Friday, October 17, 2014

Swatch: Shiro Cosmetics custom gloss in Zero (moderate)

I've wanted this gloss for a very long time but never could have it since Shiro's Hallowe'en collection is a fleeting thing. (I fell in love with a swatch on the Shiro Facebook page.) And now it's here and it's all I ever wanted it to be.

Bare lips (sorry for the blemish today)
I had given up hope this eyeshadow would ever come back a while ago, which is why I ordered Master of Whispers as a gloss instead, figuring they looked comparable. They are similar, but Master of Whispers is more of a white base with a lilac sheen, whereas Zero has a very pale greyish base with a truly magical lavender-red sheen. 

This somehow results in Zero being more wearable--I don't look quite as frosted over or dead with Zero on, since sans immediate perception of the sheen, the gloss comes off as a neutralish pink on me. But dang, that sheen.

Angle to show the pretty, pretty sheen
I don't even know what to say. It is everything I ever hoped for and it is also pumpkin cheesecake. I would buy a backup tube right now if I could even remotely justify it. The dream that you wish will come true, there can be miracles when you believe, etc.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Swatch: Shiro Cosmetics lip gloss in Nic Cage Doing the Charleston in a Bustling Speakeasy

I've been debating whether or not to post swatches of the Nic Cage collection since the official ones (by this blogger, who totally rocks and I aspire to be as cool as) are really great. But in my indie life I've always wanted to look up more than one swatch of a thing, and since this blog is largely an exercise in creating resources for folks who were like me-of-a-year-or-two-ago, here you are, curious consumer.

Bare lips for reference

One coat of Doing the Charleston

Two+ coats
This gloss was a little trickier for me to capture on camera since a lot of my shots brought out a brownish-red in it when I find it to be a more purple-based burgundy red in real life. (For me, this and Red Wedding are similar depths of red with different undertones.) Hopefully that comes out here (and sorry for the finicky white balance). This gloss is a lovely colour, though it takes a little bit of work to get even coverage if you're going for the more opaque look.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Swatch: Shiro Cosmetics custom gloss in Master of Whispers (moderate)

Yeah, I have a Shiro gloss problem. (I may or may not have another on the way at this very moment. This is a no-judgment space, right?)

Bare lips
Master of Whispers

Sorry, my lips are flaking a bit and it shows. (I lost my holy grail lip balm for a few days. Never again.)

This is obviously very cool and frosty and a bit of a statement. I tend to apply this lightly, so if you have it in mind, sheer might be a good way to go. All of that said, this is one of my favourites. I like to pair it with a navy smoky eye to channel my inner Snow Queen.

And a bonus shot--out of focus and such to show the strong shift/shimmer happening in this gloss:

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Swatch + review: Performance Colors Zombie Bride

So--this blog has been on hiatus for a while for personal stuff + me getting super sick, but I want to leave that behind and continue buying indies, blogging things.

Let's get right to it.

Obligatory note about customer service: The turn-around time at Performance Colors was listed at one to five days when I ordered, and it took one day for my order to ship. So that was awesome. More than two samples were included, which was generous and also awesome. Shipping was pricier than some other shops (I paid about $9.50 CAD).

Bare lips for reference
Zombie Bride

Performance Colors describes Zombie Bride as "blue sheen and high reflection in a violet purple color." It's obviously not the easiest colour to pull off, but there is some warmth to the purple that helps it be at least a little bit forgiving. The blue sheen is strong and cold, though--but it makes this colour really gorgeous and remarkable.

The restorative formula itself feels like a cross between a beeswax balm and creamy lipstick. As I've said before and will again, my lips are a problem case, so this doesn't leave them any better for wear, but it doesn't leave them much worse, either, which is all I ask of lip products that aren't balms. The lipstick is scented with vanilla sweetened with stevia--it smells vaguely like dough for sugar cookies.

Perfomance Colors' lipsticks come in balm tubes, which isn't my favourite thing but is common in indies, since I gather it's more cost-effective. These lipsticks are $6 each or 3 for $12, so the price is certainly nothing to complain about. The tubes are cute and perfectly functional--I'm just the lazy type who likes to apply straight from a tube, which makes traditional lipstick tubes way easier.

I dig Zombie Bride and I'll shop at Performance Colors again--once I find some room in my lipstick drawer.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Swatch: Shiro Cosmetics custom gloss in Little Bird (moderate)

Have you ever wanted your lips to look really 90s, but with a little bit of extra shine? If you're pale as an "eggshell" wall like me, then Little Bird in moderate has your back.

