Friday, September 30, 2011

About that Nuance sale

The line created by Salma Hayek is currently spend $20, get $10 ExtraBucks (at CVS obviously - the one and only store that sells Nuance), so I swatched the Nuance stuff I have - one eyeshadow pod and samples of the mineral foundation.
Nuance Salma Hayek Beautiful Blends Eye Quad in Neutral 080
Obviously this is the coolest-looking eyeshadow quad ever! This is the Beautiful Blends Eye Quad in Neutral. You pull down each teardrop-shaped "petal" thing to access the eyeshadow pans inside, and there is an absolutely useless round-tipped sponge applicator in the center. It's big, and somewhat awkward to store, but I leave it out because I like to look at it!
Swatched over bare skin (above) and Kiss My Sass primer (below); direct sunlight, no flash
The eyeshadows themselves are actually decently complex and sophisticated for a drugstore line, but then, it is also a bit pricey - $8.49 for four eyeshadows vs. $5.99 for a Wet n Wild 8 pan palette. For that price, the pigmentation isn't all that great, but the colors look fantastic over a good base.
Swatched over bare skin (above) and Kiss My Sass primer (below); direct sunlight, no flash; blurred to show subtle sparkle
The color selection for this palette seems a bit weird to me - the two outer colors (highlight and coppery brown) are more cool-toned and the two in the middle are warm-toned - basically neither a cool nor warm toned person will have all four shades look good on their skin. Still, I really like the taupe, which reminds me of the one in the NARS Dogon trio but minus the duochrome, and the coppery brown.
Samples of Nuance Salma Hayek Flawless Coverage Mineral Foundation in Light 220; untouched on left, used on right
Every CVS I've been to lately has a display with free samples of the Flawless Coverage Mineral Foundation in three shades, and I only ever see any left in Light. So here is a swatch of it:
Swatched over otherwise bare skin; heavily on top, blended out at bottom; direct sunlight, no flash
Now, on my hand it looks light enough - maybe even too light - for my skintone ... but when I tried it on my face, not only was it too dark, it was also too yellow. There are only 5 shades available and this is the lightest, so there's me out. Also, I didn't think it applied very well. Granted, I was working with a sample and that made it difficult, but I didn't think it gave a very natural finish; it was too powdery and obvious. and not at all flattering. I think part of the difficulty is that it's a pressed powder foundation, not loose, so it's a bit harder to pick up and then you get too much by accident. Plus, at $13.99, it's more than I'm comfortable paying for a drugstore powder foundation.

ETA: Forgot to mention coverage, which is not bad. For example, one of those little samples covered my whole face and left me enough to go back over areas that needed more. It doesn't conceal imperfections or redness, but does a decent job of evening out the skintone. Building up the coverage makes the finish look even worse though :/

So while I haven't been convinced to name this my new favorite brand, it's still interesting and clever, and there are a lot more reviews you can find online with more swatches, etc. I'd recommend doing so before buying these, especially if you're going to go to the trouble of ordering it online and paying for shipping. Keep in mind that this sale ends tomorrow (Saturday) night, though. Here is the Nuance webshop*, including a link to a giveaway CVS is running on Facebook!

*Not an affiliate link

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Swatches of 7 Persephone Minerals eyeshadows

I am SO excited about these swatches - not only are they some of my most beautiful unique eyeshadows, but I also somehow managed to capture the duochromes really well in the photos (quite by accident) :D

Persephone Minerals is an Etsy-based companyalso on Artfire, that is run by the owner and creator, Victoria (who also has a blog where she sometimes gives us sneak peeks). While in many ways it's not as impressive as other indie brands - the lack of branding, very basic shop, and longer TAT with occasional shop closings all spring to mind - in my opinion, it could easily become a huge success with just a few changes, simply because the colors are stunning. Many of them are unlike any I've seen elsewhere, and for a smallish shop she has a lot of duochromes and hardly any "basic" colors. Her Sailor Senshi (SS) collections are among the most popular indie collections (check out Phyrra's swatches and review here), and fans are eagerly awaiting the next one - she recently released Pluto and my vote is for Neptune next!
Jarred Persephone Minerals samples. Top L-R: Falling Angel, Bi-curious, Stagelights. Middle L-R: Mars Crystal Power (SS), Smoke, Infinity. Bottom: Makoto (SS).
Anyway, here are the seven samples I have. I do not know why I haven't ordered more, but it's probably because there is so little advertising or social network-bombing that I forget about them! Bad makeup junkie, bad! Five of these were from her ongoing offer of five jarred samples for $8 now $10, one was a free sample with my purchase, and one I snagged from a certain traveling box :) You can see that there is a good amount in there - about on par with samples of Fyrinnae Arcane Magic or free gift with purchase shades - but I'm not sure if the amount in them has changed since I ordered. I'm also unsure if you can still get Sailor Senshi sample jars in that offer. Normally, full-sized (3g) jars are $5, 10g jars of highlighters are $10, and samples in baggies are available as a set of five for $5, but SS are priced differently (more expensive).
Swatches over Pixie Epoxy and bare skin. Top L-R: Falling Angel, Bi-curious, Stagelights. Bottom L-R: Mars Crystal Power (SS), Smoke, Infinity, Makoto (SS). Direct sunlight, no flash.
I tried to do two stripes of Pixie Epoxy, leaving room for bare skin swatches in between, but the top row ended up just on Pixie Epoxy T__T Anyway, the top row has (from left) Falling Angel, Bi-curious, and Stagelights, and the bottom row shows Mars Crystal Power (SS), Smoke, Infinity, and Makoto (SS).

