Sunday, June 26, 2016

REVIEW: Glossier Haloscope

If you follow me on social media, you might know that I've tasked Glossier with creating two items: a lash stain that's actually effective without also being a pain in the ass to use and a highlighter. Hence, I was really excited when Glossier released their newest product, the Haloscope highlighter. Supposedly dropped suddenly like a Beyonce album, rumored to have been released earlier than planned because a few websites leaked the product deets, Haloscope is a cream stick highlighter that comes in a pale champagne gold shade (Quartz) and a more coppery gold color (Topaz). Being the ghostly pale human being that I am, I just went with Quartz for this review.

Before I even received this product, I decided to compare it to the RMS Living Luminizer. Full disclosure: the Living Luminizer is the one and only product I've ever regretted purging. But I've noticed that some of Glossier's products, like the Stretch Concealer, and their general beauty philosophy seem very similar to the RMS line. Here are the ingredients lists for the two products:

Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Beeswax, Mica, Silica, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Nylon-12, Quartz, Sodium Hyaluronate,Tin Oxide, Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Carmine (CI 75470)

*Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, *Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, *Cera Alba (Beeswax), Tocopherol (non-GMO), *Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) Extract, and may contain [+/- Titanium Dioxide CI77891, Mica CI 77019]

So basically, Haloscope and Living Luminizer aren't dupes, but they're pretty damn similar. If you like one, there's a good chance you'll like the other.

Also, it's worth noting that a lot of the folks at Glossier seem to be in to the "new age" healing and vibes stuff that's becoming more popular, and that supposedly influenced their decision to use quartz. I think that's a line of crap and they used the ingredient because it looks pretty and sounds cool, but I'm a Big Mean Skeptic. Please correct me if I'm just being a cynical bitch. (PS: Don't even get me started on the crystal dildo in that post.)

Now, a lot of people, including me, gave Glossier some shit for how much the Generation G lipsticks cost per ounce. So let's do some price comparisons with similar stick highlighters.

Glossier Haloscope - 0.194oz, $22
CoverFX Click Highlighter - 0.17oz, $18
Clinique Chubby Stick Sculpting Highlighter - 0.21oz, $22
NARS Multiple - 0.5oz, $39
Josie Maran Argan Enlightenment Illuminizing Wand - 0.36oz, $28
Milk Makeup Highlighter - 1oz, $24

The Milk Makeup offering is clearly a crazy huge deal, but beyond that, it looks like Haloscope is par for the course as far as cost per ounce goes. It's not the cheapest, it's not the most expensive.

Glossier's packaging seems to be very polarizing. I personally love plastic packaging because it tends to be shatter-resistant and I'm VERY clumsy. Also, unlike the Generation G lipstick packaging, this all feels like it was chosen to keep the product functional. You can twist the product all the way up and retract it completely, there's plenty of extra space in the cap (so no smooshing your stick!), and the cap stays on in your bag. Furthermore, Haloscope is one of those rare products that really is best applied straight from the stick--but more on that in a moment.

The actual highlighter has an interesting, but not entirely unique, design: there's mica and ground quartz in the colored outer ring, and the center ring is a mixture of oils (namely castor, sweet almond, and coconut). The idea is to give you a dewy glow with refined shimmer.

It's a great idea, but it does have a few glaring consequences. First, if you're sensitive to any of those oils, this will be an instant no-go. Contrary to current hype, a lot of people find that coconut oil and its derivatives break them out. Some people are also highly allergic to it. If you aren't sure, PLEASE patch test Haloscope before you go hog wild with it!

Second, the oil might break down your foundation, which is not surprising when you consider that a lot of people use coconut oil as a makeup remover. I haven't had a problem with this over my usual sheer foundations, including Glossier's Perfecting Skin Tint. (And let's be honest: those are the foundations Glossier expects their target customer to wear.) Still, I wanted to make note of it.

Third, the numerous oils in the product mean it never totally sets and can stick in your brush bristles or soak all the way in to your sponge. In other words, you should use your fingers to blend this. As I said earlier in this post, this highlighter applies best if you swipe the tube across your face, then pat out the product with your fingers. (You can certainly rub your fingers on to the stick and go from there, but I've found the straight-from-the-tube method to be the quickest and easiest.) Weirdly enough, I find that this "pulls" on my cheeks when I first start dragging it, but then it slides around's like it needs to hit the warmth of your skin to get truly soft and mobile. Blending it out is easy as sin, though.

