Saturday, May 26, 2012

Philosophy at Big Lots - Cheek Products (and a Lip Gloss)

This is the third and final post about the Philosophy cosmetics products I picked up at Big Lots recently for $3 a piece. You can see my first post about eye shadows here and my second post about combination palettes here.


The Color of Grace blush palette has a faux leather case with three pink blush shades ringed with a white inside. In the swatch picture, I swatched each individual pink starting with the top shade on the left (I didn't think to swatch the white). The far right swatch is all of the colors swirled together. On their own, the pinks don't have a lot of pigmentation, but when they mix with the white, the pigmentation improves. It is a pretty pink, but because of the lack of pigmentation, this wouldn't work for those with deeper skin tones. This is a product that I would suggest most people skip.

This is the You Make Me Blush mineral blush duo in Hugs/Kisses. It is a pretty standard bronzer and blush combo. Both colors have a slight bit of sheen to them, but they don't have any shimmer. Hugs is light enough to work on my fair skin. It is a little lighter and warmer in tone than the bronzer in the Supernatural palette. Kisses is a nice, muted peachy-pink. Both have decent pigmentation.

Quick note on the packaging for this blush. I haven't commented much on the packaging because it is pretty basic. It isn't fancy, but it isn't super cheap looking either. I do want to note that this blush is magnatized into the packaging and has a hole in the bottom so it can be popped out. This is a nice feature for those who like to depot their products.

Look on the Bright Side cream blush

Bare Your Soul cream blush

I picked up two cream blushes: Look on the Bright Side and Bare Your Soul. There was a third blush there that I skipped on because it wasn't a color I thought I would wear. Look on the Bright Side is a bright, bubble gum pink, and Bare Your Soul is more of a nude pink. I have worn each of them once or twice. They have a smooth formula that blends in easily. I feel like they are a little tacky feeling after application (similar to the Tarte cheek stains if you have tried those), but that is easily solved with a quick dusting of powder on top. These both have decent pigmentation, but they are pretty sheer when blended out.

From left to right: Hugs bronzer, Kisses blush, Look on the Bright Side cream blush, Bare Your Soul cream blush.

Highlighters (and the Gloss)

I picked up three highlighters in three different forms: a powder, a cream, and a liquid.

The Amazing Grace shimmering face powder is a light pink powder with pink shimmer. If you are curious, it is the same highlighter that was included in the Color of Grace combination palette. It is similar in color to Benefits High Beam, but High Beam is lighter and doesn't have the pink shimmer.

 This is the Divine Illumination Love at First Light Ageless Skin Luminizer. The color is very beige. I haven't tried it yet because it makes me a little nervous. I don't know how it will work with my fair skin. I'm guessing that it is marketed as "ageless" because it has a sheen, not shimmer.

The last highlighter that I got was the Heavenly Light Pink Illuminator. I didn't open the box that this came in when I was in the store, so the packaging was a surprise to me. I don't like the packaging. The brush is way too big for applying highlighter, and it is really hard to control how much product comes out because you squeeze the product up into the brush. The one thing that I will say they did right with this product is that the brush top can be twisted to open and close it, so you won't get a surprise puddle of highlighter in your makeup bag. The color of this is much sheerer than Benefits High Beam.

This was the odd man out in my haul. This was the only lip gloss my Big Lots had. I don't know if there are others. The name of the color is Pretty Please. I believe this is the exact same formula that is in the combination palettes I picked up. There isn't much color to the gloss. It isn't overly sticky but isn't so slippery that it will disappear in 5 minutes. Since there isn't much color to this, I would suggest passing on this one. There's nothing about it that makes it stand out.


From left to right: Amazing Grace shimmering face powder, Love at First Light illuminator, Heavenly Light pink illuminator, Pretty Please lip gloss.

Final Thoughts

The cream blushes are my favorite products of the bunch. I think the blush duo is nice too. I haven't done much playing with the highlighters yet, but my favorite is probably Amazing Grace. The other two might be nice if your skin tone is different from mine or prefer a liquid formula. Pass on the lip gloss and the blush trio. 

