During the past years I have been utterly seduced by beautiful high-end products and innovative packaging designs, I splurge with the idea of using all of them although clearly I won’t manage to use up everything !
I did rave about these products in the past but there is also a dark side to them that I sometimes only notice afterwards, when facing a more intense daily usage. If I didn’t care about the product itself, I would simply not repurchase it. However, the items I will show you below are items that I will repurchase no matter what -providing I can still find them and I can afford it- because the product is so good that I am ok to compromise and I will find a way to live with the inconvenience incurred. But, love doesn’t always need to come with pain !!! so if there is any way for the Companies to neutralize this pain, I certainly encourage it ! 🙂
The purpose of this post is to :
- share some tips and tricks in case you are experiencing the same situation with similar products, if you do and you have some advice please also share back with us!
- marketing teams are sometimes scanning for reviews or for feedback from customers, if you have an opinion on these items, either agree or disagree, please also kindly share !
Below some incriminated products that make me question their design, you may recognize some of them :
If you have already tried their products there is a big chance you loved them too. I really deeply love the texture, blendability, staying power, colors, everything about the content is so spot on. The only problem for me it’s the packaging, it is an amazing idea but…. You are meant to twist the back of the pen and that action will push the product out through the middle of the pen’s brush. It works fine the first few times but then with time it starts to get more difficult. There is no way to adequately twist the pen and smoothly control the amount of product you need so you may waste a lot in the process.
I don’t want to soak it and leave it soaking in anything because if I do, the liquid could eventually enter the pen and alter the product, but I have tried washing the brush and it didn’t help a lot, so I snipped the brush with scissors. It hasn’t really solved the problem and it made the pen look… horrible. Even without the brush, the product is not released properly.
There is no way I can manage to not waste product with these pens. The packaging is sexy, unique and a brilliant idea but that does not work really well for me. I have to try to find a way to either depot the product or do something that allows me to use it more economically.
Even though they come with a brush, you still need to use a separate one to blend IMO, you can use your fingers but I don’t like that. Maybe some kind of built-in tube dispenser inside the pen (without the brush tip) would be more appropriate.
If you found a way to use them easily and clean them efficiently, I would really be happy to know how you do it.
I don’t experience problems with the pen for the blushes and the lipsticks but the eyeshadows are a total mess ! I am relieved that they have the foundation also available in bottles because today this is my HG.
If I find a way to solve this problem, I will be really happy and I will probably use these on a daily basis, today the practical aspect of it is the only reason why I don’t use them even more often but I already use them several times a week and I have gone through quite a lot of them already, I still repurchase… but I hope someday they will become easier to use.
I have done a little post about them some time ago if you want to see more.
The packaging is simple and sleek, I don’t use the sponge applicators so all that space for 3 sponge applicators… well… I’d rather preferred if the rest of the space could be used to store their blush or foundation refill, I tried, it wouldn’t fit anyway. But that’s not what drives me insane with this palette. What I really have issues with is the width of the eyeshadow pans. You won’t really be bothered until *mess* day, when you have finished your application, are ready to leave then you decide you “just-want-to-add-a-tiny-bit-more-of-highlight”, you dip your eyeshadow brush, you apply your highlighter … and instead you get a racoon eye !!! I screamed like a beast ! I was so upset because Lutens eyeshadows once they are applied, they have to be removed with strong make up remover so I had to start the whole eye make up all over again and I was already late…
The pans are so narrow that any base or highlight brush you want to use will have problems fitting in. For the darkest colors it doesn’t matter much but for the lightest one, placed so close to such a dark one, it’s just not very handy at all to say the least.
What I did after this episode is move the white shadow further down in the palette where the risk to touch it at the same time as a dark one is minimized !
I wasn’t so concerned at the beginning but when I started to use the palette more often, it turned into a recurring problem.
You can buy refills but just for the white one, so I thought there was a way to move it… It’s very easy, with a knife you lift the 4 eyeshadow pans (you can see the hole at the front and in the middle of the palette), then you can simply pop the white eyeshadow out (little hole to push the pan out). The palette is not that sexy looking now but the stress level is now under control.
Rouge Bunny Rouge
They have a nice formula, just 3 colors I think, I wish they had a few more. They are long lasting and that’s something I tend to go for in priority.
