Lorac Pro 2 Palette

The first Lorac Pro Palette was a bit of a slow burn for me. Looking back at my review, it seems a little lukewarm compared to how I feel about it now. It easily makes it on my top 10 lists, especially in the categories of 1) travel-friendly, 2) versatile, 3) practical, 4) pigmented.

With those expectations in mind, I hoped that the Lorac Pro 2 would prove a worthy follow-up. And it does.

Lorac Pro 2 Palette

The packaging is the same as the first Pro, with a slim, eminently travel-friendly profile, a convenient mirror and clearly named eyeshadows arranged with the mattes in the top row and the shimmers in the bottom row, 16 in all. This one also splits the lighter, more neutral, "everyday" shades onto the left side, with the smokier and more jewel-toned shades on the right side. (The box also contains a deluxe sample of the Behind The Scenes Eye Primer.)

Lorac Pro 2 Palette

In terms of pigmentation, the Pro 2 stacks up with the best of the Lorac palettes. Both the shimmers and the mattes have fantastic payoff, with the shimmers in particular having the sort of densely buttery and soft texture where you barely need to tap a brush into them to get more than enough product. The mattes are silky, smooth and soft - I was particularly wowed by Navy, which is an incredibly difficult colour to get even just half-right (Nars Outremer, anyone?).

Like the first Pro, I do find that the softness can pose a challenge. Where the shimmers have a nicely dense texture that makes their ease of blending an asset, the matte shades have a thinner consistency. Combined with their strong immediate pigmentation, that ease in sheering out can make some of them them appear patchy or "dirty" upon blending. I noticed that occurring when I loaded up my brush, blobbed the product on and then attempted to buff it out - it really didn't work, whereas the shimmers had no issue with this "technique". For the darker matte shades especially, the controlled-dab-blend-repeat process was best, and really took advantage of their inherent qualities.

As much as I like this palette, I would hesitate to recommend it to eye makeup beginners, or even more practiced makeup lovers who just happen to prefer going in with a stronger hand. I think the latter will like the pigmentation, but won't love the change in application method needed to make the most of the palette.

This is the lighter, more everyday/neutral side.

Lorac Pro 2 Palette

Buff: Has the thinnest, most flyaway texture. It's a too powdery to build up very well without looking chalky, so for me it works best as a base for the darker colours to helps blend them out, or as a matte browbone highlighter.

Light Brown: Very smooth, almost creamy texture, with fantastic pigmentation, not prone to sheering out. This is the perfect all-around shade.

Cool Gray: Similar texture to Light Brown, this is an excellent crease or outer corner colour. The name is weird, because I would consider this a warm gray, as it almost seems to have a brown undertone.

Nectar: Also similar to the two previous shades, this beige-toned peach is perfect for all over the lid or as a transition shade, depending on your skin tone.

Lorac Pro 2 Palette

Snow: A frosty white, with fantastic payoff. Definitely a colour to use sparingly, thought it can blend out.

Beige: A beautiful champagne shimmer, with a creamy, soft, dense texture and lovely payoff. Great highlighter.

Rosé: A metallic rose gold, with that same superlative texture. This barely needs to be dabbed for excellent payoff.

Mocha: Incredibly beautiful pale brown metallic shade, with a mauve undertone. Same texture as Rosé, and pairs perfectly with it.

Lorac Pro 2 Palette

And the darker, more jewel-toned side.

Lorac Pro 2 Palette

Plum: Smooth, silky, every so slightly drier texture. Intense payoff, with some fall-out and that sheering out upon blending.

Navy: Has the driest consistency out of these four mattes, but that doesn't affect the crazy rich pigmentation. I mean, LOOK AT THAT. It's also quite prone to fall-out and that dirty, overly sheered look, so definitely one to apply carefully.

Charcoal: Similar texture and payoff to Plum.

Black: Similar to Plum and Charcoal. It's a soft black, so while the payoff is lovely, it doesn't look too intense.

Lorac Pro 2 Palette

Chrome: Insanely gorgeous taupe with gray and plum undertones. This is an almost metallic shimmer, with a fantastic creamy dense texture.

