Coastal Scents Brushes?

I placed a small order with Coastal Scents recently. I wanted to give them a completely fair shake. I really don’t like companies that just sell other people’s stuff and act as if its their own (such as putting their name on the wholesale palettes). It’s misleading. But since I hadn’t ordered in ages I wanted to give it a shot and share my experience with you. Plus, I’d been wanting a few brushes anyway. *G*

I will say this, they process and ship lightning fast. Shipping prices seem to have decreased. Their shipping prices are quite expensive if you’re ordering palettes, but my brush order shipped for $2.24 via USPS First Class.

Someone asked me if I could confirm that Coastal Scents just resells brushes from Crown Brush. I can tell you that this is 100% true. I’m not sure if every single brush on their site comes from Coastal Scents, but I know that every single brush in my order is also available on Crown Brush. No, I’m not saying that these are identical brushes. These are the same brushes. They have the Crown Brush serial numbers on them.

My Order (with Crown Brush links in parentheses)

Chisel Angle Fluff Shadow Brush – $2.00 (C150 Angle Fluff; $1.94)
Deluxe Duo Fiber Shadow – $3.95 (C428 Deluxe Duo Fiber Shadow; $4.95)
Duo Fiber Crease Brush – $4.45 (C430 Duo Fiber Crease; $4.49)
Sable Contour Brush – $1.79 (C138 Round Contour; $1.87)
Tapered Duo Fiber Brush – $6.95 (C427 Tapered Duo Fiber Blush; $9.49)

If you’re looking at the prices and getting confused, I’m assuming that Coastal Scents sells them cheaper because they pay Crown wholesale prices, so their per piece cost is going to be far lower than you or I would pay for them individually from either site. Crown Brush is what’s called a private label company. They create awesome products. Companies can pay them to put their logo on Crown products and sell them. Except, in Coastal Scents’ case they don’t bother having them rebranded. The serial numbers on these are Crown’s.

I’m not really for or against them reselling or using private label brushes. Many companies do this. Crown makes brushes for lots of brands. I am really glad that they don’t put their name on them like they do with eye shadow palettes, though. I just want people to know what they’re buying when they order from Coastal Scents. I’m not saying don’t buy your brushes there. They’re good brushes. And you’ll probably save money. But know when you buy them that you’re buying Crown Brushes.

Further review of all of the brushes is coming soon after I have a chance to wash them (they smell weird) and then road test them.

Etailer Spotlight: Best Bath Store

I recently got to try some goodies from an etailer I had been quite curious about: Best Bath Store. I mean come on, they call themselves the best. I gotta see for myself! They sent me 3 products to try, and I’ve been playing with them for a while now. Here are my thoughts.