Falling Angel is described in the item listing as "shimmering, soft, beautiful shift from blue to pink." That's pretty accurate! It's an icy blue with strong light pink duochrome. The swatches in the item listing are really accurate and capture the color shift very well.
Another angle, showing the duochromes. Top L-R: Falling Angel, Bi-curious, Stagelights. Bottom L-R: Mars Crystal Power (SS), Smoke, Infinity, Makoto (SS). Direct sunlight, no flash.
Bi-curious is described in the item listing as "more of a trio-chrome than a duochrome. It shifts from a beautiful baby blue to a light gold, but seems to have the slightest tinge of pink to it as well." Again, the description is dead on; it's showing up more pink in my photos, but in real life, the gold flash and sky blue are most apparent, with pink reflects at different angles. Absolutely gorgeous. The photos in the listing are also very accurate and show the color change well.

Stagelights is my favorite! It's described in the item listing as "a lighter version of that UV purple that glows off a black light. It shifts from this amazing purple to gold." I'm not familiar with the UV purple she mentioned, but this is an incredibly lovely lilac with strong gold shift. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Again, the listing has great pictures showing off the duochrome.
Another angle, showing the duochromes. Top L-R: Falling Angel, Bi-curious, Stagelights. Bottom L-R: Mars Crystal Power (SS), Smoke, Infinity, Makoto (SS). Direct sunlight, no flash.
Mars Crystal Power is one of the most-talked-about Persephone colors, and the item listing says, "Inspired by the pink & gold crystal power wands and the transformation sequence of Sailor Mars. This is one hell of a duochrome shift from bright red to gold, chock full of pink and gold sparkle! It looks like a pinkish color in the jar, but do not let that fool you!" I love this color and had to get it when I saw swatches of it online (especially since Sailor Mars is my fave), but I hardly ever use it, because I don't use red eyeshadows that much. I want to make it into a lip gloss, though (it is lip safe). It's this incredible pinkish-red with a strong gold shift, which can appear coppery-orange straight on, or pinky-peach-red at one angle, or straight gold at another angle. Definitely deserves the built-up rep! Again, the swatch and eyelid photos in the listing do a great job of showing the color changes.
Blurred to show sparkles. Top L-R: Falling Angel, Bi-curious, Stagelights. Bottom L-R: Mars Crystal Power (SS), Smoke, Infinity, Makoto (SS). Direct sunlight, no flash.
Smoke is described in the item listing as "like a cross between purple & silver with sort of a pink tinge to it. Topped with various spa[r]kles, with green being the one to stand out the most. Super shimmery!" I think you can tell from my photos that it is a silvery purple, almost like purple steel, with tons of glitter. Yes, the green glitter does stand out more than the rest, but it's not super noticeable unless up close - it mostly looks like a dark silver purple with pinkish glow. This listing doesn't have the best swatch photos, but they still show the color fairly well.

Infinity is described in the item listing as "a deep sexy silver-grey that shifts to violet, complete with blue-violet sparkle." I don't see an actual color shift in this one, it's more like you can see silver and lavender at the same time. The glitter I see is more shades of pastel, like pink, light green, etc. This isn't one of the more popular shades and I think it's due to lackluster pics in the listing, because although this isn't a duochrome exactly, it's still really gorgeous.
Blurred to show sparkles at another angle, showing the duochromes. Top L-R: Falling Angel, Bi-curious, Stagelights. Bottom L-R: Mars Crystal Power (SS), Smoke, Infinity, Makoto (SS). Direct sunlight, no flash.
Finally, Makoto, from the Sailor Jupiter collection, is described in the item listing as "inspired her lovely, voluminous brunette hair. It is a somewhat deep brown with light brown and green microfine glitters." I would call this a warm brown, sort of chestnut, which definitely resembles Makoto/ Lita/ Jupiter's hair color, and I definitely can see the green glitter in it. This will be a cool one to use with the MAC Club/ Blue-Brown dupe we all own in one form or another ;) This is another example of great product photography, the glitter and color are very accurately shown in the listing photos.

