Essence Kissed by the Light illuminating powders
Categories Makeup

Essence Kissed by the Light illuminating powders

If there is one thing sister brands Essence and Catrice know how to do is cheek colours. Whenever either brand announces a new blusher, bronzer or highlighter, it gets instantly wishlisted. I always enjoy their powders regardless of where they’re made, as you really can’t get any better in terms of quality, quantity and price all combined. A recent Spring/Summer drop is the Kissed by the Light illuminating powders, which we’ll be looking at below.

Featuring a rising or setting sun design and combining three different colours, the duo is available in the Neapolitan ice cream-inspired ’01. Star Kissed’, and in the more monochromatic ’02. Sun Kissed’. Both pans contain 10g of product, housed in a clear packaging that is now classic for the brand, and are made in the PRC. Like all new releases, they’re vegan, but seeing as they come from the PRC they cannot entirely receive the label of cruelty-free. They are available at Notino and Maquillalia for a similar price, just shy of €5. I bought them in a BOGO-inspired sale.

Essence‘s description for the products acknowledges the fusion of highlighter, blusher and bronzer tones in a single design, ready to grab for a quick glow all-over the face or focused highlights. I pay little heed to product roles and labels regarding cheeks and thus wondered whether these would act multipurpose. On my complexion, at least, I do see both shades working as illuminating face powders for the Summer, but afterwards ’02. Sun Kissed’ should work only as a cheek topper along with bronze and terracotta blushers, while ’01. Star Kissed’ remains a nice pink highlighter on the high points of the face all year round.

Kissed by the Light duo swatches.

Looking around the edges of the design, and swatching the powders for this post, I noticed that two out of three shades do not run all the way down, but are an overspray that should disappear quickly enough, meaning the lightest shade available in each pan is the truer colour of the product as a whole. Even in my swatch photograph, you can see the patch where the pink is missing, behind my wrist. You ought to keep this in mind if this is a product you see yourself wearing until it’s panned.

While this realisation was a tad disappointing, I swatched the Kiss by the Light duo next to other highlighters by Essence and Catrice and was satisfied to find no exact dupes! Indeed, even the texture and overall finish of these powders are unlike what has been previously released — they’re more impactful than Essence’s ‘The Highlighter’ (not to be confused with ‘The Highlighter Luminous Glow‘, which it would seem has replaced it), but not as blinding as Catrice’s ‘More Than Glow‘ highlighters.

Kissed by the Light duo (right) compared to the Essence ‘The Highlighter’ (centre) and Catrice’s ‘More Than Glow’ highlighters (left).

The Kissed by the Light powders sit on the face as a subtle glow. I am very light-handed with my makeup and had to repeat the application in order to achieve a visible result all over. Once focused on the cheek, and in spite of the noticeable change in texture as captured in the image above, they appear to have the same impact as Essence’s (more) permanent highlighters.

Overall, I am pleased with my purchase and would recommend either powder or both for the summer months, according to your preference. Who doesn’t like a sunny radiance?

TL;DR

PROs
  • vegan
  • inexpensive
  • cute for the summer
CONs
  • 2 out of 3 shades are an overspray

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Ole Henriksen Lemonade Smoothing Scrub™
Categories Skincare

Ole Henriksen Lemonade Smoothing Scrub™

Last week, I gave myself a lemony refresher so I could properly review this Ole Henriksen scrub. Facial exfoliation is usually a task I relegate to cheaper products that just do the trick, so I admit I had not used the Lemonade Smoothing Scrub™ in a while. The beckoning question which follows can be only one: is it worth the moolah?

Ole Henriksen is one of those cult brands that elicits buzz among beauty connoiseurs and lovers alike. As such, it is no wonder that I first became acquainted with it through the videos of my favourite YouTubers before the brand had even dawned on my Sephora. I was going through a *scrub* phase when it did and figured I ought to give the Lemonade Smoothing Scrub™ a try, in lieu of the more popular Banana Bright™ Eye Crème. Such is the folly of youth, my friends — what kind of person exchanges sweet bananas for sour lemons?

The exfoliator comes in a soft scrub that is yellow-coloured and lemon-scented. It is not the most pleasant of citric notes, as it smells more like the peels left on your kitchen counter than it resembles the sparkling jar of lemonade you just made, but it’s not entirely off-putting either. I applied it as I always do: in the shower, when my skin is wet and my pores open and it’s easy to thoroughly wash it off. As far as the experience itself goes, I’ve nothing to report — apply, wait, rinse, you’re done.

