24 October 2014

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Review: Smashbox Full Exposure Palette – A Love-Hate Relationship

Smashbox Full Exposure Palette Review | All Dolled Up

Smashbox Full Exposure Palette Review | All Dolled Up

Let me begin by saying that I’m usually quite decisive about whether or not I like products; if I do, it goes into my stash, if I don’t then it gets chucked or donated to a friend. However, I’ve had this palette since April (Camilla bought it for me in the States) and it’s taken me months to figure out if I like it or not… and eventually I realised that I was ambivalent. Let me explain:

Smashbox Full Exposure Palette Review | All Dolled Up

What’s to love

  • The layout: Sheer genius – seven shimmery shades up top, seven matte shades down below. I’m surprised we haven’t see more of this sort of thing before.
  • The mattes: I never realised until I had this palette how few matte eyeshadows I own and it’s been a revelation. They have a medium amount of pigment (i.e. not too strong but that’s a good thing) and are smooth and easy to blend, making them perfect for use in the crease or an all-matte everyday eyeshadow look.
  • The shade range: There are six warm toned shadows, six cool toned shadows and two neutral shadows. The colours are extremely practical and wearable so I tend to use them fairly evenly, unlike most eyeshadow palettes where I stick to two or three of my favourite shades.
  • The versatility: The variety of shades and finishes makes this palette extremely versatile – you can create day looks, night looks, subtle looks, smokey looks, natural looks, party looks… you name it. Unless you’re into brightly coloured eye makeup, this palette has you covered for almost any occasion.
  • The packaging: Sturdy and chic, the packaging ticks all the boxes for me. It’s a good size (not too bulky, not too flimsy), there’s a big mirror in the lid, the eyeshadow pans are the correct size and shape for my brushes and yet it still feels compact.
  • The brush: Smashbox make really good make-up tools and their brushes are no exception. This dual-ended beauty has a fluffy side for blending and a double-sided flat end for packing shadow onto the lid. It also comes with a deluxe sample of Full Exposure mascara which is actually pretty good and the perfect size to pop in your handbag.
  • The price: R790 might sound expensive but just think about it – you get a convenient and well-made palette with a mirror, a top quality, dual-ended make-up brush, a mascara and fourteen eyeshadows. That’s pretty good value if you ask me.

Smashbox Full Exposure Palette Review | All Dolled Up

Smashbox Full Exposure Palette Review | All Dolled Up

What’s to hate

  • The shimmery shades: My idea of shimmery or metallic eyeshadows is pretty extreme – I want major payoff. Urban Decay, Stila and Lorac do the best ones in my opinion – buttery, super-pigmented, smooth to apply, limited fall down (except UD) and maximum impact. The problem with the shimmery shades in this palette is they’re just a bit “meh”. Slightly chalky, not milled finely enough, full of chunky silver glitter particles and an average amount of pigment… They just don’t get my juices flowing like the other shimmers in my collection. They swatch beautifully but actually applying and blending them is a bit of a pain. Unfortunately, that means I personally only really use half the palette and it’s such a pity.

So there you have it. You would think that with that long list of pros and only one con, it would be a home run into my next Monthly Favourites, but unfortunately the shimmers are something of a deal-breaker for me. I love the matte shades and use them almost every day – I just wish they were sold in a separate palette, something like the Urban Decay Basics.

I’m a huge and loyal fan of lots of other Smashbox products (including Liquid Halo foundation, Brow Tech to Go, Always Sharp eyeliners, all their primers and the Photo Set Finishing Powder) but this palette just doesn’t quite hit the mark for me.

Smashbox Full Exposure Palette Swatches | All Dolled Up

Matte swatches – Natural light, indoors, no flash, no filter

Smashbox Full Exposure Palette Swatches | All Dolled Up

Shimmer swatches – Natural light, indoors, no flash, no filter

Having said that, I think the palette would be good for a beginner or someone who is a little shy of full-on metallic eyeshadows, or even more mature ladies who can’t pull off a super-sparkly look anymore.

