Tag Archives: Reviews

150 Book Challenge: March 2015 Wrapup

7 May

I haven’t been doing well with my goal of actually reviewing every book I read, have I? No. Not at all. I set a pretty reasonable goal for myself, but when you read a book every 1 or 2 days (and sometimes 2 in 1 day) it’s nearly impossible to keep up with that volume of reviews in full format. So, I’ve decided to take a hint from Booktube and switch to roundups! Monthly at the moment, possibly weekly after April because that seems more reasonable length-wise.

Because this is going to be rather lengthy it’s after the jump, so hit it and let’s get started!

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Alchimia Apothecary’s Spring 2015 Collection

5 May

Spring is easily my favorite season for perfume. Creamy florals, crisp greens, fresh aquatics. Sure, fall is nice with its heavy gourmands and I love the chilly scents of winter, but I am all about spring. Which means of course I spend way too much on new releases! This year I was particularly swayed by Alchimia’s spring lineup: every single scent in it was one I wanted on my body immediately. My initial cart was scarily massive, but I managed to cut it down to 5 samples (there are 4 in the picture because I’m a spazz and Dapper King is missing at the moment). I already own Red Rover and I got a bonus sample of the one spring scent I passed up, so happily I ended up with the entire regular collection and one of the Blossom scents!

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Fleur de tilleul (linden blossom, rosewood, green tea, honey): I really wanted to get the full floral collection but narrowed it down to just this one. Because of the tea & honey, I’m not going to lie. This is a very soft, ladylike floral. Linden blossom is a definite white floral, but it’s light and almost dainty, definitely not heavy/cloying like some white florals can be. The honey and rosewood are hanging out in the background, accenting the linden blossom nicely without stealing the show. It’s no surprise that the floral aspect is the leading note here, but for some reason I was expecting more of a “sipping tea next to a vase of flowers” kind of feel.

Petrichor (grass, ozone, earth, alfalfa): This starts off with a sharp burst of ozone. It’s bright and lasts a surprisingly long time–ozone is a note that fades pretty quickly, but it hangs around a while in this blend. This is followed by concrete–you know that smell it gets when it’s wet? Like damp stone, only a bit more… artificial. As it dries down a bit the earth starts to peek out, but it’s not really a scent that screams “dirt” to me. Throughout there’s a hay/floral thing going on in the background, I’d guess from the alfalfa. But the ozone really dominates everything else, and it gets stuck in my nose with that almost sparkling effect like air before a storm.

BONUS ROUND Petrichor vs sixteen92′s Supercell (ozone, grass, asphalt, petrichor, hay, damp florals, stems, earth, branches): Supercell has a very long list of notes, but the hay and grass really dominate for me. It’s a little aquatic, very damp feeling, but it’s more like the air during rain while Petrichor is the air before rain. As such, they pair really beautifully. Nether is my ideal rain scent, but together… perfection! You get the before, during, after rain effect all at once with wet grass and super sharp ozone. It’s a gorgeous summer storm.

Lilaq (lilac, green wood, grass, earth): Given the name (and notes) I was expecting this to be straight-up floral. And in a way it is, but it’s not the overpowering WOW IT’S LILAC scent I was expecting. Have you ever been in the back lot behind a flower shop? There was one around the corner from me as a kid and the ground was always littered with carnation stems crushed into the ground and stray petals. That’s what this smells like–brisk, almost bitter stems and leaves, a hint of dirt, and soft flowers. It’s ever-so-slightly powdery, but in the way you expect from lilac blossoms. This was such a pleasant surprise, since I was expecting just flowers but got a whole experience.

Lion’s Tooth (dandelion, milky sap, stems, grass, dry wood): This is green green green! It’s not aquatic, not floral, just straight-up spring greenery all over your wrist. Grass is the most prominent note, that wonderfully sweet scent of a just-cut lawn. It’s followed by dandelion… not the flower exactly, but the bitter stem and leaves. This reminds me so much of childhood, summers spent rolling around on the lawn and getting covered in grass stains. I originally almost blind-bought a full bottle of this, and I really wish I had!

The Dapper King (fougere, juniper, rosemary, dandelion): I was expecting this to be a kind of herbal version of Lion’s Tooth, given the shared dandelion note, but they are really different. This came out super floral on my skin, bordering on powdery. It’s also quite masculine due to the juniper/ferns… yes, a powdery, masculine floral. Those are two genres I like on their own, but I’m not sure how I feel about the combination.

