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When Birds Are Singing

The firefly festival is eagerly awaited all year in the Enchanted Garden. For then on this very special day, the best voices of the bird-world feed on tiny fireworks to embellish their voices and then gather to perform a single concert together. Their jubilant musical notes are inscribed in a syrup of figs and milk and preserved in tiny pots to be enjoyed all year round. Like this golden froth of musical syrup, WHEN BIRDS ARE SINGING... eye shadows are a time defying exotic enigma. This is plumage to adorn you in shades as deliciously mellow as soft silence that flows, or as brilliantly potent as jewelled notes. So addictive are these morsels that you’ll be causing your own kaleidoscopic ripples every time you wear them.

I'm a sucker for anything hinting at the otherworldly, so Rouge Bunny Rouge pretty much had me at "firefly festival." Everything about the brand speaks to incredible luxury and a fairy tale sensibility: two qualities that send my heart aflutter.

Rouge Bunny Rouge is a Russian brand, produced in Italy, with very few counters in the United States. Happily for me, Circe Swag in Louisville carries a large variety of RBR products, and I walked in ready to do some swatching.

I was immediately impressed with the range of colors, which are light years beyond the typical autumnal nudes--and only autumnal nudes--offered by many brands. The range is weighted toward satin and shimmer with only a few matte selections, but rest assured, these are not your chunky glitter nightclub shadows! Each shadow is finely milled and buttery--never chalky or powdery--and I haven't seen a speck of fallout. Most impressive for this color geek is how truly multidimensional the colors are. Like beautiful paintings, the longer you look, the more colors you see. In fact, the danger of trying them is that you may begin to look upon your old favorites with condescension. As I have.

Creasing hasn't been a problem for me with these shadows. I have somewhat oily lids and any shadow will crease on me without it. Fading is another story; many brands fade on me throughout the day even with said primer. These don't. When I remove my makeup at night, the colors are just as luscious as the moment I put them on. Every shadow is easy to blend and nicely pigmented. Top notch.

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Abyssinian Catbird

Of course, there's a teeny list of things not to like. I wish there were a few more matte shades, simply because these mattes are unlike any other mattes I've tried, with subtle color shifts usually reserved for satin or shimmer. That's a small quibble. My main criticism regards inconsistency in sizing and availability. For example:

  1. Refill pans are smaller and less expensive than individual pots. That's normal and great. However, about half of the shadows are currently unavailable in refill form. Only one matte shadow is currently available as a refill.
  2. A couple shades are sold as individual pans, not refills, because they aren't magnetized for the pans. They are also a couple dollars cheaper.
  3. Single pots come in two sizes (2g and 2.4g). Read carefully!

Flawless packaging design, however: duo keeper and single eyeshadow pot.

Clearly the pros outweigh the cons by a landslide, since I'm so obsessed that I may never use another eyeshadow brand again. Whimsical names, beautiful and flexible colors, gorgeous luxury packaging, what's not to love?

Here are the products I was able to swatch, with RBR's description in parentheses.

First, the mattes:

Stila Chinois on top (Winters) and RBR Papyrus Canary on the bottom (Autumns and Springs). Easy to see its warmth here.

Stila Chinois on top (Winters) and RBR Papyrus Canary on the bottom (Autumns and Springs). Easy to see its warmth here.

  • 42 Papyrus Canary (semi-opaque palest creamy beige) - Autumns and Springs. This is the one matte shade that comes in a refill pan.
  • 43 Chestnut-Napped Apalis (semi-opaque chestnut puree with a hint of cocoa dust) - Everything an Autumn ever needs. Use it all over the lid or as a contour, you can't go wrong.
  • 44 Grey Go-Away Lourie (semi-opaque smoky slate grey) - This grey is grey. Just grey. And that makes it very flexible. All three Winters will wear it well. Bright Spring can use it as a contour. Could be too cool for Dark Autumn but worth trying; the same goes for True and Soft Summer due to darkness.
  • 45 Blackpepper Jay (semi-opaque smoky black brown) - Dark Autumn and Dark Winter.
  • 71 Sweet Dust Seriema (semi-opaque cool dusty mauve taupe) - Soft Summers, you need this. You need it badly. Dark Winter is pretty in it, too.

L to R on my warm-neutral DA skin: Sweet Dust Seriema, Blackpepper Jay, Abyssinian Catbird, Bohemian Waxwing, Chestnut-Napped Apalis, Papyrus Canary, Unforgettable Oriole. I don't wear all of these personally.

And the rest:

Unforgettable Oriole

Unforgettable Oriole

  • 14 Unforgettable Oriole (delicate, metallic white gold) - Oh, an absolute Bright Winter dream! Lovely for Bright Spring, too.
  • 15 Abyssinian Catbird (metallic bronze with golden highlights) - Dark Autumns, buy this and thank me later (with more RBR eyeshadows, of course). One blog described it as "Think MAC Sumptuous Olive mating Woodwinked on crack." That's pretty darn accurate, a lovely olive bronze. True Autumn could wear it too.
  • 17 Delicate Hummingbird (cool, dusky sugar-frosted plum, iridescent with pink shimmer) - all three Summers, with a lighter hand for Light Summer due to the dusky quality. Really striking. It brings my Summer envy out of hibernation.
  • 27 Solstice Halcyon (semi-matte mauve beige) - Interesting color with a lot of pink in it. Soft Summer and Soft Autumn.
  • 64 Golden Rhea (iridescent pale gold, pure and simple) - all Springs and Soft Autumn. Very peachy yellow compared to Unforgettable Oriole. Beautiful.
  • 65 Olive Violetear (smoky olive with satin finish) - Hard to pin down, a beautiful warm greened grey. Soft Summer and Soft Autumn, certainly. True and Dark Autumn wear it well. Bright Spring and True Spring could give it a shot. Just an amazingly versatile color.
  • 66 Bohemian Waxwing (iridescent bronzed champagne) - This is a taupey rose gold. I had hopes that it would be similar to MAC's Woodwinked, but it's quite a bit lighter and cooler. All Autumns, but Soft Autumn will be especially lovely in it.
Blackpepper Jay

Blackpepper Jay

  • 67 Lilac Reef Curassow (pale lilac with iridescent effect) - All Summers. Gah. Stunning.
  • 68 Trumpeter Koel (dark lead-grey with lilac blue iridescence) - Soft Summer. Dark Winter could wear it well, too.
  • 69 Umber Firefinch (iridescent dark umber chocolate) - all Autumns. Since it's fairly dark, Soft Autumn would wear it as a contour.
  • 73 Snowy Egret (smoked palest gold iridescence) - Shines for Summers, but I could see True Winter in it, too. Very ethereal.
  • 74 Eclipse Eagle (dark brown-grey plum with platinum iridescence) - Absolutely MADE for Bright Winter. Similar to Merle Norman Storm in theory, but prettier and plummier. I think Dark Winter and Soft Summer could wear it very well too, as they do nicely in greyed plums.

There's a hefty handful of other lovely shades available on the Rouge Bunny Rouge website, including cherry blossom pink, apricot pink, peacock blue, silver moss, sterling silver, blackened silver charcoal, rich fern green, and others. Yes, I am drooling on my keyboard right now.

You can purchase RBR products online at Beautyhabit (U.S.-based) and Rouge Bunny Rouge. I've found their descriptions and swatches to be quite accurate. At the time of this writing, eyeshadow pots are $25, refills are $19, unmagnetized pans are $15, duo keepers are $12, and trio keepers are $18.

I've also swatched blush, mascara, glitter pigments, and highlighters, so look for that post in coming weeks.