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Monday, November 30, 2015

IMAM Challenge: Nov 30 - Team Citrine/Team Topaz

November's birthstone is something orange, but there's disagreement on whether it's Citrine or Topaz. I'm going with Team Topaz just because I like alliterations. Here's the eye look I did:

I used Ten Three Labs' Bells, Bells, Bells & Eccentric Cosmetics' Autumnal Crush. The "liner" is Autumnal crush foiled with water!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

IMAM Challenge: Nov 29 - Superheroes

I decided to do Wonder Woman-inspired eyes for this challenge!

The blue is a single eyeshadow! It's a colour-changing eyeshadow I made called Cynics, Stoics & Epicureans, and you can find the recipe here. The silver liner is Clio's Star Silver (review here), the red is TKB's Matte Red Pop and the gold is TKB's Crucible Gold turned into a liner with a gel liner base.

Lips is Life's Entropy's Vaccine. Sorry for the wonky eye! I only realized my only photo with my eyes close is this XD

Friday, November 27, 2015

IMAM Challenge: Nov 27 - Black Friday War Paint

I miss Black Friday shopping in the US so much! This is using Limnit's Olive My Love, The Other Side, & Deepest Taupes And Dreams (swatches here).

Bonus full face XD

Maybe I should've gone out like this...

Thursday, November 26, 2015

IMAM Challenge: Nov 26 - American Thanksgiving

I really, really miss American Thanksgiving....mostly for the deserts. I planned on going with a golden look with brushes of red and gold glitter to try and capture that warm, glowy food coma feeling after a big Thanksgiving meal, but it turns out that Femme Fatale's Chicken Chicken has this strong green shift even though it looks like a plain brown at first! The effect's really cool and I loved the end result, but it's kinda different from what I was planning. Let's just say that represents creamed spinach, ok?

Here's the EOTD:

I used Femme Fatale's Chicken Chicken, Afraid of Bees, The Lost Legend & Wicked Wax Museum, Make Up Store's Pollution and Lit Cosmetics' California Soul.

And here's the full face:

Bonus lips close up! This is a bunch of eyeshadows mixed with Vaseline...there were so many, I lost track >.<

Review: Deep Midnight's Christmas Vision Set (5 + 2 Scents)

It's been over a year since I did my first Deep Midnight (DM) perfume review and that shows how much I've been's a link to my previous review.

The following scents are from their Christmas Vision set (5 scent) + Seven Veils & Firefly Valley, other DM scents I happen to have. All these scents have aged over a year, so they may be different from a brand new versions!


Review Notes

As always, reviews are done blind until the TL;DRs are written. If any of the notes surprise me, I write an overview. I've also started adding a "Final Verdict" section to help me keep track of my perfumes and figure out what to destash, since my perfume collection is starting to get messy. Here are the categories I came up with for my "Final Verdict":

  • Love: Most awesome perfume ever. Need endless supplies of it and will swap my first born child for the last drops of it if it's limited edition. 
  • Like: I like it and may buy a full size of it, but it's not urgent. 
  • Interesting: I don't really like it or I don't think I  can wear it in public, but I appreciate the artistry of the scent. It's like a beautiful but unwearable runway piece you won't buy on your own, but don't mind owning.
  • Ok: It's okay. I like it enough, but may destash for a good price to keep my collection manageable. 
  • Destash: Kill it with fire.
  • Age it: Maybe it will smell good one day. One day. Just wait.

In this and the next reviews, you'll notice more scents I opt to destash rather than age. Since everything's been aged for a year, I figured they're not going to get much better so it's better to destash them and reduce my pile of perfumes.


Comfort and Joy 

"This blend is comprised of deep vanilla bean, sweet roasted chestnuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, anise, and rounded out with cedarwood, frankincense, and touches of sage and myrrh."

This smells like liquorice and cream. I hate liquorice so nope. Nope. Nope. I'm getting a coffee bitterness too. Still not making the scent better. I'm trying to power through this scent and I'm hoping it'll dry down to something nice, but knowing my luck with DM, I don't think it's happening.  There's a fruity tartness coming into the scent after about 5 min, but it only smells like general artificial red fruits and it's still mostly creamy liquorice with a coffee bitterness. This is not good.

