ipsy Glam Bag Review: February 2019

Hey, y’all!

Sorry I’m a little behind with this one, but February flew by, and with it came a cute lipstick print cosmetic bag filled with some fabulous goodies!

Glowstarter™ Mega Illuminating Moisturizer in “Nude Glow”

from GlamGlow

Photo of sample size Glowstarter Mega Illuminating Moisturizer in "Nude Glow" from GlamGlow
$49 for 1.7 fl. oz.; GlamGlow

A dewy finish isn’t really my thing (I tend to go more matte), but I went ahead and gave this a whirl anyway. The sweet citrusy scent was a little strong, but I used a small enough amount that it wasn’t overwhelming. I used the moisturizer like I would a highlighter (mainly on my cheekbones and the tip of my chin) before I put on primer. Let’s call it a “pre-highlighter” for when I’m feeling a little extra. I definitely had to wash my hands afterwards. It comes in 2 other colors: “Pearl Glow” and “Sun Glow;” “Nude Glow” was pretty and seems like it’d be pretty universally flattering. Do I think I’d purchase the full-size, though? Probably not. It’s just not my cup of tea. *shrug*

My Rating: 2/5

Fierce and Fine Graphic Pen in “Black”

from Doucce

Photo of Fierce and Fine Graphic Pen in "Black" from Doucce Cosmetics
$21; Doucce Cosmetics

I’m not as big a fan of felt tip liners because they sometimes skip a little, but this one goes on fairly smoothly. The only issue is the tip is so fine that I have to go over the same area multiple times. It’s waterproof and lasted all day without flaking or budging, but it still doesn’t top my $7.50 NYX Liquid Matte. What can I say? A higher price doesn’t always mean you’ll like it better.

My Rating: 4/5

Pressed Eyeshadow in “Taupe”

from Meech n Mia

Photo of Pressed Eyeshadow in "Taupe" from Meech N Mia
$11.50; Meech N Mia

This color is perfect for work when I’m short on time and just want a subtle wash of color on my lids. This mauve-pink shade is really flattering, and I can wear it alone, or use it to add a little depth to my eye look. The pan size is pretty generous, so this might become a workday staple. It went on velvety smooth and had no fallout and minimal kick-up.

My Rating: 5/5

Powder Brush 50F

from F.A.R.A.H. Brushes

Photo of Powder Brush 50F from F.A.R.A.H. Brushes

It’s so fluffy! I find it odd that I can’t find this exact brush anywhere on the F.A.R.A.H. website, but you can get one from their rose gold collection for $15, so I assume this one would be roughly the same price. The bristles aren’t quite as dense as my IT Cosmetics Luxe LBD Powder Brush #307, so it doesn’t pick up quite as much product. (Sometimes that’s a good thing.) Not to mention, this one is about 1/3 of the price, plus it’s 100% vegan and cruelty-free. According to ipsy, it’s versatile enough that you can use it for setting powder, bronzer, or blush. You know I love multi-use tools and products. 🙂

My Rating: 5/5

Studio Fix Powder Foundation in “NC30”

from MAC

Photo of sample size Studio Fix Powder Foundation in "NC30'" from MAC Cosmetics
$30 for .52 oz.; MAC Cosmetics

I started out not loving this foundation, but I warmed up to it. I hated it when I used the sponge applicator because it left my skin feeling kind of cakey and dry. It also ended up breaking up over the course of the day, even with makeup refreshing spray. I gave it another shot using a foundation brush. That was more successful, but given how small the pan is, it was somewhat inefficient, and I was paranoid that I wasn’t getting even coverage. It did hold up better over the course of the day, though, and it seems that the coverage is buildable. Maybe with a larger pan I’d have an easier time, but I’m also still a fan of the color-correcting properties of my Laura Geller pressed powder foundation.

My Rating: 3/5

This month’s bag had an average rating of 3.8. How did your beauty subscriptions treat you in February? Tell me in the comments!


Sarah xoxo

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Splurge or Save: MAC vs Real Techniques

Hello, gorgeous!

Ok, story time…

In college, I never wore liquid foundation, probably because I was a Costuming major and was terrified of getting makeup on garments. It was bad enough getting it on the neckline of my T-shirts when I got dressed in the morning, which probably happened for a few reasons:

  1. I probably wasn’t using quality product. I honestly can’t remember what I was using at the time, but it was probably some drugstore brand that I did zero research on. I’m not saying that drugstore foundation is all crap–I just think it’s important to do your homework.
  2. I didn’t use primer (honestly, I don’t think I’d even heard of it until after college)
  3. I’m pretty sure I applied it with my fingers or a makeup wedge and probably used too much product
  4. I didn’t set it

130 Short Duo Fibre Brush

from MAC Cosmetics

Photo of MAC Cosmetics 130 Short Duo Fibre Brush

$42 from MAC Cosmetics

A friend of mine who was an aspiring makeup artist introduced me to stippling and the dual fiber brushes that are ideal for it in order to achieve an airbrushed effect. (I wish she’d told me about primer and setting spray/powder to address issues 2 and 4.) Being on a college student budget made issue 1 a challenge, but hey, you have to start somewhere, so let’s tackle issue #3! She swore by this dual fiber brush from MAC, but it certainly wasn’t cheap. (Fun fact: at that time I would normally buy paintbrushes from the campus art store and use them for makeup instead.) After saving up some Christmas money, I bought the brush. The wooden handle is a comfortable length, and it’s a mix of natural and synthetic fibers. Needless to say I felt fancy (ha), and it gave me some pretty good results, at least by my inexperienced standards. Eventually I gravitated towards mineral makeup, though, and somehow managed to forget about this (expensive) brush.

I rediscovered it when I had a coupon for a free liquid foundation from Ulta in the fall of 2017. I was disappointed to find that this brush wasn’t as good as I remembered, especially when I thought about how much I paid for it. The black bristles would break and shed all over my face, not to mention that stippling felt like tiny needles and was literally painful. I would go back over in a swirling motion to blend out the brush marks, but then I’d end up with streaks that I’d have to smooth over with a makeup sponge. Talk about time-consuming. I’m good about cleaning my brushes, so I don’t think that contributed to the issues with the bristles. Maybe it’s because the brush went unused for a few years? Leave a comment if you have any ideas. Needless to say, my experience has led me to believe that this brush wasn’t worth the splurge.

Stippling Brush

from Real Techniques

Photo of Real Techniques stippling brush
$10; realtechniques.com

Once I got fed up with the MAC brush, I just started using a sponge to apply foundation instead, but I didn’t like how difficult it was to keep the sponge clean. Over the holidays, I was buying some items from Ulta online and added this brush as an impulse purchase. I’ve been in love ever since!

I don’t have any strong feelings about natural bristles vs synthetic, but in case you’re wondering, this brush has synthetic bristles, and they’re incredibly soft. I can stipple away and not feel like I’m repeatedly stabbing my face. It blends my foundation flawlessly, and I don’t need to go back over it with a sponge. The brush feels like it’s well-constructed, and it’s very easy to clean (I use a cleaning spray after each use and I deep clean once every 2 weeks.) The handle is a comfortable length; it feels like it’s made out of aluminum, which would explain why it’s so light. It can stand on its end if you want it to (as shown in the photo), but I keep my brushes in an organizer. In my opinion, $10 is an absolute steal! I absolutely recommend this brush.

This experience has been a reminder for me that just because something is more expensive doesn’t automatically mean it’s better than a more budget-friendly alternative. Beauty doesn’t have to break the bank. What are some low-cost products that have pleasantly surprised you? Share in a comment below!

Enjoy your weekend!

–Sarah xoxo