A Faceful Of Candy: Taste-Testing Hard Candy Cosmetics

Published on October 4, 2017 by   ·   No Comments

Alright, so I’ve done more than my fair share of bagging on Hard Candy, the once lofted nail polish brand that got dumbed down into a Walmart exclusive beauty brand with a full range of products.  I write a little bit more about the journey of Hard Candy in THIS POST about the Hard Candy founder’s new cosmetics brand, Smith & Cult.  As the brand expanded to include a full range of products, the quality has been sort of touch and go, and while I’ve played around with an item here and there I’ve never really gone all in and given the brand a chance.  Since I’ve seen a lot of those “full face, one brand” videos floating around YouTube, I figured this was the perfect way to really test out the brand and see how it performs: by doing a full face of drag makeup, primer to setting spray, from the Hard Candy line!

What I love about this line is the price point – I’ve been picking up a TON of their products to get ready for this challenge, and not a single item was over $10.  The most expensive item in the group, the 15-shade matte eyeshadow palette, was ten bucks exactly.  You can’t argue with those prices, but if the quality isn’t there…then what’s the point?

For this post, I’m going to give you a rundown of all the products I’ve picked up.  I’m also going to give you a few first impressions of some of the products based on swatches, though I haven’t used any of the color cosmetics in actual looks.  I have used a couple of the primers before for makeup application, as well as a couple of the color correcting products, and I will give my thoughts on those below as well.  Once I do the full face look, I’ll round out my thoughts on the line and how the products performed in application compared to swatching.

Here are the items in my Hard Candy stash:

Candy 01I have 4 of the primers: Color Correcting in Green (to correct redness) and Pink (to correct dullness/sallowness), the Lift & Firm, and the Long Wear 12-Hour.  These have been a mixed bag for me so far.  I’ve used the Green Color Correcting Primer, and that was fantastic.  The green is pretty intense, so you’ll want to use it sparingly or it could potentially interfere with your foundation, but when applied appropriately I found it to create a smooth makeup ready surface and it really helped cancel out a good deal of my redness.  The 12-Hour Long Wear Primer was less impressive: it has a peachy tone to it, and it tends to separate in the tube, so even with shaking it applies in a weird, chunky spackle.  It felt heavy on my face as it dried and I didn’t feel like the final result was all that spectacular.  There are definitely better options out there.

I haven’t tried the Pink or the Lift & Firm, but they will definitely get the chance to shine during the challenge!

Candy 02

For complexion products, their foundation shades are somewhat limited, but since the price is so affordable you can easily pick up a couple of shades and mix a compatible shade and still spend much less than your typical luxury brand.  I picked up the Glamoflauge Invisible Camouflage foundation in Ivory and Light, as well as the Heavy Duty Concealer in Ivory and Ultra Light.  I also got the Sheer Envy Conceal & Correct Palette, a small cream color palette that has 3 concealers in varying shades and undertones and 3 correct shades in green, lavendar, and yellow for a variety of color managing tricks.  To help with baking and finishing, I picked up the Sheer Envy, Bake, Brighten, & Set Loose Finishing Powder, which is similar to a “banana powder” like Ben Nye or Sacha.  I also got the Fast & Fabulous Translucent Finishing Powder and, perhaps the most confusing, a Color Correct Baked Powder in green.  I’ve never heard of doing color correcting as a finisher, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t skeptical as fuck.  The purpose of color correcting is to help balance out the complexion before adding foundation and concealer; the powder seems pretty light and not heavily pigmented, so I’ll give it a shot and see what happens.

I haven’t tried any of these products before, though I have put my fingers in and swatched a little here and there.  I also took photos of the foundations and concealers to show off the color and consistency:

Both formulas feel really thick, which I’m hoping means that I can count on some really full coverage (yay!) but also might mean that it’s going to feel heavy and may combine with powder to serve up some serious cake face (boo!).  I mixed together the two foundations and I think I used a little too much of the lighter, but I think I’ll get a pretty decent base shade with these two colors.  The concealers are similar, but Ultra Light is a little darker and more cool toned than Ivory, so I can use either one based on how much I want to emphasize the coolness or if I want to brighten and warm up the look.  I’m excited to see how these perform – can’t argue with that price for foundation!

