Sunday, July 27, 2014

Review: Manna Kadar Cosmetics Eye Palette in Diamonds Darling

I'm a gray eyeshadow lover. Give me an ombre gray palette and I'm fifteen minutes away from looking like a slutty black and white photograph.

Manna Kadar's Diamonds Darling palette not only has the right color scheme, it has a name reminiscent of Nicole Kidman sitting on a sexy swing in a cabaret venue.

I will assume that this is a language translation and not merely a way to confuse people who don't know the difference between 'palette', 'pallet', and 'palate'. 

The very plain packaging is not appealing, but I was hoping for a diamond in the rough, especially given the palette's $45 price tag.

Sadly, there was no diamond to be found. Given the texture, I am pretty sure that what I got was a mix of craft glitter and kosher salt.

In the picture, it looks so damn pretty (dusting of fallout aside).

My swatches, though, will probably serve to dissuade you:


That looks like quality that I would be disappointed to find at the dollar store.

The first shade, which should be a brilliant, glittery white, is basically the eyeshadow equivalent of one of those glitter nail polishes where each coat gets you like four flecks of the glitter. You would get equivalent pigmentation by brushing past one of those white, glittery, fake trees that are put on display around Christmas.

The second shade, which should be a light gray glitter, is somehow even less pigmented. I could use it as a setting powder on days where I want to look just very slightly undead.

The third shade is a slate gray glitter. It's probably the least crappy of the shades in the palette, but it's in such bad company that this is sort of damning with faint praise. It looks like I am looking at my arm through a single layer of gray cellophane.

The fourth shade is a matte black. There are a million matte blacks in the world, and this one is terrible. It's splotchy and patchy and badly pigmented.

Finally, the last shade is a matte black with a purple glitter. This was the biggest disappointment in the palette not because it was the worst shade, but because I was expecting it to be a gorgeous, shimmery purple. Nerp. Never have hopes and dreams, as they will only be crushed by the terrible eyeshadow you purchase.

A few looks that were cobbled together using this atrocity of cosmetics:

Manna Kadar eyeshadow palettes retail for $45 for 0.33oz, putting them at a slightly pricy $136.36 per ounce. Since literally everything about this eyeshadow palette is awful, that is exactly $136.36 more than you should ever pay for an ounce of this makeup.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Testing "The Goss Method" for Foundation

For those of you who don't already know him, Wayne Goss is a makeup artist and a prolific, popular beauty youtuber. I'm always particularly amused by his hyperbolic video titles, which include names like, "HELL JUST FROZE OVER! PLEASE WATCH!", "WTF!!! THE LIP SCRUB YOU AIN'T GONNA WANNA MISS!", and "FOREO: SKIN CLEANSING OR SEXUAL PLEASURE?! BOTH ACTUALLY-- REALLY!" I always have this vision of Wayne Goss happily yelling at me through my computer screen about concealer.

As much as I enjoy watching random youtube tutorials while I do the dishes, it's rare that someone gives a tip that is truly unique or transformative. Although there is joy in seeing a thousand perfect smoky eyes, very few people stop in their tracks and go, "Holy shit! Brown eyeshadow!"

In March 2014, Wayne Goss released a video called, in his usual fashion, "THIS FOUNDATION TIP CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE". You can watch the whole video here, but I'll also walk you through it for those who like to skim.

I won't go so far as to say that it is life-changing, but it's definitely unconventional. So unconventional, in fact, that it goes contrary to every piece of makeup advice you've ever heard: put on your powder, Goss recommends, before you put on your liquid foundation. In his video, Goss says, "I know that we're told, 'We don't apply liquids or creams over powders.' This will work fine. All of that moisturizer, primer, whatever [you put on first, will be] locked into the skin with a powder."

You probably don't need any new products to give it a try. Goss notes, "All you'll need is your moisturizer or primer and anything else you put on your skin, you'll need a powder and you'll need a foundation." He recommends that you start with your primer and moisturizer and get it all rubbed in. Then, if you want, you can add something shimmery and liquid. "I know you think it's mental," he says, "but you powder your face first. Take the brush and powder over all this moisturizer and primer." Goss advises you use "a loose powder, not a pressed one". He continues, "Powdering it, even with a translucent powder, will add a small amount of coverage. If you use a powder that has a little bit of coverage to it, skin tone, you will get more coverage on your face for area that are problematic." He adds, "…what will happen is: a. you'll need less foundation. You will absolutely not use anywhere near the same amount of foundation. You will find that, if you're no very dark under the eyes, you certainly won't need to use concealer. But it will fill in and cover and stay on the skin. Your foundation is going to stay all day long now… [and] it will cause the foundation to set immediately." Finally, Goss suggests, "If you have oily skin, it will be a good idea for you to add a fraction of powder just down the T-zone."