So to recap, Persephone Minerals is a small company with huge potential - a little investment, enough to provide branding (website design, labels, etc), advertising (on popular blogs), and maybe the hiring of an employee or two (to help with packing, shipping, and social networking), could turn this somewhat unknown indie into a megastar, in my opinion! I am just a business student though so obviously I'm not an expert, that is just what I think about it ^_^

Basically, I want this company to succeed because the ideas, colors, and fandom are so great! I mean, look at any one of the SS item listings and you can immediately tell that this is not just an attempt to capitalize on a popular cartoon, Victoria obviously knows and loves the story and genuinely was inspired by it. You can Like the Facebook fan page to stay up-to-date on what's going on at Persephone (and browse the pics of Victoria modeling her shadows, and see other blogger's swatches) and beg for your fave Sailor Scout to be immortalized next :)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Revlon lipsticks for $1.50 each

I am very helpfully writing this on the very last night of the sale, so it is probably too late for most of you to take advantage of it ... but if you hadn't heard, CVS had a sale on selected Revlon lip products this week in which prices were reduced to $5.99, with $5 in ExtraBucks if you purchased one. The ExtraBucks could then be used to buy another, and another, and - up to six in total! (I "only" got five, because I was so overwhelmed by lipsticks ... what a problem to have, eh? I have the $5 ExtraBucks and I will be using it on something else soon!)

Obviously this sale was like Christmas in a candy shop in Disneyland to me, since I adore Revlon lipsticks. I was a little over-excited and grabbed one I already have, which I then returned when I realized my mistake, and I also got a backup of my HG lipstick Soft Rose and another Black Cherry for a future giveaway. And, since I lost my Coralberry a while ago, I replaced it this week (even if I find it, $1.50 is nothing for an extra!), so I really only got two new shades! But since I haven't really shown Coralberry before I've swatched it here.
L-R: Revlon Colorburst Raspberry, Revlon Super Lustrous Pink in the Afternoon and Revlon Super Lustrous Coralberry
The colors I got are Raspberry from the Colorburst line, and Pink in the Afternoon and Coralberry from the Super Lustrous line.
L-R: Revlon Colorburst Raspberry, Revlon Super Lustrous Pink in the Afternoon and Revlon Super Lustrous Coralberry, all swiped onto otherwise bare skin, direct sunlight, no flash
I hadn't bought Raspberry before because I have so many reds already, but actually almost none of my other lipsticks look like this! All of them were either too red or too plum to be dupes, so I'm glad I got this finally. It is very sheer, and I've really been noticing lately that "Colorburst" lipsticks are sheer and glossy and "Super Lustrous" are more opaque and less shiny ... o_O Anyway, Pink in the Afternoon (which has me humming "Nine in the Afternoon" whenever I look at it) is a light nude pink and Coralberry is a peachy pink. Both Raspberry and Coralberry have very subtle shimmer in them.
All three Revlon lipsticks with the closest dupes I could find in my collection.
I did find one sort-of-similar shade for each lipstick, and will be sharing those, along with lip photos, of these on my other blog Ravings of a Lipstick Lunatic soon!

If you went for this sale, I want to see your hauls, so link them in the comments :D

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Swatches of 2 Darling Girl Halloween goodies

These two Darling Girl samples came with a replacement item that arrived today, and of course I had to swatch them immediately. My camera could not handle the glitter, though!

All of these photos are clickable for closeups
Sample baggies of Darling Girl Cosmetics "Darling Ghoul" eyeshadow in Pumpkin Eater (L) and Pixie Sprinkles loose glitter in Candy Corn (R)
See? Even in the baggie, the glitter wants to jump out at you :) This is the "Darling Ghoul" (cute!) eyeshadow in Pumpkin Eater and Pixie Sprinkles (loose glitter) in Candy Corn. I knew I needed Pixie Epoxy to swatch these:
L-R: Pumpkin Eater, Candy Corn. Swatched over Pixie Epoxy; direct sunlight, no flash.
My camera wanted to blur the photos to show off the sparkles!
L-R: Pumpkin Eater, Candy Corn. Swatched over Pixie Epoxy; direct sunlight, no flash.
Pumpkin Eater is a pinkish-orange with pink, yellow, and green glitter and an iridescent green flash. The green glitter, for some reason, didn't want to adhere with the rest of it. ETA: No official color description for this one yet. the website calls this "Pumpkin orange with loads green iridescence"
L-R: Pumpkin Eater, Candy Corn. Swatched over Pixie Epoxy; direct sunlight, no flash. Blurred to show glitter colors.
Candy Corn is a jumble of copper/ orange, blue, pink, and green glitter. You NEED a sticky base to wear this, if you can't tell from the pic - even with Pixie Epoxy the glitter was going everywhere! The orangey glitter is the most blatant, but the blue, pink and green twinkles can also be seen in different lighting and from different angles. ETA: The official color description is "A blend of deep chocolate, caramel, and orange."

