Spotlight On ... Give Face Cosmetics || Review
Roll up, roll up, welcome to the newest series on this here blog - shining the spotlight on, and reviewing some of my favourite products from different brands! Dump your belongings to the left, grab some snacks and a drink and buckle yourselves in. This is going to be hefty.
First up is a little known indie brand from the UK. Founded by John (otherwise known as his drag queen self, Denise), Give Face Cosmetics (GFC) are a cruelty free, vegan brand who focus on high quality products at an affordable price. Dare I even say cheap? I don't want to make it sound like the products themselves are cheap - the majority are just as good, if not better than my high end cosmetics - but the prices are ridiculous. GFC often have amazing sales on too, I barely ever buy anything at full price, which makes it really easy to build up a good collection.
And boy, do I own a good collection. GFC are the reason I had to invest in a storage tower for my makeup because I own so much of the stuff. Glitters on pigments on powders on pencils on brushes. Everything you could possibly want and/or need.
Many UK (and some worldwide) drag queens use Give Face Cosmetics in their makeup because the pigment is so insane and their products are so easy to use. The customer service is incredible too - I once didn't receive part of my order, and John couldn't have been nicer about it. They often (well, they've done it twice) team up with drag update account All Drag Updates to run an online competition called The Face Race, with well known judges and really fun themes. If you like experimenting with makeup, GFC are the company for you.
They have an extensive range. If I ran through everything I own, we'd be here all day. If we ran through everything you can buy from GFC, we'd be here all year. Instead, I've picked out a wide range to showcase a bit of everything, including some of my most beloved products.
On with the show!
know a lot of people who only shop with GFC for their eye products because the range of colours is insane, and the pigments are so incredible. They have three different eye ranges: Mica Pearl, Metallic and Dazzle Powder Loose Eyeshadow, Matte Pure Pigment, and Neon Poly Pigment - £3.95 per pot. They are all loose powders, which does take some getting used to if you've only used a pressed pigment, but the colour payoff is insane, and you need such a small amount that each pot lasts forever.
Even the black pigment in China - which by the way, is the most insanely pigmented black eye colour and makes a delicious eyeliner when mixed with mixing fluid or applied with a wet brush - which I use for every eye look is nowhere near finished. Excellent value for money? I would say so!
The neon pigments have the best colour payoff in my opinion. Excellent for a night out, or a festival, or just to experiment with! Warning: you may need sunglasses to even be able to look at them. They are bright. Don't say I didn't warn you.
The best way to use these pigments is to prime with a white base first - I always use the GFC white highlight creme - £4.95. I have so many of these, they come in a silver tin and the product lasts forever. Great for prepping the eye, but also for highlighting when blended out with a beauty sponge. Once your base is down, take tiny amount of the pigment on your brush and press it into the eye, using a clean fluffy brush to blend the edges once the pigment is in place. Takes some work, but gets excellent results.
BASE - FOUNDATION & SETTING POWDER
My all time favourite GFC product is their Semi-Matte Dewy Finishing Powder. I go through the stuff like it's going out of fashion, and would reach for it in a fire over my laptop and phone. That's a total lie, I wouldn't. But only because my phone is beside my bed and I can never actually find the bloody pot when I need it. Case in point: I know I have a big tub of it somewhere in my room, but could I find it in time for this post? No I could not. I think it's been eaten, or borrowed.
I digress. If you're a fan of a loose setting powder, get thee to Give Face's site and stock up on this stuff like it's gold and you're King Midas. (That might be the worst comparison I've ever made). You can dust it on with a big fluffy brush, pat it on with a sponge, use it for baking, use it to slightly mattify your lip colour - it's versatile stuff. And it's not cakey, and it won't leave you looking like a corpse because (as the name suggests) it's not completely matte.
If you just so happen to be a fan of the matte dead look, they also do a Matte Finishing Powder (pictured). Also really good, also really versatile, also only £4.95. Revolutionary. Do yourself a favour and at least try it out.
