Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Fyrinnae company overview

Before I start reviewing my sizeable stash of Fyrinnae products I feel compelled to write a company overview - or rather a disclaimer - first.

Fyrinnae are owned by and/or employ a number of staff who are highly unprofessional, juvenile or downright rude and extremely unpleasant depending on your perspective.

The pros of Fyrinnae will be discussed in my reviews - namely their products are awesome. The cons however are more complicated as Fyrinnae have never done anything outright immoral or illegal, so I wont actively recommend against purchasing from them, but felt it was important to inform you of their many issues so you can decide for yourself if they are a company you want to support.

Fyrinnae has four main issues which I will outline below:

Screen shot taken from their website:

 No interaction or information given to customers

At first I really respected the fact that Fyrinnae didn't try to drum up business, exposure and customers by sending out their products to v/bloggers (cough Sigma cough) or have a fan page of any sort - their seemingly reclusive nature and shun for limelight was something I originally admired as it lead me to believe they are confident enough in their product to not need to advertise it.

However as their website has a number of issues including extremely frequent and random 'closings' (they shut down the entire website with no warning, explanation or re-opening time given multiple times within a 24 hour period), automatic cart-emptying when the site is up (the cart with randomly dump all your products out so you can't purchase anything) or products removed without notice (often the entire eyeshadow section will just disappear). It's a mad scramble to get your order picked, decided and paid for before Fyrinnae decides to lock you out - on top of the fact their website is crappy (see point 4).

The message I'm currently being greeted with on their closed website

All of these issues are obviously confusing if you're not used to Fyrinnae's shenanigans and extremely annoying even if you are. This probably leads to a lot of emails questioning "why isn't the website working" and/or complaints and this is how Fyrinnae responds:

Highly unprofessional and passive aggressive tweets

Here're screencaps of a Fyrinnae's employee Teir starting rumours about the company on his personal twitter (which is publicly affiliated with Fyrinnae) - he then promptly deleted them.

Twitter screencap - Mushi seems pretty cool

Here're sceencaps of Fyrinnae calling their customers "rude and demanding" as well as having an "entitled attitude". While I don't doubt anyone working in customer service does have to deal with rude, demanding and entitled customers bitching about them on the official company twitter is beyond unprofessional. It also appears that perhaps two different Fyrinnae employees are posting to the twitter at the same time - a unnamed person and Marco/M who appears to be justifying the mystery poster's rants - again, this is incredibly juvenile and utterly idiotic.

Another Twitter screencap

Another major issue with this series of tweets is that Fyrinnae is accusing customers of prioritising makeup over (their) health. This is completely unjustified as, while I don't doubt Fyrinnae do receive complaints about their website's extremely frequent and random closings, they do not give any warning, explanation or re-opening information. Indie companies go on hiatus frequently due to illness, being overloaded with orders, needing to re-stock items or other significant issues. All of these posts linked - including Fyrinnae's - have been made in the last six months to give you some context and highlight that Fyrinnae's behaviour is not normal, nor in my opinion acceptable.

Poor, inconsistent customer service

I have placed three orders with Fyrinnae over the past year. Each one has had varying degrees of customer service issues. Remember below are my own personal experiences - these may hold less weight than the above points and tweets, and you can of course skip these anecdotes.

1) During my first order with them I asked if I could order more than their 20 eyeshadow mini max as they do not offer samples and I wanted to justify spending ~$9 on international postage - they said no. While this was somewhat annoying it didn't phase me, except for the paradoxical fact that they didn't seem to want my money. Odd behaviour for a store right? But I placed my first order anyway and was very happy with it.

2a) I emailed them asking what information their customs declaration forms contain (as England charges you £9 if you don't declare the package properly) - I had to send three separate emails over the course of 10 days before I got a response. They gave me approximately half of the information I'd requested and when I replied asking another question the email was ignored - it's been four months so it's safe to say I've given up hope of a response.