This was a fun haul for me. I love the idea of getting a bargain and getting to try a bunch of new things, and since they were so inexpensive, I don't feel so bad about the products that weren't very good.

Have you found any good bargains lately? 

Friday, May 25, 2012

theBalm Shady Lady Palettes Deal!

I wanted to do a quick post to share a deal I originally saw on

theBalm is selling all three Shady Lady palettes for the price of one ($39.50). This is an awesome deal! Each palette contains 9 eye shadows, so you get 27 shadows total. That breaks down to about $1.50 a shadow. This deal is ONLY good for today, Friday, May 25.

I haven't tried any eye shadows by theBalm yet, but I have heard really good things about them. I have already caved and order them (BTW: Shipping is free inside the US). 

Will you be taking advantage of this deal?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Philosophy at Big Lots - Combination Palettes

I'm back to continue posting items from my haul of Philosophy cosmetics from Big Lots. If you missed my first post, you can find it here. All of the items I purchased were only $3, and I'm posting swatches as quickly as possible in case any of you might be able to get your hands on these as well.

As with my previous Philosophy post, please keep in mind that my opinions are primarily based on my swatches. I haven't done much, if any testing of these products on my face. I have no idea how well or long the colors with wear. I wanted to get these posts up quickly so you could see the products and get over to Big Lots and pick up the ones that interest you before they are gone.

I was able to get two combination palettes: the Amazing Grace Coloring Book and the Supernatural Coloring Book.

Amazing Grace Coloring Book

I wish I had thought to take a picture of these with something for a size comparison. They are both about the same size as my Smartphone. They are also similar in size to the Wet n Wild baked eye shadow palettes that came out back in the fall.

Each palette has a clear plastic overlay that shows the name of each product along with what type of product it is.

The pans of products themselves are on the small side. The top row pans are the size of a nickle, and the bottom row pans are a little bigger than a quarter. I was originally concerned that the pans of blush would be soon small to use comfortably, but my Real Techniques stippling brush worked pretty well. It was larger than the pan, but not so large that it ended up in the color next to it. I wouldn't attempt using a large, fluffy blush brush, but a smaller one should work.

Top row from left to right: Dream eye shadow, Angel eye shadow, In Love lip gloss, and Be Sweet lip gloss
Bottom row from left to right: Amazing Grace shimmering face powder, Pure Joy powder blush, and 7th Heaven all-over cream illuminator.

I am not a fan of palettes that mix cream and powder products like this for the obvious and often complained about reason that the powder falls into and gets stuck in the cream products. Thankfully, the plastic overlay came in handy when it comes to solving this problem. I cut the overlay so that it covers the cream products and used basic Scotch tape to keep it in place. I'll have to replace the tape occasionally, but I'm okay with that.

From left to right: Dream eye shadow, Angel eye shadow, Amazing Grace shimmering face powder, Pure Joy powder blush, 7th Heaven all-over illuminator, In Love lip gloss, and Be Sweet lip gloss.

Both eye shadows have decent, but not really good, pigmentation and a little bit of shimmer in a matte base. Dream has a bit more shimmer, but the shimmer barely shows up in either when swatched.

The shimmer in both Amazing Grace and Joy is really fine, so they aren't glitter bombs. Amazing Grace will add a nice pink sheen to the skin, and Joy is a gorgeous bright pink that would work well on medium skin tones, but also looks like it will sheer out nicely for fairer girls like me.

7th Heaven is a really pretty cream highlight that is similar in tone but a little darker than Benefit's High Beam.

As you can see from the swatches, the lip glosses don't have a lot of pigmentation, which is another typical problem with palettes like this. I quickly threw some of Be Sweet on my lips to test how it feels, and it doesn't feel particularly sticky. It also isn't so slippery and thin feeling that it will wear off in five minutes.

The Supernatural Coloring Book

Instead of the fake leather cover used for the Amazing Grace Coloring Book, the Supernatural Coloring Book is fabric covered.

