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Illamasqua Speckle Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Speckle Nail Varnish
Illamasqua Speckle Nail Varnish

Illamasqua Speckle Nail Varnish ($16.00 for 0.50 fl. oz.) is described as a “speckled lilac.” It has a soft, pale lilac cream base with flecks of small black glitter and larger hexagon-shaped black glitter. I don’t know of any dupes in particular for this shade (Deborah Lippmann also has speckled polish but nothing in lilac). If you have a top coat with black glitter already, you might try using Essie Bangle Jangle, MAC Little Girl Type, Nubar Purple Aster, or Zoya Marley has a base color, as they are similar.

It was fully opaque in color after two coats, and I was surprised at just how close it was to opaque after a single coat. For a pastel, too, it had minimal streaking on the initial coat and a second coat completely smoothed out the color so everything looked lush and even. There was something about the consistency and look of this polish, because though it seems like a creamy color, it almost had a jelly-like finish.  The formula wasn’t too thick or too thin, so it flowed well over the nail, and I didn’t have any trouble applying it.  Illamasqua’s formula is one of the longest-wearing in my experience–I can get anywhere from ten to fourteen days of wear with minimal tip wear.

Illamasqua Nail Varnish Speckle
Speckle
Speckle
10
Product
10
Pigmentation
10
Texture
10
Longevity
5
Application
100%
Total

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Clinique Fuller Fudge Chubby Stick Shadow Tint

Clinique Fuller Fudge Chubby Stick Shadow Tint
Clinique Fuller Fudge Chubby Stick Shadow Tint

Clinique Fuller Fudge Chubby Stick Shadow Tint ($16.00 for 0.10 oz.) is described as a “bronze brown.” It’s a rich, warm bronze with strong red undertones and a frosted finish. Chanel Intuition #4 is a bit browner. MAC Antiqued is more shimmery. Inglot #421 is darker. Giorgio Armani #5 is lighter.

Clinique’s Chubby Stick Shadow Tints are supposed to be a “sheer wash of lightweight, creamy colour.” It’s supposed to be “layerable” and long-wearing, too. Fuller Fudge can be used as a sheer wash of color, but it is absolutely layerable to mostly opaque color. The consistency isn’t wet or slick, but it glides on well enough with little pulling or tugging at the lid. I don’t know that I would describe it was creamy–perhaps almost waxy–because it does smooth on but there’s no real slip or wetness to it.  The formula could be slightly creamier, because then it would be more blendable on the lid and apply more comfortably.  It wore well for ten hours on me; after twelve hours, there was some faint creasing.  The shadow twists-up, so there’s no need for sharpening, which means no waste!

Clinique Chubby Stick Shadow Tint Fuller Fudge

Benefit Call My Buff Longwear Powder Shadow

Benefit Call My Buff Longwear Powder Shadow
Benefit Call My Buff Longwear Powder Shadow

Benefit Call My Buff Longwear Powder Shadow ($20.00 for 0.11 oz.) is described as a “pale shell.” It’s a pale, warm-toned beige with a soft, shimmery finish. Urban Decay Illusion is more frosted. Jasmine Ali Ababwa is matte. MAC Dazzlelight is a touch lighter and more frosted. MAC Vanilla is more satiny. Wet ‘n’ Wild Comfort Zone #1 is slightly more frosted. Also, if you have the Most Glamorous Nudes or Easiest Nudes Ever palettes, you’ll find this shade is included in it (and the palette is $30 and includes 4x 0.04 oz. eyeshadows plus 2x 0.11 oz. Creaseless Cream eyeshadows).

This was one of the first shades I tested out, and it was my first experience with Benefit’s new eyeshadow formula (I had not tried the palettes). Call My Buff had good color payoff, and it had a very soft, finely-milled texture and feel. That softness did come along with some powderiness, but it did not seem to translate on the lid, and it was easy to blend on the skin. I wore it initially on the brow bone, and then later wore it on the lid as well, and found it wore well for about seven and a half hours–after eight hours, there was some fading.