I'm honestly in love with the fact that this gets me glowy in less than 30 seconds. And while I keep comparing Haloscope to the RMS Living Luminizer, I...honestly think this product is a bit better. It gives a similar natural glow without the same amount of visible glitter, even in macro shots (see above), and the packaging is much more portable. There, I said it! It's out!

The sticky texture of this product also seems to give it pretty good staying power, at least on my dry skin. If I want more glow, I can easily dab on more product and layer it up; it'll look dewy and shiny without being robo-metallic or overtly sparkly.

Here is the Glossier product compared to my two staple highlighters, MAC Strobe Cream and Becca's Shimmering Skin Perfector liquid in Pearl. As you can hopefully see, Pearl is straight white, Strobe Cream is very sheer but has a slight pinky tinge, and the Glossier is a super-pale gold. I can see this being flattering on a decent range of skintones, though of course, people with darker skin will probably want to bump up to the Topaz shade.

I almost gave Glossier Haloscope a 4 out of 5, but then I stopped myself. Why was I reacting this way? Yes, the marketing is a bit of a turn off, but it's also relatively effective. Sure, this will not work on people with allergies to the ingredients, but that's kind of how beauty products work--if your skin doesn't like one of the ingredients, it's going to react poorly. And yeah, it'll probably be a bit of a mess on very oily skin...but have I ever found a product that was truly universal?

Overall, this is a solid product that I somewhat grudgingly admit I'm loving. When I put it on, I can't stop staring at my skin in mirrors and tilting my face toward the light to see how my cheeks glow. That's what a good highlighter is supposed to do.

RATING: 5 out of 5

If you're interested in purchasing this product (or any others) from Glossier, feel free to use my affiliate link in this post--everybody with an account gets one, so this isn't a paid post, I swear. You'll get 20% off your order, I'll get $10 in credit. If that's not your thang, just go to to get your products, no affiliation required.

Affiliate Link: Glossier

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

I Stole This Idea

I love that so many of the people who read this blog feel free to speak their mind, even if their opinion runs counter to my own or is a far cry from the popular mindset. I'm especially happy when one of you guys posts something and I can say, "Oh, wow, that's a cool idea! I'm going to try that!"

Like this recent comment on a Beauty Roulette post:

Okay, Shannon just blew my mind. Haul stuff and only allow yourself to open one item a week? Why didn't I think of that before?!

Obviously, I won't be doing this when I buy returnable items from a store like Sephora. I know you get 90 days to return for full cash back as long as you have a receipt, but eeeeeeh, that bothers me. I really like to return something I didn't like within 30 days. But for products bought on sale (which are almost always non-returnable), swap products, deluxe samples, or stuff hauled from a smaller company that doesn't do exchanges? BRILLIANT!

I've been doing this for about 2 weeks now, and I'm really loving it. Thus far, I've pulled out a deluxe sample mascara and a lipstick. :D It really does keep everything fresh and exciting! So thanks for the awesome idea, Shannon.

As a side note, I'm keeping my items in this cigar box that was hand painted by a local artist, Masha Vereshchenko. She doesn't always have boxes like this available on her Etsy, but when she does, they're usually in the $35 range and well worth a look. She always paints some truly beautiful works ranging from $30 to $300 a canvas on average (based on the size), and prints are available if you'd rather not spring for an original. Honestly, I think having a special container adds to the experience.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

REVIEW: Becca Backlight Priming Filter

This is not a drill! I repeat, this is not a drill! After months of dragging my feet due to skin issues, distractions (aka other shiny products), and general laziness, I have now tested the Becca Backlight Priming Filter. It has been photographed, faffed over, and written about. To the people who have emailed me or left comments asking when the Hell I was going to finish this post: thank you. I dedicate this review to you and all of your patience.

The Becca Backlight Priming Filter costs $38 for a full ounce of product, making it cheaper than many other high-end options. It's packaged in a beautiful frosted glass bottle with a pump. I'm normally not a huge fan of glass because I'm clumsy and prone to breaking things, but I'll note that this bottle seems particularly sturdy: I've dropped it a few times (ha ha ha no one is surprised) without issue.

Oh, and the pump is really well designed. One full pump of product is the perfect amount to cover my entire face and the very top of my neck, but if you want to use a little less, it's easy to disperse half a pump instead.