Top row from left to right: Down to Earth eye shadow, Pure of Heart eye shadow, Open Your Heart lip gloss, and Reflect a Little lip gloss
Bottom row from left to right: True powder blush, Honest powder blush, and Bare Your Soul cream blush

The layout is pretty much the same as the Amazing Grace palette. The powder products are on the left and the cream products are the right. I did the same thing with the plastic film of this palette, cutting it and taping it down to protect the cream products.

From left to right: Down to Earth eye shadow, Pure of Heart eye shadow, True powder blush, Honest powder blush, Bare Your Soul cream blush, Open Your Heart lip gloss, and Reflect a Little lip glos

Just like the Amazing Grace palette, the eye shadows have decent pigmentation, but they aren't outstanding. The colors are nearly identical to the first two colors in the Box of Truffles eye shadow quad and aren't overly different from the ones in the Amazing Grace palette.

True blush is a pretty muted pink that has good pigmentation. It has less shimmer than powder blush from the other palette. Honest is a decent looking bronzer. It also has a little bit of shimmer to it, but it isn't overly noticeable. It doesn't appear overly orange to me, and isn't so dark that I would be afraid to try it out on my fair skin.

Bare Your Soul cream blush has good pigmentation and a smooth feel. It isn't sticky at all and blends out evenly.

As with the other palette, the lip glosses are lacking in pigmentation. Even the red doesn't really show color on my lips.

Final Thoughts

For $3 a piece, these palettes are a great deal! The overall quality is pretty good. Your preferences in terms of cheek products will determine which one to pick up. If you like cheek highlighters and aren't afraid of bright blushes, you would probably like Amazing Grace. If you go for more muted tones and bronzers, grab the Supernatural. OR...with the price, just go ahead and grab both! :-)

What do you think? If you can get your hands on these, would you pick either of them up?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Philosophy at Big Lots - Eye Shadows

First of all, if you don't subscribe to Nouveau Cheap, go subscribe to her right now! Her blog is the best place to find out about awesome deals and see new drugstore products. For example, over a week ago, she posted about Philosophy cosmetics being at Big Lots for $3 a piece.

I have always wanted to try some of the Philosophy cosmetics items, but I could never bring myself to pay full price for them. Since I traveled to a place with a Big Lots this past Monday, I had to check and see if it had Philosophy. I was in luck, and I picked up nearly one of everything. In my defense, the Big Lots was over two hours away from my home, so I knew they would be sold out before I ever got back to one, so this was my only chance.

Anyway, I want to post swatches of the products I got ASAP, so you can possibly go and grab some things yourself before they all sell out. Due to the number of products I picked up, I'm going to break this down into a few posts. First, here's a look at the eye shadows that I picked up. Please note that I have not worn any of these shadows on my eyes yet, so any opinions stated are based on swatching only.

I was able to get my hands on two eye shadow quads, Box of Truffles and Plum Delicious, and an eye shadow duo, Heaven/Earth.

Here's a look at the outside packaging for the quads:

Each palette has the color names labeled on the bottom, a mirror that covers the entire lid, and a plastic film over the shadows that gives directions on where to place each color. 

Box of Truffles

From left to right: Latte, Mocha, Cocoa, and Chocolate
As you can see, these shadows have good pigmentation, but Chocolate can take a little bit of work. Another feature to notice is that three of the four colors are matte. They feel soft and buttery, but they aren't so soft that there is a bunch of loose powder after swatching.

Latte is lighter and less yellow than Urban Decay's Foxy. It is lighter but more yellow than Wet n Wild's Brulee. Mocha is the same depth and just a touch cooler in tone than Urban Decay's Naked. Cocoa is is very close in color to the deepest shimmery shade in Wet n Wild's Vanity palette, but it is cooler in tone. The closest dupe that I have for Chocolate is Werewolf from the Tarte for True Blood palette.

Plum Delicious

From left to right: Sweet Vanilla, Cloudberry, Plum Delicious, Blackberry
 This palette isn't as pigmented as Box of Truffles, which is disappointing. Again, three of the four shades are matte, and the shimmer in Plum Delicious is very subtle. The shadows still feel buttery soft and don't kick up a lot of loose powder.

