Maybelline is currently 50% off at Priceline, so naturally I've been haulin'. I just can't seem to resist a good sale, no matter how valiantly the "logical" side of my brain attempts to convince me otherwise. "Drugstore" makeup is so expensive in Australia that 50% off basically just brings our prices in line with the US. Maybelline has had a few exciting launches recently, so I took the opportunity to buy some products I've heard good reviews about, along with a couple of unplanned purchases that were irresistibly cheap.
Super Stay 7 Day Gel Nail Color in Surreal ($3.97, normal price $7.95)
I was curious to try one of these polishes as they seem to be well received by British bloggers. The colour also reminded me of the exact blue I was after in my Evil Eye Nails post. Because of the long-wearing, gel colour claims, I thought I'd skip my usual Sally Hansen Insta-Dri top coat, but surprisingly, this chipped on me within a day. That's deterred me from buying any more polishes in the range. The colour selection is limited anyway, so no other shade (apart from maybe Rose Poudre) is really calling out to me.
Lash Sensational Mascara & HyperSharp Liner Pack ($12.45, normal price $24.90)
The bargain of this haul. I even bought a backup. It's one thing to have unbeatable value (the mascara retails for $21.95 on its own, the HyperSharp Wing Liquid Liner $16.95), it's another thing when the products actually perform. I've ditched all other mascaras I was using (including Rimmel Glam'Eyes Day 2 Night Mascara and Estée Lauder Sumptuous Extreme, a freebie from the September 2015 issue of Marie Claire which did very little for me) to focus on Lash Sensational. I feel like it would be a dream mascara for anyone with decent lashes. On my pathetic lashes, it's not too bad, but not amazing. It separates and defines very well, though I don't find it hugely voluminising. The fanned wand does make it easier to get to those pesky outer corner lashes and coat/curl them, which is a huge plus.
The liner on the other hand, I'm very impressed by. I'm not sure how many uses I'll get out of it, but I've been reaching for it every day in the past week and it's exceeded all expectations. It's very precise but easy to use, with a sharp but still flexible tip. I also like that the formula is instantly matte and opaque upon application, without any wateriness or dilution. It lasts all day, doesn't smudge and is properly black.
Color Sensational Lipcolor in Coral Pop (420) ($4.24, normal price $16.95)
I absolutely did not need another coral lipstick, but it was $4.24 (discontinued shade?), so my resolve crumbled. When I got home, straight away I swatched it alongside my other coral lipsticks to determine how unnecessary it was. I soon discovered it's almost the same colour as Mango Diamonds (though Mango Diamonds has a slight pearl, is glossier in finish, a touch lighter and not as pigmented). Minute differences aside, they're virtually indistinguishable on the lips. Regardless, I always gravitate to these bright orangey colours for a reason. They work with my skin tone (though they can bring out the red in my face if my base isn't perfectly even) and they're an injection of summer no matter the time of year.
Master Sculpt Contour Palette in Medium/Dark (02) ($9.97, normal price $19.95)
This product wouldn't even have been on my radar but for Harry Makes It Up raving about it. I really didn't expect much from a "drugstore" contouring palette, but first impressions were almost overwhelmingly positive. Dare I say I prefer the contour shade to Kevyn Aucoin The Sculpting Powder in Medium, which I find a bit too dark and ashy on me? The colour reminds me of Benefit Hoola with a dash more grey. It's not as long lasting and the texture might not be as finely milled or smooth as a higher end product, but it's still pretty damn good. Even the highlighter, which was very much take it or leave it, fared better than anticipated. On the subtle side, a little glittery (eye-catching/ethereal glittery though, not chunky, frosty or pore-emphasising), not too whitish or silvery in tone. Despite the smallish looking pan, you get a decent amount of product (9g). I just wished they ditched the unnecessary bottom compartment with the mirror and included brush, since that would've made the packaging so much sleeker and easier to travel with.
The Nudes Palette
I've saved the best for last. I've wanted this wretched eyeshadow palette since forever, but I never found it in stock. ANYWHERE. I was almost tempted to buy the used tester at Priceline, until a friend talked me out of it. I finally found the palette in stock at Chemist Warehouse, though not for 50% off. Sadly, they were only offering a measly 15% off, so I bought mine for $21.21 (a whopping $3.74 off the normal price of $24.95). It was only until much later when a friend reminded me that a lot of places do price matching that I realised I probably should've asked whether Chemist Warehouse would match Priceline. Oh well.
Moving on to the actual palette, overall, it's another winner from Maybelline. First, the colour payoff is solid. There are a couple of shades that are a bit harder to build up pigmentation, but there aren't any true duds. Granted, there are plenty of eyeshadow palettes from more affordable brands that deliver on pigmentation (MUA, Wet n Wild, Sleek), but what makes The Nudes stand out is the colour selection. It's on point. I have neutral eyeshadows coming out of my ears, but I still found myself genuinely excited about this palette. Though I'd characterise it as generally cool-toned, the shadows still work for me and don't look dull or muddy. The mix of satin, metallic, glitter and matte shades ranging from light to dark makes it so well-considered, versatile and complete. My favourites are the first colour in the bottom row (gorgeous all over the lid), the first colour in the top row (highlight shade with beautiful iridescent glitter), the gold (very pretty in inner corner), the matte mid-tone taupe (pure sophistication) and the matte dark brown (great for adding definition to any eye look). I also think they did an excellent job with the packaging, though the useless sponge applicator could've been ditched.
I almost don't feel as bad with my wholly unnecessary spending when most of the products were hits. I also bought a Volum' Express The Mega Plush Mascara for $4.99 (down from $19.95) that I retrieved from the bargain bin, but since I'm using Lash Sensational, I've tucked it away for now. Drugstore makeup successes always make me question whether high end makeup is really that much superior to justify the steeper prices. From a quality/performance perspective, it does seem like the gap is narrowing, and at times, non-existent (or the cheaper product may even trump the more expensive). Of course, the appeal of more expensive makeup doesn't lie purely in the actual product, but these Maybelline products prove that cheaper cosmetics can absolutely do the job, and do it well.