Wednesday, March 4, 2015

First Impressions: Circa Beauty by Eva Mendes (New Walgreens-Exclusive Makeup Brand)

Shortly after I first told you about this new Walgreens-exclusive line of makeup by celebrity Eva Mendes, the products became available on the Walgreens site, as well as Drugstore.com (owned by Walgreens). So you know I had to place an order! I believe that, eventually, this entire line will be available in-store at Walgreens, but for now you have to purchase these products online.

One of the problems with trying a new brand for the very first time, without any reviews to help guide you, is trying to decide what to purchase. I went with an eyeshadow trio (there are also singles in this line), a lipstick, and then I picked a wild card. I wanted something that seemed a bit unique, so I opted for a lip and cheek stain.

Now that I've had a little time to try these products, I want to share my initial impressions with you. So let's get started!

A few products from the new Circa Beauty line from Walgreens

Keep reading for lots of pics, swatches and my first impressions (mini reviews)...

In case you missed my original post, Circa Beauty is owned by Maesa LLC, which is the same company that owns Flower Beauty by Drew Barrymore.


All three products arrived to me fully safety-sealed (yay!). Let's start with the lipstick:

Circa Beauty Color Absolute Velvet Luxe Lipstick in 05 Audrey
(retail: $10, 0.12 oz)

As you can see, the Circa Beauty packaging is very vintage-feeling and Art Deco-inspired. Shiny black plastic with gold accents and lots of lines and grooves. The lipstick tube is on the big side, but not huge or terribly bulky. The case snaps firmly shut, and the plastic is thick enough to not feel flimsy or cheap. For a drugstore brand, it's quite nice. 

There are ten shades in this range, which you can view HERE.

Made in USA

One complaint I have though....


This photo was taken just moments after I removed the safety seal. So from the time I opened the lipstick and set it down to photograph it, debris (dust? paper particles?) had already settled into some of the grooves in the packaging. I can potentially see this getting worse as this lipstick rolls around in my purse or makeup bag, so just something to note if you're a stickler about keeping your makeup packaging clean. You might have to put in some time and effort to keep this one debris-free, since there are lines and grooves on all sides of the case, plus on the top of the lid:


Top of lid


When I first twisted the lipstick up, I felt like there was less actual product than other drugstore lipsticks I own. Sure enough, the stick is a bit smaller than a Maybelline Color Sensational Lipstick, which is 0.15 oz. (this Circa Beauty Lipstick is 0.12 oz.). 


It appears that my lipstick gained a bit of "sweat" during transit. I'm not sure if all of them are like this, of course.


Audrey is a warm berry shade with strong orange undertones. One swipe looks more like a soft stain on my lips, but it does build up nicely. For some reason this lipstick looks dry in my photos, but I want to make sure you know that this lipstick feels VERY nice and moisturizing on the lips. It's smooth and light and almost gel-like on my lips, but there is not much shine. I actually like satin-finish cremes, so I'm quite pleased with my color choice here. I also like that this lipstick isn't quite opaque--it has a translucency to it that makes it feel like a modern take on a classic shade, if that makes sense. So far, I like the texture, feel and finish of this lipstick.

However, the flavor and fragrance are where I'll probably lose some of you. Both the flavor and fragrance of this lipstick feel very familiar to me. The flavor in particular reminds me of a lotion or perfume I own, but I can't quite put my finger on it. It sort of reminds me of a Lancome lipstick. There's a "perfumey" fragrance and flavor going on here, with a strong floral note and also a bit of peach. Bottom line, the flavor and fragrance will not be for everyone, but I actually have been enjoying both. They're triggering a sense-memory for me, but I just wish I could figure out what they're reminding me of--it's driving me crazy, actually!

Staying power so far isn't the greatest, but given the smooth, light, gel-like consistency, I'm OK with a couple of hours of wear.

Circa Beauty Color Exposure Sheer Lip & Cheek Stain in 03 Varadero
(retail: $13, 0.34 oz)

There are three shades in this range, which you can view HERE.

I really had no idea what to expect with this one, but of course I had to go with the purple. You don't see cheek stains in purple at the drugstore too often, and certainly not lip/cheek stains.

Made in USA


As you can see, this product has a brush applicator. This is not my favorite type of applicator in the world, because I find it difficult to control how much product comes out of the bristles.


This product comes out looking like a gloss or lip cream, but then it quickly turns into a traditional, thin stain the moment you start to blend it. You have a very short period of blend-time before it sets, so you do have to work quickly as instructed. Basically, this is like a Benefit Benetint type of product. Some will probably like it more for lips, while others will like it more for cheeks.


As you can see, this truly is a STAIN. The photo above was taken after I rubbed back and forth several times with a makeup towelette. Since this is a traditional stain, you can expect the traditional flavor of a stain. It has that signature sharp, bitter taste to it, like 99.99% of the traditional stains out there. I am used to that taste, so it doesn't bother me. But if you don't like that taste, you won't like wearing this on your lips. There is no fragrance to this product.

