A few weeks ago, the being-off-work boredom kicked in and I decided to start filming some YouTube videos. With the insane tiredness I have been experiencing with this pregnancy, not to mention waking up with a bloated face several times a week, I have only managed to get two up so far but one was a first impressions of some makeup from Penneys (Primark). I hadn’t tried a single thing from the range so I went in store and bought a full face, shocked when it came to only €36.50 at the till point. You can watch my First Impressions video here, trying it all for the first time. In this post I wanted to delve a little deeper into how I have been getting on with the products now I have had time to wear them several times. This is going to be a long one so in the words of the great Ray Arnold “Hold on to your butts”.
To start, let me show you what we’re working with. How terrifying. I’ve never posted a makeup free selfie before, especially not one taken on a big Canon camera with lots of detail. First thing’s first, the elephant in the room. I have a port wine stain birthmark on the right hand side of my face. It doesn’t add texture or anything but it is very red and my main concern when shopping for foundation is covering it.
Pregnancy has made my skin a total mess. My once normal skin has morphed into an oil slick of epic proportions. My face feels greasy to the touch and every morning I awaken to a spattering of new blemishes, usually around my nose and chin.
Finally I have grown a mole/wart on my left temple which my doctor has informed me is another pregnancy-related side effect which should go away after I give birth. I’m calling on all the foundation gods here, this is no mean feat.
I would usually start product reviews with a little blurb on what the product aims to achieve but information about this line is very limited with nothing further written on the website and a lot of items not featured on the website at all. My knowledge is based on what I saw in store and the little that is written on the packaging.
The first product I picked up to try was the PS…Strobe Face & Body Highlighting Cream (€4/£3/$4.50 for 40ml/1.3fl oz). There were several makeup bases to choose from but I opted for this as I am a huge fan of the MAC Strobe Cream and figured that this was a wannabe dupe for it. There were three shades available that I saw although they did not have names to distinguish them. There was a pink, a gold and a white tube of which I opted for the white as I presumed it would be best on my pale skin.
Firstly, MAC’s Strobe Cream is a moisturiser packed full of vitamins and antioxidants to hydrate skin as well as adding that pearlescent glow that it is famous for. A quick scan of the ingredients list on the PS…Strobe showed that they were not alike in that way. It does contain glycerin which is a humectant (attracts moisture to the skin) but it doesn’t feature any of the benefits of MAC’s version.
It has a much thicker consistency than the MAC one and because of that, it needs a little bit more work to melt into the skin. It feels like something between a thick cream and a creamy paste. I applied a small amount all over my face and as you can see in the photo above, it does add a very obvious glow.
However up close, it actually looks like a fine glitter all over the skin. It caught in my eyebrows and around my nose, on any areas of skin that were a little drier or textured. There was a small dry patch on top of my new mole friend on my temple and it turned it pure white, the same as that blemish underneath my nose.
The few times I have worn this before, I knew it added a really strong glowing effect – much stronger than any other illuminating primer I have used before – but I was shocked looking at it up close and how awful it really appeared. As you will see, once I applied foundation on top, its effect completely disappeared so there is not one reason I could think of to use this. It didn’t feel hydrating or moisturising on my skin, it gathered in dry areas and it added an awful-looking glitter effect rather than a natural glow. I have read a lot of favourable reviews of this product online and heard many people say that they would pass up MAC’s version for this cheaper alternative but I honestly think this looks laughable once applied and I couldn’t recommend it all. This is a firm pass for me.
For foundation, I opted for the PS…My Perfect Colour Longwear Ultimate Matte Foundation in Porcelain. (€6/£5/$6.50 for 32ml/1 fl oz). As I explained above, I need full coverage to camouflage my birthmark and with my new oilier-than-a-chip-pan skin, I thought a matte finish and oil-free formula sounded right up my street. This also features SPF15 which in my mind is always a bonus. There were several different types of foundation underneath the My Perfect Colour banner but this seemed most appropriate for me.
I can’t find any information about the shade range online but in store, it was very poor with only three or four different shades available. I opted for the lightest I could see which was Porcelain. I am usually the lightest shade in any foundation so above, I compared it to some others in my collection along with the concealer that I talk about below. As you can see this is actually quite light which is impressive for a foundation with such a limited shade range. It leans slightly more pink when compared to others in my stash but I actually found it to be a great match for my skin (which can be quite neutral in tone).
