Sparkle Addicts

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Clearing up rumors regarding Sobe Botanicals new Swatches

Normally I wouldn't post about something like this but I feel it is necessary. Recently I read a review for Sobe Botanicals. The review from what I could tell, was fair and based on her personal experience (check out her blog here). However, comments from another user, were not completely truthful. And yes, I felt it necessary to post a comment in my defense and I did.

Some of you may remember my post regarding myself working with Morgana Cryptoria and Sobe Botanicals on product swatches. I have been eye and lip modeling for both companies the past couple months (also was working with Kristen from Aromaleigh before it went out of business). In an attempt to attack the honesty of Lex (owner of Sobe Botanicals) and her products, my work was trashed. Not only have I been working really hard on these swatches, but I have experienced eye/lip irritation and loss of lashes (um hello, that's why I started wearing false lashes!). This is due to applying, wiping off, applying, wiping off, over and over on a daily basis. I have to neatly apply a product, photograph it, wipe it off and move onto the next colour and repeat the process. I swatch at least 4 eye and 4 lip products a day when I have the supplies.

Basically my work of swatching, photographing and photo editing was trashed to the point of saying these photos were not real and were actually 1 photograph re-shopped multiple times to look like various colours.

What was stated:
"After several hours of working with transparent overlays in a photo editor, I found that the 25 lipstick swatches on that site are color-shopped versions of only 4 images. One photo alone was shopped over & over to represent 10 different shades."

 This is a false statement.

So while saying she's done all this "research" to find these things out, she failed to notice that in the product listings with the MY eye and lip swatches, Lex thanks "Em" (that's me!) for the photos, swatches and lists links to my stores and my blog. But some how Lex is the dishonest person behind the photographs. She is not and neither am I. We have not been dishonest about the photos displayed on Sobe Botanicals website and etsy store.

 Here are some of the lip swatches that were stated to be manipulations of just 4 photos (I made a screen shot of these from my personal work folder). While I did my best to keep the angle exactly the same in each photo, it was impossible. Even an untrained eye can see that while they are extremely similar, angles, shadows, shape of my lips and even fullness of my lips are different. None of them are duplicate photos altered to look like another colour AT ALL. However, a small handful of photos were adjusted to better represent a colour. This was done so by me, not Lex.

My natural lip colour is very pink and most lipglosses and lipsticks look darker on me than most other people's lips. So I asked Lex to add in their descriptions that the products may look different based on your own skin tone and of course your monitor. This was not added to be dishonest.

My eye swatches, like the lip swatches, were each done individually. Shape, width and angle of my brow make it easy to notice.

With all this being said, you don't have to like my pictures, you don't have to like my swatches or the quality of my photographs and photoshopping skills. I am secure enough in myself that I can handle criticism. However, do not provide misinformation on the internet because you're upset. Just be honest, share your experience and people will listen and appreciate it.

Makeup is supposed to fun, creative and beautiful. Let's keep it that way. :-)

While working with Sobe Botanicals products, I learned that I really like them and that is why I have been doing looks with the products provided to me by Lex, and have shared the looks with you. I also have really enjoyed working with Lex as she has been very kind and amazing to me. She changed a few product ingredients due to allergies, so that I could use them. Not too many companies would do that or even respond to my asking about it, and she did it for me. :-D 

Also, Melissa from Morgana Cryptoria changed her lipstick ingredients so that I may wear them. It just shows that there are some wonderful people out there.


So the person who provided misinformation replied to my comment.

Her reply:
Sorry to say, but on the current edition of the site, there are 10 color versions of a single lipstick swatch image. Overlaying them transparently, every single line & detail match up, & there is not the slightest difference in the angles & mouth position, which lip lines & “anomalies” are emphasized over others, the tension of individual facial muscles, & the shape, placement, & details of the light reflection on the bottom lip. The *only* difference is the color, including a rainbow of skin colors around the mouth, which screams color manipulation. An example of this, is that ‘Harlequin’ & ‘Purple Rain’ are the exact same image, & the color-shopping was obvious even before I over-layed them, due to the skin around the mouth being yellowish-green in one & pale pink in the other.
I have no doubt that you did swatch all the colors, but it appears that, for whatever reason, whoever designed the site, only used 4 of your shots, & color-shopped only those 4, in order to represent all the lipstick colors, without telling you. Having worked as an artist, art model, & writer, I am well aware of how incredibly common it is for an editor/site designer to disregard an artist’s creations, & just completely alter the works, without the artist’s knowledge or permission. I am very sorry that’s what appears to have happened here, showing no respect for your extensive work efforts."

Again, this is false.

My reply:
 "If you have software that can provide proof of what you're saying, then back it up with screen shots showing every single layer including the "original" photo. If what you're saying is true, you should be able to provide it easily."