This idea got a lot of positive attention on the internet machine, probably in large part because it's so "what the fuck" for makeup lovers. People had to try it to see if it was some elaborate April Fool's prank to give everyone on Reddit's MakeupAddiction a serious case of cake face.

I've actually been playing with this foundation method for a long fucking time; I started when the video first came out. At this point, I have a lot of feelings. However, it's hard to get a really good sense of a foundation method without a side-by-side, and I simply haven't seen one for this technique.

So, I did one.

Goss makes a lot of claims about this method. Broadly speaking, I would say there are three overarching ones:

1. You will use less foundation.
2. You will get more coverage.
3. Your foundation will last longer.

I'm going to deal with each of these.

You Will Use Less Foundation

This was pretty easy to check thanks to my unreasonable precise scale.

First, I divided my face neatly in half, (using nail striping tape, actually) like so:

I then layered on my pre-foundation products. Although Goss doesn't mention sunscreen, y'all know I am a sunscreen addict. I started with EltaMD UV Clear SPF 46. Above that, I put Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion. Finally, I layered on Smashbox Photo Finish More Than Primer Blemish Control. I was like a human parfait: all about the layers.

On one half of my face, I added a layer of Bare Minerals Mineral Veil. Then, I added my foundation: Wet'n'Wild's Coverall in Fair. (I went full Goss and used my fingers to apply.) On the Goss-free "conventional" side, I added the same Bare Minerals Mineral Veil to set my foundation. (I didn't add any to set the Goss side.)

I weighed my foundation usage.

The conventional side used 0.196g of foundation to get adequate coverage of my blemishes.

The Goss side? A comparatively low 0.152g.

Obviously, this is a single trial, so I can't promise you thousands of dollars of savings or anything, but this claim does appear to be true. Using the Goss Method likely will save you on foundation.

I think even more notable than the difference in foundation, though, is the relative ease of application. Using the Goss Method, your foundation won't mix with the underlying layers, which can cause streakiness and a frantic need to blend.

You will get more coverage

I used less foundation, but how was the coverage? I left off all other face products (contour, blush, highlight, concealer, etc.) so that there was no distraction from the foundation.

Unfortunately, I didn't have the forethought to take makeup-free photos of my face on each side, but I can promise you that each side of my face has similar levels of acne and scarring.

Here's how the conventional foundation method looked:

And here's the Goss Method:

Both sides look fine, honestly. I think the biggest difference is the finish. A Goss Method face will have a finish that is most characteristic of the foundation. A conventional face will have a face that is most characteristic of the setting powder.

I'd call this claim "inconclusive", although it's not implausible, especially with a lower coverage foundation. Again, though, I did also use less foundation, so if I was especially skilled at layering on many coats of foundation, I probably could get more coverage without using more product.

Your foundation will last longer

Finally, I wanted to see how the foundation wears.

The weather was 97 degrees Fahrenheit and raining: perfect for a foundation stress test.

12 hours after application, here is how the conventional half of my face looked:

You can see that there is definitely some acne scarring that has unburied itself from its shallow skin-toned grave. It's still mostly covered, but it's starting to become visible.

The Goss method:

Happily, the scarring has not re-appeared here! However, there is a caveat when you get super up-close-and-personal with my skin:

The pinker part is my natural skin chilling underneath.

There's a little cakiness going on. The Goss Method isn't always cake-free. It's minor, but it's also definitely only on the Goss side and not on the conventional side. If you look, you can see that there is foundation sitting on the skin.

I think I would still call this better, especially given how faint the foundation appearance is on the Goss Method side, but I want to make sure that the trade-off is noted.

I have used the Goss Method now countless times and this is actually the third side-by-side I've done, each with a different foundation (it's the first I've photographed). This is the first time I've had this problem. It's also the most extreme weather in which I have attempted the Goss Method. If you're going to be in an office all day, I'm guessing that there will be less cake-related risk involved.

I'd call this claim "true", with the caveat.

