PART 3: MAKEUP (EYES & LIPS)
Winner: Glossier Boy Brow – £14.00
Another point for Glossier here: Boy Brow really is the simplest of things which manages to achieve an awful lot. It grooms, shapes and adds colour to sparse and/or unruly eyebrows all in one go. I use a pencil (see below) to fill in a couple of gaps caused by childhood chickenpox scars, then a quick brush through with Boy Brow and I’m done.
The tube, the brush and the whole thing are tiny – really only as big as they need to be. I can’t think of anything else to add! Other than perhaps a bigger tube would be nice so I don’t have to replace it as often? I love it.
And these are the brow pencils I use. I’ve placed them as joint runners-up because I genuinely love them equally. They look the same, work the same, apply the same, have the same shaped tip and have the same texture. I picked up the Anastasia one in a sale, so in the event they even cost me just about the same.
On any given day I neither notice nor care which one of these two I pick up. Not often you can say that about two products from such diversely different brands. Happy days!
Winner: MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot – £16.50
There’s another category here without a runner-up. I do have other eye primers (again, see my previous post on the topic!) but this is far and away the best. For oily lids it’s absolutely in a league of its own, and there just isn’t anything else that works as well for me. It’s the only one I use.
I’m sure you won’t judge me if I reproduce the review from my previous post for this one too, will you? Much the same as my review of Touch Glorious, I can’t think of a way of putting it any better!
“Pro Longwear Paint Pot is a cream eyeshadow, which comes in a variety of neutral colours. Applied with a firm eyeshadow brush, when it hits the skin and warms slightly, the formulation is wonderfully creamy, and spreads easily to cover the whole lid. With very little blending the edges just disappear, and it dries down quickly to provide an absolutely gloriously perfect base for powder shadows once it has been set with either translucent powder or a similar coloured powder shadow (my usual choice). I am nowhere even close to being the first to discover this, a very significant number of the reviews I found (most of them, really) are from people using it in the same way.
I have absolutely no end of problems with eyeshadow, as detailed above. They crease, they fade, they run (my lids really are that oily), they’re a bugger to blend, and they generally look crap very, very quickly. Until now I haven’t found a primer which has kept them in good order beyond lunchtime. Until now.
Yesterday morning I applied my makeup at 07.30 as I usually do. After work my husband and I met a friend for dinner – who remarked on how lovely my eye makeup looked, some 11 hours after it had first been applied! JACKPOT!
If you have oily lids and struggle to keep your eyeshadow in place, this is the answer. Choose your colour carefully (I have fair-ish cool-toned skin (pink undertones) and find “Painterly” ideal for me, I know that “Soft Ochre” is the counterpart for fair, warm-toned skin (yellow undertones).)”
I wouldn’t say I’m addicted to eyeshadow palettes, more that I’m… an enthusiastic collector? Choosing only two was the biggest challenge by far for these awards!
Winner: Charlotte Tilbury Bigger Brighter Eyes “Exagger-eyes” – £39
I actually surprised myself in choosing this as my winner, my usual great affection for Charlotte Tilbury products notwithstanding. I acquired this one as a Black Friday treat, having previously decided that Charlotte Tilbury palettes were far too expensive, costing the same for four shades as Too Faced/Urban Decay charge for twelve. On just this occasion, the price and the colours were right, so I decided to try this one.
Almost overnight, this has become my most reached-for palette. It will be the one I pick up on three out of four working days, and on every occasion I use all four colours. One as a base to make sure my primer is well set, one for a transition colour (to trace the line of my eye socket where the crease begins and blend up towards my brows), one as a crease colour and the glimmery one in the bottom left on top to finish.
These shadows go on easily, blend easily, I need only two brushes to do the whole job, and it looks beautiful. Every single time. There is no other palette in my collection that has generated quite as many compliments as this one! There is minimal kick-up of shadow in the pan, and it doesn’t create fallout on my cheeks. It’s subtle, but just incredibly effective and ticks every box. It’s a very worthy, if slightly surprising, winner.
If I absolutely had to pick a fault, it’s that I would prefer the base colour to be matte rather than shimmery – but that’s more personal preference than actual fault!
Runner-up: Too Faced Chocolate Gold – £39
My second most-used palette, and the one I reached for most often before the arrival of the category winner above.
Too Faced shadows are really very well-behaved in terms of application; they are smooth and silky, apply very easily and blend easily too. They do everything you expect them to, and never give a moment’s trouble.
Although on first glance this looks like a very colourful and glitzy palette, it is in fact incredibly useful for day to day wear too. The far right hand end includes a bone-coloured matte, a transition shade, a deeper brown and a black; very much the building blocks for a good, basic neutral look. You then have any number of shimmers and glitters to use (if you choose) for an accent).