Red Rover (clover, honey, grass): I’ve reviewed this one before, and I still adore it. Bright, happy green! This is the slightly sweeter cousin of Lion’s Tooth: there’s no bitter greenery, just smooth soft and sweet clover. This and Maedwe are the essence of spring to me, just happy and bright. This is also great for layering, it goes well with simpler florals and gives them a lot of depth.

Sex on the Lawn (lilac, ferns, ivy, sandalwood, grass, dirt): The notes of this seem very similar to Lilaq, but they’re quite different both in the vial and on my skin. The dirt is much heavier here, and the lilac is waaay in the background. Like, just a hint at the very tail end. This is more green than floral, but a deep green (I’m always describing scents in color, is that even helpful to anyone??). The ferns and ivy really deepen it, and it seems like more of a “woodsy green” than a “grass green.” Like early spring woods, when everything is just starting to bud!

If you like grass, lemme tell you, this is the collection for you. Dirty grass! Sweet grass! Dandelion grass! Just all the grasses. Unsurprisingly, I loved all the grass scents and only had one miss (Dapper King) and one just-okay (Fleur de tilleul)–both of which had no grass. I guess I’m really just in the mood to roll around on the lawn?

OHWTO’s Winter Scent Collection

22 Feb

One Hand Washes The Other is one of the first indie shops I purchased from, and I’ve gone back to them time and time again. I know the owner has stirred up some controversy, but I’m just too in love with the brand to think about cutting myself off. And I honestly don’t know how I could live without the Black Magic scrub, which saves my face on a daily basis. I’ve held off on fall/Halloween reviews because most of their scents were old releases, but they had a ton of new blends up for this holiday! And at the moment almost all of them are discounted in their shop, which makes it the perfect timing for a review.

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Snowbound (Blue Spruce, Cypress, Berries, Snow, Fir Needle, Birch, and Wood): This is an interesting scent. In the vial it’s very fruity, but it’s totally different once you apply it. Cool and crisp: there’s definitely a snow/winter element going on here that may be mint in part. But it definitely feels cold! The berries are subdued and fresh, more like not-quite-ripe berry skin (maybe cranberry?), and there’s a blooming background of firs. It’s basically winter in a bottle.

Noel (rich vanilla and peppermint, dusted with sugar and splashed with warm milk): I got this as a sample originally and just HAD to have a full size. Peppermint and vanilla is a simple combination, but it’s both bright and seasonal while being insanely comforting. Putting this on is like wrapping up in a big, comfy blanket. This is probably my favorite OHWTO scent.

Krampus Klaus (Cracked leather, covered in chimney soot. Sticky silver Fir resin, glowing Amber eyes, and a polished wooden sleigh): OHWTO is great at manly leather scents, and this is definitely one of them. The leather is at the forefront, and it’s a note that tends to amp up on me so it’s rather dominant. The fir in the background makes this a more “holiday” kind of masculine blend, which is pretty unique among my leather-based scent collection.

Twinkling Lights (Champagne, Balsam trees, Fruitcakes, Oakmoss): I have this in solid and oil form, and it smells a bit different each way. The oil is more heavy on the champagne, especially in the bottle, while the solid leans more towards the balsam. Oakmoss is nicely balanced in both, and this is a nice light bubbly winter blend. It’s pretty hard to find scents with a really good carbonation smell, but this hits it dead on.

Cookies for Santa (Spicy gingerbread cookies, sweet faces drawn on them with vanilla icing, and a mug of warmed milk): When you ask for OHWTO scent recommendations, most people will probably tell you about their amazing gourmands. But I have almost none from them because… well, I guess other things just catch my eye first. So this is really my first bakery/gourmand from them, and it’s as great as they’re hyped up to be! Super-strong cookie scent, like they’re fresh out of the oven and in your face.

Good Tidings (Warm, buttered oats, caramel cream, and honey): CARAMEL! This is the most realistic caramel scent I’ve tried, it’s so warm and creamy. I think part of that is the fact that it’s got caramel, cream and butter, which make for a really realistic warm, melty caramel smell. It’s hard not to lick my wrists when I have this on, it’s so delicious.

