Category Archives: MUA Reviews

Comparing ‘Naked’ dupe eyeshadow palettes: MUA vs Makeup Revolution

The Urban Decay ‘Naked’ palette is a cult favourite and for good reason.  It offers a nice ranged of colours with a combination of matte and shimmer formulas.  I don’t own the Urban Decay original ‘Naked’ palette so I can’t comment on the quality of the Urban Decay formula but it has been successful enough that HEAPS of rival companies have duped them.  Today I’m going to be comparing two such affordable dupes from the companies MUA (Makeup Academy) and Makeup Revolution (TAM Beauty).  The two companies offer similar dupe palettes for the same budge price of 4GPB (approximately AU$8) – but which one is better for the price?

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MUA – undressed palette

I originally purchased the ‘Undressed’ palette from MUA as it was a firm favourite with good reviews.  It comes in basic plastic packaging with a clear front window and contains 9.6grams of product presented in round pans.  The shades are named and these are provided on the back of the palette (for what that is worth to the average consumer).

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Undressed swatches – top row

I don’t love the formula of these shadows.  The first ingredient in these shadows is talc, followed by Mica.  They are really dusty and kick up heaps of product when you dip your brush in – particularly the mattes.

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Undressed swatches – bottom row

These blend ok but if you over work them they blend away to nothing.  The shimmers are quite dry and I find they perform infinitely better with some fixing spray.  I won’t say they totally lack pigment but they aren’t fantastic.  I really wasn’t that impressed with this palette.

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Makeup Revolution – Redemption Palette: Iconic 1

When Makeup Revolution released their ‘Naked’ dupe, the ‘Redemption Palette – Iconic 1’ I was tempted to give it a go because the MUA version had been underwhelming.

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Iconic 1 swatches – first 6 shades

The ‘Iconic 1’ is a slightly larger palette with similar basic plastic packaging and a clear front window.  The pans are rectangular (and a little narrow to be honest!), but you get quite a bit more product for your money with a total of 14grams of eyeshadow.  The first ingredient in these shadows is Mica followed by talc.  These shadows will also kick up when you dip your brush in but they are nowhere near as dry and dusty as the MUA version.  Overall I find them to be creamier and more pigmented in comparison and much easier to work with.  They are better quality shadows by far in my opinion. The Makeup Revolution shadows also last longer on my eyes which is great.

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Iconic 1 swatches – final 6 shades

Both of these palettes are budget products so, to be fair, you aren’t really investing much to try either of them BUT I would argue that the ‘Iconic 1’ palette from Makeup Revolution is not only better value in terms of quantity of eyeshadow, but in my opinion it is also much better quality.

Have a wonderful day!

MUA: Shimmer Kisses Bronzer

I have no idea if this Shimmer Kisses Bronzer is still available on the MUA website.  Although they do ship internationally they have blocked Australian buyers from accessing their website as they have sold out to a local distributer.  Unfortunately, that distributer overcharges and only has a limited range so I don’t purchase MUA products anymore BUT if you can access their products and they still sell this then… here are my thoughts!

My apologies for the convoluted, overly wordy and ranty intro, lol

So onto the review.  I am not sure for whom this product would be a ‘bronzer’ so don’t be put off by that word in this product name.  The shades are bronzy in tone, but this is most definitely a highlighter and it is a very pretty highlighter indeed.

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I have found some of the MUA products, particularly their eyeshadows, to be quite dry and powdery, but this, this is soft and smooth and finely milled.  The product is a quad of four shades of varying depths.  I like this concept as it allows for the product to be more multi-use.  You can direct your brush to one or more of the shades to get your preferred tone or just swirl your brush across the whole palette.  I have used this as eyeshadow and it works well when used in that way too.

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Shimmer Kisses Bronzer swatched.

This is very pretty as a highlighter, even on my fair skin.  If you have a darker skin tone than mine you could probably avoid the lightest shade to get a tone that suits you.  This powder blends nicely, doesn’t overly highlight skin texture and isn’t powdery.  The packaging is cheap but durable.  Overall, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this.