First up is their Acne Facial Bar. I’m not a huge fan of most acne skincare because cleansers that are for acne have a tendency to be really harsh, but this bar is jam packed full of gentle ingredients (such as olive oil, coconut oil, manuka honey, and shea butter) so I decided to give it a go to work on the few little breakouts I’ve been experiencing lately (probably stress. erg.). The first thing I noticed about this bar is the smell. It smells really nice. It’s an herbal sort of fresh scent. It just smells clean. That’s a good way for a cleansing bar to smell, I think. Don’t you? The idea behind their acne facial bar is balancing your skin to reduce oiliness and calm angry acneic skin. The bar lathers really well, and the soap feels really nice on my skin as I’m massaging the cleanser around my face. After I’m done rinsing, my skin feels really clean and refreshed without feeling stripped or tight. The Acne Facial Bar is very gentle, and does what it says! One caveat though is don’t use this to remove eye makeup. I tried it and it burned like hell. So when I’m using this I use a makeup remover like MAC Cleanse-Off Oil first then wash with this. The Acne Facial Bar is $4.95 for a 3.5 oz bar.
Next up is the Coffee Body Scrub, which was kind of a miss for me and I’ll explain why: it doesn’t smell like coffee. I don’t know why. It contains coffee grounds and “coffee essential oil” (wtf is that, btw?) which is essentially fragrance, but it still doesn’t smell like coffee. It does scrub really well and leave my skin feeling nice and soft. The oils in it worried me because I don’t like really oily scrubs, but it wasn’t an issue here. Over all the formula is actually really nice for a body scrub, but the smell! It comes in citrus and lavender and I think they would have been a better choice. Instead, this smells like… I don’t even know– office? It smells like dust and paper and maybe the slightest hint of old coffee. This is definitely a decent scrub though. It’s good for those of you who like a really abrasive scrub as opposed to a super gentle one. Best Bath Store’s Body Scrubs retail for $16.95 for 8 oz.
I’ve saved the best for last– Best Bath Store’s Chocolate Lip Balm. Oh em gee. This stuff is full of cocoa butter as well as organic cocoa powder, giving it this amazing chocolate scent. To my nose (and mom’s as well), it smells like melting chocolate chips. It has that kind of warm sweetness to it that reminds us of fresh chocolate chip cookies when they’re still kinda melty. Not only does this lip balm smell delicious, it’s great for my lips too. I’ve noticed that the overall condition of my lips has been better. A lot of lip balms moisturize for a while but after it wears off or you eat something your lips start to feel dry again. Not so with this guy. It’s smooth and very creamy on my lips and keeps them moisturized for hours, even all through the night. The scent is fairly strong. It lingers for a little while after you apply it. If chocolate isn’t your thing, Best Bath Store has 10 formulas such as Lemon-Lime, Bergamot, and Peppermint. They also offer 3 vegan lip balms in Peppermint, Cocoa Butter, and Vanilla Coffee. The vegan formula substitutes beeswax for candelilla wax.  Best Bath Store’s lip balms are $2.95 for a .15 oz tube. 
Overall I am pleased with the products I got from Best Bath Store. Even though I didn’t really care for the coffee scent of the body scrub, it’s still a pretty nice scrub. I think it will be great to use on my feet, which are perpetually dry and in need of scrubbing. And uh, this lip balm is *amazing*. If you’re curious about trying their products, they do offer free samples. You can order up to 5 samples at a time and just pay shipping. 
Worth noting is that Best Bath Store is a very environmentally friendly company. They recycle packaging, ship product in recyclable and biodegradable materials, and have their own branded reusable shopping bags to encourage people to be more green. The entire facility is even run on wind-generated electricity! All Best Bath Store products are cruelty-free as well.
Product samples provided for editorial purposes.

Purely Cosmetics Anniversary Promo

One of my favorite mineral etailers, Purely Cosmetics, is having their anniversary sale promo tomorrow! This promotion is good 9/18 only! It’s a kind of “choose your own adventure” sale. Choose between 15% off your entire order, or free shipping!

Free Shipping – $15 minimum purchase required. Code: ANNIVSHIPFREE.
15% off your order – no minimum purchase necessary. Code: ANNIV15OFF.

These codes will be good until midnight CST. Happy Shopping!

Be sure to check out my posts on Purely Cosmetics Foundation and Diamond Perfect Finish Powder for some ideas on what to grab!

Changes at All Cosmetics Wholesale

Without question, All Cosmetics Wholesale has become one of the most popular etailers for high-end cosmetics. As a source of legitimate, 100% authentic brands such as Bobbi Brown, Stila, Tarte, and of course MAC, bloggers and beauty junkies have been buzzing about ACW.

This morning, ACW owner Sheri announced on the homepage that they are changing their name and launching a brand new website! ACW will soon become Suite 7 Beauty, and the ACW site will redirect to I wanted to find out more about the change, and Sheri was sweet enough to take the time for a short interview exclusive to The Gloss Menagerie!

Q: Why did you decide to change the name from ACW to Suite 7 Beauty?
A: We have made the name change as our company has added so many full retail cosmetic lines and will continue to do so.  While we will continue to offer discount cosmetic products on Suite 7 Beauty, we felt the ACW name has become somewhat confusing with the added full retail lines.  We want our customers to have a great experience with us thus any confusion on this topic needed to cleared up and we felt the best way to do that was a name change. 

Q: What’s the story behind the name Suite 7 Beauty?
A:  There is a very personal story behind the Suite 7 name.  One I prefer to keep for myself at this time.  What I can tell you is that the number/name is very near and dear to my heart and really speaks to the most positive life experiences. 

