9.15.2014

Beauty Rhi-flection: Espionage Cosmetics [Everything Shadows & Lip Venom Swatches]


Forgive me darlings but this post is going to be epic.

Twelve years ago I met my friend Emily online. Back then I was admining a message board I had created as a bit of a refuge for geeks and we quickly bonded over our mutual Star Wars obsession, among other things. For several years she was the little sister I'd never had both IRL and as we wrote characters in a play-by-post RPG that were long-lost Jedi sisters. Yeah, we're cool like that. But as she moved from high school on to college and my son got older and I had my daughter our lives got so busy we slowly went from chatting daily to following one another on social media and having a vague sense of one another's current lives. 

Last year, however, we started making a point to check in with each other and we try to get in a Skype chat every month or so. Isn't it awesome when you go a few years without being close to someone and then once you reconnect it's like no time has come between ya?

During one of our chats she mentioned this really great makeup company she'd helped do some video work for, that her girlfriend also did some makeup work with. It took a few times of her mentioning it during our chats for me to finally go check them out and darnit, now I'm addicted!!!

As you guys probably know, as followers of this blog, I'm not a makeup artist. Nor am I particularly talented with makeup in general. But as a form of expression it's something I love. I only wear makeup once or twice a week to be honest. Most of the time I'm sitting here in my pajamas with my hair in a bun contemplating why I even own bras... I'm all about comfort and zero-effort unless I have somewhere to go.

When I do put on makeup, however, I love to try new products and can go a little crazy. I lean more toward eye shadows and lip products when it comes to color cosmetics. (And nail art products of course!) Which Espionage Cosmetics do with great care and flair.

Something I've always gravitated toward on top of it are limited edition pop culture partnerings with makeup brands. I'm a geek so I kind of want everything in my life to reflect that. Which is why I just adore Espionage Cosmetics' approach to beauty. Because they're a small business, you'll pay a bit more for their products than you would for drugstore brands but you will be amazed at the quality!

During their 3rd anniversary sale back in May I splurged on a couple of Everything Shadow collections and a Lip Venom.

I could literally have purchased every single Collection they make had money not been a factor. I loved every single one! But since I wanted to have this post have a little cross-over appeal with my book blog I chose the sets that I knew would be favorites with them: the Ice & Fire Collection and the Paranormal Collection.

When they arrived I was so impressed! A gorgeous silver mailer and well boxed, perfect for if you wanted to give it as a gift for a friend. But not only that, once it was opened it was made all fancy with pretty tissue paper and their logo sticker. If you're anything like me you probably really appreciate those kind of little touches small businesses take to show you that your purchase is valuable to them.

Now, since we all geek to varying degrees over various things you guys will be thrilled to know that EC don't just make makeup and then sell it, they do all kinds of cool projects with cosplayers and makeup artists in their area. It seriously makes me wish I still lived in Tacoma so I could beg to come watch them work and learn some great tips. Know that if you buy something from EC you are getting something great and supporting the talents of your fellow nerdlings.

And now for the details on my 'haul'...

The Collection of Ice and Fire & The Paranormal Collection

The Collection of Ice and Fire features four Everything Shadows in "rich colors of sparkle and glam to paint the ways of ancient times in modern world of awesomeness".  

This collection contains the following colours:
Iron Price: Smoky eyes don't ask for attention, they command it. With Iron Price as a driving force, your eyes are sure to storm any castle like rolling clouds that spark diamond flashes of lightning. Beauty is the new world power.
Knights Watch: It's that moment between sunset and nightfall that takes your breath away in a combination of shimmering gold and cerulean blue. Whether you're a badass warlord or a defender of good against evil, Knight's Watch is more than just a war paint. It's a vow to be awesome... til death.
Not Today: May the gods of death be damned because beauty this true doesn't die. One true red- no shimmer, no shine, just pure color. For the lips, for the cheeks, for the heart of beauty. Forever.
Sun and Stars: Sometimes in the battles of war, we lose the ones we love, but the beauty of that love shines on forever. Sun & Stars radiates a golden glow of fading love with a hint of red shimmer like the heartbeat of devotion that never ends.

The Paranormal Collection features four Everything Shadow colors that are sure to cause "goosebumps on everyone in the room when you make your appearance".

This collection contains the following colours:
Astral Plane: Take yourself to a whole new plane of sexy with this eye popping purple! Astral Plane will let you experience the planes of sexy, awesome and kick-ass in no time!
Clairvoyant: Commune with your inner vixen with this hot pink shade from a whole new realm! Clairvoyant is a sure fire way to get in touch with your inner hotness.
EVP: Can you feel the presence of something awesome? This chilling black with pumpkin, gold, highlights is sure to speak to others of how awesome you are. Obviously.
Manifestation: This ghostly grey has a little something special. At first glance it looks like a matte grey. Apply with a damp brush and suddenly it manifests a green interference.

Each Everything Shadow contains 2 grams of product and are safe for Eyes, Lips, Cheeks, Nails, Hair. As each contains different ingredients be sure and read the info for each on the website. They have 17 (and counting) ways to use them from the obvious use on eyes and lips to body shimmer or temporary hair color.

Just like when you buy from a store you get quality packaging for the product too. Safety seals on the outside and stickers to prevent the loose shadow from going all over. Well... most of the time. lol My Knight's Watch had a bit already loose in it that got all over when I unscrewed the cap. No biggie.

One thing I wish they did was label the top with the color name instead of the bottom because of how I prefer to store my pots. Some brands have clear tops which make it easier to see what you're picking up. I hate spillage from tipping loose powder pots to see which color I'm grabbing. I might just find some stickers and label them myself. Don't you just love the names they use for their colors? Having brainstormed my own geeky colors for years (and doing nothing with those ideas obviously) it's so awesome to be able to have some makeup that reflects my passions.

