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My Beauty Addiction’s Tropical Escape Collection

25 May

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Sometimes I feel like I should have a corner of shame to go sit in for all my impulse purchases. I make far too many of them, and of my recent ones this is by far the most egregious. I have yet to try anything from My Beauty Addiction, and I’m not sure why I thought a full set of insanely bright summer shades was the way to go for the first purchase. It was the sale fever! The shadows worked out to $2.37 each!

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The thing is, I don’t usually wear bright colors in warm tones like orange, red, or yellow. Which is… basically this whole collection. OOPS.

Hawaiian Tropics is a cool chocolatey tan

Beach Bum is a coppery brown–very similar to Hawaiian Tropics, only a bit warmer

Papaya Punch is a warm, pale orange that is less bright than other shades in the set

Island Sunshine is big bird yellow

Lava Flow is a dramatic, brilliant red with pinkish undertones

Aloha Rose is a vibrant mangenta

Kiwi Kiss is an odd, kind of flat green reminiscent of carrot tops

Bahama Mama is a bright, happy aqua

Notice that I didn’t note the finish on any of them? That is because they are all insane glitterbombs.  Every. Single. One.

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See that glitter? Yeaaah. Swatches are, per usual, done with a wet brush over bare skin, one swipe each.

From bottom to top we’ve got Hawaiian Tropics, Beach Bum, Papaya Punch, Island Sunshine, Lava Flow, Aloha Rose, Kiwi Kiss, Bahama Mama. And the lovely molten gold on top? Sadly not part of the collection, but my free sample: Aged Gold. It’s gorgeous, and I am very sad that the Tropical Escape falls so short of its quality.

I suppose these shadows are nice enough for what they are: cheap, bright summer shades. But I am so used to complex, muti-faceted and super-pigmented shades from indie companies. Here, that’s just not what you get. Everything comes off fairly sheer and many pale in comparison to their in-jar colors (Lava Flow in particular, what happened to that bright red?).

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However, I am OBSESSED with Old Gold. Look at it! It looks like liquid gold! Which, of course, means that I have to go place an order for it… and the rest of the Molten Metals collection.

Review: Siren Cosmetics, Part 2

23 May

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I think my eternal love for Siren Cosmetics was solidified in my first review of them, which consisted of more samples than a single human being should ever be allowed to purchase. Shortly after I purchased all of the remaining samples of Teenage Kicks (because I love it like a child and need it in my life for the rest of time). Imagine my surprise when I got the package in the mail and found all of these goodies! Teenage Kicks, which I now own in glorious full size, is not pictured because I keep it on my person at all times whispering “my precious” and stroking it. Just kidding! Haha, I’d never do something like that. Probably.

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Siren’s full size shadows come in lovely sifter jars with a rotating insert, so it doesn’t all fall out of there at once. It’s similar to Little Sparrow’s blush jars, and makes traveling with them much easier. Also, these babies are stuffed to the brim. Probably the most generous fill level I’ve seen on an indie full size shadow, because these are BIG jars! The colors I got were:

Gold Digger, a glittery warm gold

Heart of Glass, a soft pink with gold glitter and a very slight lavender shift that comes out in direct sunlight (I could not capture it on camera, damn you endless rainy days of NY!)

Cherry Bomb, an insanely pigmented bright red

Static, a crisp white with hints of gold and pink

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From bottom to top: Gold Digger, Heart of Glass, Cherry Bomb, Static. Swatches are done with a wet brush onto dry skin, one swipe each. I had a bit of trouble with Siren’s matte shades the last time, so I was SHOCKED at how well Cherry Bomb swatched. I mean, look at it. It’s almost radioactive.

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Cherry Bomb is lip (and cheek!) safe, so the first thing I thought was “I have to make this into a gloss.” I mixed some up real quick (I mean, 5 seconds quick) with my lip balm base from TKB, and LOOK AT THIS BEAUTY. UUUUHNF. This is with only a tiny hint of the pigment, so you can bet I’m going to be whipping up a jar of this asap.