2b) As I placed my order I asked if I could request a specific eyeshadow as my complimentary sample - I even gave about half a dozen options just in case any were out of stock etc. Their response was a solid no. By this time I'd ordered from other indies and was aware this wasn't normal - but I'm not going to complain about freebies so wasn't really phased.

2c) They forgot to include a product I'd ordered (as well, somewhat ironically, as a freebie sample) - I contacted them explaining this and four days later received an email saying they'd sent a replacement. The only problem was they'd sent it to my grandmother's house in Hong Kong (who I was visiting when I placed the order) - I was and am currently living in England. Again, not a huge deal but somewhat inconvenient. I wasn't even asked if I'd prefer a refund, store credit, a discount or what address to ship it to - again, communication could really be improved.

A final Twitter screen cap (hint: I am not txteva)

2d) When I finally received the missing item from my order that's all I received - no note, no missing freebie (despite me mentioning that they forget it in my original order) or apology freebie. Now I know complaining about not getting free stuff is really bratty but when it's standard with an order (like samples from Sephora) and they didn't include it, and they've screwed up my order making made me wait for the replacement item for over a month I'd think that a placating eyeshadow sample would be a nice gesture. This is not at all standard for indie companies (or in my experience any cosmetic company) and leaves me feeling a bit bitter towards the ever arrogant Fyrinnae.

3) I placed my most recent Fyrinnae order last month and three days later emailed them asking if they could swap two products of equal size and value as they hadn't shipped my parcel yet. The response was similar to their official twitter thread above - either two different people were emailing me or one person was having a major mood swing. It's prudent to note these following messages were received between midnight and 8am my time so I obviously had neither read nor replied to any of them - first I was informed that no, it was not possible to change my order. Three hours later I received another email explaining that as everything had been packed and printed they could only cancel and refund my order so I could correct and replace it in another separate order. Six hours later I received a final email saying that as I hadn't responded they'd shipped the package anyway but would include the requested mini in my next order. Maybe I spend too much of my academic life analysing literature but the tone between the first and the following emails was markedly different.

Overall my personal experiences of course haven't been horrible (they haven't run off with my money and not delivered my order) but the buying experience from Fyrinnae is significantly less pleasant than buying from every single other indie I've tried.

Crappy website

I'm separating this from the above website issues (closings, cart emptying, missing products) because having a distinctly retro website isn't that bad. - straight from the 90s 

However it's their lack of accurate swatches, or even just swatches that clearly illustrate their "we could care less" attitude. It's not difficult to dab some product of your arm and snap a photo in daylight with your camera or phone. And even if that's beyond Fyrinnae for whatever reason sending a few samples to bloggers or just asking if they could use their photos is an easy alternative - not having swatches on an indie site is extremely frustrating for the consumer as trying to find accurate swatches on google is an extensive and boring task, and doesn't always yield results. Above I commended Fyrinnae for their independence in not advertising themselves, but again, I believe that would be mistaking their arrogance for mere confidence.

At every step of the way Fyrinnae are showing you how little you mean as a customer to them: they'll close their website and empty your cart without warning or explanation, not letting you buy from them. They'll not bother to take accurate photos of their products, and even if you decide you want something they'll limit how many you're allowed to order. If you email them with questions you'll wait over a week for a curt response unless you're lucky enough to get through to their one pleasant employee (or perhaps their regular employees when they're in a good mood). They're running their business like a spoilt, moody teenager - and I doubt if they hadn't been one of the original indies they'd be as popular as they are now irregardless of product quality.

My Fyrinnae collection - I can assure you that none of these products are unique or irreplaceable

In conclusion:

There is no denying that Fyrinnae make excellent cosmetics - though I certainly question whether they run the cosmetic formulation and packaging as carelessly as they run their PR. Although no fingerprints or hairs have been found in any Fyrinnae cosmetics they have had issues with both texture and colour (different colour link), though both can be somewhat explained by their recent eyeshadow reformulation.

