Performance Colors Review – Sample all the Samples!

Let’s face it – I totally go cuckoo for cocoa puffs when it comes to samples. Ever since I began the downward spiral into the happy, money-crunching world that is Etsy, I’ve discovered tons of gorgeous new shops that have products with my name on it. Unhappily, I don’t own a goose that would lay me some golden eggs, so there’s only so many funds that I can pool together; which is why I love samples. So when I discovered that Performance Colors had this epic sample pack for only $10, I just had to grab one. And boy, am I pleased that I did.

This is what I got out of my pack:

  • Restorative Lipstick samples in:
    – Black Cherry
    – Honey Tree
    – Showdown
    – Coral Kiss
    – Mango
  • Matte Extended Wear Lipstick samples in:
    – Buff
    – Desert Rose
    – Rumor
    – Samba
    – Coral Pink
  • Cream Eye Shadow Shimmer Stick samples in:
    – Spanks
    – Palladium
  • Shadow Magnet Lid Primer sample

and 2 freebies:

  • Cream Eye Shadow Shimmer Stick samples in:
    – Raisin
    – Champagne

This is such a cost effective way to discover all the wonderful products, and it was just so much to play with all my happy little sample clamshells. I spent a very happy afternoon playing around with my samples and doing some swatches. I thought it was totally adorable how the pack came with a disposable lip brush and eyeshadow applicator. I didn’t end up using them, but I thought it was such a thoughtful touch.

A quick brand overview

Performance Colors is a gorgeous Etsy e-tailer shop that specializes in a large range of high quality eyes, lips and face cosmetic products. This shop is cruelty-free (no testing on animals!), paraben-free and basically says no to talc, Phthalates, FRPs, BHA and Oxybenzone, ensuring that you get make-up that’s as good for the body as it is good for your conscience. The owner, Tiffany, likens her store to a bakery, where her products are freshly made according to orders, ensuring that everything is piping hot and gorgeous when they get to you.

Her philosophy is to create high quality, gentle and stable make-up with the best combination of ingredients at affordable prices that make women feel natural and beautiful in their own skin, and this speaks volumes to me. I love her sincerity and passion, and this just makes me want to try out all her products, from the cream eyeshadow shimmer sticks to the extremely natural and affordable foundations and concealers.

Restorative  Lipstick

Ingredients: Ricinus communis (castor oil), Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Beeswax, Butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), Sweet Almond Oil, Lanolin (anhydrous), Polyglycerol-3 Beeswax, Vitamin E Tocopherol, Emulsifing Wax, Preservative less than 1%: Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Potassium Sorbate, and Hexylene Glycol. Flavor and Fragrance: Vanilla, Stevia extract infused in Coconut Oil. May Contain: Titanium Dioxide, Mica, Iron Oxides, Calcium Sodium Borosilicate, Tin Oxide, Silica, Red 33, Red 30, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Red 27, Red 7, Blue 1, Red 40, Red 6, Red 21, Orange 5.


Restorative Lipstick

(from left to right) Black Cherry, Honey Tree, Showdown, Coral Kiss, Mango


Restorative Lipstick

(clockwise, starting from bottom) Black Cherry, Honey Tree, Showdown, Coral Kiss, Mango

I have to admit that I was a little skeptical of the bold statement “Healing like a balm, pigmented like a lipstick” that accompanies these pretty lippies; I’ve always filed tinted lip balms and actual lipsticks into different kinds of folders. Moisturizing lip tints just aren’t that pigmented, and if they are that pigmented, they’re probably not going to be that moisturizing. Shiro proved me wrong with their incredible Miyazaki Lip Tints and now, I’ve found a new product to make me eat my words. These restorative lipsticks really do live up to their promises! I actually completely forgot that I was wearing any lipstick after some time because it just sat on my lips so unobtrusively. So they’re probably not going to be as moisturizing as a regular lip balm, but given the awesome color pay-off and awesome price, these are definitely worth checking out!

* This is my first attempt at lip swatches and I have to put it out there that I have *terrible* lip color application skills. I apologize for the shoddy swatches! 

Group Swatch


(from left to right) Mango, Coral Kiss, Showdown, Honey Tree, Black Cherry

Lip Swatches


(Black Cherry, Honey Tree, Show Down, Coral Kiss, Mango)

Black Cherry

Deep berry red color full of red sparks.


This is such a rich, gorgeous and unique berry shade that is really interesting, yet natural at the same time. It’s a lovely purplish magenta with tons of tiny shimmery red and golden sparkles. I’ve never tried magenta shades before, but this was actually the first color that I wore out and I loved it. It’s a touch sheerer than opaque, but the color payoff is really good.