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I wouldn’t call this Shimmer Kisses Bronzer a total dupe for the Mary-Lou Manizer from theBalm BUT it is pretty close and on the skin the colour difference is negligible in my opinion.  As you can see in the swatches, the Shimmer Kisses Bronzer is more of a rose gold while Mary-Lou Manizer is more of a yellow gold.  Also, if you are familiar with Mary-Lou it is a good reference to see that this highlighter really is pale-skin friendly.

So to wrap this up, the Shimmer Kisses Bronzer from MUA is a winner in my book.  It gives a pretty glow to the skin.  I can’t remember what I paid for this, but I think it was around the AU$5 mark which is a bargain and MUA is a cruelty-free brand!

MUA, if you are reading this, please open up your website to Australia again!  

Have a great day everyone 🙂

Highlighter Duplicates – you only need one!

If you have ever wondered whether there are dupes within the TAM Beauty brands or between TAM Beauty brands and MUA, your questions are about to be answered!  Today I want to highlight some highlighters (yes, I went there, lol), that are identical from four brands: Makeup Academy, Makeup Revolution, Freedom Makeup London and I Heart Makeup.  

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MUA – Undress Your Skin, Shimmer Highlighter; Freedom – Pro Highlight, Brighten; I Heart Makeup – Triple Baked Highlighter, Goddess of Love and Makeup Revolution – Vivid Baked Highlighter, Peach Lights.

The four peachy/pink highlighters above are, in my opinion, identical.  Aside from packaging and powder presentation, these look and wear exactly the same on the skin.

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Swatches (top to bottom): Freedom, I Heart Makeup, MUA and Makeup Revolution

I can’t distinguish between these in colour, longevity of wear or formula although I do note some minor differences in the ingredient lists.  The three highlighters in the compacts weight 7.5g while the heart shaped highlight weighs 10g.

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Swatches (top to bottom): Makeup Revolution – Vivid Baked Highlighter, Golden Lights; MUA – Undress Your Skin Shimmer Highlighter, Iridescent Gold.

The same duplication across the brands can be found in the golden shades too.  MUA, Makeup Revolution and I Heart Makeup all have a golden highlighter too.  The MUA and Makeup Revolution products are identical in my opinion.

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Swatches (top to bottom): Makeup Revolution – Vivid Baked Highlighter, Golden Lights; I Heart Makeup – Triple Baked Highlighter, Golden Goddess.

The I Heart Makeup version is ever so slightly warmer in tone in the pan, but in swatches they are extremely similar and blended out on the skin you can’t tell the difference at all!  Freedom also has a version of the golden highlighter in their range called the ‘Pro Highlight – Glow,’ but I do not own it because, as you can see, I already have all the gold highlight I will ever need!

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Freedom Makeup London – Pro Highlight – Glow.  (Image Credit – TAM Beauty Website)

Looking at the names of the brands you might note that three out of the four are owned by TAM beauty so perhaps I should have suspected that they could be similar, but to be honest it didn’t really occur to me that they would release the same product, repackaged, under different brand names, so be warned!  Saying that, this is not a criticism of the highlighter products at all – in fact I have given positive reviews of ALL these products, but no one needs IDENTICAL duplicates of products in their collection.

I hope you found this helpful!

Have a wonderful day 🙂

P.S. Please note, this issue of duplication is not a problem across all similar products in the various TAM Beauty brands but if I find any other exact dupes I will certainly blog about it 🙂

Things I Don’t Love: MUA – Matte palettes

Welcome back to my ‘Things I don’t love’ series where we discuss products that didn’t work for me or that I just haven’t loved.

I purchased two matte palettes from MUA at this time in 2015.  I hadn’t tried any eyeshadows from MUA at the time so I wasn’t sure what to expect but I had read many good reviews so I had high hopes.  The two palettes that I picked up are the Ever After Matte Palette and the Winter Forest Matte Collection and I have to say that I don’t love either of these palettes.

Firstly, the packaging is quite cheap looking and is extremely basic in style.  There is no mirror provided and these palettes come with 10 shadows.  On a positive note, both palettes have a sticker on the back that provide shade names, which I do like.  Another pro is that these are very compact.DSC02978

Looking at the Ever After Matte Palette first, you can see that the shades are very neutral and there are a number of shades in the palette that look quite similar – particularly the shades in the top row and the first two browns in the second row.  Annoying!