Miscellaneous Other Notes

Based on my experiences over the last few months, I do have a few modifications on Wayne Goss's initial advice about what kind of products to use. I find that really, really boring foundations typically work the best. If your foundation is too liquid or too thick or too moisturizing, your results simply won't be as appealing. The one time I tried to do it with a tinted moisturizer, it was such an awful mess that I had to wash my face. Stick with the medium-to-full-coverage foundations that seem remarkably similar to every drugstore foundation ever.

I've also found that, despite the initial warning to use a loose powder, many pressed powders do a wonderful job. What is important is that the powder is very finely milled and that not a ton of powder comes off onto your brush. The Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders, for example, do a very nice job.

Overall, I think this technique is a wonderful tool, even if it's not witchcraft. It allows more customization on the finish of your makeup and it does stretch your foundation for longer. It can help with makeup longevity. I think it's especially helpful for heavy sunscreen users: anyone who has struggled with putting on large quantities of sunscreen and then layering makeup on top should especially give it a go (I originally intended on giving this post a slightly different focus and calling it "How "the Goss Method" for Foundation Saves Sunscreen).

Monday, July 21, 2014

PopSugar Must Have June AND July 2014 Reviews

You may have noticed (or not, I don't know how much time you spend randomly refreshing the page here) that I missed reviewing the June PopSugar Must Have box. I did get the box! I just have been very overwhelmed by the real world as of late.

This review, then, is going to be a twofer: both June and July side-by-side.

June 2014

One Potato Two Potato Kettle Potato Chips in Hawaiian BBQ (2 oz bag), approximate retail value $0.99

Every time I get a PopSugar Must Have box, I have to photograph it immediately, or I'll eat the food item before I get in my pictures.

These potato chips were pretty yummy. They were definitely more spicy than a typical barbecue potato chip. Unfortunately, I can't find anywhere to buy them that doesn't require buying them in bulk, and I don't need 24 bags of chips.

You Smell Lemon Verbena Aloe Wet Wipes (12 wipes), retail value $5

I'm a big fan of wipe-type products for really quick cleaning. I feel that they are very convenient. I've mostly been using these after cleaning my guinea pig cage so that I don't stink like my adorable-but-not-necessarily-the-best-smelling pets for the rest of the day. I think these would also be nice if you expected to sweat a lot during the day. Since they are individually wrapped, they're easy to carry in your purse.

The other scent available, in my opinion, would have been vastly preferable: Honeydew Mint. That scent sounds fan-fucking-tastic. I'm not a big lemon person in general, but the lemon scent was a little too "you could clean your floor with this" for me.

I also feel that the wipes are a little overpriced for what they are. At $5 for 12 wipes, I'd have to consider just using a damn washcloth. I think I would purchase the other scent if it was Prime-eligible on Amazon, but it's not. These feel way fancier than baby wipes, but baby wipes aren't $5 for 12 plus shipping.

The One & Only: A Novel by Emily Giffin, retail value $16.52

I was going to read a chapter or two of this so I could give you some actual information about it, but I kept being distracted by books that are actually appealing. Reviews are not positive, and I'm not much a "chick lit" person, even if they were. Do you think PopSugar would ever consider sending out a scifi novel? I'd love to have someone send me some Margaret Atwood...

Turkish T Mykonos Breeze Towel, retail value $32

This towel was definitely my favorite thing in the June box. It's super lightweight, which is really appealing for those of us who are getting temperatures upwards of 110 degrees right now. I've actually been using it not only as a towel but as a blanket. As a result, I can blast the air conditioner on my body without getting chilly.

I'm not in love with the print, but it's definitely been really helpful to have.

Lollies Hair Ties Basics Three Pack, retail value $8.00

These are cute, but they're not very successful as hair ties. I could only get them around my hair twice, but they didn't stay in place, so they really need to go over other, more effective hair ties.

Sachajuan Body Lotion in Shiny Citrus (full size at 300 ml), retail value $24

I've said it before, but I think most body lotion is pretty much interchangeable to me. This has a light citrus scent and a so-boring-they-must-have-tried packaging.

Native Union Coupon Code, retail value $15 (if you are generous and count it)

I had not heard of Native Union, but they're basically a tech accessories company, with things like speakers and phone handsets. The price point is significantly higher than $15 and I genuinely just don't particularly want anything on the site, so I have not used this.

Total Box Value: $86.51 (or $101.51 if you count the coupon)

Overall, I found the June box to be pretty lackluster.

