Sunday, August 10, 2014

Review: Pumpkin and Poppy Oak Bark Contouring Powder

Given the popularity of contouring in the makeup-loving world, it's pretty surprising that there aren't more contouring products that fall into the realm of believable shadows. You can love the look of contouring with bronzer all you like, but the vast majority of those who attempt it simply look like someone who put bronzer on their face in a strategic fashion. If your goal is the illusion of cheekbones-to-die-for, most people (even the warm-toned) will need something at least a little bit cooler.


As a certified member of the "cool-toned and fair skinned" club, finding the right color is even more of a pain in the ass.

Pumpkin and Poppy, an indie brand, advertises their product's believability, noting that "most bronzers are warm in tone and too dark for a natural contour."

Cue the anticipatory music.


OH MY GOD, IT'S SO BEAUTIFUL. The ashy taupe shade reads like a genuine shadow.


This is the most natural-looking contour shade I have ever used.

To highlight the level of awesomeness here, I swatched it next to two commonly used contours for fair skin: NYX Blush in Taupe and Illamasqua's Cream Pigment in Hollow.

From left to right: NXY Taupe, Pumpkin and Poppy Oak Bark, Illamasqua Hollow
In comparison to Oak Bark, NYX Taupe looks reddish and ruddy. It's not a terrible color, but it's just a hair too warm. Add that to its inexplicable tendency to be coated in a hardened layer of oil, and it's no surprise that it has moved its way out of my rotation permanently.

Illmasqua Hollow, on the other hand, reads like a bruise on someone with jaundice. It's got a yellow, almost sickly effect in comparison to the lovely Pumpkin and Poppy shade. Again, it does a totally adequate job for contouring… but the new guy blows it out of the water.

On my face, Oak Bark looks something like this:


I am a nitpicky person, so I do have to point out the minor imperfections.

The first is that the Pumpkin and Poppy store on Etsy is not well-stocked. As of this writing, there is exactly one jar of Oak Bark in stock. To me, this reads as unprofessional, as if the shop owner is not expecting any significant sales. It would also be very frustrating if you, for example, wanted one for yourself and one as gift, or if you were a makeup artist and wanted a jar that you could use for a client. Sucks for those people, because you can only buy one! Because this is a perpetual issue, it seems that this is just the way that the shop is run (it's not that stock is actually low)... and that just doesn't make any sense.

The second minor issue that I have is that there is no pressed powder version available. Indie stores rarely have a pressed powder option, so it's not unexpected, but it means that this product can't be literally the perfect contour product available. If I could buy a pressed powder version of this contour, I would have to buy in bulk. (Just kidding. There would only ever be one in stock.)

Oak Bark retails for $8.75 for a 20g/0.71oz jar. I foolishly did not actually weigh the contents, which can be very variable for indie products. However, assuming 0.71oz of product, the powder retails for a very wallet-friendly $12.32 per ounce.

26 comments:

  1. Seeing your swatches has solidified my decision. I definitely need this. I believe they have a cream version as well, I wonder how that fares.

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  2. This looks like angel tears in powder form. How glorious, thanks for sharing!

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  3. Her Artfire is much better stocked than Etsy. I believe she uses Artfire as her main storefront.

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  4. There's a note on Etsy that says that their primary store is the Artfire one, and whole there's only one pot of Oak Bark available there right now, there are other items (like their cream contouring product) with more in stock. Mm, I want this now, I am fairly pale and extremely cool-toned and it looks amazeballs.

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  5. Got it from the Artfire shop as well. Love it! The creams look pretty, too. But John Doe is great for looking like an actual shadow so I'll wait to try that until I'm harder up. Thanks for the review, lovie,

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  6. Well, now I'm going to have to pick this up. Hooray for cool fair skin! Woot!

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  7. Ordered from the Artfire site. Thanks for the review!

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  8. I bought this last year on her Artfire, it has been indispensable for me since then and totally replaced my Nyx Taupe blush!

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  9. awesome, thanks for the review. Of course all the product is...gone. oh well

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  10. For all who are interested, I just ordered the product from her store at this link: http://www.artfire.com/ext/shop/product_view/9627728

    For some reason, it's showing as being in stock on that page (but not her home page).

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  11. Have you heard of Life's Entropy? I recently got a sample of their contouring stick in Proton and I love it. Would love to hear what you think of it, though I know she's currently closed.

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  12. I'm sorry you had issues ordering from my Etsy store. My main shop is my artfire store:http://www.artfire.com/ext/shop/studio/pumpkinandpoppy

    I did put up a larger quantity of Oak Bark on etsy if anyone wanted to order from there. I do take my weekends off, so I try and get caught up on correspondence and relisting items on Monday and I do check my etsy store every day during the work week and renew listings. I try to keep my quantities fairly limited because I'm a one woman operation and don't want to get to far ahead of myself. I try and keep my order turnaround times down that way so I can ship out my items quickly. I'm also working on a new collection inspired by the movie, Maleficent, so that is taking a lot of time, so I appreciate everyone's patience. I'm glad you enjoy Oak Bark and thanks so much for the review, I appreciate the feedback!

    -Kristy Cutsforth, Pumpkin and Poppy Owner and Operator

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  13. This looks so pretty! If I knew how to contour I would totally buy this. Robyn, if you really want a pressed powder version, there are tutorials online on how to press it yourself. Basically just add in some rubbing alcohol and press it together and put it in a spare compact. Voila!

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  14. I feel weak for it but I totally went and bought this stuff (and her oil absorbing powder) after reading. I'm a victim of said "strategically placed bronzer" look. Combine that with the fact that you're a tough reviewer (for which I love this blog), so if Robyn gave it a positive review it's gotta be good.

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  15. I have been reading for a while, but I am a shy commenter. I am trying this out, and have tried a couple other things (and passed on some more) thanks to your thoughtful, insightful reviews. Thank you!

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  16. ugh I really want this! Its out of stock though so I definitely agree with the fact that it shouldn't only have 1 in stock. Especially because since it's out of stock I can't even add it to my "favorites" list or whatever.

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  17. Thank you for this review. Contour shades that approximate a shadow is rarer than a hen's tooth. I just ordered one from Pumpkin and Poppy; we'll see.

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  18. Oh gosh. I might have to look at this if they ship to me.

    (Slightly related: I picked up a MAC Paint Pot - Camel Coat - to use as a replacement for the apparently-non-existent OCC John Doe that I was going to buy months ago. It's roughly this colour - a bit darker and more pigmented, but with enough blending it looks natural enough, and it doubles as a neutral-toned eyeshadow base or just eyeshadow.)

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  19. I just ordered this from her ArtFire website (the site is listed on her Etsy shop). It is out of stock on Etsy and she has noted that she had an influx of orders for it. Could this be due to your review? If so, that's impressive!

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  20. The quote, "Reads like a bruise on someone with jaundice," has caused me to become a regular reader of your blog :) Thanks for the laughs and the quality reviewing!!!

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  21. Thanks for the post! It looks like I will be ordering this contour powder :D

    Just so you know- on etsy it's possible the seller has set up a recurring listing, where she actually has something like 10, but it shows up as "1"' and gets refreshed as a listing 10 times before it's actually out. Contacting the seller to get a few is usually the way to go by it (and as it's a mom and pop type of shop, she might not have *that* much stock).

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