Sunday, April 4, 2010

Don't Skip Your Sugarpill!
Product Review:
Sugarpill Eyeshadows

Those of you that are beauty freaks of the tech magnitude have no doubt heard of Sugarpill Cosmetics. Since their launch on February 15th, the brand has prompted countless tweets, blog posts and YouTube vids. For those of you who aren't as, let's say "immersed", or perhaps are still trying to make up your mind, here's a bit of info and, of course, my take...

Sugarpill is a line that came hotly anticipated from counterculture cutie Amy Doan. Shrinkle, as she's more commonly known, has long been a fixture in the indie alt-fashion scene. She's well-known for her clothing line (available on both eBay and Etsy) and always presented stunning, bold makeup looks as complements to her frocks. When rumors started circulating that Amy was developing a makeup line of her own, of course, my curiosity was piqued. Years down the road, here we are.

When I contacted Amy about reviewing the line prior to the release, she generously offered to send me a sampling of items from the line. She also graciously answered a few questions for me to share with my readers.

First and foremost, because of the recent hubbub about indie lines repackaging wholesale pigments, I wanted to give Amy the opportunity to to ensure my readers that Sugarpill isn't just another in a long line of repackaged disappointments. When I asked Amy about the origins of Sugarpill's formulas, she emphatically declared that she is not a re-packager. She explained that the lab she works with designs shadows EXCLUSIVELY for Sugarpill. This means that not only are the products not repackaged wholesale pigments, but they're also definitely not private label cosmetics. In fact, Amy told me that she considers the creation of her colors half of the fun, so much so that she's not sure why someone would even want to repackage something that someone else created. I concur!

Indeed, upon viewing the Sugarpill range, it's quite obvious that Amy loves colors. Sugarpill's range is full of vibrant, opaque shades- as of right now there's not a brown, grey or nude in sight. If there is any downfall to Sugarpill, it's simply that, with 9 shades of pressed and 11 shades of loose shadow, there simply aren't enough colors! Lucky for us, Amy tells me that she's already working on the next collection, and has her future sights set on superbright and colorful nail polishes, glitter eyeliners, lip glosses, and lipsticks.

As far as the product itself, what can I tell you that hasn't been said in every other review out there? The pressed shadows I tried (Buttercupcake, Poison Plum, Midori and Afterparty) all proved to be long wearing and crease resistant (even without a primer!) The shadows are vibrant and surprisingly opaque, but I did find that the application could be a bit uneven on bare skin. The addition of primer underneath went a long way towards ensuring a smooth, uniform application and 100% opacity. Besides, let's be honest, I'm never going to apply shadow for the day without a primer underneath anyway, so the bare skin test was simply that- a test. I did also notice that different shades had different textures- some were smoother than others, and while a couple (Midori & Afterparty) felt a bit chalky under my fingers, they looked smooth & satiny on the lids.

With Sugarpill's ChromaLust Loose Eyeshadows, I found primer a necessity. Without a primer, I felt like the loose powders only packed about 50%-60% of their full punch. They were definitely not what I'd classify as sheer, but even an uncolored base (like Urban Decay Primer Potion or Too Faced Shadow Insurance) made the pigments give their intended, 100% color payoff. I also feel like a primer was essential for extended wear. Having said that I have to add: I've never used any loose pigment, from any brand, that didn't need a primer underneath. Since it's the norm rather than the exception, I certainly don't consider this factor a detriment to Sugarpill. Indeed, where many other brands of loose pigments irritate my eyes, I didn't have any itching or watering with any of the 6 shades of ChromaLust Loose Shadows that I tried. I also found that the ChromaLusts applied wet beautifully- without clumping or flaking once dry.

As far as wallet impact, Sugarpill definitely gets an A+. Compared to MAC's pressed shadows, which break down to $9.67 per gram, Sugarpill's $3.00 a gram for their single shadows is a total steal! As a matter of fact, Sugarpill even beats what I pay for MAC after my professional discount (refill pans with pro discount = $4.40/g.) Another apt comparison would be Make Up For Ever, which runs around $7.60/g. But wait, it gets even better! Sugarpill offers 4-color palettes; at $34 for 4 full size pans, this is the most economical offering of them all!

