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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.


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.


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!


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


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.


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!]

Review: Black Widow Balm

6 May


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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


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.


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!


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


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


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.


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!]


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?


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!).


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]


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


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.


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).


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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: Clinique All About Shadow Palette in Neutral Territory 2

30 Apr


If you are like me, Clinique is a “mom brand.” It’s something you associate with your mother and middle-age women: classy, but not on-trend. However, they are working hard to change their image (I mean, they have purple lip crayons! that are really purple!), so when I heard people raving about their new neutral palette, I ordered it during the VIB sale. Because, you know, I need more neutral palettes. And purple lipsticks. Never enough.


Clinique was known for their seafoam green packaging for a loooong time, but they’ve recently switched to a mirror-finish for blushes and eyeshadows. It’s super-modern, but almost like… trying too hard to be modern? It’s like it is yelling at me LOOK HOW SLEEK AND MODERN I AM CHECK IT OUT CHROME FINISH ROUNDED CORNERS, DO I REMIND YOU OF A HIGH-END SINK? Also it gets fingerprints all over it and it’s so messy and smudgy, I had to buff it hardcore to get an even semi-decent shot. But, you know, it’s just packaging.


The shadow names are kind of hilarious. Many of them are taken from other quads or duos, and don’t have individual names. So they are, from left to right: sugar cane, light shade of diamonds & pearls duo, light shade of neutral territory duo, light shade of day into date duo, brown shade of polar blue quad, hazy, black honey, dark brown shade of morning java quad.

Just think of how much fun questions about looks with this will be! “Oh, I have “light shade of diamonds & pearls duo” as a highlight, black honey as a wash of color on the lid, and “dark brown shade of morning java quad” in the crease with “light shade of neutral territory duo” on the lashline.” Not at allll a mouthful.


It comes with one of those weird plastic covers that separates the shadows from the brush. I never know what to do with these. It feels wrong to throw them out–they’re not flexible plastic, so they’re like… important? I don’t know?! They leave me feeling confused. Also there’s a friggin sponge applicator here, what the heck Clinique. Why.


Okay, so I’ve been a little flippant so far, but that’s because it is easy to rag on the packaging and names when the shadows are THIS FREAKING GORGEOUS.  Uuuuuuhnfffff. They’re juicy. We’ve got a sparkling white, a yellow-tinted cream, a soft beige, a pink-mauve, a pale taupe, a deep brown, a maroon-burgundy (okay, I can’t describe Black Honey, it’s magic), and a rich mocha. Note that I didn’t use the shade names because they are absurd.


None of the shadows are matte, and they all have a satin finish (except for sugar cane, which verges on glittery). The special thing about this palette is how they are satin-finished. It almost reminds me of indie shadows: the glitter is so multidimensional, it’s almost… rainbow? Well, I am terrible at describing this, so let’s just go to the swatches.


These are all applied wet, one swipe with an OCC lip brush, over dry skin. All of the shades are highly pigmented: some of the lighter ones kind of disappear into my skin, but I assure you they really are there! And you can see a bit of the colorful shimmer here: there are hints of purple in the darkest brown, for instance.


Angle them a bit and BAM, sparkleeee city. It’s a nice, understated “sparkle” that is definitely more shimmer/satin, but the colors in it are so unusual for a commercial neutral palette. The shades have so much depth, almost all of them would work for a single lid color. I actually already had a full size of Black Honey before getting this so I knew what I was getting into, but I did not expect this much pigmentation from the lighter shades!

This palette is $36 on Sephora, and the pans are pretty huge: about the same size as those in the Naked palettes. Each shadow works out to $4.50 and they are .05oz each. For comparison, the singles are $15 for .07oz. So if you’re interested in only a few, you are getting your money’s worth: but trust me. You will use all of these.

