Monday, March 26, 2018

Glossier Lidstar Eyeshadows in Cub, Fawn, and Moon

I purchased this product with store credit earned through my Glossier affiliate link. I am not a Glossier rep.

Avid Glossier followers know that the best source for upcoming releases is Glossier's trademarks page. When the name "Lidstar" appeared there about a year ago, I surmised that Glossier was developing a shimmery eyeshadow. That product finally materialized earlier this month, on the eyelids of a handful of celebrities at the Oscars. (Beyoncé also wore Lidstar at the Grammys back in January, but Glossier revealed only that she was "wearing __ in __." Ooh, mysterious!) Launching new makeup at awards shows is apparently Glossier's Thing now, and while I find it a little tacky, I can't deny that paying Sir John to put Lidstar on Beyoncé is a pretty freaking effective way to market your product. I also can't deny that I was excited about this particular release. I tend to like Glossier's approach to color makeup, and an eye product was long overdue. And I'd never used liquid eyeshadow, so I was curious what I'd make of the formula.

L-R: Cub, Fawn, Moon.

Glossier advertises Lidstar as "[l]ess shadow, more glow...Each shadow lights up eyes with a wash of twinkling color, thanks to custom-blended colorways of coated pigment and floating multicolor pearl." To me, this sounded like a liquid shadow with a sheer base and pronounced sparkle, perfect for the delicate glittery looks you see all the time in k-beauty. Here's a helpful closeup from a recent music video by new girl group LOONA:

Lidstar ($18 for one, $30 for two) comes in six shades: Cub, described as "a rose gold with warm shimmer effect"; Fawn, "a cool, smoky taupe with violet and neutral gold pearls"; Herb, "a smoky green with yellow gold pearl"; Lily, "a sheer lilac base with blue and violet pearls"; Moon, "the sheerest cream base with blueish opalescent glitter"; and Slip, "a sheer baby pink with gold highlight effect." Frankly, this array of shades feels a bit dated to me: five out of the six are cool-toned, and there's no bronze or brown in evidence. And I say this as a cool-toned person! I'm curious whether warmer-toned people feel that they can wear these shades.

For my first Lidstar experience, I limited myself to three shades: Cub, Fawn, and Moon. I waffled a bit between Moon and Slip, but I was really curious about Moon's "blueish opalescent glitter," and the description of Slip made it sound like a shadow I already owned, Kiko Golden Mauve.

The Lidstars come in standard Glossier blush-pink cardboard boxes with white lettering:

The bottles, designed to look like test tubes, are made of sturdy-feeling plastic. The cap closes securely. I had no problem opening and closing the tubes, but I think I got lucky: Renee, for one, has reported struggling with the lids. As usual with Glossier, I think the packaging is cute and nicely portable, but slightly cheaper-looking than I'd expect for the price point.

I can totally imagine that "Glossier" lettering rubbing off in a few weeks.

Edit, 4/24: While putting on Fawn today, I noticed that the cap had cracked badly. I inspected my two other Lidstars, and Cub had an even deeper crack. Keep in mind that these two shadows have lived on my shelf since their arrival a mere month ago. I don't carry them with me during the day. I may have taken Fawn on one overnight trip (I can't quite recall), but still, this is unacceptable. Glossier, you're not a tiny indie brand on Etsy. If you can afford to put your products on Beyoncé at the Oscars, you can MORE than afford to improve your packaging.

The applicator is a small, fluffy doefoot. I've tried dabbing the product directly onto my lids, but I find it much easier to swipe it onto my finger first, then blend out.

Before I review each shade individually, I'll give some thoughts on the formula as a whole. First, let me be clear: this is a sheer eyeshadow! Fawn and Cub are more pigmented than Moon, but they still require at least two coats for anything approaching opacity. Moon is never going to come close to opaque. The descriptions and photos on Glossier's website indicate that Lidstar is meant to deliver a subtle, slightly undone look, and I'm going to take it on those terms in my review.

That said, Lidstar diverges from the website description in one important way: it's not as sparkly as advertised, unless you're standing right under artificial light. Fawn approaches k-pop levels of ethereal glitter, but Moon has more of a sheen, and Cub dries down to a satin formula that actually looks matte in some lights. I'd been looking forward to trying Lidstar as the center of a halo eye or as a glitter topper for matte shadows, but it's not remotely suited to those purposes.

