All Aboard The MOTHERSHIP

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Pat McGrath decided to stop playing with everyone’s emotions with the Limited Edition frenzy, and release a collection that will be available forever and ever. The UNLIMITED EDITION features three very expensive eyeshadow palettes, a collection of matte and satin lipsticks, eye pencils and lip pencils.

What’s interesting about this new collection is that if you’ve experienced any of the other collections, you’ll find major similarities with the new stuff. So, that means if you weren’t crazy about what was on the INSIDE of the collections (she’s gotten the memo about the heinous cheap packaging of collections past)… then save your money. But if you were mothership2blown away by the quality and performance of the other items, this is worth your time.

We’ll start with the small stuff first, because it packs a hell of a punch. I got two permagel ultra lip pencils (at discount, thanks to awesome human Talinda P.) in Ground Control (cool dark brown) and Manhattan (warm brick brown). The formula is STUNNING. They are gel pencils, so they glide on like silk (beware the unsteady hand) and stay put. I actually had a bit of a struggle trying to get them off.

I got these pencils to compliment what I knew would be a hot ass ashy ass mess in Donatella and (unbeknownst to me at the time) LaBeija. The Luxe Trance colors are part of the SS18 Milan set, and I wanted LaBeija and the palette… so I figured I could color correct Donatella and get Lavish for free (savings for the set is the cost of one lipstick)

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From the left: Donatella, LaBeija, Lavish and Unnatural Natural.

Don’t be fooled by the depth of color in the first two. They look dark in person too. But they swatch much lighter. Lavish is a boring shade of rose and Unnatural Natural is a gorgeous rich mahogany.

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I do like LaBeija, but it needs some warming. A couple of hits of Manhattan and it’s just lovely and warm like the swatch. Donatella is right up there with MAC Pink Friday in ‘thou dost try too damn hard.’ I need everyone to do better.

The SS18 Milan Set also includes the Permagel Eye Pencil in Black Coffee, a standard dark cool brown. Really nice formula… but not unlike Urban Decay or Giorgio Armani. Solid application and excellent staying power. But if you have the other two… skip.

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Now to the big fish, the Mothership II Palette in Sublime. Here’s the thing. This is an eyeshadow palette. It’s not a life changing set of formulas that will make you abandon all else in makeup. It’s a 10-pan (which is kind of rude for $125. We should have gotten 12) collection of mattes, shimmers and glitters. Refer to my first disclaimer. If you’re familiar with collections past in terms of finish and quality, this is not different. The shimmers are identical to the Dark Star and MetalMorphosis. The glitters identical in formula to the Phantom Collection. These are just pressed into an eyeshadow palette. The mattes are new, and they are exquisite. But they are not superior to the likes of Urban Decay and Natasha Denona. They are about on par.

That’s not why you pony up for this palette.

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The packaging is freaking ridiculous in the best kind of way. This box with the toggle closure was probably the very reason Pat went for this across the board. It doesn’t really work for any of the pencils. It looks messy and rudimentary. It works a little for the lipsticks, but there’s a lot of extra rigamoro that that gets in the way of the actual product. But for palette, it works stunningly well. This palette is less of a must have and more of a collector’s item.

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The case is hard black lacquer plastic, and the icons on top are imbedded (versus simply painted on). It has a magnetic closure and a beveled mirror that really rounds out the entire shape and scope of this palette. It’s stunning. I feel like Pat heard us complaining about her packaging and wanted to shut us the hell up. Well, she did.

I admit that when I first received this palette, I immediately wanted the other two. But then I came to my senses because as stunning as this palette is, the insides are great, but not exceptional. I chose Sublime for practicality. Subliminal is plain and boring, and Subversive is not practical for me. I have all of those colors from other brands, and I barely use them. But Sublime is a palette that I’ll reach for over and over again, therefore making it a worthy investment.

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The colors are rich and for the most part, buttery soft. The two shimmers on the far right of both swatch lists are scratchy and full of glitter. They are more suited to enhancements and better applied with a finger. Kind of like a ‘pop’ shade in Charlotte Tilbury’s shadow palettes or Tom Ford’s version.