These are expensive pencils, I can’t believe it’s not possible to retract them once you have twisted them out, I don’t know … maybe you want to take a picture of the color to show in your blog or maybe you want to check how much product is left… well, no, don’t do it because you’ll regret it.
For now I will probably not repurchase because I can find other similar colors with Addiction or Chanel, but if they had colors that Addiction didn’t had, yes, I would certainly repurchase. I am just disappointed that for the price they haven’t included that basic function !
RBR make amazing highlighters, they come in huge bottles and they will last you a life time. Well… sort of. If you feel bad about wasting product, you will feel pretty horrible with this. When you press the pump, the amount of product that will be released corresponds to at least 5 applications… If you try to gently press the pump and dose the quantity of product you want, good luck with that !
In the little plastic pot, the contents of just one pump (for me it’s probably enough for 5 to 10 applications) :
You can try to depot some and keep it in a little sample pot, you probably will end wasting less product.
By Terry Ligne Blackstar
I love this eyeliner, it’s not that easy to apply unless you are used to this type of applicators, very directional and sharp. But once on, it’s like a tattoo.
The problem I have with it is that it dries. Not because it dries on its own, but because when you think it’s closed, IT’S NOT. You have to push it really hard to hear a second “click”.
The one at the top is not closed, of course you can see that, but if you don’t pay attention and don’t look, it may remain half-closed.
Mine is dry, doesn’t work anymore. When I bought the purple one, I already had experienced the problem with the black one so I paid more attention and the purple is still working fine.
At the beginning, what I did is remove the tip, turn it over and use the other end… It won’t solve the problem at all but it will allow you to use it for a little longer.
Again, they are not cheap, so I was really sad that it dried so fast, specially when I noticed it was also my fault. Just be careful if you buy them and make sure they are fully closed when you finished with them.
I have to go buy a second black one because this thing is a laser !
Armani or other similar compacts
The new Eyes to kill compacts have two layers, one with the eyeshadows and one with just the applicators. Since I don’t use the applicators, I removed the plastic insert at the bottom of the compact and I store some setting powder instead, or a bronzer or a blush. I do that for many other compacts too, I have just a little beauty bag with me and this allows me to optimize any space available.
It’s not that it drives me crazy, but I highly prefer smaller compacts and if possible without sponge applicators, so this doesn’t only applies to Armani but to any other compacts.
I don’t use the brushes that come with them, sometimes they are good but I often find that the brush they pack with the product is not appropriate for the product it’s meant for. For example La Prairie bronzer, it’s a thick dense (not that soft) brush which to me is good for blush or contour, but not the best option for the finish I want to achieve with this bronzer so I don’t really understand it, but it’s probably just a personal preference. The only applicators I find really good are the ones included in Suqqu or RMK, all the others are discarded, well, not really discarded but kept in a plastic bag for whatever silly reason…
Some compacts are easy to depot, RMK, Suqqu, are meant to be depotted so if you see a little hole, you usually can insert a paperclip and push the pan out. Others like Illamasqua, Dior, use very light glues and can just be lifted from the compact with a knife. My recommendation is : don’t force it ! if it’s not easy, don’t risk it !
My recommendation if you do that : Keep the modified compacts separated from other items otherwise it’s the best way to lose track of where you placed your blushes or eyeshadows !
The Duwop gave me the idea to mix some products like bronzers and blushes, I can show you some that I like to mix together :
Sorry that the pics are sometimes showing the items twice… 🙁
You get the idea, I save space mixing the pans and using very soft double sided tape to keep them in place, if the tape is too strong you won’t be able to easily remove them, avoid casualties !
Nars Longer than Life
A fantastic and long-lasting formula, love love love it.
The problem with these… you have to twist the back of the pencil to get the product out, but you don’t know how much product is left. I use them on a daily basis and I like to see the remaining product as I use it…
I have used a sharpener thinking that this will solve my problem, I thought I would be able to sharpen it as any other pencil since I didn’t care about the twisting… NO. It does not work. Spot the one that has been sharpened :
You see that the beige is not “safe” anymore, I still use it but I have to be careful not to stab my eyes with it. I may try to repair it with something sometime in the future but I’ll probably finish it before anyway.