Review: Sleek’s Blush By 3 in Sweet Cheeks

28 Apr


I have a thing for purple blush. If I see it, I have to buy it. I plan on doing a post with all of them soon–though, of course, I always feel like I have just one more to buy. So I am amazed that I put off purchasing this for so long: it was a limited edition, and I bought the matching palette. But sadly, I was convinced I could get the blushes for retail “later on.” Nope, I got this for $24 on eBay. Sigh. So was it worth paying $10 over retail–which, for a drugstore product, is a lot?


I kind of hate that Sleek has these cute designs on their packaging but the physical product is just in a black case. It’s reminiscent of NARS, only boxy and not quite as sleek (hehe, sleek). But, you know, it’s a drugstore product so I am willing to compromise on packaging if the product is higher quality than US drugstore stuff.


Ahhh, it’s so shiny. The sparkles. The shimmer. The lilac. It’s calling to me.


There are three shades: Cupcake (a hot plum cream blush), Dollymix (a soft lilac with a satin finish), and Candy Floss (a hot pink with intense glitter).


Swatches, applied on bare skin: each blush is swatched heavily and then blended, in the same order they are on the palette. I have mixed feelings on this palette as a whole. The good: Cupcake is INSANELY pigmented and blends like a dream. It’s soft and silky and while at first it’s easy to overdo, it blends out to a soft but bright flush. Cupcake is a fun, bold color that I am totally in love with: like a hot hot pink version of NARS’ Angelika.


But, as you can see, there’s an issue with Dollymix. It’s not really at all purple once you apply it. The lilac fades to a very light, pale pink. There’s only a hint of purple to be found, and it’s super lightly pigmented: this swatch took 4 swipes with a brush, whereas Cupcake took 1 and Candy Floss took 2.

So while I really wanted this for the purple blush, it ended up being the worst of the lot. However, it’ll make a nice purple highlighter… and the other two blushes are awesome. I hadn’t even paid attention to them originally, and they are a hell of a lot better than Dollymix! So do I regret not getting this at retail? Yes. Do I regret buying it at a markup? No. I’m a blush palette whore. Even with the lackluster purple, I ended up with 2 super-pigmented blushes I will use the heck out of… for less than the price of one NARS blush. The only issue is that now I want all the Sleek blush palettes. All. Of. Them.

Review: Josie Maran Argan Lip & Cheek Color Stick Set

24 Apr


Hello, my name is Leah Bayer and I am a blush addict. I need every color, every finish, every formula, every brand. Loose, pressed powder, liquid, cream, gel. Every shade from deep berry to hot pink to palest lilac. And because I have so many (and want so many more), smaller is always better. So of course when the Josie Maran Argan Lip & Cheek Color Stick Set popped up for a low $34, of course I jumped all over that. Plus I nabbed it during the VIB sale, so at 15% off it was too good of a deal not to get. Or so I tell myself.


These are so adorably tiny. They are sleekly designed and would probably be great for traveling: small, compact, and you don’t have to worry about powder breaking.


Each comes with a funny little plastic topper to keep them “fresh.” Since the gels can dry up this is important to not throw out, but it’s kind of funny. Like a hat for your blush!


From left to right the colors are: Twinkle, Coral, Pink, and Beautiful. I’m not sure why two have actual names and two are just the colors, but oh well. There is under an inch of product in each stick, but you only need a single swipe to get enough for a decent blush look. I think these will last a really long time. I’m actually worried about them drying out over the summer, so I will probably pop them in the fridge!

Also, they smell incredibly strongly of pickled ginger–the kind you get with sushi. So if you happen to be disgusted by that scent, these probably aren’t for you. Thankfully I think ginger is the bomb diggity.


This is one hard swipe of each color. Twinkle is more of a highlighter than a blush, so it’s less pigmented, but the other four pack a real punch. Pink and Beautiful look a bit similar, but Beautiful is definitely darker and more plum-like.


Blended out! This was just lightly blended with my fingers, so while the initial application might be scary these are so wearable with a soft hand. They give a really dewy finish so they are perfect for the summer months ahead of us! They also last FOREVER: unlike powder, you don’t have to worry about fading, and they don’t “melt off” like some creams. These pack serious staying power.