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MUA – Ever After Matte Palette

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Top Row, left to right: Unwrap, Butter, Bare, Taffeta, Fade.

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Bottom Row, left to right: Penny, Chino, Truffle, Fog, Smoke.

The Winter Forest Matte Collection has an unusual range of colours but I can see how this was curated for ‘winter.’  Again, the pigmentation is extremely hit and miss – either quite poor or staining.  The two grey shades (Smoke and Dove Grey) make my eyes look tired and bruised so I never use these shades.  Also, the dark blue (Midnight) and the teal colour (Aqua), really do stain so if you don’t use a primer these are hard to blend and difficult to remove.

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MUA – Winter Forest Matte Palette

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Top Row, left to right: Smoke, Midnight, Aqua, Azure, Camel.

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Bottom Row, left to right: Slate, Dove Grey, Chino, Truffle, Sand.

The formula of these shadows is consistent across these two palettes so I am going to make a few general points:

  • The texture of these shadows in general is very dry.
  • Some of them are very densely packed into the pan so they also feel very hard to the touch.
  • The dry texture converts to a crumbly, dusty powder when you tap in your brush.
  • The pigmentation is really not great and you can see in the swatches that these shadows can be quite patchy (I made an effort to blend these out smoothly as they were so very dusty/crumbly).
  • It is sort of a weird situation of having the shadows either blend away to nothing OR having them be so dark that they kind of stain and are hard to blend.

I feel like these shadows appear to be much better quality in the swatches here than they are in real life.  I never reach for these palettes because I just don’t enjoy these shadows at all.  I feel like I can build and build some of the mid-toned crease shades and just don’t seem to get anywhere pigmentation wise – with a brush they just don’t seem to transfer well to the lids, even with a primer.

Overall, I can’t recommend these matte palettes from MUA.  I know that people really rate the MAU eyeshadow palettes but these really haven’t worked for me.  In my opinion if you want a great budget-friendly, cruelty-free matte eyeshadow palette, the Freedom Makeup London Pro 12 Audacious Matte palette is excellent and I believe it is the same price!  You can read my review of the Pro 12 Audacious Matte palette here for more information.

Have a fantastic day!

Makeup Academy: Baked Trio Eyeshadows

I very much enjoy these bake eyeshadow trios from Makeup Academy. Unlike other baked eyeshadows I have had in the past these are soft to the touch, not too dry and very pigmented.

I enjoy these shadows used dry but if you spritz a little makeup fixing spray on your brush, the colours really do pop in all their shimmery goodness. I own two palettes from the range: Pink Sorbet and Innocence.

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Makeup Academy Trio Eyeshadows: Pink Sorbet

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Pink Sorbet – Swatches

Pink Sorbet offers a range of soft, feminine pinks and I loved this palette during the spring and summer where these kinds of pastel colours are particularly pretty.

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Makeup Academy Trio Eyeshadows: Innocence

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Innocence – Swatches

At first glance, Innocence, is a neutral palette but the colours are actually quite dynamic offering a taupe, champagne and a red-toned brown, duo-chrome with a blue shift.  I particularly like these colours with a soft brown matte (from another palette) in the crease.  These three colours can offer something quite daytime appropriate up to a much more dramatic and smokey look.  Stunning.

If you are lucky enough to have access to the MUA UK website you can purchase these for GPB2.50 online.  Unfortunately we don’t have access to that website anymore in Australia.  MUA sold distribution rights in Australia to Crush Cosmetics and to be honest their range is limited and the prices are very marked up!  As such, I no longer purchase MUA products 😦

So in review: MUA Baked Trio Eyeshadows = good.  MUA closing its online store to Australian buyers = BAD.

Have a fantastic day!

Makeup Declutter: Round 1!

If you have a large makeup collection then you know how easy it is to end up with products that you have purchased that you simply never reach for.  Even with the best of intentions I don’t think any of us can honestly say that we are happy with EVERY purchase we make.

I am trying to move some such products on from my own collections and (where appropriate) give them to others who might love them more than I do.  So here are the products that I am decluttering this time round.

