A few weeks ago, I saw a post about Miss A: a makeup store dedicated entirely to selling $1 makeup.
Who would sell their makeup for $1? I thought.
Turns out, Miss A is like a super cheap version of Sephora—without the feel of being a super cheap store. They carry their own brand, as well as others, including well-known brand E.L.F. They also have a higher end line of products (~$5/each) called A2O labs.
The founders’ idea was to bring affordable makeup to the masses, while keeping the aesthetic on par with higher end online stores. As Allure said, “What the products lack in packaging, they make up for in other areas.”
When I logged onto the Miss A store, I was amazed at the quality of the website and photography.
Suddenly, I wanted everything.
So I went buck wild and filled my cart to the free shipping threshold ($35). Here’s how that went:
A week after I ordered, a large black, amorphous plastic bag arrived with all of the goods inside. As soon as I opened it, my heart sank a bit. Everything was waaay less good-looking than on the site. The products didn’t have outer boxes. The fonts and text on the products were all a little.. off. Nothing looked all that delicious to me.
It was all $1, after all, though. And packaging isn’t everything! It’s what inside that counts, right?
When I finally broke into the shipment, some items were surprisingly good, others surprisingly bad. Since I bought so much stuff, I decided to break it all down for you here, from best to worst.
By the way, if you see something you like (you can always shop WHILE reading, you know?), head over to www.ShopMissA.com and use their search bar in the upper right hand corner. Type in the name of the product you see here, check it out, and if you like it, add it to your cart, honey. 😉
Totally Worth it / Repurchase List
AOA Studio Wonder Matte / Wonder Metal / Wonder Lip Liner
So in the category of surprisingly good $1 items, I have to give a shout-out to their own brand (AOA Studio’s) lippies.
First of all, the lippies have matching lip liners, which is super important. For a long-lasting lippie, the most important step is to line and the fill the entire lip with liner. Then, and only then, should you put the lipgloss / liquid lipstick on the lips. Think of the liquid lipstick as the icing on the cake. But the liner? That’s a must.
So the fact that for $2 you can get a matching liner AND lippie is amazing.
I purchased 2 glosses and 2 matte liquid lipsticks. The glosses were pigmented, but kind of.. as expected. The matte liquid lippies were perfect. They weren’t too drying or too mattified. Here’s a picture of me in color 2010 (Lovely):
Lovely looked like a straight firey red, but wore with a slight orange undertone. It’s perfect for a bronzed beach look.
By the way–the summer mattes just dropped. So please, go ahead and check them out now. They’re by far the best deal on this whole list.
And if you can’t find the matching liner? Just cmnd+f the name of the lippie (e.g. “lovely”) and the liner will pop up as the only other product with that name. They’re matched by name so they’re easy to pair up. Thank goodness (and take a hint, Marc Jacobs!)
AOA Brush Cleaning Egg
My second favorite purchase was the AOA Silicone brush cleaner. It was PERFECT. Most brush cleaning mats are pretty expensive, so before I bought this tool, I simply squirted a little soap on my fingers and rubbed the brush back and forth over my hand until it looked clean. Now, I washed the whole set while I was in the shower. It was quick and they were cleaner than ever. It’s small and easy to bring with your brush set on the go. Definitely a worthwhile purchase.
AOA Studio Wonder Jelly Sponge – Tear Drop
Next on my repurchase list was the AOA studio silicone sponge. I obviously won’t be repurchasing unless I lose this one, but it was worth it. Silicone sponges are the next generation of beauty blenders. They don’t absorb liquid the same way sponge beauty blenders or brushes do; they take a little bit of liquid and move it a long way. The best reason to use a silicone sponge is because you will end up using less of your liquid foundation every single time. It will save you money in no time. Oh—and it gives a really smooth, even application.
AOA Nail Bud
Another product that deserves a shout-out is the silicone nail polish holder. You simply place your nail polish bottle in the ring while you’re painting your nails. Hands-free and easy as pie.
Other Awesome Items
A2O Labs Spectrum Highlighters – $5
Also falling within the spectrum of “would repurchase” (but they weren’t $1) are the A2O Labs spectrum highlighters. I purchased the rainbow flash and rainbow pearl highlighter bricks. They can be swatched as a full brick, or you can use the individual shades. At $5, they’re still a steal (over Anastasia Beverly Hill’s $40+ Highlighter Kits or Hourglass’s $80 Ambient Lighting palette).