Silver: A straight on metallic silver, slightly sheerer than the other shimmers here, but still a lovely smooth texture.

Jade: This has a rich texture, but feels slightly crumbly as well, which I suspect is due to the golden micro glitter in the dark jade shimmer base. Not problem blending it out or applying, however,

Cocoa: Same texture as Jade, with golden micro glitter in a dark brown shimmer, which also has a faint burgundy undertone.

Lorac Pro 2 Palette

This is a super quick but fairly dramatic eye using this palette.

With a fluffy brush I worked Light Brown through my crease as a transition shade, then Chrome on the lid and up to my crease.

I then used a pencil brush to lay down Navy in the outer third of my lid and through the outer crease, and blended out the edges with a smaller crease brush. (That controlled dabbing/blending technique I mentioned above.)I also applied and blended Navy similarly on the outer two-thirds of my lower eyelid.

I used Plum to blend Navy into Light Brown just above the crease, and a tiny bit at the bottom edge of my lower lid.

A bit of Silver in the inner corner and a quick brush of Buff over the brow bone finished the eyeshadow portion of the look.

(I added a wing using the Make Up For Ever liquid liner and Aqua liner in 0L in the waterline. Mascara was Estée Lauder Sumptuous Infinite in Black. I left eyebrows bare because I'm tragically lazy.)

Lorac Pro 2 Palette

And Instagram filtered versions, because they're just neat.

Lorac Pro 2 Palette

Availability: This is the sucky part - Lorac is not distributed in Canada, at least not in any accessible retail locations. Naimie's and Nordstrom do both carry the brand and will ship to Canada, though that can be close to 20$. However, Nordstrom has told me that when their stores open in Canada (first one in a few weeks) they will offer free shipping for orders placed with their Canadian stores! I think the first location will be in Chinook, so I would recommend giving them a call once they open and checking if they stock Lorac. :) Price is 42$ USD, not sure what the Canadian price would be.

(I purchased this item. All opinions are my own. This post is not sponsored or compensated.)

Tarte Rainforest After Dark Colored Clay Eye and Cheek Palette

Tarte palettes can be a little hit-or-miss for me. Most recently I ordered and returned the Golden Days and Sultry Nights one (which is currently in the sale section at Sephora), but loved my Aqualillies palette, so when the Rainforest After Dark Colored Clay Eye and Cheek Palette popped up a few weeks ago, I nabbed it right quick.

Tarte Rainforest After Dark Colored Clay Eye and Cheek Palette

Tarte Rainforest After Dark Colored Clay Eye and Cheek Palette

I must admit that the packaging looked swankier on the website. I tried to photograph it without making it look too gaudy, but in this case there was no getting around it. Purple and gold don't exactly convey restrained chic, and the faux-wood plastic casing bears a striking resemblance to the pre-reno paneling in my childhood home.

Ah well. I can deal. Especially since the inside is awesome.

Tarte Rainforest After Dark Colored Clay Eye and Cheek Palette

Tarte Rainforest After Dark Colored Clay Eye and Cheek Palette

For 46$ CAD, this contains a full sized limited-edition blush, decent sized bronzer and highlighter (though if you're a Tarte fan, you no doubt have a dozen versions of the Park Avenue Princess bronzer), and six eyeshadows in a variety of textures. Value-wise, this is an excellent palette.

The blush, in the shade Unleashed, is soft, warm-leaning rose with a beige undertone. The texture is perhaps a touch softer than the other Amazonian Clay blushes in my collection, but doesn't deviate in terms of how smoothly it applies or how well it wears. It looks very, very natural with my light skin tone, and I think it would work well for fair to medium skin as a natural flush shade.

The highlighter, in the shade Champagne, is buttery-soft and dense, with great pigmentation that sheers out easily. It's a little too warm for my skin to use as a face highlighter, but it's perfect for the inner corner of the eye.

The previously mentioned Park Avenue Princess bronzer has a firmer, silkier, slightly drier texture that has sheerer pigmentation. It applies smoothly and lightly, and the pale tan shade is ideal if you prefer subtle bronzing/contouring, or if you have fairer skin. It's almost completely matte with the very slightest sheen that keeps it from looking too flat. I also like it as a transition shade on the eyelid.

