Sugarpill ElektroCute Neon Pigments
Sugarpill ElektroCute Neon Pigments ($16.00 for 0.19 oz.) come in an assortment of five bold, bright shades. Overall, these are going to be a product some will absolutely love and others will find frustrating and difficult to use (and ultimately not worth the patience). These are designed to be used with some sort of base or mixing medium and shouldn’t be applied straight to bare skin. Over the past week, I’ve tried a rich assortment of bases and mixing mediums, and I’ll lay out my findings below, but suffice to say, expect a fair amount of fall out, some trial and error, and maybe a test of your patience. On the plus side, when I wore these out, I was stopped by no less than five people asking me what I was wearing (in the space of an hour).
First and foremost, these are not considered eye safe in the U.S. due to neon pigments (as “the FDA has not yet tested/approved the use of neon pigments in the immediate eye area,” per Sugarpill’s website), but they are considered eye safe in Europe and Canada. I’ve used them on lips and on eyes, but I reiterate that they are not considered eye safe in the U.S. and by using them that way, I am doing so at my own risk (and if you decide to do the same, it is at your own risk). All shades, except Hellatronic, are listed as lip safe.
I had the most luck using NYX’s Jumbo Eye Pencil as a base (the one I used for testing was Electric Blue, and I would have chosen Milk, but I actually don’t have it), as it absorbed and took the color mostly evenly and kept the majority of the sparkles that were pressed on… on for the remainder of the day. I was not able to get nearly as much sparkle to stick to the lid as appears in the jar, though, and the sparkles do not apply evenly and tend to stick randomly. In my test, I applied Sparkage on half of the lid with Hellatronic on the outer half, and all of Sparkage’s sparkles wound up in the center of the lid. Be very careful blending the product and only blend around the edges if applied on the skin. Here are my results with other bases:
- MAC Mixing Medium: slightly uneven color application, only partial adhesion of sparkles
- Lit Cosmetics Glitter Base: somewhat even color application but was slightly darkened/patchy in places, better adhesion of sparkles
- Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy: good adhesion of sparkles, somewhat even application but very imperative to watch the amount of Pixie Epoxy applied and allow to half-dry before applying (it felt far more finicky to use than when I’ve used it with Fyrinnae’s loose eyeshadows)
- Regular Eyeshadow Primers: some color applied and fairly evenly, but sparkles go everywhere but the lid (I tried Too Faced Shadow Insurance, NARS Smudge Proof, Urban Decay Original Primer Potion)
These can be applied to the brows by using a mixing medium like Illamasqua’s Sealing Gel or Lit’s Glitter Base and a thin, liner or brow brush. For lips, apply a thin coat of clear gloss and then pat on the pigment across the lips, then blend with fingers, brush, or just press and move your lips together. I like applying a little more gloss after that to get more even color. They can be applied to the body and used to accent body painting. I would recommend a creamy, opaque, slightly tacky base to apply the color on the skin and some of the sparkle, and to intensify the sparkle, use a glitter adhesive and a soft, rounded brush to lightly pat on additional product just where you need it. Small, dome-shaped brushes work the best for me for patting on color precisely and to minimize fall out. I also liked to pat and push my brush against the inside of the lid to keep the product “sticking” to the brush, rather than loosely pressed against it. The opaque base helped the most with yielding even color coverage, as invisible/clear bases seemed to highlight that they don’t always go on perfectly even. I spoke with both xSparkage (Leesha) and Queen of Blending (Lauren), and they both recommend a similar application to maximize color intensity and minimize fall out.
I’m sure some of you are thinking to yourself, “Wow, these sound like a lot of work, why would I bother?” To that, I can easily say that these are the easiest neons I’ve worked with. They are certainly a drastic improvement from MAC’s neon pigments, and these can take dampness better than most matte loose pigments. They’re more pigmented than Sleek’s neon eyeshadows and are slightly easier to blend. Sugarpill’s improved on some of the issues with neon pigments, but there is still plenty of room for improvement (in sparkle dispersion/evenness). Of the shades, Hellatronic was the most interesting and complex, as the base color actually seemed to shift (not just the sparkle), and the sparkle seemed finer and more embedded with the underlying color, whereas the others seemed more like a matte neon pigment with sparkle on top.
I looked across the different types of application (brows, body/skin, lips) to assess a rating, and ultimately, it’s hard to have such a varied application and resulting grade. I suspect most will use these around the eye area as eyeliner, eyeshadow, or brow color, so I did weight how they applied on skin (be it my forearm or somewhere else) slightly more than say lips (which was an area that these were easier to use in). I could not fully contain the fall out (even using adhesive bases designed for glitter). They don’t apply perfectly evenly. They do not want to be blended (together or on their own or with anything else). When they work, they can look gorgeous and totally traffic-stopping, but to get them there is certainly a journey.
Hellatronic is described as a “fluorescent indigo with red/purple/blue color-shifting super sparkles.” It’s a cool-toned, violet-tinged blue with bluish-violet sparkle. Sephora My Boyfriend’s Jeans is bluer, darker, less sparkly. Sugarpill Velocity is bluer, matte. Urban Decay Chaos is slightly darker, less sparkly. MAC Dynamic Duo 2 #2 is darker, matte. MAC Cobalt is matte. Illamasqua Sadist is bluer, matte. See comparison swatches.
Hi-Viz is described as a “blazing neon yellow with blue/green/gold color-shifting super sparkles.” It’s a brightened, warm-toned yellow with goldish-green sparkle. Fyrinnae Banna Mochi is more frosted, less sparkly. MAC Bright Yellow is more matte. MAC Colour Added is more shimmery, less sparkly. Illamasqua Hype is matte. Inglot #370 is matte. See comparison swatches.
Love Buzz is described as a “brilliant neon hot pink with yellow/orange/red color-shifting super sparkles.” It’s a brightened, neon fuchsia-pink with pinky-red sparkle. Fyrinnae Superstar is more frosted, les ssparkly, lighter. Sugarpill Dollipop is matte, darker. MAC Magenta Madness is similar but has no sparkle. Make Up For Ever #75 is darker, matte. See comparison swatches.
Sparkage is described as “radioactive lime green with blue/green/gold color-shifting super sparkles.” It’s a light-medium, cool-toned green with yellow-ish edges–it looks cool-toned overall, but there’s still a yellowness that comes through. It has green-ish-gold sparkle on top. Sephora Picnic in the Park is darker, less sparkly. Sugarpill Midori is much darker and cooler-toned. Illamasqua Fledgling is slightly darker, matte. See comparison swatches.
Supercharged is described as “flaming neon orange with blue/green/gold color-shifting super sparkles.” It’s a light-medium tangerine orange with golden sparkle. Fyrinnae Pyromantic Erotica is darker, more shimmery, less sparkly. Wet ‘n’ Wild Newport Nights #5 is les ssparkly. Maybelline Fierce & Tangy is darker, brighter, cream product (might work well as a base for this shade). MAC Chessa is less sparkly, more shimmery. Illamasqua Vulgar is a bit darker, matte. See comparison swatches.