Q: Can you give readers a sneak peek of what the new website will be like?
A: Unfortunately I can’t give a sneak peek.  In part because I myself have not even had my hands on it yet.  It is in the final days of completion thus I have to wait myself. 

Q: Any other new things we can look forward to?
A:  As for new things to look forward to, we are really excited that our new site will no longer display items that are sold out.  This is a feature our current site will not provide.  This is one of the biggest reasons for our move. 

In addition, we are adding enhanced shipping for our amazing international buyers.  The new International Expedited Shipping service will have full tracking on every parcel as our domestic shipments have always had.  We will continue to offer the first class method to only select countries as we do now.  That method is still not trackable.  The other great thing about our new shipping service is that shipment times will be cut down to a matter of days, rather than weeks.  We literally have some customers in a few countries that wait as long as 8 weeks for delivery of their orders from us.  That will no longer be the case I am overwhelmingly happy to say. 

There are quite a lot of great features in our new home for everyone to look forward to!

Fyrinnae Fall 2010 Dia de Los Muertos

This guest post comes from the awesome and amazing Il Diavolo Bello (@diavolobello).

Fyrinnae’s upcoming fall collection is inspired by the colorful decorations of the Mexican holiday Dia de Los Muertos, or, Day of the Dead. The purpose of the holiday is to honor those who have passed on and celebrate their lives and the memories they have left behind. During the days leading up to the main day, on November 2nd, family graves are visited and home alters are decorated with the ofrenda (“offering”) which consists of gifts of food such as pan de muerto (lit. “bread of the dead”), drink, candy, toys, candles, and other things meant for the enjoyment of relatives who have passed away. Merchants line the city streets selling goods depicting calaveras (“skulls”), catrinas, and other cheerful depictions of death. It is not a time of mourning, but one of celebration and reverence.

 The shades in this collection mirror the uplifting tone of the celebration, eschewing somber blacks and greys in favor of vivid violets and warm pinks. I’ve also included a swatch of the lip lustre Candy Decadence, which is unrelated to the collection and was released a while ago. Sugar Skulls is also already available.

Descriptions after the photos (click to view full size). The first set is swatched dry, the second over Fyrinnae’s Pixie Epoxy.