The palette is due to launch in SA in January 2015 and will cost R790. Smashbox is available at selected Woolworths, Edgars, Foschini and Red Square stores.

P.S. This palette has received mixed but mostly positive reviews online. Here are a few you might like to read:
Fleur de Force
The Raeviewer
Makeup and Beauty Blog
Vivianna Does Makeup – Top 5 Eyeshadow Palettes Ever

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21 October 2014

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Lust List: Edgars Red Square

Have you taken a leisurely stroll through a Red Square store recently? If not, I highly recommend that you do – there are so many fabulous new releases, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Usually it takes a while for international releases to trickle down to South Africa, but lately I have noticed that they are hitting the shelves a lot quicker, sometimes within a matter of 2-3 weeks, which is fantastic for us! Last night I wandered around a bit and chatted with all the ladies working behind the counters – they were all so lovely and were happy to give me samples of everything I asked for. I am a firm believer in samples, particularly with high-end foundations – if I’m going to spend upwards of R500 on a foundation, I need to play around with it a bit first to see if it works for me. Here are the counters I made a bee-line for…

Estée Lauder

Perfectionist

If you haven’t yet heard about the new release, Perfectionist Youth-Infusing Makeup, where have you been?? This has gotten rave reviews on both of my favourite overseas beauty blogs (ie Vivianna Does Makeup and A Model Recommends) and is billed as a satin finished, medium coverage foundation that’s infused with age-defying technology which helps to brighten and perfect. Sounds good, doesn’t it? I will report back soon.

Retails for R585.00.

Bobbi Brown

Bobbi Brown

The Christmas collections have started hitting the counters and you can always rely on Bobbi to deliver the goods. This Deluxe Lip & Eye Palette is completely gorgeous and sadly, limited edition (hurry!). It contains 8 eyeshadows and eight lipsticks – all lovely, neutral colours which would suit most skin tones. This has gone straight to the top of my Christmas Wish List (can one of you make sure to tell my boyfriend? Thanks so much!).

Retails for R1,250.00.

Dior

DiorSkin Star

Another Vivianna Does Makeup-inspired must-have. When it comes to foundations, Dior know their stuff – regular readers will be well aware of how fantastic the Dior Diorskin Nude BB Cream is. I applied Diorskin Star this morning, and although it’s early days, I have to say I am impressed. The coverage is good, but the finish is still sheer and luminous – jackpot.

Retails for R680.00.

Kiehl’s

Kiehls

When we filmed our September Favourites video with our friend Shahnaz, she was telling us all about the new miracle product from Kiehl’s: the Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturizing Serum Concentrate. She said that her skin has never looked better, and she believes that it is all down to this – I’ll have what she’s having, thank you! Leigh from Lipgloss Is My Life has also done a review, which you can read here.

Retails for R625.00.

Yves Saint Laurent

Black Opium

Black Opium is the latest release from YSL, and after a read this review from A Model Recommends, I knew I had to try it. This is a very sexy fragrance – it’s rich and warm and reminds me a little bit of Tom Ford Velvet Orchid. I would say that it’s more of an autumn/winter fragrance, as it’s quite heavy, but I think you could make it work on sultry summer nights too. I must own this (I know I declared that Velvet Orchid was my One True Love about two weeks ago, but beauty is a fickle beast).

Retails for R695/30ml, R975/50ml and R1,245/90ml.

Chanel

Chanel

Be still my beating heart. The Chanel Rouge Allure Glosses are just too beautiful for words – the packaging, in particular, left me feeling a little bit weak (you click the top and a gold applicator pops out of the sleek, black casing – très chic) . Lily Pebbles did a fantastic review of them here, and Shahnaz has also written a piece dedicated to Rouge Allure. These glosses come is a beautiful shade range, they contain a fantastic amount of pigment, and they aren’t sticky or gloopy in the slightest.

Retails for R505.00.

So there you have it – my favourite picks from Red Square. As I mentioned earlier, I got samples of almost everything, so now I can take my time deciding whether or not to buy the full-sized versions. Don’t be scared to ask for samples – that’s what they’re there for. Happy shopping!