As indie consumers often like to support small businesses, enjoy personal interaction as well as an extra level of care (and prefer to shop vegan or ‘cruelty free') - it’s worth noting if you want the ‘indie experience’ Fyrinnae are not the way to go. Expect to be treated exactly the same as if you bought from a corporate brand, but without the ease of purchase.

There are also many other indies out there that make almost identical products in quality, complexity and cost who are run by pleasant people who actually want your business, and I am planning on doing a Fyrinnae dupe thread in the coming months for anyone enticed by beautiful swatches but repulsed by the company.

Basically Fyrinnae are like that friend who never calls or responds to any texts, but when they do show up at a party they're great fun until they bitch someone out and puke in the sink.

Love, Saskia X

(who promises to never puke in your sink)

@aiksasarual on instagram

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Inglot matte eyeshadows swatches and review

Not going to lie - all the messages about how you miss my blog make me feel both equal parts loved and guilty! I've been travelling solidly for the past 6 weeks (spending no longer than 5 days in any one country) which was obviously not conducive to either makeup or blogging.

As an inadequate apology here are a few holiday snaps:

In one of these photos I've filled my eyebrows in so this collage is vaguely relevant to makeup!

Now, without further adu here're my swatches and review of Inglot's matte eyeshadows:

Inglot package each eyeshadow, blush and I assume concealer, lipstick etc pan individually as I've shown below. Although this large amount of packaging wastage makes my environmentally conscious cricket cringe I can't argue it's extremely effective, hygienic and aesthetically pleasing.

I purchased eleven Inglot eyeshadows - nine metallic and two matte - around Christmas last year and while I adore them all I found myself reaching for the two matte taupes for almost every look I created as they were the perfect crease colours, blended effortlessly and flawlessly, and wore impeccably through all of the sweaty club dancing I am so fond of.

I'd been looking for a matte cool-toned neutral palette for a couple of months now; the Tarte Be Mattenificent palette was a strong contender and although the purple agate packaging won my heart instantly the eyeshadow quality was pretty meh. The Saucebox Etude palette was another option I liked - but they're been out of stock for about six months now (which is frankly ridiculous), and have absolutely awful customer service so I'd rather not support them.

Photo credit:

Thus, with the help of the amazing Beautylish Inglot palette builder I began building my own neutral palette which was equal parts fun and frustrating. I obviously highly recommend actually swatching the shadows yourself at an Inglot store, but if that's not possible Temptalia and other google source's swatches are actually very accurate. I ordered my palette from the UK Inglot website (as Beautylish only accepts US credit cards and ships to US addresses) and although postage was £5 regardless of how much you spend (free shipping is a weakness of mine) my package arrived less than a week later all bubble wrapped and lovely.

Top row: 360 / 363 (not new)
Second row: 391 / 329 / 326 / 378 / 358
Blush: AMC 55
Third row: 344 / 390 / 353 / 375 / 325/ 338 / 317 / 385

Aside from their phenomenal product quality and unparalleled colour and texture range my favourite thing about Inglot is the ability to mix and match their palettes as the mood strikes you - all their pans are magnetic and they offer multiple sizes of empty palettes so you can arrange and re-arrange all your eyeshadows (and brow powders/concealers/lip sticks etc) endlessly.

Since I don't know how to overlay text on my photos (sorry) I'm going to list the shade colours and names here (obviously all of them are matte):

Top Row:

  • Neutral Taupe - 360
  • Cool Taupe - 363

Middle Row:

  • Black - 391
  • Neutral dark brown - 329
  • Cool burgundy tinged dark brown - 326
  • Cool dark brown taupe - 378
  • Mid grey mauve taupe - 358


  • Mid plummy beige pink - AMC 55

Third row:

  • Mid beige pink mauve - 344
  • Light beige pink - 390
  • Very light neutral cream - 353
  • Mid purple - 375
  • Dark purple - 325
  • Mid bright blue teal - 338
  • Mid bright green teal - 317
  • Bright mid green - 385

Top row: 360 / 363 (not new)
Second row: 391 / 329 / 326 / 378 / 358
Blush: AMC 55
Third row: 344 / 390 / 353 / 375 / 325/ 338 / 317 / 385

I cannot reinforce how amazing the quality of these mattes are - most of these took literally one swipe (with a clean finger over bare skin) to show full opacity, and all of them were incredibly soft and oh so buttery. All photos were taken with a flash.