The Priming Filter has a thin, lotion-like texture that feels very smooth when you apply it. It's weightless on the skin. While there is microshimmer in this product a la the Burberry Fresh Glow primer that I despised, it's far more refined in the Becca product, and it only registered faintly on my bare skin when I was in front of a strong light source. The actual "base" of this primer feels hydrating, but be forewarned that this is a primer, not a moisturizer: it will not eliminate your dry patches because that's not its job.

The champagne color of this probably won't register on most people's skin, but because I'm paper white, I found that it darkened my foundation a hair--see the header image for an example. Most people aren't as pale as I am, I know, but if you are, be aware that you'll either want to blend down your neck or use a lighter foundation than usual to compensate.

This primer does contain added fragrance. To me, it smells like a mixture of various Bath and Body Works body splashes, like Cucumber Melon and Sweet Pea made mad love and had a vaguely floral baby. I don't like added fragrance and this one smells very weird to me, but because I can't smell it after application, I'll tolerate it. There's also a hefty dose of ethylhexyl palmitate in here; my skin loves that ingredient, but some people break out horribly from it, so please patch test if you aren't sure how it will affect your skin.

The photo on the left shows the primer on my bare skin, and the photo on the right shows the primer under a thin layer of Buxom Show Some Skin foundation. If you enlarge these photos, you'll see that the bright camera flash has highlighted some of the shimmer on my bare skin, but only slightly. (The white speck you're seeing on the right side of my face in the foundation image isn't glitter; I took these photos when my skin hadn't been exfoliated in a month due to moisture barrier damage, so some dead skin flakes were popping up.) Overall, the effect in both images is soft and glowy. I'll also note that, when my applied my Buxom foundation, it seemed to glide over this product, giving me a very smooth and even application.

So far, this all sounds like the mystical magical unicorn pee of a dry-skinned person's dreams, right? Well, I'm about to shatter that dream.

First, while this product looks really stunning in photos, I don't think there's much difference in real life. In fact, I don't see any difference: in the mirror, my skin looks the same with a layer of Becca Backlight Priming Filter as it does without. This makes it a shoe-in for special events where you'll be photographed, but if that's not a regular thing for you, why bother?

From left to right: 15 minutes after application, 3 hours after application, 5 hours after application.

Second, this product doesn't do much to extend the wear of your makeup. Now, I understand that the real pull for this primer is that it's going to give you a glowy look, but Becca does claim that this will extend your makeup's longevity as well. Honestly, my makeup wore as per usual: I got slightly dryer on most of my face and my nose got quite shiny at about the 4 hour mark, but that's an every day occurrence for me. It neither improved nor diminished my foundation's staying power.

Third, that smooth application I described earlier doesn't happen with every foundation. When I tried applying my Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint over this primer, the primer actually balled up and settled in weird "flakes" on my skin. You can brush the balled-up product off, but it feels disgusting, and really, why use it if that's going to happen? Enlarge the header image and you'll see what I mean: there's a layer of white Backlight Priming Filter "flakes" around my jawline.

I'm giving this product a 3 instead of a 2 because I think it does improve the application of some foundations, and it will be a great choice for people who want an extra glow in photographs. I also can't fault the overall texture or packaging of the product. But the fact that it balls up under some foundations and doesn't give a noticeable glow to my skin outside of photos limits how useful it will be to the average consumer. Despite my initial excitement over this product, I ended up being disappointed.

RATING: 3 out of 5.
This product is available at

SIDE NOTE: My partner will be visiting me for the next two months, so posts may be sporadic. Thank you for your patience!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Sample Rundown #11

My Sample Rundown posts seem to have unintended themes. It might be an entire post of "Holy shit, this is not for my skin type," or four or five products that were mediocre. This post's theme will be, "It's a really wonderful product, it's just not for me." We've got two makeup samples and two skincare samples to discuss, so let's move along!

Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick -- I got this sample of Kimchi, a bright blue-based pink, in my first Sephora Play! box, and I've also tried Meringue a little while back. Honestly, my views on this formula haven't changed much. It's a very pigmented and smooth formula that doesn't dry out my lips, has good staying power (especially if you apply, blot, and reapply), and comes in a great range of colors. A few people have mentioned that the brighter shades bleed and smear on them, but that wasn't an issue for me, especially if I used a lipliner--Kimchi stayed flawless on my lips for a good 5 hours. I will note that they gave this product a citrus-type flavor and smell that I dislike; it's very plasticky to me. This isn't a lip formula I'm going to rush out and buy, especially since there are formulas I like just as much for a fraction of the price. But it's a solid new range.