The idea of the “non-necessary sharpener” is nice but there should be some kind of sign to show where the spring pushing the content is located, or anything similar… Hope you understand what I mean 😉
By the way, you can remove the end and use it to sharpen the point in case you hadn’t noticed.
There are several reasons why I am a bit upset about this #23 brush, if I didn’t care about it, I wouldn’t be so sad but honestly I love this brush to pieces… well, not really because not the handle 😀 but just the head. It’s soft, gentle with my dry skin, no exfoliation whatsoever and it’s just the right size. When I ordered the Rae Morris set, this was the brush I was most excited about when I saw it in Jodi’s video 10:53. Imagine my surprise when I received the set and it was a different #23 instead. The #23 they sent me was a mess, shed like crazy and it’s really not worth it at all.
At the top the one I hate, at the bottom the one I love :
I also hate the magnets in the ferrules, they drive me insane and make me not want to use the brushes at all but again, that’s personal. Another thing that I dislike : some of the brushes rattle (the magnet is unglued). It’s irritating. Despite all that, I still want a backup of this particular one… but it doesn’t exist anymore.
Since this exact #23 was not in the first set, they sent me another set, that’s why I could still get my hands on it… after having paid 250 euros in custom taxes 🙁 yes, they were kind to send me another set, but honestly if I knew I had to pay that much at the customs I wouldn’t have asked for a new set… In conclusion, that was quite an expensive brush to get !
Ordering something and getting something else it’s just wrong, specially when you find something that is so great and then it’s replaced with something not even close.
Le Metier de Beaute kaleidoscopes
The first time I saw this kaleidoscope packaging, I was amazed ! such an innovative idea ! but it comes with some drawbacks …
The first drawback is maybe not that relevant, the design is cool but you have to slide your pans so not the fastest way to use a palette. But the design is fun so I can live with it.
Second drawback, is that they are very fragile, so even though there is a hole to depot them, the glue is often too strong and there is a high risk of breaking them, just be aware, if they resist, I wouldn’t push it…
I have received a few kaleidoscopes with eyeshadows broken so since there is no way for me to return them back to sender, every time I order one I pray 😛
Despite the pain and the difficulties encountered with these items, I still love them -a lot- and I will repurchase them but I honestly think there is room for improvement. I think I could enjoy working as a product design tester -A LOT- !! 😀 Would you ?
Do you have this kind of experiences with beauty products ? How do you deal with the issues ?
I have to comment on this post, again I think it’s fantastic to raise awareness for these issues. And in many ways I agree…
First of all Ellis Faas. I LOVE this product, like you do Sonia! BUT I hate the packaging. Just today I wanted to use my FAVOURITE colour E209 as a base, and guess what, no product came out as it was completely dried out!
I have to say in Ellis Faas defence, when I first bought the products at a small place in Geneva, one of the products was already dried up when I unboxed it back home (miles away). I immediately mailed both the shop and Ellis Faas. I got no response from the shop but the Ellis Faas people mailed me, sent me a replacement and had me pick a second item for free!!! They then sent me a lipstick (L209) instead of an eyeshadow (E209) and rectified that mistake AS WELL! So I got a lipstick AND a special product for free! that was very generous of them AND I would still repurchase, because the products are out of this world!
But the packaging. I hate it with all my heart! I am sorry, but I do! And I also tried to cut the brushes, because they are useless! However, the products are amazing…
My favourite colour is E108 (I think, the purplish taupe) I LOVE it! Looks good on me and I would always always repurchas… and interestingly that colour is still good and doesn’t dry as much and I had not as many problems getting it out.
With the Lights like E305… ALWAYS huge amount that is being wasted. I can also throw money out of the window, like REALLY!
As for some of your other comments, I don’t know some of the products or brands. But I think there’s still this desire to put applicators in the packaging for those women who are less make-up savy. I get that it annoys you (or me), but I also understand that a lot of women who don’t have the brushes, want that… so I guess the companies just try to appeal to everyone, but I totally get you!
Hmmm I think a small place in Geneva could be one I found on the web some time ago but I never went there ! so weird ! I have to 🙂
Amazing mistakes in a row 😀 but I am glad it turned out well at the end and that Ellis Faas sent you some goodies ! I really wish they could do something about it, I heard they would improve it but I don’t know if it has been done recently. I shall contact them and ask !
