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Discovering: Illuminate Cosmetics by Ashley Tisdale

Who here remembers High School Musical?
cue the nostalgia…

It’s one of those things that takes me right back to my teenage years. Sharpay Evans, such an iconic character from the noughties. Yet this once upon a time Disney queen is all grown up now and taking multi-tasking to the next level, adding yet another #girlboss venture to her resume with her latest project of launching her own make up line. Partnering with BH Cosmetics to create an affordable make up line of her own, Illuminate by Ashley Tisdale, it’s designed with her California roots in mind to give us all a little of that sun kissed glow (it’s all in the name, right?), no matter where we are, who we are and more importantly, no matter how busy we are. Most of us, like Ashley, are short on time – whether it’s because you are a student balancing the studying with a part time job, a young professional working all day and all night, or a busy mum balancing a job with taking care of the kids. We live busy lives now, but at the same time we want to kick butt, looking and feeling good.

Whilst the formula doesn’t belong to her, everything else does, so this is completely her own part of the BH Cosmetics brand where she’s most certainly had a hand in everything else from the packaging to the shade names to the product selections, designing a collection intended for those on-the-go that is fun, feminine and multi-purpose. The packaging design itself mixes metals using white and rose gold stripes with gold foil accents to add a luxe feel to the affordable line. Having launched her first wave of products earlier this year, it’s been a collection that I have been deliberating over for a while now and I’ve finally decided to delve into the products.

Whilst I think some of products and packaging could definitely use a few tweaks, it’s a pretty solid start from Ashley on her new venture, and one I hope she takes the time to learn from, improving and expanding on over time. I hear she is currently working on matte lipsticks for an upcoming future release which I’m all too excited about, but for now, here’s what is currently on offer.




Cheek Tints

These creamy, almost silk-like Cheek Tints ($8) are so easy to apply and their sheer pigmentation gives you the most subtle wash of colour to your face. Formulated with Shea and Mango Butter to soften the skin, whilst the ingredients Jojoba Seed and Avocado Oil are going to hydrate, these are perfect for anyone with dry skin, or dry cheeks at least. Whilst technically another multi-purpose product as they can double up as a lip tint too, I personally think they are too sheer for this so prefer to use them just as a cream blush – my faves are Cabana, a pale pink shade and Coco, a browny nude.


Enhancing Lip Gloss

Now these glosses surprised me the most out of everything in the collection – I’m completely obsessed with matte lipsticks so I wasn’t expecting anything positive from them at all if I’m being completely honest. But, these are the most non-gloss lip gloss formula I have ever tried, if that even makes any sense at all! These may be a full coverage formula, yet once applied to the lips with the doe-foot applicator they feel incredibly lightweight, with the added benefits of anti-aging and hydrating ingredients giving it a smooth and moisturising finish.

Whilst still a little tacky, they are not sticky at all and come with the most subtle sheen, making these a dream to wear. If that isn’t enough they are going to plump the lips a little without that numbing or tingly sensation, giving you a fuller look. My go-to shades for everyday wear are Tan Lines, a pale pink shade and Skinny Dipping, a brown nude.



The Palettes


The Beach Goddess Eyeshadow Palette is a beautiful 12-pan palette ($14.50) packed full of warm bronzey shades, not only those sun-kissed shimmers but also a couple of mattes, a bronzer, blush and highlight too so it has everything you will ever need to feel like a beach goddess. The shades themselves are pretty pigmented as far as affordable lines go, blending so beautifully together that with a little eyeshadow primer (oily lids!) will last all day with barely any creasing. The packaging design of the feminine white and pink stripes with gold foil detail adds a little luxe feel to what would otherwise have been your standard cardboard packaging, and the mirror inside makes it handy for travel. The shades have been adorably named after Ashley’s favourite vacation spots around the world, which I thought was a cute little attention to detail. But one thing I was left disappointed by was the fact that these have merely been printed onto a plastic insert, instead of being printed onto the palette itself.  Also a darker and more cool toned palette in the collection too, The Night Goddess, that’s more suited for that dramatic, smokey eye look.






Make up Brushes



The newest addition to the collection is an 8-piece brush set ($15) that has you completely covered when it comes to brushes. With 4 face brushes and 4 eye brushes you have (almost) everything you need to create an entire make up look. I say almost, as this brush set does not have you covered for concealer (although I guess you could use one of the eyeshadow brushes for this), but then again, in my opinion, you can’t beat a beauty blender, so it’s fine. The brushes are soft, synthetic bristles that can work with powders, creams and liquids, making blending your make up together such an easy process.


The one brush that I just can’t get along with is the stipling brush, the bristles are so long that it’s hard to blend your foundation into your skin. I much prefer a buffing brush, something that’s more densely packed with shorter bristles so whilst it’s still soft, it’s also firm too, making blending a dream. Aside from this, having used every brush in this set I am impressed by the quality, considering the cheap as chips price tag.


Whilst the quality of these is pretty much faultless, the one thing I just don’t understand about these brushes is why they are labelled with a number instead of their name – if you are a make up beginner, once you have thrown away the packaging you have no way of identifying which one is which.



The shipping process



Whilst this is an affordable collection, it hails from the US and we all know that international shipping is not only an inconvenience but it’s also usually so damn expensive. Whilst the international shipping increases with the more you buy, it was pretty inexpensive at just $10 for 7 items and the parcel was delivered within a week. There was a slight catch…the £19 customs charge! Pretty standard nowadays really but it definitely makes this collection not quite so affordable for us across the pond.



So for us here in the UK, is this collection worth it?



Whilst you can pick up similar alternatives at the drugstore that are going to be more affordable and much more accessible, there’s nothing quite like these in terms of the packaging and the products on offer. There’s also a certain level of nostalgia within this collection if you too were a High School Musical or Suite Life of Zack and Cody fan back in the day. Not to mention her appearance in an episode of Charmed way back when too. LOVED that show, still do in fact. Whilst the collection is still in its early days, it definitely has great potential – the eyeshadow palette is by far the stand out product for me, with high hopes for the matte lipsticks when they launch in the near future. If you too are a devoted matte lipstick fiend, then I would say definitely wait for that launch and grab the eyeshadow palette too. Or, the most exciting news yet is that the eyeshadow palettes and the lip glosses have just launched on Beauty Bay, so you can pick these up right now for £18 and £9 each.