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The first product is this tinted moisturiser from E.L.F.  and as you can see from the swatch… I totally ordered the wrong colour by accident.  This is WAY too dark for me and needs to find a new home.

DSC02842And here we have another online shopping fail.  The Matte Perfect Foundation from MUA.  It says ‘fair’, but it is not fair enough for my pale skin.  This is the lightest colour in the range though so fair ladies, be warned!

DSC02836Take three on the online shopping fails.  This is the Makeup Revolution Liquid Concealer in the colour ‘Natural’.  This has quite a thick formula and I have  tried to make this work on my very dark under eye circles but to be honest, this is too dark for me too.

DSC02826 Now these three eyeshadows make me sad.  All three are cream, metallic, foiled eyeshades; one from Makeup Revolution and two from Australis.  I wanted to love these so much but I just couldn’t make them work for me at all – or at least I didn’t enjoy the way they looked on the eye even though they are SO beautiful in the pot.  If you want to read my full review on these eye foils you can find it here.

DSC02844Now this ‘Mix it – Colour Correcting Foundation’ simply didn’t work for me.  I found that on my skin, this broke down very quickly and just didn’t work for me.  I have also reviewed this one in detail and if you are interested you can find it here.

Although I do make an effort to really make everything I buy work for me, sometimes I think it is better to gift things to others that are only going to collect dust in your own collection.

I hope you are having a fantastic day!

 

Things I Don’t Love: MUA Eyebrow Pencil

Welcome back to the Things I Don’t Love series where we talk about things I don’t love and wouldn’t buy again.  Today’s topic is the MUA Eyebrow Pencil  in ‘Brunette.

I have always tended to gravitate towards wax and powder kits for doing my eyebrows.  I find these easy to use but most importantly for me, I can create a natural look with these formats.  Please keep my preference for a natural looking brow in mind as you read this review.

I actually purchased the MUA eyebrow pencil on a whim while putting in an order for other products because it was just GBP1 which is about AU$2 and as I had never tried a pencil on my brows I thought, why not?

MUA Eyebrow Pencil in Brunette.

MUA Eyebrow Pencil in Brunette.

At a glance it has everything going for it:

  • long pencil – so lots of product
  • very pigmented
  • comes with a brow brush
  • capped at both ends

In theory this should be great.  The disappointing part comes in using it in practice.  Firstly, the eyebrow brush provided is really not nice.  The comb is very dense and quite sharp.  It doesn’t so much brush through the hairs as rake through them.  I think it is barely useable.

I dislike sharpening this pencil as the product kind of clogs up the sharpener blades.  It has made me realise how much better an automated pencil would be to avoid this.

Brunette swatches.

Brunette swatches.

This pencil is also very soft and because it is so soft I find it had to control.  You only need to put the lightest of pressure and you end up with a very bold brow.  Also, because it is soft it is hard to keep a sharp tip so if you are looking to make small flick hair marks you will be out of luck with this.  I have tried to use this more like a wax by gently swiping it over the hairs and then trying to brush it through but it is more trouble than it is worth.

The times I have used this I ended up with extremely bold, sculpted brows and to be honest I don’t really find that look appropriate for my own everyday wear.

I have read a lot of positive reviews about this MUA brow pencil so I suspect that my issue with this pencil is not so much a fault of the product as it is that the product creates a look that just isn’t to my own personal taste.  If you enjoy a soft brow pencil and a bold brow look, this is probably going to be an excellent brow product for you.  Unfortunately I’m looking for something much more natural and subtle so I don’t love this product.

Have a fantastic day!!

What is in my travel makeup bag?

My husband and I have just returned from a 10 day trip to Japan.  If you have never visited Japan I highly recommend it – it is such a frenetic, interesting place and I just love it.  As an avid traveller I am always reviewing what I pack and how I pack so I thought it might be interesting to blog about the products that I took away with me in my travel makeup bag for this holiday.

The first rule I set myself when packing makeup is to choose just ONE of everything for my travel bag.  This means I need to shop my stash carefully and consider the clothing I have packed as well as the events of the trip, when making my choices.  I need this parameter otherwise I get carried away with wanting a range of lipsticks and blushes and it gets excessive very quickly.

