Finally, my first ~official~ post!
Over this past reading week, I went to visit my friend Erin in State College, PA. And while visiting my friend was obviously the main objective, I had to check out the makeup situation, especially when it came to brands and products that are hard to track down north of the US border.
I did pick up other things while I was in the States (how could I not?), but this post will just focus on the beauty products I got on my travels.
Without further ado, on with the haul, complete with mini-reviews!
Tarte Limited-Edition Maneater Palette, $38 CAD
From top to bottom: Midnight, Hypnotic, Saucy, Purr, Foxy, Passion, Meow, and Lace
Oh, my goodness.
When I went on my first trip to Ulta on this trip, I wanted to focus on getting things that I couldn’t get in Canada. After all, why would I spend precious US dollars on things I could get for less money (and without the crazy exchange rate) in Canada?
I initially wanted to get a Lorac palette, but when I swatched them and looked at the options, none of them really called to me—so I decided not to spend the money on one.
I went to the Tarte display to check out the Shape Tape situation, and I spotted this hidden gem. I hadn’t heard anyone talk about it, but I swatched it in store and fell in love.
I purchased it mostly on a whim, but it’s probably one of my favourite palettes in my collection—it’s certainly going to be my go-to travel palette, thanks to its stellar shade selection and compact packaging.
I’d heard mixed things about Tarte shadows—some people say they’re great, others say they can’t make them work. I can happily report that I absolutely love how these shadows perform on the eyes. I’ve worn the palette three or four times, and each time, they’ve lasted all day—through rain, heat, and quasi-hail.
Plus, the shadows have a really nice vanilla scent.
Tarte Shape Tape Contour Concealer in Medium, $31 CAD
This concealer is probably one of the most hyped products in the beauty community—it’s certainly the most hyped concealer of the moment. I’m also fond of Tarte concealers in general—I adore the Marajuca Creaseless Concealer.
Between these two factors, I had very high expectations for this concealer. And let me tell you, it did not let me down.
The shade selection at the Ulta I visited was definitely picked over—the fair/light shades were all gone. But thankfully, I have more of a medium complexion and there were still some options for me.
The shade I chose is too dark to work as a brightening concealer, but it still works well under the eyes for straight-up concealing. I call it my dark circle eraser—when I apply this, my dark circles completely disappear.
It’s a full-coverage concealer, but it feels lightweight and hydrating under the eyes. For me, it’s not creaseless, but no concealer is creaseless for me, so that’s not a dealbreaker.
I’ve used this every time I’ve worn makeup since I bought it and every time, I remain impressed.
Tarte Tarteist Glossy Lip Paint in Obvi, $29 CAD
Apparently, Ulta likes to make it rain with their brand-specific samples because I got two generous-sized sample Tarte products with my purchase.
This is more of a pigmented gloss than a liquefied lipstick, which I like for more casual, low-key makeup. The shade was also right up my alley—I love my nudes.
The one thing I really dislike about this gloss is the applicator. It’s a skinny, stiff wand with sponge-like material around it. I prefer using doe-foot applicators because I can get more precise lines and more coverage with each swipe. I find this wand is uncontrollable, and I have to work harder to coat my lips.
I like the formula and the shade, but the applicator is turning me off using this product. But keep in mind, this could just be the wand Tarte uses for the sample size.
Tarte Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Finishing Powder, $41 CAD
I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this powder. I’ve only used it twice and each time, I’ve felt very meh about it.
The first time I used it, I only used it for my undereye area, and it was fine for that. But yesterday I used it to set my entire face, and I had a hard time picking the product up on my powder brush. I felt like it took longer to set my face than usual, and to be honest, I didn’t notice a huge difference between this powder and my usual favourite setting powder.
Plus, the sample package only has two holes in the sifter, making it difficult to even get the product out.
Wet n Wild MegaGlo Contouring Palette in Dulce De Leche, $4.99 USD
I’ve wanted to try this ever since I saw KathleenLights talk about this in so many of her videos. The Wet N Wild displays where I am are pitiful, so I was happy to find it in a Walmart in State College.