I agree 100%, gosh the colors are really truly flattering (at least on me), everytime I wear them I feel incredibly good and it lasts all day 😛 (oh by the way I saw your post ! 😀 fantastic, let me come back to it tomorrow – I am thinking how to condense what I have to say !)
You are right, I am a bit selfish here because I only think of my own usage and I have some friends that still religiously use the sponge applicators.
I think I also meant to give some ideas to those who like me don’t use them, but yes, you are absolutely right about companies trying to please most of their customers 🙂
thank you so much for your input Aldona, hope we can meet soon !
Well it was the only place in CH that was holding Ellis Faas products. I had a job at the time, so I could go mad. But yes, Ellis Faas customer support is really really good… and if they do improve their products, let me know.
Recently they changed the formula of Milky Eyes all into the Creamy Eyes texture (and as I said, the Milky Eye did dry up in the tube on me… so maybe that helps)… but if they do something about the packaging even better…
And no, you’re not selfish 🙂
yes we should meet. but I can’t really travel these days (have to be with my mom)… but hopefully next time i come around!
I hope you are doing fine despite the situation, big hug !
I soooooooooooooooooooooooooo agree Sonia, especially the magnets on the rae morris brushes!! good idea on paper!!! but in reality it’s a nightmare for storage and it drove me nuts!!!!I sold them on ebay!! couldn’t stand them anymora!! for the nars pencils, I totally agree too!!!!
by the way I received my evgueny brush and I love it: suuuuper soft!!!!
thanks again for your blog!
I store my Rae Morris in an open pencil brush, so that they don’t move !! http://sweetmakeuptemptations.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/brushdrawer.jpg
glad you love the Evgeny, I have received the rest of the collection today ! youhouuuu I have to wash them and use them now !! These are sable and goat so not sure about how much I will use them, will see, they are soft but I have to try them 🙂
I think it’s kind of fitting you as a brush collector would end up with the rattling Rae Morris ones, the ones she made herself 😀 http://store.raemorris.com/blogs/faqs/6324898-my-brush-rattles-what-is-it
In a way, they’re quite the collector’s item!
I know Olga… yes in a way… but my opinion remains that a product paid so expensive needs to meet expectations and these products do not meet mine at all. It’s not acceptable to have products you cannot use because they are faulty since the beginning.
Although I learned a lot from her makeup tutorials, there is no reason to be proud to create and distribute faulty brushes, she should have call them back and replace them. I know she is launching new ones because she is aware there were problems with the older ones but honestly I am very disappointed and I am not sure I want to purchase the new ones after all the money wasted in the first place.
Yes! I hadn’t considered her brushes at all, they’re just not visually attractive to me personally, but the way you’ve written about loving the Radiance is slowly getting to me. I’m considering getting it at some point, but then I read about the quality of the others, look at the price and go, um, “noo way…”. Even the Radiance too, I think in your comparison of the old and the new one I remember thinking the old one looked like the wood would give you splinters very easily :(. 85 dollars… For that kind of money it should not only do the job, be amazing to handle but also tuck me in and sing me a lullaby at night :D.
oh I see what you mean 😀
She nailed it with the Radiance, although many are similar, nothing compares in terms of efficiency. So… yes, I still recommend it to you but only if you have a use for it, there is no point in buying a brush (even if it’s good) if you don’t intend to use in your make up routine. Today there is a lot to choose from, better to target the most useful ones 😀
I could have a chorus line lullaby with my 4 Radiance brushes 😀 but I am still waiting for it… nope, they don’t do that.
I think it’s just curiosity on my part! To be honest, no, I don’t need it. But I look at it and I read how much people like it, how awesome it is and… I have trouble believing it :D. Something about the way the hair looks reminds me of an old broom in the corner of my grandmother’s kitchen in a tiny, godforsaken town in The Ukraine. And I remember that thing being rough and coarse! So I look at the Radiance and think, there is no way that thing feels nice, not possible :D.
Because I’ve had a long fascination with Japan, this type of brush not being something I actually need, I’d much rather get a traditional Japanese version, like the ones by Hakuhodo, as more of an art piece that I’d use sometimes. Although I don’t like light wood or white hair, there’s something about the little string and writing in Japanese that would make it a precious object to me. More so than the Rae, even though you’ve compared them, and that one is better.
