Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sephora's February/March 2014 Blushes by Price Per Ounce

It can be tricky to determine what constitutes a "good deal" on any particular product. Although absurdly expensive and delightfully cheap products are easy to pick out, all the crap in the middle easily muddles together. Last month, I went through all of Sephora's eyeshadow palettes by price per ounce. This month, I'm doing blush.

(I probably shouldn't keep doing these fuckers at the end of the month, since a beginning-of-the-month post would allow me to eliminate an entire word and punctuation mark from my title.)

Because I received a little bit of criticism last month for mooshing together cream and powder eyeshadows, I separated this month into two lists: powder and liquid/cream. As a note, the powder blushes with an asterisk are loose powders, which I tend to find run a little bit pricer than their pressed compatriots. I didn't make a separate list because there weren't very many of them.

I only included single blushes. Sets or products that included highlighters, bronzers, or other products along with the blush were excluded.


Here they all are:

Powder Blushes

1. Benefit Cosmetics Dallas Blush: $28 for 0.32 oz, $87.50 per ounce

2. Benefit Cosmetics Bella Bamba: $28 for 0.28 oz, $100 per ounce

3. Benefit Cosmetics CORALista Blush: $28 for 0.28 oz, $100 per ounce

4. Benefit Cosmetics Hervana Blush: $28 for 0.28 oz, $100 per ounce

5. Benefit Cosmetics Sugarbomb Blush: $28 for 0.28 oz, $100 per ounce

6. Clinique Blushing Bride Blush: $21 for 0.21 oz, $100 per ounce

7. Clinique Soft-Pressed Powder Blush: $21 for 0.21 oz, $100 per ounce

8. Kat Von D Everlasting Blush: $25 for 0.25 oz, $100 per ounce

9. Smashbox Fusion Soft Lights: $30 for 0.3 oz, $100 per ounce

10. BareMinerals READY Blush: $22 for 0.21 oz, $104.76 per ounce

11. Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick in Nectar: $42 for 0.4 oz, $105 per ounce

12. Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick in Pink Quartz: $42 for 0.4 oz, $105 per ounce

13. Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick in Rose: $42 for 0.4 oz, $105 per ounce

14. Benefit Cosmetics Dandelion Blush: $28 for 0.25 oz, $112 per ounce

15. Stila Custom Color Blush: $20 for 0.17 oz, $117.65 per ounce

16. Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush: $26 for 0.2 oz, $130 per ounce

17. Shiseido Luminizing Satin Face Color: $30 for 0.22 oz, $136.36 per ounce

18. Sephora Collection Colorful Blush: $15 for 0.11 oz, $136.36 per ounce

19. Buxom True Hue Blush: $24 for 0.17 oz, $141.18 per ounce

20. Sephora Collection Microsmooth Baked Blush Duo: $17 for 0.12 oz, $141.67 per ounce

21. Illamasqua Velvet Blusher: $26 for 0.18 oz, $144.44 per ounce

22. Make Up For Ever Blush: $25 for 0.17 oz, $147.06 per ounce

23. Too Faced Sweethearts Perfect Flush Blush: $30 for 0.19 oz, $157.89

24. BECCA Mineral Blush: $32 for 0.2 oz, $160 per ounce

25. Benefit Cosmetics Rockateur Blush: $28 for 0.17 oz, $164.71 per ounce

26. Lancome Blush Subtil: $30 for 0.18 oz, $166.67 per ounce

27. Lancome Blush Subtil Sheer: $30 for 0.18 oz, $166.67 per ounce

28. Lancome Blush Subtil Shimmer: $30 for 0.18 oz, $166.67 per ounce

29. Dior Rosy Glow Healthy Glow Awakening Blush: $44 for 0.26 oz, $169.23 per ounce

30. Clinique Cheek Pop: $21 for 0.12 oz, $175 per ounce

31. Dior DiorBlush Vibrant Colour Powder Blush: $42 for 0.24 oz, $175 per ounce

32. *Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Pure Cosmetic Pigment: $14 for 0.08 oz, $175 per ounce

