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I Bit the Apple! [RedAppleLipstick Review]

Like so many buyers of RedAppleLipstick products before me, I'd never heard of the brand until a friendly youtuber, specifically makeupTIA, mentioned them in a monthly favourites video. The fact that their products are cruelty-free, completely vegan and also gluten-free captivated the makeup junkie in me... And I went on a binge buy. To be honest, it wasn't completely unprovoked at the time –– I've been cruelty-free with my makeup for roughly 6 months now and vegan with as many cosmetics when possible, so finding makeup products to build that part of my collection, that not only fit the cruelty-free criteria but are also wearable and easy to use, has been difficult. Worth it, but difficult. When I eventually stumbled across the good stuff, I grabbed it and ran. I also like supporting little indie brands that distribute quality cosmetics, so I bit the bullet (or should I say apple?) and I placed an order.

RedAppleLipstick, as you may have guessed, are notorious for their lipstick however since I had enough lip products to feed a small army of internet beauty gurus at the time (my current situation isn't a whole lot better tbh), I desisted and decided to try out their Z-Palette system instead. You can fill one of their custom made Z-Palettes with up to 9 eyeshadows and the actual Z-Palette is free as well as the 4th shadow being free, the 6th shadow being half-price and the 9th shadow being also free. After carefully reading the FAQ I deduced that I'd have to pay customs charges on my order when it arrived (living in the UK when all the indie vegan makeup seems to be rooted in the US can be expensive) so I said C'est La Vie and got all the shades that I wanted in one order.

Full disclosure (not that this review is sponsored in any way, I bought everything): there were a couple of hiccups in the ordering process. Let me pull up receipts (you can find the e-ticket here). I placed my order on May 5th using PayPal at the checkout and expected everything to be all fine and dandy. I shop online often so when I didn't receive an email confirmation of my order being dispatched in the days following the placement of my order, I decided to revisit the website and check what was up. Imagine my shock when it said my order had been cancelled. Huh? I didn't cancel my order?! I found this blip on May 10th. I wrote to them immediately:

Not my finest hour of English but you get the point. All I wanted was my eyeshadow––!! They wrote back to me on the same day, if my memory serves me correctly it was merely an hour later. That is crazy impressive to me compared to some of my other experiences with complaints and customer service. Andrea answered my ticket and explained that their heavy duty fraud detection wrongly 'detected' me as a fraudulent buyer and automatically cancelled my order without the company being able to manually check which orders had been cancelled. It was a hot mess, but I've always been aware that with smaller companies there is a larger margin for error. I was offered a free lip balm and expedited shipping so I said yes and I kept an even keener eye on tracking the second time around. Needless to say, my order eventually arrived and it arrived in mint condition hallelujah. Like I previously mentioned there were customs charges, but that was no fault of their own and laid out in the FAQ for all to see. Here's Andrea's message FYI:


Now, on to the actual review. The colours I purchased were: Chocolate Martini, Espresso, Vamp, Bronze Bombshell, Lucky Penny, Golden Ticket, Olive this Color, Dirty Girl and Sage Rage. As you can see in the pictures below it is quite a warm palette but it is by no means another neutral "naked" set. It looks a lot more cooler toned in real life but it is perhaps slightly warmer when it's actually on my eyes. Regardless the photos have #NoFilter so y'all can see them properly. RedAppleLipstick also has a pre-made palette section of the website if the notion of creating a palette is slightly overwhelming. I will say it now, the shadows are not all created equal. Some shades I love, others (one in particular) not so much. 


