Review: Sarah Does Sugarpill

I fell in love with Sugarpill when it launched in 2010 and started appearing in make-up tutorials from all my favourite gurus. I had been keeping an eye out for a true red eyeshadow for years, and the company delivered with Love+, a stunning candy-apple red that I simply had to own. That they sold a dupe for another of my much sought-after shadows in the form of their Poison Plum (a slightly redder version of Make-Up Forever’s to-die-for purple #92) was enough for me to put together an order. In one of the early months of 2011, Sara and I shipped out for the package depot across the Canadian-US border to retrieve my first Sugarpill purchases: Love+, Poison Plum, and a jar of loose eyeshadow that never failed to crease no matter how much primer I applied.

Since then, my orders to Sugarpill have been sparse but no less significant. The company’s pressed eyeshadows are well-formulated. They have longevity, blend like a dream, and have superb colour payoff. I’ve since come to appreciate their lip products as well, both in their liquid lipsticks (some of which dry to a sparkling gold on the lips – be still, my heart) and their traditional lipsticks (the purest black lip I have ever worn, zomg). I have other reasons to support the company besides what I consider to be their quality product. They’re manufactured in California, vegan (for the most part), and cruelty-free.

When Sugarpill announced it’s Little Twin Stars collab, I tried to maintain objectivity, but the palette won me over. Most of the shades were neutral tones with the exception of Cloud Maker (a blue-toned silver) and Star Ribbon (a matte, light teal). I was especially taken in by Sky Candy, a frosted pink, which I could see looking great in my crease. When I saw the pink liquid lipstick Lala, I knew I was committed, even with the prospect of having to own the sibling-shade Kiki, a matte teal that I would probably never wear in public. Looking at the promotional photos, I got the sense that this was the Sugarpill product I had been waiting for, a Sugarpill palette that would bridge the gap between my taste in bright colours and the lack of appropriate venues to wear them.

As with all cosmetic products, there’s a huge element of subjectivity in all of this. Make-up is a tool. It fulfills a function. That function, for me, includes artistry and creativity, but I need products that fit both work and play. Sugarpill’s new palette fit into my life in both form and function.

Products that work on me may not work on you. Wherever possibly, I have tried to contextualize my interests so that you can have a clear idea of where my critiques are coming from as well as provide a numbered rating for quick reference.

With that in mind, let’s get into this!

Packaging

I don’t care about packaging.

Okay, that’s not entirely true: I care that a package works. That the product is contained and protected while at the same time being accessible and easy to work with. I tend to shy away from palettes where eyeshadow is stored in narrow pans because it’s difficult to load my brush properly or manage cross-contamination of colours. Whether or not it looks particularly attractive is of little consequence to me.

I say all this staring down the giant gift box that my order arrived in: soft pink and illustrated with the gold-embossed Little Twin Stars characters. It’s adorable, all right? It’s also sturdy and survived the long trek from California to Saskatchewan with my products intact, and that’s the most important part. The box designed to be a keepsake for after you’ve unloaded all your new make-up. Thumbs up for small bonuses!

The eyeshadow palette is sturdily built with a magnetic flap that seals tightly, containing any product that might have been scooped loose by, oh, I don’t know, let’s say an overexcited beauty blogger looking to cover every inch of her face in Cloud Maker? You know, hypothetically. I haven’t put this palette to the real test with traveling, but so far, despite my best efforts to make a mess, the shadows have survived. Each shadow is stored in a large rectangular pan giving ample space any tool you use for application. The palette also comes with a mirror, which makes my pragmatic heart go all a-flutter. Palettes should ALWAYS come with a mirror.

The liquid lipsticks are solidly built and DO withstand hard travel if my bottle of Sugarpill’s Trinket is any indication. They come with a great applicator – spade-shaped, pointed tip – to create a perfect pout without bringing another brush into the mix. And coming from me, that’s high praise, because if I can use more than one brush, I probably will.

Ordering the entire collection meant that I also received a matching make-up case. I love that the zipper goes around every corner so that it opens and lays flat. There’s also enough room for an entire face worth of make-up.

The Palette

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Swatches from top to bottom: Cloud Maker, Star Ribbon, Twinkle Twinkle, Dream Dust, Sky Candy, Wish. Swatches applied without a base.

Ordering the Little Twin Stars palette, I didn’t see it as being a one-and-done palette. I knew I would need to provide additional colours in order to make the palette work. The palette comes with three foiled shadows, two frosts, and one matte, making it somewhat difficult to blend together. I wish Sugarpill had included an additional matte shadow, preferably a darker colour, which would have made it more of a standalone palette.