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Next are the glitters! This is actually my first experience with cosmetic glitter (gasp, I know!). The jars for these are HUGE, twice as tall as the shadow ones. The colors I got were:

Sugar Kisses, a deep, almost plumy mauve-pink with warm brown tones

Love Triangle, a bright turquoise

Miss America, a snowy white with a strong blue-violet interference

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Application took a bit of work, but I figured it out! They’re done over my home-brew glitter glue, which picked up the glitter perhaps a bit too well. That’s just one layer of patting it on, and it came out pretty heavily glittery. You’ll notice that from this angle, Miss America looks very pale and the shift is only slightly noticeable. But this shade is literally magic.

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SUDDENLY, glowing! This is not from post work. That’s literally what the glitter looks like in person. Luminous. I mean, the other two are really pretty but I feel like Miss America is outshining them. And every other color I own. It’s literally the white companion to Teenage Kicks: in-your-face, insane sparkle. And it might have started a total obsession with cosmetic glitter.

[Thanks to Siren Cosmetics for providing Lipstick & Libraries with these review samples! <3]

Impulse Cosmetics’ Once Upon A Time Collection

21 May

For my birthday back in April, I got a rather large gift certificate to etsy. My general rule for gift cards is “splurge on things you wouldn’t get with your own money” and a full collection from a company I don’t usually buy from usually definitely falls under that. I only own two shadows from Impulse and I really like them so, past ethical issues* from the company aside, I decided to jump on their Once Upon A Time themed collection. Mostly because it’s insanely, over-the-top girlie.

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I rarely have trouble ordering from indies but this purchase was a pain in the ass. I ordered during a 15% off sale (or 20%, I honestly don’t remember) but the code didn’t go through–something I didn’t notice until after I placed my order. So I contacted the owner, asking if it could be applied retroactively. Note that this is something I’ve dealt with before and other owners have had no issue with it. But this time, I got a big fat no. So I asked if my order could be cancelled instead, so I could re-order with the coupon. Then I waited, for a very long time. On the last day of the sale, I finally got an order cancellation. But gift card balances can take 48 hours to go back to your account. UGH.

Thankfully it got put back in my account on time, but one of the full-sized shadows I ordered was not in stock AND the clamshell samples were out of stock (only baggies). Well, beggars can’t be choosers, and after the drama I still really wanted all the pinks and purples here.

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Glass Mountain is a sheer, soft and glittery pink-purple

Wish Upon A Star is a super-pale baby blue loaded with gold sparkles

Drawbridge Dreams is a deep purple with a golden aqua shift

Damsel is an almost matte hot pink with gold interference. It’s my favorite from the whole collection!

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The Huntsman is a milk chocolate brown with a very unique gold-green shift

Gallant Prince is a sky blue that swatches almost matte. I originally ordered this in full-size but it was out of stock the second time around and was switched for Wish Upon A Star

Rags to Riches is a rich, pigmented pale gold with hints of a lilac shift

Sugarplum is a paler, cooler version of Drawbridge Dreams with a more metallic finish

Magic Beanstalk is a hunter green with blue glitter. Color-wise it feels out of place but thematically it works

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From bottom to top: Wish Upon A Star, Gallant Prince, Glass Mountain, Sugarplum, Drawbridge Dreams, Damsel, Rags to Riches, The Huntsman, Beanstalk. Swatches are done with a wet brush on bare skin, one swipe each.

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I took a deliberately out of focus shot to capture the shift in Huntsman: it’s SO gorgeous! I’m really torn about this collection because the shadows are absolutely beautiful. Some of them are very unique (Wish Upon A Star, Damsel, Huntsmen and Beanstalk in particular) but even the more “common” mixes like Drawbridge Dreams and Rags to Riches swatch like a dream and are crazy-pigmented. There’s also the downside of not knowing if this is really the full collection: the whole thing is never in stock at the same time, but I’ve never seen more than these 9 so I’m just assuming this is it… though 10 would make more sense. Plus, the customer service is lacking.

But were these worth it, with all the bumps in the road? Hell yes. Not only are they gorgeous, but I feel like it’s a really cohesive collection. All of the shadows work together very well, with Beanstalk being the lone outlier (though it looks fantastic with Huntsman and Rags to Riches).