Chocolate Martini was the first shadow I swatched because obsessive me had to organise all the shadows 'correctly' in the Z-Palette before I played with them. The shade is described as a "rich, dark chocolate brown with golden bronze shimmer" on the website and I think that is pretty accurate, but the shimmer can look purple-violet in certain lighting. It's a beautiful shift that makes the shadow dynamic and awesome to look at in the pan –– it looks like a deep burgundy sometimes at first glance. The shift also makes the shadow easy to pair with purples and burgundies as well as other browns, golds and greens. It's very dark but the bronze glitter makes the whole shade warmer. It's a very fun colour! I had an initial moment of panic because Chocolate Martini is so dry to swatch. The glitter feels gritty on the fingertip, the pay-off isn't great and it takes a couple of swipes to get it where you want it to be. With an eyeshadow brush on the eyelid it's a different story thank God: I later found that Chocolate Martini is a no-nonsense shadow without being overly intimidating, it's good for building up and it can look stunning with time and blending. Like I said, it is terrible to swatch and I wouldn't use this with my fingers ever, but it stays in place all day. Once it's there, it's there. Like an introverted funny friend at a party, all Chocolate Martini needs is a little warming up, you know?

Espresso is described as a "very dark, matte coffee bean brown eyeshadow" on the website, it is deliciously cool toned and has an undertone that makes it look like an extremely deep green, like a darker khaki-camouflage type of colour in the pan. This is the kind of shadow that will go with absolutely anything because it is cool toned enough to mimic a shadow on the face but warm enough to not look too ashy. I adore this colour –– even though it might seem mundane, it is incredibly versatile. In my crease it pulls more black-brown, it looks a lot darker on the skin than in the pan in my opinion. For paler people, I recommend using a really light hand because it can turn very dramatic very quickly! This is also an extremely dry shadow to swatch, the first two shadows and the last shadow that I swatched were the driest, but it is really nice when it is in the crease and it blends out nicely. It doesn't feel too drying or weighty when it's on the skin. Again, it has a wonderful staying power. Espresso is the guy that looks too intimidating to approach but in reality he has all this random knowledge on trivia, plays 5000 instruments and knows how to salsa. Does that even make sense? 

Vamp is one of my favourites! She broke the dry swatching curse, and although she wasn't exactly the buttery densely-packed eyeshadow of my dreams, she wasn't bone dry like Chocolate Martini. On the website, she is described as a "deep red color that reminds of aged red wine" but I think it's a warmer and more sultry burgundy in real life, with a satin finish that shows barely detectable burgundy glitter in pan but translates as a classy shimmer on the eye. I have 0 qualms with this eyeshadow. It's easy to blend, it's pigmented, it does what it says on the tin and is super easy to work with. I used this with my finger all over the lid and blended into the crease and I was good to go. I used this as a crease shade to smoke out my look today and I was good to go. Lower lashline pop of something extra? Marvellous. It's a pretty universal shadow that I see working on a huge variety of skin and eye colours in a huge variety of situations. Vamp is the pretty girl friend that you can take absolutely anywhere, who can pull off absolutely anything.  

Bronze Bombshell is a quintessential classic golden bronze. This is possibly the easiest one to dupe, in my case especially due to my personal love of bronzes, because it is a tried and tested colour. It is stunning nonetheless and I reckon it pulls my custom palette together. It is described as a "warm, deeply pigmented medium bronze eyeshadow with a golden sheen" and I'd like to add that it has a slight rose gold shift under certain lighting, like a rose-bronze (more bronze than rose but the slight pink is there). "Deeply pigmented" is absolutely correct because this shines the brightest on my arm and on my eyelid. This colour swatches the creamiest on my hand and it's pretty easy to pack on to the eye. To be perfectly honest I had to go in and pat this on a few times until I was satisfied, but once it was on it stayed on for the entire day. It does not budge. Bronze Bombshell is the gorgeous friend you have who is always a little bit extra, so much so that everyone around them has gotten used to their antics and doesn't mention it anymore. They're always overdressed and overdone, attention-seeking in a quiet but demanding way, and you love them for it. 