I don't have official color descriptions or links because I can't get Facebook to work right now -_- Will update with that later!

The photo album with swatches and descriptions of all the Halloween 2011 goodies is here, and the collection is not listed on the DG webshop at the moment but should be sometime next week. I have my eye on Poisoned Plum (lippie) and Just Bitten (cheek stain to dupe the Tarte for True Blood one) so far!

Also, Wendy of Turtle Beauty has swatches of ALL the Halloween collection goodies - eyeshadows, glitters, lippies and blush - so go check it out!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Swatches of 8 Darling Girl eyeshadows

Continuing my attempt to blog about all of the Darling Girl (DG) products I've accumulated, here are swatches of the eyeshadows I have in both sample and petit form!

As I said in the post about ordering, etc, samples cost $0.70 each and come in baggies, while petit sizes come in 3g jars and cost $2.25, and gift with purchase (GWP) shades are the same size as petits and are included in every order over $10 (before shipping). However, a couple of my samples were actually from the package that is offered for bloggers/ vloggers, which only costs $0.75, and some were free with my orders - yes, orders under $10 also get free samples, just not the GWP. None of that has affected my honest opinion of them.
Darling Girl Cosmetics eyeshadow samples. Top L-R: My Little Pony, Spottie Dottie, Barbarella. Bottom L-R: Curious, Champagne Kisses.
To the prettiness! These are all five of the samples I have from DG. You can see that there is a generous amount of product in the baggies; more than enough for several uses, let alone swatches to see if you like the color! Here are swatches, over Pixie Epoxy on top and bare skin on the bottom:
L-R: My Little Pony, Spottie Dottie, Barbarella, Curious, Champagne Kisses. Swatched over Pixie Epoxy on top and bare skin below. Direct sunlight, no flash
My Little Pony is from the "All the Pretty Little Horses" collection and is one of the better-known DG shades, which is why I requested it in my blogger pack. It's a lovely rosy lavender with flourescent green shift duochrome. Like many duochrome eyeshadows, it shows up pretty well on bare skin, but to maximize the effect you should really wear it over a sticky base. DG's description, "[a]t first glance it looks like a pale pastel lavender with green shift and aqua and pink iridescence, but hold it close to a light source and it takes on a coppery rose color," is pretty spot on except that I don't see the coppery rose thing!

Spottie Dottie, from the "Hello Kitty" collection, is another fan favorite, and I requested it for the same reason. It's interesting; to me this is like the daytime, or slightly--shy-younger-sister, version of My Little Pony. It has the same sort of shift, but with the volume turned down; it's a bit more pink with lighter green. DG calls it "Pink pearl with baby green shift." Again, it shows up on bare skin, but looks best over a sticky base.

Barbarella was a surprise to me - the webshop describes it as "gorgeous metallic melon-y gold," but I can much more precisely call it "metallic new-penny copper!" My swatches and experiences with it in real life show a less orange color than the swatch in the item listing. Very sheer on bare skin, but gorgeously metallic over a good base.

Curious is a new-ish shade which caught my eye right after I had placed an order, and Susan super-nicely offered to include a sample of it in the order - and she remembered, even when I had forgotten! Yay for great customer service! Anyway, it is a gorgeous color: sort of a rose-gold with subtle pink, blue and gold shimmer, and a satin finish. The official description is "kind of sheer iridescent taupe with a gold/copper shift. When foil[ed] it turns beautifully metallic, so pretty!" Super sheer on bare skin and will give you lots of glittery fallout, so wear it over a sticky base!

Champagne Kisses was not a color I was terribly excited about when I received a free sample of it, until I swatched it. This color has the best formula of all the ones I have from DG. It's a smooth, creamy, opaque cream with subtle pink, violet, gold and green shimmer. I had mentally relegated it to my highlight category, but no, this deserves full lid-covering status! DG lists it as "Pearly champagne shimmer with red sparks." This shows up well with or without a base, but again, without a base you risk getting glitter all over your face!