They didn’t have a super expansive collection of blush and highlight shades but I was able to put together 3 of each.  I really like the packaging of the highlight and blush duos; it’s an odd and cute sort of package that opens to reveal a small brush and a mirror in the middle.  The highlight duo is called Twinkle Star and features a champagne pearl shade on one side and a orangey coral with lots of gold glitter that reminds me a little of Fireball by Urban Decay; the blush duo, Over The Moon, features two baked blushes with veins of color running through them.  The lighter side is a peach with gold and lavender running through it, and is light enough that it might be better as a highlight than a blush.  The pink shade has gold running through it and the overall look is light and metallic and will work for a light application or a highlight.  I also picked up a Glow All The Way ombre blush in Sunburst that is a deep pink that fades down into a champagne cream; this product also has a lot of pearl to it, so a matte blush look isn’t going to be an option for this challenge!  Finally, the Sheer Envy Prismatic Highlighter has a white base with light opalescent glitter and will be a nice topper over the baked highlighter duo to add a little extra bling.

Candy 06

Three eyeshadow palettes for less than $25?  Yes please!  Now let’s just hope they work!

To do the swatches, I laid down a layer of the Hard Candy Eye primer, and that wasn’t necessarily the best idea as we’ll talk about below.

Ok, don’t judge me – apparently I forgot how to do swatches!  I forgot to do a swatch of the 4th shade in the middle row, so that got popped to the front of the line on the left.  Otherwise all of the swatches are in order from left to right on my arm going left to right, top to bottom in the palette.  These matte shades performed ok in swatching, though the lights on the top row were kind of lacking pigment and tended to look a lot the same – there was more differentiation in the pan than when it was applied.  The dark mattes in the bottom row tended to fight against the base and had a sort of chalky application, but we’ll see what happens once a brush gets involved.

These were a bitch to remove: the base and the shadows sort of bonded and came apart in a chunky mess when I tried to remove them with my Pop It Clean from Tyra Beauty.  Here’s a photo of the damage after a fair amount of scrubbing:

Candy 22

It was worst with the 15-shade matte palette, but I had the same experience, just to a lesser extent, with the two shimmery palettes.  It makes me a little nervous about the removal of the makeup once we do the challenge (I have a much higher tolerance for hard scrubbing on my arm than I do on my eyes!), but no one said beauty was easy!

This palette was supposed to be a glittery shadow palette, but the glitter was just pressed into the top; as you can see form the swatches, there was almost no glitter in the finished application.  The shadows underneath had varying degrees of metallic shimmer to them, but the glitter was merely an adornment.  That’s a little disappointing, but at least I swatched it all away now and shouldn’t have to worry about glitter fallout when I do the finished look.  There are some great colors here, and I’m excited to combine these with the pinks/red in the next palette to see what we can come up with for a finished look.

These metallic pinky-red shades are pretty, though they go on a little bit sheer for finger swatches.  Usually with a finger you can get the most pow in the pigment, and then they sheet our when you start applying with a brush, so I’m concerned that I’m really going to have to pack these one to get much color.  But the shades are gorgeous and I’m getting ideas already!

Candy 09

For lip products, I picked up two of their metallic liquid lipsticks (Queen of Hearts and Smoke & Mirrors), three velvet liquid lipsticks (Cherry Blossom – which says metallic on the component, but is definitely velvet! – Foxglove, and Sweet Pea), and a Wet Ever Lip Lacquer (Ambitious).  I haven’t tried any of these on my lips yet (it’s been a struggle to resist, but I want my first impressions to be pure!) but they swatch nicely on my hands and I’m excited to see what we can put together.  I love the range of colors, though I think they could throw in one or two wild, trend colors!  For $6 a pop, people will take a chance on a fun color!  I know I would.

Candy 08Here are some odds and ends to finish out the look: the Sheer Envy Mattifying Setting Spray (gotta keep that oil under control – I’m a beast!), Eyeshadow Primer (which was not ideal – not looking forward to that part!), Ginormous Mascara (no lashes – I will probably need to add in some falsies, but I’ll be sure to document how the mascara itself performs before I add them), Color Correcting cream in Peach and Green (I’ve used both of these, and they worked well underneath my normal Urban Decay foundation and did what I needed them to do), a Stroke of Gorgeous felt tip liner in Anchor (a deep blackish gray), Stay In Line gel eyeliner in Dark Chocolate (hey, maybe my brows will be a little shiny – but at least I’ll have brows, right?!), and a couple of Glamoflauge pencils to match the cream concealers (for targeted touch ups).

I’m a little nervous for this challenge but I’m excited – even if some of the products are challenging, I think I’ve got some fun things to play around with and I want to see if I can take these fantastic values and transform them into fantastic face!

Be on the lookout for the finished look (or looks?!) in an upcoming post!

Now Go Forth & Get Painted!

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