The darker shade is better formulated, in my opinion. I really enjoy using it, and it does a great job contouring. But the lighter shade on its own is more powdery and doesn’t really do anything for me. Yesterday, I tried layering it underneath a highlighter and I liked the results.
But for $4.99, it’s a great value and a good product.
Wet N Wild MegaLast Liquid Catsuit Matte Lipstick in Nudist Peach, $4.99 USD
Worth. The. Hype.
I had to hit up a few different drugstores to find a more neutral shade to try, but all the effort was definitely worth it.
The formula is to die for—it’s matte without being drying, and it stays put. The applicator has a little divot that hugs your lip, making application super easy.
I love the shade I chose—however, be careful with reapplication. If you layer it too much, it can look a little bright.
Milani Eyeshadow Primer, $7 USD
Jessica Braun (JAMbeauty89) speaks highly of this primer and says it’s basically the same as the Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion—my holy grail eyeshadow primer.
I’ve only used it once, but so far I really enjoy it! I’ll have to play around with it more to see if it works as well as the Urban Decay one on me, but even if it isn’t identical in terms of performance, it’s an excellent primer for $7.
elf Contouring Blush and Bronzing Powder in St. Lucia, $4 USD
This was another recommendation from Jessica Braun, and so far, she hasn’t led me astray.
The blush shade doesn’t show up on my skin tone at all—it works more as a highlight for me. But the bronzer is beautiful, and whenever I wear it, I look like a sun-kissed goddess.
I like traveling with this duo, but I do have to bring a separate blush to use.
elf Aqua Beauty Blush and Bronzer in Bronzed Pink Beige, $6 USD
Yet another recommendation from Jessica Braun—she said the bronzer shade was a formula dupe for the infamous Soleil Tan de Chanel, even though the shade in the elf duo is a little dark.
I can’t speak to whether the elf bronze shade is a formula dupe because I’ve never tried the Chanel bronzer, but I can say I really love using this product. As someone who doesn’t use cream products regularly, it took me a few tries to get used to applying this before I set my face—the first time I used it, I absolutely hated it because I used it after I set my liquid products, making it look muddy.
Once I got the hang of bronzing my face before setting it, I fell in love with this bronzer—it’s easily one of my favourite bronzers.
I’ve never used the blush shade because it’s way too bright for my liking, so I can’t speak to that.
elf Small Stipple Brush, $3 USD
I got this brush to use with the Aqua Beauty bronzer, and it did not disappoint. It’s a really good brush and helps blend out product nicely.
elf black handle brushes are great drugstore brushes in general—if you need brushes and you’re on a budget, pick up these or Real Techniques brushes!
NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Cannes, $9 CAD
This shade is so hard to track down, in my experience—every time I go to the NYX store or a drugstore display, they seem to have every shade of this product except for Cannes.
Let me tell you, it was worth the wait. A lot of people say it’s a colour dupe for the Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Lolita (which I LOVE), but I don’t think that’s the case—at least on my skin tone. They’re in the same general colour family, but I find Cannes is much lighter in shade and pinker than Lolita. I’m glad I have both in my collection.
The formula is thin and lightweight on the lips. Plus, it stayed put through my greasy quesadilla dinner. But even if I need to reapply, it doesn’t go on streaky nor does it completely change the colour.
NYX Butter Gloss in Praline, $8 CAD
There’s a reason why everyone loves this gloss—it’s practically perfect in every way.
The formula is glossy and moisturizing without being sticky, and the shades are just pigmented enough to give your face a little bit of life but not enough where you need to be careful with how you apply it.
The shade I chose was a little darker than I thought it would be, but it works so well on my skin tone. I can wear it with any makeup look, or no makeup look. This is probably going to be my favourite lip gloss of all time.
If you’ve made it this far, you have my undying love and gratitude! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more posts.