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Top 10 of 2014: Best Budget-Friendly Blushes

It really shouldn’t be a surprise to see so many of Makeup Geek’s blushes on this list, because from the first one I tried to the last, they were stellar. They really nailed the formula; it’s not just good for the money, but it’s a fantastic powder blush, period. The texture was soft without being powdery or chalky. While many categories at the drugstore are comparable to high-end products, blushes and highlighters are an area that I find tends to miss, so I’m thrilled to see Makeup Geek enter the space and do budget blush justice (and then some). I really hope to see more shades next year!  I’ll be studying your favorite finds this year for products to make note to review in 2015!

What were your favorite budget-friendly cheek products this year?

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Top 10 of 2014: Best Budget-Friendly Eyeshadows & Eyeliners

I feel like this was the year of the eyeliner when it came to choosing my favorite budget-friendly eye products. It was hard not to make a list just for eyeliners, because there were so many amazing shades to choose from!

What were your favorite budget-friendly eyeshadows and eyeliners this year?

ColourPop Grind, Leather, Wet Lippie Stix

ColourPop Grind Lippie Stix
ColourPop Grind Lippie Stix

ColourPop Grind Lippie Stix ($5.00 for 0.0357 oz.) is described as a “vivid blue violet in a matte finish.” It’s a bold, brightened violet purple with magenta tones and a satin finish. It had mostly opaque color coverage with a lightweight consistency that was just creamy enough not to be stiff or drag on the lips, but it doesn’t glide on effortlessly. The color wears like iron–lasting at least as long as six hours–but is a little drying towards the last two hours. I would highly recommend making sure your lips are smooth prior to applying this, as it may catch on imperfections. Kat Von D L.U.V. (P, $21.00) is lighter. MAC Seductive Intent (LE, $16.00) is glossier. MAC Heroine (P, $16.00) is more magenta. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

ColourPop Leather Lippie Stix ($5.00 for 0.0357 oz.) is described as a “deep blackened violet in a matte finish.” It’s a deepened, purpled berry with subtle, magenta tones and a satiny sheen. It’s not really matte, and the formula is noticeably more emollient than shades like Grind, which have more of a satin-matte finish. It had good color payoff, but it wasn’t opaque and will let the natural lip color come through. It could have applied more evenly, but at least it lasted for six hours and left a stain behind. It was neither drying nor hydrating. Tom Ford Beauty Liam (LE, $32.00) is lighter, pinker. NYX Betrayal (P, $6.00) is darker. MAC Punk Couture (LE, $16.00) is more matte, darker. MAC Potent Fig (LE, $16.00) is darker. MAC Fervent (LE, $16.00) is darker, warmer. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

ColourPop Wet Lippie Stix ($5.00 for 0.0357 oz.) is described as a “cool-toned taupe gunmetal in a pearlized finish.” It’s a deepened, olive-toned bronze-brown–more brown than taupe to my eye–with a metallic sheen. It’s a very interseting color, but it applies terribly as it catches on imperfections I never knew I even had, and it tended to sink into lip lines over time. The color went on unevenly and was drying over time. It stayed on well for four and a half hours. MAC Viva Glam Rihanna 2 (LE, $16.00) is slightly darker. MAC Icon (DC, $16.00) is lighter. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Colour Pop Lippie Stix Grind
Grind
Grind
A-

Discontinued

8.5
Product
9.5
Pigmentation
8.5
Texture
10
Longevity
4.5
Application
91%
Total
Colour Pop Lippie Stix Leather
Leather
Leather
A-

Permanent

8.5
Product
9
Pigmentation
8.5
Texture
10
Longevity
4.5
Application
90%
Total
Colour Pop Lippie Stix Wet
Wet
Wet
C

Permanent

6.5
Product
7.5
Pigmentation
7.5
Texture
8
Longevity
4
Application
74%
Total

See more photos & swatches!

