Ok, time for some Colourpop realtalk. When it comes to this brand, internet opinions seem to fall into either a LOVE IT or HATE IT camp. I’m in neither camp and I want to tell you what these products (particularly the eyeshadows) are and are not good for. I ordered the Colourpop Forever Freshman eyeshadow set, two extra shadows, a matte lipstick and two ultra matte liquid lipsticks to get a feel for the brand. I purchased them last Monday and they just showed up today, so I wanted to get this review out while it was fresh in my mind.
First of all, in case you are not yet acquainted, Coulourpop eyeshadows are weird hybrid mousse-cream shadows. There’s some debate over whether they are creams or powders or whatever and while they are a little different than a traditional cream, I would still call this a cream shadow for sure.
Because of this, they don’t apply well with brushes and work better with your fingers. A lot of people in the makeup community hate this about the shadows. I’m neutral about it, because there are benefits to that. Here are the pros and cons to these shadows:
lots and lots of cool colors to choose from
blend very smoothly
fun to work with
can create extremely quick looks on the go
very pretty metallic shimmers
Don’t play well with brushes, so they’re not precise
difficult to create multi-colored looks
if you try to use glitter and matte the glitter gets EVERYWHERE
color sheers out when you try to diffuse
all of the sets include exclusive shades that can’t be purchased separately
sets do not cost less than buying the shadows separately
Not much product in pan
Some of the glitter shadows have glitter that’s too chunky
What does all that mean mean for you? Basically, the main issue is that the shades are difficult to blend together in a precise way. That means that hooded “smoky V” type eye that I like to do is all but impossible without a brush, but these shadows also don’t work well with brushes. So there’s that.
On the other hand, they are really great for an all-over wash of color or a simple two-shade gradient. Those are very doable and they are quick, easy and beautiful. Plus you get to apply with your fingers and that’s fun.
My takeaway from all of that is if you really like complicated “beat face” eyeshadow looks, you will hate these shadows. If you like doing simple eyes sometimes or you are really intimidated by the idea of expertly blending four different shades into your crease and want a shortcut, then these are worth your time.
There’s also some really nice pigmentation to be had if you stick with these. Check out my swatches:
This is the Forever Freshman set ($30) from the new, ’90s-inspired Fall 2015 collection. It has three mattes and three shimmers. The Shades swatched L-R are Baby-T, Melrose, As-If, 90210, Koosh, Crimper.
These are two single shadows I was drawn to, Shark Attack and I Heart This ($5 each).
For my part, I have been a lot more into one or two tone washes of color offset by bold lips lately, so I’m actually pretty into these. I also think the cream shadows lend themselves to a particularly lovely sparkle that is hard to recreate in a powder shadow. For that reason, I think Colourpop super shock shadows also make a good base tone when you do want a cut crease look. You’ll just need to use a powder-based contrast tone in the crease.
Lippie Stix in Lumiere ($5).
This is ok, but I’m not wowed yet. It feels good, but looks sooo dry in the pictures. It feels like a Maybelline Creamy Matte (love those) and the Jordana Modern Matte, but I don’t think it looks as good on. It might just be this shade, I dunno. I also may have just needed to moisturize (I was in a hurry to get these swatched and reviewed TODAY, so shortcuts were taken). The packaging also seems needlessly long.
Ultramatte liquid lip in Beeper ($6).
This stuff is great! Ok, so it looks REALLY dry on my lips (as basically all matte liquid lipsticks are wont to do) because I didn’t adequately moisturize first, but what I’m so hyped about is that it feels extremely light on. This is the first liquid lip that I can actually forget I’m wearing because it doesn’t feel heavy and tight. It’s comparable to Kat Von D, but for a quarter of the price. I just need to be sure an plump up my pout before swatching next time.
Alright, let’s do some looks!
This is Shark attack and I Heart this blended together. This is the sort of easy wash I was talking about, this is where Colourpop shines.
Then there’s this wayyyy too subtle look-
That is an example of trying to smooth out the lines of an eye contour and blurring it into nothingness. Believe it or not, that was at one time As If, 90210 and Crimper from the Forever Freshman set (check the initial swatches and let me know if you expected that).
The problem was that I couldn’t get a balance of pigmentation and smooth lines. Blending the shades with any precision other than just an allover lid color is not going to happen.
After that, I tried to really challenge myself to make it work by adding the rest of the shades in, and this was the best I could do.
Also pictured: the Lumiere Lippie Stick.
Ok, so to salvage that sad look, I smoothed the crease out with a little bit of Busted from Urban Decay’s Naked 2 and added liquid liner. After that I felt way better about my super shocks.
Also pictured in this set: Beeper ultra matte lip.