It's 12 minutes into the scent. I have root beer and liquorice. It's not getting better at all.

After 25 min, it's flat root beer float and liquorice. I'm talking about a root beer float that's been left out for too long, that it's lukewarm with the vanilla ice cream melted into a brown sludge. A few minutes later, the vanilla starts getting clay like too. Fortunately, DM scents tend to have low throw and fade within an hour on my skin.

TL;DR: Creamy liquorice & root beer.

Final Verdict: Destash


Endris Night

"This blend is meant to evoke images of a long ago time, during a night of rare splendor and beauty. Sweet frankincense, Arabian sandalwood, a very rich deep red musk, orange blossoms, and kisses of cloves make this a magical scent for the holidays and year round also."

Oh wow, this is actually nice! It's this gorgeous, slightly musky luxurious wood scent. The musk is really light and just smooths out the wood. It makes you think more of a fuzzy blanket rather than an old lady's décolletage. Oh, and the scent has a light, clean scent that further lightens the scent. The resulting scent actually makes me think of a room in a romanticized Arabian palace. The kind straight out of a painting where the artist's imagination can go nuts with images of luxurious, vibrant cloths, intricately carved wood, glimmering gold and jewels, and beautiful people in sheer, translucent clothing lounging around or dancing seductively.

After about 10 min, the scent keeps getting lighter and lighter until it smells more like a modern ballroom in a Jakarta or Dubai, during a ball where all the glittering socialites are present. There's the scent of masculine woody cologne, feminine musky perfumes, and the impeccably decorated ballroom. Everything is luxurious, of course.

TL;DR: Room in a romanticized Arabian palace turning into an Indonesian/Arabian wedding.

Final Verdict: Like


Firefly Valley

"Green clover, wildflower honey, hydrangea, sweet tree blossoms, and soft grass"'s that pretty white floral blue note –slightly tart, clean, light and elegant. It smells very familiar and reminds me a lot of how some hotel lobbies in Indonesia smell like, but it's still very wearable as a perfume. It makes me think of classically elegant women in impeccably pristine, white rooms, making final adjustments to the flower arrangements before all the socialites drop by for lunch. If this perfume has an ad, it'll look something like this:

I wanted that robe as soon as I saw it, and then remembered I'm neither tall nor curvy, so I'd probably look like I tore down some old lady's curtains or table cloth and ran around with it.
Gorgeous photo by Jolly Roger Imagery

It smells very familiar and it took me a while before I finally could figure out why. It smells a lot like one of my favourite Possets scent –Flight of the Bumblebee. The difference is that this scent is heavier on the white florals and sweetness, and doesn't have that green zing to it.

After about 15 min, the scent started getting a bit too sweet for me, and now it's kind of reminding me  of a room spray that's been sprayed too close to my face and stinging my nose. I'm kinda sad since the initial scent was so good! I don't think aging would save this, so I think I'm going to use it in my bath or an oil burner. I think the sweetness will be less intense then.

TL;DR: Pretty, white floral blue note.

Final Verdict: Like


Seven Veils 

"This perfume oil is a completely intoxicating blend of earthy Madagascar vanilla, velvety orchids, white florals, the softest musk, sweet golden amber, spices and exotic resins."

This starts of nice! It a clean, creamy, vanilla musk with a paper-like sort of dustiness, and it smells like curling up in thick, fluffy blanket that's so comforting. It's definitely a heavier scent and gets far too heady for tropical weather, but I can see this being great for winter.

Unfortunately, after 10 min, it's starting to make me think of old ladies because the vanilla musk bit takes over. This smells exactly like a vanilla mainstream perfume I once had. That perfume gave me a headache because it was so heavy, and I have the same problem with this perfume.

Something sour appears as the scent dries down on me, and I suspect it's a vanilla going wrong. It's still really heavy and heady, and definitely not for hot weather. If you love heavy, musky vanillas, this is it.

TL;DR: Heavy, heady, musky vanilla.

Final Verdict: Destash


Silver Bells

"Savor your memories of the season as you enjoy this lovely perfume blend of rich rum, cinnamon, nutmeg, deep vanilla bean, delicious cream, sugarplums, and a touch of a very sweet and light mint."

