Saturday, July 14, 2018

Urban Decay Backtalk Vice Lipstick Comparisons (plus a quick review of NYX Slip Tease Full Color Lip Oil in Lowkey)

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Urban Decay Backtalk Vice Lipstick and NYX Slip Tease Full Color Lip Oil in Lowkey

Urban Decay's Vice Lipstick in Backtalk, in their Comfort Matte finish, is one of the most popular shades in that huge line. They even made a whole eye and face palette based on it. It's in that dusty pink/mauve/MLBB (my-lips-but-better) family, which is the largest category of lip products in my hoard. Despite its popularity and my personal preference for this type of shade, there's something about Backtalk that's just a little off when I wear it. It's not that it looks bad, exactly, but it also doesn't make my face look better than it did without any lipstick.

I decided to swatch all my lipsticks that are even remotely similar to see if I can pick out any patterns and discern why Backtalk doesn't work for me. And since I was doing that, I figured I might as well post them here for you, in case you want to find/avoid dupes--or in case you can help me answer my question.

Here are the swatches, in no particular order. The first swatch in every photo is always Urban Decay Backtalk.

Swatches of Urban Decay Backtalk, Bite Beauty Pepper, Bite Beauty Matte Crème Lip Crayon in Glacé, BareMinerals GEN NUDE Liquid Lipstick in Swag,  Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Lovesick, Make Up For Ever Artist Rouge Lipstick in Rosewood, Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Fig

1. Urban Decay Backtalk

2. Bite Beauty Pepper (Luminous Creme formula)

3. Bite Beauty Matte Crème Lip Crayon in Glacé

4. BareMinerals GEN NUDE Liquid Lipstick in Swag

5. Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Lovesick

6. Make Up For Ever Artist Rouge Lipstick in Rosewood

7. Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Fig

So of the lipsticks in this selection, besides Backtalk, the only two I don't really like on myself are the KVD Lovesick and Bite Fig. Lovesick is a little cooler, with more pink/purple, than Backtalk, and Fig is much warmer and peachier. (Fortunately Lovesick is also a sample, because since it does that dried-up butthole thing to my lips, I wouldn't want to be stuck with a whole tube. Also, I don't buy Kat Von D products.) I'm not sure I'm seeing a pattern here yet.

Swatches of Urban Decay Backtalk, Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Rhubarb, Maybelline Creamy Matte Lipstick in Touch of Spice, NYX Slip Tease Full Color Lip Oil in Lowkey, Colourpop Lux Lipstick in Angel City, Nars Satin Lip Pencil in Rikugien, Wet N Wild Megalast Lipstick in Rose-bud

1. Urban Decay Backtalk (It's interesting how Backtalk will look different depending on what other swatches you put it next to. The lighting is the same!)

2. Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Rhubarb

3. Maybelline Creamy Matte Lipstick in Touch of Spice (reviewed here)

4. NYX Slip Tease Full Color Lip Oil in Lowkey (which is very, very similar to Touch of Spice--more on this lipstick below!)

5. Colourpop Lux Lipstick in Angel City

6. Nars Satin Lip Pencil in Rikugien

7. Wet N Wild Megalast Lipstick in Rose-bud

Everything here is much warmer than Backtalk, and it all works well for me, so maybe that's something. Rhubarb is slightly blah on me, but I'm guessing it would look great on people who like Revlon Sultry, which is similar to Maybelline Touch of Spice but slightly less flattering on me (review/comparison here).

Side note: has anyone ever come across a dupe for Wet N Wild Rose-bud? I love the color, but the Megalast formula always dries out my lips.

