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Color Us Sort of Impressed: We Test-Drive the New Forever 21 Makeup For Your Benefit

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Forever 21 seems to have a manifest destiny: they aspire to cover us from coast-to-coast, and head-to-toe, too. Which explains their foray into makeup, and why cosmetics suddenly dominated the For Love/Forever 21 accessories shop at the Glendale Galleria. We paid a visit earlier in the week and found the front section filled with the new makeup line and various cosmetic accoutrements. So many pretty colors, so much shiny plastic.

And not a tester anywhere in site.

Funny thing about us: We'll gladly pony up $30 for a Chanel lipstick or $15 for a Clinique eyebrow pencil?yet if we're going to cheap out, we'll blow past the Maybelline and the Revlon and head straight to the Wet'n'Wild. So with $2.80 and $3.80 price tags, we were hesitant to buy the Forever 21 goods without being able to try them.

But the good news for you is that we did, and we're offering you the wisdom of our experience.

Color is the staple of the line: lots of lipgloss, eyeshadow, nail polish, crazy hued liquid eyeliners. There's also a blush, contouring powder, a Bare Minerals type setup, and pressed powder, which seems like a bigger gamble than lipgloss and and eyeshadow. (Especially since we're the whiny, sensitive-skinned type.) We purchased five basic items and took them for a spin.

Four of the five items we tried. Images via Forever 21

1.) Lipgloss Duo, $2.80. One side is sparkly; the other's matte. Both go on very sheer, almost to the point of being colorless. You have to use multiple applications to get any color. But we really liked the matte side. It has a pleasant taste and doesn't feel too waxy on the lips. Even after sipping on a soda can for an hour, the gloss mostly stayed put. We were a little creeped out by how much the sparkly side's consistency was just like the jelly you get in the little tubs that Denny's gives you for your toast. Again, you have to put a lot on to see color, but it's not half-bad.

2.) Eyeshadow, $2.80. Yup, it's shocking pink, alright. We tried this both with naked skin and with a MAC color base. On skin, it goes on lighter and paler than it looks. When used with the cream base, we really saw poppin', true color. We tried it as a blush, which was our favorite way to use it. The big problem is that it doesn't stay on for long. We checked it after a couple of hours—two low-impact hours spent reading emails, talking on the phone, microwaving dinner in a chilly apartment—and it was almost all gone.

3.) Nail Polish, $2.80. The brush is a little janky, but otherwise, it's not bad. Two coats gives you the kind of color you'd expect from looking at the bottle. Nice selection of colors. If you applied a topcoat, no one would ever know it came from Forever 21.

4.) Eyebrow pencil, $2.80. We love the fact that the pencil comes with a built-in sharpener and a brush. We were less impressed with the product itself. It went on feeling gummy, and it was much darker then we expected. It's so-so for durability; ehhh, overall.

5. Mascara, $3.80. It's pretty much your standard cheap mascara. No bells or whistles: curved wand that doesn't do the greatest job of working the mascara through your lashes. It got a little clumpy early. Still, it's not the worst mascara ever. It seemed to last for the two-hour test, with only a little wear and tear.

So the overall verdict: Not half bad. The nail polish was clearly the best of the bunch, and the eyeshadow seems like a good buy for the money. It is highly unlikely that any of these items will become your favorites or go-tos, but if you've got a hankering to try something new—perhaps a metallic green eyeliner?—but don't want to spend a lot of money on it, Forever21 cosmetics aren't a bad way to go.
· Forever 21 [Official Site]


Central and Colorado, Glendale, CA