Friday, June 20, 2014

Overview: Shiro Cosmetics + lip swatches: A Girl and a Cat, Still No Oscar

Hello Internet!

I want to start contributing more to the indie makeup community online, since it's been such a friendly, fun source of stress relief (and retail therapy) in the past (extremely trying) year of my life. The swatches and reviews on various blogs and at r/indiemakeupandmore have always helped me make informed decisions with my purchases, and I want to be able to help others as they've helped me!

Without further adieu, an overview of Shiro Cosmetics: my first and favourite (thus far) indie.

Shiro's slogan on their old website was "makeup and geekery"--and that pretty much sums it up! Their collections are anime, video game, book, film, and Nic Cage-inspired, and they do very well with what they draw inspiration from. Their interpretations of characters and situations are rarely boring or 100% literal, but usually still spot-on. The collections they come up with tend to fit well together not just thematically, but also on your face. Their descriptions of their products are amusing to read and convey their enthusiasm for the media they enjoy.

(It feels weird to call Shiro "they" since Shiro was originally one woman, Caitlin, who still does a lot of the customer service and note-writing-to-me, but Shiro is now a four-person team!)

Shiro (as of April 2014) has a beautiful new website where you can log in, save your cart, create a wishlist, sort products by colour and finish, the search function is useful, etc. They send business cards with each order and there's always a handwritten note on the receipt, samples, and candy, which are all nice touches. (Samples are pretty usual for indies, but not everyone writes on the receipt or sends me Jolly Ranchers.)

My first Shiro haul, courtesy of Instagram. The Rockets/Smarties thing threw me for a loop.
As you can see from the above, I like collecting mini eyeshadows, and the clear lids are really pretty helpful when you're doing your makeup. However, the jar art has only improved since my first haul and now the new collections have a different (gorgeous) sticker for each jar, which makes collecting full-sizes tempting. They're not the only company to commission artists for this purpose, but it's still relatively unusual (and the art they're using is really really good).

Shiro has a very active Facebook, where they answer questions, post updates, and hold polls for the colour of the month. The colour of the month polls are a favourite of mine: they're a great way for Shiro to interact with customers and provide them with colours/geeky things they want while giving incentives to make frequent orders. Fun and good business.

Shiro is also linked to a pretty inactive Twitter and an Instagram that's fun and has occasional updates, but also there are cats and cosplay. For questions and updates, their Facebook is where it's at.

Shiro tends to have at least two sales each year on their anniversary (April 30th) and Black Friday.

Customer Service:
Shiro's turnaround time (TAT) is stated at checkout and must be confirmed before they process your order. That said, I do wish it was on the website's front page, but it is made quite clear. I've never had Shiro ship outside of TAT and normally they ship at least a few days before, in my experience.

Caitlin has always responded to questions I've sent via their contact form in less than 24 hours and went out of her way to help me out. Most of the special requests I've had in the past wouldn't happen now because of the website updates (for example, I messaged to purchase blush samples, which they didn't offer before, or to get a colour match of a non-lip-safe eyeshadow they had in a gloss), so I feel like they keep in mind their customers' desires as they move forward with the business. Four for you, Caitlin and Shiro.

Products and Sizing Options:
Eyes: Shiro offers full-sizes ($6), minis ($3.50), and samples of eyeshadow ($1).
Lips: They have a line of regular glosses ($8) that can also be sampled ($2), or you can create your own custom gloss ($9-13). They also carry tinted lip balms ($5).
Face: They offer full-sizes ($8) and samples ($1.50) of blush/highlighter/bronzer, or full-sizes ($10) and samples ($1.50) of finishing powder.

Unique or Recommended Products:
Shiro's custom lip gloss option is unique among the indies that I know of, and a lot of fun. Their finishing powder is excellent for my combination/oily complexion and I don't think I'm alone in loving it! I would recommend almost anything from Shiro's current range, though: if I've tried it, I like it. (I did have troubles with their discontinued Intertubes.)

Shipping is a flat rate of $2.75 in the US or free with a purchase over $50.

International shipping is a flat rate of $7.50. This is very reasonable in my experience. Some places will ship to me (in Canada) for less if they aren't using a flat rate, but usually shipping costs as much or more, even for small orders.

Show Us Some Stuff!

I own an endless list of items from Shiro that I'll be swatching on a regular basis from now on (hopefully...) but here are a couple of lip products you may not have seen many swatches for yet!

This first swatch is of one of Shiro's tinted lip balms, A Girl and a Cat.

Their description: Deep purple in the tube, applies as a medium-sheer berry.

They are not shitting you with this description.

A Girl and a Cat in the tube.
My tissue as I was removing this.

This stuff looks like ruddy eggplant skin all over your Kleenex. However, I also found the applied description to be pretty apt:

Bare lips (for reference)
A Girl and a Cat
After about two-ish swipes, this was the opacity of A Girl and a Cat on me. So it's still a pretty sheer berry.

Overall review: 
This is moisturizing, pretty, and it smells like vanilla buttercream frosting. I am for it. It doesn't migrate or wear off easily (though don't ask me wear time, I'm a compulsive lip chewer and snacker) and I got this reasonably nice application out of the tube. If you're seeking opaque coverage, look elsewhere, but this can be built up a little more and still feel pretty vampy for a tinted balm.

My second product on the docket today is a custom lip gloss in Still No Oscar for Leo DiCaprio (moderate), the colour of the month for April 2014.  Unsurprisingly, I needed something in my life with that title, but I'm not really into neutrals and already have a similar beloved eyeshadow (Baker's Boy). I didn't, however, have a metallic gloss.

Shiro's description of Still No Oscar: Shimmering rose-tinted champagne with bright silver sparks.

Bare lips (for great justice?)
Still No Oscar for Leo DiCaprio
This is just one layer of the gloss, so I think it's relatively opaque for a moderate. I don't know that I find the gloss form of this as pink-toned as I would've expected, but it's definitely a warm champagne and it makes a really fun metallic gloss and would probably layer well over a lot of lip colours if you sheered it out. It's limited edition, though--so unless you're in a hurry to make a Shiro order, you might request Baker's Boy instead.

Overall review:
I love Shiro's lipgloss formula. It's not too sticky (my hair never gets stuck to it), it's not watery or gloopy, it feels moisturizing, it rarely rubs off onto my teeth, etc. I wasn't sure how this colour would turn out; it's definitely not office-friendly, but I think it's quite wearable in other situations! Also, I got this in the flavour pink frosting and it smells like pink frosting when I put it on. How can I complain?

That's it for today, and more Shiro to come, definitely. (I, uh, have yet another order in the mail, now? I don't know anymore.) Thanks for tuning in!

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