This smells like this medicine I used to have. It was red in colour, vaguely artificial red fruits flavoured, kinda pepperminty, and absolutely delicious since the flavour hid the bitterness so well, you only get mild hints of it. I don't know what it was for, but I used to hope the doctor would prescribe it to me....I also got into a near accident once, when I climbed up a table trying to get to the high shelf my nanny would hide it in after I got caught chugging it. I was a mini drug addict.

This smells exactly like that.

Not sure if I want to wear it as perfume though. The pepperminty part is gorgeous, the artificial red fruits part isn't for everyone but I like it, the cloying syrupy sweetness is a bit too much for me, and the bitterness makes me gag slightly.

TL;DR: Red medicine.

Overview: I'm not sure where the bitterness is coming from? The rum, perhaps?

Final Verdict: Destash


Victorian Sleigh Ride 

"This is a crisp and delightful blend of Candy Canes, hollyberries, sweet spiced whiskey, cedarwood, sage, frankincense, and a touch of cream."

Oooh...this is a gorgeous, slightly bitter vanilla-mint with hints of a fruity tartness. The bitterness is a minty bitterness –the kind you get from really strong mints. The fruity bit was going cloying on me for a bit (think Flintstones vitamins sort of "fruity"), but it got overpowered by the mint part.

After about 5-8 min, the scent has faded dramatically to the point where it's this thin, watery scent with hints of something vaguely fruity, vaguely woody, and vaguely icy. It looks like this scent has dried down already. I think aging has severely reduced its longevity.

TL;DR: Slightly bitter vanilla-mint with hints of a fruity tartness

Final Verdict: Destash



"...the aromas of red wine, apple wine, ale, sweet oranges, fruit and cloves, along with delicate touches of frankincense and myrrh"

In the beginning, this smells like the yellow Juicy Fruits bubblegum with mint. It's a nice scent, but kinda too young for me. Sometimes, I get hints of dusty wood and apples, but they don't really stand out and just melds into the overall scent, turning into minty Juicy Fruits.

After about 3-5 min, it suddenly becomes a slightly bread-ish apple cinnamon soap. I was so surprised how fast this changes. It's a pretty generic scent that's pretty nice, but it just reminds me too much of Bath & Bodyworks soaps and not really my thing. It just gets more and more soapy as it dries down.

TL;DR: Slightly bread-ish apple cinnamon soap

Final Verdict: Ok

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

IMAM Challenge: Nov 25 - Tim Burton

When I think of Tim Burton, I just think of brooding blues and purples. Ages ago, I customized a purple eyeshadow with blue highlights and it was inspired by this Corpse Bride poster:

Obviously, I had to crack it out for this theme:

Had to go with purple lips, obviously. This is with Eccentric Cosmetics' Iguazu Falls.

Monday, November 23, 2015

IMAM Challenge: Nov 23 - Bold Blushes/Contour

For this look, I had to use Femme Fatale's Toy Terror higlighter, and Monsters From Mars & Creeping Coffin blushes. Toy Terror may be my favourite highlighter now, because it's so pretty!

Here's the close up of the eye: 

I used Femme Fatale's Dead House, Beast From The East, Ghost Beach & Camp Nightmare, and Lit Cosmetics' Mother Earth.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

IMAM Challenge: Nov 22 - Toy Story

For this theme, I decided to take this Toy Story logo as my inspiration:

I used Cynics, Stoics & Epicureans (recipe here), but forgot there's a strong green shift to it, so the look's kinda different from what I wanted. The yellow is Daisy Bird's Dandy Dandelion (swatch here) & the red's TKB Trading's Matte Red Pop.

Here's the full face:

Kat Von D's Adora mixed with Eccentric's Temple of Heaven on the lips!

Friday, November 20, 2015

IMAM Challenge: Nov 20 - Summer Throwback

Sorry I'm back-dating these! I got lazy and kept forgetting to upload these >.<

Here's my Summer Throwback look with Limnit's Freestyle with Ten Three Labs' Bells, Bells, Bells:

Bonus FOTD:

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Tutorial: Grey Ombré for Monolids

I got asked to do a tutorial for my November-themed look so after way too much procrastinating (sorry >.<), here it is!