Alongside their base setting powders, GFC also do a range of powder foundations that I really enjoy using as a setting powder if I'm going for a super full coverage look. Also really nice to dust on for light coverage during the day, or apply with a damp sponge for slightly more coverage during the day. Also really good for baking with (use a lighter colour than your skin for highlight and under eyes), and for setting your contour (use darker colour than your skin). VERSATILE. £5.95 for a pot, I switch between porcelain and fair, get yourself to the website here.
HIGHLIGHT AND BLUSH
Truly the highlight of the post (JOKES), GFC highlighters (£3.95) are the only ones I use anymore. That shit is blinding, and the colour range is excellent. Even the ones that look terrifying - like the shade Charity, for example - blend out beautifully on the skin.
Charity is actually my favourite highlighter to use, ever, despite it looking like a terrifying peach shade in the pot that should never work. But it's because it's a peachy colour that it does work on my skin. The colour on the skin is a lot sheerer than in the pot you'll be pleased to know, and it gives a beautifully blinding highlight without actually looking like I have noticeable product on my face. It is a miraculous thing. I wouldn't be without this stuff anymore. In fact, if I could only take two GFC products to a deserted island it would be the Charity highlighter and the semi-matte finishing powder.
The other two highlight shades - Aria and Vivienne - are also gorgeous for us pale of skin folks. Aria is a gorgeous pearlescent white shade, and Vivienne has a slight pink tinge to her. Both equally gorgeous, both deserving of a mention. I like to apply these with a medium size brush with a slightly pointed tip - dip it into the powder, tap off the excess, brush on the cheekbone. Good to GLOW. Use with a wet blush for a highlight that'll blind the man in the moon. Go on. Run wild and free. It's the highlighter equivalent of going out without your bra on, and so much better for those of us bigger in the bust area.
The final highlight shade I've swatched is actually not a highlighter at all, but a duochrome powder in Artemis (£3.95). I love this stuff. It looks like a white powder, but when applied to the skin has a blue sheen and changes depending on the light, and it's just gorge. It makes a fun highlighter, but can honestly be used in a multitude of ways - go crazy. Stick it over lipgloss, whack it on your eyes, sprinkle it into water for a fun illuminating spray - world is your oyster.
I don't use GFC blush so much - mainly because I don't use blush all that much, and only really reach for it on no makeup days, when I prefer a cream - but their shade range is gorgeous. It looks terrifyingly pigmented on my arm, but that's deliberate to show the colour. In actuality, when dusted on with a big ol' fluffy brush, it's easy to blend into a delicious wash of colour. Delightful. They even have a lilac blush, which is utterly delightful. £3.95, here.
PENCILS AND LIPS
The GFC pencils (£2.95 each) are a reasonably new addition to the Give Face Cosmetics lineup, but a bloody good one. I've only tried three so far - two browns in Starling and Umber, and a pinky lip colour in Eva - but they are SO good. Pigmented, creamy, easy to use and easy to sharpen. I like to use the brown pencils to fill in my brows, to use as a day liner, and to draw on cute little fake freckles. The pinky colour is the perfect nude lip colour for me (I use it to line, and occasionally to fill in and go), and they really are just delightful to use. I must invest in the rest of the range. Versatile is the name of the game, and these pencils are about as versatile as a pencil made for your face gets.
The lip colours are also delicious. Literally. Actually, not literally, I've never tasted them but they do smell of peppermint. That'll be the peppermint oil base then. I really like these. They are not matte, if matte is what you are after, but they can be made matte if you dab on some finishing powder. What they are is creamy and highly pigmented. I mean, the pigment is quite insane, and the finish is so smooth that I will generally reach for these over a matte lip colour anyway.
Big colour range, easy to use, only £5.95. Fill your boots. The black is black as you like, and the metallic colours are a lot of fun. Caution: because they are oil based and have no emulsifiers, they might start to split. Entirely normal. Shake it up, mix it up, good to go.
The main event. What we've all been waiting for. The cream of the crop, the apple in my eye, the best till last. Glitter.
I, personally, am a huge glitter fan. Yes, it's bloody annoying and you'll be finding specks of it for weeks to come, in places you didn't even know glitter could hide. But it's a small price to pay for the hours of joy that putting a simple glitter highlight, lip, or eye on can bring you. Are you really doing drag if there isn't any glitter? Are you really at a festival if the place is devoid of sparkle? The answer is no, my darlings.
I love Give Face glitter. So much so that I don't actually own any other brand. But I do own bucketfuls of GFC pots. The thing that makes them so brilliant is the huge range of glitters they have, and I've handily managed to accidentally select glitters from across the line. I think. I might have missed one out, we'll find out soon enough.
First out of the gate: their biodegradable option. Mica Metallic Glitter, £3.95, which can be applied to glitter glue to create dazzling foil effects, without any chance it'll hurt the environment. I have the shade Chrysos, which is a glorious bronze colour and creates the most beautiful foiled eye effect. Gorge.
Next up: ultrafine and microfine glitter. One slightly bigger than the other, both excellent for use on the eyes to create dazzling eye looks. Available in a selection of finishes, from metallic to holographic to iridescent. I can never tell the bloody difference between them, but if you look carefully at the picture below you should be able to see the particles of Oz (ultrafine, cut to 0.08, on sale for £1.95) are bigger than the particles of Millionaire (microfine, cut to 0.04, £3.25). That's about as scientific as we get around these parts. All I know is that I love them both, Millionaire feels so soft to the touch which is a lot of fun, and the microfine works better for doing glitter lips. Feel free to experiment. Buy all the colours and bathe in them. The glitter world is your box of chocolates.
Only don't bathe in them. Be a responsible glitter parent, and use sticky tape to get the glitter off your skin so you can throw it in the bin, rather than wash it down the drain.
The newest additions are the chunky glitters, £2.95. Mixes of different colours, all one colour, stars, circles, all glorious. I picked out four of my favourites to demonstrate - Scarab (a chunky bronze and green mix), Drag (a rainbow mix), Sigma (colourful matte stars), and Alpha (a rainbow of metallic stars). These are not good around the eye because they are so chunky and getting one in the eye would not be a good idea, but they are fantastic on the face or in a beard. I like them a lot. And to be completely honest, I do enjoy CAREFULLY dabbing some iridescent stars underneath my eyes for funsies, but that is because I really enjoy living life on the edge.
BRUSHES AND SPONGES
I lied when I said glitter was last. I'd forgotten about the brushes. I would beg forgiveness, but I'm self aware.
However. If you invest in nothing else from GFC because you don't need any more makeup, at least get yourself one or more of their brushes. Anyone who does makeup has a need for a good brush, and these brushes are as good as the leading competitors, if not better. And they are so, so much cheaper. And vegan! I mean genuinely, what more do you want from your brush?
They don't shed, the bristles are soft as you like, the selection is HUGE, and they're aesthetically pleasing with white wooden handles and silver hardware. Big fan. Big, big fan. Coincidentally, they have a big fan brush. And a smaller fan brush.
Two brushes in particular stand out for me: the big ol' fluffy brush (number 029, £5.95), and the tapered fluffy eye blending brush (013, £3.95). I would be a lesser woman without these brushes in my arsenal. They are both brilliant, and I will never use another fluffy brush or blending brush. These have genuinely replaced Real Techniques in my kit, and I am a longtime RT fan.
Give Face also do sponges and powder puffs - the sponge is very good. Wets nicely, puffs up like a bullfrog, does a good job at bouncing product into the skin. And the powder puff is just a lot of fun. I like smacking powder into my face with all the force of that hadron collider, and there's nothing like a powder puff to get the job done and dusted.
£4.95 for the sponge. £3.95 for the puff. It's not rocket science, it's just common sense.
I promise that really is it. A decent overview of the brand, but certainly not everything they offer. Spend an hour or so browsing the website, if you are so inclined, and place yourself a little order. The packaging is discreet in case you're worried people will know you've ordered makeup, and the products are just fabulous. Highly, highly recommend.
Because I'm self-absorbed I'm going to leave you with a couple pictures of makeup that I done did with Give Face Cosmetics products, just to give you an idea of what can be achieved. I'll list what I used below, to make it easier. Au revoir my little pals. It's been a wild ride.
Have you ever used Give Face Cosmetics? Which affordable brand is your favourite?