As I've mentioned ad nauseam on this blog, my eyelids wreak havoc with many eyeshadow formulas. I'm only 30, but I have lids that might be described euphemistically as "mature": full of creases, folds, and wrinkles. So I had some apprehension about Lidstar: Would the formula gather in the creases? Would it flake off weirdly? Would it look messy, like, not chic-messy but busted-messy? I'm pleased to report that for the more pigmented shades, Cub and Fawn, my fears were misplaced. Being fairly sheer, those shades don't exactly disguise my creases, but they don't emphasize them, either. Moon gives me more trouble (more on that later), but I don't think Cub and Fawn are bad choices for textured lids.

The formula spreads smoothly across my lids and takes about a minute to dry down. I've tried all the shades both on their own and over my usual eyeshadow primer, Urban Decay Primer Potion, and I've noticed zero difference in wear time or fallout levels. With or without primer, Lidstar lasts all day with minimal fallout and creasing (granted, I don't have especially oily lids). If anything, the stickiness of the primer makes the shadow harder to spread across my lids. I never wear primer with cream shadow, so I'm not surprised that I don't need it with liquid shadow, either. Because Fawn has the largest sparkles, it also has the most fallout, but not enough to be noticeable at a normal speaking distance.

Now for the individual shades!

Cub is a very warm rose gold that verges on copper. On my cool-toned skin, it leans more orange than I'd prefer, and I wonder why Glossier made Cub so warm-toned when the other shades are cool. It wouldn't be easy to wear Cub in a look with any of the other Lidstars, except maybe Slip, which I haven't personally tried. Here's Cub (left) swatched next to one of my favorite single eyeshadows, Seventeen Statuesque, which is pinker and more muted:

The arm swatch makes Cub look almost metallic, but once it dries down on my lids, its sheen is quite subtle. It's the most evenly pigmented of the three, and the one I'd recommend most enthusiastically; it's just not an amazing color for my complexion. Here I'm wearing it as a one-and-done shadow with Tarte Paaarty blush, Glossier Haloscope in Quartz, Revlon Matte Balm in Fierce, and wet hair because I remain inept at timing my blog-selfie sessions:

My Marceline pin (!!) is from the brilliantly named Girl Fawkes Pins.

Fawn is my favorite of the three, though it's a far cry from the "cool, smoky taupe with violet and neutral gold pearls" described on the website. It's gray, people. It's a shimmery gray that leans slightly purple. I see no evidence of "pearls" or "violet" or "neutral gold." Do you? Am I blind?

Fawn harmonizes nicely with my plum, purple, and cool-toned nude lipsticks, including my current favorite, Pat McGrath Madame Greige. This is Fawn on its own, without any eyeliner or other eyeshadow:

Fawn swatched between NARS Lhasa (left) and Kiko Rosy Brown (right):

Finally, Moon. Sigh. The color is unusual, I'll give it that. Moon has a very pale gold base with a blue sheen that's much more noticeable on my lids than it is in the tube or an arm swatch. Here's Moon swatched between ABH Vermeer (left) and Topshop Holograph (right):

If your lids are as smooth as the inside of my forearm, you might be pleased with Moon. If you have lids with any lines or texture at all (and most people do), you're probably going to struggle. Unlike Cub and Fawn, Moon doesn't disperse evenly across my lids. It clumps up on itself and pools in the creases, producing a milky-looking mess. I can get it to semi-behave if I apply a very thin (basically invisible) layer, wait a minute for it to dry, then go in with another layer. I don't hate how it looks here, but I don't love it, either:

Instead of wearing Moon all over the lid, I prefer using it in conjunction with Fawn. I place Fawn on the outer half of my lid and Moon on the inner half, blending them in the middle with my finger (see below). You could also dab it lightly on top of Fawn or another shadow for some added glimmer.

Yes, I'm wearing Madame Greige again.

