NARS Satin Lipstick (Banned Red and Tolede)

NARS Satin Lipstick Banned Red swatch dark skin
NARS Banned Red

NARS promises that their iconic lipstick will be lightweight, long lasting and resistant to bleeding/feathering. I do think that Banned Red (pictured above) does have a decent wear time for a satin lipstick. I can get a good 4 hours of wear through drinking and a light snack before it needs to be touched up. Unfortunately for me, I do not agree that it is resistant to feathering. I have some very fine lines along my top lip that this formula creeps into. On the up side, I don’t think anyone else would notice the feathering, but it does bother me. They also say that it will leave your lips feeling hydrated, which I also don’t experience. I do think that this formula is comfortable to wear, but I don’t feel that it offers my lips any nourishment.

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Makeup Geek Highlighters (Sunlight, Firework)

Makeup Geek Highlighters Sunlight and Firework Swatches dark skin
Makeup Geek Highlighters, L to R: Sunlight, Firework

If you’ve never tried a Makeup Geek highlighter, the formula is somewhat dry feeling to the touch, but still manages to have good pigment. They are hard pressed in the pan so they have no kick up, but they are not hard to pick up on a brush. I think that by today’s standards this is on the more subtle side of formulas, but I do think they can be built up for more impact.

The shade sunlight is described as a soft copper, ideal for medium skin tones. On me this shade accentuates more texture than I prefer to see after applying highlight. I do think that it is just the nature of this shade being a little light for me. It doesn’t come off ashy and I can get away with it, it just isn’t my ideal shade. I do go over it with my beauty blender and that helps it blend into the skin more.

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Smashbox Cali Contour Medium-Dark Palette

Smashbox Cali Contour Medium-Dark Palette swatch dark skin
Smashbox Medium-Dark Cali Contour Palette

Smashbox quietly released this medium-dark version of their popular Cali Contour palette sometime back in 2020 (?). I say quietly because I don’t think there was any sort of marketing letting people know they had created this new shade variation. I was searching for a review of this palette for the longest time with no luck. I was surprised that they didn’t try to hype this up more considering all of the valid complaints companies have been getting about shade ranges lacking inclusive options. Anyway, I broke down and got it because I continued to hear lighter skin tones rave about the original light medium shade and finally had to see for myself if it was good.

  • Top row, left to right: warm contour, shimmer gold, cinnamon matte
  • Bottom row, left to right: banana matte, apricot shimmer, coco rojo
Smashbox Cali Contour Medium-Dark Palette swatches dark skin
Smashbox Medium-Dark Cali Contour Palette
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MAC Pro Longwear Concealer (NC42, NC45 Swatches)

MAC Pro Longwear Concealer Swatches NC42 NC45 dark skin
L to R: NC42 and NC45

Pro Longwear Concealer ($26.00) is a bestseller for MAC and is overall highly reviewed on retailer websites like Ulta, Nordstrom, and Macy’s. Listen, I know the pump and overall packaging is annoying, but the product itself is excellent. I do not experiment with concealers much, so it is very possible that there is something better out there. But for me, this is a winner.

I have dry skin and I can still get away with using this product. It does dry down to a matte long wearing finish, so I don’t have to set with powder. If you have dry skin, then you know that being able to skip powder can really help. For the most part, this doesn’t settle into my fine lines and wrinkles. I say for the most part because it does sink into my deepest wrinkle but I can’t tell unless I get real close to the mirror. For reference, the Bobbi Brown Concealer and Corrector formulas sink into lines and wrinkles on me. The formula that is in the MAC Studio Fix Conceal and Correct Palette does not sink into lines on me, but it does need to be set with powder whereas the Pro Longwear Concealer does not.

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