If you follow me on Instagram and can put up with the rambling often present in my Insta Stories, then you’ll know that I recently bought a bunch of new products during the Priceline 40% off cosmetics sale (NOT online, for reasons I’ve outlined before). Coincidentally, this happened the same day that my order from Adore Beauty arrived and I thought it might be a good idea to review a heap of the new products at once (because hey, that always ends well). I was particularly curious to see how such high-end products would pair with such affordable options.
Being reviewed today are the Becca First Light Priming Filter, NIOD Photography Fluid, NIOD Fractured Eye Contour Concentrate, NIOD Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex, Luma On the Glow Highlighter Stick in Cashmere Casbah, Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer, Maybelline Hypersharp Liner, and Essence Lash Princess Volume Mascara. I purchased these items myself because I have a problem and can’t seem to stop buying stuff I don’t need.
NIOD Photography Fluid ($45), NIOD Fractured Eye Contour Concentrate ($100), NIOD Multi-Molecular Hyaluronic Complex ($90) – all part of the NIOD Set N.1 ($105)
Naturally when it comes to skin care, first impressions aren’t going to give you the full picture of how these perform in the long term. As a result, I’m going to group these all together and give you a quick rundown. If you’d like a more in-depth review once I’ve tested them for much longer, please let me know in the comments and I’m happy to provide.
I started with the Hyaluronic complex and applied a few drops all over my face. A little goes a long way with this product. I was partway through a serious eczema attack when I tried this (because, you know, that’s totally the perfect time to try new skin care derp derp) so I did find that it stung a little bit. In saying that, I didn’t feel like it made my eczema any worse (touch wood) so I wouldn’t rule it out for sensitive skin. I applied the Eye Contour immediately after. Once again, a tiny amount goes a long way. I used one small drop for each eye and that was more than enough for the entire eye area including the lid. I liked the feel of this and I was pleased because it didn’t mess with the makeup I later applied under the eyes, or my eyeshadow over the lid. This alone is enough to get a huge tick from me as I find it very hard to find eye products I can use in the morning before makeup. For that reason, I’ll probably repurchase it unless I end up being allergic. I did feel that my eye area was better moisturised than usual, but not so much so that I noticed a huge dramatic change.
The Photography Fluid was an interesting beast. I applied it over the top of the Becca primer (see below) as it says it can be used either under or in place of foundation. Over the primer, it was super glowy. I had kind of expected it to cancel out some of the glow from the primer but I think it added to it. This was an odd product. I didn’t feel like it corrected my redness or smoothed my pores, and yet I did feel like it just made my skin look somehow… better? It was very weird. I’ll be keen to keep trying this one out to see how it performs in combination with different products. I’m not sure I’d use it alone even on minimal makeup days, but I do think I like it under foundation.
Becca First Light Priming Filter ($65 – but currently on sale for $55.25)
One word: Glowwwwwwwwwwwwwww. Seriously this primer is super glowy. I’ve been using the Marc Jacobs Coconut primer recently and this makes that look like a matte primer. I don’t think it’s as moisturising as the Marc Jacobs option, but then that’s not what it’s designed for. It doesn’t smooth pores or mattify so I’d be avoiding this if you’re oily. In saying that, I’m combo and I bought this for use under my heavier foundations that tend to look dry on my skin. For example, I stopped wearing Estee Lauder Double Wear once my skin became more combo than oily because I found it looked way too cakey and dry on parts of my face. I applied the Double Wear over this and the photography fluid with a Beauty Blender and imagine my surprise when I glanced in the mirror and found that my skin still looked glowy and healthy. I’m genuinely shocked to say that I liked this primer as I honestly thought it wouldn’t work for me. I think under anything other than a super heavy foundation (think Double Wear or ReMarcable) I’d probably hate it, but I’m so pleased that it’s made some of those useable for me again now that my skin type has changed. As for lasting power, it didn’t extend the wear of my makeup and I did have to powder my T-Zone later in the day. I’d suggest if this bothers you to just use a more matte primer over your oily areas. As for me, that wasn’t why I bought it so frankly I’m stoked. My skin looked ridiculously good all day.
Luma On The Glow Highlighter Stick in Cashmere Casbah ($29.95)
I picked this highlighter up as part of the Priceline sale. I’ve seen Luma before and been curious but I’ve never taken the plunge to buy anything. I maaaay have ended up buying two highlighters. This one is the more natural of the ones I bought (see end of article for swatch – same for all products). I’m not much of a highlighter person in general, and creams usually bother me because I need to powder my base to stop it sliding everywhere. This means that I tend to end up setting creams and ruining the glow anyway. Because I wanted to use Double Wear though, I wasn’t setting with powder except in key areas (T-Zone, just under highlight to blend bronzer, forehead for same reason and chin). This highlighter really impressed me. It might be my favourite of everything I tried, and that’s saying something. It blends beautifully and looks so natural and glowy on the skin. It’s not a blinding to the gods highlight – if you like glittery or extreme highlights this won’t be your cup of tea. But if, like me, you tend to avoid highlights because they can emphasise texture or look like a stripe on your face, you’ll love this. I actually prefer this to my Marc Jacobs Glow Stick. The highlight isn’t as intense but I found it easier to blend, both with my fingers and a Beauty Blender. This is a definite new fav. Lasting power wise, by the end of my 12 hour day I have to confess I didn’t notice this was still on my face, but honestly nothing ever does last on me for that.
Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer ($29.95)
If ever there was a hyped-up bronzer, this is it. I don’t think I’ve heard of anyone not liking this. As for me, I like it as an affordable option but it doesn’t win out over my Tom Ford bronzer. At about one sixth of the price though, this isn’t surprising. The Butter Bronzer is nice but I found it was pretty light on my skin tone (I can see why fair skinned girls love this). I’ll be curious to try building it up in future. I liked the blendability and the result was lovely and natural. My biggest gripe, however, is the smell. A lot of people love that about this product but to me it smells like a cheap attempt at a summer scent. I don’t get coconut so much as artificial tropical scent. Fortunately, it doesn’t linger on the skin though so it’s not a deal breaker. I also don’t like the random applicator included. It’s not useful and I’d rather leave it out and have a smaller compact as this thing doesn’t come close to fitting in any of my acrylic organisers and that makes me nuts. Overall, it’s a great affordable option, but it won’t replace my Holy Grail bronzers.
Maybelline Hypersharp Liner ($17.95)
I’d heard about this liner on a few blogs over the years so I was curious to give it a go and see if I could find a cheaper alternative to my holy grail Lancôme grandiose. Spoiler alert: nope. I couldn’t get quite as sharp of a wing with this as I can with the Lancôme, but that might be practice and preference in application styles honestly. I also found that it wasn’t as pigmented on first swipe. In saying that, it’s buildable and ends up being a really gorgeous deep black, so I’m not complaining. I managed to stab myself on the eyelid (which you’ll see in photos below) but rest assured that was user error rather than the product (and yes, I was too lazy to clean it up). I’ll be honest though, I absolutely hated this liner. It turns out that this thing irritates my eyes like nobody’s business, which also means it transfers everywhere. I tried this twice and the second time I had a blood test that day. Closing my eyes while wearing this was a huge mistake. I ended up with black tears all down my face – not because of the needle but because when I closed my eyes tight this stuff got right in my eyes and made them burn like mad! I get a lot of blood tests and this has never happened with another liner. The first day I wore it wasn’t as extreme courtesy of not having shut my eyes like that, but the burning was still present and irritating all day. It’s a huge nope from me. In saying that, if you’re fortunate enough to not be sensitive to this liner, it genuinely seems like a decent product for the price. Definitely not for those of you with sensitive eyes though.
Essence Lash Princess Volume Mascara ($6.75)
I’m exceptionally picky with mascaras. I always find they transfer all over the place unless they’re tubing formulas. The problem with tubing formulas is that whilst they last, they never give me as strong of an effect as I need. I’ve consequently gone back to trying out a range of normal mascaras in the vain hope that something works. The best I’ve found (by far) is the YSL “The Shock” Mascara. It doesn’t transfer or flake or smudge (we’ll see if that lasts come Summer mind you) and it gives amazing volume and length (finally). It wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea though as it’s a wet formula so easy to make a huge mess with, and to those with naturally thicker lashes (damn you) it would probably look spidery. In saying that, at $57, it’s a hefty price to pay for lashes. Lash Princess, by complete contrast, is almost absurdly cheap. The brush is slightly odd and takes a little practice, but I’m impressed to report on first application I was able to get a nice coverage. Whilst it didn’t achieve the same levels as The Shock mascara, it was nevertheless still a hell of a lot better than a lot of far more expensive mascaras I’ve tried. And frankly, for the price point, to even come as close to being as good is ridiculously impressive. The first time I tried this I had some smudging, but I’m fairly certain this was the liner. Since then, I’ve worn it a few more times and I really like it. I am seriously impressed by how good this is for the price. I get better effects with this than with mascaras five to ten times the price. It doesn’t beat my YSL, but it’s perfect for days where I want something more subtle. Seriously, for $6, you need to try this.
The Look and Swatches
The photos I took of the look don’t really give the glow justice, but nonetheless you can see how it all worked together reasonably well. All in all, I’m really surprised to say that I only hated one of these. Given how picky I am, that’s a pretty solid effort. I need more time with the skin care, but everything else was a definite win apart from the liner. The things I bought at Priceline weren’t my favourite of all time in these types of products, but they were all great budget options. I’ll be repurchasing these when my higher end options run out. The primer works brilliantly for the purpose I got it for, but it wouldn’t be suitable for everyone.
What have been your favourite products that you’ve picked up lately?
Note: All prices have come directly from Priceline or Adore Beauty as this was where I bought them from. I’ve included the full price from Priceline rather than the 40% off price that I actually paid as I’m not sure when their next sale will come by.