Honey Tree

Nude neutral honey color with a sparkly golden sheen.


This is such a gorgeous little nude shade, and so true to its namesake! There is definitely a honey tone to this, and it has a light shimmery sheen that adds a slight plumping effect to the lips. These lips feel fit for kissing Winnie the Pooh, and I really adore the little red specks of glitter. You need to look really closely to see them, but they add this playfulness to what looks to be an all professional and proper neutral shade. I really like this one. It’s the sheerest of the colors, but it just adds that lovely natural shade that is oh-so-wearable.


Warm bright deep coral red.


This is a very natural looking reddish coral shade that actually goes on a lot lighter than it looks. This is the perfect red shade for a shy girl’s adventure into more striking colors. It’s sassy and playful, but somehow, it still maintains an innocence to it. It’s both natural and bright, if that actually makes sense. It goes on with a shimmery finish, but the sparkles give the color more of a sheen than actual glitter.

Coral Kiss

Medium peachy pink coral with gold sparks.


It looks more distinctively pink on my skin, but on the lips, I can really see a coral shade under the pinkiness. This is another very natural shade and I love how the little microscopic flecks of golden glitter really light up the lips. This is a pretty and feminine color that is both youthful, yet there’s an underlying depth to it.


Neon coral with gold sparkles.


I can’t stop raving over how fun a shade this is! It’s a striking, summery coral that is surprisingly wearable. It does get pretty streaky, and since the color is a lot richer and brighter, it’s less forgiving that the other shades. But I love it, I do. I’m a little out of my comfort zone with bright shades, but I actually really like this one. This is the color you wear while sitting on a beach in a flowy sun dress and a floppy sun hat, while sipping on Shirley Temples in the shade. It actually shocks me how pigmented this is for something that feels almost as moisturizing as a regular lip balm. All the other shades felt like they were playing it safe with how natural and subtle they were, but this, together with Black Cherry, was a real standout.

Restorative Lipstick are available at $5 for a 5ml tube. Lipstick samples are $6 for 5 samples.

Matte Extended Wear Lipstick

Ingredients: Capric capriylic triglyceride, Cyclomethicone, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Cyclopentasiloxane (and) Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Beeswax, Magnesium Stearate, Isolanolin, Dimethicone/vinyl dimethicone crosspolymer (and) silica, Polyglycerol-3 Beeswax, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Emulsifying Wax, Vitamin E Tocopherol. Preservative less than 1%: Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Potassium Sorbate, and Hexylene Glycol. Flavor and Fragrance: Vanilla, Stevia extract infused in Coconut Oil. May Contain: Castor Oil, Red 33, Red 30, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Red 27, Red 7, Blue 1, Red 40, Red 6, Red 21, Orange 5.
Matt Extended Wear Lipstick

(from left to right) Buff, Desert Rose, Rumor, Samba, Coral Pink

I’m going to be honest and say that I’ve never been a big fan of matte lipsticks.

I found the formula to be on the dry side, but that’s probably because I’m used to tinted lip balms and lip glosses. The lipsticks are all heavily pigmented and adorn the lips with full opacity. Unfortunately, they’re pretty unforgiving on drier lips like mine, and tend to show the lip lines. In full fairness, I’ve always had pretty chapped lips, so visible lip lines are inevitable, especially with mattes. I tried wearing these directly on my lips and I found my lips getting increasingly dry and somewhat uncomfortable. It’s definitely not as moisturizing as what I’d like in a lip product, but I really like how work friendly these neutral shades are. I suppose it would help to wear some nice lip balm below it to add that layer of moisture.

Matt Extended Wear Lipstick

(clockwise, starting from top) Rumor, Samba, Coral Pink, Buff, Desert Rose

These all go on pretty easily; the pigment was very even and, with the slight exception in the case of Coral Pink, wasn’t streaky or uneven at all. They are all incredibly work-appropriate shades and go on with a fully matte and slightly velvety finish. Since I was searching for the perfect nude lippie, I was pretty excited and couldn’t wait to try them on.

Group Swatch

(from left to right) Coral Pink, Samba, Rumor, Desert Rose, Buff

Lip Swatches

(Buff, Desert Rose, Rumor, Samba, Coral Pink)

One thing I realized is that unlike the Restorative Lipstick samples, all these are very much from the same neutral shade family tree. Samba, Rumor and Desert Rose, in particular are pretty similar shades, although there are some differences once you do a side by side comparison.


Opaque flesh nude color.


