Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Lip Balm Roulette

I think I may have a problem - a lip-balm problem. You see, I love lip-balm, and can't say no when a new/interesting flavor is introduced. Because even though I have Lemon Cheesecake lip balm, the Meyer Lemon Cupcake lip-balm *may* be different. Or better! Which means, naturally, I have to have both. Let me show you a small part of my collection:
What you're seeing: The Morbid The Merrier, Epically Epic Soap Company, OrangeThyme, Madd Style Cosmetix, Ophelia's Apothecary, and, last but not least, Haunt Soap Company. Each company makes lip-balms, a few places specialize in balms, and a few just have balms as an afterthought. So let's break it down, balm-style!
First up is Ophelia's Apothecary. This picture is Lemon Cheesecake, hands down my favorite lip-balm flavor of all time. It doesn't smell like lemons, or lemonade, it smells exactly like lemon cheesecake - creamy, tart, lemony. It's got a lovely slip to it, so your lips feel moisturized, but not overly slick, and it lasts. I have three balms from OA left, the Lemon Cheesecake balm, Butter Toffee Crunch, and Margarita Lime. All three are lovely. Now for the bad: Ophelia's Apothecary is notoriously unreliable. It took well over two months for me to receive my order. At the time of the order, turn-around time was around 14 days. No notice was sent, no explanation was given. However, I really liked my products, so I didn't really think anything of it. I've since learned of several other customers experiencing months-long waits, or orders that never arrived, and now OA is threatening to close up shop. Oy. So, despite their excellent performance, I can't recommend this shop. Let's move on to a shop I can whole-heartedly recommend...
OrangeThyme! This is one of the companies that specialized in lip-balms, and it shows. These balms have avocado oil and shea butter, which seem to lend a thickness to the balm formula. They glide on heavier, and melt into the lips. Each of these balms is scented very true to life. The Honeycrisp Apple balm really does smell like crisp apple slices, for example, and you can smell a true blueberry scent in the Blueberry Lemon balm. These balms are heavy, and not suitable for under lipstick or gloss, however. I tend to wear these to bed to moisturize overnight. But, really, you can't go wrong with any flavor combination from OrangeThyme. Next up...
Madd Style Cosmetix! MSC is a great company, primarily known for their eyeshadows. (Which are fabulous. Get some. GO!) I happen to have two different formulas: mango butter and sugar lips. I notice a bit more slip with the sugar lips formula, while the mango butter formula is slightly thicker. These two smell lovely, but carry an artificial scent. The Carrot Cake Bomb smells more like sugared walnuts than anything else, which is not a bad thing...unless your husband is allergic to walnuts and HATES the smell. The Marshmallow Peep Bomb smells like burnt sugar. Of note: MSC doesn't make a lot of balms, and when they do, they're often limited-edition. So keep your eyes open, and GO BUY EYESHADOW!
Haunt Soap Co. makes quite a few lip-balms, which they call "Lusts." The two flavors I own, Milk & Nectar and Strawberry-Lime are excellent. Milk & Nectar is a strange scent, which really grew on me. It's floral and fruity at the same time, and very different from any other balm scent I've tried (which is a lot). These are the two slipperiest balms I own. They slide onto the lips and sit on the surface, without sinking in, and tend not to last on me. The saving grace is those lovely scents that don't smell like anything from any other company.
Last, but certainly not least, Epically Epic Soap Co. The current line up includes balms with spice, like Cardamom Vanilla or Pineapple Sage (both of which are on their way to me...). Epically Epic is known for unusual and savory balms. In the past, the store has offered Thai Lemongrass balm, as well as Passionfruit Rose. These combinations don't always work, but when they do, they're (dare I say) epic. EESC balms are soft and moisturizing. They coat the lips and sink into the natural folds. These tend to last on me, which is why I wear the shimmer balms at work (12-13 hour shifts). EESC balms are on the heavier side, but light enough to wear lipstick over.

So who do I recommend? I suppose it depends on what you look for in a balm. I tend to buy based on flavor/smell first, and once I like a formula, I'll go back to that company. The lightest balm in this group is the Haunt formula, which is noticeably slick. The heaviest balms are the OrangeThyme balms. Epically Epic balms lie on the heavier side, but are more wearable during the day. OrangeThyme and Epically Epic make the most interesting flavors, while Haunt makes fewer balms with more unusual flavors. I would buy from each company again, but Epically Epic Soap Company has the balms I keep going back for.

**all products purchased by me**

Monday, September 10, 2012

In It To Win It!

Hey, err'body! It's time for a contest! Because, really, who doesn't want to win free stuff? (I know *I* do!) Femme Fatale Cosmetics, an indie cosmetics company based in Australia, is hosting a 1-year anniversary contest. Oh, you haven't heard of Femme Fatale Cosmetics, you say? Well, let me tell you more! Femme Fatale Cosmetics makes lovely eye-shadows, blushes, and other products, including gorgeous nail polishes that are sadly available to Australian customers only. One of the things Femme Fatale is known for is outstanding, unusual duochrome shades. A few recommendations: my favorite favorite favorite duochrome, Frozen Flame; Shooting Stars; and Space Cow (buy it for the name, keep it for the color).

Basically, you can't go wrong with Femme Fatale. So how do you go about getting your hands on some? Simple: go to the FFC website and buy yourself some amazing make-up. Oh, and while you're there, enter her 1-year anniversary contest. Here's the link:

CLICK IT! DO IT NOW! (Then come back later and tell me how much you love your new Femme Fatale products. Go ahead, I'll wait here.)

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Saddest of Sad-Faces...

UPDATE: I received my package from Lost In Makeupland. The products are gorgeous and wearable. I also received a partial refund from the owner. I would consider trying the company again in the future, if the TAT was lessened/straightened out.

So. It's with a heavy heart that I write this blog. It's going to be a short one, because it's basically an update on my last post (45 Days To Decide). I've finally heard from the owner of the company in question, and it was handled in a way that I consider unprofessional and wrong. My order was shipped on Wednesday, according to the company owner, but I wasn't emailed or informed of this until I posted in a Facebook group about my frustrations with this order. The only way I got any response to my questions was via members of that same Facebook group PM'ing the owner to get a response. That shouldn't have happened.

Now, going back, remember: I emailed the company's contact email, and eventually sent a PM to the owner's personal FB page. The company owner was on FB *after* I had sent my PM asking about my order, and did not respond in any way, shape, or form to either message, neither PM nor email. Initially, I was offered a partial refund OR a refund of shipping, with an increase in product sent. Color me dubious. Later, I was sent something (I won't say what here) to show me that a refund would not be coming anytime soon, partial or otherwise. I am particularly saddened because this company, by all accounts, makes excellent product. I'll let you know, if and when I get mine. Until then, I can say without hesitation that I cannot recommend Lost In Makeupland.

The owner has stated that she is unable to fulfill any further orders, and is shutting the shop down, but the site is still active, and I was able to add items to my cart today, when I tested. So I am naming the shop in question as a warning to other indie shoppers out there: beware of Lost In Makeupland. I'm sorry it's come to this, I truly wanted to love this shop and recommend it to everyone, but I can't in good conscience stay silent, not when the shop is still operational, waiting for someone else to fall into the same hole.