[*Past ethical issues from Impulse involve briefly stealing photos from other companies, though they did take them down once called out (still super shady). I can overlook this if it is a color I absolutely need, but be aware if this is something you care passionately about!]

Holy Grail Hunt: Indie Lip Balm

14 May

I am a lip balm addict. I suffer from perpetually chapped lips, so there are roughly 30 chapsticks of some sort in my apartment at any given time. Actually, that’s probably an underestimate. Since discovering the world of indie cosmetics I’ve collected balms from quite a few stores, and decided to share the fruits of my labor!

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We’ll start with tinted balms.

Rose + Vanilla from Fig + Yarrow: This was one of my first indie balm purchases. I’ve seen great reviews for Fig + Yarrow, and the rose vanilla combo was impossible to resist. Sadly, this is a grainy, gritty, and practically unscented concoction. It smells like old beeswax with maybe a hint of rose, and the texture is almost impossible to work with. At $11 for a teeny tin, this is definitely a purchase I regret.

Lip Sheer in Azalea from Madison Street Beauty: For $1, it’s hard to go wrong with a balm. But MSB’s Lip Sheers have quite a few issues. The first is that the damn wrapper sticker peels of constantly–I pressed it back on for this shot, but I have 3 from MSB and they all shed their label frequently. Secondly, the color takes a long time to build! The formula is nice though, waxy with a lot of slip.

Come Out, Come Out Balm from Shiro: How can I not get Cat Bus lip balm?! It’s impossible not to buy this. And it’s an all-around winner: great packaging, it smells like cupcakes, the formula is super-smooth and it’s very pigmented for a balm! Plus, an unusual color.

Candy Corn Tinted Lip Balm from BeautyBarBaby: This tint smells so good. Seriously like candy corn. it gives a sheer but noticeable wash of sparkling rust color to your lips, though I find it to wear off pretty fast. The smell, though… it’s amazing.

Voodoo Balm from Black Widow Balm: This is a kind of dry formula, like a lipstick lip balm fusion. But it has more color payoff than any of the other balms, and once you’ve got a layer of the waxy formula on your lips it stays on for a long time.

Lip Sheer in Petal from Madison Street Beauty: Unlike Azalea, which does give you a tint after many layers, Petal is an almost invisible sheer color. It’s supposed to have purple shimmer but it’s just kind of… glittery? After 5-10 layers, no joke. Sooo disappointed in this one, but at least it was only $1.

Winner: Shiro for sure, with BeautyBarBaby in close second

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The tinted balms! Swatched in the order of the previous shot. Yes, Petal is there, just… totally invisible. You can see how insane the pigmentation on the Shiro balm is–most of the other swatches are ~5 swipes (except for BWB, which was 1!), this one was two. Also, how pretty is Candy Corn? Such an unusual color.

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On to the non-tinted balms.

Rose Nectar Nourishing Lip Balm from Rainbow Honey: This is a strongly scented, almost perfume-y balm with a very stiff waxy formula. However, once you get it on it just melts onto your lips (without fearing for it melting in the car!). Super soft and moisturizing but if you don’t like strong smells, this isn’t for you.

Coffin Kisser in Strangely Charming Cherry & Pinky’s Insane Lemonade (not pictured) from Notoriously Morbid: Usually I am afraid of cherry scents, but these are so natural smelling! I mean, as natural as pink lemonade can be (though I get a strong “cotton candy” vibe from this one). And the formula is insanely moisturizing: I use it as a lip mask overnight, layered on really heavily when my lips are at their worst, and by morning they are 10x better!

Lip Balm in Rosemilk & Caramel and Pistachio Pudding from Haus of Gloi: AMAZING smells, Rosemilk & Caramel in particular is just divine. They are “softer” scented than Rainbow Honey’s, with an all-around more natural effect. The formula is soft and more greasy than waxy, and lasts a ridiculously long time on my over-dry lips.

Lip Balm in Pink Lemonade from Bungalow Bath & Body: This may look like a tint, but it’s 100% sheer. The scent is divine but it’s quite gritty: not enough for it to be uncomfortable to use, it’s just on the chunky side.