I will talk about this in my future post but, while researching for brushes you have several phases, first you discover the softest and you want only the softest, then after a long while you give a chance to “less-soft-but-still-soft-enough” that will blow your mind in terms of efficiency, just like this Radiance for example. The similar brushes from other companies are not as soft because this shape is meant for traditional Geisha makeup which is more granular and opaque, this Radiance is not for traditional makeup, it is meant for flawless airbrushed makeup.
I did order some brushes that didn’t meet my expectations at first, then I rediscovered them when I could not find the one I needed for the product I wanted to use. There is a place for every good brush, but not every brush is meant for every body, that’s something you can only experience by yourself. And in a way… I only “need” many brushes because I have a lot of make up items that differ a lot in texture, I just like and enjoy to experiment otherwise I get bored 😀 (I have a tendency to be hyper-active and I get bored easily, please don’t take it the wrong way 🙂 )
My annoyances are firstly, the Armani High Precision Retouch concealers and the Master Correctors which have the same packaging. The contents somehow manage to seep up to the opening and spill out all around the rim. I’ve been ultra careful in keeping them upright yet it still happens. I know it’s probably from air being pushed into the tube and forcing out the product but I don’t feel any pressure of air as I gently and slowly replace the lid with the applicator on it. Sigh…
I love your idea of putting another powder product into the empty space in a palette such as the Kevyn Aucoin ones. I’m going to try that – thanks !
Hi Mary, I had the same problem with a By Terry concealer but I think it was just that one which was faulty, it doesn’t close properly and sometimes it opens in my bag 🙁
good luck with keeping your Armani safe, I guess you must love them, I haven’t tried those.. yet 🙂
The Kevyn arrived unglued so it was easy to depot 😛
you are welcome !!
Oops, I forgot to add my second annoyance with packaging. It is the Real Technique brush handles. They are too big and wide at the base and don’t fit into brush holders properly. Otherwise they are great brushes.
Yes I find the same, I need wider jars to store them… but I do enjoy the brushes too 🙂
Hi Sonia, I enjoyed reading this post as I have been frustrated by lousy packaging also! I do some of the same things you do like combine palettes and depot, but most of the time I refuse to buy some products just because of their poor design. Make up application should be enjoyable and there is no sense in getting frustrated when there are so many other great products available! I hope some redesign to make their product user friendly, but if not, they are not for me regardless of how good they may be.
You are strong, I understand you, I wish I could be as strong… 🙂 sometimes I just can’t refrain from buying something that I really love 🙁
I can totally relate to all these issues. Go away with the applicators and leave room to combine the products. I did this w/my KA Sculpting powder and celestial highlighter. They fit perfect in one compact. After reading your problem with the RM #23 brush. I have a brush that I love that is very, very similar its from Eco tools the Alicia Silverstone Finishing brush. It does exactly what in the video she shows. It came in a set and not sure though if it is still available but there is always ebay. 😉
Hi Mandi, I’ve been thinking of combining my KA sculpting powder and celestial highlighter but was afraid they would get mixed and I’m also having problems getting the pan out of the palette. Any comments or suggestions?
I had used a dropper to drop alcohol in the gaps around the edge of the 4 corners (the curved parts). It will loosen the glue on the bottom. And then used a very thin tool (utility knife) on the corner where it had the most gap and it just easily pulled it up. 🙂
Btw: I just placed an order per your review for the set of Evgeny brushes. I mentioned I saw your blog hence why I needed to purchase. 🙂
Clever girl, you! Thanks for the tip.
Thank you Mandi, nice tip, haven’t tried that yet 🙂
oh and thanks for the info 😛 I hope you will love them !
Mandi, that is brilliant!! I never thought of putting alcohol in the palette before lifting.
Just a tip for others trying it: My attempt did not work well — after adding alcohol, I tried lifting the pan from a corner that was loose but I did not know there was a gigantic blob of unsoftened glue on other corner so my product cracked. I think if I had left the alcohol in for more than a few minutes and tried to to slide the pan from side to side to check if the glue is softened enough before lifting, I could have avoided the mishap. I patted the cracks down with alcohol so it should be okay although not pretty!