Tarte Rainforest After Dark Colored Clay Eye and Cheek Palette


The eyeshadows vary quite a bit in terms of texture and finish.

Don't Turn a-Brown - a dark, cool ebony brown with a firm, slightly dry texture and a matte finish. This doesn't swatch all that well, and looks like it might go on patchy, but it actually blends very nicely, and can be packed on for intensity. It also makes a great liner.

Tan-gled Up In You - a cool tan, this has a softer, smoother texture than the dark brown, and applies with terrific pigmentation. It's a great lid or crease colour, depending on your colouring.

Up To No Gold - a metallic gold, with a creamy, dense texture and intense pigmentation. Packed on, it is very vivid, but I do find it can crumble a bit when used with a fluffier brush (though you can get a sparkly wash). Best applied with a firm paddle brush.

Plum Away With Me - a rich plum satin with micro shimmer/glitter, a soft, but not overly creamy texture. Although it swatches opaquely, and does apply like so with a firm brush and a good primer, it also tends to get a little powdery and blend out easily. I find that it loses some of that plum tone and goes murky the more it's blended. The shimmer also is more subtle once applied.

Make a Mauve - a mauve-toned taupe, with the same texture and finish as Plum Away With Me, though it looks more satin-y on the lid. Same tendency to go a little powdery and blend out, though also the same great payoff when patted on with a dense brush over a primer.

Bare to Explore - pale pink-beige matte, with a smooth, silky texture. It has good pigmentation, but also blends out really easily. It can be used as a base lid colour, or as a subtle brow bone colour (not highlight). It can also blend out a crease colour very well.

Tarte Rainforest After Dark Colored Clay Eye and Cheek Palette

I think what I like best about this palette is how well all the shades work together, and how convenient it is. I can see myself tucking this away in a travel bag, and being able to work a variety of  looks with it, though still in a neutral category. I appreciate that both the highlighter and the bronzer can be used on the face and the eyes as well. I think as long as you're ok being a little careful with the plum and mauve shades, especially in blending, then this is an excellent palette, especially for work or travel.

Here is a soft, work-appropriate look, using Make a Mauve as the lid shade and under the lower lash line, Plum Away blended in the outer corner (see how it reads less plum?), Tan-gled in the crease, Champagne in the inner corner, and   Don't Turn A-Brown as liner in the top lash line. I brushed Bare to Explore just above the crease to blend it out.

I also used Unleashed very lightly as my blush.

Tarte Rainforest After Dark Colored Clay Eye and Cheek Palette


Tarte Rainforest After Dark Colored Clay Eye and Cheek Palette

Are you guys fans of the Tarte palettes? I find myself liking their smaller palettes more than those big blockbuster sets these days.

Availability: At Sephora stores and www.sephora.com, as well as www.tartecosmetics.com (which does ship to Canada now). Price is 46$ CAD and 38$ USD.

(I purchased this item. All opinions are my own. This post is not sponsored or compensated.)

Shu Uemura Ready To Wear Palette (Pink Hues) and Drawing Pencils (M Black 01, M Grey 05, M Earthy Brown 82, ME Green 51)

Shu Uemura recently revamped their eyeliners 9 dubbed Drawing Pencils - and introduced four new eyeshadow palettes, each featuring a monochromatic colour scheme.

Side note: As the name of the pencils suggest, I immediately took to doodling with them. :P

Shu Uemura Ready To Wear Palette (Pink Hues) and Drawing Pencils (M Black 01, M Grey 05, M Earthy Brown 82, ME Green 51)

Although I love a good plummy eye, I can't say I'm usually drawn to a full-on pink look. With my olive-leaning skin and brown eyes, it can look like I've lost ten rounds with my pillow. The Ready To Wear Palette in Pink Hues palette was just so PRETTY though, that I put my hesitation aside and committed to trying it out in a variety of permutations.

