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making faces :: the super mega big big monster awesome colour pop post

colour pop may be all over the internet, but they're still a fairly new company and since this year, i've decided to spend more time exploring less covered brands, i figured it was time to see what all the fuss is about. i'm always a little hesitant to embrace new brands, not because i'm not curious, but because there's always that risk of disappointment and being left with the sensation that my limited [yes, it is limited] makeup budget could have been better spent on things from brands i've already grown to love. however, there's a lot less of that risk with colour pop, whose prices are so low, you'll think they've gone crazy. not only are they cheaper than any prestige brands or even the lower-priced brands at sephora, they're cheaper than most drugstore products. add to that the fact that they're american and still spell their name correctly [with a "u"] and you've created a scenario where i just have to give it a whirl.

in fact, i've given it a couple of whirls at this point, trying out their new twist-up eyeliners, their lippie stix lipstick, and their much-discussed super shock eye shadows and cheek products. as you might have guessed from that list, this is going to be an image-heavy post, so if you're outside and chewing through your data plan right now, you might want to pause and come back when you have access to wifi. i'll wait for you, don't worry.

this is a brand that's about youthful fun, splashy colour and newness. they've already become known for their innovative and highly pigmented formulas and their frequent new collections, including collaborations with bloggers, makeup artists and youtube beauty stars [or some combination of those things!]. you might think that that would make them an awkward fit for women of a certain age, or those who prefer a more subdued look to their makeup, but there's definitely something here for everyone.

i'll start off with the only disappointing products i bought, which were the crème gel liners. i don't have a lot of coloured liners, so i jumped at the opportunity to order three of these in lighter colours- that's that sense of adventure that kicks in when you find an interesting-looking product that's cheap enough to outweigh the risk of disappointment. here's what i got:

exit :: a matte snow white, which is incredibly useful for brightening the lower water line and making eyes look larger and clearer. the consistency was nicely creamy and it applied well, although it had a tendency to get a little over-eager and sneak outside the water lines if i wasn't careful. the lasting time was very good, which is surprising on me. normally nothing survives my water lines.

prance :: a lovely cornflower blue that i'd hoped would be purple enough to contrast against the yellowy blue-grey of my eyes. unfortunately, it doesn't really suit me, but what's more frustrating is that the colour payoff isn't great. it took a lot of passes to build the colour up to anything close to what it looked like in the tube, and it was a little uneven. it lasted pretty well, but because it was uneven to begin with, it looked a little patchy.

zulu :: a gorgeous light aqua/ turquoise that performed the best of the bunch. i was surprised at how much i liked this colour on me, because i felt it was the riskiest of the bunch, but it really brightens my eyes and, being a lively sort of colour, adds a subtle touch of fun and frivolity to any look. it'll be perfect for summer, when bold colours look great but you don't necessarily want the heaviness of pigmented products. this one also applied best of all and lasted incredibly well.

so, i hear you saying [or perhaps it's just the voices in my head], that doesn't sound like they were terribly disappointing. but here's the thing: every single one of them arrived with the liner [not the casing, but the actual liner] broken, or it broke the second i used it. it doesn't render them unusable, but it means you have to be very delicate, to make sure that you twist up as little as possible and only use the tip, never the side of the liner. it also means that they wobble a little within the casing, which makes it difficult to get the precision that you need from a liner like this. sadly, i think that the fact that they are so smooth and creamy also makes them fragile. if that were not the case, i'd have gone back for seconds and thirds by now.

t to b :: prance, exit, zulu
next up, i ordered one of their "lippie stix", a twist-up lipstick that comes in a few different finishes. i opted for a shade called "nevermind" from their 90s-themed fall collection last year. it is exactly the sort of shade that i wore in the nineties, which were actually shades i'd always wanted to wear, it's just that they only became widely available in the 90s [outside halloween, which was when i stocked up]. it's a deep, blackened purple matte, with just a hint of red to keep it from looking too cold. like a lot of dark colours, it was just a little tricky to get even, but i wore evenly and actually fades to a very pretty stain, so you could blot this and have a shade akin to a blueberry-pie stain that just happens to be perfectly applied.