Oh no I’m sorry to hear you cracked it. Yes you have to let the alcohol sit and if you feel its not loose enough drop more alcohol on it and repeat if necessary. The alcohol will also take any excess glue off. This is how I have depotted all my shadows/blushes and never had any issues.
Thanks for your empathy. I’m just glad to have learned a new way to depot that doesn’t involve hot irons or lit candles!
oh well.. that’s why I am not forcing when it doesn’t work immediately but at least I also learned something… this tip can help us all 🙂
Thanks for the heads-up about allowing time for the alcohol to do its work!
Rather like judging when to offer the refill of the champagne to your guests.
I will check that during the weekend, thank you 🙂
I am glad there are similar options 🙂
Rae Morris are being “revamped” and i know from personally speaking with her there were issues with manufacturing etc… i was VERY lucky in that none of mine were duds but i know some people (like yourself) not a few bad ones. I also think the handles have been changed (black i think – might be wrong!) … so lets see eh! PS – LOVING Evgeny brushes – thank you xx
I think it’s a good idea to change the handles and I confirm there was some issues in the manufacturing, despite that, I enjoy part of the set a huge lot, specially this 23 and the Radiance !!
So let’s see what’s coming 😉
you are welcome dear, I hope you will fall in love with the pink fan now 😛 😀 😀 😀
Again, fantastic post!! 🙂
Must ask you, have you tried the Chikuhodo LQ-13?
Hi, thank you 🙂 do you have the link ? I can’t find it…
I have it, I just havent had the time to put it in the shop 🙂
Bernadette, http://diabolusincosmetica.blogspot.se/, tried it and she liked it very much. So I was thinking….hmmm Sonia might also have tried it ;D
no I haven’t yet 🙂
thank you for the link !!
Sometimes I wonder what these companies do to test their packaging for function before they come to market, seriously! >.<
I would like to know 🙂
Misery loves company!
I did precisely the same thing with a NARS Longer Than Life pencil. 🙁
After reading this thread and inspired by your cleverness and Mandy’s DIY savvy, I’m steeling myself to perform a circumcision with a cutter.
Sacrificing a bit of product, but recovering the possibility of using a lovely pencil without blinding myself.
oh.. will ask my BF to do something to that pencil for me 😛 thanks for the tip !
It’s very simple and easy!
After the operation, you can use nail files to achieve smooth edges and the ‘slope’ you’d like on the casing of the pencil.
I’d never have thought to try this if it weren’t for this thread! 🙂
If one day I decide to depot all my LMdB I will use that method 🙂
I agree that sometimes packaging can be such a pain! I might do what you did with the Armani eyeshadow palette and stick a powder in there!
So glad about this post.
I really want to buy a LeMB kaleidoscope and went to the store to check it out several times, I’ll gladly shell out the 100 bucks. However I can’t get over how hugly the packaging is. It looks cheap and bulky and walked out with no item several times. What a shame for such a great brand!! If I pay that much I have to love it and it has to look classy, this does not.
I depot all my MAC pressed eyeshadows using Wayne’s method of popping them into the oven (heated to 100C) for 2-5 mins. This method dries up the glue and I pry the pot using a flat spatula. It’s best to try it with cheap eyeshadows first so you get the hang of it.
Here’s Wayne’s video : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcX3BNfO2_A
Thank you Tessa, haven’t tried this method yet !
This was an excellent post!
Thank you Wayne !!
Agh! I hate that the RBR pencils do that, too! Or rather, don’t retract. It’s a shame because I really do love them.
yes I don’t understand this !!!
HI! Haven’t been on in a looong time because I was swamped with classes but the larger than life eyeliner that you sharpened? I did exactly the same thing and felt so stupid afterwards but if wind the pencil all the way down so you have as little product sticking out as possible, you can blunt the sharp edges with a nail file so you can use it without poking your eyes out. Hope this helps!
Hi Tori !
that’s a fantastic idea ! will definitely try it tonight 🙂 thank you !!
You are a woman after my own heart in so many ways. Great post! Like you, I detest unnecessarily cumbersome packaging. I depot, rearrange makeup pans, and appropriate sleek compacts/packaging to create the most efficient makeup “holders” I can. I have mostly drugstore and medium-end products, but still manage to make them look as sleek as yours.