An Interview with Barby Espiritu, founder of Skinzi Cosmetics

Hello folks!

I have been wanting to do a series of interviews with inspiring indie brand founders for a while now. I enjoy reading the stories behind brands and also about the people who are responsible for bringing a brand to life. Many a time, the unique stories behind a brand makes you appreciate the brand a bit more 🙂

I am happy to kick start this series with Skinzi Cosmetics! Have you been on the hunt for a liquid matte lipstick which does not flake or dry your lips out? Well you’re in luck because the founder of Skinzi Cosmetics, Barby Espiritu decided to solve that problem. A quest to find a solution to a problem most dry lip gals like myself face, resulted in a fun and cool brand! Read on to find out more about Skinzi cosmetics and Barby’s entrepreneurial journey.

Barby Espiritu, Founder of Skinzi Cosmetics

Tell us a bit about your background and your entrepreneurial journey that resulted in the founding of Skinzi Cosmetics

I’ve always loved makeup since I was a child. I started using bullet matte lipsticks in high school and was introduced years ago to my first liquid matte. I loved that most formulas were long lasting, but I disliked the flaking and drying effect, as well as the bare, feathery patches on my lips after eating greasy food. I immediately had to reapply to cover the weird rim that formed on my lips. I wanted a long-lasting formula that evenly faded like a traditional lipstick instead of flaking.

This lingering frustration, combined with an announcement of possible layoffs in a career that I love (and have been doing for almost a decade) made me rethink the skills that I could offer others.I had worked as a Quality Engineer for years when my company announced a possible layoff. After soul searching to explore my passions, cosmetics was the obvious answer. I started looking for chemists here in the United States to help me formulate a better matte lipstick than what I was used to. That’s how Skinzi got started.

 Is there a story behind the name Skinzi?

I was thinking of calling the company ‘Reach Cosmetics’ but my partner said it sounded more like a grooming product for men. My partner then suggested ‘Skinzi.’ We felt it sounded hip and fun, and those two traits embody our brand.

What was the biggest obstacle you faced while bringing your brand to the market?

The biggest obstacle was finding the right team of chemists to formulate the product. I researched custom lipstick formulation. The easier path, called private labeling, would be to use an existing formula and attach my brand to it. However, I felt my customers deserved more from me, so I chose the more challenging path and decided to formulate my own matte liquid lipstick.

I cold-called and interviewed one lab after another until I found one that was FDA approved, ISO/GMP certified and licensed by the California Department of Public Health for cosmetic manufacturing. I met with them to discuss my long list of requirements for what I thought an ideal liquid matte lipstick should be. After obsessive testing and retesting, they were able to deliver on every single requirement on my list.

Favorite part of your current job as the founder of Skinzi

I enjoy engaging with our customers and hearing valuable feedback about our formula. We’ve heard a lot of positive feedback so far. I’m also a firm believer in continuous improvement. Even if we tested the heck out of our lipstick formula, if there would be any more suggestions to improve it, I would be all ears. I’m always looking for opportunities to make a better product.

What was the best and worst advice you received when you were working on bringing Skinzi Cosmetics to the market?

The best advice was to make sure we can clearly articulate the problem we’re trying to solve (flaking matte lipsticks) and communicate to our customers how our product solves that problem.
The worst advice was to look for an existing lipstick formula and just slap the Skinzi brand on it. I wanted my own custom made, proprietary formula and while it took some time to get there, it was totally worth it.

Tell us a bit more about the Beyond Beauty Project on your website

Women are multi-faceted. While our outward beauty is visible to the eye, we are not limited to physical aspects. Women in this day and age have a unique set of personal and cultural attributes.
The Beyond Beauty Project gives us a way to delve into these, as well as celebrating our strengths and understanding our challenges. We explore what it is to be modern day women. We celebrate our womanhood in ways to learn from and support each other.

Which is your favorite shade from Skinzi Cosmetics current range of lipsticks?

