Monday, August 22, 2011

My tiny little MAC collection

Collection posts/ videos are always so fun, aren't they? Even when you're consumed with jealousy over how much Christine from Temptalia has, you're still having so much fun ogling all of it ...
Top: Shadowy Lady e/s, Parisian Skies e/s, Jealousy Wakes e/s; Bottom: Pop Mode l/g, Russian Red l/g, Coral Polyp l/s

Well, I am the cheap chick, so my MAC collection is very small. And in fact, all the eyeshadows were free (giveaway wins and one referral contest prize), and one lipglass was from a blog sale; I only paid retail for Russian Red lipglass, way back in high school or thereabouts, and Coral Polyp - well, I paid more than retail for that quite recently and still consider it a great deal!

I have eyeshadows in Shadowy Lady (dark bruise purple, Matte, permanent), Parisian Skies (blue-gray with sky blue shimmer, Satin, LE Bloggers' Obsessions), and Jealousy Wakes (blue-green with gold shimmer, Veluxe Pearl, LE Bloggers' Obsessions), lipglasses in Pop Mode (raspberry with gold shimmer, LE Pop Mode) and Russian Red (slightly warm-toned opaque red, permanent), and lipstick in Coral Polyp (nearly-neon coral, Amplified Creme, LE Dame Edna).
L-R: Shadowy Lady e/s, Parisian Skies e/s, Jealousy Wakes e/s, Pop Mode l/g, Russian Red l/g, Coral Polyp l/s, direct sunlight, no flash
Shadowy Lady was my first MAC eyeshadow and it definitely did not inspire me to get more - you can see how difficult it was to get the color to show up in the swatch; I think that was 3 or more swipes on my skin. It feels dry and applies very sheer. Parisian Skies feels a bit dry too and only pops over a very good primer, while Jealousy Wakes can look good on bare skin and amazing over good primer.
L-R: Shadowy Lady e/s, Parisian Skies e/s, Jealousy Wakes e/s, Pop Mode l/g, Russian Red l/g, Coral Polyp l/s, direct sunlight, no flash
Pop Mode is an absolutely beautiful berry-toned lipglass that's perfect for fall, and Russian Red is an incredibly opaque fire-engine red - honestly, I'm surprised I haven't bought more lipglasses, with these two beauties inspiring me - and Coral Polyp, my first and only MAC lipstick, is pretty opaque, smells nice and wears very well, so I'm impressed by that, too! (See Coral Polyp on my lips here)

But overall, I think indie cosmetic companies have more interesting and better eyeshadows. Maybe it's slightly harder to find such high-quality lip products, but several companies (Silk Naturals, Darling Girl Cosmetics, Morgana Cryptoria etc) have mastered the art of producing fabulous lippies and sell them for lower prices - so really, you don't need to wait for the next LE collection from MAC to become available, you just need to research some indie brands to get your hands on some gorgeous fall products :)

PS: My manfriend will be here in less than 19 hours and he's staying for 3 weeks (he lives 5500 miles away), so if I disappear, that's why ^_^; He is bringing me English/ European makeup though so I will have some fun stuff to show you!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Dawn Eyes Cosmetics swatches

But only two, sorry. And they're both the same shade, actually, just one is more glittery than the other ...

When I saw these swatches of Grey Fire at Mascara and Mineral Junkie, I sat up and took notice of Dawn Eyes Cosmetics (DEC) for the first time. If you've been "in" the indie makeup community for a while, you sort of get cynical about all the new companies constantly popping up, and I definitely have been guilty of assuming that just because a company is new, it won't have any really unique shades. DEC put me and my assumptions to shame!

Dawn Eyes Cosmetics samples with metallic silver labels
The website is nothing fancy, but easy enough to use - certainly not any more difficult than Artfire, for example. Eyeshadows are listed in different color categories and by collection, and below each swatch photo is a link to an entire album of unedited photos of the color, which is incredibly helpful! I wish more companies could do this, it makes it so easy to see all the different nuances of each shadow.

When I went to look at Grey Fire, I discovered that it had a sister, so to speak: Glittering Grey Fire. I decided to sample both versions (samples are $1 each for 1/8 tsp) ... and can I say that these are kind of weird? Is that okay? Look:

L: Grey Fire; R: Glittering Grey Fire; swatched over Kiss My Sass Cosmetics primer, direct sunlight, no flash
Okay, see how Glittering Grey Fire has weird whitish patches in the swatch? The loose shadow starts out tan with red sparkle, but apply the least bit of pressure and it turns ashy and the white cast spreads like oil dropped on water. SO WEIRD!!! But that's what the color is supposed to look like, as you can see in the product photos on the website (listed under Reds & Oranges). It just took me completely by surprise because ... well, I've seen pressure-sensitive colors before, but none that behaved like this ^_^;