Samples

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17 October 2014

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Summer’s Hottest Nail Polish Shade

Radiant Orchid

There is one colour that seems to be EVERYWHERE at the moment, and it is Radiant Orchid, Pantone’s Colour of the Year 2014. Described as “a captivating, magical, enigmatic purple”, it looks particularly gorgeous on the nails, as I discovered last week when I painted mine with the Maybelline shade mentioned below. I’ve since spotted loads of other nail polishes in this vibrant, magenta shade so here are three easy-to-find options:

Maybelline Color Show Nail Lacquer “So Chic Pink”*

Maybelline Color Show "So Chic Pink" - All Dolled Up Swatch by me.

Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy “Up the Ante”

Revlon Up the Ante

Swatch via Cosmetic Proof

Essie “Splash of Grenadine”

Essie Splash of Grenadine

Swatch via Demelza’s World

*PR sample

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16 October 2014

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The Preview: Elizabeth Arden UNTOLD ABSOLU

Elizabeth Arden 1

I recently attended the exclusive preview of the new Elizabeth Arden fragrance, UNTOLD ABSOLU, the latest addition to the UNTOLD family of fragrances. The event was glamorous and refined, and, I think, captured the essence of the fragrance perfectly. We were treated to a delicious 5 course meal inspired by the five different facets of the fragrance: glamorous, captivating, refined, mysterious and sensual.

The fragrance itself is rich and warm, and contains touches of Black Raspberry, Italian Bergamot, Red Plum and Ginger. It is billed as “a sensual expression of the original fragrance” and was inspired by the sensual, captivating side of the modern day, multi-faceted woman. I have not tried the original UNTOLD, so I can’t compare the two I’m afraid – but the consensus amongst those in attendance was that they preferred UNTOLD ABSOLU to the original UNTOLD.

Elizabeth Arden 3

Elizabeth Arden 2

I was lucky enough to attend the event with my lovely friend Tori from Kiss, Blush and Tell, and we spent the evening enjoying the delicious food and wine and catching up on all things beauty (every time I see that girl my wish-list gets longer and longer).

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Two weeks after the event, I received a specially engraved bottle of UNTOLD ABSOLU – such a special, thoughtful treat! I have really enjoyed using it, especially for evenings out – I’ve had nothing but compliments each time I’ve worn it!

Elizabeth Arden 6

Thank you to Elizabeth Arden for hosting such a beautiful event.

UNTOLD ABSOLU will be available at selected Elizabeth Arden counters in Edgars, Foschini, Truworths and Woolworths, from 20 October 2014 and retails for R920.00 for 100 ml, R720.00 for 50 ml and R520.00 for 30 ml.

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15 October 2014

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{CLOSED} Competition Time with Turquoise Studio!

Palette 2

Turquoise Studio has recently celebrated its first birthday! Happy happy birthday to you, dear Turquoise Studio – without you, our lives would be Sigma-less and empty! To celebrate its first birthday, Turquoise Studio has kindly offered up a Sigma Smoke Screen palette to give away to one lucky All Dolled Up reader – just look at how beautiful it is:

Palette

Shades

 Ooh yes, that’ll do nicely, thank you very much! We can attest to the fact that Sigma eyeshadows are fantastic quality – we used the ‘Warm Neutrals’ palette in a tutorial earlier in the year and were both blown away by the quality. You can refresh your memories here, if you wish:

To enter the competition, all you have to do is:

1. Follow All Dolled Up and Turquoise Studio on Twitter; and

2. Tweet All Dolled Up and Turquoise Studio and tell us what your favourite shade in the Sigma Smoke Screen palette is.

Competition closes at midday on Wednesday 22nd October 2014. One entry per person, please.

Good luck!

All images via

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13 October 2014

3 Comments

Almond Obsession

Sweet Almond Oil Beauty Products - All Dolled Up

I’ve recently discovered that I absolutely love the smell of sweet almond oil. It started when I picked up a tub of Almond Body Butter from The Body Shop winter sale a couple of months ago and it’s become a full-blown obsession. I find the warm, nutty fragrance has just enough sweetness to be feminine without being sickly, and is tempered by a vanilla-like creaminess.