it's a similar shade to mac "sin", although "nevermind" is darker and a bit cooler.

matte formulas are not always friendly to my finicky lips, but this one was not bad. i don't think i could wear them day after day, but it didn't bother my lips and they did not feel parched when i removed the colour at the end of the day. if your lips are already dry or cracked, i wouldn't recommend this [here's what i would recommend], but otherwise, you should be fine.

now we move into the super shock products. there is ongoing debate over what exactly these products are. they feel wet like a cream and are slick against the skin like a cream, but they set and blend like a powder. one of my super shock cheek products arrived with a crack in the surface and it certainly looks like a powder to me. but as soon as i touch these, they feel like a cream. colour pop warns that the screw-top lids need to be fastened tight to preserve the texture [or "magic"], so there's definitely some type of humidity involved. i'm less concerned with how exactly it works [i trust them, and i'd like to believe there's some magic in the world, even if it's limited to eye and cheek products] and more curious about how they can create something so innovative for such a low price.

the brand suggests applying the eye shadows using your fingers and just patting them on. although a brush works, i agree that the finger pat is the best method and i do the same with the cheek products. i am a woman in her forties who gets excited by the possibility of finger-painting her face. ya wanna make something of it?

let's start with the cheeks...

sticky sweet :: they have this listed as both a highlighter and a blush and it launched with their highlighter collection last year. this is the one that arrived with a crack, by the way, but it performs just the same as  the others. it's a very difficult colour to describe, because i've never seen anything like it. i don't just mean in the cosmetic world, either. i mean i've never seen anything like it at all. it is a purple-berry kind of shade, but with a bit of a dirty grey cast to it. i think it would be absolutely incredible on dark skin. i'd love to see it on someone like lupita n'yongo, for instance.

it looks incredibly pigmented when swatched, but it sheers out a lot on the skin. you'd have to build it up quite a bit to get it anywhere near full strength. if you want more colour, pat it in place with your fingers and blend very delicately. if not, you can get a cool pink sheen that would indeed be a highlighter on medium to dark skin tones. on me, it basically always going to be a blush, but that's fine, because looking at the colour on line, it's pretty much what i figured.

sticky sweet
stole the show :: this one is a true highlighter on me and is really thrilling. it's not gold or silver, but platinum- a combination of the two that's neutral rather than cool or warm. it's like the highlighter of my dreams, but it's very real and it's very, very nice. i can pat a little in place for a more subtle highlight, because the sheen gets stronger the more you buff it in. i was worried that it would emphasize my pores, because it has a considerable sheen, but as long as i don't buff it into the skin too vigorously, that's not a problem.

stole the show
teasecake :: i suspect that this will be a highlight for most people, but it works just fine as a blush on me. it's a peachy pink with a smooth light gold sheen, although on me, i find it pulls warmer than it looked on the colour pop web site. [one of the coolest things about cp is that their website has a lot of swatches on skin- in different skin tones- that does a lot to allay fears about ordering something you can't test yourself.] nonetheless, it's a gorgeous colour and i don't find it's too warm for me to get away with. it gives me a very nice spring glow.


the wear time on these isn't as great as some powders, but it's pretty decent considering that my face eats blush, so nothing last long on me at all. because you can [and should!] use your fingers, it's pretty easy to bring these along with you and touch up if needed.

and now, we move on to the shadows...

acorn :: gah. such a gorgeous, perfect lid or highlight shade. it's a little warmer, deeper and more beige than rouge bunny rouge "alabaster starling", but it has that same combination of ivory, grey and pink that makes it so appealing. seriously, i love this. and the shadows, which i use over nars eyeshadow primer, hold with the grip of death. i'm going to need backups of this one.

