Making the Cut: Lipstick Edition

Making the Cut: Lipstick Edition

If you follow me on Instagram, you might recall seeing a flatlay of my makeup collection. That is actually the more “curated” version of my collection. Like many people, I went a little overboard when I started getting into indie cosmetic brands. It didn’t help that I was also really getting back into makeup in general, so I had all the pretties at Sephora to get my grubby mitts on, too. I had hundreds of single eyeshadows (including the little sample baggies), blushes that I bought because omg pretty, and more perfumes than my nose could feasibly handle. Over time, I’ve toned down the “buy buy buy” mentality and have gotten rid of things that don’t suit me for one reason or another. Even though my collection is on the larger side, I’m generally happy with it and am really only looking to hone down specific sections (perfume being one of them).

Getting rid of things in your collection can be difficult, especially for things that you generally like. The big thing is finding the difference between things you like and things you need, as well as things that are unique to your collection. And the end of the day, no matter the collection size, you have to be happy with what you have.

For the next few weeks, I’ll be making some posts sharing what I do to determine what gets the boot and what stays in my collection, starting with lipsticks. I hope you find things helpful!

Color Family Swatches

The first thing I always do is gather all of my lipsticks in the same color family and do mass swatches. It’s easy to let your collection get out of hand, especially when it comes to your favorite color. At one point, I had over 30 red lipsticks alone. So, I grabbed them all to see which ones were similar enough in color that I could then put to a battle of the death.

Below are some of the red lipsticks that survived the eventual battle royale.

Top to Bottom: Darling Girl Cosmetics Eat You Up, Fyrinnae We The People, Anastasia Beverly Hills Runway Red Lip Gloss, Ofra Atlantic City, Bite Beauty Braised Maple, Lipstick Queen Black Tie, Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture 203, Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture 71, Besame Cosmetics Red Velvet, Besame Cosmetics American Beauty

Battle Royale: Formula Testing

Swatches don’t tell you everything. After I did swatches to find color dupes, I then did testing to see which formula I liked better. I made a spreadsheet of all of my lipsticks, separated out into five categories: reds, berries, pinks/mauves, browns/nudes, and unconventional colors. I then wore every single one of my lipsticks, one color family at a time. This allowed me to figure out what kind of formulas I liked best based on wear time and reapplication. This is really the best test to a lipstick.

How easily does it apply? Does it take some work to get a clean line? Is a lip liner required? Is it patchy or streaky? How long will it last before needing to reapply? Do you need to take it off completely to add some more (some liquid matte formulas are good for that) or can you just touch it up? Based on the formula, how likely are you going to wear it regularly?

If it helps you, start a journal to keep track of your thoughts. This could be more helpful than a generic star rating system. You might want to keep Lipstick A because while it doesn’t last long, it’s easy to apply and reapply. But Lipstick B might be a keeper because while initial application can be a little bit of a struggle, it lasts all day with no reapplication necessary.

I also like to think about colors based on where I’ll be wearing it. With my job, I can’t wear more “unconventional” colors to work, so they’re strictly going out colors. That means that they have to be more sturdy because they need to last decently through drinks (and if they can last through bar food it’s even better). I can’t be worried about my lipstick every time I sip my beer. So a lipstick from the same company in two different colors could be judged differently based simply on where I’m wearing it to.

Reassess Your Collection Regularly

This is the most difficult part for me. Tastes change as time goes on, and even by season. So while I may not have been feeling that hot pink lipstick in December, come May I’m all about it. Keep these things in mind so you don’t kick things out that you may regret.

Give yourself a number that you don’t want to go over, and kick things out when you get over that number. Do another round of swatches and maybe set yourself a challenge. Have a bunch of liquid matte lipsticks from different companies? Test them for the next month so you can see which ones really have the best formulas. Give less loved lipsticks a good whiff to make sure they haven’t expired. Grab your journal and start tracking lipstick use so you can track your most and least used items.

At the end of the day, make sure you have a collection that you’re happy with and doesn’t stress you out. Thanks for reading, and I hope you’ve found some good tips! Next time I’ll talk about blushes and highlighters.

Swatches and Declutter: Highlighter Edition

Swatches and Declutter: Highlighter Edition

Welcome back!

