Have you found a way to make a difficult product or shade work for you?

Yes, I’ve definitely found alternative ways to use certain colors/products OR with a certain amount of prep work, a poor performing product can be brought up. I do believe that most products can look good eventually, but whether one should have to do that many steps or use that many additional products is questionable!

— Christine
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Yes, if I’ve spent money on something, I’ll try to make it work. It’s only if nothing makes it perform decently that I’ll return a product, so that’s very rare.
The last product I had to struggle with was Smashbox Skin foundation. The first time I tried it sinked into my pores and lines horribly. I’ve found the right primer and the right application method (brush all over plus sponge to build coverage where needed) to make it work so I’m satisfied with the result now. That being said, I won’t repurchase it because it’s too finicky.

Yes, I have. 2 by the same company: UD. Can we say Vice 3? But over my WnW Fergie Take On The Day Eyeshadow Primer, it works perfectly fine.
The other one takes more tricks than just a great primer, although I love the shades enough to do so when I’m in the mood to deal with that: UD Naked Smoky. Black primer by Hard Candy or my Fergie one with some Nyx JEP in Knight. Plus using sponge-tips (makes me wanna break out and start singing Sponge Bob Square Pants!) per a Sephora MUA’s recommendation.

Yes though in the end I find that it’s not really worth it to go to so much trouble – my pet peeve is dusty or chalky products and I’ll return or donate and just buy a different brand. If I really like a product, I’ll find a way (i.e. Charlotte Tilbury’s Eyes to Mesmerize creams – I use a primer and translucent powder to set) but it’s not often. I’d rather just move on and find a better version.

One of the Charlotte Tilbury products that doesn’t work well for me are the Colour Chameleon pencils. They apply as expected but I find they don’t last very long. I haven’t tried using the one I have with a primer although it’s okay as a liner.

Seriously though, Eyes To Mesmerize is the bane of my existence. I tried so hard to love it. Cleopatra was such a beautiful shade, but it is SO unworkable. God bless you for finding a way to make it work.

I have oily lids, so I’m always tinkering with shadows to figure out how to make them stick and stay vibrant. I have a bunch of primers and cream shadows that I use to make shadows stick, but they can’t stick TOO well, or it can be difficult to blend. Yep, oily lids are the bane of my existence

Yes, particularly with foundations.
sObviously using a primer or different methods of application helps. I do find that a lot of these high spf foundations can be a bit ashy or grey or look dull on my warm complexion. Some foundation oxidize to an unflattering orange shade. I bought 2 color additives from a Brazilian makeup company – one is a warm ochre yellow & the other is a pale lavender with a slight shimmer. I can usually warm up an ashy grey foundation with the ochre yellow or cool down an orange foundation with the lavender. The lavender color additive can also boost the glow factor in a dull looking foundation.

There are a lot of lipstick that are too ruddy or brown for my coloring, I find if I mix another lipstick that’s a bright pink with these unflattering shades they are wearable.

NYX shadow stick in milk as a primer turns even the worst quality shadows bendable and long lasting. Once slept in my eye makeup (not as bad as it sounds because I often skip mascara if I’m using gold shadow) , and had used it with the sleek Arabian nights pallet, still looked exactly the same after 24 hours.

No. There are too many good products on the market to fuss with difficult products. I usually return if it’s really bad or try to pass it along to my friends or family if it’s just not my personal preference or if it’s the wrong color for me.

The only time I can actually be bothered to do this is when I lighten or darken a foundation shade. With most other stuff, I just don’t have the patience to work with it until it works and end up not using it.

Most of the time, I can’t be bothered. One example – really pink eyeshadow (TF Totally Fetch, for example). I honestly have no interest in “making it work” as an eyeshadow. Pink shadow may look fine on others – I’ve seen it looking very pretty on people with different colouring from mine – but I honestly don’t even want to “make it work” as I dislike the look on me, whether I tone it down or use it as an accent, etc. (though I have used it as a blush now and then). Similarly, peach and coral lipsticks look ugly on me, so making them work defeats the purpose of why I wear makeup. If I end up with a product like that and can do it (i.e. not having to depot or otherwise disassemble a palette, etc.), I simply give it to a friend it looks better on. To me, makeup is generally about enjoyment, not struggle.

