Category Archives: CQ Cosmetics

Born Pretty 500Pc Mini Gold and Silver Round Stud Box Review *UPDATED*


***Update at the end***

BPS Mini Round Studs

BPS Mini Round Studs

I have another nail art review for you, thanks for the Born Pretty Store.  This time, I am reviewing the Born Pretty 500Pc Mini Gold and Silver Round Stud Box.  I have several reviews of their products up now, so be sure to click on the Born Pretty Store link under “Categories” on the right hand side of the blog to see all the items that I have received from Born Pretty and how they worked for me.  Though I have never been a fan of three dimensional objects on my nails, my previous experience with the BPS Nail Art Decoration Wheel of Round Rhinestones has made me want to expand my horizons.  So, when Born Pretty offered to send me some more nail art products, I decided that I wanted to try out some hardware on my nails.

Born Pretty 500Pc Mini Gold and Silver Round Stud Box

Born Pretty 500Pc Mini Gold and Silver Round Stud Box

The Born Pretty 500Pc Mini Gold and Silver Round Stud Box has twelve compartments of mini dome-shaped studs.  The studs come in both gold and silver, and come in three different sizes: 1.2mm, 2mm/, and 3mm.  They are mostly separated by color, but the 1.2mm are small enough to sneak into neighboring compartments.  The gold and silver can look very similar in certain lighting, so you have to be more careful with the smallest studs to make sure you have the color you are looking for.  If you look closely, you can see that a single gold stud snuck into my manicure with all the silver ones.  I used the 2mm (medium) size on most of my nails, and the 1.2mm on my accent nail.  Here is a closer look at the three sizes, side by side.

Born Pretty 500Pc Mini Gold and Silver Round Stud Box

Born Pretty 500Pc Mini Gold and Silver Round Stud Box

The smallest studs can be a little tricky to pick up because of their tiny size, but otherwise the studs were easy to use and stayed put for the length of my manicure.  I did not need to use nail glue to secure the studs.  I chose to apply a layer of Seche Vite to top my polish and pressed the studs into the topcoat.  I then added a top layer of Seche Vite over the studs to seal them in.  The result was super glossy, and the suds did not budge.  Just like the rhinestones that I reviewed previously, these studs can be used on a number of projects, not just nails.  I think all three sizes are perfectly appropriate for nails, but if you think the 3mm are too big you can also use them to decorate your craft projects, cell phone case, sun glasses, etc. With a little lash glue, you can use them as body art as well.

BPS Mini Round Studs

BPS Mini Round Studs

For this look I used CQ polish in Slate with Zoya Bevin for the accent nail.  I really liked the Born Pretty 500Pc Mini Gold and Silver Round Stud Box and will definitely use the studs in future manicures.  I like the hard edge they give the look, while still being subtle.  I think they easily transition from work to play, appropriate in the office or at a rock concert.  I definitely think that they are a good buy.  The box is $3.95 on the BPS website.

BPS Mini Round Studs

BPS Mini Round Studs

As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, the Born Pretty Store is located in China, so shipping will take a while.  That was especially true during the Holiday Season because of some hold ups with customs.  I am not sure if that is still the case, but October through December orders were taking even longer that the typical 2-3 weeks, possibly as much as 5 weeks or more.  Hopefully those issues have been resolved.*  On the upside, shipping is free worldwide with no minimum purchase amount, and orders ship within 24 hours.  Check out their website, or facebook page for more details.  For 10% off any regular priced items from the website, use coupon code BBBK31.


FTC Disclosure: The product reviewed in this post was provided to me for free by Born Pretty Store for consideration.  This does not guarantee a positive review, and my thoughts on these products are 100% honest.  No other type of compensation was accepted.

*Update: I heard back from my contact at Born Pretty, and the issue with customs has been resolved.  It is normal for orders to take 2-4 weeks to ship to the US, and in my experience, it has been 2-3weeks.  You should still plan ahead if you are ordering something time sensitive like holiday items and order early.  But at least it’s a reasonable wait time again.

CQ Review and Wrap Up


This post is long in coming, but I wasn’t sure what to do about my CQ reviews.  As you may remember, CQ Cosmetics sent me several products to try for review.  I’ve done two so far, but you all didn’t seem too interested in them.  Also, these products are real hit and miss, and I didn’t want to do a string of negative reviews that you don’t really care about anyway.  So instead, I thought I would combine everything into one big post and bring you the Good, the Bad, and the Mediocre of what CQ sent me.