July 2014

TKO Jump Rope With Soft Grip Handles, retail value $13

I was actually really excited about this jump rope because, although I haven't jump roped since I was a child, jump roping is a really awesome cardio workout and I don't have a jump rope! The design is also pretty snazzy.

Unfortunately, I really don't think that this is the best design of jump rope out there. One of the big issues is that it is much too long for me (I'm 5'6") and it's not adjustable. You just kind of have to be the right height. I've been wrapping it around my wrist a couple of times, but that's neither elegant nor convenient. I'm also having a really difficult time getting it fully untwisted. I've been hanging it from the center and it's still twisting under my body as I jump. I might try weights, or I might just buy a fancy-ass leather jump rope that's adjustable in size.

Dang Foods Toasted Coconut Chips (1.43 oz), retail value $2.49

I have seen these at Safeway a gazillion times but I'd never picked them up because I'm not a huge coconut fan. I was kind of expecting them to be like crunchier shaved coconut.

Happily, they turned out to be a million times better than expected. They're crunchy and nutty, without overwhelming you on the coconut flavor.

I actually purchased the other available flavor recently. For the record, the Caramel Sea Salt flavor is near-identical.

Sun Bum SPF 30 Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion (3 oz), retail value $11.99
Sun Bum ‘Cool Down’ Hydrating After Sun Lotion (3 oz), retail value $7.99

I am not one to turn down sunscreen. Minis are always helpful because I can carry it around in my purse. The Sun Bum sunscreen has a very distinct piƱa colada scent (apparently it was a coconut-y month).

I was expecting the "Cool Down" lotion to have menthol or peppermint or something in it, but it's just a regular, coconut-scented lotion.

ACME Party Box Company Pastel Chevron Straws (24 straws), retail value $7

These straws are adorable and they just scream that they need to be placed in a fancy little mocktail. One day, if I ever have a dinner party, they may just get used.

 Michael Stars Sea Grass Crusher Hat, retail value $48

I love wide brim hats, but I hate this wide brim hat. I don't think it's fashionable; it looks like something an older lady would wear gardening.

If the brim was substantially wider, I think it would be more forgivable.

French Bull Ziggy Salad Servers, retail value $12

These salad servers, on the other hand, belong on Project Runway. I love the design.

The only problem is that they are sort of "aspirational" salad spinners. I don't have a salad bowl cute enough to pair with them! Perhaps I will have to buy one for that hypothetical dinner party?

 Revlon Bold Lacquer Length & Volume Mascara in Blackest Black, retail value $7.99

Revlon has been doing their darndest to make their new mascara release exciting. Unfortunately, there is really nothing about it that feels new or exciting. If aliens invaded Earth and were, for some reason, really interested in cosmetics, this mascara could be used as a prototype to represent all mascaras.

It's fine, but very bland. It's the potato of mascaras.

The formula is neither wet nor dry and the brush is regular, straight shape.

I found that, despite the product's name, it wasn't a very intense mascara. It gives some nice length, but it gives almost no volume. Building it up too much results in clumps, but I think it might work better with just one or two coats, giving a nice, natural appearance.

Here's my no-mascara eye:

And here is my eye with the addition of Revlon's Bold Lacquer Length & Volume Mascara:

It's a perfectly nice mascara… it just doesn't come anywhere close to the claims it makes.

Total Box Value: $110.49

I definitely preferred this box to June's iteration, but I'm still waiting on a PopSugar Must Have box that really wows me. I think this is an especially difficult subscription to do well. The price, at $39.99 a month, is pretty high, meaning misses are bigger financial bummers. The topic is general (e.g. PopSugar doesn't know if people like makeup or books or salad spinners or none of the above. At least if one subscribes to Ipsy, the company can assume people probably like makeup.) There is no personalization. I think the box does well for what it is, but it's not surprising, given the format, that you occasionally get things that make you go, "Uh… who even wants this?"

If my review has magically convinced you to try PopSugar Must Have, you are always free to use my referral link by clicking here. You can use the code REFER5 to get $5 off your box.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

I Don't Know What Your Sexy Facebook Profile Picture Says About Your Competency, and Neither Does the University of Oregon

"The Price of Sexy: Viewers’ Perceptions of a Sexualized Versus Nonsexualized Facebook Profile Photograph" coming out of Oregon State University is being published in Psychology of Popular Media Culture. A study called "The Price of Sexy"? Time for a disproportionate amount of media attention!