The Airing of Grievances (Fir boughs, musky sandalwood, vanilla, woodland moss, pine needles, ozone, frozen air, and holiday fruits): This reminds me a bit of Snowbound. It’s icy and cold without being overly minty, and the pine is right in the center. But this is more “perfumey” and complex with all the secondary notes like sandalwood and vanilla. Like a fancy woman walking through a pine forest.

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Bonus Reviews

Haterade (lime, cucumber, light floral and musk notes): How could I not buy a Gatorade-themed perfume? Especially since this is the lime/cucumber one. I will admit that I ordered this because of nostalgia/hilarity, but it smells SO GOOD. Refreshing without being a “typical” lime/cucumber fresh scent. It’s bright and cheerful with a lovely complex floral background. This is going to be so perfect for spring!

Scarlett (Neroli, Cilantro, rhubarb, raspberry, citrus zests, and blood orange): I expected something brightly citrus from the notes, but it’s quite different on my skin. I think the neroli and raspberry dominate, making this floral, sweet, and a bit powdery. I’m not sure how I feel about it since it’s so far from what I anticipated… honestly, I thought it’d be like Haus of Gloi’s Tonic #4 with blood orange instead of yuzu. Instead, it’s so girlie! There is a definite citrus undertone though.

On a customer service related note, their shipping times have improved dramatically in the past few months. If you’ve purchased from them before you’ll know that the TAT is about a month, which is worth it for what you get, but my last two orders from them shipped out less than 5 days after making them.

Notoriously Morbid’s Grisly Grimoires

7 Nov

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Nobody does creepy holiday sets like Notoriously Morbid. I missed a few of them in the past (Sealed Judgment, siiigh) so there was NO way I was passing up on this one. Especially since the theme was mystical, evil tomes from both history and fiction.

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For a mere $25 you got 6 fullsized shadows, a mini blush, an exclusive Coffin Kisser, and a Hand of Fate charm–essentially a little skeleton hand clutching a gem! I got in on the pre-orders, which also included a mini COTM shade, and Carrie snuck in a peek of Black Friday 2014 as well!

The Coffin Kisser, Splendor Soils, smells exactly like the bottom of your candy bag after a night of trick-or-treating. Smarties, taffy, lolipops and melted sugar. So nostalgic.

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Of course I was most excited about the shadows. While Notoriously Morbid gets a lot of love, I rarely see people talk a lot about their insane duochromes: honestly, some of them rival Femme Fatale. This collection is literally nothing *but* duochromes so I was excited as hell.

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Uhnf, color shift you can see in the jar. Come to momma. The shades are:

Book of Honorius, the oldest medieval grimoire, full of necromantic knowledge: olive green with a strong red shift

Clavicule of Solomon, aka the Key of Solomon (though it was decidedly not written by King Solomon), a book of pentacles and summoning circle: blush pink with a violet, red & gold shimmer

Necronomicon, the infamous tome of madness that appears in Lovecraft’s stories: a deep black packed with gold sparkles & a strong purple shift

Magus, a word for priest or sorceress, also a work of mind-bending fiction by John Fowles: sky blue with a soft pink & red shift

Dragon Rouge, a modern esoteric magical order: bright coral with a pink-to-gold shift

Book of Shadows, a name for any Wiccan book of spells: grey shot through with pale purple with a otherworldly green shift

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Book of Shadows is probably the strangest and most undefinable shade in the line. It’s sometimes-grey-sometimes-purple-sometimes-pink with a strong hit of green throughout.

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The CoTM was Creepy Green Light, which is a vivid chartreuse with green shimmer. It’s basically the color of, you guessed it, creepy green light in horror & scifi movies.

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The mini blush is Grand Oracle, a gorgeous plummy mauve with a matte finish.

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From bottom to top we’ve got Magus, Book of Shadows, Necronomicon, Dragon Rouge, Clavicule of Solomon, Book of Honorius, and Creepy Green Light. Oh, and the top one? That’s Nothing is Trivial, the Black Friday preview. Does this mean… The Crow theme?! It’s a really shocking color, a creamy blue base with a shift from pale sliver to warm gold.

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As you can see, the shift on all of them is ridiculously prominent. Magus is probably the most “subtle” because the shift to red is quite soft from most angles, but it’s definitely there. And as you can see, Book of Shadows looks different from pretty much every angle!