One suggestion: Use these highlighters only when wearing liquid foundation.
On the Fence / May or May not Repurchase
With any haul, you’ll have some items that fall in the middle of the spectrum. They’re not horrible, but not great either. Maybe they’d work for a friend but not for you. In any case, these items deserve recognition for what they are: so-so.
Kleancolor Brows Essential Brow Powder
This brow powder looked like the Anastasia Beverly Hills brow powder in medium brown (except that it’s just one tone). The brown color I purchased looked greyish brown–which is good, that means it’s not going to have red undertones. It came with a brow liner brush (toss it) and two eyebrow stencils (toss them, too). I personally don’t wear brow powder, but the color itself was good and the powder was moderately pigmented. Definitely worth $1 if it comes in your shade.
Santee 5 Color Neutral Eyeshadow – in Color 3
First, I want to give a little shout-out to the Santee Professional Eyeshadow kit. These highly pigmented shadows closely mimic the beachy golds of the Anastasia Beverly Hills Ultimate Glow Kit. They can be used as shadows or extremely pigmented highlighters. However, they stick like glue to your lids and overpower any and every other thing they touch, so they’re not exactly the most blendable shades—nor are they the most wearable, they’re quite loud. That being said, over-pigmented is always better than under-pigmented, so I’m really on the fence about this mini palette. I still hold that it’s a good value.
AOA studio Wonder Cover Concealers
These concealers weren’t the best or the worst. They blended into the skin, but they were just.. a bit overpowering, and flat, as one would expect from a traditional concealer. Maybe I’m just spoiled from Glossier’s Stretch Concealer (which wears like a second layer of skin instead of a layer of paint over skin), but I really don’t think I’ll use these. They’re not bad, but not the best.
AOA studio Wonder Cover Highlighter
I found this liquid highlighter in the concealer section, but in bright white, it’s quite obviously a traditional non-mica highlighter. It didn’t blend all that well into my skin and was as pigmented as liquid highlighters come. Great for those who wear a heavy layer of liquid foundation AND contour daily. Not so great for my barefaced beauty goals.
AOA Studio Wonder Skin Mattifying Primer
A very pale primer (which wears nearly invisible) that smells fine and applies okay. It’s not exactly easy to apply, nor is it difficult. It’s a mix of dimethicone, bees wax and other chemicals similar to silicone. I didn’t get so far as to test how long it wears. All I can say is that it’s worth $1, maybe even worth $5 as a primer, but not more.
Kleancolor Frameous Brows Tinted Brow Mascara
WOW, talk about being on the fence. I am torn on this product. It’s like a really cheap version of Glossier’s Boy Brow, but the formulation itself may be a bit better. The packaging is poor, and makes it very difficult to apply the brow mascara precisely; it’s essentially a brow pomade in a crappy mascara tube with a crappy mascara wand. The color is a little too red for my taste, but given that the product binds to the hair shaft, the color difference is not all that noticeable when worn.
The binding function of the product is great; it binds and builds very quickly. I actually had a hey day with this product, applying a layer the right way, then brushing my brow hairs the wrong way, then suddenly looking unrecognizable and ridiculous with my new-found upside-down straw brows.
Long story short, if you have a steady and careful hand, it’s a great deal for $1.
To get great looking brows, start by carefully and lightly lining your brows with a micro-tipped pencil like NYX Micro Brow Pencil or Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz, then apply 1 layer to brows carefully, making sure not to touch the skin, just the brow hairs. Again, it builds quickly and holds hair into place like gel, so avoid using the brow mascara brush as a tool; instead use a separate eyebrow brush to smooth hairs into place.
Even better – if you have one of the little brushes from an empty Boy Brow bottle, use that brush with this brow pomade instead. The results will most likely be awesome.
Definite Nos / Would NOT Repurchase
I guess anyone would expect a $1 store to have lots of rejected products, especially from someone as picky as myself.; after all, I test a lot of makeup.
Santee Aqua Stylish Silky Milk Foundation
Gotta talk about the worst product first. This product is an oil-free foundation. It is almost entirely made of different forms of methicone. It is single-handedly the worst foundation I have ever applied to my face.
In fact, I couldn’t get through a full face.