L: Grey Fire; R: Glittering Grey Fire; swatched over Kiss My Sass Cosmetics primer, direct sunlight, no flash
"Weirdness" of the formula aside, this color is very pretty in both variations. I'm not sure a normal person would need both the super-sparkly and more matte versions, but I do think they're different enough to warrant being offered separately: Grey Fire is that whitish-tan with a red duochrome that was hiding in the photos (grr!), and Glittering Grey Fire is that amped up with very visible red glitter ... like a work-safe version and a party version, basically :)

At the moment I am in a deep financial hole, so I can't see myself ordering more from DEC for a while but I do intend to explore their collection further at some point! I wish I could take advantage of the sale currently in progress, which offers three different deals to choose from, but it ends tomorrow (8/20) at noon CST and I don't think I'll find myself a ton of money by then ^.^ They are offering rainchecks on a case-by-case basis for those who won't get their paycheck before the sale ends, though, and I think that is incredibly thoughtful and generous of them. So overall, I am impressed with this "young" company and recommend you take a look and see if anything catches your eye!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

For all you Game of Thrones fans ...

This series seems to have taken the world by storm! I was given the first book by my dad a few months ago, and he and my brother both asked to borrow it before I had even finished reading it ^.^ It took me a while to get through it just because each unfolding drama seemed more and more twisted and creepy to me ... but now I'm hooked! Unfortunately I don't have HBO, so I haven't seen the TV adaptation. But since it's become so popular, I've seen a lot of GoT-inspired things online, and here are a few of them:
  • Geek Chic Cosmetics has come out with a new eight-color collection called "Win or Die," including shades like "The Imp" (Lannister gold) and "Brotherhood of Crows" (blackened steel).
  • Lillith of Lillith's Dark Tower is doing a series of looks inspired by different characters, and the three she's done so far are STUNNING!!! If you are a fan of this drama then you MUST go look at them, especially the ones inspired by the Night's Watch and Cersei! I can just see her defending the Wall, or plotting sick schemes with her brother ... what an artist Lillith is, truly!
  • And finally, Grey of Le Gothique has done a Style Diary post based off Winterfell, from an icy manicure and "winter is coming" bracelet right down to a foresty perfume! She's said she has at least one more GoT-inspired Style Diary coming up, which I'm definitely looking forward to :)
Have you been sucked in by this series, or are you feeling left out in the cold?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Venomous Cosmetics swatches

I'm tackling Venomous Cosmetics first (from my long list of indie companies to review) because I only own one full-sized product and have just two eyeshadow samples ... so it's a bit less intimidating ^_^

Mini Lip Poison and two loose eyeshadow samples
I don't have any pictures of how it was packaged, but I think it was a standard bubble mailer with some more bubble wrap around the gloss. This was just one order: purse-sized "Lip Poison" in Dazed, free samples of loose eyeshadows "Bravest Astronaut" and "Surfing the Gold Coast."

Venomous Cosmetics (VC) has quickly become internet-famous for two things: the deadly creatures that inspire the item names (photos of which are on the website so watch out if you hate spiders), and their pressed eyeshadows which are available in adorable miniature pans for samples! I would love to own some of those tiny shadows someday, they look so cute (tiny things rule) and the colors all look beautiful!

But all I ordered was the mini Lip Poison in Dazed ($3.50 for the 3.7mL tube, or $5 for full-sized 5.9mL tube), because it looked like it might be a good dupe for the limited edition color Caqui from the MAC Blogger's Obsessions collection, and I didn't allow myself to splurge on that. I managed to convince myself that persimmon orange would not suit me. Well ... Dazed does look a lot like Caqui (just based on internet swatches I've seen), and I'm still not sure it looks good on me!

Swatched on bare skin, direct sunlight, no flash
It's very orange - not orangey-red, not coral, just straight-up orange that leans slightly reddish. It is pretty pigmented, very shiny, glitter-free and looks like a very expensive high-end gloss on the lips. There is no scent or taste that I can discern, and it doesn't burn, tingle, or dry out my lips, nor does it goop up in lip lines or slide around to make it look like I applied it without a mirror (hate glosses that do that).

Naked lips for reference, direct sunlight, no flash
One layer on otherwise bare lips, direct sunlight, no flash
Aside from the way the color frightens me (despite being very accurate from the website and the swatches I'd seen online so what exactly was I expecting? Lol), the only criticism I have of the gloss is that the label is oddly sticky and transfers ink onto my hands whenever I touch it. It's a great label otherwise, since it lists the company name, color name, and ingredients on a semi-transparent sticker that doesn't obscure the color of the gloss in the tube.