(Dry swatched on my housemate’s arm, he’s about a MAC NC35-NC37)
Sugar Skulls– The English translation of “calaveras de azucar”, which are colorful candy skulls both eaten and used in the ofrenda. Shimmering raspberry pink with golden orange duochrome. Sugar Skulls is warm and inviting, like watching the reflection of sunset over the ocean.  The sparkles are delicate, not gritty or piecey. If you’ve used Fyrinnae’s shimmer shades before, you know exactly what I mean when I say the powder is creamy: smooth, richly pigmented, and packs onto itself well. You can even use it with gloss or balm on your lips and on your cheeks as a shimmery blush.
Te Amo– Spanish for “I love you”. Brilliant golden pink shines over a base of mauve-taupe. Another creamy glimmer shade, I like how the base looks almost smoky in contrast. If MAC Trax and Star Violet had a child together, this is what the babymaking session would look like.
Sacred– There was a sad time in my life when I would say that taupes are boring, probably because of the dull, dusty versions put out by many of the major companies. Fyrinnae changed my perception of taupe forever with their shade Platinum, and I’ve loved it ever since. Sacred is no exception. It’s bright, metallic, gleaming, and rich in color. Too silver to be gold, too golden to be silver, it’s just right. I find taupes like this great if you love the look of silver but find many to be too cool-toned. Sacred is like a much improved version of Urban Decay’s Maui Wowie. The color is deeper and slightly more golden, the texture is shimmery rather than frosty, and it doesn’t have those awful glitter chunks that never stay put.
Danse Macabre– Er, yeah, those swatches are spelled wrong, even though I know better. French for “danza macabra”, which is Spanish for “dance of death”… no matter who we are in life, death is the one thing we all have in common. Verde limon con dorado (lime with gold). Yet another “cremoso” shadow, I love how well this one sheers out. Since Fyrinnae’s shadows are often complex and layered, their effects can sometimes be lost if blended out too much. Danse retains its brilliance even when blended out to just a hint of color, which gives a luminous frosted glass look when paired with a silver or a taupe like Sacred.
Eternal Innocence– Teal-leaning emerald green, this one also sheers out nicely without losing its effect. While Fyrinnae is great with contrasting shimmers and sparkles and other effects, but sometimes you just want a nice clean pop of color. I really like this one over black eyeliner or used wet as a liner itself. Que linda.
Calavera Cupcakes– Colorful depictions of calaveras decorate everything from jewelry to baked goods. Silvery lavender with violet-pink and silver sparkles. Many times light shades have the problem of being too sheer, but Calavera is opaque and almost metallic just lightly patted on dry. I like to use it in a smoky eye with Calavera on the inner 3rd and blended above the crease, with Catrina Cabaret on the rest of the lid and La Noche in the crease and to line the lower lashes. Finish with a shimmery white on the brow-bone and inner v, black eyeliner, and mascara.
Catrina Cabaret– Catrinas are depictions of elegant lady skeletons, commonly found as decorations during the holiday. This is teal with violet shimmer. I know, what? Teal? Yes, when the light hits it the two combine into a smoky indigo hue. I’ll be honest, when I first swatched it dry, I thought it was nice, but it wasn’t my favorite. I have fair skin, so it was maybe a little too dark and sheer for me, something best for those with deeper skintones. When I swatched it on a housemate’s hand, the color, especially the shimmering highlight, really popped against his medium-golden skin. Over Pixie Epoxy the color works great on both of us and totally changed my mind about it. The epoxy keeps all the layers together and really shows off the violet shimmer. This one was just made for smoky eyes. It also looks great used wet as eyeliner.
La Noche– “The night.” Like Eternal Innocence, this is another clear jewel tone, this time in the form of a deep, yet brilliant azul, el color del zafiro (blue, the color of sapphire). It’s shimmery without being sparkly, just enough luminescence to keep it from being too inky. It makes a great liner on its own or patted on top of black eyeliner. While I own several dark blue shades, none of them have the depth, pigmentation, and clarity of La Noche.
Madame&Eve’s– A play on their popular shade Adam& Steve. This is from their Arcane Magic line: a series of color changing shades that can reflect as many as 4 or 5 shades depending on how the night hits them. The base of this seems to go from blue violet to teal to silvery taupe to deep cranberry pink and it loaded with green sparkles. Un arco iris brillante. It’s hardly subtle, but not overwhelming. If you like the sparkle of the City Glams or shades like BoyToy, you’ll love it. Use it with Pixie Epoxy to keep the sparkles in place all day. It makes a surprisingly pretty eye-liner that even the most color-phobic can pull off, but I like bold looks so I wear it all over the lid and thickly on the bottom lashes to line. Since the color change depends on the lighting, you might see it as just green on your eyes, but others will see the color change as you move about.
Candy Decadence– Candied kiwi scented gel-like lip color. I want to make it clear that the Lustres are not lip glosses. They’re more buttery than a gel, and much more pigmented: just feather-light pure color. This is one of those colors that many people think it just too crazy only because they haven’t had the chance to play with it. The color is similar to Madame&Eve’s, a plum base that changes to cranberry pink and teal. You can wear it full force or blot it down to a plummy stain with a hint of green shimmer. If you’ve liked shades like MAC High Top and Date Night, you’ll love this one.
A few extra comparison swatches:

Purely Cosmetics Anniversary Sale

Keep your eyes out for Purely Cosmetics‘ Anniversary Sale on 9/18! It’s a “choose your own adventure” discount. ;) You can choose 15% off your entire order (no minimum) or free shipping on any order $15 or more. It will be available for 9/18 only. I’ll be reminding you all closer to the date, too.

Purely Cosmetics Foundations

Hello hello my lovelies!

As you know I was working at the Purely Cosmetics booth for IMATS this past weekend. The event was a huge success. Even though the weekend was exhausting, I had a great time! I also got to learn a whole bunch more about Purely Cosmetics. I was a fan before I volunteered to work the booth, but by no means an expert. I learned a ton about it that I hope will be helpful if you are considering trying them out. I also wanted to introduce those of you who might be new to the brand with some background info. This is part 1 of my overview, talking about foundations!