Let’s talk ingredients, then. The Lemonade Smoothing Scrub™ contains glycolic and lactic acids, the always-amazing glycerin and soothing chamomile flower extract. Seeing as this scrub is “inspired by a refreshing glass of lemonade on a hot summer day”, in Henriksen’s words, I find it peculiar that it does not include citric acid anywhere, just the fruit extract. In fact, pretty much all lemon-branded substances, such as lemon and bergamot peel oils and limonene, seem to exist purely for fragrance. More on that in the following paragraph. As a last, happy note, I want to mention the licorice root extract that is included in the formula.

Here is where things go wrong for me. AHAs (the glycolic and lactic acid), which are the cornerstone of this product, the exfoliators per se, are to be employed with wisdom. It is senseless to expect a peeling to be the most nourishing action anyone can perform on their face as part of their care routine, since this product category is meant to remove dead skin cells and general roughness. Indeed, a couple of weekly exfoliations are recommended depending on your skin type, a form of self-care that should extend to the body and feet. (I exfoliate my skin twice a week, which I believe to be the recommendation for mixed skin.) With this in mind, you should know AHAs increase your skin’s photosensitivity, which is why an extra deal of care under the sun is recommended upon using such products.

Why ally phototoxic, allergenic and sensitizer substances with the AHAs? It is not like these two classes must walk hand in hand. For example, while the Wishful Yo Glow AHA & BHA Facial Enzyme Scrub feels rougher on the skin and includes alcohol (no small amount of it, methinks, if it makes my flesh crawl right upon taking a whiff), it contains more and more varied fruit and flower extracts, such as blueberry, camellia, sweet almond, among many more. Quite honestly a superior recipe. Of course it’s not only about quantity, it’s about quality too. Antioxidant, antibacterial and even anti-comedogenic qualities, to be more precise. (Funny enough, you know what acid the Wishful does contain which the Lemonade Scrub doesn’t? Citric.) I would rather repurchase the Yo Glow — just embrace the alcohol. Cheers!

So when all of this mumbo-jumbo is said and done, what do I make of the Ole Henriksen Lemonade Smoothing Scrub™? It is honestly no more beneficial to me, in my humble, amateurish opinion, than the cheaper gel scrubs I am used to. Those perform their cleaning duties, which is all I can ask for in something from the supermarket. I have so much more to learn about cosmetics and ingredients. But had I known the littlest at the time, I would never have bought this product. It’s a mass of glorified lemon peels left overnight in a bucket and shoved inside an overpriced tube at those first rays of sun in the morning. I cannot recommend it even if you are not on a budget, and I am sincerely more appalled now that I’m done writing this post than I was in the beginning. Just why did I do this to myself? Shoulda chosen the bananas instead.

Have you tried this scrub by Ole Henriksen? If so, do you agree or disagree? Do share your thoughts in the commments section.

TL;DR

PROs
  • plesant and refreshing
  • it works
CONs
  • you deserve to be loved, honey.

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Favourite palettes of April
Categories Makeup

Favourite palettes of April

Before sharing this month’s favourite eyeshadows with you, a note.

Upon realising that it would be very likely that I might include products made by Colourpop in my monthly favourites henceforth, given my profound adoration for the brand (bridled only by one’s limited funds), and given the short calendar for which their products are live in the catalogue before getting replaced with new releases, a decision had to be made. Either I would exclude the brand as a whole, in which case my reviews and recommendations would not be totally sincere; or I would present alternatives to now-discontinued items whenever possible — I chose the latter, as I believe it to be a more useful option.

Looking at these palettes might rekindle your love for nearly-forgotten palettes or give you new ways of playing with your collection. Likewise, seldom is a colourway unique, so presenting discontinued palettes could also pique your interest in seeking a similar enough alternative. I will give you other options whenever I know these to be available, even if I cannot vouch for their duping or overall qualities from personal experience. To my fellow Europeans, I will link you to stockists operating within our continent.

On a Wing

Starting off with Colourpop, this quint was released as part of a set for Black Week 2021 (If Hue Like). ‘On a Wing’ features two plum mattes, as well as a midtone which translates into mauve on the lid, and two lilac shimmers. Following an intuitive use of all colours, the end result is soft with a touch of vampy. It is probably my favourite purple palette ever, as I have never felt so comfortable wearing purple lids while out in public. The quality is ever the same one from Colourpop, nailing the ease of deposition, strong pigmentation and efficient glitz trifecta.

‘On a Wing’ external view.
Me wearing Colourpop’s ‘On a Wing’.

It is no longer available as of March 2022. Looking through my Colourpop collection, I found no perfect dupe, but Making Mauves and Flutter By may appeal to you, even though they are of a more neutral disposition.

You may find nearly identical shade dupes in two big Huda Beauty palettes combined: Mercury Retrograde and Naughty Nude. That if you already own them. If you do not, and they sound interesting nevertheless, there will be no trouble finding dupes for them if you reside in the USA. Closer to home, London’s W7 has duped both, under the names Total Eclipse and Racy, respectively, and both palettes together should cost you no more than €14.

