LUVU Beauty Haul

Last week, LUVU had a review contest on their facebook page and I was lucky enough to win a $25 gift certificate to their shop.  After much deliberation, here's what I ended up spending it on:

Classic Red Lip Liner Pencil - I've been liking my other LUVU lip liners more than I'd initially expected to and since red lipsticks are notoriously bad for bleeding, I figure a red lip liner is a good thing to have on hand.  This is a more neutral red - not too blue or orange based.

Peppy Lip Gloss - This is the first LUVU lip gloss I've tried and so far I like it a lot!  It's a gorgeous papaya pink/coral colour that I can see myself wearing a lot this summer.  The formula seems really nice too - I'm definitely interested in picking up a couple more colours at some point.

Blending/Shading Brush - This ended up being a little bigger than I was expecting.  I think it's too big for me to use for eye shadows, as I'd originally intended, but I think it'll work nicely for either applying my Sleep in a Jar concealer or for highlighting.  I haven't used it yet.

(L to R) Classic Red Lip Liner, Peppy Lip Gloss.  Both colours are a bit brighter than they appear here (I guess that's what I get for trying to take swatch photos at night!)

As always, the whole ordering experience was great.  Because of the ongoing mail strike, LUVU is now shipping Canadian orders with Fedex, for the same prices they usually charge to ship with Canada Post.  I ordered late Sunday, it shipped Monday, and I got it today, Tuesday.  I hadn't realized just how much I've missed getting fun things in the mail until this showed up today!

Disclaimer: These products were paid for by a gift certificate I won in a giveaway/contest, but I am not being compensated in any way for this post.  All opinions expressed are honest and my own.

Disappointing Products

I've debated over posting this for the last little while.  Too may bad reviews can be disheartening, so I tried to keep these short, but the bottom line is that not every product will work for everyone.  Actually, for some of these products, I've read rave reviews from other bloggers, so just because these didn't work for me, doesn't mean they won't for you.  As always, these are just my experiences.

Picture from Best Bath Store

Best Bath Store Acne Treatment Gel
This is advertised as being good as either an all over or spot treatment.  I ordered a sample to try as a spot treatment.  I put it on before bed and woke up with angry looking skin.  The two pimples I'd put it on were very red, inflamed, and almost raw looking and I'd gotten a few smaller breakouts in the same vicinity too.  I did try it a couple more times, just to rule out a coincidence, but I'm pretty sure this was the culprit.  I'd also picked up samples of the rest of Best Bath Store's acne line (their Acne Facial Bar and Acne Treatment Facial Toner) but after the gel, I've been a bit scared to try them out.

Real Purity Mascara in Black/Brown
Usually I go for black mascara, but when I ordered, Real Purity was sold out of the black and I desperately needed mascara, so I went with the Black/Brown.  The colour itself was fine - it looks brown in the tube, but pretty close to black on the eye.  It's a pretty wet formula, so I often had to clean up mascara smudges that would end up on my lids before it dried down.  It doesn't give very dramatic lashes either, which I could have lived with, but about an hour into wearing it, my eyes would start feeling hot and extremely itchy until I washed it off.  The ingredients seem clean and I don't know what I was reacting to.  They do list "pure plant extracts" without specifying any further, which I guess should have been a red flag, since it could include any number of things.  Needless to say, I've been sticking to my HG Zuzu Luxe mascara ever since!

Picture from Real Purity

Real Purity Berry Kiss Lip Gloss
I decided to pick up a lip gloss sample as well once I was ordering the mascara.  Colour-wise, it looks like a scary bright pink, but it applies sheerly and looks nice enough.  My big problem with it is the smell.  The ingredients list "natural strawberry flavor," but it smells remarkably like that horrible, overly sweet, fake fruit smell that you find in cheap, dollar store-type lip gloss.  The smell hangs around too, which makes it pretty much unwearable for me.

Miessence Concealer
Miessence's makeup line has consistently left me underwhelmed.  As far as I'm concerned, their makeup really needs to perform a lot better to justify the prices they charge!  The texture of the concealer is thick and kind of paste-like, making it hard to apply and it doesn't set at all, even with a powder on top.  Coverage was very minimal and did nothing for my under eye circles.  It looked cakey and sunk into fine lines, and I wasn't able to find a colour match either.  Basically a hot mess all around!

