I am a huge believer in supporting smaller businesses, and that’s an ethos that I recently tried to incorporate into my makeup too. One of the brands I stumbled upon was Crow and Pebble, a Scottish based brand run by the lovely Karen, offering eyeshadows, blushes, bronzers, highlighters, contours and lipsticks. Quite the range!
In September, I ordered a few of their eyeshadows to test the waters: three half-size jars (The Princess Irulan, Harkonnen, and Forest Fire) and a Mystery Case containing five more samples (Birdsong, Fremen, Shaddam IV, Broken Down Truck, and Chief Rabbit) – more on the Mystery Case later!
You might notice the names are a bit unusual for your average beauty brand, and that’s because Crow and Pebble products are all inspired by literature. I love a good book, and I love some solid inspiration so I’m all for that! Also, all the pigments are vegan, and cruelty-free, and the micas are sourced from countries which do not exploit child labour, so you can absolutely buy in good conscience! They do state that there may be products which will include non-vegan ingredients (such as beeswax and honey), but that there are none as of August 2018, and that they will be clearly labelled as such. As far as I can tell, everything on the website at the time of writing is vegan.
All swatches are over primer (Bourjois 24hr Eye Primer) at the top, over bare skin in the middle, and applied wet (with Rimmel #Insta Fix & Go Setting Spray) on the bottom.
So starting with the three eyeshadows I picked out myself, here are my thoughts!
The Princess Irulan: This is a brown-toned light pink shimmery shade. I definitely think it’s more pink than the images on the website suggest, where it appears to have more of a peachy hue. It’s quite sheer when applied dry to bare skin, but, as the swatches show, it is much more intense when applied wet or over a tacky base. I was expecting it to be a warmer shade, but I do really enjoy using it on days when I’m going for a cool pink toned look.
Harkonnen: I found the website swatches much more accurate for ‘Harkonnen’, which is a light taupe-mustard shimmer. Again, it is much more pigmented (as most eyeshadows are) when applied over a tacky base or applied wet, which especially serves to pull out the pigmentation of the base shade. I find the shimmer is definitely present in the dry swatch, but it takes on much more of a metallic quality when wet.
Forest Fire: This is a beautiful orange base with gold and fuchsia shimmer. I think this is a fantastic colour, especially when applied wet which really draws the pink shift out (it is even more pronounced in person than it is in the below swatch). This was the shade that persuaded me to make an order, and it is exactly what I wanted from it.
The other five colours pictured below are samples from the Mystery Case, and ohhh is it mysterious! For just £4, you get five samples in little bags (a 20% discount compared with buying them individually!) and a mysterious little something extra (I won’t spoil the surprise!), which is well worth exploring. Taking a bit of time over it will certainly pay off! While you don’t get to choose the shades, you can add a comment with your order and Karen will try her best to accommodate your interests (e.g. if you really enjoy wearing warm eyeshadows, or you only wear neutrals), so I have some gorgeous warm shades that she thought would be right up my street considering the other shadows I ordered.
Birdsong: This is a really interesting take on the blue-brown duochrome pigment that you see everywhere. It has a rosy-brown base, and a really gorgeous pale green shift to it. I’d say it’s more brown-dominant than the website description implies (“soft rosy pink base”), but the pinky-mauve tones do come out significantly more when applied wet. The green shift is especially apparent over a tacky base, as you can see in the swatch below. I think this is a really unique shade, and one I’m considering in a larger size once I have used up the sample.
Fremen: This is a beautifully rich chestnut brown shimmer shade, with very strong red undertones. This is probably the eyeshadow which was least affected by different application methods. It’s not one I use a huge amount, just because I don’t tend to wear such dark shimmer shades very often (I usually keep it lighter on the lid, and use matte dark shades in the crease), but if you do use colours like this, this is a lovely one.
Shaddam IV: This one is definitely on the to-buy list. If you follow me on instagram (@beautybylaura123 – would highly recommend it 😉) you’ll have seen me mention the bright yellow-gold in the Zoeva Blanc Fusion Palette last week, so you’ll know I have a bit of thing for gorgeous yellow eyeshadows. I will say I prefer this not applied wet, since it took on a little bit of an odd beige tone when I did so, which you can see in the swatches, but paired with some warm browns for a gold halo eye, it is stunning.
Broken Down Truck: This is a fairly similar colour to ‘Fremen’, but is a matte finish instead of a shimmer. This one is probably my least favourite, mainly because of how it blends out over primer. You can tell in the swatch that it is super patchy, and clung to the base in odd ways. This can be solved by doing your crease (or lid if that’s where you’re wearing it) first, and then placing primer on your lid for whatever other shadows you choose to use, but if I’m honest, I don’t always remember that before I start doing my eye makeup. From other reviews I have read of the brand, it does seem to be the case that the matte shades are sometimes a little harder to blend than the shimmers, but they are definitely workable!
Chief Rabbit: ‘Chief Rabbit’ is another brown-based duochrome shadow, and the base is a very similar tone to ‘Birdsong’ in my opinion, but the shift is a lovely bright pink. The shift is again especially apparent over a tacky base, and it takes on a stunning metallic pink-brown look when applied wet. This is another one I really like, but I feel Birdsong is the more unique of the two shades. However, if you’re more likely to wear something with a pink shift than a green one, then is worth checking out!
Yes, loose eyeshadows can be a little bit messier to work with, but something about using them always makes me feel a little fancy. Using a tacky eye primer and doing your eyeshadow before your base makeup so you can easily wipe away any fallout will solve any potential issues in my experience. And if you really dislike the loose format, there is also advice on the site for how best to approach pressing your pigments.
Pricewise, it’s £5.50 for a full jar of eyeshadow, £3 for a half jar, and £1 for a sample. Unfortunately, I didn’t order any full jars so I can’t show you one of them, but the half jars come well-stocked, so for people who like to switch up their eyeshadows a lot (like me, haha!), I find the half jar plenty big enough. For £3 I’m not going to resent having to rebuy it either! It’s also worth checking out if anything’s on sale (‘The Four Horsepersons’ collection is currently discounted), as I got Forest Fire for £2.40, and it’s a beautiful colour!
I have recently been in contact with Karen too (she also designs all the artwork on the containers herself!), and I cannot speak highly enough of the customer service. For a handmade product, I was pleasantly surprised with how quickly the items came, and postage is only £1.50 to the UK (free on orders over £30). Even international shipping is estimated to arrive within seven working days, and in the UK it may be as quick as one! Karen also said to let you know that anyone with any questions can reach her directly either by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by Instagram DM (@crowpebble). Where else can you just email the brand founder?!
Finally, I wanted to mention the rewards scheme. With purchases, birthdays, referring friends, tweets and FB shares about the brand you can gain ‘pebbles’, which can then be exchanged for money off future purchases, free shipping, and even free products! Just for creating an account you get 120 pebbles (for reference, 500 gets you £5 off). If you are interested in checking out any of the items I’ve mentioned (or anything else on the site), you can get 20% off with my referral code: http://rwrd.io/6c316d8 and you’ll get your own unique referral code to help you collect pebbles when you create an account!
So if you’re interested in experimenting with some loose eyeshadows, or in supporting a smaller and more local company, or just in checking out an affordable new makeup brand that you may not have heard of yet, I cannot recommend Crow and Pebble highly enough. There are some really unique shades on the site, the pigmentation is fab, and the customer service is unparalleled.
Disclaimer: I purchased all the items mentioned with my own money. My contact with the brand was initiated by me, not by the brand. The referral code given is one available to everyone who makes an account on the site; it is not an affiliate code.