Lemonade Craze

A three-year-oldie but a goodie, Maybelline‘s ‘Lemonade Craze’ combines pink, coral and yellow tones in what is a very light palette for everyday wear. Hardly packing a punch, these dozen shades are still easy to build up and blend and not without versatility, as you can mix between the three colour families or pair it up with another affordable palette, a personal favourite of mine.

‘Lemonade Craze’ external view.

‘Lemonade Craze’ contains 8 mattes and 4 shimmers, one of them (‘Citrus’) a soft pink-to-yellow duochrome. It is one of Maybelline’s best, losing only to ‘Nudes of New York‘. You should acknowledge the difference in layout between my palette and the one that’ll pop up in search results within the European market. I know not how this elongated shape came to be; my ‘Lemonade Craze’ simply looks different because I purchased it alongside its counterpart, ‘Soda Pop’, from a private seller. To the extent of my knowledge, the latter never came to Europe, and I truly wanted to own the duo.

It’s available to purchase at LookFantastic.

Mint Pastel Obsessions

My third and final eyeshadow palette for April is Huda Beauty‘s ‘Mint Pastel Obsessions’ from the brand’s 2020 Spring release. The mint/rose/lilac trio did not impress beauty lovers inhabiting the digital space back then, and while I cannot argue its performance falls short of the previous Nude Obsessions collection, or the Haze Obsessions that followed, I cannot, likewise, review it negatively. But I’m biased towards Miss Kattan’s collectibles.

The shades in ‘Mint’ may require a bit more of elbow grease, seeing as they’re pastels, but I would argue they are very much aligned with other light shades from the brand. Pigmented enough, the four mattes are far from the intense pigmentation which was advertised two years ago, but still good to work with. On the other hand, the five shimmers, two of them swirls of marble, serve poorly on their own atop a bare eyelid but bless a coloured one with the celestial elegance of a luxury topper. They are fun to combine with mattes of other colours — though I wore the coral options of ‘Lemonade Craze’ for the day, I finished the look with the marbled shimmers. Is there anything *cooler* than a mint and pink combo?

‘Mint’ external view.
‘Mint’ internal view.

Unfortunately, we come full circle when it comes to product availability, as ‘Mint’ has been discontinued. In lieu of it, I give you two affordable alternatives: the first is Colourpop’s Mint to Be 9-pan, which for me is a companion to Huda’s, as it contains complementary darker shades of mint; the second is W7‘s shameless colour dupe Soft Hues – Aquamarine. As I do not own this one, I have no candid opinion to give, yet, based on what I have seen, the mattes should not be far off, though the shimmers do not hold a candle to those of Huda’s. At a humble €3, though, it would be incredibly petty of me to complain.

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The Natasha Denona €6.99 dupe
Categories Makeup

The Natasha Denona €6.99 dupe

I am so excited to share this dupe discovery I made with you when passing the time in the company of my eyeshadow palettes. Recently, Makeup Revolution released a set of four 7-pan palettes originally made to be gifted when shopping from the official website and other stockists (Boozyshop allowed you to take your pick until the stock was gone; while Maquillalia is currently giving you the pink ‘Soft Luxe’ palette when you spend €80 throughout the catalogue). Nevertheless, you can shop these palettes on Revolution’s website, otherwise, there would be no point in writing this post.

The Revolution ‘Soft Focus’ palette contains 8 shades, including 3 mattes and 5 shimmers, arranged in a gradient. The mattes are embossed with a cushioned pattern that mimics the palette’s lid, this one coloured a shiny ballerina pink. It comes with a width-long mirror. The palette contains 9.6 grams of product and is cruelty-free. It retails for €6.99 and you can add it to your cart via this direct link, as the product appears to be hidden from search, though available.

Here is the exciting part: this inexpensive ‘Soft Focus’ palette is by no means perfect, but still fantastic dupe for Natasha Denona‘s ‘Glam’ midi-sized palette, which sells for a whopping €70. Of course, the chosen range reflects only part of what Denona’s 18-pan offers, with a few mid-tones and rosy shades left out. Nevertheless, Revolution offers you a full range of depth.

You can see my comparison swatches below. It’s in the shifting movement that you can spot the similarities, I feel like. The lightest shimmer and matte do not have a perfect companion in ‘Glam’, but the rest of the shades are pretty much there!

Glam and Soft Focus side by side.
Soft focus (top) versus Glam (bottom).

As for the formula, ‘Soft Focus’ is very much in line with other Revolution palettes I own. I would say the shimmers are the standard formulation of those sold underneath the I Heart Revolution child brand, while the mattes perform better than those of the same brand. I find this formulation more user-friendly than that of Natasha Denona, which can be finicky or demanding of a more experienced hand. Indeed, I prefer the mattes in the Revolution alternative. They are a tad more powdery and easier to blend. Denona’s shimmers are creamier and more impactful, however swatching these side by side produced long swatch lines with ease, and you can always resort to a spray to amp up your eyeshadows.