Speaking of lips, this is true to its description and it leaves a sheer stain on my lips that lasts for a good 5+ hours. I haven't had a chance to really play around with it on my cheeks yet, but the few times I've worn it have been pretty successful. I had to build a bit for more intensity, but I was able to blend without it becoming patchy by taking just a tiny amount at a time and blending that in, then adding more. I think that if you apply a large amount at once, you might run into some problems. So start small and build up. Also, this did NOT work for me applied on top of powder. It took all of my powder right off as I blended, so I suggest applying between your foundation and powder. And if you wear powder foundation, apply this BEFORE your powder foundation. Staying power on my cheeks has been quite good for the few times I've worn this product. I once applied it at about 7AM and I could still see traces of it by 5PM that evening.

Circa Beauty Color Focus Eye Shadow Palette in 02 Alter Ego
(retail: $12, 0.19 oz)

There are six eyeshadow trios in this range, which you can view HERE.



Made in USA
(PS: I believe that should be "complementing" rather than "complimenting.")




The little brush in this trio can actually come in pretty handy. I used it for lining my lower lash line with the dark brown matte shade and it worked nicely.




In terms of colors, there's nothing groundbreaking here. All three shades are quite dupeable, but I do want to point out that the warm taupe-ish brown shade in the middle has a VERY slight reddish sheen to it that is quite pretty in person. Overall, I like these shadows, but I don't love them. The texture of the shimmers isn't as finely-milled as I would like, given the price. They are a bit chunky and powdery but, in their defense, they look quite nice on the eye. Both shimmers have very good pigmentation (even without primer). On the first day I tried them, I wore them on one eye without primer and on the other eye I used primer underneath. I literally could not tell the difference in terms of pigmentation. As the day wore on, I did see significant fading and creasing on the eye without primer, so I would of course suggest you use primer with these, just to be safe.

The dark brown matte shade is also not as smooth and buttery as I would like, considering the price. It's a little bit dry, and also a bit powdery. However, the pigmentation is there when worn over primer, and I had no issues at all applying this shade to my lower lash line (as liner) and it was also very easy to apply in my outer "V".

The cream-white shade is quite frosty even without primer. It's easy to overdo it if you're trying to wear it on your brow bone. I had to grab a fluffy blending brush and blend the heck out of it to take away the heavy frost--and that was WITHOUT applying a primer first.

Additional thoughts: I'm not disappointed with any of the products I purchased, but the issue I have here is with the prices. I feel that $12 for a drugstore eyeshadow trio is just too high, considering that we can already get similar products with similar quality at the drugstore (just without the fancy packaging). That lip and cheek stain is fun, and I appreciate that it's available in a color you don't see too often at the drugstore, but I could see e.l.f. releasing the exact same thing (in the exact same tube with brush applicator) and charging us $3 for it. I just don't think it's worth $13, so I REALLY hope that Walgreens gives us good sales on this line in the future, because I think I would need that incentive before I tried anything else. I would totally pay $5 or $6 for another tube of that lipstick, but $10? I just don't think so...

I hope you found these quick little reviews of some of the new Circa Beauty products helpful. There are many, many other products in the Circa Beauty line, all of which you can view HERE. I believe this line will eventually be available in-store at Walgreens locations nationwide.

The products featured in this post were purchased with personal funds. For more information, click here.
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37 comments

  1. The packaging looks really nice! I'm digging the way that cheek stain looks too. Very beautiful color! I'm not too sure about the prices though. Seems a little pricey

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    1. Yeah, I really hope Walgreens offers us some good sales when this launches in stores!

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    2. They said no sales on this product. The stain is a real money waster. It only stained on me and lasted and hour. Better off buying the Benefit stain it does deliver!

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  2. I really like the lipstick color. But, the price gives me pause.

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    1. I completely understand! It's steep to me too. :(

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  3. Thanks for the review. I agree that it's too expensive for a drugstore brand that doesn't offer anything really new or unique. I'll be passing on these.

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    1. You're so welcome! I really hope Wags gives us some good sales on this line, because I just can't see myself trying anything else at full price. :(

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    2. Despite that I'm a sucker for lip/cheek stains I feel the exact same way *sigh*

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  4. I love the packaging too but not the price. I also don't like the brush applicators. I ended up having to toss two Magic Lumi concealers because they clogged and I could not get them to flow again. I also feel you end up wasting quite a bit of the product with these dumb applicators.

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    1. Yeah, those brush applicators can be really challenging and frustrating at times, huh? :(

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    2. I'm so appreciative of this review G. I probably would have picked up one of the lip/cheek stains when they go on sale not realizing it had that type of applicator. I don't think it stated the applicator type on the packaging (and I'm assuming they are sealed). You saved me aggravation and time which is so appreciated.