L: Surfing the Gold Coast; R: Bravest Astronaut; swatched over Pixie Epoxy, direct sunlight, no flash
These are the two loose eyeshadow samples that were sent for free, with 1/8 tsp per sample according to the webstore. I just swatched them over Pixie Epoxy since that's the only way I would use them, and they applied very easily with no patchiness, streaking, or lumps of unblended pigment. On bare skin, you probably wouldn't get this color payoff, and you'd lose some of the glitter.
  • Surfing the Gold Coast is from the Well-Traveled collection, and is a baby blue with subtle gold shimmer. 
  • Bravest Astronaut is from the Spaced Out collection and is described on the website as "strong red with magenta shifts," but I would say it's hot pink with blue-violet shift. Both colors are currently available to purchase ($1 for samples, $6.50 for 5g sifter jars).
Shipping was pretty reasonable, I think it was $2 for this order if I'm not mistaken, and although the current TAT is listed as a perfectly reasonable 2-8 business days my order was shipped within 2 days of being placed - always love when you get the lower end of the estimated TAT :)

Overall, I'm very impressed with VC so far! I love the formula of the Lip Poison, especially because it's hard to find good quality non-glittery lip glosses from indie brands for some reason. I also think the loose shadows are normal-to-good quality and fairly original. I definitely would order from them again if I could afford to, and snag some tiny pressed shadows to ooh and ahh over!

Buxom Lolita

Wow, not too suggestive, amIright? One of the things I bought with my Sephora giftcards was the Buxom Big & Healthy Full-Color Lip Polish in the color Lolita:

Buxom Big & Healthy Full-Color Lip Polish in shade Lolita
I had never tried Buxom or even the mother line, Bare Escentuals, before, but Phyrra has raved about so many beautiful lip products by this brand and I trust her opinion! I actually was looking at the Big & Healthy Lip Sticks display when I noticed a little sign in front of a mostly-empty part of the display, hidden down in the bottom corner. Evidently two shades* of gloss were on sale for $9, down from $18 - if you can read the title of this blog you'll understand that 50% off makes me happy - and although there was only one shade left in stock, it happened to be gorgeous. So I bought it!

Swatched on bare skin, direct sunlight, no flash
Lolita is a very pigmented mauve, slightly cool-toned but warm enough that it could still look great on those with warm skin tones (or a tan). The gloss itself is ... um, interesting: it's meant to be plumping, as well as opaque and moisturizing, and while two out of three ain't bad .... it's just a little weird to me that my lips feel cold and wet the entire time the gloss is on my lips because of the plumping agents, yet my lips don't actually look any plumper (sorry, Buxom). Weird cooling/ damp sensation aside (it's not actually unpleasant), I am very impressed with this gloss! It's almost more like a liquid lipstick because of the opacity, but very shiny as one would expect with a gloss, so it's the best of both worlds :D

Compare my naked lips to glossed lips:

One semi-thick layer of Lolita, direct sunlight, no flash
The sunlight seems to have washed out the color a bit; the hand swatch is much more color-accurate. In real life this is darker on me, and completely covers my lips like a really pigmented lipstick would. I can apply a thin layer for a more natural color and it still covers my lips perfectly. When I apply a slightly thicker layer, it doesn't goop up or gather in nooks and crannies, just behaves very nicely and stays right where it is supposed to be, giving me dark mauve shiny lips to die for!

When I bought this, I thought I was getting a fantastic deal since the lipgloss is so huge. Well, it is a good deal at 1/2 off, but the tube is very deceptive! It looks like you're getting way more gloss than the norm, but in reality it's only 0.15oz. For comparison purposes, MAC Lipglass have 0.17oz, Stila Lip Glazes are 0.08oz and Hard Candy Glossaholics have a whopping 0.38oz. So never let an item's packaging fool you! Look at the actual net weight before you buy it ^_^;

And now for the bad news: I think this color is discontinued ... it's not on the Sephora website and obviously it was half off the regular price in-store. So if you're interested in this color, I'd advise either calling your local Sephora to see if they have any left, or turning to evilBay - sorry :(
Although the tube is tricksy and doesn't contain as much product as it would seem, and the gloss feels super different on my lips but doesn't really plump them, I am actually very pleased with this gloss! I really didn't buy it for plumping; I bought it because of the color and the price, and on those counts it doesn't let me down. I'm not sure I'd buy one of these at full price unless I had another giftcard, but this set of seven mini Lip Polishes for $15 (originally $29) is very tempting :) To the birthday wishlist!!

*I can't remember what the other shade on sale was >_<

Monday, August 15, 2011

So much to talk about!

Or rather, blog about. I have a mini-Sephora haul from a couple of giftcards I spent recently:

Swatches, etc for two of the items will be in their own posts. Two other items are for gifts!

I also want to blog about alllll these indie companies (in alphabetical order): Dark Heart Designs, Darling Girl Cosmetics, Dawn Eyes Cosmetics, Evil Shades, Kiss My Sass Cosmetics, Venomous Cosmetics ... I think that's all ... there may be more! ETA: Yeah, I missed a few. Black Rose Minerals, Silk Naturals, and Virus Insanity Eyeshadow will be covered, too!