It took some playing around with the shadows to figure out what goes together with what and how. The colours are softer and subtler than what I’m used to, and they are sheer but buildable. Nevertheless, they apply and wear beautifully. There was a lot to discover with this palette, too. I spent the weekend playing around with different looks, and there’s so many opportunities with the eyeshadows to create looks that are neutral or more editorial. If you’re a beginner, this palette probably isn’t your jam, but if you’re used to playing around with shadow combinations, Little Twin Stars is a fantastic addition for your collection.

With regards to the shadows, I figured I would provide descriptions of each followed by some observations regarding texture, colour payoff, and application/fallout (with and without a brush). I didn’t mention longevity since I always wear a primer. I then summarized all this information into a single ranking for each.

Cloud Maker – blue-sheened silver foiled. Looks silver on my skin; blue reflect seems to disappear. Buttery consistency. Holds up to zealous swatching. Highly pigmented with great, consistent payoff when applied with a finger. Brush application caused shadow to become more sheer. Works great as a highlight or lid colour. 4/5

Star Ribbon – matte, light teal. Easily my favourite in the entire collection. Colour payoff is spectacular with even a little product. Applies smoothly using finger or brush. Blends well into other colours. No fallout. 5/5.

Twinkle, Twinkle – gold foiled. Needs building for full opacity, but applied sheer, this gives a beautiful wash of glitter. Applies smoothly using finger or flat brush. Blends well with foils and mattes. Safe to wear on lipstick for a metallic pop of gloriousness that must be seen to be believed. Update – this colour makes a BEAUTIFUL highlighter. 5/5.

Dream Dust – cool-toned frosty tan. Has a slight pink sheen on my skin. Great all-over shadow. Pairs well in combination with Sky Candy. Perfect for blending or diffusing shadows but use a light hand when wielding a fluffy brush; this shadow comes apart very easily. 4/5.

Sky Candy – pink frost. Actually does work as a crease colour. Very subtle shade. Needs a lot of building to get the full force of the pink. Applies smoothly using a finger for a flat brush but, like Dream Dust, this comes apart very easily with a fluffy brush and it’s easy to take too much product at once. 4/5.

Wish – foiled copper. Surprisingly sheer; needs to be packed and even then does not achieve full opacity. Buttery consistency and fine glitter means no fallout. Does not blend well with matte shadows; works best when paired with other foils. 3/5.

The Lipsticks

 

 

I give Sugarpill high praise for their liquid lipstick formula. It dries quickly and withstands my relentless eating, drinking, and lecturing. I do notice that I have to condition my lips after wearing these, and that’s with all the conditioning I do before application, but I consider that a small price to pay for a lip product that does not move. Seriously does not move. I went to remove these while taking photos for Instagram and even my cleansing oils were having trouble getting them off my lips.

I absolutely LOVE that the lipsticks fade to a beautiful gold shimmer. Both Little Twin Stars lipsticks – Kiki and Lala – do this. I also recommend applying a lip-safe gold eyeshadow on the centre of the lips to add a little more glam.

The payoff with these is phenomenal. One stroke of the brush covers the lips to full opacity. They do wear slightly darker on me than they appear in the tubes. I’ve noticed this with my tube of Trinket as well, so I’m thinking this is just how they look in relation to my skin and may not be your experience with the product.

Being that both are matte, bright lip colours, they benefit from being worn with a medium to heavy coverage foundation. This is especially true for Kiki, the teal lipstick, which demands to be the focal point of the look.

Lala is, for me, the more wearable of the two shades. It’s a bright, bubblegum pink colour. I can see myself using it regularly. Kiki – not so much, and I say that less because it’s bright teal and more because I don’t like the way it looks on me. I get the sense my skin tone is either not light enough or not dark enough to make the colour work. It also doesn’t fit my aesthetic. Strangely enough, though, Kiki looks phenomenal in photographs! If I could walk around with an Instagram filter on, I would rock Kiki all the time.

I did experiment with a gradient using Lala on my upper lip and Kiki on my lower lip. Blending the two together creates a lavender colour that on a face with cooler undertones would be very flattering. I will have to continue playing to find a way to integrate Kiki completely into my collection though. I have seen images online of people using both these lipsticks on the face, and with how well it dries, I could see that working well.

Liquid Lipsticks – 5/5

Final Thoughts

I’m looking at my word counter and wincing. My efforts to be thorough have created a monster of a review. Therefore, I’ll be uncharacteristically brief and unabashed to sum up: I really love this collection. This is the palette I need to bring a little colour and shine into my everyday make-up without being too over-the-top. I love the softness of the colours in this palette and the fine glitters. The sheer, buildable nature of these eyeshadows lend themselves to natural professional looks and more avant garde creations. As for the lip colours, Sugarpill specializes in a great formula built to last even the most loquacious of make-up enthusiasts.

Sugarpill’s Little Twin Stars palette is Limited Edition. It can be bought as a gift set or separately (palette and liquid lipsticks).

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