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  5. The lip color is so pretty, but $10? For a bit more I can hit up Sephora and score some good samples.
    The stain is the most impressive out of the bunch, though.
    It'd be nice if Wags ran some really good sales to get people to try it. My goal is never to pay that much for a product at a drugstore. I know return policies are good, but still ...

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    1. Very true. It would be awesome if Wags ran a BOGOFREE on these...I would definitely try some other things if they did.

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    2. It'd be nice if they did a whole month of BOGOFREE, to really let people try it out. Half the fun is getting a good deal, after all!

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  6. I love how thorough you are with the lipstick, right down to the dust on the packaging! The tube looks so classy! This seems like it would appeal to the packaging-lover, just like the new line of Nonie Creme makeup at Walgreens. The contents inside seem to be pretty standard.

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    1. Lol glad you liked that one. :) I actually tried to remove that debris for the pics but I couldn't quite get into the groove using just my finger, and I didn't have time to grab a qtip, so I figured it was worth mentioning. Lol.

      By the way, I bought a bunch of the Nonie Creme stuff from the Walgreens site as well...working on a review right now! :)

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    2. Yay! The dark blue shimmer polish looks pretty gorgeous.

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  7. I thought the lipstick seemed nice, but now I'm thinking about the price...$10...hmmm...

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  8. Once again STELLAR review - love the thoughts and thorough review (including the small detail on the packaging - something like the dirty grooves would give me pause). I wish matte colors from the drugstore were better overall.

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    1. Aaaah, thank you so much!! I'm so glad you found it useful. And yeah, the grooves and lines sure are pretty, but perhaps not completely practical for travel. :(

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  9. Scents in products don't usually bother me.. but I draw the line at florals in lip products. Ew. Give me something fruity or sweet, or nothing at all.

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    1. I know you are definitely not alone with that! I have a feeling I'll be in the minority with my feelings about the flavor and fragrance, but I really like them because they're reminding me of something else (I just wish I could figure out what!). :)

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  10. I was excited for this line but now I'm rethinking...there's nothing really new or exciting here and the prices are high for a ds brand. I feel like I get way more excited over an ELF Lippie or Wet N Wild eyeshadows at a fraction of the price.

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  11. i would definitely pick up a tube or two of those lipsticks just becaue the packaging is so pretty. but for a little bit more cash i can make a trip to sephhora

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  12. Great review, G. I might come here for sales and what/when to buy, but your reviews are so helpful. They always manage to answer any questions I'd have standing in a store.

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  13. What a great review G! I have a feeling at this price point, it may not be a line that is around long. I like the idea of the stain but won't be paying the price.

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  14. nice! I looked for this at Walgreens and didn't see it?

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  15. can you show a picture of the lipstain on your lips and cheeks pls?

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  16. Just got an email from Walgreens... 25% off regular priced beauty (which includes Circa Beauty as featured in the email) with code OOHLALA thru 3/14

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  17. I love the lipstick. I also tired the lengthening mascara which is good but it isnt my HG or anything. the packaging is phenomenal for a ds brand though. Im waiting for the pressed powder and eyeshadow to arrive now. :)

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  18. Will you be trying the foundation? after a lot of crazy searching I finally found a store that had the entire collection along with the other new brand colour prevails. the foundation colors just seemed a little off and had a really strong peachy pink tint to them. but they do blend onto the skin and lose some of the peach tone. The first three shades have a lot of peach to it especially #3. So I was just wondering what your opinion was. The consistency of the colour prevails foundation is amazing and I actually think I like that one better and the range of colors are more realistic. I took a bunch of photos but I have no idea how to post them. Both collection seem really pricey for drug store especially since the quality doesn't seem to much different from the other brands. both collections have nice products but $15 is a bit much. I did buy 1 foundation from each brand and a few other things lol. I couldn't resist I'm a total junkie!

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  19. I am a Beauty Advisor at Walgreens and recently received a sample of the Color Saturated Lip Crayon in 05 Dynamic, which is much brighter in person than the sample color is online. It turns out to be a nice pinkish fuscia color. Very fun and flirty, and I got a lot of compliments on it. It lasts a decent amount of time, but does rub off onto bottles and utensils upon eating/drinking, but still leaves good color on your lips. My favorite thing about it is how smooth and buttery it feels! I almost didn't want to stop swiping it on! I'm not sure if I feel like spending $10 on it, but when we end up having on the shelf it is definitely going to be something I get on sale (most Walgreens sales are BOGO 50% off, so two colors would be $15, which isn't bad at all). I think this is definitely a brand to watch. And don't forget to ask the Beauty Adviser at the cosmetics counter if there's a coupon, you can save a buck or two, or maybe more!

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  20. P&G Kicks Off Sale Of Its Beauty Brand Products .. read more at: http://tinyurl.com/k4z3qgn

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  21. I JUST PURCHASED THE FOUNDATION IN #9 . . . I'M IN LOVE!!!

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