I need to get some EOTD/ FOTD done, too, and then my manfriend will be here in one week (WOOOHOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!) and he's bringing me a TON of cosmetics from England/ Europe - so much, I worry he won't be able to fit clothes in his luggage, not even kidding - so ... I have a lot about which to blog.

I've got a lot of photos done, edited and ready to go, but I've had them for a while; I just hadn't been blogging because so much unpleasant stuff was going on, I was just in no mood to blog. Things actually have now gotten even worse (I'm not even talking about the internet drama that never dies; I'm talking my car broke down for the last time, I'm about to get sued for unpaid bills, and cannot even get an interview let alone a job, plus health issues, etc ...), but now I want to turn to blogging as an escape - and a means to be somewhat productive, even if it is only "helping people decide what makeup to buy." That's way better than nothing, especially if it means that some truly fantastic products/ companies get the attention they deserve!

ETA: And a giveaway!!! I've been collecting stuff for it for ages now, and I think I've decided to split it into two prizes, so I will definitely try to get that up soon :D

So expect to see a lot from me coming up, though I probably won't be too active online during the three weeks my boy is here. And if you've tagged me for an award and I haven't done it yet, don't worry, I definitely plan to :)

Sometimes two wrongs CAN make a right

The Wet n Wild limited edition DreamWeavers collection has been one of the most sought-after drugstore collections of 2011, and the palette most people wanted above all the rest was Dancing in the Clouds (DITC).

With a gold, purple, and copper shade, this trio is one of the more unique and special of the collection, but also the hardest to find! I had to turn to my favorite "Wet n Wild pimp" Lena* again for help, and she very kindly CP'ed the 2 palettes I wanted along with some awesome extra goodies just cuz she's so awesome like that!

Forever 21 rose hairpins, L.A. Colors palette, We're Blasting Off and Dancing In The Clouds, plus chocolates and a lovely note :)
Now, anyone who's found this palette or seen reviews and swatches of it online will know that the purple shade is a huge letdown. It has a funny texture in the pan, like ancient velvet, and is nearly impossible to transfer to your skin, even over good primers.

BUT - beauty genius Emily Noel of Beauty Broadcast has figured out how to make this color work! In her Dancing in the Clouds tutorial vid, she used the Wet n Wild Idol Eyes cream shadow pencil in Techno as a base for the purple shade, and the combination worked beautifully, bringing the purple up to a much better level of pigmentation. Since I happened to own Techno, I decided to show you how this works!

Dancing In The Clouds palette; Idol Eyes cream shadow pencil in Techno
I don't use Techno much on its own because it's really streaky and liquidy and difficult to apply evenly. For this experiment, I scribbled it onto my hand and gently patted it with my finger to try to even it out. Then, apply the purple from DITC over it and - voila!

L: Purple from DITC swiped onto bare skin; C: Techno applied to bare skin; R: the two combined over bare skin. Direct sunlight, no flash
Two fail products, combined to make a totally acceptable color :) It's still not going to be THE most vibrant color ever, but it's much closer to what we've come to expect from our Wet n Wild shadows. And since Techno costs only $1.99, and is part of the core collection available at most drugstores, it's easy to add this to your routine! I highly recommend you go pick it up if you want to get some use out of your DITC purple :)

*Lena doesn't have a blog, but she's a Twitter regular and will be doing a giveaway when she hits 500 followers, so if you're on Twitter you might want to check her out :)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Parisian Skies

A few weeks ago, I was excited to find out that I had won Parisian Skies eyeshadow from the very blogger who dreamed it up, Lesley of Lipstick Powder N Paint! Since the blog is Canadian, I prepared myself to wait patiently (why it takes so long to mail things between the US and Canada I will never know, I have things get to Australia quicker than things sent right up to Canada) ...

It says "sample" on the box and label since they were sent to Lesley pre-launch :D
... and my patience was rewarded about a week ago when this arrived!

I've seen swatches of this lovely color around on many different blogs, but when I tried swatching it myself I sort of failed. I found I couldn't make the color show up over anything but NYX Jumbo Pencil in Milk, and even then it wasn't quite right:

L: bare skin; R: NYX Jumbo Pencil in Milk; direct sunlight, no flash
Luckily I found a new primer that shows Parisian Skies in all its glory, shimmer and all!

Over Kiss My Sass Cosmetics primer, direct sunlight, no flash
I don't have any similar colors in my collection to which I could compare this color, it is very unique for me. It's a grayed blue with sky blue shimmer, and it's very easy to see the connection between the color and its inspiration:

Image from
So I'm very happy with my win :) I'll be doing at least one EOTD with this color soon, I've just been playing with different color combinations to see what looks best next to this. So far I love lavender with Parisian Skies!

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