I don't believe I have ever seen a Shiro review with a single negative word spoken about the company. I've seen nothing but gushing support. Which is deserved! The products are good and Caitlin is a complete sweetheart. This isn't going to be a negative review at all, in fact it's nearly entirely positive, but I just wasn't 'wowed' by everything. I think this isn't down to the products being disappointing in any real way, just them being a little underwhelming to me when I've seen so many bloggers who are absolutely in love with Shiro.
Shiro is the first brand I've bought from that has a very very strong 'theme'. I've bought from places which have vague themes before (i.e. Evil Shades and Morgana have a 'gothy' theme, High Voltage and Hi FI Cosmetics have a 'rocker' theme etc.) but never one this blatant. Basically every piece of writing refers very obviously to it's geeky inspiration. I think this is part of Shiro's appeal, if you're into makeup and consider yourself a 'gamer' or 'geek' then this brand is probably right up your alley and very exciting. That being said I think the incredible strength of the branding could be a little alienating to people who are not into that scene. Personally I didn't feel one way or the other about it. I love the Super Effective collection because I've loved Pokemon since I was a wee girl, but I don't consider myself a gamer or 'geek' (I'm more of an arty muso ponce thing) and some of the references just went straight over my head. And by some I mean basically the entire Intertube line. I'd heard of Numa Numa and Rickrolling, but not a single one of the other memes referenced. It wasn't really a problem and didn't stop me from ordering or anything but I think I was missing some of the appeal. I guess the names act as a sort of in-joke and a way to bond with other customers and feel a kinship with Caitlin over your shared interests. So what is my point? I'm not sure really XD Basically I think that the very strong branding is a really good selling point for the brand, and sure to delight a lot of people, but I found some of it a bit baffling and felt a little stupid and desperately out of the loop for not understanding the joke. However I'm overly sensitive and am most definately out of the loop :P
Having said that, my older sister is a huge gamer (she worked on the english translations of Final Fantasy XIII and Kingdom Hearts dontcha know) and when I showed her the site she was delighted, very excited by 'Leroy Jenkins' and as she spends a whole lot of her time holed up in her room playing Portal 2 I'm certain she would be all over the Science collection.
It's all down to personal preference. While I may not understand all the references, I can appreciate that the writing for every colour is very witty and fun with a lot of time and effort put in. And there's a lot of detail about the products, including ingredients, description of colour and any warnings (such as product staining, if it's lip safe etc) so it's not as if the copy is taking away from any important information. It wasn't enough to put me off ordering at all either. I just thought I'd mention it.
So I ordered:
1 Full Size Intertube - $6.50
1 Intertube sample- $1.80 (not in the picture)
5 mini size eyeshadow jars + stickers - $14.50 (2 not in picture)
10 eyeshadow samples - $9.00
and 1 Heart Container -$10.50
But I had a 15% off coupon so my order total came to $35.95 or £24.61.
(I ordered back when Shiro was still on Etsy, now there is a proper official website to order from instead)
The products were nicely shipped in the pretty bag you can see above and that was inside a bubble envelope. Along with my order I also recieved 3 free samples, 2 tasty little chocolates (which were eaten long before I could get around to taking the haul photo) and a business card :)
Shipping was exceedingly cheap at $3.50 from the US to the UK however it did take longer than the majority of other indie brands I've tried. I ordered on the 3rd of March and it arrived in the second week of April. Not terribly long, but longer than the average I've experienced with Indie companies which is about 2-3 weeks from ordering to recieving. I was slightly sad as I'd heard that their turnaround was super speedy and had ordered a couple of pieces for my sisters birthday (The 31st March) and it didn't arrive in time for that. That being said I never mentioned that to Caitlin so she had know idea I was hoping for it at a specific date. My own fault.
Right on to the product! The eyeshadows are first up, after the cut :)
I ordered 5 mini jars (2 of which were presents for my sister) which contain 1 gram of shadow each. I also ordered stickers so my jars would be super pretty (full size jars have the top stickers included in the price, mini jars usually only have the bottom labels. When I ordered them they were attached for me, I didn't have to do the fiddly work myself.
And they are so cute! Little poke-pots!
The samples come packaged in the standard little baggies with the labels. One thing I did like with these is that as well as the baggie being sealed the sticker is used to sort of double over the top to really stop any naughty pigment that might be making an escape attempt. The amount is also a generous quarter of a teaspoon so should last for a good number of applications.
All the shadows contained ingredient lists and information on whether the colour was lip-safe or not.
Clefairy, Jigglypuff, Pikachu
Rapidash, SS Anne, Mew
Deku, Shaymin, Small Key
Din's Fire, Spiritomb, Majora's Mask
Meowth, Epona, Zelda (my free samples)
These photos don't really do the colours justice, and I would suggest you full-view them if you want to see the sparkly goodness!
So how was the formula?
Well all I can say is 'wow!' These eyeshadows possibly have the nicest formula I have ever tried. You know when people say eyeshadow applies as soft as butter? Well these are like... cream! They just glide over my skin. They're also intensely pigmented and really long lasting. Some of the colours aren't too complex, but they're all incredibly pretty and there are a lot of shades that I've never seen before and wouldn't have thought of myself.