Nourishing Lip Balm in Lemon Drop from Little Sparrow: My only sweet balm! I always want to eat this one up. The scent is great, the formula is great, it’s just all-around awesome. On the waxier side, but not inconveniently stiff.

Lip Balm in Pumpkin Cheesecake from Black Bear Laboratory: The scent here is to die for, but it is almost unworkably gritty. I actually use it as a lip scrub because of this, just to give you an idea of the texture. But… Pumpkin Cheesecake.. I want to love it so bad.

Lip Balm in Clove from Madison Street Beauty: While MSB’s Lip Sheers kind of suck, the plain balms are nice. Mostly because I am obsessed with clove-scented things, I will admit. The scent is SO nice! The formula is still pretty stiff and takes some “warming up” but it’s infinitely more successful than the sheers.

Winner: Haus of Gloi & Notoriously Morbid.

Of course I still have more indie lip balms to try, but I really am set for now. I don’t need any more, right? Well, maybe just *one* more…

Review: Black Widow Balm

6 May

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I am obsessed with all things space related, so of course when I saw space themed lipgloss, I ordered it right away. Even though I kind of hate lipgloss, unless it’s from Buxom or NARS. But look at how pretty the packaging is! So fancy.

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I only ordered one thing (and during a sale), but my order came with this cute little booklet of DIY recipes for scrubs & masks, plus STICKERS! Ah, I love stickers. Also, I ordered on my birthday–do they always come with Happy Birthday stickers? Are they psychic? The world will never know.

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Hmm, I only remember ordering one thing?! What is that other tube! It’s how Black Widow Balm packages their samples! Yep, there is only a sliver in there, but it is SO much neater than the baggies with slices you usually get for lipstick samples.

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The sample I got was Voodoo, a very deep berry balm.

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The star of the show! Star Dust is a sheer black gloss with craaaaazy rainbow sparkles. In the tube it is SO PRETTY. I could just look at it forever.

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However…. the swatch does not live up to the tube. And it’s not that the sparkles are settled. It’s just insanely streaky, super sticky, and sinks into EVERY crack of your lips when actually applied. I am going to have to work HARD to make this work, but I am determined.

Funnily enough, the free sample is 10x better than the actual item I purchased. Voodoo is a lovely sheer wash of color that is easily built up (this is one swipe), and is a dreamily smooth formula. So while I really regret getting Star Dust, I am going back for more balms for sure. The packaging, overall presentation and freebies will lure me back even though Star Dust has broken my heart.

Review: Notoriously Morbid’s Elegant & Wicked Collection (And More!)

5 May

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I have been a fan of Notoriously Morbid for a LONG time. They were one of the first indie eyeshadow companies I ordered from–I found them on etsy while searching for a perfect pink shadow, and found it in Victorian Gypsy. That was back when they still had giant oversized sample bags, ahh nostalgia! So when I saw their new Elegant & Wicked collection, based on Midnight In The Garden Of Good & Evil and featuring lovely pastel shades, of course I had to jump on that asap.

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I find that a lot of companies have shadows that look amazing in the jar but fail to deliver on application. NM is the opposite: they don’t look like that much now, but wait until I swatch them. We have Bad Juju (a warm coral with a violet shift), Grand Empress (a deep navy and purple base with strong red/copper shift), Two Tears in a Bucket (a pale blue with rose shift), Give Me $20 (a mint green with coral shift), and It’s The Riche That Counts (a lime/yellow with a pink shift). That’s right, the whole collection is duochrome!

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These were my freebies–samples of Boe and Cry Wolf Cry, and a full size (!!) of the Easter GWP, Bunny Hop.

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Let’s just take a minute to appreciate Bunny Hop. It’s a gorgeous lilac with tons of blue shimmer. SO PRETTY.

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Swatches! Applied wet over dry skin, as always. From top to bottom we’ve got Cry Wolf Cry, Boe, Bunny Hop, Grand Empress, Bad Juju, It’s The Riche That Counts, Give Me $20, and Two Tears in a Bucket. Cry Wolf Cry and Boe both surprised me: I thought I didn’t need any more neutrals, but I am wrong. Bunny Hop is definitely the standout here for me: I just, ugh, it’s perfect. And so spring-y! It goes with the Elegant & Wicked collection perfectly.

