Stealing Beauty: Primark Cosmetics Review

Sunday 21 March 2010

Despite staying away from the place for six months, I seem to have accumulated a fair amount of make-up from my love/hate shopping destination, Primark. It's very eye-catching stuff, and people always comment and ask about it. A lot are suprised to learn that Primark even do make-up and that some of it is fairly decent (considering the price point, it's actually pretty good!).

I wondered about doing a review post on it for some time, but I've decided I'll go ahead and post some comments about it.

In general, the range is packaged quite innovatively, with bright pop-art style prints and cheeky names that really catch your eye. The packaging is fairly sturdy. The shade range is quite limited, only running to three or four shades at the most, and some items, such as blush, only appear in one shade, which can be restrictive.

In terms of innovation, I feel they've 'borrowed' quite heavily from brands such as Benefit and Soap and Glory - that kind of retro, tongue-in-cheek feel. Items are from around one-pound-fifty to three or four pounds, so nothing's going to break the bank. I seem to have gotten quite a few pieces because of this, throwing an item or two into my basket while I'm standing in line. At these prices, you can really afford to try everything out and see if there isn't something you end up loving.

The products I have tried are:

Eye Shine Brightly Eye Gloss in 'Gold Glitz' - I really, really hated this product - but I think that might be because I just don't like eye glosses at all. It's the first time I've tried a gloss formulation on the eyes, and it just didn't suit me at all. I found it sticky, gloopy and hateful to apply, let alone get any kind of shape with. It creased like hell (can eye glosses ever not crease like hell?) and forget wearing any kind of eyeliner with it, because that just ends up as a blurry mess. I think perhaps it might work if you wore it on its own, with just a touch of mascara, but it wasn't for me.

Happy Couple Duo Blusher and Bronzer
- This product I really did like! It comes in a stiffened cardboard tub, like the Benefit powders, with a little brush. Half the pan is a very pink blush with warm undertones and a slight shimmer, and a lighter, orangey bronzer which is very shimmery again! Because it is quite shimmery, I've preferred it either for night-time, or for on holiday, when I have a bit of a tan anyway. I don't think it would suit paler skin tones, because the colours are very warm. The colours look fresh on the skin and last well. I used the bronzer just under my cheekbones and pink on the apples - you couldn't really contour with it as its too golden and would be really noticeable!

Little Glow Cheek Block Bronzer in 'Sunkissed'
- Another product that's been thrown to the back of my drawer for dire emergencies only or when I find some other way to make it work.It's based on a Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick, but then a lot of the newer bronzers are. It's intended to have different strips of colour that mix when you sweep a brush over the whole to get a multi-tonal effect.It was only available in this one shade and its just waaayy too dark. The browns they've used are really muddy too, and the different strips of colour do not mix up well.

Tinted Love Highlighter and Cheek Gel -
this is a double-ended wand with a red cheek gel at one end and a peachy, golden-toned highlighter on the other. Basically, a complete 're-imagining' of Benefit's BeneTint and MoonBeam products. I had a mixed reaction to this product. I wasn't keen on the cheek stain gel - the colour was okay, but it was messy to apply, not pigmented enough and not very long lasting. I felt like I had to apply half the tube to get it to show up! The gel was too sheer and needed to be thicker and more syrupy. Perhaps I just expected too much from it after years of BeneTint. The highlighter, however, was really good. I loved the colour of it, and it gave a smooth, creamy, flattering uplight to my skin. The colour is a happy medium because it doesn't look too obvious, so could be used for day or night.

Souffleye Mousse Eyeshadow in 'Mint Cream'
- again, its probably just me not really getting on with non-powder eyeshadows. But if I use mousse or cream formulations, an absolute no-no for me is if they crease, which this one did, in spades. It slid around on my lids and most of a colour had creased or evaporated before I'd finished the rest of my make-up! I did love the colour, which was roughly the colour of mint ice-cream and really made my orangey-toned brown eyes pop, but there's no way I could use this again for work. I haven't tried it with a eye base first, which might make a difference, but I doubt if it would completely save this product.

Whiplash Volume and Curl Mascara in 'Black Lash'
- this mascara comes in a squeezy plastic tube, a bit like Eyeko Big Eyes, which is a product I love, so I subconsciously thought it might be like that. The truth is, its nowhere near as good.The wand is shorter than most, which I really like as I think it gives you more maneuverability and control. However, the product formulation is very gloopy and too liquid, meaning that it smudges and smears all over the place which is intensely annoying as it ruins your eye make-up. Once on the lashes, the product does a good job of darkening the lashes, appearing very black. Volume is decent, but nowhere near the super-league of volume mascaras like YSL Faux Cils or Lancome Fatale, although seeing as it only costs a couple of pounds, perhaps that's a rather unfair comparison! It also promises to curl lashes, but I found exactly the opposite, it actually curled my lashes LESS than my usual mascara. I also felt that if you got remotely hot, it would melt right off and give you serious panda eyes. It's going to be my Sunday morning or emergency mascara! It occurs to me that if I left the top off for half an hour and let it dry out a little, it might actually be easier to use!

Ta Ta For Now Concealer in 'Light'
- Unlike when it comes to foundation, I'm actually pretty concealer loyal. I've been using L'Oreal's Touche Magique for a while now, and have never found a good reason to change as it suits me. TTFN certainly won't be changing that. It comes in a hot pink wand with a built in brush. Clicking a button at the bottom brings the product out on the brush. I liked that it has additonal skin goodies - vitamin E and aloe vera - which for a product at this price range is very good. The formula is fairly easy to blend, but it doesn't last a whole day, and needs a definite re-touch at midday. That doesn't bother me so much, my main issue is that its not yellow-toned enough. If a concealer is specifically intended to cover dark circles, it needs a stronger yellow colour to counteract the purple and blue shadows. This one doesn't have it, so if you have an issue with shadows, like I do, its not ideal - but its not bad enough to jettison. I'll use it until it runs out, then return to my usual!

Fatal Retraction Eyeliner Pencil in Black
- This was the first thing I tried from Primark's make-up range. It's an automatic pencil with a blending brush at the other end. It was a really dark black, so brilliant for night-time and smoky eyes. The formula was pretty creamy, but at night I usually 'set' my eyeliner with eyeshadow over the top, so it suited me. The blending wand is a really nice touch. My only qualm was that after I'd used it a couple of times, the pencil shattered (the product itself, not the casing) and it all fell out. I don't have this problem often and I'm not rough with it, so I think the product was just a little too fragile.

So, Primark make-up is a bit mixed - but at those prices, definitely worth a try!

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