1. Start by applying the light grey eyeshadow in a semi-circle over your lids. If you have monolids, make sure you open your eyes to check if they peek above your lids.

2. Following the natural shape of your lower lashline, draw a line that extends upwards. Use a thin liner brush to draw this.

3. Connect that line to the semi-cirle and fill it in.

4. Blendy blendy blend. Clean up any mess by swiping a cotton bud dipped in eye make up remover upwards. This will turn the outer edge into a nice, sharp wing. Line the bottom lashline with the light grey. (this is when I noticed I have an lower eyelash that's pancaked on my eye thanks to not properly cleaning off eyelash glue). 

5. Lightly drag down the darker grey from the outer corner down to about 1/4-1/3 of the outer lower lashline, then use a tapered blending brush and whack on some silvery-gold eyeshadow on your inner corner. Seriously, just whack in's much nicer when it looks like a super tiny fairy crashed into the inner corner of your eyes.

6. Blend it upwards and inwards, making sure you're only blending up to the inner 1/3 of your eye. Slap on some falsies/mascara and you're done!

Full face!

IMAM Challenge: Nov 19 - Hot Chocolate

Today's IMAM Challenge theme is Hot Chocolate so I wanted to capture a work-safe version of steamy hot chocolate in a white mug. Here's my attempt:

  • Hello Waffle Cosmetics: Bae
  • Blanche Neige's Broken Heart, Sea Witch
  • Make Up Store: Eye Dust (Crystal)
  • Esqido lashes: (Oh So Sweet)
  • Nyx: Jumbo Eye Pencil (Milk) 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

IMAM Challenge: Nov 18 - Mickey Mouse

Today's IMAM Challenge theme is Mickey Mouse to celebrate his birthday! You know when you've done the perfect eye art and you try on a new pair of lashes only to realize, "Crap. This looks like shit on me."

That's what happened here. But I was already committed so I went for it. I don't know what's up with these lashes. They look cute in theory but just look like cockroach feelers in real life. 

So for this look, I used Make Up Store's Pollution, TKB Trading's Matte Red Pop & Mad Lab Cosmetics' Pearl over NYX's Jumbo Eye Pencil in Milk. I have Life's Entropy's Vaccine on my lips! And yes, that's a Tinker Bell hat. I had to.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

IMAM Challenge: Nov 17 - Autumn Leaves

I needed something work-safe so I decided to do a pile of autumn leaves EOTD. For this look, I used: My Pretty Zombie's Scurvy, Chinovi's Vulcan, Blanche Neige's Sea Witch & POMI's Tori. Click on the eyeshadow names for links to the swatches! Lashes are Esqido's Oh So Sweet! Let me know if you want a $10 off code!

Obviously, I had to go with my favourite Fall 2015 lip shade –Limnit's Extraterrestrial!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

IMAM Challenge: Nov 14 - Cold Weather Fabrics

Wanted to try a new editing technique where it's just my lips against a white background but it turned out creepy & I've unfortunately destroyed the original file >.<

Today's theme is Cold Weather Fabrics and this is using Eccentric Cosmetics's Giza, a gorgeous brown with a red shift, & Iguazu Falls. Iguazu Falls turned out really patchy, but it was a messed up batch & the owner's sending a replacement for free! I love Eccentric Cosmetics and that's totally how you win customers for life. The gold is TKB Trading's Forged Gold turned into a liner with their mineral wetliner!

Friday, November 13, 2015

IMAM Challenge: Nov 13 - Least Used Product

So today's IMAM Challenge is about using your least used product. For me, it's Daisy Bird's Mean Bean Green (swatch on the bottom right and in this post). While I think greens tend to flatter Asian skin tones, this colour is just in that awkward position in the colour spectrum that it's neither dark nor light enough, neither muted nor vibrant enough, and neither cool-toned or warm-toned enough to flatter my particular skin tone. I keep it just because I have no other colour like it, and it's hard to destash samples from closed brands.

I kinda "cheated" by blending this colour out into more flattering colours for this look! The yellow is Hoppity Skip (recipe here), and I washed Notoriously Morbid's Mystique over to get the perfect gradient! Lashes are Esqido's Oh So Sweet!

