Posted on Friday, at • bought • 117 views
Meow’s big “unique thing” is its incredibly wide array of foundations: 81 shades, 3 coverage levels. All with coordinating concealers! They even have a “conversion” / reference chart for BE foundations, which I think is amazingly helpful. Meow also sells eyeshadows, eyeliners, brow powders, brushes, color correctors, glow powders, body powders, blushers, highlighters, bronzers, and probably some stuff I’ve forgotten. I haven’t ever seen them selling lip products, though presumably you could use some of their powders as lip color your lips - just check the description to make sure it’s lip-safe, and set it with a balm or something. They have just under a dozen “regular” collections for eye and cheek, an array of seasonal collections that regularly reappear each year (with a few new shades), and occasionally introduce new seasonal collections. (Their Christmas shoppe, for example, had nearly a dozen collections in it in winter 2010.) They occasionally have free-shipping sales, and occasionally have 10% and 15% discount sales. You really need to follow them on Twitter or Facebook, or sign up for their email newsletter, to get first notification of when those sales happen.
The background is darker, yes; but the body of the page, the central 90% of the content, is black text on a white background. I find this easier to read, and easier for me to judge colors. (I realize this is a personal preference, and furthermore has nothing to do with the quality of the product; but I felt a lot easier about placing my first order from Meow than Fyrinnae or Morgana Cryptoria.)
The site navigation is clear and present on every page. There are links in the top bar and the footer to company information, customer service, one's shopping cart, a site map, and store policies; and the product navigation is nicely divided into Face, Cheeks, Eyes, and Tools...but that hasn't been updated in a while. Not all of the collections are straightforward to find. There is no site search, and while there is a site map, not having a site search (to zero in on a specific remembered collection or color) would be a very nice addition. Not everyone knows how to use Google to search only on a specific site (just go to Google, type in your search string, then add - without the quotes - "site:meowcosmetics.com" or whatever site you want to search.) You can find the newest bits - and in some cases, older-but-not-part-of-the-navbar, like the Egyptian Treasures collection - by selecting "What's New at Meow".
Their customer service is fairly good. They respond to emails, and to forum posts. They have one staffer who's a savant at matching people with appropriate foundation shades based on photos they submit. They're also active on Twitter and Facebook.
I think that, in all the orders I've placed with Meow, I've had two cart glitches. One happened over a Christmas shutdown: I placed an order, Paypal errored out on the last page and so I thought the order didn't go through, I placed the order again...and thirty minutes later, there came my confirmation email for the "glitched" order and for the second order. I had to wait until they got back into the office for a refund; but as soon as someone got back into the office, they replied to my email and worked with me to get my orders straightened out (and my money refunded for the duplicate order.)
I'm fortunate enough to live in the same country as Meow, and whenever I've placed my orders I've either qualified for free shipping or have paid a small amount for priority shipping. Order turnaround time isn't the rapidest I've experienced - four to ten calendar days during non-seasonal periods - but it's hardly the longest I've experienced, either. The packaging is always good, all of the jars have sifter seals and outer shrink-wrap seals, sample baggies come inside another zip-locking baggie and then sometimes inside a sewn bag: leopard-pattern, organza, or seasonal fabrics. I've never had products leak or spill or break in transit, and packages have always included two free samples (not of my choice, but sometimes they've been eyeshadows and sometimes they've been a blush or glow powder sample.)
I absolutely love Meow's foundation and concealer. I had a difficult time finding a color match when I resumed using makeup in 2007, and for a while I was mixing BE's Fair with their mineral veil and wasn't exactly happy. I was thrilled to find my color matches (winter and summer) at Meow, as well as variable coverage levels and matching concealer!! The fact that the foundation is available in 3-ounce (85 gram) jars, so I can effectively get about a year's worth in one go, is a big bonus. At Meow, I paid the same amount and got three times as much foundation as I did from Bare Escentuals...and I got something that matched my skintone far better than anything BE had in their lineup. So Meow got my attention with their wide range of foundation shades and comparative cost to other mineral foundations; and they got my devotion with the effectiveness, coverage, and staying power of their foundation. The fact that they have shade-matched concealer is icing on the cake. (I do wish that I liked their color correctors better than I do; but I like the performance/price of Aromaleigh v1's Coquille Vert far better, and I stocked up when Aromaleigh was closing down.)
I've tried a few of their blushes, and I'm...whelmed. Neither thrilled nor turned off. They're nice, about on par with the other loose-powder blushes I've tried from both indie and corporate vendors. I do love Canna and Heliconia, which were initially released with the Lost Rainforest collection but don't appear to have made it back into the lineup either of the two times that collection's been re-released. Happily, most of their blush collections are permanent, so you can order as many samples as you wish until you find the shade(s) you want to get. Their Crystalline Cat glow powders are lovely, as are the Ghosts of Xmas Past face powders (which closely match up with BE's radiances and AOFCs).
Their shadows vary, both in per-gram price and in quality. Their older shadows - Cat Eyes, IdealEyes, ModernEyes, VandalEyes, ScandalEyes - are all packed in 10-gram jars with a sifter. Their newer shadows - the Shattered Equinox, Egyptian Treasures, Sunless Sea, the various seasonal collections - are all packed in 5-gram jars with a sifter. The newer shadows are a little more complex and sometimes are more pigmented than their "primary-five" collection colors, but not necessarily. There are some hidden gems, such as Breakfast at Kitty's, Ducat, and most of the VandalEyes colors, that look wonderful and are highly pigmented, but are not sold at as high a per-gram price as the newer and seasonal colors.
Some of their shades that they call "duochromes" are not very duochrome-y, in my opinion. Blood Orange is a medium tangerine color with a pale gold shimmer, but it isn't what I would call a duochrome. (Other companies, particularly nail polish companies, have been a bit liberal with their use of the "duochrome" descriptor. If a color has a gold or silver sheen or shimmer...it's pretty, but it's not automatically a duochrome.) Getting samples, as well as looking at several blogger swatch photos, is most definitely in order. It's not that the quality is poor, just that the descriptions aren't always as precise as they could be.
A wide range of products, some excellent values, and regular reappearances of seasonal collections all make me fairly comfortable recommending Meow as a company to check out. Their eyeshadow prices are not as inexpensive as other companies', but there are some wonderful colors in seasonal rotation. And...honestly. Unless you have a foundation that you totally completely love and you aren't even the slightest bit interested in changing, you might want to look at Meow's foundations, check into getting colormatched in the forum, perhaps ordering several samples (if you're overseas, you may want to place a group order with several friends so that your order will be large enough to get free shipping during one of their sales - usually held over US holiday weekends.)
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