Not only is ‘Soft Focus’ a great palette in itself, a jewel hidden behind heaps and heaps of other releases by the British powerhouse; it also provides a concise and inexpensive dupe for a much-beloved high-end staple. Even more so when cool-tone neutrals are not as widely available as their warm counterparts, a scarcity which permeates drugstores options.

I am hoping you found this suggestion useful and entertaining.

TL;DR

PROs
  • curated dupe for nd’s glam
  • cruelty-free
  • pretty packaging
CONs
  • does not dupe all shades
  • not as creamy as the nd

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Scholl Velvet Smooth™: comparing two models
Categories Footcare

Scholl Velvet Smooth™: comparing two models

When was the last time you cared for your feet? And I don’t mean getting that scheduled pedicure ahead of sandal season. I mean *really* considered that caring for your feet is, too, caring for your health? After all, everyone knows that patients with diabetes must be vigilant of their feet; and that toenail fungi are a fairly common occurrence. Stop for a moment and take a look at your feet. Consider the shoes you wear and *how* your feet rest inside and against them. The possibly long hours you spend standing up. The fact your entire weight sits on your feet, all the time. Perhaps now you see why footcare is an important health practice.

About three years ago, I was working in a health unit. Most of my hours were spent standing on my feet, either rushing to and fro or bedside to feed my palliative patients or do their hygiene. If between meals and writing charts I ended up spending an hour in a sitting position, I could count myself happy.

That’s when I bought the gadget which concerns this post — the Scholl Velvet Smooth™ electric foot file, for your heels and calluses. And guys, not only did it impact the look and feel of my feet from its first use, it also improved my general wellbeing upon continued use.

In the featured image above, you can see two foot files. That is because the white-and-blue one belongs to my mother, while the other with the solid blue body belongs to me. She just had to get one for herself, after seeing the results on my feet. I figured I would show you both models.

Scholl offers a variety of these foot files while seemingly maintaining the Velvet Smooth™ name for all of them. I have seen at least three different varieties. My model is called Wet & Dry, while a second one is named Express Pedi. As for my mother’s model, it appears to have no additional description other than the trademark. Both this anonymous foot file and Express Pedi are available in a hot pink alternative. All share the same body shape and working mechanism, with interchangeable roller heads covered in diamond crystals. These rollers are available in three colour-coded intensities. Here in Europe, shades of blue get increasingly deeper as the file’s work capacity goes from soft to regular, to extra. Additionally, there’s a bristle-covered roller for exfoliating dead skin cells.

The Velvet Smooth™ replacement files come in three different intensities.

So how do these two differ from one another?

Firstly, I should address the fact that both my mother’s gadget and Express Pedi appear to be quite the same thing, with the exception of a second speed being available in the former. As such, I will speak of the difference between hers and mine.

They do not charge the same, nor do they cover the same terrain, two aspects that might justify an increase in price towards my Wet & Dry, though this does not appear to be the case across several retailers I perused.

As suggested by its name, the Wet & Dry foot file can be used underneath running water, making it safe for use in the shower, while the regular file cannot. Though that is not how I personally use mine, there is a sense of extra safety knowing it can, as an electric device, withstand water. Secondly, the Wet & Dry is rechargeable — it comes with a horseshoe-shaped base that accommodates the file on top, a USB cable and an adapter. One single charge should be enough for some 5-6 uses, and I exfoliate my feet 2-3 times a week, as needed. As for the regular foot file, it works with four AA batteries. Depending on how eco-friendly you are, you might prefer the rechargeable option, as even rechargeable batteries must be… well, recharged.

A difference between the foot files which I saw no one else talk about is how they feel. My Wet & Dry model feels heavy enough on the hand, the weight shifting towards the roller head, which helps with not making it tiresome to hold. The body is covered in soft silicone, so it is very comfortable against my palm. On the other hand, my mother’s file feels cheaper all around, made of thin plastic. What is more, the batteries make this model heavier than the Wet & Dry — about twice as heavy, I would say. Even with its ergonomic format, it can get tiring to hold it when posed under the back of the heel.

In conclusion

If rough, callused skin is the battle to face, you can go no wrong with about any of the Velvet Smooth™ foot files, seeing as all of them use the same roller heads and, thus, create the same results. What you have to consider is what you value in a gadget in terms of energy and how you’d use it. In the shower, while the hair products act? Perhaps this is something you see yourself bringing on your next trip? If so, the Wet & Dry is your best option. Or do you just want something functional? Then, the regular foot file might be cheaper, depending on where you are shopping.

