SugarPill Cosmetics: Sugar Vs. Spice

Published on August 12, 2015 by   ·   No Comments

Sugar 03I am a big fan of SugarPill eyeshadows…what would I do without the matte white perfection that is Tako?!

I haven’t really been keeping up with this brand as well as I could/should have, so when they recently had a sale I decided to snap up the two latest pressed shadow compact collections: Cold Chemistry and Sparkle Baby.  It was hard not to go after the neon grandeur that is the ElektroCute collection, but I wanted more bang for my buck (I was still pretty fresh out of my “no beauty products” cold turkey experiment, and I was a little gun shy!).

What I like about these two collections is that they have such different aesthetics: Sparkle Baby is sugary sweet, with just a pinch of attitude.  Cold Chemistry is the spice with a dark, jewel-tone inspired set of hues.  I decided to put them up against one another in a completely arbitrary “sugar vs. spice” grudge match where, really, everyone’s a winner because no matter what they pick, they can have these creamy dreamy eyeshadows adorning their faces.

Speaking of, I think SugarPill changed something in their formula in the not so distant past.  In addition to ordering the two palettes, I was all out of Tako and, well, that just can’t happen.  When I got it, it was still as matte and fabulous as I always remembered but the application  seemed even more smooth and even.  It was always matte-tastic, but I did find it sometimes just a touch chalky unless you layered it on.  Luckily, I’m a fucking drag queen so EVERYTHING is always layered on like Dutch Boy.  Problem solved.  But the Tako that arrived in my order didn’t have any of that mild chalkiness and went on smooth as silk with the first application.

Anyway, back to the grudge match!  First up: SUGAR!

 SP 01

The Sparkle Baby compact is a great selection of colors: Kitten Parade (delicious shimmery peach with opulent golden sheen), Frostine (a frosty pastel lavender), CandyCrush (glittering mint pearl), and Hotsy Totsy (sweet magenta with iridescent fairy sparkles).  It’s a nice mix with two warm and two cool tones.  I actually used both CandyCrush and Hotsy Totsy for my photo shoot with Miranda Roen (the images in this post come from that shoot) and they paired well together.  In fact, I would say that CandyCrush is my favorite out of the collection; it’s a great replacement J (64)for Tako if I want to do a light lid but with a little bit more color.  I still put some white in the inner corner of my eye, but CandyCrush does the rest!  I haven’t used Kitten Parade in a look yet, but I’ve swatched it and the color is divine!  The peach with the gold is just this side of coral, so it would pair nicely with rosier shades, and I think popping this in with the rose-neutrals of Urban Decay’s Naked 3 palette would be a fantastic life choice.

Hotsy Totsy is a great magenta/hot pink, though except for the “fairy sprakles” I don’t find it that much different than Dollipop from the Sweetheart palette.  Rather than creating another fuchsia pink, I would have loved to see SugarPill bring it down a few notches and create a to die for Barbie-inspired blue-pink – something with some body that isn’t a baby/pastel pink but doesn’t go all the way to 80s raspberry.  Like a pink Post-It, or Pepto Bismal.  But until that day comes, Hotsy Totsy is a nice addition to their lineup, especially if you prefer sparkle to matte.

The only really “meh” shade for me was Frostine.  True, I need to use it in a purple/berry look before I totally pass final judgment, but I did try to blend it in a bit with Candy Crush on a recent show night, and it was a mess.  The Frostine just sat on the top and didn’t know what to do with itself.  The CandyCrush had too much sparkle and presence, and the more subtle Frostine just looked like it’s plain cousin in a terrible bridesmaid dress.  Again, maybe I’ll plug it in with some purples and absolutely fall in love, but for right now it’s just falling a little flat.  Not so much that I wouldn’t recommend the palette, however; getting all 4 shadows is a pretty good deal at $34, considering that each individual shadow is $12 ($48 total if bought individually).  Buying the palette is like getting $2 off the third shadow and the fourth one free!

So overall, I felt like this was a strong showing from Sugarpill…but how does it stack up next to our challenger – SPICE?!