Swatches of Urban Decay Backtalk, L'Oréal Colour Riche La Lacque Lip Pen in Choco-lacque, Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in Rapture, Urban Decay Sheer Revolution Lipstick in Sheer Rapture, Revlon Balm Stain in Honey, Tom Ford Lip Color Matte in Pussycat

1. Urban Decay Backtalk 

2. L'Oréal Colour Riche La Lacque Lip Pen in Choco-lacque (reviewed here)

3. Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in Rapture (discontinued, but available in Vice format)

4. Urban Decay Sheer Revolution Lipstick in Sheer Rapture (discontinued)

5. Revlon Balm Stain in Honey (reviewed here)

6. Tom Ford Lip Color Matte in Pussycat

Pussycat looks closest to Backtalk here, and it's also the one I like least on my face, though slightly better than Backtalk. These two lipsticks are both pretty muted (i.e. they have grey added), so that could be a clue. Rapture looks muted when you consider it alone, but next to Backtalk, it's a bit more saturated.

Swatches of Urban Decay Backtalk, Tarte Tarteist Creamy Matte Lip Paint in Birthday Suit, LA Girl Matte Lipstick in Snuggle, Burt's Bees Lip Crayon in Sedona Sands, Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Thistle

1. Urban Decay Backtalk 

2. Tarte Tarteist Creamy Matte Lip Paint in Birthday Suit (i.e. last year's Sephora birthday gift)

3. LA Girl Matte Lipstick in Snuggle (reviewed here)

4. Burt's Bees Lip Crayon in Sedona Sands

5. Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Thistle

None of the above is particularly similar to Backtalk, so the fact that most of them work for me isn't especially informative. The exception is Birthday Suit, which is an unflattering beige--I think it's the yellow undertones that set it apart from the superficially similar Snuggle. Come to think of it, though, Thistle is both very muted and pretty cool, and I like it a lot on me. Maybe that's because it's more of a statement corpse-lip, rather than just looking accidentally blah. (I'm wearing it in this Instagram pic, though the lighting isn't great.)

You probably want to see what Backtalk actually looks like on me at this point. (Apologies for the grainy photo.)


Like I said, it's not awful, but a great lipstick will light up your face, and a good lipstick will at least be better than nothing.

I'm not sure what I've learned through this process. I need my MLBB lipsticks to be muted, but not too muted, and more brown than grey, maybe. Or more brown than pink? Thoughts? I have definitely learned that I have way too many similar lipsticks (ok, I already knew that), and that weirdly enough I have never reviewed most of these. Any you'd like to know more about?

I'll tell you more right now about one of them. I recently used Ulta points to pick up a lipstick from one of NYX's 700 or so liquid lipstick lines, a newer one called Slip Tease Full Color Lip Oil. It's full color, sure, but having oil in the name is a bit of a red herring. It's not like YSL Tint-In-Oil or most other products called lip oils. It's less drying than most matte liquid lipsticks, sure, but there's nothing that looks or feels oily about it. (There are a few oils halfway down the ingredients list, but a lot of other things come before them.)

Here is Lowkey on my face:


More flattering, wouldn't you agree, than Backtalk? The rest of my makeup is the same, as is the lighting. Here's a lip swatch:


When you see it all alone, it looks like a rosy pink, but in the swatches above (second set), you can see that it definitely has some brown in it when compared to other lipsticks in the same family. The formula is really lovely. It's slightly moussey and thick enough that you can easily and neatly apply it using just the doe foot (not as thick as the Tarte liquid lipstick, though). It's opaque in one coat, but not so pigmented that it risks getting really messy. The finish is demi-matte. It dries down a bit but not completely, so it retains slip and moisture and feels pretty much like a bullet lipstick--yet it doesn't transfer easily. Wear time is about the same as a decent bullet, so you'll probably have to reapply after a meal. Best of all, it doesn't dry my lips out.

This is one of the nicest lipsticks I've tried recently, and probably the nicest liquid lipstick I've ever used. I'd recommend giving it a try if you see a color you like. That's my one complaint: while I love Lowkey (way to be hip to the new slang, kids), none of the other colors really interests me. There's variety, but something about the selection bores me. Bang Bang and Entice might be ok? I think a terracotta orange would be really great in this formula.

