When it comes to cult beauty, I feel like I’m totally slacking by beauty blogger standards. There are so many brands I hear great things about on the daily, and for one reason or another haven’t got around to trying yet (I still don’t own a single MAC product. Not a one. *Sigh*). That’s not to say that I haven’t put my fair share of products to the test, cause let’s be real, my collection is sort of ridiculous. But for the most part I stick to my same old drugstore brands and reliable Sephora and Ulta favorites. In 2016, though, I’m ready to branch out, to put some beauty blogger cult favorites to the test and finally understand what the hype is all about.
My first endeavor of the year was to get acquainted with the super trendy, often cheeky, and ultra-affordable LA-based brand Colourpop. As their name would suggest, Colourpop is primarily focused on color cosmetics, so you won’t be finding any foundations or concealers amidst their offerings. However, if you want a badass lip color, or an intense metallic shadow, your options will be plentiful. They’ve done some awesome blogger collabs (including KathleenLights, who I think is just THE most adorable) and are known for putting out amazing quality products at drugstore prices.
As much as I wanted to place a massive order and just try everything, I decided to be a little bit more reasonable and narrow things down to a single collection. Of all the Colourpop products I’d heard about, their Super Shock Shadows really piqued my interest. The formula is super unique, and the pigmentation in every swatch I saw was unreal. And thus, I ultimately decided to order the Colourpop Forever Freshman Collection, a set of 6 gorgeous shadows in a range of matte and metallic finishes. With everything I’d heard I knew the bar would be set high when they finally arrived at my doorstep. And oh.
Before we get into the shadows themselves, let us take a minute to appreciate how lovely Colourpop’s presentation is. While I (unfortunately) did not snap a shot of it, the box that my set was shipped in was really well packaged, and had a super fun navy and hot pink floral pattern on the inside. I got a cute little hand written thank you note, as well as a product information card that gave me some tips on getting the most out of my new shadows and also how best to store them. Even though these little details aren’t everything, they definitely are deserving of some brownie points.
Then there was the packaging of the collection itself. My shadows came snuggly housed in a sleek white box, adorned with a chic abstract print on top. If I was seeing this set for the first time with absolutely zero knowledge of Colourpop’s price point, I could have easily mistaken this for something sold at Sephora that would retail for double the price. In actuality, this set retails for only $30. Each individual Super Shock Shadow normally retails for $5, so you aren’t saving any money by purchasing the shadows in collection form, but you aren’t losing any either. On that note, I do believe that Colourpop releases new collections each season, so this one may not be around for very much longer (although I’m sure whatever replaces it will be equally gorgeous).
Anyway, on to the shadows! The Forever Freshman collection is comprised of six gorgeous shades that cover just about all of your eyeshadow bases. There are matte, metallic, and super glittery finishes. There are warm neutrals, cool neutrals, and pops of color. There are light highlighting shades, dark smokey shades, and colors to transition between the two. Basically you’ve got everything you need to create a variety of eye looks, or to easily accent other shadows you’ve probably got in your collection.
Beyond the beautiful color selection, the actual formula of the Super Shock Shadows is really what piqued my interest. Somewhere between a cream and a powder, everyone raves about how heavily pigmented, yet easily blendable and crease free they are. You can apply them with your fingers, or with your normal makeup brushes, depending on the type of look that you’re after. Once they’re on your lids they have amazing lasting power, and will stay put all day long.
Can we just take a moment to appreciate how absolutely gorgeous these swatches are?
I just…yeah. MOVING ON.
As you can see, these shadows all have really smooth, even pigmentation, even though the colors themselves vary in texture quite a bit. So let’s chat a little bit about each one.
The first shade swatched above is Koosh, an icy silver taupe in an ultra-metallic finish. I’ve been loving wearing this color patted all over my lid as part of a really dewy, beautiful, everyday makeup look. While this shadow has a lot of light reflection, it actually doesn’t feel quite as heavily pigmented as some of the other shades. Its got a very slippery texture, and has an almost wet looking finish to it. That being said, I think this would also be a beautiful eyeshadow topper if your goal is to add sparkle and shine to a look.
Next is Crimper, a soft gold with multidimensional gold glitter in a metallic finish. This shade is very similar to Koosh in texture, but packs a bit more of a sparkly punch. It’s a perfect highlight shade to use on the inner corner of the eye to brighten up a glam makeup look.
As If is a mid-tone cool taupe in a matte finish. This shade is probably the most versatile of the bunch, as it can be used as a transition, a base color, or all by itself. Lately I’ve been using a fluffy blending brush to apply this to my crease as part of my everyday makeup look, as that technique gives a more diffused application. However, you could easily apply this with your fingers if you want to build up the intensity of the color.
Melrose, a true rust in a matte finish, is another lovely warm toned shade. Unlike a lot of matte powder shadows, this formula has zero chalkiness or patchiness and blends out like a dream. This rich color is especially pretty in the crease or for a warm toned smokey eye.
90210, a greyed out taupe sprinkled with pink and gold glitter in a satin luxe finish, is probably the most unique shade in this collection (and totally the inspiration for the look I created below). The base pigment is actually not as deep as I thought it was going to be, and is definitely a more grey toned taupe than a brown. However, the sparkle that this packs is INSANE. If you want to create a super glam makeup look, patting this all over the lid with your fingers will immediately amp up the dram.
Rounding things out is Baby T, a statement cobalt blue. Colourpop describes this shade as a deep blackened blue in a matte finish, however there are definitely some fine shimmering particles visible when you swatch it out. Regardless, this shade is stunning. If blue seems a bit intimidating to you, you could easily apply this shadow as a liner with a thin angled brush. Or, if you’re feeling more bold you could pack it all over the lid and smoke it out.
I really was blown away by how beautifully each of these shadows swatched out, and couldn’t resist immediately creating a look to see how they applied to the eyes. Here’s what I came up with!
To create this look I started by buffing the shade As If into the crease using a large fluffy brush. Then, with clean fingers I patted the shade 90210 all over the lid, blending gently where it met As If and used a smudger brush to apply the same shade along the lower lash line, about 2/3 of the way in. To brighten I dipped a synthetic pencil brush in the shade crimper and patted it into the inner corner of the eye and along the inner third of the lower lash line. Then, using my pinky finger I patted more crimper along the upper lash line and gently blended into the shade 90210 beneath. To warm things up a little I used another clean crease brush to buff a little bit of the shade Melrose into the deepest portion of the crease. Then I finished the eyes off with black winged liner, lashes and mascara.
Seriously guys, as soon as I put these shadows on my lids I could NOT stop staring at them. The camera in no way does justice to how incredibly sparkly and beautiful they are. I definitely will need to also start experimenting with primer and see whether or not that makes these shadows even more vibrant and long wearing.
So, let us bring this rave fest to a close. I FINALLY understand all the hype around Colourpop and these shadows. They have a huge selection of individual pots in just about every color and finish you can possibly imagine, and at $5 a piece you can pick up a few without totally breaking the bank. If you aren’t sure where to start, the collections they offer (like this one) are a great option, especially if you know you can use and love all of the colors. Also, if you sign up for their emails, you’ll get a coupon for $5 off your first order, as well as updates on any sales and promotions that they’re having (cause you know, it never hurts to save more money).
I seriously can’t wait to see what the next collection Colourpop releases looks like. I’m hoping for something with some lighter and brighter shades for spring and summer. I also think I’m going to have to branch out and try some of their lip products next (of which there’s a swoon-worthy set of options). If you guys have any recommendations, I’d love to hear about your favorite products from the brand! Let me know in the comments below.