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January 18, 2015

Indie Weekends: Victorian Disco Cosmetics Review

I made a Victorian Disco Cosmetics order months ago, back in September, and I knew I had to eventually get to the review and it's finally the day. I ordered the Azeroth and House Points collections, back in September, and I was waiting for the right time to write the review. Since I ordered, Victorian Disco has closed up shop for the foreseeable future, but is making some of their products available through third parties, including Shiro Cosmetics. Let's just get started.

Warning: Extremely long and photo heavy review.

AboutVictorian Disco Cosmetics is a fandom themed indie company, specializing in eyeshadows, lip glosses, and blushes. Ashley, the owner, is based in Florida. She specializes in fandom collections, including collections inspired by World of Warcraft, Harry Potter, Doctor Who, and Twilight. They are currently only selling their products through Shiro Cosmetics because of widespread issues, as described in this review.

I was contemplating separating the collections out into different reviews, but I knew once I finished one I would probably never get to the other. Because the customer service portion of this review is going to be long, I figured it best to combine them into one giant review. It's been quite a while since I ordered, so please forgive me if I don't remember certain details about my order, but I will try to include as much information as I can. This review will probably be a little more personal to me (and this was honestly my worst experience with any indie company), so as much as I will try to just present the facts, some of my opinions will probably leak through. If you'd prefer not to read about my opinions on this company, you may as well move along and close the tab.

Shipping - (Because some of the shipping stuff included some correspondence with Victorian Disco, I will leave the email stuff in the customer service section of my review. This portion will be purely shipping stuff.) I ordered on September 15th, with a stated turnaround time of 14-20 business days. I received a tracking number on October 6th, which never updated. I emailed about this tracking number not updating on October 10th, and finally received another tracking number on October 13th. This one also did not update. I received a third tracking number on October 16th which was finally checked in to the post office, and was delivered October 20th from Florida to California. It was missing items, so after more emails, I finally received the missing items on November 1st.

Product SizeVictorian Disco offers samples, minis, and full size jars. However, Shiro will only be carrying full size jars. Something I noticed when I was swatching was that the amount of shadow in each jar was not at all consistent. Some were 1/3 full or less, and some were almost completely full. I ordered all mini jars, so there was no reason for this discrepancy. (Edit: Because the shadows are in grams, it could be the difference was due to the mass of certain ingredients etc. but seeing it in the jar, without a sifter in the way really makes it more apparent.)

Free Samples - I do not know of the official sample policy, but I received two sample bags with my original order, and one full size jar and two sample bags of my choosing with my replacement package.

All eyeshadows swatched over Too Faced Shadow Insurance primer. Disclosure, I received a very large discount on this order from the sale that was offered at the time I purchased.

Azeroth Collection:

/Flex - "Light golden-neutral with golden flecks." (Shiro listing)

I had a hard time with how sheer this shade was, it would work best as a highlight shade.

Astral Walker - "Deep navy base with aqua and blue sparkles." (Shiro listing)

This shadow had tons of blue sparkles, but the base looked more black than navy.

Aura - "Very light pink with a red overlay." (Shiro listing)

Another shade that was quite sheer and would be better as a highlight.

Emerald Dream - "Deep emerald green base with different colored green sparkles."

This shade has since been discontinued, but it it was like a matte base with matching sparkles.

Exodar Waffle House - "Light lilac with a silver overlay." (Shiro listing)

This one looked more like a gunmetal gray than lilac to me.

For The Alliance! - "Bright sapphire blue with white sparkles."

This shade has also been discontinued, but it was a little patchy and quite powdery. It kind of made a big mess when I tried to swatch it.

For The Horde! (Renamed Warlords) - "Deep red base with red sheen."

This shade has been renamed Warlords, and it was also a little patchy. It has a slight red sheen.

Invisible Invincible - "Light silvery blue with a green sheen." (Shiro listing)

This wasn't completely opaque, and it looked more like a blue sheen to me than a green sheen.

Mage Quarter - "Bright purple with red sparkles and red sheen."

This is like a royal blue shade, with a red sheen. It's really bright though, so you kind of have to just go for it wearing this one.

Mojo - "Purple blue base with a very strong green duochrome sheen." (Shiro listing)

This looks really similar to Invisible Invincible, but more of a green sheen.

Shadowform - "Black blue base with a strong purple sheen and purple shimmers." (Shiro listing)

This was one of my favorite shades from this collection, even though you can see it was still a little patchy. But the purple sheen is really beautiful.