It was like rubbing soft caramel on my face. I couldn’t get it to blend or even move really. I felt myself pushing the thick dimethicone across my skin while little droplets of water escaped the liquid. Ugh. HORRIBLE.
Unless you want a new layer of skin 3mm thick, just… don’t.
Makeover Essentials Contour Kit
“Wow.. what a great deal,” I thought. The price says that it was $39 and now it’s $1.
Essentially I bought this kit for the middle contour color on the bottom row. It was a medium brown that looked exactly like NARS Laguna bronzer. Perfectly brown like a bronzer without any hint of red undertones or shimmer.
That one cool brown contour shade that I sought after? It applied warm.
Kleancolor Brow Pomade
I picked up two shades of the Kleancolor Brow Pomade. I wanted to see how it compared to Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade ($18). In fact, this whole experiment started as a way for me to find cheap brow products.
One was simply too red, like Indiana clay. The other appeared to be a medium brown, but applied too warm for me to use it. I think others may be able to wear the second shade, just not me.
Santee Eyebrow Designer Brow Pencil
This pencil, which looks exactly like the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Definer ($23), which I have in medium brown. It was the reddest, most clay-toned shade of brown I have ever seen.
AOA Studio Eyelash Curler
At first, I thought this lash curler would work for me. The eye shape seemed right; it looked like a good fit.
When I pressed down, it felt like it was tugging at my lashes. I was careful, but consistent.
When I let off.. nothing.
I tried again, and again, and again.
This lash curler did nothing for my lashes.
So what’s the point?
For my look, I pulled out my Bobbi Brown Gentle Lash Curler, and saw results with zero tugging. Yeah, I think I’ll just stick with what works.
DO OVER: What I Would Purchase if I Re-ordered
Let me leave you with a few suggestions, because between stock-outs, things I already have so I didn’t want to buy and brand new items, there’s still a lot I would like to try:
NEW AOA Wonder Mattes
Yeah, those Wonder Mattes I was raving about in the first section? There’s more. And new ones. Definitely check out the new summer collection ASAP.
AOA Studio Brushes
Brushes are typically hella expensive. AOA Studio has $1 brushes (individuals) and $10 sets. If you don’t have a set yet or just need ONE brush.. check theirs out.
Rich On Glowy Rose Blush
These are so cute, and with 6 color choices, I’m pretty sure there’s a blush for everyone here.
Rich On Diamond Mascara
Glittery mascara for lashes or brows.. they compared it to unicorns. My inner kid loves this. As a kid, I distinctly remember wearing clear mascara for years until I was “ready” to graduate to regular mascara. I would’ve killed to get my hands on a tube of this back then. Still, even today, I think it’d be great for events or a little pop of unexpected glam here or there. 😉
Pom Pom Keychain
Maybe it’s Asia sinking slowly into my personality, but I ADORE this Pom Pom Keychain! By the way, there’s hair things and jewelry and other $1 accessories on this site, so don’t think you’re restricted to just makeup. 😉
AOA Precision Slant Tweezers
Good tweezers are hard to come by and should NOT be treated lightly once found. I haven’t tried these, but they have all the makings of excellent tweezers.
Takeaways: Miss A Shopping Experience / A Word on Consumerism
Like I said somewhere in there, the $1 price tags intrigued me, as did the awesome photography, but I was really there for the $1 brow products. Unfortunately, most of them were sold out online, and the ones I did manage to pick up were just so-so. I found a brow powder and pomade/brow mascara that were so-so, but I probably won’t repurchase. The others were a waste of money and I just have to toss them.
Overall, this was a really fun experience.
It was so much fun receiving ~25 products for the price of ONE product at Sephora. It’s also pretty gross consumerism to buy so much STUFF and have to throw away half of it because it’s useless. Not a great way to spend money or the earth’s resources.
Remember that every time you purchase something, resources were expended to make that product. Pollution was potentially created in it’s making. Especially for cheap and non-recyclable products, the chance that pollution-creating processes or materials were used in its making are pretty high (believe me, I see this first hand every day in Chinese factories).
I’m not saying don’t shop Miss A, just please be conscious in your shopping choices!
Oh and—if you do follow this guide—remember that shipping is $10 because these items are coming from Canada, but shipping is free if you spend $35. Maybe buy some gifts for loved ones or girl friends?
Until next time! xoxo
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