*APRIL 23, 2021 UPDATE AT THE END OF THIS POST!
In addition to the Nectar balms, I will briefly discuss the other items I bought in custom sample packs that Rituel de Fille offers on their site. What I like most about the samples, besides getting to try 5 products for $15, is that they email a code for $10 off your next full-size purchase. It isn’t restricted to the shades you specifically sample.
Before we get into the review, I also want to note that the Nectar Balms, Inner Glow Crème Pigments, and Rare Light Crème Luminizers contain lanolin. It is an amazing ingredient, but I’ve had strong reactions to products with lanolin in the past (so much that I had to stop using the original formulations of the Bite Beauty Agave lip mask and glosses, Jack Black lip balms, etc). Before I try on new lip products, I usually check the ingredient list. Because these are made for cheek and eye use as well, I didn’t think to view the ingredients beforehand. Ironically, the RdF lip-specific products I sampled do not contain lanolin, but most of the cheek ones do. Luckily for me, I haven’t had any reactions beyond slight tingling while wearing the products and skin tenderness when I rub my cheek while removing my makeup at night. So either my skin reacts less strongly to lanolin now, the concentration of lanolin used is lower than I’ve experienced in past products, or the grade of lanolin makes a difference. It’s possible I may experience stronger reactions with continued use over time, as has happened to me in the past, and if that ends up being the case, I will make note of it in this post in the future. I won’t take the chance using them on my eyelids though, so I apologize if you came looking for eye swatches of the nectar balms as well. If you have a lanolin sensitivity too, please be careful when using the aforementioned products. And of course, if you’re Vegan you wouldn’t like this brand as many products contain both lanolin and carmine.
Color Nectar Pigment Balms
The balms and samples came in reusable ziplock pouches. My guess is that this is an added measure to ensure they will not dry out! My cream formula compact came in a box though, so perhaps this is something new they’re doing?
Bee Sting – Bee Sting is a surprisingly very pigmented rose-pink. In fact, I think this is more pigmented than even the darkest shade I bought! Because the nectar balms are intended to be sheer, I was worried it wouldn’t show up on me, but it does! It builds very well on top of itself without looking textured as it melts into the skin. This is also the first time I’ve ever been able to wear the lightest shade in a blush/lip collection and have it work for me, while still looking light on lighter skintones. This formulation is the traveling pants of makeup! Is that reference too old?
Also, with flash on, the pan color looks way lighter than it does in normal lighting. That’s what kept throwing me off about Bee Sting in photos online. They all look darker in the pan than they will be on the skin, so the pan color isn’t a good indication as to which shades will be better matches.
Snapdragon – This shade looks so red in the pan, but it has a lot of yellow to this orange shade. RdF describes this as “kumquat,” which does mimic the yellow-orange tone of the fruit. This one takes the longest of the three to build up in color, perhaps due to the yellow tone of the blush blending in too much with the yellow undertone of my complexion. I think it looks decent as a blush, but I prefer this as a lippie. In order to wear it in the way I like, I started using a lipliner to cover the pigmented spots on my lip and then I pat Snapdragon on top. Doing this gives me the I-just-ate-a-popsicle effect that I like, which was very on-trend last year (and still popular overseas).
Glasswing – This grape shade can be built up very dark, though nowhere near as dark as it looks in the pan. So for the cheek photo, I built up Glasswing only to the pigmentation level I would realistically wear.
Here are the three cheek swatches side by side: Bee Sting, Snapdragon, and Glasswing.
There was a limited edition shade I missed, called Ladybug, which is a “raspberry punch pink.” I thought mixing Bee Sting and Glasswing would give me a similar enough effect, though, without the exact magenta-fuchsia tones Ladybug possesses. Here are how the two look combined, which is my most preferred look using the nectar balms. It’s the best of both worlds: bright but still has some depth to it. Glasswing is applied in a heavier concentration towards the back with Bee Sting added to the apples of my cheeks. On the lips, I have Glasswing everywhere with Bee Sting applied more to the center (and to cover my darker pigmented spots on my bottom lip).