I kind of ordered Lowkey blind (you can never trust Ulta's photos for color accuracy), but it ended up working great. It would be nice if I could work out some kind of rules to predict which lipsticks will work best on me. Do you know what works for you when you see it, or do you have to try everything on like I do?

Thursday, July 5, 2018

For Dry Eyes Only: Review of IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Full Coverage Anti-Aging Waterproof Concealer

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Review of IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Full Coverage Anti-Aging Waterproof Concealer

I have a wandering eye when it comes to makeup, and it usually doesn't do me much good. I have a totally reliable, nearly perfect under-eye concealer in the form of Sephora Gel Serum Concealer (reviewed here), and yet . . .

It Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye [insert long name here] is one of those concealers that comes up whenever people ask for recommendations, alongside things like Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer. So I was tempted. I should have known better, since it claims to be waterproof. Things can usually be waterproof or oil-proof, but not both (which makes perfect sense). I do have pretty watery eyes, so a waterproof concealer isn't a bad idea in theory, but my skin also tends to get oilier and oilier as the day goes on. It's almost always more important for my makeup to be able to withstand my oily skin than to resist water.  This concealer just doesn't hold up for me, unfortunately.

It has some great qualities that I'm sure contribute to its popularity. For one thing, it's incredibly pigmented, so that you only need a tiny bit of the thick product to cover the entire under-eye area. For me, this is all it takes for one eye:

Review of IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Full Coverage Anti-Aging Waterproof Concealer

It also blends easily and covers well enough, initially. The packaging, a simple squeeze tube with a very narrow dispenser is great--it will limit the amount of air and bacteria that can get in, but also makes it easy to squeeze out the last few specks. Bye Bye Under Eye only comes in six shades. I chose the lightest, called Light (Very Fair). In makeup lingo, "light" and "very fair" are usually two different things, but sure. Here is a swatch compared to a bunch of other concealers to help you decode that label:

Swatches of IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye in Light; Sephora Gel Serum Concealer in Fondant; Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly; Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer in Sx02; Urban Decay 24/7 Concealer Pencil in CIA; Hard Candy Glamoflauge Concealer in Ultra Light.

From left to right: (1) IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye in Light; (2) Sephora Gel Serum Concealer in Fondant; (3) Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in Chantilly; (4) Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer in Sx02; (5) Urban Decay 24/7 Concealer Pencil in CIA (discontinued); and (6) Hard Candy Glamoflauge Concealer in Ultra Light.

It Cosmetics Light is closest to Nars Chantilly. I found it to be a good match for my skin tone, fortunately, since the shade options were limited. It's probably a closer match than Sephora Fondant, in fact, though the extra warmth of Fondant means it actually does a better job of canceling out my dark circles. The consistency and pigmentation of Bye Bye Undereye is most similar to the Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer, but the IT doesn't have that strong floral/powdery fragrance. (By the way, Hard Candy Ultra Light is the lightest concealer I have ever found, so if you have trouble finding something pale enough for you, it's worth a shot.)

On the downside, I found that Bye Bye Under Eye creased really badly on me and highlighted fine lines and flakiness that I didn't even know were there. I tried various application methods with no improvement. The photo below was taken immediately after application, patted on with my finger over well-moisturized but not primed skin. I'm not wearing any other makeup besides eyebrow pencil. (I forgot to take a before photo, but you can see the bare state of my dark circles here or here.)

Review of IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Full Coverage Anti-Aging Waterproof Concealer

The coverage is good, but the texture isn't ideal, and it's creased a whole lot. Not a huge deal, maybe, because most concealers crease right after I apply them, and I can usually blend a little more after a few minutes to soften the creasing.

Here it is with the rest of my makeup applied, after a little more light blending with a sponge, and setting with No.7 loose powder (reviewed here).