Shu Uemura Ready To Wear Palette (Pink Hues) and Drawing Pencils (M Black 01, M Grey 05, M Earthy Brown 82, ME Green 51)

Shu Uemura Ready To Wear Palette (Pink Hues) and Drawing Pencils (M Black 01, M Grey 05, M Earthy Brown 82, ME Green 51)

Shu Uemura Ready To Wear Palette (Pink Hues) and Drawing Pencils (M Black 01, M Grey 05, M Earthy Brown 82, ME Green 51)

Overall, I was really pleased by the performance of the shadows in this palette. The matte grape wasn't impressive upon swatching, with a firm, smooth and slightly dry texture that appeared a little sheer and patchy when dabbed on the arm. However, when it was applied with a brush to the eyelid, the pigment transferred without an issue. This is not the kind of colour that goes on with full-blast intensity right away, but with a dark shade like this, I can't say that's a bad thing. It was easy enough to build up to greater depth, and it blended well. It's perfect for adding deepness to the outer corner, or building up a hazy smoky eye.

The soft matte pink had a softer texture than the grape, swatched more opaquely and applied to the lid smoothly. It's definitely a shade I need to use sparingly with my colouring, but I have no complaints about texture or performance. I actually don't have this kind of colour in my collection, so once I got over that bit of shock, I was happy to have it in potential rotation.

The "wet" sparkle of the third pink from the left makes it a fantastic layering shade. The hot pink base is quite sheer, so what you get is this glistening effect that looks incredibly when dabbed to the centre of the eyelid. Applied like that over the grape (heavily built up into a smoky eye) looks intense and totally unexpected.

The pale pink and pale peachy-pink shimmers are smooth, creamy and dense, with intense pigmentation. They apply beautifully, but look virtually indistinguishable from each other once on, so I do wish there had been some greater variation. That said, they are both completely lovely.

The matte beige has a similar texture to the matte pink, and is that rare near-white colour that doesn't look chalky. Perfect brow bone highlight, especially if you're going with an otherwise shimmer/sparkle heavy look.

For 85$ CAD, I do think this is a pricy little set, especially considering the monochromatic theme. It's definitely not a palette that stands by itself, though the quality of each shadow ranges from good to great, so there is no doubt they would each get their use in combination with other products.

Shu Uemura Ready To Wear Palette (Pink Hues) and Drawing Pencils (M Black 01, M Grey 05, M Earthy Brown 82, ME Green 51)

And the Drawing Pencils. These are meant to be blend able and waterproof, with 21 different shades to choose from, and 4 different textures.

Shu Uemura Ready To Wear Palette (Pink Hues) and Drawing Pencils (M Black 01, M Grey 05, M Earthy Brown 82, ME Green 51)

Shu Uemura Ready To Wear Palette (Pink Hues) and Drawing Pencils (M Black 01, M Grey 05, M Earthy Brown 82, ME Green 51)

The M Black 01 and M Grey 05 are probably the best performing of the four. They apply smoothly, with very rich pigmentation and a creamy texture.

The M Earthy Brown 82 actually has to be built up a bit as the first layer is sheer, and rather than feeling creamy it's more oily/waxy. I have to say, the colour reads a little off to me as well, and looks a little dirty around my eye. It's my least favourite of the four, both in terms of texture and actual colour.

The ME Green 51 is GORGEOUS. A perfect teal with incredible golden sparkle, it's also sheerer at first swipe.

These had more of a learning curve than I'm used when it comes to eyeliners. With the shades that required a second swipe for full opacity, I found that I needed to let them dry, or the product wound up coming up with that second pass. It was a little frustrating until I figured that out. Fortunately, they dry down incredibly fast, so waiting to do a second layer wasn't a hardship. Un-fortunately though, that über-quick dry down time means that you have to work incredibly fast if you want to smudge these. Even at that, I don't think they blend out all that well, as they just wind up looking a little patchy and washed out more than anything. As the name suggest, I do think these are best suited for creating strongly graphic lines, which they do very, very well.

Because of their intense creaminess, they're also best when sharpened to a good point, and applied almost laid down on their side, with the length of the exposed "lead" along the lash line. They tended to skip or crumble along the lash line for me when applied in the usual, point-first manner.

