Monthly Makeup Focus – January 2018 Review

Woo hoo, one month of my Monthly Makeup Focus project is complete!  I’m going to repeat what absolutely everyone was stating on social media last week – January was a loooong month and I’m glad it’s over!

So now that January is officially over, it’s time to review the products I included in my very first Monthly Makeup Focus.  If you haven’t read what this project is about, you can read my first post here, but basically it’s a focused effort to utilize the makeup and beauty products in my stash.  I pick a variety of products to use each month and the come back and review them here and do it all over again the following month.  So far I’ve been enjoying this process – it’s led me to discover some products that I’ve forgotten about that are really great.  In addition, I find that using something for an entire month really gave me a good feel for it.

One thing I thought I’d do for my review posts is pick the best and worst product of the month.  Some months there might not be one or the other but this month there definitely was.


Maybelline Total Temptation Mascara

Sometimes I don’t know why I ever stray from Maybelline mascaras – every one I try always works for me!  I literally can’t say that about any other brand, drugstore or high-end.  I heard Samantha Jane rave about this mascara so as soon as it hit the drugstore here I snatched it up.  And I concur with Samantha – it’s really good!  While I would like to see it add a bit more thickness, it lengthens, volumizes, defines, and separates.  Apparently it has coconut extract in it which gives the formula a whipped texture – I’m not sure why that matters but it works so I won’t fault it.  It does have a scent which I always find a little odd – I think it’s supposed to be coconuty but to me it smells like coconut mixed with…almonds maybe?  It’s not super strong and it doesn’t bother me so I’m okay with it but those who are sensitive to scents (scentisitive?) should take note.  Oh and one last very important thing – it barely flakes on me and it does not smudge!  Hallelujah!  It is almost impossible for me to find a mascara that doesn’t flake on me and the only way I find that this one does if I forget to use an eyelash comb afterwards.  Love it!


Physicians Formula InstaReady Full Coverage Concealer (Light)

This is what pump looks like fresh from the bottle.

One pump blended out – does this not resemble an entire pump of foundation?

Lately I’ve been on the hunt to find the best drugstore concealer and unfortunately this isn’t it.   I was watching Emily Noel a while back and she recommended this one so I figured I’d give it a try.

So the first thing I don’t like about it is the packaging – it’s in a pump, which is great, but the pump is very stiff and it doesn’t allow me to pump out just a little bit of product, I always end up getting an entire pump.  That may not seem like a bad thing but this is a very thick, heavy concealer.  While it covers amazingly well, I have to use it sparingly otherwise it gets cakey real quick.  On top of that, throughout the day it gets super dry and flaky and it just looks horrible – I find it ages my under eye area by about 10 years.  All in all, I can’t recommend this one.



I’ll admit it, I’m not the best at remembering to apply sunscreen to my face everyday – I tend to rely on the sunscreen in my foundation which I know is bad, bad, bad.  But one of the biggest complaints I have about sunscreen is the fact that it can often make me look greasy and oily throughout the day.  I’m happy to report that neither of these do that to my skin and they actually apply really nicely overtop of a variety of moisturizers and under several primers.
The SheerZinc is a mineral sunscreen that (obviously) contains zinc so I do find it leaves me with a bit of a white-cast until it’s completely absorbed; it has a thicker consistency than the Ultra Sheer and I think it’s the best option as a daily sunscreen.  The Ultra Sheer is one that I would throw in my bag for a day at the beach or pool or out on a hike.  The stick format is super easy to apply and reapply and I love that I would never have to worry about it leaking and making a mess in my bag.  It has a super thin, non-greasy formula and just glides on to your skin.  Overall I’m pretty happy with both of these sunscreens and would recommend them both, depending on

I’ve made my way through almost all of this serum – I only have 1/4 of it left.  Overall, I think this is a great serum; It contains Viniferine, a natural compound found in vine sap, which is known to brighten, lighten, and even the skin tone and was patented by Caudalie in 2004. Is it doing all of that?  I’m not sure I can attribute it just to that as I am currently using a few skin care products that claim to do similar things.  I do like that its super lightweight with a milky texture and it absorbs quickly into my skin; it gives my skin a nice glow and makeup applies nicely overtop of it.  The things I’m not too fond of – it has quite a strong, earthy, almost plant-like scent that I’m not too fond of.  Also while I would like to continue using this after I finish up this little bottle, I’m not sure I can justify the $90 for a full-size of it.

This is described as a rich, hydrating moisturizer designed for dry and sensitive skin.  It contains Vitamins C & E, in addition to a variety of oils including evening primrose, wheat germ and sunflower.  It claims to help reduce visible redness (which I suffer from) and condition and soothe skin.

I used up this entire tub this month – it was a mini so there wasn’t a ton of product.  The thing I loved about this month was….it’s scent!  It was delightful and the best way I could describe it is that it smelled like Flinstones vitamins. My usual opinion is that fragrance is unnecessary in skin care and I stand by that but I can’t deny that I do like the smell of this.

As I used this I couldn’t help but compare it to Ole Henrikson’s Sheer Transformation Perfecting Moisturizer (STPM).  This one is definitely thicker but I didn’t find it any more moisturizing; I also didn’t find it did anything to improve the redness of my skin.  I liked that it didn’t leave me greasy or oily, wasn’t sticky and left a smooth canvas for my makeup to be applied on top of. Ultimately though, I prefer the STPM; it feels more lightweight and I feel like it left my skin feeling silkier and plumper.  I could easily use either of them but if I had to choose, I’d pick STPM.