I recently came to the insane realization that I have over 30 highlighters. Why in the world would I ever find it necessary to own that many highlighters? I have pressed highlighters, loose powder highlighters, powders that I then pressed myself, and liquid highlighters. It’s insane. So, after the prodding of my friend, I decided to sit down and swatch them all. Hopefully seeing them all swatched like this will help me get rid of some! At the end of the post I’ll make sure I let you guys know which ones I decided to keep and which ones didn’t cut it.

All swatches were done on bare skin with my finger. I usually don’t like finger swatches, but this was the best way to make sure the product stands out nicely.

**NOTE: I am a promotor for Darling Girl Cosmetics and Dreamworld Cosmetics so some products were purchased with the use of a discount. Believe me, this has no influence over my choice of what gets booted, as you will soon see.**

First up, we have a round of highlighters from indie companies that I pressed myself.

Dark Matter Makeup Aurora Borealis: Dark Matter is an indie company that is no longer opened. This is a white based highlight that shifts with a lovely pink and gentle purple. I’m not sure how this would be if I had kept it loose, but this is very powdery and chalky. There is a lot of kickup in the pan, which was probably my fault. The result is that unless this gets blended very well, all you can really see is a glaring white streak, like the swatch below.

Femme Fatale Cosmetics The Ivory Tower: Femme Fatale really knocked it out of the ballpark with this one. It’s a warm toned highlight with a pink sheen. I think this is pretty similar to one of my highlighters in the ABH Gleam Kit, so they might have to battle head to head.

Femme Fatale Cosmetics The High King: Described as a frosty beige with soft pink tones, this is another very pretty highlighter. I have a few shades like this, so something will have to go. Pretty, but unremarkable.

Hello Waffle Awoke at Dawn: This is the first of three rose gold highlighters I have, two of which are from Hello Waffle. It’s a little less pink than the others I have, so it might be a little more wearable. It was originally a Visage item, but made it’s way into the GC after everyone (including me) fell in love.

Hello Waffle Fluffy Dukedom:  From the Kitty Kingdom collection of 2015, this is a pretty gold with flashes of purple and turquoise. I don’t get much of the purple in this, but it’s nice to have a blueish highlight that is also warm.

Hello Waffle Midna: AKA my favorite highlight ever. It’s cream colored shimmery gold. I believe it was a Kitty Kingdom color that wiggled it’s way into the GC. I got this in an exchange through Reddit and am forever grateful. I also have this is the liquid format, which is swatched further down.

Brija Cosmetics Sunrise: I absolutely love this color! This is a light pinky, purple duochrome with little flashes of peachy orange. this is one of my favorite highlighters. I don’t use it a lot because with already red cheeks, the last thing I need is to bring even more attention to them. I do only have this as a sample, so I’ll probably hold onto it. Time will tell.

Hello Waffle Cosmetics 25: The owner made this as a GWP during the anniversary/birthday sale this year. I feel like this is more shabammy and shimmery than Awoke at Dawn.

Top to Bottom: Dark Matter Aurora Borealis, Femme Fatale The Ivory Tower, Femme Fatale The High King, Hello Waffle Awoke at Dawn, Hello Waffle Fluffy Dukedom, Hello Waffle Midna, Brija Sunrise, Hello Waffle 25

This is another round of pressed highlighters. The first two were pressed by me and the others were purchased from the company pressed.

Darling Girl Cosmetics Fridays We Wear Pink: This was an LE GWP from Pink Friday. I absolutely love how pigmented and shimmery this is. It’s a super shimmery pink that can be used as an eyeshadow as well.

Darling Girl Cosmetics Precious Fairy Vagina: Another LE shade, this was part of a True Blood Darling Delight Box. It’s a nude peach with a pinky violet sheen and makes me wonder if I really need Brija Sunrise. In the swatch they look different, but really – how much does that translate on the face after blending?

Tooth and Nail Cosmetics Rouge: This is rough because this company was so promising and has really tanked. All you need to do is take a look at their Instagram account and wade through the barrage of comments about missing and delayed orders to see what I mean. I order two highlighters when they first opened with no issues, but I would not order again. I already decided to get rid of the other product, so this one will most likely follow. It’s pretty, but nothing really original or remarkable.

Devinah Cosmetics Cosma: A white based highlight with a strong green sheen, this is absolutely gorgeous. However, the severe white base makes me a little wary. It does blend out well, but it’s not ideal. I do have another product (swatched down farther) that will probably make me push this one to the side. This is also a little powdery (like the Dark Matter product, just less so), so it makes me less inclined to use it.