Lucky Penny is described as a "medium yellow copper with a stunning metallic finish... in the same family of colors as Bronze Bombshell ... but it’s lighter and more yellow than Bronze Bombshell" on the website but... Not on my swatch! Lucky Penny translates as pulling more towards the browny-green side of the golden spectrum on my skin and it is a tad darker than Bronze Bombshell on the eye in natural lighting (nowhere near as bright as BB). It looks a little lighter than Bronze Bombshell in the pan in some lighting, so I guess I know why RedAppleLipstick said the contrary. I found myself putting this metallic shadow just below my crease a lot and not really on my lid –– I'd much rather use its more glamorous sister Bronze Bombshell. It wasn't bright enough for me to use it as a highlight shade either... It is a nice colour! Don't get me wrong! But it doesn't really stand out for me personally in the palette. Lucky Penny is ok blended with other browns and for me that's it, I wouldn't put it in the crease because it's too metallic and I wouldn't reach for it to place on the lid because other lid shades overpower it. The texture of it is lovely, it blends nicely, swatches great but it's not an outstanding colour for me even though I don't have any shades quite like it (now I know why!). Lucky Penny is the 6th child in a family of 15 who has average grades, everyone forgets her name and she is simply a familiar face in her large group of acquaintances that she calls friends.

Golden Ticket is a paler, more gold version of Bronze Bombshell for me and is described as "a beautiful shimmering gold" on the RedAppleLipstick website. I threw it into my selection as a last minute highlight shade so I'd have a somewhat cohesive palette. Surprise, surprise, I've really grown to love it not just as a shimmery highlight (on the browbone, inner corner, cupid's bow, you name it) but also as a pop on the centre of the lid and as a versatile complement to everything and anything. It shows up incredibly pigmented on my skin so I'm gonna take a leap of faith and say it's good to go for everyone: from porcelain to gorgeous deep obsidian skin tones, everyone can find a use out of this colour. It pulls more champagne without looking too grey and ashy so I like it! It blends into the browbone easily, it adds extra drama, it stays put. I'm very fond of this shadow. Golden Ticket is the perfect companion to a glamping trip, both sophisticated and prepared.

Olive this Color is not olive on me. It's not. At the most I'd say it is a fern green meets turquoise colour with a golden shift –– really it reminds me of the colour of seafoam. The kind of colour you'd imagine a mermaid tail to be. On the website it says it is a "muted, earthy green eyeshadow with a soft light golden metallic sheen" and I completely agree. It isn't an olive eyeshadow! Don't let the name fool you. It looks a lot darker on the picture on the website to me. It is one of the sparkliest shades that I picked, it catches the light no matter where you are standing, ultra-metallic in comparison to the other shades in my palette. It looks like it has a blue undertone next to Dirty Girl and the gold sparkle makes it super pretty. On my darker skin it is a nice contrasting colour and it brings out the brown in my eyes. Let me reiterate, the staying power on all of these shadows is supreme. Olive this Color is just pretty. Gorgeous for special occasions, the one you get out for drinking limited edition champagne on your last night of being single. 

Dirty Girl is described as a "medium, mushroom, earthy, khaki taupe with shimmer" on the website and I want to put emphasis on the khaki part of that description. Dirty Girl can be very green, seductive and metallic –– the shimmer isn't always so subtle. It's perfect in a green smokey eye look or on the lower lashline, I really like it for multiple purposes. It can also look bluer and a slightly grey in some lighting, like as shown in the picture above. The formula for Dirty Girl is similar to Golden Ticket: shimmery, blendable and almost highlight like, if not for the colour of it. If I ever try an all black eye maybe I'll use it as a highlight but until that day... Dirty Girl is a dirty transformative cool toned grey greeny-blue that needs a specific mood and the promise of a shameless night out to perform to its full capacity.

Sage Rage made me realise that I'm not the biggest fan of the RedAppleLipstick matte formula, unfortunately. Similar to Espresso, the only other matte shadow that I purchased from them, it swatches dry. This shadow is also the exception to the RedAppleLipstick long staying-power rule, for me. It faded the fastest out of all the shadows, not that it was gone in the blink of an eye but comparably it fell short. By the end of my 8 hour day it didn't look so good. It also takes the most work to get pigmentation out of it. Unlike Espresso, where it's a good idea to go slow because of the colour depth of the shadow, Sage Rage can be quite frustrating (as the name suggests). This is my least favourite shadow of the bunch which is a shame because it looks so gorgeous in pan. It's described as a "muted, earthy, khaki green", personally I think this colour is more of an olive than Olive this Color will ever be, a really nice crocodile green. Shame the formula comes up short for me. Sage Rage is a 50 yard fakeout that has really awesome muscles but cannot actually perform on the field to save his life.

