Thursday, May 23, 2019

ColourPop Spring Haul, Part 1: Jelly Much Eyeshadow in Photosynth Sis and Lux Lipstick in 7 Springs

ColourPop released its Spring 2019 collection over two months ago, which is about two years in ColourPop time, and I've lost count of the number of new collections and product ranges and eyeshadow palettes that the brand has debuted since then. However, the spring collection is still available (and is on sale as I type this), so I hope my review helps at least a couple of people!

Fall is my favorite season for makeup, but I seem to patronize ColourPop in the spring more than in any other season. I suppose it makes sense: I wear neutral and "fall/winter" colors year-round, but I don't wear "spring/summer" colors except in the spring and summer, so I'm inclined to buy my coral lipstick and baby-blue eyeshadow from cheaper brands. (I put "fall/winter" and "spring/summer" in quotes because I know that not everyone is as neurotic about seasonal colors as I am.) But ColourPop also seems to come out with its best color collections in the spring. This year, I ordered six products, four from the permanent lineup (well, as "permanent" as ColourPop products get) and two from the Spring 2019 Sweet Talk collection. Clockwise from top left: Super Shock Shadow in Truth, Crème Lux Lipstick in 7 Springs, Pressed Powder Shadows in Howlin' and Bassline, Super Shock Cheek in Aphrodisiac, and Jelly Much Eyeshadow in Photosynth Sis (groan).

Today we'll be looking at the two products from the Spring 2019 Sweet Talk collection: Photosynth Sis, a metallic chartreuse, and 7 Springs, a dusty orange with a strong yellow base.

The packaging of the collection has a distinctive aesthetic that I'm not sure how to describe. Vintage Hollywood + '80s teen-girl scrapbook + ransom note? It's not quite to my taste, but as always, I appreciate the effort that ColourPop puts into its packaging for LE collections.

7 Springs (named after a ski resort in Pennsylvania, for some reason) was probably the least popular of the six Lux Lipstick shades in the spring collection. I had a hard time finding unfiltered swatches online, and every swatch looked different. (ColourPop's lazy description, "warm orange," certainly didn't help. Is there such a thing as cool orange?) As my regular readers well know, orange is the riskiest lipstick color for me to order sight unseen, though I have decent luck with muted orangey shades like Marc Jacobs Rei of Light. 7 Springs looked muted and dusty in some photos, but almost neon in others. I knew ordering it was a risk, but I figured that if it was too bright, I could tone it down with a brown lip liner or lipstick.

When I finally saw 7 Springs in person, I understood why it looked so different in every photo: because its appearance changes dramatically based on lighting, and because the iPhone camera seems to make it look brighter than it is. 7 Springs is really a bitch to photograph, but I've done my best.

Here it is in indirect natural light, indoors:

In direct sunlight, outdoors:

In artificial light, indoors:

7 Springs is a very unusual orange lipstick. The phrase that comes to mind when I look at 7 Springs is "pumpkin orange." Not pumpkin spice (which I think of as redder, browner, and darker, like Rei of Light), but the sunny gourd itself. Most orange lipsticks on the market are bright and artificial-looking, like gummy candy or popsicles, but there's something very natural about 7 Springs. It doesn't have a white base, and though it's definitely not a rusty orange, it contains a bit of brown. 7 Springs is light and bright enough to suit spring and summer looks, but soft enough for fall ones. (And if you're less obsessive about seasonal colors than I am, you can wear it year-round and ignore my chromatic hang-ups.)

Out of curiosity, I swatched 7 Springs alongside all my vaguely orange-adjacent lipsticks. As you can see, it's the only true orange in my collection; the others lean much redder or browner. I was afraid that 7 Springs might be too close to MAC Smoked Almond, but they're completely different: Smoked Almond is a dirty peachy nude, while 7 Springs is much brighter. Here are the swatches first in direct sunlight outdoors, then in shade indoors:

L-R: Marc Jacobs Rei of Light, MAC Smoked Almond, 7 Springs, Topshop Rio Rio, ColourPop Dream Easy, Sephora Coral Sunset.

As you can probably tell from the arm swatches, 7 Springs is sheerer than my two other Lux Lipsticks (Dream Easy and Liquid Courage). It's maybe 75% opaque in one coat; this is two.

It looks brighter and a little redder in direct sunlight:

I actually don't mind the slight sheerness of 7 Springs. Dream Easy and Liquid Courage have insane pigmentation, but this means that the formula stains my lips and dries them out after an entire day of wear. 7 Springs needs to be touched up after a few hours, but I don't find it drying at all.

I couldn't resist trying on Photosynth Sis and 7 Springs together, though I thought the combination looked a bit clownish and swapped 7 Springs for Smoked Almond before I went out of the house.

Here's a combination I liked much better: 7 Springs with Glossier Play Colorslide in Early Girl and Glossier Cloud Paint in Dawn (I'm still feeling the mid-'70s vibes, as you can tell).

