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Product Reviews

Fall Flops


Perhaps half the reason why I didn’t have many favourites in September is because many of the products I tried were kind of letdowns. Spending money on disappointing products is always a drag. I avoid too disappointment by taking fewer risks with categories I know I’m picky about: eyeshadow, foundation, brows. More research always goes into these buys; I’m way less impulsive with these products. I like to think I’ve learned my lesson (looking at my concealer graveyard is always a good reminder), but there are bound to be some duds even when you’re going after types products that normally work for you.

Here are a few items that just didn’t work for me this month.

Essence highlight and contour duos in 01 Light and 02 Medium ($6 CAD each)

It’s always exciting to score high performance products at a great price point, but both of these contour palettes missed the mark for me. The contour shades are beautifully soft and blend out nicely but sadly, the colours are all wrong. 01 Light is on the cooler side of 02 Medium but it is still extremely orange — too orange to even work as a bronzer for me.

L-R: 01 Light (highlight, contour), 02 Medium (highlight, contour). Note: The highlight swatches are basically invisible.

The highlighters in these duos are somehow glittery but also undetectable. I have swatched them on my hand above, but you can barely see even a sheen. Considering my love for the essence Pure Nude highlighter, the payoff of this powder is a disappointment.

Finally, I don’t love these split pan compacts. The contour powder kicks up quite a bit of dust and that inevitably ends up all over the highlight shade. I do think that swirling the contour and highlight together would make a beautiful bronzey blush, or a subtle highlighter for deeper complexions. For my skintone, however, these were a total miss.

Makeup Revolution Precision Contour Set ($34 CAD)

I’ve been intrigued by the Artis oval brushes that YouTubers have been using in the last several months. These brushes are designed to be ergonomic for use on your own face — an intriguing concept about brush design that I hadn’t before considered.


When I saw Makeup Revolution made a set of dupes, I thought I’d try them out. Though I love the concept, and the price was great, these get a hearty meh from me for a few reasons.

The handles on these brushes are plastic and lightweight, which leads to an awkward balance. I really had to grip these in order to achieve the right amount of pressure to blend product out.

The brushes themselves are dense, but I wonder whether they are as dense as the Artis brushes. Reviews of Artis brushes often say they blend liquid foundation out seamlessly with very little effort. The Makeup Revolution brushes requires more effort to blend out base products than simply using a beautyblender or my fingers.

Joe Fresh CC Translucent Pressed Powder ($10 CAD)

After having so much success with the Laura Geller Balance-N-Brighten powder foundation, and rediscovering the RCMA No-Color powder, I’ve been intrigued by powders that I’d never have considered buying in the past.


This translucent pressed powder includes colour correcting pigments to help brighten the complexion. Sadly, I don’t find this powder to be all that translucent, and it’s packed with a fine shimmer that is unflattering on my skin. I love how soft this powder is when swatching, but it does kick up a ton of powder as soon as you touch it with a brush.

I tried setting a few different concealers under my eyes with this but every combination ended up a cakey, creasy mess. If you’re (at least) ten years younger than me, this might not be a concern for you. If you generally like the way drugstore translucent powders work under your eyes, I bet this would do the trick as well. This is definitely one of those product categories I tend to stay away from, but my surprise luck with other options tempted me with this one.

NYX Ombré Lip Duo in Rags & Riches ($16 CAD)

I’m not really into ombré lips, but I picked this up thinking I’d get two lip options to use alone or mix for a custom shade. I chose Rags & Riches, a cool toned berry and pink duo.


I love the colours, but I found the packaging and format to be a little confusing. Both colours are twist-up crayons, with the deeper colour having a slightly thinner point. Though it seems designed to act as a liner, it’s still quite thick so I didn’t find it useful in this capacity. On top of that, it broke as soon as I tried to use it.

Formula-wise, this lipstick is too creamy and slippery for my taste. The colour and pigment is great, but it never felt settled on my lips, so I was self-conscious the entire time wearing it. There are quite a lot of lovely colours in this line, but I’m not too keen to try any more out.


For the rest of the month, I’m trying to avoid spending too much on makeup. The Sephora VIB sale is right around the corner and I can’t waste another dollar on flops until then!

Have you tried any of these and loved them? Were you disappointed by any of your purchases this month? Let me know in the comments below.



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