The researchers showed young women two fictitious profile pictures a girl they pretended was named Amanda. Amanda likes reading Twilight, watching the Notebook, and listening to Lady Gaga. The pages differed only in their profile picture. The photos were borrowed with permission from a real girl. One was allegedly "sexy" (her prom picture). One was "not sexy" (her senior photo). In the "sexy" photo, 'Amanda' donned cleavage-bearing red dress with a high slit and a garter belt. In the "not sexy" photo, she wore jeans, a t-shirt, and a scarf.

(This sexy photo is probably not very representative of the typical sexy Facebook photo.)

Perhaps a more typical "sexy" Facebook picture.
I asked some friends for their sexy Facebook photos for this post and was asked if it counted as a sexy photo if there was an Elvis impersonator in it.

The researchers then asked 58 high school girls (aged 13-18) and 60 women who were not in high school aged 17-25 to rate Amanda on a scale of one to seven in three aspects:

"I think she is pretty."
"I think she could be a friend of mine."
"I have confidence in her ability to get a job done."

'Boobalicious Amanda' scored worse than 'Wearing-a-Scarf Amanda' on all three.

The researchers conclude, then, that having "sexy photos" causes people to perceive you as looking uglier, being socially undesirable, and being incompetent.

I conclude that you can probably just keep whatever your current Facebook profile picture is.

Why? In psychology, there are two kinds of validity that are crucial when designing a study. One is called internal validity and one is called external validity.

Internal validity essentially means that we're looking at the things we think we are looking at. If we conclude that "sexy pictures make people think you are incompetent", the 'cause' really needs to be "sexiness" and not something else. The easiest way to make this happen is to manipulate a single variable. Unfortunately, "sexiness" is a variable that is really difficult to manipulate, which is why there are a shitload of things that changed between these two pictures. Because so many things changed, there are lots of plausible explanations for the lower scores given to Boobalicious Amanda. Maybe people thought her red dress was ugly. Maybe people with prom pictures as their profile photos seem less mature than people who have a more generic picture. Maybe Wearing-a-Scarf Amanda's scarf was super stylin'. Because we can probably come up with a gazillion plausible explanations, the study is pretty low in internal validity. A study that was higher in internal validity might have manipulated two photos to be identical save for level of cleavage shown, for example, and used cleavage as a proxy for sexiness.

External validity is the extent to which findings can be generalized to other situations. We know that 13-year-old girls didn't like Boobalicious Amanda. Does that mean that potential employers (early high schoolers are definitely not potential employers) give a shit about your sexy photo, which likely does not involve a low-cut red dress with a slit and a visible garter belt? They might. But this study says nothing about it. It's often stated that, in psychology, there is a trade-off between internal and external validity. Sadly, this study was lacking in both departments. A study that was higher in external validity might have used a crapload of different "sexy" or "not sexy" photos that actually reflect the kind of sexy photos people take, and would have used a variety of different profiles. Maybe someone who likes Margaret Atwood and Rilo Kiley would be given more boob-related leeway than someone who likes Twilight and Lady Gaga. Maybe beach bikini sexy photos are seen as less weird than random garters on teenagers, so they are more acceptable sexy photos. (And, if they want to talk about the consequences with anyone who is not a teenage girl, they definitely would have used some non-teenage girls.)

Alternative headline for the media covering this study: High School Girls Really Don't Like Amanda's Garter Belt.

Although there is some level of common sense to the idea that you shouldn't fill your profile with pictures of yourself smoking pot while wearing a thong, we can't use this study as evidence that you can't post a picture with a little cleavage.

Researcher Elizabeth Daniels pushes her results even farther, telling ladies to change their profile pictures by not "focus[ing] so heavily on appearance… Focus on who you are as a person and what you do in the world." The thing is, that's not what the study shows at all. Wearing-a-Scarf Amanda isn't rock climbing in her senior photo. She's just sitting there doing nothing and people thought she was pretty competent and attractive. Daniels is just telling you what she wants your profile picture to be. Moreover, she's telling you it's your responsibility to prevent other teens from unfairly judging you because they don't like your prom picture.

(Luckily, she doesn't get to pick what goes on your profile.)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Julep July 2014 Review

Last month, Julep ran out of box upgrades. This month, I overcompensated by rushing to upgrade without any regard for whether or not I actually wanted the shit in the upgrade at all.