This is a really genuinely multi purpose palette, and one that I would recommend in a heartbeat to anyone wanting to buy just one good-quality, high end palette, purely because of its quality and versatility.
Too Faced do have one interesting habit which people seem to either love or hate, which is that they use fairly strong, often food-based fragrances in their products. I’m not a big fan of artificial fragrances, as you already know, but this one is a slightly different bag of squirrels. It smells of chocolate – because it IS chocolate. Some of the shadows contain actual cocoa powder within them, which is where the smell comes from. And if you’re a chocolate fan it’s really quite lovely – if slightly disconcerting sometimes at 7.00 in the morning!
As with the highlighters, this was really a very difficult call, but the Charlotte Tilbury won by the very narrowest margin.
Winner: Charlotte Tilbury Rock ‘n’ Kohl Eye Cheat – £19
Generally speaking I don’t really do eyeliner. If not done properly, it can have the unfortunate effect of making small and/or hooded eyes look even smaller, so for the most part I steer clear!
This one is an exception: it’s cream coloured, and therefore when used on the waterline (the very inner part of the eyelid, where it meets the actual eye) it makes you look far more awake than you actually are.
Charlotte Tilbury’s eye and lip pencils (of which, more later) are of a quite lovely formulation, they apply smoothly and evenly, and sharpen very cleanly when needed. I also find this one stays put very nicely, I almost always have to actually remove it at the end of the day with the rest of my eye makeup.
In due course I shall figure out how to use darker colours without making my eyes even smaller, but for now this is my Winner and has no competition in this category. I am in the process of testing a couple of other colours including a beautiful gold, so I shall report on those in due course.
Winner: Hourglass Caution Extreme Lash Mascara – £25
Runner-up: Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara – £15
As long time readers of 37 and Clueless will know, mascara has always been something of a bête noire for me, and it was the discovery of the existence of tubing mascara which set me on my current joyous path of makeup love! See my very first post here for more.
Following on from there, I’ve been on a voyage of discovery with other tubing mascaras, and finally arrived at the discovery that the best option for me is to use two different mascaras, one for my top lashes and one for the bottom. I don’t know that it’s entirely fair to qualify one as a winner and one as a runner-up, because these days the two very much operate as one!
Further reading has taught me that this really isn’t at all unusual, and that makeup artists routinely use two or even three different mascaras on the same model in the same session. My “runner-up”, Clinique’s “Bottom Lash Mascara”, has a specially designed tiny brush, brought about by this very realisation – that what works best on the top lashes doesn’t necessarily work best on the bottom!
Winner: Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution in Pillow Talk – £24
Along with my discovery of tubing mascara, this really is the product that started it all! Full review here.
There is something truly wonderful in finding the perfect “My Lips But Better” (“MLBB”) shade – the holy grail shade, if you like, that makes people admire your lips, rather than your lipstick. For me, this is that shade – and indeed that formula. The Matte Revolution formula is an absolute dream.
I bought my first tube on 18 November 2017, and my second not long after. It’s the only lipstick that I have two of, one in my handbag and one on my dressing table. The one in my handbag is the original, and is very nearly worn down to its end! There is literally no circumstance under which this lipstick does not work for me. Work, play, going out, anything. It is always stylish and absolutely beautiful.
(As an aside to this, the accompanying “Pillow Talk” palette and blusher which both sold out in record time back in the Autumn are due for re-release in the Spring. On the basis of how well this colour suits me, I have a feeling my second Charlotte Tilbury palette and my first Charlotte Tilbury blusher may be on the horizon. Could the mighty NARS be in danger? Watch this space.)
Runner-up: MAC Matte Lipstick in Russian Red – £17.50
I am firmly of the opinion that everybody needs an absolute belter of a red lipstick in their collection. There really is a red to suit everyone (although it might take you a while to find it), and there really are times when nothing else will do.
When it comes to red, Lola in “Kinky Boots” has it nailed:
“Red. Red. Red. RED, Charlie boy. RED is the colour of sex! Burgundy is the colour of hot water bottles! Red is the colour of sex and fear and danger and signs that say, Do. Not. Enter. All my favourite things in life.”
MAC “Russian Red” is one of two absolutely legendary MAC reds that most makeup addicts either own or have heard of, the other being “Ruby Woo”.
The colours are incredibly similar, both are blue toned red (as opposed to orange toned), so suit people with cool toned skin like yours truly. The blue is much subtler in Russian Red than in Ruby Woo, leaving more of a “classic” red look.
