|the abyssinian catbird in its natural habitat|
although they're still an almost unknown company outside the realm of real makeup geeks, rouge bunny rouge has built up a stable of cult favourites, mostly among their eye shadows. chief among those is "abyssinian catbird", a bronze-khaki-olive shade that was sold out on the zuneta web site for months. it's now back and available both as a separate shadow and as a "refill" for the new 2 and 3-pan palettes that rbr introduced this spring. [i say refill, but really it's a "fill", since you buy the palette and the shadows separately.]
i'd heard so many rave reviews about this shade that i felt i couldn't wait any longer. i could not let all the other beauty bloggers have all the fun. besides, what's a better match for a crazy old bird who loves cats than a catbird? [i tried to think of something that would link me to abyssinia, but i'm not that clever.]
i really have to get over the fact that rouge bunny rouge shadows look so glorious in the pan that you almost don't want to disturb them. they're so shimmery and rich and satiny smooth and you're just this clumsy beige oaf who wants to stick her fingers or paint brushes in there and ruin everything. fortunately, i'm also ok with the idea of being the girl who ruins things, so the hesitation was short-lived.
the colour is pretty breathtaking. one quick swatch with my fingertip yielded completely opaque, prismatic colour. i don't know if i've ever seen a shadow that was that intense with so little effort. described by the bunnies as "metallic bronze with golden highlights", it lives up to that and more. as virtually every review you'll read online will mention, there is a definite hint of khaki green to the shade. it's very evident in the pan, a little less so on the skin.
on me, i found that it looked more bronze, less khaki than it has on some others i've seen wearing it. i suspect that, because my skin leans cool and pinkish, my skin tone is pulling the reddish tones from the colour a little more. on ladies with a more olive complexion, i would expect that the green notes would be a little more pronounced.
applied, the shade is super-buttery and blends automatically with other shades on the eye. you seriously will not have to make an effort to blend this shadow. of course if you do blend it, it actually sheers out to a muddy, softly smoky shade pretty easily. i'm willing to bet you could do a pretty intriguing smoky eye with this and almost nothing else if you tried.
one thing that did surprise me was that, as crazy intense as the shade looks on my arm, it's actually quite understated on my eyes. it doesn't have that "liquid metal" appearance that you'd imagine, or at least i think you'd have to build it up a lot to get that effect. it last well without fading, however i didn't think it had quite the lasting power of other rbr shades i've tried. it hung on, but it did seem to fade a little bit faster. that's not uncommon with very frosty colours and it has been very hot here. still, wearing it along side it's cam-padre "angelic cockatiels", it seemed to lose its lustre a little sooner.
aside from all the benefits of the rouge bunny rouge formula, "abyssinian catbird" is likely a favourite because bronze-khaki shades are so easy to wear. they're one step away from a true neutral, but they still flatter a wide variety of complexions. i think that anyone with a very cool/ pink skin tone might find this looked a little muddy [unless you're a redhead, in which case your hair will bring balance], but most other women won't have any issue pulling this off. the pigmentation level means it's appropriate for women of colour as well.
the thing is, because this sort of shade is so easy to wear, there are a lot of them already kicking around. particularly, the darker shade from nars' excellent "paramaribo" duo is quite close, although it's a bit cooler/ browner in tone and while it's also a frost-finish, it's noticeably less reflective as you look at the two shades in the light. mac's "sumptuous olive" is lighter and greener- i think the two of them would make a lovely gradient together! so is "abyssinian catbird" something you really need? well, it's not cheap, but the intensity of the pigmentation means you'll use less of it than you would an equivalent shade. [in the comparison shot, you're looking at one swipe of abyssinian catbird compared to three swipes of the other two shadows.]
|l to r :: nars paramaribo, abyssinian catbird, mac sumptuous olive|
if you really like this sort of colour, you won't find a nicer example of it on the market. if it's the sort of thing you'd reach for occasionally, you might decide it's not worth the investment. personally, i find bronze tones help bring out my eyes, which means that i'm always on the lookout for them.
and here's the look i referred to earlier: abyssinian catbird meets angelic cockatiels. i'll be honest, this looked a lot better in my head than on it. i thought that the warm tones of the two shades would complement each other, but instead, they seemed to fight- the coppery undertone of the one battling the earthiness of the other- making both seem a little dirtier than they should have. still, i think that you can see what i mean about the soft smokiness abyssinian catbird can bring and how its intensity can be reigned in quite nicely, even on a bright summer day.
the base ::
marcelle beauty balm "light/ medium"
clarins everlasting foundation "103"
smashbox high definition liquid concealer "fair/ light"
the eyes ::
rouge bunny rouge e/s "angelic cockatiels" [shimmery amber-honey]
rouge bunny rouge e/s "abyssinian catbird" [shimmery khaki-bronze]
mac e/s "dazzlelight" [soft neutral highlight]
mac superslick liquid liner "desires & devices" [swampy green]
makeup forever concealer pencil "ivory/ beige" [used on my waterlines]
armani eyes to kill excess mascara
the cheeks ::
guerlain terra inca radiant powder* [bronze-pink]
mac blush "ambering rose" [pink terracotta]
mac l/s "girls at play"* [rusty red]
*suggested alternates :: terra inca = groan. i'm gonna stop posting looks where i use this so that i can spare myself the agony of trying to think of a dupe for it. you'll note that every time i do so, i change my mind. today, i'm going with dior amber skinshimmer, which is less pink, but has a similar effect on the skin; girls at play = chanel myriade [lighter, sheerer]
rouge bunny rouge products are available through zuneta, who ship worldwide and will make you forget that you ever thought ordering over the internet might be a hassle. seriously. they're the retail equivalent of a warm bubble bath. or in this weather, a cold one.
you can see more magical catbirds like the one at the top of this post here.