Sweet almond oil is one of the most versatile, multipurpose skin care oils out there. It is rich in protein, vitamins and minerals and is therefore extremely nourishing and revitalising, especially for dry skin. It absorbs quickly and soothes skin irritation while helping to maintain moisture levels. The omega-3 fatty acid, vitamin E and magnesium contained in sweet almond oil are also great for your hair.

Here are the favourite sweet almond products in my stash:

The Body Shop Almond Body Butter - All Dolled Up

The Body Shop Almond Body Butter

The Body Shop Body Butters really are the unsung heroes of my bodycare routine. I always have a tub or two hanging around and at the moment I alternate the Almond one with my Lipidol After Shower Oil. I think they are incredibly good value (especially if you score them in the sale for R55 like I did yesterday!) and come in a massive variety of scents, although Almond is my all-time favourite. It sinks in quickly but still leaves my skin feeling really supple and moisturised, even at the end of the day.

Korres Almond and Linseed Nourishing Hair Mask - All Dolled Up

Korres Almond and Linseed Nourishing Hair Mask

Camilla bought this when we were in Greece last year and mentioned it in her October 2013 favourites, so I had my eyes peeled for it when I went back in August. A tube soon made its way into my basket at Athens airport and I’ve used it about once a week since. It works very quickly (you only need to leave it on for 3-5 minutes), softening and nourishing the hair without weighing it down or leaving a residue. It contains almond and linseed extracts (obviously) along with shea butter which helps the hair retain moisture, while increasing its resistance against breakage and split ends.

The last time I visited the Korres counter at Edgars in Canal Walk they didn’t stock this product, which is a real shame because it’s one of my favourites in their range.

L'Oreal EverRiche Nourishing and Flowing Shampoo & Conditioner

L’Oréal EverRiche Nourishing and Flowing Shampoo & Conditioner

I have no idea whether this stuff contains sweet almond oil but it certainly smells like it does! These two variants from the brilliant EverRiche range (which, for some inexplicable reason, isn’t available in SA) inject extra moisture and softness into dry, fine hair, with zero sulphates or waxes. The shampoo lathers up amazingly well and the conditioner is really intensive, plus the scent hangs around all day which is just fine by me!

If you’re interested, you can buy this very affordable range from Feel Unique who offer free worldwide delivery on orders over £10.

Do you have any sweet almond products to recommend?

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10 October 2014

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Link Love #5

Here’s a round-up of my recent favourite beauty reads – I hope you enjoy!

Cindy Crawford Cover Story – Violet Grey

Cindy Crawford

Cindy Crawford is my #1 favourite supermodel of all time, so when she speaks, I soak up every word – it’s like the gospel to me. What I found interesting in this article is that she mentions how her hair has aged – apparently no one warns you about the change in texture and how much more brittle it will become – yikes! Still, forewarned is forearmed and all that!

How To Bathe Like A (Detox) Princess – She’s in the Glow

Detox Princess

Next time you fancy a long soak in the tub, throw in some epsom salts (be very generous) and a scoop of coconut oil (to stop your skin from drying out) and relax for 45 minutes. You will emerge detoxified, calmer and maybe even a little bit skinnier (apparently). Might as well be a bulls-eye.

The Super Easy 10-Step Korean Skincare Routine (For Glowing Skin) – She’s in the Glow

Korean Skincare Routine

Let’s all agree that, by and large, Korean women have the most flawless skin – do they even have pores?! Doubts it. In this article Annie explains the 10-step skincare routine followed by most Korean women in an effort to help us mere mortals emulate their perfection.

Jen Atkin Does Paris Fashion Week – The Coveteur

Jen Atkin

Jen Atkin is the Kardashian’s go-to hairdresser – say what you will about them, but their hair always looks magnificent. This article gives you a sneak-peak into her life at Paris Fashion Week (if you don’t like the Kardashians, don’t click the link).