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Duochrome shifts are always hard to capture, but you can see that they pop right out on the Wicked & Elegant collection. The bottom 3 actually have a similar shift (all towards rose/pink colors) and Bad Juju’s violet shift is SO STRONG. However, Grand Empress is probably the gem of the collection, delivering exactly what I had originally wanted from Fyrinnae’s Mephisto.

[note: Grand Empress stains, so make SURE you use primer or a white base underneath it!]

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But wait, there’s more! This is an earlier order that has been hanging out in my review box purgatory. I decided to drag it out for this shoot–why not do them all at once, right?

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I ordered a bunch of minis during a 40% off sale: She’s Full of Secrets (a lilac with a strong blue/pink shift–similar to Bunny Hop but less pastel) Gypsy Curse (a matte taupe), She Names The Stars (a matte navy), Quiet in the Dark (a deep rose red with a gold shift), and Kompanion 9 (a very pale taupe with a lavender shift and hints of blue–hard to describe!).

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From right to left we have She’s Full of Secrets, Gypsy Curse, She Counts The Stars, Quiet in the Dark, Kompanion no 9, Garmonbozia (a yellow with copper/purple glitter), Morgana (navy with slight red glitter), and Shoes to Kill For (a bold red with a gold shift).

Now you may be thinking “these are the worst swatches I’ve ever seen!” Ahh, I apologize. Gypsy Curse was SUCH a pain to swatch (mattes never want to swatch well wet, but I was determined). I was so frustrated after that, I ended up putting a few too close together. And then UPS came, and I put down my swatching brush… only to promptly lose it (don’t worry, it’s been found!). So I had to use a thicker one for the last two. Sigh.

[note: I found that She Counts The Stars and Shoes To Die For stained--especially the latter, which I still have a mark from! Make sure to use primer and/or a white base when using them]

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She’s Full of Secrets and Kompanion 9 are INSTANT favorites. The shift on both is soooo lovely. Kompanion 9 is impossible to capture on camera–just trust me and order it. You need it in your life.

I will fully admit that I only ordered Gypsy Curse and She Names the Stars because they are Buffy shades for my two favorite characters. Okay, I love Anya the best, but she has no shade… yet. I literally cannot think of a SINGLE thing to do with SNtS because I don’t do navy. Thankfully Angel’s shade is a super useful neutral. But, hey, I have to support my favorite vamps… ps how nice would an Angel collection be? You know you want a Lorne green.

Review: Little Sparrow Blushes

2 May

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I’ve been dying to order from Little Sparrow for a long time now, mainly because of their large focus on oddly colored blushes. Many indie shops focus on more traditional blushes with one or two pinky-purples or deep plums, but Little Sparrow goes all out: almost all of their blushes are deliciously eccentric, ranging from brick red to deep purple to blue. They have TWO blue blushes now, and the second is already in the mail because I have a problem.

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I got three blushes: Lilac, a warm-toned purple, Lavender, a pale cool-toned purple, and Bluebell, a vibrant blue with a red duochrome. These are the mini jars, which were $3.50 when I ordered but are now $4.00-not much of a bump considering how BIG these are. These are seriously regularly sized jars. Plus they have rotating sifters, so you can really control how much comes out (which, for shades as bold as Bluebell, is pretty vital).

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Like many others, I had a strange experience swatching Lilac and Lavender–while they are warm and cool-toned, respectively, in the jars, they are the opposite on my skin! That’s right, Lilac is the BOTTOM swatch, while Lavender is the middle one (and Bluebell is obviously the top). It is a very strange phenomenon.

All three blushes are crazy pigmented. Each have one single heavy swatch, and then a blended one. Lilac and Lavender are very wearable, and while Lilac does have a few streaky patches in the heavy swatch they don’t show up on your face.

What really surprised me was the INSANE duochrome in Bluebell. The red shift is ridiculously beautiful, and you can see from the blended out swatch that it’s surprisingly wearable. Of course it is not an “everyday” blush, but I regularly use purple eyeshadow for contouring and I think this will be an excellent replacement.

