Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Brands I Do Not Support

This is a list of brands I do not support.  The reasons vary from one brand to the next, ranging from nondisclosure regarding repackaging to poor customer service to unsafe products to legal threats, harassment, and charity fraud.

Bitchslap and/or Ruthless Cosmetics - Marketing private label products as their own formulations, selling paint wheels as eye-safe that contain colors that are not eye-approved, extremely unprofessional behavior (including profanity and legal threats) in response to videos or blog posts calling them out and asking them to be honest about what they sell, stealing photos from honest indie companies.  See more here.
Crush Cosmetics -  Not the Australian wholesaler, the Etsy shop.  I had a not-so-stellar experience with Crush Cosmetics and found TKB micas that strongly resemble the shadows I received from CC.  Read about my first impression here, then see my followup with the TKB micas here.
Fantastic Faces Cosmetics - Nondisclosure regarding repackaging, marketing UV pigments as eye-approved when they are not, potentially using other unsafe colorants in lip products (although this is not proven, only speculation)  See more here and here.
Glittersniffer Cosmetics - Nondisclosure regarding repackaging, marketing UV pigments as eye-approved when they are not, extreme packaging and shipping inconsistencies, cursing at customers and threatening legal action, editing negative customer reviews on the GS webpage, deleting negative comments from the GS Facebook page, posting GS Complaints blog author's personal information in an effort to remove the blog, lying about charitable contributions, lying about refunds, lying about ingredients and whether or not they are safe and/or vegan-friendly, and the list goes on and on...  Basically the customer service, business practices, and products are sub-par to say the least.  Glittersniffer has repeatedly closed and come back with grand re-openings, probably in the hopes that she'll be able to escape the criticism and that the "rumors" will go away if she lays low for awhile.  Although the GS Complaints blog has not been active in a great while, there are still many accounts of Lela's behavior.  See more here.
Hi-Fi Cosmetics - I had a very negative experience with this company; I somehow was able to make a purchase from a shop that was supposed to be closed, waited almost triple the stated turnaround time, and when I received my order one of my items had leaked (I also questioned whether that product could be used for its intended purpose due to the size of the particles,) and despite three separate contact attempts I got no reply of any kind from the owner.  See my review here.
Kupcake Kutie Cosmetics - Defunct as of 1/26/15 update.  The owner of Kupcake Kutie is related to the owners of Bitchslap/Ruthless Cosmetics.  More repackaged Lady Burd, claiming products are eye-safe when they aren't, in addition to bullying and harassment on behalf of Ruthless.  See more here.
Lime Crime - Almost all of their pigments at one point turned out to be repackaged micas from TKB.  When asked for a response, owner Doe Deere then accused TKB of copying her even though TKB had been established selling the same products long before Lime Crime came into existence.  Doe also sold a dress hemmed with duct tape and responded very inappropriately when it was brought to light later.  See more here.  More recently, there was a huge security breach on the Lime Crime website due to a lapse in the SSL that put all of their customers at risk over the course of several months.
MYO Makeup
- Another seller using what appears to be soap dyes and selling them as eyeshadows.  A reviewer on that Amazon listing says the product burned their eyes, while another on this listing reflects poor customer service including name-calling.  You can see in this listing that the ingredients listed on each color are exactly the same, so clearly the ingredients do not reflect what is actually in the products.  Sketchy, sketchy, sketchy! 
Orglamix - Owner Cheri Tracy was selling repackaged private label mineral makeup on Etsy, branding it as her own handcrafted, vegan-friendly, all-natural, no-nonsense-or-yucky-stuff product.  It came to light, however, that there were second and even third labels on many of her products, some of which listing parabens and animal byproducts in the ingredients (which Cheri claimed not to use in "her" formulations.)  She also purchased stock photography which she claimed was her makeup being modeled, took to deleting comments from the Facebook page before eventually disabling fan posting, stopped sending products (leaving many customers without their money and without their purchases,) and wrote an official response to the allegations that cleverly skirted around the issues at hand.  Oh, and she lied about Etsy shutting down her shop for non-delivery and disappeared on "vacation," surfacing again several months later with a new brick-and-mortar store called Three Twelve Tudor.  Orglamix is now back up and running, and as far as I can tell, still lying about ingredients, repackaging, and stock photography.  See more here.
Pure Luxe Cosmetics - Repackaging, unprofessional behavior in response to a blog post featuring a photo from the shop (which did not disclose where the photo came from, therefore not pointing fingers in any way,) violations of Etsy TOS (listing the same item in more than one shop, listing private label items as handmade.) See more here