Extra Swatches:

The Look: Golden Ticket as an inner corner, cupid's bow and nose highlight. Bronze Bombshell on the lid, Espresso in the crease and then Vamp buffing it out. A little touch of Chocolate Martini is in the outer V. 

Swatches (from top to bottom): Sage Rage, Dirty Girl, Olive this Color, Golden Ticket, Lucky Penny, Bronze Bombshell, Vamp, Espresso, Chocolate Martini.

The Verdict:

  • When they're good, they're pretty great. 
  • The staying power is awesome on all of these but one. 
  • They're cruelty-free, paraben-free, soy-free, GMO-free, talc-free, dye-free, gluten-free AND vegan. That's impressive and it makes me love using them. 
  • They have shades that work on a variety of skin colours: POC friendly!
  • They are all blendable and the fallout isn't unbearable IMO. 
  • The pan size is good, the same as a MAC, Morphe, Violet Voss etc.

I can't see myself buying anymore of their shadows anytime soon because:

  • The shade selection is relatively small.
  • I do not like the matte formula.
  • The shipping and custom charges kill me because I live in the UK.
  • Not to mention the shadows are by no means cheap, averaging at $18.75 a pop –– that's just under £13 for one shadow.  

Even with the cute free branded Z-Palette they come in and the 4th and 9th shadow free (and the 6th one half price) they are an expensive treat (unsurprising due to the good ingredients and awesome ethics the company employ). This is one of their only large downfalls for me but it's a big one to consider! All in all their shadows are all blendable and do not feel too heavy on the eye at all. I definitely recommend the brand and all of the shadows that I have tried but one.

Have you tried anything from RedAppleLipstick? What would you recommend? I hope you're having an awesome day!

Haul Time! Pixi[es], Artbox[es], Happy Socks and More!

WARNING: There's a long backstory ahead so skip to the following paragraph to see what I have purchased! Today I hit the town with the wholehearted intention to buy a new foundation. Since I have the Body Shop's colour adjusting drops on hand to remedy most situations, shade isn't exactly the issue I have with my current foundation. The undertone of my current foundation is all wrong. I've been using Urban Decay's Naked Skin in the shade 9.0 and I find it makes me look a little ashy because it had redder, pinky undertones instead of yellow, golden ones –– I have to spend time working excessively with other powders to return much needed warmth into my face after using it. After browsing online I chose Clinique and went in store to get colour matched. I sat patiently while the loveliest sale's associate in the world tested out number 23, aka Ginger, on my skin. Other than the fact it looked slightly too light for me I liked it –– the undertone, the formula, the coverage, all great. Andddd... Just my luck, Ginger has been discontinued. I know. Mortified, Clinique gave me a freebie mascara for the slip up and I continued on my merry way... And I stopped by a couple of stores to spend that foundation money. Die another day, I guess?

This is a quick update on my purchases today, why I bought what I did, what I plan on using them for etc! I'll keep you all updated on my informed opinion after I've been consistently using the products but I wanted to share my current excitement. Yay for new things! 

Okay, first and foremost, Happy Socks. I love socks and I probably have too many. Socks with clouds on them, socks with famous paintings on them, socks with various items that can be found in the fridge on them, you get the gist. I've been to Happy Socks before and I lowkey died walking into such a glorious emporium head to toe in snuggly socks the first time. The second time around, I just smiled with quiet contentment. I purchased the I Love Mum Giftbox for £20 in store and there isn't much to say! They're really thick and warm, the patterns are very pretty and I'll probably be crawling back into the store in a couple months.