puppy love :: a shadow that makes you look good and feel good, because all the proceeds go to the best friends animal shelter. this is the one shade that i'd say must be applied with the fingers, unless what you want is a sheer wash of colour over the lid. trying to build it up with a brush is an exercise in absolute futility, as it becomes patchy without ever becoming opaque. applied with a finger, it's perfect.

the colour is a gorgeous golden peach with a pearl finish. i've been using this a lot since i got it. how much is a lot? enough that i can see a tiny glimpse of the pan already. it's a gorgeous complement to so many shades without being a little more than a neutral. it tends to shift in tone depending on what it's paired with. it's more golden with warm colours, a little more pink with blues and purples.

puppy love
mixed tape :: i'm a wee bit obsessed with the mixed tape. i mourned its loss as a subtle device for communication, although i think that published playlists go a certain way to replacing them. i'm also obsessed with taupe-tinged grey-purple shades. so clearly, this shade was made for me. it is listed as a pearl finish, but it's nearly matte on me. it's in the same vein as shades like chanel "fauve" or "hasard" that are perfect soft-but-special crease colours. it would also be great for a soft smoky eye.

mixed tape

cheap date :: an incredible antique gold base that really does look like metal with silver glitter. the glitter here is a bit chunky, so it will cause some eye irritation if it gets in, or if it gets pressed in the corners of your eyes. it's such a breathtaking colour that you may well consider it worth the discomfort and i would not blame you. one thing to note, though, is that part of that incredible colour comes from the fact that it's a little wetter than other shades. that makes it more intense, but also means it's more prone to creasing or shifting before it sets. best to apply, leave it for a few seconds, then blend.

cheap date
bae :: this eyeshadow is almost enough to make me start using that word, thus looking like a late-to-the-lingo-party middle aged fool, which is actually not that far off the mark. many, many companies have copied urban decay's "louge", a reddish chestnut brown with green sheen, and it's always made me wonder why more people don't look for other contrasting combinations. well colour pop did.

this isn't so much a base colour with sheen as a base colour with glitter, but the glitter is prominent enough that you do see it in action. it's a red-purple base, like beaujolais nouveau, festooned with turquoise blue glitter. and while there is some fallout, both during application and a bit during the day, this is probably the most tenacious glitter product i've ever encountered. the vast majority was still on my eyelids at the end of the day and that was using a lot of the colour. so you have to be somewhat confident with glitter to wear this shade, but you can rest assured that you will be wearing glitter, not just a couple of random flecks.

bae, sideways, for no reason
as a subset of the shadows, we have the "pressed pigments". i'm not entirely sure what differentiates them in terms of formula, but the pressed pigments are a shade range that just brings bright colour to a whole new level. i've played with a lot of bright shades and i have never in my life seen anything like these.

slave 2 pink :: pahnk!!! paaaahhhnnnnnnnnk! this is the pinkest pink that ever pinked pink. it's a neon hot pink with tons of silver sparkle that gives it a slick, wet look. i was surprised that the glitter held particularly well with this one. yes, there is some migration, but given the amount you're starting with [and the fact that this is not a colour you're going to employ when you're aiming for subtlety], i expected more.

slave 2 pink

erotic :: an intense, fully saturated red [which is fairly rare] with pink and copper glitter throughout. my comments about the glitter fallout here are the same as they were for "slave 2 pink": yes, it's there, but considering what you're dealing with and the situations in which you're likely to use it, it's not going to be a concern.


these pressed pigments are clearly going to appeal to people who crave colour. this isn't for the mere colour enthusiast but for the person who looks at photos of tropical islands and think they look drab, or who think that ravers need to up their game. the colour selection could dazzle someone who was legally blind. so consider who you are before you make your move. if you are someone who really loves colour, however, then you will find no better example of it in this world. i sincerely hope to collect them all.