33. Bobbi Brown Shimmer Blush: $25 for 0.14 oz, $178.57 per ounce

34. Givenchy Le Prisme Blush Powder: $44 for 0.24 oz, $183.33 per ounce

35. Smashbox Blush Rush: $24 for 0.13 oz, $184.62 per ounce

36. Illamasqua Powder Blusher: $26 for 0.14 oz, $185.71 per ounce

37. NARS Blush: $30 for 0.16 oz, $187.50 per ounce

38. Laura Mercier Shimmer Bloc: $40 for 0.21 oz, $190.48 per ounce

39. Bobbi Brown Blush: $25 for 0.13 oz, $192.31 per ounce

40. Laura Mercier Second Skin Cheek Color: $26 for 0.13 oz, $200 per ounce

41. Marc Jacobs Beauty Shameless Bold Blush: $30 for 0.15 oz, $200 per ounce

42. Edward Bess Blush Extraordinaire: $43 for 0.21 oz, $204.76 per ounce

43. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush: $35 for 0.15 oz, $233.33 per ounce

44. Guerlain Rose Aux Joues: $52 for 0.21 oz, $247.62 per ounce

45. Make Up For Ever Powder Blush: $21 for 0.08 oz, $262.50 per ounce

46. Dolce & Gabbana The Blush Luminous Cheek Colour: $45 for 0.17 oz, $264.71 per ounce

47. Make Up For Ever HD Blush: $26 for 0.09 oz, $288.89 per ounce

48. Sunday Riley Blush: $30 for 0.1oz, $300 per ounce

49. Yves Saint Laurent Blush Radiance Radiant Blush: $45 for 0.14 oz, $321.43 per ounce

50. *Smashbox Halo Long Wear Blush: $24 for 0.07 oz, $342.86 per ounce

51. Edward Bess Blush Imperiale: $42 for 0.12 oz, $350 per ounce

52. *BareMinerals Blush: $19 for 0.03 oz, $633.33 per ounce

Mean: $179.70 per ounce
Median: $166.67 per ounce
Standard Deviation: $92.32
Quartiles: Q1-$105; Q2-$166.67; Q3-$192.31

Cream/Liquid Blushes

1. Tarte Maracuja Blush and Glow: $32 for 1 oz, $32 per ounce

2. Givenchy Blush Gelee Jelly Blush: $32 for 1 oz, $34 per ounce

3. Ellis Faas Blush: $32 for 0.8 oz, $40 per ounce

4. Josie Maran Argan Color Stick: $22 for 0.55 oz, $40 per ounce

5. Smashbox O-GLOW Intuitive Cheek Color: $28 for 0.5 oz, $56 per ounce

6. Tarte Cheek Stain: $30 for 0.5 oz, $60 per ounce

7. Benefit Benetint: $30 for 0.42 oz, $71.43 per ounce

8. Benefit ChaCha Tint: $30 for 0.42 oz, $71.43 per ounce

9. Benefit Lollitint: $30 for 0.42 oz, $71.43 per ounce

10. Benefit Posietint: $30 for 0.42 oz, $71.43 per ounce

11. NARS The Multiple: $39 for 0.5 oz, $78 per ounce

12. PERFEKT Cheek Perfection Gel: $28 for 0.33 oz, $84.85 per ounce

13. Clinique Blushwear Cream Stick: $21 for 0.21 oz, $100 per ounce

14. BECCA Beach Tint: $25 for 0.24 oz, $104.17 per ounce

15. Benefit Cosmetics Fine One One: $30 for 0.28 oz, $107.14 per ounce

16. Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelee: $22 for 0.18 oz, $122.22 per ounce

17. NARS Matte Multiple: $39 for 0.26 oz, $150 per ounce

18. Stila Convertible Color: $25 for 0.15 oz, $166.67 per ounce

19. Givenchy Hydra Sparkling Magic Lip and Cheek Balm: $31 for 0.17 oz, $182.35 per ounce

21. Illamasqua Cream Blusher: $26 for 0.14 oz, $185.71 per ounce

22. Yves Saint Laurent Creme de Blush: $38 for 0.19 oz, $200 per ounce

23. Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Creme Colour Concentrate: $20 for 0.08 oz, $250 per ounce

24. Stila Lip and Cheek Stain: $24 for 0.08 oz, $300 per ounce

25. Edward Bess Compact Rouge for Lips and Cheeks: $38 for 0.05 oz, $760 per ounce

26. Josie Maran Magic Marker Lip and Cheek Stain: $19 for 0.016 oz, $1187.50 per ounce

Mean: $180.93
Median: $100
Standard Deviation: $255.95
Quartiles: Q1-$65.72; Q2-$100; Q3-$182.35

Combining the two data sets into a histogram gives you a relatively normal-looking distribution:

They do look a bit different, though, when you separate them out. The powder blushes peak around $100-$150 per ounce...