My final thoughts are...mixed. I don't hate the Lidstars. I've been wearing all three, especially Fawn, pretty frequently in the last few weeks. I love an eyeshadow that I can smear on lazily with my fingers, and the Lidstar formula lends itself well to my lifestyle, which can best be described by a pin that my friend Lucy gave me last weekend:

But do I think these are worth $18, or even 2 for $30? Not really. I don't think that's an unconscionable price (I'd rather pay $18 for a Lidstar than for a Generation G lipstick), but you'd be better served by picking up a Kiko eyeshadow stick for $9. Fawn and Cub are both decent shades, but I can't recommend Moon unless you have cartoon-smooth eyelids. Part of me wants to try Slip, but another part of me wants to save my store credit for the "Disco Lip" product that's been hanging out on Glossier's trademarks page for the past year. Now, that might deliver enough glitter to satisfy my trash-witch soul.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

7 Days of Glossier, Day 3: Milky Jelly Cleanser

Disclaimer: I bought this product with Glossier store credit earned through my affiliate link, but I am not a Glossier rep (everyone who orders from Glossier receives an affiliate link).

Having tried a range of Glossier products over the past three years, I feel comfortable making a pretty bold generalization: their makeup is better than their skincare. For a brand whose motto is "skin first, makeup second," Glossier sure has released an underwhelming series of skincare products, and I'm far from the first blogger to express this opinion. I've read many reviews that criticize Glossier's masks, moisturizers, serums, and $18 rosewater. But reviewers always seem to mention one exception to this rule: Milky Jelly Cleanser. Even people who want to hate Milky Jelly seem to love it. So I was pretty excited to try it for myself. I was especially curious how it would stand up to my usual cleanser, CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser, which also has a translucent gel formula. This post will be partly a review of Milky Jelly on its own terms and partly a comparison with CeraVe. I find skincare reviews more helpful when a new product is assessed against a familiar, widely available product, and I hope others feel the same!

When I removed Milky Jelly from the jumbo bubble pouch in which it was shipped (it doesn't come in a box), what struck me first was its smallness. It's one thing to read that a cleanser is 6 fl. oz., and another thing to see it. In the photo below, it looks barely larger than the makeup!

Clockwise from top: Milky Jelly, Cloud Paint in Haze, Haloscope in Quartz, Perfecting Skin Tint in Light.

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser is about $13 (depending on the store) for 12 fl. oz, or just over $1 per ounce. Milky Jelly is $18 for 6 fl. oz.: that's $3 per ounce, or three times the price of CeraVe by volume. However, I can safely say that the Milky Jelly bottle is at least three times more attractive. I wish CeraVe would realize that "developed with dermatologists" doesn't have to mean "aggressively ugly."

Whereas the plastic of the CeraVe bottle is very rigid, the Milky Jelly bottle has a bit more give. Both bottles have locking pumps, but the Milky Jelly pump is awkwardly short. Instead of pumping the product into my hand while the bottle is on a flat surface, I have to lift the bottle and hold it over my hand. Not a big deal; just a little inconvenient.

Formula-wise, Milky Jelly is more different from the CeraVe cleanser than I expected. CeraVe is runnier and more opaque, while Milky Jelly is cloudier and squishier. It has a really pleasing texture. Here's a dollop of Milky Jelly (left) next to one of CeraVe (right):

Milky Jelly's most impressive attribute is its fragrance. I love rose scents in general, but this one is especially addictive. It's not very strong, but it smells distinctly like Indian sweets: natural rosewater with the faintest hint of almond. I can't get enough.

I bought these at Mithaas in Edison, NJ.

I use the CeraVe cleanser twice a day: on its own in the morning, and as a second cleanse in the evening, after I remove my makeup with an oil cleanser. I intended to use Milky Jelly for the same purpose and didn't expect it to take off my makeup on its own. Glossier once posted an unintentionally hilarious Instagram ad for Milky Jelly: a video of someone using the cleanser to remove eyeliner, but the eyeliner was on her hand, and she really had to scrub to remove it. Dozens of followers called out Glossier on their bullshit, and the ad disappeared. But Glossier still advertises Milky Jelly as "the ultimate face dissolve away makeup and grime." Yeah, no. My everyday makeup is more Glossier-style than Insta-glam, but a water-based cleanser isn't enough to remove my eyeshadow and pencil eyeliner. I wish Glossier would stop making this claim, because Milky Jelly functions perfectly well as a morning and second cleanse.

