Makeup and I have not had a very long relationship in the grand scheme of things. Some people start slathering it on in their tweens... Rest assured, I was most definitely not one of those people. If I remember correctly, the first time I began using makeup in earnest (aka not for winter formal or prom) was after a breakup in college. I know, a little petty, I admit it.
My first attempt was over the top, bright red lipstick and a bit heavy on the eyeshadow, but I quickly realized that less is more for me, so I ditched my high school makeup in favor of more eco-friendly brands that wouldn’t be as hard on my very sensitive skin. I’m not going to lie--it can at times be an expensive and losing battle. Early on in my makeup experimentation, it became apparent that most eye makeup is not meant to stick on a Hapa’s lids. Or at the very least, not this Hapa’s lids.
When I had a little more time in my life, I scoured the internet for tutorials on how to get my eyeliner to stay put and how to apply it in a way that worked for my eyelids, since I don’t have a monolid, but a very slight double lid. Take note, vloggers and bloggers, last I checked, there are very few tutorials that talk about how to apply your eye makeup when you don’t quite have a monolid and you definitely don’t have that standard double lid. Is there even a name for what I have? If anyone knows it, kindly tell me so I can finally have a defined term for my eyelid makeup anatomy. The closest I found back in the day was from The Beauty Department titled, “Winged Liner for a Droopy Lid.” Gee, thanks for that. Helpful? Maybe. Ego boosting? No.
In my quest for eco-friendly eyeliner that stays put, I luckily found 100% Pure’s pot gel liner, but I’m not including a link to it because guess what? It doesn’t exist anymore. I think they stopped making it in 2014 and I’ve been heartbroken ever since. But the one problem I’ve always run into with my makeup, including this extinct gel liner, is that I don’t use it fast enough to justify the cost. Eventually, I’ve always had to throw out my costly purchases long past their expiration date. Enter Stowaway Cosmetics.
I found out about this brand because I’m addicted to The Zoe Report’s little lists and blogs that pop up every five seconds on my Facebook feed. It’s a never ending cycle because I can’t resist clicking on basically all of them. I haven’t been paid to plug any of these brands, by the way, I’m just a victim of fashion and social media, I promise. So back to Stowaway. This brand caught my eye because of its small packaging and portions that are designed to be used within the three month expiration period, so when I first heard about it and realized I wouldn’t have to throw out half tubes of expired things anymore, I was pretty excited. That being said, I’m a big stickler for what goes into cosmetics as well, so before purchasing, I checked out their FAQ. When I found out that they were EU compliant, cruelty-free, and gluten-free (a few of their products are vegan, but not all of them), I decided that I’d give this brand a try.
I ordered myself The Basics Kit, which is $75, customizable based on your skin tone, and you get to pick the colors you want for your eyeliner, blush, and lipstick. Since getting the kit, I’ve pretty much pared down my makeup collection to what you see in this photo:
Here’s what came in my Stowaway Basics Kit:
- Radiant Complexion Beauty Balm in Light
- Creaseless Concealer in Light
- Cheek & Lip Rouge in Peony
- Creme Lipstick in Raspberry and I got a freebie for signing up for their email list, so I picked Cranberry as my second one
- Effortless Eyeliner in Jet
- Extreme Lash Mascara
Supplements to my kit:
- Eyelash Curler (of course)
- 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Foundation Powder in Peach Bisque
- Ecotools Eye Shadow Brush
- Stowaway Essential Eye Palette for $25 (not pictured, but it’s so teeny!)
When my Stowaway order arrived, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was shipped in very minimal packaging, and while each item was individually boxed, there was none of that awful plastic to rip off of the tubes themselves. All of the makeup tubes and containers have a slightly rubberized feel that’s very grippable and makes these tiny products easy to use without feeling like you’re working with doll-sized cosmetics. And they’re so easy to stowaway! Okay, that was the only stowaway pun I’m throwing in here, I promise. But enough geeking out about the packaging--let’s talk about the makeup. I’m going to do my best to talk about the makeup in the order I apply it to keep things simple.
So the Beauty Balm is admittedly one of those products I rarely use. If I include applying it to show you in this blog, I’ve used it twice. I feel like my freckly Hapa complexion, though a little red and/or shiny at times and sometimes acne-prone, is fine on its own--you know what? Better than fine. It’s awesome. I also hate the feeling of anything aside from a very light moisturizer on my face, and though this BB is lightweight, I’m talking about Princess and the Pea sensitive here. I can feel it. But I can see why this product might be nice if you want to even your tone out, and it really does do that. However, the BB in Light made me look a little orange depending on the lighting and what I was wearing.