...whereas the cream and liquid products are peaking at $50-$100 per ounce. The cream and liquid products, though, also have a couple more teeny weeny but pricy products on the ludicrously-expensive side of the chart. In fact, the two data sets have near-identical means, but the standard deviation is much higher for the cream and liquid products, and the mean is much lower.

Overall, many of the blushes were really strangely priced, which kind of screws with analysis. The second-least expensive product in this data set is from Givenchy, for fuck's sake. I don't even know how that fucking happened. There have been a lot of price-per-ounce changes recently for cream blushes (the most notable being Tarte's Cheek Stains being halved in size and NARS's Matte Multiples being half the size of the regular Multiple) and I think this really shows why those adjustments are being made: companies are having a really difficult time pricing their cream blushes because everyone's pricing is so damn wacky!

For powder blushes, though, most things make a medium amount of sense, at least. The higher end brands tend to start around $200 per ounce, although there was no clear delineation between mid-range and high-end brands, as there was in the eyeshadow data set. Given the median of $166.67 per ounce, I'd say anything less than $150 per ounce seems to be pretty moderately-to-well priced for Sephora brands.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Random Sample Grab Bag: Perfume Reviews Part 5

It's "Robyn is a perfume sample hoarder" time again!

Bvlgari Omnia Crystalline Eau de Toilette. $65 for 1.3 fl oz ($50 per fl oz)

This perfume smells like a really soft, generic, not-very enthusiastic lily. Perhaps it is a lily that has given up on life and is ready for a slow, rotting death.

If this scent were being worn by a fictional character, it would be Ophelia from Hamlet by Shakespeare, near the beginning of the play when she is forbidden from seeing Hamlet by Laertes. 

Cartlier Baiser Volé Eau de Parfum. $103 for 1.6 fl oz ($64.38 per fl oz)

...and this is that same lily after it has been rotting a few days. The lily scent is strongly there, but it's paired with some very sour notes. It definitely smells nice (it doesn't smell like mold or anything), but there's a definite sharpness to it.

If this scent were being worn by a fictional character, it would be Ophelia from Hamlet by Shakespeare, as she commits suicide. 

Clean First Blush Eau de Toilette. $59 for 2.14 fl oz ($27.57 per fl oz)

This is a musky white tea scent with the smell of leaves. True to the brand's form, though, it definitely smells like something you might be really excited about in a laundry detergent.

If this scent were being worn by a fictional character, it would be Monica from Friends

Dolce & Gabbana Intense Eau de Parfum. $93 for 1.6 fl oz ($58.13 per fl oz)

This has a spicy vanilla scent, more like the homemade vanilla extract you make from vodka and vanilla beans than the one you might find at the store. There's also a hint of orange creamsicle in there. Although that description sounds really tame and sugary, there's definitely some really strong kickass personality to this scent.

If this scent were being worn by a fictional character, it would be Tiana from Princess and the Frog (2009)

Hanae Mori HiM Eau de Toilette (For Dudes). $74 for 1.7 fl oz ($43.53 per fl oz)

This scent smells like a shitload of pepper and woodiness. Strong smells aside, it's still very mild and wearable.

If this scent were being worn by a fictional character, it would be Doc from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (1937)

Hugo Boss Boss Bottled Night Eau de Toilette. $60 for 1.6 fl oz ($37.50 per fl oz)

This perfume smells like freshly cut firewood and lemongrass.

As a side note, my boyfriend saw me sniffing this and said, "Are you wearing a perfume by the people who made Nazi uniforms...?"

If this scent were being worn by a fictional character, it would be the woodsman from Little Red Riding Hood

Marc Jacobs Daisy Eau de Toilette. $75 for 1.7 fl oz ($44.12 per fl oz)

This is a very sweet-smelling perfume, but not in a sickly or artificial way. It smells like a homemade strawberry jam pot de creme.

If this scent were being worn by a fictional character, it would be Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation

Marni Eau De Parfum. $106 for 2.2 fl oz ($48.18 per fl oz)

There's something about this perfume that's very sharp and green, like it's going to poke your eye with a stick. There's a hint of a rose-y smell, but it's quickly overwhelmed by the greenness, as if you stuck your nose in a Baronne Prevost, got a whiff of confirmation bias, and realized the whole thing was just a stem after all.

If this scent were being worn by a fictional character, it would be Petra Arkanian from the Ender's Game series by Orson Scott Card. 