Purely Cosmetics is a line of mineral makeup based in Valencia, CA. I absolutely love the idea of supporting local businesses. The economy in CA is still crap right now, so I feel strongly about patronizing its small businesses. Purely Cosmetics is also in another category near and dear to my heart– it’s woman owned! Robyn Bloom, the hard-working founder of Purely Cosmetics, is a one woman show. To prepare for IMATS, she said it took 3 months of pulling down 18-hour days! Her dedication really shines through in her fantastic line of products.

Purely Cosmetics – The Foundations

There are 2 formulas of foundation in the line, Pure Mineral ($18) and Skin Smoothing ($19.99). Both can work for most skin types. The shade range is from light (Fair Maiden is the lightest shade) to medium-dark (Cornsilk is the darkest). Here is a brief description of each foundation shade:

Fair Maiden – Fair w/ pink undertone (This is what I wear)
Peaches & Cream – Fair w/ peach or neutral undertone (I can also get away with wearing this, great for neutralizing redness if you tend to be ruddy-faced)
Neutral Light – Light to medium with neutral to pink undertone
California Blonde – Light to medium with pink undertone
Olive Beige – Light to medium shade w/ mostly beige undertones but a slight yellow tinge
Neutral Medium – Darker than Neutral light but w/ beige undertone
Sunkissed – Medium shade w/ bronzy/red undertones
Maria – Medium shade with golden/olive undertones – perfect for Mediterranean or Latin ethnicities
Cornsilk – Medium shade that has yellow/red undertones (darker than Maria)

Pure Mineral Foundation is medium to full coverage depending on how much you apply. One of my biggest gripes about most mineral foundations is I just can’t get the coverage I want. Not so with this bad boy. You can swirl and buff your way to completely full coverage. Depending on what you’re trying to cover, you might not even need a separate concealer. There is no shimmer or shine to this formula at all. It’s completely matte, but not that dead corpse-like matte. It’s a “your skin but better” look. Pure Mineral Foundation performs very well for any skin type, even those who are very sensitive (like me!) or very oily (also like me– damn, I hit the lottery). The ingredients in this formula are very simple: Mica, titanium dioxide, iron oxides, ultramarine blue, zinc oxide. No bismuth to be seen. Hooray.

You can opt for an extra $3 to add pure silk powder to your Pure Mineral Foundation. This is a great option for those who have combo skin. If you aren’t familiar with silk powder, it pulls moisture from the air, hydrating your skin while mattifying it. It contains amino acids essential for the human body and helps reflect UV rays. Hooray for silk!

Skin Smoothing Foundation is light to medium-full coverage (I find it doesn’t give quite as much coverage as Pure Mineral Foundation), but contains more ingredients. This formula’s ingredients are: titanium dioxide, mica, zinc oxide, pure silk powder, boron, silica, iron oxides, jojoba oil, and magnesium myristate. May also contain ultramarine blue (depends on what color). Skin Smoothing Foundation’s added ingredients keep the skin nourished and hydrated. It also helps minimize the appearance of fine lines. It performs well on all skin types except those who are extremely oily.

If you weren’t sold already, Purely Cosmetics sells sample packs to try out colors before you commit to a full size. And if you can’t find your absolutely perfect match, Robyn also offers custom blend foundation. See the site for more details!

Samples of both foundation formulas were provided for consideration. Although I worked the booth at IMATS, I am not an employee. Just a fan!

Aromaleigh Shutters its Doors

Longtime mineral makeup etailer Aromaleigh is closing its doors. Kristen Leigh started Aromaleigh over 10 years ago, and this is very sad news to many. The quality of her products in my opinion was very very good. Here is what Kristen had to say…

Aromaleigh News, June 28th, 2010… The End.

Aromaleigh bids you adieu…

We’d like to thank everyone for the last 12 years of support and repeat business… it’s been an amazing ride, but it’s time.

Some of the happiest times of the last decade+ have been receiving emails from ecstatic women whose lives and outlook had changed from something as simple as makeup…

Aromaleigh never started off being about making a quick buck. I started the company with a dream of independence and creating my unique, natural line of Aromatherapy products and fragrances. We grew slowly… one customer at a time, and soon customers were requesting natural cosmetics.

