High Voltage Cosmetics
I’m not one to be taken in by drama, but if you’re one to follow the beauty blogosphere, you’ve more than likely seen the name High Voltage Cosmetics floating around. Reviews of this company have been mostly good, but a stream of dissatisfaction has been churning beneath the waves, and recently broke the surface. Though I was not planning on tackling this review until next week, recent events have pushed this company to the top of my to-do list.
I ordered a 10-sample grab bag, for $6.25 USD shipped. I placed this order on the 22nd, marked shipped on the 26th, and it arrived on July 29th. A very reasonable turnaround time and a fantastic price for the amount of samples I received. Everything was packaged in labeled ziploc baggies (complete with an ingredients list on each sample), with a signed invoice. Swatches, play-by-play, and thoughts on the general experience with HVC follow behind the cut.
All swatches are, as always, taken dry over UDPP.
Flowers in December and Talk of the Town were also taken over a white and black base
BIG BAD LOVE: A blackened plum with blue shimmer
FLOWERS IN DECEMBER: A pale lilac with blue duochrome sheen
HEART OF STONE: A pale, pink coral with sheen
HERA: Cobalt blue with silvery sheen
LOVE LETTERS: A sheer, mint green with sheen
MAKEUP TO BREAK-UP: A complex greened-blackish-blue with intense silver sheen and golden shimmer
SHE BOP: Deep lavender with pink shimmer.
SWEET DREAMS: Orange-leaning coral with hot pink shimmer
TALK OF THE TOWN: A dark nude with purple duochrome sheen
VOLCANO GIRLS A fleshy peach with gold shimmer
Most of the shadows I received in my sample grab-bag were very creamy, packed with shimmer (as I specifically requested shimmers), and generally vibrant. Troublesome shades were Heart of Stone (which felt a bit chalky), and Talk of the Town (the duochrome did not come through very well). Love letters was a bit too sheer for my taste, but it is a very nice shade if you apply it over a green sticky base.
Application was smooth and easy – most shades only took one pass, except Love Letters (three layers), Talk of the Town (gave up entirely), and Hera (two did the trick). The shadows are blendable, but they do require a bit more work than some others I’ve tried to really work them together. The shadows are soft, but they have great staying power.
If I were going by the product itself, and not general business conduct, I would consider purchasing eyeshadows from HVC again. The shades are richly pigmented, and some of them are quite unique and complex. However, there are quite a few things that make me quite hesitant to lend any support for this brand.
First and foremost, people have reported inconsistencies with colours and formulations – some photos comparing products that buyers have received have been posted on a discussion group on Facebook (link removed). Another general complaint is that swatches and the product received are sometimes nothing alike. While I do forgive color-differences in monitors and human perception, I do agree that some of the product photos on the website looked nothing like the shadows I received.
Secondly, there have been inconsistencies with sales, as Mai detailed in her blog. It is not good practice to offer a sale and then take it back for positively no reason whatsoever. For unexpected site downtime, perhaps, but “just because” is fairly inexcusable.
Third, customer service has been extremely hit or miss for some people. Talk in the Facebook group (link removed) has revealed that contact methods have been disabled, whether email or via Facebook fanpage. People who have been able to contact HVC have not always gotten the most attentive of responses. I cannot personally speak on this, as I had no need to contact the company for any reason.
Fourth, shipping times aren’t as speedy for some as they have been for me. A few buyers are reporting having made orders weeks ago, and have received no word and no product to this date. I had good luck on my first order, but I may not be so lucky the next time.
Finally, there have been some questions as to the honesty of the owner, Jasmine. Some people have questioned the authenticity of some claims she’s made regarding personal health and untimely deaths in the family. I’m most definitely not one to judge a person on tragedy, but there does come a point where valid tragedy starts being a crutch. We’ll not even get into the fact that some of the claims of family deaths were not verifiable by people who were local to the company (funeral homes always, automatically send obituaries to local papers, so it is strange that this item of proof was never found). Now, I’ve known quite a few people who have lied to a professor about their grandmothers dying just so they could get an extension on a big paper, and that is a hilarious rite of passage. However, this is not how you conduct business.
M. B. in the Facebook group said it very, very well:
“My point being: she seemed perfectly capable of doing something like running a successful business, thus to me these lies seem as intentional ways to continue the success of her business. Lie about personal problems to avoid backlash. I’m not saying she doesn’t or does have a mental issue- the problem for me is she has toyed with people’s emotions and took advantage of friendships.”
As I’ve said, I’m not usually the sort to be swept up by drama, so I will not tell anyone that they shouldn’t buy from this company. If you love HVC’s products, by all means, go after what you love. A bit of advice should you decide to make an order, though: Wait. This current backlash is going to gum up the works for a while, so the complaints that people have been making now are only going to be worse right now. Give it time to settle down, then make your decision to proceed.
Personally, however, I will not be making another purchase from HVC at present. Should business practices improve, and I sincerely hope they do, I would be happy to give HVC another chance – the eyeshadows I received were very good, and something I would love to continue adding to my collection. However, how a company treats their customers is very, very important to me, and from what I have seen so far, this is just not a company I can get behind. Not the way it is being run now. Not with the deceit, the poor customer service, or the formulaic inconsistencies.
Have you tried High Voltage Cosmetics before? How did you like your items? Are there any indie brands that you would recommend over High Voltage?