Purchasing yet another haul of beauty products definitely inspires an eye roll or an exasperated sigh from my husband. Now that I’ve made it my career, he’s a bit more understanding, but I am also a bit more discerning when it comes to choosing the products to buy. I’ve spoiled myself and my clients with the highest quality products (which often means a high price tag), but lately, beautifully packaged drugstore products claiming to imitate or duplicate professional designer products have caught my eye.

When I spotted the new Maybelline Eye Studio Color Tattoo 24 Hour Cream Gel Shadow, I knew I had to try it. Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream Water Proof Cream Color is a staple in our kits here at Dollface, and a product comparable in quality but not in price is always a hopeful endeavor.

Maybelline “Bad to the Bronze”, $4.97 – 6.99, drugstores

MUFE Aqua Cream “15”, $23, Sephora.com

I chose these two colors because the latter is our staple bridal eye base, renowned for lasting, well, until it is washed off, and for providing a base that makes anything applied above it last just as long. The former mimics the color well in the packaging, so it was a must to try out. As we all know too well, eyeshadow on its own tends to fade, crease, and fall, and a good base can make all the difference.

Basically, Maybelline had a lot to live up to. I began by buying three colors I felt would work well in my personal makeup kit. From right to left, “Inked in Pink” (Metal), “Bad to the Bronze”, and “Barely Branded” (Metal).

The plan for my experiment was to test this shadow in the most extreme conditions a normal woman combats. These intense scenarios included humidity induced not only by the weather one unseasonably warm week this January, but a steamer that raises the temperature and moisture level in the room in which I do facials. The shadow was also to be tested by time, activity, and ease of physically removing.

This was my weapon of choice in applying. The Bare Escentuals concealer brush is flat but full, and its edge makes precision application by the brow easy.

Application is simple, smooth, and easily blendable. The color is slightly less intense than its MUFE counterpart, but still very true and buildable. It dries quickly, so no fear of blinking and causing a crease.

Here is my application in the morning before work. The first is a picture wearing only the product in the colors “Barely Branded” beneath the brow, blended into “Bad to the Bronze” on the lid.

The second is after applying a slightly darker shade of eyeshadow in the crease, along with liner and mascara. I’m so impressed by how pretty, simple, and quick this was. (Somebody, ahem, needs to sugar her eyebrows!)

Here are the results of an eight hour work day with numerous clients and conversations (humidity, facial expressions, and laughing) and an hour and a half of the most intense boot camp workout I have ever done (sweat). There were no touchups at all throughout the day.

Overall, I think this is an amazing product for the price. Although some of the shine wore off of the brow area, the lid was intact, crease free, and nearly the same as the morning. Nothing had moved to the side or underneath my eye. I think the cream is much stronger when shadow is applied over it, but this really intensifies the effect of the shadow and makes it last much longer.

The cream even resists eye makeup remover at first. I definitely recommend allowing an eye pad soaked in remover to sit on the area for a few seconds before attempting to wipe off.

“Barely Branded” is the must have of this product line. Not only is it beautiful on the lid and brow area alone or under shadow, but it can be used as a highlight all over the face. The slightly shimmery skin tone can be worn alone to visually plump cheeks, or mixed with a little foundation to perk up the tired, under eye area.

I plan on buying all of the shades. This could be my favorite drugstore dupe ever! Affordable brands really are stepping up their game, and at a third of the price, I am hugely impressed.

Until next time Dolls! -xo Jessica Mock (tweet me your questions! @dollface_jessm)

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