AFK Cosmetics Just Like Starlight: Described as an icy pink loaded with shimmer, this is really very pretty and feminine. Right now it doesn’t get a lot of play, but if I cut down on my stash it might see the light of day more often. I don’t use cool toned products as much, so it would make it easier to get rid of this. However, I do love the amount of shimmer in here. I’m a sucker for a good shine.

Devinah Cosmetics Rolo: I honestly can’t recall if I’ve ever used this product. It’s another neutral base with a pinky glow. At this point, that’s a little unremarkable in my collection. I think we know what that means.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Cosmetics Hard Candy (Gleam Kit): This very much reminds me of Femme Fatal The Ivory Tower. It’s a nice neutral base with a pink sheen. This is more subtle and smoother, which is great with a pink highlight (see complaint about red cheeks above).

Anastasia Beverly Hills Cosmetics Crushed Pearl (Gleam Kit): This is 100% a shade I do not need. I’m not a fan of frosty highlighters because I think it only looks great on the super pale. I already have Becca Pearl in another palette, so I definitely don’t need two shimmery whiteish highlighters.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Cosmetics Mimosa (Gleam Kit): A soft, medium beigey gold, this would be great one someone a liiiittle darker than I am. I feel like Goldilocks between this and Crushed Pearl, but with 39 highlighters I need to be picky. Once again, there is nothing wrong with the formula as it’s very soft and smooth. Just the color ain’t me.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Cosmetics Starburst (Gleam Kit): This is a soft pink highlighter that blends out to a nice sheen. A little more everyday than something like AFK Just Like Starlight, this is a nice staple in my collection. This would also work very well for someone who maybe doesn’t have a lot of highlights and is looking for something basic.

Top to Bottom: Darling Girl Fridays We Wear Pink, Darling Girl Precious Fairy Vagina, Tooth and Nail Rouge, Devinah Cosma, AFK Just Like Starlight, Devinah Rolo, Anastasia Beverly Hills Hard Candy, Anastasia Beverly Hills Crushed Pearl, Anastasia Beverly Hills Mimosa, Anastasia Beverly Hills Starburst

This is the last round of my pressed highlighters, all of them mainstream!

Hourglass Cosmetics Euphoric: I was lusting after these products when they first got released and I’m still glad that I picked this up. This is a light-medium peachy highlight packed with shimmer. This is something that I need to use more often. Since it’s a single in a compact, I tend to not reach for it as often. Hopefully cutting out some others will make me grab this more often.

Becca Cosmetics Rose Gold: My last of the rose gold highlights, and the least pink. This is very wearable and smooth, and I actually probably reach for this the most out of the three that I have. It’s very pigmented, and someone who is maybe a more fair than I am could use this as a shimmery blush.

Becca Cosmetics Pearl (Champagne Glow Palette): I never would buy this color on it’s own because it’s way to light for my complexion. I also don’t do cool looks too often (as discussed above) so it doesn’t get a lot of mileage. Since it is housed in the palette, I do actually use it to mix with the other colors, especially Blushed Copper.

Becca Cosmetics Champagne Pop (Champagne Glow Palette): The warm champagne gold highlight to end all warm champagne gold highlights. This is it, folks. I’m glad that it’s just as gorgeous and perfect as the hype dictated. I actually have a dip in this highlighter! I’ll have to see once my collection shrinks how much I use this vs Hello Waffle Midna.

Becca Cosmetics Blushed Copper (Champagne Glow Palette): Definitely way to dark to use this on it’s own, this actually makes a great blush. Although, to be warned, I really enjoy shimmery blushes. This also works great mixed and blended with Pearl and Champagne Pop. Any combination of the three is really gorgeous.

Becca Cosmetics Prosecco Pop (Champagne Collection Face Palette): Yes, having both BeccaxJaclyn Hill palettes means I have two Champagne Pops. Shh. Anyway… This is a nice highlight and more gold than Champagne Pop. Do I think I need these both? No. But this palette comes with three blushes (or two and a bronzer) and it’s perfect for when I travel for work. Which is a lot.

This next round is all indie loose highlighters! They’re still loose for one of two reasons – I either love the packaging or they contain ingredients that cannot be pressed. I need to get away from loving things just for the packaging, so I’m going to press what I can. Go me!

