Tuesday, July 26, 2011

face it cosmetics: a follow up

Like most normal people, I don't enjoy confrontations and negativity. I thought hard before I posted my review of Face It Cosmetics, and before I left negative feedback on Etsy. I would normally leave it there, but my experience with Heather and FIC has been so unpleasant that I feel the need to write about it again.

As you may remember from my review (you can go here to read it before you carry on) I found that the products I purchased were of middling to poor quality. As well as that, one of the products (Sparrow eyeshadow) was very different to the product photo, and one (gold gel eyeliner) was misrepresented by its name and description.

I wrote my review, and left the following feedback:

Now, let me make this clear: I take feedback very seriously. There have been a couple of occasions on which the wrong item was accidentally sent, or an item had gone bad during travel. I contacted the seller and allowed them to rectify the problem, and then gave good feedback.

However, the Face It Cosmetics order wasn't a mistake. These were sub-par products, and some of them were actually misleading. I left 2 negative feedback reviews and one neutral feedback review as a service to my fellow Etsy buyers, who deserve an honest review. Buying make-up over the net is risky, and I personally rely on reviews to help me decide what to buy. I feel that not posting honest feedback would have been unethical.

After I posted my feedback, I received a message from Heather:

I was a surprised by her tone and felt uncomfortable, but tried to respond in a respectful but honest way.

She responded:

Now I was really unimpressed. It is very unprofessional to a) take a customer to task for being honest about your products and b) ignore the actual criticism and instead make up excuses unrelated to the actual problems. Once again, I tried to answer politely and explain my position:

She did not respond to this email. I assumed this was the end of the matter, until I saw that my feedback rating on Etsy had dropped from 100% positive to 98%. Heather had left me negative feedback (even giving me three negative reviews when I had given her two negative and one neutral):

I was flabbergasted. As a buyer, my responsibility is to a) pay promptly and b) leave honest feedback. I am not obligated to contact a seller before I leave feedback, although Etsy suggests that buyers should do this (and under other circumstances, I do).

I am particularly disgusted by the note that "If she was unsure of the color then you [sic] should have asked." It is in no way my responsibility to contact a seller to ask if her product photo is accurate! In fact, here is feedback from another unhappy buyer:

(Indeed, there is a growing number of negative comments on the FIC feedback page, although sadly some people are leaving neutral feedback although they have had a very negative experience.) This buyer mentions the very same product (Sparrow eyeshadow) which I had a problem with. And if that wasn't damning enough, Heather has changed the product photo.



I don't think that my long, carefully thought-out messages to Heather can be called "poor communication." What she means is, "I tried to get her to change her feedback by offering her free products, and she refused, so I am giving her back feedback out of spite."

Normally I wouldn't care less about this, but I have an Etsy store. And now customers of my store will see a lower feedback score.

This experience has made me wary of buying from indie companies. From now on, I will be sticking to companies for whom I have read good reviews, like Linnaeus or Shiro, rather than trying out new ones. And it has definitely made me wary of Heartsy. (Speaking of which, Face It Cosmetics just had a second Heartsy sale, about a month after the first one. I have no idea why this would be a good move for a business.)

Ah well. I've learnt my lesson!

Monday, July 25, 2011


Michelle of Eat Paint Sniff Glue and Kirsten of Commander in Chic have started #beautifulinsideandout, a way for them (and anyone else who wants to join in) to start taking better care of themselves. In Michelle's words:

To keep the focus on positive lifestyle changes, and to make the task less daunting, we’ve made an executive decision not to focus on our current weight, but instead on achieving small, weekly goals. There will be no tweeting of current weight (unless you're brave and really want to), only diet and fitness goals, and of course our weekly results.

Our goals are to be tweeted on Mondays with the hashtag: #MotivationMondays

Our results tweeted on Sundays with the hashtag: #SexySundays

The bridging hashtag, cleverly thought up by Kirsten, shall be #beautifulinsideandout. This tag will help tie the two together, making the whole thread available under the one search. This third hashtag will be our main one, and will serve as a device for general, related chitchat.

I think this is a lovely idea. Focusing on specific goals instead of results ("lose 10kg") or vague intentions ("eat better") is much more likely to help build better habits. There are several things I need to change, and doing anything with the support of a group is easier.

I don't know how much I'll be using Twitter for this, but I'll blog about my progress. Since I tend to make grand plans, fail and then immediately return to bad habits, I'm focusing on small, cumulative goals. This week, my goals are:
  • Exercise three times a week for at least 30 minutes
  • Record calories eaten
That's it. I'm not going to make a huge effort to restrict my calories (although I find that to a certain point that happens naturally when I take notice of exactly what I'm eating). I have a weekly Pilates class and a weekly dance session, so I just need to exercise once more this week.