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ColourPop Girly, Eye Candy, Dasher, Envy, Cricket Super Shock Shadows

ColourPop Girly Super Shock Shadow
ColourPop Girly Super Shock Shadow

ColourPop Super Shock Shadow ($5.00 for 0.07 oz.) is supposed to be a long-wearing, pigmented, blendable cream-powder hybrid eyeshadow. Overall, this is true of my experience with the formula in general, though some shades could be slightly more pigmented and some of the more glittery shades are prone to fall out (both during application as well as when worn, but primarily during application). I’m most impressed by the long-wear I get from the formula, which tops in at ten hours without fading or creasing with most shades. You can use fingertips to apply, but I’ve found natural or synthetic brushes to work quite well with the majority of shades (though there are a few that brushes don’t work well with, noted as I discover them). Here are reviews for five more:

ColourPop Girly Super Shock Shadow ($5.00 for 0.07 oz.) is described as a “creamy vanilla with a flash of pink and gold duochrome.” It’s a light, yellowed beige with a satin sheen. It had fairly good pigmentation that went on evenly and was blendable, but this shade was more prone to sheering out than others I’ve tried. Once on the lid, it remains there for ten hours without fading or creasing. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

ColourPop Eye Candy Super Shock Shadow ($5.00 for 0.07 oz.) is described as a “cool-toned … lavender … with tons of silver and pink glitter.” It’s a light-medium, pink-lilac with subtle, cool undertones and a smattering of silver glitter. It didn’t seem all that glittery (which may be good or bad, depending on your preference!). The texture was soft, creamy, and blendable, while it had good color payoff that wore well for ten hours. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

ColourPop Dasher Super Shock Shadow ($5.00 for 0.07 oz.) is described as a “true lavender with pink glitter.” It’s a medium-dark lavender purple with subtle, cool undertones and light pink glitter. It had rich, opaque color coverage that went on smoothly and blended easily. It wore well for ten hours but had some fall out over time. This shade is part of the Never Naughty limited edition four-piece set. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

ColourPop Envy Super Shock Shadow ($5.00 for 0.07 oz.) is described as a “black saturated with violet glitter.” It’s a rich black with lighter purple glitter. This one was harder to apply to the lid without using your fingertip (I also tried a silicone applicator, but it didn’t go very well), as brush application yielded a faded, uneven black mess with little glitter transfer. Once on, it lasted for nine hours with some fall out. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

ColourPop Cricket Super Shock Shadow ($5.00 for 0.07 oz.) is described as a “smoky mid-tone plum with … soft glitter.” It’s a very muted, blackened plum with flecks of gold sparkle. It was semi-sheer and fussy to work with–it always looked uneven and a bit splotchy. I even tried applying with fingertips, but the color payoff didn’t improve. It did wear without creasing or fading for nine hours and had minor fall out. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

Colour Pop Super Shock Shadow Girly
Girly
Girly
A-

Permanent

9
Product
9
Pigmentation
9
Texture
10
Longevity
4.5
Application
92%
Total
Colour Pop Super Shock Shadow Eye Candy
Eye Candy
Eye Candy
A

Permanent

9
Product
9
Pigmentation
9
Texture
10
Longevity
5
Application
93%
Total
Colour Pop Super Shock Shadow Dasher
Dasher
Dasher
A-

Limited Edition

9
Product
9.5
Pigmentation
9
Texture
9
Longevity
5
Application
92%
Total
Colour Pop Super Shock Shadow Envy
Envy
Envy
B+

Permanent

8.5
Product
9.5
Pigmentation
8.5
Texture
9
Longevity
4.5
Application
89%
Total
Colour Pop Super Shock Shadow Cricket
Cricket
Cricket
D+

Permanent

6
Product
5.5
Pigmentation
6.5
Texture
9
Longevity
3
Application
67%
Total

See more photos & swatches!

ColourPop Bunny, Charm, Raw Lippie Stix

ColourPop Bunny Lippie Stix
ColourPop Bunny Lippie Stix

ColourPop Bunny Lippie Stix ($5.00 for 0.0352 oz.) is described as a “rich emerald green with small flecks of emerald glitter in a pearlized finish.” It’s a muted, medium-dark green with subtle, warm yellow undertones and cooler-toned, emerald green shimmer. It had smei-opaque color coverage that went on more evenly than expected, but it was a little streaky and uneven in places due to the more emollient consistency. It lasted for five hours and was neither drying nor hydrating. NYX Risque (P, $6.00) is a lot cooler-toned. Dolce and Gabbana Smeraldo (LE, $33.00) is darker and cooler-toned, though it is also a lot sheerer. See comparison swatches
/ view dupes.

