Every Queen Deserves Her Crown

Published on June 10, 2017 by   ·   1 Comment

You know a bitch loves a bargain, but somehow I never managed to find my way to Crown Brush until Stephanie Nicole decided to throw a little (arguably much-deserved) shade Morphe’s way.  If you’ve watched pretty much any beauty video on YouTube, you’ve probably heard of Morphe or else you haven’t really been paying attention.  They are a small brand that sells brushes as well as a line of makeup, and they’ve practically written the book on how to use social media to grow your brand and image.  Every guru out there has their Morphe code, and they’re all using the brushes and going gaga over how soft and luxurious they are, and at such a great price!  Stephanie Nicole, who I adore for her smartass attitude and diligent research habits, did a review of some Morphe products and decided to educate the YouTube world about what private labeling is.  I’ll link the video below (it’ a long one, but definitely educational and worth watching!) but basically she suggests that Morphe, this brand that has exploded through the use of social marketing, is really just pedaling private labeled products from a company called Crown Brush.

Since I’m always looking for an excuse to buy new fabulous products for my ever-expanding stash, I decided that I would order in some items from both Crown and Morphe to review.  From Crown, I ordered exclusively eye products and I was super excited to see some of the gorgeous collections they had to offer.  I also discovered that I already had a Crown palette (called Blizzard) that I had gotten as Days of the Dead Indianapolis last summer!

Blizzard

In Indy, there was a vendor there would did special effects work and they had some makeup brushes and a couple of palettes for sale.  Two were especially intriguing: a cool-toned collection of pastels perfect for those following the mermaid and unicorn makeup trends called Blizzard, and a more primary-infused collection in a red metallic case called Fuego.  Although pastels and pinks are usually my jam, I decided to try out the Fuego; it was less likely to have a bunch of shades I could easily dupe in my collection.  The people working searched through all of their boxes and couldn’t find the one box that held their Fuego palettes!  I checked back a couple of times, and they were absolutely perplexed!  In the end, because I liked their booth and wanted to support them, I just bought the Blizzard palette – and loved it, as expected!  Again, nothing wrong with a bunch of greens and purples and pinks!  Imagine my surprise when I first started digging into the Crown site, looking for things to purchase for a review – and there were Blizzard and Fuego!  After almost a whole year, I finally got my hands on that elusive Fuego palette!

Fuego

By obviously my reunion with the Fuego palette wasn’t going to be the end of my shopping excursion!  No hunties – I picked up three additional palettes: Cosmo Collection (another 28 color palette, similar in style to Blizzard and Fuego), the 35SH (35 shimmer shades), and 35C (a collection of 35 mattes).  I also picked up 4 single shadows, pictured below, left to right: Crown Jewel, Sun Goddess, Fierce, and Sweet Taffy (I plopped them into a rando Z palette that I did not get from Crown); finally, I picked up two Studio Glam Shadow Sticks in Pearly White and Wicked (if you can’t tell which is which from the picture…then think real hard about where you’re going in your life).

Crown 05

Similar to my review of the Makeup Revolution London Chocolate Bar palettes, it would be madness to swatch every single shadow in 5 palettes of this size.  So for each one, I did a minimum of 12 shades following the same process.  First I washed myarm and laid down a layer of primer; for this article, I used the Kat Von D High Voltage Eye Primer I got during their Memorial Day Sale.  Using a clean finger for each shade, I swatched them left to right across my arm.  Once I had 4 shades, I would clean off my fingertips with a Tyra Beauty Pop It Clean Wipe.  Obviously I didn’t hit every shade, but the shades I did appear “in order” if you read the palette like a book, left to right, top to bottom.  Since the shades don’t actually have numbers on them, this will help you figure out which shadows I swatched.  I tried to do a range of light and dark, bright and neutral, and (if the palette wasn’t a specific finish collection) matte and shimmer.  Here are the 4 single shadows and the two shadow sticks to start:

Crown 06

The shadow sticks were only ok.  I was hoping that they might serve as good color bases for the powder shadows, but as we will see below…it was not to be.  The singles were really good: the formula was a similar consistency and pigmentation to Juvia’s Place single shadows and the shadows from their lovely palettes.  I was a big fan of all four shades, and I would love to try more of these really great singles!

