I love shopping for makeup! Whether it is shopping at the Ulta in town or driving 1-2 hours to the nearest Sephora store, I love the opportunity to hold the products, test them, smell them, and get a better idea of what I want to try. I have had bad experiences with blindly shopping online–the products have been the opposite of what I wanted, so it is important that I get the chance to check them out in person. I researched what I was looking for and when I got to the store in person, I found some amazing finds a couple of weeks back in our Ulta store.
I have been in the market for some brow products–After two brow pencil fails I researched what is new in stores. I have used powder, gel, and pencils in the past, but nothing blew my socks off or encouraged me to repurchase. I wanted to try the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz because of its high reviews but I absolutely can not justify spending $21.00 for .003 oz (That is correct–0.003 oz!!!) My brows suffer from severe over-tweezing in the past and they are sparse/uneven. I love a well shaped brow but after years of pencil thin brows I can not get used to a super dark, overdrawn brow; I am looking for something that can fill in the brows to a decent, more accentuated shape with a natural color that is NOT too warm. I picked up the NYX Eyebrow Gel ($6.99 for .34 oz) and the NYX Tame & Frame Tinted Brow Pomade ($6.99 for .18 oz) This was a great day for my eyebrows!!! I love both of these products–LOVE them.
When I said none of my past eyebrow regime had impressed me, I really meant that only one product has impressed me in years: the Make Up Forever Aqua Brow Gel ($20.00 for .23 oz at Sephora.) It is highly pigmented, waterproof, long-lasting, quick drying and mine is almost used up. This brow gel is so pigmented you could create a brow where none exists and the product is so easy to apply that it would look semi-natural. Great product, high price, and me with no Sephora in town… The NYX gel has less pigmentation but it encompasses all of the other things I love about the Aqua Brow. I picked up the color “Blonde” and it is a nice medium-ashy toned brown. It is on the light end of “medium brown,” more of a light taupe color.
I may have talked more about the gel but I am equally impressed with the pomade. I apply both with $2.99 craft store brushes (Loew-Cornell Soft Comfort Chisel Blender #4 & Loew Cornell Soft Comfort Ang Shader 1/8″ at Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores.) I have not tried the Anastasia Beverly Hills DipBrow Pomade ($18 for .14 oz) because it appeared to be too pigmented for me (and expensive.) Online demos show gorgeous results that in my mind do not translate into an everyday, wearable brow: it looks beautiful, but drawn on. I picked up the NYX Tame & Frame in the shade “Brunette.” I use this sparingly and when used in small doses it is easy to apply, is never patchy or streaky, dries fairly quickly (not as quick as the gel–that stuff dries lightening fast,) and I do not need to set it with an eyebrow gel. It is waterproof, long-lasting, and natural looking. The brunette shade of the pomade is a bit darker than the blonde gel; still staying within the cool-toned brown family.
I was so happy to have two new, reasonably priced, cool toned brow products that I intended to grab nothing else; just skip out the door with a smile. As I was approaching the register I saw an Ulta-brand display and the “Pink Diamond” Illuminator was calling out to me!!! I swatched onto my hand from the tester and I think I giggled out loud. It is so beautiful! I do not own a pink highlighter–I always assumed that it would not look good with my medium/olive skin tone. It looks amazing. It has a light to medium pigmentation of the most eye-catching combination of champagne, pink, and rose-gold. It gives a subtle glow that is iridescent, without being too metallic or frosty (and it contains no glitter.) The powder itself is not too powdery-I never have fallout from my brush touching the product or when I apply it to my face. I believe this powder ($10 for .28 oz) would compliment and enhance any complexion. This was a great surprise find!! My all-time favorite highlighter, The Balm’s Mary-Lou Manizer retails for $24.00 for .30 oz–so this is a great price.
Sometimes you have to spend more to get the quality you are looking for and I had started to believe that I was going to have to purchase the Anastasia Beverly Hills products out of desperation & lack of quality in the drugstore selection. I am so pleased that I could find two amazing brow products for a fraction of the high-end cost. The great thing about Ulta is that they carry both high-end and drugstore products. For all of the drugstore OR high-end duds I have been disappointed with in my lifetime; these 3 solid finds (at low prices) make me very satisfied! It is a great feeling to find a quality product for a fraction of what you expected to spend!!!