Alternatives to NARS Forte De France

Okay, it’s no secret that I love luxury products. I won’t deny that to ya’ll. I do. I admit, when I see the Anna edit using NARS I’m like, well crap I need that now. But, I understand that people might not support NARS as a brand or just don’t want to spend $50 on a highlighter. I’ve rounded up a few alternatives and one, dare I say it, dupe for the NARS highlighter. I also didn’t realize this until I was done searching through my highlighters for a dupe, but these are all cruelty free!

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Elf Shimmer Highlighting Powder

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Don’t let the word shimmer turn you off of this product. This is the shade Starlight glow. The NARS is shiny and glossy, and is more glossy than this one but if you blend it out and into your skin you can get a very similar effect. The ELF is a bit more powdery to the touch and not as bouncy as the NARS powder. But if you like ELF and want the same effect I’d recommend this one. The price difference is staggering, the NARS is $50CAD and the ELF is $8 US and I’m not sure the Canadian price as I bought it at Loblaws awhile ago but it was definitely under $10.

Annabelle Perfect Glow Highlighter

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This is in the shade Golden Diamond. Fun fact, every time i was comparing my mom always knew which was the drugstore side but she had to go really close up to my face, so from afar these don’t look that different. The Annabelle is more gold than the NARS and not as glossy, but you can make this highlighter look glossy by really blending it into your skin. The price difference again, is a large one, this costs $9.95CAD and I got it on sale for 6.99 so again it’s a $40 savings.

The Balm Mary Lou-Manizer

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The third and final alternative I have for you is the dupe. The Balm Mary Lou-Manizer. When I was asking my mom if she could tell the difference she really had to look and said she couldn’t tell the difference, but would still say the one side was shinier (which I revealed was the NARS side) but she said of all them she couldn’t tell unless she really really looked closely. This is the one that I would use the word dupe for. Not formula wise, but both powders are very smooth. You only have to build the balm Mary LouManizer up a bit more than the NARS to create the same glossy shiny effect. This one is the most expensive of the bunch and costs $22.33CAD on the Amazon website. Though you aren’t saving as much with this one (about $28) you are still saving a large chunk of change and buying from a cruelty free company!

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I realize you can hardly see these because how does one take good photos of highlighter?! In any case from left to right – NARS Forte De France, The Balm Mary Lou-Manizer

Verdict: I love the NARS and its probably one of my favourite highlighter formulas ever (eek what a statement) and I would buy more shades in the future for sure. I won’t be anytime soon because I own many highlighters I want to get more use out of before purchasing more. However, I wanted to do this post for you all because I know that the drugstore has really great highlighter options and you don’t have to break the bank to get that glossy glow!

What is your favourite highlighter formula?


Are MAC Lipsticks worth it?

The age old question, are MAC cosmetics lipsticks worth it? In the YouTube and beauty blogging space MAC was such a thing at the beginning times. Everyone had a “my favourite MAC lipsticks” video and a “MAC products you need”. I personally have had a few MAC products before including their lip liner in Strip down and their brown pencil in fling. I broke down during the Sephora sale and bought two MAC products, their sheer tone blush in peach twist and a lustre lipstick in See Sheer (thanks Sam Ravndahl).

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From left to right: MAC See Sheer, Marcelle Delirium, Pixi Natural Rose, Mineral Fusion Flicker, Burt’s Bees Rose Falls, Burt’s Bee’s Suede Splash, Bite Beauty Beet Root

The science experiment we are doing today is answering the question: Are MAC lipsticks worth it? First I will tell you what I look for in a lipstick. In general I have been liking more sheer and cream formulas while I used to love super matte liquid lipsticks, hence the lustre formula. I like a buildable colour but for bold lip shades I do prefer more of a matte finish.

Okay so first the smell of MAC lipsticks are iconic. They kind of smell like a light vanilla scent mixed with something else sweet that I can’t put my finger on. They actually smell extremely similar to the Pixi Shea butter lip balms and even both have the same sheer buildable coverage on the lips. As you can see, I have been hunting for alternatives (I don’t want to say dupe because these options aren’t exactly dupes) so I’m calling these lip products alternatives.

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First up, the closest dupe in formula and application the Marcelle Rouge Xpression Lipstick in delirium in the pearl finish (not a colour alternative, this colour isn’t available anymore but they have a lot of pearl finish lipsticks). While these don’t go on as sheerly they give the same glossy effect as the Lustre formula and you can put them on without a mirror. Second, the Pixi shea butter lip balms. These lip balms are closest in smell but are actually a bit more pigmented upon application and a bit more matte than the Lustre formula. If you want a good cruelty free alternative these are a good one to try.

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For a third alternative I would say the Mineral Fusion sheer moisture lip tint are a close second for formula. They have a mint scent but have that same sheer to full colour application as the MAC. They tick all the boxes but as with all of these alternatives do not come in a wide variety of shades. You can apply these without a mirror which is one of my favourite things when it comes to lipstick.

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The fourth alternative I have for you today is the Burt’s Bees Glossy Lipstick. Again this one doesn’t come in many shades. Again a beautiful sheer and glossy option that has buildable colour. I really like these lipsticks and they are a great drugstore alternative. The fifth is another Burt’s Bees lipstick in Suede Splash that is a satin formula and I would say has a similar application to the MAC but not as sheer and buildable.]

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Finally the last alternative to the MAC lipstick line as a whole is Bite Beauty. Now if bite beauty came out with a sheer lipstick formula I would be all over that. They are all in general a matte-satin formula and smell so yummy. I put this one in this post because if you are again MAC then Bite Beauty will have great, clean, cruelty free options in their line.

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Okay so what is my answer? Ya’ll I didn’t want to love See Sheer as much as I do… but I do. It’s easy to apply, it smells good, and it’s a good price. It’s not drugstore prices but in Canada it’s pretty damn close for some brands that are charging upwards of $16 for a lip product. I think that if you want a variety of shades, in beautiful colours, the MAC lipsticks are for you! All in all I’m giving this a 5/5!

Have you tried any MAC lipsticks? If so what are your favourites?!