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Of course one of Bluebell’s cooler features is its ability to change the tone of other blushes! I decided to test it out on a few commercial ones. From bottom to top we’ve got NARS Crazed, NARS Orgasm, Sleek Antique, Smashbox Famous, and Benefit Dandelion. I tried to go for a range of colors–pink, berry, coral, brown.

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And here they are with a VERY light dusting of Bluebell, done with a stippling brush. Some colors it works amazingly well with–Crazed in particular is stunning (the rim of blue around is fallout from me being clutzy, don’t worry!). Orgasm looks much cooler and pinker, and Bluebell clearly overwhelms lighter blushes like Dandelion. The side swatches are Lilac (bottom) and Lavender (top) with Bluebell, though they are both quite purple already so Bluebell does not do much to them.

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I didn’t get just blush! I got the lipstick in Lilac too. The Lemon Drop balm was a generous freebie. I saw a lot of people getting Bubblegum in their orders and was worried because I loathe bubblegum, but the owner is a mind-reader because lemon lipbalm is my FAVORITE. Lemon Drop is fantastic, a waxy balm that doesn’t leave your lips greasy and also tastes very sweet.

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Lilac is true to its name, a very pale lilac lipstick that comes in a twist-up tube. It’s a dead match for Melt’s Darling, along with Limecrime D’Lilac.

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Swatches, one swipe and blended! Why blended for a lipstick, you say? Because this makes an AMAZING cream blush! A soft, super-natural purple-pinky flush. The formula is super-creamy and easy to apply, though I find it wears off relatively fast on the lips. Then again this is a chronic issue for me-nothing aside from liquid lipstick lasts more than 2 hours on me.

My experience shopping with Little Sparrow was really positive. Shipping was well within TAT, the prices are insanely reasonable and I am in LOVE with my new fancy blushes. Now I can smear blue all over my face and pretend to be a fairy princess while I sit on the couch and play Final Fantasy X.

Review: Candii Blossom Cosmetics

22 Apr

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I am always on the lookout for new indie makeup companies to try out. Because, you know, I need more places to spend money. I saw a few swatches from Candii Blossom that looked promising and swiped up a sample pack, because my impulse control doesn’t even exist. But look, how cute is the packaging! TAT was very quick, around a week from my order being placed to the samples getting to me.

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I have to admit that for a moment, I was disappointed when I opened the samples. I am spoiled by Innocent + Twisted Alchemy’s chock-full clamshells, and the colors don’t look that special dry. Trust me, I changed my mind once I swatched them!

From left to right:

Candy Corn is a rose gold with a heavy copper shift

Enchanted Forest is deep moss green with gold glitter

Miami Rose is a lavender-pink with a strong gold shift

Skikomi is an eggplant with reddish-copper undertones and a lot of shimmer

I ordered their sampler pack of three, and Skikomi was thrown in as a freebie! Which is pretty damn generous.

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The shades look pretty in the clamshells, but not particularly wow-worthy. Though Candy Corn sure is sparkly.

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Swatch time! They are all applied over a homebrewed glitter glue. I was shocked at the results–all 4 shadows swatch beautifully! Especially Candy Corn and Miami Rose.

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Under direct sunlight. The shift in Miami Rose is really hard to capture: it looks baby pink here, but there are a lot of lovely cool lavender tones in person. Skikome and Candy Corn are super true to life though: both have an unexpected and almost metallic finish. Enchanted Forest might be the most pedestrian of the four, a simple gold and green mix, but it’s silky smooth and wonderfully vivid.

I am definitely impressed enough with these to order some full sizes when I have the money to: and at only $4 for a full size, it won’t exactly be breaking the bank!

Ipsy April 2014

20 Apr

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Spring has sprung, the trees are budding, the birds are making baby birds, so it’s about time for makeup boxes to get a little less gloomy. Ipsy, I am so tired of hair products. So very tired. Thankfully, this month’s box was bright and cheery–okay, maybe not the colors, but I certainly felt happy opening it all up.

