life’s entropy contour stick & lip theory review


apoptosisNo Free Friday post today – just a regular old review! I wanted to finish up with Life’s Entropy, although I realize now that the timing is pretty poor since LE just announced that they’re closing up for the rest of the month. You can still browse the site and order, though, it’s just that your order won’t be processed until the end of the month.


Swatches under indirect natural light.

First let’s talk about the Particle Contour Sticks. These come in a standard lip balm tube, which makes for really easy application. You can either swipe it directly on your face and blend, or rub a bit off with your finger and apply that way. (I haven’t tried using a brush to pick up product directly on the contour stick, so I can’t say how that works.)

The texture is a bit firm at first, but once you warm up the surface it’s soft, creamy, and very blendable. I’m a total contouring noob – this is literally the first contouring product I’ve ever used, other than some ill-advised attempts to brush bronzer into my cheekbones, which: don’t do that. At least not if you’re as pale as me. That being the case, I still found these very easy to use. It’s hard to put on too much unless you have a color that’s way, way too dark, and they’re very easy to blend. They’re a true cream product, so you will have to set them with powder if you want them to last the day.

Proton:Proton is the lightest shade of the range (because it’s so positive!). Perfect for pale skin (NC/W 25 or lighter). Similar to Illamasqua Cream Shadow in Hollow.

Proton is a neutral tan kind of color, maybe leaning slightly cool. It looks warmer and browner on me than it does in the website swatch. This is a very subtle contour on my slightly tanner summer skin, and I think it would need to be a touch cooler (grey/purple) to be the perfect color for me. It does work, though, and of course can be layered. I can see this being great for a lot of super pale folks out there, and will probably serve me well in the winter. (For the record I have absolutely no idea what MAC foundation shade I am.)

Neutron:Neutron is the classic, most universal contour shade. It is the cream version of the Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder in Medium. 

Neutron is a warmish medium brown on my skin – more like a bronzer color than something mimicking shadow. In my inaugural attempts at contouring, I’ve been layering a bit of this on top of Proton to darken it up.

Here’s a really terrible picture of Proton + Neutron layered on my cheeks. I took this at the end of a long work day, hence the red cheeks (I always and forever have red cheeks, foundation be damned), and the contour is subtle, but hopefully you can see a little bit of it! It looked more noticeable in person (and, you know, in the morning), but my camera was having none of it for some reason.


Trying to take a picture at this angle is just super weird.

And now for the Lip Theory! I chose Apoptosis, which is described as “a vibrant, medium orange coral.”


Also: I cut off my hair.

This applies very much like an OCC Lip Tar – you need a teeny tiny amount, and it’s very saturated and opaque. Other reviews I’ve seen seem to indicate that the opacity varies a bit by color, but that’s to be expected.

Now, Lip Tars dry out my lips like crazy, and they’re also prone to wearing off in that way where you get that gross ring of product around the inside of your lips – you know what I mean. It’s not attractive. I found the Lip Theory slightly better in that regard – it still dried out my lips eventually, but it was quite comfortable for the first 2 hours or so, and the color faded evenly, with no gross ring around the lips. It goes on with a satiny finish, slightly shiny, and eventually does set to a matte finish that’s fairly transfer-resistant.

Notes from my wear test (pictured above):

1:30 pm: Applied Apoptosis over a light layer of lip balm.

(During the first 2 1/2 hours or so, it felt perfectly comfortable, hence the lack of notes.)

4:05 pm: Feeling kind of dry. Not terrible, but I’m itching to slather some lip balm on over this. (I’m not though.) It does seem to be exacerbating the lines in my lips. The color is holding up well, though.

4:35: My lips are feeling very dry.

5:05: Literally dying to put on some lip balm, JFC.

5:30: Very dry. Lips are looking pretty liney and puckery. Color has faded somewhat, but not unevenly. No bleeding or feathering. Looks better in real life, I think, and would look better with some lip balm on top, undoubtedly, but I wanted to test it by itself.

During the four-hour test it survived several glasses of water (with a straw), a bowl of mac and cheese (vegan, of course), some watermelon, and several smooches. After it dries there’s very little transfer onto anything.


That second picture is pretty unpleasant. Sorry.