The Good:

CQ Smooth Color Eyeshadows

You may remember this post where I did a review/tutorial if the CQ Smooth Color Eyeshadow Quad in Santa Fe.  In general, CQ Smooth Color Eyeshadows are pretty decent drugstore shadows.  They are nicely pigmented, apply smoothly and evenly, and they do not crease on me.  I was able to try these shadows in singles, a duo, and a quad (they also sell trios, but I did not receive one), and can tell you that the formula stays consistent, no matter what form they come in (which isn’t always the case with certain brands).  CQ Smooth Color Eyeshadow Singles are $3.20, the Duos are $4.25, the Trios are $5.25, and the Quads are $5.50 each.

CQ Smooth Color Eyeshadows (L-R) Taupe single, Sugar Plum duo, Kiwi single

Here are some swatches of the Single shadow in Taupe, the two shades in the Sugar Plum Duo, and the Single in Kiwi.  As you can see, they look pretty good.  As I said in my Santa Fe tutorial, if I was ranking these shadows, I’d put these as slightly better quality than e.l.f. pressed shadows, but not as good as Wet n Wild.

CQ Lip Duettos

I was also pleased with the Lip Duettos that CQ sent me.  I often forget all about lip liner, so these lipstick/liner combos are great for me.  The formula is smooth and does not dry my lips out at all, which is hard to come by for me.  They have just the most subtle touch of silky shine to keep lips looking moisturized and healthy, but not glossy.  The color does not settle into fine lines, and looks great on the lips.  My only complaint about the Lip Duettos is that they do have a cheap plastic taste and smell that lingers for a solid five to ten minutes after application.  If you can get through that, though, they are great.

CQ Lip Duettos (L-R) Red Coral, Autumn, and Peach Fuzz

Here are swatches of CQ Lip Duettos in Red Coral, Autumn, and Peach Fuzz.  The liners go on smooth without tugging the lips.  Unlike the CQ Silk Lustrous Lip Colors that I reviewed and hated, these Duettos smooth the lip out for a healthy look.  CQ Lip Duettos are $6.00 and come in 9 shades.

The Bad:

CQ Eye Duettos and CQ Smartliner

Unlike the Lip Duesttos, the CQ Eye Duettos are terrible.  They never quite dry all the way on the eye and crease horribly.  Pigmentation is not consistent throughout the line.  While the shade Bronze, for example, is really pigmented and gives off super intense color, Cool Green is sheer and patchy without much color at all.  the real trouble with the Eye Duettos, though, is the liner end.  They all come with the same black liner that, while super pigmented, is so soft that it smooshes and breaks off during application.  You may be able to see in the swatch below that the liner next to the bronze shadow has a large glob in the middle of it where it broke off a bit while I was making my line.  It’s just way too soft.  I could not get a thin precise line at all, and frankly thought that the the Eye Duettos were a great big mess.

CQ Eye Duettos (L-R) Bronze, Cool Green, and Berry Mauve. CQ Smartliner (Top-Bottom) Blue, Copper, and Brown

On the flip side, the Smartliner Automatic Eye Pencils are hard and dry.  They tug the eye and are very uncomfortable to use.  I’m not sure what happened to CQ when it comes to eye liner.  They seem to go to extremes.  If they could meet half way between the two formulas in these products they might have a good liner, but as it is now, both of these products stink.  CQ Smartliner Automatic Eye Pencils are $4.00 and the Eye Duettos are $6.00.

The Mediocre:

CQ Lip Flares

CQ Lip Flares are high-shine lip glosses.  They do have an unfortunate smell in the tube, but you can’t smell it once it is applied, and there is no noticeable taste.  The glosses are not sticky, and are pretty moisturizing.  They do not have the longest lasting power, but they will hold up for a couple hours, which is standard for a gloss of this type.  They are pretty decent glosses, but there isn’t anything that stands out about them, and there are certainly better glosses available in the drugstore.

CQ Lip Flares brush

Of the two Lip Flares that I received, one of them had a wonky brush.  I don’t find it too big of an issue, personally, but it certainly does bring the overall value of the glosses down a peg or two.  CQ Lip Flares come in four shades, and are $6.00 each.  I don’t think these glosses are worth the $6.00, but they aren’t bad.

CQ Lip Flares in Flare (top) and Glow (bottom)

Petites and Chameleon nail polishes

Finally, CQ sent me an array of nail polish in the Petites and Chameleon brands, which are all owned by the same company.  I’ve never used Petites before, but I already owned three Chameleon polishes and like them.  The polishes are pretty decent for cheap drugstore polishes, but not as good as Sinful Colors which are cheaper and of better quality.  CQ lists Petites at $3.00 each, and Chameleon polishes at $4.50, which seems like a lot for what they are.  Personally, I would pick these up at Rite-Aid instead of going through CQ directly because they are often on a substantial sale or buy one get one free.