The formulations of the two are slightly different, both are matte but Ruby Woo is a retro-matte whereas Russian Red is a classic matte. Ruby Woo is much dryer and harder to apply and blend. It is however a stunning colour and beautiful velvety finish, and very much worth the added effort.
In the end, my choice of the two was Russian Red. I prefer the slightly creamier finish and find it easier to work with. I don’t have the patience required for the retro matte formula! It’s also much less drying than Ruby Woo, so better for my already-prone-to-being-a-bit-flaky-lips in the long term.
After many years of searching on and off, and then a year of really searching, my perfect red has been found. And I love it. It comes second to “Pillow Talk” only because I get so much more use out of Pillow Talk day to day and because it suit every occasion, whereas there’s definitely a time and a place for red. Otherwise it would have been a seriously close run thing.
Winner: Stila Stay All Day in Patina – £17
I have a mixed relationship with liquid lipsticks! They take a little more preparation and then quite a lot more effort than a standard lipstick to apply and get right, and if you mess it up, you’re buggered. So to speak. Because once they’re on, there’s no easy way of getting them off!
But when I’m feeling blessed with enough patience to tackle the job, this one is far and away my favourite. This is another fabulous “My Lips But Better” colour, it has a glorious matte finish and the formula is terrific: it really does come close to staying all day. And it doesn’t end up plastered all over tea cups and water bottles!
My experience with it has been that I could leave it all day, but I usually carefully remove everything except the lip line with a makeup wipe and reapply it after lunch, which keeps it looking perfect for the afternoon.
Runner-up: Jeffree Star Velour Liquid Lipstick in Poinsettia – £16
Back with the red again here! But this one is something else altogether. It’s a lovely metallic red, a beautiful shade of deep red which shines with gold in the right light. I bought it for Christmas Jumper Day at work on a hunch that it might be an appropriate colour. It turned out to be absolutely perfect, and ended up being got out for all manner of Christmas events!
In spite of its very late arrival in my collection this year, this one features as my second favorite liquid lipstick of the year primarily because of its formula. In comparison to others the formula is a little thinner, which means it spreads more easily and dries quickly – two thin and even coats, allowing the first to dry before the second is applied, gives a beautiful finish which lasts and lasts. One one day I applied it at around 9.00 in the morning and it stayed put through multiple cups of tea and coffee, only eventually needing to be reapplied after a late lunch at about 4.00pm. The second application was still near perfect when I finally took it off before bed.
Suffice to say, I’m looking forward to trying many more shades of this in the future, although whether or not I shall ever be brave enough to try Dirty Money remains to be seen.
Winner: Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencil – £14.50
Urban Decay have always done incredibly well in two fields: bright colour and longevity. Their lip pencils are absolutely no exception. They are intensely richly pigmented and really do stay put. I don’t know that they’d stay put “24/7” as the name suggests, but if applied properly in the morning, they do last all day.
The range of colours is really comprehensive, with one to match or very nearly match all of their lipsticks. “Rush” as seen in this picture is the one to match “Backtalk”, which is my current favourite Urban Decay lipstick. (The other one, “Jilted” is the companion to “Afterdark”.) It’s very close to a perfect match, save that “Rush” has a very slight sparkle to it – which I actually don’t mind! It adds a barely-there highlight to the edges of my lips and adds a bit of interest.
As well as the colour and longevity being fantastic, these apply beautifully too, and are not difficult to sharpen to a point, although a decent sharpener is essential. I had a few problems getting a clean point on these with my old sharpener, but once I had replaced it with a new and properly sharp one the problem was solved.
Runner-up: Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat– £16
This was another category where competition for first place was incredibly, incredibly tight. I perhaps should have awarded these two joint winners really!
Charlotte Tilbury’s lip pencils are every bit as beautiful as their eye pencils. In much the same way, they go on smoothly and easily, and sharpen to a point with no difficulty when needed. They come in a wide range of colours, and there’s one to work with every lipstick and liquid lipstick in their range.
I currently have four shades: as you’ll see from the picture, “Pillow Talk” is by far my favourite, but I’m sure that won’t come as a surprise to anyone!
The only way in which they slightly lag behind the Urban Decay ones is in terms of longevity. I tend to find that these wear off more quickly, and do need re-applying at lunchtime. The Urban Decay ones usually don’t.
That’s it for part three! The fourth and final part, imaginatively titled “Everything Else” will follow in a day or so. Again, I hope you’re enjoying this series, I’d love to hear from you below if you have any comments. 🙂
DISCLAIMER: This review is not sponsored, and I have no affiliation with any of the companies mentioned. I have not been paid or otherwise compensated for this review, and I (or my very generous husband) pay for every product I review. All opinions are my own unless otherwise stated.