Bare lips for reference
Little Bird

The shine is a little more pronounced in this picture than it is in real life, since I use indirect sunlight for most of my swatch pictures, but essentially Little Bird is a very brown-pulling "my lips but better" on me, which to me is very Rachel Green in early Friends. But slightly shinier. Less pale-as-heck skintones could probably rock this as a nude, but on me it's strictly retro. (Which isn't bad--I love all things 90s--but not as easy to wear on the daily.)

(I keep swatching glosses that I can't wear in my regular rotation, so worth noting: Shiro's Nic Cage Churning Butter is my perfect nude gloss. So. Maybe that next time.)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Swatch: Shiro Cosmetics custom gloss in Heart Piece (moderate)

How many days can I swatch a Shiro custom gloss a day? Too many days.

Bare lips for reference
Heart Piece
This looks fine in real life but in pictures it seems like I haven't quite filled in my whole upper lip line. Huh. Also, sorry--didn't balm up last night, so my lips are a dry, sad place. Luckily for me, the Shiro gloss formula is always kind to my crappy lip texture.

Heart Piece is a warm, light red with some very subtle sparkle, which I think would be gorgeous on many people who aren't me. I hold out hope I will find a way to make it work, as it's a lovely colour, but warm reds are not my friend.

Heart Piece the eyeshadow is hot pink with more prominent golden sparkle, but another thing I've learned from picking up too many Shiro custom glosses is that some pigments darken quite a bit in gloss.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Swatches: Hello Waffle Fey, Debussy, Envy, Galaxy Dust eyeshadows + Malva blush

In honour of Hello Waffle's sale tomorrow (check out Facebook for details) and because it's one of my favourite indies, here are some quick and slightly dirty swatches of a few Hello Waffle Eyeshadows I Like.

Before I even get into it, let's make it clear that the shadows I like most from HW so far are colour-shifting and/or sparklebombs so it's hard to represent them accurately. Observe the sparkle-blur:

Bottom left to top right: Fey, Debussy, Envy, Galaxy Dust
That said, I'll give it the old college try. (Or at least two-thirds of a try. I have work to do today!)

Top to bottom: Galaxy Dust, Envy, Debussy, Fey
The left half of these swatches are over Darling Girl Glitter Glue; the right are over UDPP. As you can see, these aren't at their best over a regular primer, but they still show up to the party. Also: Fey is made of glorious magic. Fey is one of my favourites ever.

Fey and Debussy
Envy and Galaxy Dust
How I'd describe these:
Fey is a peach with a prominent gold sheen (hard to show in photos);
Debussy is an almost sheer golden green glow;
Envy is a dark pine green full of (mostly blue) sparkle (see the first picture re: sparkle);
Galaxy Dust is a very curious blue with purple sheen that changes in various lights.

And bonus:
Malva, in sunlight
Malva, indirect sunlight
I received Malva in error in an order a little while ago (I went for Moon Princess and they're stocked next to each other; it's all sorted out with the owner, because her customer service is very awesome!) but anyway, I was surprised at how nice this turned out to be on my skin. I picked up way too much with my brush but I found this blush soft and blendable so it worked out. (Obviously I applied it before peeling off tape, hence the harsh lines.) If her new blush release has any other satin finish blushes that might suit my skintone, I'm going to give them a go. This one feels and looks lovely!

(I'll probably swatch this again in comparison to other HW blushes and add the more concentrated swatch beside--but hopefully this gives an idea!)

Do check out Hello Waffle's sale tomorrow and their new Fringe collection!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Swatch: Shiro Cosmetics custom gloss in Ever in Your Favor (moderate, dupe)

Hey folks!

Might as well get done swatching all of my Shiro glosses since I have...a few too many. Here are a quick couple of swatches of a Shiro custom gloss that dupes their eyeshadow Ever in Your Favor. It turned out much more purple than I imagined it would--I was hoping more of the magenta would come through. It's still quite pretty, though, and might suit other skin tones more than mine.

Sorry, I forgot to take a bare lip picture for reference today--but here it is in a couple of different lightings. It doesn't look as patchy in real life. It's a little thick-feeling in texture but still needs to be built up more than my other moderates to get good coverage, so it's not one of my go-tos, but it's still nice. (My favourites from my collection, for the record, are moderate Master of Whispers, opaque Women's Weapons, Nic Cage Churning Butter, and Red Wedding.)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Swatch: Shiro Cosmetics custom gloss in Wildflowers (moderate)

I want to update here more frequently, so--less reviewing, more swatching.

