Aesthetics, Cosmetics, Reviews

Metamorphosis 110.0 – Julep Stella, September “It Girl” Maven Colour

The weather has officially dropped below 70 here and I think it’s safe to say Autumn has arrived. Considering I’ve lived most of my year in reds and golds and burgundies, I’m not sure I can say I’m in full-on Fall mode, but this month’s Julep Maven It Girl polish definitely helped me along.

When I received the preview email, I was instantly intrigued. Yellow nail polish was hot this summer, but Julep pulls the trend into fall seamlessly. Rather than the vivid, sunny shades we saw from companies in May and June, Stella looked deep and rich in comparison. Simultaneously described as a “yellow bronze,” and a “bright & bold” mustard, I couldn’t wait to see this in person.

The formula seemed similar to other Julep polishes, neither thick nor thin and easily spread. It did, however, seem a bit more difficult to build opacity: after three coats, I felt like I could still see my nail in places. Four, however, left my nails evenly covered. My hands have a sort of love/hate relationship with yellow. I love the colour and I think it works well with my olive undertones, but it’s a dust magnet. No matter what I did, I could see some dust particles that ended up trapped in the polish.

The following photos are four coats over butterLONDON’s Nail Foundation base coat. There is no top coat to show the natural finish of the polish.

Apologizes for not cleaning up my cuticles. As you can see, it’s actually a bright sunflower yellow though it looks lighter in the bottle.

Zoomed to show some of the dust trapped between the layers. It may look like the brush strokes are still visible, but my nails have been growing odd ridges lately. Gotta kick the biting habit once and for all.

I’m very pleased with this latest colour from my Julep Maven It Girl subscription. It’s a beautiful way to transition from summer to fall, or to add some warmth to chilly autumn days. I can definitely see myself getting good use out of this once the leaves start to turn.

Love you to the Moon and Back,

Luna Valentine

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Aesthetics, Cosmetics, Reviews

Metamorphosis 109.0 – Fear Itself, a look at Cocoa Pink’s Halloween Phobias

There are scents for all season, but in my opinion Autumn is in an olfactory league of its own. Gone are the powdery florals of Spring, the sparkling fruits of Summer. Autumn brings a much-needed warmth and comfort before we’re hit with the barren ozone and frosty evergreens of Winter. Fall is the season that drains the contents of my wallet into bottles of perfume.

The first of my scented indulgences this year comes from Cocoa Pink. In addition to their new fall scent catalogue, they released a collection of Halloween fragrances inspired by phobias.

I picked out some of my favourite formulas to try out these new scents. I’ve posted about Cocoa Pink’s hair products before, but I need to say it again: if you’re looking for a great Indie company to make your hair look and smell amazing, Cocoa Pink has a formula for you.

Princess Poo is an SLS and Paraben Free gentle cleansing shampoo. If you’ve never used an SLS-free shampoo, you probably equate lather with clean. This couldn’t be further from the truth. This low-lather cleanser cleans away dirt and product residue without stripping colour or healthy oils from hair, giving bounce and shine without feeling “squeaky clean.” When your hair is as dry and damaged as mine, this is important. If you’re worried that this will leave your hair too greasy, fear not: my teenage sister uses this same formula as a daily cleanser on her oily, colour-treated hair with the same fabulous results.

Shine + is protein and silicone free to moisturize hair without weighing it down. I learned long ago that silicones are not my friends: my skin hates them, my hair hates them, and as a result, I hate them. Sure they help detangle hair and create that luxurious slippery feeling in all water types, but it keeps my skin from breathing and weighs down my fine hair. The butters and oils used in this conditioner leave my hair silky and bouncy like nothing else ever has. For those who like shiny hair, this is for you–despite my high-lift colour, this still imparts a healthy shine to my mane.

But the real beauty here is in the scent: Cocoa Pink will scent their products with any fragrance from their current catalogue. This season, I chose Fear of Cemeteries from their Halloween Phobia collection. I’ll admit, it was the description that sold me:

Cool damp graveyard dirt with a single white carnation placed cautiously against an old granite headstone, covered by dying crimson and yellow autumn leaves with a soft whisper of wood smoke carried in a crisp breeze. 

This is the perfect Fall incarnation of the grassy green scents I loved all Summer: this is rich, loamy earth beneath piles of wet leaves and cut flowers. There’s a note of ozone to the background and just a hint of bonfire as well as minerals. It’s rainy and wet and chilly and green, which is exactly what I wanted this to be. I have a sneaking suspicion that a large size of this will be making its way to my doorstep before the season is over.

If you’re really worried about product buildup or have an excess of oils in your hair, Squeaky might be the s’poo for you. This clarifying shampoo is still gentle enough for use on coloured hair while getting the job done. I’ll alternate this into my routine once every couple weeks to get rid of any styling products that might be hiding in my hair. I do feel like it’s a little much for me, but anyone who has a bit of extra oil or loves their hairspray will definitely go for the formula–it definitely delivers a “Squeaky” clean!

This was a sample included in my order, scented with Fear of Witches:

Warm baked bread fresh from the oven, gentle wisps of bonfire smoke drifting through the frigid autumn air and smooth buttery caramel sprinkled with coarse black sea salt is your best bet in keeping them at bay.