I received this eye treatment in a Simply Beautiful Box I received just before Christmas; I’ve heard of Delia Organics before and was excited to try something from this Canadian brand.

There are quite a few claims associated with this product including conditioning, smoothing out and softening the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and reducing puffiness and inflammation.  Active ingredients include glycolic acid, vitamin c and hyluaronic acid.

After a month of use, I’m not certain how I feel about this.  It has a thin, gel texture and there’s a ton in the jar – if I had to guess I suspect it’s going to last me quite a few months.  It feels cooling and soothing when I first apply it, after which I experience a tightening sensation directly under my eye.  I’ve never had an eye cream do this before and I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing?  So far, I haven’t seen any smoothing of fine lines but I know that skin care can take a while to see results so I’m going to continue to use this and hope that I do.


I’ve owned this palette for about a year but I barely reach for it – it seems to get lost in my makeup drawer.  It’s a pretty palette – it contains four shades of highlight – cream, pink, taupe and bronze.  As you can see from the swatches above, this is really lightly pigmented.  You aren’t going to get an intense highlight from this – or even a slightly intense one.  The shades are extremely subtle with just the slightest hint of shimmer to them; they’re okay for more of a natural look but I’ve kind of decided that if I’m going to bother to apply highlight, it might as well be worth the effort and I’m not sure this is.

I picked up this foundation because I wanted something that was easy to apply on a day-to-day basis.  I don’t always have the best luck with powder foundations – I find they tend to really enhance my dry skin.  Even though I’ve used this quite extensively over the last couple of months, I still don’t know how I feel about it.   Ultimately I’ve decided this is one product I need to completely finish before I do a comprehensive review on it; I don’t expect it will take me long as I’ve already made quite a dent in it I expect to finish this up fairly quickly – stay tuned!

I’ve owned this blush for years and always enjoyed it.  It’s has a lovely texture – super soft and easy to blend and it’s highly pigmented.  I’m not always a huge fan of super pigmented blushes but I can make an exception for this one because I love the shade – it’s a bright, peachy and shimmery.  On top of all that, it literally locks itself in place all day.  Even though I’m a long way a way from finishing this, I wouldn’t hesitate to buy it again and I totally recommend it!


  1. L’Oreal Voluminous Mascara Primer

Have I been completely delusional all this time thinking that primers were supposed to help your mascara last all day (ie. reducing flaking and smudging)?  Because this is the second primer that I’ve purchased thinking it would do exactly that and then I read the description and learned that it’s meant to amplify and condition your lashes.  Oh ok.

So needless to say, it does nothing to keep my mascara on my lashes.  I do find that it does add some length and thickness to my lashes but it doesn’t always work great with every mascara.  For instance, it does not play nice with the Maybelline Total Temptation mascara above – it makes it apply clumpy and made all my lashes stick together.  However, it does work well with CoverGirls Peacock Flare mascara – it made my lashes thicker and more voluminious.  That came at a cost though – it did flake more than without it.  So, once I finish this up, I’m not likely to repurchase it.

This is a glorious palette, particularly if you like purple eyeshadows.  Full review coming soon!

An oldie but a goodie.  And when I say old, I mean it’s practically a relic amongst my collection – it was the very first high-end eyeshadow palette that I bought myself and if I had to guess I’d say it’s at least 8 years old (don’t judge)!  Despite that, I still love it and it still performs exceptionally well and I’m going to keep on using it.

Stay tuned for my wrap-up post in a couple of weeks – thanks for reading!

*Denotes PR products sent to me for review.

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  1. I tried the Neutrogena Sheer Zinc this summer but I didn’t love it – it felt really heavy. It’s so challenging to find a mineral-only face sunscreen. I’m sticking to the Japanese ones for now.

    That’s disappointing about the L’Oreal lash primer! I got it recently to try out but I’m not holding out hope that it will eclipse my Etude House one.

    The lure of those Viseart palettes are STRONG… I added them to my loves list on Sephora. Tick tock Spring VIB sale!

    • Yes I can’t wait for the Spring VIB Sale – I’ve got a long list going for that already!

      The one benefit I did find from the Urban Decay eyelash primer I was using was that my eyelashes seemed a little thicker – so that’s a positive. Not sure the small difference was worth it though.

      Thanks for reading! 🙂

  2. i am hearing great things about the new maybelline mascara and i really want to try it out! i love maybelline mascaars too!
    I also tried the neutrogena sheerzinc sunscreen and it works well. it has a thick formula though!

    • Yah the Sheerzinc is definitely on the thicker side, not the best for everyday use but I would definitely feel protected from the sun if I were to wear it to the pool or beach!

      Definitely try the new Maybelline mascara – it’s really good!

  3. I think I already told you, but I haven’t heard anything about the Maybelline mascara until now. It sounds awesome, though – it’s going home with me the next time I’m at the drugstore!

    I’ve had the Naked palette for as long as you (also my first high-end palette!) but you’ve finished way more than I have. Although it wasn’t one of the items in my Project Pan, you’ve inspired me to try and pan at least one shade!

    I can’t wait to see your review of the Viseart palette!

    • That Naked palette went with me everywhere for the first few years I had it which is why it looks so ragged. It’s been such a good palette, that’s the best money I ever spent on makeup! Good luck on hitting pan on one of yours!