Benefit Longwear Powder Shadow Call My Bluff
9
Product
10
Pigmentation
8.5
Texture
7
Longevity
4.5
Application
87%
Total

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Estee Lauder Rock Candy Pure Color Sheer Matte Lipstick

Estee Lauder Rock Candy Pure Color Sheer Matte Lipstick
Estee Lauder Rock Candy Pure Color Sheer Matte Lipstick

Estee Lauder Rock Candy Pure Color Sheer Matte Lipstick ($25.00 for 0.10 oz.) is bold, brightened orange with hints of red in it along with a frosted, matte finish and warm undertones. Hourglass Muse is more coral, redder. MAC Scarlet Ibis is darker, redder. Estee Lauder Wild Fire is redder and luminous. YSL Blood Orange is glossier and sheerer.

This is the final shade I tried out in the formula, and it fell in the middle of the spectrum; not the worst, not the best. I’m still surprised that Estee Lauder didn’t put out a better formula, because the brand has better lipsticks in their house, not to mention the numerous lipstick formulas across other brands under the Estee Lauder umbrella.  Rock Candy has excellent pigmentation–full, opaque color coverage–but the consistency is a bit dry and not creamy enough, so it does tug on the lips when you apply it.  The other issue I had was that it is drying.  It wasn’t the most drying lipstick I’ve tried, but it was more than just a little drying after wearing it for six full hours.

Estee Lauder Pure Color Sheer Matte Lipstick Rock Candy

NARS Nico Blush

NARS Nico Highlighting Blush
NARS Nico Blush

NARS Nico Highlighting Blush ($29.00 for 0.16 oz.) is described as a “natural glow.” It’s a lightly warmed-up, pale beige with a subtle sheen. When I tried thinking of potential dupes, I wasn’t finding any. The closest I could come up with was theBalm Solid Gold, which is really much yellower and frosted.

I actually think Nico was one of the first few NARS products I ever purchased, and it may have been one of my first NARS blushes. It was recommended to me as a brow highlighter, actually, and as a light wash of color for lids. As a blush, it doesn’t quite work on my skin tone. Nico is a shade that you’ll love or never have a use for, and it’s really going to depend on your skin tone and how you want to use it. It’s categorized as a blush, but I think it might be better suited as a NARS “Highlighting Blush.”  As you can see on my skin tone, it’s very nearly my skin tone–just with a sheen, so it does give me a slight “glow” when worn on the cheeks.  I do prefer it (on me) as a brow bone highlighter, because I feel like you can see it better, and it sometimes looks a bit powdery when I’ve worn it on cheeks.

The texture is very soft and finely-milled, and I’d recommend using softer bristles with it, as it can be powdery with a denser blush brush (the “scratchier” the brush feels on your skin, the more powder gets dislodged from the pan).  Nico lasts seven hours on my cheeks, and then it starts to look a bit patchy towards the eight-hour mark.  I’ve worn this of and on throughout the years, and when my cheeks are more normal, it can be quite nice, but it definitely isn’t as flattering if my cheeks have any dryness. I think for those with oilier skin types, it might work well as a highlighter as it shouldn’t look too dewy or glowy (which can sometimes make oilier skin types look oilier).  The sheen does not emphasize pores, which is the best part about it, though–it’s all sheen, no shimmer or frost.

NARS Powder Blush Nico
Nico

Clinique Plushest Punch Chubby Stick Intense

Clinique Plushest Punch Chubby Stick Intense
Clinique Plushest Punch Chubby Stick Intense

Clinique Plushest Punch Chubby Stick Intense ($16.00 for 0.10 oz.) is described as a “raspberry pink.” It’s a bright, bold raspberry pink with a natural sheen. Tarina Tarantino Fuchsia is darker, redder. MAC Impassioned is brighter. Guerlain Gigi is very comparable.

It has full color coverage, and the pencil has a great consistency–just creamy enough to apply evenly and smoothly but not thick, so it adheres well and doesn’t feather or bleed. I’ve mentioned it before, but it bears repeating: this range is very much an opaque one, though Clinique describes the coverage as “perfectly in between” sheer and opaque. The other issue I’ve had is that these aren’t that moisturizing (some better than others). Plushest Punch was moderately hydrating, and of the ones I’ve tried thus far, it was the most hydrating. It wore long and well, though, topping five hours with a very subtle residual stain that lingered for the next hour.

Clinique Plushest Punch Chubby Stick Intense

A-
9.5
Product
8.5
Pigmentation
9.5
Texture
9.5
Longevity
4.5
Application
92%
Total

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