Well, I thought it functioned perfectly well for that purpose. I looked forward to washing my face every morning, which was no small thing in late January, when everything felt bleak and it seemed that winter would never end. Then, after a week of twice-daily use, I noticed that my skin was breaking out. Now, I can't be completely sure that Milky Jelly caused the breakout, since it was around the time of the month when I usually get a couple of hormonal pimples. But this breakout was more severe than usual, and Milky Jelly was the only possible skincare culprit. (I'd also been testing Glossier Solution on one side of my face, but the breakout was all over.) I stopped using Milky Jelly and my skin cleared up within a few days. This was heartbreaking, guys. I'd bonded with Milky Jelly! I'd planned to give it 4.5/5 stars (minus a half-star for size)! But it was not to be.

Luckily, this story has a happy ending. Glossier's excellent customer service came through yet again: I sent them an email asking if I could return Milky Jelly for a refund in store credit, and they immediately refunded the price of the cleanser to my credit card, no questions asked. As much as I snark on Glossier, I'm consistently impressed with their customer servicethis is how you keep people coming back! Plus, I discovered yesterday that Milky Jelly makes a decent substitute for shaving cream, so perhaps I'll finish this bottle yet.

Would I repurchase this product at full price? No, but I seem to be very much in the minority in my adverse reaction.

Grade: 2/5 fresh-faced Danish models.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

7 Days of Glossier, Day 2: Haloscope in Quartz

Disclaimer: I purchased this product with store credit from my Glossier affiliate link. I am not (heaven forfend) a Glossier rep.

Welcome to the second of my seven Glossier reviews! At this rate, I'll probably get to the seventh product before the 2020 election, but I'm not making any promises. This post is a review of the Haloscope highlighter in Quartz ($22 for 0.19 oz).

Glossier describes Haloscope as a "dew effect highlighter" with an "outer halo...infused with genuine crystal extracts for all-day enlightenment" and "a solid oil core of vitamin-rich moisturizers for a hydrated, dewy finish." New-Agey Goop-speak aside (what the hell is a "crystal extract"?), Haloscope is a familiar product: a cream highlighter in chubby stick form. The formula is currently available in three shades: Quartz, a champagne pink; Topaz, a deep bronze; and Moonstone, a silvery white. I had no trouble choosing a shade: Topaz looked too dark for me (a shame, since topaz is my birthstone) and Moonstone seemed similar to Topshop Otherworldly, so Quartz it was.

The highlighter comes in Glossier's standard blush-pink cardboard box. ENLUMINEUR EFFET MOUILLÉ, bitches.

I've had serious issues with the packaging for some other Glossier products, particularly the Generation G lipsticks, which I refuse to repurchase until Glossier listens to the hundreds of customer complaints on its website and fixes the flimsy tubes. Since Haloscope also comes in a plastic tube, I worried about its sturdiness, but I've traveled with Quartz twice now and it's held up perfectly. The tube is solid, the highlighter itself feels snug inside the tube, and the cap snaps on securely.

Aesthetically, though, Haloscope is a bit lacking. It just doesn't look or feel like a $22 highlighter to me. The clear cap in particular seems cheap for the mid-range price point. And given the sci-fi vibes of a name like "Haloscope," I would have expected more imaginative packaging, you know? Something galaxy-inspired, maybe? I noted this in my Glossier You review as well: there's often a disconnect between the stories that Glossier tells about its products and the actual physical presence of those products.

Also, I'll just say it: Quartz was my second Glossier product to come with a hair in it (the first being Generation G in Jam).

I know, I know: I should have requested a new one. I just couldn't be bothered. I wasn't 100% sure it wasn't an ambient bit of hair from my own room, and I didn't feel like contacting Glossier customer service and going through a whole thing, and I'm probably less of a germophobe than I should be. Believe me, there are many neuroses clamoring for precedence in my brain, but squeamishness about errant hairs just isn't one of them. Is this grossing you out? I'm so sorry. Here's Quartz sans hair:

Like most stick highlighters, Haloscope has a misleading tube that's way too large for the amount of product you get. Here's Quartz twisted all the way up:

However, this is after a month and a half of regular use, and the only sign that Quartz isn't brand-new is the slight concavity at the top. In other words, this product will last me a while, which makes me less irritated than I might otherwise be about the deceptive packaging.