As you can see, by the end of 4 hours, it did sink into and exacerbate the lines of my lips pretty badly. They also felt pretty terrible at that point. However, the color faded evenly and a good bit of it stuck around. Normally I would have applied lip balm a few times during that 4 hour period, but I didn’t because I wanted to test the product on its own.

Overall, I have mixed feelings about these. Yes, they dry out my lips. But every damn thing dries out my lips. Most tinted lip balms dry out my lips. I’m also a habitual lip biter and picker, especially when I’m stressed or nervous, so my lips are usually kind of rough to start with. And it seems to be impossible for a lip product to be both long-wearing AND moisturizing, so this outcome wasn’t unexpected.

On the plus side, I was very pleased with how it wore, dryness aside, and I think applying lip balm like usual will mitigate that somewhat. And they are less drying on me than Lip Tars, in addition to being significantly cheaper ($8 vs $18). I do plan to pick up and test drive a few more colors down the road – Coralation, Recursion, Transformation, and Big Bang Theory all appeal to me.

apoptosis_comparisonSince the Lip Theories are so similar to Lip Tars, I figured I’d do comparison swatches of the ones I own that looked similar. Radiate isn’t terribly close at all, but Grandma and Apoptosis are very similar. Apoptosis seems very slightly lighter and less pink, but you really have to be looking for it.

So there you have it! You can check out Life’s Entropy here if anything caught your eye.

Happy Friday, everyone! I’m so ready for the weekend. This sleepy kitten pretty much sums up how I feel right now.


Needs for coffee.

free fridays: july favorites



This week’s Free Friday is all about a few of my favorite things! Like raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, both of which I would class as very enjoyable things. I mean, kittens. But since I don’t regularly swan around scenic mountaintops, here are some things that are somewhat more relevant to my actual life this month. (Links to reviews where I have them.)

1. Darling Clandestine EVERYTHING.

For the longest time, I had no interest in Darling Clandestine. It was a sort of willful ignorance, the same kind I apply to BPAL, though for different reasons. But after I was gifted some DC a few months back, the floodgates opened and I’ve been having a bit of a torrid love affair with the company since. I’ve liked or loved nearly everything I’ve tried, and the scents are just interesting – even the ones I don’t love, I can appreciate. I’ve been buying up bitsies, solids, and the occasional full bottle at a fairly disturbing clip – I went from having zero DC to having four gifted bottles/bitsies to owning 49 51 products in 35 different scents. In less than 3 months.

Let that sink in for a minute.

I don’t think I’ve out-and-out disliked anything I’ve tried yet (well… I kinda hated Carny Wedding), but my favorites are La La La, All Right (which is in my top 10 favorites scents ever, bar none), Cloudswing, Fisticuffs, Hellbender, Pyrotechnik, Tapadero, and Harpy.

2. Silk Naturals Sea Breeze and Zap.

Two lip products I’ve been using a lot this month are both from Silk Naturals – the Sea Breeze slick stick and Zap lipstick. Sea Breeze is a semi-sheer bright coral, and Zap is an opaque orange-red. The slick stick formula is smooth and a little glossy and doesn’t dry out my lips, and the lipsticks are creamy and pigmented. I also love the slim little tubes that keep me from giving myself Joker face if I try to apply without a mirror.

I do wish there were more shimmer-less colors, but that’s just me being boring and anti-glitter-mouth.

P.S. No review yet, but I’ll have a post about these soon!

3 & 4: Midsummer Dreams Apothecary Mermaid and Darling Girl Mermaid’s Dream.

Mermaid stuff!

The star of MDA’s small lineup for me (so far – I have but haven’t tested out samples of the new cologne oils), Mermaid is a gorgeous, sweet, summery floral that took me completely by surprise. If you’ve read my blog at all, you’ll know that I am not a floral perfume person – but I want to bathe in this. I’ve got a solid to carry around with me, but a bottle of the oil is high on my wish list and will probably find its way into this month’s beauty/perfume budget.

(Edit: MDA is having a flash sale today – 20% off with the code Lammas14 – soooo I just crossed that bottle off my wishlist. Perfect timing!)

And then there is Mermaid’s Dream. One of Darling Girl‘s Soft Focus blushes, Mermaid’s Dream is a beautiful vibrant-but-not-unwieldy strawberry red kind of color that I’ve been loving the hell out of. It actually pairs very well with Silk Naturals Zap, and I’ve been wearing them together a lot lately.