As always, I upgraded with points and would not have paid for the upgrade if I had to spend cold, hard cash that could be otherwise allocated to aquarium supplies, ice cream, or lipstick.

Julep has been taking a crapload longer to ship than it used to. I used to get it either a couple days before the new month and this box anti-climactically showed up in the middle of the month, just like all my other subscription boxes.

Here was my box:

The bonus item this month was a duo of Tootsie Rolls decked out in patriotic colors, which was suitably inoffensive. The childhood Trick-or-Treater in me secretly wishes they were the fruit-flavored Tootsie Rolls, though.

As always, nine polishes. I had to remind myself of the "theme" because the set is pretty eclectic (apparently it's "the Poolside Collection")

The polishes were as follows:

Lorenzana (Boho Glam): I'm pretty sure this is the official "We have run out of names for our polishes" sign from Julep that we've all been waiting for. I only know the name Lorenzana because there was the lady in 2010 who tried to sue Citibank, saying they fired her for being too sexy… but that was her last name. (If you're looking for names, Julep, there's still no 'Robyn'! Hint, hint.) Anyways, this Citibank-appropriate nail polish is being described by Julep as a "Shiitake" despite looking nothing like a mushroom. I'd call it a light, gray-leaning taupe.

Linden (It Girl): This is a smoky-looking bluebird shade.

Vicki (Classic With a Twist): This is an electric flamingo pink.

Braiden (It Girl): This is a dark gray filled with silver glitter.

Beverly (Bombshell): This is the color of blackberry pie filling.

Tamara (Boho Glam): This is a fiery red-orange.

Kelsey (Classic With a Twist): This is the color of peach yogurt. Alternatively, it is also the color of that lipstick that you get and go, "What the hell? I'm never going to wear this."

Lissa (Bombshell): This is a lovely, classic turquoise.

Dawn (It Girl): Is "neon mustard" a color?

Here's Lissa on my nails:

In addition to the polishes, which I actually rather liked, I also got a bunch of other random crap that I should have realized in advance that I would not be interested in.

The first was the biggest problem. I'm pretty accepting of ingredients for most beauty products. One of the few I really try to stay away from, though, is polyethylene (microbeads). I've written about polyethylene as a problem in the past here. Julep likes to bill itself as being a really responsible company, so I'm very surprised that they would choose to add microbeads to a scrub while many states are concurrently taking action to ban the ingredient for environmental reasons. I didn't even open the bottle.

Julep's Body Milk, identically packaged, is very neutral smelling. It just smells like lotion.

The Mint Condition Pedi Cream smells like toothpaste and feels like regular lotion. It does have glycolic acid listed as an ingredient, but it's not clear how much there is. My boyfriend has been using it on his very troubled feet.

Overall, my box was adequate. I should have skipped the super fancy upgrade and gone with a pure nail polish box instead, as the incredibly "meh" body products were hardly unpredictable.

If you want join Julep, you are always welcome to use my referral link by clicking here. The code "FREEBOX" will get you… a free box. It's self-explanatory, really.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Review: LORAC Pro Palette 2

The LORAC Pro palette is my favorite neutral palette. When someone asks me, "Which Naked palette should I buy?" I always ask if they have considered the creamy, perfectly-laid out LORAC Pro over Urban Decay's shoddy piles of mediocre grit.

When the LORAC Pro Palette 2 was announced, I was obviously pretty pleased.

The palette is identical in layout to the first iteration, with two rows of eight shadows each: one matte, one shimmer. Instead of a black case, the new guy is housed in a slate gray.

As before, it comes with a mini 0.19 oz of LORAC Behind the Scenes Eye Primer, which is a super high-performing eye primer that I have previously reviewed here. This is my everyday primer because it is quite inexpensive per ounce but it does a kickass job.

Although many people have suggested that this palette is a cool-toned alternative to the original LORAC Pro, I feel that the whole shebang is warm as the fucking July sun. Every color leans a little bit yellow.

I don't know if I'm alone in this, but I actually get a bit of an "Old West" feel from the palette, like all the colors have been mixed with a little bit of dust. It's the eyeshadow I would use to paint an all-makeup portrait of Clint Eastwood.

Most of the colors are pretty different from the original palette, save for the matte black hanging out in the top right of each. The only other colors I might compare are Taupe (from the original) and Light Brown (from LORAC 2), which are similar in shade but differ in undertone. (Taupe is much cooler.)