I had no idea how to imagine this scent in my head. Anyone who has ever baked bread knows the scent: yeasty, warm, a little dusty… I think the “bread” in the formula here is more of a sweet. While there is a crustiness, this gives the distinct impression of baked goods, pastries, sweet things in ovens. The combination of salt and caramel is distinct, and it’s all rounded off with woody smoke.

I really don’t buy scrubs often, but not because I don’t like them. I simply don’t go through them as quickly as other bath products. This was another sample with my order, and the first time I’ve tried the Soft Bubbles Foaming Sugar Scrubs. I’ve used CP scrubs in the past, but not since the grand reopening under the new owner–the old formulas were often thick, rich, and full of moisturizing ingredients with a texture like cookie dough. The Soft Bubbles formula claims to be a light and fluffy lathering scrub, textured like buttercream. It does foam softly with water, but I find the texture a bit harder–maybe like buttercream that’s sat in the fridge for a while.

This was scented in Fear of Ghosts:

Glowing marshmallow orbs and smoky vanilla spectral mists swirl aimlessly around an old bonfire in the Crisp October night air – Fresh vanilla puffed marshmallows, toasted marshmallows, hints of bonfire smoke among scattered sharp grains of white rice to ward unwelcome spirits away

I love this scent. If you’ve never smelled a Cocoa Pink fragrance before, start with their marshmallows. This is a perfect toasted-marshmallow scent, rich with wood smoke and sweet vanilla. It’s a toasty Autumn version of Vanilla Bean Noel, with a healthy dose of marshmallow on top. I definitely need to order this scent before the collection is retired–I just need to figure out which way to wear it!

Cocoa Pink’s linen spray is a fairly new addition to the line, so I was excited to try it. Because of the gentle formula, it has a variety of uses: not only can it be used to scent bed linens and clothes, it’s also safe for use on the hair and body as well as a general atmospheric spray. I’ve been using this on my clothes, spritzing it into my dresser drawers to keep my things smelling beautiful. I ordered in Fear of Spiders:

Dragon’s blood resin, the memorable scent of fine pipe tobacco, chopped bundles of firewood, fragrant sprigs of wormwood and bright scarlet apples.

The unifying theme in this collection is definitely smoke. The wood smoke is definitely present here, but there is also pipe smoke and incense. This is a rich, resinous scent polished off with tart apples and bitter herbs. It’s incredibly sophisticated and mysterious and I will definitely be ordering a larger size of the linen spray so my clothes can smell like this year round.

I am incredibly pleased with the Autumn offerings from Cocoa Pink, and I know I need to try the rest of the Phobias collection before they disappear. Whether you’re looking for sweet, confectionary fragrances or deep, mysterious perfumes, Cocoa Pink has something for you this season in products your hair and body will love.

Love you to the Moon and Back,

Luna Valentine

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Metamorphosis 108.0 – Moonlight Destiny, a review of Persephone Minerals

I am not ashamed to admit I loved Sailor Moon. Not just as a kid, either: up until fairly recently, I did a lot of Sailor Moon fan art, had some OCs, still actively watched old episodes… Not only is there a certain nostalgia in the series for me, I feel there are some great messages in the story for girls who read or watch it. Not to mention the twists on classic mythology, the alternate histories, the fantastic glimpses of the future. Admittedly, I liked the manga better than the anime for both story and art, but the anime had some fun story arcs too (case in point: Stars).

I’m pretty sure I found Persephone Minerals during an Etsy search for Sailor Moon. I loved the idea of a shadow collection based off the characters–they had such strong, distinct colour palettes it seemed all-too-appropriate. But for some reason, I didn’t order until very recently. During the Labor Day sale, I snagged a set of senshi samples including Princess Venus, Venus Crystal Power, Venus Love & Beauty Shock, Mars Crystal Power, Sailor Mars, Rainbow Moon Heartache, Starlight Honeymoon Therapy Kiss, Moon Prism Power, Pluto Planet Power, Sailor Pluto, and received samples of I Want to be a Mermaid and Kalifa.

I want to apologize for the swatches below: I had both arms slathered in shadows in an attempt to photograph several companies at once so I could catch up here on the blog. I was using my “wrong” hand and arm for a lot of these. That said, the colours are still accurate. All swatches are over Urban Decay Primer Potion, bare skin, and MAC paint pot in Painterly.

Princess Venus is a soft, buttery yellow with an orange-pink glow. It’s a great shade on its own, but I’ve been using it to blend some of my red/orange looks together. This is obviously inspired by the dress worn by Princess Venus in the manga.

image via fanpop

Venus Love & Beauty Shock is a bright yellow with orange, gold, and white glitter. It’s named for Sailor Venus’ signature attack and reminiscent of the yellow-gold effects used in the sequence.

image via princessserenity.net

Venus Crystal Power is a light orange-gold shade with a hint of pink shift. The Crystal Power shadows all seem to have the strongest duochromes. Mars Crystal Power is a bright red with strong orange-gold shift, inspired by the fiery transformation sequence of Sailor Mars.

image via soul-hunter

I swatched Sailor Mars and Rainbow Moon Heartache side by side to show some of the more subtle difference between them. At first glance, they both appear to be very bright reds. Sailor Mars, however, is notably deeper and contains red and violet glitter inspired by the Mars’ uniform colour-scheme. Rainbow Moon Heartache is described as a deep pink and filled with pink and holographic glitter particles. Rainbow Moon Heartache was Sailor Moon’s signature attack during the SuperS season.