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An out of focus glitter shot so you can really see the color changes. Necronomicon is so sparkle-packed, it’s stunning in person.

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Grand Oracle is a gorgeous and unique blush. Not quite mauve, not quite pink, with hints of purple. It is a big stainer, though (the heavy swatch lingered on my arm for 2 days!) and is SUPER saturated so use a verry light hand when applying it.

Sadly this set is out of stock now, but it was an insane value with gorgeous shades. Plus, it has me super excited for Black Friday…

Review: Chinovi Cosmetics’ Blushes

15 Jun

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I think at this point it is safe to say I have a *blush problem*. (And also, possibly, a “making sure the jar pictures are in focus” problem, siiiiigh). If there is blush in an indie store, I am going to buy it. So when Chinovi had a big sale, I snatched up a full size of their purple blush and samples of the other two colors.

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The samples in jars are about the size of a mini shadow from other stores, very generous! The fourth blush was a bonus sample of a not-yet-available color, so I might have screamed just a little when I saw that. It was in a baggie, but I depotted it because I have an organizing problem. Things need to be neat. Especially makeup things.

Jocelyn is a cool, shimmery lilac that blends down to a soft and super-wearable almost-pink

Gidget is a mauvey-rose with light shimmer

Bianca is a warm, brown-based rose with a soft, satiny finish

Vanessa is a terracotta color that reminds me of a bronzer: unlike the other shades, it is nearly matte

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Swatches of all 4 together, heavy first and then blended out. The heavy swatches are applied wet to bare skin, the blended are applied dry to bare skin. From bottom to top: Jocelyn, Gidget, Bianca, Vanessa.

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Because purple & pink blushes are my comfort zone, Jocelyn and Gidget are my two favorites. Look at how wearable Jocelyn is! If you are scared of purple blush but want to dip your toes into this trend, I think this is a fantastic way to do so. It’s very much a “radiant orchid” color and has a really lovely soft sparkle. Gidget is also so pretty, much softer and more girlie than what I was expecting.

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Bianca and Vanessa, on the other hand, are from the dark, super-warm end of the blush range. It’s an area we don’t see a whole lot of from indie companies, so I was really surprised at how pigmented these are. Just look at Vanessa! Bianca is more “wearable” for an everyday brown blush, but Vanessa is a showstopper. The matte formula blends like butter, and I think it would work well as a bronzer for paler girls if you go with a light hand. I’ve tried it out as a blush paired with a bold contour and it is definitely a beauty–but not for the faint of heart!

Review: Candii Blossom’s Mean Girls Collection

13 Jun

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If there is one movie that is dying for a makeup collection, it’s Mean Girls. It might just be the defining movie of my teenage years (head to head with Superbad we all know who the true champion is), and I can think of dozens of colors off the top of my head. Glen Coco: a frosty white with a bright red shift. Too Gay To Function: a deep royal purple, the color of Damian’s prom suit. She Doesn’t Even Go Here: a white highlighter with a surprising rainbow shift. Ahhh, now I’m all nostalgic.

Thankfully, one brand is here to fill the Mean Girls shaped hole in my heart: Candii Blossom Cosmetics, with their “On Wednesdays We Wear Pink” quartet of shadows.

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I’m sure no one is surprised that these are all variations of pink! Or, you know, in the pink family–some have shifts toward red or purple.

Life Ruiner is a hot hot pink loaded with sparkles

The Rules of Feminism is a soft salmon pink

Cool Mom looks similar to The Rules of Feminism in the jar, but it’s a champagne frosty rose when applied

Get in Loser, my favorite of the bunch, is a pearlescent lilac with a blue duochrome. In some angles, it’s full-on bright pink!

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Swatches are wet over bare skin, as always. From bottom to top it’s Life Ruiner, The Rules of Feminism, Cool Mom, and Get In Loser.

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The sun was really fighting against me today, so while I tried to capture these babies in action it’s hard to tell how pretty they are. You can at least see the dramatic shift in Get In Loser! While these colors all look pretty similar in the jar, they give a wide variety of shades when you swatch them. This is definitely a full-look collection! You’ve got a highlight (Cool Mom), soft lid shades (Rules of Feminism and Get In Loser), and a bright accent pop (Life Ruiner). Plus, you know, Get In Loser is the bet thing ever.