Small changes are easier to make than big ones, and they add up.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

nails: black cherry

This is Rimmel I ♥ Lasting Finish in Black Cherry. The name is perfect: it's a lovely dark reddy-purple. I've shied away from very dark colours before because they can look cheap and trashy. Not that that's always a bad thing: I spent much of my teenage years trying to look cheap and trashy. But I'm too old for chipped black nailpolish now, I think. Very dark colours really need to be worn carefully to look elegant.

It isn't quite as nice to apply as the other Rimmel polishes I've tried; I don't know if that's because of the dark colour or the fact that it's Rimmel's cheapest line, but the polish is very thick and you need to wait a long time between coats to make sure it doesn't go gooey. Still, I wore this colour twice in a row, which I almost never do.

Note: this was taken in the late afternoon on a winter's day in June. I guess sometimes living in Perth isn't all bad.


This is Super Nudie Breakfast Juice, which I bought because a) look at it! and b) it has chia seeds, which I've wanted to try ever since I read Born to Run. This juice tastes as weird as it looks! It has lots of cinnamon, some apple and banana, as well as the seeds. The mouthfeel is kind of slimy, in that way that banana always is, and I had to drink it really slowly because my OCD tendencies forced me to stop and crunch as many of the little seeds as possible instead of just swallowing them. It was pretty nice though!

In conclusion: I don't know why I took a photo of my juice and blogged about it. Thank you for your time!

Friday, July 15, 2011

i love packages!

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from Kit Cosmetics telling me I'd won two products from the Perricone Super range by entering a review on their site. They arrived today!

I got the Sweet Clean Face and Eye Cleanser and the Hyper Hydrator Daily Moisturiser. I have tried both (they were used on me during my 'quickie facial') and they are both lovely products which smell AMAZING (berries and coconut respectively). I would never have bought these ($45 and $63!) but I sure do like getting them as a gift. They both come in lovely frosted glass bottles and they feel expensive.

Also in the post today: magnetised freedom palettes for pressed eyeshadow! I'll post more about these when I get all the rest of the stuff I need and start pressing colours, but I am really happy with these. They're lovely! I bought them from here on Dempeaux's suggestion. The top two are mine and the bottom one is Suzanne's!

nails: grurple

After seeing Michelle of Eat Paint Sniff Glue rave about Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in 370: Commander in Chic in her Monday Manicure post, I had to try it! It's a really hard colour to describe: the closest I can come is a grey-mauve, which my husband dubbed "grurple."

It's kind of silly but the thing I really like about this colour is that it contains all colours and shades. It's got blue and red to make the purple; yellow to muddy it and add a little brown; and black and white for the grey. It looks a bit like a paint palette when you mix everything together before you wash it (not because you need to, just because it's fun).

The application was okay but not amazing, which was surprising; I thought that since Sally Hansen products are synonymous with nails it would be the best application ever, but it was a little more slow-drying than my beloved Rimmel polishes. Still miles better than cheapo brands, but for $16 (as opposed to Rimmel for less than $10) I was expecting a miracle.

I'll definitely be reapplying it, though. It's a lovely soft, chic colour for winter. Grurple!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

review: face it cosmetics

This was my second Heartsy order (my first still has not arrived, and you had better believe I have a head of steam building up for a blog post about that). Face It Cosmetics are an Etsy store located in the US. This is their shop description:

Face It Cosmetics are fabulous healthy products that will help you put your best face forward no matter what life throws at you…FACE IT. Our Cosmetics will make you feel beautiful inside and out. All of our products contain a minimum number of ingredients (mostly natural ones) but still promise amazing products that really perform. The result is a professional product that is synthetic free. Makeup collections are perfectly pigmented products for eyes, lips, and face that are gentle and pure enough to use on all skin types. Indulge in something that is good for your skin and good for the environment.

I ordered five products: four eyeshadows and an eyeliner.

They arrived in a padded envelope: no note, no business card, no invoice, no samples. Here is where I think Face It made a big mistake. As I mentioned in my Heartsy post, this discount process only really works for a business if they manage to convert buyers into returning customers (which of course is what every business should be doing). For example, I recently bought some samples from Shiro Cosmetics (not through Heartsy). Even though I had only bought a bunch of samples, Caitlin included a business card, an invoice with a personal written note, two free samples, and two little Japanese candies. The whole lot was beautifully wrapped in a little gift bag inside the envelope. Now, I don't fault anyone for not adding more than I've paid for. However, what Caitlin managed to do was to turn opening that envelope into a fun, exciting, pleasurable experience. Even before I had tried the product, I was happy. As a result of that (and also the great quality of her product), I'm already planning my next purchase, and perhaps more importantly, I've been telling others about her.

Anyway, this is not a review of Shiro (although I will do one of those eventually). My point is that, perhaps because of the increased pressure that the Heartsy orders put them under, they did not manage to impress me with the package.

I swatched these onto my hand and was immediately disappointed. From the Etsy photos and descriptions, I had thought I was buying four very different colours; I had ended up with a white and three greys.