ColourPop Charm Lippie Stix ($5.00 for 0.0352 oz.) is described as a “true mid-tone minty green in a satin finish.” It’s a brightened, light-medium aqua green with warm undertones and a satin finish. The consistency is creamy with a little slip, but it doesn’t slide around, and this shade had mostly opaque color coverage but could have been more pigmented (not quite full coverage as promised). It pulled into lip lines after two and a half hours and worsened until removed with a total wear time of four hours. It’s definitely a shade that would likely benefit from the matching lip liner available through the brand (I don’t have it). NYX Key Lime (P, $6.00) is brighter, greener. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

ColourPop Raw Lippie Stix ($5.00 for 0.0352 oz.) is described as a “clean aqua blue shade with a satin finish.” It’s a medium, aqua blue with cool undertones and a satin finish. It had mostly full color coverage, but it didn’t go on perfectly evenly or smoothly. The texture seemed a little thinner with more slip, which gave it some streakiness. Again, I think picking up the matching lip pencil for this shade might be necessary to really make this sing. It settled slightly into lip lines after three and a half hours, but the higher slip in the formula made it easier to press lips together and smooth the color out again. It lasted for four and a half hours on me and was neither drying nor hydrating. NYX Pistachio (P, $6.00) is lighter. NYX Scandalous (P, $6.00) is darker. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

It can be tough to get non-traditional lip colors like these right, and ColourPop’s attempts are impressive, even if not perfect. I think if you found NYX’s Wicked/Macaron Lippies to have too much slip, this formula will feel more comfortable and be easier to apply, as they’re significantly less emollient. I’m going to try to remember to grab some of the lip pencils next time I order from them, as now I’m curious how those might perform and if they would improve the wear here (in theory, they should) or if, perhaps, they’re wearable on their own. I did pick up a few of the more traditional colors last order, so for those who wanted to see those, hopefully I can share sometime in the next couple of months.

Colour Pop Lippie Stix Bunny
Bunny
Bunny
B

Discontinued

8.5
Product
8.5
Pigmentation
8
Texture
9.5
Longevity
4
Application
86%
Total
Colour Pop Lippie Stix Charm
Charm
Charm
B

Permanent

8
Product
9
Pigmentation
8.5
Texture
7.5
Longevity
4.5
Application
83%
Total
Colour Pop Lippie Stix Raw
Raw
Raw
B-

Discontinued

8
Product
9
Pigmentation
8
Texture
8
Longevity
4
Application
82%
Total

See more photos & swatches!

ColourPop Feminist Lippie Stix

ColourPop Feminist Lippie Stix
ColourPop Feminist Lippie Stix

ColourPop Feminist Lippie Stix ($5.00 for 0.0352 oz.) is described as a “black purple in a matte finish.” It’s a blackened purple with subtle, warm undertones and a satin finish. Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Pagan (P, $18.00) is cooler-toned. MAC Smoked Purple (LE, $16.00) is lighter. MAC Firm Form (LE, $16.00) is lighter, warmer. See comparison swatches / view dupes.

The formula is supposed to be comfortable to wear and moisturizing, and then the coverage of the matte finishes is supposed to be full and extra long-wearing. It is intensely pigmented, and it lasted for eight hours, at which point I went to bed, but it left a significant stain behind (that was more fuchsia in nature). I wouldn’t consider this really a matte, as there is a decent shine to it that lingers for two to three hours before wearing down to a more matte finish. It is lightweight with a light creaminess; enough that it doesn’t drag or tug at the lips, but it doesn’t slide around. I was able to apply it fairly easily straight from the tube, but to get a really crisp edge (and it’s worth the extra step for a color like this), I’d still recommend a lip brush or going back in with concealer to clean-up the edges. It’s neither drying nor hydrating over time, and there’s a little tackiness to the color after a few hours, but it doesn’t seem to lift or disturb the color. The color is rich enough that it had no trouble surviving coffee and dinner. The formula seems to have a very subtle vanilla scent to me, but it isn’t noticeable once applied.

Worth noting, you don’t get a lot of product in the twist-up tube relative to your average lipstick tube (which is typically 0.10 oz. or 0.12 oz.), but it is more in line with similarly-packaged lip products (e.g. Bite Beauty’s Lip Crayons are 0.05 oz., NARS Pure Mattes are 0.07 oz., Tarte Power Pigments are 0.04 oz., Buxom True Nude Lip Foundations are 0.03 oz. and seem to have nearly identical packaging).

Colour Pop Lippie Stix Feminist
Feminist
Feminist
A

Discontinued

9
Product
10
Pigmentation
8.5
Texture
10
Longevity
5
Application
94%
Total

See more photos & swatches!

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