Review: TheHungryAsian Strawberry Nail Polish

So I went through an indie nail polish phase a couple of weeks ago. Mostly this consisted of purely virtual hoarding– my Amazon “Nails” wish list swelled to 214 bottles. I managed to contain myself from that level of indulgence. But I couldn’t resist making a couple of actual buys.

I’m into the whimsy and complexity you see coexisting in a lot of indie lacquers– the candy-pastel colors, confectionary glitter suspended in a jelly base. So many of them look genuinely edible. So I was glad to see an indie polish hawker apparently really embracing that patisserie aesthetic.

Just from the name of her shop, I’d totally want to be friends with TheHungryAsian’s proprietress, Kae. Selling through Etsy, she makes “hand mixed glitter polishes” that tend toward cotton candy colors, with discrete, dispersed dots of glitter that look like cupcake sprinkles. My pick was a bit of an outlier among all those Easter egg shades– appropriately called Strawberry, it’s a “red creme polish with sparse black microglitter”.


Availability: $4.50 from TheHungryAsian on Etsy

Quantity: 5 mL

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Review, Swatches & Dupes: All of the Tilt/Shift Lipslicks!

I actually took all these photos more than a week ago, but school happened, and also I decided to make pop fanmixes for Confucius and Nero instead of processing them. (Next I’m gonna do Liu Bang slash Gaozu, founder of the Western Han– it’s technically related to me Area of Study, so.) Good thing I took notes so I know what’s what! I have better study habits for beauty blogging than for actual study…. Here I’ve got a set of lip products from Tilt/Shift Cosmetics, indie purveyor of celestially named cosmetics. They’ve got a collection of planetary loose pigments in gorgeous duochromes, but I opted instead for the Lipslicks. These are matte in finish, wax-based, and packaged in a little pot if you order the full size, so you’ll have to grab a lip brush if you want to take advantage of the “medium to full coverage”. They’ve got a medicinal mint smell, redolent of dental hygiene. The texture’s slightly stiff but, as the website notes, they tend to “melt on the lips when used”. I don’t find them particularly drying, which is nice I took advantage of a packaged deal called, appropriately enough, the Big Bang, so I was able to get samples of all eight shades for $10.80. The trade-off’s in the packaging– these came in little plastic baggies, and there was barely enough room to maneuver my brush for application. I did experience a little streakiness and resistance with these, and every color took multiple coats to reach opacity. I suspect I would have had an easier time of it with the full-size jars.


(L-R): Chaos, Zenith, Gravity, Supernova, Equinox, Nebula, Solstice, Aurora

Availability: $6.50 for a full size or $1.50 for a sample size from Tilt/Shift Cosmetics

Quantity: 0.15 oz for a full size

Special Deals: Get a Big Bang package with all eight shades in full-size jars for $44.20 or in sample baggies for $10.80 Continue reading

Review, Swatches & Dupes: Darling Girl Soft Focus Blush in The Magic Lamp

I’ve had an unusually unproductive week (and I feel like my ground state is pretty unproductive anyway)– highlights included a cocktail, a head cold, and two extremely long, extremely dense statutes from the Gracchan age. But what better way to bounce back than with some indie blush?

I’ve already reviewed a couple of purple powders— they’re rapidly becoming one of my things. This third one, Darling Girl’s The Magic Lamp, is from the brand’s Soft Focus range, meant to “blend into skin with no visible texture”, with a finish “somewhere between a matte and a satin”. Darling Girl describes it as a “mid-tone lavender with reddish undertones”.


Availability: $5.90 for a full size or $2.50 for a petit from Darling Girl Cosmetics

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Review & Swatches: ColourPop Super Shock Shadow in Bubbly, Eye Candy, Pop Rocks, Ibiza, Empire & Envy

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.

(L-R): Bubbly, Eye Candy, Pop Rocks, Ibiza, Empire, and Envy.

(L-R): Bubbly, Eye Candy, Pop Rocks, Ibiza, Empire, and Envy.