In all, I’m happy with my haul. I will use everything in it without a problem. Gone are the days when I pony up for crazy colors and formulations just for the sake of having them. I even took my time with this (buying in pieces after the dust settled) because these days it’s more about using the makeup, versus simply collecting it.

If you’re looking for something to get from the UNLIMITED EDITION, I suggest the eye or lip pencils, and a palette with colors that you will actually use. I’ve found that the LuxeTrance lipsticks aren’t really earth shattering. The MatteTrance, on the other hand, kind of are. But that’s another post.

Ciao for now!

 

 

Falling Out over FENTY Beauty

Yo.

Make some room on that bandwagon… because I’m jumping on board! Rihanna shook up the makeup world with the recent release of FENTY Beauty, and rightfully so. We’ve been stuck in a rut of companies biting off each other (seen one matte liquid lipstick… blah, blah, blah). And one of the most IMPORTANT things Miss Riri did is address the dark-skinned elephant in the room.

All you other makeup companies ain’t gonna worry her.

FENTY released 40… read it… 40 FOUNDATION SHADES. Now most of you know I have been bowing at the altar of DECIEM for this very reason, but the problem with that company is that it is mostly online, so you have to guess at your color. Rihanna upped the ante by releasing FENTY Beauty in every.single.sephora.location. Yep. So no more traipsing across the universe to the one Sephora location in your area with the prayer that they might actually have your shade. The flagship Sephora (Hollywood & Highland) was absolutely picked over in the foundation department. I watched as DROVES of women came in waves one after another, and made a beeline for that display! Everyone was trying to get their hands on something from this brand at any cost. I literally snatched 350 and another color for a client just as a woman was reaching for them. Yes, I know I should be shamed. But I’m not. The sales associate says they get shipments regularly, but the darker shades always sell out within a day or two of being re-stocked.

The whole shade war is a conversation all on its own. Every store has been selling out of the medium and darker shades at record speed. And good luck trying to get it online. Same problem. It’s such a lovely middle finger to all of those makeup companies (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE) who refused to offer foundations in darker shades because of the claim that they wouldn’t sell. No worries mofos. Beauties would rather give their hard-earned cash to Rihanna anyway. Win/Win. You don’t want them. They don’t want you. Everybody’s happy. Good luck on that bottom line.

I personally waited to really test this foundation. Everything is amazing out the gate, right? We get shiny new stuff and immediately rush to Instragram to declare our love for it. We also struggle to be first, and that can sometimes backfire. Age and experience has caused me to take my time. Hell…. I’m STILL working through the Pat McGrath lippies. But now that I’ve tried FENTY Beauty over the course of about 2 weeks… here are my thoughts.

For me, these are the superstars of the collection. The contour and highlight sticks perform on par with the likes of Burberry, so the quality is good. I just don’t care for them because I don’t use them. The highlighters are a cross between Becca (the duos) and Jeffree Starr (the glitter singles). They are easily dupeable, so unless you just want the FENTY versions, you can find dupes in many other brands.

Let’s talk about this foundation.

This is 350, which is perfect for my Summer skin. I also have 330 for winter. Both have yellow/golden undertones (although 350 claims neutral), which suit me perfectly. The formula itself is on the dry side, with medium full coverage. DRY SKIN TYPES TAKE NOTE. This foundation might actually enhance dry patches on your face. Moisturize for your life before hand. Oily skins will love this formula because it really hugs the face without sitting on the skin and forcing oil glands to produce. It sets in about 10 seconds and adjusts color in about five minutes. It does not oxidize. Those of you who are complaining about that DO NOT HAVE YOUR PROPER COLOR. The color does ‘settle’ over about 5  minutes though. It doesn’t go darker (which is what would happen to oxidization), it shifts the undertones. For example, 350 is supposed to be for tan skin with neutral undertones, but it immediately grabs my yellow undertones and settles beautifully on my skin after about 5 minutes. Because I’m dark enough to pull the ‘tan’ shade, the neutral undertone doesn’t go ashy on my yellow undertones, but instead balances out.

330, which is REALLY yellow, really brightens my skin by targeting just my undertones. But it’s too light at my jawline right now, so as soon as the clouds roll in for winter, it’ll be a better match.