5. Cherries!

Cherry season is winding down now, and I’ve been popping them like candy while I have the chance. Cherries are my favorite fruit and several pounds a week have been making their way into our kitchen. Raniers are my favorite for snacking, but I won’t kick regular old Bings out of bed either – and they’re my choice for one of my favorite smoothies, which is:

Soymilk + a frozen banana + frozen cherries + a scoop of maple almond butter + vanilla protein powder (pea protein is my drug of choice) = delicious cherry pie protein smoothie.

6. Rhett Miller’s “The Instigator.”

This album came out the year after I graduated from high school (2002, what the actual fuck), and I listened to it constantly back then. I’ve enjoyed all of his subsequent releases, and of course his stuff with The Old 97’s (saw them live a few years ago, highly recommend!), but The Instigator remains my favorite. I haven’t listened to it in quite a while, but I came back to it recently when I needed something to help me power through some freelance work, and it’s been in near-constant rotation since.

7. New books!

This month I acquired three new books/graphic novels: “Landline” by Rainbow Rowell, “Seconds” by Byan Lee O’Malley, and “Through the Woods” by Emily Carroll. I read the first two during the 4-ish days I was without my laptop last week (it had to spend some time at the Apple store for repairs), and really enjoyed both.

I’ve loved everything Rainbow Rowell has written – Eleanor & Park and Fangirl most of all. Landline is a bit of a departure – it’s not YA, for one, and it’s a smaller, more focused story. There are light and humorous moments, but the overall tone is fairly bleak and tinged with desperate soul-searching and regret. It lacks the youthful yearning and emotional gut punch of Eleanor & Park, and it’s not as sweet and sad and funny as Fangirl, but it is quite enjoyable in its own right, and Rainbow is an author I’ll follow anywhere.

Seconds is a new graphic novel from Bryan Lee O’Malley (of Scott Pilgrim fame, but I also really liked Lost at Sea), about a chef named Katie who has a bad day… and then gets the ability to undo it. Sounds great, until she keeps undoing it and undoing it and undoing it until she basically undoes herself and everyone else into a terrible life and, oh, kinda breaks the universe. The story is solid and compelling, the art is adorable, there’s a stealth Buffy reference – no complaints here.

I haven’t had the chance to read Through the Woods yet, but I’ve been a fan of Emily Carroll’s work for a long time – it’s beautiful and haunting and terribly creepifying. Flipping through the graphic novel reveals more of the same, so I’m excited to sit down with that… in the middle of the day… so I don’t have nightmares.

8. Pretty Little Liars!

I’m not even ashamed to admit how much I love this hot mess of a show. It’s absolutely, unabashedly cuckoo bananas – it really embraces the cray, and I appreciate that. Every Tuesday night I kick my fiance out of the living room (or sometimes hop on over to my BFF’s house for PLL + chinese food) to enjoy an hour of murderstalking, inapproriate relationship drama, and outfits that had to have been chosen in the dark.

FYI, Hanna is my favorite Liar. She is a magical unicorn. So if you are also a fan you will understand why I find this most recent turn of events very upsetting. Rosewood PA (which is supposed to be located quite close to where I live, actually) has a problem with grown-ass men, and that problem is that they aren’t all currently in jail.

Since I get super obsessed with the shows that I like, I’m always looking for recaps and podcasts about them. My favorites for PLL are the recaps from Forever Young Adult and After Ellen, and the podcasts Bros Watch PLL Too and Pretty Little Recaps.

So there you have it! What were you loving in July?

limnit lipsticks review



Limnit Lipsticks is an indie company that makes vegan lipsticks in essentially every color of the rainbow, from yellow to orange to purple to cornflower blue. I’m not afraid of brights, but I’m also not a blue lipstick kind of girl, so thankfully there’s also a nice little selection of more “normal” colors for those of us who aren’t ready to rock the alien lips look.

TAT was super fast – I ordered on the day Limnit re-opened (June 27th) and received my package on July 2nd. I didn’t get a shipping email, though if I’d checked my Etsy I’d have seen that it shipped, and tracking was provided. I’d prefer to get an email, but the fact that they didn’t go out may have been a mistake? I have no idea.

I’d also like to note that despite the absolutely disgusting heat we’ve been having here lately, these arrived in pristine condition – not soft or melted at all.

Limnit sells their lipsticks in the classic bullet packaging (.15 oz) and in mini jars (.07 oz), and I really appreciate having both options available. I don’t mind the chapstick-style tubes that so many indies use for their lip products, but I can’t deny the appeal of a traditional lipstick. And the mini jars are great for testing out colors before committing to full-sizes. They’re not really “sample” jars, though – they hold quite a bit of product. .07 is half the size of a regular lipstick – when’s the last time you actually used up half a lipstick? So even the minis will last you quite a while. The only downside to the jar packaging is that you do have to use a lip brush, but honestly these are so pigmented that you’d probably want to do that anyway, especially with the darker colors.


I purchased mini jars of Punkin’, Racin’ Carnation, and Ms. President, and received a sample of Swept Away.

The texture of all of these is really nice, creamy and non-drying. They don’t have a completely matte finish  it’s more like a cross between a matte and a cream. No shimmer to be found, either, which I LOVE AND APPRECIATE WITH ALL MY HEART.

Punkin’: A bright and bold orange-red, similar to the skin of a ripe pumpkin.

A beautiful reddish orange. I really like this but I’m not 100% sure it suits me.

Racin’ Carnation: A bright red lipstick that contains just a smidge of pink.

A seriously hot fuschia color. Very bold. I love this. It’s super flattering but definitely not for the faint of lipstick-y heart.

Ms. President: A medium, vibrant brick red.

A soft, slightly terracotta red. Very wearable, and easily the most work-appropriate color in Limnit’s line. This would be a great red lipstick for people who are afraid of red lipstick.

Swept Away: Lovely dusty rose. Teetering between a medium mauve and cool pink.

A light, cool-toned mauve. Not one I’d have picked out myself, just because these colors don’t really look great on me. It’s a bit too pale and purple for my taste, but a beautiful color nonetheless.

Face swatch time! Now with 100% more glasses that I actually bothered to wear the day I did these.


The lighting in the last picture is a bit weird because the sun was going down, but the lipstick color is accurate.

No bare lips for comparison because with these things, what you see is what you get. They’re very opaque and completely obscure my natural lip color.

I’m super into these lipsticks. The texture is beautiful, the range of colors is great, and of course being all-vegan is a huge plus for me. I really like Ms. President and Punkin’, and I love Racin’ Carnation. I’m already planning my next order for another handful of minis, and I’ll definitely be picking up a full-size or two down the road.

Everything here is available from Limnit Lipsticks on Etsy.

epically epic soap co lip tint swatches



I’m always on the lookout for indie lip stuff, especially tinted balms of the non-shimmery persuasion. (Shimmery lip stuff just makes me think of those pale, frosty lips that were popular in the 90’s. *shudder*) So when I saw these babies go up in the Epically Epic Soap Co shop earlier this year, I didn’t hesitate to try them out. (I’ve had Red Velvet Cake much longer than that, but I figured I’d include it here as well.) There’s a sale going at Epically Epic at the moment, so it seemed like as good a time as any to bust these out for a review.


They’re sheer – especially the natural lip tints. I have fairly pigmented lips, so most of these barely make a difference on me. Epically Epic’s lip balms have a very smooth, thin, glossy texture. They’re not thick or waxy at all. I don’t find them particularly moisturizing as far as balms go, but they don’t dry out my perpetually-chapped lips either.


Awkward face swatch selfie time!

Graciela: This is a youthful pinkish-purple (mauve) tint made with alkanet root and dried beet root. Naturally flavored with passionfruit.

A very subtle MLBB shade.

Clio: This is a sophisticated neutral tint made with madder root and cocoa powder. Naturally flavored with apricot.

This makes my lips microscopically less pink but otherwise may as well be clear.

Indira: This is a pretty, bright tangerine orange tint made with paprika and alkanet root powder. Naturally flavored with cardamom and orange.

Tangerine orange is right. Most orange lip stuff leans toward orange-red or coral, but not this one. However it’s also extremely sheer, so it’s not going to be hard to wear unless your lips are paper white. It just makes my lips look slightly more peachy.


Carmen: This is a rich reddish-orange tint made with an infusion of alkanet root and paprika. Naturally flavored with raspberry.

A very sheer terracotta color. I’m meh on this one. I was hoping for something brighter.

Odile: This is a gorgeous deep red-violet tint made with an infusion of alkanet root. Naturally flavored with red apple and blackberry. 

My favorite of the natural lip tints, Odile is a sheer red with just a hint of plum. It’s clearly the darkest and most pigmented of the bunch, which is why it’s my favorite.

Red Velvet Cake: An irresistibly delicious lip tint that tastes just like red velvet cake ~ dark chocolate, sweet vanilla, and just a hint of raspberry. It’s tinted with a sheer and easy to wear straight red-red.

My other favorite. It’s a nice sheer, casual red. I will never hate a red. This is a fact. This is very similar to Odile – slightly more pigmented and more of a true red, without that little bit of plum, but on the lips there’s not much difference. I don’t think you’d need both.

Overall, I’m not super into the natural lip tints, but that’s only because they’re so sheer. The texture is nice and I love love love seeing more non-shimmery tinted balms appearing in indie shops – I just prefer my lip products to be a bit bolder. If you like a very subtle tint or have less pigmented lips, you might love these! And I’d recommend Red Velvet Cake without reservation, because it is slightly more pigmented. Also it smells like cake. Yum.

Everything here is available from Epically Epic Soap Co, where you can get 15% off your order through July 3rd with the promo code “MOMTIME2.”

fyrinnae lip lustre swatches


Sample tubes, all in a row. Click to enbiggen.

Fyrinnae’s lip lustres are creamy, intensely pigmented lip colors – the texture is semi-solid, somewhere between a liquid lipstick and a regular one, and not even close to being a lip gloss. They offer a ton of shades, most of which are too shimmery or out-there for my tastes, but they have a nice handful of shimmer-free shades as well.

liplustre1_swatchesNote that these swatches did stain my arm (for over 24 hours, through two initial wash-offs and then a shower!), so it’s likely that they’ll stain your lips too. I did my lip swatches over lip balm, but even still I was left with a bit of a cherry stain, and I only had each one of my lips for about 5 minutes. For regular application I’m not sure I’d recommend applying them over balm – combined with the already somewhat slippery texture of the lip lustres, it can make things a bit messy. At least in the summer. I imagine in cold weather this would be less of an issue.


Full face swatches – helpful? Weird? Both? NEITHER?

Ocelot: Matte warm dusty-rose pink, very close to the soft pink of an Ocelot kitten’s paw pads and nose.

A light mauve pink. A tiny bit lighter than I prefer my lip colors, but a great neutral shade. Plus the name is just adorable. KITTY TOES.

Pygmy Hippo: Matte medium rosy plum shade, not quite mauve. Neutral-warm.

A plummy mauve. Similar in tone to Ocelot, but darker and more purple. I’ve seen this look lovely on other people, but I don’t think it’s terribly flattering on me. Too purple – makes me look a bit sallow and dead. Again, though, I love the name. Baby hippo belly!


All reds, all the time.

Queer Theory: Very bright warm pink without shimmer.

A vibrant, hot coral red. Like strawberry red on steroids. I love these kinds of shades across the board, so this was pretty much guaranteed to be a winner for me. And it is. Easily my favorite out of the bunch. I’ll be needing a full size. Try to make me stop wearing it. YOU JUST TRY.

1952: Very bright warm red.

A slighty orange-toned red. Similar to Queer Theory, but less pink. A bit of a retro feel to this one, appropriately. I can imagine this color appearing in one of those fabulous illustrated Revlon ads from the 50’s, with some glamorous, red-lipped woman draped over a fainting couch or something. Another winner, and I’ll be needing a full size here as well.

Glamorous Rebel: Bright, rich cherry red.

A darker blue-red. This would be a great winter red. Blue-based reds like this have a tendency to pull pink on my skin, and this one does a bit, but not as much as most others. (It also has the bonus of making your teeth look super white.) Fyrinnae notes that although this is a cool red, it should work for most neutral and olive skin tones – and as someone with a weird pale olive skin tone, I can vouch for that.

I wasn’t sure I’d love this one, but it ended up being my second favorite out of the bunch. Another full size purchase for sure, though perhaps not until a bit later this year because I can’t see myself busting this out much while it’s 95 degrees and everything is melting off my face.