A First Look At Gucci Make-Up – The Beauty Look Book 

Gucci Make-Up

Gucci is a brand that is synonymous with extreme glamour, so when I heard they were releasing a make-up line, Gucci Beauty, my ears pricked up. The Beauty Look Book is my favourite site for high-quality swatches, so you can see exactly what all the products look like and get a feel for how they apply. So far, everything looks rich, pigmented, glossy and just plain g.o.r.g.e.o.u.s. Who knows if we’ll ever get it here, but in the meantime, you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be making a bee-line for a Gucci Beauty counter the next time I’m abroad.

Fake A Pro Blow-Out With A Curling Iron – The Beauty Department

Pro Blow Out

Can someone get Amal Alamuddin a hair endorsement please? If you haven’t yet appreciated Mrs. Clooney’s locks, please make your way here and prepare yourself for extreme envy. This tutorial from The Beauty Department is based on how she styled her hair during her wedding week. Imagine being that gorgeous and talented and getting to marry George Clooney. Amal, you are my life icon.

The Top Shelf: Liv Tyler – Into The Gloss

Liv Tyler

Because Liv Tyler is a goodess, end of story.

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8 October 2014

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The Brush Cleansing Dream Team

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You know you’re the world’s biggest beauty geek when a silicone brush-washing glove excites you. I’ve had my eye on the Sigma Spa Brush Cleasning Glove for a couple of months now, and finally decided to bite the bullet and treat myself (I also bought one for Jules for her birthday and she literally squealed when she opened it).

The glove has two sides: one for eye brushes and one for face brushes:

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Eyes

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Face

There are variety of textures and surfaces which perform various functions, ie wash, refine, rinse and shape. The glove itself is incredibly soft and much more flexible than I expected it to be – it’s actually very comfortable to wear. It comes with a flannel insert so your hands don’t come into contact with the silicone at all (it is removable so you can wash it as and when you need to). When it comes to brush cleansers, my heart belongs to the beautyblender solid brush cleanser, which I picked up during my trip to the States in April. This is hands down the best brush cleanser I have ever tried – it leaves your brushes looking like new and it leaves no residue as it rinses out super easily. I haven’t been able to track down the solid cleanser locally, but Rubybox stocks the blendercleanser liquid brush cleanser, which I can confirm is just as excellent.

Beautyblender

I splashed a bit of water on the glove, popped on the tiniest amount of the cleanser, and got to work with my eye brushes first. In the end I managed to clean about 10 eye brushes using only that one small dollop of cleanser – that’s kind of remarkable, don’t you think? Next I moved on to the face brushes, and I’ll admit, I had to work a bit harder to get them squeaky clean – I had to use a fair few squeezes of cleanser, but then it is always harder to shift foundations/concealers. For the first time in months, my foundation and concealer brushes are completely clean and free from those stubborn stains that I’d been unsuccessfully trying to remove – the OCD clean freak in me is thrilled.

As someone who washes her brushes on a weekly basis, this combination has been a game changer. It makes brush washing fun instead of it being a chore, and I am forever grateful to Sigma for creating this glove and saving my hands from the pruny hell that is bare-handed-brush-washing. This glove was totally worth it for me – it is expensive, yes (R 575) – but it will last me a lifetime and I will use it every week (cost per wash is practically less than zero when you do that kind of math). If you care about keeping your brushes in good condition (which I’m assuming you are, otherwise why are you here?) then this is definitely something to consider if you’ve got the cash lying around – you won’t regret it, I promise. As far as brush cleansers go, the beautyblender option is on the top end of the scale at R159.95 for 90ml, but again, you only need a small amount and it works exceptionally well.

The Sigma Spa Brush Cleansing Glove is available from Turquoise Studios.

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3 October 2014

6 Comments

Jules’ September Favourites

September Favourites | All Dolled Up

I’ve got a bumper edition of favourites this month so let’s dive in. There is a mixture of products that I bought in London on my recent stopover there, and a few that are available here, so read on to get the lowdown:

S&G Sexy Mother Pucker Gloss Stick in Nudist

Soap & Glory Sexy Mother Pucker Gloss Stick in “Nudist”

I raved at length about “Raplumzel” in our July Favourites video and have since moved on to quite a serious love affair with nudes. “Nudist” is a highly wearable, gorgeous caramel nude shade that is easy to apply without a mirror and is now a permanent inhabitant of my handbag. The finish is smooth and glossy but not sticky and it lasts for HOURS.