Shiro Cosmetics The Last Unicorn: I love this for so many reasons. One, the packaging. Seriously. It’s got an amazing label and it pulls my heartstrings. Two, the color. It’s so shiny and uuugh I love it. There’s so much glitter that it’s insane and I want to wear it always. The downside? Super cool toned. I need to rock it more, for sure. And I just checked and it’s eye safe so I’ll use it as eyeshadow, too. You can pry this out of my cold, dead hands, folks. My glitter covered cold, dead hands.

Hello Waffle Cosmetics Emma: Another Kitty Kingdom LE shade, this is actually inspired by one of my good friend’s dogs! It’s what I would consider a flat neutral – as a white-gold with copper shimmer, it’s neither warm nor cool and goes well with a multitude of looks. However, I’m not sure if it really is unique enough for me to hang on to. (Sorry, Emma – you’re adorable!)

Hello Waffle Cosmetics George: This is from this year’s Kitty Kingdom collection and is everything I wanted Devinah Cosma to be. The gold makes a great base for the green shift and works much better for me than the white base of Cosma. Despite my love of the cat basking in the sun on the label, I’ll have to press this so it gets more use.

Hello Waffle Cosmetics Like One of Your French Kitties: Meant as the blue version of Lavender Cream, this is a pale peachy champagne with a blue shift. I actually think I like Fluffy Dukedom more – plus that one is already pressed… I also thing the blue on that is more prominent than in this one.

Hello Waffle Cosmetics Queen of the Amazons: Another LE Visage color (damn – do I have anything from the GC?), this is one of my favorites for the theme alone. This is from the box inspired by A Midsummer’s Night Dream, my favorite Shakespeare ever. It’s described as a faded pink with strong turquoise and teal shift. To me, this once again has more of a white base, which makes me less likely to wear it. Despite the stellar theme and label, I think we know where this is headed.

Dreamworld Cosmetics Phoebe: This is a soft neutral pink with golden undertones, and reminds me of Becca Champagne Pop. This is pretty, but not something necessarily remarkable or new. It’s a good staple, though, just nothing new for me.

Dreamworld Cosmetics Tabitha: A nice, soft gold, this is another product that would be a good staple. Another one that I don’t need more of. It looks similar to Hello Waffle Midna!

Dreamworld Cosmetics Taz: This is a medium peach that reminds me of a less glittery form of Hourglass Euphoric. I’ll probably have this stick around for a bit to see how I like it! Plus, it’s only a sample so it doesn’t take up much space. Or this is what I tell myseeeelf.

Top to Bottom: Shiro Cosmetics The Last Unicorn, Hello Waffle Emma, Hello Waffle George, Hello Waffle Like One Of Your French Kitties, Hello Waffle Queen of the Amazons, Dreamworld Phoebe, Dreamworld Tabitha, Dreamworld Taz

The first two of this next (and last!) set are loose Spectral Shifts from Darling Girl. The rest are liquid highlighters.

Darling Girl Cosmetics Double Bubble: Why do I not have this pressed? I have no idea. But I love it. It’s a pink base with a copper shift, so the opposite of a couple of my other highlighters. It’s really subtle and kind of sheer, and I adore how it blends out on the skin.

Darling Girl Cosmetics Mellow Peaches: Kind of similar to Double Bubble, with the copper sheen/iridescence is more prominent. Another one that I need to press, and stat.

Darling Girl Cosmetics Snuggle in Sweetie, It’s Cold Outside: This was from the LE Edward Scissorhands inspired collection and I really enjoy it. It smells like lovely oranges and has a great blue shift. Down side – it doesn’t dry down all the way and must be set with powder. Other down side – the packaging actually busted a little and it makes it more difficult to apply. Womp womp.

Darling Girl Cosmetics Leilani: My first liquid highlighter, this is one of the Lumos line of products. This came in a lipgloss-like tube with a doefoot applicator. I believe the packaging has since been changed to more of a nail polish-like bottle. This is a mauve pink with a strong gold sheen and is very pigmented. It also dries down very quickly, so you have to work quickly to blend it out. This is very pink, and would actually work better as a blush for me. But with how quickly it dries, using it as a blush is impractical.

Darling Girl Cosmetics Big Mistake: This is from the new line of Spectral Shift Illuminating Cremes – basically liquid Spectral Shifts. This is the only one of this line that I have and I definitely need to grab a couple more. This is a berry pink with an aqua sheen. It’s a very creamy formula that blends out very nicely. I find it much easier to work with than the Lumos line.