Edited 3/20/15

Monday, September 26, 2011

Hi-Fi Cosmetics Swatches + Review

The Shop: Hi-Fi Cosmetics
My Order: I ordered a full-size Shimmer Dust in Famous, and Paparazzi Flash Powder in RIOT
Packaging:  I placed my order on August 5th, and received shipping information via PayPal on September 21st, but the package does not show as accepted at the Post Office until the following day.  More on that later.  My order arrived in a bubble mailer, with the two full-size products in a ziploc baggie and a business card and two bagged samples in another ziploc baggie.

Today's Swatches:
Look at the size of some of those particles... Eye-safe?

So the shadows are nice enough (although I did expect more sparkle from Famous.) but the size of the particles in RIOT is dubious...  Some of them are very fine, but the larger particles are about four times the size of the small ones.  It's not the huge chunky glitter you'd find in a grade school craft closet,  but it looks very comparable to the glitter I used to make locker signs for cheerleading in High School.  I don't really want to put that on my eyes...  Swatched on bare skin with a foiled stripe down the center (top row) and skin prepped with My Beauty Addiction's Shadow Poxy (bottom row.)

Overall: I understand (after making my order and doing some research as to what might be taking so long) that Hi-Fi did a Heartsy deal in early July, just two days shy of a month before I placed my order.  Normally, I wouldn't mind a long turnaround time.  I understand that things get crazy sometimes and it's really hard to stay on top of things.  I have no problem with having to wait if I know what's going on.  However, if Veronica was still in the wake of her Heartsy madness, there should have been some sort of announcement in her shop.  I do not recall seeing any such announcement for an extended TAT, because if it had been prominently posted somewhere I probably would have held off on ordering.  So I placed my order and sort of forgot about it until I was looking through my Etsy purchases and noticed that over a month later this one hadn't been marked as "shipped."  I tried to send her a convo through Etsy, but that didn't work and the link to her shop brought up a 404 error.  So then I tried to E-mail her, and received a form letter about her extended TAT, the first I had heard about the Heartsy deal.  In this E-mail, Veronica states that "My 12-15 business day TAT has been extended.  I'm doing everything in my power to get orders out the door and emails answered as quickly as possible" and also that "Hi-Fi Cosmetics will be temporarily closed for ordering starting on Monday, August 1."  These pieces of information would have come in handy when I was perusing her totally-not-closed Etsy shop filled with products on August 5th.  Having gotten no response through E-mail, I looked up Hi-Fi on Facebook and noticed many others were missing orders.  I made a post on the Facebook page on September 12th that went completely ignored.  Six days later, Veronica started posting on the Facebook page again, but had still not acknowledged either of my contact attempts.  She posted that the remaining orders would be going out that week, and listed the order numbers.  My order number was not on the list, so I responded asking why and included my order number.  No response, but I did receive shipping information from PayPal three days later and my package was accepted at the Post Office the next day.  Honestly, I don't know what her usual turnaround time is; I assume based on the information in the automatic reply message that it's 12-15 days, and that's fine.  However, given that I had no idea there was an extension, or how long the extension was (the E-mail did not give an estimate on a timeframe) I would expect some sort of response.  It's also noteworthy that the Facebook post I responded to first, dated August 31st, she said she was waiting on lip gloss tubes to get the remaining orders out.  Several people commented on that post, myself included, who were waiting on orders with only eyeshadows, and our questions elicited no public response from Veronica.  My reply was almost two weeks after the original post.  My second post was six days later, once she reappeared and was actively posting about re-opening, price changes, and selectively answering any questions that didn't have to do with missing or incorrect orders.  It took three more days to receive my shipping information, and another day to actually get my package in the mail.  The original, already-pretty-long TAT of 12-15 days was nearly tripled, and I had no idea there was an extension in the first place.  And not a word from Veronica, even after my package arrived.  No apology or personal note of any kind was included.  Aaaaand as icing on this disaster cake, one of my jars wasn't closed properly and leaked considerably.  I know others have had wonderful experiences with Hi-Fi, and I hope for her other customers that this is an isolated incident, but this is a business I will not support in the future.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Giveaway... Just Because!