I really love the shades of these Nectar balms. And the jelly texture is so fun and unique feeling! It’s a little embarrassing to admit, but after applying them to my lips, I instinctively want to lick my fingers as if it’s real fruit jelly/jam. They have a light sweet smell to them too, so for a split second, I forget it’s not food! These feel comfortable on the lips and slightly moisturizing (though not as much as regular balms) since they still somewhat dry down to the touch.
I like that these don’t lift up my foundation. They don’t feel completely set on the cheek, but they are dry enough that they won’t leave a heavy or sticky feeling. Your hair won’t stick to your cheek on a windy day (though I should note I rarely wear my hair down anyway)!
I’ve tried using the Nectar Balms with a synthetic brush, which leaves behind a heavier look, almost like it sits on the skin more than the other application methods. These look stunning when applied with a sponge! It deposits a lot of color quickly onto the cheeks but the blend is so natural looking. My preferred method is still using my fingertips to apply, as the size of the blushes are so small (slightly smaller than the Fenty Cream Blushes) that my brushes are too big for the pans. Plus, I feel I get the most precision with my fingers than even the pointy end of my sponge provides. I also don’t feel comfortable with the idea of continuously tapping a wet sponge directly onto the product. Though perhaps I could use it the same way as some of my other cream blushes and scoop out the product onto the back of my hand with a metal spatula. That way I can limit the introduction of moisture to the blush.
Ritual de Fille products have a reputation of being long-lasting, but that doesn’t seem to be the case with my thirsty skin, unless I set it with a powder. Sometimes I use the Nectar balms as a base shade and apply some of the sheerer powder blushes from my collection on top.
If you’re not sensitive to lanolin and not vegan, I recommend trying these!
Inner Glow Crème Pigments
Lust – This color is described as the “richest of rose shades” and is meant to be used anywhere on the face (mainly eyes, lips, and cheeks). The texture reminds me of a creamy lipstick. They call this a “dewy matte,” as there’s no shimmer in it, yet it stays looking creamy on the skin. This doesn’t dry down completely; it’s enough to not be sticky, but it can still transfer. Other products from the line don’t dry down completely either, but this particular shade fades fast on me. I think the color is stunning though! If I did not already have Fenty’s Cream Blush in Rosè Latte, I would have been tempted to buy the full-size.
Rose Latte is lighter, but they’re both deep rosy brown shades. If I’m going for that kind of look, they’re similar enough that I would be happy with either one and I don’t feel the need to have both.
Delirium – I ordered this in the full size immediately upon trying it out (which was also before I realized it contained lanolin). I don’t have a blush shade quite like it. It is so much prettier in person than I can capture in a photograph. This is the kind of shade I wanted Snapdragon from the nectar balms to be. It’s also the tone of orange I’ve been wanting in a powder form. It’s a coral-nectarine with golden highlights. The shimmer is very subtle though, as I don’t see any when I put it on.
In addition to being blendable and buildable, the Inner Glow Creme pigments were formulated to mix well with the Forbidden Lipsticks, Enchanted Lip Sheers, and Ash and Ember Eye Soots.
Rare Light Crème Luminizer
I wanted to try Stellaris the most, but they ran out of samples. I was informed that that shade is being discontinued, so if you love it you should grab it in the full-size while you can!
Anthelion – This shade is a “gold nude…that shifts with a subtle red-orange highlight.” This formula is right up my alley in terms of a cream highlighter. The shade match is great; the shimmer is more refined and tighter packed.
The only downside is that a little bit of wax can show on my cheek if I apply too much in one spot (rubbing it in doesn’t do much by this point). If it wasn’t for the lanolin, I still would have bought the full size of this shade.
I was very interested in the newest shade called The Chimera, but it sold out long before my first order and has not restocked yet. In a way, I’m glad that happened because these highlighters, although beautiful, are out of my comfort zone with the glitter level. It also still has the issue of being visibly waxy if overapplied (and it is very easy to over apply if you want the sparkles to be closer to each other).
The High Priestess – This lilac shade is especially pretty when paired with a brighter pink blush underneath. Also, this shade on the lips is stunning! It almost glowed when I paired it on top of MAC’s Versicolour Lip Stain in the shade Perpetual Holiday.