Our first cosmetic product was a tinted lipbalm called “Color Wash”…. our Pure Powder, in 5 shades, followed soon after… and in the months that followed, frost and matte eyeshadows, and more…

I’ve given my heart and soul to this company, and the last 12 years of my life. But I am unable to continue, as I have to be honest… there’s nothing left inside of me to give. And what I do have is reserved for the most important person in my life.

I can’t and won’t provide a detailed explanation for this decision… those who know me well know that this has been a decision that has torn me in two for several months. Nothing I say or don’t say can matter at this point. All I will say is “You’ve won… I’m gone. You can stop now…”

It’s makeup. It’s supposed to be fun, and empowering and beautiful. But it’s all become ugly. More ugly than I ever imagined.

I’ll be offering the following “Goodbye” coupon for the next 2 weeks…


35% off the entire store, not applicable to previously placed, shipped or received orders… Aromaleigh reserves the right to refuse any suspect or incomplete orders for any reason, Large international orders, as per our international terms, are subject to additional ship fees.

First come, first served for inventory… most inventory is not real-time, and sold out product will be updated daily. Being able to order a product does not guarantee stock. Please allow 7-10 business days (possibly more, depending on volume) for your order to be processed.

With a very heavy heart, I thank you all for this journey… and I also look forward to a future that is serene and blessed… for all of you, as well…

Sincerely and with a bunch of tears as I type this,

Almost That Time Again: IMATS LA

Well everyone, it’s almost time for IMATS LA again! For those of you who don’t know, IMATS stands for International Makeup Artist Tradeshow, and the LA is because it’ll be in Los Angeles this coming June (the 26th and 27th). ;) There are other events in cities such as NYC, Vancouver, London, and more.

If you’re in the LA area and you want to buy tickets, they’re on sale for a discounted rate if you buy them early. You can do that here: and I highly suggest you do!

IMATS is open to the public, which means you do not have to have credentials such as a cosmetology license to attend. I think there’s also a discount rate for students? Check it out. I’m not a student, so I don’t know. :P

IMATS is in-freaking-credible if you have even just a passing interest in makeup and makeup artistry. Exhibitors from all different facets of the makeup industry show off their line, give sneak peeks at upcoming products, and offer special show discounts. It’s a great opportunity to learn about brands you have never heard of, meet people, and of course shop. But it doesn’t just stop at the exhibitors! IMATS also features demonstrations, seminars, classes, and student competitions! It’s fascinating, amazing, and unforgettable.

This year I will have a whole different unique experience at IMATS– as an exhibitor! I am going to be working the Purely Cosmetics booth along with Robyn (the Purely Cosmetics founder), Stephanie– the writer of Aquahearts Obsession, and Grace Chun (a local makeup artist). You may remember my past raves over Purely Cosmetics’ diamond finishing powder (buy this. it’s amazing.)…you should come by and check it out in person if you’re going to come to IMATS.

Now before anyone gets all up in arms about me working for a brand at IMATS, I’m a volunteer. I’m not getting paid to work at the booth. I’m doing this as a favor to Robyn because she is awesome and I love to support small business owners in California, especially in my favorite industry. Yes, that means I’ll get free admission. But you know what? I would have gotten in to IMATS anyway. It’s called a press pass. I would not volunteer to help a brand I thought sucked. The bottom line is Robyn’s line is really great and it’s a product I believe in. SO, with that out of the way, I don’t wanna see any whining about it, lol.

Mad Minerals Creme Shadow Swatches

For these swatches, click the image to view it full sized. =)
L to R top row: Ever After, Immortal, Bare Necessity, Nude Frost, Plumkin, Intergalactic, Brownie Points, Fathom
L to R bottom row: Carbon, Forest, Curacao
Please note: these are sheer swatches. All of these colors are very buildable! And please also be advised that Bare Necessity does not look orangey on my eyes, it’s just that my arms are SO very pale and pink that just about anything neutral actually turns up looking orange lol. 
Here is a much better swatch of Curacao (L) and Immortal (R). Immortal is my favorite. It’s TAUPE, guys! Gorgeous one at that.
Aaaand my camera battery is dead but when it charges I’ll do my simple work-friendly look with these and take pics of that. :)
Mad Minerals indellible creme eyeshadows are available from Mad’s site recently got a makeover! Check it out! Tell Barb that The Gloss Menagerie sent you when you order. ;)