Okay, guys, here's the deal.  I'm hosting a giveaway.  There are three fabulous prize packs featuring indie companies I use frequently.  The first place winner will receive the wallet of their choice from Tinymeat, the 3g sample trio of their choice from The Starshine Company, and a full-size Bouffant eyeshadow from Linnaeus Cosmetics.

Wallet Options

Sample Trio Options

Bouffant Shadow

How to enter:
1. Leave a comment telling me which item(s) you are most excited about.
2. Follow the blog with Google Friend Connect.
3. Follow the blog with Networkedblogs.
4. Follow @UrbanCritique on Twitter.
5. Follow The Urban Critique on Facebook.
6. Tweet about this giveaway (limit one tweet per entrant, please.)

Please use a separate comment for each entry; if you put all of your entries in the same comment, you will only be counted once.  If you follow, please tell where you are following and leave the name you used to follow, i.e. I followed you on Facebook with the name Jane Doe.  If you tweet, you must provide a link to your tweet.  Please provide a valid E-mail address with all entries so that I can contact you if you win.  Open to fans who are 18 or older, no residency restrictions.  Winners will be chosen at random using a number generator.  Each prize has an approximate value of $22, and all prizes were purchased by me using my own money.  Open for entries immediately, closing 10/3/11.  Winner announced 10/4/11.  Good luck!

My Pretty Zombie Swatches + Review

The Shop: My Pretty Zombie

My Order: An OMG You Pick 5 Sampler pack including Henrywinkle, Unicorn Pee, Vanity, Hangover, and Bettie

Packaging: I actually had intended to make a post about MPZ awhile ago, but my shadow jars disappeared after I set the open box on the bathroom counter.  I waited awhile to see if they would resurface somewhere, but they never turned back up so I re-ordered.  Both orders were sent quickly in a small box.  Inside the box was an invoice, a fake finger, and another box filled with goodies.  Pink plastic grass was inside of both of my boxes, with shrink-wrapped jars inside and three sample baggies that coordinated with one of the colors I chose.  The samples were labeled with color names and the website; the full-size jars were labeled with color names, ingredients, company name and address, and net weight.  From what I understand, this is the proper FDA labeling procedure and not a lot of smaller businesses include everything (no address, no net weight, etc.,) so it's awesome to see an indie business playing by the rules.  I placed this order Monday, it was marked shipped on Thursday, and it arrived Saturday.

Today's Swatches:

 Indoor lighting
HD fluorescent
 Indoor lighting
HD fluorescent
 Indoor lighting
HD fluorescent

Swatches applied to bare skin (top) and skin prepped with MBA Shadow Poxy (bottom.)

Overall: Most of the shadows all have a smooth application and good color, and could stand to be used by themselves for more subtle looks.  Unicorn Pee is quite a glitterbomb; I couldn't seem to get it to stay at all on bare skin, and there was still a bit of fallout with the primer, but I think it would be great as a liner, or to pat over a bold shadow with Pixie Epoxy.  Hangover is a terrific matte hot pink.  Amacyst has a TON of glitter with pretty minimal fallout and a very rich purple base.  I definitely want to get a full size of it.  Gorgeous!  Quinsy, Disquiet, Gangrenous, and Anthrax all have an iridescent effect that's very pretty.  Vanity, Henrywinkle, Bettie, and 996 all have a nice shimmer without glitter.  I'm really exited about these colors and I definitely intend to order more when I get a chance.  If you haven't checked out MPZ yet, I recommend you do so!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sidebar Links

Tonight I'm going to go through and put links to all of my reviews in the sidebar so they're easy to find!  Tomorrow I post giveaway details AND a new review!  Yay!