Now for Photosynth Sis, which is basically the eyeshadow version of Julianne Moore's 2019 Met Gala gown:

Source: Vanity Fair. I don't know if this fits the Met Gala's camp theme, but I still want it.

(For the record, Essie Million Mile Hues is the nail-polish version of Julianne Moore's gown. I'm throwing a photo up here because I know I'll never write a proper review.)

The Sweet Talk collection contains six new Jelly Much eyeshadow shades. Though I was tempted by almost all of them, I limited myself to one, since the Jelly Much shadow I bought last year (Half Moon) has shrunk to about half its original size in just six months. The formula still works fine, but it's obvious that the Jelly Much formula is even more short-lived than the Super Shock one, so buy at your own risk!

The containers for the spring Jelly Much shadows have lids that (sort of) correspond to the colors inside, which is cute.

Maybe it's just my chartreuse fetish talking, but Photosynth Sis is one of the most beautiful makeup products I've ever bought. I MEAN!!! It looks like a magical inkpot. Here it is in sunlight, with my hand for scale.


I've collected a few shadows in the chartreuse/old-gold color family over the years, but the others are all powders. L-R: ColourPop Deja Boo, Photosynth Sis, Inglot 433, theBalm Seductive.

I had high hopes for Photosynth Sis's formula because of my experience with Half Moon, which spreads across my eyelids evenly, sets quickly and thoroughly, and lasts all day. (I never reviewed Half Moon on my blog, but here's a mini-review I wrote on Instagram.) Unfortunately, Photosynth Sis is trickier to use and wear. Here's the best application method I've found so far:

1. Take a TINY DAB of eyeshadow on your finger and apply across your lid, using tapping motions instead of swiping motions (swiping will remove the product you just put down). Don't worry if this layer isn't completely opaque.

2. Working quickly (because this shit dries almost immediately), use a synthetic brush to blend out the edges, but ONLY the edges. Going over any other part of the shadow will make it patchy.

3. If you need another layer for opacity, wait until the first layer has dried before you add a second (again, using tapping motions). Placing fresh shadow over still-wet shadow will cause clumping and streaking.

4. Use half a tub of Vaseline to clean off the stray product that has inevitably made its way to your lower lashline and cheeks.

When a liquid eyeshadow dries down to a powdery finish, I expect it to be almost indelible, like the Glossier Lidstars. Unfortunately, Photosynth Sis is nowhere near waterproof. Here it is after a few minutes of crying (yes, even in the midst of emotional crisis I pay attention to the durability of my makeup):

If you don't cry, sweat heavily, or get caught in the rain, Photosynth Sis will last all day without much flaking or creasing. If you do any of those things...well, see the photo above.

Basically, Photosynth Sis is a giant pain in the ass to use. I wouldn't recommend it for a makeup beginner, and I'm not sure I'd recommend it for an experienced makeup user, either. However. When applied correctly, it produces the most brilliant chartreusey-gold foiled effect that I'm not sure any other product can replicate (though ColourPop Super Shock Shadow in Telepathy looks close):

If you love chartreuse as much as I do, and don't mind a product that demands some extra effort, Photosynth Sis might be worth your hard-earned $8. Just don't expect to be able to slap it on in thirty seconds before work.

And that's that for the Sweet Talk products! I'll review my other new ColourPop makeup in due time. (Part 2 here.)

Friday, May 17, 2019

Some Big News

First, the good news: I got an academic job!

Starting in August, I'm going to be a visiting assistant professor of English at a small liberal arts college in the Midwest. It's a one-year appointment, so my job search will continue, but it's a pretty great offer that will give me cool stuff like a living wage and health insurance and smart, motivated students. I'm very, very happy and excited.

However, the coming year will probably be the busiest of my life to date. In addition to teaching and looking for a permanent job, I'll be pursuing my own research and writing; adjusting to a new town and workplace; and maybe maintaining some semblance of a social life. Something will have to give, and that something is blogging. In about three months, Auxiliary Beauty will come to an end.

I hate it when bloggers abruptly abandon their readers and go silent, so I wanted to give you all fair warning. Until August, I'll be posting as usual (about 2-3 times a month), in order to wrap up outstanding product reviews and other posts I've been meaning to write. After that, it will be adieu, but you'll still be able to find me on Instagram and elsewhere. And who knows: maybe I'll pop back in here occasionally to do a year-end roundup or something. I've always had a hard time saying goodbye for real.

In my final post, I'll write more about what this blog and my readers have meant to me (spoiler: quite a lot). Until then, just know that I am very grateful to everyone who has read my musings and ramblings over the past five and a half years. Stay in touch, stay out of trouble, and stan Loona!

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Is This Weird? This Seems Weird.

So, I'm in a bit of a situation with Glossier. Allow me to explain.

As you might remember, when I first swatched my Glossier Play Colorslide in Nectar, the entire tip broke off. Annoyed, I posted an Instagram story and tagged Glossier Play's account. This was on March 30:

Exactly a month later, I got a message from Glossier Play's IG account, and we had the following exchange:

Since Glossier is known to replace broken products free of charge, I assumed I was being sent a replacement Nectar. That seemed very generous, considering the pencil had sharpened just fine after the initial break, but I wasn't going to say no to an extra eyeliner: it would make a nice gift, or I could have a giveaway on Instagram. I thought it was a little odd that I was being contacted an entire month after posting my story, but whateverGlossier must be busy with the new launch.