While a bit more of the holo-glitter is visible in this shot of Rainbow Moon Heartache, below it is Starlight Honeymoon Therapy Kiss, a baby-pink with flecks of holographic glitter. I bought this mostly for the name (I always loved that attack), but it’s actually a very pretty colour. I hardly ever wear pinks, especially paler pinks, but the glitter in this makes it so eye-catching I can see myself getting a decent amount of wear from it.

This was Moon’s final signature attack in her Eternal form from the Stars season. My geek is showing, sorry guys… But Persephone Minerals interpreted this sequence so well. It’s like wearing a magical attack on your eyes.

The shimmering aqua-green-blue on top is not from the senshi collection. It’s incredibly appropriately named, though, as I Want to be a Mermaid is exactly why I would want to wear this on my eyes. It’s such a perfect iridescent fish-tail blue that I couldn’t think of a better name for it. Below is Moon Prism Power from the ChibiMoon collection. In the bag, this looks like a minty green but swatches more translucent pink. The actual description calls it a “duochrome of blue & pink with the palest possible touch of blue so that the pink dominates,” but the combination pulls rather green/peach on my skin. It is, however, a pretty accurate representation of the shades used in ChibiMoon’s transformation sequence.

image via fanpop

Sailor Pluto was my favourite, with powers over time and often death. She was the only character that retained her memories of the past as well as the future since she had full control over the time stream. Pluto Planet Power is named for her transformation sequence, a medium green with light pearl. Sailor Pluto is a gorgeous dark, murky green with notable red glitter–this is a perfect representation of her uniform and overall character colour-scheme.

image via wikipedia

You can see how distinct the red glitter is here–this is such a gorgeous shade I can hardly stand it.

Finally, we have Kalifa. This was a sample included in my order, but it’s absolutely stunning. It appears rather brown in the bag, but has an incredibly strong green duo chrome and violet-blue glitter. The entire effect is rather reminiscent of a peacock feather. I’m anxious to see how this applies on my eyes and will definitely be trying to find a use for it.

All in all, I really like the shades I’ve received from Persephone Minerals and definitely intend to order again in the future. Not only are the shades gorgeous, but the collections are inspired and fun. The shop is on vacation at the moment, but I heartily recommend ordering when they reopen. I know I will!

Love you to the Moon and Back,

Luna Valentine

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Metamorphosis 107.0 – A Hint of Decadence, more from Antoinette’s Revolution

There are so many amazing Indie brands out there that there’s almost no time to follow up with all of them. You may remember my initial review of Antoinette’s Revolution Cosmetics back in May when I fell in love with antiqued-gold Versailles. It was such a summer staple for me that I decided to see what the company had to offer now that we’re moving into fall. The company recently moved off of Artfire and onto its own website which is even more organized and easier to shop. I’d say it’s great, but considering that makes it easier to spend money, my wallet disagrees.

While Antoinette’s Revolution does offer samples, there was a special running on full-sized jars which I find easier to store and use. I picked up full sizes of Gardens, Masquerade, von Fersen, Guillotine, and received a sample of Chocolate Rose.

While the colours in the jars don’t often match the swatches on-site, I’ve learned not to trust the jars anyway. Especially with Antoinette’s Revolution, I’ve found the shadows rub down to a different shade most of the time–since the online swatches are on skin, they’re an accurate representation of how they apply.

The following swatches are over Urban Decay Primer Potion (top), bare skin (middle), and MAC Paint Pot in Painterly (bottom).

Masquerade is a beautiful pearlized fresh mint with a slight silver shimmer. According to the website, this will rub down to a “soft avocado” colour, but I haven’t experienced that yet. Gardens is described on-site as a rich green with “a hint of blue,” but I find it far more yellow-based. It’s a very true spring green, the colour of new leaves and young grasses, with a delicate green sparkle. It’s pretty dead-on for the eye swatch on the site.

I had no intention of keeping Guillotine for myself, but once I saw how beautiful it was I really couldn’t let it go. It’s a very bright primary red with flecks of red glitter. Obviously, the glitter will fall out if swiped or rubbed instead of being patted on, but that’s hardly an issue. Von Fersen is more beautiful in person than it is on site–it is exactly as described, a deep navy with glitter. This is an incredibly striking liner colour.

Chocolate Rose is not a colour I would have purchased myself–I just don’t wear browns. Maybe because my eyes are brown and I feel it washes me out, I don’t know. I might use a darkdarkdark brown as a liner or crease colour on a “neutral” day, but something this light just wouldn’t be comfortable on my eyes. …That said, this is a very unique shade. There’s a distinct pale pink shift to this milk-chocolate brown that I would have never expected from looking at the bag. It can be rubbed down to a straight brown or layered to strengthen the pink. If you wear browns, you probably need this shade. I know I’ll be passing this sample along to someone who can really appreciate its beauty.

