Benefit Brows A-Go-Go

Benefit Brows A-Go-Go

Benefit and brows take me back almost ten years (which makes me a little nauseous to think about, because sometimes I think I’m still 18 and when I’m clearly not). One of my first beauty experiences was begging my makeup-enthused best friend to tweeze my brows, and she always carried Benefit’s Brow Zings and their mini tweezers. I can’t tell you how I longed for a pair of my own mini tweezers–they just seemed so cool at the time. (With my hands, I can appreciate full-size tweezers for regular maintenance but minis are nice in a pinch.)

The lighter shade is a medium-dark taupe brown, while the darker brow shade is a dark brown with subtle red undertones. The wax is a cross between the two–not too dark, not too light. I found the eyeliner to be fairly black but a bit stubby so it may be difficult to hold for some. I actually liked the shimmering icy pink of the highlight powder; not quite as cool-toned as Eye Bright, which is a creamy, pale white-pink.

The dark shade works well for me, having nearly black natural brows.  I like mixing the two, though, for a softer look as well.  I would be careful using the highlighting products on deeper skin tones, because I think it may turn a little ashy, but they work well on light and medium skin tones.

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Benefit Brows A-Go-Go

B+
Product
9
Pigmentation
9
Texture
8.5
Longevity
9
Application
4
Total
88%

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Illamasqua Atomic Lipstick

Illamasqua Atomic Lipstick

Illamasqua Atomic Lipstick (£15.50 for 0.14 oz.) is new for spring/summer and part of the brand’s Toxic Nature collection, which should show up at Sephora in April. For now, though, it is available through Illamasqua directly.  Illamasqua describes Atomic as a “fuchsia violet.”  After swatching and applying, Atomic is a deep, reddened fuchsia with violet and fuchsia sheen.  It has that satin finish but such a strong pull of iridescent sheen that it almost looks like a frost.

my thoughts on the formula: Illamasqua’s Lipstick formula feels a little dry when applied, but let it warm up on your lips, because it really isn’t the drying kind. It does hug the lips, though, which makes it a much longer wearing lipstick (six hours or more).

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Illamasqua Lipstick Atomic
A-
Product
9
Pigmentation
10
Texture
8.5
Longevity
9.5
Application
3.5
Total
90%

NYX Menage a Trois HD Grinding Blush

NYX Menage a Trois HD Grinding Blush

NYX Menage a Trois HD Grinding Blush ($16.50 for 0.25 oz.) is one of eight shades of blush from NYX’s HD Studio line. According to NYX, by grinding a blush powder each use, you’ll avoid “oil trappings on powders, contamination, and cracking.” The blush formula itself is supposed to reflect light from the skin while giving pores a smaller and smoother look. Menage a Trois is a soft tangerine-peach with spun gold shimmer-sheen. It’s really a gorgeous shade and one that will work exceptionally well on warmer skin tones.

Next to the blush, you might recognize an elephant–the price tag. NYX is known as a brand with affordable options but still a wide variety and higher quality products than many other more affordable brands (overall). It’s obvious the HD Studio range is at a higher price point, but I think it might be outpricing the comfort zone of some of their customers. Their Powder Blushes are $6, Cream Bushes are $6.50, and Mosaic Powders are $8. The HD Grinding Blush is double the price of their more expensive blush. I’m not worried that NYX is going to change directions and move to mid-tier, but it’s an interesting move.

my thoughts on the formula: The texture of the HD Grinding Blushes is very smooth–definitely finely milled. The colors themselves are a lot less intimidating when applied than they look initially–I did not find that you could quite get the level of intensity as see in the shavings themselves, but you can get close. The softness of the blush powder makes it easy to apply, blend out, and difficult to overdo. On me, it wears around six hours before there is some fading (over liquid foundation, set with loose powder).

Though I haven’t personally tested Smashbox’s Halo powders, the grinding mechanism of NYX’s HD Grinding Blushes reminded me of them. I’m not sure if Smashbox has put out Halo blushes, but they do have the twist ‘n’ shave mechanism for their Perfecting Powders, Perfecting Bronzers, and Color Correcting Powder. It’s neither a pro nor con but more for your reference.

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NYX HD Studio Photogenic Grinding Blush Menage a Trois
B+
Product
9
Pigmentation
10
Texture
9
Longevity
7.5
Application
4
Total
88%