I think there’s a nice variety of colors in this set and I am 100% happy with my purchase. In fact, I like them a lot more than I thought I would: I was expecting streaky, overpowering stain-power like Tarte’s push-up blushes, but these are much smoother and softer. They feel hydrating, though I’m not quite sure if they are actually beneficial for your skin (since Josie Maran sells argan oil for an INSANE markup, I’m not about to trust all the health benefits they slap on their products).

Review: Candii Blossom Cosmetics

22 Apr


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.


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.


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


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.


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!

Review: Glamour Doll Eyes

18 Apr


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.


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.


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.


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.


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).


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.


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.


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.

Review: Dawn Eyes Cosmetics

16 Apr


In the era of great site design, it’s easy to pass over an indie company because of a difficult-to-navigate storefront. Dawn Eyes Cosmetics’ store might be a flashback to the 90′s and come with a price-point that seems too good to be true ($3 a jar, free shipping at $10?!) but after a wave of positive reviews for them I decided to take the plunge. I mean, it was like $12. Even if it was a huge mistake it’s not like I was investing a fortune.

Thankfully, it was one of my best indie decisions so far.


While the products are, of course, the most important part of an order, one of the big bonuses of going indie is the personalized level of customer service. Dawn was super sweet to deal with, and look at the labels! Little handwritten messages, so cute. It may not seem like a lot, but you will never see a gesture like this from MAC or Urban Decay.


With any order over $10, you get a free sample and you can pick it. I requested Hellenic Fire–but you probably noticed that this is way more than 1 sample! Well, Dawn threw in three–and then noticed my note for Hellenic Fire after everything was packaged up. Of course I wouldn’t have minded if it wasn’t included (heck, one free sample on a $10 order with free shipping is already super generous), but she actually packaged and taped it UNDER the label and sent me a note about it! Yeah, that’s some intensely awesome customer service.


Of course the best customer service in the world is only a consolation if the product isn’t good, so how does Dawn Eyes stack up?

I got three shadows: Cranberry Matte which is very true to its name and a shade I have been on the hunt for FOREVER, Celestial which is a taupe-grey with all kinds of shimmer, and Melt-Down Magic which someone described as that shade of lavender-grey hair which is so popular right now. Imagine that, infused with pink and silver shimmer. It’s gorgeous!


From left to right: Cranberry Matte, Celestial, Melt-Down Magic, White Chrome, Early AM Vineyard, Cream Matte, Hellenic Fire. Swatches are with a damp brush over bare skin.

Matte Cranberry looks a little patchy, and that’s because… you shouldn’t apply matte pigments wet! Today I learned that valuable information. As you can see with Cream Matte, which is applied dry, Dawn Eyes’ matte shades are SUPER pigmented and go on very smooth. They’re more expensive than the regular shadows at $6 but they’re definitely worth it.

You can really see the taupe-ness of Celestial here, and the lovely shimmer of Melt-Down Magic. They really pair perfectly together! Which makes sense, because they are part of the same collection. Early AM Vineyard is an interesting one: it looks white in the bag, and has a SUPER STRONG pink shift. It’s very… well, very much like early morning light.

White Chrome is part of their extensive chrome collection, and based on how wonderfully metallic this one is before any foiling I am definitely going to look into getting a few more! Like the mattes they’re a bit more expensive, but look at how SHINY.

Finally, Hellenic Fire. Oh, my precious baby, I am so happy Dawn included you. It’s a red base with a yellow-orange shift, gorgeous and perfect for summer! Bold, bolder than I normally go, but I could definitely work it in as a liner. Samples are roughly the same size as Shiro’s, and very generous.

Basically, Dawn Eyes is the best. There are even videos of almost every single shade to show you what they look like in indoor light versus sunlight. Pigmentation, prices, free shipping, super awesome customer service: they have it all! Except for a sleek website. But hey, it’s a small price to pay.