In terms of user-friendliness… Y’ALL. I find this foundation a DREAM to apply with fingers. Honestly, beauty blenders (even that sponge which is absolutely on par in terms of quality with a BB) and brushes are a great way to waste foundation. You need SUCH a little bit to get the job done. I recommend starting with a quarter pump and working your way up as you need it. I can use a quarter pump on my whole face. The formula blends so fast and so easily, you can slap this on in the back of a car (or a dimly lit club bathroom… you know who you are) and be good. I had no issue putting it on in a hurry and going on about my life. I also found that I really don’t need powder on top of it (remember what I said about it being friendly to oilier skins). It’s fine to touch up or blot, but this formula sets so well that it’s not a necessary step.

FENTY keeps the idea of ‘universal beauty’ with the Lip Gloss in FENTY. There is one color that’s supposed to be universally flattering. It appears to be a gorgeous dark bronze shade on lighter skin tones. On me its a shimmery rich bronze/nude. I really like it.

Notable misses with this collection are the blotting powder (FLASHBACK ALERT), and the highlighter in Metal Moon. The payoff on the latter is awful. The other highlighter reminds me so much of the Gold 001 from Pat McGrath that it was a total pass for me. I also don’t care for the brushes (but I’m a brush snob so there’s that), and until someone makes a better primer than the By Terry CC Cream (high end) or Too Faced Hangover RX (low end), I’d be hard pressed to get a new one.

Overall, this launch is a triumph. Rihanna did the damn thing, and she deserves every ounce of praise that comes her way regarding FENTY Beauty. Color this old makeup snob thoroughly impressed.

Ordinary Colours: Serum & Coverage Foundations

Okay, I’m trying to get back into the swing of blogging things…

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I’ve been using The Ordinary Colors for a few weeks now. Both the serum and the coverage foundation are excellent, but for opposite reasons.

The Serum Foundation behaves more like a matte foundation, at least on me. It goes on and sets almost immediately, and has a powdery finish. I found that it took all of the moisture out of my skin, which is fine for my oil slick of a face… but I can see it being problematic for dry skin types.

I don’t know why they call it a serum foundation, honestly. It has all of the properties and the coverage of a matte coverage foundation. Sometimes I think they got my bottles mixed up and I ended up with mislabeled formulas.

In contrast, the Coverage Foundation has the most natural finish that I’ve experienced to date. It is thinner and definitely more ‘serum’ like than the serum foundation. It’s also about a quarter shade darker. Both the colors I got were 3.0Y which are a dead ringer for my skin shade.

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The serum foundation is on the left… the coverage on the right. Now you can see that the serum is a little ‘runny.’ Don’t let that deceive you. When it sets, it goes full coverage and matte.

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What I love about both foundations is that they literally become part of your skin. I’ve been using them in comparison to other foundations and I remain thoroughly impressed. I tested them against the Bobbi Brown Serum Foundation and The Ordinary Coverage Foundation won hands down. Beyond performance, the price point is insane at less than $7 a bottle. There’s no reason to miss your match; if you end up with the wrong shade… you can just trade it out for a more suitable color.

I’m still going through all of the offerings from DECIEM. I am over the moon about the colours (reviews coming on the Photography Foundation) and I’m okay with some of the skin care. I’m partial to NIOD because it’s a little more involved than some of the other lines. I also love the STEMM line (Black Fulvic rocks!) and the Hydration Support from HIF (hair is fabric).

This brand set out to turn the cosmetic industry on its head, and I dare say it’s succeeding. Despite the most hilarious cautious reviews from some bloggers and vloggers who are beholden to other companies (you know who you are), the vast majority of people who try DECIEM offerings have nothing but glowing praise. The products are designed to work. They don’t look fancy and they don’t make claims beyond what the products are specifically designed to do (save for HIF… I don’t know what greasy-haired person they designed that stuff for, because I CANNOT wash and go. I need a separate conditioner). Overall, I really like this brand. I like their mission statement and the price point is beyond agreeable. For me… so far, so very good.

 

PHAME 2017

Hey!

