00 for 15.2 fl. oz.) is designed for combination to oily skin types as a cleansing oil that “effectively remove[s] make-up and ipurities … while maintaining the skin’s necessary moisture level.” It is “empowered with Sakura Complex” to “[minimize] pores by eliminating excess sebum and visibly [smoothe] the skin’s surface.” According to shu uemura, sakura leaf extract is “known to reduce inflammatory mediators that can cause skin redness” and “improve skin texture.” It also contains salicyclic acid and cherry extract. It is available year-round in a regularly pink-tinted bottle but has been relased in special packaging for the ob collection. It’s sold out (in this packaging) online, but if you are located where shu uemura is still sold in stores, you may find it locally.

I’m a big fan of shu uemura’s Cleansing Oils, and I hadn’t tried the Fresh Pore Clarifying formula yet. The last bottle I used was a limited edition bottle released with last holiday season’s wkw collection, which was the “White Recovery EX+ Brightening Cleansing Oil Advanced Formula” (which doesn’t seem to be available in regular packaging on the U.S. website). One giant bottle lasts me anywhere from four to six months. I didn’t love this one as much as the other formulas I’ve tried, because it is very thin–almost water-like in texture. The others were slightly thicker but not so thick that they felt oily or heavy, but this one is so thin that it took some getting used to. I needed to pump it into my hands over the sink, as it would leak through my fingers or pump beyond my hands and get onto the counter/in the sink. I just never noticed this as an issue with the two or three bottles I’ve used previously (different formulas, all cleansing oils). The formula has a very light floral scent that’s pretty muted.

Aside from the consistency/packaging issue, the formula worked well to break down and remove makeup, dirt, and whatever else happened to be on my face. I take two to three pumps and then massage and work it into my skin, and then I rinse my hands under water and then work the oil into a small lather. After that, I rinse my face with lukewarm water and pat dry. I never experience any oily residue, no squeaky clean/tight feeling, or have issues with my eyes clouding during the rinsing process. shu’s cleansing oils are definitely a go-to for me when I’m wearing a full face of makeup, because it gets it all off and I don’t need to follow-up with another cleanser.

See more photos!

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Cult Nails Center of Attention Nail Lacquer

Cult Nails Center of Attention Nail Lacquer
Cult Nails Center of Attention Nail Lacquer

Cult Nails Center of Attention Nail Lacquer ($12.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “multi sized pink glitter intermixed with a color shifting micro glitter that goes from gold to orange.” It contains several sizes of pink glitter with smaller silver and gold glitters that are in the “background” so-to-speak all suspended in a clear base. I went through other glittery top coats I’ve reviewed, but I wasn’t able to find one quite like this; so if you have any dupe suggestions, please feel free to share!

The consistency of Center of Attention was refreshingly thin; it wasn’t too thin, but it wasn’t thick or gel-like as some glitter top coats can be. It felt very normal, and it still applied well without clumping up in places. I was able to apply a single coat and pull it across the nail and have the glitters evenly distribute. One coat provided good coverage for layering so the nail was covered but not so dense that you couldn’t see the color coat. For reference, I applied two coats of this alone on my thumb nail, and it’s semi-opaque. To avoid a noticeable texture to the nail, apply a thicker top coat. I usually get a week of wear with Cult Nails’ glitter top coats.

Cult Nails Nail Lacquer Center of Attention
A+

Discontinued

10
Product
10
Pigmentation
10
Texture
10
Longevity
5
Application
100%
Total

See more photos & swatches!

Clinique Ample Amber Chubby Stick Shadow Tint

Clinique Ample Amber Chubby Stick Shadow Tint
Clinique Ample Amber Chubby Stick Shadow Tint

Clinique Ample Amber Chubby Stick Shadow Tint ($16.00 for 0.10 oz.) is described as a “bronze pink.” It’s a medium-dark brown with a subtle, frosted finish and warm undertones–it has a muted, almost copper-like, tone to it. Bobbi Brown Praline is warmer, lighter, and a powder product. Make Up For Ever #28 is very similar, and it is also a cream pencil. Burberry Pale Nude #1 is a touch darker, browner, and a powder. MAC Glimpse of Flesh is a smidgen lighter and a powder. MAC Tan is more metallic and a powder. MAC Caramel Sundae is less warm-toned and a powder. NARS Flowers 3 #3 is very similar but a powder product. See comparison swatches here.

Ample Amber has great buildable color, though it’s not quite the sheer wash of color described by Clinique.  One stroke yields semi-opaque color, and blended out, a sheer wash is achievable with some work (I would say you can get semi-sheer to semi-opaque color with less work).  It’s the blending that I have the biggest struggle with, as the pencil is on the drier side.  It doesn’t feel so stiff and stubborn that it becomes painful, but once on the lid, it doesn’t want to move around much, even initially.  Blending out the edges can be difficult, and when I used a blow dryer to heat the pencil prior to applying, the blending went better but not well.  I love that it wears a full twelve hours with no fading and only minor creasing (no primer) and that it doesn’t require sharpening, as it twists up.

Clinique Chubby Stick Shadow Tint Ample Amber
Ample Amber

MAC Temperature Rising Online Now!

Heads up for those who missed the launch on MAC’s website, Nordstrom and Macy’s have launched the collection online (and I only saw that Sheer Seduction lipstick was missing at Nordstrom, but everything else appeared to be in stock when I checked).

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