I am posting the exact pictures I took that I can see with my own eyes that Lex added to her site. LOOK at them.

Here is Purple Rain with Harlequin below it.
You can see brush strokes on my upper lip in Harlequin that aren't in Purple Rain.  Angle is different, shape is different and there are sparkles in both that aren't in the other. Even the shine on the lips is DIFFERENT. What the hell? Am I going insane or something? Clearly someone has too much time on their hands.

She also stated in her original comment, regarding the photos, that these were the same as well, but they clearly aren't.  
Copper Pipe with Coppering below it:
Main difference I notice right away is my lips are fuller looking in the top one (my lips were really dry and irritated in the bottom one, thus resulting in smaller and sort of wrinkly lips)  and the top one is more sparkly. These are not the same photo, obviously.

There is a colour difference in the skin as a result of my "poor photo editing" which she says is proof of what she's trying to claim. 

Again, everything she is saying in regards to my photos is completely false.

I am not posting to be mean or pick on anyone. It is to educate you and clear up any rumors. Thank you for reading.



  1. God, people are so interested in digging up shit even when there isn't any to dig up! It's gotten ridiculous. Can we please just go back to the time when we bought pretty makeup and occasionally posted about it in our blogs/forums/whatever and all squeed over it together???

    I'm sorry your credibility has been attacked, Blix. Very unfair. You worked hard on these. Shame on these people.

  2. Hm, I saw the review. It's sad that she had a bad experience with SoBe, I always got great products and service from them... Still, I guess sometimes bad experiences happen too :/
    Shame someone mistook your swatches for photoshop. I'm glad you are being able to clear the matter. Hm, I think the girl should contact Lex, I'm sure she'd offer a refund or a replacement of the products... - At least she never left me down.

  3. I love that this was well written and not mean or attacking at all. You got your point across without being a huge bitch unlike that commenter you talked about. And thissss is why I read your blog :) great makeup AND wit!

  4. My question is this: Even if it were photoshopped does that matter? Lots of companies, including huge names (um, MAC) have various methods and various manipulations of showing swatches but no-one screams about that. I think the swatches are lovely and look very, very similar, but I trust your input and I know how long swatches take and applaud your hard work. I think it's a dumb point to make regarding an image being manipulated as that has nothing to do with the PRODUCTS! Uhhh....why do women have to be so freakin' difficult? It's makeup- something you are amazing with, btw.

  5. femputer,
    Well, now she's trying to turn it around and say my work was manipulated behind my back. No, I know my work and can see on Sobe's website that those are the exact pictures I sent her. I R confused!

    Yeah, Lex is super nice and I know she would have helped and fixed her problem if she would have contacted her about it. I'm totally liking her stuff. :-)

    Aw, thank you! I'm really not trying to be mean, I just feel it's senseless for people to go on attacking something just for the sake of it. She is now acting like I wasn't behind the photo manipulation, but Lex is. However, looking at the website, all the pics on there are the correct ones I sent I don't get it! She's just trying to cover her tracks.

    Baroque In Babylon,
    You are so right and my husband said the exact same thing! Plenty of other companies do alter photos. The thing is my photos aren't altered as she claims. I can't even be mad about it, I just find it to be really weird that someone would bother with this kind of crap. *sigh*

  6. geeez that person has too much time to spend!
    anyway, don't think too much about what people say! i know, i mean after all the hardwork you have done, there comes someone like that to accuse you and Lex doing those things isnt good feeling!
    anyway, look at your eyeshadow swatches!! you should really do this for all makeup companies, you did good job!
    though i don't want you to keep rubbing your eyes off!hehe

  7. I bet she's just bored and trying to stir something up to entertain herself. Either that or she's just nuts.

    No matter what, though, she doesn't have the right to attack your credibility or anyone else's without any real proof.

  8. I KNOW FOR A GOD DAMN FACT THAT BLIX TAKES CARE IN HER PRODUCT SWATCHES - i've been to her house.. i know she's an honest person, and i know that the people accusing her are just JEALIN' cuz her lips are perfect! suck a fat peepee accusers!

  9. prettybottles, please don't drop the 'jealous' line. It's so irrelevant and off-putting.

    Blix, I'm sorry somebody has attacked yours and Lex's credibility, that's not a nice thing to go through. I hope you get it resolved soon.