I then pulled out some other mattes in my collection to compare the colours and texture - needless to say Inglot made it into no competition, my previous favourite mattes (Suagarpill, Laura Mercier, Urban Decay) were left biting Inglot's dust.

Top row: 360 / 363 (LM Plum Smoke / UD Tease)
Second row: 391 / 329 / 326 / 378 / 358
Blush: AMC 55
Third row: 344 / 390 / 353 / 375 / 325/ 338 / 317 / 385
(Fourth row: LM Morning Dew / Sugarpill Poison Plum / Midori)

The third and fourth shadows on the top row are Laura Mercier's Plum Smoke and Urban Deacy's Tease (from the Naked2 palette). The three swatches added as a fourth row are Laura Mercier's Morning Dew, Sugarpill's Poison Plum and Midori.

Top row: 360 / 363 (LM Plum Smoke / UD Tease)
Second row: 391 / 329 / 326 / 378 / 358
Blush: AMC 55
Third row: 344 / 390 / 353 / 375 / 325/ 338 / 317 / 385
(Fourth row: LM Morning Dew / Sugarpill Poison Plum / Midori)

Here you can see Laura Merier's Morning Dew (light neutral) is significantly less pigmented than Inglot's 353, as is Sugarpill's Poison Plum (purple) and Midori (green). Honestly I wasn't too surprised Inglot's mattes were more pigmented than Laura Mercier's as LM's are so incredibly soft they're hard to pack pigment on, and while this does make them slightly quicker to blend it's at the cost of seriously sheering out the eyeshadow.

However, Inglot out performing Sugarpill's matte brights was definitely a shock to me - I used to swear that Sugarpill's were the most pigmented, soft and blend-able mattes out there, obviously I was wrong. In comparison to Inglot's shades Sugarpill's felt grainy and applied sheer! Also, Sugarpill's mattes are not 100% matte like Inglot's are.

Top row: 360 / 363 (LM Plum Smoke / UD Tease)
Second row: 391 / 329 / 326 / 378 / 358
Blush: AMC 55
Third row: 344 / 390 / 353 / 375 / 325/ 338 / 317 / 385
(Fourth row: LM Morning Dew / Sugarpill Poison Plum / Midori)

Here you can see Laura Mercier's Plum Smoke (third shade on the top row) is a close match to Inglot's 358, but as with Morning Dew Laura Mericer's shadows were soft to their own detriment and thus required much more building than Inglot's. The last shade on the top row is Urban Decay's Tease from their Naked2 palette, when I first swatched it I couldn't believe how hard and unpigmented it was!

The Naked2 was my first ever pressed eyeshadow and palette so maybe I still think of it the way I did when I bought it a year ago ("Look at all these colours! They're so pretty and pigmented! Think of all the makeup I can do with these! Oh I'm so overwhelmed and have no idea what I'm doing..."). Tease applied patchy and I couldn't even build the swatch to full opacity, honestly I was beyond underwhelmed. Urban Decay's shadows are being notorious for under performing without a primer and being pretty awesome with one though, so that could be the issue - but it doesn't detract from the fact Inglot whipped them in making a exponentially better matte. 

Metallic colours top row: 409 / 43 / 404 / 07
Metallic colours bottom row: 452 / 446 / 445 / 399 / 154
AMC gel eyeliner: 77 (black)

This is everything I own by Inglot (with the mattes laid out in the same shape as the swatches above) in a Muji clear acrylic drawer, as the astute reader may notice I am not a smart girl and forgot to pick up an empty 20 pan palette to store my new shadows in. I'll hopefully get around to reviewing my metallic Inglot shadows at some point but just in case I don't here are some spoilers: they are the same quality as the Inglot mattes and outstrip Laura Mercier, Sugarpill and Urban Decay metallic shadows in every category I'd care to name.