Now that I've destroyed whatever mystique this highlighter may have possessed for you, let's talk about its performance. When I posted an Instagram story about my Glossier order, someone sent me a message along the lines of "be warned that the Haloscope formula is really subtle, like REALLY SUBTLE." I was confused about this, since I almost never wear a bold highlight and have written ad nauseam about my preference for a nearly undetectable glow. But once I swatched Quartz, I understood. Because Haloscope is supposed to function as skincare as well as makeup (more on that later), the "dew effect" comes from the oil as much as from the mica and "crystal extracts" (lol). For the record, the coconut oil in Haloscope hasn't made me break out. Coconut oil can be comedogenic, though, so use at your own risk.

Here's Quartz swiped once along my arm (left), then built up a little with a finger:

To my disappointment, the beautiful pink that you see in the tube doesn't quite translate onto my cool-toned skin. I suppose these swatches look a hair pinkish (IF YOU WILL), but I'm more inclined to describe the color as "off-white."

Here are the two Quartz swatches with a few more cream highlighters in direct sunlight. Top to bottom: Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Liquid in Opal; ColourPop Super Shock Cheek in Lunch Money; Quartz, built up; Quartz, one swipe; Topshop Otherworldly. Because the mica in Quartz is less densely packed than in the other highlighters, Quartz's glow looks more smooth and diffused.

I've seen people apply Haloscope in a few different ways. Because my face is so small, I don't like swiping on Quartz directly from the tube, which is quite wide. Instead, I rub a finger over the product, then dab it across my cheekbone and up to my temple, blending it out as I go. I've tried Haloscope over Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint in Light, my only foundation-like product, and the two perform nicely together, but I can't speak to Haloscope's cooperation with other foundations.

I love the look of Quartz on my skin. It's the most natural-looking highlighter I've ever tried. Because it doesn't actually read as highlighter on my cheeks, I feel comfortable wearing it to academic events, which I can't say about any of my other highlighters. (My academic makeup keeps getting more staid and understated, as does my regular makeup, but that's a subject for another post.) As proof, here I am wearing Quartz for a recent Professional Event that I can't talk about here because I don't want to jinx anything, ugh. My lipstick is Urban Decay Ravenswood, which I bought last month despite my lipstick no-buy because I didn't have a satisfactory MLBB for said Profesh Event. This photo was taken under (unusually flattering) artificial light, after a Tony Moly tea-tree sheet mask, so Haloscope isn't responsible for 100 percent of my glow. Let's say 80 percent?

My pin is from amazing local artist KWT Designs.

Here's Quartz today, in direct sunlight, with MAC Men Love Mystery lipstick (I'm squinting, not scowling):

And in indirect natural light:

Though Quartz is flattering and easy to apply, its texture falls a bit short for me. Glossier makes much of Haloscope's "dual-delivery formula," but do I want my highlight to double as a moisturizer? I don't know. Glossier is very skilled at filling niches that never existed before Glossier was created. I certainly don't like highlighters that emphasize fine lines or skin texture (which is why I've stopped buying powder formulas entirely), but Haloscope goes a little too far in the opposite direction. Once applied and blended out, Quartz has a noticeably tacky finish that never seems to dry down. I can tap my cheekbone two or three hours after application and still feel that stickiness. I've heard that some people wear Haloscope as cream eyeshadow, but I'm here to tell you from experience that if you have deep-set or hooded eyes, smearing this product on your lids will make them adhere to themselves in nightmarish and previously unimaginable ways. Likewise, you can build up Quartz to a brighter shine on your face, but the tradeoff will be increased stickiness. It's almost like lip gloss for your cheekbones, with the concomitant danger of lip gloss: who knows what will adhere to it? 

I'm always reluctant to report on wear times for blush and highlighter because my face sweats A LOT (I guess this is the post where you learn how gross I am??), which means that very few cheek products last longer than a few hours on me. Quartz, well...lasts a few hours on me. At least it's easy to bring along for touch-ups, though I don't usually bother. 

Overall, I'd say that Quartz is one of the better Glossier products I've tried. It doesn't blow me away, but it's quietly become a staple in my everyday routine. 

Would I repurchase this product at full price? Maybe. I have yet to encounter another highlighter that's so subtle and work-friendly. The stickiness does put me off, though, and the packaging is a little cheap for a $22 product.

Grade: 4/5 full-moon-activated crystals.