The idea of monthly subscription boxes has always excited me to a degree, but I’m always let down because I can never seem to find one that offers products that I can actually use and that won’t misalign with my cosmetic ethics. The only vegan and eco-friendly subscription boxes I have found have been terribly expensive to ship to Australia, or they just don’t ship them here at all :( A few months ago, I discovered that a few indie cosmetic companies had recently tested the subscription waters and were putting out some for themselves, and I once again became excited and researched some more. One of the ones I had found was by Madd Style Cosmetics , a company I had never tried previously but many of my friends have always told me nothing but good things about them. Madd Style Cosmetics are also a 100% vegan company, so I decided to try their first monthly subscription box. That’s what this review is all about, the first Madd Cat Monthly box . So shall we continue on?

Product

The Madd Cat Monthly box is a monthly subscription service, where you are guaranteed (following taken from the Madd Cat Monthly page ) :

  • (1) Full-sized eye shadow that is NEW and EXCLUSIVE to this box. This eye shadow will not be sold on-line at any time. It will not be available for purchase outside of this box.
  • At least (1) Full-sized product from our current line. This could be a random eye shadow, an over-stocked item, random lip balm or blush, or a left-over item from one of our previous collections.
  • At least (2) deluxe-samples of products.
  • Surprises!

Each box costs me, as an international (non US resident) US $16/month, which is including shipping. This first box I received contained 2 full sized shadows, 2 samples and 1 perfume sample. I find this to be a pretty damn good deal, considering each full size shadow currently sells for $5 and each sample, and shipping on it’s lowest base rate starts at $6.50 from the US to Australia. I can’t seem to find any price information regarding samples or the perfume sample, so cannot include them into the overall price calculation. However if we take into consideration the price for the 2 full sizes and the base rate shipping, that’s already made up the US$16, so the samples and the perfume are already exceeding the value! :)

Each box seems to come with a theme, and this first box was called “Jungle Love”. I didn’t really find the box to be that jungle-centric, but I don’t typically buy products based on themes to begin with ;) So here’s what I received in the first box:

  • Full size eyeshadow in Bluegrass
  • Full size eyeshadow in Infinite Ammo
  • Sample bag in Ever After
  • Sample bag in Raven Feathers
  • Sample perfume oil in Blue Lagoon
  • a private, box exclusive coupon code

It looks like that both full sizes are exclusive to this box, as I cannot find them on the website. The samples are apart of the general line.

Performance

The eyeshadows are very pigmented, creamy and have good adhesion to the skin. I didn’t experience any patchiness when applying to the eyes (over primer, the only way I wear eyeshadow is over primer) and pretty much performed like I expected it to. Didn’t notice any fading or muddying when I blended the colours, and oh yes, I had no trouble blending these shadows at all. Excellent quality product :)

The Blue Lagoon perfume is a different story :( This isn’t a perfume that I enjoy, and for a few reasons. The first is the formulation.  It looked like the oil had settled on the bottom of the vial, or at least one of the oil components in this blend had settled. This isn’t so unusual, as I have a few perfumes which contain components that naturally tend to settle over time. You just need to shake it up and then it’s good for application. When I applied the perfume the skin, it had an almost gummy consistency, which I have personally not come across before :( The perfume actually had a very strange, and off putting smell at this point as well, an almost, fatty smell. I wasn’t sure what was going on, so set it aside for a few weeks. Maybe travelling in the heat had affected it in some way? So I reapplied a few weeks later, and the weird gummy consistency had gone away and so had the smell. I still have no idea what happened, such a strange experience. So after it had “normalised” (and I only say this, because compared to the first time I opened it, there had been a dramatic change) I could finally give it a proper sniff.

The blend itself is probably very familiar to many people, particularly for those of us who were in high school from the mid 90s to the mid 00′s (it still feels weird typing 00′s, so if it’s confusing, I mean from the years 2000-2005) will undoubtedly have encountered it before. It’s that really cool, slightly sweet, and very fresh BLUE type of fragrance that was popular everywhere (remember Ralph by Ralph Lauren? Whilst that was fruity, that fresh vibe you got from it, made me think of Blue Lagoon.). Blue Lagoon actually brings back SO many memories of high school, that I’m simply going to have to call it Nostalgia Juice , because I don’t think I’ve had a smell had this much effect on me in recalling high school memories. Basically this just smells BLUE, little bit of sweetness, nothing super sugary but it’s that feeling of fruity sweetness, and very aquatic, and after a while it has an almost herbal, green tea note on my skin. Even with the ever so slight herbal (at least what my nose tells me anyway) it is still undoutably an aquatic. Truth be told, I’m not a huge aquatics fan, because I have memories of walking with Myer with some friends in high school, and just sampling perfumes, and at the time everything was something to do with aquatics and they always gave me a headache :( I’m only just now edging back in to the water (lol) with aquatics, but this isn’t the blend for me. I find it too ‘youthful’ and too bright for what I usually prefer, which as you know, it’s gotta be dirty to make me get the googly eyes and drool happening hahahaha. I don’t outright detest it, but I don’t love it either. I think I will just file it under the Nostalgia Juice tag, and when I get a little misty eyed thinking about the past, give this a sniff. I know we ALL have a perfume in our collection that we do for this reason, I’m not the only crazy one! :P I found the perfume to last about an hour on my skin, and for note perfume oils tend to typically last 2 hours on my skin, my skin just eats oils. Solid perfumes I find last much longer on my skin.

Packaging

The full size eyeshadows are packaged in sturdy, 5g jars, with a sifter. The sifters are sealed with a sticker, so no mess during transport!

All the products were fully labelled with ingredients, denoting whether lip safe, and were very clear to read.

The perfume came packaged in a 1mL vial, with a black plastic screw on cap. Unfortunately the vial leaked during transit, but only a little, as there was not significant loss from the overall product. Just enough to saturate the paper label. Again labelling was clear.

Swatches

All eyeshadows were swatched over DeLeon Cosmetics primer and photographed under a day light bulb inside a lightbox.

Lasting Impression

I am on the whole very satisfied with this first box, and apart from the slight hiccup with Blue Lagoon, on the whole Madd Style Cosmetics is definitely a brand that I think I’m going to hang around and try more. Infact, I already have the second monthly Madd Cat box, so there should be a review floating around for it (hopefully before the end of the month). I found the eyeshadows to the high quality, had a good amount of sheen and shimmer to them, they were blended well, applied beautifully and apart from Ever After, are colours that I typically wear. So I was super impressed with the colour selection. I felt that this box did reach it’s $16 value (including shipping) and I faced no problems receivng the box, although it did take about 3.5 weeks to get to me, I’ve had parcels from the US take 4-5 weeks at times. In closing, I’m glad I finally tried Madd Style, and I can understand the hype from my friends about their shadows. Will be looking in to making a non-subscription box purchase at a later date :)