I then dilly-dallied, you know the drill. I popped into a couple of stores that looked interesting but had nothing for me in reality... Eventually I found a hidden gem, tucked away near Urban Outfitters, called Cath Kidston. Personally, I'd never heard of her brand or store before today (who is she?) but I'm really glad that I discovered her. The store was divided cleanly into sections with clothes, home goods like candles, and handbags and purses. Everything in there is so quirky and vintage shabby chic, I love the colour scheme and the whole vibe. Not quite in the mood to do handbag or purse shopping, I avoided the main products that were displayed and picked up two little items: the blue polkadot glasses string and the painted rose lip balm. I thought the lip balm was going to be an actual stick because instore it was hidden in the box, but it turned out to be a squeezy tube. I'm the least crazy about the lip salve because it feels super thick without really being hydrating. It doesn't help that the rose scent is suuuper strong to the point of being headache inducing either. I've tried the Balance Me Rose Salve in the past and although that scent was perfect, like delicious rose turkish delight, it didn't do much on the hydration front. We'll see how this one fairs! The glasses string is super cute though, I'm in love with it. I have a feeling I'll really like Cath Kidston's fashion line, maybe for another time.

Next was ArtBox. I think their store is a pop-up one? They essentially revolve around Japanese trending fashion, they sell cute stationery and some snacks too (mostly variations of Pocky you never knew existed). I didn't stay there too long because I knew exactly what I wanted. To be honest, I bet I could have picked up similar products in ChinaTown for a more competitive price but uh... Indulge me, yeah? I got the cutest little sheep plushie keychain to put on my backpack. I've been wanting one to replace my tired winky emoji for a while, not specifically the sheep, but a small plushie animal. I got it because it reminded me of a game Pewdiepie played a while back called Catherine. It's so cool and cute! I also got washi tape for my planner. The pattern is little pink crosses, which I reckon is super pastel goth of me.

And finally! The star of the show! I dragged my ass to check out Pixi :D I've been cruelty-free with my makeup purchases for roughly 6 months now and I like to buy vegan makeup when possible (RedAppleLipstick Review coming up soon!) but I've never bought any Pixi products. Everyone raves about them all the time so maybe in the upcoming weeks I'll get to see why. I bought the Glow Mist, the Lip Contour Liner in Natural Rose, the H2O Skin Drink and Endless Silky Eye Pen in Cobalt Blue. The sale's associate also threw in a sample sized Glow Tonic and Pore Primer for me to try (which I am forever grateful for and excited to use). First impression? Love love love the blue eye pen. Nevermind the fact that it is so pigmented, it is super soft almost like a gel liner consistency but still incredibly precise and it doesn't budge. I've included pictures with no filter below to show y'all. I'm in love. I want 500 in all the shades. It's much smoother than my blue Kiko smart pencil and a hell of a lot brighter. I'm impressed! 

I can't wait to try out the H20 Skin Drink –– it sounds amazing for my super sensitive drier skin and it has raving reviews online. It also has a pump which I am obsessed with (tell me I'm not the only one who loves complexion items with pumps?). I'm also anticipating the Glow Mist because my Lush Tea Tree water is coming to an unfortunate end and I hope the Glow Mist will perform as well, if not better considering the price tag. I love facial mists, gotta get that glow, what can I say?

That concludes my gigantic haul! Let me be Raven for a second and predict my immediate future: I see no to little beauty buys :') Let me know when you last bought something? Is there anything from the brands I've mentioned that you'd recommend? Have an awesome Saturday.

Etude House Polishes Via Beautynet Korea!

Spoiler alert! I adore these nail polishes.

I've wanted to gush about them for a while but I had no idea who to gush to. I'm glad you've got my back fellow blog readers! Beautynetkorea has had a fair few misses for me (I'm looking at you Mango Sunblock and various disappointing Makeup mists) but the day I ordered the Etude House Princess Happy Ending Nail kit in Belle was a pretty great day.