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Since my previous Candii Blossom order also featured heavily on pinks & purples (and I got full sizes of Candy Corn & Miami Rose in this order, yay!), I decided to try samples of some of their neutral shades. From bottom to top: Lotus, Cafe Au Lait, Macchiato. Of course these swatches look totally perfect. Thanks, camera!

I really wasn’t expecting so much pigmentation for these, they’re gorgeous! I want to order more right now. Especially of Lotus: it’s an AMAZING highlight shade. And not just for your eyes: it’s got a very, very soft shimmer which makes it a perfect face highlighter. My love for Candii Blossom is only growing stronger.

Review: Aromaleigh’s Ancient Magick Eyeshadow Collection

31 May

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I am a huge mythology buff. It was a passion of mine as a kid, and I have shelves upon shelves of books dedicated to the subject. My favorite pantheon? The Egyptian Gods, which is why I may have screamed a little when I saw that Aromaleigh was running a 50% off sale on their Egyptian God themed collection. I snapped up the full sample set (for only $10!) and a jar (based on my favorite god, not the color–I know, I know), and I’ve been waiting for a sunny day to swatch them. Seriously, the weather in NYC has been such shit. Just horrible.

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Since there are 20 shades in this collection, I’ll be dividing them into sets of ten, starting with warm & neutral tones. And unlike usual shade descriptions, I’ll include what they are the god/goddess of! And as an added bonus, their non-Greek names (since, y’know, that’s not what most people know them by). Also I won’t be mentioning finish because these all have a STRONG satin finish, verging on glitterbomb.

Seth (also known as Set-God of the desert, storms, disorder, darkness and violence): a bright ruddy red with silver sparkles

Thoth (arbiter of disputes, associated with writing, magic and science): a soft tan-gold

Re (also known as Ra, god of the Sun): a brilliant, metallic gold

Aten (also known as Atum, the creator-god): a metallic taupe-y champagne

Apophis (also known as Apep, serpent-god of darkness): a bronze-khaki that can’t make up its mind about what color it really is

Bast (also known as Bastet, cat goddess of the moon or the sun, depending on the time period): a deep olive-tinted gold

Ma’at (goddess of truth, balance, and justice): a deep brown with rosy hues

Selkis (also known as Serket, a healing goddess): a metallic copper

Horus (god of sun, war, protection, among various other things): another metallic copper, deeper than Selkis

Anubis (god of mummification and protector of the deceased): a deep gray, almost black, with rainbow sparkles

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From top to bottom: Anubis, Horus, Selkis, Ma’at, Bast, Apophis, Aten, Re, Toth, and Seth. Swatches are applied with a wet brush to bare skin, no primer or glitter glue.

I feel like this would make SUCH a fantastic neutral palette (minus Seth, of course). They are very complex and so shimmery. A lot of them have very taupe-y feels, which is certainly on trend now and fits the line’s desert theme. But of course Egypt isn’t all sand, so let’s move on to the more cool, colorful shades.

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Khepir (also known as Khepri, a god of creation and rebirth): a bright, vibrant palm tree green

Hequet (also known as Heqet, frog goddess of fertility): a rich mossy green

Tefnut (goddess of rain): a brilliant aqua

Nut (goddess of the sky): a soft sky blue

Isis (goddess of motherhood and nature): a beautiful deep lavender

Hathor (goddess of love, beauty, joy, and a million other things): a gorgeous frosty mauve

Shu (god of wind & air): a pale, almost silvery taupe

Osiris (god of the afterlife): a deep blackened blue

Khonsu (god of the moon & youth): a very pale tan

Tawaret (ancient goddess of birth and fertility): a stunning deep rose gold

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From top to bottom: Tawaret, Khonsu, Osiris, Shu, Hathor, Isis, Nut, Tefnut, Hequet, Khepri.

This time I took pictures with and without direct sunlight so you can see how much they come alive in the light

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Wow, shimmer! I love the lovely, vibrant contrast between this “half” of the deities and the first half. There’s nothing neutral about these: even Tawaret, a more muted shade, is packed full of gorgeousness. And the more vibrant colors like Khepir and Tefnut are just STUNNING.

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I mentioned that I did get a full size, and it was of Bast. Because she’s my spirit animal. Seriously, I wish I was Bastet. Sigh. Thankfully, as you saw in the swatch, it’s a gorgeous color: golden olive with aqua shimmer. Check it out, ya dingus! I do want a few more full sizes from this collection, mainly Tawaret, Isis, Hathor, Ma’at, Toth, Anubis & Horus. Okay, so maybe more than “a few.”