My favorites happen to be our best sellers. Just Jazzy is a neutral medium berry shade and Morning Love, a terracotta nude. Funny enough, our customers who purchase Just Jazzy are likely to buy Morning Love. It’s as if they were somehow meant to be paired up! 🙂

 How did you go about deciding which type of shades to release first? (I love the fact that they are all everyday wearable shades with a special red thrown in!)

I was looking for a versatile range of everyday colors that would complement any skin tone. I also put myself in the shoes of my customers, recognizing their diverse lifestyles and picking shades that would be suitable, based on their typical daily activities.
I then researched the various shades, utilizing the Pantone color guide, before deciding on our final four.

What beauty trends do you think will be big this year?

Most fashion and cosmetic trends are cyclical in nature. I’m definitely seeing a lot of corals early this year and I think they’ll continue to grow in popularity.
I’m continuing to see an increased focus on vegan and cruelty-free beauty products, products that are free of parabens, phthalates and sulfates. I think this trend will continue. Consumers don’t just want to look good; they also want to know that what they’re putting on their skin is safe, responsibly manufactured and a good value.

Will there be more product launches coming up this year from Skinzi? 

Absolutely. I have already hand-picked and swatched the next set of beautiful shades of our liquid matte formulas, so watch out for those!

I hope you guys enjoyed getting to know the story behind Skinzi cosmetics and the lovely founder Barby! Stay tuned for a review and swatches of the Skinzi Cosmetics matte liquid lipsticks coming soon! Meanwhile check out Skinzi on Instagram and on their website.

Dirty Mind Cosmetics Lipsticks

Hello folks!!

Today I want to introduce you guys to a brand that delivers great products, is inspired by pop culture but has a bit of naughtiness sprinkled all over 😉 I like that the brand celebrates and encourages you to be your true self and oh their lipstick formula is the bomb!

Dirty Mind Cosmetics Lipsticks

Let us start with the packing. The lipsticks are housed in an elegant matte black square tube and have a magnetic closure. That click sound is always music to my ears :). The packaging reminds me of Kosas lipsticks and feels high end.

Dirty mind cosmetics very kindly sent me 4 of their shades and I love the variety they offer! These lipsticks are vegan, cruelty free, paraben free and the formula is described as semi matte.

The 4 shades from Dirty Mind Cosmetics

I fell in love with the formula of these lipsticks 🙂 They glide on so smoothly, and deliver full pigment on your lips with a singe swipe. The semi matte formula is very comfortable on the lips too. I did not experience any drying of my lips from using these lipsticks for a full week continuously (It is really cold and dry where I live and so I am even more impressed by this!).  They also wear away in a uniform fashion so it looks okay even if you do not reapply after a meal. The formula is comparable to many high end lipsticks I have tried.

Swatches of the Dirty Mind Cosmetics lipsticks

The darkest shade of the lot is carpet matches the drapes and surprisingly this turned out to be a favorite! This is definitely not an every day shade for me but I love the rich color and it looks great for a girls night out! I get compliments every time I wear this shade.

The swatches above are all single swipe swatches and you can see how pigmented these lipsticks are! Heart on and Just the tip are probably the shades everyone will gravitate towards for everyday wear. The shade Red Rocket is a beautiful warm red shade. The formula is consistent across all these shades and I really appreciate that. Many a times I have come across lipsticks where the lighter or darker shades are more patchy or uneven compared to the rest of the shades in the collection.

They have 2 more shades in their collection, a real dark shade called BJ and a purple mauve shade called Wanna Scissor. I would love to see them release more shades since their formula is excellent!!

Overall, I really enjoy these lipsticks and highly recommend them. Do check out their website HERE to see the other shades they offer!


*PR Sample. Opinions expressed here are my own. (no affiliate links)

The Jouer Ultra Foil Eyeshadow Palette

Hello everyone!