This is a perfect “your lips but better” lipstick. I feel like I’m a mannequin in a storefront wearing this color; it’s so close to my original lip color, yet it’s pretty pigmented, giving my lips an airbrushed look. It is a little unforgiving towards lip lines, but it’s nothing too terrible. I really like this shade. The color payoff is great and despite the fact that this is a nude color, there’s nothing sheer about it. A really versatile shade that ought to be flattering on any skin tone.

Desert Rose

Neutral coral brown.


This is such a gorgeous pinkish nude shade. It’s more pink than brown on me, but it’s a really nice and natural muted shade of dusky pink. I found the name of the shade pretty Like Buff, this is very pigmented, this takes little product to build up to full opacity. I used this as a lip liner and it worked out really well.


Natural neutral bitten lip color.


This is a rich brownish red with a slight orange undertone on my skin. The color is pretty strong on my lips and although it still falls comfortably into the category of professional work-appropriate shades, there’s just a more saucy edge to it which I really like. But dry, yes, it’s regrettably dry on my lips.


Natural flesh toned neutral pink.


I found this to be a pinker version of Desert Rose. There are some similarities between the two shades, but this one is stronger and brighter in shade. It’s a little more striking and playful than the other colors so far, but it still belongs to the neutral family. Kinda like a fun sister that still has that air of a polished mannequin.

Coral Pink

Medium pink with slight coral tone.

I found this to be a really youthful looking natural pinkish coral. It actually goes on lighter than it look in the pod and is the brightest of the shades so far. I love coral lip shades and this might have been my favorite of the lot if not for the fact that I found this to be just a little bit streaky. Still, it’s relatively easy to apply and well pigmented, even though the dryness is pretty much getting to me at this point.


All in all, I really adored these shades and wished so badly for this to work. However, this reminds me of why I don’t wear matte lipsticks in the first place. I’ve found myself to have this problem with all lipsticks across the board. It’s much too dry for my under-performing lips, but I would urge you to give these a shot if your lips aren’t water-sucking deserts. The color pay-off is excellent and the quality is definitely more then worth the price. Unfortunately, I can’t speak too much for how they fare over time because these proved to be too dry for me. They feel pretty indelible though. I had a cupcake and washed it down with a cup of chai tea after testing Samba and although I wasn’t careful about it, the color pretty much survived my slight pig-out. All in all, a high quality product, but it’s just not for me.

Matte Extended Wear Lipsticks are available at $5 for a 5ml tube. Lipstick samples are $6 for 5 samples.

Shadow Magnet Lid Primer

Ingredients: Capric capriylic triglyceride, Cyclomethicone, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Silica, Methicone, Magnesium stearate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Laurly laurate, Titanium dioxide, Alumina, and stearic acid, Stearic Acid, Cetearyl Alcohol and Polsorbate 60, Behentrimonium Methosulfate (and) Cetearyl Alcohol, Vitamin E Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Potassium Sorbate, Hexylene Glycol. Iron oxides.

This is Performance Color’s very own eye shadow primer and I must say that I have grown quite fond of the little thing. I am really quite the make-up ignoramus because until I discovered indie products, I had pretty sensitive skin that has a knack of reacting poorly to commercial cosmetics. That, and of course, I’m pretty lazy. Anyhow, until recently, I’ve been using Nyx Milk as my eyelid primer and I decided to do a quick comparison between the two.

I actually really liked Shadow Magnet Lid Primer’s (or SMLP for short, that name is such a mouthful) texture; it goes on nude and it feels very light and surprisingly non-sticky. I’ve been quite used to the somewhat tacky texture of Nyx Milk so far, so while this was a pleasant surprise, I was worried that it might not be as successful holding onto the eye shadow pigments. It mostly worked like a charm though, and most of the time, I couldn’t really see the difference in color between the two primers.

Here are some pictures of my little experimentation of wearing the various cream eyeshadow samples I got over both SMLP and Nyx Milk.

Shadow Magnet Lid Primer VS Nyx Milk

Group Shots: 

Palladium and Raisin over Nyx Milk (top) and Shadow Magnet Lid Primer (bottom)

Spanks and Champagne over Nyx Milk (top) and Shadow Magnet Lid Primer (bottom)

Comparison Shots:


I actually found this shade to be pretty similar over both primers. I did, however, find application easier over SMLP as compared to Nyx Milk.


This shade also looked pretty similar over the two primers, although it does seem to be a little more reddish over Nyx Milk.


I couldn’t really see much difference between the application over the two primers.