Clinique Pep Start Eye Cream -- This is the one product that disappointed me. I've heard rave reviews of this cream that claimed it brightens up the eye area, but I didn't notice much of an impact. It does have a very light texture and it doesn't burn my eyes, so that's nice. I didn't notice any difference in my fine lines or early morning puffiness, however.

Tarte Opening Act Lash Primer -- I've been using this primer off and on for about 2 months, and so far, I'm decently impressed with it. Like most lash primers, Tarte Opening Act coats the lashes and applies as a stark white. I find that it's best to apply your mascara shortly after using the primer to prevent clumping, so work one eye at a time. I got a tiny bit of volume from this primer (with the increased risk of spider lashes), but mostly, it provided a lot of length. It didn't make my mascara flake off or smear more, either. I actually want volume more than length, so a full size of Opening Act wouldn't serve me, but it's still an effective product.

Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel -- I was terrified that I was going to love this product or experience a major reaction to it. Luckily (?), I found this product very gentle and effective, but just not for me. This gel-textured moisturizer contains not only vitamin B, but a whole host of beneficial ingredients, like healthy fruit extracts selected to even out skin and retain moisture. Actually, I keep referring to the ingredients list as "angelic:" no major cloggers, no fragrance, no drying alcohols, etc. The lightweight texture of B-Hydra is really beautiful; it soaked right in to my skin and didn't leave any residue. This did not provide enough hydration for me on its own, so I stopped using it, but I could see it being a go-to for people with oily skin. It's also worth trying if you have normal or combination skin and want something weightless for the warmer months.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Art Interlude

A cricket enclosure with some super-stylized bug noms--I couldn't find the artist label for this one.

Here's a quick warning: I've found bugs infinitely fascinating since I was a little girl. That's not to say I'm cool with poisonous wasps floating around my head or that I'd love to wake up covered in roaches, but for the most part, I am the kind of person who tries to kidnap spiders, photograph them, then release them instead of smooshing them. If you are truly terrified of insects, this isn't the post for you.

While some of the pieces at the current Wood Street Galleries exhibit are true blue art, a lot of them are a mixture of visual spectacle and science. Take this little cockroach munching on a tomato: he's obviously not art in and of himself, but he and his buddies were shown alongside a three-legged robot. It was designed so that--get this--the cockroach itself would move the robot, with no outside help. Explicitly art? No. Explicitly cool? Totally.

There were still some "art for the sake of art" pieces, of course, like "Justified By Love" by Jennifer Angus. Yes, all of those bugs are real...and this is just one of several arrangements Angus created. Again, I really like bugs, so I'm hoping these guys were already dead before she pinned them to the boards. Regardless, it's an interesting piece that questions what we find beautiful and what we consider a wall-worthy trophy.

And the wallpaper selection (which includes phrases like "Remember Me," shown here) makes me wonder about how we value living creatures. Think about it: all of these bugs in this art piece are dead, as was the squirrel I noticed on the side of the ride a few days ago. But I admit that I felt a stronger emotional reaction when I saw the mammal. Why? That squirrel wasn't my pet, it wasn't inherently more valuable to the ecosystem than a cicada or a bee, and it probably would've bit the shit out of me just as quickly as any black widow spider.

Speaking of bees: OH MY GOD, THEY HAVE GIANT SEE-THROUGH BEEHIVES! I've been obsessed with bees for years now, and seeing them this up close and personal was a real treat. I could have watched them for hours if I'd had the chance. What's interesting is that this beehive includes a tunnel that pokes through the window and allows the bees to fly around outside of the gallery, and they come in go by the multitudes. Yet nobody down below notices. These two worlds are so fast-paced and busy, but we take no notice of each other. It makes you wonder how the world functions around you on so many different levels...and you never notice.

Also, nobody panic, the bees cannot get inside the gallery.

As I waited for the bus home, I noticed a dragonfly land on this man's hand and stay perfectly still for a full minute. When it flew off, he rolled up his sleeve and revealed two dragonfly tattoos. This was almost certainly coincidence--dragonflys are weirdly sedate, and tattoos of them abound--but it still felt very special and sweet. You know what they say: there's beauty in the mundane.

Wood Street's "All Around Us" exhibit will remain open until the 19th, so if you're in the city and you're not terrified of insects, definitely check it out. As always, the exhibitions are free, though donations are appreciated.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Thank You

It may seem out-of-the-blue, but I've been inundated with sweet emails, interesting comments, and so much kindness during my time as a blogger that I feel the need to say thank you.