The other reason to pick these up in person instead of buy them through CQ is because of the poor packaging.  Several of the bottles had small leaks of polish from not being sealed properly.  They didn’t leak badly enough to get on other products, but they are still messy and make the bottles hard to open.  Frankly, I find this sort of thing a real turn off, and if I had bought these items, I would have thought that it puts the whole order in a bad light.

Overall, I found CQ to be a really inconsistent brand.  I did have a few products that I liked, but in general, I do not think CQ is worth the the hassle of buying online.  CQ is not available in stores, except the nail polishes.  You can purchase CQ Cosmetics at  If CQ were available at the drugstore, I could see myself picking up some eyeshadow if they had an interesting quad, or maybe more of those Lip Duettos, but that’s about it.  My advice is to save your time and money for other brands of better quality because you can certainly find them in abundance.

FTC Disclosure: The products in this post were provided to me for free by the manufacturer or their PR company for consideration.  This does not guarantee a positive review, and my thoughts on this product are 100% honest.  No other compensation was accepted.

EOTD: CQ Santa Fe


CQ Smooth Color Eyeshadow Quad in Santa Fe

I thought that I would try to do a photo tutorial/Eye of the Day for this post.  Since I still have several CQ products to review, and don’t want to be redundant or boring, I figured that I would do something different.  So first off, let me begin with my review of the CQ Smooth Color Eyeshadow Quad in Santa Fe.

I was actually pleasantly surprised by this quad.  If you read my first review of the products CQ sent me, then you know that I was really disappointed.  I was prepared for the worst, but the CQ Smooth Color Eyeshadow Quad in Santa Fe is actually a very nice item.  The shades are decently pigmented, and don’t require much layering to show true to pan.  They have a velvety texture that manages to be soft enough to avoid chalkiness, but not so soft that they crumble to powder when you touch them with a brush.  What impressed me was the staying power.  I did not use a primer or a base for the following look, and it lasted all day.  There was a little bit of fading toward the end, but with the use of a primer or cream base, I easily could have gotten 8-10 hours of wear.  Please keep in mind that I have pretty normal to dry eyelids, so those with oily lids will have a different outcome and should always use a primer.  The shades belnded very well together.  If I were to make a comparison, CQ Smooth Color Eyeshadow Quad in Santa Fe ranks better than e.l.f. but not as good as Wet n Wild.

CQ Smooth Color Eyeshadow Quad in Santa Fe

Santa Fe is a quad that contains a light lime green, a very warm yellow gold, a green based teal, and a red based terra cotta color.  If you check out the Pantone Fashion Color Report for Fall 2012 here, you can see that this quad fits right in with the hot shades for Fall.  CQ Smooth Color Eyeshadow Quads come in six shades total, including Santa Fe, and cost $5.50 each.  Right now CQ is only available at as far as I know.

CQ Smooth Color Eyeshadow Quad in Santa Fe Indoor lighting

CQ Smooth Color Eyeshadow Quad in Santa Fe in the Sun

Now for the photo tutorial.  This is my first attempt at this, so hopefully I can improve as I get used to this method.  Because I wanted to do this look for review purposes, I did not use any products other than the CQ Smooth Color Eyeshadow Quad in Santa Fe (except for liner and mascara).  Remember, all of my pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Tutorial using the CQ Smooth Color Eyeshadow Quad in Santa Fe

  1. With a flat eyeshadow brush, apply the terra cotta color across the entire lid.  It is better to pat the color on than to swipe it on.
  2. With a crease brush, apply the teal shade in the outer corner of the lid and sweep it into the crease.  Blend, blend, blend.
  3. With a fluffy brush, apply the gold shade as a highlight and to soften the teal.  Blend the whole look so that the transitions between shades are smooth and don’t be afraid to add more color if you accidentally blend too much.
  4. Add eyeliner and mascara to finish the look.  I went with a bold teal green liner to bring out the crease shade and make this a fun look for going out.  Black is always a good choice too.

Here is the finished look.  I think that it’s a good color combo for late Summer or early Fall.  It has a bit of a tropical look to it, but as I said before, would work with the hot shades for Fall 2012.  Since my liner brings out that teal shade, I wanted to compliment the lid shade by opting for an orangey lip.  Please excuse the slap-dash blush application in the photo below.  I quickly threw it on before the picture because the foundation I was testing made me look like a ghost.  Don’t worry, I fixed it (and brushed my hair) before going out.

I hope that you like this eye look.  Since this is my first crack at a tutorial, I’d love your feedback.  I was not pleased by my last eye of the day because my old camera just couldn’t pull it off.  (Especially with my limited lighting.)  I feel like this looks a lot better photo-wise, but I’d really appreciate your opinions.