Here is a photo of before and after application of the foundation. The bottle claims this has ‘double coverage’ whatever that means. Double the coverage of what? As you can see it is a very decent medium to full coverage and it took down a lot of my redness and blemishes. Since purchasing this, I have seen a lot of people label this as a dupe for the Estee Lauder Double Wear but having tried both, I honestly don’t see a resemblance between the two, bar maybe the fact that it has a good coverage. Double Wear is quite thick and tends to grab on to the skin to give its long wear effects. Many people find it to be quite heavy and suffocating on the skin, some claim it is hard to remove. This is quite an average liquid consistency and doesn’t seem to have that same grab-effect.
I wanted to show you some close ups of the foundation on my skin to point out some pros and cons. This does dry down to a matte finish and I found that it tended to catch on the blemishes on my chin and around the dry parts of my nose, making it look quite cakey.
I inserted the close up of my eye to show how it did crease a little underneath. I always set my eye area with powder so this isn’t an issue for me but I know this is a struggle a lot of people have. Despite its matte finish, I didn’t find my eye area looking dry at all and definitely felt the need to set it as eyeshadows on top would definitely have stuck to it and not blended well over the top of it.
Finally the photo of my cheek is to show the redness of my birthmark coming through. While the coverage is great, it definitely isn’t full. You can see this in the photo of my chin too as the pinkness of the blemishes breaks through. A concealer is definitely necessary.
Overall I think this foundation is alright. It definitely did not blow me away and I have been using it on days when I have errands to run or I’m not going anywhere particularly important. I find it has a tendency to enhance any dry areas of my skin the longer I wear it and despite its oil-free, matte finish properties, it tends to break down on my oily nose by the end of the day (regardless of which powder I pair with it). Is this a dupe for Double Wear? Absolutely not! But if you’re looking for a cheap and cheerful foundation to get you through work or as an alternative to the more expensive foundation you reserve for going out, you could definitely do worse than giving this one a go.
For concealer, I chose the PS…My Perfect Colour Liquid Concealer in Ivory (€3/£2/$3.50 for 7.8ml/0.26 fl oz). I’m not sure if there were different types of concealer to choose from but most of my favourite concealers come in these types of tubes with wands so the second I saw this, I decided to give it a go. The colour range in this was pretty similar to the foundations, I only spotted three on the stand although the website seems to have eight. Obviously I opted for the lightest, Ivory, although you may have seen in my shade comparison photo above, this is actually darker than the foundation in Porcelain and much more orange-toned.
This comes with a wand applicator which I like and claims to be medium coverage as well as containing Aloe Vera and Vitamin E. It has a creamy texture and the wand applies quite a liberal amount to the skin. At first I was terrified of the colour but once I pounced it out with my Beauty Blender, it actually melted into the foundation and there was no visible colour difference.
This is not a before and after but rather two photos of my skin with the concealer layered over the foundation. I have the concealer on the blemishes on my chin, underneath my eyes, over my birthmark, down my nose and on top of that mole. It buffs in beautifully and you can see there is no colour difference. Despite that, I do wish there was a lighter shade (and again, perhaps there is and it just wasn’t in store!) as I like my concealer slightly lighter to highlight my face.
Coverage-wise, this didn’t bowl me over but it did improve some of my problem areas. I don’t like how this makes my under eyes look. Again, this creases quite a bit so it needs to be set with a powder if this is an issue for you. My problem is that it doesn’t bright any of my darkness so I feel like there is no point in me applying this to my eye area at all. However, in the close up of my blemished chin and on my birthmark, you can see that the coverage has improved versus foundation alone. When you think about it, that makes no sense at all seeing as I’m layering a medium coverage concealer over a double coverage foundation but I digress…
My favourite thing about this concealer is the texture of it. While the matte foundation emphasises texture on my skin, I think the creaminess of the concealer makes my chin and around my nose look much more hydrated. Perhaps if this was available in a lighter shade, this would have been love but if you have a skin tone that this would suit, this might be one to consider.
On my trip to Penneys, I was surprised to see that the only option for powder was the PS…Rice Powder Loose Powder To Set (€4/£4/$4.50 for 25g/0.88oz) or Banana Powder. The Rice Powder only comes in one shade but it looked a lot lighter than the yellow-toned Banana Powder so I thought it would be a better match for my skin.
Rice Powder is something I have seen several brands experiment with recently. It originated in Asia and is said to have natural anti-ageing and oil-absorbing properties making it good for oily, acne-prone skin or dull, mature skin. It is also said to have anti-inflammatory and skin bleaching effects.
I will admit that I was a little surprised to see that this powder does actually contain oryza sativa (rice) starch (second ingredient after talc) as I thought perhaps they were just using a buzz word or referring to the colour. A quick Google search teaches me that rice powder and rice starch are two different things and I can’t find anything about the skin benefits of rice starch. It is also worth noting that the benefits listed above are probably only apparent when using a pure rice powder as opposed to a cosmetic one with a heap of other filler ingredients so with my limited knowledge, I can deduce that this powder probably does little in the way of benefitting your skin but hey, I was only looking for a setting powder so…
I am not usually a fan of loose powders as I find them messy and hard to measure. Often I apply too much and look cakey or sometimes while applying loose powders, I find that they can remove the coverage of the foundation underneath. This powder is pretty average and doesn’t seem as finely milled or lightweight as others I have tried. It has a slight colour to it which despite looking pale, darkens my foundation quite a bit.
This is the foundation and concealer set with the Rice Powder all over. If you scroll up for comparison, I think you can tell that this has darkened the foundation and added a slight yellow tone which contrasts with my neck. I was expecting this to be translucent but it definitely adds coverage to the skin which is both a negative and positive. If it was a better match for my skin tone and didn’t darken my foundation, I would have loved this but because it is too dark, I’m torn.
This powder has a baby talcum powder scent to it which I actually adore BUT it contains perfume which is a known skin irritant and something it is best to avoid in skin products. For the sake of my skin, I would definitely forgo the pleasant smell!
Close ups reveal that all of those drier problem areas were once again exasperated by this powder. My blemishes and around my nose looked dry, flaky and cakey. The moisture that the concealer added was immediately sucked out by this very matte powder.
I included the first photo of my birthmark to showcase the powder’s coverage which I have already pointed out is both a positive and negative in my opinion.
I have tried this powder over a few foundations and in all instances found it just too dry-looking on my skin. It was really unflattering and the worst part was that it didn’t even control oil for that long. I found myself shiny and the foundation breaking down on the centre of my face after a few hours. This was another fail for me as I just could not get it to look good however, as I’ve explained my skin is all over the place at the minute with my pregnancy hormones so someone with a more normal, balanced skin may love this.
For blush, I opted for the PS…Blush High Pigment Blush in Rosewood (€2.50/£1.50/$3 for 5g/0.17oz). I found choosing a blush option quite difficult as many appeared to be quite shimmery and metallic which is something I don’t usually go for. I liked the dusty rose shade of this matte offering though and out of all available in store on the day, this was really the only one I could see myself wearing.
The packaging on this is fairly standard plastic which feels a little lightweight and flimsy but clicks closed satisfyingly. What do you want for €2.50?
The first time I used this, despite the name High Pigment Blush, I was shocked by how much colour it actually imparted. This is one you really have to be careful with when applying as it can turn clown-looking very quickly. Even in the photo above, I think you can tell that I applied too much and then attempted to blend it out so much that it got quite low on my cheek, lower than I would have liked.
Sadly on the other side, as I tried to buff it out, it blended away the coverage of the foundation and powder, revealing my birthmark. Note; this probably happened on the other side too but wasn’t as obvious as there was no redness to unveil.
I have tried this blush a few times now and have found it difficult to work with every time. If I was stuck and had to use it, I would but I usually don’t have the time when getting ready to put in so much effort to make something work and then for it to turn out like this. It’s a hard pass from me.
After all of the fuss, I had to buy the one of the PS…Custom Palette #BuildYourOwn Eyes 4-Shade Custom Eyeshadow Palettes (€2/£2/$2.50). When these were released people went crazy. I opted for a four pan palette because honestly, I have so many eyeshadows that I didn’t need to go for any more. I thought four was a good selection to determine whether the shadows were any use or not. The palettes are empty and you can then choose which PS…Custom Eyes Eyeshadows (€1/60p/$1) you want to fill them with. Obviously this is similar to what you can do at MAC, Inglot, Anastasia Beverly Hills etc. but the difference is the price – €1 for an eyeshadow!
The shades I opted for were Baked, Brick, Crimson and Espresso. Baked, Brick and Espresso are all mattes while Crimson is a pearl. The selection of eyeshadows was quite vast but I found not a lot of the shades looked unique or dissimilar to things I already owned.
I hate swatches because I find they can be a very poor representation of how shadows actually work but I know some people live for them so these are finger swatches of all four shades (Left to right: Baked, Brick, Crimson, Espresso) with no base underneath.
I had heard really good things about the eyeshadows (although sometimes it can be difficult to tell because people can get overexcited about low prices and don’t mind that the quality doesn’t measure up!) but I was really pleasantly surprised with how easy these were to work with. I buffed Baked into the crease as a transition shade with Brick in the crease too, a little deeper. Then I popped Crimson all over the lid and added Espresso in the outer corner.
Baked is a beautiful warm golden-peach shade which is quite soft when first applied but can be easily built up for a stronger pay off.
Brick is a gorgeous warm terracotta with a bold pigment straight off the bat. I loved how it looked wearing just the two of these shadows before I went in with the rest.
Crimson is the one pearlescent shade I bought and it is a little tougher to work with. The colour is a really nice cranberry but I found that you need a really stiff brush to pack it on and then it has a tendency to wear away when you blend the edges. If you look in the second photo above, you can see how the pearl effect is only visible low down on the lid, that’s because it blended away up top!
Espresso is a nice dark brown with great pigmentation. A little of this goes a long way! I added a little too much and found myself having to blend for ages and it kind of muddied everything. It was totally user-error but you have been warned.
Overall I was seriously impressed with these eyeshadows. I was expecting shadows that were okay but nothing special, however I got really stunning shades and mattes that were a dream to work with. I would probably avoid the pearl shades in future but the mattes are amazing and if you don’t have as many eyeshadows in your collection as I do, the pearls might be worth a look too. I’m just fussy.
For highlighter, the first thing that caught my eye was this PS…Brunch Club Highlighter (€3.50/£3/$4 for 7.5g/0.26oz)). There were three other shades available; Gold Digger, Peachin’ and Mink Pink but the light champagne tone of Brunch Club really stood out to me. I can’t seem to find this on the website but there were tons of these when I was in store a few weeks ago so I hope they’re still available. When I Googled them, I found the same exact four highlighters in different plastic packaging but I’m not sure if that is a newer or older incarnation of these.
The highlighter I have came in a sleek, sturdy cardboard packaging that flips open. The product itself is bevelled with a design that reminds me of the new ABH Amrezy Highlighter although this was released first so isn’t a dupe or knock off.
This has a beautiful sheen to it. I’m sure if you used a very light hand you could get a slightly more natural finish but I like a serious glow so I layered it up and it is easy to achieve seen-from-space levels of highlight. The colour is such a light champagne that it doesn’t come off too gold, even on my pale skin. It is stunning.
The one downside is because it does offer such a serious glow, despite not being chunky or glittery itself, it can highlight texture on your skin. I am willing to overlook that because it is so beautiful. I seriously fell in love with this product and have been wearing it almost religiously since I picked it up.
When I was in store, there was quite a selection of brow products but I opted for the PS…Brow Pencil in Dark (€1.50/£1/$2 for 1g/0.03oz). There were all kinds of powders and gels to choose from but I wanted to go for something I knew I would use, rather than something to experiment with. I am pretty sure there were only three shades available so opting for Dark was a no-brainer with my black hair.
One end of the pencil houses a spoolie for combing through your brows. Now I’m fussy when it comes to these but this one is alright. Not my favourite but it does the job. It has a medium firmness and is just a little short but definitely alright if you’re in a pinch.
The pencil itself looks a little strange here because I think there is something stuck in my sharpener but it is just your average pencil. It deposits a lot of colour so a light hand is needed for application but I found it really easy to use.
This is it applied and then combed through to make it a little more natural. It is hard to think of more to write about a standard brow pencil that does a good job. It works!
The shade is a nice cool-toned brown that could work with a variety of hair colours, including my own black. I love this pencil so much which seems like a bold statement concerning a brow pencil but come on, it is €1.50 which is amazing. I can definitely see myself picking up some back ups of this.
Against my better judgement, I picked up this PS…Felt Tip Eyeliner (€2/£1.50/$2.50). I say that because I usually hate pen liners. I am more a fan of gels, however, there were none available and I needed a liner to complete my full face challenge so I had to settle for this. This is in the shade Carbon Black although I’m pretty sure that’s the only colour it comes in.
Even worse, this has quite a thick nib which has no flexibility to it whatsoever. More than anything, these type of liners scare me because I’m bad at using them. I would much rather stick to what I know I’m good at.
I spent a long time perfecting the liner for these photos. I took my time and was quite happy with how the line itself turned out BUT I am not happy with the colour density at all. The photo actually shows quite a few layers of liner even though it’s hard to tell as it looks so sheer. I didn’t think I was going to like this but even though I managed to use it, I wasn’t impressed with the product itself. I can’t even recommend this for those who like these types of pens as I just don’t think the quality is there.
There were only two mascaras to choose from when I was in store and I picked the PS…False Lash Mascara Amplified (€1.50/£1/$2 for 12ml/0.4 fl oz) because it sounded like it was going to be the most dramatic of the two and I like a dramatic lash.
The brush is big and thick which is usually a good sign so I had high hopes for this one. It claims to be the colour ‘Black’ but I don’t think there were other shades to choose from.
I wasn’t too impressed with my before and after. Sure, the mascara added colour and a little length but nowhere near the “amplified, false lash” effect the name promised. If you are just looking for something basic to do the job and you don’t want to splash the cash, this could be one to check out for €1.50. It adds length and separates but doesn’t do much for volume. I tried to build it up and it never clumped so while there is nothing wrong with this mascara, it just isn’t to my tastes although I know the effect will be an attraction for some people.
Finally for lips, I opted for the PS…Super Matte Liquid Lipstick in 05 Karla (€2.50/£2/$3 for 7ml/0.23 fl oz). There was such a huge menagerie of lip products to choose from but I almost exclusively wear liquid lipsticks so I thought this would be a good one to try.
The wand on this is quite strange; longer than most, quite thin and curved at the end. It also holds quite a significant amount of product. Despite it looking a little different to most, I found it really easy to use.
Here it is applied with no liner or anything else underneath. Getting a good shape was simple enough to achieve and it dries down within a few seconds. The colour is a gorgeous neutral shade that I know will appeal to most.
As I said, I wear a lot of liquid lipsticks and I didn’t find this any more drying than any other I’ve tried. I also found it long lasting and when it does eventually wear away, the colour is so natural that it happens gradually and isn’t too noticeable. I have worn this so many times since I’ve picked it up. I’m a huge fan. If you’re not a liquid lip person because you don’t like the drying feeling, this won’t be for you but if you do like a liquid lip, I really urge you give this a go. I will definitely be keeping my eyes open for more shades.
So there you have it, a full face of products from the PS… brand from Penneys. This was very hit and miss with some products that I am instantly giving away to family members as I know I’ll never use them (Strobe, Rice Powder, Blush, Eye Liner) but other things that have become complete favourites, even over some of the high end products I already own (Highlighter, Eyeshadows, Brow Pencil, Liquid Lipstick). What I have learned from this experiment is not to instantly dismiss budget makeup as it can really surprise you and hey, even if something turns out not great, at least it’s not a total waste of money as a lot of products cost less than the price of a coffee!
Let me know if you have tried any of these products or if there is any absolute star buy from the brand that I need to try in future.
All Irish prices were taken from my receipt. I did as much research as possible to get the right US Dollar and UK Sterling prices but some were educated guesses based on the price of other products. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.
Nothing to declare. I bought all of the products myself. No affiliate links were used.
PS…is a cruelty-free brand.