Once again, I’m very pleased with my Antoinette’s Revolution order and definitely foresee another order. In fact, I may or may not have just placed one while writing this.

Love you to the Moon and Back,

Luna Valentine

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Cosmetics, Impressions, Reviews

Metamorphosis 102.0 – Julep Maven Intro and Impressions

As a child, I was an incorrigible nail biter. I would bite them down to the quick, sometimes until they would bleed. Fast-forward twenty years and I was forced to keep them cut incredibly short and polish-free for work. I could still paint them on events or days off, but I’d always find myself with a remover-soaked cotton pad in the morning, frantically trying to remove glitter or thick shimmer particles before my boss saw the damage.

It shouldn’t come as any surprise that I now pride myself on my claws. I paint them at least once a week and am always searching for things to keep them healthy and strong. When I heard about the Julep Maven program, I knew I wouldn’t be able to resist–nail polishes and nail-care products delivered to my door every month? Yes please!

 

Julep Maven is a monthly program from Julep, a nail salon and polish company based out of Seattle, Washington. After taking a brief quiz to determine your personal style, Julep assigns you a “Beauty Editor Style” that will help them select colours and products for your monthly mailing. I don’t know how many profiles are programmed into the quiz, but some fast blog-reading and google-fu tells me other possible results include “Classic with a Twist,” “American Beauty,” “Bombshell,” “It Girl,” and “Boho Glam.” Along with these colour profiles, Julep also takes a survey of your nail and hand health to send your customized monthly box. Below is my own Julep Maven intro box, hand-picked for an “It Girl” with dry, brittle nails.

The package arrived on my doorstep packed up neatly in a jet-black box (I thought I might have ordered something from MAC until I saw the Julep logo stickers along the sides). In addition to several papers explaining the program benefits, there was a thank you note from the CEO and Founder, Jane Park.

I thought this was pretty neat: all products sent in this box came in a paper Julep bag, as if I had purchased them myself from their salon. Go ahead and tell me I’m easily impressed–it’s the small things in life. But tied with a pink ribbon, the bag housed a small pink tissue-paper package containing my It Girl colors as well as other nail-care goodies.

Like Birchbox and, I imagine, other monthly services, Julep includes a card to explain the products you’ve received and the retail value of each. In my case, my It Girl box included two colours–Sienna, a shimmery pale gold (considered for Vogue in October), and Emilie, a not-yet-released turquoise-green. Additionally, I was sent Julep Nail Therapy, a moisturizing strengthener, and “Facial for Hands” Glycolic Hand Scrub for softening and brightening skin.

Aside from the glycolic scrub, all products were wrapped in plastic and sealed with a little Julep logo sticker before being wrapped together in hot pink tissue paper. The bottles are all long and rectangular, painted black on one side. The shape doesn’t bother me at all since I tend to hold the bottles between my fingers while I do my nails, but those of you who might put them down to lay your hands flat might not dig them. I sort of foresee these taking a tumble while dipping the brush back in.

The “Facial For Hands” Glycolic Hand Scrub comes in a simple black-and-white box, complete with product information, directions, and full ingredients. They recommend using once a day, though claim it’s gentle enough to use each time you wash–the product, however, is 3 fl oz and retails at $32, so I think using it as your regular hand cleanser could get pricey. This seems like a once-a-day TOPS thing to me.

Additionally included was a sample of the hand scrub as well as a sample of their Everyday SPF hand cream.

The first thing I dove into was the Julep Nail Therapy. It is of the utmost importance that I use a good strengthener at all times or my paper-thin baby-nails will bend and break, which is not just ugly but also incredibly painful and sort of gross. I typically use Essie’s Grow Stronger AND Rock Solid base coats on my nails, but I’m pretty low in my stash so I was excited to try this. The formula is a little thin and spreads over the nail easily, drying perfectly clear. It definitely reinforces the nail: one coat gave me the same strengthening power of about two coats EACH of my Essie products. Additionally, it smells decent. I can’t pinpoint exactly what the fragrance is, but it’s sort of spa-like. Perfume is listed in the product ingredients.

Sienna is a light shimmering gold. It reminds me a bit of butterLondon’s the Full Monty, but a bit more taupe-y. I can see myself getting a lot of use out of this polish–it’s a sophisticated, grown-up colour that’s neutral without being nude. According to Julep, this colour is being considered for inclusion in Vogue‘s October issue.

Emilie is not yet on the Julep website, but it’s a pretty deep turquoise green. It’s a vaguely familiar colour considering all the murky greens we saw this Summer in the nail world, but I don’t seem to have any this exact colour–it’s darker than OPI’s Mermaid Tears and bluer than Stranger Tides. I’m not sure how much Fall use I’ll get out of this, but going into the last weeks of Summer this is a gorgeous colour.

The following is two coats of Emilie over butterLondon’s Nail Foundation, all over one coat of Julep Nail Therapy. This is shown without a top coat to show how shiny the polish is on its own, but I will end up throwing a coat over anyway to make sure I don’t experience any extensive tip-wear over the week. I’m trying to cut my colours to one a week.