LORAC 2 also has slightly more "out there" colors than the original. It reads less like a conventional neutral palette.

I appreciate that LORAC didn't produce two interchangeable eyeshadow collections. Unfortunately, I don't think that the second Pro palette is nearly as well thought out as the first.

The original palette has a really beautiful mix of warm and cool colors, whereas the second version feels like it leans so warm that the versatility of the palette has decreased. I do like warm shades of eyeshadow, even on my cool-toned skin, but it makes the palette feel a little bit one note. There's a level of contrast that you simply can't play with. Even the traditionally cooler colors feel warm for cool colors. Like, the silver shade has an underlying warmth. There is a color that is literally called "Cool Gray" and it's a taupe that's cool for a brown, but warm for a gray. It's not a cool gray. It's a warm gray. The warm nature of the palette is especially prominent among the lighter shades in the palette.

Another issue I had was the lack of highlight shades. In the original palette, I can use White, Cream, Light Pink, Nude, and Champagne all as highlight shades. In this palette, the only shade that is light enough for a true highlight on me is Snow, a frosty white shade that is admittedly beautiful, but certainly can't carry every eye look ever. Y'all know that I use palettes for quite a while before I give you my official opinion. I frequently struggled to use this palette without supplementing from another palette. I think the product designers wanted to avoid having too many similarities between the two products. Unfortunately, they ended up eliminating my ability to create contrast on my eye. The vast majority of the colors in this palette are sort of medium shades.

The quality is definitely there. I feel the shades are beautifully pigmented, blendable, and gorgeous. No problems in terms of caliber. I just don't believe that this is a complete-feeling palette on its own. If you love the colors and feel super inspired them, fucking go for it. For me, though, this palette will only be used to supplement palettes that I already own.

But I bet you still want some goddamn swatches.


Buff is a yellow-y light beige.

Light Brown is a warm, well… light brown. It is the color of the coffee poking out from under a cappuccino's foam.

Cool Gray is a grayish taupe. If you are very cool toned and have a light hand, it actually makes a half-decent contour. I never got my hands on Chanel Notorious, but this is kind of what I imagined it might have been like (only more matte, of course). If you're finding that conventional cool-toned contours like NYX Blush in Taupe are too warm and you bought this palette anyways, I'd recommend giving it a try.

Nectar is a rusty peach shade that would have looks like it would have been right at home in a badly decorated house from the 1970s.

Plum is a grayish dark purple.

Navy is a very bright, denim-esque dark blue.

Charcoal is a warm, medium gray.

Black is a black. …yup.

Here are a few looks done with the matte section of the palette (mostly):

Note: I needed help from the shimmery side of the palette to make this look happen.


Snow is a super vibrant, frosty white that, if badly applied, would look straight out of the 1980s, and, if well-applied, looks like ice princess makeup. It's the only shade in the palette that is a successful highlight on me.

Beige is a warm, peach-leaning beige shade.

Rose is a bronzy shade with a ton of pink hiding inside. You've heard of rose gold? This is rose copper.

Mocha is a warm, medium brown.

Chrome is a muddied silver color, like a layer of brown dirt over a pewter knife.

Silver is a super-metallic, disco-ball silver.

Jade is an olive green that looks like it belongs somewhere on a set of camo pajamas.

Cocoa is a reddish medium brown. It's a shimmer, but it's the least shimmery of the shimmers.

Here are a few looks done with the shimmery section of the palette:

I wouldn't discourage eyeshadow collectors from purchasing this palette because, again, fantastic pigmentation, lovely texture, yada yada.

However, if you're like, "Oh, I need a neutral palette and people seem to like these LORAC shadows… maybe I should get the new one!" imagine a buzzer noise and a big thumbs down from me.

If you came into my house and burned all of my eyeshadow palettes tonight, the first palette I would re-purchase would be the original LORAC Pro. The second Pro palette wouldn't even make the list. I could use the original palette every day and give you a new look. The new one? Well, I struggled to make six looks I liked enough for this post. If you are deciding between the two, I would recommend the first version every time.

Both LORAC Pro palettes retail for $42 for 0.32oz of eyeshadow and 0.19oz of eyeshadow primer. If you count the eyeshadow primer as a free gift, that's $131.25 per ounce. The primer mini has an estimated value of about $7.60.
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