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This month’s bag seemed to get a lot of hate, but I really love it. Mainly because my boyfriend has a huge record collection–you might have noticed the record player I’ve taken several photoshoots on. Yeah, that used to be the living room table. Now it’s the music table. My dad has an exponentially larger record collection, so this bag makes me feel all nostalgic. I’m definitely using it next time I take a trip home!

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Urban Decay 24/7 Velvet Liner in Black Velvet (0.03oz/$15): The UD liner was this month’s big hyped item, because… well, it’s Urban Decay! And everyone got one, unlike most higher end brands that only end up in a handful of bags. Personally, I have at least two other black pencil liners from UD, along with a liquid one, so technically I don’t really *need* this but I want it. It’s soft and made specifically for smudging: it’s great for a grunge/rocker look, but I’ve found it to not be as opaque as their usual blacks and also much softer. Basically, not great for a crisp wing, but lord knows I have enough black pencils/gels/etc that fill that slot.

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Mary Kay At Play Jelly Lipgloss in Teddy Bear (fullsize/$10): I have one item of Mary Kay makeup: a tiny, super-copper bronzer that makes a decent shadow. I got it for $2 on eBay. And hey, I like it, so this can’t be THAT bad… right? Wrong. So wrong. There are many gloss formulas I can tolerate: Buxom, Dior and NARS, for starters. Not too sticky, but with the right amount of shine. This is none of that. It’s thick, tacky, feels disgusting on your lips, yet somehow manages to sink into cracks and highlight them like a matte lipstick would? And it’s a gross nude shade, concealer-toned. Oh, and the color is almost sheer and not even that glossy. I am loathe to waste a product, though, so I plan on mixing it with a balm formula and adding some pigments for color. I will Franken this into a useable product one way or another!

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Swatches of the gloss and liner. I’m not sure why my hand looks so giant, but now I am very self-conscious of hand-size in photos. You can see that the UD isn’t 100% opaque, but aww a flower! Seriously, it’s awesome for smudging. The gloss? Yeah, it’s awful. Nude-tinted-orange. Who wants that on their face?

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Big Sexy Hair Root Pump (1.6oz/$2.71): I am not a person who does things with her hair. My hair is super thick and annoyingly long: it has volume for days and is perfectly shiny with only washing and brushing. Before I started subbing to beauty boxes, I had no hair products. Now I have a dozen (not counting shampoo or conditioner). One of these days I will take a picture, it’s pretty funny. I usually toss them in a cabinet and say “yeah, I am so gonna use this!” but never do.

This, though? I will so use it. I will give myself crazy, volume-filled 80′s hair. Mousse is so low-maintenance. I don’t have to think “ahh, is this too much oil? Wait, do I scrunch my hair BEFORE the spray or AFTER?” Put it in and aha, Farrah Fawcett.

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Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Skin Exfoliant (.25oz/$9.75): Oh, another physical exfoliant! I don’t have enough of those. Dr. Brandt is one of those insanely overpriced brands I’d never, ever buy for myself but I loooove getting samples of. I can pretend I’m wealthy enough to pay $78 for an exfoliant! Though, honestly, even if I could I wouldn’t: I plan on continuing sample-hoarding until I am stocked for life.

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Rainbow Honey Polish in Midnight Fountain (mini/$5): There were two big ticket items in this month’s bag aside from the UD liner: this polish, and the Benefit Lolitint. I plan on snatching up a tint on eBay, so I was hoping for the polish. It was crazy rare: I’ve only seen a handful of boxes with it, and I was thrilled to get it in mine! It’s so freaking pretty. Many indies overdo the glitter but Rainbow Honey gets it just right. I’ve already ordered the mini surprise bag for April, and I’ll be back again soon for some of the Sweet Talk collection.

Total Bag Value: $42.46

While I hate the Mary Kay gloss with the passion of a thousand suns, everything else is totally spot-on. If you feel like signing up for Ipsy, please feel free to use my referral link!

Review: Glamour Doll Eyes

18 Apr

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During Halloween, every neighborhood had that one house: the one where they gave out stuffed goodie bags instead of just handfuls of candy. It was the best, better even than a full sized bar. So much variety! The suspense of finding out what was inside! Well, getting my packages from Glamour Doll Eyes was kind of like that. I placed two orders with them: one during a flash sale on their Storeny, and another for the Spring Collection.

