What’s New? Fenty Beauty Match Stix Skinsticks Review (and bonus foundation first impressions)

I wanted this to be a short review because I haven’t owned these for long enough to get too in depth, but I have a lot of things to say. Mostly, I have those things to say because everyone on the internet is in the throes of Fenty obsession. Like any good blogger, I’m always here to jump on a trend midway.

A few days ago, Rihanna’s makeup line launched worldwide. Everyone went a bit wild, and I’d say rightfully so. At launch, the foundation range had 40 shades, going far beyond the shade range of most well established foundations. There’s a heavy emphasis on wearability for darker skin tones, which is extremely rare in mainstream makeup. I know that this line is not made for me primarily, and that’s lovely. Not everything needs to be for me. So while I took a sample of the foundation – in 120,  for reference – I was surprised by the other things that caught my eye. I ended up making my own little trio of the Match Stix, a product I was expecting to walk past completely.

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I picked up one of the matte match stix for cream contouring, Amber, and two of the shimmer options, Trippin and Confetti. They magnetise together in honeycomb patterns, which is cute but ultimately just a little gimmick for fun. Individually they retail for $37AUD or $25USD. There are also premade sets of three for different skintones which are considerably better value at $79AUD or $54USD. The reason I opted out of that was that they contained a) a matte concealer/cream highlight, which is a product type I do not use, b) the shimmer highlight colours were all pretty conventional and easy to dupe. I wanted something a little more bespoke.

Here are swatches of the three I picked up.

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Top to bottom: Fenty Beauty Amber, Trippin, Confetti, and Milk Makeup Holographic Highlighter Stick for comparison

First up, Amber. All of the matte shades I swatched had smoother, less stiff consistencies than the shimmer match stix. This was no exception, and it was by far the coolest of the fair contour shades. On the odd occasion that I do go for a contour, I like it to be very easy and very natural looking, so I like these very shadow-esque cool shades on my skintone. On warmer skin, colours like these can look a little odd – it’s all an undertone thing – but you all know my feelings on makeup for correction vs. makeup for fun and messing around. Do your thing. Still, this is basically the platonic ideal of a cream highlight for me, a person who does not cream highlight. I swipe it on where the hollows of my cheeks would be if I were less round faced, perhaps a bit around the edge of my hairline, and blend it out with a sponge. It takes a couple of seconds and it doesn’t leave any harsh lines. I’m wearing it in almost every photo you’ll see later. In a surprise to myself, this is my favourite thing I picked up.

Trippin is far more subtle than I anticipated on swatching it. It’s very much a peach with gold shimmer, consistent with most of the shades in the collection, while a couple are like Confetti and err more on the side of glitter. My skintone twin sales assistant at Sephora recommended this one to me as a natural glow with a bit of a twist, and I went against my instincts to take her advice.

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You can barely even see it here, on my strangely angled face with my bare skin sans light contour and highlight, but this is the highlight swiped on once and then patted out. It’s stiff on application but disperses very easily with fingers or a sponge. I wouldn’t advocate for a brush, unless it is particularly dense. Lovely for everyday, so for me, not that often. I wish highlights were easier to photograph when they weren’t blue and purple.

 

Confetti is, thankfully, a lot easier to photograph. It is spectacular to behold. I swatched it next to the Milk Makeup Holographic Highlighter stick because I was immediately reminded of it. My irritation with that one is that it’s the very editorial high gloss look that I infrequently go for. Confetti is far more reliant on glitter for its purple/blue shift rather than glossy shimmery sheen, so it’s horrible for texture but I much prefer the look overall. It’s the stiffest formula of the three match stix I have, and the hardest to disperse with the most glitter fallout. That said, it’s also the highest impact. You do have to work harder to diffuse the initial purple streak on your face and the glitter atop it, but it’s not that much more work than other formulas I’m used to that are more pigmented at their bases. It is also very easy to use this one warmed up on the palm and then patted on, but I would still be very wary of glitter getting around the place.