The Jouer Ultra Foil palette caught my eye so many times during the sephora sale, after the sephora sale and when they did additional 20% off on sale…every time  I came really close to buying it. Finally, this beautiful eyeshadow set was available on the Jouer website for 40% off on top of the sale price already listed! I finally bit the bullet and bought this beauty home for 18$! This palette is probably the best beauty steal I’ve managed to snag in a while 😀

The Jouer Ultra Foil Eyeshadow palette

The palette came with an eye topper which I never was interested in so I don’t know where I kept it and hence can’t swatch it..sorry about that. The palette is made of plastic and for some reason reminds me of makeup revolution palettes! The pretty dragon fly is a sticker and I really like the overall look of the palette. However, the original price of this palette is 52$ which I feel is too much for a plastic palette with a sticker on top.

Inside the Jouer Ultra Foil eyeshadow palette

Doesn’t it look gorgeous! If you love metallic lid shades like I do, this is a dream palette. This palette is full of shimmer shades so it requires you to pull out some matte shadows from your collection. I am okay with that since this gives me an opportunity to use some of my single matte eyeshadow shades 🙂 Formulation wise, I found a few shadows a bit different compared to the rest..some of them are more of a traditional shimmer eyeshadow without intense glitter.  Another interesting thing about these shadows is that they can be packed on for full intensity or sheered down a bit for a more subtle look.

Brush swatches of the first 2 columns in the palette

These are swatches build up with just one dip into the pan..if I want to make these really pop I can easily build it up. That my friends, is the beauty of this palette. I have worn these glittery eyeshadows to toddler story time hour with kiddo without people looking at me like i’m some glitter crazy mom. I have also worn these shadows packed on to look like foil for an evening out with the husband.

Brush swatches of the last 2 columns of the palette

The blue shade in the palette has a beautiful brownish shift to it which is very much reflected in the swatch above ( second from right). The purple shade which is the other bright pop color in this palette does not look as vibrant as it does in the pan. I do not mind this, but if you were looking for the exact vibrant purple you see in the pan, you might be a tad bit disappointed! The formula for the blue, the purple and the gunmetal grey ( third shade from right) is more like traditional metallic shadows and not what I’d call foil. Again, I am not complaining these look lovely on the eyes!

Depending on the shades you use in your crease and outer corners of the eye, you can get beautiful subtle shifts to these shades once they blend in with those shades. Speaking of bending, these guys bend beautifully and last all day with no fading (I always use a primer).

Overall, this palette is a winner in my book! Have you picked this Jouer palette up? Which other products do you like from Jouer?


Avon Iconic Beauty Palette from Holiday 2018

Hello folks!

My previous post was on the lovely lipsticks in the Avon Iconic Beauty holiday collection which I had ordered from their website. In order to get free shipping, I added the Iconic Beauty Palette too into my cart 😀 and today our review is all about this palette.

The Avon Iconic Beauty Palette

Avon gets an A+ for the beautiful packaging! I love the outer box and the inner palette cover looks nice too. This palette comes with 4 eyeshadows and 2 blushes. Out of these 2 products I’d say the eyeshadows were not the best. The shades look pretty in the pan, but the color payoff was not that great.

Inside the Avon Iconic Palette Holiday 2018

The gold shade was the biggest miss in my opinion. It has sparkle but is extremely sheer in pigmentation. I have to really really build up the shadow for it to look atleast somewhat close to how it looks in the pan. The other 3 shadows are better pigmentation wise. However, all of them are extremely powdery. The shadows do last on my eyelids when used with a primer. So all that building up of the color does not go waste! I do not think these shades will last very long without a primer, since they are so powdery I think they might just ‘dust’ away.

Brush swatches of the Avon Iconic Palette

As you can see from the brush swatches above the gold has barely any pigment. You really need to keep packing on the shadow for any pigment to show up!

The 2 blushes are the saving grace of this palette. One of the shades is a peachy pink with gold shimmer ( NARS Orgasm style) and the other is a more deeper matte peach blush. The blushes are also powdery so expect some powder fallout all over the palette. These blushes are build able which is a good thing as far as blushes go! You have better control over the amount of color you are depositing on your cheeks. I found the blushes to be pretty long lasting too! I have dry skin so I generally do not have issues with powder products disappearing towards the end of the day.

Overall, this is an okay palette. I think I will stick to buying lipsticks from Avon since their formula on the iconic lipstick line was amazing 🙂

What are your favorite products from Avon?