Bare lips (my bare lips hate autofocus)
Wildflowers (moderate opacity)
Wildflowers is a soft, semi-sheer pink with sparkles in eyeshadow form, but comes off as a frosty neutralish pink as a moderate gloss. This was one of my first custom gloss orders aaaages ago so I was initially surprised and a little disappointed at how frosty it turned out, since I don't find the shadow comes off that way at all--I've later come to understand that anything with sparkle/shimmer tends to turn turn frosty/metallic, unless it has a strong base to overwhelm it (Women's Weapons in opaque, for example, barely shows its sparkle). I am much braver about my lip products now, so I will totally use this in cool, wintery looks.

Some people remark that Shiro's unflavoured glosses can smell very metallic, and I think this is a prime example of that--because Wildflowers is fairly sheer, they probably had to use a lot of shadow to get it even moderately opaque, which I imagine is why it smells this way. It only smells strong to me at first and it doesn't bother me that much, but if you're sensitive to metallic-y scents, I'd probably get it flavoured. (Alternately, this might be less frosty and less metallic-smelling in sheer.)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Swatch + review: Notoriously Morbid Serannian Dreams Lipcraft lipgloss

Before I start in on swatching my whole eyeshadow collection (an intimidating task, but at least I've made a spreadsheet) I figured I would start with finishing up with my latest Notoriously Morbid haul.

So: a quick look at one of Notoriously Morbid's new lip glosses. (Apparently lip gloss is a term that is correct either as a compound or two words, but not hyphenated. It nags at my brain--I'm an editor in real life. Anyway.)

Bare lips for great justice

Serannian Dreams, indirect sunlight
Serannian Dreams, "white balance"
Serannian Dreams is a hot pink that didn't translate perfectly on my camera, so I tried using a white balance. However, my camera is usually pretty accurate in terms of how it picks up my (ghostly) skin tone, so I ended up looking orange with white balance, eep. In any case, I'm hoping that between the two, you can get a sense of the colour. It's much as it looks on the website swatch and in the tube.

This gloss was non-sticky and not too slippery, but did do the stringy thing a bit when I opened my mouth. It's vanilla scented along the same lines as the NYX Butter Glosses.

It was tricky to build up and didn't like sticking to the inner part of my lips; it also doesn't do my lip texture any favours, which was sad since they're much nicer lately. I kind of had to build it up because it looked odd and settled into lip lines a lot sheered out, but over lipstick it'd be fine. It is a really fun, vivid colour once I got it to work, and it wasn't nearly as much of a pain as Shiro's Red in My Ledger. (Beautiful heartbreak in lip gloss form. Woe.)

I like this lip gloss okay, but I don't love it. That's okay with me since I spent a very reasonable $4.50 to give it a go--I can use this to top lipstick. If I get anything else from the Lipcraft line, I'll probably get something in a different opacity--I imagine the formula might work better with something more sheer (this is medium to full).

An honourable mention to this little guy, though. I already had a Coffin Kisser in Vanilla Veil, but found I didn't really like something about the flavouring, so I threw a different one into this order so I'd feel more compelled to give it a real try (plus: Supernatural reference). I am digging it! Not as much as my St. John's Soap Works Balm Diggity, but it's coming in a solid second lately. 

Thanks for tuning in--and many, many things that sparkle are (eventually) on the way!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

First impressions: St. John's Soap Works

I feel like reviewing soap has to be a process, since you really can't know how good it'll be for your skin until you've used it for a while. However, I wanted to write up a few initial thoughts on St. John's Soap Works since (spoiler alert) I've had a great experience so far.

Not-so-obligatory rave about customer service: Ordered August 11th, shipped out August 15th, and received my package August 21st. Everything went smoothly and quickly, so I didn't need to contact anyone. I ordered using the soap special, which is an $18 package that includes two soaps of your choice, a mystery gift, and free shipping. Since shipping to me would normally be a flat $10 and most of their soaps are $5, this deal saves me $2 and nets me a free thing. No brainer.

The soaps came wrapped up tightly in a very padded envelope and wrapped additionally in red tissue paper and their individual packaging. A lot of cute and consistent branding going on. The Bee Pollen soap smells heavenly. I didn't think I was that into sweet orange and lavender, but somehow together, they are divine. True Grit radiates a minty aura. I am not about minty scents (minty flavours, more like!) but it's for my partner, so. He likes it.

This unassuming lip balm was my mystery gift. When I first opened it, I was skeptical since it was a bit melty and extremely soft (perhaps from transit--I live in a warmer part of the country). I'm also pretty picky about lip balms, since I need them like I need to eat. But thus far, I've worn this lip balm for two days straight since I put it on, so. Yeah. Also, it smells like fresh oranges. (It contains lanolin and a natural flavouring, so maybe that contributes to its awesomeness.)