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Better photo coming later – this is a more subtle application, but I have showed it built up in a full look below. Also, note how good Amber looks as a contour. I can see myself using this a lot on my days off. In fact, I’m using this today. Speaking of today…

 

 

Bit of a bonus look. I’m feeling surprisingly enthusiastic about these products – Trippin less so, but definitely Amber and the more I wear Confetti, the more I want to talk about it – so I based my whole look off of Confetti to the max today. I also tested out the foundation, so continue on for a first impression of that. On the off chance that you’re interested. Here’s Confetti built up, used as the inspiration for the rest of a look:

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My base is the Fenty Beauty foundation in 120 with Amber as a contour and Confetti as a highlight, topped with a bit of Mac Soft Frost for some extra intensity. I have a Moonshot Jelly Pot in Aubergine on my eyes, topped with a tiny bit of Confetti, and my lips are Kat Von D’s Ayesha topped with Black Moon Cosmetics’ incredible new matte glitter lip topper in Luna. I love how the highlight looks layered and built up, and I can’t get over Amber as a contour.

First impressions of the foundation? Someone on reddit commented in passing that it seems to have been designed for photography, and there is some kind of witchcraft going on in that respect. To my eyes, this foundation looks…average. I primed half of my face with my current favourite primer (The Ordinary’s High Adherence Silicone Primer), and neither side had any difference in application or appearance. Both look like they’ve settled into my pores very quickly and it looks very very dry, even on my distinctly normal/combination skin. And yet, in photographs – admittedly not that high quality photographs – this foundation disguises all of its flaws.

Here’s a before and after of my skin in this foundation:

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I mean, sure, it still looks pretty funky around my nose and the moustache I refuse to remove. But I assure you that in real life, this foundation looks pretty average for a foundation. The coverage is decent but not great. It doesn’t smell super strong, which it can hold over the foundation I would liken it to on the skin out of my experience in the foundation world – the Lancome Teint Idole Ultra. It’s also lighter than that, but feels similar and looks similar on the skin. In terms of making my skin look great in person, I’ve never quite topped the Giorgio Armani Lasting Silk. This is, notably, half the price. I also think that it’s no fault of the foundation: this is not a foundation for me. Or perhaps it is, but not right now. This foundation is for people with oily skin and limited textural issues. It covered my redness beautifully, but latched on to every bit of texture around and felt incredibly dry. Not every foundation needs to be for me. I’ll come back to it once more of those 30 degree days roll around and see how my thoughts evolve.

All in all, I appreciate the cohesiveness of Fenty Beauty’s branding and I don’t fault people for being unable to separate a brand face from their feelings regarding the brand in a world of fast capitalism and hyper consumerism. It’s the world we live in and we need to be conscious of it and evolve around it. I think greater diversity in shade range can only ever be a good thing, but that doesn’t mean anything is above criticism, nor is it deserving of backlash for backlash’s sake. Balance and critical consumerism at all times in an industry that profits, largely, off exploiting the insecurity of women. Let’s criticise that while we continue to enjoy the parts of it that we do, like the creative element and the opportunities – oft missed – for diversification and the copious amounts of glitter.

Basics of Bases – My Ride or Die Base Products

There is absolutely no reason for a post about bases, other than the fact that I’m super enthusiastic about a couple of things. Half of the lead up to the post was just debating whether or not to make the title a song reference – I decided “Totally addicted to base-s” was a little too on the nose. This isn’t an in-depth review, although I might come back and talk more about these products again later at greater length, but I wanted to give an overview on the products that have been my staples. Whether it’s been a couple of months or a couple of years, they’ve all wormed their way into my heart and I’ve formed pretty solid opinions on all of the products featured.

I’m a pimple-prone girl with bumpy mystery skin. In the summer, I get slick and sweaty, but right now I am normal to dry. I’ve got a lot of texture and redness and little bits of scarring and of course, the spots, so it’s pretty rare that I’ll leave the house without a concealer. I feel more comfortable, and more like myself. If I’m going out or feeling more energised, I’ll wear a foundation and powder, regardless of what I layer on top or beneath – that’s why these three categories were the ones that felt like the real essentials to me.