While these are all high on shimmer they aren’t really glitterbombs, and go on quite smooth. But I adore Aromaleigh’s formula, so I expected as much! Seriously, everything about this collection was tailor-made for me. Tons of unusual neutrals? Check. Bright, cool-toned vibrants? Check. Insane mythological themes? HELL YEAH. I’m just so happy to have these, and the samples are pretty decently sized. Of course, I wish I bought two sets… sigh. I always need more makeup!

Review: Sleek’s i-Divine in Del Mar Vol. 1

29 May

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Sometimes I sit around and think about the drugstore makeup available in the UK and cry a little bit inside. Because let’s face it, they have it way better than the US in that regard. But we have Sephora, so I suppose it evens out. And Sleek, my favorite UK drugstore brand, ships to the US for insanely cheap. I mean under $2 cheap. Shipping & handling on this palette was a whopping $1.34, bringing the whole shebang to a shockingly reasonable $13.33.

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If I had one complaint about Sleek, it’d be the packaging on the limited edition palettes. They always have SUCH beautiful box design, but the actual palettes are just the usual black cases. Sigh. They’re the only makeup items of mine I keep in their original packaging, aside from Paul & Joe. Also, they use a black, rubber-ish material similar to NARS but it somehow manages to be even more prone to picking up fingerprints. I swear I rubbed most of them off before taking this picture, but yet some remain…

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Del Mar follows this season’s super-bright matte trend, but for a much more reasonable price than, say Urban Decay’s Electric Palette or some of the other mid to high end brands. It’s also got a lovely, fresh selection of shades–not exactly neons, but definitely not ordinary colors.

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My other Sleek pet peeve is that the names of the shadows are on a plastic insert. I think their makeup naming is pretty creative and I so wish they just stamped it on the back of the box. I really hate having to keep these stupid things, sigh.

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Mm, yeah. Look at those colors. We’ll start descriptions with the top row!

Lounge Lovers is a very shimmery silver with taupe undertones, it has the most glitter of any in the palette

Poolside is a deep, matte teal

Sunset Strip is a lovely matte clementine

Ambience is a basic matte eggplant

Chilled Out is a matte white, and one of the only shades in Del Mar with pigmentation issues

Blue Marlin is a stunning matte peacock blue

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Why is the mirror so dirty?! It’s all a dust magnet, I tell you.

Opening Party is a navy blue with just a hint of satin finish and a teeeny bit of pink shimmer

On The Rocks is a perky coral with a shimmer finish

Talamanca is a matte cocoa brown, and one of the only “normal” shades in Del Mar

Feel Euphoric is a pink-leaning coral with a bit of shimmer

Balearic Beat is a matte kiwi green that looks a bit sickly in the pan

Paradise is a gorgeous matte lilac

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Swatches, one swipe applied wet onto bare skin (as always, I should just make a little disclaimer about this).

As you can see, pigmentation is pretty intense on most of these. Chilled Out falls a little flat, but since it’s basically a highlight shade and I have enough white shadows in my collection to last me several lifetimes it gets a definite pass. I was also not that impressed with Talamanca, which looks much darker and richer in the pan. But, again, it’s really the common colors that fall short.

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The surprise favorite for me was Lounge Lovers. From online shots I expected a straight silver, but it’s really a lovely taupe! And, of course, Blue Marlin has a special place in my heart because of my intense love for peacock blue. But I think in general the bottom row has better pigmentation than the top: probably because of all the shimmers, which performed better than the mattes.

While this might not be a wearable palette for a lot of people, I’m a color addict: I love brights, I love playing around with color combinations and contrast. There are a lot of relatively unique shades in here, and the mattes definitely make it more refined and less “night club.” While it’s in the same family as UD’s Electric, I don’t think there is a single shade overlap. Which is great, because I plan on combining them into a color explosion on my face.

So if you are scared of Electric’s pricetag or the colors in Sleek’s Acid & other matte palettes, this might be one to try! It’s summery, it’s tropical, it’s bright and refreshing, it’s insanely cheap. Really, it’s hard to go wrong with any Sleek palette. Except for the damn dust-attracting packaging.

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]