There was no business card/etc. included, but instead, I got a thank you card. Which is pretty awesome?

On the inside was this slip with some information about the company.

I'll have to come back and let you know how the soap does, but if it's anywhere as nice as it smells, I'm definitely going back for gifts!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Blush Blogging: Notoriously Morbid Divination Blushes in Astrology & Numerology

Hello everyone!

Notoriously Morbid recently released a new line of blushes and the new Lipcraft lip glosses, and given that I have been enjoying everything I own from the shop so far, I had to try both.

(Also,  I was once upon a time very into astrology and numerology, which coincidentally were the blush colours that most appealed to me, so obviously I had to buy them.)

The little Notoriously Morbid haul that could.
I've ordered from Notoriously Morbid before, but partial obligatory note: my order shipped within the turnaround time and everything was as it should be. It seems worth noting, though, that I also got a message encouraging me to be in touch if I'm displeased in any way, which I thought was a nice touch. The note also offers a coupon code for my next order, which I find is becoming more common with shops right now--another nice touch, but my NM orders have always been during one of their Free Day Friday promotions.

On to the blushes!

Numerology left, Astrology right
These come in a 20g jar. It's a very easy to use size--the lid gives me plenty of room to swirl my brush. 

If you purchase these, be careful removing the sifter sticker. These were pretty packed and I made a mess of Numerology.

The prettiest mess, though.

Swatches? Swatches. I've done these on bare skin, no primer. I used an eyeshadow brush with two swipes to give a sense of the colour, then did a blended-out swatch. As with most indie blushes, these are quite pigmented and a little goes a long way.

Astrology is the easier of the two to capture. The website describes this as "vibrant hot pink with purple sheen," and it looks that way in the jar, but it comes out much cooler on my skin. 

Astrology: Direct sunlight
Astrology: Indirect sunlight
(Sorry for the couple of unblended flecks hanging on the end there. Did not pat it all properly in my haste to sparklify my arm!)

This blends out nicely and I imagine it'll make for a beautiful glow.

Numerology is nearly impossible to capture, so you have to take my word for it: it's amazing. The website describes the colour of this blush as "warm coral/orange with sparkle and a mystically purple shift." This blush looks pinker in the website pictures than it is for me. To my eyes, the coral looks brown-leaning and this glows alternately gold and a cool purple-pink as I turn my arm.

Numerology: Direct sunlight
Numerology: Indirect sunlight
Yeeah, neither of these swatches really gets it. Astrology has a sheen, but Numerology is basically all glow. This colour seems complex and buildable/blendable enough to be gorgeous on a variety of skintones, so I can see why it's the bestselling blush so far!

Overall, I really like these blushes, though they came out a bit differently than I expected. They're not mattes nor glitterbombs, but they both blend out to a beautiful glow, so if that's the kind of finish you're into, they're worth checking out!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Swatch Sunday: Hello Waffle custom colours!

How have I not talked Hello Waffle here before? I'm really not sure.

There are so many things I could say about this lovely shop and the super nice owner, but for today I'd like to focus on the custom eyeshadow option!

Labels with custom titles
The new Hello Waffle logo is ADORABLE.
(I don't know what I was thinking getting a white desk as a battlestation since I spill bits of pigment ALL THE TIME, but the blue smears give it character. I think.)

I initially ordered one custom eyeshadow, which I envisioned as an orangey-red with an aqua blue duochrome, as a pick-me-up gift for an artist friend of mine who goes by the handle Of Red and Blue. (If you're curious, here's her webcomic.) However, there's a reason such a colour isn't super common in the first place, as it turns out: it's tricky to make! But Christine (the owner of Hello Waffle and an extremely sweet and patient person) went through a bunch of different ideas and really put a lot of care into coming up with something lovely that would suit the concept.

I really have to emphasize that Christine's customer service is excellent--she really seeks to ensure that you're 100% happy with the product, she's quick to respond to e-mails, and very easy to correspond with. She provided video swatches of the mixes she worked on throughout the process, so you're able to get a better sense of the sparkle/shift in the eyeshadow.

One of the mixes she showed me that went pinky-purple was really gorgeous, so I asked to purchase it as well--hence Raindrops on Violets. I ended up splitting the four jars (you receive two jars with each custom shadow order) into two sets, because friendship makeup is the new friendship bracelet for adults. (Okay, so I just made that up, but come on. Friendship makeup.)