Hello Waffle Cosmetics Midna: Yes, again. This time in liquid form. I really hope more of these get released since I really like this product. It’s creamy and dries down nicely – like the Darling Girl liquid Spectral Shifts. I like to use the liquid when I want an extra punch to my highlight or to use under other powder highlights. See above for all the reasons why I love this and it’s the best thing ever.

Hello Waffle Cosmetics Lavender Cream: I recently got rid of the powder version of this color because I like the liquid so much better. It’s a cream neutral base, packed with a lavender purple shift. I find the shift to be much more prominent in the liquid form, which I am all about.

What’s this? The end? THE END!!!! There was a light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks for sticking with me! Out of my 39 products that I started with, I got rid of…. 14. Is that it? Really? I mean, that’s good and all, but I was hoping for more.

Products that didn’t make the cut:

  • Hello Waffle Emma, Queen of the Amazons, Like One of Your French Kitties, and Awoke at Dawn.
  • Darling Girl Cosmetics Leilani and Snuggle in Sweetie, It’s Cold Out There.
  • Tooth and Nail Cosmetics Rouge.
  • Devinah Cosmetics Cosma and Rolo.
  • Brija Cosmetics Sunrise.
  • Anastasia Beverly Hills Cosmetics Mimosa and Crushed Pearl.

I decided to keep the Dreamworld shades that I was iffy on because I need to use them more to get a good feel of the products. If I like them better than some of my other shades, I might keep them over others. Only time will tell.


Squash Beauty: Update and Review

Squash Beauty: Update and Review

A few weeks ago, I made this post with swatches and first impressions of Squash Beauty. I took both the Amara Luminizer and Suzy Blush for test spins and I am happy to say I loved them both!

For application, I applied grabbed some of Suzy (the blush) with my stippling brush. I then lightly tapped my face where I wanted the blush and gently blended it out with the same brush. I had gone very lightly, so I grabbed a little more and applied it in the same method. It built very nicely and didn’t pull or grab at my foundation beneath.

With Amara, I applied it with my fingers since I don’t really have another brush that would work well with this type of product. I dropped a little onto the back of my hand and picked it up with my middle finger. I then patted it onto my cheekbone with a light tapping motion, passing over the area to blend it out. I actually like this a lot for the highlighter! I feel like it gave me a lot of control over the pigmentation and placement. It was also easy to build up and didn’t effect my foundation or blush. I found it to provide a nice glow, so if you’re someone who prefers their highlight to be seen from space, this isn’t for you. If you like more of a natural highlight then this is right up your alley!

They both dried down rather quickly, but not so fast that I wasn’t able to work with them. I found them both long wearing, still going strong after the 10-hour mark.

I give both of these products glowing (haha) reviews! I am interested to see how this packaging holds up to the test of time. I know that they were clearing out existing stock to implement new packaging. This is definitely a brand I plan on keeping my eye on! Give them a look and see what you think – maybe you’ll find a new fave.

Here’s a look I did with the products below! You can see the glow from Amara better in the second picture.

Sugarpill Cosmetics Feline Fancy palette on the eyes, Squash Beauty Suzy and Amara on the face, and Fyrinnae We The People on the lips
Sugarpill Cosmetics Feline Fancy on the eyes, Squash Beauty Amara and Suzy on the face, Fyrinnae We The People on the lips


Corvus Cosmetics First Impressions: The Bronzes and The Taupes

Corvus Cosmetics First Impressions: The Bronzes and The Taupes

Hello, ladies and gents! I’m back with another first impression post. Today we’ll be talking about Corvus Cosmetics. A small indie brand working out of Maryland, Corvus Cosmetics offers a rotating catalog of loose eyeshadows and, most recently, loose highlighters. In addition to seasonal collections, they keep The Essentials and Nevermore collections in stock at all times. Also check out The Best of Corvus section, where all the bestselling eyeshadows are available for purchase. Today I’ll be showcasing two of The Essentials collections – The Bronzes and The Taupes.

The Essentials collections are meant to be stand alone palettes made of five loose eyeshadows each. They each follow a color “theme.” Currently The Essentials is made of four collections – The Roses, The Reds, The Bronzes, and The Taupes. I purchased The Roses collection when it was released and thought it fell a bit flat, but found a renewed interest when The Taupes was recently launched. So without further ado, onto the swatches!

