I’ve been going a bit crazy with makeup recently. Now that I found a foundation in my shade and figured out how to work with my hooded eyes, my makeup game has improved by about 500% and I’m not planning on stopping soon. I also feel more confident in my skin and like I can wear bolder looks, and I know what I want in a product. Thus began my search for a holy grail liner, a bright and colorful matte palette with decent pigmentation and figuring out if I can hack a nifty beauty tool.
L.A. Girl – Glide Gel Liner
Now this thing right here is what I call a god damn miracle in pencil shape. I have liquid, gel and regular kohl liners but I run into issues with all of them. My lashes are too thin, light colored and short to make liquid liner look good, even when I tight line. Gel works really well but the ones I’ve found that I like aren’t exactly smudge or waterproof. Kohl liner just makes me look like a panda after a couple of hours, especially when I use it to tight line.
Then there comes the L.A. Girl Glide Gel Liner and I’m blown away by how well it holds up. Once you apply this liner and allow it to set, it really doesn’t go anywhere. It takes an oily makeup remover to take off. After I swatch these liners on my hand and wait a minute, I can pretty vigorously rub my finger on top and nothing happens to it. I have to keep going for a while or involve spit or oil to make it budge, so unless you’re rubbing your eyes all day long nothing’s going to happen to that liner. Not only that, the way it applies is an absolute dream. It’s a pencil liner but it applies like a gel. Without any pressure or needing to warm up the pencil it just glides onto your skin like nobody’s business (which is probably why they named it the way they did!). For only 5 euros a piece, with the very black pigment payoff and all the qualities it has, I genuinely can’t complain.
Kara Beauty Bright & Matte Eyeshadow Palette – ES02
I’ll be honest with you: after searching for a palette that I liked and stumbling on the Morphe Brushes 35B palette, I had my heart set on that one. The pigmentation looked good for the price, the range of colors was diverse, every color has a matte version which was important to me and it wasn’t going to cost me an arm and a leg. (More honesty: if I had the money, I’d definitely have shelled out 73 euros for the Viseart Bright Editorial palette.)
Unfortunately, Morphe products are all the rage at the moment thanks to big Beauty YouTubers promoting the crap out of them, so my favorite online makeup store has been out of stock for weeks and they’re not expecting a refill until the beginning of May. I know that Morphe does private labeling (which doesn’t bother me at all) so I started looking for Morphe ‘dupes’ that contain the colors I need.
Lo and behold, I stumbled upon the Kara ES02 palette – pretty much an exact duplicate of the Morphe 35B, and about 5 euros cheaper to boot! I watched some swatches/reviews on YouTube from the few folks who’d gotten their hands on this. They all agreed that the matte colors are more pigmented than the Morphe palette, but the shimmers are better with Morphe. Since I specifically wanted this for the mattes I didn’t care much about the latter, especially because I already have a shimmery rainbow colored palette.
Why the difference though? No idea. The colors appear identical so I’m assuming they’re from the same factory, but the ingredients are different between Kara’s and Morphe’s palettes, so who knows what happened there. Maybe the new batch of Morphe palettes coming in May are more like this?
All I know for sure is that I really, really like the way this palette looks once applied to my eyes. The pigment is good, but better when applied wet. A white base brings the colors out perfectly. It’s definitely buildable if you use them dry too. One thing I highly, highly recommend is using a good eye shadow primer. And I mean a legitimate primer, not a concealer or moisturizer. I tried one eye with a primer + white concealer, and another eye with just white concealer, and the eye without a primer stained something fierce. I spent 15 minutes trying to clean it off, which is not something I enjoy doing at the end of the day.
Kara’s palette is exactly what I wanted. The pigmentation is not mind blowing, but solid enough to work with. I’m super impressed for the price and color payoff for sure!
Dry makeup brush cleaner
You’ve probably heard of the Sephora Switch. It’s a sponge in a tin on which you swirl a used (dry) eye shadow brush to clean it and immediately dip it into a different eyeshadow. It doesn’t replace washing your brushes regularly but it will save you a crapton of tissues and makeup wipes to clean the brushes between uses. There are other brands available and I was fortunate enough to get a free brush cleaner with my recent makeup order!
I want to start by saying: this works excellently and allows you to apply multi-colored makeup faster with a minimal amount of brushes. Need to blend with a clean blending brush? Just swirl it around on this thing a few times and you have a clean blending brush. It’s easy to take with you and doesn’t take up a whole lot of space. It will last you a long time and all you have to do is rinse it out in soapy water every now and then to clean it.
My only issue with the sponge is this: the markup on these is ridiculous. The Sephora Switch is almost twenty dollars. The actual product probably doesn’t even cost a buck to make. You can go to the pet store and purchase a coarse aquarium filter sponge, cut it to size, stuff it into a random empty tin at home and it will be the exact same product. Similarly you can purchase a cheap bunch of stippling sponges intended for special effects makeup and probably spend no more than 1 or 2 dollars per sponge.
There is nothing special about this. It is just a coarse sponge that is used in a wide variety of situations, and I have to be honest and say I am bothered by the way it’s marketed. I will never deny any company to make a profit with good products, but whereas I can’t make my own buttery eye shadows and press them into a professional looking palette, this is something that even a child can purchase with their allowance and make without needing an adult at all. And they want us to shell out twenty bucks for it? This is just a gimmicky way to make a lot of profit.
If this is something you really want to try out for yourself, just make it and save yourself the money. I was already considering doing that before I got this for free, and it’s exactly what I expected. If the sponge wears out, I’m just going to my local pet store and replace it.
All in all I am pleased with all of these, even if the sponge irks me a bit on the marketing side of things. I have been experimenting with various looks and I’m very excited for the warm and pleasant spring days to arrive so I can start wearing bold, floral inspired looks! I’m also prepping for Pride Month with rainbow eye looks to dazzle everyone in sight!
Would you like to see more makeup reviews? My blog isn’t makeup focused but I enjoy reviewing products. I ordered the Red Cherry lashes I talked of before and most of my issues disappeared with them. If you want to hear my thoughts on Red Cherry lashes and their glue, let me know! 🙂