I’ve done that, too. MAC Azalea blush was the last one I had to do that with. I hated breaking the beautiful ombre look of the pan, but it was so hard pressed it was unusable. Now it’s a unique lavender shade I can use on cheeks or eyes.

Such a timely question for me: Just last night I was looking at turquoises and blues and bright purple and pink that I have in my Make Up For Ever 15 Artist Shadow Palette and Artist Palette vol. 2. I was swatching them and thinking that though they’re not my thing, they are lovely and I should try to see if I can become better acquainted with them. I don’t think I’m interested in pulling off much bolder looks, more in how to integrate them into my current makeup looks. I’m comfortable with simple to bold looks in neutrals of all kinds and reds, in red purples and bluer purples. I think I’m weirdly paralyzed when it comes to turquoise and blue in particular. In fact I’d love some advice!

As an eyeliner, whether upper or lower! You could also try a white-based blue shade (think more of like a pale blue or white with an iridescent blue sheen) to work in the blues/teals initially.

Thanks for the issue and advice! I have a blue-ish MAC eye shadow Club Satin (I think) that I want to love but don’t because I have forgotten to apply white shadow under it. I would never think to use it as an eye liner like I do if it was a black or brown shade.

Yes, but it is a double edged sword of sorts…

Sometimes I will buy a somewhat inferior product for its uniqueness in colour and I will work with it through a few wears to figure out how to improve (usually finding the right base product or the right brush or the right application technique).

The problem: after determining a product requires extra work or planning to use and wear, I invariably reach for a product which is less difficult. They essentially ends up unused. I am human. I get lazy. 🙁

I do have two favourite difficult products and both are Chanel products in pencil form and both have application issues but I suffer through because the colours are so spot on for bringing out my eye colour: Le Stylo Waterproof in Grenat and Le Crayon Kohl in Rouge Noir.

Sorry you have problems with Le crayon Khol in rouge noir. That pencil is a favorite for me. The color is so pretty. Unlike others it does not bother me and I don’t struggle at all! Angels singing moment. I wish you had an easier time!

Hey Joy: It’s a fabulous colour for bringing out the green in my eyes and when I apply it, I have that very same Angels singing moment (amazing what just the right shade can do). The crux: t’s tricky for my top lashline and gravitates to my crease (or should I say hood). I still wear it frequently but need to lay powder eyeshadow on top (I use the bordeaux coloured eyeshadow in the quad from the same collection), but that changes the shade every so slightly. Still, I rock it out on the bottom lashline without issue.

Hi Wwendy! It ounds beautiful! I’m happy you’re rocking it! Angels do sing! The better formulated and better tinted color of Prunella.. Flatter city! Have you tried layering with the IDO in Rouge Noir along with the color from the palette? Fingers crossed it would make it bulletproof for you! 🙂

If it is an expensive product, I will find a way, but if it is an expensive product, I shouldn’t have to. Sometimes things grow on me, if i set them aside for long enough, I sometimes change my mind about them.

Yes! My favorite thing to do when I play with my stash. I play with my lipstick stash trying to make new colors mixing the ones that I feel doesn’t quite suit me, Sometimes I find very nice new colors. I also love how I learn to mix textures, like a matte lipstick with a creamy one, makes a nice effect or even last longer.

Difficult product, no — I tend to get frustrated and get rid of it. Difficult colors I layer. I have deliberately purchased products (blushes especially, also cream eyeshadows to use as bases) that don’t work on their own on me, but that I knew would make an interesting layered effect. Sometimes I can make something work as a small accent (I’m thinking specifically eyes).

I bought the NYX Invincible foundation in Ivory but it was so orange in tone and darker than my skin. At the time, it never occurred to me to buy a new foundation instead and by golly, I was gonna make it work. It took banana powder, daily moisturizer, and a super yellow concealer mixed in with it to make the color work. Then it started clinging to all of my dry patches and I gave up on that endeavor–I definitely didn’t find it worth it to put in that much effort!

Yes. I’ve had to spend more time than I would prefer. Lesson learned. My answer is basically like what Christine said. I’m pretty sure she makes things work so much more often than anyone should though! She pulls it off too! Without any tell tale signs of a struggle. That’s a talent! What gets me is when I’m excited to use X products and plan it but then they are a completely different color on and they won’t blend out or mix well with others! So frustrating. I go in with the opposite tone to even out the color and then just add a bit of blush on the way opposite end and some glimmer over the eyes after neutralized. Too many layers feel gross. A well chosen lip color helps very much! Everyday I fear this. Haha! ?