Overall, I’m pleased with the CQ Smooth Color Eyeshadow Quad in Santa Fe.  I will use it in the future, especially this Fall.  I just wish that CQ was available in stores.  It’s hard to make a case to buy online when there are so many viable option in the drugstore.

FTC Disclosure: The products in this post were provided to me for free by the manufacturer or their PR company for consideration.  This does not guarantee a positive review, and my thoughts on this product are 100% honest.  No other compensation was accepted.

CQ Silk Lustrous Lip Color Review and Swatches


CQ Silk Lustrous Lip Color

Today I have the CQ Silk Lustrous Lip Colors to review.  CQ Cosmetics is a relatively new brand to me.  I found them first though their nail polishes at Rite-Aid, which includes the CQ, Petites, and Chameleon brands.  CQ found my blog a couple months ago, and contacted me to do a few reviews for them.  The first items that I have for review are the Silk Lustrous Lip Colors in Flash, Fusion, and Bloom.

CQ Silk Lustrous Lip Color fuzzy tip

I was excited to try the CQ Silk Lustrous Lip Colors because of these fuzzy sponge tip applicators.  The product twists up through the tiny holes in the tip and the wide sponge applies a smooth, even coverage.  CQ has this to say about their Silk Lustrous Lip Color: “CQ’s liquid lip color with easy-to-use sponge applicator provides sheer color and intense shine, and is packed with vitamins A and C to keep lips moist.”

I don’t know why they describe the Silk Lustrous Lip Colors as “sheer color,” because they are anything but.  I found that the Silk Lustrous Lip Colors apply less like gloss and more like paint.  You know how some lip stains apply like a thick, almost paint-like consistency before drying down to a stain?  Well, these remind me of that, but they never dry down.  The Silk Lustrous Lip Colors actually stay very moist and shiny and keep lips hydrated for a couple hours.  But the formula is definitely not sheer in any way.

CQ Silk Lustrous Lip Colors have an artificial or chemical smell and taste.  It’s not really horrible, but it is noticeable so those sensitive to taste and smell should be aware.  They basically taste like cheap lip gloss and the taste takes a while to go away.  Silk Lustrous Lip Colors are not sticky, and actually feel really good on the lips.  They lasted on me for about 2-3 hours and did not stand up to a meal, which is pretty typical for liquid lip products.

CQ Silk Lustrous Lip Color in Flash

Flash is a very pretty champagne nude.  It’s a gorgeous color for those who like a light lip, but unfortunately looks terrible with my skin tone.  I need to stop trying to wear nude lip products.  My lips are naturally pretty pigmented, and true nude lips make me look very strange.  But, if you are a fan of nude, this is a great color.

CQ Silk Lustrous Lip Color in Flash (sunshine and indoor lighting)

CQ Silk Lustrous Lip Color in Fusion

Fusion is a vibrant berry red with multi-dimensional shimmers.  It is absolutely gorgeous when the light hits it.  I found the shimmers in Fusion to be the most interesting and the color is very flattering.  Please don’t mistake my use of the word shimmer with glitter. These aren’t glittery or gritty at all.  The micro-shimmers totally disappear in the texture of the product and it is smooth.

CQ Silk Lustrous Lip Color in Fusion (sunshine and indoor lighting)

CQ Silk Lustrous Lip Color in Bloom

The last shade that I have is Bloom.  Though it is a very pretty color, I found it to be the most ordinary shade and there are several shades in other brands that match this color.  Bloom is a shimmery watermelon pink for a bold girly lip.  I felt that Bloom is a little thicker than the other two, and feels a bit stickier.

CQ Silk Lustrous Lip Color in Bloom (sunshine and indoor lighting)

Though the Silk Lustrous Lip Colors are very pretty, I had one major problem with all three of the shades.  The color sinks into every tiny line or crevice in the lips and makes them look terrible.  Seriously, I would not walk out of the house with my lips looking like that.  It aged me and made it look like I smoked two packs a day for the last twenty years.  Bloom was the worst offender, that shade looked vacuum sealed to my lips.  The other two were not as bad, but they were still pretty unattractive.  It is so odd to me to have a lip product that feels so good on the lips, look so horrible.  I don’t get it.

Overall, I am so disappointed.  I really wanted to love the CQ Silk Lustrous Lip Colors.  The shades are really gorgeous and I love the shimmer.  If you have very young-looking, super smooth lips then you may want to check out the Silk Lustrous Lip Colors.  That is, if you don’t mind the funky taste and smell.  Otherwise, I’d probably steer clear of these.  CQ Silk Lustrous Lip Colors are available only through and retail for $6 each.

FTC Disclosure: The products in this post were provided to me for free by the manufacturer or their PR company for consideration.  This does not guarantee a positive review, and my thoughts on this product are 100% honest.  No other compensation was accepted.