Inglot's blush is also very nice, incredibly soft (softer than the shadows), creamy, pigmented and blends better than any pressed blush I've ever tried. I haven't opened the eyeliner yet but based on the reviews (and previous personal experience with Inglot products) it'll leave my current gel eyeliner (MAC's Blacktrack) wallowing in an inky pool of self pity.

391 / 329 / 326 / 378 / 358
363 / 360 / 344 / 390 / 353

Finally, here's my complete matte neutral palette - I played around with the order to find the most aesthetically pleasing and practical arrangement and honestly couldn't be happier with it! I'm somewhat skeptical about how the neural dark brown 329 will look when applied as even cool browns tend to look carroty on me, but if that's the case it couldn't be easier to swap it out for a pop of colour, or even a new matte neutral (I'm thinking slate grey).

One final word on Inglot - they're incredibly cheap! I'll do the calculations both in GB pounds and US dollars:

  • A single Inglot eyeshadow is £4.50 for 2.7g = £1.67 per gram
  • A single Laura Mercier eyeshadow is £19 for 2.6g = £7.31 per gram
  • A single Sugarpill eyeshadow is £8.50 (prices vary) for 3.5g = £2.43 per gram
  • A single Urban Decay eyeshadow is £14 for 1g = £14 per gram (or £9.33 per gram or £7.12 per gram depending on where you get your information)
I found a price discrepancy between Sugarpill eyeshadows being sold in the UK as they are being sold by licensed third party online retailers, however the fluctuation was only by about £1 per eyeshadow.

However, Urban Decay are only officially sold in the UK by Debenhams and House of Fraiser (department stores), on the Debenhams website they are priced £14 stating that it is £140.00 per 10g, whereas on the House of Fraiser website they're priced at £14 stating that it's £93.33 per 10g, and neither websites state how much eyeshadow a single pan contains. On the official Urban Decay US page the shadows are listed as $18 per 1.5g, so I guess I could go by that (£10.67 per 1.5g or £7.12 per gram by today's exchange rate) but I'm really not liking the lack of info for British UD stock lists.

And now in USD because google blogger tells me my main audience is stateside:

  • A single Inglot eyeshadow is $7 for 2.7g = $2.59 per gram
  • A single Laura Mercier eyeshadow is $23 for 2.6g = $8.85 per gram
  • A single Sugarpill eyeshadow is $12 for 3.5g = $3.43 per gram
  • A single Urban Decay eyeshadow is $18 for 1.5g = $10.67 per gram

Thus, irregardless of where you buy your makeup Inglot are by far the cheapest option, which is amazing considering they're also the best quality!

However it is worth mentioning that you need to buy a palette for your Inglot pans which will bump up your overall cost - the larger the palette the less this cost will be per pan or per gram. Alternatively you could just not buy a palette like I've accidentally done, or store your Inglot pans in a Z-palette type thing.

Needed to break up the block of text and calculations so here's a look I did with Inglot 363 and Sugarpill Bulletproof

Another caveat I'd like to add is Inglot eyeshadows are also cheaper than most indie eyeshadows:

  • A single Inglot eyeshadow is $7 for 2.7g = $2.59 per gram
  • Shiro's full size eyeshadow is $6 for 2g = $3 per gram
  • Fyrinnae's full size eyeshadow is $7.50 for 2g = $3.75 per gram
  • Notoriously Morbid's full size eyeshadow is $5.50 for "about 3g" = $1.83 per gram

All of these eyeshadows are loose except for Fyrinnae as they offer pan only pressed eyeshadows (which I thought would make a great comparison). I wanted to include more indies but a lot of them (Darling Girl, Femme Fatal etc) list their quantities by volume.

As always, love,

Saskia X

PS Don't expect another post for about a month as that's when I finish all my university exams! Sorry :(