Some of my favourites are:
Rapidash - A pale golden cream with red glitter
Pikachu - Bright primary yellow with red glitter
Deku - Bronze with green sparkles
Majora's Mask - Bright blue-purple with multi-coloured sparkles
Here's a look I did using Din's Fire, Jigglypuff, Spiritomb and a tiny hint of Majora's Mask
And here it is after 6 hours (without an primer):
You can see that the colours look slightly less intense, but there's been no creasing and very little fading.
Now the Intertube. I bought the colour 'Sad Keanu' which is a lovely deep almost royal purple. This is packaged in an oval shaped lipbalm style tube with a label covering the vast majority of the tube. The side of the label has all the ingredient information on it and the front has a picture of a very melancholy Keanu Reeves.
I also bought a sample of the intertube 'Robe and Wizard hat' which I cannot share as my ridiculously stupid dog ate it :( (he also chewed my pretty Poke-pots! DX ) It was a very pretty medium blue shade and seemed to have a tiny hint of gold sparkle to me (but I may be making that up as I've not seen it mentioned anywhere else and I only swatched it once before it was eaten). The sample came in a little tub (like a clamshell jar but deeper) and seemed like it had quite a generous amount of product in.
Intertubes are described as a mix of a tinted balm, a lipstain and a lipstick. This colour can be applied very sheerly or built up to nearly opaque.
This is a very sparse application:
This is a couple of layers:
And this is it applied very very heavily:
My feelings on this are mixed. I adore the colour but when I try to apply enough to make it opaque it goes super patchy. I also didn't find it moisturising. It's not drying at all but it didn't seem to add any moisture to my lips. Also the formula is sort of gritty, there's little grainy bits on the surface which I can feel when I apply it. These sort of 'melt' onto my lips after a while but they leave little super concentrated patches of colour which adds to the patchy appearance. However I really don't dislike it at all. In fact I rather like it! Even though it's streaky it doesn't look bad from far away, and even if it did it's such a beautiful colour that I could put up with it. And I actually really like this applied sheerly, like a pinky purple stain. It's very flattering and even though my lips are purple it looks somehow natural, like I'm not wearing anything on them. I wear it a lot. And, having seen other peoples swatches, I think the patchy application is a problem only with Sad Keanu, not the other intertubes.
If I apply this lightly as a stain it lasts a really good long time, probably 5 or 6 hours without fading or anything. However if I apply it heavilly the pigment tends to all migrate to the edges of my lips within an hour or two, leaving just an intense stain of purplish pinkish colour on the inner parts. This stain is quite nice but unfortunately if I remove the excess pigment from the edges I'm still left with little super concentrated bits of colour caught in the grooves of my lips.
Here's a photo taken about an hour after I applied the heavy lip swatch.
So again I'd recommend not applying this colour enough for it to look opaque.
And finally I tried a Heart Container, a pressed blush. I bought the colour Potion which is sort of a metallic war pink but with a hint of blue somehow.
The packaging of this is very basic. It's a clear plastic compact with the metal pan (that holds the blush) showing through the bottom. This packaging is fine and functional but not very exciting. As this is called a 'heart container' I could imagine all sorts of nice packaging ideas. Or at least some kind of heart themed sticker. It's just a little disappointing that the packaging is so basic when this was quite expensive at $10.50.
I didn't really get on with this product. Firstly it is super super metallic, which is sort of cool in an 80s way but I don't find it particularly flattering. Also somehow it comes off nice and pigmented when I swatch it with my finger, but when I tried to apply it with a brush for some reason it's really really hard to pick up any product so it applies very sheerly.
Here it is applied very heavily:
It's not horrible though, it's a nice colour and I'll use it, I just don't think it's as good as the other products and not really worth the price compared to other blushes.
So would I purchase from Shiro again? I think so. I love the eyeshadows and would have no qualms ordering more, only I just don't tend to buy eyeshadows anymore. I have so many colours already and generally don't even wear them too often. But if I did see any very exciting colours, or find some hole in my collection then I would definately get some from Shiro. Some of the new Science collection look amazing so I may have to try some of them. I probably wouldn't buy another Heart container, it wasn't terrible but there are other blushers whose formula I much prefer and at the moment there aren't any other colours available that appeal to me (well at the moment there aren't available). And I honestly am not sure about the intertubes, I really like the one I own and it's getting a lot of wear, but I just prefer a more opaque lip product. That said I love the colour of Leroy Jenkins and might be tempted to buy one when Caitlin introduces non-flavoured versions and as the other colours don't have the same application issues I wouldn't rule out trying them either. My order didn't have any problems and the shipping took a little longer than I was used to but not dramatically so. I contacted Caitlin a few times before ordering to ask some questions and she replied very quickly and was fantastically friendly, so I imagine any Customer Service problems would be solved with no issues. Shiro's products are mostly really good, but maybe they just couldn't all live up to my expectations due to the hype that surrounds the brand. And because I'm not really a gamer I don't think I'm getting the most out of the products as it seems that girls who are really into geeky stuff find a whole other level of appeal due to the marketing. I can understand why, gamer girls need makeup too!