I’ve all ready received an e-mail from Julep giving me a peek at my next box. I’m not sure if that box is for September, or if this was simply an intro box and the preview was for August’s box. I guess we’ll see on the 26th, which is when Julep ships their monthly boxes. What really sold me on Julep Maven was the ability to request a new shelf pull for your box–if for any reason you aren’t happy with the box preview, you can request a new pull any time before the 26th and they will select new products for you. You can also put your membership on hold or gift your box any time before it ships out, guaranteeing that you’re 100% happy with your subscription each month. You also get 20% off all Julep purchases and free shipping, as well as invitations to exclusive Julep Maven events online (which I assume means sales–always a good thing)!

I’ll definitely be keeping my membership and eagerly awaiting my next installment! If you like nail polish, have a hand fetish, like to pamper your fingers, or even just love getting monthly boxes of goodies, Julep Maven is a great program. If you sign up here, you’d not only be getting in on a fabulous service, but also helping me continue to bring you posts like this: using my referral link lets Julep know that you heard about the program through me and credits my account. You don’t have to, but if you like seeing these posts it’s greatly appreciated!

Love you to the Moon and Back,

Luna Valentine

PS: Don’t forget–my Detrivore Giveaway is still on!

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Metamorphosis 100.5 – Colours of Decay Pt. 2, more from Detrivore

Thanks to Detrivore’s currently-running 10-for-$20 sale, I have a few more swatches for you. The more I order, the more I realize that these shadows are like potato chips: you can’t have just one..or even a few. Despite the similarities between many colours in the Detrivore catalog, there are subtleties that make them completely different colours whether it stems from the finish, the colour shift, or shimmer. What might look similar in the jar turns out to be radically different in application. This go-round, my order was green-heavy, containing Tommyknocker, Abnormal, Institution, Ruin, as well as Cremains, Disturbance, and Psychopomp.

The following swatches are over Urban Decay Primer Potion (top), bare skin (middle), and MAC Painterly (bottom) in natural lighting, unless otherwise indicated.

Psychopomp, Cremains, Tommyknocker, Institution

Ruin, Abnormal, Disturbance

As you can see, these shadows apply best over a primer. I personally prefer these over the Urban Decay primer, but they perform well over MAC’s Paint Pots as well.

Cremains, Institution, Ruin, Abnormal, and Disturbance over SoBe Botanical’s Stick It! foiling medium. You can see how Cremains has an almost blue-silver cast to it, and how Abnormal has rich gold undertones. In fact, Abnormal has all ready joined the ranks of Plague as one of my all-time favourite shadows.

indoor lighting to show shimmer

indoor lighting to show shimmer

What I was most excited about receiving, however, were the blushes I ordered. Detrivore’s blush offerings are not even remotely what you might consider typical, including far more bright pinks and deep reds than the standard nude-peach-pink fare. After much hemming and hawing and googling swatches, I settled on Vulgar, described as a “bright frost pink,” and Concubine, a “faded mauve.” Admittedly, neither of these are colours I really would have chosen for myself in a store or even online, as I tend to go for more dramatic, stand-out shades. However, I’m extremely happy with these shades and foresee myself getting a lot of use from them.

Vulgar, blended out and striped on thick. As you can see, it’s more of a lilac pink and is satin-matte in texture. I do normally prefer some shimmer to my blushes, but I think that would have made this shade unwearably frosty. This will pair well with many of my lavender-purple lipsticks as well as cooler toned, more unusual shades (like my blues, greens, etc). According to the website, this colour contains ultramarines and is therefore not safe for use on the lips.

Concubine, blended out and striped on thick. This is indeed a dusty, faded mauve and matte in texture. This is a great neutral, everyday colour for someone who doesn’t really like neutrals. According to the website, this is also eye safe. Like Vulgar, this blended out effortlessly and can be layered to build colour.

Vulgar and Concubine in slightly different lighting. You can see exactly how lilac Vulgar leans, especially when applied heavily. I am incredibly pleased with these blushes and definitely think I’ll be snagging more before the 3-for-$10 sale is over.

Love you to the Moon and Back,

Luna Valentine

PS: If you haven’t all ready, make sure you’re signed up to follow on GFC–you won’t want to miss what I have coming up for you tomorrow!

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Metamorphosis 100.0 – the Colours of Decay, a review of Detrivore Cosmetics

When I first heard of Detrivore Cosmetics, I was a little confused. Their products are labeled with various insects and crustaceans and a vast number of colours are named for decomposed matter, bodily fluids, diseases…I love it. This, however, is coming from a girl who has no problems naming a beauty blog after an insect and has virtually no internal censor when it comes to “gross” subjects. It’s a widespread joke that I’ve been banned from polite dinner tables across the Tri-State area. But the fact that an independent cosmetics brand could name itself after creatures that live on decomposing matter and remain successful definitely left me scratching my head. Several orders later, I know exactly how: their products speak for themselves.

I ordered during one of Detrivore’s 10 for $20 sales and received my order with incredible speed. All shadows came in 5 gram sifter jars, heat sealed with ingredient labels stuck to the sides. The bottom labels contain the shadow name, stock number, and some details on the formula: whether it is a matte, satin, highlight, or original, also indicated by the type of critter pictured. Mattes are represented by a lobster, satins a spider, and original a beetle. There are no ingredients on that label, so make sure you look before opening the jar.