my overall impression of colour pop is that this is a wonderful, fun brand that allows you to get your hands on some prestige-quality products without paying prestige prices. if you want to focus on one area, i'd say start with the shadows or the cheek products. the lipsticks are available in some funky colours, but the formula is more like other ones available on the market. the eyeliners will probably be great once they've had a bit longer to perfect the formula.

and now... how about we make some faces???

here's one featuring acorn, slave 2 pink, exit [water lines!], sticky sweet and stole the show. it was a kind of gloomy day, so unfortunately, you don't really see the cheek products in all their glory.

the gloss i'm wearing is armani flash lacquer 701, black pearl.

now how about some bae? this is how it looks all on its own on the lid, with mixed tape used to blend out the edges. [and there's exit again!]

the blush in this case is chanel coups de nuit and the lips are stained with dior lip and cheek glow [recently a double winner of a coveted shrunken head award] and topped with rock out, a limited edition silver gloss from mac several years back.

and here's nevermind, accompanied by acorn  and mixed tape on the lids. acorn is an amazing partner for vampy lips, let me tell you. and yes, once again, i'm wearing exit. if you enlarge these photos, you can see that the application isn't quite as sharp, because i was having trouble keeping the liner in place within the packaging.

let's turn up the volume, shall we? here is erotic. no, this is not a particularly heavy application. this is what it does.

the other shadows on the eye are mac parfait amour, beautiful iris and seedy pearl. you'll note that erotic is less than perfectly blended, but that is, i promise, the fault of parfait amour, which is a gorgeous shade of purple, but damn tricky to work with. i used urban decay perversion eyeliner and the lipstick is armani rouge ecstasy 404 spice.

here's a couple of shots of cheap date, although i must apologise both because the shots aren't terribly well lit, which means that the shadow looks weaker than it does in person.

the cheeks here are a combination of nars boys don't cry, with stole the show used as a highlighter. the lips are guerlain rouge g geneva.

and since you've seen exi a few times, here's a quick look at prance and zulu:

nothing about that first look is working for me, i must say, except the lip. guerlain rouge automatique in cherry blossom. the second look has shades from the makeup forever holiday palette and dior montmartre on the lips.

and finally, it's time for a little puppy love.

i find that you can see more of the pink here, because it's surrounded by mac very violet [2010 limited edition shade]. the lipstick i'm wearing here is armani rouge ecstasy in maharajah from last year's fuchsia maharajah collection [also a shrunken head recipient].

here it is again, though, where it looks more golden, next to greens and corals.

that's teasecake on my cheeks, too. ain't it purdy? accompanying puppy love on the eyes are the green shade from nars tropical princess, and the second and third shades from guerlain les fauves. the lipstick is ballade, also by guerlain.

colour pop is available exclusively through their website and product prices range from about $5 to $8 usd. 


I believe CP distinguishes between "super shock shadows" and "pressed pigments" because the FDA doesn't list the red dyes in the pressed pigments as eye-safe. Though I'm given to understand that the FDA is somewhat unique in doing this, so you probably won't die!

Question: Does Sticky Sweet look more pink or purple when blended out on the cheeks? I can't quite tell from the photos. I was planning to buy Sticky Sweet for a while, but I think CP's Rain blush will be better at delivering the true purple cheeks I want--nay, need.
Kate MacDonald said…
Thanks for clarifying, that makes perfect sense. I'm not known to follow those sorts of rules anyway, but for what it's worth, I didn't have any trouble with either of the pressed pigments being on my eyes.

Sticky Sweet is sort of a light berry, definitely more pink than purple. I hadn't noticed Rain, so I'll have to check that one out. Have you tried Urban Decay's Bittersweet?
I've looked at Bittersweet in Sephora, but I ended up ordering Rain (which is pretty much the same shade of purple) earlier today! I figured I should spend $8 instead of $26 on a bold shade that I might not wear often. If I end up loving Rain and using it up, Bittersweet will be mine!

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