The Siren – This shade is described as “blush-gold with a sunlit shift.” It’s the most natural-looking highlight of the bunch for those who want sparkle without the wild shades.
The Siren also looks pretty patted on the center of the lips. I forgot to do it in the photo above, but this is what it looks like on top of Delirium.
Delirium is supposed to have gold tones to it already, so the two are a natural pairing.
The Sorcerer – This silver shade was an added free sample that was included in my order. It came attached to a card, which I misplaced. So for the cheek swatches, I patted it on top of Anthelion as I mistook it for the Alchemist Highlight Intensifier. But I found the card and confirmed it is indeed the shade The Sorcerer. Silver isn’t as flattering on me as gold, but I was impressed with how much it gleamed. The left photo in the gallery shows off the highlighter in the typical spot where I stand to take pictures. You can see the waxiness further back on the cheekbone. It also looks a bit patchy due to it being iridescent without a base color, combined with the lighting. The gallery photo on the right shows how the highlighter looks when I’m closer to the light in order to show how much more blinding it gets.
Carnal – This medium-dark rosy brown lippie doesn’t look like there’s much color, but that’s because it’s such a close match to my natural lip color, or rather, “my lips but better.” My darker pigmented spots are still a bit visible towards the edges, but Carnel covers it up more than Snapdragon and Glasswing nectar balms. I haven’t purchased any traditional lipsticks this year because I don’t wear them enough, but if I did, this would be the one to get. Carnel still doesn’t get as deep as it looks on Rituel de Fille’s website, even when I add additional layers. It can be layered to nearly full opacity but it’s still not enough to hide the darkest parts entirely.
Enchanted Lip Sheer
Rue – This “electric pink” shade does look bright, but still somewhat natural in person. I can see the glitter on the product but not on my lips. The regular lipsticks can be worn in a sheer fashion, so I’m not sure how necessary it is to buy an intentionally sheer lipstick from RdF, except perhaps to layer on top of a more pigmented shade. I was curious to see what it would look like anyway, and at least these have more pigment to them than other brands’ sheer lipsticks I’ve used in the past.
Bittersweet – This “dusty papaya” shade is very interesting. I like it; in this case, I think a more pigmented version would look strange on me. If I was going to purchase a lip product, I would still prefer the Forbidden lipstick formula over the Enchanted lip sheers.
Celestial Sphere Eye Soot
Rituel de Fille has Ash and Ember Eye soots which are a cream/powder mix, but I haven’t tried those. The Celestial Eye Soots have a gelée formulation. They also contain waxes and oils which are an extremely bad combination on my eyelids.
Andromeda – This shade is so stunning! It is a “shimmering oil slick shift, transforming from red to gold with slight glimpses of blue in a black gelée base.” I was very impressed with how shiny and beautiful the sparkles are. It doesn’t make for the best swatches, however, because there isn’t a base color. They are intended to be sparkly and transparent, which let’s you see how spread out the glitter is, making this better as a topper shade. I tried this on its own and when my eyes are open it looks beautiful but with my eyelid closed it looks terrible.
I have textured/lined eyelids that emollient products like to settle into. This, combined with how widely dispersed the sparkles are, makes the shadow look extra patchy. This was the most pigmented I could build up the color. I could also see semi-white waxy patches on the lid immediately upon putting it on. At the 5 hour mark, it faded and looked even worse. I think my eyelids are naturally oily, so the formulation does not work for me. Also, the other products have a pleasant smell, but the eye soots have a slight fish oil smell to them. At least, both of these samples do.
Ara – Everything said about Andromeda is the same as Ara but in a different shade. It’s described as, “an iridescent red-rose with a vibrant gold shift—with the subtlest hints of teal.” Because I knew my lids were too oily I applied Ara to my bare lid and patted a matte shadow on top to set it, but that severely dimmed the sparkle.
My next thought was to use a glitter glue with Ara. This produced better results, but it still doesn’t set (and product came off when I accidentally touched my eyelid) and continued to look more patchy the longer I wore it.