Availability: $5 from ColourPop

Quantity: 0.07 oz

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Review, Swatches & Dupes: Darling Girl Cosmetics Inner Glow Blush in Living Dead Gurl

I’ve been on a purple blush kick lately. Just broke out my sample of Fyrinnae Royalty a few days ago, and I’ve got another little jar of violet dust on my review queue for sometime later, this week or next. But for now, I think I’ve found it– a new Holy Grail shade! Here’s Darling Girl Cosmetics’ creepily-yet-campily named Living Dead Gurl.

Darling Girl Cosmetics is an indie beauty brand with a dizzying array of face products– in powder, cream, and gel, with finishes from shimmer to matte. They’ve got something like seven purples in their repertoire, so I foresee a lot of darling little purchases in my future. 

My favorite new Schrodinger’s Shade (forgive my punning) belongs to the Inner Glow range, which said to “impart a soft halo of color onto your cheeks” with a powder that “subtly reflects light and casts a luminous glow”. Living Dead Gurl is described as a “pinky purple with golden green iridescence”. It’s a kind of soft, candied lavender that layers well, laced with gilt-green microshimmer.

Availability: $5.90 for a full size or $2.50 for a petit from Darling Girl Cosmetics

Quantity: 10 grams for a full size or 3 grams for a petit

The little jar for Darling Girl Cosmetics Inner Glow Blushes

The little jar for Darling Girl Cosmetics Inner Glow Blushes

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Review & Swatches: Fyrinnae Pressed Eyeshadow in Unicorn, Rapunzel Had Extensions & Steampunk

I’m obsessed with indie pressed shadows– probably because they’re such a rare beast. Lots of tempting niche brands put out loose powder duochromes, like fairy dust. But I’m hard-pressed to find one that’ll cater to my prissy, princessy need for neatness and ease of use. Enter Fyrinnae!

I must not be the only powderphobe trolling the internet for quirky– yet hassle-free– pigments. Because Fyrinnae’s pressed shadows are perpetually sold out. This makes me very sad, yet ever hopeful– let’s call it a state of ardent waiting, as for the eschaton. There are, however, a handful are colors that are in stock right now. I grabbed three I thought might look cool together.

Wearing a look with Unicorn (inner corner), Rapunzel Had Extensions (middle of lid), and Steampunk (outer corner).

Wearing a look with Unicorn (inner corner), Rapunzel Had Extensions (middle of lid), and Steampunk (outer corner).

(L-R): Unicorn, Rapunzel Had Extensions, and Steampunk, swatched over Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion

(L-R): Unicorn, Rapunzel Had Extensions, and Steampunk, swatched over Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion


Quantity: 2 grams

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Review: Fyrinnae Powder Blush in Royalty

I’m thinking about adopting a more conservative day-to-day makeup look, since I’ll be teaching undergrads for the first time this term– don’t wanna scare all the baby historians with red-rimmed eyes and sea-witch lips. I’m thinking taupes for the eyes, and dark, muted matte red lipstick. I vaguely remember reading something about how wearing lipstick with a high degree of “luminosity contrast” (with respect to, like, the rest of your face, I guess) makes people see you as more authoritative. That is my pedagogical reason for not just wearing a nude lip.

But if I’m going to be expanding my repertoire of nude eye looks on teaching days, I’ll have to compensate by breaking out the weird colors every weekend. To that end, I give you– purple blush! This is Royalty, one of Fyrinnae’s loose powder blushes, in a “vibrant violet”. Worn with a stroke of pearly highlighter– I favor NARS Copacabana— it looks wonderfully ethereal, and a little scary. I think avenging angel, or the goddess Persephone.


Availability: $6.50 for a full size or $1.75 for a sample from Fyrinnae

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Fierce Magenta Redux, or DIY Liquid-to-Matte: Romance, Wild Plum, CosmoBerry & Rave

I just reviewed and swatched a little haul from the Etsy seller Fierce Magenta. The brand’s glosses are marked by radiant color shift, nonsticky wear, and intense shine. But you can also wear them blotted, for a matte lip chockfull of duochrome shimmer.