Sorry I don't have a photo of those swatches blurred to show off the sparklies :/
Darling Girl Cosmetics Petit eyeshadow jars, L-R: Jeweled Taupe, Legion, Emerald City
Here are my three petit jars of DG eyeshadows! Two I ordered and one, sadly, was a GWP that you will hate me for showing off when you can no longer get it :(
L-R: Jeweled Taupe, Legion, Emerald City. Swatched over Pixie Epoxy on top and bare skin on bottom. Direct sunlight, no flash
Jeweled Taupe was one of the most highly-anticipated new releases a month or two ago - Susan had posted swatches on Twitter and Facebook that had us all ooh-ing and ahh-ing over it and I could not resist! It's a stunning metallic golden-bronze loaded with visible hot pink and pale blue glitter, but watch out - this one is glitterbomb/ fallout city. Seriously, DO NOT attempt to wear this color without a sticky base!! DG's item description is "amazing metallic bronzey taupe with amazing multi-colored shimmers like tiny little jewels ribbon-ed through it." Very much worth ordering, especially if you are afraid to break out of your neutral rut, or love bold shades but need a neutral color for work.

Legion is one of my favorite DG colors, and was another new release that I ordered with Jeweled Taupe. This is a beautiful plummy brown with visible hot pink, pale blue, gold and green glitter - which, again, can cause major fallout issues, so you need to use (say it with me) A STICKY BASE. On the website, it's described as "deep lustrous raisin brown taupe with aqua shimmers. Foiled it has a gorgeous orange/copper afterglow."
L-R: Jeweled Taupe, Legion, Emerald City. Swatched over Pixie Epoxy on top and bare skin on bottom. Direct sunlight, no flash, blurred for maximum sparkliness
Finally, the GWP you can't have! Emerald City is a color I chose to wait for, holding off on placing my order until after midnight on Sunday night just so I'd get this GWP instead of the other one from the previous week. What excellent taste I have; this color is soooooooooo pretty! I think this is what many people envisioned when they first heard about Jealousy Wakes - it is a true emerald/ grass green with gold shimmer.
L: Emerald City; R: Jealousy Wakes; direct sunlight, no flash, shown blurred on the right to emphasize glitter
Comparing the two, Emerald City is obviously not a dupe for Jealousy Wakes, since it is a lot less blue and more glittery. Honestly, I love them both, and I'm so sorry you can't get Emerald City anymore! Maybe if you ask Susan really nicely she'll re-release it after the holiday collection madness is over :)

Because I own a lot of purplish duochrome eyeshadows and I know they are popular offerings from many indie companies, I decided to do a dupe-hunting comparison for you. All of these were swatched over Pixie Epoxy:
Center: DG My Little Pony. Clockwise from top L: Lucky 107 Bunny, DG Spottie Dottie, Persephone Minerals Stagelights, Fyrinnae Meerkat, My Pretty Zombie Gangrenous. Shown blurred on the right to emphasize glitter.
My Little Pony emerges unscathed! It is not a dupe for any of my other duos, although it is close to Spottie Dottie, as I said before. I was actually surprised to realize how many completely unique purpley duochromes I have in my collection!

In conclusion, I want to point out that while most of these shades require the use of a sticky base to bring them to life, so do most indie mineral shadows and these ones are absolutely stunning when applied properly. DG has a pretty big selection of shades, three sizes to choose from, and reasonable shipping costs (plus excellent customer service, free samples with every order, and a GWP with all orders over $10). The longer TAT is so worth it in the end, and if you don't want to take my word for it, search "Darling Girl Cosmetics review" and see what comes up :)

Darling Girl: Ordering, TAT, packaging

I have SO much Darling Girl Cosmetics (DG) stuff to post about, and it was starting to overwhelm me, so I've decided to split it up! It should make it easier to read, too. Otherwise it would be one insanely long post!

Darling Girl is run by Susan, who also has a blog in which she posts FOTD using her own products as well as others, and talks about non-DG-related stuff too. She lists each week's free gift with purchase (GWP) shade in her sidebar, and sometimes even the next week's GWP too. Occasionally you'll see sneak peeks of upcoming products, so I highly recommend following her blog! You can also see swatches of new and upcoming items on the DG Facebook page, but be warned, it's dangerous for your wallet!