Anyway, here are some swatches over Darling Girl Glitter Glue. I'd describe Raindrops on Violets as a slightly metallic plum-magenta with a subtle blue shift, while Of Red and Blue is a molten copper with gold and aqua sparkle.

Raindrops on Violets left, Of Red and Blue right
Sunlight sparkle-blur
Sunlight kind of catches the sparkle/sheen best and illustrates the shifting water feeling of these, though it washes out the colours a bit.

Indirect sunlight
As you can see here, the base in Of Red and Blue is more of a copper and Raindrops on Violets is a pinky-purple. It's hard to catch the shift/sparkle of them in a non-blurry picture, though.

Of Red and Blue, slightly blurred
Of Red and Blue's sparkle is reminiscent of the sparkle in Shiro's Baker's Boy, I think. Maybe this is Katniss and Peeta's fiery child who also enjoys baking cheese buns.

Raindrops on Violets, very blurred (sorry)
Raindrops on Violets reminds me of Darling Girl's Obviously a Wig with a less neon base/subtler sheen. I am clearly in a Hunger Games mood.

I think if I order a custom in future I'll probably message Christine about it first to get a sense of how realistic my expectations are! (I kind of feel like I put her through a gauntlet unintentionally.) However, she was lovely to work with and these colours came out very pretty--and most importantly, Of Red and Blue liked Of Red and Blue. :)

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Swatch Saturday: Álög Cosmetics Nebula

Álög Cosmetics is pretty new to the indie scene, so I'm happy to be sharing about it today. The shop started out with a selection of unique, fun lipstick colours and carries quite a few now, from the traditionally wearable to the...bright metallic teal-blue, haha. Nebula falls somewhere in the middle of that spectrum.

Spoiler alert: I'm so far really loving this lipstick.

Obligatory bit about customer service: I ordered this lipstick on July 30th, it shipped on July 31st, and I received it in the mail August 7th. Bam. That's beyond fast. That's a turn-around time of less than 24 hours and a week to ship--and I live in Canada and Álög is in Iceland. Indie magic. I didn't contact the owner since everything went smoothly.

Packaging: The shipping was extremely cheap--I paid $4.93 CAD--and everything arrived in pristine condition. There's not much packaging here, but I expect it's because you can buy an optional shipping upgrade.

The lipstick and samples were wrapped in some paper towel and came in a large envelope. The lipstick tube feels very solid and the sample pods are made out of thick plastic, so I don't think these items need much packaging to hold up in the mail. This didn't arrive with a receipt/any branding material, though, so that was too bad--I hoard indie business cards.

I received two samples in my order, which I think was quite generous. They'll clearly be good for quite a few uses--but I am still pretty iffy with a lip brush, so I'll have to work on those skills to swatch these for you. Kitten is a pinky-red and Sky at Night is a shimmery black (this excites me).

I had to include a better picture of this lipstick tube (square...package?) because I really like it. It's red, it's shiny, it's solid, it stands out in my drawer. Props. That said, though, I think the labelling/branding could be stronger as Álög moves forward. (And I'm sorry for the old nail polish.)

Swatch time? Swatch time.

In the title description for Nebula, Álög describes this lipstick as "violet lipstick with golden sheen."

Bare lips for reference
Two swipes of Nebula
Yep, violet lipstick with golden sheen. This one's not far off the web swatch though I do think that picture was probably taken in slightly dimmer lighting; I find Nebula is a little warmer, lighter on me but I get a lot of sunshine here.

A blurry, sunlit angle
Forgive the artsy blur, but this might illustrate more clearly how this lipstick lights up like a Christmas tree in direct sun.

Review: Pictures of Nebula don't really do it justice in my opinion, since it really glows in person. But hopefully you can tell why I dig it--it's gorgeous, unique, and oddly wearable for a sparkly purple.

This glides on, but the colour is not full coverage in one swipe. It's not hard to build, though, and this is only two. You may need more product depending on how pigmented your lips are.

It felt moisturizing at first, though my lips were a bit papery after a wear test. My lips are the most dry of all the lips, so this is about as good as it gets for me when it comes to actual lipstick--so for a normal person, this is probably a non-drying or even moisturizing option. I find this fades off fairly evenly without leaving strange rings or flaky lips and it doesn't move around.

Longevity of wear isn't normally one of my considerations because putting lipstick on makes me thirsty or something, but this doesn't totally come off on my straws and looks okay after fried chicken so it's aces in my book.

I would definitely purchase from Álög Cosmetics again based on this experience. Phoenix is next on my list.