Prada Luna Rossa Eau de Toilette. $62 for 1.7 fl oz. ($36.47 per fl oz)

To me, this smells like cheap scents you get in Christmas gift baskets from distant relatives who don't know you in which the scent is entitled "Ocean Breeze".

If this scent were being worn by a fictional character, it would be any wizard pretending to be a muggle in the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. 

TokyoMilk Dark Tainted Love No.62 Eau de Parfum. $36 for 1.6 fl oz ($22.50 per fl oz)

Although the gothic TokyoMilk aesthetic really appeals to me (I love the packaging, the pricing, and the themes equally), the perfume is just not very complex. It just smells like vanilla. The end. It's like the goth kid in high school who made you realize that still waters don't always run deep. The gothic kid who secretly wanted to be popular the whole time.

If this scent were being worn by a fictional character, it would be Allison Reynolds from The Breakfast Club (1985). 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Review: BareMinerals True Romantic Collection Blush in Swoon

The entire BareMinerals True Romanic collection has a certain je ne sais quoi that makes you want to put flowers in your hair and ride naked on a horse (just kidding. That last idea is terrible. How about eating gelato while laying in bed instead?). In particular, the rose gold packaging has something really lovely about it.

Swoon is the collection's loose blush. It's a warm, medium coral-pink that applies more-or-less matte.

Like all BareMinerals loose blushes, this has a fancy little twisty-sifter that you can, in theory, use to prevent yourself from pouring pink powder all over your lap.

The texture of this blush is very soft and silky, and the slight clumps that are visible in the jar are imperceptible once the product hits your brush. It blends on your skin perfectly.

The ultimate effect is a super youthful flush.

BareMinerals Swoon on Human Face

Although I like the blush overall, I do think that there is one noteworthy problem.

I think that, in general, loose powders tend to look like they contain a lot more product than pressed powders. Consequentially, I do think that it's common for brands to just make smaller products. The purchaser just gets less. (I think that this also plays into consumer perceptions as well; I often hear in indie makeup communities that indie eyeshadows are supposedly much cheaper than other shadows, when they tend to price out very similarly, ounce per ounce.) BareMinerals definitely plays into this by making their powder products itty bitty. In addition, the packaging tends to be unnecessarily bulky.

Consequentially, this blush is astronomically expensive when it it priced out by the ounce. At $19 for 0.03 ounces, this is almost comically pricey at $633.33 per ounce. This product may be lovely, but I'm having a hard time justifying why it's so much more lovely than the gadgillion other blushes that I have for way more reasonable prices.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Review: Covergirl LashBlast Clump Crusher Mascara, Water-Resistant, Black

About a year ago, Clump Crusher was released, with much fanfare. Apparently, the internet unilaterally decided that it was the BEST MASCARA EVER OH MY GOD YOUR LASHES WILL BE LIKE FEMININE, CURVY TREE TRUNKS AHHHHH. Recently, with the ringing endorsement of everyone who has ever been online still rolling around in my head, I decided that maybe I should actually purchase this motherfucker on the off chance that I'd Knights Templar this shit and find the Holy Grail.

Sadly, it was not to be.

The name "Clump Crusher" apparently refers to the mascara's inability to clump. To me, it sounds like the name of a really bad, D-list superhero. The "Green Jello" shade of the tube itself, though, is oddly enticing. It encases a moderately curvy brush.

Overall, I feel that the formula gives not-a-lot of a volume and a medium amount of length, which is pretty typical of relatively dry mascaras (which this is). Thankfully, even the waterproof formula is relatively easy to remove. It's totally adequate, but it's nothing to choreograph an elaborate jig about.

My biggest problem with this mascara is actually something that is kind of my fault. Clump Crusher comes in four colors: 'brown', 'brown-black', 'black', and 'very black'. Retrospectively, I should have purchased 'very black', but I purchased regular old 'black' instead, assuming (silly me) that it would, in fact, be black. Well, it's actually gray. Like, really gray. Like, "the color of a British shorthair kitten" gray. Silver lining: if you're looking for a gray mascara, guess what? I found one for you!

Here's a "before and after" of Clump Crusher.

No Mascara:

Clump Crusher:

One more time!

No mascara:

Clump Crusher:

You can see, it doesn't look terrible or anything. It's just "not terrible or anything" isn't a very high standard for mascara-wearing, in my book.

Luckily, I have found one thing that I really do like it for: If you have any gloopy, gooey, so-wet-they-feel-like-undercooked-brownie-dough mascaras, I find that this works really well underneath them. A few layers of Clump Crusher to separate and add length and then a few layers of miscellaneous oozy-goo mascara to add oomf (I guess I'm just not using real words today) helps prevent spider lashes from the wetter mascara, but gives more drama than Clump Crusher does on its own.