The texture is worse, and instead of the creases smoothing out, the concealer has basically just lifted out of them. It has also already faded quite a bit just in the amount of time it took me to apply the rest of my makeup. Sigh. (As I said, I tried a few different application/blending/setting methods with the same results.)

Besides the lack of a smooth surface, the other big problem, which I mentioned above, is that the oil in my skin just devours this stuff. By the end of the day, there's very little left, except what was caught by those lines and flakes. Lovely.

Review of IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye Full Coverage Anti-Aging Waterproof Concealer

The photo above was taken after about eight hours on not a particularly hot or sweaty day. My skin is what you might euphemistically describe as dewy. Even so, my mascara (Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes) and my eyebrow pencil (Essence Eyebrow Designer Pencil) have stuck around just fine. My dark circles are on major display, though.

To be fair, this is what happens to most concealers on my face. One of the things that impressed me so much about the Sephora Gel Serum (please never discontinue it, please, please, please) was that it was still there at the end of the day. So this problem doesn't necessarily make this concealer worse than all other concealers, just worst than my fave.

Clearly a lot of people out there like this stuff. My guess is that those people do not have oily skin. If you have drier skin and teary eyes, maybe this is great. (Though I would still be concerned that it would highlight flaky skin, to be honest.) But if your skin type is similar to mine, I certainly wouldn't recommend this product. I've already bought another tube of my trusty Sephora concealer, which costs $14 versus IT Cosmetics' $24--though note that the IT tube contains twice as much product, so if you like it and can get through it all before it starts to dry up, it's actually a better value.

If this concealer is your holy grail, I think it would be really helpful for people reading this review if you would comment and let me know what type of skin you have and what you look for in a concealer.

Anyway, lesson learned.

Maybe.

Probably not.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Stuff's on sale

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Happy Canada Day! I'm celebrating by posting about good deals on beauty shit that Canadians will probably not be able to access. Sorry. I hope some day that I will once again be in the land of nearly-free healthcare and inflated makeup prices with you all. Until then, my American friends: here's some consumerism for you.

I've been having some kind of allergic reaction on my eyelids lately, and I'm not sure if it's contact dermatitis caused by a product or if it's environmental. In the meantime, I can't take photos of all the (too many) eyeshadows I've bought recently and have been wanting to review, like the Anastasia Beverly Hill Prism Palette. So while I decide which post further down in my queue to work on, I'm procrastinating by fake online shopping (you know, where you put stuff in your cart and then close the tab) and trying to avoid Twitter (but failing). An excellent use of time. Join me! I'm going to mention an idiosyncratic mix of things that I've used and can recommend and others that I just want.



I bought the aforementioned Anastasia Beverly Hills Prism Palette on sale, but it doesn't seem to be marked down this week. Instead, Subculture is on sale for $21 at Ulta, in case you've been eyeing that one. I've never used it.

Ulta has a bunch of other interesting sales at the moment, and a $3.50 coupon. Their jumbo haircare products are all marked down. That shit lasts forever. Real Techniques brushes are on sale, and I like those. The CoverGirl TruNakes Roses palette is $9 (reviewed here), making it about the same price as Walmart, in case you're not going there. I haven't used the Wet N Wild highlighters, but people seem to like them, and the MegaGlo Palette is marked down to $10 from $15. Revlon's Electric Shock lipsticks look intriguing, but I haven't actually seen swatches of them. Anyone else? They're on sale. I do generally like Revlon lipsticks. Hey, and how about a blue-brown duochrome eyeshadow single from Catrice for $4.50, if you don't want to buy the whole Comfort Zone palette (reviewed here) to get one? That weird jelly highlighter from Almay is also marked down. Has anyone used that thing? I guess it's Almay's attempt to be relevant, and I admit I am sort of curious.

Don't forget to use Ebates for free money. (Details here.)

