Illamasqua Precision Brow Gel & Starlaisa Basics Collection Palette

Illamasqua brow gel & Starlaisa palette

Illamasqua Precision Brow Gel & Starlaisa Basics Collection palette.

I’ve heard it said before by makeup artists and tastemakers that it’s preferable to enhance either the eye area or the lips, but not all at once; in theory, there’s something about this type of style rules, and their whiff of snootiness and pretentious bleh that sits wrong with me… but in practice I adhere to it: I like to paint my eyes to kill, and the rest just isn’t as important to me.

In fact, when I don’t have as much time to do a full makeup application the way I like, I just focus on the eye area (this annoyed my mother’s 70’s and 80’s aesthetic so… my teenage gothy looks, pale of face with vampy eyes just didn’t fit in her concept of putting on one’s face).

Annie Lennox "Love Song For A Vampire"

I was mad about this Annie Lennox characterization when I was young, and it never left me.

Anyway, the thing is I got these products months ago, and in that time I really have put them through their paces, so without further ado…

Illamasqua Precision Brow Gel

Illamasqua Precision Brow Gel

Illamasqua Precision Brow Gel “Stare”

I normally tend to prefer eyebrow pencils, because I’m a bit wary of gels and pomades: they always sort of give me the impression that I’ll end up with those horrid Instagram brows I dislike so much… pencil just seems to me easier to modulate and control. Even so, the Precision Brow Gel in “Stare” ended up in my basket during a sale at Illamasqua.

For those of you who don’t venture into the makeup-sphere often, this is a medium-higher end brand, one of the best known from the UK’s The Hut Group. These products are not tested in animals, and several of them are vegan, as is the case with this brow gel.

This aside, I don’t have a lot of experience with this brand, and what little I tried makes me want to try more of their things. I certainly would in this case, for the following reasons:

    • If, like me, you’re no brow expert (it wasn’t that long ago since I began resorting to this trickery, trying to bring my brows back to life, because I’m just not ready to embrace the medieval browless look), it’s actually harder to mess things up with this product than it is to make it look nice; no gunked-up brows, no clumps at all, and no caterpillar brows.
    • Even if it is on the expensive side (18 £ or thereabouts, although I got it on sale), the Illamasqua Precision Brow Gel is going to be a looong long time on my makeup table. I’ve used this almost everyday for months and it’s still going strong; the consistency is also just like it was when I first opened it.

The little jar doesn’t come with an applicator, nor I’ve missed it, because I have an array of used mascara wands in every shape and size, which work perfectly for this. As I said, the consistency and pigmentation are just right for filling in the brows, so that they’re nice and natural.

INCI Illamasqua Precision Brow Gel

Illamasqua Precision Brow Gel: Isododecane, Polyethylene, Cyclopentasiloxane, Trimethysiloxysilicate, Dimethicone, Octyldodecanol, Trimethysiloxyphenyl Dimethicone, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Lecithin, Phenoxyethanol, CI 77891, CI 77499, CI 77492, CI 77491. See analysis in CosDNA.

In conclusion, the Illamasqua Precision Brow Gel deserves the full 5 points. If you’re in the EU and are thinking of doing some last minute shopping in UK websites, before they go on full MLBGA mode and customs begin slobbering at the mouth, I do recommend checking this out.

Starlaisa Basics Collection Matte Palette

For those of my readers that arrive from afar, Starlaisa is a mid-priced Spanish brand, though its products are manufactured in China, and not very well known outside the makeup rounds online.

In any case, I’d wanted a palette of mattes for a while, so when I saw the Starlaisa Basics Collection Palette, I snapped it up on the spot; I’m ready to pay a little more for mattes, because I just don’t trust the mattes from budget brands, which are so often chalky in my experience.

However, once I opened it at home, I was a little disappointed, for two reasons:

  1. Two of the pans came slightly smudged with other shades, as if they’d transferred due to being knocked about during transport.
  2. I hadn’t noticed this in the shop, but the shadows M8 and M10 look more different in the photo than they do in person.
Starlaisa Basics Collection swatches

Starlaisa Basics Collection swatches

Starlaisa Basics palette

Starlaisa Basics Collection.

Depending on the lighting, you can kinda sorta see a slight difference between the two, but seen in person they look almost indistinguishable… I wouldn’t have minded if it was a lower-priced palette like my W7’s Delicious, which also has two twin shadows, but this one was at a considerably higher price point… at least these are colors I can use often.

Still, for the most part the eyeshadows in the Starlaisa Basics Collection palette have become staples on my makeup table: they are smooth, they are buildable and easy to blend, and they are nicely pigmented (much better with a brush than swatched), except for the black eyeshadow, which is kind of meh; this one I mostly ignore, since I have enough matte black shadows for assembling my own susuwatari.

via GIPHY While I’m at it, just HAD to insert one of my fav Ghibli scenes ever… ok, back to the review.

Obviously I have my favorites: the taupe, toast and brown hues are lovely for transitions and “take me seriously” looks, for looking fab, but not faaabulous, daaahling. Still, my two clear favorites from the bunch are M7, which is the pretty brick red, and M11, a cool-toned ash brown that can also double as brow powder. My brows are black, but sparse, and a light dusting of this color fills them out quite nicely and looks natural.

I have to say, several of the shadows are on the dusty side, which isn’t really a problem for me, and for all that I haven’t had an issue with fallout under my eyes or on the cheeks, whether on application or throughout the day.

Being nitpicky, I might also substitute a couple of the shadows for cooler tones, to make it even more usable; the Starlaisa Basics Collection palette is primarily all about warm mattes, which is nice too. Besides, since it is magnetic and the pans can be replaced, I might nab one or two more Starlaisa shadows to turn it more to my liking; in fact, I have my eye already on a couple.

Starlaisa Basics Collection INCI

Starlaisa Basics Collection palette: Talc, Mica, Kaolin, Magnesium Stearate, Isopropyl palmitate, Paraffinum liquidum, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, CI 77891, CI 77499, CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77007, CI 77742, CI 77289, CI 42090. See analysis in CosDNA.

Would I recommend this palette? Save for the fact that it’s unlikely to be easy to find if you’re not vacationing in Spain, I do think it’s worth checking out if you’re in search of earth-toned mattes for wearable, everyday looks; keep an eye on the INCI, however, if you’d rather avoid certain ingredients like isopropyl palmitate (derived from palm oil), paraffin or parabens (personally, these aren’t things that make me rule out a purchase automatically, particularly the parabens).

In my case, the Starlaisa Basics Collection Palette has ended up being one of the things I reach for the most in my makeup collection, and I think it has earned a good 4.5 points.

1 point: No! Never again, not even if you gave it to me, or even paid me to wear it.

2 points: I didn’t finish the container and it’s very unlikely I’d buy this again. It might work for you, but it does nothing for me.

3 points: Meh. I’ll use up my jar/tube, but I don’t think I’d buy again. It might work for you, but it doesn’t do much for me.

4 points: I like it. It’s nice and does its job. I might buy this again, if I find nothing I like better.

5 points: I love it! It does its job very well, I find it a pleasure to use, and it’s earned its place in my beauty routine.