Some of the shades I ordered look radically different in the jar than they do on skin: many of the original formula shades do not appear nearly as shimmery in the jars. I personally love a good shimmer, but some might be surprised by the punch these pack. The following lists my order by shadow type.

Original Shadows in Dagon, scar, Marine, Mildew, Fungus, Dr. West, Gangrene, Plague, Vitriol, and Misery. I received Saprophyte as a sample.

Satin Shadows in Hysteria, and Guillotine

Matte Shadows  in Asylum, Facade, and received Plasma and Glacier as samples

I also received a sample of Harlot, a shimmery pink highlight.

The following swatches are taken in natural light (unless otherwise indicated) over UDPP (top), bare skin (middle), and MAC Painterly (bottom).

Harlot, Plasma, Dagon, Scar, Glacier

Glacier, Saprophyte, Marine, Asylum, Mildew

Mildew, Hysteria, Fungus, Dr. West, Gangrene

Dr. West, Gangrene, Plague, Vitriol, Guillotine, Misery, Facade

Indoors with flash

Swatched over DG Glitter Glue:
Harlot, Dagon, Scar, Saprophyte
Marine, Mildew, Hysteria, Fungus, Dr. West
Gangrene, Plague, Vitriol, Guillotine, Misery

with flash

Below, I used Glacier, Saprophyte, Marine, and Mildew over UDPP and DG Glitter Glue:

You can see how the colours really pop over the Glitter Glue–just a note, that’s not a crease, that’s very lightly applied Glacier over just UDPP. I completely underestimated the power of the Glue. …and yes, I forgot to put on mascara.

All in all, would I buy from Detrivore again? Yes–in fact, I have another order on the way right now for more shadows and a handful of blushes! Right now you can take advantage of 10 for $20 shadows and 3 for $10 blushes on Detrivore’s site! There are five new shades up as well as a new mattifying powder and primers.

Interested in the sale but not sure what to get? Stay tuned–I’ll have more swatches later in the week. The sale is on until September 2nd!

If you have a morbid sense of humour or tend to see the romance in darker things, Detrivore might be a great company for you. Even if you don’t and just want some well-formulated, unique colours that wear well without creasing, there’s still plenty for you at Detrivore. It has most certainly made it’s way onto my list of Indie Companies I Trust and whole-heartedly recommend!

Love you to the Moon and Back,

Luna Valentine

PS: for kicks, this is the lip I wore with the above eye–a combination of Hi-Fi’s Phantasm and Evil Shades’ Miscreant:


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Cosmetics, Reviews

Metamorphosis 92.0 – Lashes, Lashes, Lashes! A look at Urban Decay’s fall lash offerings

When it comes to lashes, I’m pretty boring: swipe on some mascara and go. I’ve never worn fake lashes, nor have I curled my lashes. I jokingly asked whether this loses me beauty cred point, but everyone around me seemed astonished. Maybe I’m just gifted with cooperative lashes? I don’t know. But for those of you who are more high-maintenance when it comes to lashes, Urban Decay has you covered this fall!

Urban Decay’s popular false lash line, Urban Lash, gets a few new additions this season with three natural lashes and one pair of sheer drama. I promise I’m going to attempt to wear these–they’re all 100% cruelty-free, synthetic fiber and come with their own tubes of latex-free adhesive. I’ll probably start with Instaflare. They look incredibly easy to apply for glamour that’s still somewhat natural. Urban Decay says:

an adaptation of our easy to apply “Instaglam” lash style, Instaflare is a 1/3 lash with a rounded flare at the outer corner

Also incredibly natural looking are the 3/4 lashes Flirt. Considering my newness to lashes, I foresee myself having some trouble positioning these, considering how short they look. I gather they fit into the outer corners of the eyes as opposed to smack in the middle, which is what my hands will probably want to do. Urban Decay describes them:

a 3/4 lash so subtle people would never guess in a million years that you’re sporting a pair of falsies

Somewhat more dramatic by comparison is Sly. The beauty of this pair is the clear band, easily disguised without gobbing on the black liner. Urban Decay calls them:

a full lash featuring thinned out inner lashes and an almost invisible band for a more natural look

I have to admit, the name “Urban Lash” makes me think of some sort of city-dwelling animal. Something you see on trips to major metropoli: the Urban Lash in its natural habitat! These caterpillars aren’t helping. Black Velvet promises serious drama–I have to admit, I’m most excited about these. UD Gal Kat made me promise to post pictures of these babies on my eyeballs once I get the hang of them. I need to make sure they play nice with my apparently-baffling natural lashes first. Urban Decay calls them:

a lush and velvety full lash with a mink-like texture

As if this isn’t far enough into uncharted territory for me, Urban Decay is also bringing us the Revolution, their High Performance Lash Curler. Apparently, women curl their lashes. Not just on special occasions like their proms or weddings, but every day. I have never. My lashes have enough natural lift that I personally never saw the need. Plus? They’re a little scary looking! They pinch and pull, and from what I’ve seen they don’t “curl” so much as bend or crimp lashes. Once again, Urban Decay rises to the challenge.