I was surprised that the Light tone would do this to me, and though I’m no expert on foundation or BB’s, it seems a little strange that a BB labelled Light would be so… Orange. I’m also pretty certain that if I got the lightest of the tones, Fair, I would look a little chalky and it wouldn’t match my skin’s undertone at all. Maybe if I get a good tan I can wear this BB and feel more comfortable in it, but for now I’m fine just using the concealer in Light for any rogue zits and undereye coverage, since it seems a little more forgiving tonally than the BB. All you need is a small dot of concealer and then just blend it with your finger, it provides great coverage.
Along with anything skin tone related, my biggest trepidation when I go to buy makeup is eyeliner and mascara because I have trouble getting these to stay put. If I use normal eyeliner, it inevitably ends up all over my top eyelids and my mascara can end up smearing on my lower lids. Not a good look. I was really dubious of the eyeliner at first, since I usually stick with gel or liquid, but found that it does have some serious staying power as does the mascara. I’ve worn these while working 10+ hour days at my 6 Degrees of Hapa pop-up in 100º heat… And my eyeliner and mascara only smudged just a little.
The application of the eyeliner itself can be a little funky, because the eyeliner really didn’t self-sharpen as it claims to. Mine ended up looking like a tiny, stubby crayon tip after one use. But luckily the eyeliner itself is so small that even when it is blunt, it still can draw a relatively thin line given a little patience. I haven’t attempted a cat eye with this, though, I think it might be a little too advanced for this eyeliner. My other trick that I always use to make sure these two products (of any brand) keep off my eyelids is to dust foundation powder on my top and bottom lids with an eyeshadow brush to keep them from getting oily. This usually helps keep me from looking like a racoon by the end of the day.
Though I’m not too big on eyeshadow, I was really excited when Stowaway announced their tiny eyeshadow palette. I haven’t used it thoroughly yet, but I think that the eight shades have potential if you want to add a little extra to your look. The palette comes with a very small double-ended brush that’s not my favorite thing to use, since it makes applying the shadow evenly feel like a bit of a challenge. For me, the best thing about this eyeshadow palette is that it has a matte dark brown shade that works really well for my eyebrow filler and... This whole kit is way smaller than my old two shade eyebrow filler palette alone.
Where the eyeshadow palette might be lacking in color, the Cheek & Lip Rouge in Peony has me covered. It adds a nice pop to my cheeks without looking unnatural and the packaging for this is pretty cute with a little mirror to peek in if you’re out and about. I have a round face, so when I apply blush I tend to apply by dabbing a little of this rouge from my temples in a slight curve down to the apples of my cheeks to create more structure (aka the only type of contouring I’ll ever attempt). One of my favorite things to do right now is to use my blush as my eyeshadow--don’t scream in horror, it actually looks really good if done minimally. I just apply a little in and above the crease of my upper eyelid and blend. That being said, I probably won’t be using this shade on my lips, since it’s a little too matte for my liking as a lip product.
Speaking of lips… I love their lipstick. Stowaway’s lipsticks are really smooth, don’t have that weird lipstick smell, and the application is really easy. I haven’t had any problems with these drying out my lips, which is a deal breaker for me. I tried out a trick from their video tip, which was dabbing some concealer on your lips to get it to have more staying power and to get the color to pop, and it seems to do the trick. The one thing I’d recommend is that you probably want to pick up a clear lip liner to keep it from feathering. I have yet to do this, but it’s on my very very shortlist of makeup needs (pun intended).
Putting it all together:
My Hapa complexion and eye shape (I refuse to call it droopy) can make finding makeup that works for me a bit of a struggle. If I really wanted a BB for everyday wear, I’d have to keep looking for one that actually fits my skin tone, but I do think Stowaway’s eyeliner and mascara really work for me and I’d definitely get the rouge and lipsticks again. This kit might be one of my best purchases of the year--it makes packing my makeup bag super simple, keeps me from making overly complicated makeup mistakes I’ll regret when I look at Instagram later, and I’ve even started using makeup a little more often because I know it’s going to stay put.
I ordered my kit at the end of April and it’s now the beginning July, and to be honest, I’m probably not going to be able to use up all of my makeup before its three month expiration date. But now I know what I like out of the kit and what I don’t think I need to get again, like the BB, and frankly, $75 for six products is a lot better than spending what I had been on less portable cosmetics that I wasn’t ever going to be able to use up on time. The one concern I did have about Stowaway was that they didn’t have a recycling program for used products, but lo and behold, they introduced one!
The two things that would be on my Stowaway release wishlist would have to be a clear lip liner and a foundation powder. These two additions for me would make this the ultimate cosmetics kit, because it would give my makeup that much more wearability and longevity for the long days I tend to work. I also wouldn’t mind if they expanded the BB line to include more tones, because as we all know, people come in many shades. Have any of your tried Stowaway or want to share some tips for mixed makeup wearers?