Sin'Dorei - "Medium taupe base with a strong red duochrome sheen." (Shiro listing)

This is a nice neutral taupe shadow, I can definitely see myself wearing it.

The Great Lift - "Medium taupe-y bronze with green shimmers."

I also really liked this one, it was a nice brown with gold sheen.

Wintergrasp - "Strong matte white."

This was the worst application of an eyeshadow I've ever experienced. I put it on and it immediately flaked off. Clumped together and a slight breeze could blow this shadow right off. Just not a quality product or shade.

Zangarmarsh - "Deep blue base with green sheen and teal shimmers." (Shiro listing)

This was a pretty color, but again, it was patchy.

This collection was very meh, and the products themselves weren't very stand out. A lot of blue, purple, and green. I used to play World of Warcraft, the inspiration game for this collection, and there were lots of other colors in the game than these.

Flesh Memory - "Deep whiskey gold with a golden sheen and a deep red base."

This shade was really pretty, it's too bad it's not available through Shiro.

Hermione Snogged Krum - "Amethyst overlay with a slight red sheen and deep purple base."

This looks a lot like Exodar Waffle House, it is a gunmetal gray. I don't see much purple at all.

It's Levio-Sah - "Bright white with a strong shining green duochrome." (Shiro listing)

This shade doesn't really look like it has a green duochrome so much as it's like a green off white.

Malfoy's Bloody Nose - "Deep black base with a blood red overlay and bloody sparkles of righteous Hermione power punch."

This was basically just a black base shadow with tons of purple sparkle and sheen. It's ok, but black base shadows with lots of sparkle just seem like they are for show. They swatch nicely, but once you're wearing them, they look mostly black.

Malfoy's Filthy Money - "Deep dirty golden green just like the Malfoy old family money." (Shiro listing)

This was the star of this collection, I loved how strong the golden sheen is in this shadow.

Not My Daughter You B*tch! - "Deep shimmery black base with red and green sheen and sparkles throughout."

Ehh, kind of a boring shade for this collection, it's mostly just black with a slight sheen.

Patronuses, Patronuses Everywhere - "Bright silver with blue and turquoise sparkles."

This shadow is mostly made of glitter, it's got almost no base shade. Very shimmery, but you'd probably want to use a glitter glue with this one.

Room of Requirement - "Deep purple with a blue duochrome shift." (Shiro listing)

This shadow was pretty, a dark lilac purple with a blue shift. 

Slugs - "A deep disgusting brown-green with a bright green duochrome." (Shiro listing)

This shadow was really boring to me, it's like a dark brown base with just a ton of green sparkles. It was patchy, and I just didn't care for it.

Snape Was Innocent - "Deep navy with a slight violet sheen and blue shimmers."

This shade was kind of like a dark blue with blue sheen and sparkles.

Snivellus - "Dirty emerald green with green shimmers and a green sheen." (Shiro listing)

This one also had lots of glitter, and a very pretty green sheen.

So Many Owls - "Light golden champagne with bright golden sparkles and a neutral shimmer." (Shiro listing)

This is a pretty pink champagne color, but looks similar to a lot of other Victorian Disco shades.

Why Does It Have To Be Dragons? - "Deep caramel brown base with multi-colored sparkles." (Shiro listing)

Another shadow that was patchy for me. I apply primer and do my swatches the same way every time. I don't know how so many of these shadows came out patchy, other than a sub-par formula.

Why Is It Always You Three? - "Light caramel-golden taupe with a strong red sheen." (Shiro listing)

This shade is a nice neutral, but in no way is it unique. So many other brands have a shadow similar to this.

You're A Wizard, Harry! - "Deep deep black base with a very strong golden sheen."

This was another of the very few shadows that I swatched that was quite pretty. A black base with tons of green sparkles and green sheen.

I liked this collection a little more than the Azeroth collection, but not very many shades really stood out. A lot of green, and a bunch more shades with black bases, which in my opinion is not very original.

The Still A Better Love Story Collection:

Lastly, here were the three out of the four shades in this collection that I received as "extras" for my troubles. I think what I went though deserved a little more than one free full size, and two samples, but that's another story.

Angry Italian Vampires - "Deep black base with a blood red sheen." (Shiro listing)

This was one of the popular shades that I really loved the website swatch of, so I requested it as my freebie. It's another black base shadow, but it has a strong red sheen and lots of purple sparkle. It's pretty, but didn't quite live up to my expectations.

