When it comes to face products, I like to hoard creams. I mean, I like applying them with my fingers– dappling my cheekbones with liquidy pearl, and smudging peach-plum-rose– the texture of jelly– on the apples of my cheek. And I like feeling the emulsions sort of melt onto my face, warm from my fingertips, forgiving of asymmetry. It’s all very pre-K. (Craft time, fingerpaints, the jammy ooze of sandwiches.)
I’m not the kind of beauty junkie who prides herself on mathematically immaculate contours, inscribing the golden ratio in matte powders on my face. I like finishing my makeup with my fingertips rosy as dawn. So it’s probably kind of weird I never got into cream eyeshadows!
I decided to remedy that when I came across ColourPop, an indie brand boasting cream pigments in “a zillion shades, always $5” (they’ve since added lip products to their repertoire). The company notes that their Super Shock Shadows are manufactured stateside, and not tested on animals.
These plush pigments work best applied by hand– you can sheer them out fairly easily onto the lid, but also pat them on in layers for opacity. I did experiment with using an synthetic, angled eyeshadow brush, with mixed results. The fibers packed on pigment to opacity more quickly, and allowed for greater precision than the a fingertip. But the color was more uneven. I also had a problem with them flicking chunks off product out of the package.
Availability: $5 from ColourPop
Quantity: 0.07 oz
The website does advertise a range with a “satin finish”, but the six I picked– you get free shipping with a $30 haul– were exuberantly shimmery. They don’t feel gritty or anything, but you’re definitely edging into disco ball territory. (I tried a dab of Bubbly on my cheekbone as a highlighter, and decided I wasn’t feeling whimsical or Glindaish enough for so much sparkle!) I also find that the shadows vary in opacity– meaning some give rich color payoff in one swipe, while others need a couple of coats. Since the cream formula’s so chill to work with, I don’t particularly mind.
And now, the colors!
ColourPop classes Bubbly as “metallic” in finish and describes it as a “truly angelic pink with tons of silver and bright bubble gum pink glitter”. It’s warm-toned, veering towards peach when it catches the light at certain angles, and the silver shimmer gives it a molten look. This one needs to be layered to opacity. Worn as a sheer wash, it’s surprisingly subtle for something sparking with glitter.
Bubbly’s cooler-toned cousin Eye Candy also has a “metallic” finish and is described as an “ethereal lavender drizzled with tons of silver and pink glitter”. It seems slightly paler than Bubbly in addition to being purpler, but the two definitely share a family resemblance. This one’s also sheer in one swipe.
One of ColourPop’s aptly named “tie dye” pigments, Pop Rocks appears (I’m so torn about the subject-verb agreement here!) in the pan as a marble of pink, purple, concrete grey, and aquamarine. The website explains that it reads on the skin as a “cool toned cornflower blue with a shi#load of multicoloured glitter”– both the censorship and the Commonwealth spelling were original to the copy. I’d describe the composite color, actually as a truer blue than a cornflower– a poolside hue with a balance of purple and green. This one is fairly pigmented in one coat, and can be built up to remarkable opacity.
I thought the tie-dye thing was a total gimmick of presentation– although of course I fell for it. But it turns out, it has some genuine efficacy.When I was playing with my angled brush, I did manage to pick up a discrete piece of pink, thereby achieving a genuine ombre effect with the blue of the composite. So you do have the option, if you’re patient and precise, as a very temperamental palette! You could also manipulate the exact distribution of Pop Rocks’ constituent colors to customize the hue and temperature of the final look.
This gorgeous “pearlized” turquoise was my favorite of the bunch– super pigmented in a single swipe! ColourPop describes Ibiza as a “bright turquoise with a silver and gold duo chrome finish”. It has about the same luminosity as Pop Rocks, but it’s greener. I have to admit, I don’t see the duochrome. The shimmer in this one seems, if anything, more harmonious and less heterochromatic than in the other pigments, making it more wearable despite the boldness of the hue.
The “fiercely rich emerald green” Empire was my second favorite, only because it was less pigmented than Ibiza at first swipe. It’s also “pearlized” in finish. The green is deeper and less aquatic than it looks on ColourPop’s website; it’s almost sylvan in quality. The shimmer seems to be green as well, which I like– the monochrome makes this statement color quite wearable.
Finally, here’s Envy, a “black saturated with violet glitter”. ColourPop casts it as a “metallic”, but it looks to me like discrete points of glitter suspended in a matte base. It’s a sooty, witchy color, like arcane incantations and fragrant smoke. The pigmentation’s moderate but, as always, can be built up.
I’ve thrown together a couple of looks showcasing three pigments apiece, applied for once without eyeshadow primer:
This look features a gradient running from Eye Candy on the inner half of the lid to Bubbly on the outer half, although the two colors are so similar in luminosity they sort of blur together. Envy was used as an accent in the outer corners, for a bit of mystery and depth. Despite the glitter, the overall effect pretty subtle.
This sparkly seapunk look really pops, although the comparative sedateness of the glitter in these pigments prevents it from looking too stagey. I applied Pop Rocks in the inner corner of my lids– you can see some pink on the surface from a lax blending job on all its constituent colors. I followed that up with Ibiza in the middle of the lid and Empire in the outer corner. The three shades transitioned flawlessly. I’m pretty pleased.
Eyes: Too Faced Brow Envy, Benefit High Brow Glow, Tarina Tarantino Eye Dream Hyperliner in Broken Doll, NARS Larger Than Life Long-Wear Eyeliner in Rue De Rivoli, Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Waterproof Mascara
Face: Skin79 Oriental Gold BB Cream Plus, CoverGirl and Olay Simply Ageless Eye Concealer, NARS Blush in Orgasm, Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light and Incandescent Light from the Ambient Lighting Palette, Smashbox Photo Set Pressed Powder in Light
Lips: Too Faced La Crème in Coral Fire