In each of the following shots, I’m wore three layers of gloss, and blotted after applying each. Every subsequent layer had the effect of packing on more shimmer– a lot of the base color came away with the tissue, but the stubborn little glimmers clung on. If you want a mouth with the gleam of a disco ball, swipe and blot on!

For comparison’s sake, I’ve shown each DIY liquid-to-matte alongside the closest shimmery lip color in my collection. Some of them aren’t very close at all– alas, or actually, hooray?

Three layers of Romance, blotted.

Three layers of Romance, blotted.


Romance, worn as as matte lipstick.

Romance, worn as as matte lipstick.

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Fierce Magenta Review, Swatches & Dupes: Romance, Wild Plum, CosmoBerry, Rave & Medusa

The school year’s started, which means time for selfies, swatching, and mirror-gazing has sadly diminished– at least if I’m going to be virtuous about school stuff. But hey, I’ve already managed to miss the first two days of class. Like my advisor would say, that doesn’t exactly augur well.

I was in DC, having #reunion2014 with my undergrad BFFLs. I’m happy to report that Fyrinnae Queer Theory stayed on my lips throug a seven-mile bike ride on one of the capital trails. (I’m sure that’s not actually a lot of miles in, like, sporty-people land. But usually my only form of exercise is hauling around Endymion Wilkinson’s five-pound manual for Chinese history, and it was my first time on bike since before puberty!) I also managed to shepherd my friend through Sephora, twice! She let me put her purchases on my VIB account, and and my competence at evangelizing wrt makeup bumped me up to Rouge status.

Anyway, now I’m back, and ready to send off the summer with some indie swatches! I’ve got a five lip colors from Fierce Magenta, an undeservedly obscure Etsy vendor of striking duochrome glosses. 

(L-R): Romance, Wild Plum, Rave, CosmoBerry, and Medusa. Fierce Magenta's Etsy storefront in the background.

(L-R): Romance, Wild Plum, Rave, CosmoBerry, and Medusa. Fierce Magenta’s Etsy storefront in the background.

Availability: $7.49 for a sample-size or $9.69 for a full-size lipgloss; $7 for a sample-size or $9.50 for a full-size lipstick from Fierce Magenta

Quantity: 5 mL for a sample-size or 10 mL for a full-size lipgloss; lipstick quantities unspecified

Special Deals: Mix and match three full-size lip products for $24 or five sample sizes for $28

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Review, Swatches & Dupes: Fyrinnae Lip Lustre in Queer Theory, Less Than Three, Winter Romance, Nemesis & Sexy Nerd

(Promise I only omit Oxford commas in blog titles.)

I’m wearing campfire colors on my lids today, and also an aggressively red jumpsuit– basically I feel like Melisandre, transplanted into a jumpsuit age. It’s a perfect day to do some indie swatches! So I’ve got five Lip Lustres from Fyrinnae here– they’re cruelty-free, and “dedicated to serving customers of any gender and any skin tone”. I’ve just starting dipping my toes into the world of indie beauty, but so far they’re one of my favorites– a philosophy of inclusion, an aesthetic of otherworldliness, and a willingness to sell me pressed eyeshadows. (Seriously, I love indie makeup, but the loose powders everyone’s hawking kind of terrify me. Yayy, pressed shadows! I digress.)

Lip Lustres are liquid lipsticks– Fyrinnae sells them as “leaving rich color on your lips but no goopy tackiness”. Seems accurate enough to me. Based on my understanding, there are two kinds of liquid lipsticks. There’s the long-wearing, budge-proof, matte-as-anything kind you’d have to claw at to remove even after an evening of Big Macs or makeouts or whatever (e.g. Make Up For Ever Aqua Rouge or Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick.) And then there are, basically, richly pigmented lip glosses that leave you with a lot of color and a bit of shine, that wouldn’t survive a particularly indulgent night (e.g. Illamasqua Intense Lipgloss). Lip Lustres are kind of poised in between them.

Availability: $7 for a full size or $2 for a trial size at Fyrinnae

Quantity: 8 mL for a full size or 1.5 mL for a trial size

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