First, let's talk about Beautynetkorea.com. They sell a variety of Korean makeup and skincare products with discounted prices (I'm a student, I need to exaggerate this), member point perks and free shipping. Plus, you can pay by paypal and everything is super secure. Every time I've ordered from Beautynetkorea my package has arrived in 10 days which is amazing consistency, to me.
In itself, Beautynetkorea it's an awesome website for stocking up on foreign products, but, as always, with great power comes great responsibility. Some of the products I've purchased from Beautynetkorea haven't been incredibly impactful on my skin, not many of the products I've purchased have had super long staying power or great pigmentation (re: most of the Etude House eyeshadows), and I rarely reach for their products when doing my makeup unfortunately. None of the foundations or BB creams have a great shade range and a lot of their products are "whitening", a term that sends me running towards the African mountains without so much as a glance back. When I eventually find something I like the look of I'm elated, but as with most online stores it's hard to know whether something is really going to work (and I'm not about to globe trot just to test products in store; I'll run for Africa, but for Etude House?? For TonyMoly?? No thanks). To their credit, Beautynetkorea does a really great job at providing a heap of samples with every order (they tend to be the same Tonymoly acne cleanser samples but I'mma ignore that, it's cool).

I can't confidently say that I am a nail polish person. I used to be in high school, I used to do nail art and really creative stuff, but nowadays I find it high maintenance. I need a nail polish that will dry quickly, last for a very long time, not completely destroy my nail bed and chip in a graceful manner. It doesn't seem like a lot to ask but oh boy, you'd be surprised at how many polishes I've tossed... I put the Etude House Princess polish kit in my cart on a whim because I literally only have one other nail polish. I went back and ordered the other kits in Jasmine and Snow White after falling in love with Belle. On a side note, how cute is it that they're named after Disney Princesses? Hopefully the pictures below will translate (I'm wearing the Orangey Red shade in the Snow White kit, ignore my foundationless face please and thank you) but they are so shiny and easy to apply. The brush inside is flat and on the rectangular side so with a few easy swipes I'm done. They dry in approximately 2 minutes and whenever I wear them my mom asks me if I got gel nails done. They're that shiny.

Each kit comes with some nail art sheets, I gave these away after I tried them once. Don't get me wrong, they adhere to the polish well (it's better to apply them after the nail has dried) but they're little crowns and roses and genie lamps, aka not exactly my style. The kit also comes with two nail polishes, one glossy shade and one that's either glittery or shimmery. I love the glitter polishes because they aren't hell to remove from the nail and they're subtly pretty. These polishes go through an entire week of wear without chipping. A week! What kinda Korean sorcery–– They look glossy, clean, two coats and I'm done. I don't apply a base or top coat because I'm lazy and they still last forever.

Love, love, love these kits. I'd buy Cinderella if the colours appealed to me but not everything can be perfect, eh? Let me know what Korean beauty products you love! What nail polishes are you whipping out for summer?

Of Sunny Saturdays and Orange Lipsticks...

The sun is out, the birds are singing, my skin is radiant. It's a minor miracle that Everything is Awesome™ seeing as exams are rapidly approaching and I want to celebrate my small victories in some way, shape, or form. The little things in life are worth appreciating, am I right? 

"It's time," I hear my soul whispering. 

"Time for what?" I gingerly reply. 

Orange lipstick.

I know as a person of colour, the prospect of an orange-toned anything can make one really break a sweat. It needs to be a miracle orange in order to not completely blend into my skin, look too stark or emphasise hyperpigmentation around my mouth. The first high-end lipstick I bought came from a massive Sephora in New York City, when my cares were little and my makeup skills were dire. But even then I knew what a novelty a good orange lipstick was, what a celebration it signified. Years later and I still have that sheer orange lipstick container (I used it up completely): I love reminiscing with it about that trip to anyone who will listen.

Today a delivery came in the mail, right when I was deliberating which orange lipstick to reach for exactly... And it's beautiful. It's bright but can be sheared out to a wearable wash of colour. I just have to share the selfies, I can't be selfish I need to let y'all know. My Beautiful Rocket by Lime Crime is just that: A Beautiful Rocket that soars my makeup to new heights. It's a beautiful bright orange with a redder undertone that complements my skin tone and I can see it being flattering on such a variety of skintones, easily.

I'll say no more and share the selfies! Let me know of your Orange lipstick discoveries?