And man, you don’t just get your shadows and blushes. There’s candy, free samples, business cards, STICKERS! We all know how I feel about stickers. I felt like a little kid opening it all up.

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These are the freebies that came with my orders. Each came with the GWP (gift with purchase) of the month, though happily I placed one at the end of March and one at the beginning of April so I ended up with two different ones. And each order came with an extra two baggie samples! Crazy generous.

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For some reason I went for mostly muted, pastel, spring-y colors!

Top row: Longing for Spring (GWP) is a sheer green with aqua sparkles, #flashbackfriday (GWP) is a cool-toned purple with a fuchsia shift, and Graves in May is a brown-taupe with gold shimmer. The sizes of all my jars were very even except for Graves, which had a little less than the others (but still a decent amount, I’m assuming it’s just a heavier blend!)

Bottom: Nymphette is a deep navy blue with purple and hot pink glitter, Feverish is a mauve with pinkish shimmer, Vulnerable is a soft pink with gold and spring green shimmer, and Dirty Jeans is aqua with a very strong gold-teal shift.

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Nymphette is basically a nebula in a jar. I LOVE IT SO MUCH. Space is my jam. Nymphette is my new jam. I got a sample of it in my non-Nymphette-containing-order and I will so use all of it. I want to rub it all over my face.

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From left to right: Nymphette, #flahsbackfriday, Veteran, Dirty Jeans, Longing for Spring, Graves in May, Feverish, Vulnerable, Courageous, Trophy Wife: all applied with a damp brush over bare skin.

Courageous, one of my free samples, has the most insane pigmentation I’ve ever seen on a matte indie. It’s a gorgeous bone-taupe, and I kind of need a full size immediately. And Trophy Wife is a super-vibrant gold. Ugh, I love all my free shades–Veteran looked like kind of a dull navy in the bag but has some complex pink shimmer thrown in.

Longing for Spring and Graves in May are both quite sheer here, but would apply much brighter with a primer or glitter glue. I know that many bloggers use primer and epoxy for swatches, but not everyone has those on hand so I wanted to show the shadows with only basic equipment: water, and a brush! Anyway, I like to have some of my shadows be sheer: can’t have ‘em all be as pigmented as Courageous all over your face.

My favorite shadows of my orders are Nymphette (NEBULA OMG), Dirty Jeans (a totally unique color: you aren’t going to find this one anywhere else!), and Vulnerable (my new go-to highlight color).

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Onto the blush! I got Start A Rumor (which is part of the Spring collection) and My First Time. I was hesitant on My First Time because I adore purple blush, and it looks a bit pale on their site swatches. In person, it’s a crazy pigmented lavender. It’s kind of shockingly purple. Start A Rumor is a stunning golden pink-rose, and a big ‘ol sticker on the container says it’s not safe for eye use. But.. it’d make such a pretty shadow… what’s the worst that could happen!? No, seriously, don’t put it on your eyes. But maybe I will because I’m an idiot.

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Blush swatches! They are both so so nice, ahhhhh. Blended out you can see they are still very pigmented: a super gentle hand is required for both! My First Time has an almost metallic finish swatched directly onto the skin, but comes off as a soft highlighter when blended. The color, however, is definitely strong enough to be used as either a blush or a highlighter.

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If you missed it in my MPZ post, here is a (blurry phone) comparison of Start A Rumor with some other blushes in the same family. In order from left to right: My Pretty Zombie’s MDMA, Glamour Doll Eye’s Start A Rumor, NARS’ Super Orgasm, and NARS’ Orgasm. Both indies are reasonable dupes for Orgasm (with Start A Rumor having a shimmer level similar to Super Orgasm), and you can see that GDE’s blush formula is INSANELY pigmented next to the other two.

I had overlooked GDE for a long time. I’m not really sure why: they have great prices and seem to be very popular. I think the swatches on their site never wowed me, and indeed–in person, their shadows are a million times better. Seriously, two orders and they’re near the very top of my favorite indie stores. I mean… Nymphette and My First Time are just so perfectly me.