I'll also remind you that Nordstrom Rack has a beauty section online, where you can sometimes get recently discontinued products for a good price. The Too Face Natural Mattes palette is only $13, for example, and the Chocolate Soleil Bronzer is $10 (old version, I assume?). They also have lots of MAC, Bobbi Brown, NYX, Urban Decay, Bareminerals, Lime Crime, Caudalie, Paula's Choice, etc.

TJ Maxx has beauty online too, and they have some Lipstick Queen, Nars, Clarins, OPI, Boscia, Make Up For Ever, Clé de Peau, Burberry, SK-II, and a bunch of others. And if you buy them online, presumably no one has already stuck their grubby fingers in the product!

Any other good deals out there? Planning to celebrate your country this week (or mourn for it) by indulging in some good, old-fashioned American capitalism?

Monday, June 18, 2018

Floating clown mouth: Review of Colourpop Lux Lipstick in Getty

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It's fun for me to see unconventional hair colors becoming more mainstream. If we have to experience all the terrible things predicted by dystopian fiction, it's a small consolation to also have people walking around with blue and green and purple hair. A very, very small consolation for those of us with the luxury of of being consoled. But despite the fact that every drugstore makeup brand sells blue and green and purple lipstick now, I still rarely see it on people's actual faces in the wild. How much you see it may depend on where you live, but I live in one of the biggest cities in the country, and it's still a rare sight. I'm hoping it'll become less remarkable before it goes out of style, just like it was still unusual to see shimmery blue nail polish in the mid-90s, but now no one bats an eye at it.

Despite my hopes and dreams, not all garish lipsticks are for everyone. Disregarding that truth, I impulsively bought Colourpop's Lux Lipstick in Getty soon after it appeared (well, as impulsive as it is to wait to see how Temptalia reviews it), even though I have a poor track record when it comes to actually wearing odd lipsticks in public. I bought it anyway, because teal is my favorite color--and because I work in museums and currently live in L.A., and it's called Getty. I don't remember ever buying something based on the name before, so it was a weird moment, I guess.

For $7, this is a pretty fantastic teal lipstick. In fact, it would be a fantastic lipstick at any price. It's smooth, pigmented, and comfortable. It feels hydrating. It wears surprisingly well for a green lipstick. If anything, my only minor complaint is with the packaging. While I think the design is stunning, especially the stars on the side of the lipstick bullet itself, in going for that "luxe" impression (not lux, which just means light in Latin), they've made the tube heavier and larger than a typical lipstick. It's made of metal, which explains the weight. But that combined with the size just make it that much more awkward to apply. Here it is compared to a Revlon tube, which is a standard size. The Lux Lipstick is both taller and bigger in diameter.


This is a minor quibble, but being positive all the time makes me queasy. The increased awkwardness is probably only a problem because with a dark, vibrant shade like Getty, precision is that much more important. Here's Getty applied from the bullet, blotted once, and then layered again. A little messy.


Fortunately I have an eyeliner in almost this exact color, so I was able to use that to clean up the edges and get a nicer shape. (Of course Ulta discontinued the shade I used, because it was perfect, but Urban Decay Mainline looks similar). If you're good with a lip brush, I'm sure that would work just as well.


Getty really is a gorgeous lipstick. It has a subtly glossy finish with just enough translucency to give it depth without being at all sheer. And it's a perfect teal, right in the middle of blue and green.

Unfortunately, it's just not my color. Unlike that evil blue lipstick I tried, which looked surprisingly flattering, Getty gives me what I would call floating clown lips (hence the title of the post). It's like someone drew a cartoon mouth and stuck it to my face.


I mean, I don't think it's hideous or anything. But it's not exactly harmonious. Or effortless. Maybe it could work with a more glam or elaborate overall look, but that's not really my style. (Also, this is the best facial expression I could muster? I've been having a bad selfie streak lately.)