 SP 02

Cold Chemistry is the odd girl out of SugarPill’s line of beauty products.  Remember that song from Sesame Street? “One of these things is not like the others…”  In the SugarPill world, normally stacked to the rafters with saturated candy colors, striking neons, and playful pastels, Cold Chemistry is a bit of an anomaly – but that’s what makes it great!  The package has a great crystal/shattered glass motif, including a fun geometric mirror in the lid.  It was the first of their palettes to be in a rectangular bar shape rather than the 2×2 square of their previous 3 palettes.  The J (24)colors in this set are Soot & Stars (metallic gunmetal with prismatic sparkle), Diamond Eyes (satin white with crystalline sheen), Elemental Chaos (deep grape shimmer with iridescent blue undertones), and subterranean (peacock green with navy undertones).

I was most excited to try Diamond Eyes; Tako is such a staple in my kit, and I thought it would be wonderful to have an option that would have the coverage of Tako in a sparkle formula instead of the straight up matte.  And this shadow did not disappoint!  I used it instead of Tako in a show night look and got the same level of coverage but with a great subtle sparkle!  Not that I’m opposed to adding glitter on top of a matte, but the glitter adhesives I use most (Lit Cosmetics Clearly Liquid Base or Too Faced Shadow Insurance Glitter Glue) don’t always play well with the super matte shadows – they do better with creamier sparkly shades, but sometimes they turn mattes into mud!  This shadow is by and large my favorite of the bunch.

Next down the list, surprisingly, was Soot & Stars.  Really, Janessa?  You were super excited about a gunmetal shadow?!  Yes, and let me tell you why – it’s because of the prismatic sparkle.  Normally I’m not a fan of gunmetal/hematite colored shadows.  My drag looks, which are known to be colorful and flamboyant, don’t really mix with gunmetal shadows.  They aren’t bright and shiny enough like a more silver or platinum shadow, they aren’t usually dark enough to replace a black contouring eyeshadow, and usually they are just a touch dull.  Soot & Stars is dark enough to work where I would place a black (and sometimes I will darken the edges with another black shadow) but the sparkles give it a certain depth that I just love.  Gunmetals tend to be pearl or metallic shadows; adding the prismatic element really allows this shadow to stand out from others of its kind.

The two jewel-toned shadows are also really good: Elemental Chaos is a nice deep purple, but unlike Poison Plum from the Burning Heart palette it is a much more blue-purple than a red-toned violet/plum; Subterranean is a nice rich green, and would be a welcome addition if you miss SugarPill’s now discontinued loose shadow Junebug.  They both are nice cool shades (Duh! It’s called Cold Chemistry for a reason!) and work well with each other, or with Diamond Eyes and Soot & Stars if you want to create a fun monochromatic look.  I might even try using Elemental Chaos and Diamond Eyes with Frostine to create a light, purple look and see what comes of it.

So, who wins the SUGAR vs. SPICE smackdown?

Well, if I’m looking at individual shadows, my favorite of all 8 was CandyCrush; that’s the one that if I run out of it (and I probably will) I am most likely to buy the standalone product.  My other top shades were Diamond Eyes and Soot & Stars, but I feel like I’m less likely to buy them as individuals if I end up running out.  And while the Sparkle Baby had my favorite shadow, it also had my least favorite shadow, Frostine.  So the question for me comes down to whether I go with best total value, or if I let one standout product sway me.  This is definitely a tough call.

Although it’s basically a photo finish between these two great palettes, I’m going to say the winner, for me, is Cold Chemistry.

Cold ChemistryDiamond Eyes is a great sparkle white that can be used with almost any look you put together, whether as a highlighter on the brow bone, on the lid, or however you want to use it.  Soot & Stars takes a predictable gunmetal shadow and makes it interesting and different.  Subterranean and Elemental Chaos are great jewel tones that are vibrant and versatile.  This palette is furthest from SugarPill’s usual sugary aesthetic, but that worked to its advantage; from a value standpoint, it also helps that these 4 colors are much more harmonious together – you could do a full, complex eye look with just these 4 colors much more easily (and with more generally wearble results!) than you could with Sparkle Baby.  If Frostine weren’t so bland and Hotsy Totsy were more pink and less fuchsia, I might have gone the other way, but SPICE definitely wins the day!

Now Go Forth And Get Painted!

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