Picture from Earth's Beauty
Earth's Beauty Mineral Colours Original Foundation Powder & Mineral Colours Plus Foundation Powder
Earth's Beauty was my first real foray into mineral makeup and I ordered samples of 4 foundation colours to try towards the end of last year.  These are a bit strange to work with.  Both formulas are very sheer, with hardly any coverage, but at the same time, they manage to look powdery and cakey.  The sheerness means that all of the colours I ordered seem to match my skin okay, but other than that, this foundation was not a hit at all.


Review & Swatches: Shiro Cosmetics

Picture from Shiro Cosmetics
 Shiro Cosmetics is another indie brand I've come to love in the last few months.  I've only tried their eye shadows, but they also make Heart Containers, which are pressed blushes and Intertubes, which I think are basically very pigmented tinted lip balms.  Shiro currently has three eye shadow collections, which are based around different games.  Honestly, the gaming element completely escapes me, but I can definitely appreciate the gorgeous colours!

I've accumulated a whole bunch of Shiro shadows, all of which I've swatched below.  Overall, I've been impressed with the quality of Shiro's shadows - they apply nicely and last really well (without fading or creasing) too.  They contain carnauba wax and I especially love their texture - they're a lot smoother and creamier than many other loose shadows.  Prices are pretty standard - full sizes (5 gram jar) are $5, minis (3 gram jar) are $3, and samples are $1.  Shiro also offers Mix 'n Match Sets with discounts up to 20% for buying 10 or more shadows (of any size).  

Samples are generously sized and are actually all I've bought so far.  They come in baggies, but I've repotted mine into jars and I'd guess you get close to the same amount of product as you would in a 3 gram jar.  They're great as an affordable way to test out colours - some I'll eventually be buying in larger sizes, but for others that I don't reach for as often, the sample size is perfect.

Ingredient-wise, Shiro is not a completely natural company and doesn't make any claims to be.  Some products do contain FD&C dyes, which I personally avoid, but ingredients are listed for every product and every individual colour, so it's easy enough to steer clear of certain ingredients if that's something you choose to do.  Shadows also come labelled with full ingredients and are clearly marked as either lip safe or not lip safe.

Shiro is also great in terms of customer service.  Before my first order, I wrote with a couple questions and Caitlin, the owner, was more than happy to help me out.  She's also pretty active on the Facebook Fan Page, so you can usually get in touch with her that way as well.
One thing to keep in mind is that some colours can be a bit sheer without a primer underneath.  Also, a few colours contain a lot of glitter and will also benefit from being applied over a stickier primer.  You should be able to see this in the swatches - all are shown on bare skin and over Detrivore Cosmetic's primer

Review: LUVU Beauty Eye & Lip Liner Pencils

LUVU Beauty is a Canadian company that sells a good range of natural products - makeup, skincare, haircare, baby products and more.  I've placed two small orders with them now, but I've only tried their makeup so far.

Along with other new products for spring, LUVU recently came out with new eye liner and lip liner pencils and when they had a 50% off sale for Facebook fans, I decided to order a few to try.  I ordered four of the new pencils, as well as two of the old formulation that I found discounted in their clearance section.  As it turned out, LUVU was already sold out of the clearance ones, but Tira, the owner, offered to replace these two with my choice of colours in the new pencils, free of charge.  My order shipped quickly and I got it 3 days after ordering.  I got four lip liners in Blush, Nude, Pale Pink, and Candy, and two eye liners in Black and White.


I'm really happy with the colours I picked.  Candy is a gorgeous hot pink, and Blush and Pale Pink are super pretty too.  Nude is a little dark for me, but it would probably work well on someone a bit darker.  All the lip liners and the black eye liner are matte and pretty vibrant, while the white has some shimmer and is sheerer, making it perfect for highlighting the inner corner of the eyes.

In terms of formula, these are pretty solid.  They don't glide exceptionally well right off the bat, but once you get them warmed up, they go on fine.    Some of them are a little waxy and go on slightly of clumpy, like you can see in the swatch of Candy.  That said, this very texture helps keep them long lasting on your lips.  On their own, they can be slightly drying, but as long as you apply something more moisturizing on top, they're very workable. 

Bottom Line
I'm a bit mixed on these liners.  The colours are nice, but I really wish the formula was creamier.  I will say that I don't love them as eye liners - they just are not soft enough to apply easily.  I do like the lip liners and the white eye liner is very pretty as well.  LUVU has great customer service and both my orders have come quickly.  They're constantly coming out with new products and if there were other products I was interested in, I wouldn't hesitate to order from them again.  They do offer lots of deals on Facebook, so I'd recommend checking their Facebook page before placing an order.