I can attest to the waterproof claim, but I can't say that they're epically long-wearing, as I got fading and a bit of crumbing/cracking in the line after 6 or so hours. They contain a combination of a rigid and flexible silicon polymer, which together are supposed to provide good adhesion and flexibility. On my eyes, I suspect the rigid ingredient just doesn't hold up, either because of the natural oils on my lid or that way my eye moves/is shaped. I suspect that if you have problems with eyeliner wearing off, you'll either love or hate the Drawing Pencils, depending on how your personal skin chemistry reacts with the polymers and other waterproofing ingredients.

While I do love the colour range, the waterproofness and the intensity that can be achieved, they are spendy, especially considering the potential application issues.

Shu Uemura Ready To Wear Palette (Pink Hues) and Drawing Pencils (M Black 01, M Grey 05, M Earthy Brown 82, ME Green 51)

Have you guys tried any of the newness from Shu? I get the feeling that it's a very cult-y kind of brand. I know a lot of MUAs who adore it, but I tend to get a lot of blank looks when I chat with the average makeup lover about them.

Availability: At certain Holt Renfrew and Sephora locations, as well as online at www.shuuemura.ca. Price is 85$ CAD (65$ USD) for the Ready To Wear palettes, and 28$ CAD (25$ USD) for the Drawing Pencils.

(These items were provided by the brand/PR. All opinions are my own. This post is not sponsored or compensated.)

Cover Girl truBLEND Liquid Makeup - l5 Creamy Natural and m4 Sand Beige

Cover Girl reformulated their truBLEND foundations a few months ago, making the formula lighter and thinner while improving the shade-matching potential. I never tried the original version, so I can't compare them directly.

Cover Girl truBLEND in l5 Creamy Natural and m4 Sand Beige
Cover Girl truBLEND in l5 Creamy Natural and m4 Sand Beige
I was sent these two shades to try out, so the colour match is not exact, unfortunately, but it gives you an idea of the range. They are split into three groups (light, medium, deep), with a variety of undertones in each. I think Cover Girl has improved a lot in terms of their foundation colours - I remember a Clean foundation I had as a teenager that was, quite literally, pink. I looked like I had dipped my face in calamine lotion.

Thankfully the formula here is forgiving as well, despite the good coverage, so while the l5 Creamy Natural is a little too dark and cool for my skin, I can get away with it, as long as I blend well around the ears, or else it leaves a noticeable line. If you have truly neutral or olive-toned skin, this foundation might require some shade-mixing, so while it is inexpensive, you'll likely need to experiment with a few bottles to get an exact match.

Also a bit strange, the liquid pumps out with a strange streaking of white pigment, but it disappears as soon as I blend it in. It doesn't seem to alter the application in any way.

Cover Girl truBLEND in l5 Creamy Natural and m4 Sand Beige
Cover Girl truBLEND in l5 Creamy Natural and m4 Sand Beige
In terms of coverage, this is a solid medium. In the picture below I applied it relatively sheerly with a moistened buffing brush, and I still got decent coverage out of it. Despite that, it still looked very skin-like to my eye, with a lot of natural glow (which if you have oilier skin, will probably translate to too much shine). While it smoothed over dry patches nicely, I found it slightly emphasized the texture around the lower part of my cheeks, where I tend to have any residual acne scarring and dilated pores. Again, probably better for drier skin.

Lasting power was really good - it didn't go cake-y or fade over the course of 8 hours, though the glow definitely turned to shine on my t-zone, and I had to use blotting papers twice for that. Despite the shine, I didn't actually get any separation or fading there either.

Cover Girl truBLEND Liquid Makeup - l5 Creamy Natural and m4 Sand Beige

I definitely prefer the Ready, Set, Gorgeous foundation for my particular skin needs (video review here), but I think this is a good reformulation, and a solid drugstore option if you're looking for a glowy, natural finish foundation for normal-to-dry skin, that still provides good coverage.

Availability: All drugstores that carry Cover Girl products, as well as Wal-Mart and Target. Prices vary between 10$ CAD and 14$CAD, and the least expensive I found was at Wal-Mart.

(These items were provided by the brand/PR to be considered for review. I am a #BeautyUnited blogger. As part of my affiliation with this group, I receive products and special access to P&G events. The opinions on this blog are my own.)