Sweet Vanilla is much cooler in tone than Latte. I don't really see any yellow in it. I don't think I have anything in my collection similar to Cloudberry, which is a matte lavender color. Plum Delicious is similar to the purple shade in ELF's Day 2 Night quad. I don't think I have anything that dupes Blackberry, which looks to me like a blackened purple that has hints of brown.

Heaven/Earth Duo

This is a picture of the bottom label. You can see that the packaging is a shiny silver that is very reflective, so I couldn't get a good picture of the top.

From left to right: Heaven, heavy swatch of Earth, normal swatch of Earth

Just like the quads, these shadows feel soft and smooth. Heaven is similar to Stila's Kitten, but it is a bit deeper and less shimmery. When I swatched it outside, I saw gorgeous rainbow shimmers in it that don't come across inside. I think I'm going to love this as a lid shade this summer. Earth is sadly lacking in pigmentation, but it is buildable. I think I'm still going to enjoy it for low-key summer looks though. I also went back and bought an extra of this duo for a friend who rarely wears makeup because I think it will be a foolproof duo for her.

Big Lots Shopping Tip!!!

Please look closely at any products you might pick up at Big Lots that are easy to open. Just like in regular drugstores, products that are not sealed well can get mangled by people who decide to test them out in the store. The Philosophy items are in boxes, but they just have small, clear stickers to seal them. I used the boxes that already appeared to have been opened to check out the colors, but then I grabbed from the back and checked to make sure the stickers were still intact on the products I intended to purchase. During the same shopping trip, I picked up a Burt's Bees tinted lip balm and lip shimmer duo, and I didn't realize until I got home that the lip balm wasn't in the package, so I ended up wasting money. 
Final Thoughts

 I would highly suggest grabbing Box of Truffles if you can get your hands on it (I got the last one at the Big Lots I went to). The quality of the shadows is pretty good, and the dupe for UD's Naked alone makes it worth $3.

Plum Delicious and the Heaven/Earth duo are lesser in quality, so I'm guessing most of you should pass on them. I think I will enjoy them because there are times when a lack of pigmentation doesn't bother me. If you are looking for soft colors that are impossible to overdo, you might give them a look.

Do any of these shadows look appealing to you? Are you planning on heading over to Big Lots to check out the Philosophy display?

Random Thoughts - Volume 2

Additions I want/need to make to my blog...

I've had some things on my mental blog to-do list for a while now that I haven't quite gotten to yet. I know I need to add a disclosure statement. I haven't worried about it too much yet because I haven't had anything sent to me for review, and I don't expect to get anything sent to me any time soon. That being said, it still needs to be done.

I want to add an "About Me" page, and I've tried writing it a couple of times. Each time I try, I get stuck. It always ends up sounding like rambling and completely irrelevant. What do you look for on an "About Me" page?

Other goals are to start using my Twitter account and create a facebook page for my blog. 

The one thing that I was able to accomplish for my blog a couple of months ago was an avatar picture. I never like pictures that I take of myself, so that was out. I don't have any EOTD pictures that I like enough to look at every time I got to my blog dashboard. I came up with the brainstorm to take pictures of the amaryllis flowers my fiance and I had blooming in our sunroom. I them played with the colors in Picasa to match my blog theme. I was pretty happy with the result.

I made another haul...

On Monday I traveled up to the school that I taught at the past two years to visit with my former co-workers before the school year ended. I took advantage of being near better shopping and stopped at a Big Lots, two CVSs, two Walgreens, and two WalMarts looking for makeup/beauty items I can't get in my town. I picked up a ton of Philosophy cosmetics at Big Lots...I would have preferred picking up a few things, testing them out, and going back for more, BUT since I couldn't do that...I grabbed everything that I thought I might like. I also got some LE stuff that my CVS isn't carrying yet (and might not get at all).

I should be getting some haul/first impressions posts up over the new few days. I especially want to get up posts on the Philosophy items since I'm guessing those will sell out relatively quickly. To help get them up more quickly, I did a couple of massive picture taking sessions. I did one taking pictures of the brand-new products before I stuck my fingers in them, and today I took swatch pictures of everything.

Brushes need washing...

I've been so busy lately, I haven't had the chance to wash my brushes in a long time. I washed a few brushes a couple of weeks ago, but I didn't get to all of them. I am now completely out of clean flat-shader brushes, and I have a lot of them. When I took pictures of my May MyGlam bag, I realized that I haven't even washed my April MyGlam brushes yet. Oops! That is one of my many projects that I want to get to today.

Summer is here!

The school year is officially over, so my schedule is going to slow down a little bit. I'm excited for the down time to work on my blog and work on projects around the house. Beyond that, I don't have any super exciting summer plans. Are you doing anything exciting this summer?

Keep your eyes peeled for my Philosophy cosmetics posts. There's some really good things that you should definitely check out if you have a Big Lots near you!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Eyeliners

Hi ladies!

I apologize for being quiet for so long. That seems to be going around lately. My excuse is that I've been really busy with subbing and other obligations. Summer break is almost here though, so I should be able to start posting more regularly in the near future.

I've been meaning to review the Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Eyeliners (that's certainly a mouthful) for a long time, and I'm finally getting around to it.

I have two sets of these:  the Nude Eyes set and the Brown Eyes set.

Let's take a look:

Each set comes with three retractable liners, and they retail for around $12. In the picture above, the Nude Eyes set is the top three liners, and the bottom three are the Brown Eyes set. As you can see, the case is the same color as the product inside, and each set has a different colored band just below the cap. This will become more important later. 

 Since I've had these for a while, I didn't have a brand new tip to show you, but this one is pretty close. I've only swatched the purple color a couple of times. There's nothing really exciting here. It looks like an average retractable eyeliner. The diameter of the product seems standard, not super skinny and not overly chubby.

A nice feature that PF includes with their retractable pencils is a small sharpener at the bottom of each one. I personally don't feel the need to use it, but if someone were to want a finer tip on this liner, they could do it easily. 

On to the swatches:

This is the Nude Eyes set. From left to right are Champagne, Pewter, and Black. I LOVE Pewter. To me, it is a dull, neutral gray color that goes with everything. If I'm stuck deciding which color liner to grab, I'll grab for this one. Champagne is a really pretty color, but I find it too light for the upper lashline. I really enjoy using it on the lower lashline though when I use Pewter on the upper. It adds a bit of definition without being harsh. I don't wear the black one very often, but that's just because I don't wear black eyeliner very much. It isn't super dark like Urban Decay's Perversion, but it is still a decent black. As you can see in the swatches, all three have fine, multicolored shimmer. It is fine enough that the shimmer doesn't really stand out when applied, which is nice. I don't particularly care for glittery eyeliners.

This is the set for brown eyes. As you can see, it includes a purple, a brown, and a black with purple shimmer. I don't use this set nearly as often as I use the other one. The brown is nice, but I have a lot of brown liners, so this one gets lost in the shuffle. The black with the purple shimmer is cool looking, but, again, I just don't wear black liner very often. As for the purple, it is just too bright for a normal day. I have this issue with most of the PF liner sets made for specific eye colors. Anything that isn't a neutral is really bright. I would love to see a much deeper purples, blues, and greens that are easier to wear.

In terms of formula, I find the PF liners to be a happy medium between super creamy and dry. I don't have to push down really hard to get them to show up, but I do use a couple of passes to get it thicker and darker on the outer edge of my lashline. I'm personally okay with having to take a little more time with it because it is easier for me to control how much product gets applied.

As for lasting power, these last all day for me, barring at the very outer corner of my eye, which tends to be gone by the end of the day. Nearly every liner I use is this way, and it doesn't look bad when it has faded off. I don't think anyone else would actually notice unless they got up really close to me to actually LOOK for that small gap at the corner of my eye.

The Bottom Line

Would I recommend these liners? Definitely. The Nude Eyes set is great for neutral lovers, and the other sets give a bit more variety for those who want a pop of color.

Have you tried these liners? What did you think of them? What features/qualities do you look for in an eyeliner?