And so we begin...
Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper ($19usd on Sephora, 0.02 oz)
I was never a liquid liner girl until more recently. Chalk it up to an unsteady hand, a crepey eyelid, lack of practice...I was not the biggest fan. This Christmas I was lucky enough to be gifted with a limited edition Sephora eyeliner set which included this well-loved liner. People love it for its staying power, brush tip applicator, and inky black pigmentation. I have to say this is a solid liquid eyeliner. The flexible brush tip is not hard to wield after a few uses, and its fine tip allows for precision even on my as mentioned crepey eyelid (I do pull my eyelid taut to apply, I know people say you shouldn't do this, but I find I just need to!). The formula definitely has great pigmentation, however, it's not a matte black. Maybe it's my oily eyelids, but I know the "un-matteness' of this liner is accentuated several hours after application when it is noticeably "shinier" on my lid. I don't wear eyelid primer or eyeshadow on the regular, so perhaps this would help with that. At $19 a pop, it's definitely pricey. A more affordable drugstore option I also really like is the Physicians Formula 2-in-1 Lash Boosting Eyeliner. This retails for $10.95 on the Physicians Formula website for 0.016 oz, which is slightly less product but at about half the cost. The brush tip on this eyeliner is slightly finer, but the staying power of the Kat Von D liner is far superior in comparison.
Mac Fix + ($22usd on Maccosmetics.com, 3.4 fl oz)
This product has been around for a long time and is highly touted by makeup artists and home make-up users alike. It's claim to fame is that it "refreshes the skin and finishes makeup". Many use it as a final step to take away powdery-ness after setting with, duh, powder. I'm mixed about this product though I have used it enough to repurchase. While a few spritzes definitely removes that "powdery" look, sometimes I feel this leaves an unnatural look to the face that makes it more obvious that I'm wearing makeup. I would liken Fix+ to a finishing hairspray for your face...it seems to help lock things into place, but to me, the overall finish can come across a bit "plastic" such that uneven texture can be accentuated. I have an Evian facial spray that I sometimes use to give that similar dewy type look. It give a finer mist but it doesn't prolong the staying power of my makeup (since it's basically just water) that I think Fix+ does.
Smith's Rosebud Salve ($6usd on Sephora, 0.8 oz)
Now this is a more reasonably priced item that does not break the bank. Many find this balm to be a cure-all for dry, chapped lips but personally, I did not really like this and would not purchase it again. A generous amount comes in the tin, but with some use, the edges of the tin get gummed up with product and makes the tin incredibly hard to open. The product itself is like a more slick version of Vaseline. It feels slippery on the lips, but I felt like it sat on top of my lips and did not penetrate at all. As a result, it gives your lips a super glossy look, but there was absolutely no lasting moisturizing effect. Also, I was not a huge fan of the rose scent, though mild.
Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment ($22.50usd on Sephora, 0.15 oz)
Since we're on the topic of lips, let's talk about this cult favorite. It's a pricey lip balm, that they deem a "treatment". I don't really know what would set this apart as a "treatment" but aren't all balms considered a lip treatment if you want to get technical? Anyway, this treatment comes in an array of tints, and definitely gives the lips a nice moisturized feel. The packaging is nice - it comes in a weighty metal bullet - and I have repurchased this a few times. I would say the staying power of this balm is not the best, and there is a slight scent/taste to this product that I'm not crazy about. Personally I do not have a "holy grail" lip balm, but I do like this product for its feel and it leaves your lips nicely tinted. It's definitely overpriced though, in my opinion.
Beauty Blender ($19.95usd on skinstore.com)
Nars Orgasm Blush ($30usd on Sephora, 0.16 oz)
This is perhaps what put Nars on the market and is a cult-favorite through and through. I have owned several Orgasm blushes, and if you wear makeup regularly, you'll know how hard it is to actually go through and finish a pan of blush. Nars Orgasm was the first high end blush (pre-makeup hoarding days) I ever owned, so it was a go-to for a long time for me. It is a nicely pigmented peachy-pink blush with a faint shimmer that is not really noticeable once applied. It's warmer toned, but flattering for many different skintones, which is perhaps why this was such a popular color. I have to admit I rarely reach for this blush these days. It leans more pink on my cheeks, and these days I prefer a slightly more muted blush look. A light hand will give a nice flush to the cheeks, and since developing more of a blush collection, I doubt I will run out of my current pan any time soon. At $30, I don't think you absolutely need this blush (do you absolutely need any blush??) but Nars' blushes are cult favorites for a reason. (Confession - this is the only blush from them I have ever owned but would wholeheartedly try another - Madly perhaps?) They have great pigmentation overall, and while not the most finely milled, do have a fairly nice formula.
Wow, this was a long post...! I'll stop here. I would love to hear what your thoughts are on some of these products and other "holy grail" products! Personally, it's nice to have any product work out well for me, whether highly raved about or not, and finding those hidden gems is another love of mine...Perhaps a topic for another post?