Glitter Friday: Neon Dreams

Lit Cosmetics hosts Glitter Friday every Friday and this week's theme is Neon Dreams. Here's my attempt using Lit's Afternoon Delight, Gold Digger & Mexican Lucky!

Sorry for the lighting! Had to do it at night!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

IMAM Challenge: Nov 12 - High Contrast

I went with highly contrasting colours for this challenge! Orange and green, featuring Notoriously Morbid's Bad Juju & Mystique!

asian eyes, monolids

Review & Swatches: Aromaleigh's Fatalis Collection (10 + 2 Colours)

I finally got my Aromaleigh order! 

I ordered all 10 colours from the colour-shifting Fatalis collection and finally finished with swatching. I also got 2 free samples, and I'll be swatching them in this post as well, since I don't see the point of creating a whole new post for just 2 swatches. 

Before I get on to my review, I need to address the controversy around Aromaleigh.

Aromaleigh Controversy Discussion

Aromaleigh is a brand that popped up several times in people's blacklists, so I've included that in my IMAM blacklist page. The reason for this is because they previously sold eyeshadows containing [unsafe] [ingredients], and known for terrible customer service.  The owner was also known for harassing any negative reviewers.

They hired someone else to handle their customer relations now and there haven't been any complaints since 2010, even though the owner's still the same person. I was enamoured by the Fatalis promotinal pictures and thought that was long enough to to give them a try again, so I decided to place an order.

After my blacklist went public, several users contacted me to inform me that they experienced intimidation or unprofessional behaviour from the owner too via PM on reddit over bad reviews. A blogger I highly respect also told me her story and gave me permission to share the PM (with her name removed):

Here's a screenshot of the post in question:

Unfortunately, I already placed my order. I'm personally no longer comfortable with supporting this company, so I will not be making further purchases.  

EDIT 13 Nov, 2015: A few hours before I posted this review, Etherealize Me posted a review and swatches of the Fatalis Collection as well. Her review was not negative, but it wasn't glowing either, and for this review, Aromaleigh has kicked her out of the Aromaleigh private group without any notification. The Reddit thread where I posted this review also got brigaded. Looks like what people have been telling me is true, and Aromaleigh is still intimidating & "punishing" anyone who gives them a less than glowing review. I'll be updating my blacklist to state that her actions were not a thing of the past and something that's still happening today. 

EDIT 17 Nov, 2015: This edit came so late since I was traveling and had to check with Etherealize Me first. Aromaleigh had announced that they were deleting the private group anyway, and no one was kicked out of retaliation. However, the group was deleted 4 hours after she was kicked out and an hour or so after I reported the incident in my edit. Of course, I've also been blocked from Aromaleigh's instagram page as well.

Fatalis Collection Swatches

So for my swatches, I'm doing something different from my usual swatches and review. First of all, I won't be doing macro shots because I find that the shift gets lost in the macro shots, and it just looks like a plain, shimmery shadow. Instead of lining up all the colours in a row so you can check for potential dupes, I decided to break the swatches up to individual colours instead. This is because the shifts are only seen at certain angles, so in every arm swatch I did, I can't get a single shot that shows off every colour's shifts. Plus, I could only swatch 3-4 colours at a time since I need to swatch over the skinnier & more curved part of my arm to get the shift out. 

I'm also only swatching over Eccentric Cosmetics' primer and Fyrinnae's Pixie Epoxy too, instead of including bare skin and foiled with water swatches because these eyeshadows are pretty steep at $1.25 for 1/16th of a teaspoon. That's about 1/4 - 1/2 of the typical indie eyeshadow sample. Besides, the Aromaleigh's site also states: "As always, I recommend a regular cream base such as NYX cream eyeshadow base."

I figured bare skin swatches aren't ideal. 

Without further ado, here are the swatches arranged according to colour. Left is over Fyrinnae's pixie Epoxy and right is over Eccentric Cosmetics' primer. All swatches are done at various angles under natural light:

phoneutria nigrivenier

helleborus niger

phyllobates terribilis

amanita muscaria

hapalochlaena lunulata
nerium oleander

dendroaspis polylepis

atropa belladonna

chironex fleckeri

leirus quinquestriatus

General Eyeshadow Review

The shift in the Fatalis Collection is definitely strong and I do think they great. Eccentric Cosmetics' primer is amazing so these eyeshadows look great over that primer alone. They're slightly more sheer over primer alone, but you can get around it by using an eyeshadow base or eyeliner underneath (I'll show it in pictures below). 