As a final note, I want to point out that the roller head refills are sold in packs of two and I do recommend buying them from Notino, where a bundle of six units usually costs about €24, whereas in the supermarket a pack (of two) sells for €14.

My wonderful experience with the Scholl Velvet Smooth™ foot file has left me curious about trying the nail file of the same line, which I hope I can someday.

TL;DR

WET & DRY
  • interchangeable rollers
  • 2 speeds
  • comfortable
  • rechargeable
  • waterproof
  • nope!
REGULAR
  • interchangeable rollers
  • 2 speeds
  • not so comfortable to use
  • not rechargeable
  • not waterproof

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Watercolour eyeshadow palettes for Spring
Categories Makeup

Watercolour eyeshadow palettes for Spring

Spring has sprung and my favourite YouTubers have already shared their eyeshadow seasonal staples. Amid them, are lots of pastels in varying degrees of brightness, the new ‘Pastel‘ midi size by Natasha Denona followed by its dupes, and the sempiternal ‘Mercury Retrograde‘ by Huda Beauty. But among new and old(er) releases, I have realised that my version of springtime eye looks is a bit different, even if I find the choices sensible.

For me, Spring is more about watercolour-like softness rather than creatively-done editorial pastels. In this post, you will find eyeshadow palettes recommendations curated around an overall colourway; each theme has three options of different brands so you can shop according to your market and budget. For the record, I am not saying all items inside a theme function as dupes, but instead that they convey the same colour story.

All featured items are recent and should be available across both European and American markets. If not, you might be able to find them through resellers for your region. Sadly, a couple of palettes, marked with an asterisk, have been discontinued, but I thought of including them anyway — maybe you already own a couple of these and this post is your reminder to bring them out for Spring!

Watercolour pinks and greens

The following palettes evoke the image of a fairytale garden that has not yet matured into the strength of Summer, with medium greens of olive undertones and pinks befitting of a ballerina, anchored in earthy neutrals. To me, this is the perfect portrait of springtime, where colour is starting to break through the grey, resilient but yet delicate.

Option #1: Lime Crime ‘Venus XL 2’

The palette that inspired this post. Hidden beneath the neon take on Venus is a treasure trove of roses, champagnes, peaches and terracottas coupled with seafoam greens.

Option #2: Huda Beauty ‘Sand’ and ‘Khaki’ Haze Obsessions

‘Sand’ is a pink take on neutral shades with a pop of burgundy. Though khaki shades make for only one-third of its namesake palette, they’re complemented with soft pink and gold and terracotta shades. You will find no repeating shades across both palettes, but rather complementary colours.

The two palettes combined cost as much as the Lime Crime.

Option #3: Colourpop ‘The Child™’ and ‘Blush Crush’

The Colourpop monochromatic 9-pans are a force to be reckoned with. Created in collaboration with The Mandalorian, ‘The Child™’ offers a range of olive greens and neutrals. ‘Blush Crush’ combines soft mauves with rose pinks, where no shade is too bright.

You can buy both palettes for the same money a single Huda would cost.

Watercolour sunrises

The break of dawn and the end of day are natural phenomena commonly present in eyeshadow colourways. Like it happens in nature, there’s a broad spectrum of shades in the colours which are visible to us. In other words, not all sunrise/sunset palettes are born alike. The ones featured below ditch the strong purples and reddish oranges in lieu of golden peaches, also offering a range of eyelid toppers which soften the look.

Option #1: Natasha Denona ‘Sunrise’

A palette that opens the door to summer, but not completely. Inspired by the phenomenon in its name, ‘Sunrise’ takes a light-to-medium approach to the colours involved. It is tamer than other sunrise palettes, preferring shades of peach and yellow and lilac toppers.

Option #2: Huda Beauty ‘Purple Haze’ Obsessions and ‘Wild Tiger’ Obsessions

The last palette of the Haze line featured above, ‘Purple’ combines a column of true purple with plum-pinks. The ‘Tiger’ palette is definitely a staple of warm colours with two golds and a duochrome in the centre.

The two palettes combined cost as much as the Natasha Denona. The ‘Tiger’ palette is also available in limited edition red packaging to celebrate this Lunar New Year.

Option #3: Colourpop ‘Sweet Talk’ and ‘So Very Lovely’*

‘Sweet Talk’ has been a communal staple for Spring for years and it’s easy to see why: its ripe shades of peach (or coral, depending on your perception), slowly introduce colour back into our lives after the bleakness of Winter. ‘So Very Lovely’ continues that romantic take on colour with a true coral, a pastel lavender and more warm neutrals.

You should be able buy both palettes for the same money a single Huda would cost.

(Not-so) watercolour purples and lilacs

Though I am not the biggest fan of purple and its cousins violet, lavender and lilac, there is something about this colour family that makes it a sensible choice for Spring, perhaps due to the proximity they have to the pinks and peaches already featured above. The selections below mix the softness I seek with deeper shades.

Option #1: Viseart ‘Violette Étendu’

Though inclusive of stronger shades of purple, ‘Violette’ offers eyelid toppers within the colour family and cool neutrals that translate into soft pinks on the eyelids.

Option #2: Colourpop ‘Lilac You a Lot’ and ‘Locket Down’*

In spite of its strict name, ‘Lilac’ brings lavenders and soft rose shades together with true lilacs to create a bouquet of soft purples. ‘Locket Down’ offers a more plum approach. Together, they transmit the vibes of the Viseart very well, though you don’t need to buy them as a combo.

You should be able to buy both palettes for a price that’s similar to the Viseart, depending on availability and sales.

Let me know if you have enjoyed this post format with close products instead of strict dupes and what other palettes you would like to see.

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Wishful Honey Whip Peptide Moisturizer
Categories Skincare

Wishful Honey Whip Peptide Moisturizer

As a grand lover of Huda Beauty makeup products, I felt obligated to try her skincare line as well, available under the Wishful brand. My first contact with the Yo Glow Enzyme Scrub, which one might deem Wishful’s flagship, could not have been prevented — samples are ubiquitous in every retailer, whether you ask for one or not. In fact, it is very likely there’s a sample for you hiding in your order right now.

My less-than-positive experience with the scrub did not deter my resolution to try more from the brand. The Honey Whip Peptide Moisturizer was the one thing I was most excited to try, and I bought a mini version last November. I have been integrating it as part of my skincare routine since against familiar products, with days off in-between, and I’m now content with my experience so that I can share it with you.

Though it sits white in its tub, the Honey Whip is translucent upon application and quickly absorbed into the skin. It’s only a tad more consistent than the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel, as the formulation demands it. It is scented, although, and unlike the majority of Huda’s products, the fragrance is subtle, only reminiscent of beeswax. The tub lists manuka honey, cica, peptides and collagen as the ingredients to the moisturizer’s richness, but you should know it also contains niacinamide and glycerin as a plus. (Two pluses?)

All good things aside, let us have a look at its claims. As per Huda’s shop, the Honey Whip serves to “firm, lift, repair, AND plump the skin, as well as reduce redness and even out your complexion.” It also states the product to be non-comedogenic. The plentiful recipe, combined with the lightweight formula make the Honey Whip a great staple for both daytime and nighttime routines. It feels like a powerful treatment for your skin, with noticeable changes in texture right away.

I identified only one disadvantage to the Honey Whip — on my skin, a consistent use for three days enhances the production of sebum, so while it’s true I notice no comedones forming right away, it does offset the balance of my skin. It becomes greasy to the touch and I do think an everyday use would give way to pimples (and I do exfoliate). I know I said a similar thing about the Nivea Cellular Luminous 630® serum, in spite of the difference in alcohols, so I guess it’s just the nature of my skin in its struggle for balance.

I have found my favourite way to use this moisturizer it’s more as an evening treatment, a little moment of pampering. With this in mind, my mini tub is still going strong. It will take a while before I need to repurchase it. It’s definitely reaching holy grail status for me.

Made in the South Korea, the Honey Whip Peptide Moisturizer is currently available as a full-size of 50gr for €43 or as a mini of 20gr for €19.

TL;DR

PROs
  • entire line is cruelty-free
  • sits well underneath makeup
  • rich recipe
  • good value for the mini
CONs
  • nope!

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Favourite palettes of March
Categories Makeup

Favourite palettes of March

There is this feeling hard to put a name to — the closest adjective I find would be endearment — when I find myself selecting the same palettes over and over again throughout a given period of time, this in spite of my large, and seemingly ever-growing collection. If repetition occurs when so many fresh alternatives clamour and battle for my attention, then it must mean these few offenders are special indeed.

And if I practically wore only three palettes during the month of March, with its thirty-one possibilities, I must colour myself elated with my eyeshadow choices.

One of them I have already talked about in a dedicated post — ‘Hela’, the new collaboration between Oden’s Eye and Angelica Nyqvist. You can read my review here. The other two have been, as of today, discontinued, as sadly mandated by the corporative ethos of Colourpop. Regardless, favourites of the month they were and foreseeable favourites they’ll remain, so I cannot not talk about them. With a droplet of luck, you might be able to catch them for sale from private individuals.

I am keeping the packaging for both palettes and it’s easy to understand why I would not only want to protect them longer; but why I refuse to part with such highly-detailed, pleasant-to-touch boxes. I now verify both were part of larger Autumn/Halloween releases, a fact which ought to grant a giggle given the fact Spring has just sprung in the Northern hemisphere.

Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas

‘Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas’ was, arguably, Colourpop’s most asked for collaboration. When it finally arrived on the last week of October 2021, there was great backlash on Instagram and Reddit, as fans felt it missed the mark. My own opinion was so-and-so. While I agreed Colourpop missed the chance to bring back to its catalogue original colours for the lipsticks by making Halloween-appropriate greens, oranges and purples instead of the safe nude-red-pink combo which does not even marry the property well; I enjoyed seeing the ‘Jelly Much’ formula make a comeback and could not hate the colourway of the eyeshadow palette, which is named after the movie.

The palette, too, found criticism for its absence of colour. I do not think it misrepresents the movie *that* much, but then again I’m no longer a fervent admirer of Burton’s, therefore my standards are not as high. (It’s worth noting TNBC was directed by Henry Selick.) ‘Nightmare’ is a unique mixture of uninteresting greys and browns, these making about half of the palette, and pinks, one dark orange, one violet, one golden peachy colour and a dark shade with nuances of purple, though these don’t translate onto the skin. To me, it looks like Colourpop focused more on the fictional place of Halloweentown (where colours are more subdued) for the colour story rather than the movie as a whole, for colour in TNBC is mostly associated with the holiday of Christmas. Even if the exclusion of a neon-green for Oogie Boogie appears to be a capital sin, we must remember his burlap only acquires this colour when the lighting of his lair makes it so, and the character is colour-coded green outside of the actual movie for the most part. Is it so bad that Colourpop kept green out of the palette? I don’t think so. Then again, I do think one of the other shades, possibly “In My Bones”, could have been replaced with green.

One-fourth of the palette contains a “not for use in the immediate eye area” warning which, as always, I ignored. It’s not like I even wanted to, but I had already decked out my lids in bright pink when I remembered to read the labels. (Don’t be like me; use your brain.) For what it’s worth, I never have issues with magenta-based pigments, as far as allergies go, and had no staining whatsoever with ‘Nightmare’.

I love how unique this colour story is as a whole, not just for the brand or my own belongings, and how challenging but fun it is to play with it. I have created more monochromatic grey and punchy pink and purple combos out of it. In the future, I might actually switch out “In My Bones” for a green, just to feel like I own (my) perfect TNBC palette.

As far as specifications go, the palette contains 12 shades: 7 mattes, 1 shimmer, 2 metallics, 1 topper, 1 duo-chrome, in a total of 14 grams. It’s made in the USA and cruelty-free.

Witching Hour

‘Witching Hour’ is the name of the eyeshadow palette which is part of Colourpop’s second collaboration with the Disney movie Hocus Pocus. (Seeing as a sequel is due to premiere later this year, a third round seems likely.) I am not a fan of the movie. Sure, I’ll watch it with childlike wonder every time Halloween comes around, but I am not a fan — I can’t even tell when it was I watched the movie for the first time, for I was a toddler when it premiered in 1993 and, in later years, the Disney Channel was, alone, as much as the whole cable package was, a ploy my parents were too smart to fall for.

I did not think much when this second round dropped prior to the TNBC; indeed, I found it less alluring than the first, with its more mature presentation. In time, though, I did fall in love with the 1960’s Bewitched-like illustrations present in the products’ packaging and the Autumn-appropriate colour scheme. So, being an October baby who was born into her favourite season, I had to get my hands on it. I repeat: it’s the *perfect* Autumn palette.

The palette is arranged in such a way you can make duos out of shades if you read them as columns, or combine these with the first row of neutrals. I am wearing the first column from the left and ‘Summon Us’ as I type this post. It’s a very versatile colourway, which allows you to do something more neutral and golden, or overall warm-toned, or even dark and vampy. Does this wardrobe of eyeshadows reflect the property? I think it so. Not to mention the lip colours in the collection complement the pigments to perfection.

‘Witching Hour’ contains 12 shades: 7 mattes and 5 shimmers, in a total of 11 grams. It’s made in the USA and cruelty-free. Only one shade comes with a warning and, like it happened with the TNBC palette, I had no issues of it staining my eyelids. Again, do read labels and patch-test prior to playing with pigments.

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Nivea Cellular Luminous 630® serum
Categories Skincare

Nivea Cellular Luminous 630® serum

Back in January, I bought this in the hopes it would be a dupe for Caudalie‘s Vinoperfect Radiance Serum, which I had been using for three months straight, twice a day, with proven results. Price was the sole motivator here, as Nivea’s serum is about half the price of the Caudalie, for the same 30ml of product.

The Cellular Luminous 630® comes packaged in an opaque bottle with a pump, making it hard to see how much product remains inside. The product that comes out is coloured a ballerina pink, scented and of a lotion consistency, not a serum. The official Portuguese site for Nivea does not state a full list of ingredients, only Vitamin E and hyaluronic acid, preferring to focus on laboratorial testing — it contains forms of alcohol to thicken the formula, which might explain my experience with it, as someone whose skin is sensitive.

Differences in shape and form aside, I started by integrating the serum in my nighttime routine, analysing possible effects in the daytime. Nivea vouches for visible results in 4 weeks. In my previous experience with Caudalie, about 3 weeks were needed, not always counting on daily double applications. With the Cellular Luminous 630® serum, I actually noticed more redness surfacing my cheeks where I had applied the serum the night before, all other steps of my hygiene usual and known to me, making it clear who the culprit could be, upon three sequential days of application.

I cannot wear this serum for over a period of two days without noticing the exacerbation of the red spots. For what it’s worth, it serum did not enhance green/blue splotches, but this adverse effect is quite contrary to a “complexion correction” claim. Furthermore, though my skin is not normally sensitive to fragrance, I wonder if the parfum in the formula has any responsibility in the negative results. There is no chance I’ll take the words “visible results in 4 weeks” as a dare, lest my face hate me.

In the end, I much prefer the Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum and recommend it in lieu of the Nivea, in spite of the price. That one has a true serum consistency and a subtle fragrance; contains squalane, palmitoyl grapevine shoot extract, and no alcohol. Above all, the Caudalie I can make two daily applications out of as per the brand’s recommendation and notice an overall improvement over my skin’s cast, with cool tones minimised. Plus, Vinoperfect is vegan and contained in a glass bottle, making it recyclable.

For all reasons given above, I do not enjoy, do not recommend and will not be repurchasing this product.

TL;DR

PROs
  • emolient and pleasant to apply
CONs
  • not cruelty-free
  • not a dupe for vinoperfect
  • you had one job!

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Oden’s Eye x Angelica Nyqvist – ‘Hela’ eyeshadow palette
Categories Makeup

Oden’s Eye x Angelica Nyqvist – ‘Hela’ eyeshadow palette

Disclaimer: I received this palette for free by winning a giveaway held by the brand.

Hela‘ is the newest eyeshadow palette release from Swedish brand Oden’s Eye. As part of the Legendary Diversa series, which partners with well-known influencers to create colourways inspired by deities and other beings of lore, they have now collaborated with fellow countrywoman Angelica Nyqvist to launch a palette inspired by the themes of life and death.

The palette contains 20 grams of product in 16 shades which span 3 different textures: 9 mattes, 6 shimmers and 1 multi-chrome, housed in a square the same size of previous large palettes from the brand, such as the original ‘Älva‘. The palette retails for €43.90, an uncommon but deserving price for an Oden’s Eye product.

A sleeve protects the palette proper. Both elements are made of cardboard and exhibit the same illustration, the only visual difference between them being the lack of saturation of the external image. The back of the sleeve contains the list of ingredients, which you might wish to keep for future reference. The illustration depicts Angelica as death personified, half her features are fleshy and alive, half are skeletal. Surrounding her are her mythological siblings. Floral and celestial details complement the picture.

Inside the palette, you will find a small-ish round mirror and a signature detail. The colourway is about half green, half pink, colours Angelica is routinely seen wearing in her videos. The greens evoke springtime with no effort. I saw the pink half receive more backlash on Instagram — however, as this palette was launched on Valentine’s Day, and seeing as these colours are complementary to each other, the inclusion of pink makes sense to me. There’s enough range of shades to do a monochromatic look, which is usually my go-to.

I have now used this palette as a standalone and in tandem with others — with Colourpop‘s ‘Sprinkle a Little Magic’ for an evergreen look; and with ‘Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas’ release, also from Colourpop, for a wider range of pinks. I have enjoyed it every single time, since the strong pigmentation of the shades does not make the blending process any harder. Look longevity was not a problem.

If I’m honest, I could not help but be a little thrown off by the price tag at first. The attachment to a public figure aside, I see no reason why ‘Hela’ should be more expensive than ‘The Norns’, which also contains 16 shades — though it’s true ‘The Norns’ is only 18 grams, it does contain an array of finishes as well, including multichromes, which in my opinion compensates for those two missing grams of product. The quality leap between ‘The Norns’ and ‘Hela’ is not that large to justify the price difference alone. I hope this release does not constitute a recurrent increase in price for future creations.

Nevertheless, ‘Hela’ is a tried and true beautiful palette with great quality and exquisite attention to design details, making it an interesting purchase for fans of Norse mythology, Angelica or alternative eyeshadow palettes.

As the time of publishing, ‘Hela’ is in stock, with the option of getting a complementary ribbon unavailable.

TL;DR

PROs
  • strong pigmentation
  • moderately easy to blend
  • cruelty-free and vegan
  • great attention to detail
CONs
  • high-priced
  • exclusive to the official website

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