Yeah, I know. And I won’t get into the massive sweep of changes that is my life. But trust and believe it’s taken a moment to get grounded and get back online in a significant way. This weekend was PHAME. I need to know what’s going on because a lot of stuff at this convention you can easily find in your neighborhood ULTA and/or Sephora. Not much more. PLUS, I see that it’s open to the public now. I guess IMATS killed the game with letting in every person on earth with a YouTube channel and PHAME had to get on board. No matter. It was still pretty dead. Maybe the era of the makeup expo is taking a turn. I did manage some curiosity for Moira Cosmetics, which appears to be a Korean brand based in LA. Price point is IMG_2100gorgeous (of note since I’ve been in a serious relationship with DECIEM of late). So we’ll see what’s what. I picked up mostly skin care to check out for AGENDA, and a blush palette for myself and a contour palette for my sister.

This was my PHAME face. There are plenty of pros who will give you guys all kinds of complicated Instagram face. Y’all know I am not the one. On me is Gleam Melanie Mills in Peach Delux and The Ordinary Coverage Foundation in 3.0Y (which is my dead on shade… like it was made for me!). Natasha Denona Duo Glow in Alba is on my cheeks and eyes, and Sugarpill Trinket is on my lips… also lined with Louboutin Lip Liner in Safki. That’s some random dark brown liquid eyeliner that came in a random press kit (seriously, there’s no label on it but it works perfectly for me) and Louboutin mascara.

 

As you can see, mostly the usual suspects. I said hi and gave some hugs, and as I’m sitting here typing this and looking at that picture of Dose of Colors, I’m wondering HOW THE HECK I FORGOT TO GET CAMPFIRE LIQUID LIPSTICK FOR THE MILLIONTH TIME????? Ugh. I forget it at Naimies, at PHAME… hell, I forgot it at IMATS. Whatever. Maybe it’s not meant for me to have.

 

I sincerely love Crimes Of Beauty. Ever since I met the owner years ago, I am here for her apparel and makeup bags. Once upon a time, she had a mug that said Wake Up. Slay. And I neglected to get it and regretted it. Now she’s got sweats that say it so you KNOW I had to do it this time!

 

Yeah.

I picked up a few things… nothing major. Mostly stuff for review and a few goodies for my baby sister…

 

All in all, not too shabby. I HAD to support Miss Melanie Mills of Gleam, because she’s just the most awesome. Same for Crimes Of Beauty. I love those women… always a smile, a funky pose, a hug and genuine love. We need more of that the world over.

Stellar Limitless Foundation & Concealer

A lovely person on Instagram requested this review, so here it is! I’ve been testing the Stellar Limitless Foundation and Limitless Concealer, with amazing results.

First things first: I let Sephora pick the color for me. I was kind of stressed about it… I cannot lie. You know some folks will either have you looking burnt or grey. Depends on the day and the lighting (and the level of cluelessness). Anyway, they picked s11 for my foundation and s03 for my concealer. When they arrived in the  mail I instantly yelled TOO LIGHT! But look what happened:

Right.

Stellar was created with the ‘in between shades’ in mind. You know who we are:  not too light, not too dark, not too red, not too pink… just somewhere in the middle and yellow, orange and olive all to be damned. While it’s easy to cheat a standard foundation or concealer with a color corrector, who wants to do that all the time? Not me. So I’ve been super excited about this.

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Finish wise, this is radiant. Not slap-your-momma-disco-ball radiant, but it does leave a ‘glow’ on your face. But that has nothing to do with the formula, which is kind of on the dry side. I like it because of my oily skin, but I don’t know about the ‘cling’ factor on a drier skin. The coverage is light to light/medium. I had to go over problem areas with the concealer, which is a DREAM. It’s opaque and creamy and a little goes a long way. Plus it doesn’t crease or flake.

I also go the blush in Eclipse…

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…but I forgot to do a swatch. SMH. It’s more golden peach than pink (no matter what it looks like in the pan), and will work as a highlighter on anyone darker than me. The finish is not super shiny, which I like. Pigment is ‘medium’ … so you might need to build it a bit for a good color payoff.