Maybe this will just have to be a souvenir of my time in Los Angeles (and a warning against more green lipsticks). I still recommend it for anyone who thinks it might flatter them or who doesn't give a shit about flattery. It's a good lipstick. And teal!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Why am I looking at garbage? (Or: Empties)

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I think empties posts are a little divisive (boring or voyeuristically fascinating?), but I like that they provide mini reviews for products that someone has tested really thoroughly. Plus, for selfish reasons, I like to keep my own record of what I've used in case I want to try/avoid those things in the future.

Makeup empties (photo above) are the rarest of empties, so I don't usually have this many in a single batch. Then again, it's not like I finished a blush or a lipstick or an eyeshadow palette. Mascaras and concealers are much more frequently used up and tossed out.

Left to right above:

L'Oréal Lineur Intense Felt Tip in Earthen Rock Brown: Reviewed briefly here. This was my favorite liquid eyeliner for years and years until it was unfortunately discontinued. I love a brown liquid liner for a more subtle everyday look than black. Right now I'm using Lancôme Artliner in Brown, which is very similar, but much more expensive, of course. I also have the brown version of the Physician's Formula liquid liner (reviewed here in black) waiting in the wings.

YSL Touche Éclat in 2 Luminous Ivory: I got this in a marked-down, now sold-out, Sephora Favorites kit, and I wouldn't have bought it on its own. It makes a decent sheer/casual under-eye concealer and non-shimmery highlight. I just think you can get similar products for a lower price, like Maybelline's. Also, it has a faint lavender scent that might not appeal to everyone.

Sephora Bright Future Gel Serum Concealer in Fondant: Reviewed here. This is the third tube of Gel Serum Concealer I've finished. I used a Swoon wand to scrape out what the doe foot couldn't reach (even after removing the stopper), which gave me at least another good month of use. I recently (stupidly) decided I'd try something new and bought a tube of the IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye concealer. Big mistake. Huge. It must only work for very dry skinned people, because it disappeared from my face in a couple of hours. I've already ordered a new tube of Gel Serum from Sephora. Why mess with perfection?

Wet N Wild Lash Primer: Reviewed here. Not an actual empty, but it had started to smell funky, so I tossed it. Lash primer just doesn't do much for me, so I didn't get through it.

Essence Eyebrow Designer Pencil in Soft Blonde (above): This isn't a true taupe (nor does it claim to be) but it's cooler/taupier than most affordable eyebrow pencils that are actually called "taupe." It's a good texture (i.e. hardness) and color for my brows at the moment, and for $2 I'd forgive a lot (though luckily I don't have to). I'm on my second pencil now. I have a bunch of brow products to review--I should get on that.

Tarte Tarteist Lash Paint mascara (mini): This was a perfectly serviceable mascara. Provided volume and length. Didn't wow me so much that I'd buy it, but it was just fine.

Black Radiance Eyeshadow Primer: Reviewed here. This is a great primer. I didn't completely finish it, but I find that most primers last me so long that they get to the point where they don't perform quite as well as they once did before I finish them. I'm talking well over a year, though, so I'm cool with it.


Look at all this skin care! Let me direct you to previous reviews and be as brief as possible to save all of our sanity.

Starting at the top left:

Palmer's Cocoa Butter Swivel Stick: Reviewed here. I don't even know how many tubes of this I've used up so far! I have another one going now.

CosRx Acne Pimple Master Patches: Reviewed here. I've gone through many of these too.

The Ordinary Azelaic Acid: Reviewed here. A new staple. I'm on my second tube.

Simple Micellar Water: Not the best I've ever used, but usually the cheapest, so I'm using my second bottle of it now.

Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Gel (packet): A decent light moisturizer.

The Ordinary Matrixyl 1-% + HA: I will review this soon, but there's not much more to say than that it was a good hydrating serum. Nothing mind-blowing.

Paula's Choice Calm Redness Relief Serum: Another good hydrating serum, but it didn't help my redness a whole lot. I won't buy it again.