I’ve done this a few times and always feel it’s worth the effort. Still haven’t figured out how to prevent Cinderhella from Lunatik Cosmetic Labs from staining my lips, though. Anyone got a tip for me?

The UD waterline pencil works great if you let it set by holding your lid away from the eye. It’s very gentle which is a huge plus since I wear contacts. When I do this it lasts all day for me. If it’s humid, sometimes I’ll also set it with some black matte shadow, but I don’t often take this extra step.

Have you tried putting a lip primer, a clear lipliner, or a little foundation or concealer over your lips before applying Cinderhella? I don’t have that lipstick, but I own lot of staining bright pinks and reds, and those help. As far as removal, I find bhCosmetics Eye & Lip Makeup Remover will take off any stain. I’ve heard coconut oil works great, too, but have not tried it.

I have tried all three with Ozone from Urban Decay lightening the color of the stain but not how long it sticks around.

Even coconut oil didn’t work for me on removal but I’ll have to try and find the BH Cosmetics remover.

There are just so many wonderful products available that suit me perfectly, I can’t justify going to a lot of trouble to make something work. I’ll make a bit of effort if it is something I really love, but in general, if the product is flawed, I’ll return it. If the product isn’t compatible with my skin, coloring, or features, I’ll sanitize it and find a new home for it. “Make it work!” might be a great motto for Tim Gunn when he’s trying to get his designers to work with a problem, but when it comes to makeup, I can’t see the point to it.

I bought Guerlain les Fumes quad because I loved it in store. At home, the pinky taupe was awful on my warm skin. I was about to give up when I tried MAC Girly instead. Works beautifully now. Defeats the purpose of a quad, but for the price point, I can do this.

Depends. If I really like the formula but the color is just a bit off (say in a foundation), I will try to make it work. I am a bit more forgiving with eye shadows. I will attempt to use sponges or apply wet to get a more sheer formula to show up more intense.

If it’s something I have invested some money in, and just isn’t working like promised I will return it. There are too many other products I would like to try out than to fuss around with something I spent good money on that just isn’t working.

I’m not really into struggling with difficult products. I would rather use something that’s a joy to work with. But I do love colors and like to be able to wear them all. Yellows and oranges are the most challenging for me to wear. Today I wore a bit of bright yellow because it was in a printed scarf with black, white, silvery gray, royal purple, and jade green, all colors that work well for me. Oddly, the best way for me to wear yellow or orange makeup is to go over the top and do a dramatic look, like a sunset eye with yellow, orange, and red (all eyeshadow colors I usually avoid because they’re not very flattering for me) with bronzer instead of blush and a warm pink lip. It looks dramatic on me with my cool undertones, but, since it’s all unified, it works. Trying to sneak in just a little yellow or orange just looks out of place on my face, except for some coral lip colors that have a lot of pink or red in them. Those look good on me for some reason. Or a bit of light, icy yellow or gold on the inner part of my mobile lid, with olive green or purple on the outer part. That works, too.

Usually with questionable lip colors I have been able to mix them with something else and make them work, and sometimes finding a new favorite. Same with blush, and eyeshadow. Only once did I have to return a lipstick because nothing in my bag of tricks made it feasible.

Yes, I have for some. Some eyeshadows just need a primer, glitter glue primer, or a sticky base (like Color Tattoos or Nyx Eye Shadow Bases). I usually repurpose a too dark and/or warm bronzer shade in a palette as an eyeshadow. Powder eyeshadows and blushes that are hard to blend work better over primer and setting powder. Patchy or too light lipstick goes over a lipliner. Unflattering lip colors can be tweaked by mixing with lipliners and other lip colors. Sometimes I can fix a foundation that oxidizes by using primer and/or setting powder underneath. I can mix with Manic Panic Dreamtone in Virgin to lighten too dark foundation.

I don’t mind a little work, but if I product requires too much playing with and cost a lot, I return it. Fortunately, that doesn’t happen often. If it’s inexpensive, I donate it. Maybe it’ll work better for someone else, as my skin is oily and often makes products tricky.