DG is one indie company that I feel has a fantastic business plan. First of all, DG is not on Etsy or Artfire, which have both been so troublesome lately; it's run on eCrater, which seems to have far fewer "hiccups" (or major security issues >_<). The webshop isn't the easiest in the world to navigate, but if you go to Categories, it's pretty straightforward from there. Susan is also pretty active on Twitter and Facebook and is great about responding to inquiries quickly. The branding is fantastic - everything from labels to packaging to business cards and even her Twitter profile background all tie together perfectly.
The packaging for my first order - adorable!
It helps distinguish DG from "just another MMU" - and so does the product list! DG sells eyeshadows, blush, yeah, okay, you've seen those before - well, there are also lip balms, tinted lip balms, lip glosses, "holo" glosses with holographic glitter, cream blushes, liquid eyeliners (currently unavailable as the formulas were lost in a catastrophic computer fail), loose eyeliners, loose glitter, concealer, primer, lip scrub, salve, dry oil spray, solid lotions, branded accessories and the big one: Glitter Glue, a sticky base that has been called better than Pixie Epoxy (is that even possible? ETA: Apparently, because here is another comparison with GG as the winner, and here is yet another one)! Also, with eyeshadows and loose powder blushes, there are 3 sizes: sample (1/8tsp in baggie, $0.70), petit (1/4tsp in 3g jar, $2.25), and full (3/4tsp in 5g jar, $5.50), allowing you to try many different items without spending a fortune! There is also a blogger review pack for just $0.75, which I added to my first order and will discuss later :) Every order over $10 (before shipping) includes that week's GWP shade, and shipping costs are reasonable.
GWP shades come in petit size, as shown here; sealed and with a sticker over the sifter
For me, the petit size is perfect - it is a generous amount of product, so I won't run out unless I use it every day, and it's not taking up as much space (or money!) as a full-size jar would. I also love that the jars come sealed, with a sticker over the sifter, to prevent leakage, and that the labels on top are transparent so you can see the color through it.

Things that are less great about DG include the TAT - it seems to be stuck at up to 16 business days, which can feel like forever when you're waiting for DG goodies - and the fact that 99% of the GWP shades are limited edition and can't be purchased! This is a problem because a.) they're gorgeous and b.) by the time people get their orders and excitedly post swatches online, that color is no longer available. She has very kindly brought back shades before (like Clusterfluff, which I am thinking I must own), but it's the exception to the rule. ETA: Forgot to mention that Susan also has an awesome habit of tweeting you when your package has just been shipped :) I mean, obviously you get a PayPal notification too, but a personal message from the owner makes it even more exciting!

I'll be posting tons of swatches and my opinions of the products all week, so stay tuned!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Swatches of 6 Virus Insanity Eyeshadows

Virus Insanity Eyeshadow (VIE) is a company I might never have heard of if not for bloggers and makeup groups - oh, the horror! - because the products are only sold on their Facebook fan page. I am so very glad I did hear of them, and though I only have a small collection of VIE shades so far, I completely love each of the colors I do have.

Top L-R: "Fuck Me," "Ferris Wheel," "Eternal Life"; Bottom L-R: "Faerie Knoll," "Between the Sheets," "Decay" (sample)
I'm just going to jump right into the swatches first and then go back to tell you more about VIE at the end!

Top L-R: "Fuck Me," "Ferris Wheel," "Eternal Life"; Bottom L-R: "Faerie Knoll," "Between the Sheets," "Decay" (sample); direct sunlight, no flash
Here are all six colors, each applied over a stripe of Pixie Epoxy (above) and dabbed onto bare skin (below). I also took a blurred shot of them to try to capture the fantastic sparkles:

Top L-R: "Fuck Me," "Ferris Wheel," "Eternal Life"; Bottom L-R: "Faerie Knoll," "Between the Sheets," "Decay" (sample); direct sunlight, no flash
Since some of these colors are so complex that I couldn't really get an accurate shot of them, I'll talk about each color in detail.

"Fuck Me" - Though it's described by VIE as matte purple, I think I'd have to disagree and call it a satin finish lavender. You can see from the blurred photo that there is a bit of shimmer in it. When applied without a primer, it does adhere to the skin, but looks much more sheer. Over primer, it's a great opaque lavender that doesn't lean too red or too blue. And obviously I bought it for the name! (Matte Eyeshadows album)

"Ferris Wheel" - VIE says it's a "medium pink with green iridescence and lime glitter," and I agree. This color has a deep rose base with a very strong fluorescent green flash, which unfortunately translates in my photos as light pink ... in person, however, you can absolutely see the rose to green duochrome, whether you apply it on bare skin or over primer. Without a sticky primer, though, you will lose some of those lime green sparkles to fallout. (More Individual Colors album)

"Eternal Life" - This is pretty straightforward, VIE and I both call it black with red glitter. I love this shade and knew I had to own it, even though I also knew I'd rarely wear it, if at all. Without primer, it's matte charcoal gray, and you get red glitter all over everything but your eyelids; over sticky primer, it's a stunning black with red sparkles that glows like the Ruby Slippers (and looks a lot like the Deborah Lippmann polish of that name)! (NEW Goth Collection album)