I didn't hear from Glossier again after that final IG message, and I more or less forgot about the whole thing. Then, two days ago, I received this email at the address I'd provided (sorry about the awkward screenshots; I've also transcribed the message below):

Hi there!  
Our gteam reached out on my behalf recently, so I hope you don't mind me getting in touch! My name is Amahlia and I manage community here at Glossier.
I wanted to reach out to, first and foremost, thank you for part of our Glossier community. As we continue to build the Glossier Play world it’s important to us to keep those who have been with us from the beginning closely integrated into the new experiences and initiatives we create. We want to build and grow the Glossier Play community with and for you. I hope you’re as excited as we are. Let me know if you’d like to continue to get updates + surprises (!) here and there from me or my team.
As you may already know, I’ve sent over some fun new shades of Colorslide (they should be arriving Monday!) to help build your Playground.
Colorslide is the highly pigmented, creamy gel eyeliner that doesn’t crease, smudge, tug, or skip and lasts for up to 12 hours. Think of it as your classic, everyday eyeliner—except in color.
The challenge? We hope you’ll join us next week in swapping out your go-to black/brown eyeliner for a shade you never knew could be so wearable.
Starting on Monday through to Friday, try out a new shade of Colorslide and tag @glossier and @glossierplay for a potential feature in our stories, as we round up some of the best eyeliner looks from our community.
See below for the day by day, so you can join in whenever you want to switch it up:  
Monday we're kicking off the challenge with Early Girl, an eggshell blue. Tuesday is all about Adult Swim, a deep indigo color. Wednesday is for Pretty Penny, a metallic copper to warm up any look and the middle of the week! Thursday we're featuring Critical Mass, a deep magenta. To finish off the week on Friday, we're featuring a fan favorite, Nectar: a rich mustard.
Colorslide can be worn how you want but our top 3 favorite looks are: a sharp wing/cat-eye, slightly smoked out, or a bold graphic eye. See some examples above and below for inspiration! 
We can’t wait to see the looks you create with Colorslide. Have an amazing weekend.
Amahlia + Glossier Community Team 
Yesterday evening, I got home to find a package containing two Colorslides in Adult Swim and Pretty Penny, plus the Glossier pencil sharpener. Clearly, someone at Glossier had checked out my order history and sent me only the products I didn't already have.

On one hand, I feel ridiculous objecting to any part of this situation: receiving surprise free makeup is a pretty sweet deal! On the other hand, I'm a bit weirded out by the whole thing.

First, the misleading IG messages: I was told only that I was receiving "another shade of Colorslide," with nothing expected from me in return. As I write this, I realize that the phrase "another shade" should have clued me in to the fact that I wasn't being sent another Nectar. But because I'd previously posted about Nectar being broken, I assumed that the Glossier representative was responding specifically to that post. And "another shade" is singular, not plural!

What I really object to, though, is the rhetorical situation constructed by the email. (Can you tell I just taught two semesters of freshman composition?) Glossier is clearly assuming that the free products will create a sense of obligation in their recipients: "Hey, we sent you these expensive products out of the blue; the least you can do in return is provide us with advertising content on Instagram." It feels slimy and dishonest. These products cost Glossier cents to make, and now I'm supposed to feel so grateful for Glossier's generosity that I'll agree to turn my Instagram account into a Glossier Play commercial for a week? Yeah, no. If they want me to do the job of their marketing team, they can pay me in real American currency, not in eyeliner.

It would have been a different story if the first IG message from Glossier Play had articulated the actual situation: "Would you like to try some new Colorslide shades with the expectation that you'll participate in a five-day 'Colorslide Challenge' on social media?" I would have declined, and we'd all have moved on with our lives. Instead, Glossier sent me the products and then tried to rope me into the challenge. Instead of framing it as a quid pro quo, they hoped I'd feel emotionally obligated to do them a favor in return for a gift. Women are socialized to feel obligation and do favors, and Glossier is absolutely capitalizing on that.

Of course, this is all part of Glossier's strategy of trying to make customers feel like friends or like members of an exclusive clique. If that strategy didn't work, Glossier wouldn't be as successful as it is today. The email I received on Friday uses the word "community" five times, because the point of the "Colorslide Challenge" is to strengthen its participants' sense that they belong both to the general community of Glossier users and to an even more exclusive community: the group of people selected to receive the email. But cui bonowho benefits in the end? Glossier, of course.

I don't know. Am I overreacting? Does this seem weird to anyone else? I freely admit that I'm a cynical, neurotic, glass-half-empty bitch, and I'm sure most people would just take the damned eyeliners without feeling compelled to write a whole blog post about them. Blame the Gen X teachers who made me read Adbusters magazine in sixth grade, I guess.