The Bronzes

The Bronzes: Whiskey Sour, Old Fashioned, Amber Moon, Manhattan, Irish Coffee

Whiskey Sour: A warm toned highlight.

I’m not a massive fan of highlight shades. I like sparkles as a brow or innner corner highlight and this is definitely too light for me to use as a transition shade. However, if you’re the person that hits pan on the extra large white shade in ever palette, this is the color for you. It’s a nice matte shade that blends very smoothly.

Old Fashioned: A warm toned cream transition shade.

This would make a nice transition shade for lighter skinned ladies. I have weirdly dark skin on my eyelids, so I need something a little darker than this. (Keep reading to see what will satisfy my super picky qualifications of a transition color.) I would call this less of a matte and more of a satin. If you don’t like a matte white as a highlight and want something a little deeper, this would also be a good shade for that.

The Bronzes: Whiskey Sour, Old Fashioned

Amber Moon: A metallic bronze.

To me, this is neither bronze nor metallic. This looks like a nice shimmery medium brown, and is actually my favorite from this collection. The right side of this swatch is over Darling Girl Glitter Glue, which did help provide more of a “metallic” sheen, but I still wouldn’t categorize this as such.

Manhattan: A matte satin brown.

A nice satin, darker brown, this would work very well as a crease color. You can see a low shimmer in my swatch, so I wouldn’t call this matte at all. The low shimmer will dissipate with blending. Nothing remarkable about this color, but it’s a good staple in anyone’s collection.

Irish Coffee: A blackened matte brown.

This and Whiskey Sour are definitely my least favorites in this collection, but that’s all just preference. I’m not a fan of anything that has “blackened” in the description because I personally find them to get a little muddy when blending next to other colors. I haven’t used this yet in that capacity, so I can’t tell you if it will do the same. I can tell you that I found the shadow very smooth and soft. I would say this leans a little more satin than matte, which also makes me believe it will blend out better than other colors of the same “blackened” variety.

The Bronzes: Amber Moon, Manhattan, Irish Coffee

Overall Impression

Generally, I think the name of this collection is a little deceiving, just like with The Roses. I wouldn’t consider any of these colors bronzes. That being said, the shadows themselves are nice and should work well on the eye. Amber Moon was my favorite, which seems to be a current theme since it’s been added to The Best of Corvus section of the site. I will probably use that and Manhattan the most. This would be a good collection for someone who is just starting out with makeup and maybe doesn’t have a lot of staples, mainstream or indie. I would say I most definitely have something similar for all of these shades existing in my collection already.

The Taupes

The Taupes: Chantilly, Madeleine, Mille-Feuille, Eclair, Au Chocolat

Chantilly: A neutral semi-matte white.

This is softer and less matte than Whiskey Sour or Old Fashioned. As a white eyeshadow hater, this gets a pass from me. I would say it’s different enough that I can see why a brand would offer three similar shades, but I don’t think they would really all be necessary in someone’s makeup collection.

Madeleine: A matte light nude transition shade.

Yay! A transition shade I can use! This color is great. It might be a little yellow for my skin, but it’s definitely something that I would get a lot of use out of. Once again, I would call this more satin than matte.

The Taupes: Chantilly, Madeleine

Mille-Feuillie: A pressure-sensitive neutral taupe.

This is the color that made me want to order. I was very much intrigued by a pressure sensitive eyeshadow and it’ll be interesting to use. In the swatch below, I’ve swatched the left side with just a simple patting motion and the right side by applying pressure and blending. This would be interesting to use in a one shadow look, or maybe with just Madeleine as a transition. You can see on the left side there is some low shimmer which blends out into a satin sheen on the right.

Eclair: A neutral moussey brown.

I’m having a real hard time finding the difference between this and Manhattan from The Bronzes. This might be more cool toned? A little? I’m not sure. It has the same low shimmer that will blend out upon application.

Au Chocolat: A deep chocolate brown.

*cue Twilight Zone music* Read above, but insert “Irish Coffee” where I wrote “Manhattan.”