First, thank you for even taking the time to stop by and read what I've written. While this blog is a hobby I maintain to relax, I also take a lot of pride in its content and want it to be as useful as possible. I never expected to get a regular readership, let alone plenty of interesting discussion and comments from such wonderful and intelligent people. I know the content isn't always perfect (and it was especially rocky in the early days), and there are certainly times when I could be less cranky or more thorough. Yet you continue to read and support this little blog, and I appreciate that more than I can say.

I want to thank the incredibly kind readers who have linked others to my blog and/or recommended some of my posts on forums, Reddit, etc. Bad Outfit, Great Lipstick's blog traffic and subscriber count has increased rapidly over the past year, and I know your support has been a major factor. The same goes for anybody who has ever taken the time to email, comment, subscribe, or bookmark...heck, it goes for anybody who has given me two minutes of their time. There have absolutely been times when BOGL's readers have made me feel better on a dark day.

Thank you for being here, for listening, and most importantly, thank you for being you.

PS: Thank you the winners of my Glossier giveaway for being so patient. I did not expect the restocking issue, and I am so sorry for the wait.

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Hype Machine: Physician's Formula 2-in-1 Lash Boosting Eyeliner + Serum

The Hype Machine is a series that takes a critical look at well-loved, cult classic, appears-in-every-other-Instagram-photo products and asks: are they worth the hype?

For the most part, the internet's Beauty Hype Machine focuses on mid-to-high-end products, stuff that many-a-guru will claim is "reeeally expensive, but worth it, I swear!" We think of hyped beauty products, and things like YSL Touche Eclat ($42) and Soleil Tan de Chanel ($50) are the sort of luxury cult classics that immediately jump to mind.

Yet not all raved about and regularly promoted products are of the department store variety. The Physician's Formula 2-in-1 Lash Boosting Eyeliner + Serum (say that name three times fast) has been every other YouTuber's favorite liquid eyeliner for years. And while it carries a higher price tag than a lot of other drugstore products, clocking in at around $10, it's still a sight cheaper than high end alternatives.

Let's get this out of the way: this product is supposed to contain ingredients that help your lashes grow thicker and fuller. I haven't noticed anything like that, and to be honest, I'm not that fussed. I bought this product to be a liquid eyeliner, not a lash serum. And it seems like most people who sing this eyeliner's praises feel the same way.

And as an eyeliner? This one is aces. The pen is relatively narrow, making it easy to hold, and the tip manages to maintain its shape without feeling stiff or rough. Actually, when I apply this eyeliner, it feels like I'm using soft paint brush. The tip is longer and thinner than most other liquid eyeliners I've used, and it makes it remarkably easy to get a fine, solid line at the inner corners of the eye. I also found that doing a flick was easier than ever before, which kind of stunned me--I didn't think it could get easier than it was with ye olde Wet n' Wild liquid eyeliner.

Obviously, I have to use a black pencil on my upper waterline (as seen above) to complete the look, because liquid eyeliner does not feel good in your eyeballs. But even without the pencil, the Physician's Formula Lash Boosting Eyeliner gives you solid color. I got the Ultra Black shade and am really loving it; it has the barest hint of a satin sheen to it in real life, but it reads matte on camera (which I think is more flattering in photos) and is totally weightless.

This is a long-lasting formula as well. I had next to no smearing, smudging, or flaking throughout the day, despite the fact that my eyes water like crazy. It was decently easy to remove the eyeliner with a Shiseido cotton soaked in baby oil, though of course, it helps to hold the saturated cotton on your eye for a while to break the product down.

The $10 price tag kind of sucks when you consider that drugstore offerings are supposed to be more affordable. There are absolutely serviceable eyeliners that are half the price, after all. But I've come to the conclusion that the Physician's Formula liquid liner beats all of them, from my long-standing $4 Holy Grail Wet n' Wild liner to the lauded Kat Von D Tattoo liner. I'd especially like to recommend this product to liquid eyeliner beginners, since it's affordable and easy to control.

BOTTOM LINE: This is a rare moment--the hype is real and much deserved. If you're in the market for a felt-tip eyeliner that's easy to use AND long-lasting, give the Physician's Formula 2-in-1 Lash Boosting Eyeliner + Serum a shot.

The Hype Machine is a series that represents my experiences and opinions. It is not meant to be a personal attack on a specific company, product, or consumer. I always recommend that you try products for yourself and see how they work for you. Everybody is unique, after all!