Or, you know, you could just buy a mascara that doesn't need so much help...

Covergirl Clump Crusher retails for $8.99 for 0.44 fl oz, putting it at $20.43 per ounce.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Does a Lip Scrub Really Help With Lipstick Longevity?

One of the most common tips for stretching the life of your lip products is to use a lip scrub before you apply your color of choice. The gritty exfoliator, proponents claim, will help slough off yucky dead lip skin and goop, allowing your lipstick to adhere more evenly. As a result, throughout the day, it will not flake.

do use a lip scrub, but I don't do so with a whole lot of reliability. I was curious, then, if a lip scrub made as big of a difference as makeup lovers suggest. Should I really make an effort to use one every day? I decided to put it to the test.

Personally, I like the Lush lip scrubs because they are edible, which appeals to both the part of me that is lazy (and thus doesn't want to get tools to wipe the scrub off) and the part of me that is hungry. With that said, you could presumably use any lip scrub on the market or you could make a homemade lip scrub out of brown sugar and olive oil and still get comparable longevity results, even if it doesn't happen to taste like bubblegum. For the test, though, Lush's Bubblegum Lip Scrub was my tool of choice.

(For me, Lush is convenient enough to be worth the $9.95 for 0.8oz, or $12.44 per ounce! It's also worth noting that a lot of more inexpensive options are pricier, ounce per ounce. For example, at $3 for 0.16oz, ELF's Lip Exfoliator is actually more expensive at $18.75 per ounce. Plain old sugar, though, will always be cheaper.)

I debated the best method to test my "lip scrub is helpful" hypothesis because it's likely that different people are asking different things. (Some people might, for example, never wear lipstick and want to know if it will be worth it for that one special gala where they're finally going to break out a red pout. Others might use a lip scrub on the regular and want to know if it's worth it to fit it into their daily routine.)

I decided the easiest way to do a test that is helpful for most interested parties was to use a lip scrub on one side of my mouth and compare it to the other half. Because I have no reason to suspect that I use one half of my mouth more than the other half, and because I worried that scrubbing one day would carry over in helpfulness to the next day, I decided to dedicate one half of my mouth to scrubbing for the entirety of the test, rather than switching from side to side.

Before my test, I did not use a lip scrub for one week. Then, I scrubbed one half of my mouth with a lip scrub and applied lipstick over my whole mouth. I applied in the morning, applied nothing to my mouth for the whole day (P.S. NOT RECOMMENDED. I HEART LIP BALM. DRY LIPS HURT.), and then took a picture of my dried up, unhappy lips eight hours later to see which side of my mouth faired better. The test took three days with three different lipsticks.

In the pictures below, the left side of the picture got the scrub, and the right side did not. Warning: ugly end-of-the-day lip pictures ahead.

Lipstick #1: Bite Beauty High Pigment Pencil in Quince

In terms of color saturation, both the left side and right side of my mouth look pretty similar. On the far right corner of my mouth, there is perhaps slightly more fading than there is on the left corner. The big visible difference is that the right half of my mouth has hunks of dead skin that is unattractively coated in lipstick.

Lipstick #2: MAC Party Parrot

The results here were similar. The most notable fading for the non-lip scrubbed right side was at the corner of my mouth.

Lipstick #3: Kat Von D Everlasting Love Liquid Lipstick in Berlin

The difference here was much more substantial. Although the fading was still concentrated near the corner, if was much more spread out and noticeable. The liquid lipstick format, it appears, is much more sensitive to whether or not a lip scrub is applied.

Still, for all three lipsticks, the side that had been scrubbed down had less fading and looked generally more visually appealing due to lack of lip gunk polluting the view. The corners of my mouth and the top of my bottom lip were the most affected regions. I feel comfortable, then, concluding that lip scrubs do extend the life of your lipstick, although the effects may be more or less pronounced for certain types of lip colors.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Review: theBalm Balm Voyage Eyeshadow and Lip Palette

Balm Voyage is one of theBalm's newer makeup palettes, containing 16 eyeshadows and three lip/cheek stains. Although theBalm is billing this as a "travel-friendly" palette, there's really nothing about this gigantic monstrosity of a palette that is going to make for easy lugging around. Maybe theBalm's marketing department and I simply have different definitions of "travel-friendly", but I think that term generally refers to compact packaging that gets you what you need in a small space. This palette is the size of a lab notebook.

