Tag Archives: Little Sparrow

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: 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.