Sugarpill's loose pigments not only stack up well against the big-name competitors, but also against some smaller indie brands; Sugarpill's ChromaLusts end up costing $2.40/g, while BFTE Cosmetics can range from $2.15-$6.50/g, Glamour Doll Eyes ring in at $3.00/g, and Aromaleigh rounds out between about $6.04-6.67/g.

Sugarpill packages their loose eyeshadows by weight; at least 5 grams per jar (though Amy says she likes to give a bit more, just to be safe!) The picture above shows how my pigments arrived- you'll notice some are filled to the top, while others seem little more than half full. This is because some pigments are more dense than others, and thus settle more during shipping. Since all pigments are packaged in the same size jar, some will look fuller than others, though they all contain a generous 5+ grams of product.

If you're new to purchasing loose pigments, please note that there's a difference between 5 grams of product and a 5 gram jar. I've seen 5 gram jars packed to the top with pigment that only weighs in at a bit over one gram. It's important to pay attention to the actual amount of product you're getting, rather than the jar size. Many retailers list the amount right in the product description, others put it on a separate page: often under "FAQs", "About Us" or "Q&A". When in doubt, contact the seller and ask before you buy!

Having ordered makeup from Amy's eBay store several times prior to the launch of Sugarpill, I always found her service speedy & friendly. Amy is incredibly warm and personable- I ordered my first Kryolan Aqua Color from her and when I had questions about applying it, I emailed Amy asking for her advice. She emailed me back and gave me great, detailed info (her favorite way to apply it, what kind of brush she used, etc...) Her messages were warm, as if she was talking to a good friend, and she never made me feel as if I was bothering her. To me, this is what good customer service is all about.

Last but not least, a point of interest for all of the pros out there. Knowing that the shadows in Sugarpill's quads are magnetic and POP! right out, I asked Amy if she had any plans to make the pans available for sale as is, without packaging (which would make us professional artists very happy!) and she tells me that answer is quite possibly yes! She also says that while she'd not initially considered a professional discount program, now that the requests are rolling in, she's seriously considering it.

All in all, Sugarpill does not disappoint. I'd give the line a 9 out of 10. Since I've never ordered as a Sugarpill customer, I can't give direct testimony to that aspect of the operation, but the line's bold colors, true color payoff, and value for the money will definitely have me purchasing in the future!

Pros:
- Highly pigmented pressed powders give great color-payoff
- Blend easily without losing depth or vibrancy of color.
- Long wearing and smudge-proof
- Did not cause any sensitivity, itchiness or watering on my eyes (many pigments I've used do.)
- Many of Sugarpill's products are Vegan, those that are are clearly marked on the site.
- Great value for the quality and amount of product.
- Reasonably priced, flat rate shipping ($5 on all US orders, free shipping on orders over $75)
- Website swatches show packaged product, as well as shots of the color on skin. Photos are individually taken of each actual color (not a single shot edited to digitally approximate the color of the product, which is common practice.)
- Links to independent users' tutorials let you see the product in action (how it applies, what shades look like on different skin tones, etc...)
- Cute extras like sparkly Sugarpill stickers are included for free with each order.
- Loose shadows are packaged in jars without sifters. I feel that this results in less mess and waste than jars with sifters.

Cons:
- Loose pigments are boxed in unsealed jars; I did experience slight leakage with one of the six pigments I received. The breach was contained to the product's own box, and thus did not affect any other items in the shipment.
- Pressed shadows can apply unevenly on bare skin, I recommend a primer.
- Only available via website
- Limited product/shade range

For details on all three Sugarpill looks pictured at the beginning of this post, stay tuned this week....

3 comments:

SilhouetteScreams said...

Ahhhh I cant wait till my order gets here :D I ordered the Burning Heart and Sweetheart quads along with the Bulletproof single so I'd have all the pressed shadows.

Totally regretting not putting any of the loose shadows into my cart though D:

Musing on Beauty said...

Very interesting.
I'm intrigued by the range, but so far the color selection is a bit out of my league, I can't justify paying that price for colors I know I won't be wearing much. But I might get one or two for fun, I don't know.

Lillian Funny Face said...

Fantastic review. I adore sugarpill, i have all the pressed shadows and a few of the loose and love them all. I am seriously going to buy the remaining colours asap! :D

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