Overall, I really like these. I’ve been reaching for the foundation and concealer daily for about two weeks, so I definitely use them. If you’ve purchased base makeup from Sephora before, maybe trust them to pick your color for you (if your habits are in the system). And if they screw it up, no worries… you know you can always walk in the return. 🙂

Troy Surrat Surreal Foundation

I’ve been messing with the Troy Surrat Surreal Foundation for about a week, and I am so frustrated. This foundation is good… no, excellent. It really is. It imitates skin without any weight, and goes from sheer to medium (not full. NOT full) effortlessly. A blemish-free canvas is key for this foundation because it does have the tendency to cling. It blurs, but not in any crazy significant way. What makes it amazing is the fact that it really looks like skin, and it is really weightless. I love it for these reasons.

HOWEVER…

This idiotic packaging is such a waste. There are several key issues with this crap wand/brush thing: it’s NASTY. So unsanitary. After a few uses the brush is just soaked and floppy and gross. If you clean it, the cleanser can get into the formulation so you end up wasting product because you have to pump out more foundation to get rid of any cleanser ‘mix’ before using it again.

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As yellow as this foundation looks, it actually merges beautifully on the blend. it’s kind of magical actually.

Problem is, it’s only .5oz. Most foundations (regardless of price) average 1oz. This half ounce packaging nightmare is $65. Plus, you have no idea how much product is actually in there. There is no window (even black Guerlain  bottles had a clear panel on the side) so you just pump away until there is nothing left to pump. These two issues really annoy me regarding the price. I know that Surrat is influenced by Japanese cosmetics but he seems to have confused cute packaging associated with inexpensive makeup, with formulations associated with more expensive makeup. Since I use everything from Shiseido to Albion, I can testify that this backwards way of thinking of putting something expensive in wack packaging that’s hard to dispense is counter-intuitive… particularly in an American market that offers so much variety.

Barefaced on the left; Surrat Foundation, MAC Lipstick and Armani Mascara on the right

I wish this brand would get it together. Something as simple as putting this amazing foundation in a package that allows ease for the user would go such a long way. It’s like they’re sabotaging the brand on purpose… like when luxury car companies known for gorgeous lines, make the ugliest electric vehicle on earth and then get confused when no one buys it. It’s just such a waste. Do better Troy. Hopefully you’ve started making those palettes magnetic (such a small thing that makes your design team seem deliberately dense… why would you want your powder pans to hit the floor every time someone opened a palette?) since we need them just to use the base products. Waste less money in lazy design, that you may make more on the back end with customers happy to purchase a good formula in practical packaging.

Viseart Warm Mattes

Prettypackages, this is for you:

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I LOVE THIS PALETTE. The warmth of these colors is such a nice contrast to the cool palette (which is my least favorite from Viseart), and even better than the neutral one (my former go-to). The colors work perfectly with my warm skin tone, and I love the texture. I’ve been using them to make the Natasha Denona Star Palette more user-friendly. I’m not a fan of the other new Viseart offering (petit pro), so I don’t recommend it. The colors all kind of run together and the gorgeous purple matte just ends up being brown on me. Not good. Anyway, this one IS good. Keeper.

IMATS Stuff

So I dragged my tail to IMATS this year to see if anything had changed. It has. I ditched the show a few years ago after it became more of a blogger meetup than a professional convention. I know there had been some rigamoro about people getting kicked out for holding meet and greets and what not. Besides being a damn fire hazard, vendors who paid good money to be there were overrun by people whose sole interest was to see their favorite whozit. Anyway, it was much more business as usual this year. More education, more makeup, more art. Anyway it’s not like anyone is displaced…

There’s always Beautycon.

So I went back, and had an actual good time. I did a couple of interviews, a lot of scouting, and paid special attention to brands that are doing more than shitting out shoddy product for a quick buck. I noticed that all the pedestrian activity took place outside the convention center, and the appearance of a few vloggers garnered a squeal and a hug, but no mobs and no shenanigans.

And no I didn’t get the Anastasia Lip Palette. Yes, I hear it’s amazing. But that show discount… no ma’am. I’ll just get it from Naimies.

Anyway, those of you who follow me on Instagram know that I ended up with some essential brushes (I had to replace my base set) from Hakuhodo, a random Sugarpill shadow, a whole stack of colorfix pigments from Danessa Myricks, highlighters and lipgloss from Jouer, and an insane lipstick and lipgloss set from LORAC.