Bella's Range of Emotions - "Deep neutral brown, with more neutral brown and not a sparkle or sheen in sight." (Shiro listing)

I appreciate the joke behind this shadow and the name, but it's just as boring as Kristen Stewart's facial expressions. And too dark to really be used as much more than a crease color or eyeliner. 

I Should Be On Fire - "Hot pink with rainbow sparkles." (Shiro listing)

This shade is a bright berry pink with tons of sparkle.

I never got the fourth shade in this collection, but it was ok. The general color scheme is more up my alley, but still too dark for me. I liked I Should Be On Fire, it reminded me of something else I have, but Angry Italian Vampires didn't live up to the hype for me. Or maybe it's just my ennui about everything from Victorian Disco.

Overall, I thought the shadows themselves were lackluster, and some of them actually had the worst application problems I've ever encountered. I do not make eyeshadow, nor do I pretend to understand the chemistry behind it, but the formula just seemed average, if not below average. So many of them applied patchily, and the problem I had with Wintergrasp was just something I had never experienced before. Many of the shadows I had the most problems with were discontinued, or never made it over to Shiro, but if that's the kind of quality of product from Victorian Disco, I probably would never buy again despite the other issues I had. There are too many other companies making better than average products now, to be wasting your money on sub-par eyeshadow just because they have a geeky theme.

I mentioned earlier that the volume of product in my jars was wildly varying. Mini jars are supposed to contain one gram of product. I didn't have a chance to measure it for myself, but it doesn't matter for me. If you're buying a product that is supposed to be measured out, it should be the same for every single jar that is sold! Period. I had some jars that had just a little under a third of the jar filled, and some that were over two thirds filled. There's no excuse for that discrepancy, just measure the same amount for every jar!

Another problem I had with the collections at large were that so many of them had such similar shades, in similar color schemes. And so many with black bases. Quite a few champagne pinks, greens, blues, and purples. They didn't feel like collections actually inspired by the source material, but instead products haphazardly made to fit a fandom collection because it would sell well. It's a fine line to walk, because yes there are lots of brand owners who are into lots of geeky things. And yes, they sell well because there are so many other people into geeky things too. But, if there are 3-4 shadows in the collection that are all the same general color, then it seems suspect to me.

I'm not going to pick favorite shades for this review, because I feel that comes off as an endorsement for the product. I probably won't touch most of these shades. I just know I won't be able to bring myself to use them, especially not after my customer service experience.

Customer Service - I don't even know where to start. The customer service portion of my order was such a clusterfuck that I don't even know where to begin. Let's start with my email exchanges and go from there:

I emailed about my original tracking not updating in 4 days. It's not a long wait, but after I got my tracking I began to hear some bad things about tracking numbers not updating. So I wanted to sort of nip it in the bud if I could. Turns out, I couldn't.

From Ashley:

From Ashley: 

From me:

After no response for 3 days on that last email from me I sent this: 

Immediately after I sent the other one, I get this email:

From me:

From Ashley:

Now she apparently "just received" my frank email, even though I hadn't heard from her in 3 days. This was the point I felt like I was being manipulated into feeling bad for her:

I get tracking, this one which doesn't update again. From Ashley:

From me:

From Ashley: This is where she blatantly lies to me, because she knows she never dropped off the package. I know she never dropped it off. Why is she trying to buy time by saying she'll just watch the tracking for a few days and then will see?

From me, I really did file a report, though I don't know what good it did me:

And here's where I catch her in another lie, if you were out of one of the items I ordered, why was it only brought up now?

From me, I am kind of at my wit's end here:

From Ashley, for the record my "extras" were two samples, which most of the time that is normal to come in any order:

She sent me the final tracking for my order that originally updated. She said she would be dropping it off around lunchtime, so I knew if it didn't update into USPS by the next morning, it hadn't been taken. Why she didn't schedule a pick up is beyond me.

A few days later I received it, missing the few items. I wasn't at first clear on what was missing because my email order confirmation didn't state the names, and the website shades had changed.

Then there was some back and forth about what I was missing.

From Ashley:

I never got that photo of the package, but the missing items finally arrived. She also asked me if there was anything I would like to request to be added as an extra. I said I was looking at The Still A Better Love Story collection, so she sent me three of the four shades from that. Which seemed a little weird to me, like if you're going to send shades from a certain collection as a bonus for all my trouble, and it's only a four shade collection, why not send me all the shades? I don't know, maybe I'm nitpicking on that, but it just seemed stingy I guess?

