Amongst cruelty-free beauty bloggers, W3ll People’s Expressionist mascara has gotten rave reviews, so I was excited when I noticed that Target.com had started selling W3ll People products. Since this mascara is supposed to be a more natural product, it’s also won recognition from Allure and Elle magazines. Unfortunately, I did not find this mascara to live up to the hype. The one good thing I can say about it is that it did not clump at all. You don’t need to wipe any excess mascara off the wand. This does darken my lashes nicely and it can be built up a little bit but on me it also smudges and flakes. If you are one of those people who can wear regular (rather than waterproof mascara) without having issues with smudging, then you may like this mascara. But I am not one of those people and so this mascara is basically a $20 piece of trash. If you’re looking for a natural mascara, I recommend Pacifica’s mascara which has a very similar formula and wand, but is half the price and is available in a water-resistant formula.
As an ethical shopper, Wal-Mart is a store I’ve always avoided shopping at. However, when I heard that Drew Barrymore’s cruelty free brand, FLOWER Beauty, was also made in America, I knew I had to venture into the heart of darkness to check the brand out. Please note that not every product made by FLOWER Beauty is made in the US. The brushes are made in China, for instance, and unlike Eco Tools and Real Techniques, the brand does not make any kind of public statement about making sure that their factories adhere to ethical standards. Please double check each label to make sure the product you’re buying is made in America. I’m happy to report that all the products I tried were fragrance-free. As someone whose allergies are often irritated by fragranced products (indeed, fragrance is a skin irritant so even if you’re not allergic, your fragranced products may be causing your skin problems). Another note about the brand is that they seem to have cut corners on quality control. Of the products I ordered online, fully half were defective in some way (the mascara did not have the rubber lip which wipes excess mascara off the wand, the eyeliner stick one of the twist up eyeliners kept falling out the tube, making it un-useable and the highlighter chubby had the same problem (which is why I didn’t review it here). But the good news is that Wal-Mart was happy to return or exchange all the defective items. And I’m intrigued enough by the affordability and accessibility of this (mostly) ethical brand that I am going to try some more of their products for another review in the next few months.
- Zoom-In Ultimate Mascara Waterproof – Waterproof mascara is the number one thing that people request recommendations on. It’s VERY difficult to find an ethically made waterproof mascara for some reason! I really wanted to love this mascara because it’s so accessible and affordable, but unfortunately, I found it to be just ok. The gimmick with this mascara is that the wand comes with a dial at the base so you can customize your brush. It’s a cute idea, but I found I wasn’t thrilled by any of the wand shapes, and I mostly just ended up using wands from other mascaras. The formula itself is very wet and goopy. You have to really wipe the wand off before applying it or else it will clump, smear and flake. You also can’t pack it in to add volume because if you do too many layers, it will flake. If you are looking for a natural looking mascara, one that will add some definition and length and is waterproof, then this will work for you. Just don’t apply more than a couple of coats or it will smudge or flake. I tried to use this as a waterproofing top coat and it smudged on me. So I do not recommend this mascara, sadly.
- Lighten Up! Brightening Concealer – This is FLOWER Beauty’s version of YSL’s Touche Éclat and like that product is more of a highlighter than a concealer. I applied this on the top of my cheekbones, in the middle of my forehead and down the center of my nose. It does a decent job of highlighting those areas, however, I notice that it really grabs on to my setting powder, leaving a slightly cakey finish. This could be a function of the fact that I have dry skin. If any of you have normal-to-oily skin and try the product, please let me know in the comments how it performs for you!
- Easy on the Eyes Longwear Eyeliner – This is a twist-up eyeliner like TheBalm and Jordana’s. The one workable color I got (Khaki Shimmer) was not very pigmented and I found the wear to be average. Because the quality is so similar to Jordana’s Easyliners and these eyeliners are twice the price, I don’t recommend this product unless you’re drawn to a specific color.