Concealers

Maybelline Superstay Better Skin Concealer (This photo is of the Medium shade, which I use if I am miraculously tan; generally I use the Light) – Maybelline get a lot of praise for their FitMe concealer, and for that weird one with the sponge applicator, but those ones have never done it for me. I like my concealer full coverage, and though this is the lightest of the three, it is still more than enough to make any breakouts look better. If you’re oily it will definitely need setting, but I like the liquid consistency for how easily it blends out and how little I need to use. Cheap and cheerful, wish there were more shades.

IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye Concealer (Medium) – I was wary of this concealer, because most of its devotees tend to be quite dry skinned, but thankfully this was a match made in heaven. The coverage is out of this world and it is rich and creamy, perfect for the under-eye area (but also usable with the excess around the face). It needs setting, non-negotiable, but you also only need to use the tiniest bit imaginable to get your skin looking flawless.

Mac Prolongwear Concealer (NC20) – I, like everyone else who has tried this concealer, loathe the packaging. The pump is ridiculous and will inevitably pump out more product than you need, because you need hardly anything to get good coverage. It also sets nicely, far less transfer prone than the IT cosmetics offering, so it’s actually good for the face and the under eyes (I tend not to mess with my under eyes unless I’ve had a really rough night). It’s always the coverage that does it for me, and how much product you get – there’s loads in here, and it packs a punch.

Foundations

Rimmel Matte BB Cream (Light) – It’s rare that I’ll go for lighter coverage base, and this is another one that you don’t hear a lot about online or in the beauty community. The reason I love it is because I love having the ease of a BB cream without the greasy,  gross, glowy finish most alphabet creams will give you. I know a lot of people love that, but it just highlights the textural issues with my skin, and I end up feeling gross. This one isn’t the longest wearing, but paired with some good concealer, I’ve got a super easy lightweight base that evens me out without feeling heavy or dull or flat. It definitely runs dark – when I am the lightest shade of the three available, there are some issues there at both ends of the scale.

Tarte Amazonian Clay Foundation (Light Medium Neutral) – I’m about halfway through my second tube of this foundation, and while I no longer reach for it every single day – I’m more often satisfied with something softer – I still harbour my love for it. For textured skin, there’s something magical about the mousse formula in the way it smooths over the surface without highlighting the places where lumps and bumps lurk. I love the coverage it gives – medium to full, and definitely buildable – and how easy it is for me to make my skin look close to flawless with this foundation.

The Body Shop Fresh Nude Foundation (024 Hawaiian Macadamia) – When this foundation first launched, I was not a fan. I wasn’t used to seeing my skin without full coverage, and I didn’t like letting my skin be itself. As I’ve been wearing it every day to work for the past three months, I’ve developed a passionate love affair with it. This has become my most worn day-to-day, day off foundation. It’s light-medium coverage, nicely buildable, but what’s important to me is how nicely it wears. I can wear it for a twelve hour day, and as it wears down I’ll see a glow to my skin, but there isn’t patchiness or clinging. Instead, even oily gross me, just soft and fresh looking, and the coverage stays there, even if a few more things peek through than at the start of the day. It’s not the coverage I thought I wanted, but for something for everyday, it’s lovely.

Powder

The Body Shop All In One Face Base (05) – Basically, when I want something not totally matte, I go for either this or the Australis Fresh and Flawless powder (except the colour options in that are not great). I like the compact, because of ease of reapplication, and I like the natural finish, and it’s basically just simple and easy and done. I haven’t been going for matte finishing powder as often, because I find that it’s the biggest contributor to clinging around my dry patches/spots, so I’ve been reaching for this way more often to set.

Rimmel Stay Matte Powder (Sandstorm but I own most of them and see minimal difference) – If I am, perchance, feeling like I want to be matte, I am a cliche and go for the classic Stay Matte powder. I haven’t bought this is a long time, because I don’t reach for it like I used to – matte just isn’t as flattering as it used to be. The packaging is also, for what it’s worth, atrocious – this is the only one I have owned without a cracked lid. It’s still good stuff, and it’s cheap, and it does what it says it will do. I need to reapply it fairly frequently, but I know what to expect.

And now I have totally addicted to base stuck in my head. Great.