This Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer is relatively new on the market. I’d first heard a bit about it when I was still in London. When I returned to Hawaii, I was still on a “buy all the things!” high, so I almost immediately went out and grabbed this using a 40% off coupon.
First thing to note about Physicians Formula: they don’t really cater to darker skin tones. At all. There are two shades available, Light Bronzer and Bronzer. My skin tone is light-medium, and I ended up getting Bronzer. Almost all of their color cosmetics shade offerings run really really light, and I find that annoying.
Another bone I have to pick with them is their super bulky packaging. I suppose it’s meant to be helpful, to include a mirror and an applicator in a separate compartment, but must the entire thing be so BIG?
I often gravitate towards colors of the opposite season we’re in, just to be contrary. Summertime calls for bronze tones, corals, and juicy brights. Well, give me dark, vampy reddish purple! There’s something refreshing about the “summer goth” trend.
Here I’ve paired a deep wine color with bronze lids. It’s a nice twist on the usual smoky eyes and/or winged eyeliner + vampy lips. Instead, I went with a haze of shimmer, and no visible liner. A rosy gold bronzer and a nude blush finish it all off!
Urban Decay Naked Skin foundation – 3.5
Urban Decay Naked Skin concealer – Light Neutral
Make Up For Ever HD Microfinish Powder
Soap & Glory Wonderbronze – Sundaze
Sleek MakeUP blush – Suede
Makeup Revolution and its sister brands, I Heart Makeup and Freedom Makeup, are known for making dupes for more expensive brands. I wrote about some of the I Heart Makeup Chocolate Palettes, a couple of which are almost shade by shade copies of Too Faced Chocolate Bar palettes: here (Death by Chocolate), here (Naked Chocolate), and here (Salted Caramel).
This Freedom Makeup Eyebrow Pomade is a direct answer to the cult classic Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade. The colors in the Freedom Makeup lineup are exactly the same as the ABH line.
Before I bought the ABH Dipbrow, I was waffling between Medium Brown, Chocolate, or Ebony. I didn’t like the warmth of Chocolate, and wanted to err on the lighter side, since my natural brows are already quite dark. I ended up with Medium Brown.
When I discovered that Freedom Makeup makes a very similar product, I ordered Ebony. I wanted to eventually buy it in the ABH line, since I like having options. For everything.
Freedom Makeup is their “professional” line, although I still don’t get why they have so many different brands under the same TAM Beauty umbrella. But I’m no business mogul, so what the hell do I know?
When I first opened it, I was surprised at how light and RED it looked:
I bought this beautiful Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow at the Covent Garden flagship store after finishing the beginner runner’s 8-week program. I had heard many good things about this expensive palette, and I thought it’d be the perfect splurge after accomplishing a goal I’d never thought possible before!
First, look at this incredible, Art Deco-inspired packaging! Have you ever seen anything so glamorous? It’s sturdy and weighty, so you definitely get that feeling of luxury while using it.
The pans themselves mirror the gorgeous sunburst pattern. Sculpt is a cool-toned bronzer with the barest hint of sheen, and Highlight is a very warm, shimmery golden highlight.
Despite its good looks, this is a perfect example of a luxury product that doesn’t quite live up to expectations. I want so much to love it, especially because I spent a lot of money on it. Instead, I find it’s “just okay.”
The Sculpt shade has a hard pan, and it’s difficult to get any product onto my brush, let alone pigment on my face. I’ve tried using a bit of tape to lift off the hardened top layer, but that has only helped marginally. I’m reluctant to scrape off the layer with a tissue because I don’t want to lose the sunburst pattern just yet.
In contrast, the Highlight shade is pigmented and any brush picks up powder very well. Both powders wear well on the skin, and sink in beautifully with an elegant finish. Whenever I use this, my skin looks extra polished, like I have good lighting following me around.
The Sculpt color itself is not quite a bronzer, yet not quite a contour. In fact, it has a tendency to look muddy on my skin tone (light-medium, neutral leaning warm). The Highlight shade is very yellow and golden. It works well enough on me, but I don’t think it’s very versatile.
Nevertheless, I can “make it work” for me. I just wish I didn’t have to. I don’t reach for it much, due to user difficulty. Still, I’m not willing to let it go just yet, if only to get my money’s worth out of it. I’m trapped in the mentality of “it’s expensive, so it must be good.” I’ll keep using it to see if it’ll surprise me somehow.
See how the bronzer looks a bit dirty? Of course, that might have something to do with my poor blending skills.
What was the last expensive beauty product that didn’t quite live up your expectations? Did you find a way to make it work?
Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow is available in two shades, Light to Medium, or Medium to Dark. It retails for $68 (£49) at Nordstrom, Beautylish, and CharlotteTilbury.com. If you’re in London, do check out the Covent Garden store; it’s a treat!
Since we’re already halfway through August, I’d better write some words about July’s empties before September is upon us!!
Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water – I bought this mainly because it’s cheaper than Simple’s version, price per ounce. It does leave a bit of a sticky residue that the Simple one does not, but it doesn’t bother me at all. I’ve already repurchased, and plan on buying this one from now on.
Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine Cologne Absolue – First off, this perfume sample was gorgeous:
Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine postcard
Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine postcard back
Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine packaging
Keep in mind that this was a free sample from Sephora. The attention to detail and presentation is astounding, and I love it. I don’t plan on sending the postcard; I’d rather keep it and put it up on a wall or something.
The scent itself smelled like juicy, freshly cut oranges. Nothing sweet or candy-like about this. I once smelled this on a customer in The Body Shop, and since I couldn’t place it, I had to ask her what it was. She pulled out this sample from her bag. That’s how memorable this scent is! Here is a perfume review by Kafkaesque, and here is one by Bois de Jasmin. Perfumes are a very personal choice, and I’m only just starting to dip my toe into it. Both blogs I’ve linked are great resources and the writers are far more experienced than I am!
As for me, I’d love to add a small bottle of this fragrance to my collection one day.
The Body Shop baked eyeshadow in 02 Moonstone – A very old eyeshadow. I bought this when it first came out, years before I started working there. It doesn’t have much pigment and it’s rather glittery without being interesting. Not a fan of this particular color. I do have another, 01 Copper, that I like much more.
Makeup Academy Intense Color Eye Liner in Snow White – I bought this while in the UK because I needed a white eyeliner to do the skull makeup I wore for Halloween. It’s okay, nothing to write home about. The cap has a built-in sharpener, which is useful. However, it also leaves the pencil exposed to the air, which will probably cause it to dry out faster than I can use it.
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil in Underground, Gunmetal, Uzi, Binge – I actually love all of these colors. Unfortunately, I got caught up in buying a lot of Urban Decay’s eyeliner sets. I have a lot of them, and most of them are drying out now. They’re harder to apply, and don’t smudge well any more. In the future, I will be buying eyeliners piecemeal, especially since I use the same colors frequently.
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide on Lip Pencil in Ozone – I used this clear lip liner whenever I wanted to prevent highly pigmented lip colors from bleeding outside of the lip line. This is another old pencil, and the entire core of it has been pulled out of the wooden casing. Oh well. I intend to buy a cheaper, drugstore version.
Jouer lip gloss in Cherish – Started to smell bad. I’m not much of a lip gloss person anymore, either. Formula-wise, it was comfortable to wear, and not too sticky. Cherish was a soft, flattering color and I used it whenever I wanted a quick slick of something on bare lips.
Still continuing this seemingly hopeless battle to shrink my collection! Of course, it doesn’t help that brands are constantly coming out with shiny new things, all of them pulling at our purse strings. Additionally, fall makeup is my favorite, so the temptation is all too strong!!