Bourjois Happy Light Foundation in Shade 52

Bourjois Happy Light Foundation

I’ve had this foundation for a while but it was a little dark for me so it was gathering dust in my beauty stash. When I returned from a few weeks in Greece however, it was the perfect shade and I have literally worn it every day since. It differs from my beloved Healthy Mix Serum Foundation in that the consistency is a little thicker and the finish is a little more on the satin side (I’d say HMSF is a little more lightweight and dewy, and both are quite luminous). It’s a gorgeous foundation and at R190, you can’t really go wrong. I use shade #52 by the way, which is actually darker than the HMSF in #53 (my winter shade).

Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso

Milani Baked Blush in “Luminoso”

A quick Google search will tell you that this blush has achieved cult status for its flattering shade, good staying power and budget price. Camilla searched high and low for this little beauty when she visited the States earlier this year as I was desperate to try it, and I’m glad to say that she returned triumphant. I was initially quite disappointed actually because the colour comes off extremely warm on my skin and is totally unwearable in winter (it basically looks orange on me when I’m pale). Luckily, now that I have more of a tan, I totally get the hype. It sets off a bronzed glow perfectly and has just the right amount of sheen to leave you looking healthy and sun-kissed. I think this is going to be a huge hit during the summer months.

Revlon Powder Blush in Bronzilla

Revlon Powder Blush in “Bronzilla”

Revlon recently repackaged their powder blush range, one of them being this fab little bronzer (formerly known as “Your Bronze”). I heard whispers of it being a dupe for Benefit Hoola so I snatched one up at Dischem and have not regretted it. I don’t actually own Hoola so I really can’t say whether it’s a dupe or not, but it’s certainly a great bronzer. The formula is smooth and easy to blend with just the right amount of pigment (satin finish, no shimmer/glitter), and the shade is quite warm-toned but very natural. The packaging is a little annoying – I would happily forgo the brush for a bigger pan – but that’s the only bad thing I can say about it.

Sephora Classic Multitasker Brush 45

Sephora Classic Mineral Powder Brush #45

I’m a bit of a foundation brush junkie. I’m utterly devoted to my Real Techniques Buffing Brush and Expert Face Brush, and my Sigma F80 Flat Topped Kabuki, but that doesn’t stop me trying new things. I spotted this in Sephora in Athens and although it said it was for mineral powder, it looked like it would happily do the job for liquid foundation too. Turns out, it’s called the “Classic Multitasker Brush” on the Sephora website so it can certainly be used for more than mineral powder. It does a lovely job of applying foundation and is a little smaller than my other brushes, which I quite like. The synthetic bristles are densely packed but not too tightly, and the domed top helps to effortlessly blend the product for a smooth and flawless finish. I’m a big fan!

Evo Mister Fantastic Texture Spray

Evo Mister Fantastic Texture Spray

I’ve been through a few salt/texture sprays over the past year, and my favourite has been the Kerastase Spray a Porter. It remains in the top spot but since it’s now run out, I’m trying to work my way through the others in my collection. I got this overseas about a year ago (although I’ve spotted it at Frank Fowden in the V&A Waterfront so it’s definitely available in SA) on the recommendation of Kate from Gh0stParties. She says; “I love that it doesn’t feel heavy or crispy in the hair and it’s almost invisible once applied. If you have fine or flat hair, I really recommend this.” I couldn’t have put it better myself.

Swatches: S&G Sexy Mother Pucker Gloss Stick in Nudist, Revlon Powder Blush in Bronzilla and Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso

Swatches L-R: S&G Sexy Mother Pucker Gloss Stick in Nudist, Revlon Powder Blush in Bronzilla and Milani Baked Blush in Luminoso (natural light, no flash, no filter)

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