Looking at those colors though I bet some of you are thinking they're way too bright for you amiright?


I'll admit I was really intimidated at first. I wasn't even sure that with my frustrating coloring I'd be able to pull off any of these colors! Any fair-light skinned ladies out there who know the pain of trying to find foundation when you have pink, blue, AND yellow undertones? This has been the bane of the past four years of my life. But the good news is that with some exceptions I do tend to look great in almost any bright color.


For the sake of showing you the level of shimmer I chose to do my swatches and then photograph them both inside (without flash) and outside. There they are side by side so you can compare them. As you can see Not Today is a really nice matte while Iron Price, Knights Watch, and Sun and Stars are shimmery.

Truth be told I bought this collection thinking I would never wear these colors beyond perhaps use for Halloween. But I am loving them. Knights Watch is one I'm still not sure I like—blue is never a color I gravitate toward anyway, let alone in makeup—while Sun and Stars is my unexpected favorite. It's very buildable and the shimmer is light enough to not make me feel like I'm overdoing it for an everyday look. I really want to play around with Not Today as a mix-in with lip gloss too! Iron Price is gorgeous but the shimmer level makes it a bit more special occasion ready than what I'm used to so I'm using it more as an eyeliner color.


Right off the bat I loved Manifestation, grays are my go-to color, my comfort zone and it's a pearly shade that has a lilac tone to it that I loved. I tend to shy away from purple but Astral Plane is stunning the perfect color to incorporate into a playful smoky eye. E.V.P. is a really fun black with lots of warm shimmer, perfect for using as a liner with an attitude. Clairvoyant is a rich almost neon pink and I never thought I'd use it but I got a wild hair recently and just did a mega-bold eye that I liked a lot. (If you want to bring your green out in hazel eyes—the story of my life—it's an awesome choice). 


Again for the sake of showing you the level of shimmer I chose to do my swatches and then photograph them both inside (without flash) and outside. There they are side by side so you can compare them. All four have a really pretty shimmer to them. Manifestation's description says a green shimmer but I've worn it several times and notice more of a lavender tone. 


Well, wouldn't you know it... I loved my Everything Shadows so much that a week later I caved and ordered a Lip Venom. Glosses are my crack and I needed another dealer. *shrug* I really wish they did more glosses because I am hooked.

I bought Cold Blooded Killer because the inspiration well... let's just say I'm a HUGE fan of the Underworld franchise. Remember me mentioning the whole Star Wars roleplaying thing? Yeah, I've also run other types of play-by-post RPGs and my UW phase remains a favorite. But I digress... you're here to talk makeup. 


As it happens I didn't swatch Cold Blooded Killer because a) everyone's lips change the hue of glosses and b) I'm hoarding this tube. None for you! lol What I can tell you is that it smells freaking amazing. I could smell its apricot flavor as soon as I opened the package. It does contain carmine so it's not vegan friendly but the other current Lip Venoms are. I love it though, finding a red gloss that looks good on me is hard. This was actually a risk for me... one that paid off because it's the first one I've had look good. If you're fair with neutral tones and have the same problem give it a try.

So that brings me to where I'm at today... this post has actually been a work in progress over the course of two months. (With a highschooler and a preschooler, a falconer husband, and a menagerie of animals, while running a book blog... it just kind of hasn't been an urgent thing, sorry!)

What prompted me to set aside a little time to finish it up is that I wanted to nudge a little in the direction of Espionage's Kickstarter campaign they've got going right now.




Oh hey, you know my friend Emily that I mentioned at the beginning of the post? Yeah, that's her in the badass unicorn shirt in the video. 
I missed out on the Kickstarter they did last year for their original nail wrap launch and I haven't actually tried them yet. But I've been listening to the buzz on the internet and they say they rock. So ya know what... I did some very creative budgeting and went in deep—I was honestly originally only planning to go for $50 because I like heat and internet and food ha!—for the DIANA PRINCE pledge. Part of that was just that I'm a greedy girl and saw the rewards and kinda hoped I'd get something other than just nail wraps but honestly, what really convinced me to go so high was the company itself.
I love that it's a debt-free small business. That they use models of all shapes, colors, and genders! That EC was founded by women with a focus on meeting a need has been a major influence too. 'Cause let's face it... most pop culture and geek properties still haven't quite figured out how to market to the female fan. We're cool with sharing our passions with guys but we want to carry them into other areas that aren't traditionally marketed for guys like makeup. I love my geeky t-shirts but sometimes I want to wear my fandoms and still be in a dress. (You still can't make me sit like a lady in it but I'll wear that dress and my Chuck's and some serious business eyeliner).

And dudes, I want those properties to take notice of what Espionage is doing and take note. Because I am LONG overdue for some of my favorite things to make it into my makeup bag and into other female-centric products. Not just for me but for my daughter. Almost-five and if you follow me around the web you know she's obsessed with Darth Vader, the Doctor, and Groot... and of course, Barbies and Disney Princesses. But you don't need me to tell you which is easier to find on a shirt in the girl's section.

Let's keep putting out money where awesome fandom goods are for women and girls and maybe some day my little Punk will look back at this type of company and take it for granted not realizing they were blazing a trail. ;) On that note I've got to go get that little miss into bed.

Leave me a comment if you like the products I shared and if you back the Kickstarter tell them I sent you!!! 












P.S. -- It's currently at 91% and have 2 of their extra grab bags like I pledged for left and I really want the stretch goal items so I'm hoping they go well over by the Kickstarter's end on October 6th so please spread the word!!!

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