"Faerie Knoll" - VIE describes it as "bright lime with turquoise glitter," and the swatch in the VIE album makes it looks SUPER bright, almost neon. But in real life it's a fairly normal lime green, and sadly the turquoise glitter isn't very noticeable; it just looks like glittery lime to me. This applies sheer without primer, and the glitter flies everywhere if you don't use a sticky base. (Leah's Faerie Collection from the Custom Collections album)

"Between the Sheets" - Described as "light, opal-like brown with pink iridescence," this color was one that I ordered when seeking a dupe for Meow's Soft Porn. Definitely very different colors! While my photos show this as being almost silvery-lilac for some reason, it appears gray with strong orange/ pink duochrome in real life. This duochrome effect is visible with or without primer, but the color is more sheer without it. (Beth's Dirty Girl Collection from the Custom Collections album)

"Decay" - This sample came with my last order, a very generous amount in a clamshell container, and although VIE calls it a "golden brown with green iridescence" I don't know what to call it! In the clamshell, the product looks charcoal gray with teal and orange glitter, and when applied to the skin it looks warm taupe with green and blue shimmer. This color was the most opaque without primer, but again, you'll get sparkly fallout on your face and clothes if you do choose to wear it without a sticky base. (Individual Colors album)

All six of these colors are beautiful, and several are unique and stunning. However, I rarely order from VIE, and here's why (aside from lack of funds): it's kind of a hassle :/ The reason I listed the album for each color is that otherwise, you could spend hours searching through VIE's photos trying to find them. While the swatch photos are very helpful (shown in different lighting and at different angles), they are also incredibly hard to find even if you know which collection they're from - multiple custom collections are in each Custom Collections album. Which brings me to my next point: Colors from custom collections can only be purchased individually on the first of each month; otherwise, you have to buy the entire collection as a set. And although the pricing is fair ($5 for individual jars, less per jar when you buy a whole collection or "Get the Look" set, and many sales offered often), it still sucks to not be able to order the one color you want by itself unless you remember to do it the first of the month. Most people order by asking for an invoice for their specific items, though there is a Shop Now tab - special offers need to be calculated separately or you would have to pay normal prices and get a refund later. Shipping is flat rate $5, which always bothers me, since I tend to order one or two items at a time and know it'd cost $2 max to ship - I could use that extra $3 to buy other stuff ^_^;

ALL that aside, VIE is still one of my favorite indies, right up there with Sugarpill and Fyrinnae! They may "just" sell eyeshadow, but there are hundreds to choose from and if you have an idea for a custom collection, you may be able to dream up your own shades. Customer service is always great, questions are answered promptly on the Facebook page by either the owner and primary model, Jenni, or one of her admins, and I've even had her offer to take more swatch pics of a color for me if it'd help me decide whether or not to get it! If you can look past the inconvenience of sifting through hundreds of photos to choose colors, or if VIE switches to a new format (Etsy, Artfire or their own website), I very highly recommend you try some of their shadows (especially Ferris Wheel and Decay)!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dirty denim shadows

Finally, here is the second item I promised to show you from my mini-Sephora haul last month: Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow/ Liner in Tidal Rave.

Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow in Tidal Rave
It's a beautiful dirty-denim teal blue with gold shimmer, and can be applied in a thin layer to look more sheer or built up to a darker, stronger color.

Tidal Rave swiped onto bare skin, blurred on the right to show glitter; direct sunlight, no flash
As I think you can tell from this swatch, it does apply a bit patchy; you have to smear it on, wait a few seconds for it to start to set, and then go back over it if you want to even it out with another layer. I use my fingers to apply this and other cream shadow products, it's just a lot easier to warm the product and spread/ blend it that way. I can't comment on wear time, or the truth of the "creaseless" part of its name, since I haven't had a chance to try it out much yet >_<

Part of the reason I decided to get this was that I already had two eyeshadows I considered "dirty denim" colored, which I thought would be excellent to intensify over this supposedly creaseless base. So here are some swatches of those two colors over Tidal Rave, and on their own (no primer):

1: Aromaleigh "Oops" patted on over Tidal Rave; 2: Aromaleigh "Oops" patted onto bare skin; 3: Shiro Poliwrath patted on over Tidal Rave; 4: Shiro Poliwrath patted onto bare skin; direct sunlight, no flash, blurred on the right to show glitter
The Aromaleigh "Oops" shade is perfect to set this cream shadow (although it shouldn't need to be set with powder), because it doesn't change, but does intensify, the color. Shiro's Poliwrath* is a bit darker blue, so it would look fantastic in the crease. Both eyeshadows have that gold shimmer which works beautifully with the similar sheen of Tidal Rave.