  10. They are clearly not the same pics (I've been working with photoshop and pics every single day for 15 years!), and by the way: I ordered some lipsticks from sobe and appreciated a lot your work, lip swatches are so accurate and good looking, THANK YOU!!! I can imagine it has been tiring but you made an excellent work! ;)

  11. Eyelashes and lip fluff... that's where you'll find the differences... other than the differences you listed above.
    I don't have a photoshopped trained eye, but I know you take amazing pics and that you're a genuine person. I never once thought you were altering the photos... Although I do need to compliment you on the consistency of the photos. I am a bit OCD about symetrical stuff, and I really like it when all the photos on a website are similar, and I think you've done an excellent job here !

  12. I can see that the images aren't the same. Never thought I'd analyze the hairs above your lips like this before, sheesh! The differences are minute but they are there. This is a credit to your picture taking that you got the angles so similar! I always try taking the same picture, same angle twice and I always end up failing miserably even after like 100 shots. :D

  13. Baroque in Babylon makes a wonderful point. MAC is the worst about using a single image and shopping it to suit their needs every time. Half the time it doesn't even look like the finished product. You never hear anyone complaining about that however. :-/

  14. It's obvious to me Blix, that they are certainly not the same pictures. My thanks for all the hard work so that I can see great examples of the colors before purchasing!

  15. Ha! Some people are quite immature. I love how this person says 'Having worked as an artist, art model, & writer', as if that somehow makes their opinion a fact. They need to get their head out of the clouds and apologise because clearly they're wrong :P xxx

  16. I am not a Sobe fan or customer (just not my colours and textures) but felt the need to respond to Miss Jupiter's claims in the comments on the original post.

    I have a real issue with bloggers making such claims about indie companies and then not providing one piece of the evidence that they supposedly have toiled over. If you spent hours trying to discover whether a company was being fraudulent in the photos they were providing then surely the sensible and responsible thing is to upload the aforementioned proof? If you can't or don't (because perhaps it does not exist!?) then you have libelled a company's reputation and possibly damaged their future financial revenue also. Which is a very mean and reckless thing to do...

    I'm a great believe in whistle blowing when companies are being deceitful but in my opinion, based on your screenshots and photos, it seems that there is no
    wrong doing here on the part of yourself or Sobe in any way shape or form.

    I can imagine how disheartening it is to do all that work and have some random person make such unsubstantiated claims. I hope you and Lex stay positive until this blows over. Love love love your blog btw!

  17. Holy crap someone has way too much free time (must be nice). Sorry you had to do a post like this. I purchased from Lex a long time ago and she was very very nice and I enjoyed the products I got from her. My order did get mixed up with another person's order but she had me keep that one and rushed me my original order as well.

    From what I remember, she's a mom as well as a business owner. Where she'd find the time to do all the "shopping" is beyond me.

  18. I'm very sorry I had to do a post like this too. I could be doing other, more important things for sure.

    If Lex was so skilled with photoshopping 1 photo to look like 10, why in the world would she send me so many products to swatch? Why would she need me to swatch at all? She could just steal any random photo off the internet and photoshop that. But she hasn't. It doesn't make sense. Neither one of us is skilled enough for that type of photoshopping. And again, if Lex was, I wouldn't be needed at all. We wouldn't be wasting time corresponding via email on a daily basis, she wouldn't waste her time making and sending me products to swatch which would most likely be a financial loss for her.

    It's obvious that someone not liking her products or her CS isn't enough drama for them and they have to make cheap shots at her photographs to prove she's a dishonest person. Which really doesn't prove that at all.

    I'm not going to dwell on this. I know what the truth is and it's obvious you awesome ladies can see it too.

    Thank you all for your kind words of encouragement and support. It's very much appreciated!

  19. Good for you for standing up for yourself and being so patient and graceful about it. Some people just have to be critical and suspicious of everything.

  20. Sorry that your credibility is being questioned :( your eye and lip swatches look great (and not shopped!) though I agree with the original poster - not this Miss Jupiter chick - that the product photos in the jars are really off. But I guess that's what your helpful swatches are for :)

  21. Wow,...who has the time to complain about something like this...Seriously...that person has nothing better to do with their life?

  22. Ugh you cant please everyone. You took the time to make sure the photos were taken from same angle, in similar light etc so people coulod compare the colours as best as they can. People complain. If you had done the swatches in different lights, roughly, different angles..people would have complained.
    You have done a fantastic job for these companies.
    It seems her complaints are very much a personal attack on you and the company. If she had an issue with a product from Sobe...then sorting that out was all that was needed!

    eesh women :D

  23. You did a wonderful job, and your swatches always look so gorgeous! It's terrible that one person has gone to so much trouble to try and drag yours and Lex's names through the dirt. I trust that the both of you are honest people and even to my eyes(I do some graphic design work and photo restoration) each photo looks a little different.

    Your lipstick swatches are always very well done and I hope this drama doesn't dissuade you from working with indie companies in the future. Kudos to you for sticking up for yourself and Lex!