I got the highlighters because they are a ‘dry’ cream and I found that they buff out subtle and beautiful on skin. I tried it over foundation and they worked fine with a synthetic brush. They are not super obvious though so if you’re into a major reflective highlight they won’t work for you.

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From the left, camellia, tiare and champagne. The lipgloss, Frostbite, is on the far right.

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These pigments from Danessa Myriks are INSANE. I bought four, then went back and bought four more.

From the left: Rustic, Iconic, Truth, Chocolate, Primary Red, Fireworks, Wild Orchid, and Blackout. I tried to swatch them but I ended up smashing color everywhere. These drops primary-redare honestly too big. you need a pin-head sized drop to cover the surface of an eyelid. You can use them everywhere, so I tried Primary Red as lipstick. Worked like a charm. And because it’s so weightless and you need such a little bit, it kind of outdoes your average matte liquid lipstick. I am over the moon about them, but they DO require a learning curve. All of the shimmers work fine with no real effort, but the mattes are more loose and have to be used sparingly and with a good precise brush. I did a real life text with two of them (through hot yoga) and they performed beautifully. They really do last, and you really have to take them off with an oil based sugarpill-1cleanser or the strongest micellar water on the planet… like from Natura Siberica. Suffice to say I’m in love.

I got ‘The Inventor’ shadow from Sugarpill, because my sister was on the phone with me and insisted on the colors from the Edward Sissorhands palette (which is no more). Anyway, that’s how that happened. I like it BUT it’s not as dark as I thought it would be. I’m going to use Myrik’s Blackout as a base and see if that changes things to my liking.

The LORAC swatches are coming. 20 colors (10 lipsticks and 10 lipglosses) are gonna take me a minute. Plus warm mattes and what not.

Ciao for now!

 

 

FOTD: Luminous

I’ve been drowning in foundation lately (a favorites post is coming), and recently acquired Guerlain’s Parure de Lumiere. The formula is supposed to be super light (it’s not) with sheer luminous coverage (no). It’s not completely weightless, but you can feel it going on, and adherence is an issue before it sets (about 30 seconds). But the finish is stunning. It’s actually luminous without going shiny or greasy.

I used these three in order: By Terry CC-Lumi in Apricot Glow (primer), Guerlain Parure de Lumiere in Dore 23 (foundation), and By Terry Impearlious Voile de Perle (finishing img_7622powder). I was so worried about looking like a disco ball, but that didn’t happen at all. Instead I ended up with this ‘backlit’ sort of finish, that really worked. The combo is literally made for camera because it really just makes you seem like you’re glowing in all the right places. As long as you use a light touch (thin layers people! thin layers) you can really end up with a fantastic finish.

I used Kiko Soft Touch Blush in 100 just under the apples of my cheeks for a bit of a ‘bronze’ contour. Eyes are Tom Ford Cognac Sable: Gold all over the lids, Medium Brown just across the lashline, and the darkest brown (damp brush) as a diffused winged eyeliner. Brows are Anastasia Brow Definer (dark brown) and mascara is Armani Black Ecstasy. Lips are Marc Jacobs J’adore (STILL my favorite).

So far, so good on this foundation. Not sure it’ll make my top picks for 2016 because I’m hinky on that initial bind. We’ll see how it wears.

Ciao for now!

 

 

FOTD: Pat McGrath Metalmorphosis (Copper)

There is an ENTIRE POST dedicated to my thoughts on the newest offering from Pat McGrath, but photobucket is showing IT’S WHOLE ENTIRE ASS and not working right now… and I’m mostly mad that I’m surprised. That service is so wack. There is always something wrong with the site. Always. I need get out of the stone ages and find something better.

Anyway, I did an FOTD with the copper cream, pigment and black marker liner and came out with this:

IT WAS REALLY HARD TO TAKE A BAD PICTURE. I think that gives you my initial thoughts about this offering. This is her best yet. I ended up with the Everything Kit, which is the absolute best value.

Face is Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation in #9, and Tilbury Pressed Powder in #2 (Medium). Blush is Kiko 100. Eyes are Copper cream topped with Copper pigment. I used the Lunasol Glossy Eyes palette in Beige (darkest brown in the crease and under waterline, and pale gold in the lid corners). Lips are a mix of OFRA Brooklyn and Havana Nights, with the Copper cream patted on top.