Saturday, September 17, 2011


It's been decided, and everything has arrived!  All three winners will get something from Tinymeat, a full-size (5g) Bouffant eyeshadow from Linnaeus Cosmetics, and a collection of three shadows in sample jars (3g) from The Starshine Company.  These are some seriously awesome prizes, guys, so be sure to tell everybody you think might be interested in winning some great indie products!  Full details (and swatches) on Monday!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Giveaway Update

I have placed an order for the remainder of the giveaway prizes, but I haven't received them yet.  I'm thinking about having the giveaway around the end of the month, with a two week timespan for entries.  Each winner will receive a little somethin' from Tinymeat, a Bouffant eyeshadow from Linnaeus Cosmetics, and an eyeshadow trio from The Starshine Company.  So that's going to be pretty awesome.  Tell your friends.

In other news, I am unsure as to whether or not I will be doing a review or look today.  I have an optometrist appointment at which I will need to have my eyes dilated, so they will probably be really sensitive most of the day.  And I know it will make my eyes very watery, and I will rub them a bunch, so I don't want to put anything on beforehand.  So if I don't post anything later today, I hope this little update will suffice for today and I will be sure to get something up during the week!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


This probably won't be as exciting for you as it is for me, but this morning I picked up an Ottlite.  It's an HD fluorescent lamp that provides bright, true color lighting, especially useful for detailed hobbies.  In our home, it will serve multiple purposes, and one of them is better pictures for my blog.  Here are some samples...

Left to right: Bombastico from Linnaeus Cosmetics, Metamorphosis from Scaredy Cat Cosmetics, and Petal from The Starshine Company.  Top row swatched with My Beauty Addiction's, Shadow Poxy, Bottom row over Urban Decay's Primer Potion in Eden.  I wanted to show you a pale color, a bright color, and a saturated color for variety.
Without Ottlite.  Notice the colors don't look particularly sparkly, and they're kind of flat.

With Ottlite.  Click to enlarge and you will really see the difference in the sparkle and depth of color.  Yay!

Monday, September 5, 2011

FOTD: My Face But Better

I see a lot of people talking about a shade of lipstick or gloss that's supposed to be "your lips but better," so I decided I should take that one step further and do a whole look based on the "_____ but better" philosophy: natural-looking and simple, not cakey or obvious.  The first thing I did was curl my lashes and apply mascara.  I use black since my brows and lashes are quite dark already, but if you have lighter brows and lashes, you may want to use brown for this look instead.  The next thing I did was use a white pencil on the inner corners of my eyes to highlight them.  If you have darker skin, you can opt for gold as a highlighter instead to keep your look tame.  I lined my eyes top and bottom with a dry neutral mineral shadow, Amber Dust from TSC.  I lined my lips with an NYX Peekaboo Neutral lipliner pencil, filled them in with NYX Diamond Sparkle Lipstick in Sparkling Beige, and put a clear gloss over the top.  I finished by applying mineral eyeshadow to my the apples of my cheeks and the bridge of my nose as blush; I used TSC's Petal.  Again with the lips and cheeks, if you have a darker or lighter skintone, these colors may not work as a neutral for you, so choose your colors accordingly.  I did not use any foundation, or primer, or concealer for this look, so my freckles show through, the darkness under my eyes is more apparent than if I had a full "face" on, etc. but it's supposed to look natural, right?

Pictures today from my new camera!  I decided on the Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-W530 based on reviews, price point, and a perusal of images on Flickr.  I'm pretty happy with the quality I've seen from my shots so far, and I'd say that it's well worth the money for $100 on sale at Best Buy.  You can click on any image to enlarge; the only editing that has been done to these photos is cropping.

Lip Stuff

Whole look

Close-up Eyes

 Close-up Lips

Getting a New Camera!

If you were wondering why I didn't end up posting anything last week, it's because I can't seem to find my camera.  My camera is/was a Kodak Z1275, which I purchased around three years ago.  I used it to take this photo and this photo.  I had previously owned Kodak KZ760 Zoom (which I used to take this photo and this photo) that still worked well for me, but I wanted to upgrade.  I've had that desire to upgrade again recently, and losing my camera has made the decision clear for me: it's time for another upgrade.  I've been researching cameras all morning looking for another point-and-shoot for not a lot of money to take crisp pictures on family outings and for my blog.  I intend to get a DSLR soon, but that will be for specific, planned uses and I want a compact camera for on-the-fly use.  So my apologies, readers, for keeping you hanging last week.  Keep your eyes peeled for a picture-heavy post sometime later today!
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