These are all available in sample (1.5 ml) or full-size (10 ml) tubes from Fyrinnae.

still no oscar for leo dicaprio + lip tints


shiro_apr14Earlier this month, Shiro Cosmetics launched a (beautiful!) new website and a new line of tinted lip balms to replace their Intertubes, which were great in theory but often had texture issues. Between the new lip tints and a new Color of the Month, an order was inevitable. I got my stuff few days ago, so here are my thoughts! And some terrible swatches. (My swatch game is weak. Gotta train ’em up.)


Bonus background cat.

The shadow is swatched over primer and each lip tint is one swipe. I didn’t swatch my free samples, Smell Ya Later and You Dropped Your Rod (my requests, which Caitlin kindly honored!), because I am bad at this.

April’s Color of the Month is called Still No Oscar for Leo DiCaprio. It’s described as a “shimmering rose-tinted champagne with bright silver sparks.” It’s a really pretty neutral that I’ll get a ton of use out of.


snofld_itried_comparisonComparison swatches! As you can see, Still No Oscar isn’t wildly different from a few colors in Shiro’s core collection. Baker’s Boy is more yellow-toned, and it has blue sparks rather than silver, but Sweet Honey is very similar. It’s just slightly less warm and coppery and also slightly less metallic, with no sparks or glittery bits.

Extra swatches of Still No Oscar vs February’s CotM, I Tried, by request of someone on r/indiemakeupandmore. Still No Oscar looks quite a bit lighter here – I think the shadows are just catching the light more. In any case, they’re not the same but they’re cousins. I Tried is slightly darker and distinctly more coppery pink.

I don’t have it to compare, but I also wonder how similar it is to I Survived the Apocalypse, a past CotM that was described as a rosy-toned champagne with gold and silver sparks. A lot of people (myself included!) were bummed to miss that one, so this might be a nice substitute.


Lip tints on human face.

It’s Called Love is a beautiful coral, and said to be a replacement for the Why Not Zoidberg? Intertube. That’s one of the only two I bought a full-size of (the other is Team Buffy, because Buffy), and I agree. It’s more sheer, but otherwise it’s a good match. (Scroll down!) I favor corals and reds and this is the perfect everyday version of the former. (The Miyazaki film this references is Spirited Away.)

Who Swallowed a Star? is a gorgeous hot reddish pink. It’s a bolder color than It’s Called Love, but equally wearable. (The Miyazaki film this references is Howl’s Moving Castle.)


Bonus comparison swatches of the lip tints and similar Intertubes. I don’t own a full-sized Nyan Cat, but I did end up with a sample by mistake. It’s quite a bit more pigmented than Who Swallowed a Star, but the colors are similar. It’s Called Love seems slightly more pink than Why not Zoidberg? but otherwise they’re very similar as well.

As I stated above, I wasn’t crazy about the Intertubes. They were stiff and a bit gritty and just generally didn’t get along with my perpetually chapped lips. But these guys? Are awesome. They have a lovely balmy texture, very plush and emollient, and the color is the perfect level of pigmentation for me – one layer gives you a nice wash of color, fairly subtle depending on the tint, but you can easily build it up to be more vibrant. They also have a really nice vanilla scent. I wouldn’t say I find them moisturizing, because I don’t think I’ve ever found a colored lip product moisturizing, but they’re not actively drying, and even that’s a rare find.

There are currently three others: Come Out, Come Out, a sheer apricot (My Neighbor Totoro), With Eyes Unclouded, a sheer brick red (Princess Mononoke), and A Girl and A Cat, a sheer purple berry (Kiki’s Delivery Service). I plan to pick up the rest soon, and I’m especially excited for A Girl and A Cat, since Kiki is my favorite Miyazaki film. I know these just came out so I should shut the hell up, but I’d LOVE to see a true red and maybe a warm rose pink added to the line. Ooh and a bright reddish-orange.

Anyway, these are dreamy and I’m just thrilled with them. They’re leaps and bounds above the Intertubes, and probably my favorite of all the indie tinted balms I’ve tried so far.

Everything in this post and countless other wallet-wounding wonders (alliteration abilities: activate I’M NOT SORRY) are available from Shiro Cosmetics.