Here’s the Blizzard Palette:

Crown 11(sorry for the weird angle on the palettes – I had this artsy fartsy idea about how I was going to lay things out and it totally flopped!)

Crown 10My thoughts on the Blizzard palette are really going to echo most of my thoughts for all of the palettes (except for the 35C – more on that below!) but generally I found that shimmers always performed better than the mattes, and darker shades performed better than lighter shades.  If you look at the first three shades at the left, they are the lightest, and the swatches are also the most difuse.  I didn’t really do anything different with these than I did with the other swatches, except that I might have worked them a little bit more because I was trying to get even consistent coverage.  The colors are nice, but they tend to get lost next to their deeper, darker counterparts.  This palette is nice in that it gives you the same sort of hue in a range of light and dark shades, meaning that you could use this one palette to make some pretty gorgeous ombre looks.  The lighters shades aren’t necessarily bad, but they definitely had a different sort of payoff than the darker shades.

Now onto Fuego!

Crown 15

Crown 08The matte yellow at the top was kind of a dud – it was pretty chalky, and I had to go over the swatch multiple times to get even that much coverage – but overall I liked the quality of the shadows.  The shimmers were all gorgeous, and that coral-red shimmer that is two away from the right side is stunning.  STUH-nning.  This photo does not do it justice!  It’s a shimmer that almost has like a subtle bluish duochrome.  That teal green on the left was everything and the matte emerald was one of the exceptions to the mattes that went on beautifully with one swipe.  Generally the mattes would give me a good swatch, but I had to dip in a few times, and I had to work them.  The shimmers just went on like, “BAM!  What, bitch?! You ain’t said NOTHING!”  Next to the emerald is sort of a metallic gunmetal – the pic makes it look more black than it actually is.  And the red matte on the end is a stunning color, but as you can see in the picture it applies really inconsistent.

Ready for a Comso?!

Crown 16Crown 07

What I appreciate about the Cosmo Collection palette is that it does a better job of trying to provide some neutral and transition colors to go with their fabulous pops of bright color!  The white at the very start of the palette was a bit chalky and that swatch, which is the palest of the lot, is after several passes.  The two matte transition shades next to it, however, are pretty gorgeous and were much less fussy.  The brown was a little muddy but not bad, though I would worry about how it would blend with other, brighter colors.  Then I got into some shimmers and things were bliss…until that damn yellow.  It was chalky and barely showed up (I think it’s the same yellow that was also featured in the Fuego palette, though I can’t say for sure as they aren’t labeled with color names) and took a ton of passes to get it even as dark as it is.  I thought, “This is the perfect time to try out the shadow stick and see how it works as a base!”  As you can see from that pathetic, scrambled egg lookin’ mess, the answer is “Not very damn well at all.”  The powder didn’t lay down nicely over the creamy base but rather clumped up and got chunky and uneven.  Maybe if you put that cream base on and let it sit for a bit you’d have a different result, but I’m not holding out hope.

Now that we’ve gotten through the three 28-shade palettes, let’s get even more extra and look at the two 35-shade palettes, starting with the 35SH (shimmers):

Crown 02Crown 12

Unsurprisingly, this palette was everything I needed and more.  The shimmers, whether dark or light, were consistent and pigmented and went on like a dream.  As you can see from the swatches, there were some differences among the shadows: some appear to be a more pearly sort of shimmer while others appear downright metallic!  The two on the end were almost just like a vinyl sort of reflect over the base tone.  All of these applied nicely, except that there was a little chalkiness form that white shadow on the left (you can see the streak that happened from the fallout as I was applying).  But these shades are gorgeous and super easy to work with.