Acure Organics Rosehip Oil: This is kind of cheating, because it was getting old so I dumped it into a bottle of body oil. I've finally come to terms with the fact that even though rosehip oil is nice, it always causes milia around my eyes, so I need to let it go.

Paula's Choice Ultra Light Super Antioxidant Serum: Reviewed here. The tube is full size--I cut it in half to get the last drops out. This hydrating serum is my favorite, but I'm looking at alternatives, because it's too expensive. The e.l.f. essence I reviewed here is serving as a workable replacement at the moment, despite the fact that it's not actually a serum.

Farmacy Honey Savior Salve (packet): If you're into that #sluglife, where you coat your face with a heavy occlusive layer at night to lock in the moisture, this is an excellent option--except that it's very expensive, so you could just get some Vaseline or Aquaphor or CeraVe ointment to serve the same purpose. I like the packets for traveling, though.

Korres Golden Krocus Elixir (mini): An ok hydrating serum, though it has strong fragrance and shimmer in it. I'm way more excited about having a tiny dropper bottle to use for travel than I was about the actual product, to be honest.

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel (mini): Looking for a more affordable replacement for my old favorite Paula's Choice Moisture Gel, but this wasn't quite it, although it did what it said it would do.

Avène Eau Thermal spray (mini): I feel a bit ridiculous for liking this. It's water in a can. Sorry, mineral water in a can. It is awfully refreshing on a hot and sweaty day, though. But like, you could just buy some mineral water and put it in your own spray bottle.

Paula's Choice Skin Recovery Hydrating Treatment Mask: Reviewed here. A great product that I did not finish, because it's huge, and I only needed to use it once every week or two. It was getting old, even for my extremely lax standards, so I decided to let it go. I don't know if I would buy it again, though the price isn't bad compared to other Paula's products.

Peter Thomas Roth Water Drench Cloud Cream: A very nice, light, moisturizing gel that would be a great replacement for Paula's Choice Moisture Gel, except that the full size comes in a jar and is even more expensive than Paula's.

Glamglow Glowstarter: Shimmery pink lotion that smells extremely strongly of creamsicle. I used it on my legs.

Origins Gin-Zing Gel Moisturizer: Got this one for free from Influenster. Again, it's fine, except for the jar and the very strong GoJo industrial orange soap smell. And the price.

Paula's Choice Moisture Boost Cleanser: I really like this cleanser for being effective but not drying, but there are equally good cleansers out there for less money.

Paula's Choice 2% BHA Liquid: I've been using this for over a decade now! My skin is always clearer and happier when I use it. But I recently decided to try the CosRx BHA Liquid instead, because Paula's Choice prices are rising faster than inflation.

That's really the theme here: finishing up the Paula's Choice products that I've relied on for years and trying to find more affordable replacements. When I first started using Paula's Choice, the prices weren't bad at all, even though I had to pay in Canadian dollars. Then I posted my referral link on this blog a few years ago, which tons of people used, so I had enough credits to continue using the brand even while prices crept up. I tried to point out in reviews whether I thought I would still buy something even without a credit. After their referral program ended and prices continued to climb, I'm now at the stage where it's just not feasible for me to buy multiple $30-50 basics each year when there are cheaper options out there. The one thing I haven't yet found a good replacement for, as you can see from the above, is the Moisture Gel. I'm currently using Marcelle's Lumipower moisturizer, which is a gel in a pump, but it's only worth it because I got it in a value set. At full price, it's about the same as Paula's.


Just a few staple hair and body products to finish off the list, and I can conveniently link to this post for reviews of all of them but the perfume! I've used multiple bottles/cans/tubes/jars of each of these. The Chloe and Replica Beach Walk fragrance samples weren't favorites, so I used them as room/closet sprays.

Let me know if you have questions about any of these things! It's always gratifying for me to use things up instead of just hoarding them. But I probably shouldn't pat myself on the back too much until the day you see an empty lipstick in one of these posts.
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