No I haven’t, mainly because I just don’t use the eye shadow colours that don’t suit me eg blacks, pinks, oranges and whites. And I only buy products when I have read the reviews first to see how good or not they are. I never went in for the contouring fad because I wasn’t sure whether I needed it or whether I would end up looking like a clown.
The other problem I used to have was with foundations turning brownish/orange on me. I didn’t know why until I read up about the undertones (I am pink) on the web.

I was ready to give up on Colourpop’s eye shadows because I wasn’t a fan of applying them with my fingers and they didn’t apply well with the brushes I primarily use. I happened to try the brush that comes with the UD Naked palette, and it worked like magic! I never liked that brush for anything else, so it’s a win-win.

Also, I somehow seem better at working with the muted shades in Tarte’s Bon Voyage palette…I think certain color combinations and primers help..otherwise, they look very muddled on me.

When I started to contour and wear bronzer, the application sometimes looked muddy. I realized that the problem was with my foundation color. Once I realized this, I mixed foundation shades, particulaly in the winter or when I need fuller coverage.

Am still working on the gel liner, in the pot or in a pencil. Have tried different products and brushes. What works for me is using a push liner and discovering, via recommendation, a Chanel liner that works perfectly for me (as does liquid liner).

Not a huge revelation, but I find deep pink or red eye shadows make me look like I have bloodshot eyes. I use them as blush when I find them in a palette. Makes for a convenient travel palette.

I also tone down bright eyeliners with black liner as a base or black shadow layered over colourful gel or pencil.

I’m really struggling with my foundations :/ all of them are different to my neck area, so I’ve got to cover them with my MAC Natural Skinfinish. But now I find the MAC natural Skinfinish to darken my skin so much :/ now I’m back to the struggling life! 🙁

It depends. I can almost never find a foundation shade that’s right for me. I have fair olive skin (yeah! the least catered for in the MU world). But there’s quite bit of redness in my face. So even if the shade is spot on (rare), my face still ends up looking a bit… peachy(?). Just different from my neck. I finally found the solution. I use a green primer underneath (or sometimes mixed in with the foundation). I can’t believe it took like 20 years to finally find this solution. Not that there were so many green primers or correctors before. 🙂
But there are many products that I end up giving to my MIL. 🙂 I have no patience for certain things, like NARS Sheer Glow. I took ages trying to make it work, to not look dry on my cheeks and oily on T-zone. Every method under the sun. Because finally the shade Gobi was right for me! But no. Looked awful on me texture wise.
Or Benefit Hoola. It was my fault. Bought into the hype. Wrong shade, too orange and dark for me, and didn’t like that it was hard to blend. Or a Bourjois Velvet Rouge or something liquid lipstick. Wrong shade, awful texture. Didn’t try it many times before giving it away. (Yes, to my MIL, LOL.)

I’m learning how to just return stuff when it doesn’t work well as opposed to let it sit and collect dust when I’m too frustrated with it, or donate it and lose the money. Time is money now, so I’m trying to save more of it for the good stuff I actually enjoy!!!

I do this so often it’s not even funny. Most recently, I did it with my M.A.C. Chromagraphic Pencil in Pure White. I wanted to use it for my waterline (I had seen everyone use M.A.C. Fascinating, and I thought I was going to be smarter than everyone and get their more pigmented pencils. Too bad the texture won’t stay on my eyeline, and when I apply it, whether with a brush or the pencil itself, my eyes water.) I was so miffed at spending 16.5 bucks on something I was never going to use for anything else. Then, I realized, I can use it to clean up underneath my eyebrow (I use a nude pencil for the top — don’t worry!) so, that’s something at least. I’ve had foundations that don’t work on my face, but work excellently as an eye base. I used to kick myself for buying Kryolan Dermacolor. This stuff is like cement — But then I figured out how to use it: I had been using the wrong tool, and I wasn’t warming it up the way I should have, so I was using more product than necessary, which made my face feel heavy and cakey, which made me never want to use it again. Your first experience with a product can be so hellish that you don’t WANT to give it another try, but trust me — sometimes, it’s worth it!

Yes, I love tweaking around my products! Recently I found out that layering two shades of eyeshadow (that I couldn’t find any use for) creates a beautiful look that really suits me and that I can wear often. The same goes for lip color (I use a very pigmented, bold color as a subtle stain on the lips). But if I ‘ve tried and I can’t make it work (I find blue shades hard to work with) I sell the product or give it away to a friend.

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