I don’t think it’s any shock to say my favourite holiday is Halloween. I love the history, the celebrations,the scents, the colours, the atmosphere, the ideology of it. Each year, I binge-buy seasonal items–house decor, lawn decorations, jewelry, perfume, and of course makeup–and rationalize it by saying it’s only available once a year and I like to celebrate. The ONLY other holiday I’m irrationally attached to is Valentine’s Day. Before you cluck at me in disapproval, allow me to explain myself: I am not a romantic. I can hear you gasping, “a goth who’s not a romantic? How could that be?” I’m not a traditional romantic. I’m not squishy and sentimental, I don’t want boxes of chocolates or cut flowers or long walks on the beach or pages full of carefully-chosen words. There are plenty of things I find romantic, but I dare say my definition varies slightly. –anyway, my love of Valentine’s Day stems from a few key points: the Roman Lupercalia, the Wolf Festival, full of fascinating traditions pre-dating our modern commercial “love fest,” the abundance of red available in all sorts of products (including eyeshadow, one of my personal favourites), and last but not least the fact that we share a name. That’s right–my fondness for this particular holiday boils down to the fact that my name is also Valentine.
I’ve been trying awfully hard not to scoop up every pretty V-Day goodie I’ve come across on the internet, but when I saw Brazen Cosmetics’ offerings I couldn’t help myself. I placed an order for the Love Letter eyeshadow set and Candy Hearts gum ball.
The Smartmouth Gumballs are new to me, a tinted lip treatment poured into a cute round container. Candy Hearts is a sheer, bubblegum-pink scented with Brazen’s custom candy heart fragrance. I anticipated something sticky-sweet, like powdered sugar or marshmallow fluff, but was surprised to find this scent is far more complex. It is sweet, but it’s very light, almost fruity-floral. I can’t tell you it’s dead-on for real candy hearts because it’s honestly been years since I’ve even smelled those suckers, but it’s a very familiar, light scent. I really wish this could be kept on as a permanent scent for Brazen lip products.
The surface of the balm was sprinkled generously with superfine pink glitter that reflects the most beautiful blue-violet. I love the way it looks over the soft pink below, but I am glad it’s not mixed throughout so I can choose whether or not I want my lips to glitter.
About two swipes of balm leaves this pretty barely-there wash of pink. You can see some of the glitter scattered throughout, which in tiny amounts gives it a delicate, ethereal glow. The formula itself is light, but moisturizing, and has decent lasting power–a few swipes before leaving the house kept me covered for three or four hours before I felt the need to reapply.
If you’ve been reading for any length of time, you’ll know that I don’t really like neutrals. I’ve always preferred my retina-searing brights to natural-looking shades, but I’ve learned that I don’t hate neutrals: I hate bland neutrals. Luckily, every indie neutral I’ve ever gotten my hands on has become an invaluable addition to my cosmetic arsenal.
You’ll also remember that I tend to buy things based on name, and Brazen’s Love Letter set instantly reminded me of one thing:
Brazen’s Love Letter Trio comes with three neutral shades, sifter- and heat-sealed, neatly packed into a custom-labeled gift box.
Yours Always is described as a “Sweet petal pink with alluring subtle sheen that shifts from gold to pink, with teeny hints of green sparkles.” It’s a pale, neutral pink with a subtle pearlescence and cool sparkle.
My Dearest, a “flirty mauve with complex duochrome pink/gold sheen, crimson glitter and sparkles that shift from gold to pink,” is definitely my favourite of the trio. The soft, berry-pink base is full of light pink and gold sparkles. Brushed on lightly, it makes an excellent lid colour, while patted over a sticky base (above over Darling Girl’s Glitter Glue) it’s a beautiful bold crease shade.
All My Love is described as a “feminine pinkish brown with flirty pink sheen, and multi-faceted sparkles that shift from red to gold and blue to green.” I don’t own a lot of browns, but I think it’s pretty safe to say this is not your average brown. The base is a rich chocolate, but the strong pink cast and red and gold sparkles keep it interesting.
As a set, I think these are perfectly matched–if only half the palettes I own worked so well together!
I was incredibly happy when I found this mini-pot of Crazy Cat Lady gloss in my order–I somehow missed this shade while I was placing my order and saw it posted on Facebook the next day, when I promptly began kicking myself for my poor timing. The same formula I loved so much before, this super-shiny gloss is a beautiful purple-toned fuchsia with a strong blue shimmer.
Completely opaque in one swipe, a little goes a long way. Applied in a thin swipe to the left, thicker to the right.
Since my order, Brazen has listed even more sets and singles–the Candy Hearts Collection, Screw Cupid Set, the amazingly clever Box of Glosses…and had I seen the vampy purple Trouble, it would have been mine!
Love you to the Moon and Back,