Photos taken outside, but not in direct light; I did no manipulation of the image. Colours were applied over Australis Eyeshadow Primer. (If you'd like to see a frighteningly large version of this photo, go here. Warning: it is freaky, and my apparently smooth arm skin is actually origami.)

All four colours had a LOT of fallout, as you can see in the photo, and were quite sheer-- I had to carefully dab them on to get them to look this pigmented.

First of all, I have no idea what possessed me to buy white eyeshadow, but Billowy Clouds was crazy with the fallout and very sheer. Sparrow was the biggest disappointment, because the product picture looks like this:

I was expecting the shadow to have a similar blue-pink colourshift effect, but all I can see is silver.

Sterling looks pretty much like the Etsy photo I guess, although poorly pigmented. Toasted Walnut is probably the prettiest of the colours, and I have worn it a couple of times, but it's not the intense party colour shown in the product photo, more of a work-safe colour.

The other big disappointment was the Gold Gel Eyeliner.

This is not a colour that I would describe as 'gold'. I imagined something akin to gold leaf; this is really more of a flat light tan or beige colour, with little to no shimmer. It's also not a gel by any stretch of the imagination, definitely a cream. The first stripe in the photo is with an eyeliner brush, the second a swatch with my finger.

So, I've left my first ever negative Etsy feedback. I felt pretty uncomfortable doing this; there is such a supportive tea-and-hugs ethos to Etsy, and bad feedback is taken very seriously. But I was disappointed in the product, and it wasn't due to an accident, it was due to poor product. While Suzanne has had some success with FIC's facial products, I will not be ordering from them again.

Monday, July 11, 2011

heartsy: some thoughts

Heartsy is a business that sells members coupons for indie and handmade internet businesses, like a Groupon or Jump On It for the Etsy crowd. I joined Heartsy about 5 weeks ago, and I’ve made three purchases through them. I have mixed feelings about Heartsy, and I wanted to share them before I review one of these purchases.

First of all, as an Etsy seller, I would never use Heartsy. My profit margin is very slim, and I sell comics and badges—not things that buyers have to constantly renew. I also think that one of the major problems that hand-made and small-batch sellers have is making the public realise that they cannot sell their products for the same price as mass-produced products. Heartsy does encourage the lowering of prices and an increased expectation of “more for less” in the consumer, which could lead to a devaluing of the handmade market.

However, I do think Heartsy is a good thing for a particular kind of seller: one with a high-quality consumable product (ie food, perfume, make-up) who wants to entice new customers into trying their wares and becoming regular customers. So far I have only used Heartsy to buy body products, and I am buying as someone who is interested in becoming a regular customer. But we won’t know the effect Heartsy is having for some time; as I have seen others point out, when a Heartsy buyer runs out of lotion/make-up/stationery, they may not come back to you but to whichever other shop has 60% off that week.

So far, only one of my purchases has arrived and I wasn’t too impressed. (A review is forthcoming.) Another was purchased over a month ago and was only just shipped (I won’t tell you who because I’m planning to bare all in the review) and the third was only purchased last night. It definitely hasn’t stopped me from buying from indie business who don’t offer discounts—in the end, I’m more interested in high quality and intriguing products than cheap prices.

Have you used Heartsy? What do you think about it?

Full disclosure: If you want to join Heartsy and follow my links, I will get $5 credit.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

nails: teal

This is one of my favourite shades, Rimmel 60 Seconds in Sky High. This isn't a great light (winter makes blog photography difficult!) but it's a perfect teal: it looks blue against green and green against blue. A beautiful and suprisingly wearable colour. I bought it because it looked so pretty on my friend Liz, who was also the person who recommended Rimmel polish.

And let me pass on the recommendation to you! Rimmel is absolutely the best nailpolish brand I have used. It goes on thick and nearly-opaque (I never need more than two coats) and wears well. (The photo above is after several days' wear). They're really cheap, too: 60 Seconds is around AUD $8 in Priceline (and there's a 2 for $10 sale on now).

Note: Rimmel didn't pay me any money to say nice things about their nailpolish, although I wish they would.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

maybe for my prairie lunatic look?

Are you interested in a blush that makes you look insane?

Here you go!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

supanova perth 2011

Last weekend (god, was it only last weekend?) I sold my comics, badges and other paraphernalia at Supanova Perth with Luke, Suzanne and my husband Robert (Grug). It was a fantastic turnout, and they've had to expand the floorspace considerably. We had the best sales in our history, and had an amazing time meeting fans and friends. And of course, I took photos!

There were so many adorable kids in costumes!

We always let the kids we photograph choose a free badge.

I always love seeing the Lolita-style fashions at Supanova. This girl was my favourite, everything about her style was lovely!

There was so many great costumes, from the quirky...

to the original...

to the spectacular.

There are more photos in my Flickr set, check it out if you like baby Batmans!*

*This is a trick, everybody likes baby Batmans.