The Taupes: Mille-Feuille, Eclair, Au Chocolat

Overall Impression

Madeleine and Mille-Feuille were my favorites out of this collection. I can’t wait to use Mille-Feuille and see how the pressure-sensitive..ness.. works in action on my eyelid. As for the rest of the shadows… I’m a little disappointed with how similar they are to the colors in The Bronzes. If you plan on ordering from The Essentials collections, I would encourage looking first to see if there are any similar shades between the collections before grabbing the whole thing like I did. I feel like any differences in these shades would be negligible once applied to the lid, except maybe some of the whites due to preferences and undertones.

Customer Service

I did want to make an little note about the more customer service side. The turnaround time (TAT) for this brand is listed as 5-30 business days, which is a little odd. I know from Facebook the owner is a full time student and takes care of her business between classes and such. I was curious if the brand would be more to the 30 day end of things or would get it out well before, like Fyrinnae Cosmetics is prone to.

I made my order on February 2. I received a shipping notification on February 11, but it sat in “Shipping Label Created” for a few days. It was accepted at the post office on February 16 and arrived on February 18 (the advantage of living on the East Coast). That brought the TAT from order date to actual shipped date to 10 business days. So it was somewhere in the middle of the stated TAT, which wasn’t bad. I always get nervous when I see packages stuck in Shipping Label Created because I’ve had packages lost before, but I know that some owners print the labels as they’re working on an order as opposed to when they’re actually shipping the order.

I hope you found my first impression helpful! I’ll make another post with a full review and looks once I’ve used the products.



Squash Beauty First Impressions

Squash Beauty First Impressions

Hello there! It’s been a long time! I’ve been upping my Instagram game, so I figured it was time to up my blogging game as well. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep this up as a nice space for first impressions, reviews, and swatches.

Today I’ve got some gorgeous products from  a brand called Squash Beauty. The owner’s goal is to provide products that will work on a variety of skin tones, based on her own frustrations attempting to find cosmetics that work on darker skin. Currently the shop offers liquid blushes and luminizers as well as some pressed highlighters. The liquid products are on sale as they rotate stock to offer up some new packaging, too!

I picked up the Liquid Blush in the shade Suzy and a Liquid Luminizer in the shade Amara. They come in glass bottles with glass droppers to get out the product. The labels are simple and clean, which I can appreciate. They are not waterproof, which makes me a little worried for how quickly they’ll get dirty with this kind of product. Knowing how clumsy I am, I can see this labels being a little worse for wear in a couple of months.


On to the swatches! To apply the product, I applied some straight from the dropper onto my arm and blended out with the brush below. With how easy the product blends out, in the future I’ll skip the brush for highlight and just blend it out with my fingers. I’ll probably stick to this brush for using the blush, though.


Amara Luminizer: A gold toned highlighter with a yellow base, this glowing luminizer has a natural satin finish.

I would say that description is spot on. I’ve been looking for a nice, yellow toned gold highlighter and I think I found it. If you are at all cool toned, I would avoid this. Also this would not work on fairer skin tones. If you have a deeper skin tone and have issues with a gold highlighter showing up on your skin, I would definitely give this a shot. I found it easy to blend and build up in turn. This is very versatile and easy to use. I love that Amara has a nice soft sheen, as opposed to an outright blinding glow. This will be a lot of fun paired with a more sparkly blush.

Suzy Blush: This vibrant satin pink blush can be worn alone or topped with a highlighter for extra glow.

This was a little more coral leaning than I expected, but it’s definitely still a happy pink. I was surprised by how easy this was to blend. This will work for people with a variety of skin tones, from pale to deep. This is extremely easy to build and the more it was blended out the more the small sparkles showed up, which I am all about.

Below the products are over bare skin. One the left the product is more heavily applied and the right side is more blended out.

Full swatches

I wore Amara the other day and started blending it out with the brush and realized it was easy enough to blend out with my fingers. I haven’t used Suzy yet, but I think I’ll wind up using the brush. The product itself is more watery than I expected, which makes it both easier to blend and build. Amara layered nicely over foundation and blush, so I’m looking forward to using Suzy to see if it works just as well!

After I’ve used both products more extensively, I’ll report back with a full review. In the mean time, make sure you check out Squash Beauty and see if anything catches your fancy!

Southern Comforts Halloween Scents

Southern Comforts Halloween Scents

Southern Comforts is an indie shop that specializes in perfumes and bath and body products. As you can tell from the name, the brand’s aesthetic is concentrated on the American South and quirky adorableness. I’ve tried a few different products from them, but today I’m going to concentrate on their latest release – Halloween scents.