This shade had the most significance difference, and I believe it’s because this is the sheerest of the eye shadows. It seems a little more shimmer and metallic over SMLP, while the silver base is stronger over Nyx Milk. I suppose it could be due to the difference in the base color of the primers since Nyx Milk has a white base while SMLP has a nude base.

Shiro’s Mother of Dragons on Shadow Magnet Lid Primer

I decided to put the primer to the test with some loose eyeshadow and picked Shiro’s Mother of Dragons as my test subject. This went on like a charm and while the glitter is no where as prominent as it would be over an adhesive like Glitter Glue or Pixie Epoxy, the color payoff is really striking and lovely. Remember how I said that this didn’t feel that tacky at all? I was pretty amazed that the loose pigments clung on to it as well as they did. I actually thought that this primer performed better with loose eye shadow as compared to the cream ones. I guess it does live up to its name of being a magnet!

I really like this primer and will probably fish up a full size of this in my next order. It performs really well for such a cost effective product and a little goes a long way, so I can see this lasting for quite a while.

Shadow Magnet Lid Primers are available at $5 for a 2.8ml tube. It is also included as a sample in the eye shadow sample pack which costs $5.

Shimmer Stick Cream Eye Shadow

 Ingredients: Mica*, Cyclomethicone, Caprylic Capric Triglycerides, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Magnesium stearate, Titanium dioxide, Beeswax, Cyclopentasiloxane (and) Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Silica, Magnesium Myristrate, Lauryl Laurate, Stearic Acid, Vitamin E Tocopherol, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, (and) Emulsifying Wax. Preservative: less than 1%: Caprylyl Glycol, Potassium Sorbate, Hexylene Glycol.

I’ve been pretty excited to try out the cream eye shadow sticks, if only for the novelty of it all. So far, most indie eye shadows come in the form of loose pigments so I was really interested to know how the cream shadows would fare. These are so gloriously pigmented that I actually think that you could get by applying them without any primer at all. It feels like the primer is built into the shadow already, making it awesome for those lazy days or when you’re in a rush but want your lids to look pretty.

I did my swatches over Shadow Magnet Lid Primer and over bare skin.

Group Shots

Raisin, Spanks, Champagne and Palladium (swatched over bare skin)

Raisin, Spanks, Champagne and Palladium (swatched over Shadow Magnet Lid Primer)

There is surprisingly very little color difference between my bare skin and primer swatches, especially for the darker shades. It might be due to the fact that


Classic light neutral sparkle.

over SMLP

This is a lovely muted rose gold neutral with a light copper shift and subtle shimmer. It’s a very natural shade and would be lovely for layering or just for wearing on its own. I loved the application for this. The color pigments are very even and it glides on effortlessly both on bare skin and over a primer. I found the shimmer to be stronger when applied over bare skin, but it was much fainter in color. Over the primer, the rosiness is more apparent.


lively adobe clay with sparkle


This is a very pretty copperish brick red with an awesome color payoff. It looks almost exactly the same, although the color is a little more intense over the primer.


lively brown with hints of plum and pewter

I actually had a bit of trouble with this over the primer because it tended to get a little clumpy at certain points. This applied like a charm over bare skin though. It’s a lovely purplish brown with a gorgeous silvery shimmer.


warm sparkly silver

This is another color that I actually preferred on bare skin as compared to over the primer. It looks pretty metallic over the primer, while on bare skin, it’s a more sweetly subtle silver grey with sparkly bits of silver glitter.

Cream Eye Shadow Shimmer Sticks are available at $5 for a 5ml tube. Eyes shadow samples are $6 for 5 samples.

 A slight quibble – where are the ingredients?

While writing this review, I found it rather tricky to get a complete list of ingredients for each product. A basic list is provided under the item overview, and within the item details, we’re told that a complete ingredients list can be found on the shop’s policy page. I actually wish that they could just list the complete ingredients within the individual item descriptions because it can get rather troublesome to hop onto the policy page while browsing the shop. But this is really just a minor little point.

On the whole…

I had a pretty enjoyable experience with Performance Colors, and to be honest, I’m still kinda shell-shocked that I got so much product for only $10. The full sampler’s pack is currently unavailable at the time of posting this review, but there are some pretty awesome lip stick and eye shadow sample packs available so I’d recommend picking those up. I’ll definitely be ordering from them again. I really like the restorative lipsticks, and cream eye eyeshadows. Plus, everything is so reasonably priced that I don’t feel like it’s too much of a splurge. This shop is definitely worth checking out and the color selection is pretty extensive, so if you’ve been thinking about giving them a shot, I’d definitely recommend it!


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