I must admit, I was not really in an adventuresome mood. I went in for liquid liner and dark brown eyeshadow, and of course, as I am wont to do, ended up straying a good amount from this path and into the unknown. Instead, I picked up L'Oreal HiP Studio Secrets Professional Crystal Shadow Duo in Darling (details), L'Oreal HiP Color Rich Cream Eyeliner in brown (details), Maybelline Lasting Drama by EyeStudio Gel Eyeliner in Blackest Black (details), and Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer in Rhubarb (details). All of these cost close to what one or two similar product would at Sephora or MAC - for twice the goods, how can you go wrong?! For this review, I'm going to focus mainly on the Maybelline gel eyeliner and the L'Oreal cream eyeliner, which I found to be the most interesting products in the purchase, though the others are included in some of the pictures.
First up was the gel eyeliner. This was what I was most intrigued about. I love eyeliner - if I chose one product to wear every single day, it would probably be eyeliner. It's like painting... on your face! But seriously, I feel like eyeliner is one of the most versatile, impactful parts of a look, and once you get a few techniques down, it's one simple tool that you can use in many different ways. On this evening, I was practicing a dolly-kei look to model for Martha's NYAF panel Out of the Woods (pictures and write-up here!); since I was going for a dark, dramatic look, I did something of a cat-eye.
This is dusted with a bit of the crystal eyeshadow, as well - the brown on the outer corner, the cream on the inner. It also has a slight, understated shimmer which the light caught a bit on the bottom corner! As you can see, the line is dark and smooth, with few inconsistencies. The brush's shape struck me as odd at first, as I'm used to a sharply angled brush and this one was smooth and round. I don't know the science behind this shape, and I don't have to - all I know is that it works beautifully. It was incredibly easy to apply and a cinch to layer - the brush by nature draws a very thin line, so it gives you more control with the shape and thickness of the line. I also love how crisp it looks - if you're more of a blender, I recommend applying a bit of pencil liner over the gel and blending (My rec? Maybelline Define-A-Line).
The liner from afar (also, the lip shimmer makes an appearance!):
Then, I moved onto the cream shadow. This one I was less-than-pleased with. The brush, for some reason, just did not sit in my hand right- it was awkward to use and, despite the thin shape, came out looking bulky and clumsy. Next time, I'll try my own liner brush and see how I feel, but I really think this one is destined to the Make-up Bag of No Return (the one shoved in the back of my closet).
See? I mean, there's nothing really wrong with it, something is just a touch... off. This may just be a question of personal preference, though - you may love it, and it's definitely a cool product to try out if you get the chance. I tried to camouflage it by adding some more of the crystal shadow, which I rather like - I'm unsurprised at this, as I also own the same product in black/silver (which I couldn't find online) and it's definitely my favorite eyeshadow I've tried (or at least up there!). I liked how layerable this was as well- it's easy to go light on this for a subtle shimmer, or dark and bold for a more dolly-appropriate look.
Here's another shot of the finished look:
Overall, I'm rather satisfied with my purchases. I've used all of these a few times since, and all I have to add is - Burt's Bees, what gives? The lip shimmer looks perfect here, but any time I've used it since the color looks much more awkward with my skin tone. Lighting, maybe? It's definitely still a joy to use - it's more of a lip balm than a lipstick, and it has peppermint extract in it, which isdeliciously tingly and smells lovely (no taste, though, so for the most part it stays on my lips and not my tongue). It's great to slap on before heading out in the brisk fall breeze (it seems like as soon as the temperature drops below 60F, my lips just instantly chap and remain that way until spring), but I think I'd chose something else for, say, a photoshoot or date night. However, the rest of these products are, as demonstarted, very versatile and can be used for everything from a meet-up to coffee with your S.O. - you should definitely go pick them up ASAP!
(Speaking of dates- and I just CANNOT keep this to myself, as anyone who's friends with me on Facebook knows - Stefan and I are making preparations for our most epic date ever: a week in Tokyo over spring break!! Nihon I've missed you sooooo~~~ ;;;o;;; look forward to a full write-up as well as planning tips, etc.!)