I really should be more excited over these eyeshadows, but I admit I ended up rather disappointed. I pre-ordered this collection thanks to these promotional pictures:

Image courtesy of Aromaleigh
Image courtesy of Aromaleigh

As you can see, they swatch nothing like that. Now, I'm familiar with TKB's Moon Dust or Planetary pigments, and even shared recipes for creating colour-shifting eyeshadows using the Planetary pigments. The promotional pictures look so much more stunning than what I'm used to, so I thought they're using more intense, more expensive, and not so easily available colour-shifting pigments. That's why I didn't mind paying the higher price.

After I got them, I discovered they're pretty much the same as Fyrinnae's Arcanes in terms of performance, only much more expensive, so I guess I was kinda disappointed. 

Here's a comparison of prices for other indies with colour-shifting eyeshadows:

  • Aromaleigh: $7.25 for about 0.5 teaspoon
  • Fyrinnae: $8.25 for 1.5 teaspoon* 
  • Hello Waffle: $5.27 for 0.75 teaspoon**

* Picking the most expensive option.
** Using a CAD/USD rate of $0.75

Converting everything to 1 teaspoon, this is how every brand's colour shifting shadows cost for 1 teaspoon:

  • Aromaleigh: $15 
  • Fyrinnae: $5.5
  • Hello Waffle: $7.03

As you can see, Aromaleigh is much, much more expensive than all the other brands. Unfortunately, I don't think it's special enough to justify the price difference. Oh, and here's what the fine print says:

Screenshot taken on Nov 12, 2015
Yeah, I think I rather just go ahead and photograph these eyeshadows in the most realistic conditions instead of setting up a crazy light set up just to get the most intense photos.

Objectively, I think these eyeshadows are pretty and I'm happy with their performance over primer alone. I'm really happy the shift shows up, even over primer alone. However, if their swatches are just more realistic, I think I would've been satisfied with my purchase rather than disappointed and let down.


Chironex Fleckeri over primer only

As you can see, the shift shows over primer only. IRL, it looks a bit sheer, but it's opaque enough for me to skip the glitter glue on most days. 

Phyllobates Terribilis over Fyrinnae's Pixie Epoxy

Yes, this is one of my IMAM Challenge looks!
To get this opacity, I first patted on the eyeshadow over Eccentric Cosmetics' primer, then I applied Fyrinnae's Pixie Epoxy over it before patting a second layer of the eyeshadow.

Nerium Oleander over NYX's Jumbo Eye Pencil in Slate

This is from my IMAM challenge looks again XD

If you want the eyeshadow to be really opaque and you don't have a glitter adhesive, one thing you can do is apply the eyeshadow over an eyeliner or eyeshadow base! I found that for the best results, you should apply primer over the eyeliner/eyeshadow base before applying the eyeshadow.

Swatches & Review of 2 more Aromaleigh Shades

Angrboda is really buttery smooth texture-wise, but as you can see from the swatches, it tends to streak. You can pat it on and slowly build it up, but it doesn't blend out very well and has the tendency to cling on to my pores and emphasize them when I attempt to blend or sheer it out. I say attempt since it doesn't blend out that well. Here's an EOTD to show you what I'm talking about:

Angrboda is the grey, Ciriatto is the black

It was supposed to be a smokey eye and I was using a stiff brush to blend it out. I definitely recommend using an skin-coloured eyeshadow underneath this to prevent the eyeshadow from clinging to your pores.

Ciriatto is pretty, but I'm really having a hard time getting the same colour I get on swatches on my eyes. When applying it on my eyes, all the duochrome seems to get rubbed off and I end up getting a plain black eyeshadow as you can see from the previous EOTD. In the EOTD below, Ciriatto is on the outer 1/3 of my eye, but you can see it just looks black:

This is over Eccentric Cosmetics' primer too, which can usually bring every shift out. Here's a picture of the work in progress, so you can see how Ciriatto looks like, even when I haven't blended it on: