I opened my box, and boom! Totally full of FULL SIZE stuff. Whoa, Mary Kay definitely was generous. Plus, I couldn't help but smile a little at a box that greets me with "Hello, gorgeous!"
On top was a Mary Kay catalog that was full of pictures, and even some nice makeup application tips. I still wasn't sure what all was included until I moved the catalog out of the way. Basically, Mary Kay gave me everything to do a whole face application minus foundation and concealer (although that isn't for everyone, but I'm a fan). There are even three brushes included!
The first item I picked up was lip gloss. The shade I received is Mango Tango, which is an orange with a teeny bit of red. I'm not usually an orange fan, so I will probably wear this over another shade. I totally imagined that this shade would be very - maybe a tint of orange. I swatched a little bit on my (pasty pale!) hand so you can see how pigmented it is, which is fairly pigmented! There is a bit of shimmer, which is a little difficult to detect when it's on. It didn't really have a smell, which I'm happy with. The lip gloss is $14 for .15oz, which I think is pretty reasonable.
Next up was their Gel Eyeliner in Jet Black. For a summer look, I would have preferred a brown or bronze shade, but black is a classic for a reason. While I like that it comes with a little brush (the lid comes off), I didn't love the brush. I feel like the brush made it difficult to make a thin line, which I tend to prefer. No problem! I have a nice assortment of brushes, so I use an angled liner brush and was pretty happy with the gel liner. It is nicely pigmented (I tried one from the drugstore a few years ago that required me to layer over and over to get a dark color, otherwise it was kind of sheer). It also applies very easily - you're not going to deal with any tugging or skipping. It was smooth and creamy, and glided along my lash line.
Before I tried out the liner on my lash line, I swatched a little on the back of my hand. I didn't expect to be swayed by this much as I really love my current liner (Tarte's Waterproof Clay Liner, which also comes with a brush), but Mary Kay's gel liner is pretty impressive! After a few minutes, I rubbed where I applied the liner and no smudging, smearing, or fading. I even got a paper towel damp and tried rubbing with only a small amount of smudging (and I was rubbing pretty hard). The gel liner is $18, which I think is pretty reasonable, although I would ditch the little brush and invest in either a skinny brush (like Tarte's) or an angled brush.
Next up is Cream Eye Color in Apricot Twist. I swatched it on my hand, but it barely showed up. It was a nice sheer wash of gold on my eyes, and I think I'll end up using this the most. At $14 with some nice colors, I could see myself picking up a few more of these. Apricot Twist was a little more sheer than the Maybelline Color Tattoos I've tried, and I liked the feel better.
To finish off your eyes, they included Lash Love mascara, which is considered their lengthening mascara. I love this style of plastic brush - I love that they do the best job at separating my lashes. I like a little bit of lengthening, but prefer a bit more volume than this mascara gives. However, it built up nicely and didn't flake. L'oreal Voluminous mascara is cheaper (usually under $10, while Lash Love is $15), but my favorite is still Benefit's They're Real. One quick swipe gives a more natural look, so I will probably reserve this for work or a day when I'm going for a more natural look.
The sifter twists so you can close it without all of your powder ending up in the top. Bare Escentuals does the same thing with their face powders and foundations, and I really like that Mary Kay has a similar concept for their powder. I like this powder. I had on a bit of highlighter today and I applied the powder on top - it took down any shine that I had without making me look too matte or cake-y. I like setting my makeup with translucent powder, as I find it makes my makeup last longer and helps a little with shine.
Just for size comparison, here is the powder brush next to the eye brush that was included. So you don't have to use your finger, Mary Kay decided to include their Cream Eye Color/Concealer Brush, which runs $10. I would happily pay $10 and think this is a really nice brush. The bristles feel synthetic (I find that synthetic works better for liquid or cream product). I don't have a concealer brush of this size (mine is really small) so I'm debating picking up an extra to use for my under eye concealer. I normally apply my Maybelline cream shadows with my middle finger, but I liked giving the brush a shot with the cream shadow - I didn't have to worry about sticking my finger in the shadow pot, plus it was super easy to apply.
Since it's warming up, I know I'll be reaching for the bronzer a lot more (and will be posting a detailed review of just this soon - if you're familiar with lupus, you know people with lupus need to stay out of the sun. I spent less than 15 minutes outside without sunscreen, including my drive, and then drove 45 minutes after applying sunscreen. The next day I was achier than usual and had a rash on my arms - typical for me if I am out in the sun). I appreciate brands that sell more than one shade of bronzer. I'm fair and already need to use a bit of a light hand, more so if I'm sharing the same shade as everyone. Mary Kay sent me their Bronzing Powder in Light-Medium, which will cost you $18. Mary Kay also sells separate compacts which are nice looking (the "mini" size which fits one bronzer is $16, but they have two larger sizes that fit more products).
I used to be a little unsure about using blush. I often get a bit of redness on my face (thanks again, lupus!) so if I cover it up with makeup, why on earth would I add more color back on my cheeks? Then I had my makeup done and the artist used a light hand applying blush. Instantly I looked a bit more awake. My shade is Shy Blush, and is mineral-based (the description also says that it is oil-absorbing and applies easily). On me, it's a natural looking peachy-pink and I'm in love. This is my favorite item in the whole box! A quick swatch looked natural, and you can easily build the blush up. I found that it lasted all day the first time that I wore it (and it was a long work day - over 10 hours of work, plus a longer than usual commute). Since I can see myself using this blush often, I'm debating getting the medium size compact (would fit the blush and 3 shadows). The blush on its own is $12, which I think is a great price, and while the container it arrived in isn't super pretty, it's sturdy and serves its purpose.
Here I applied a quick swipe of blush, with a little translucent powder on top. I used a thin line of the gel liner and layered the Lash Love mascara (with Mally Volumizing mascara - one quick coat of each).