What they gave us was a sleek, gunmetal contraption. It’s main appeal is the cage-free curling system, preventing skin-pinching and lash-pulling. This allows ease of use for all eye sizes and shapes. It’s long enough to curl evenly without crimping lashes at either end and is padded along the bottom to cushion lashes. It comes with five replacement pads, which they recommend you change every three months. They also recommend you replace the entire unit every 18 months for spring integrity.

It’s recommended that you use your right hand to curl your right eye and your left hand for the left, laying the curved piece flat against your eyelid.

Last season, Urban Decay came out with their Lush Lash Serum, a growth and conditioning treatment. I can’t possibly tell you why I haven’t tried it yet–it’s an uber-popular growth treatment and it’s vegan. For fall, Urban Decay brings you a great companion product, the also-vegan Lush Lash: a growth serum-infused conditioning mascara.

Not only is the tube gorgeous, the applicator is fab as well. The rubberized teeth form an hourglass, assuring every lash is coated and put in place. UD claims this conditioning mascara lengthens and volumizes without making lashes brittle or drying them out and stays put, thanks to a water-resistant formula. I definitely saw volumizing–more lashes were thicker than I’ve seen them for a long time without clumping or getting spidery–but I can’t say I saw any difference in length.

Below, you can see a before/after of sorts: the top shows my right eye curled, the middle shows it with mascara after curling, and the bottom shows both eyes complete. My left eye remains untouched until the last step: you can see a notable difference between the curled and uncurled lashes, as well as the lashes with and without mascara.

I haven’t been able to use this long enough to tell whether my lashes have “grown,” but I definitely want to try it with the Lush Lash system and test it out.

Urban Lash is available at Sephora and select Macy’s for $15 a piece. The Revolution is available at Sephora, ULTA, and select Macy’s for $20. Lush Lash Mascara is available at Sephora, ULTA, and Select Macy’s for $20. All are available online at Sephora.com, Ulta.com, Macys.com, and UbranDecay.com

Love you to the Moon and Back,

Luna Valentine

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Cosmetics, Reviews

Metamorphosis 90.0 – Liquid Assets: a Peek at Urban Decay’s 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Eyeliners

Years ago, when 16-year-old-Luna bought her first Urban Decay Shadows–Oil Slick, Last Dance, and Uzi–there was absolutely no way to know that we would be sitting down together to discuss some of their latest releases over dinner. I received an invite from Beautylish some time last week for a surprise launch party on Thursday. I wasn’t told what brand was launching what, but any time Beautylish is involved, it’s always a blast. (Seriously, if you haven’t all ready signed up there, I don’t know what you’re waiting for–they’re the nicest people, and you can sign up to be notified when they’re throwing an event near you.) Imagine my surprise when I see my blackberry notifier blinking at me to say the brand I was on my way to meet was Urban Decay!

UD Gals Tammy and Kat came all the way from LA to meet with Beautylish Beauty Director Ning Chao and a handful of bloggers, youtubers, and Beautylish members–needless to say, I was absolutely honored to have been invited. It was an absolutely lovely night full of makeup, girl-talk, and artichokes. And thanks to Urban Decay’s amazing generosity, I can now bring you guys a peek at what’s coming up in the brand’s Fall line!

I’m going to be breaking these products into groups and spreading the entries throughout my posting week.

Urban Decay has a few products that have managed to attain cult status: I think it’s safe to say that everyone has owned at least one 24/7 eyeliner pencil in their lives, if they don’t have a steady group of them knocking around their makeup drawers. Of course I was an avid Zero user in my day, but I’ve come to realize liquid liner is where it’s at. Urban Decay previously had a line of liquid liners, packaged in genie-like bottles with pointed handles and very long, moderately thicker brushes that required a bit of getting used to. I was shocked to see them on the discontinued section of the website recently–here’s why:

New liners, you guys! To be honest, I wasn’t exactly shocked to see these: it seems as if every brand and it’s mother has put out a line of long-wear liquids in slim-line tubes these days. (See here, and here, and here, and here…) What I was surprised to see was the applicator itself: most of the aforementioned liners rely on felt-tip or sponge-like “brushes” to apply, which causes me the pain and heartache of dragging, pulling, and uneven line weights while I attempt to apply them like every other liquid liner I’ve ever used. Is it wrong to feel that I shouldn’t have to re-learn liquid liner execution? I spent the better part of my makeup-wearing life perfecting that technique, so I’m sorry if I feel a little bitter about starting from square one with an all-together different applicator. I think Urban Decay must have felt the same way–I present to you, brushes!

These babies are made with ultra-fine, super-flexible brushes made of 100% cruelty-free synthetic fibers for ultimate control. Better yet, they come in eleven different super-pigmented, smoothly-formulated shades in finishes that vary from matte to gloss to shimmer.

From left to right top line: Perversion (carbon black), Revolver (sparkly, dark grey), Demolition (deep, matte brown), Smog (sparkly, golden medium brown), Radium (bright, sparkly blue), Sabbath (deep, matte navy blue)

Left to right bottom line: Retrograde (glittery, deep purple), Siren (sparkly, mermaid-tail blue/green), Woodstock (sparkly hot pink), Bobby Dazzle (sparkly, bright pearl), El Dorado (sparkly, canary gold)

The following are comparison shots between Urban Decay’s Woodstock and Make Up Forever’s Iridescent Fuchsia.