Face Products for travel: MUR primer, E.L.F. foundation and MUR protection palette.

Face Products for travel: MUR primer, E.L.F. foundation and MUR protection palette.

For my face products I selected on the Makeup Revolution Ultra Face Base Primer for 24 hour makeup protection.  This is a clear, silicone based primer and it works well.  My makeup needed to last from morning through to late at night most days and this was effective in helping that process.

The foundation I chose was the E.L.F Flawless Finish Foundation with SPF 15.  This foundation goes on really nicely for me and lasts really well.  The shade I have is porcelain and it does oxidize a bit after you put it on so I choose a powder that is slightly lighter than I might ordinarily wear.  Saying that, I do really like this foundation: it is light with medium coverage and it looks natural.

Lastly, I selected the Makeup Revolution Protection Palette in light.  This palette contains three cream concealers, a face powder, matte bronzer, pink shimmer blush and a champagne highlighter.  I don’t use these concealers under my eyes as these can look a bit cakey on my skin in that area, but they work well for spot concealing.  The lightest shade matches me well.  The bronzer is very pigmented! A light hand is definitely required and lots of blending.  The blush is really beautiful and neutral enough to go with any eye look and the highlighter is also lovely – not too bold.  I love this palette for travel as it is covers so much in one sleek palette with a good mirror.  I think these are being discontinued as they are in the summer sale section on the MUR website at the moment, so if you are interested you should go and take a look.

Eye and Lip Products: E.L.F eyeshadow primer, MUR Salvation Palette in 'What are you Waiting for?' MUR Amazing Volume Mascara, MUA clear brow gel, E.L.F. Lip Gloss Stick in 'Movie Star' and ColourPop lippie stix in 'Frenchie'.

Eye and Lip Products: E.L.F eyeshadow primer, MUR Salvation Palette in ‘What are you Waiting for?’ MUR Amazing Volume Mascara, MUA clear brow gel, E.L.F. Lip Gloss Stick in ‘Movie Star’ and ColourPop lippie stix in ‘Frenchie’.

For my eyes I took my trusty E.L.F. eyeshadow primer and the Makeup Revolution Salvation palette in ‘What are you Waiting For?’  This is a surprisingly versatile palette which can go from soft pink looks to light golds to richer browns and down right burgundy and black smokey eyes.  There is a great mix of mattes (in the bottom row of round shadows), shimmers and satins.  The shadows look a little same-same in tone in the picture, but I just love this palette.  The quality is excellent and they wear all day.  Also, the matte brown can work (although it is a little too warm) for filling in my brows – which is what I did by teaming it with the MUA clear brow gel.  I finished my eyes with the MUR Amazing Volume Mascara which I really like.  It has a fluffy, big brush and gives great volume without clumping!

The last two products that I brought with me were lip products.  For general wear I had the E.L.F. lip gloss stick in ‘Movie Star’ which is a pigmented balm.  It keeps the lips hydrated and looks very pretty.  I love tinted balms for travel because they are so hassle-free.  And lastly for nights out I brought the ColourPop Lippie Stix called ‘Frenchie.’  This is a very vibrant, matte red that lasts REALLY well on the lips and looks great.

So – that is what I took with me travelling in my makeup bag.  What are your travel must haves?  Any cruelty-free products you would like to recommend to me?

Thanks so much, and happy travels!

Things I don’t Love: MUA BB foundation – all in one beauty balm.

I am going to start a new series of reviews on my blog for the things I don’t love.  The products in this category are going to be ones which just didn’t work for me or are things that were ok, but I didn’t LOVE and wouldn’t buy again.  This doesn’t mean that these products won’t work for you – perhaps I may even mention products that you would consider ‘holy grail’ in your own collection – but please don’t be offended.  This is just my opinion and based on my own complexion, skin type and personal preferences 🙂

We are going to kick off this series with a product from MUA.  MUA (Makeup Academy) is a budget-friendly, cruelty-free brand and I have many products from MUA that I really love.  Unfortunately their ‘BB – all in one Balm’ is not one of them.

BB foundation in light - you can see that it is a little bit separated.

BB foundation in light – you can see that it is a little bit separated.

The colour of this BB cream is fair and is a reasonable match for me.  It is very thick out of the tube and you can see (sort of) in the image above that it can separate a bit.

BB foundation in light: spread out on the back of my hand.

BB foundation in light: spread out on the back of my hand.

When you start to spread it out on the skin it is quite greasy under the fingers.  I feel like the texture is very similar to a 50+ sports sunscreen.  It doesn’t feel like it blends into the skin but rather just sits on top of it.  It stays greasy to the touch on my face, even when I set it with powder.

Here you can see the BB cream blended out completely.  I used the ELF powder brush

Here you can see the BB cream blended out completely. I used the ELF powder brush

As you can see, when it is blended out, the coverage is light although it feels very heavy.  Because of the very think texture and the fact that it stays sort of tacky and greasy on my skin, I find that this BB cream breaks down quite quickly and within in few hours my skin is already starting to look patchy 😦  I buy BB creams for the summer months as they are typically lighter and less greasy during the humid, hot times of the year, but this BB cream is heavier and greaser than even my highest coverage foundations.  For this reason I can’t wear this product to work as it won’t last the day.

I have actually stopped using this BB cream although I’m only  being halfway through the tube, which is very unlike me.  Despite my most creative efforts, I just can’t make this one work.  This product cost about AU$8 and for that price there are certainly better options on the market in my opinion.

As I said at the start of this post, there are so many MUA products that I really like, but I don’t love this BB cream.

I hope you are having a wonderful day!

MUA: Undress your Skin Highlighting Powder

MUA is a cruelty-free brand based in the UK.  Their line is budget-friendly and I have found some really awesome products from this company including their Skin Highlighting Powders.  I own the Undress Your Skin Highlighting Powders in two colours: Iridescent Gold and Pink Shimmer and directly from the MUA website they retail for GBP3 (approximately AU$6).  The packaging of these highlighters looks a little cheap to me – I think because it is white plastic – but they are sturdy and close securely.  The product itself is beautifully presented though, with a delicious swirl pattern on the top which looks so luxurious.  Love it.

swatches: Iridescent Gold (top), Pink Shimmer (bottom)

swatches: Iridescent Gold (top), Pink Shimmer (bottom)

As you can see above, I have pale, freckled skin with yellow undertones, but I still like both of these colours with my complexion.  They are a shimmer without chunks of glitter and the pigmentation is buildable and blends nicely.  These are not a powdery product so you can swirl your brush in the pan without getting any kick-up.

MUA Undress Your Skin Highlighting Powder swatches: Iridescent Gold and Pink Shimmer

MUA Undress Your Skin Highlighting Powder swatches: Iridescent Gold and Pink Shimmer

I feel like the Iridescent Gold is more of a POW kind of a highlight – it is brightening and glowy and gorgeous.  The Pink Shimmer, while very beautiful, seems to be a little more natural on my skin, which I also love.  On the MUA website they suggest that these can be applied all over the face for an added radiance, or with more specificity to just highlight key points of the face.  I would contest that by saying that these products are much too shimmery in my opinion to be applied all of the face like a finishing powder.  I suspect your face would become a bit ‘disco ball’ if you were to attempt that.  However, I wear both of these highlights for everyday purposes applied to the cheek bones, a little down the bridge of the nose and on the cupid’s bow, and I think they look lovely.

If you are reading this review while considering whether these products are suitable for your everyday makeup, I would say YES – go for it!  I have a large collections of highlighters and I think these perform just as well, if not better, than anything else that I own on the ‘cruelty-free, budget-friendly’ market.  Highlighter is one of my favourite makeup products and I love the radiant glow they give my, often very tired, face.  I think these Undress Your Skin Shimmer Highlighters are very good quality, they last well throughout the day and look so pretty.  I would absolutely recommend them.

MUA has recently released a third colour in this range called ‘Opalescent Amber’ which looks like a darker, warmer, rose gold colour.  I am quite sure it was designed for people with richer, darker skin tones than mine, but I can’t wait to try it out for myself!

If you have tried Opalescent Amber I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Thanks so much and have a wonderful day!