I am happy to own this lovely cream shadow and doubt I'll ever be able to use it all up - it's more likely to dry out first, frankly. The pot has some unnecessary thick glass to make it look bigger, but the actual amount of product in there (0.16oz) is enough to last forever, unless you use it every single day.

This color is one of the several exclusive to Sephora*, although for some reason they list it as Tidal Wave instead of Tidal Rave.

*Not an affiliate link

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Outfit/ face of the night - date night

First of all, this is not the only date night we've had while he's been here, this is just the first time it occurred to me to take pics of my outfit/ makeup!

I had a $10 off thing for Havana, a restaurant/ bar downtown that makes the best mojitos and sells them at half off on Mondays ... so we went there Monday night. The manfriend is not a big drinker, but the mango mojitos at this place are so sweet you literally can't taste any alcohol in them at all, so I thought he might enjoy them :)

Sorry about the dead look on my face ^.^
I wanted to wear the dress I got at Forever 21 a while back, and the bracelet my boy gave me for my birthday (a custom-made replica of this bracelet from Arrested Development!!! SO AWESOME), and I didn't want to look too over-the-top with the loud print of the dress so I chose a small pendant necklace and purple suede heels to go with it. (Neither are for sale anywhere at this point so I'm not listing the brand or anything)

Sometimes I forget how to smile like a normal person
For the makeup, again, not wanting to go too over-the-top I just did a modified copy of the double liner look I showed you before, using my new Rimmel London Colour Mousse in Galaxy and the black-with-purple-sparkle liner from the Physicians Formula gel liner trio called "Hazel Eyes." With Fyrinnae's primer for dry skin, Chanel Vitalumiere foundation in Diaphane (which seems to be unavailable now -_-) applied using the Beauty Blender dupe I won in Delicate Hummingbird's giveaway, a bit of Matte Silk finishing powder from Evil Shades, Benefit High Beam highlighter, Catrice gel blush in Birds of Paradise and Deadly gloss from Evil Shades, I did my best to create a somewhat natural look on the rest of my face.

EOTN closeup
The Rimmel cream shadow (used as liner) dried a lot less purple and more blue than I was expecting, but I still liked the way it looked! And don't adjust your monitor settings, the eyeshadow was really that green-toned unfortunately. I was playing with the Sleek i-Divine Monaco palette and at first it was too light, then too gray, then I began adding more and more colors to try and get it looking right ... bleh. I'd list the colors used, but it got really crazy and I'm not sure I remember all of them.

Someone decided to help me with the picture-taking ^.^

And after enjoying 3 mango mojitos (2 were mine, but he did like his despite the mint bits in it), the spiciest tortilla soup ever, uber-garlicy Boniata fries, and a Cuban sandwich, we stopped by a festively lit tree to take some pics :) The loopy smile and off-camera gaze, I can only attribute to those sneaky mojitos! They taste so innocent, but they can pack a punch!

So there you go, my first outfit post and also the first time I've shown the boy on here I think ... hope I haven't sickened you too much ^.^

Makeup haul from overseas

Somehow, the manfriend managed to fit ALL of this in his suitcase and still get some clothes in there too:

I paid for everything but the Sleek Pout Paints (birthday gift from boy!) and brushes (gift from Suzy!) myself
I'll update this post with links to swatches, reviews etc as I go along, but wanted to get this up for now :)

From Sleek:
Luminaire concealer in L01
Blush in Rose Gold, Santorini (LE), and Scandal (LE) (swatches, review and dupe comparison here)
True Color Lipstick in Amped (swatches and review here) and Coral Reef (swatches, review and dupe comparison here)
i-Divine Palette in Monaco (LE)
High Shine Gloss in In Your Dreams and Sweet Sixteen (minis - free GWP) (swatches and review here)
Pout Paints in Peek-A-Bloo, Cloud 9, Pin Up, and Pinkini oops, no it isn't! It's Mauve Over (swatches here)

From Essence:
Gel Eyeliner in 04 I Love NYC (swatches and review here)
Stampy polish in 02 Black

Sigma F80
Everyday Minerals Dome Blending
HEMA Blending
e.l.f. Studio "C"

From Benefit: (swatches and review here)
PosieTint (mini - free GWP with Glamour mag)
BeneTint (mini - free GWP with Glamour mag)
High Beam (mini - free GWP with Glamour mag)

From Boots 17:
Blusher in First Flush (swatches and review here)

From Rimmel London:
Colour Mousse Eyeshadow in 014 Mermaid (used in this FOTD), 013 Galaxy (used in this EOTN), and 004 Splash (swatches and review here)
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