"One Lump, or Two?"

Friday, June 3, 2016

Second Chance: Hard Candy

   Hard Candy is a brand that has been around since 1995, and was some of the first makeup I ever tried! I recently noticed they've really stepped up their formulas and packaging, and basically got really excited to give them a second chance. Why? Because this company is not only extremely affordable, but it is an independent company that is cruelty free from start to finish of all products! The only downfalls about the brand were:
  • I couldn't find product ingredients anywhere other than the packaging, which was so small I couldn't really read them well enough to type them for you all, so I had to email the company asking for them and was never contacted back (emailed three times).
  • This brand is exclusively sold at Walmart... Dear HC Team, please pitch your brand to Target, or at least a more ethical company (or sell on your own site). Thank you!
   I usually use the Anastasia Brow Pomade, MAC Tinted Brow Gel, and/or a variety of brow pencils for my eyebrows. I've liked the look of my eyebrows since a very young age (especially before they started falling out), learning how important they are when framing the face in art classes... So, the first item that caught my attention was the Brow Ink: 24hr Brow Stain - I am constantly on the hunt for better and better gels to not only keep my unmanageable brows locked in place, but also to give them more color. My brows, like my lashes, are sparse due to my illness so I like my brow gels to give the illusion of my eyebrows being more full. In the photo above I'm showing the gel on the left (my right) eyebrow, without any other makeup/grooming products... Lets just say that this product met each of the mentioned standards thus far.
   The advertising for this product describes it as "long wear ink technology with henna" with a "micro precision brush". Now the brush is extremely thin, but was way too long, so I cut almost 1/3 of it off to have better control while using the product... The color I chose was Medium Dark, and the package color made me me assume it would be too light for me but I was dead wrong! This color is beautifully dark and glides on wonderfully; it is a slightly thicker formula than what I'm used to but I really like it. I tried the Brow Ink with and without primers and other brow makeup - the results were always the same. My brows stayed in place all day (as long as I didn't brush against them but it was easy to push them back into place), through rain, humidity, wind, and my oily skin... This hadn't happened before the Brow Ink came into my life... Finally, for how strong this gel is, it was a happy surprise that the Brow Ink: 24hr Brow Stain was quite easy to clean off at the end of the day.
   I give this product a 4/5 and think I'll grow to enjoy it even more as I master using its thin brush.

    Next we have the Look Pro! Illuminate & Strobing Mix-In Drops, which are meant to go in foundation for some extra glow or on their own for a dewy highlight... This product is great for thinning out a more thick liquid foundation to make it more wearable in warmer months, not to mention it is great for all skin types (I had some help testing it)... My favorite way to use the Look Pro! is on my brow bone and collar bones as a highlight, or to thin out thick foundation (like I mentioned) when I'm feeling the need to be particularly glowy. The formula is thin, easy to build up/layer, with a pearlized finish but it was hard for me to photograph just how lovely it looks.
   Adorable packaging that looks great on my vanity, but the applicator dropper is a bit loose... I think this might be a new summer staple for me, so I'm giving it a 4.5/5.
    Our third product to discuss is actually three products - the Velvet Mousse Matte Lip Colors in:
  • Dahlia, a very deep berry (distinct hints of purple and red in different lighting) - Glides on completely opaque with much thicker formula than I expected. Almost too creamy to be able to control putting it on my lips as effortlessly as some other similar products. Once it had settled on my lips the color became a tad lighter, and continued to fade even before eating/drinking anything... I like the color but most dark shades like this from drug store brands don't do as well as the lighter shades.
  • Tulip, a cool red - Very slightly less opaque than Dahlia or Cherry Blossom, and lasted a tad longer than Dahlia. I'm most picky about my red lipsticks, so I think my love for such a select few keeps me from liking this particular color a bit more. It is a very lovely shade though, and I think it is perfect for those that like orange-reds as well as blue-reds.
  • Cherry Blossom, a deep rosy pink - I clearly have a love for rosy pinks that I hadn't ever tapped into before the last few months, and this is just another I'm enjoying right now. Glided on remarkably well, lasted much longer than the other shades, and the scent was a bit less intense.
   The applicators are similar to some of the LA Splash wands and I really like the precision I'm able to achieve with them. I did not expect these lippies to dry (not stay wet/tacky) as much as they did, thus having much better staying power than expected as well. The scent is like a vanilla cupcake, a tad too perfumed for my liking, but it fades once the product dries.
   As far as packaging, I find it unnecessarily bulky, but absolutely adorable with watercolor floral patterns, different for each color. When you open the small case there is a nice, slim mirror and the lippies themselves are set into this faux velvet casing (which was cute for branding but it was hard to initially pop the product out). The product itself is extremely sleek and lightweight, so it is great for tucking in a small pocket of a bag and trucking around with.
   Have I used better lippies? Yes, of course, but I was happily surprised by the Velvet Mousse Matte Lip Color range and give them a 3.5/5.
   Our final product(s) to chat about are the Sheer Envy Primers in Shine Free and Ultra Light... I'm forever on the hunt for a face primer to fall in love with, so I grabbed these:
  • Shine Free, "controls shine for a matte finish" - Alright so this formula feels exactly like the POREfessional, even though it looks more like a gel (its not), and it works for me how POREfessional used to work for me (not it just makes me extra oily and makeup melts off my face). It took a bit longer than my more high end primers to settle into/onto my skin before it wasn't "wet" feeling (and made foundation look blotchy), but once settled it smoothed out my skin nicely... It works and seems consistent, and would be good if you ever are traveling and forget your primer or are running low on funds, but it doesn't blow any others out of the water (3/5).
  • Ultra Light, "prolongs makeup wear and evens skin tone" - The formula of this primer is like a more whipped, yet somehow thinner, consistency than the Shine Free version. When I first opened it the formula had sort of separated and some oil came out first when I tried to use it, and it takes a tiny bit longer than the Shine Free to settle in/on skin... Honestly, I'm not a fan of this formula, which sort of sucks, because I usually love light/oil free formulas better than matte-specific formulas but not this time (2/5).
   I will admit that I've already gone out and grabbed the new Hard Candy Sheer Envy Pore-Defense Primer Serum and the Fast&Fabulous Setting Spray in hopes that they perform better... I'll keep you all posted!

   All in all I'm quite impressed with how far Hard Candy has come since I first tried the brand, so very long ago. I'll be trying some of their other products in time (such as the primer serum and setting spray I mentioned)... Who wouldn't be willing to try more of such an affordable, cruelty free brand?   Know one of their products that I just NEED to try? Let me know!

*This post is in no way sponsored and all opinions are my own.*
xoxo Elle
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