- Shadow Play Eyeshadow Quad – I got this quad in the color Smoke & Mirrors, which looked like a beautiful neutral-toned matte palette. Unfortunately, the pigmentation on these shadows was really weak. Yes, the colors are pretty but I think the quality of Sonia Kashuk’s eyeshadows is superior at a similar price point.
- Eyes on the Prize Eyeshadow Chubby – I was pretty excited about this chubby as creamy eyeshadows can be longer lasting than powder. Again, I was disappointed with the performance of this. After an hour or two it had completely disappeared off my eyes. Where did it go? Maybe the same place my socks always disappear to.
- Color Play Crème Eye Shadow – I was really hoping that this product would mimic Maybelline’s Color Tattoo shadows which work great as a primer and really make eye shadow looks last longer. Sadly, no. Over the course of the day it faded away to nothing.
- Transforming Touch Powder-to-Crème Blush – I was really intrigued by the gimmick of this blush – I’ve seen cream to powder blushes but never powder to cream! This blush has a really unique texture (even though it is a powder, it has a slightly slippery feel which I guess is the to cream part of the formula), it is also very pigmented and is highly blendable. It gives a gorgeous flush to the cheeks and is very long lasting. It comes in two colors – A-coral-ble – a warm-toned pink and Tickled Pink – a cool-toned pink. I have to admit, I don’t really reach for these powders very much since I’ve tested them for review but they’re well-formulated.
- Win Some, Rouge Some Crème Blush – I believe these blushes have been repackaged and I am uncertain if the repackaging was accompanied by a reformulation. The ones I bought for review come in a little pot. The new packaging is more like a classic drugstore blush container and includes a foam applicator. These blushes are really nice – very blendable and long lasting. They give a very natural flush to the cheeks. They were definitely my favorite product from the FLOWER Beauty line. I guess I’ll have to try the repackaged versions to see how they stack up!
- Lip Suede Velvet Lip Chubby – Matte lipsticks tend to come in two types. The first type, the true matte, tends to be highly pigmented and a little bit dry. The second type (usually billed as a moisturizing matte) is a regular moisturizing lipstick with cornstarch (or something similar) added to give it a slightly matte to satin finish. These lip chubbies fall into the second category. Although they are not as long lasting as my beloved long wear liquid lipsticks, they are an excellent option for days when I just want to grab a lippy and go. They’re soft and comfortable to wear and a breeze to reapply. The only downside is these types of lipsticks can accentuate patches of dry skin so make sure your lips are exfoliated before you apply this.
- Kiss Stick Velvet Lip Color – Like the Velvet Lip Chubby, this lipstick is soft and comfortable to wear. It does tend to smear a little so you’d be best off using a lip liner. This is a nicely pigmented and comfortable option for someone who prefers a tube lipstick and the packaging looks very pretty.
- Lip Radiance High Shine Lip Lacquer – I’m not typically a lip gloss person, but some makeup looks just work better with a glossy lip, so I like to have a couple of options in my collection. I really liked this lip lacquer. It is a full coverage lip gloss, so your natural lip color will not peek through. It doesn’t have any shimmer, so it gives a very sophisticated finish to the lips. And also comes with a flat sided doe-foot applicator which is my favorite type of applicator for products like this. The packaging itself is very pretty, accented with rose gold details. The quality of the product and the packaging definitely rivals products that are twice the price.
- Shine On Lip Gloss – Unlike the full-coverage Lip Lacquer above, this gloss was formulated to be medium-coverage, which means your natural lip color peeks through. If you don’t want that, then you would be will advised to wear a lip liner underneath. Because these lip glosses are medium coverage, do not be scared off by the colors in the tube – they really just give a tint to the lips. They have a little bit of shimmer, but it’s not very noticeable on the lips. Like the blush above, these glosses have been repackaged and I do not know for certain if the products in the new packaging have been reformulated. However, since the name and description of the product has remained unchanged, I would guess that changes to the formula would be slight.
Overall, I was impressed with FLOWER Beauty’s line and I will definitely be checking out more products in the future.