I also tried applying Devinah Cosmetics’ matte shadow called Kaia to my bare eyelid. Then I patted Andromeda on top, which completely removed the matte shadow and I was left with a bare looking lid again wherever I placed the product. This also resulted in patchiness as I wore it (the photos are taken directly after applying).
I didn’t give up when I had issues with the Nomad Harajuku palette, so I continued trying to find the best way to use this. I thought about how multichromes tend to be a little oily and maybe that would mix better with the eye soot, so I put Devinah’s Morphenae on the lid with Andromeda on top. It ended up making Morphenae disappear just like the matte shadow.
Lastly, and what turned out to be the best way I’ve found, is to apply this on top of a shimmer formula. In the last row of the next photo shows what Andromeda looks like on top of Devinah’s Charmed shadow.
The shimmer formula still helped Andromeda to set a little (but it remained easily transferable), lasted the longest without fading, and overall just looked the best out of the previous attempts at using the celestial soots. It’s still visibly patchy looking though. Out of everything I tried, this is the only product I absolutely cannot recommend. Besides, even if the quality was amazing, $38 for a single shadow is outrageous. The only justification is the price per gram. At $38 for 3.8 grams, it’s basically on par with Natasha Denona’s eyeshadows at $27 for 2.5 grams. In my opinion, Natasha’s formula isn’t even worth that price, so RdF’s definitely isn’t either. To each their own, I guess.
Moon Drops, The Ordering Process, and Final Thoughts
One of the more fascinating aspects of this brand is that they have a very ethereal/celestial/New Age editorial aesthetic. Their Instagram page exemplifies this, as well as the product names and descriptions on their website.
I recommend signing up for their emails because not only do they thankfully not spam you on a regular basis, they let you know when their next Moon Drop is coming. “Moon Drops” is what they call their release day. It falls once a month at 12:00 pm PST on the day of the full moon. Releases could be anything from new products, new shades, gifts with purchases, sales, etc. So far, the Moon Drops I’ve seen has been a limited edition shade and early access to a sale. I will definitely keep my eye out on more in the future.
My ordering experience has been great so far, though when I get the notice that my order has shipped, they actually don’t get it to USPS until 5 or so days later. I’m unsure if this is the normal practice or due to the pandemic slowing everything down.
I’ve also spoken with customer service twice. Once was because they let me know a sample shade was out of stock and let me choose something else. The other time was to get a new discount code when mine didn’t work. Both times, the responses back to me were incredibly fast (under 30 minutes). And the people I spoke to were very friendly.
Overall, despite some of the products being complete misses for my style, other products I absolutely love! I really enjoy the overall branding and philosophy. They make you feel like you’re part of something mysterious and exclusive as a customer, yet still approachable in their vibe and versatility of their products. I simultaneously feel like certain products are too advanced for me, while others are simple and user friendly.
I highly praise them for having sample packs. Their return policy (according to their site) is that only regularly priced items lightly used items can be returned. The initial shipping fee will be deducted from the refund (even if you qualified for free shipping) and you have to pay to ship the item back yourself. So, for example, if you bought a nectar balm for $24, you might only refunded $18-$19. And if it costs around $6 to return it to them… you’re really only getting back $12. So, the sample packs help to avoid making returns or being stuck with something you don’t love. This brand really excites and inspires me, so I look forward to keeping an eye on what they’re doing (and will purchase again if there’s no lanolin)!
Thank you for reading!
04/23/2021 UPDATE: 1 of my 4 full size blushes (Snapdragon) grew mold in the edges of the pan. This occurred despite the fact that after posting this review, I never used the full size blushes again (only the samples). They remained closed and in the large Rituel de Fille ziplock pouch. There is a period after opening (open jar symbol) of 12 months. I bought the blushes 8 months ago. Rituel de Fille is a brand that embraces natural ingredients and things that don’t preserve very well, so if you are thinking of purchasing from the brand, please keep in mind that the products may not last very long. I expect a short shelf life for cream and liquid products, but this is the first cream/balm product I’ve ever had that grew mold, let alone in under a year.
I also mentioned in my original review that I would update if my lanolin sensitivity increased, and yes it has. This is the main reason I tested the samples a few more times before I quit using the RdF products altogether.