Because the palette is a mix of powder and cream products, it is set up in such a way that the powder and cream products open separately, presumably to keep eyeshadow dust out of your lipstick.

Each of the eyeshadows is named for a plane seat position, meaning it's all numbers and letters. I am wavering in between that being "kinda cute" and "kinda lazy".

The palette swings open to reveal a mirror inside of a lady's face, presumably so we can all imagine we would look like as a dirty-blonde white lady. (Side note on the packaging: only white women take vacations?!)

The info on the side of the mirror is a whole new kind of baffling to me. It contains what appears to be passport information... but why was she born in 1953? Let's say she is 20 (which is a pretty low estimate in my opinion). ...She's dressing like this in the 1970s? What?

For your (/my) convenience, this review is split into eyeshadow-y-ness and non-eyeshadow-y-ness.


As a general rule, I would say that these eyeshadows are pretty lovely. Although they lean on the powdery side, they are, in general, nicely pigmented and relatively easy to work with.

With only a few exceptions, these shades are neutrals. However, they're dramatically different from the colors you might receive in a traditional neutral palette. I think these shades would be particularly excellent for someone who maybe a little bit bored with their current neutrals palettes, but too intimidated to hit the bright colors just yet.

Here's how they swatched (two swipes, no primer):

From left to right: A4, B4, C4, D4, A3, B3, C3, and D3
A4 is a charcoal gray with turquoise and violet shimmer.
B4 is a shimmery medium-dark brown.
C4 is a dark, brown-leaning red with a shitload of silver shimmer.
D4 is a dark olive green with lovely golden shimmer.
A3 is a bright, metallic silver. (It swatches so beautifully-- it goes on like liquid!)
B3 is a gray-leaning matte mauve. It is one of the weaker shades in terms of pigmentation.
C3 is a matte, sandy brown.
D3 is a metallic dark gold. (This is another particularly gorgeous one.)

From left to right: A2, B2, C2, D2, A1, B1, C1, and D1

A2 is a frosty, cool medium purple with blue shimmer that almost reads as a duochrome.
B2 is a frosty seafoam.
C2 is a dark blue-leaning teal. It almost reads as a matte, but it has a few hunks of blue shimmer in it.
D2 is a lovely peachy pink with a frosty finish. It swatches like butter.
A1 is a frosty mauve. It's another really nice one.
B1 is a manila-folder cream-y beige with a matte finish. This one has great color payoff, but it really, really soft.  It kinda feels like you are dipping your brush into powdered sugar. This makes it a little more tricky to work with.
C1 is a yellow-leaning cream frost.
D1 is a frosty mustard yellow.

The pans are a little inconsistent (with the matte shades being the crappiest), but most of them are perfectly lovely.

Here are some eyeshadow looks that I did with this palette:

Lip and Cheek Stains

One of the big, obvious disadvantages of a palette that is a mix of powder and cream products is that powder gets in the cream and makes it yucky. TheBalm obviously tried to counteract this by creating a separate flap to go over the lip/cheek creams. Unfortunately, it just doesn't work well enough.

Even though I have never used the palette with the lip flap open, the products are coated with a layer of nasty-looking eyeshadow dust.

At least the swatches look pretty when you can dig through the dust:

The first shade I'm going to examine, Second Officer, is a medium red.

On the lips:

On the cheeks:

First Officer, on the other hand, is a light, orange-y coral. It is the most opaque of the three lip/cheek shades.

On the lips:

On the cheeks:

Finally, Captain is a cool-leaning medium pink.

On the lips:

On the cheeks:

Like most two-in-one products, these are a mixed bag. Although the colors are pretty, I think they apply a little patchily to the cheeks, but are too drying and paint-like for my lips.

Despite the things I am grumpy about, I still feel pretty good about this purchase because of the price point. The Balm Voyage palette retails for $42.50 for 1oz of eyeshadow and 0.21oz of the lip and cheek stains. Even if you have no interest in the cream products, that puts the value at a very, very comfortable $42.50 per ounce. If count the cream products, you're at a ludicrously inexpensive $35.12 per ounce. That is absolutely drugstore pricing. (For example, Maybelline Expert Wear Quads are $6.49 for 0.17oz, or $38.18 per ounce.)

I hate the packaging and I don't find the lip/cheek products to be enjoyable. The eyeshadow, though, is pretty lovely and very nicely priced. So the rest? I'll grin and bear it. 
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