But the rest of it? Here's where the brutal honesty is going to happen. I felt lied to, manipulated, deceived, and like she hides behind this demeanor of niceties, to try and drag this on long enough to make the customer give up. I wonder how many people did give up, and never received their items or a refund. Many of the emails from her felt like stalling. Her presence on IMAM was just more detrimental to the company's reputation. I used to see comments about hauls she made, or commenting to people who had nice things to say about her company, and it made me furious. Like, why don't you spend your free time trying to fix the reputation of your company, and stop spending other people's money that are still missing their orders?

You ever wonder what happened to all those tracking numbers I was sent that never updated beyond "Shipping Label Created"? Well, one day I had to cancel a tracking label because I put in the wrong info on accident. You know what happened to the number after I refunded it? It did the exact same thing, and never updated. I knew there was no way she was paying for shipping on all those "repacks" and not recuperating it somehow. Side note, brand owners never call anything you're doing a "repack". It annoys me to no end now.

I hate that she got the deal with Shiro, because it doesn't matter to me that the shadows themselves are being distributed by a reputable source, I don't wish for my money or anyone else's money to be going to an indie brand owner giving indies such a bad reputation. Lying to and manipulating your customers by not sending them what they ordered, and not refunding them, is basically stealing. She stole from customers. And indies should never be associated with a company like this. It doesn't even make sense to me, because giving your customers the run around is more effort than just sending them what they ordered. You don't even have to take it to the post office, they will come pick it up!

I couldn't believe that she was still offering sales and discounts on her stuff when what I ordered hadn't arrived yet. She did a Black Friday sale, albeit a small one, but I just couldn't imagine people trying to get their Black Friday orders.

I'm going to stop myself, and summarize that even though I usually received prompt replies to my emails, that were always cheery and nice, the customer service was terrible. I almost hated it more that I always received a reply that was full of smiley faces. And even worse, I didn't want to cancel at that point because I wanted to write the review, and spread the word about my experience. Because I know it was similar to so many others' experiences.

Availability - Not all of these shadows are available to purchase on Shiro Cosmetics, but I've linked the ones that are for each individual shade. You can only purchase full size jars on Shiro.

Overall Satisfaction - ...I'm not going to pick favorite shades, because I don't recommend anyone buy any Victorian Disco products, no matter who the distributor is. If you're not turned away by my customer service experience alone, then I'll also remind you how average to below average the eyeshadow quality was. There are tons of other indie brands owned by a more honest and likable owner, and above average product quality, go spend your money there.

If you made an order with Victorian Disco and still have not received your order, or a refund, you have a few courses of action. If you paid with Paypal, you may still be within your right to get a refund through Paypal. Check in your account and file a case if need be. If you did not pay with Paypal, or are not within the allotted days to get a refund, Caitlin from Shiro has offered to try and take care of any lingering issues. You can contact her through their Contact page.

What did you think of my experience with Victorian Disco? Let me know in the comments!

For all other Victorian Disco reviews, click here


  1. I personally haven't purchased from Victorian Disco, so maybe my comments ts don't hold much water. However, as nice as the owner appears, that just aggravates people even more because its like she's not really catching onto your anger other than a few "sorries" and emotes strewn about in her correspondence. You can tell she is a procrastinator because of her posting all over IMAM but not taking care of her company's issues. I'm not going to lie, I stopped swapping because I hated driving to the post office (pickup not available in my area) and I didn't want to make people wait until I had the drive to go over there.

    Anyway, I feel bad you went through such a crappy experience, but your honesty is appreciated because we need to know the bad customer service that's lurking out there.

    1. Haha I stopped swapping for the same reason. I am so bad getting packages packed and sent. Thanks, I appreciate it. Even if you never purchased from the company, I'm glad it's obvious to others that my experience was not ok.

  2. I purchased some stuff a long time ago and I never ever got it so I asked for a refund.
    I'm so sorry for your experience :( but I had a similar one -except O requested a refund because I was going mad.

  3. I know I'm a little late to the party...but I had the exact same experience from that sale. I ordered like $50 worth of stuff, 60% off...finally mid October, I got one tracking number, never updated, then another one, never updated and finally asked for a refund. I refuse to use her products. Will never order her shadows from shiro. While she was friendly, it was a complete smoke and mirrors process. Stop blaming it on USPS-if you're sucks that bad, where is all the insurance you should put on your packages? Where is the investigative paperwork??? On fb now she uses Janel as her name, seen it on a few swap sites.

    1. Oh wow I didn't know she was still swapping stuff, and under a different name? Wow. I'm sorry about your experience, I wish there were more reviews out there before I and everyone else ordered from the sale.


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