UD’s Woodstock on top, MUFE’s Iridescent Fuchsia on bottom

MUFE on the left, UD on the right: you can see the single-weight line from MUFE, regardless of how much pressure I used, versus the varied-weight line from UD. I know which I’d rather use for a cat-eye.

Urban Decay suggests leaning an elbow on your mirror or vanity while applying in order to keep a steadier hand: if your elbow is secure, your wrist is free to create the perfect line. I usually do a combination elbow-on-mirror, wrist-against-cheek maneuver to keep myself secure.

These wear all day without rubbing off, transferring, or looking any less stellar than it did when you put it on. Even better, you can use these to create a wide variety of shapes, from thin, subtle lines along the lashes to big, bold cat-eyes that wing out to there.

These will be available at Sephora, ULTA, and select Macy’s locations, or online at Sephora.com, Ulta.com, Macys.com, Beauty.com, and of course UrbanDecay.com for $18.00 a piece. (Compare that with the prices of other long-wearing liquids: you’re going to want to check these out for that reason alone!)

Next up, Urban Brow and Lush Lash Mascara!

Love you to the Moon and Back,

Luna Valentine

*Please note, the products featured in this post were given to me by PR for the purpose of review. This has not affected my honest review in any way.

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Cosmetics, Reviews

Metamorphosis 88.0 – Tarte’s Take on True Blood, a Review

Some people are wine-snobs, some people are make-up-snobs, but many people would consider me a vampire-snob. I’ve read and watched more than my fair share of vampire lit and movies and I’ve come to organize it into three neat piles: genius, camp, and trash. I like things to be logical–if not downright clinical–so my “genius” pile mainly consists of vampires as non-human species, victims of blood disorders and viruses, and the occasional stroke of supernatural brilliance. Camp is reserved for those movies and books that are fun, maybe a little silly, but most of it falls straight into “trash”. I really, really wanted True Blood to be trash.

I’ve gotta be honest: I read the first book or two and hated them. I thought Sookie was annoying and I didn’t like the vampires–they weren’t quite camp enough to get away with the superstitious aspects Harris included. Needless to say, I didn’t watch the first season of the show. I didn’t watch the second season, either–until about half-way through, when something made me watch the entire series On Demand and realize I had been missing out on something pretty awesome.

I told myself it was simply because of my desire for a true, blood-red blush, but secretly I was intrigued by the concept of Tarte’s True Blood line and snatched the cheek stain and lip tint the day they hit Sephora.

The products themselves are not new at all: Tarte’s cheek stain has something of a cult following, and their LipSurgence Natural Lip Tint has been around for a while as well. They have, however, been repackaged in sexy-looking pewter-finish tubes.

Via Sephora …no idea why they’re in black in stock photos

If you’ve ever used Tarte’s cheek stains, this is exactly the same. The tube contains a jelly-like stick of colour that looks incredibly vibrant en masse but blends out to a very sheer wash. In this case, what you see in the tube is a bold scarlet with a smattering of gold microglitter. But good luck getting that vibrant red to translate–it blends out to more of a bright blue-toned pink. A retina-searing, holy-crap pink, but pink nonetheless. I’m not sure if the smell (a generic berry-like fragrance that reminds me of the Cupcake Dolls and Strawberry Shortcake toys of my childhood) is standard across the board or specific to this model.

Applied directly from the tube: bright red-pink with gold glitter

Blended out: bright blue-pink with gold microglitter

Applied over foundation and set with powder, however, this is a whole different animal. It’s actually incredibly wearable, and very much appropriate for all situations. I’ve worn this for about a week straight: it’s subtle for daytime, just enough for nighttime, work-appropriate, and fun for time off. It can be layered: for example, after wearing all day to work, I can take a dab of this on my fingers and pat it over my powder to deepen the colour without gumming up my makeup. Below is a typical on-cheek application, over OCC Tint and under MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural:

You may or may not be able to tell I’ve layered a dab over my powder on the apples of my cheeks: the result is a sheer wash of colour all over, with concentrated colour where I want. Please excuse the pore-craters and strange white triangle over my lip. I have no clue what that is.

Tarte’s LipSurgence Natural Lip Tint products are generally sheer washes of colour in a gel medium, packaged in a chubby pencil. I have never used one down far enough to see whether or not there’s more product hiding under the plastic. The formula generally applies smoothly, though many of them have a decent amount of glitter that can feel a little gritty. They all have a slightly-medicinal mint scent, thanks to the peppermint oil in the formula. I don’t mind it, but others might be bothered: mint fragrance, to me, says cooling formula. Which I look for.

The colour is described on the Sephora site as “iridescent red,” though I definitely see it more as a bold red with a very subtle golden shimmer.

Between this photo and the picture above, you can see it’s pretty vibrant. Again, excuse my face: the corners of my mouth are oddly irritated. You can also see, however, how some of the shimmery particles can grit-up.

All in all, I’m pleased with my purchase. Whether you’re intrigued by the kitsch-factor of the True Blood, vampire-inspired makeup or just looking for some bright lip and cheek colours, I’d recommend them. If you’re waffling, go ahead and get them. But if you’re not keen on gel formulas, go ahead and skip.

Love you to the Moon and Back,

Luna Valentine

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