As for the mattes…

Crown 02Crown 14After some of the mattes in the 28-shade palettes were underwhelming to say the least, I approached this palette with trepidation.  But then I swatched that matte black and I was like, “Jesus take the wheel, because I am NOT responsible for my actions!”  It was so dark-as-my-soul black and applied flawlessly.  I went to that dark gray right next to it, and the same thing.  In fact, all of the mattes that I tried in this palette were amazing except for that last one: the sort of buttercream shade that appears second to last.  It was definitely an anomaly!  You can see from the picture that it was super chunky and applied patchy, and as terrible as it looks in the picture that was even after I’d fussed with it for about two full minutes!  It just wasn’t going to become anything, which is a damn shame because I want to bathe my entire body in that warm vanilla shade!  White mattes are also notoriously hard so I didn’t even try the shade next to it – I can only take so much heartbreak in a day!

Overall, I’m pretty impressed with my first venture into the world of Crown Brush, and I’m even more impressed with the prices: all of the stuff reviewed for this article (except for Blizzard, which I bought from that vendor at Days of the Dead) came to right around $110.  Crown also offers a free gift on all orders over $50 (I got a small three-toned bronzer that reminded me a little of Snow Bunny from Too Faced – I don’t know why I didn’t include it in this review!) and because the order was over $100 I also got free shipping!

CrownPros: The shadow palettes are an amazing price and for the most part give you some great basics to work with and create lots of looks.  The price is absolutely unbeatable.  I got my order pretty quickly; from when I placed it to when I received it was right around 7 days.  The shimmers are really the standouts, and the single shadows were on par with Juvia’s Place shadows, which are some of my absolute favorites of all time!

Cons: The shadow sticks were pretty much useless; they didn’t play well with the powder shadow, but weren’t really pigmented enough to really use on their own.  Each of the palettes had at least one or two duds, and I’m guessing that I would have found probably one or two more per palette if I’d tested everything.  When figuring out your total cost, it’s important to factor in that some of the shadows won’t really be useful to you.  A $20 palette with 10 shades might mean that you paid $2 per shadow, if you can only use 2 of the shadows then in practical terms you actually paid $10 per shadow.  I know that should be obvious, but if you spend a nanosecond reading the comments on pretty much any makeup company’s website or social media, you’ll see people for whom this simple Economics 101 fact is sadly incomprehensible.  I found these palettes to still be a pretty great deal, as I only had one or two shades per bunch that were bad; even if we say that 5-8 shades in each palette wouldn’t be useful to a particular customer, at $16-22 per palette, that’s still an amazing value.

There is also a fair amount of repetition.  Again, because the shadows aren’t actually labeled with shade names or stock numbers, I can’t say 100% that shades from one palette to another are exactly the same, but if there are differences they are miniscule.  Even within a palette there are sometimes shades that are very similar with only minute differences (this was especially true for Blizzard, which is why I originally was going to pull the trigger on Fuego instead).  To be fair, it’s not like Crown is advertising “Hey, buy all of these palettes and you will get all new and unique shades to play with!”  They just present them as is, and you decide whether or not to buy them.  I just would have maybe liked a little more variety.  The upside to that is if you get a palette that you are only feeling ho-hum about, if you hit pan on the colors you like, there is a chance that you can find those same colors in a different palette that will have new shades to try instead of getting more of the ones you aren’t finding yourself using.

In general, I was pretty impressed with my first foray in to the world of Crown Brush, and I’m very glad that Stephanie Nicole provided me with an intro tot his company.  Whether or not Morphe is just private labeling and selling Crown products doesn’t really matter to me – both companies are working to carve out their particular niches and provide even more selection to a world of beauty obsessed makeup lovers like me.

We’re hungry for great products and at Crown Brush…the buffet is open.

Now Go Forth & Get Painted!

 

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Readers Comments (1)
  1. […] up their game and bringing you some fantastic products!  Recently I brought you a review of Crown Brush, with its line of amazing eyeshadow palettes (and brushes, obvi – though I didn’t test […]





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