Biloxi Boneyard

Jasmine absolute, damp wood, rotting leaves, wet gravestones, oakmoss, old dirt.

  • In bottle: Holy jasmine, Batman. LOTS of jasmine. Followed up by some wet leaves.
  • First applied: Still soooo much jasmine. I’m iffy on jasmine myself and it usually depends on how it works with the other scents in the perfume. Right now this is feel like a stick of jasmine incense or something – I’m not really picking up anything else.
  • Fifteen minutes later: Unfortunately, I’m still mostly getting the jasmine. There is a bit of dirt and wetness which is stopping the jasmine from being overpowering, but it’s not really a “me” scent.

Bobbi-Sue’s Candy Bucket

candy corn, gummy bears, candied apples, red licorice

  • In bottle: Mmm so much candy and sweetness. It smells like fruity gummy bears, slightly tart apples, and the sweetness of red licorice. This is spot on from the description.
  • First applied: Mostly gummy bears with some apple thrown in there – just that hint of tartness to cut the sweetness. There’s also this smooth sweet scent – kind of the same smoothness of caramel, but it’s not caramel.
  • Fifteen minutes later: Very sweet, but smoothly sweet. I really wish that I could describe that smoothness better. Not really picking up apples anymore, but I am getting the red licorice now and it blends really well with the gummy bear scent. This definitely screams “candy,” but still is very wearable. I think this would especially make a good bath and body product.

Cthulhu in Carolina

seawater, wet sand, aged paper, book leather

  • In bottle: I was probably most excited for this scent because I don’t really have anything like it, and come on – Cthulhu? Yes please. Wet in the bottle this smells like saltwater and leather.
  • First applied: Oh man. This smells like leather, water, and something kind of sweet. I don’t know if its the salt bit or the sand bit that’s rounding the scent out, but I like it.
  • Fifteen minutes later: Wow although I reeeeally wanted to like this scent, I wasn’t really expecting to. It’s a solid aquatic with just a hint of leather. Leather tends to be overpowering on me, but I really like it in here. There’s that something “other” that’s on the edge of sweet that is bringing it all together, too, and it’s really doing it for me. The general feel of the perfume is a little haunting and unsettling – something good for when you’re feeling moody.

St. Louis Cemetery

carnations, fresh earth, damp grass, morning mist, sepulchers, and the faintest hint of roses

  • In bottle: Smells just like a freshly mowed cemetery – blooming carnations, damp earth, grass, and morning dew.
  • First applied: Uuuuugh rooooose I can smell you now. I was suspicious of this scent because I can’t stand rose scents, but I had hopes since the last Southern Comforts scent I had with roses they didn’t creep in. Roses are all up in here. Well, maybe not all up. But they’re there. Right now I’m getting a lot of grass and florals, and it’s very realistic since it’s making my nose itch.
  • Fifteen minutes later: My skin loves roses even though my nose does not. The scent has calmed down now, but the carnations and roses are the front-runners. It’s a nice floral, grassy scent with some dampness and earth stopping it from being too perky or perfumey.

Tuscaloosa Trick-or-Treat

dark chocolate hazelnut truffles, burning leaves, dirt, leather, sweet tobacco

  • In bottle: Unfff omg this smells so good. Dark chocolate and hazelnut, backed up by some earthiness and smooth leather.
  • First applied: Hnnnnng it smells even better on. The hazelnut is stronger than the chocolate and is very authentic. The chocolate isn’t fake or off smelling – it smells like a nice, rich dark chocolate. The leather and dirt mingle to bring a nice earthiness so it’s not overly sweet.
  • Fifteen minutes later: Mmm the leather has come out a little bit more now, making it less of a gourmand than one would originally think. I’m also getting some earthy smokiness, and the chocolate and hazelnut has settled more into the background. I really like how this perfume has transformed – it’s not what I expected at all and I like it a lot.

Overall thoughts

I thought this was a fun collection that stuck to the Halloween theme very well while not being unwearable. I like that Southern Comforts scents are simple and straightforward, while still painting a nice picture with the scents. My favorites were Cthulhu in Carolina and Tuscaloosa Trick-or-Treat, but for unexpected reasons. Thanks for reading, and I hope you found something that tickled your fancy! If you found anything you like, make sure you head over to the Southern Comforts shop on Etsy.